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!

Clara Meets her Namesake

Hi there chickadees!

Several weeks ago, David and I took our darling girl to the Moda Center for a Portland Trailblazers season ticket holder appreciation event. They do a sensational job of putting on this shin-dig. Season ticket holders are treated to a complimentary dinner, games, swag and the opportunity to MEET THE PLAYERS!

With David and I being the Blazers fanatics that we are, this is always a really fun night. I mean, last year I met Ed Davis and got him to FLEX with me (did I mention I wore a shirt with his face on it?)

Memoriezzz…

NBD

This year, we had a baby in tow. Our baby. Who we partially named after CJ McCollum (read that story here).

She was only a month old at the time and lemme just tell ya, I was pretty friggen’ nervous. Hello MEASLES OUTBREAK. Nice to meet ya. Luckily, we had her 1-month pediatrician appointment that morning where I asked the following questions:

  1. Should we NOT take her to the Moda Center? (at the time, there was a reported outbreak there.) Doctor said no, the entire place had been sanitized top to bottom AND the bacteria only lives for 2 hours anyway.)
  2. Do we need to bring noise cancelling headphones? Doctor said the noise will not harm her ears, it is more about it being bothersome to her.
  3. How hard should I smack anyone who tries to touch her? Doctor laughed. I decided a tidy throat punch would do fine.

So, off we went!

We decided I would just wear her and she LOVED it.

This baby wearing business is awesome. I adore it. I mean, what is better than having your baby right up against you all snuggly warm?! NOTHING. I even shot a free throw while wearing her.

Of course, we had to take her out to get a picture with our beloved CJ. Who btw, was such a doll. So friendly and down-to-earth. Just a real swell dude all-around.

We also got pictures with Terry Stotts (the coach) and Caleb Swanigan (before he got traded).

Can you tell how large this man is!? David is 6’5″!

Then it was time to sit down and watch the program.

We sat court side and the baby did just fine. David is so good with her, it makes things so easy.

We did decide to duck out a few minutes early and I hurriedly put on the baby carrier, diaper bag and coat to make a swift getaway. David turned around as we were exiting the arena and just started laughing at me…

#disheveled

A couple weeks later David had the opportunity to shoot around on the court at the Moda Center for an hour and we took full advantage.

I decided to wear her again and it was awesome again.

Then we got some amazing pictures of her at center court!

So cute right!?

I have learned so much about her and about myself over these past couple of weeks (more on that in another post). But one piece of advice I will share when it comes to having a newborn is this…YOU CAN DO IT. It is so easy to just stay at home in the safe bubble, with the safe routine. Venturing out is HARD and for me, a big challenge. But I did it. And I have been continuing to do it. And you know what? It gets easier! Just gotta keep pushing 🙂

All for now! GO BLAZERS!

The First Month of Motherhood

Well my little dishes of hard candies, we have done it.

1 month in the books! If I would have written a blog post two or three weeks ago, there would not have been an exclamation mark after the first sentence. It would have ended with a period. A dismal, pathetic period. I’ve been through a lot over the past month and I know what you’re thinking. Like, duh. You just had a freakin’ baby. Of course you’ve “been through a lot”. Sometimes when I am feeling REALLY bad about myself or my parenting, I think, “wow, Snooki (you know, from Jersey Shore) is a mom. How did SHE do this?” Haha. And really, we should all stan for Snook. She turned out ok. And so have I.

The first couple of weeks were rough. Mostly because I felt it quite challenging to both care for myself and for our baby. I was still in a substantial amount of pain from what I had gone through. If you haven’t read about that yet, you can do so here. I was taking about 8 medications each day  at different increments. I was trying to eat and drink as much as I could consistently. Which doesn’t sound hard but was. All the while trying to pump 6-8 times, take my blood pressure twice a day, sleep and nap, shower, and you know…do all the other things to keep my life in order. My mom and David were godsends. As were all the wonderful people who brought over food and came for visits.

I also cried. ALOT. They weren’t kidding about those hormones, man. Clara had a bit of diaper rash in the first couple of weeks and when I saw her tiny bum sprinkled with red splotches I just absolutely lost my sh*t. OVER DIAPER RASH. Come on Natalie pull yourself together SHEESH.

David would leave for 0.322 minutes and I would call him and make sure he was okay and hadn’t died in a car accident. I would touch my hand to Clara’s forehead every 5 minutes to make sure she was warm and breathing. I would picture myself tumbling down the stairs with her in my arms. Postpartum anxiety much there partner?

I have never felt closer to my husband than ever before. I feel a love so deep for him, it really does make me weep like I am reading a Jane Austen novel. My heart feels like it is going to explode with love just about every hour. For this baby, for my family. Every time her big sister gives her a kiss, or Meira lays down next to her bouncy chair, or I catch David on the couch singing to her and softly kissing her tiny head. I’m a woman in love.

But enough about that! Let’s get to the nitty-gritties of how I am doing with infant care!

I would give myself a B+ honestly. I am a solid A with singing a variety of songs to her, but get a big fat F for lyric correctness (except when it comes to musicals or Disney, of course). But like, Little Bunny Foo-Foo? I am ALL over the place. I get a C in diaper changing because she absolutely hates it and therefore, I do too. You see, Clara unhappy = Me VERY unhappy. She cries and bicycles those little legs and sometimes I just struggle securing those darn nappies.

I also get a C in bathtime regularity. Yes, at times I have a dirty baby. Why? See above paragraph. Girlfriend does not enjoy baths so, you guessed it! Neither do I.

However, I get an A in walks and snuggling because she likes those things very much. She falls asleep on me at least once a day and yes, it IS heaven on earth.

I look like a 70-year old male hippie in this pic

Clara gets a B+ in sleeping, which has made life not too shabby for us. We have a routine where I go to bed VERY early, around 7:30 and then David goes to bed around midnight. He takes care of feeding her around 9 and midnight and I do the ones around 3 AM and 6 AM. However, now that she is a month, we can start doing a bit longer stretches.

So we are doing pretty great all things considered. She weighs 8.4 lbs now and is 21 inches long. She is growing well and almost out of newborn clothes! Her eyes are turning more and more blue and her eyelashes are getting super long which is of course, EVERYTHING.

Leave any questions below in the comments :). xoxo