Saturday, March 19, 2011

we're moving

Is it weird that I get a giggle out of our friends and family reading the title of this blog and going, "What the crap? Didn't they just move?!" Yes, we did. This time, we're just moving the 'ole family blog. There's a lot less boxing up of stuff this way.

Here's the deal. I began this blog in my pregnancy with Jude for basically two people - my Mom and Shawn's Mom. Our siblings, Aunts, Uncles, and a few friends started reading. I loved being able to show home videos, pictures, and stories of my pregnancy. I was able to document Jude's infant hood and this blog turned into a memory book of sorts. Somehow people from Pinedale found this blog, which I also loved because most people who read it loved the heck out of Jude and enjoy reading about his goings ons. Then strangers started reading (through a certain person who shall remain nameless....but not linkless). Truthfully, I again didn't mind at all. In fact, those people I don't personally know often leave really encouraging and helpful comments, and I'm all about getting to know and sharing information with as many people as possible.

But what began as a blog for our Moms with loads of personal information on it has spread. I'm not saying that tons of people read this blog (because they don't), just more people than I expected. Personally, I blame Jude's cheeks and know that's the real reason you come back. I know, I know - they're delicious.

And because I watch way more Law and Order: SVU than any normal person should, it makes me a bit uncomfortable that our names and location are spread all over this blog. Specifically in that I have no way to change the URL of his blog to something different than "maurerfamilyblog." Not that any of you would ever even have a hurtful thought towards my family, I just feel like if the readership (very fancy, huh?) of this blog continues to grow, I should probably take some steps to protect my kids. I don't know that I'm comfortable with their first and last names, photos, city, church, and school information being readily available for everyone to see.

So the Maurer Family Blog is moving! I will still continue to share photos, videos, and potentially embarrassing stories with you, and I don't plan on changing the voice of my writing anytime soon. I just won't be publicizing our family's last name and exact location. I plan on referring to Jude as, "Bug," and Cohen as, "Bear," and if he'll let me I'll refer to Shawn as, "Preacher Man." Who am I kidding? There's no way he'll let me.

And yet...I will.

I mean really, how cool is that?! My kids get code names because they're soooooooo popular (I know you can't see me as I'm typing, but I hope you know I'm rolling my eyes). Personally, I'd prefer to refer to them as Jude and Cohen (and may do so in the future), but I'd rather take giant steps in protecting them and realize I can loosen up a bit later, as opposed to not doing enough now and having to edit every blog post written to change or delete information.

Thank you for indulging what I know is probably paranoia, but what also makes me feel like I'm doing what I can to protect my sweet kids. Not everyone in the world is as sweet and kindhearted as I know you all are. I hope you continue to join our journey through parenthood, ministry, marriage, and everything in between.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


The other day Jude ran up to me in the kitchen and started saying with much passion, "rape! rape! rape!" I tried to keep calm as I asked Jude how he knew that word and what he thought it meant. Somewhere in the midst of my mind running through the worst case scenario, I realized he was pointing to the refrigerator. And that by "rape," he meant "grape." Of course.

Jude has a fascination with crackers, and was on a vehement graham cracker kick for several months. The problem was that he couldn't quite pronounce the word, "cracker." There were many days in Target that a toddler was heard several aisles away yelling, "Moe crack! Moe crack!" I blame the parents.

Our dare devil of a son has a propensity to climb on top of or into things without giving thought to how he'll get down or out of said things. His response when he realizes that he's unable to get himself to safe ground is to yell at Shawn or I, "I stuck!" Except he leaves out the "t."

When I've had a particularly rough day dealing with a toddler hyped up on grapes and crack, I'm tempted to say, "Yes...yes, dear son. Sometimes you do."

And then I see this face, and I remember how privileged I am that God called him to love, teach, and steward this little life -

- no matter how embarrassed I get when he accidentally yells inappropriate things in large crowds of people.

Monday, March 14, 2011


It didn't actually snow in Texas this week, although word on the street is some of our northern family did in fact wake up to several inches of white fluff. Us? It's been in the 70's this week and may get into the 80's by this weekend. Yesterday was one of the most beautiful days I've seen, and we did our best to spend quite a bit of time outside. Yep, Texas livin' is tough.

However, I did find these photos from a month or so ago of the snow we did get in Dallas. We snobby northerners know that if you can see the grass after it snows, it qualifies as a mere dusting. Texas did not get that memo. Oprah was preempted so that this "snow storm" could be discussed for hours on end.

I'm not complaining, though. It was a beautiful dusting storm to watch, and it meant Shawn got to hang around the house a little longer that morning. As I look outside this morning, the thought of snow is the furthest thing from my mind. The flowers are a-bloomin' and the birds are a-chirpin'. Welcome to Texas, dear Spring. It sure is nice to ya!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

peace cometh after a run

I know that Biblically, peace comes in the morning (with God's always unfailing new mercies), but a lot of the time for me - peace comes after a good run. Our doctor told us to put Cohen on formula Thursday morning, and I set out for a run of 4.5 miles on Friday morning. I do a lot of thinking when I run and for whatever reason, seem to have more clarity than any other time I have.

In the first mile of my run, I found myself trying to figure out a way to keep nursing Cohen. After pumping while Cohen gets his bottles, I know that he just wasn't getting enough milk. I want to wait to talk to the doctor this week to make a final conclusion, but I think the problem is a milk supply issue not a calorie issue. I tried to think of everything I could do to increase my milk supply, but then realized that I was already doing all of them. I drink a ridiculous amount of water, eat oatmeal almost every morning, drink milk boosting tea, upped my calories with healthy fats, and have been taking Fenugreek four times a day since I went through that stretch of sickness a couple of months ago.

I couldn't help but come to the conclusion that the supply I have right now is my boosted supply. If I weren't doing all those things, I would have even less milk.

Somewhere around the second mile of my run, I began to get angry at myself. I wondered if it's my fault for trying to lose weight and exercise. I wondered if the stress of moving took a hit out of my supply from which I couldn't recover, or if being sick for so long caused my supply to just slowly diminish. I struggled with thoughts of feeling like I'm giving up and that if breast feeding were really important to me that I would hook myself up to my pump every hour and a half and pump until my supply was adequate again. Or maybe there's just something wrong with me that I'm just not capable of breast feeding past six months.

At about mile three, I found myself letting go of and mourning my breast feeding experience. I came to the realization that the only supply boosting efforts I hadn't tried were to get a prescription to boost my supply (which I did do when we went through this same thing with Jude. Because of that, I know that the prescription actually doesn't help nearly as much as Fenugreek - hence why I was already taking quite a bit of Fenugreek), or to pump every hour or two (which is just not realistic with a toddler, a small business, and a house to take care of). And to be honest, I don't know that I can ever go back to not being able to measure how much milk Cohen is getting. I have no doubt that it would stress me out and worry me to no end to not be able to control the ounces he's receiving. After realizing that breast feeding is over for us, I allowed myself to fondly remember nursing Cohen. I remembered nursing him moments after he'd been born and marveling at how beautiful he was. I remembered nursing him with Jude cuddling up next to me on the couch and feeling like my heart would burst with happiness. I remembered our middle of the night nursings where it seemed like he and I were the only ones who existed in the world as I sang and prayed over him. I remembered our last nursing session right before we left for the doctor on Thursday, and all the fears I was feeling. I let myself feel sadness that things didn't go as I had planned and that I needed to say good-bye to breast feeding.

It took me four miles of running to remember that I had been pumping every day since Cohen was six weeks old (I said running helped me think clearly...not quickly). It suddenly dawned on me that if the issue was lack of supply and not quality of supply that I had an entire chest freezer of milk for Cohen! I don't have an accurate measure of how much I have, but I think it's enough to give him breast milk for a month or two! I realized that Cohen could get breast milk and I could eat dairy! My running pace picked up slightly as I realized how different my life would be without breast feeding.

I got pregnant with Jude in February of 2008. I nursed him until he was 9 months old. I got pregnant with Cohen in November of 2009- when Jude was 1 year old. In case math isn't your strong suite, let me spell it out for ya. I have been pregnant or nursing for four years straight (minus the three months between weaning Jude and getting pregnant). Don't get me wrong, I've loved it. But my body has been on loan for as long it takes to get a college degree. I realized that if I wasn't thirsty, I didn't have to drink water! I could eat dairy - all kinds! I could have two cups of (fully caffeinated!) coffee in the morning and then get a latte in the afternoon if I wanted! I could excercise and cut calories! Alcohol isn't my thing, but I could drink alcohol! I could just toss a bottle in the diaper bag and not give a thought to where would be a good place to breast feed! After I was able to let go of the pressure and guilt, I found myself rejoicing in what it would look like to have ownership of my body again.

If a four mile run can help me sort through all of those ridiculously mixed emotions, I have a feeling that running a marathon could help me solve world hunger and cause world peace.

I spent the last half mile of my run thinking less about breast feeding and more along the lines of, "Just make it to that tree. Just run to that house up ahead. Just keep breathing. Just keep running, just keep running, just keep running."

I know that I have done my best to give Cohen was I believe is best for him. I can already see my supply diminishing even further, but I will continue to pump as I can and add to my freezer stash until I have no milk left. I do believe though, that letting go of breast feeding - while heartbreaking - is the best thing for our family. And with that, my mind is at peace and my heart is at rest.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

a letter to cohen

Dear Cohen,

I'm refusing to believe that you are 7 months old today because that's just crazy. It seems like you are already heading entirely too quickly towards toddlerhood, and even though I love watching you grow and learning more about your personality, I'm spending my time reveling in your cuddles, first laughs, and sweet baby feet.

You've been very busy this month, sweet love! You began this month barely rolling over, but now if I lay you down and turn around, you've usually rolled over in the seconds in between. Quite the aficionado, I'd say. With that, you're much happier during tummy time now and are working on getting to toys that you see. You're not getting your knees up under you quite yet, but you're doing a heck of a lot of wiggling and scooching that is just downright adorable to watch. Cohen, you've also begun sleeping through the night this month, and I'd say not a moment too soon. Mommy and Daddy are much better Mommies and Daddies when they've gotten a full night's rest, so really - we all benefit from this new development.

Within the past few days you've been working on saying, "Mama" and perfected my name just yesterday! You seem to be directing it towards me, which leads me to believe that you're actually saying my name. Hearing that is one of the sweetest sounds I've ever heard, love. Your tiny voice is just a touch raspy and filled with all the love my heart can stand. I can't wait to hear you say more things like, "Dada," and "Jude!"

You continue to love solid food with every fiber of your 13 lb. being, and you especially love to feed yourself those little puffs. I always think you've done awesome about getting them to your mouth, but when I take you out of your highchair, I see that like ten of them are stuck to your legs. You're a tricky one, son. You also got two teeth this month! They're cute front teeth on your bottom row. If ever there were two adorable teeth, I'd say you've got them, Cohen!

Perhaps one of the more significant changes in your life is that you've been getting bottles of formula as opposed to being breast fed. You were not a fan of your first bottle and looked at me with a scrunched up face as if to say, "What the heck are you feeding me?!" I've heard that breast milk is super sweet, so I'm certain the different taste was a shock. We kept at it though, and you now take the bottles just great, even holding it yourself sometimes! As you've been taking your bottles, I've been pumping and have quickly realized that I just haven't had enough milk to fully nourish you. Most likely, you've only been getting about 18 oz. a day, which is much less than you need to grow and develop. Cohen, I'm so sorry. I had no idea you weren't getting enough milk, and I'm so, so sorry to have ever left you hungry. I don't know that I can express how much it breaks my heart to know that you haven't been nourished as you should, and I promise that it won't happen again. I feel blessed that I do have a large supply of frozen milk that we'll be breaking into as soon as we get the doctor's OK, so you should be receiving breast milk until you are 8 or 9 months old.

Your smile and laugh are only growing - both in size and in infectiousness- as you grow older. You like to squeal to get Daddy's attention and then spaz in joy when he smiles back. Our family spent some time walking around Grapevine yesterday, and it was a little windy outside. I kept trying to shield your face from the wind, but quickly realized that you actually enjoyed the gusts. Each time a strong gust swept across your face, you sucked in air and then squealed with absolute delight! It was so loud people around us turned around to see who the ridiculously adorable happy baby was.

Cohen, we love you. As incredible as it seems, we love you more each day that we know you. Your sweet life is such a blessing to our family, and we count ourselves so privileged with the responsibility to steward your life. Our prayer is that you would know, love, and serve God and that we do whatever we can to show you His love through our parenting. Happy 7 months, Cohen. We love you so much more than you know.


Mommy and Daddy

Thursday, March 10, 2011

failure to thrive

I was changing Cohen's diaper when I noticed it. Since he was born, Cohen has had the most delicious fat rolls in his thighs. Fat rolls that I may or may not pinch on occasion. But as I was changing his diaper, I noticed that the fat rolls had almost completely disappeared. When I looked up at his armpits, I noticed that the rolls of fat had been transformed to mostly loose skin there, too. Having gone through infant weight loss with Jude, I knew this was not a good sign. My heart further sank when I put a medium cloth diaper on him that was huge, and my fears were only confirmed when I pulled out a size 3 months onesie that fit him just fine (Cohen is almost 7 months).

I called my BFF and Shawn to talk through my fears and make sure I wasn't just overreacting, and then called to move Cohen's weight check up a few weeks. I watched as the nurse laid my sweet son on the doctor's scale, and saw that he weighed 13 lbs even. He had lost weight.

Our usually light hearted pediatrician came into the room, and with a very serious tone said, "We need to take some serious measures to find out why your little guy isn't gaining weight." After talking through our typical routine and asking me some questions, he deduced that Cohen's weight issues are being caused by one of three things: 1. Cohen has a metabolic disorder 2. Cohen's reflux is worse than we thought and he's spitting up more than we realize, or 3. My breastmilk has significantly fewer calories per ounce than is normal. Dr. Scott felt like the issue was most likely a breastmilk calorie issue and requested that we feed Cohen formula for a week to see how his weight changes. I mentioned that I have a freezer full of milk, but the doctor felt that he wanted to put Cohen on a "known carbohydrate source" to see how he does. If the issue is not enough calories in my breast milk, giving him more of my breast milk won't really solve the problem. We'll do a weight check in a week to see what further actions need to be taken.

Surprisingly, I was very calm and logical up until this point. I went into the appointment telling myself to put my personal pride and feelings aside and to be willing to do whatever I needed to do to take care of Cohen. I was busying my mind with calculating how many ounces he'd need to take a week and how many bottles we needed to try and give him and wasn't allowing thoughts of self deprecation to even take root.

Until I watched as the doctor scrawled, "Failure to Thrive" under Cohen's diagnosis.

Unfortunately, this is a diagnosis that I know all to well. Even though this is something we've been through before, the words still twisted my heart up in a knot. Perhaps even more so, because the constant in both situations is me. My breast milk and my ability to nourish.

To know that my breast feeding relationship with Cohen is likely coming to a close is both devastating and exhilarating. To wallow in self pity and blame myself isn't doing anyone any good though, especially not Cohen. The bottom line is that it's my job to help Cohen thrive. Whatever it takes. And so, that's just what I'll do.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


1. Jude and Shawn were given tickets to see Sesame Street Live with his friends Eden, London, Ledger, and their Dads. We thought Jude would be really excited since he's in an Elmo and Cookie Monster phase right now (naturally, he doesn't actually like the cookies. just the monster who enjoys a good cookie binge every now and again). Shawn said he remained true to his nickname of Jude the Unimpressed and just watched quietly. Shawn also said that Jude was too small to keep his seat from folding him up inside, so Shawn had to keep his knee on the end of the seat or else he'd look over and see Jude halfway swallowed up.

2. Jude and I were playing with his bath crayons during bath time the other night, and I told him I was going to write his name on the side of the tub. "J..." I said as I wrote a lovely J.

"U..." Jude responded.

"That's right bud," I said. "What's next?"


So first of all - does my 2 year old really know how to spell his name?! Secondly, does he really think his name is Judel? 'Cause we should probably work on that.

3. I ran for four miles the other day. I probably could've run for 4.5, but I saw a sign that read "Coyote sighted nearby" that caused me to turn the other direction and pick up my pace significantly thereby wearing myself out for any future mileage.

4. Shawn and I got the chance to see Hillsong United in concert (sort of. i always think it's weird to talk about a worship experience as a concert) last night. That's right, Shawn got to see Elmo AND Hillsong United in one day. There's no topping that.

5. Cohen officially has two little sharp teeth on the bottom front of his mouth. Oh yeah, and he's officially adorable:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

i don't really like newborns

Subtitled: When are you going to have another baby?

In a recent study conducted by Maurer and Associates, it has been unequivocally proven with very technical and important sounding scientific data that the subject (one Jennifer S. Maurer) enjoys the newborn baby process exactly 92.7% less than when the baby is approximately six months and older. Our data was collected over a 2.5 year period using two minor subjects (Jude C. and Cohen B.). The study took into account the accumulating affects of lack of sleep, the labor recovery process, the wonky hormones, the breastfeeding pain, and the singular constant use of only one hand at a time because the newborn is always in the other arm (we observed many mornings of our test subject attempting to make coffee, do dishes, and fold laundry with one hand and determined it to be quite ridiculous looking). We likewise took into account the newborn baby smell, the way a newborn collapses on the subject's chest, and the tiny newborn baby cries. In sum, while the subject does enjoy a good newborn snuggle it would appear that she enjoys motherhood 92.7% more after six months.

I mean really, you can't argue with statistics like that, can you? So something happened right about the time Cohen started nearing his six month birthday. Even though PPD hasn't been the struggle it was last time, it was as if a fog started to lift off of my world. It's not like I was getting any more sleep or that much else had changed. I think (for me, at least) it just takes six months for the "newborn baby fog" to lift. Don't misunderstand - I really do love newborns. And of course, I love my children regardless of how they old are, how helpless they are, how much they cry, or how little they sleep. I do love many things about how tiny and sweet newborn babies are - I just don't really like them all that much.

When I see a mother with a newborn baby, I do not melt into a puddle of "I want annnnnoooother one. Can I just smell him? Please, Shawn, do you think we could have more?" Maybe this means I'm not fit for motherhood, but my thoughts are more along the lines of, "Oh that poor woman. She must be exhausted. Hang in there sweet lady, you'll sleep again one day, I promise." Something in me changed when both Jude and Cohen hit six months, and I happen to like it.

Do you think there's any chance I could talk to God about giving birth to a six month old who sleeps through the night next time around? 'Cause that may just make me reconsider my current "two is enough" policy.

No, you say? I guess I'll just have to settle for snuggling and sniffing other people's newborns, and being more than happy to hand the baby right back to the very exhausted happy parents.