My Precious Evelyn

To my dear, sweet, perfect Evelyn,

Do you know how incredibly precious you are to me little girl? Oh my! Truly, words fail, but in true Stephanie fashion, I’m going to try and let a slew of flowery words describe how I feel about you. You are such a joy, Evelyn!! As much as I do remember life before you (because it really was so sweet!), I don’t even think about what happened before you were here, because you fit so perfectly and sweetly into our family, it was as if something was missing from our story before you were written into it.

I am a true second-time mom with you, as you can totally tell by lack of monthly updates, ha! But, my sweet baby, rest assured, I am HEAD OVER HEELS, ABSOLUTELY CRAZY, IN LOVE with you!

I’ll be honest and admit that I was expecting you to be a very chill, laid back baby. Lydia was pretty mellow and always happy, and you were the second kid, so I thought you’d follow suit. I was wrong 😉 You had a hard first month. Please know that I am not complaining…but you did not get the memo about being chill. You cried a lot, but really, not without reason. You loved (love) to be held and to eat. If I can quickly comply with either of these requests, you are a happy girl, but if and when you needed to remind me that you’d rather be eating or being held, you let me know you were not pleased. I will also say that you liked to be held by ME. You really like your mama…which is perfect because I really like you too!

You are now four months old and although you still like what you like (being held ranks very high up on your list!), you are also so stinking joyful! You feel your emotions deeply, but thankfully, you are happy and excited so much of the day! You smile with your whole body and making you laugh is one of my favorite things ever! When you do cry, you really get your lower lip into it and stick it out so pitifully! And the tears…oh my gosh! Girl, you can be dra-ma, but you are also so easily soothed. Your favorite place to be is still my arms, and I’m soaking in your sweet little body before it gets too big and mobile!

You love to sleep, and will typically give me a few cat naps and one long nap during the day. You’re ready for bed about 7 pm, but often don’t actually get put to bed until after 8 pm. You are still swaddled, but you try to break out like a crazy person. If and when you get your little hand gets free, you cannot help but flail it around and desperately try to suck on your fingers. You wake yourself totally up and only go back to sleep once you are swaddled once again. You are sleeping in the Rock N Play in our room, and I typically lay down with you to nurse you to sleep. You CAN put yourself to sleep, but I actually really like the forced time to stop the rest of our life and just focus on you. We don’t really get a lot of uninterrupted time just the two of us, so being able to put you to sleep is one of the best parts of my day. You still wake about every 3 hours during the night, but after your first wake up, I lay you beside me and we sleep well next to each other. You’ll easily sleep until 9 or 10 if you get to snack every little while in the morning. Pair that with your daddy coming home after his shift and making Lydia breakfast, you and I get to be lazy-bones-joneses every once in a while and it is lovely!

As much as everyone tells us you are tiny, you feel huge compared to your sister! You are nearly out of 3 month clothes, and a slew of blow outs caused me to move you up to size 2 diapers already! You hated the bottle with a passion when I first went back to work (we even had you evaluated by a Speech Pathologist because you’d gag so badly!), but now you easily take 17-18 ounces of milk while I’m gone. I’m typically pumping 16 or 17 ounces, so I’m able to meet your need pretty well if I add a few pumps in throughout the week. You love to nurse and you do so frequently during the day. I still have a pretty forceful letdown, so you occasionally struggle with that and I cannot leave the house without breast pads!

You’ve been quite the social butterfly and have enjoyed visits from all 3 sets of grandparents!

I went back to work right at 12 weeks and you’ve had great days with daddy, grandma Phyllis, our wonderful babysitter (Miss Stephanie) and our fantastic nanny. Mostly your daddy and I juggle our schedule, and I will forever thank Jesus that we are able to allow me to only work part time! I am currently only signing up for my 7 shifts a month. The more chaotic and busy our life gets, the more valuable it is for me to be home to help our lives continue to run smoothly. That is not to say I am a very good homemaker, but life does sure seem to flow better when I am at home!

I started this post nearly a month ago! Life is BUSY!! You sure keep me on my toes my sweet girl, but you are so, so worth it! Part of me feel so badly that I haven’t been able to document every little detail of your life the way I was with Lydia, but my darling baby, please don’t ever think it is because I am any less crazy about you! I simply only have so much to give, and sitting down to document the precious details of your days is just not a priority. Plus, it’s pretty hard to type while holding a squirming baby. I can tell you that your favorite activity of all time is being held, and I am happy to oblige you as much as possible. Side note, mama is getting pretty good at doing things one handed…cooking…chopping…blow drying…texting…grocery shopping…

Evelyn Margaret, you are feisty, and strong willed, and hard, but I am absolutely smitten with you! You bring me so much joy and my heart literally starts to hurt because I love you so much. Thank you for being my baby. My girl. My sweet, sweet stinker. I love you with every bit of me.

xoxoxo

Mama

 

2 Years Old

I finally logged into my WordPress after a nearly 2 year hiatus (oops!) and found this draft. I don’t even remember writing it, but I’m so glad I did. I wish I would have finished because, as I say here, I really do cherish all the little details of my precious baby when she was so very little. So, in order to preserve my sacred memories, I’ll publish this partial blog and try not to weep when I picture my girl at just barely 2 years old…

Oh, my sweet, sweet Lydia!

You are 2 years old! How can it be? Time is a sneaky sucker. It just hits you out of nowhere and takes your tiny bundle of baby and turns it into a busy little toddler overnight!

What a joy you are, my darling girl! How I wish I would have kept up with your monthly posts. I really do regret not writing down every detail because I know I will always treasure knowing you did this at this month or that at that one. However, what I do not regret for one moment, is all the time I’ve spent playing with and loving on you, my sweet girl. You are my little buddy and I will treasure the opportunity we’ve had to spend so much time together!

I want to bottle you up and keep you this little forever, but I also want to watch the beautiful show that is you growing up and experiencing the world. Motherhood is so bittersweet. In the very same breath I can wish for the smell of your newborn head and pray for the young woman you will become. You, my precious daughter, hurt my heart so good.

So, how do I summarize your second year? So fun!

Lydia, you are such a joyful girl! You have a smile that lights up the darkest of days, and you are the star of every show. I can’t even tell you how many times your daddy and I have sat in the quiet of our room, reminiscing about the events of the day and we’ve said “Lydia was the star tonight!” Somehow, all eyes end up on you!

You are so smart! You love to count and you are particularly found of the “one-three-five” order of business (“wwwaaannn, freeee, five, free, five!”). You also are learning the alphabet and call anything with just words (like magnets with city names, or a small figurine with a word) “abcd’s”. You know all your colors, but sometimes get confused with orange (“lello!”). Purple is “poo puh” and white is “color white” every time.

You love to read books, and your affinity for particular ones has changed throughout this year. In the beginning of the year you could not get enough Snuggle Puppy, but as you’ve gotten older, you seem to prefer books with human characters, especially babies. You love to tell the babies in the books goodnight, and you’ll happily kiss all the characters night night.

Oh goodness, girl, you are your mamas daughter: you love your babies! You have three babies whom you love the most (two Correlle ones and a water baby), and Sophie the Giraffe has finally become popular as another one of your babies. You love to put your babies to bed, and will find any “night night” to do so with. Though you have plenty of blankets that will work for putting your babies to bed, any of mamas cardigans, kitchen towels or your Minnie Mouse washcloth seem to offer the children the most snug of bedtimes. If your baby is particularly lucky that day, you’ll offer your beloved binkie, but only for a moment. You are usually sure to point out to me that you are sharing so nicely! You love to wrap your babe in my sweater, hold it against your shoulder and say “shhhhhhhh” before slamming it into it’s crib. Such a sweet little mama you are!

Another thing you love: singing. Particularly when mama makes up songs. Not just any songs, or songs that mama makes up, but songs you make up. “Baby Hannah Song” is a big hit, as is “Hannah and Delilah Song”. Want to hear the lyrics? “Baby Hannah song, Baby Hannah song” and “Hannah song, Delilah song”. Whatever your request, I try to oblige, after all, I’ll happily sing “[Insert word here] Song” for the rest of forever if it makes you smile the way it does!

Speaking of the Hannah’s, you are obsessed! Most conversations throughout the day somehow involve Baby Hannah, and if not Baby Hannah, then for sure Hannah and Delilah.

Letters to Lydia: 11 Months

One more left, sweet girl! How is it that you are nearly a year old?!? I’m just gonna go ahead and ask for grace because I’m probably going to randomly burst into tears all month because my tiny little baby is getting so big! IMG_1742_2 See? So big! IMG_1735_2 You are on the move, too, so things like monthly photo shoots are not your thing anymore! This month you have had your first cold. Oh, it was miserable! You were miserable, congested and coughy for a week and a half. It was a pretty gnarly virus! You couldn’t breathe, so you couldn’t sleep which means daddy and I didn’t sleep either. Poor pathetic little sick girl! IMG_3113 This picture was taken at the start of your illness. I didn’t take you to the doctor because you were sick, but because I found two bruises on your leg after you had been in daycare. My logical mind told me that they were normal bruises that come with wobbly babies and busy toddlers, but the over-reacting/I’ve-seen-too-many-hurt-children part of me needed a second opinion to be sure. Your pediatrician assured me that they were not concerning at all, but supported my decision to bring you in. I have always loved that she respects my profession, as well as my status as a first time mom – I have a hard time balancing the two roles! I will mention it here, but have decided to not go into it further on the internet, but after the bruises and a few other issues, we decided to find a different daycare situation for you, and so far, our new option is working out very well! Despite feeling crappy, you were never in a bad mood. You are joyful all the time! Sure, you are starting to be more vocal if something we do displeases you, but for the most part you are happy and content and love to bask in our affection. IMG_3208 I feel like most of this month was spent nursing you back to your normal, playful, self. So, we spent a lot of days snuggling together – and even though I was sad you were sick, I was happy for this little perk! IMG_3165 You also celebrated your first Halloween this month! You woke up feeling a bit better, so mama decided to go forth with the Halloween play-date she organized with the babies from my work. You all were the cutest little bunch of creatures we ever did see! IMG_3150 You had fun at the party, but by the time we headed home I could tell you were beat. I was really hoping to get a picture of you at a pumpkin patch, but I decided to nix the patch and took advantage of the display at New Seasons. You were not feeling having your picture taken, but at least I have it for the memory-books, right! IMG_3158

Babies first Halloween / the cutest Cheerleader ever!

Daddy was sworn in this month, which gave him the opportunity to work full-time. This gave us lots of time alone together on my days off! One little tradition I’ve started is going to breakfast together, just you and me. I find that if I’m motivated by food, I’m more willing to get my bootie up and go for a walk! So, every once and a while, especially on the mornings you wake up earlier than I’d prefer, I’ve bundled you up and loaded you in the stroller and we’ve gone for a walk, with a pit stop at breakfast. You are my little doll and we eat together, do a little grocery shopping and then walk home. I could just as easily share a meal with you at home, I know, but for some reason, this feels special to me. I love knowing that we can do special things like this for your whole life. #sappymommoment

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This has been the month of exploration for you. I say that meaning that you have discovered mobility and you are all for it! You can walk, but you still prefer to crawl, though I’m sure that’s changing any moment now! You still stand all the time, and you’ll take a few steps with encouragement. You are still quite unsure to move your feet when you’re not holding onto anything, but you can do it! Does that mean you officially can walk at 11 months old??

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Let’s make this another short recap, shall we? Onto the highlights!

Height/Weight: No length, but 15 pounds, 6 ounces

Diaper Size: 2

Clothing Size: 6 months in Carter’s and 0 – 3 in Gap

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Health: I am so happy that you made it until 11 months before getting your first cold, and I tip my hat to all the parents who have to see their poor babies suffer on a regular basis. I felt helpless watching you struggle to breath! I cringed every time you coughed and I wished more than anything that I could feel crappy in your place. However, after 10 days, the sun returned and you were back to my healthy girl –  I am so thankful! I’ll only add that your cold gunked up your eye and it’s now worse than ever.

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Diet: We’re still breastfeeding! I think we’re going to make it a full year and I am so thankful for that! I’m still adding an ounce or two of Almond Milk to your bottles just to stretch my supply further. You are still nursing every 3 or so hours while we are together, even through the night. You’re also starting to prefer nursing over your pacifier, to the point that if you are not ready to be done, you grab your bink and throw it violently to the ground! Little missy has a bit of a temper, no?

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You also get table food whenever we are eating. We’ll give you bites of whatever we are having, and let you munch away on puffs as well. You love your puffs! At first you weren’t interested in them, but now you can’t get enough! I’ve bought two cans just this month! You also suck your pouches of food down whenever I give them to you, but I try to reserve them for when we go out and you’ll need some distraction in order to sit in the high chair for our whole meal. You do great at restaurants, though, and daddy and I are trying to enjoy that fact while we still can!

Sleep: Ahhh…sleep. Not good, my darling. I’m afraid your sickness through us all for a loop and you are waking up quite a few times every night. You usually go down around 8, then wake at 10, and again at 1. I’ll bring you to our bed now, but only because I’m so tired! You’ll then rouse to eat around 3 and then 5 before getting up for the day between 7 and 8. Ugh! That’s a lot of broken sleep for mama! I’m hoping this trend does not continue much longer, I would love to count on a few 4 – 5 hour stretches!

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Motor Skills: Walking! Still hesitantly, but you can take unassisted steps!

Nicknames: Lovie, sugar bear, smidgens, and Liddie bear

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Favorite Things: You are loving your VTech walker and as much as your daddy and I didn’t want blinky toys, this thing was worth it! You push it around (and look like a little grandma!) and are a woman on a mission! You can’t steer though, so you can only go until you crash into something (the ottoman, the plant, the wall…) but you are speedy and your skills are developing so quickly because of it!

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You also love people. Anyone who will give you love and attention is your favorite! You have not feared anyone, and as long as you can see me or daddy, any stranger anxiety stays at bay. You are a little social butterfly!

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My darling girl, you are the light of my life! I love you more than words can say and that love only grows every day! Every moment I am with you is a dream…you are my dream!

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I love you sugar baby.

xoxo,

Mama

Letters to Lydia: 7 Months

Oh baby!

You are seven months old! I’ll just pretend that I’m not shedding big, fat, crocodile tears that you’re closer to one than you are to zero. I’m totally fine with it. Whatever.

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Lydia, you are the sweetest, most wonderful little sass!

You are seriously so cute, little girl! I try to capture your essence with my camera, but it just doesn’t do you justice. Every once in a while, though, I do snag one that is just so you…

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Sometimes I get lucky with little gems that truly depict your sweetness, your joy, your curiosity and your little brain that is going a million miles a minute!

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This month is a great “bridge” month. You’re not quite crawling, and your not quite sitting up unassisted, but you’re close on both parts! You’re starting to learn a little army crawl, but really, rolling is your most efficient form of locomotion and you are quite good at it. So good, in fact, I’ve more than once found you in predicaments you can’t quite get yourself out of:

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You love to play and explore, but your only caveat is that daddy or I must be watching you play and explore! You can play independently for a max of 10 minutes (with an average of about 5), which makes doing things like putting my makeup on or loading the dishwasher more challenging than before, but most of the time daddy and I are happy to oblige you and your performer ways. We are borrowing this exersaucer and you love it (most of the time)!

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If the moment is right you will twirl from station to station like it’s your job. Such a good little worker you are! Gnawing on the yellow flower is your favorite 🙂

We’ve started giving you food a little more consistently this month. So far you’ve liked everything we’ve tried, with peaches, peas and apples being your favorite.

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It was these two pictures that were the last straw for Grandpa Steve – he booked his flight for next month the day after I emailed them to him!

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While we were out one day I decided to let you gnaw on a slice of apple and oh boy were you in heaven! You went to town on that apple and I think my heart melted into a big, mushy pile watching you experience it for the first time. I’ve had so many moments like this when in one second my heart is aching for your sweet, tiny newness, but also celebrating every new little milestone and eager to see the next one. Such a bittersweet (mostly sweet!) thing it is to watch your precious baby grow!

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Some fun things we did this month include going to visit daddy on his first solo patrol as an officer:

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We woke up super early to go visit him at the Tigard Balloon Festival, where you slept most of the time and then we almost got the most perfect family photo (if only you were looking at the camera!):

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We celebrated Aunt Hannah’s birthday by taking her out to dinner and you sat in a restaurant high chair for the very first time:

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We also had our first family sleep over at the Long’s house. The matching jammies were an accident but too cute not to capture on film!

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Saturday mornings were spent at the Farmer’s Market, where daddy and I enjoyed yummy breakfasts and you enjoyed a nice nap in the Ergo

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Mama and you started swimming lessons at the local community center, but I’m bummed to say they were not a hit. You love any chance you get to be in the water, but mama thought the class was not really worth it. We had much more fun swimming with our friends at other local pools (we prefer Kennedy School or Wilson).

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We celebrated your first 4th of July in the most “American” way we could think of: your first baseball game! We enjoyed a picnic on the lawn of our local team, the Hillsboro Hops, and you were so happy to be rolling around on the blanket outside! It wasn’t as warm as we were hoping, and while momma and daddy were freezing, you were content as can be taking everything in!

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We weren’t sure how you would do in the cold and with the loud fireworks, but we decided to bundle up and see how you did. I was afraid that you’d be over tired because it was past your bedtime, or over stimulated by the loud noises and lights, but no, you sat right on your daddy’s lap and watched the entire show! It was so sweet!

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Shall we do some milestones now?

Height/Weight: I don’t know for sure, but you’re somewhere in the 13 pound range and your thighs are getting rounder by the day 😉

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Diaper Size: 1 – 2’s from Costco (which is like 1.5)

Clothing Size: Still Carter’s 3 month. 0 – 3 fits you pretty well, though you are too long for any pants. Good thing it’s summer because dresses and little onesie outfits fit you best.

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Health: Healthy, healthy, healthy! I’m so thankful for that!

Diet: You are loving solids, girlfriend! Breastmilk is still your primary source of nutrition, but we feed you food now, too. It’s mostly for fun and because you enjoy it so much! I skipped cereal and went straight to fruits and veggies for you. So far you’ve had (and enjoyed!): avocado, sweet potatoes, bananas, apples, peas, pears and peaches. I would like to make you baby food, but for now, one pouch lasts you at least 3 feedings, so it’s super convenient to just buy an organic pouch and leave it at that. I did buy a peach at the farmer’s market just to make for you. Well, that peach was $2.50 and it made 2 ounces of food, and the next time I went to New Seasons I saw a 4 ounce pouch of organic peaches for $1.75. So, if I’m going to actually make your food, I’ll have to get more creative about ways to do it more cost-effectively.

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Sleep: For as much guilt I felt for not getting you on a schedule or setting a strict bedtime, you’ve done your best to tell me “it’s cool mama, I’ve got this!” You’ve kind of set your own routine, and it’s not strict, which is exactly what I was hoping for. You are slowly phasing out your third nap and transitioning to two longer naps a day. You’re usually ready for bed between 8:30 and 9:00 (sometimes later if I miss your cues) and you will usually sleep through until 5 am, when you eat and then sleep for another 2.5 – 3 hours. You’re working really hard to drop your “second sleep” and our mornings are starting earlier and earlier.

IMG_2793You’re also no longer swaddled and sometimes you’d rather sleep in your crib rather than anywhere else, including in my arms. I really love holding you until you fall asleep, but sometimes you want nothing to do with that and you need some time to work your frustrations out in your bed. If you’re not wanting to be rocked to sleep, you will typically need to cry for a few minutes before falling asleep. I really hate the idea of you “crying it out” but you’ve demonstrated that sometimes you need to cry for a little while and I’ve had to learn to be ok with that. You don’t cry longer than 10 minutes, and if you do, I go get you and either nurse you again or just hold you until you fall asleep (you’ll usually let me at that point). If you wake up and cry after you’ve been sleeping I get you right away. I am not looking to night wean or do anything to get you to sleep through the night because you do so on your own more nights than not.

Motor Skills: You are so close to being mobile! You can get to where you want to go, but your radius is typically pretty small, and thankfully, you’re still slow enough to keep up with. I have a feeling that I won’t be able to say that for long! You also sat up unassisted a few times this month, but I’ve had to prop you in that position and you only stay there for a little while. You must feel more confident while on the ground because you prefer to be laying down and rolling more than anything.

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Nicknames: You’re still our Sugar Baby and my Little Mama. Daddy has also been calling you “Cheeks” in honor of your super kissable ones.

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Favorite Things: You’re a big fan of the exersaucer (that has been through nearly 20 Doernbecher babies!). And this little green flower teether. You also love your binkies, but not just for sucking. You really enjoy chewing on the sides and you love to suck on the metal clip of the BogginHead ribbons!

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Oh honey, you are my sweet little sugar and I could not love you more! You have made your daddy and my life so rich and full of joy! Thank you for being our baby girl.

I love you so much.

xoxo,

Mama

A Different Kind of Beautiful

Tomorrow our sweet little world is going to be turned upside down. My maternity leave is up and I have to go back to work. I’ve been dreading this day since Lydia turned one month old. It’s not that I don’t want to go to work (I do! I love my job!), or that I’m afraid to leave Lydia (she’ll be with her dad, what a blessing!), it’s just that I am so sad for this special season to end.

These past 12 weeks have been the absolute best of my life! I couldn’t have imagined a more beautiful, special, wonderful time! I have looked forward to having a baby for my whole life, and as I have said before, all the goodness I thought it would be didn’t even touch the goodness that it actually has been. Welcoming our daughter into our home has been nothing short of perfection. My heart has been so full and I feel like I’ve been living a dream every day. I just can’t believe that tomorrow it ends.

Ok, sure, I’m being dramatic. I am so fortunate because when my work day ends I’ll get to come home to my precious girl and spend the next day cuddling her all day. Thankfully I won’t have to face being away for two days for at least another month. If I’m being very honest, I’m super thankful I have my job to go back to. I like working and I really do love what I do. I like that I’ll have an identity outside of the home, and I’ll have a chance to interact with my friends. I like knowing that my job is secure, our income is secure and we have good insurance because of it. I just would like my job and all of those things even more if I only had to go two days a week instead of three 😉

Well, actually, if I’m being super honest about what I really want it would be to redo the last twelve weeks and experience this joy all over again! Savor every moment even more, kiss her perfect little lips more (would that even be possible?), bottle that newborn smell. I’d even go through labor and birth all over again if it meant I got to go back to December 16th again. Le sigh. I guess this is life. It constantly moves on, changes and evolves into something that is a different kind of beautiful.

Tomorrow, I will kiss my beautiful baby goodbye and go care for someone else’s baby. As I type those words the Lord reminded me what a special gift my job is. I feel so honored to do what I do, really, I do. I am so thankful for it, and I am even more thankful that when I swipe my badge at the end of the day, this sweet face will be waiting for me…

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…and that is the most beautiful blessing of all.

xoxo

Stuff I Love: Tiny Baby Edition

AKA: Baby “Must Haves” (eew), “Registry Essentials” (gross), “Things you absolutely cannot live without once you have a little tiny human depending on you for survival” (gag)

MrsBigTime's Baby Favorites: Brand New Baby
When I was pregnant and preparing for Lydia I scoured the internet for lists and descriptions of everything I “needed.” I found that a lot of people think they need a lot of crap. For us money was tight and space was tighter. I found myself getting annoyed with the countless posts and lists saying you needed everything under the freaking sun, and it just so happened that most of that crap was plastic and somehow determined to gouge your eyes out with obnoxious colors/bells/noises. Why did I need a gizmo for absolutely everything? Why is all the cool looking stuff so expensive and finally, why does every single baby thing have to light up and play music?? Seriously, I saw a changing pad that had an attached toy bar. OMG. I was determined to welcome our baby into the world without a boatload of stuff and heaven help me, I want to avoid as much overstimulation as I could for as long as possible.

I think we’ve done pretty well not getting too much, but my husband disagrees. Maybe he’s right, but he doesn’t seem as overwhelmed now that he see what we have has a purpose. He actually even suggested we get a new swing tonight, so maybe he’s coming around! That being said, here’s a list of my favorite/most needed/most appreciated things at 2.5 months in
(clockwise from top left to center):

Infant carseat: I swore up and down that we did not need an infant seat. My dad and step mom bought us an awesome convertible carseat and I knew my baby would be safe in that and I just assumed that I’d wear her all the time so a removable carseat would be unnecessary excess. This is just one area in which parenting was so much easier before having a baby! Ha! Yes, an infant car seat is not necessary, but it is SO NICE! I love that I can strap Lydia into her seat and get her all bundled up before going out and facing the cold. I love that I can keep her safe in her seat when I go into stores. I could use only a big seat, and get her out every time I make a tiny little stop (and I’d probably stop less, thus saving us more money, but then there’s Amazon Prime, so maybe not…), but it’s so very convenient that I do not have to! Plus, we got our Britax for free when we bought our stroller, which makes me love it even more!
Awesome stroller: When babies were merely a dream I knew an Uppa Baby Vista was the stroller for me. It’s beautiful and cool and I’d be the hippest mama pushing one of those! Well, as it always does, real life hit and I didn’t exactly have $700 to shell out on a stroller, so I had to scale down my stroller dreams. Enter the BOB. Yes, this is also expensive, but my hubby works at REI so we got it at a major discount (with a free carseat to boot!) and it really is an awesome, awesome stroller! It pushes like a dream, turns on a dime and perfectly fits our carseat. It offers good storage (especially with optional parent console) and it’s pretty much the official stroller of Portland mamas, so I totally feel a part of the club 😉 Sure, it’s a bit big and cumbersome, but so is the UBV and any other heavy duty stroller. We may get an umbrella stroller someday in the future, but for now, this thing is a good mix of smooth ride and ruggedness. It’s perfect for us and I love it!
Brica InSight Mirror: I didn’t even think to get a mirror for the backseat, but a girlfriend of mine did and I received one for my shower. That one didn’t work for our car, but this one attaches to the headrest in the backseat and allows us to see if our little miss is awake or asleep. It’s more reassuring than I thought it’d be to see her hanging out back there. This was definitely a great $20 spent!
Boon Naked Bath: Am I the only one that hates traditional baby tubs? Why are they so big and ugly? Why does every freaking baby thing have to be an obnoxiously bright animal??? This bath is bright, but it’s fun and doesn’t make me want to have a seizure. It folds flat-ish and hangs. I like it a lot, but I do recommend you pick up a little sponge thing because it’s kind of deep for small babies. If you’re wanting to be super minimalistic though, I’d just throw a hand towel in the sink and bath your babe on that until you’re confident enough to bathe them in the shower. I don’t consider a bath a need, but I like that we have one!
Mustela No Rinse Cleanser: I was gifted this for my showers by some more knowledgable mamas. I thought they had given me the best smelling, most expensive hand sanitizer ever until I randomly read the back of the bottle when Lydia was a week or two old. No, this stuff gently cleanses your baby’s face and hands without you having to give them a full bath. Full disclosure: people say that newborns don’t get smelly. People lie. Milk gets everywhere, and pretty soon your sweet little baby starts to smell sour and that situation must be remedied. I love this for in the morning when I want to freshen her up for the day.
Mum & Bub Shampoo & Body Wash: It seems my love for random beauty products has crossed over to baby products, much to my husband’s dismay. I first wanted California Baby because it was “the best.” However, I had two different kinds of CAB and I think it smells like mildew! In fact, I returned my first bottle of shampoo and lotion because I thought it must have gone rancid. Turns out, I just don’t like the stuff because my second bottle has the same smell, only mixed with lavender. Gross! I got a sample of this at a baby boutique and it is so not rancid! It’s just the right amount of sweet and fresh. It’s no tear and comes in a pump bottle, which is super nice for when I give Lydia a shower instead of a bath. I love smelling her sweet head after a bath with this! Well, truth be told, I love smelling her head even when it’s stinky.
Hats: I didn’t know this about myself until I became responsible for keeping a tiny human warm in the middle of winter. Hats are essential! I have a ton of hats for Lydia and she only goes out of the house without one if it’s daytime and she’s wearing a headband. Ha! Mittens are a bit overkill and maybe unnecessary, but they are adorable.
 Wubbanub: Some babies like different pacifiers, but Lydia easily took the Soothie brand and they are her most favorite things. I like the Wubbanub because 1) it’s adorable; 2) it’s big and therefore easy to grab and put back in the middle of the night or if you are reaching behind you in the car and 3) the weight of the animal prevents the binkie from flying onto the floor every other minute
Carriers: If you have a little nugget that loves to be held all.the.time, carriers are your best friend. I have a Moby, Ergo and two ring slings (I threw my desire to be a minimalist out the window in this department) and love them all. I highly suggest finding a carrier you love and can easily use and use it! They are good for mamas and babies and for keeping strangers away from your little germ magnet
Babylegs and white long-sleeved onesies: This is Lydia’s uniform if we’re at home. I could lie to you and say that it’s convenient for diaper changes and what not, but mostly I think it’s freaking adorable. I love the little peek of thigh chub at the top of the stocking and white onesies are perfect for layering or matching to fun Babylegs. I really like the Gerber onesies, but many people prefer Carter’s (Gerber has longer arms, which I like better for layering).
Earth Mama Angel Baby Mama Bottom Balm: This is like sending your lady bits to the spa. It’s also the best $15 I have ever spent, by far! It soothes your abused nethers and speeds healing. I plan to give this to every mama-to-be with every shower gift. You can do you own research, but just take my advice and if you’re going to buy anything to make post-partum recovery easier, buy this.
Bouncer: We are borrowing our friend’s Combi (not the print above, just a simple brown one) and I love it because it is not horrendously bright or overstimulating, but mostly I love it because Lydia likes to sit in it. We have to give it back to our friends so I’m currently looking for a replacement. For my baby, I would consider a good bouncer a baby “must have.”
Medela Freestyle: If you’ve got to pump, get a good one. I have been really happy with this one, though I have nothing else to compare it to.
Boppy Lounger: This was gifted to us and I was sure it’d just take up space. I could not have been more wrong! For some reason Lydia loves this and thus, I love it too! We’ve used it in the living room, in our bed, for traveling. It’s awesome and isn’t a big investment, so I’d definitely recommend getting one of these!
Swaddles: I was pretty proud of my swaddling skills until I had my houdini baby. Sis can get out of most swaddles, but not with our current strategy (which I cannot take credit for, my friend Jessica did it first). I use an Aden & Anais bamboo swaddle first and wrap her super tight. Then, I put that little mummy into a SwaddleMe and she’s a perfectly content little burrito. I’ve tried not swaddling her but she does not sleep well. This little get up keeps her warm and snug and we all sleep better.
Arms Reach Mini Co-Sleeper: Sure, Lydia much prefers to sleep right next to me in my nice, cushy bed, but I do appreciate having a safe place to put her that is right near to me but not in my arms. I also like that this is small and easy to move (when not strapped to the bed obviously) and it fits perfectly between my side of the bed and the wall. Because Lydia does sleep with me most of the time, we could probably do without this, but I’m glad we don’t have to.

So, there you have it. My list of baby junk I love. In truth, all you NEED for a baby are some diapers, a few clothes and a boob, but I hated that answer when I was pregnant. I don’t think I have a gadget and gizmo for everything, but the ones I do have I like a lot, some more than others. I haven’t exactly managed to stay minimalistic, but like I tell my husband, it could be so much worse!

Not a Housewife

Wow, I haven’t posted in a long time…again!

I should give a brief update: we’re still gluten free, mostly. We like to call ourselves “Gluten Light” meaning, we’ll indulge in what we want when we’re out and if it’s worth it, but at home, we try to be as organic, gluten-free and whole as possible. I should confess however, that I splurged with a package of flour tortillas this week because I just couldn’t get the thought of a fried egg, bacon and avocado burrito out of my mind. When I finally made it, it was just what I needed. We’re both still working a lot (always), and cherishing our days at home when we are both here together – sometimes they seem few and too far between. We started P90X, but quickly fell off that crazy train. Ha! We will pick it up again soon though, maybe next week 😉

I’m currently on boiling-bean watch as I attempt to cook my very first dried beans. I didn’t start thinking about what to make for dinner until this morning, meaning I couldn’t soak my beans overnight, so I googled a quick soak method and I’m trying that. We’ll see how it works!

I started reflecting on my life today, as I was cleaning the leaves off my mint (another first for dinner tonight) and the sweet, crisp smell of spearmint brought me back to the first time Ben and I discovered our beloved Alder Springs, our own little desert paradise where tall stalks of spearmint flood the banks of the river surrounding our favorite campsite. I let the sun settle on my shoulders and I thought for the millionth time how much I love my life. This isn’t what I pictured necessarily, but it’s stinkin’ good.

I’ve battled some inner issues the past month or so, mostly related to my job as a housewife. I feel so inadequate at keeping my home. I let things like dusty baseboards (did you know you have to clean those things???) eat away at my feeling of worth and make me feel guilty for not doing more around my home. I know there is dust behind my couch, and I’m sure my windows need a good cleaning, oh, and good gracious, don’t even get me started on laundry! – a good housewife would take care of that! I’m failing at being a housewife. I should be better, I think.

Thoughts like this started to flood my mind, until I realized: I AM NOT A HOUSEWIFE. As much as I think that I should be, or as much as I want to be, I am not (primarily) a keeper of my home. During this season of our life, the responsibilities of the home are shared and I have to let go thoughts of a daily chore list. I can’t let the crumbs I can see under the oven when I duck down really low make me feel like less of a woman or a bad wife. Some people may think I’m crazy for these thoughts, but the picture of me making my home a warm, inviting, tidy place to welcome my husband into after a long day of work has been in my mind for a long time.

The fact of the matter is: our home is a warm, inviting, slightly-less-than-tidy place for us BOTH to come home to. Yes, I have more than three loads of clothes waiting to be folded, but that’s ok. I don’t spend my days tackling items off a never-ending To-Do list, I spend twelve long hours at the hospital doing my best to take care of little precious beings. Someday keeping my home and tending to my own sweet babies will fill my days, but today, my job is to provide care and tend to someone else’s sweet baby. To make sure they are safe, pain is controlled, antibiotics are given and butts are clean. To make sure pink bows are secured into fuzzy hair before a big, scary surgery. Right now, that job is important. Every day I am a part of every parent’s worst nightmare, and my task is to do everything I can to make it a little easier. That’s a pretty special job, I’d say.

Today, I may not be a housewife, but I’m a nurse, and I’m very OK with that.