Thursday, December 01, 2011

Adjusting to maternity leave

It has almost been three weeks since Reid was born. We're now in that weird transition time when I feel almost normal but we can't quite be "normal" since I still get tired pretty easily and Reid doesn't have a real schedule yet. I'm also feeling a little cabin-fever-ish.

Reid is growing nicely. At his two-week appointment on Monday, he weighed 9 lbs. He's also starting to stay awake for longer periods of time during the stretch in the morning and one in the afternoon/evening. He usually sleeps for about 2-3 hour stretches, which is nice especially at night.

So far, we have ventured out to pick up Jack from school several times. We even went in to introduce Reid to Jack's friends (only looking, no touching). Jack was a very proud big brother. Reid and I have also taken short excursions to Starbucks and Caribou Coffee for hot chocolate and such.

Our usual day consists of lots of home improvement shows, laundry, and playing with Breyer. We're trying to get started on Christmas shopping and thank you cards.

In the meantime, Jack and Steve have been keeping very busy. Jack has been having lots of fun at school every day. He's also a very proud big brother. He takes his nap every day at school so he can come home and play with Reid and me. Steve has been very busy working like normal and also being the "mobile" parent. Since Reid eats so often right now, Steve gets stuck making the Trader Joe's/Target runs and taking Jack to family parties and outings to keep his schedule as normal as possible.

Now that it is December, we are getting into the Christmas spirit. Thanks to Jack and Steve, we have a beautiful Christmas tree. Jack was a big help decorating it this year. He LOVED putting the ornaments on the tree, and for the most part, he was very careful with all of the ornaments. Jack has also been having fun trying to decide what to ask Santa for Christmas. Most often he'll name whatever toy he saw  most recently.

And just because it's fun, here are a few more pictures that we have taken recently. Enjoy!





Sunday, November 13, 2011

Reid Jeffrey Barrett

We are so excited to announce the arrival of Reid Jeffrey Barrett, our second son!

Reid was born Saturday, Nov. 12 at 9:06 a.m. I woke up at about 3 a.m. for a normal potty break and realized that "real" labor was starting. I woke up Steve and we timed a couple of contractions at 3 minutes apart. We decided to get our stuff together and get to the hospital.

Luckily, Jack was great about being woken up so early in the morning. I don't think he quite realized what was going on until we got to the hospital. The three of us pretty much had the highway to ourselves, so Steve had to set the cruise control to make sure he didn't speed too much. We got to the hospital by 4 a.m. Since we were so early, we got to valet the car and go through the Emergency Room entrance. After just a short wait in the ER waiting room, we were taken upstairs to the labor and delivery room. There, we waited.

My mom and dad (Grandma Sue and Pepere) arrived shortly thereafter, and Pepere took over care for Jack. I think that involved pudding and some adventuring around the hospital, but I was busy so I could be wrong.  Steve's mom (Nama) and my sister Cathy and her husband Mike made it in pretty early too. And even my sister Connie and her friend Kim made it before Reid did!

So between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m., I progressed through labor, although sometimes seemingly slowly. Our first major decision was if and when to get the epidural. After a nice discussion with my doctor (who was fantastic about explaining all of my options and what the likely effects would be), Steve and I decided to get the epidural going before the doctor broke my water. As great as the numbing effects of an epidural are, the process of inserting the catheter is still a bit unnerving. Again, I am very grateful for a fantastic and calm anesthesiologist. She explained everything before she did it, and she was very kind and soothing in her bedside manner.

With the epidural flowing, Dr. Stone came in and broke the water. I can't remember what time that was, but I remember it happening and then hanging out and watching contractions on the monitor. It's interesting to be able to sense the pressure of a contraction but not feel the pain. At about 8:30, the nurse came in and checked my progress and said it probably would be within the hour or so that I would be ready to push. She told me to call her if I felt the pressure to push before that. About 20 minutes later, I was feeling it, so we called the nurse back, and she said we were ready. In fact, she said the baby would probably be out in just a couple of pushes! We were very excited.

In the delivery room for the actual delivery were me, Steve, my mom, Steve's mom, Dr. Stone, Joanne (the nurse) and a patient care tech (I don't remember her name, but she was very nice too!). Just like Jack's birth, it was very calm and quiet during delivery (just the way I like it!). I started pushing at about 8:55. After a couple of pushes, Reid's heart started to skip beats. Dr. Stone didn't really let on to the seriousness of the situation, she just had me push again, and that seemed to get him out of distress. On the next push (or maybe it was two) his head came out, and with one final push, Reid had arrived! I could hardly believe it only took 10 minutes of pushing. His cord was wrapped around his neck, which is what caused the distress. But what a great baby! Steve got to cut the cord again, and then they immediately placed him on my chest to say hello.

One of the best parts of Reid's birth was what happened next. Instead of rushing through introducing him to me and Steve and our family and then taking him to the nursery, the staff weighed him and cleaned him up a bit, and then gave him back to me and Steve to hold and begin breastfeeding. I think we stayed together for about an hour before the nurses took him to bathe him and evaluate him. It was a wonderful time. Our family, even Jack, got to come to the L&D room to meet Reid.

Here's a couple of pictures.





Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Happy July!

July 4th always sneaks up pretty quickly for me. This year was no different. I think it's because school doesn't get out until the middle of June, so it's only about 2-3 weeks in that July 4th hits.

We took a little trip this past Holiday weekend up to Wisconsin with our friends Kurt and Amanda and their dog, Murphy. We had a great time hanging out by the lake, playing golf, going to a ski show, and just generally having a good time. Jack's favorite part of the trip was "playing with Murphy." My favorite part was watching Jack and Steve play together on the beach and in the lake. Jack would run and jump in the water landing on his bottom. Then he'd turn around and say "did you see that guys?" It was very cute.

Unfortunately, we missed the fireworks at my parents' house this year. We got home Monday afternoon, but after 3.5 hours in the car, the last place we wanted to be was in the car again. Instead, we had a very subdued July 4th evening at home.

So now I finally feel like I'm on summer break. The weight of work is not hanging on my shoulders, and I am really enjoying getting into a routine at home. I need to remember this next summer: it takes about 3 weeks to get into summer mode. It's either that, or we need to go on vacation the minute school gets out.

I am now turning my focus on me a little. I'm trying to get back in the Happiness Project as well as into a routine that keeps a tidy house and food on the table. I have lots of projects! First off, Steve and I decided to try to limit our eating out. We took a look at our budget and where we were spending the money that could be reduced. Eating out definitely fit the bill. So we planned our meals for the week on Monday night, and Jack and I hit the grocery stores Tuesday morning. So far it is going well. We'll see how week two goes. I feel a lot better about what we are eating now since it is homemade and such. It's also not as hard as I anticipated, planning and cooking meals.

Project 2: tidy house. I'm getting back in touch with my inner Fly Lady. For the past 2 weeks or so, I've been very good about cleaning my sink (kitchen) at night and following a morning routine to out away dishes and get a load of laundry done. Jack loves to help clean the toilets; he thinks it's pretty fun to swish the bowls and make bubbles, so that has been a big help too. Having guests over helps keep the clutter under control, so here's your invitation: let me know when you want to come by and hang out!

Project 3: happiness. With the loss of journalism and Spokesman at work, this seemed like an absolute must as far as projects go, so I'm getting back to the Happiness Project. I left off after only one month of a resolution: time. That had gone well. I was setting realistic expectations for myself and using my calendar. I think I'm still doing those things pretty well too. Now it is time to start resolution #2: energy. For July, I'll be working on getting to bed by 9:30 every night and exercising 3 times a week. Jack and got started on this today with a 3-mile walk along the river. It was very nice!

I'd like to finish off this post with some fun facts about Jack. He's such a great conversationalist, and I would hate to forgot some of the great things he says. So here's a few gems.
His favorite time/number is 39 10. You can ask him how long something is, what time it is, how old someone is, the answer is usually 39 10.
"I can make an idea" this is the phrase we hear most often when he negotiating activities or bedtimes, etc. The nice thing is that he does have some good ideas that follow this phrase!
"can you tell me?" this is a response to us asking him a question that he either doesn't know the answer to or wants us to tell him the answer anyway.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ahh, the sweet days of summer

They have finally arrived, the wonderful, long summer days.

And with these summer days come a few more blog post from yours truly.

It's been a busy spring around the Barrett family home. Steve has been to South America and back; I've been to Anaheim and back; Jack has been becoming more independent each day with an increased vocabulary and an increased desire to explore anything and everything.

In other good news, we are also expecting the next addition to our family. Baby Barrett #2 should arrive around Thanksgiving with a due date of November 23, 2011. We are all very excited. Jack asks about the baby every day, and I think he now understands that November is a month during the year.

So our summer is still pretty busy even with me not officially working every day. Jack is finishing up swim lessons tomorrow. While he's not quite ready for the 500 free, he does like playing games in the pool and he actually put his face in the water today. I think it helps that most of the lesson is taught using ice cream metaphors.

Steve is also pretty busy with his last two classes for grad school. He will officially have his MBA in early September when this summer quarter ends. I know we are getting close because when we talk about our family budget, he throws out phrases like cash and accrual like I should know them. Luckily, he is a good teacher too!

As for me, I'm in a period of transition. I was removed from my position as adviser of Spokesman on the last day of school this year. I still have a job teaching American Literature and as one of the academic technology coordinators at WHS. But as I know that teaching and working within the journalism industry is my passion, I am searching for ways to stay connected to that world. I am still active with my NJPLC (national journalism professional learning community) and that definitely helps. I am very lucky to have so many journalism teacher friends across the country to help me. I'll keep you all posted as I figure out where I find my journalism fix.

As journalism is my passion, I am working on passing that on to Jack. So far, he has taken up photography with as much zeal as I have. I'm actually considering starting a photoblog for his work. He loves to use the Nikon D40 with the strap around his neck and then just shoots. Some of the pics have turned out really well with a nice depth of field included! Now if I could just find a moment to download them from the camera, we'd be set.

So that's the update. I definitely have more to tell, but I don't like these posts getting so long you have to invest an afternoon to read them. Instead, I'll just write some more tomorrow about the happiness project and the books that I'm reading.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Happiness Update - End of Week 1

There is something ironic about me posting this at 11 p.m. since my focus is on managing my time. But I just now took a look at my progress for the week, and I was pleasantly surprised.

My main time-related resolution was to be reasonable about what I can accomplish. And for each day that I tallied my resolutions, I completed that! I didn't tally my resolutions every single day this past week though, only 5 out of the 7 days. But accomplishment is accomplishment.

I still have room to grow. I need to be better about tackling the nagging tasks and using my calendar and to-do lists. I've already started tonight by trying to layout my week with all of my nagging tasks. (Don't worry, I didn't over-schedule myself!).

On the home front, we had an interesting weekend. 3-year-olds are definitely a challenge. Jack loves to push the boundaries, to test us. Saturday was very hard. We had a decent morning doing chores (which Jack loves. He cleans out the vacuum cleaner like it's the most fun activity he's ever gotten to do). But he didn't want to go to hockey skating, and he didn't want to take a nap. And he didn't want to do ANYTHING we asked or suggested. Everything became a battle. Lots of yelling ensued. By the end of the night, we were all exhausted and Steve and I were tired of feeling angry and frustrated (I think Jack was too).

So we embarked on new parenting strategies today. Steve did some researching Saturday night to guide us. We don't like spanking, although we have tried it. We don't like yelling. Neither of these strategies are effective with Jack. So today, we set out to stay calm, redirect, and be patient. It worked pretty well. The hardest part for me is being patient (I know, big surprise). I found that in order to be patient, I have to have the time; I can't be in a rush or running to get somewhere. That worked today since we had nowhere to be.

The other part of this strategy is trying to challenge and engage Jack. That's no easy task. But by simply asking Jack what he was interested in and suggesting a few activities, we stayed busy, and happy, all day. There was play-doh, fixing the engine toy, reading books, watching Fireman Sam, and eating a picnic lunch in the basement at the Handy Manny table.

On the fun side, Jack and Steve went ice skating today. They hit up the public skate from 1:30 to 3 and had a great time. I hit up the library and graded and lesson planned. I also had a good time (I'm serious!).

So that's the update. I know it's been a lot of writing here lately and very few pictures. Let me get my time under control, and then the pictures will return; I promise.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Time is on my side, yes it is

So my first focus for the Happiness Project is Time. I have set a couple of resolutions for my approximately month-long Time goal. Here they are:

1. Be reasonable about what I can actually accomplish
2. Tackle the nagging task
3. Use a to-do list each day
4. Use my google calendar each day

I'm also tracking my resolutions Ben Franklin style. Yes, I am an English and journalism teacher geek. Yes, I thought Ben Franklin's pursuit of moral perfection was quite admirable. Yes, I like google and I am using a google form to track all of this.

So far, so good. Today I truly benefited from my resolutions. I was flitting around like I normally do, jumping from one task to another based on whatever I was focused on at the second. However, as I normally do, I would find myself, all of a sudden, with no direction. It was in these moments I turned to my to-do list, picked something and did it. By the end of the day, I was shocked at all that I had actually accomplished. Hooray!

On a more Barrett Family Life topic, Jack has really been enjoying Little Wildcats. However, he had his first sick day yesterday. We've been fighting some kid of bug. He ran a low fever yesterday morning and had been coughing, so Steve stayed home with him. Not to give too much info, but today he was back at school, but he was fighting a tummy ache all day. No fever though. Weird.

Steve is busy prepping for South America. He is an amazing balancer of school, work and life. Between his two classes a week, working downtown, and putting up with me and Jack, I am amazed at how he has the energy to get up onSaturday mornings to take Jack to skating lessons. I think our next vacation might be somewhere we can just sleep.

Speaking of, it's way past my bed time!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happiness project

Drum roll please....
I am officially starting a happiness project. I just finished reading the book "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. I think Gretchen might actually be a version of me living in New York as a writer. But that is a post for another day.

Here's the deal. I have a wonderful life. Those of your reading this blog are nodding your heads and saying, "duh, that's all you write about on here, Karen, your wonderful life." However, I don't always appreciate it. In fact, I have found myself complaining, being negative, even getting angry about things in my life way too often lately. It's actually to the point where I was bringing myself down even when good things were going on around me. Hence, the happiness project. As Gretchen writes in her novel, "I want to change my life without changing my life."

So over the next few months I'm going to work on setting some resolutions and following through to get myself to feel happier about the wonderful things in my life. Over the next week, I am going to plan out my happiness project. I'm going to figure out what areas I want to focus on and set some resolutions. I'll post some updates here in case you are interested in what the heck I am actually doing.

So, here goes nothing!

Happy night, all!