01 November 2013

Our Favorite Baby Things

I've recently had many friends get pregnant and ask me what some of our favorite baby products are and what things you actually need for a newborn. It is easy to start looking at all the baby products available and feel like you need to build a whole house just for baby gear. We were very blessed and were given so so so very much from loved ones and depended a lot on their wisdom. Instead of sending an email each time I'm asked about gear, I thought I would just direct them to this blog post and it could be a reference for myself when in the very very distant future we enter back into babyland and I need a reminder what works for us.

Our apartment where we brought Henry home to was itty bitty (and perfect for us)and there was not much space for bulky baby gear, so we try and get things that can grow along with Henry or serve more than one purpose.

Sleeping in our room: I knew I wanted Henry in our room for the first few months of life. As cute as a cradle or bassinet are, I knew they would only be useful for a couple months and then take up a lot of room once out of use. My aunts got us this pack n play that has a bassinet/changing table option and we can actually use it again once he moves out of our room.

Henry eneded up in bed with us between using the pack n play and being in his own room. My friend used a much much smaller option with her baby and I think next time we will do that than the big pack n play.

Bathtime: Our bathroom doesn't have any room to store a bulky baby tub. I hesitated buying this tub because it isn't cheap but knowing that it would enable Ronnie to help out and participate in bath time a little easier is what pushed me to buy it and I am SO glad I did. Bathing a squirmy little newborn is hard enough, but this tub makes it so much fun! We hang it on the back of the bathroom door and it doesn't take up any extra space.

My cousin Rachel sent us these Aden and Anais swaddle blankets and they are most definitely our favorite! They are light enough to shove in the diaper bag and perfect to wrap a little one up tight without worrying they will overheat. I have even ditched the carseat cover and use these blankets instead.

Because I loved the light stretchy fabric of the muslin swaddle blankets, when I saw these Weegoamigo blankets for half price on Babysteals I snagged a couple and love them. They are bigger than the Aden and Anais blankets which make them perfect for nursing under.

My friend Val introduced me to the Woombie. The real ones are something like $25 each so I bought the off brand on amazon 2 for $15 and they work great (and it especially nice to have a second one around when there is a middle of the night blowout). It is so nice to just zip those little arms in and not worry about achieving the perfect swaddle.

At my baby shower, my friend Charity gave us a ziploc bag full of organic coconut oil and we have put it to good use. Henry had a rash on his cheeks and side of his head that would not go away. We tried switching soaps, I quit using scented soaps thinking it was my skin causing him to break out in a rash, and I tried all the special lotions for eczema. Coconut oil did the trick! It absorbs so well and he smells so delicious. There are about a million uses for coconut oil and we love it!

My sister gave us her bouncer seat and we ended up using it a lot more than I thought I would. It was great for setting Henry in when I needed to cook dinner or clean up the house a bit. He loved loved loved the toys hanging from it and would kick and squeal when they moved. We only did the bouncer and not a swing because we A. didn't have room for both and B. I didn't want to rely on a swing to get him calm. If we don't have it, we would never need it.

A baby carrier! I was a little timid jumping into the "baby wearing" world, but now I am all for it! My sister gave me her old carrier which is super simple and I am sure was much less expensive than other brands, but it also didn't offer much support. When Henry was itty bitty I carried him in a Moby wrap but once he put a few lbs. on, it didn't hold him well. I tried out a friend's Ergo and knew it would be great for both Ronnie and me to use. It is THE BEST for getting grocery shopping done and when we are walking around a lot.

My sister in law also gifted me her old ring sling and we use that daily! It takes some getting used too but I love it! Borrow a friend's carriers and give them a try before slapping down money for these bas boys. Baby wearing is very personal and individual and you want to find what works for you!

As far as bottles and pacifiers and clothes, and all that other jazz, I am sure you will have your preferences and so will your baby. Hope this little list helps and just know that babies really don't NEED that much.

30 September 2013

Silly Boy

Today was one of those days that you dream about when you are pregnant and imagining what life with a baby will be like. We tickled and giggled and went on a walk and played at the park. Henry squealed as I pushed him in the swing and I watched in wonder as a strong breeze blew right into his face and he held out his hands and smiled as he discovered this new sensation. Henry hungrily ate what I made for dinner and splashed happily in the bath right before bed.
After I put him in bed and joined Ronnie on the couch, I could hear him playing in his crib. I turned on the video monitor to see him clapping his hands and blowing raspberries on his fist. After a few minutes of waiting it out to see if he would drift off to sleep, I went up to his room to remind him it was bedtime. As soon as I picked him up he leaned in and blew a raspberry on my cheek and giggled when I began to laugh. He is just like his Dad. His day wouldn't be complete without making sure he made me laugh one more time. He then leaned in, grab my face with his hands, and planted a big, open-mouthed, absolutely perfect baby kiss on my lips.
As if he needed to win me over any more.
We rocked for a few more minutes and he nursed so sleep. I stole a few more snuggles before putting him back into his crib and wishing for the one millionth time that time would Just. Slow. Down.

16 September 2013

It's about time for some pics, right?

I'll make this update quick but make it heavy on the pics. Time seems to be playing tricks on me and just when I think time can't go any quicker, it does. Henry is still just an absolute delight and such a happy, content boy. He sits and reaches for toys but is not so interested in crawling (FINE BY ME!). He will roll around and find toys to play with if one of us isn't right in front of his face, but he is happy to do just about anything.
Henry is a champ at eating anything we give him, well, except peas. Not a fan. He loves chicken, avocados, greek yogurt, peaches, pears, rice, and the list could go on and on. And when i say he loves those foods, I mean the real ones, not baby foods. He loves eating the same things as us and is great at it.
Breastfeeding is still going well and I love my time to reconnect with him and get some of the snuggles he no longer is interested in giving. Henry does love to give kisses and is especially fond of other little kids. He gets excited and squeals when he spots other children.
Henry has two little teeth beginning to pop through and has hardly complained a bit about them. I had no clue he was teething until I saw them one morning while feeding him. It honestly scares me what an angle he is. I am in for it one of these days! He is sleeping better and better and doesn't like to go to bed much later than 7 (jackpot!) He still wakes up to nurse 1-2 times a night but I honestly don't mind being able to know he is ok a few times a night.
The Big Guy recently had his well baby check up. I can't believe how much I look forward to these and that I count down the days. It isn't so much about getting to hear hit "stats" but being able to see our doctor and get his stamp of approval every couple of months. This last checkup he pointed out all the great social skills Henry is displaying and then proceeded to roll across the room superman style on his chair and play with Henry. Definitely worth the hour drive! I am sure there are great Pediatricians here in Utah County, but as you can tell we are quite attached to the one we have. Want to hear his stats anyway? Weight and head- 68%ile and height-80%ile. It makes me feel a little less crazy when I think "This kid must be growing more than usual! He is literally sucking all my energy!" when we see his stats. 18 lbs. 14oz and 28 inches long of perfection!
OK, Picture time!

6 months

***Started this post forever ago and never finished but I'll put it up anyway***

I know that I totally missed month 5 but it was a little nuts around here and I fill you on what has been happening around here.
Ronnie got a new job. Yes, again. We loved loved loved Oakley, but then out of nowhere a school Ronnie worked for came and offered him a job and it was just too good to pass it up. It turned out to be perfect timing for so many reasons. The Oakley School was up for sale and the buyer fell through, management changes caused some rocking of the boat, and almost every single director of the school "happened to find a great opportunity elsewhere". All of that happened literally days after we decided to take the job in Spanish Fork. We felt so incredibly blessed to be going somewhere a little more stable, closer to family, and to switch Ronnie's 40 minute commute with a 4 mile one. He rarely works on Fridays and he really enjoys the boys he is working with. They are all on the higher functioning end of the autism spectrum which makes what Ronnie does everyday that much more special to me.
We accepted the new job at Maple Lake Academy in June and Ronnie started July 1st. I worked on packing up our place in Salt Lake (I miss that beautiful city every.single.day.) and we planned the move for when my whole Fam Damily was here for a family reunion. We have relied on friends to move us several times so we thought it would be nice to give all my siblings a chance to haul all our crap around. They were an army of worker bees and I am so grateful for siblings and in-laws and nieces and nephews and parents who are willing to do SO VERY MUCH for us. Baby Sister perks.

Now for Henry updates and pics

My oh my how fast this kid is growing! After being with so much family and rarely being set on the floor, I was pretty sure he forgot how to roll over, but as soon as we were alone, he realized he could roll both directions and seemed to be fond on rolling into corners and practically under the couch.

Henry loves to sit and observe others and is smiley and friendly with them once he has given them a good stare down. He gives Ronnie a big smile and coo when he comes home. The smile Henry gives me when I go to get him out of his crib after he naps is my favorite smile of all. He tends to be quite around people he is not familiar with while he observes and studies them, but at home he loves to practice using his voice and creating a variety of noises. My favorite is his "Bah bah bah"that usually ends with a high pitched squeal.

It seems like Henry just started to suddenly sit very well on his own. Ronnie is continually amazed at watching Henry's motor skills develop because he can remember vividly what it was like to gain trunk control and the balanced to be able to sit up on his own.

With introducing solids there is so much conflicting research and it seems every doctor suggests something different, so we read up on Baby Led Weaning (suggested to us from my good friend Aly) and I really liked the principles behind it. I am not a fundamentalist in anything we do so we kind of pick and choose what we like and what works good for Henry and go with it. I waited until Henry showed me he was developmentally ready and excited to try solids, and we dove right in. We most give him whatever we are eating, just a little more soft or steamed. He is quickly getting great at munching and getting things into his mouth.

02 July 2013

4 months old

Now that H man is almost 5 months, I will finally post this. Pics will be added later (far too lazt right now!)

How have these past four months flown by so fast? Henry is getting bigger everyday and seems to wake up and discover something new he can do each day. Maybe it is just the developmental specialist in me that loves to watch him learn new things, but I am amazed each time some new skill emerges and it happens so quickly and naturally!

My favorite things Henry has picked up this month have been his deeper understanding of who Ronnie and I are. He will go to new people and let them hold him, but only if he can see me. He usually will keep his eyes locked on me for the first few moments before switching his attention elsewhere.
Whenever Ronnie would get home from work he used to look at him for a few minutes and then return to what he was doing, But now he gets a great big grin on his face and will even coo at him with excitement.

My other favorite new skill is his adorable little giggle. Henry is getting a little less sensitive (he would cry when you even pretended to blow raspberries on his tummy) and will now giggle when you nibble on him. He will sometimes give a deep chuckle and other times he will let out an all out baby giggle.

Henry is reaching out and wanting to grip everything, and then bring it straight to his mouth. When he isn't grabbing things into his chubby little hands, he just wants to talk, Talk, TALK. Some days he has no interest in toys and he just wants me to look at him and have little "conversations" all day. He practicing making his voice soar and dip and is even trying out different consonant sounds. When talking gets boring, there is always time to blow spit bubbles and sticking his tongue out. He loves it when I stick mine out back at him and we go back and forth.

Henry is such a cuddly little guy! At times I think my heart will burst from all of the happiness. I honestly can't imagine anything else I would rather be doing than waking up to my sweet Henry Boy each day and spending each minute of the day with him. I occasionally will run out to run a quick errand without him and leave him with Ronnie, and I think about Henry the whole time. Ronnie thinks I sound crazy when I say I miss him when I put him down to sleep at night. But after he tells me I'm crazy we both pull out our phones and look at pictures of Henry before we go to sleep.

He has only been here four months, but sure has ruling this house figured out.

PS. At his 4 month appt: Henry was 63 %tile straight across the board. What can I say? Proportional kids are pretty cute!

Isn't it hard enough?

***Be Ye Warned! Long Rant of a Post***

As I have entered motherhood, I have joined in on so many wonderful things that the title includes. I am less bashful about asking others for advice. I feel a greater sense of motivation in just about every aspect of my life. The forgotten details of life are once again beautiful as Henry helps me rediscover just how fascinating life really is. Just today we watched the sun dance on the ceiling as it streamed through the window while we rocked and nursed before nap #1. I am continually discovering all the other roles I play as I grow into the title of Mother. The benefits far outweigh the pounds of concealer I slather under my eyes to hide the dark circles taking permanent residence. I will gladly give up some sleep to wear the proud badge of mom.

While Henry has his fair share of tallies under "Reasons why Mikael is awake at night", there is another tally maker that I really shouldn't be adding to the score at all.

When I became pregnant and we shared our joyous news with the world, I was overwhelmed with the genuine excitement others felt for us. I had so many sources of support all around me and I feel truly blessed to have as many loved ones as I do. My sisters, friends, and even random strangers lovingly listened as I gushed with excitement, shared my hopes, and vented my frustrations with a growing babe inside of me. I was surrounded by my a circle of sisterhood.

Soon after Henry was born, I relied heavily on that circle to help me through those beautifully difficult first weeks as a mom. Learning how to nurse was a struggle, the will to cook was nonexistent, and showers were few and far between. Ronnie crawled through the trenches with me and my circle of sisterhood cheered me on with encouragement, home cooked meals, and the occasional white lie of "You look great!"

The Baby Blues eased up and Henry and I have settled into a daily routine. I have time to take some breathers now and then and I can connect with others not involved in the daily care of my precious boy. I have joined several Facebook groups to learn more about different methods of parenting, caught up on blogs and have even been able to start a book or two. As I reach out to the world beyond the walls of my home I have found some wonderful advice and support and, unfortunately, a surprising amount of women putting each other down. I have left almost every facebook group I have joined because I cringe at how ruthless the other moms are to each other. Anonymous comments are left on my friends blogs with stinging words of judgement. I have had friends call and text to tell how distraught they were because someone felt it was their right to tell them that their method of mothering was wrong. I, luckily, have felt very little judgement so far but have seen loved ones being shot at the discouraging and angry words of others.

Even though I have been able to dodge harsh judgement and with all the kindness that surrounds me, I catch myself wondering "If other moms knew I didn't do tummy time with Henry today, would they think I was terrible?" "What if 'so and so' knew I rocked Henry to sleep, would she think am spoiling him?" I've seen it a million times, and taken part in it more times than I like to admit. It isn't just moms, but women in general. We have to tear each other down thinking it will make us feel better. We take a toll on those we should be supporting and add to the tally marks under their sleepless night score board.

Isn't it hard enough to get together with friends to then just sit around and talk about what we would change about our bodies or how those extra 10 lbs. look terrible on Suzy?

Isn't it hard enough to figure out how to get a child to bed at a reasonable time without the stranger behind you in the checkout line telling you you're going about it all wrong?

Isn't it hard enough to get dinner on the table without having to turn it into a pinterest, instagram, twitter, or blog sensation?

Isn't it all hard enough as it is?

Having Henry has been a sweet sweet humbling for this opinionated girl. Never again will I judge another woman on her body because this one I'm inhabiting need a little less judgement itself. Never again will I say "doesn't she know better?" when it comes to parenting techniques because I once thought I knew better...and suddenly there was a unique little soul in my arms that challenged everything I knew. So many "Never Agains" so little time.

If I've ever made you feel not good enough, I apologize. I promise to do better. I know I will slip up, but I hope than I can be there for you to lean on more often than I trip you up. I want to be the kind of person that makes you feel better about yourself, because heaven knows we all need to be that for each other. I have so many wonderful women (and men!) in my life, and I hope posting this will help me work harder to make somebody else think, "She made my day a little bit easier".

21 May 2013

A post not about Henry (gasp!)

I didn't think it would ever happen, but I guess I do have more to talk about than just Henry. Is it though provoking, revolutionary, or even mildly entertaining? Probably not, but I think it is worth documenting.

I don't spend much time wondering what heaven will be like or even envisioning myself in it. Of course the usual doctrinal things about heaven come up each Sunday: i.e. "Heaven is living with our Heavenly Father-Creating our own worlds-Living with our families forever (Mormon Doctrine,of course).
I do occasionally have a quick thought like: "I sure hope there are McDonald's french fries and Dr. Pepper in heaven" or "I hope naps still happen in heaven" and even "I don't want to be in heaven if we are all adults. I like kids too much".

The other day I had one of those dreams where you wake up and you just want to go back to sleep it was so amazing. It kept popping up in my mind throughout the day, and that's when I came to the conclusion that if heaven really is as great as we hope it will be, we will get to live out a dream or two of our choice. For some it might be flying, or fighting off aliens and saving the world, for me, it would be living out either one of these dreams.

In my dream, I was back in college. I was feeling the carefree, spontaneity that comes with living on your own and being in the dating scene again. I was skinny. I was hanging out with friends. I was texting Elvis.
Elvis wasn't a young college student like me, but just older. But in my dream, Elvis hadn't dived deep into drugs or zipped up a tight unitard with a cape. He had beautiful dark hair, wore a great pair of jeans, and best of all, he was single and into me.
We met up at a party and I just knew we were going to "go steady" as he may have put it in his days. I sat next to him on a couch, laughed with friends, and draped clean shaven legs over his. That's when I figured out it was a dream. Shaved legs.
In an attempt to impress Elvis, I may or may not have performed "Hunk of Burning Love" for him.

I woke up without even being able to see if my performance led to a kiss, but the feeling of hanging out with Elvis stuck with me all day long.

If Elvis is busy on Live Out Your Favorite Dream Day in heaven, I will gladly opt for...

Johnny Cash:
For this dream I was on a field trip. I am pretty sure it was everyone from my 6th grade class in this dream. We were at a ranch, learning about ranching (duh). I was standing on a wooden fence admiring the tall golden wheat fields and wishing I was riding a horse through the field. The class started heading to the gift shop...because ranches have gift shops? It was about then that a group of cowboys came riding out from the trees into the field and rode past me, pushing a herd of wild horses to a corral.
But who is that riding my way? Johnny Cash. He stopped in front of me, swooped me up onto his horse, and we rode away. He took me to the corral where we tamed wild horses together. It was true love.
Here is the icing on the cake. After taming wild horses, Johnny takes me to the gift shop and gives me a turquoise bracelet from his personal collection.
Wild Horses. Johnny Cash. Turquoise.

That, my friends, is heaven.

*(side note: I hope you don't think I am bored with Ronnie. He is better than anything I ever could have dreamed up!But dreams sure do make for some fun in what seems like somewhat sleepless nights)

10 May 2013

3 months

It is official. My little infant is gone and I have a baby. I am not sure I can clearly define the difference, but there is one. Henry has been pretty wide-eyed from the start, but he is much more interested in his environment and has continually become more and more social each day.

I am greeted with a big grin each morning and when he wakes up from naps

He has discovered toys and will smiles, and squeal with delight when they shake and bob when he moves. Just today, he figured out he can bat at them and hit them with his hands

Henry has also figured out how to slowly grasp toys and they they immediately go to his mouth. It makes me crack up to see his tongue poke out lick, lick, lick away at his toys.

Bath time is his very, very favorite. We had to move him to the big tub because he was kicking so much I was afraid he would kick the knobs and burn himself. He is happy to sit in his little tub chair and kick and splash until the water gets cold. I love scooping him, wrapping him up tight in a towel, and nibbling on his soft skin.

This past month we took our first vacation as a family to Arizona. Ronnie and his friends go each spring and we stay with the Palmers in Gilbert and usually go to a spring training game, play out in the desert on razors, and enjoy our time with great friends. I was nervous about traveling with an infant and not being in our usual surroundings and keeping to our usual schedule.
We flew from Provo to Mesa and Henry quietly dozed off to sleep during take off. During the busy weekend, Henry smiled and was passed around and would return to my arms when he needed fed and snuggled to sleep. I could not believe how easy he was! It was so much fun to see all of our friends fall in love with him and for Ronnie and me to relax, and laugh, and remember all the many things that made us fall in love.
(Us on the airplane- Henry giving me great snuggle at a yummy mexican place we went to in AZ-Henry meeting his "Aunt" Lacey-Ronnie sniping people during laser tag)

We also blessed Henry this month and Ronnie did a wonderful job! Henry looked so cute in his little outfit and we had so many friends and family in town that we had to do it on a Saturday so it would be much more convenient.

April was a crazy, busy month but we enjoyed every last bit of it!

22 April 2013

Today's Doctor Visit

Just a quick update:
We took Henry to the pediatrician today for his 2 month appointment. I knew Henry would be in for quite a few shots and tears to go along with that. Even with the dread of giving my sweet baby boy shots, I was excited to see his "stats" and to see our pediatrician. Have I mentioned how much we LOVE our pediatrician? If I could dedicate a day to honor him I would. He is so friendly and always takes his time with us. Today as he walked in our room his nurse told him "You have three people who want to see you right now." He simply said "OK" and then shut the door and spent 30+ minutes just chatting with us. He always talks to us like we are educated, and it feels good to not have everything dumbed down. He is one of those people that just by talking with him you feel uplifted and better about yourself after leaving his office. I am usually a nervous wreck when I have to go to a doctors office so the fact that I have been looking forward to taking Henry to the doctor says a lot about what a great pediatrician Doctor Lindgren is.
Ok, now I will quit gushing about our doctor and move onto bragging about my favorite thing in the whole wide world! Henry!
Henry has been growing like a weed and even though his newborn size clothes are just barely getting a little snug and we can now fit him into some of his 0-3 month clothes, he is rocking the growth curve for his age.

Weight: at birth Henry weighed 7 lbs even (15 %tile). He is now 12 lbs 5 oz (50 %ile)

Height: 20 inches at birth (51 %tile) 2 months: 24.5 inches (87 %tile!)

Head Circumference: Birth: 13.8 inches (27 %tile) 2 months: 16.5 inches (85 %tile!)

Looks like we will have a tall boy. The doctor even said he will probably be taller than Ronnie. Henry was so happy, and smiley when we got there and was having a blast looking at himself in the mirror. I felt so proud when he would search around and look for me when someone unfamiliar would pick him up. It feels so good to know that he is growing and that really sticking with breast feeding is doing its job! I am constantly in awe that all Henry needs to grow and develop, I can provide him with my own body! Although there were definitely some growing pains, I am continually amazed at the grand design of our Heavenly Father's and how expertly he made our bodies. His most amazing creation yet, is by far our Henry boy!

11 April 2013

2 month update

We must be having a lot of fun around here because time is flying faster than I wish it would. I can't believe Henry has been with us for 2 months, and even more amazing: We have kept a tiny human being thriving and alive for two months.

Motherhood is even more amazing than I ever imagined, and 1,000 times more scary and intimidating than anything else I have ever done before. I will save a post all about the reality of becoming a mother and save this one for the Henry update.

Everyone likes to know how much he weights now but I have no idea since we haven't yet been to the doctor for his 2 month appointment. He definitely is getting bigger and he
has the cutest double chin milk can make.

Henry is generally a good sleeper (we will just pretend this week doesn't count against his good record) and will eat 1-2 times during the night. He is such a sweet little cuddle bug and already knows how to worm his way into our bed every morning for snuggles. He will wiggle and wiggle and spit out his bink a million times until I finally give up in exhaustion and pull him in bed with me. As soon as his little head hits the pillow, he snuggles right up and to me and falls back asleep in a blink of an eye. I can't say I hate it, and I don't mind it being a daily tradition as long as he keeps it at around 6:30-7 in the morning like he has been.

Henry has been learning new skills like crazy and I am always amazed when he suddenly starts doing them. He holds his head up really well and is looking all over the place.
He has recently discovered his hands and I will often find him just staring at them. The other day I went in to check on him during a nap and found him just staring at his hands, turning them back and forth, outstretched in front of his face.

He loves to grab and hold onto things, especially while nursing and cuddling. He will search his little hands around until he finds a fold of fabric in my shirt, or my favorite, a lock of hair to grab onto and snuggle it next to his face.

Henry loves to coo and talk and smile smile smile. He is continually getting more and more interested in different noises and will "sing" out his coos when I sing to him.
I have recently started handing him a rattle to hold onto while he wiggles his arms around and he thinks its pretty revolutionary.

Henry has picked up a lovely habit of squishing spit bubbles out of his mouth, but he even makes that look cute.
He is beginning to love baths and now that he has a little more hand control he reaches for the faucet and waves his fist through water.

Henry's hair is filling in thicker and is still that dark, beautiful brown. His eyes are a gorgeous blue and his eyelashes are getting long and making me puddy in his little hands.

This next month is going to be a busy one and I am so excited to show him off to many loved ones in the coming weeks.