Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Four Months!

Little Miss turned four months old yesterday! Since we're in Colorado, we thought we'd capture this amazing milestone by taking advantage of this lovely place. The three of us headed out to Garden of the Gods and attempted a little photo shoot. Although the sun was too bright, and the three of us sweated off our morning meals, we got a few good shots (and with this backdrop and subject how could we not?)

A few of Little Miss' favorite things:

  • Chewing on fingers (any fingers)
  • Reaching and grabbing for anything in sight
  • Flashing smiles
  • Putting anything she possibly can in her mouth

A few of Little Miss' not so favorite things:

  • Tummy time
  • Napping
  • The car seat

Cheers!

This girl thought her 4 month sticker was awesome!
Hanging with my girl 
Can I have those fingers, please?
Such a good sport :)


I'm over this, mom.....





Saturday, June 21, 2014

You are My Sunshine

All those cliches, those things you hear about having a baby and motherhood - all of them are true. And all of them are the most beautiful things you will ever experience.
                                                                            -Penelope Cruz

Today our baby girl is three months old. She has brought so much joy and love into our lives, that I'm having a hard time finding the words to describe it. Personally, I have never been happier. As someone who's experienced many bouts of depression, I never really understood what happy meant. I thought it meant being content. I was wrong. This is happy. Every time Little Miss shoots me her crooked smile, or gives us a little giggle, I feel nothing but pure joy. My heart literally sings. Every little thing she does, from the way she looks around a room taking in what she's seeing, to changing her dirty diaper, is the best thing I've ever seen or done in my entire life. 

I've also never been so sure of myself. It amazes me that at a time when I should be feeling like a fish out if water, I feel perfectly at home. It's a great feeling, and I hope it continues as this little girl grows. 

OK, enough with the mushy crap ;-)

Here are a few of Hazel's favorite things;

  • She loves to smile, all the time :)


  • She is the happiest little baby when she wakes up in the morning. I am greeted every morning with her crooked grin.


  • Hazel has found out she has a voice box and is not afraid to use it. She likes to yell for no reason other than to hear herself.


  • Little Miss has found her fingers and they are her favorite toy, and as soon as she can figure out how to get to her toes I know she'll be a happy girl. 


Joe and I are also convinced Hazel knows she is a cutie. We are going to be in for it....

In July we will be taking Hazel on her first flight. The three of us will be going to Colorado for three glorious weeks! Pap Pap's job got transferred to Pueblo, CO (not permanently). We are going to take advantage of the move and spend some time out west. I am very excited about this trip. The past two summers have found me taking new adventures, and I am so looking forward to taking this adventure with my new little family. 

Well that's all for now folks. Here some pictures of our little girl at 3 months old. 

Cheers!

Hazel was not impressed with turning 3 months.


This smile :)


Our beautiful girl


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Two Months

Time has been flying by since Little Miss entered our lives. She's already two months old, and yet it still feels like we just got home from the hospital with her. 

Frequently we get asked about how our lives have changed since having Hazel. I think the biggest change is time. Everything takes just a little more time now that she's here. I can't just clean the house in two hours, now it's an all day affair with many, many, breaks inbetween. I have to say, the breaks are pretty amazing though because I get to hang with my little girl, and that beats cleaning any day.

These past two month have been the most amazing, scary, and exciting months of our lives. Every day I go to bed thinking there's no way I could love this little life any more than I do, and every morning I wake up loving her more than ever. 

Thankfully I won't be returning to work until school starts back up in August. This will give me the chance to be a stay at home mom to Hazel for 5 amazing months. I am looking forward to the next three months with her, and I know they will be just as spectacular as these first two have been. 

Cheers!


       
   Our little family 


    Little model

    Morning smiles 

    Get this kid some coffee! STAT!

    Pure happiness






Monday, May 5, 2014

Breathe

A miscarriage is a natural and common event. All told, probably more women have lost a child from this world than haven't. Most don't mention it, and they go on from day to day as if it hadn't happened, so people imagine a woman in this situation never really knew or loved what she had. 

But ask her sometime: how old would your child be now? And she'll know.
- Barbara Kingsolver

I thought what Ms. Kingsolver said couldn't be more true. Our little boy would be turning 7 months this month, and there is not a day that goes by that I don't think of him. 

I titled this post "Breathe" because that is something I forgot to do this past year. I know I didn't take a real breath until Hazel was born. I mean a real honest breath. I had been holding it in since we found out we were pregnant again. I didn't even realize I was, until she was here. I know her and I took our first breath together. 

I had an easy pregnancy with Hazel and I really enjoyed it, but I never let myself truly enjoy it the way I did with BabyV. I do want to let everyone out there know that I always had a name for BabyV, but that name is for me alone. I keep it to myself because saying it out loud is too painful. It's not a name I will give to our other children because it belongs to him. One day I may share, but for now it's just for me and BabyV. 

When Joe and I found out we were pregnant with BabyV, I was ecstatic. I knew we would wait to tell the world until we hit the 12-week mark just as a precaution, but I remember thinking it was a silly precaution. I wanted everyone to know and to share in our joy. I know I was walking on air in those early days. I did what every newly pregnant mama does - I pictured what this little baby would look like thinking would it be a boy or girl. I immediately started thinking of names, and what the nursery would look like, and I got to reading about what our little baby was up to inside the womb. It was an amazing feeling and I'm thankful that I felt it. 

When Joe and I got the news that there were some problems with the baby it was immediately after we shared our joyous news with the world. I mean that literally. We told the world, and then went to PA for a family visit and that's when everything started to change. I had some spotting, so we took a trip to the ER and found out the baby was doing OK, but that I could lose the baby. I remember thinking, they have to say that because they didn't find anything medically wrong. BabyV's heartbeat was strong and he was moving and shaking in there. I got home and  had a check up a week later and that's when we were told the blood work wasn't looking good. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. The wind had been knocked out of me and I was back on the ground quite bruised from my fall. I knew immediately we were not going to keep this baby. I worked hard to keep positive and continue like it would work out, but I always knew we would never know BabyV on the outside. 

I'm a planner and I had not planned for this. I never even let myself think for one moment that this could happen. The funny thing is before I got pregnant I did think about miscarriage as a reality, but once I was pregnant I had the gall to think it would never happen to me. 

When our pregnancy was finally over I never imagined we would get pregnant again so quickly. The initial shock helped with some of the mourning, but soon I found myself a worried mess. I was angry that I couldn't enjoy this pregnancy the way I had the last. I was angry that I'll never be able to enjoy a pregnancy like I did with my first. I can guarantee that all women who have lost a baby feel they can never relax during their next pregnancies. It doesn't mean it's not a joyful time, we just know that this little life can be gone in a moment. 

It's amazing to me that I can still be grieving the loss of BabyV as I sit here with Hazel sleeping soundley on my chest. The day we brought her home from the hospital I cried and cried and cried. I was practically inconsolable. I talked with my sister-in-law about it and she told me;

You can try to be cool and blame it on hormones... But you've waited a long time for that little girl. You love her too much to contain it.  You have to cry. You have no choice. 

Man was that true! I know the entire pregnancy I never thought we'd be bringing her home. I wanted her home more than anything, but I didn't think it would happen. Every appointment was worse than the last because I just kept waiting for them to find something wrong. When we finally walked in the door with our baby I just lost it. All that time, all that energy, all that grief just came pouring out. 

I didn't write this to keep picking at the wound. I wrote this because BabyV is an important part of my life. I wrote this because losing a child is hard, and some people still squirm when I bring it up. And I wrote this because even though miscarriage is a natural and common event, I did know and love what I had. At one time I had a little boy and I loved him. 

Cheers.

Here's some memories from our short time with BabyV


8 weeks
10 weeks

8 weeks

13 weeks
16 weeks

14 weeks

12 weeks
14 weeks




Thursday, May 1, 2014

When a Baby Moves In, the Dog Moves Out....

Well, not exactly, but sort of. These wise words are spoken to Lady ( from Lady and the Tramp) as she inquires about what a baby is. Her new pal, Tramp, lets her know the hard truth.

About a week after we brought Hazel home I finally got why so many people re-home their pets when baby arrives. Now Joe and I are by no means thinking of re-homing our fur babies, but I can understand. I don't think it has anything to do with no longer loving your pet when baby comes, but just trying to make life a little easier while adjusting to becoming a new parent. Our pets are not even as needy as others are, it was more the "extra" work, like making sure they were fed and let out to do their business, which seems like a lot more when you're slightly sleep deprived. Hazel's been such a good baby, that I can't imagine how much harder it would have been had she been extremely fussy or hard to sooth. I can be sure I would have gone slightly insane trying to make sure the pet's needs were met as well as hers. The sad thing is, I've hardly dealt with the pets in the past 3 or so months because it was just too tiring to walk them, or down stairs to feed them, in the final months of pregnancy.  Now every time they need something so does Hazel, so poor Joe has been a single pet parent in recent months. We are slowing getting back into the swing of things, and the pets are getting back to becoming members of the family again like they used to. 

And yet even with our frustrations, Joe and I found out today that we are still quite attached to our beloved pets. Poe, who is Joe's shadow and buddy, has always had stomach issues. He's on special food, he's always emaciated looking, and he can barely look at people food without yaking all over the place. Well he has been quite a mess since Little Miss came home. Oh, I forgot to mention he is also one energetic stress ball! If he's not walking around the house whining, he's trying his hardest to get you to play. His anxiety about being second best got the better of him and we woke up to a pup who was throwing up blood. He's very dramatic, I know. So off to the vet we went, to find out he's pretty much fine. We were sent home with some meds to get him, and his anxiety, under control. In that short time, Hazel became second best. We made sure she was well fed and content and then our attentions turned to Poedidly. Even though I knew everything was going to be just fine with Poe, I couldn't help but worry the whole way to the vet that we were going to get the worst news. I even commented to Joe that I've not been the nicest to Poe this past month, and how bad I felt about that. I was quite relieved that everything was OK. 

The thing is no matter how frustrated I get with the pets, or how many times I think how much easier our lives would be if we didn't have any, I would not be a happy camper if they weren't here. Not only do they give unconditional love, support, and company, they are what makes our little family complete. 

I am so looking forward to Hazel growing up with the pets. I look forward to Sweetums stealing food from her highchair, and Poe making sure the floor is spotless underneath where she sits to eat. So for now the pets will have to endure this adjustment period, and I know they will because that's what pets do. They stick around for the long haul when we can't.  


Cheers!


Here's Hazel with her new fan club :)

Poe seems a bit attached to this kid, or maybe he just misses the attention :)




Seriously cute

Little Miss with daddy's Little Girl

Sweetledeets and Hazel 



Monday, April 28, 2014

Cloth Diapers and Co-Sleeping

We get asked a lot about how the cloth diapers are going, so I figured it was about time to write about it.

I'll start by saying, I LOVE THEM! They are even easier to use than expected, and washing them has been completely manageable. When Hazel needs a change, putting a cloth diaper on her is no more work than putting on a disposable. I also really love how they keep the smell down. Since Hazel is a breastfed baby the smell is very minimal anyway, but I can't stand how disposable diapers and wipes smell. I do not care for that baby powder weird smell at all. In fact I hate it. I'm apparently in the minority on this one because all disposable diapers smell this way. This terrible smell is avoided in her cloth diapers because they are not scented :). As far as wipes go, we've been using cloth, and this is the only kink in the system so far. I decided to use baby washcloths. These are not as soft as I would like and make Little Miss' rump a bit red, so I'm going to switch to flannel or bamboo which are softer fabrics. For now we're using Pampers sensitive wipes because they are fragrance free and I don't have to deal with that terrible baby powder smell. 

As far as washing goes, we've been washing every 3-4 days. Not bad at all! I don't rinse the diapers before I wash them. I just throw them straight in the machine poop and all. I think I mentioned in my earlier post about the diapers that poop is sterile. Unless she has some kind of stomach bug, the small amount of healthy normal bacteria found in poop isn't going to hurt our washer or us. I will say that I am using disposable at night, but we are transitioning to all cloth all the time. It was easier in the really early days not fumbling around in the dark while we were getting the hang of the cloth. I really like the Velcro ones for night because they are even easier to use, and that's an added bonus at 3am when I am barely awake :).  

I also really love how Hazel looks in them. They make her rump look really cute. 

Having Hazel has truly brought out my inner hippie. I found that when I was pregnant I wanted nothing but the best for her and that included a greener tomorrow. Hence the cloth diaper route. Not only are we saving cash, but helping out the environment too. You know the whole, "Act local think global" thing. Well when she arrived my inner hippie really came out, and all I could think about was not only do I want a greener tomorrow for Hazel, but I also want to make sure she felt her needs we're being met. In my learning about breastfeeding there was a lot of talk about co-sleeping and its benefits to mom, baby, and the breastfeeding relationship. I wasn't sure if Joe and Hazel and I would co-sleep, but I was intrigued. I think, like the rest of the American society, it has been burned in my brain how dangerous co-sleeping is and how it can cause bad sleeping habits for baby. These reasons are shown to be bogus by supporters of co-sleeping, and for good reason. There are so many benefits to co-sleeping and when done correctly baby is in no more danger than when they are sleeping alone in their crib. Many pediatricians these days agree that the first 3 months of a baby's life outside the womb are considered the fourth trimester. Co-sleeping with Hazel allows her to be close to me and feel comfortable while she adjusts to the world. Co-sleeping also helps with encouraging and establishing a good breastfeeding relationship. Instead of having to get out of bed to get Hazel as she cries from her crib, I can just roll over and nurse her as we both fall back to sleep. I get more sleep and so does she. It's win-win. I have to say, when Hazel first came home, I was a nervous wreck about having her in the bed. I thought for sure she would suffocate or we would squish her, but that didn't happen. In fact, I think, like all co-sleeping supporters believe, I have a sixth sense of where she is in the bed and if something is not kosher. I also love that I am not waking up to a screaming kid. She lets me know she's hungry by grunting or trying to nurse on my arm or shirt. We have nice calm breastfeeding sessions in the wee hours of the night instead of me trying to calm her then get her to nurse. We have a happy restful mommy, and a happy calm baby. I am totally on board the co-sleeping train and recommend it to anyone with a new baby.

I am proud to say I am a breastfeeding, co-sleeping, cloth diapering mama :)

Cheers!

Here some pics of my co-sleeping beauties :)


Snuggles :)

Who wouldn't want to wake up to this face??

Hazel and daddy...swoon

So comfy

This face! 




Friday, April 25, 2014

Hold tight and pretend it’s a plan!

Newborn babies can't do much on their own- They can't eat or walk or talk on the phone- But every parent is sure their creation is without a doubt a tremendous sensation.


Isn't that the truth! I fell hard for Little Miss as soon as she popped out, and I'm falling harder and harder for her everyday! I've got about 4,000 photos of her on my phone and 3,000 of them are basically the same image in a different outfit. I've started a photo stream with my family that I send daily pics to, and I have to restrain myself from sending a new picture every 30 seconds. She is the smartest, happiest, prettiest baby I know, and I know every new parent feels this way. 

It's been a fast month for us. Which is a big change from the pregnancy that seemed like it would never end. I can't seem to comprehend what happens to my days. They are flying by, and I am trying my hardest to find a way to slow them down. When I do find a way I'll share my secret ;). I figured since it's been a whole month and 4 days with Hazel in our lives I'd share some of the things Joe and I have learned as new parents and how she's doing. 

To be honest the things we've learned is a small list. Not that we are pros, but we are just taking everything in stride and do what this post's title says to do :). She has been a pretty easy baby up to this point, so we have been quite lucky. At her one month check-up the doc asked if I had any questions, and the only one I could think of is when is it OK to get her ear's pierced.

She has been nursing well since day one, and I am so thankful for that. I know a lot of women have trouble. I will say one thing I think that helped is that I did a lot of reading about proper breastfeeding techniques, and made contacts with my local La Leche League consultants before she arrived. In doing so, I feel that it gave me confidence that I could do it, and do it well. I also think it helped me to feel comfortable and relaxed in my choice.  That made all the difference in those first two weeks when Hazel was pretty much attached to my boob. I can totally understand why some women give up so early, or feel like they are not successful breast-feeders because it is very time consuming and a little disheartening feeling like you have no freedom or a moment to yourself. There was a moment in the middle of week two I broke down in tears and just begged her to let me eat just one meal and I would let her nurse all night if she wanted to. I just kept reading my handy book, Breastfeeding Made Simple bNancy Mohrbacher & Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, that reassured me everything Hazel was doing was normal for that time and that it would pass. Once we got passed week 2 she started a nursing rhythm that is still changing. I am still nursing her on demand, but we are slowing figuring out her rhythm and the demand is much more manageable and even more enjoyable. I look forward to that time together, especially when we are out. It gives us time to shut ourselves off from everyone and have our time together.

We've also been lucky with her sleep schedule. She is up about every 4-5 hours during the night, and about every 2.5 to 3 hours during the day. That has almost been true since she entered the world. I tell everyone who asks that I am getting more sleep now than I was the last two months of my pregnancy. I didn't realize how miserable I was during that time until she was out. She is also very easy when we are out and about, and even at her fussiest she is pretty easy to calm.

Joe and I have really been enjoying ourselves with Hazel. Just this morning I asked him what he has learned in this past month and he said how attached he is to Hazel and how fast that happened. I have to say he has been amazing. I have also been lucky in that sense. He was on board with the cloth diapers, he is a huge supporter of breastfeeding, and he has just jumped right in head first to daddy hood. I don't know how people do this on their own and I am thankful everyday that he is so comfortable and helpful with Hazel. Joe has quickly mastered the art of working from home and taking care of baby.

I'm baffled at how fast she is growing. Everyone tells us how little she is, but I can't get over how big she is getting. She's already over 2lbs more than she was when she was born, and 2 inches longer! Every day she does something new that is totally awesome, and I love watching her grow!

Here are a few pics of Hazel's first month!

Cheers!