Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Closing the book on 2014

Big boys with the best gift of 2014
Reflecting on 2014, it was a pretty big year for us. It was definitely a year of transition in terms of my career and completing our family. It was wonderful. It was hard. I didn't get to blog nearly as much as I would've liked and when I did I couldn't seem to find the right words to describe what was going on in our world.

This year my goals were to:

- Find secure and meaningful employment
- Pay off debt (at least $10K)
- Take a family vacation 
- Making our house a home 
- Make an effort to be healthy - specifically, deliver a healthy full-term baby, allow myself to recover from birth, successfully breastfeed, get back to pre pregnancy weight through healthy eating and light-moderate exercise. 
- Visit more often with family

Here is how I did:

I landed a job I absolutely love, close to home (same distance as my previous job), and I have job security! I had so many mixed emotions about leaving my old job so I'm so happy that I finally feel at home in my new job. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have a job which is challenging and fulfilling and where there is opportunity for growth.I have amazing co-workers that I can actually call friends and my boss wants to set up meetings to do things like talk about my professional interests so that he can assign tasks in line with my interests and strengths. No job is perfect but I feel like I've come pretty close and the pay is decent, especially considering it doesn't feel like "work" at all. 

Paying off debt really took a spot on the back burner this year with the change in job (lower starting pay) and transition to being a family of 5 and all of the additional budget implications that had. I had hoped to pay off at least 10K. Good news is that we didn't take on any more significant debt in 2014 even with a new baby, time off work, and a career change, but we're really no further ahead that we were at the end of last year. This fall I was able to take out an unsecured line of credit on my own to pay off my student line of credit which was co-signed by my mom. That felt like a big step in terms of financial independence. We are now making bi-monthly principal + interest payments on that loan rather than interest only. Baby steps. 

Family vacation time was pretty low key this year. At the beginning of the year, R took the big boys skiing for the weekend with friends while I relaxed at home since I was in my third trimester. We didn't get up to the trailer nearly as much as we wanted to this summer and when we did, it felt a little crazy and was not very relaxing with a newborn and adjusting to being back at work 5 days/week. We did manage to get up to Temagami to R's family cottage in August with friends of ours and their two boys. The boys had a ton of fun together. 

Making our house a home. This year we redecorated the nursery for Noah's arrival and finally made some progress in the kitchen with a new countertop and dishwasher. Over the holidays I also had the opportunity to give our living room a mini facelift with couch covers and new throw pillows. For a Christmas present, I had my graduate degree and certificate framed since they had just been sitting in the top of my closet. I'm excited to finally get some stuff up on the walls.  

2014 was a rocky year health-wise for me, yet strangely I still managed to accomplish all of my written goals. I had set out to make more of an effort to be healthy. I delivered a healthy 39 week baby and allowed myself to recover from a very difficult birth and complications. I was able to successfully breastfeed even after some hurdles like being re-admitted to the hospital, undergoing a couple of surgeries, and going back to work when Noah was 12 weeks old. I am happily still nursing although not exclusively but I'm totally okay with that. I got back to my pre pregnancy weight through somewhat healthy eating and exercise (I surprised myself by joining an adult synchronized skating team after being off the ice for nearly 15 years and it was one of my best decisions of 2014!).

One goal that went, by and large, unaccomplished this year was visiting more often with family. Being rather pregnant in the early part of the year made travelling inconvenient. R worked a lot of weekends this year too so there weren't many opportunities on the weekends when we weren't at the trailer. One thing that really surprised me was how little family and friends made a fuss over Noah's arrival. We have family members that we usually see a few times a year that only just met Noah at Christmas. There were many times this year where I felt very isolated and lonely, especially in Noah's first 12 weeks before I went to work. A few friends did reach out during that difficult time and I will never forget that. Apart from them I really felt that I only had R and my sister. Moving forward I will be more aware and try to be there in whatever capacity, big or small, for my friends and family when they are going through things - good and bad. I won't wait for an invitation. 

Here's to 2015! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

8 Months

Sometimes I wish you'd stay this way forever

Every day I feel so blessed to have this little guy in our lives. I particularly cherish our quiet time cuddling and nursing in the rocking chair in his bedroom each night. Many nights he dozes off in my arms before I get a chance to lay him in his crib. It is hard to believe he is 2/3 of the way to 1 year old. His personality is really starting to shine and I am beginning to think he may be a mix of his two older brothers.

Some highlights from this month:
- Teeth! 2 on the bottom which he loves to tink against a glass cup of water at meal times.
- Weighed in at 18.5 lbs at his doctor's appointment and is now wearing 18-24 month clothes.
- Eating 3x per day. This month he got a number of grains, fruits, and veggies under his belt and began having some mixed foods. Peas and avocados were the only things that didn't go over really well. This month we're hoping to introduce more meats and dairy along with giving him the food he already enjoys mashed as opposed to pureed.
- Mobility! Noah scoots around on his bum and has begun flopping onto his tummy and pushing up on his knees. Rocking isn't too far off I don't think. He'll sit and play with toys for long periods of time but doesn't spend much time in the exersaucer or Jumperoo much anymore.
- Vocalizing - he just recently started babbling. His favourite sounds are "bah", "gah", and "da da". He regularly has big shrieks and laughs for his brothers.
- Going from 3 naps most days down to 2 naps.

I have, for the most part, stopped pumping. I'm still nursing a couple times in the morning, at lunch (when he is interested), after work/before dinner, bed time, again before I go to bed and occasionally once in the middle of the night if he wakes. So 6-7 times each day on average. He usually has 2-3 bottles of formula while I'm at work or if I'm out in an evening or weekend. I'm so happy we've been able to keep up this relationship for so long.
This month I gave away a box of baby clothes to my brother (who is having a baby boy in February!). I'm in the process of offloading my maternity stuff as well. Slowly but surely. It does feel a bit strange and I do feel some twinges of sadness during moments when the realization that this stage of my life is over comes to light. I'm trying to stay focused on the present and all of the exciting stuff to come as much as possible.

Oh what fun!