May 16, 2016

Baby Survival Guide: Months 1 & 2

Now that our little girl is four months old (seriously, where did the time go?!?) we're feeling pretty good about having survived the first few months. I thought I'd start sharing a few things that have made our lives a little easier. So here goes... A survival guide for the first couple of months of parenthood!

We love the Solly Baby Wrap! I did a lot of reading up on baby wearing before our little girl came into the world and we were definitely on board. One of the things that the led us to choose the Solly Baby Wrap over others was the fabric (a light stretchy knit) portability, close fit, and the fact that it can easily fit my hubby or myself. During the first couple of months, our little girl always wanted to be snuggled up close to us, so wearing her was the only way we could get her to sleep and allow us to get things done around the house. Plus, we kind of love having her close too! Another wrap that I'm interested in trying is the Happy Baby Wrap, which I hadn't seen prior to our baby girl's arrival. This wrap is very similar to the Solly Baby Wrap, but is made of bamboo and comes in an adorable black and white polka dot print - yes please!

We were loaned a Fisher Price Rock 'n Play from a family friend and it has been such a lifesaver! We actually were planning to purchase the newer, automatic version, but the price tag on this one was better! It's so handy to be able to put our little girl down when we need our hands free and the incline allows our curious little girl to be able to see what we are doing.

We hang all of our baby clothes and since we cloth diaper, we have quite a bit of laundry to hang. We have two clip hangers similar to this one that we hang on the shower curtain rod in our hall bathroom and it is super handy. We also secretly love that it's a bit of a brain teaser to evenly hang her baby clothes. Haha. We're kind of nerdy like that.

We had planned to exclusively breast feed, but after some complications during the first few days in the hospital, our baby girl had to be formula fed for a few weeks. I hate how formula stains everything, so we definitely wanted to use a bib to protect all our girly's cute clothes. These triangular scarves from H&M were the only bibs that were even close to fitting around her newborn neck. Sadly, they don't have the solid color 3-packs available anymore, but H&M is constantly bringing out new prints, so I'm sure there will be other prints and patterns soon enough.

If I'm being completely honest, I'm a bit of a germ-o-phobe. With a newborn in the house, my husband became one too. We were constantly washing our hands, washing everything in sight, and then washing our hands again. This Aloe Body Butter from The Body Shop is one of my favorites and we were glad that we had some around since it helped keep our hands from being chapped and cracked with all that slightly obsessive hand washing that we started doing. The Body Shop has lots of different scents, but I love the Aloe version because it is just clean and neutral and not all perfume-y, which can be irritating on sensitive skin.

Breast feeding is tough work! And it's tough on your nipples, especially in the beginning! I really wasn't sure what to expect in the nipple balm department - were they really necessary? were there really differences? were my nipples really going to hurt? I was pretty confused, so I just went with the widely recommended lanolin, which seemed the most common and easiest price point for something I wasn't sure I would need. I actually found that I liked this Boob-ease Organic Nipple Balm a lot (and maybe even the name more - hahaha!) I ordered some of the Bamboobies Washable Nursing Pads (both regular and overnight types) because I liked the materials they were made of along with their cute heart shape. I was pleasantly surprised to find a sample of their nipple balm in my order and after reading the ingredients, it sounded like it was worth a try. If you want the truth, I tried it on my nipples and also tried to taste it (for baby's sake). For the record, it doesn't really taste like anything, even though one of the ingredients is marshmallow root, and I was half hoping for a marshmallow flavor... I  found that it soothed my nipples quite a bit faster than lanolin and was easier to apply because the texture is lighter and not quite as sticky as lanolin. I ended up buying a whole tub of this stuff, and believe it or not it works so well that I rarely need to use it, so my tub will likely last me FOREVER. Okay, that's enough talk about nipples! (Oh, and in case you weren't sure, the answers to the questions above are  yes, yes, and yes...) 

We don't actually use these for cloth diapers, (although we DO cloth diaper our babe) but instead use it for the many other purposes as advertised on the packaging. My mom actually ordered them online for us when we came home from the hospital and found that we didn't have nearly enough burp cloths. We ended buying another pack of them because we use them for that purpose, but also for nursing, for changing, for wiping milk spills, and for playing peek-a-boo. We keep them near the bed, on the dresser, near her rocker, near our baby-changing area, in the car, in the diaper bag, and in my pumping bag. So basically, we use them all the time, everywhere and for almost everything  (but have not used them yet for car-washing, waxing, or household dusting as mentioned on the packaging). I like this style better than the prefolds because they aren't bulky and get really soft after washing. If I had known that there was an organic version of these, I probably would have gotten them... 

I didn't register for these because I thought they were a little weird looking, despite all my mama friends raving about them. There are lots of different versions, but we were thoughtfully gifted several sets of the Summer Infant SwaddleMe (in the original, organic, and microfleece versions) and they turned out to be very handy. They are well thought out and easy to use. I love that there are places for the velcro to stick when the swaddle isn't wrapped around baby, which makes it easier for washing. And they are near impossible to do wrong, so even my hubby who always felt that I was better at swaddling could do it confidently. I can't say for sure if our little girl rested more peacefully in them, but we certainly did knowing that our baby was warm wrapped in the microfleece version on extra cold nights. We loved that we had different materials to keep our baby comfortable while Mother Nature was being very moody this winter. I didn't discover the Stage 1 Pods until it was a little too late, but I really would have liked to try them out when our girl was a wee one. We already have a Stage 3 WrapSack ready for when she is a bit older!

I honestly don't know a lot about baby monitors, because when we registered, hubby did all of the research on this. However, I can say that I'm pretty happy with his pick, which was the Infant Optics DXR-8. We had some problems with the heat in our house, and it was reassuring that this monitor has a built in room temperature sensor so we could easily tell if our babe was sleeping comfortably. The camera also has a zoom feature, so we can keep a closer eye on our little one, which we love. The two way talk feature has also come in handy when one of us in the the room with baby and the other is in another part of the house. There's an option for a wide angle lens as well, but we haven't purchased the additional lens for this feature. One thing I wish that this monitor had is a timer! It would be so handy to be able to know how long our baby is sleeping right on the monitor. Oh, and I do wish you could take screen shots. I know that sounds silly, but the camera/display on this monitor is so good and I just love taking photos of my baby girl!

We don't have a traditional changing table, but instead change our girl on the bed or on a quilt on the floor, mostly because we didn't want to have to be tied down to changing her in one specific place. These changing pads have been helpful for containing messes, especially with nighttime changes, when we are a little bleary eyed and maybe a little more careless. We also keep one in her bassinet, which makes for an easy clean up when she spits up.

We've gotten a lot of use of our Keurig lately, not necessarily for coffee, but for hot water. We've found our machine to be super handy for getting hot water quickly to warm up bottles of milk for our little miss. And yes, for coffee too... and tea... and hot chocolate... Mmmm... We don't actually have that Sandy Pearl version pictured above, but I had to use that photo because it's just soooo pretty and the one I'm dreaming of for our next Keurig.

While we were in the hospital and all confined to one room, and had no other responsibilities, we tracked all of our baby's activities with pen and paper. Once we got home, we found that it was a little impractical to continue the pen and paper method. This app was actually just the first one we came across when I was searching for options on my phone and we've been pretty happy with it. It's super easy to use, fairly thoughtful in it's design, and has made communicating our baby's activities between my hubby and I so easy. It tracks nursing, bottles, diapers, sleep, pumping, baths, medicines, doctor's visits, measurements, vaccinations, and once we are ready, solids... The only complaint we have is that when I replaced my phone (after a tragic accident during a walk around the neighborhood), we've had difficulty with syncing. Other than that, the app has been a breeze to use.

So there you have it! Our top picks for what has made life a little easier for us during our first couple of months. How about you? Do you have any must haves on your baby list?

May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day, Friends!

I'm going to tell you, being a mother on Mother's Day feels so... weird? I feel so much more grateful for my mama now that I have a tiny inkling of what motherhood feels like. I can only guess that my appreciation for her will grow even more over time.

Can you believe it??? I finally completed, photographed, edited, and had time to blog about a project! Hahaha! Time, oh how precious it has become!

 I was quite inspired by this card. The colors were all wrong, so I had to create my own version. If you know anything about my mom, she love love LOVES pink!


Nobody has time for DEEtails anymore! LOL! We're lucky we had time to even make a card!

Paper: Market Street Ashbury Heights 6x6 Designer Paper Pad (My Mind's Eye), Night of Navy Cardstock, Watermelon Wonder Cardstock
Stamps: Alphabet Rotary Stamp, Because You Care, Simply Wonderful
Ink: Night of Navy
Embellishments: Blushing Bride Cotton Ribbon, Blushing Bride Sequin Trim, Blushing Bride Stitched Grosgrain Ribbon, Blushing Bride Striped Grosgrain Ribbon, Crisp Cantaloupe Stretch Ruffle Trim, Pink Pirouette Striped Grosgrain Ribbon
Tools: Die-namics Emmitt Alphabet die (My Favorite Things)

Happy Mother's Day to the best mom I know and most wonderful grandmother to my baby girl!

May 2, 2016

Currently... May 2016

Oh my goodness... It's MAY?!? Seriously folks, I cannot believe that April is gone. May totally snuck up on me! It's crazy because the days and weeks seemed to drag on, but already, the month is gone! I'm sorry that you keep hearing my sad excuses every month... I promise you that I have some new content coming soon (I hope) because I've been working on projects and have started taking photos and writing blog posts... I just need to get my act together! Well, in the meantime, let's try another edition of "Currently..."

Just recently, Hubby and I started watching Good Mythical Morning again here and there in little bits. The show is still crazier than ever and cracks us up. 

I'm a little ashamed to say that we are still on the Chamber of Secrets... There were some busy days in April and we haven't been able to read as much as we'd have liked on some nights. But I'm pretty sure we'll be done with Year 2 tonight and moving on to The Prisoner of Azkaban

LISTENING: to Rachel Platten recently.
I really like her positive energy.

EATING: Fiber One Bars
I sound like an old lady! Hahaha! 
I recently discovered these Caramel Cheesecake Fiber One Bars and they are soooo yummy!

DRINKING: Starbucks Frappuccinos...
Oh, and water... still trying to guzzle it down!

WEARING: this Polka Dot Linen Pocket Tee.
My mom recently purchased this for me and I'm kind of in love. It's comfy, but not too casual, and I get a lot of compliments when I wear it - granted, it's usually from a bunch of 2nd graders during my lunch duty, but a compliment is a compliment! Plus I love me some polka dots and you know how much I love neutrals, so it's a win-win-win. :)

MAKING: lots of messes around here.
I've been making a lot of mess, but I don't ever feel like I'm accomplishing a whole lot other than that... 
But I did actually make a card the other day. FINALLY!!!! I'll be sharing soon... I promise!

PLANNING: our Ohio trip next month.
We never did make it to Ohio last month, and we're far to busy right now to even think about going... So, we're focusing on our trip in June for baby bro's graduation. It'll be our first plane trip with our little girl, and actually her first trip anywhere ever... so we're a little nervous... I think? Too busy to worry these days! I feel like it's hard to plan because she's changing so much each day I have no idea what she'll be like a month from now. It seems so close, yet also so far away!

TRYING: to balance things. 
I've really been struggling lately. I'm hoping things settle into a better routine now that testing is done at school and I finish my last iron infusion tomorrow - hooray!

WANTING: to be more productive.
Sometimes I feel like I'm just not getting enough done. I might be being a little hard on myself, because I'm actually getting quite a bit done, but I wish I could be just a bit more productive.

FEELING: appreciated.
This week is teacher appreciation week and our administration, PTO, and community do such nice things to show us we are appreciated. It's nice to be loved :)
 Have you thanked a teacher today?

ENJOYING: time with my family.
At night, when hubby get home, we all cozy up together in bed (hubby, me, baby girl, and the pup) to read our night-time novel and I just love looking at us as a little family spending time together. 
Wow. where did that sappiness come from? Sorry, my hormones are still a little wacky! LOL!

So, how's your May? did it sneak up on you too?