Mental Health Break

I took quite the hiatus over the last several weeks! My husband was recently teasing me because I took a break so quickly after starting a blog but with everything going on, I felt like I needed to step back. I think it was my first real experience juggling mom-life with playdates, family gatherings, birthday parties, appointments, the teensiest bit of drama (all is good though!) and just having a life and I may have gotten a little bit over-whelmed.  It kind of reminds me of my college days actually. I used to take what I called a “Mental Health Day” a week after starting classes every single semester for four years. It was my way to regroup after seeing a monster of a syllabus before having to dive into a ton of work for the next 15 weeks; even if that doesn’t make sense, it did to me. But thats beside the point. Im back!

A lot has also happened during my little break. We got our taxes back (yay!) and composed a list of definite projects to do as soon as possible around the house. Stay tuned for a guest room and master bedroom overhaul!

Q is blowing our minds with how quickly she’s growing. She just turned nine months yesterday (NINE MONTHS!) and her checkup at the doctor went perfectly. She’s 60th percentile for weight, 87th for height and totally thriving, even with her searing hate for solid foods. Im sad that she’s not as excited about eating solids as I am, and it has certainly been the biggest challenge of my life transitioning her but as long as she’s healthy and growing then everything else will fall into place. At least I keep telling myself that. With that, comes the growth spurts. The first one we ever experienced was an absolute doozy, probably more for me than her; Q had just turned six weeks and was nursing every. single. hour. For four days! I felt like I had run a few dozen marathons during that time and it took me the same amount of time to bounce back. She’s had several growth spurts since then that haven’t seemed as bad, but Jason and I were talking the other day how the last couple she also seems to deal with some major teething. Poor babe. Im back to checking her gums every morning in hopes that her top teeth will cut soon. Thankfully, Ive got a pretty good arsenal of relief for her and without it Id be totally lost. Like this tiny little bottle of teething oil…

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I picked up this stuff at a little shop called Nini Bambini, known mostly for its wellness services for Mamas, Mamas-to-be and kids. Nina Cullen is the owner and makes all of the oil blends herself for various things; the same time I got the teething oil (which makes Q smell like a spice drawer and I LOVE it), I also got the C.T.F.D spray (spritz up in the air for instant relief) for the few times that Q goes absolutely berserk and nothing else will calm her the fuck down. Ha! Get it? Their online shop (here) doesn’t include the oil blends for whatever reason, but Ive heard through the grapevine that you can call and order them over the phone.

Speaking of growth spurts, I have to share what I find is absolutely hilarious. I laugh because its really my way of dealing with the fact that my baby is getting too big.

I always ignored being judged as a parent who put bumpers in her child’s crib. We all grew up with them and turned out just fine. Of course, I still keep a close eye on Q while she’s sleeping (I bless and curse our video monitor at the same time) and if I had any inkling that she would tangle herself in the bumper then I would have taken it out of her crib. But she sort of took care of that for me anyways. Its funny how her sleep habits so closely resemble mine and her dads: on her side, curled up in a ball, faced buried into something that she’s holding on to dear life for. For instance, Cornelius, her flimsy little giraffe.

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Naming your child’s stuffed animals comes with the new joys of parenthood. And also kind of lets you be a kid again.

So Cornelius was a great sleep buddy until Quinn wanted more. She somehow gravitated over to her bumper and started using it as a body pillow with one arm and one leg draped over the top. I regret not snapping a picture of this the last few times I got a chance to witness such hilarity because she squeezed the bumper so tight one night that she literally ripped it right from its strings.

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I could just as easily sew it back on but Ive found that she does just fine without it in her crib anymore. But so long, beautiful, soft, delicate bumper. Maybe I’ll have it made into pillows for her room. 🙂

We also took a day trip yesterday out to visit some gals that I used to work with. I managed a beauty and wellness store just outside of Boston and promised I would visit regularly so they could all see Quinn. (Click here if you’re a sucker for good product.) Well, me too but we all know how babies rank on the popularity scale versus their mamas. The reason I mention this is because I was asked the same question again yesterday by two different people that I was by my cousin last week while he was working on my car.

“Do you miss working?”

This seems to be the golden question after you give birth and inevitably don’t go back to work.

I miss my store and I miss my staff. I miss the relationships with customers that Ive acquired over the years of working in the retail world. I don’t miss the commute but if thats the only negative then Id say I had a pretty good job. So why not go back? As much as I loved my job, I love being home with Quinn much more. I 1000%% commend working mamas (most of my friends are) and although I have some really tough days at home with Q, I make an extra effort to not complain about those times because I know not every parent can be home full time with their sweet babies. Here is how I discovered living on one income and going out of your mind talking to babies and pets all day while doing a million other things to keep your house looking semi-normal is totally worth it: that moment when you see your child discover her feet for the first time

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or pull herself up to stand

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or call the cat over by smacking her lips and tapping her leg (yes, she learned how to do that from watching me and it is absolutely hysterical), you would spend the rest of your life home with your child to be the one to witness those moments instead of someone else. I’ll eventually go back to work, but for now I’m having fun being a housewife and watching Quinn grow 🙂

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Box of Memories

One of the things that Ive been wanting to do for a while is something special with all of the ‘memorabilia’ from the hospital. Traditionally, things like your hospital bracelet and the baby’s footprints get stored away in a baby book of some sort, but Im not so much a fan of that because I feel like you should be reminded of how hard you worked to get your babe here and honestly, those first few precious days, although sometimes painful, hard and miserable, are really the best.

I researched a few different ways to display such things, and a shadow box turned out to be my favorite option. I got the idea when I was shopping around RH Baby & Child (no surprise there…if I could set up camp and live in their showroom, I totally would) but wasn’t sure I wanted to drop $120 on something that I could find somewhere else for a lot less. I could see spending extra moolah on special things like a crib, yes, but essentially a box not so much and because I know my way around craft stores like AC Moore and Michaels in my sleep, I knew that that would most likely be the best place to pick one up. Sure enough, not only did Michaels have some really pretty ones, but they were 40% off!

Unfortunately, there was some kind of disconnect in communication at the hospital and on our last day we were never given the original footprints that were taken in the recovery room after she was born. Luckily, as a gift we were given the Silverleaf Handprint & Footprint frame from PB Kids (here) and it came with an ink kit to print your own, so I did it when we got home from the hospital and just photocopied the original that I made for the shadowbox. I was thankful for that kit, and the huge stack of heavy duty ecru sheets that came with it because finger and foot printing a newborn is probably the most tedious task Ive ever taken on. I don’t know how those nurses do it every day! Now before you go ahead and notice on your own, Im just going to go ahead and let you know that Quinn was born with ginormous feet (no surprise–I have pretty big feet too. Runs in the fam) and super long fingers. Every one called her Piano Fingers which was cute but I think after the third or fourth week I wanted to throw my shoe at every person who made the “better get her a piano!” comment. Some things just get old and irritating really fast when you’re a recovering and completely exhausted new mom.

So the other night when I was going through her clothes–again–I started pulling all of our hospital memorabilia. I swear someone, my cat probably, is sprinkling magic super-growth dust over Q at night when she sleeps. She grew out of a brand new sleep set in a week. This is why baby clothing companies make serious bank. Pure madness.

One of the things that completely got me falling into a downward emotional spiral was her white hospital gown. A few of my fondest hospital memories included snuggling with her in that gown that was two sizes too big.

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Heres a valuable tip for soon to be first time mommas: don’t bring outfits for the baby to wear while you’re in the hospital. Its pointless. They supply you with a few swaddling blankets and long sleeve wraps that button on the side, which makes it easy to change diapers and bond with skin to skin for you, and examine the baby for the nurses. And honestly, who really wants to worry about dressing your baby up when you’ll be focused on much more important things anyways. Like wondering where you left your shame when your nurse is helping you go pee.

Most of the time she didn’t even wear the gown and just stayed wrapped in her faux fur blanket. Whenever she got fussy, we’d strip her down to just her diaper and swaddle her in it, with the fur on the inside and she immediately calmed down, thus making it what we eventually called her ‘Magic Blanket’. The nurses were blown away by it and wanted to know where it came from. It was a gift from PB Kids by a family member, but unfortunately they discontinued them. It goes everywhere with Q.

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With my shadow box and pins ready, I got to work. I had to snap a quick picture of Quinn’s hat before I put it in the box. Can you believe she was THAT tiny?!

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Im really happy with the way the shadow box came out. I have it hung on the wall where her bookshelf is, right near the door so I can peek at it every time I leave her room. Although the entire hospital experience was really difficult (mostly physically) a reminder like this makes me so so so thankful for Quinn and I would do it all over again in a second.

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The Perfect Bow

The day we found out we were having a girl was the day I went nuts over all things girly. Well, that was the official day the doctors told us that my husband was essentially outnumbered and in trouble. About six months pre-birth, I was diagnosed with short cervix–nothing super dangerous, though I scared the crap out of myself googling way too often–therefore I was deemed as a high risk pregnancy and had to pay a visit to the Maternal Fetal doctors twice a month for the next three and a half months. On one of our first visits, one of the doctors was examining me via ultrasound (I had ALOT of those) and asked casually if we wanted to know the sex. That was an obvious yes, but wasn’t it too early? He noted that it was still pretty early but that he was good at guessing, just don’t go crazy buying a bunch of gender specific things if he did tell us. Long story short, he guessed a girl, the nurses all told us he at a 97% success rate of guessing and four weeks later it was confirmed that we were in fact having a girl. Impressive Dr. Katz. Very impressive.

Of course that day Jason and I decided to hit the mall and buy something small and feminine to celebrate. I had an inkling that we were going to have a girl–the 24-7 morning sickness felt like the worlds worst hangover, the female:male ratio in my family is pretty strong, and honestly, I just felt it. Anyway, we ended up buying more than just a small something and most of that consisted of hair bows.

Fast forward to about a month ago as I was perusing Instagram I came across the most darling crocheted hair bows handmade by a girl named Tish. She sells these via her website (here–you won’t regret it, I promise) which she just converted her stock over from Etsy, and boy does she sell them. I waited very impatiently up until a week ago to get my hands on one of these bows; she lists them every Monday at 9pm on her website and they usually sell out in the first 10 minutes. The first time I ordered (I sat at my laptop for 20 minutes waiting for her site to go live) one of the bows that I went to order was literally swiped out from under me in the checkout process—three minutes in. I couldn’t hate…I was one of probably a hundred plus moms who wanted to snag one.

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As you can see I was obviously able to get some. The first time, I ordered the light pink and lavender because I thought it would be a while before I could get more. Besides, Q needed more than one color anyways and they were only $9 so why the heck not. That was a special listing on Friday. Monday rolled around and I loved how they looked on Quinn so much that I ordered the peach and lemon ice which Im totally in LOVE with. Are these not the perfect colors for Spring?!

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This particular photo is of her Annabelle style bows with the thin headband. She makes an adorable thicker head wrap style with the same type of bow thats much more popular and sells a lot faster. One of these days I’ll get my hands on one of those as well. They’re made of super soft yarn and although the band doesn’t have a stretch, she makes them at the perfect size so your littles can get at the very least a few months out of.

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Hey look, they also make great sleep masks! 😉

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Nursery Refresh

One thing Im guilty of is getting bored with spaces too quickly. My parents always joke about when I was younger, they would come home from work and a new color would be painted on the walls in the kitchen, or the living room would be re-arranged. This happened on more than one occasion over the course of my junior and high school years. What can I say, I liked to take advantage of my creativity, and as long as my parents were okay with it (they were), I was going to continue doing it.

Obviously, I took that habit with me when I moved out and now my husband has happily assumed the role of teasing me about it. Much like my parents, this doesn’t surprise him anymore.

One night after a bottle and story time, I was rocking Quinn into her sweet slumber as I was observing the walls in her room. In the past eight months I had already re-arranged her furniture every which way possible and now I was bored with her walls, one in particular. When I originally decorated her nursery, I ordered a custom print from a cute little shop on Etsy (here) that specializes in typography and hung it in a silver frame over her crib.

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Hard to tell (another reason why I decided to eventually replace it) but it says ‘Q is for Quinn’. Cute right? The other two frames are 3-D butterfly cut-outs. I still like this trio and will probably relocate it to the downstairs front bedroom when I eventually convert it into her playroom, but as of right now I just feel like I needed something a little more eye-catching on that wall. Hence, my newest project!

After lots of research and thought into what exactly I wanted, I went ahead and ordered a custom 24″ wood monogram from (THIS) adorable little shop, of course, on Etsy.

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As you can see, it came unfinished and is why my dining table turned into Craft Central. Totally fine, I like the freedom of choosing my own color. Bold move painting on top of a beautiful wood tabletop right? I like to take chances. Well, the real reason is because my table in the sunroom was already being used for drying clothes that can’t be thrown in the dryer.

I picked up an 8oz bottle of basic acrylic paint at Michaels (here) and a large spool of wire ecru ribbon. The sponge brushes I already had kicking around the house. The plus is I didn’t need to prime the monogram; the acrylic paint has a pretty decent opacity but the monogram did need two coats. After it dried for a few hours I started to attach the ribbon so that I could hang it. Thank goodness for staple guns!

The monogram received the Jetta Seal of Approval last night 🙂

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I waited until this morning to hang it because Q was already sleeping by the time I finished and I wasn’t about to go marching in her room with a hammer in my hand. Taking down the other frames was also more work than I anticipated, so it all kind of worked out.

I’d say this definitely freshens up her wall. It takes up less room than the trio of frames but I actually like the open space around it. I think it leaves the monogram and that to-die-for crib the main showcase in her bedroom and I went with a light pink instead of purple to well, break up the rest of the purple.

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Im so glad I went with a single letter monogram versus the traditional one with three initials.  One of my goals with decorating her nursery is using pieces that she can eventually grow with and then take with her when she’s older.

Q wasn’t all that interested. Learning how to crawl is obviously more exciting.

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We’ll see how long I last before I start re-arranging again. I’ve got another small project for her nursery coming tomorrow!

Not Your Average Pancake

One of the many features that Q has been blessed with from her daddy is being a picky eater. When we switched from breastfeeding to formula, she took it like a champ. In fact, she was happier! So when her doctor gave us the green light at her 4 month checkup to start some solids, we were pretty stoked because breastmilk wasn’t keeping her full for longer than a couple of hours and I thought it would give me a chance to pump and stock up. That was a bust, because as I noted in a previous post, my boobs are assholes.

Anyway, we started with the usual rice cereal for a few days, then moved on to the one-vegetable-at-at-time thing. After a while we discovered that not only did she have a searing hate for utensils, her lack of love for pureed foods accompanied that. I was uncomfortable with this because I wasn’t sure I was mentally ready to start giving her actual solid food yet and expressed this feeling with her doctor, so he suggested starting on the rice puffs that dissolve in her mouth. Of course, being the paranoid new mom that I am, I thought even those were too big so I munched on the outer edges of them (they’re shaped like stars) to round them out before I gave them to her. She loves them (so do I) but its not meal-appropriate and she needed something more healthy and substantial.

Since then, we’ve slowly introduced an array of solid bite-sized food for her to munch on; bread with fresh strawberry jam, chicken (she’s obsessed), bananas, scrambled eggs, french toast, etc. But veggies are still a challenge for me because I have a hard time cooking them to a point where they’re still a solid for her to like, but mushy enough so she can swallow it easily.

This is where pancakes come into play. She LOVES them. Im convinced that if she were placed on a deserted island with a lifetime supply of pancakes, she’d be happy as a little clam. The other day I made pancakes and some oatmeal for her lunch. Every few bites of pancake, I fed her a spoonful of oatmeal. She caught on quickly after a few minutes and only wanted the pancakes after that. Little bugger.

So I had to find a way to incorporate veggies into her favorite foods. Like pancakes.

This isn’t by any means something that I feed her 24-7. Im aware of the sugar content in the mix, even though it only calls for a tablespoon, so I stick to making them once or twice a week and freezing the extras that she doesn’t eat. 

Its pretty simple, really. Take your favorite pancake mix (would work with waffles or crepes too!), a pureed vegetable, and combine the two. Thats it! Last week I tried blueberries. This week I was a little more adventurous and did carrots.


Ingredients:

1 1/2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 egg

1 cup of flour

3/4 cups of almond milk

1 tbs of sugar

2 tbs of vegetable oil (coconut oil works too)

2 tsp of vanilla extract

3 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp of salt

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Cook vegetable until soft. Any method will do. Next puree it in a blender or food processor and set aside. We have the Beaba Cook Pro food processor (here) and love it because it steams, defrosts and purees the food. I could have easily used my own food processor or blender but I tend to use a lot of garlic in my cooking and the smell is permanently stuck; something I don’t want bleeding unnecessarily into Quinn’s food.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg until light and frothy. Add milk, vegetable oil and vanilla. Place a sieve over the bowl and sift flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into the mix and whisk until smooth. Lastly, add pureed vegetable (or fruit!).

Lightly butter a hot griddle and pancake away!


When the pancakes were slightly cooled, I broke one up into tiny little bite sized pieces and fed them one by one to Q. She’s still not able to pick up food from her tray and feed herself, and the food that she does pick up usually just gets mushed between her fingers and thrown behind her. I have to get on my hands and knees to find what she’s disposed of because it blends so easily into the Belgian oriental rug in our dining room, ha! Its amazing that she’ll put everything under the sun in her mouth, except food.

I have to say, as weird as carrot pancakes sound, they were actually pretty delicious! Jason thought it was a bit unusual, but I’ll do anything to get her to eat her veggies, even if that involves a little trickery.