Newborn Nighttime Essentials

Great list on the essentials needed to survive the first month of newborn nighttime feedings...a pin worth saving!Looking back the first month with a newborn is a blur. In your sleep deprived mind you still manage to capture tiny moments that you hold dear…the way your baby snuggles to your chest, the tiny hand gripping half of your pinky finger and small sleepy smiles. The one thing all parents can completely recall without a doubt and the one thing that most people always ask new parents about is the sleepless nights.

FYI don’t ask moms with newborns how is the sleeping going…just don’t. By some miracle if the baby only wakes once to feed and can immediately go back to sleep without rocking and stays asleep without grunting or other noises then you can ask because that mom has spawned a miracle and that mom wakes up every morning feeling fan-flippin-tastic. So just stay clear of this question for a least a month because no mom wants to be reminded multiple times that we aren’t getting any sleep!

I’m working on a post for newborn essentials, but since nighttime feedings are the one thing we all remember from the first month I thought it necessary to chat about this first. Sure you have a registry (FREE printable baby registry HERE) that is suppose to prep you for your newborn, but for this post I’ll show you just the items needed to help you through the exhausting night time feedings. {I am exclusively breastfeeding so I have not included bottle feeding items below, however all items can be essential to bottle fed babes!}

Because adjusting to nighttime feedings with your newborn is brutal, here is a great list (with tips) of essential items needed to make it through nighttime feedings! Pin to save...

  1. Gowns. Make your nights less stressful by dressing your baby in gowns at night. There is nothing worse than worrying about snapping all those buttons up and around their kicking legs over and over each time you wake up to feed your baby. And FYI, sometimes right after you feed and change your baby, they might decide to blow it up as you’re rocking them or in the actually process of securing the new diaper on, thus causing you to change another diaper. The gowns just make it so much easier to quickly access your baby’s diaper. The best kinds of gowns (for us) are the ones with buttons down the middle. You will have accidents changing diapers and you will get pee & poop leakage, so being able to quickly unsnap the gown and snap on a new one is so much easier. The snap up gowns just make it easier to get their hands and arms in each sleeve and you don’t have to worry about pulling the outfit over their head, a task most babies hate and start to fuss over. Another tip: make sure you keep at least two extra gowns (with other additional supplies discussed later) near the bassinet or where ever the baby sleeps…that way when your baby does pee on their gown you can quickly grab a new one and not trek all the way across the house at 2 am for a spare change of clothes! Check out the cute gowns above, the first is Little Me Girls’ two piece snap front gown from Babies R Us and the adorable pink flamingo gown is from The Gap.
  2. Changing Mat. You will be changing diapers in the middle of the night at each feeding and with diaper changes comes accidents. Yes you hear stories of boys having “fountain” moments where they spray you or themselves. Well girls can too! Yep while you are lifting your daughter’s legs to wipe her tush she can and will start to pee and it can spray or start to run backwards all over her stomach and nightgown…so it’s crucial for your sanity to have a changing mat. The best changing pad is actually a mat you can take form the hospital! While you are recovering from labor you will have these large cloth blankets that lay on the bed under your tush to catch blood. Before you leave take them because they make THE BEST changing mats ever!!! I have three of them (took two off the bed and one from the closet in the hospital room) and I use them for our ottoman in the living room for diaper changes during the day (if I’m too lazy to go to the nursery) and one for our bed for nighttime changes. While recuperating at home after birth I placed one on the couch to sit on just in case I leaked. Now if you don’t have the amazing hospital mats don’t use a towel because pee will just leak through the towel and still wet your comforter. You can use the waterproof changing pad liners because they won’t allow the pee/poop to leak through to your bed. You can get a set of three Munchkin waterproof changing liners on Amazon for less that $12.
  3. Swaddle. After you feed and change your baby its time to get them to pass back out so you can pass back out. Most newborns like to be swaddled because it makes them feel like they are back in your tummy. All babies are different, but most all newborns will fall asleep and stay sleeping if they are bundled up. I love the soft Aiden and Anais swaddle blankets, but for nighttime I use swaddle blankets that have Velcro so I am assured my baby will stay bundled. Both my girls have super arm strength and always manage to bust out of blankets. The ones with Velcro secure their arms in place and keep them in place so I’m not woken up just to re-swaddle them. The only time I want to be woken up is for a feeding or if there is a diaper explosion. So for sanity purposes get swaddle blankets with Velcro! Tip: get more than one just in case a diaper explodes and keep the extra swaddle blankets with the extra nightgowns near the bassinet or wherever your baby is sleeping to make it easier to grab at 2 am. My favorite options are the HALO sleep sack, Summer Infant Swaddleme adjustable infant wrap, and the famous Miracle Blanket.newbornswaddles
  4. Burp Cloths. Weather you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding you need burp cloths! All babies are different, but I noticed that the spit up and puke really didn’t start until the second week (but it is always safe to have a burp cloth available that first week!). I’m all for super cute patterned burp clothes with monograms, but my go to burp cloths are plain white Gerber flatfold cloth diapers. You can get 10 in a pack for around $12 so the cost is way cheaper than the expensive personalized ones. These cloth diapers are big enough that they help cover a large area while burping. The cloth is also thin enough that it makes it super easy to place under the babies chin while burping. Another plus is that once your baby grows up you can re-use them as dusting rags! BTW I still believe in monogrammed burp cloths…just save those for when your out in public! Make sure you get the flatfold cloth diapers and not the pre-folded cloth diapers (they are way too thick to keep under the chin while burping). You can find these at Babies R Us or on Amazon.
  5. Binky & Binky Clip. A lot of babies love the whole sucking motion and it helps calm them down when they’re upset and can help soothe them to sleep. Lily was a HUGE binky lover and she had to have the binky to fall asleep. Chloe uses a binky but she can fall asleep without it…thank goodness! If your baby is a huge binky lover sometimes they will wake up and start to fuss when it falls out of their mouth. Do yourself a favor and get a clip for that binky so at three am you’re not searching in the dark for the it to pop back in your crying baby’s mouth! With the clip you can reach for it and quickly pull on the attached strap until the binky appears and then quickly pop it back in their mouth. Chloe is going through this annoying phase right now where after her 2 or 3 am feeding it takes forever to get her to pass back out completely. She will start to fuss, grunt, wiggle or cough and her binky will pop out multiple times once I put her back in her bassinet. Having the binky clip makes it so much easier (& saves what little sanity I have at 3 am) to reach out and pop it back in every time. This clip will also come in handy when you make the transition from bassinet to crib if your child is still using the binky (Lily used it for over a year!). When Lily got older and the binky would fall out at night she would take her hands and search her chest for the clip, pull on the strap until she got the binky in her hand and then pop it back in. Some moms will just toss tons of binkies in the crib so when one falls out their kid can search around the crib until they find an extra. I found that the clip was easier because Lily learned quickly where to search to get the binky back so she could fall back asleep…thus allowing you to fall back asleep once she stops crying over the monitor. So the binky clip will continue to help you at night as your baby gets older! My favorite clips are the ones from BooginHead because once secured they will not come off the swaddle or gown no matter how hard your baby yanks on it. You can find these clips at Babies R Us or on Amazon.
  6. Diaper Caddy. This handy organizer is just that…an organizer for important items for you and your baby. Not only is a diaper caddy useful during the night to hold items like diapers and wipes, but once the sun comes up it makes life easier when you move from your bedroom to any other room in the house. Instead of having newborn items all over your house you can store important items in the caddy and just carry it from room to room with you! If you’re downstairs and you need to change a diaper, your caddy can save you the back and forth trips by holding all necessary baby items. The items for newborns I kept in my caddy are diapers, wipes (I just carry around the refill packs from Pampers in stead of an actual large plastic wipe case), lanolin nipple cream, small alcohol wipes (to clean the belly button), small bottle of hand sanitizer, extra burp cloth, Butt Paste (or other diaper cream), rectal thermometer (just in case), a few disposable diaper trash bags, a couple of disposable nursing pads and a tube of Aquaphor (for my chap lips). I also would keep a banana or crackers in there (with some water nearby) because I would get so hungry from breastfeeding. I have the Sabrina Diaper Caddy from Pottery Barn Kids. If you get the liners that fit their caddy it has built in dividers to help organize the items even more! Because I’m a basket lover and appreciate a good organizer I still used my diaper caddy as Lily grew and now I’m able to re-use it with baby number two. You can re-use it in the laundry room, medicine closet, your closet or your kid’s closet to store and organize items. Tip: Make sure you check and resupply the caddy each night before heading to sleep.
  7. Lamp Dimmer. All of these items are going to help you during the middle of the night but this item was a game changer for me. Now if your breastfeeding, you will eventually be able to find your baby, pull out the boob and attach the baby to the boob in the dark with your eyes closed…it will become second nature. What is impossible to do in darkness is changing diapers! For that reason you will have to turn on a light in the middle of the night to help out. To make my life easier I found a dimmer for my lamp that also acts as an on and off switch. Easy to install, this dimmer comes with a small round pad that sits on the nightstand that you can lightly tap and it will turn your lamp on. If you tap the pad again it will turn the brightness up one notch and even brighter if you tap it a third time. On the fourth tap it will completely turn off your lamp. Why is this such a game changer?? Well when you are healing from labor its nice to be able to have the light switch so easily accessible instead of needing to swing a leg over and fully reach over and up fumbling around for the tiny light knob when your sore or in pain! Plus at 3 am having a dim light is a whole lot better than the full brightness of the lamp. Plus the dim light will help keep your newborn in “nighttime mode” instead of them thinking its daytime if the light is fully bright. Plus your spouse will love you for trying to keep the lights down low for them while they fortunately get to sleep through the feeding(s)!  I picked up my lamp dimmer (Utilitech Black Touch Lamp Control) from Lowes for $9.98. I loved this so much I purchased another one just for the nursery!nighttimeessentials
  8. Bassinet.  Some people think they might not need a bassinet prior to having a baby, believing they will be fine with just their crib. Unless the crib will be right next to your bed I HIGHLY recommend you get a bassinet to help you out for nighttime feedings. Even if you only keep your baby in your bedroom for the first month it will be worth every penny! Especially the first week while you are healing from birth having your baby right next to the bed will make your life easier. There are all kinds of bassinets out there, I personally like the ones that come on stands that will reach the height of the bed (not the woven baskets that you carry around the house. I am also a huge fan of the bassinets that come with a built in vibrator that helps soothe babies that need that movement to ease back asleep. Sometimes after putting Chloe back in the bassinet after rocking her for a bit she will wake back up. The bassinet’s vibration helps ease her back to sleep. Another feature that is important to me is that the bassinet has storage space underneath. When (not if) your baby pees or poops through their diaper having that storage underneath to keep extra gowns, burp cloths, swaddles and even diapers and wipes is convenient. We have The First Years Carry Me Near Sleep System. If you don’t want to spend the money and you have a pack in play you can use that. Having your baby in your room for the first month for the multiple feedings and diaper changes will help with your sanity!
  9. Shush App.  This might seem silly to the mommas to be, but for those with kids you can appreciate how awesome the Baby Shusher App is especially those that have/had newborns that needed some kind of noise to help make them fall back asleep. Moms can attest that just two minutes of constantly shushing is tiring…so why not allow an app to do it for you! There are apps out there that actually have several sounds that can be soothing to babies and some actually have the Shush sound. So save your breath and download the app and let your phone shush for you for those late night feedings. Check out the Baby Shusher app or the Sound Sleeper app that has other great soothing sounds or the Baby Lullaby and White Noise Sounds for Sleep app (this one is FREE!). 

Typing this my eyes are bloodshot, dry and by 5 pm they will be barely open slits because I’m averaging a total of 4 ½ hours of sleep. Nighttime feedings with your newborn are rough. Some nights are better than others and since I have been through this once before I know that at some point in my future I will get a full nights sleep. So hopefully these items that get me through the night will help another momma out there!

Top photo cred: Niki Schmidt Photography (who was AMAZING to work with & I’m obsessed with all of Chloe’s pictures)

 

 
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  1. April 24, 2014 Reply

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something which I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and extremely broad for
    me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of
    it!

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Chaotic First Week

As promised from Chloe’s birth story, I have to share the chaos that ensued the first week as a family of four.

For reference I gave birth on a Saturday and we were able to come home by lunchtime on Monday. We had a lovely half-day on Monday as a family of four full of snuggle time on the couch and the most adorable display of sister love that made my heart melt.

Using the boppy as support, Lily held Chloe and proceeded to love on her….sometimes a little too much. No kidding if Lily could make out with her sister she would!

chloelily Tuesday Mike dropped Lily off at school in the am and when he picked her up we knew something was off. She was a little warm and her teachers said she was pretty quiet all day… not the norm for my crazy two year old. Then she woke up from her nap with a 103.5 temperature. Since we had a newborn we called the pediatrician to have Lily checked.

The thing with toddlers and temperatures is that typically you wait 1-3 days to see if the fever goes down before visiting your doctor because most cases your kid has a virus and there is nothing you can do for them besides treating them with some TLC. Since 103.5 is really high and we had a newborn we called the doc…but there was nothing the doctor could do since they couldn’t find anything wrong with her. So Chloe and I were banished to my room for lock down.

chloelily1

Also on Tuesday I noticed that Chloe’s coloring just seemed off…call it mother’s intuition. I kept telling Mike that even her eyes seemed to be a little yellow and glassy looking. Towards the end of the day I just felt so uneasy about it that I called the pediatrician and our doc’s husband (who is also a doctor) agreed to squeeze Chloe in before they closed. Sure enough my feelings were confirmed and Chloe had jaundice. My post partum weepies kicked in and I broke down in tears in the office that one of my girls had a fever and now my newborn had jaundice.

They took blood from Chloe to test her jaundice levels and we went back Wednesday morning for another round of blood testing. We were relieved Wednesday afternoon when her second results came in and showed that her jaundice numbers were lower showing she was in the clear. (Picture below shows her yellow coloring. You can tell the difference between her forehead and hand)

chloejaundice

By Friday I was still on ‘master bedroom house arrest’ to keep Chloe away from Lily’s temperature…yes she still had a temperature four days later!!! I cried everyday and a few times each day because I couldn’t be there for my first baby while she dealt with whatever virus she was fighting. We called the doctor and had Lily go back in to be seen and sure enough they still found nothing wrong with her. On Friday I had to go back into my OB because my episiotomy was not healing right and I wanted them to check it before the weekend and refill my pain meds (lowest tolerance for pain right here!).  Luckily Lily’s fever broke overnight on Friday, but to be safe we kept the girls in separate rooms until Sunday just to be safe.

chloelily2

So in the first week as a family of four Lily went to the doctor twice, Chloe went to the doctor twice and I went to the doctor. The only one who survived anything physical was Mike, but of course the stress of caring for all three of his girls right off the bat sent him to enjoy his bourbon before 5 o’clock. As chaotic & stressful as the week was, it was bitter sweet. Leading up to delivery and during my stay in the hospital I became really emotional that I wouldn’t get as much time with Chloe as I did with Lily. With your first-born you can put life on hold while you soak up all those first moments. With your second child there is no pause button on the tantrums your toddler is throwing. You can’t tell your first kid to hold their pee while you soak up snuggle time with your newborn. So as much as it killed me to not be there for Lily while she fought the virus, I got to have four days with Chloe that I wouldn’t have had. I was able to lie in bed while healing & get that one on one time I was so worried I would miss out on. Bitter sweet I tell ya…

We survived that first week of chaos & now we can laugh about it :) BUT can I say that when you give birth to your first, second or third kid you should be given a grace period of at least a week before reality of toddler tantrums and/or illness takes place….if not for the health of your newborn, at least for the sanity of the parents???

chloelily3

 
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Welcome to The World Sweet Chloe!

After 9 months of pure nausea hell, our little family of three finally welcomed our new addition on March 1st!

With a big smile and full heart let me introduce you to Chloe Elizabeth born at 7:11 pm on March 1st weighing in at 7.5 pounds and measuring 20 ¼ inches long.

chloefirst In the days leading up to the birth reality of having another child hit me hard and I began to worry about a slew of issues. How was I going to be able to handle a newborn and a toddler who is neck deep in the terrible twos? How am I going to function on zero sleep this time with an extra toddler? How and when will I get my errands done? But the one thought that was really bothering me was how to give both girls the same amount of love and affection. Will Lily feel rejected? Will I love this next child as much as my first baby?

I only have the answer to the last question so far…and yes my heart somehow grew even larger on the first of March. I don’t know how I could doubt that I could love another child any less. That moment Chloe’s tiny body was placed on my chest everything seemed right in the world. The nine months of nausea was worth every second. The excruciating labor I had just went through completely forgotten.

So while I figure out the answers to my other questions and figure out how to navigate this new chapter of motherhood I can at least share Chloe’s birth story…and oh what a story it is!

On the Tuesday before I started having contractions and after tracking them for an hour I called my OB because they lasted a minute long and came every five minutes. When we checked into the triage part of the hospital to be monitored the contractions were intense…but after five hours they just stopped. Whomp whomp. The disappointment of going through that pain and then not be in actual labor made me depressed! So over the next three days I continued having contractions here and there but nothing as intense and they were too sporadic to even call my OB to be checked out.

On Saturday the first we woke up and ran to the grocery store to stalk up for the weekend and went on a family walk around the neighborhood. After lunch the back labor started back up and I went to go lay down while Mike watched Lily. Contractions started up again and progressed from every 15 minutes to every 10 minutes until they were attacking every 5 minutes again. I took out my phone and began to track them at 2:47 pm. While the contractions were coming on I was getting freaked because I didn’t want to go through this pain and be turned away from the hospital again! Since Lily was induced I experienced labor pains only that day and I got a baby after 11 hours. Having painful contractions and then being told I have to go home and wait it out was such a downer.

chloemeAfter experiencing the Tuesday contractions I knew that Saturday was a whole new ball game after 30 minutes when they started to speed up and get even more severe. Now OBs expect you to track and call after an hour of contractions. Forty minutes into tracking Mike even convinced me to go ahead and call the doctor. Mike meanwhile was contacting my mom (who was getting her hair done) and told her she needed to hurry up and get over to the house to watch Lily because we needed to rush to the hospital. Lily was still napping so Mike was running around and putting our bags in his car while I braced myself over the kitchen counter while wave after wave of wicked contractions pounded. Right before my mom got to the house poor Lily woke up and found me in tears and started to get scared. I could barely talk while I was breathing through the pain so Mike had to tell her I had a bellyache.

Once my mom got there we got in the car and that is when I literally felt like I was in hell. The contractions were so painful that I was screaming and moaning so load I’m pretty sure every car on the road could hear. Any tv show/movie that has ever shown a woman in labor rushing to the hospital had nothing on what could have been filmed in our car. Screams, moans, cuss words and the worst case of backseat driving took place. It was not my finest moment, but what do you expect when your who-ha is trying to stretch to accommodate a watermelon trying to exit your body? In between contractions I would yell at Mike to go faster or switch lanes to get around the slow driver…and for some odd reason all of Tampa’s slowest drivers seemed to be out that day and driving the same route!

Mike dropped me off at the front while he rushed to park. The pain was so bad that I couldn’t even walk forward. I was curled over just sobbing and bless these women who were outside waiting for pickup because the one woman who had just given birth gave up her wheelchair for me. Her friend/sister/aunt or mother then started to push me inside all the while trying to calm me down with sweet words. The woman must have been panicked because as she was rushing me inside she rammed the wheel chair into the sliding exit doors. If that didn’t cause everyone in the waiting room to turn to look it was my sobbing and painful cries that had every single person staring at me. Thank goodness I had my shades on because I just continued to sob while clutching my stomach. I was a real hot mess folks!

A lady from triage rushed out at the same time Mike was running in with my bag and that’s when everything just seemed to blur. When I was wheeled into triage and two nurses started to help me up, but when they found out this was my second kid more nurses started to approach to help. Contractions started to hit me and I couldn’t move so the nurses started to strip me right there. I was in so much pain I could have cared less that I was getting naked in front of five women. Somehow they got me on the bed and a nurse was checking me. Then I heard “She’s at 7” and the side rails on the bed were thrown up and the nurses started to rush me down the hall to labor and delivery. Mind you I was at 3 cm four days ago…yep I went from a 3 to a 7 in that car ride from hell! Wheeled into a room I had a flurry of nurses around all prepping the room and myself for labor. I didn’t even feel the IV being put in my hand and all I kept yelling was “Drugs please I need drugs.”  At least I was polite enough to say please.

chloemikeWe got to the hospital at 4:30 pm and I was getting my epidural by 5:15pm. I don’t know how women labor without drugs. Kudos to them, but that is not me! When those nurses said I was a 7 absolute fear set in that I might be too late to get the epidural. After the epidural it was like night and day. I could still feel the contractions but the pain was manageable. But with the epidural my contractions started to slow down. When my doctor made it to the hospital they decided to give me some pitocin and break my water. While they were setting up that medication I started to get a bit sleepy and the anesthesiologists walked back into the room and started asking me questions. Seems my heart rate was slowing down and they made the decision to tone the epidural meds down. This same thing happened with Lily’s birth as well. Sometime around 6:15 pm I started to tell my head nurse that the pain was coming back and I needed to up the epidural meds up because there was no way I wanted to feel the labor.

With Lily once my epidural kicked in I felt nothing. This time I was not so lucky. After a check and finding out I was at a 9 my nurse propped one hip on my side to force Chloe down more and that is when the most intense pressure and pain started to kick in. I started the moaning and screaming again and begging for more pain meds. My nurse asked Mike to press the call button and when she demanded for some help and for my doctor to be paged I knew I was out of luck with the meds. Before I knew it my nurse was propping my legs in stirrups and staying stationary at the foot of the bed with her hands blocking my who-ha. My doc rushed in and told her to stay where she was while she got prepped…I later realized that was because Chloe was already crowning and they didn’t want her to pop out! Lights were being flicked on, new nurses where rushing around setting up the baby warmer and other labor tools.  All of a sudden I had a nurse by my bed and in a calm but very assertive tone she told me to keep my eyes on her and to concentrate on my breathing. I remember her telling me not to scream and just breath, which I thought was annoying and silly because I could feel a watermelon sized object making its way out and the epidural was not helping. Later I realized that of course she was a saint and truly helping me concentrate on the task and not the pain. When the doctor took over and told me to start pushing things just flew by. I pushed four times and Chloe made her entrance into the world.

People are not joking when they say that the second kid comes faster. It took me two hours to push Lily out after 11 hours of labor. From the start of contractions at home to Chloe’s birth it was less than five hours. My doctor and nurse told us that if we had stayed at home and waited the full hour prior to calling there was a huge chance I would have given birth in the car since the epidural helped slow down the contractions. I get goosebumps even thinking that that could have been a possibility! If the birth sounded crazy, the first week at home was just as eventful and full of cray cray. Lily and Chloe both visited the pediatrician twice and I even had to go back to the OB within the first few days back home…more on that coming soon!

 

 
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  1. Courtney commented:
    March 21, 2014 Reply

    Oh. My. Word. You poor thing! Thank the Lord she wasn’t born in the car!! She is absolutely beautiful & you’re a champ! Congrats on your new darling!

    • Amy Romano commented:
      March 30, 2014 Reply

      Oh Thanks Courtney!!!! It was crazy, but at least I can laugh about it now:)

  2. Elizabeth commented:
    March 26, 2014 Reply

    Bless your heart! My second labor was so much easier. I think I was more relaxed. I had such a fear of not getting meds and people just love to tell horror stories. I love the epidural, too! I can’t imagine not having one. congrats. She is absolutely perfect.

    • Amy Romano commented:
      March 30, 2014 Reply

      Thanks Elizabeth!!! Yep not getting that epidural was my absolute fear, that with giving birth on the side of the road:)

  3. Andrea commented:
    March 27, 2014 Reply

    I had the same thing with my second birth. It was fast (just over 2 hours from start to finish), intense, scary as hell, and extremely painful. I sooo wanted that epidural. I can’t saying “I can’t do this. I can’t do this.” But by the time I got to the hospital I was already an 8 and progressing fast and they couldn’t get me that epidural in time. The first words out of my mouth after giving birth were “I NeVER want to do that again.” Not quite the words of love that most people express after giving birth. It will be a long time before I am ready to have another kid. And when I do, I am going to live at the hospital.

    • Amy Romano commented:
      March 30, 2014 Reply

      Oh Andrea sorry you had to experience the same thing! I’m glad this wasn’t the experience for my first. I was telling my husband and the nurses the same thing “This is THE LAST time!” Now four weeks out & I have already forgotten hoe truly bad it was!

  4. Stephanie commented:
    March 27, 2014 Reply

    Hey Amy! Sorry I couldn’t chat today; I felt so rude as I walked away. Trying to get/keep Tessa asleep seems to be my daily mission! Chloe Elizabeth looks so adorable (Elizabeth is Tessa’s middle name as well!!). I would love to come see her in person. ;) My phone number is 850-830-0083. Text me when ever you get a chance!

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  1. By Lily & Bliss | First Week Chaos on April 4, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    [...] promised from Chloe’s birth story, I have to share the chaos that ensued the first week as a family of [...]

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Surviving The Third Trimester

Awesome post with tips on surviving the third trimester! Includes a FREE printable checklist to prepare you for the hospital and a list of interview questions when searching for your baby's pediatrician! A pin worth saving! Third trimester ladies…Wooo Hooo almost there!! Even though you’re closer now to meeting your little, the third trimester can seem to stretch longer than the other two. You are too excited (or nervous) to finally meet your baby, your body is sore (& HUGE) from growing a human and you’re just plain tired…all of this makes the final trimester seem to lag on and on. BUT you will get there and the wait is worth it!

If you gained energy back in the second trimester, look out for the exhaustion to creep back with the third trimester. Now every pregnancy is different, but most women typically become more tired even with the excitement for the pending birth. Totally expected when carrying around an extra 30 pounds of weight, you have a human inside your body kicking your ribs and keeping you up at night with frequent bathroom visits!

Now just like my other posts on the first & second trimesters, the following lists some ideas, thoughts and products to help you survive the third trimester. Remember there are plenty of symptoms that you can experience that may not be listed in this post. Check back to the other posts for other symptoms, do a simple internet search to find out more and be sure to speak with your OB if you have any questions or concerns about something you are experiencing (I’m no expert)!

Pamper yourself! I know I listed this as a survival tip in the second trimester post, but it is so important to treat yourself during the homestretch! In the third trimester you body grows even bigger causing you to experience swelling and ache all over your body. Take sometime to pamper yourself with a pre-natal massage or a little extra foot rub while getting a pedicure…you deserve it!

3D and 4D Ultrasounds. Now most OB offices offer 3d/4d ultrasounds to get a clearer image of your baby; however, your insurance may not cover it. A regular ultrasound gives you a side profile shot of your baby, where a 3 or 4 D ultrasound gives you a realistic image of your baby’s face and body. You can watch as your baby may smile, suck it’s thumb, give a pouty face or even yawn. You can see if you baby has your chubby cheeks or your husband’s nose. If your OB does not offer this do a quick internet search for local business that offer this or ask your OB as they might have a location that offer’s their patients a discount! Getting these awesome pictures is a great way to survive the homestretch as a reminder that the horrible back pain your experiencing is totally worth it!

Finalizing the nursery. Getting the nursery finally set up is a great way to kill time during the final weeks! Remember to look at the registry checklist to make sure you have everything you need! Find my free printable checklist HERE.

Insurance Prep.  Prior to giving birth make sure you contact the insurance company that your baby will be covered by and find out what they need sent to them after the baby’s birth to make sure they are covered. Make sure to ask when they need the birth certificate and/or other paperwork as some insurance companies have deadlines post birth for these to be turned in to assure coverage.

Hospital Prep.  Now I was a week late with Lily and with only two weeks lift with baby number two, who knows when I will go into labor. So being prepped and ready to head to the hospital at any moment towards the end of the third trimester is important! I have a free printable checklist of items needed to make your labor and post delivery stay comfortable! For that list click HERE.

Something to help kill time is finding out what hospital you would like to use when you go into labor. Some cities (like Tampa) have several hospitals as options and in some towns you may only have one hospital. Whatever your city/town has call them and see if they offer tours of their facility for prospective parents. These tours can help narrow your decision and/or help with any nerves some parents may have regarding labor and delivery. Plus the nurses and/or staff members who give these tours are a wealth of knowledge for any and all questions you may have! Plus the tours are free!!

Another way to prep for the hospital is pre-registering at the hospital prior to going into labor. Some hospitals make it super easy and offer online registration, but some you might have to stop in and physically fill out the paper work. Pre-registration just helps speed up the process of admittance when you are experiencing painful contractions! When you pre-register make sure you have your insurance information, your baby’s insurance information (under your policy or your partner’s), your OB’s name and number and the pediatrician’s name and number. One last thing to prep yourself for the hospital is getting that car seat installed in the backseat! At the hospital where I gave birth a staff member actually checked to make sure there was a car seat and it was installed properly before they allowed us to leave with Lily!

Hospital Playlist. An important item (for me) on my hospital checklist is my ipod. Music has always been important to me and having my ipod with relaxing music to listen to while I was experiencing contractions with Lily was a HUGE comfort to me. I made a playlist of relaxing music and another playlist of regular tunes that were upbeat, made me smile and helped kill time during the long labor process. Lily took 11 hours to arrive! So prep that ipod or ipad with music playlists that will help comfort you and make you smile while you wait to meet your baby. I also made a playlist full of sweet lullabies that I played Lily post delivery in the hospital and even at home during late night feedings to help soothe her to sleep!

Maternity Pics. To get them or not to get them is the question! Yes your body is HUGE and you may hate the way you look, but you may regret not capturing this special moment! Plus your kid will love looking at the photos! I have a maternity picture in Lily’s room and she loves pointing to it and knowing she was in my belly. It has been a great way to talk about this pregnancy with her. Now you can spend money on a professional or just have a family member take some candid shots in the backyard. Since I have been so sick during this pregnancy I was never up to getting professional shots, so we had my mom take some pictures in her back yard and they work for me!

37weekspicFinding a Pediatrician.  After your baby is born a pediatrician typically likes to have you visit them a few days post birth to check weight and then start the monthly well visits. To make sure you are ready, take the time during this trimester finding a pediatrician you like. Now if you already have kids and have the doc picked then great! Just make sure you contact them and see if they have any paperwork you need to fill out prior to birth to make the first office visit easier. If you are a first time parent ask your OB or friend’s for their referrals on pediatricians in your area. Set up interview appointments to meet the prospective docs to see who you like best. I did a whole post about this and included a free printable list of questions to ask pediatricians during your interviews! Check it out HERE.

Now on to some “fun” third trimester symptoms…

Heartburn. Some women experience heartburn throughout their pregnancy, but some will only experience it towards the end. With your baby taking up so much room in your belly, you can experience painful heartburn after you eat or drink. Sometimes it can happen even before you eat or during the night while sleeping! Tums can taste like chalk, but I have found their smoothie flavored ones easier to take as the dissolve easier and taste better. I keep a bottle next to my bed with a glass of water. To help you might want to break up your breakfast, lunch and dinner into multiple smaller meals throughout the day so you’re not overfilling your stomach. Make sure you stay away from food and drinks that have higher acid levels that may trigger heartburn. When you go to sleep try propping your head with added pillows to help keep the stomach acid down. I have known women who can’t sleep laying down towards the end of their pregnancy and have slept in Lazy Boy recliners to help with the acid reflux….whatever works right!!

Sciatica. With the added weight gain and having a human being inside your body pressing on your back you can experience sciatica. I had it with Lily and with this pregnancy as well. Sciatica is a horrible pain that affects a nerve running from your back down to your leg. My pain is always on my right side in my lower back and radiating down over my butt. When experiencing this pain I take it easy and try and rest my feet. I use a body pillow at night and while hanging out on the couch with the family I always place pillows around my back & belly to help give me support. The one thing that has always helped with the pain is stretching! I stretch throughout the day and right before bed to help keep the pain away. For the best stretch do the following. Raise the leg on the side you’re experiencing pain and prop the leg on your bed, counter or couch. Bend this leg at the knee so it is perpendicular to you body (bent at a 90 degree angle). Now slowly start to lean towards this leg while also sitting back on the other standing leg. Make sure you hold on to the bed, counter or couch. Hold this for 30 seconds and back away. Repeat a few times. Warning you will feel a painful stretch, but it only means the stretch is working and will help relax the tight muscles and reduce the pain in the nerve! (Read more about sciatica here.)

Wet Undies. “Because peeing your pants is cool….well if peeing your pants is cool, then call me Miles Davis.” I have repeated that line from Billy Madison a couple of times after I have had a few “accidents” just to put a smile on my face from the humiliation of wetting my undies. Keeping it real ladies…you could possibly wet your drawers while pregnant and you can certainly run into this dilemma even after giving birth. A simple sneeze cough or small chuckle can cause you to “dribble” like a toddler or a granny wearing Depends. Kegel exercises are highly stressed during your pregnancy to help strengthen your muscles down in the lady region. To read more about them click here.

Even though I did them while pregnant with Lily I still found myself crossing my legs while out in public when I felt a sneeze coming for fear of public leaking! Now with this pregnancy I’ve felt the fear a lot earlier than the third trimester. I have literally waddled super fast to the bathroom a few times when Mike has caused me to laugh super hard at one of his corny jokes. The only advice I can offer is just roll with it. If wearing panty liners brings you peace then do it OR you can repeat Adam Sandler quotes to lighten the mood like me!

Boob Leaks. Yes you read that correctly. Not only do your boobs grow to sizes that will make your eyes big as saucers, they might start leaking as your boobs work hard to start producing milk. Don’t be freaked out…it is totally normal. Typically only a small amount will appear and after wiping it will stop. If you continue to leak pick up some nursing pads from Babies R Us or Target and place them in your bra to prevent leaking to your shirt.

Carpal Tunnel. During my first pregnancy I started having a little tingle feeling in my hands and sometimes a few numb fingers. It escalated to painful aches (especially at night) and when I asked my OB I was told that I was suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome from all my swelling. It last a few weeks after giving birth, but went away eventually. I have yet to experience it during this pregnancy since I have kept my weight in control. With all the fluids the hospital pumps into you during labor I had crazy swelling after birth, and knowing this I will be prepared just in case I experience this painful symptom. To help with the pain I purchased wrist braces that with firm compression and keeping my hands from constantly bending helped reduce the pain. To read more about this lovely pregnancy symptom read here.

Hemorrhoids. Yep these third trimester symptoms keep getting better and better don’t they!!! Yes its embarrassing letting the world know that I’ve had hemorrhoids, but listen I’m keeping it real by disclosing some of the unglamorous predicaments you might find yourself in during pregnancy and post partum. With Lily I only experienced these after giving birth from pushing for two hours! I was given some witch hazel pads and prescription ointment from a doctor to help calm them. My mother affectionately calls hemorrhoids the pregnancy gift that keeps on giving because once you get them they can reappear later on in life.

With this pregnancy they’ve appeared a few times. Once after a day standing and walking the zoo with Lily the pressure made them appear for a few days. During one of my nesting phases I felt the need to power wash the backyard and only after an hour of standing I started to feel them.  I have been constipated a few times during this pregnancy and the pressure of this caused the nasty buggers to appear as well. To help you can make sure to eat plenty of fiber and drink plenty of water to stay regular. Don’t sit on the toilet and push too hard…If you can’t go don’t strain yourself. Use flushable wet wipes to clean your bottom because regular t.p. can irritate the sensitive area. Don’t stand for long periods of time and make sure to rest by propping up your feet (and lie on your side to keep pressure off your sore bottom). You can purchase Tuck Pads and hemorrhoid creams like Peparation H to help soothe the area and make the swelling go down. Fill up your tub with warm water to soothe your bum that way too. If they are super bad, especially after birth use a doughnut pillow (can be purchased at your drugstore or hospital supply stores) to help sitting on your bum less painful.

Braxton Hicks/Contractions. Believe it or not your body starts contractions early on in your pregnancy and a majority of women won’t even feel them at all!  Braxton Hicks are unpredictable, not rhythmic and typically more uncomfortable than painful. Towards the end of your third trimester you start to experience the Braxton Hicks more often and if they intensify its considered “false labor”…something I experienced this past Wednesday. I started to have horrible contractions and when I started to time them they where becoming more rhythmic and were lasting a lot longer then the average 30 second ones I had been previously experiencing. After an hour and a half of these contractions where they were lasting a minute long and happening every 9-10 minutes I called my OB. I was given directions to drink two full glasses of water, lay down and time them for another hour. If they stayed the same I was to call back…but if they started to space back out I was to continue to rest and drink more water. Sure enough mine slowly started to space out and become less painful. I was just dehydrated and needed the rest. Needless to say after being sick for 9 months straight and having those painful false labor contractions I broke down in tears that I wasn’t really in labor. So I have more waiting to do! To help with contractions make sure you stay hydrated. Take it easy and rest! If your contractions are happening frequently make sure you time them! Go back and check out the pregnancy apps I talked about in the post about surviving the first trimester. Most of the pregnancy apps come with a contraction timer. I used the timer on the Pregnancy + app and found it super easy to use. (again head back to the previous post for a link to this app)

thirdtricomfortFor my comfort items this trimester I still use most of the ones from the previous trimesters so make sure you read those posts to check them out!

I pretty much live in black maternity leggings. I buy mine from Motherhood because they are always on sale. They are super soft and come in different colors. In store and online there is always a great sale on there leggings (usually buy one get one 50%).

I have turned to reading A LOT during this pregnancy. I have found that concentrating on reading my Kindle keeps my mind off complaining/concentrating on the nausea that I have yet escaped! I have the Kindle Paperwhite and love it! It’s simple to use and I can read in any degree of light there’s no squinting like reading an iPad. Since I’m an Amazon Prime member I have access to tons of books that I can rent for FREE or purchase at a greater discount! Kindle might not take my nausea away, but it helps take my mind off it! Plus it kills time while waiting for all my OB appointments!

As you read above flushable wet wipes bring extreme comfort for those dealing with hemorrhoids! I buy Target’s brand for the cheap price.

My free printable checklist to prep you for the hospital has helped me pack my bags, even if this is my second time! Read above for a link to the free printable!

If you are planning on nursing then you might want to purchase a few nursing bras prior to birth just to be prepared. I have started wearing my nursing bras because they are so much more comfortable than my regular bras with underwires! When I’m sitting the bra’s underwire cuts into my huge belly and it’s just uncomfortable. Target has some great options that won’t break the bank! I’m obsessed with my Bravado Body Silk Seamless bra I found on Amazon. It is super comfy, comes in other colors and the low front and back works great with different style shirts. I still wear sports bras all the time (check my comfort items from the first trimester to see my two favorite sports bras!).

 
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  1. Kimberly commented:
    February 24, 2014 Reply

    you guys look great!

  2. joyce romano commented:
    February 25, 2014 Reply

    Amy, You guys look great in the picture. Soon you will be the mother of two little girls. Your day will soon be here. Love you,

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  1. By Lily & Bliss | Surviving The First Trimester on February 24, 2014 at 1:07 am

    [...] trimester that even has a free printable checklist for when you register! Also read all about surviving the third trimester that has a free printable checklist to prep you for the [...]

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Valentine Roundup

Today I’m bringing you a roundup of past posts and other cute finds from around the web all in the name of love…..well for the holiday of love, Valentine’s Day! Holidays always give a reason to shop, make and create!

Mike and I don’t do the whole big gift exchange on Valentine’s Day. Of course we give each other sweet love notes and Mike always gives in to the whole flower aspect of the holiday (& I don’t mind!). But we’re not into being forced to give big luxury gifts as a token of our love on a specific date other than one that holds special meaning to us. IF Mike was to ever buy a nice piece of jewelry as a sweet symbol of his love, it would mean so much more, to me, if I received it on just a normal day. Don’t get me wrong, we use Valentine’s day to express our love and affection but just not by spending major $$$ to do so! So on February 14th you can expect we will have lovey dovey cards for each other, flowers and a romantic home cooked dinner (well as romantic as it can get with a toddler).

We also don’t go overboard with an expensive Valentine gift for Lily. Just something small that she will love and go gaga over. For Lily’s grandparents were opted for a sweet keepsake last year…a small canvas bearing her tiny handprint!

So take a look at some previous posts to spark some ideas for your holiday…

ideasforvday

One of my all time favorite crafts with Lily was the Glitter Keepsake Handprint we created for the grandparents. The only messy part of the craft was applying glue to Lily’s hand and then transferring it to the small canvas…otherwise the rest was super easy. Her tiny handprint is still on display on a gold easel in our kitchen! Click HERE to check out the project

For something sweet try making the delicious pink and white cookies that are so easy to make! Check out the post all about these cake box cookies for a tasty treat HERE!

For another sweet keepsake try framing a picture of your kid(s) holding up letters spelling out ‘DAD’ or ‘NANA’ for an adorable gift that will be treasured way past Valentine’s Day! Click HERE for more details.

A sweet treat that is actually healthy??? Lily LOVED the DIY fruit snacks I made for her in the shape of hearts! Click HERE for the recipe!

Instead of gifting roses, why not give other pretty flowers that are already in a chalk painted planter! If the plant/flower dies the gift receiver can toss it out, fill the chalk planter with a new plant and scribe the name of the new plant with chalk on the planter. A super easy DIY project that makes a charming gift! Click HERE to read all about it.

If you have a little girl then make her a cute little tutu to wear on the special holiday. Check out my super easy DIY tutorial HERE and see how simple & cheap it is to make!

Now for some finds from around the web….

vdaywebfinds

Looking for some ideas for Lily’s teacher I found this FREE printable from Eighteen 25. You can grab the printable with great directions on how to make her “Thanks a Latte” card where you insert a Starbucks gift card for the teacher who definitely needs caffeine to put up with a classroom full of toddlers!

Another cute FREE printable for teachers was the one I found from Happy Money Saver! The quote is so true… “It takes a big heart to help shape little minds”!

I know I said Mike & I don’t exchange gifts like jewelry for the holiday, but it doesn’t mean I can’t gift myself something cute & small to wear on the 14th!  I adore these small quartz earrings from Shop Gussied. The chunky organic stone is dipped in gold (or silver) and for a price of $16.99 the jewels are perfect for any day of the year! Check out her bangles too!

Pretty smitten over these heart skinny jeans for your mini me. They are on sale now at the Gap.

LOVED this DIY gold glitter tote bag from The Glitter Guide! It was made as a bridesmaid’s gift, but of course you could use it for any occasion! Find the tutorial over at Style Me Pretty!

 

 

 
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Simplicity Series

I’m so thrilled to be a part of the Simplicity Series over at one of my dearest friend’s blog, Miss Emily Ley! Emily has been featuring this wonderful series on her blog for awhile and I was tickled to be a part of it! This series features women in different stages of their lives sharing six products and/or tips that help make their life more simple so they can spend their time on what matters!

So hop on over to Emily’s blog and check out my part in this fabulous series! Click HERE

simplicity

 
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Currently Lying To Save My Sanity

As parents we strive to raise our kids to be kind, loving and know the difference between right and wrong. One lesson to teach our kids is not to lie. Of course this is something that most toddlers won’t exactly grasp until they are a bit older. BUT while we make every effort to require the truth from our kids, we parents lie straight to their faces….oh the irony.

The biggest examples of parenting fibs…a giant bunny that visits your house with a basket full of candy & toys. Last time I checked bunnies need all four paws to hop and don’t think they have the finger dexterity to carry those huge Pottery Barn monogrammed baskets. Or what about the fairy that removes your kid’s teeth from under their pillow and replaces them with money. The biggest example is of course Santa. The man who knows when your kid has been bad or good and will withhold Christmas morning presents if said kid has been visiting the time out chair too often. He has deer that fly and manages to visit all the kids in the world in one night. And with Santa also comes that very popular Elf on the Shelf. A spy for Santa that comes to your house each morning and watches your kid like a hawk to keep them in check.

lyingUnless you’re a jehova’s witness (or you just detest anything fun & magical), you can see that yes you indeed lie to your kids. Fibs, white lies or tall tales…whatever you call ‘em…you are lying to your kids. My mom had to be the world’s greatest liar and coupled with my HUGE imagination and gullibility as a kid, I believed in Santa, the Easter bunny and tooth fairy way over the reasonable age limit. Sadly I found out the truth about all three imaginary tall tales in one day. Having suspicion about the giant bunny that delivers chocolate, I left a note on the eve of Easter for the bunny to sign the piece of paper. Yes I made the Easter bunny sign an avadavat to prove he was legit. Well The “B” in the bunny’s signature looked like my dad’s signature and I put two and two together. Sitting on the stairs in shock I had the final epiphany that there was also no tooth fairy and no Santa. I was crushed I tell ya. My mom came up to me on the steps and told me not to tell my brother and ruin it for him…something that to this day she says she never said, but to a kid who’s whole imaginary world crashed down…I remember every detail of that sad morning.

But even though I was so sad over that discovery, I par-take in the same traditions with Lily and had a whole lot of fun watching her light up every morning finding her elf in a funny position each day. Yes and I too used the “you better be good or else no presents” fib to help keep my crazy toddler in check.

As a parent going through the horrible “terrible two” stage, my husband and I have developed a dependency on telling fibs. Our little white lies started a while ago with our most famous lie…the “napping” lie. Kids learn the basic human needs of eating and napping early on. So when you tell your kid that someone or something is asleep or is about to take a nap they understand because they take naps. Now how do I use this “napping” lie you ask? Not kidding you…I have come to use it on the daily.

Babies R Us conveniently has a Bert & Ernie fire truck ride at their checkout and Lily about flipped when I told her she couldn’t get on. She wouldn’t understand that we were running a tad late for an appointment. To her she wanted to ride and she wanted it right then. So guess what…the ride was taking a nap. Lily looked at me giving me a understanding nod and said “Yep they sleepy”. I gave myself an inner high five and was able to walk out of the store without a meltdown. Once at eight o’clock at night Lily started to throw a fit over not being able to finger-paint…and yep the paint was napping. When her nap time arrives, Lily sometimes fights until I convince her that her toys and Disney characters are currently napping so she better hurry up and get to sleep so she can play with them when they wake up.

I have become dependent on the “napping” lie to get me thorough way too many daily situations and I will cry the day Lily realizes her crayon doesn’t need a nap. My lie telling has become so common I surprise myself sometimes when a fib slips my tongue so easily. Case in point…those shopping carts at the grocery store that come with wheels that kids can play with while you shop. Well Lily learned that if she pulls on the wheel hard enough she can bust through the buckle that is supposed to strap her in. This leaves me fighting her the entire shopping trip to sit down before she gives me a heart attack by jumping off the cart and breaks her neck. So one day we were walking in to our grocery store and Lily starts to point to an empty car cart and before I knew it I was telling her that cart was broken and didn’t work. As Lily looked back to me and said “Yep, it no work”, I couldn’t believe I was able to think that fast with a lie that she would understand and believe. Not only did I give myself an inner high five…I took a flipping curtsey for my awesomeness at the quick thinking. For some reason I’m able to tell this same lie to Lily every time we go into the store and she believes me.

Do I feel guilty…heck no. Once you have experienced public toddler meltdowns over trivial things like a car cart, telling a little white lie to prevent the tantrum is worth it.

My husband has been pretty quick to originate some creative fibs as well. While in Georgia for my grandmother’s funeral Mike and Lily stayed at the hotel one evening while I attended a service. While I was gone Lily turned into a wild child and Mike came up with the “security” lie. After numerous attempts to discipline Lily for her rowdy behavior and attempts to destroy the hotel room Mike told her that the hotel’s security was coming to the door soon because they were upset that she was throwing hotel property around. He even went to the extent of opening the door and act like security was at the door. So anytime after when Lily started to get sassy all we had to do is bring up that security would be arriving and she would stop asap. On the long way home when she started having a major hissy fit and even unbuckled her seatbelt we pulled out the security card. I called Mike’s cell phone from the passenger seat and he pretended he was security while Lily listened to our Bluetooth convo. “Security” told us that he would pull us over soon and have a stern talking to Lily about seatbelt safety. She listened and with eyes wide opened and when I hung up she started to attempt to buckle her seatbelt with quick fingers.

So judge if you want…but Lily’s playdough will continue to nap, the car carts will be out of commission and security will be called during hissy fits for as long as she’ll believe them…

 
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  1. Bill Boykin commented:
    January 28, 2014 Reply

    Great Blog sweetheart. I remember you sitting on those steps in Danville contemplating what mom asked you to be cool with Alex. Lily will have her life epiphany’s as well. You and Mike are great parents and will guide her. I just want her to love the “tickle monster” and papaw and know I am there for her and her new sister to come

    Love
    Dad

  2. MIchelle Czarnik commented:
    January 28, 2014 Reply

    Love this, we experience a lot of napping toys and TV shows in our house too. I might have to remember the “security” one. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. shauna anderson commented:
    January 28, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for the advice for the future… so glad I can look to you for tips! Love you. :)

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Surviving The Second Trimester

A GREAT read about surviving the second trimester! Tips/advice and a free printable list on items needed when registering for the baby! Pin to save! When you hit the second trimester, most moms-to-be are thrilled. Excited because for most women the morning sickness starts to disappear when you cross over to the second trimester. I say most because sadly I wasn’t one of those lucky ducks (with this pregnancy)!

Along with loosing the nausea, most women will feel their energy levels bounce back…making them feel more like themselves. Sadly (again), with this pregnancy my energy levels remained low during the second trimester. This proves that all pregnancies are different. So while I still battled the nausea & low energy levels I still have some tips and thoughts on how to survive the second trimester!

Head back to read my thoughts & tips on surviving the first trimester, as I might discuss things that you are just experiencing in the second trimester! (click HERE)

The second trimester is the part of your pregnancy where you will finally get proof that you are indeed growing a baby in that belly…Baby kicks and the bump appears! When you finally realize that those flutters are the baby it makes all the crappy pregnancy side affects worth it! It’s even better when the dad-to-be finally gets to feel the little one kick.

Speaking of bumps….yours will appear this trimester. You will finally exit that annoying stage where you know your pregnant, but a complete stranger might think you just love Duncan Donuts a tad too much! Need help finding clothes to dress the bump?? I did a whole post on stores and online resources for maternity wear- read HERE.

Blue or Pink. Besides losing the nausea and feeling your baby kick this trimester brings the big gender reveal! Most women will find out around week 20 if you will cheer for team pink or team blue. However, you can find out earlier if you have earlier sonograms ordered from your OB regarding other health issues. If your OB or insurance won’t allow an earlier ultrasound so you can find out the sex there are third party companies that offer this. Just do some Google searches for companies that offer 3D/4D ultrasound testing in your area, but know that these can be expensive. So if you want to save on $ and are willing to wait just have it done at your OB’s office where insurance will cover it! Also I bought one of those at home gender reveal tests and personally think it was a waste of money…read about that here!

Sleep pillows. Sleeping can be a source of irritation for a lot of moms-to-be. Some fight insomnia (I did with Lily!) or some just can’t get comfortable. This is the time where you might look into pregnancy pillows to help give your growing body the right support to help catch some Zs. When I was pregnant with Lily I purchased an actual pregnancy pillow that was huge and shaped like a giant candy cane that I could rest my head on while wrapping a leg around the long body portion, giving the belly support. Well I HATED it! I thought the pillow itself was way too hard. Also when I needed to shift to my other side I felt like it was a big ordeal since I had to flip the entire pillow to get the same support. Not the kind of work you want to be doing throughout the night! Plus those pillows are expensive $$$$$! With this pregnancy I kept it simple and picked up a plain body pillow by Laura Ashley from Bed Bath & Beyond that was around $20 and I used a 20% off coupon…score. The body pillow is softer that my previous one and its much easier to hold onto while I flip to either side during the night. Now some women love pregnancy pillows, but I think that they are a waste of money and don’t provide the support I personally need to get a comfortable nights sleep.

Potty Time. If you didn’t build a close relationship with your toilet due to morning sickness, then you will certainly become closer during this period. As the baby grows and becomes more active your bladder will become your kid’s pillow and sometimes punching bag…leading you to run to the nearest toilet. Before you leave to run any kind of errand I highly suggest you attempt to pee before you leave to be on the safe side. Sometimes all it takes is a simple roll or kick to lead to the urge to pee….and that even means after you just went. Yep….sometimes you will pee, stand up and the baby will move making you feel like you still have to go. Funny thing is that sometimes you will have a huge urge to pee and you will literally only pee two drops. The urges will come throughout the night so be prepared to visit the toilet in the middle of your precious sleep. Tip: Make sure you have extra t.p. by the toilet in case you run out & make sure you clear the pathway to the toilet. I have learned my lesson with the later way too many times. Tripping over shoes and bumping my shoulder into Mike’s open closet door at 3 am is no fun.

Picking A Name. Choosing a name for your kid can either be super easy or incredibly hard. Easy for those that already have a family name they know they will pass down or a chosen name that they have always knew they would use. For me choosing a name was hard. Mike and I struggled for a while picking Lily and we are still laboring over a name for this baby. Choosing a name can be a lot of pressure because it’s not some simple name for a goldfish or pet…you are naming an actual soon-to-be human. This name will be called out in school and used on resumes. My advice on the name picking is to at least wait until you know the gender to start researching names. It can become to overwhelming going over both boy & girl names….plus you don’t want to fall in love with the name Mathew and discover your having a girl (but FYI I’m a huge fan of boy names for girls!). Something else that can be difficult is the advice and opinions of others when you share prospective baby names. This is a great lesson to learn now because once you have your baby advice and opinions on practically everything will come even when unsolicited. So ask advice or share your prospective names if you want, just be prepared if friends & family don’t share your excitement over your picks! I know this from experience because I have my heart set on a particular name now that can also be used for a boy, and some family members forget their filters and express more than a total dislike towards said name…something that can be hurtful to a hormonal pregnant woman! So until Mike and I know for sure we are keeping our choices to ourselves this time around.

Registering. Most people like to wait until the safety of the second trimester to register for baby items. For those parents that will be finding out the gender, I would wait until you know the sex until you register for those pink or blue swaddle blankets! Registering for your baby can be daunting, especially for first time moms that have no clue what kind of bottles to buy or which car seat has the best safety rating. My biggest advice is to do some research before you head to register. Yes stores will have some helpful lists as to what items you may need, but unless you do some research before it will be overwhelming reading over all the different brands and their features on products like bottles, diapers, strollers, car seats, pack-in-plays, baby monitors ect. ect….

To give moms-to-be an extra leg up I created a printable checklist of baby items that you can download and use when registering (read that post HERE). My tip would be to print of the list and then use it while doing some online research on items before heading to the store. Another tip, register at more than one store. Yes Babies-R-Us and Buy Buy Baby are usually the main stores moms will register at. However, sometimes those stores might not have a particular item or brand that you want. For example Target was the only place that carried the kind of pacifier that Lily liked and that I approved of.  If you are a second or third time momma and don’t feel comfortable with receiving another baby shower, still register! Remember when you register you will start to receive coupons from the stores that you will benefit from in the future! Plus some stores give you a BIG discount towards leftover items on your register after your baby’s due date for a said period of time. I believe places like Pottery Barn Kids gives you a discount of anywhere from 15-20% off any item on your register 30 days after your due date. For the printable checklists click HERE for page 1 and click HERE for page 2.

Nursery. One thing that can help time pass is planning out the nursery! This is something that for most will wait until you find out the gender. Until you find out the gender you can still do a little planning as far as the nursery layout! For all you Pinterest lovers set up a nursery category and start pinning away ideas to help you brainstorm! You can also head to websites like Pottery Barn Kids or Restoration Hardware Baby & Child for ideas as well!

R & R. My biggest tip or advice to surviving the second trimester (& the third) is making sure you spend time on yourself with a little R&R. The second trimester brings the opportunity to finally get a massage to help with that sore body. Most establishments will not give you a massage until you are at least 12 to 13 weeks along for the safety of not having a miscarriage. Your body goes through the most dramatic changes during the second trimester that can leave you tired, sore and just plain uncomfortable. Take the time now to relax because who knows what your time will be like with round the clock care of your new baby! One thing that most pregnant women can experience is swelling in the feet and ankles. One thing I splurge on is paying a little extra when I get a pedicure for a longer foot massage. Ask your nail salon if they offer that, most are willing to rub those tired feet a little longer for some $! For an additional 10 minutes I shell out $10…to me it is money well spent!

2ndtrimestercomfort For my comfort items this trimester make sure you look at the ones from the first trimester because I still use all those things! But for the second trimester and with a growing belly I fell in love with a cotton maxi dress from Old Navy that a sweet friend gave me. The dress is soft, stretchy in all the right places and actually really flattering! Plus the price is easy on the wallet!

I have continued working out during this pregnancy to keep from ballooning and I fell in love with Gap’s maternity Gapfit racerback tank.  It is super comfy and goes well with the belly! To make sure I watch my heart level and keep track of calories burned I have become obsessed with my Polar women’s heart rate monitor. It is $89, but to me it is worth every penny because not only do I use it now, I will continue to use it after the baby is born to help shed the lbs! The watch is really light and the elastic heart transmitter strap is comfortable and can adjust to your growing size to continue to make it comfortable!

Even though this is my second pregnancy, I leaned on my baby checklist to help prep all the items to stock the new nursery. Read above for the link to the post and the two links to print the FREE checklist!

To help look for baby names Mike and I purchased 100,00 + baby names book. Not only does this book have give you 100,000 names, there are tons of lists based on trends, ethnicities, movies, famous books on even wacky names that celebs have used! There are also plenty of online resources, just Google baby names and choose from all the sites that appear!

One of my all time favorite books to read while pregnant is Jenny McCarthy’s Belly Laughs. This book will leave you laughing in tears over all the stories from her pregnancy & her birth. This is a great book to read during any trimester, but I found that I related to it later on during the second trimester as I experienced almost all of the symptoms and shared similar hilarious stories that she shares.

Since I value my sleep, my body pillow is one of my most important comfort items during this trimester! Read above for a link to the one I purchased.

Please note that these are just some of the symptoms you can experience, not all of them! Since I’m not an expert or OB please check with your doctor for any concerns you may have. Read all about surviving the third trimester that has a free printable checklist to prep you for the hospital! 

 
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  1. By Lily & Bliss | Surviving The First Trimester on February 24, 2014 at 12:53 am

    [...] or OB please check with your doctor for any concerns you may have. Be sure to check out tips on surviving the second trimester that even has a free printable checklist for when you register! Also read all about surviving the [...]

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2014 Is All About Living…

Typically people take some time leading up to New Years Eve or in the beginning days of the New Year to reflect and plan. Reflect on life over the past year. Figure out if their life is on track. What goals and milestones they’ve reached and ones they have yet to accomplish.

Then there are the New Year’s resolutions that have people planning. Planning on hitting new or old goals. Looking back last year I entered 2013 with the perspective of focusing on what matters. To me I planned on focusing on my faith, family and my health. I planned on building my relationship with God. I planned to devote more time to my relationship with Mike. I wanted to focus on being a better mom to Lily and concentrate on being more in the moment with her. And of course I had planned on continuing on my road to losing my baby weight (read more in depth HERE).

But life happened and we were graced with a pregnancy in June. And if you follow along with this blog you know that it has been a difficult pregnancy. With 8 weeks left I am still struggling with nausea. After June I gave up on my 2013 goals and focused on just trying to get through each day of the rough sickness.

And just like 2013, 2014 started out with another life moment that is inevitable…death. My grandmother passed away.

grandma

She entered the hospital and five days later she took her last breath. A couple of hours after entering the hospital we found out that she was having some heart issues and I had a gut feeling that if I didn’t get up to Augusta and see her that I would carry so much guilt not being able to say goodbye if she passed. At 8 months pregnant I knew I only had this small window to get up there before it wasn’t safe to travel. Mike stayed home with Lily and I hopped in my car to make the 8+ hour drive (its normally a longer drive but I have a lead foot) to Augusta last Thursday.

Friday I spent all day with my grandmomma. Unfortunately her health took a turn for the worse early Friday morning and by the time I arrived she was struggling. However, I was blessed to have had that day with her. She opened her eyes throughout the day to speak to her loved ones. Her memory had been slipping and I can’t express how happy I was that she recognized me, remembered to ask about Lily and even quized me on prospective baby names for baby #2.

Friday I was able to shower my grandmomma with love and laughter. I helped feed her a few spoonfuls of orange sherbert, rubbed her hand to let her know I was there, and laugh along with our family while she unleashed her famous sassy attitude. Yes while in ICU my grandmomma still had enough of her spunk to blame Obamacare for her dried lips.

We learned Friday that her organs were slowly shutting down and it was only a matter of time before she would meet her maker. I drove home on Saturday to prepare clothes for my mom and dad for the funeral and on Sunday at 7:15 pm the good Lord called her up. On Monday Mike & Lily drove back up with me so I could be with the rest of the family to pay our respects to my fabulous grandmother.

Over the last few days I have done nothing but look back over the memories of my beloved grandmomma.  We went to her house to go through her belongings to see if there is anything we wanted to take…but I couldn’t. After looking though a few things I was overcome with emotion as I sat on her piano bench. The same piano bench that I would sit on as a little girl while tapping on the keys. The same bench that still held music sheets and my Aunt Jane’s paper dolls that I would rifle through as a child believing they were treasures. I left her house with only one physical object….a handwritten recipe card from her pantry for homemade pecan pie (my favorite). I left with tears but with a heart full of love from remembering all the good that came from that house and that woman.

grandma1

My 2014 started off with a huge loss. A loss that can never be physically gained back. Only time will make the grieving easier.  The time leading up to the funeral and the long drive home was my period of reflection and planning. My plans for 2014 are simple…to just live.

My grandmother lived a pretty amazing life. With only a high school education she started working for Southern Bell at entry level and after 42 years she retired as a senior engineer. She continued working on her education (even attended MIT) all while she was employed and raising two kids. She never truly retired. She focused on my grandfather’s cancer diagnosis and though her love and devotion he lived nine years longer than the few months that doctors had given him. My grandmomma had a heart of gold and lived her life devoted to God, her family and the community.

She was involved in countless volunteer projects. In the trunk of her car, living room and spare room she has bags and bags full of lap blankets she was about to deliver to the veterans and nursing hospitals. She had plenty of toiletries waiting to be shipped to the men and women serving our country. She even had bags of hand stitched teddy bears and store bought stuffed animals that needed to still be delivered to law enforcement. That way if a police officer or fireman ever entered a home of a scared child they could offer them a stuffed animal to help them through any kind of trauma.

So I want, plan and hope that I can live my 2014 with the same level of love and passion my grandmomma did. I enter 2014 with the reminder that life is such a precious gift. Sure I can make a resolution to lose the baby weight from this pregnancy in X amount of days/months…but who knows what will happen this year that could throw me off a weight loss goal. So no real resolutions for me….I want to just live 2014 to the fullest.

grandma3

To read more about my amazing grandmomma click HERE.

 
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  1. Emily Ley commented:
    January 11, 2014 Reply

    So sad about your Grandma, Ames. I still miss mine. Love you so much. Please send Bentley back because Brady ACTUALLY cried today looking for him. :)

  2. Sarita commented:
    January 11, 2014 Reply

    Amy, I’m so sorry about your grandmomma’s passing. What a character! You have written here a beautiful homage to her wonderful and blessed life. I hope knowing what a long and fulfilled life she had, and peaceful passing with you all near will help assuage your grief.

    2014! The year of LIVING!

    Love,
    Sarita and the boys

  3. shauna anderson commented:
    January 16, 2014 Reply

    So sorry for your loss, Ames. Your Grandma sounds like an amazing person and I know this post would make her proud. I love you!

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Baking Cookies With A Toddler

Great tips on baking cookies with a toddler!! So don't stress about the mess & make some memories with your kid!! A HUGE part of the holiday season, for me, is baking delicious cookies. I have wonderful memories baking cookies as a kid and it became a tradition with not only my mom, but with my nana too (my mom’s mom). My nana and I would always make gingerbread men. I remember standing on the chair, decked out in my mini apron, making a mess and enjoying sneaky tastes of batter/frosting/toppings. I can even recall picking off the raisins (used for buttons or eyes) because I hated the way they tasted after baking.

Lily is at the perfect stage to start this favored tradition. For an OCD freak, the thought of baking with a toddler would normally have me heading for the hills. Well today I have some thoughts & tips on how to bake cookies with your toddler!

Take A Chill Pill. Not literally….but go ahead and take a deep breath before you start. Most likely this will be a messy experience…but take it for what it is…an experience for you to make a memory. Your toddler may or may not remember, but you will.

Choose an easy recipe. Don’t make this harder on your self and choose a recipe with too many ingredients and 12 steps! For Lily’s first cookie experience I went super simple and used a cookie mix from a bag that only needed two additional ingredients! It was also one that didn’t need egg, so I didn’t care if she stole tastes of the dough!

Great tips on baking cookies with a toddler! Let your toddler help. What fun is it if you do all the work and your kid only gets to stir for a hot second? With the cookie mix, I let Lily pour the bag into the bowl (with assistance), and I let her hold the measuring cup of liquids when we both dump it into the bowl. Lily’s favorite part is the mixing. I give her a spatula and let her go at it for a while. After a minute I’ll grab the utensil and with her help, I will finish mixing the dough. If you need to use a hand mixer allow your toddler to place one hand to help guide. Obviously before you use the mixer explain that your toddler’s fingers need to stay away from the bowl and/or bottom of the mixer or they will get a Boo-boo. The warning of getting a boo-boo is enough of a warning for Lily!

Great tips on baking cookies with a toddler! Prep. Before you even get your toddler involved make sure you are prepped and ready! Make sure all your ingredients and the correct measuring cups are out. Melt your butter first. Beat that egg first in a small bowl that your toddler can easily pour into the mix. I don’t have one of those toddler step stools, so I just pull a chair up to the counter. This is another reason to have the ingredients ready because you do not want to leave your kid standing on a stool while you grab the milk from the fridge! To continue the apron tradition, my mom gifted Lily & I matching monogrammed aprons! Now whenever I tell Lily we are going to bake she bolts to the pantry to grab her apron…it is so adorable that I always stop and watch her do it! If you don’t have an apron, put one of your husband’s t-shirts over your toddler’s clothes! It will help keep them clean….or cleaner than if they didn’t have it on! OR if you’re like me and you plan messy activities in the am…just keep your kid in their pajamas! After the mess, just toss the pjs in the hamper!

Great tips on baking cookies with a toddler! If you are making sugar cookies using cookie cutters like we did then I have a great tip. To contain the mess (as much as you can) and make an easy clean up, use a cookie sheet that has edges as your work station. Damp a wash cloth and place it under the cookie sheet so the tray stays still and doesn’t move around on the counter. Sprinkle some flour on the tray and then let your kid spread it around and help you pat the dough out!

Great tips on baking cookies with a toddler! My best advice is find a cookie cut out that has a handle to make it easier on your toddler! Now most likely your toddler will just go crazy with the cutter and will not place the cookie cut outs right next to each other…who cares! Let them have the fun! Just keep rolling the extra dough together, pat out again and allow them to continue making their cookies!

Great tips on baking cookies with a toddler! Sneaky sneaky. They WILL attempt to eat the dough or place utensils in their mouth. It is inevitable! If you are uncomfortable with the whole raw egg, then you might want to try one of those bag cookie mixes that do not require eggs. But let’s be honest….licking the spoon and testing some of the cookie batter is part of the whole experience!!

Great tips on baking cookies with a toddler! Frosting. We went simple (again) and bought pre-made frosting that came with a small pack of sprinkles. Once the cookies were cooled, Lily got her own small cup of frosting with one of her toddler knifes to spread on the cookies. If you set your standards high for some Martha looking cookies…then you need to re-think again. While your toddler is having fun smearing some frosting you can decorate a few on the side….so you can have some pretty ones! But more than likely you will have some crazy looking cookies with way too much frosting or barely any! Remember it is all about the experience!

Great tips on baking cookies with a toddler!If you are adding sprinkles place some in a small bowl and allow your toddler to pick up a few at a time and sprinkle. I have used the kind of sprinkles that you normally just lightly shake over the cookies…but with a toddler there is no light shaking. The one time I used those with Lily, she ended up dumping most of the sprinkles on one cookie!

Great tips on baking cookies with a toddler! Remember to just have fun with it. You will have more of a mess to clean up than usual. The cookies might not look as pretty as your usual ones. BUT they will taste yummy and your toddler will have a blast!

Great tips on baking cookies with a toddler!

 
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  1. Elizabeth commented:
    December 24, 2013 Reply

    She’s so cute! I love the determination on her face. So excited to see her big girl room, too! Merry Christmas, Amy!

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