Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Into the light II, originally uploaded by b_key.
oh. my. goodness. the light at the end of the tunnel. i finally feel like i can breath. just a bit.

i have neglected my blog. i have neglected my house. i have neglected the laundry. i have neglected my favorite tv shows (and they were already few and far between at this stage of my life, anyway). i have neglected my favorite blog reads. my google reader reached 1000 and stopped counting for me. a long time ago. i have neglected my online shopping/perusing. i have basically neglected anything that can be neglected, save my kids and husband. although he would probably tell you that he's been neglected, too.

my new business has been all consuming and a bit (ok, a lot) overwhelming. i've made several mistakes thus far that have put me here. my portfolio building deal was probably a little too generous. i honestly was not expecting the level of interest i received. i expected to get a few shoots under my belt and a few pretty photographs to add to my portfolio and that would be that. but, thus far i've had 15 sessions and have another five on the calendar over the next two weeks. that makes twenty sessions in a month and a half.

mistake number two. see above. twenty sessions in seven weeks averages just shy of three per week. clearly, i had not actually edited a full session start to finish prior to booking all twenty sessions. had i actually edited a full session, i would have known that there was no way that i could manage three sessions per week. it takes me at least ten hours per session... between the shoot itself, reviewing all of the photos and selecting the 20-30 images to proof. then, there's the editing of those proofs. adjusting skin tones, correcting white balance issues, hiding blemishes, or chocolate smears or cracker crumbs. and, ten hours is probably on the low side.

so three, sometimes four, sessions in a week at 10+ hours per session. sounds reasonable, right? reasonable if you have an office, with a door and your coffee and maybe some tunes on pandora. however, this is not my reality. i have two five year olds that must be fed, clothed and off to school every morning. i have a 14 month old who is go go go all day long, save for a short (sometimes long, if i'm lucky) nap in the afternoon.

so, my reality? my reality is that i'm LUCKY if i can get 3-5 hours of editing in per day by squeezing it in while piper is either napping or the kids have gone to bed. so, you do the math. it doesn't work. it doesn't even come close to working. oh, and add in a four week photoshop class to the mix as well. i guess i thought i'd just throw that in for kicks. but, to be fair, it was worth every penny and hour spent as my editing, hard as it is to believe, is actually much faster now.

lessons learned. most the hard way. i know now that if i'd like to schedule 3-4 sessions per week that i'll need an assistant, or babysitter, or both. oh, and a cleaning lady, too.

i am very much looking forward to a break over the holidays. i have blocked off the weeks between thanksgiving and new years and won't be scheduling any sessions during that time. i need some down time. i also need to give some attention to the business side of things... my contracts, marketing materials, my business cards, etc.

despite being completely overwhelmed, which is all my doing, i am so happy to be in this place. i'm gaining tons of experience. my portfolio is growing by leaps and bounds, and can't believe how far i've come in just a few short months. i'm so looking forward to 2011 and seeing where and how my business will(hopefully) grow. i'll also be armed with the knowledge that i've gained in this process and will hopefully be able to find the balance that will work with my reality.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hello

I've been neglecting my blog and am a little sad about it.  I've been a bit consumed with starting the new business and all of my spare minutes have been spent on it.  The website, its layout, SEO and metatags...  a language foreign to me until a few weeks ago.  The strange and crazy world of Google and how it reads your site and language within.  It's a lot to absorb. And, I think I have a handle on it, finally.  At least for now.

So, the new site?  Here it is...

Tracy Heyman Photography

And, in addition to the portrait photography business, I opened an Etsy shop to sell some of my prints as well.   It's all exciting and overwhelming at the same time.


Business aside, we just got home from a wonderful weekend in Delaware.  Beautiful weather, delicious food, wine and time spent with family.  My idea of a perfect long weekend. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

I'm a business owner.

So, it's official.  I've registered my photography business with the state of Pennsylvania!  A huge step in the process and one that basically makes it, well, official.  My head is spinning with all that I have yet to do.  I need to put the final touches on my website, finalize my contracts and releases, finish my pricing list (which involves actually making a decision on what to charge - so hard!!), create my business cards and marketing material, and open an Etsy shop to sell my still life prints.  I couldn't sleep last night with all of these things running through my head.

I got a call from a friend of mine who is having a baby any day now and would like me to do a newborn session for her.  Of course I jumped at the opportunity to shoot a newborn but this has upped my deadline for getting my business in order.  I had been planning for September 1st to be "open for business" but it looks like that's going to happen a few weeks ahead of schedule.  Which, is actually ok.  It forces me to get it done as I am a serious procrastinator at times and work best with deadlines! 

Did I mention that my head is spinning?  In case I didn't, it is.

Friday, August 13, 2010

School

So much going on as of late.  The twins start school in 11 days - ack!!  As much as I've looked forward to this monumentus occasion on those days when they've been driving me crazy, I'm so sad.  The thought of them being gone everyday, ALL DAY makes my heart ache.  Plus, it just seems that they're too small/young for school.  How will they navigate through an entire day without me?    *sigh*    I know they'll be fine and I know I will, too.  And, don't get me wrong,  I will most certainly welcome the extra time and freedom.  It's been a bit crazy being a stay at home mom to three kids five and under.  But, life is going to change drastically soon and I know that I'll miss the craziness.  And, I'll miss them.  A lot.

We moved into this house when the twins were eighteen months.  It honestly seems like yesterday.  I remember being so excited to be here.  A house with a quiet street where they would be able to ride their bikes without the worry of a lot of traffic and have friends to play with and just enjoy being kids.  At that time I was working three days a week in the office and two from home.  I was a great schedule and I was thankful for those days at home with them.  Oh, the things we were going to do together!  It seemed like the three years that we had ahead of us, before they would start school, was an eternity.  I'm still not sure how we got here so quickly.  And, without doing half of the things that I wanted and planned to do. 

We're joining the ranks of back to school shoppers this weekend to pick up any and all necessary items for school.  I'm struggling a bit with this as my daughter has developed her own personal fashion sense and it doesn't come even a teeny bit close to mine.  We went shoe shopping last night and her choice of shoes made me cringe.  Every pair.  Thankfully, none of them came in her size. Whew.  I know that I will probably not be quite as lucky tomorrow.  I also know that I should just let her buy what she likes.  EJ, so far, doesn't seem to care much about shoes or clothes.  I can still influence him.  At least for now.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A First Birthday Party

A certain little girl with strawberry blonde hair celebrated her first birthday last Saturday.  There was a lot of  pink, a lot of sunshine and a lot of people who love her there to celebrate her day.








Sunday, August 1, 2010

Your Eyes

It's so easy to take them for granted.  So very easy to just expect that they'll always do their job.  That your sight will always be there.  Until one night, when you're on the computer and you see black spots floating across your computer screen.  And, you think to yourself, what the heck was that?  You start to rub the screen thinking that it must have been dirt.  Only to discover a few minutes later that it's not. 

Then, you remember how earlier in the day your eye had felt like there was something in it.  And actually, while you're thinking about it, you realize that it still hurts.  And, you're freaking out a bit because your seeing spots.

This was me on Thursday night.  I tried to put it out of my head but my eye continued to hurt all day Friday.  Friday night I made the mistake that I make far too often.  I googled my symptoms.  I guess it could be viewed as a good thing because it did get my arse to the eye doctor the next day as I had self diagnosed myself with Uveitis.  Which, as I found out yesterday afternoon after a visit to the eye dr., I do have. 

Uveitis is an inflammation of the inner layer of the eye.  It feels as lovely as it sounds.  Uveitis can be caused by a variety of things...  some very benign and some very serious.  It is often a result of an auto immune disease like rheumatoid arthritis or MS.   And while my dr. did mention that those diseases as being a cause, he didn't seem concerned.  He gave me a prescription for eye drops that should, hopefully, take care of the issue.  No follow up.  No additional testing.  He said I should be feeling better in a few days.

If you google Uveitis, however, it paints a different picture.  Cataracts, glaucoma, blindness, MS, other auto immunue diseases.  It's not a pretty picture.  And quite different from the "take these drops for a week and you'll be fine".  I should really learn to stay off of the internet. 

Oh, and the best part?  While I had mentioned in a previous post that I was planning to wean Piper from nursing before my beach trip, I didn't follow through and spent that weekend pumping.   She happily went back to nursing when I returned home and I was planning to let her self wean.  Until I got my Rx for the drops yesterday.  I forgot to ask the dr. at my appointment whether or not they were safe while nursing.  And, by the time I got to the pharmacy, the dr's office had closed for the weekend.  So, while we were down to only nursing two or three times a day, we were all of a sudden forced to abruptly wean.  While she seems ok, weaning is painful.  And, this is now in addition to the pain in my eye.

Lovely.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wishing Jar



The ├╝ber talented Liz of paislee press has a new kit being released tomorrow called Wishing Jar and it's brilliant and whimsical and beautiful. I love the sentiment and the color scheme and well, basically, everything.  And while I will admit that she didn't design this beautiful little kit just for me, I will pretend she did.  I mean really, could she have created anything more perfect for my blog header than a jar full of little stars?  My collection of the little things that light up my days now beautifully captured in her little illustration.  *sigh*

For a chance to win this oh-so-lovely kit tomorrow, check out Liz's blog post here.  

Thursday, July 22, 2010

R & R


, originally uploaded by Shelba.

16 hours and counting until my weekend of r & r begins. Three days of no schedule and no kids. Four friends. Four friends who have known each other since first grade. The beach. Not sure it gets much better than that.

I'm looking forward to a lot of uninterrupted sleeping in, and coffee drinking, and book reading, and sun, surf and sand'ing, and napping, and wine drinking, and restaurant going, and photo snapping and memory making.

And, a whole lot of pretending, at least for a few days, that I have no responsibility for anyone but me.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Changes

So many changes on the horizon... some very near and some more distant. For one, I can't believe the summer is more than half over. I'm going to be sending two of my three kids off to full day kindergarten. Life is going to change so much at the end of this summer. I'm not sure I'm ready.

Speaking of being ready, we are going to be joining the ranks of the back to school shoppers. EJ and Olivia are already talking about which backpack and lunchbox they would like to purchase for their first year of school. Craziness. I'm not sure how we got here so quickly.

And speaking of quick, Piper will be one in a few short weeks. She's cruising and pulling up and crawling and opening cabinet doors and climbing onto things and up stairs and basically causing me to chase her around all day long. She said her first word this week and, as no surprise, it was the word "no". And, she's gets quite a kick out of saying it. She's basically just mocking us... because we're constantly telling her "no, no, no" to everything and so now she has started saying "no, no, no" when she's doing something she's not supposed to be doing. It's quite cute, for now anyway.

I'm also going through the very sad (for me, at least) process of weaning from nursing. I'm taking a trip next week to the beach with several of my girlfriends (which I'm very much looking forward to, by the way) but I've decided to wean before I go. I just don't want to have a repeat of the trouble that we had when I returned from Disney. I would rather end things on a high note than to have a battle on my hands when I return, which I might not win. Plus, she'll be one in three weeks and I have quite the freezer stash to get her through to her first birthday. Still, it's been very, VERY sad for me. She seems to be totally fine with it all. Which, I guess, is a good thing.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A little doodling.  A little font playing.  A little arranging and rearranging in Photoshop and I've got myself a logo. And, a business! Or, at least the idea and plan for one. 


A new camera. A website. A logo. A domain name. Hosting options. A business plan. And business related forms. Legal stuff. Creative stuff.

My brain is on overdrive right now. And, in total Tracy fashion, I'm researching everything to death.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Scenes from a Fourth of July Weekend


















Parading, ice cream'ing, sparsely populated beach spending, sailing, fishing, sparklering, smiling, rock and shell collecting, toe dipping, first time sand feeling, and lots of stair climbing.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Greener Lawn

Isn't that what everyone wants?  A lush green lawn without weeds?  So, what do you do to get said lawn?  Call in the professionals, right?  TruGreen.  The company who put flyers on your door because your new lawn at your new house has more weeds than it does grass.  Your neighbors use their services and their lawns look lush and thick and weed free while you've spent hours of your summer hand pulling clover from the yard.  And, when that fails, you try organic options, such as vinegar, that while kills the clover also kills the grass in the process as well.

So, after months of trying and failing, you cave.  You call the number.  Or, well, your husband calls the number because you can't bring yourself to do it.  They come.  They spray pesticides and fertilizers all over your lawn where your kids and dog play.  You cringe.  You don't allow the kids outside for two+ days after every application.  You still cringe after those two days.  Your lawn grows.  Your weeds die.  A few applications later, the dream of a perfect lawn is starting to be realized right before your eyes.  You still cringe when that green truck shows up but you promise yourself that you'll stop treatments after a year.

A year goes by.  You stop all treatments and cancel service as per the plan.  Your husband talks you into just one more treatment in the Spring to kill any potential weeds.  You agree to just one.  You cringe again when the green truck arrives.  Even more so because you now have a baby in the house. You tell the TruGreen employee to only treat the front yard and skip the backyard due to the kids and vegetable garden.  You also tell said employee that they must call and get an OK from you to do any further treatments and that you do not want them to just show up and treat the lawn, which is how it usually works.  They agreed.  You go about your summer happily playing in the backyard worry free about any weed killer/pesticides.

Until today.  Until your five year old daughter walks up to you with a little watering can and says, "Hey Mommy, look at all of the little balls that I found in the driveway".  You look into the can to find about twenty little yellow balls.  You ask your daughter again where she found the balls and she tells you again, "the driveway".

You walk to the front of your house only to find your driveway completely littered with little yellow granular balls.  And then it hits you.  TruGreen was here and did a treatment.  Sure enough, you find the little sign almost hidden behind your lamp post in the front yard.   So, you freak out a bit about the thought of your daughter picking up all of those little fertilizer balls and immediately take her inside to thoroughly wash her hands.  You also ask silly but necessary questions about whether or not she tried to eat or lick the little balls.  And, you're serious because she still, at five, tends to put things in her mouth.  Thankfully, she assures you she did not.

You venture back outside to check the backyard and quickly discover the granules littering the backyard, too.  Upon further investigation, you find them throughout your vegetable garden.  You cringe again.  You find them all over the mulch around your kids' play set.  You cringe even more.  You find them all over the open sandbox and the toys surrounding it.  You start to feel sick.  You then find them in the kiddie pool filled with water.  You then go from feeling sick to feeling very angry.  You wonder how an employee of this company, knowing they are applying something that contains a weed killer, could knowingly spread it onto a vegetable garden, sandbox, toys and even into a kiddie pool that wasn't even in the yard but instead sitting on a patio.

You call your husband and yell.  A lot.  Not at him but at the situation.  He calls TruGreen.   Their services are forever canceled.  You spend several hours after the kids are in bed, spraying the little granules off of your driveway and sidewalk.  You're wearing flip flops.  You don't really think about the fact that while you're spraying the granules that the weed killer residue could be coming off of them and inadvertently spraying your feet.  You realize this scenario about halfway through the job and decide to change into sneakers.  You water your lawn, spray the garden, spray all of the kids toys and decide to throw away the kiddie pool (it had a hole in it anyway).

You come inside, take a shower and finally sit down at the computer.  You write a blog post about TruGreen and it wastes way more of your time than it should.  But it makes you feel somewhat better.  Until you think about the fact that you probably got weed killer on your feet.  And, as you're thinking about it, you realize that the skin on your right foot burns just a bit.  You cringe.  You worry about the fact that you probably have weed killer now in your system and you're still nursing your baby.  Then, you wonder if said burning is all in your head because you worry way more than you probably should about this stuff.  Then, you sign off and say goodnight, hoping that your foot is still intact in the morning and you don't poison your baby when she wakes up to eat.   




 




  

Monday, June 28, 2010

I scrapped!

A page I did last night (click for credits):

I haven't done much scrapping lately.  There just aren't enough hours in the day, I guess.   I have these grand plans to scrap all of the kids' first year baby books and here we are, four years later for the twins and no books.  I've resigned myself to the fact that it's just not going to happen.  There's no way, at this point, that I have the time to scrap every single page that I'd like to see in their books.  And, lets not forget that I actually have a third book to do as well.  Or, the one that I promised my Dad for his 60th birthday (he'll be 62 this fall).  Ugh. 

I'm great at remembering to take photographs and jotting all of the important stuff down.  I have a notebook of all of their "firsts" and funny quotes, things they've said/done.  But, that's where it begins and ends.  I did just recently purchase four 12X12 Martha Stewart albums that were on clearance at Michaels.  I've devised a new plan for the albums and they will hopefully resemble Ali Edwards' A Week In the Life albums.  I do have a lot of pages scrapped already so I'm thinking that the mix of scrapped pages along with baseball card sized photos and snippets will actually allow me to finish the albums and also take the pressure off of designing a pretty page for every photo. 

I'm all for plans that make my life easier.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

to the man that I'm lucky enough to call my Dad.  Thank you for all that you've done, all that you've been and all that you are to me. 

P.S.  Your granddaughter seems to adore you as much as I do.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ten months old tomorrow.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Solitude


umbreLLa, originally uploaded by IrenaS.
I need a vacation. Solo. Somewhere warm and breezy. With a lounge chair in the shade. And good coffee. And a beach. And a cooler full of IPAs. And a fresh stack of magazines that I actually have the time to read. And my camera. And my iPhone with a playlist of new-to-me good music. And no schedule. Just for a couple of days. Or 24 hours? Please?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sprinkle




I so love my herb garden (and the sweet boy under the umbrella). This is my first year planting one and I had no idea how much I was missing. I will never be without one again.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Project 365

I've fallen off of the Project 365 wagon and can't seem to get back on. How has it become so difficult to take a photo a day? A missed day here or there has turned into blocks of missed days and on a regular and consistent basis. And, this is all in addition to the fact that I can't seem to get around to editing/posting to flickr the photos that I have have taken.

**sigh**
I knew this would probably happen. I've lost my thunder. The project has lost that shiny newness. Still hoping to climb back on and figure a year of photos with a bunch of holes is better than no photos at all.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Vintage Travel Trailer

On my life's wish list. A vintage travel trailer to travel the country with my husband and kids. I so ♥ this one.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I so ♥ this ♥ song.

First Cold

Well, we made it nine months, one week and one day in our little world of healthiness.  It was bound to end at some point.  I was just hoping for a little while longer. 

Piper has her first cold.  Granted, I should be very thankful we've made it this long, especially considering I've had several colds (and probably H1N1 in Oct.), EJ has had a few colds and she hasn't had as much as a sniffle.

We had dinner with our neighbors Friday night and to their credit, they told us on Thursday that their 10 month old had a cold.  But, I didn't want to be one of those mothers freaked out by a germ or two and said that it was fine and we'd be there.  Well, I dutifully wiped each and every toy she put into her mouth while there.  In hindsight, I probably should have kept all of his toys out of her reach.  But, a room full of 'new to her' toys and a curious nine month old is a battle I probably would have lost in the end anyway.

Of course I also now regret going and wish I would've said we'd reschedule.  It forgot how heartbreaking it is to see a baby suffer through an illness.  They don't understand why they feel so miserable.  I also forgot how difficult it is for a baby to eat when they're congested.  Nursing now consists of gulping milk in between gasps for air.  Poor little one.  Hoping for a speedy recovery!

On a lighter note, we have preschool graduation tonight.  Still can't believe we're to this point.  The kids are very excited about what is in store for tonight and so am I.  Parents were not allowed in the building this morning for drop off as it's all going to be a big surprise. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

cups of chocolate goodness.

looooooove these pudding cups.  love even more how you make them.  brilliant.  and definitely on the to do list for this summer. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

My Weekend =

cookies.  I have a feeling I will be spending all weekend on these.  The teachers at preschool asked me if I'd be willing to make Cat in the Hat cookies for graduation Monday evening.  They found a photo online of said cookies and thought, since the kids spent a lot of time on Dr. Seuss during the school year, that the cookies would be fitting.  I agreed. 

Luckily, I found the hat cookie cutter online and ordered it.  I'm fairly new to baking and definitely not ready for the hand cutting of cookies.  I baked them this afternoon and am hoping to get all of the decorating done tomorrow.  They *should* look like this when they're done.  At least I'm hoping they will be some resemblance of it, anyway.  The teachers also requested that I put each child's name on the cookie so I'm thinking of giving edible markers a try.  We'll see how it goes! 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

droplet love.


droplet love., originally uploaded by tlheyman.
So very tired of all of the rain we've been having lately. But, it makes for pretty photographs.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

changes

so many changes on the horizon.  only three more days of preschool for the twins.  kindergarten this fall.

how did we get here so quickly?  how did this preschool year pass with lightening speed?  i can't believe they are almost done.  i'm going to miss taking them to school.  i'm going to miss the teachers.  i'm going to miss the kids and their parents.  i'm going to miss the snack days and field trips.  i'm going to miss being a mom to preschoolers.

how quickly this year has passed.  it seems like just yesterday we were attending their preschool orientation.  piper was only a few weeks old and even though i was utterly exhausted from lack of sleep, i was excited for their school year.  i was excited to be a stay at home mom for the first time.  i was excited to spend their last year at home with them. 

that year is quickly coming to an end.

they rode this school bus yesterday to a local elementary school for a field trip.  i forget how exciting it is to ride a bus for the first time.  i love that their preschool incorporates this trip into their final weeks of preschool.  it's such a great way to introduce them to the world they'll be entering in just a few short months.

a brand new world.  a little scary, too.  especially for their mom.  how are they old enough to spend an entire day without me?  navigating their way through bus rides, cafeteria lunches and recess.  making new friends.  new influences.  new choices and freedoms.  they will become new people, even if it's just barely noticeable.  it makes me sad but so excited for them, too.  excited for our new life.

the life as a stay at home mom to two kindergartners and a toddler.   oh yeah, that's right.  did i mention that my plan to go back to work after the twins started school has been postponed?  indefinitely.  :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

cake


Christmas dummy cake, originally uploaded by neviepiecakes.

so, so, so, so, so in love with this cake. i would love to do something like this for piper's first birthday. i've never worked with fondant, though, so i guess i should start practicing now.

did i mention that i'm in love with this cake? ok. just wanted to make sure i mentioned it.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Camping


Reflections, originally uploaded by creativecustoms.
We're headed to Gifford Pinchot State Park this weekend. Wishing the weather forecast looked a bit brighter, a little warmer and a lot less windy. But, I've packed everything from winter coats to bathing suits, just to be sure we're covered.

First time camping as a family of five.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Tea/Coffee and Books..., originally uploaded by Art Flow.

Hot (and strong) coffee, a beautiful Spring day, and lots of fun projects on the brain. Life is good.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cool digs

for chickens. Would love to have one of these (and a few chickens to go with it): cooped up 

I'm assuming this would break some sort of ordinance?  I should check into it.

sighs of relief.

it's like that auto insurance commercial.  or is it a law office commercial?  where they show a bunch of people sighing all because they have great auto coverage (or a great attorney, since i can't seem to remember the actual commercial).  anyway, that's me.  sighing.

life is back to normal.  piper and i are back to normal.  happily nursing again.  such a relief.  granted, it wouldn't have been the end of the world to stop nursing her at this point.  but, i would have forever felt guilty about it because i left her for those days, which in turn caused our struggles.  however, all is right with the world of nursing once again.  i'm glad i stuck with it.  i'm glad i didn't quit.  i wanted to quit so many times.  but, i knew we'd get through it.  and, we did.  and, i'm happy.

now, i can get my focus back onto other things.  spring is my favorite time of year and am looking forward to doing a lot of work outside in the coming months.  i have big plans for our vegetable garden this year (now that i will actually be able to work in it without a big pregnant belly in the way).   first on my garden to do list this year is to NOT plant pumpkins or gourds.  i had no idea how much they take over their space (and every other vegetable's space in the garden as well).  they were awful garden residents and neighbors and i was forever cutting back their 4+ feet of new growth each day.  granted, we ended up with some pretty cool pumpkins and the kids loved watching them grow throughout the season, but they tried their darndest to take over the place.

i found a great vegetable garden plan on the better homes & gardens site that i'm planning to use this year.  it will hopefully make our garden a bit more organized and easier to access.  we're also adding a little bed of herbs this year, too, and am so excited about that.  fresh basil is one of the best smells on the planet.

Friday, April 23, 2010

mind games.

so, it's been over a week now that i've been trying to successfully resume breastfeeding piper.  it's been terribly stressful and not going well at all.  yesterday was such a bad day that i officially decided to quit.  i was sad and disappointed in myself for not being able to fix things.

i took the kids out for a walk shortly after my big decision.  i needed fresh air and we all needed to get out of the house.  a funny thing happened on that walk.  a weight appeared to be lifting.  i, all of a sudden, didn't feel so stressed or overwhelmed.  all was ok.  it wasn't the end of the world that i was done nursing.  piper is just shy of nine months old and i had met the two goals i had originally set for us.  first, i wanted to make it to six months and then second, i wanted to make it until we went to disney.  it was only a few weeks before disney that i had decided to continue nursing to a year if we could as i just wasn't ready to quit.

so really, what was the problem?  it wasn't the end of the world, or her world.  and, all of a sudden i started feeling some freedom in my decision.  wow.  i wouldn't necessarily have to be the one to get up with piper in the morning if she woke up early.  if she was taking bottles full time, gene could now participate and share in that responsibility.  i wouldn't have to schedule my day around her feedings and or need to be home for them.  i wouldn't get anymore calls while at target saying the baby is awake and i need to come home to feed her.  gene could take care of this now.  nice!

my anxiety was instantly gone.  my "end of the world" feelings and pressure to make it work was gone. plus, i was going to pump to continue to feed her as much breast milk as i could and i have a freezer stash to tap into as well.  all was going to be ok.

when we got back from our walk it was time to feed piper.  for the first time in a week, i wasn't nervous about it.  so, i thought to myself, why not give nursing another try?  no big deal if it doesn't work because, well, i've officially quit.  no strings attached.  no pressure.  and guess what?  we had one of our best sessions since i returned home.  and then another, and then another.  and so far so good today, too.  i guess saying i was quitting (and meaning it) was all i really needed to do to let it all go.

now, i'm not saying we're fixed.  we may still have issues.  my anxiety over it may return.  but, for now, i'm in a much happier place, taking it day by day, with no pressure.  who would've thought that quitting would have been the best thing i could do?!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Breastfeeding woes

I'm in an awful downward spiral that I can't seem to stop or make any better.  Everyday is worse than the day before and I'm in a constant state of anxiety now that I can't stop.

After returning home from Disney, Piper refused to nurse the first few times I tried to feed her.  She pushed away and cried, etc.  It was a total blow.  I was devastated.  Thankfully, I continued working with her and by the afternoon, she was latching/nursing just fine.  To help to get her back on the breast again, I pumped until I had a letdown so she'd know that the milk was there, etc.  That worked fine.

Fast forward to the next day, I decided just to try to latch her without pumping first.  She latched right away.  Unfortunately for me, I was so worried about letting down before she got frustrated, that it was causing a slower than normal letdown.  She'd get frustrated/cry, which in turn would make me more stressed, which in turn would cause my letdown to take even longer.  One session that day was taking so long and I was so worked up that I had to take her off of the breast, put her in her exersaucer and use my pump.  Of course she was screaming her head off by that point, which make me even more stressed, and it took about 20 minutes to have a letdown.  It was AWFUL!!!!   That experience was so stressful that now I fear it happening every single time I try to latch her on now.  Which, I know, is the worst thing I can do.

I've had several sessions over the last few days that just didn't happen because I couldn't letdown.  I'm sooooooo nervous and anxious now.  And, believe me, I know this is the problem.  I know it is, but I don't know how to stop it.  I'm afraid I'm single handedly ruining our breastfeeding relationship and I can't stop it.   I've tried deep breaths, I've tried distracting myself, I've tried drinking water, I've tried singing, stretching/relaxation techniques before I try to latch her, etc.  Problem is, as soon as I pick her up to put her on the breast, my stomach turns to knots, I get hot, etc.  And, I CAN'T STOP IT!!!!

I know that part of the issue is that she got bottles for six days which gave her immediate satisfaction.  You don't have to wait for a bottle to letdown.  The milk is there instantly.  So, she's definitely less patient that she was before I went away.  But, my stress is making it take even longer than it should  What do I do??  Should I pump to get a letdown for a day or two to see if I can get myself settled back down again (so I don't have the stress of trying to letdown for her)?  But, I'm afraid that's just going to teach her that the milk will always be right there for her and that's not going to fix our problem. 

The other side of me is saying that maybe it's just time to throw in the towel.  My goal was a year and I want to get there but this has just become such a source of anxiety/stress and I don't know how to make it stop.  I'm starting to feel like a crazy person.  I do realize that it's all in my head.  Problem is, I can't make it better...  which is why I'm starting to feel crazy.   What do I do?  Stop bfing?  Pump to letdown?  I just don't know.  I'm writing all of this minutes after having an unsuccessful session with her and I had to put her to bed without nursing.  She's going to start to hate this as much as I am if something doesn't change. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Home Sweet Home

We're home!  Disney was wonderful and EJ and Olivia were the perfect age for their first trip.  Old enough to be relatively well behaved (out of the throw yourself on the ground temper tantrum phase, anyway) and young enough to still believe that the characters they were meeting were the real deal. 

The first night there we had dinner at the Akershus Dining Hall with all of the princesses.  What I didn't realize about "character dining" is that all of the characters will make their way to all of the tables for pictures and autographs.  I had just assumed that it was a hit or miss kind of thing and maybe you'd get to meet them and maybe you wouldn't.  It is wonderful that they have it set up this way.  Olivia was just beside herself meeting the princesses.  I think it was as much fun for me to watch her as it was for her.  We had four character dining meals during the week so the kids had the opportunity to meet a lot of the characters.  It was great. 

We tried to keep the trip as low key as possible.  Lets face it,  park vacations are exhausting.  The parks are crowded.  The lines can be long.  The sun is hot.  The kids get tired.  We were with my in-laws, too, so there was constant coordinating of plans.  We tried to spend the mornings at the parks and would often head back to the hotel in the early afternoon.  This allowed for some pool time and much needed nap/rest time for the kids (and us).   Our dinner reservations were always later in the evening and then there were late firework shows and parades so we were often heading to bed around 11 pm or later.  There is no way the kids could have done a full day like that without a nap.  So, this schedule worked so well for us. 

We stayed at a resort in the park that I can't imagine doing it any other way now.  Disney takes care of picking up your bags from the airport and delivering them to your room when you arrive.  And, they handle all transportation to and from the parks and the other resorts.  You could take the bus, monorail, or boat and would rarely wait more than 10 minutes for your ride.  Definitely the way to go.

It was great spending a week with just the twins.  As much as I missed my baby girl and couldn't wait to get home to her, this week gave me the opportunity to reconnect with my older two a bit.  I didn't realize how much I was missing because of the distractions of a new baby.  I actually got to have conversations and snuggle time without being pulled away because of a crying baby, diaper change or nursing.

Speaking of nursing, thankfully Piper and I are back on track.  We hit a few bumps when I got home but she's happily nursing again.  I am happy to report that my supply stayed intact as well.  Pumping was a huge pain in the arse and I tried to do at least four sessions a day, but it was worth the work to be able to continue nursing her.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip.  In the eyes of a five year old, I don't think there's much that can top celebrating your birthday with Mickey and friends.  I'll be back later with more photos!

 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

two days...

til Disney.  I can't believe it's here.  I still have a lot of packing to do but am feeling pretty organized at the moment, at least.  This trip is bittersweet as I'm so excited to be taking the twins to Disney for the first time but am leaving my sweet baby girl behind with her grandparents.

I know it's for the best.  I know that Piper would be miserable being strapped into a stroller, in the heat, for hours on end everyday. I know that the twins will love and appreciate some undivided attention from me.  They've lost a lot of "Mommy time" since Piper arrived in August.  I know that Piper will be completely spoiled by my parents over those six days.  Still, it hurts my heart to leave her.

And then, there's the irrational worrying.  I worry that something will happen to us on our trip.  Plane crash?  Shuttle/Monorail/boat accident?  We all die and leave her behind.  Granted, I wouldn't want her to die right along with us but she'd be left without her family.  Terrible thought. Then, there's the irrational worrying about her.  Will she choke on something?  Fall out of her highchair?  Be in a car accident with my parents?  Become deathly ill and I'm not there to care for her.  All of these thoughts plague me in the wee hours of the morning.  Crazy, I know.  I fully admit it.

And then, to add more stress to the situation, I'm still nursing her.  Now, she takes a bottle with no problem so I'm not worried about that part.  I also have been stockpiling milk and have 200 ounces (give or take) in the freezer at the moment.  This will be more than enough for her while we're away.   But, I worry about whether she'll latch again when I return or will want nothing to do with nursing.  Also, I have to take my pump with me, obviously, and will need to find the time to pump throughout the day.  Then, there's the issue of getting all of that pumped milk home. Ugh.  It makes my head spin.

I figure it will all work itself out.  We'll have a wonderful week with the twins celebrating their 5th birthdays and their final months before they start school.  Piper will have a wonderful week with her grandparents and they will enjoy spending that time with her as well. Hopefully I'll find the time to pump regularly so that it won't affect my supply much and we can resume nursing without a hitch when I return home.

My perfect scenario.  Crossing my fingers it plays out that way.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

my little ones sporting their Easter attire.  Happy Easter!








Thursday, April 1, 2010

an everyday conversation

between me and ej about babies.

me: "so ej, do you think mommy should have another baby or should i be done having babies?"
ej: "um, i think you should be done, mama. it would take like a whole week for another baby to pop out. and, that's just too long."

a "whole week" to "pop out" another baby. oh how i wished it worked that way. :)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

countdown...


DISNEYWORLD, originally uploaded by ernest.borg9.
...has begun. packing has commenced. excitement at our house is at an all time high.

headed to disney world next week for ej and olivia's fifth birthdays.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

say hello...

...to my latest craigslist find.  a set of fulton sign & chart marker stamps. so excited about this one and i can't wait to put it to use!  so many project ideas and so little time.  story of my life.  but, still happy just to call it mine.