One month with Ava Giselle!

Wow!

I can’t believe my sweet pea, Ava is one month old already!

Alleluia! We made it ONE whole month as a family of four.

I said this before in a blog post I wrote about Zoe’s first 6 weeks earth side (read about it here), but… it’s definitely been a roller coaster ride, lots of ups and downs, but tons of love in between.

The newborn stage is so incredible to me – when baby is seeing the world for the first time.

As a new family of four we are all trying our best to adjust as we get to know Ava and she gets to know us, and our new roles, especially Zoe as a big sister. And although, the last month has really given me the opportunity to get to know Ava, the whole time she has been trying to get to know herself and the beautiful world around her. And of course, as the days go on she will grow and her identity will change and develop even more.

But let me introduce you to Ava Giselle, our littlest family member.

(photo above is Ava at 4 days old)

Meet Ava

Ava is my super snuggly sweet pea and when I say snuggly I mean it. She really doesn’t like being put down. After a full month, this little lady is just now getting use to her car seat. Bassinet forget it, Ava prefers sleeping in mommy’s arms. I haven’t been swaddling her because she’ll kick through it, but she seems comfortable in a sleep sack. She loves breastfeeding and I actually have yet to use my breast pump or feed her with a bottle. She hates her pacifier and always spits it out. She loves laying on her side and tummy. She is always squirming – which makes since I could constantly feel her squirming around in my belly.

As you can see Ava is so different compared to the way Zoe was as a newborn – who easily bottle fed, loved her pacifier, slept really well on her back, and hated tummy time.

Two Weeks with Ava

At Ava’s two week wellness check (4/4/18) she gained back her birth weight plus two ounces, weighing in 8 pounds 14 ounces. Unlike Zoe, who from day 1 did not naturally take to breastfeeding, Ava is a breastfeeding champ. On her first try, she opened her mouth wide and latched on to the breast.

Maybe I was more relaxed on day one, knowing that I was totally happy, with bottle feeding and supplementing with formula, if my newborn preferred it. Maybe I was just more knowledgeable with breastfeeding positions and knew it took 3-4 days for my milk supply to come in and once it came in it came in flowing. So for the last month, I’ve been breastfeeding Ava on demand.

Similar to Zoe, Ava loves long walks in the stroller. We took the double BOB for a stroll on the one warm sunny day we have had. Ava fell right to sleep. I’m hoping for more warm sunny days, so we can walk more and sleep more.

One month with Ava

Today, April 17th, 2018, we went to her one month wellness check. She has gained 1 whole pound and 1 ounces since her two week visit, weighing in 9 pounds 15 ounces. She is recognizing our voices. Focusing her eyes. Crying loud with a shrieking squeal. This girl wants to be heard – She is so loud. She hated getting her shot today, and was very dramatic about it.

Mommy to two little girls…

Mothering two little ones was very difficult at first, but things are much better now, and will continue to improve in the next two weeks. (Once I can lift heavy and the weather warms up.)

Although, I loved “one on one” time with Ava in the hospital, I missed Zoe.

Once I got home, it was very hard, because I am recovering from a c-section and can not fo any heavy lifting, meaning I can’t pick up Zoe… This concept is difficult for Zoe to understand, and it annoys me. At 4 weeks post c-section I still shouldn’t lift anything besides the baby. I’ve taught Zoe to climb into her car seat, stroller, stairs, etc.

It also has been horrible weather. So cold, windy, wet etc. It snowed the day we took Ava home. We have only had one sunny warm day and it was an amazing day spent outside walking and playing. I just desperately want the weather to warm up and stay warm so we can have more days like that.

Zoe’s regular routine was altered when baby Ava came, which was hard. So as a mother of two, it’s my job to make sure I give equal attention to both of my girls. I need to make sure I continue to practice patience with Zoe. I also need to continue to include her in everything, and make sure she and I still have “one on one” time.

Other than that, Zoe has been so cute and sweet. She absolutely loves her sister. Every morning we all get in my bed, and she says, “Hi Ava, it’s nice to see you.” She also always says, “I love her!” Or if Ava starts crying, she’ll run over and tell her, “It’s okay Ava, I’m here.”

Daddy to two little girls

I don’t brag enough about him, but my husband has been pretty amazing. He has really stepped it up trying to make sure we are all taken care of. It has been really hard to go to all of the doctors appointments, (I forgot about all of the appointments) but he’s come to help me at most of them. He has gone grocery shopping and has cooked us some awesome dinners. He even has brought me Starbucks… I’m lucky to have him!

So as you can see, we are doing well as a family of four!

Happy One Month, to our snuggly sweet pea, Ava Giselle! – You are such a delightful addition to our family. I am overjoyed to be your mommy, and I promise to always be by your side while you discover and explore this crazy beautiful world. Love you to the moon and back. xo

Hospital Bag Essentials for Labor Day and beyond…

Guess what?

We are at the hospital!

Even though, I waited to the very last minute to pack my hospital bag – it was one of my favorite things to do to prepare for the hospital stay after the arrival of our second baby girl. I thought it was fun, but because others might find the task stressful I’m sharing with you some of my favorite essential products that I included in my hospital bag. (Side note: I am not affiliated with any of these brands.)

1. Robe: Wether you deliver vaginally or c-section, make sure you bring a soft and cozy robe that opens in the front. That way you can easily do skin on skin and if you choose to breastfeed, it makes breastfeeding easier.

2. Nursing bra: I brought 2 nursing bras. My favorite ones are made by the company Storq. They have no underwire, are made from the softest material, and pull to the side so breastfeeding becomes easier. While I’m in the hospital I usually don’t wear a bra, because I’m breastfeeding on demand or at least every 2-3 hours. But the bra goes on when I have visitors, and for the car ride home.

3. Nursing pads: I brought a couple nursing pads to the hospital just in case my milk came in during my hospital stay. But keep in mind that it takes 2-5 days for milk to come in, during the first days the baby is receiving colostrum from you.

4. Nipple butter: I personally love the products Earth Mama Organics (aka Earth Mama Angel Baby Organics.) The nipple butter is soothing, organic, lanolin free and non sticky. It smells amazing, and is safe for baby’s mouth. This product keeps the nipples hydrated and safe while breastfeeding. It is also very healing. If for some reason your baby is struggling with latching on, and you are feeling painful pinches instead of gentle tugs, nipples can become bruised or cracked, this nipple butter will save the day.

5. Another product line that I love is Zoe Organics. I packed my belly oil and belly butter by them. This way I can continue to hydrate the skin on my belly, and soothe any stretch marks and continue to avoid them.

6. A dry shampoo is also a must have product. My favorite one is R+Co Skyline. That way if you don’t have the time to shampoo, condition, and blow dry – you can still have fresh hair.

7. Deodorant is a must have, especially if you don’t have time to shower. I am currently using a natural deodorant by Primally Pure.

8. A going home outfit. Again, keep in mind you are still going to have a belly. Instead of a huge 40 week pregnant belly, you are going to look 5 months pregnant. So pack your maternity leggings. My favorite are by STORQ. I also brought with me the pink T-shirt also made by STORQ. Don’t forget socks. Your feet might get cold, and it’s just nice to have a for walking the hospital halls. Again I have a great pair from STORQ.

9. Bellefit Postpartum Corset. I have yet to try this, but this one is the product I am most excited about!! I never used a postpartum belt, girdle, or corset during my past postpartum experience. But my friend, Mariana, swore by it! She loaned me her belt, but I never actually use it. So this time around I did some research to find the one that would work best for me. Turns out I ended up coming across the Bellefit Postpartum corset and loved everything about it. It is a FDA registered medical certified product, which is used to help support the body during postpartum. The product is safe to use for both a c-section or vaginal birth. I’m excited to use it to help heal and support my postpartum body. I’ll be recording my progress.

10. Another thing in my bag is my postpartum/Fourth trimester books and a ball of yarn to start a new project. This is for the waiting game. Whether you are in labor waiting to reach 10 centimeters, or whether you are waiting for your schedule c-section. Either way it is important to have something to do to help your relieve stress and relax. They are also good to have when you are in the mommy and me room when baby is napping.

11. One of the most important thing is baby’s outfit for going home in and a soft warm blanket for baby, for the car ride home.

The one thing that I wouldn’t pack is my breast pump. You may think, “oh I need to pack my breast-pump,” but turns out you most likely you won’t need one. And if you do need to use a pump, the hospital can, on your request, provide you a hospital grade pump during your hospital stay. You can also rent one for home at a monthly fee.

Tip: Honestly, if you don’t have time to pack your bag, don’t worry, the hospital actually has everything you need. The reason most people pack a bag is so you have your own stuff to make a more comfortable hospital stay. Especially, if you have a c-section. Some mamas that have vaginal birth with no complications get discharged from the hospital the very next day, while mamas that have a c-section with no complications end up staying on average 3 nights, 4 days, getting discharged on day four.

Also another great tip is to bring a bag with lots of space so you can bring home any extra stuff you collected from the hospital.

So there you have it, my favorite tips, extra information, and my essentials for my hospital bag. Now let’s have a baby!

What’s favorite things you packed in your hospital bag?

Planning for the Fourth Trimester aka Postpartum.

“The first forty days is a period of time unlike any other. It is a short season of life that follows the delivery of your child – an almost six week long period that arrives after many weeks of pregnancy and who knows how many hours of labor – in which you recover from birth, your baby unfurls slowly into the world of bright lights and sounds, and together you devote yourselves to forging your relationship outside the womb.

Though brief, it is s time of amazing intensity and massive adjustments. Your body transforms – again – and your heart throbs with more feelings than you ever knew possible. Your internal rhythms ping-pong as days and nights merge. Your stamina and serenity get tested like never before. Your connection to the world you knew before loosen, or even comes undone, and your sense of who you are begins to change and morph.

In other times, and in other places around the world, a postpartum period of healing and adjustment was expected and allowed. After the rigorous and demanding act of birth, it was considered critically necessary for the whole family – and society at large- that a woman be given the first forty days to heal and rest. Other people in her community would feed her, nurture her, and take all responsibilities off her plate, so that she could focus on one thing only, transitioning healthily and happily from expectant woman to mother.

For the first forty days – a new mother stayed secluded from the busy stream of life, tucked indoors with her infant by her side. She received special meals to rebuild energy, replenish lost nutrients, and help her body produce breast milk. She followed traditional practices of keeping rested and warm to prevent exhaustion and depletion.

The understanding was the new mother was as vulnerable as her newborn, requiring her own steady stream of attention and care. A dedicated time of postpartum recovery could help to keep future illness – and equally important, depression – at bay.

Today in the West, we are waking up to the importance of cocooning baby in the weeks following birth. The understanding that baby is not quite ready to meet the world at large when she/he emerges and is still in the early stage of development that’s come to be known as the “fourth trimester” has awakened us to the value of holding baby close and sheltered for some weeks, so she/he can shift slowly and gradually into life outside the womb.

But somehow, we have forgotten the time honored wisdom that this special cocoon of care should extend to the mother as well…”

~ Introduction from the book, the first forty days, The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother. By Heng Ou with Amely Greeven and Marisa Belger.

Life has been so busy, that I haven’t had much time to write during this pregnancy. I have been running the majority of this pregnancy so logging stroller pregnancy miles have taken up much of my free time. (I have a blog post written about my fit pregnancy journey that I will be sharing with you next week or follow me on Instagram @sweat1xdaily.) But now at 36 weeks pregnant, I am starting to use my free time to relax and rest which translates to read, knit, and write.

BOOKS

When I was pregnant with Zoe, I read all the baby books – I was very concerned with knowing what to do with Zoe once she was home and in my care. But this time around, because I’ve already read all the baby books, I am really focusing on my postpartum journey aka the Fourth Trimester. This phase is crucial for my physical, mental, and emotional healing, and will forever leave an imprint on both my newborn and my toddler.

The books I am currently reading are…

  • the first forty days, The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother. By Heng Ou with Amely Greeven and Marisa Belger.
  • The Fourth Trimester by a Kimberly Ann Johnson.

My desire to learn about the postpartum phase came about partially because of social media. On Instagram, especially, so many women are posting their pregnancy and postpartum journey. Some seem to unrealistically, “bounce right back,” while others are very honest.

As an American woman, we are always expected to “Bounce right back,” and do more faster.” These expectations are doable, but are they the healthiest? These high demands need to be replaced with more support.

When I was in the postpartum stage with Zoe, I focused on her, and our new family of three adjusted successfully. Also because I had a c-section it was very important to give myself time to heal physically.

Although, last time was a success, it wasn’t necessarily easy. This time around I want to be more prepared. This time around, it is even more important for me to SLOW down. I will be juggling both a newborn and a toddler, so I’m expecting it to be chaotic. However, by slowing down and focusing on this postpartum/Fourth Trimester phase, Zoe will have a smoother time transitioning to her new role as big sister.

“Self Care,” the big trend for 2018 – I see it on every healthy lifestyle blog. Although, it is not necessarily used when describing motherhood, it should be. The postpartum/Fourth Trimester period is not just about caring for new baby, but it is also about caring for mama too. Happy mama, happy baby. When mama is happy and feeling good, so is baby and the rest of the family.

With all that being said, it’s crunch time to really prepare for this special postpartum/Fourth Trimester phase. In the next few weeks I will be…

  • Preparing nourishing meals, that will help aid in the healing process, physically, emotionally, and mentally. Having these meals on hand, will eliminate the urge to order unhealthy take out/delivery. Not having to cook will also allow me to have all the time, relaxing with my newborn and toddler.
  • Schedule house cleaning, so I don’t have to fuss with it, and can fully relax and rest with my babies. Plus a clean house will create a comfortable, refreshing space to really enjoy while staying home.
  • When reading about the traditional fourth trimester, practiced by other cultures – it is common for mommy and baby to stay curled up in bed together, breast feeding and practicing skin on skin for the full 6 weeks. Because of my personality, this idea already makes me feel cooped up. When Zoe was born, we walked every day, and I healed up from my c-section pretty fast. I needed the fresh air and vitamin D. So although, I want to slow down, I definitely think being outside and taking leisurely walks will be more beneficial for me and my family. With that being said, remember when reading books, that these are just ideas, and it’s best to customize this phase for what works best for you and your family.

Ultimately, my goal is to help Zoe have a smooth transition to big sister and for all of us to adjust comfortably to a family of four.

Did you prepare for the fourth trimester?

How to PLAN a 1 year old’s BIRTHDAY PARTY! My baby turns 1 soon.¬†


I can’t hardly believe it!

This year has gone by way to fast, my baby is turning one soon. (We only have two monthly stickers left to use.)

Zoe turns ONE, August 19th, 2016!

Which means her first official birthday is approaching…

I wasn’t going to over do it… (she won’t remember any of it.) However, because my guests are traveling to the Vineyard for her birthday, of course we are going all out. Plus, I love a really good party.

What makes a good party…

  • Theme
  • Invitations
  • Outfit, costume
  • People
  • Venue
  • Food
  • Drinks
  • Cake
  • Music
  • Decorations
  • Photography

THEME

Choosing a theme is always fun, but it is also a helpful way to stay on track. 

The theme I chose for Zoe’s birthday is seashell, mermaid. Because we are having her party at the Vineyard, this fits perfectly. It will be fun when she is older (not that I’m wishing for her to get any older, just stay a little baby, Zoe…) to see what birthday party theme she chooses for herself.

INVITATIONS

Choose invitations based on your theme. Also decide whether you want to send snail mail, or an email option. 

I chose an email option. I used paperless post for my wedding save-the-date, and because it was so easy to use, I decided to use it again for Zoe’s birthday party invitation.

This time I used the free app, and designed the cutest invitation. They have some really awesome free templates, so it didn’t cost me anything at all – invitations can be expensive.

I also love that I can tell when someone has opened the email, but hasn’t yet responded. This eliminates the question of whether a guest has received the invitation of not.

Outfit, Costume

What will the guest of honor be wearing?!

There are a lot of options for a one year old’s birthday outfit. Some baby girls wear tutus. Some wear a onesie saying, “One,” “My First Birthday.” Some wear a birthday hat.

I’m still finalizing Zoe’s outfit. I can’t wait to share it with you, but I’m leaving it for a surprise. It will definitely be on the birthday party recap post.

PEOPLE

Who comes to your party makes a difference in what food you choose, what activities you do, etc. For example if you are going to have more babies and children at your party, you may need to consider kid friendly food options, and food allergies.

Over the last 10 months, some of my closest friends have had babies, and Zoe and I are also always open to meeting new mamas and baby friends.

So yes, she does have some baby friends, but because the party is in Martha’s Vineyard, the people coming are mainly family and close family friends.

VENUE

Choosing a venue is ideal. It will set the mood of your party. Again, you will need to consider who your guests are, and how long your party is. 

The original plan was to have a casual party on the beach. But because it is one of the busiest weekends on the Vineyard, Zoe’s grandparents suggested we have the party at their house. This is an awesome idea because now we don’t need to provide transportation to the beach, which is on the other side of the island. Plus, now I can have all the cute decorations I want.

FOOD

When choosing food for your party, consider the venue. What type of food is the area known for, what is locally grown? Also, who are your guests? Do you need to have kid friendly options, and consider food allergies?

Because the guests coming to the party are mainly adults, and Zoe will eat anything, I am not to concerned about food allergies or kid friendly options.

However, I am hoping for a menus full of seafood, such as lobster and clams. We will be on an Island off the coast of the Cape. So lobsters and clams are fresh – it’s a New England thing.

DRINKS

Again specialty drinks can be based on what the area or venue is known for. Also consider your guests and what time your party is at.

We are keeping our drinks simple by having beer, wine, and depending on how many guests we have, we may make watemelon margaritas or sangria. Of course Zoe will eat plenty of watermelon and drinking her milk.

CAKE

When it comes to a one year old birthday party, the cake is one of the most important parts. Traditionally, in the USA, you give your one year old her own personal cake to smash. It’s called cake smashing, and it is suppose to be your baby’s first taste of something sweet.¬†

Zoe’s Grams normally bakes a homemade cake for everyone on their birthday, and it is always delicious. As far as I know, she will be making a cake for Zoe’s birthday. And Zoe has never had cake before so it will be super fun to see her smash in it.

Cake smashing requires a high chair or space for baby to smash into it. I’m hoping I can figure out a high chair for Zoe. It is always cute to decorate the high chair with a banner and balloons. I want Zoe to have her own special chair or space for cake smashing.

MUSIC

Choose music based on your guests. Are people going to be dancing, or do you just need music in the background. 

Zoe loves music and she loves to dance, so we’ll be playing her favorit songs. I’m going to just use my iPhone and speakers.

DECORATIONS

Choose decorations based on venue, theme, and guests. 

Decorations are my favorite part. They can transform a venue. It is the small details that really make an event unique and your own.

Zoe is going to have a bubble machine going at her party. This adds character but is also fun for kids and babies.

The colors are going to be combination of pink, gold, and tourquoise. We are going to have a couple special things for Zoe but that’s a surprise and I’ll update you on this in the post I write about her party. But the picture above is a hint.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Choose whether you will need a professional photographer or whether you will manage to take photos yourself.

I’m planning on taking photos the whole time using my iPhone. Photo are very important to me.

Anyway, I’m excited for this vacation and this party. It is going to be so refreshing to escape this heat and go up North, and be at the beach.¬†

A one year old birthday party is so special. I can’t wait to celebrate Zoe. She has done so many incredible things this year, and deserves the best party ever.¬†

But most of all… She is my little love, who on August 19th, 2015, changed my world, making me a mama, a better person. My heart is full of love.

I hope this helps you plan your own baby’s one year old birthday. Can’t wait to share with you her birthday recap. Look for it on the blog in late August.¬†


Mamas- What was your favorite thing about your one year old’s first birthday party?

 


3 months with Zoe

Every day that goes by…

Zoe is getting bigger, stronger, and even more beautiful and more intelligent than the day before.

Week 10-11

She recognizes familiar sites and sounds.

They say at birth a baby will know her mother. This may be true, but I didn’t really recognize this until week 10-11.

When I hand Zoe off to people, she curls her lip to pout and reaches for me – she knows I’m her mama. When Erik picks her up from her babysitter’s house, her whole face lights up with excitement – she knows he’s her daddy.

Now at 3 months when we leave the room, she follows us with her eyes, and even turns her head in our direction to look for us, or wait for us to return. When she sleeps at night, in her bassinet, she turns her head to the side, to face our bed. Because of this we have been changing up her sleeping position by putting her in her bassinet the opposite way, every other night. It is important to do this because her head and face is still forming.

The other thing she is recognizing is her bottle, and the sound of her milk being stirred or shaken.

She uses her senses to explore.

As a newborn, a baby will use their sense of smell, to determine who their mother is because their sight is not yet fully developed.

But at¬†3 months¬†of age, the game has changed…

She uses her eyes too…

When I take Zoe for walks, many times she still doses off to nap. However, there are also many times she is alert looking around. She loves the fall trees, the leaves Рbright and colorful. Zoe can now see full colors. Did you know babies at 14 weeks prefers blue and red?!

She uses her hands…

Zoe loves to feel different textures. She loves all the textures on her play mat. She grabs her blankets to feel the softness. She loves her silk blanket her great Aunt made her, and even tries to eat it. She grabs on to my hair, clothing, even enjoys holding my hand.

Zoe now has discovered her own body parts. She touches her ears and always puts her hands in her mouth. She uses her hands to learn and explore.

When she was a newborn her hands were always in a fist, and I always had to wipe her hands down because they were full of lint. Now she keeps them open and has realized she has fingers. Now I wipe them down because she is always eating then.

At week 13 she really began to hold objects. I see her holding her pacifier and when I hand her her mermaid doll she holds it.

She uses her ears…

Zoe has always loved the sound of music. Early on, I would sing her Christmas songs, such as Silent Night to soothe her and help her fall asleep. At around 10 weeks I made up a cute song that uses our names, to teach her, that she is Zoe and that I am her mama. The music that plays from her swing stimulates her. She kicks her legs as if she is dancing.

When she was in my belly I used the belly buds so she could listen to music. I played for her a ton of Lindsay Stirling. Now at 3 months she is more playful, I want to play more classical and modern classical music, it is good stimulation for babies.

There are a lot of other noises that she loves. Her white noise sound machine is part of her night time routine. She loves the sound of water, and sits in the bathroom quietly while I take a shower. She also loves the sound of the hair dryer. She loves the sound of the bathroom fan. She enjoys the fabric that makes noise on her play mat while she kicks and plays. The dogs’ barking does not even phase her.

Sleeping

Everyone asks how is she sleeping…

Zoe has always been a really great sleeper. She loves her naps. It is my job as her mother, to make sure she is put down for her regular naps. I came up with a good sleep and eating schedule based on her natural sleep and eating pattern. Although we have a good schedule, we are flexible. On a rare occasion she is off schedule, she will cat nap on her own. (Cat naps are not as deep as her regular naps, but at least it is something.)

When Zoe is tired she tells me by rubbing her eyes and yawning. However, a regular routine is good for Zoe. It helps her attention and memory.

I just finished the book, “Bringing up Bebe.” It is a parenting book about how the French parent. In the book, the author claims, that the main question asked in France is, “Does your baby do her nights?”- meaning is your baby sleeping through the night. Well I am very proud to say, Yes! Zoe is sleeping through the night. I truly believe this has a lot to do with giving her a dream feed. I have found that as long as Zoe has a full belly she will sleep peacefully.

Bath time 

Zoe is loving her bath time. She kicks her legs and splashes hard. It is fun to watch her expressions. She use to scream her head off when we took her out of her tub, but now she gets wrapped up in her towel quickly, and once she is dry I give her a baby massage with baby oil. She is using the Earth Mama Angel Baby products. We love them.

Eating and drooling

Zoe is eating 4-5 ounces at each meal. She is definitely spitting up less, but drooling like crazy – she even blows bubbles. Drool is saliva that lines the intestines and neutralizes stomach acid. It contains enzymes that helps digest food. The body is preparing to take in solids. In a couple months she will be ready.

Talking

Zoe is now talking – baby talk. She spits out her pacifier so she can smile and babble. When I ask her a question she answers in baby talk. I still tell her where I’m going and what I am doing. We have conversations all the time.

This Wednesday Zoe will be 15 weeks. The last couple days she has been the best alarm clock ever. She has been laying in her bassinet happily oohing and aahhing, and squealing! She thinks it is fun! I love it. Loudest baby alarm clock ever.

Exercise

Zoe use to hate tummy time. It is crazy how in just a couple days she has turned into a pro on her tummy. It is a lot of work for a 3 month old to do her push ups. But she is now doing them with out crying instantly.

She loves her tummy time mat. It is important to get babies use to tummy time and getting them to associate this time as play time. She is playing and getting stronger.

Play time and Story time

It’s time for more toys and books. I read many books to Zoe. Her favorites are the pout pout fish and Boom Chicka Boom. We are starting to create a library for her.

We are also bringing out more toys for her to play with. She had a mermaid rattle but I think I might introduce Sophie to her soon.

Life with Zoe Annalise…

Every day with Zoe, I think… this is the best day, but then the next day comes, and she surprises me, yet again with something cuter and more fun than the day before.

She is always smiling, and when I smile at her… she smiles back.

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

Six weeks with Zoe

The days go by so fast…

It seems like just yesterday we were leaving the hospital as a new family of three.

I remember the car ride home. Baby Zoe’s first time outside. I thought she would be peacefully sleeping, but nope, her eyes were open wide. At only three days old, she looked out the window,¬†taking in the light from the sun – curious and alert.

zoe new born

It is hard to believe that today Zoe is six weeks old.

It has been quite the roller coaster ride, lots of ups and downs, but nothing less than fabulous.

Here’s what we have been up to for the last six weeks.

Week 1–¬†Everyone trying their best to adjust.

We spent week 1 adjusting. We were quite lucky that Elissa was able to watch our dogs for us. That way, Erik and I didn’t have to worry about their reaction to our new baby girl. Instead we were able to spend the time focusing on our new born – cuddling and loving her. That week, Zoe didn’t sleep in her bassinet, but instead we all slept together on our couch in the living room.

Because my¬†mom had the whole week off from work, she cooked us delicious meals every night. Mrs. W also stopped by with a homemade dinner, and Ali brought us cookies. We definitely didn’t¬†stave, and never had to clean up a dirty kitchen.

Other things that happened this week…

Although, it was hot summer weather, we took our first walks together with the running stroller. While we are inside, Zoe loves her (4 moms) rockaroo chair.

Week 2Still adjusting.

11990682_10102726149691216_3527759158294376444_n

Should I yawn, cry, eat, poop… Zoe didn’t know what to do with herself. At week two, she was still adjusting to¬†this big beautiful world. In addition, we were still getting to know each other. I read tons of baby books and took all the classes. But everything I researched or decided on, the complete opposite happened. The books are great- knowledge never hurts, but when it comes to the care for my daughter, I have come to the conclusion that following my instinct is the best way.

I also have realized I do not know very many lullabies, so I have been singing Christmas carols. Zoe loves Silent Night, and Holy Night.

Other things that happened this week…

Zoe’s belly button healed, so she got promoted from sponge baths. Zoe also got to experience a bottle and pacifier for the first time. She had her newborn photo shoot, and got to meet her, Poppy, Gramps, Grams, and Aunt Jackie.¬†

Jackie came to visit.

Jackie was very helpful and great with the baby. Zoe melts into Jackie’s arm when she holds her. They spent most of the time cuddling, however, we did go out for lunch a couple times and was able to enjoy the last days of summer. Jackie also helped me learn how to use my Solly wrap. I love babywearing Zoe, and she loves being worn snug in her wrap close to her mama.

11953032_10102735395397746_7407508007698197375_n

Week 3 Erik goes back to work, but Gran and Nana came to visit.

I was so happy Erik was able to take off three weeks to be home with Zoe and I. It was important for all of us to share this special time together and adjust as a family. He was also a huge help to me, considering I was recovering from a c-section. He was awesome, treating me like royalty, waiting on Zoe and I.

Once he went back to work and Jackie left, Gran and Nana arrived. They came with tons of gifts – including hand knitted sweaters, hats, and booties, and some vintage pieces that her Gran wore when she was a child. Again we walked with the stroller, and went to lunch in Pentagon Row and Old Town. Zoe loved meeting her Gran and Nana, it was a fun visit.

Other things that happened this week…

Zoe loves splashing in her bath tub. She also loves getting a baby massage and reading books, before bed. Her neck is getting stronger, and she can now hold her head up pretty well.

Week 4 Play dates, schedules, and routine.

This week Zoe turned one month old.

12002886_10102755515571756_2525233515113930417_n

We spent time meeting other babies. (All at different times,) we met up with, Cordy, Piper, Jo Jo, Sheam, and DD. It is fun to have so many friends who have had baby girls this year.

Zoe is also more playful. We put her in her crib at Gam Gam’s house and we introduced her to her peek-a-boo bear. She loved it.

I have also realized that Zoe loves the water sound of the shower, and the hair dryer sound. It is either a form of white noise, or maybe she likes it because it is familiar to her, since I worked in the salon shampooing and blow drying clients up until 2 weeks before she was born. This is great news, because I have absolutely no problem getting ready in the morning.

This week I also¬†worked hard trying to read Zoe’s cues. By learning when she is tired or hungry, I have been able to come up with an eating schedule and sleeping routine. I now know that Zoe likes¬†a¬†nap around 10 or 11 am. She has her fussy time in the early evening. And she likes to start getting ready for bed around 8:00 pm.

12016427_10103420313326480_2109286117_n

Other things that happened this week…

Zoe is now grasping objects with her hands. She loves her car seat, long walks, her Solly wrap. She also loves music, books, bath time, and baby massage.  

Week 5–¬†Zoe hangs out with Aunt Emily.

Meets baby Jasper.

Great” Grandma and “Great” Grandpa came to visit.¬†

Emily took the week off, so we got plenty of days to hang out with her. Emily read Zoe books, we went shopping, and we went on walks.

Mariana came into town with baby Jasper. And although, Zoe was sleeping, it was fun seeing Jasper again. He grew so much since the last time I saw him.

Then “Great” Grandma and “Great” Grandpa arrived. Zoe loved cuddling in Great Grandpa’s lap while he rocked her. Great Grandma gave her tons of gifts including some Boise State attire. It was a very special visit.

12038387_10102769940813456_5792694961628845941_n

 

Other things that happened this week…

Zoe starts to bat objects with her hands. She also is soothed by sounds of our voices and is instantly soothed when I babywear her. She has been sleeping well at night. and loves waking up in the morning by stretching out her legs and arms in her bassinet. 

Week 6–¬†Tummy Time and Smiles

This has been a big week for us. Although, Zoe had some smiles here and there in week 5, this week she is very smiley. She smiles big with her whole face, especially when we talk to her, sing to her, or play with her.

She is also much more talkative. Baby talk and cooing is the cutest thing. She is hearing us and taking everything in like a sponge. It is really fun to sing to her, because she looks at me like I have the most beautiful voice in the world, which is funny because it is quite the opposite.

Up to this point, we have been doing tummy time by putting her on her tummy during baby massage, however, this week I knew it was time to introduce her to a tummy time mat. She got one as a gift at her baby shower, but because she bats things with her hands and loves to kick her legs, I thought it was important to find one that had objects hanging down. This way she can be stimulated on her back as well as her tummy.

After a long debate on which one to get at Buy Buy Baby, I went with the Super Sensory Play Mat. This mat had both black and white and bright colors. The fabric it is made out of has both patterns and textures. There are toys that hang down that rattle when she kicks or bats them. There is also a star that plays music and lights up, along with two mirrors that she looks into. Zoe absolutely loves it. Every time I put her on her mat, she moves her arms and kicks her legs with excitement.

12042625_10102774905938306_3056555017889086621_n

Another toy I introduced to her this week, are her ankle animals. She loves these as well, because they rattle when she kicks her legs.

12108915_10102777640458306_2441717050109473123_nIt is fun as the weeks go on to see how much Zoe changes and what she discovers. I love seeing her evolve into the little person she is and has yet to become.

12115859_10102779017618466_7204678488729228999_n

You are beautiful Zoe Annalise, and you complete our little family.

Love you to the moon and back. 

xo

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

My Top Pregnancy Q & A

pregnancy q a

My Top Pregnancy Q & A

I explained to you in my previous post, that pregnancy brings on a never ending interrogation.  People ask you a ton of questions. Some of these questions can be quite annoying while others are fun. These are the most common questions I get asked, along with my personal answers.  

 

1) How are you feeling? 

Knock on wood – I don’t want to jinks myself. But as of now, I¬†am feeling good, hopefully, everything will stay that way. The only time I felt really uncomfortable, was the last 3 weeks of work. The uncomfortable feeling began around 35 weeks. It was like I flipped a switch. My feet began to swell. My belly button popped out. I couldn’t get out of bed, I had to roll over. None of the clothes I owned seemed to fit. I was on my feet all week at work, and feeling really heavy. Not very sexy at all. I’m really glad I have had the last two weeks to relax at home before the baby comes. It has made a huge difference in my swelling feet. I feel pretty rested and energized. However, I am still resting up for delivery day. It is going to be a pretty intense workout.

2) Are you having a boy or a girl?

Although, everyone guesses boy, because my baby bump goes straight out. I am not having a boy. Instead, I am having a sweet beautiful baby girl.

3) Have you come up with a name? What name have you chosen?

Names are hard to decide on, but I have had a long list for a while. There are tons of beautiful names out there, but finally my husband and I have narrowed it down to two names. We are going to decide when we meet our baby.

3) Is the baby nursery ready? What is the color scheme or nursery theme?

Yes, please ready my Nursery post, for ideas and inspiration.

4) What foods have you been craving?

I never had weird food cravings. Really the only thing I have craved this whole pregnancy has been FRUIT. At the moment, I eat watermelon, every day. I also make fresh watermelon juice.

5) Did you experience morning sickness? What pregnancy symptoms have you had?

I did not experience morning sickness. In some occasions, when I didn’t have a chance to eat, I would feel a little queasy, but never threw up.¬†However, I did experience other symptoms, such as pregnancy brain, fatigue,¬†nesting, swelling feet.

6) Did you have a maternity photo session?

Yes I did, and it was lovely. Check out the photos. If you are planning to do a maternity photo shoot check out these tips.

7) Have you been running? In what ways have you been staying active? 

No, I have not been running. I never though I would say this… but I don’t enjoy running pregnant at all. I will write a future post in more detail about why I have chosen not to run while pregnant.

However, I have stayed pretty active, and still have fitness goals. I have been doing some light weight, and body weight exercises, walking, and a little swimming. (Swimming is awesome when you have swelling feet.)  But out of everything I fell in love with prenatal yoga. I started at Journey Yoga Studio, but have been alternating every week between  Refresh Yoga Studio, and Mind the Mat Yoga Studio.

8) How much weight have your gained?

I have gained 33 pounds. ¬†At first I was really worried about the weight gain, but my doctors are not. As long as your doctors don’t see a problem, and you are staying active and eating healthy, don’t worry about it. Weight gain is out of your control. It will be interesting to see how much I loose on delivery day, and once I start working out intensely again.

9) Where are you registered?

I am registered at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon. I got pretty overwhelmed with creating a baby registry. If you feel the same read my, How to Create a Baby Registry, blog post for tips.

10) Did you have a baby shower? 

Yes, we had a bumble bee themed baby shower, in celebration of mom and pop to be(e) and Baby Leonard to be(e.)

11) Did you have a baby moon?

Yes, we did have a baby moon. At the end, of April, we escaped the cold and went down to Del Ray Beach, Florida and South Beach Miami. It was amazing. ¬†We also took another beach trip in late June, to Martha’s Vineyard.

12) When is the due date?

My due date is August 15th, 2015. 3 more days to go. Hopefully, she will not come too late.

13) Have you taken a birthing class?

Nope! I’m just going to wing it. I trust my body, and my doctors. Plus, prenatal yoga has helped me with deep hip openers, strengthening the pelvic floor, breathing techniques, and birthing positions. ¬†I am also going to use some of my marathon mental strategies, such as having a Mantra, and listening to music to help me push through.

14) What is your birthing plan? Are you going to be natural? Are you going to have an epidural?

As long as my baby and I are safe, I am going to stay natural/drug free as long as possible. But again, I don’t know how I will feel because this is my first time. I’m not opposed to an epidural. I also wrote a short birthing plan, which focuses on key points that are important to me, for after delivery.

15) Are you having a home birth or hospital birth?

Hospital birth.

16) Are you using a midwife/doula or an OB?

Nurses and OB at the hospital.

17) Are you going to breastfeed?

Breast is best for baby, so if these boobs work, then yes I plan on it. But because this is my first time, I’m just going to see what happens. Plus, every baby and mom are different – it may be easy for some and harder for others.

18) What are you doing for child care?

Still figuring it out. But, again I’m going to try an idea I have and see if it is a good fit.

19) How much time are you taking off for maternity leave?

 

About 10 weeks. I am hoping baby isn’t too late, so I have as much time with her as I can get.

20) When do you return back to work?

I plan to go back to work October 18th.

So there you have it my top pregnancy Q & A – the most common questions I have gotten while pregnant. I hope you enjoyed the answers.

To all the moms out there –¬†What pregnancy question have you been asked?¬†

© 2015 sweat1xdaily