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Monday, November 29, 2010

Final Nursery - sorry I'm late!

Sorry this took so long, but I forgot that I hadn't done a final nursery post.

Every time I go into Ezra's room it makes me so happy.  It came out just as I had imagined.  Ezra seems to love it in there, too, he's usually pretty happy on his changing table or just laying in his crib looking at the crib bumper.

I love the way the paint, fabrics, and woodwork go together.  I'm surprised that I was actually able to pull off a halfway decent bumper, skirt, and valences.  The saying over the crib says "Every good and perfect gift comes from above" just to remind me where my little baby came from.  The basket on the floor has all of the newborn size clothes that was given to me that Ezra never fit into, I'm thinking once I find a place for all his old clothes, I'll be putting blankets or books in there.

We use this armoire to hold all his blankets, sheets, burp cloths, receiving blankets, and towels.  I also have some baskets inside with hats, gloves, and other miscellaneous items.  The swing in the corner is on loaner from a good friend, we actually ended up being given another identical one that lives in our living room, and Ezra LOVES it.  It's kind of the Cadillac of swings - it has all the features and you can even hook up an iPod to it.  The frames on the wall are one of my favorite things - it has a small frame for each month - can't wait to fill it up and see how he changes each month.

This is kind of my "baby hub" it's where we spend most of our baby time right now.  All of Ezra's clothes are in the drawers.  Just because I've always loved to know how other people organized their itty bitty baby clothes: the top drawer has sleepers, cotton on one side fleece on the other, the second drawer has a basket in the middle for socks and white onsies, pants on one side of the basket and shirts on the other.  The third drawer has diaper related things and things that aren't in use yet (i.e. wipes, baby monitor, some toys, and plastic bags for the trash). 

The top drawer on the right hold the wipes and disposable diapers, the basket on top holds cloth diapers, and the compartment on the bottom has all bath products (soap, lotion, diaper cream) and any cloth diaper stuff that I'm not using right now.  The cloth diaper pail is on the left and his hamper is on the right. 

Eventually we'll move the rocking recliner from our bedroom to this corner when he starts sleeping in here and the night stand will go underneath the painting (that I did myself to match the fabrics).  All of his books, scrapbook, baby book, and picture album are in the night stand.  I'd like to get a small lamp for here, too, for when I'm feeding him at night or just rocking him back to sleep. 

The closet was difficult for me to organize because our generous family and friends gave us lots of stuff and some of it we can't use right away so it's a little bit of a mess.  But I love the fabric boxes for storage, and at least you can't really see what's going on in there.  I have one for all breastfeeding stuff, one for all first aid stuff, one for all his newborn cloth diapers that he doesn't wear anymore, and one for random stuff with no home. 

I'm finding out quickly that I don't really like to have to hang up clothes, so it stays hung when its new but then moves into his drawers after it's been washed.  So the clothes that are hanging up mostly haven't been worn.  I put a lot of the stuff we aren't using right away on the top and I have a container of all the clothes we have that's too big for him right now. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Shutterfly Christmas Cards

I did say in my last post that I would do shameless plugs for free stuff, so here's one of them!

A friend forwarded me a link to Shutterfly, where bloggers can get 50 free 5x7 Christmas cards for free if they do a shameless plug on their blog.  So here it is ;)

I actually am a big fan of Shutterfly, really, and have used their service to print many prints; you can even have them sent to a local Target for pick up for free.  I also love their photo books, and I'm excited to try out their cards for Christmas this year.  This is the first time we'll be sending out cards and I can't wait to put Ezra's cute little face on them!

I really love this one, the wording and everything.  Favorite #1

I plan to get photos of Mike and I twirling just like the girls in the picture (I kid, I kid) But I do think Ezra's baby face (and maybe some dogs too??) would be just as cute Favorite #2

I love the Christmas tree on this one Favorite #3

We all know if they had a Charlie Brown card, that's definitely the one I'd pick.  So, since this is the first official day of the Christmas Season in my house, Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Our Favorite Things - 1 month

Another idea that I'm stealing from some blogs that I like to read... (and I guess from Oprah, except you're not all getting these products, sorry I'm not that famous)  Trust me, these are truthful, I'm not getting paid by anyone to sell you anything (but I'm not against doing shameless plugs for free stuff) ;)

BumGenius 4.0 with snaps
I'm loving my cloth diapers!!

I'm going to hold off on a full fledged review of the ones that I've been using, but I will say that my BumGenius with snaps are my favorite so far.

I've only had 1 leak with them, and that's because I was a neglectful mom and left him in the diaper for like 4 hours (where was my mind that morning).  I am looking forward to using the regular size inserts and not the newborn ones because I'm thinking they look much more absorbent.

As far as washing, I haven't had any problems.  Cold rinse, hot wash with 2nd rinse, covers hang in the baby's room over night, inserts in the dryer for 20 minutes.  I've only been doing laundry every other day, and using disposables at night or if/when I run out of these.

I've tried using my softbums when I run out, but I just don't like those as much.  I'm going to try them with some larger, more absorbent inserts to see if that helps me like them more.

I do prefer the snaps over aplix/velcro because you don't end up with diapers and inserts all stuck together in the wash (even when I use the laundry tabs this still happens!).  Just a preference, I still love my BumGenius with aplix!

Soothie pacifier

These are recommended by lactation consultant for breastfed babies to help prevent nipple confusion.  They're also latex free, one piece, and made from hospital grade silicone.  They are the ones that some hospitals give to babies.

Ezra took this pacifier one week after he had been born with no problems.  We haven't had any kind of issues with nipple confusion or him refusing to take my nipple.

I am not a pacifier advocate, and I'm already having anxiety about having to take it away from him in a few months, but it definitely helps calm him when he's really upset and helps him to fall asleep when he's tired but fighting it.

Also, it gives my nipples a break because he is definitely a nursing-for-comfort baby and I think he'd be attached to my boob if I wasn't careful.

Circo socks from Target

Yes, these socks are on my favorites list.  You can laugh at me, it's ok.

Socks for a newborn have to be one of the most irritating and frustrating things.  No one likes to have cold feet, I'm sure Ezra doesn't either, but it took me almost 4 weeks of his life to find socks that actually stay on his feet, no matter how much he moves them around.

Sometimes I feel like a crazy sock obsessed mother
"You dropped his sock"
"Where's his sock?"
"Oh no, his sock is falling off"

He doesn't like me to put socks on him, he screams.  When I'm hungry, I don't want you to take a minute to put your sock on before you feed me.  I don't know how many times I've almost dropped him trying to pick up a freaking sock off the floor.  And I'm already finding friendless newborn socks strewn around the house.  I prefer clothes with feet, but I love the cute little outfits I have for him and most of them are footless.

So these socks are a dollar a pair, but they do not fall off.  Not even all day.  Not even when I take his pants off.

They even have grips on the bottom in case he decides to make a run for it, he'll have traction on the hardwoods.

Graco Pack 'n Play with Newborn Napper

This lives in our room right now and Ezra is sleeping in it.

The best feature of this pack 'n play is the newborn napper.  It has an attachment for a light, music, nature sounds, and a vibration setting.  Ezra LOVES the vibration setting and mom and dad would probably get less sleep if it didn't have this setting.

The newborn napper on the top, hugs him perfectly (although he's almost grown out of it) and we can usually get him from almost asleep to passed out with a push of the vibrations button.

I'm a little worried about putting him in his crib eventually because his crib does not have a vibrations setting.  EEK.

The First Years Newborn to Toddler bath tub

Now that Ezra has the cutest belly button ever, we get to take real baths, and I love this tub.

It fits almost perfectly in our kitchen sink (it's a little funny because our counter top sits on top of the sink, so it's higher on the counter side than in the middle, we have a double sink) and Ezra gets to look out the window while he bathes.

It has a handy newborn sling that goes in it too, but my baby is too big for it.  He sits right in the water and kicks his feet.  I like that it holds his butt and keeps him upright, for the most part, but he does end up leaning over to one side and is not usually happy about it.  Also, it will supposedly grow with him - when he can sit up, he'll sit on the other side.

It's a good size, too, not too big.  Some of the tubs are HUGE.  It has a nice plug in the bottom that you can pull to drain the water and I keep his body wash and lotion in the little compartment at the end so I have everything I need in one place.  Plus, it's only $20 bucks, I love a bargain!

I'm hoping in our next installment of our favorite things, I'll be able to add some things that Ezra actually likes, but right now it's really just my favorite things.  He's not really interested in his toys yet, so maybe he'll have a few favorites at 2 months. 

P.S. I know it's supposed to be Wordless Wednesday but I'm hoping to get a good picture with Daddy for his birthday tonight, so you might get Wordless Wednesday later today or tomorrow. :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

1 Month Visit - Success

I'm going to get this off my guilty conscience right away - Ezra is sleeping in his car seat on the kitchen table while I write this.  Yes, the first thing I did when we got home was sit down and write this blog and I left the kid in his car seat.  That mommy guilt is killer.

His visit went really well today! The Dr said everything looks good and Ezra was wide awake for the entire appointment so the Dr got to see him looking around and everything.  Development looks good, too.

So here's the stats:
Weight: 12 lbs 7 oz (I will quote my mom "Bazinga!" he's definitely an eater), 95th percentile
Height: 22", that's 2" of growth in a month, 75th percentile
Head Circumference: (not sure I understand this one) but 15 1/4"

Eats: since he's passed his growth spurt, he's back to eating every 3 hours.  Which is nice.  I thought my nipples might actually fall off when he was eating every 1 1/2 hours for that week.  He's actually pretty predictable with eating and is still taking a bottle when we need to, although I haven't been pumping as much.  Dr. said we should be more consistent with bottle feeding to make sure he doesn't decide not to take it later on (like when I go back to work).  We're at a point where it's easier and quicker to just have me feed him instead of have Mike feed him and me pump in the meantime.  Plus it gives me a reason to sit and watch TV and ask Mike to bring me things...

Sleeps: (Danielle, you might not want to read this section, I apologize in advance, and send you sleepy baby vibes) He's a great sleeper.  Usually at night we can get one good 4ish hour stretch, sometimes longer.  He is the LOUDEST sleeper ever, so just because he's sleeping that long doesn't mean that I'm not awake listening to him grunt, squeak, or whatever for some of that time.  Sometimes Mike and I will have a debate in bed, "do you think he's awake? still sleeping? should I hit the vibrate button and see if he quiets down for a little bit?"  You'd think if we just got up, changed, and fed him we'd all be back to sleep in less time, but who's really thinking clearly at 2 am??

He's still in our room right now, Mike's not ready to put him in the crib with the monitor.  I'm thinking that will happen when I go back to work.  He is outgrowing the newborn napper thing on our pack n play though, so soon he'll be sleeping just in the pack n play - hopefully that's not too much of a transition for him.

Likes: His favorite place in the world right now seems to be on his changing table.  We get more smiles, coos, and eye contact there than anywhere else.  It's funny.  He also loves the vibration feature on his pack n play, swing, and bouncer.  That can sometimes keep him calm for a long time!

He loves to move around - in the stroller, car, or just being walked around.  Sometimes if he's crying the only way to calm him is to put him over my shoulder and just walk.  God forbid I sit down and we're back to screaming bloody murder.  I'm hoping once he gets interested in his toys, this phase might go away.

Dislikes: He does not like being put into his car seat.  He screams every time, like we're tying him into a straight jacket or something. Once the car starts moving we're back to calm.

He also doesn't like evening, between 7 and 10.  We usually have a good hour or two of crying for no reason.  I think sometimes he's just getting out his extra energy before he goes down for that long stretch.  I have been known to put him in my ergo carrier and just rock him back and forth for an hour and a half while standing and watching TV because that will at least get him to stop crying.  Sometimes I try to sit - but usually that only lasts for maybe 23 seconds.

Milestones: He definitely recognizes my and Mike's voices and will look for us when he hears us which is the best thing ever for my mommy-ego.  We have gotten some smiles - and I mean making eye contact and smiling and "cooing" at us, which I refuse to say has anything to do with gas.

He's following objects around the room - sometimes us or the dogs or a toy.  Proof of this: I came out of the bathroom yesterday to Mike in our bedroom attaching baby toys to the ceiling fan, including one of my favorites Captain Calamari.  Ezra was laying on the bed intently watching Captain Calamari go around and around as Daddy turned on and off the ceiling fan.  Who needs a baby mobile? Not us!

Here are some 1 month photos for your viewing pleasure:
Sitting on Daddy's belly

Is it 7 pm?

Looking at those toys!

Look at that cute cloth diaper!!

A little skeptical of the camera and Daddy's silly dance to get him to look over here

Friday, November 19, 2010

Maternal Instincts

First, I must admit that I have a dirty secret.  Brace yourself... I love bad reality TV.  I love all of it.  Real World, Real Housewives,  Jerseylicious,  ::insert any VH1 bad dating show::, and finally 16 and Pregnant.

I can't explain what sucks me in, but I have also gotten Mike somewhat addicted to 16 and Pregnant.  I don't know if it's because I was or was trying to get pregnant when theses shows aired, but we must watch every week.  It's like a train wreck sometimes, you know the ending and it's not pretty, but you're still interested in how it happened and all the details.

I think it was 2 weeks ago, there was this straight A, award winning student who got pregnant.  There was a scene where she and her 17 year old boyfriend were discussing how life would be after they graduated high school, got married, and moved into married housing at a state college to raise their baby.  Their conversation went something like this:

Mom: How do you think it will be when we move into married housing at college?

Dad: I think it will be good.

Mom: Are you nervous about anything?  We've never taken care of a baby before, neither of us really know what we're doing.

Dad: I'm sure your maternal instincts will kick in.

::Insert hysterical laughing::  These kids are in for a BIG surprise.

Parenting doesn't really fall under instinct in my book.  I had visions of all of my "what the heck am I supposed to do?" moments in these first few weeks.  Many which left me covered in poop, pee, or breastmilk - or holding a crying baby while consulting a baby book or a more experienced mother.   The same situation could present itself twice in one day, and I'll do the exact opposite the second time.  That's the thing with these babies, you don't have any clue what they are trying to tell you when they are screaming - the decisions I make feel more like guesses than instinct.

Not to mention all of the "new" fandangled equipment one must have to raise a baby these days.  I don't know if I'd be able to use most of it without an instruction manual.  It took me 20 minutes to figure out how to get the baby into my baby carrier - and I had instructions with pictures and everything.  I actually started crying at the police station because I couldn't get the car seat out of the base when I was having the installation checked for safety.  On voting day, I put the car seat in my Snap n Go backwards in front of a group of onlookers.

My instincts don't seem to lead me in the right directions when it comes to baby equipment.

Now I know I'm probably more of a planner and researcher than most parents, but I check Google or a baby book at least 6 times a day to make sure that I'm doing something "right."  If I left everything to maternal instincts I'd be lost or a complete basketcase and my mother would probably have to change her phone number.

So, the lesson that I learned from these 16 year olds is that I'm glad I was 26 and pregnant - and not leaving parenting to my instincts or help from my 17 year old boyfriend. :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Realization and Moving On...

So, after posting about how much I love to take a shower, I had an A HA! moment in the shower the other day.

I posted here about how I'd been feeling my first two weeks home with Ezra.  I'm not going to lie, it was a very difficult transition for me.  Don't get me wrong, I loved my son the minute I saw him, (the minute I saw those two pink lines actually), but add hormones, neuroses, guilt, and lack of sleep to the immense changes that happen when you bring a baby home, and I was a basket case.

I was struggling with why I didn't feel happy about this baby - that I loved so much, but I just couldn't get to a place where I loved spending every minute with him.  I couldn't shake the feeling that it was just going to be too much for me to handle and that I wasn't capable of rising to the challenge.  It was more anxiety and self-doubt than anything.

Well, in the shower the other day, I just kept asking myself (and God) why on earth could I not be happy? This was exactly what I had prayed for, longed for, and felt like I was ready for - for over a year.  I just kept running through the whole experience - trying to conceive, miscarriage, pregnancy test, pregnancy, birth, baby.  It was a long and difficult journey, all of which was supposed to end the way it has, but I still couldn't get myself to a place of positivity about the situation.

Then it hit me.  I was having a hard time feeling like a deserved such a perfect little man, a wonderful and helpful husband, and all the support that family and friends were giving me.  I realized that the somewhat difficult journey to motherhood had left me a little jaded and glass-half-full. 

Even though I'd had a positive pregnancy test, an easy and healthy pregnancy, and a perfect little baby - my brain wouldn't register it.  The entire time we were trying to get pregnant and I was pregnant, I had been preparing for the worst and not the best.  Miscarriage, illness, problems with labor, something to go wrong with Ezra when he did arrive.  I can't imagine how much more difficult I'd be making it for myself if my journey had been even more challenging as many people's are.

I was feeling like I didn't deserve this perfect little baby.  Like it had all been a fluke and I think in a way, I was feeling anxious and self-doubt to prepare myself for whatever might go wrong - because that was how this baby thing had gone for so long.  It's amazing how your brain tries to protect itself - but really you're making it all worse. 

So, in the shower, I let all of that go - and accepted my perfect baby, whether or not I was perfect - and thanked God for giving me such a gift.  Now when I'm feeling overwhelmed, I try to say a little prayer of thanks so maybe I won't yank out all of my hair. :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Shower

One thing that I was surprised to discover after becoming a mom was that my favorite time of any given day is when I get to take a shower.  Mind you, I also love naps, snuggling with Ezra, and eating junk food but I would absolutely take a nice long, hot, shower over any of those (sorry Baby, but we can snuggle after the shower).

I knew that showers would be few and far between once Ezra was here, and I'm ok with that.  I don't actually get dressed either unless I'm going somewhere and if the dogs and the baby mind that I smell a little, they haven't said anything.  ;) And yes, I've had that moment in public where I realize I forgot to put on deodorant and I am the one that smells like that.  Klassy.

But a hot shower has turned into my haven of sanity.  If the baby is screeching, which he sometimes does right now for no reason at all for up to an hour, I can't hear him and Mike gets to try and figure it out for 20 - 30 minutes.  I finally get some time to think - like think rationally - about things.  It is very difficult to think rationally about life when you're pumping, breastfeeding, changing a diaper, waking up from a sound sleep, trying to force a pacifier into a baby's mouth, yelling at the dogs to stop barking while the baby is sleeping, feeling guilty about something, etc, etc.

It is almost like when you're pregnant and hormonal and everything is a HUGE deal, even though you know it really isn't.  When you're changing a diaper, the bills don't really matter as much (foreclosure! Ha, we're up to our armpits in poop anyway), food is not important (oh yeah, I didn't eat breakfast or lunch today, that's why I have a headache and my belly hurts)... you get the picture.

But in the shower, it all makes sense.  I remember appointments, things I need to get done, I can make a plan for the day/evening - even though I know I won't be able to follow it all the way through.  I feel like I can do this mommy thing, even if it's only for 20 minutes.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Sorry it's been so long since I've blogged, this mommy thing is pretty hard.  ;) (and I've tried to type with one hand but it takes too long and there are too many mistakes so I gave up)

The last 2 weeks of mommyhood have been so life changing, difficult, rewarding, and overwhelming.  I can't believe that we finally have this little person that we'd tried to hard to create here in our house.  I can't believe this little being depends on me for everything yet I don't have the slightest clue what I'm actually doing.  It's quite frightening - especially for someone who like to be prepared for everything - there definitely is no preparation for parenthood.

I love this little guy more than I can say, but I'm not going to pretend there haven't been moments in the past 2 weeks that I thought about returning him - just for 5 minutes.  I definitely think that I was experiencing some definite baby blues/borderline post-partum depression for the first few days.  I cried about everything, was abnormally anxious that I was going to do some serious long term damage to the little guy, and ready to give up on breastfeeding and cloth diapering.  I didn't think that I was cut out for mommyhood for a few days.  So I avoided this blog because I didn't want to sound like I wasn't happy about being a mom after whining about wanting to become a mom for so long.

But I will say it was harder than expected to make that transition and I'm glad that I'm on the other side of it all, for the most part, and I can at least be rational right now.  A few trips to church and some "outings" have definitely helped me get my mind back on track.  Mike has been an amazing help, too.  Making dinner, giving baths, telling me I'm doing a good job, changing diapers, cleaning up around the house.  He has really stepped up to the plate for the most part and I definitely appreciate that.  Family has been great too.  We didn't have to worry about dinner for over a week, people come by to help with anything we need every day.  I'm always amazed at how much people are willing to help.

Breastfeeding was a big challenge for me.  I was experiencing a lot of pain, just from his Hoover vacuum latch (the lactation consultant said that he was basically attacking me, but there was no way to really fix it because he was latching properly).  It is definitely a difficult adjustment to have to have your boob available at the sound of any wail - and to not really be able to be away from the baby because you are his food source.  I'm glad that we've stuck with it and now I've even had the chance to pump a little bit so we have a small stash for emergencies and what not.  It was fabulous to be able to get out and get my hair done this week!!

I've also started cloth diapering a little bit - just when we're home or I know that I'll be able to change him within 2 hours.  Still using sposies at night so that we can leave him sleeping for long stretches.  Right now I'm using the Kissaluv's fitteds and Thirstie's covers.  I tried my Softbums but his runny poo gets all over the cover after the first use so I go through a cover with each change.  The problem with the Kissaluv's is that they don't have a stay-dry fleece layer, so they get very wet against his skin.  Right now we haven't had any rash issues, but I think I'll probably cut some left-over fleece that I have an make a stay-dry layer insert.

Ezra has been the most perfect baby - even in the midst of a neurotic mother.  He sleeps for a good 4 to 5 hour stretch at night (knock on wood) and only has a few "I'm crying for no reason" stretches during the day.  He takes a pacifier, loves to be swaddled, and is even starting to look around and be more alert during the day.  He's absolutely perfect.

On more exciting news, we got our newborn photos back!  We went to Target portrait studios, which surpisingly was amazing.  The pictures look great and it was relatively inexpensive.  Here's a sampling: