Preparing for Baby #2

5.24.2017


*I suppose I should apologize for taking a leave of absence from the blog without announcing myself, lest you think I'm in labor. No, I am not in labor. But I am lacking motivation to blog regularly, and I've been filling any evening free time with other creative projects that I plan on blogging about if I ever get around to it! 

I posed a question to my blog’s Facebook page, asking what topics people would like to see me write about. A couple of people suggested I write about how we are preparing for Baby Bum 2.0, so I figured I’d sit down and see what I have to say about it. 

I suppose the reason I haven’t written much about my thoughts on having a second baby or how we are preparing to add a fourth member to our family is because 1) I wasn’t sure if anyone really cared about it and I don’t want to be crazy lady who only can blog about babies and pregnancy but mostly 2) I don’t feel like we’ve really done very much preparing. 

There will not be a brand-new Pinterest extravaganza of a baby boy nursery reveal because R and this baby will be sharing a room. We’ve made some minor adjustments to the original nursery but nothing super crazy. Total so far, I think I’ve spent less than $50, honestly. I switched out the giraffe holding a pink balloon to this print from the same Etsy shop of a fox holding a yellow balloon. 

I replaced the pink and white Target curtains with these gray blackout curtains from Wayfair that I totally love. It keeps the room so dark, especially now that it’s still light outside when R goes to sleep! I bought a picture frame for $3 during a sale at Kohl’s and added a maternity photo to the existing shelf. I am working on replacing the paper name banner above R’s crib with a new one I’m making of just scrapbook paper triangles. We have friends making a pallet with baby boy’s first initial on it to match the pink one they made for R. 

We aren’t buying a second crib because, to be totally honest, to me that seems like a ridiculous and unnecessary purchase. Not to say that anyone who buys a second crib is ridiculous, but it felt unnecessary for us. Baby boy will sleep in the bassinet we used with R for a bit while we continue to work on transitioning R to her toddler bed. My in-laws found it at Goodwill for $50 and it fits perfectly in the nursery! 

I guess if I think about it too hard I suppose I feel slightly nervous about the logistics of a two-year-old and an infant successfully sharing a room, but then I figure we are not the first people to do this and it will work out. We aren’t buying a new, bigger car, because we can’t right now. The backseat of my little Ford Focus will be stuffed two car seats, and we’ll just figure that out too. Where is this super chill attitude coming from???? Please never leave me. 
In order to fit R’s new toddler bed in the nursery, we moved this white cabinet (originally black from Target and painted white) into the dining/office room and made a little play area for R, which I mentioned previously in this post
It feels so good to have all of her toys out of the living room, and with the big window I love all the natural light in this space! We hang out in here a lot in the evenings after I get home from work. 

One semi-major project that I gave to Jordan was to add two more shelves in R’s closet. I never actually put any work into organizing her closet or making it look cute and functional, but now that two kids will be sharing the closet, my nesting urges took over and I told Jordan he needed to install some shelves in there for me so it wasn’t just a mad pile of stuff in there. I’ll try to remember to share a before/after photo with you once the shelves are in and I’ve organized everything! 

As far as purchasing items for baby boy, we haven’t really needed to get that much. All of the large stuff (car seat, bassinet, high chair, play mat) we have in gender-neutral colors, minus her bath seat, and who really cares about that? Not me. 

One thing I’m super excited about is setting up our MamaRoo infant seat! I had the opportunity to work with 4Moms on a sponsored blog post last year and got the MamaRoo for free. R was already too big for it, so we packed it up and have been saving it for baby boy. I’m so looking forward to having a baby swing this time! We never had one with R. 

I’ve been shopping consignment stores for baby boy clothes and have snagged some fun deals on Brickyard Buffalo when I’ve seen them for some shoes and a few other things. I’m buying a box of diapers whenever I’m at the store, trying to stock up, which we did not do with R and that was a mistake. I was maybe four months pregnant when I stopped at a garage sale up the street from our house and saw that they were selling a double stroller for $40. It’s not as fancy or compact as some of the other double strollers you can buy, but hello, did I mention forty dollars? I need to look up the manual online and figure out how it actually works.

My mom was visiting a month or so ago, and we knocked out some freezer meals from this post. I still want to bake up a few batches of muffins for the freezer. I found breakfast to be one of the hardest meals when R was a newborn because you’re so exhausted from the long night of no sleep that you don’t have energy to make breakfast, but you’re breastfeeding and starving so you have to eat something. I want to be prepared this time! 

As far as how I’m mentally preparing, I don’t know if anyone can ever be mentally prepared for the epic exhaustion and stress that comes with having a newborn, but since it was so intense with R, I am hopeful that it won’t be as difficult the second time around. It was so challenging on our marriage to add a baby, but I think we are in a better place now that we know more about what to expect! 

I have no worries or concerns about R transitioning into her big sister role. Maybe I’m just being na├»ve, but I honestly haven’t had any fears about my ability to love two kids or have time for two kids or about R feeling left out or abandoned. Lately I have been feeling a little nostalgic as I think about my time with just my little bean coming to a close, but I’m so much more excited to add baby boy our family and see R as a big sister. 

Someone recently asked me how I knew I was ready to start trying for a second child, but I find that a hard question to answer. For sure there are definitely better times than others to think about having a baby. But at the end of the day, I was never going to be ready for the physical and emotional toll of being pregnant, especially working full time and chasing a toddler around; I was never going to be ready for the exhaustion of a newborn; I was never going to be ready to face the difficult first day back at work after maternity leave; I was never going to be ready for the financial aspect of paying for my delivery and paying for two kids in daycare and adding someone to our insurance and all the other things you have to pay for when you have another child. I don't agree with people who say kids aren't expensive. Sure, they don't need the newest clothes or the fanciest toys or the most exotic vacations, but there are other expenses to consider, and it's pretty overwhelming sometimes.

But Jordan and I both grew up with three other siblings, and we love our big families. We knew we wanted to have more children, and we knew that as much crazy that comes with having a baby, it also comes with a lot of laughs and a lot of fun and a lot of love. 

We all prepare for babies in the best way we can. We wash the tiny clothes and set up the tiny swing and buy the tiny bottles and fold the tiny blankets. 

But there’s one thing you just can’t prepare for: the giant amount of love you feel for the tiny person who was inside one minute and outside the next. The person you can't imagine your life without, even though you just met.

Finallyyyyy, just for fun. A bump comparison from 35 weeks. I have been wearing the same shirt each week on purpose, but the purple shorts was totally accidental. Also I need to clean my mirror, thanks for noticing. 

Officially less than one month until my due date, and R was 9 days early, so it could be even sooner than that! I can't wait!

We So Classy

5.17.2017


I was working on entering May receipts into our budgeting spreadsheet a few days ago when I ran across the receipt for our anniversary and realized that we ate at McDonald's for dinner on our anniversary. Let me repeat: our 6th anniversary dinner was from the McDonald's drive-through. We so classy.

Jordan got a strawberry-banana smoothie, I got a $.99 cheeseburger, and R got a 4-piece nugget Happy Meal with apple slices she refused to eat so I ate them instead. I think the last time I ate a cheeseburger from McDonald's was 1995, so I find it highly amusing that the dinner receipt for 5/14/17 was for $8.04 at McDonald's.

A few weeks ago, my mom sent a message to our family group text to ask if anyone was interested in going to see the Texas Rangers for on Mother's Day. I ruled it out almost immediately, but then I started thinking that maybe it would be fun to take one last trip to Texas before Baby Bum arrives. We drove down on Saturday afternoon and stayed with my parents Saturday night.

On Sunday morning we woke up and went to iHop for breakfast, which is something we've done every year since we got married. I have no idea how it started, but it's a fun little tradition. The service was slower than slow and Jordan's gravy was cold, but we had a good time and that's what counts.

We went back to my parents' house after breakfast and met up with my brothers and their wives and my sister to head to the 2pm baseball game.

It was only as we turned off the highway that I realized what Jordan had tried to warn me: 2:00 is prime toddler nap time and also prime Roast in the Blazing Inferno of the Texas Sun time. Sometimes I don't fully think things through, and this appeared to be one of those times. R passed out in her car seat five minutes before we parked at the game. Obviously.

For Mother's Day they were giving out Texas Ranger scarves (yes, in 95-degree weather), but by the time we got there they were all gone! One of the security guards raced up to me and said, "Wait here." He came back with a flower and said, "We don't have any more scarves, but I'd like you to have this flower." How nice was that?

Our seats were on the third-base side in the upper level directly in the sun. Ninety-five degrees in May. IN MAY, people! Luckily, the game wasn't sold out and there was a large section of seats way at the top that were unoccupied and in the shade. Jordan, R, and I relocated immediately, and the rest of my family followed soon after. I didn't want to inconvenience anyone and make it all about me, but let's be honest: I'm almost 35 weeks pregnant so it's kind of all about me. Our new seats were in the shade and there was a good breeze, so it wasn't too bad!

Considering that R completely skipped her nap, she actually did really well at the game. I fed her goldfish and granola bar and forced her to keep drinking water so she wouldn't get dehydrated. It wasn't as easy as at the Cubs game we went to in Chicago last July. During that game she fell asleep and I just held her for most of it. Clearly we are beyond that now.

We drove separately to the game instead of riding with my parents so that we could leave early and head straight home. We stayed until the end of the 7th inning, which was awesome because in the bottom of the 7th the Rangers scored 3 runs to put them ahead 5-4!

We got out of the stadium before the crazy traffic and hadn't even been driving ten minutes before R fell asleep. (Side note: I could hear her snoring, and toddler snores are way cute.) She woke up two hours later, and since we needed to stop for gas anyway we pulled off the highway to grab a quick dinner. I won't go into the whole thing because it's too annoying to talk about, but the first place we stopped to get dinner was a complete and utter fail of a disaster (hi, Arby's), so after wasting nearly a half hour we got back on the highway foodless.

I was able to keep R mostly happy with the rest of the goldfish, a package of fruit snacks, and half a granola bar all the while trying to tell myself I wasn't ruining her forever with this farce of a dinner. Finally we reached another exit and stopped at McDonald's, where we bought the aforementioned anniversary dinner for less than $10. I suppose this is real parenthood life, and if Jordan is honest he probably enjoyed this a lot more than last year's anniversary dinner, which cost a heck of a lot more and was probably more stressful. Also, I don't know if it's the pregnancy talking, but my cheeseburger wasn't terrible. Actually I kind of liked it. Don't judge me.

All in all it was a crazy but fun weekend celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary and Mother's Day. Our anniversary will fall on Mother's Day only every six years, so this was something special! I can't believe that the next time we drive to Texas, we will have TWO car seats in the back of my little Ford Focus!

for jordan.

5.12.2017


Sunday is Mother’s Day, but do you know what else it is?

Our sixth wedding anniversary! They fall on the same day this year, and I think that's so fun!

When we first got married, six years sounded so old and felt like so long, but of course now I realize that six years is nothing compared to the decades we hope to be able to spend together.

I read a blog post a few weeks ago that was just so absolutely perfect and honestly I teared up a bit reading it. It was talking about motherhood and how hard it is but also how thankful she is for the dads. And she wrote this: “The truth is, even on a difficult day the load is lighter because he helps carry it."

So Jordan, thank you for lightening my load.

You're the crunch in my peanut butter.
The mint with my chocolate chip ice cream.
The icing on my cupcake.

I love you. Happy anniversary.

Why We Chose (and Like!) Traditional Daycare

5.10.2017

^^^ A class project they did one day at daycare. All the blue footprints are R's!

Just say the word daycare and people are going to have opinions about it. When I was pregnant with R and we were considering childcare options, it was incredibly discouraging how easy it was to find articles where the author’s sole purpose was to go on and on about how terrible daycare is and how you are basically sending your child to Satan’s playground for eight hours a day to ruin them for the end of time. 

I honestly have to wonder if these people have ever actually sent their child to daycare at all or if they just want to find things to be negative about to make themselves feel better about their own situation.

And for sure, not all daycares are created equal. Some are not all that great, and as a parent you need to trust your instincts and find a place where you feel comfortable leaving your child during the work day. Thankfully, there are so many options for childcare these days! In-home nannies, home daycares, relatives, and of course a traditional daycare setting. 

Most of my working mom friends have their babies in a home daycare, and they are fantastic! I am not against home daycare, but for us, traditional daycare is what we felt would best work for our family. This post is not about stay-at-home moms, and it's not about making anyone feel bad for their choices concerning childcare. This post shares my personal experience with traditional daycare in an effort to encourage other working moms who are considering their childcare options to know that a daycare center doesn't have to be terrible and can actually be really great!

I am so thankful to say that we have had a positive experience in a traditional daycare setting so far. I do not want to make anyone feel bad about having their child in a home daycare. Again, home daycares can be wonderful! I just wanted to share some of the reasons we felt led toward a daycare center instead of care inside someone's home and our experience so far. I will include some of the negatives of traditional daycare to try and paint a complete picture.

The most obvious pro to a traditional daycare is that they are always open. If the teacher gets sick, they have replacement teachers and subs to call, but the daycare doesn’t just close down for the day because of the flu. The point of having your kid at daycare in the first place is because you need someone to watch them while you’re at work, and I never wonder whether R’s daycare will be open Monday-Friday. Multiple friends of mine have had their home daycare provider call to say that they came down with strep/the flu/stomach bug, etc. and they can’t watch their child that day, and my friends have had to scramble to figure out childcare or just take a day off work. Right now I don't need that kind of extra stress in my life.

I like that R has a weekly schedule of daily age-appropriate activities. She routinely brings home art projects involving her footprint or handprint and paint and probably some glitter or scraps of paper. I know they work on signing and saying different words because I’ve seen them do it in the classroom when I’ve been in there, and R has come home doing signs that we didn’t teach her like “please” and “read.” I am sure that many home daycares also do activities, but I would guess that the schedules of a traditional daycare setting are more consistent, and I like seeing the weekly schedule for math (counting blocks, for example), reading, motor skills, and other activities that are helping her learn!

She never watches TV because they don’t have any. I am not at all saying that in a home daycare setting, your kid will be plopped down facing the TV for 8 hours straight, and I’m not a TV hater or anything like that. But I do love that R doesn’t even have the option to watch TV during the day because there aren’t any TVs at all. They have designated outside and gym time twice each day for 30-60 minutes, and they have other activities like story time and play time so I know she's doing a lot of fun things, none of which involve screen time.

R gets used to different people watching her. Some might not agree with me here, but I actually like it that R is learning to not be attached to just mom and dad and is experiencing someone else taking care of her. 

Obviously it’s an issue if daycare teachers are rotating in and out faster than you can learn their names, but in general I like that R is being exposed to multiple different caretakers. When I pick R up to go home at the end of the day, she always blows kisses and waves "bye-bye" to her teachers, and I love it!

I think she clearly has a good attachment to Jordan and I, and I honestly think a lot of the so-called "attachment and developmental issues" that research claims happens when a child is in daycare can be greatly impacted (for better or worse) by how the parents interact and support and love on the child when they are at home and on the weekends.

She is around a lot of other kids of her own age. As children get older and transition to a new room, new children are brought in, and she has to learn to play well with different types of personalities. This is probably one of my favorite things about having her in daycare. I personally like that she is with kids of her own age so that they can do the age-appropriate activities and so they are all generally on the same developmental curve as far as walking, talking, etc. 

Something that has been really stressful for us over the past year is biting. I'll be honest: R is a biter, and she's the most consistent biter in her class. She will go a month without biting at all and then go weeks where I'm signing an incident report every day. If your toddler has ever been bitten, I'm sorry about that, but I can assure you the parent of the child who bit feels worse than you do. You better believe we are working on this behavior! 

But as stressful as it is, I do think that being around other kids and learning social awareness that she can’t just attack people when they steal her toy or get in her way is a good thing, and in a traditional setting they have protocol to follow when that happens (like giving me and the other parent an incident report) and being consistent about how they address biting with the child (mostly that involves moving R away from the other child and telling her that biting hurts and we don't bite). I am glad she is getting a chance to practice sharing, patience, and how to handle frustration even at such a young age, and I am thankful for our daycare teachers who are helping us help her!

There are, of course, some things where I think a home daycare offers positives you can’t always get in a traditional setting. Obviously in a home daycare setting you are more than likely receiving more personalized care because it’s a smaller group and it’s only one or two caretakers (usually) who are there all the time. You get to know that person almost like a member of your family, and they get to know you! 

While I definitely know who R’s teachers are and they know me, I don’t feel as close to them as I might if we were in a home daycare. It is terrifying leaving your child with someone else no matter who it is, and having the security of a home daycare where you know the person watching your child is probably very nice. That said, I make it a point to not just rush in and out during drop-off/pickup. I stay for a few minutes talking to the teachers, asking them questions about how R plays during the day and just general things about their weekend, etc. I get to know them more this way and feel comfortable leaving R with them. We have been very blessed with some wonderful teachers for R so far!

My friends who have their children in a home daycare are sick way less often than R has been in a traditional setting. Hello, germs freaking everywhere in that place. It's a petri dish of flu and RSV and who knows what else, I won't lie. Just yesterday there was a sign on her classroom door saying that room had been exposed to pink eye, so yay for that. But supposedly she's building up her immune system so when she goes to public school those germs won't stand a chance.

In a home daycare, you can get text updates of photos and videos throughout the day. I know traditional daycares that do this too, although R’s doesn’t (sadness!), but I still think you’d probably get more updates from a home daycare provider, especially if you had their number and could text them directly if you needed or wanted something or if they had a question for you.

Home daycares are also usually less expensive, which is a huge positive when you're already paying out the wazoo for childcare. But not all home daycares always do dependent daycare tax credits or have strict federal laws that are as regulated as those you might get in a traditional daycare, so you will want to check all of that out when considering your options. And definitely ask your employer about getting pre-tax dollars taken out of your paycheck for dependent care, because that is saving us a few thousand dollars a year! You can take out up to $5,000 a year.

This is getting long, so I’ll stop there. If you have experience either with a traditional daycare or a home daycare, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to comment on anything I’ve written here if you have additional thought or maybe didn’t have quite the same experience.

Please remember that the comments section of this post is a positive place where we are sharing so we can learn from and encourage each other. Anyone leaving a rude comment is going to get deleted because there is almost nothing that enrages me more than people commenting negative things about childcare and making working moms feel more guilt than we (probably) already do.

*If you found this post helpful, you might also enjoy Heather's post "Why I Think Daycare is Great" and Sarah's post "Confessions of a Daycare Mom."

Framing Our Maternity Photos with Keepsake (+ Discount Code)

5.08.2017

*I received the following product for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are mine.

I never do sponsored posts that aren't relevant to me or this blog, but I especially love when a product review or sponsored post opportunity comes up that is completely perfect for something I already needed or wanted. Keepsake reached out to see if I would be interested in reviewing their photo framing service, and as luck would have it, we had just had maternity photos taken, and I was looking to get one framed for our house!

Keepsake creates custom frames for your photos in a quick process that you can do either on your desktop computer or inside the free app straight from your phone. I used the app to make my frame, and it was super easy. The hardest part will be deciding what photo to frame! They have a range of size and color options at a variety of price points so you can get exactly what you want. The very best part is that all the frames are made in the United States.


All frames come fully sealed in the back with hanging hardware, so on Saturday when the UPS guy dropped it off, I literally unpacked my frame and hung it within five minutes.

You can use the code okie15 to get 15% off your purchase, and I'm seriously considering getting a second frame of a different maternity picture in a smaller size to add to the gallery wall above my desk. I should also mention that shipping is always free. If you are the type of person who takes tons of pictures but is bad about getting them actually framed and hung up in your home, Keepsake is definitely worth checking out!

Now I wanted to share a few more maternity pictures with you. We took maternity photos when I was pregnant with R, and I just love having professional photos of that special time. I knew that I wanted to get them done again with this baby, and as I've mentioned before, my blog-friend-turned-real-life-friend Beka was sweet enough to offer to drive to Oklahoma City and meet us for a photo shoot after work one day! 

I do want to say that R was crazy and would not be held, and I don't think she smiled once for any photo. But that's toddlers for you! It was also super windy, but we still got some shots that I really love. Here are a few. 


And just for fun.... Pinterest inspiration vs. real life.


Nailed it.

The Point of Everything

5.03.2017

So, hi.

I have so many things to talk about and yet nothing I want to talk about. I reserved four books from the library and of course they all came in at the same time, so I have been plowing through books lately. It’s been nice.

I’m almost 33 weeks pregnant and just now starting to get regular comments about my bump from strangers. I was at the arts festival last week squatting down to look at a piece of pottery, and the artist leaned over and asked, “Do you do prenatal yoga?” Sometimes I forget that I’m even pregnant, so it took me a minute to connect to the point of such a random question. “What?” I said. She smiled. “You just move really well for having that big baby."

So that made me feel pretty good, even though, no, I haven't been doing much prenatal yoga or much of anything at all. I swore I would be more fit this pregnancy, but I'm really just too busy and tired to care about it. I took R on a walk two days ago and tried jogging for 3.8 seconds and got a side cramp almost immediately, so there's that.

Then there was the guy in line at the sno cone stand who looked down at my stomach, chuckled, and said, “Looks like you’ve already had four or five sno cones already.” To be honest, stuff like that doesn’t bother me. I’m not one of those pregnant women who get offended by someone implying that my stomach is big. I mean come on. Let’s not kid ourselves. It is big, and I just laugh right along with them. I'm too thankful for my healthy, growing baby to get insulted by anyone's comments, because they are just making conversation and not really trying to be rude anyway. This, of course, doesn't apply to Jordan, who isn't allowed to comment on my size unless he wants to see The Rage.

Beka sent me our maternity photos, and this is one of my favorites. My two Baby Bums. 

R was a squirmy little bean and basically refused to be held, but we finally got her to cooperate for this one by offering her a food pouch, which she is eating in the photo. Ha! Strategic cropping for the win.

I’m so excited for R to be a big sister. I think she’s going to do so great. And although I realize maternity leave is not a day at Disneyland, I can’t tell you how excited I am to be able to be off work this summer and spend some time just doing my mom role and not with the addition of work and deadlines and rush-hour commutes into the city. 

I finally talked to my boss a month or so ago and figured out exactly what my leave will look like. I got six weeks last time with R, and this time I am thrilled that they agreed to give me eight. Most of that will be unpaid but still totally worth it. I will also be able to work full time from home for a couple of additional months, which I am so thankful for. R was born on a Monday morning, and Jordan went back to work that Thursday. This time he is going to take a full week off, and I’m really excited for that too. All around I feel very blessed and thankful and excited going into this final month and a half of pregnancy.

I feel like I’ve been taking more photos of R lately but sharing less and less of them. As she gets older, I have been feeling that I don’t want to share too much publicly about her. I’m really happy with my decision not to type out her full name on the blog, although I’m sure many of you know what it is, which is fine. I’ve gotten in the habit of typing her initial in texts and emails too, even to my friends and family, which is kind of funny. I plan on doing the same for Baby Boy (yes, he does have a name)!

I guess what I’m saying in a roundabout way is that I’m just not sure what I want to write about right now, so that’s why it might be a little quiet on the blog. I was playing with R a couple of weeks ago, and she does this thing where sometimes she comes over and pats your face or your back, like she’s mimicking what we do to her sometimes. She put her hand on my cheek and looked right into my eyes and smiled, and I swear to you I’m not being dramatic. I actually had tears well up in my eyes as I thought about how much I love her.

And okay, spoiler alert: I’m about to say something that will make me look like a crazy religious nutso. But do you know what that makes me think of? It makes me think about how much God loves me. How much he loves YOU. Maybe you don’t believe that, but I do. I've been taking a lot of comfort in that lately, because life can be really wonderful but also really hard. There's so much uncertainty, and I have been stressing about some of that lately, but at least I have one constant.

I suppose that last paragraph is kind of unrelated to anything else I wrote in this post. But actually if you think about it, maybe it’s also kind of the point of everything.


We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. 
The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito.
― C.S. Lewis
・ DESIGNED BY ECLAIR DESIGNS