Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How I Define Success

Success. Being successful.
It means something different to everyone. One person might say she is successful because of the job title she obtained or the salary she earns or how much she has in savings. Another might say he's successful because of the size or location of his home or the kind of car he drives. Another might say she's successful because of the type and quantity of clothes in her closet or the vacations she takes.
I may or may not have had similiar definitions of success. Now, as a mama, my idea of success has completely changed. My original idea was blown to smithereens.
I feel successful at the end of the day if any one of these occur:
  • my kid takes a good nap
  • my kid smiled and laughed today
  • I rememberd to bring Evan's favorite blanket to daycare
  • I have dinner ready by 6:30
  • I get to go to bed by 11:30
  • I get to read a page or two in a book
  • we get to take a walk
  • my head is still attached to my body
  • I have clean (albeit wrinkly) clothes to wear to work
  • I got to work on time
  • I have a moment to pet the dogs
  • we all still love each other
  • melt downs were kept to a minimum
  • there's enough gas in the car to get me to the gas station
  • I didn't dehydrate
  • I remember to pay the bills
  • Saving 50 cents with a coupon
Does this sound familiar?
As moms, we take these mini succcesses each day and let them keep us motivated and help us feel achieved even when our to-do lists are overflowing. They help us to keep smiling even if we're exhausted.
Having Evan taught me that time with family, your baby's smile, a hug....these things are so much more important than money and status. I wouldn't trade memories and experiences like these for the most expensive home or highend clothing or endless spa days. Nothing can compare.
Funny how things change.
P.S. I am usually successful, even on my worst days because I can get Evan to smile and laugh.
How do you define success?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Walking Machine

My boy.
My boy.... is a walking machine! He's everywhere!
This all happened very quickly. I feel like one day he was cruising along the furniture and timidly taking a few steps to John or I....then...the next day he was zooming everywhere!
See for yourself.
He walks around with a huge smile on his face and he'll burst out laughing as he waddles along.
It's the best.
He's also been less fussy since he can now control where he goes easily. I think for a little while there he was frustrated and therefore, fussy because of it. He's having a blast now and always in a happy mood!
When I pick him up from day care he squeals and runs to me throwing his arms around my legs or neck. Best part of my day. Warms my heart.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Baby Carrier: Baby Gear Gold

Let. Me. Tell. You.
The baby carrier is a gift from baby gear heaven. I used mine the 1st day home from the hospital. I used a homemade moby carrier for the first 6 months and I wouldn't have survived without it. For real.

I would carry Evan in it to help him get to sleep as a newborn. Just walking around the house made him drowsy. Once you get savvy enough with it, you can even breastfeed in a carrier, it's amazing! I love the benefits of baby wearing (the proper phrase for carrying baby). I'm sure you've read them:
  • keeps baby happy by being close to you
  • baby feels safe and secure
  • baby cries less
  • promotes healthy development (physically and mentally)
  • helps increasing baby/mama bond
(Just to name a few). Baby wearing also helps mamas out, too. It freed my hands to be able to eat or do a few easy chores or even check email or take stroll outside. Feeling the weight and warmth of my little guy in the moby really helped me stay in tune with what he needed and definitely strengthened the bond even more. I really enjoy baby wearing.
My  baby wearing journey began with the homemade moby, then I also used a soft but structured baby carrier and now I have the Beco baby carrier. I used the homemade moby until I needed more back support, around 18 pounds or 6 months. From 3 to 7 months I also used a soft but structured front pack. I used this when Evan had more head control, slept less and wanted to face forward during longer outings.
Currently I have the Beco baby carrier (I just learned about it otherwise I would have purchased it sooner!). It is an amazing piece of work. You can hold baby on the front facing in or out, on your hip or on your back! I promise this is not an informercial, I just love it!

I originally thought carrying Evan so much could spoil him but that is sooo not true. You can't spoil a baby. Also, think about all the cultures that carry babies because they have to continue their chores and responsibilities. The babies just hang out in a sling with mom.
Because E is heavier now, using the Beco takes the weight off my arms and spreads on my back and hips. I use it almost daily. After being away from each other all day at work and day care, it's a nice way to spend a half hour reconnecting. He'll just hang out and I'll dance, sing and talk about my day while bringing in groceries or opening the mail.
Another cool thing? Dads can do it, too! Seriously, only the cool Dad's do it.
Do you enjoy baby wearing? What are your favorite carriers?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

You just had a baby. Now what?

It's been almost a year since I experienced this. Yet, I remember vividly the first days home from the hospital.
Ok. You just got home from the hospital/birthing center. You've just had a baby. Now what?
You're probably tired/excited/tired/terrified. First things first. Close your eyes are take a deep breath.
You might have some family, friends and neighbors that welcome you home. They'll bring food and offers to help. Take them up on it.
Let them hold the baby while you go take a nice hot shower and relax. Maybe even take a nap. Yes, you'll feel the mommy guilt setting in because all you want to do is cuddle the little bundle. Yet, you need to take some time to care for yourself. Even for a few minutes. Another nice thing about breastfeeding is that you can steal the baby back by saying, "Sorry guys, time for baby to eat," and retreat to a quiet location to reconnect or snuggle on the couch. I used this often!
Things to remember:
  1. Eat and drink. You need your energy and even more so when you are breastfeeding.
  2. Rest. Even if you have a good sleeper, you'll still be getting less sleep than you normally would because of baby's need to eat and be changed often. Rest when you can. Plus, c'mon, you just had a baby. Your body needs to recouperate.
  3. Things may not be exactly as you want them. It's okay. So the dishes are put away in the wrong spot. So the laundry isn't folded your way. At least these things are getting done. You didn't have to do it. Soon this swarm of helpers will thin out and disappear and you can return things to your liking.
  4. Ask for help. If you need help getting up, you need a drink, need a pillow or need some socks for your cold toes, just ask. People want to help.
  5. You may have people that are spilling over with advice for the new mommy. Just be gracious and say thank you. But, always remember in your mind and your heart, you are not bound to do what others say you should do. They will leave and you will go about things in your own way.
When I first arrived home I felt tired, sore and sort of strange. Things had changed. We left the house, just John and I and we returned with a baby. A human that we are responsible for. The experience had blown my mind. My mom and inlaws welcomed us home, made dinner and cleaned up. My mom forced me to take a shower and lay down for a bit. Boy I was glad for it. Evan slept and slept and I eventually stopped feeling like I was abandoning my child.
So, take care of yourself so that you can be the best mama you can be.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Dust is Clearing

Hi there! I hope you don't mind the dust around here. This blog has been under construction this week. I moved from blogspot to a self-hosted wordpress blog. I'm really excited to be learning about wordpress. I hope you'll stick around. This move will allow me to better organize the site and have more control over the design.
If you're new here, welcome! Take a look around and consider subscribing. I promise the dust is clearing. I've got some more posts on deck so stay tuned!

I've Moved!

Hey Guys,

This week I moved from blogspot to a self-hosted wordpress blog. I am working on redirecting traffic to the new site. You may have to re-subscribe at the new address here . I apologize for the inconvenience and thanks for sticking by me as I learn this new method of blogging. I'm excited to share my ideas, experiences and inspirations with you in a more functional way.



Saturday, July 2, 2011

Filling in the Blanks

Today I helped my friend A build her baby registry. I had so much fun. It brought back memories of doing mine last year. As we walked through each section of the store, I pictured Evan using the various items throughout his 1st year. I had to choke back a few tears more than once. His 1st year flew by. He no longer uses his bouncy chair, is too big for a baby bath tub, doesn't wear 3 month old clothing and said good-bye to breast milk months ago.

Planning my son's 1st birthday party has made me run through these memories, too. It's fleeting.  It's a bittersweet thing, this 1st birthday. My squishy newborn is gone and my explorative toddler is emerging. Hours of cuddling are distant memories and his independence is strong. I'll stop before the tears come and I can't make out the computer screen. Of course, I'll do all kinds of gushing in his 12 month post.

John and I have survived Evan's 1st year. Through the tough sleepless nights, fussy days and teething pain to the amazing milestones like smiling, laughing and crawling. We made it. I don't want to forget the details.

So, after leaving my friend A, I began to think of all the things that helped get us through it. I plan on writing a series of posts related to baby's 1st year. Recording my notes on anything from how we spent our days after John went back to work (alone with the baby for the first time ahh!) to finding our routine and even baby care. I hope this helps your need for real life application but it will also be my reference so I don't forget the details if I am ever blessed enough to have another child.

I've already posted about preparing for and surviving labor and delivery (part 1 and part 2), useful baby items for 0 to 6 months, my personal account of L&D, and my life as a mama-the early weeks along with many other tid bits and insights in mamahood. I want to fill in the blanks. If you're like me you'll read the books, visit the popular baby websites and begin by strictly following them. Good! You're a good mama. Yet, I also think you'll find your own rhythm by combining the books, other people's experiences and your own style.

Maybe it's because my confidence has grown as my child reaches new milestones. Maybe it's my need to share with my peers. Maybe it's because I feel I'm leaving behind the title of "new mom" as we begin year 2.

Are there any topics you'd like to hear about? Leave me a comment!

Is your baby turning 1 soon? Lets cry and smile together.

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