The Highlight of the East Side 

I’m returning to my trusty space with a Passion Tazo Lemonade Tea in my Yeti. I’m pumping breast milk while laying in my tub. I am wearing a hands-free pumping bra, messy bun and didn’t shower today. Judge is entertaining Kellan (PSA my new child) on his boppy pillow while watching “Master of None.” We forgot to eat dinner tonight but we found beans & rice in the freezer (shout out to Meg Abbott). We really need a new show because we’ve exhausted “Friends” and “The Crown,” so we’re really trying to love Aziz Ansari.

I’m returning to my blog because Lacey Longino encouraged me to delete Insta and Facebook to return “to my art.” She’s a legitimate artist for a living and paints exquisite murals, but she still inspired me to return to my little corner of the world, this blog which is almost TEN years old and maybe 30 of my friends read + my mom (shout out to Joy Baker).

“The proof of passion is perserverance.” -Jeremy Riddle   

I have passion of late for things like clearance tropical plants at Walmart, and late night trips to Target, Vanilla Iced Coffee from the East Side Athens Kroger (which Jessica Longino and I affectionately call “the highlight of the East Side” when we venture outside to go once a day), Facebook Marketplace & antique stores but I’ve forgotten the other things that make me, me and hence I deleted Insta from my phone just to remind me to skip out on the Insta-story binges and Mommy- Pumping- Facebook pages and instead process again.

I’m headed on a two- week vacation tomorrow to Kiawah Island, South Carolina (dad’s side of the family) and Blue Ridge, Georgia (mom’s side) and so I’m trying to make that rest intentional and meaningful.

So, long, emotional story short (because who wants to morph this space into a mom blog)- I really struggled to breast-feed Kellan. I took the class, spent hours with the lactation consultants in the hospital and Judge hired and paid a LC 130$ to come to our house to try and get Kellan to latch.

My boobs are like 5 pounds each and Kells came out 9 pounds and after 24 hours of labor, holding anything was a quite the workout. I also learned on June 4th I have an inverted nipple which made breast-feeding an emotional roller coaster. Kellan wouldn’t latch for the first two weeks without a nipple shield, and just this week began to take my bare nipple. I still breast feed him about once every two-3 days, but I found it’s much more peaceful if I pump breast milk for him about 6-8 times a day/ night and feed him a bottle.
The amount of social media time I have eaten up while pumping is quite absurd. In a way, pumping has been a blessing because I will pump approximately 20 hours a week so me-time could be used so much more productively. So, I return!

Vacation is dawning and my mind was rotting by Facebook Marketplace. My Target gift cards have almost run dry- so online shopping isn’t as thrilling. So return I must.
Here are some initial life lessons I learned in this whirlwind 7-week summer in which I brought life into the world and continued to sustain this life through my body:

Lesson One:    Being forced to stay inside my hobbit hole of a 1,200 square foot condo really causes you to be resourceful, creative and organized. I have never in my life spent so many hours indoors. A natural extrovert, I will always choose to be at a coffee shop, pool or restaurant people-watching. When I learned I needed to be strapped to an electric pump every 2 hours topless this summer, you would imagine I would have freaked out.

Jesus, my mom, Target, Walmart and friends have made this domestic “snuggle prison” one ginormous blessing. Also, it has been unusually rainy in Georgia this summer which made me feel less guilty sleeping in with Kellan past noon. The afternoon thunderstorms and my big, red, comfy chair on my front porch made me feel much less stir crazy.

I’ve learned to use baskets, make beds, buy cleaning supplies, use my front porch and back patio in the most fun ways and invite everyone over all the time!

Lesson Two:     People should have their Mom live with them in adulthood for a month. It’s been ten years since I left home on Wheatsheaf. My mom moved into our condo for 3 weeks when Kellan arrived to help out. Why did I ever leave home again?

I remembered the beauty of home-cooked meals and watching a movie or show together as a family at night. For whatever reason, we started watching “America’s Got Talent” together. Every night we’d eat shrimp or chicken pot pie or whatever amazing meals my church brought by, and when we watched TV together with my mom always had dessert.

My mom taught me endless amounts of her baby whispering, but she also taught me things like that grocery stores will steam your shrimp in Old Bay for you – so you don’t even have to cook! I watched her and learned how to be a wife and mother in a million and one ways. She cleaned my base-boards, went to Sam’s club and stocked up on paper towels, brought me mattress protectors, made me beautiful hanging baskets from the Lowe’s clearance aisle and helped me shop for undergarments so I could wear a bridesmaid dress post-partum. It is SO wonderful having a mom. Growing up is hard to do.

When she left I sobbed like a baby and not because I was scared to take care of Kellan by myself. I just so deeply appreciated how she loved on me so selflessly (helped me shower, helped me pee so it didn’t burn my wounds, made sure I was recovering, grabbed Kellan late at night or in the morning so I could sleep) and I wished I lived with my mom again. Every day her example helps me to be strong and love Kellan selflessly.
Lesson Three:     Being free and having fun are essential feelings for me. With the reality of being strapped to my pump every two hours, and having a husband who was in severe back pain, one might think that I would grow restless or depressed. Watching Instagram stories of folks (in Iceland, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Japan, Portugal, France & Italy) wasn’t productive to my spirit. This is when I decided to create “Motonui.”

Let me explain.  Jessica, Judge and I watched Disney’s Moana about the daughter of a chief of a Polynesian Island (which is called Motonui). With all my Birthday money from my family, I raided Walmart’s Clearance plant aisle (100$). I bought an industrial fan (40$), a water fountain from Lowes (100$) and an outdoor rug (19$) & boom…I created my own little beach. Kellan can sit in the shade, and I can sit in the sun, which I hope may improve my dire skin situation in which I’m basically see-through.

More posts to come, and I’m sure I will delete and download Insta many times between then and now 😊

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