29/52

"a portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."

 
sometimes i watch her and feel that juvenile kind of infatuation... where she can eat her fries in the weirdest, or grossest of ways, and it's just going to make me like her more.



joining in with jodi this week.



....and by the way - where is the time going this summer?!?!?

28/52

" a portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."

this week i set up the bassinet in our room, where the new babe will sleep until her or she is ready to share a bedroom with his or her big sister. chloe helped me put together the "baby's bed" (she loves handling tools and screws), and then spent a good amount of time exploring the "new" fixture in our bedroom. 



a few of my favorites from this past week:





joining in with jodi this week.


NESTING: PACKING THE BAG

the start of my hospital bag

okay, so packing the bag is a big deal when you are pregnant.... i guess. i mean, everyone asks you if you have it packed, if you have signed up for any kind of pregnancy website newsletter you start receiving reminders, instructions, and guidelines of what to pack in the bag. about half-way through your pregnancy. the first time around i obsessed way too much about this bag, and thought too little about some bits of what i might need. i was packed by week 30, waaay over-packed, and forgot my toothbrush. i guess everyone is different, and depending on your past experiences, where you plan to deliver, and what you feel is necessary to live for however long you will be away from home (if you will be!) is what will determine how you pack.

this time around i am attempting to pack a lot lighter. as you may have heard, i am trying to simplify around here, and so i will be taking a lot less with me this time. i am also almost thirty-four weeks along, and still don't have my bag really "packed". i have a few more things to buy, and will have last minute stuff to throw in before heading out the door. my aim is just the essentials to keep me and the babe comfortable for a couple days... and i know that we really don't need a whole lot. so, without any further ranting and rambling, here is my simple list of suggested things to bring to the hospital or birthing center.

1 / a nightgown/night-shirt (and robe if that is your thing). do yourself right and buy something nice and new, comfortable, and nursing friendly if you plan on nursing. friends and family will want to come see you and your babe in the hospital, and they will be toting cameras. at the time you probably won't care what you are wearing after the whole delivery process, but a couple weeks later when you look on instagram or facebook at those photos, you will be happy you were wearing something that you felt good in. my advice is to pick out something dark colored and knee-ish legnth that has a low enough neck to allow you to nurse, if you plan to. you don't want to worry about spills, stains, or needing to hike up a long gown to allow your nurse to "check you".

2 / nursing or sports bra and dark granny-panties. you are going to be wearing pads after you deliver, big massive pads, for a few weeks... in the hospital they give you big icey pads that feel amazing, and you will need a decent surface to stick them. a couple pairs of soft, well fitting, dark underwear will make it easier to hold those pads in place. i have heard it recommended by some to bring bike shorts - for some extra comfort/holding power. but i probably won't worry about anything like that until i am back home and on my feet a bit more. if you plan on nursing, bring along a nursing bra, if you do not plan on nursing, bring along a good supportive sports bra.

3 / socks/slippers - which brings us to socks or slippers. bring something to throw on your feet - preferably slip-proof, that you don't care about all too much. i grabbed a package of socks from target to do the job. 

4 / toiletries/make-up/hairbrush/pads/whatever. my suggestion is to pack a small back of whatever you are going to want to bring along, and then sit it in the bathroom. most likely these are items that you use everyday, and so packing them away isn't really convenient. i bought new toothbrushes - one for me and one for my husband (he will probably spend a bit of time at the hospital with me and might want to brush his teeth too). i plan on bringing my brush, a couple hair ties and bobby pins, and some dry shampoo, because i am very down with the dry shampoo these days and don't think i am going to care about washing my hair in the hospital... is that really gross? eh, i don't care. i am sure there are going to be other things going on with my body to deter my attention away from my hair - oh yeah, and there's going to be the new babe too! i totally am not going to care about how gross my hair is, as long as it looks okay in photos. as far as makeup goes: bring some foundation/coverup - once i finally looked at a mirror, hours after giving birth, i realized i had little red spots on my forehead.  i had ruptured little blood vessels from pushing during birth! a little tinted moisturizer did the trick. i'm also packing some waterproof mascara, tinted lip-balm, and some eyeliner. i want to look nice in pictures that people will be snapping and posting on instagram or facebook... but i don't want to spend a ton of time on doing my makeup. the hospital usually has soap and towels, and a ton of pads, and all that stuff, so you can leave yours at home. if you are using a birthing center be sure to check with them on what you should bring. okay, enough about primping...

5 / something to wear home. do not pack your pre-pregnancy jeans (like i did). they most likely will not fit, and you might still be a bit sore down-there, and not quite jeans ready. i suggest leggings or a pair of soft harem pants, a loose tee or tank, a light cardigan to throw over it all if you want, some cute flat shoes, and a little jewelry to make yourself feel put together. something to think about is this: you will probably be wearing one of those monster pads home - and therefore your granny-panties as well. so if you are going to wear some leggings you are going to run into panty-lines. be sure to pack something long enough to cover your tush if this kind of thing troubles you.

6 / your camera and your phone, and chargers for these items. i brought my computer the first time around and never took it out of the bag - so i am not bringing it this time around. i also brought magazines, a book, some knitting... and yeah, never touched any of it. all of my time without visitors was either spent cuddling my new babe and trying to get a little rest. you are not going to be bored - but you will want your camera to take a few photos, and your phone (but don't feel bad for turning it off or on silent when you need some quiet!). you might also want to bring a small mp3 player or ipod to listen to music during labor, but i never felt like i wanted music and was happy to have a quiet and slightly darkened room. i'll be leaving mine at home.

7 / your I.D., wallet with a few bucks, and maybe a pen and small notepad. just throw it in your purse and have it ready to walk out the door with. 

8 / things for the baby!!! now here is the fun stuff.. and depending on where you deliver you won't need a whole heck of a lot. if you are in the hospital you don't need to bring onesies, diapers, or wipes, or even a binky/pacifier/dummy. they will provide you with plenty and even send you home with some. if you are planning on delivering in a birthing center, be sure to check on what to bring along. i am delivering in a hospital, and bringing a soft footsie pajama to bring our little one home in, a hat or two, and a light swaddle blanket. that's it! oh yeah, and make sure to have your car-seat in the car and strapped in correctly before you head to the hospital, hospital staff need to be sure you have a car-seat in the car, but usually are not able to help you install the car seat. to be safe, read the manual and put it in the car beforehand.

9 / this is totally optional, and not necessary, but i am bringing along a small gift for the baby from chloe, and a small gift for her from the baby. i was lucky enough to have scored a beautiful polka-dot club bear during an instagram sample sale, and then recently ordered one for chloe. i plan on taking these out when she comes to visit the hospital and meets her new sibling. i think it'll make the perfect special gift. preparing an older sibling for a new baby is a blog-post unto it's own that i am currently working on, and plan to share soon.

10 / also optional is your pillow - they will provide you with one... but if you definitely cannot sleep without your own then bring it along.  some snacks  - because it's nice to have something to munch on and to share with visitors. however, you can always have someone bring you something. or make your husband run to get something like i did. i also had him pick up something for the nursing staff who took care of me and chloe. you really don't need to pack this stuff ahead of time.


and that's probably about all you will need. am i missing anything??? of course, if you can think of anything that you found super-helpful or necessary, leave it in the comments!





27/52


"a portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."





She has been interested in "bugs" for the past couple years, and this year more-so than ever before. She has started carrying ants around the back yard, allowing them to climb onto her fingers and up her arms. She brought over one to show me, and told me his (or her) name was "c-h-l-o-e". She names all her favorites that.


joining in with jodi.



NESTING: MONEY

a thirty-two week baby-bump photo, from a couple weeks ago


So, honestly... I am a bit leary about bringing up the topic of money. I was raised being told that it's not very polite to talk about it, and it can be one of those topics that we like to avoid with most people. However, when it comes to preparing for a new baby, I feel it is one of the practical things that must be thought about at some point. 

Chloe was a surprise pregnancy. I know some people scratch their heads when you call a pregnancy a surprise - like, "you know what happens when you... you know...". Yes, yes. However, one doesn't always think that, that ONE time, when you mess up your birth control, that has worked for you for the past however-many years, that you are going to get pregnant. When we found out we were having Chloe, our first reaction was laughter. We were excited, scared, surprised... so many things. And then eventually we began to talk about money...

We are lucky enough to both be employed with pretty solid careers. We had already bought a house when we found out we were expecting. I would have a twelve week, paid, maternity leave. We both worked a bit of overtime to set aside a little extra money - just in case. We were given so so much by our families and friends. In short, financially, we were really lucky.

This time around, we are still very lucky, but our circumstances are a bit different: we were trying to get pregnant and I no longer work full-time at the nursing-gig (which means no paid-vacation, sick-time, or paid maternity leave!). So we did a bit of planning. Here's a few things that we have done to prepare, that might help as you prepare your family, and your wallet, for having a new little one:

1 / Set up a baby fund - How we did this was by figuring out how much our expenses are monthly, and then figuring out what half of that is (I usually am able to pay for about half of our expenses), then multiplying it for however many months you expect to be unpaid. Because I do not get a paid maternity leave this time around, and I do not plan on working as much, when I do go back the second time around, we tried to put away as much as we could. Tax returns, and any surplus cash that we have been lucky enough to come across, since we had Chloe, has been put away into this fund in order to prepare. It hasn't been easy to do this - it has meant not taking vacations and going without buying stuff that would be fun to buy, but we know that we will be happier in the long run if i can be home more without stressing about how those bills will get paid.

2 / Try to get rid of some debt - One of the things I wish I had been doing a better job of, before I had Chloe, was reducing my debt. Like many, I have some student debt... and it's a drag. I wish I had thought to reduce it before I cut back on how much I working when I had Chlo. After I had Chloe, and returned to working, I also returned to school, paying both out of my pocket and with some loans. After I got my degree and we started talking about having another baby, I knew I needed to do something about my student loan payments. So I started throwing every spare cent on my loans to get rid of as much debt as possible. Chris helped me with this as well, and we were able to get rid of more than two-thirds of my student debt. One website I found very helpful and inspirational was/is "And Then We Saved". I followed a lot of the principles of "the spending fast" and "the spending diet" and surprised myself with how much I was able to save in order to pay off debt. It wasn't always fun, but now I have a smaller amount of debt, that I feel I will be able to pay off in the not-so-distant future... and well, that feels really good.

3 / Buy Less - you might feel that you need to drop a big wad of cash on a whole bedroom set for your new little one, or that you need a swing, and a bouncer, and a carrier, and a rocker, and a whole lot of other things that shake your offspring around and end in -er, but you find out quickly that you really don't. In fact, a whole lot of the things that I had, I hardly ever used. They didn't get opened, or their clutter-factor beat out their usefullness-factor. Babies do not require a whole bunch of stuff - really a lot less than you think they do. I plan to put together a list of baby essentials to share on here shortly (for the meantime this list by Mother is pretty good - I say it is still a bit too much), but I will tell you now that I wish I hadn't acquired so much stuff before I had Chloe, and just bought things as I went along. It would have saved me a lot of money and space. 

4 / Think and plan about how your time will be spent after having the baby - They said that time is money, and quickly after I had Chloe I realized it is my most valuable resource. Although I love my career, and wasn't ready to give it up completely after I had a baby, I knew I didn't want to spend as much time as I had working... but I still had to be paid, and at the same time I wanted to be home with my baby. The husband and I are lucky enough to both be shift-workers, and I was lucky enough to be able to cut-back my work status and take on a per-diem schedule (meaning that I work on an as-needed basis... and luckily ER nurses are pretty much always needed where I work!). This was a little hairy at first. I breast-fed Chloe up until fifteen months, and going to work meant pumping, as well as my husband caring for a baby that was used to being breast-fed, and didn't find the bottle to be quite as soothing or sleep-inducing ;) I got a few frustrated phone calls in the beginning from that husband of mine who was scared that our child may never stop crying, or that he was doing something wrong, or that our daughter may hate him, already.  None of these things were true, but our little one did seem to prefer having her milk-source mama around, and we both have realized that the house runs a lot smoother when I am here. I am not saying that my husband is bad around the house - he is great with Chloe, and the man works hard, but he might not enjoy the practical aspects of homemaking as I do - and there is nothing wrong with that. This time around we thought more about who will spend more time at home with the babes, and how this will affect both of our work schedules. There will still be times where I work outside the home, but less than I used to, and less over-night shifts for sure. If staying at home is not feasible for your family - talking about how you will manage child care in your family, and the money you might need to spend on child care is important to prepare for.

These are a few of the big things we have done when preparing for another little one. Hopefully they are helpful, or at least good food for thought.  Also, if anyone has anything to add to this - please leave a comment. I am always looking for tips.






26/52

"a portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."






from the day she requesting "thirty" barrettes in her hair, but settled for nineteen.


joining in with jodi.











THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD WALK


So, yesterday had been one of those days, or rather, this week has been one of those weeks. 

One of those weeks where I am out of breath with every flight of steps I walk, and I have a long list of things I want-to/need-to/would-like-to-do. One of those weeks where my husband seems to play too many video games for my liking, and my kid throws too many tantrums, and my patients grind their teeth while I am attempting to poke their tough, leathery, weathered skin with the smallest possible IV... you know, grinding them just to make my skin crawl.

I walk outside and immediately find it a little harder to breathe in the thick and wet air. My stomach hurts after I eat anything. Nothing I make looks right, everything I clean gets filthy within an hour, nothing stays folded, I can't do my make-up right. 

You know...I might as well have my period too.

But I am still pregnant. So no period. I am thirty-one and a half weeks.  And if one more person asks how long I have to go, and then follows it up with an apologetic look... well then I just don't know what I am going to do.



Throw myself on the ground? Cry? Yell at them to not patronize me... because their apologetic look implies sympathy, and I am pregnant - not sick or maimed. Wildly scream at them to save their sympathy for someone who needs it! Whatever it is.. I will make them wish they had never asked.

or just make them believe I am crazy.

And yes, isn't it crazy that when you get tired and weighed down by stuff, that you feel like everyone is out to get you? And you know deep down that the world is pretty much good, or that people, for the most part, intend good - at least I know I do. But you get so exhausted sometimes, of doing life, just like everyone else is doing, and begin to feel that everyone is against you, and you are fighting whatever fight there is, alone...
 
So, tonight I just had enough. I was so full of complaints and frustration, that I just needed to go. I put chloe to bed after what I decided would be the last tantrum of the night, replaced the boxer shorts that I had borrowed from my husband's drawer, with a skirt and sandals, and told Christian that I was going for a walk, and quickly asked did he want anything? He asked if he could go buy me ice cream. He asked if I wanted to go out and get a pedicure and offered to pay. 

No. None of those things are what I need or want. I want to walk. I must walk by myself, freely, and just do whatever I want to do. Without needing to push a stroller, or handle requests for blue slurpee/angry birds popsicles/a grey rock, or explain why I must hold your hand when we cross the street. I wanted needed to walk alone, like I used to. 

So I walked to my little cvs, and I perused the beauty products and thought about doing my nails, but decided not to after a bit. I selected a new eyebrow brush/lash comb. I passed by a beauty sponge that resembled a sex-toy and thought of buying it as a gag gift... then realized that I had very few friends or acquaintances that would realize the joke of this item - that would know what it resembled. I would never possibly be able to explain the item without raising some eyebrows or laughing to the point of tears, like a middle-schooler. But, when you are a nurse you learn about items that people stick in their bottoms... or rather ones that get stuck there. And if that sponge didn't look like a little hot pink butt-plug.

I put it down.




I moved onto the seasonal products. They had the tiniest little cacti and succulents, fake humming-birds that fed from fake flowers, but looked pretty darn real when they were moving so quickly. There was a big revlon display featuring Olivia Wilde, and I giggled while at the same moment feeling sad about how obviously they had covered up her one ever-so-slightly wonkey eye with her hair.  Because Olivia's wonkey eye makes me sincerely happy that she is so beautiful, and yet still possesses a characteristic that some might consider  a "flaw". Then it began to make me angry that her eye was hidden, as if there was something wrong with it. As if there was something wrong with her... and for that matter as if there was something wrong with anyone who has a bit of a wonkey-eye, or a hairy mole, or freckles, or acne scars, or a funny nose...




I took a breath and walked on.

I decided that I would buy my husband his favorite candy - airheads rainbow sour belts, because I hadn't been the nicest wife, and I liked the thought of buying him something. Then grabbed a copy of Vogue, because i liked the idea of flipping through it while doing nothing else.

little luxuries.

I walked around the store a few minutes more. Enjoying the air conditioning. Enjoying not being rushed by a husband would wanted to be home, or a child who was bored. I enjoyed every minute as I slowly walked to the counter, when I was ready, and paid for my three items. 

I left the store and continued my walk to the ice cream stand. Our local ice cream stand used to have the best ice cream stand name ever: Custard's Last Stand. Perfect right? It was a tiny little ice cream stand, with a few benches behind it, and a very large fluorescent ice cream cone on the top of it. the stand was painted white with bubble-gum pink trim. But now it has been renamed (Richman's), the pink trim has been replaced by red, and the glorious ice cream cone is gone. Oh yeah, the prices also went up about fifty perfect.

But I still go there, and so does everyone else, because it is the only ice-cream stand in walking distance. I got a small hot fudge sundae with soft-serve frozen yogurt, and surprised myself with how quickly I was able to devour it on the walk home. I paid for the ferocity in which I devoured it shortly after, when my stomach reminded me that it has very limited space to store ice cream and a baby. I gently pushed on the side of my stomach to try to move the baby and give my stomach room while grimacing from the pain I had caused myself by eating my frozen treat.

I smiled, because despite my stomach feeling that it was going to explode, it felt good to have eaten ice cream alone. And it felt really damn good to walk like I used to before I had a husband or child. To just walk to the store and think my own little thoughts, and walk down the isles I wanted to, and to just be alone and selfish in those minutes... and to relish it all.

Because I fervently adore my husband and my child so much with every bit of myself, but sometimes I need to just walk alone for a few minutes, and remind myself that I am a person who has thoughts and makes choices. I still have autonomy, gosh-darnit!

Even if it's just thoughts about Olivia's wonkey eye, or the decision to make of which isle to walk down at CVS.








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