7.31.2014

what claire wore


So full disclosure - when you had a baby less than 8 weeks ago, taking photos of yourself for style posts is not the most  fun thing in the world.  But, I really miss style posts!  They were some of my favorite things to work on for the blog, and I plan to pick them up soon.  For now though, since my child has so much clothing that she may not get through it all before growing out of it, I thought I'd start a little series called "what Claire wore" because sometimes I think her clothes are cuter than mine anyways!  You're not tired of baby pictures yet, right?  


Top: Gap Outlet, Leggings: Baby Gap, Headband: Bohemian Babies

7.30.2014

what type of parent are you?


So, I feel a little odd about my parenting style so far.  When you have kids (if you had kids, or if you’re thinking about it) all of sudden there is the big question: what kind of a parent will you be?  Attachment?  Authoritative?  French?  Helicopter?  Tiger Mom?  Intuitive?  Baby Led?  Seriously, those are all parenting styles.  It’s a little insane - and there’s no conclusive research that says “this one makes the best baby” because no two babies are the same!

I read SO many books about parenting when I was pregnant, and I have three favorites:

Baby Wise

Bringing Up Bebe

The Kind Mama

Here’s the funny thing about those being my favorites - they’re not at all similar to one another.  There are things I love and hate in each book, so I thought I would share a little bit about each, and what we’re pulling from each philosophy.

Baby Wise 

Baby Wise focuses a lot on the scheduling of children.  It encourages child led feeding and sleeping for the first few weeks, and then gently nudging baby onto a schedule.  Here’s the thing….I feel like a very observant mother, and I feed Claire on demand most of the time, but she still isn’t on much of a schedule.  In fact, I use an app to track my nursing and her feedings are pretty erratic.  In general, about 3-4 hours apart, but sometimes 2.

What I do like?  It encourages you to let you baby learn to fall asleep on her own.  The author pushes a baby schedule of sleep, feed, wake.  What this means is that you don’t nurse baby to sleep, you let baby learn to fall asleep on her own by putting her to bed awake.  It sounds very strange to parents who do the dance of feed, rock to sleep, place baby genttttttttly in the crib, pray they don’t wake up on impact, repeat x10 until it works.  We have never done that, not since the day Claire was born (knock on wood!!) and now have a nice system where Claire will go to bed sometime between 8:30 - 10:30 (like I said, she’s not on much of a schedule) and calm herself to sleep for the night.  I also try to let her take at least one nap each day where she falls asleep on her own, be it in the stroller or her crib.

Bringing Up Bebe 

This is probably my favorite parenting book by far.  I’m only going to speak to the baby portion of the book, because I obviously haven’t tried any of the toddler techniques.

Probably the most important technique in Bringing Up Bebe is learning to do “The Pause.”  In case you didn’t know, most French babies sleep through the night (8 hours) by 4 months old.  Sounds like a dream, right?  We’re not there yet of course, Claire is only 1.5 months.  But, we do practice the pause.  I don’t get up to respond to Claire at every whimper - in fact, I wait until she’s actually crying.  First of all, if she isn’t properly awake, she won’t eat well!  Second of all, if I do, I’m robbing her of the chance to learn how to soothe herself.  French parents believe a baby should be able to be alone & happy in their crib, and that doing such is a skill.  In fact, I believe that babies NEED that sometimes after doing it myself!  One morning, Claire was fussy no matter what I did - she’d been fed, I’d swaddled her, unswaddled her, put her in the swing, changed her diaper, and rocked/bounced her.  Nothing was working!  So I laid her in her crib and walked away.  She fussed for a second, and then went silent.  When I peeked in a few moments later, she was silently staring at the wall, and shortly afterwards fell asleep.  She just needed a moment alone!  So now I try to practice that every day, usually for her afternoon nap.  I lay her down, awake, maybe with a pacifier and let her work it out by herself.  This is NOT TO SAY that I let her cry it out, I don’t.  I’ve never let her cry (full on CRY) for longer than 5 minutes.  That’s never worked anyways - when Claire is full on wailing, she needs something.  But there’s a distinct difference between the cry of a lonely baby and a hungry/needy baby - Claire makes a “nyah” sound when she really needs something, and a “wah” sound otherwise.  I would never have noticed the difference between these two cries had I not started doing the pause, and I’m willing to bet other babies have separate cries for these reasons as well.  And as for how it's affecting her ability to sleep, she's recently begun going about 6 hours at her longest stretch at night, and we're thrilled with that.  

The main principle of Bringing Up Bebe is that the French teach their children patience, and that children who are able to practice patience are able to be happier.  I really believe that to be true, and the author backs it up with scientific evidence.  Have you ever heard of the marshmallow experiment?  Chances are if you took Intro to Psychology in college, you have.  

Essentially, a study was done on children's patience using marshmallows (or pretzels or chocolate, child's choice) as motivation at Stanford in the late 1960s.  About 600 kids ages 4-6 were presented with a marshmallow in a room, and told that if they ate the marshmallow immediately, that would be their only one.  If they could wait 15 minutes to eat it, they would receive a second marshmallow.  Most of the children failed to wait - only 1/3 made it, mostly the older children.  In follow-up studies, the researchers found that children who were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes, as measured by SAT scores, educational attainment, body mass index, and other life measures.  

What I don’t like about Bringing Up Bebe?  Well, it doesn’t discuss breast-feeding as a priority very often, but that’s pretty much it!  I basically thought that every other aspect of the book was dead-on.

The Kind Mama 
(Attachment Parenting)

I’ll probably get a lot of flack for promoting this book, so let me get out of the way what I DON’T like about it:

I will vaccinate Claire, and it bothers me that Silverstone suggests you shouldn’t and that you shouldn’t take your child to the doctor unless they’re very sick.  I will take Claire to each and every suggested check-up.

I do not practice elimination communication - we use Honest organic diapers, and I love them.  

She's strongly advocates having a natural home birth.  I have no real issues with home birthing, if you're close to a hospital and have a low risk pregnancy and a midwife attending.  HOWEVER, she tells her birth story in the book, and at the end she's forced to go to a hospital (while crowning) because her baby won't descend and needed medical intervention to be born safely.  After all that, she still pushes for natural home birth, even though the unthinkable could have happened had her own son not been born at a hospital.  As I said in our birth story, I was induced with Claire and had an epidural, and I wouldn't change a thing.  I don't like it when books are pushy with what they think is the "right" way to have a baby.

I don’t eat a vegan diet, although I am pescatarian.  I do believe that loading up a breastfeeding mother’s diet with the best possible foods will make better eaters in the long run, and I don’t believe eating meat is a part of that.

Phew!  So lots of things.

What I do like:

Silverstone goes in-depth about the importance of breastfeeding and how to troubleshoot any problems you’re having with it.  I strongly believe in the importance of breastfeeding, and I plan to do it with Claire….well, I’m not entirely sure how long.*  I can’t say I’d be surprised if we breastfeed until she’s 2, and although that seems strange to Americans, it's actually recommended.  In fact: "
the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reaffirms its recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months of a baby's life, followed by breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of complementary foods until at least 12 months of age, and continuation of breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby."  And okay, the mother on the cover of Time may have taken it a bit far, but I think it's time we drop the notion that breastfeeding a baby beyond a year old is weird......because it's just not.  

*I do want to note that this book is a bit militant about its recommendation to breastfeed, and could make some women who have trouble with it feel a bit bad about themselves.  I understand that it isn't possible for every mother and child, is sometimes very difficult, and I strongly believe that a happy mother makes a good mother.  If breastfeeding doesn't or didn't make you happy and you fed your baby formula, more power to you.  

Co-Sleeping. Claire sleeps in her crib each night from her “bedtime” until about 5 or 6 am, but after that she comes into bed with me.  I can’t say I see myself stopping this practice, I really enjoy having her in bed with me, and she sleeps much later in the morning if we do this.  Even if I get up and leave her there, she’s more likely to sleep in if she’s in our bed.  Cuddling with Claire in the morning is probably my favorite time of day,  and hers as well.  She actually smiled for the first time one morning laying next to me, and it's where she's smiled the most ever since.  The Kind Mama advocates full time co-sleeping, and although we don't practice that, I can't say that I hate the idea.  The media demonizes it because of some horrifying stories, but studies actually show that when a breastfeeding (non-smoking) mother and child sleep next to one another with very light bedding and baby's face away from the pillows, & with ZERO drugs or alcohol involved co-sleeping is safe and actually promotes healthier sleep for everyone involved.

Baby-wearing: It's been well-documented on this blog, I adore babywearing.  I think that so far, it has been a tremendous source of comfort for Claire, and has also enabled her to have the confidence to fall asleep on her own.  It allows us to really experience the world together - she can see nature from my vantage point, rather than from on her back on a stroller - and she's quickly calmed by the motion of my walking.  It keeps her from being overstimulated, a common problem that causes fussy babies.  Claire usually takes one nap each day laying on my chest in the sling, and there's just nothing better than that.  We can bond, even while I'm reaching around her to my laptop keyboard.  Baby carriers provide an easy way to breastfeed discreetly in public, which is fantastic if you're modest.  Claire also gets stressed out if she's passed around too much, especially with strangers, so if I have her in the sling it's easy for me to say "oh, it's kind of a pain to take her out, sorry!"  The Kind Mama goes even more in depth about the benefits of baby-wearing, and although attachment parenting advocates wearing your baby pretty much all the time, I don't take it quite that far.  In fact, as I said, Claire sometimes WANTS to be laid down by herself.  But I attribute that independence to the confidence she's gained from my being responsive to her and keeping her close much of the rest of the time, and that is a principle of attachment parenting - responsiveness to a real need breeds confidence in a child.  


So, those are the main things I've chosen to run with from the books I've read!  I guess that makes me a French/BabyWise/Attachment Parent?  That's probably the most ridiculous descriptor of a parenting style I've ever heard.  

Did any of you read these books?  Did you have other favorites?  I'd love to hear which parenting style or styles you most identified with!  

If you'd like to join the discussion, please leave a comment or follow me on....

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7.29.2014

awkward and awesome tuesday


Awkward: 

Um, getting pooped on.  Yeah, on Thursday morning I had just finished feeding Claire, and propped her up on my thighs to play a little bit.  All of a sudden, I feel something warm and…..wet.  Cue running to the nursery in a frenzy all while trying to not spread the poop on the way.  Somehow she managed to do the same thing that afternoon!  I think I might need to be more careful with my diaper application.  

You know what's worse than pregnancy brain?  Mom brain.  I cannot even tell you the number of times this week that I walked into a room and just had no clue what I was in there for.  

My spatial awareness is at an all time low after being at my smallest size ever 11 months ago, then getting pregnant and rather large, and now being somewhere in between.  This resulted in my walking INTO A DOOR HANDLE at my office Wednesday, which then caught on my shirt and put a rather large hole right through it.  Buh-bye, shirt that actually looked cute on my postpartum body.  

Awesome: 

This gummy smile - Claire really started smiling this week, and there's just nothing better.  

Going back to work.  I’d like to preface this by saying that I have what I believe to be the best childcare situation of all time (a combination of friends I’ve known since childhood/grandparents/aunts) but when my boss asked how my first day back had been at the end of the day, I had to be honest and tell her that it sort of felt like a break.  Being a mom is HARD you guys.  It’s the best hard thing in the world, but so is my job!  I LOVE my job. So it was really nice to jump back in this past week and see that I could do both.  I’m sure there will be days when that isn’t the case - days when I just think I can’t keep up and I wonder when our house will ever be clean again, but hey - maybe not!  Our house (apartment) is pretty dang small.

Working at home with Claire on Thursdays.  I know this will not last long (she wants to play a little more each day!) but right now her naps pretty much span the morning and afternoon each day, making it easy for me to get in work & feedings around when she sleeps.

Simple dinners.  Summer produce makes this so easy, right now our menu is basically just a fish + a vegetable (okay, plus some 
rosé) every single night! 

The smell of the top of Claire's head.  I swear, those baby fumes actually get me high.  

*on another note!  I'm interested in creating more engagement with my readers (I want to hear from you!) and I know that commenting on the posts isn't always the best place to have a conversation.  So!  
At the end of each post for the next few weeks I'll be leaving links to my Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter at the bottom of each post to encourage you to tell me what you think about my posts, ask questions, etc.  This will be especially great in regards to what I'm talking about tomorrow....parenting styles.....dun dun dun.  

Follow Me: 


7.28.2014

the weekender

So, we had a pretty great weekend all around, minus the fact that the weather was ridiculously hot.  It was 100 degrees yesterday (and somehow the today high is only 80....where was that Saturday??)

Here's a few quick snaps from how we spent the best two days of the week! 

Friday night we went grocery shopping, and believe it or not, it was pretty fun.  What, you don't take selfies before you go to the grocery store?  Honestly, I just wanted to document the type of outfit I'm living in lately due to a) breastfeeding access and b) ease of wearing with a baby sling.  



We went out for Mexican on Saturday night, and the World Naked Bike Ride parade rode by the restaurant!  (World Naked Bike Ride is just what it sounds like - a silly and fun parade of *mostly naked* bikers, to promote body positivity.  It's pretty awesome.)  

Among the sea of bikers we spotted a couple people we knew, one of them being my rad friend Jess, and she pulled over to take a picture with Claire!  Gotta keep this kind of thing for posterity in the future, just so Claire knows how progressive and awesome we are/were.    Also, I love the look on her face.  


That morning we went to the farmer's market, where I got a popsicle, Fitz got worn out, and Claire took her morning nap in the sling.  





There was also lots of sleeping....lots.  of.  sleeping.  





Nothing better than catching a sleep smile in a photo.  



7.18.2014

friday link love



It's a big weekend for this new mom - my friend & roommate from college Jesi is getting married, and it's bachelorette party time!  So this will definitely be the longest I've ever spent away from Claire.  It will be so so good to get some time with girlfriends to just be silly - although admittedly, I am skipping out on the sleepover portion of the night to go home to my baby girl.  Just not ready for an overnight yet!  

And then....Jack White on Sunday!  I don't know how I got lucky enough to have a father who is so into taking my husband and I to amazing rock concerts, but I definitely won in the dad department.  And Claire won in the Nana/Aunt department, because I've never seen two women so thrilled to babysit in my life.  I think my mom & sister are more excited for us to go to the concert than we are.  

One last thing - I start back to work next week, so in an effort to not overload myself and get stressed out I'm going to take next week off from the blog.  I'll be back week after next hopefully feeling confident in my ability to balance (ish) work & baby.  

Here are my favorite links from this week! 

I made this pasta last weekend, and it was incredible.  Like bagel pasta - which to me is essentially the holy grail of food.  


Do we choose our friends because they share our genes?  

This Weird Al remake of "Blurred Lines" is hilarious and adorable.  

Life, animated: how Disney helped an autistic boy to communicate with his family.  I had read an article about this before, but the live interview with his father is really fantastic.  


Love Humans of New York?  Well someone has started a "Humans of St. Louis," and for a copycat it's pretty great.  

Basically my mom-iform.  


7.17.2014

date night: ruth's chris downtown st louis

Last week, I mentioned how Darrell & I had our first night out since having Claire.  We went to see one of our favorite local musicians play at Beale on Broadway downtown, and although it was a great evening, it was perhaps a little ambitious.  Staying up until 1 am when you have a newborn?  Kind of difficult.  More difficult?  Waking up with said newborn only an hour after going to sleep.  For our next outing, we needed something more our current speed, so when Alive Magazine invited us to attend a dinner showcasing Ruth's Chris new menu we jumped at the chance.  

I wore heels for the first time in what felt like forever, and carried a purse that doesn't have stroller straps!   


(dress by sonnet james, here)

Despite our excitement, I was a teeny bit apprehensive about going to a steakhouse.  I'm a pescatarian, and I kind of figured that we'd end up making a run through Chipotle after dinner so that I could get a real meal.  Though after one of the complimentary cocktails I had when we arrived, I had pretty much forgotten about food altogether.  


Just kidding, but that drink was really delicious.  (Get the blood orange sunrise!)  They had a ridiculous spread of appetizers for us, and I really should've tried harder to get more of this ahi tuna.  One piece was not enough, I could just eat this for my meal the next time we go, and I probably will.  




I needn't have ever worried about not having enough to eat, the food was AMAZING.  This was Darrell's salad, but they brought me one without the bacon.  I certainly didn't miss it, I'm a total sucker for a classic wedge salad.  


The dining room's view really can't be beat.  I never get tired of looking at the Arch!  


One mention of my dietary preferences, and they brought me a special dish.  This was pasta with an olive oil sauce, broccoli, and peppers, and it was beyond yummy.  


I was pretty motivated to save room for dessert, and thank goodness I did because this was unreal.  I would like to drink a glass of that Creme Anglaise every single day.  


Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the night?  We didn't call our sitters (Darrell's brother & his girlfriend) for updates a single time, trusting that the baby was in good hands.  We had a perfect & romantic evening, even staying for one last drink at the bar before we left, and Claire had slightly more relaxed and happy parents to show for it.  

I can't say that I would have previously considered Ruth's Chris as a downtown St. Louis destination, but we'll definitely be back for pre-dinner or concert drinks sometime soon, especially to take advantage of their awesome Happy Hour prices.  

Need a date night of your own?  Ruth's Chris is giving away a Prix Fixe dinner for 4 through Alive Magazine here, to celebrate their downtown location's 5 year birthday!  

*This post is sponsored by Ruth's Chris, but as always the story and opinions are my own!  Thank you for supporting the companies that make this blog possible.  


7.16.2014

essentials for the first month: mama + baby


*All items listed are mostly pictured left to right, top to bottom.  

1 - A good collection of nursing bras.  This is probably the number one thing any nursing mother will need - but here's the real tip: you don't actually have to buy nursing bras.  I have a few, and I wear them (this Le Mystere is my very favorite) but did you know that Nordstrom will convert any bra you already own into a nursing bra?  They do an amazing job, you cannot tell that it wasn't originally a nursing bra, and it's only $15. I had been wearing this bra until the end of my pregnancy, and I've had three of them converted so far.  

2 - A diaper bag you can share with your husband.  Maybe it's the feminist in me, but there should be more unisex diaper bags, right?  I mean, my husband does have to diaper this baby sometimes, and I'm not always the one carrying her things.  This is his very favorite.  

3 - A Sakura Bloom sling.  I can't speak to the quality of any other types of baby carriers, but we have only used the Sakura Bloom sling so far, and I adore it.  Claire will almost instantly fall asleep in it, I can use both my hands when wearing her, and when she just doesn't want to be put down it is the only way I can get anything done.  We bought their least expensive version, but I've got my eye on this one because we really need a second, especially for when one is in the wash.  

4 - Safe to Sleep mat.  This is definitely one of the pricier items on my list, but we have really loved it.  It takes the place of a baby monitor.  The baby sleeps on the mat, and its very sensitive sensors monitor baby's breathing.  No running into the nursery over and over to make sure that baby is breathing (which I would totally do if we didn't have this).  There's a remote that you keep with you, and it sets off an alarm if the breathing is too fast or slow, or if the baby leaves the mat.  It also works as an audio monitor, but here's the best part: the audio only comes on if the baby's cries get above a certain decibel.  So we aren't awoken by every grunt or coo, only by actual crying.  You can also talk to baby through the remote to soothe them. The one downside?  The app that you can supposedly connect to the mat doesn't work very well at all - we could never get it to function properly, and Darrell is pretty tech savvy!   

5 - The Miracle Blanket.  Claire is a baby houdini, and she completely destroys a regular swaddle within minutes. The thing is, she WANTS to be swaddled.  This is the only thing that has keep her wrapped up so far.  

6 - Target Basics Nursing Tank.  For the first few days after Claire was born this nursing tank with yoga pants was all I wore.  I layered it under loose dresses and tees in place of a bra until my milk came in, and I wouldn't know what size nursing bra to buy.  Now I wear it as a layering piece any time I wear a top and jeans, because then I don't need the top to have a nursing friendly neckline.  At the ballgame the other night, I just pulled up my t-shirt, undid the clasp on my nursing tank & bra, and was able to feed Claire discreetly between the folds of fabric.  

7 - 4moms Mamaroo & Breeze.  Claire has recently entered the rather difficult phase of "never ever ever put me down!!"  Most of the time I just wear her, but for times I can't (showers, anyone?) the Mamaroo will usually buy me 20 minutes or so.  The Breeze has a bassinet top, and that's what Claire slept in for the first three weeks - she was so small that I wasn't comfortable having her far away from us in the nursery, and I think being near her helped us foster a good nursing relationship.  Now she sleeps in her crib, but we'll be using the Breeze when we travel.  

8 - Sonnet James dresses.  I have lived in these dresses since I got them, both pregnant and postpartum.  They stretched well to accommodate the bump, are comfortable and flattering now, and the necklines stretch and bounce right back for nursing on the go.  Darrell never fails to compliment me when I'm wearing one.  You can still preorder for the summer shipment in a few weeks!  

9 - Breastfeeding Kit - nursing pillow, Kindle loaded up with books, a new Netflix series, a cup with a straw, handheld food.  Nursing in the first few weeks is amazing, such a great bonding experience......and sometimes boring.  You are going to spend a lot (A LOT!) of time parked on the couch with your nursing pillow, oftentimes using one hand to eat, drink, and entertain yourself.  I watched Netflix during the day, but at night I don't like how the noise wakes up Darrell, so I read on my Kindle app.  Say what you want about moms being alone on night duty, but he can't breastfeed and a rested husband is worth a lot more to me than someone as equally exhausted as I am.  I also get incredibly thirsty when nursing, so I like to have a cup with a straw - like the one they give you at the hospital - and some granola bars or bagels handy.  I like the boppy pillow, and definitely get a second cover.  Breastmilk gets on everything.  Pottery Barn has had the softest covers I've found.  

10 - Burp cloths and baskets for burp cloths.  Did I mention that breastmilk will be on everything you own?  Have a stash of burp cloths in every room.  The Gerber cloth diapers make fantastic burp cloths, trust me.  

11 - White onesies and long sleeved pajamas.  As much as I love all the beautiful clothes I have for Claire, there are only so many diaper blowouts I'm willing to go through before I declare it a white onesie day.  These are cheap, you don't care if they get so stained they're ruined, and I still think there isn't anything cuter than a baby in a white onesie.  As for the long sleeved pajamas, well the fabric friction between sleeves and swaddle keeps Claire from breaking free.  

12 - Spanx & Belly Bandit.  There's nothing like Spanx to smooth everything out underneath your clothes, they make a huge difference.  As for the Belly Bandit, I'm not sure I can attest to it flattening out my stomach any faster - breastfeeding does that on its own - but it made for wonderful support under my clothes in the first couple of weeks when everything just felt really, unfortunately loose.  

13 - Lululemon Wunder UndersForever 21 tees & jeans.  Wunder Unders are a year round must have for me - I wear them running, to yoga, and just about everywhere.  They're the thickest and most slimming leggings I've ever found, and they do wonders for the post baby body.  Until jeans will fit (no really, they just won't for the first few weeks.  Your waist and legs will be just TOOOOOO far apart in sizing) leggings are the best option.  But leggings as pants?  Not always so great.  These are the only ones that will work.  Wear them with the thin & cheap $4 Forever 21 tees, and then switch to Forever 21 jeans for transition.  They look great and almost always cost less than $20.  

14 - Breast Pump.  I didn't start using this until my 2nd week, but having a stockpile of extra milk is pretty much the greatest thing ever.  You don't want to depend on bottles too much - your supply will go down the more feedings you skip - but being able to run errands and leave the baby with Darrell knowing that she won't go hungry and cry the entire time I'm gone is pretty great.  Mine was completely free through my insurance, so definitely look into that!  

15 - Honest diapers, nipple balm, lotion.  It's no secret that I love the Honest Company, and we're using them for basically everything baby.  Their diapers are the best at holding in major messes so far, I found the nipple cream (I know, maybe TMI, but you need it) really effective, and the lotion has all but cleared up Claire's cradle cap.  I use a lot more of their products....okay, almost all of them, but these are probably my top three.  

16 - Puj tub.  We have a teeny apartment, with a matching teeny sink, and this tub is easily stored, folded, and very soft for Claire to sit in.    

17 - Soothies Pacifiers.  Claire + the carseat = not such a great equation.  Claire + the carseat + one of these pacifiers = a long nap.  

18 - Wine & coffee.  Sometimes, you just need them.  Wine for the nights when it seems the baby has just nursed endlessly (you can have a glass and still breastfeed, one is fine!) and you're so exhausted and stressed out you think you might lose it.  No one can help you with breastfeeding but you, and that shit is HARD.  Wonderful, but hard.  Coffee.....well, obviously, coffee.  Coffee some mornings (or let's be honest, all day) makes the difference between my being an okay mother and a good mother. 

19 - Some money set aside for unexpected expenses.  Every baby is different, so every baby will have different favorites.  When Claire was born, we only had one Miracle Blanket, but quickly realized that with her wearing them all day long we'd need a few more.  We also needed extra covers for the nursing pillow, different sizes of baby clothes than the ones we had, and I purchased nursing tanks & bras that I didn't want to buy until I knew what size I would need.  

20 - Britax B-Safe Carseat, Base, & Stroller.  This set is really fantastic.  The carseat feels very sturdy, clicks in and out of the base easily, and the stroller can be popped open and closed with one hand.  It steers well with one hand as well, and has a good amount of storage.  We got it for a fantastic price by buying the bundle of all three at Target.  It's not pictured because......I'm not a photoshop wizard and I ran out of room, but seriously, check it out.  

Okay that's it!  I wanted this list to be the end-all, be-all, because these kind of lists made life easier for me once Claire arrived.  I discovered almost nothing on this list myself - they were almost all recommendations from other blogs I read.  Which is why I have to ask - am I missing anything?  What were your essentials for the first month?  She's only 5 weeks old this week, anything I should have on hand for the next few?  



7.15.2014

awkward and awesome tuesday


Awkward: 

Selfies.  Almost ALL the photos I have of my daughter & I are selfies.  My husband, for all his excellence in baby care, cooking, etc, is truly terrible at photographing the two of us.  I however can't seem to put my phone down, so I have a million pictures of the two of them.  When she's older, she'll either think her Dad liked her more or that I'm impossibly vain.  Potentially both.  

Stroller locks.  Yes I know how to work my own stroller thank you very much, you can stop staring at me trying to get it open now.  I mean, I absolutely had to look up a YouTube video on my phone to figure it out, but I GOT IT OPEN.  

Oh, yoga.  I lost track of how many times I nearly fell down.  Either way, my ego got kicked in the face.  

Our post baby grocery budget.  I didn't even know it was possible to have to spend as much as we did on one Trader Joe's & Target trip.  It's either terrifying or embarrassing, but between the super healthy organic food (it all goes into Claire's milk!) and the wine (seriously, I refuse to sacrifice the wine) I'm going to have to find some ways to improve.   

Awesome: 

Babywearing!  Somebody just really never wants to be put down, EVER.  Even when she's fallen asleep in your arms, don't even think about setting her down.......really, don't do it.  Then you have to start over!  She'll take maybe one nap for a couple hours each day in her crib, and she sleeps there at night, but other than that I'm most often wearing her.  

Sushi, oysters, lox, and wine.  Basically, I'm still making up for lost time and mostly eating only the things I couldn't while I was pregnant.  

Claire is finally fitting into some of her 0-3 month clothes, which is mostly what we have!  She had been wearing a few newborn clothes and white onesies on repeat, because somehow my husband & I have managed to make a child who is so tall she isn't even on the percentile growth charts, so she's like a stringbean.  Fingers crossed she actually got some of the height genes on either side of our families!  

I slept until 11 on Sunday, went to yoga, and then got a few baby-free hours while Darrell & Claire watched the world cup final together.  I think that's the most successful start to a week that ever was, and I'd like to start a petition to add a second Sunday to every week.  

7.14.2014

operation post-baby body: week 1

So even though it PAINS me to break up the never ending baby-focused posts here, I thought it was time I made myself accountable to some plans I have for myself.  The days of late night ice-cream runs & couch living are over, and it's time to start getting back into shape.  If not only for vanity reasons, also because I have NO CLOTHES.  I had to break down and buy some transitional jeans & tops last week at Loft, and even though they're cute and comfortable, it was depressing.  No one wants to spend $$$ on clothes they don't always want to wear, and believe me, I don't always want to wear pants in the size I had to buy.  The tops, however, will probably last for a while because......nursing boobs.  

When I got pregnant, Darrell & I made a pact that we would keep fitness as a priority, even with the baby here.  We promised to let one another go to the gym, a yoga class, on a run, whatever while the other is on baby duty.  I've held up my end of that bargain since she's been born, and when I finally got cleared to exercise this past Thursday Darrell starting holding up his.  I'll admit, I was terrified.  I have a long way to go.  In the year before I got pregnant, I was very into running - I even ran a half marathon:  


and I was deeply into my yoga practice


and although maybe I wasn't stick thin, I was strong and probably in the best shape of my life.  That's not to say that losing some of that wasn't totally worth this: 


because it absolutely, completely was.  And in a way, being pregnant and having Claire was just a whole new physical challenge, and I really loved it.  But I would be completely remiss if I didn't mention that being 8 & 9 months pregnant is REALLY HARD.  Your body can start to feel like a bit of a prison, like it doesn't really belong to you anymore, and that doesn't really improve much after you give birth.  It's important to find a way to reclaim it as your own.  

I had wanted to participate in Alive Magazine's #31DaysofMovement since I heard about it, because I think it's a wonderful initiative for the city of St. Louis, but I still wasn't cleared for exercise other than walking yet.  When my doc said I could start practicing yoga again last week, I figured better late than never and loaded up my schedule with classes!  



Remember how I said my body had felt sort of like a prison after giving birth?  Well, after my first class I felt like I broke free.  Yes, I got totally smacked in the ego after falling out of poses that I could do even while pregnant.  Yes, it was totally exhausting after a day full of taking care of a baby.  But it was the best I had felt physically in months and it only motivated me to keep it up.  

Whether you have a mountain to climb like me, or just want to push yourself a little further on your fitness journey, you can sign up for Alive Magazine's #31DaysofMovement challenge here, and follow updates on their new wellness blog here.  The blog has awesome and fun ideas on how to work out in St. Louis (beer & exercise leagues anyone?) and you can check out the other bloggers participating as well.  

As always I'll be Tweeting, Instagramming, and posting on Facebook about how things are going if you'd like to follow along!  You can also check out my fitness focused Pinterest board here.  

*I teamed up with ALIVE Magazine to bring you this post. As always, the story and opinions are completely my own!  Thank you for supporting the people that make this blog possible.


7.11.2014

friday link love



Did this week fly by or what?  I don't know if I've been busier, or if Miss Claire has just taken up more of my attention, but the fact that today is Friday.....phew!  This week just went flying by!  We've got fun weekend plans to see an outdoor movie in the park - Ferris Bueller's Day Off - and I'm planning to get back to yoga on Saturday.  Wish me luck - I doubt I can even get into a good downward facing dog.  Also, I bought a kiddie pool that we'll be setting up in the yard Saturday afternoon.  Claire LOVES baths, but mostly we just wanted an excuse to have too much silly fun in a teeny silly pool.  Hope you all have a great weekend planned as well!  


Claire adores being carried in the sling, so I've been thinking we need a backup.  This color is so pretty.  
Speaking of Claire (when am I not....) I think she needs these moccasins.  


I may have shared this before, but again, it's not surprising that beer's taste alone gets you high.  

No wonder old books smell so good.

Are you as confused by slang as I am?  Just in case, here's what "turn down for what" means, along with a list of totally awesome things worth turning down for.  

Have you read J.K. Rowling's new Harry Potter short story?  It's an adorable little update on the lives of Harry & friends.  

Basically my life mantra.  

Is it my birthday yet?  Because I need an excuse to make this parmesan french toast.

Finally, I've been quite the gram-rat lately, so f you want to come along on our weekend you can follow me on Instagram here!  

7.10.2014

reading list


The Vacationers, 7/10 - 

I really enjoyed this book!  It was very light - would make a great beach read.  It's essentially about a family vacation, where every member of said family is sort of in flux.  The mother and father are teetering back and forth about whether to stay in their marriage, the older son has lost his way after leaving home, and their high school age daughter is feeling like she hasn't experienced enough of life for someone who will be headed to college soon.  Their vacation in Mallorca is cathartic - without it being too saccharine, they all work through their issues in surprising ways.  Sometimes a happy ending is what you need, and without my giving away too much, that is mostly what you get from this book.  

Tell the Wolves I'm Home, 10/10 - 

So, yes, this book was that good.  My first thought upon finishing it was that I was sad I had chosen to purchase it on an e-reader, because this is the kind of book I'd like to physically hand to Claire once she's old enough to read it.  The main character, June, is the kind of narrator that so many of us have a lot in common with.  Do you remember what it's like to be 14?  Stuck in that funny place where you want to act like a grown-up, but just aren't quite ready to give up being a child?  June will remind you.  Set in the late 80s, the book is about life after the death of her Uncle Finn, a gay man with AIDS.  Finn is June's very favorite person in the world, and she soon finds that although she believed she knew everything about him, there was a whole other part of his life she knew nothing about.  "Tell the Wolves I'm Home" chronicles the short but meaningful relationship she cultivates with her uncle's secret boyfriend after his death.  This book, to me, was magic.  I really don't want to give anything away, but it has a heartbreakingly wonderful ending that made me wish I could tack on another 1000 pages to the book's already hefty 900.  I have to thank my friend Lindsay for the recommendation (I think she is my literary spirit guide), it is truly one of those books you want to shove into the arms of other people once you've finished.  I've probably already tried to convince ten people to read it.  

7.09.2014

on tiny laundry and chubby cheeks - claire's first month



You know what is suddenly the most exciting thing in the world?  Laundry.  More specifically, baby laundry.  I get more joy out of folding swaddles & burp clothes, and teeny onesies than most people probably get out of dinner at a gourmet restaurant.  Tiny laundry, that is the stuff dreams are made of, I tell you.  That, and these cheeks, which I’m convinced get a little chubbier by the day.  Chubby cheeks may be my most motivating force in breastfeeding this baby. Claire’s cheeks, thighs, and head seem to be the main recipient of all this milk (so, hopefully she’ll be able to wear one of her million headbands within the week.)

But, here’s the problem with chubby cheeks - chubby cheeks mean Claire is growing up, getting older.  There is a special kind of emotion reserved for the awareness that your child is growing up.  It’s the very definition of bittersweet.  I can’t wait for those first smiles, but I also will miss her floppy little newborn body, how malleable she is in my arms when I cuddle with her.  I’ll miss knowing when she’s happy by the sparkle in her eyes, rather than the shape of her mouth (and yes, you can absolutely tell.)  

I almost cried when I took off the "s" on "weeks" in the first photo.  I was just dragging photoshop layers from picture to picture, rather than recreating them individually to save time, and just taking the "s" off of that first photo made me think "she'll never be just one week old again!"  And she won't.  She's four weeks - 1 month old today.  She looks double the size of the baby in that first poorly lit photo, taken on her dad's first day back at work in a frenzy of trying to get dinner made and hoping she'd nap while we ate it with two hands.  She has a distinctively fluffier head of hair, and the size 0-3 onesie we've got her in for all four photos is actually pretty close to fitting her.  You know, I could wax poetic about how I don't want her to grow up for 3 more pages but I'll stop myself here.  

You get back to your Wednesday, and I'll get back to folding these tiny socks.  

7.08.2014

awkward & awesome tuesday




Awkward

Claire's insane diaper blowout at Fair St. Louis.  Through the outfit, the blanket, ALL the way onto the carseat.  Also, this was the moment we discovered we only had 4 wipes, because I'm an idiot.  Those 4 wipes were put to goooooooood use.  We covered the carseat with our backup blanket on the drive home, but then had to figure out how to remove the carseat cover once we got there, which was like a whole frustrating mess.  This strap goes where!?

Oh, photos of me at the christening.  I should’ve worn the Spanx, yes, yes i should have.  I keep trying to remind myself "you had a baby four weeks ago, chilllllllll out."  But it's hard.  I miss pants that button.  

My time management skills.  I thought they would improve with experience, but noooooo.  I’ve been trying to give the dogs a bath for…..two hours?  

Awesome

Discovering co-sleeping.  Claire sleeps in her crib in the nursery from roughly 9pm - 5 am, but by then she is thoroughly tired of being alone.  Until this week we had been employing a pretty annoying rocking & bouncing routine to squeeze in another hour, but this weekend we just brought her into bed with us and bam!  She slept until 10!  So we’ve kept it up since then, and life has been a little more restful.  Also, i like to think we're giving her the benefits of independent sleep and the family bed all at once.   I included a little video of her cooing in her sleep.  

video


(All co-sleeping naysayers may be directed here.)

Claire’s baptism.  She slept the WHOLE TIME!  No crying even  during the water pouring on her head, and the christening gown was as white at the end of mass as it was at the beginning.  

A little shopping and grocery trip with Darrell sans baby on Sunday.  I know it sounds like a little thing, and it was only about 3 hours, but it almost felt like a date.  I even managed to refrain from checking in on her while we were gone, which felt like an accomplishment in and of itself.  

7.07.2014

the weekender

If ever a group of people have made the most of a holiday weekend, I think we did!  This 4th of July, we did Fair St. Louis twice & had our first night out without the baby (a harrowing experience)!  

We're out of order, but I had to start with this gem of a photo.  They're sleep twins.  


Okay, now that that's out of the way...


We decided to go out for the first time without Claire on an evening that merited it - my brother in law's girlfriend moved to St. Louis this week, and he had organized a little surprise party for her at a blues club downtown.  My little sister agreed to babysit, but couldn't pick her up until about 10:45!  So that is how we ended up with our baby in a bar.  It was that or miss the surprise!  She was a little trooper - no tears, and she rocked out with her dad for a bit.  Of course, the minute she left we missed her, and essentially forced ourselves to stay and hang out until 1 am.  Not only was that the latest we had stayed up in weeks or months, possibly, it was tooooooo late.  Especially when Claire decided she wanted to be rocked, and rocked, and rocked at 5 am.  


On the 4th, we made up for our sleep deficit (group napping was the order of the day) but we did manage to get it together to go see Bonnie Raitt. Claire even had a snazzy outfit to wear to the fair.....


but in this photo she was destroying it.  This is apparently her poop-explosion face, maybe she was getting us back for making her wear those sunglasses, but within 10 minutes of our arrival she was wearing this instead: 


On a side note, I had a truly adorable dress from Baby Gap in mind outside of these two outfits from  but I inexplicably bought it in 3-6 months?  I was apparently under the delusion while pregnant that I would be having the world's largest baby.  I'll have to come up with a reason for her to wear a blue and white sparkly dress come November.  

People came up to tell us how cute our baby was even though she was wearing a white onesie, and even though she fussed through much of the evening.  She quieted for Bonnie Raitt, because Claire knows what's important (so far she's slept completely through all concerts, brunches, & church.)  




It was a truly gorgeous evening - only about 70 degrees!  Unheard of for a St. Louis summer.  


Having your own baby forces you to make strange faces like this in public: 




Yes Claire, I feel the same way about that previous picture as well.  Judge me all you want - your cuteness inspires some strange behavior.  







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