Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rolling In the Deep

Last Monday was a rough day by Potter standards. George has struggled with I have no idea what, maybe a growth spurt, but he has typically had me up for two nightly feedings again for the past couple of weeks. It really is like newborn-land again around here, as I'm rounding out an average of 4.5 hours of sleep a night. Of course, because he is actually a three-month-old and not a newborn he doesn't sleep all day long like a newborn does (plus I have Silas to keep me busy), so once we're up with George, we're essentially up for the day. This is all okay, and in the grand scheme of things it's really not a big deal. I know how to function on small amounts of sleep over a prolonged period because I am a mother. And I'm not comfortable with letting George cry it out yet because he does have a legitimate medical concern, and the fact remains that his body weight has dropped from the 49th percentile down to the 29th percentile in the span of the past month.

So that's the background. Now on Monday we had our typical small amount of sleep, but I also had a very cranky George on my hands. He simply would not sleep, though I knew he was exhausted, and this stubborn little man was awake and unhappy from noon to 9:30pm. Much of it he was wailing and was only comforted when he was nursing. I'm human though, and I just can't have another being sucking on me for nine and a half hours, and the paci was no consolation! By the time BJ made it home from work, I felt frazzled and had already reached out to Chanda and Sommer, my two main go-to's. (Thanks to both of you, by the way, for taking time out of your days!) BJ took the boys outside to shoot some hoops and get some fresh air, and I reveled in the glory of the house to myself while I made dinner for us all. I'm telling you now that I have discovered a cure for myself in such situations, and it involves blasting Adele's "21" album, drinking a delicious beer, and dancing in the kitchen while making dinner. By the time the boys rejoined me 20 minutes later, I felt like a new woman ready to conquer an evening of infant fussiness.

But wait, there's more. Apparently I'm not the only one who has a strong liking for Adele. Just a couple of days ago I was nursing George and played a video on my phone of the interview with Adele from "60 Minutes" (I missed it the first time around). When she sang "Someone Like You" by the piano during that interview, George stopped his feeding and turned his head toward my phone with ears cocked. Food was actually neglected the entire time she sang! So of course the next day when he began wailing in the car, what do I do but begin Adele's "Turning Tables" in the car, and Bazinga! Quietness! I look in the little baby mirror and what do I see but the exact same look, head and eyes turned toward the music, ears cocked and listening. And again on Saturday, absolute fits from the car seat until Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain." She is the perfect lullaby for him and he seems to quickly just slide into sleep.

So thank you, Adele. Now I like you doubly. As the longtime Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings tweeted a few months ago, "I ask every British person I meet if he was the guy who broke up with Adele. One of these day it's gonna be him and shit's gonna get real."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sweet Cheeks

I hope everyone is doing well!

I thought I'd update you on George, jogging, etc. Saturday will mark three weeks since I have gone dairy-free. I kind of told you about the major setback we had last week when we accidentally gave George a milk-based formula for a feeding on Wednesday (he gets very occasional formula feedings on days when I work), and boy oh boy, did he break out big-time the next day. It was really sad, and it was frustrating for me to have gotten us both free of milk in our systems and seeing positive results only to be moved back to scratch. Lots of dedication in this past week though has resulted in excellent smooth, delicious cheeks. Just have a look yourself!
Such satisfaction! And I worked extra hard to have a plentiful milk supply for George on the two days I worked this week, so we didn't even have to chance our new "alimentum" formula. Hopefully we won't have to. This diet, which seemed so cumbersome and restricting at first, is something I have quite gotten used to and am not really saddened by anymore. The only exception is when I think of pizza. But really, we have made a couple of trips to health food stores and have found some good replacements like almondmilk yogurt, chocolate-covered ice cream bites made from rice milk, and a few other things. BJ keeps trying to get me to try the fake cheese (he excitedly argues that it even melts all stringy-like), but I just can't make myself do that yet. As my mother-in-law pointed out, even non-fat cheese is pretty nasty. So when I ask BJ about what this "cheese" consists of ingredient-wise, his response of "A bunch of crazy stuff" really made my decision for me. Dinners for us this week have been good though; some Mexican mash-ups consisting of black beans, rice, avocados, and salsa, as well as a chicken sloppy joe covered in fritos. The nice thing is I can enjoy the fritos guilt-free since I'm still eating way less calories than I used to; I'm now down below my pre-pregnancy weight.

In other news, Sunday marks our second annual Oklahoma Memorial Marathon relay. Apart from BJ and me, this year our team is all-new, as in they weren't our team members last year. However, one of them (Chanda) has run a half-marathon in the past, and the other two (Jordan and Greg) both ran marathons in Chicago last fall. Uh, yeah, you think I might be holding our team back a little? It will no doubt take me longer to run my 5K than it will take BJ and Greg to run their 10K's. Ah well. My training was interrupted about six weeks ago when I had a sciatic flare-up and couldn't run for three weeks, not that that is any excuse. Without that hiccup I probably would have been able to run the whole thing, but as it stands now I am merely going to have fun and try not to take 45 minutes to finish. BJ, Chanda, and I are excited (I'm sure Greg and Jordan are too but we haven't talked with them since they arrived in from Chicago). Chanda's husband Landon is going to be our cheering squad and we'll all be busy going back and forth on the shuttle to see each other start and finish our respective legs. I will certainly post pictures!

Happy weekend everyone!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


 Thank goodness my kids already seem to love each other! Silas' whole countenance lights up when he interacts with George, and George is beginning to reciprocate to Silas with show-stopping grins.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Going Dairy-Free

Have we talked about how absolutely in love I am with George? This child gives me the warm fuzzies even when I think about him. His adorable little old-man face is just about too much for my heart at times...which is why it was so easy for me to make a recent decision about the foods that I eat.

I'll explain. Little Georgie has had problems with his skin from about the first week of his life. Numerous trips to the pediatrician, four rounds of steroid cream application to his face, head, chest, and neck, and countless hours of my knowing that something is wrong, but not knowing what, has led us to present-day. His pediatrician, Betty Harmon, has told us time and time again that his skin is sensitive and we have to be CAREFUL with what he contacts; perfumes, scented lotions, clothes that have had dryer sheets/fabric softener/haven't been double-rinsed are all off-limits to him. And yet after our family has switched soaps and lotions, detergents and habits, that hateful old rash just keeps coming back to his precious cheeks the day after his last steroid application.

It should be noted here that I am nursing George, and he is not on a formula diet. About a month ago, a friend of mine who is a lactation consultant suggested that perhaps he has a food allergy. She initially suggested a dairy problem and said I should possibly consider giving up dairy for a couple of weeks to see if his skin clears up. I began doing internet research on dairy allergies and found that, sure enough, George's profile seemed to be consistent with some frequently-reported symptoms (rashes, diaper rash, excessive spitting up, and other gastro-intestinal issues). However, I wasn't quite convinced because, unlike so many of the babies that I read about, George is generally pretty happy, and calming his tears typically isn't a huge ordeal. The Saturday before Easter though, I decided to give the non-dairy diet a go.

Like most people that go dairy-free for a period of time, I made a ton of rookie mistakes in that first week! I knew I would be giving up obvious cow-milk foods such as butter, cheese, sour cream, and ice cream. Bye bye pizza. However, I had absolutely no clue that milk is in so many food items! I had naively assumed that if I went to Chick Fil A and ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with no cheese and specifically requested no butter on the bun, I would be in the clear. EEEH! WRONG! To use Chick Fil A as an example, there is milk as an ingredient in the bun itself, the chicken (both the grilled and fried varieties) under goes a milk wash, and the fries are also NOT dairy-free! Okay then, big mess-up. A closer look at the ingredient labels led me to realize that so many items, from spaghetti sauces to dinner rolls to many breakfast cereals to doritos to toaster strudels all contain either milk, milkfat, whey, casein, sodium caseinate, lactoglobulins, and other various no-nos.

It takes a while for the milk to get out of my system, and then to get out of his as well. The long and short of it is that, despite some of my mess-ups, on day five of the no-dairy regiment George's skin began clearing. Day six was even better, and days seven and eight were glorious! His skin was as clear as it only is during steroid treatments, and they were scrumptiously kissable (okay, they are scrumptiously kissable even when they are rough and broken out, but they were SMOOTHLY scrumptiously kissable!). Then, I accidentally messed up a few more times, and increased my soy intake (which may also be a contributing problem) and boom! Here comes the mean old rash again. Currently he is broken out, but I have a much better grasp about the strict limitations of this diet now, so I am hopeful that we will again see an improvement in the near future. An appointment with Dr. Harmon last week led to both of us agreeing that a dairy allergy in conjunction with sensitive skin certainly sounds possible if not likely, and she instructed me to eliminate all dairy and limit my soy intake. I will do this whether or not I continue to see improvement until he can undergo a serum test at the age of six months to confirm or reject all of this. I am looking forward to my coming weight loss (I've already lost four pounds on this!), and I am also looking forward to the cooking and baking challenges that will certainly accompany this new lifestyle. But mostly I am looking forward to the hopes of George feeling and looking much, much better.

We'll be talking about this more later. You'll get updates on his progress and I'll share our culinary innovations as well. Good night, friends!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Thomas Masterpiece

Silas got sidewalk chalk in his Easter basket, and the mom in me felt the need to share the talents of this promising young artist with you lucky lot. He has crafted extremely accurate portrayals that really need no further identification whatsoever. However, for those of you who aren't Thomas the Train fans, from top to bottom we have Thomas, James, Percy, and Gordon. BJ said that as he drew each of them he excitedly exclaimed their names. What a guy we've got!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


One could use several different words to describe our trip to visit the Marshalls.  Descriptors like wonderful, heart-wrenching, comical, heartening, and laid-back would all be accurate.  We all laughed, cried, and spent countless hours oohing and aahing over all four of the kids. Time with Owen was spectacular, and Som was right; he absolutely snuggles right into you and makes you get the warm fuzzies.  Ellie and Silas were hilarious together, and I loved that we have open-minded little toddlers, as Ellie was more than eager to learn about Thomas the Train from Silas, and Silas was quick to join Ellie in her kitchen and serve us "coffee" and "desserts" all weekend long! Alas, the trip ended far too quickly and I spent much of Monday bawling in intervals as we prepared to leave, said goodbye, and then actually drove to the airport. Okay, I cried a couple of times on the airplane too. And today. Shoot, I'm such a sap.

Here are some pics from our fabulous time together. Meet the cast:





Ellie and Silas kept extremely busy...

while Owen and George were content to be less active.

There were plenty of snuggles, slides, and Dunkin Donuts iced coffees to be had!

Thank goodness for dear friends. I sometimes think the world might be unbearable without them.