Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Newborn Favorites

Ted is four months old! How did that happen?! We are well passed the newborn phase...

thank goodness

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the cuddles, the sweet newborn smell, sweet little newborn gowns. Seriously, adorable, but...the first three months were tough to say the least. We had a lot of nights like this one. 

The first few months are somewhat of a blur...sleepless nights, sleepless days, adjusting to nursing (ouch!), gassy baby which leads to screaming baby, overtired baby which also leads to screaming baby. 

Not sure what's wrong with baby, which also leads to screaming baby...and crying mother.

I love my son with all my heart and there is nothing that brings me more joy than being a mom, but it was a rough start for sure. 

Now we have found our stride! Nursing is awesome. I really love it. To any new moms or moms-to-be reading this, don't give up! The first few weeks are pretty awful, but it will get better! There are definitely times I wish my husband could help with the feeding more (usually around 2am), but I love the time with Ted. It's just us and I love that no one else has this relationship with him but me. 

He's getting on a pretty good schedule, both day and night. (Of course, now he probably won't sleep tonight!) 

He laughs, he babbles, he rolls all over the place. He absolutely melts my heart a million times a day. Those first three months are completely worth it and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!

I did find a few items that were lifesavers for us...

Newborn Must Haves:

1. Sleep Sacks We had several different sleep sacks, but my two favorite are the Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle and the Original Woombie. I loved the Halo because you can swaddle their arms in or leave them out, but it still feels snug around their chest. We used this the first 4 weeks until his legs were too long. Then I discovered the Woombie. I love this product. We had some very difficult nights once he was strong enough to bust out of the swaddles, until I discovered this. He is swaddled, but can still move his arms as much as he wants. This will be a must have for all of our kids.

2. Sound Machine I'm not sure who likes this more, Jason or Ted. :) There are several different settings...white noise, heartbeat, nature, ocean, etc. When we first transitioned him to the crib, we set it on heartbeat. Now it's on nature...Jason says it's Ted's "favorite". We can hear it through the monitor :)

3. Sleep Books I've mentioned before that I read so much about childbirth, I forgot to read about when the baby is actually here! We had some rough days and nights until I read these two books. This book talks about baby only having a 90 minute wake time (at the most) from birth until about 3 months. It tells you cues to look for and to start soothing baby for nap time. Combine that with what Baby Wise teaches about getting baby on a schedule and the Woombie and we were ALL sleeping better!

4. Video Monitor We transitioned Ted to the crib around 5 weeks. I wanted him in with us longer, but none of us were getting any sleep. Any little sound or movement from Ted meant I was up and then Jason was up too. I love this video monitor. I love that we can still see him. It helps to "see" what kind of cry it is and whether it's just sleepy cry...eyes closed, or a real hungry/wet/get me up cry.

5. Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets I pretty much LOVE every product from this company. These blankets are lightweight, get softer with every wash and are nice and big - perfect for swaddles! They are come in really cute prints! I have my eye on their Dream Blanket and Organic Easy Swaddles for the next babe.

6. Gripe Water Ted was pretty gassy the first few months and would get some pretty bad belly aches. Gripe water was the only thing that helped. A good friend recommended it and gave it to me at my baby shower. So happy because I had never heard of it! It would work within minutes...relieve his gas and calm him down. A definite must have!

7. Snot Sucker I have to admit, this really grossed me out when I first saw it, but my cousin swore by it, so we gave it a go. It works so much better than the bulb syringe! Plus, there is a filter, so you will not be swallowing any baby snot. ;-)

8. Snap & Go Stroller We have a jogger, but we use this the most. It is so easy to use and takes up minimal space. I use it for shopping and traveling the most.

9. Fisher Price Kick & Play Ted wasn't sold on the baby swing or the baby bouncer. He wanted to be held all the time. I love this babe so much, but sometimes you want to set them down for a few minutes. My friend had one of these and Ted loved it! He loves kicking his feet and when he kicks this it makes music. 

10. Boppy Nursing Pillow I used this more as a lounger to lay Ted on. When he was gassy or spitting up a lot I would prop him up on this for naps.

11. WubbaNub I think I want Ted to love this more than he actually does. He is not the biggest fan of the pacifier, he uses it every once in awhile if he is really tired and fussy, but once he's in his crib, he spits it out. He probably uses it more for teething now. But I am still hopeful he will love his Wubbanub!

12. Mother Love Nipple Cream&Nursing Pads There is quite a learning curve to nursing and A LOT to get used to. Long gone are the days of dresses and tanks with built in bras. Every outfit I have to ask, will I be able to nurse in this? On top of that, the first few weeks are brutal to say the least. Ted wanted to nurse all the time and it was very painful. It took several weeks to get used to it. These two products were a HUGE help. FYI, beware of any type of nursing cream ruining your tops! I learned the hard way. :-/
There are lots of great baby items out there, these just happen to be some of my favorites.

What are some of your newborn must haves?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Five Favorites {5}

1. I went on my first bike ride since before Ted was born! We were supposed to have a birthday breakfast bike ride a couple of weeks ago for Jason's bday, but he had a flat tire. :-/ The other day, my foot was hurting so I didn't want to go for a run. Instead, I went for a bike ride. I prefer bike rides with my sweet hubby, but until Ted is old enough for a trailer, this was good enough.

2. I am lucky to share my birthday with a very special six year old, my soon-to-be niece! She is the cutest and we love getting to celebrate together. We seem to always have pizza, either going out for pizza or homemade by my sister. They are both equally delicious! This year, we opted for Spinato's Pizzeria - all of our favorites, and Ava picked out Bosa Donuts for our birthday dessert! Yum! Ted was super excited to rock his Spinato's tshirt!

3. I have officially started training as a VA (Virtual Assistant)! I am super excited about this opportunity for several reasons...1) I get to stay home with Ted. 2) I get to contribute to our family income while staying home with Ted. 3) I love learning new things. 4) I love working with and getting to know new people.

4. I found this delicious new coffee creamer, so now my coffee tastes like a Thin Mint cookie. Seriously, it's amazing.
5. We watched my friend's adorable little girl the past couple days and she's a little smitten with Ted...who isn't? ;-)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Linking up with Jenna at A Mama Collective.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Citrus Lane

I've been wanting to try Citrus Lane for awhile now. I've been seeing posts of people super excited about their toys and products to use for their little one. Jenna, over at A Mama Collective is doing a Battle of the Boxes reviewing three different monthly subscription boxes...Citrus LaneStork Stack, and Bluum

I was even more intrigued.

Then I got a promotional email for Citrus Lane...two months for the price of one!

I love, love, love a deal.

So I placed my order and waited ever so patiently.

Soon my boxes arrived, one right after the other! The cute boxes with the yellow stripe are almost enough to gush over.

July Box

  • Aden + Anais Burpy Bib ($9.95) I love these burpy bibs and I love anything from this company! I have their swaddle blankets, sleep bags, bibs, lovies, and a list of wants. I was super excited for another one of these!
  • Pack & Go Mini Mobile ($14.95) I have never seen this before and I love it! Even better, Ted loves it! I can hear him laughing and swinging the mobile around in the car. I love that it is so easy to clip on and off his car seat.
  • Little Buddy Wipes ($2.95) These are nice because they are easy to pack in the diaper bag. Can't say I would continue to buy them, but nice to have.
  • nurturmeals This is a sample of dried organic food. Ted's not ready for solids yet, but I'll keep it around and maybe try it. I think you can use it to replace rice cereal.
  • Aden + Anais Mum and Bub Ointment This is also a sample. I've always wanted to try this stuff and as I said earlier, I love everything from A+A!!

August Box

  • Rich Frog Little Stacker ($12.95) So, this looked pretty cute, but it's actually kind of lame. The velcro on it is really weak and I envision this becoming one of the dog's toys...he already dragged it to the living room twice. When I looked up this company, I really wish this would have been in the box instead! I mean, how cute are these? Not impressed with the stacker.
  • Cleo's Alphabet Book ($6.95) This is a pretty cute board book. Ted's starting to really like looking at books too!
  • Ah Goo Baby Bottle Strap ($10.49) This is actually pretty cool! You put it around baby's bottle/sippy cup and then attach it to their car seat or stroller. If they drop it or throw it...stays off the ground. The prints are really cute too!
  • Clean Well Hand Sanitizing Wipes ($5.24) Well, since I got sanitizing wipes in the previous box, I wasn't too jazzed about this at all. :-/
  • Weleda Calendula Natural Baby Cream This was a sample, but not a cute little tube like the Mum+Bub...several of those annoying packs you have to open and only use once because you have to tear them open. I am sure this is a great product, I just don't like samples like this.

So, I'm happy with my Citrus Lane boxes, but only because I got a month free. The only products I am really excited about are the A+A burpy bib, Pack and Go Mini Mobile, and possibly the Ah Goo Baby bottle strap. I never would have paid $10 for it, but since I have it I will probably use it. 

Overall, I'm not really that impressed with these boxes. I was hoping for more toys or activity things for Ted and less product. Am I missing something? For those of you who have raved about your boxes, what do you love about them? 

I am really excited to see what Jenna at A Mama Collective gets in her other boxes!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Five Favorites {4}

1. This guy's birthday this week. We were supposed to have an awesome birthday breakfast bike ride, but flat tire instead. Boo...we still got to go out for breakfast at The Farmhouse. It was delicious, but I think Liberty Market is better. I made homemade pizza and dessert crepes for his actual birthday. Yum yum...

2. Everyone is starting back to school this week. Teachers, students...everyone except THIS girl! People keep asking me if I am missing teaching. It was always sooo hard giving up summer, now I can't even imagine leaving Ted all day long. But, I guess there are some parts I miss. I loved the teachers I worked with, the comradery, the gossip on the playground. I loved the kids I have taught and the silly things they would say every day. I miss that. Most of all, I am so grateful to be able to stay home with my son. It will take some adjusting and sacrifice, but I can't think of anything more worth giving up the unnecessary "stuff". I am really excited for an opportunity to work from home and I am super excited to get started!

3. I got my first and second Citrus Lane box! They had a two for one promotion, so I got two months for $25! The July box was great! It had an A+A burpy bib and this adorable travel mobile. Ted loves it! I love that it is easy to attach. I was not so impressed with the August box, so I'm pretty happy it was two boxes for $25.
4. I've been back to the gym for a few weeks now. I am doing a Couch to 5K program. I'm just starting week a few more weeks I'll be ready for a 5K and hopefully my jeans will fit again. ;-)

5. This kid...I just can't express enough how much this kid brings such joy to my heart. If you've been reading my blog, you read about our dear friend's son who passed away last week. I'm still at a complete loss. I've been really focusing on taking in every single moment with Ted and taking nothing for granted. It goes by so fast and we just never know. This week I was reminded that Ted is on loan to us and I need to cherish every single moment.
those cheeks...

 i love how he grabs my hand and won't let go
hopefully he never gets tired of my kisses ;-)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tragic and Beautiful

I hate that I had to say goodbye, but I feel fortunate I got the chance.

I got to hold him one last time. I gave him lots of hugs and kisses. I told him he was brave and strong. I told him about his buddy Ted and how we pray for him all the time. 

I kept asking his mom if she wanted to hold him. I was so worried something would happen in someone else's arms. I should have known better. 

He knows those arms better than anyone. He knows the peace and comfort of those arms. He knows there is no one in the world that can snuggle him like those arms can. 

We talked about serious stuff, about what might be happening soon. We talked about how unfair it is, but still had hope. Until his last breath, his mom never gave up hope. I told her I wish I knew why. I told her the only thing I knew was that she was meant to be his mother. We cried thinking about life without him.

We talked about light-hearted stuff too. We laughed and watched football. His dad told me he was going to miss him so much. He kept taking Bradley's hand and stroking his face. He loved his dad's scruffy face. 

Other people took turns holding him and then he ended up in his mother's loving arms. I gave my seat to his dad. In those arms like no one else's and with his dad right by his side, stroking his face with his hand, he took his last breathe. 

No struggle, no pain. 

Right where he should be, in the one place he probably was the happiest and most content, in his sweet mother's arms.

I didn't want to be there when this happened, but the more I think about it I am happy I was there. That may sound weird. I am not happy about what happened. I am devastated for my friends. My heart aches for my son who won't know his friend. But I am happy because what I witnessed was the most amazing example of unending faith, unceasing hope, and unconditional love.

It was tragic...and it was beautiful.

People often say things to try and comfort or maybe to make sense of things. You know the "at least he isn't suffering anymore" or "at least they had time to prepare" comments. 

Yes, I am so thankful that he is not suffering anymore and I know his parents are too. However, I don't think that takes away the emptiness. I can only imagine how they feel because I feel empty and hollow.  

After watching a close friend go through this, I don't think there is any way to prepare for this. I know what doctors told them, but I also know they never gave up believing he would be healed. Even in those last hours, they still believed he could be healed. I think "being prepared" to some parents means giving up, and I don't know any parent that would ever give up the fight for their child. 

My friends were no exception. Like I told them earlier, they were meant to be this boy's parents. They only had their son for a year, but they are amazing parents. They had to take on the role of caregiver and did it with such strength and courage.  I know they begged God why this was happening to their son. I know they were scared. I know they cried a lot. I know they never gave up. 

What I saw every time was amazing grace.

Another friend who lost her five year old daughter wrote, "I walk with one foot on earth and one foot in Heaven, for I am the mother of a saint."

Sweet Bradley, please pray for all of us, we miss you so much.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Five Favorites {3}

Linking up with Hallie.

1. I haven't read a book that isn't about pregnancy, childbirth, breast feeding or infant sleep in over a year. I love a good biography...especially about 80s actors. I found this one at Barnes & Noble for $5.00. There's at least 4 chapters dedicated to his first movie, one of my all time favorites, "The Outsiders". If you are a fan of 80s movies and the crazy life of movie stars, it does not disappoint. And he's just so pretty!

2. Now going in the very opposite direction...I love everything I've read and heard about our new Pope. This is no exception. 

"We need saints without cassocks, without veils - we need saints with jeans and tennis shoes. We need saints that go to the movies that listen to music, that hang out with their friends. We need saints that place God in first place ahead of succeeding in any career. We need saints that look for time to pray every day and who know how to be in love with purity, chastity and all good things. We need saints - saints for the 21st century with, a spirituality, appropriate to our new time. We need saints that have a commitment to helping the poor and to make the needed social change.

We need saints to live in the world, to sanctify the world and to not be afraid of living in the world by their presence in it. We need saints that drink Coca-Cola, that eat hot dogs, that surf the internet and that listen to their iPods. We need saints that love the Eucharist, that are not afraid or embarrassed to eat a pizza or drink a beer with their friends. We need saints who love the movies, dance, sports, theatre. We need saints that are open, sociable, normal, happy companions. We need saints who are in this world and who know how to enjoy the best in this world without being callous or mundane. 

We need saints."   ~Pope Francis, WYD2013

He is so joyful!

3. I just ordered my first Citrus Lane box! They had a TWO FOR ONE promo, so I thought it was a good time to try it out! I should be receiving the July box any day now and the August box at the end of the month!

An example I googled :)

4. My husband's birthday is Monday and we are going on a Birthday Breakfast Bike ride. It will be our first date since Ted was born. I am so excited for some one on one time with my hubby and to get back on my bike! We haven't been on a bike ride since I was 7 months pregnant (don't tell my doctor I rode my bike that long) ;-)

5. This kid is just too much! It overwhelms me how much I love him.

Friday, August 2, 2013

three months

My sweet boy is three months old! It is hard to believe it's been 3 months already. It seems like just yesterday we were here. At the same time, I can't remember what life was like without Ted. I'm still exhausted, still feel like I have no idea what I am doing, but somehow loving every minute of it. I could seriously just stare at him all day. It continues to amaze me every day that I get to be his mama.
Amazing how much he's grown!
Three months means time to party!

Isn't it funny how things change? I've always thought I knew so much about children. I've taught for 7 years, have taken countless child development classes and have been surrounded by children (friends and family) my whole life. Yet now that I am a mom and I am responsible for this little soul, I feel completely helpless. I question every single decision we are making. Is he nursing too much? Too little? Do I rock him to sleep? Or do I let him cry it out? Do I follow BabyWise or some other book that seems to think all babies are the same and completely contradict every other book.

I have quickly learned that no two babies are alike and I assumed that just because I have friends whose children slept through the night early that mine would too. What's that saying about when you ASSume? Needless to say, my child is not sleeping through the night. In fact, it seems that every time I say that he is sleeping well we have another long, horrible night like this one

So, if anyone asks again, "How is your child sleeping at night?" 

My new response is, "ehh, it could be better."
These snuggles get me through those sleepless nights.
{heart melt}

Ted's learned some new tricks this week! He's rolling over! No more swaddles at night! I put him on his back in his crib and he wakes up on his belly and sideways. We had to go buy some new footed jammies because he didn't have any that fit!

I'm learning to adjust to this new life with Ted. I have a lot of friends who are teachers who are either already back to school or getting to go back. 

Well, guess what? 

I'm not going back to teach! Usually around this time I start having the back to school anxiety dreams. I still have  them...maybe it's sympathy anxiety for my fellow teacher friends. All I know is that it feels AWESOME to not be going back to school! I do love teaching, but I really can't imagine sending Ted to daycare and then teaching other people's kids all day long. I am still working, I will just be doing it from home.

I am really excited and nervous about this new chapter in our family. It means some changes and sacrifices, but just look at this face...
totally worth it, right?
 Starting to love his toys
 Sun's out...guns out!
Loves his playmat

Five Favorites {2}

Linking up with Hallie for my Five Favorites this week.

1. This past weekend, our son was baptized at our church. It was such a special day! He was baptized by our parish priest. He also presided at our wedding and when my husband joined the church earlier this year. I've known him as long as I've lived here, almost 12 years, so it was so special to have him baptize our son! (Check out his sweet ponytail!) Ted's baptism outfit was adorable! I didn't want a three piece suit for an infant and I couldn't find a gown that I really liked that was gender neutral. A friend told me about her son's romper that was Irish linen. I googled it and found this. It was perfect! I love that it is simple and I love the St. Brigid cross on the collar. We will definitely keep this in our family for many years to come.

2. We've been researching cameras and we finally decided to buy this one. We bought it just in time for Ted's baptism. It has been really fun learning how to use it. I love how great the pictures are! Jason is pretty excited about it and likes being artsy with his picture taking. Can you tell?

3. I've never been a dieter. We try to eat healthy, but I could never adopt a diet like Paleo. Mostly because I LOVE grilled cheese sandwiches. I'm pretty sure no bread and cheese allowed. I did come across this delicious recipe. I'd call it "Zucchini Bruschetta". It was delicious and super easy to make. Slice zucchini in a pan. Put sliced tomatoes on top. I drizzled it with balsalmic, olive oil and minced garlic. Add mozzarella or parmesan and bake for 30-40 minutes. Seriously amazing!

4. Some of my favorite girls from Iowa and I started a traveling journal about 10 years ago. Sadly, our first one got lost in the mail. :( We started a new one about 6 months ago and it FINALLY made it's way to me! When we started it, we were all in different states I think. Iowa, Oregon, Illinois, Minnesota, Arizona and maybe New York? Now, four are in Iowa, one in Minnesota and one in Arizona. I am so excited to start writing in this! I keep hearing the music from the Sisterhood of Traveling Pants in my head. I love that we do this and it's just one more way we try to stay connected.

5. This little guy has had a cold for the past few days. The cold is obviously not a favorite, but these snuggles are for sure!

Happy Friday everyone!