0-9 Month Gift Guide

GIFTGUIDEHoly cow… how is it already December? and how do I already have a 4 month old? I know I have been MIA and I am SORRY. My New Years resolution is to devote more time to my blog and grow my village even more!

OK, so Gift Guides.. these are handy things that have ALWAYS been so helpful for me during the holiday season. They help me find the perfect gifts to give every. time. So this year, I wanted to do my own.

I love buying for Brooks, my husband will tell you that I actually have an addiction to it. I am also big on aesthetics and functionality. Since we are living in our “cozy cottage”, we do not have a ton of room to pile up toys or hide eyesores. I am big on finding functional, aesthetically pleasing options for Brooks. A lot of these items are ones that we have used and highly recommend or they have been given as recommendations by other Mama’s.

Happy Shopping!!

  1. Finn + Emma Play Gym— All natural materials, minimalistic but effective. Brooks plays under his every evening for a solid 30 mins while we wind down for bedtime.
  2. Slumberkins– Cuddly Creatures with intension. The Transitions Bundle is on Brooks wish list for when Mama is ready to make the transition to his crib at night.
  3. Gather Midi Mat– All Purpose mats for picnics this spring, under high chair catchall or just playtime. The free of Toxin leather makes it a breeze to wipe up and keep clean.
  4. Skiphop Explore Jumper– I searched for a foldable, aesthetically pleasing jumper for quite some time. I am so happy to have found this one. Brooks is actually jumping in his as I am writing. Bonus** it counts how many jumps he gets.. he usually tires out around the 65 mark.
  5. Munch Mitt– Honestly one of those “why didn’t I think of that items.” Brooks constantly has his hands in his mouth. With teething right around the corner I went ahead and “Prime’d” this item to have under the tree.
  6. Wonder Walker– Because every baby needs a walker. So why not a cute, functional, one that has multiple activities built in?
  7. Personalized State Rattle– This item is great for teething as well as a cute keepsake. You can even personalize the item by engraving it.
  8. Promptly Journal Childhood– Perfect gift for mama. I never have writers block bc it asks you the perfect questions to get each memory flowing. It goes all the way up to 18 years of age. I imagine gifting each journal to my babies when they go away to college… queue the crazy mom tears.

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This Season of Life

I have never not had a “job” since I was 16 years old. I have always been very independent and have never liked to ask for or need help. This season of life that I am in is odd. Unfamiliar. And while being a SAHM, is undoubtably a job and one of the hardest ones out there, it is not my norm.

While I was on maternity leave my husband and I were at a crossroads of deciding what would work best for our new family. Child care was expensive and ultimately outweighed me going to work after 6-8 weeks. Luckily, I have always done Photography on the side, so this decision has allowed me more time to really zone in on that and I have been overjoyed with the response I have gotten thus far. This decision has also forced me to be more vulnerable with my husband, something I have honestly never done well with anyone. Some days I crave adult interaction and some days I am thankful that Brooks doesn’t judge the fact that I haven’t showered, changed or fed myself properly in 8+ hours. When you become a mom, your identity involuntarily changes, it is hard to remember who you were before you birthed this tiny human. It is easy to put yourself so far down on the priority list that you fade into the spit up and diaper changes. That is the season that I am currently in. I am learning what parts of the pre mom me are still in there and what has changed so much that I can’t even look back. It is a “I just want to go get my nails done” but crying the whole way there because you miss your baby season. I know just as Summer turns to Autumn, this season too will pass. Brooks will be a toddler, then in school and so on and I will eventually find myself and find balance but for now I am giving myself grace and enjoying this slightly uncomfortable, unsure of stage that we are in. Until then, I am open arms to all the kisses, smiles and coos my boy has to offer and working on being a great life partner to the man I am positive I don’t deserve.

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xo,

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The first Month

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Today I woke up a little bit easier. Bags under my eyes no doubtably, but easier. That is the key word these days. Eating with one hand while patting a butt with the other is easier. Successfully changing a diaper before pee goes flying across the room, easier. Nursing while simultaneously pumping is coming easier. You get the picture.

A Month has come and gone with our sweet sweet boy and while the days  can seem long, it has flown by and has been the most rewarding month of my life.

There has been way more that Brooks has taught us than we have taught him. Although I know his milestones that we can take pride in are right around the corner, I am forever grateful for the lessons that we are continually learning day by day.

Three things Brooks has taught me in his First Month:

Priorities– This seems like an obvious but Dillon and I are both planners, we don’t do well with surprises and we are both slightly OCD without the diagnosis. We knew before Brooks’ arrival that our daily priorities would be something we would have to work on but we underestimated how easily it would come. Something about this precious tiny human looking into your soul makes it a lot easier to take things slow and steady. Something about knowing you are 100% responsible for his well being helps you focus on his needs and put your own aside without even thinking. This is a lesson that we couldn’t have learned on our own. God knew we would need a little helper to get us there and we couldn’t be more thankful. Dishes can wait. Dirty laundry falls lower on the list and endless snuggles, kisses and diaper changes have replaced our daily rituals without a second thought.

Reality vs. Perception– Being the planner that I am, I had this idea in my head of exactly how our life would be. The type of mom I would be. The type of pictures and memories that I would document and the cute outfits I would have Brooks in 24/7. Then reality sank in. I asked a mom friend the other day, if it made me a bad mom that we didn’t get out of bed all day? I was relieved to hear that I wasn’t failing and that it was totally normal. Some days, we conquer the todo list (i.e. get dressed, walk to the mailbox or around the park if we’re really feeling ourselves) but some days, the only transitions we make are from one set of pajamas to the next. I am learning that that is OKAY. I am taking the time to enjoy all the snuggles I can get for I know that in a blink of an eye they will be gone and I’ll be happy that I have my memories rather than a stocked IG feed. (reoccurring photos of us sleeping in a milk stained bed aren’t something I think the Social Media world are ready for, but maybe?)

Details– This one may seem a little repetitive, but I seriously cannot believe I am even writing this post right now. If I have learned anything it is how fast time really does fly when you’re having fun. When you’re elbow deep in diapers and when you’re tired but so filled with love and caffeine that you don’t even realize you’ve slept less than 5 hours in the last two nights. Brooks has already changed so much. I make sure to take a picture or short video of him each day so I can compare whenever I’m having a moment. He has turned into a chunky monkey who loves to cuddle. His eyes are still blue but could change at any moment. He is able to smile and chuckle which may be gas but I convince myself it is my keen since of humor. His feet have never touched the ground, his tears running down his cheeks literally break my heart in half and if I could, I would bottle up his newborn scent so I can soak it in anytime I am feeling sad in the years to come. These are the details that I want to remember and not take for granted.

This blog is my love letter to this little boy who has changed me forever. My safe place for documenting all of these details that will soon be gone and grow into a toddler, then a teenager and so on..

Here’s to the best month of my life. The best time of my life. Here’s to your ONE month baby boy!

xo,

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Building My Village

Welcome to my first blog post! As a new #MommyBlogger, I thought it was only right to begin this journey with my birth story. The day my world changed forever.

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Guilt is something no one prepares you for in the birthing books. I had read every chapter. Followed every timeline. Made sure to do everything as “right” as possible all throughout my pregnancy.

Around my 34th week doctors appointment my OB offered the induction option. He said we could do it as early as my 39th week “if I wanted to.” Being 5ft even, gaining 45 lbs and being in the heat of summer, did not make my pregnancy the most enjoyable experience and I was definitely getting to the “get this baby out of me stage.” I asked if I could go ahead and schedule the induction for the39th week regardless of the lingering worries I was ignoring in the back of my head. As you follow along and begin to know me better you will learn, I am a planner. A control freak. I think of every tiny detail and try to make arrangements for anything I foresee being of any importance…. this is what attracted me to the induction method.

The following weeks leading up to my induction I prepped the Dr. with questions.. they were all pretty much the same and went something like this “do you see any reason why the induction might cause me to have to get a c-section?” While I know that there is nothing wrong with c-sections and 100% appreciated the modern day approach to getting your baby out safely in the matter of minutes… it was not how I foresaw my first birth… I wanted the “gripping my husbands hand“, “deep breath in and out“, “feet in the stirrups“, “grab that baby and put him on my chest while still attached to the umbilical cord” moment… the moment that you mainly only see highlighted in social media or television these days. Each visit ended with the same answer, “your body is progressing how it is supposed to, there is no reason to believe the induction will cause higher risk of a cesarean.

That put my mind at ease and allowed me to begin planning [controlling] the arrival of our baby. Out of town family made arrangements, my hair was scheduled to be blown out, my manicure was fresh and excitement started to rush in.

We arrived promptly at the hospital the morning of the induction at 2:30AM sharp. We were wide eyed and hyped to get in and have a baby by lunch! The receptionist called us to our room… I put on my custom gown, the nurse went over all the paper work, hooked my IV up and started the meds [pitocin- the medical version of oxytocin which tricks your body into going into labor]. The monitor grew mountains which I learned were my contractions… no pain just excitement… until, the Dr. arrived for his first visit. I was already 3cm dilated, it was time to break my water, he said. Almost immediately after my water broke, the mountains on the screens were no longer fun to watch due to the pain that accompanied them. I breathed each one in and out just like I had practiced and knew that with each rise and fall of the contraction, I was one step closer to meeting my baby. Contraction after contraction came and went along with hours. I needed to make it further before I could get my epidural… the Dr. stopped back in before lunch when he saw the amount of pain I was in, he okayed the nurse to call in the anesthesiologist. The few prick of needles were nothing compared to the contractions and before I knew it I was able to smile and relax [aka nap] for the first time since the night before. I knew I would need all the energy I could muster up before it was time to “push.

Nurse after nurse came in and out for what felt like 100 times, hours passed and the pain started to weasel its way back in. Each time they checked me I was left with disappointment. My body was progressing but they needed the baby to come down lower. The doctor arrived back around dinner time… I was at 6cm. He okayed more medicine and I continued to labor. After a few more hours and a few more checks… it was like my body and baby just said “nope.” If I thought I was disappointed with the slow progression, I was crushed each time they said “still the same” before shuffling out of the room. The Dr. slipped back in. He explained in a few short sentences that my cervix had began to swell… this is something that could be caused by the size of the baby, the position of his head, the position of my cervix and I’m sure a million other things. The one piece of information I retained from it all was that there was nothing medically that could be done for the swelling.. he left me with “we will give it another hour, but should really start considering a c-section.” That hour was the shortest hour of my life. The guilt I mentioned earlier set in. I cried it out “I just feel like I rushed it.

After some meditation, Ray LaMontague music and google searches, I requested just a minute with my husband. I felt defeated by everything and everyone. As soon as the door shut, the only words I needed to hear came out of his mouth “lets go get our baby.” I knew it was time and that I had to let that control go.

A new team of nurses rushed in, ones I hadn’t seen all day. They were unstrapping me, restrapping me, cleaning me, talking to me or to each other [I couldn’t retain any words being said]. It all felt like a dream from there to be honest. I was whisked into the cold, bright operating room. Conversations about everything except my baby was going on. I couldn’t talk, I could barely hear. The only thing I whispered out to the anesthesiologist was “where are my sister and husband.” I felt alone and needed them. They entered from the side a few moments later. Suited up. Ready to go.

What felt like an eternity later [but was actually only like 30 mins], my 7lb 10oz baby was held over the blue tarp. Brooks Thomas Caho [7.17.17 at 11:39pm] I felt the room stop as I stared at him. The guilt I felt, turned into a burning in my heart. I had never seen anything more perfect. They took him to get cleaned and I managed to follow him with my eyes around the room. My husband brought him over to me and placed him on my chest. Nothing else mattered. He was here, he was healthy, he was perfect. His arrival method made no difference and I truly believed that for the first time all day.

My husband was speaking to a friend the other day about our birth story and he said “I can’t believe with technology these days, that they haven’t come up with a better/safer way for a woman to give birth” Without even filtering I blurted out “they have, it’s a c-section.” Birth is birth. It is nothing short of a miracle what Dr’s are capable of doing. Every birth is beautiful and while, it isn’t the glamorous, birthing experience I always imagined it was the most amazing day of my life.

The guilt, loss of control and surprises of that day are sure to repeat themselves as I go through this parenting experience. I know it will take time and we will have our trials and errors but I would love to have you follow along to live those moments with my family and I. Teach me and help me. I will share what works and doesn’t work for us and look forward to hearing your opinions and thoughts on each. They say it takes a village to raise a child. I want to build my village, post by post! With each of you!

 

I‘d love for you to subscribe and follow my journey of juggling life while adding a baby to the mix. Comment below with your birth stories, good vibes or helpful tips. 

xo,

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