Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Parenting Methods

During this pregnancy, I've spent some time researching and reading about what to do and what happens after baby is here. While we know we can't predict how baby girl will be or what her personality will be like, we can do our research and get educated on methods we can try when those moments come up. I love researching and while I know an abundance of information can make some feel overwhelmed, I fall in the opposite category and feel more confident after doing research and educating myself. I'm kind of a nerd like that, just ask Mike. :)

It is unbelievable how many different books, methods and theories are out there about newborn care, sleep habits, breastfeeding and calming a baby...not to mention all the well-meaning, yet conflicting advice others give. I can't imagine trying to figure everything out in the moment when baby is here and while it can be a lot of work and intimidating looking through all this stuff, I believe it's going to be well worth it. Chances are we'll scrap half this stuff and develop our own habits, but going in blindly with no plan whatsoever stresses the heck out of me!

This past weekend, we borrowed and watched a DVD of the book Happiest Baby on the Block from our friends. We were in awe of Dr. Harvey Karp's methods for calming a fussy baby! He promotes the idea of the 4th trimester during baby's first three months which essentially means to treat the baby like she is still in the womb. This really made sense to us and with that in mind, it helped us realize which methods for sleep, feeding, schedule, etc, etc fit in with that. Some things were finally starting to connect together and make sense as to why you would do things that way. We are finding ourselves somewhere in the middle between attachment parenting and the Babywise method. So, I'm not sure what that would be called, but it is what we are starting to feel comfortable with at this point and what we hope to try in those first few weeks/months. The biggest part of this method is that you as the parents are not completely in control of what happens and you need to just give baby what she needs, exactly when she needs it. (Isn't that part of every method though??) I'm so used to being in control, so this is something I will have to come to terms with, accept and not let my anxiety get stimulated over.

Here's a few key things we are hoping to try out:
• The 5 S's: Swaddle, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging, sucking (as a last resort and no pacifier until breastfeeding is established). This is Karp's method that he goes through in the DVD/book and it is amazing...or he is just a baby whisperer. :)
• Sleep: I am going to order Karp's follow-up book about sleep, but some basics are that he recommends co-sleeping for the first three months. Co-sleeping in these terms means baby sleeps in the same room which is different from bed-sharing. A lot of times I will see that bed-sharing with the mom is recommended, but this scares me and is something we want to try to avoid for personal reasons.
• Feeding: We are going to exclusively breastfeed for at least the first six months, hopefully much longer than that. I know everyone says to keep an open mind about this because anything could happen, but this is one of the few things we are determined to stick with. We both have strong feelings about this one, so we are putting in extra effort to make it work. I am going to my first La Leche League meeting next week and have been doing all I can to educate myself on this while still pregnant. Of course, things happen that make it extremely difficult or even impossible to breastfeed so we want to be aware of those before they happen so we can make an educated decision on what to do.
• Schedule: I was so set on feeding and sleeping on a schedule and I still feel like that could work after the first three months (I've seen it done very successfully!), but for those first 12 weeks, we will try to feed on demand. Yikes, that could get intense! I am curious about the "EASY" method (more of a routine than timed schedule), so maybe we'll give that a whirl after a few weeks of madness. E = eat, A = active, S = sleep, Y = time to yourself.
• Baby wearing: I'd like to try this with a Moby wrap and see how baby girl likes it. We'll also use our stroller quite a bit, but I'm hoping this works out for us those first few months.

The big questions and, as the experts call them, "myths" of this method is that you will spoil your baby, you will never get on a regular schedule (if this girl is anything like me, we know that won't be the case) or you will never be able to wean baby from swaddling, white noise, sleeping in your room, etc, etc. Guess we'll find out!

After talking to quite a few moms, we've learned that everyone is different and what works for one, may not work for another. We're excited and anxious to see how things go and what ends up fitting us and baby girl. I'm sure people probably think I'm crazy and controlling and laugh at me for researching all this stuff, but I know myself and like I said, I'd be a stressed out mess if I knew none of this beforehand and that is probably the worst thing for myself and baby! Of course, above all we are just so excited to meet our daughter and love her like crazy. :)

Here's a few articles that explain these methods better than I can:
Happiest Baby on the Block (if you can, please ignore the comic sans, agh!)
Breastfeeding a Newborn

Anyone else out there use or are thinking about using these methods or something similar? I'd love to hear some positive feedback from others about this!

Bump Watch: 22 weeks

How Far Along: 22 weeks (I'm a few days late on this post!)

Size of the Baby: Spaghetti Squash (8 in long, 1 lb)

Sleep: Waking up every 3 hours and not able to sleep in because this girl is kicking my bladder :)

Best Moment of the Week: Mike feeling the baby kick on the outside

Anything making you queasy or sick: The thought of Pad Thai, yuck!

Any cravings: Salads. Lots and lots of salads! Suddenly guacamole is a craving even though I despised it in my first trimester. I think my normal taste buds are back :)

What I'm looking forward to: Our mini babymoon that we just booked

What I miss: Rare steak with a glass of red wine, cured meats and cheeses - STILL

Nursery: Mike is almost done painting the nursery and we have all the furniture, it just needs to be put together. I've started shopping around for frames and other little decor pieces. The fabric for the curtains, crib skirt and pillow pouf just came in too. Everything is coming together!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Family Pictures in the Park

Our nephew Cruz recently turned 6 months (already?!), so we did a little photoshoot with him. This time we got a few family ones too and I'm pretty excited about how these turned out. Such a cute family and Cruz has changed so much since those one month pictures I took last November!

I still have a lot of improving to do with using the camera, but I'm getting better at editing thanks to a few tutorials I found on Pinterest. Crossing my fingers for a 50mm lens for my birthday so I can get even better close up baby and kid shots (hint hint, husband!). Anyone have experience with that type of lens and have recommendations?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Nursery Inspiration

Before we found out Baby B is a girl, I had already started compiling ideas for the nursery. I'm not sure if it was intuition or what, but for some reason I had so many more ideas for a girl nursery than a boy nursery. :) There was one image in particular that I love and have been using for inspiration:
I just love the softness of it and how feminine it is without screaming pastel baby pink. We borrowed the idea for the wall and curtain colors and are adding in other pops of color that coordinate well with the creamy peach/rose pink.
1) This is the fabric we are using for the curtains. The color is called rose and we love that it is clearly pink, but more of a dusty pink color that can grow with her as she gets older.

2) We decided on the paint color called French Cream. The sample areas we have painted look much lighter than what shows on the screen. It's the perfect creamy peach color that we were searching for!

3) The crib skirt will be made out of this fabric. We just love how the pale yellow looks with the peach/rose palette, plus it is gender neutral enough to use for future babies. :) My mom and I are going to attempt to make an adjustable crib skirt so that we can raise it as the mattress is lowered.

4) My mom wants to attempt to make a floor pillow pouf, so we decided this is the perfect place to throw in a pop of navy blue with a rose colored trim. I love accents of navy blue and pairing it with white polka dots makes it girly!

5) Ah, this hook is just awesome. I love how it fits with everything, but I'm not sure where I'd put it or what I'd use it for. Will have to think about that one still, but it gives the inspiration board a feminine vibe.

6) This is the shelf we picked up from Ikea. It is super skinny and tall and perfect for the wall next to the window for the baby monitor, frames, small books and trinkets.

7) Above the dresser/changing table (also white from Ikea), we want to do a collage of white, gold, tan and brown frames. We have some fun ideas of what we will frame, more to come on that. :)

8) I love how woven baskets look on this inspiration board, especially with the caning of the rocker. This basket is from Pottery Barn so it is crazy expensive for a nursery, but I'm hoping to find a cheaper version elsewhere. This will be on the floor and used for blanket, toy and misc storage.

9) I definitely want to find or attempt to make a ruffled pillow for the rocker. The perfect touch of girly!

10) We love the way those Ikea spice racks display books and we definitely want plenty of books for our kids, so these are perfect (and cheap!). We will be painting them white...we think.

11) My mom and I picked up a rocker similar to this back last Fall before we were even trying to get pregnant! It was $15 at a garage sale and we couldn't resist. It is the same rocker my mom had with my brother and I when we were little, so it has some sentimental meaning to it.

12) Oh yes, the lovely Pottery Barn Kids crib we picked out back in February. Still love it and it fits in perfect with this room!

We are starting to paint, ordering the fabrics and getting the furniture together. More to come from the nursery!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Bump Watch: 20 weeks

How Far Along: 20 weeks

Size of the Baby: Mango (6.5 in long, 10.5 oz)

Sleep: Much better, except for the crazy dreams.

Best Moment of the Week: Finding out we are having a baby girl!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Still dairy, I have started avoiding it in milk and ice cream form (boohoo!). Raw meat still isn't fun to look at, but other than that I really have been feeling great. Yay!

Any cravings: Enchiladas. I could eat them for dinner every night!

What I'm looking forward to: Getting the nursery painted and this belly looking more like a baby bump. (although I may regret saying that second one in a few months)

What I miss: Rare steak with a glass of red wine, cured meats and cheeses

Nursery: We've had the crib for a while, went to go buy the rest of the furniture at Ikea and they were out of some things and we couldn't fit the dresser boxes in the car. Heading back soon with the truck! We think we picked out the wall paint color - French Cream. Waiting for fabric swatches to get here so we can finalize that decision. The original fabric swatch we chose for curtains is discontinued, of course!

Well, we're officially halfway there, we can hardly believe it! I have felt like my belly hasn't grown much in the last month and I haven't gained any extra weight in that time either, but my doctor and all my pregnancy trackers keep telling me a growth spurt is about to happen. These past two weeks we found out Baby B is a girl, we started on the nursery and we are starting our registry today!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Baby B is a....

We are so excited to meet our baby girl in August and start planning for her arrival! We couldn't be happier, but neither of us had sisters, so this is an entirely new journey for us. :) I know Mike will be an amazing dad and our daughter will adore him!

The gender reveal party we threw for our family was so much fun!

I made a 'gender guessing' area and the boy/girl guesses were pretty evenly split, although we had two people switch last minute from a girl guess to a boy guess so that skewed the guesses more to the boy side.
Since we already knew the gender and this reveal was more for our families, we had the grandparents perform the reveal part. We made a piƱata out of a paper lantern with a pull where pink or blue confetti would come out. I originally planned to decorate it a bit...um...prettier? But those methods were taking forever on this giant lantern, so I gave up and took the easy way with crepe paper. We also had a slight malfunction and the lantern snapped off the string. They were just too excited and pulled the release too hard. ;)
Mike went upstairs and held the lantern and everything came out perfectly. Everyone was SHOCKED that pink confetti came out of the lantern except for a select few. :) The grandmas both said girl (although my mom wavered to blue...actually, both, ha!) and they are so thrilled to each have another granddaughter!

It was fun watching the nieces and nephews play together and entertain at our house with both families. The strawberry baby outfit in the last picture is the outfit Mike and I went and picked out right after our ultrasound appointment. Mike was so excited about it so we had to get it even though the sale shopper inside me was dying because it was full price. ;) He says our little girl is our little berry. How sweet! It's small enough that we should be able to take her home from the hospital in it.

This Friday we will be 20 weeks pregnant, halfway there!

Friday, April 5, 2013

2nd Anniversary

It's hard to believe, but Tuesday was our two year wedding anniversary! Time has really flown by, but a lot has also happened in those two years. We built our dream home, are on our way to starting a family, learned a ton about each other and have fallen even more in love with each other.

This week was extremely busy, so we didn't plan anything extravagant. Mike had to work that night, so we went out to dinner at the Keg here in Gilbert. After dinner he had to leave and I was pretty well set for bed. :) This year's traditional gift is cotton, so a few weeks ago we ordered fabric for curtains for our living room. They are still on backorder, but should be here mid-April! We had a great time, those simple gestures of love and quiet local dinners are sometimes best.

In other news, my 3-year-old nephew has officially declared me as "big". ;) I was hugging him bye at Easter and he said to me, "You're so big!" Obviously if I wasn't pregnant this wouldn't be a compliment, but I was pretty excited that he is starting to notice a change. I told him that Baby B is in my belly and he started rubbing it. So cute!

And finally, we officially know the gender of Baby B!! Tonight is our gender reveal dinner with our families, so we will be posting a picture and announcing after that. It's amazing how different things feel now that baby has more of an identity. Finding out was one of the most exciting times, it's like our lives and family is taking shape and we can see a bit of how our future will play out. Stay tuned!