So I missed my lists for February and March, but I told myself I would definitely get to it this month! It's been a busy one with having both kids sick and being at the pediatrician's office to what amounted to once a week this month. But I guess that's life with two, amirite?
Anyway, without further ado, here's the April List for ya! (some links are affiliate links and will make me a couple cents if you click on them, just FYI)
Enjoy the rest of April, and I'll leave you with this meme of JT that made me laugh a little too hard!
This month, my blog turns two years old. I can hardly believe it! When I started blogging, I had this idea in my head. I wanted to share all the great information that I had come across in the short time I had been a mom. I never thought that it would lead to some great opportunities and help me form some awesome relationships.
Truth be told, I needed to do something to figuratively get out of the walls of my house. Raising my children is something I wouldn't trade for anything in the world, but it is not without its hardships. I'm sure I've said this before, but being a stay-at-home mom can be lonely. You spend the majority of your days interacting with children who can barely speak, much less hold a real conversation with you. Some days, the most adult interaction you get is saying hi to the postal worker, and on a good day, you may get to chat with other mommies at Mommy & Me. While I hoped that starting the blog would help me to not feel so lonely, I never imagined how well my audience would respond to what I was putting out there.
Sometimes it's hard, and it would be easier to say, "Forget it," and throw in the towel. A lot of work and effort goes into keeping this going, and while there are many bloggers out there who do this to make a living, I do not make money off of the blog. Sure, sometimes I get cool products and I pass them along to you, but I never suggest products that don't make sense to me, my lifestyle, or that I'm not 100% willing to endorse for you. I never want you, my audience, to think that I'm just promoting something because I am making a quick buck.
I do love how the blog has evolved. At first, I thought I would focus mostly on parenting. But it turns out, I'm no expert in that! As a matter of fact, I'm not an expert in anything, so there's that. The evolution of the blog from a parenting blog to one with a focus on motherhood and womanhood is one that I'm really pleased with. It seemed to happen naturally, and I really do think it serves a better purpose than just focusing on parenting. I love sharing my style and beauty tips with you all. I love encouraging you to love yourself and take care of yourself so you can take better care of those around you.
But you know what I love most? Is hearing from you, interacting with you, and getting to know you. When I first started blogging, I was focused on numbers. "Blogging is a numbers game," "You need a higher follower count," "Companies won't want to work with you if you have fewer than 10k followers." I'm not sure at which point I decided that the numbers just didn't matter. Because I was receiving messages from you all on a daily basis, saying how a particular post I wrote had helped you, or how something I said really spoke to you. And you know what? That's better than any follower count could ever be. And so my dear friends, I do this because YOU keep me going. I hope to keep going with this blog for as long as it's fun for all of us, but I want to make a few promises to you!
I truly hope you will stick around for the rest of the ride! And for sticking around this far, I have a little gift for one lucky reader! I've been loving The Magic of Motherhood by Ashlee Gadd. The book contains essays on motherhood, and it really is a special collection of stories by moms new and experienced. Follow the instructions below to enter, and share with your friends!
You’ve just given birth, and they place your newborn on your chest. She’s perfect. You cuddle and gaze at her perfection. You’re amazed that your body created this perfect little being. For the first couple days the euphoria keeps you thinking, my goodness, she is perfect. But then the euphoria fades a little, and you realize, hm, there's some pretty strange stuff going on here.
Babies are perfect. They really are. But there are a few things that may surprise you about your newborn!
Newborn rash, baby acne, dry flaky skin, cradle cap... it's all par for the course when you have a newborn. All those perfect newborns you see in photos are more than likely photoshopped at least a little bit. Acne typically gets worse around 4-6 weeks and then it clears up for the most part.
I was so surprised when Caleb was born that his genital area was so swollen. And I didn't think it would happen with Chloe, but it did. It's also normal and goes down in the first few days!
One of the first times Caleb fell asleep and his eyelids stayed a little open, I noticed his eyes rolling into the back of his head. I freaked. I'm pretty sure I asked about a million people if it was normal. It surely is. You know what else is normal? Your baby going cross-eyed for a few seconds. They can't properly focus just yet, so their eyes do all kinds of funny things.
Their nails are razor sharp and grow crazy fast. Get yourself an electric nail file like this one and a good baby nail clipper before they arrive, because you will need them.
At least in a breastfed baby, poop is strange looking. It's typically mustard-colored and seedy looking. Colors can vary a little depending on your diet, but if baby's poop is changing colors, check with your pediatrician just to be sure. It also doesn't have an offensive smell, which is actually more strange than it being smelly, because poop is normally smelly, right? Also, breastfed babies can go up to a week without pooping - at which point, when they do finally go, take cover!
What surprised you about your newborn?
One of my biggest concerns nearing the end of this pregnancy was Caleb and how he would adjust to having a sibling. I know it's normal, and I know kids become siblings every day, but I wanted the transition to be a smooth one. So we have did a few things to prepare Caleb and make sure he understood what was going on in his world.
The Big Introduction
Babies come on their own terms, so we had a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. We had mapped out who was going to be staying with Caleb at our home (which was really important to me so that his routine wasn't too disrupted), and how the daily routines would function. Since I was induced, we at least ended up knowing which day she would come and we were able to really prepare for that. We wanted to be sure that when Caleb came to meet her, it was just Eddie, Caleb, Chloe and I in the room (and our photographer, of course). It ended up working out where he was the first person to come in from the waiting room to meet her. Once they said visitors could come in, Eddie went to get him from the waiting room and walked in with him. He came in with the gift he had picked out for her and opened it up right away. We let him look at her and touch her feet. He wanted to carry her right away. We also had gifts for him from his sister.
And honestly, it was love at first sight. He was enthralled with her. So much so that he didn't want to leave the room. Our family members rotated in, but Caleb stayed with Chloe and I the whole time. Every single person who walked in, he introduced them to her, "This is my baby sister Chloe!" He went to school the following day armed with a photo of his baby sister and showed it off to everyone at school. I couldn't have hoped for a better reaction.
I can't tell you for sure which of the things we did to prepare Caleb to be a big brother really worked, or if he would have been as sweet with her if we hadn't done any of these things (it's very possible - because he has always been very sweet to babies in general). But I do know we talked a lot about his baby sister and about him being a big helper. And honestly, I think kids just want to be prepared, as much as we do. It's a life-altering event for them, too.
And then there were four.
I hope these help you in preparing your toddler to be a big brother or sister!
I received this product compliments of DockATot.
I get asked all the time how I look like I have it all together so soon after giving birth to Chloe. The truth is, I live and die by the phrase, "Fake it till you make it." Sometimes, I really do feel like I am a zombie - or mombie, if you will. The first couple of weeks I am usually just getting by, scraping together every ounce of will in me to climb out of bed and feel like a functioning, if not productive, human being. This time around especially, I have Caleb to worry about, so "sleep when the baby sleeps" isn't really an option all the time.
I am very lucky in the sense that my body bounces back from pregnancy really quickly. I know that not everyone is so fortunate, but the tips I'm going to give you don't require you to be someone who bounces back quickly. They're simply things that will make you feel like you have some semblance of normalcy while you adjust to your new normal.
The first thing is to figure out what works for you and your baby. While it would be amazing to snuggle all day every day, and you certainly can on days when you feel like it, some days, you just want to feel human again. So figure out what works for your baby. Figure out their calmest hours, figure out what safe place they like to sleep in, and USE IT!
For Chloe, I have figured out that she is calmest in the morning. She eats, sleeps, poops, and falls asleep again once she is comfortable. And where is she comfortable? Right now, she loves her DockATot. The DockATot is a multi-functional lounger and co-sleeper. It's 100% cotton and tested for breathability. I know I can leave her in the DockATot on the bed or on the floor and she is safe and comfortable. And because it envelops them on the sides, it creates a micro climate for them that keeps them even more comfortable.
Once you have figured out what works for you, and what keeps your baby calm and happy, then you can take a little time to take care of yourself!
Sleep When You Can - With Caleb, I used to sleep in after our morning feeding. Once he was a little sturdier, I would put him in bed next to me and we would both sleep really well. Those extra two hours in the morning would help me make up the hours I had lost during nighttime feedings. With Chloe it hasn't exactly worked the same way, but she also gives me longer stretches at night than Caleb did, so my sleep is a little less fractured.
Get Out of Your PJs - You don't have to dress up. But change out of your PJs. If you're anything like me, those postpartum/breastfeeding hormones are doing a number on you. I spend the night sweating. Add to that leaking milk on my PJs, the last thing that makes me feel good is staying in my jammies. Putting on clean clothes, even if it's leggings and a tee, makes me feel a thousand times better.
Shower When You Can - Again, hormones, leaky milk, and postpartum bleeding. A shower always makes me feel like a brand new human, especially when I can wash my hair. On that note...
Do Your Hair - If you normally dye your hair, get it done a couple weeks after delivery. You'll feel like a unicorn mom. When you wash your hair, dry it or style it. For me, that makes it last a couple days longer, and even if I have it picked up in a ponytail, my hair doesn't look messy. Bonus points and extra days without washing if I manage to curl it, too!
Take Care of Your Skin & Slap On a Little Makeup - I'm not saying a full face. But you'd be AMAZED at what some moisturizer and undereye concealer will do for you and how much better it will make you feel.
Get Outside - The four walls of your house can make you feel really lonely. If you're not yet comfortable going places, driving around, etc., at the very least, go for a walk outside. Put the baby in the stroller or carry them in their carrier. The walk will make you feel good because you're stretching your legs. You increase your chances of having human interaction with someone who can speak to you, and the fresh air will do you wonders!
Find Friends Who Get You - Some days, you just need to complain about how tired you are, or how much your nipples hurt. Find friends or other moms in your area who get you. I have found that my child-free friends don't get it when I comment about stuff like that. But any woman who has had a baby in the history of ever will understand what you're feeling - unless they are some kind of freaks and didn't experience it the way the rest of us do.
Utilize Other Caretakers - We are very fortunate that our kids have four living grandparents who live in the same city as us and who basically fight to take care of them (not literally but almost lol). We also have a few other family members who are willing to help out. And we have a babysitter we trust and use as well. Sometimes I leave the kids with Dad and go do what I need to do, and a couple weeks ago, Eddie’s Mom stayed with both the kids while we ran out to enjoy a nice kid-free dinner together.
Don’t Worry About Doing It All - You know all those “super moms” out there that look like they have it all together? Their houses are perfect, they cook dinner every night, so adorable crafts with their kids, and they look perfect themselves? If that’s what works for them, that’s amazing. But don’t let yourself feel bad because you can’t maintain that in your home. Some days I manage to get dinner cooked for everyone, other days we eat leftovers, or sandwiches, or we order out. And the clean laundry typically sits in my bedroom for a week or so before it gets put away. And then it’s time for the next batch of clean laundry. I typically try to empty my sink each night, but sometimes a shower and slee are more important to me that having clean dishes. Do what you can, the rest can wait.
And there you have it. How I manage to maintain some semblance of sanity as a stay at home/work from home mom. What else would you add to this?
Want to try the DockATot for your little one? Follow this link for $10 off your purchase! (Your purchase through this link helps me earn a little something to keep the blog going.)