Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday! Here is Ethan in his new stand up bouncer. Since he LOVES to stand up, we got this for him. He's still a little too small for it but he likes it for a short period of time. We have to put a big, fat, scrapbook on the bottom because his little legs don't reach the floor of this piece yet. 

We're still walking and snoozing after work. 

The sky has been so colorful at night! It's getting dark earlier which makes us so sad! Right now, sunset is at 6:30. We need to go change the clocks in a few weeks which will make the night come so early. Also, I wonder how to handle that time change with Ethan?? Do we keep him up an hour longer so he doesn't wake up an hour earlier? I doubt that works. Oy. 

Here's Ethan in his little Halloween outfit from Aunt Kimmy. That is a little baby mummy rockin' out with his electric guitar on his shirt. 


Ethan likes when you turn the iPhone camera on him so he can see himself. haha

Also, a new teething toy - a plastic hanger! I gave this to him while putting clothes away and he loved it. 

Ethan is doing really well with going to bed lately. We had a few weeks where he was so distracted and didn't want to eat before bed. Like most things we've seen with baby so far, we go through things and suddenly it's over. We give him a quick bath at night and when it's time to eat, he is happy to do so. He is eating faster, too, which means he is going to bed earlier. We've been getting him to bed by 730 or 750, if it takes him longer to eat. 

He's also waking up just once at night lately which is great. I'm looking forward to him sleeping allllll night at some point. I can't complain too much because he is sleeping 6-8 hr stretch, waking up once, and going back to sleep. 

Have a good weekend!

How I survived & thrived during maternity leave

Yesterday marked being back at work for 2 weeks. For the few weeks leading up to going to work,   I have had quite a mix of emotions about this ranging from "how can I go back to work rather than hang out with Ethan" to "I'm losing my mind, get me back to work". I truly think motherhood makes you feel 1,000 emotions at once and at all times. Mix that in with hormones and you get one whopper of a dose of feelings. I sometimes look for the off switch because I've never felt a million emotions at once like this before!

On the easy days, I felt like I could be a stay at home Mom and on the hard days, there was no way I could do that. 

We have come a long way from bringing home baby in early July. We went from having no clue what to do to understanding what Ethan needs. We had sleepless nights and once-a-night wake up nights. Ethan cried. I cried. And somewhere around the 8 week mark, we got it. Maybe it was just the time we spent getting to know each other, maybe it was the various books we read, but something clicked. I felt better, more like my old self, and had a better handle on providing for Ethan. 

So here are some photos of our journey and thoughts on how we made it through the 4th trimester aka the first three months. *Picture heavy post*

I think this is our first family picture

New Daddy

Cuddling with Ethan in the hospital. Those four days are probably the most special days ever. 

Bathing the baby for the first time. Look how LITTLE he is! Now, he sits up in that tub!

Definitely remember when Ethan would just eat and fall asleep everywhere. So glad Erik was here the first three weeks with us. I was able to rest from the c-section and we both could be with the baby together. We had back to back family visitors which was easy & hard at the same time. Great to see family & have help and hard to figure out what I/Ethan needed because we were still just getting to know one another. 

When Erik went back to work and the visitors left, it was just Ethan and I. I had no idea how to get him to take a proper nap but we slowly figured it out. Being a mom with a newborn is a mix of being confident in what you want to do and being flexible in what might happen. I want you to take a nap but I'm going to try to be flexible that it doesn't happen at the time  I want it to.

But, he went from sleeping anywhere to taking naps in his crib like a big boy. He started to have structure in his day and so did I. Having a schedule meant I got a break to actually take a nap, do dishes, chat with my sister online, workout at home....

....or watch a favorite movie or show to make me feel better about things(Hi Friday Night Lights & Gilmore Girls!)

I remember when Jaime & Laura came to visit around the 8 week mark. I had clearance from the doctor to do any activities and was feeling ready to get back into the swing of life. Laura introduced me to Tone It Up, an easy workout I could do at home. We stopped eating those wonderful meals in our freezer than other people made us to get back on track with eating right. We had a schedule and life was good. 

So, we survived the first 8 weeks and we thrived the remaining weeks. Ethan is now almost 4 months old!

How we thrived was to have structure, exercise, and to get out of the house. 

We WALKED. Starting in early September, we walked 2 miles a day. It was an awesome way to end the day and get exercise in. Ethan would often fall asleep which meant he got a little cat nap in which was great. 

Get fresh air. We would walk and sit in the park. Ethan felt grass on his feet and sun on his face(for just a minute!) The three of us quickly became a team that did everything together. 

Get out and see people!!! I was so lucky to have a few friends who also had babies around my time and have some friends who don't work 9-5. Getting out and seeing people made me feel like I still had my "old life" and that I could handle getting out of the house with a baby. That alone (getting out with baby) can make you feel like a Superhero. 

We had structure in the day and got stuff done. I personally could not sit around and watch laundry, dishes, pile up. Our schedule was something like this --

7am up/feed/dress baby
830am - Ethan Nap, Mom works out in living room/eats breakfast/showers
10- Ethan up/playtime
1130 - E naps, Mom eats lunch/does a load of dishes/laundry
130 - Ethan up/playtime
3pm - E naps, Mom had relaxing time/prepped dinner
5pm - 2 mile walk with E&E

Ethan loved sitting in the bathroom while I got ready. I DEFINITELY showered daily. I never understood when Moms said they had no time to do so and I made it a priority. If you have TWO kids at home, I can understand it or if you have a baby that won't sit nicely for you like my little E man does. 

Soooo little


I made up my mind that the three of us would do most things together. We walked together, went to the store together, etc. Yes, it was hard taking them both to the store, getting them both in/out of the car, AND get the bags out of the car. But, we did it. 

I remember one day I took them both to the grocery store and parked in the outside parking lot. I usually park in the garage under the store. I learned that the outside lot is not flat. I had the baby in the car seat and put him in the cart to shop that day v. wearing him. When I came back out with the groceries, I had to balance the cart, getting the bags in the car, and not letting the cart with the baby run away! I had my foot holding the cart as I pulled the carseat out of the cart (hello, ab workout). Then I still had to hold the cart with my foot while I got the bags in the car. Whew. 

Then, when we got home, I put the car seat at the front door and left Evie in the car. Got all the bags out & put at front door. Brought Ethan and bags in the house and then got Evie. I was tired after that one. haha

Ethan and I played together and this made me feel close to him. It is so heart warming when he laughs at you and wants to cuddle with you. 
It's been awesome to watch him develop and learn new skills. He has always been a strong baby and even held his head up at 2 weeks. But, it's so cool watching him learn to grab things, try to sit up on his own, get better at tummy time, etc....

Erik and I make sure we get out of the house as a family. Being home all the time can make you crazy. We are SO glad we live in a spot that has a bunch to do with just a short car ride. It is great taking Ethan out with us, too. 

Ah the cuddles. Ethan loves to cuddle. There were many days I let him sleep on me or fall asleep after eating and not move him to his crib. There is nothing better than staring at your baby while he sleeps. 

Some of the best advice I followed while home was "this too shall pass" and "be kind to yourself". When things went awry, I just remembered this is what is happening right now & its not going to be like this forever i.e. Ethan crying, not napping, etc. For me, it took a solid 8 weeks to feel like myself again. Be kind to yourself on how you look, feel, and how you're doing as a new parent. This is a marathon, not a sprint. That is a big life lesson for me because I do love to see results immediately in things but that new way of thinking is actually a nice outlook on life!

This girl. She is ALWAYS there for me as she has been for the past 7 years. She would cuddle with me when I needed it and she watched over Ethan so carefully. She would run to his room after coming home from her walks to see if he was in his crib. She laid with us while he played on his blanket on the floor. She was patient with us while we figured out how to walk her with the stroller & not run her over. I never forgot about her and she knew it. The days were more fun with the three of us, for sure. 

After all of that, when it was time to go to work, I had officially almost lost all of the "baby weight" so I felt great. We had a schedule for Ethan that Erik could easily follow which I was happy about. We were all happy that Erik could now stay home with Ethan for a month. AND, we had found a great nanny/share family so we didn't have to worry about that anymore. 

So, in the end, I cried - many times- before going back to work. But I got some great advice from friends and family to see why going to work would be a good thing for all of us. I think it was more the anxiety/fear of unknown of how to handle work & our new family. 

Two weeks in, I can honestly say that I only cried on Day 1. It took two weeks but I feel back in the swing of things at work and it's really great working with other Moms. I do rush home at 5pm to see my baby boy which is the best. I get some good time with him in the AM and after work so I don't feel like I don't get to see him. We figured out how to structure dinners with make ahead dinners & crockpot so we max our time with him and each other. Ethan is sleeping pretty well at night and growing more & more. So with that, I'd say we did and are doing pretty well with everything!