Thursday, May 28, 2009

And We're Rollin'...

Despite what the title of this entry might imply, this post is not about how Marin's Auntie Mika can sing a rendition of Proud Mary that would give Tina a run for her money.

Instead it is about how Marin rolled over for the first time on Saturday. I put her down for a nap on her stomach (yes, I know we aren't supposed to do this, but she likes it) and when I went to get her up she was on her back! How did you do that, Marin!? I was so proud of that little stinker, and of course made a big deal about it! I called Jason (who was out of town at my brother's bachelor party) to share the good news. I can guarantee you, it was the only call of its kind at that bachelor party! And for sure it was the only non beer chugging, atomic wedgie giving, ball and chain teasing conversation that Jason had all weekend.

We have spend each subsequent day trying to get Marin to do it again. On film none the less. This has resulted in tons of video of Marin rolling half way over -- and then back the opposite direction, squealing in delight despite our differing agendas. All the while Norah is "encouraging" Marin by trying to give kisses (lick her face). The commentary sounds something like this:
Jason and me: "There you go... good girl! You've got it! Ohhhhh... shoot. Norah get out of there!"
Norah: (snort, snort)
Marin: (giggle, giggle, sqeeeeeeeal!)

We have tried putting her on her stomach again to see if she can roll to her back, and we have also tried putting her on her back to see if she can roll to her stomach. She is so close to rolling over again. She just needs a little umph to get over her shoulder.

This weekend I am going to be at my future sister-in-law's bachelorette party. (It will be my first time away from Marin over night, and like a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter, I have been frantically hording and freezing extra milk to make sure she won't go hungry while I'm away.) I am totally convinced that Marin will roll over again while I am gone and I'll miss it. But, I figure that I was technically there the first time even though I didn't actually witness it. Plus, once she learns how to do it again, I think she'll be able to do it all the time, and then she can show off her tricks when I get home. I'll be sure to give a full report either way. Lucky you. :)
And speaking of Marin's Auntie Mika.... I promised her pictures. So here they are!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Marin's "pediatrician in the sky"....

This is a picture of my mom and her brother, my Uncle Frank. Today is the one year anniversary of his death. A death that came much too soon. My Uncle Frank was a wonderfully kind and loving man. He loved people, parties and his garden. He had the very best laugh of anyone I ever knew, and he remembered every thing about everyone he ever met. But perhaps what he will most be remembered for, is his love of children. My Uncle was a very well known, very trusted pediatrician. And any new parent that has ever taken their tiny baby in for their 4 day old visit, knows how valuable that is.

One of my favorite memories of my Uncle was when I was about 5 years old. It was Christmas Eve at my Grandma Meyer's house. I had all of the fascination and adoration of Santa as any young child my age. After dinner, my Uncle Frank stood by the window and said, "Oh my goodness! Johanna! I just saw Santa and his sleigh!" I ran to the window, he pulled a chair over for me to climb, and we peered out the window at the northern star which I was convinced was Santa's sleigh. A few years later, when there were rumors that Santa didn't exist, I thought to myself, "But I saw him!"

I found out that I was pregnant with Marin two days after my Uncle Frank died. Last year, I knelt down beside my Uncle at his wake and whispered to him what Jason and I hadn't yet told any of our other family members. "I'm pregnant Uncle Frank. Please watch over this baby." I couldn't imagine how I was going to make it through this new and scary time in my life without being able to ask him his advice. There was one particular time in my pregnancy when we had a scare, and I thought about my Uncle. I remembered that he was going to keep us safe. And indeed he did.

Shortly after Marin was born, my Aunt referred to him as Marin's "pediatrician in the sky". I just loved that. This morning I told Marin about her Great Uncle Frank. I told her how much he would have loved meeting her. He would have scooped her right up and just loved every single inch of her. Every night before we go to bed I say the Guardian Angel Prayer to Marin. Perhaps he is listening as I do.

As much as I would have loved for my Uncle to have met Marin; for him to put his stethoscope up to her little chest and reassure me that everything is as it should be, it is an honor to have Marin's pediatrician in the sky watching over us. After all, how many kids can say they have an angel in their family? Marin can.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

First 100 Days

Marin has just completed her first 100 days in office, er... in the world. Her approval rating is very high. She promised us change, and change she delivered. Here are some pictures of her conducting her official business (nap time, playtime, walks, snuggles with Norah, etc.) We all agree- she is a great ruler of the household!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Blood, Sweat and Breast milk

If breast milk were currency, I'd be cheap.

Seriously. I treat the stuff like gold. Not only is it my daughter's sole food source, but the efforts I go through (although admittedly, voluntarily) are ridiculous.

I actually really like nursing. At first it is bizarre and a very real reminder that we are mammals. But it is always ready, it's convenient and it's a bonding time between Marin and me. It's something we usually do alone, and only I can provide her. It's the pumping I still have reservations about. Pumping is the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do before I go to bed at night. Putting all the trials of Marin's first few weeks aside-- trying to get her to latch, trying to get her to eat, sitting for hours gently encouraging her to try it again-- here is a little of what my commitment to nursing entails:

(As an aside, this post may not be for everyone. Consider yourself warned.) :)

My morning starts off by waking up before the alarm (usually around 5:30am) to pump. Since Marin isn't waking up to eat in the middle of the night anymore, my cup runneth over, so to speak. Jason tells this funny story about how he wakes up to the wuuh-shoo sound of the pump, looks over and there I am. Bright and breezy. Good morning, honey!

After the sun rises, Jason, (gem that he is), washes and packs up my pump for the day. It is essential that we remember all of the parts, because without all of them, the pump does not work and I would be in a world of hurt. So far so good here.

When Marin wakes up I nurse her. Usually in my robe with a towel on top of my head. Poor girl.

I get dressed, breast pads in tact to avoid (gasp!) an unsightly leak, and head out the door.

Then I lug the pump to work. In the car, to daycare, to the train. It is built into a "stylish" over the shoulder bag. "Stylish" is up to your own interpretation. I give it a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being a fanny pack; 10 being a Gucci hobo.

When I get to work the real fun begins. To maintain my supply, I have to pump when I am away from Marin. The milk that I pump goes with her to daycare the next day. In order to pump, I drag my stylish bag past Rich at the front desk and through the lobby. While the bag doesn't have "I have seen her topless" written on the side, if you (or your wife, or your sister, or your best friend) has breast fed, you know what it is. Then I go upstairs to campus services to get my friendly security person to unlock my special pump room. Letisha is very nice. And very sick of me.

I pump in a room with minimal windows (blinds closed as tightly as a steal trap), a lock on the door, and a sign outside that says, "Please do not disturb". Once inside- after the parts are assembled- I stare at the bare walls, a memo board from a marketing meeting that has long since passed, and a small picture of Marin. About 15 minutes later, I pack everything away in my cooler, disassemble all of my parts, head back downstairs through the lobby again and sneak into the president's kitchen (it's the only sink in the building with temperature controlled water) to clean my pump parts. I pray the whole way there that the kitchen will be empty so I don't have to explain to anyone what the heck the cone shaped contraptions in my hands are.

I repeat the above two more times throughout the day. Sometimes I call my mom or Jason as I sit there. They don't always appreciate the visual when I tell them why I am calling them from my cell phone. Sorry guys, I get bored.

Then I lug the pump home. On the train, to daycare, in the car. When I get home, the pump is washed, milk is stored. And I nurse Marin.

I nurse her usually two more times before she goes to bed.

Right before I go to bed (usually around 10pm) I pump again. Wash the parts, store the milk, and get it all ready for when I get out of bed first thing in the morning.

It is for these reasons that I can't put a price on the fruits of my labor. Every drop is precious to me. I covet each bottle that goes with Marin to daycare. You can imagine my dismay when the daycare told me they spilled an entire bottle last week and had to tap into their reserves. I felt like saying, "Let's see, by my calculations, including supplies and labor, that spill should set you back a thousand dollars."

It's a love/hate relationship that I have with my pump. It is a necessary evil at this point. But that puppy and I go everywhere together. I literally don't leave home without it. It's even accompanying me to my future sister-in-law's bachelorette party next weekend. It's sure to be a real party pleaser, I'm sure! :)

So why go through all this trouble you ask? (Or maybe you didn't, but I'm going to tell you anyway.) Well, for one, it is the best for Marin, and I'd do anything for her. Breastfed babies have a lower rate of hospitalizations, respiratory problems and ear infections. It protects them from (hopefully) developing allergies, type 1 diabetes, and high blood pressure later in life. Tests have shown that being breast fed can boost a child's intelligence and reduce the risk of SIDS. And, it helps me with weight loss (which everyone tries to pretend doesn't matter - but come on!) and may reduce my risks of getting some types of cancers.

I'd like to try to exclusively breastfeed until Marin is 6 months old, and it is time to start introducing baby food. She hasn't had anything but breast milk to date, and for some reason I am really proud of this. Either because of the journey it took us to get to this point, or because of the resilience in my effort. Maybe a little of both. In the meantime, my pump and I have a standing date. 5 times a day. In some very (and not so very) interesting places.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Morning Mumbles

I have mentioned that getting Marin up in the morning is one of the favorite parts of our day. She smiles back at us from her crib and it is so fun. Jason got this on video yesterday. She was a little camera shy, but I just love her little smiles and our "conversations".

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Marin's First Photo Shoot

Over Easter weekend, our friend and photographer, Valerie, met us at my in-law's house and snapped some pictures of Marin. (It pays to know people :)) I once told Valerie that I wanted to have children just so she could photograph them. This is proving to be true. We love the pictures, and had to share a few. Thank you SO much Valerie!
Rockin' my childhood hat
You can check out more of Valerie's work at

Monday, May 11, 2009

Three Months Old!

Three Months Old!
(last we checked) your stats are:
11 lbs. 12oz.
24.5 inches
Marin was three months old on Friday. Here are a few of her favorite things these days....
** She loves to sit up and look around. We have discovered the love of the bumbo. Her favorite way to be held is facing out so she can see the world.
** She loves to sit propped up on our legs and "talk" to us. She is making a lot of sounds now, most of which sound like "ah-goo". She is also giggling a little. This is one of our favorite things.
** Marin also loves to "stand" up and put weight on her feet like a big girl. We think maybe she'll be an early talker and walker-- look out world!! :)
** She loves music! We sing a lot of songs, and we sing often. She also loves to listen to music in the car. She has long fingers, too, so we think piano recitals are in our future.
** She loves the car and goes right to sleep in her car seat. Unless she is hungry and then she lets it be known by screaming bloody murder.
**She sleeps like a dream through the night. We feel really lucky about this. We swaddle her up tightly so she looks like a little pea pod, and she sleeps so soundly. She goes to bed at about 7:30pm and will sleep straight through until 7am. Every night before we go to bed we go in and check on her. We just love to watch her sleep. She looks like a little angel.
** She loves to eat her hands. Sometimes I think it is a contest with herself to see how many fingers she can get in at once.
** Marin loves to smile and does so often. When we get her up in the morning she smiles back at us in her crib and it is the best part of our day! It's almost like she is saying, "Hi guys! How did you sleep?!"
** She holds onto objects well but isn't reaching out to grab for things quite yet.
** She doesn't love being on her tummy unless she has fallen asleep for a nap and we put her down like that. She is holding her head up really well.
** Marin has over 100 books and loves sitting in our lap while we read them to her. The books with bright pictures are her favorites.
** She loves bath time. We have just started to introduce a little fun into her bath so it isn't all business anymore. She really mostly looks at the duckies and sometimes the plastic whale that squirts water on her tummy.
** She likes to be held closely. She will "tells us" when she is tired for a nap by getting fussy and when she does and we cradle her closely she falls asleep almost immediately.
All in all, she's a social butterfly who plays hard and sleeps hard. She takes in her little world with great curiosity every day and smiles in delight with what she sees. She likes to move and she likes to try and tell you about it. Sound like anyone you know? :)

My First Mother's Day...

Mother's Day as a mother is really something special. It was really strange to be celebrating me yesterday, in addition to my mom and grandmas. I am so grateful. At the end of the day I told Marin how much I love being her mommy and how lucky I am that she is my daughter. I am so proud of her, and feel so blessed to be a mother. It is the best gift in the world. And it's all because of Marin. What an honor.

Marin decided to kick off our celebration at 5:30am yesterday by uncharacteristically demanding to eat at that early hour. She is a party girl. :) Luckily she ate herself back to sleep until 8:15. Then it was off to church with my mom and dad and back to their house where we spent the day playing bags, chatting with family and of course, eating.

I feel especially lucky to have such a great mom to whom I am so close, and two very special grandmas. I hope that I am even half as good at mothering as they are. A special thank you to all of the dads in our lives, too, for doting on us. It was a wonderful day and another first in a year full of them. I know I will never forget my first Mother's Day.

Friday, May 8, 2009


They call her MJ... but does that stand for Marin Jane or Michael Jordan?

Marin's new thing is to stick out her tongue. And while I don't always like what this does to my pictures, I'll admit that it is funny. Perhaps she is channeling the basketball legend or maybe she is a Rolling Stones fan? What do you think?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A little bit of country

Here's a picture taken specifically for Marin's Great Grandpa Hinrichs, Great Uncle Bob and her Uncle Tractor.

She may live in the city, but she has country in her soul! :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Shout out

A quick shout out to my wonderful husband for making my first day back at work a little brighter. Kicked off by a celebratory steak dinner, followed by a surprise note (hidden in my breast pump :)) telling me he loves me and thanking me for working hard for our family. He included a Starbucks gift card to treat myself on my first week back. He even packed my lunch and left me a note from Marin on my napkin.

Jason, you are a wonderful husband and father. Thank you so much for your support. It means so much.

I love you!

Monday, May 4, 2009

What no one told me

Well, I'm back at work. It's horrid. It feels like my first day on the job, except that I'm expected to perform like it is my 500th day on the job. Right away. All at once. It's like your first day but instead of a friendly HR welcome, you have meeting requests and phone calls and emails. My favorite email of the day so far came about an hour after I arrived today and it said, "I still haven't received your marketing report." Of course you haven't. I only learned that you needed a marketing report ten minutes ago. I am already behind. And all I can think about is Marin's little smile and if her diaper needs to be changed.

No one tells you how truly terrible this day feels. They tell you that it will be hard. You realize it won't be easy. But not until you are actually going through the motions, do you realize what that means. I have learned in this whole process that there are a lot of things that no one tells you about. Either that, or some advice just means more after it is put into your own perspective. Some things you have to experience yourself in order to understand.

My mom enjoyed motherhood and our baby years so much that she never told me any of the bad stuff. In fact, sometimes she acts like there wasn't a single bad day. Recently, I was telling her a story about a particularly fussy moment with Marin when she was crying and my mom literally said, "Isn't that funny; I'm sure you and Jake cried, but I just don't remember it." No one told me that sometimes even though you have done everything and checked everything you should, sometimes babies just cry.

There are other things. Like....

I didn't know that I'd be seeing snaps in my sleep. Seriously, everything Marin owns has snaps. A lot of snaps. Whoever invented the snap is really cleaning up in the baby department. I bet I snap 100 snaps a day. Every time you change a diaper it is 6 or 7 snaps to undo the outfit, 3 snaps to undo the onesie. Then 3 to redo the onesie and 6 or 7 to redo the outfit. That is a 20 snap transactions right there. All for one diaper change.

No one tells you that babies bowel movements are mustard colored. Or Grey Poupon as Jason says. Sure the doctor tells you that it is normal. But no one mentions this at the baby shower. I mean, why would they? You'd never be invited to another party again if you brought "potty talk" to the baby shower.

I didn't know that it was possible to love someone as deeply as I love Marin. You just can't explain to someone how much they will love their children. It is truly unconditional. And it doesn't matter how tired you are or how long they have been crying. You just love them more and more every second. No matter what.

I also didn't know how in love I would be with Jason with our baby in his arms. Or when I see Jason in Marin. It makes me love and appreciate Jason in a way I never had before. It also makes me make up silly songs to sing to Marin about her daddy. ("Your daddy's the best; he's better than the rest! Listen to me; 1, 2, 3; Your daddy's the best! Your daddy's the best; he loves to play with you! Your daddy's the best, his favorite colors' blue!) This is not a joke. :)

No one tells you that after you give birth a nurse watches you go to the bathroom the first time. I don't need to expand on this point. But it's true. My nurse sat on the tub. She was a lovely woman, but I wasn't prepared for her to hand me the toilet paper.

And since I have already gone there... Everyone tells you that you lose all of your inhibitions after you deliver a baby. But no one told me that in recovery a nurse checks you for hemorrhoids.

I wish I had realized that a size 8 is thin. I spent so much time pre-pregancy wishing that I was smaller and thinner. If I am ever a size 8 again, I promise to appreciate it and be happy with it.

No one ever told me that in the beginning, nursing is really hard. This one stumps me because once you talk to moms who have been through it, they all admit how hard it was for them. But no one comes out and tells you before you are sitting in the dark with your 2 day old baby at 1am for an hour and a half trying to get her to latch.

No one tells you that the joy of meeting your baby WAY out weighs the pain of labor. Granted, I had the epidural. And it still wasn't a day in the park. But the minute Marin was born I completely forgot any pain or morning sickness. The joy is instant and overwhelming in the best possible way. So much so that I wanted to relive the day over and over- contractions included.

I never knew tired until Marin was born. When she was getting up in the night I thought I'd never feel totally rested again. But no one told me that I'd get used to being so tired. And then just when I got used to sustaining on 4 hours of sleep, she slept through the night. Now she sleeps for 12 hours, and we have to wake her up for daycare.

No one told me that the "baby blues" are real and they are normal. In the first few weeks your hormones are all over the map. I cried because I was happy, I cried because I was scared, I cried because I was frustrated, I cried because I felt frustrated and didn't think I should have been, I cried because we were out of turkey. It is okay. And more importantly, it goes away.

I have learned that with motherhood, comes the mommy guilt. Am I spending enough time with Marin? Am I spending enough time with work? Has she been in the swing too long? Is it okay that I am glad that she is asleep? I'm not totally convinced that even when Marin is happy, healthy and adjusted to life on her own, will I be sure that I did everything the way that I should have.

No one told me that I'd instinctively jump every time I heard a baby cry. Even when it wasn't my baby.

I had no idea how much one smile could warm my heart. And that I'd become addicted to seeing it. That one smile could be the best part of my day.

No one told me that it would be so hard to go back to a job I enjoy.

And yet, here I am. One thing I am told, is that it gets easier from here.