baby’s first luau

This past weekend Reggie, Jackson and myself headed back up to Northern California for a traditional birthday luau for Reggie’s little cousin Cody. Even though the party was to celebrate another baby’s 1st birthday, the whole trip was a real “full circle” moment for our little family. You see, last year on this exact weekend I went up to Oakland to visit Reggie. Little did I know that when I returned home I was pregnant with Jackson. As we sat around celebrating this beautiful little boy, I couldn’t help but think about how in just 9 months we will be  doing the same for Jackson’s birthday.


jackson’s newborn photos

Two days after we came home from the hospital, our wonderful maternity photographer came to our house to take Jackson’s newborn photos. He was so squishy, quiet, and sleepy. Looking back on these photos and that day, where he would sweetly stop to nurse and then go right back to his sleepy poses, I cannot believe I am the mother of an (almost) three month old. I am so proud of him and also myself. We have been through so much in the last twelve weeks. Colic. Reflux. Breastfeeding trouble. Moving. You anticipate that motherhood will change your life but in no way could I have ever foreseen the way my life was pushed, pulled and shaped by this little man in the last three months. I can’t even picture what my life looked like before him and I don’t want to.

Jackson, you have rocked our world little man and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

Now if you excuse me, I am going to shed a couple tears looking at these pictures and go put away all of his 0-3 month clothing because he doesn’t fit in them anymore…and then give little Jax a cuddle.

connecting the dots

Yesterday we lost a great innovator. Someone who is most certainly the Edison of our generation. Upon hearing about the death of Steve Jobs I was immediately reminded of his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University. As a former public speaker teacher I highly recommend checking out this speech as it is truly one of the finest examples of inspirational speaking. Like many others I decided to revisit that speech after hearing about Steve’s passing.While I always felt really connected to the part where he speaks of following your heart and finding something you love to do, yesterday I was struck most powerfully by the part of “connecting the dots.”

“…you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life” (Steve Jobs).

This got me thinking of my own life and where I am today. I wrote a couple months into my pregnancy about becoming a stay at home mom. While I wanted to be a mom for quite some time, I was occasionally ambivalent in my decision to not go back to work. Like most college graduates, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. So I went to graduate school, taught at the college level, quit to work a retail job, worked for my father, then back to teaching. I consistently beat myself up for not finding the career like so many of my peers. Why couldn’t I be happy with what I was currently doing? All the while I knew I wanted something more and I hadn’t found it yet. I trusted myself enough to know that.

Last night while I was rocking my baby to sleep, it was as if all the dots connected right before my very eyes. This is what I am meant to do. And it is true, I never could have predicted getting to the place I am today the way I did. All I know is that it is a happy place, a place filled with endless joy even in the most trying situations (I am looking at you colic). I am so proud to be Jackson’s mama. He makes me feel like anything is possible–for him and for me. My other career goals now feel more accessible, within reach. I want to teach. I want to write. I want to create things. I refuse to limit myself. But if I hadn’t done all of the other things in my life, I am not sure I could sit here in this place with such certainty. So here is to connecting the dots and living the life we dream about.

jackson: month 1 & month 2

Weight: 10 lbs, 1 ounce

Height: 21.5 inches

Milestones: Holding head up on his own

Challenges: SLEEP

Favorite Moments: 1st real smiles, meeting his grandparents. For me this was especially significant. I have never seen my father more happy than when he met his grandson. He has three daughters and had been waiting a long time for that moment. To say he is obsessed with Jackson is an understatement.

Likes: Breastfeeding, diapers changes and bath time.

Dislikes: His car seat and not being held. Don’t even think about putting him down.

Outings and Events: 1st trip on an airplane. He did so well. By well I mean he slept the whole hour long flight. That counts as a win, right? Also, 1st trip to the movies. He did great for Crazy, Stupid, Love but not so great for The Help. I think it was just too much Emma Stone in one week for him.

Weight: 13 lbs. 1 ounce

Height: 24.5 inches

Milestones: Rolled over (but has been boycotting it ever since)

Challenges: Reflux and SLEEP

Favorite Moments: Crosby and Jackson bonding. I thought Crosby would be a complete jealous, needy freak show. Instead he is quite protective of Jackson and incredibly gentle with him. Absolutely adorable.

Likes: Breastfeeding, outfit changes, bath time, and unfortunately watching TV. He is obsessed with it and if the TV is on, his little head finds it. So yeah, I don’t watch nearly as much TV anymore.

Dislikes: Nap time and the freaking car seat. Seriously do not even bring the thing near him. He screams.

Outings and Events: Moved to Southern California, 2nd plane trip, antique shopping in Long Beach

remember me?

It feels good to be writing something again. And not something half-assed like most of my posts were post baby. My brain was mush from being sleep deprived at the time so please forgive me. I want to really commit to writing as much as can. So for those of you who are still here, here is a quick update. The last few months have been insane. Not only have I had a new baby with newly diagnosed reflux and colic but we moved down to Southern California. We had to pack and move with a newborn in a matter of days. Days, people! But we survived and are loving our new place with our little man.

Speaking of Mr. Jax, here is what he looking like now-a-days…

He is doing so well. He is healthy, happy, and as you can see dresses far better than I do each day. The first two months were not easy. In fact, I think the second month was much more challenging than the first. The first month you are basking in this new baby haze and the serious sleep deprivation hasn’t quite sank in yet. Then, for me at least, month two comes around and the whole not sleeping thing sort of makes you start to go crazy. To be more specific, Jax had colic and reflux. I sort of danced around it and pretended like it wasn’t really colic. But it was. He cried and cried and I couldn’t do anything to help him. After the first two weeks, he rarely slept and if he did, he absolutely had to be held or the screaming would ensue all over again. Soothing him was like a scientific process with a 40% success rate. I know newborn fussiness tends to peak at 6 weeks so I was trying to just be patient and let him grow out of it. Eventually I had to call his pediatrician. I assumed the screaming was a reaction to gas from my strong letdown but by 5 weeks his fussiness was only getting dramatically worse. The nurses on the help line told me it was most likely really bad gas and gave me a variety of things to try–Mylicon drops, Colic Calm, laying him on an angle, burping him for 15 minutes after he eats, burping him every 3-4 minutes while he eats. I tried them all. Sometimes the Colic Calm worked but Jax pretty much laughed at all of the other options. Except he wasn’t laughing. He was screaming like he was in pain. I was up almost every hour every night with a baby that seemed so unhappy in his body. Sometimes the two of us would just sit there, rocking and cry during those late night feedings. After giving the suggestions the recommended two weeks, I practically ran into the office to meet with his doctor face to face. At that point, he started spitting up all of his meals in addition to all of the other symptoms. The doctor quickly diagnosed him with reflux.

I felt like a horrible mother. Why didn’t I take him in sooner? He wouldn’t lay on his back. Arched his back and screamed during most feedings. And now spitting up most meals. Of course he has reflux. But I didn’t know. I am new at this. The nurses I talked to on the phone did not suspect it at the time but the diagnosis made perfect sense. I am trying not to beat myself up about it but when you feel like you allowed your child to be in pain, it is hard not to feel that way. At least for me. Luckily, the diagnosis was spot on. He has been on Zantac for about a month and his symptoms have dramatically improved. I have eliminated dairy, soy, and nuts from my diet to help. The new medicine and dietary changes have made Jax a different baby. Up until a couple weeks ago I was still getting up 7-9 times a night but now he is down to 2-3 nighttime feedings. So at the moment I am focusing on the here and now and trying not to beat myself up too much about the past. And I may have put his new pediatrician on speed dial. I am so that mom now. But I don’t care.

That smiling face is so worth it.

an update

I want to blog everyday. I really do. But the gravity of having a newborn baby (and a very fussy one at that) has proven to take me away from writing here. I fully intend on finding my rhythm again but everyday posting is just not going to happen right now. You see, on top of having a new baby, my husband and I need to relocate back to Southern California for his job as soon as possible. As in, next week. So that means in between raising my baby boy I also have to pack up my house, find a new pediatrician for my son, and find a new place to live and everything else that has to do with moving. I am overwhelmed.

But I love blogging and I love the community here so I will be back with more consistency–it will just take me a few weeks. So until then, here are some cute pictures of Jax.


baby name game pt III

First of all, thank you all for your kind words on my birth story.

I finally put my sweet, stubborn boy down to write another blog post. Well not really, he is right next to me but I will get better at blogging with baby. I wanted to finally share a little bit about Jackson’s name. The name Jackson was actual an easy pick. We did have a long list of names that included Miles, Harrison, and Henri but it was always Jackson. When Reggie and I were in college and had just started dating, we started talking about our future. We both knew we wanted to have babies with each other, probably before we decided we would get married. So when we did daydream about the day we would become parents together, we would talk about names. Early on Reggie told me he loved the name Jackson because of Jackson Pollock. Fun fact: Reggie majored in Art in college (he is a very talented) and aside from our love of babies, we also share a love of art. So fast forward to when we found out we were going to have a baby boy we came up with lots of potential baby names but our favorite was always Jackson. It just made sense.

His middle name, as you know, was a bit trickier. Originally we were going to use Kalama only as his middle name because that was the name featured in my dream. After some more research, Reggie and I knew the name needed some tweaking. We loved that the name Kalama meant light or torch but the name needed more personalization. The last couple years in my family have been trying and very stressful with various health problems and I loved how the meaning could be construed as “away from the darkness.” But we also wanted the meaning to include the type of man we wanted Jackson to be. A thoughtful leader. We conveyed our desire to some family members who speak fluent Hawaiian. In the end, the name we decided upon was Kalamaku’okano’eau (Kah-lah-mah/coo-oh-kah/no/eh-ow) literally meaning “torch of knowledge.” Immediately, when Reggie’s cousin explained to me the meaning, I knew it was the perfect name. So there you have it. It is a very long, complicated name but when I think of the meaning, I get the chills.


the first week

I still cannot believe I am a mama. My baby is a week old today. Well not quite. I am not giving him one week old status until 11:01 tonight. I am just not ready for it, okay?  Every day moves so fast so I am really trying to soak in every moment. The past week has been filled with so much joy and emotion. Post partum hormones are so much more intense than I ever imagined. I find myself looking at Jax and just crying. It is not that I am sad.  It is just that I was in no way prepared for how full and heavy my heart would be filled with love. Every moment–even the ones where he nurses all night and my nipples feel like they might fall off– are perfect. I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I know I was made to be a mom, his mom.

Being a parent is easily the most challenging job I have ever had. The good news is that Reg and I are starting to get into a rhythm as new parents. My husband has been absolutely incredible. Since I ended up needing a C-Section (more on that later) I can’t really do much other than breastfeed and hold the baby while sitting down. Just as I imagined, Reg has taken on fatherhood with so much enthusiasm. He is up with me at every feeding, changing almost every diaper, making all the meals, doing laundry, and burping the baby. He even made a custom spreadsheet for keeping track of breastfeeding and wet/dirty diapers. Seriously he is incredible. I have fallen even more in love with him. The way he looks at me with so much love swells my heart but the way he looks at our son is downright magical. I feel so lucky to have married such a wonderful man.

And he gave me my sweet little boy. So far, Jax is easy going. Sure, lots of crying ensues when diaper changing and bath time approaches but mostly he sleep and eats. Well he sleeps for small increments in between feedings. Speaking of eating, breastfeeding is really challenging. I know everyone says this but seriously it is really, really challenging. At least it was for me this week. Going into breastfeeding, I thought that milk production was going to be my biggest hurdle. Turns out, I have plenty of milk but a baby that has some latch issues. He hated my left boob for the first three days of his life but he seems to be coming around. As natural as breastfeeding should be, it is still something that needs to be learned–by myself and the baby. I don’t know why I didn’t fully wrap my head around that while I was pregnant. Fortunately, the hospital where I delivered is incredibly supportive of breastfeeding mamas. In fact, it is almost assumed that you breastfeed so there was never a shortage of people available to help me out. Without the support of the nurses and Reggie, I am not sure if we would still be exclusively breastfeeding. I spent a lot of time crying this past week but I am so glad I did not give up. In fact, nursing has become something that I really look forward to and I know Jax does too. The bonding time is priceless. And I sort of live for the the milk drunk face that comes at the end. Kills me everytime. Other than my boobs, his other loves during his first week include making funny faces and meeting all of his new family members. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.


meet jackson

Jackson “Jax” Kalamaku’okano’eau

Born July 20, 2011 at 11:01 PM

8 lbs. 2 ounces, 19.5″ long

Last Wednesday night, our son made his dramatic arrival into the world. I am working on posting his full birth story but I am finding that the whole day is really emotional to write and I am having a hard time putting the whole experience down into words. All I know is that I am experiencing a type of love that I never thought possible.