Family · Motherhood

Baby #2!

Bump pic #2

I couldn’t be happier to share that David and I are expecting baby number 2 this spring! The due date is three weeks before Jackson turns two. We shared the news with our families at Thanksgiving and on social media the Friday before Christmas, but I’m planning on creating some pregnancy-related content on the blog, so I wanted to announce it here as well. Believe it or not, I’m actually about halfway through the pregnancy already (I’ll be officially 20 weeks along on Monday), and fortunately, it has been uneventful so far. I can’t believe how fast the time is flying!

Although I’m a little nervous about how we’re going to manage two kiddos, I’m overjoyed to have the opportunity to be a mom to another little human. While motherhood certainly isn’t all fun and games, it has made me happier than I ever thought possible, and has enriched my life in so many wonderful ways. That probably sounds cheesy, but it’s true!

Stay tuned for more pregnancy content soon. In the meantime, if you have any advice to share on transitioning from one baby to two, I can take all the tips I can get!

Family · Motherhood

My Sleep Training Experience

There are different schools of thought when it comes to sleep training (whether or not to do it, the best approach to take, the optimal time to start, etc.) and few topics seem to spark the kind of debate that sleep training triggers. Before I had Jackson, I didn’t know how I’d feel about it, honestly. And I didn’t have to think much about it until Jackson was almost six months old, because from about two to five and a half months, he was a great overnight sleeper (although daytime was a different story). For a while I thought I’d hit the jackpot with an amazing night sleeper and would never have to deal with the dreaded sleep training conundrum. But alas, that turned out to be major wishful thinking.

Right before I was scheduled to return to work from maternity leave, when Jackson was nearly six months old, he went from waking only once per night (totally manageable) to waking every 90 minutes to two hours (complete torture). He never even did that as a newborn! The only way I could get him back down each time was to nurse him, so naturally, I was completely exhausted every single day. Like walking zombie exhausted. I thought I was going to lose my mind. I kept thinking it must be a phase or regression and that Jackson’s sleep would get back on track eventually on its own, so I just dealt with it for a while, but after a few months of this constant waking every night, it was pretty clear that this had become the new normal. Since I was back at work and needing to be functional during the day, something had to give. I was at my wit’s end. So, when Jackson was around eight months old, David and I agreed to try a modified version of sleep training.

In my research, I knew that we shouldn’t start a training approach that we weren’t confident we could stick with, so full-blown cry-it-out was off the table. There were other, “gentler” techniques that we could have tried, but they all involved following the same steps throughout the entire night for as long as it took to achieve success. Living in an apartment at the time, and one with zero sound proofing at that, I didn’t want to let my baby cry for extended periods of time at all hours. I also didn’t want to lose even more sleep by having to deal with long bouts of crying in the wee hours, and the anxiety that provokes. It’s just not something I’m comfortable with, neighbors aside.

My solution was to start “soft training” Jackson by letting him cry when I initially put him down for bed around 6pm, but still tend to him when he woke up throughout the night. I followed my usual routine of bath, book, nurse, but instead of nursing him until he was nearly out, I put him in the crib fully awake (I know they say to do this early on, but Jackson was a terrible napper and by evening, I just wanted to get some shut eye). After turning on the sound machine and flipping off the lights, I walked out and let him cry for a while before returning to soothe him. I first went in after five minutes to lie him back down and pat his stomach for a few seconds, then returned after ten minutes, etc. Surprisingly, the first night he initially cried on and off for only about 30 minutes before falling asleep. And he only woke up in the night a couple of times, and easily went back down after nursing. The second night he cried for less than twenty minutes before going down, and the third, less than ten. By the fourth, he hardly cried at all, and moving forward after that, he went right to bed without a peep. He was still waking up once or twice each night after going to bed, and when he did, I’d nurse him for a few minutes, put him down awake, and he’d go right back to sleep. But this was a compromise I could deal with. I’m sure this approach wouldn’t appeal to everyone, but for me it worked.

Somewhere along the way, Jackson eventually started sleeping entirely through the night on his own. Now he’s an amazing sleeper! He goes to bed between 6:30 and 7pm and usually wakes up between 6 and 7am. Sometimes I wonder if I should have done some kind of sleep training earlier or tried a different method, but I did what I was comfortable with at the time and we’re in a great place with sleep now. That’s what matters. I think moms need to do what’s right for them and there’s no one size fits all solution when it comes to sleep training (or not). I have friends who have done full-on cry-it-out and friends who co-slept with their kids for years. I say, to each their own. Your kids will be fine either way, so do what you have to do to get through the day!

What’s your philosophy on sleep training? Yay? Nay? Did it work for you?

Family

First Snow!

At the time I’m writing this, we’ve actually had a second snow, but I wanted to share some pictures David and I snapped last weekend on our first snow day of the season. You’d think having grown up in the Northeast, I’d be totally indifferent to snow at this point, but there’s just something about the first snowfall each winter that will never get old. It helps when you don’t have the pressure of having to get anywhere, and since the snow hit on Saturday, we were able to lay low and really enjoy it. I’m sure a couple of months from now I’ll be longing for sun and sand, but around the holidays, I’m all for the snow! Seeing the snow through Jackson’s eyes made it all the more magical too. We got so many cute pics of him experiencing the snow for the first time and I’m so glad we were able to capture such a memorable day. Here are some of my favorites:

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Whether you’re a fan of the snow or not, I hope you enjoyed seeing these photos and Jackson’s reactions. Too cute, right? Have a great weekend!

Family

Life Update

After a pretty lengthy blogging hiatus, I’m excited to get back into regular posting. Over the past several months we’ve been busy with some pretty major life changes–mainly buying and moving into our first house!–but things are finally beginning to settle down and it’s so nice to have a place we can call home for the long haul. Bring on ALL the holiday decorations!

It’s kind of crazy to see that my last post was a ten month baby recap because in a little over a week, Jackson will be 18 months! He has grown and developed so much since he was a 10-month old. I’ll do a separate post for that, but in the meantime, here’s a quick rundown of noteworthy life events since my last post to get you up to speed.

Jackson turned 1: On June 24th, Jackson became a 1-year old! We threw a little party for him at my parents’ house last minute since most of our family and friends live near there, and it was a lot of fun. I was a little worried about how he would do with all the commotion, but he was a total trooper. He even started walking for the first time! Although I didn’t get many good pictures because I was mostly running around, here are a few that capture the day.

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We took our first plane ride with Jackson: Over labor day we took a trip to Arizona to visit David’s side of the family. His dad lives out there along with four step-siblings and their kids, and it’s always a good time when we all get together. Since it’s a bit of a trek, we don’t make it out there much, but I’m so glad we decided to go in September because we had a blast and Jackson really enjoyed playing with all his little cousins. I was absolutely dreading the flights there and back with Jackson (I don’t enjoy flying to begin with but adding a baby to the mix takes it to a whole other stress level), but Jackson actually did better than I thought. It would have been very tough had I been by myself with him, but with David there to balance the chaos, we managed just fine.  This was Jackson’s very first plane ride and it was a long one! But at least now we know we can do it. Some highlights from the trip…

  • Visiting the Children’s Museum of Phoenix (I highly recommend it if you’re in the area!)

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  • Swimming for the first time

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  • Checking out the aquarium

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  • Eating at True Food Kitchen: I’ve been wanting to try Andrew Weil’s restaurant, True Food Kitchen, forever, and I finally got my chance! The food did not disappoint. It was flavorful, nutritious, and delicious. Now if only they’d open one in CT….

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We bought a house and moved to CT: Lastly, after two big moves in less than two years (first to Michigan and then to NJ), David and I bought a house in Connecticut! We closed in September and moved in at the end of October. It feels so good to be able to unpack and know that we won’t be packing back up in a matter of months. We’ve been wanting to settle down and buy a place for a long time, but the timing was never right until now. We actually almost didn’t get this house because we were originally outbid by another offer, but that offer fell through and we swooped back in and got it! I knew when we first saw it that it would be perfect for our first house and it felt so right, so we were super bummed when we were outbid. But things have a way of working out how they’re meant to and fortunately for us, this house was meant to be for us! It has taken a while but the house is really starting to come together and it already feels like home. A few pics from the closing…can you tell how excited we are??

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Okay, I better end here before this turns into a novel! More to come on Jackson and the house, plus some new yummy recipes. Have a wonderful day!

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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