Monday, July 30, 2012

Hudson's Birthday Book

One really cool thing about having a baby is alllllll of the free goodies and offers you get in the mail.  Shutterfly frequently sends me coupons and offers, which I am so thankful for!  One of the offers for a free photo book expires tomorrow so I have spent ALL afternoon doing this book.  Now that I know what I am doing, the next one shouldn't take near as long.  It doesn't matter how long it took because this was something that I really wanted Hudson to have after seeing my friend Jessica's awesome Shutterfly books for her baby girl, Ryleigh.  Here is the book I made!! Brings back so many wonderful memories....Enjoy!

Friday, July 27, 2012

How Do You Know...

when you are a mommy?
When you cry watching Finding Nemo with your own little squirt.

Momma is seriously gonna have to get these hormones in check before the first day of day care.  
I'd hate to UGLY FACE cry when I dropped off Hudson. 

On a more exciting note, Hudson loved it! We just caught the last 30 minutes when trying to find Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

From Mrs. to Mama Link Up

So if you read my BlogHer post from a few weeks ago, you know that I am trying to make my blog grow.  In an attempt to do that, I am doing my first "link up" with Mrs. to Mama.  This week's link up was called "411" and wanted you to tell a little about yourself.  Here are the questions she had and here are my answers!

1. How long have you been blogging? And what got you started on blogging? Has your blog changed?
I initially created a blog when Rusty and I bought our first home.  Then I realized we were pretty boring and I just didn't know what to write about. Until....... a year ago.  I started blogging about my pregnancy journey and have been blogging ever since!

2. Did you go to college? If so where, and what did you study?
I attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  I have a degree in early childhood and elementary education.  I currently teach 3rd grade.

3. Where have you traveled?
Outside of the US, I have been to Jamaica on my honeymoon in June 2008, Mexico on a cruise in March 2010, and Bahamas and Grand Turk on a cruise in July 2011.

4. If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?
A new house! We are looking right now, so I've got the itch!

5. What are your 3 biggest pet peeves?
people that are rude in any form, people that can't drive, people that are inefficient/waste my time

6. What is your favorite movie?
Any romantic comedy, especially with Meg Ryan.

7. What is your drink of choice; wine, beer, or liquor. Or Water, Soda, Tea?
Sweet Tea! But I'm really picky about it! Chocolate milk runs a close second.  ; ) If I'm out and about, I like a mixed drink.

8. What is something you enjoy to do when you have me time?
Shopping and Mani/Pedi with Starbucks Frappuccino in hand!!!

9. If you could have a $10,000 shopping spree to one store, which store would it be?
Probably Macy's....or if we had the new house, Pottery Barn! 

10. Share with us an embarrassing moment of your past? Or present.
I'm REALLY clumsy, so probably one of my falling incidents.  When I started teaching at a new school, I was working in my room before school started and I tripped and fell on the stairs in front of a few of my new coworkers with my hands full of stuff.  Just call me Grace.

11. What day would you love to relive again?
My wedding day, but make it about 20 degrees cooler or Hudson's Birthday, with a little less swelling. ; )

12. If your life was turned into a movie... what actor would play you?
Julia Roberts or Debra Messing... both have curly or straight hair, both have a loud laugh.

13. What are the jobs you had in high school/college/the early years?
High School - Lifeguard, Asst Swim Team Coach, Asst Mngr of the pool, Swim Lessons Instructor - loved every minute of it!!
College - Student Assistant to the University Provost and President, After School Care Worker, Managed the chaos of a precious children's and adult's gift boutique in Homewood that is now Oodles of Gifts

14. Show us a picture from high school or college.
 This is Rusty and I before one of my sorority formals my junior(?) year.

15. If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go?
Probably Australia.... Fiji.... somewhere tropical and serene!

16. Show us the most current picture of you, or your family, or anything of meaning to you.
This is the VERY first picture of our FAMILY just seconds after we welcomed Hudson into the world 
(after Momma had pushed for 2 hours to birth her 8lb 14oz baby boy!)
This is Hudson at 10 days old.

17. Where do you see your life 5 years from now?
EEEKK! This is big for me because I am SUCH a planner, but these days, I've learned long term plans should be very flexible.  ; )  Hudson will be five, we will have been married 9 years, hopefully we will have another child by then.  Maybe teaching, maybe staying at home, maybe working part time???  Who knows!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Great Debate

In addition to breastfeeding vs formula, another thing parents to tend to feel strongly about is letting your child cry it out.  Some people swear by it - Dr. Ferber.  Some people swear against it - Dr. Sears.

In case you aren't familiar and don't care to read their whole books, here is a quick summary of each.


Sears and Other Similar Methods

This momma is currently in this predicament right now.  I did my hw (or so I thought) and read the raved about Babywise before Hudson was born.  For those that don't know me, I am a rule follower/by the book kind of gal.  I thought that the book was full of good advice, but honestly, it was a bit overwhelming.  If I couldn't get him to follow the schedules in the book, it would stress me out! Don't ask me why, but I often "sweat the small stuff" as Max Lucado would say.  I was doing this because I didn't want to have "that child" that would never sleep.  I was trying to do what was best to make my baby a happy, healthy baby.  

I personally do not believe in co-sleeping. If you do it and it works for you, that is great.  Doesn't bother me one bit.  However, I don't believe that is what's best for me and my family for multiple reasons: #1 It scares me.  What if I rolled over on my baby? What if he smothered in our fluffy mattress, pillows, and bedding? #2 I would be so paranoid about #1, I would never get any rest.  Alright, let's say they are big enough that #1 is no longer an issue.....#3 When do you kick them out of the bed? Isn't that going to be a hard, painful process for everyone?  #4 How do you and your husband have a normal relationship with a baby/child in the bed?  I feel like it is so important to have time alone to keep the relationship between husband and wife tightly knit.  

Here is what is currently going on: We have a great bedtime routine.  About 7:30 Hudson gets a bath.  We laugh, talk, and play (if he is not fussy).  After he is dressed for bed, he eats for the last time, about 8:00.  He is read a book, then rocked to sleep pretty quickly.  We put him down and he usually sleeps until around midnight/1am. 

About once an hour - sometimes less, sometimes more - he wakes up.  I've tried letting him cry for a few minutes to see if he will go back to sleep, but when I'm sleepy and he seems to just be waking himself up more the more he cries, 5 minutes seems like forever.  So usually I go in, turn his white noise back on, put his paci back in, rub his face, and he is out.  Literally within seconds. 

Is this killing me? No.  Would it be nice to sleep a solid 8 hours for the first time in almost 4 months? Yes.  My biggest concern is I feel like he has become extremely dependent on someone to get him back to sleep.  How long do I let this go on? If I let it go on, will it eventually stop?  Or will this last and I will be cursed with "that child" that never sleeps.  I feel like he would benefit more, too, if he wasn't waking up so much.

I know he's not hungry.  As a parent, you learn your baby's cries.  Also, if he's hungry, the white noise/paci routine doesn't put him back to sleep. 

So, what advice do you have?  Have you been in a similar situation? 

Leave a comment with your experiences!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


A decision that every expectant mother has to make is whether she will nurse her new baby or feed her new baby formula.

I feel like no matter who you talk to, everyone has their own opinion, and some have pretty strong ones.  While I was pregnant, I decided I "wanted to try it".  Well I usually don't just "try" things... if I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna do it.  But since I had NO clue what I was in for, I quickly signed up for the Breastfeeding Skills for Success class offered through St. Vincent's.  Neither of our mothers were able to breastfeed successfully, so I knew they would not be able to offer me that much advice.  I was one of the first girls in my closest circle of friends to have a baby, so I didn't have tons of friends I could ask for help either.  I read blogs, articles, books, and Rusty and I attended the BFS4S class - what a trooper my hubby is.  He even took notes! ; )

A few months later, we welcomed our bundle of joy into the world.  We had a healthy baby on our hands - 8 pounds, 14 ounces.  As soon as he and I were cleaned up after delivery, I nursed him for the first time.  Anyone that says the first time isn't a little weird is telling a big fat fib.  I'm not really sure if it was nursing for the first time, or actually just realizing, "Holy Crap.  This is MY baby and I'M FEEDING HIM!" that was so shocking.  Either way, the "weirdness" quickly wore off and soon we had a very good rhythm going.

"Is he getting enough?"
I was visited by a lactation consultant the next morning and she was FABULOUS!!!  She offered excellent advice and support, and also relieved some of the pressure I was feeling.  She is what I like to call "realistic".  While she was definitely a breastfeeding advocate, she didn't pressure me to do this or do that.  She just offered encouragement and her best advice.  She also made me feel better about one of a new BF-ing mother's biggest fears - starving her child.  She said let him nurse 20 minutes on each side - to help start your milk supply.  If he still seems hungry, offer him a bottle.  She said that these "bigger babies" sometimes need a little more until your milk comes in.  On the second day, you could tell he was still hungry, so I offered him a bottle and he drank an additional ounce after nursing! CHUNK!  Also, something I didn't realize, is that babies that are BF are use to working a lot harder to eat than bottle fed babies.  So, after nursing, he could down one of those little hospital bottles in seconds!!!  This is still true to this day.  If he is ever given a bottle, he inhales it.  We only had to supplement for a day or 2 after we came home, then my milk was in.  HELLO HEIFER!!!  Man, he definitely wasn't going to starve now!!

The first two weeks of Hudson's life were probably the hardest two weeks of my whole life.  And I'm not going to lie, breastfeeding made it worse.  I hate to say it, but if you are planning on BF, I want you to be informed.  I am someone that HAS to have her sleep. Of course, anyone with a new baby is going to be sleep deprived.   A newborn eats every 2-3 hours AROUND THE CLOCK.  Well, the first few weeks you are breastfeeding, nursing takes a solid 40 minutes.  Then there is burping, changing the diaper, etc.  So BEST case scenario, 2 hour naps is the longest stretch of sleep you are going to get for the first few weeks.  Even if someone else gives the baby a bottle during the middle of the night feedings, you HAVE to get up and pump (more on this later).  Please let me be clear, I am NOT trying to discourage you from BF.  The first few weeks were VERY rough, but I am so so so happy that I did it.  Nursing now is so effortless.  No bottles to wash, pack, heat up, etc.  I can't even imagine a baby screaming at 1am waiting on you to make and heat up a bottle.  Yes, it does put much more work on the mom, but it is worth it.

I was very, VERY tempted to quit the first few weeks.  This is extremely common.  I cried a lot.  I was so tired and I knew if I just gave up, anyone could feed him and I could get some rest.  I even put my brand new Medela pump I only had for a couple of days on Craigslist!!!!!! I'm telling you, I was ready to throw in the towel.  You NEED support if you are going to do this.  My biggest help came from my Aunt Jan and my sorority sister Heather.  My aunt - a BF pro - came over and checked on Hudson and I and offered advice and encouragement.  I wish I could show you the NUMEROUS texts Heather replied to during my most desperate times those first few weeks.  She continued to check on me throughout the first two months and I will be FOREVER grateful.  She has a true passion for helping new mothers.

Tough Love
If you are truly serious about breastfeeding, you need to share it with your "support team".  Mom, MIL, Husband, BFFs, etc.  EVERYONE needs to be on board.  In your hardest and most desperate times, the people that love you the most are not going to want to see you upset and moping around like a sleep deprived zombie.  When you cry, it is going to be very easy for them to give you a hug and tell you it's ok if you don't want to BF.  And they are right, after all.  IT IS OK.  If you don't want to BF, that is TOTALLY fine.  It is a very personal choice and it is no one's business but yours.  BUT, if you really want to keep at it, they need to be prepared to support your true wishes, even when you are wanting to give up.

How can you help a BF mom?
Where should I start?  It is a TON of work BF those first couple of weeks.  Mom shouldn't have to do anything but nurse the baby and try to take care of herself.  Reminder:  SHE JUST BROUGHT A LIVE HUMAN INTO THE WORLD.  After carrying it for 9 months.  Her body needs to heal.  SHE NEEDS A BREAK.  Moms:  Don't cook, don't wash clothes, don't clean, etc for AT LEAST the first two weeks.  When you get a chance to rest, TAKE IT!!!!!

It's a 24/7 Job
When Hudson was about 3-4 weeks old, I decided I really, really needed at least 5-6 hours of undisturbed sleep.  So on a Friday night, Rusty stayed up with Hud and gave him his 2 middle of the night feedings.  I didn't get up and pump.  I thought it would be ok....I'll just get up and pump as soon as I wake up.  Well I looked like I was smuggling cantaloupes.  I pumped an enormous amount of milk and relaxed on the couch.  A few hours later, my right breast was really hurting.  Throughout the day, it got worse and worse.  I couldn't stand to lie on that side or for anything to touch it.  Nursing was somewhat painful.  All night that night I had chills.  When Rusty woke up Sunday morning, I told him I felt really bad.  My whole body hurt.  He checked my temp and it was 103!!! I had mastitis with infection.  This is an infection in your breast from a clogged milk duct.  The symptoms are similar to full blown flu symptoms.  It was more than likely from not pumping during those feedings.  I had to stay in bed and do NOTHING but nurse, sleep, and take antibiotics 4 times a day.  I fully recovered in about 4-5 days, but WOW, it was rough. 

If I had to give a new BF mom advice it would be:
1) REST.  REST.  REST.  Get someone to stay with you the first week.  You and your husband are going to need some help, I promise.

2) DRINK LOTS AND LOTS of fluid.  Every time you sit down to nurse, have a healthy snack, like Gatorade or water and peanut butter crackers.

3) If you really want to breastfeed, give it AT LEAST a month.  It will take you that long to get comfortable with it.  After 6 weeks, it will be much easier.  I know it is going to seem like FOREVER at the time, but once you get in a good rhythm, it will be no big deal.

4) To help relieve your fear of starving your baby, chart his/her diapers.  Your BF discharge booklet or any baby book that you read will tell you how many wet/poopy diapers a BF baby should have the first couple of weeks.  As long as they are pooping and peeing enough, they are fine.

5) If you feel overwhelmed, get some help.  Contact an "expert friend" or a lactation consultant from the hospital.

6) It is going to hurt when they latch on.  More than likely it will be very painful for at least the first couple of days.  I'm talking toe curling pain.  Use lanolin cream and soothies frequently.  If it hurts the whole time the baby is nursing, something is not right.  Reposition and relatch.  This too will pass.  Hang in there!!!   

Sunday, July 8, 2012


When we were making our master plot to get pregnant, I became a blog stalker an avid blog reader.  Even though I have never met and more than likely never will meet those people, I loved reading about their pregnancies, adjusting to life with a baby, and seeing what they were doing with their little ones.

Many of the moms are from the Birmingham area.  Some are friends, some are friends of friends of friends, and some are complete strangers that live across the country.  That is one of the features of blogs that I love.  I would be reading a friend's blog, and click on a link to one of the blogs that she follows, and that's where it all started.  I really enjoy reading Birmingham moms' blogs.  I like to see where they shop, where they take their kids for fun, where they have birthday parties, etc.  My favorite blogs to read are mommy blogs that feature kids around Hudson's age.  I love to see what they are doing and anticipate what all we have in store.  Seeing these moms document their pregnancy journey and the life of their little one is what inspired me to start blogging.

I noticed this little ad on several of the blogs...

Many women get paid (although sometimes it is only a very small amount) if their blog is featured on BlogHer.  You can also get paid by letting people advertise on your blog.  Another super fun way to earn a little extra cash is to test out a product and blog your review of it.  That is something I would TOTALLY be into and practically have already done as you can see here.      

One of the criteria of the application process is that you blog frequently - at least 1-2 times a week.  At first this sounded really challenging, especially when thinking about going back to work.  But, my blogs tend to be pretty lengthy, and I realize that I could make them more precise and split them into more specific topics.  Also, with the fabulous Blogger iPhone app, I can blog anytime!

When Blogger revamped their dashboard, I tried to learn a little more about the features of Blogger, including the cool feature that even without a "ticker", they track the number of views for each post.  My Mother's Day blog was only viewed 59 times, while my 28 Weeks blog was viewed 229 times.  So, to get more people reading my blog, I want YOU, my blogger friends, to spread the news about my blog! I'm going to put up a "subscribe by email" feature to make it easier for you to see every post.  I'm also going to subscribe to the blogs I read regularly in hopes that these complete strangers will do the same in return!  

An inspiration...

Kelly Stamps is a SAHM (stay at home mom - acronyms are apparently a huge part of mommy/pregnancy blogging).  You can find her blog here.  I'm not sure how long she has been blogging, but she has OVER 12,000 MEMBERS!!! Just to clarify, that is NOT the number of people that read her blog.  I would say that number is at least doubled.  These are just people that subscribe to her blog.  Her topics usually include her 2 daughters, life as a SAHM, and life as a Christian.  She also has a REALLY cool feature called Show Us Your Life that she does every Friday.  I'm going to try to start being a part of that.  The topics vary every week, but there is one that she does a few times a year called SUYL Singles.  People write a little bio about a single friend, and people from all across the country can try to hook up a friend with someone they saw on SUYL!! Here is a link to the most recent one.  She has even had people getting married and engaged after meeting through her blog! How cool is that?!?!

Anyways, this is the end to yet ANOTHER lengthy blog.  Thanks for reading and don't forget to share!!! 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Baby Necessities

I've seen this on several other "Mommy Blogs," so I decided to write my own.  When I was preparing for our little one to come into the world, I read a ton about the must have baby items.  I also asked other new moms, and honestly, I feel like a new mom-friend's advice may be the best advice you can get.  

So, in no particular order...

 Nap Nanny
Yes, I know it is $130, but I'm telling you...WORTH. EVERY. PENNY.  I move it around CONSTANTLY every day.  I take it in the bathroom when I shower.  He watches his DVDs in it.  He hangs out, talks, and plays with his hands.  He spits up a lot, so the incline is perfect for right after eating.  He slept in it a lot when he was really little.  And unlike baby swings, bouncy seats, etc. he can use this even through his toddler years as a seat to watch TV/relax! It's like his recliner.  It's light as a feather. LOVE IT.

Video Monitor
This is the one we have.  It's about the middle of the price range for video monitors.  It has wonderful quality in sound and view, even in complete darkness.  I would definitely recommend it if you are a paranoid mom like me or if your nursery is pretty far from your master bedroom.

Dreft Stain Remover
This stuff will get practically ANYTHING out.  Big Man was having a blow out pretty regularly for a while.  He became a master of pooping out the side of his diaper, so many of his precious outfits had orange (breastfed baby) poop stains all over the bottom and inside the leg holes.  This got it out 99.99% of the time.

This is the playmat/gym we got for Hudson.  I chose it because of the black and white pattern in addition to the bright colors.  Since babies' eyesight develops gradually, he would be able to see the contrasting colors even at a young age. Also, the little cat that hangs from the middle plays two "songs" and flashes different colors.  It is also detachable, so I frequently take it off for him to look at during tummy time, etc. This keeps him entertained for a long time, and he LOVES it.  He talks and squeals the whole time he plays.   

Wipe Warmer
Some people love them, some people say they are a waste... Hudson definitely prefers it!  I feel bad when we are out somewhere and I have to change him.  If the wipes are cold, he almost jumps off the changing table! Little Prince is use to his warm wipes! Also, if you are having to wipe off your baby's face, or you are trying to change your sleepy baby's diaper, a warm wipe makes a difference! It doesn't startle them as much.  

Changing Table
Delta™ Biltmore Changing Table
We bought a dresser as part of Hudson's bedroom suite, but after taking the advice of our mothers, we decided to get a changing table.  Many people are using the dresser as a changing table, but with the hutch full of knickknacks and picture frames, I don't know where you would put all the things you need: diapers, wipes, lotions, diaper creams, Vaseline, q-tips, pad liners, etc.  Not to mention when your little one decides to have a blow out IN THE MIDDLE OF A DIAPER CHANGE or decides to turn on the pee pee fountain while you bend over to get a diaper... no one wants pee and poo on their expensive new dresser!! 

Smart Phone

It has a great camera, but even better is the ability to video and instantly upload it very quickly to YouTube - for those who care to see every little milestone.  ; )

Car Mirror

This is one of my favorite things in the world to see now.  I love looking in the mirror seeing him observing everything, or seeing that sweet chubby face sleeping soundly.  
White Noise Machine

When I was reading about getting your baby to sleep better, I read a lot about white noise machines. This cute little fella plays 4 sounds (2 playful beats, 2 "sleepy" beats - one is white noise), has a volume dial, and has 3 different timer settings for helping baby fall asleep.  We use it everyday.  

The next few things don't need much explanation... but if you are going to breastfeed, GET THESE ITEMS!!!! It will make your life much more pleasant. 

Medela Tender Care 2-Ounce Lanolin
Buy the Medela brand - HUGE DIFFERENCE!!  Use it everytime you nurse for at least the first 2 weeks.  Trust me, you'll be hurting and this definitely helped me.

Lansinoh® Soothies® Gel Nursing Pads (Set of 2)
Put these bad boys in the fridge.  After you nurse, apply cream.  Then apply chilled soothies. Then, TAKE A NAP.  Wake up and thank me later.  ; ) 

Medela Disposable Bra Pads
Keep these in unless you want your shirt to be soaked when your baby starts crying.

Bump In The Night(tm) Nursing ChemiseWrap Nursing Sleep Bra

Nursing gown and sleep bra. Otherwise known as the nursing mom's uniform or "everyday wear" for the first month.  So comfortable and convenient! GOTTA HAVE 'EM!!!

Well that pretty much sums up my must-haves for the first three months!! I hope any new moms or mommies-to-be can benefit from this like I did with other mommy blogs!