One Month Old

August 16, 2017

I always wanted to have a blog to document Eloise’s growth in lieu of a baby book but ended up using Instagram instead to document these things. I have decided to update the blog because as Eloise grows it is easier to have a LITTLE time to write on here too. So the months are back dated but it hasn’t been too long that I have forgotten a lot of the experiences and sensations. So here goes:

“Oh my! How have you been a part of our lives for one month, yet I can’t remember life without you? You are our wide eyed scientist, observing and learning so much every day. There is no greater joy than watching you explore, which is a talent you acquired as you grew out of your sleepy state. We love your eye contact, and while we get a kick out of your expressionless face, we are eager for you to grace us with your smile. Love you to the moon our sweet little Eloise Wesley. ✨ “

Our first month was so wonderful. Yes a challenge to go from 0 babies to 1 but we were so enamored that it was hard to be upset about the difficulty.  The Dock a Tot definitely helped us figure out the sleep thing. Having both my mom and Andrew’s mom stay for a week made a huge difference. That first week I would wake up, feed Eloise and hand her off to my mom to change so I could spend a few minutes getting ready for the day.

We tried to keep our lifestyle as normal as possible, so were going out to picnics at wineries, and the beach within a week. I think this has helped Eloise stay content being on the go and honestly, helped us get through the day too.

Eloise has always loved being on her stomach and within the first week was accidentally rolling over to her back from pushing up on her arms.

Something that I heard a lot before Eloise was born is that a lot of parents say “Oh our baby hated the swing, or bouncy chair, etc.” I never really noticed this with Eloise, one moment she would be into something, the next she would be over it. I guess it is to be expected, how long can the same thing keep you entertained anyway?

One week since you joined us earth-side and one week since my whole world turned upside down. I’m not sure how I was walking around with what was clearly only half of my heart for the past 28 years. There are no “I can’t wait till you can ___”s here because every moment is so precious that I’m afraid of losing each one. Maybe that’s what they call the baby blues. I love you forever sweet Eloise, welcome to the planet. #littlesthelms

Two weeks old and you’re a dream. ✨ Really nailing the whole breastfeeding thing without shredding mom apart, always making sure your diaper is nice and clean, and mom’s coffee is perfectly piping hot; additionally you are riding a bike like a pro and debating Ayn Rand’s philosophies in between naps. We are so proud of your accomplishments! ☕️#stilladream #proudparents #littlesthelms

I made myself a best friend. 

Good morning world! We love our coffee cold with a lot of milk on the side; can’t have it any other way. ☕️☀️ #momlife #littlesthelms

Know how moms always seem to think their kids can do no wrong? Starting to understand why….

I am certain my heart now lives outside of my body. Here is a picture of it; who knew it would be so darn cute? #littlesthelms

“Ma that bath wasn’t actually as bad as I thought” #littlesthelms

Best Baby Products From a First Time Mom Series: Moses Bassinet

August 6, 2017

Moses Bassinet: This bassinet is so beautiful. Plastic things have their place but when it comes to something that is going to be taking up space in our house and that my baby is sleeping in I prefer natural materials like wicker, wood, cotton, etc. and if it’s a piece of art an even bigger bonus.

I was hoping the bassinet would create a positive sleep association for our baby but at night it simply didn’t work for us quite like the Dock-A-Tot; though if you wanted to fold the bottom of the DockaTot it would probably fit in there.

That being said, it is awesome. We would put Eloise down for naps here and it would rock back and forth on it’s own as she moved.

Unfortunately, babies (especially mine who is really tall) outgrow their bassinets far too quickly. Luckily I now have it in Eloise’s room as a doll bed, or boat, or whatever else her imagination comes up with, until the next baby.

Here is the base I bought for it.

Best Baby Products From a First Time Mom Series: DockaTot

August 4, 2017

DockATot: For whatever reason I thought I needed two different kinds of feeding pillows but held off on the Holy Grail, of baby products; probably because of the high price point. Guys this thing saved our lives. I’m sure it is completely dependent on how you choose to parent but the bassinet just wasn’t working for us at night. As soon as I started sleeping with Eloise in my arms at night we started sleeping so much better!

My thinking is that, these poor little babes have been in a cozy little cocoon for their entire existence and then they are whipped out of there and put to sleep in a bed on their own without mama’s heartbeat, body heat etc. As soon as I gave her those elements again she was so much better! Unfortunately, sleeping with your newborn isn’t the easiest thing in the world. I was so concerned about the covers and my pillow that I was sleeping in this very protective position all night and would wake up with my completely asleep. And who can sleep without tossing and turning a little at night?

The Dock-A-Tot is perfect for so many reasons:

1. I am able to have her in the bed with me and not worry about the hazards that are presented when trying to co-sleep at such a young age.

2. When feeding I don’t even leave the bed, especially since she started sleeping through the night without a diaper change.

3. This one is great even if you’re not co-sleeping, it creates a positive sleep association. I can literally dock my tot in the Dock-A-Tot anywhere and know she will sleep comfortably. We took it camping and she definitely slept better than Andrew and I did.

Even with the four month sleep regression it helps build that positive sleep association that is so essential for getting a baby to sleep better. I haven’t tested it out yet but as we start to travel more I will try to put it in a vacuum seal bag to fit into my suitcase more efficiently.

PS if you buy it at Target and use your Red Card you get an additional 5% off and free shipping.

Best Baby Products From a First Time Mom Series: Breastfeeding Pillows

August 2, 2017

Shopping for a baby when you’ve never had one is incredibly hard. You get advice from all avenues, including mothers, grandmothers, marketing etc. I remember my mom saying how I didn’t really need anything because when I was growing up they were able to find a lot of ways to make things work with things you could find at home. For example tying a baby to a chair using a towel in lieu of a high chair. LOL Sorry mom! For the record I did have a high chair, but I think it was my mother’s way of trying to curb my spending on things I may not need. Which I appreciate!

I have created yet another source of advice for you based off of what I love and has worked (and not worked) for us and Eloise just in case it helps someone. We all know there isn’t enough advice out there without this post ;-).

Breastfeeding Pillows: I have both the Boppy and My Breast Friend. In the beginning I liked using My Breast Friend, just because the snap in the back helped keep the pillow upright a little more and stay put. I now occasionally use the Boppy when I am in the yard so Eloise can be propped up and look around while we tend to the garden. That being said, while I used these several times in the beginning if you’re looking to pinch pennies I think you could skip these. With my almost five months of experience, I have ditched the pillows long ago. If you are willing to feed anywhere (which is what is convenient for us) it is inconvenient to have to drag a pillow around with you. And your babe is only going to get heavier so might as well start building those arm muscles while they are light! haha

I know that you will probably not take my word for it and I know my sister-in-laws both got a lot of use out of theirs. I am curious to see if anyone else agrees.

Eloise Wesley’s Birth Story

June 29, 2017

I have sat on this for far too long considering I love asking others for their own birth story. So here goes ours:

I loved being pregnant but most mamas might agree that as your due date approaches, naturally, you can’t help but get excited and anticipate meeting your fully baked babe. As for encouraging labor to start, I wasn’t willing to try castor oil unless she was past the due date but I did try a lot of things that seemed more natural to me. It’s not unnatural to walk, drink tea or eat copious amounts of pineapple right?

I knew that she would come when she was ready so with my doctor’s reassurance that it wouldn’t work unless my body and the babe were ready for it, I had my membrane stripped twice. Once at 38 weeks and once right before 39 weeks. Now I haven’t personally tested the theory enough to say it works, just the one time, but it was about 12 hours after the second stripping that my water broke.

I am very lucky. I can’t say my labor was easy, (I doubt anyone would label their labor as easy,) but I can imagine that it could be, and is, a lot worse for others.

But, back to the story: it was around 11pm that Andrew and I had finally gotten in bed and I felt a small gush like you might if you were on your period. Knowing it couldn’t possibly be the case I took off to the bathroom and sat on the toilet where my water emptied. I remember calling Andrew, while shaking due to excitement and nerves, and asking him if he had heard “that”. I had read that when your water breaks it is different than urinating because you can’t control it, but I genuinely felt like I was able to stop it. -I hadn’t even made a mess.

We called the doctor and explained what happened and she said it seemed like my water broke and I should probably head over the the hospital. I had always planned to labor at home as long as possible. This was to ensure I was in my element and so that we wouldn’t be in the hospital any longer than we had to be. I know I had been 3 cm dilated that morning but I had no contractions so I still wasn’t convinced.

I was concerned that we were going to drive the 30 minutes to the hospital and I was going to get sent home because I had just lost bladder control (which has never happened to me). So while my mom and Andrew frantically packed up the car I did the natural thing and curled my hair (LOL) to prolong the “at home” part as long as I could. We shortly thereafter hopped in the car and I told Andrew, “Hopefully the entire labor is this easy”

At the hospital, we walked to five different locked doors before finally entering through the ER where we told the security guard I MIGHT be in labor. At Labor and Delivery we filled out the necessary paperwork and got to a room where they told me to get changed. I asked if they wanted to check me first to see if I was even in labor or if I was just some crazy person who just peed her pants and was making a big to-do out of it.

As soon as I put on the gown and sat on the bed I felt another gush. I leaned over and, though I couldn’t see it due to the belly, Andrew and the nurse laughed because what must have been left of my amniotic fluid had just emptied onto the bed. While the nurse hooked me up to the monitors I remember saying I wanted to hold off on any pain meds as long as possible. That was when the first real contraction hit and I amended my statement to “Oh my God, unless that’s a contraction….” After it went away I laughed at how intense it was.

Contractions began to come on longer and stronger, as they do. I was making my poor mother and Andrew put pressure on different parts of my body every couple minutes as I suffered through them (their poor wrists). I had the most intense pain in my right inner thigh, oddly.  They both kept telling me to breath and finally I burst out “Stop telling me to breathe! I have my own rhythm to breathe at.” I remember laughing in between each one and apologizing profusely to everyone who came in the room for being so crazy.

Worth mentioning: I had brought everything to the hospital that is recommended, foam roller, essential oils, yoga mat, the works, and never actually got any of it out of the car.

I have, for the longest time, had a MAJOR needle phobia. Even really thinking about it makes me tear up, or did before having a baby. Before pregnancy I’d take Valium every time I had to get a shot and I would still bring my mom to every appointment and wail like a baby… I know, don’t judge me. When I got my blood drawn during pregnancy I’d have to be held down as I would insist that: I’ll come back another day just please let’s not do this today! After being done I’d be in this weird state of simultaneously crying, laughing and apologizing because I KNOW it’s completely irrational. Bah! 

I was convinced through my pregnancy that I would avoid having an epidural because,

a. I knew I could do it on my own and

b. Needles, obviously

.. but these contraction things were starting to get so bad that I was getting nauseated. I guess I have never had pain THAT bad because it was something I hadn’t experienced before. At around 4 am I asked the nurse when she expected transition to occur and she told me her guess was 3pm. 3 PM?! I was already exhausted because it was way past my bedtime and instead of sleeping I was now going through the worst pain of my life, but 11 more hours of this? No way I could handle that. I just made a decision. No more pain.

As terrified as I was of the epidural if I was going to get one, might as well not have to experience another bloody contraction. AMIRITE? I held so still it’s a miracle I wasn’t already on some hospital grade sedative. I was tearing up that I let myself down and didn’t do what I had intended. As soon as it kicked in however, I got enough relief that I took a twenty minute nap and now have a newfound opinion on epidurals. Andrew keeps saying, he was looking at the chart and my contractions were coming in so quickly and immensely he was amazed that I was sleeping through them. He knew it couldn’t be much longer.

Sure enough, the nap only lasted twenty minutes because the nurse came in and said it was time to push. Hm if I had known that maybe I wouldn’t have gotten that epidural. Then again, I was also laughing and joking with everyone in the room as I was pushing so I am sure that would have been a different scenario without the pain relief.

“I see a head full of hair” The nurse had said,

“Red??” Andrew asked hopefully, but alas no, he could see it for himself. It’s a surprise they couldn’t see one of her chubby cheeks first 😉

They asked if I wanted a mirror and I said yes of course. I love seeing that stuff.

The way people talk about it I always thought there was two ends to the bed: The head side, and the baby side. This is wrong, by the time you are curled up in a ball pushing out the baby if you’re in the room you’re in the thick of it. In the past I was a private person, but as they say, all of that truly goes out the window as soon as there is a baby involved.

Eloise Wesley our cooperative happy little baby was born 6:57 am March 3rd 2017 measuring 20.5″  8lbs 6oz. Apparently this is a “big” baby because they kept taking her blood sugar. I just kept asking everyone to PLEASE stop calling my little baby BIG. Oh well I guess a tall daddy equals a tall baby.

 

      

Instagram Worthy Baby Brands On Amazon: Baby Registry

January 7, 2017

While looking for toys and products to furnish our little one’s room I wanted to be able to curate a list of products that would fit the bill of being safe and useful for our wee babe and also be cute, unique and of course “Instagram worthy”.  However, all of the cutest boutiques typically charge a shipping rate, naturally, I don’t blame them and it makes complete sense to me. That being said, it is hard for me to pay shipping rates, ever. – For that extra $7-$15 I could buy another toy/bow/etc. and what if the product isn’t up to snuff or exactly what you expected?

I set up my main baby registry on Amazon because a Prime membership really allows you to order without the concern of, “will I really like this?” There are other brands I have found to love and will write a separate post for those soon!

Pehr Designs – Adorable canvas bins for toys, laundry storage, as well as crib sheets, changing pad covers and amazing mobiles that are drool-worthy for mommas and babies.

Ali & Oli – I got some black wooden eyelashes for above the crib from these guys, they are well made and add another dimension other than simply putting art on the walls you can find them here.

JellyCat – The softest stuffed animals and lovies. Simple enough.

Finn + Emma – Wooden teething toys, carseat toys, play gyms, the most adorable little rattles, of course clothing.

Natursutten – Alright I’m a FTM (first time mom) so I don’t personally have experience with these pacifiers but they are BPA Free, natural rubber and have rave reviews. Looking forward to trying them out for myself; or at least having baby try them, not sure that I can gauge the quality of how awesome a pacifier is to suck on by sticking it in my own mouth.

Little Unicorn – This was the first baby brand I found. I actually saw this blanket on Anthropologie’s site first and became enamored. I am an Anthro girl through and through but to avoid the price mark up, Amazon is a great place. I will include more about them and where to buy in my post that isn’t limited to Amazon too but wanted to mention them here. Their products are wonderful, especially the deluxe muslin. I have a few bibs, swaddles, a towel, the blanket (duh) etc. and can’t wait for them to release more prints.

Design Dua – These baskets have a great story, I love that I will be able to take it with us wherever we go, camping, hotel rooms, mom’s house etc. and she will always get to sleep in her regular bed (at least in my ideal vision without knowing what our baby’s personality will be like). Not to mention they are adorable and add aesthetic to any room. I also know that after baby is too big to sleep in it, it will still make for a fun toy, a boat, place to put toys etc.

Rylee & Cru – I am in love with the styles of their cute little bonnets and bloomers. Particularly the pixie and popcorn styles. While I don’t actually have any in my possession yet I will soon and can update with the texture and fit.

BlaBla Kids – I have a couple of their crib sheets and they work perfectly on our mattress, they are soft, cute and they have amazing dolls that I am coveting too!

L’ovedbaby – These organic onesies and clothing items are so soft and wonderful quality. They do run a little small so I would size up. 

Niteo – Again, soft, organic and oh so cozy onesies and socks.

Manhattan Toy – Colorful and engaging toys, we have the winkle rattle and the wooden balls for our little bub

Freshly Picked – The most adorable gender neutral moccasins for your little one that won’t fall off their feet and add some flare to any outfit. All my friends rave about these, and say how much better they are than any knock-offs they have tried. If you opt for a neutral color they’ll go with every outfit, making them definitely worth the price.

I will keep adding more brands as I come across them! Are there any I missed and should look into myself?

Thirty Weeks Pregnant

January 1, 2017

I can’t believe I am already thirty weeks pregnant. 3/4 of the way down, only 68 more days to go – give or take. CRAZY!

I have been so lucky during this pregnancy, no complications, minimal symptoms, just a growing belly with a healthy kicking baby that loves to move around. I hope I’m not jinxing myself, I hear the worst is yet to come; whether it’s those final few weeks, labor, or postpartum. –I can’t imagine not loving having this little girl in our arms though! I’ll take whatever is coming my way, sleepless nights, soreness, hormonal changes etc. bring it on. As long as she is healthy and happy, (and hopefully a good sleeper 😉 ).

We are getting close to finishing the nursery and just need the final touches, will have more details in another post on that soon!

OH and let’s add clumsiness to the list of symptoms at thirty weeks. I have been tripping, spilling and have even slipped and completely wiped out on my butt in the past week. Working on making sure I’m always holding on to the railing at this point to avoid anything more disastrous.

On a final note, Happy New Year everyone!

Third Trimester: 28 Weeks Pregnant

December 18, 2016

Holy Moly, we are in the third trimester at 28 weeks. I can’t decide if it feels like I’ve been pregnant forever, or if it’s been speeding by. All I know is that I find myself battling between enjoying this time and counting the days until our little babe is here.

We went to mammoth with our family this week, last time we went most of the snow had melted so it was wonderful to get to see it as a winter wonderland this time around. Of course, I stayed inside for most of the time since I am banned from snowboarding. (Alright I admit even if I was allowed I probably would have skipped it). Instead I got to fulfill my baby fever by watching my sweet niece and our little girl’s future best friend, Avery, who is 2.5 months old.

Third Trimester – Symptoms:

  • Sore ribs: Ugh, I know it’s minor but my ribs, particularly on my right side are completely bruised.
  • Nesting: Definitely nesting, I just want to make the house perfect. However, since we just moved in May, there is a lot left to do and on one income, at least for now, it makes it really hard not to spend money on the extra things. These include art and decor, toys for our wee one and other items that would help with convenience but we are obviously surviving without. – Just gotta wait for those sales!
  • Sleeplessness: I guess I should just take it in stride, (and just get used to it already) but every night I wake up for a few hours and can’t fall asleep/get comfortable. Seems like it’s normal with all the changes happening, I literally have to throw my belly side to side to flip over in the bed.

I’ll add to the list if I think of anything else, but this is all that comes to mind right now.

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Grand Canyon Road Trip

November 27, 2016
Antelope Canyon

Over the Thanksgiving holiday we decided to take some time to check off another bucket list item before this little girl gets here. We opted to do a “Grand Canyon road trip” through Southern Utah and Northern Arizona to see a few of the national sights on our way to San Diego, where we ultimately celebrated Thanksgiving with Andrew’s side of the family.

We had a lot we wanted to see and covered a lot of ground in a very short amount of time. I’m sure we would have loved to add a few more stops but being preggo and it being cold outside is slightly limiting as far as intensity of activities and flexibility to camp where-ever. May not be such a great idea to camp in the snow on a deflated air mattress while lugging around those extra lbs on your belly. Don’t ask, but I will say, getting in and out of an air mattress that isn’t completely firm is near impossible while expecting. – If I may though, I have to give myself credit for being ok camping and sitting in a car for 2000+ miles considering the circumstances.

The ride was well worth it. Here are the stops we made:

Death Valley: Our first stop was in Death Valley. Here we stayed at Stovepipe Wells a first-come first-serve campground with a solo bar and general store. We arrived as the sun was going down and got to see an amazing light show by way of the infinite stars and when we left in the morning got to walk out through the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. 

Zion National Park: Our first day here we were able to do a couple hikes through the park and overnight it started to storm. On our way out, due to the flash flooding, we were in for a treat because the entire national park turns into a bed of a million waterfalls. – Anywhere you can imagine water pouring, there is. It was quite incredible. I am just sorry I don’t have any good images capturing the beauty of it.

Antelope Canyon: It was actually quite pricy to get in here, about $46 per person, which to me is a lot for what lasted about 30 minutes. The land formations are unlike any other though, and I don’t regret splurging to have checked it off our list. Our guide was really informative and, due to the rain, which miraculously let up as soon as we got inside, the crowds had dispersed leaving us to take some really wonderful pictures without interruption.

Horseshoe Bend: Horseshoe bend was one of the most beautiful places. We were standing on top of the cliffs and it simply didn’t look real. The photo where I am sitting on the ledge I remember thinking, and it took a moment to realize how small and vulnerable we are in this huge and incredible world.

Monument Valley: Monument Valley closes around 4:30 in the wintertime so I would definitely recommend looking into that before you go. We got there at 4:31 and after a little shameless begging, somehow, convinced the lady at the gate to let us in. We had currently been watching WestWorld which made us appreciate the amazing monuments even more.

Grand Canyon: BRR! We got up early for some sunrise pictures, froze our fingers and noses and didn’t even get anything worthy – you won’t see any of the pictures we took here. However, it was definitely awe inspiring to actually be there overlooking the landscape as the sun woke up.

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It’s a girl!

October 30, 2016
it's a girl, gender reveal

I had moved up my anatomy scan appointment from 21 weeks to 18 weeks because I just couldn’t wait any longer and, believe it or not, it’s a girl!

Or so they say… I am still a little hesitant to commit to the idea for sure, just because I wanted it, and I know there is a chance, albeit small, but nonetheless a chance they may be wrong. However, we (my mother, Andrew and I) were all in the room and there was nothing there between those legs, except for an umbilical cord; they show you the fluid going through it to differentiate to avoid any confusion. Additionally, there was no mistaking the three lines that indicate girl parts.

Andrew’s first words: “You really know how to get what you want”. I guess we had a 50/50 chance of getting a girl even if Shettle’s Theory didn’t work for us. You can read about my prediction using nub theory here.

I’m so excited to finally be able to place a gender to this growing nugget though! Let the shopping begin!

By the way, we got to reveal to everyone on Halloween in our awesome, yet simple, unicorn outfits; Andrew was super into it, haha just kidding, but what a trooper. 🙂

 

 

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It's a girl ultrasound