Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Broken


::peeks in::

Anyone still here?

When I logged into Blogger tonight for the first time in 6 months and saw that the title of my last post was Realizing I can't do it all, I smiled.

Let's just jump back in.

One morning, about a month ago, I wasn't fast enough when my little miss "do it mySELF" went down too many stairs at once. I scooped her up and hugged her tight, attempting to make everything all better. She didn't seem to be in any pain after a few minutes had passed but she wasn't moving her left arm much. And it looked funny. I called her pediatrician and they went through a long list of questions and apparently a "funny looking arm" diagnosis warrants a trip to the ER.

I picked up Carina at preschool and brought her to Mike's work and then hightailed it to the Children's Hospital ER. The doctor examined her but since she showed no signs of pain she assumed Aurelia was fine. Protocol is an X-ray, though, so they wheeled us together, Aurelia sitting on my lap yelling, "wheeeee!" the entire time, all the way to Radiology. "Fun ride! Do again!"

The doctor was shocked to see that she had actually broken her arm. They sent us back to Radiology for more X-rays (I think the first one was kind of a we assume she's fine courtesy X-ray) "wheeeeee! Fun!" Then came the part where the had to sedate her in order to set the bone and put a cast on and I had to leave the room -- not because they made me, but because I couldn't watch. I sat right outside in the hallway, crying. Blaming myself.

She woke up happy and the hand-to-just-under-the-shoulder cast didn't even phase her. One more trip to Radiology "Fun ride! Wheeeee!" and then we headed home, about 7 hours after we had arrived. Way past her bed time, Aurelia fell asleep on the ride home.

4 short weeks later, she actually got the cast off today. They used a saw to cut it off and thinking she'd be afraid, the Radiology Technician had me hold up a towel so that she couldn't see what he was doing. She kept on trying to move it so she could watch. No fear, no tears. She's been so brave through this entire ordeal.


I, on the other hand, have been a freaking mess. Mommy guilt times a million on this one.


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Monday, June 9, 2014

Realizing I can't do it all


I'm tired. Really tired. Watching the kids all day long followed by working until 11 PM every night tired. This has been the story of the last month. Even the weekends have mostly been watching the girls while Mike works, and then working myself when he comes home.

Why am I torturing myself? I thought I could do it. But then the ~10 hour/week job turned into more like 20 hours/week…and then I realized the house was a dump. I could feel my anxiety coming back but had no time to do any of the things that help keep it at bay (read, do puzzles, just relax).

I don't have to can't be Supermom. It's not good for my mental, emotional, or physical (SO TIRED!) well-being.

So, I:
1. Hired a new part-time babysitter (a neighbor who is really flexible and the girls love her, woohoo!) She starts this week.
2. Started getting our groceries delivered. Whatever. You can judge.
3. Will be searching for a house cleaner this weekend.


The best part: now I can feel like the time I spend with the girls will be well-spent. I won't be ducking away for 5 minutes here and there to read and respond to work e-mails.

A close second: I cannot wait to have my nights back to myself. ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK HERE I COME.

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Saturday, May 17, 2014

If we could do our registry over again


It's been almost 4 years since we painstakingly created our baby registry. When I was 16 or so weeks pregnant, Mike and I went to Babies R Us on a Sunday afternoon, grabbed a registry barcode scanner, walked around aimlessly, felt overwhelmed, scanned only two things (crib and stroller) and then headed home. I did the rest of it online -- sitting comfortably on my couch. That way, I could read reviews and see everything in a much more organized manner.

I promised this post to a few pregnant friends who read my list of "Favorite Things" and wanted to know how it all turned out. Would I still buy the same items? Are some of the high price tags worth it?

Below is a run down of most of the items on the list and how we feel about them now. I'll also be following up this post with a list of things that weren't on this original list of newborn/baby items but should be, and then lastly I'll share what books and toys we're loving now (like we did a year or so ago). I always love seeing other people's recommendations, so I'll share ours :)

So without further ado…

Stuff we still love

Oh, the wub. How I wish Aurelia ever took a pacifier. Never the less, whoever invented the Wubbanub is a genius. It is a Soothie pacifier attached to a little stuffed animal. They make all different kinds of animals including giraffes, dinosaurs, dogs, and monkeys. Carina loved her kitty more than anything until she broke it when she was about 18 Months old. Up to that point, it was the only pacifier we had for her. After it broke, we went through about 10 soothe pacifiers until we took them away last summer. The wubs are so much easier to keep track of and are so much cuter. 

Gerber Birdseye Prefold Cloth Diapers
Everyone told me to get a few packs of these, because they are the best burp cloths and I didn't listen. I registered for and bought pretty burp cloths. The pretty ones look nice, but they aren't absorbent at all. I think most of them are in the trash at this point. These Gerber cloth diapers are so absorbent sometimes I can't even tell that there's spit up all over them! In comparison to the fancy burp cloths, these are super cheap, too.

Aden and Anais Swaddle Blankets
These swaddle blankets are truly the best. We probably have close to 20 different receiving blankets and these are the only ones that we use to swaddle anymore.  They are large and a little bit stretchy; perfect for swaddling! We actually bought another set after it became clear that these were the be-all end-all of swaddle blankets. The prints are super cute, too.

Baby Einstein Take Along TunesBaby Einstein Take Along Tunes
This little toy plays four different classical music songs including Vivaldi's Four Seasons - Spring (one of my faves). We kept it on the changing table and would give it to the girls during diaper changes because these little squirmies need a distraction. I've bought this as a baby shower/new baby gift for friends a couple times.
MAM Oral Care Rabbit
I bought this on the recommendation of some of the Bump ladies and I am so glad I did. You slip your fingers in the bunny's ears and rub baby's gums. Neither of the girls has been fond of teeth brushing (read: hysterical screaming), but they tolerated this much better than the other (3 or 4) baby toothbrushes we've tried.


Itzbeen Pocket Nanny
It's no secret that I'm obsessed with the Itzbeen. It has been a life saver. Every time you feed baby or change her diaper, you press the button and a timer starts counting. This means at any given time you can see how long it has been since you fed or changed her. I cannot live without this item. We used it just as religiously with Aurelia as we did with Carina and will absolutely use it for any future babies. I know there are phone apps out there that do the same thing but the ease of pushing a button vs. swiping into your phone, into an app, and recording the data can't be beat. I am a heavy iPhone user but will never trade this for an app.

Halo Innovations Sleepsack Swaddle 100% Cotton, Cream, SmallHalo Cotton Swaddle Sleepsack
At around 4 months Carina outgrew our aden + anais Swaddle Blankets. We looked at a number of sleep products like SwaddleMes, the Woombie, and the Swaddlepod, but decided against those designs because we weren't sure for how much longer she would need to be swaddled. This sleepsack, on the other hand, can be used as a sleep blanket with or without the velcro swaddly part. When Carina no longer needed to be swaddled, we unhooked the velcro and took off the swaddle. As soon as we started using this sleepsack, she was back to sleeping through the night almost every night!

Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads
I was using reusable nursing pads at first, but after I leaked through one, my bra, my shirt, and the blanket that was covering me, I knew it was time to try something else. These are great; they have an adhesive backing and will stick to your nursing bra or tank really well, and in over 3 total years of breastfeeding (whoa…) I've never leaked through one. I tried free samples of other brands but always came back to these. If you're nursing, get these. You'll thank me.

Medela PersonalFit Breastshields
It is IMPERATIVE that you make sure you have the right fit while pumping. Otherwise it can be painful and decrease your output. I was using the wrong size for a few weeks when Carina was a newborn and it was painful and I was frustrated that I wasn't pumping much milk. Most breast pumps come with the most popular size (24 mm) and I had no idea that they weren't actually "one-size-fits-all". Check out the guide on the Medela website to see if you have the right fit.

I don't know how I would clean all of my pump parts, the girls' bottle parts,   zippy cup parts, etc. as efficiently if it weren't for this basket.  I just throw everything in there; no hand washing necessary. Saves me so much time. It's been in our dishwasher ever day pretty much since Carina was a few weeks old.

Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags
Anyone who breastfeeds and pumps breastmilk will need a means in which to store said milk. When I started pumping when Carina was 3 weeks old, I poured the milk in these bags when I was done, and then lay them flat in the freezer. These bags hold up great and are super easy to use.

Simple Wishes Hands-Free Breastpump Bra
Simple Wishes Hands-Free Breastpump Bra, XS/S/MThis bra is amazing and a must-have for anyone who needs to multi-task. I used it at work when I pumped, and I was able to keep on working while I pump. It is so absolutely worth the money for anyone who is planning on pumping at work. It's comfortable and adjustable in size so it's easy to get the perfect fit. There are removable straps that you can use if you need additional support. I've since bought another so I can keep one at work and one at home (as needed).

My Brest Friend Pillow
This pillow literally has become my best friend. It is thick and supportive (not mushy like the boppy) and has a back rest. You don't have to hold the baby in position; your arms are free! It is adjustable and can fit snugly enough that you can stand up and walk around while baby is feeding. It also has a pocket that you can put your cell phone or lanolin in.

Inglesina Table Chair
We've used this chair for both girls and they much prefer it to our giant clunky high chair. The levers under the arms are completely adjustable, so you can attach the seat to tables of any thickness. It folds up really nicely, so it's perfect to bring to restaurants or take with you when you travel. We picked this brand as opposed to others because it had the best reviews on Amazon for table chairs under $50.

ERGObaby Baby Carrier
The Ergo was great for multitasking with both girls. When you have little ones who refuse to be put down, putting them in this will let you get some chores done. In my experience, it often lulled a nap-refusing baby to sleep. It was definitely a must-have for grocery shopping with a newborn and a toddler, too.

Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo
Take my eyes but not this jumper! This is akin to baby crack; both girls had so much fun in it. You can see for yourself in this video of Carina in it. When they weren't tall enough to reach the ground from the lowest setting (the height is adjustable), we simply put a thick Chemistry text book under their feet. Worked great.

Fisher Price Precious Planet Blue Cradle SwingCarina and Aurelia both slept in this swing every night for a few months when they were newborns. They LOVED it and slept through the night and what tired Momma & Daddy don't want sleep? This particular model is great because you can use it with either batteries or the plug-in adapter. I would make love to this swing if I could. I'm not kidding. I tested a different brand/type of swing for a Mom's Panel I'm in when Aurelia was a newborn and it didn't even compare. I'm not sure if they sell this exact model anymore, but look for any of the Fisher Price cradle swings. Same idea and function.

Fisher-Price Playtime Bouncer, Precious Planet
Both Carina and Aurelia could sit in this bouncer all day. But don't worry, I didn't let them. It's stored in Aurelia's closet now and if I'm cleaning or rearranging in there, they still like to take it out and play with it. If you can handle the cuteness, take a look at the video of her adorable 'dancing'. This was my go-to item when I need a few minutes to pee or get something to eat.

Stuff we're "meh" about or would do differently

JJ Cole Car Seat Cover
These are a good alternative to the JJ Cole Bundle Mes because they don't go between baby and the car seat (and hence won't void your car seat's warranty). We have 2, but honestly I think a thick baby blanket works just as well.

Fisher-Price Precious Planet Tub
This thing is huge and takes up a ton of space. I'm not sure there are many great alternatives out there, but we'd probably try to find something less bulky. Maybe one like this that looks like it fits in the kitchen sink - The First Year's Infant To Toddler Tub.

ERGObaby Original Infant Insert
Neither of the girls was very comfortable in the Ergo infant insert. I've heard you can use a wrapped up receiving blanket and it works just well. And anyways, I found the Moby Wrap to be better suited for the newborn stage.

Fisher-Price Rainforest Peek-a-Boo Soother, Waterfall
Carina enjoyed this, but it eats batteries. We've since opted for the Soundspa Lullaby Sound Machine and Projector. We have one for each of the girls' rooms now. They're not perfect (the projector motor craps out every now and then) but they are comforting and can stay on all night (instead of shutting off after 20 minutes).

Baby Jogger City Mini Single Stroller
I really liked this stroller, BUT -- if you are planning on having more than 1 kid, I'd really consider a single stroller that can convert into a double. I wish we had done this. Because now we have this stroller, and also the Double, and they both take a lot of space. If we could do it all over again I think I'd go for either the phil&teds Navigator or the Baby Jogger City Select.

Fisher-Price Rainforest Melodies & Lights Deluxe Gym
Both girls enjoyed this gym but it falls apart every freaking 5 minutes. We have to constantly put the four corners of it back into the play mat and snap the top back together. Maybe we just got a defective one? I won the Tiny Love My Nature Pals Move & Playmat at BlogHer shortly before Aurelia was born and like this one a lot better.

Boppy Nursing Pillow
I didn't use the Boppy for nursing, I much prefer the My Brest Friend Pillow for that -- we used it for baby lounging. Just a place to hang out when the girls couldn't yet sit up on their own. In retrospect, any old pair of pillows would have done just fine (and have done just fine).

Fisher-Price Precious Planet Mobile
We didn't use this mobile much past the first few months for either of the girls. We opted for the Soundspa Lullaby Sound Machine and Projector and handmade mobiles instead. We took the little animals off and the girls still play with them, though.


Fortunately, there really haven't been any items that we initially liked only to find them unbearable later on. Just a few things for which we probably would have considered other options had we known then what we know now.

Moms out there, please feel free to add any advice or must-have items, or things you wish you hadn't bought.

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