Sunday, November 29, 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

This post is sponsored by Shutterfly, but all thoughts and opinions are my own!

Once again, it's time to talk about my most favorite holiday tradition...Christmas cards
This is our seventh year using Shutterfly to do our Christmas cards, and like every year in the past, I was equally excited to find that orange box on my doorstep this year! 

This Christmas I chose the Sparkling Stars Card on their signature card stock, and I just love the finished product, especially the gold foil stamped "Merry Christmas" on the front! I chose a picture of both kids for the front, and then we did a mini birth announcement for T on the back.

I also chose a fun snowflake liner for the inside of my envelopes this year. Just one more thing to add a little extra cheer to the cards.

To go with the cards, I also chose a coordinating return address sticker and gift stickers. Shutterfly really does have it all!

In addition to our cards and stationery needs, Shutterfly also hooked us up with this precious BPA free, melamine plate for Santa when he comes to visit. M can't wait to leave cookies out for Santa on here. Wouldn't this also make a sweet gift for some special kids in your life? 

Each year I like to do a family ornament, and since this is T's first Christmas, we needed a "First Christmas" ornament. Here's what we chose from Shutterfly. Are these not precious?? They're double sided and made of metal and come with a ribbon attached. I just love them!

And finally, if you're my mom, stop reading ;)

We got my mom a special gift from Shutterfly, and it might be my favorite gift for the season!

We got my mom a gold jean bangle bracelet with two charms, one with her initial and one with a picture of her grandbabies. I like that this is like an updated version of a locket, and the quality is so nice. I have a feeling it's going to be a big hit under her tree!

Like always, Shutterfly did not disappoint. The quality of my cards, stationery items, and my gifts is all top notch. And what's even more fun is that they let me customize everything so that it's the perfect fit for us. I am so pleased with everything! Check them out for your holiday needs!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Newborn Photos

About a week after T's birth, we had some newborn photos taken at our home by Tara Marie Photography. She was a delight to work with and I love the final pictures. I wish M had been a little more cooperative, but thats life with a three year old. She doesn't always have the same agenda as me.

 But my baby! Just look at this sweet boy!

Tiny boy! He already seems so much bigger...

Even though she isn't looking at the camera here...I love this one of the four of us

And precious are they? And I love her little curls here!

Thank you Tara!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

One Month

Our little bear turned one month old on the 8th. Time is already flying by, and even though I expected it to go even faster this time, it's crazy to me that he's already been with us for one month now.

A few little tidbits about his first month...
  • He's still sleeping in his bassinet next to me and sleeping 9PM-4/4:30AM right now and then waking for the day around 7:30/8. I can't complain at all about the first big stretch of sleep. I think he sleeps so well thanks to a few things...he's a giant baby with a big tummy so he can go longer between feedings, his swaddle and white noise, and his nightly bath. I very VERY loosely followed Moms on Call with M (I don't swear by it like some moms do...I actually have a few issues with it), so I'm pulling out a few pointers from it for T, and the biggest thing I found valuable to us was the nightly bath. Every night before his 9PM feeding, he gets a bath. I only use soap about twice a week, but I swear that they start to associate bath time with night time and it helps them start to get into a circadian rhythm. 
  • Most naps are still on me on my chest or on the go. He loves to be held for naps which makes life a little tricky, but I also sort of love it. I am not one to pass up baby snuggles. 
  • I am so very thankful for all the friends who have helped us out with meals since he arrived. They have made dinner time SO much less stressful.
  • His big sister adores him. Possibly a little much at times. She is so concerned about you when you cry and fuss. And she loves reading to him. He enjoys watching her as long as she's not yelling loudly...which tends to happen since she's a crazy three year old!
  • He like to be worn in the Ergo, ring sling, and k'tan.
  • Gaining weight was a slow process in those first two weeks (you lost a full pound and one ounce in the first 5 days), but by two weeks old, he was back to birth weight, and by his one month appointment he was well beyond where we expected him to be.
  • On an average day, he nurses about 7 times. Mostly going 2.5-3 hours during the day. Nursing started out a little rough because you had a shallow latch, but we're doing great now. 
  • Likes - pacifier, being held up high on a shoulder, naps on my chest
  • Dislikes - being in his car seat if we're not moving, getting his clothes on, sun in his eyes, and being put down for a nap
Crazy how much he's changed in his first month!

Weight - 12 lbs 4.5 oz (96%)
Length - 24.25" (off the charts)
Diapers - Size 1
Clothes - 0-3 Months
Hair - Dark brown, pretty full in the back still
Eyes - still very grey with maybe a slight blueness to them.

And because I love a good comparison's both of my babies at one month

Thursday, November 12, 2015

M's 3rd Birthday Party

In the midst of all the newborn craziness from October, we also had one other big event...M's third birthday! On October 25, our spunky and sassy little girl turned three.

I could write a big mushy post about how it really has been the longest shortest three years of my life, but it really would get mushy and go on forever, so I'll spare you all. Instead, I'll share a few pictures from her party at a local children's art studio. Months ago, I planned her party here knowing I'd be bringing our newborn and I wouldn't want to do any work for a birthday celebration. I wanted her to have a party (because homegirl loves a good birthday party soiree), but I also knew I wouldn't have it in me to host anything at home. All we had to do at the art studio was invite a few pals and show up with a cake, candles, and juice boxes. DONE!

My parents came down for the weekend, and so did my sister and her boyfriend, so we had a packed house, but it was fun celebrating with family. M was so excited to have so many people here just for her. Especially after several weeks where so much attention and visitors had been directed toward her baby brother.

My sister's boyfriend brought along his camera and took some great shots for us. I think all of the kids had a ball making their cats and dogs crafts.

Seriously, having my family here for her party was a highlight of her birthday weekend. For months leading up to this, whenever she'd facetime with them, she'd say, "Are you coming to my birthday party?"

Little artists hard at work...

I love her scrunched up "smile" here after she blew out her candles

We're so glad so many of her little friends were able to celebrate with us...

It really was a very fun party, and SO easy with a newborn! This is a random picture from the party where we must have been watching the kids create something at a table, but as you can see, I just wore T in the ring sling the whole time and he slept the full hour and half we were there. Newborns are so easy when it comes to being out about. At least mine have been...they just sleep!

M's birthday weekend and party were a fun one, and she's already asking us when it will be October again so she can have another party. I think it's safe to say, she likes birthdays!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A few hospital memories...

This is mostly just a picture dump, but we have so many photos from our hospital stay with T that I just adore. Something about looking back on those first few hours and days of your baby's's almost magical. I didn't respond so well to my pain meds this time in the hospital (think super sleepy and feeling like I had motion sickness on them) and a lot of our stay is kind of a foggy memory from them. So glad I (along with my mom) managed to snap a couple thousand photos while we were there. That might be a slight exaggeration, but I honestly don't think you can have too many pictures from your baby's birth!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Five on Friday

Happy Friday! 

Linking up with April today!

1. My friend Katie raved about this wipe dispenser, but for whatever reason, I never got one with M. About a week into T's life, J was complaining about wipes and asked why someone hadn't designed a dispenser that made it easier to get them out. So, thanks to the magic of Amazon Prime, we had one of these wipe dispensers in our home 2 days later and we LOVE it. You can open it, get out a single wipe, and close it with just one hand. It's amazing. Katie...I am sorry for not listening to you before!

2. Did you watch the World Series? We enjoyed watching all the games this year (well...J did, I fell asleep by about the 7th inning in most games!), and even though I was hoping for a Mets win, I was happy for the Royals. And then Monday night we stayed up way too late watching the Panthers beat the Colts in an OT win. I was exhausted on Tuesday, but it was worth it since we won! This weekend we have some family coming to town to go the Panthers vs Packers game with J. Hoping for 8-0 after this weekend!

3. Because I just love baby snuggles so much...

4. Speaking of baby snuggles...big sister is really into wearing her baby lately. My mom bought her this "carrier" for her baby doll when she was here helping us after T was born. 

5. Anyone else watching The Affair this season? It's probably my favorite thing on TV this fall. I look forward to it each Sunday. I am so curious to see where this season is going. I have so many questions.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

T's Birth Story

We originally planned for T's birthday to be on Monday, October 12 (I would have been 39 Week +4). But when I was 37 weeks + 4, the nurse practitioner checked me at my appointment and I was already dilated to 4cm, and the baby was "extremely low." She told me there was no way I'd make it two more weeks. Fast forward to that Friday...I was 38 weeks +1, and my doctor checked me again and I was still hanging out at a 4, and this time 80% effaced. He asked if I was feeling anxious to get the baby out, and even though I was in a great deal of pain, I knew I wanted to wait till full term at 39 weeks if we could. I told him my main fear was going into labor and having a rushed situation before the surgery. Because of this, we bumped my surgery and T's birthday from the 12th to the 8th, just as a precaution so I wouldn't go into labor on my own.

I continued to have contractions on those days leading up to his birth....some painful, some consistent, but in the end, it was never enough to make me feel like we had to go in. So, on the morning of Thursday, October 8, I woke at 3:30 AM to take a shower, and by 4:40 AM, we were out the door and on our way to the hospital for our 5AM check in time.

On our way to the hospital...

We checked in and we were introduced to our nurse who took us to a triage room where she began to prep me for surgery. She hooked me up to a monitor so we could check on the baby, and she got my IV in (after one failed attempt....this was more painful than my spinal block...) to start pumping me with fluids. She gave me the run down on exactly what would be happening that morning, and after about an hour or so, we headed to the OR.

Final belly shot....

Getting pumped with fluid...

Already, this delivery felt completely different than it did with M. With her, the OR was a total blur. I remember meeting her, but everything leading up to that is so hazy. Probably because I was in so much pain and I just wanted to be done after 3 hours of pushing...


Once we got to the OR, I met my anesthesiologist and the nurse anesthetist. Both were women and were just plain AWESOME. They talked to me about how my drugs during the surgery would be different (ie better) this time since I hadn't already had an epidural. Once they were done talking with me, my OB came by to say hi and cracked a few jokes, and then it was time to give J a kiss and say goodbye so they could begin prepping me.

In the OR, it was so so calm. With M, things were just crazy and everyone seemed to be moving so fast. This time, everyone in there was talking about their weekend plans and their kids. It immediately put my mind at ease. The nurse practitioner and I talked about husbands with torn ACL's, and we laughed. It was so funny how relaxed and calm this part was! My anesthesiologist got the needle in for the spinal block, and like she described would happen, I immediately felt kind of cold from my chest down and just very heavy. They helped me lay down and the real prep began. At 7:16, prep was over and they brought J in. There were a few times I did feel a little sick, so the nurse anesthetist gave me some zofran through the IV and I quickly felt better.

J and I were chatting with the nurse anesthetist and after a few minutes of chatting I remember asking my OB if we were close to go time, and he responded by saying, "You're going to meet this baby in just a minute...get ready for some pressure" and sure enough, the NP put some serious pressure on my upper torso/ribs, and a few seconds later I felt that pressure release and then heard crying. It all happened so fast. At 7:35AM, our little guy entered the world.

Going into this, I think I felt like all second time moms feel before they meet baby #2....will I really love this baby as much as I love my first? Before he was here, I just couldn't grasp loving another baby as much as I loved M, but from the minute I heard that cry, I got it. Your heart really does grow. I know it's cheesy and so cliche, but it's so true. I heard his wailing and saw them carry him across the room to get weighed and checked out, and I just began to bawl. I immediately felt that same love I felt the first time.

As the nurse was measuring T and getting his stats, J walked over to watch and reported back that he had more hair than his big sister did at birth and he was big. My OB called over the curtain to me and told me he was positive that my baby was 10+ lbs.  A few seconds later his nurse reported back that he was 10 pounds 2 ounces. And then after measuring him THREE times, she gave his length....23" long. I had never in my life heard of a baby that long, but I quickly understood why I was SO uncomfortable my third trimester. My baby was almost 2 feet tall.

Once they were done getting him measured and cleaned off, they gave him to J who brought him to me. We immediately agreed he looked like his big sister, but his chin was weaker than hers. And we laughed at his little pout face.

Eventually, they got me all stitched up (technically glued stitches this time!) and J and the baby headed out to recovery where I think he got a real bath. Once I was all settled out in recovery and my pain drugs were flowing steadily through my IV, they brought him over to me to nurse. His nurse referred to him as a "hot tamale" which was wonderful because my drugs were making me feel so cold! She handed him to me and we were finally able to have skin to skin time and nurse.

We nursed for awhile and somewhere in this time they told me they'd be checking his blood sugar before every feeding for the for the first 24 hours to make sure his body was processing sugar properly. Even though I didn't have gestational diabetes, they test large babies at birth in case it had gone undiagnosed in me. Turns out, he was fine and his numbers came back fine each time...he just comes from a family of big genes (J was a big baby and is 6'4").

Also, during recovery, I had a woman come by and talk to me about placenta donation. Perhaps the most interesting part of my delivery! Because I was a c-section (they won't use placentas from a vaginal birth because they're considered contaminated once they go through the birth canal) and the placenta was healthy and my OB had not requested for it to go to pathology, I could donate my placenta to a medical group that takes them and makes bandages out of them for people who have open wounds (think burn victims or diabetes patients). She told me my placenta could potentially make bandages for 35-50 wounds, which also meant someone could avoid having a skin graft done to heal an open wound. So, about an hour after Ts birth, I also donated my placenta to be made into bandages. Modern medicine is pretty crazy and really cool.

From here, we pretty much just snuggled our baby boy and debated his name for a good hour before officially deciding on Theodore (which I can now confidently say was 100% the perfect choice!). I was pretty loopy and tired from the pain meds they had me on, so I tried to rest a little before our visitors would be arriving. The maternity floor was at capacity, so we ended up hanging in our recovery room for longer than we expected, but somewhere around 12:30/1, they got us a room and I was transferred there, and shortly after our moms and M made their way over for a visit.

T's birth story isn't an overly exciting one, and truthfully, scheduled c-sections are no where near as exciting as a long labor! But....with all that said, it still will remain one of the best days of our lives, and I am glad I have all these little details jotted down to help me remember all the little pieces that made this day so special! We are so thankful for our (not so little) guy. He will be four weeks tomorrow, and the past four weeks with him have been exhausting and hard and even painful those first few days, but they've also been so so sweet. We're all so glad he's here and he's ours.