Friday, April 20, 2012

Guess What?!

Needless to say, I feel like a new woman. I actually had the energy to clean the ENTIRE house today. I just love my baby girl! She's growing up so fast. Let's hope this happens again and again!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Anna Scott's Baby Book - One Month Old

Hey Sweet Baby Girl,
Today you are officially one month old. I remember the first month going by quickly with your brother, so I truly have tried to savor every moment with you since we met. But time has still flown. It is so exciting yet heartbreaking at the same time. You have the sweetest little disposition and seem to be adapting to this new world of yours very well! Your family and I have enjoyed every minute we have shared with you, and cannot wait for the many more we will have in the months to come.

You simply are the cutest little baby (girl) bundle I have ever set my eyes on. You are so special to me and your daddy. Even though you are still so tiny, you still have found ways to either makes us swoon or die laughing. Around three weeks, you started to "ooh" and "ahh" and smile at us. Mommy was able to get it on video! You make the cutest (and sometimes funniest) little expressions. 

You sure are unique and special. Did you know that you cry real tears? You have since our stay in the hospital, something that is pretty rare. Most newborns don't produce tears until later. This, my friend, has been working greatly to your advantage as it breaks my heart to hear you cry AND to see those streaks down your cheeks. Also, I would like to take this time to thank you for all of the "accidents" that have happened involving you and an open diaper. I always heard this is a boy thing, but you have proven that to be false. And did I mention that it ain't just the peepee? Yeah. Pro. Jec. Tile. Lucky for us, I have developed a super-stealth-ninja diaper swap that keeps you (and me-and the bedding-and your clothes) clean and dry. Speaking of laundry, we sure go through a lot due to your spitting up. Bless your little heart. I hate to see you uncomfortable. But the doctor says it's okay, and you are handling it like a champ! Much better than I handled reflux while pregnant. You go girl! 

Sometimes I call you "Baby Grunts". Grunting is pretty much your favorite noise to make. You grunt in your sleep, while you eat, and even while you poo and pee! It really is the cutest thing. And it's nice that you give me a heads up to change your diapers! Also, when you sleep, you like to sing to yourself. Another sound that I just love. 

So far, you seem to be a lot like your brother in that you are laid back and easy-going. But with most other things, you are different. He hated to have his diaper changed or be anywhere close to naked. You? Love it. Unless you're in the bathtub. You're still getting used to that one. He also did not care for the car seat. You could stay in it for hours. And while on the topic of your brother, he is just as smitten with you as everyone else! He always has to kiss you, and is so good at helping take care of you. Hopefully, that never changes.
You have hit many exciting milestones! You can hold your head up, sleep for a 5-6 hour stretch, take 4-5 ounces each feeding, turn your head to find a sound or voice, and even try to talk to us. I can't wait to go through next month's milestones with you. Every day spent with you and Aiden are just the best days of my life! You are my answered prayer, Baby Girl. I love you.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

My Mommy Arsenal {for the first month}

I have survived almost a full month of motherhood of two. I have a talkative and active toddler and a newborn that both require a lot of attention, which I am more than happy to give them! But it is made much easier by a few of my favorite items. I am quite sure I would either A) fail on the daily or B) go cookoo for cocoa puffs (yum) without them. So I compiled a list...for any of my friends who might want some suggestions on what to register for, buy, etc.

For Baby:
For those first couple of months when you have to get up multiple times to feed the baby, this thing rocks! It attaches to the bed and puts your sweet bundle within "arm's reach". I love it for feedings, for paci fallouts, and for that moment of panic when you have to check if they're still breathing (which I do at least twice a night). It also has lots of pockets and storage for diapers, remotes, and other necessary items. They come in two sizes (big and small). We have the smaller size, and have no complaints.
I like having this to prevent her from rolling over. It also has an incline which helps with her spitting up and gas.
On Aiden's first night home, Jamie had to make a mad dash to Kroger in the middle of the night. We had tried everything, but he was still crying. These things are a Godsend. With Anna Scott, she takes a drop with every feeding because of her tummy troubles. They help her burp which cuts back dramatically on gassy fussies and spit ups! Love it. We buy store brands, and they work just fine!
Most any of my friends and family will tell you that I am a HUGE advocate of the perfect swaddle. I watched tutorials when I was pregnant with Aiden and took lessons from the baby nurses while in the hospital with him. I learned the art of the swaddle, and think that all new moms should too. The trick is to tuck the arms, use lighter blankets (fleece would be too hot), and to double up. My favorites are made by Aden and Anais or the flannel ones made by Carter's. If you want to swaddle as they grow, or you have a long/tall baby, the Aden and Anais ones are much better. The Carter's ones are great for newborns, but my babies started kicking out of them at one month.
Swing and Bouncy Seat (with vibration!)
These are great for when I have to do things sans baby. Both of my babies found the vibrations soothing. It also helps if they have something to look at. I've noticed that Anna Scott needs to be repositioned every once in a while (she gets bored with the same view), and this swing allows me to rotate her seat, which I love. I also like the sound machine that comes with it. Aiden used the sound tower until just a couple of months ago! The heartbeat and music are my favorite settings to use.
These are harder to find than most brands, but are so worth it. They mimic the breast, and make it easier for baby to switch from one to the other. They also help with reflux, spitting up, etc. I have seen them at TJ Maxx, Kohls, and some Target and Babies R Us stores.
We used the winter-y one for Aiden, and bought the Lite version for Anna Scott. I love it because it's soft, it's pretty, and it's much easier that keeping up with a blanket. Babies like to kick. And my babies like to kick blankets off, so this is perfect for us. Plus, they have lots of fun colors!

Onesies and Gowns
These are what I like to put her in most of the time. I love the onesies because you can buy them in bulk (usually five for around $10). I like the gowns for middle of the night diaper changes. You don't have to deal with zippers or snaps. These usually come in a two or three pack. Outfits are fun too (especially now that I have a girl), but these two things are what she is in most of the time (plus a pair of socks - My mom would get me if I didn't have her in socks!) Hi, Mom.

For Mommy:
If you're breastfeeding, buy one. I would also invest in a higher quality cover. The regular ones are super rough. Aiden's was the organic cotton one, and Anna Scott's came from PB Kids (the chamois one) Both are super soft! Also, don't forget to take it with you to the hospital.

Lanolin, Lanolin, Lanolin
Another must if you're breastfeeding. I have the lotion/gel stuff as well as the gel pads. Both are absolutely necessary the first week. I like to store the pads in the fridge. I also made sure to have these in my hospital bag, but I think most nurses offer it.
These work MUCH better than the disposables. MUCH better!

LOTS of Bottled Water
I go through about four bottles a day, especially at night. I think it's the nursing that keeps me so thirsty, but I could not get by without a super-cold guzzle of agua!

Mini-Fridge (for the lazies)
Our bedroom is upstairs, and we're slow moving in the middle of the night, so we bought a mini-fridge and keep the bottle warmer in the room with us so that we can prepare bottles more quickly. It's also nice to store Mom's bottled waters.
Twizzlers (or midnight snack of choice)
I have a bag of these in one of those handy Co-sleeper pockets. I love gnawing on these during middle of the night feedings. But with Aiden, my snack was Zebra Cakes...I'm hoping these are a little healthier...Now I want one.

TV Series (multiple seasons)
I suggest purchasing some seasons on DVD, renting some from Netflix, or simply accessing some on demand. Since she was born, I have gone through two seasons of Parenthood and almost four seasons of Friday Night Lights. They're all On Demand so I get to watch them without commercials (again - for the night feedings). The other night I dreamt I was practicing making tackles - a sign that I watch way too much, I'm sure.
I live in my Bravado bra. I bought it when I was pregnant with Aiden. It's soft, supportive, and convenient. I freakin' love it.
I buy this for my friends when they have babies (either this or the Aden and Anais swaddlers). It is an amazing invention. There's literally no way I would be able to remember the last time I fed her, especially when your days and nights start to run together. One night, I actually thought I had just fed her, but after looking at the timer, realized I must have dreamt it. Crazy what sleep deprivation will do to your brain. I think this is the number one thing to get. Hands down.
Alas, my Best Friend that's really what it's called. My family all pitched in and bought me my dream diaper bag - the Ju-Ju-Be BFF! I had a navy Kate Spade with Aiden. It was stylish, yes, but did not have a lot of room, and only two pockets. If there's one thing I love, it's organizing things into containers, pockets, you get it. And this bag has TONS of little sections and pockets galore. It's a super cute print, It's insanely clever, I can fit my DSLR and lenses in it, I don't need a purse b/c of the brilliant mommy pocket, and it's pretty much my portable nursery. I kinda love it. Can you tell?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My First 2 Weeks {As A Mommy of Two}

Coming Home
When we came home that Friday afternoon, I was so excited to get settled in. After about an hour of unpacking, laundry, and last minute nesting of baby items, I simply couldn't wait to put her in all things soft and pink. Aiden couldn't wait to show her his toys and have her put on the floor to play with him. We had to explain that she wasn't quite ready for that. He was content with just giving her kisses. Later that evening, family came by to visit. The next couple of days all blur together - a mixture of visitors, photos, gifts, and lots and LOTS of food! Not to mention sleeping and feeding in two hour increments.

We were so blessed to have so many family members help out with Aiden. It was good to have that quality alone time with Anna Scott, and I think equally good for him to have more attention those first couple of days. As much as I missed him, I knew it was important for me to give 100% to bonding with baby girl. I also didn't want him to feel left out or ignored amongst all of the craziness. The first day that we all woke up together (and I was all on my own) was not half as stressful as I thought it would be. Aiden was more than eager to help out with anything and everything, and did not seem the slightest bit phased by all of the baby holding going on. I still made him snuggle with me anyway. I have to say he has been such a great help, going to get diapers, throw things away, getting her her paci when needed, etc. When he does help out, he calls himself (super hero of the day) before dashing off to his destination. The current top three are Superman, Green Lantern, and Batman. I try hard everyday to give him one on one time during her morning snoozes. We play in his room (his favorite) with super heroes galore! He is even sure to get me a pillow to sit on each time because he knows that it hurts to sit on the floor - such a sweet, sweet son.

The nights have been fine. Those first few days were hard on me physically. Once the pain meds ran out and the milk came in, OUCH. (Sorry for the TMI) Add to that tiny naps in place of a straight 8 hour night's sleep and raging hormones, and you have a crazy woman on your hands. Poor Jamie. But after those first couple of weeks, I noticed the weepies going away. Anna Scott started taking a little more each feeding which gave me longer stretches of sleep, and I started napping when Aiden napped (whenever I could). Now, we have a nice little routine. And most importantly, it has wiggle room. Which keeps me sane. The only thing I'm still working toward is evening time with Jamie. When I put Aiden and Anna Scott to bed, I dive in as well. I'm usually dead to the world around 7 pm everyday. I'm hoping that as her nighttime feedings stretch out, I'll be able to swing some primetime TV or a movie night with the hubs.

Our Routine
Our typical day begins with a feeding around 6 am. I try to squeeze in a little extra sleep before Aiden crawls into bed with us around 7:30. When that happens, I get up, pump, and fix Anna Scott's bottle for later. I get Aiden dressed, make up his bed, and we head downstairs to make breakfast. We spend our time with Mickey Mouse, get some cuddle time, and Mommy gets her caffeine. When she gets up, I feed her while he plays and like I said earlier, she goes to sleep and we play together in his room. SOMETIMES, I sneak in a little of The View or Barefoot Contessa. Then we have lunch and naptime. Mommy's favorite! If I'm dead tired, I'll take a nap. If not, I'll stare at her, take photos, blog (like today), or watch some Friday Night Lights. When he gets up, we get a snack and play. Then we just sort of do whatever until Daddy gets home. Last night, I added a relaxing, candlelit bath to my routine before going to bed. That was a brilliant idea. Slept like a baby. In four to five hour intervals, of course.
Overall, this has been the best time of my life. I feel so complete. I wake up everyday eager and ready for what the day holds. I go to bed each night so thankful for the day I was given. Being a mommy of two has to be the most fulfilling and rewarding experience ever. Each day is the best day of my life.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Nursery/Big Boy Room Reveal

When we picked out this house, I was not even pregnant with Aiden yet. A baby was part of the plan, of course, but we didn't think about two babies. We just were thinking one step at a time, I guess. So, when the plan for baby number two came along, we looked at other houses, but never put ours on the market. I went through a few panic attacks, not gonna lie. Where will we store everything? How will I decorate? What if it's a girl? But, when we found out it was in fact a girl...I calmed down. Not sure what happened, but all of a sudden, I was content with where we are. I was bound and determined to make it work. I started gutting the walk-in closet, organizing storage bins for the attic, and making room for baby.
It worked! There is room for everything. A place for everything. Everything (most of the time) in its place. The next challenge was decor. I had always pictured white furniture for a girl. Problem #1. The manufacturer of Aiden's convertible crib/full size bed discontinued the conversion rails. Problem #2. Our solution? Use the espresso crib (until she has her own room-then I'll get the white) and purchase a headboard for Aiden. We still haven't done that by the way, but it'll get done. As for color scheme, I went through thousands of ideas, pinterest inspirations, and browsed the internet forever. Finally? I just decided to do what I wanted for him on "his side" and what I wanted to her on "her side". I didn't think about them blending well or whatever. I didn't want to compromise. And I think it worked out fine.
We did need something in the middle of the room to divide it in some way. That's where my contractor husband stepped in. He built a big deep-freezer-you-can-fit-a-dead-body-in-it-size toy box. We chose white instead of espresso so that it had that built-in look and became part of the room as opposed to another dark piece of furniture. And above that, we framed two baby stats printables. I got the layout from pinterest and just used word art in Microsoft Word to tweak the font sizes.
Aiden, obviously is in love with super heroes right now. So, around Christmas, when I came across these Batman sheets, I knew he had to have them! KiKi got them for him for Christmas, and Mommy and Daddy got him his big boy bed. Thankfully, Uncle B and G-Daddy and RaRa donated a super soft brown bedding set. That saved a lot of cash-o-la! Thanks, family. We moved his name down, which was super easy because we had originally "hung" them using 3M velcro strip thingies. But (lesson learned) when sure to pull down, not out. Or else, husband might get upset. Add a stuffed Spidey and Captain America? Done-zo.

The flipside (or actual side) or the quilt
As for Anna Scott's side, I went crazy with my mom in Pottery Barn Kids. After I had the bedding picked out, the rest was easy. If it was pink, I bought it. I added the pinterest pom pons hanging from the ceiling for extra fun! The same family friend that made Aiden's letters made some matching ones for Anna Scott, and that was that. We now have ourselves a fully decorated (minus Aiden's headboard and possibly a big shelf/ledge under the baby stats), fully functional nursery/big boy room, or as I like to call it the Bursery. It was a fun challenge, and I love the finished product. I can't wait to see them playing together on the floor!

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