Baby

Learning to be Patient

I’ve never been what you would call a patient person. I frustrate easily. I don’t like to play new games because it takes me a while to catch on to their rules or strategies. When given the option to open a gift now or later I almost always choose now, and then wish I waited for later.

Patience wasn’t really my virtue until I had my son; I had to learn to be patient for him. Watching him learn how to do things I took - and still take - for granted was fascinating.

It took a lot of energy not to help him with everything. Children, toddlers, and babies want to do it themselves--we all do, really. He wanted to get the monkey pacifier into his mouth on his own. To feed himself carrots. To stand up and walk, though he fell over and over again, he’d pick himself up and try again every time.

If I plopped onto my bottom as much as my son did while learning to walk? Well, I’d probably just give up. The same goes for missing my mouth with my fork as much as a toddler can in one meal, or not being able to reach something just out of reach, which happens more often than you might think.

In watching and participating in these activities, I’ve noticed just how much patience he has for what he is doing - how much grace he has for himself. Food fell off his fork? Let’s take another bite! Tripped while running down the hall? Oh, well, let’s just keep going!

It’s inspiring, and made me realize as he’s grown just how little patience I have for myself. If I mess up, I’m the first to cry “failure.” I’m likely to throw in the towel if I don’t learn a new skill on the first try. Like when I tried hand-lettering and was awful, or when I couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried, figure out The Electric Slide. I look back and grimace at my impatience.

This realization has changed how I see what I do. Instead of giving up, I get up and try again. I don’t get frustrated when I can’t figure out a new skill the first time - I just work harder at it the second time. And third - as many times as it takes. I allow myself time to learn and grow, just like I do for my son. His patience and persistence has been eye-opening to me, as I grow alongside him as a parent and person.

ow, I show myself patience in ways I never thought I would. I’m trying hand-lettering again, and while I probably will always be baffled by The Electric Slide, I’m going to try to figure it out. Even while I am teaching my son and leading him on this path we call life, I’m following his lead. I’m showing myself patience.

Dear First-Time Mama

Dear first-time mama,

I see you. And I want to tell you it's ok. It's okay to be nervous as a first-time mom about the life you're growing. I see you contemplating the maternity pants with your barely-there bump and pants that won't button, and I see you. Buy the pants. Pregnancy can be uncomfortable enough without feeling like you're out of space in your own skin with two more trimesters ahead of you. It's okay to be comfortable.

First-time mama, I see you in the baby aisles looking at the walls of options. So many options. They're overwhelming, I know. Why are there wipes for everything? Do you need them? I know you're hearing from so many people that you don't, but you aren't sure. And that's okay. We were all first-time moms once. Or first-time dads. If you think you'll use more than just diaper wipes, buy (or register for) them. Hand and face wipes smell like baby shampoo. Boogie wipes are wonderful alternatives to tissues in your purse. If you aren't sure, wait. Or see what shows up in a gift basket.

We got lots of wipes and soap.

Mama, I see you when you go out for the first time with your new little one. The grocery store is huge, isn't it? I see you at a restaurant with family, checking on your little one and being told over and over that they're fine. They're asleep. I want you to know it's okay to check on them. It's okay to not want to put them down and to keep them close to you if you want. This little life that you spent months nurturing or waiting for. The person you are getting to know. It's okay to want to sit and just be still with them.

I see you, first-time mama, when you try to take on several errands in one day and then cry after you're told you are trying to do too much. I see the wheels turning in your head as you wonder how, when you return to work, you'll be able to get anything done. You'll figure it out. It won't always feel like a production to get out the door. It's okay if it's hard now, and it's okay to ask for help.

I know, as a first-time mom you're getting a lot of advice. Buy this, don't buy that, do this, don't do that. So much of it is conflicting, and it feels like everyone has advice. It's okay to not want advice. It's also okay to want it. I know you're hearing a lot of things and I know it's not all what you want to hear, so mama, what I want to tell you is simple:

You are doing a great job. You may not get a shower every day, and you may run out of something you need right this very moment (and I always suggest a hidden travel pack of wipes for this very moment), but you are doing a great job. You are nurturing and loving your sweet baby, and you are learning how to be a parent. And? You're learning how YOU parent. Your "never will I's" may change, and you may do some of them. But mama, you're doing great, and in a year when you look back on this time, you'll want to wrap your arms around yourself with a reminder: nap sometimes when the baby naps. Newborns nap a lot, and it's okay to use one of those naps for you.

Don't worry about living in the comfy stretchy pants for a little while longer. Buy all of the wipes, or only buy the diaper wipes - whatever you need for you. You will find your groove in time, I promise. One day you’ll walk out the door with nothing more than the diaper clutch. Okay, and an extra shirt or three, but it will happen.

This time may feel hard, and overwhelming, and full of more love than you ever thought possible, but mama, you're doing a great job. When your little one is eighteen months old (or younger, or older), you'll look back on this time often.

And self? Yes, me: you were doing a great job. And you still are.

With love, Me

Four Months of Motherhood

Sunday was Mother's Day. It's also the day that Oscar turned four months old. I can't believe I've been a mom for four months. It feels like it's been far less and far more time than that. 

At four months, Oscar is almost fifteen pounds and is just over two feet tall. He loves to coo and play with his giraffe toy, his elephant crinkle teether, and a stuffed Pikachu.

Watching him grow and develop is incredible. He's currently learning how to roll over and makes it about 3/4 of the way..he just isn't there yet. Close though! He has also started putting everything he can reach into his mouth, so that pretty much means all of his toys, loveys and burp cloths have been nommed. Which makes for a LOT of drool. 

I love watching his face light up when he sees me or his Da come into the room. His grin is INCREDIBLE and makes me so happy - he's learning how to laugh and I keep hearing him go "heh heh" when he finds something funny enough to crack up. I love it!

As for mumming, I'm loving it still. Every day is an adventure and every day I learn more. We've gone to the zoo and are now up to five baseball games. I've pretty much figured out the hows of nursing in public, though I know it will change faster than I even know. I love knowing how to make him happy when he's sad, and what he likes and dislikes (tummy time, but what baby likes tummy time?). 

I still cannot wait to see what the next month brings. But that month can take it's time. These four months have gone by way too fast!

Organization, Efficiency, and Motherhood

Ever since Oscar was born, I've become extra efficient and even more organized than I was before. I had time management down pat - or so I thought. Now? I feel like my time management skills have been thrown into overdrive. 

How so? Well, everything kind of has to be planned, in a way. Going out involves ensuring we have a packed diaper bag. Getting ready for work includes packing my pump bag, lunch, and Oscar's bottles. There's a lot to get done, and not a lot of time to do it in (especially if I want to get in play time with my cheery buddy before bed!). 

There's a few things I do to make sure my days and nights run efficiently. Most of them are common sense and work for any working person. Some of it's assisted by my bullet journal, and I have a whole post in the works about how the journal has been helping me be better and keep track of pretty much my whole life in a way my day planner didn't.

  1. Outfits for work get planned out for the week. This just makes it easier for me in the morning. I just grab one of my pre-set outfits and throw it on. For some of those sleepless nights, this gives me a little more time to sleep. Or more play and cuddle time with Oscar before we have to get ready to go.
  2. I shower at bedtime. With a pixie cut, it does mean some rewetting and combing of the hair in the morning, but it saves me 15 minutes every morning. Which is time I'd rather spend cuddling the baby, talking with Allen, and eating breakfast. 
  3. We tag-team mornings. Since we're nursing, I feed Oscar while Allen gets ready for the day. Once he is ready, Allen takes over and gets Oscar dressed and downstairs while I get dressed, do my hair and makeup and brush my teeth. We trade off daycare drop off and pick up each day.
  4. I keep up with meal planning, and cook at least once per week using our crockpot. Planned meals keep me from having to think about what is for dinner tonight, or tomorrow. 
  5. I also plan lunches. My lunch is basically the same every day: sandwich, fruit, yogurt. If it's not a sandwich, it's leftovers and fruit. Snacks are trail mix, fruits, or granola bars. Breakfast? Cereal and almond milk, Van's brand frozen power waffles (protein!) and almond butter or peanut butter, or homemade cinnamon bread. 
  6. Speaking of lunches, they get packed up the night before so all I have to do in the morning is put it into my lunchbox with a couple ice packs. Easy peasy. And I can pack lunch while dinner cooks - making use of that 15 minute cook time!
  7. I have mastered the fifteen minute tidy, but I don't stress the small stuff. My goal is to keep the house tidy. I do a deep clean every week or two. I've KonMari'd my clothes and I don't stress if everything doesn't get done every day. As long as lunches are packed, Oscar has milk bottles, and everyone is happy, life is good.

How about you - what do you do to stay organized?

Three Months of Motherhood

Oh heyyyy!

So this little man is now 3 months old. Time is FLYING!

I'm more and more starting to feel like I'm getting the hang of this mom thing. Or just being a mom. I know how Oscar cries when he is hungry and when he is tired. I know what he does when he is bored and when he just wants to be held and to snuggle. 

In the three months since I became a mom I've also learned a lot about myself. Motherhood has made me incredibly efficient. I don't spend a lot of time dilly-dallying anymore because I really can't. I have to be efficient with my free time, even more since I went back to work last month. 

Now, I thought I was efficient before. But nope. Now I combine as many tasks as I can into one block of time to get it all done. Cooking dinner? I'll prep Oscar's bottles and get lunches made for tomorrow while I cook. Clothes get picked out the night before (most of the time). I've started showering in the evening, which sometimes means I have crazy hair in the morning, but that's nothing a little water and a comb can't fix, right?

Really, all of my "chore" time is spent so that my free time - while Oscar is awake - can be spent enjoying time with him. When he goes to bed I catch up on my reading, my bullet journaling, and get things ready for the day ahead. 

There are days when it's overwhelming. It's new! But I'm trying to figure it all out. I still haven't entirely figured out how to get a good workout in, but that will come soon enough, right? For now I'm working on trying to walk, lift free weights I have access to, and enjoy what my body still can do. 

I'm still absolutely loving being a mom. It is, for me, one of the most wonderful things I've done. 

Two Months of Motherhood

It's been a while. 

I know. You see, one of my plans for the New Year was to get back into blogging regularly. I chose my verb for 2016 (which I plan to blog about soon!), and was all set to start posting regularly, starting the second Monday in January. 

And then? My water broke. Four weeks early. On January 8th, we welcomed Oscar William into the world. He was six pounds, one ounce and nineteen inches of adorable perfection. 

Now it's been two months since that day. Ten weeks. Ten AMAZING weeks. As I type this he's sleeping, and I am chowing down on some Ben and Jerry's dairy free ice cream (delicious, y'all). I knew motherhood would be amazing, but I didn't realize I would find it this amazing. I mean, I kind of really like being a mom. Like LOVE it. It's pretty awesome. 

In these ten weeks, I've gotten to enjoy seeing my itty bitty newborn grow into a little baby. A baby who grins and coos and cries and snuggles. He loves his playmat and watching the toys swing and jingle, and I love seeing how he interacts with Allen. 

There have been things I didn't expect about being a mom. I didn't expect that I'd learn how to fall asleep basically as soon as my head hit the pillow within forty-eight hours of his birth. However, the day he was born I was basically up for thirty-six straight hours (I labored overnight), and the only way to catch up on sleep was to fall asleep as soon as he was down. In the early days sleep when the baby sleeps was a mainstay in our house.

I also didn't expect that nursing would make me SO hungry. Like, I could eat all day some days and not be satisfied. Ditto the thirst. I feel like I'm always drinking water, juice, or almondmilk. 

And? When people used to tell me this time flies? I didn't believe them. At the same time, I tried hard to keep that in mind when he was itty bitty. I try to keep it in mind now. It seems to me like it was just yesterday that we were checking into the hospital to have our baby, and there are times I cannot believe that it's been ten weeks since that day. Ten weeks ago this week that I was pregnant and tired and hours later holding a squawking, adorable, light-haired, serious-faced little guy in my arms. 

Now that serious-faced little guy is still little, but has already doubled his birthweight? And he's added big, adorable grins to his facial expressions.

It's love

On Hypnobirthing

I'm four weeks into my hypnobirthing class and after writing about how I feared labor? I am feeling way better about the whole thing - going into labor, giving birth, and feeling really really good about my choice of childbirth classes.

The classes themselves are pretty straightforward. We're there every week for 2.5 hours of class, during which we talk about labor, what to expect, positioning to help make laboring easier, and science behind some interventions that could happen during the labor process. And each class includes a 15-20 minute long guided relaxation, which I love. We have lots of reading materials, and every week are given downloads to practice self-hypnotism and guided relaxation.

And well, I kind of adore the guided imagery exercises. I do them nightly, before bed, and for me, they really work. These may not be for everyone, but I am far more relaxed as I am falling asleep, and feel way more refreshed in the morning. The nights I've not done guided relaxation work? I don't sleep as well. But. BUT. I am teaching myself to relax WITHOUT the aid of the recording, so that I can go into relaxation when I choose. Which is a big part of why I am doing this - it's to learn to relax and let my body take over and do what it needs to do to help me labor and give birth to my baby boy.

Which involves a lot of practice. So I've been practicing my relaxation breathing on the couch at home. Today when I was getting a vaccine at a prenatal appointment, I used the breathing to (hopefully) avoid a sore arm from muscle tension. I'm not doing any relaxation exercises when it is unsafe to do so, but I am working on practicing breathing, relaxation, and positive imagery whenever I have the opportunity to. Which is normally at home on the sofa, or lying in bed at night.

This is a childbirth class I would recommend to anyone I know who was seeking a childbirth class for unmedicated delivery. I know that I am still very much on the "roll with it" bench, but I also know that I'm doing everything I can to prepare for as unmedicated of a delivery as I can get. And when the baby decides it's time to come, which is hopefully not sooner than 12 weeks from now, I hope to be prepared to roll with whatever labor sends my way. 

Life, lately

This is not even remotely the first time I've done a life, lately post. But it's okay. Because Life has been busy lately. Really. Really. Busy.

The weekend prior to Halloween we had our first baby shower. My mom, sister, and mother-in-law threw us a "Very Hungry Caterpillar" themed party and it was amazing. We got LOTS of great stuff for the baby, my grandparents came to visit, and we got to see a lot of our family! We were able to share the baby's name with our families and friends (but I'm keeping his name off the blog for the time being), and it went over really well.

Over Halloween weekend my in-laws came in to help us get our crib home and assembled. The nursery is very quickly coming together, and I cannot believe I am three. months. from likely having a baby who will sleep in that crib, use the changing table, and have toys and books in the bookcase! A year ago I had NO idea I would even be pregnant at this time, so going into the holiday season with a bun in the oven right now is very surreal. 

We're still taking our HypnoBirth classes, and I'll say that a large chunk of my fears about labor and delivery have been allayed in just three short classes! I have guided imagery and relaxation exercises that I do (nearly) nightly, and they're really helping me to relax and come into a new confidence surrounding labor and the birth of our son. I have a post in the works about the Hypno class I am taking and what I am getting out of it, and I can't wait to get it up to share with all of you!

Additionally, I have some other posts in the works - notably my second trimester favorites post (which, going into my third trimester in a week, y'all. EEK!) and some beauty favorites as of late. I'm counting the days to the Sephora VIB sales because well, I need some facial cleanser.. and holiday gifts!

We're still working to get everything ready for the baby's arrival, and are hoping to slowly finish his nursery out in the coming weeks. My hope is to have almost everything in place for him in his room by week 34 of pregnancy. We're starting to work out first weeks sleeping arrangements right now (which will involve making sure we have a pack n' play before he is born), in addition to our birth vision, and finishing up the nursery decor. There's a lot to do and we're slowly running out of time to get it all done in!

However - I know we'll have time after he is here. It's the basics I'm hoping to get in place now. Yep, folks, I'm totally nesting. And that's OK.

What have you been up to lately?

 

Baby Prep: Learning to Nurse

On Saturday, I took a two hour class at my hospital to learn more about nursing the baby once he is here. 

At 22 weeks pregnant, I took the class a lot farther in advance than most mothers typically do, but since the last few months of my pregnancy are going to overlap with the holidays, a wedding, and five different birthdays, I wanted to try to squeeze it in as early as possible.

I found the class to be really informative. It covered basically everything I could possibly want to know about nursing a baby. Information it included that I filed away for later included different ways to hold the baby while feeding him, how to get a good latch, and even how tiny his tummy will be when he is born!

The instructor also was careful to emphasize that newborn babies need to eat often because they are growing rapidly, and on the day they're born they have tummies that are barely any bigger than a large marble! I found this to be fascinating, and am definitely preparing for a baby who may want to eat as many as 12 times in a day (but only in the beginning)!

Because I took the class so far in advance of the birth of the little one, it was recommended by the head of Women's Education at the hospital that I get in with lactation consultants early once he is here, and that I try to read as much as I possibly can about nursing. My goal is to set us up for success with this endeavor, but I also know that baby needs to eat!

However, with this class under my belt, I am fully prepared to handle all that feeding this baby will bring me - and to know when to ask for help!

Surprise, Surprise

We had our 20 week ultrasound on Monday. This was the first time in almost 10 weeks that Allen and I have gotten a glimpse of our little one, and we've been eagerly anticipating this moment ever since we first saw the baby being all jellybean cute. 

When I found out I was pregnant, we discussed whether we would find out if the baby is a girl or boy, or if we were going to wait until birth. We opted to find out - if possible - at our anatomy ultrasound. Neither of us is very patient, and we both wanted to know what this little one was. 

I think we both had guesses. I had a hunch, but I won't say what that hunch was anymore, because we found out on Monday that the little one having all the disco dance parties? Well... 

Yep. It's a BOY! We are both very excited and already trying to figure out what we would like to theme his room around. We know from how much movement I feel and how much he WOULD NOT hold still during the ultrasound that he is already an active little guy and we are counting the weeks until he is ready to come out and meet us. 

Not right now though - he needs to cook just a little longer!

First Trimester Favorites

Now that I'm (nearly) 20 weeks pregnant, I thought it would be perfect to share what got me through my first trimester. Cravings, aversions, nausea, and all. It's a short list, and it's short on photos, but it's as comprehensive as a first-timer at all of this can get. At least, for me. 

From when I was 15 weeks along. I thought that was a bump!

These are things I found helpful as I adjusted to being a pregnant woman, all while keeping my pregnancy secret from pretty much everyone else in my life. When you're trying not to throw up every hour, that's quite the feat! But I managed as best as I could. 

 

  •  
  • Tom's of Maine Natural Kids Toothpaste in Strawberry. The one thing guaranteed to nauseate me up until about two weeks ago? Mint. I used this toothpaste when the idea of brushing my teeth made me want to cry. It's natural strawberry flavor, and fluoridated, so I found it to be pretty perfect for keeping up with my toothbrushing routine throughout my first trimester.
  • Target Up and Up Brand Prenatal gummy vitamins. Y'all. I was taking an all-natural non-chewable prenatal vitamin every day. And then I got pregnant and the act of taking that giant vitamin made me want to throw up. So. I bought the Target brand prenatal gummies. And their prenatal calcium plus fiber gummy, too. These don't make me want to hurl, and actually taste pretty good. 
  • Simple Skincare's Micellar Cleansing Water. I wear makeup to work every day. And part of the first trimester involved being straight-up exhausted most nights. While I have a Clarisonic brush, some nights I fell asleep on the sofa, and all I wanted to do was to brush my teeth and crawl into bed. Enter this lovely stuff. With my eye makeup remover, it simplified my facial cleansing routine on nights I just didn't want to wash my face, and kept me from breaking out. Well, too much.
  • The Bellaband. This was something I really didn't need until I was 12 weeks along, but it's a lifesaver. It's basically a spandex tube that helps hold up  your unbuttoned pants. Which is perfect for when you're not quite bumpin' enough for maternity pants. I bought mine from the Ingrid and Isabel website, but I've seen them at The Gap and you can buy the BellaBand Basic at Target. For me, this is worth every penny. For some friends, they felt it was more worth it to buy maternity pants. 

Those are my first trimester favs, and now that I'm well into tri two, I'm sure my second trimester favs will be popping up here soon enough! 

*All of these were purchased with my own money.

Rambling about Pregnancy

So I'm 15 weeks pregnant. Due in early February. And yeah, I am totally stoked. I know I may have a couple friends who may think that it's odd that I went from "I don't know if I want kids" to "pregnant" in less than a year, but that is what happened, and I really couldn't be more excited. 

I have been excited basically since we got somewhat of a surprise when I got an instant positive pregnancy test the week of our wedding anniversary. I say somewhat because up until that moment, we really didn't think I was pregnant, for multiple reasons.

But I am pregnant, and we are going to have a baby, and up until a few weeks ago I was cautiously excited. Cautiously because anything can happen in the first trimester, and I didn't want to be too excited only to have my hopes dashed.

Which sounds silly to type out, but there you go. But. BUT! Four weeks ago we got to hear our baby's heartbeat, which erased pretty much all of my fears. Then we got to see our baby, because in an odd turn of events, there was a brief (ahem four hour ahem) period where we thought I may be carrying twins. But this is a singleton pregnancy. And well? Doubts? Erased. Love? All there.

To say the eight weeks between finding out we're going to have a baby and hearing our baby for the first time was a picnic might actually make me gag. Not because it wasn't a thrilling, exciting, scary time, but because I was nauseated all. the. time. Like, the things they tell you about eating first thing in the morning to stave off nausea? I would eat and then feel sick the rest of the day. It. Was. Bad. 

I mean, we ate pizza NINE TIMES from week six until nine, when suddenly the idea of pizza was repulsive. Guys, food aversions? Weirdest thing ever. I haven't had many, but the ones I've had? Weird.

The food aversions are almost never the same two weeks in a row. Which, in some ways is good. In others? Frustrating. I'll go a week where all I want to eat with my lunch is Cheetos and strawberries, but the minute I stock up on those foods? The next week they'll make me gag. The two weeks where yogurt was Too Much was not fun. I rely on yogurt. It's one of my favorite foods.

But that's getting better, for the most part. Something I'm extremely grateful for. As I get more and more of a bump I'm getting less and less nausea. I still have some food aversions, but they're so varied they're really not worth mentioning (okay, cottage cheese? no. Ricotta? AMAZING).

Cravings on the other hand? All over the place. My hormones DO NOT LIKE SWEET. But savory? Bring it on. Sharp cheddar? I want it all. The only sweet thing I've really craved is lemon popsicles, and I totally cried in the supermarket when I couldn't find them, because in that moment they were all I wanted. 

Yep. Pregnancy is weird. But I'm loving it for the most part. There is so much about it that is amazing - I'm building a human! From scratch! One that has arms and legs and is getting bigger every day! That I can't help but look ahead in my pregnancy app to see what this baby is doing this week while I go about my day (and night). 

Now, I can't feel the baby yet. I also can't button half of my pants. And while I don't intend this blog to become all about motherhood, baby, and pregnancy, I would like to go more toward family lifestyle blogging. So keep an eye out for pregnancy favorites (so far, which is not your standard favorites post), and what I've been wearing. 

But this mama? Needs some sleep! Back soon with more, my friends!

So This Happened

You know how I basically stopped blogging for three months? 

Those were three months (eight weeks, really) of secret keeping, lots of sleeping, and waiting. All to hear my favorite sound ever: our baby's heartbeat. 

Yep, I'm pregnant! Due in early February. More details to come!