Back Pain

When I was growing up, I witnessed several relatives deal with back pain that was so strong that they were barely able to move.  As a child, and as a young adult without that pain, I could not understand what they were experiencing.  When I was pregnant with my fifth child, I finally started to understand because I began to have pain in my lower back.  At first I thought it was strictly related to being pregnant, but when I experienced the same pain months and years after that pregnancy, I began to think that the pain was from an old injury, but I couldn’t really determine what caused the pain to come and go.

Finally, though, I realized that I usually experienced the pain after I’d not had enough water the day or so before, that the pain was, most likely, from dehydration.  This usually occurs when I’ve been very busy, especially at home on the weekends, and I haven’t taken the time to drink as much water as I usually drink each day while working in the office, where I typically drink at least 3 liters during the daytime hours.

I can go months without experiencing the pain, so when it returns, I often don’t remember right away why I have the pain, and often think it’s from moving too much or lifting too much weight or something.

This afternoon the pain came again as I was helping to prepare for an academic year-end awards ceremony, but I didn’t attribute the pain to less than my usual amount of water until hours later, when I was driving home, and I realized that in the 4 hours before, during, and after the ceremony, I’d only had about 20 oz of water, when I usually have at least 3-4 times that much during that time period during the day.  Also, thinking back to yesterday, I spent hours doing housework, and I neglected to drink my usual amount of water.  Another factor is that the baby is having her three-month growth spurt, so wants / needs more milk than usual, which means that I need to intake even more water.

If I have the pain again, I hope to remember that it might be from having had less water than usual, so that I can remedy the problem sooner.


Learning to be a Linchpin

Although I’ve had little chance or energy to post lately, I’ve been able to do enjoy some personal time, even if it’s not as much as I would like.

During the work day, I need to express breast milk 3 or 4 times a day.  I’m not comfortable doing so hands-free, so I can’t type, nor can I easily write, but I can read, so that’s what I do during those pumping breaks.  This whole week, I’ve been reading Seth Godin‘s Linchpin, which I started on Sunday during the hour-plus-long trip to celebrate Mother’s Day with my in-law, and which I hope to have time to finish this weekend.

Actually, I consider reading the book to be one activity in personal development.  One of my work goals is to focus more on personal development, anyway, so reading the book is both a personal and work-related activity, and it’s definitely fun, not at all a chore.  The book is very insightful, and Mr. Godin is as much a linchpin himself as anyone that I could name.

I plan to write more about my takeaways from the book, but now the baby just woke up, so I need to attend to her before I can share more about the book.  I was hoping to work more on a sewing project after publishing this post, but I guess that project must wait, and I should be satisfied enough that I managed to complete a post for the first time in weeks.  Can I ever be a linchpin when, in my current phase of life, I rarely get the chance to ship my art?

Gardening Time!

Although I’m by no means an expert gardener, and neither is my husband, we have had a garden every year for a number of years now, and we both used to help with the gardens that our mothers had every year when we were growing up, so we’re not complete gardening novices.  Even so, each year my husband and I learn something about gardening as we expand our growing area and the variety of vegetables and herbs that we grow, and we know that there is a lot more to know.

For example, last year we learned a way NOT to grow broccoli–crowding it against the side of our garage–and this year we may have already learned another way.  We haven’t planted any broccoli yet, and now that the weather is warming up–yay to that in general; I much prefer warm weather to cool or cold–it might be too late to plant it and expect a yield before summer, considering that the broccoli plants of our neighbors behind us already have heads(!), but that’s OK; if we don’t get any broccoli again this year, we won’t lament the mistake, because we aren’t relying on it.  It’s a “nice to have” instead of a “must have” for us.

Our must-have garden plants are tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions, garlic, beans, spinach, and lettuce.  We also grow parsley, dill, carrots, and radishes.  Last year we tried potatoes, but didn’t get any because we weren’t able to keep up with hilling them to cover all but the top set of leaves on each plant.  This year we’ll try again, in a box.

This year I really want to be able to harvest sweet corn and sunflowers from our garden, so I’d better plant them this weekend.  Because I want to attend at least some of a native plant and wildlife festival at a local park tomorrow, as well as visit a few friends and introduce the baby to them, and I have plans for Sunday as well, I think I’ll go plant some seeds now and enjoy the last hour of sunshine of this beautiful end-of-April day!

A Quick Update

Although I have many thoughts to share here, other activities and tasks with higher priority–caring for fhe kids, doing housework, and attending to personal care (mostly sleep!)–have take most of my time since I last posted.  Then there was the completion of tax returns, battling a cold that my husband and I and half of the kids got during the past two weeks, and the Easter holiday, plus the end of my maternity leave.

I’ve been back to work only six business days so far, and I feel as if I’ve been back an entire month.  I feel as if I never left, as if during my maternity leave I was in Narnia, and I came back to the “real world” (back through the wardrobe after what seemed to be a long time) the minute I entered the office again.  Indeed, some of my projects are at the same stage of completion as I left them in January because “they are too complicated” / “no one else wanted to touch them” so my colleagues to whom I’d given the projects didn’t do any work on them, just waited for me to return, because the larger projects (of which my projects are small but critical parts) were delayed, so there was no risk in not doing my parts of those projects while I was on leave.  One Product Manager said that “it shows how important” I am.  Hm…

Anyway, I just wanted to post something short to say that I’m still around, and I hope to post more soon, because I do have multiple post ideas, just not always the time to create them.

Time for Writing or for Personal Development

Since I last posted, I have been so busy caring for the kids (especially the baby, who has been fussy for hours in the evenings (usually from 20h30 until about 01h00; ug!)) and trying to keep up with some housework that I truly have not had the time to write, without giving up more sleep, which is not a desirable option as I’m getting about six hours at most each night when my body does better with nine.  Instead of writing, I’ve been using my tiny bit of “me” time to focus on another area important to me:  personal development.

First, I read Maynard Webb’s book Rebooting Work: Transform How You Work in the Age of Entrepreneurship.  Then I flipped through it again and took notes.  His words inspired me, and I plan to write a separate post about my reaction to the book.

Second, I watched the replay–I missed the live event because of a schedule conflict–of the online “master class” from Jonathan Milligan called “The 4-Step Proven Roadmap to Quit Your Day Job and Earn a Full-Time Income Blogging,” which was hosted by Kary Oberbrunner, whose work I discovered last year.  I was intrigued by the idea and want to investigate it more.

Third, I enrolled in and started the class “An Entire MBA in 1 Course,” taught by Chris Haroun on So far I’ve completed Section 1 (of 15); I hope to have time this weekend to complete Section 2.  Thankfully, there’s no deadline to complete the course!

Time to start my day!  More soon (hopefully)!

Life With a Newborn

Finally!  Baby girl was born on Saturday, 25 February.  I plan to write about labor and delivery in a future blog post, but for now I’ll just make this entry about life with a newborn (week 1).  I did want to start writing again on this blog yesterday evening, but I didn’t feel like sitting at the kitchen computer, and my husband was using his laptop, and since I was tired, I didn’t bother asking him to use it to type this, so I decided to wait until today to post.

If I were to log my time for the past week, most of it would look like this:  Nurse the baby, burp the baby, change her diaper, nurse her, burp her, cuddle her to sleep, try to get some sleep. Repeat (not necessarily in that order). Baby girl’s schedule is a bit off from a regular day/night routine.  She sleeps most of the morning, is awake a good bit of the afternoon and evening, then finally gets to sleep (for a two-hour time span, if I’m lucky) after midnight or 01h00.  She’s been waking up around 04h00 and then sometime between 07h00-08h00, and wanting to nurse constantly during that time.

From the beginning she had problems latching properly, and by day 3, I was pumping.  Since I’m already anticipating–dreading–going back to work, where I’ll need to pump during the day, I’ve already established the routine of pumping exclusively during the day (after which my husband or one of my kids feeds her from a bottle) and nursing her only at night. It’s not what I want to do–I want to breastfeed her exclusively (EBF)–but it is what I need to do for now.

More to come.  Right now, I need to pump.  I plan to add one extra pumping session a day–even though I’d prefer to take a nap instead–to start building a supply of milk for the baby for when I’m not able to feed her directly.


A Challenging Day

Today my children were very much of a challenge. Since they had a day off of school, the older kids felt that they could play (or read, as my oldest was doing) all day, even though they still had schoolwork to do, and I needed their help with chores. My second son spent most of the day dawdling about finishing schoolwork, even though he needed to finish a project. (He said it was “too hard” and that’s why he kept putting off doing it, despite my various attempts to help him with it without doing the work for him.)  My daughter had a disagreeable attitude all day, especially when I wouldn’t let her play with friends down the street; the kindergartner kept nagging for a treat that I would not let him have because he didn’t finish his breakfast after I gave him several chances to do so; and the preschooler was just rambunctious and getting into stuff all day.

I really wanted to start work on a sewing project today, but because of dealing with the kids, it was impossible.  This afternoon I tried to take a nap, but I didn’t really get to sleep, and an issue with one of the kids forced me to get up before I was ready.  Now that the kids are in bed for the night, I could work on one of the sewing projects, but I’m not in the mood.  Maybe I’ll read for a bit instead, before getting to sleep.