Obviously, I’m super consistent with this blogging thing seeing as how my last post was November 2012 and its now halfway through May of 2014.  I guess having babies will certainly take you away from any non-essential tasks!  Anyhoo – here’s a little update on the Carter family:

Mr. Carter:  an all-around awesome dad, and digging into his new-ish position as a shoe buyer for Journeys Kidz.

The Mrs. Carter:  trying to stay sane while juggling a clingy, reflux-y newborn and a “high-spirited” 2 1/2 year old.

Alice:  General Tornado, Investigator-of-All-Things, and crazy kid (oh wait, I forgot I was politely calling her “high-spirited”).  So smart at 29 months that its terrifying, and able to be both aggravating and insanely cute at the same time.  She has been a trooper since the birth of her little sister, whom she will only call “Baby.”  I think we’ll keep her.

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Stella:  The newest addition to our little family, and my constant companion for the last two and a half months.  We’ve already been through a lot in this short amount of time, and while I have moments when my arms are about to fall off from holding her, I quickly have withdrawals if I’m away for too long.

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Karma:  Sadly, not with us physically anymore, but lovingly memorialized and remembered fondly.

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**From here on out, its mostly baby talk.  Feel free to get on with your day if you are currently experiencing baby overload from your own life or Facebook feed…**

{{I tend to shut down and go into “get it done” mode whenever I get overwhelmed, so I’ve spent the past few months with my blinders on, just focused on keeping us all alive and fed and relatively clean.  Apologies especially to my family if I seemed distant, its not that I’m not calling You, its just that I’m not calling Anybody.  Now that the fog has lifted a little bit, I’m going to see if I can do the Cliff Notes version of this, because I feel like I need to get it out, and maybe someone else can benefit from knowing that they are not crazy for thinking the newborn months are horribly misrepresented.}}

So now back to Stella.

The young miss was born after only 4 hours of intense labor.  The first contractions I noticed had started around midnight, already at 5 minutes apart, and we went to the hospital around 2 a.m.  There was no time for any drugs or the epidural I had decided to get this time around.  Nothing to do but get the job done.  After four or five pushes, she was born at 4:05 am.  All I can say it is that it was NOT fun, but hey, at least it was over quickly.  And, I thought I knew what to expect with this whole baby thing.

It was clear pretty quickly that she was not going to be a mostly-easy-going baby like her older sister.  She shut down my breastfeeding plans within 4 weeks because she could never seem to get enough to eat, and even when she did, she would immediately spit up most of it and be in pain from gas.  So I cried, and had an anxiety attack, cried more, then switched her to formula.  (Side note:  I was glad to hear Tina Fey’s account of her breastfeeding experience in Bossypants, when I listened to the book a couple weeks later.  It made me laugh out loud, almost pee a little, and generally feel better all-around…)

Well, the bottle-feeding and formula weren’t quite the full answer either, as the reflux persisted and she continued to be angry with the world.  After talking to my neighbor, we decided to try putting a little bit of rice cereal in her bottles to give them more thickness.  Now before you start to tell me this-or-that about why I shouldn’t be doing that, let me quickly tell you that the spitting up has gone down to normal levels, my baby finally seems to be satisfied after a meal, and she is MUCH happier and content to not-be-held-every-single-minute-of-the-day-and-I’ll-take-my-chances-with-possible-food-allergies-later-thank-you-very-much!!

She is finally becoming more independent every day, although she still wants to be held a lot. Unfortunately, she doesn’t want to be held by anyone but me, and as she doesn’t have much interest in Corey yet, Her Highness now has three baby carriers so we can keep her calm and still get on with our lives.

I’ve had times since March that I literally thought I was losing my mind.  I’ve had moments of extreme irrational anger, and even more moments of intense guilt and feelings of failure.  Lest I seem even more ungrateful and melodramatic, let me assure you that I am insanely and completely in love with my little Stella Marie.  More than anything, I’m grateful for her demanding presence because its given me the time and motivation to figure out what I want this phase of my life to look like and how to begin taking steps in that direction.

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Seeing as how I have a baby strapped to my body for many hours a day (yes, even in the bathroom sometimes — gasp!) going back to work immediately is going to be a little tricky.  However, diapers and formula don’t buy themselves, so some creative problem solving is in order.  So, I’ve decided that I’m gonna start a little one-woman cottage industry here in suburbia, and like so many pioneering females before me, I’m going to open a shop and sell my wares on the ol’ interwebs.

If you know me at all, you’ll know I’m kind of cheap (thanks Dad),  but I like pretty things (thanks Mom),  I’ve learned the value of buying items of quality (thanks Corey)  and I rarely do things the Right way but it always seems to work out (I guess thats just my own fault).  So this should be pretty interesting.  I thought I’d share my experiences along the way and maybe we’ll all learn a thing or two.

In the immortal words of Mr. Rogers, and now, Daniel Tiger…  “Won’t you ride along with me?