Category Archives: baby stuff

Baby Philosophies

baby philsopiesI write this as a mother in process. I have not learned or experienced it all. I have only experienced my 2 boys (ages: 2.75 years and 4.5 months) and a few dozen more as a nanny. There are many “right” ways to raise your babies and I respect a mom’s (and dad’s) choice to do what they feel passionate about. And, I hope they respect mine. So this list is compilation of things we’ve discovered and done in this family. It is a hodge podge of learned methods, books read, conference lectures, spiritual practices, observing families, and gut feelings.

I write this not to say my ways are best, but to remember what I believed at this stage in my life. I might look back and say “oh, you were so naive” or “yeah, you got that right.” But either way, these have been floating around in my head for months and it’s about time to set them down here. I write as I would write to myself…to the me before I had my babies. So in no particular order, here are my Baby Philosophies.

  • The first 2 weeks are the hardest. Power through. You will sleep again.
  • It’s OK to stare. That baby is perfection.
  • Receive meals, receive help.
  • Make time to shower and brush your teeth… and sleep. (And do it every day.)
  • Babies don’t understand our world. We get to teach them.
  • That man you have loved all this time just got 10 times hotter holding your baby.
  • E.A.S.Y.! Eat, Sleep, Play, & You. A great method without being hyper-scheduled.
  • Leave your baby and the house in the first month.
  • Babies can soothe themselves to sleep. (Mine did at 5 and 6 weeks) 
  • Babies can sleep through the night. (Mine did a 8 and 10 weeks)
  • Be thankful and joyful everyday.
  • Establish a start time to the day. Wake the baby at the same time and feed (7:00 a.m. for me) then note his cues and rhythms for eating and sleeping.
  • You don’t have to follow “baby-led” or “parent-led” techniques you can be a fusion of both.
  • Work towards a 12 hour night of sleep and age appropriate naps through the day.
  • Keep learning. Listen to moms. Read books and blogs.
  • Babies are communicating to us, and it is our job to be flexible to them.
  • Baby gas is painful… for both of you. Learn methods to relieve that gas. Massage, movements, diet change, etc.
  • Don’t let them rely to heavily on “props” – whatever they need to sleep, calm, etc. they will need every single time.
  • Let that baby sleep on your chest. In a rainstorm. Close your eyes and enjoy.
  • Routines promote predictability and trust. It is a gift I can kids.
  • Breastfeed as long as you can to a year.
  • Breastfeeding is hard, great, a sacrifice, a gift, work, time…. and it is only a short season.
  • It’s OK to feel sad when you lose your milk supply, but you are not a failure.
  • Bins and labels and drawer organizers will calm the toy and clothing chaos.
  • Buy gender neutral when possible: toys, blankets, cups, etc.
  • Sleep sacs are genius. Zip down blanket and hinders climbing? Uh huh.
  • Wubbanubs, also genius. Baby can find and place paci. Cut off the paci and baby still has stuffed animal.
  • Video monitors are the most genius. Worth every penny.
  • Start solids when baby can sit up on their own, around 6 months. No need to force feed early.
  • Keep a simple log for the first year.
  • Note milestones, cute phrases, and stories. Compile them for a memory book.
  • You will not regret taking pictures.
  • Make time for fun as a family.
  • Make time for yourself: the occasional haircut, massage or pedicure will energize you!
  • Kiss, hug, snuggle, wrestle, hold hands, high five. Affectionately touch your kids.
  • Treasure grandparent time. Start it young.
  • Praise them. Encourage. Tell them what they are good at.
  • A small house has it’s benefits. We all know what’s happening all the time.
  • Maintain and add healthy habits. Be active. Have a hobby.
  • Teach your kids to transition well, early on. Leave them with family and friends.
  • Choose toys that promote imagination. Limit noisy toys and screen time.
  • Take your kids to a quality church. (Make sure they screen their volunteers!)
  • Encourage your kids to play with friends, play outside, play with siblings.
  • Read all the time. Find books your kid loves. Put them all over the house.
  • Spend time in community with other families.
  • Discipline early. Use a strong serious firm voice as to not confuse them.
  • When possible tell kids what TO do rather than what NOT to do.
  • Pray, sing, and share your God from the start.
  • Teach them to be helpers. Teach them to serve God and people.
  • Teach them to play independently.
  • Don’t undermine your spouse. Even when they are too lenient or too harsh. They are learning too. Give grace.
  • Bring kids along with you on errands and chores. There is much to learn in daily life.
  • Let your kids choose sometimes. Don’t let your kids choose all the time.
  • Protect your marriage as you would protect your kids. It is a treasure. Shut the bedroom door and hold onto your covenant.
  • Hide toys in pretty baskets. 
  • Let your toddler tell you when he’s ready to potty train. Seize the day and start 3 day bootcamp.
  • Promote sleep. Keep a bedtime routine.
  • Family dinners are valuable.
  • Share your clothes. Bargain shop. But, buy new shoes.
  • Kids do not have to have everything or every thing new.
  • Listen to that voice inside and learn what God would teach your through your kids.
  • Understand God’s love for you as his child. A whole new meaning when you have kids of your own.
  • Start each morning with coffee and prayer, your kids will wake with more energy than you.

I am only 3 years in as a mom. So much more to learn. So much more to experience. I am thankful to be on this journey. My boys are gifts that bring me joy each day.

Luke .25 (the first 3 months)

My baby is 3 months and changing so fast. I have kept track some of his milestones and moments to share with weekly pictures! I did this project for Isaac too (minus the notes). I never want to forget these treasured moments. Did I say it is going too fast?! Oh we love him so!

luke_week 1 logo[ Week 1 ]
Weighed 7 lbs 15 oz at birth, Lost 7 oz in first week
Day 4 – first smile while asleep during “milk comma”1 Jaundice test – billirubin 10.2 – OK!
Sleeping swaddled
Days and nights confused, but sleeping.
His brother loves him. Though he did try to steal his blanket at first sight.
Projectile poop!

luke_week 2 logo[ Week 2 ]
Pedi appt on day 10. Weighs 7 lbs. 14.6 oz.. almost back up to birth weight.
Dr. Broderick says he has big ear canals and is strong
Makes a mess on scale (again) for the nurse.
Crying and grumpy in carseat!
Belly button fell off
First bath in kitchen sink – Isaac thought this funny! Luke did not.

luke_week 3 logo[ Week 3 ]
Propane low, first sleepover at Grandma & Grandpa’s
Mom is re-reading books: Baby Whisperer!
Seeming hungry every 2 hours – I am confusing hunger/sleepy cries
First coos and sounds on-purpose!
Playmat and tummy time
Offered him the paci and he loved it! (uh-oh) Really helps him relax when tired.
Move up to Size 1 diapers
Sleeping 2-3.5 hours at a time
Holding on during nursing like he is helping.

luke_week 4 logo[ Week 4 ]
Slept through dentist with mom
I locked the boys in the car!
Laying in crib semi-awake to fall asleep
Newborn and family pictures taken
First family outing: buy Dad’s phone, skyline & car wash
Tried tummy sleeping in crib unswaddled – then went back.
First 5 hours sleep & 6 hours between feeds!
Visited mommy’s work. Slept most of the time.

luke_week 5 logo[ Week 5 ]
1 month Pedi Appt: 10 lbs (70%), length 22 in (80%), and head 37 in (35%)
Started using swaddlers at night instead of blankets – stronger!
Fell asleep on his own when I had to lay him down crying. (good sign)
Started Vitamen D drops
First small smiles!
First trip to park – Lunken playfield

luke_week 6 logo[ Week 6 ]
First day of spring. Still snowing
Thinking he is overtired and that is why he is crying.
Try putting him down earlier: first yawn or grump. (1-1.5 after feed)
Attended first party – wedding shower.
Following you with his eyes as you move.
Stayed home with Daddy and Isaac first time without mom!
Sleeping 3-5.5 hour stretches as night, up to 6.5 hours between feeds

luke_week 7 logo[ Week 7 ]
Holding head up well
looked at himself in the the phone camera
Smiled after he sneezed
Loves his paci
Letting him soothe to sleep with swaddle and paci
Rocking and bouncing and patting seems too much stimulation when overtired
Congestion and runny nose
Watching for 3 phases of sleep (squirmy, stare, heavy eyes)
Started wake up routine: 7:30 nurse to start his day

luke_week 8 logo[ Week 8 ]
Trying to not put paci in after he spits it out, self-soothe
Mom starts teaching dance again – Daddy with both boys
Facetime mom with both boys!
2 month appt – lots of shots!
Slept 8 hours!
Cut nails for the first time
Family outing for mom’s birthday dinner
Easier to sleep- mom noticing cues!
First sickness (virus) – threw up about 7 times. Poor baby.

luke_week 9 logo[ Week 9 ]
Really enjoying mornings – happy, smiley boy!
Watching and smiling at Isaac as he talks
Last daily segment he takes a short nap in chair, carrier, or held
Up to 5.75 hrs sleep/7.5 between night feeds
2 month Pedi appt: 11.6 lbs (58%), 23.5 in long (80%) – lost a few oz since sick :(
First babysitter – Aunt Katie

luke_week 10 logo[ Week 10 ]
Move up to Size 2 diapers
Really bad gassy day – decreasing my milk intake to see if that affects him
Taking 4 oz in bottles
Breaking out of swaddle at some points
First Easter – did well being passed around. Fell asleep on mom
Slept 7.5 hours / 8.5 between feeds
3.5 – 4 hour between some day feeds
Finding his thumb, mad when he cannot

luke_week 11 logo[ Week 11 ]
Super engaging – smiles and coos in response to your words.
Likes to watch Isaac
…also cries at his screams and sudden movements
Sleeping 9.5 hours! Woo hoo
Blowing bubbles.
Watches TV.
Schedule going well, napping pretty regularly now.
Long nap about 2:15-4:30 daily. Shorts naps other section of day.
Catnap around dinner time in chair, reminds us of dinners with Baby Isaac.
Asleep at 8:00 – 8:30 p.m. bedtime.
Really chubbing up. Loving his rolls.
Tucking himself under my chin

luke_week 12 logo[ Week 12 ]
1st day with Grandma
Slept 11 hours at night!
Turned 180* in crib, broke out of new larger swaddles.
Blowout at target AND lost a paci. Screaming!
Isaac held him 15 minutes while watching Curious George
Gave himself a hickie on his arm.

luke_week 13 logo[ Week 13 ]
Back to work. Transition went well!
Grown out of 3 month clothes, especially sleepers. He’s long!
1st time downtown. Swing dancing with mom at Fountain Square.
Napping so well, having to wake him to eat.
Not needing paci as much, rarely putting back in at sleep.
Smiled at mommy when she came to wake him.
Arms out of swaddle a lot, but not hindering sleep.
Up to 5.5 oz. in bottles

 

Quick Tip: Simple Socks

So this post is a no-brainer but it sure does make me happy. And because I am so happy… I thought I would share my happiness. Socks. They disappear, they lose their best friends. It’s a tough life for a sock. With quickly growing babies, socks don’t last as long as my grey and blue nautical pair from high school. Yep, still in my drawer. Still cozy in boots. (Not still in style.)

I ordered my 2 and half year old some sneakers and sport socks. His big feet are getting bigger and, well, so are the socks and shoes. (I could stop right here and weep over the fact that my first baby is definitely a little boy now, but there isn’ t much of nap time left.) As I was putting the new large socks away, I pulled the ones he’s outgrown. And as I thought about this simple solution I started a few years back, it felt like a Project Momma Quick Tip.

socks1Kid socks look similar and it’s definitely hard to tell their size just looking at them. In fact I accidentally put baby socks on my toddler a few days back. (Proof right here.) There is no way I will remember what size socks are when I pull them out of storage. So, when I buy new socks, I simply keep the packaging or labels and shove it in the drawer under the socks. Then when it is time to pull them to store away – until the next baby has grown too big too fast – I already the packaging with them. I fell upon this idea accidentally because I kept the sock tags from Isaac’s baby socks; they were the only ones I’d found that would actually stay on those active baby feet. I save the label because did not want to forget that brand (Okie Dokie from JCPenney if your are wondering).

socks2So, now that it’s time to rotate the old socks, I grab that label, the socks and a ziplock bag to store them. 
socks3
And there you have it. Easily understood socks. I keep the outgrown socks and shoes in a separate bin from clothes. One reason is that I pass around clothes with my friends but socks and shoes I hang on to. Another reason to keep them separate? They may not be true to size. Hey Oshkosh, size 2-4 did not last pass 2 and a half for my big boy. Just sayin’. Every kid grows differently so I don’t want to have to search through my 2s, 3s, and 4s clothes, to find my 2-4 socks that fit Isaac when he was 1 and 2. Yeah, read that sentence again if you have to.  socks 4I have also started keeping some other tags and packaging for items like swaddles, sleep sacs, underwear, etc. It really takes no extra time upfront but saves a little confusion on the other end. Why not give myself little organized treasures? I deserve them.

Anyone else have a quick tip when it comes to your kids’ clothing?
quick tip  socks logo

Almost Ready for Baby – 38 weeks

So, as I write this we are 5 days away from meeting our little one! And, since he has stayed put inside, I have accomplished everything to date on the list from a few weeks back… baby prepI actually ended up adding a few things along the way too. So here are a couple of the highlights…

We decided to set the Dining Room up as a dual purpose room. My thoughts are baby will sleep in there nights until he sleeps through the night, 11-12 hours. For Isaac that was around 10 weeks old. A 2nd crib was purchased (actually it was a gift!), bed made, blackout shade installed, and some baby items brought in.

more baby prep 6 more baby prep 7

The buffet that I wanted to add doors to for ‘safe’ storage is in process; it still needs paint and handles. Doug may finish this weekend, but at least is usable to store some baby things.

Isaac has a big boy bed and has been experimenting with sleeping on it. I would say he’s 70% big boy bed, 30% crib depending on how tired he is. I am fine with letting him get comfortable. He stays in and calls me in the morning to come get him. So far so good!

more baby prep 2

Baby clothes (0-6 months) have been washed, sorted, and put away in the boys’ closet and dresser (some in the dining room cabinets too).

more baby prep 1

Our cars are prepped with car seats; grandparents also have a car seat for Isaac. This is big! I won’t feel the pressure of driving both kids all the time and we will not have to move car seats to do it. HOO-RAY! Grandparents are scheduled to help fill in for the first couple of weeks. We are blessed! Don’t know how we would do this without them!

more baby prep 10Hospital bag is packed. Baby’s gift to Isaac is wrapped. I even have some Valentine’s Day gifts for Doug and Isaac ready.

Baby log is made. Isaac notes for helpers are prepped. (Both probably deserve their own post)

more baby prep 8We even have diapers! Friends, volunteers, and family have been stocking us. Our small group even planned a MealBaby for us. Awesome.
more baby prep 9

I also did a big stock up of our pantry. Hopefully this will help in the first few weeks when I cannot drive. Doug can go grab milk, bread, and fruit, etc. I think we have enough cereal to last through summer, thank you coupons and sales.

more baby prep 5

All the paperwork has been done. And, I even had my LAST dr. appt. That really made it feel final since I have been spending hours there each week.
more baby prep 4

While looking for batteries and a key chain I got frustrated one day off and even got organized our junk drawer. Which turned into all the kitchen drawers, then all the cabinets. Not really on the agenda, but hey?!
more baby prep 3Our last thing to do is name this baby. We are down to a short list. Doug has a firm favorite and Isaac is calling him that, too. I like the name but like a few others better, so we are waiting until the moment to make it final.

Overall I am feeling pretty good about the tangible prep. I wish I could prep Isaac like I can the house and baby stuff. I am hoping he isn’t too jolted. I also hope my healing is quick and easy so I can be a functioning mom of two! I cannot wait to hold a sleeping baby again.

Baby To Do List

It’s January! 5 weeks or less until we meet our next son. Now that Christmas and my crazy holiday work schedule is over, it is time to starting prepping for this baby! By the way, baby #2 planning is way different from baby #1. Right, moms? Especially since I am having another son, I really only NEED diapers. A few other things are helpful, but the preparation is far easier. baby prepI have been making a Baby Prep list for the last week in my “Reminders” App for the iphone/ipad. My list is in the cloud! I sat down tonight and pulled out my Pregnancy Binder from a few years back to finalize and tweak the list. I love a good list!
baby prep 2So here is what is left on the agenda, by week:

Week 33
- Get extra crib for baby and twin bed for Isaac
- Paperwork: hospital, maternity leave, pediatrician
- Print hospital packing list
- Print baby log sheets / schedules

Week 34
- Order breast pump
- Pick up 2nd car seat for Isaac
- Install base for infant seat, adjust straps
- Calendar of help needs (1st two weeks)

Week 35
- Set up sleep space: basics, monitor, noise machine, black out shade
- Stock ottoman with nursing supplies
- Wash baby clothes
- Pick a name!

Week 36
- Isaac info. on paper: schedule, food ideas, play ideas & locations
- Pack hospital bag
- Family/friends call/email/text list

Week 37
- Big grocery run – pantry stock up
- Re-read “Twelve Hours Sleep By Twelve Weeks Old”

Week 38
- Change sheets & wash towels
- Clean house

Nothing on the list feels super pressing except the crib/bed and car seat. Oh, and I have no diapers yet. But all that would be manageable by a family member if this baby were to come now. I am now into the weekly doctor appointment phase… that is the final stretch!

Isaac’s Nursery

Isaac’s Nursery was really fun to design. We did not find out our baby’s gender until he was born, so a majority of the room was gender neutral until… “it’s a boy!”. Of course I did have a boy concept and girl concept in mind. So below, were fabric options I found from babybedding.com. It is a fabulous website where you can order bits and pieces of bedding, and yards of fabric if you wish. I ordered samples of the fabrics I was interested in so I could see the coloring and feel the texture in person before purchase.  I loved mixing and matching fabrics instead of buying a crib set with items I would not use – baby comforter and bumper. I love the site.

We bought 3 yards of the white and green polka dot for curtains, 2 changing table covers in the greens, a white dust ruffle, and one sheet in the green circles, with plans to buy another. After Isaac was born I added in the animal print fabric with the blues, since he was a boy. I ordered a crib sheet the week after his birth. If Isaac would have been Isabel, that would have been a pink, red, black and white bird themed fabric. 
nursery coll 2So, I played of those blue colors, especially the navy, to add the accents to this mostly lime and white room.
nurs8The crib was a gift from the family I used to nanny for. We have had it for years in the basement and it brought me great joy to share it. I spent a lot of sweet moments with their cribs and I loved passing on to my own boy. We bought a new firm mattress. I hand-painted these animal silhouettes after pencil drawing them on. I simply printed out some pictures then used a table lamp to shine/enlarge the image on the the canvas. Then I painted. They still need a 2nd coat… maybe I will get there. Maybe.nurs7 The adorable curtains were made by our friend and fabulous seamstress as a gift. I LOVE LOVE them. The only major piece of furniture bought new was the Ikea Hemmes dresser. It was a gift from my dad. We did buy the matching night table figuring it would be good by the chair and eventually as a night table. Both will grow with Isaac and could easily be in a kid, tween and young adult room. Besides storage, the main function for the dresser was as a changing table. I like a longer dresser to work with. After a kid is 12-18 months their feet start to hang over… I wanted room to grow and room to work: lay supplies, clothes, etc on the dresser. nurs1 nurs13 I used a basket (I think we got it as a gift basket years ago) to organize some basic stuff I wanted easily accessible. Everything else lives in the drawers. nurs14 I made simple art out of things we had. I bought some frames from Ikea. The “loved” art is actually cut out from a gift bag. Under that, Isaac’s hospital wristband with a fabric sample behind it. I framed some of the cards I liked from showers. The hooks are from Pier One, bought 12+ years ago. For the locals it was way back when the Panera on Beechmont was a Pier One! Not sure how much I paid for it, but I remember loving it and wanting it so I probably did not get a great deal. This is another item that never had the perfect home. It very functional to hang clothes for the next day, Isaac’s wet towel, a jacket, etc. It is right next to the changing table, again, for function! nurs4 The bookshelf was an old goodwill find. It used to be black and sit in my apartment before Doug and I were married, circa 2003. I certainly got my $15 out of that bookshelf. Doug gave it a fresh coat of white paint for the baby. nurs2 The angel music box is one of the few things I have that was my grandmothers’ and I had to put something of nanny’s in the room. More fabric, cards, newspaper from Isaac’s birthday on the wall. The navy lamp is a cheapie from Target. nurs3 A friend made this sweet owl, and my aunt made the blanket behind. The lamp I have had for over 15 years. It was given to me and never really matched anything. But in this room, It finally goes! On the side table: a clock, ipod with baby music, a bible and some toys and puzzles. It was so nice and neat before Isaac was mobile! murse9Over the chair is a framed onesie. Since we did not know the gender we had family and friends guess and write their names on a boy’s or girl’s onesie. This represents everyone who was right.
nurs6

Overall, I am happy with how the nursery turned out. We spent very little and repurposed many items. A few additions (not that noticeable in pictures) were extremely important to us. Those were an overhead fan with lights and blackout shades. Temperature and light are very important for little babes!

photo 3

One thing we were missing back then was a rug. Once Isaac was using the floor we added a navy rug, another free item! It definitely toned down the green. If I had one thing I would go back and change…it would be buying a bigger more comfortable chair for this room. We now spend lots of time reading and the glider is just not that great. Note the messy side table now filled with books? It is well used.

This room will definitely go through some changes as baby #2 comes along. I will keep you posted. Here is what I foresee:

  • Add a twin size bed for Isaac, maybe on the floor at first.
  • Buy twin bed linens that coordinate with the room.
  • Get rid of the chair to make more space available. We will have room to read on the bed! 
  • Change layout to make sense for 2 beds. Thinking and planning as we speak!
  • Clear a side of the closet for Baby Boy’s clothes and gear.
  • Change out the art and pictures, maybe add their names somewhere.
  • Add a mobile for the baby? I never got to this one for Isaac.
  • Put a 2nd coat on the animal canvases, if they get to stay (I might lose the animal them all together).

Thoughts on my Pregnancy (26 weeks)

belly 26 weeksSo, I definitely FEEL pregnant now. There is no hiding the belly. It is there in every outfit, in every hug and every dance. It definitely gets in the way and makes me grunt as I bend or lift sometimes. A few weeks ago Doug said I was just starting to show. Ha. I think he felt like he was now in the safe zone to make a comment. Smart man. I finally broke down and bought a few maternity clothes since I wasn’t really pregnant in the winter last time. Loving the full panel jeans and leggings. Revolutionary.

As of my last appointment at 24 weeks, I am still 11 lbs. less than my starting weight. Yep, still been sick, though it is less. Still filled with mucus, bleh. Eating chicken sushi multiple times a week and craving Cherry Coke. Not craving milk like I did with Isaac. Drinking a decaf coffee most nights as a nightcap. Not really hungry all the time. I loved bagels and cream cheese for a few weeks, but done with that.

I have been having some horrible back pain. - dehabilitating even. My right SI joint in my lower back is apparently out of balance. Seeing a Chiropractor is helping but kinda scary to hear and feel the pop. My pain was terrible for weeks but has been way less since my appointments started. That makes it worth it. I am sure that lifting and caring for a 33 lb. toddler is not helping. I am trying to be smart, but it is impossible to stop doing some things.

I’ve had 2 ultrasounds at my last 2 appointments. Baby was being shy and hiding the first one. All is well though and he showed his little profile and spine this time. He did put his hands up in front of his face. Maybe this one is an introvert like Doug. He his measuring in the 62% for his age.

The c-section is scheduled, which seems like a weird thing months in advance. It is a “if you don’t go into labor by this date” kinda thing. It’s with my doctor so that is exciting. Already thinking about maternity leave and getting my job ready for a volunteer as well as thinking about the help I will need once the baby is here.

I think that I have felt more frustration and stress with this pregnancy – work and home. A lot of changes and preparation. The back pain. Potty training. Just a lot going on and it is hard to rest with a toddler. Could be the hormones too… I did get some pampering this past week. A massage, a haircut and a mani/pedi. Luxury helps.

Baby boy has been moving a lot. Not at the same times each day. Isaac moved a lot when I rested on the couch in the evenings. This boy is random. He feels strong. He will kick or bump and totally roll over. I love to feel him move especially when Isaac is with us, reading a bedtime book or some thing. It’s like they are already fighting for the good seat. I love feeling him move. It is really one of the best things in the world and the best thing about being pregnant.

Isaac does talk about the baby more. He has a joke of calling him a girl to get me to react and say “It’s not a girl, but a boy!” He will say… “A GAY-UL, mommy!” and smile. We saw some small babies while shopping the other day and he was really intrigued by them, even talked about them later. The picture above was taken the other day while Isaac was eating his breakfast. He pulled up my shirt and put his feet on my bump. He started kicking at which I stopped him and said “gentle.” He then gave the baby a kiss and I had my camera. Cool moment.

Change on the Go!

A while back some friends gave us an extra pack ‘n play. We used it on occasion, but it broke and would no longer fold up. After sitting in our garage, unused and unneeded, I decided it was time to donate it. However, Isaac became a fan of it because of the large Sesame Street characters on the inside. We have only watched bits and pieces of Sesame Street a few of times, but Isaac has an Elmo Potty doll and Cookie Monster puppet. They are buds. So just as I started to donate, Isaac grew an attachment to this thing, pointing to his friends every time we passed through the garage. I tried again to fix it with no luck. pad 1

Then I got an idea. Over the summer we would often change Isaac’s diaper in the back of the SUV. Sometimes it was just easier then using one of those plastic bathroom stations. Plus, we had more room for Isaac’s long legs. So I thought, hmm… I could re-purpose the nice, padded, panel that sits on the bottom of the pack ‘n play as a changing pad for our car. At least then, the whole pack ‘n play wasn’t a complete loss. pad 2 The size is nice and long, and the material is nylon so it’s easy to wipe clean. And even though I am a fan of less intentional kid products, Isaac adores the faces on it. pad 3 The pad easily folds in half and tucks in between the floor and the 2nd row seating. Doug thinks it’s kinda silly. But, I’m thinking ahead to next year… It will be nice to have this for baby #2 as well. He/she will be 4-7 months through the summer.pad 4What do you think? Have you re-purposed anything lately?

pad collage 2

Thoughts On My Pregnancy (the first half)

I have to say, that most of my daily day I do not feel pregnant. The baby bump has shown up along with a few maternity shirts and pairs of jeans, but I have also lost 12 lbs. in the last 4 months. And even though mornings are touch and go, after 15 minutes of horrible, I can go on with my days. My busy days. Days of work, side work, mothering, wife-ing, laundering, picking up, and reminding myself to eat. Full days! Most where I feel like I do not accomplish all that I need to.

Sometimes when I lie on the couch at night, exhausted, I remind myself there is an honorable reason why I feel like this. I am a mom of a toddler, while simultaneously growing another inside. Oh yeah, it makes sense. I know in my brain I am pregnant, and I see that my body is pregnant, but still sometimes I just don’t grasp the reality of a baby on it’s way in 20ish weeks. Sometimes, I close my eyes and press on my stomach to try to make the baby move. Though I have felt a few butterflies, nothing outright obvious. As I rest, I start to feel guilty that I am not a good enough mom or wife or mother to be. Then I think if I am overwhelmed now, what is going to happen when I add another baby in the mix? How will I do it all or even just enough?

I try to think back of when I was pregnant with Isaac. I was sick, like now. I was tired, like now. Yet I was nervously studying about birth and reading about sleep strategies. I was listing necessities and picking out fabrics (boy and girl). I was tired and sick, but still organized and preparing. Is it horrible that I have done none of that with baby number 2?

As I sit in my weakness, I am reminded that God is strong. This is a theme that has been poking out at me over the last week. 2 Cor. 12:9 says that …”My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.” Though I have heard that verse many-many times, I cannot say that I am feeling that today, right now. I want to, though. I want to see His power come in my life and allow me to be a woman that reflects the character of God within my family and beyond. Another point that has stuck out in prayer over the last few weeks is that “Worship is an act of weakness/humility.” So maybe that is a good place to start. I’m also reminded that the enemy will use truth to tell me a lie. So, even though yes I am tired and yes I didn’t make a family dinner tonight, that doesn’t mean I have failed or disappointed my family. The song we sang today in church brought me to tears…“ When I lose my way, And I forget my name, Remind me who I am. In the mirror all I see, Is who I don’t wanna be, Remind me who I am. In the loneliest places, When I can’t remember what grace is. Tell me once again who I am to You, Who I am to You. Tell me lest I forget who I am to You, That I belong to You. To You.” I want to be reminded about who God thinks I am on a regular basis. It is much better than what the enemy wants to whisper. Hmm, worship would help remind me of that. More worship. (Lord, I hear you loud and clear)

I have to say that even though I am struggling with these thoughts, I AM excited about having another child. I was super blessed to have Isaac and feel even more blessed to receive this gift again. I have to say that it is the hardest and best thing that has happened in my life. It has also taught me so much about God’s love and how He sees me. It’s a really cool thing.

I know it will be good for Isaac, but I am also nervous about his transition when the baby comes. He loves his mommy, and I hope he doesn’t resent the baby because I will have to sometimes tend to baby needs before his. I tell myself all moms with more than one child have gone through this and it works out. I am sure it will. Even if it is hard, it will be a life lesson for him to see he is not the star. I am sure I will learn and grow through it too.

It is so strange to say, but food has been hard this time around. The first few months I was nauseous and I wanted nothing to eat. Even though, eating would make me feel better. I have never really craved anything being pregnant, but for a few weeks I really wanted a beer, and I don’t even like beer. I am better with eating now, but I am still not consistent and have to wait late in the day sometimes to eat or brush my teeth. It is probably the most annoying part. It could be a lot worse, I have friends that have been way sicker than that.

We soon find out the sex of the baby. I think that will make it more real for me. I have been having “girl feelings”. I don’t really know if I can trust those. With Isaac I went back and forth, but  towards the end felt “boy feelings”. I will be glad to know and for Doug to know. I think he is really nervous about having a girl and the time to get used to the idea would be good for him. If it’s a boy, I’m the one that needs to know and re-adjust. Logistically a boy would be easier. But, a girl would be new and fun. Either way, it is already decided and I will be ecstatic for any healthy baby to love.

Since I had Isaac, I have had a passion to pray for the women I know that have had trouble getting pregnant. When friends have lost babies it just makes me weep. I cannot imagine. That has to be the most horrible thing in life. So I pray, because I believe passionate prayers are powerful. Many places in the scripture it says the people were moved with compassion, then something big happened. So, you gals know who you are. I am still praying for a redemption story.

…just some things on my mind.

Quick Tip: DIY Thank You Notes

After Isaac’s first birthday party, I needed to write thank you notes. I was going to print something up with a photo program online, but ended up feeling rushed to get them out.  So I ordered some Walmart prints from Isaac’s one-year photoshoot. I created my own card, using 4 X 6 white notecards with a lined back. These notecards are a great mulit-use item so I just had laying around… ahem, free!  I used tape to attach the picture to the card, so that family could keep the picture and put in a frame if they choose.

thank youOn the back I wrote a short note about how Isaac was enjoying his gift, and I wrote it as if he was talking. I used a few sharpies to add some color to the notes. I slipped the cards in some large envelopes and mailed them out the next day. Cute. Personal. Easy. Done.

thank you 2

Just a little crooked…

Isaac had his first haircut back in October (3 months ago). His hair was starting to look straggaley (is that a word?). It was falling in his eyes and hanging over his ears, so I thought that I might try to give him a little haircut. Nothing major, just a trim. Hmm, Doug has the scissors, but I have absolutely no idea what I am doing.  

So, I googled it. Yep, that’s what you do in 2013 when you want to learn something fast. 

I came across a few videos: How To Cut Toddler Hair at Home, watched a few, then felt a little more confident. One video suggested looking at the back of his hair in three sections. Bottom, cut at one finger length, middle at two finger length and next section 3 finger lengths. That really helped me to envision how long the back should be.

My strategy was this:

  • Cut his hair during a prime happy time – morning!
  • Distract him with his current favorite thing – PBS show called Super Why.
  • Use 2 bibs (one of them backwards) to keep the hair off his neck.
  • Cut the bangs first, trim around the ears next, and if then trim the back. That way if he only let me complete one thing, his hair would be out of his eyes.

photoI had all the items ready to go, so as soon as his show started, I buckled him in his highchair.photoHere are the BEFORE PICS: (Notice the I love this show face?)

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AFTER PICS: (Still liking the show… quietest 25 minutes of the day!)

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Overall I was pretty happy with how it turned out. A few of his bangs are too long and I might try to fix them up so they aren’t crooked. But, his hair is usually messy from playing and most of the time it’s pretty hard to tell.

Go Momma!

Anybody else tried to cut their kid’s hair? Go for it.

Bag It Like I Stole It!

I adore Buy Buy Baby. The store came to Cincinnati the year before Isaac was born and I am SO GLAD! I registered there and had a great experience with them. They received returns off my register easily before Isaac was born and the whole year after (completely opposite of the other place I registered). Last week I returned a few gifted toys that I am not even sure were purchased there. They rock. The people are nice and helpful. Our store has a nursing room too, so it made it easy for me to make a trip when Isaac was itty bitty. They also sell great products. The carry some higher end brands that you cannot find at other baby stores, some that the quality is worth the investment. Stroller section alone is bigger than my house (at least it feels that way). To wrap it all up their coupons are incredible. They frequently mail $5 of a $15 purchase and 20% off an item and you can use as many as you want. They will also take coupons from competitors. Since the location is about 35 minutes from our house, I will usually save my coupons and make a list then optimize them before they expire. I wish I had kept track of all my savings because friends it is a lot.  I leave with a smile on my face feeling like beat the system somehow.

So last week I had a few returns and a pile of coupons that were set to expire. I decided it was time for a trip but only had a few items that I was looking for: a few self-feeding spoons, straw sippies, maybe some plates, possibly a birthday gift for Isaac’s girlfriend. They received all 3 toys and I had a gift receipt of $53 to spend. I loaded up on the items I new that I needed. I also was thinking about a new Skip Hop bottle/lunch bag. I was happy with the quality but mine was kinda stinky, so I picked up on of these too. It matches my beloved diaper bag which was in great shape, so I figured with $5 off coupon it was worth it.

Here is my diaper bag: The Skip Hop Duo

7342914923993PHere is the matching bottle/lunch bag: The Skip Hop 3 Bottle Thinsulate Bag7348614924370PLike I said, I have been super happy with these products. Durable, easy to clean, and simple. They don’t scream “I am for a baby” so I know that I can use them for a long time. I have thought about getting the the larger bag, the Duo Double, but at $79.99, I couldn’t justify another bag that I would only use rarely.  That was until I saw one with this little tag…

photo It is hard to read, but says the date of return was 9-17-2012 for a broken zipper. Original price $79.99 and Reduced Retail $30.98. I looked at the bag and saw no other defects, the middle zipper was open so I figured it was the reason for the return. I wasn’t sure I wanted to pay $30.98 even after coupon, so I carried it to the register with me to see what I could get. I figure my seamstress could fix the zipper for $10 or so, so if I could get them down to $20 (then another $5 off) it would be worth it. I asked the sales clerk if she would take $20 for it and she said she would have to call the manager. When the manager came I thought twice and asked her if she would reduce the price. She asked me the date, and since it had been over 3 months she cut the price in half!!! YES!!!  $14.50, people! After $5 coupon it was down to $9.50. Oh Em Gee!

So here is my new bag… photo photoOnce I got home, I tried out the middle zipper that I thought was broken and it worked! Turned out the broken zipper was on the side where there was a double zipper option, meaning only one of those zippers does not work! What? I don’t even have to get this baby fixed. Happy Momma, right here.

photoAnd, the baby was happy too :)
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Thanks Buy Buy Baby for treating me so good, you have a customer for life!