A parent’s perspective – baby comes first

Ever since we’ve become parents, the Hubs and I have spent less time away from home, less time away from each other, and as little time as possible away from J.  As soon as that little one enters your world, they become your #1 priority.  Besides that, you WANT them to be your #1 priority.  You will find yourself choosing spending time at home with you little one and you family over spending time away.  The things that you enjoy doing and find yourself missing doing, you will find yourself choosing your little one over those things.  It’s a choice that you start to make automatically.  It’s barely registers as a “decision” actually.  It became so automatic to us that we don’t even question it anymore.

A close friend asked the Hubs to go on a long weekend camping trip the other day.  In the pre-baby days, the Hubs would have jumped at the opportunity – backpacking and camping with the guys for a few nights in a row would have been close to heaven for him.  Fast-forward to post-baby days…total change of mind.  The Hubs didn’t even ask me if it would be OK for him to go away for a few nights.  Instead he already knows and already has decided that he doesn’t like to be away from J (and maybe me too) for more than a night.  A baby changes everything.

What was particularly interesting about this specific situation was that this friend got pretty upset about the Hubs not wanting to spend more than one night away.  It wasn’t that Hubs couldn’t spend more than one night…although it wouldn’t make me very happy…but that he did not want to.  Funny how it changes, huh?  It has very little to do with the Hubs not wanting to spend time with his friends doing something he enjoys, and has everything to do with spending as much time with your little one as you possibly can.

I remember how the Hubs and I used to be in the pre-baby days.  Knowing us we probably would have been a little annoyed at a friend who would turn down what seemed like an awesome opportunity to get away for the sake of having a family or something similar.  I get it, I’ve been there.  But now it’s almost comical when someone uses your choice to stay home with the kiddo as a means to be upset over your decision.  Your whole perspective changes the minute that little one comes into the world.

Pregnancy the second time around

To preface this post, I love being pregnant.  There’s something so magical about the whole process.  I missed being pregnant.  Which is probably why we didn’t wait very long before we decided to try for baby #2… There are many many positive experiences that pregnancy brings.  It is a feeling that many many women long for and only some are lucky enough to experience.

Now that I’ve cleared that up…

Some days, especially these days during the middle part of the first trimester, I wonder why I would want to do this to myself all over again.  MORNING SICKNESS = the shittiest way to start off such an otherwise wonderful experience.  How your body is supposed to think it’s a good thing that you feel like total crap is a mystery to me.

“You have that pregnant lady glow”

“You try throwing up all morning, you’d have that glow too”

– Friends

If you’ve had to experience morning sickness, you will wish that the first trimester moves at the speed of light…There’s nothing fun about the first trimester outside of learning you are pregnant and hearing the heartbeat for the very first time somewhere between 8 and 12 weeks…

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With J I don’t remember my MS being quite this bad…but then again I was getting a full night sleep, and had a few extra pounds on me too.  These days I’m being sucked dry by a voracious 1-year-old and still being waked 1-2 times a night by said little monster.  I guess that’s part of why people said I was crazy for wanting another baby when the first doesn’t sleep through the night yet…

With J I did have crazy awful heartburn…bad enough I had to be on Zantac for 75% of my pregnancy. And I remember having some nausea with J until my 14th week or so, but it was never bad enough to keep me from functioning.  This time around I’ve had a few days where I’ve struggled to get out of bed.  On a really bad day I’m lucky to be functional before 10am.  And on those days I fight strong nausea all day long.  Eating helps (assuming I have enough energy to get food down) and water helps too.  I make sure to keep lots of snacks at the office so that I don’t get too hungry, and I suck on Jolly Ranchers like they are going out of style.  I’m just at 9 weeks now, so I’m readying myself for another 4-6 weeks of MS hell…hoping that this is the trade-off for not having heartburn this time around.  I think that’s a fair trade!

I am also going to continue to breastfeed J through this pregnancy.  If he self-weans in the meantime then so be it, but otherwise I don’t have any real ready to wean him otherwise.  My midwife is supportive of this, which is awesome, but she did warn me that I need to really watch my nutrition (since I should basically be eating healthy for 3) and that I will be extra tired.  Oy, well nothing like preparing myself for 2 babies right from the beginning huh?!

We’ll go in at 12 weeks for our first ultrasound and will get to hear the heartbeat then too.  Most docs will do an ultrasound at 8 weeks, but mine waits until 12 for the first one.  And sometimes you are lucky enough to hear a heartbeat at 8 weeks, but my uterus tilts back towards my spine and would make it impossible to hear a heartbeat that early on.  So 3 more weeks till we get to see/hear all that fun stuff.

Sticky Fingers

We have officially entered the age of the Sticky Finger Baby.  Nothing is off limits, at least in his eyes, and everything is within reach…tabletops are no longer safe!  Anything below counter height is fair game.  J’s even learned how to climb or step onto other things in order to get those few extra inches he needs to reach whatever-it-may-be that is surely taunting him just out of reach.

He also loves paper.  Like has a weird addiction to it…I may have to stage an intervention…Every time I turn around he’s found some kind of paper to chew on.  Little stinker!  Do babies have Pika?  I’m not kidding you, he’ll rip off the corner of a cardboard box, tear through envelopes like they’re nothing, and bite off an entire corner of a 3 ring binder before you even know he has access to any of those things!

That begin said, an office is like a haven for this little paper eating monster…envelopes, paper, tissues, sticky notes galore.  I do my best to keep them out of his reach, but you try and keep tabs on every piece of paper in an office space…uh huh.

My desk is rather large, but the usable space is now limited to only the area 6 inches from each edge…otherwise it’s fair game for Mr. Sticky Fingers!

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And you can’t possibly be mad at that little face!

I finally had to yell at him the other day after he’d not only pulled every file off my desk, but also pulled out all the files’ contents and spread them all over my office in the course of about 30 seconds.  He just turned around and looked at me with a scrunchy nose.

 I imagine he was thinking “what do you mean “NO”? These delicious paper items are for me, aren’t they?!”

This Little Monster Turned 1

A year already! Man how time flies…seriously, it’ll hit you pretty hard cuz you won’t barely see it coming.  Before you know it your little baby turns into a little boy.

For J’s birthday I chose a Monster Theme. Seemed appropriate for a little one who is constantly tearing into everything and going-going all the time!

I found the invitations on Etsy for only $8! Awesome price for a super cute custom invite, then just print it yourself 🙂

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 Then I used inspiration from Pinterest for the cupcakes and smash cake

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 I found candy googly-eyes in the cake stuff isle at the grocery store – perfect addition to a simple cupcake and some butter cream frosting.  For the cake and cupcakes I used box cake but made a few substitutions to make it a little less box-cake-y.  Use milk instead of water, add an extra egg, add a 1tsp of vanilla, and use butter in place of the oil.  Super easy substitution and I thought it make the cake a little lighter and tastier than usual too.  For the cake I baked 2 – 9″ rounds then stacked them and cut it into a googly shape.  Then I used a piping bag and a grass/hair tip to get the stringy texture for the frosting.  It wasn’t the quickest process, but looked pretty good for being a novice cake decorator.  I used doughnut holes for the eyes, and found a cute #1 candle to add.

The cake smash didn’t go quite like it’s “supposed” to though.  J wasn’t very interested in eating the frosting or the cake…

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We though that as soon as he tried some of the frosting he’d be hooked and get the idea….

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Guess we were wrong…

We tried moving him out of the highchair to see if that would help any…I think even T had better luck with the cake smash then J did!

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Then daddy stepped up and showed him how’s it done

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Opened some pretty awesome additions to J’s toy collection too!

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But I think the part he liked the BEST was playing in the MUD!  What a silly messy boy!

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And we got to share some pretty Awesome news with our family and friends too…

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This Little Monster is gonna be a BIG BROTHER! 

A little Torticollis, a little Flat Head Syndrome

As new parents there are and will be many many things that you’ll do wrong.  Or that you’ll be totally unaware of.  Or that you’ll have no idea even exists as a potential problem, until you do that thing and it affects your child.

As new parents ourselves, we had no idea how hard surfaces and a tendency to turn his head one direction would cause not only a giant flat spot on the back side of J’s head but that it would also affect the muscles in his neck.  When he was really tiny I’d lay him on my desk at my office (which was the best place to keep an eye and a hand on him)…this is way before he started rolling, don’t worry.  Who knew that this hard surface would lead to such a flat area on the right-back side of J’s head?!  And  who knew that you had to pay close attention to the side of the head your little one likes to lay on?!  Well, these are all things that you learn ONLY if these things happen to your kid!

We’d only just noticed that J’s head was a little flat right before we headed to his 3 month appointment.  Of course the Doc noticed as soon as he walked in the door.  Dead giveaway is when the baby isn’t looking straight up at the ceiling…for further reference.  Apparently what happens is that when they tend to turn their head only to one side (J preferred the right)  that the neck muscles tighten on that side, and stretch on the other side.  So to resolve this you have to stretch the neck the other direction to loosen that side and even up the  lengths and strengths of the muscles. So began the many weeks of neck stretches.  BTW babies don’t particularly like this.  You have to hold them down and gently tilt their head the opposite direction of whichever way they normally tend to tilt it.  Then you also rotate their neck from side to side.  Yeah…so much fun to do this while they are screaming at you.  Makes you feel like you’re torturing them.

 

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The flat spot on his head the Doc described to us as when you push on one corner of a cardboard box and the opposite corner also tilts out-of-place.  J had “plagiocephaly” as shown in the pic below.

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To correct this and avoid needing a helmet, we had to very closely watch which side of his head he laid on at all times.  For the first few weeks we had to do everything in our power to keep him from laying on the right side of his head.  Not so easy, let me tell ya.  It involved tilting his body to one side when he was laying or sleeping, and using extra padding around the head support in his car seat.  We also used the Tortle – a hat or sorts that was created specifically to help with torticollis and Flat Head Syndrome in infants. It worked pretty well when J was still little enough not to squirm too much, but we had to stop using it once he could wiggle his head enough to get the “tail” of the hat moved around.  Another product I learned about much later was the Baby Elephant Ears – this product would really help towards prevention of torticollis and FHS, and is super cute too!

Luckily for us it only took a few weeks of doing the exercises and making sure to even out which side J laid on to get the flat spot to mostly go away and for the neck muscles to even out.  By his 6 month appointment he was as back to “normal” as we would be able to get him.

Such a silly little oversight, but something that I warn all my new parent friends about.  J will always have a slightly flat spot and misshapen head to go with it, but luckily we caught it early enough to correct it enough that you can’t tell unless you know what you’re looking for.  Even after years of childcare for infants, I’d never seen either Torticollis or FHS…but hopefully now you can share this information with your fellow first-time parents and avoid a little headache 🙂

Making a House a Home

We’ve been in our new house for about 9 months now.  There are so many things that we love about this house, which is why we are so glad that we bought when we did and that we were lucky enough to find a home with so many of the things on our checklist.  It has 5 bedrooms, which means that there’s enough for as many kiddos as we end up having, plus a guest room or man-cave.  The backyard it huge and already has some pretty awesome flowering bushes, grown trees, and yet still room for a little improvement.   And it’s in a quiet, family friendly neighborhood.  The hubs and I lived in both a condo and a townhouse before we found our home now.  We’re incredibly grateful to have a space of our own that isn’t connected to anyone else by a wall or a floor, or both.

Hubs and I do like to be able to have some projects to work on to make the house really our own.  Of course that doesn’t mean that given a choice (or a million dollars) that we wouldn’t change 90% of the house in the blink of an eye.  Our list of “To-Do’s” seems to be never-ending.  And like many things in life, there just isn’t enough time in the days or dollars in the wallet to get them all done when you’d like.  As much as we like the projects, it’s also hard not to get yourself burnt out on them.  When we were in the townhouse we completely demolished the master bathroom down to the studs, put in a custom shower with floor to ceiling tiles, redid the vanity, lighting, drywall, and floors as well as added crown molding.  The whole project looked great, but took us almost a year to complete.  It’s easy to start a project but once you get all the way into it, it takes much longer than you originally hoped to actually complete and often you find yourself twisting your own arm to get the small finishing touches complete.  I’m convinced the only reason we finally finished that bathroom is because we had to – can’t sell a house with a bathroom that’s only 3/4 done!

When we moved into the house we barely had enough furniture to fill 1/2 of the rooms.  Since we doubled the amount of space we had in the townhouse, it made sense…but was quite a shock when we moved everything in.  If you want to make yourself feel like the ton of crap you thought you had is actually nearly insignificant, double your space.  Anyway we had 1 very nice sectional and living room setup…but 3 family room/living room spaces to fill.  I finally got the Hubs to break down and let me buy another couch and ottoman so that at least 2 of our main living spaces would have something in them.  It took me a while to feel like this house was actually MY house.  The furniture was a tiny start.

When we walked through the house the first time, all the things that we saw as positive attributes seemed much greater than once we moved in and had to start meshing together our belongings with what existed in the house already.  It’s funny how once you know that your intention is to stay in this place for the next 30+ years, it seems harder to find the perfect place to put your towels, your kitchen utensils, your toiletries.  Even with the knowledge that you’ll have the next 30+ years to move things around and change things up as you see fit, it still took me (and still is to some degree) a while to really feel at home in this house.

Making all the desired changes with an infant makes the process even slower.  After 9 months we have painted only 2 rooms (of 12+), replaced the sprinkler valves, replaced the sprinkler timer, put in new house lights, built a workbench in the garage, put in a new kitchen faucet, got a new refrigerator, and hung up about 75% of our pictures.  Even after typing that I feel like we’ve just barely began to make this place OUR place.  But with each thing that we manage to accomplish, I feel like it’s truly becoming a house that we can call a home.

Simple burlap wreath

Wreaths are IN right now, you see them everywhere.  Many of them use burlap to give kind of a shabby-chic touch.  Here’s another version of a simple wreath using burlap ribbon and some super cute burlap flowers that I found at Hobby Lobby.  If you catch them on a 50% off sale, it’s gonna run you less than $20 to do the whole thing.

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To start you’ll need one of those foam rings – you can get one in the floral department or one of the white ones with the rest of the hard foam forms.  They usually run around $5 each either way.

Then grab a roll of a burlap ribbon of your choice, the chevron stuff looked pretty awesome too, but I went for plain ol’ wire edge burlap ribbon on a 30 yard roll.  Which was more than enough to do the wreath, the hanger, and a bunch of big bows from the other spring wreaths craft.

Then I grabbed two shorty burlap flowers (these were actually in the wedding flower section)

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Start wrapping the burlap ribbon around the foam ring and overlap as much or as little as you want.  I overlapped about 1/2 the width on each wrap, but you could easily do more or less to change up the pattern.

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Once you get all the way around, secure with hot glue.  If you want you can loop a little extra ribbon around to make a hanging loop too, but that’s up to you.  I had just enough leftovers to use it for the loop, so I kept it all attached and used extra hot glue to attach the end and make the loop.  Then I twisted the loop so that it was a little more simplified, but you could leave it wide too.

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To attach the flowers I poked a hole though the burlap and into the foam with a screwdriver.  Then I cut off the stem and added some hot glue to the whole.  The tip on the back of the flower fit nicely into the whole and then was nice and flush with the ring.

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When that part was done I felt like it was missing something…but then I came across this wrapped letter that I’d made a while back to hang on the door.  (a wood letter from Hobby Lobby, some twine, hot glue, and a little bow)

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It fit perfectly in the middle of the wreath and adds a little something extra. Now it’s perfect for the front door!  Probably more of a fall wreath, or maybe later this summer, or maybe I’ll just hang it above the fireplace…

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