Wednesday, November 26, 2014

christmas came early

I loathe every inch of our kitchen. The layout is awful, we have minimal cabinet space and even less counter space. In all seriousness, with the cooking utensils between the sink and stove and the drying rack to the right of the sink, the only counter space we had was a little microwave cart we bought (and was subsequently covered with junk, always).

Jon's parents recently remodeled their kitchen and while they waited for their custom island they bought a temporary one. Now that their island is almost done, they gifted us their temporary island. It essentially quadrupled our existing counter space and provided us extra cabinet space. I went crazy for about an hour and a half nesting and rearranging and I am so stinking excited for our newly reworked kitchen!
notice the space that is now open between the sink and stove
all those snacks were next to the spice rack before
I am seriously excited! Now we just need to finish painting the unfinished cabinets. Perhaps one day we will be able to afford to upgrade the light fixture, cabinet faces and, if I'm dreaming extra big, the entire layout of the kitchen...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

edith: 5 weeks old

age: five weeks old
stats: 22.44" long (94%), 11 lb 3.7 oz (90%), 37 cm head circumference (60%)
firsts: time in the Moby wrap, intentional smile, manicure
milestones: getting really good at holding her head up, smiling
goings-on: edith has begun to coo (which are really more of whimpery protests when she is unhappy with something) and smile intentionally. she also greatly resembles her brother at this age. the past 2 days and nights have been decent after approximately 5 horrible days, so we are hoping that perhaps that was a growth spurt and she will be a ray of sunshine henceforth. edith is taking the pacifier slightly more consistently these days which is extremely wonderful as it saves me from being a human pacifier. she is totally smitten with her brother and would much rather look at him than us. edith's not sleeping in her swing nearly as much now that we know it increases the risk for SIDS which means many-a-sheet changes during the week from the reflux. little miss has a really big place in all three of our hearts!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

ways i've changed since edith

Some of these may be obvious, but here's a running lists of ways I've changed since Edith was born compared to when Elden was a newborn.

1. I stopped caring what others think. When Elden would have one of his screaming episodes publicly I constantly worried about the judgment of others questioning my parenting skills (lack thereof). Now that Edith is here I recognize that she's just a grouchy baby right now for reasons still unknown. If you think that's a reflection of my parenting skills then so be it. Don't care.

2. While I certainly cherish sleep, on the rare magical unicorn occasion where both children are simultaneously asleep IN THEIR ROOMS (pigs are flying, ya'll) during the day I do not nap. I shower. I eat. I binge watch shows I'm behind on (here's to looking at you, Jess and Mindy). I zone out. And it. is. glory.

3. Leggings. I used to despise the whole 'leggings are pants' movement. I vocally drank the haterade. But now that I am covered in spit up half the time (never realized how little Elden spit up til now) and just generally trying to survive each day I have changed sides. Leggings are acceptable forms of pants 4 life. I'm waving my banner proudly.

or i could just use this as an excuse. {source}
4. Not all babies are created equal. You're just now picking up on this? might be running through your pretty little mind. You're right. But at 5 weeks old I'm realizing all the ole tricks we used to get Elden to sleep are not necessarily going to work for Miss Edith. He loved being swaddled. The swaddle is apparently the bane of her existence. He hated the swing. Sometimes it's the only thing that gets her to sleep. He would nurse and nurse and nurse and we'd have to cut him off after 30 minutes. She nurses for 3 minutes and passes out. He thrived on the Moms on Call schedule and she is the supreme schedule destroyer. They both love the Moby, which happens to be the bane of *my* existence. Conspiracy.

5. Gone are the days of wanting 6 babies. I still want a big family, but I think we are done from a biological perspective since we're batting 0 for 2 in the happy newborn department. There are plenty of other ways to grow your family and once we fully recover from this in, oh, 47 years... we are going to hopefully do just that.

6. I crave getting things around the house done. But I'm also able to go upstairs to bed while the house is a mess, there are dishes in the sink, the litter box smells, etc. Gone are the days of juuuuust enough energy to clean that stuff.

Suffice to say, fall 2014 has been a season of epic adjustment. We seem to be having okayish days followed by horrendous days, so I guess there's some predictability in that? As much as this adjustment has been a challenge, we love our children like crazy and are so glad they're our grouchy little people.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

just an update

As I near the end of my maternity leave, there has been a pretty big change brewing in our house.

After much prayer and consideration, we made the decision to have Jon put his notice in at work. Beginning December 1 he is going to be a full-time stay at home dad. We crunched the numbers (and then crunched them again) and it's going to be insanely tight each month. But if we are good stewards of our money we should be okay. If it turns out that it's just too tight, his work was gracious and told him he was welcome back any time.

This will likely lead to other posts about managing money (assuming we are good at it...), specifically avoiding discretionary spending. We have budgeted $250/month for groceries but we are hoping to really only spend closer to $200. This isn't outside the realm of possibility as that's about what we've spent when we were actually diligent on budgeting. We budgeted $75 for all things miscellaneous (house needs, clothes, hygiene-related products, etc.) and considering our families spoil our children with clothing (thankyou,thankyou,thankyou), clothes shouldn't be a huge expense--and when we need to buy, we usually go the thrift route. Gas isn't a huge expense either since I work 6 minutes from home. Pretty much our largest expenses from most to least are: student loans, mortgage/taxes, groceries, gas for cars, car repayment, cell phones, natural gas, water, security system, electric, internet, etc. We do not have cable. We do not have a Starbucks habit. We do not go out to eat horribly often, we pretty much never go to movies, we don't travel. So while it's going to be really tight and we need to be on top of things, I'm hoping we can make it work. This will be the first time in the 7 years (!!) Jon and I have been together that we will both be home on weekends and if that means we don't go out to eat ever I am 300% on board. I am so looking forward to the memories we can make as a family now and to spend time with my best friend.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

edith: 4 weeks old

age: four weeks old
stats: probably in the neighborhood of 10.5 pounds
firsts: bottle, snow
milestones: she doesn't hate her bath anymore!
goings-on: i've been dairy-free for about a week and a half now (i think?) and either edith is outgrowing her reflux rapidly or cutting dairy out has helped calm it significantly. in any case, we abandoned medications because the zantac greatly upset her tummy and the prevacid cost $40/script copay. there was a mix-up with the ped and the pharmacy and in the two days we waited to find out it was a $40 copay she had really decent days so we decided to hold off on filling it. it seems to be a good decision because we've had 3 consecutive decent days and nights and it was all without drugs! (except yesterday and today kinda stunk). we also started giving edith the bottle during the day and i think that might be contributing to our decent days; her latch when nursing is terrible and she does much better with the bottle so she has been significantly less gassy. elden still adores her and she is a much happier baby these days on the whole. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

eldenisms (part 3)

Jon: Okay Elden, time to go take your nap. Say bye to Thomas [which was on tv].
Elden: Bye Thomas, sweet dreams!

(To Jon, as he cooks in the kitchen): Whatcha making, Da?
Jon: An egg
Elden: Is it yummy?

(After taking a bite of chicken and rice Jon made): That's yummy yummy! That's DELICIOUS!

(To me, right after he woke up): I'm sick. My tummy hurts.
Me: Are you hungry?
Elden: Yeah. I need candy.

(Slides the book Jon is reading him before bed to me to finish reading)
Jon: Hey I'm reading that to you!
Elden: No, Dada has to go pee.

To me, while getting things ready to leave in the kitchen: Babe! Look at me!

(Marsala, entering the kitchen from the basement through the kitty door): Kitty came in! How'd that happen!?

To me, trying to persuade me to change his poopy diaper instead of Jon: Babe, change me please?! Change me babe!

Me, yelling to Jon upstairs: Jon, can you bring Elden down a diaper when you come?
Elden: Jon! Where are you!?

To me, while I was changing his diaper (whispering): I fart. It was a quiet one.

elden and the snow

Elden is obsessed with Daniel Tiger. There's an episode he has been fond of for several weeks called Snowflake Day that shows snow in his neighborhood as the town celebrates their big winter holiday. He has been asking for snow since he saw this episode.

We went to Jon's parent's last night to celebrate his 27th and they had gotten a fresh coat of snow overnight. Elden was in heaven.

This was right before it got dark and we had to make him come back in after about 25 minutes. He kept asking to go back out in the snow so I suspect we will be spending a lot of time outside with him this winter...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

survival mode

Have a second kid, they said. It will be fun to give your son a sibling, they said.

but if it was, i'd totally be winning right now. (source)
In my utmost naivety, I assumed the worst that would happen would be we'd have another colicky infant like Elden. And we had survived that once, so worst case scenario, it would be like all we had known as parents.

I failed to factor in reflux. I also failed to factor in a twonager who loves to give attitude and throw tantrums all the live long day. We got the Zantac yesterday and after another crappy couple of hours decided to give it a go.

The magical reflux cure? It hurt Edith's belly in a bad way. We continued with two additional doses into this morning.

Wanna know how much sleep we got last night? Maybe 5 hours of intermittent episodes. She wouldn't sleep. Not in the swing. Not in our arms. Not in her crib. She also wouldn't nap yesterday or this morning. Hindsight being what it is, even though the colic stunk big time the one thing we could count on was Elden would sleep like a champ at night. We would be refreshed for each day of crying thanks to a single middle of the night nursing session. Edith just wasn't sleeping at all during the day and then not sleeping last night was a tipping point. I've left a message with her pediatrician to see if we could try a different medicine but if not we're not continuing with the Zantac. Reflux Edith was at least semi-sleeping at night. Zantac Edith raged like a frat boy on Thirsty Thursday. Since her days have been so sleepless, she's not on any predictable schedule other than attempting to nurse her for half an hour, keep her up for play time for half an hour, then sleep for 2-2.5 hours. Lather, rinse, repeat. Minus the lather and rinse because ain't nobody got time for a shower these days.

Suffice to say, it's major survival mode in casa de flip these days. Yesterday was Jon's birthday. I can't speak for him, but I'm going to speak for him and say it was a pretty lousy birthday. We're hoping for some improvements in the next week because I feel like a shell of the person I used to be. My tank is empty. I've cried more in the past week than I think I did my entire pregnancy (which was a LOT). I told Jon I wanted to purge all my maternity clothes so as to not tempt myself for another shorty down the road (since, you know, we're batting 0 for 2 in the happy baby department) but he said he knows me and in a year I'll have mad baby fever so I should wait. So let's throw this post in the archives for future Danielle to read when the urge to procreate slaps me in the face.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

edith: 3 weeks old

age: three weeks old
stats: 10 pounds 2 ounces
firsts: bath in the big tub, time in her swing
milestones: diagnosed with reflux, starting to really try to hold her head up on her own, can roll to her side most of the time
goings-on: goings have been tough lately. edith's reflux is wearing us all out. we just got her baby zantac today but are trying to hold off on using it to see if me cutting dairy out of my diet makes a difference. edith has been awake more each day which means nights are [usually] decent but days can be rough. elden still loves his little sister and is pretty protective of her / loves showering her with kisses. this week we celebrate jon's 27th birthday and today marks halfway through my maternity leave...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

postpartum/newborn care essentials

I was ill prepared for my postpartum discomfort and newborn challenges when Elden was born. The majority of this pregnancy there was a group of other women due in October who made a private Facebook group that I was part of. I bonded deeply with these women and in addition to encouraging one another we all shared tips of making the transition to new parenthood easier. It was very helpful. I thought I'd sprinkle the vaults of knowledge I had from this experience with the rest of you...

Postpartum and Newborn Care Essentials

1. Gilligan & O'Malley Nursing Bras: If you are breastfeeding these are a must. You leak a LOT, especially the first few weeks as your supply gets established, and these bras are the most comfortable I've discovered. I wear them most days and every night with my nursing pads to contain the mess. I can't recommend these to new moms enough.

2. Dr. Brown's Lanolin-Free Nipple Cream: Lanolin creeps me out--nothing like some sheep sweat to really get your baby's mouth watering, amiright? As such, I insist on lanolin-free nipple creams and I think I prefer this one over what I used last time. 

3. Aden + Anais Swaddling Blankets: These are pricey but worth every penny. They are by far the best swaddlers we've encountered (both for their size and flexibility) and if you have a newborn you should definitely invest in them.

4. Itzbeen Baby Timer: This lets you click a button for the last time you changed the baby's diaper, nursed, the baby slept, and a bonus button for whatever you choose. You can also switch which side you nursed from last. This is huge because in the middle of the night you can glance at it without having to fiddle around with your phone (I know there are apps for this) in order to ascertain what it is baby might need at that moment. 

5. Moms on Call: We used the online 0-3 month baby class to figure out how to get Elden on a schedule and are implementing the same routine now with Edith. This ish is a sanity saver. More on it here.

6. Exercise Ball: We actually got ours on Special Buy at Aldi for about $5 when I was pregnant with Elden and that thing is worth its weight in gold except way more than that because it doesn't weigh much. Bouncing both kids on this ball have seemed to be one of the few soothing techniques that consistently work(ed). 

7. Always Discreet Incontinence Underwear (spring for the heavy duty ones): Okay, this is where I might lose some of you. This was the main take-away from my October group of moms. If you've never had a baby before you may not know that 9 months of no period during pregnancy is quickly cancelled out by an insane amount of postpartum blood flow. I mean insane. So insane that when I first started experiencing it with Elden I frantically hit the nurse call button because I thought I was dying. When the nurse casually meandered in I distinctly remember thinking, "shouldn't you be more concerned as I AM ABOUT TO BLEED OUT IN FRONT OF YOU?!" Even though the hospital sends you home with super duper absorbent pads it's been my experience that they don't stay in place great and especially during the first week they fill up fast and you find yourself rushing to the bathroom so you don't leak everywhere. Enter diapers. I was skeptical but when I mentioned it to Jon he encouraged me to pursue this avenue and I am so glad he did. I mostly wore them nights only that way I could get okay sleep (instead of worrying whether I needed to go to the bathroom to change a pad) or if we had to run out for something so I wasn't worried about leaking in public. In any case, I say pack these even in your hospital bag and have a stockpile waiting for you at home. There's really nothing sexy about postpartum and these certainly don't up the hot factor but when you're just trying to survive they make things easier.

Honorable mentions:
-our white noise machine, which I am just now remembering was critical but I am too lazy to go back and update the collage
-the sock filled with rice that Jon made for me that I use as a hot compress for the clogged milk ducts
-our families and friends for supporting us with their time, meals, etc.
-wet washcloths to use as substitution for baby wipes on our tender-from-pooping-an-ungodly-amount girl
-Aquafor to protect a delicate tush from all the wiping
-the peri bottle and Dermoplast spray from the hospital
-Colace, for making that first postpartum poop a little less terrifying

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

edith: 2 weeks old

age: two weeks old
stats: undetermined. may take her in for a weight check because she only eats for about 10 minutes at a time.
firsts: time at church. perhaps the first signs of colic. tonight will be the first night we have her sleep in her crib instead of the pack n play in our room.
milestones: first day of moms on call begins today! edith is currently napping in her bed and we are working on getting her on a predictable schedule
goings-on: we're hoping that getting edith on a schedule will encourage her to eat less frequently and more per session than she has been. we think she may be showing early signs of colic and really hope we're wrong. she's still notorious for pooping and peeing mid diaper change but she's definitely more alert with each day.

Monday, November 3, 2014

transition to two

So we're here. Some days we're surviving by the skin of our teeth and other days we feel like we have it all together.

Apparently, having two kids is some tough work. Mingle in the lack of sleep, postpartum hormones and Jon working weekends and you might just have the recipe for a very on edge and emotional Danielle.

We have been blessed by many meals from family, friends and our church community. I'm not entirely sure we would currently be eating anything had it not been for them. So if you've brought us something (or asked to bring us something) thank you. Thank you for your kindness and selflessness and for loving us so well.

So let's get into it: I'm not entirely sure Edith isn't colicky. Or perhaps it's reflux? Our compass of what is normal newborn behavior is awfully askew since Elden was such a wild card with his awful colic. All I know is there are periods of 2-3 hours per day (if not more) where she is on and off crying and refuses to be put down. I've cut certain things out of my diet--onions being the main culprit--and that seems to have helped a little. But then there are the days where 2-3 hours are more like 6-7 hours and it's exhausting. If these episodes fall when Jon is at work I feel completely inadequate because all I can really do is setup Elden in front of Jon's PBS app and let him binge watch Daniel Tiger and subsist on snacks or whatever I can quickly heat up in that moment. Suffice to say, this ish is hard.

Elden is doing amazing as a big bro. He is always asking to hold Edith and gives her more unprompted kisses and hugs than Marsala (the highest of honors). You can tell that sometimes he just needs some one on one time with us so we have been doing quite a bit of hand-offs of Edith so we can each take some time to spend with him.

Nights are hit or miss. Some days Edith eats every hour so I get maybe 30-45 minutes of sleep at a time. I am not a peach the next day when that happens. Then we have nights where she goes 2-3 hours between nursing and I am a much more pleasant person to be around. She has slept all day today so I am not holding my breath that tonight will be particularly nice.

In terms of my physical recovery and breastfeeding, it's mostly night and day compared to with Elden. With Elden I felt like I was hit by a semi for about a month in my nether yaya but homie pretty much has the head of a 5-year-old. Except seriously, we got him a 2T-5T winter hat that barely fits his noggin and Edith I think had a much smaller head at birth. That has left me feeling just a little bit sore but on the whole able to move around and do life without much discomfort. Breastfeeding has been frustrating on the days that Edith cluster feeds and it's definitely not comfortable just yet, but it is also much less uncomfortable (read: miserable) than it was with Elden. I'm pretty sure I'm going to write up a postpartum/newborn survival post with the products that saved my hiney the most this go around (spoiler alert: adult diapers were involved... hashtag no shame) because I feel better equipped to make blanket statements about healing and living la vida loca since we got out trick or treating four days postpartum and the zoo one week postpartum. Yes I'm bragging. Yes karma will bite me hard tonight.
zoo trip on October 28