Tuesday, February 22, 2011

cute words

Jude is just a-talkin' up a storm lately, and I really want to make sure I document the adorable way he says things (and sees the world) lately. I wish I could capture them all on video, but his inner disdain of the paparazzi seems to come out anytime I try.

-Jude has recently discovered a fondness for his nickname, "Judeabug." In fact, when friends say, "Hi Jude!" to him, he matter of factly replies, "No." Then he points to his stomach and informs, "Zoo-Bug."

-Shawn once referred to one of Jude's race cars as a cool car, and now every. single. car. in the house is a "coo car!"

-Jude usually refers to Cohen as "Baby," or occasionally, "Co Co." If we press him on it, he tries really hard to say Cohen's name, though it comes out as, "Ca-nah."

-I sing a song to Jude that includes the lyrics, "My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there's nothing my God cannot do, for you," and then we name people we love that God can do anything for. Jude has learned to name Mommy, Daddy, Zoo-Bug, Baby, his friends Edy (Eden), Lon-non (London), and Lezz-eh (Ledger). When I ask, "Who else, Jude?" he very often answers, "A pillow! Plane! A beeeg truck!" Yes, it's true. There's nothing that God cannot do for that pillow.

-As the weather warms up down here, I put flip-flops on Jude the other day and told him that he would be wearing flip-flops just like his Daddy. Jude excitedly exclaimed, "A fwop! A Daddy! A fwop!" Later on, when he grew tired of his flip-flops, he told me, "No fwop."

-Last week Jude, Cohen, and I were playing in the backyard. Jude looooves himself some rocks, so he was happily digging for rocks while I pushed Cohen in his swing. All of a sudden, I heard Jude's panicked cry, and when I rushed to him realized that his hands were covered in about fifteen little ants. I quickly brushed them off, getting a couple on myself in the process. Turns out these ants bite (they weren't fire ants, though), and they did in fact hurt. Jude quickly grew little white spots on his hands where the ants had bitten him, and even now he has several little dots that are healing still. When we went back out the next day, I told Jude to make sure he was careful about not touching the ants. Jude walked up to about two feet away from the spot where the offending ants had bitten him, very seriously pointed to the spot, and said, "NO ants! A-ants HUWT! No huwt ants!"

He sure told them.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

weighty issues

Cohen had his six month check up yesterday, and we found out that he's thirteen lbs and some change. The good news is that he's in the fifth percentile for height AND weight, so it's probable that he's just small. The bad news is that he hasn't gained much weight since his last appointment at four months, so we need to take precautions to make sure he doesn't drop off the curve. After the doctor asked me how many times Cohen was eating a day (5-6 times), he asked me about my diet. I told him that I was cutting calories and exercising to try and lose baby weight, but that I was also trying to make sure I was taking in enough calories so my milk supply stayed strong (on days I don't work out, I eat about 1800 calories a day). Our doctor believes that my milk may just not be fatty (or calorically dense) enough. He advised that I try to take in more calories.

I asked if I should go back to feeding Cohen at night, and he seemed to think that Cohen needed to sleep through the night and should be able to get more than enough milk during the day.

Given everything that we went through with Jude, my heart sank when I saw that he weighed a mere 13 lbs at six months old. I wondered if there's something wrong with my body that just won't allow me to nourish a child past six months.

And then, because I strive to be pretty transparent, I have to admit that I've given serious thought to just ending breastfeeding. I had just started having success in losing weight when I'm told I need to add calories and apparently either stop losing weight or lose it significantly more slowly. My body has not been my own for almost four years now, and I miss feeling comfortable in my own skin. I feel like I'm not giving an accurate representation of who I am, and I want to wear a sign that says, "I promise. I'm actually a very disciplined and health-conscious person. This is not who I am." On a practical level, none of my clothes (except for my maternity clothes) fit. I have a closet full of clothes that I love and carefully chose and cannot wear. I also have a feeling that the boys and I will spending lots of time poolside and at water parks this summer, and I'd really rather enjoy it than to spend my moments painfully self-conscious. Selfish and vain, I'm aware.

I'm not ready to throw in the towel yet though, so I'm asking around and researching ways that I can boost my calories, fatten up my baby, and still lose baby weight. If you happen to have experience with this or advice to share, I'd love to hear it. Weight Watchers isn't really an option for me because 1)I don't want to spend money, and 2)I don't want to learn the points system. I do know they have a specialized program for breastfeeding though, so maybe I shouldn't write if off. And if your advice includes anything similar to, "I don't know, I lost thirty pounds in three weeks with breastfeeding and just couldn't keep the weight on," just know that I may punch you. Just sayin'.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

exciting stuff in the life of the maurers

Of course by "exciting," I mean not terribly interesting stuff. I'm working really hard at getting over forty diapers sewn and stocked, so finding time to sew is kind of consuming my days right now.

After being in Texas for about ten weeks, I think we're finally feeling like we've settled in. I ventured out with both boys on my own yesterday to find a Joann Fabrics. Naturally, I got terribly lost, but I made it there by myself nonetheless. We're pretty close to a relatively complicated highway system and it makes me want to pee my pants. I really only know the stores that exist between our home and the church, so exploring outside of that (especially in an exploration that ended up with me accidentally getting on said scary highway system) is a big deal. I made it there AND back in time for Cohen's next feeding. Pretty impressive stuff.

I think part of the reason we're starting to feel more settled is because our house is due to close tomorrow. I haven't mentioned it here on the blog because Shawn and I were a little afraid to get our hopes up in case something didn't go through. I think it's still a little surreal to both of us, but it's looking like everything is actually going smoothly. The house was actually only on the market for six weeks (which included Christmas and New Year's) before we were able to put it under contract! Six weeks! Ashley Lay is one incredible realtor, and seeing God taking care of one thing after the other only confirms to us that this is His will.

I made calls on Monday to turn off the electricity and water tomorrow, and felt a sense of finality in doing so. Getting the house sold is the last major stressor of moving on our shoulders. Being able to wash our hands of it makes me feel like I can take a deep breath and just be here. There's no doubt that there are so many ties we still have to Winston-Salem, but it's a nice feeling to know that those ties are people and relationships instead of stress.

Our lease for our house here in Texas is a year long lease that would end next December, so we're not in a rush to start looking to jump into home ownership right away. We love owning a home of course, but after doing so much work to get our house ready for the market, it's nice to take a break from home repair and maintenance. What's that? There's a storm brewing that might cause huge branches to fall down and crush the roof? As long as none of my kids or husband are underneath said branch, I don't have a care in the world. It's nice to not have to remember when the air filters were last changed or find time to take care of the yard work.

Beyond that, the Maurers are all doing well. I ran 3.2 miles the other day (at a painfully slow pace, so please don't be impressed) and will soon sign up for a Dallas 5K in April. I've also lost 10lbs, so I now only have 30 more to go (said with sarcasm, because 30lbs is still daunting). Cohen is still not sleeping through the night, but continues to charm me with that smile. Jude is getting smarter by the day (his teachers were really impressed by how far ahead of the learning curve he is), and seems to only be growing in affection towards Cohen. Shawn is working hard and is excited about good things going on in the ministry here at Compass. The time away at the conference was really a great chance for him to sit with his fellow ministers and talk about vision and plans. Vision in ministry is something that just sets Shawn's heart on fire, so he's looking forward to seeing God's hand in their plans.

I hate to end this abruptly, but sewing calls! I pray your day is a blessed one!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

a letter to cohen

Dear Cohen,

Sweetness, you turned six months old yesterday! You're such a precious kiddo, and I'm so blessed that God's allowed us to cuddle you, kiss you, and steward your young life. Quite frankly Cohen, you're adorable and joy to be around!

So let's talk a little bit about what you've been up to lately, shall we? You get your official weigh in on Friday, but our home scale says that you weigh between 15-16 lbs, which is just about perfect. You've been nursing great, and you've also been getting 2 oz. of food at dinner time. Just yesterday, I started giving you 2 oz at lunch time as well. You really love to eat solid food, although you kind of sabotage my efforts at feeding you by trying to put your fist in your mouth after each bite, thereby squishing out much of your food. You crack me up when you watch Daddy and I eat. Cohen, you stare longingly at the food on our plates and watch with mouth open (sometimes even drooling) as we take each bite. I keep trying to tell you that you're not quite ready for Daddy's pizza yet, but you apparently don't care.

I've noticed recently how distinctly interactive you are. You really like to study faces and are imitating more than most kids your age. You squeal with delight when I bring my face close to yours, and you love putting your hands on my face and drawing me to you. I know this intuitive desire to interact is a character trait that God has given you, and I can't wait to see how He uses it in your life. My current favorite activity is to smother your neck and cheek with kisses, I love it! Sometimes you giggle and squeal, but most of the time you just smile with contentment.

Daddy says that I've been claiming you're on the verge of teething for months, but I figure I'll be right at some point. Nonetheless, I have noticed two little white spots where your bottom front teeth will soon be. I check every day to see if they've broken through, but for now they're just remaining two spots.

I had about a two week run that you sort of looked like you might have some of me in you, but you are 100% your Daddy's kid now. You have long fingers and toes like Daddy and you even have lots of lines on your hands like Daddy. Your skin tone has hints of olive color, and you even make many of the same facial expressions. Your Dad is the most handsome man I've ever met, so I believe these similarities to be the highest compliment.

You seem bent on outdoing your brother's sleeping through the night record and are still waking up a few times. I can tell you that it's now official. You have indeed taken longer to sleep through the night than your brother did. You may now proceed to sleep, resting in the fact that you've outdone him.

Speaking of Jude, you two are just crazy about each other. You like to reach out and rest your hand on his shoulder. He's not a big fan of when you try to pick his nose or rip out his eyeball, but I trust you'll soon figure out that's not really acceptable. Jude cracks you up when he gets to the "we all fall down" part of Ring Around the Rosie, and you're just fascinated by pretty much everything he does. Cohen, I want you to know that Jude loves you so much. He very much wants you to be proud of him, and his face lights up when he realizes that he's made you happy.

In general, you're such an easy going, happy kiddo, and I'm honored to be your Mom! I love you more than I ever thought possible, and that love seems to amazingly grow with each day. You've been such a delicious delight to love for six months now, and sweet love, it's our honor and joy to continue loving you with every fiber of our beings for as long as God allows. Cohen, you are loved and adored so much more than you know.


*Photos are taken by the amazing Jenn Lewis of Photographic Memories

Thursday, February 10, 2011

a boring post

You and I both know that you only come here for pictures and stories of the cutest boys south of the Mason Dixon line. I'm sorry to disappoint this time, but I've been kind of a photo taking slacker lately. Instead, I just thought I'd share random bits of Maurer news and thoughts with you.

1. Blogging about Cohen sleeping through the night did indeed jinx me. He's doing better than he was before Baby Boot Camp, but he's still waking up two or three times at night. As I'm holding him in my arms to rock him, I've learned that I can't make eye contact with him. If I do, the little stinker starts cooing, smiling, and talking to me. Before I know it, I'm having to hold myself back from giving him tickle-y kisses at 4:00 in the morning.

2. Shawn is home safe and sound. He really enjoyed the conference and brought me back some scarves. That boy knows me well.

3. Now that Shawn's home again, I can resume running, and I'm really excited by that. I had been doing a Latin Dance DVD to get in my exercise everyday, but it was just embarrassing to all parties involved. This white girl can handle line dancing, and that's just about it. The funny thing is, I thought I was doing really well with the dance moves. Until I did them in the mirror. I look like the drunk cousin at the wedding who thinks what she's doing is sexy and is therefore dancing her little heart out. Nobody needs to see that.

4. Nursing Cohen is still going really well. It'll be six months of being exclusively breast fed soon, and I couldn't be more proud. I was already supplementing at this point with Jude, so I'm relieved that despite being sick for so long, I've been able to keep my milk supply steady (with the help of Fenugreek and a lot of lactation cookies). I'm counting down the months until I can wean him, but I'm planning on either nursing him until he's a year old or pumping enough that I can wean him early. Every fiber of my being misses cheese.

5. Jude had his first little Valentine's Day party at school today. I let him pick out what valentines he wanted to give his classmates, and he chose the Toy Story valentines which included a temporary tattoo. Personally, I liked the monkey valentines with the banana silly bands, but since Jude was screaming at the top of his lungs for the previous fifteen minutes that we'd spent in Target and people were looking at me like I should put duct tape over his mouth, I wasn't able to try and fight that battle. We had a lot of fun opening the valentines from his friends and he's spent quite a bit of time playing with the mylar heart balloon he received from his teacher.

6. I give you my word that I'll try to take more photos. I gots myself some cute kids, and it seems cruel to deprive the world of said cuteness. Hopefully there will be more photo laden posts coming your way soon!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

on the homefront

Shawn: Shawn is in California for a conference at the moment. I hope the irony of the fact that the Steelers made the Superbowl in Dallas and Shawn flew out mere hours before the game is not lost on you. He had planned on going straight to the hotel to watch the game, but the guys ended up getting stuck on the tarmack for two hours. That's right. Poor guy missed the entire thing.

On a more fun note, Shawn got to be in the audience for a taping of The Price Is Right. I was really hoping he'd come home with a new washer and dryer or a lifetime supply of beef jerky or something, but none of the guys ended up getting called on stage. My prayer is that God will use the time away from family and work to renew and refresh Shawn. We miss him, but I'm excited to hear how God speaks to him this week.

Jen: Despite the fact that I have a rough cold (that's six straight weeks of being sick withsomething, in case you're keeping track), I'm actually doing really well. My time as a "single parent" has gone wonderfully smoothly, and I'm enjoying the extra time with my boys. I'm staying busy with Serwa Chic, but the nice thing about Shawn being gone is I can spend my evenings (after the boys go down) busting out some sewing, filing, emailing, and networking. It's nice to feel a little more caught up. My latest run was a 28 minute run that involved a lot of dodging patches of ice. I've only lost five pounds so far, but am trying to remember that as long as I'm nursing, I need to take weight loss slowly.

Jude: Our usually light eater suddenly turned into a (tiny) little piggie lately, so I think he hit a growth spurt. His pants are starting to actually fit - even without a cloth diaper - and he's now able to reach things he previously couldn't. Jude's continued exploding in his language lately, and I'm loving this new level of communication. We're hearing a lot of the word "No," lately (or actually, he says, "Mope."), so I'm praying for wisdom in handling these mini tantrums. There's no doubt he has some strong opinions, and I'm certain I have no idea where he'd get that from.

Cohen: Cohen has his six month appointment in about a week, but our scale this morning said that he weighed just under 16lbs! Given all the weight issues we had with Jude at his point, I was relieved to see that he seems to be gaining weight well. While Shawn is gone, I decided that it's time for Baby Boot Camp. Cohen has still been waking up four or five times a night, and I think that's just crazy. So during nap times Sunday and night time Sunday night, I let Cohen cry for fifteen minutes before soothing him. I expected it to take about three nights to see improvements (about how long it tended to take for Jude), but was shocked when Cohen slept from 9:30pm-7:00am last night!

I'm fully aware that because I blogged about it the next several nights will be torturous, by the way.

Cohen is also really close to sitting up by himself and continues to flash his charming smile to anyone who will make eye contact with him. He definitely knows who Jude is and he loves to reach out to him. After I pick Jude up from preschool, his first order of business is to crouch down to say "hello" to Cohen in his car seat. Jude practically climbs into the car seat with him, almost fully laying his body on top of Cohen, and tells Cohen about his day. "Baby, Baby. I paint? I paint, Baby." Cohen is always sufficiently impressed and excited to see his big brother.

If you're from the North, then I hope you're staying indoors with some hot chocolate or tea. If you're from North Carolina, then I hope you're enjoying your break from the snow and getting some time outside. If you're from Dallas, then I hope you stocked up on bread and water in preparation for our next round of snow tomorrow! Regardless of where you're from, I hope you're having a fantastic week and are staying warm!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

the playdate crashers

Is it silly that it makes me feel important that I was asked to be a guest on a Mommy podcast? Even if the podcasters are friends from college? Well, silly or not - I was flattered to be asked by Jaime and Krista to guest interview on their Playdate Crashers Podcast. I started listening to their podcast because I thought it'd be fun to see what my friends were up to, but have been excited that it's genuinely well done, witty, and insightful. I love that it feels like I'm just chatting with friends over coffee while our kids play (hence, the Playdate Crashers name), and I'm almost always jotting down some website or other resource they share.

They're doing a really great series right now about working Moms, and asked me to share about my experiences as a WAHM. Of course, I feel entirely unqualified to be giving tips about how to balance everything. After debating though, I realized that my kids are still alive, so I must be doing something right. Right? Hmmmm.

So if you just so happen to miss my smooth, sultry (cold-ridden) voice or have just wondered what all this WAHM business is about, please give it a listen. Then listen to all the podcasts before, because I promise you're missing out if you don't. CLICK HERE for my guest interview with the Playdate Crashers!

And then because I was still feeling particularly chatty, I wrote a blog post to further explain my keeping-children-alive-while-running-a-business techniques. CLICK HERE to read the blog post.

And finally, Serwa Chic is giving away a super cute Long Sleeve Bib through The Playdate Crashers! Entering is really easy, and there are up to five different ways to enter. Our Long Sleeve Bibs are perfect for babies and toddlers, and make excellent gifts, too! Enter today to win!