Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Mom Guilt Rabbit Hole

I pulled up to the mall today pretty excited. I was kidless which rarely happens and when it does, I spend my time catching up on work for my job and/or housework. I love my little one but I haven't had any time for myself lately, and today I was getting a couple hours to myself to walk around without a diaper bag and actually try on clothes if I wanted to (and maybe buy a cookie... or three).

When I pulled in I picked a random spot in the same area I always do. This time I was parked next to a mother who was standing with the rear door of her car open and I could hear a tiny baby crying. I could tell it was a very new baby just by the cry, but the look on this moms face also made it obvious. She was pulling the baby out as he screamed and trying to comfortably get him into an Ergo carrier. Now I love my Ergo, but those first few times I was trying to get Addison in by myself were tough. The buckle on the back was always my worst enemy.

I was watching her struggle with the buckle and she was getting overwhelmed and her baby was screaming louder and she was on the verge of tears. In the moment I felt like I was maybe being weird but mom solidarity takes over in that instance so I just got out of the car, walked over and said "Do you need some help?" and of course being a new mom with all the emotions and the desire to do everything on her own she said "I'm good. I think I can figure it out."

I didn't blame her for that. I would have said the same thing. I responded with "I know you are good. You are doing great! Those Ergo's back buckles are just tricky. I have one too." It took her a second but she she looked at me and said "would you mind?" and she let me buckle them in. Afterward she turned around and asked me if it looked like she was carrying him properly and I helped her adjust a little, explained that she should be able to kiss his little head, and that his legs should be in a seated position.

She told me that this was her first time taking him out in the Ergo, and her first time taking him out alone as her husband just went back to work. She talked and I listened in the parking lot of a mall for more than 10 minutes. I don't know her name. I don't know her baby's name. I just knew the look she had all too well, so I had to tell her the things I needed to hear in those moments.

"You are the best mother for this child."
"You are making the right choices."
"It gets easier."
"As long as you are trying, you are being the best mom you can be."
 "You are doing an amazing job."

I said goodbye to her and her happy and snuggly baby, and I walked inside to get my cookie(s). I spent the remainder of my kidless afternoon thinking about my kid. Just a few hours prior I was questioning my own parenting. Should she be eating this? Should I be making more of her food myself? Should I be spending more time teaching her this? Should I be taking her there more often?

To this very moment I am wondering if I am doing this parenting thing right. I can't help it. It is just  a natural mom feeling. But what if we all didn't think twice and took a moment to offer another mom a few friendly words of encouragement when we see that they are falling down the rabbit hole? How much better would the world be for us moms? I am not sure, but I would love to find out.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Choosing Love (& Other Mushy Relationship Stuff)

It has been a minute since my last blog post. Well almost 100,000 minutes to be exact but who's counting? Maybe you are, I don't know your life. If you are a person who waits for my blog posts please feel free to harass me to make me accountable because it seems I need a bit of motivation these days. I can admit that I haven't been inspired to write a post lately. I have been inspired to be a good mom. I have been inspired to spend time with my husband. I have also been inspired to eat three chocolate chip cookies in a mug from the microwave in the past 24 hours (thanks Pinterest), but for some reason I just couldn't get my hands to type the posts that they used to be so good at writing.

Then it came. My inspiration. It just hit me in the face when I read a blog post by my good friend Monica. She got engaged this past holiday season and she is so high on the excitement that it's contagious. Recently she wrote about how she met this very lucky guy of hers and it made my soul happy. Reading stories about love just makes me a better person. There is something about sitting down and really learning about other happy relationships that puts you in the mood to be happy in your own. It is like this cycle of happiness and this blog post is probably making like 95% of you want to gag but the other 5% are reading this with stars in their eyes because they know exactly what I am talking about.

When I was reading Monica's post I couldn't help but think about how relationships change. I remember wedding planning so vividly that it feels like it was yesterday. I remember this unconditional love I felt because I knew I was marrying my best friend and someone who I could share my life with. I wasn't thinking about kids (although our priest kept mentioning them during the ceremony for some reason). I was thinking about what a great team we were, just the two of us. I was enjoying the adventures as we planned our wedding and then shared the day with our family and friends.

Then we started married life. It consisted of having no real money, an 800 square foot apartment, and a few Nerf guns. I began working from home while Eric finished up school, graduated, and then looked for his first post college job. We had so much time together. We danced in our galley kitchen, we binge watched shows like Deadliest Catch and Parks and Rec, and we just spent time taking in the moments as we started our lives together.

It all happened so quickly, but the next thing you know I was pregnant and terrified. My husband always reassured me that we would be able to handle it. We spent hours putting together furniture that came in the tiniest pieces. We hand painted and built the mobile above her bed. We talked about what kinds of parents we wanted to be and we waited in anticipation as it got closer to my due date. Each day we enjoyed what could potentially be the last official day of just the two of us.

Addison came into this world and life changed forever. Yes having a baby was a huge responsibility, but watching Eric with our daughter gave me a new appreciation and different kind of love for him. Watching him grow as a parent has made me fall even more in love. His love for our daughter fills me with pride and I know that I couldn't have picked a better dad for our girl. You don't know how much you love someone until you see them with your child.

We have gone through so many changes and so many different phases in our relationship. When I look at posts like Monica's, I pray they get to experience the cycles that come with marriage. The ups and downs are the best part. I think God gives us our spouses so that we can know what is like to choose to love someone unconditionally no matter where we are in our lives.  I love my spouse because I choose to love him all day everyday (even when he snores... LOUDLY). I loved him with starry eyes when I walked down the aisle on our wedding day, I loved him with appreciation when he got his first post college job to provide for our family, I love him everyday with pride as he sings to our baby. It is things like this that I think are important for newly engaged people to know. The love you feel right now doesn't go away, you just gradually start to feel a new love. Keep choosing it. It is totally worth it.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Addison 3 Months

I say this on every update but time is just flying by. I cannot believe it has been three months since I held my newborn girl in my arms. Every day is a new adventure and I love being her mom. Recently she has started to roll from her stomach to her back, she has started chatting it up constantly, and she LOVES sitting up like an adult on our couch. Yes, I have a Bumbo. Yes she would still rather sit on the couch. She understands comfort just like her mother, who would want to sit in a weird plastic seat when you can relax on the couch with your mom?

Sleeping & Eating 
Addi is still eating like a champ. She gets hangry (hungry/angry) at night starting around 6ish and constantly wants to be fed or held and only by me. Although she does always love when her dad gives her a bath. That tends to perk her right up! She is also more cranky and hungry on Tuesday and Thursday nights because she hasn't seen me all day. She needs some serious snuggling when I get home from work on those days but I am totally ok with that!
Addison has been waking up more at night. Sometimes 2 (or on a rare occasions 3 times!). I blame it on the fact that she is teething. She doesn't really use her binky like a normal kids, she chews on it to help her teeth. She drools like a maniac, and I see some swelling where those teeth look like they are coming in. On top of that, she has been a tad more fussy. She is still my happy little girl the majority of the day (except for the hangry witching hour in our home as listed above). 
Yesterday Eric said "I always knew I wanted to be a dad but I never thought I would like it this much." That pretty much sums up parenthood. There is know way to prepare yourself for how much love you have for your child. I prepared myself to love her with all of my being, and still it is deeper than that. It is just unexplainable and you can't know it until you feel it yourself.

Advice: What I have learned 
Parenting is fun and exhausting. It's amazing and gross. It can go from 0 to 100 in the blink of an eye. Overall it goes to fast. So I am trying to soak up all the moments, the good and the bad (because I am allowed to say some moments aren't great).

PS- Phoebe and Addison are such great friends. I love watching them together and Phoebe is never too far behind Addison wherever she goes. She was insistent that she should be in this photo below AGAIN!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Truth Is

The truth is there was a point in my life where I blogged every week day. It was cool because Eric and I were on a brand new adventure. We were engaged and then married. We were just living life and taking it one day at a time. I always had something a tad snarky to say and I couldn't help but document our lives to look back on. It was fun to be a "blogger" and I had a direction. I commented on other blogs and did giveaways. I gained a "following" and I use all of these terms very loosely, but people were coming to the blog and I was making some blog friends.

It is a weird world, the world of blogging. You get paid to sponsor things like Pop-Tarts and Kleenex, and then you take that money and use it to pay for giveaways so people come and read your content. So basically you are paying for people to come read about your life. Once I realized this, which took far too long by the way, I decided to end sponsorships and any form of money transactions. Mostly because I didn't want to write about Kleenex and Pop-Tarts anymore. Well, I actually don't mind writing about Pop-Tarts because they are amazing, but I don't need to be paid to say that. S'more Pop-Tarts are where it is at by the way, check them out.

I wanted to have the freedom to write when I wanted and how I wanted. Which turns out to be almost never, and mainly about my daughter. To me this is perfect though, because my life is taking a new direction. I can write about how coconut oil has been my #1 product as a mom! Which is probably lame to some people, but is super helpful to those moms who just CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY THEIR BABY HAS SKIN PEELING OFF THIER HEAD!... like me.

Over the past few weeks I have spent some time pondering how I plan to use this space. Honestly? I am still pondering. As the seasons of my life change I want this space to change with me as well. I want to look back and see where I was in my life and when. I want to look back and remember all of Addison's monthly milestones and the smell of her gorgeous baby head.

So I don't know where we will be going in the coming weeks, or even the coming year. I know this space will be filled with way too many baby photos and updates, and I understand if that isn't your "kinda thing". I also know that I don't really have to care if it is your "kinda thing" because I am writing this for me. I am writing this for those who care about our family and our baby. I am writing for other people out there who can relate to where I am on my life journey. So I hope you want to continue on with us, but if not that is ok too because Pop-Tarts aren't paying me to keep you here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How To Cure Cradle Cap and Baby Acne

Today I am going to share a new mom secret with you. As I scroll through my Instagram feed I can't help but notice a lot of you are pregnant and/or a brand new mom! Crazy right? Soon you are going to be snuggling all over your little cutie and I want to share a little secret so you are more prepared than me when cradle cap and baby acne hit out of nowhere. (Like seriously. I didn't realize these were things until I saw them on my own baby and I freaked out).

So here it is, the magical secret: Coconut oil. Go buy some right now and put it on your changing table. You can thank me later.

Using coconut oil on cradle cap:
Take a giant glob of coconut oil and rub it all over your sweet little baby's head. Put a hat on (because if you are anything like me the greasy hair will drive you bonkers) and then let it sit for 30 minutes. Then put baby in the bathtub and wash it off. I typically do this before bath time every night but you could obviously do it any time of day.

Using coconut oil for baby acne:
I just rub it all over Addison's face in the morning when I am getting her dressed and after her bath at night. She LOVES it. It healed all of her baby acne in just 36 hours! Now I just use it for her dry skin.

Bonus info: If you drop a tablespoon of coconut oil in the bathwater, it helps with dry skin. Addison had dry flakey skin for a few weeks after she was born and this cleared it right up in two days!

Addison approves this message.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Addison 2 Months

These past two months have flown by. Eric and I are constantly talking about how fast Addison is growing. I wish time would slow down. There doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day for me to snuggle my little girl. Her personality is developing fast and I love the tiny little sass she is. She might look a lot like her dad but she is full of personality like me. 
Sleeping & Eating 
Addison has hit a growth spurt. She eats like it is going out of style. Once she hit seven weeks she was just starving all of the sudden. I can't keep up with her. She has probably doubled her food intake and it is exhausting for the both of us. 

Addison sleeps from 9pm-4:30am. I feed her and then she is straight back to sleep until between 7-8. This has been happening for about 4 weeks and even when she had a cold she stayed extremely consistent with her schedule. I am thrilled with how she is sleeping, and even a stranger told me I looked like the most well rested mom he had ever seen. I thank God everyday that I am blessed with a sleepy baby. Even as I type this she is napping right by me.
Being a parent is the coolest thing I have ever done. Eric and I love this little girl more than words can even explain. We happily give up our nights out for evenings in with our little one. From the moment we brought her home we started making sure Addison adapted around us. So Eric has used power tools in our basement since the day we came home. She goes where ever we go including on errands like the grocery store and the mall. If I want to go clothes shopping, she is with me. If Eric and I want to go out for dinner, Addison comes with us. She works around our schedule and it has made life easy.

Advice: What I have learned 
Being consistent is the most important part of parenting. We keep Addison on a schedule. She knows what to expect everyday and she isn't hit with surprises. She probably knows her schedule better than we do and if she isn't in the bathtub between 730-8pm at night she starts fussing at us to remind us it is time.  When she knows what is going on, she is happy! We love our happy baby!

PS- Phoebe and Addison are such great friends. I love watching them together and Phoebe is never too far behind Addison wherever she goes. She was insistent that she should be in this photo below. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Life Right Now

Addison has her first cold. 
Addison is just shy of 8 weeks old and she has her first cold. I am traumatized and she seems to be taking it way better than me. The doctor says there isn't much we can do besides use the nose sucker, some saline nose drops, and a humidifier to help get her through the worst of it. My heart breaks every time I look at her tiny sniffly face. It doesn't help that it was the worst on a day I had to be at work. Thankfully her dad was already off and he spent the day taking care of her and running to get all the things she needed to make her comfortable during this very uncomfortable time.

This photo is of her at her most sick. I wish I could look this good when I am sick. Heck, I wish I could look this good now. I am a hot mess from taking care of her!

Today I am home with her and she seems to be doing a bit better. She isn't our normally happy and relaxed baby, but she is taking it better than I would.

Addison is smiling.
Even through the sniffles, Addison is smiling. I worked so hard to get that first smile and man oh man was it worth the wait! Now she loves to share her big grin in the mornings when I go get her from her crib. There truthfully are few things in this world that are better than your child smiling at you.

I am back at work.
Two days a week I am in the office and 3 days a week I work from home until we find someone to take over some of my work. It has actually been pretty easy, besides Addison being sick. I will think of a LONG list of tasks I need to get done at work and then spend the day keeping myself insanely busy. I recently passed my Google Adwords certification which was a lot harder than I thought, and I am now officially a Google Partner. See? I am keeping myself plenty busy and only try and call home once or twice a day to check on the little one.

I thank God that one of the days that I work each week Eric is at home to watch her. Then the other day of the week that I work either my mom or his mom will watch her. I am so happy that Eric gets to spend time bonding with her alone and I love watching their father/daughter relationship grow. He is so great with her.

We are finally cooking meals again.
After the baby was born we stopped cooking and started staring at our baby in our free time. Our kitchen became the place we went to when we needed a paper plate to put our takeout on. I have started to cook dinners again! It might not be every night, but some is better than none.

Addison is officially on a schedule.
Yes my friends, my 8 week old has slept through the night for just about 3 weeks now. IN. HER. CRIB. Whhhhhat? I know right? I plan to make a blog post on how we made this magical thing happen but I can tell you it was a lot harder for me than her because she could care less that we put her in her own room at 3 weeks, while I handled it by crying every night and complaining about how she's growing up too fast.
  • Bath at 7:30pm
  • Feeding at 8:00pm
  • Cuddling with mom and dad till 8:45pm
  • In her crib by 9:00pm
She sleeps till between 4-5am, I feed her again, and she is down till about 8am. Staying consistent with her schedule has helped so much. She knows her schedule better than we do!
We are happier than ever.
People always tell you that a newborn can really test your relationship. If we were tested then we must have missed it. Eric and I immediately took on this new adventure without struggling. We enjoy every moment we get to spend as a family, and we have even gone on some dates by ourselves! I think we have had three baby free dates since she arrived 8 weeks ago. We typically go out for 3-4 hours, enjoy some adult beverages, and really enjoy it. Obviously I miss our baby the entire time but making sure Eric and I have time together actually makes us better parents.

This has been the craziest ride of my life. I am loving every second of it.