Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Blog

No, Jahjong isn't going away. This will always be my personal site. However, I did partner with a friend Jessica and we created a new website:

Here's how it all began. First, meet Jessica and her daughter, Addison (Addy).

Jessica and I have followed very similar paths in our careers. We've both advanced quickly and have had pretty demanding positions. We've enjoyed that responsibility and even the chaos that it brings. And then, we had babies!

Jess and I have had our own sites for sometime now. We both enjoy reading all types of blogs and we noticed there are a TON of Mom bloggers who stay home with their kids. We think that is great! But, what about those who work? There is a very obvious reason why there aren't very many sites for working Moms - there is no TIME for blogging. But, what if there were TWO of us? And what if we asked our friends to submit their stories for us to share on the site? And then, the idea was born. We're just getting started and we'll see where it takes us.

Please add Domestic CEOs to your readers. Tell a friend. Leave us comments. And, PLEASE if you are a working Mom, send us an e-mail. We'd LOVE to share your stories, experiences, recipes, etc!

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Update on Miss Lysey Girl

Turns out Elyse's cold was bronchiolitis and early-stage pneumonia. So much for some sniffles as her first illness. I think she wanted to do something to capture her parent's attention a little more than that! After the rough weekend, we went to the doctor Monday morning and they were pretty concerned about her cough. They did a nose culture and sent us to the lab for a chest x-ray to test for RSV. Let's just say, I'm glad I didn't know what an infant chest x-ray involves. Picture my baby in this contraption:

My girl is much smaller than this baby and did not exactly look quite so content. Poor girl - she did not like that one bit! However, the technicians said crying helps them get a good look at her lungs. Fortunately, the x-ray indicated negative for RSV and she was prescribed antiobiotics to stave off the pneumonia. She is feeling so very much better, but still has that nasty cough. Poor babe.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Dearest Elyse,

I am sad to say the above photo sums up your life right now. You are SICK. Sick for the first time, which is no fun for any of us. You had a little cough a few weeks ago, but nothing like this. You have a stuffy nose, gooey eye, productive cough, fever, diarrhea and even your first ouchie diaper rash. You are so sweet and it is so sad when you look at us like, "Please make it go away, Mama/Daddy." You look so pitiful and it makes us sad for you. We love you, baber and pray you feel better soon. We don't like for you not to feel well.

In the meantime, we try to get you to eat (even though you aren't much into it), we have your humidifer going in your room and you sleep in your swing or carseat to help with your congestion. We have had lots of night-time wake-ups and Mama and Daddy haven't minded the extra cuddle time with you even if we are often half-awake when doing so.

Due to your stuffy nose, you do this thing where you rub your nose vigorously while you are eating - sometimes so hard we have to hold onto your hand so you don't hurt yourself. To calm yourself, you rub your palm from the top of your head to your nose - over and over - it is so cute. I know it is your way to soothe yourself. Poor babe.

Before you started feeling poorly, let me catch you up on what you've been enjoying lately.

You weigh 15 pounds now and are 25 inches long. Your doctor says you are doing GREAT! She is really proud of you!

You knew you had feet before, but you really love them now.

You grab your toes and/or your feet whenever we change your diaper.

You roll over from tummy to back and are really close to rolling the opposite way too. You continue to enjoy grabbing things and continue to be interested in food. However, your doctor would like us to hold off to introduce solid foods. Just something to look forward to at six months. You should be more than ready then!

We love you, Sweet Pea!



Saturday, January 22, 2011

Purge and Organize

When you bring a new baby into your life it automatically equates to a lot of extra STUFF! We have had more things moving in, than moving out and the excess has been getting to me. After inspiration from Evelyn and Marcie who both recently changed up all of their hangers in their closets for matching, slim hangers - I decided to give it a go and go to town on my closet. I went with Marcie's pick and got the Real Simple Slim-line hangers from Bed, Bath and Beyond. After a few trips and some extra coupons (thanks, Francie!), I finally ended up with enough boxes. These are great hangers. They come in three colors: blue, stone and black. They have a velvety coating so your clothes don't slip and they have a place to hang scarves or ties on the hanger and even a hook so you can put matching or duplicate items (for instance, if you have two black cardigans).

Marcie stopped by for a visit at the PERFECT time. She sat with me as I went through every item in the closet and put it on a new hanger. I found myself already knowing the answer when I'd have to ask, "What do you think about this?" Yes, this question almost always landed the item in the give-away pile. I now have a ton of clothes for Goodwill, as well as consignment, and a much leaner closet.

Here is the closet halfway done. It is pretty clear what side I hadn't tackled yet.

I found I had quite a few things of my Mom's I had held onto for sentimental reasons even though I never wore them. With Marcie's help, we pared it down to a sweater or two.

Similarly, I had some crocheted hangers from my childhood. Do you still hang onto anything silly like this? I loved Marcie's suggestion. Keep just one for Elyse's closet! Perfect!

So happy this task is complete. Now, we're working on Bill's side!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

So Very, Very Tired

Since sitting upright is still pretty new in Elyse's world, this is the first time she has fallen asleep sitting up. Oh, my sweet baby girl.

Sleepin in My Bumbo from Courtney on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Maybe We Should Start Some Baby-Proofing?

Look closer...
Yes, that is the remains of a centerpiece from my wedding reception. It is filled with real sand and shells. Truth be told, I've been meaning to either get rid of it or fill it with something different. In the meantime, I CLEARLY need to remove it from the bathroom counter. I'm sure there will be several phases of baby-proofing, but we obviously need to start with the bathroom counter considering she does hang out there quite often.

Ohhhh, my babe is growing up.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Worth It

Photo from the first entry to this site back in April 2008. Me with my nephew, Carson, only six months here and my late doggie, Annie. A precious moment.

Keeping up a website like this is a very fun and rewarding outlet for me. But, it can also be a little uncomfortable at times. It is a weird thing not having any control over who reads what I share here. I realize I could password-protect this site, but at this time, it is not something I've chosen to do for a variety of reasons. I try to focus on all the positive things about this site and try not to be too paranoid. I try to be real, but careful. Funny, whenever I am having doubts I get feedback like this:

Courtney, I really enjoy reading Jahjong. I look at it at least twice a week. Somehow, reading your accomplishments and journey makes me feel like I’m part of your family, or at least, part of something. I felt really disconnected this holiday season and, in order to keep me grounded, I looked at your blog (that was my therapy). I cried at times because there was so much peace and love with your pictures and other times I smiled and laughed but, overall, it gave me a deep sense of connection…go figure.

I enjoy looking at your little girl’s pictures – she looks so sweet and gorgeous - and all the recipes – yummy! I even tried your Candy Cane Lane Green Tea – loved it…You look very beautiful too, motherhood seems to be natural for you. Thank you for sharing that gift (blog) with other people.

Wow. Thank you "R". As I told you, what you shared made my day and touched me deeply. I don't get many comments on my site and I never really know who reads what, so feedback like this... Well, it just means the world to me.
So, thanks to whoever is out there taking the time to take a look at what I'm sharing today.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

FOUR Months

Dearest Elyse,

It is utterly amazing how fast babies grow and change. I have heard this numerous times over the years, but having you in our lives each day definitely makes it real. I already miss the quiet, pink-skinned, swaddled newborn I'd hold against my shoulder with your arms and legs tucked close to your body. I do get a little sad when I have to put away another outfit you no longer fit into, but I also get excited by your constant changes. As much as I already miss my time with you as a newborn, I am also in love with who you are today - my happy, chubby-legged sweet pea who constantly has a fistful of Mama's hair.

Speaking of hair, you've lost a good amount of your yours (especially in the back) and it has lightened a bit. Your stork bite has faded, but still shines through when you are upset or excited. You love to talk-talk-talk and you make this cute little heart shape with your mouth when you are cooing. One of your favorite places to hang out is still on my hip and your new favorite thing is pulling and tugging on our faces.

You ALWAYS wake up in a good mood! You usually shake your head from side to side with smiles and coos or shrieks. In the mornings that I go to work, Daddy has already fed you and you are still happily snoozing. I feel a little bad about waking you up, so I try to carefully do it in a way so you feel like you are waking up on your own. I turn the hallway light on and carefully enter your room. I turn off your white noise and then gently turn on the overhead dimmer. I usually don't even get this far until I hear you stirring. Next thing I hear are happy sounds from you as if to say, "Mama is in my room! Yahoo!"

Your legs are getting really strong. You love to be on your feet - you get so excited you start swinging your arms wildly with excitement. You love time in your jumper, activity center and Bumbo. You sit in your Bumbo on the bathroom counter while we get ready or shower and even like to sit in it on the kitchen counter and watch Mama cook. You sit there quietly taking it all in. You've gotten more curious about what we are eating, staring as we take a bite and even try to take a swipe at it given the opportunity.

You had your first stay in a hotel and you did GREAT. You went to sleep at 7:40 p.m and not a peep from you until 6:15 a.m. when you woke up jibber jabbering away. We are so fortunate you are such a good sleeper. Actually, we are lucky in general. You are an easy, happy baby and while I'm quite confident I wouldn't love you any less if you were constantly fussy - I do feel thankful.

You are an incredible joy to us. My favorite part of the day is coming home to you and your Daddy. Going back to work hurt my heart more than I'd ever expected. But, God has definitely blessed me and I've been given the opportunity to work a schedule that will provide me more time with you. I am just ecstatic! It is really the best of both worlds - I get that professional outlet, balanced with precious time with you. You are our joy and our light. I love my little family and thank God every day!



Monday, January 3, 2011

Letters from my Mom

My Mom was a single parent and barely nineteen years old when I was born. She wrote me letters when I was baby - something that inspired me to do the same for my daughter. I can't believe she was mature enough to do something so special for me. They are incredibly precious to me particularly, because she is gone and isn't around for me to talk to about motherhood and my own sweet daughter. 

Here is one of her letters. I plan to share more.

Courtney Lee,

Hi, I'm going to write you now to let you in on a few facts about yourself as an infant.

On August 10, 1974, I brought you home. Grandma came and picked us up at the hospital. She stayed with us a couple of nights. The first day with you was a great occasion. You see, I went through quite a lot during my pregnancy since I was unwed. You had finally become my baby and no one else's. You didn't smile much, oh you were so tiny. At the hospital, you drank five ounces before we went home. Grandma did most everything for you as I was supposed to rest. You were real good though. You only woke two, maybe three times during the night and you never cried. The first time you really cried was when you went to Dr. Becker for your two week check-up. All that was done was I took all of your clothes off and you didn't like that at all. I was assured I had a perfectly healthy baby girl. When the nurse tried to take a blood test out of the heel of your foot I had to sit down because I almost fainted. Your first urine test was ruined because you pooped in it after you drank four ounces of water. The first doctor's appointment was a real experience. He held you in the palm of his hand. Maybe I should say your tummy. And here I was so careful.

You came home and all you did was eat and sleep. You gradually began to kick your legs a little more. You cord fell off at one and a half weeks. You even started to recognize me. You would laugh all by yourself when you looked at Humpty Dumpty, but wouldn't laugh when I tried to get you to. That was when you were about one and a half months old. At six weeks, I put you in your crib in my room. Then we moved so I put you in your own room. From two to three months you really started to come alive. At three and a half months you started to recognize me if I walked into your room. And you just adored Uncle Robert. At two months, you would laugh at me. You love to hear stories.

Right now you are almost four months old. You seem to sleep more now than ever. At six weeks you started to sleep all night. And you have ever since. You've turned over twice, but that's all. Pretty soon you'll be turning over all the time. You're growing so fast now. Last night in bed you turned your head from side to side so many times you have chapped cheeks. Rosy Red is what I call you. I also call you Punkin. Uncle Robert calls you Tourtney. He thinks that's cute. I only hope you don't think that's your name. Well, I'll stop now. It's 12:00 p.m., November 25, 1974.

All About Elyse: 16 Weeks

This is the actual letter we are leaving for Evelyn and Fred & Francie (the Grandmas and Grandpa) who will be watching Elyse starting this week. I decided to share it here for two reasons. One, it is a nice keepsake for Elyse to read one day about what was going on with her as a baby. Two, as a new Mama, I know I enjoy reading about other babies and their schedules and routines. It is oddly interesting to me so I'm guessing it might be to another Mama (or Daddy) out there. This is something I'd recommend to any new parent returning to work. It really does help even if you feel goofy doing it!

Elyse has LOVED her baths since day one. I had to have Mr. Snowman in the tub with her so we could discreetly share a picture with you!

Dear Grandmas and Grandpa:

I know you are already pros and don’t need an instruction manual. But, I thought it would help everyone with a little info about how my routine has worked so far and what works best for my family.

Mommy plans to drop me off between 7 and 7:30 a.m. Daddy will pick me up between 4:30 and 5 p.m. We’ll let you know if any of those times change or if someone different will be doing the dropping off/picking up. Mom’s office is on the other side of town and she’s hoping to work a shorter schedule to get off a bit earlier, so she won’t be able to come see me at lunch. But, it means she’ll get more time with me in the evening! Her new office is by the XXXXX so if you are ever out and about, please do feel free to call to visit!

I’m currently drinking five, sometimes six ounces at a time. Daddy plans to feed me about 4:30 a.m., so I’m sure I’ll be ready for a bottle when I come see you. Don’t be surprised if I’m ready for another bottle about an hour or two after that. That old saying, “There’s no way I can be hungry again” just doesn’t work with me. Sometimes, I really am hungry again! I get particularly hungry in the mornings (that first feeding is when you can often get me to drink six ounces instead of five)! Mom and Dad’s routine after I wake up from a nap is to change my diaper and feed me. This puts me eating every two to three hours (other than naptimes). Some days I don’t eat real well and it affects my night-time sleep (I wake up hungry!) so please always offer me the bottle even if I act like I don’t want it at first.

You will only be feeding formula; pumped milk and nursing will just be at home. OK to use tap water to mix the formula if your water is good. Mom and Dad use lukewarm to warm water from our tap. If your water is good enough for you to drink, it is OK to give me.

You can keep my formula out for about an hour after it is mixed. If I don’t drink it all, and if it is more than an ounce Mom and Dad do put it back in the fridge to re-use. (Yes, we know this is not what the formula companies suggest!!) We just heat in a bowl with hot water. I’m not too picky about the temp, so it doesn’t have to be warm. Mostly, I just don’t like it when the nipple is cold sometimes it just works to warm that.

I’m about to outgrow my current disposables so feel free to use them a little more now. We have a big box at home of the bigger ones, so when you are out let us know. Otherwise, I’d love it if you’d keep me in my cloth ones most of the time (when you aren’t running around). It will help Mom and Dad a lot if you could pull the insert out (by the tag) and the Velcro tabs onto the laundry tabs (it helps so they don’t string together in the wash). The organic cotton ones (the ones without the pocket insert) are the ones that I feel right away when I’m wet, so please put down the fleece liner first. It helps keep me nice and dry.

Please put my poopy ones in a separate garbage sack inside the wet bag so Mama or Daddy can spray off at the end of the day. We might try flushable liners once I start on solids to make this a little easier for everyone. I do need to be changed more often in cloth diapers, so Mom and Dad try to keep me changed every two to three hours, when I wake up from a nap, but of course if I’m sleeping, no worries! So far, so good, not one diaper rash! (PS: please don’t put diaper cream on my bum. It can ruin my diapers).

We plan to send clean diapers every day plus a wet bag to put the used ones in. We hope you don’t mind using the cloth diapers, but I think you’ll find they are pretty easy.

On average, I take about three naps a day, but this really varies. Sometimes I’m a great napper, sometimes not so much. I sleep great in the car and if you quietly bring me inside in my car seat, I’ll often take a great nap for you if you just put me in quiet room. It is often on these days that I can sleep so much you might have to wake me up. Please don’t let me sleep more than two and a half to three hours. So far, I take my best naps in the afternoon. Mornings are most often catnaps. However, that might change because Mama is going to be getting me up earlier! As much as not getting good naps throughout the day can affect my night-time sleep, so does sleeping too long. Mom and Dad thank you for that!

To keep me safe, please make sure to put me to sleep on my back with no blankets. Or, you can use a very light blanket (ideally a loose-weave afghan and just tuck from my waist down). Yes, Mom and Dad are very nervous about SIDS and I’m still at high-risk so they are very careful. I think they are kind of silly, but I know they’d do anything to keep me safe. However, because I sleep on my back please limit time on my back at other times during the day. You can keep me upright in my swing, hold me for a nap if you want, and help me with tummy time so we can work on rounding out that little flat spot on my head.

I do love it when you sing and read to me. I don’t care if you can’t carry a tune, I just love to look at you and hear you sing to me. I love grabbing things right now so anything you can put in my hands, I’m going to love!

Mom and Dad will pack two extra outfits a day in case I have issues. Please let us know if you need more! Mom and Dad left a little notebook in the diaper bag. Every once in a while if you wouldn’t mind keeping notes of my schedule (how much I ate, diapers changed, if I poo’d, naps), it would mean a lot to my parents. Nothing necessary for everyday, but just a request for once in a while to keep them connected to my routine.
I’m very thankful to get to spend time with you. My Mom is so sad to not see me as much. But, we will get through it and I’m a lucky baby girl to get to spend extra time getting love from two Grandmas and my Grandpa.

Thanks for loving me and let’s have FUN!



Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Day Has Come...

Almost a year to the day I found out I was pregnant, I am returning to work. I have so many mixed emotions. Most of my friends tell me it won't be as hard as the anticipation, but I still don't like it. What a difference a year makes. Last year, I had a great job, wonderful staff, positive environment. I was newly pregnant, scared, SICK and quietly excited (we didn't share the news until safely to the second trimester). As the year went on, the job became increasingly different as we entered a merger. I found myself unsure of my future employment, increasingly stressed and going out on job interviews with a big, pregnant belly. I was fortunate enough to get a new position, a promotion, a quieter environment and boss incredibly supportive of my upcoming delivery (I started with them the first day of my maternity leave).

I am heading in 2011 starting this new job. I couldn't be more thankful and I've been preparing myself emotionally and I think I'm ready. That is, until I look at this face.

Yes, get ready for more pictures of my sweet pea.

My precious girl.

So beautiful.

Love her.

We heart her.

She's getting so big.

He loves his girl.

My owl girl.

I am going to miss snacking on those cheeks at my leisure.

She does enjoy Sofie.

She loves her new exersaucer (thanks, Kim!).

So much fun!

This is almost always how she takes a bottle. She covers her arm with it and/or or her face.

With Grandma Deanie.

Love from Grandpa Brad.

Lovin' on the girl.

She's pretty fun just to gaze at.

Her first Nordstrom trip - with Aunt Marcie and Uncle Allen, of course. She told me she's hooked.

As part of my preparing to return to the workplace, I asked last month about getting a window covering for my office window so I could pump at work. I was very shy about asking, but so glad I did. I didn't know if I'd keep up breastfeeding this long so I waited to ask. Now that it is time to go back to work, I realized how important it was for me to continue. I enjoy that bond with Elyse and will do whatever I can to continue to provide her with breast milk everyday (in addition to formula). What a blessing when today, I had a visit from my neighbor and hero in the world of breastfeeding in Washington State. She helped me talk through my issues about returning to work, including ways to continue to bond with baby, pump at work, etc. She was a huge support and it really helped me as part of emotional preparations. It couldn't have been better timing!

This first week, Bill took Monday off. Elyse goes to Evelyn's (Gram-E) on Tuesday, Francie (mother-in-law) on Wednesday and Thursday and home with Dad again on his normal Friday off. She will be well-cared for, but I'm sure to soak up my precious time with her each evening. I deeply value and appreciate the time I've been given to stay home with her. I realize I've had more time than most. Thanks for your support!


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