Friday, September 20, 2013

'It's Friday, I'm in Love'

I remember a few months back, I had just gotten Everett to sleep {in my arms....I know I know} after {what seemed like} hours of inconsolable crying. I was bouncing him on the exercise ball in one arm and catching up on blog reading on my phone in the other. I was reading a friends post about how she had this moment where it was just like she had pictured being a mom to be like. She was making dinner with a baby on her hip, dancing in the kitchen and she thought "this is it".

I cried. I was so tired and having a poor colicky baby does that to you.  I thought "I wonder if I will ever feel like that, if it will be like I thought it would be"  Don't get me wrong I loved that crying bundle of baby more than life itself, that part was just like I thought it would be. And  I knew it would be hard, but I don't think you can really ever be completely ready and prepared for a baby until you have and care for that little soul day in and day out.

I now realize I have those 'this is it'  moments every day.  Eating our breakfast together, practicing crawling, sitting and talking, walking around Target with E strapped in the Bjorn, listening to Ben and him laugh and play in the bedroom while I make dinner and even playing rock paper scissors with Ben to see who has to change an epic diaper. THIS IS IT! THIS IS WHAT I IMAGINED!

It is still freaking hard. I am still so tired.  I love it though.  A lot of times it is not like I pictured it to be in my 'fairy tale', I am in my pajamas most days until at least noon and some days I am counting the minutes until Ben gets home from work or school, but it still is the greatest job I could ask for.  I love being a mom.

I feel like I have grown so much in these past seven months, and learned so much {usually the hard way} about myself, about Ben and about the way I want to mother.  Sure makes me grateful for time, and what I will continue to learn about this divine role as we keep on keeping on.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I guess this post officially makes me a mommy blogger..

I know there are a million of these lists out there, but I thought I would add my two cents to the internets.  Obviously every list of 'essentials' is going to be different because every baby is different.  Everett doesn't take a pacifier or a bottle so those are not on our list, but if he did I am sure they would be essential.  We didn't go too crazy with baby gear and we bought a lot of stuff as we learned and he grew and saw what he wanted/needed.  Here is what we loved from 0-3 months.

1) Aiden and Anais Swaddle Blankets.  Everyone recommends these, everybody has these and there is a good reason, they are perfect for swaddling, breastfeeding under, and even just as a light stroller blanket.  We use them every single day.

2) A swing. Everett adored his swing, and took most of his naps in his swing for the first three months of his life.  He liked to feel snug and loved the motion (especially as a colicky baby)  We loved our Snug-a-bunny swing and never had any problems.

3) A Play Mat.  When Everett was a little over a month, we sensed he needed a little more stimulation.  His play mat gave me a good 10-15 minutes in the morning where he would lay and play on his mat so I could eat some breakfast or something.  As he got older, he did all his tummy time on here and still loves to play on it. We just bought the cheapest one at Babies R Us and it has worked great!

4) Hands Down our most used, most recommended, can't live without baby item.  Our Fisher Price Rock and Play.  Not only did Everett refuse to sleep anywhere else but here for the first 3-4 months, but we used it all over the house, in the bathroom while I got ready, in the kitchen while I cooked, brought it to friends house while we played games.  It is super light and portable, super comfortable for the baby and even at six months we still use it every day (not for sleeping anymore) but to keep him in one spot while I do something!

5) A good breast pump.  I remember the night my milk came in the day after Everett was born, there was nothing I wouldn't do or pay for a breast pump!  I tracked some lady down off Craigslist (stores were closed) and it was sweet sweet relief because my poor jaundiced baby did not have enough of an appetite. Mine unfortunately broke, but my awesome cousin Kristy has let me borrow hers, and hers is even better!  I have tried a crappy cheap pump and there is such a difference.  Even though Everett doesn't take a bottle, I still pump quite often to increase my milk supply, empty when he sleeps for longer periods and also store milk just in case he decides to bottle feed one of these days.  I highly recommend a good pump like this Medela one.  It is an investment but I think worth it.

6) A baby carrier.  We just recently bought ours, but I so wish we would have had it sooner, even when E was just a newborn.  I know most people love the Ergo but Everett only likes facing out, so we went with the Bjorn Active, and although my shoulders do get sore after a while, we love it and so does Everett!

7) A+D Cream.  My favorite diaper cream by far.  We tried all of them and this one goes on the smoothest, doesn't smell when they pee and works awesome for prevention and cure of diaper rash.  We use this every time we change his diaper and have a tube in his diaper bag, and every room in the house.

8) A Pack and Play with a bassinet insert.  We wanted Everett to sleep in our room until he was at least 6 months so he slept in the bassinet part and it has been great, because we didn't waste money on a separate bassinet that he would grow out of after three months because I know we will use the pack and play forever! Ps-contrary to popular belief the bassinet insert is just the same pack and play mattress elevated to about halfway up the pack n play.  Ours also had a changing table insert, which I thought was the bassinet at first.

So Everett was of course a really colicky baby.  I read article after article, all the colic forums and not only was the education and support helpful but we did find some things that worked for us, and believe me we tried everything.  

1. An exercise ball. I read online somewhere about bouncing on a ball and it helping someone's colicky baby. One weekend we were in St. George helping Ben's mom move and she had an exercise ball,
I thought why not and tried it, and it really did help Everett so much. Apparently it reminds them of how it felt when in the womb while the mother is walking? We just had to squeeze him tight, bring him in close and bounce.

2. These are especially awesome for colicky babies. Swaddle, swaddle swaddle.

3. A lot of times there was really nothing I could do to help Everett when he cried all day/night which was SO so hard. So sometimes, so I didn't go crazy, I would just sit and bounce him, turn on Netflix (with subtitles due to the crying) and distract myself....and bounce...It actually really helped.  I watched all 9 seasons of Greys Anatomy (for like the fifth time) in the first three months of his life HA!

4. Gripe Water.  My mom smuggled this stuff into the States for me from Canada, and although we don't know if it really did work, he did calm down initially right when we gave it to him.  It apparently used to (and still does in Europe and stuff) have alcohol in it but not in the US or Canada anymore...too bad ;)

5. Probiotic drops.  Our doctor recommended we try these because Everett always seemed to have an upset stomach, and I think they helped.  They made him more regular if you know what I mean and even though his poops smelt like yogurt on these, I would highly recommend them for a baby with stomach pain/colic.

6. This book. When I first read it, I was a sleep deprived crazy zombie and do it didn't make much sense to me but now re-reading it as we are sleep training Everett there is so much valuable info in there, and he is spot on when it comes to colicky babies, I honestly felt like I was reading stories about Everett.  There is also a lot of information for sleep for post-colic babies which has been really helpful.

Some other honorable mentions:
Johnson's baby wash and baby lotion.  I know there is all this healthy organic chemical free stuff but I am such a sucker for that traditional Johnson's baby smell.
Dohm noise maker. Best, most not-annoying noise maker there is.
A glider-loved rocking and nursing Everett in ours, I am pretty sure my butt is permanently molded into the cushion because I spent so much time on that thing

Some stuff we probably didn't really need.

Diaper Pail-his poops don't really stink at this point and we empty our regular garbage like once a day anyways.
Crib?  Well we needed it eventually but for the first bit he just slept in the bassinet and we are just barely starting to transition him to his crib now (at 6 months)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

East Coastin

^^^Kennebunkporte Maine// George W. Bush's summer home in the background

Well we really hate that Ben's dad, step mom and 3 youngest siblings live so far away, we miss having them in Utah terribly, the only good thing about them living away is it is a pretty great place to visit!  We had a wonderful trip out East visiting them in beautiful New Hampshire with day trips to Boston and Maine.  When we visit there, it feels like we should always be doing something or seeing the sites near them, but as it turns out my favorite parts of the trip was just eating big dinners altogether and playing games together after the kids went to bed.
^^^Sunday Dinner

We made a rookie parenting mistake and took a red eye flight out there.  At around 4 am, when Everett was wide awake and crying at the Detroit Airport on our layover and I was trying to rock him to sleep in a public bathroom with the lights off we realized our mistake.  Neither Ben or I slept a wink that night making the next day a day of recovery for us (Everett too).  Other than that we were happy to step off the plane into the humidity with Ben's dad and two little twin brothers waiting to greet us!

^^^A red eye flight and a nice bald spot

The weather was so beautiful the whole time we were there. I only thought I would die of heat and sweat the first day but after that it was perfect!  We were so happy that Ben's brother Gab and his girlfriend Bri also made the trip out there so we could spend time with them as well.  (We sure did miss Sam and her family though)

We were planning on going to Montreal on the first day to visit all of Ben's aunts and uncles and grandmama, but due to Everett's ear infection, we decided we shouldn't risk the trip and his sweet Aunt Nancy and grandmama came to us instead.  I was so happy they were able to meet Everett, he is so loved by all our family and it is such a special thing to watch.

^^^ I call this one 'Ode to Everett' 

Ben's dad has a beast 15 passenger van that was our mode of transportation and although it could get pretty loud in there with 2 seven year old twins, a 2 year old and a six month old baby who hates his car seat I wouldn't have had it any other way.  We drove up to Kennebunkport Maine, a cute little seaside tourist town where George W. Bush's summer home was.  We toured the town, wandered around souvenir shops, bought way to much saltwater taffy, and drove to the ocean and watched the waves crash against the huge rocks.  It was an adorable little town and a really great day!

 ^^^THE VAN (Please ignore Ben's super disturbing face)
^^^Kennebunkporte (say that 10 times fast)

On Sunday (I was recovering from Mastitis so I wasn't much fun) but we had a big family dinner with all of the family including Everett's only great great grandma (nan) and after we all went outside and played a good ole fashion game of croquet on the front lawn, quite the gentlemen's game besides them 'sending' each others balls down the block.

We made a trip into Boston next.  I insisted that we all go to the new Shake Shack at Chestnut Hill because I had been craving it for a full year since I tried it for my first time the previous summer in New York.  It was all I had hoped for.  After that, we went to Harvard (Hawvad Yawd as the Bostonians say) and toured around Harvard Square, the bookstore and a little of campus.  It was really cool to see Harvard and I felt like I was in the movies!  We stopped at the Boston temple on the way back which is always so beautiful.

^^^Our day in Boston

You can't go to New Hampshire without a beach day, so we hopped in the big red van and went to Salisbury NH to the beach.  The water was FREEZING, so I was toes-in-only but everybody else did the full on head-in-dunk.  Everett put his toes in the sand, took a nice nap under the umbrella and some of us walked all the way along the shore line.

^^^Beaching it.

Gab and Bri left two days before us, so we made sure to send them off with a heaping pile of poutine.  For those of you who don't know, poutine is a Canadian dish consisting of fries, gravy, cheese curds and topping of choice and it is so delicious.  Fries and gravy, gravy and fries, a beautiful pair if you ask me.  That night we got to go on a double date with Ben's parents (and Everett 5th wheeled it) to Bertuccis for some top notch Italian food and some wonderful conversation (one of my favorite nights).

It was an amazing trip and we are already missing everybody.  I can't wait till we get to see everyone again!
I have said it before but I am so happy to have married into such a great family, I feel so welcomed and comfortable around my in laws and have so much fun every time I am with them.  Like I said, the best part was just staying up late chatting and playing games and of course sharing Everett with everyone.  Even though I had doubts about travelling cross country with a 5 month old baby, and we had two trips to Instacare (cha ching cha ching) I am SO SO happy we were able to make this trip. do the things we did and spend time with family.
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