Sunday, December 20, 2009

Baby Necessities

I have put together 8 of the most important items I have used for my daughter. When becoming a new parent you never know what to expect. Although every baby is different, I tried to put together a list that would be useful for everyone:

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1. The Kiddopotamous swaddleme... oh how this has saved my life every.single.day. Swaddling with a blanket just can't hold up to a baby's strength. The swaddleme closes with velcro and works like a charm.

2. Pack and play with a changer. Sorry the picture is blurry- I did my best. We have a pink Graco one and keep it in the living room. We don't really use it other than the changer but it makes changing diapers soooo convenient. Actually I keep dirty clothes in the "bed" part of it- but hey it's still super useful and I recommend if you are getting a PnP to get one with a changer included!

3.Baby carrier. I waited way too long to buy one of these. It makes leaving the house much much easier. Carrying a car seat around sucks. Lugging a stroller around sucks too. The one pictured is the Infantino Euro Rider, I have this- it's a much cheaper option than the baby Bjorn.

4. This may look like a regular old newborn outfit HOWEVER there is one key part of the shirt that makes all the difference. At the ends of the arms there is a place to cover the baby's hands. This really comes in handy in the beginning and I recommend getting a lot of these shirts(or taking a bunch home from the hospital, I wish I would have taken more :)) Babies have a tendency to scratch themselves when they are mad and having their hands covered helps prevent that. I have the one that is pictured- it is a Ralph Lauren kimono outfit. I don't really use the pants, but the top gets used all the time.

5.Receiving blankets. You seriously can't have enough of these. Really. Like 10 isn't enough. Unless you want to be doing laundry much more often than necessary. Oh and don't buy cute ones either- you won't want to dirty them (I don't care what anyone else says).

6. Babylegs. Not only are these adorable but they are practical too. They keep your baby's legs warm without using pants. They make changing diapers so much easier... I also think they are much cuter than baby pants :)

7. A diamond studded binky- everyone who is anyone needs it...just kidding. Regular old binkies though? Def a necessity. Some mom's don't like to use them, but personally I would be lost without one. It has helped my baby learn to self sooth- helps with sleeping through the night and all in all helps with my sanity. I suggest buying a few different brands. This is because not every brand works for every baby. For example the Mams brand pacifiers don't work with my baby, not sure if it is the size or what but she doesn't like them. She will only use the Avent pacifiers.

8. A play mat. This particular one is what we have and is the Baby Einstein Neptune Ocean play mat. My little girl loves this- there are lights, music, toys that make noise, teether, different textures- just a really well rounded toy. This is not only makes baby happy, but it teaches them as well.

There are certainly other necessities you can't live without, like diapers, wipes bottles and formula (even if it's for back up) but those are a given.

Also? For mom's that want to go back to work, or aren't hardcore about strictly breastfeeding but still want baby to get breast milk, I definitely recommend an electric pump (double preferably). An expensive one. It's worth it and you get your monies worth in the end- promise. If you've decided to breastfeed/pump you need lots of lanolin nipple cream as well. I exclusively pump and although I received a lot for negative feedback for it, I preferred it to breast feeding.

Another question that moms to be love to ask is what kind of diaper bag they should use. I didn't add this item to my list because although it is a necessity, the one I have sucks. I bought it off ebay trying to save some money and am really not pleased with it. It's hard trying to find an affordable, functional decent looking diaper bag. Once I find one that is cute and functional I'll let ya know.

Oh shoot...I knew there was something I forgot to put on here... the boppy pillow. It is supposed to be used to help with breastfeeding- but it does so much more. We use it every night when putting Lils to bed. We prop her up on it and it helps her sleep.

***I am in no way an expert, and will not pretend to be. Every baby is different and every parent's preference and experience is different; I just felt these things were general enough to use across the board***

Monday, December 14, 2009

"And in this moment I am happy..."

Recently my friend MP made a post about things that makes her happy and even gave me a nice little shout out :) She got this idea from a friend of hers who also wrote about things that make her happy. I decided to keep with the happy posts (and hopefully inspire my other readers to follow) and make my own list:

1) 10:45 PM or whatever my bed time is that night. This is after the baby has been put in her crib for the night and we make our way to bed. As soon as my head hits the pillow a sense of relaxation runs through my body. Even if it's just for a few moments I feel completely calm and it is just so refreshing. I realize not everyone with a newborn gets this luxury, which makes me appreciate it even more. Having a baby (actually grown up life in general) is so exhausting the moments when you can just lay down and completely relax are priceless.

2) The Chew or Chewy. She is my dog, I love her like a child! People said things would change once I had a baby of my own- but I still consider the chew my baby too :) She is a doxie (hot dog, dog) and full of personality! We were worried about how she would be with the baby but she has been so good, so we are very relieved.

3)Monday Funday with Jdance. The type of job she has gives her a non-traditional work schedule. She is always off on Mondays and I always go to her house to hang out during the day. It's nothing too glamorous but we have a lot of fun!! During the week for the most part it's just me and the baby, and while I love spending time with her, it's nice to have another adult around to talk to. I'm pretty sure it's one of the big reasons I have stayed sane since I stopped working :)

4)My bridesmaids- CK, Bets, Little, Holland #2, and Miss. They all have touched my heart in one way or another since I have known them. Each of them means a lot to me and I feel honored to have them part of my wedding.

5) Jdance going above and beyond the call of duty as maid of honor. She has helped me with a lot of the planning and set up of my wedding. She even agreed to sit through my bridal hair and make up trials just so I can get her opinion!

6) Going to NYC for NYE. I visited the city last year in January for the first time and really enjoyed it. I can't wait to go again this year!

7) The Baby Einstein Ocean Wonders play mat. This thing has.it.all. It has a rattle, stuffed animals, lights, music, dangley thingies, even a toy that doubles as a teether! I put Lils on it to play everyday, not only does it make her smile but she is learning as well- can't beat that!

8) My body getting closer to being back to normal. I have 11 more pounds to lose to get back to pre-preg and my stretch marks are getting lighter. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and have faith I will at least be back to my pre preg size by my wedding.

9) Sexy one-piece bathing suits. Right after I had Lils I had some freak out moments thinking about what the hell I was suppose to wear when I went to the beach. Would I be doomed to wear cover ups for the rest of my life??? Then I was reminded that there are some cute, young , sexy one-pieces I could wear that would cover those evil stretch marks without stripping me of my youth!

10) The scent of lavender and vanilla. Preferably mixed together, but I like them separate as well. Anything I buy that has a fragrance HAS to be either lavender or vanilla or a combination of both.

Wait a second didn't I leave out a few important people? Obviously J, Lils, my family etc. make me happy. I feel like my blog is stuffed with mushy shout outs to my loved ones and wanted to give you all a break from the lovey dovey overload :)

I would love if Mrs. B, The Charming Chandlers, and Stephanie would all follow suit and post about what makes them happy :)

Also, I suggest you check out MP's blog it's really entertaining and full of fun creative projects and ideas. You can find her at: http://whatabigtodo.blogspot.com/
***I apologize if it's not clicky- I have a MAC and depending on the website, links don't show up clicky***

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My daughter is 2 months today :)

My precious girl is 2 months today!!!!!

Milestones:

1) Sleeping through the night... in her crib too! She also knows how to self-soothe (score!) She has been doing this for awhile now, no sleep training required. I'm not opposed to sleep training or schedules (every baby is different) but in my personal opinion she was too young to sleep train and trying to force her into a schedule was never gonna happen. I let her set her own schedule and luckily for me the times she chooses to fall asleep and wake up are around the same time I would be going to bed and getting up. She so smart already :) As for the self soothing- I discovered she knew how to do this when she dozed off in my arms, I put her in her crib and she woke up. Since she wasn't fussing I decided what the heck maybe she'll be able to go back to sleep- and she did. I was so surprised and so proud :)

*Wanna know what other things we did to help her sleep better and longer? We put her in a swaddle- no not the blanket that they teach you about- a swaddle that has velcro so it stays shut. This thing is a LIFE SAVER- we only have two I'd love to buy more because we have to wash them pretty frequently (spit up anyone?). Also, and I have to give credit to my friend Stephanie for this- having her sleep propped up on the bobby. We suspected she had reflux and I spoke to Stephanie about this since she was going through the same thing, she recommended the Nap Nanny. The Nap Nanny is expensive, but the idea is to have the baby sleeping propped up a bit. I decided to take their idea and make do with that I had. SUCCESS! It works like a charm! The boppy pillow really has so many uses it's another baby item no mother should be without. Introducing the pacifier was a savior as well. Some mom's don't like to this this, but I found it very helpful in her learning to self sooth and for my own sanity.


2) She knows how to use her hands. Oh man- this is one of my proudest discoveries. I feel like she has always been aware of her hands, but more recently she has been "using" them. She also doesn't claw her face off anymore when she is screaming which is freaking awesome. Having a baby in the car seat screaming, knowing she is scratching herself and you can't do anything about it, sucks. REALLY sucks. Especially when you have to look at the damage afterward. Anyways, back to using her hands. She has started to grab things. Also? I looked over at her one day and noticed her HOLDING HER BINKY TO HER MOUTH! When I have a bottle or bring the binky to her mouth she will pull it closer- or if she doesn't want it she will swat it away. It's freaking awesome. She also grabs my arm when I hold her- it makes me melt every time- since she is too young to really give me a hug it's the closest thing I can get and I love it :)

3) The baby babble. Oh how I love the baby babble. I can get so caught up in watching her coo, I almost forget that I need to be talking to her as well, especially when she is making noises at toys she likes. I love watching her smile and coo when I lay her on the activity mat for playtime. Or at the Christmas decorations, or the big balloon in the hallway, or the picture on the wall (I actually told J I didn't like when he first bought it 2 years ago I guess it's a good thing he kept it!). I especially love when she looks at me and coos and smiles. Hearing her make noises that aren't crying related really makes me smile.

4) She recognizes things!! She can tell when I bring her the bottle. I noticed this when she calmed down as soon as she saw me bring the bottle closer to her mouth. It was so precious. What's even more cute are the faces she makes when she DOESN'T want something. She gets a very disappointed look on her face if I give her the binky when she really wants a bottle. She also makes this face when she doesn't want the bottle anymore.

5) She is learning to communicate (other than just screaming)- 2&3 fit in with this but I thought they deserved their own sections. She is starting to use other sounds and gestures to let me know what she really wants. She doesn't always just resort to crying anymore. This has been great because I can tell the difference of her being bored or uncomfortable to her being hungry or being tired. When she is hungry, tired or cold she cries, screams even. Each has a different scream though and usually if I can get the bottle to her fast enough she doesn't go nuts. When she is tired she does go nuts, haven't figured that one out yet. When she is cold, there is not much I can do- she gets cold when moving her from towel to bath, bath to towel- this is the worst cry :( When she is done playing on her activity mat, in her crib or whenever she is laying, she makes short little "wah" noses and has a frown on her face.

It is incredible to watch your child grown, learn, and change right before your eyes! People told me things would change, that this was hard, exhausting, rewarding and all of those things are true, however, there was one thing that was left out. The sense of pride you feel for your child. It is almost indescribable. I am so proud of the way she is developing and the things she is doing. It's amazing to watch the progression of her development when she started out basically a blank slate, relying only on primal instincts. She is growing more and more each day, I can't wait to see what happens next!

Here is a picture of her in my FAV outfit on her. I wish I could find the hoody in all different colors- I would have her wear one everyday!

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Are you there, Rum? It's me Holls...

It's nothing new that this time of year is hectic- however add a newborn and an upcoming wedding and things get a bit more complicated.

I decided to brave Bethesda with the bebeh yesterday (well I actually had no choice) and the outcome? Success!!! My arms are sore from carrying her all over the place in the car seat- but she slept basically the whole time so, I'll take it! Leaving the house with the baby is such a daunting task, it makes thing a million times more complicated. Should I take the stroller? Should I just leave her in the car seat? Can I carry the car seat that far? Can I just carry her? Will I be able to carry her and the items I bought and my purse and my diaper bag? Do I even have my diaper bag? Did I remember a bottle? Wipes? Extra outfit? Blanket? Binky? Diapers? Wipes? Will she have a melt down? Will I have a meltdown?!

Ugh it's exhausting just thinking about it!

One of the things I had to do while I was out was meet with a florist to discuss the flowers for my wedding. I asked Jdance to come with per usual. By the end of the meeting we had picked out my and my bridesmaids bouquets, the floral arrangements for the ceremony, centerpieces, mom and MIL corsages, and all the men's flowers. It feels like such a relief to cross that item off my endless wedding to-do list. Just thinking about it makes me so excited. I can't wait for the demo so J can see what I picked out. I am very happy he trusts my taste enough to let me take control over the general decor and theme of the wedding. I would post pictures but there are certain folks that are reading this that need to be surprised!

Speaking of that there are still a few save the dates I haven't sent out and need to do so ASAP- crap, I knew I was forgetting something...

Aaaanyways other fun upcoming wedding plans are two of my fav things: Hair and make up. I'm doing a hair trial on Friday (yaaay) and currently in the process of finding a make up artist. We're also meeting with a potential officiant in two weeks- he was recommended by a friend AND he's inexpensive so I am thinking this one is a no-brainer.

The closer the wedding gets the more nervous I get about it all coming together. Originally I was going to try a lot of DIY things for the decorations to save money. However, at the end of the day I feared my guests would walk into a room that looked as though a five year old decorated it instead of seeing something fabulous. I received some great ideas and would recommend them to others, but whenever I have tried to be creative it always comes out a mess- I did NOT want to take that kind of risk on my wedding. So, I am leaving it to the professionals- luckily there are still ways to save money- like choosing flowers that are in season, killer negotiation skills (or having someone close to you with killer negotiating skills, thank you J), and finding vendors that offer deals with multiple purchases.

Man all this wedding stuff totally has me out of sync with the holiday season. Normally I love the holidays and gift giving and all the warm fuzzies that come with it, but this year it's pretty much the last thing on my mind. I am hoping next year I will get a chance to devote more time to it. I was really looking forward to going all out with the decorations, making and decorating cookies with my future step son, taking a really great holiday picture for the holiday card, having the perfect outfit for my little girl. Looks like things will not be going according to plan this year, so fitting consider NOTHING this year has gone according to plan, I'll try again next year :)