Perspective

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I almost deleted this entire blog today thinking about how spoiled and ridiculous I must sound.  My biggest worry has been getting enough sleep for me and my family – lack of sleep is not an actual problem in the big scheme of things.  I talk about hiring doulas to go get your hair done.  I write about must-have baby products that you “just can’t live without.”

I was up in the middle of the night and I couldn’t stop thinking about a little boy I read about a while ago, so I found his story again on Facebook.  When he as 2, he was severely injured when a tree fell on him at daycare in a freak accident.  On their website, his mom writes “When I dropped my happy, perfect boy off at daycare that morning, it might of been the last time I saw his smile or his eyes open or him awake. I will never take another day with my baby for granted.”

This article goes into more detail about this incredible family, and I am in awe of his mother’s strength and perseverance to give her son a beautiful life.  I don’t know what compelled me to re-read this story in the middle of the night, but I needed it.  I ran into both of my babies’ rooms to watch them sleep and to thank God for their health.

I know everything is relative, but I hope the next time I begin to fret about something un-important that I choose to be grateful in that moment instead.

Easy Tips for Decorating the Nursery

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I love to decorate but am no home decor expert by any means, so here is my simple guide for how to decorate the nursery:

  1. Pick a color scheme – wall color and 1 to 3 accent colors.  I like to browse Pinterest for ideas, and I also like to make an inspiration board so that I can visualize how everything will look together.
  2. Decide on the furniture you want – in both my kids’ rooms there is a crib, a changing table/dresser, a nightstand, and a glider/ottoman.  I like to keep all the furniture the same color, even if they don’t come from the same set.
  3. Accessorize – you can play around with your accent colors for the crib sheet, the color of the glider, changing pad cover, and art for the walls.
  4. Add decorations – this is my favorite part!  I like to put a banner across the top of the windows, framed art on a wall that is NOT above the crib or changing table (I don’t want anything to accidentally fall on baby) and then vinyl decorations on the crib wall so that it doesn’t look bare while remaining safe.  Here are some of my favorite Etsy shops that have all of these goodies:

Wallums Wall Decor

Vintage Green Limited

Lucy Darling Prints

Wall Dressed Up

Lovely Face Designs

2 Months Groove

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There are of course some days where I am overwhelmed and confused but we have also definitely found a bit of a groove 2 months in.  I am too nervous still to go somewhere where A can run free while I’m also tending to C, but they both love their stroller so we are out and about every single day and pretty much have done so since C was born.  A gets tons of playground time at school, and we take him to the park on the weekends, so I try not to feel guilty for trapping him in the stroller during these early months.  He won’t remember, he has fun anyway, and I feel confident enough to get us all of the house.

Our favorite places to go have been indoor or outdoor malls before they open in the morning; I get coffee and we do laps and talk about the things we see.  Sometimes we go in the afternoon as well but then I am too tempted to shop 😉  We also like to walk around the lake, or go to the zoo.  Target is always an easy outing too – I don’t go with a list of things I need in case things go south, but we just browse around.

So during newborn time, you don’t need to be supermom if you don’t want to – you can stick within your comfort level and ease into the outings 🙂

 

 

Five (okay, six) Minute Make-up

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So this is not my greatest picture, but I don’t care because it was taken at 6am and I have a 2 month old and a 22 month old 🙂  What I do love about this picture is that it took me exactly 6 minutes (I timed it) to go from the left to the right!  I might not have a ton of free time but 6 minutes to feel like myself, I do have.  My hack is the awesome III Foundation Palette by Maskcara. This single palette gives me my highlight, contour, foundation, blush, lip color, and illuminator and is so fast to put on.  Plus, their website has an awesome how-to video that shows you exactly how put it on.  My eye makeup is a limited edition Bobby Brown palette (similar to this one) and Too Faced’s Better Than Sex mascara.  Sometimes I will skip the eye shadow and just do mascara, but it is nice to know that if I am in the mood for a full face of make-up I just need 6 minutes 🙂

Breastfeeding and Formula

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Before A was born, I hadn’t thought much about how I would feed him.  After a few doctor’s appointments, only breastfeeding was mentioned to me and I was encouraged to take a breastfeeding education class before the baby came.  I took the class and it seemed like breastfeeding was the best option, and I committed to nursing A for 6 months.  I had a pump, nursing bras, a nursing cover, a few notes from the class and I was ready to go.  I was going to wait 3 weeks before introducing a pacifier or a bottle – I would follow all the rules.

A few hours after A was born he was having trouble breathing and ended up in the NICU for 5 days.  He ended up being totally fine, but he had a breathing tube the first day and I couldn’t breastfeed him.  I was devastated that he was separated from me attached to all of these machines, but I immediately started pumping per the nurse’s instructions every 3 hours.  That first day I would get like an imaginary drop of colostrum, and I would label the bottle with the unseen drop and ask John to take it to the NICU for A.  I did this round the clock until the next day when they let me try to breastfeed him.  I didn’t know what I was doing (thanks for nothing breastfeeding class!) and some of the nurses that week were patient and would help me for hours, others not so much.  There was an issue with his blood sugar at one point and they needed to give him formula and I was hysterical, because at this point I was hell bent on breastfeeding because it was the only idea that was shared with me about how to feed baby.  I spent a lot of time crying trying to nurse my baby who was attached to all of these wires, pumping afterwards to get my milk going, and feeling upset as I watched him suck down bottles of formula.  He also had a tongue tie that they suggested we get clipped before leaving the hospital; I hesitated putting him through anything else, but the doctors said it would really help with breastfeeding so we did that too.

He was given a clean bill of health thankfully and we headed home; they rented me a hospital grade pump and I was instructed to pump after every feeding, so for a few days I would nurse for about 45 minutes, pump for 20 minutes, and then pretty much start the whole process over again.  The next week we went to a lactation appointment and A had gained back his birth weight so I was told I didn’t need to pump anymore, my milk supply was plenty for him!  Yay.  Everything was fine for a couple of weeks, but then he just didn’t seem satisfied after feedings, like ever.  He would nurse for 45 minutes sometimes and cry for more afterwards.  I started taking him to those weighted feedings at the hospital and he wasn’t taking in much milk; his tongue tie had reattached.  The lactation consultant told me I needed to pump again to increase my supply, take pills, eat certain things, etc.  So I began that process again and I was absolutely miserable.  I hated putting A in his bouncer and sitting next to him and pumping when I just wanted to play with him.  I went to a final appointment and after all that pumping and pills and everything I was told to do, he was barely drinking an ounce after 45 minutes of feeding at 2 months old.  She said it was time to supplement with formula after every feeding and that I shouldn’t feel bad because A was so happy nursing still and I did everything I could.

So I would nurse for just a few minutes so that A could get a bit of breastmilk and because I enjoyed the snuggles, and then I would make a bottle and he would be stoked.  I kept this up until he was about 5 and a half months old and drinking like the maximum amount of formula a day and pretty much drops of breastmilk (I felt dizzy and nauseous for months and thought it might be because I was basically weaning the whole time; the second I stopped I felt better – I seem to have issues with any hormonal changes).  I don’t remember the last time I nursed him; I don’t think I even knew it would be the last time.  I thought I would be sad, but then I looked at my extremely healthy and happy son.  Even though he went to daycare, he was rarely ever sick…even less frequently than some babies I knew who were exclusively breastfed.  He was growing well, always in a good mood, hitting all his milestones, and an absolute joy.  He didn’t care if he was getting breastfed or formula, he just wanted to be fed!  I grew to love those formula bottles, and I could have kicked myself for how much pressure and stress I put on myself those first few months and vowed that with my next baby, if there was even a slight question about my milk supply or if things didn’t feel right breastfeeding, I would switch to formula and not feel guilty whatsoever.

When C was born, I was able to nurse him right away and during our stay at the hospital.  However, since a pump is what brought my milk in with A, I didn’t really know that it is a little different when the baby is the one trying to get your milk in.  So when C was trying to suck every half hour the entire night, I was calling the nurses like “what is wrong with this baby!!!”  I had no idea that this was totally normal.  His latch hurt for a few days but we worked it out; the next week at our lactation appointment I told the nurse I did NOT want to exclusively breastfeed but would rather combo feed, that I did not want to pump to increase my supply, and that I did not want to nurse and supplement with formula at the same feeding.  She said if I could make it through his 3 week growth spurt, my supply would be better established and then I could switch some nursing sessions over to bottles.  Yay!  I did just that, and while C was gaining weight fine on my milk, I really didn’t enjoy pumping if I missed a feeding, wondering how much he was getting, or being the sole person responsible for his nutrition.  Even though I didn’t love it, I started pumping instead of breastfeeding, and then offering formula if I didn’t feel like pumping or if I didn’t pump enough.  I slowly let my supply dwindle down and at 2 months he is mostly formula fed and gets a few ounces of thawed frozen breastmilk a day.  But even though this is what I wanted, I STILL ended up feeling guilty.  WHY??? Again, C is thriving, constantly smiling at me, loves snuggling up to me while I give him a bottle, and I am able to feel better physically and am not stressed about if he is getting enough nutrition or not.

I realized that with all the breastfeeding propaganda, the only natural assumption is that breastfeeding is good and formula is bad but that is so far from true.  Yes, breastmilk might be best but formula is like as close to best as you can get.  And in my opinion, if you are someone like me who had trouble breastfeeding to the point that you weren’t able to even enjoy being a mother at first, then formula is actually best.  I wanted to write this down to let others know that if your feeding plan for baby didn’t work out, it is okay.  If you love breastfeeding, good for you.  If you love formula, good for you.  As long as you are feeding your baby with love, that is all that really matters.

 

 

How to Keep your Tasks Organized

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I used to hand-write my to-do lists because I absolutely love using a pen and paper.  However, I realized that I often think of something I need to do when I am on the go, and typing it out on my phone has become much easier.  Instead of keeping one running list though, I break it up into chunks  This technique to organize my to-do list has been life-changing; I am not exaggerating.  I told my husband about it and he started doing it to and loves it – here is how!

  1. Download a to-do list type app, such as Color Note (that is the one I use).
  2. Create daily, weekly, and monthly lists.  I like to call mine “today”, “this week”, and then I name the next 2 months.
  3. Add tasks to each list.  Things that I really either need or want to get done right away go on the “today” list (pay a bill, fold laundry, etc.).  Things that aren’t super pressing but I should get to soon go on “this week” (make dentist appointment, send out invites, etc.) And then things that are a bit farther out go on the monthly lists (monthly donation, work on Shutterfly album, plan party, etc.).
  4. As you think of a task, immediately add it to your list.  I would forget probably 80% of things I need to do if I didn’t write them down.  For example, you are in the shower and notice you are low on shampoo.  When you are done with your shower, bust out that phone and write down to get more shampoo!
  5. When you have a minute (I do this several times a day), glance at your lists.  Did you get through everything on your “today” list and have some extra time?  Take a look at what you want to do this week and see if you can move any tasks over to today.

Once you get in the habit of looking at your list and adding to it and re-arranging, it becomes second nature 🙂

Big Sibling Basket

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A coworker who has 3 kids all 22 months apart gave me this idea, and it has been a winner!  I put together a very special basket for A with brand new exciting toys…however, the basket is only able to come out when I am feeding/tending to baby.  I decorated it and made a big deal about it, and A ended up learning that he can get the basket out when he sees me holding C.  Of course it is not perfect, and sometimes no amount of exciting toys can make a young toddler be patient while mom is feeding the baby, but for the most part it is an awesome tool to use!

Love

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C started smiling at me so I now spend much of my time doing anything to see that silly little grin again!  He is changing every single day and it is incredible to experience.

But I want to talk about my first-born for a moment…A just kills me with his cuteness every day.  Lately when he sees my phone he says, “Let go? Peeeeez” and does the sign for “please.” (He wants to watch the music video for Let it Go from Frozen, and I pretty much can’t resist).  When I tell him it is time for his nap or bedtime, he gets all excited and runs upstairs to his room.  If I ask him if he wants to go somewhere with me, he heads straight for my car and picks up my water bottle for me on the way.  If J or I are leaving the house, he says “bye bye Mama, bye bye Dada”.  When J cracks open a beer, A says “out-ide” (outside) because he knows that means they usually get to hang out in the backyard or go in the jacuzzi together.  And when we were at the mall yesterday, he said “choo choo” – after the 50 times we have gone on the train, he recognized where we were and knew that a train ride was likely in his future. He plays so nicely with his toys, and can spend hours pretending with his trucks.  I love watching him, and playing with him.

He is taking steps towards independence, but still needs me so much and stops to give me hugs and kisses in between all of his running around.  I say this every month, but this age is quite possibly my favorite so far.

I am so grateful for my little buddy who made me a mom.

 

Did I Get My Evenings Back?

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I just realized that both kids have been asleep since 8pm…I cleaned the kitchen and picked up the toys, which is what I used to do every night.  I threw some laundry in to get ready for laundry day (Sunday), and am now on the couch blogging and watching “Bridesmaids.”  This is such a huge milestone for me!  Those few hours after A’s bedtime used to be my time, when I could clean up without feeling like I was ignoring him, and when I could relax with J and hang out just the two of us.  Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom and after kiddie bedtime I end up looking at pictures of them on my phone and peeking in their rooms, but having even an hour of grown up time at night makes me feel like a whole person, not just a mom if that makes sense.

The first couple of weeks after C was born were tiring and confusing (as I expected).  J, C and I would stumble upstairs at like 8:30pm and I would feed C and then try to figure out where to put him to sleep.  When he would wake up I would be unsure of if I should change his diaper before or after I fed him, I was confused as to why he was grunting, I didn’t know if he wanted to be rocked…I didn’t know him at all and the days and nights blended together.  Now, he is on more of a schedule and sleeps much more easily and is a joy when he is awake.  I know that he likes to be held still almost instead of too much rocking, and that putting him in his crib and laying a hand on his belly comforts him more than patting.  I’m not saying that I have it all figured out, but I do feel like we have turned a bit of a corner.  A is getting used to his role as big brother, C is happy and growing, J is kicking ass all around, and I am getting myself back.  I feel a bit renewed after this glorious hour but it’s 9pm now so I need to go to sleep since yeah, C is still just a newborn 🙂

Getting Re-Organized

LIS_Curren_Lincoln_Family-60-ZF-0958-96726-1-001-018.jpgWhen A was born, it was like a shock to my system.  On one hand, I was filled with love for this precious baby and felt a huge need to protect him.  I worried constantly about him and he became my main focus. On the other hand, I wondered – what about me?  I was so used to being independent, going to work out class on a whim, doing my girly things like getting my hair done, etc.  Suddenly, I had a little buddy attached to me.  To make it to workout class, I needed to make sure I had enough pumped milk and coordinate with J.  To get my hair done, I needed to ask my mother-in-law what her schedule was like.  Little things like getting through a pile of laundry seemed impossible all of a sudden.

It took me a while, but I found my new normal and suddenly I preferred my new life to my old one.  I got used to relying on others to help me get my “me” time.  For day to day life, one of the things that helped me the most was figuring out what was stressful or challenging and creating a system to address it.  For example, washing bottles after coming home from work to get ready for the next day really got to me for some reason.  After weeks my coworker was like, why don’t you just buy extra bottles?  Um, duh.  I have no idea why that never occurred to me, but problem solved!  Over months this evolved into creating a schedule for chores, meal planning, and pre-making A’s lunches.

Now that baby #2 is here, I am re-organizing my life again but this time I already have my toolbox: figure out what is stressful, and make a plan for it. I I noticed that A sometimes has a hard time transitioning from daycare to getting home for the afternoon, so I have a snack and his water ready to go now and that helps him.  This week C has been needing a supplemental bottle in the middle of the night after nursing (that is a whole other story) so after a few nights of running downstairs and fumbling around with bottles and formula, I started pre-making small bottles and putting them in the fridge ready to go.  I’m finding another new normal now, and I know that just like before, this will be the best “normal” yet.