Snow Day

To start off with, I am thinking about the folks down in the Atlanta/Birmingham area and their winter woes right about now. I am pretty stunned at all the video and pictures I am seeing and I can’t stop thinking about the stories of parents trapped for hours with infants in the car and no way to feed them. Ugh, it just gives me the shivers. Pretty sure I will be packing up an emergency kit with water and extra formula in the back of my car post-haste!

As it happens, we are also in the middle of wintry weather here, but thankfully we are used to this kind of stuff and are prepared! Unfortunately, the traction control system seems to have gone out on Cameron’s car this morning while we were pushing it out of the driveway (stupid ice!), so for the time being we are a one-car family. I’m hoping the problem is related to ice or rocks stuck up in the wheel shaft, but I guess we’ll have to see what happens when the snow melts down enough to get some traction on bare pavement. Unfortunately I don’t think that will be happening any time soon, since we are apparently in for another round of snow starting tonight that some reports are saying could bring us 16 inches or more. I’m never one to complain about the snow because we really need the moisture, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t ready for spring so I can get the baby out of the house once in a while. (Also ready for spring so that we can get out of wind season! Yesterday we had 50+mph gusts and it was just wretched. When I was trying to put groceries in my car last night the wind grabbed the car door and pulled it right out of my hand and now I have a horrible pulled muscle in my back. No thank you!)

Anyway, the other day we got about 7 inches (we were only predicted 2-4, murr) and the next day it was warm enough (relatively speaking of course) to bundle up the Bean and take her out for her first time in the snow! As you can see, she was a little less than thrilled.

It was a little too close to nap time I think so she wasn’t really having it. We put her down for a nap and tried again a little later that afternoon. She tolerated it a bit better and she even got to go on her first sled ride!

As you can see, she was so excited. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt of only being 3 months old and hope that next winter she might be a little more interested.

In any case, we are just waiting for this next round of snow to hit. I have a chicken in the slow cooker and don’t have to be at rehearsal for the rest of the week so I am happy to sit tight and watch the snow from the inside. I am crossing my fingers that the roads will be okay by Sunday so that we can get to my mom’s for Superbowl Sunday (WOO BRONCOS!!!), otherwise I will be one slightly unhappy camper.

By the way, this little girl is 3 months old next week! When did this happen??


Some Changes

You might have noticed that this blog looks a little different…different theme, different title, different address! Well, it felt necessary to introduce some changes since this blog will, very soon, no longer be broadcast from High Elevation. (I mean, still pretty high elevation, all things considered, but not 7,522 feet.)

In a short while, I’m excited to say, Cameron and the Bean and I will be moving back down the hill to live closer to my parents. The time has come for us to depart Estes Park, and we’ll be moving somewhere into the north Denver suburbs hopefully near to where I lived since I was a kid. We are currently waiting to find out where Cameron will be transferring to, and when. It’s going to be a bit of a rocky transition at first, since I have no idea when we are going (it could be next week and it could be in 4 months) and where. The good thing about that area, though, is that it’s fairly well condensed and there are many Starbucks stores in a small area, so we can probably plan to move close to where my parents live and not have a huge commute for Cameron. Our original plan was to immediately buy another house and rent out our house in Estes, but since we are looking at such a short timeline, we are now anticipating renting an apartment for at least six months while we get settled and then buy a new house. We’re still renting out our place here, and are pretty sure we have a great set of tenants, it’s all about the timing now. I’m not really looking forward to making two moves in one year, but we’ll do what we have to do and it will all work out in the long run.

The truth of the matter is, I have been wanting to leave Estes for some time. I was excited when we got here over 2 years ago and I did feel lucky to be here. But as time went on it became clear that it wasn’t for me–and, now, isn’t for us. We had planned on being here for a good 5-10 years in the beginning, and that timeline got shorter and shorter the longer we were here. It never felt like home to me. I kept waiting for it, and it never happened. After the flood, I knew we couldn’t stay here much longer than another year or two. And after the Bean was born, I knew the time was up. I just couldn’t deal with having a new baby and postpartum depression and being so far away from anyone or anything. It used to be that an hour away from civilization wasn’t a big deal, but it is when you have a cranky baby who cries the whole time you’re in the car.

There are some things I will miss about Estes. I will miss the quiet, the clear starry night skies, the wildlife, the cool summer evenings, being close enough to the National Park to just go off on a hike whenever. I’ll miss the people. I met some great, kind, generous people here. But unfortunately there’s an even longer list of things I will not miss about Estes. The isolation, the tourists, the tourist traffic, the wind. The small-town politics and everyone knowing everyone’s business. There’s a lot of things. Estes is great as a place to visit, and for some people it’s a good place to call home, but we’re just not in that group. Frankly, I’m looking forward to coming back to visit and actually enjoy it the way it’s meant to be enjoyed, because right now I just resent it, and I hate that.

So that’s that. I am ready to embrace the new, and so far our new year is full of newness and change and I am trying my best to remain positive and present. So of course I will continue to update this blog with all things Bean-related! I am not really ready to start packing up this house and figuring out what to do with all of our crap, but the end result will be worth it. Estes Park will always be here (floods be damned) and once I don’t live here anymore I can actually enjoy it again. And who knows…maybe I will actually be able to find the television remote that has been missing since a week before Christmas….

Blame the delivery, not the product

I’d like to take this moment to come out and admit that I am sort of really addicted to Rockabye Baby. I know for a fact that I enjoy the Coldplay album way more than I probably ought to.

Anyway, moving on. On Friday, I took the baby to her doctor to ask yet again about her excessive crying and colic. That, and the fact that for almost 2 days straight, she refused to nurse. Wouldn’t latch without fighting it. Her doctor comes in, says more than likely the Zantac isn’t doing anything so quit giving it to her. Her weight gain is good (9lbs 4 oz!!) so we shouldn’t be terribly worried about that, but something is causing the discomfort. Then he whips out the two words I had really been dreading hearing: elimination diet. Cut out all the dairy in your diet, he says. Like, sure, dairy isn’t a major food group or something. (And don’t think I didn’t deal with a wave of feeling terribly selfish in that moment, so don’t come at me with judgment for that one.) I know it can be done and I know a lot of moms do it and to them I say, you rock. It just sounded like an immense challenge for me as I’ve never so much as gone on a diet, so I have no idea how to go about removing an entire food group (including “hidden dairy”) from my diet. Anyway, I don’t really need to justify to anyone other than myself and my husband why I didn’t want to do this, but it basically boiled down to trading one kind of misery for another.

So, feeling pretty down that I still didn’t have any answers for my poor baby who had been crying for days, I took her home and fed her by bottle since she wouldn’t nurse. I cried the whole time. All I could think was, I’m going to have to give up nursing and switch to formula. (Not that there’s anything wrong with formula; I was a formula fed baby and I turned out fine. It’s just that it’s bloody expensive and I didn’t want to give up nursing.) She sucked down a whole 4 ounces like she hadn’t eaten in days. When she was finished, I burped her and set her down in her bouncy chair and begged her for ten minutes so I could find something to eat that didn’t have dairy in it. (Eggs and a tortilla was the only thing I could come up with.) When I set her down, though, something amazing happened: she didn’t cry. In fact, not only did she not cry, but she smiled at me and cooed like she was saying “hey mom! I’m HAPPY! I just ate and I don’t have a tummy ache!” So I thought…wow, that hasn’t happened in basically ever. I wasn’t willing to celebrate my luck yet and since I basically still felt like curling in a ball in a dark hole and not coming out for a while, I took her upstairs and laid her down for a nap and then buried myself in my bed too. She ended up sleeping for a whole 2 1/2 hours. 2 1/2 hours what! I quickly pumped another bottle and when she woke up (and smiled and cooed at me while I changed her) I fed her by bottle and she didn’t cry at all. She didn’t cry pretty much the whole day. She was happy to sit in her chair and lay on her mat and we even went out to a restaurant that night and even though it was loud she slept in the wrap the entire time AND didn’t cry when we put her in the car seat. I fed her by bottle that night too, and she only woke up once during the night. (She had been waking every hour.) The next morning, she woke up cheerful and happy and smiling and I was basically looking at Cameron like “did someone come and replace our baby during the night?”

We discussed it and decided we’d try something for a few days: pumping and bottle feeding. And for almost 3 days now we’ve only had a smidgen of fussy crying in comparison to what we had been getting. She has slept through the night in 4-5 hour chunks and she smiles at everything. Earlier this morning I made breakfast and she laid on her playmat for a half an hour entertaining herself, babbling and cooing and grabbing at her toys. So I’m thinking it’s been a combination of things up to this point. She obviously gets gassy when she nurses because she fights the breast so much. She latches, unlatches, latches, unlatches, cries, latches and unlatches some more, so obviously she’s putting air into her tummy and she’s not getting full. On the bottle, she drinks down 4-5 ounces in one go, sits upright, doesn’t fight, and barely has to burp when she’s done. And the change in her is unreal. I have a changed baby and I didn’t even attempt to cut dairy out of my diet.

Obviously I know that this change may not work in the long run, and I might end up having to go to the elimination diet eventually, but it’s working right now and I am not going to press my luck by changing that. I was sad at first that nursing may not work out, especially since pumping is so much work, but really, it’s a much better compromise than chucking the whole thing and going to formula. She’s still getting my breastmilk and all the advantages. It’s not the product that was bad, it was just the delivery method. I still get to feed her in the quiet of the night and let her rest her head on my chest and rock her back to sleep. And most importantly, she is happy. Which means that I am happy too. I keep looking at her thinking a fairy came in the middle of the night and swapped out my fussy baby for a happy one and I better lock our windows extra tight because I do not want to send this one back. Because seriously…isn’t it about time I get to spend my day with this happy girl?


It was just the train.

I really thought we had turned a corner in this whole colic/reflux/whatever ride. I really thought we hard started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now I’m thinking it wasn’t the end of the tunnel. It was just the train.

I know I said I was working on being more positive, and I’m trying to find positives in the fact that yes–it could be so much worse. My baby could be in the NICU. She could have suffered brain damage from the cord being around her neck 4 times at birth. She could have any number of much worse things happening and I do think about that and reflect on that. Sometimes that’s about the only positive I can come up with because man…some days are just. fucking. hard.

Our latest struggle is the fact that, by and large, unless she’s sleeping or tucked into the K’Tan (and sleeping, presumably), Caroline is crying. All the time. I get 20-30 minutes a day when she is awake and not crying–you probably think I’m exaggerating, and I wish I was. It’s not every day, but most days. She cries and sometimes screams and fights the breast and the bottle and being on her back and being on her tummy and pretty much every single damn thing I try to get her to be calm results in more frustration. Mostly I just wish I could figure out what it is–is she hungry? Overtired? Heartburn? Growth spurt? Everyone says at this age there are only a few needs that a baby needs to communicate via crying–but once those things are fulfilled and she’s still crying, what do I do? I feel like I have her on so many different kinds of supplements and meds for the colic and the reflux and not a goddamn one of them seems to be making a difference. I know babies cry. I know babies get fussy. But Caroline really seems to do nothing but cry.

The worst part is when I see other babies near her age who are able to spend good chunks of their days awake, alert, and quiet, happy to sit in their bouncy chairs or swings or on mommy’s lap and look at or play with their toys, smile and laugh…and I start wondering what I’m not doing right. Why can’t my baby be like that? I know it’s probably selfish to think that but really, deep down, I just want her to be comfortable and happy. And I want to be happy too! I want to spend time with her that is not otherwise spent in tears, I want to make faces at her and make her smile and sing to her and not just so that I can get her to sleep. I don’t want a baby who sleeps ALL the time, but usually that’s about the only time I can get that doesn’t involve one of us crying.  I’m terrified to bring her anywhere, terrified to invite anyone over, because I’m certain that she’s just going to cry the whole while and maybe I will, too, because what’s the point of going out and being with people when I can’t even concentrate on anything except my crying baby? Am I crazy to want to enjoy this time in my daughter’s life? Am I crazy to want to enjoy anything? I know raising children is supposed to be hard but isn’t it also supposed to be rewarding and joyful and wonderful? What else is the point in wanting to have children?

I know I’ve said it before but I’m not posting this looking for advice. I have more of that than I know what to do with and more than likely I’ve already tried it. I’m just using this as an outlet to vent because as much as I’d like to be, it is hard to be positive when the center of your universe constantly seems to be imploding.

In the meantime I’m just waiting for the train to arrive so that I can actually get on it…not just stand in front of it.

Presence and Positivity

I know I’m late jumping on the New Year’s Resolution bandwagon, but that’s sort of what happens when you have a 9-week old. (Don’t even ask about the state of the Christmas decorations…) I noticed this year that there seems to be a trend toward picking a word, phrase or idea to live the year by, rather than resolving to DO a particular something. I thought this was a pretty neat idea, since the idea of accomplishing anything (including writing this blog) is pretty much a pipe dream at this point.

So I thought, perfect, a few words to keep in mind throughout the year. I can do that. And I should do that. So after much thought (usually in the shower, the only place I get much time to think) I have decided on my Words of the Year. And, not to throw out several years worth of education in the theatre, where we were told endlessly to never, ever, upon pain of death make our acting objectives “to be” verbs…they are “to be” verbs.

The words of the year are presence and positivity. I need to be more present, and I need to be more positive. Which I’m guessing you predicted from the title of this blog.

So in the category of Presence. I have a terrible proclivity toward finding myself other places than in the present. I worry about the future and dwell on the past so often that I am literally not present in my own life sometimes. This is a problem when you have a baby, because every moment is a moment of growing and learning and it is so easy to miss those by thinking about other things. I have to learn how to be present because the past and the future mean nothing to her, and she will expect me to be with her in the moment. In order to be more present in my life, I’m starting off by doing things like removing things like “mom advice” pages from my Facebook. These resources are good for some people, and I thought they would be helpful for me, but just like the pregnancy websites that drove me insane, the mom advice forums do the same. I constantly found myself reading questions from women about sleep patterns, milk supply, food sensitivities, how long can you leave out breastmilk, blah blah blah, and it started freaking me out that I was going to fuck up my daughter and how was I going to deal with this when this happens? I realized that I don’t need to worry about what her patterns will do to her in the long run. I have a baby who needs to sleep now, and if giving her a binkie to put her to sleep is going to end up in a dependence problem in the future….it’s in the future. I need to deal with that in the future, when it gets here. I need to be present NOW and pop that binkie in her mouth and get her to sleep NOW. I need to quit worrying so much about what the future will bring, because the thing is, the future doesn’t just happen all at once. It’s gradual as it turns from the future to the present. And on that topic, since I can’t control or change things that have already happened, I need to quit dwelling on stuff that happened in the past. It’s over, it happened. Whether it was positive or negative is immaterial, because there’s nothing I can do about it other than learn from it, move on, and use that knowledge when it becomes applicable.

Not being so negative all the time leads me to my other word of the year, Positivity. I can get so negative sometimes that it really ruins things. I can’t focus on the fact that Caroline just smiled at us three or four times in a row because she might have slept really poorly the night before. And that’s why the two words go hand in hand, because being negative ruins my ability to be present and enjoy the moment. The other day coming home up the hill Caroline screamed pretty much the whole way and it totally erased the memory of that morning when she and I had laid in bed and she was happy and content and just cooed and touched my face and it was just perfect. The positive ought to outweigh the negative, but it doesn’t for me sometimes because it’s way easier to remember how hard it was to get through the bad time than to enjoy the memory of a good time. Negativity, a lot like stupid people on the internet, generally talks a lot louder than positivity. (As an aside, my computer is telling me that positivity is not a real word…well, suck it computer, it is now. I’m a modern day Shakespeare. If negativity is a word why isn’t positivity?) So, my goal for embracing the positive this year is to make myself a visual reminder of the good times, so that I can look at them when I am having a negativity overflow. I plan to do this by making myself a chalkboard to hang in the baby’s room, and every day I have to write on it something good, positive or beautiful that happened. This will give me a revolving record of good stuff to physically see every day.

My hope is that I will start to embrace the present and become more positive every moment that I am in it. Caroline only recognizes life in the present, and I should learn to take a page out of her book and embrace that….for her sake, and mine, and Cameron’s.

2 Months

The Little Bean is 8 weeks old!

At her doctor’s appointment on Monday, she weighed 8lbs, 10 oz and was 21 inches long with a 15″ circumference head. Growing growing growing! (And yet still smaller than a couple babies I know of who were born this year–at the time of their birth!) She is still pretty much wearing newborn size exclusively, which blows my mind since the majority of babies get one wear (or none at all) out of some of their smallest clothes. She got a fleecy sleeper for Christmas that is 0-3 months and it is still HUGE on her, so it seems to depend quite a lot on the brand or style. She did go up one diaper size though (which I determined after several instances of peeing out the sides of her diaper. One night I changed her swaddle twice. Ick.). She got her first round of vaccinations on Monday and she did great. I think it was harder for me than her! She only screamed a little, nursed in the office, and then immediately fell asleep for several hours. She cried and fussed really bad for about a half hour a little later, but it was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Her eyes are still dark gray/blue, but she has a little smidgen of brown in her left eye. I am hoping she will keep the gray (daddy’s eyes are gray) but heterochromia does run in my family, so maybe she will end up keeping that little brown spot. Hair is starting to come in light golden blonde, another of daddy’s features, so I have a feeling she is going to be all Carruthers.


We are still dealing a little bit with the colic, but it is definitely better than it was. We have been giving her daily probiotics (though the fiasco with trying to find/administer those is a post in and of itself) and at her appointment this week her doctor thought she might have a touch of reflux, which could explain why she hates to be transitioned from one position to another, so he put her on Zantac also just to see if it helps. So, instead of having almost daily screaming fits, we have one or maybe two episodes a week which has helped so much. Breastfeeding is going much smoother now, too, thank goodness–I was really ready to throw in the towel on that one.

At the risk of jinxing myself, she has been sleeping great. She is in her own crib in her own room! I started sleeping back in our own bed on Christmas and although it was pretty tough that first night I have to admit it is easier than sleeping in her room. (More importantly it helped Cameron and me start feeling like we were married again instead of just being roommates, which had been an issue.) I usually put her down at 8:30 or 9 every night and she will typically sleep for at least 3 hours at a time, though sometimes more (5 hours one night!). I am getting up to feed her on average 3 times a night and getting up for the day with her around 7:30 or 8 each morning. Sometimes if she wakes up after 6 I will just bring her into our bed and let her snack and snuggle for a little while longer so that I can catch a few more Z’s too. I am just now starting to implement a daily nap schedule, with pretty hit-or-miss success so far. I know that at 8 weeks she is still sleeping upwards of 16-18 hours a day, so keeping her awake in between those nap times is often difficult, but I know she’ll start being awake for longer periods soon. Mostly, my point in putting her down in her crib for naps at least 3 times a day is to get her used to it. She catnaps a lot (usually on me) and while this is fine, I am not interested in getting her into the habit of only napping when she’s being held. Plus, it’s hard to get shit done during the day when she is always attached to me, and in the interest of me not going insane, it’s important for me to be able to get shit done. All things considered, though, I am really pleased that she is sleeping in her crib at night by herself, because setting up good sleeping habits from the beginning was a huge goal of mine.

Only the cool kids sleep sideways

She is starting to show interest in stuff like toys. She loves looking out the window in the morning. She isn’t quite grabbing for things yet, only incidentally, but I can tell she is focusing on toys when I show them to her. She seems to like things that rattle; her favorite toy on her playmat is a bulb that has little balls inside it and for Christmas she got a Nemo fish that clicks and rattles and she has actually been reaching for it (it’s attached to the side of her crib), but not quite grabbing yet. She can follow someone walking across a room and is responding to noise stimuli which is sometimes and good and sometimes not–good when it’s her glowing seahorse that plays music, bad when it’s the dog barking at dumb shit. She loves to be upright (a possible symptom of the reflux) and look at stuff, so I try to put her in her booster seat (it’s an off-brand Bumbo) at least once a day. Sometimes she’s into it and sometimes she’s like NOPE. She usually wants to be really active and she is already trying to push herself up on her arms when she’s lying on her tummy, so I have a feeling she’s going to be mobile in no time. Bathtime is still challenging, but she loves to shower with me. (So much that the other night she got so upset when we took her out that she actually threw up.) So we’ll see how my little water sign does when she is big enough to sit up in her tub on her own because so far it looks like she got mommy’s “fuck water I hate water” gene.

Ahhh fuck this chair!
Ahhh fuck this chair!
Oh, okay. Maybe not so bad.
Oh, okay. Maybe not so bad.

Some personality is starting to appear. She may look like her daddy, but she is all mommy in personality so far. She knows what she likes and what she wants and she better get it NOW if you want to avoid a meltdown. (Obviously right now that is pretty much limited to boob and binkie, but you get my point.) A few weeks ago I had her on her changing pad and leaned down to kiss her head and she was not having it–she squawked and smacked me right in the face, little bum. I can tell she is not going to be satisfied with sitting around letting the world pass her by, which is a good trait to have in my opinion.

No, do go on. I’m fascinated by this discussion.

Oh, and best of all–we have real smiles!