From Baby

{Lincoln’s Quilt} Getting Started

The last time I properly mentioned Lincoln in a post, he was three months old.  Fast forward five months and we now have a sitting eight month old with one little tooth.  And he is quite possibly the sweetest little boy you could ever imagine.

But the fact that he is eight months old means that cool weather is soon upon us, so it’s about time that I got started on his quilt.  Sure, most people might finish a quilt before a baby is born.  Me?  I wait eight or nine months before getting started.  I did the same with Ike’s quilt just about two years ago.  At least I’m consistent.

If you follow me on Instagram then you know I’ve been making progress on Lincoln’s quilt. I have all of the pieces cut and some triangles sewn into squares.  It may look like one big jumbled mess of colors and patterns, but I’m a fan.

piecing-lincolns-quilt

I tend not to follow a pattern when I make quilts (like Ike’s and Mason’s), though I did use one for Evan’s quilt.  This time I threw so much caution to the wind that I barely purchased enough fabric.  But it’s all working out.

I wanted Lincolns’ quilt to coordinate with the nursery and complement Ike’s quilt without being too matchy, so I went online and picked out some fabric that was similar to the patterns in Ike’s quilt, then picked out coordinating colors from there.  I love using the design wall tool on Fabric.com.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell the scale of the pattern using this, but I generally have good luck getting what I hoped for.

When I made Ike’s quilt I used all squares to make things as easy as possible.  I decided to throw some simple triangles in for good measure on Lincolns’ quilt, but I forgot how seam allowances make simple triangles more complicated.  After a little bit of early morning math last weekend, I had a pattern made and cutting was under way.

cutting-lincolns-quilt

If all goes well, I’ll have a finished quilt to share in a few weeks.  In the meantime you can find me with my sewing machine pedal to the metal.

signature

Our Sand and Sun Checklist

For a family that lives within 15 minutes of several beach options on the coast of Maine, we’re not at the beach very often.  I blame this, in part, on the daunting task of packing up the necessary equipment.  Anyone who has left the house with a baby knows how overwhelming it can be to pack up every. little. thing. you might need for your time away.  Whether it is an hour, a day, or a weekend away from home, babies and toddlers require a lot of gear.  Sometimes it’s easier just to stay home in your pajamas.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Last weekend we finally had a break in the busy work/life action and, in the early morning hours of Sunday, I decided a beach trip was in order.  After spending what felt like eternity getting us ready and out of the house, I vowed to make the process easier on myself so that we could actually make beach-going a habit.

I did what every wanna-be-organized-mom does and made a list—a simple checklist that I can run through to make sure I have everything I need for a few hours of sun, sand and ocean breeze.

I organized the list by person, but you could easily sort it by food, clothes, gear, etc.  However you decide to do it, this list fights half the battle for you:  it tells you what you need to pack.  This can be helpful at 7 a.m. when your brain is still half asleep, and can ensure you have a decent time because you haven’t forgotten the TOYS or the SNACK.

Then I went a step further.  When the beach items from our last trip came out of the dryer, I promptly added them to an empty tote bag which will expedite the packing process next time.

And, I was so excited about this slight possibility of being organized that I added a few extra things to our beach bag.  A bottle of sunscreen is taking up  permanent residence in the bag for the summer, and I prepared a selection of diapers and wipes just for beach occasions.  Surely nothing could ruin a beach trip faster than not having a change for a really dirty diaper, right?  With this stash, I should be good for another few beach trips.

So now, with my list complete and bag half packed, I’m hoping we’ll be more motivated to get up and going when beach weather strikes.

Do you find it so daunting to get packed and out of the house that you skip certain activities?  How do you stay organized and motivated?

signature

 

 

Second time around new mom must haves

I totally thought that baby number two would be so much easier than the first.  But, boy, was I wrong.  Sure, I have more confidence, I’m less afraid and I don’t spend every waking moment making sure the baby is breathing.  And I know it took us several months to get into a good groove with Ike when he was born.  But  I just assumed that, since I knew the ropes, Lincoln and I would hit our stride much earlier.  I think I set my expectations too high.  That happens to me a lot.

IMG_1021

Anyway, we are nearing the twelve-week mark (how did that happen!?) and while I still whole-heartedly endorse the items on my 0-3 month baby must-have list from two years ago, I thought I would share some of the things that have helped me get through these crazy days.

Gripe water
I have rolled my eyes at products like this many a time, especially at a $10 price tag, but I take my eye rolling back.  For some serious gas pains and hiccups that disrupted nursing, this concoction worked like a charm.  Seriously, one sip of this and hiccups disappeared immediately.  It was cutting dairy out of my diet that finally seemed to help our little man, but this product definitely helped us along the way.  And since it’s all natural, I felt okay using it.  At one point we were using it up to five times a day, and now it’s only sporadic.

Hands-free pumping bra
I was really, really stupid for not buying one of these with baby number one.  I pumped for 10 months, sometimes up to seven times a day, without one of these.  I thought this bra was a joke and wouldn’t work.  Um, I was wrong!  I am a total pumping freak.  I obsess about it.  I obsess about having enough of a milk supply when I go back to work, so I pump extra.  I obsess about having a good milk stock in the freezer, so I pump extra.  I can already tell that this bra will be a life saver when I go back to work.  I’ll actually be able to send emails while pumping and I won’t feel so confined by pumping.  Freedom for my hands!

V8 V-Fusion
This list is getting weirder by the minute.  But, hear me out.  I’m not great at eating fruits and veggies.  The thing is, I love them, but I am drawn to other snacks first.  And since I need fruits and veggies for my well being, I chug a glass or two of this each day to make sure I’m at least getting something healthy.  Plus, I hear it helps milk supply.  Did I mention I’m obsessed?

Dry shampoo
Didn’t think that this would make the list?  It did.  I went there.  Here’s the deal, I barely could find time to shower with baby number one.  Now that we have a toddler and an infant, showers are even more hard to come by.  For me, the most time consuming part of showering and getting dressed is washing and drying my hair.  That’s where dry shampoo comes in.  I can shower in about one minute if I skip hair washing.  Which means the baby can hang on the bathmat for 60 seconds if need be.  A few sprays of dry shampoo and the greasiness is gone and I’m out the door.  I might even stay on an every-other-day wash cycle once I’m back to work since this works so well!

A haircut
This might not be applicable to everyone, but getting a new haircut one month after Lincoln was born made me feel 100% better about myself.  Sure, I was sleep deprived, saggy, leaky and generally unkempt (see dry shampoo entry above), but I had a fresh new do.  It helped me face myself in the mirror every day.  And I had two hours out of the house by myself!

haircut
Smartphone
This is completely frivolous and unnecessary for a new mom, but having an iPhone by my side has certainly made life with a newborn easier and more fun.  First, there’s the ability to snap a picture at any given second and send it off to dad in the office.  You never know when those first smiles might appear!  Second, there are many helpful apps.  I mentioned in the birth story that I used an app to track my contractions during labor.  After Lincoln was born I used an app to track diapers and feedings.  I’ve never been so organized!  And finally, my iPhone serves as a flashlight in the middle of the night to check on the little bugger and entertainment during the dark hour feedings.  The downside: being able to Google things about nursing while nursing.  Sometimes you need to just stop obsessing.

So there are some rather unconventional recommendations from a now “seasoned” mom of a newborn.  Was it what you were expecting?  What would you add to the list?

signature

Fake it until you make it

I completely cheated.  I faked my son’s newborn picture.  And I’m proud of it.

Here’s the deal.  Our two boys were born in different hospitals.  Hospital number one sent a photographer in to take pictures on day 2 of his little life.  And they came out pretty well!  Hospital number two didn’t have a photographer service, so it was all up to me to take photos on day 2 of life.  And for some reason I really, really wanted newborn pictures of Lincoln that were similar to the ones of Ike.  And you know I’m too cheap to pay for something like that.  So, I faked it.  Can you tell?

I have a decent DSLR camera, but I don’t really know how to use it.  And two days after giving birth, I’m not sure that I could have had the focus to take a well-composed and well-lit picture anyway.  So, I did what most people do and I took a photo that I thought would suffice.  I framed and set up the picture to make it look similar to Ike’s, not not exactly the same.

Here is Ike’s picture turned black and white:

And here is Lincoln’s:

Yeah, my picture wasn’t even close.  And no matter what I tried with my novice photo editing skills, I couldn’t get the tone quite right, the shadows to minimize, and the blemishes on Lincoln’s little tummy to disappear.  So, I turned to the blog world where many people offer photo editing services.  Specifically, I asked Chelsea at Two Twenty One if she could help me out.  And, sure enough, for just 10 buckeroos, she made Lincoln’s picture look much more like Ike’s!

After enlisting Chelsea’s help, I uploaded the photos to Snapfish and ordered two 8×10 prints cropped to account for slight differences in the way the two photos were framed.  This helped make their heads about the same size, and fall about the same place in the picture.

And now they are framed, waiting to find the perfect place in our house!

Don’t you just want to pinch their cheeks?

For me it is fun to have these two pictures that look similar, but different, from the same newborn days for both of these boys.  Lots of similarities between them, but distinct differences, too! And now that I know Lincoln better, it is perfectly appropriate that he is flailing his fist instead of being bundled up tight like Ike was.  He has a feisty personality, for sure!

It’s hard to believe Ike was that little since now he is our big monster boy!

Yes, and that photo needs lighting help, too.  But it was 7 a.m. What do you expect!?

The moral of the story here is that with a tight budget and the help of friendly, helpful people in blog land, you too can fake your child’s photos!  (And professional photographers everywhere cringe.)

Happy photo taking!

signature

Two boys, one room

When I posted about some nursery updates last week, a few of you commented that you were interested in hearing how the room sharing is going now that the two boys have been bunking together for about a month. Your wish is my command (kind of), so I am here to spill the beans on having a 26-month-old and a two-month-old in one room.

20130320-094301.jpg

As I previously explained, when we found out we were having a second boy we made a pretty quick decision to have them share the nursery that we created for Ike. It was a practical decision that saved us time and money, plus we also liked the idea of having all the little boy gear and diaper paraphernalia corralled in one room. And, I have to admit, I am looking forward to the days when we can eavesdrop on their toddler/little boy bedtime conversations via the baby monitor. We’re hoping they’ll be thick as thieves.

So, how are we making it work? Good question. Obviously a toddler and newborn have different needs and schedules, so it is taking a bit of juggling, but so far so good.

Bedtime
Around the same time that we moved Lincoln into the nursery with Ike (at about a month old), I tried to “set” Lincoln’s bedtime to 7 p.m., the same time that Ike goes to bed. This took a few days, but now both boys are in bed between 7-8 p.m. and up between 6-7 a.m. While this means I have to get up early while on maternity leave, it will help us in about another month when all of us are leaving the house around 7 a.m. for our work and daycare schedules. Of course, it is a very rare night that both boys go down at the same time. For example, last night Lincoln was fed and asleep in bed at 6:45 p.m., so we changed Ike and did his nightly routine of reading downstairs before sneaking him quietly into the room. And the night before, Ike was in bed (resting quietly, but not yet asleep), when I brought Lincoln in around 7:30 p.m. I figure it will only be a matter of time before they’re both being changed into PJs at the same time and enjoying the same nighttime story!

Middle of the night
When Ike was an infant, I did all of his middle-of-the-night feeding and diaper changing in the nursery. Although Ike generally sleeps right through Lincoln’s nighttime crying, I didn’t want to turn on lights or disturb him with Lincoln’s diaper changes and feedings. So, for these first few months, I’ve set up our big armchair and an on-the-bed diaper changing station in the spare room across from the nursery. So, when I hear Lincoln waking up, I swoop in to pick him up and head out before Ike even stirs. We’re down to one feeding per night (for now; I know it could change!) so it has worked pretty well. Again, I know hope it’s only a matter of months before they are on the same sleep-through-the-night schedule and that midnight diaper changes and feedings are things of the past!

20130320-095228.jpg
We find Ike in the strangest positions in the middle of the night!

Morning
Ike gets up around 6:30 for daycare. If he wakes up before we are ready to change him, he (thankfully) lays quietly in bed. Lincoln’s first feeding of the day is generally at 6:30 or 7:00 a.m., so he is waking up at the same time as Ike. On mornings that Lincoln is still sleeping, Chris quietly sneaks in to wake up Ike and get him dressed. It’s hard to keep a two-year-old quiet, so luckily Lincoln generally sleeps through the chatter. And, if he doesn’t, it’s not a big deal because it’s his normal wake time…it just means I get a few minutes less sleep!

Nap time
This has been the hardest part of room sharing. Because I had such a hard time transitioning Ike to his crib when he was an infant, I have been dogged about having Lincoln sleep in his crib for most naps and at night. So, I’ve been trying to have the boys get used to napping together. At this point, Lincoln’s naps are less predictable, so they don’t always coincide exactly with Ike’s one afternoon nap. We’ve had several instances of Lincoln waking up Ike during his nap. But luckily, Ike doesn’t need a long nap anymore (although he generally sleeps a solid two hours every afternoon!), so if he is disrupted it’s not too big of a deal. He is good about playing quietly or reading in his bed if he doesn’t sleep through his full nap. Because Ike is still going to daycare during the week, we only have to worry about nap times on the weekends, which gives me all week to obsess about Lincoln napping in the crib!

20130320-095359.jpg

Overall, Ike is thrilled to have Lincoln in his room. He is excited when he wakes up and sees Lincoln in the crib, and he has really welcomed his little brother into his room. With Ike being so young, I wonder if he even remembers a time when Lincoln wasn’t part of our family!

So, what room sharing questions do you have for me? Of course, I’m no expert.  Clearly my overuse of words like “generally” and “luckily” in this post show just how little control I have over the whole situation!

What has your experience been with room sharing? Any good tips and tricks to share?

signature

Lincoln’s birth story

I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for a birth story.  So, before I get back to some home projects here on the ol’ blog, I thought I would share the story of the day that we met our sweet little Lincoln.

For those of you who have been around for some time, you might remember that Ike’s birth story was long, drawn out and full of drama—with a happy ending, of course.  I was hoping that Lincoln’s arrival would be much simpler, much faster, and equally as happy, and I am thrilled to report that it was all of that and more!

Back in December of 2010 we delivered Ike in a regional, larger hospital, about an hour from our house.  This was due to some minor complications during my pregnancy and our inability to find a local doctor who was a good fit for us. But in the time since Ike was born, we found a wonderful family doctor who is closer to our home.  He saw me through this pregnancy, labor and delivery all in our small community hospital, and it was such a different experience.  There was no commuting hours for appointments, I saw the same doctor and nurse at each and every pre-natal visit, plus our doctor also treats the rest of my family, so he knows us well.

I was extremely lucky to have an easy pregnancy (with the exception of a random outbreak of PUPPP, which ended up lasting only a month or so).  The nine months flew by and before I knew it, January was here and our due date was approaching.  There was so little to do to get ready for baby number two since we had every piece of gear known to man and we planned for our new little guy to room with his big brother.  It seemed so anticlimactic compared to our first pregnancy!

Despite being relatively comfortable in my last weeks of pregnancy, I was discouraged that by my 39th week I hadn’t experienced a single contraction and was barely dilated.  I came to terms with the fact that this baby was going to be late.  My doctor and I started talking hypothetically about inductions and we decided that we would wait until week 41 and then plan an induction if nothing happened before then.   After my experience being induced with Ike, I was eager to have labor begin and progress on its own, and my doctor agreed that there was no need to rush anything given the solid health status of me and baby.

I continued to work and tried to keep myself busy.  Those of you who follow me on Instagram saw that on my due date (January 19) I was passing the time by installing closet shelving.  I suppose it could have been nesting.

I wrapped up the last of my work on Tuesday, January 23, said goodbye to my co-workers and headed home with hopes of delivering sometime soon.  As it turns out, I didn’t need to wait too long.  At 2 a.m. that night I woke up having mild contractions.  Although they weren’t very painful, I couldn’t sleep through them, so I got up, made myself some waffles (one of my late-pregnancy cravings) and started timing things (I used this handy contraction app on my iPhone, which I highly recommend!).  At that point I was having 4-5 contractions an hour, so I knew nothing was imminent.  When Chris got up at 6 a.m. I gave him an update and we decided that he would work from home that day and that Ike would head to daycare.

It was a weird day…so normal, yet so strange.  Contractions continued throughout the day, slowing at times to just one per hour, and picking up at other times.  I relaxed some, ran some errands with Chris and tried unsuccessfully to take a nap.  That afternoon my doctor called me (yes, he personally called me to check on how things were going!) and I let him know that I was having some contractions but that nothing seemed too serious yet.  We both were realistic about the fact that this could be very, very early labor and it could be another day or more, if anything progressed at all.  I set my expectations low and tried to relax.

Around 5 p.m. things started to pick up a little bit and I was quite certain that my water broke after one particularly rough contraction.  I waited until just after 7 p.m. when I had more signs of my water breaking and called the on-call OB nurse.  She and I discussed what was happening and based on what I described, neither one of us were truly convinced that my water had broke.  And, given that I was having contractions, the nurse said there was no harm in waiting to see if things progressed on their own.  She and I agreed that I would call her again later if I thought I needed to come into the hospital.

At 9 p.m. I texted our babysitter and told her that things were still going slow and that I thought there wouldn’t be any action that night.  I tucked myself in, hoping to get some sleep, seeing how I had been awake since 2 a.m.  Between 9:30 and 11:30 I was in and out of sleep, waking with every contraction.  They were so inconsistent that I didn’t know what to do.  Some were 6 minutes apart and others were 15 minutes.  Some were strong and some were mild.  Everything I had read said the contractions would get more consistent, stronger, and closer together, but mine seemed to be all over the map.

Chris was still awake, so I got up and watched some television with him.  By 12:30 he convinced me that we should go to the hospital.  I was so afraid that they would send me home that I was hesitant to go.  But, things did seem to be progressing and I certainly wasn’t getting any sleep.  So, we put the wheels in motion.  I called the nurse while Chris called our babysitter.  We made plans to arrive at the hospital around 1:30 a.m.  I hoped this was for real, since we were pulling everyone out of their homes on one of the coldest nights of the year.

I remember counting 5 contractions on our 20-minute drive to the hospital, so I was hopeful that I was quite far along.  I told Chris that I would be disappointed with anything less than 4 cm, because I thought for sure I deserved it after my day of contractions!  By the time we got checked in, changed and ready, it was about 2:15 a.m.  The nurse checked me and reported only 3 cm, but 100% effaced.  She was encouraged by that but I felt defeated.  I remembered that it took me almost 6 hours to get from 3 to 10 cm with Ike, plus another 2 hours of pushing!  I told Chris to get settled in because it was going to be a long night.

The nurse went to call our doctor to give him an update and to get things ready to start my IV.  I worked through some contractions and got up to use the restroom.  While in the bathroom I had three really, really strong contractions.  When I got back to the bed, I was having trouble moving from a sitting to laying position because I was having constant pain/pressure.  Upon reporting this to the nurse, she decided to check me again.  It was a good thing she did, because I was 8 cm!

Things were a blur from that point on.  Our two nurses were rushing to call the doctor and get things ready.  My eyes were closed most of the time as I worked through some serious contractions, but all the while I could sense bustling.  I remember the nurse having a hard time starting the IV and trying a few different locations.  And I remember asking if it was too late for pain medication, though somewhere inside me I already knew the answer.  I tried to come to terms with the fact that I would have to do this without medication and attempted to get mentally prepared for what was about to happen.  But, I really didn’t have a choice at that point.  This baby was coming.

I remember there being a sense of stillness eventually, as the nurses had everything ready and we were all just waiting for the doctor to arrive.  Our doctor has a signature knock he does on the door before he comes in to each appointment, and I remember hearing that and feeling at ease, despite the fact that I was working through a pretty serious contraction.  As happened with Ike, my transition phase came with a whole lot of shaking and it took a lot of breathing after each contraction to calm myself down. I remember Chris greeting our doctor, but it seemed like forever before I could open my eyes and do the same.

Our doctor assessed the situation and reported that I needed to work through a few more contractions and said he would be back in about 10 minutes.  Before I knew it, he was back and it was time to push, at just about 4 a.m.

I won’t detail the 30 minutes of pushing.  Any woman who has done that without pain meds knows how it happened, and any woman that hasn’t can certainly imagine.  I had moments of doubting that I could go through with it, paired with an intense drive to get it over with.  But my doctor was a great coach and the nurses were wonderful.  And just like during my last delivery, Chris gave me the exact support I needed—the right amount of encouragement, the right amount of hand holding and always giving me water when I requested demanded it.

Finally, I remember my doctor telling me that I would want to keep my eyes open for the next push and, sure enough, I saw my son arrive into the world.  He let out his little cry and Chris and I got to hold and touch the newest addition to our family.

lincoln-photo

It was a good ending to a good story.

signature