Wonder Weeks

imageI love this app. It was a lifesaver for me when my first was born, and I definitely believe in the Wonder Weeks now. For those of you who don’t know, the Wonder Weeks are basically periods of time when your child undergoes a mental growth spurt. I believe J is going through one now. For one, he’s a bit fussier than normal.

At at the end of the leap, your child will have accomplished a new skill. The screenshot above is an example of what he should be going through now. There’s also a book out that goes through each leap in more detail. I highly recommend you download it if you have little ones under two.

The app also has a little chart to give you an idea of when they should be going through each leap. I love this because it gives you a countdown and reminds you that no matter how difficult today is, the sun will come and your child will be one step closer to the awesome person they will eventually become.

Definitely love this app… It’s a huge lifesaver.

 

Mother’s Day/Teacher Appreciation Week

I kind of completely forgot about Mother’s Day this year. Thankfully, my child’s daycare put up a sign for a Mother’s Day breakfast so I was reminded. Then they reminded us that it’s Teacher Appreciation Week! I feel kind of disorganized, haha.

R and I took an emergency trip to Michael’s to find gifts for everyone.

For the teachers, we found these really cute cups:

imageThey have ¬†the teacher’s initials monogrammed on the front. I wrote a note that basically says, “Thank you for all you do!” and had R color on the paper. She loves to color, so this was no problem. You just have to make sure she doesn’t try to eat the crayons. ūüėČ

Mother’s Day was a bit harder. I found a completely adorable craft where the kids use their handprint to make ‘flowers’ on a tote bag. We weren’t able to find a blank tote bag so we bought these hats instead:

imageR painted with gusto. In fact, she rubbed both hands together and on the last hat we did she put both hands down in the front, as you can see above. Haha. J was a bit harder. He’s only a month old, so his reflexes got in the way. He kept moving his hand back into a fist. We had to move really fast because I was afraid both kids would put their hands in their mouth. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. We ended up making three: one for my mom, one for my mother-in-law, and one for my aunt, who never had any kids of her own, but who we love so much we want to celebrate this day with her.

Now that R is 18 months old, I’m trying to let her pick from some simple options. She picked purple and blue for the Mother’s Day craft. (I think those colors are pretty much Mother’s Day colors, aren’t they?) I painted the green stems, which didn’t turn out very well, but I’m not a very good artist.

What are you doing for Mother’s Day?

24me app review

imageI wanted to tell everyone about this great app I discovered! Lately, I’ve really struggled with time management, especially at work. I could easily watch 8 hours go by and have barely accomplished anything.

Enter time blocking. Basically, you estimate how long each task will take you and enter it into a schedule. I started doing this via paper at work. I started to watch my productivity soar, to the point that a few days before I left for maternity leave I had nothing to do.

For some reason, using paper really did a doozy on me at home. I have J on a pretty good routine that works for us, so I began looking for apps that I could time block with. I wound up finding 24me, which is described as having an electronic personal assistant. I love it! I’m habitually guilty of thinking I have more time in the day than I actually do. So, I’ve started blocking in ‘baby’ time (i.e. Feed, play, down for a nap) and adding in my to-do list around those times. What’s even better is that if you have a meeting or appointment, you can enter the location and it’ll tell you when it’s best to leave based on current traffic conditions so you’re not late. Since I started using the app last week, I have not been late to an appointment.

Now, I’m pretty flexible when it comes to my schedule at home. Sometimes J wants to cluster feed and I have to move things around. Or he wants to sleep a bit longer. With two under two, there’s usually some sort of crisis that needs tending to, which can mean I have to put my to-do list aside to deal with it. When my husband works late and it’s just the three of us, I often have to do this. I just try to follow a loose routine to get R to bed by 8:30 and J asleep by 9 pm.

Because of this app, I’ve gotten more done and I feel far more organized.

I definitely recommend this app to everyone who needs some help with structuring their day to get things done.

 

Stitch fix #6 Review!

Yesterday I had my sixth Stitch Fix! For those of you who don’t know, Stitch Fix is an online styling service. Each time you want a fix you pay $20 for five items of clothing. When you sign up, you fill out a detailed styling profile and your personal stylist sends you clothes. You try them on in the privacy of your own home and send back what you don’t like. I’ve been doing this off and on for awhile now and love it.

Anyway, on to the clothes!

image(Forgive my post-partum bulge.) First up was a leopard print sweater. I requested leopard print and gingham for this fix. I loved the sweater, but sadly it was too low cut. When I bent over, you could totally see all the way down. I didn’t want to have to adjust myself all day so I returned this item.

imageNext was a leopard print cardigan. It was way, way too baggy on me. I like my cardigans to be a really close cut. I kind of felt like a bag lady with this scarf (which was suggested styling.) Alas, I struck out again with the leopard print and had to return it.

imageNormally I would tuck in a blouse but I’m still wearing maternity pants. Oh well. This navy blouse came with a tank top. (I keep seeing¬†black but the styling¬†card keeps insisting it’s navy. I might be color blind.)¬†I thought it fit really well and will work great when I return to work in August. Even though it’s low cut, the tank top makes it so I’m not flashing people when I bend over. Always a plus in my book.

imageI was kind of heart broken that this didn’t work out. It was way too baggy and I didn’t like the contrasting patterns on my boobs. Not really something I want to direct a lot of attention to, haha. I feel kind of bad that I sent back all three of my requested items. Oh, well.

imageNow we’re talking! I loved this striped maxi dress. It was pretty brave because usually I don’t buy clothes without sleeves, but it was very flattering. It’ll make a great date dress through the summer and will be a great transition piece between maternity and non-maternity. Here I dressed it down with shoes and a jean jacket, but it’d look great by itself or with a cardigan. (And trust me, once summer starts in earnest around here, I’ll wear it by itself.) The only¬†downside is that the hem is a bit long and I’m not the most graceful person on earth, but I figure I can get my mom to help me hem it to a good (and less dangerous) length.

In the end, I kept the navy (black?) blouse and the striped maxi dress. Even though I returned three items, I was still pretty pleased with what I got.

I was not compensated for a review of this service. It’s just something I enjoy that I wanted to share with my readers.

Have you ever done an online subscription service? If so, what was it and did you like it?

Konmari System And Review

I’m trying to get better about blogging at least three times a week, but I’m definitely swamped with my newborn. Every time I sit down to blog, he wakes up. Haha. I’ll get my timing back eventually, I swear.

Today I’m going to talk about the ‘Konmari’ system of organizing. I spent a year in Japan, and I love the language, culture, and the general aesthetic, which I find very unique. The author, Marie Kondo, wrote a book called ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.’ She has a method that keeps you so organized that evidently none of her clients have relapsed into chaos after she helps them. Sounds good to me! I organize my closet each fall/spring, only to find it jammed together and overflowing a month or so later.

I devoured the book and immediately set to work organizing my closet. The difference between her method and others that I’ve read, is that she has you ask yourself, “Does this bring me joy?” You hold it in your hands and look at it, and answer that question for yourself. I was pretty brutal during this step. Since I was still heavily pregnant, I kept all my maternity clothes, even the ones I didn’t like as much. I’ll be getting rid of them as soon as I can fit back into my regular clothes, anyway. I was able to cut my clothes in half, if not more. The only clothes I’m left with are ones I love to wear. Oh, and this has all my clothes, for each season. The only aspect that I didn’t perfect is that it’s supposed to be color coded, dark to light, and hung with the heavy stuff to the left and light stuff to the right. I came close.

She’s really into putting things into drawers. I tend to hang everything up, which takes up more room in my limited closet space. Down below you can see my lingerie drawer (what? I have no shame). She also likes to fold everything vertically, which saves space and gives your clothes room to breathe. I am proud to say that I reorganized my closet and drawers in February and March and I have not relapsed. Below are some pictures of what I accomplished.

It definitely makes getting dressed in the morning quick, easy, and stress free.

 

 

imageimageimage*I was not compensated for a review of this item. This is just something that worked for me and wanted to share with you all.

We Had A Baby

imageWe had a baby, and he’s pretty fantastic. He’s the most easy-going child in the world, unless he’s decided it’s feeding time. He likes to hear a heartbeat, so I’m perfecting my baby-wearing skills. I’ve gotten nothing done in the last week and a half, so I’m enjoying baby newness. Baby R is still going to daycare full time so I’m in a blissful (but tiring) sleep-eat-feed cycle.

Here’s his birth story.

I had a very traumatic delivery with my first. It ended in a third degree episiotomy, forceps, and a resuscitation. As time came closer to deliver my second, I had to fight back fear. Fear that my body actually wasn’t designed to give birth. Like maybe birthing children is a talent you either have, or you don’t.

Once things got going, though, I didn’t have much time to panic. Imagine my surprise when I went from ‘maybe a fingertip dilated’ to 2 cm in a week. I started prodromal labor, which is a pain in the butt. I can’t tell you how many times I texted people close to me letting them know “it’s probably time!”

It wasn’t.¬†I was in prodromal labor for two and a half weeks before anything happened. At my appointment,¬†I was 3.5 cm dilated. They noticed I was having contractions but the baby was still posterior, which made it unlikely that I was in actual labor.¬†I was still working but didn’t want to play anymore. I was almost completely caught up and had nothing to do. Kept falling asleep at my desk.

My husband had April 3 off and he suggested I take the day off, too. We’d spend a¬†day together without kids, keep my mind off my growing frustration at not being in labor yet. The doctor wanted to induce on my due date, which was April 8. I’d been induced before and didn’t want to be again.

The day of April 3, I read that a posterior baby can cause prodromal labor. Basically, your body sends signals that it’s go time, but due to bad positioning, there’s not enough pressure on your cervix to go into full-blown labor. Sounded like a bunch of woo to me, but I figured it was worth trying to turn the baby myself. They recommended sitting on your hands and knees as long as you can stand it, then leaning back on your heels. I figured best case scenario, baby would flip. Worst case… I’d look like an idiot. I felt some movement in there but couldn’t tell a difference.

I did start painless contractions, but they had no pattern. We went out to breakfast and ran some errands. We took a break to have lunch. I told my husband that I wanted a keyboard to teach myself how to play piano. We went to a piano place, and the lady somehow convinced us to buy a full piano on consignment. I had no idea so much went into buying a piano, but it was like buying a car.

We went to pick up Baby R and decided to go swimming since we wouldn’t be able to take swim lessons for awhile. I had a really strong cramp while we were in the water, and about that time R wanted to get out, too. My husband took her after the baby was born, and one of the older ladies who swims a lot told him that she saw us that evening, thought I looked uncomfortable, and wondered if something was going on.

We went out for dinner and I had some more cramps. When we got into the car, I was pretty uncomfortable. I suspected either this was the start of labor or a UTI. It was late when we got home, so my husband got R into her bedtime routine. I started having contractions, and this time they were a bit more uncomfortable than before. I suspected this was it. I excused myself to take a shower since I’d labored in the shower the first time and it felt good.

I didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I told myself the contractions would probably stop once I got in the water. They didn’t, although they felt better. We were under a severe thunderstorm warning and tornado watch, so I kept my shower short. I even blow dried my hair.

When I got out, I told my husband we’d be going to the hospital later that night. Then I texted my parents, who would be watching my daughter. I told them I wanted to labor at home as long as possible, but we’d probably be going to the hospital that night. I took another shower after the storm passed, and I had to meditate through the contractions at this point. Then I made my husband massage my back, which felt amazing. At this point, I was moaning through contractions, so he asked when we were going to the hospital.

I called the doctor on call and she thought it best that I go in and get checked. We dropped off R and headed to the hospital. The hospital was about 20 minutes away,¬† but the interstate was backed up for miles. I joked that if we waited, I’d be in the news as the girl who gave birth on the freeway. Little did I know how that could very well have been in the case!

Thankfully, my husband knew a detour. It took us almost an hour to get there, and I had to fight some uncomfortable contractions. He kept making jokes, and I finally had to tell him to stop because it hurt too much to laugh.

We got to the hospital and as I waited for my husband to get everything together, I leaned against the car, moaning. The check in lady happened to be out in the parking lot moving her car, so she asked if I needed¬†a wheelchair. I wanted to keep moving and walking, so I said no. As we checked in, she asked if I was sure I didn’t need a wheelchair. I refused again, and we walked up to triage. I was shaking, so I leaned against my husband on the way up. I recognized it as a sign of transition, but I wasn’t in that much pain so I figured I was 5, maybe 6 centimeters at this point.

We got to triage and the nurse was seriously an angel from heaven. She checked me and I joked that I’d probably gone back in centimeters so I was about to go home. “Well,” she said perkily, “You’re staying here tonight. You’re 6, 7 centimeters right now and the baby’s head is right there.” Then she asked me if I wanted an epidural. I said I’d like to go as long as I could without one.

So I was in transition.

As they walked me to my room, I shook. I got in there and felt cold. I told my husband I didn’t think I could do it anymore. I recognized this as classic transition signs, so I knew the baby was going to be there soon. I just didn’t know how soon.

They took my blood and set up my IV. I asked for the birthing ball, which was odd because I hated that thing when I was in labor with my first. I guess it just goes to show your body knows what it needs. The triage nurse suggested I swivel my hips and brace my arms on the bed. It would help push the baby further down.

She gave me a pep talk, walking me through how I’d feel if I opted for the epidural, and what I’d feel if I didn’t. I thought my contractions were spacing out, so I asked if it was normal. She said it was, but if I felt like labor was stalling I could get up and walk or ask the doctor on call (who was on her way over) to break my water. Then she told me if it felt like I had to take a giant bowel movement or if my water broke to call the nurse’s station immediately. My assigned nurse wasn’t there yet — I think she might have been on her lunch break or something.

She left and I decided to walk around the room for a bit. Well, I felt something huge FALL OUT. Of course, I panicked and screamed, “I NEED A NURSE!” I was too scared to look, but my husband told me later basically it was part of a head in a big bubble. (My water hadn’t broken so J crowned still in the caul.)

The nurse ran in and said, “I NEED A CART AND A DOCTOR!” The doctor who ran in actually was part of the practice behind the hospital. I’d never seen him before in my life, haha. I heard her from a distance say, “Okay, try not to push.”

I was still leaning over the bed, freaking out. I was sure I’d have to give birth standing up on the side of my bed. They finally helped me on the bed, and it took several nurses to do so. I was so scared if I moved the baby would just fall out. It hurt horribly bad. I really wanted the epidural now.

Apparently, the doctor broke my water as I pushed. The first two pushes didn’t go too well. I had trouble pushing him out, and I was still panicking and becoming more and more frustrated. The nurse coached me and told me one good push and the baby’s head would be out. Then that horrible pressure would go away. I remember thinking I wanted an epidural, but it was too late. She walked me through pushing. I held on to her arm and another nurse for dear life. I probably bruised their arms, but they were fine with it. This is why nurses are awesome.

Evidently, the doctor stuck his hand in there to help keep me from tearing. I wanted to yell, “LOOK, BUDDY. THERE ISN’T ROOM FOR YOUR HAND AND MY BABY’S HEAD IN THERE” but I kept it to myself. I also decided whoever was responsible for the orgasmic birth movement was a total jerk.

I felt another contraction deep inside, and imagined my uterus bearing down and pushing the baby out. Much to my relief, the baby’s head came out. The nurse was right. The pressure went away and it became much easier to push after that. He was out in two more pushes. I pushed five times start to finish, but I really believe if I hadn’t panicked it would only have been three.

Pushing out the placenta wasn’t very much fun, since the doctor had to order Pitocin and he kept pushing on my abdomen. My uterus was also clearly over excited, and my contractions were still really painful.

However, I was distracted by the beautiful sound of my baby crying. No resuscitation necessary for this little guy. They asked if I wanted skin to skin, and I said absolutely! I held him for a bit before they gave him a quick bath and eye drops. The doctor stitched me up (again not fun, but hardly the worst part — I’d only torn slightly and didn’t even feel it.)

They handed the¬†baby back to me, and I held the baby was long as I could. I asked the nurse if it was okay to go on ahead and try to feed him. They encouraged it. Last time, I’d had trouble with breastfeeding, but he ate with gusto. In fact, his first feed was almost an hour! I was so relieved.

I held him and talked to him and sang him a lullaby until he fell asleep. It was the easiest labor and delivery ever. All that prodromal labor really paid off! He was born 4/4 at 1:46 am.

I had forgotten how challenging it can be to have a newborn, but we’re getting into a great schedule. He wakes up at 1:30 and 5:30 most nights, and feeds about 30 minutes or so. Between feeding, changing diapers, and cuddles, I’m up for about an hour, but can usually get him back to sleep.

And look– pictures!

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  • image

    Cute, isn’t he? I’m 38 and a half weeks, so I’m hoping Baby J makes an appearance soon! They keep telling me second borns tend to come early, but other than some cramps, Braxton Hicks, and dilation, I don’t feel close to labor at all! Today I woke up feeling pretty good, other than the stark realization that none of my maternity clothes fit anymore.

    I’ve packed my bags and completed the nursery (more to follow) and had two showers so I have some stuff for the baby. We’re planning on picking up a few more things that we need but we have all the essentials, I think. Well, from my experience something always comes up once the baby is born.

    I’m definitely feeling more impatient but I’m also kind of nervous. Baby R has been such a great sleeper for so long I’m completely spoiled (says the woman who is waiting for her toddler to finish up a 3 hour nap, haha.) I’m drinking tea and eating Shamu snacks and enjoying the temporary silence. :)

  • A Well Designed Closet

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    We live in a pretty small house, and one of the saddest things about my life is how small the closets are. (OK, that’s an exaggeration. It’s really not that bad.) Anyway, we’ve had to be quite creative with the space that we have. However, this closet used to house all my hubby’s clothes. We cleared it out for the new baby and added in this closet organizer, and I was amazed at how spacious this closet is. Yep, the baby will have the biggest closet in the house! You can really see how big the closet is because baby clothes are so very small.

    I really like that this set has quite a few shelving options. One thing you get an abundance of when having a baby is blankets, and it’s great to stack the blankets on the shelves. We’re using a spare shelf for Baby R’s shoes in her room as well, now that she’s wearing shoes.

    I also really love the hanging cubbies. We bought a closet organizing system for Baby R, and it works great for all her accessories (i.e. booties, hair bows, bibs, etc.) I mean, he won’t need any hair bows, but he’ll need the other stuff. The cubbies work great for items that are easily lost.

    How do you organize a child’s closet?

    Nursery

    image

    Well, we’re well into construction on the nursery. It was an office, where I kept all my crafting supplies, but with another baby on the way, we’ve had to really change that room. All my stuff is now in the (drafty) basement, and we’re slowly transitioning this room into a nursery. It’s taking longer than I thought, because, well, we have a lot of stuff. All the stuff you see there is the crib and changing table from Ikea.

    With my first pregnancy, we tried to keep all of our stuff gender neutral, because I guess I sensed that one day I’d have a little boy. It didn’t really work out that way. A lot of the bigger things that we bought for ourselves could definitely work either way, but people bought us lots of baby girl clothes. I basically have to start from scratch at building a wardrobe.

    It’s also a challenge because we were expecting to space out the kids a bit more, and that’s just not going to happen. I can’t hand down Baby R’s crib because she’s still using it. Thankfully she doesn’t really like her rocking chair, so I’m putting it in the new baby’s room. However, most of the furniture and little things we have to buy brand new. Oh, well. I’m definitely not complaining… I feel very blessed, but it’s turning our nursery project into something much more complicated than I was expecting! Haha.

    Stay tuned… on Friday, I’ll show you the work we’ve done on the closet. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already seen it, but it’s still fun to show off.

    How To Remix A Maternity Wardrobe

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    I’m 29 weeks pregnant, and if you’ve ever been pregnant before, you know exactly how stagnant and boring maternity clothes can get. I know each time I get pregnant, I excitedly buy a few new things that will work great, only to get bored halfway through. It’s hard to stay excited, especially when you can’t really fit into non-maternity items so all you’re left with are the same few items of clothing.

    Although I’m certainly not an expert, here are some ways to keep from being bored while wearing maternity items:

    1. Check out Pinterest.

    Pinterest is always a great way to find new ways to wear an outfit. Recently, I started utilizing the search feature. Click on the magnifying glass at the bottom of your Pinterest page and type something in. For instance, I have a great emerald green sweater that I love and looks good on me, but I don’t have very many ways to wear it. I could type in ‘green sweater’ and get some great ideas to remix it. You can even sort by ‘all pins’ and ‘your pins.’

    2. When buying clothes, look towards neutrals and basics.

    If you look towards neutrals and basics, you’ll find you can create many more outfits out of your limited wardrobe. I have some bright colored tops, but I’ve made sure I’ve incorporated white, khaki, jeans, and gray into my pants and skirts. This helps me come up with many more outfits that match and look great together.

    3. Accessorize.

    One thing that I’ve done this pregnancy is focus on accessories. When I take my monthly clothing ‘allowance’ and buy something, I’ve been more likely to buy a scarf or a nice piece of jewelry. Changing up your accessories helps create new outfits out of things you already have in your closet.

    4. Lay everything out so you can see exactly what you have.

    One thing that really helps is to lay everything out on your bed or some other neutral background and take a step back. You can see exactly what you have and your brain will make connections for new outfits you weren’t able to see while they were hanging in your closet.

    5. Cardigans.

    I guess this only works for fall/winter pregnancies, but don’t be afraid to wear cardigans. I have several black ones and a few in a different color. This actually helps me create new outfits out of the same old, same old.

    6. Don’t be afraid to buy something new, once in awhile.

    While I try to save money and not buy a whole lot with maternity clothes (you can only wear them a few times in your life), every so often you just have to buy yourself something new. During my last pregnancy, I had about a month left, and I was sick of wearing the same items. I had a baby shower coming up and so I bought myself a really cute black dress from Target that I love. It brightened my mood, got me over a ‘blah’ period in pregnancy, and has lasted me through two whole pregnancies. Can’t get much better than that.

    Well, I hope some of these tips have helped. They’ve certainly helped me get out of ruts I’ve had in pregnancy.

    How do you keep your maternity look fresh?