Tuesday, August 12, 2014


So much to report these days, and seeing how it's been 4 years since I've written anything (yikes!) I thought I'd give an update to anyone still out there.

Here's what's been happening in our little world lately...

For the past 3 years we had still been living in our little condo in Chicago, loving life and going out and enjoying our neighborhood every chance we got. We were happy, just the three of us, until after much deliberation and prayer, we decided to see if we could expand our family.

In late summer of 2013, I became pregnant.

We found out a few months later that Elise was going to have a baby brother. We were thrilled. The months ticked along until the due date of May 4th. Evan Matthew was born on May 5th, our little Cinco de Mayo baby. All was right with the world.

Around the time I got pregnant and even before then, we had been looking at the idea of moving to a bigger property, a single family home with a YARD and a garage and more space.  We figured we would rent out our condo and move into a bigger property, most likely in Chicago somewhere.

Well, we searched and we searched (much to the dismay of our realtor) and nothing seemed right. Nothing felt like home. We thought we'd probably have to wait awhile after Evan was born and just get used to the idea of 4 people in a 2 bed/1 bath apartment and make it work until we absolutely HAD to move.

Then, the shooting happened. In March, 2014, it was Oscar Sunday and we were just getting ready to put Elise to bed and settle down to watch the big event, when I heard some distinct popping sounds outside. Two men were shooting at each other right outside our door, one aiming at the other right towards our building. It was frightening, to say the least. Our neighbor to the north, got a bullet through his living room window, hitting his TV. We knew we could not stay here much longer. I am aware that violence persists anywhere but then I heard of several more instances in our neighborhood of attempted driveby's and men shooting down an alley at each other. This was not something I wanted my family to encounter by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The violence, the need for more space and the hunt for a good high school and a community feel drove us to expand our search outside the city. We ended up finding a home right before I went back to work. It was perfect. We put an offer on it and the offer was accepted.

Right now, we are in the process of packing, finalizing the loan details and possibly selling our place or renting in the next month or so. It's all happening so fast and I barely have time to blink. If you've never moved with a young baby and a toddler before, it is quite a journey let me tell you.

The first year of this move will be tough, as the plan is to keep Evan in the daycare he is currently in *and Elise attended* and Elise will go to the Pre-K we registered her for back in February. The good thing is we'll be plenty settled in our new home by the time she has to register for kindergarten so we should be able to feel out which Catholic church we not only want to call home but to send her to for school. In 1st grade, she will be able to start attending the public school out there. Evan will stay in his daycare until I feel comfortable with a new place or meet some people to give me referrals.

We did get a second car, which is paramount to our plan and I will do the morning commute with the kids for now.

I am going to miss our old hood terribly, and I can't think about it too much or this hormonal post-partum Mom gets brought to tears. We were invested in this community, the people are so great, there are so many cool restaurants and bars appearing around us...I know we are doing this for the kids and for their benefit and ours, but it doesn't make the change any easier. I have lived in the city for 14 years and leaving it is hard for me. On the plus side, the new home is close to a pool, a library, the Metra and more. We will still have some amenities within walking distance but it will be different than before. And the old hood is only 5 miles away really. It's not THAT far. But it will seem like it when we're there.

I made a pros and cons list after we made the offer because I was having doubts. Buyer's remorse, so to speak. The pros outweighed the cons and I am trying to focus on that. Focus on being able to have guests over and giving them a place to sleep vs. making them stay in hotels or in our living room. Giving our kids a place to ride their bikes, play outside and explore-the yard thing was huge for us. We don't have one and it seems like every single one of our friends does. It was getting old having to beg them or hope they asked us to come over and play all summer. The noisy upstairs neighbors who threw loud parties (even though they've since moved out) and kept us up at night with their stomping. I won't miss that :)

All in all, I'm sure things will feel weird at first, but we are moving on and moving up, hoping and praying for a peaceful, happy life in our new home. I know it was the right decision. There are a few things I could have done differently in hindsight, but what's done is done and we'll enjoy it, I just know it. xo

Friday, August 27, 2010

Next steps & moving on....

Well, this is the last day of my official non-working life in baby-land.
Next week I start working from home, before I officially go back to the office on Sept. 7th. The baby-moon is over :( Real life must now begin.

While I have to admit, I HAVE missed going downtown, and the hustle and bustle of it all, I am not thrilled to go back to work, it's just something that has to be done. I have met and know lots of moms who say they actually looked forward to going back to work, and that they were ready. Well, I can honestly admit that I actually could stay at home, if things were different. I know what has to be done, and I fully accept it, and I actually have good things happening at work, so I'm going back to a totally positive situation. I am LUCKY to have a job, as so many struggle with unemployment each day. That, and the fact that I know I'll be able to give Elise a good life, keep me going.
If I think too much about not being at home and playing with her all day, it will destroy me, so I must think positively. For her sake and mine. I must believe everything will work out just fine.

Next week we have our final meeting with daycare before we begin. I have a few concerns and worries, I'm hoping this adjustment period for Elise goes okay. I don't know if it's normal for every baby to need to nurse so much, but she can be a fussy baby sometimes, and so nursing is my way of comforting her, whether she's hungry or not. I do try and walk around with her, bounce her, swing her, talk to her, etc but sometimes all she wants is to nurse. Soon though, she will not have me to nurse her all day long or when she needs it. I will be giving the day care bottles of milk, but what if she's not hungry-how will they soothe her? It just makes me worry and I hate that I'm not going to be there to fulfill her needs. Another thing that's bothering me is routine.
We have no routine, really.
I have been letting baby lead the way, and when she needs to eat, she eats. When she's tired, she sleeps. I started reading all these baby books about setting schedules and it literally makes my head spin. Am I a bad parent because I'm going back to work with no set schedule in place for my baby? She usually goes to bed for the night around 9 or 10, and I'm working on 9 being the norm vs. 10 because I want her to get the most sleep she can at night. But I don't follow any kinds of nap schedule during the day. I'm sure this works out okay for stay at home moms who can let baby lead but what do moms who work outside the home do for this? I'm assuming day care will put her on a schedule, is that bad to assume? Ugh. I just haven't liked any of the schedules that I've read about so far, I don't know what's wrong with me.

Anyway, I'm nervous about this big change in our lives and hoping (praying) the adjustment is good for us both. I hope they give Elise all of the attention she deserves. :( I know some moms do not get as much leave as I have taken and I should be grateful that I had 12 long weeks with my baby to bond, etc but it still feels so short sometimes. I must be confident in my choice and know that plenty of moms work outside the home, and that we will be okay.

I've also been wondering why I didn't do this sooner, and how amazing it really is, this parenting thing. I can't believe I thought something else mattered more than this.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

2.5 weeks remain

Yep, you heard me correctly, only 2.5 weeks remain of my maternity leave.

What an amazing journey this has been and it's only just beginning. I look over at my baby and she looks completely different to me than the teeny tiny 7 pound newborn from just a couple of months ago. Elise is now 9.5 weeks old and weighs 11 pounds! The pediatrician said she is doing so great, and that she is in the 75th percentile for her length and head size. She is 23.5 inches long!

I am so sad to be leaving her very soon, but the good thing is that we have every day of the rest of our lives to be together. And good things are happening with work, so I know I am making the right decision for our family.

We also had Elise's baptism on Sunday. It was important to us to have it early and before I went back to work. Going to church, prayer, etc is a big part of our lives and we wanted Elise in on it as soon as possible. :) She's been going to church with us since week 1 so why should we hesitate?

Sometimes it feels like Elise was never NOT in my life. I've become so accustomed to being her mommy that I can't remember what life was like without her. It just feels so RIGHT and the timing of everything was so perfect. I definitely am loving this new chapter in my life and I can't wait to see Elise grow and thrive. To see her take her first steps, to talk to me, to eat something her Daddy prepared, to teach her to read and to LOVE music like her mom and dad, and to teach US things we never knew we needed to know.

Life is great as this new family and I couldn't ask for more at this moment.

Each day is a blessing.

I hope and pray for it to always be this way.

Monday, July 26, 2010


So here we are, at the halfway point of my maternity leave. I can't believe I'll be back at work in 6 weeks. It's gone by so fast. I have been treasuring every minute with my new daughter and while it will be difficult going back to work and leaving her all day, I get this little person in my life FOREVER which makes me smile and forget about how hard it will be. She and I have been bonding so much, and really getting into a good routine. I haven't read a lot of books about dealing with infants (most of what I read was about DURING pregnancy and how to deal w/childbirth) so a lot of this has been a learning experience for me.
I have been doing some reading online about routines and getting into a set schedule with your baby. For the most part, we have been just letting baby dictate the schedule and it has worked just fine. However, since I have to go back to work soon, getting a schedule in place is going to become more of a reality for us. One thing I have tried to do is when baby gets up in the middle of the night to nurse, I don't say a word to her or turn on any lights (unless I have to change her diaper, then I turn on the small light near the changing table) and I don't take her out of the nursery. What I was doing previously, was taking her out of the nursery or letting her sleep wherever she ended up. The new routine, involves moving her directly to the crib at night, and if she stirs or wakes up, nurse her back to sleep and leave her in the crib. I did this the other night in Kokomo as Matt's parents have a crib in their spare bedroom for Elise's cousin Ashlyn, who stays the night there frequently. Elise woke up twice to nurse and went right back down to sleep in the crib afterwards. Last night we tried this again, Matt moved her to the crib around 10 pm and she woke up at 2 and 4:3o to nurse. I woke up at 8 this morning and she was still fast asleep! If this had been a workday for me, I would have had to wake HER up!! I think it's working out great so far, but of course I'm sure she'll hit another growth spurt soon and throw this whole theory out of whack for me, lol. I just feel like the crib is a good, safe, secure place for her, where her neck and limbs won't be all sore like they would sleeping in the car seat or bouncy all the time. Plus the crib was a big investment, the mattress, bedding, etc was not cheap-let's get some use out of it! I think the problem before with the routine we were doing was that I would go watch TV, get on the computer while nursing and before you know, I had lost 90 minutes of sleep whereas now, Elise nurses quickly and gets right back into the crib and sleeps. I hope this lasts. We'll see how it goes!
I'm also a little concerned about how the routine will change once she enters daycare. I hope they don't let her sleep all day...then I won't get ANY sleep at night!! Remind me to ask about that... :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Settling into Motherhood

Things are finally starting to settle down over here at the Kanable household.
Elise kind of has this routine going where she's awake most of the day, then settles into sleep around 9 or 10 at night, waking up once or twice in the night and back up around 7-7:30. Although right now she's fast asleep in the sling because I took her out in it when I walked Bijou, so I'm sure the movement against my chest lulled her to sleep.
As for me, I'm absolutely loving motherhood. I love looking into my baby's eyes and seeing her gazing right back at me. If I'm lucky, I will get a smile too!
The past couple of weeks were a little tricky however, as we struggled a bit to have Elise regain her birth weight. We have been to the pediatrician's office numerous times for weight checks, and on week 3 or so, Elise was still not up to her birth weight. We tried everything too, I took Fenugreek (still taking it), drank the Mother's Milk Tea, ate more, drank more water, tried not to stress, tried to get rest, I just think for some reason Elise was not getting enough nourishment from me. And we're talking round-the-clock nursing here, she was ALWAYS eating and I was never away from the couch to get up and do anything! Reluctantly, I supplemented with a little formula, and now Elise is above and beyond her birth weight, at 8.5 lbs! To be honest, I never thought I'd be one of those people to resort to formula and it still makes me cringe that we couldn't exclusively breastfeed, but I also could not stand seeing my baby starving and deprived of nourishment. I have even been pumping to supplement with my own milk so that she could get less and less of the formula because I'd much rather have Elise feed from me. However, pumping has not been entirely successful either. I only get a tiny amount when I pump, so I've had to wait a day or two to get enough for a 2-3 ounce bottle. This worries me because I will be going back to work after Labor Day and how is my supply going to magically produce enough milk to leave with her caregiver?! I have heard that supplementing with formula dwindles your supply, but I feel like I never really had a big supply to begin with. Anyway, long story short, we are working on this and I don't consider us over the hurdle yet, but we are doing all we can to make sure my milk is the majority of what she gets. It is more important to me, though, that my baby eats, regardless of how it may hurt my pride. I can't beat myself up about this because it's not healthy.
SO, aside from that minor setback, things are great. We have been getting out of the house more and more with our daughter, taking her to birthday parties, restaurants, street fairs, farmer's market, church, etc. It is finally starting to feel like summer to me as I was getting SOOOO fed up with sitting around the house all day!! We are settling in quite nicely over here and I hope to have lots of good news and reports in the weeks/months/years to come! :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Elise's birth day

So per my doctor's orders, an induction it was. I have to admit I was disappointed that baby did not come on her own, but work/schedule wise for Matt and myself, this was the best possible option if I wanted my husband to be there with me on the big day. I don't think either of us had even considered that baby might not come on time!!
We went in on Friday, June 11th to Prentice Women's Hospital at Northwestern. We were greeted by a friendly nurse who unfortunately wasn't with us very long before we got a new nurse (This was to be a running theme, I can't count how many nurses I met over these 3 days!!), and the pitocin was started. I think they had me at a 2 or a 4 at this point. I got an IV of fluids and then we wait. This was about 9am. Soon after, my parents arrived about 10 or 11 and we watched some of the Hawks parade on TV, and various other programs. The hospital had this great movie channel where we could watch movies like Time Traveler's Wife, It's Complicated, etc. So basically at the beginning it was a lot of waiting around, for something to progress. I was only dilated at 1cm when we got to the hospital, so I knew it was going to take some time. I can't remember what time it was, sometime either late morning or early afternoon, I received the CRIB foley catheter, which is like a balloon that dilates your cervix. It was rather annoying having yet another item inserted and taped to my leg--made going to the bathroom rather interesting!! So the thing with the CRIB was that you either have it for 6 hours and it does the trick, or you have it for 6 more hours for a total of 12. It wasn't going to be checked again until 5pm so I was really hoping for the 6 hour check to have worked. I remember watching Jeopardy with my parents around 3 and then requesting a liquids food tray because by that point I was starving!! That chicken broth saved my life!!
At 5pm the CRIB was checked and my cervix was at a 3 or 4. They removed it and I breathed a sigh of relief. Soon thereafter, my water was broken and the pitocin was kicked up a notch, this time to about an 8? My sister and her husband arrived around 5 ish I believe, and I started to feel some pretty intense contractions. I remember each time they would come on, I would double over in pain and think about how much longer I had to sit with these before it would even be time to push. I let the contractions go on for probably longer than I should have before folding and requesting the epidural. I had wanted to try going without but since I had all these other artificial unnatural devices jammed inside me or in my veins, I thought, why not just do it? The epidural was rather painful, I hated that part so much. I was having contractions during the process so it was pretty unbearable. Once it was in however, I felt much better and while I was unable to get up and move around, I was happy to have the pain subside. The only thing I had to deal with now was the insanity of back labor. Whew, that stuff is intense. The epidural only made it worse I think!! At this point the pitocin was about a 10 and my cervix was doing it's thing, getting ready for me to push in a few hours. I think at 9pm the nurse told me I would probably start pushing around midnight. At 1am, and 9.5 centimeters, the pushing began. I have never felt time move so slowly yet so quickly all at once. With my mother, my sister, Matt and a swat team of kick-ass nurses, we pushed and pushed for an eternity. Matt had the I-Pod set to some Grateful Dead shows and we just focused on the task at hand. The nurses and everyone was telling me how great a job I was doing and that we were really making progress. I felt so empowered and confident by everyone's positive feedback, yet questioned if they were just being nice or if I was really getting somewhere!! After a few hours went by, I started to feel just slightly defeated. If I was doing so well, where was the baby?! Luckily, her heart rate stayed steady and baby worked with me to stay healthy while momma did her thing. I wanted SO badly to deliver vaginally, I pleaded with the nurses not to give up on me and turn me into a c-section delivery. They complied and said I was doing great and they saw no need to go that route given the circumstances. Praise God! Sometime at the 4-hour mark of pushing, with almost no end in sight, the lights turned bright and the OB made her appearance. I knew we were close! It was all so surreal. Then with one final monstrous push, I felt the release, and Elise Faith Kanable was born at 5:18 am on June 12, 2010. She weighed 7 pounds and 10 ounces, 21 inches long. She was absolutely perfect. When they brought her to me I couldn't believe I had just given birth to this precious being. My heart swelled with love and all we could do was stare at her. It's so amazing, how we'd gotten to know each other for 9 months while she lived inside my womb and now here she was, living outside, her first day on Earth.
I just have to say, it was all worth it. The pain, the long labor, the hours and hours of pushing....I can see why women do this again and again, there is really nothing like it once you see that child's face.
After recovering for an hour or two in L & D, we were wheeled on up to the 13th floor for postpartum. Baby roomed in with us the whole time, and it was awesome to spend that time together as a little family until it was time to go home. After ordering some pancakes and bacon, I finally got some rest :)

Since last week, we have been slowly adjusting to this new lifestyle and getting accustomed to life with a newborn. There have been plenty of sleepless nights, but also many tears of joy and hours of gazing at our daughter's face and myriad expressions. I can't believe how different our lives have become, but I welcome this change and know that it is such a blessing and honor to have this person in our lives. We're a family now, and everything we do, we do together. As I type this I think it is time to go feed her so I must cut things short. I hope one day she wants to hear the story of her birth, as I will never tire of telling it.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ok, now we're into JUNE!

June 1, I can't believe it. I am so excited to have this time off, I know it is just going to FLY by, so I'm planning on enjoying every moment. I sure hope the baby comes soon though, it's not quite the same sitting here alone-that wasn't the point :) I have another dr. appointment tomorrow so I'm hoping some progress has been made. I don't feel any different. I have been feeling those tiny contractions that happen for a split second. They usually happen when I'm walking around but now they'll happen randomly when I'm just sitting on the couch! I just hope I don't have to be induced, that would be such a disappointment to me, probably even more than a c-section. I just want labor to happen naturally. I'm also starting to get really nervous about being in a hospital, like I'm wimping out and should have just done this on my own, at home. It's not a medical procedure, it's something that occurs naturally to human beings and I'm worried I won't be able to speak up for myself when things start to get pushed on me and I won't have time to react or think about if it's what I really want. Especially because I'm nervous and will want the baby out and probably end up going with the flow, despite what my heart feels.
I just wish I knew when this baby was coming, it's all I can think about. Every move now is so calculated depending on when she might arrive, or can we go do this or that activity and what if I go into labor? Matt and I went to the grocery store this weekend and started to plan meals and I'm thinking, what if we aren't able to get through the week and we have wasted all this food sitting in the fridge while we're in some hospital? I can't help thinking like that, I just do, it's where my mind goes.
I'm sure everything will be fine, no matter what, but I just want it all to be so perfect and I know that is a dream scenario.

So here is my letter to baby, hoping this will inspire her to arrive this week :)

Dear precious baby girl,

We are getting so excited and anxious for you to join our home. Friends and family are calling and wondering if there's been any news. Everyone wants you to arrive here safe and sound and is so excited to meet you, you have no idea.
Mommy and Daddy have all your clothes ready, your room is all ready and there is so much love pouring out of this house for you already. All we can talk about is how much our lives will change with you here and we are SO looking forward to that. Daddy can't wait until you are big enough to help him cook dinner with him and while I know that is several years away, he is already talking about it! We are so happy and blessed that you are coming into our lives and we can't wait to share all that we are with you.
So come when you are ready (but we're really hoping it is soon :)
You will be a June baby, and your birthdays will be so much fun with this warm weather!! Mommy is especially excited and fortunate to have some time off from work so we can get to know each other better.

We love you dear little one and can't wait to see what day you choose to enter our world.

Mommy and Daddy Kanable