Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Spencer update - our poor little baby got the sniffles for the first time this weekend. I had expected him to catch something the first week he was in school, but he stayed strong and lasted four complete weeks before things caught up with him. Luckily, there was no fever, but Spencer had a big time runny nose and was a little off his game. He didn't nap so well during the daytime, and his body was so tired by Sunday evening that he literally fell asleep during his bath! We kept him upright in his swing overnight to help with drainage, which helped him to sleep for nice long stretches overnight and get the rest he needed. By Monday morning he was doing well enough to go back to school. (I, on the other hand, seemed a bit under the weather. Forgot about the fact that kids will pass along crud to their parents.)

Friday night I felt very hip as Girl's Night met out for dinner at a restaurant that hadn't even been open for a month. The menu at Chatter's in the heights had many interesting choices and perhaps I'll get a chance to return, but I know it's not likely. And last night was Mommy's Night up on this side of town. We ate at Baker Street Pub, which had decent food, but it was too smoky and I don't plan to return there to eat. I accidentally went to BJ's first, and that place seems very cool. Perhaps a lunch destination in the near future for Jim & I. (No links for any of these restaurants - I guess they are all a bit too new to appear on citysearch just yet.)

Saturday morning was the polymer clay class I had been looking forward to all month. There was only one other person in the class besides me, so we were able to move a decent clip and learn a lot. I'm pretty pleased with the end result of the pen I created. Still don't think it's a hobby I want to get into, but it was fun to play around.

Friday, March 26, 2004

I was surprised yesterday when I picked up Spencer at school and they told me he pooped (#8 for the month of March.) Two times in three days - wow! When I picked him up on Wednesday, he was wearing a different outfit than he had been when I dropped him off, and asked if he was changed because he had spit up. They told me no, that they changed him because the footed outfit was too small and he couldn't stretch his little legs all of the way out. Oops. Spencer is certainly getting bigger! He seems longer and heavier each day. I bet he won't even fit into the adorable sleeper Tracy gave him by the time she comes back to visit in four weeks.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Just when I was getting to feeling a bit down, that I don't get to go anywhere by myself anymore, my calendar seems to be full of little opportunities to get our for a couple of hours. In the next week there is a planned dinner for Girls' Night and one for Mommy's Night. Plus, this Saturday morning I am looking forward to the polymer clay class which I signed up for earlier in the month. I don't really have a desire to pick this up as (yet another) crafty hobby, but I've seen some DIY shows and it looks cool. I just want the opportunity to play around with it for a little while, so that's what I'm going to do.

Spencer pooped last night, at home - unfortunately. Somehow we didn't hear it happen and was caught completely off guard when I opened his diaper before his bath. Question: if his diet is unchanged (still 100% breast milk) then why are his poops beginning to smell so awful? I thought that changes in smell only come with changes in food? Maybe they get stinky stored up inside for days at a time.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Even though Spencer isn't even sitting up yet, I just can't believe how many milestones appear to be right around the corner. I'm very curious/anxious about his visit to the pediatrician next month to find out how big he is. I swear he just keeps looking longer and feeling heavier every day. Even the teachers say he looks different after not seeing him for a couple of days on the weekend. His favorite toy to check out these days is an inflatable beach ball that hangs down from the ceiling on an elastic cord, about two feet off the floor. Spencer loves the movement of the stripes as it spins and floats around over his head. I got a kick out of reading the most recent "classroom news" even though there was no mention of Spencer this week! (Last names omitted.) "We work a lot with critical thinking skills. This week, Ty, Frankie, Tim and Ryan were trying to catch a bee. Suddenly, Ty stopped and said 'I don't think catching a bee is a good idea.' On second thought, they all agreed, and off they went to find something a little safer to do."

Monday, March 22, 2004

This is the time of year when it's so awesome to live here in Texas: temps in the 70's every single day and tons of sunshine. We took advantage of the nice weather on Saturday meeting Carol, Alan & Brian for lunch at Willie's and ate outside. Funny how you start to tune into what restaurants are more baby-friendly than others. Back at their house afterwards, Spencer put on a good show of giggles and is starting to mimic Jim sticking out his tongue. Too cute. Hopefully the snow in NY will be gone by the time we head up there next month. I'd be ok with waiting another year before introducing snow to Spencer.

Spencer still hasn't pooped since the blowout on Thursday evening. I gave them the heads up at school this morning.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Poop #6 for the month of March took place last night, fortunately about 20 minutes before Spencer was due for his bath anyhow. I was in the back of the house in Spencer's room while he and Jim were playing in the living room when I heard the huge noise. Poor little guy - it must really rock his little body to explode like that every couple of day. After using about 25 wipes Spencer went right into his bath, which he absolutely loves, and all seemed to be right in his world again.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Monday I bought this week's issue of Time with the cover story "The Case for Staying Home - Why more young moms are opting out of the rat race." I picked up the magazine around noon, but didn't read it until much later at night, almost afraid that doing so would swing the doors of doubt and sadness wide open again. These past two to three weeks have been tough enough already, I certainly didn't need the media to tell me I was making the wrong decision. But, I was relieved that the article was 'mostly' a commentary about the numbers - how the trend for moms to continue working has actually been declining over the past couple years, a reversal after it had been steadily increasing over the past several decades. They point out more and more women with advanced degrees, professional titles, and high profile jobs are going through the same struggles. And at this point in time, many of these Gen Xers are making different decisions than their boomer parents. I was dismayed to see a commentary viewpoint from Amelia Warren Tyagi (co-author with her mom of "The Two-Income Trap") because the two of them seem to be showing up everywhere these days and blaming a whole host of socio-economic factors for making these kinds of decisions so tough. They argue that the rising cost of homes, especially those in good school districts, and the cost of private pre-schools require two incomes. These are no longer viewed as luxury items for your child, but rather basics. Despite these arguments, the Time article continues, more and more women are choosing to take 'time out' from their careers to stay home. They struggle with putting a $100,000 law education "to waste" and hope desperately that the economy turns around to find space for them to return in 2 or 3 or 5 years from now. Their is a spot of hope, however, as big businesses such as Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu are recognizing this significant brain drain among high-performing women. The company is taking steps to develop a program for new young moms to take a few years off, and ease back into the workplace. Right now, corporate America has few flexible work options - not many "on-ramps" and "slow lanes" for these women when they return. Included in the reasons for my choice to continue working are indeed some financial ones, such as using the additional income to provide for Spencer's college tuition. But the flexibility of my job which allows me to work effectively from home, and an organziation which values a healthy work-life balance are the most important factor in making that decision possible. Being able to pump during the day from the privacy of my own home allows Spencer to go off to school and continue to receive breast milk. Being able to unload the dishwasher and prep dinner during lunchtime is important because it allows me to focus my precious time after work with Spencer during the limited number of hours he is awake. Being able to temporarily turn down travel so that I can be at home during the next few months of adjusting to a new routine. All of these thing contribute to my overall happiness with my new role as a mom, and, as I have heard many times already: a happy mom is a good mom.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Jim and I met up for lunch today at Pappasito's - wonderful as always. While there, we ran into Jim's Aunt Darla and I promptly whipped out my snapbook of Spencer pictures which I carry in my purse at all times. After eating, I invted her to join me to stop by Spencer's school so she could peek in on the little man. When we got there, Spencer was awake and resting quietly in his crib while cramming his whole fist into his mouth (his new favorite activity.) When it became clear he wasn't settling down to sleep, I held him so we could visit a bit closer. And boy oh boy did he give up some big smiles for Darla - sticking his little tongue out and everything! Sometimes he's just too darn cute!

Monday, March 15, 2004

Saturday was a big day as I made my first trip back to the ice rink to watch Jim skate in a tournament, catch up with my hockey buds who I've missed for the past few months, and of course - to show off Spencer! Our time there was brief, but it was great to see everyone again. Spencer looked the part, all dressed up in his little hockey sweatshirt from Karen W. We took a couple pictures before leaving the house because he just looked so darn cute. They have been added to the new March photo album.

Anyone else catch Ben Affleck hosting SNL? I thought he was hilarious (at least the 30 minutes before I fell asleep were) and especially liked his skit about the "Bennifer" t-shirts. I laughed out loud when I saw some of the other ones he held up, especially "Benyonce" and "Boprah!"

Friday, March 12, 2004

Given the inherent edge of being a Friday, today was a pretty darn good day. Jim took Spencer to school in the morning, and I strapped on my phone headset for back to back to back conference calls, and didn't take it off until after noon. The first one went something like "while Bonnie was on leave we decided that she should take over this project so I'll be transitioning it to her." Then the next call went something like, "now that Bonnie has returned from maternity leave, I'll be transitioning project management of this effort back to her." It's nice to be missed, I guess.

But the really good stuff today happened in the afternoon. Talking to Deena (my sister) earlier this week gave me the motivation to try my hand at bread-making for the first time so we could have some nice challah this Friday evening to celebrate shabbat. I found a "classic challah" recipe in The Gourmet Jewish Cook which I received from Irene (I think as a housewarming present) that I decided to use. Working from home, I was able to take out 10 minutes during lunchtime to activate the yeast and mix the dough together to set aside to rise. The whole process was easier than I had expected, and the end result was yummy, although now I know what to tweak for next time. When we lit candles, I think even Spencer sensed something special as he sat quietly on Jim's lap. One special part of the Friday night shabbat prayers includes a blessing for the children. This is something I'd like to continue, to let Spencer know how much we cherish him.

Speaking of love, Deena sure does love her little nephew as evidenced by THE MOST AWESOME QUILT EVER that she hand-made for little Spencer. I was just stunned when I opened the package today to see such a gorgeous quilt, and to know that she made it herself - incredible. I took pictures of the whole quilt, and each square in detail. But the photos just can't do it justice, it's a work of art.

Each Friday Spencer's school prints a one page newsletter and this week the 'classroom news' section led off with a couple sentences about our little man! "Baby Spencer Leach is 3 months old, that delightful age when they figure out that they can make their hands move themselves. He also delights in watching all the movement from the other babies in his community." How cool is that to be in the newsletter. (Don't worry - we picked up extra copies to send to the grandmas!)

Spencer pooped yesterday after we got home from school. He has now gone four times in the month of March.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

I'm looking forward to tonight's episode of "The Apprentice" because the preview clip they showed last week of the celebration toast following Omarosa's departure looks hilarious. In talking with mom on the phone last night, I told her I liked this new show because 1) it's generally funny and entertaining, but more importantly 2) it helps me to explain my job as a project manager to other people. Each week a different person on the team is given the role of project manager, and we get a chance to see many different styles of how individuals deal with the responsibilities of managing the team to complete the task at hand given a fixed amount of time, resources and money. "The Donald" makes it very clear in the boardroom at the end of each show that regardless of what happened during the course of the project, the project manager must always shoulder the ultimate responsibility for success or failure as a whole: how decisions are made (or in some cases inability to make decisions is highlighted,) how sub-tasks are assigned (by skill, ability, preference, etc.) and how to get the cooperation out of each team member required to succeed. It's nice to be validated within such a short period of time, and receive some of the luxurious awards doled out.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

It was great to catch up with Peggy on the phone this morning! I was amused to learn that last week's blog entry about Spencer's poop made news in another household ~1200 miles away and brought back fond memories for them! Hopefully we will be able to introduce them to Spencer during our trip to NY next month. It will be quite an ordeal to travel there with an infant on a plane. Good thing we've still got some time to work out the many logistical details that lie ahead.

After work, Carol and Brian came over and we took a nice long walk with the boys to a lake with ducks in the adjacent subdivision. Carol and I were much more impressed with the scenery & wildlife than our sons, so we promptly turned around and headed back once we hit that destination. We both are excited that our boys are so close in age and will be able to spend time together as playmates. With a two month head start, right now Brian is far more interested in Spencer than vice versa. We are looking forward to the day when they will begin to interact.

(For those keeping track, Spencer last pooped on Monday.)

Monday, March 08, 2004

It felt like we got to catch up with old pals with the return of The Sopranos last night. A quick check on the website confirmed that Janice's wedding ring comment did indeed reference that she and Bobby and gotten married during the show's hiatus.

As far as socializing with real people, we've been trying to get out more with Spencer, while at the same time preserving his new routine. Friday evening we went out to Fuddruckers w/ Heath & Kim & Chloe, then raced home to get Spencer his bath at 7:30. He was out nicely by 9:00, but the damn neighbor's dog woke him up at 10:00 and we had to start the bedtime routine over again. On Saturday we had a table at the ADPi convention, but I was only able to attend for a couple of hours in between nursing sessions. Spencer and I ventured to the mall in the afternoon to pick up the JC Penney photos. The (bad) girl offered us a discount on future sittings if we scheduled an appointment right then. I just told her I'd check my calendar and get back to her. Not anytime soon, that's for sure.

Yesterday morning we joined Katie (on her birthday!) and many others for breakfast at Beck's Prime in Memorial Park. It was an absolutely spectacular day as we sat outside right next to the golf course. Spencer fussed terribly when we first arrived, but quieted down and drifted off for a nap in his stroller (a gift from some of the girls there - Katie, Bonnie & Kimberley) parked next to the white noise of a fountain. We enjoyed being able to show off the little man, and as everyone commented, he really looks so much more like a little boy than a baby. Overall, it was a great morning.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Spencer pooped on Friday, and as anticipated, it was a bit of an event. When I picked him up from school on Friday afternoon and noticed that he was wearing different clothes than he had been dropped off in, I knew right away that the deed had been done. Poor Ms. Karen had been holding him and feeding him at the time of the blowout which earned Spencer a quick hosedown in the sink. "we've learned that wipes just don't cut it for this kind of mess," she commented as she handed me his outfit in a double plastic bag. I apologized (what else could I do?) and assured them I would bring more replacement clothes on Monday. More than the diaper escapades, they were very worried I would be upset that Spencer had scratched himself on his cheek. Mostly they were worried I would think they hadn't been looking out for him and that the scratch had come from another infant. A quick look at his nails told me I was overdue for clipping them, which isn't as awful a task as I had always thought it might be.

On this past week's episode of Queer Eye, I thought it was cool that Thom selected our sofa for the straight guy's apartment makeover.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Spencer is three months old today! And he's growing! (Not a big surprise.) We stopped in at his pediatrician's office this afternoon to weigh him and learned that he is now up to 14 pounds and 14 ounces. That puts him around the 67th percentile. He hasn't pooped since Monday night, so it's possible he'll lose an ounce or so when he finally does...

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

So far, I think I've been holding up ok. Knowing Spencer is having fun at school definitely helps to ease my mind. And each day when I pick him up they hand over a detailed slip with info about his day: when he napped, when they changed a diaper, how much he ate, etc. This morning Spencer decided to get up around 5:30 so we put him back down for a short nap when he was done eating so we could get another hour of sleep as well. This meant that by the time we drove to school, he was well-fed, well-rested and very playful! I was a little bummed that his altered sleep schedule cut our playtime short at home, but he'll have fun there too. He was smiling and giggling like such a goon when I left him to head for the office.

It definitely feels more natural for me to work from the office instead of at home right now. Yesterday I worked from home for the day while Spencer was at school and it was a bit lonely. It was strange because Spencer has been my constant companion at home since his arrival, and it was odd to not have him there with me. I had been hoping that Spencer's milk intake during the day would match what I would be able to pump during that same time, and have been eagerly looking forward to eliminating the middle of the night pump. But after seeing that he ate 20 ounces yesterday (and my production was not even close to that during our 8 hours apart) it looks like I will have to continue waking myself up to meet his needs. Perhaps things will even out once he starts sleeping more through the new sights and sounds at school. Right now I just keep trying my best to keep up with the little man.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

I think I would have to call Monday a pretty darn good day, if you can say that about a Monday. I know all of the trips Spencer and I made to his school last week (all four of them!) were invaluable in helping me to get adjusted to the idea of leaving him there for the day. Spencer really needed no adjustment, I called over twice during the day and each time was told how much fun he was having. After being in tears so much last week, yesterday I was able to not cry. I worked from the office in the morning and pumped once there, and worked from home in the afternoon and pumped a second time from here. After finishing my final scheduled call around 4:15, I left the house to pick up Spencer. He was awake and fairly content, and it felt so good to hold the little guy after a whole day apart! He showed his delight with the situation back at the house by pooping (hadn't gone since Saturday night) and it was a big one! I wonder if we will settle into a new routine of only pooping 2-3 times a week...

At night I was able to head out for March's mommy's night out dinner as we said goodbye to Lisa before she moved to Ohio. It felt good to have support from other mommies, and I was proud to pass around the brag book of Spencer photos I put together at shutterfly.com. I felt even better to receive a text message from Jim during the evening to learn that Spencer had been good and settled down nicely after his bath. Although being too tired can sometimes backfire with babies, he went to sleep and stayed down for the night. Hopefully he won't get up too early in the morning tomorrow.