Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Confess...

- i stole this blog idea from katie because i feel guilty about not blogging in a few days, but it is literally all i can pound out

- like her, i have a hundred posts i want to write, but no time or energy to write them

- i am writing in all lowercase using the old hunt and peck method with one hand so i can hold my teary-eyed boy

- i'm pretty sure that teary-eyed boy just pooped, but i am going to finish this stellar post while he is quiet before i change him

- i am having company for dinner tonight, but i haven't even unpacked the groceries i got this morning -  it is 4:30

- i let my baby cry so i could take a shower today because it had been entirely too long

- i am about to run the same load through the washing machine for the third time because i keep letting it sit until it smells mildewy.

- i don't take enough pictures of sam, and i feel guilty about that

- i secretly like pumping because i get to read blogs

- i worry that i might be too real sometimes on my blog and forget to tell about the days when sam is happy and i am productive and all is right in the world like yesterday and monday

- i feel the urge to eat everything unhealthy in the world tonight because tomorrow starts my "diet" - i am dreading it

- i am pretty certain now that sam did, in fact, poop - i will change him now... and then probably put my groceries away ;)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Birth Announcement & Newborn Photos

I think by now all of our real life friends and families have received Sam's birth announcement, so it is safe to share it (and the rest of his newborn photos) with the rest of the world.

Without further adieu... (And only six weeks late)


As usual, our friend Howard took all of these pictures.  We are so blessed by him and his talent. I love every one of them. The announcement was designed by a company on Etsy called Lifelines and sent to me as a PDF.  Then, I was able to order hard copies from uprinting for a great price.  I don't know what we'll do with the rest of these awesome pictures... probably plaster the walls of our house with them.  In the meantime, enjoy this healthy dose of preciousness.


Photos taken at 4 weeks old... He already looks SO different!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Return to the Gym

Last week, I returned to the gym.  (Ok, I only went ONCE... But, it was a start.)

Surprisingly, my return was met with very little fanfare... Clearly, the gym staff and members forgot that I practically lived there before I got pregnant.  (Cue sarcasm.)

Anyway, I decided to start with my very favorite exercise class - Zumba.  A few things that have changed since I was last there:

1. My boobs.  I have a new sympathy for women who were naturally "blessed" with giant boobs.  I really hadn't considered how my new milk-filled udders (excuse me if you are male or a former student) would affect my exercise routine.  They were quite uncomfortable and inconvenient.  I will be buying some super-heavy-duty sports bras asap.

2. My hair. Bangs + Sweat = Disgusting.  If you have bangs, what do you do with them when you exercise? I think they are too short even for bobby pins, and headbands just make them stick straight up.  Ideas?

3. A posse of former students have moved into the class.  Of course, they deserve to be there as much as I do (and I love them); BUT, I wish they weren't. As if their sports bras and six-packs weren't bad enough, it feels a bit awkward bumping and grinding to Pitbull next to the same kids I taught to write a five-paragraph essay. 

4. My coordination.  I knew NONE of the dance moves anymore, and I looked like a total Oomph.  (I don't know exactly what an Oomph is, but it isn't cute.)

5. My life.  For the first time, when I left the gym, I had a baby boy to go home to.  This hit me about 15 minutes from the end of the class.  I LOVED it.  (For the record, when I got back to my car, Jeff had already called and left an urgent message for me to hurry home because Sam had been screaming since I left... Oh reality.  Haha!)


September 1st is my start date for Operation: Look Good Enough That People Say "I Can't Believe She Just Had a Baby" by Daniel & Jayme's Wedding in October (Or At Least Be Able to Fit in My Bridesmaid's Dress).  I've got a long way to go, so I'll be seeing a lot more of the gym lately - boobs, bangs, awkwardness, and all. ;)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Six Week Peak?

Ya'll, I've been trying to write this post since Wednesday.  My days aren't exactly busy; but my hands are occupied about 90% of the time.  I seriously write blog posts in my head all.day.long; but, the actual act of typing them up just doesn't get done. Right now, Sam is asleep in the Baby Bjorn on my lap, and I have my computer propped up on pillows so I can reach it around him.  Parenthood is all about creativity. Bare with me. Please.


As of yesterday Wednesday, we have officially survived the first six weeks.  Most things I've read (and our pediatrician) claim that fussiness/colic peaks around six weeks and then continues to improve until baby is about three months old.  When we first heard that, six weeks sounded SO far away... Now, the milestone has come and gone.

Believe it or not, Sam was not a totally different baby when he woke up Thursday morning.  Apparently, he didn't get the memo about the "six week peak." ;)

 That said, we are getting a little more of this face these days instead of just tears and tonsils:


I was going to call this post "What I've Learned," but the truth is... I haven't learnED anything.  This whole thing is a process, and I am - slowly, but surely - learnING.

Things are getting better.  

It is still hard.

Jeff ran into a friend of ours yesterday who's wife had a baby two days after Sam was born... He told Jeff that things were "pretty easy" and his "life hasn't changed nearly as much as he thought it would."

I can just picture Jeff's face now.  "Easy" is not exactly a word we would use to describe this experience so far. 

When he recounted their conversation to me later, I assured him that that's because they have an easy baby.  We do not.  I'm pretty sure that didn't make him feel any better.

Honestly, I do get sad sometimes when I think about the way I imagined this would be; but, God is working in me a lot right now too.  I keep hearing "God does not give you more than you can handle" over and over in my head.  We could handle more - honestly.  We have a strong marriage, a great support system, a powerful faith...This isn't that bad.  God is still showing us grace.

He's also stretching and growing us.  Yesterday, as I paced the sidewalks with the stroller stopping every three minutes to replace the pacifier, I thought about what God is teaching me.  I realized that all my expectations involved me being a "super mom."  I, truly, thought I'd have this peaceful little baby that I'd tote around in my "life as usual."  I pictured him cooing in his swing while I cooked fancy dinners and folded laundry.  My house was always spotless. The reality is that ALL I can do is be a mom right now.  I LOVE to multi-task; but God is giving me these weeks at home to learn that being a mommy is about being a mommy - that's all.  Sam is my number one.  Not my house, my social life, or my image.  He is ALL that matters.

So, I have hope that there will come a time (maybe eight weeks?!) when I can find some balance again.  But, for now, I will try my best to soak up this season. I will learn to sacrifice my wants for his.  And, I will be a better mom because of it.

In his favorite spot: Daddy's lap on the front porch
Did everything change at six weeks? No. BUT, life is good.  I am learnING.  I know my boy a little better every day. And...

He SMILED THIS MORNING!  His first real smile came at 5:22AM while I was changing a blow-out diaper - totally worth getting up for.  (I got one more smile later this morning, but they are unpredictable.  I'll be stalking him with my camera all day today; so hopefully I'll have photographic proof soon.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How to Soothe a Crying Baby


Baby Bjorn... $66.00
Muslin Blanket... $22.00
Wubbanub with Soothie... $12.95

Five minutes of silence... Priceless


P.S. Did ya'll feel the earthquake that just hit a few minutes ago?  I was putting Sam down for a nap, & I truly thought it was God calling out against crib bumpers. ;) Hope everyone is safe & sound.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to School: Change is in the Air

Happy first day of school to all my teacher friends in this area!  It is hard to believe the summer is already over and another year is beginning!  (Although, I admit, I rushed the first half of the summer away waiting for Sam's arrival.)

Pinterest
There is something about me that just LOVES the beginning of the school year.  Seriously, shopping for "school supplies" is one of my favorite things in the world.  (I'm pretty sure it is at least part of the reason why I went into teaching.) Much like New Years to the rest of the world, a new school year always marks a fresh start --- a chance to get more organized, take better care of myself, and make changes. (Resolutions coming soon.)

Although I'm not officially going back to school until October 5th, this year is no exception.  I'm already pining for new binders, page protectors, and color-coded folder dividers.  BUT, more than that, this year will be a year of CHANGE.

Besides the obvious (I'm a mom now... And I have bangs), I have another big change coming up this fall:

I'm switching jobs!  YES, you read that right.

This year, instead of going back to the English classroom, I am going to be the testing coordinator for my school beginning in October. 

I've been very hesitant to share this on my blog, mainly because I feel like a bit of a sell-out to all of my fellow teachers out there.  So, allow me to explain a bit...

When this job came up fell flat in my lap back in June, I really felt like it was God's little gift to me.  Since I first found out I was pregnant, I had been anxious about balancing my classroom life with my home life.  I put SO MUCH of myself into my job that I worried I wouldn't have the energy to give my all to Sam in the afternoons after a long day of answering to 150 other kids - not to mention the piles of essays to grade, lesson plans to write, parents to call, etc. that come with the territory.  In addition, I was very concerned about being out on maternity leave and having someone else start the school year.  (Hopefully some of you teachers can understand this anxiety... I admit to being a control-freak; but, I think giving up control of your classroom at the very beginning of the year would be hard for anyone.)  My new position will allow me to stay at the same school, work the same hours, and continue to interact with teenagers daily.  It will also allow me to use my organization obsession skills and brainstorm creative and effective teaching/remediation methods. with my colleagues.  While I'm not ignorant enough to think it will be "easy" or "un stressful,"  (hello - SOL week!) it does allow me more flexibility (no more substitute plans) and control over my own schedule.  And, hopefully, it will free me a little to be a better mom when I am at home.

I sincerely felt like - in sending this job my way so completely out-of-the-blue - God was saying: Elizabeth, I know you are nervous about next year.  But, I have a plan... I have from the beginning.  Trust me.  I'm going to provide for you.  I will not give you more than you can handle.

No, I don't love standardized tests.  (I believe they are a necessary evil - so, why not be apart of the "solution" instead of just complaining about them.)

Yes, I will miss Romeo & Juliet terribly.

No, I didn't get rid of ANY of my cute classroom decorations or organizational items.

Yes, I think this is the best decision for our little family right now.

All that said, deciding to leave the classroom was a VERY difficult decision.  I absolutely LOVE teaching because of the relationships with students and the creativity involved in making lesson plans that teach skills while also making learning fun and relevant.  I DO NOT think of my teaching career as over.  It is my heart and my passion - and I think doing what you love DOES make you a better mom... I really believe (Lord willing) that I'll be back.

I still have six weeks of maternity leave before this all goes into effect.  But, I'd appreciate your prayers and support as I get ready to embark on this new leg of our journey.  

Here's to a wonderful 2011 - 2012! 

Pinterest
*I know being a teacher and a mom can be done - my own Mom did it beautifully.  To those of you balancing those two roles this year, I have so much respect and admiration for you...  I applaud you sincerely.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bangs and Things

... I so wanted to use the word "thangs" in my title so that it rhymed; but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

First, I got bangs.  Real bangs. Here's a picture: (Please excuse the little gray hairs peeking out and my crows feet - I am in denial  about them.)


I've always been one to get drastic haircuts after major life events.  Most notably, I cut ALL my hair off into this short little layered number (a la Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail) a week after my first boyfriend broke up with me in eleventh grade.  Let's just say it was a lot cuter on Meg... I like to think I was helping him get over me - which was obviously necessary since he started dating someone else about two weeks later.  Anyway, haircuts after big life changes are not really recommended; but, I do it.  And, having a baby - of course - was no exception.

I'm trying to grow my hair past my shoulders (slowly but surely) for my 30 Before 30 list... So, I did the only dramatic thing I could without taking off length: bangs! It was a split second decision made in the chair.  I didn't even really need a haircut, but I felt bad because I already had an appointment and I wanted to show off Sam; plus, I've been playing with the idea of bangs for a long time.  So I just did it.

I kinda like them.  They make me feel like a hip, young, mom.  Plus, thanks to some overactive hair growing hormones during pregnancy, my signature "side sweep" was starting to look more like a bad toupee (see side profile photo). They aren't so cute when I wake up in the morning though.  Oh well, nothing a little water and pat-down can't fix; and, luckily, I don't think Sam minds. 

Jeff doesn't like them.  Yes, he told me.  He missed the part of pre-marital counseling where they teach you to lie about things like your wife's weight and appearance.  Oh well, he still loves me.  Maybe they will grow on him. (Haha! Pun intended!) Besides, I've had enough crazy haircuts in life to know that nothing lasts forever.

Ok, I've written entirely too much about bangs.  I need to get a life.

Two more things:

First (or, really second), The winner of the Tuft Love giveaway is...

Congrats Saige!  I have to say I was excited to see that you won because of your comment.  You MUST send me pictures of your finished lime and navy dandelion nursery - I LOVE that! E-mail me (e@emyselfandi.com) to claim your prize! 

Thanks to all of you that entered... Sally Rae's got some adorable fabrics and custom-made products in her Etsy shop and on her blog... Be sure to visit them if you haven't already.


And finally, I'm working on a post for next week about my c-section recovery.  I thought it might be nice if I answered any questions you might have.  So... If there is anything you've been wondering about c-sections and/or my experience leave your question in the comments here OR email me (e@emyselfandi.com).  I'll try to address everything next week.

That's all. I'm off to a bridal shower for my cousin with my mom, sister, and little guy. Enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Post Baby Weight Loss: My Experience

Not too long ago, I asked you guys to help me shape my expectations about post-baby weight loss, and you delivered.  In an effort to be fair, I thought I should share a little bit about my own experience so far...

Before I begin, I want to say that I am - in NO WAY - writing this post to be prideful or ask for compliments.  I've struggled with my weight for years now, and I want to document this part of my journey for myself and other women who might be in the same place.  I write this very humbly acknowledging that, so far, about the only part of the process I can take credit for is the GAINING weight part.  That's all.

Ok... I'll let the pictures do (most of) the talking:


My last official pregnancy photo.  Sam was born a little over a week later.  At my last doctor's appointment (38 weeks and 3 days) I had gained FORTY pounds (at least 10 had to be hair).  I didn't think to weigh myself before going to the hospital (I don't know how that slipped my mind), but I suspect I had gained another 3 - 5 pounds before Sam actually arrived. *For the record, my doctor suggested at the beginning of my pregnancy that I only gain between 15 - 25 pounds TOTAL because my starting weight was a little higher than it should have been (this is full disclosure... And, by "a little higher," I mean kind-of significantly). That, clearly, did NOT happen.  Moving on...


This was taken on the day we came home from the hospital - four days after Sam was born.  (It is one of the ONLY pictures I took of myself that week). It got worse before it got better... I was VERY swollen (even worse than before delivery - which I didn't know was possible) and bloated.  Within minutes of getting home, I had to change out of my cute dress to feed Sam and, literally, NOTHING fit. My milk also came in that day, and my boobs were HUGE.  I weighed myself that night and had lost ONE pound (please note: Sam weighed over 7 pounds...).  I was SO sad and frustrated...  I would not be one of the lucky ones. That weigh in began the first of many nightly crying fests.

Then, almost immediately, things began to change.  By one week post baby, the weight started coming off FAST.  Every time Jeff would look at me he would say "I can't believe how much weight you have lost."  I started discovering ankles, knees, and a chin again.  Hallelujah!!  By about Day 10, I had lost 24 POUNDS.  I'm being honest when I say that I felt like the skinniest girl EVER.  Sam, we found out, was also gaining weight rapidly.  Because of this, we fondly began calling him "the fat sucker."  Luckily, (or unluckily for me) I don't think that nickname will stick. :)

This picture was taken yesterday before going walking with my friend Jen & her sweet baby girl Piper.  (Please pardon the tired eyes and no make-up - this is real life.) Total, I have lost 35 POUNDS now.  (For those of you not skilled in the math department - that puts me at five pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight.)  It has been just over 5 weeks since delivery.

To be fair, I have done VERY little to help this process so far.  In fact, I might even consider myself a little "lucky" (gasp) for once. ;)  I have eaten LESS, because I am just busy.and my hands are occupied most of the day.  That's for sure.  BUT, what I do eat has NOT been healthy - lots of casseroles, pasta, and sweets!  I am, however, walking a lot - and I have been from the very beginning - because Sam seems to like it so much; so, maybe those two things are balancing each other out.  Overall, I definitely think A LOT of my weight gain was fluid retention/swelling; and, breastfeeding has dramatically helped with the rest of it - I've NEVER lost weight this easily in my life!

While I am thrilled with my loss so far, and - for the first time ever probably - appreciate my body and all that it is capable of, I will admit that the "skinny" feeling has gone away and been replaced with some insecurities again.  Even though I've lost 75% of my pregnancy weight, I was overweight when I got pregnant, and I still have a LONG way to go before I feel good about where I am again.  I told myself that I would "relax" for the first six weeks after Sam's birth and not worry about food or exercise too much.  I wanted to enjoy food (carbs included) and my baby first. Now, that time is quickly diminishing; so, I need to be making some major changes soon.  Given the last ten months of my life, I am hopeful that a little exercise and sensible eating will go a long way.   Additionally, it will be a looong time until my body sees regular pants again thanks to my very existent stomach pooch (shown below, haha!) and my still-slightly-sore incision spot.  Thank goodness I stocked up on stretchy pants pre-birth. 

If I'm honest with myself, I know I have a long road ahead of me.  BUT, being pregnant and giving birth has taught me A LOT about appreciating and taking care of my body.  I WILL NOT let myself be unhealthy for another pregnancy (which is a ways off... I promise).   I will keep you updated on the journey, of course.

The "little fat sucker"
P.S. In case anyone was wondering, Sam was born with NO symptoms of my gestational diabetes.  His weight was average and his blood sugar was normal.  I can't tell you how happy and proud this made me!  Because of this, and the fact that I was able to manage my blood sugars with diet, my doctor said I could assume the GD is gone now.  I will always have to be careful because I will be high risk for Type 2 Diabetes now - and my regular doctor will check this every year or so - but, otherwise, I'm good to go.  Mission accomplished. :)

P.S.S. I'm  now trying to avoid dairy (ice cream and cheese... uggg) to help Sam's little belly, so the "sacrifices" continue.  It is worth it.  It is worth it.  It is worth it. Frozen yogurt shops, I'll be back... one day. ;)

*And don't forget to enter my giveaway for a free crib bumper or pillow covers before tonight at midnight if you haven't already!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tuft Love Bumper or Pillow Cover Giveaway

Friends, have I got a deal for you!!!

Seriously, I am SO excited to host a give away from Tuft Love - the Etsy shop where I ordered Sam's chevron bedding seen in yesterday's photos & in my nursery reveal (or just below).
 
If you are planning a nursery or just have a room that could use some "sprucing up" (and what room couldn't, really?) this is the PERFECT opportunity for you!  The shop owner/seamstress Sally Rae is giving one lucky reader a custom crib bumper OR two pillow covers in one of her newest fall fabrics.

A few of my personal favorites -

So... How do you win?

- First, I strongly recommend visiting the Tuft Love Etsy shop to see some of Sally Rae's fabulous work.  This isn't required... Just fun.


- Then, visit her cute blog - Abode/Casa/Home - and check out her new fabrics HERE.

- For one (mandatory) entry, comment below telling me which fabric (from this link specifically) is your favorite and how you would use it in your house.

- As a bonus, become a Follower of the blog for an extra entry in the giveaway.  (Please leave an additional comment telling me you did this!) *Sorry guys, I didn't really make this clear, but please become a follower of Sally's blog (linked above).  I'm thankful for all the new followers though and will still honor those as entries! ;)

That's all folks. Contest is open until midnight on FRIDAY.  Come back Saturday morning to see if you won.

Good Luck and Good Night!

One Month (5 weeks)

Saturday was Sam's ONE MONTH birthday; but, I wanted to wait until after his appointment with the pediatrician today to post so that I could include stats etc.

Here's my growing boy:
I decided to start posing him each month next to this little elephant (thank you Aunt Delores!) so we'd have something to compare his size next to.  He loved it!


And for comparison...
Those onesies are the same size... Just look how he is filling it out now!  (The 2 month one is also size 0 - 3 months. No way it will fit!)


Size - 9 lbs. 15 oz. and 21.25 inches = 50th Percentile = Perfect
He has just about outgrown Newborn size diapers and is mostly wearing size 1 now.  As for clothes, it really depends on the brand, but Sam wears mostly 0-3 month sizes.  (Yesterday I put on a little outfit and it was way too tight... I felt like it was the biggest deal ever! How did my baby get so big and grown up so fast?)
Development - He is definitely becoming stronger - wiggling like crazy, trying to hold his head up, and stiffening his whole body when he is angry - and more alert.  In the last week or so, he has actually had some good awake time looking around at trees (his favorite), mobiles, and lots of faces.  He makes lots of noises - usually in the form of grunts and gurgles; and, sometimes uses his hands to hold on to his paci or my finger.  Precious. (P.S. I asked the pediatrician about the grunts, and he said: "Well, he's a man.  Of course he grunts.")
Personality - I would still say "fussy" or a little grumpy, but that is becoming less and less true (and really rude of me actually).  Maybe "persnickety" is a better word - like mom!   As long as we keep him well fed, clean, warm and cozy, burped and gas-dropped, rested, and just the right amount of stimulated... He is an angel.  That said, as I type this he is sitting in his car seat (on the sofa) perfectly content to gaze at the ceiling fan and coo.  He is the picture of sweetness.  Basically, he's just got equal parts mom and dad in him.  He gets quite anxious and worked up when things don't go his way (like me); but, the rest of the time, he's just an easy going dude (like Jeff).
Eating - My boy is an eater for sure.  He is eating every 2 - 3 hours or so during the day and usually between 10 - 15 minutes or 3 and 4 ounces at each feeding. I breastfeed for most of his meals, but usually one or two each day are pumped milk in a bottle.  Sam seems to like that just the same - especially when it comes from Daddy before bed! Overall, I think we are finally getting the hang of breastfeeding, and it is more enjoyable for both of us. (P.S. It kind-of amazes/fascinates me that my milk alone can sustain this little human. Crazy.)
Sleeping - Sam loves to sleep, just not always at the right time.  ;) During the day, I be sure to wake him so he doesn't sleep more than 2.5 hours.  At night, it is hit or miss most of the time.  Just this week we have started a more consistent bedtime routine that seems to be working.  He has a bath, bottle, swaddle, and rock; then we put him in his bassinet (in our bedroom) when he is just barely awake.  We moved the bassinet across the room so we wouldn't be as tempted to pick him up and put him in our bed at night, and have a loud sound machine and fan in the room.  Knock on wood, this appears to be helping him get two good stretches of sleep - one from about 10PM - 2AM and another from 2:30AM - 6:00AM (give or take).  I'm a happy mama!
Likes/Dislikes - He LOVES being outside - this is almost always guaranteed to calm him down/ keep him happy (outdoor dining is our new favorite thing).  He especially likes: going on walks in his stroller.  He also likes footsie pjs, his pacifier, car rides, being held, cuddling with Dad in the morning, Addy, lights and fans, his grandmas, and Target (or maybe that's just me). He dislikes: being cold, gas, taking too long to change his diaper, being woken up, being hungry,
Milestones - Everything has been a first this month... Pretty big month. :) I'm sure there have been other milestones, but all I can think of right now is that he went to his first movie - The Help - on Monday.  (Yes, I took an infant to the movies... It was a success. Score.)
Happy Feet!  


Dear Sweet Sam,
I can't begin to express how much JOY you have brought into my life these last five weeks.  Being a mom is the hardest job I've ever had, but it is also the most rewarding and wonderful.  Every day, even when I am groggy and a little frustrated, I feel like I am doing exactly what God made me to do. 

Thank you for blessing me with sweet sleepy-smiles when we are awake in the middle of the night.  Thank you for making even something as simple as going to the bathroom or sleeping absolutely adorable and praise-worthy.  I will NEVER view life the same way again.

Your daddy and I are already SO proud of you, and so thankful to be called your parents. Thanks for putting up with us as we navigate this journey. You will always be "the one we learn on," but I love thinking about all the ways we will get to shape each other and grow together in the next 18+ years.  You're stuck with us little man!

Love,
Your Mom 

And, to my readers, THANKS for reading all this... As a reward, I have a great giveaway coming up in my next post from the shop that made Sam's bedding (pictured above).  Stay tuned. ;)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Top Ten Newborn Essentials

I realize that this is kind-of cliche, and there are only 2000 places on the internet where you can find a list like this... BUT, I've had several friends announce their pregnancies recently, and I couldn't resist the opportunity to share some of my "Registry Expertise."

Clearly, I'm only a few weeks in... But here are my can't-live-without, no-registry-is-complete-without-it, Top Ten Newborn Essentials:

1. Itzbeen Timer
A new-mom-friend gave this to me when I was pregnant; and, it will be my "go to gift" for baby showers from now on. I LOVE it! It is about the size of my palm (with a really sweet clip-on option), and it tracks how long "itzbeen" since the last diaper change, feeding, nap, and anything else you might need to keep up with - I used it to remind myself when I could take more pain meds in the beginning! It also has a little marker for which side you fed on last and a handy night-light. If you aren't as anal as me, a regular clock might do; but I literally am lost without my timer.  (Seriously, I sleep with it.)


2. aden + anais Muslin Swaddle Wraps
Truly, for a summer baby, you can't find anything more perfect than these blankets.  They are light-weight and really really cute (which is SUPER important to new babies) - excellent for swaddling and keeping baby warm without overheating - a real danger for SIDS.  We have SIX and I could use six more (mainly because there are more cute prints I want).  A little pricey... But worth it - especially if you aren't the one buying. ;) LOVE them!

3. Soothie Pacifiers
I don't know what it is about these little things, but Sam is obsessed with them.  We have tons of pacifiers, but if it doesn't have a hole in the middle, he doesn't want it!  Literally, these have been a LIFESAVER.  We've ordered more from Amazon since he was born because we only had a two pack and - clearly - it is dangerous to be caught for even one minute without one in easy reach.  Even if you think you are "against pacifiers" - get these.  They are little miracle workers if you have a sucker like me. :)

I had to include this just for good measure...
Told you!

We tried a few different types of diapers, but these were - by far - our favorites.  Not only do they fit perfectly (We used newborn sizes the entire first month and now alternate between that and size 1), but they also have a cut-out for the umbilical cord stump AND a really cool "wetness indicator" line on the front.  So far, none of the other diapers we have tried even come close to comparing.

I realize that this makes me sound like the laziest person alive, but this has been wonderful in terms of saving me hundreds of trips up and down the stairs every day.  More than anything, we use the changing table attached here.  The bassinet is also pretty awesome - it vibrates, plays music, lights up, etc.  If you have a two-story house, I'd strongly recommend one of these for the main level. 


 Obviously, I don't know what I would do without this combo.  (Never leave the house - literally - for starters.) I'm all about multi-tasking, so I love that this serves two functions... Plus, I'm obsessed with the basket and cup holders on the stroller frame.  *I will say, however, that the seat/carrier is quite heavy.  I'm all about building some biceps; but, I don't know what I'm going to do when Sam weighs 20 pounds himself.  I have no complaints other than that; but you may want to consider a lighter model.


I'm not going to lie, I mostly just like this because it is so darn cool looking.  The patterns and colors are fabulous and make a great backdrop for photos.  As a bonus, Sam seems to be pretty mesmerized by it and - at this point - anything that keeps him alert for a little bit is worthwhile.  Plus, it folds up and stores easily to keep my house from looking totally like a preschool.

We had a couple of these before Sam was born, but we've bought more and - I'm convinced - I'll never have enough.  You will be shocked at how many "accidents" your baby has.  I have these on all the changing tables, in his bassinet, etc. etc. etc. STOCK UP.

I realize that isn't really a "baby item," but it has been a lifesaver for me during late night feeds etc. I love that my Kindle has a light attached so I can read while nursing in the dark, it will balance on my leg, and it only requires one hand to "turn" the page. 

10. Coffee
Haha! I asked Jeff last night what he thought was the "most important thing to have for a new baby" and this was his answer.  He is a simple, but smart, man.  :)  

And, a few things I could do without...
- Wipes warmer (I had been warned about this, but Jeff insisted.  Wipes are lukewarm and it takes up space.)
- Excess wash cloths (We use two at each bath; but, I do laundry so often that we'd be fine with only four or six.  Instead, I have 10,000.)
- Bottle warmer (Everything I read says just to warm bottles in hot water.  That's what we've done so far and it works just fine.)
- Sleeper gowns (These are basically just little onesies with no legs and elastic around the bottom.  A lot of people love them because they make diaper changes at night so easy.  Sam hates them because they ride up and his little legs get cold.)

Moms, what would you add to these lists?

P.S. This made me think of a poll I did early in my pregnancy about what to register for. Check it out here.

P.S.S. I was not given money or free stuff to say nice things about any of these products. I just like them, and they've been good to me.  Promise.  However, if any of these companies would like to send me money or free stuff, I will happily oblige. :)

E. Ria Giveaway Winner & Update

Currently, I'm sitting in bed drinking coffee with my two boys cuddled up next to me.  Last night was a good night.  Sam slept from 11PM (I should note that I tried to make his "bedtime" 9PM, but he chose to fuss for two hours) until 6AM, with only a quick feeding at 2.  This may not sound like much to some (shoot, two months ago this would have required extra coffee and an afternoon nap), but it is glorious to a new mom.  :)

Since our "diagnosis" on Friday, things have been up and down. We have a good day followed by a bad day.  I'm convinced that I just needed to hear that I wasn't crazy and that Sam is OK from a doctor... It has made a big difference in terms of my sanity and expectations. 

Of course, I've still been doing TONS of reading on colic, crying, and sleep.  And, I admit that, up until this point, I've been so overwhelmed by all the techniques, plans, and contradictory advice out there that I've not been very consistent with anything. (Truth be told, I've done almost everything I said I wouldn't; and, I haven't stuck with any one thing longer than a day or two.)  BUT, each day,  I am feeling more confident as a mom and more prepared to make decisions for my little guy.  I know better than to get my hopes up and think I have this "figured out" - we are just waiting for the awesome six-week crying peak I keep hearing about - but I do feel better; and, as a result, I really think Sam does too. 

I'm working on a post about some of the things I've read and what I've learned so far for later on this week (along with Sam's one month - err 5 weeks - update).  Stay tuned...

Until then, I'm happy to announce the lucky winner of the adorable Nest Necklace from E.Ria Designs...
MICHELLE!

Congrats girl!  Email me to claim your prize. (Sam & I were sad we missed the beach too!)

Thanks to all who participated... If you haven't already, be sure to check out E. Ria Designs on Etsy... She has some great "push presents" and beyond.

Two more great giveaways coming soon!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Confirmed Colic (& Poop)

Disclaimer: If you are squeamish or fall into the category of people who believe bodily functions should not be discussed in public forums... you might not want to read on.  Consider yourself warned.

Yesterday, I took Sam to the doctor.  He has his one month appointment next week, so I had been procrastinating taking him in for a "sick visit;" but, after a horrible horrible night of screaming on Thursday, I decided I absolutely could not go one more day like this if there was possibly an "easy fix."

No such luck.  No easy fix.  The doctor - who was white haired, wore a diamond stud earring, and patted my back to comfort me- confirmed what I already knew.  Sam has colic. He is totally healthy, just one of the lucky 20% of babies with this "mystery condition" that causes excessive crying.  In the doctor's words, there is good news and bad.  The bad news, "it will get worse before it gets better."  The good, "it will go away - probably by 12 weeks."

Just what a new mom wants to hear. 

It's bittersweet.  Of course I'm happy that my baby is healthy.  Of course I realize that there are mothers out there with babies who really are sick.  Of course I know that twelve weeks in the grand scheme of life is VERY short... But right now, it feels like ETERNITY.

Thankfully, my baby boy still gives me just enough adorableness to make every second of his blood curling cries worth it.  After a long crying spell when he finally drifts off to sleep, nothing makes me happier than his little lips curling into a smile, like he's laughing at dad and me - how crazy we are navigating this new land. 



Now, on a lighter note... Sam was a little angel in the waiting room of the pediatrician's office yesterday.  By the time we got into the exam room, he was napping peacefully, and I was sure the doctor would think I was imagining these "crying spells" I spoke of.

Then came the rectal temperature.

As I got Sam out of his car seat and unfastened his little diaper, the nurse warned me that many babies poop when they have their temperature taken.  Ok.  We can handle poop.  Little did we know...

Not five seconds later, he became one of those babies.  Only, instead of simply pooping... Sam let that nurse HAVE IT.  He squirted poop EVERYWHERE.  It went all over her Tweety Bird scrubs and ALL OVER the floor, walls, etc.  Literally, custodians had to be called in to mop, disinfect, and put a "Caution Wet Floors" sign in our exam room while I basically bathed him in wipes and changed his clothes. Meanwhile, the nurse announced that she had NEVER seen anything like that before and freaked out about cleaning her own outfit. 

That's my boy... Always surprising the medical professionals.  First with a quadruple nuchal cord, and now with projectile poop. ;)

(Something tells me this will be one of Sam's favorite stories to hear when he is older.)

Have a good weekend & don't forget to enter my E. Ria jewelry giveaway here before Monday!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Push Present (A Giveaway)

Have you heard of a "Push Present"?

I actually prefer to call it a "Labor for hours/push/be cut open/get up at all hours of the night to feed present" but that really doesn't have the same ring to it.  Haha!

A relatively recent phenomenon, "push presents" are gifts for new moms from their husbands after giving birth.  According to this article published last month at The Imperfect Parent, 38% of new moms today receive gifts from their husbands to mark this milestone.  And, although celebrities like Rachel Zoe (who got a 10 karat diamond ring after delivering her baby boy) and Mariah Carey (who got a diamond and sapphire necklace after the birth of her twins) have made the concept more popular in the US, the idea has been around in countries like England and India for centuries.  While the article implies that the gifts must be extravagant and reflect "how much the new daddy loves and appreciates his wife for the eternal 'gift' she has given him," there are plenty of reasonable options available today too.

Jeff, always 'up' on the latest trends ;), gave me this sweet necklace to mark Sam's arrival.

Please excuse my freckly d├ęcolletage.
Our first "date night" after baby this Tuesday... Modeling my necklace.
I admit that I told him exactly what I wanted, but he found the perfect one himself from E. Ria Designs at Etsy (and, it was only $34.00... cost not being a reflection of his love and appreciation, of course).  We ordered from the hospital room the day after Sam was born, it arrived a few days later, and I haven't taken it off since.  I love it!

So... did you get a "Push Present"?  If so, what was it?  And, if not... It's not too late.

Today, E. Ria is giving away one of her most popular gifts for new moms - the nest - to an E, Myself, and I reader. 


How cute are they?  Nests come in a variety of metals and you choose the color/number of eggs to represent each of your kids.  I LOVE that these can be added on to as your family grows, and that it looks so classy and trendy while still being sentimental. :)  *Husbands take note!

Here's a little info about E. Ria and some of her other great gift ideas (even if you aren't a mom):

E. Ria Designs is the creative child of designer and artist Elaine Axmear. The online jewelry and gift boutique features hand crafted artisan and hand stamped jewelry. Using materials including sterling silver, gold filled, brass and copper, Elaine creates personal and memorable jewelry that is always one-of-a-kind. 
The jewelry can be stamped with several fun fonts and designs. Adornments to the jewelry include genuine freshwater pearls in a rainbow of colors, crystals, genuine gemstones and precious metal charms to complete the look. Unique finishes to the surfaces of the silver, copper and brass bring another dimension to Elaine’s work. Some of the designs are brushed, oxidized and brushed, hammered or vintage finished, a proprietary technique creating a surface that looks worn with age and character.
In addition to jewelry, E. Ria Designs offers customizable gifts, too. Some of Elaine’s offerings include sterling silver golf ball markers, guitar picks and keychains. New items coming soon, just in time for the gift-giving season, are hand stamped bookmarks and Christmas ornaments.

Each design is thoughtfully packaged in a cute little brushed silver gift tin adorned with a signature logo label. Custom orders are welcome, in addition to wholesale requests, bridal orders and other special requests.

Stay connected for the introduction of new designs, specials and other news at www.eriadesigns.blogspot.com, on Facebook at E. Ria Designs or Twitter at ERiaDesigns. Purchase jewelry and gifts online at www.eriadesigns.etsy.com.

So... want to win?

Just visit one of E. Ria's websites (above), then come back here to leave a comment telling me your favorite item.  The contest will be open until Monday night at 11:59PM; I'll pick a winner (via random number generator) and announce it on Tuesday. 

Good luck and HAPPY FRIDAY!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

New Digs & Some Randoms...

- Thanks to the wonderful Tricia Nae, I got another make-over (of the blog form, that is).  I'm going for a slightly simpler, more stream-lined look.  You like?!?

- My baby was 4 weeks old yesterday.  I love him more every day.

- Truth be told, he probably has a touch of colic.  I hate to use this term, but it seems to be the "mystery disease" when your baby is perfectly healthy (which mine is) but screams and cries a lot (which mine does).  It breaks my heart because I know he is SO tired but just won't let himself go to sleep and no amount of swaying, bouncing, shhing, or swaddling will fix it.  BUT... I think we are beginning to turn a corner.  He is growing up, his digestive system is maturing a bit, his days and nights are straightening out, and (probably most significantly) my expectations are different.  We are getting this one...day...at...a...time.

- When Sam was born with hair, I knew it wouldn't last long.  It is quickly disappearing now in the shape of a culdesac on the top of his head.  Sometimes when I am holding him and looking at him, I really think he is the old man from Benjamin Button.  (Does that make me a terrible mom for saying that?)  I like old men though, so it's good.

- He's still pretty much the cutest thing on earth.  Howard took some awesome photos this week and Sam cooperated with open eyes, belly rolls, and adorable little expressions.  Here's a sneak peak:
(Honestly, seeing Howard's photos makes me never want to take another one myself ever.  If you live in the area and are in need of a photographer, I can't recommend him strongly enough.)

- I owe my readers a sincere apology and printed retraction for this post published back in December of 2009 titled "If I Was a Stay at Home Mom."  In the last four weeks this post has literally been haunting me... I'm serious. What a naive moron I was!  Now that I actually am a SAHM (for now at least) my reality is much more like this photo taken on Tuesday when we stayed in pajamas all day and watched The Bachelor Pad.  (Man, I'm really going to be up for the Mom of the Year Award.)  

- I'm thinking about taking Sam to see The Help.  I read somewhere that this is a great way for moms of newborns to get out of the house but still be with their baby because more than likely he will just sleep and/or nurse in the dark theater.  I'm skeptical (see my second bullet point), but tempted.  Has anyone ever tried this?

- Sam's nursery is featured at Ohdeedoh today.  I'm so proud!  Go check it out, especially if you are having a baby soon... There are TONS of adorable inspiration rooms. (His room won't be up until lunch time. FYI.)

- While you're out there, don't forget to visit my sweet sponsors Stella & Dot, Stella Jewelry, and E. Ria Designs.  All three have great products for sale right now -- just in time for back to school.  Plus, I have a really fun giveaway from my newest sponsor, E. Ria, coming tomorrow.  See you then!


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