A few of my favorite things, Etsy Edition

I often wonder what we would do if we didn’t have the internet, would more people attend craft fairs? With the internet if we want something handmade/homemade we can simply search a site like Etsy. I’ve found the past year I’ve used Etsy more than ever, here are a few of my favorite things!

Ribbet collage big sister

 

When we found out we were expecting I immediately went on the search for a big sister shirt to be able to tell our parents. When I found Zoey’s addict I was amazed, their design’s stood out above the rest I had seen, I was even able to get a rush order without breaking the bank. I’m already planning on using them for Lexie’s birthday shirt this year, as well as Christmas shirts and of course Jax’s first birthday.

Ribbet collage owl hatHaving followed Jessica of Eat Pray Yarn on Instagram I fell in love with her owl hat before I knew I was expecting, I originally was going to order it as a winter hat for Lexie then I saw a post of a baby shoot and knew I had to have it for that. We didn’t do a “theme” for Jax per-say but we love owls so it was perfect! Jessica was very accommodating on the color change and ideas. I will be ordering both kids winter hats from her when the time comes; and definitely recommend her to anyone wanting a newborn photo prop!

Ribbet collage hat blanket

I knew I wanted a “Jackson” blanket, so I took to Etsy and searched. I was in shock when I found  Simply Boca Baby; it was perfect! The color option fit the colors we’d be using for his stuff, the option of a hat was great for photos as well. I was so happy she was able to accommodate what I wanted and in the time frame. I think the swaddle blankets are the perfect gift for any new mom!

Ribbet collage big sis necklace

I had seen other parents do big sister/big brother gifts from the new baby and thought this was a great idea, I knew I wanted to make it a keep sake and Lexie loves her jewelry. I went to Etsy wondering if I could find a simple “big sister” charm and was elated when I found this big sister necklace from 2luvbugs. Not only does it have the big sister charm I wanted but also Lexie’s birth stone and a 3rd charm with her initial on it.

for mom

Most recently, while planning Jax’s baptismal I was searching for blue elephant items. I happened upon this elegant cross elephant necklace and knew I had to have it! Not only does it match my dress perfectly it’s also two of my favorite things. HoleinHerStockeings was great, she even created a custom listing for just the charm (being that I have more than enough necklaces around); I can’t wait to wear it!

Have you found anything good on Etsy recently? Have you ever shopped Etsy before?

*disclaimer: this is NOT a sponsored post, these are items I fully paid for and adore; with shops I will surely do business with again!

What do I want?

How often as a mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a co-worker (and the list goes on and on) we find ourselves thinking of others and putting them first. As adults we have responsibilities, the bills, chores, parenting etc.

Often what we want comes last {or at least for me it’s not even near the top of the list}. Sure I can plan, I can dream but how often do I follow through? Heck if I did I’d have lost the weight all these times, I’d have found made the time to exercise, meal plan, even just take a moment for me (without the mom guilt).  Yet, as human beings (and for most of us how we were raised) others come first; but at what price?

Recently I’ve realized (since the birth of Jax) I have been letting my anxiety get out of control. What do I mean by letting? I’ve pilled too much on, tried to do too much at once; expected to much of myself.

I’m a lister, a planner, it’s how I work, how I thrive but as much as I list and plan I stumble on the follow through; and most of that is time management and failing to prioritize.

I’ve been thinking lately about what I want, like really want. What are my goals? I set a monthly goals for the new year and stumbled completing them too. Maybe it was too much? To complex? As a nursing mom these thoughts come to me in the middle of the night, when I don’t have pen and paper (or a laptop) by my side; so I try to jot them down in my phone and usually end up trying to decipher my short hand in the morning.

When I think about it what I really want is to be happy. Silly isn’t it? That the littlest thing can be the biggest? Sometimes it’s easy a state of mind (per say) other times not so much.

So, what would make me happy? Simplicity, more financially stable, less stuff in the house, more comfortable in my own skin and to have more energy. How do I get there? Really I think it’s about prioritizing, and control. Taking control of my time and my choices; being more mindful of them. Do I really want that ice cream? Or do I want to be able to take Lexie to the water park this summer? Does she really need another toy or could those few dollars go into our savings account (or even hers) instead. Do I really need to cuddle Jax all day everyday while I can? Okay, that’s a tough one; maybe every other day? Or a few hours each day?  As I write this he’s in his swing next to me, not quite happy but not completely upset either; when normally we’d be snuggled on the couch for the night nursing on and off and I’d be on the iPad wasting time. Instead, I’ve started making a list of small tasks I can do at night when I am snuggled in, balancing our check book (it’s all online anyways), making the grocery list and meal planning (hey, there’s an app for that!) and even catching up on blog reading and meal planning (thank you Pinterest).

Let me ask you- what makes you happy? Do you find you over plan? And lastly, tell me what are your favorite apps to keep it all together? (organized, meal planning, finances, etc)

Lexie: My Preschooler

I realize it’s been a while since I’ve written about Miss Lexie Lou and the busy big sister has a lot going on!

A few weeks ago I contacted a preschool that is located only a few miles from our home on a nursing home complex. After much discussion we knew this fall it would be time, and Lexie was more than ready. We are lucky enough that our school district does offer half day pre-k with busing; however the hours of 9-1130 or 12-230 does not work with our work schedules unfortunately so that option was out.  I was excited we would be able to come right in take a tour and apply (for the waiting list), so excited that GG, Lexie and I went the next morning.

Lexie immediately fell in love (we did too), she was able to sit in for 30 mins and participate in everything the class did, including activity time.

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Activity Lexie made when we toured preschool: “Mr. Rainbow Head”.

I filled out all the paper work and was told we’d be placed on the 6th waiting list but we should be able to start her in the fall without incident. I looked up a little shocked, “6th waiting list?” The administrator quickly explained that first anyone already enrolled was guaranteed a spot full time or part time (m-w-f or t-th) starting with those who worked at the complex, then those who were part of the organization, and lastly those who weren’t one of either of the first two; then they went to the second set of lists (4-6) for those not currently enrolled and the same order applied. I was disappointed, this wasn’t a huge preschool and had a daycare attached so those who were ready to move up were first on the list. For the preschool portion there are two classes, the Junior’s and Senior’s both are for 3-5 year olds (potentially), but are sorted by maturity, needs, and academic level.  Lexie was easily ready for the Seniors and the teachers were impressed with her from the moment she walked in.

We were only looking for Tues. & Thurs. and were actually touring on a Thursday. GG quickly noticed there were a few empty spots that day and asked about them; the administrator smiled and replied that’s why she didn’t think it would be an issue for Lexie to start in the fall.  Without missing a beat, GG asked if Lexie could start sooner? We were shocked to learn she could; she could start as soon as all forms were filled out and processed; this would guarantee her a position in the fall. I made a quick call to Hubs, and after he was assured she loved it and fit in {he was more in shock of the instant opening and needing to accept his little girl is growing up} we started the process. Lexie did NOT want to leave (and either did her classmates!), we assured her she would be coming back but that mom-mom had some homework to do (holy paper work!) and that we had to drop off some forms to the Dr. too.

 

We toured March 24th and Lexie started April 1st.

Lexie first day of preschool

Lexie first day of preschool

 

To say she loves it is an understatement, she cries everyday when we pick her up and we always have to promise she gets to go back. She’ll continue throughout the summer and into the fall; and I’m certain by fall 2016 my “little” girl will be ready for Kindergarten! Everyday they have a project she gets to bring home at the end of the week and she’s so proud the fridge is covered already, we hear about her day (after some prodding “it’s a secret” is her favorite answer but we can usually coax some information from her; and the class has a note posted for parents everyday at pickup about what they did and ate that night).  We’ve even already had our first call home when she fell, better safe than sorry; she is a klutz sometimes; but what kid isn’t? 

Marshmallow Monster, my current favorite fridge posting

“Marshmallow Monster” my current favorite fridge posting

As side from preschool, she’s still taking gymnastics once a week and loving church and Sunday school. Her and GG still have their weekly dates, and end up at the zoo for their toddler/preschool time at least once a month; and even to Miss Deb’s (our family daycare) one day a week to keep her spot for when I go back to work and Jax starts too. Her schedule is definitely more demanding then mine right now.

Going down the slide at the Zoo

Going down the slide at the Zoo

She keeps telling me it’s time for me to go back to work now so she can have more time with Dada; and I keep reminding her that if I go back to work now Dada won’t be able to play in her room or outside all day with just her because he’d have little brother too.

And I know the day is coming soon that I will dread going back to work but in the mean time I’ll enjoy the day to day of now, for there’s never a dull moment! 

 

Y3W: Jax’s Birth Story

This time was different (compared to Lexie’s), this time we knew what was happening; didn’t we?

We were to arrive at the hospital at 6am, the weekend before I barely did anything…and I mean anything. I was so afraid I’d got into labor that weekend. For me going into labor for a vaginal birth would be okay if it wasn’t my Dr.; I mean you mostly deal with the nurses anyways right? A C-section? Not so much, that was a knife; that’s major surgery. I wanted my Dr. and knew he was away that weekend.

We spent the weekend as a family of 3 doing last minute preparations and spending extra cuddles with Lexie and preparing her (yet again), for what the next few days will look like.

Sunday night Hubs and I actually got some sleep, no more or less than the few days before. My Mother-in-law came over at 5:30am (as planned) and would be waking Lexie at 6:30am to take her to our family daycare provider before meeting us at the hospital.

Hubs and I arrive a few minutes before 6am and are quickly taken to a recovery room. Did I miss something? No L&D room? A comfy room with a TV? Nope we we’re in a recovery room (clearly not what I expected).  Without missing a beat there’s a million and one questions being asked (many which have been asked many {many} times before).  I’m told to go change and quickly my nerves start acting up. I’m texting with a friend who has the same Dr. and has had 2 repeat C-sections with him. She laughs and can’t believe I thought I’d have down time before being wheeled in…silly me!

I’m on the monitors and they can’t find Jax, from all my NST’s I know this is normal for him.  My blood pressure is good, and the night nurse goes to start the IV’s. I’m talking with Hubs as needles and IV’s don’t normally phase me and all of a sudden this one hurts… a lot… like 6 out of 10. I look at the nurse who has the needle in me and is moving it all around and mention that it hurts and she mumbles “I know, I’m sorry.” I look back at Hubs and a few seconds later have to do everything I can not to jump; Hubs knows something’s wrong immediately seeing the look on my face and asks “what’s wrong?” I look back to the nurse and explain that burns, a lot. She pulls out the needle, apologizes and tries again and gets it quickly without pain this time. I’m not going to lie, I consider myself to have a decent to high tolerance to pain but this damn IV spot? It was insane, and bothered me all day and even a few days after.

A new nurse came in at the shift change and explained she’d be with us the rest of the day. She explained that she wanted to make sure we knew everything that was going to happen. Even though the Dr. went over it, the night nurse went over it and now she wanted to because she was responsible for me (makes sense right)? Everything was repetitive and I’ll be honest my mind started to wonder until I heard “and then he’ll go to the Nursery and possibly the NICU for a few hours, hopefully not too long. We’ll give him an ounce or two of formula every few hours until his sugar regulates.”  I had heard from friends this might be possible my Dr. said Jax wouldn’t have to, so this was brand new information for us.

{Now this is where I need to make a disclaimer; I’m a breast feeder, exclusively. I have NOTHING against formula feeders; to each their own. However, Hubs family has a lot of digestive issues (Crones, IBS, Diverticulitis and -losis, etc); so the fact that breast feeding Lexie worked and worked well is the plan this time. Formula does NOT make me happy, again MY and Hubs opinion}.

I’m sure I looked panicked, I hear “are you okay?” from the nurse and I replied with “what did you just say?!?!?” She looks confused, about the NICU? “Yes! All of that!” She looks a Hubs who is now standing beside me and she states “You did know he has to go to the Nursery and possibly the NICU for a while right?” I’m literally speechless and trying not to cry. This time is supposed to be different, this time I was supposed to get “skin to skin” as soon as I get to recovery; I’m supposed to get to hold him right away (something I didn’t get with Lexie for hours due to all the meds I was on).  The nurse took a deep breath and tried to give us a reassuring smile, “you didn’t know, I’m sorry you’re finding out now; you should have been told.” We go over it all again, we explain our wishes, our concerns and she says she’ll pass them on. She walks out of the room and I almost lose it. We’ve learned that the magic number is 40. If his sugar is less than 40 he’s taken to the nursery and possibly NICU. If it’s less than 20 he’ll need an IVY, and a definitive trip to the NICU, for possibly the day. Hubs and I agree that if he needs formula he needs it. The nurse explained they’ll bring me a pump and the lactation consultant will work with me as much as I need to make sure we get him to latch after and even long term if need be.

I don’t remember much after that initial shock, my Mother-in-law showed up soon after and I’m still being questioned about things and monitored, then Dr. comes in and we’re ready to go.

JACKSON_1422 ps m

The operating room is literally the next room, which was nice. We knew I was doing a spinal tap being that it worked with Lexie.  I definitely liked the anesthesiologist better with Lexie but we had been working together a few hours before my C-section; this guy I just met and he was more interested in making small talk with the Dr.’s and staff than me. Yes, he constantly checked on me and let me know what was going on but it was different. Hubs was more prepared this time too and had his phone with him to take pictures.

JACKS~63 m

As a big girl I hated the operating room table when I had Lexie, it was way too small and the idea of others lifting me pretty much sent me into a panic attack. This time because I didn’t have the drugs in my system yet, I was able to get on the table myself (and when we were done they had a “hover mat” think blow up mattress that lifted me from one table to the other).

The surgery seemed to go by fast, at first. While they were finishing setup I asked my Dr. how big he thought Jax would be and he replied “8lbs”, I laughed. “Everyone keeps telling me he’s going to be a big baby, 8lbs is not big” “Well, we’ll see”. I didn’t like to O2 in my nose and it was causing me to feel like I was getting an instant chest cold and couldn’t take a deep breath. The anesthesiologist kept reassuring us it was normal and for me to try to concentrate on breathing just then I’m told I’m going to feel pressure. Hubs said the assisting Dr. body-slammed my chest to press the baby down for my Dr. to get him out. I had all I could do not to pass out. Then I heard Jax cry, it was as I’ve heard mothers explain (and I’m sure with Lexie I was just too medicated to get it), it was the most beautiful sound in the world (and yes, I cried).  I hear my Dr. laugh and the nurses say “he is a big boy”.

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As soon as possible, Hubs goes over to be with him. He takes some pictures and comes back to check on me. “Is he under 10lbs?” Hubs laughs, he’s 9lbs 12.5oz and 21 ¾ inches long! They brought him to me and it was amazing!!! Then he was off to the nursery for sugar check, not even a bath first; (thankfully) Hubs was allowed to go with him.

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From the time Hubs left to the time they took the sheet down (that was blocking my view) felt like hours. I was alone, and while I’m happy that Hubs was with Jax I was scared something was going to go wrong. I still couldn’t take a deep breath, and the anesthesiologist was talking to another anesthesiologist in the room, as well as the nursing staff about ice fishing and fishing in general {something I know about due to Hubs and my Father-in-law’s passion and for Hubs work, and this guy was clueless for a so called “expert”}.

When I was taken into recovery Hubs came in with pictures and I was heartbroken, I wanted my little boy; I wanted to hold him. The nurse told Hubs he could get my mom and his to come in with me (even though there was a strict 2 people limit) and went to check on Jax’s sugar. She came back and I knew from the look on her face it wasn’t good. He was 41 but they were concerned, he was getting formula and would be rechecked in an hour. Another hour? I’m sure I looked defeated because the nurse gently said “I’m sorry hunnie”. I just shook my head, what else could I do.

My mom came in soon after, then Mother-in-law and Craig. Maybe 15 minutes went by when another nurse came in and whispered something to my nurse and my nurse smiled, we thought we heard the words “bring him back to breastfeed” but we weren’t sure and my nurse walked out with the first. Not 5 minutes later my nurse was back with Jax and handing him to me, I was in shock. I was so excited, his sugar had gone up and he was doing well so they were going to see if he would nurse. Let me tell you I don’t know who was more excited him or me because he latched right on like he’d been doing it for months, and went to town! (a good 20 minutes on each side; and for those of you who have breastfeed you know how rare that is in a newborns first hours). I was supposed to give him formula after he nursed by my nurse didn’t see the point. As I was being wheeled down to my room Jax’s nurse stopped us to ask how much formula he ate and she started to scold me for not giving him any, my nurse just laughed and said she wouldn’t have believed it if she hadn’t seen it but “he nursed like a champ!”

JACKSON_1434 PS m

I was lucky enough that maternity wasn’t busy and I was able to get a private room, as the next few days went on Jax continued to nurse without issue and his sugar remained stable through all 8 “random” sugar tests. Amazingly mine did too! {it actually became more of an issue to keep it from going low}. I was up and moving around a few hours after the C-section and was even able to be sitting in a chair when Lexie came to visit that night (I didn’t want to scare her lying in bed when she arrived).

JACKSON_1480 PS marked

We stayed in the hospital for 4 days before we were released to come home, and it’s been “Happily Ever After” since…most of the time!

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Am I being selfish?

{Note: I know this post is opening myself up for criticism, and I post this expecting that; however I do ask that any and all comments be respectful or they may be removed.}

Most bloggers know the work and fun of a blogging conference, with blogger bash in NYC this summer it’s an opportunity I’m not sure I can pass up. The price is right; the season is great; and the location? It’s pretty close to perfect.

So, what’s holding me back and causing me anxiety {and a mini panic attack while I write this}… Jax. He’ll be just under 5 months old. I know moms who travel for work do this a lot sooner, and I’ve been very fortunate that I get to stay home with him his first 3 months of life. Lexie was 2 when I went to Blogher and that was rough, but it was also one of the best experiences of my life!

To compound the issue, Jax is exclusively breast fed; and we plan to continue that until he’s 6 months old, then adding solids but still breastfeeding past the one year mark. My concerns?

1. Keeping my supply up while I’m away.

2. (the fear of) him not wanting to nurse when I return,

and 3. refusing the bottle while I’m gone.

By the time of the conference I’ll have been back to work for approximately 6 weeks so #3 shouldn’t be an issue, I’ll also have a established pumping routine during the day.

This all leads me back to my first question (the title of this post); am I being selfish? Sure, there will be other conferences; I could wait and see what next year brings. Yet, this opportunity just seems to go to be true.

And Moms who EBF and/or pump what are your thoughts  and your experiences being away? Am I crazy?