Thursday, February 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Lila!

One year ago at 10:13 am, Lila Caroline Miller was born via emergency c-section. She was 7 lb 15 oz and even after a crazy birth was perfectly healthy and beautiful. Our lives were forever changed and we have had such a wonderful year with her. She has grown and changed so much and Neil and I have changed right with her.

We are so so lucky to have her in our lives. This year has been transformative in so many ways, but mainly because I became a mom. Her mom. She is a special little girl and we cannot wait to celebrate her birthday on Saturday!

We love you Lila. Happy Birthday!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Home Sweet Home

I'm so happy to be home and oh so tired! I just got back from beautiful San Antonio, Texas where I was a presenter at a conference this weekend. I've been gone since Saturday. The conference was great. I learned a lot, did some networking and even had some fun (maybe too much... the $15 margarita may have been a bad idea, LOL) but it was just incredibly hard to be away. I missed Lila (and Neil) so much. I'm so appreciative for my mom and Neil's parents for coming in this weekend to help out. Thank you!!

When I picked Lila up today from Amanda's, Lila seemed pretty unenthusiastic about my return (break my heart!) but I was thrilled to see my baby! Four days without her was so painful. Travelling is hard in and of itself, but even more so when you have to leave your adorable child behind. I know she was fine. She had a ton of fun and probably barely realized I was gone. But, it was very tough on me.

This month has been really hard. I just feel like I have to sacrifice a lot these days. I've been incredibly busy at work, which inevitably trickles down to feeling busy at home. I feel behind on pretty much everything in my life... like I'm just barely staying afloat. As soon as something gets checked off the to-do list at work, two more things get added on. Big projects loom over my head with no time to accomplish them. My house needs some TLC and I've been meaning to paint my toenails for like 3 weeks! I have been kicking butt on the workout front (well until this weekend when I was gone) but it seems like so many other things are falling by the wayside. Oh how I wish I could do it all!

Enough with the complaining. I'm home and next week's schedule looks much better. My baby girl turns ONE on Thursday and her birthday party is on Saturday. Thank goodness for my mother who is basically planning the whole party! There are so many details and special things I wish I could do before the party, but I'm just going to have to let it go. The most important thing is celebrating with friends and family and having fun with our little girl. Can't believe she will be ONE!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sibling age gap - What's best?

Okay, so this has been on my mind for a few weeks now... I've thinking a lot about the ideal time between babies. And, No! I'm not pregnant or wanting to be right now! Just thinking.

We know we want to have another child at some point, but the question is, when? And I know you can't always plan things perfectly but when should we even aim to start trying again?

Lila is nearing her first birthday and I'd love for her to have a brother or sister relatively close to her age. My brother is 2.5 years younger than me and although we tormented each other at times we have gotten along pretty well our whole lives. From what I hear, 2-3 years apart is pretty ideal.

My hopes with the spacing:

- The kids can play together well

- Lila kind of knows what is going on when the new baby comes

- Lila is potty trained or close to it when we have a newborn

- The kids will both attend the same schools some of the time: 1st and 4th grade, or freshman and senior

I'd also like to avoid a June - October baby because of work reasons (my busiest time is August - October). And again, I know this is hard to plan. But ideally, I'd like a winter or spring baby.

So that said, is 2.5 years apart the best? Is 3.5 too much? Is there really much of a difference? Does it have more to do with the older child's temperament than age?

Let's just say we achieve a 2.5 year age gap exactly. Lila will be 2.5 on August 23, 2013. Since I'd like to avoid that time of year to have a baby it will probably be sooner than that. Or later?

An April 2013 baby would make the kiddos 26 months apart. Is that too close? And I'd need to be pregnant again this coming July! Am I even ready for that?! Since I'm absolutely terrified to go into labor again...Methinks... NO.

A little bit over a 3 year age gap would be April or May of 2014. Lila will likely be potty trained by then and old enough to kind of know what's going on. But if we aim for that time, what if it takes us awhile to get pregnant? It's not the end of the world but would a 4 year age gap be too much?

What I'm thinking now is trying for another baby right around Lila's 2nd birthday in February of 2013. Hopefully I'll be pregnant before summer and will be having a baby in late Fall 2013 or Winter/Spring of 2014. On the early end that'd be an October baby and Lila would be a bit over 2.5. On the later end, she'd get a sibling right after her 3rd birthday.

The only downside I see to this is that I'd be pregnant on my 30th birthday in September 2013! I totally wanted to be in Vegas or on a cruise!

It helped to think that out "on paper"... but in the end I know you can't always plan things like this. I guess we will know when we are ready to add to our family and it will happen when it happens! Anyone have any insights into the best sibling age gap?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The first year of Motherhood

This time last year I was nearing my due date of February 14th, not knowing that I'd have to wait until February 23rd to meet my daughter. All of that build up to Lila's birth seems like yesterday and years ago at the same time. In many ways I'm exactly the same person that I was pre-Lila. But of course motherhood changes you. I'm late more often than I'm early these days. I think more about the future. My thoughts and concerns are less about myself and more about my daughter.

Being a mom is hard! I know it's difficult whether you are a working mom or a stay at home mom or a work at home mom. I have friends in all of those situations and we all struggle sometimes. The hardest thing for me about being a working mom is not having enough time to do everything and feeling so pulled in different ways. There are so many thoughts in my head at all times. I want to do it all and sometimes there is not enough time and energy to do that.

Somehow I feel both empowered and inadequate as a mother. Do we all feel that way? I'm proud of so many things I've done for Lila in her first year of life. She is an amazing little girl, and while I can't take credit for all of it, I'm sure the time and love we give her is shaping her into the person she will be. I'm really proud of myself looking back on my first year of motherhood. For someone who'd only changed one diaper and never even held a baby younger than a month old, I've come a long way! I am doing a much better job than I thought I was going to do, but I still feel like I could do more. That stupid mommy guilt has its way of creeping in.

Guilt aside, I have learned so much in the past year!

I've learned perseverance. Breastfeeding did not come easily to us, but we made it work! After struggling with latching issues and extremely long feeding sessions we finally got our rhythm and for 7 months she was mostly breastfed. Nursing was not the blissful bonding experience that many people describe it to be, but I'm really glad we figured it out. I hope to at least nurse for 6 months with the next baby too. If you can make it work, it is so much easier to breastfeed in those early months when they eat so often.

I've learned to trust my gut. It was totally the right decision to wean Lila at 7 months. My gut was telling me that I couldn't continue pumping at work and that Lila would be happier and healthier with formula. It was totally true. Yes, it's best for baby to be breastfed for one year. For us, is was best to wean. I'm so glad I let go of the guilt on this front and went with what was best for us! There are so many conflicting opinions about everything when you are a parent. The best thing I have done is to trust my instincts and do what is best for Lila and for us.

I've learned a lot about sleep. So much about being a new mommy involves sleep. Lack of sleep for the parents and trying to instill good sleep habits for the baby. I've read so many things about baby sleep it's kind of ridiculous. I think the combination of an easy baby, luck and research has contributed to Lila's great sleep habits. Another reason we decided to wean Lila was the hope that formula would fill her belly more and contribute to better sleep. I truly believe that the last 6 months of sleeping 12+ hours a night are doing wonders for Lila's development and temperament. It's a trade off, but one that is working for us!

I've learned that it does indeed go too fast, just like everyone said. I feel like we were just bringing Lila home and now she is communicating with us and bringing home artwork from daycare! It's absolutely amazing to see a newborn grow into a toddler. Every milestone is exciting!

I've learned to appreciate my own mom even more now. My mom and I have a great relationship and pretty much talk everyday. Now that I'm a mom I really realize how fabulous of a mother she was throughout my childhood and to me as an adult. I've learned so much from her. She is also a fabulous grandma and has been so supportive to me as I learn to be a parent. She never judges me! She just supports me and helps me and is there for me. I can only hope I will be like this for Lila even when she is "grown up"!

Finally, I've learned about pure, unconditional love. I love Neil and my parents and brother unconditionally, of course. But I never knew the kind of unending, protective, almost irrational love until I became a mom. Lila is the most important thing in my life and the biggest responsibility and opportunity I've ever had. I'm so so lucky to have her. I'm so thankful to have a healthy, happy child! She makes us laugh and makes us proud every day!

To my Lila... you are the best thing that has ever happened to your daddy and me. We didn't really know what to expect about having a child, but you are far better and sweeter and more beautiful than we ever could have imagined. The highlight of my day is when we are all home together and we turn music on and dance and laugh and just have fun. You have a truly infectious laugh and spirit! I want to freeze time and enjoy the you that you are at this moment but I also can't wait to watch you grow up. I hope you always stay curious, energetic and happy! We love you baby girl.

So yeah... motherhood. It really has been a crazy ride. There are a lot fears and struggles and insecurities but more JOY than I ever thought possible. This year has gone too fast but I'm so excited for what is to come!!!