Saturday, May 19, 2012

Happy {LATE} Mothers Day!

Holy ham, I have a LOT of catching up to do on this blog! It's been a busy couple of weeks with a few social events, family visiting, mothers day, and a high-need teething baby on my hands! Not to mention the fact that working three days a week only gives me a handful of days where I even get the TIME to blog while November naps.

So here is my first of many catch-up blogs. Since it's already Saturday, and my mini-work-week starts tomorrow, I have a feeling I won't feel caught up until next week!

MY VERY FIRST MOTHERS DAY...with November out of the womb, that is! My day started out rough. I was scheduled to work 10am-6pm, and feeling flustered and stressed because after a weekend hosting my father and sister who came into town, I realized we hadn't made any plans for mothers day. I also couldn't get my breastpump's battery pack to work and I didn't know how else I could pump since my work's bathrooms have no electrical outlets. After a bit of brainstorming, I ended up running an extension cord from the art desk into the bathroom. It was a little embarrassing at first, especially hearing all the co-workers and customers wondering what was going on in the bathroom that needed an electrical cord. But I got over it and enjoyed my solution. At least now my co-workers know I'm in there pumping, and not someone taking a ten minute poop.

I managed to get off work two hours early, and plan a mothers day evening via text during my pumping breaks. It ended up being a wonderful day! After work, my mom and her husband met me at Spira Power Yoga (which is close to my house) for an hour of much-needed restoration yoga. I had been to one of the all-levels power yoga classes and loved it, but also wanted to try something more relaxing to relieve all the stress and tension I had built. What a mothers day gift! Afterward, we joined Spencer and November for dinner at Pegusus Pizza on Alki beach. It was so busy on the beach, since the weather was amazing.

I received so many First Mothers Day wishes from friends and co-workers, and even received some flowers from Spencer, his father, and his sister. Boy did I feel loved!

I hope all you other mammas had a wonderful mothers day as well!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Beautiful Friendship Blooming

Ever since November was born, I looked forward to the day when she and her doggy, Kitsune, could be playmates. With November's strength and mobility growing, and Kitsune's skittishness lessening, I can now see that friendship starting to bloom.

With me as her owner, Kitsune has a high tolerance to 'pestering' (sometimes I cuddle her Elmira Fudd style) which makes her a prime candidate as a pet to an overly-curious, grabby baby! Kitsune takes all the grabbing and rough petting in stride, rewarding her baby with patience, wet kisses, and a tongue for Nova to pull on.

The most recent development in this puppy-love story has been so heartwarming, it's almost sick; Kitsune brings November toys to cuddle with while she's sleeping! Kitsune has always been one to bring her toys into bed at night for her own cuddling pleasures. And the other night while Nova was falling asleep in our bed, Kitsune jumps up and plops her stinky, pink, fuzzy chew toy right onto November's outstretched hand. Figuring she was trying to get me to play with her, I threw the toy and told her to get down, fearing she would wake the baby. Minutes later, she did it again. I thought it was a funny coincidence that the toy had landed in Nova's hand once more.

The next night, I nursed November and put her to sleep in our bed, turned on the video monitor, and went into the living room. I kept seeing Kitsune on the monitor getting really close to Nova and trying to sleep at her feet. I kept whistling for her to come out and leave the baby alone but she just kept on going right back in there to snuggle her baby. Finally, when it was time for mommy and daddy to go to sleep, we joined baby in bed, and found another icky chew animal set upon November's open palm. My heart totally melted! It's now clear that Kitsune is purposely bringing her own toys into bed...for November!

I think they are shaping up to be good pals!

Friday, May 4, 2012

{Ask a Mommy:} Best Baby Must-Haves

Q: What would you say are the best baby must-haves?

My Experience: I was lucky with all the family and friend support I had because we ended up getting a lot of hand-me-downs and gifts. I wasn't sure which things were actually going to be used, or for how long, and if we had to pay for all of November's things ourselves, it would have been really hard to choose what we needed. What I did learn, was that every baby is different. One friend said her baby loved one thing, another friend said the opposite. We assumed we needed something badly, only to discover November didn't end up caring much for it. It's impossible to know what your baby will use. Less is more, I suppose, if you are starting a nursery from scratch out of your own pocketbook. But if you have friends or family who offer hand-me-down, I suggest you take everything and see what works for your baby. It's much easier to give away something that went unused if you DIDN'T pay for it yourself!

While I can't tell you what you and your baby will love, I can tell you what we LOVED:

Moby Wrap, baby sling or other carrier (used age 8 weeks to current). This helped me walk the dog, do chores, and have my hands free. I still use it! I have a moby in the car, one in the house for walks, and a sling for doing things around the house. She's getting a little too heavy, so if you can afford it, I recommend the Ergo for longer use.
Baby Swing (used age 2-5 months) This was great for November's naps. It really helped distract and comfort her when we needed to put her down for awhile. It took her a while to actually enjoy it, and she grew out of it in her fifth month, but it was so worth it. There are less expensive versions than the one we got, and we will be saving this one for future babies to get more use out of it!
Yoga Ball (used birth to current) This was the biggest surprise. I used it a bit during my pregnancy and labor, but this ball has gotten most of its use as entertainment for November. In the early days, I would bounce on it to soothe her to sleep. Now it's a fun distraction to bounce. And since she's bigger and loves BIG bouncing, it gives me a little workout, too!
Nursing Cover (used birth to current) Any breastfeeding mommy needs one of these! I know a few women who have breastfed in public without one, but I just can't imagine any easier way to hide my goods and limit distractions while November suckles. Once she got wigglier, she started pulling and kicking at it, and sometimes exposes us briefly, but it is still an awesome product, and I carry it in the diaper bag always.
Nursing Pillow (used birth to current) This is great for propping baby up to the right height for breastfeeding, and for holding, especially in the early days. Yes, you could just use regular pillows, but the Boppy has a convenient wrap-around shape, as well as a washable cover. There will be a LOT of milk spills (mouth leakage, spit up) and you will want something that you can easily wash!
Activity Bouncer (used age 4 months to current) My mom got her first bouncer to use at her house. After seeing how much she loved it, we got her a similar (yet less expensive, less features) one for our house. In retrospect, I wish we would have gotten a big one like my mom has, because she is starting to get bored quickly with ours. Whichever style you choose, an activity bouncer/seat is great for distracting babies once they get too big for swings and vibrating chairs. When she's having fun playing, I can clean, do dishes, eat breakfast.
We also love:

Cloth Diapers! Read about them here. If you can get them used, or as a gift, please do! Cloth diapers are so much easier than you think they are. And cuter too!

If you are breastfeeding, and returning to work (or ever want to go on a date!), a good breastpump is essential! Read all about that here.

Mobile over her changing area. Great for distracting! She still loves watching her birds spin around above her. Does it get her to hold still long enough to change her? Not exactly!

Infant Carseat with multiple bases for multiple cars, plus stroller with attachment option for an infant carseat. This was great, especially when she was tiny and napping a lot. It is much easier to just carry the whole carseat out of the car than to wake a sleeping infant. Unfortunately, she has never loved being in the carseat and is getting so heavy to carry in the seat. We got her a convertible infant-to-toddler seat that we still need to install. I'm hoping she will like that one better. And since she now wakes most of the time when the car stops anyway, it won't be a big deal to take her out of the seat each time.

I loved the Glider we got as a hand-me-down! It was so relaxing to rock in it while I was pregnant, and it was a great when November was tiny; she would nap in my arms while I rocked. These days she doesn't want to sit still long enough to cuddle (she mostly naps in our bed now) so we mostly just use it as an extra seat in the living room, and for rare moments of relaxation. Since they are generally expensive, we probably never would have gotten one, but we are glad that we had it!

Once she became more mobile and squirmy, a mesh guardrail was essential, since she sleeps in our bed.

The two things we didn't end up using much was her crib and bassinet. Initially, I had no plans to co-sleep. In fact, I was totally against it. But November had her own ideas, and wouldn't sleep soundly out of my arms or bed. So the crib and bassinet became more of objects to place her in temporarily (while we wash hands, pee) or to let her take short naps in. She has already outgrown the bassinet, but I do have hopes that she will one day sleep in her crib!

Fellow moms: what your YOUR best baby must-haves?