Saturday, May 30, 2015

First day without Nolan

Today was our first day without Nolan. I knew it was going to be hard and that I would miss him but I think despite being a Mom that is is important to continue to go to special events. I don't want being a Mom to be an excuse to stay home. We are very fortunate to have our mothers near by and eager to look after Nolan. My mom really enjoyed her day with him, and Jeremy and I had a wonderful time celebrating my old coworker, Amy's wedding. 

It couldn't have been a more beautiful day to get married. I had been looking forward to this wedding and was so excited to see the venue. Amy's mom actually owns the farm, and they converted it into a wedding venue. Every detail and decoration was stunning, and you could tell how much thought and effort went into creating this venue and wedding day. Amy looked beautiful, the weather was awesome, and we loved celebrating with so many great teachers. I loved seeing all my old coworkers and catching up with them. I still feel thankful for my last job and the lasting friendships I have from that school. I feel lucky to have worked with such wonderful people and am glad we keep in touch even now that I'm staying at home. 

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day. 
Looking gorgeous as she walked down the aisle.
She looked beautiful!
Enjoying our baby free time together!
Lake forest teacher group shot with the bride and groom, Amy and Blane.
Miss working with these awesome teachers!
First grade teachers! 
Stacey and Kristen! 
How gorgeous is this room? And that chandelier!
Pretty cake!
The bride and groom with her dog, Bella.
Couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day.
Amy and her mom did a phenomenal job planning her wedding. Congrats Amy and Blane! 

I forgot to mention, Blane has three boys that are adorable. It got me thinking about dancing with Nolan at his wedding one day! Blane was telling me how quickly they grow up, and I am already realizing how fast it happens. After a great day, I'm so glad to have my sweet boy in my arms again! 
I love this sweet face so much!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Adjusting to life as a new mom

Looking back on the past five weeks since becoming a Mom, a lot has happened and sometimes the days seem to blur together. These first few weeks have flown by, and I'm glad I've taken many pictures and videos to remember this amazing time. Sometimes I wonder how I'm still functioning on such little sleep but something about this tiny human keeps me energized and excited about each day. Each day is different and interesting in a new way.

Being a new parent has come with lots of joy and challenges as well. In some aspects having a newborn has been easier than I expected but then there are moments when it can be really difficult too. The hardest part for me has been questioning and wondering if the parenting decisions I make are the best ones for our son. I had tons of newborn experience from volunteering in a maternity ward for 1,300 hours in high school but even with all the information I learned then, I have learned so much and more than I ever imagined in these first few weeks. I had no idea how many questions I would have when it comes to taking care of a newborn. 

Thankfully, I've had a wonderful experience with our pediatrician and lactation consultant thus far, and I really value and trust their input. Typically as I think of questions, I'll make a list to bring to our next check up. We haven't had any pressing issues yet that have required a phone call to the doctors office but I'm sure that could change at anytime. 

I'll continue this post when I'm not so sleepy and go more into detail about some of our new parent experiences during the past few weeks! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Weekend updates

The weekend flew by. I loved having Jeremy home for the long weekend. During the week, I take the whole night shift with Nolan because I want Jeremy to be well rested for work. He also recently got a promotion to team lead of his IT department which gives him more responsibility. It's important that he gets some sleep so I take care of weeknights. I look forward to the weekends because he will take a shift and gives Nolan a bottle allowing me an extra hour or two of consecutive sleep which is amazing and always so refreshing.

Since Nolan was born he has been eating every 2-3 hours from the start of the feeding. I've been looking for longer stretches, and I'm starting to notice he can go slightly longer. Last night for example, I nursed him at 11:30 and he didn't wake up again until 4:00. Go Nolan! 4.5 hours was an awesome stretch. He also will have some longer ones during the day.

I'm noticing he seems more alert and active when he is awake. We still haven't seen a smile or a laugh yet but I think he's a bit young for that. Those are two milestones I am looking forward to. He continues to grow like a weed, and I feel like he has lost that delicate newborn look and that he has filled out quite a bit.
As for a breastfeeding update, we are both doing so much better than in the beginning. It really does take practice and  effort on my part and his. Now that we have worked through our issues, it seems to be easier and more enjoyable each day. I'm making a lot of milk (up to 10oz in the morning before nursing or usually about 6oz after nursing). I've started to store my milk and can already tell it might start to take over the freezer. I have about 30oz stored in just a few days. The lactation consultant suggested I cut back to pumping once a day, in hopes of him regulating my supply and in order not to overproduce. I do still get a very full, engorged feeling if I go more than about 4 or 5 hours without nursing or pumping. 

Nolan started having a spitting up issue too. I'm not sure if there is a cause but the pediatrician called him a "happy spitter" because his spitting up isn't causing discomfort, and it's not impacting his ability to gain weight. We go through tons of burp clothes and often need changes of clothes for him and for us but there are worse problems. I'm glad it doesn't seem to bother him. I often wonder if my milk comes out too quickly but he spits up with a bottle too so who knows. In this picture he has milk all over his face and body.
We aren't on a schedule yet. The pediatrician suggested continue to feed based on his cues until our next appointment at 2 months old. After that time, I do hope to start to get on more of a schedule and have more predictable days and nights. Eventually the hope will be to gradually eliminate the night feeding but he is still too young at this point. I honestly don't mind waking up, and I really enjoy our quiet one on one time when it feels like the rest of the world is sleeping. I love this snuggle time when I nurse him and the house is quiet and peaceful. I know these moments won't last forever and next time I have a newborn Nolan will be running around. This is the only time I can give a baby 100% of my attention, and I'm loving every minute. Jeremy loves his snuggles too. 
Besides taking care of Nolan, we had some fun plans this weekend. Jeremy went to see a movie on Friday. On Saturday, we went to a friend's apartment for a pool party. Nolan came along and did awesome. He was passed around from person to person and snoozed in the shade. We've really been trying to incorporate him into our lives and not let having a baby prevent us from doing things. I think it's important that the baby becomes a part of your life and not an excuse to not do things with family and friends. With that being said, we have already taken him out to lunch, to the grocery store, the mall, to birthday parties, pool parties, and the list goes on. I think he's starting to learn to go with the flow and so far he's been great in the car and while we are out. I do keep him covered when we are out in public since he hasn't had his vaccines yet. Typically I nurse him right before we leave the house, and I can usually get a few sleepy hours out of him before needing to feed again. I'm sure it will get trickier as he gets more active but right now, going out with him has been easier than I expected.
Group shot 
Terry, Nolan, Janine, and Sofie
Nolan looks so big in this picture!

On Saturday night, we had a low key night at home. On Sunday morning, Jeremy's mom and Terry came over to visit and his brother and Riley stopped by. Sunday night we grilled out with a few of my old coworkers and hung out by the pool. It was such a nice night, and I'm excited all my teacher friends are out of school for summer and available during the weekdays! On Monday, my brother in law and his fiancé came over for brunch and the rest of the day I worked on my iMovie of Nolan. It took me a few hours to figure out because it was my first time using iMovie but it turned out great. Watching the video makes me want to tear up a little. I love having that slideshow of memories. It's been such a happy time that I want to remember forever. More soon!
Kara, Brian, and Nolan. We didn't get a picture with Morgan and Bethany. Next time. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Nolan's one month old!

This month has flown by, and I can't believe my baby is one month old already! People weren't kidding when they said babies grow quickly. Yesterday I started packing up his newborn clothes and remaining newborn diapers. He's moving up to three month clothes and bigger diapers. I felt a little sad that his tiny clothes don't fit but I know every stage will be exciting and watching him grow is very rewarding.

Today we went to his one month check up. I thought he was getting some vaccines but they aren't doing any until his two month appt. Jeremy took off today so he could be there as well. We had a bunch of questions come up since our last visit. No pressing issues more so just general questions that I wanted the pediatricians input on. 
When we got there, they checked his weight and height. He weighs 10lbs 7oz and is 22 inches long. At birth he was 7lbs 8oz, and he dropped to 7lbs even. At my last appointment he was 7lbs 10oz. I can't believe he went from 7lbs 10oz to 10lbs 7 ozs in 18 days. Almost 3 pounds in 2.5 weeks! I continue to be amazed that just breast milk and my body are responsible for that awesome growth! The human body really is incredible, and I feel very fortunate that I'm producing a lot of milk and that he is growing well. The doctor gave him a great report which felt good! He's in the 70th percentile for weight and the 80th percentile for height. Such a big boy already!

Look at the difference from his first doctor visit to his one month visit!
April 27th 7lbs 2 oz
May 22 10lbs 7oz

Where did my tiny baby go!? What a difference a month makes. 
Just waiting for the doctor to come in
Kisses from his Dad!
Dressed up like a big boy for his one month doctors appt!

Each month I'm going to do a monthly update about Nolan. Here it goes.

One month old:

Weight/height: 10lbs 7oz and 22 inches

Hair: It is still dark brown. Longer in the back and finer on the top.

Eyes: They are dark blue but I think they are getting lighter blue.

Clothes: mostly 3 month. Only a few newborn fit

Diapers: size 1

Sleeping: He often wants to nap during the day. His days and nights seem to be a bit mixed up.

Likes: nursing, car rides, bath time except getting out of the bath tub 

Dislikes: dirty diapers, spitting up, being burped sometimes, being gassy

Eating: He is breastfed every two to three hours. Jeremy occasionally gives him a pumped bottle but he prefers nursing and often seems unsatisfied from a bottle. 

Milestones/activities: he tries to lift his head, makes noises, sneezes, and hiccups

Taking his monthly photo wasn't nearly as simple as I expected. Here are some funny ones from when I was trying to take the picture.
On the first attempt, he spit up before I even got the sticker on! I changed his onesie, and we tried again.
Why are you taking my picture, Mom??
Much better! And even holding up one finger because he is one month old!
Sticking his tongue out
He loves his Wubbanub.

I think we finally got a few good ones! I'm sure taking these monthly picture will get trickier once he is on the move too. That's all for now. Happy one month Nolan!



Thursday, May 21, 2015

Life as a stay at home mom

People often ask, what does a stay at home mom do all day? Until a month ago, I wondered myself a bit. You would think without working that you would have so much free time. Now I understand how busy life with a baby truly is. It's very rewarding, and I'm enjoying every minute despite the sleepless nights and busy days.

People often suggest to nap when the baby naps. It sounds like a great idea until you realize the long list of things you need to do while the baby is asleep. Once Nolan naps, I typically use that time to use the bathroom, shower, and eat. Basic necessities that used to be easy can be difficult to squeeze in. Then there is laundry to do, clothes to fold, a dishwasher to empty, bottles and pump parts to clean and the list goes on. Before you know it, the time between feedings is up! I often don't finish what I'm working on but I remind myself that the laundry and such can wait. Nolan is only going to be this tiny once. I often find myself neglecting my to do list so I can sit in the rocking chair gazing at my sweet little baby. He's already growing so quickly, and I want to soak in every moment with him. 

This month has flown by. There are many words that I could use to describe how I've been feeling since Nolan arrived. While having a newborn is challenging, it hasn't been nearly as difficult and overwhelming as I imagined. It's been full of smiles and happiness. Thank you Nolan for making me a Mom!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Weekend visitors!

Over the weekend, my brother, sister in law, and my two nephews came down from Philadelphia to meet Nolan. I was really excited we to see them and to see the three boys together.
On Friday night, we all hung out at my Mom's place. She made tons of delicious  food. I was glad my out of town family was able to come visit while Nolan was still tiny. My other brother and his fiancé come in a few weeks and then all of our immediate family will have met him!
On Saturday night, we spent time with my brother and sister in law after their two boys went to bed. They got some quality snuggle time with Nolan then, and we chatted for hours. It was fun talking to them about parenting now that we can both relate. After having two boys, they have lots of experiences and advice to share with us!
On Sunday, a few of my friends from out of town came over. Ashley was in Atlanta visiting her fiancé who recently moved here. Melissa was here for a work training. Our friends Kat and Mike came too. It was a great afternoon with long time friends. I'm so glad we've stayed friends across the miles.
Jeremy did a great job with my iPhone timer and getting this group picture!
Kat, Ashley, Melissa, and me.
Chris and Ashley! Can't wait to be a bridesmaid in their wedding next April!
Monday afternoon my family came over to our place. We ordered pizzas and took tons of pictures! I loved seeing my mom with all three of her grandsons. She was thrilled to have them all together! I just love each of these pictures and love our growing family. Here are some of my family pictures.
Our growing family! 
My mom with her three grandsons 
Theo and cousin Nolan!
So nice having my brother and his sweet family here to visit!
Theo (3.5 years), Nolan (3.5 weeks) and Simon (1.5 years) 
Love that smile!
And those snuggles!

We had a great time, and can't wait to see them in August at our other brother's wedding! 





Saturday, May 16, 2015

Baby products I love

I've been wanting to do a post about the baby products that we have been loving and using all the time during these first few weeks. I've already noticed that we have a ton of stuff that we haven't really used and then there are lots of things we keep using over and over again. As an expectant mom, there are so many baby products to choose from that it can be overwhelming. How do you choose when you've never had a baby before and you don't really know what you actually need? While it is fresh in my head, here are all the things I love and couldn't live with out!

1. Pampers diapers and wipes. I always knew I loved Pampers from babysitting but I didn't realize how much I actually liked them until I used a few other brands. My favorite thing about Pamper is that they have a yellow line down the middle of the diaper that turns blue when the diaper is wet. That line makes it so easy to tell if the diaper is wet or dry by simple unbuttoning or unzipping the outfit. We also haven't had any issues with leaking. I've also had a few samples of Huggies, The Honest Company, and Baby Ganics, and nothing compares to Pampers in my opinion. The Pampers wipes have been great too. We haven't had any diaper rash just yet!
I also recommend not getting too many newborn. We had a box of 80 and 88 newborn plus some extra newborns friends had given us. I would say we had about 200-250 newborn diapers and have used them this first month. He is already growing out of them at 3.5 weeks, and he started at 7lbs 8oz. Obviously if the baby is tiny you would need more but if your baby isn't a premie, they likely won't last more than a few weeks in newborn diapers.

2. Aden and Anais swaddle blankets- friends had told me they loved them and I liked them when I babysat. I knew they were great but just like the diapers, didn't realize how awesome these are. The patterns are adorable, they aren't too heavy or too light, and they are multi purpose. Not only are they swaddle blankets but they can double as a nursing cover, burp cloth, or car seat cover. You name it and you can use these blankets for many things. I can't say enough good things about them. Definitely get a four pack! We ended up getting two four packs because I love and use them so much.

3. Swaddle me blanket- these are great if your baby is able to break free from a regular swaddle. This blanket velcros and leaves the baby in a nice tight swaddle that they can't break free from!

4. Carters clothing- we have really loved the long sleeve onesies that allow you to cover their hands. In the beginning, his nails were so sharp and he scratched himself a lot. Mittens tend to fall off so the long sleeve onesies that allow you to cover their hands are a great alternative. I  think Carters has cute designs, reasonable prices, and they wash well.

5. Gerber flannel burp cloths- a friend had recommended these, and they are great! Just the right size, soft, absorbant, and adorable patterns. I had a few other varieties of burp cloths, and I always prefer these! I had one four pack and ordered two more. We have twelve of this style, and I'm thinking about getting more. If your baby spits up like ours does, you can go through at least 5-8 a day from each feeding. We always have a burp cloth on hand and use these every day all day long!

6. Fisher price products- I've always loved this brand and I think there is a reason they have been around forever. They make great products in my opinion. Both our bouncy seat and rock and play are Fisher Price. We use both of these items daily. They both vibrate and the bouncy seat plays music. Love these! They come in cute designs too!

7. Graco products- our car seat, pack and play, and high chair are Graco. They are easy to use, have nice designs, and I think just overall work well. I would highly recommend any of these items! Our pack and play seen below has a reversible napper and changing table that we have downstairs. Makes for a good place for the baby to hang out or get changed besides in the nursery.
8. A bassinet- originally I was thinking about having Nolan sleep in his room in his crib from the beginning. I soon changed my mind once he was here. As a new mom, I feel more comfortable having him nearby while he is sleeping for the first few months. It's reassuring hearing his little noises and his breathing. If you're breastfeeding, it's nice to have the bassinet next you so you can nurse without getting out of bed every time.
9. Vaseline, gauze, and alcohol wipes- we went through a few tubes of Vaseline and a few packages of gauze taking care of the circumcision for the first ten days. Alcohol wipes were helpful for cleaning his cord. 

10. Washclothes- we prefer thicker more absorbant ones. You can used these for lots of things but we mainly use them at bath time.

11. Baby bath tub, shampoo, body wash, and lotion- once the cord falls off, bath time starts! We have a toddler tub that has a sling insert for newborns which has been great. We've been using Johnson and Johnson products but I've also heard good things about baby ganics.
12. Bottle cleaner and breast pump part cleaner- you will need cleaner to keep all your pump parts clean and your bottles and pacifiers clean. Also, be sure your pump accessories fit. I ended up buying a bigger shield for my pump. Just like bras everyone is a different size and the same goes for pump parts.

13. Dreft laundry detergent and stain remover spray- you will do a lot of laundry! This brand is my favorite.
14. Changing pads and liners- you change a lot of diapers, and there are bound to be messes. We have 3 changing pad covers and six liners. I originally only had three but we were going through them too quickly. I have a few friends that put puppy pads down to make clean up easier. We have just stuck with changing out the pad and liner when we have a diaper explosion.
15. Boppy pillow- I use this for breastfeeding and also for guests to rest their arms on when holding Nolan. I bought a second cover so I can wash one and still have a cover available. You could use regular pillows but the design of this one is comfortable.

I think that's all for now! I'll add more things if I think of them. I also will do a post with products that we haven't really needed or used. Photo credit to Amazon.com and Babies R US.

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