Workwear Week of 2/20/17

Is there such thing as a bad four day workweek? I don’t think so. My week was good, my lessons were great, and there’s only one more week before Spring Break! Hallelujah! I’m dying to have a week with my baby who is now three months old. Plus, I’ll have time to plan my toddler’s 2yr birthday party and hopefully complete some projects around the house.

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I enjoyed getting dressed every day this week and received a lot of compliments. Taking the selfies was a challenge, but I’ve begun to realize natural light (instead of the fluorescent bulbs in the storage closet that I use to pump) are going to be a must from here on out!

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Tuesday was a pink and blue StitchFix floral blouse, navy cardigan, and brown work pants. Standard work fare.

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Wednesday was the highlight of my week. I’m starting to believe that looking good leads to feeling good leads to having a good day. Even my afterschool meeting turned out amazing since we opted to meet at a Starbucks and enjoy the fresh air on the patio. As for the outfit itself, I think rose might be my new favorite color to wear and I enjoyed mixing up my accessory game by going for big sparkly earrings. I liked this outfit so much that I thought I’d try something new and deconstruct it for you since it was hard to get all the little details in my selfie.

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Thursday was more basic and all neutrals with my lace sleeve StitchFix top, black ankle pants and black flats. I felt sleek and professional and the outfit was easy.

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Finally, I’m debuting my other window shopping purchase with this floral shell from Target (on clearance), my plum cardigan and some jeans for casual Friday. The quality of this picture over the others can’t be denied. I had one of the worst luck days by first forgetting both my phone and keys at home, then spilling coffee in my lap on my drive, and then my poor baby spiked a fever and cried for me all day forcing me to scramble to find substitute coverage last minute so I could go home after lunch. Despite all of that being put together motivated my productivity and I got a ton (almost all) of my grading done in anticipation of the end of the quarter.

Can’t wait for my holiday!

 

 

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My Breastfeeding Story

This has been a really difficult post for me to write. In fact, I started 24 days ago. 24 days! The struggle has been half not remembering the details (it’s amazing what the brain will block out) and half not knowing how to phrase things. To help I’ve put in a few comics.

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All of the comics in this post are from Baby Blues. If you want a good laugh browse their comics here. http://babyblues.com/comic_tag/breastfeeding/

I knew when I got pregnant that I wanted to breastfeed and that I wasn’t going to be deterred. What I didn’t know were the repercussions of that decision and the fight that it would take to maintain a breastfeeding relationship with my babies.

My first son was born in March 2015 and I went right to breastfeeding while still in the delivery room. He latched immediately and I felt relief that this would be “easy”. My labor had been induced because of hypertension and worrisome signs that I may be developing preeclampsia (high blood pressure, swelling, sudden weight gain, protein in my urine) and I was hooked up to an IV to regulate my bp.

The next morning I was sleepy and sore, but content. A lactation specialist came to see me to help with different positions because the latch was starting to hurt but there weren’t any crazy signs of the pain I’d eventually feel. Within just one day my nipples were cracked and bloody and nursing was so painful I would cringe and cry to get through one 40-minute long (my son’s desperate attempt at getting milk from a bad latch) feeding session. Unfortunately my boy was born during “busy season” and although I asked throughout the day there were no lactation consultants available to see me again. On the fourth day I was finally cleared to go home (on blood pressure meds) but with no resolutions for my bad latch and no hope in sight other than the idea that things might work themselves out as my baby got older if I just stayed the course.

By the first check up my precious baby had lost 12oz from his average birth weight of 7lb 4oz frame and my pediatrician pushed formula. I asked if my baby might be tongue-tied (he was) but my pediatrician said that tongue-tie wasn’t a problem and sent us on our way.

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That week I packed up my newborn and my husband and went to a breastfeeding support group provided by my hospital (awkwardly enough run by the LC who didn’t have time to see me). My savior, Doreen, took one look at my son’s mouth and concluded he had a tongue tie. A conclusion my pediatrician had previously denied (while pushing formula samples) when I asked. I made an appointment to see a different pediatrician in the same office who specialized in tongue tie clippings. This doctor agreed with the LC and concluded that my baby had a “posterior tongue-tie” which was clipped 10 days after birth. As a part of the procedure they ask that you nurse there in the office to make sure the baby is comfortable and that there aren’t complications. Prior to this appointment I had been using nipple shields to try and find some relief (they are obnoxious but effective) and didn’t have them with me. I cried from the fear of the pain I would experience, but I stubbornly didn’t want to use formula. The nursing relief was INSTANT. My nipples were still sore and damaged, but the pain reduced so significantly I cried again for entirely different reasons. (I cried more in the first 10 weeks of my first son’s life than I have in all of my other days combined).

Over the next few weeks I began to develop some terrible side effects from the nipple wounds. My left side healed up within a week of the clipping and was a breeze to nurse on, but the bloody sores on my right side would not budge. I was using a specially blended nipple cream which I believed helped, but not enough. Over the next few weeks I had mastitis, then thrush. Because of my son’s slow weight gain we were seeing the pediatrician every week and he was able to prescribe medication for me to deal with both. Then, I woke up one morning and found that I could barely move. My joints felt like they had turned to cement and my bones were grinding with every movement. At my 6 week postpartum checkup my OB’s only response to my problems was that I didn’t have to breastfeed (she never did) and that she would skip examining my breasts for my comfort. When I asked her about the joint pain she said that I should see my GP and that it wasn’t her expertise.

By the time I met with my GP my right breast had developed an angry red lump (mastitis again!) and she prescribed a 10-day antibiotic as well as sent me with an order to get my blood tested to try and figure out my joint pain. It turns out, the mastitis infection had hit my blood first and I was experiencing “bacterial arthritis” for 2 weeks before the symptoms showed up in my breast. After the 10 days of antibiotics the angry lump was still there and had grown to the size of an egg. I was still attempting to nurse, doing massages in the shower, soaking my breast in warm water, trying crazy positions, using gel packs, and my husband even sucked my nipple in an effort to remove what we thought was a blocked duct.

Spoiler alert: It wasn’t a blocked duct. My GP sent me to a breast specialist who gave my breast an ultrasound and found it was filled with pus from a severe infection. She used a needle and syringe to pull out as much of the infection as possible, prescribed a stronger antibiotic and asked me to call in four days if there wasn’t noticeable improvement. There wasn’t. In fact, the infection grew back and spread from the top of my breast to the bottom. My infection was abscessed and would need surgery to heal.

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I was admitted to the hospital when my son was 7 (almost 8) weeks old and had my first I/D surgery. This surgery required cutting open my breast (along the edge areola) to clean out the infection and then leaving the wound open so the infection didn’t have a warm comfortable place to grow back. I did a lot of crying before the surgery from fear and after the surgery from sadness that I may not be able to continue breastfeeding (yes, even after ALL of this I was still 100% committed to my choice although I would not recommend my level of stubborn to someone else). The original infection healed well, but five days after the first surgery I noticed there were still two more angry red lumps that weren’t going away. The next day I went into surgery again to cut two more holes and clear out the last lumps. These smaller incisions were connected to my original incision and kept open by rubber tubes.

During my weeklong hospital stay I experienced the most demoralizing and painful point in my life. I peed on myself, I blew multiple IVs, I had a severe and painful allergic reaction to Vancomycin, I became addicted to the dose of Percocet I was receiving and went through a withdrawal after my second surgery when they tried to switch me to Vicodin.

My son and my husband stayed in the hospital room with me thanks to the incredible support from the nursing staff.  I continued to nurse him from my “good side” and reminded myself that although it was hard (he was nursing every hour or sooner) twins grow up on one breast and do just fine.

I was discharged with an order for a home-care nurse who would come by once per day to unpack and repack my incisions. During that time she trained my husband to do the same procedure (my insurance wouldn’t pay for a full recovery) and I worked hard to take as little pain medication as I could stand, although I always took one prior to the excruciating unpacking and re packing of my incisions.

Healing was hard on my family. The surgery extended my 6-week unpaid leave into a 4-month unpaid leave and we had to live off of credit cards and what my husband could earn working part time at Target while still being home enough to help care for me. But I healed. I went to a breastfeeding support group every Thursday, I pumped between nursing sessions so I could “skim the fat” and supplement. I continued to breast feed exclusively (I mean, I fought hard for the privilege after all) and my milk eventually matched my son’s needs. He gained weight steadily and by 3 months was back to average with a healthy dose of “chunk” that makes babies so squeezable. Once my incisions fully healed I tried to nurse that side (and failed) and then tried to pump to maintain even a small flow, but I was never able to produce a significant amount in my right breast (less than an ounce per day) and let it “dry up”.

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The rest is history! Before we decided to have children my husband and I had made the decision that he would stay home and I would continue to work full time (I was salaried and had decent benefits, he was hourly and did not). He is more of a homebody and I need to get out so it just made more sense for us. I went back to work in August so my husband learned to bottle feed a breastfed baby and I learned to accept nursing every hour and a half when I was home and every three hours at night. We were determined to make it work and prepared to support each other through any obstacles. At 6months we introduced the first solids (puréed fruits and veggies) and by 9 months he was enjoying homemade blends. At 12 months I stopped pumping at work and we introduced one bottle of unsweetened almond milk once per day instead. When I was home he nursed on demand.

Then one day, around 13-14 months, my toddler climbed into my lap when I got home for work like he always did, latched my left side like he always did, squeezed my boobs and patted my chest (like he always did), smiled at me and popped off. He was done breastfeeding. For good. And he never asked to latch again. (Another spoiler alert: turnsd out I was 2 or 3 months pregnant with his brother!)

Thanks for reading this! I’m sure some of you will think I’m insane (I am) and insanely stubborn (also true) but maybe some of you will see hope for your struggles with nursing. Although my path isn’t one I would wish on anyone else I never regretted my decision to exclusively breastfeed or my decisions to stick with I think even when it became unbearable.

Workwear Week of 2/13/17

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IT’S SPIRIT WEEK! As a Freshman teacher I take spirit week very seriously. Students need role models and if we want them to buy into our school community we have to show them that WE buy in too. Of course, that means my outfits were a bit wacky and include an outfit I refuse to share (Don’t “sweat” the small stuff, I’ll leave it at that). I also learned that there are a few more maternity pieces I need to put away into deep storage because not only do they not fit my not-pregnant body they were also completely unflattering.

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Sunday we went out for my brother in law’s birthday dinner and had amazing burgers. I wore this simple ready in 10 minutes boots-jeans-tank-colored cardigan combo because it’s effortless and can withstand my crazy kids. You’ll see this outfit combination with each of my cardigans eventually because it’s a template I return to often.

Monday (not pictured). Sorry not sorry I am sparing you this one.

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Tuesday was Valentine’s Day so the theme was pink and purple. I originally had a hot pink shirt with my hot pink pants but the newborn puked all over and I had to go with a backup. I did not realize how bad this maternity top looked on me and I will not be wearing it again…

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Wednesday was SuperHero day so I took the opportunity to bust out one of my nerdy math shirts. Spirit week always includes some very unprofessional outfits. This one wasn’t so awful though.

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Thursday was Tie Dye to signal diversity (different colors coming together) but I own ZERO tie dye so I skipped and wore a standard work outfit. My kids were disappointed which tells me I need to invest in at least one tie dye shirt for future spirit weeks. I wore this StitchFix patterned blouse on date night a few posts back and wanted to see if I could remix it for work and still have it look “different” enough. I think the plum cardigan was a great layer although the silky sleeves felt a little weird underneath the cardigan sleeves.

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Friday I was off campus so I decided to debut my newest purchase from my Window Shopping: Patterns post. I LOVE this blouse! It has a cute cutout in the back that’s not so large that I can’t wear a normal bra and a really flattering neckline. I paired it with my white StitchFix maternity jeans (they still fit kind of so I’m not ready to let go) and I was channeling Spring vibes. The blouse was light and breezy and totally wrong for the cold windy overcast day we had after three days of sunshine- whoops! I was indoors all day so it didn’t matter that much but still funny.

There you have it! Another week of teacher fashion with some weird Spirit Week looks mixed in.

Window Shopping: Patterns

By no means do I have a minimalist wardrobe, but when I make clothing purchases I really try to find pieces that I can remix and incorporate with what I already own. Someday, I’d love a perfectly matched wardrobe of mix-able pieces (like a jumbo sized capsule wardrobe or a few really well put together separate capsule wardrobes) but I’ve never been the best shopper and it’s hard for me to “see” things that work without a lot of time to plan and visualize myself wearing and re wearing a particular item.

Add to my subpar shopping skills the fact that my size/body has been constantly changing for the past three years and it’s safe to say my wardrobe is a mess. Other than my quarterly StitchFix I don’t do any shopping at all, but now that I’ve lost all of the most recent baby weight (plus a little more) I’m feeling like it might be time to start rebuilding and buying a few good things.

With that all out of the way let me get to the point. I’ve been window shopping (browsing on my phone) and there are some trends I really want to try! I mostly own solids, stripes, and polka dots, but right now plaid and floral seem to be trending and I’m digging it. Here are some of the things I eyeballed:

I think I’ll pull the trigger and buy one or two of these items in the next few days once I’ve had enough time to mull them over and decide which ones will get repeated use. What would you wear? Any? None? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

What We Ate 3

This post has been in my drafts forever (almost a week) because I need to sit down at a desktop and insert all of the links to the recipes but I haven’t done that. I refuse to wait any longer so the links will just be added later!

1: chicken basil meatballs with sweet potato fries and Brussels. This was an important freezer-Friday for me because I was so close to getting fast food when I remembered I had these meatballs and fries ready to go in my freezer. Being prepared saved me some regret and some money.

2. I think this was going to be Chicken pad Thai? But it ended up being a tossed together chicken, butternut noodle, Ming bean, broccoli, carrot and sunbutter sauce bowl-thing. And it was delicious.

3. My husband’s hands-down favorite meal this week. Sweet potatoes, Brussels and a ranch pork chop all roasted on one sheet pan plus cauliflower mash reheated in the microwave.

4. (Not pictured) Chili! We had about a dozen people over (aka my husbands mother and siblings) so we made a double batch of chipotle chili and I whipped up some cornbread muffins and white rice since they aren’t grain free although we usually are.

5. Can The Husband have two favorites? Tacos are on repeat at our house but this was my first time making fish tacos. I topped these babies with mango salsa and chipotle mayo slaw and did multiple happy dances the flavor was so good. Plus I got to use the leftover slaw and salsa on some shredded chicken later this week for an easy snack.

6. Another roasting night and it’s really ugly (Husband cooked, plates, and pictured this one for me because the baby was being particularly fussy). This is a paprika garlic drumstick, with leftover roasted sweet potatoes and roasted Brussels.

7. BEST FOOD EVER! Oh my goodness tapioca starch has fixed all of my crispy Chinese food needs for life. Crispy orange beef with broccoli, green beans, and roasted cauliflower rice. This recipe was so amazing my mom made it for her family the next day.

Workwear Week of 2/6/17

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Last week had a bonus outfit and this week has one less-whoops! We had a district half-day training and while I originally put together a cute black jeans/blouse outfit my beautiful 2 month old decided to projectile vomit 5 minutes before it was time to leave so I had to quickly rinse and change. I ended up in jeans and a college tee (Wednesday is college rep day normally at my school but I skip it) which is fine because that’s life but I just didn’t feeling like snapping a pic since it was boring.

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Monday I wear bright colors. This is now a thing I think. So I paired my newest StitchFix blouse with white ankle pants (that look terrible in this picture- yikes) and a chunky gold necklace. This top is so loose , flowy and comfortable. It’s my new favorite and I’m going to have to find more ways to play it off so I can keep it in rotation.

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Tuesday I kept it simple with a sleeveless maroon blouse, black cardigan, and put the fun in my polka dotted maternity ankle pants. The waist on these no longer fit but I’m not ready to give them up since I don’t have a patterned replacement pair yet.

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Thursday was a lot of fun for me! I stopped wearing this flannel because the cut looks terrible on my new hips, but lo and behold if you tuck it in it blouses in the best way possible and becomes a super cute top again. Go me! I like flannel but this is my only plaid piece and I’m not sure if I love plaid yet? Or really how to wear it in a professional setting…

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Casual Friday put me back in jeans but this time I wore them with a black tank, green cardigan, black boots, and gold accessories including my StitchFix layered necklace from the Fix where I kept it all!

 

 

 

Workwear Week of 1/30/17

 

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Oh man this week dragged. I’m not sure why, but I struggled with my emotions and leaving my babies every. single. day. It was so bad that I missed my first period class on  Tuesday and had to ask another teacher to sub for me. On the flip side, I’ve been marinating on a new business idea that I’m really hopeful about, looking into the opportunities having my Masters will bring (like community college adjunct positions) as well as planning some big changes to my curriculum and classroom style for next year to make Algebra 1 even better.

Also, did I mention I lost almost 11lbs of baby weight? Even my pre baby pants are starting to get loose and saggy. Having two babies in two years really does a number on a gal so I’ve got a lot more progress to make…

Anyway, let’s bring on the outfits!

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It’s been 11 weeks since I’ve been on a date (newborn calendar) so it was great this past Saturday to meet up with friends for Happy Hour to celebrate the end of our fantasy football league (I placed 8/10 the husband placed 5/10 so we pretty much sucked). But wings, beer, and bedazzled winner bibs make everything better. This is a StitchFix top I had not planned on keeping but my toddler hid it so it didn’t get sent back. Might as well make it work right? Black jeans, black boots, and turquoise accessories (plus black eyeliner- say what?!) made me feel great this night.

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I was not a fan of how my white cardigan look last week went, but I was sure I could make it better this week. A bright orange wrap blouse from StitchFix and a chunky gold necklace saved the day! I was much happier with this outfit.

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Rock bottom day needed more color and a lot of comfort. I stayed home with my babies an extra two hours because even the thought of leaving made me break down into tears. I decided to wear one of my favorite sweaters and my polka-dot maternity pixie pants. I swear there’s polka dots down there! These are my only patterned pants and I’m tempted to try more…

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Have I mentioned how much I love StitchFix? This another StitchFix top and I love both the brightness and the pattern which is weird since I don’t normally like florals. Paired with some neutrals (grey skirt and navy cardigan) and I was ready for after school meetings. Can’t help but think a nice pair of navy shoes would’ve worked better in this look.

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Polka dots! This is a maternity shirt but it’s so float and great I think it works both ways- right? Mustard and navy is one of my favorite combinations so the mustard cardigan was a no brainer to keep warm. This is also the day I really started to notice the lost weight because I had to tie my pants with string to keep them up. It’s gonna  be belts every day from now on.

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Not much to say here… except I still love my Seahawks! This is casual Friday (jeans) meets school spirit Footballs Friday (support your team). Plus I love the banter and connections talking football brings to my classroom.

That’s all for this week, but I’ll be back at it again on Monday.