Monthly Archives: July 2011

Old Petie (An Update on My Furry Child)

I didn’t mean to leave people hanging last week with the news of Petie and his poor health. After Jeremy picked him up Thursday evening, he was told that we wouldn’t get the results for a few days (apparently they needed time to analyze the ultrasound).

His cough seems to have subsided (yippee!) and he doesn’t seem as weak as he did previously. Apparently one of the medications the vet prescribed left our little buddy quite drowsy.

The vet called last night with good news. Petie is fine. His heart murmur is in line with his age. The cough had nothing to do with his heart (that’s the good news) and overall, he seemed fine. The vet mentioned that she wanted to do a yearly ultrasound on his heart just to monitor his murmur.

We’ll still walk him (because we know he loves exploring the great outdoors) but know that our walks will have to be MUCH shorter. I’m really considering getting Petie his own stroller. Strange looks be damned!

As for the vet costs – getting an x-ray and ultrasound were considerably less than I thought. It was less than $1k (about $700-800). While that is still a lot of money (especially when it is an unexpected cost) – it is much less than when we had to get his teeth pulled. Oy – the teeth. I still can’t get over that one.

Back to this recent health scare – it made me realize what a crappy dog owner I’ve been to Petie and Emily. A friend had warned me that after a baby comes, despite how much I might love my pets – I will view them as a burden. I thought she was crazy but holy hell, she was right. During the first 2 months, I was just so tired and the idea of having to cater to the dogs who were obviously not used to this tiny crying human was wreaking havoc on my nerves. And the dogs definitely let us know that they weren’t happy with us… by peeing in our bed. Twice. And on the couch.

Jeremy’s been great with the dogs and while I try to show them more affection, Annmarie definitely wins when it comes to my attention. But this past weekend, I found myself letting Petie lick my leg FOREVER (something I normally hate because his breath smells like poop). I also let him lick Annmarie more than usual.

So now I bring you what I think are some of the cutest pictures to date of Annmarie with Petie…

Oh hey Petie – how’s it going?
Annmarie & Petie

Mom, is it okay for him to lick my feet?
Annmarie & Petie

Ooh, your fur is soft.
Annmarie & Petie

I bet you taste good too.
Annmarie & Petie

Whoa – I was trying to eat you, not get you to lick my face.
Annmarie & Petie

Mooooom… get him to stop.
Annmarie & Petie

I’m assuming Petie thought, “this is awesome!” the entire time.

6 Comments

Filed under Charm City Kim Rambles

All About Hoo-Ju (aka Hoot Juice aka Breastmilk)

Yes – this post is all about breastmilk.  If you’re not interested, stop reading now.  It won’t hurt my feelings, I promise.  This isn’t a topic of interest to a lot of people.

Before I get started, I feel I must also write that this isn’t a post about breastmilk vs. formula.  I’m not condoning nor condemning anyone for their feeding choices.  This is just about me and my out of control breastmilk situation.  (Start rant.  It is a sad state of affairs when I have to pre-apologize for writing about breastmilk because it is THAT sensitive of a topic to parents.  There is a great divide amongst parents for a few hot button topics.  When did everyone become so sensitive?  Because one parent chooses to do something – it shouldn’t mean that they condemn another parent for choosing to do something else.  End rant.)

I’m pretty open about being the president of the itty bitty titty committee.  While I’ve not always loved it – I’ve come to terms with it.  I have no boobs.  There.  Lots of women have small boobs.

Despite understanding that milk ducts are different than breast tissue (therefore size shouldn’t matter) – there was that irrational part of me that thought, “What if I can’t breastfeed?”  I had a lot of “what if”s during my pregnancy because you always worry about the unknown.

I didn’t actually get an opportunity to try breastfeeding until 12 HOURS after Annmarie was born.  I’ve read that it is common practice for hospitals to have moms attempt breastfeeding within the first hour so it was pretty unusual for me to have waited so long.  The waiting had more to do with the fact that I couldn’t pee.  The nurses spent so much time trying to help me pee on my own that I think it just slipped their minds to get Annmarie to my boobs.  And then when I transferred to the post-partum unit, those nurses assumed I had already nursed.

The first nursing attempt wasn’t great.  You just never know if your baby is getting enough of what they need.  But then you have to keep at it every couple of hours.  And when your nipples don’t get that much action – it hurts.  A lot.  Like so bad that you don’t want anything even rubbing against them (like the hospital gown).

My milk never came in while I was at the hospital so of course I worried that I wasn’t producing enough.  And when it did come in a few days later, I thought I was going to die from engorgement (but I did enjoy the look of giant boobs).

But still – I wasn’t sure of how much I was producing.  Your baby doesn’t have any sort of indicator that lets you know how much milk they’re getting from you.  You just keep feeding and feeding and hope that they’re getting enough.

I still worried.  How do I make sure my milk supply stays up? 

I took fenugreek.  And then I started pumping (about 2 1/2 weeks post-partum).  I started pumping partly to relieve some of the engorgement.  Someone had told me about how their wife got an infection because she wasn’t draining her breasts.  I was really worried about that. 

I pumped religiously while on maternity leave.  At first I pumped right after I nursed but then I pumped an hour after I nursed.

I worried that once I returned to work, my supply would drop drastically.  So I kept up the pumping.

I managed to fill a freezer.  (yes, that is ALL breastmilk pictured)

 Breastmilk

Once I returned to work – my supply never dropped.  If anything – I feel like I’m a super producer.  I pump nearly 20 ounces while I’m at work.

Annmarie only takes 14 ounces of breastmilk while at daycare.  She hasn’t indicated a need for more and yet she’s still gaining weight (she’s already over 20 pounds!). 

I’m pumping more than she’s eating.  It is taking over our freezers (we have 2).  I constantly have to rearrange the supply to make room for all the new stuff.  (this is me laying out all the stuff I stack in the upstairs freezer arranged by date so that I can organize the milk and move it)
Breastmilk 

I think I created a breastmilk monster.  I just recently stopped nursing Annmarie in the middle of the night.  I used to wake her up so I could get some relief but every breastfeeding mom told me that I should just stop and my body would adjust.

I’ve kept this up for nearly 2 weeks and while the engorgement in the morning isn’t painful – it is still there.  How long until my body adjusts?

I’m also still pumping 3 times during the day (partly for relievement).  But now I think I need to cut that down to 2.

I feel like at the rate I’m pumping, Annmarie will have enough breastmilk to last her until she’s 5.

Is this normal?

I should note that the pumping and breastfeeding don’t bother me and in fact, I thoroughly enjoy the calorie burn it offers.  I just hate the idea of storing up so much breastmilk and having it go to waste because Annmarie will no longer need it.  Is 6 months the point where I should look to start cutting this down?

3 Comments

Filed under Charm City Kim Breeds

Poor Petie (My furry child)

So on top of feeling like a total crap mom the other week, we got some bad news a few days later about our other child… the one covered in fur. Actually – we have 2 of those (Petie & Emily) but we got news on Petie.

Since I returned to work, we hadn’t been walking the dogs much. With a somewhat early-ish bedtime established, it was tough to go for a walk after work with the dogs like we used to (pre-baby).

A couple of weeks ago, I decided that we should walk the dogs early in the morning on the weekends. Jeremy and I typically run in the morning (we switch who runs on what day… we haven’t taken Annmarie out in the jogging stroller for an actual jog yet). After our runs, we would take the dogs for a walk. The dogs seemed happy.

Last week, Petie developed a terrible cough after a walk. We had assumed that he had maybe eaten something and it got caught in his throat. The coughing persisted all day and through the night.

Jeremy took Petie to the vet the next morning.

The vet said that coughs are usually associated with the heart and given Petie’s age (he’s 14!), that it was likely the case. She listened to his heart and said he had a terrible murmur.

She did an x-ray on Petie and also discovered that his trachea is collapsing! That is the cause of his coughs. She didn’t seem to indicate that it would collapse completely and that this could be tied to his old age.

But the heart and trachea? She attributed it to “overexertion”. So those long walks that we thought he was enjoying? Yeah – apparently we were doing more harm than good.

Petie is at the vet’s office today getting an ultrasound on his heart. I am really hoping for some good news because Petie has definitely lost the pep in his step this past week and it is a sad sight.

I usually chuckle when I see dog owners pushing their dogs in strollers but you know what? I will totally be that owner.  I’m not ready to say goodbye to Petie and I don’t think he’d be happy being confined in the house 24/7.

So anywho – here’s a little photo post of Petie just because I’m feeling sentimental…

Petie

Scoping for cats
Petie scoping for cats

Barking at the TV
Petie watching TV

Bored at home
Petie is bored

Snuggling under a blanket with his best buddy
Dog love

I’ll just call this series of photos “Petie loves to lick Annmarie”
Crabby Bottom
Everyone is a model
Petie is bold
Imitation
Petie saying hi
Annmarie 143
Annmarie 132

Aw, buddy… I hope you’re okay.
Petie

8 Comments

Filed under Charm City Kim Rambles

Its My Birthday (& I really don’t care)

My birthday is coming up and I really don’t care.  For anyone that knows me – this is a very strange thing.

I’ve always looked forward to my birthday.  I’ve always made a fuss about it.  I used to declare that it was my birthday month therefore I deserved special treatment.

But this year?  I really don’t care.  Is it the fact that I had a milestone birthday last year so this year is kind of… meh?  Or is it because I now have a baby so my birthday really isn’t that exciting anymore (and probably never will be again)?

My birthday falls during the work week and while I’ve taken the day off of work (I might not care about a big hoorah but I sure as hell am not working!) – I still plan on dropping Annie off at daycare.  Jeremy asked me what I wanted to do  to celebrate (especially since we’ll be sans baby for 8 hrs).

All I want to do is go to the movies!  How sad, right?  We used to be big movie people and since having a baby, we haven’t gone to the movies.  Actually – we went to see Harry Potter (something I’m not proud of because I am not a fan of the franchise) over the weekend.  Otherwise – we haven’t gone to a movie.  So that’s all I want to do. 

It is a weird feeling to not care about something that used to mean so much to me before.

As for gifts – the only thing I asked from Jeremy was that he take more pictures of me with Annie WITHOUT me having to ask him to.  He pointed out that there aren’t many pictures of him with Annie anymore but I really wanted to point out that the pictures of me with Annie consist of grainy cell phone pictures like this one:
Walking in the park

Or these stupid and not so flattering pictures…
Hanging Outside
Hanging Outside
Weekly Photo Prep
Mom and Daughter
She really just won't smile on cue

I also wish he had the power to bestow knowledge and skills upon me… like sewing and crocheting.  Or photography.  I’ve had my DSLR for several years now and I declare ALL THE TIME that I will learn to shoot in manual mode (or at least understand the settings).  I bought “Understanding Exposure” last year and only read the first 10 pages. 

Or Korean.  I’ve had Rosette Stone for 4 years now and have never used it!  I wanted to learn some Korean (outside of the few words I know today like Hello, Thank You, Fart, Your Vagina Stinks, Stupid, Son of a Bitch) so that Annie could be somewhat bilingual.  I planned to use Rosetta Stone while I was pregnant.  Big fail on my part. 

So does anyone want to give me a crash course on any of the following…

- Sewing
- Crocheting
- Photography
- Korean

?  Please?  Its for my birthday!

3 Comments

Filed under Charm City Kim Rambles

Cell Phone Pictures (Wow – I only seem to take pics of my baby now)

I used to snap a lot of photos of random things with my cell phone (and sadly it was usually of food).  But these days, my phone has been taken over by baby pictures.  LOTS OF THEM. 

While I try to stay on top of taking pictures and posting them on Flickr or Facebook, the cell phone pics generally don’t make their way to the interweb. 

So I thought I’d pluck a few of my favorite cell phone pictures and share them with you guys.

Annmarie was just 1 day old in this picture (not even a full day – this was taken the NIGHT of the day she was born).  She is so tiny!  I love this picture because it was showcasing Jeremy’s new dad skills.  I was having difficulty getting in and out of bed so Jeremy handled the majority of the diaper changes in the hospital.  But seriously – I know this picture is really blurry but look at her tiny little face. 

Doesn’t this just melt your heart?  It was taken the same night as the picture above it.  Jeremy is doting on his new baby.  I’m getting really sentimental here, guys.

This pic was taken on February 22 (so she was a little over 2 weeks old).  Jeremy had just returned to work and I was so bored.  SO BORED.  I posted this on Facebook with the message, “Do you think guys will make passes at this girl in glasses?” or something equally dorky.

This pic was taken on Feb 25th (so almost 3 weeks old).  We used to lay her on a pillow on our lap like this and she would fall asleep.  And Jeremy thought it would be funny to pose her with the empty bottle of soda, apparently.

Pic taken on March 5th (very early in the morning) by Jeremy.  I don’t have many pictures of just me and Annmarie so I love this picture.  You can see how tired I am but I loved these little moments in the morning when she’d fall asleep on my chest.

Picture taken on March 15th.  This was my 2nd outting with Annmarie and the dogs to Patterson Park.  Trying to reign in 2 very excited dogs with a stroller often left me with bruises around my wrists from where I had the leashes looped. 

Pic taken on April 25th.  I was experimenting with holding Annmarie in the forward facing position in the Moby Wrap so that I could do some stuff around the house.  I wanted to make sure she looked comfortable in it so I looked in the mirror.  Seeing her like this made me laugh out loud.  (I was nearing the end of my maternity leave and was BORED OUT OF MY MIND.  Can you tell?)

Pic taken on April 26th.  I had purchased these matching outfits for Annmarie and her soon to be BFF, Reid (he wasn’t born yet when I bought these outfits).  Reid is only 4 days old and we stopped by for a visit.  I was SO HAPPY that I had someone to spend my day with.  Clearly the babies weren’t as thrilled.

Pic taken April 30th (by Jeremy).  How frickin’ adorable is she in her oversized sun hat?  I look like an ass but I just love how cute Annmarie looks in the Moby Wrap.  I think this was around the week that I became obsessed with the idea of “flat head” and declared that I would only wear Annmarie for walks going forward (instead of the stroller). 

Pic taken May 1st.  This is one of my absolute favorite pictures.  I wish I had taken it with a nice camera and not my stupid cell phone.  I love the look on Annmarie’s face.

Pic taken May 21st.  This picture makes me laugh because I don’t know why Annmarie is curling her lip up like Elvis.

Pic taken June 4th.  I had purchased this overpriced (but on sale) Juicy Couture swimsuit for Annmarie while I was still pregnant.  I had NO idea about baby clothing sizes but just relied on the ages written on the size.  I purchased the swimsuit based on her age in the summer (3-6 months).  Now that I realize that she is HUGE, I should have purchased the next size up.  But because this little swimsuit was more than I thought a swimsuit should cost, I wanted to see if she’d even fit into it.  And she does! 

I have over 300 pictures of her on my phone.  I feel like I should probably back these up somewhere.  How do you manage your cell phone pictures?

6 Comments

Filed under Charm City Kim Breeds

Bedtime Routines (& My Bizarre Fears as a Child)

Most parenting books/magazines/websites will tell you that you should instill a bedtime routine with your baby to help them sleep better.  This routine generally consists of baths, books, blah blah blah.

We have a bedtime routine.  While we don’t bathe Annmarie every night (she gets a bath 3-4 times a week) – we pretty much do the same steps.  We change her outfit (she used to sleep in footed PJs but it is so damn hot upstairs in our house that we just put her in a onesie now).  We put her in a disposable diaper (gasp!  I go back and forth about this but disposables last longer and seem easier at night.  Anyone know of a good overnight cloth diaper technique?).  I nurse her.  We read a book to her.  And then we put her in her crib.

I usually stroke her face a little bit and say goodnight.  Jeremy kisses her goodnight.

Jeremy and I were chatting about what we remembered about our bedtime routines.  Jeremy said he remembers having his mom scratch his back (I can’t remember how old… elementary school age).  And then he reached a point where he had to have his room pitch black.  His mom had sewn black-out curtains for him.  He covered every light glowing from a device (stereo, TV, etc.) with tape.  If there was a light on in the hallway, he put a towel at the foot of the door.  Crazy, right?

So he asked me if I remembered MY bedtime routine.  While I don’t remember my mom ever doing anything specific, I remember how batshit crazy and paranoid I was as a child (and this carried over until adulthood).  I blame all of the horror movies my parents let me watch as a kid.  Seriously?  They let me watch Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Candyman… AS AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHILD.  WTF, mom and dad?

Where do I begin?

1.  My closet doors had to be COMPLETELY shut.  They couldn’t even be cracked open because if there was a crack… the psychotic murderer hiding in my closet would come out and kill me.

2.  I couldn’t have any part of my body exposed from under a blanket (from the neck down) because if even my foot was hanging out… the psychotic murderer hiding in my room would chop it off.

3.  I couldn’t have any part of my body hanging over the bed because if my hand was hanging over… the psychotic murderer hiding under my bed would chop it off.

4.  I used to sleep with a ton of pillows surrounding me.  I had one under my head, one to the left of my head, one to the right of my head and one propped behind my head.  I know exactly where this stemmed from.  It was from a Friday the 13th movie (the one with Kevin Bacon!).  Jason reached his hand from behind the bed (he was underneath) and stabbed Kevin Bacon in the neck:

THIS SCARED THE SHIT OUT OF ME.  And for some reason, I thought a bevy of pillows around my head would protect me (just like the blanket would somehow protect me).

5.  While the bed in my parents house was positioned so that the foot of it faced the door, my bizarre paranoia carried over into adulthood.  I could NOT sleep with my back to the door until I was pregnant because I was sure that someone would sneak into my room and stab me.  I’m not sure why that was more frightening than actually seeing someone walk into my room with a knife.

The only reason pregnancy broke this habit was because I was told that I should sleep on my left side (and Annmarie would let me know this preference as well in utero by uncomfortably kicking the crap out of me if I tried to sleep on my right side).

But really – how batshit crazy was I as a child?  Let this be a lesson to all of you parents out there.  Don’t let your child watch horror movies!

12 Comments

Filed under Charm City Kim Breeds, Charm City Kim Rambles

Curb Appeal (Trying to Spruce Up My House)

Lately I’ve been trying to spruce up the exterior of our home.  I’m not sure what is instigating this – perhaps I’m just trying to think of ways to make our house sellable (despite us being a long way from selling it) or maybe it is knowing that we’re kind of stuck for a bit so I might as well make it something I like looking at?  Who knows.  According to Nate Berkus and Oprah Winfrey, “Your home should rise up to greet you.”  My home has never done that.

I’ve definitely neglected the exterior of my home over the years.  For example, we have a large plant pot in front of our house and we’ve gone through a few large plants.  We let the last plant not only die (so it was just a bunch of dead, prickly branches sticking out of the pot) but we also let it become overgrown with weeds.  I think that is what set me off.  After we chucked that plant and replaced it with a butterfly bush (that I completely forgot to snap a photo of) – I went a little nuts everywhere else.

Side note – the nursery where we purchased the plants recommended the butterfly bush because we said we needed something REALLY low maintenance that could handle full sun.  They also said it would attract butterflies.  Jeremy and I laughed at that because I don’t think I’ve EVER seen a butterfly in Baltimore.

Like I mentioned in my bitchy Father’s Day recap, we finally got around to planting some greenery in our back patio area.  This is an area we have let go to shit mostly because we just don’t spend a lot of time there.  I credit my chain smoking, drunk neighbors for that but I finally got tired of looking at our disgusting back patio area.

A few weeks ago, I plucked all of the weeds that had grown in the cracks of the cement.  I swept up 2 years worth of debris that had accumulated on and under our porch.  I threw away junk that didn’t belong.  I coralled all of the shovels, brooms, etc. into one area.

While our back area still is not perfect, it isn’t as awful as it was before.  We purposely sought plants that were low maintenance and that had a strong scent (did I mention my chain smoking neighbors?).  So here it is:

 
Lilacs
The picture doesn’t really do it justice (or maybe it does). But I like the uniform look of the 3 boxes filled with Lavender plants.

 
Citronella
We have another planter on our fence (not pictured) filled with citronella but we purposely placed this plant box here to discourage the cats from wandering into our yard (and essentially starting a gang war with our dogs).  It actually hasn’t worked (the cats just walk around teh boxes) but it sort of helps to prevent the dogs from jumping through the railing.  And now they smell of citronella.

 
Petie scoping for cats
Petie is searching for cats.

 
Basil!

This plant box used to be attached to the fence (up high).  We had purchased basil, mint, rosemary and cilantro 2 summers ago because I was determined to grow my own herbs and veggies.  The veggie thing was a big fail (we bought a tomato planter and managed to grow 1 terrible tomato).  While the rosemary and cilantro didn’t make it, the basic and mint are very resilient.  I was sure the basil died earlier in June but after some watering, it came back.  Hello, basil!

We had to rearrange our plant boxes because after planting a few items, we realized that the weight of the filled boxes could pull down our fence.  Plus it didn’t make much sense to have the boxes at the top of the fence (since the lavender plants reach so high).  I couldn’t find a picture of our back patio under normal conditions so here is a snapshot from the snowpocalypse of 2010 (the snow from our roof finally came down and took out one of the plant boxes).  But you can see how we distributed the boxes around the fence.  And don’t make fun of our classy dachshund sign.

What I’d love to tackle next is refinishing the metal railing on my back porch.  2 years ago, we thought we’d just replace it but realized that it would be a much bigger pain in the ass than we thought.  But the railing is rusted over and paint is chipping.  I’d like to sand it down and repaint it so it looked decent.  Any tips on doing that?  I found this article but oy, that sounds like a lot of work.

But despite sprucing up our exterior, we still can’t camouflage what is in our neighbor’s back patio:

Sorry for the grainy photo – this was taken with my phone (while holding a squirming baby).  But that big yellow arrow?  It is pointing to a TOILET that is on my neighbor’s porch.  A TOILET.  Stay classy, Baltimore.

4 Comments

Filed under Charm City Kim Rambles