Thursday, May 31, 2007

Another little update

The hard thing about going back to work is not doing the work or taking care of Heather. I'm still good at both of those things. The hard part is trying to get *anything* else done.

I knit on the bus. I read or watch TV while Heather eats. I eat while she sleeps or hangs out on the playmat. And during the week I generally have about an hour to get things done from when Heather goes to sleep until I do...and really it should be less than that because I'd love to go to bed before 11:15! I'm relieved that there is very little TV to watch anymore and that I've finished Order of the Phoenix, but there are still some things to get accomplished that I haven't found time for (thank you notes, hand washing sweaters, working on my messy room, finishing the painting in Heather's room, etc)

We've managed to stay caught up on laundry, but that is mostly because I only have 6 nursing doing laundry each week is essential. And we've been caught up on dishes lately, but that is because my mom is staying with us and the trend is likely to end when she leaves.

I've complete 1 1/2 more hats since my last post. They need to be mailed early next week, so I want to spend whatever free time I have this weekend trying to get more done. I'm not going to make my goal of 15 items, but I might be able to make it to 10.

I'm rambling out a post as a means of emptying my head before starting a new task. 234 drawings went to the printer today and contractors pick them up tomorrow to start the bidding process. It's both a relief (this job was supposed to go out to bid while I was on maternity leave - the delay was not our fault) and the beginning of a whole new set of challenges. How will the bids compare to the budget? How many phases will they build now? What questions will the contractors ask? When will they actually start construction?

And for those who were wondering about my leg - it still hurts. My appointment has been postponed to next week. The stretches feel better and my leg feels better in the morning. But I still need the Motrin, especially at work with all of the sitting.

Friday, May 25, 2007

A few things...

I don't have the energy for a proper post (whatever that is). It has been a tiring week. I didn't get to bed anywhere near early enough before getting up at 4am for my flight to Charlotte on Wednesday. And I haven't had any time for extra sleep later in the week. The 3-day weekend will be thoroughly enjoyed!

In case you were wondering, an electric breast pump is nearly guaranteed to cause a call for a bag check. In Pittsburgh, it was scanned with some kind of ion test. In Charlotte, it was recognized once it was opened.

There is no doubt that my appetite is back. I could eat constantly while at work and I'm still hungry when I get home. Care must now be taken to not overdo it, after a year of being able to eat whatever I felt like eating without concern.

The stretches I've been doing have caused some improvement in my leg pain, but I'm still living on motrin and walking like an elderly woman whenever I get up from an hour or two of sitting. The pain is less in the morning (pre-motrin), but it is still there and still annoying. Hopefully my doctor will have some more suggestions at my appointment on Wednesday.

I've completed almost two Dulaan hats this week. We'll see what else I can get done this weekend.

Monday, May 21, 2007

First Daycare visit, etc.

Tomorrow, Mom and I are taking Heather for her first visit to daycare. I'm feeling excited and anxious about it. We visited daycares in September and at the time we went to the one we chose, they were undergoing renovations. So I have only vague memories of the teachers in the infant room (I know I liked them, but I wouldn't recognize any of them if I passed them on the street) and I haven't actually seen the new infant room. I'm mostly anxious because I hope we can convince Heather to take a nap while we're there, which is the biggest "test" she needs to pass before her first full day there alone. (I'm not worried about whether the teachers will be able to feed her or get along with her - she's pretty easy going around people.)

In the good news category, my leg seems to feel better than yesterday. It's no where near back to normal, but yesterday morning it was particularly awful. I was hoping that it was because Saturday night was my first real stretching session (it's so hard to find time!), and I thought maybe it was just extra soreness from that. I still haven't managed to do any yoga or pilates, but I did stretch again last night. We'll see if that is enough (although I'd still like to sneak in a little yoga).

On the knitting front, the trekking socks are progressing. I also realized that I have just a couple of weeks until the Dulaan box needs to be shipped and I'm way behind my goal. Next time I can knit at home, I plan to start a couple of hats for the bus and hopefully for my business trip on Wednesday. I could get a couple of hats done while sitting in the airport, the planes and the car.

It feels like there is a lot to do in the next two weeks. Some of it is because of the preparation to send Heather to daycare and the things I want to accomplish while my mom is here to help/visit/etc. And I think some of it is just coincedence. So far June does not seem like it will be as busy and it hope it stays that way. I still haven't finished the mural in Heather's room. :-)

It's been a week and a half since I've posted new pictures to the gallery. I'll try to get back to it the mean time here is one of my favorite tummy time photos...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Random Thought Friday

1 - Pumping stinks
Okay, it's not really *that* bad, but it has definitely been the most stressful part of returning to work. Nursing is so much simpler. No bottles or parts to wash, no bottle transfers, no worries about quantity or freshness. But that said, I'm very happy that the technology exists that enables me to continue to give Heather breast milk even now that I'm back at work. I will be happy when I can pump twice a day instead of three times. I miss my lunch break.

2 - Trekking socks
I keep meaning to take pictures and haven't yet, but my current pair are going well. I'm doing a pattern (currently forget the name) from Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road. I'm doing them toe-up instead of cuff down, so I'm basically doing my usual "recipe" with the addition of the cable pattern on the top of the foot and the leg. I'm doing both socks at the same time on 2 sets of dpns and from each end of the skein. I have to untangle the two ends from time to time, but it is working well. I decided to try a short row heel again. Last time it took me 5-6 attempts after reading multiple directions. This time I had the very clear directions in the current issue of IK, and I got a beautiful heel on the first try! The IK directions will become part of my standard toe-up sock recipe from now on!

3 - Heather
What can I say? She's adorable and seems to be adjusting well to being watched by babysitters during the day. It sounds like she's accepting the bottle okay and napping pretty well. She still fusses before sleep, but sometimes less than others, and she seems to be giving in more easily as long as she doesn't get overtired. I'm anxious to see how she'll do at daycare. We have our first visit there next Tuesday and she'll make a couple more with R and my mom before she starts in June.

4 - Pain
The back pain I had is under control and/or gone. I haven't even had the beginnings of a flare up since the night before we had the carpets cleaned in April. Not sure if it is because the issue has resolved itself or if my new pain is just preventing me from doing enough to aggravate the back pain. ;-)

The new pain is in my hamstring and in my behind, all on the right side. It usually feels like the muscles are contracted and don't want to extend. Occasionally it hurts just to stand, but usually it is sitting and bending down/over that are the biggest issues. My current guidance from the doctor is Motrin, walking and yoga/Pilates stretching. I haven't done the yoga/Pilates yet. I plan to check out the offerings on Comcast On Demand this weekend. Then I'll decide if I need to buy a video or if the free options are enough.

I have a follow-up appointment in 2 weeks. If the stretching doesn't solve the problem I will be anxious to find out what else they can do. I don't really like living on Motrin and since I spend most of my workday sitting there is little I can do to improve how I feel from 8:30-5:30.

5 - DVR
Despite my love for the DVR, it really annoyed me last night. It taped the LAST MINUTE of Ugly Betty, and that was it! So all I got to see what the cliffhanger at the end of the show. I'm really hoping that has the episode up by tonight so I can find out what the crying is about. I was also looking forward to seeing Kristen Chenoweth.

6 - Food and Weight
I'm no longer censoring my diet at all and my previous appetite seems to be back. I slowly added chocolate, dairy and citrus back into my diet and it didn't seem to bother Heather at all. Add in the fact that I tend to eat more at work just sitting all day, and I feel like I need to be more conscious of what I'm eating again. I'd really like to take advantage of the fact that I'm burning extra calories everyday through lactation, so I don't want to be taking in more than I need. It's nice to be able to lose weight without exercise (other than walking) and I really think that once I get back down to a better weight I can do a better job of keeping myself there this time.

According to the BMI chart in the doctor's office, I'm about 5 pounds over the cusp between "overweight" and "obese". And I'm about 35 pounds over the upper end of the "normal" range. Clearly, I would prefer to be overweight instead of obese, and based on that chart I haven't been in the normal range since about 6th grade (sad but true - although I was in the lower end of the overweight category for a long time).

I'm really writing about this for my own benefit. Understanding the numbers provides me with some motivation. I'm not planning on any extreme changes, because I think I eat pretty well in general. I just don't want to overdo it on chocolate and ice cream and custard all summer.

7 - Travel
Next week I'm taking a day trip for work to Davidson, NC. My first project in the office (almost 8 years ago) was a student center/theater at Davidson College, and I've never been there in person. We're primarily going down to talk about another project we're doing on campus. But I'm very excited to finally see my "first building".

8 - Harry
I'm really enjoying Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (again). I bet I would be done already if I was still on maternity leave. For now, I have to settle for reading while Heather eats and sometimes a little bit before bed. I may get through #6 faster since there won't be anything on TV in a couple of weeks. I'm not sure if I will continue to be a regular reader when I finish this series or if I will devote my reading time to my backlog of magazines for a while. I enjoy reading, but it hasn't been the same kind of passion that it was for me when I was in school. I guess if Harry can bring that back it's a good thing.

Pretty random, isn't it? I've been working on this post on and off all day, so I guess I might as well post it. I'm sure I'll think of a few more things as soon as I do. :-)

Monday, May 14, 2007

You know you're a geek when...

...a new mouse makes your day. :-)

As long as I've been with my current employer (almost 8 years), I've used the same mouse. Each time I get a computer or keyboard upgrade I keep my original mouse because it has a thumb button. And I use the thumb button when I draw on the computer in Microstation. The thumb button is crucial to my drafting speed. I don't even know how the mouse with the thumb button entered the office because no one else has one. But that was what was attached to my computer when I learned and I can't go back.

Well, my 8+ year old mouse hasn't been clicking well for a while. During my maternity leave, someone else used my desk and requested a new mouse because the one I had was substandard. When I returned, I reconnected my old mouse to the surprise of our office manager. I explained to him that despite the poor clicking capability, I needed my thumb button, and I'd rather have a bad click than no thumb button.

This morning I found a newer mouse with a thumb button on my desk. :-)

It was a little dirty and an old model. But I was able to download the driver I needed and now I have a mouse with a thumb button that can keep up with me again!

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Heather really seems to enjoy it when we hold her up to stand on our laps, so we tried the bumbo seat this evening. Success! She got bored after about 10 minutes, but not before we took some cute photos. We'll have to take it outside this weekend so we can get some nice non-flash photos.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Glad I have a stash

Knitters, this post is not about what you think. ;-)

I'm not really convinced that I going to get as much milk today as I did the past three days of work. Usually the first pump of the day is nearly two servings and my later pumping bring in less. Today's results are less impressive. I'm not convinced I'm going to get three total servings. I've been trying to drink a lot of water, but I didn't have oatmeal this morning for breakfast. Maybe I should have some as an afternoon snack...

I'm not panicking yet. I have a good freezer stash, I can pump extra during the weekend, and it could just be a short-lived slump. But if I continue to have to spend 15 minutes pumping to get less than a serving, this is going to get old fast!

Vent over.

Demand it!

We need to convince Amy R. Singer to come to Pittsburgh for a workshop or book signing or *something*.

Monday, May 07, 2007


The one thing I keep forgetting to post is about my current reading. I decided last year that I wanted to reread the Harry Potter books, and my resolve was strengthened when they announced the publishing date of the last of the series. I find it interesting to be rereading them and seeing the similarities and differences between the books and movies. In general, I still think they've done a good job. There is nothing like reading the books, but the movies are entertaining reimaginings of the books.

During the pregnancy I read the first two and during maternity leave (mostly while Heather ate), I read #3 and #4. Goblet of Fire is my favorite of the first four, although I did find that I enjoyed reading Prisoner of Azkaban more than I remember the first time. I expect that this is because that is my favorite of the movies thus far. I was not disappointed by the movie for Goblet of Fire...but the book is so long and so rich with subplots that only a movie of epic length could have come close to doing the book justice.

And I admit that part of the reason I am rereading them is because I read #5 and #6 in very quick succession the first time and I feel like I've forgotten a lot of detail. In some ways, #6 is more clear in my mind than #5 since I read them back to back. So I want to prepare my brain for both the book and movie releases planned for this summer. Hopefully R and I can find a trustworthy babysitter by the time the movie comes out...

I'm about 3 chapters into Order of the Phoenix and so far it is even better than I remember.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The first 8 hours

So far I have survived my first day back at work. Leaving the house this morning was not too traumatic, probably because I was focused on getting out the door so I could get the express bus, which I ended up missing anyway.

I am missing Heather, but I am busy enough that the day is going fairly quickly so far. My two attempts at pumping have gone well. The only downside being the time it takes to pump plus the fact that I didn't get here until almost I think I'm going to be a little short on my 8 hours in order to get the last express bus...but I think I'd rather make that up next week than take a non-express bus that might not get me home until close to 7pm.

Must set alarm earlier next week and hopefully the time it takes to pump will get shorter, too.

I finished my socks on the way in this morning. So I will be reading the latest issue of IK on the way home and stash diving for my next project tonight or tomorrow. Except for buttons, I finished Heather's sweater, so I have nothing on the needles (other than an old sweater in progress that I haven't tried on since I was 6 months pregnant - might need to drag that out again). Not sure what is going to be next. But I do know that I haven't wanted to have many things in progress since Heather's birth. My brain just isn't so interested in multi-tasking that much right now.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Random Tuesday Part 2

14 - I should mention that the clapotis works okay for breastfeeding in public. The biggest obstacle is that Heather always seems to have her "top" arm in motion while she's eating. So while it might have worked better if I would have made it a little bigger...the whole process would still have it's challenges. But, I think we do well enough that I feel comfortable nursing in public when necessary.

15 - I'm not a person who likes routines and routines are good for babies. Shall we just leave it at that? :-) There isn't much else to say, it just is what it is. It's one of the reasons that I'm not looking forward to going back to work - the morning routine.

16 - Our luckiness can't be overstated. Despite the fact that Heather will still fight it when she's tired and falling asleep, she continues to sleep through the night. *knocking on wood* Sleep is good. :-)

Random Tuesday

Who knows how long Heather's current nap will last, and I'm way behind on my picture posting, so just a list of thoughts for today.

1 - Two more days left of maternity leave. I go back to work on Friday. At the moment, the thing I'm least looking forward to is setting my alarm and being woken up by it. Heather has been sleeping in a little later lately, so it's pretty likely that the alarm will wake me up and not her.

2 - I'm not too worried about the transition to work otherwise. Heather will be staying home for the first month, so we don't have to worry about getting her out the door for a while. And since the people watching her are unlikely (for the most part) to take her out anywhere, she'll probably fall into a better nap routine than she has with me, which should make it easier for her teachers at daycare.

3 - During my blog hiatus a few weeks ago we went to Dayton to visit family and friends. Heather met her three great-grandparents, two great, great aunts and a great, great uncle. Not to mention two great aunts, a great uncle and a variety of family friends. It was a nice but exhausting weekend. Heather did great in the car and slept well overnight in Dayton. The only tricky part was on Monday after we returned, when she needed to cry for about half an hour before every nap. Poor thing didn't nap enough over the weekend and was exhausted. It was a long day, but we survived.

4 - On the spring cleaning front, I have 7 boxes ready for charity. 5 will be picked up by a neighbor tonight and I'll probably call another charity to take the other 2 tomorrow. I've been through all of my clothes. I'll probably find more when I have more time to organize my room, but I feel at the moment like that is the only part of the house that needs major organization. (There is also an area in the basement that needs organization, but that is primarily R's stuff.)

5 - Lavender Mitts (pattern by Dale of Norway). Yarn is a merino from Artyarns - the leftovers from a sweater that my friend Erin made for Heather.

6 - Pink Clapotis for Breastfeeding in public, and which will be a nice spring/fall scarf when we're done breastfeeding. Made with a cotton/rayon blend by Wool of the Woods.
7 - The famous Log Cabin Blanket - finally photographed. The purple yarn is a cotton that I bought in a cone from Webs several years ago. The pink, blue, aqua and green accents are Cascade Sierra, a 80% cotton/20% wool blend.
8 - Not trying to brag, but I'm pleased to announce that I'm 10 pounds lighter than I was before I got pregnant. I credit breastfeeding with most of this loss, since I certainly having been doing lots of exercising - just a few walks a week with Heather. I also haven't been overeating, but my appetite is finally back, so I do need to keep an eye on my intake, especially with my return to work and more sedentary days.

9 - We're caught up on thank you notes again. The arrival of gifts seems like it has finally slowed to a halt, so I hope to stay caught up until our shower in Dayton this summer. :-)

10 - No progress to report on that sweater for Heather. I've been working on a pair of socks when I've had time to knit. Though I hope to get the sweater seamed up and finished soon...before it gets too warm for Heather to wear it. It felt like summer here today. Lots of sun and temperatures in the mid-80s. Though it is supposed to be in the 60s for the rest of the week, so there is still hope that it will get some use.

11 - I will try to use computer time over the next few days to work on getting more pictures posted in Heather's gallery. Please bear with me!

12 - I'm behind in my blog the lack of comment on my part is not because I think your posts are boring. ;-)

13 - Ummmm....let's end with something adorable....