Friday, June 28, 2013

Mommy Thumb

I've been suffering from an extremely sore right wrist/thumb since the beginning of June. I thought I possibly strained something from carrying Iyla, and bought a wrist brace as a preventative measure.

A few nights ago on a whim I googled "sore wrist from carrying a baby." To my utter surprise, a gazillion articles about "Mommy Thumb"came up (proper name: 'De Quervain’s Tendonitis').
From the article: "De Quervain’s tendonitis is not carpal tunnel syndrome, a pain that is usually centered on theinside of the wrist where nerves and tendons pass through a narrow tunnel-like space. De Quervain’s tendonitis involves just the thumb tendon, which runs through a canal at the base of the thumb at the back of the hand. Specifically, the protective synovium sheath of the tendon becomes inflamed. In most cases, the condition is not serious and can be easily treated. "

This is a legit THING that happens to almost 50% of moms! I was so grateful to read what was actually going on because I quickly realized that I needed a brace for my THUMB, not my wrist. I promptly purchased the correct brace, and am happy to say it is already helping immensely. And it's super sexy:

Just kidding. Here's hoping I am on the road to a quick and less painful recovery!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

On Work/Life Balance

I haven't written much in the way of my current work/life balance, as it has been going through a slow, gentle evolution. But I do have to say.... I am feeling very fortunate & blessed for the way things are unfolding. I have definitely worked hard to get to this point!

Right after Iyla was born I went into complete work hibernation (otherwise known as 'maternity leave'). My brain was in a sleep deprived, euphoric new baby fog, and there was no way I could have taken care of clients at that time.

About 1.5 months into my leave, I was prematurely nudged back into the working world when I had to cover for the colleague who was helping ME during my maternity leave when HE went on vacation. I felt like an old rusty wheel squeaking along...

Then slowly but surely the fog lifted, and I began welcoming a bit of work. It felt good to be using my brain while I had a bitty baby who mostly ate and slept. I helped a former client purchase a new home & took Iyla on buyer showings & closings.

Then the Austin spring market hit. It was CRAZY, to say the least. New listings had multiple offers within hours of hitting the market- often 10 or more offers pouring in. It became evident to me that I couldn't do right by buyer clients in this scenario, as they truly needed a full time flexible agent who could jump out at a moment's notice to see new listings & write up offers. So I started referring out more and more clients. As I received referrals, I would qualify them, make a personal connection, and then say something along the lines of: "I am still on partial maternity leave, so my broker is currently helping out with my clients. Can I put him in touch with you?" Before I knew it I had 14 referrals out- and with each one that closes I get paid a percentage of the primary agent's commission. Sweet, beautiful passive income from 9 years of working my tail off and building my business to get to this place.

As Iyla gets more and more interactive and fun, I find myself wanting to take on less full time work. Right now I am taking listings & clients on a case by case basis. Currently I have 1 active listing and 2 buyer contracts with clients I have a history with- plus the 14 referrals that are slowly but surely becoming contracts and then closings. I can't even imagine how busy I would be if I had all of those active clients right now! Spring is always insane in our industry.

We also just hired a part time nanny- and feel like we hit the absolute JACKPOT with our Veronica. She came highly recommended from a friend, and is one of those people who is just so intuitive and naturally good with little ones. The first time she came over I'd scheduled an hour overlap for Iyla to get used to her, but within 10 minutes I felt totally comfortable leaving. Iyla ADORES her, as evidenced by the huge smiles she breaks into every time she arrives. Right now Veronica is helping us 10 hours/week- and I can't even tell you how luxurious that feels. I am able to easily run to the grocery store, the car shop, or anywhere else without making Iyla tag along. We've included in Veronica's hours one morning a week where I can work from my beloved coffee shop, and one late afternoon/evening each week so BC and I can have a date night. Heaven.

In 2012 I worked hard to manifest "Gentle Abundance" as my work/life motto. This year? I've added in "Gentle BALANCED Abundance."

And we are definitely on our way.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

2013 Road Trip: The Conclusion of our Journey

The last official stop on our road trip was to my dear friend Jenny's house, located in a suburb about 30 minutes outside of Chicago. Jenny and I were set up on a 'blind date' at UW-Madison by a mutual friend who knew Jenny was going to Austin for grad school and that I was considering moving there as well. It was love at first sight, and we became roommates for our first year here in town.

Jenny now has two adorable little girls- Talia is almost 5, and Sasha is almost 3. Two little girls = TONS of awesome new toys & constant entertainment for Iyla! It was clear that Iyla was in heaven at their house, and we all had so much fun together.

Sasha & Iyla- fast friends!

Talia & Iyla. These sweet girls wanted to hold and play with her all the time!

Jenny, Sasha, & Iyla

Talia is hilarious- she showed up one morning in this getup. Jenny says she LOVES American flags. Such a patriotic little one!

Iyla was like a real live doll to play with!

Getting ready to swim! This little lady LOVES the water.

She tried so hard to stay up and keep playing that she ended up passing out on the carpet.

A few parting pictures with everyone before we hit the road:

Love this girl

Talia & Sasha sat out on the curb to bid us farewell as we headed on our way to St. Louis. We'll miss them all so much!

My friend Chris is now living in St. Louis, and happily he and his wife Cynthia (whom we hadn't gotten to meet yet) were able to meet us out for dinner. I first met Chris years ago in Austin when I helped him buy a house, and we've remained friends ever since.

Cynthia & Chris

It happened to be Iyla's 7 month birthday, so BC ordered dessert with a candle on top to celebrate:

We also had a little birthday photo shoot at the St. Louis Arch:

The next morning we made our way to Memphis, where we explored Beale Street & had a lovely dinner in our hotel restaurant. My loves were both exhausted- first Iyla passed out at dinner, then BC passed out holding her in our room (though he revived quickly & took himself out to watch the NBA Finals)!

The next morning we were off again! The last stop of our journey was a random small town midway between Memphis and Austin to help break up the drive- Mt. Pleasant, Texas. Iyla enjoyed playing on the hotel bed:

Then we were finally on our way HOME! 

We promptly headed out to a brand new restaurant that had opened while we were away- Mettle- for dinner with good friends. 

We were so happy to be home again! All in all it was a fantastic trip, and BC and I couldn't have asked for a better travel buddy.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

First Foods!

This week Iyla got her first taste of something other than breast milk! BC and I were excited to see what she thought of her first foods, and chose avocado mixed with breast milk as her first foray into solids.

She literally threw up her first bite- gagging & heaving as she tried to make sense of just what the heck was going into her mouth. After that she quickly got the hang of it and seemed to enjoy each subsequent bite. She also greatly preferred playing with holding the spoon and feeding herself!

Collage by BC

After 3 days of avocado, we moved on to sweet potatoes this evening. She LOVED them! They were a definite hit, and there was absolutely no gagging involved:

From here we'll be trying out butternut squash, carrots, & peas in the days to come. It is so much fun to watch Iyla experience this delicious new world!

Friday, June 21, 2013

It's Ba-ack!

My cycle, that is.

Only took 46 days since the last one... !

And happily, totally cramp free again. I could get used to this.

Let's hope it gets a bit more regular.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

7 Months Old!

Sweet Iyla Grace, I can't believe you are already 7 months old! The past month has been a huge one for milestones, and we are continuing to delight in every step of the way.

How old? 7 months on June 12th

How big? I did an unofficial weigh-in on our home scale- and it looks like you are just over 13 pounds!

Here are the comparisons to Sam- you are now a lot bigger than him! Seems there was a lot of growth this month:

6 & 7th month comparison. Such a big girl!

*Napping in your crib
*Rolling onto your belly and propping up
*Sleeping on your belly
*Starting to babble with "da" and "ba" sounds
*First non-family babysitter (you LOVE Veronica!)
*Barrel rolls to get somewhere- back to belly to back again!
*Expressing distinct frustration when an object you want is taken away (like my phone)
*First road trip
*Going #1 and #2 on a regular toilet
*Laughing more! We've finally found a game that produces pretty consistent little giggles. One of us holds you while the other stands about 3 feet away. The non holder looks away, then suddenly looks at you and moves in face to face with silly noises. Your laughter melts our hearts every time!
*Learning to maneuver your walker

 You are quickly figuring out how to cruise exactly where you want! Usually it is to chase Sam or check out the night lights.

You are getting so adept at rolling onto your belly!

You are also sitting so well. You still topple backwards sometimes, so I usually cushion you with a boppy pillow:

Current likes:
*Socializing. You always scans the room to see who will meet your gaze & smile at you!
*Playing with spoons
*Playing in your walker
*Sitting up
*Playing with your stacking blocks

Current dislikes:
*Not being able to have an object you want
*Diaper changes

Current sleep schedule:
*A bit messed up from the road trip! You partied hard on our journey, getting up anywhere from 2-4x/night. You are still waking 1-2 hours after your initial bedtime wanting to nurse again, and our first night home from the trip you were up at 10, 12, 4, & 6. Last night you nursed at 8:30 (after a 7:30 bedtime), 1am, then 5:45am- and happily went back to sleep until 8am!!
*Naps are pretty consistent still- 40 minutes about 2 hours after you wake, 1-1.5 hours around noon, and a 30 minute nap around 4pm.

Postpartum body:
*My right wrist has been badly strained for a couple weeks now from carrying you. My cousin- a physical therapist- taped it for me, and I also bought a wrist brace to wear at night. I am working to hold you in different ways that don't strain my wrist so much.
*My hair loss has slowed down a little bit. I'm definitely still losing hair daily, but the amounts have dwindled.
*My 2nd period is no where in sight! Of course I took a pregnancy test secretly hoping wondering if we were pregnant. Nope- BFN. I think all the extra night nursings on our trip caused my cycle to go into hibernation again.
*My milk supply is down somewhat from the trip - I am having trouble pumping any extra milk for bottles. This makes it really hard to have people watch you, since I need to make sure I am home to nurse every 1.5-2 hours. I'm hoping this changes soon as my body re-acclimates to being home.

Most looking forward to?
*We have lots of family coming into town next week for cousin Heather's wedding! They will all be staying at our home for 5 days, so you will be surrounded by so much love & attention. Your cousin Liam will be here too (who is 2 months older), as well as Uncle Andy's little dog, Paco. You will be in heaven!

Here is your 7 month photo collage. We love you so much sweet girl! What a fun month it's been.