Summer, Sleep Training and Ruffly Swimsuits

Howdy-doo!

I feel like I have been scarce around these parts as of late. I wish I could say it is due to some big vacation or major home-reno project but truth be told, I’ve just been a lazy SOB. Hats off to anyone (and I do mean ANYONE) who works full-time, has any form of offspring (be it human or other varietal), one or two hobbies, various relationships AND manages to do anything else. Doesn’t matter if it’s a side job, volunteering, or writing about their inner-most thoughts on the internet. Keeping any semblance of a “regular” schedule is tough to do. I do not do it well. I do not do many things well. But I am STELLAR at doing several things at a mediocre level. I win at that.

So in no certain order – here is what has been going on in my life.

CLARA. Clara has been going on. Here we are on the 4th of July.

I bought this outfit for her at Target last year (minus the drool bib) when I was pregnant for like $8. I am a TOTAL sucker for bloomers and I always will be. Poor girl will be wearing them in 8th grade if I have my way.

She is just the best. I am still completely obsessed with her and everything she does and does not do. She could literally kick me in my open eye and I would not care. I would rob a bank if she wanted me to, or clean up a dead body. FIGHT ME.

Also, we did sleep training with her.

*Disclaimer – As I have said from the beginning…I am sharing my experience here guys. Not an expert. Not telling anyone what to do and not looking for criticism. Just your average gal, doin’ her best.

And now we can talk about how SLEEP TRAINING IS THE WORST THING EVERRR. Imagine a hot knife being plunged into your heart. THAT is sleep training my friends. Maybe I am being a taddd dramatic but honestly it was the worst thing I have experienced. And it is worth talking about in case anyone else is going/has gone/will go through it.

My only tip coming out the other side is this: THE ONLY way to get through sleep training is with a partner. There is 100% NO WAY I could have managed it on my own. Here is how it went down:

Girlfriend was a champion sleeper until like 5 months. Then she went through the dreaded sleep regression that everyone warns you about. We could no longer swaddle, because she was rolling over (click here to see what helped us through that) and I was up 4-8 times a night feeding her so she would go back to sleep. Even though they were short little feeds (it was more about soothing than actually eating), it was getting to be a lot. David and I knew we needed to teach her to soothe herself and go back to sleep on her own. The first step was starting to put her to bed while she was still awake and doing “the routine”. We read her books, sing her songs, make a point to show her that we are shutting the curtains, and turn on the white noise. We explain what we are doing, while we are doing it. It is a sight to see. Then we set her down, wide awake.

Then we let her cry.

This is where having a supportive partner comes in. Lucky for me, I have the world’s most supportive partner (seriously, ever). He obviously does not enjoy the sound of her crying, but it does not affect him the way it affects me. I had to go outside, watch YouTube, drink wine and I still SOBBED. I did this every night.

The longest she ever cried for during this period was about 25 minutes. Which, when you are going through it – is a lifetime. And we did not check in on her…we just let her cry. The first couple of nights, I did get up with her when she would cry in the middle of the night, but then quickly decided to stop doing that too. We just felt that it may be confusing to her. So when she cried during the night, I would go to another room (she sleeps in a Pack and Play in our room still).

After about a week or ten days, she FINALLY got the hang of it! She slept through the night, from like 7 pm to 6 am and has been doing that consistently since then. She is WAY happier during the day, still takes 2-3 naps (albeit, sometimes not long ones) and David and I have our evenings back. It really is a win-win for us but I also know it does not work for everyone.

Her tiny eyebrows slaaaay me

At the end of July, David went to Las Vegas to coach basketball for 5 days and my mom, Megan and nephews came to stay. Here is what we did:

We played on the ground a lot with cousin Dean.

We went in the pool with cousin Tornado Tate.

Clara’s swimsuit? Yes it has ruffles on the butt.

We went places.

Like the zoo!

 

Here we are on the little train at the zoo.

Then, Clara got sick for her first official time! I do not know why I am making this sound exciting because it most definitely was not. She caught a little stomach bug and literally emptied her tummy allll over the house while my mom was watching her. I was at my bestie Kelly’s birthday party and had to leave early. It was a whole thing.

I came home to a very pale bb.

It was so sad and so hard. OF COURSE it had to happen when David was out of town. He is really good in situations like this whereas I just cry and panic. She did not have a temp and I called the doctor on call at her pediatrician to figure out what to do. It was quite a night though.

Oh! My let’s give you all an update on the absolute train wreck that is my hair!

Words are not needed here.

Other fun things include our first Thorns game with the baby.

My Grandma’s memorial service (not exactly fun) but it was great to see the fam and Clara wore her Sunday best.

Lots of fun new things have been purchased, such as:

I know the highlighter is shattered but the lip product ALONE is $7 so it is WORTH IT.

Anyone caught up on Season Three? If so, you will love this little tank David found me!

These tiny bb shoes were too irresistible. Had to buy em up.

Lastly, we have gone to the beach and Clara went on her first camping trip. Well, more like glamping (there was a motor home and all) but STILL.

These two ♥

The beach! I love how much David loves wearing her.

And that about wraps it up for today! Thanks for stopping by.

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San Juan Islands Vacation

Hydalee-ho there.

A couple of weeks ago my family embarked on a week long vacation up north. We spent a little time visiting family  in Seattle and also went to the San Juan Islands!

We left bright and early Monday morning with the Jeep packed to the brim. Traveling with a 6 month old baby is no joke. I stan for any parents who can successfully pack for a week with a baby and NOT accidentally fill 7 suitcases. I thought I could get away with a small carry on and maybe a backpack for her but OHYEAHthere’s17thousandoutfitsIneedtobringandthatdoesn’tincludematchinghatsandbows.

Then there’s the feeding of the child (bottles, bottle warmer, bibs and baby spoons, etc), the diapering of the child (wipes, diapers, etc.), the sleeping of the child (pack and play, sleep sack, etc.) the transportation of the child (carseat, stroller, baby carrier). OH DEAR GOD. Then of course E wants to bring an entire stuffed animal family, a small library and a wide variety of fruit leathers. How did I ever think I could possibly ever pull off NOT being the hot mess mom!?

We started the trip in Seattle where we stayed with family in Bellevue. The Dowtown Park is amazing. If you’re ever in Bellevue and have kids, check it out. They have everything.

That night, we had a lovely dinner and enjoyed some absolutely gorgeous Seattle weather on the patio.

The next day we drove to Anacortes to board the ferry to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. The last time I took a ferry I was drinking champagne and kid-free so  this time things looked a little bit different.

We did not see any whales but I did polish off the rest of a chicken sandwich from my Dad’s lunch that was darn good.

We stayed in Friday Harbor for the duration of our time on the island and completely fell in love with it. Our hotel was a 2 bdrm with a little kitchenette and it ended up working perfect for the four of us.

And the place my cousin got married, Roche Harbor? Aaaamazing. LITERALLY out of a friggen’ movie.

The day before the wedding we putzed around the area, had fish and chips, ice cream – basically touristed hard.

That night was the rehearsal dinner on the beach.

The happy couple

The next day before the wedding we walked around Friday Harbor and saw some alpacas.

Almost bought this book because duh.

Here’s David in a strapping hat made of alpaca fur!

Then it was wedding time!

Glow stick necklaces FTW

Everything was just gorgeous and the weather was perfect.

The next day we boarded the ferry back to Anacortes and headed to Issaquah to hunker down at my aunt and uncle’s house. That night, we took a lovely walk around the neighborhood. The baby was clearly not excited about this at all:

The next day we saw some friends and went to the Issaquah Farmers Market, which was really fun!

Then we scooted over to Seattle to hang with my sisters and celebrate Seattle Pride! I wore a rainbow ribbon in my hair, trying to mask the crazy amount of baby bangs, breakage and brown hair I am currently sporting!

And of course, Clara had to show the love as well.

All in all, such a beautiful little vacay. I love my family.

 

Baby Faves – 6 Month Edition

Hello and welcome to the first installment of a series I like to call BABY FAVES.

As some of you may or may not remember, before I had  a baby I did a fair amount of fretting over all the godforsaken baby stuff. Read more about that here! Blankets and bouncers and binkies and bottles and boobs and everything else one feels they must acquire before a tiny human enters their life.

Then you have the thing and realize the #1 thing they need most: YOU.

But of course, the odd doohicky can also be a lifesaver. So here are our favorite doohickies, thingamabobs and whosie-whatsits.

  1. The Halo Swaddle Sack

Clara busted out of her swaddle the very first night we spent at home from the hospital. We were swaddling her with a blanket in the hospital for a week (I was in there for awhile due to unforeseen circumstances) but somehow at home she would houdini out. We immediately bought the Halo Swaddle Sack and she literally slept in it until she was 3 months old and started rolling over. We would have kept her in this FOREVER if we could. She slept through the night in this baby for a solid 2-3 months. We are talking 7-8 hours at a time, people.

2. The SwaddleDesigns Transitional Swaddle Sack

This is the garment we’ve been in for over a month now. Once she started rolling around and needed her hands out to push herself back up – we realized we wanted something like this. We also have the Zipadee-Zip but this one from SwaddleDesigns works better for us. The ends of the sleeves can be open or closed (as shown in the picture) so we can also use this if she wants her hands out.

3. Copper Pearl Drool Bibs

Anything by this brand is amazing, but the drool bibs are my favorite. Clara drools a swimming pool’s worth by the minute and as a result had a nice drool rash to boot. I started putting these on her when I noticed she was turning on the ol’ water works and they are perfect. SUPER soft on the side that touches their skin and surprisingly absorbent. Plus the fact that they’re bandannas with really cute patterns? Come on.

4. Desitin Diaper Cream

Clara had some serious diaper rash in the beginning. We tried several different diaper creams, including the bougie organic ones that cost $17 a tube. Desitin won every time and the ingredient list was very similar. We also used this on her drool rash and it cleared it right up.

5. A Bouncy Chair

My Mom purchased Clara this exact bouncy chair from Burlington Coat Factory a few months ago and girlfriend has loved it ever since. This model actually does vibrate but we have never put batteries in it. She loves the subtle bounce of it and playing with little toys (we’ve attached more) along the bar that hangs over. Any of the good ol’ fashioned bouncy chairs would do the trick!

Also good for a little snooze

And those are just a handful of our favorites! Stay tuned for the next installment in a few months.

Roadtrips and Springtime Fun

Who’s ready for some topics?!

David and I have been doing a fair bit of the odd travels lately and to nowhere particularly thrilling. But when you have an infant baby and a sprightly 8 yr old that might be a good thing. Making the schlep anywhere is difficult but so worth it in order to see family and/or partake in the following…

A basketball tournament in Seattle for David! We stayed at a family member’s house which made everything a million times better having the extra room.

While in Seattle, Meg and I pushed our strollers around Bellevue Square! It was also the weekend before Mother’s Day and we happened upon this adorable photo backdrop and of course could not resist taking pics. I was a little excited.

My sister Rachel also got Meg and I these highly coveted pink Starbucks tumblers because she da best.

I walked around proud as a mother effin’ peacock pushing around my hand-me-down Bob while toting this Instagram worthy dazzling goodness. It’s been awhile since I’ve felt “cool” so thanks Rach!

A trip home for a family yard sale!

My grandmother recently passed and my grandpa moved out so our family got together for a nostalgic day of selling all the stuff in their house.

FUN FACT: My grandparents were snowbirds with a house in Yuma, AZ meaning they had lots of items from our friends south of the border. Like these beauts:

yes that is a floral fanny pack

And also some fun vests from my grandpa’s big-band days.

The kids and babies had a blast too.

Our latest trip was to Salem for another basketball tournament.

Could you JUST DIE for her shoes?

In between games, we strolled the downtown and I found a store that is 100% my aesthetic…

sadly it was closed…

I did manage to procure a mini-crown for Clara’s first birthday, however.

David and I also celebrated one year of marriage last month! It was such a great night. I made reservations at Piazza Italia and Clara was a peach the whole time.

And lately the sun has been out! Oh, the glorious sun. Makes everything better, albeit more sticky. This is the first time Clara and I have experience warm temps together and lemmetellya, homegirl and I get OUR SWEAT ON together. We both be bathin’ errr night.

But the nice weather also means a whole new way to dress!

Give me cotton overalls…

BONNETS…

Sleeveless rompers….

And GIANT velvet head bows…

Any day of the mothereffin’ week.

All for now. byeeeeeeeeeeeee

Returning to Work and Postpartum Anxiety

So, ok. This blog post title could not be more Debbie Downer if it tried but dangnamit, I’m writing it!

First things first –

GOING BACK TO WORK AFTER HAVING A KID IS HARD

Sh*t man. Like, how do people do this? Have a baby! They said. You can be a working mom! They said. Before I had Clara, I envisioned myself as one of those women who could easily make the transition. As one of those moms who could go away on fun-filled girls weekends after 4 months, baby-free. As one of those moms who could carry on exactly as before baby came along.

That kind of mom, I am not.

I am the mom who wakes up early, plucks up her still-asleep, warm and delicious (yes, delicious) little baby from her bed, wishing she could spend consecutive hours snoozing and snuggling with this little being that makes her heart LITERALLY sing. I am the mom who feels immense guilt when she gets home and realizes she has not seen her baby for 8 whole hours. I am the mom that cannot fathom leaving the baby overnight, that struggles with leaving for more than 4 hours, that misses the baby constantly, that feels like she is missing an limb when she is not with her.

I am THAT mom.

And mind you, I have no doubt that my baby is being cared for in the best way possible when we are apart. Everyone that watches Clara loves her so much, there are zero qualms about her safety or her needs not being met. It is allllll about me. My feelings. My guilt.

Currently I am working 5 consecutive, 7 hour days. There have been ups and downs. Easy days and hard days. Days where I love my situation, I feel contented in the time I get with my baby, my QT with David and E.  But then there are days where I question IT ALL.

Why am I working? I am a terrible person. She is going to forget about me. Did I read to her at all yesterday? What is she doing right now? Am I talking to her enough? Does she love me?

This is the tape that plays in my head.

So that is where we’re at. Luckily, my job is continually amazing and allows flexibility when and where I need it. I will keep you all posted on the working-mom front but this stuff is no joke. WHO FEELS ME?

And speaking of tapes playing in my head…POSTPARTUM ANXIETY! Let’s talk about it.

This is a fairly new diagnosis in the medical community I recently learned, but to anyone who struggles with generalized anxiety it should be no surprise. Give someone with crippling anxiety a baby, and yeah, there’s a good chance that person will face a whole new set of issues. Namely, me. At my last appointment with my midwife, we chatted about it. She gave me a little survey to take and each question was just SO spot on for how I am feeling rn.

“Do you find yourself in a constant state of worry?” YAS. “Do you find situations you used to enjoy to no longer be fun?” YASSSS.

What am I doing to help myself? LOTS. One thing I learned long ago (esp when it comes to mental health) is that getting off my butt and taking steps to get help is SO worth it. When I am feeling overwhelmed, anxious, depressed – whatever – the absolute best thing to do is just call the damn doc. So, in the coming weeks I have lined up appointments with my doctor and therapist because I refuse to let PPA, PPD or anything else get the better of me. I’m open to adding a medication to the lineup and also working on things in therapy.

Anyone else experience PPD or PPA? How did you survive?

Baby and Me – 3 Month Update

Hello chickens.

So, I am crying as I type this. If you think the hormones have left for good now that she is 3 months old WELL THINK AGAIN. David is currently packing up his makeshift workstation that has been the eyesore of our kitchen the past 3 months. A mess I begged him to tidy about 37642 times. And now that he is, I am a weepy, sullen mess. Why? Because David is going back to work full time tomorrow. He has been part time these past few months and has been able to work from home. And even though I have been the primary caregiver, shuffling around the house in my bathrobe and slippers, his presence has been a welcome one. Calming. He is my buddy. And he helps me with our precious girl.

And now he is packing it up. Our little cocoon of comfort and familiarity is being ripped apart. Tomorrow I will be alone. No longer able to shout out, “She just puked down my shirt!” and have David’s booming laughter fill the house in response. I suppose some women might rejoice in having the house to themselves when their partner goes back to work BUT NOT ME. I love my partner and rely on him so much.

So the next two weeks will be just C and me. I am pretty excited to have a little more time with her before my epic return to work mid-April. Which bring me to my first official topic. Ok, wiping away the tears now and pouring myself some wine. brb.

CHILDCARE.

This is a place I sincerely wish it did not have to go to. A place that, upon touring, breaks my heart. A place I will feel guilty about EVERY SINGLE DAY.  A little place called Day Currr.

David and I have toured everything from the creme de la creme with an infant “curriculum” at $1,700/monthly, to the fluorescent lights and poop-stained carpet place  at $1,250/monthly. And TBH, not a whole lot separates the two besides the following factors:

  1. Cleanliness, obviously.
  2. Quality of care takers.
  3. Niceness of facility.

These things of course, are all vastly important. But they ALL are forced by law to adhere to a bunch of rules making the differences things that just make you, the parent, will only worry about. Clara won’t know if she is in the Taj Mahal or in a tent under the freeway. It’s all about appeasing US, the parents. Making us feel less guilty about leaving our sweet baby for 8 hours a every day.

Anyway, the whole issue just has me reeling. Before I had a baby, I always thought I would be one of those people who could easily go back to work after 3 months. I predicted I would CRAVE going back. And in some ways, I do. I love my job, my company, and especially the friendships I have. I miss the adult interaction, exercising my brain in a different way and putting on actual pants. But in the same breath, I am absolutely gutted at the idea of not being with Clara. Like, it actually makes me feel sick. The thought of leaving my tiny baby everyday has me feeling eviscerated, anxious and guilty. So here I am. Stuck in a glass case of emotion ala Ron Burgundy. It is reassuring to know that I am not alone. That so many parents struggle with this and get through it. I’ve been told to wear waterproof mascara for the first few days back. But the way I can cry, I might need a Tyvek suit.

I digress. Here is more randomness about my physical state:

I am officially out of the woods in the pain department.  And I feel back to my normal self again. I feel able to do mostly everything I was able to do before getting pregnant, with the following exceptions:

  • Running (only attempted this once)
  • The ability to easily touch my toes (flexibility = GONE. sayonara all the progress I made in yoga)
  • Easily walking uphill (SO. WINDED)

On the flip side though and looking at things GLASS HALF FULL…

  • I drink way more water now #milkmaid
  • My arms are getting stronger #babyholding
  • It only takes me one glass of wine to get a little buzzed #cheapdate

Moving onto all things baby!

And  I am not going to act like any of this is earth-shattering news. I mean, she is a human baby. They all pretty much do they same crap. I’m not about that “my 3 month-old’s favorite activities include” life. We’re just living our lives over here.

Let’s let the pictures tell a story, as they do.

Tummy Time! haaaates it

Optimal Burping Position

E set them up to watch TV together like this.

Unicorn hat and Zutano Fleece Booties from Nana

Fun with Snapchat

 

Wonder Woman bb

BB Denim

This photobombing little boy deserves a slow clap

First Blazers Game

 

Let us now move onto sleep. A topic I am leery to write about because I feel I must knock on wood each and every time I utter these words out loud, let alone on THE NET but here it is…our girl is a great sleeper. Since the day she was born. I mean, of course we had our nights of up being up every 2 hours. Of taking hours to get her to fall asleep. But those nights have been few. And nights where we all get 5,6 and sometimes even 7-9 hour chunks are the norm. Hip hop hooray. Sleep is awesome.

Other than that, everything is fairly normal. She eats. She naps. She smiles and “talks” to us. She farts like an absolute champ. She has a little bald spot on the back of her head. I am obsessed with her in every sense of the word. I am head over heels in love with my husband and stepdaughter. E absolutely adores her sister and is so gentle and sweet with her. David balances her in one hand while I scream at him.

Life is good you guys. Life is good.

Clara’s Nursery Tour

Good day crumpets!

I would like to start this out by saying that I am emphatically against “room tours” in the typical sense of the word. You know the ones. Those we see on YouTube or Instagram, flexing $2,000 Restoration Hardware cribs and linens worth more than a car payment that are NOT real life. They are meant to make us normal people feel bad. So bad, in fact, that I can no longer go inside Pottery Barn Kids without breaking a sweat and feeling guilty that I cannot provide this picture perfectness for my kid.

Is this just me?

When our 3rd bedroom was finished (it was a loft space prior), I started having minor palpitations about how I would decorate it. What “theme” should I pick? Should I stick with my go-to Shabby Chic taste?  Or should I aim for one of those cool, Instagram, minimalist, gender neutral style spaces?

How much money did I really want to spend on this room?

The answer: NOT MUCH.

I decided to let things happen naturally. Paint the walls a color that will stand the test of time. Fill this room with things we love,  that evoke nostalgia and that make us think, “Clara will love this”. So here we are…here’s her room.

Crib from a friend! Woohoo!

All the bedding as well as the mobile is from Target’s Shabby Chic line. The patterns are TO DIE. Apologies for the super wrinkly crib skirt. The blanket draped over the crib was a gift that my friend’s mom made. The big flowers are from Hobby Lobby. They were inspired by the $50 versions I saw and died over at Pottery Barn Kids:

This ballerina fitted crib sheet is also Shabby Chic from Target!

Can you handle theeee cuteness of these little stuffies?

This changing table is Ikea, but we got it from Offer Up for $70.

All her little shoes make me so happy. Especially the Toki Doki Donutella moccasins!

How sweet is this little music box? It was a gift from David’s aunt Sandi who got it in Vietnam.

This is a bouncy chair from Ikea and it is super comfy. The little Clara chair is actually from Pottery Barn Kids and was a gift from my amazing work.

The swan bust is amazing! It is from Target and I love it.

This is a Madame Alexander doll. I also have a set of Little Women dolls from Madame Alexander which I want to get up on a shelf.

Mostly all the stuffies in her room were gifts. The Jellycat ones are SO soft and wonderful.

The other little cove of the room has a couch and TV. So far it has been awesome to have in there and E loves hanging in here to watch her shows. Also LOVE the Pusheen pillow :).

UPDATE: My mom sewed blackout curtains on the back of these Parisian panels  David’s mom got us that we have had for awhile. The work perfectly in this room!

And that’s it! She is not sleeping in here quite yet but we are all ready to go. I have loved decorating this little space for her!