Back in the saddle again

Yesterday I found myself back on the organ bench playing for services.

To keep things simple, I played piano music for preservice, the offertory, and the postlude.  It doesn’t take as long to go over to church just to practice the hymns, so this limited how much I had to be out of the home (and away from my nursing baby).  Plus, last week was fairly busy, despite being “vacation”.  We discovered that our major issues with our van can’t be fixed, so my husband spent a lot of time looking into replacing our vehicle.  We had one appointment or another three mornings in a row–and one was a fair distance out of town (this was for our oldest son–but more on that later).

I felt rusty and didn’t probably play the hymns or liturgy with the more-appropriate (in my opinion) tempos that I used to, but on second thought, I kind of liked my tempos and wondered if I had gotten a bit too peppy before my “maternity leave”.  This will definitely be something to give more thought to as I prepare for my previously-scheduled date to play again at the end of the month (I volunteered to play this past weekend at the last-minute when they were having trouble finding anyone able to play).

At any rate, it was enjoyable to be serving in that capacity again.  Yes, I was nervous–but mostly that Baby would be hungry and fussy (and my husband was directing the choir in both services).  It all worked out well enough.  Rather than go to church early in the morning to warm up, I stayed home and pumped a bottle.  The bottle got Baby through the morning just fine.  Rather than chase over with the others for Bible Class/Sunday School, Baby and I stayed at church and I held him while he had a deep sleep.  Thankfully a choir member arrived in the balcony just in time to take Baby from me when it was time to start my preservice (and my husband was nowhere in sight)!

A big THANK YOU goes out to composer Valerie Floeter.  All the piano music that I played yesterday was arranged by her, and I just love her work.  It’s really playable and so meditative and pretty.  I looked up all the Epiphany music she’d composed and used those pieces for my preservice (since yesterday marked the beginning of Epiphany).

“As with gladness men of old did the guiding star behold.  As with joy they hailed it’s light leading onward, beaming bright.  So, most gracious Lord, may we evermore your followers be.”

I typed that from memory (my hymnal is still at church) and probably messed up some of the wording or punctuation…but it’s been one of my favorite hymns since childhood (probably because we would sing it at home as a family, usually as a bedtime prayer).  Lord, may I be a GLAD and JOYFUL follower!  As if following a guiding star, may I be focused each day…and in truth, Jesus WAS and IS, and all I need to know about him is in the Bible.  May I regularly be in your word!  Please help me find/make time for that each day!

How else am I back in the saddle?  Well, I’ve been trying to get some moderate exercise each day, but it has been more like every-other-day or so, in truth.  I have to resolve myself to being interrupted and not get upset about it (I do not like having my exercise interrupted).  I managed to make my way through an old aerobics video and toning segment today.  I managed to get in a shower.  I managed to finally get baby down for a good nap.  It was a struggle because he got overtired despite my efforts to help him settle in earlier on this morning…

To that point, now that he is almost 2 months old, I am finding his sleep patterns start to regulate.  At least I know which elements he craves.  He still sleeps best when swaddled.  He typically sleeps best with white noise and not a lot of noise from his brothers and sister (that is why it was hard to get him to sleep when he first got tired–because I was in the midst of serving breakfast and then getting children out the door for school).   I tried to create a nice napping environment by adding the white noise in the kitchen, but he clearly wanted to be away from all the excitement.  I thought I had him all settled in for a good snooze with white noise by his bouncy seat in the basement, but he only slept for a bit there.  Finally I took him upstairs, swaddled him, cranked on the white noise, and after a hard “Why did it take you so long, Mom?” fight, he caved and has been sleeping away for an hour.

Most nights he’ll sleep for 4-7 hours in his first stretch!  Often lately it’s been about 6 hours!!!  Wow–this is amazing new territory for me as a mother.  Then he’ll feed and go back to sleep.  So, I’m doing quite well in this area.  I find that if I don’t nap for more than a couple days in a row I’ll really start to feel like I’m dragging (it was hard to get naps over vacation), so I’ll try to keep up with a rest time for myself most days–at least during the school week as much as possible.

He hasn’t normally been spitting up quite as much, so either he’s growing into his esophagus or I’ve figured out how best to read him.  Most of the time he seems to do best stretching his feeds during the day about 3 hours apart, but sometimes at the beginning and the end of the day it’ll be closer to 2 1/2 hours–either storing up for big sleeps or catching up from them, I suppose.  All my other babies wanted to be feeding throughout the night (and would have stayed latched on the whole night if I’d have let them), so I’m loving this about Baby.  It helps that he likes a pacifier.  I can put that in his mouth to help him go to sleep and rarely nurse him to sleep.  I feel like (for my babies, anyway), it sets a precedence.  “Oh, this is how I have to fall asleep–by drinking milk.  Oops, something woke me up too soon, so I’d better drink more milk.  Ouch, my tummy is too full and I wanted to be comforted.  Hmm, drinking Mommy’s milk is comforting.  I want to do that… OUCH!  I can’t sleep!  I REALLY want to be comforted!  My tummy is so full!”  I’m sure that other mommies can make that work, but for me it works best to follow an eat-activity-sleep routine and NOT nurse him to sleep.

Another way I’m “back in the saddle again” is with cloth diapering.  I’m not back to it full-time, but we’ve almost used up the disposable diaper supply we acquired with our Rite Aid Up Rewards (I’m still using those disposables at night and sometimes if we’re out of the house).

My cloth diapers lost quite a bit of their absorbancy when I let them sit too long a couple times with the last child, so I have to layer Baby up pretty good which makes him look a little funny with all that bulk–but it does the job and doesn’t seem to bother him.  What is making it even better this time around are some disposable/flushable liners that I found at Meijer which catch the solids (which of course aren’t so solid at this stage).  It makes for less swishing out and less “stuff” going in the washing machine.  Obviously it’s a bit of waste (although I believe they are biodegradable) and extra expense, but for now this works for me!

Anyway, to any moms who are considering using cloth–give it a try, especially if you plan on having more kids.  That makes the investment very worthwhile!  It’s really not a big deal and saves time when you consider trips to the store to buy disposables.  I like to cover Baby’s bottom with something goopy/creamy to keep him comfortable–even if it’s just vaseline.  If you want to keep expenses low, you can buy simple prefolds from pretty much any local store and they aren’t hard to figure out how to fold.  You don’t even have to fuss with diaper pins–look online for a handy tool called a “Snappy”.  I mostly use some contoured diapers that snap shut (called Motherese), and I really like the Motherese covers, too.  There are several other popular cloth diaper brands, and some of them are hardly bulky at all.  I’m just using what I already had, that’s all.

He’s awake now, which is great timing because soon he’ll be due to feed.  Off I go!  🙂

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