This year feels a bit different, I felt a sense of completeness as I hung up stocking #4 for the first time. Lucy & Conor truly make this holiday (and every holiday) feel magical. It’s like I relive my own childhood as I see the wonderment in their eyes.
Reflecting on the past year, I still can’t believe we have TWO kids. Conor has been such a blessing to our family this year, and I was so excited to show him his very first Christmas tree. I am a bit obsessed with the teal and red bulbs we have on our tree this Christmas. While the kids are small, hanging anything too fragile seems a bit risky, so instead we used mostly stuffed ornaments and I just love how whimsical it is!
As much as I love the idea of making our own memories and traditions, there is nothing like bringing back the best ones from your childhood. When we were young, my dad always put a huge model train under the tree. This was no ordinary train, it had real sounds, lights, smoke puffs, you name it! We even would set up a little village with homes and tiny people in fake snow. I haven’t quite made it to that level yet, but in the meantime we have a beautiful little train set by FAO Schwarz that simply mesmerizes the kids as they watch as it passes by.
And although it’s been said many times, many ways…
I feel like i’ve hit the jackpot with these sweet & silly kids.
Everyone always told me when I was pregnant that it goes by so fast, and I was always skeptical (especially during that first month of non-stop crying). I now realize everyone is absolutely right, it really does fly by. My once itty bitty newborn has almost doubled in weight and her non-stop crying has turned into non-stop irresistible smiles and happy squeals. I wanted to use this post to showcase Lucy’s first 3 months of life and also try to provide some insight as to what products were most useful during this time for any expecting mom-to-be’s out there!
0-1 Month: Small Victories
For me, the labor, delivery, and recovery process was extremely overwhelming in every aspect of the word (good and bad). Bryan coined the phrase “small victories” to help get us through. The idea behind the phrase was to be acknowledge the progress we made along the way and I can proudly say now that all of those small victories combined helped lead me to my greatest victory of all, motherhood.
Now that the labor and delivery process is behind us, I feel like I can share the condensed version of Lucy’s birth story. Lucy was super comfortable in the womb and didn’t want to come out on her own so 3 days past her due date, we scheduled to have her induced because she was measuring large and that increased the chance of complications. I spent 38.5 hours being induced with no sleep and only ice chips to eat. During those two days of induction there was a full moon and the labor and delivery wing was packed with women who had gone into labor! This was an exciting thing to hear, but because of the amount of people having babies none of the nurses were able to answer my calls for the most painful 5 hours I had ever endured before they could finally come in and give me an epidural. In order to pass the time, there happened to be an “I Love Lucy” marathon on television, so I tried to just focus on that instead of the pain. Unfortunately, the induction failed overall and it lead me to get a C-section. Even though I was physically exhausted, I was so happy to hear that I would soon get to see my baby girl and I was overcome with a new wave of energy and positivity. Bryan and I put on our surgery outfits and I was wheeled into the surgery room.
It all started out fine, I couldn’t feel a thing and Bryan and I were laughing and talking about golf as they started the process. All of a sudden I felt a painful pulling feeling and I could hear the doctor saying that she was stuck. Lucy was already so far down in my pelvis after being induced for so long that they couldn’t pull her out of the standard cut. It was then that I felt the most excruciating pain I had ever felt as they made a second cut upwards. I learned afterwards that the reason I felt so much pain was because the numbing stopped at my bellybutton so when they cut past that point there was no longer any sort of numbing medication. The last thing I remember hearing was that she was out and that it was 10:50 PM, and then it was a complete blur until a few hours later I woke up completely out of it and I remember thinking that I was dead. I then realized I was being handed my baby girl. What should have been an amazing moment of holding my baby for the first time, was full of anxiety as I couldn’t open my eyes and I felt terrified as I thought “why are they handing me her I don’t even know what is happening!” All I could do was ask Bryan if everything went okay and I heard his reassuring voice saying that she was perfect and in that moment that is all I focused on to get me through. Finally, after my blood pressure and temperature stabilized, we were taken to our hospital room where I was finally able to process what was going on and I saw my sweet baby Lucy finally and breathed a sigh of relief.
A few days later when we finally left the hospital it felt so great to be home and out of the hospital room without all of the nurses coming in every hour to check on mine and Lucy’s vitals. Unfortunately, the recovery process was no walk in the park. I was swollen from the waist down due to water retention from the surgery which made it difficult to walk. My cuts were healing and still caused me a lot of pain. I was limited to only taking stairs once per day and holding nothing heavier than Lucy. On top of that, I had a very hard time with breastfeeding. Those first few weeks I felt completely defeated. I felt like the worst mother ever because it was hard for me to care for Lucy since I could hardly even care for myself. Thankfully, Bryan handled most everything those first few weeks. All of Lucy’s diaper changes, all of the household chores, and he took care of Rooney. My mom also came the first week we were home during the day while Bryan was at work and she took care of Lucy and I and I couldn’t be more appreciative. We ended up camping out in the living room for 2.5 weeks while I recovered. Let me tell you, finally sleeping in our own bed again was one of our greatest small victories.
The remainder of that first month home continued to improve with each passing day. What once was a feeling of exhaustion, depression, and defeat was now turning into feelings of comfort, healing, and confidence.
About Lucy this month:
Lucy LOVES eating, sticks her tongue out on cue, smiles at mommy and daddy, wears size 3-6 month clothing since 1 week, is very alert & attentive, lifts her head, has RED hair and blue eyes, loves bathtime, loves being held and rocked, sleeps 4-5 hours at a time at night!
2 Months: Hey this is E.A.S.Y.
Around the 2-month mark, Lucy and I began to figure it out. I never thought a baby was like a puzzle, but for me I had to literally try to figure out what to do piece by piece! Our days consisted of snuggling and lounging around the house with many feedings, diaper changes, and naps in between. After reading Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg, I realized the importance of schedule and routine and began following the E.A.S.Y. method. What this stands for is Eat – Activity – Sleep – You. I found a great description of the process here (credit Noob Mommy). Some common activities Lucy and I did were playing on play mats, practicing tummy time, playing peek-a-boo, taking Rooney to the basement to let him out to pee, and watching Calliou. You’d be surprised at just how entertaining these things could be for a 2 month old! Some common me time activities included watching movies on Netflix, doing the dishes, doing endless loads of laundry, and attempting to blog but then getting distracted by Amazon.com. It really is insane how little you can get done for yourself while you are caring for a newborn baby!
About Lucy this month:
Lucy sleeps in her own bedroom, is SUPER chatty and happy when she wakes up in the morning, squeals when she is happy, can roll from her tummy to her back, likes kicking her feet when music is playing, is SUPER gassy, notices her brother Rooney and smiles at him, loves playing on her play mats and swatting at the toys, holds onto her hippo pacifier tight, likes to see herself in the mirror, sleeps 6-7 hour stretches at a time at night!
3 Months: Work/Life Balance
This past month, Lucy has really developed her own personality! She is constantly smiling and she “talks” to us non-stop. Staying at home with Lucy turned from something that was overwhelming at first into something I could see myself doing forever (if only I was able to). I returned back to work 2 weeks ago and the day we left Lucy with her daycare provider was one of the hardest days of my life. The second we dropped her off and walked out of the door I cried my eyes out. The rest of my commute was spent crying as well. Each day that passes gets a little bit easier, but I still spend a majority of my day thinking about how she is doing. Bryan and I are so lucky to have found such an amazing daycare provider for Lucy, so that has made this transition easier on us. Still, the absolute best part of the day is picking her up and being able to spend the evening with her. The second best part of the day is when I receive photo updates through texts from her provider (I’m a wee bit obsessed with my little one if you can’t tell)!
About Lucy this month:
Lucy started going to daycare with Mrs. Lucy and loves all of her new friends (especially Gus), tries to stick both of her hands in her mouth at the same time, drools, is chatty, talkative, and sqeals all of the time, likes to yell for no reason and then smile, splashes in the bathtub, likes to lay on her back and put her feet as high in the air as possible, stares at her toes and wonders how to get them into her mouth, grabs at Rooney’s fur and tries to grab his face, smiles at herself in the mirror when she sees the “pretty baby”, grabs toys that are hanging down, can grab her pacifier and take it out of her mouth, likes watching soccer and golf with daddy and Calliou with mommy, sleeps 6-7 hour stretches at a time at night!
12 Items We Couldn’t Have Lived Without: Months 0-3
Little Remedies – Gas Drops: These drops as well as the next two items were lifesavers for our VERY GASSY baby. From day one Lucy has had really bad gas pains and she would cry and cry until she was able to get the gas out! The gas drops contain the same active ingredient as Gas-X and give Lucy that extra push when trying to get that pain out of her tummy!
Dr. Brown’s Bottles: I originally registered for completely different bottles but once Lucy’s gas issues popped up I knew I needed to try to find a bottle that kept the air out while she drank. These bottles have a vent system that helps create a paced flow which in turn helps reduce any problems while feeding. Since we have switched to these bottles Lucy rarely spits up.
Fisher-Price Rock and Play (auto-rocking): This is what Lucy has been sleeping in since we brought her home. We will be transitioning her to the crib within the next month or two, but for those first few months this was the ideal sleeping solution. The Rock and Play craddles baby more and the auto-rocking feature helps soothe her to sleep. We also have two other non-rocking versions of this, one of which we keep in the car to bring with us when we go out to family/friends homes, and the other stays down on the main level of the home for a safe place to place Lucy.
Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddles: Any Muslin cotton swaddling blankets will do! Muslin cotton is a breathable and comfortable fabric. These blankets made it easy to use to swaddle baby safetly, plus the designs are all super adorable!
Activity Mats (for different spots in the house): Around the 1 1/2 month mark Lucy started to enjoy activity mats. On these mats she practices tummy time and likes to swat at the different toys that hang down. Her two favorite mats here and here, have toys that hang down, lights, and music. All of those features really keep her stimulated and entertained.
Graco Pack n’ Play with changing station: We keep this on our main level and it proved to be one of the most useful items during my recovery process. Since I was unable to take stairs during the day I pretty much lived on the main level. Having a changing table on this floor made it easy to change all of those newborn diapers! Also, this particular version has really convenient shelves at the base which we store clothes and extra diapers in. I highly recommend setting up one of these BEFORE you go into labor so that it is all ready to go when you come home from the hospital!
Diaper Champ: This bad boy sits right next to our changing table! It keeps the odors out of the house and unlike the Diaper Genie, this diaper holder uses any type of trash bag instead of special cartriges. It is a much more cost effective diaper pail and does just as good a job if not better at masking the odor.
Soothie Pacifiers and Booginhead Pacigrip: When you are pregnant, one thing you seem to acquire a ton of are pacifiers. I must have had 10 different brands of pacifiers when Lucy was born but it turned out that the Soothie pacifier the hospital provided to us is the one that Lucy likes best. After we found that the pacifier was sometimes the only thing to stop Lucy from crying, we bought a ton of them just to make sure that we were never without this magic little mute button! Also, for some reason out of all of Lucy’s things, our dog Rooney is drawn to the pacifier the most and this has resulted in many a chewed up pacifier being found around the house. After about 2 months I found the Booginhead pacifier holders that can hold this brand of pacifier Since we bought one of these clips Lucy pretty much lives with a pacifier clipped on her outfit at all times.
Lil’ Critters Soothing Starlight Hippo by Vtech: My sister gifted us this hippo for Lucy because she knows that hippo’s are my favorite animal and couldn’t resist. It turns out, that this is not only adorable sitting in the nursey, it is also extremely useful in our bedtime routine! During Lucy’s last bottle of the night we turn off the lights, sit on the glider, and turn on the hippo and it plays music and shines stars around the ceiling. Then once she is finished we can set her into her Rock and Play to go to sleep and she just stares up at the ceiling and watches the stares until she falls asleep. It has different time settings and also has a great setting that turns the hippo on automatically when baby starts crying in the night which helps to calm her down.
Nose Frida: Who thought sucking boogies could be so much fun?! Around the one month mark, Lucy got her first runny nose. Of course as first time parents we were nervous and didn’t know how to help her so we called the pediatrician. They let us know that it was safe to suction out her nose to help clear her up so we finally were able to put the Nose Frida we received from our baby shower to use (thanks Jennie)! This thing makes getting the mucus out so easy and honestly, kinda fun! You take one end and place it in babies nose and the other end you put your mouth on and literally suck out the boogies. I was so grossed out by this at first because I thought they would get in my mouth – but this little tool uses a tube and filter to ensure that doesn’t happen. Best of all, Lucy LOVES it and always smiles after we use it!
Fisher-Price Sit-Me-Up Floor Seat: This seat has been incredibly useful during her third month! As Lucy grows, she wants to see more of the world around her and not always be laying on an activity mat. This seat is perfect for small babies to be able to sit up and observe. We used this seat in place of the Bumbo Floor Seat as we found Lucy hated sitting in the Bumbo.
Again, let me re-state just how fast time is flying! I cannot believe Lucy is already three months old. It is crazy to think about all that is to come and what I will be able to talk about in just three more months when recap again!
The Easter Bunny decided to visit Bryan. Bryan has always been very into golf, but this year especially he has been obsessive about it! The creative wheels in my head started turning and here is what it came up with.
I finally smelled the first spring scented day last week. It was that unmistakable freshness after a warm rain and the buds of new life sprouting. Perfect timing too, Spring, because this weekend was Easter and we were able to spend it outside with family soaking in some much needed vitamin D. Bryan and I had a wonderful Easter meal at my mom’s house and it was followed by quality time outside talking, laughing, watching the four dogs run around (and Rooney run into the screen door), and watching my step-sister and her fiancé fly kites. Afterwards we went to my dad’s and enjoyed some more time outside while catching up and planning for our 4th of July trip to the lake house. Can we fast forward to July please?
Now for my fun little Easter project this year. The Easter Bunny decided to visit Bryan. Bryan has always been very into golf, but this year especially he has been obsessive about it! We’ve had only a few warm days so far this year (I could count them on one hand), and he has already been out golfing twice and to the driving range at least once a week since March. The creative wheels in my head started turning and here is what it came up with.
Golf Ball Easter Basket
Bryan loved the basket and is excited to start using the new golf balls. He then used this opportunity to let me know of HIS surprise. He bought me my own set of clubs for our upcoming anniversary! I am so excited to be able to start playing – and on top of that, what a perfect week for all of this golf gifting as it is the week of the Masters!
Going back to this Easter Bunny that I mentioned that came by to drop off the basket…we were able to take a quick photo of him before he hopped away:
You really thought you would get to the end of this post without a Easter themed Rooney picture?
Valentine’s Day…ahhh, a time to celebrate LOVE and spend time with one another. No matter how you celebrate big or small, the happy sentiment of love all around on this day is endearing. Let me start this post by saying that Rooney was VERY excited to celebrate the holiday and would like to sell you some kisses:
Bryan and I’s love for each other and Valentine’s day goes back to our very beginning. How about a quick trip down memory lane…
Valentine’s Day 2011 proved to be the best Valentine’s Day I had ever had. Bryan surprised me the weekend before and pulled out an envelope that had a photo of the Boston skyline inside. He then let me know that on Valentine’s Day morning we would be flying into Boston for the night and coming home the following day. Keep in mind this was before we were even officially dating. So February 14, 2011, we flew to Boston and had the most amazing trip. He took me to Fenway Park (Go Red Sox!), we had dinner at amazing Italian restaurant, and we walked around one of the most charming cities i’d ever seen. The next day I had planned a little surprise for him. Long before we started dating Bryan told me, “just let me know when you are ready to start dating”. On the way home from our trip I pulled out a Mix CD that I made and played it. Each and every song on the CD said “I’m ready” or referenced being ready. He then asked me to be his girlfriend which lead to us becoming official.
And now to Valentine’s Day 2015: I’m just going to come right out and say it. Bryan and I used to have an addiction.
Okay, okay, so maybe it was that we were just obsessed with peanut butter and fluff sandwiches when we first started dating. This year, in celebration of our love for this combination, I came up with the a cupcake that would pay tribute. Bryan’s favorite dessert is red velvet cakes/cupcakes so I wanted to use that as the base to my cupcake. I wanted to surprise Bryan with what I call Red Velvet Peanut Butter and Fluff Cupcakes. I used two different recipes and then my own ideas to create the final cupcake. Let’s just say that my Valentine loved them – here we are two days later, and there are no more cupcakes.
For the red velvet cake part of the cupcake, I did my research and ended up using Sally’s Baking Addiction‘s Red Velvet Cupcake recipe. I found this recipe to be easy to follow and made 14 delicious cupcakes.
While the cupcakes baked and cooled, my next focus was on the peanut butter icing. The Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Icing recipe I followed was found on food.com. This icing is to DIE for if you like peanut butter.
After letting the cupcakes cool, it was time for me to add my personal touch to the cupcakes. The icing incorporated the peanut butter side of peanut butter and fluff sandwiches, so I needed to now add the fluff. I used a cupcake corer to take out the center of each cupcake and then I filled each cupcake with a generous amount of ooey gooey marshmallow fluff. After filling each cupcake I finished the cupcake by piping on the peanut butter cream cheese icing.
And there you have it! Just looking at these photos makes me wish I could go take a bite out of these right now. The cupcakes were just the start of our Valentine’s Day surprises. Bryan surprised me with a 70 minute couples massage which was just AMAZING. We both came out feeling completely relaxed. We then enjoyed a nice dinner at home because the snow kept us from going back out to our dinner reservations, and I was completely fine with that.
Now to leave you with a behind the scenes photo of what my photo shoot with the cupcake was REALLY like:
After fully making over the morning room, our powder room which on the same level needed a little freshening up! When we moved into our home, most of the paint choices from the previous owners were actually not too bad and we found we didn’t really need to do much painting! However; one of the rooms in the house, the powder room (which also happens to be our tiniest room), has always bothered me. Something about a bright yellow bathroom just doesn’t do it for me! Another pet peeve with the bathroom was the gold light fixture above the mirror. We are slowly trying to replace any gold hardware with brushed nickel pieces throughout the whole house. Here is our before pictures of the powder room in all of its yellow glory…warning may induce a headache from icky yellow brightness:
I went to the hardware store paint counter and I brought home many shades of blues and grays and taped them all over the wall. Bryan walked in and must have thought our bathroom had morphed into the paint color swatch wall at Home Depot. After many trips to and from the store, we finally decided on the perfect color blue. The color that we went with in the end is called English Channel by BEHR. We were able to prep the space and get the painting finished last Saturday and on Sunday, my dad came over to help us install a new light fixture, toilet paper rack, and hand towel rack. Afterwards, I accessorized the space a bit with new hand towels, bathroom accessories, and a rug to save our feet on that cold winter tile. I also found hand soap/lotion, Pecksniff’s in Ginger Flower & Patchouli, which I highly recommend.
I am still trying to determine if a piece of art on the wall or some shelving adjacent to the toilet might someday be incorporated, but for now we are happy with our little weekend project, we even had a certain puppy help us with our painting!