The Diaper Bag

I wanted to wait to write this post until we had sufficient time to really test our diaper bag and see what we needed over an adequate amount of time. Now that Jax is over 2 months old (time flies!!) I’m ready to share what we’ve loved about our diaper bag and what we’ve found necessary and useful to have in it.

The Bag

After weeks of deliberation I finally added the Eddie Bauer Harrington Duffle Diaper Bag to our registry. I was unsure about it since we had a cheap bag from Walmart we’d bought when I first got pregnant. However, I’ms o glad we got this bag because it is incredible! We’d have hated the other one.

Find it here!

What we love about it: The shoulder strap is so convenient when your arms are full with a baby and other things. There’s no worry about it falling off since it can go across your chest. Also, it has ridiculous numbers of pockets. We use all of them! The outside side pockets are great for things that we need easy access to such as my water bottle, sunglasses, etc. The front pockets are great for hand sanitizer, baby socks, etc. The inside has pockets for the changing pad which comes with the bag and it great for changing Jax in public, 2 insulated bottle pockets and another zippered pocket. It also comes with a wet bag that we’ve used on occasion to bring just the diaper pad and a diaper + wipes on a run or for when there aren’t trash cans nearby. At $40 it was a great, affordable price. Also, it’s neutral enough for a baby boy or girl and for mom or dad to wear without embarrassment. Overall: 5 stars from us!

Next up, the things that go IN the bag.

Necessities

  • Diapers + wipes
  • Changing pad
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Nursing cover
  • Extra change of clothes for Jax (make sure that you change this out according to baby’s size and the weather! We found ourselves out of town with a diaper explosion through 2 layers of clothes and only a short sleeved onesie in our bag for 50 degree weather–not good! Thankfully we had a lot of blankets and bundled the baby up)
  • Receiving blanket (great for a quick cover over the carseat, to bundle baby in cold places, as a large burp cloth)

Extras

  • Extra bottle + nipple
  • Formula (we have to supplement. Read why here)
  • A hat for Jax
  • Extra pair of socks for Jax
  • Burp cloth
  • Bib
  • Toys (we have a pack of plastic chains and a soft covered book that he can chew on, read or make crinkling noises with)
  • Bobby pins for mama (soooo many times these have come in handy to keep my hair out of my face or out of Jackson’s little fists)
  • My wallet (I don’t need to carry two things around with me all the time–purse + diaper bag– and I’m always with Jax and therefore the diaper bag)

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Healthy Pumpkin Pie

Healthy Pumpkin Pie

Makes 8 servings


Ingredients

-1 can Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin
-12 oz fat free condensed milk
-2 egg whites
-1 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
-1/4 tsp ground cloves
-3/4c sugar
Opt. 1 9″ pie shell

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Combine all ingredients until thoroughly mixed
  3. Pour into 9″ pie shell
  4. Bake for 15 minutes
  5. Lower over to 350 degrees F
  6. Cook for 40-50 minutes or until done
  7. Let cool for 2 hours
  8. Enjoy with whipped cream, ice cream or on it’s own

2 Months & Counting

You’re 2 months+ old now and growing so fast! You have such a big personality now that shines through those big bright blue eyes of yours and your huge contagious smile.

We’re expected to get a really bad storm here starting tonight and getting ready bad tomorrow evening.  It’ll be the first storm you’ll have experienced outside the womb (back in July we lost power for a few days but you were still inside my tummy—we hunkered down at daddy’s hotel and watched Netflix for hours).  It’ll be quite the experience! Daddy and I have stocked up on canned food, 10 gallons of water and jars of PB.  We’ll see how bad it actually gets. The weather channel is predicting a storm for the history books.  I think my childhood puppy, Sandy, who went to heaven 2 weeks ago is coming back to say hello. Who knew such a sweet pup would return with such a vengeance?!

We’ve starting half marathon training and you LOVE it. You sit in your carseat in the jogging stroller and snooze away the miles as I huff and puff trying to push you up some monster hills. I love being able to share one of my passions with you even now, even before you’re able to fully comprehend what it is we’re doing.  And especially at this time of year, my favorite season, Autumn.  Yesterday we had a 6 mile long run that you passed out for the entirety of and I couldn’t help but smile at all the changing leaves and the crunch of the leaves as we ran over them exploring a new to us trail.  I’m so excited to share with you my love of the four seasons, my love for running, my love for the outdoors.  I hope that you share those passions and that one day we’re able to run together, hike together, explore together even when you’re able to make decisions on your own. On that note we bought a hiking backpack off Craigslist this week! Come Spring when the weather’s nice enough again and you’re old enough to hold your head up well on your own and sit on your own, we’re going to take to the trails! Daddy and I can’t wait.

You’ve become so much more vocal and you flash that gummy grin of yours constantly! You truly make my every day brighter and you’ve truly completed my life in every way. I love you more than words can possibly convey and I cherish every moment with you.  You’re so alert too! And awake for the majority of the day. You love to play on your activity mat, hang out in my lap making faces back and forth and sticking our tongues out at each other, go on runs with me and daddy and stare and the pages of your books as we read them to you at night. You’re so much fun and even when you’re having a bad day I thank my lucky stars for you and never forget how blessed I am to have you in my life.

You got your 2 month shots on Friday. It was so sad!! 3 shots in your little chunky thighs. The needles were about the size of your legs. I couldn’t look as they shot you, I just held you and tried to calm you. It broke my heart to hear you cry and know you were in pain. But you were a big boy and only screamed for a few seconds after each one and quickly calmed yourself once they were over.  We spent the rest of the day my favorite way, cuddling.  

Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin Chili

 

Ingredients

•   1 yellow onion, chopped
•    1 orange bell pepper, chopped
•    1 lb. of lean ground turkey breast
•    1 16 oz. can of kidney beans
•    1 can of pumpkin (14.5 oz)
•    1 large can of peeled and diced tomatoes
•    2 tablespoons of chili powder
•    red pepper to taste

 

Directions

1. Sautee onions, peppers and ground turkey breast until turkey is browned
2. Add in spices, pumpkin, tomatoes, and beans
3. Simmer for 20 minutes
4. Enjoy!

Plan vs. Reality

(Originally written August 23, 3012)

Before giving birth I didn’t really know what to expect.  I had ideas of what type of birth I wanted and about what labor would be like but all those were just ideas.  At about 30 weeks I spent hours typing up my “ideal” birth plan.  My plan was filled with things like not having an IV, waiting to get an epidural until I needed it because the pain was unbearable, not having an internal monitor, etc. etc. I thought my labor would start in the middle of the night, probably while Bry was on the night shift, with my water breaking on my way to the bathroom.  Or I’d start having contractions that were clearly labor and would send me to the hospital in no time because I’d know for sure they were real.  However, reality was far from those “ideas”.

For me, labor started at noon when I was 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant.  My contractions presented namely as back labor (read: intense back pain with cramping around the front).  They’d last anywhere from 40 to 60 seconds and come every 2-5 minutes.  We were told in our birth classes that we were in active labor and to proceed to the hospital when our contractions were regularly coming 5-1-1 (5 minutes apart or less, 1 minute or more in length for at least an hour).  Clearly, that magical scenario didn’t work for me.  Even after 3.5 hours of regular contractions, I was unsure if this was the real thing. I’d had Braxton hicks throughout the past few weeks of pregnancy and some would last up to an hour and would feel almost identical to what would be real active labor for me.  I was so scared that when real labor hit, I was actually experiencing more BH and I’d end up on my way to the hospital just to have them stop before being admitted.

As for that “plan” I had written? I never bothered to even remove it from our hospital bag.  Everything happened so quickly and I put full faith in my birth team.  These were people who were there to support us and to make sure that Jackson came into this world as healthy as possible.  They were trained professionals and they knew with experience what needed to be done better than I did. With that said, not once did I feel pressured into something I didn’t want (aside from the brief c-section scare).

I went into labor wanting to hold off on an epidural until I truly needed one.  At 5cm dilated I was still able to hum my way through my contractions and get through them with relatively little pain as Bry massaged my feet and put pressure between my thumb and pointer finger to allow me to concentrate on something else.  However, an epidural was necessary for our little man to regulate his heart rate and in the end for it to be possible for me to have a natural birth.  Bry and I spent 6 weeks in birth classes learning birthing techniques I was sure I’d utilize.  Counter pressure, massages, hot showers, etc.  In reality they were never utilized.  I couldn’t feel massages once I had my epidural and I wasn’t in any pain where I’d need them.  I wasn’t allowed to leave my bed once the epi went in not that I wanted or needed to anyway. 

I thought an epidural would surely slow labor, as I’d been told it usually does.  As a first time mom I thought I’d certainly spend hours after being admitted laboring away in bed.  However, 7 hours after being admitted our son was born despite the epidural, despite being a first time mom and without the need for meds to interfere with my contractions (until the last hour).  I made it from 5cm to 8cm in the span of 3 hours on my own (well, with little man’s help).

I thought I’d spend at least a couple hours in the pushing stage of labor. I laughed as the nurses joked I’d be a good pusher and have the baby out in no time.  And yet in 6 minutes and 3 pushes, Jackson slid right out.

I thought I’d be in pain, that time would inch by but instead it flew.  It feels like a dream and looking back it seems so surreal that just 5 days ago we were in a delivery room awaiting our son’s arrival.  I feels like an out of body experience almost and I contribute a lot of my ability to go outside myself during the difficult times (epidural, c-section scare, pushing) to get through labor and delivery as easily as possible to an amazing husband, prenatal yoga, the thought and visualization of our incredible baby boy and sleep deprivation.  Had I visualized baby’s head crowning I assure you that stage of pregnancy would have taken MUCH longer.

I assumed I’d be moaning and well, miserable, during labor especially in the latter parts.  However, I smiled, laughed and cracked jokes the entire time.  I even laughed and joked in between pushes! Our doctor’s last words before she left us for the night (remember she stayed on an extra hour after her shift ended to deliver Jackson so we wouldn’t have to switch doctor’s at the last minute—SO incredibly thankful!! She was amazing) “Thank you for smiling through the whole thing.”  I have to say no matter how much pressure was there, scares occurred or pain might have been present, I always had that thought of Jackson in the forefront of my mind and with that visualization, nothing else in the world mattered.

I have to take a moment here to say that I was truly blessed with an incredible support team at Holy Cross. From start to finish they were amazing, supportive and made us feel well taken care of and at ease despite everything.  But as blessed as I was for my birth team at HC, the team I brought with me was who truly made the experience so incredible and one I smiled through and look back at with nothing but happiness and a knowledge that it was absolutely perfect for us.  Bryan was supportive through everything, from trying to labor at home more to attempting our hand at going to labor and delivery to see if we were actually in labor, to spending all night after only 3 hours of sleep following a night shift sitting by my bed massaging my hand, talking to me and listening to me rattle off about random thoughts as we waited in each hour increment.  He was truly incredible from start to finish, making me never feel alone and truly listening to my wishes and reiterating them to our birth team when needed. He’s been a fantastic husband and he’s already quickly become such an amazing daddy. 

And finally, last but certainly not least, my little boy who really went through this journey with me from start to finish.  Thank you for dropping and engaging, for coming down so far on your own, for regulating your heart rate and for listening to mommy when she told you it was a slip and slide and thus, sliding right out.  Thank you for being you and for completing my world.

In the end no plan mattered. No preconceived notion of how that day would go. And I’ve learned more and more with each passing day that that continues to hold true. The most important thing at the end of the day is that your little one is healthy and happy.

 

How Pregnancy Surprised Me

(Originally written August 15, 2012)

Pregnancy is such a strange and incredible experience. It truly is unlike any other.  Every pregnancy is different from person to person and even baby to baby. There are so many things that have surprised me throughout my pregnancy, things I never expected in good ways and in bad. As this journey is coming to an end, and the next chapter is just around the corner, I thought I’d make a list of all the surprises I’ve encountered throughout the past 9+ months.

Morning Sickness

I honestly thought morning sickness was where you woke up in the morning, felt queasy, puked and went on with your day. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Morning sickness for me was 24/7 for the longest 7 straight weeks of my life. I honestly spent weeks 6-12 laying in bed all day long trying to keep food down. I couldn’t eat ice cream and pickles let alone toast and jelly. Sunny D became a staple in my diet early on and I tried very hard to keep down anything I could. I gave in to every craving I had simply because the thought of eating in general made me sick to my stomach (my cravings in the beginning were also for things like Chicken Parm, toast and Olive Garden salads–not terrible). I was astonished at how hard I was hit with morning sickness. It honestly felt like I was car sick 24/7 for weeks on end. I’d crave things like lemonade and OJ only to make the nausea worse, twenty-fold. I mastered puking from a moving car, in the middle of a formal dining room on a cruise ship and in the midst of dinner (while my incredible husband learned to master doing hurdles across our living room to get the trash can). I have to admit that in the beginning, as much as I’ve known I’ve always wanted to be a mommy, I would often say to Bry “You’re carrying the next one!” I didn’t know if and when the constant pain and pure agony would ever end. I also knew, however, that it was worth it for that tiny little peanut of a miracle growing inside (and that morning sickness is actually a good sign that baby is firmly implanted). I’m also blessed to have an incredible partner who truly went above and beyond those first months to hold my hair back, rub my back and comfort and support me in every way possible.

Exercise

While I’ve read so many stories of people who expected to be pregnant runners and for one reason or another weren’t able to, I was honestly one of those people who thought my pregnancy would consist solely of prenatal yoga and walks. I ran as normal through week 7 when morning sickness was so bad I wasn’t able to have the caloric intake or even hydration to fuel me through runs anymore. I thought that was the end of pregnant running. I dove into yoga and the stationary bike. At week 13 as morning sickness subsided, I started hitting the pavement again. My first run back I had horrible round ligament pain and thought I was hurting the baby. I stopped dead in my tracks. Nothing was worth potentially hurting our son. I kept up with yoga, walked and hiked a lot with Bry and started swimming which I rediscovered my love for. At 15 weeks I attempted running again and long and behold it didn’t hurt! Not only did I not feel a lick of pain but it felt GOOD to be out there. We consulted our doctor at every appointment to make sure it was still safe for me to run (it was) and I was lucky to consistently tick miles away on the running trail 3 times a week through week 33. At 39 weeks pregnant (tomorrow) I even ran 2 miles with the husband yesterday (1/4 mile intervals). I was surprised at how much I was able to maintain my activity levels, how much energy I consistently had throughout my pregnancy after the first trimester and how exercise actually made me feel BETTER not worse. I’ve been extremely lucky in that aspect. (Edited post baby: I even ran once I was in labor and walked 2 miles!)

Weight Gain

I read a lot about pregnancy before we got 2 positive lines on our HPT. I knew 25-30lbs was the healthy recommended weight gain for someone who started pregnancy in the normal/healthy weight range. I started pregnancy around the holidays, after lots of indulging and lots of calories. I was heavier than I normally was and aimed for 20-25lbs to gain through pregnancy to put me in the healthy range. But I also never counted calories (except in the beginning simply to make sure I was eating ENOUGH not at all as a way to control my intake). I was very laid back about the scale and figured my body knew what to do to grow a healthy baby. I trusted it. When I was hungry, I’d eat. If I hadn’t eaten in 2 or so hours, I’d eat something anyway. If I craved something, I’d give in while trying to maintain a balance between healthy and indulgent. I’ll be honest, my pregnancy was riddled with cheesecake, brownies, ice cream, pizza and hot wings. There was lots of OJ, pineapple, nectarines and other fruits as well. But veggies continuously fell to the wayside. Yet somehow, at 39 weeks I’ve only gained 16.4lbs. I trust my body though and know that what the baby needs, he’s getting.

Love

I always knew I’d love being a mommy. It’s what I’ve dreamed of becoming all my life. But I never knew just how much I could love someone. It truly is a love like no other and words can’t describe just how deeply you feel for that little peanut from the first moment 2 blue lines appear on that test, to the first time 2 tiny little feet appear on an ultrasound. It’s crazy the attachment you can feel for someone you’ve never met and how connected you are before you’ve truly laid eyes on them. I say it to Bryan all the time and I know it sounds insane but even though I’ve yet to meet my son, I miss him and can’t wait to hold him in my arms. There is no greater or comparable love.

September 30, 2012

I swear I’ll be better about blogging. Things have been insane around here as I’m sure you can imagine. Life with a new baby is demanding, non-stop and incredible. It’s also fleeting! I’ve been soaking up the moments I can with my little man as he quickly grows far too fast for my liking and gains more independence every day. Let’s take a few posts to catch up and I promise to make every effort to be better at blogging more regularly (though 90% of you follow my on facebook anyway) 🙂

(except from Jackson’s journal)

I can’t believe how time is flying.  You’re growing up so much!! You’ve begun to smile. Literally SMILE. And it melts my heart.  You’ve always cracked a grin or two when you were sleeping but now you full on SMILE. You look up at me with your big blue eyes and give me one of your big gummy smiles and I fall head over heels in love with you all over again.  I love waking up to you every morning. It seriously makes my day. I look down at your tiny little boy on my stomach and watch you as you stretttttttch every which way, every little limb of your body while arching your back and making the funniest little scrunched up face.  When you’re done with that I give you a big ol’ kiss on your forehead and you start opening your eyes.  You look up at me, I say “good morning” and smile at you and you crack your gummy grin.  It’s the best morning routine in the world and I can’t imagine life without it.

As you can imagine, you are indeed still sleeping on me every night.  I’ll admit, I’m kind of dreading the day you’re able to lay down in your own crib though our friends tell us that’s months off. I love being able to look down at you as I fall asleep, whenever I wake up and every single morning. I love feeling your heart beat against mine and knowing that you’re safe.  I feel like this time is so fleeting and those moments I’d love to pause in time, but since I can’t I’m soaking them up every moment I can.  Sometimes I wake up and just watch you sleep for a few minutes.  I love seeing how peaceful you are. You’re so perfect!! And I still can’t believe we created you.  That you were that little peanut that grew in my belly for 9 months.  It’s hard to imagine.

You’ve started making more and more noises and I love it! You sit in my lap and make ridiculous faces, flail your arms and hands about and coo, ahh, and ooh at me.  I like to think you’re telling me all about your day and I think about the days you’ll actually be able to tell me.  I cherish these moments, these milestones, these memories.  I’ve waited for you all my life and now that you’re here it’s even more incredible than my greatest dream. 

You’ve begun having a witching hour this week. Starting at about 2pm you get into hysterical crying and screaming fits.  Nothing seems to soothe you except for rocking you for hours.  I hate to see you so sad, especially with those little tears of yours.  They make your baby eyelashes still together.  You stick out your bottom lip into a pout, have perfected the lip quiver and just let it roar. It breaks my heart.  But I think I’ve finally found a way to calm you. I rock you in four directions and I just don’t stop.  I love the smiles much more than those moments you’re in tears, of course, but I also feel relieved to know for now I’m able to calm you, soothe you, and mend your sadness.  I hope all your life I’m able to give you some sort of comfort when you need it.  As always, I am always here.  I love you with all my heart little booger.  You’re my world.

 

What else is new? Well, we had a bit of an issue with exclusively BFing when you were almost 4 weeks old.  I got mastisis on my left side and you knew something was wrong and refuses to nurse on that side.  Consequently my supply dropped and I wasn’t able to feed you as much as you needed to be fed. It broke my heart.  You were only gaining 2.5oz a week and by 3 weeks old had yet to reach your birth weight.  We started supplementing at 4 weeks and in just a week you gained 9 whole oz!! My supply came back with lotsssssssssssss of work and we were able to drop you down from 8 to 6oz of supplement.  However, last Sunday daddy noticed blood in your diaper.  We immediately called the pediatrician who immediately sent us to the ER. Our poor little guy.  You had to have a tummy ultrasound.  I held your hand the whole time, talked and sang to you and tried to make you as at peace as possible. You hated it though.  It didn’t help that I wasn’t able to nurse you and you were hungry!! As soon as they were done we nursed and cuddled and you fell into a peaceful sleeps.  It’s those moments I treasure so much. When you’re cuddled up on my chest completely at peace.  Anyway, the results were that you have a milk protein allergy.  You’re allergic to the supplements! We immediately nixed them and bought a new type that have zero cow’s milk (guess you take after me with the allergies—daddy has a tummy of steel).  You’re down to 4oz of supplement a day but yesterday only had 1 oz!! My milk is going nuts and I’m able to feed you all on my own. I’m so glad because it’s the best for you. 

Today we went to a fall festival in Germantown.  You saw a pumpkin patch and went on your first hayride.  However, you were much more concerned with sleeping and eating.  You were a trooper though! And we got some adorable pictures of you. Gah, I love you so stinkin’ much.

 

 

 

 

We’ve been running at Sligo a lot lately. We strap you into your jogging stroller and you pass out as we clock the miles. Our longest run to date has been 4 miles and you snoozed the whole way. You’re the best running partner!!  You always have been. Even when you were a little peanut in my tummy.  I think it’s all those miles we’ve logged together that have made you love to be rocked so much.  It’s what you grew getting used to. 

As always, remember that I love you and you are the best thing that has come into my life.

Always,

Mommy