Ready for Solids

Five months ago today, this world became a better place. It was the longest, most amazing day of my life, I just can’t believe it was already that long ago. I guess time flies when you’re having fun!

To celebrate, we’ve decided to give baby J his very first taste of solids. He’s been eyeing our food for about a month now, so we think it’s time to let him see what all the fuss is about!

We decided to go with Happy Bellies brown rice cereal mixed with good ol’ breast milk. He LOVED it!! He just kept going back for more, it was adorable!

I knew this day was coming, but I can honestly say I didn’t expect for it to seem so soon! As sad as I am that we’re already at this stage, I am so excited, because he really loved it! I can’t wait to start trying vegetables and fruits! I’ll post some of his favorite homemade baby food combos as soon as we try a few.

Happy Friday!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

Labor of Love

It’s easy to say that it was all in God’s plan and that, in the end, it really doesn’t matter how he got here, both of which are completely true. But, in that moment, I needed to feel the disappointment. I needed to feel the loss of what I had imagined to be the picture perfect moment that defined the beginning of this chapter of my life. It was okay that I felt what I felt, as long as I knew deep down that, all along, it wasn’t really up to me.

I planned for the moment he was placed immediately on my bare chest, those first breaths of his mixed with the huge sigh of relief of mine. I wanted the first thing he felt in this brand new world to be the tender kisses I’d been so anxious to give him for 9 long months. I couldn’t wait to strengthen our bond by offering my breast as soon as we met. I didn’t want any bathing, weighing, or poking and prodding until I got to study every inch of his tiny body and imprint that moment in my mind for the rest of my life. It was going to be beautiful and powerful, the most important moment in my life right along side the day I said, “I do”.

So, at about 4 o’clock in the evening, (after being at the hospital since 10pm the night before) when the nurse said it was time to push, I was ready. It was time to meet our son, and I was more anxious than ever. About 20 minutes in, I learned that my little boy had tons of hair, which as a hairdresser, was very welcomed news! I couldn’t believe it. This was really happening, I was finally about to meet my baby boy!

Then it was 5 o’clock. Then 6 o’clock. Then 7. I had literally pushed and pushed every, single time I contracted for 3 hours straight. My Doctor said he had passed his limit, and that it was time for a c-section. I, on the other hand, had not. Even while nearly falling asleep between contractions due to overwhelming exhaustion, I wasn’t giving up. WHAT ABOUT MY PLAN?! I was then given about 45 minutes to an hour more to “rest” because it just so happened that the OR had just been filled with another c-section. But, instead of resting, (as advised by my Doc) I pushed. And pushed. And pushed harder than I ever had. It wasn’t until my sweet little (or not so little) baby boy started showing distress on the heart monitor that I gave in… but I didn’t give in easily.

I had never felt so disappointed in my life. I can’t even put into words how completely helpless and heartbroken I felt that I wasn’t able to do the only thing I was supposed to do in that moment. Even as I sit here and type through blurry, tear-filled eyes, I remember the guilt and aching in my heart. I cried for the remaining few minutes I had left before I would be wheeled into the OR. My husband, mother, and mother-in-law were all so wonderful, they were so encouraging even when their hearts hurt for me because they knew how much I wanted it. I could feel the love and support radiating from the waiting room, where the rest of my family anxiously awaited his arrival.

Then, I was swept into the OR, where the change in energy was strange. The lights were brighter and there were what seemed like 50 people hustling and bustling around me as I stared at a blue paper sheet in front of my face, shielding me from what was about to happen. After what seemed like a life time passed, the moment came when my life changed forever. The moment I heard that strong yet tiny little cry coming from the most precious baby in the world. I caught glimpses from afar as they wiped him down, Brendan cut the cord, and he was wrapped tightly in a blanket. Then, at last, we met. For just a few glorious minutes, I looked my whole world in the eyes and kissed his soft little cheeks. He wasn’t crying anymore, in fact, the moment he heard his Daddy’s voice, he was calm and still. It was, hands down, the most beautiful moment of my life.

They then took him to the nursery with Daddy right beside him, to bathe and weigh him while they finished my surgery and took me to recovery. In recovery, they brought him for a few moments to breastfeed, then took him away again until I was well enough to be taken to our room and be reunited with my husband and little baby boy.

It really was all in God’s hands. Baby J was not only a  9lb 5oz baby, but he was also in a bad position for delivery. In fact, at that angle it was possible that he could have really been hurt even if I had been able to push him out. After all was said and done, we more than made up for those few moments of bonding that we missed in the very beginning. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome, regardless of what plan I thought I had. I thank God every, single day for the beautiful, healthy baby boy He gave me. It was the first lesson learned, that there are very few things you can actually plan for in this crazy adventure called parenting. I am acutely aware that there will be many surprises and changes along the way, and I couldn’t be less prepared or more excited for each and every one of them.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5

Dare to Compare

baby photo grid

As if being a new parent isn’t hard enough, I think sometimes we make it even harder by comparing ourselves to others. I’m not referring to swapping stories or asking for advice, I’m talking about that little voice inside our heads that makes us question whether we’re doing it right or not, or if someone else is doing it better (or worse) than we are. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve wondered at times if J is up to par with the rest of his little friends and whether I’m as good of a parent as some of mine. While I think it is somewhat natural, I think it can be unproductive and add more pressure on ourselves than necessary!

Every baby is so, completely different. Before they are even born, they quite obviously have a personality of their own. I think we sometimes forget that they’re little humans just like we are, they’re not robots that we can program! Babies are ever-changing! Just when you think you’ve figured them out, they change! What works for them one day might not the next!

There is no right answer. No parenting book written can offer the perfect advice for every single baby. Different parenting styles or ideas work for different personalities. It makes it hard when we compare our own babies with other people’s because they’re not the same person!! While one might be just fine in a swing or bouncer while you do a few things around the house, another might want to be held and carried! While one baby might love the swaddle, pacifier, or other types of soother, another might be perfectly content without. That doesn’t make one a “happier” or “better” baby than the other or, it just makes them “different” and aren’t we all?

I feel like instead of constantly comparing ourselves to each other, we need to be supportive and celebrate our differences.  No judging  for doing things differently, just understanding that every mom, child, and situation is different, and that’s what makes this life so dynamic and interesting. We’re just doing the best we can for our little ones, and we’re all in it together.

May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works – Psalm 104:31

Photo By:  Betsy Hawley of Snap Lovely Photography

Gadgets and Gizmos Aplenty

 

When you decide to have your first baby, I think the assumption is that you must have at least one of everything for them by the time they arrive. You think you need to fill your home with the latest and greatest and if you don’t, your baby will somehow know something’s missing. Other than the obvious essentials such as a car seat, crib or bassinet, clothes, diapers, and blankets what else do you actually need? Do you have to have a swing or bouncer, monitor, bathtub, or every type of stroller on the market before they even make their big debut?

I was happy to find when baby J came home with us, that he thoroughly enjoyed the swing. It’s nothing spectacular, in fact, it was given to us by some friends that no longer needed it for their kids. I thought then, maybe we should go buy a bigger, fancier swing with an array of musical choices, flashing lights, dangling toys and can swing every which way. Luckily, the minimalist in me realized that what we had was more than enough, because 3 months later, J wants little to do with it.

While we’re still in the market for a good monitor, (for the day I’m able to handle J sleeping more than 12 inches from me)  I’m glad we didn’t go out right away and buy the most advanced technology money can buy. As much as that goes against everything my husband would normally believe in, (he’s kind of an electronics geek) we’ve yet to be in a situation where we can’t hear even the faintest cry from the other room.

We were given a basic bath tub from another couple of friends, which we’ve used exactly 5 times so far. As J gets older, I can absolutely see the necessity for a tub or chair, but I’m very glad we didn’t go crazy with a spa bath or some other “super soother” kind of thing, because in my opinion, Mommy or Daddy’s arms during bath time is the most “soothing” place to be.

After thinking way too much about it, we realized that we could get away with just one stroller to fit our lifestyle. We realized that for now, the only time we’ll really want a stroller is for walking the strand at the beach or jogging through the neighborhood. So, when J was around 2 months old, we went out and got a jogger stroller that is also compatible with our infant car seat. It’s easy to set up and breakdown and fairly compact. We’ve found that for most other situations we’ve been in so far, wearing him in a carrier has been the easiest choice for us!

Now that J is a little older (sad, but true) he’s really enjoying his playmat and since he fell in love with my friend Kelli’s walker, we just ordered his own, so I’ll post about it when it comes!!

I’m happy we decided to make purchases (or accept hand-me-downs) as J needed things, instead of going out and getting everything “they” say you need. I like the idea that instead of having 15 different things to keep my baby occupied, I have spent the majority of our days being his main source of entertainment. Honestly, his favorite toys to play with right now are my face and hands, and his favorite thing to stare at is our reflections in the mirror! So, up to this point, no “flashing lights”  have been required.

 

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” – Proverbs 22:6

Carrying My Love With Me

When shopping for baby stuff, I knew I wanted some kind of wrap or sling for my little one, but when I came to that section in the stores or did Google searches, I was so overwhelmed!! There are so many different styles to choose from, I didn’t know where to begin! Wrap slings, carriers, ring slings, hip carriers, buckle slings… the list goes on and on!

I had heard good things about the Moby Wrap from several sources, so that was the easiest choice… but was it the best choice for me?  I was a little overwhelmed with all the wrapping you have to do, I was afraid I would do it wrong! When there are several YouTube tutorials teaching you how to wrap it correctly, you know you’re in for just one more thing to have to practice (as if being a brand new mommy isn’t enough to worry about).

I’m not discounting that, once mastered, the Moby wouldn’t have been fantastic,  but when I was gifted a baby carrier I had never even heard of called the K’tan Baby Carrier, my decision was made! It was by far the easiest (and cutest) “wrap without all the wrapping” I had ever tried!! I wear it to the grocery store, the beach, cleaning house, and I even wore him through the airport!  So many people stop me to ask where I got it and what it is called, because it’s so compact and stylish, sometimes people are shocked to find there’s a baby in there! I’m always happy to share the info and I always rave about it to anyone who will listen, so I decided to share it with you as well!

“The Baby K’tan Baby Carrier is a uniquely designed soft cotton carrier. It can be worn in all the same positions as a wrap, without the hassle of wrapping! The K’tan is made of two loops of cotton which are connected by a third smaller loop called the Back Support Band. This ergonomic and stylish design allows the carrier to be worn in multiple positions, all without any complicated wrapping or buckling. It is a cross between a sling and a structured front baby carrier, offering the positions and benefits of both! The Baby K’tan offers unparalleled comfort, safety & convenience!” – babyktan.com

You can get it at babyktan.com amazon.com, or some places like Target offer online purchasing only. At a great price (around $50-60) and with several color and fabric choices to choose from, my mind was made up and I’ve never looked back! I wear baby J to the grocery store, to the beach, and even to clean the house! He absolutely loves it and so do I! What’s your favorite carrier?

But if anyone loves God, he is known by God- 1 Corinthians 8:3

Sleeping Through the Night

It’s probably the question I get asked most as the parent of a newborn. It usually goes something like, “Congratulations! He’s so adorable! Is he sleeping through the night?” or “Oh my goodness, he’s so tiny! Are you getting any sleep?”  I have to say that generally speaking, in my opinion, there is too much emphasis put on newborns “sleeping through the night”. Should they really be expected to even know when “nighttime” is as a brand new baby? What does it even mean, anyway? I was surprised to hear that most would consider 6 hours to be “through the night” for a newborn. Uhmm… what?!

It was probably one of my biggest fears going into this whole “becoming a parent” thing. If you know me at all, you know that sleeping is one of my very favorite things to do, especially in the form of an afternoon nap on the couch! I’m a self-proclaimed “night owl” and I’ve never in my life been known to wake up bright and early ready to greet the day! (Just ask my mom or husband!) I was so afraid that the day J was born, my napping and sleeping-in days were up, but I have to admit I got really lucky in that department…. or did I?

Since all babies come with their own set of rules and instructions (wouldn’t that be nice?) my question to all of you is, what did you find to be helpful for your newborn? Warm bath? Swaddling? Ambient noise? Pacifier?

I’ve found that the things that helped J sleep longer when he was 3 weeks old are different from what worked for him when he was 12 weeks old, and will most definitely be different from what will help 2 months from now! Some of our favorite “tools” so far have been swaddling and ambient noise. My very favorite swaddling blankets are by far the Aden + Anais bamboo muslin swaddles, they are so soft and have perfect flexibility for tight wrapping! For J, those things have been like magic!! Our favorite read on the subject has most definitely been “Happiest Baby on the Block” by Dr. Harvey Karp. I would recommend it to anyone, although every baby is quite obviously different.

What I didn’t think I would ever say is, I now wake up, bright and early, actually excited to be greeted by the cutest little face in the world. I cherish the times that I sit up in bed in the wee hours of the morning together, before the rest of the world starts their day, just enjoying all the little noises and breathes, the hiccups and burps, and the smiles and sometimes even cries. I know the days are so limited where this will even be part of our routine (if that’s what you want to call it) which is a relief to know at times, but also can make me sentimental and sad that it’s all going so quickly! Mostly, I just enjoy it while it is, well, whatever it is.

Wake up, my heart! Wake up, O lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn with my song. – Psalm 57:8

There’s a First for Everything

As I sit here next to my beautiful, napping boy, I’m overwhelmed with joy and excitement for the many, many blessings bestowed upon me. So much has already happened in these first few months with our little guy, I just can’t even put into words how excited I am for all the things to come! (But, I’m gonna try to!)

There are so many things I am passionate about and things I want to learn, to teach, and to do! From breastfeeding and homemade baby food, to sewing and DIY projects, and even fashion and trending hairstyles! I am constantly wanting to learn more about ways to be more creative, save money, raise a happy and healthy child in a healthy home, and to do my part in making a healthy environment for our children to bring their future children into.

This is an attempt to organize my thoughts, ideas and inspirations and to hopefully be able to look back on and remember all the fun little things along the way in this amazing journey called motherhood. The idea is not to be perfect in my writing or have something fabulous to say everyday (although, that would be nice) but just to share it as it comes and see how it goes! I hope to inspire and to be inspired, so please be patient with me and help me as I learn how to do this whole blogging thing!!

 

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him and he will do this. – Psalm 37:4,5