Friday, March 29, 2013

I'm getting in the picture

Back in October I wrote about my biggest mistake as a rookie mom, as well as a list of other things I plan to do differently this time around. (Surprise! I'm not totally failing at this!) I am a work in progress and I am slowly learning to let go of control.

A friend sent me some encouraging words when I was having a particularly rough day. She told me to lower my expectations for at least the first month. I took these words to heart and am pleased with myself today that my kids are both safe and fed today. Yep, that's about all I am going to expect from myself today. Maybe tomorrow (or next week) I will add to my short list of expectations (a shower would be nice).

This guy got circumcised on Tuesday. Yikes! Boy moms, why didn't anyone warn me about this?! 

The biggest mistake I made as a first time mom was not being in photos the days, weeks, even months after Leila was born. I was extremely unhappy with how I looked after I put on a whopping 50 pounds of baby weight. Later, I was even more unhappy that I had two pictures of me and her together (both of terrible quality) when she was a newborn.

Although the opportunity hasn't been presented very often for me to jump in front of the camera, I am not afraid of getting my picture snapped. I'm even less afraid of posting it on the internet for everyone to see. (I even plan to print this one for Carson's baby book.)

I'm not doing it for me. I'm doing it for them. I love seeing old pictures of my mother and no matter what she's wearing or when she last showered, I always think she is beautiful. I can only hope Leila and Carson will feel the same way about me. 

Wearing my pajamas, no make-up, and not sure of when I showered last. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I should have expected...

I expected to remember everything about the newborn and postpartum stage. It's true, I was completely sleep deprived during this stage with Leila and time has a funny ways of erasing the not-so-great memories from our minds. 

But still, I should have expected... 
  • Blow-out poops in the middle of the night.
  • Postpartum night sweats that leave me feeling hot, freezing, and soaking wet at the same time.
  • Nursing a newborn to start to feel a little like Groundhog day...over and over again.
  • A roller coaster of emotions to hit me at any time without any warning.
  • Clothing not to feel or look right on my shrinking belly and growing breasts.
  • Random, meaningless cries and grunts coming from Carson to wake (and worry) me at night.
  • Getting out of the house would take twice as long as it use to.
  • To feel a little lost in the chaos and lack of routine.
  • Changing a diaper on a wiggly newborn would take two people.
  • All the laundry.
What else did I forget about this crazy stage? Please warn me before it's too late!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sleep cycle awareness {Sleep Tip of the Month}

If it's on at bedtime, it stays on all night long.

This goes for anything that makes noise or emits light (think: Twilight Turtle, white noise machines, fans, humidifiers...).

Your baby's sleep cycles are anywhere from 30-60 minutes long. Between each sleep cycle they come to an almost awake state. If they fell asleep to a CD playing music or a nightlight on in their room, and it's not on when they wake up in the night, it can be disorienting or even scary for some kids.  This could be the cause of middle of the night cries or calls for mom or dad to come and help soothe them back to sleep.

Most parents out there are familiar with the 'Sleep Sheep' and other products in that line... Cute and well-intentioned as they may be, they can actually wake kids up! The soothing white noise or heartbeat sound it plays turns OFF after just 45 minutes (the average length of a sleep cycle!) which does not help your child push through to the next sleep cycle.

Jeff and I have been using this white noise machine in our room forever.  Jeff has had it since living at his parents' house!  It stays on all night long and blocks out most noises.  We ended up buying one for Leila's room and gifted one to my sister for her new baby.  
We are guilty of using some of the sleep aids Lauren discussed (CD and Cloud B Twilight Ladybug), but luckily they don't interrupt Leila's well-established sleep. 

While we were using the  'Sleep Sheep' when she was a baby, I do remember it causing issues!  Just like Lauren said, when it turned off, Leila woke up.  I plan on using it for Carson only for the stroller and car when another cycle of sleep isn't necessary!

What do you use to help put your child to sleep?  Could it be interfering with their nighttime sleep?


Lauren is a certified sleep coach and DONA trained postpartum doula.  Her passion for helping tired parents began when her own newborn daughter's constant crying and terrible sleep habits finally got the best of her. Visit her blog and Facebook page for more information.

Check out Lauren's other featured posts on Leilaland:

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Great List {3.25.13}

Happy Monday! Starting off the week with some gratitude is the best way for me to start fresh. Bringing home Carson has been a pretty smooth transition thanks to all the help I've had. Of course it has not been free of challenges, but today I prefer to focus on what is going well.

1.  This girl celebrated her half birthday on the 22nd. It was fun to listen to her tell everyone it was her half birthday and adorable to hear her sing, "Happy birthday to me..." Leila loves her sweets (just like mom) and her chocolate cupcake face made everyone laugh.

2.  Jeff was off work most of this week, thank goodness. He kept Leila entertained while I tended to Carson's needs. We were both so giddy the first few days home with him and Leila. Such a great feeling!

3.  We had a successful and relaxing newborn photo shoot with a local San Diego newborn photographer, Natalie Chiles. She spent a lot of time getting just the right shots of Carson and the four of us. I was blown away by the "sneak peek" photo she posted on Facebook and cannot wait to see more.

4.  Physically, I am feeling GREAT! I am surprised at how good I feel compared to my previous experience. Thanks to all the help I've been getting I am pretty well rested right now too. I'll take what I can get, if it won't last forever.

Come back each week for my newest list and don't forget to check out Betsy's list each week too.  Warning...positive thinking is addicting!

Want to write your own list?  

Just grab the button, add it to your post, and come back to tell us about it.

Share some joy...


<a href=""><img src=""/>

Friday, March 22, 2013

Carson's arrival {The Birth Story}

Just hours past my due date...there was no one on the freeway at 4:30 am Thursday morning. If there was, they would have been mighty annoyed at how slow Jeff was driving. While contracting I could not handle him driving 55 mph (in a 65 speed limit). It seemed like we were going 100 mph at least. I felt every rock in the road and the slightest turn of the wheel made everything worse.

Once we arrived at the hospital, I felt much better. Walking through the contractions was key! We headed up to triage and got bombarded with questions from just about everyone. This was a specialized hospital for women and newborns...don't they realize a woman cannot think clearly or talk while having contractions?!

After being hooked up to the monitors, checked to ensure my water had broken, and slowly making our way upstairs (all while having contractions in my legs and back) I was beyond ready for the epidural. Luckily the anesthesiologist was ready for me before I even had my IV in place.

By 7:00 am I was feeling good and was already dilated 5 cm. Aside from Carson's heart rate decelerating a few times during contractions, I was able to finally relax. Three and a half restful hours later I was fully dilated, kind of. I had no idea one side of the cervix could dilate before the other. One side was 10 cm, the other was 8.5 cm, so the doctor compromised and called it 9. Waiting time.

Around 3:00 pm my contractions had done their job. Carson was in position and I was dilated for real. It was go-time.

For some reason when I was set up to push my contractions began to get further apart, or so they said, I could hardly feel anything. It was awesome. I joked about how comfortable I was and that I could totally push for two hours at the rate we were going. I didn't expect go-time to last an hour and twenty-three minutes. I pushed a little, waited a bit, pushed some more, waited some more, and finally it was time for the show.

And a show it was. Jeff counted nine people in the delivery room, including ourselves, to watch Carson being born. My two nurses, one doctor, two baby nurses in case Carson's heart rate decorations were caused by the cord being around his neck, one random blonde, and a loud-mouth cheerleader.

At the end of it all Carson was placed on my belly, Jeff cut the cord, and we heard him cry for the first time. I couldn't have been more satisfied with how things went. My doctor was patient as I waited at least five minutes between each push, the baby nurses were not necessary, and that loud-mouth cheerleader knew exactly what to say. You can do it! 

It was truly a beautiful ending to a peaceful delivery. 

Our family was complete.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Carson's due date {The Birth Story}

On my due date I began assuming the worst. I started thinking I would be pregnant forever, even though I logically KNEW that was crazy talk. I posted this on Facebook:

So...who else stayed pregnant past their due date? I would like to start a club. The most pregnant person can be President. It better not end up being me.

The responses made me feel better when I realized all the ladies that commented were actually not pregnant anymore.  Phew. Relief. Peace. Time to bounce on the ball, go for a walk, and eat eggplant.  I knew I had a doctor appointment the following morning and we'd be handing Carson an eviction notice, the sooner the better.

Even Leila was annoyed that Carson hadn't arrived yet.
Jeff happened to have the next day off so he planned on coming with me. We talked about taking our bags with us to the doctor, just in case the wanted to induce that day like they did with Leila. I went to bed after a glass of wine, a shower, planning to go to work after my 8:20 am appointment. I felt relaxed and accepted the fact that I would have to be induced.

Forty-five minutes after his due date expired I heard a pop-like clicking noise. It sounded like a kick would, if you could hear your baby kick. In my sleepy state I assumed that's what it was.

Since I was up I used the bathroom, as any 40 week pregnant lady would do. Funny thing was that I just kept peeing. When it stopped and I stood up I couldn't even make it to my bed before I peed myself. Yellow flag. Peed some more. Orange flag.  Laid down and peed more. Red flag.  This is not pee. 

I instantly googled "water breaking" and came across a website that had quotes from real moms about what it felt like when their water broke.  I almost texted Amy asking about her slow-leak water breaking experience from last month.  Luckily for Amy I found what I needed on the internet.  

By 2:15 am I decided to wake Jeff.  I wasn't convinced it was time to go to the hospital, but figured I should give him fair warning.  His main concern as my pregnancy got closer to the end, was that we'd have to rush to the hospital, frantic and unprepared.

At 3:00 am I considered calling the hospital to find how far apart and how long they should be before they wanted me to come in. (I was set to ask this at my appointment the next morning, I swear.) At this point they were getting closer together...twenty minutes, thirteen minutes, eight minutes, six minutes...and all at least a minute long. 

I felt a rush of adrenaline when they told me because my water broke I needed to come in immediately. 

Immediately turned in to an hour as I packed up last minute items, gathered everything we needed, called my mom, ate a snack, and procrastinated getting into the car. I was not looking forward to being contained to the seat in my car while contracting even though I knew the hospital was only fifteen minutes away.

I called my sister in Chicago since I knew she was probably the only one awake at this early hour. She pumped me up and wished me luck.

This was really happening. Today. Now. Thankfully I was not going to be President of the Overdue Baby Club. And even better...I was barely a member.

Up next...Carson's arrival {The Birth Story}

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Creating a Time Capsule For Your Kids {Guest Post}

Hi again! It's Heather from Everything Eatherton and Mama Dish. I wrote my first guest post for Jen last summer while I was about to pop with my second son. I figured that she might appreciate some help keeping Leilaland moving while she was busy caring for her newborn, so I'm back for another visit. Thanks for having me!

Since Jen just gave birth (like, less than a week ago), I figured it would be good for her to start thinking about what she might put aside as her little boy grows, for his special keepsakes.

Two of the best gifts we received when we were pregnant with our first son weren't purchased at a store (well, technically they were, 30+ years ago...) They were items that my mother-in-law had saved from my husband's childhood-- his favorite blanket and his baby book. A baby book chock full of useful and entertaining information!

I enjoyed reading through page after page of sleep habits, favorite friends, first foods, first steps and other first milestones. The book contained his birth announcement, birthday party invitations, and magazine clippings about local events from when he was little. It also contained damning information like, when he was potty training he was caught urinating on the radiator (ewwww!)

My Mom started a baby book for me when I was born, so I have a few notes from my first months, but she didn't really keep up with it. And as far as I know, she doesn't have any other keepsakes for me from when I was little. {Tear}

I'm a saver by nature, so I've always known that I wanted to keep a time capsule for my children, with memorabilia from throughout their life. I want them to be able to look through these precious items and ask to hear stories about important milestones in their life, and hopefully share some things with their children one day (nothing warms my heart more than seeing Brady sleeping with my husband's blankie!)

Choosing items for their capsules hasn't been easy. On one hand, I want to save absolutely everything of theirs, but on the other, I just don't have the space! And having a second boy further complicated things, because all of Brady's clothing, shoes, etc. are reusable. I decided a good rule of thumb is to try to collect no more than 3-5 items per year for their capsules, and to shoot for big-themed pieces or items that tell a unique story.

Here are a few things I've collected for the boys so far. Most of these are in Brady's capsule, but I plan to save the same things for Cole as well.

  • Pregnancy journals
  • Their (well documented) baby books
  • Hats worn in the hospital
  • Coming home outfits
  • Tiny blue bear given as a newborn gift that says, "It's A Boy"
  • Baptism outfits
  • First pair of shoes
  • First favorite book (Brady's is Big Red Barn, by Margaret Wise Brown)
  • First baseball cap
  • A piece of wall art from their nursery
  •  Lock of hair from first haircut
  • Birthday party invitations
  • Their Your Birthday Books
  • Tickets from his first flight (and wings!), first baseball games, first train rides, etc.
  • Photos from each visit with Easter Bunny and Santa
  • Family Christmas card from each year
  • A piece of paper that chronicle's their signature each year (starting this year with Brady now that he can write his name!)
  • Sticky Bellies monthly stickers

Some items I anticipate adding them as they get older are:

  • First pair of soccer cleats
  • First baseball glove
  • T-shirts from their first sports teams
  • Blankies (when they outgrow them)
  • Special stuffed animals (when they outgrow them)
  • First lost tooth (or is that gross??)
  • School photos
  • Report cards
  • Awards/ribbons/trophies from important competitions

So much for keeping the loot under control. It looks like I'm going to need bigger containers....

Have you been saving memorabilia from your little ones' lives? What other key items should we be saving? How did you decide where to draw the line in order to avoid being featured on an episode of Hoarders?!

Monday, March 18, 2013

The BABY-IS-HERE Great List {3.18.13}

This Monday I am feeling so much better than I was last week.  Although I was able to be grateful for my pregnancy, having Carson here to complete our family is really the greatest feeling of all.

Leila holding Carson for the first time
Carson made his appearance at 4:23 pm on March 14th after a long, but relaxed day (thanks to the epidural that actually worked this time).  He is 7 lbs 3 oz and 19.5 inches long and must feel like a celebrity because of all the photos taken of him.

This week's great photos:


... a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy.
-Abraham Maslow

Come back each week for my newest list and don't forget to check out Betsy's list each week too.  Warning...positive thinking is addicting!

Want to write your own list?  

Just grab the button, add it to your post, and come back to tell us about it.

Share some joy...


<a href=""><img src=""/>

Friday, March 15, 2013

Leila Lately {2.5 years old}

These days Leila is full of surprises.  She surprises us daily with her words (okay, sentences), her imagination, and her actions.  She's a typical two and a half year old...always changing, always moving, always lovable. 

Leila loves playing pretend.  One minute she is pretending to be a firefighter, the next a princess, and the next she's in a marching band (insisting that we all march along).  She plays basketball with a felt lettuce head and then is serving it to us and invisible Elmo in the next breath.  Empty yogurt cups turn into cupcakes baking in the oven and then a sidewalk for the lid she is using as a car.   Don't even try to suggest to Leila what she might be doing, because trust me, she doesn't like suggestions.  "No, that's not a tower.  It's a train."  What?!  Our typical response is, "Oh, of course it is."  Smile.

Leila loves adventure too.  In the mornings, or after nap time,  she asks what we are going to do to or where we are going.  She's up for anything!  Leila has been spending a lot of time at  the beach house with my parents, aunt, and uncle.  Earlier this week my dad and uncle took her on the city bus and then on the trolley downtown San Diego.  She has mentioned the humongous ships ever since.

If she could eat pancakes at every meal she would. Leila loves cheese...grilled cheese, mac and cheese, string cheese, cheddar cheese, you name it! We still drink our toddler-approved green smoothie most mornings. Leila is weary of most vegetables, but after discovering that she'll eat the "flower" off the asparagus Leila has been willing to at least smell most vegetables.  One day she loves blueberries and the next she won't touch them, which is pretty typical about most everything from fruits to meats.

Recently Leila has started calling me "Mom" and although it makes me laugh I think she's too young for that!  At least she hasn't called me by my first name...yet.  She will sometimes call Jeff by his first name or even just Dad.  It melts his heart when she calls for him, "Daaaaaaad...I need you."

One syllable words have two syllables if Leila is saying them and apparently she gets that from me. Who knew?! Jeff caught me saying "may-ill" for mail just this week.

I swear she talks more than any toddler I have ever been around.  She wakes up talking and falls asleep talking to her stuffed animals (one of the million she wants in her bed). It's kind of nice she doesn't have just one favorite stuffed animal or lovey.  Sometimes we can't locate the exact "friend" she wants and most of the time it can be substituted by someone else.  Don't mess with her bedtime routine too much though or she will be hollering.

Leila keeps us on our toes! She's independent yet needs us at the same time. She makes us laugh, smile, and want to pull our hair out (okay, maybe just me). She's a typical toddler yet uniquely Leila. I love being her mother!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

40 weeks! {Bumpdate}

Why is this baby still in my belly?!?
How far along: 40 weeks

Weight gain/loss:  Up two pounds this week. Total weight gain of 30 lbs. 

Feeling: Like I did my time.  40 weeks is enough already!

Stretch marks:  No!  Hooray!

Sleep: So busy during the day that I am too wiped out NOT to sleep.

Best moment(s) this week: Mani/pedi and then lunch with my mom.

Food cravings: Spicy foods, eggplant...anything anyone tells me will help induce labor. 

Gender: BOY!

Movement: Been having a few contractions at night.  Hopefully enough to make some progress.

What I miss:  This week I miss BEER.  It's been summer-like with the time change, this warm weather, and all the spring break kids around town.  

What I'm looking forward to:  My doctor appointment tomorrow morning.  Carson will be served his eviction notice!

Weekly wisdom: Any time now...for real!

Milestones:  I am pretty proud that I can still shave my legs.

Due date: TODAY! 3-13-13

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Got baby fever? I can help you with that.

Pregnancy is the best birth control.  Besides the fact that it's not possible to get pregnant while already pregnant, being pregnant is the best way to cure the baby fever that might creep up on you in the future.

Too late?  You already have the fever...the crazy overwhelming desire to have another squishy baby right-this-minute to love and nurture forever?  Baby, baby, baby is all you can think about both night and day?  You see pregnant women everywhere and are insanely jealous of their cute baby bump?

I've been there and I can help you with that.  Full term pregnancy is the cure, possibly the only cure, for baby fever.

Let me remind you of just how terribly uncomfortable it gets in the last week(s)...
  • I must lasso my underwear on in the morning, hoping to rope in that leg before I fall over.
  • It is painful to stand, or sit, or lay down for more than ten minutes at a time.
  • When you tell someone when your baby is due they literally take a step back, like you are going to give birth right then, on them.
  • Having the urge to pee again the second you stand up from peeing, and yet again the second you leave the bathroom. And again five minute later.
  • Heartburn and indigestion from drinking, yes, it happens.
  • Putting on your own shoes is a dangerous act and bending down to put on your toddler's shoes is worse.
  • Torturing yourself with your own thoughts, "Will the baby come today?" and "What was that pain?" is enough to drive yourself insane.
  •  Pregnancy face...enough said.

Are you cured yet?

Must I remind you that NONE of your clothes will fit you that last week?  Or that if you think you are tired now, just wait until that baby comes? (You know it's true.  Pregnancy is the best cure for baby fever.)

How about this basketball sized belly...does this help break your fever?

So yeah, technically this shirt still fits, but it use to work with leggings.  Not anymore.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The PREGNANCY Great List {3.11.13}

As this pregnancy comes to a close (hopefully sooner than later) I figured it was time to share all that I was grateful for these past 40 weeks.  The end of pregnancy is less than glamorous.  Mine has been filled with complaints, pains, and a general bad attitude.  But the reality is, these past months have been pretty darn good!

Off to a dinner date with Jeff and Leila last night.
1.  I feel so lucky that it was easy (maybe too easy!) to get pregnant again this time.  Although it surprised the crap out of us, the fact that we didn't have to stress about getting pregnant again is something I do not take for granted.

2.  My biggest concern this time around has been my weight gain and my blood pressure.  Both were through the roof last time!  I am happy to report my blood pressure is normal, as is my weight gain.  I tried to stay healthy and active during these past months.  Besides some extra indulgences these past 2-3 weeks I have stayed on track.

3.  Leila has been quite a distraction during this pregnancy and starting back to work two days a week during this last trimester has been helpful too.  It's been nice to stay busy, active, and not so consumed with this pregnancy. (Although at this point it is all I think about!)

4.  Sleeping has been a dream!  Aside from a few nights that I had trouble falling asleep, I have been getting plenty of rest at night and waking up feeling GREAT! Maybe it's got a lot to do with #3...I am so busy!

5.  We have received more gifts than I ever imagined getting for a second baby.  Carson not only has new clothes, he has a ton of hand-me-downs to wear until after his first birthday.  Thanks everyone!

Hopefully #6 can be a smooth and easy on-time delivery.  That will really be the icing on the cake!

Come back each week for my newest list and don't forget to check out Betsy's list each week too.  Warning...positive thinking is addicting!

Want to write your own list?  

Just grab the button, add it to your post, and come back to tell us about it.

Share some joy...


<a href=""><img src=""/>

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

39 weeks {Bumpdate}

Hello belly.
How far along: 39 weeks.

Weight gain/loss:  Up two pounds this week. Total weight gain of 28 lbs so far. 

Feeling: Like a cow. So over this. I have to pee the second I stand up.  Stick a fork in me, I'm done.

Stretch marks:  Nope

Sleep: I love bedtime and I hardly care that I wake up about every hour to go pee, three times in a row.

Best moment(s) this week: My friends from work threw me a baby shower.  It was great catching up with them all and being kid-free for the evening.

Food cravingsNoodles with butter and shredded Romano cheese. 

Gender: BOY!

Movement: Mostly at night still.  He has been punching me in not-so-cool places to grab and I've been getting some shooting pains on my right side too.

What I miss:  Feeling good.

What I'm looking forward to:  Having this baby!

Weekly wisdom: Any time now...

Milestones:  It is baby month!

Due date: 3-13-13

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Great List {3.04.13}

It's Monday...time for another edition of The Great List.  

1.  Leila is completely potty-trained!  We have had NO issues and can count on her to tell us when she needs to use the bathroom.  It may not have been the easiest task to conquer at 8 months pregnant, but I'm happy it is behind us!

2.  My to-do list is shrinking, and yes, I did take the advice of my friends and packed my hospital bag, even though all my to-do items aren't checked off my list yet.  Jeff has been able to mark off a few items from his list too.  My parents, aunt, and uncle have been a huge help by taking Leila, washing baby items, preparing freezer meals, etc.

3.  Carson got even more spoiled this week thanks to the lovely ladies at work.  They threw me a small baby shower after school Thursday evening.  It was so nice to catch up over some great food and even more fun looking at all the adorable baby items they got for Carson.  Next time we get together like that I will be enjoying a glass of wine with them!

What was great about your week?  

Come back each week for my newest list and don't forget to check out Betsy's list each week too.  Warning...positive thinking is addicting!

Want to write your own list?  

Just grab the button, add it to your post, and come back to tell us about it.

Share some joy...


<a href=""><img src=""/>

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...