Friday Five

Happy Friday! We’ve had rainy weather all week, but today the clouds finally cleared and the weather is perfect! It’s Mother’s Day weekend, which means it’s unofficial planting week for the state of Colorado. Local tradition dictates that you can’t start planting your garden until Mother’s Day, because snow frequently falls through May. Earlier this week, we had hail the size of golf balls! Adam and I bucked this sage advice last year by planting the final weekend in April, and we paid dearly for it in the form of $100 of plants ruined by snow and frost just a few days later.

This year, we’re heeding tradition and saving the gardening for tomorrow. Last year was our first year to have a serious garden, and we’ve got even bigger plans this time around. On the planting list: golden raspberries, lavender, okra, tomatoes, kale, collards, hot peppers, tomatillos, Swiss chard, and summer squash, plus pots of basil, chives, mint, and parsley. We might throw some flowers into the mix, but it’s hard to convince me to give up vegetable real estate to something you can’t eat 🙂

I hope you’re enjoying a wonderful weekend! Here are five of my favorite things this week!

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1.) Favorite Fashion – Diff Dime II 48mm Retro Sunglasses in Motley/Blue. The temperature is supposed to reach 80 tomorrow – summer is (finally) coming! I ordered these sunnies from Nordstrom last week and absolutely love them. They’re very high quality for the price and come in lots of fun colors/patterns. Plus, Diff partners with Eyes on Africa to donate reading glasses to those in need. Win-win!

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2.) Favorite Breakfast – Peanut Butter Overnight Oats from Minimalist Baker. This make-ahead meal is a lifesaver in our house. Without it, I don’t think I’d ever eat breakfast, which really isn’t an option for me, since I tend to wake up starving. I cut back on the PB and maple syrup to save some calories, and add toasted coconut and granola in the morning for some crunch. It’s delicious – and that’s coming from a girl who doesn’t like oatmeal!

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3.) Favorite Read – 5 Ways to Teach Kids About Consent from A Cup of Jo. All I want in life is for my baby boy to grow up happy, healthy, and respectful of others. This article is eye-opening about simple, non-awkward ways to help kids learn to respect their own bodies, and others’ as well. “You’re the boss” is my favorite.

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4.) Favorite “Pie” – Samoas No Bake Cheesecake Tart from Smells Like Home. I lost our annual March Madness bracket challenge to my husband, and as payment, I owe him a freshly baked pie. Now, I know this is technically a tart and not a pie, but come on! The shortbread! The caramel! The chocolate! I don’t think I’ll have any problem getting my husband to overlook the technicalities. That’s the kind of bet I don’t mind losing.

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5.) Favorite Upgrade – Le Creuset Signature Saucepan in Marine. I still have the saucepans I received as a college graduation gift seven (sob!) years ago, and while they still get the job done, I’m itching to replace them with this gorgeous, easy to clean, do anything Le Creuset version. Maybe as a Mother’s Day present to myself?

 

Five Favorite Baby Products

When I started our baby registry what feels like ages ago, I was totally overwhelmed. There are a gazillion baby products out there, and I didn’t know which products were truly necessary, or which would be a waste of space. We live in a pretty small house, so any products I registered for or purchased needed to be worth the investment. I turned to other moms for advice, and they came through in a huge way. Over the past few months, I’ve also homed in on which products are absolutely essential for us. Here are the five products we absolutely love and could not live without.

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Baby Bear tucked away and fast asleep at the New Belgium brewery.

1.) Baby K’tan. This product saves my sanity on a near-daily basis. For the first two months, Baby Bear wanted to be held all the time (including while he slept), which was adorable some days, but maddening others. Baby-wearing has allowed me to satisfy his need to be held, while still getting things done around the house. When baby’s wrapped up next to me, he doesn’t make a peep. We’ve taken him everywhere in this wrap, from brewery tours (see above), to art museums, to fine dining restaurants. Being able to get out of the house and socialize does wonders for my mood. I’m sure there are other (cheaper) baby wraps that get the job done, but the Baby K’tan could not be easier, once you get the hang of it. It now takes me just 30 seconds to get baby in the wrap, which is incredibly quick compared to what I’ve heard from other moms with different wraps.

2.) VTech Safe & Sound Baby Monitor. I adore this baby monitor. It was a cinch to set up (according to my husband), and both the picture and audio quality are great. The monitor has a bunch of fancy features, but here are our favorites: the camera pans 270 degrees and has a tilt feature, so whether baby sleeps in his crib or his swing, we don’t have to move the camera base; the monitor shows the room temperature, so I can make sure the room isn’t too hot or too cold; the monitor is wireless (with a pretty decent battery life), so I can take it anywhere in the house (maximum range of 1,000 feet); and, you can purchase up to 7 additional cameras to connect, if you want to set up monitors in various rooms. This provides incredible peace of mind, and I don’t feel like I have to peek into his room every 2 minutes!

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Baby Bear being wheeled around on the uneven terrain of the Rocky Mountain National Park.

3.) Baby Jogger City Mini GT Stroller. Despite the name, this actually isn’t a jogging stroller, but an everyday stroller. We love this thing for a few different reasons – it’s suuuuper easy to fold/unfold (seriously, you can do it one-handed), it maneuvers like an absolute dream, and it has larger wheels so it can handle “off-road” terrain (very useful for the Rocky Mountain National Park). It also adapts to fit our infant car seat with an inexpensive and easy-to-install part, so we didn’t need to buy an “infant stroller” and a “toddler stroller”. Yes, it’s more expensive than most other strollers, but we think it’s worth every single penny, especially when you think of how many times you’ll use it over the next three (or more) years!

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Baby burrito.

4.) Halo SleepSack Swaddle. The hospital gave us this as a gift when we were discharged, and I seriously don’t know that anyone would ever sleep without it. Swaddling is the #1 recommendation for getting newborns to sleep, and the SleepSack makes wrapping up a flailing baby a breeze. The SleepSack fit even our 5 lb. preemie baby (which is something I can’t say for the SwaddleMe we also have) and is totally Houdini-proof. Even now that the SwaddleMe fits our 8.5 pounder, we much prefer the SleepSack. I ordered an extra so we always have a clean one on hand.

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5.) Kate Spade Watson Lane Betheny Baby Bag. I am a fanatic about purse organization, and having an organized diaper bag is so important to my sanity. There’s nothing worse than having a screaming, squirming baby and not being able to put your hands on the one pacifier/bottle/toy/blanket that will comfort him, not to mention doing diaper changes in unfamiliar environments! This bag has two outside pockets to keep my items (keys, wallet, cell phone) handy and accessible, and a million pockets inside to store the baby essentials. It’s also nylon, making it incredibly easy to clean (just wipe down with a damp paper towel). The price tag is a little steep, but Kate Spade products last forever and are worth the splurge for me. You can also sign up for their emails to be alerted when they have major sales, or check places like TJ Maxx for discounted styles.

And there you have it – my five most valuable baby products! This was not a sponsored post, and there aren’t any affiliate links. Just my honest opinion on what works for us.

What baby gear is on your MVP list?

 

Perspective: 0-2 month update

Motherhood is amazing, and miraculous, and incredible. I adore my Baby Bear, and I am so thankful each and every day that I am able to be his mother. I love nursing him in the middle of the night, when it’s just the two of us. I love when he falls asleep in my arms. I love when he wraps his tiny hand around my finger.

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Baby Bear in his Easter outfit, just shy of two months old.

Motherhood, for me, is also a constant worry. That I’m not doing this right, that he’s not getting exactly what he needs, that somehow a decision I make now about where or how he sleeps is going to haunt him for the next thirty years and possibly ruin his life. What should I be doing; what should he be doing? Everyone has a different opinion. The internet is a great resource, but can get overwhelming in a hurry. There’s a lot of self-doubt marring this wonderful experience.

When the what ifs threaten to send me into black hole of self-doubt, I have to remember the big picture, and how far we’ve come in just two short months.

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In the hospital. I still can’t believe how tiny he was!

Baby Bear was 5 weeks premature. Thankfully, he was perfectly healthy and didn’t require a stay in the NICU, but preemie babies come with their own unique set of challenges.

Since he was so early, it was crucial that he go no more than three hours without eating, in order to gain weight as fast as possible. My milk took days to come in, so for the first week, he lived off of donor breast milk. Once my milk did come in, nursing was out of the question. His “suck-swallow” reflex wasn’t fully developed yet, and I had no idea what I was doing. So, every three hours, I fed him a bottle and then used a breast pump for 20 minutes in order to get enough milk for his next meal.

Meanwhile, my husband was dealing with a huge deadline at work, so he delayed taking his paternity leave for the first two weeks. In order to let him get enough sleep to be somewhat useful at his job, I slept on the couch, with baby in his bassinet nearby.

Feeding Baby Bear just 20 tiny milliliters (less than an ounce!) took forever – 30 minutes or more. It was a struggle to keep him awake for long enough to eat. Once he finally finished feeding, I still had to pump. By the time everything was said and done, I was lucky if I had 2 hours before it was time to feed him again. Most days, I didn’t get around to brushing my teeth until noon, or later. I was constantly worried that I wasn’t pumping enough milk, that he wasn’t gaining enough weight. It seemed like all I did was sleep or nap (in two-hour increments), but I was so. exhausted. all. the. time.

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He loves to be bundled up.

Fast forward eight short weeks, and Baby Bear is breastfeeding like a champ. When he does take a bottle, he sucks down 100 milliliters, no problem. He was back up to his birth weight within 6 weeks and has gained another three pounds on top of that. My husband took four weeks of (fully paid) paternity leave, and I was able to re-learn how to be a wife. Baby Bear sleeps in the bed with us, and nights are so much easier. I’ve learned to tell his tired cry from his hungry cry. I have an arsenal of tricks to soothe him when he’s unhappy (which don’t always work, but we’re getting there!). I’ve accepted that the house won’t always be clean, that our meals won’t always be 100% homemade. I’m letting go of all the things that don’t matter and learning to triage like a pro.

It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely progress.

 

 

 

Mama told me there’d be days like this

First things first – <a href=”https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/18843825/?claim=px68wqkuaa5″&gt; Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

I just set up an account on Bloglovin’, so now I’m “claiming” by blog. I’m still new to this whole blogging thing, but I’ve read about Bloglovin’ on several other blogs I follow. It seems like a convenient way to read all the blogs I follow, regardless of platform, in one place. Not to mention it’s much easier to discover new blogs. WordPress hasn’t been very helpful on that front.

Today, Baby Bear and I are having what my grandmother would have called a day – emphasized with a heavy sigh and quite possibly a look towards the heavens. While nighttime sleep has lately not been an issue (knock on wood), morning naps have recently been a huge challenge. Usually we wake up around 8, snuggle in bed for the thirty minutes (we are on the co-sleeping train, more on that later), and then get up to start the day.

About an hour later, I can tell he’s sleepy. He’s fussy, fidgety, and mouthy (but won’t nurse or take a bottle). We start the bedtime routine of swaddling, rocking, and singing a lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel by Billy Joel). I put him down, followed by another few minutes of singing and rocking, then I creep towards the door. This typically gets me a solid 1.5 – 2 hour nap, at which point he’s hungry, but all smiles as soon as he eats.

The past few mornings, he wakes up screaming right at the 40-minute mark. I know he’s still tired. He knows he’s still tired. But no amount of swaddling, rocking, nursing, or singing will convince him to fall asleep again. He’s awake and he wants the whole neighborhood to know. Today I had to go around closing all the windows in our house because I was worried someone might hear his wails and call child services.

The only thing that finally (after two hours) convinces him to fall asleep is putting him in his “kangaroo pouch” aka a Baby K’tan (which is an absolute LIFESAVER).

He’s sleeping, and that’s the important part, but part of me worries that I’m forming bad habits. Will he ever be able to sleep by himself? When does he learn this “self-soothing” thing I keep hearing so much about? Why didn’t he come with an instruction manual?

Ah, parenthood.

Introduction

Hello! I’m Erin, new Mama to my little Baby Bear, also known as Monkey, also known as Grumpy, also known as High Maintenance, also known as My Whole World.

Baby Bear was born five weeks early, on February 22nd, 2017, which also happened to be mine and my husband’s three year wedding anniversary. He has definitely stolen the show for the rest of his life, but it gives my husband one less date to remember!

Baby being premature came with its own set of challenges, and motherhood is so much harder than I ever thought. Constantly caring for another living human who depends on me for everything is mentally taxing in a way I had never considered. I think about him 100% of the time. Is he hungry? Does he need to be held? Maybe he’s too cold? I second guess everything I do, because WHAT IF I SCAR MY CHILD FOR LIFE. I want an instruction manual, a checklist, a timeline, a formula. If child does X, respond with Y. 

Apparently, babies don’t work like that.

I need an outlet and a community. I want a place to document his early weeks/months/years, because time is passing at warp speed. Baby has already outgrown his preemie clothes which is great (he’s gaining weight and catching up on the growth chart!) but terrifying (where have the past six weeks gone?!). This Subaru commercial gives me all the feels, and makes me tear up (ok, sob) every time. (Seriously, I’m sitting in Starbucks writing this and I am struggling to keep it together.)

Because as incredibly hard as this whole mom thing is, it is easily the best thing I’ve ever done. I cannot believe that my body housed, grew, and birthed such a perfect creature. His tiny toes, his pouty mouth, his wrinkled forehead. He is beautiful, and I have never loved anyone or anything more.

I’ve had blogs in the past and it didn’t stick because I was paralyzed by the need to be perfect. I started out strong, but when it took me over an hour to type up a post that I was never quite happy with it, I eventually pushed it to the side. I miss writing, and keeping a journal just seems so 1998. My goal for this blog is to embrace the imperfection and to get out my thoughts without all the editing and curating. Motherhood is slowwwly teaching me to be a little less OCD, so we’ll see how this goes.