Friday, October 10, 2014

My Journey with the Baby Blues

And here we are, approaching my daughter's 8 week birthday.  If someone asked me to describe in 5 words or less, what these last 8 weeks have been like...I'd only use three. 
A beautiful blur.

Since I've been on maternity leave I've become a compulsive list maker.  I make lists of super important things like what to buy at Target, crafty to-do's I've found on Pinterest along with groceries needed. 
One thing that's been on "my list" since the beginning was to share my experience with the infamous baby blues.  If I'm being totally honest, I've been putting this off for weeks. I've needed this time to translate the emotions I felt those first weeks home into words that would be helpful and encouraging to other women out there.  However honesty isn't always rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes it can scare the hell out of people.  My hope by sharing my story, full of honesty, is that I'll help another new mom not be scared in her tears.  

I remember when I was pregnant, I read any and all articles shared on Facebook that had anything remotely to do with pregnancy or becoming a mom.  There was one that discussed how a new mother felt about her colicky baby, the deep sensation of love she felt for that baby while also feeling extreme anguish and frustration because the baby cried CONSTANTLY.  This new mom spent many of those first few months in tears.  I remember calling my mom immediately after I finished reading.

 I was scared to death.

"Mom, is our baby going to just cry all day long?!?!  I can't do it! What the hell have I done?!"

Now, does my baby cry all day long?  No.  She's perfect, she mostly just whimpers when she needs something.  Rarely hysteric.  My experience has been totally different than the article I read.

  However, have I cried my eyes out many times?
Yes.  Absolutely.

But what I understand now, that I didn't understand while my sweet little baby was tucked quietly in my uterus, is that all the tears you shed are SO WORTH IT

And here's my story why.....

If you're anything like myself, when you found out you were going to have a baby, to prepare you immediately began strolling thru every store's baby section, cooing at all the adorable clothes and spent endless hours scouring Pinterest for cute nursery ideas.
Well, newsflash. 
It doesn't matter how damn cute your nursery is, prepare yourself because you're most likely going to cry your eyes out in there the first couple weeks your home from the hospital.
And sometimes, it's about absolutely nothing.
And that's totally NORMAL.
And totally OK.

I remember sitting in my little glider a couple days after we came home, giving Lara her bottle when all the sudden I just start crying.  A cry that quickly turned into a sob.

You know why?
Because I was literally so overcome with love for this new human being that I had no idea how to process the overwhelming feeling other than to cry.

And cry I did.

A few days later, I'm rocking Lara in her nursery when I come across this video on Facebook.
It was titled, "Mom's First Birthday."

I cried harder in those 3 minutes than I've cried in a very long time.
(And while I'm being totally honest, I have tears in my eyes now because I just watched it again.)

While I'm sitting there holding my new baby, crying like a fool, Jon walks in from mowing the lawn.  I told him he had to watch this video.
He was all hot and sweaty from just mowing so he says to me, 
"No, not right now."

I totally lose my shit and start 
yelling at him.

"I watch all your stupid videos of animals dancing and shit, you're going 
to watch this!!"

His eyes got really big.  He slowly walked across the room, sat down and watched the entire thing.

With the fear of God in his eyes.

Well folks, I officially had the baby blues. 
All the preparing I had done over the past 9 months did not prepare me for this. 
I was scared of myself.

Everyday I wondered, 
"What the hell is wrong with me?!"
"Was I ever going to feel like myself again?"

I loved this baby so much, I was so happy to finally have her in my arms,
but yet I couldn't stop crying.

I had heard of the "blues" but I thought it meant sadness.  I wasn't sad, I just felt like crying a lot
 Sometimes even tears of joy.

I'd cry it out, feel better.  
Then a couple hours later, same thing.

When my Mom left after spending those first couple weeks with me, I really lost it.
Full blown tears, like I wasn't ever going to see her again.

She lives 45 minutes away. 

At the time, I felt like everyone was getting back to their normal routine and I was just sitting at home, with this beautiful little human, trying to figure out what the hell to do with her.

According to the American Pregnancy Association 70-80% of women experience the blues.
If 8 out of 10 new moms are experiencing this, why aren't we all talking about it more?!?

Listen, I love sharing adorable 
pictures of my daughter.  

Pictures of her sleeping, pictures of her cuddled up on my chest, pictures of her in her swing, in her crib, sitting up in her glider, on the couch, in her car seat, in her stroller. 

You name it, I take pictures and I share them with all of you.

As much as I love sharing all the adorable moments, I think it's also equally as important that we all share the #reallife moments that motherhood 
blesses us with.

That's why I decided to open up about my experience with the blues.

After a couple weeks, I slowly began to feel like myself again.
Everyday that passed, I cried a little less and relaxed a little more.

As the weeks have passed, I'm beginning to understand my little girl and what she's trying to tell me.
Everyday I feel like I get a tiny bit better at this whole "mom" thing.

And there's nothing in life that makes me feel more successful than that.

If you happen to have the blues when you bring your little bundle of joy home, just relax and enjoy the ride.  Embrace your tears.  Let yourself feel all those emotions.  It's all a part of your journey.

If you're experience is anything like mine, the blues will pass and before you know it you'll become a diaper changin', spit up cleanin', bottle makin' pro, all while NOT crying, in no time. 

Motherhood is beautiful.  It's hilarious.  It's exhausting.  It's FUN. 
It's ever changing. 
It's life changing.  

And for me, it's the most badass journey I've ever embarked on.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My "Must Have" List for Baby & Mommy

Let's start this post with an analogy that describes the past 3+ weeks of my life:  Cramming super hard for the hardest final of the school year only to walk into the classroom and realize you studied all the wrong shit. 
That my friends, is becoming a new mom.
You can ask a million questions, you can get advice from every which angle, you can read product reviews, you can peruse other "new mommy" blogs, but nothing, I repeat nothing will enable you to make all the right decisions.  And that's 100% ok.
But what can help is knowing some of the products that have kept other moms  from ripping their hair out because nothing will keep their baby from whaling their little head off.
Let's talk swaddling.  For the record, I frickin' hate swaddling my child.  I feel like I'm wrapping my sweet little angel in a frickin' straight jacket every night, and every night it breaks my heart a litte more.  But, while my heart breaks in half, my sanity remains in tact.  So swaddle we go, every evening around 8:30.  We tried several different products with Lara including different types of blankets and as of late, I even purchased the Ergo Brand swaddler that was around $30 for ONE.  Needless to say, we decided to stick with 'ol faithful below and returned the Ergo swaddler.  Our favorite thus far has been the Summer Swaddle Me Blanket Set.  Super soft and just lightweight enough! Note: When registering, pay attention to the sizes.  You only need one pack of each size.  Lara is a tiny little peanut weighing in at a whopping 6 lbs 15 oz, but fits into the small/medium just fine. Make sure to register for all the different sizes.
Since we're talking bedtime, let's talk nightgowns.  Lara has about 1000000000 nightgowns, and while they're super frickin' cute, they're just not that practical.  She's got the footie pajamas, she has the ruffle butt pajamas, she has the gowns, and the list goes on and on.  But, if you're baby is anything like mine, you'll be swaddling them every night so there's really not really a need for all the pj's.   What I wish I had more of are just your everyday, practical white Gerber Onesies.  These are what the babe sleeps in everynight under her Swaddler blanket, not the cutesy footie pj's.  Take my advice, and register for several different sizes of these bad boys. You'll thank me later.
Gerber Onesies Brand Newborn Baby 4-Pack Short Sleeve One-Piece Underwear
Let's talk farting. My girl can rip one with the best of 'em.
For the most part she seems to have no problem, shall we say, relieving herself.  But when bedtime rolls around, her gas pains set in.  We were given a few boxes of the Little Remedies Gas Relief Drops at our showers and I am SO THANKFUL because we use 'em almost daily.  We keep one on our nightstand and one in the diaper bag at all times.
Let's talk baby monitors.  This is one area that we did a TON of research on before purchasing, and I'm so thankful we did because we absolutely LOVE the one we chose.  Jon's family lives about 2.5 hours away, so the Wi-Fi capability was a must and a video monitor that provided great live streaming was also high on our list. I also wanted a large screen for my own personal use. This monitor ticked all of our boxes.  And honestly, for the $300 price tag, it should.  This system allows remote viewing from a computer or via the app you can download on your phone.  It also allows two way communication between viewers and the baby.  When Jon's at work, he can tap into the application on his phone and not only see Lara, but talk to her.  But, if we're talking most dedicated viewer....Jon's Grandma takes the prize.  She's definitely her #1 "fan."
Ok, moving on.  Let's talk spit up.  All babies do it, and their parents are lying if they say "my baby never spits up." So another must have would definitely be burp cloths!!  Thankfully we had a family friend make me about 10 cute little ones and they are literally all over my house.  You definitely want them in every room. Mine are pretty long and have a nice shape that covers my shoulder and chest nicely.  I find the 'ol standard rectangular ones aren't quite as nice as the oblong style. 
 If you can find these bad boys below in your local Babies R Us, scan 'em.  
Babies R Us Girls' 3-Pack Terry Burp Cloths - Babies R Us  - Babies"R"Us
Ok, let's talk bath time.  One thing I was not prepared for was how much my daughter would loathe getting a bath.  I mean, the girl despises it.  But what has made it a tiny bit better is our recent purchase of the Norwex Baby Wash Cloths.  This is one item you can't really register for per say, but for $14.99 it's not going to break the bank to pick some up on your own.  The thing I love about these is that they are super duper soft and they dry her off almost instantly! I don't know about you, but my least favorite part of the shower is getting out. 
My daughter is obviously no different, and I can't blame her. 
Norwex Baby Microfiber Set of 3 Body Pack Wash Cloths; Antibacterical, Antimicrobial
In closing, I want to talk about one last thing....for the mommies.  
Granny panties. 
Get yourself some nice, comfortable granny panties that can "handle" a maxi pad.
After you bring that beautiful little babe into the world, that last thing you're going to want to slip on is a tight lacy thong up your ass crack. There's no better way to say it my friends...the "sexy train" has left the station for now, and that's totally ok.  You just brought a beautiful life into this world, that's a hell of a lot sexier than any pair of undies.  If your husband doesn't agree, get a divorce.
Please please please, if there's one thing you take from this post, let it be this: 
 The higher cut, the better.
And for the record, my thighs do not look like this.  


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Miss Lara's Nursery

5 months.
150+ hours of labor.
4 gallons of paint.
Drills, saws, hammers, wrenches.
Nails, screws...more nails and screws.
AND COUNTLESS trips to local antique malls, Home Depot, Hobby Lobby, Nebraska Furniture Mart and Michaels, her nursery was complete!
{The "L" letter was made from wooden letter from Michaels & white tissue paper roses}

To say that this space was a labor of love would be an understatement. 

Especially considering it started lookin' like this.

One hot mess of brown.
Brown walls, brown carpet, brown brown brown. 

Did I mention the room was brown?

So we primed, painted and painted some more.

Once we got the walls painted. We then had to paint the window trim, bedroom door and closet door trim ALONG with the actual doors themselves....because, you guessed it, they were brown.

We decided to do wainscoting panels on the bottom half to give it the "rustic beachy" look we
were hoping to achieve. 
Once the wainscoting was up, we got to work on the furniture. I had originally wanted to go with all white, but we quickly realized how expensive the white pieces can get, so we decided to go an entirely different direction which included a badass paint sprayer, a crap ton of time sanding and LOTS of paint.
My husband deserves a frickin medal for the COUNTLESS HOURS he spent painting the crib, dresser, cabinet, bookshelf and rocking chair. I was about 7 months pregnant at the time, so I sat my ass in a lawn chair outside the garage with an iced tea in hand, keeping him company.
But as far as actual labor help, I was worthless.
I love you, honey!!!!!

We did a lot of research on painting furniture to ensure it was for the baby. The big key was all in how you seal the pieces.  Be sure and choose a sealer that is non toxic.
Also, if you're thinking of taking on a project such as this, don't take short cuts. Be sure you sand and prime, you'll be so much more thankful you did!! The furniture turned out amazingly beautiful!!

This is the primer we used.  As far as the paint goes, we used the Walmart brand, Color Place, and were thoroughly impressed.  Color selections were plentiful and quality was top notch.

Once the sealer was dry, it was finally time to start putting the room together.
We were SO excited to finally see it all come together!!

Belle even helped. 

For the record, this was the ONE AND ONLY time I've seen this guy read instructions.

And just like that, crib was complete!! 
{Purchased crib from local consignment sale}

Now onto the rest of the nursery...

My dear Mom made ALL of the bedding, even her sheets!! Love you Ma!
We went back and forth on what arrangement to do above her crib.  I even purchased several different pieces, but nothing seemed to quite fit the look I wanted.  I wanted something original. Something I hadn't seen before.
We ended up deciding on the mermaid and were going to try to make it ourselves, but after the exhaustion I had already put my husband thru, I decided for the sake of our marriage that I'd just buy one instead.
 I found a gal on Etsy who designs and paints wooden mermaids. Who frickin knew, right?!?! 

This nook is my absolute favorite part of her room, Lara's Library. We found the row boat, fishing pole and rocking chair at a few antique stores in the area. I have to give credit to Jon for the bobber idea to hold the lettering for her name. I was really concerned they wouldn't look like little bobbers, but I have to admit, I love how they turned out. 

For my baby shower, instead of cards, all my girlfriends brought their favorite children's book with personalized inscriptions in each.  Because of the sentiment in each book, they are all SO special to me and I know they will be to Lara someday as well!!

{Wooden sign from local antique shop}
We scored this little cabinet from our favorite antique mall in Downtown Kansas City.  We removed the doors and used the leftover bedding fabric to panel each of them. 
{Letters from local antique shop}

I saw this mermaid lamp during our babymoon to Naples, but we were concerned about flying it back home with us.  When we got back to Kansas City, we ended up finding it online.  My parents purchased it for us for one of our showers.  The lamp shade that came with it was damaged during transit, so I bought a cheap white one from Walmart and attached this
adorable ribbon to it with my hot glue gun.  Love how it came together.
{Ribbon from JoAnn's Fabric Store}
We snagged this frame from a shell shop in Naples.
This photo is one I will treasure forever...the moment we found out we were having a little girl!!

Ahhh....onto the glider. 
This was one purchase we splurged on and now that Lara is here, I'm so thankful we did. We use it ALL THE TIME.  We researched hundreds of gliders and it was just too scary to purchase one sight unseen, or should I say, "seat" unseen.  We hit up Nebraska Furniture Mart over Memorial Day Weekend and ended up deciding on this one. I wanted one that was overstuffed so it'd be comfortable for just about anyone. Unfortunately the one we chose only came in ivory, so we had to get it custom made.  However, it was super fun being able to choose the fabric!
 I went with a light grey with a small swirl design imprint. 
And yes, it's gender neutral. ;)
{Link to view Glider on Neb. Furniture Mart Website. Ottoman does match but sold separately.}
{Glider brand is Best Home Furnishings. Visit Manufacturers website by clicking here.}
{Dressing table/dresser purchased on Craigslist}

The knobs were again Jon's idea.  He hand selected each of these shells during our trip to Naples. 

This seashell is another one of my favorites because it's a nightlight. 
I love having it for those middle of the night diaper changes!
Frame is from Hallmark, where thankfully, my Ma works.  :)
My Mom got me this frame this past Mother's Day. 
"Great women raise great women who raise great women"
Love it.

And yet another one of Jon's great ideas....a boat wheel converted to bow holder.
I had a totally different idea in mind for her bows, but one day we were strolling thru a local antique store and Jon convinced me to let him put this together.  I have to admit, I'm in love with it.
If there's one thing I learned from designing this nursery,
I married one creative (and super foxy) dude.

My two favorite quotes. I had a gal I found on Etsy design them for me in the colors I wanted.  
She did a great job and was super reasonably priced!
{Frames from Walmart}
These last two pics I wanted to share because they are a tremendous help in keeping me organized!
I purchased the foam hangers and sticker set both from Michaels.  I cut the foam hangers so they could slide onto her closet rod.  The Tupperware stackable containers are of course, from Walmart.
 Just an idea I thought I'd pass along.

And that's a wrap, folks!
This has got to be one of my longest posts EVER. So if you're still reading, thanks for sticking around.  We're pretty proud of the little home we created for our babe. 
I'm so thankful for all the ideas I find out here in the cyber world, so I'm happy to share how we brought our ideas to life.  If any of you have questions or want more info on how we did something, shoot me an email or leave a comment below and I'll be sure and get back to you!