Family

Baby Recap: Ten Months Old

This past Monday Jackson hit ten months. In just two more months we’ll officially have a one-year-old on our hands. That is so crazy to me! As usual, the past thirty days flew by, but I’m happy to report that I think we’re FINALLY over the hump of illness around here (knocking on wood). Jackson did catch a couple more colds that then passed on to Mom and Dad, but they were no big deal, especially after the ordeal that was Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (If you missed the nine month recap, you can read all about that fun virus here). I’m really hoping this means we’re over the worst! Onward and upward.

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Development

I feel like Jackson made a lot of progress this month in terms of physical and mental development. He’s officially crawling now and we can’t keep him still! He is always on the move and doesn’t like to be held much anymore unless he’s tired, which is such a change from his early months when I could hardly ever put him down. He pulls himself up to standing whenever he has something around to support him and I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts walking earlier rather than later. He seems to be taking everything in and wants to grab at everything in sight so we have to watch him like a hawk pretty much at all times. Now if only I could bottle up some of his energy….

Sleep

This is the most exciting part of the ten month update. Jackson is finally sleeping in his crib, and for more than 2-3 hours at a time! I can’t tell you how much of a relief this is after six months of constant night waking while sharing our bed. It hasn’t been for very long so I’m hoping it’s not just a fluke, but we have been deliberately working with him on sleep using our own method and things are looking very promising so far. He has had several nights in the past couple of weeks of sleeping over six hours straight and last night he slept from 6:15pm to 5am. What?! I could hardly believe it in the morning. I did wake up to him making a little noise around 2am but it lasted less than a minute and then he put himself back to sleep. Progress! I want to give it another week or so but if things continue to go well on the sleep front, I’ll write a post about exactly what we did, since I didn’t follow any of the training methods you read about in the books. Fingers crossed we finally have a good sleeper on our hands!

Food

Jackson continues to be a good eater and hasn’t really turned away any food we’ve offered him. Pretty much anything that he can pick up himself and put in his mouth, he eats. We’re still giving him baby oat cereal every day, usually for breakfast, along with some fruit. At lunch time we’ll offer him a veggie puree pouch, often one that’s combined with whole grains and/or beans. And at dinner time I like to give him soft solids that he can feed himself to make sure he’s getting used to different textures. I’ll often top that off with a puree or some cereal to make sure he’s good and full. At this point I’ve introduced peanut butter a couple of times and plan to continue giving it to him in small amounts over the next month or so. This is one of those topics that experts seem to go back and forth on, but the latest recommendation is to introduce peanuts and other common food allergens early rather than late, so that’s what I’m doing. We’ve also given him scrambled eggs a couple of times so far.

In terms of milk, I’m still breastfeeding, although my supply seems to have gone way down. I’m not sure if I’ll make it to a year if my supply doesn’t pick back up but I’m hoping to hang on a couple more months.

Current Faves

Here are some of the things we’re loving around here these days, in no particular order:

  • Cushy play mat: I bought this Skip Hop Alphabet Zoo Mega Play Mat when it was discounted on Zulily and it has been a nice complement to the foam play mat we already had. It’s made of cotton so is more like a blanket than anything, and it has different textures and the alphabet to keep little ones occupied. I sometimes place it on top of the foam mat, or put it down on the floor in the nursery or other rooms when I need a soft place for Jackson to play.
  • Toolbox toy: A good friend of ours kindly gave this to Jackson when we visited a few weeks ago and it has been a hit (no pun intended)! There’s a little hammer that comes out of the box and then three colored shapes that make noise when you bang on them. 

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  • The washing machine: I was recently doing laundry and Jackson seemed fascinated by the washing machine. He stood up in front of it and was peering in and touching the glass. It was so cute.

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I’ll be back in a month with the next recap. Until then, here are some of my favorite shots from the past few weeks:

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Family

Happy Birthday to My Hubs!

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Shortly after David and I first started dating I attended a party for his twenty ninth birthday. Today he turns 38! It’s hard to believe we’ve been celebrating birthdays together for close to a decade, but you know what they say, time flies when you’re having fun. I know David’s not thrilled about being another year older, but I personally think he has a lot to celebrate this year. This is his first birthday as a dad, for one! And after a very hectic 2016–we moved halfway across the country and then back again over the course of six months–we’re happily settled back on the east coast. With all the craziness of the past year, I haven’t been great about expressing my appreciation for everything David does for me (and now Jackson), but there’s no time like the present! So here goes.

Every day I’m reminded of how lucky I am to call David my husband. Whether it’s bringing me my favorite muffin from Whole Foods on Saturday mornings or taking out the trash for the umpteenth time or willingly being my chauffeur, he’s always thinking of me and how to make me happy. You’d think after nine years some of the thoughtfulness would have worn off, but it really hasn’t, and I know how fortunate I am to have such a caring guy in my life! There’s no one I’d rather spend a Friday night or a lazy Sunday with. He’s my partner, my friend, my confidant, and the love of my life. But most of all he’s home, and there’s no one I’d rather wake up to. Wishing you a very happy birthday today, smooch!

Okay, enough of the corniness. In honor of David’s birthday, I thought it would be fun to take a little trip down memory lane via some old photos (mostly of him) from the past nine years. Excuse the poor quality of some pictures. This was before even the junkiest cameras took good pictures.

2008: Attending our first wedding together…

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2009: Seeing James Taylor at Tanglewood in Lenox, MA…

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2010: Relaxing in the Bahamas on our first ever vacation together…

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2011: Visiting Arizona for a relative’s wedding…

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And Bar Harbor, Maine for some R&R…2011_barharbor2011_barharbor3

2012: Checking out Newport & Block Island…

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2013: Getting married and honeymooning…2013_wedding2013_honeymoon22013_honeymoon

2014: Hamming it up on New Year’s…2014_new year'sAnd relaxing poolside in Florida…2014_florida

2015: Exploring out West…
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And watching a soccer game in NYC…2015_ soccer game

2016: Showing off his handiwork after setting up the nursery…2016_michigan

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And taking to fatherhood like a natural…2016 4.jpg

2017: Getting the hang of this dad thing…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAclone tag: 58320779033283186932017

Excited to see what the rest of the year has in store! xoxo

Family · Motherhood

Baby Recap: Nine Months Old

I’ve been seriously slacking on posting over the past couple weeks and really have no excuse other than the fact that the weather has left me majorly unmotivated. This time of year always makes me super antsy to get outside and back into nature, while uninspired to do anything indoors. Anyone else out there in the same boat? But, our little peanut is nine months old today, so I had to pop on and at least write a monthly recap!

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I wish I could say the past month has been an improvement from the previous one in terms of sickness, but unfortunately, it’s just been a continuation of ailments for Jackson. About a week and a half ago he was hit with the worst one yet–Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease! If you’re not familiar with this one, which I personally wasn’t until having a kid, it’s a nasty virus that can cause a blister-like rash on the hands, feet, and IN the mouth/throat, along with fever, runny nose, and sore throat. The rash doesn’t actually show up until a couple days after the onset of initial symptoms, so we had no idea he was dealing with this when the virus was at its peak.

The first clue he was sick again was a fever, which started over a weekend, coupled with unusual fussiness and a decreased appetite. Since Jackson had been dealing with a series of ear infections, I brought him back to the doctor that Monday to get him checked out. The diagnosis? His ear infection hadn’t cleared and needed to be treated with different antibiotics. Seriously?! I trudged back over to the pharmacy to fill the prescription and dutifully gave Jackson his first two doses, despite his kicking and screaming. I swear it was easier to give medication to our former cat!

I didn’t think much of the ear infection diagnosis until Monday evening, when the shit really hit the fan. Jackson was much harder than usual to get to sleep for the night and was drooling so excessively that he was coughing and choking. He also had zero interest in nursing after basically not eating all day. After finally getting him to sleep, he woke up at 12am crying intensely. He proceeded to cry inconsolably from midnight to about 6am, with a couple periods of sleep that lasted about 40 minutes each. Still no nursing. The Motrin we gave him did nothing to calm him down. Needless to say, it was by far the worst night we’ve had with Jackson to date. Since all of this happened at the same time that Jackson’s first tooth started coming in, and many of the symptoms (drooling, poor appetite, fussiness, mild fever) can be attributed to teething, I thought maybe teething was to blame, but his behavior seemed far too extreme to just be teething, or even an ear infection, honestly.

Although I had a hunch something more was at play, this all coincided with a big snow storm that hit Monday night into Tuesday (because, of course) so the doctor’s office and pretty much everything else was closed Tuesday. Fortunately, by Tuesday, Jackson’s behavior had improved quite a bit and it seemed like the worst was over, which was a huge relief to say the least. By Wednesday he was even better, aside from a mysterious rash that cropped up. Concerned that it might be a reaction to the new antibiotics, I brought him back into the pediatrician and saw a different doctor at the practice, who diagnosed Hand, Foot and Mouth. By then the telltale rash was visible and Jackson had sores lining his mouth and throat! The doctor said this can be more painful than strep, which explains why he was screaming all night and wouldn’t eat at all, our poor guy! I felt awful. At least we had an explanation that made sense.

A couple days after getting the Hand, Foot and Mouth diagnosis, Jackson developed pink eye. How, I have NO idea. He hadn’t been exposed to anyone other than me and David in over a week! Must have been the doctor’s office. By this point I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. This infection didn’t seem to bother or phase him at all and was easy to treat, so I guess if he had to have something, this wasn’t so bad. And that about takes us up to today in terms of sickness. Here’s to hoping this section of my ten month recap isn’t so lengthy!

Now, onto happier things…

Development

Jackson’s feisty little personality is really starting to emerge, as is his awareness of who’s around and what’s going on. Now when I leave the room for even just a few seconds, he’ll start crying until I come back. Even when I’m in sight, if he’s not getting the kind of attention he wants, he will make it known! And if I take something away that he’s not done playing with yet, God forbid!, the tears ensure. But he’s also the happiest, most joyful and loving little boy and so fun to be around (most of the time).

Jackson is crawling, sort of. He still mostly goes backwards but finally figured out how to go forward, although he does it reluctantly. If he really wants something, he figures out a way! He still loves standing and can stand for quite a long time as long as he has something to hold onto for balance. He’s still babbling up a storm but hasn’t really said anything new.

As I mentioned earlier, Jackson’s first tooth has arrived! One of the front bottom teeth started to emerge a couple weeks ago and it’s sharp, let me tell you! I’m thinking other baby teeth can’t be far behind.

Sleep

Sleep still sucks, to be honest. This goes without saying when Jackson was so sick and uncomfortable, but it’s still not great now that Jackson has recovered. It’s challenging to both get him to sleep and get him to stay asleep. He’s still in our room and has actually been sleeping in our bed for the past few weeks since he had been so fussy, but now I think he’s gotten used to the bed and doesn’t want to sleep anywhere else. As much as I enjoy cuddling with our little snuggle bug, we have to get him comfortable sleeping in his own bed again.

Food

Jackson loves food, just like his mommy and daddy! He’s obsessed with the baby oat cereal we give him and always gobbles it up whenever we serve it. He also seems to love any puree that has apples in it, especially the apples and broccoli, which sounds like a bizarre combo. Although we’re still feeding him purees with a spoon, we’ve also started giving small pieces of soft solids that he can pick up and feed himself so that he gets used to the action and textures. So far we’ve given him banana, peas, avocado, brown rice, and sweet potato. He seems to like feeding himself, even if most of the food winds up in his bib or on the floor!

Despite the nursing setback during Jackson’s illnesses, I’m still breastfeeding. My aim is to keep it up until he’s one, if it works out. Just gonna go with the flow. We’ll see!

Current Faves

Here are some of the things we’re loving around here these days, in no particular order:

  • Foam cubes: Last month I mentioned the foam playmat, which is still getting a ton of use, but David ordered a bunch more of the squares to piece together some cubes, and Jackson has been loving using them as support to stand and look out the window. So cute!

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  • Curious George plush: Good friends of ours gifted Jackson a giant plush Curious George soon after he was born and we recently pulled it back out. He got so excited! I’m not sure if it’s the size or his face or what but he’s loving him right now.
  • Baby Buddy 1st toothbrush teether: My mom picked this up a while back and we gave it to Jackson once we realized his first tooth was poking through. I’m not sure if it offers any relief for teething but he loves sucking on it. Babby Buddy also makes other teething products that I’m going to give a try.
  • Sing Along with Elmo book: Another goodie picked up by my mom. Each page corresponds to a colored button on the side of the book that plays a tune when you push it. Pretty ingenious. It’s an old book so I couldn’t find it online but here’s something similar.
  • Grabbing things: If we set Jackson up with a laundry basket full of clothes or sit him in front of his little bookcase full of books, he’s a happy camper! He has a ball pulling all the clothes out of the basket or the books off the shelf. You’d think this would get old but it hasn’t so far.

That’s about it. Excited to see what’s in store for month ten! Until then, here are some of my favorite shots from the past few weeks:

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Family · Motherhood

Baby Registry Must-Haves

 

Several of my friends are pregnant with their first babies right now and are going through the process of creating a baby registry. Having had my little one last year, I know all too well how overwhelming this can be. With the plethora of products out there beckoning first-time parents, it’s hard to separate the must-buys from the gimmicks. I was as clueless as they come when creating my own registry and had no idea where to start. After surviving eight months with an infant though, I now have a pretty good idea of what to stock and what to skip. All babies are different of course, so some of the things Jackson loved may not suit other little ones, but generally speaking, I don’t think you can go wrong with the list of basics below. If you’re a soon-to-be mom looking for registry tips, I hope this helps! 

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  1. Bouncer / Rock N’ PlayJackson LIVED in this and the Boppy lounging pillow for the first month. When I was pregnant and deciding what to put on my registry, I asked one of my best friends what single, can’t-live-without item she would recommend and this was it. Man was she right! We got so, so much use out of this rocker. Jackson actually slept in this next to our bed until he was 6 months old!  It has a slight incline so it’s great for babies that don’t like being flat on their backs, and  it’s not big so can easily be moved from room to room during the day as needed. We liked the Graco one we got but there are tons of options that are probably pretty comparable. 
  1. Travel / Mini Crib: We initially bought this to take on trips to visit family, but wound up setting it up next to our bed once Jackson outgrew the rocker and we still weren’t ready to transition him to the nursery (at 8 months old we still haven’t). The new recommendation from the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) is to have babies sleep in the same room as you for the first year, if possible. Truthfully, we’ve kept Jackson in our room more because of the sleep challenges we’re experiencing with him than feeling like we need to follow the new recommendation, but whatever the case may be, having a portable crib that you can keep by your bed is super helpful. I like this version because it allows you to lower the mattress once the baby has outgrown the bassinet, so you can use it at the newborn stage and beyond.
  1. White Noise/Sound MachineWe love this Skip Hop one and use it every night! It has both melodies and nature sound options, plus serves as a nightlight, so it kills two birds with one stone. I definitely recommend getting some kind of sound machine, especially if you live in an apartment and have to drown out noise that you may not be able to control.
  1. Swaddle BlanketWe didn’t use these for all that long but they’re useful in the early days if your baby likes being swaddled and you find swaddling to be a pain in the ass like I did, ha! They take the guess work out of it.
  1. Sleep Sacks: These are good for once the baby is over swaddling or has outgrown it. Since you’re not supposed to put blankets in the crib with the baby to sleep, this lets you wrap him without having to worry about a blanket getting tangled, etc. We still use one.
  1. Baby MonitorWe have a Samsung version that works just fine and that I’ve generally been pleased with, although I’m not married to this particular model. I highly recommend having some kind baby monitor for peace of mind.

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  1. Baby Lounging Pillow We have the Boppy brand in the elephant print but it comes in a bunch of different designs. Jackson loved this thing for the first month or so. Before he could sit up, it was so nice to have a comfortable place to put him besides the rocker where he could look around and observe .
  1. Activity Gym: Once Jackson was about 3-4 months old and could reach for things, this activity gym was great. I’d place him on his back in the center of the mat and it kept him engaged for quite a while! It’s also a good place to practice tummy time. And for people who are tight on space (aren’t we all), the whole thing easily folds back up into the plastic case it comes in so you can quickly stow it away.
  1. Floor Seat: Once Jackson was sitting with support he wanted to be upright constantly. I mean ALL the time. This little seat allowed him to be in a seated position while on the floor or couch (with supervision of course) without us having to always hold him on our laps. It also folds and can be tucked away.
  1. Foam Play Mat: There are about a billion different foam mats to choose from at different price points but we opted for this basic one to start off with. We like it because the foam is extra thick and padded and is made from non-toxic materials (apparently not the case for all options). The pieces can also be formed into cubes so that Jackson has something to grab onto and pull himself up on when he’s older. This is another apartment friendly/space saver product since all the pieces can easily be broken down and put away.
  1. JumperThis isn’t useful until a baby is about six months old and does take up significant space, but it’s a must-have in my book. A jumper lets a baby who’s standing with support practice this skill and get some exercise. Jackson loves it!

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  1. Changing Pad: Assuming you have some kind of changing table, you’ll need a changing pad to go along with it. Unless you want to go with something fancy and organic (and it will be covered anyway), I see no reason to spend a lot on this. I have the Babies R US brand and it has worked well.
  1. Changing Pad Covers: In addition to a changing pad, you’ll need a cover to go over the changing pad to prevent the pad from getting dirty. I recommend getting a few covers so that when one is dirty you always have an extra on hand. To extend the time between washes, I also like to throw a disposable changing pad on top of the cover. This may seem excessive but I don’t throw these out after each diaper change (unless they get soiled) so they last a while and save me from having to wash the cover literally every other time I change a diaper. The ones meant for babies are cute but I’ve recently started buying wee wee pads at the pet store to serve this purpose, since they’re a lot cheaper and work just as well.
  1. Wipe WarmerThis is one of those things that I thought was gimmicky and completely unnecessary so I didn’t buy one initially. It was really jarring for Jackson as a newborn to use cold wipes though — he HATED being changed at first. I wound up buying one after Jackson was born and still use it. Not an absolute necessity by any means but it makes being changed a little more comfortable.
  1. Diaper PailDo you NEED a diaper pail? I suppose not. But if you want to contain the smell of dirty diapers, I recommend getting one. I bought a Diaper Dekor Plus after reading reviews and I really like it. It’s discrete, doesn’t take up a lot of space, and keeps the odors at bay.
  1. No-Rinse CleanserI keep this on the changing table and use it when I’m dealing with an extra dirty diaper. It’s nice to be able to clean the diaper area without having to actually bathe the baby every time, especially since you’re not supposed to submerge newborns in water more than a couple times a week because of their delicate skin. I use it a ton now that Jackson is older and eating solids too, since his diapers are now a whole new ball game!
  1. Changing StationThis is great for on-the-go changing and could even be used as your main changing set-up if you don’t get a changing table right away.

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  1. Stroller: We love this CityMini stroller. We like to go on long walks and wanted something that would hold up to uneven pavement, gravel roads, etc. The biggest plus in my opinion though is the single hand folding technology. No struggling to figure out how to fold it up when you’re done! That said, it’s very pricey and while I do think it’s worth the money, if you’re looking for a more budget friendly option, we also have the Kolcraft Cloud Plus Lightweight Stroller. It also folds super easily and is incredibly lightweight.
  1. Car Seat (& Base): A car seat is a an obvious essential (don’t forget the base!) but there are so many models out there to choose from. We got the Chicco KeyFit30  infant seat because it got top ratings for safety and ease of use, the biggest factors for me. One thing I didn’t take into account though is how it would fit in our car. In retrospect, I wish we’d tested this out first because it’s a tight fit with the passenger side. Live and learn!
  1. Baby carriers: I highly recommend getting at least one carrier for when you don’t want to bust out the stroller, or for when baby is being fussy and you need to be hands free for a few minutes. I have two. I’m not kidding when I say the Baby K’tan was my saving grace for the first couple of months. For quite a long time wearing Jackson with this carrier was the only way I could get him to nap. It’s like a wrap carrier but you don’t have to tie anything, which is a major plus in my book. If you’re like me and don’t want to be bothered with figuring out how to tie something and then worry if it’s secure, I suggest this carrier. Now that Jackson is older, we’re using the Ergobaby 360 instead and it’s equally great but for a different use. We like it for longer walks because it has straps like a backpack and provides a lot of support. David can even use this one too! 
  1. Diaper Bag: You can really use any bag as a diaper bag but I find that the bags made for this purpose have way more compartments than non-diaper versions. I love the diaper backpack I was gifted because it allows me to be hands free and that’s always a big plus when toting around a baby! 

other stuff

 

  1. Nursing Pillow: For getting started with breastfeeding this pillow was an absolute necessity for me. I didn’t nurse without it for the first month.
  1. Baby Tub: Bathing an itty bitty baby isn’t the easiest thing in the world but this tub made it manageable. The design is good and I like the fact that it can be used from newborn to toddler age.
  1. Stroller & Car Seat Toys: These are a must-have for keeping baby entertained in the stroller or carseat while on the go. Jackson was most amused by the owl and Forest Friends book  but there are a ton of options.
  1. Zip-up Footies: I quickly learned that when it comes to PJs, the zip-up versions reign supreme. When it’s 3am and you’re changing a diaper and the baby is screaming, every second counts! Zippers are much quicker to get on and off than snaps.

Let me know if there’s anything you think is missing from this list!

Family · Motherhood

Baby Recap: Eight Months Old

Jackson turned eight months old on Friday. I can’t believe in just four more months he’ll be turning one. Time needs to slow waaay down!

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The past month has passed by in a bit of a blur. Since starting daycare in early January Jackson has been sick every single week with one thing or another.  First a stomach virus, then a cold, then another cold followed by a double ear infection, then another cold. Seriously, it NEVER ends! The doctor said it’s normal and that we can expect Jackson to be sick for the first six months after starting daycare but I’m praying that won’t be true for him. Really, half a year?! I can’t take four more months of this!! Spring, please get here STAT!

On the plus side, despite the revolving door of illness that has swept our house, Jackson has mostly been his usual delightful self, winning over everyone he meets with his sweet, infectious smile. One of the women at daycare calls him a “Cabbage Patch baby” because she says he looks just like a Cabbage Patch doll and I have to agree! His cuteness is unreal. For the most part he’s a very happy, joyful baby and I just can’t get enough of him!

Development

Jackson is sitting up completely on his own now and has been for the past couple of months. He can play for long stretches of time by himself, which is such a welcome change. He’s not crawling yet but is able to scoot backwards and can actually move quite a bit this way. Once he figures out how to go forward there will be no stopping him! In general he loves being upright, whether sitting on his play mat or bouncing in the jumper, and he grabs at everything in sight.

There’s still no sign of any teeth, but given his need to be gumming something at all times, I wouldn’t be surprised if one pokes through any day. In terms of vocalizing, Jackson goes through phases where he babbles quite a bit and he has quite the set of lungs on him. I’m so looking forward to his first real word!

Sleep

Sleep, oh precious sleep. How I miss you. This probably warrants a whole post in itself but Jackson’s sleep has been pretty terrible since he was about five months old and, with all the recent sickness, things are at an all-time low. From about month one to four, Jackson slept great overnight. I’d still have to wake up to feed him once or twice, but he’d sleep for stretches of six, seven, even eight hours most nights without a problem. Then around Thanksgiving time for whatever reason, he started waking up every couple hours again, and that’s kind of been his MO ever since. It has been brutal to say the least. Although I’m not opposed to sleep training, if I do it, I want to do it when I’m sure there’s no real reason why Jackson needs comfort, and I haven’t gotten there yet. First there was the transition of me going back to work, then starting daycare, then being hit with virus after virus and not being able to breathe well. I’m sure there will always be some reason to delay it and I should probably just get it over with, but I don’t think I’m ready. Maybe this month, we’ll see.

Food

I’m still breastfeeding (see my recent post about my experience here) and at this point breast milk still makes up the most significant portion of Jackson’s daily calories. He’s gotten better about taking a bottle at daycare but still doesn’t drink as much as I’d like him to during the day while he’s there. Often he won’t have much more than ten to twelve ounces. I nurse him before I take him in the morning and first thing when we get home at night, and then quite a bit overnight too since he’s waking up a bunch, so I think he’s getting enough total, but that’s another reason why I’m reluctant to let him cry it out at bedtime right now. In addition to breastmilk, he’s eating a couple tablespoons of baby cereal in the morning (I use the Happy Baby Organic Oat kind) plus a couple of organic puree pouches throughout the day (I typically buy Plum Organics, Happy Baby, and Earth’s Best). At this point he’s eaten lots of different kinds of fruits and veggies, plus some grains, like brown rice and quinoa. He likes pretty much everything and is a great eater!

Current Faves

Here are some of the things we’re loving around here these days, in no particular order:

  • Foam play mat: Now that Jackson can sit up and play independently we use this mat daily. We put him on it with a bunch of toys and he can happily entertain himself for quite a while. It’s also fun to get down on the mat and play with him.
  • Baby Einstein Jumper: Jackson loves standing but can’t do it on his own so he’s a big fan of the jumper, which lets him stand and bounce up a storm.
  • Nuk Pacifiers: For the longest time Jackson was not into pacifiers at all but a couple of months ago something changed. For better or worse he now finds them soothing and they’ve come in very handy during nap and bedtime. He seems to prefer the Nuk brand, which a friend of mine uses exclusively with her son and recommended to me. I know a lot of people like the Soothie pacifiers but Jackson isn’t a fan.
  • Old magazines: Forget the fancy toys. All Jackson needs to be happy is an old magazine! One afternoon he kept grabbing at my stack of magazines so I decided to give him an old one and see what he’d do. He wound up tearing it to shreds in minutes and couldn’t have been more thrilled with the destruction he caused! Of course paper wound up in his mouth, which wasn’t great, but he had a blast. See for yourself below…

 

And here are a few more of my favorite photos from the past month:

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His little smile gets me every time. Love this ham so much!

Family · Motherhood

Rekindling Romance After Having a Baby

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Since Valentine’s Day was yesterday and love is still top of mind, I thought I’d share my thoughts on keeping romance alive after having a baby. While bringing a little one into the world is one of the best experiences in life hands down, it can take a toll on other relationships, particularly the one you have with your significant other. On top of all the fun physical changes you’re going through postpartum (hello crazy hormones, leaky boobs, night sweats and massive hair loss!), you’re also dealing with the inevitable changes that come along with caring for a new baby. You know, exhaustion, spit up, blow outs, wearing the same yoga pants for five months straight. Not exactly a recipe for romance!

Personally, my relationship with my husband definitely took a backseat for the first several months post baby, as I think it should have. At some point though, it’s important to make time to connect one-on-one again for the sake of your relationship long term. While this is still very much a work in progress for us, here are some easy things that have helped me and my hubs get back that loving feeling.

Redefine date night: You don’t need to go out to a fancy dinner or a movie in order to spend quality time with your significant other. If leaving the house isn’t in the cards for you very often, plan to have date night at home. You can even schedule it on the calendar! Agree on something fun to do–watch the new documentary on Netflix, cook dinner or bake together, play a board game, whatever you find fun!–and once the baby is asleep, commit to doing it, no distractions.

Communicate what you want: When you’re stressed and exhausted from caring for a baby it’s more important than ever to communicate openly with your partner, especially about things that are bugging you. Nothing kills romance more than brewing resentment. Need a hand with the laundry? Want your guy to watch the baby so that you can take a nap (or a bath)? Speak up.

Dial up the thoughtfulness: Thoughtfulness goes a long, long way in fueling the flame of romance. If there are little things you can do for each other around the house, put in the extra effort. I’d gotten really bad about making the bed in the morning and it’s one of David’s pet peeves, so I now make a point of doing it each day and it makes the whole room look neater. And David knows that I hate dealing with dishes after dinner since I want to spend time with the baby, so he takes care of that and I love him for it.

Talk about more than just the baby: As a new mom, it’s only natural to want to talk about your baby 24/7–every little thing they do is truly amazing! I’m so guilty of that for the first few months. Of course you should talk about your little one with each other, but don’t make it the ONLY thing you talk about for days or months on end. You were a couple before you had a baby and had other shared interests, so don’t lose complete sight of that. Ask your guy about that book he’s reading or how a project is going at work.  

Sweat Together: If you’re able to get away together for an hour, do something active. Although it’s probably the last thing on your mind when you’re sleep deprived, getting the blood flowing helps to perk you up and get the endorphins going. And I find it just generally makes me feel better about myself, which is always a good thing when it comes to intimacy. You don’t have to hit the gym to break a sweat if that’s not your thing. Even going for a walk counts. Just get moving!

Do you have any tips on reviving the romance post baby? I’d love to hear them!

Family

Our Engagement Story

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Five years ago today, David and I got engaged. Now that we’re married, it’s easy to forget anniversaries beyond our wedding date (I can hardly remember my own birthday!), but I think it’s important to celebrate the smaller things and acknowledge how far we’ve come. In some ways it feels like a lifetime ago that David was getting down on one knee and popping the question, and in others, if feels like just yesterday. So, in honor of our “engagement anniversary,” here’s the story behind David’s proposal.

At the time, David was living in Rhode Island and I was still in New York City, so we’d alternate visiting each other every other weekend. Going from living together in the city to living in different states definitely tested our relationship but, ultimately, it made us both realize we wanted to be together for the long haul. The weekend he proposed David was visiting me in New York, and he decided to make dinner reservations at Ruby Foo’s for Sunday night. I knew something was up just by virtue of the fact that we were going out to dinner on a Sunday (and midtown nonetheless!) but I played dumb.

All throughout dinner I kept expecting to find the ring in some exotic dish, but each course passed without a proposal, so I started to second guess my intuition. When the check came and there was still no sign of a ring, I was convinced I had it all wrong and David wasn’t going to propose that evening after all. I hid my disappointment as we left the restaurant, and David suggested we walk by our old office building, which was down the street and the place where we first met. It was cold and starting to snow, so I wasn’t really feeling it and just wanted to go home, but I reluctantly agreed.

In all honesty, the rest is kind of a blur to me! I remember getting to the office with the snow swirling around us, David getting all serious and saying incredibly sweet things about how much I mean to him, etc., and then dropping to one knee and asking me to marry him. David jokes that before I said “Yes” or even let him put the ring on my finger I snatched it out of the box. I have no recollection of that but, what can I say, I guess I was just excited! Needless to say, I eventually did say “Yes” and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made (love ya Smooch!).

Somehow we managed to not take any pictures the night of our engagement but here are a couple from a few days after in Florida:

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And a few of my faves from our engagement photo shoot (taken by Angelica Criscuolo Photography):

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If you’re married or engaged, how did your significant other propose? Were you surprised or totally expecting it?