Friday, April 27, 2012

Stain Solutions

Happy Friday, friends! I totally neglected the blog yesterday - I have been a busy bee trying to get this house in order for our baptism shindig next weekend.

I wanted to re-visit my stain post and tell you that I GOT IT OUT! I posted a picture at the bottom of the post because I can't figure out how to get it where I want it using the iPad app. I should have taken a "before" but I forgot. Anyway, the sleeve used to have a big brown spot, and now it is white again. THANK YOU for all of your help - I used a combination of your suggestions and what I found on the internet. Before I tell you what I did, I wanted to summarize the results of my research and suggestions for you in case you're ever in stain trouble:

- Oxibath: fill a huge pot halfway full with water and bring it to a boil. Take it off the burner, put a scoop of Oxiclean in, and then drop your garment(s) in. Let it soak for as little or as long of a time as you'd like. Repeat if necessary.
- Dirtex - a product sold at Home Depot
- Powdered dishwashing detergent - wet the stain, make a paste with the detergent, and then I'm assuming use some kind of brush to work it into the stain.
- Hydrogen peroxide - the kind you get at beauty supply stores for hair treatments.
- Dawn dish detergent used as a spot treatment
- Don't dry in the dryer until the stain is gone - it will cause it to set.
- Sunlight is the best bleaching treatment.

Perhaps my favorite piece of advice was from Tammy, who told me that her mother always told her that if you can't see it from an airplane, it's not that noticeable. True story indeed, which I was totally going for until I decided to just see what I could do.

In the end, I remembered that my Mom and Granny always swore by Dawn for everything, so I pre-treated the dress by spot cleaning with Dawn. I literally poured Dawn on a toothbrush and gave the spots a good scrubbing, let it sit for an hour or two, rinsed with warm water, let it dry, and then repeated. I think I repeated three times, and it lightened it tremendously. Since it still wasn't totally gone and I was determined, I tried the Oxibath next. I will tell you that it is important to only fill the pot half full with water, because when you put the Oxiclean in, there are a LOT of bubbles and it will likely overflow. I would also recommend not putting the Oxicelan in until you've removed the pot from the burner and put it elsewhere - like your sink. We have a gas stove, and I didn't realize it would bubble as much as it did and it overflowed EVERYWHERE. Thank the Lord Dan was here to say we needed to clean it right away, because my plan was to wait until the water cooled off slash it was dry to clean it. This would have surely been a disaster, because the concoction sure did get down in our gas line and I was sure I'd broken our stove in the process. Not to worry, my personal handyman slash husband took care of it. Anyway, I digress. I let the dress soak in the Oxibath overnight and then put it in the sunlight to dry the next morning, and lo and behold the stain disappeared! Just call me Suzy Stain Remover.

So, there you have it. Keep in mind that this stain was at least 16 years old (that's how old my youngest sister is, and she was the last one to wear it) - maybe even longer if Katy or I were the ones who spit up on it (my vote is Katy, ha!). I had no idea that even if you launder the garment, the bacteria build-up can cause the stain to reappear in storage. Motherhood teaches me something new every day!

I'm so glad the stain came out - she was going to wear the dress regardless, but it looks brand new now. More good news: I tried it on her yesterday and IT FITS - she's not too chunky for it! Plenty of room for her Buddha belly and thunder thighs. I sent Mom a picture of her in it, and Mom said she looks just like I did when I wore it. She also told me that upon reminiscing with my Dad, they remembered that my Gramma Eaker, whom Lilly is named after, bought that dress for me when I was a baby. It made me cry! How special that she'll get to wear the dress which was given to her mother by her namesake. Tears!

Lilly will have not one, but TWO firsts this weekend: first night without Mom and first time with a babysitter! I am heading out shortly for my first overnight trip without Lilly, and I am a nervous wreck! I am excited to attend my cousin, Christie's bachelorette party for the evening, and I think Dan is excited for some Daddy/daughter time with Lilly and Layla, but I sure will miss them all. I'm sure I'll be a nervous wreck about the babysitter, too - I'll report back in another post. Hope your weekend is great, and don't forget to vote!

Sarah


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WTFT (What the french toast)?!?!?!

Good evening, friends! Tonight we're going to play a little game I like to call, "Tell Me About the Craziest Thing That Happened to You on April 24, 2012, the 3-Month Anniversary of the Birth of your Sweet Lilly." It's a fun game, just you wait and see.

I have blogged before about what a pain it is to maneuver around my pump when caring for Lilly. I typically try to time it and pump right after she eats, so that she's happy or sleepy and my life will be easier. It's hard to pick her up, change her diaper, etc. with cone boobs. So yesterday, she ate and was laying beside me on the couch playing and drifting off to sleep, when all of a sudden Layla started barking at something outside. Layla's barking startled Lilly, and the child started SCREAMING and crying the most pitiful cry ever - almost as pitiful as her cry was when she got her 2-month shots. There were huge crocodile tears - lots of them - and she was crying so hard she kept gagging. She has never done that before, and it was truly so pitiful that my eyes watered for her because she was literally inconsolable - nothing I did helped.

I tried everything, and finally got tired of trying to maneuver around my pump so I gave up and took it off. I didn't get dressed or anything, just went to pick her up to try to comfort her, and you will NEVER. GUESS. what this child did. SHE LATCHED ON AND STARTED NURSING. Let me let that sink in...

Yep, you read correctly. My child, who had a perfect latch until her pediatrician made us supplement with formula and after that absolutely refused to nurse, latched on yesterday. Three months later. After I spent the first month and a half of her life in tears at every. single. feeding because either her latch was so terrible I was bleeding, or she was just over it started screaming and refused to breast feed any time I put her near a boob.

I was baffled, to say the least. I was so surprised that I just sat there for a minute with my jaw hanging open. I immediately texted Stephanie. I also responded to an e-mail from Elisabeth about something totally unrelated with the news, because Elisabeth spent several hours trying to help us before I gave up and went to exclusively pumping. My question to both was: what in the H@%*?!?!?! Is this just a freak thing? Probably it's just a freak thing. If I try again at the next feeding, no way she'll do it. Should I try again at the next feeding? What do I do?!?!

The only thing I can figure is that (TMI coming your way, skip this part boys, sorry Dad!) pumping makes your nipples really big, and it was more like a bottle nipple and she just went for it? Because it wasn't even time for her to eat yet - she took 10-15 pulls and then fell asleep. So, when she started to wake and around the time I knew she'd be hungry, I held her off with the paci and pumped for two minutes to get them big again and by George, the child nursed...again. Twice in one day.

I am still in shock. I didn't want to blog it yesterday in her "developments" because I didn't want to jinx it, but she has nursed for every feeding with the exception of one (tonight when I went to the gym, Dan gave her a bottle since his boobies aren't full of milk, ha!) for the last 24 hours. Her latch is perfect, and it doesn't hurt me one bit. The only thing she's trying to get the hang of is when to stop - twice today she spit up from eating too much. At first I kept thinking, GOSH this would have been SO MUCH EASIER if you had done this from the beginning. But then I started thinking, maybe this is how it was supposed to be. I honestly think that this was God's way of teaching me another lesson in patience.

I am so excited about this development that I wasn't even mad when she woke up at 4:30 - she went to bed way earlier than usual last night and I couldn't get her to wake up for the dream feed, so I figured she'd be up kind of early anyway and was, for once, excited about it. It was so easy and so much quicker and less of a pain than coming downstairs to heat a bottle. I fed her right in her room, still in her swaddle, and she was back asleep in less than 20 minutes.

The benefit to all of the pumping I've had to endure is that (1) I have 300 ounces of milk already frozen in case I need it in the future and (2) I'm already used to it for when I go back to work. I am still trying to get the hang of knowing when the ladies are empty in order to keep my supply up for when I go back to work. For example, I know I always get 16-20 oz first thing in the morning, and I knew there was no way she ate that much this morning, so I pumped after she ate and got 10 ounces or so in 12 minutes.

Anyway, I thought this was exciting information and worth sharing considering how supportive and encouraging you have all been. The moral to the story is: have patience, and don't give up. And my child is stubborn as all get out and has been holding out on me. Wonder where she gets that from? I say her Daddy. ;-)

Happy Hump Day! Stay tuned tomorrow for laundry tips & tricks and how I got the stain out (!!!) of her baptism dress!

Sarah

PS - Did you vote today?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Three Months Old

Well, here we are again! I can't believe it's already time for another monthly update...and two weeks from yesterday, time for my maternity leave to end and for me to go back to work. I still don't want to talk about it! I am not sure how the format of this one is going to look - my sweet/super-smart-with-tech-stuff husband hooked the wireless keyboard up to the iPad for me so that I could blog from the couch, wahoo! Thanks for all of the stain help today - I will report back on what works! These update posts always tend to be super long, so without further ado, here are our three month stats.

Weight/Length: I really did have every intention of weighing and measuring Lilly today, I promise. I thought about it at least four times...and forgot each time. Maybe I'll remember tomorrow? Or maybe I should just remove this category because, let's be honest, even when I say I'm going to do it later, I never do. Mother of the year, yes?

Sleep: Still sleeping great! She typically goes down sometime between 10-11pm. Her wake up time varies - last week she was sleeping until 9:00 or after every day. This week she's been waking up between 7:00 - 8:00 am. I know I should not complain, because she's a wonderful sleeper, but my only gripe is trying to get her in bed earlier. The last time we were at the pediatrician, she said that it's still too early to start scheduling (6 months is the key here, apparently), but that it wasn't a bad idea to start a routine, specifically around bed time, to get her used to it. A lot of times I'll actually put Lilly in bed between 9-10, and then she'll talk and laugh and giggle until she either gets back up to eat or eventually falls asleep. She doesn't (knock on wood) cry when I put her in the crib (I'm sure this will change once we try to transition her out of the swaddle), but I can't figure out why she isn't tired earlier. Especially since for the past few days, she hasn't taken a good 3-hour afternoon nap like usual, so I know she's tired...why won't she sleep before 11? The pediatrician told us at her 2-month appointment that she would gradually move bedtime up on her own, we would notice it moving up by an hour one week and another hour the next, but so far that hasn't happened, so I'm at a loss.

Feeding: Still eating well, as evidenced by photos that you will see shortly. We have had a new development in this category, but I don't want to talk about it yet for fear of jinxing it, so I'll report back later in the week. In the meantime, I am pumping around 4-5 times/day on average: in the morning when we wake up (let's say 8) and then every 4 hours after that (12, 4, 8). If my last pumping session of the day is before 10 pm, I pump again at 10 pm (even if I just pumped at 9) just to drain the ladies a little so that they don't hurt as much when I wake up. We have around 300 ounces stored in our brand new freezer, so I'm doing well on the "being ahead" part. I guess one upside to her refusing to nurse is that I've got the whole pumping deal down-pat for when I return to work! In terms of Lilly, she is eating a 5-oz. bottle every 3-4 hours during the day - it's normally closer to every 3 hours if she's awake, but sometimes if she's napping she'll go 4. We are still doing a dream feed and trying to determine when to cut it out - I guess that will coincide with when we figure out how to move up her bed time?

Firsts This Month: Laughing! I've only gotten a couple of out-loud laughs, but boy are they sweet. I can't wait until she belly laughs all the time! First trip to the beach, which I blogged about previously - it was cold, but we had fun! First visit with the Easter bunny. First meal out in public - we've actually had a few now and they've all been very successful! First trip to church, also successful. I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot.

Developments: Lilly is awake and alert for most of the day now - definitely not sleeping all day like before. She is happiest in the mornings - all smiles, giggling, and LOTS of talking/cooing, which is super cute - she's got Daddy eating out of her hand already, for sure (he takes the morning feeding)! She has decided she likes tummy time - only on the boppy, but she will hold that head up for a LONG time now and appears to have very good control - see below, I can't figure out how to put pictures where I want them using the blogger app. :-( She has also started batting at the toys that hang from her mat and from her carseat. Sometimes it's accidental, but accidental or on purpose it makes her giggle and it is the sweetest sound. She also has started to grab onto things - not super well, yet, but she's getting there. I'm not sure whether this is considered a "development," but several times recently she has sucked her thumb. Not her whole hand like usual - she actually puts specifically her thumb straight up to her mouth and sucks. We'll see if it sticks. She definitely recognizes faces and voices - it is so sweet to watch her light up when she sees or hears Dan or me. She is successfully napping in the crib - most times twice per day at least. She is able to "sit up" now when I prop her up in a chair instead of sagging to the side like a sloth. We don't have a bumbo seat, but I wonder what she'd do if I sat her in one. She's also quite nosey, like her namesake. Gosh, that was a lot!

Likes: Bath time, eating, cuddling, stroller rides, being worn in the baby k'tan (after you get her in, that is), singing and music, her swing, her bouncy chair, her piano gym play mat, tummy time on the boppy, being outside, toys, books, the sunshine (unless it's shining in her face in the car seat), Layla, watching the ceiling fan, people watching.

Dislikes: Being cold or hungry. Or overtired/over-stimulated. Oh and getting dressed - specifically anything that has to go over her head. That's really all I can think of - she's very happy, we're very lucky!

What I'm Thankful For: A job. I know I joke about dreading going back, because I never thought I'd want to stay at home but I have just enjoyed hanging out with Lilly all day SO much. The truth is, I like my job and the people I work with, so I'm anxious to see how all of it goes. I'm also thankful for our families and all they have done for us throughout the past few months. And the miracle blanket, which is a recent discovery that we're in LOVE with. I'm also thankful for whoever invented that miracle drug that I took which enabled all of my clothes to fit properly again...oh wait, that didn't happen? Sigh.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Lilly's baptism next weekend. It will be a very special weekend, and we're looking forward to spending it with all of our friends and family.

Next Pediatrician Appointment: I don't think we have another one until 4 months, so the end of May.

How Mommy's Doing: Great! I am rested and have gotten the hang of pumping, which is good since I'll need to use that skill starting approximately two weeks from yesterday. My only complaint is that none of my clothes are fitting right, but word on the street is that they may never fit the same again...sigh.

I couldn't decide on just one photo, and of course the blogger app won't let me insert them in the post however I want to - or at least, I can't figure it out, so below are a few from the past few days. Sorry this one's lengthy, and don't forget to vote today. ;-)

Happy three months, Lilly bean! We love you more than you could ever imagine. :-)

Sarah

Stain Help!

Just realized this didn't post yesterday...whoops!  I need some help, friends.


Lilly's baptism is coming up on Sunday, May 6.  I have a beautiful christening gown that was worn by both myself and my two sisters that I am SO excited for Lilly to wear, assuming it fits.  It is 3M, and she is currently still wearing 3M clothes but not for too much longer, I don't think, even though 6M is a tad big still.  At least it looks like a big 3M, so hopefully it will fit.  Anyway, I digress.  Aforementioned beautiful and very sentimental christening gown has a couple of stains on it.  They aren't really very noticeable, and at first I was just going to ignore them, but then I decided I'd ask for advice and keep trying before sending it to the cleaners one final time to be pressed.


I did some googling, but would rather have suggestions from people I know who have tried things!  Per my research, I discovered that clothes that were pristine when packed away for storage can have old stains on them again when taken out of storage - something to do with the bacteria in formula/breast milk/whatever.  So even if you wash them and they are spotless, if you take them out of storage a year later the stains could reappear.  I am positive that's what happened with this dress, because I know my mother and she can normally get a stain out of anything.  


I sent the dress to the cleaners and they couldn't get it out.  Bummer, since they already dried and pressed it, because it may have set the stain.  I tried using a toothbrush and putting oxiclean directly on the stain and then letting it sit for several hours and rinsing with warm water, but that didn't work either.


Anything else for old baby stains that I haven't thought of and could try?  One thing I read was something called an oxibath: bring a large pot half full of water to a boil, add a scoop of oxiclean and then throw the dress in to soak all day or overnight.  Has anyone tried that?  A lot of people said to try drying it in the sunshine, but if the stain is still there I'm not sure how that would help? Anyway, help me!  Obviously I don't want to do anything too drastic that could harm the dress, either, so if it comes down to it I'll just leave the stains.


Like I said, not the end of the world if it doesn't come out, because it's not really even that noticeable.  It's just that since I started working on it, I thought I'd see if there was anything else I should try before giving up.


Please and thank you!  And don't forget to vote!  We'll be back later today with L's "Happy 3 Months" (!!!!!) post.


Toodles!


Sarah

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Today is a good day.

First, I wanted to thank you all for your ideas, suggestions, etc. about Lilly's rash - both the one on her neck and her diaper rash!  I got a TON of responses via Facebook, e-mail and blog comments.  I may do a follow-up post at some point later in the week to consolidate all of your suggestions so that everyone can see them for future use.  I especially got some great ideas on the diaper rash.  For the rash on her neck, quite a few people - my Mom and Granny included - suggested corn starch, so I went for it.  It sucked the moisture out and dried that rash right up within a few hours!  I will definitely be keeping my container of Argo in my baby supplies basket on the changing table for lots of future use.  Thanks again!


So, down to business.  We have been in major preparation mode for Lilly's upcoming baptism.  There are quite a few things that we've been meaning to do around the house, but you know how it goes - time always seems to get away from us.  SO, with this baptism coming up, we are going to have quite a lot of family and friends in town, and we are SO excited.  It has also "lit a fire," if you will, for us to get some things done around here!  There is a never ending list of decorating items that I keep meaning to get to - I always seem to get overwhelmed, so at some point I am going to tackle one room at a time and not move on until that room is done.  I think it will save my sanity, and spread out the damage that I'm sure will happen to the bank account.  ;-)  At the top of my list is Lilly's nursery.  There are a lot of small projects that need to happen in there, and while I'm sure it won't be 100% completed in two weeks, I wanted to do a few things before our guests arrive so that we could show it off.  


Dan's parents were in town for the weekend, and we had a lovely time with them.  Unfortunately for them, we also put them to work.  :-)  Saturday morning, Dan volunteered for the Spring Sprint, which is a 5k Run/Walk and 1-mile "fun run" put on by St. Timothy's School to benefit the Rotary Club's Styres Scholarship Fund and WakeMed Children's Diabetes & Endocrinology.  Since I need to get my fat @$$ in gear Dan was volunteering, Bill, Susan, Lilly and I participated in the 1-mile "fun run," which actually we walked (but were not in last place!) and also is not actually "fun" as there are a lot of hills, hence the name "North Hills."  But whatever.  After the race, we grabbed a quick breakfast to regroup and feed Lilly and then headed over to the NC State Farmer's Market to get some plants for the yard.  I will post pictures at a later date when it isn't raining out, but we planted azaleas in the front beds and hung some pretty green fern-looking plants with pretty white flowers that the sales lady referred to as "bridal veil" on the front porch.  In the back, we dug up some holly bushes that my diva husband for whatever reason hated and planted gardenias in their place, and we planted confederate jasmine, which will eventually (hopefully) grow up and over the pergola that connects the garage to the house.  And by "we" I mean our yard boys, Bill and Dan.  Susan and I sat on the back porch drinking Blue Moons and bossing the boys around, and Lillian took a killer nap.  :-)


Since the yard is closer to meeting Dan's standards, after church and brunch today, Bill & Susan offered to watch Lilly and give Dan and I time to do anything that we needed to.
Lilly's pretty church dress!  Couldn't get her to cooperate sans paci but wanted Grandmommy to see how pretty she looked in her gift!
We decided to take them up on their offer and headed out to run some errands.  I have been in search of a cool frame for months to use for a project in Lilly's room, and the problem I've been running into is that nothing I've found matches what's in my head.  My original idea was to use said frame to create this bow holder.  However, my sweet niece Erica gave Lilly a super cute bow holder at one of our showers, so I decided that I wanted to make it into a mirror to hang over her changing table instead.  We ran to the flea market at the fair grounds today in search of a desk chair, and behold, I found my mirror!!!
It isn't exactly what I had in mind, but it's the closest we've found to perfect.  It wasn't originally for sale, was just decorative, but it has a teeny tiny chip in it, so Dan talked the guy into selling it to us for $40!  Score, and at a MUCH smaller price tag than I anticipated.  In my head, I wanted to spend no more than $100 on a frame, and then find a mirror to fit.  This was a win/win for all involved!  Here's a close up of the detail:
I'll post pictures of the finished product when I'm done crafting it up.  :-)  I am so excited and can't wait to see how it turns out!


After the flea market, we went to Lowe's to get supplies for my craft.  We didn't find what we were looking for, but guess what we did find?
Yep, you guessed it.  A CHEST FREEZER FOR THE GARAGE!  I have been BEGGING for one of these suckers for several years (Know how I know I'm getting old?) and Dan kept saying that we didn't need it and didn't have room for it.  The time has FINALLY come when my breast milk has taken over our entire freezer in the house, so I was able to convince Dan that we truly need it.  We are now the proud owners of a freezer to store aforementioned breast milk and also a cow.  WAHHOOO!
So, we've been busy bees around here as you can see.  Several more projects will (hopefully) be completed over the next two weeks.  I'm okay with it, because as I mentioned before, they're all things that I've been meaning to do for the entire year since we bought this house.  Maybe I will finally have it the way I want it by the time we are ready to sell it however many years from now.  Ha!


Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  Stay tuned for updates on project completions, and hopefully at some point in the very near future, the nursery reveal.  And don't forget to vote! 


Sarah

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rash Help!

Unfortunately for Lilly, I think she inherited (at least) two not-so-fun things from me: VERY sensitive skin, and being hot-natured.  Her poor skin is very sensitive to everything - even the most bland, organic products cause her to break out.  She is SO prone to diaper rash that I try to change her diaper literally the second it is dirty/wet (which is not hard because she also inherited from me a hatred of being dirty, and therefore lets me know as soon as she needs to be changed) and I also put diaper cream on her with every change.    Even with that, she still gets pretty bad diaper rash sometimes, which call for more desperate measures such as letting her hang out on some towels butt naked for an hour after bath time to air her tiny lady parts out.  As long as she's not cold, she loves being naked, so it works out for all involved!  Sadly, this also probably results in more diaper usage than the normal household.  I originally wanted to try cloth diapers, but decided against it since none of our daycares will allow it.  However, all of this sensitivity is causing me to reconsider, because I've read that cloth is the solution!  Anyway, I digress.

Not only does Lilly not like being cold, but she does NOT like being hot, either.  With the weather here in Raleigh having been so nice, there have been some pretty hot days.  I'm sure the fabric that car seats are made of contributes to the problem, because mostly I've only noticed her sweating when she's in the car seat.  Since she is a fatty total chunkster, sweat, spit up, milk, drool, etc. tend to be easily missed and get stuck in her little fat rolls, which irritate aforementioned sensitive skin.  I have been battling this nasty little rash for a week now:
See neck area above
Close up :-(
I feel like a terrible mother, but no matter what I do, I cannot combat this thing!  This rash started when we were at the beach for Easter - it was pretty cold, so we think that it was caused by not wiping her well enough when she was eating and got lazy and drooled milk everywhere.  We tried to be more conscious of spills and wiping, and we powdered it a few times a day and I thought it had gone away.  However, I then noticed that it was back this week, I think due to the fact that it was a lot warmer than usual outside over the weekend and she gets hot and sweaty and moisture just gathers there.  Anyway, I had been powdering it a few times per day, with my thought process being that I should keep it dry.  That didn't work, so after talking with Stephanie, I decided to use aquaphor - she said that when Hadley has gotten it, the aquaphor has done the trick (that's why it's so shiny in the above picture, I had just put ointment on it).  Bad news: the aquaphor isn't working either!  Today I've gone back to powdering, and instead of just a few times/day I've powdered every time I have changed a diaper.  It may take a few days, but it still doesn't look better to me.  Luckily, it doesn't seem to be bothering sweet Lilly:

Any other tips/ointments/powders/miracle rash destroyers that I have not tried/don't know about?  Help!  I want this rash to be gone from my sweet girl's chunky neck rolls.  Unfortunately, I'm afraid we're going to have a hard time with this over the summer being that it's probably going to be a scorcher.  Sorry, Lilly bean!

Hope everyone has had a great Thursday - and don't forget to vote!

Sarah

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Newborn Photos

Well friends, the day has come.  Birth announcements are out the door, go me!  Well, most of them anyway.  I know, it only took me three months, SIGH.  I've actually had the announcements in my possession for over a month, but as I mentioned previously, I would NOT let myself mail them until after I finished my 200+ thank you notes!  I finally finished those last week, and was so excited to send out birth announcements because I LOVE the way they turned out:
They look great, right?!  That was one of my favorite photos from the session. 

We decided not to have maternity photos done for several reasons, one of them being that I decided I'd rather spend the money on having newborn photos done once Lilly arrived.  Whether or not you choose to have maternity photos taken, I would HIGHLY recommend the newborn photos.  Ours turned out beautifully and will be such a nice keepsake.  In fact, I wish we could have them done professionally all of the time so that someone who actually knows how to work their camera can document Lilly's growth!  I will take a photography class...some day.  Like when the day comes that I can take a shower, take care of Lilly AND cook dinner...all in the same day.  :-)

Becca Robinson took Lilly's newborn photos, and she did a fantastic job.  She was very reasonably priced (although I think her prices have since gone up) and did a great job with Lilly.  She came to our house and brought a basket full of props, although most of the props we used were things I already had, because I bought things throughout the pregnancy with newborn photos in mind (and we were also given some great props as gifts!).  Becca was also very patient when we got Layla involved.  She stayed quite a long time and did a variety of poses, and we're very pleased with how the photos turned out.  If you choose to have newborn photos done, I'm sure your photographer will give you plenty of tips, but here are the ones that Becca gave us (and they worked like a charm!):
  • Have the photos taken within the first 14 days of life, or as close to it as you can.  I think ours were actually on day 15.  For the first two weeks, baby is still so tired from birth that they sleep a LOT, which is optimal for a newborn session.
  • Blast the heat!  We set the thermostat to 80, and all of the adults were SWEATING.  But it was good for Lilly, because she was nice and cozy (and naked) and therefore sooooooo sleepy.
  • Once the photographer arrives, take off all of baby's clothes, wrap in a blanket and feed while the photographer is setting up.  This way, baby will be full, warm and sleepy - and therefore (hopefully) more cooperative.
  • Try not to let baby have a big nap prior ot the photographer's arrival.  Obviously, this isn't always possible, but it's harder to get them into a deep sleep if they've just had a huge nap.
If I remember correctly, Becca was set to arrive at 9:00 a.m. - and she did, right on time.  We were still having to wake Lilly up at this point every 3-4 hours to feed her, per doctor's orders, so I think she woke up at 5:30 or 6:00 on her own and then went back to sleep.  We woke her up around 8:30 because I was still trying to breast feed and knew it took a LONG time (lazy girl!), so we woke her up, changed her, got her good and awake and then let her feed until around 9:15 at which point she was good and asleep.  She slept like a champ for the rest of the session.

Here are six thousand just a few of my favorites:












If you're dying to see the rest, you can do so here.

Hope everyone had a fantastic hump day!  And don't forget to click on our banner at the top and vote for us.  :-)

Love!

Sarah

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Your Children Want YOU.

And we're back, friends!  We arrived home close to midnight last night, and my child was WIDE awake.  I finally laid her in the crib that way (but swaddled) and let her talk herself to sleep so I could pump.  And sleep she did, thank the Lord.  I've spent the day so far trying to catch up around the house (it's harder than it sounds!).

While I was away, I read an article that I noticed quite a few of my Mommy friends had posted to Facebook.  It's called, "Your Children Want YOU" from The Power of Moms blog.  Have you read it?  If not, you should.  It's targeted at Moms, but I think the message is important for everyone.

It's so easy to compare yourself to others and second guess your abilities as a mother.  I was talking with my sister-in-law the other week about how the moment you have children, it seems like everything is a competition.  You know someone whose child can perform a complete singing and tapdancing routine at 2 months of age?  Oh, that's cool, my kid has perfected the art of blowing out her diaper all over herself and me on a regular basis.  And in an eating (a LOT) and subsequently developing sweet little fat rolls competition, Lillian would win hands down.  Try THAT on for size.  My sister-in-law was telling me about someone she knew who insisted that her child was standing up at 1 month old.  It turned out that by "standing" she meant (obviously) stretching his legs out really straight and standing with support from his parents.  Seriously?  So when I read this article, it really hit home, and had me thinking.  Why do we feel the need to compete?  Why do we feel the need to compare ourselves to other parents, and our children to other children?  This doesn't really apply only to parenting, but all aspects of our lives.

Social media has become both my best friend and worst enemy in this regard.  I mean really, have you SEEN some of the nurseries that are featured on Pinterest and various other websites?  I had every intention of getting Lilly's done before she arrived, but due to a series of complications, it didn't happen.  She is now 2.5 months old and doesn't have a completed nursery.  Whoops.  And don't even get me started on the baby showers and birthday parties.  I find myself wondering WHERE these women find the time (and money - they clearly do not have a bank account nazi stalker husband such as mine).  Case in point, a baby shower featured on one of my favorite blogs, Chic & Cheap Nursery (all images below courtesy of their website):






I have thrown quite a few showers in my day, and after each one I felt like I did a good job with them.  But not a single one of them were as elaborate as the one pictured above images.  Seriously?  Who can compete with that?!  I have not yet gone back to work (don't want to talk about it!), and I still can't find time to even take a shower some days, much less have a spotless house and cook dinner for my husband every night (I'm working on it!). 

I would love to challenge myself to stop looking at blogs, Pinterest, Facebook, etc.  However, we all know I love them all too much to give them up (it's a problem, I know).  So instead, my challenge to myself is to not be so hard on myself.  Who cares if there is dog hair on the couch?  Who cares if I have a box full of keepsakes that I keep telling myself I'm going to turn into a scrapbook for Lilly but haven't yet found the time?  Who cares if I still have not ordered a single picture of the 2839473284 I've taken throughout Lilly's 2.5 months of life to hang in my house in picture frames that I made by myself from blades of grass found in my back yard (I'm sure someone's done that before and there is a tutorial to be found - LOL)?  Not Lilly, that's for sure.  Dan may care a little (mainly about the dinner part), but if he does, he's been too polite to say so, and I love him even more for that.  The truth is, I have all I need already.

Daddy playing with Lilly before he had to leave for work

Tummy Time
Naked tummy time with Aunt Syd

Naked play time on my favorite mat!

The cheeks!  I die.
I have a happy, (very) healthy baby whose face lights up when she hears my voice.  I have a dreamy, loving husband who is the best Daddy in the world and doesn't say a word when he comes home some days to find that I'm still in my pajamas and the house is a wreck.  And as for cooking dinner every night and having a clean house?  I'll get there.  :-)

Sarah

PS - Did you vote today?  ;-)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hiatus...again.

Just dropping in to say "hi." I had every intention of posting today and then things got crazy and I ran out of time. Not to worry, we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow! As for tonight, we just got back to Raleigh from our Charlotte excursion. Why oh why is my child still wide awake?! Until tomorrow, I'll leave you with some cuteness.

Sarah

Friday, April 13, 2012

I just do it better.

I stumbled across this photo on Pinterest the other day and it reminded me a lot of something that's been going on in my house recently (plus, let's be honest, it's hilarious):


Let me give you an example: we never know when Lilly is going to be ready to go to bed.  It is generally sometime between 8:00 and 10:00.  Some nights she is falling asleep at 7:30, others she is wide awake until 10:00 or 10:30.  Still other nights (like two nights ago), she SHOULD go to bed at 8:00, and I can tell she's tired (red eyes, rubbing aforementioned red eyes, lots of yawns, eyes closing and jerking them back open just as she's drifting off) but she fights it (Why does she fight it?  It's not like she's old enough to not want to miss anything yet.) until 10:00 and then crashes and won't wake up to eat, so she wakes up at 4:30 a.m.  Joy.  Anyway, so in order to establish some kind of routine, we give her a bath right before we think she'll eat, feed her, and then keep it kind of dark and quiet and let her play, read her books, etc. and watch her like a hawk.  As soon as she starts closing her eyes, I swaddle her (which wakes her up, but not to worry, I normally reserve about 1/2 an ounce of her bottle to giver her post-swaddle, and typically it works like a charm) and take her up to bed.  Most of the time she'll go right to sleep, but sometimes she wakes back up (even though she was almost asleep not five seconds earlier).  One of two things happens next: she either plays and talks to herself until she falls asleep, or she demands to get back up and I start the drill all over as soon as those little eyes close again.

Last night she started acting like she was going to doze off around 8:00.  Dan caught it, and swaddled her up.  I predicted (correctly, might I add) that she wasn't quite ready yet, but the motion of the swing was lulling her to sleep, because she took a three hour nap yesterday afternoon and when she sleeps for that long in the afternon she normally goes to bed closer to 10:00.  Dan was going to be on bedtime duty because I was in the middle of a pumping session.  So I said to him, "I saved a little of her bottle, I normally give it to her in her room (because it's dark) after I swaddle her since swaddling wakes her up.  Make sure the swaddle is nice and tight because the escape artist has been wiggling her arm out lately and then waking herself up.  Also, you may want to take the paci, because sometimes she wakes back up as soon as you lay her down and then she protests, but if you give her the paci she'll normally suck on it for a minute, spit it out and go to sleep.  Oh, and she's been pretty congested today so don't forget to turn on the humidifier - it may need water."  So then, as he is taking my swaddled bundle of cuteness upstairs, I hear him say to her, "Mommy is a serious bed time nazi, huh?"


I chuckled to myself, because I realized it was true.  It's not that I don't trust Dan or that I don't think he's capable - he is a wonderful Daddy.  It's just that I would say 85% of the time, I am the one that takes care of Lilly.  I am with her all day every day.  I normally can tell by what kind of day we've had what kind of night it will be.  I also am typically the one that feeds her and puts her to bed, because Dan has a lot of work dinners and normally isn't home at least two nights a week.  On the nights that he is home, he is normally helping finish up dinner while I get her ready for bed.  He truly is very hands-on both as a husband and father.  He cooks, he cleans, he does laundry - he helps out with any and every household chore that you can think of.  He is also wonderful with Lilly and helps out with her all of the time as well: diaper changing, feeding, bathing, playing, reading - he does it all.  But the bottom line is, most of the time, it's me, again just because I'm with her all day.  Soon enough (less than a month, to be exact - not ready to talk about it) I will go back to work and it will be even more of a team effort in the evenings.

I say all of this to say the following: I am 100% positive that Dan thinks I believe him to be incapable of caring for our child.  Which is absolutely, 100%, NOT true.  Lord knows that there are ways I could probably do things better or differently (although I wish I could just claim that, as the title of this post suggests, "I do it better.").  When I am telling him what to do, it's just because I do it so often and a lot of times I just know what works, or at least what she's used to.  So what do I do in this situation?  How do I come across as helpful rather than bossy/know-it-all?  Or by trying to help am I actually just hurting his feelings and making him think he does everything wrong?  Does anyone else have this same problem?

Daddy is very capable - as you can see, he dressed me today.  Mommy says I look like a boy, but she is grateful that he gets me up, changes and feeds me in the mornings before work so she can pump in peace.
In other news, the Baums have a busy weekend ahead.  My Mom and sister, Sydney, are coming in town for the night and Dan and I just might go out on a date.  Tomorrow, the three of us are going to my cousin, Christie's bridal luncheon while Dan and Lilly have some quality daddy/daughter time.  Then we're all headed off to Charlotte, because my other sister, Katy, has a bridal shower on Sunday afternoon.  Oy!  Makes me tired just thinking about it - when did I get so old?  And did you remember to vote today?  :-)

Happy Friday!

Sarah

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