Friday, May 29, 2015

A Little Advice

Nothing seems to be given more freely during pregnancy and motherhood than advice from well meaning friends and family. I actually like hearing people's ideas and suggestions because let's face it, I have no experience. Now that I'm a mom myself I have found myself offering up my advice, along with some of the best advice we received, to newly pregnant friends or new mommies. I'm going to list it all below (and see if you agree with me). This post is honestly to remind myself of a few things but I hope that some of you get some good ideas (and maybe good laughs at my expense).

1. Read the books with caution--advice from my grandmother.
At first I was totally against the idea of reading a "How To" baby book, not because I didn't believe in their methods but because I am an A plus student. Tell me what to do and give me a procedure to follow? I'm going to obsessively follow that procedure and expect and demand the result you promise me. Like, I'm going to study this study guide, therefore I should make an A on the test. However, a baby, as my grandmother says "doesn't read the book" so it's like playing a game with another player who doesn't know the rules and is making them up as they go. Therefore, since my control freaked self knew that once I attached myself to a suggested baby approach and Charlotte didn't take to it, I would be a basket case. However, a very dear friend suggested to Forrest "The Contented Little Baby Book" and he bought it, unbeknownst to me. I refused to read it for the longest time but broke down on a plane last year and flipped through it. I actually really liked her ideas about the feeding and sleeping schedule and the nighttime routine. I then was determined to follow it to the letter (just like I thought I would) because it seemed like it would help me when I went back to work. As I suspected, the baby was the variable. Charlotte did NOT care to be woken up from sleeping, even when we had to because she was so tiny and was put on an every 3 hour feeding schedule by her doctor. I found that if I let her sleep as long as she wanted (which was typically just 30 min to an hour past the 3 hour mark during the night), she woke much happier and readier to eat. Otherwise I simply could not make her eat (except when we were having to syringe feed her) and then that waking would throw off the next feeding and sleeping cycle. Anyway, I say all this to simply state that the books are awesome guides and have great ideas but be prepared to modify their suggestions to fit your own parenting style/baby needs/mommy instincts. We have had great success with an established nighttime routine as suggested by the book and also with the "no chatting during night time feedings" approach so I'm glad I read the book. Also I would suggest to choose one approach and stick to it. You read so many things and they each say something slightly different which will make you nuts so just choose one and don't stray unless it doesn't work. 
 Her feelings on being woken up before she is ready

2. She will make you a better man--from our neighbor.
Of course this was specifically to Forrest but I think it applies to men and women. Charlotte has definitely made us "better people". I think now we think a little bit longer before we make a choice or a decision. It's easy to make decisions when you are an adult but sometimes you are selfish about them. Now, with every decision we make, we think "how will this affect Charlotte". I want to live and act and speak in ways that will not only be examples to her now, but make her proud in the future. Also, we have learned to live life a little slower. Sometimes I will just hold her and rock her for her entire nap. even though I have blog posts to write or dinner to cook or housework to do. I know that these moments are fleeting and so I try to let go of my typical hyper-scheduled day and just "be" with her. I have to admit that it's a much nicer and freer way of living.

On this day I held her for 2 hours while she napped. The book people probably would say that's a no no but I had either most of the week and missed her. 

3. We are great at parenting our child yesterday--my friend Kristen
Kristen must have known that I needed to hear that statement when we ran into each other in the parking lot of the gym one day. It seems that just as soon as I figure Charlotte out, she changes on me and I have to figure it all out again. As you can tell from this post I am the kind that likes to know what to do at all times and that's just not the case when you have a baby. This goes back to number 2, being a better person as well. You have to slow down and stop trying to figure everything out all the time. Just be, and understand that no one ever has it all figured out all the time. It's ok to learn via trial and error!

Hating the pool because the water wasn't warm enough. We will know next time! 

4. Mama says there will be days like this--my mama AND my sweet office manager Carol
Sometimes no matter what you do, a baby is going to have a bad day. Or a bad night of sleep. Or an upset tummy. Or they will want to be held by only you for the entire day AND night. You just have to go with it. Press reset and start afresh the next day. Usually whatever it is works itself out, whether it's a growth spurt or a fussy spell or just some weirdness that has taken over your baby for the day. You will survive. Just remember it won't ALWAYS be like this!
One of those days..

5. Don't be a martyr--my mom says this a lot
People LOVE babies and your friends and family love YOU!! When they offer to help they genuinely want to help you! You DON'T have to be super mom and do it all on your own. If someone offers to help you, LET THEM! Let your mom come over and fold your laundry or play with the baby while you take a shower and paint your nails. Let your friends feed you for a month after the baby is born. Let your sweet office staff who have been begging you to bring the baby to work look after the baby when you have to make an unexpected trip to court one afternoon. You don't have to do everything yourself all the time. They say it takes a village to raise a child and I am definitely blessed beyond measure in the village department. It is hard for me to give over control to someone else or to admit that I can't do everything but I think if I didn't have as many people to call on as I do I would be a straight basket case. There is a lot going on as a new mom and it's nice to have people helping you get through it!

My mom helping with Charlotte after she got her 2 month shots. 

6. Take videos!--I forget but it was a smart person
Babies change every single day! You don't know when they will stop making raptor sounds in their sleep or trying to squish their entire fist in their mouths. Pictures aren't enough! Fire up that camera on your smart phone and take a couple videos of your baby doing things you think are silly and mundane because they won't do them for long!

Silly things for me to remember that might be helpful:
-don't let your baby sleep in the newborn napper part of the pack n play because it is super cozy and they will get addicted and then you have to make them sleep on the hard crib mattress and it will be no fun (we are doing this this week and two friends have said "Oh yeah I didn't put my baby in that so they would go in the crib with no trouble"--thanks guys--haha). Put baby on the flat part of pack n play or in the crib from day one!!
-You need lots of onesies and pajamas--not so many "going out outfits". Charlotte has a closet full of darling clothes and I have to wonder where I thought she was going in them. Now that she is older she goes more places and I dress her up but at home she likes to be comfy and wear pjs or cotton outfits. For newborns and younger babies, go easy on the fancy pants outfits! (My friend Lucy warned me of this!)

Ok now what advice did you all get as a new parent!!?? Comment below or on the link to the post!  
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Monday, May 11, 2015

My first Mother's Day

Mother's Day of course took on new meaning for me this year and I must admit it was the most wonderful weekend! I kicked the weekend off right on Friday night by hosting a Moms Gone Wild party for my mom and her friends at my house. When I thought about what my mom needed for Mother's Day realized that the best thing to give her was a night off. She has been through so much this year. First a pipe burst in her house, requiring my parents to live in a hotel for 3 weeks. Not long after that I had Charlotte and she came to stay with me. Then my sister moved. My brother got engaged. There were showers and parties and weddings that she was a part of. Plus she teaches AP chemistry and is the SGA sponsor at her school. Needless to say she needed a time to unwind so I made it happen. I have relied on my mother so much over the years but never as much as I do now. Mom is always there to calm me down, come over at a moments notice, or offer her assistance without being asked. Becoming a mother really highlights the sacrifices that she made for us. I mean you recognize that being a mother is hard but you don't really "get" it until you are one yourself. I honestly don't know what I would do without my mom these days. She is an invaluable component of the village we have assembled to help raise our child. What is the most incredible thing to me is that she didn't have her mom near by when raising the three of us. I really don't know how people that live away from family manage it. I know I am beyond blessed to have her here and willing to help! She is the best mom to me and momsie to Charlotte so we wanted to celebrate her!!

Fun centerpiece for a great group of fun moms!

On Saturday Charlotte was so clingy and needy. Poor thing just wanted her mama. While that gets very tedious I also secretly kind of love that sometimes I'm the only person that can make her happy. True to form, Mom came to give Forrest and I a little break so we were able to go hang out with some and listen to Jay play for a while. That night, I assume since it was Mother's Day and she knew it, Charlotte gave me 7 straight hours of sleep!! She has never done that before so I woke up in a panic but I was so proud of her! I doubt it will become a habit quickly but I'm glad to know she can do it! On the other hand that makes me sad because it means she is growing up! 
I have to admit that my first Mother's Day is a day I will cherish forever. There was just a feeling of pride and joy that I don't think can ever be recreated. I was so proud of myself for growing this sweet baby, for pushing her out of my body, and catering to her every need for 11 weeks now. I was also just so joyful that I have been able to experience this gift of motherhood. Every day is new with Charlotte and I love being able to see the world through her eyes. She has taught me to be selfless, something I am not good at at all, and to live a little bit slower. I've learned that life isn't so black and white all the time; that there are areas of light and shade and that life really requires flexibility and spontaneity. She has taught me that even though I didn't think I had them, my mommy instincts are there and they are strong and that I should always listen to them. She has helped me to see even more than I already did exactly how much I love her daddy and maybe even more so, how much he loves me. We would be so lost without him. Celebrating all of these feelings made Mother's Day truly special. Yes the new purse and bracelet were fantastic and unexpected, brunch at my favorite restaurant was delicious, but I think my favorite part of the day was strolling our girl around our neighborhood, talking, laughing, and just reveling in the fact that we are now parents and what that means for the rest of our lives. I hope every other mother out there felt the same exact way--be proud of yourselves moms!

My precious one!

Momsie and Charlotte

Monday, May 4, 2015

Baby Must Haves

Every baby is different and every mom has their own opinions but I thought I would share with you my list of baby must haves according to Charlotte. 

1.  Diapers--duh, but you need so so so many more than you think. Like 10 a day. Seriously. The annoying thing is you don't know what size your baby will need when born or how fast they will grow out of each size. Charlotte is already in size 2 and has been for several weeks. 

2. Baby nail clippers--Charlotte's nails grow quickly and those suckers are sharp!! She constantly swipes at her face so I try to give her a mani every other day. It's hard but it's better than her scratching her face. And she throws those little mittens off immediately so they are no help. 

3. Musical play mat with blinky lights
Charlotte loves looking at lights so her fisher price snuggabunny play mat has been perfect. At first she would just watch the lights but she is really starting to track the birds on the mobile as they go around and we have hung some of the toys from the mobile so she can seat at them as they move. It also comes with a mirror and boy does she like to stare at herself! 
I will be giving this as a baby shower gift for years to come after the success we have had with it. 

4. Swing 
We have the matching snuggabunny swing, which I actually found at the service guild rummage sale in perfect condition for $20. It is a life saver. When baby c gets the night time fusses we strap her in and let it soar. She loves it and it seems to calm her down. I have never had to get her out because she's gotten "over it" like she does with the mamaroo. Plus it has songs, the same bird mobile as the play mat, and a mirror for her to look at. 

5. Night light 
You are going to have to get up at night with a baby that's just all there is to it. It's someone quite protective of their sleep I try to be the least amount of awake needed to function and turns out that amount isn't very high when feeding and changing a baby at 3 am. However the best way to wake yourself is is to turn on the lights. Therefore, I have these great night lights plugged in that automatically turn on when it gets dark. You definitely do need some light on to change a diaper and you by no means want to be wandering around in the darkness while carrying a baby and these provide enough light for you to do what you need to do but not enough to make your body want to wake up. 

6. Something portable for baby to sleep in/play in
Sometimes you need to get stuff done, plain and simple. However sometimes you cannot do said things while holding a baby. We have the snuggabunny bouncy seat (yes we have the whole line including the rock n play) and it is perfect for carrying around the house. It has music and the same little birdies only this time they bounce. It's also fabulous because it vibrates and she loves vibrations when she sleeps. I like this seat because she can be entertained in it and fall asleep in it too. She can sleep quite comfortably in it so I don't have to worry about moving her. 
She fell asleep in it while I was making banana bread--I guess my reading of the recipe and overly dramatic mixing of ingredients was just too much. 

It's also light enough to be picked up while baby is sleeping and moved to a different room. See? 
After getting the bread in the oven we moved to the den so brownie and I could catch up on some dancing with the stars. We actually just ordered a moby wrap and borrowed a baby bjorn from a friend so we will see how those help in portability as she gets more and more able to go places. 
What is this contraption daddy?? 

7. 100 burp cloths 
We go through so many of these a day, not necessarily because they get burped on. We leave them in different rooms, lose them under the covers in our bed, drop them on the floor, etc. Just make sure to have plenty on hand, and that should be easy because people like to give cute ones as shower gifts! 

8. Baby sized hangers
How can you hang your tiny baby clothes without tiny baby hangers? You can't. Also spring fur several storage containers, boxes, etc. there is so much stuff and it will be overwhelming if you don't get yourself organized. 

9. Amazon prime (seriously) 
I'm not getting paid to promote prime at all but I don't think I would have survived thus far without the lifesaver that is 2 day shipping. I have no desire to run to Walmart or lowes or hobby lobby every day let alone take a newborn with me, but babies require stuff and that stuff must be purchased. Anything I needed that wasn't an immediate necessity was ordered and delivered in 2 days right to my doorstep. Easy peasy. 

I'm sure there are more but these are the main ones we can't currently live without! What are your must haves??? 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

2 months

My sweet little one is 2 months old and has changed so much. On one hand I can't wait to watch her learn new things and develop new skills but I'm also going to miss the teeny baby days! 

At her check up at 9 weeks she weighed 12 lb 8 oz which is exactly 6 pounds more than her birth weight. That's right, 6 pounds in 9 weeks---bonus points if you remember that she got down to 5 lb 12 oz at first. The doctors are so proud of how she is packing on the poundage and I'm loving her squishy little baby rolls!! 

Can you even?? 

She also had grown 2 whole inches since birth and is now 22.5 and in the 50 percentile. Her weight was 75th! She was no fan of the shots and screamed so much when we got home I got my mom to leave work and help me. Charlotte is not a screamer and I was so worried. I honestly don't know how people without help close by manage. You guys are rock stars in my eyes. I'm so lucky to have family near by that can come at a moments notice and I most definitely take full advantage. 
As for her "baby skills", she has mastered smiling and is really working on cooing. Sometimes, usually in the evenings, she gets on a roll and just oooos and Ahhhhs at us. I can't wait for her to start laughing!! She is also very good at holding her head up and her daddy is convinced she is ready to roll over but I think we are a short way off from that yet. She still loves looking at lights and bright patterns and is happiest on the play may or her swing.

 She sleeps typically from 11-3, then to 6 and then to 8 or 9. She does not care to be woken up, much like me, so for now I'm just letting her sleep when she wants. So far it hasn't affected her night time routine but I will encourage her awake if she's taking a really long nap late in the evening. She still gets mad when you pull clothes over her head but over all she is a very content little lady, although she usually has a fussy spell around 9 pm that requires a lot of snuggles and food and visits to the swing. 
As for me, I've still got a few baby pounds to shed and I'm mourning my pre baby stomach. I am starting to work out more and more so hopefully I can tune everything back up but at the same time I'm trying to be realistic and manage expectations. I know I might never fit into my old clothes in the same way again especially if my hips have widened so I'm trying to be ok with that since there really isn't much to be done. The body changes were definitely my biggest challenge while pregnant and I might be more worked up about them now since I want everything to just go back to normal but I suppose I will get over it. A little retail therapy should hopefully do the trick! My stretch marks are still there although the line down my belly is continuously fading. I have also started back to work part time and it is going really well. Charlotte has the best nanny, Rachel, who I have known my whole life. Forrest also is able to keep her 3 mornings a week when he starts his day at noon so I know when she isn't with me she is getting the best care. I love being able to get out for a bit, put on my work clothes (those that I can currently squeeze into that is) and do something different for a little while. Getting out also let's me do errands that I otherwise would neglect of I was home all day as I do quite enjoy laying around in my pajamas with my snuggly baby. I have been trying to cook more too! I used to cook so often but I lost the energy and desire to do so while pregnant. Thank goodness for the freezer meal workshop I went to about a month before Charlotte was born! We have had some wonderful meals that were already prepped because of it which were kind of my gateway meals into cooking again. I also  tried a new healthy recipe last night that made me anxious to cook more and more. I spend a lot of time online now when she is napping on me or when she is eating at night so I've been able to find lots of new meals to try (and I probably buy something from Amazon every day too...)
Baked organic veggies and chicken sausage--healthy and delicious! 

Whew well that was a lot of info in one post! Thanks for checking in on us!! We are still here, despite the lack of frequent posts, and doing just fine! 
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