Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I've Lost My Mind AND a Cup Size!

Recently I posted up a Facebook status update that on the surface, I thought was a normal thought provoking update. Come to find out either people thought it would be a better idea to poke fun at me or reply back with reassuring "it will be ok, don't worry" comments. Alright, rewind. Here is a little back story to my status update:

On October 4th a baby girl named Lisa Irwin went missing. She is 11 months old from Missouri. She was reported to be taken from her crib while sleeping. My heart broke. Aven turned 9 months that week and upon hearing this news a couple of things went through me. The first was, I am going to keep my eyes peeled for any baby that looks like Lisa (boy or girl) because the kidnappers could dress her as a boy to disguise her. The second thing that went through my head was, what if I falsely accused someone of kidnapping Lisa because my memory recall from her photos could be inaccurate?

Then, my mind started twirling...

What if someone thought Aven was Lisa? How would I prove that Aven was mine? Yes, I know DNA exists. I also know that there would be many of my friends and family that would be witness to the fact I am indeed Aven's mom. My question was targeted as a more "on the spot" sorta verification.

I am painfully aware that these thoughts could be considered as overreacting. But are they?

One side says yes. The probability this could happen to anyone I know is rather slim. Really really slim. Read this blog post: How Dangerous is Childhood? At first glance, I was worried my thoughts would have been supported. But upon further reading, I started to feel a little better.

The other side says no. If it is your baby that is taken, was there anything you could have done to stop it? Lock your windows? Become a helicopter parent? Purchase an Amber Alert GPS?

I am sure there is a happy medium to both sides. I have confidence that I will find it. The thought provoking question is why? Why did I just now start to freak out about the big bad world? Why not when Aven was first born? Or before? Was it Lisa? Or was Lisa a catalyst?

The best conclusion I could come up with was I stopped breast feeding (totally) at about the same time baby Lisa went missing. Aven started pushing herself away at night time and morning feedings. You can lead a horse to we stopped. The same time I started to worry and worry and worry about her. I think before I was concerned, but I always felt connected to her. It sounds strange, but I just knew she was alright. Without a tether, I felt so disconnected and flailing. Things have gotten better since I started to realize the reason behind my hypersensitivity.

The reason I wanted to blog about this was not to embarrass myself, which I am sure I have done. Rather to bring to light if any mom out there is starting to ween their baby and they have crazy OMG moments, it is normal. least I did it ;-) Not to say that I am normal, but maybe...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Rolling in the Deep...

I am freaking in LOVE with this song. Adele is amazing. There are certain singer/song writers that just hit ya, you know?

Sara Bareilles wicked awesome.

And Dolly...what else is there to say?

As Aven's birthday gets closer (I know it is still 3 months away, but closer nonetheless) I realize how crazy fast she is growing up in front of my eyes. I hope she grows up with strength, thirst for knowledge, conviction, passion, and above all love. I am so lucky to have found the love of my life and to have been so blessed with the love of a child. I feel like a better version of myself when I think of the woman I want to be to teach Aven.

Another season is upon us and with cooler temperatures and holidays approaching, I always do a lot of reflecting. Ergo this hodgepodge of a blog entry. Well there you have it. I think I have rambled on enough to confuse the average reader. Bye!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pack your Bags--Bags!

The above statement is no longer!

Sleep is glorious. I have taken for granted all the mornings I slept in as a teenager and a hung over college student. Serious lack of sleep will make you feel like you are living in an alternate universe. For lack of a better example, a dull catatonic version of your vibrant self.

In addition to not stressing about working out (which I am working out even more than before LOL), I have decided to slowly start weening Aven from breast milk. As much as I know it is SO good for her, I think it is time.

I was pumping 2 times at work, preferably 3 times. 1 time after she went to bed, but before I went to bed. A final time in the middle of the night, around 3:30 am. I had to do this to keep up with her demand; if I wanted to do 100% breast milk.

As I might have mentioned before, we found a formula that she doesn't reject (aka projectile vomit). Gerber Good Start Soy formula has done the trick. Since this discovery, my life has been MUCH less stressful. I pump 2 times at work and that is it!!! We are doing 1/2 formula and 1/2 breast milk in her bottles. I nurse her before bed and when she wakes up.

Me: Sleeping through the night for the first time in 8 months this week has been amazing!

Aven: Sleeping through the night since she was 2 months old. *jealous*

I feel like myself more than I ever have before. Don't get me wrong...I don't feel like I have sacrificed a huge amount of myself or anything. It is just a little sleep here and there. I would totally do it all over again in a heart beat. But I gotta say, uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep is freaking A-W-E-S-O-M-E!

I woke up this morning with the ability to make a plan for the day, look forward to going to work, pack a bag to work out over lunch, and plan a yummy healthy dinner for the hubby and me. WOW.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Yesterday I got some very bad news. A friend of mine died tragically. Sorry to just blurt it out like that, but there is no way to soften the event. I won't go into personal details about him, because I am not sure if his family is ready to read about all that in a blog post.

The true purpose of sharing this sad story with you is, just like most of my blog posts, I want to share insights I have discovered with "my readers" and to journal my thoughts as well.

Michael was someone I worked with for a short period of time. He had a good heart, he was kind, and from what I knew of him, had a wild streak. Like most men in their 20s this is not too surprising. I liked talking to him, even though I had nothing in common with him. I thought once he found his path he would/could do great things.

Things are still under investigation, but from what the news is saying, he and a young woman (whom I also knew) were standing on the rail road tracks and didn't move when the train came...

Maybe the two of them thought they were alone in this world. Maybe they felt they couldn't face another day in their own skin. Possibly there were substances involved. I am hoping this is just a horrible accident and neither of them wanted to be on those tracks when the train came. I have no clue what was going on in their lives. Maybe none of us will, but I do know there are a great many people who are saddened by their deaths. Devastated. Bewildered.

I don't think I have ever been this upset about someone dying. Maybe it is because I knew them and they were young. Maybe it is because I thought it was something that neither of them would do. I don't know, but it has made me really evaluate how we effect each other.

Try to visualize a lake. Lake Bloomington, Soddy Lake, or Chickamauga Lake. Any large body of water will do. Imagine the lake is the world we live in. It is comprised of millions, if not billions of drops of water. If you take 1 drop of water and let if fall back into the lake what happens? Ripples and more ripples and more and more. It never really stops moving. The one drop effects the entire body of water. It is so small, but yet so powerful.

No matter how alone someone may feel they are apart of something bigger. The people they work with, the people they love, even the people they despise. Everyone is connected to each other. We all have a responsibility to be good to each other and value the time we have with this very fragile life we get to live.

I am going to really miss Michael. I didn't get the chance to see him finish what I knew he was capable of. There are no words to really express how sad and horrific this situation is. I guess the only thing I can take away from it is how I want to treat people from this point on.

One small drop can do so much...what will you do with yours?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Triathlon + Mommyhood + Life = Balance -- WHAT???

I am freaking ridiculous! Really. I am. Here are the list of things I have decided to take on as a new mother:
  • Breastfeeding
  • Cloth diapering
  • NEW Full time job (40+ hours a week)
  • Pumping b/c of full time job
  • Making Aven's baby food
  • Training for an Iron distance triathlon in October
And this is all on top of cleaning the house, doing laundry, grocery shopping, cooking dinner, and trying to be present in my marriage. Not to mention we have 3 doggies that have been woefully ignored. What the H am I thinking?!

I came to my breaking point last week. Not so much a breaking point, but an epiphany of sorts. I have been so freaking stressed out with breastfeeding, and life in general, I can't even begin to explain. I think I have brought all of this stress upon myself though. I want to be the best mommy to Aven possible, I want to be an awesome wife to Andy, I want to do really well at work and not take breaks to pump, I want to pump 4x a day at work and get a large supply, I want to work out on my lunch hour everyday, I want to wake up early and get a swim in, I want to time trial every week up at Raccoon Mountain, I want I want I want...

Well, I can't get everything I want. At least not at the level I am trying to obtain it. I read in a forum the other day a great piece of advice from an experienced Mom to a new Mom... "you can do it ALL, but you just can't give it your ALL." When I read that it hit me. HARD.

Aven is only going to be less than 1 year old ONCE in her life. Granted she will have milestones beyond 1 year, but as she gets older they will be less dramatic and less poignant. She will adjust fine if I am not there to witness them, but I won't. I am a Mother. I am an athlete, wife, friend, sister, daughter, professional, etc. But first and foremost I am Aven's Mom. She needs me more than anyone in the entire world right now. Everyday she becomes more and more independent. As excited as I am for her to learn about the world around her, I am sad that one day very soon she will turn to me and say, "I can do it myself." So I have had to make some really hard decisions.

As much as a stickler I am about finishing something I set out to do, I have decided Ironman training is not in the cards for me right now. I thought about dialing it back to a half Iron distance, and then realized even that is a bit too much for me currently. I feel like I have reneged on a commitment I made to myself, but when I actually said out loud to someone I was not doing an Ironman, I felt SO amazing! It was like a weight lifted off of my shoulders. I started enjoying my days more and stressing less. One less thing to add to my very full plate.

I want to get back into shape, but I don't think I need an IM to motivate me anymore. I have 5 pounds left to loose and a lot of toning up to do. I think I am going to go back to my very first work out program, from 6 years ago. I am going to "work out" 5 days a week. Not sure of the exact days, but 1 day will be running (30-45 min tops), 1 day will be biking (over my lunch hour), 1 day will be swimming (over my lunch hour), and 2 days will be yoga. No target work outs, no heart rate to "hit," nothing structured, beyond getting out of the office to enjoy the last bit of summer/fall. If I miss a workout...oh well. I am not gonna stress about it anymore.

Another thing that has been less stressful is we found a formula that Aven will NOT throw up! Yeah. We have very slowly started to mix it with her breast milk and things are going really well. She has also started on table food. I have pureed some fruit and veggies. She likes carrots, sweet potatoes, peaches, pears, and cereal w/applesauce. She HATES (makes this hilarious gagging face) corn+green beans and bananas. This weekend I am going to try some new combinations to get more veggies into her.

So this is going to be my attempt at being "normal." Normal amount of working out balanced with family, life, and work...wish me luck! ;-)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

YouTube: What 2SweetMomma Knows

There are many things I have learned about myself and about the world around me since I have become a Mom.

The first thing is there is no way to prepare a parent for the amount of sleep he/she will lose in the first 6 months of your child's life. Oh everyone said I was going to be tired, and they were NOT kidding! I have always had the ability to "function" very early in the morning and continue through the day. But whoa. Lately all I want is a nap. An opportunity to "catch up." I know that will never happen, but a girl can wish, right? ;-) Now onto the real content of this blog...

The second thing is breast feeding is so totally rewarding. People keep saying stuff like, "She sure isn't starving, is she?" My response to that is "Nope. I did that all by myself." =) ME. I. MOMMA IN THE HISOUSE. BAM. She is a healthy, chubby, cute baby. I am sure she will thin out when the time is right, but for now I love love love her little arm rolls and chubby little legs. =)

There are some drawbacks to breast feeding though. It is really lonely. Me and Aven, Aven and me...and since she isn't proficient on the talking thing, it is just me and my thoughts. ;-) When I first started, I wasn't very talented with doing it 1 handed. So no reading, no working on the computer, and the great room was sorta cold (winter baby) so no watching TV. Thank God for smart phones. I was able to stream YouTube on my Droid and watch videos. At first it was innocent enough. Surfing through the general suggestions and finding stuff to watch in the 15-20 min it took for Aven to eat. But then I realized you can "subscribe" to YouTube channels. First, you need to get your own account. HERE is a tutorial for how to do that. Then, either you can upload your own videos, like I have done with a handful of Aven videos or you can just subscribe. By subscribing, you have a que of videos you like to watch and you can even get an email when they have uploaded a new video. YouTubers like to have subscribers. It is a way of rating how they are doing and they are able to obtain statistics about how their viewers like or dislike their videos.

Basically there are 5 different types of YouTube videos:
  1. Vlogs
  2. Instructional videos
  3. Viral videos
  4. News
  5. Gaming
The Vlogs are similar to what I have posted in the past. Basically, they are on-line video journal entries. There are a couple vlogs that I have become addicted to since Aven has arrived. The Shaytards is my favorite. From what I can gather, they are a family from Idaho that was your typical American family trying to make ends meet and then the dad started doing an online journal entry every day and it went crazy. They get product placement opportunities and other advertising perks and now they are full time "YouTubers." They post up almost daily vlogs and they are funny and sweet to each other. It puts me at ease and makes me smile. The other vlogs I like to watch are: KassemG (put your headphones on at work when you watch him ;-)), Ray William Johnson, and Courtney Pant's

Instructional videos are self explanatory. You can find everything from diaper folding to how to apply Avatar makeup.

Viral videos are strange, funny, disturbing videos that people watch over and over and over. Here are some of my favorites: Laughing Baby Ethan, Roller Man, and Double Rainbow. Sometimes they are real and sometimes they are fake. There are actually YouTubers out there who is their life goal to discover the "fakes."

News is pretty self explanatory, but can also be rather unique as well. There are some YouTube Channels that have created their own version of a "news show" Philip DeFranco is a good example.

And then there is Gaming. I hate video games, so I am not interested in any of these videos and have not watched them. If you are a gamer, then you probably already know of some really great YouTube channels for this stuff.

I think YouTube is AMAZING. It is free, entertaining, educational, and did I say FREE!?!? I really think in the next 5 years YouTube or some other on-line video sharing site will take over regular cable television. Let's face it. Cable TV sucks. Out of 75 channels, you maybe watch 10. You can't pick/pay for the 10 channels you want to watch so you are stuck surfing through the other 65 to get to the shows you like.

Well, off to watch some YouTube. Hope this short little tutorial has been helpful to those of you who didn't really know what the whole YouTube thing was about and for those who did, maybe I was able to share with you some funny cool channels to subscribe.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Back to the TRI

Race Report: Chattanooga Waterfront 7/10/11

I will preface this race report with I am not going to go on and on and on with excuses. There are many things that are working against me right now and I am not really sure how to fix them or correct them.

The main and most time consuming part of my life is breastfeeding. I thought that by 6 months we would be on the "easy train" when it came to this. Not so much. Actually feeding Aven is a breeze now. We have gotten down our routine and it is a really special bonding time for us. Although, when I am not with her it is pure torture! The pump isn't so much a hated object, but the time taken out of my very busy day to actually pump is stressful. I am also trying to make sure I have enough milk for the next day. Stress Stress Stress. Now that I have that out in the open I can get on with my race...

So this was my first race since baby girl was conceived and arrived. All others were "fun" events. The first time I did this race I thought I was so out of shape. We had moved from IL and I was 7 months post IM Florida. I hadn't really trained then and thought my efforts were OK at best. Fast forward 2 years and all the stuff that has happened since then and in hind sight, I was a freaking rock star! LOL. My times from 2009 were: swim-26:29, bike-1:21:04 (19.2 mph), and 56:22 (9:06 miles). This year... swim-29:15, bike-1:32:53 (16.79 mph), and 1:04:37 (10:23 miles). Dramatically slower all around.

I know! I know! I JUST had a baby...I have heard it from many people. Some of whom are happy b/c they feel they should be beating me because I am so out of shape. Yea...there are those really wonderful people that say OUT LOUD "Well, you JUST had a baby, so if you are beating me, there is something really wrong here." Nice. Real NICE. :-/

It just rattles me a little bit. I am having trouble finding the motivation and time to train when all my free time is spent pumping for Aven. Or trying to catch up on cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, paying bills, dishes, etc. I don't know how IM training is really going to fit in right now. I can barely find the time to train for an Olympic distance tri for goodness sake! Andy said he would help out, but there is only so much he can do...pumping is all consuming and like I mentioned before...torture.

Ugh. I am so angry with myself. I said no excuses, right?

Recap: The swim was hot (water temp. was 89*), the bike was the worst 26 miles of my biking life (I actually wanted to cry at one point), and the run was surprisingly good--considering I was running on the surface of the SUN!

On the way down to the race, I turned to Andy and reflected on the past 2 years. All complaining and excuses aside, we have been very blessed. We set out a goal 3 years ago to move to Chattanooga, buy a dream house in the woods, have careers to be proud of, and start a family. We have done all that and more. When I got bussed out to the start of the race I looked around at the 1300+ people and realized the last time I was at the start of this race I didn't know a single soul. This year when I looked around I had so many friends doing the race with me! I found Susanna and Gina and we chatted a bit before I went and got in line. It was such an awesome feeling knowing I am a Chattanoogian now.

Not sure if IM is still going to work out. I will be disappointed in myself if I can't get it together to put the training in, but I know that life is more important than racing. It is just a hard pill to swallow after years of wanting/trying to be competitive. I never thought of myself as a completer rather than a competitor. Aven is teaching me a lot...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Baby Backpacks ROCK!

I will give a little back story to this entry...

Elaine, my mother-in-law is a blue ribbon, wicked awesome garage sale warrior. She has found SO many great deals on really good baby stuff. When Andy and I mentioned to her we wanted to get a baby back pack...she found one last summer. I think she paid maybe $5-$10. We were so happy. It has been sitting around our house waiting for the day Aven was big enough to hold her head up and be carried around in it. The day came about a month ago and I couldn't resist taking a pic of her in the mirror!

She was so excited to be upright and seeing the world from a new vantage point. I had set her in it with out tightening down the leg straps, because I didn't know how she would like it initially and how fast I would need to get her out if she hated it. So after I discovered she was good to go, I pulled on the webbing for the leg harness...and it completely disintegrated! I was SO SO sad =(

I knew it was not safe to actually go hiking with her, so I chalked it up to c'est la was a great garage sale find, but didn't last the duration. =( Then my friend Courtney came to visit! Brilliant brilliant Courtney gave me some great advice. Why not reach out to Kelty backpack's warranty department and see if they would repair it. I thought even if it costs me $35-$40 to repair it, it is cheaper than getting a new one, right? The comparable style is $150.

I went on their web-site and emailed the warranty department and got a response in a couple days. Bad news, they don't repair baby back packs. They said because of the structure of the pack, it is not cost effective to ship. So instead they would straight up warranty it for us!!! A FREE back pack???? What??? Yes sir! I had to cut off the small white tags on the inside of the pack, fill out the RA (return authorization) form, and cut off the adult shoulder straps. In essence destroying the pack. I was nervous doing it, but I couldn't really use it the way it was anyway; so what did I have to lose?

I cut off both straps, tag, and sent the RA request form and in about 2 weeks...our brand new current model FC1.0 pack arrived today -- free shipping!!!!
I am planning on purchasing the sun hood for $35 + shipping; so she won't have to wear a hat if it is sunny. Yeah!

So, when you purchase a Kelty Kids back tempting as it may be to cut off the little white tags -- DON'T. Also, know you have purchased a great pack from a company that really takes care of their customers and cares about kids =)

I seriously can't wait to go on adventures with Aven, even more than before!
Photos of said adventures to be posted shortly ;-)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weekend fun @ the Sweets...

Weekends are always bitter sweet. I can't wait to spend time with Aven and Andy, but yet I have a week worth of laundry, cleaning, and bill paying to catch up on. Usually, I can hammer most of this stuff out when Aven is napping or after she goes down for the night at 8:30pm. But yesterday and today have been problematic being that she doesn't want to take a nap!

She falls asleep while I am nursing her, which I try to keep her up so when I do put her down she will settle herself down, but that has not been working. She passes out. I also think she falls asleep before she is full, so when she wakes up she is super hungry...and the cycle starts over.

Plus when she falls asleep while nursing she only stays asleep for about 10 min before she startles herself and is like, "Wait a darn minute! When I fell asleep I was being held by mommy and now I am alone laying in this crib! I don't like this! MOM where are you????" How this actually translates to is blood curdling crying/screaming. Nice.

Heidi was able to get her to fall asleep for naps just fine. Large bottles (5-7 oz.), full belly, quite house = 2 hour naps. Me??? No way hosier. I get 10 min tops.

Well, I rediscovered my favorite baby equipment... THE SWING. Sometimes I forget I have cool stuff at my disposal. I will admit, she was tired but after I nursed her I laid her down in the swing. Set it to a level of "3" on a scale of 1-6, and she is still sleeping 20 min later. =) Ahhhhhh. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

God Bless plastic moving baby toys!

Some other news today! I got on the scale...and I am happy to announce I am only 4 lbs. from my pre-pregnancy weight!!!!! To be honest, I haven't REALLY been working out as much as I "should" nor have I been eating very well either. It has taken me a little longer to get to the 120 lb. mark, but considering my habits, I am happy. Plus, the number on the scale is a totally different thing that weight distribution ;-) I think I had a lot more muscle before I got pregnant. My shorts are still a little tight, but hopefully nothing a little bit of working out and eating proper can't take care of.

Ok. I might only have another 5 min before she wakes up so I gotta run. But miss y'all and hope you are having a wonderful weekend too!

xoxox Heather

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Blog this!


I have been a bad bad blogger. I also have been a bad bad Vlogger as well. I have been taking photos and videos, but I have not uploaded them. I have a new lap top from my new job, but it is not as easy on a PC as it was on a Mac. Yes, I will admit it. I LOVED LOVED my Mac
. There were somethings that were backwards. Like how to minimize a screen. It is in the left corner, not the right with a Mac. On the Mac Book Pro lap top you spread your fingers and tap at the same time to "right" click. There are many other things that were different, but nothing a semi technological person couldn't figure out. Sorry, if I just offended anyone, but Macs are easier AND cooler than PCs. There I said it, now we can move on :-)

Aven is growing growing growing. She has had so much development in the past 2 months. It is hard to admit, but it has been 2 months since I posted a blog. *gasp* She goes for her 6 month check up on July 5th, so I will post her stats then. But she is sitting up assisted. Rolling over (both ways). Talking Chinese. Babbling, cooing, lots and lots of "motor boat" spitting. Andy took a video where she did it for almost 3 min straight, then after the camera went off she continued for over 1 hour!!!!

We have graduated to the next size in the prefold diapers. (Thanks again Tim and Anna). At first I was thinking she was too little for them, but with some creative diaper origami -- we got it. Most of the covers she has are lime green so I have been trying to put her into dresses and shirts that match them; but I think I am actually going to go out and buy some cute covers. I haven't purchased 1 diaper nor any accoutrements for our diapering system. I know what you are thinking..."Heather that is crazy! You haven't bought anything in the line of diapers?" Nope. We have been spared the expense because of the kindness of our family. =) But I think it is time. Aven deserves some new covers and darn it, who am I to get in the way of a girl and her shopping desires?

The weather down here is HOT. That is all I am going to say about that. It is summer and we live in the South. Duh. I hate the winter, so I am not going to complain. But because of how hot it is we were able to put up a baby pool and introduce Aven to water beyond her tub. She wasn't too sure of it at first, but then quickly warmed up. The water was sorta high and she kept trying to lean forward to play with her toys and she kept dunking herself. LOL She has her Daddy's skin tone so it was sunscreen and a hat for sure. Then Andy put up our deck furniture umbrella and we were all good. Yes we were in the front yard and yes we are total rednecks.

We have had some visitors as well. First, Courtney came down from CO. We had a great week with her. Very relaxing and did a lot of catching up. The last time she was here I discovered I was pregnant. Amazing how many things can happen in 1 year. Then Heidi came for a visit. I think she was the most spoiled of all of our visitors. Heidi kept Aven for the entire week instead of us putting her in day care. It was SO nice to come home and know 1) Aven was with family 2) she was taken care of as close to how I would take care of her if I were home and 3) I didn't have to pack up ALL of her baby things EVERY STINKING DAY. Seriously, it takes at least 45-1 hour out of my day just packing/unpacking her stuff and organizing things for the next day. I got to sleep in 30 min everyday. So so nice. I wish we could afford a nanny full time, but c'est la vie...

Our next round of visitors are Elaine and Al. They are going to be here over the July 4th weekend and the following week. We still need to see Grandpa Larry and Grandma and Grandpa Johnson this summer. My parents are moving to Kentucky Lakes (2 hours NW of Nashville) so they will only be 4.5 hours away. I see more weekend visits with them soon. And Larry usually makes his annual summer pilgrimage, so I am hoping that does not change this year.

Aven has a NEW cousin! Lorien Dawn Sweet was born on June 3rd. She was almost an 8lb baby! So precious and sweet looking. I can't wait to hold her. I am hoping maybe we can get up to IL soon, so I can. Although with my schedule, I am not so sure I will be able to see her before Christmas. :(

Work has been awesome. I LOVE my job. I am so blessed to be working for a company that I respect and respects me. I get to combine my 2 favorite things: telling people what to do (marketing ;-)) and talking about bikes/triathlon/Ironman. I am heading to Ironman Lake Placid to work the expo for Quintana Roo and then I am heading to Las Vegas for Interbike. So... my only option is going to IL in August. :-P August in Illinois-not so sure about that one. LOL We will see.

I am also wanting to do an Iron distance triathlon this fall. The Great Floridian is what I have my eye on right now. So fitting in training and mommy hood has been a challenge, but now that Andy has started me up on Training Peaks, things have been much easier to schedule. I highly recommend getting an account. You can log training rides/runs/swims. You can also keep a food log and they have menu planning too! If you have a coach you almost NEED to get an account. Riding has been a blast! I really love my new bike. Not just because I work for QR, but the CD0.1 is probably the coolest most responsive bike I have ever ridden. Wicked BA fo sho! I got a new pair of running shoes too. I think after training and running the St. Jude Marathon AND being pregnant in the end they were similar to flip flops, to say the least. New shoes, new bike, now I need to get a new swim suit and I am good to go. I think I am going to head up to Fast Break and pick one up.


Heidi did her FIRST 5k when she was visiting!!! I was so lucky to be able to run with her. We did the Riverbend 5/10K and were able to run with Aven in the jogging stroller. We finished with 10:11 pace and we both were in the top 30% of our age groups! Starting in the back b/c of the pack because of the stroller, was less than ideal, but we weaved our way into a good spot and finished with smiles on our faces. I teared up knowing that when I was watching her cross the finish line (yes she beat me :-)) this was going to be her FIRST of many finishes and how freaking lucky I was to be able to be a part of that.



Tuesday, May 3, 2011

4 months old!

I knew this day would come, but 4 months ago I thought it would take a long long time to get here. Our baby girl is 4 months old this week! I know to some that still seems pretty young, but to me it is a HUGE milestone. She can do so many things now. She can hold her head up, push herself up (baby push up) when she is on her tummy, recognize me and Andy, smile, bring her hands to her mouth, entertain herself, make cooing noises, laugh, drink 6oz of milk at a time, she is starting to notice her feet, and she has been sleeping through the night for about the past 2 months!

She and I have totally gotten the hang of breast feeding. Now my only worry is about my supply and getting the time at work to pump. I have a lap top now, so that is making it so much easier to work and pump at the same time. I really want to get one of these PumpEase Hands Free Bra I think it looks totally bizarre, but all the reviews say it totally works! It is funny when I complain about pumping to people that have never pumped before. They are so shocked I have to hold the pumping horns in place. No, they do not just "stay" there. I wish they did, but they don't. On second thought, I am happy they don't just stay there because if they did, then that would be A LOT of suction on the girls. yikes.

Everyday she is doing something new. Last night Andy was doing "motor boat" (I have no other way of describing it) and she was totally imitating him! It was so freaking cute.

Today was her 4 month check up. I learned my lesson from last time. A) Don't listen to other people when they say their baby was fine and slept the whole day. B) Be prepared to have a very unhappy baby. I took the afternoon off work and did not plan a darn thing except to hold and baby my baby.

We got to the doctor's office on time (a small miracle in my world if it is a new route). I laid Aven on the table while we were waiting for Dr. Josh. He came in and started asking if she was doing all the things a 4 month old should be doing. I said yes to it all and he started his examination. She was laying at the top of the table so he pulled her down to the end and started talking to her in a sweet voice. She did not like that 1 bit. I think she was a little startled with the sound of the paper or how it felt on her back. She started crying as if she had gotten her shots! Once he picked her upright and was checking out her balance she stopped, just like that. Strange.

Her shots were next and as expected she was very unhappy and cried the most angry cry I have ever heard her have. She did not settle down right away either. Once we got on the highway back home then she finally calmed down. Just like last time, her first nap went well but the second time she woke up things were all kinds of unhappy in Aven's world. I was prepared for it this time. I gave her the correct amount of infant Tylenol, nursed her and did not freak out. The not freaking out part was helpful. Andy walked in the door during her crying jag so he took her and was able to calm her down enough to change her and hand her back to me for another feeding. I think the Tylenol started to kick in and she was able to drift off to sleep. We will see how tonight goes. I am expecting to be woken up by a crying baby about every 4 hours...

All in all, it was a good appointment. She is 14.3 lbs, 25.5 inches long, and has a head circumference of 41 cm. She is in the 70% for weight, 90% for height, and 50% for head size. I find that totally crazy that she is scoring that high for height when Andy and I are well... not the tallest people in the world. LOL

I will say, as the days progress, I find being a Mom more manageable and rewarding. I also am realizing how freaking fast it goes. It really seems like yesterday she was so tiny and new.

With Mother's Day approaching I am reflecting on how other mothers care for their babies. All of my energy goes into Aven. Feeding her, pumping milk for her, bathing her, changing her, washing her diapers, washing her clothes, and all the other things I plan for and do for her take up most of my day. I am not complaining. I am just realizing how much of me goes into her. The effort on my part to give her the best care is overwhelming sometimes. Then I think about how my mom did all that for me. It hits me how probably every mother has done that for their babies. I know I didn't really think about how much my mom sacrificed of herself in my early years until I have done it for my daughter. Thanks Mom. I know that is not nearly enough, especially considering what a total jerk I was at 14. If I could go back and slap the crap out of myself, I would. Seriously.

Happy Mother's Day to all Mommies! Here is to you for the doctor's appointments, dirty diapers, midnight feedings, sleepless nights, extra pounds, and insurmountable other things we do for our babies. I am really looking forward to my first of many Mother's Days. =)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Aven Videos & photos

These first 2 are from a scrap book a bunch of us gals did for our lactation consultant who left after they closed Parkridge's Lactation Center...I wish I could take credit for the layout and the design.

The first video was taken on my birthday morning and the second was taken today when she was sleeping...I thought her little shakes were cute and interesting...wanted to get them on video.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Happy Day

So crazy how things change in a year. Last year starting in January Andy and I decided we were ready to throw the contraception out the window and add someone to our little family on the mountain. It took a couple months of "trying," but we persevered.

I had a rough March last year thinking we would never get pregnant (after trying only 2 months before). FYI there is a very very narrow window of opportunity to get pregnant. We kept missing the window and I was getting worried. I got more worried and upset as my birthday was approaching. I was due to get my period ON my birthday. Well...I got it. I turned 35 (a new age group-boo) and I was not pregnant. I was in Illinois visiting family and I was away from Andy. It was pretty much the suckiest birthday ever. Don't get me wrong, it had it high points. Elaine and Al took me to dinner at Jim's Steak House, Andy sent me some beautiful Easter lilies, and I ran a 5k with Elaine and Al. It was good, but at the same time it was a bummer too.

No fear, 2 weeks later I got pregnant and beautiful Aven started growing. =)

Yesterday on my birthday I couldn't have been happier! The sun was shining (75* YEAH!), Aven is beautiful and healthy, I have a great new job with American Bicycle Group, Andy made me a wonderful birthday breakfast (french toast, bacon, cinnamon rolls, and OJ), and I went out on a bike ride (by my big girl self) on my NEW Quintana Roo CD0.1.

I have so much to be happy about. All the little road blocks this past year, pale in comparison to the future Andy, Aven, and I have to look forward to. I hope everyone else we know and love is able to look beyond the valleys.

Here are some random photos from the past couple weeks...

My birthday breakfast

Aven's new friend the elephant

The boys "preparing" to work on the roof...

Jonah and Aven-she really does like him, she was just tired

Uncle Chris is funny ;-)

Mmmmm hands.

More hands...

Yeah Daddy!

Daddy and his mini me

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Getting better and better

I think I am going to need to seriously pinch myself...

This week has been AWESOME! The weekend in Illinois was crazy busy, but so great at the same time. We saw Chris, Cara, and Jonah on Friday with guest appearances from Larry, Deb, Sondra, Jim (Sweet family), Phil, Mick, Nancy, and Shawn (Bloomington friends). The boys headed to the 1 bar in Lexington, while Cara and I held down the fort. It was nice to spend a quiet night after traveling, but I also felt like I was missing out on the "fun." Oh maybe next time I and Aven will get invited to Dat Bar, yes folks the name of the bar is DAT BAR. hahaha

We headed to Elaine's house Saturday morning and got ready for Jacqueline's wedding Saturday night. The mass was beautiful (of the little I was able to see). Aven needed to eat and she was super fussy from traveling so much, so she and I headed to the vestibule and listened. The reception was wonderful as well. Tons of family, wonderful toasts, good music, and yummy food.

Sunday Aven got baptized. Elaine and I put Aven in my baptism gown and took some photos. Then we got her dressed in her baptism gown I made from my wedding dress shawl and Elaine's baptism dress. I started making the under dress (from my wedding dress shawl) about 2 weeks before, and darn it, the little bugger grew so much in those 2 weeks it was too tight for her! UGH. Well, a little snip snip here and there and we were off and running. The ceremony was perfect. Small, informal, and meaningful. Jacqueline and Wes are Aven's Godparents. Rob Heiple was the deacon (he performed our wedding mass). Receiving sacraments are so powerful and meaningful to me. So of course, I cried when she was given her very first of hopefully many sacraments. After the ceremony we went to Elaine's for a reception. It was so nice. The food was amazing. (Thanks Elaine) The cake was to die for! (Thanks Aunt Mary Ellen) So many people brought wonderful gifts and cards for Aven. We are so blessed. Thanks everyone!!!

After about the worst night's sleep in a long time, we jumped back on the road to TN. A whirlwind weekend to say the least. The next day was my first day at my new job!!! I am working at American Bicycle Group in Ooltewah, TN. They manufacture titanium and carbon road bikes (Litespeed) and carbon and aluminum tri bikes (Quintana Roo). I am so freaking excited to be working for a company that is passionate about their product, locally owned, American made, and everyone there is SO nice. I really like my boss too! What a bonus, right? ;-) Right now, I am doing a bunch of different things (accounting, clerical, warranty, & marketing). I think my position will transform the longer I am there. I think this is a great company and I see myself being there for a long time. So that is good...finally. *sigh*

The other totally amazing things that happened this week are with Aven. I know, I am turning into one of "those" Mommies...nevertheless I am subjecting you all to my proud Mommy ramblings. Aven is sleeping through the night!!!! Dr. Josh said to nurse her, give her a bath, and then put her down to go to sleep. So on Wednesday night we started. We figured after we put her down we would be starting the 2 hours of crying and tormenting. Nope. She went down and slept though until 3 am the next morning. I was amazed. Thinking it was her being over tired from the weekend we did the same thing the next night expecting...ok THIS is it. She is going to cry forever tonight. Nope. This time she went down at 7:30 pm and I HAD to wake her up at 5 am or else my boobs were going to explode. Last night, we kept her up a little late b/c we had dinner at Terra Nostra Tapas and Wine Bar. We got home at 10 pm, I nursed her and put her to bed. I was too tired to give her a I know I 'effed up the whole routine, but I don't care. She slept till 7:30 am!!! YEAH! Now the only thing I have to deal with is getting up in the middle of the night to pump off my milk, or else I am going to have to wear 2 bras to bed! hahaha.

Aven also rolled over for Andy this week! She is becoming so alert. She is wanting to lay in her crib or play pen and look at everything around her. I think I am going to try to get one of those play mats. HERE is an example of one. Sleeping through the night, playing with toys, noticing the world around her...ahhhhh I am so happy. I am sure one day the happy bliss will end and she will go through a growth spurt or start to teethe, but until then I am going to bask in the glory of a happy healthy baby. =)

Another wicked awesome thing that is going to happen soon (hopefully this up coming week)...I am getting a new QR (Quintana Roo) bike! I am going to get the CD0.1 in black/grey "distressed" graphics. Check it out! I am so freaking excited to get back on the bike. I think I may take it for a spin next weekend with another biking Mommy. Yeah!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

8 Week Ride

What a crazy 8 weeks this has been. Aven turned 8 weeks on February 25, 2011.

I have been a Mom for 2 whole months!!! Wow. It is really and truly unreal what an experience this has been. Earlier, I mentioned how the first 3 weeks are really hard. Then you turn a corner at 4 weeks and by 5 weeks you feel like your world may somewhat resemble itself sooner rather than later. The last 3 weeks with Aven have been awesome. She is getting bigger by the day and becoming more alert every day. When people told me newborns were hard, they were not exaggerating. They also said it gets better everyday. Again, no exaggeration. But no one prepared me for the moment your baby looks at you and smiles. OMG! That was the best day of my life. Seriously. It was February 17th, 2011 in the morning. I finished changing her diaper and picked her up and started talking to her in a sweet voice, like I do every morning...then she looked at me and gave me this super slow motion smile. I was so surprised and happy. Of course I started crying. I kept trying to blink back the tears because I couldn't see her smiling through them. =) Oh wow. That was the best thing. *gush*

This past week Aven got more visitors! Her Aunties (Heidi and Amanda) came down for 5 days. Heidi, Amanda, and my Mom put together an AWESOME baby book for Aven. Similar to what Heidi made for me for Andy and I's wedding. Heidi is such a great scrap-booker. I am totally jealous. I put together 1 page and realized I should leave the creativity up to her ;-)

We are headed up to Illinois for Andy's cousin Jacqueline's wedding and for Aven's baptism. I am looking forward to seeing family and showing off Aven. I am not looking forward to the snow and cold weather :-P I think maybe I am most excited to see Jonah (Chris and Cara's 3 year old boy). Jonah is going to have a little sister in about 3 months and I am very interested to see him with his baby cousin. Having grandchildren running around (granted we have a year or so till Aven is "running") really completes a family. Bookends, if you will...

Some more crazy news on my part. I got a new job this week as well! I am so excited. I am going to be working in the bicycle industry with a GREAT local company. More details later, but it is exciting for sure. HUB Endurance : The Multi-sport Pro Shop, is doing great really well. GAIA Fitness is still the coaching side--GAIA is under the HUB umbrella, if you will...go check them out!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

5 weeks: The Ups & Downs

Hi all. It has been a while since my last post, but there has been so much going on it was hard for me to get some time to blog. Go figure, right ;-)

First, I only had 2 weeks of full maternity leave, then on week 3 I started back to work from home part time. For the following 2 weeks after that I have been working from home full time. Today is my last day of being at home with Aven. I am so sad. Tuesday starts me working from home in the mornings and then heading into the office in the afternoons. Needless to say, I have been in constant worry about how to balance work and Aven for the last 5 weeks. It has been really difficult to enjoy time with Aven while having this schedule. FYI, I would not suggest attempting this type of maternity leave unless you absolutely have to.

Second, we have had some house guests over the past weeks. Which was GREAT! My mom was here for a week and then with a 1 day break Andy's dad came for a week as well. It was so nice having the company while Andy was at work and the extra help with Aven. I don't know how I would have juggled everything without their help. But I will admit, it's nice being just the 3 of us again.

The main purpose of this blog entry is I want to talk about how I felt after we got home from the hospital. You could say I had the "normal" level of baby blues. I am not really sure what that level is, regardless, I know I experienced some amount of hormonal imbalance. I wish someone would have told me the truth about how I was going to feel or might feel after we brought Aven home. Sure the advice about how difficult and initially painful breastfeeding helped. Also, the honesty about how little sleep we were going to experience was good as well. But I want to enlighten my readers with my emotional state and how shocking it was for me to go through.

I'll admit it, I am a sensitive person. I cry at Hallmark commercials. My heart melts when I see a cute puppy. I feel though I am able to be rational when the tough gets going. I try to work through it rather than let it work me over. Emotionally, the first week of Aven's life was ok. I was nursing her, my milk came in, Andy was here to help me. All good and positive things. We were UBER tired, but nothing out of the ordinary. We expected sleepless nights and were able to adapt. I will say if I had to do it over again we would have slept when she did. We felt compelled to get things "done." What in the world couldn't wait? I have no clue. I can't remember now, but at the time it was important to get it done. Word of advice...when they say sleep when they sleep, they mean it. The lack of sleep contributed to my emotional state-big time.

The second week was a little harder. I was so unsure she was getting enough milk b/c she was fussy at the breast and wouldn't stay latched on. She would burp, I would put her back on, and she would get fussy again. It seemed like she didn't like how my milk tasted. To this day, I have no clue what was going on, but it drove me to tears every time. =( My confidence was in the crapper and I felt like total a#$. Andy was back at work part time and I had A LOT of quiet time to think and think and think. When your hormones are skyrocketing off the charts and you are new to breastfeeding and are is a recipe for trouble. Plus, I was in the house for 13 days straight! Cabin fever to the tenth degree. Thank goodness I was able to keep the random thoughts at bay. For instance, I was thinking about trying to juggle life, training, work, baby, husband, etc. in 1 single moment. Slightly overwhelming even if your hormones are NOT off the charts.

Week 3 it got a worse. Aven went through a growth spurt and wanted to nurse ALL THE TIME!!! I thought again, "What am I doing wrong that she is not satisfied and going to sleep after nursing?" She wanted to be held 100% of the time and if we put her down even for a minute...ear-piercing crying. Like the lactation consultant suggested, I kept with it and with help from my mom we were able to get through that week.

Then week 4 was like a light switch had turned on. She was nursing less (so I was pumping more to keep my milk supply up) and she was settling down faster after eating. Andy's dad was there to hold her...and thank goodness because that is ALL she wanted. Walked and held. I think the other thing that made me feel better was the hormones were subsiding and we had her 1 month check up with her pediatrician. She weighed in at 8 lbs 11 oz!!! Aven gained 2 lbs and 10 ounces in 1 month!!! Whooo Hooo!

Week 5 has been even better. Grandpa Sweet bought Aven her Winnie the Poo swing and life is good. We also got advice from the pediatrician and moved her to her crib and started letting her cry herself to sleep. The crying is getting less and less and she is entertaining her self more and more.

Being a Mom is much more time consuming than I thought. I love every minute of it though. It is so wonderful feeding her, bathing her, taking care of her, kissing her, holding her. I want to pause time and enjoy every minute of these first few months. I know she is never going to be this little or need me this much. I feel everyday she becomes stronger and more independent. As independent as a 5 week old can get. haha.

Friday night was the real kicker. She slept in her crib in her room for the first time. She did great! There was a little crying at 9:30 pm and 1:30 am, but very little. She settled herself down pretty quick though. Andy and I both remarked how we felt much more rested in the morning. I felt a little guilty that I was rested and she slept so far away from us. Yes, I know her room is only 10 feet away from ours, but it seems really far away. ;-)

Going back to my emotional state. I guess the best thing I can compare it to was hitting puberty. We all sorta remember it, mostly that we were the worst examples of ourselves to our family in our lives. I have blocked out the specifics of that period of my life, but I do remember be absolutely consumed with emotion. Everything was SO important. It was as if I was hopped up on emotional steroids. The Arnold Schwarzenegger of emotional outbursts at 14, if you will. Postpartum is sorta like that. I was all over the place and didn't feel in control of my emotions or surroundings. I was so worried I was burdening Andy with my nuttiness that he was going to leave me. I was worried I would NEVER be able to function in the real world. I was worried Aven was starving. I was worried she was sleeping too much AND too little. I was worried I was not giving her enough attention. Whoa. Lots and lots of worrying.

All that worrying led to me feeling like I was doing a job and doing a VERY poor job at it. In those first 3 weeks I had a hard time really enjoying Aven. I wouldn't say I was detached, but I was working a lot more than mothering...I think.

I am not embarrassed with what I was thinking or ashamed. the time I was, but now I realize it is normal and unavoidable. I do wish someone would have shared with me their true feelings about their first couple weeks of motherhood. --So that is why I am sharing this with you.

If you know someone who is about to deliver or just has delivered, give them a hug and tell them "It is going to be OK, really it is." And when they start crying, let them cry, don't try to fix it. At least that is what helped me out.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Breastfeeding and Aven video

Click HERE to see a video of Aven...

Click HERE to see my latest vlog.

Sorry, the videos are not embedded into the context of the vlog. Short on time these days so I did it the "easy" way. ;-)

There were some things I missed in the vlog, so I included some pics below...

Above and Below: 39 weeks (day before delivery) -- yes I was able to muster a smile between contractions hahaha

Above: Aven and Momma trying out the Moby wrap from Aunt Courtney =)

Above: Left-reusable cloth nursing pad -- Right-disposable nursing pad

Above: THE Boppy! A must have for breastfeeding ;-)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Aven's Big Debut!

I have said for weeks now that Aven would pick her birthday...well folks we have a girl with fabulous taste! New Year's Eve will always be her day. I am so happy. I have never been one to make sure I have NYE plans, but our baby girl changed all that now. ;-)

All day Tuesday and Wednesday I felt horrible. Pukey, tired, crampy, ICKY. I started with contractions Wednesday night. It started off feeling like PMS or menstrual cramps. Things progressively got more intense and by Thursday morning, I was not feeling well at all. I had a doc appointment with Meg and thought for sure I had "progressed" to the point of being admitted. The pre-labor cramps were THAT intense, or so I thought. Come to find out in my appointment, I was not dilated to the point of admitting. So we went home. By 1 am on Thursday the contractions were 5 min apart and super duper intense. I called Meg and she said she was already at Erlanger Hospital downtown delivering 2 babies. If I wanted to come in and get admitted I would have to deliver Aven at Erlanger (hospital) instead of Parkridge East (birthing center). I thought the contractions were so intense that delivery was going to happen at any time so we packed it all up and headed down the mountain to the hospital.
I was pretty disappointed we would not be going to Parkridge, but just like Ironman...when things change you better adapt rather than dwell on the things you can't change. So we were ready to deal with what was given us. We got to triage at Erlanger and filled out paperwork and met with Meg. I was hooked up to the stress test (baby's HR and monitoring contractions) and Meg checked me. I was only dilated to 3 cm!!!! I thought I was gonna lose it. The contractions were SO strong I thought for sure I was closer to 6 or maybe even 7 cm. Ugh. Home we went. I didn't want to "hang out" in a hospital when I could do the same thing at home. Plus, at the hospital I would have nurses telling me what I could and could not do. I don’t really like it when people tell me what to do – shocker, I know ;-)

At this point I had been in pre-labor since Wednesday night and strong labor since Thursday afternoon...not too much sleep in the last 48 hours. Meg gave me some painkillers at 5 am on Friday morning. I was able to sleep through 2 hours of contractions -- Whoo Hoo! At 7 am I woke up to a very strong contraction and then WHAM! My water broke. That was a strange and relieving feeling. At first, since I was so groggy I dreamt I peed the bed. Then 3 seconds into it, I realized it was my water and jumped up to the bathroom. Before I went to bed, I thought with the painkillers I might pee the bed (last time I took painkillers was when I was 19 for my wisdom teeth) or maybe my water might break so I put a towel down and wore a pad to bed. Thank goodness, because whoa it gushed. I was so happy. That meant I was really IN labor and we were gonna have this baby TODAY.

I called Meg and she said she was still at the hospital; if I wanted to come in now then I would go to Erlanger (hospital) and if I wanted to wait an hour or so I could go to Parkridge East (birthing center) and the on call mid-wife would deliver me. I thought, no problem. I have labored this long, I can wait another hour. Plus, the pain meds were still rockin' for at least another hour and I was able to rest for a little bit. We left the house at about 9:30 am and I was admitted at 10 am on Friday. I pre-registered all my paper work, so I all we had to do was say my name, age, ss#, birth date, and midwife. D-O-N-E. I walked down to the nurses station on my own (I was leaking amniotic fluid and didn't want to get the wheel chair all messy) and walked into our labor birth room (#10).

I had my pretty pusher (thanks SO much Carrie!), my birth plan, my coach (thanks babe), and we were ready to go. The bed was pretty crazy. It had this bar that arched over the top (right to left) and the bottom half of the bed lowered about 6 inches with a press of a button. Donna VanDevander, the midwife who delivered me, checked me and said I was 8.5 or maybe 9 cm!!!!! I had progressed from 3 cm to 8.5 cm in 4 hours. Andy and I were so shocked I would be able to start pushing soon. I was a little worried also. All I had heard about pushing, is it is like taking a big big crap. You basically feel like you are "pooping" your baby out. I told Donna I didn't think I knew how to “push” correctly and was worried I wouldn't do it right. She said not to worry and that I will know and when I feel like I gotta 'go' then GO. She was right. That is exactly how it happened.

In case y'all didn't totally hurts while you are pushing, so you have to mentally get on top of the pain and push through it. I had never really done something like that. In triathlon, I am pretty notorious for pushing to the pain cave, but never really committing to go INTO the cave and staying there. Sure, I will dip a toe in for S and Gs once in a while, but never really IN there. Andy was AWESOME. He kept me updated on what was going on down there...I couldn't look (worried I would lose my concentration). Andy, Donna, and the 2 nurses gave me such awesome words of encouragement. I couldn't really tell you what they all said today, but it helped me during the process. I think I had 45 minutes of pushing (my contractions slowed WAY down). Donna said that was how it goes. Your body gives you a break between pushes. I remember 4 really big pushes at the end and she was here!

They wiped her off and put her on my chest. So strange to have this person who, at the onset, seems so fragile lying on your chest learning how to breathe for the first time. Wow. They all were making guesses on how much she weighed. One person said 7 lbs. one said 7.5 and then they asked me. I said 6.3. She was 6.1!! FINALLY my mother’s intuition kicked in. Haha.
They took Aven to a bassinet in the labor room (under a heat light) and finished her up. It was great to have her with us at all times.
Warning: this may be a little TMI or gross…
Then they finished with me. The midwife delivered my placenta. I asked if it was intact and she asked me if I wanted to see it. I surprised myself and said yes. It was SO strange looking. First, it was grey. I thought it would be red/pink. It was also HUGE. I would guess it was about 8 inches in length, semi round, about 2 inches thick, and it had veins all over it. Donna numbed me and stitched up the 2 small tears I had. I had 1 inside and 1 small “crack” on the right side. I got some ice. Held Aven-Ahhhhh. I was DYING of thirst and asked for a giant Coke. That Coke NEVER tasted so fricking good. Holy crap. =) I also had packed some Endurox (fruit punch flavor). That tasted amazing too. After about 48 oz. of liquid I had to pee. They had to measure my pee. They did it with this strange sitz bath looking thing. I received the infamous “awesome” mesh panties and 2 ginormous pads.
After that we stayed in the labor room for about another hour or maybe 2 hours. Not sure, after arrival at the birthing center, I totally lost track of time. Once all the footprints, weighing, paperwork, etc. were finished we caravan to the recovery room. I pushed Aven’s bassinet, the nurse pushed me in a wheel chair, and Andy pushed our cart of bags and pillows. The nurse was too cute. She kept telling all the other nurses how talented I was at multi-tasking. Haha.
The recovery room was really nice too. It was private and comfortable. The bed wasn’t as comfortable as it appeared, but really what “hospital” bed is, right? We stayed or 30 hours and were cleared to go home. YEAH! I was uber super stoked to sleep in my own bed and NOT be in pain. I wanted to get our little family home and stop being bothered by someone checking my vitals every 4 hours.
All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I am SO freaking glad we did not deliver in the hospital. The nurses and midwife at Parkridge East Birthing Center are simply amazing. They are so sweet, sensitive, kind, and supportive. They looked at my birth plan and didn’t question anything on it. My midwife was AMAZING! Even though Meg didn’t deliver me, I felt Donna was perfect and am so happy with the entire experience. I think it was about 15 minutes after Aven was born I said to Andy I think I could totally do that again. Of course, not anytime too soon, but I am not fearing childbirth in the future. I think I said the same thing after my first marathon and Ironman…

Thanks for everyone's support over the past 39 weeks. I feel truly loved.
I hope to be a good Mommy to Aven and love her more every day.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Baby Girl is HERE!!!

Hello all! Well if you haven't heard, Baby Girl Sweet is HERE!
We named her Aven Eve Sweet.

Her first name is a mountain flower. The Aven can be found in Nova Scotia and upstate Vermont. We like the name because it is unique without being strange and it is really pretty. I found the name on-line when I searched for "southern baby names." Not sure if it really is a "southern name," because I went back to look for it again under the SAME search, I couldn't find it. Hmmm. Strange but cool, maybe I was the only one meant to see & find her name that day. After we realized Aven was a flower we liked it even more. Coincidentally, Heather is also a flower; found in the foothills of Scotland. It seemed like a perfect fit. I really liked the fact it started with an "A" as well. We thought if we picked a middle name with an "E" then Aven and her Daddy would have the same initials...the whole family would have a connection ;-) Initially, we couldn't find a middle name we both liked and that flowed with her first name, until she picked her birthday. Yup. Her birthday (New Year's Eve) is the reason we gave her the middle name of Eve. =) Andy came up with it and I fell in love with it immediately.

Aven was born on 12/31/2010 at 1:46 pm in the afternoon. Her measurements are: 6lbs. 1 oz., 19.5 inches long, head: 13 inches (wowza), & chest: 11.5 inches. She scored an 8 and a 9 (out of 10) on her Apgar tests. She has perfect hearing, according to her hearing test Saturday morning. She has all 10 toes, all 10 fingers, and is looking to be the perfect little bundle of joy. =) Yeah!

So far breast feeding is going well. We are still learning, both she and I, but I am confident the bigger she gets the better her latch will feel. She is pooping and peeing as much as she should. We did 2 days with the disposable diapers from the hospital. They are good, but are rubbing her in areas and her skin is a little red. Today, we are trying the cloth diapers. They look really really big, but still fit her. I think they keep her warmer too. Nice.

As everyone mentioned--we are tired. Multiple days of no sleep prior and then the rush and excitement of actually having her HERE...exhausted. Trying to get naps in when she is napping.

We were able to go home after 30 hours! (Yeah natural childbirth!) I was so excited to sleep in our own bed (without pain) and get home with our baby girl. Andy was an awesome driver and we made it home safe and sound.

Everyone has been so wonderful. Andy's Mom (Elaine) and her husband Al were able to take a "vacation" between the holidays. Good timing too, because they were here for Aven's birth. It was awesome having them here. They cooked some crazy awesome food for us and froze it on Wednesday. Elaine reorganized the nursery on Thursday night and they helped us with a ton of things at the birthing center. "Aven" got me some beautiful pink/peach roses and a card today too! ;-)

LOVE the Facebook congrats and to offers to make us food. (I am ravenous!!!) Speaking of food, Deni and Lloyd dropped off New Year's black eyed peas, greens, and ham for us! What a treat!!! Last night we cracked open the bottle of French champagne our friends Zach and Alexis gave us and celebrated 2011 with our new little family.

I will be posting up a labor blog as well. But I wanted to get an initial update out there. Thanks everyone for the congrats and well wishes. I will leave you with my most recent pic...Aven is getting her vitamin D to ward off any jaundice. LOVE the big windows in the great room. ;-)