Monday, June 29, 2015

Pre wedding events

This weekend, my brother and his fiancĂ© were having some pre wedding events in New York City where her family lives. I'm a bridesmaid and Jeremy is a groomsmen, and I felt it was really important we were there. I have always been at special events, especially ones for immediate family. Nolan being so young really complicated the situation. Our pediatrician had suggested waiting to fly until he was 2 months old which just happened this week. I asked family and friends advice on whether we should go and bring Nolan but mostly everyone thought it was going to be too much. I could have gone myself and left Jeremy with Nolan but that didn't feel right either. I wanted to be there as a family so we made the decision to stay home.

Thankfully my mom took tons of pictures and sent them to me through out the night. I'm so glad camera phones exist. It really helped make me feel like I was there. I did get a bit sad that I wasn't but I reminded myself how I needed to be here for Nolan. I would have had to pump if I went myself and if we went as a family, I would have been busy taking care of Nolan. I probably could have found a babysitter back home in NJ but that would have been complicated too! Missing this weekends festivities just got me that much more excited for their wedding which is on August 22nd.

We couldn't be more excited that Emily and Dennis found each other. I still remember my brother telling me about her. They had just started dating when he came down to Atlanta for our wedding weekend in April of 2013. I could tell she was someone extra special to him already! Fast forward two years later, and they are about to get married! 

I was thrilled when Emily and Dennis asked us to stand beside them during their wedding. Emily's such a sweet sister in law to be and an awesome bride already. I've enjoyed hearing all the wedding updates. It's going to be an incredible weekend. My other brother, Brian, will be their officiant like he was for our wedding. Between her family and ours their will be five nephews under five at the wedding. Three boys on our side and two on her side. Can't wait to have all these boys together!  Only about a month and a half until the big day!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Nolan updates

This week Nolan started to be much more alert. He's also starting to sleep longer stretches at night. Last night was his first full night in his crib. I think it was harder on me than it was on him! I put him in his crib at 7:30pm and he slept until 1am. After nursing him, he went back to sleep but I had trouble falling back asleep. I went back to bed but couldn't help but stare at him on the video monitor. He feels so far away in his own room! We had been doing the first half of the night in our room and then the second half in his room. I know I will eventually need to switch him to his room full time but I'm not quite ready yet! He ended up sleeping in his crib from 7:30pm until 8am with just two feedings during that 12.5 hour time frame. I took that as a successful night in his crib.

Here are some pictures from this week.
Visiting Grammy!
I even managed to catch a smile during tummy time. This isn't his favorite activity, and he typically cries after just a few minutes . He is making more sweet sounds and making better eye contact.
Where did those chubby thighs come from?
In case you forgot, he had little chicken legs when he was born! Hard to believe that was only 9 weeks ago.
It's been too warm for hats and footie pajamas but I wanted him to try this outfit out. Those cheeks have filled out too!
Wearing his new outfit from Aunt Jessica! 
Nolan even got a gift all the way from Australia! Thanks Mel! 
On Saturday, we went to a birthday party. Our first of many as a family! This one was train themed. Nolan would have loved it if he was a bit older but we had fun regardless. Here are some pictures from the party. Our neighbors, Ingrid and
Byron did an awesome job with all the little details!
So cute!
The cake
The party was in a train car!
Cute favors. She had little suitcases to hold your goodie bag stuff.
He behaved so well the entire time. Seeing all the other kids at the party definitely got me excited for all the next stages of Nolan's development! More soon!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Updates from the week

I remember the days when I thought stay at home moms had lots of free time. I've quickly realized how busy we stay day in and day, and I love every minute of it. Here's a look at what a typical day is like for us.

He normally wakes up and nurses sometime right around when Jeremy is getting up and leaving for work between 6 and 7. Usually after about 20 minutes of nursing, we play on his activity mat, read books, or listen to musical toys. He will wear himself out playing and will take an early morning nap around 9. This is usually when I get a chance to eat breakfast and maybe even take a quick shower.

He will usually nurse again between 10 and 11. This works out well for days that we have lunch plans or doctors appointments. If we are staying home, I'll usually put him in the Baby Bjorn carrier so I have my hands free and can do things like fold laundry or empty the dishwasher. If we are going out, I'll put him into the car seat just after feeding him so I get the most time possible before needing to feed him. Without careful planning you can run into more issues while you are out. 

For example, yesterday I didn't plan my day well. I tried to do too many things in the window of time before he needed to eat again. I tried to drop my dog off at the groomer, pick up a birthday present for a party this weekend, and meet a friend for lunch. Well that didn't work out so well because by the time we were finishing up lunch, Nolan was awake and ready to eat understandably so because it had been 3.5 hours at this point.

I really try to not have to nurse in public and change him in public places if possible. I prefer the comforts of my own home for those things but obviously sometimes you need to feed and change on the go. I'm learning to manage being on the go and catering to his needs more and more but some things are just trial and error. 

One thing I never really thought about until yesterday was how some small restaurants that have only one fancy bathroom don't offer a changing table. Typically I would change him in my car but it's been 97 degrees lately and the car is scorching hot. This left me in a situation wondering where to change him. I felt awful doing this but I changed him in the booth at the restaurant on my portable changing pad. I didn't know what to do since plan A and plan B both weren't working out. This is obviously a last resort and something I wouldn't typically do but as a Mom sometimes you have to make decisions that aren't always the best but that you need to do. 

After this diaper change, of course he was crying and ready to nurse so I pulled out my nursing cover and fed him. Again, not an ideal situation but I just tried to be relaxed and hope people around me didn't think I was crazy for bringing him out to lunch. 

I think the lesson I learned from that experience was that as a new Mom, I need to be more careful about agreeing to plans if the time frame is too long. I always was used to being very flexible and accommodating when it came to meeting friends. What I've realized with a new baby is that I need to be okay with saying no and speaking up if I don't think something will work for us. 

The lifestyle pre and post baby is very different. We've decided to still try and maintain a somewhat busy social schedule while also integrating a baby into the mix. It's completely possible to go out and do most things you used to do without a baby, it just requires much more planning and preparation. 

Well anyway, back to our typical day. After his late morning feeding, he typically will nurse again in the early to mid afternoon. I'm not super structured about the time and just feed him when he wakes up or seems hungry. Then we play a little more until Jeremy gets home from work around 5. He's usually awake at this time and I hand him off for some time with his Dad for a few minutes so I get a small break. Then Jeremy will relax for a little while before bath time and dinner. Around 8pm, Nolan's been bathed and nursed and will fall asleep for his longest stretch of sleep for the night. He will usually wake up to nurse between 2 and 3 and go back down until 6 or 7am when our day starts over! 

Every day is a little different, and we don't have set feeding times. I think I've been surprised that I am less structure than I thought I would be. I always thought I wanted a set schedule but so far too set hasn't worked well for us. We have somewhat of schedule but allow for flexibility. More soon!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Jeremy's first Father's Day

I'm a little late with this post but wanted to do it anyway. I meant to do it on Sunday but ran out of time and then Monday I wanted to do Nolan's two month post. This week has been busy, and we have been on the go a lot. I'm really looking forward to a few quiet days ahead.

On Father's Day we had my father in law, brother in law and his fiancé over for brunch. Here are some family pictures.
Love this one with our fur babies plus
Jeremy's dad holding his first grand baby.
Our tiny family! Still can't believe how quickly Nolan is growing.
Brothers! Nolan loves having one of his uncles close by!

My mom, his mom, and Terry came over for dinner. We just ordered a couple pizzas to keep it simple and had ice cream cake for dessert. All in all it was a nice day!
This is Jeremy's favorite ice cream cake. Baskin Robbins cookies and cream! It has half cake and half ice cream inside. I prefer Carvel ice cream cakes haha but it was still pretty good.

Here are some of the gifts I made for Jeremy.
That's a bow tie in case you couldn't tell.
And another Pinterest project! I made a few versions but this one was my favorite. 
There was this one.
And this one. Pinterest projects always seem so much simpler than they actually turn out to be! I had fun making these gifts though, and I think he liked them! I look forward to celebrating Father's Day many more times. Nolan is so lucky to have such a caring, kind, and loving Dad. I absolutely love it when he gets home from work and Nolan gives him a smile when he seems him again. It's just too sweet! More soon!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Happy 2 months Nolan!

Another month has passed already and this two month old is all smiles today! 
I was very excited I caught his smile in a picture and in a video. Our two month photo shoot was much more successful than our one month shoot. I did still get some funny faces but he sat there so nicely with out crying this time. He was just kicking his legs, waving his arms around, and making sweet little noises. 
Here are some of my favorites. 
The surprised I'm about to smile face!
There's that smile!
And then the "okay Mom enough pictures" face 
The getting sleepy face!

This afternoon we went to his two month doctors appointment. Here are his updated stats!
Yup you're reading that correctly! He is 14lbs 4oz and 23.5 inches tall. His weight is in the 89th percentile and his height is in the 73rd percentile. He has basically doubled his birth weight in 2 months. I continue to be amazed by his growth and that it is all due to my body and breastfeeding. All that hard work and the many hours we spend together nursing is surely paying off. I will admit I was a little nervous the doctor might say he gained too much weight but fortunately that's not the case. He's just a healthy growing boy. The doctor said that babies know when to stop eating when they are full so typically babies aren't overweight. They just all grow at difference rates.

I asked his opinion on a schedule versus more flexible feeding and sleeping based on his cues and he said it was completely up to me and what my personal preference was. It was nice to hear from him that there isn't a right or wrong answer because I sometimes feel the advice from others pulls me in different directions. I know that I need to do what works best for us and our family but it was a nice reminder hearing it from our doctor. There isn't one right or wrong answer when it comes to parenting. What we've been doing so far has been working for us so I think we will stick with it. 

We really didn't have any questions or concerns. My only question was if my body would start to produce less milk overnight as he sleeps longer stretches. I've been finding I get pretty uncomfortable before bed and am tempted to pump for comfort. I've been trying not to though because I want him to regulate my supply. It's a bit tricky during the adjustment period I suppose but I'm sure my body will figure it out soon. Breastfeeding has continued to get easier, and I'm hoping my body will adjust soon to him eating a bit less overnight.

Lastly, he got his 2 month vaccines. 3 shots and 1 oral vaccine. Jeremy came with us to the appointment which was nice. He held him while I looked on. 
Waiting for his shots 
Poor guy! Two in one thigh and one in the other 
Getting his oral vaccine
Here's the difference from one month to two months. 10lbs 7 oz to 14lbs 4oz. 4 pounds in one month! He looks pretty similar in these pictures just his belly button appears deeper and his legs are chubbier. 

2 month updates: 
Weight/height: 14lbs 4oz/23.5 inches 

Hair: It is dark brown. Still longer in the back and thin on top. He hasn't seemed to have lost much hair. 

Eyes: They are blue and getting lighter. 

Clothes: 3 month and some 6 month 

Diapers: size 2. Probably will switch to size 3 after our last box of size 2 runs out.

Sleeping: He still sleeps a bunch. He is having more alert and active times where his kicks and waves his arms and legs. We have been getting longer stretches at night. 5-6 hours has been the longest and it's typically the first stretch of the evening from about 8pm-1am. Some nights are better than others! He typically wakes up again between 4 and 6am. No more nursing every 2-3 hours and instead more like every 3-4 hours. 

Likes: nursing, car rides, walks in the stroller, being swaddled, his rock and play vibrating napper, the sound machine, pacifier (nuk and wubbanub) 

Dislikes: tummy time, dirty diapers 

Eating: He is breastfed every three to four hours. Occasionally he will still eat around two hours but mostly three to four. I'm pretty much exclusively nursing him except if I am out and not able to nurse. I prefer breastfeeding over pumping and Nolan does well with nursing and bottles of pumped milk.

Milestones/activities: he can lift his head, makes lots of noises, sneezes, and hiccups. Just in the past few days since he turn 8 weeks, he has started to smile more consistently as seen above. He hasn't rolled over yet. We are looking for that and laughing next! Here he is lifting his head!
All in all it was a good appointment with great updates. Happy 2 months Nolan! 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Second month as a first time mom

As my second month of being a Mom is about to end, I wanted to do a post about all the experiences I've had so far in the short time since my son was born. Even with as much baby experience as I had from volunteering in a maternity ward to babysitting for about fifteen years, there still have been many parenting surprises and times that have made me laugh. I want to be able to remember all the little details when Nolan is older and be able to remind myself what having a newborn is like.

Here are some of the things I've experienced in the last few weeks.

-diaper explosions: no matter how quick I try to be even with keeping him covered, we still have had issues in this department. Nolan loves to continue going to the bathroom once you open his diaper and from both ends. This has made for some messy diaper changes but all you can do if laugh and hope the next diaper change goes more smoothly.

-lots of diaper changes: I knew we would go through many diapers. To be exact, we used two boxes of newborn that had 80 and 88 diapers each. We used one box of size 1 that had 150. Now we are almost finished with a 160 box of size 2. We also were given about 100 diapers friends had left over. So that makes a grand total of about 500 diapers in two months. That comes out to 8-10 diapers per 24 hour period. I had heard we would use about that many a day and that has been accurate! 

-breastfeeding challenges: while breastfeeding seems natural and like it would be easy, it can be difficult. In 8 weeks we have already worked through numerous issues such as engorgement and soreness. No matter how many books you read about the cradle hold, the football hold, or the lying down position, it can be hard to find a comfortable position when you are learning to breastfeed. In the beginning, it can be difficult to keep the baby awake and latched as well.

-spit up on everything: our baby was called a happy spitter by our pediatrician. Basically a happy spitter is a baby that spits up often but still remains content and also continues to gain weight. Even when keeping a burp cloth in hand at all times or a bib on him, the spit up often ends up in other places. On pillows, sheets, clothes, in his car seat, on the carpet, you name it , it probably has gotten spit up on at one point in time. Here's an example!

-inconsistent feeding and sleeping: as Nolan has gotten bigger, he has started to go longer without needing to nurse. His patterns are becoming a little more predictable but still inconsistent. Some nights he will fall asleep around 8pm and sleep until 1 or 2am giving me a good 5-6 hours stretch. Other nights he will wake up a bit sooner. He typically has been waking up again around 5:30am and is wide awake and ready to start his day. Usually after I nurse him he will go back to sleep for one more stretch until about 7 or 8am. He still takes frequent naps during the day. Some longer and some cat naps. I have been pretty flexible with his schedule because it's been working for both of us. Naturally he's stretching out his feeding and his stretches of sleep so I haven't found it necessary yet to do a strict schedule. I know some mom's want to be on a schedule at 6-8 weeks, and I honestly thought I would too but I think since I'm staying at home I'm a little more flexible. If he wants to sleep, I let him sleep. Some books about sleep training have you keep the baby up certain stretches of the day, and I was struggling trying to keep him awake when the book told me he should be awake. So we went back to a more flexible schedule. I plan to chat with our pediatrician on Monday about a schedule. I feel like with baby #2, he or she will have to go with the flow so we are kind of doing the same thing with Nolan. 

-constant changes: sometimes it's hard for me to see the changes from day to day since I spend so much time with him but when I look at pictures it is apparent how quickly babies develop. In two short months, he's learned to hold his head up better, grasp objects, track things with his eyes, and sometimes he even does a little smile.

-lots of advice from other people: I knew from being pregnant that people love to offer advice and make interesting comments. That has surely transitioned into being a Mom. Sometimes I struggle a bit with the advice people give because I don't always agree and often times I wonder if others are judging me for the parenting decisions I'm making. For example, we have taken him out of the house a lot these first couple months. Many other new moms stay home more and probably think I'm crazy for trying to keep up with social events. However, it's working for us and that's what matters. One of the biggest things I've learned since becoming a Mom is that I need to worry less about people's advice and opinions. What works for one family doesn't always work for another family. Brushing off unsolicited advice is something I'm continuing to work on as well as not judging other moms even if I might not agree with them.

-tons of laundry: I knew I would be spending a lot of time washing, drying, and folding laundry. That is definitely the case. Sometimes we go through three or four outfit changes a day plus a burp cloth every feeding session. The changing pad, his sheets, and the boppy pillow cover need to be changed frequently as well. All of that adds up to lots of laundry!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

8 weeks old!

It seems so cliche to say but Nolan is growing quickly. It makes me a little sad that he isn't a tiny newborn anymore but it also makes me very happy watching him continue to grow and change everyday. Sometimes I feel like I don't notice the changes since I'm with him all day everyday but when I go back and look at pictures, it is very apparent how much he has grown in a short period of time. Here is one example!
My goodness he is big! People keep thinking he is a four month old. He's almost outgrown the newborn sling of his bath tub and according to our scale is in the 13 pound range. How can that be? I'm very thankful he's growing well and that breastfeeding has been successful for both of us. 

He has gotten very good at breastfeeding, and I'm enjoying it much more now that we worked out our early challenges. I just read an article recently about how hard it is in the beginning but how it gets easier. I definitely agree with that. I can see why it's easy to give up on breastfeeding because it is hard at first while your body adapts. 

Looking back to the first few weeks of my breastfeeding experience, my shoulders were tense, my boobs were sore and engorged, Nolan had a hard time latching on one side, and we struggled to find a comfortable position. I needed the help of the boppy pillow and often needed to hold him and to keep him latched. 

Now just a few short weeks later, I can breastfeed hands free, I can get him latched in a dark room at night, I can get him to latch under a nursing cover in public, and I'm just ten times more comfortable with the whole process. I know some people have a supply issue or other issues that can't be fixed when it comes to nursing but if your problems are fixable with support from a lactation consultant and family or friends, I highly recommend sticking it out. The beginning is tough but like anything new, it gets better with practice. I've really come to enjoy those middle of the night feedings and that sweet quiet time with my baby when it seems the rest of the world is asleep. As tired as I am sometimes, I love these moments with him. I know I will only have one newborn once and am treasuring every moment with him. It's all happening very fast. Before I know it he will be off to Kindergarten! Okay I know that's a ways off but seriously these past 8 weeks flew by. I'm loving being a new Mom.

Here are some more current pictures! 
This rock and play napper is his favorite place to be besides being held.
He's still quite a sleepy little guy!
Tummy time still isn't his favorite activity.
But that head is getting so strong! Don't mind the spit up on his mouth. He has a tendency to spit up during tummy time and then lay his face back down in it! Makes for a nice little mess thus the burp cloth and bib. He still is our happy spitter as the doctor called him. There are worse problems he could have. I've gotten used to the spitting up at this point.
He still loves his car seat and going out with us. We are taking full advantage of him still being stationary and portable at this age. Our typical outings include meeting a friend for lunch, shopping at Babies R US or Target, food shopping at Publix, and spending time at the pool with family or friends. He does great on the go so far, and I hope that sticks since we have been taking him out a decent amount. 

We really hope he will just become a part of our lives instead of us just staying at home. Having a baby is a huge life change but in my opinion, it doesn't have to be an excuse to stay home and miss important events. Of course we don't go out nearly as much but we've made a big effort to still make it to weddings and other special events, even if that means pumping in the car in a parking lot! It definitely is still possible to do fun things with your husband and a newborn, it just takes a little extra planning and preparation. 
We do have our moments of crying but that's expected. He's usually consoleable or just needs to get it out before falling asleep. His cry is definitely getting louder as he gets older! He does like hanging out on the activity mat but it doesn't last too long. I'll do the rest of his updates next week after his 2 month appointment! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Alyssa and Brandon's wedding

Alyssa was one of my first close friends in Atlanta. We actually met in the courtyard of our apartment complex. Both of us had puppies. Sydney and her dog, Hershey are only two days apart. Our love of fluffy dogs was just the first thing we had in common. As we talked more, we realized we were both teachers, and we both were northerners that went to Big Ten universities. 

At the time, Alyssa was looking for a full time teaching position. I was teaching Kindergarten in Gwinnett County and loved my school and position. When a long term sub position opened up, I recommended Alyssa for the position. She joined my grade level for the second half of the school year. Each day we carpooled to work and had conversation and conversation. We even got a flat tire on 85 and had the pleasure of a random nice guy change the tire for us. Alyssa and I were friends before our husbands, Jeremy and Brandon were even a thought. 

After that long term sub position, unfortunately my principal didn't have any opening for her. That next year, Alyssa was hired at Lake Forest for a pre K position. A couple of years later, I was looking for a new teaching job closer to our townhouse, and she let me know the school was hiring. She had been happy there and suggested I send in a resume. In June of 2012, I was hired for a first grade position, and we were coworkers once again. 

As many of you know, my Lake Forest coworkers are much more that just teachers I used to work with. When I decided to take a break from teaching, I worried that I would lose those friendships. One year later, I'm so glad to know that those wonderful teachers and I have still remained friends. I was just saying last night how Alyssa is responsible for introducing me to so many of my current friends in Atlanta.

I've enjoyed our friendship over the years from our single days, our dating days, and now our married days. I've loved getting to know her mom and sister over the years too. Alyssa was a beautiful bride but more importantly she's an awesome friend and genuinely kind person and teacher. Jeremy and I look forward to seeing all the happiness that lies ahead for both of you!

Here are some of my favorite pictures from their wedding. I loved their venue and the views of the city from the 28th floor on Peachtree street were amazing. We loved everything about their wedding!
Such a pretty ceremony location at the Peachtree Club
I love how Atlanta has so many trees even in the city.
Skyline view of Atlanta
Here comes the bride!
Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Brandon Morris!
With the bride and groom
First dance
Lake Forest teachers!
Loved her bouquet and cake!

Hope you guys have an amazing honeymoon in Hawaii! I'm so glad Alyssa found Brandon! We look forward to many more years of double dates with you guys!

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