Thursday, June 28, 2012

[Babycakes] Ashlynn's Newborn Photos

A few weeks ago, Ashlynn and I headed over to our photographer's studio to get A's newborn photos done.   Since A was born early, we waited a few weeks for her to beef up a bit.  In the meantime, we had some family photos taken at our house.

A was 6 weeks old when these pictures were taken, I'm just in love with her squishy arms and kissable cheeks.  I hope you enjoy some of these pictures as much as we do!












and our favorite...




Wednesday, June 27, 2012

[Wednesday's Weekly Check-In] Week 10



Weight: Official unknown.  Estimated 11+  


Medical Issues:    The rash, cradle cap, is fading on her face.  Leaving some dry skin behind, but at least the bumps are disappearing.

Reflux seems to be diminishing too.  Sure, she spits up and sometimes full on vomits, but what baby doesn't?  The signs of being in pain and discomfort have subsided.  The arching, grunting, crying,  Still gets the hiccups at least once daily and chokes every now and then while feeding, but I'm pretty sure that's a let-down issue, not a reflux one.


Sleep:  Definitely getting into a routine.  It's not like clockwork, but for the most part she sleep from sometime between 8-10pm to 4-5am.  Nurse.  Back to sleep until 7ish.  Nurse.  Back to sleep until 9.


Works for me!


Now, regarding nap time, that's even better!  I finally hooked up her monitor and let her take her first nap in her crib last Thursday.  She didn't really fall asleep, but stayed calm just kicking and looking about the darkened room.  When I finally went up to get her, I got the biggest smile! Oh my god, my heart melted.  And they didn't stop there, the reciprocating smiles are starting to kick in where her whole face will light up.  She's smiled plenty before, but knowing she is smiling at me (or her daddy) on purpose. Ahhhh!  Love it!

(as I type, she's napping peacefully in her crib as I sit outside in the sun for the first time this year.. I may not be a ghost all summer after all!!)


Clothes: 0-3.  Trying to get as many outfits in as possible because I have a feeling this size will be short lived.  I'm hoping we can make it until the end of July. 1- because this size is the majority of her closet and 2-  it's all adorable summer clothes!




Social:

On Friday, we got a visit from Bopo (my dad).  Although A slept almost the whole day, Bopo got some snuggles in and then we all went out to (belated Father's Day) dinner when the Husband got home from work.  A slept through dinner, so we pushed it a bit further and stopped for milkshakes on the way home.  Sweet girl.


Saturday we left early in the morning to get on the road to Long Island.  Usually this trip is met with horrendous traffic- every.single.time., but amazingly, we hit none!  Ashlynn and I attended a friend's Baby Shower, while the boys/husbands (all college friends) all hung out in the sun all day.  After the shower we headed over to the guest of honor's house and spent the night.  A slept in the Rock N Play and did great the whole day, everyone just adored her (and how could you not?).  No meltdowns and despite being a bit over stimulated by her new surroundings, didn't fuss.




Baby Gear Love:

Skip Hop Activity Mat - I know this was my favorite item last week, but it's back again.  Ashlynn is really starting to become a smiley baby.  She LOVES playing with the birdies and owls and will even hold on to the ring if I place it in her hand.  And for tummy time, she's able to hold herself up on propped elbows and look around.




Crying: 

Same old.  Mainly cries when hungry.



Postpartum - 

I'm finally feeling confident enough to leave the house whenever necessary.  I've been getting in a lot of errands - target, grocery store, doctor appts, etc all with A being behaved like a seasoned vet.  Granted, she usually just sleeps the whole time, but that's all I can ask for!

I've also started the process of donating my milk to the National Milk Bank.  Since I had such an oversupply the first few weeks and A didn't need as much as I was producing being only 5 pounds or so, our freezer it literally full to the brim with bags of stored milk (save some space for ice cream and frozen fruit).  Frozen milk stored in combination fridge/freezers should only be used up to 3 months (6 months for a deep freezer).since I'll be coming up on the expiration date towards the end of July and I dont foresee a reason to use some of it since she prefers to skip bottles, I thought I'd start breaking down my stash of 80+ bags of milk.  I'm still in the midst of the application process, having passed the initial applications, I'm now waiting to have my blood drawn and sending it my DNA swab.  I'll recap the whole process once I finally donate!

On a lighter note, this past weekend at the baby shower I finally wore heels and a real bra for the first time postpartum.  No joke.  I've been soley living in my Rainbows/Toms and bra top tanks. It felt good to be "normal", well, until I had to nurse A and didn't have the quick access of just pulling down my tank in a moment's notice.


Milestones:  

First Nap in Crib
First Reciprocating Smile
First Over Night Stay


Monday, June 25, 2012

Check Us Out... Again!








 I finally got around to posting Ashlynn's nursery to the Project Nursery gallery!  If you can take a moment and head over and rate her room, hopefully we'll get picked for Project of the Week!!

Thank You!




Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

[Wednesday's Weekly Check-In] Week 9




Weight: After I posted last week's update I changed my guess from 9lb 12oz to 10lb 2oz because I thought it'd funny if she doubled her birth weight, 5lb 1oz.  Well, little miss chubby cheekers raised me another... girlfriend weighed in at 11lbs even.

11 pounds!

She also grew from 19 1/4" to 21".  

Medical Issues:    Turns out the rash on her face is actually two.  It's a combination of cradle cap (or what I keep saying Freudian slip style - cradle crap) which thankfully looks nothing like the shots on google images.  Instead it's just a bunch of teeny tiny raised colorless bumps on her face, that are starting to diminish now.  The second rash is a heat rash, which is only evident, well, in the heat!

At her 2 Month Check Up she received a round of vaccinations (at noon on Monday).  She slept the entire rest of the day!  She fed twice and barely ate, I had to pump.  Finally she woke every 3 hours during the night and finally had some wet diapers by morning.  


Sleep:  Dare I say she's sleeping through the night??  According to babycenter.com "STTN" consists of 6 or 7 straight hours, which aside from my sometime interference she definitely gets.  


Clothes: 0-3!  Strangely enough went from a 0-3 Onesie (GAP) on Wednesday that was loose in the body and big at the legs, to barely having another brands fit on Friday (it was really 'long and lean' - which she is not).  On Saturday, I got her in a little Gymboree romper and it fit like a glove.  Newborn clothes are getting packed, I'm not sure how much longer the 0-3 will make it and that's the bulk of her closet!



Social: (formerly, Visitors... this makes more sense, since she's now a little 'out and about' lady who lunches)

On Friday we visited friends who live near by.  Their 16 month old daughter loved blowing kisses at "the bay-bay"  and we enjoyed some cold brews and pizza outside on a gorgeous night.

Saturday, baby girl and I went Mommy and Me shopping to the local outlet mall, it was GORGEOUS outside!  Ashlynn slept the whole time and I was able to resist buying anything for myself and only keeping A's purchases to an adorable 6 month sized dress from Ralph Lauren (she has plenty of cute 0-3 month clothes) and some 0-3M onesies from carters for sleeping.  It's too warm for sleepers, so onesies do best at night.  I also prefer the cheaper ones at night in case she does sleep for 8 hours and has a bit a leak or blowout.  We picked up some presents for Daddy (naturally a tie for Father's Day), gifts for our nieces, and some stuff for upcoming baby showers. 

Sunday we took daddy to brunch for Father's Day.  Afterwards, we gave him his present, which he loved!  Before Ashlynn was born he sent me a link to check out the DNA portraits and said we should get some made when we move to our next home, for some "real art".  About a week after A was born I started thinking of what we could do for Father's Day and I remembered the art.  I placed an order and got my "dna sample swab kit" and took a swab of Ashlynn's cheek.  I mailed it back and voila, her personalized DNA on canvas!  We hope to some day add to the collection and make a little family gallery.

Peace Out Homies
Ashlynn's Paternal Side of the Family
After presents, we headed to Nana and Pop Pop's for a family BBQ.  Ashlynn got to meet her cousins and Aunts and Uncles.


Diet:  Milks.  However, guessing by the weight gain, my milk is made of cheesecake...



Baby Gear Love:

Skip Hop Activity Mat - Ashlynn is really starting to take in patterns and still loves looking at contrast (like dark fans on a white ceiling).  I was just using the mat during tummy time, but added the mobile bars this week so she could play a little while on her back.  So much to look at!  She also start grabbing, about 30 second after this picture she grabbed her soft "Who Do You See?" book and starting waving it about!


Mommy Uniform again
Crying: 

Same old.  Not really a crier unless something is wrong.  

She did have a spell of heart breaking screaming cries after I rudely woke her from napping after her shots by hitting the Rock N Play with my knee.  I took forever to console her and finally after crying through nursing she passed back out. 


Postpartum - 

Looks like I'm on the verge of the Great Hair Fall Out of 2012.  I still have my "pregnancy hair", not to mention I had to cancel my scheduled hair appt at 37wks since she was born at 35.  It's so long right now that it sort of drives me nuts.. and thick.  It's thick regardless, but not having my usual shedding of a clogged drain or full hair brush post shower ever since the end of 2nd Tri means there is going to be some major shedding in the near future.

Oh, and I'm back on the sauce... cheese sauce that is.  After the husband mistakenly brought me a cup of coffee (caffeinated, back on that too) with half and half instead of almond milk, I said the hell with it.  The only change I noticed in two weeks is that A was a tad less gassy in terms of the painful i-need-to-be-burped cries... though she still burps a ton.  I decided to slowly add it back and not consume quite as much dairy as I used to, which was a lot, and so far she seems unaffected by it.  Whew!

little smiles

Milestones:  

First Trip to Grandparents - got to meet her cousins Emma and Lily
First Cloth Diaper 
Sleeping through the night with a tad more consistency
Starting to notice toys, swatted the rhino on the bouncer's mobile, and grabbing for things like blankets and toys.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mommy Clothes



every day.


...and when I'm looking to get real fancy, I throw on a belt, some bracelets, and maybe even some make up so I don't look like a ghost.  Thank you oh holy creator of bronzer!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day in Photos




gift from daughter to father

Friday, June 15, 2012

[Holidays] Eek!

Remember in last week's "Currently Reading" post when I said I prefer to receive presents, well that was only half true.


I LOVE giving presents to the Husband.


Counting down to Father's Day!


[Crafty Lady] Fast Favors


I mentioned in A's weekly update that I co-hosted a 'sprinkle' for one of my neighbors this past weekend.  It's become tradition that the last Mom-To-Be honored hosts the next shower.  Since my sprinkle was a dually with another May baby momma (who was also born in April), we were up.  That's right, the two chicks with their hands full with newborns planning a shower.  Comical.

We exchanged some middle of the night emails with grand ideas for themed decor, cake, and favors.  And then time got away from us.  My co-host offered to pick up the cake, so I went to pick up some supplies for decorations.

In my plans was a pennant banner of course, some cake plates, napkins, and I was even going to order these little bags for the favors on etsy.  Again, time flew by and I never placed the order (I also didn't have a strong headcount until the final week - excuses, excuses).  Well, the day I went to Michael's to pick up some scrapbook paper and other items, Ashlynn was in need of a changing.  Since the store is about 2 miles from my house I figured I'd just checkout and go home, instead of changing her in the car and going back into the store.  So in my rush to get home, I just grabbed the pre-made coordinating baby shower items - felt banner, cake plates, napkins, etc.  So much for my creative crafty ladylikeness.

We started to fail for ideas for favors, so I suggested little a potted plant.  You know the little ones with the colored foil around the base that they sell at the grocery store?  Cheap, easy, done.  Well, only the day before the shower my grocery store wasn't selling any.   But you know what they were selling - succulents!





So easy and they were a complete hit!  I was able to get in my crafty touch - win!


Happy Friday!



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

[Wednesday's Weekly Check-In] Week 8




Weight: 2 Month Check Up is on Monday.  I'm going with the estimated guess of 9lb 12oz.  An ounce a day would have put her at 9lb 8oz.  I'm guessing she's gaining more than that again, playing catch up!

Medical Issues:   Still has some congestion, comes and goes.  Same with reflux.  Some feedings she'll fall asleep and not even so much burp herself, let alone spit up, grunt, arch her back, hiccup, choke, etc.  Of course, then there are the others.  I think the feedings when she's stuffy are the worst.  I think she takes in too much air because her breathing pattern is off.  She also chokes a lot these feedings and it's terrifying.  I should probably relax, but I'm a spaz when I choke on water, I can only image the same feeling for her. 

She also started to get a heat rash or baby acne.  Going to ask the pedi about it on Monday.  It's not blotchy, just little bumps that flare up on her cheeks and the back of neck mainly when she's hot.  After she cools down, they seem to fade away a bit.


Sleep:  Sleep at night is pretty good.  Falling into a routine of sleeping from 7 or 8 to 11 and then again from 12 to 4 or 5.  Of course this isn't concrete, it's just the baseline. 

Now the real issue is the naps.  They are becoming few and far between.  She wakes really easily and prefers the cozy location of my shoulder.  Once I get her out, I try to put her down and she wakes.  On Monday she didn't nap at all.  Seriously.  She was up from 930am, a few shoulder cat naps, and then finally asleep around 10pm and didn't wake until 530am!  And then she ate and went back to bed until 8am!  (can you say "growth spurt"?)


Clothes: 0-3!  Well, still mainly newborn, but some are getting a little tight and some of the 0-3 is beginning to fit, this is where dressing her is going to get really fun!

(big ol' holler to woah, baby! for the adorable outfit)


Visitors:  No visitors here, but I did co-host a brunch "Sprinkle" for one our neighbors who is expecting this past Sunday.  Ashlynn came with and got to meet some of the girls.


Diet: All milk, all the time.... and only from the source.  I tried to give her a bottle while at brunch (at the Sprinkle) and she wouldn't have it.   It's okay though, I kinda like being super needed and it's a great excuse to put off babysitting services continually pressured upon us by the in laws.  I'm just not ready to leave her (for an extended period of time) yet!


Baby Gear Love:

Fisher Price Animal Crackers Bath Tub -  Bath time has been a struggle.  At first with A being so little we used the little plastic container the hospital sent us home with.  Pete would just hold her as I washed.  I received a soft bath pillow thing before she was born, since that I thought I'd prefer that to a plastic tub that I thought would be uncomfortable her and also for my back.  Well, the cushion is too big for the bathroom sink (and too small for the kitchen) and while she was little enough to use it for a week or two, it's now a tight squeeze and I still am unable to wash her by myself.  So I bit the bullet and picked up this tub on Saturday.  Wow, aside from it killing my back (I used it in our bathtub), bathing her alone was a breeze - and she LOVED it!  The sling was super comfy for her and helped calmed my nerves on her being able to wiggle and slip in the water while soaping her up.  Win!


Boppy - Fact.  I've barely used the Boppy to aid in feeding sessions.  I actually use it to sit against to prop me up, not her.  Just this week, I finally started sitting her in it and it's great.  Usually she's either attached to me or in her Rock N Play.  It's nice to sit her in the Boppy on the couch next to me so she can stare at the fan (she loves contrast) while I check emails and attempt to write a blog post.

Soothies - The pacifier preference of the moment, and thank goodness, because sometimes it's the only thing that will stop her crying and calm her down so I can actually eat something.


Crying:  She's still not a "cry-ee" baby.  Only crying when she needs something - burps, feeding, pacifier, changing.  Of course she screams when I try to clear her nose, but I'd cry if someone was trying to suck snot of out of my nose too.  Putting her on my shoulder and snuggling is usually the easiest way to get her happy.  Well, that and my boob.

Postpartum - 

Said awesome bathtub above threw out my back.  We spent all day Tuesday in bed. It was a nasty rainy day too, that made it so much better. 

Milestones:  

First 0-3 month onesie and outfit!




Tuesday, June 12, 2012

[Going Green] Diapees to Date



Although I plan on cloth diapering Ashlynn, I knew we'd be starting out with disposables.  (Check out my last diapering post here)

I wanted to invest in a cloth diaper stash built of one size fits all styles that will continue to grow with her, and maximize my savings.  Unless she was going to be a 10 pounder, the styles I bought wouldn't fit right off the bat.  I decided against investing in a newborn sized stash since I didn't know how long she'd be in them - 2 weeks or 2 months!  Ha, looks like the latter is winning and I would have gotten my money's worth!

I thought now that we will be converting to cloth soon, as A is beginning to pack on some pounds, I'd recap what we've been doing since we brought her home, how much we've spent to date (on both disposables and our cloth stash), and some of our opinions on products used so far.


A's Diapering To Date

At the hospital A was using the provided Pamper's Preemies.  The hospital showed us that Preemie sized diapers really weren't any different than Newborn sized, and that she would grow so fast it wouldn't be worth our money to invest in box of preemies.  They sent us home with a bag of 20 and after that ran out we started using the 7th Generation disposables I received at my shower.  My friend, KK, had gifted me a whole case of newborn diapers (144 to be exact).  One week after Ashlynn was born, I knew we were pretty far away from using the cloth diapers since she was only five pounds so I ordered more from diapers.com.  I used the first time buyer coupon code and got a case for $31.99.

I think we were going through a bag (36 count) every 4 days or so.  We ran out end the end of the 5th week.  I had already decided to order my next batch from Honest Company (the brain child of Jessica Alba), but I was still waiting on my delivery so I picked up one last bag at the store, this time in size 1 since 7th Generation NB weren't available.  I actually preferred the larger size, so I called Honest Company to change my monthly supply to that size too.


You can learn more about Honest Company here, but in short, it's a monthly subscription service for eco-friendly, sustainable, and affordable diapers, wipes, baby skincare and cleaning supplies.  I ordered a Free Trial of 10 diapers (for the cost of shipping - $4.95) and decided the cute patterns, contoured leg flaps, and affordable price was worth the $84.90 price for the monthly supply.  Honest will automatically send a month's supply or you can alter the settings to fit your baby's needs - more or less frequent if needed.   Once we have A in cloth diapers regularly, I plan to order diapers from Honest on an as needed basis to have disposables on hand for emergency situations (stashing extras in the car and diaper bags), babysitters, travel, etc. They just opened The Honest Shop where you can order individual items, instead of a case, this past week.




Cloth Diaper Stash


I mentioned last week I prepped about half of Ashlynn's cloth diaper stash.  Here's a breakdown of our inventory by brand and style and how much I invested in it...


...umm, have I ever mentioned I'm financial analyst by profession (and previously an accountant), no?  Well, now it's glaringly obvious.

... and, I'm also organizationally OCD. (hangs head in excel-sheet-of-cloth-diaper-brand-color-and-cost shame)


I have 22 cloth diapers, which apparently is more than the magic number of 18-20 for every other or third day laundry.

I know some people prefer to have all the same brand and I had to fight my OCD to branch out and try different ones.  After all my research, I found a lot of cloth diapering mommas found certain brands to work better for their children over others including the more popular brands.  I was afraid of stocking up on just one, only to realize it didn't work for us.  After some experience with them, I'll report back with my ratings and reviews on each style.

As you can see, my total initial investment was quite low, clocking in at just over $250.  However, since I did receive some as gifts, I thought it would be a better reflection to include their value too.  Based on the $356.43 value of the stash, each diaper averages $16.20, which if you've shopped around and have been turned off by the $20+ prices for similar styles this is proof that waiting for sales, promotions, and coupon codes can get you a full stash with some of the top rated brands for a relatively low price.

All in all, we've already spent half of our cloth diaper investment on disposables in just 2 months!


Our Thoughts So Far

So far having only used disposables, there isn't too much to compare other than brands.  I didn't mind the Seventh Generation diapers, though the "natural" color can look a bit weird.  I don't have to have diapers with lolli-pops and ice cream cones on them (although Ashlynn is wearing one right now), but the natural coloring just looks dingy compared to clean and crisp white.  However, it is nice that it doesn't show through clothing like a pink diaper with stars.


The husband is a huge fan of the Honest diapers.  He feels they are just constructed better.  We did experience a touch of diaper rash right before we switched to Honest.  I'm chalking it up to not frequent enough changes.  We change Ashlynn before feedings since it's easier on her reflux.  If we lay her down after a feeding for a change, she's more likely to spit up.  So a lot of times well do a diapee change (yes, that's what it's called in our house, not a typo), feed some milks (thanks to HR for that one), and then she'll pass out in her usual milk coma never alerting me to when she's wet until the next change.   It wasn't until about a week of using Honest Diapers and their wipes did it vanish, so maybe they do wick away moisture better.

Overall, we are now big fans of Jessica Alba - the husband always has been because she's hot, and I'm newly won over (never understood why she was treated as A-List when some of her main credits include Spy Kids and Honey) because of her efforts and initiative to start this company.  Disposable diapering is super easy and while it'd be really easy to continue with it and feel good that we are purchasing a diaper that isn't full of chemicals and has some biodegradable properties, the sheer amount we go through in terms of waste and cost, is still enough to make us glad to switch to cloth.


I'll be attempting the change after A's 2 Month check up next Monday!