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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

what a day...

Today was one of those crazy days where I just wanted to be home, with my son napping and me breathing for a moment. It was crazy.

First my son ate so much son at the beach yesterday that he developed the worst diaper rash I've ever seen. It was out over his thigh even! The diapers were messy, filled with real sand, and just nasty. I had to change him much more frequently to make sure it got better and apply cream after cream on him.

Then out at supper with my family, Owen was excited and loud and hungry and bored and overall being a toddler. The people next to our table didn't quite sign up for that type of night, and thus started the first eye rolls I've seen from neighboring restaurant goers. Then the sighs. Then the pleading looks at the waiter to please, if there is a God, move them to another place in the restaurant. I found it rude. I kept apologizing and trying to distract my son, all the while thinking, "Listen people, sometimes parents of toddlers want to go out to eat, too, and despite how loud we may be or how many times you may possibly get hit by a French fry or crayon, we deserve a night out!" Oh well. They probably forget what it's like. I vow now to never be that person in a restaurant who forgets what it's like to dine with a toddler.

Which is how we got to calling Poison Control for the first time! (Yes, I was very grateful to my husband for having put the phone number on the fridge before we even came home from the hospital with the baby.) Owen ate Butt Cream. Yup, he did. He reached down during one of our many diaper changes and took a lick from the top of the container. I instantly wiped out his mouth and gave him a drink of water, while speed dialing Poison Control, all the while asking myself, "Is this really my life right now?!" Of course he was fine (the operator even put me on hold while she took another call!).

I already wrote this in the baby book. I suppose I'll want to tell my son's girlfriends about this someday.

it's a baby shower! ~ Libby

A second baby shower in June, this one for my husband's cousin and his wife Libby! Such an adorable couple, now going to have a baby girl in September. We are so excited for them!

It was a great shower, filled with so many family and friends who clearly adore these two. Everything was so detailed and sweet, too. Libby's sister did a fantastic job organizing the shower. The cake was the same type of cake they served at their wedding last July - vanilla cake with strawberries, delicious!

The picture below shows one of the "activities" (no games, instructed Libby!). They put small baby items into individual gift bags, with one letter on each bag that spelled out Baby Butler (their last name). All guests had to guess what was in each bag, for example B was for bibs. Very cute idea, I'd never seen before at a shower.

To Libby, Lloyd and future Baby Butler, we are so happy your family is about to become 3. Owen can't wait to have another little cousin around to play with. We hope you enjoyed your special day, and enjoy taking that little one out for walks and jogs in the stroller we all got you.

On to September! Good luck in the heat this summer, Libby. I imagine Lloyd will be treating you to many ice cream dinner dates in July and August! Indulge!

it's a baby shower! ~ Jess

My college roommate is having a baby girl! We had such a fun baby shower for her in the middle of June up where she lives in Warren, near Rockland, Maine.

Jess is one of the sweetest and funniest people I've ever known. To see her showered with so much love and all the pretty pink outfits and baby items made me tear up at being so happy for her.

This picture below is Jess holding up the lace, silk, polka dot and pink skirt I bought for my future "niece" to wear in one of her first big photo shoots with me next summer! I am so excited! Finally something PINK to photograph!

Best wishes, Jess, as you move into the final stages of pregnancy and await meeting your baby girl! I can't wait to see you become a mom. I know you'll be a natural at it!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

best wishes to LIBBY!

And here it is, another baby shower to attend, and I am sure glad I started this blog for two friends already so that I can add a third dear friend to the mix! My husband's cousin and his wife are expecting a baby girl in September. Libby is one of the coolest, sweetest and most sincere people I've ever met. It's been so great getting to know her better the last couple of years. I know she and Lloyd will make great parents!

I hope you enjoy browsing through this blog about all of my crazy, silly, and sometimes sappy mom-isms. You know me well enough now to appreciate my randomness, so it's fitting opening up this writing and mommy side of my world to you. I actually can't wait until you are a mom and you can share stories of your own here, as I'm sure there will be many with cloth diapers and vegetarian eating, things I admire and think are so great for your baby in keeping in line with how totally cool you are now! Please know Jared and I are here if you ever need anything at all. We can't wait to meet Robyn and to have another cousin for Owen!

P.S. Libby, this was not ready for your shower today because I was waiting on a picture of you pregnant, which I got this weekend! Yay! ENJOY!

P.P.S. To the other gals reading this blog, baby shower pics to come soon from Libby's special day today!

being good enough

I read somewhere that because it's ridiculous to even attempt being a perfect mother, it's totally acceptable to strive to be a "good enough" mother. I stopped to think about that a minute... and I tend to agree with the statement. It IS OK to be a good enough mother, one who tries her best, who sometimes fails and does the wrong thing, but who always has good intentions, is always trying to be better, and who admits she's not perfect and does not need to be.

This quotes sums it up perfectly:
"The most important thing she'd learned over the years was that there was no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one." -J. Churchill

I don't want to be a perfect mother. I don't think such a thing exists anyhow. I do want to be a good mom, even a great one. I want to do my best, to give my son all that I can. Yet I know my limitations and I know that I'm not ever going to reach perfection, and that is OK with me. I try my best not to ever compare myself to other mothers or to judge them for how they raise their kids. That's one thing I've learned by being a mom. There is absolutely no use for judging other moms or wondering why people do certain things the way they do. We are all different. We all experience motherhood differently. Each of our kids is very different from another's.

It just makes sense that we all set out to do our best at being a mother and assume that other moms are doing their best, too.

book: 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know

This was an interesting read. I'll admit I didn't actually read every word, but rather skimmed it (who has time to read a long book these days?!). It was good though. 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know: Getting Back to Basics and Raising Happy Kids by Michele Borba, Ed.D. is about raising healthy, happy kids who are content in who they are, have strong self esteem and are of good character. It's also about not being a perfect parent, a notion I love and hope all moms can learn to live by. Being perfect as a parent is definitely an oxymoron. It does not and should not exist.
A few things I really liked in this book:

Pages 12 and 13 offers a list of what a real mom looks like. These things include:
"A real mom doesn't worry about what other moms are doing or saying."
"A real mom knows her children so well that she makes her parenting decisions based on their unique needs."
"A real mom has confidence in her maternal instinct and isn't pushed around by the latest pressures and trends."

Real moms...
"...have a life of their own."
"...let their kids wear the same clothes two days in a row."
"...give their kids pots and pans to play with."
"...aren't afraid to say no."
"...let their kids be bored."
"...admit when they're wrong."
"...know they're not perfect."

The author asks the question, how do you want to be remembered someday as a mom? I stopped at this part and thought a minute.

Here's what I've come up with for what type of mom I'd like to be remembered as:
good listener
playful and fun
let the little things go
easy going
always there
apologize when I'm wrong
imperfect, but great
focused, present, totally in the here and now
easy to talk to
make each day count
celebrate the important moments
say "I love you" every day
make him my priority

Those are good things to start with I guess! I think the most important thing I try to do with Owen every single day is to make it matter, spend quality time together, let the chores wait until after he's gone to bed, be focused and laughing and really there with him. I have never been so patient as I am with my son. He's made me slow down, take things in, breathe, and really just be here enjoying life.
How would you like to be remembered as a parent? What do you imagine your child will someday write to you in a Mother's Day card?

I also really liked in this book that the author suggested you ask yourself this question: "If my child had only my actions to watch today, what would he have learned?"
I really like this. Did my son see me exercise today therefore learning that it's good to take care of himself and be healthy? Did he hear me swear, therefore learning it's OK to use bad language? Did he see me cleaning and being a responsible person? Did he see me working too much and not having enough fun? It's something to think about...

Another idea to think about... what is your one wish for your family? If you could only come up with one single thing to grant to your children, something you can control yourself (so not related to financial status or health). What first comes to mind for me on this one is that my son is confident in himself or that he knows the right thing to do. I also hope he's a kind person and treats others how he wants to be treated, something I've lived by myself.

Overall, an interesting skim for me. It really did get me thinking about being a purposeful mother.

Friday, June 24, 2011

family education site

This site is awesome! It has info on here for pregnancy and then when the baby arrives. It's great advice, articles, discussions, etc. Check it out!

It has a "pregnancy day by day" spot where you can check daily about your pregnancy stages. It looks pretty interesting!

mom blogs
Check this out!
Lots of good sites on here, good advice and info for new moms. You will love it!

the shape of a mother

This is an interesting Web site.

I don't really know what to think about it at first glance. Well, my personal opinion is it's AWESOME, amazing, incredible, liberating, totally cool and unique and again liberating for women.

And yet I'm terrified to let two of my best friends who are pregnant and probably struggling with gaining weight and losing your former body to a bigger one with a baby bump taking over.

However, I am choosing now to post this on here with the Web site to The Shape of a Mother, because the reason I started this blog in the first place was to be honest. So here I'm being honest, truthful, sharing with you the reality of what it's like to be a mom.

So yes, it's out there now, no holding back, your body will change, a lot, by having a baby and by giving birth. It's normal and it's OK and in fact I believe it's beautiful. The belly roll I still have now 16 months post pregnancy is my reminder that I carried my baby inside me once and that I'm strong enough to do anything because of that. The scar I have just above my bikini line that will most likely never go away reminds me that I survived the birth of my child via C-section, major surgery, and that my body can do anything.

It is not fun having your body change so much, I understand that. But really, we all go through it, you are not alone, and truly, stop and think about how beautiful it is that your body can do this thing called bringing life into the world.

Check out the site. It's interesting. That's the word for it, interesting.

Dear Baby,

Before Owen was born I wrote him a letter. Jared wrote him one when he was a couple of weeks old. We cherish these letters, written right in his baby book. I wrote about how amazing it was to feel him kicking inside my belly, how I couldn't wait to see who he looked like, whether he was a he or a she, and how much I already loved him. Jared wrote about how incredible it was to finally meet him, how much we truly adore him already, and how he hopes Owen remembers we are always here for him as his parents.

I encourage you to sit down before your baby arrives and write him or her a letter saying what it's been like to carry the baby in your stomach, what you hope for when she arrives, and all that you plan to do as a mommy. It's pretty neat. I hope to write him a new letter each year on his birthday. It's cool to reflect on them and where I was at as a mom.

book: mom*over

I recently read the book mom*over by Dana Wood. It was pretty interesting. It's really for people who are in my shoes, about a year into being a new mom, with advice on how to get back to being yourself again after putting so much of yourself into being a great mom. Still, I think it's great advice for you to read now even while still pregnant so you can slightly prepare yourself for when things change.

Some quotes I loved:

"There's no 'wrong' way to do the newborn thing, but there is a painful way to do it, and that's to second-guess yourself all the way through. That tends to lead you to a kind of psychological ground zero and before long, you're wondering why you ever decided to have a baby in the first place."
It's so important to listen to yourself and your partner first and foremost. Yes, read books and talk to friends and ask your mom for help, but at the end of the day it's up to you and what your gut feeling tells you.

I absolutely loved page 28 and the list of things it says you should remind yourself of, which are entirely about taking care of yourself first. A few of these on the list include:
-caring about myself as much as I care about my newborn.
-cutting myself slack for what I don't know about taking care of a newborn, and celebrating myself for all the things I've learned.
-blaming hormones for all the crazy feelings I may have
-giving myself a break from time to time
-eat well to take care of myself
The biggest thing that made sense to me on this list was "I will recognize that, a year from now, I won't even remember most of the nonsense I'm fretting over and obsessing about." This is so true! When your child turns a year old you will not have a clue how using breastmilk versus formula made an impact on your kid, or whether you waited until 4 or 5 or 7 months to feed your kid solid food made a big difference. It all doesn't matter later on, yet in the moment it feels like it's such a big decision. Give yourself some slack. You can't mess things up too bad. I promise.

Overall, an interesting read. I found a lot of cool Web sites in the back of the book to check out. The author seems to really know what it's like to be a mom, and that's the one thing you really want in a book about mommyhood so this is a good one.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

appreciating the dads

It's Father's Day, and I'm grateful.
I'm lucky to have a dad for my son who is always there for us both, who puts us first, who is funny, playful and loves teaching his son new things.

Too often parenting woes and praises fall on the mother's shoulders. This seems only natural. We did carry the babies in our bellies, after all. However, it's important to remember that without the dads we would not be the moms to our children. I try to include Jared in every decision we make about our baby instead of just doing it myself because I'm Mom. As a result, I have a very involved dad for my son, who I appreciate more than words could explain.

Have you told your baby's daddy that you feel lucky to have him?
At least do it today!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

new blog

This blog looks cool:

Check it out!

Nanny Deprived... totally!

surviving pregnancy... the 3rd trimester

40 weeks... it's a long time to wait for, and yet at some point you are going to get there. You will be at the end soon, I swear it does end!

The beginning of the third trimester though marks exhaustion, not sleeping well at night, discomfort in your body, more heartburn if you've already had that, and an overall sense of too much to do to prepare for baby's arrival and not enough energy to do it.

You start thinking about the birth plan, talking to the doctor, visiting the hospital, checking with your health insurance coverage, planning for maternity leave at work. You begin really flipping through the baby names book with your husband to try to figure out how to actually name someone. It's a lot of stress, pressure and overwhelming feelings.

And yet it's also pure excitement, because now you feel your baby kicking inside you, moving around a lot. You also know that it's almost over, you have done this thing that is pregnancy and you are almost ready to really become a mom. It's an awesome feeling!

This is me at 9 months pregnant... almost done, feeling big and swollen and uncomfortable. Yet still posing for the camera, because I wanted to remember every second of pregnancy, I thought it was that amazing!

I remember in my last few weeks before delivering my son that I was slowing down, not only physically, but with everything I did. Work was getting slower because it was almost over for me for a while. Preparation for baby was mostly done and ready because I listened to the warnings I'd heard about doing as much as possible to prepare during the energy-filled second trimester. I was feeling more ready.

I do suggest a few things though in the third trimester:
-REST! all caps there, people! Seriously, you need to rest as much as you possibly can. You need your energy when 40 weeks rolls around.

-Eat whatever you want. You have watched yourself for almost 10 months now. Indulge, enjoy, do whatever you want. It is not going to hurt your baby. You are gaining weight rapidly now anyway as the baby starts to grow, it's not what you're eating. My husband graciously made me a strawberry milkshake almost every night during the last two weeks before I gave birth because I had a huge craving for one while relaxing in front of the TV at night. When you feel that uncomfortable at the end, it's OK to treat yourself. Really, trust me, it's fine.

-Make final preparations for baby's arrival. The nursery doesn't need to be complete, but at least have diapers, wipes, a place for baby to sleep, a car seat installed in the car, and at least ten outfits washed and ready. That's all you really need for the first few days.

-Double check the hospital bags. Make final arrangements for the hospital, your house while you're gone for a few days, insurance questions, maternity leave plans, etc. Don't forget to get the dad a gift for the hospital! He'll really appreciate it!

-Talk about a name with your partner. At least flip through the books, check some out online and have a conversation before arriving at the hospital. If you don't know the exact name by then that's OK. You may be like we were and have to wait until you see your child to name her or him. If you already have a name picked out, this is one less thing to worry about at the end.

-Write a note to your baby-to-be. I really love re-reading the note I wrote to my son before I knew he was a he. It's just something nice for the baby book. Oh and if you don't yet have a baby book, now is a good time to get one!

-Finish the thank you notes from the baby shower(s). Get writing! You should also have some blank thank you notes around the house for when baby comes home and people shower you with even more gifts.

-Go on a babymoon! Do something special with your hubby before the baby arrives and you don't have that one-on-one time for a while. Have fun!

-Be patient. I promise you this will be over soon and you will meet your child. She can't live in there forever! Just have patience... at least try to.

-Lastly, congratulate yourself on a job well done. It's not easy doing what you've done... carrying a baby to term, keeping yourself healthy, and being amazing despite those hormones. Be excited now and proud of what you've done.

surviving pregnancy... the 2nd trimester

I loved the second trimester! I was happy, had tons more energy, didn't fall asleep everywhere we went, and actually wanted to be more active. I didn't feel sick anymore- literally a few days after 14 weeks and the beginning of the second trimester it was like a light switch flicked off and I no longer felt sick to my stomach all the time. It was a great feeling!

I know I was a lucky one though. I know not all people stop feeling sick in the second trimester. If you aren't lucky like this I know there are medications that are safe to take to take away the nausea, so ask your doctor about those.

I remember also this was when I was really showing, really appeared to be pregnant. I loved that feeling! I loved seeing my belly grow and starting to feel the baby move inside. However, I know I'm rare in enjoying the growing baby bump experience. I know many friends who did not enjoy this part at all, who dreaded getting bigger and no longer fitting into regular clothes, having to buy all maternity items. If you find yourself in the latter category, know that it's normal not to enjoy every second of this experience. Pregnancy has tons of ups and downs, so whatever you are feeling it's OK. Just know that while you are growing bigger, you are doing it for a purpose- to grow a baby. You are not getting "fat," you are building a bigger place for the baby to live. That's quite a job.

Tips for getting through the second trimester:
1. With all that new energy, be careful not to use it all up! I remember the first three months I was exhausted, didn't want to do anything at all, so then when I finally felt better it was like I wanted to make up for lost time and do everything and anything. Don't do that! You still need to rest and take care of yourself. You are growing another life, afterall! Take it easy!

2. Check things off the list! While I caution you to rest as much as possible, I'm also saying to start doing those things you want to get done before baby arrives now in this second trimester, because once third trimester hits you will again have zero energy, feel too big to move around, and won't be sleeping as well at night so you'll again be exhausted. So get the baby registry finalized, make your list of baby shower invites and give to whoever is throwing you a party, start the baby nursery if you can, start washing baby clothes if you have them, buy diapers and wipes, pack the hospital bag, talk about your birth plan, visit the hospital for a tour and possibly a class, etc. Don't do this all at once, but start planning to check off those to-do list items now.

3. Talk about it. Whatever you are feeling these next couple of months - nervous about reaching your third trimester, which means labor and baby's arrival; a surprise shower that you are dreading the surprise moment of; having no clue if you'll be a good mom or what the heck to name your child; hating your new curvy and big body; feeling so tired you can't stand it... etc. - talk about it with a friend, you husband, your doctor... Pregnancy causes hormones which cause emotions that are crazy. Don't deal alone. Seek someone to listen!

4. Take some pregnancy pictures! OK I know many of my friends absolutely refused to get pictures done of their bellies, and again I was not the norm when I begged my husband to take a monthly picture of me all throughout my pregnancy as well as had my good friend and photographer Beth Wallace take some pregnancy shots of me... BUT I totally encourage people to take some pregnancy photos during the second trimester. You are gorgeous, glowing skin, so happy it shows everywhere, and again gorgeous in your new body. You should capture this state forever on film because you can and won't get another chance at this. I recently framed a picture of just my big belly and my hand with my wedding rings on it and put it up in my living room in a frame with other pictures of things like my wedding day, my siblings, our engagement, etc. - things that make me happy. Knowing I carried a baby in my belly definitely makes me happy. It's something to be proud of. Again, I know so many are just not comfortable with their growing bellies, so I totally do not judge you and definitely understand that you won't want pictures done. If you are hesitating though and at least sort of interested in taking some, my advice is to try it out!

surviving pregnancy... the 1st trimester

The first trimester is tough. It's new, unexpected, and random. It's nothing you have been through before, so you have no idea what it's like, what it will be like soon, and what the heck to do about all the crazy hormones you feel.

Lots of changes these first three months...
feeling bloated
emotional, crying mess
need to slow down totally or else fear throwing up
scared feelings
taking prenatal vitamins

It's all different... but you get through it, I swear.
This picture below is me at 13 weeks... barely with a bump.

A few things to keep in mind:
-rest as much as possible.
-eat whatever it is that you need to eat. I lived off of bagels those first months!
-read, but don't read too much to scare you
-ask your doctor any question you need to
-rest even more, take random naps as needed, it's OK
-forgive yourself for however you are feeling - super excited or super nervous
-be nice to your husband, he is there to help you
-get some adorable maternity clothes, early, so that you are ready to slip into something comfy!
-take walks as you feel up to it
-drink tons of water
-ginger ale helped me feel less sick to my stomach
-fresh ginger at the health food store really helped me to feel less nauseaous too
-accept that your body will be changing... it's inevitable and for a good cause

And here I am at 16 weeks along... so shocked and excited to see a real baby bump! It was kind of exciting!

stretch marks

Yes, they happen. To pretty much everyone. It's unfortunate but true. Look at how much your body is growing to keep that baby in there... of course stretch marks will happen. It's natural and honestly it's genetic, so yes you can get some cream to make you feel better... but give yourself a break and realize that it's nothing you can prevent entirely.

However, to make me feel like I was at least trying to avoid stretch marks I did use Palmer's lotion on my belly. It was more of a bonding experience really, where I'd put it on my stomach first thing in the morning out of the shower and then at night before bed.

Did I get some stretch marks? Yup, I sure did, nothing major, nothing I can avoid when I check myself out, but they happened to me. My sister and I talk about our stretch marks. We refer to them as our battle scars, just like the small belly fat that still exists despite losing all baby weight months ago. They are just signs that we did something AMAZING. We had babies. We carried babies to term. Our bodies were that freaking cool!

Really though, your pregnant and post-pregnancy body is something to be proud of. I know it doesn't feel that way at times, but truly it is incredible and a miracle that you even can have this baby growing inside you. Be grateful.

the mommy brain

Do you feel like you have no mind at all, like you can't remember anything?

Well, it's all part of the territory of being pregnant and then of being a new mom. It just happens. It is a real thing, too, not something your gal pals made up or refer to in a joking manner. Once those pregnancy hormones hit you are completely gone in the brain territory.

With all you have to think about now that you never thought of before... no wonder you cannot focus or keep your mind where it used to be! It's normal, just know that. You are still the same smart person you used to be, just a little more distracted now. Give yourself a break- and ask others to do the same for you! You can't help it. Blame it on the baby!

Monday, June 13, 2011

this I believe...about pregnancy

So you are pregnant. I'm sure you already know some of these things, but it doesn't hurt to know someone else gets it, understands what you're going through. So here is what I know about pregnancy.

1. It's the coolest feeling ever!

2. It is a huge responsibility. I even stopped eating red and orange dyed candies, fruit snacks and chips while pregnant because I heard the red dyes could cause birth defects. I'm sure this is crazy, but knowing this information was a potential I gave it all up completely.

3. It changes your body forever. It just does. You will adjust to the physical changes eventually, but while it's happening sometimes it's tough to go through.

4. Heartburn is terrible. I lived off of Tums. I had them in my purse, car, drawer at work, etc. It goes away the second you deliver that baby though, so just keep that in mind.

5. Stretch marks are inevitable, even small ones, even if you use the cream lotion. I say they are battle scars from the biggest journey I went on.

6. Feeling your baby move and kick in your belly is the best feeling ever.

7. It makes you feel proud of yourself, excited about what you can accomplish, being the caretaker, the grower of your baby.

8. It brings you closer than ever to your husband.

9. It makes you an emotional wreck at times...

10. It changes your life forever.

11. It's the best thing I've ever done, ever.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

first steps

My baby boy is walking.
My baby is moving, on the go, getting on in the world by himself.
Well, OK so he's not much of a baby anymore. He's officially a member of toddler world now I suppose.

He took a few steps on his own last week, then four steps the other day, then today in the middle of a birthday party for a friend he just walked to the table toward a plate of chocolate and took about 10 steps. It was incredible and sort of surreal. I don't think I believed it. You wait and wait for these real moments, the actual for real, legit moment that your child has mastered something but also done it for the first time so you can write it in the baby book. Then it happens, just like that, before your eyes... and your baby is smiling at 6 weeks and rolling over at 4 months and crawling at 9 months and walking... It's crazy. How do they grow so fast?

I just texted two of my wonderful mommy support friends asking them if it's normal to feel the biggest sense of pride and at the same time deep sadness at the fact that my son is now mobile without my hands to hold on to. They both wrote back instantly saying, yes, of course it is! My friend Sarah said it's such a big accomplishment and yet it also means they are now a toddler, not a baby anymore. While I'm glad he's more independent, thus meaning I myself am more independent, I am truly sad that the time of his innocence and babyish ways are no longer and never again.

You will feel this, too eventually. I felt it immensely on Owen's first birthday, when I sobbed as I rocked him to sleep, just so utterly happy and sad that the first year was over. There are so many moments that make up your child's life and development and growth. You try your best not to miss a single one, so much that once they are happening before your eyes you don't want to blink for fear of missing a single second.

You also realize so many times throughout your child's life that these times will not come again, that your baby won't be a baby forever. These are the times that you wish you were a millionaire and could quit your job to stay home to watch your baby intently so as not to miss a single breath of change.

Babies are incredible. They are sweet and silly and simply blissful. You are in for the wildest, most amazing ride of your life. Enjoy every second of it. Don't blink your eye for a second. It certainly does go by way too fast.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

no such thing as perfect

There is absolutely NO room for perfection or even striving for perfection when it comes to parenting. You can only do your best. And "only" is a terrible word to use there, because doing your best is HUGE, really significant and amazing. Doing your best keeps your baby alive, happy, laughing, growing, learning and here on this planet. Doing your best is certainly enough and OK. The sooner you force yourself to believe this, the better off your relationship with your husband, your sanity and your overall life will be.

Here are a few of my trademark crazies to show you that nobody is perfect. These are some of the silly things I did in the name of NOT being perfect:

-given my son a banana in the shopping cart to keep him quiet while I finished grocery shopping.

-woken my sleeping baby at night to give him an antibiotic dose that I forgot to give him before he went to bed.

-left the house without makeup on or diapers in the bag or Owen's bottles of milk.

-had to use a too small diaper size on the baby because we ran out of the right size.

-waited another day to give him medicine for the first time because I was afraid he'd have an allergic reaction to it and we would not be able to get to the doctor in time.

-chose to be awake during a dental surgery because I had a completely irrational but very real fear that I would not wake up and would need to be here for my son.

-worn maternity clothes longer than probably is normal after baby was born because they fit just right and were the most comfy.

-driven in the car just to put him to sleep.

-stayed in the car at least an hour longer after getting home just so Owen would finish his nap - and went inside to grab the lap top so I could check emails while he slept silently in the back seat.

-forgotten to brush his teeth at night, several nights in a row even.

-sent him to daycare with clothes too small for him.

-said Owen needed a nap when really I just needed a break and could not attend one more party or event.

-silently enjoyed one of my son's sick days because it meant he slept a lot and I got tons done around the house.

-put my hand on his tiny chest and below his nose at least several times every night for weeks to make sure he was breathing.

-kicked my husband to get his butt out of bed instead of me for the tenth time in a row.

-left notes for my husband because things with my new baby needed to be done "just so."

-judged parents when I saw them with their child with a pacifier in the mouth at age 3 or older, then took it back when I realized it could be that difficult to take away a pacifier from a toddler.

-bumped my son's head several times by my own clumsiness.

-complained because Owen's milk was coming out too fast in his bottle the first few weeks of life so he was spitting it up a lot... only to hear from my sister-in-law that there are different size bottle nipples and I was using a 3 when I needed to be using a size 1! (nobody tells you this stuff before you have a baby! How was I supposed to know?!)

-fully accepted and even been grateful several times since my baby turned a month old that I was not able to breastfeed him and instead pumped his milk into bottles because one, I was very uncomfortable with the whole pulling out the girls in public, and two it was rather nice having all that help from his dad and other family members when it came time to sit and feed him every two hours.

Nobody's perfect. It's just the truth. Give yourself a break.

preparing for baby

Here are a few things to do before baby arrives:

1. Rest up. You will need your energy! Take it easy. The to-do list will need to wait a bit while you relax and take care of yourself.

2. Go out on a date with your hubby. You won't have time or energy after baby arrives and for a little while after, so go out to dinner AND a movie (yes, force yourself to stay awake and focused that long!).

3. Organize the baby room. I've seen many people leave tags on things and not take the packaging off of things, not open the wipes container, etc. before baby arrives. You won't want to be dealing with this when the baby is screaming and needs those items. Maybe save some tags on a few items of clothing if you're not sure if you have too many of something, but otherwise open it all and set it up how you like it. And if you're like me and could not get the baby room ready beforehand due to construction projects that took too much money and time, it's OK. Baby will survive without a baby room, I swear. Owen came home to using two of my own personal dresser drawers, the changing table on top of the dresser where Jared used to keep some clothes and bills, and the bassinet stuck in the corner of the room. It was not perfect, but it did the job.

4. Read as much as you can and take a class, but don't freak yourself out! Don't read too much, but figuring out a little info beforehand can be helpful.

5. Ask your doctor anything. That's what they are there for. You can't possibly ask something they have never heard before. And call them if you ever feel strange with the pregnancy. Don't feel like you are bothering them. They are used to the questions and anxiety, it's all par for the course.

6. Finish projects. During trimester 2 when you feel much better (hopefully!) try to organize those random projects around the house with your husband that you put off but really want to accomplish before you won't have any time for it after baby is here.

7. Make yourself a couple of meals to freeze. If you have the energy or help from your man, put a couple of dinners in the freezer. People will hopefully bring you tons of food, but it never hurts to have a couple meals ready to go. You won't have energy to cook again for quite some time after caring for a newborn.

8. Pack the diaper bag, hospital bag, and post a list on the fridge of what you will need for the hospital that you can't pack yet. Just do it early, just in case. Due dates are not sure things.

9. Talk it out. Talk to your husband about your fears, things you are nervous about, your birth plan, how you want to handle certain situations that may come up (circumcision for a boy or not? pacifier in the hospital or not? nursing or not? visitors any time in the hospital or not? post pictures on Facebook right away or not?). Just talk and talk. Of course things may change your plans, so be ready for the unexpected. Still, talking it out before is helpful.

10. Enjoy the process and hang in there. You won't get this again with this baby. You won't ever feel her inside your belly again. It's an amazing thing, despite the swollen feet and heartburn. Know also that you WILL survive, I promise. The baby will come out, you will return to having your own body, and things will be great.

11. BUY DIAPERS. Lots of them. Every time you go grocery shopping.

Friday, June 10, 2011


This is a cool site I just found.

If you put in your email address they will send you developmental emails as for what you can expect with each stage your baby goes through. Seems cool! I haven't tried it yet, so hope it's cool. Lots of good info it seems.

It has a pretty cool pregnancy checklist at this link:
This could be helpful for you, Heather!

interview with a new mom - Amanda

On September 4 of last year my adorable nephew, Atticus Ryatt was born to my beautiful sister Amanda (Min!) and her awesome man Lucian. They seemed like pros from the second we saw them holding the baby, hours after he was born.

It's amazing when a friend has a baby. It's even more incredible when a sister has a baby who is your nephew. I cried instantly when I saw him and when I hugged my sister in the hospital that day, so truly happy and proud of what she'd done, what she'd brought into our family. What a miracle!

My sister answered the interview questions about what it's been like for her the last 9 months as a new mom.

1. What do you wish someone had told you before you had a baby?
I wish they hadn't sugar coated the labor. It was terrible and the worst pain I've ever felt. But they were right about you not caring as soon as you see the baby. I'd go through that 40 hours of labor any day.

2. What is the best part about being a new mom?
The best part of being a new mom is the pride you feel in knowing you gave life to someone. You carried that baby into your body and then got it out. Go you! And it's pretty awesome having your man respect you so much for it.

3. What is the one thing you never expected to feel so much of after having a baby?
The obvious answers for this question: love and fatigue. I never thought anyone could be made so happy by such a tiny thing.

4. What has surprised you about how cool and great of a mom you are?
I never thought of myself as a cool or great mom. From where I'm standing, I have no clue what I'm doing. But then I see my baby doing things and I realize he got there by things we taught him. It makes me feel pretty damn awesome to hear that I have a smart baby.

5. What are 3 registry must-haves that you can't live without and all new moms and babies should have?
Breast pads, if you plan on nursing. You'll need boxes and boxes of them if you're anything like me. Atticus is 9 months old, and I just stopped needing them a few months ago. We learned the hard way that you need a ton of wash cloths in the first couple weeks because the baby's skin can't handle the wipes. We had to go out and buy packs of them, because keeping up with laundry in the beginning is not easy. I say stock up. If you are going to pump, I would go with Medella. I have the Pump in Style Advanced and I can't say enough good things about it. I wanted to get a cheaper one, but it was a sound investment. Also, it pays for itself so fast if you think about the cost of formula.

6. What is your advice for the new mom-to-be Heather, for pregnancy?
My advice for the pregnancy...hang in there! I loved being pregnant, until he was 8 days late and then I couldn't take it anymore, but that was mostly because I just wanted to meet my little guy. I guess my advice is to not be obsessed with what you read and overract about things. Unless it feels like an emergency, it probably isn't. And when it comes to labor and delivery, take the drugs! They told me I was having a small baby, and he was 8.9 lbs and 20.5 inches. They don't always know what they're talking about.

7. What is your advice for her for when baby arrives?
Enjoy your baby. It's a hard time when you're trying to adjust, but in a blink of an eye the baby will be crawling and getting into everything. And fight the urge to put yourself last. You just did an amazing thing in housing and then giving birth to your little human, so now you need rest and to recover. I tried doing too much, and that combined with a tough delivery made for a tough couple of months. People want to help, so let them!!

8. Any good books or Web sites you are in favor of, related to moms, pregnancy, babies, etc.?
I'm sure Ang has already introduced you to the Milk Memos. I loved that book. I read a lot of pregnancy books when trying to prepare for delivery. It's good to have a copy of What to Expect the First Year, and any book about newborns can be very useful. If you are planning on breastfeeding, than the Breastfeeding for Dummies book is very helpful.

9. What was the hardest thing to get used to when you brought baby home?
The hardest thing to get used to when we brought the baby home was realizing that you have to take care of another life AT ALL TIMES. I remember having to hold it in if I had to pee or wait until I was done nursing before I could get up and get a snack. I still cherish nap time because I finally get a moment to myself. A lack of you time can wear you down, so make sure to sneak away for a bath, or read a book before bed to escape. I've trained myself to let the laundry wait a day or make dinner an hour later so that I can just sit and crochet or read for an hour while he sleeps. Do something that makes you happy, or you will get way too overwhelmed.

10. What is your advice for getting through the labor?
As I said before, if you need the pain meds, take them. They are there for a reason, and they wouldn't give them to you if it would hurt the baby. When I go through labor again (someday), I am going to have them wait as long as they can before giving me the epidural. They gave it to me at 4cm and I asked if that was a little early, and they assured me that it wouldn't wear off. Well, guess what? It did. All 3 of my epidurals did, because they did it too early. Do as much as you can without it, and then go for it. You'll be happy you did. I was able to move around in the beginning of labor and that helped with different pushing positions and such. But when you get the point where you need it, get it. No one thinks you're a hero for feeling every bit of pain.

11. What helped you survive pregnancy ups and downs?
The thing that helped me survive pregnancy ups and downs was knowing that it would end, at some point, and you'd get the best thing ever. The bond you get between you and the baby is yours and yours alone. Not even the dad can experience what you get to experience. It's in your body, eating your food, breathing your air. To me, that is enough to get me through anything.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

ask for help, really, it's OK

You are going to realize that you can't do it all alone. It's OK to ask for help, people are willing to support you so let them. It makes people feel included when you ask them to hold the baby while you shower or come over and help you sort through clothes because you are too tired to do it alone. People honestly love this stuff, so let them in on the action. It's too much to handle alone.

Also with asking for help, it's important to remember you husband. You need to ask for his help. Your husband doesn't read minds for a living, so you need to spell it out. You will need to work as a team more now than ever before. It'll be challenging at times to figure out who will work in which role at which time, something that is always changing due to your baby growing so quickly and going through different phases.

I believe it takes a village to raise a child. I know that to be true. I am very fortunate to not only have a large family on both mine and Jared's sides, but also to have them within a half hour from us. There is always an aunt or uncle, a grandparent or cousin ready to help watch Owen for us. We did not make ourselves a single meal of food for the first six weeks of Owen's life. Honestly, not one single meal we had to cook. People were over constantly with food for us. This is one thing that makes me sad not living closer to you. I wish I could be there to deliver food to you at least once a week. I know how helpful that was for me.

My little sister, Sierra, was a HUGE help to me, still is. I don't think I folded a single load of laundry the entire first two months of Owen's life. She loved it and would beg me to save the tiny clothes for her to fold and ohh and ahh over. People love this stuff!

It will feel strange to have so many people offering help, but honestly take it. You will be so tired that you'll need it. Just get a huge box of blank or thank you notes so you are ready and jot down when someone brings you something. Don't rush to the thank yous, people know you're busy, just get to it within the first three months of baby's life and call it good.

Dear Heather

You are eagerly awaiting your pregnancy package in the mail! I can't wait for you to get it! I have been working night and day on this blog to get more things posted on it before you get the link in your card in the package.

I am hoping your nausea is going away soon and that you are resting as you need to, and devouring whatever food you can keep down. I recall at your stage of pregnancy I was into bagels (they felt like they stuck with me instead of making me want to throw up), chips and French onion dip (my first real craving), carrots and hummus, any kind of fruit, Greek salads, and waffles with strawberries.

I found that the first trimester is not one to watch what you eat very carefully, but rather where you needed to just eat whatever you felt comfortable eating. I lived off of Ginger Ale during this time. It was terrible. To this day I refuse to even look at a Ginger Ale can! I also always had saltine crackers in my purse, in my desk at work, in my car, etc.

Do whatever makes you feel OK at this point.

Love ya!

Dear Jess

Dear Jess,
The end of your pregnancy is near. I know you are so ready to be done with this phase and on to the next of meeting your little girl. I can't wait for that, too! It's going to be great and you are going to be an incredible mother!

I wish you peace and relaxation the next month or so before you deliver. I hope you take time to pamper yourself and rest as much as you can. I hope once school gets out you sit and enjoy life around the house, maybe sit on your porch and watch the flowers blow in the wind, go shopping for last minute baby things with your mom, and eat lots of ice cream just because you can eat whatever you want right now!

I can't wait to get the call that you are in labor! I am so eager to see pictures of this little one.

Hang in there. The swollen feet, heartburn, and no way to get comfortable are about to be over very soon, I promise.

Love ya,

will this matter in a year?

When pregnant and then when the baby arrives you feel all of this pressure to do everything the right way or else you will be labeled a bad mother and your child will be messed up for life.

I am here to tell you it's not all life or death situations out there in Mommy-World. You can sit back and relax a bit.

Such big decisions people usually worry about:
-canned or homemade baby food
-cloth or disposable diapers
-immunizations or none
-daycare or stay-at-home mom
-formula or breastmilk
-which type of car seat, swing, crib, etc.

When you are stuck, thinking you better make the good choice or else... ask yourself, "Will this matter in a year?" Is giving your child formula really going to screw her up for life? Is using cloth diapers or pumping really worth the hassle and time you put into them? Perhaps the answer is yes, that it's worth it. Perhaps the answer is no way, definitely not, it won't matter in a year.

Make it easier for yourself. Give up the pressure and expectations. Trust your gut. Listen to your partner and the doctors. Do what works for you.

this I believe...about parenting

At the school I work at a teacher has assigned her kids the "This I Believe" project. The kids have to start their sentence with "this I believe" and finish it with whatever comes to mind. I'll do the same here for the topic of parenting.

1. It's the most incredible thing you could ever do in your life.

2. It's hard and overwhelming at times.

3. But you get through the tough times, you just do, somehow, because you love this kid.

4. It's the biggest thing I'm proud of doing.

5. You need patience to be a good parent.

6. It's never good to compare yourself as a mom or your kid to other kids. Everyone's situation is different.

7. It's a different experience for everyone, and yet we all can relate.

8. It's all-consuming.

9. It makes you a better person.

10. It makes your marriage even stronger.

11. It's crazy fun, the most fun you'll ever have, seriously.

12. It's never ending. There is always one more moment you are expected to be a parent.

13. It's true love.

14. It's rewarding.

15. It changes your life, completely, forever.

16. It's AMAZING.

what type of parent do you want to be?

Jared and I talk all the time in the car, on walks, late at night before bed, about what we want for our son. We both bring up random situations - say our son steals something, what will we do? Say our son gets in trouble at school, how will we handle it? It's good to talk about these things now, before the moment is upon us. It lends to designing the blueprint for what type of parent you want to be.

Have you thought about this yet? I know you're probably just trying to survive pregnancy at this point, but it's never too soon to begin considering what type of values you want to instill in your child's life, how you want to act as a parent.

From the book, The Balanced Mom - Raising your kids without losing your self by Bria Simpson, she gives a few questions for you to consider when determining what type of parent you want to be.
*What qualities do you most respect in yourself and in others?
*What are some of your fondest memories as a child and what values do they reflect?
*What do you really want your children to remember about their childhoods?
*How do you want your children to remember you?

I encourage you to talk about it with your husbands. Parenting is a big deal. No, you can't plan it all out, but you can have an idea of the destination.

the P word

This picture above is me in the hospital with Owen one day old. I was exhausted, overwhelmed and overjoyed at becoming a new mother. I had not slept more than an hour since the night before. I could not sleep. I didn't know it at the time but I was experiencing a slight form of post-partum depression that the docs and authors of books call the "baby blues," a very mild form of PPD that only lasts maybe two weeks after the baby is born. This is self-diagnosed, but the more I've read and the more I reflect on how that first week of Owen's life went for me the more I know that is what I experienced. Yes, the P-word, post-partum.

For me, the hospital experience was one of the most miserable experiences ever. Seriously. I don't tell you this to scare you, truly I don't. I tell you this to be honest with you and so that in case you don't have the grandest time in the hospital you don't beat yourself up about it for months later, thinking somehow you failed at being a good mom when it counted in the hospital.

Nursing Owen was not working. I was sore from trying so hard and from the c-section. We had so many visitors that our door was a revolving one. That was a blessing and a curse, of course, as it was so wonderful having so many people love our son and be excited for us, yet it was tough to get in any rest with so many visitors.

With nursing not working, it caused friction between my husband and I. He saw a screaming baby, who he was now supposed to take care of and who he knew needed to just eat, so he got frustrated with me refusing to do anything but try more nursing that was not working. I was so utterly devastated when the nursing was not working as I expected it to that I was defeated and feeling terrible, like somehow I was failing at something that "should" be working for me, that works for "all" other moms out there so why not for me?

I was exhausted. I literally did not sleep more than a couple of hours the entire 5 days we were in the hospital. Not a couple of hours at a time, I mean the entire 5 days I slept only a few hours total. It was clearly not a good thing and definitely took a toll on my body and emotional state. I could not sleep though. I kept feeling like I needed to make sure Owen was OK, I had to watch him all night to be sure he was breathing. It was this crazy irrational fear that if I did not stay up he would need me and I would not be there.

I felt that Jared and I were on the wrong page. I felt like I was in over my head. I felt miserable - except for the moments holding and taking care of my son. Those moments were the most amazing in my life, truly.

It was just a really difficult time. I blame the lack of sleep, the inability to nurse coupled with the high expectations and pressure I put on myself beforehand to make that work for us, and the crazy hormones I was experiencing. The picture below shows me moments after arriving home from the hospital. I just look exhausted. It's all over my face how deflated I was feeling.

I still feel to this day like most new moms I visit hours, days or weeks after having their babies seem way more put together and in control and OK than I felt that first month of having my son. I was a wreck! I looked terrible in pictures, wore my hospital gown four of the five days in the hospital and then wore only big sweat pants and sweatshirts once home. I was so tired and the whole month was a complete blur to me.

Once getting home from the hospital, however, my bed and being able to actually sleep some I did MUCH better. The post-partum feelings of inadequacy went away quickly so I could just enjoy being a mother. Jared and I quickly got into a routine and I saw how amazing he was with our son that we were once again normal and on the same page about everything. I realized how OK it was to feed my child whatever he needed and see that he was gaining weight, instead of put pressure on myself to do something like nurse that just was not working for us. It all got so much better.

I hope this post does not make you nervous, but rather tells you that if it is tough for you others have been through it before and are here for you to talk to, as well as shows you that you have no idea what to expect so don't plan anything ahead of time.

The biggest thing I hope you learn from this is that everything you feel and experience is totally normal, even if it doesn't feel that way. I did not feel normal in the hospital. Maybe if someone had posted something like this, a true story of what it could be like, I would have let go of some of the pressure I put on myself and realized it was all OK and normal.

a birthing story - Angela

Here it was, the birthday of my soon to be baby (which I had no idea was a boy at the time). I was ready to go. In this picture below I was so incredibly nervous for my scheduled c-section. I started crying shortly after this, after the real contractions set in, the contractions the doctor warned me I should not feel due to my previous surgeries (thus the need for a c-section). I started crying, wondering if I'd be OK through the surgery, if my baby would be OK through the birth. I was so nervous, unsure of what to expect. Jared was there the whole time with me. He tried to keep me calm.

The contractions hurt. Despite the pain, I was so relieved to feel the contractions. Ever since I had found out I would not be doing real labor I felt cheated out of an experience (those who have been through labor close your ears and eyes now, don't hate me, after all you know what the real pain is like). I felt like it was not fair that I automatically needed a surgery while my other friends got to experience what was only natural.

Quickly I realized I was in fact grateful to have a c-section, to know what to expect in a sense, to deal with the worse or longer recovery afterward. Labor scared me. It was just different for me.

When I felt the contractions I was so happy. I felt so guilty the night before going in for the surgery, guilty that we had to choose my baby's birth date instead of allowing him to come on his own terms. So when I went into labor half an hour after arriving at the hospital, I was relieved and happy. Our child was cooperative right from the start!

So then I was walking down the hallway toward the surgery room. Jared gave me a huge hug, I was crying, very nervous. They gave me a shot in my back to numb me. That was the worst part. It was scary for me. I had to lean my head over as far as I could over my big belly and stay incredibly still so they didn't miss it. It felt like it took three hours but really probably was only a few minutes. I just kept wishing Jared could be there with me during it. The nurse who held me still and held my hand was awesome, very helpful. Then within moments Jared was back, by my head, holding my hand and telling me things were good, we were going to be parents soon. It was very surreal.

The doctor arrived. They started working on me, but we could not see anything with the sheet up. The next thing I know I felt a little tugging, but not really anything much. Then the doctor says, "OK, Dad, get ready," because Jared had told them he wanted to tell me if it was a boy or a girl. And then I hear Jared say, "It's a... BOY!" in this way that I'll never forget, with excitement, surprise and nervousness all at once. Then they lifted Owen up over the sheet so I could see him. And I cried, saying, "He's perfect! He's here! He's beautiful. He's perfect!"

And then he was here. He was crying and alive and OK and out of my belly and totally perfect. (and in fact, I'll tell you the thing we laugh about now, Owen actually peed his whole way across the room from my belly to the weight table!). It was the most amazing thing I'd ever heard, his loud cry, saying, "Hello world, I'm here!"

It was an amazing time. I can't even describe what it felt like in that room. I was totally present, not focused on anything except my husband and my baby and this new family we had created. It was incredible.

They let me touch him and kiss him, putting him up close to my face. I was so sad I could not hold him instantly, as they worked on the rest of the surgery. But Jared got to hold him right away, and I swear that's one reason Owen is so incredibly drawn to and connected to his dad. They bonded within seconds. Before even holding him Jared asked me or I asked him, I can't even remember which, we asked if we'd go with Owen as his name. We had another name picked out, too, but instantly we just knew he was an Owen. Jared texted everyone this picture below with the stats: "Owen Joseph Avery, 9 lbs, 3 oz."

Jared then went in the next room with doctors and with Owen to run some tests, check him out. Soon thereafter I was rolled down the hall to the room where Owen and Jared were. I felt so proud of myself. I was so happy.

I finally held my baby boy. It was amazing. I know I'm getting sappy here, but really, the best feeling in the entire world.

And then instantly I was a mom. A real mother. I had been a mom while pregnant, sure, but not like this. I felt like a real mom once he was on the outside. I instantly felt like I would do anything for this baby, knowing he was mine and Jared's, ours to take care of forever.

Overall, it was an amazing birth story. It was scary and nerveracking and I had no idea what to expect. It was wonderful and beautiful and perfect. It hurt afterward trying to recover from major surgery, but when it was happening and not until many hours later did I even feel it. I was too excited and happy about what it meant, that I got my son out of the ordeal. That was all that mattered. I remember thinking, "I'll go through this again in a heartbeat if it means I get to have these feelings of happiness and pride, and to make my family even bigger with a baby after it." It pretty amazing...

I hope your birth stories are just as incredible.

will I wake up? and other fears about becoming Mommy

I wrote another post on here already about preparing for exhaustion. While writing I thought back to when I was pregnant and what some of my fears were. One of my fears was that I would not hear my baby cry in the night. I used to be a really sound sleeper. My husband would stay up later to watch a movie, then join me in bed and I would not wake up at all. I was so worried the baby would cry and I'd miss it and be a terrible mother. That did not happen, not even once. I woke up every single time Owen even moved slightly! It just happens. It's a natural thing.

I think it's important for all new moms to realize that every single one of us was scared about something while pregnant and are certainly still scared about things now that we are moms.

This picture was taken about a month before Owen was born. I was 8 months pregnant, standing in the middle of our living room, that clearly was being worked on, and thinking, "Yup, this is my exciting, crazy, chaotic life these days!" and wondering if we'd ever finish preparing everything before baby arrived. I was scared to say the least!

A few of my other fears from when I was pregnant included (and what I learned afterward):
*Would my baby cry all the time? (Nope, we were lucky this time around.)

*Would I be a good mom? (Yup, I think I am. I realized this within one day of having Owen. All moms do the best they can, therefore making them great moms.)

*Would my husband be a good dad? (He is an incredible father, from the moment Owen was born, he stepped right up to the plate. Owen was about 20 minutes old and the doctors wanted to take him to the next room to do measurements and other tests. Jared looked from me to Owen, clearly not sure what to do but obviously not wanting to let Owen out of his sight. I said, "Go with our son." The doctors asked if Jared wanted them to take Owen or if he wanted to hold him. He said he just got him and wasn't planning to give him back any time soon. So yes, he's an amazing father. I knew he would be. The only thing I questioned was how great would he be.)

*Would having a baby change me and my husband's relationship? (Yup, it sure did, in many, many great ways. It makes you a stronger couple. I swear if you can go through pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the first 12 months of having a baby you can get through anything together.)

*Would I physically recover from labor quickly so I could care for the baby? (Yes, every day I felt a bit better. For me having surgery it was tough to move around after, whereas my other friends who had normal labor could get up and walk that same day - not that I'm saying labor is easier, definitely not, that terrifies me! I felt slightly normal about 8 weeks later, but honestly you recover quickly. The body is amazing!)

*Would I be able to breastfeed OK? (Nope, despite reading books beforehand and taking a Breastfeeding 101 class I had troubles with this one. But it was worth a shot and I just learned to change my method and plan to pumping, no big deal.)

*Would contractions hurt really bad? (I actually went into labor about an hour before going in for my c-section, so I did get to feel real contractions. They hurt, yes, sorry to say, but nothing I could not survive.)

*Would I know what to do and how to take care of my newborn? (Yes, surprisingly you figure it out. Your mother instincts kick in, I swear. And what you don't know, you wing it and trust your gut, or you ask someone who you trust - like me I hope!)

*How would I survive without sleep? (You just do. I'm not sure how really, besides the fact that you have to, there is no choice. It all gets better, too, so you just keep trudging along and reminding yourself of how sweet that baby is, making it all worth it.)

*Will I instantly feel so in love with this baby? Will he know how much I love him right away? (YES and YES. Owen knew me instantly, I swear he moved his head toward my direction when I spoke even in those first few days. And yes, you will love this creature more than you ever thought possible. You already love him because you felt him in your belly so many months and because you are supposed to love him. But when you hold him that first time and realize, wow I did this, we made this, this is ours... it's inevitable - you are in love.)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

free books!

This is the coolest thing ever! Famous country singer and actress Dolly Parton offers free, brand new books to kids ages 0 to 5 years old. It's through her organization, Imagination Library.

Here is the link:

You simply go to the site, find your state and town to see if the local library participates in this project. Then you sign up with your info (it's legit, don't worry you can trust it). Then watch the free books roll in! You can't do this until after baby is born, but it's well worth putting on a note on the fridge to remind you to sign up for it. Every month we get a new book in the mail for Owen, addressed right to him. He loves it!

You'll also get books at the doctor for each well-visit. (well-visit: a term to describe those already scheduled appointments at the doctors for shots and growth chart checks, not when the kid is sick).

We love getting new books! Check it out!

Monday, June 6, 2011

why ask why?

I was walking through Wal-Mart the other day. A woman said this to her young boy, "There aren't answers to all 'why' questions, you know." It made me so sad to hear her say that. Yes, I'm sure her son was asking a zillion questions of the "Well, why, Mommy, why?" variety. I'm sure the mother was on her last nerve and was so preoccupied with the grocery list and the other children in the cart that she truly just could not handle one more of those "why" questions. Still, it broke my heart to hear her say it out loud like that to this young, just very curious and innocent little boy.

It reminded me of my son and the patience I've realized I need to have with him now that he's himself a very curious young boy toddler.

It's not always easy to be that patient, understanding and totally with it as the great mom you say you want to be. Life gets to you and distracts you sometimes.

Hearing this mom say this to her son made me realize that I'm going to have many moments like that, too. This one statement I overheard her say does not mean she's a bad mom by any means. I refuse to judge another mother. We have no idea what she's going through and at the same time we understand all too well that it's hard.

But still, I hope to be the type of mom who never says this to my son. Perhaps I'll say something similar on accident and this post is going to serve as a reminder to myself to stop and back up. To stop and say, "Why, honey? I'm not sure why, but let's figure it out together. I'm glad you're so curious." I hope to have more things like that coming out of my mouth.

And on the days where I just scream - at least inside my own head - Dear God please son don't ask another WHY question! I hope that somebody overhears me and says, "This too shall pass. Be patient!"

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I went out last night...

I went out to a bachelorette party last night.
I dressed up, put hoop earrings in, even blew dry my hair.
I left Owen with his dad, without even leaving a note as to what he needed to be fed and what time the antibiotics should be given or that it was bath night.
I just left. I went out.
By myself. Well, with 15 other girls.
And it was fabulous!

I think this is the first drink I've had in like two years. I'm not a big drinker, which is totally fine. But every now and then (more like every two years for me, but hey, who cares) it's great to have an amazingly delicious pina colada!

I had so much fun I barely remembered being a mom.
I am slightly afraid to post this on this site where you new moms are going to read it and think, "What? How could she leave without her baby? How could she not think of her baby even once? What? This is nuts! I must stop reading now."
Hold up there, New Mommy.
This is me with a 16-month-old toddler who talks and is almost walking and who stopped needing my boobs to produce milk 4 months ago!

I, too, was just like you when Owen was born. I didn't want him out of my sight, even to go to the bathroom! It's normal and natural and completely OK to feel that way in the beginning. The picture below was me last June.

However, at one point in that first year you are going to feel as though you are ready for a little piece of your old life to return to you so you can feel a little more like yourself again. That time did not come for me until Owen turned 12 months old. But when it hit it was pretty intense. I just wanted a few things to remind me that I was not just Mom with a capital M. Don't get me wrong, I ADORE being Mom. I'd never trade it for anything in the world. But I do believe now that Owen doesn't need me as much and that he loves being with other people it makes me a better mom when I make a little bit of time for myself.

So I say INDULGE. Go out and treat yourself to a pedicure or a massage or an ice cream date with your hubby or even to a totally ridiculously fun bachelorette night on the town with your best girl friends. We all need to live a little.

Just get home before midnight. That baby of yours will be up and at 'em early the next morning! :)