Saturday, May 25, 2013


Scott determined James is now of the age to begin his proper golf indoctrination.  We made it a family affair.

James started out with a club that turned out to be a wee bit too heavy for him.  Apparently proper equipment is pretty crucial to a good golf game.  Since I'm not plagued with such a thing (a good golf game), I wouldn't know...

Similar to James' approach to corn hole, he found it easiest to just drop the ball into the hole.

Looks like Scott's work is cut out for him regarding James' form.

Reese tried to be a good cheerleader from the sidelines, but she lacked both the enthusiasm for the game and the ability to see it from her car seat.

We found she made a most excellent caddy, though...

James pretty much lost interest after the first two holes.  Scott and I spent the rest of the time taking turns putting and keeping James out of the water hazards.  Fun fun!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Breastfeeding: Pumping At Work (Part 2)

Here's another story from a working mom about how she managed pumping at work.

Meet Brandy.  She spends her work days behind a desk as a software developer.  Landon (3.5 years) and Oliver (9 months) call her mom.  She has a fantastic blog you should check out here.  Her thoughts on pumping at work: 

How long are your work days, on average? 

8 hours with one hour lunch

How long were you out on maternity leave?  

10 weeks for both 

What, if any, apprehensions did you have about continuing breastfeeding and pumping after your maternity leave was up?

I knew it would be hard work because I didn't respond well to the pump. I didn't prepare enough with my first son. I should have pumped and stored more on leave but I didn't know to. I had to learn a lot as I went (pump strength, flange size, how long to pump). I knew more with Oliver and prepared more. I pumped from probably week 1 to build supply. I rented a hospital grade for 3 months. I wanted to trick my body for as long as I could. I also got to nurse Oliver at work so I didn't have to pump as much. That was a BIG help. I didn't have to worry about making up the ounces as much.

What was your pumping schedule at work? Number of pumping sessions? Duration of each session? 

With Landon I pumped 4 times at work. Almost every 2 hours by the end. It was torture. With Ollie I pumped maybe twice and once was just after I got to work to get any extra. He only took 1 bottle for the first months because I nursed him every other time. Because of my office, I would work and pump. I aimed for sessions to be 30 min but sometimes i would get busy and it would be 45 min.

Did your sons have trouble interchanging between bottles and breastfeeding? 

Never. Landon started a bottle at 4 weeks and Ollie at 2. I always gave them a bottle before bed to make sure they were used to it and made babysitting easier.

Where did you physically pump at work? 

I have my own office with locked door.

How did you handle washing of pump parts for multiple pumping sessions at work?

I kept my parts in a tall cooler and reused. This saved massive amounts of time.

Where do you store your milk during the work day?

Breakroom fridge

Describe what you packed in your pump bag.

Flanges. bottles. lanolin. pump bra. medela pump wipes. A cloth diaper to dry off :)

Any other working-mom-pumping-related thoughts you'd like to share?


Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Brandy!  

Do you want to be a part of this Pumping At Work blog series?  Email me!  baacuff (at) mac (dot) com.

Questions?  Leave it in the comments!

Breastfeeding: Pumping At Work (Part 1)

Breastfeeding: Pumping At Work (Part 3)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Case of the Mondays


Before I forget the details of this story, I want to write it all down.  This kind of thing doesn't usually happen to me.  It sounds more like a story Beth Anne would tell...

My Monday began about 1:10 am.  The all-too-familiar burning/urgency feeling awoke me from my sleep, giving me my first indication that I probably had a UTI.  I spent the next two hours in and out of the bathroom, trying to alleviate the burning/urgency/frequency symptoms.  If you've ever had a UTI, you KNOW what I'm talking about.  Miserable symptoms.  Sometime after 3:30 am, I was able to fall asleep.  When I woke up again, I noticed it was daylight outside and that (oddly) Scott was still in the bed.  On work days he is ALWAYS up pre-dawn.  I tapped him and said "What time is it?"  He groggily said "6:30....OH CRAP..." and bolted out of the bed.  He was on his way to work less than 10 minutes later.  Most impressive.

Within 30 minutes both kiddos were awake and chatting in their cribs.  I peeled myself out of my bed and began the morning routine of diaper changes, bottle and breakfast making, and interweb surfing.  As soon as my doctor's office opened, I was on the phone with them to see if they would call me in a prescription for antibiotics.  Sadly, they didn't want to call in a script for me.  They wanted to see me in the office.  Fun.  The first available appointment was at 1:30 pm.  I agreed to take that time slot knowing full well that is smack dab in the middle of both kids afternoon naps.  *Once again I refer you to the burning/frequency/urgency symptoms.  Feeling that way will make even the most schedule-nazi-mom wake up her sleeping kids to go to the doctor.*

We spent the morning at my friend Amy's house playing and hanging out.  As soon as we got home from there, I put James down for a much-abbreviated nap.  I fed Reese and put her back in her car seat, since we needed to leave very soon.  I grabbed a quick shower and packed us all back up to head out the door.  James was barefoot, sleepy eyed, confused, but thankfully pleasant as I plucked him from his crib and carried him to the car.  Off to the doctor we went.

Upon arrival to the doctor's office, there were no parking spaces right next to the building.  I had to park just a little jaunt away.  No big deal except that it was raining and I was wrangling two kids.  And I felt like I had to pee.  All the time.  I decided to forego the double stroller, which would have been easier for me not to have to carry a kid, but I didn't think it would FIT in the elevator or the exam room or really anywhere in the office.  I opted to put Reese in her car seat stroller frame stroller (still getting good use out of that Brandi!) and carry James on my hip.  Brilliant plan.  Off we went, through the rain, into the office.

I knew they were going to want me to pee in a cup as soon as I got there.  I also knew that would be an adventure in and of itself with James and Reese in tow.  Before I could even head towards the bathroom, I needed to put some socks and shoes on James.  Yes, I was that mom that had a barefoot old-enough-to-walk-toddler in public.  I sat down in the waiting room, dug his socks and shoes out of the diaper bag, and put them on him.  He was still groggy and didn't put up much of a fight.  Off to the bathroom we went.  The stroller, the toddler, and the momma all fit in the bathroom with some room to spare.  If you are supermom enough to provide a "clean catch" sample while holding your toddler, you are more supermom than I am.  I put James down to accomplish this task.  Mid-way through the "procedure", I look up to see him trying the door handle.  It's one of those lever-type door handles, not a door knob type.  Lever-types are easier for toddlers to open, in case you were wondering.  I tried not to scream "JAMES DON'T OPEN THAT DOOR!" while also trying not to make a huge mess with what I was doing.  James took his hand off of the door handle.


After some hand-washing, the entourage and I left the bathroom and headed back to the waiting room.  My name was called rather quickly by the nurse.  She took me to the blood pressure/weight room.  There wasn't enough room for the whole entourage in that room, so Reese hung out in the hall.  She didn't seem to mind.  James was very concerned at this point that this appointment might, in fact, be about HIM.  I had to put him down again so I could be weighed.  He hit the ground running, beating feet straight out of that room and saying "CAR CAR CAR" as he went.  It was clear he wanted to leave.  I grabbed him by the arm and asked him to hold onto the stroller while I got weighed (that takes TWO SECONDS, you know), which he did.  He sat in my lap while I got my blood pressure taken and the nurse asked me questions about my symptoms and such.  As an indication of how distracted I was, I do not know what my weight or blood pressure were.  What woman doesn't pay attention to the scale when she's being weighed??  A woman who is trying to keep her toddler from running wild down the hall of the doctor's office, that's who.

Soon enough, we were ushered into the exam room to await the nurse practitioner.  Instead of sitting on the exam table, I sat down in the "guest" chair with James in my lap.  A couple of minutes after being put into the room, the nurse poked her head in the door to let me know I needed to strip from the waist down (my phrasing, not hers).  I said "Seriously??"


I did what she asked, situated myself on the exam table with the modesty sheet precariously draped around me and James in my lap.  Except he didn't WANT the sheet over him and kept pushing it aside.  I just sighed and left the sheet alone.  "Down! Down! Down!" he kept saying.  He didn't want to hang out with me anymore.  Fine.  I let him down from the table and hoped he wouldn't touch anything too icky in the exam room.  That wasn't going to be a problem, though, as I quickly learned.  Within the next minute or two, the toddler child POOPED.  


Of COURSE he's going to take this opportunity to poop and stink up the whole room when I'm half naked and any moment a nurse practitioner is going to walk through the door.  I grabbed the modesty sheet and finagled it into a wrap-skirt tucked in around my waist.  I procured my diaper changing items from the diaper bag and placed the stinky toddler on the exam table.  Right about the time I had his legs up by his ears, cleaning him up, the NP walks in.  I blurted out "Well I'm having just about the best day of my life, come on in!"  She laughed, no doubt to keep from crying from the smell stinging her eyes.  She kindly said, "Did he choose this moment?"  I said, "He sure enough did.  I'm so sorry for the smell!"  I told her I totally understood if she needed to go see another patient and come back to me.  She declined my offer to get away from the stench and instead asked me about why I was there in the first place.  I answered her questions while getting James situated.  No mention was made of my cute sheet-skirt.  She graciously forewent the invasive physical exam and said she would be back with a prescription for me.  I got re-dressed, she handed me my prescription, I wrapped the offensive diaper inside of four exam gloves and put it in my diaper bag, and off we went.

Wow.  What an adventure.  I tell you what, some of these things that I couldn't possibly have ever imagined before having kids, it's for the best.  I might have been too scared to do it had I known...

As a marvelous ending to this story, I'm just now realizing as I type this that there is a 90% chance that nasty-wrapped-in-four-gloves-diaper is STILL in the back of my car in the diaper bag.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Family Fun

On a perfectly lovely Saturday morning in May, we took the opportunity to visit a local strawberry* farm called Phillips Farm.  The overcast weather kept the temperature perfect and the crowd to a minimum.

It cost $5 per person over 2 years old to get in to the "fun" part of the farm.  (not the strawberry picking labor-intensive part)  Due to their young ages, James and Reese are cheap dates.

James and Scott enjoyed some corn hole...

Why waste all that energy and effort tossing the bean bag when it's easier to just drop it in the hole from point-blank range?

"No Dad, do it like this..."

James also practiced a little football.  I'm no football expert, but we may need to work on his form...

He rode on the "cow train" and seemed to enjoy it.

Lastly, he discovered la piece de resistance (said in best french accent)...


Scott and James spent at LEAST thirty minutes sitting in there playing with the steering wheel and gears and such.  Do you know how long thirty minutes is in toddler-time?  That's like a year and a half...

Thankfully it was drizzling rain by this point and most of the other patrons had already migrated to the picnic shelter areas to take cover.  I say "thankfully" because that meant there were no other little kids waiting their turn to sit in the tractor.  James wouldn't have stood for it.  Just ask the poor kiddos he practically kicked out of the tractor that were in it before him.  (So sorry to your children, Patsy.)

Although not pictured, Reese and I had a grand time as well watching our boys play. 

*No strawberries were harmed during this farm visit.  Due to the rainy weather, we didn't pick any!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Breastfeeding: Pumping At Work (part 1)

I want to share some stories with you about adventures in pumping at work as told by some of my friends.  I find it helpful to hear real stories from real people tackling real life obstacles that I'm facing, too.  First up:  Angela!

Angela is on her feet most work days as an elementary school teacher (3rd grade).  She is mom to 16 month old Isabelle. She had this to say about pumping at work:

How long are your work days, on average? 

My average work day is 9 hours--7 hours with kids and two hours of work on lesson plans, paper work, meetings, etc.

How long were you out on maternity leave?  

I was on maternity leave for 8 weeks.

What, if any, apprehensions did you have about continuing breastfeeding and pumping after your maternity leave was up?

My main concern about continuing to use breast milk after returning to work was the time it would take to keep up with the supply Isabelle would need.  She has always been a VERY good eater and was drinking 6-8 ounces at a time from about 3 months old!  I knew from hearing about other mother's experiences that I would have to pump as many times as she ate if I wanted her to only have breast milk.  That would be a minimum of 3 times during my school day.  This seemed daunting because of the lack of flexible time in my schedule.  I knew it was possible because other teachers at my school had done it, but it definitely added a big element of stress to returning to work...something I didn't really want to do to begin with.

Did that original plan change after you went back to work?  

I managed to stick with my original plan/schedule that I anticipated.  I was able to be relatively flexible with times between pumping sessions, which I had to figure out as I went along.  My biggest obstacle was minimizing the impact on my students while I was out of the classroom.  My "personal" schedule and my class schedule were not compatible.  If I had pumped when it was most comfortable for me, I would have had to have a sub for about 20 minutes 3 times a day.  That seems minimal when I think about it now, but it was a big burden on teacher assistants (though they never complained) and reduced my time actually teaching my students.  Finding a balance of doing what is best for Isabelle and what is best for my students...this was the first in a long list of times that I've had to do that.  I managed to rearrange things to only leave my kids once a day.  It made it a little bit harder on me because I pumped during lunch and planning times, but it didn't impact my supply.  Problem solved.

What was your pumping schedule at work? Number of pumping sessions? Duration of each session? 

The schedule I stuck with the longest was as follows: 8:45-9:05 (during my students' arrival time--didn't miss any instruction); 12:30-12:50 (my lunch time--another staff member picked my students up from lunch); 3:45-4:05 (during dismissal--didn't miss any instruction.  My times included prep and clean up.  I actually only pumped for about 10 minutes most times.

Did your daughter have trouble interchanging between bottles and breastfeeding? 

Isabelle had no problem going between nursing and bottles.  She has always been a flexible little thing.

Where did you physically pump at work? 

I pumped in a little random "phone room" about the size of a closet in our teacher's lounge.  It was unofficially designated the pumping room in the school.  (When you work mainly with women of child bearing age, you have one of these.)

How did you handle washing of pump parts for multiple pumping sessions at work?

Luckily, there is a sink outside the room where I pumped.

Where do you store your milk during the work day?  

I stored milk in the refrigerator in the teacher's lounge.  I had to CLEARLY label the bag because there was more than one pumping mom at my school at the time.

Describe what you packed in your pump bag.

I really just had the pump parts and a towel in my bag.  I was pretty fast, so I didn't need a lot of things to keep me busy.  There was a clock in the room with me, which was the only other thing I needed.

Any other working-mom-pumping-related thoughts you'd like to share?

One unexpected change I made in the middle was that I stopped nursing altogether after about 2 months back at work.  Pumping was a lot faster than nursing, because Isabelle nursed slowly.  It took me 45 minutes to nurse her--it only took me 10 minutes to pump as much as she wanted.  I doubt I would have made that leap if I hadn't been pumping because of my return to work.  I enjoyed nursing after the initial adjustment period; however, the schedule and busyness of working made efficiency the priority.

I was very lucky because nursing and pumping for me were relatively painless and hassle free.  My main issues with it involved the amount of work and planning it took to pump enough milk every day: making sure the room was available and unlocked when I needed it, making sure I had coverage for my class when I asked for it, making sure I had all the parts packed, making sure I remembered to get the milk out of the refrigerator EVERY day before I left school, making sure I remembered to pump at the right time (a few minutes off could impact multiple people.)  All of those little details added onto the millions of teacher and early parenting tasks were very taxing for me.  I was very relieved to be finished and glad that I made it the 6 months I wanted to complete.


Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Angela!  

Do you want to be a part of this Pumping At Work blog series?  Email me!  baacuff (at) mac (dot) com.

Questions?  Leave it in the comments!

Breastfeeding:  Pumping At Work (Part 2)

Breastfeeding:  Pumping At Work (Part 3)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Reese is 6 months!

Reese had her 6 month check up appointment recently.

She's a healthy girl weighing in at 16 lbs 13 oz and 26.75 inches long.

Her favorite thing about the appointment was crinkling up the exam table paper.  It made so much noise and she loved it!

She did NOT, however, care for being weighed, measured, or given shots.  Other than that...

What she's up to these days:

-Reaches for and picks up toys around her.
-Can roll front/back and back/front pretty easily, not sitting up yet.
-lots and lots of sounds.  Girl loves to hear her own voice.
-smiles every time James looks at her.  She loves watching him.

She makes us laugh and smile and we are so thankful for her!