Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Our week in pictures...

last night, Rusty woke up "crying" at 2am. Shaking and limping and arching his back and little doggy crying. He looked so bad, Matt took him to Dove Lewis. Seems like it's a pinched nerve or something, and he's on some muscle relaxers and pain killers. Poor fur-baby...

On a happier note- Rowen found his feet! Last week or two weeks ago or thereabouts... he is in love with them. So funny :o)

He also has recently discovered Rusty! Poor Rusty has to just deal with it... but Rowen is lovin' him! Follows him around the room with his eyes, always reaching out for him when he's close enough... too cute.

and speaking of too cute....

The Rowen Report 2/9

Well, Rowen's great grandparents all live out of state and aren't exactly blog followers, so I thought I'd have Rowen wright them all a letter and include some pictures so they can watch him grow. Thought I'd share here what "he" wrote- haha

The Rowen Report!
February 18th, 2009

Hey there, Great Grandparents! This is Rowen, and since you’re all so far away and can’t watch me grow, I wanted to write you all and let you know how I’m doing these days. I am four months and ten days old. Yeah, I’m really getting up there! I had my four month check up about a week and a half ago and I’m doing great. My doctor is impressed with how strong I am when I’m on my tummy, and also with how good my skin looks despite the winter weather! I had a pretty nasty case of cradle cap, but thanks to some magic natural aloe lotion from my Nana (Wendy) it healed up in just three days. Now my head is GORGEOUS! And still pretty much bald. Oh well. I weigh just over 12 lbs and am just over 2 feet tall. And, cute as a button, of course. That makes me pretty small for my age, but I’m healthy as a horse. Eating great and active all the time! Sometimes I can roll over, but it’s super hard work. It’s much easier just to twist and turn every which way to see what I want to see. And I don’t mind being on my tummy, so rolling over is not my highest priority. Especially if there is something to chew on!
My favorite pass times lately are playing with my feet, eating my fingers, being naked, laughing at my daddy (he’s SO funny,) drooling, and of course, chattering away. I have lots to talk about and love it when people talk back. Momma thinks I’m going to be very social some day. I’m happy nearly all of the time, it’s so easy to make me smile and laugh! I love faces, my stuffed “Mr. Frog,” my “fuzzy” blanket, links, and my yellow crinkly paper. I also love to slam my hands down on my baby table because it makes a GREAT loud noise! All by myself! I still hate going in the car. Momma and Daddy put some links up so I can play while we’re driving and sometimes that’s okay, but sometimes it just doesn’t matter and I scream and cry anyway.
I also love to sleep. When I’m tired, just put me in my crib and walk away, I’ll do the rest! I find my thumb, my “fuzzy,” and drift off to dream land. It’s great. (Of course, that doesn’t mean I’ll sleep all night- I still like to wake up every two hours to eat some nights. I just want to make sure Momma knows how much I need her. That’s all.) :o)
I hope you are all doing well, staying happy and healthy and enjoying the New Year! I know I am (not that I know what a “new year” is… everything is new to me!) Enjoy the pictures, I’ll try and write again soon.

Much love,
Rowen Micah Happel

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Something to put a smile on your face...

There is something about a baby's laugh that brings so much joy to your day. You know that it is completely pure and genuine. So turn up the volume and prepare to smile with Rowen and Mr. Frog!

Friday, February 6, 2009

A soggy saga...

In retrospect, none of this is as terrifying and dramatic as it was at the time. And with my delightful experiment this morning, I must tell the whole story. And now, of course, I can use a bit of humor as I tell the world about something maybe only new moms care about: milk! If that's enough to turn you away, please, stop reading. More bodily fluids and grossness follow. But this is my blog, so I'll tell of all the details.
A little while back, I lost my milk supply. I'm not sure where it went- a vacation to Thailand, perhaps? A little siesta? Who knows. But I was mortified. Oh, I felt like a failure as a woman and mother! Here I had TONS of milk for a couple months, stock piling it in special little BPA-free baggies, (so proud of my frozen stash) and then one morning I woke up after not nursing one side for around 16 hours and I was flat as can be. I freaked. After nursing the baby, I offered him a two ounce bottle of defrosted milk. He loved it. After nursing him a couple hours later, I offered him a four ounce bottle. Oh, the JOY in that little plastic package! Devastated, I sat in the living room with my son in my lap, bawling. "I'm starving my baby!!!" I wailed. What's wrong with me? What happened? I used to pump once or twice a day because I was "full" and when was the last time I did that? Two weeks ago? Three? And when was the last time I full anyway? No leaking here... What has changed? Oh.... January first... the hunt for my old waistline. (I knew it was under there SOMEwhere...) Watching what I was eating, cutting out all junk, exercising every day, taking care of two babies and not myself - I took lactation for granted and didn't even realize poor Rowen was on a diet too. So I offered him a bottle after every feeding and he drank about four ounces each time. That was a Friday. I began the love affair with my hand-held Medela that day. Nurse, bottle, pump, wash, repeat. All weekend long. Monday finally came so I could take him to the doc and have him weighed. Sure enough, all my greatest fears were realized on that little scale- he'd dropped from the 25th percentile in weight down to the 10th. (More bawling.) The nurse helped me set up an appointment with the lactation specialist for later that week. So, being the internet information junkie I am, I looked up everything I could do to increase my milk supply. I ate beets, barley, beer, brown rice, oats, and even milk shakes made out of raw kale, pineapple juice, and bananas. Oh yeah, baby. I started taking copious amounts of fenugreek. After a day of that I started smelling pancakes everywhere I went. Especially when I peed. I shortly realized it was ME that smelled of maple syrup. The smell was wafting off my skin like I couldn't finish my breakfast at IHOP and decided to take the rest home with my in my pocket. Of course, it's not the worst smell in the world so I continued taking the lactation wonder-herb. (Do you smell maple syrup? Oh no, that's just Brianne.) By Friday, I wanted to fill my pump with gasoline and light it on fire. A full week of nurse, bottle, pump, wash, repeat had me at my wits end. Desperately afraid that I'd stunted my baby's growth for life, I made it to my lactation appointment that day feeling like my supply was on it's way back and we were doing okay.
Praise the Lord, it was. The lactation specialist thought Rowen looked great. She weighed him before and after a feeding and he guzzled three ounces in a -very- distracted five minute feeding. She was very sweet in the way she told me that I was being a rather silly first time mom, and gently pointed out all the fat on Rowen's naked little body. She also told me that breastfed babies often drop in weight percentiles around 3 or 4 months- and that's their NORMAL growth curve. The charts are based on formula fed babies, who typically gain weight faster that breastfed babies. (Which, if breasted is what's natural, shouldn't the charts be based on THAT? just my opinion...) So, okay, okay, I'll stop panicking.
It's been a couple weeks and I'm still trying to pump daily to keep my supply up, and still taking one fenugreek capsule with each meal because, well, I'm a freak. (who doesn't like maple syrup, anyway?) Well, feeling a little "flat" on Wednesday made my relaxation about nursing fall to the way-side and I start to panic again, feeling like this may become an ongoing battle with my breasts. Come ON! So, more kale shakes for me and back to two fenugreek capsules with each meal, and of course: more PUMPING! Ahh, love-hate.
This morning, I realized I'm down to my last three capsules of fenugreek. It's just ground up fenugreek seed in there- and freddies sells fenugreek seed in bulk, so I'm thinking I can save money by buying the seed, grinding it, and taking it every day that way. (I'm so cheap.) So, to test my theory (thank heavens I did) I take a capsule apart and pour it into a bowl to measure how much it is, and then try it out. One capsule is 1/4 tsp. I pour it on top of a spoon full of cottage cheese and gulp it down. (My plan was yogurt, but I had a bowl of cottage cheese out for breakfast, I figured it would be about the same.)

and then....

OH MAN!!! IT'S STUCK!!! To my teeth, to the roof of my mouth, STUCK like GLUE. Thick, slimy, horrible tasting glue. And no, it doesn't TASTE like maple syrup at all. I'm running around the kitchen like an idiot while gagging uncontrollably, trying to find something to GET IT OFF!! Cold water, nope. More cottage cheese, nope. Swishing water around, Oh gosh. Gag, gag, gag, ack! I heat up a little water hoping hot water will melt it away, (standing in front of the microwave for 40 seconds gagging with my mouth open and holding my nose- what a sight!) I swish that around, burning my tongue, and nope, that doesn't work either. So I SCRAPE it off with my fingernail, alternatively gagging and swishing around scalding hot water. (Are you laughing yet? Because this is really funny. I was laughing at myself!) Phew- it's mostly gone. So what do I do?
"hm... maybe if I mix it in better instead of sprinkling it on top, it wont stick to my mouth. That was gross." (read: I am SO cheap.) So I mix the contents of another capsule in with a spoonful of cottage cheese. This time it doesn't stick so bad, but I'm gagging so hard I
And who wants to see cottage cheese twice? Really.

So I think I'll be spending the $8.99 on a another bottle of fenugreek in the breakfast-saving capsules.

Hooray for milk!I don't know where I found this, so I cannot give credit where credit is due. But, here you go:

Increase Milk Supply Shake

1. The next time you're at the grocery store, stock up on bananas and kale. The kale should be dark green in color and not wilted. The riper the bananas, the better, and try to buy organic.
2. Wash the kale and tear the leaves from the stems. Toss the leaves into a seal-able freezer bag and push out any excess air before freezing.
3. Peel and chop the bananas in fourths, place into a seal-able freezer bag and push out any excess air before freezing.

This might sound time consuming, but it really doesn't take much time at all, and if you have a baby sling, your baby may enjoy helping you in the kitchen.


1/2 cup pineapple or pineapple-coconut juice
1/2 cup soy, rice, almond, coconut, or any variety of milk (or skip the milk and add more juice)
4 chunks (the equivalent of 1 whole) frozen banana
1 large handful frozen kale leaves

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Serves two. This shake is also great during pregnancy and for kids who won't eat their vegetables. It really does taste good!