Sunday, October 31, 2010

Giggle Bug

We caught Eli's first official giggle on camera and it is the sweetest sound on earth!  He is such a beautiful and happy baby boy!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Charles Eli Bridges

Here is the awesome announcement that my very talented husband did for our baby boy:

The black band that reads "From Austin Texas" pulls off and the card folds open.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Leavin on a jet plane...

Eli and I flew to Dallas for the weekend to see my family.  Eli got through his first flight like a champ.  It was just the two of us (which a few people in the airport said was very brave) but we didn't falter a bit...but would you believe that the women's restroom at the Austin airport did not have a changing table?  I had to change him in his stroller!

We flew Southwest and they were fabulous.  Our trip was last minute, so I had little time to plan.  I called Southwest with so many questions the night before we left:  how early should we arrive, when do we get to board, can I bring his car seat, stroller, liquid medicine.  The gentleman on the phone was able to answer all of our questions.   The women at the ticket counter at the airport were awesome and again able to answer all of our questions.

One thing about a new baby that makes me the most anxious is his feeding schedule.  I wanted to feed him right before we left so that I wouldn't have to do it on the plane in such confined spaces (he can be kind of loud when he eats).  I ended up timing it perfectly and was able to feed him in the terminal and finished up just before they started boarding.  That way he would have a nice full tummy for the flight.  We found a great seat on the plane (aisle of course) and got all settled in.  Before take off, one of the flight attendants brought us a certificate to commemorate Eli's first flight - perfect for his baby book.  The sweet woman (and new grandmother) sitting next to us shot this picture for us.  She was so sweet, I bet if I had asked, she would have held him the entire time.  Another gentleman helped me carry the diaper bag as we walked off the plane.

We are hoping that we will be blessed enough to travel a lot with Eli and that this will be the first of many flights all over the world for this little boy, and thank goodness, he seems like a natural traveler already.  Eli slept in my arms from the second we pulled away from the gate until about an hour and a half after we landed, grabbed lunch, and got to my parent's house. 

Here's hoping next time is just as easy!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Back to Reality

Eli at the Sweet Berry Farms pumpkin patch (11 weeks old)

This week marks my first week back to work since Eli was born 12 weeks ago.  I'm back...all day, every day.  Along with that comes a flurry of adaptations to this new life:  Eli is at Melissa's house (I refuse to call it day care for some reason), Payton and I are both working and managing our careers all day, and our evenings are spent winding down with Eli, feeding ourselves and keeping up with the endless amounts of housework, all while trying to set aside some time for each other.  It wouldn't be "our life" if we weren't appropriately christened on that first day back:

Eli wakes up for his first feeding, he slept 8 hours - a great start to our first day back.

Awakened by the sound of Cooper making the wretched sound that triggers only one thing in my head:  get him outside before he throws up in the house!  I run to open the back door and he teeters outside, whew, just in time!

Eli wakes up for his second feeding, crud, I should have gotten up 45 minutes ago to get ready so we could be on time.  Briefly glance at Maddie in the dark kitchen, she looks a little odd, I attribute it to the cobwebs in my head from just waking up.

Maddie walks into Eli's room and I finally see her in the light, holy heck, her face has litterally swollen up to where she can barely open her eyes.  This has happened before, an allergic reaction to something, but not since we had Eli.  My motherly instinct is to protect him so I kick her out, shut the door behind her, and figure Payton can deal with her when he wakes up.

Eli finishes his feeding and as I change his diaper, he stares up and gives me the biggest grin and my heart completely melts, I love my life and I love my son!  I sing "Rise and shine and give God the glory glory" as we change his diaper and get him dressed and he just smiles and coos the entire time.

I realize that my mad dash at 5:00am to get Cooper outside was a little late and find dog vomit on the rug and the wood floors.  Again, decide that since I've already been up for almost an hour, Payton can deal with it when he wakes up,  I must get ready.  Eli sits in his bouncy chair while I get ready, smiling, cooing at Edward the Elephant, and probably thinking:  my mom is crazy (as I blow dry my hair and sing "Rise and Shine" as loud as I can to entertain him and hoping to wake up Payton).

Eli has one of the biggest poops of his short little life.  One that he had been saving up from the entire day before.  Again, a job for Payton, must get ready (we were supposed to drop Eli off 15 minutes ago).

Finally ready to walk out the door with Payton, Eli, and his two bags of stuff in tow (she asked that I take one of the bags home because she wouldn't need the 5 extra outfits, 3 blankets, and 5 burp cloths I packed). 

I realize that I didn't have time to put on the roast I had planned to cook for dinner.  No worries, Payton says he'll go back home after we drop Eli off and put it on to cook.  We drive the short distance to Melissa's and I sit in the back with my little boy. 

I have a lot of things running through my head as I stare at my son: did I pack enough diapers, enough wipes, enough extra clothes, the pacifier, enough milk to last him through the day, did we grab Edward, are the kids at Melissa's going to be nice to him, what if he won't go down for a nap, what if he gets cranky, but I never once question the ability of his new daytime caretakers to love and take care of him, or my decision to return to work and leave him in the care of someone else. 

It's a question I heard from the moment we told people I was pregnant "Are you going back to work?" and never once did I hesitate to say "Of course".  Not returning to work was never an option for me.  I'm very fortunate to love my job, love the company I work for, and love the people I work with.  Going back to work is not a circumstance that I want people to feel sorry for me about (and believe me, I have actually had people look at me with pity and say "I'm so sorry that you have to go back to work") but rather feel happy for me that I have made a decision that I feel great about. 

Prior to being pregnant, I silently watched a conversation on Facebook between high school friends who are stay at home moms, they were so greatful to get to stay home with their kids and actually made a statement that mothers who choose to work are selfish because they are putting themselves before their children.  I don't have to work, it is a decision that I have made.  And why is it selfish, because I have chosen to do something for myself?  That I have goals in life for myself and my family and that I want to contribute to our income.

To me being a mother is not about ending any happiness that could come my way, it's about creating a stable home for my family that is full of warmth, happiness, understanding, compassion, and all of those warm fuzzies.  It isn't about being with my child 24/7 and it isn't about catering to his EVERY need, it is about raising children who are happy, well-adapted, independent, and understanding of others.

Payton, Eli, and I walk into Melissa's house greeted with smiles from Melissa, her mother who helps with the older children, and three sweet little girls.  At that point, our decision was even further confirmed to be a good one.  I go over everything with Melissa, Eli's schedule, his bottles, likes, dislikes, blah blah blah.  Any adult could look in his bags and see what I packed, but I feel the need to pull each thing out and explain it to her...his pacifier, his diapers, his wipes, here are his blankets, his swaddler, his elephant...seriously Candace, she has eyes, she watches children for a living, she knows what all of this is. 

And like that, we kiss him and he gives us the biggest smile...and we tell our little Love Bug goodbye for the day. 

Payton and I are back in the car.  We aren'y crying or wanting to turn back, grab him up, and take him home.  We talk about what they'll do during the day at Melissa's and what we're going to do when we pick him up that evening.

I finally get to work, refreshed, excited to be dressed and out of the house before noon.  I think about what my day will hold...I can go run errands during lunch without it being a 20 minute process to get in and out, I can go eat lunch wherever I want, whenever I want and not have to worry about it messing up Eli's schedule.  I'm free, and it's a great feeling, because I know that Eli is being taken care of by someone completely capable, who loves caring for children, and who will treat him like her own child. 

Payton calls, he's right by my office, wanna grab lunch?  Definitely!  We have our first meal in a restaurant, just the two of us, since Eli was 2 weeks old...and it feels great.  Of course we spend most of the lunch talking about our boy:  I wonder what he's doing right now, Wasn't he so cute when we dropped him off, When are we going to get his Halloween costume, Wow, what about that blowout this morning...

Back at the office to get some work done.  After working from home part time for 4 weeks and getting hardly anything done between feedings, naps, playing, and diaper changes, it feels great to be able to sit at my desk and blow through my work. 

Wrapping up a few things before I head out the door.  I'm so excited to see my boy I can hardly stand it. 

Payton and I are home with Eli and have 3 full hours before he goes down for the night.  We lay him on our bed and strip him down to his diaper.  There is something so innocent and beautiful about a baby in just a diaper.  We scoop him up and kiss all over him as he gives us this look that says "Hey guys, chill out, we can't do this every day when I get home, I'm exhausted from hanging out with my new friends!".  And then he breaks into that gummy grin that again melts our hearts.

Baby is down, roast and glass of wine is ready and Payton and I sit down for dinner and talk about our day.  We did it!  We made it through our first day and we feel like we accomplished a lot together.  We worked to provide for our family, spent time with our little boy, and now we have made time for each other.

Lights out and time to rest up for another beautiful day!

5 minutes didn't go by today that I didn't think about my little boy, heck, his pumpkin patch picture is the background on my computer desktop!  My thoughts are of joy at what we have created, awe at how much love iI feel for my son, and excitement to see him at the end of the day. 

I learned 2 valuable lesson from my first day back:
1.  There is no right or wrong answer to the question "Should I stay home or return to work?", there is only the answer that works best for you.  For me, being a working mom, it just works.
2.  I couldn't do any of it without Payton! 

...and in case you were wondering, Cooper hasn't thrown up again since that morning, Maddie's face eventually returned to normal, and the roast was perfect!

Guy Talk
My two favorite boys (and Snoopy) talking about their day