Thursday, April 18, 2013


Early last Spring, I was hit with some shocking news. In order to keep my Minnesota teaching license, I had just over two years to earn 28 credits: 15 of them graduate courses in Reading, 12 in Communications, and 2 in Methods. I wasn't sure how it was going to work. I didn't know where I would find the time or the money, and the thought of going back to school felt like a mountain I just couldn't climb.

One year, one baby, and 28 credits later, here I am. Mission complete.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lydia Reads to Holden

Lydia can be a lot to handle. Sometimes, I swear her mission in life is to test every last boundary that exists, and I want to lay down on the ground and go to sleep just for a dream-induced break. Then, I remember moments like this, and I can't believe how much I love her.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Permission to Work It

On Holden's six week birthday, I headed to the midwife's office for my postpartum appointment. I brought Holden along with me, because over Holden's pregnancy I got to know the nurses and midwives at our office quite well, especially toward the end when we were going in for weekly ultrasounds and non-stress tests.

It was so great to bring him in. The nurses all know our story, and the nurse who was with me the morning I went in way back in September was there, too. They oooohhh-ed and aaaahhhh-ed and thanked me and congratulated me. So fun!

The check-up itself went well. I was given the all-clear to begin exercising (which was especially good since I had started my new workout plan two days prior ;), and not much happened other than that. As far as working out, I am embarking on Couch-to-5K (again) and have a race scheduled in July. I finished Week 2 of the plan this weekend--no small feat, especially since, as Robin pointed out, this time I actually am starting at "Couch." I also went to my first barre class post-baby today and am signed up for another on Wednesday. I'm feeling the need to get stronger, especially in my core. I have lost most of my baby weight, but I don't feel fit, so it feels good getting into a workout routine.

My favorite thing about running is that we live a handful of blocks away from Lake Harriet. I have taken to putting him in the stroller (in an adorable fleece snowsuit), and walking down to that trail. I know that this will prove to be a major pro to our new location, and I'm excited to take my body back and get moving!


Last Tuesday, I took Holden to the Baby Weigh-In at Blooma. Gone are the days that we worry about his milk intake and weight gain, but I like knowing where he's at; when 100% of his nutritional intake comes from me, seeing the numbers creep up on the scale provides me with validation and pride.

At 6 weeks and 5 days, Holden weighed in at a whopping thirteen pounds, four ounces. He and Lydia are neck and neck for who will be the bigger baby. Because Holden (just like Lydia) is exclusively breastfed, we are not worried about the possibility of overfeeding. It seems I just grow large children.

Lydia's weight is something that I haven't talked much about, largely because it has been a source of stress for me. We try really hard to walk the line with Lydia of feeding her healthy foods and allowing her treats in moderation. We don't want her to develop a difficult relationship with food and her weight, but we also want her to be healthy.

For Lydia's whole life, people have been telling us that she would "stretch up," and she has. At her four-year appointment last week (with her new pediatrician--the same as Holden's), she measured 44.5 inches. She weighed in at 52 lbs., quite heavy for a four-year-old. Her weight was referenced by her pediatrician at her three-year wellness check, and when I realized she was gaining weight quite rapidly between then and now, I brought her in to talk with another doctor about it. Both times, I left feeling somewhat helpless. While both doctors gave us some pointers on nutrition, in general, we have done a pretty good job. We continually work to find healthy vegetarian recipes that aren't only pasta-based, Lydia gets her "Sweet of the Day," and makes food choices accordingly. She is in yoga, will return to gymnastics soon, and gets outside at school nearly every day. When let loose at the park, Lydia will run for upwards of two hours. We limit screen time to well under the APA's limits, even through a Minnesota winter with a pregnant mom. As we approached this wellness check, I was still quite worried--partially about her weight, but almost as much about seeing her doctor. There's nothing quite like trying so hard to instill healthy habits in your child only to be told (either directly or implicitly) that you must be doing something wrong since your child is heavy, and it's difficult not to think, "What am I missing? How can I be putting her at risk for health problems when we are working so hard?"

Last week, for the first time since we left our beloved Dr. Bell in Austin, we were validated for all that we have worked to do for Lydia's health--not because her weight or BMI dropped, but because her new pediatrician considered Lydia's diet and exercise over her weight. For the first time in two years, we heard, "Keep doing what you're doing. You're doing a great job."

A dear friend and health professional who knows us as parents quite well told me something on the day before Lydia's appointment that really resonated. I was confiding in her my fears and anxieties about Lydia's weight and seeing the doctor. I told her that I felt there wasn't much more we could do in terms of Lydia's diet, exercise, and overall health. And then, I heard something that finally, finally registered. She affirmed our choices for Lydia and told me that we are conscientious parents and said this: "You are going to go into that appointment with confidence, because you're doing a wonderful job. And if the doctor tells you otherwise, you'll leave and say, "I guess that's just another person we disagree with." Fortunately, the appointment went well, and we feel comfortable with this new pediatrician and her views on health, weight, and nutrition, and fortunately, she understands that BMIs are not foolproof in assessing well-being and respects us as parents. Mostly, though, I feel fortunate that I have finally found some confidence in my parenting and advocating for my child.

We're Going to the Zoo!

And not just our house.

The Minnesota Zoo was one of my favorite places as a child. I have vivid memories of my dad taking my brother and I there during Spring breaks. Apple Valley is quite a hike from Forest Lake where I grew up, and I didn't realize that the Zoo is actually quite close to where we live--less than a twenty minute drive! When last Friday, Lydia's school was closed, I knew that a day cooped up with Lydia and Holden would not be very fun, so I called my mom and asked if she wanted to come join us. She came up with the idea of going to the zoo, and a great idea it was!

We ended up being at the zoo for three hours. We did an insane amount of walking, but Lydia was so excited to see everything she could, we kept on trucking. I wore Holden in the Moby wrap for most of the time, and Lydia walked. Her favorite animals were the otter, the flamingos, the snow monkeys, the penguins, the shark, and the stingrays. It was so fun to see her experience something that I loved so much!

One thing I will say: the Minnesota Zoo actually provides nursing space, which is nice. The area was tucked back in a corner, and I originally thought that by "Nursing Area" they meant "Chair in Bathroom," but I was wrong. I ended up nursing Holden on a bench, which was fine, especially after another mom sat down and nursed her daughter next to me. (We had a lovely conversation about teething.) Next time, I would probably seek out the nursing area just so that Holden could have some quiet and a break from all of the stimulation. And by "Holden," I mean me.

Lydia and Grandma Jeanette watch the flamingos. (Notice that Lydia isn't looking at the camera. She was so excited about everything around her, a focused photo was impossible!)

Holden loves the Moby wrap! It has been lent to us by Mike and Brittany. Thanks!

Lydia climbed up to see the penguins. I think Happy Feet is in our future.

Road Trip to Madison!

The weekend before Easter we jumped in the car and headed to Madison. Robin's sister, Elise, moved to Den Bosch in the Netherlands last week and we wanted her to meet Holden before she left, and Holden's great grandparents on the Ganser side were pretty excited to see him, also. We also wanted to meet our newest little buddy, Linden--Robin's longtime friend Lissa's little girl, and we got the chance to see the Skelly family (minus Daniel and Beth) for a lunch. (Lissa and I shared due dates, but Holden came a bit early, and Linden came a bit late.) We had a great weekend in Madison, and Holden did beautifully in the car. Lydia is definitely more of the travel challenge when it comes to long drives.

Holden is the twenty-sixth(!) great-grandchild in the Ganser family, and with his birth, the great-grandchildren outnumber the grandchildren! One of my favorite things about introducing our children to their great-grandparents is the memories that babies elicit for them. The cyclical nature of child-rearing is really incredible to me, and the privilege of introducing our children to our grandparents drives this home. I love that motherhood is this timeless, shared experience.
Great-Grandma Georgiann hasn't lost her touch!

Four Generations of Ganser Men: Robin, Holden, Great-Grandpa Hugh, and Grandpa Dale

A rare photo of Holden and me. Since I'm the photographer in the family, photos of me and Lydia or Holden are few and far between.