I swore that I would always remember the items that I used the most or couldn't do without when I had Will, and crazy how fast you can forget those essential items once you are in a different stage with your kids. So I wnated to jot down some of the 'must-haves' that the second time around really worked for us:
1) Rock and Play sleeper- holy cow! I had heard these were great and was skeptical, until Ellie wouldn't sleep in the pack and play, and only in bed with us. I didn't want to make this a habit, and was desperate to find an alternative, so we bought this (about $50 at Target) and it was the best. purchase. ever. We are believers now too!! She has slept great in this, uses it for naps and overnight- and as she is approaching 4 months - we know we need to get her out of it soon, but has been great since we started it, right before 3 months (we should have started sooner!)
2) Miracle Blanket - a great swaddle option! I love the Aden and Anais swaddle blankets, but they aren't strong enough for a fiesty sleeper. The Miracle Blanket (again found at Target, about $25) is so awesome we can't leave home without it and keeps her snug to stay asleep.
3) Boppy pillow - those first couple months of feeding, I absolutely love this! Now, as she's bigger, I don't use it as much, but for first 3 months, I find it SO essential.
4) Nursing bras, tanks, and pads - I am a total leaker with my milk, so an endless supply of nursing pads is important to me. I found that I really like the Johnson and Johnson brand. Also, a few good nursing tanks for night time - and bras for the day. Good investment to have several, so when leaking or spit up gets on this - no big deal to throw in the laundry :)
5) Baby Connect app - I paid a few dollars for this app, but was awesome to track all my feedings. This was my saving grace when I had no clue what time it was, when I last fed, or what side. Again, I probably really relied on it most heavily the first couple months, and now dont' use as much, but I still like to track her height/weight on it. Love this as I always had my phone with me during feedings, so was easy to update.
6) KickKee Pants - Sleep sacks/pjs: this brand is the BEST for sweet, soft, sleepy pajamas. They make you want to snuggle up your baby and wonder why your clothes don't feel like this. My favorite baby shower gift!
7) WATER - seriously, when I nurse my babies I get SO. THIRSTY. Have several large water jugs around - or better yet, have your husband get you some water :)
8) A good pump - I tried to stock up some milk so I had a good supply/extra's before going back to work. It's crazy how fast when going back to work that supply can deplete (hard to keep up with how much she is eating) but I'm so glad I dedicated my team/efforts while off work to do that so I didn't feel tied to always having to be attached to her. Another great benefit this time - is we have an outlet in our car, so I am able to pump a lot in the car, and then just reach back and feed her a bottle. Has helped a TON on car trips!
I think that's all I have off the top of my head - may need to edit this if I remember anything else!
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
The biggest transition for us all this past month was me going back to work. I must say - although I hated leaving my kids, and still have to pry/peel myself away from them in the mornings- it was a little easier this time around just because we have our established care providers (that wasn't new) and our routine's, and I know that I can be a working Mom. It also helps that Mon-Tues, both kids are going up to Marilee's, and Wed-Fri, Meghan Connelly, who has watched Will over the past summers, she is coming to our house to stay with Ellie, while we take Will to St. Luke's Daycare for those 3 days (didn't want to subject her to those crazy days with two kids!) Meghan will be leaving to go to Benedictine College mid-August, and then Ellie will go to St. Luke's also, and we will do Marilee's on Monday and Friday's, and STL Daycare Tues-Thursday. I do feel very blessed to have this schedule and the people caring for our kiddos. I am enjoying my new role as I've gotten back to work - I am now focused on creating a new onboarding program/cirruculum for our new hires, as well as in charge of all learning/training for my org (of about 150 people) I LOVE it! I am able to have really flexible hours, which is great, and can work from home whenever I wish (I prefer a Starbucks/Panera when I can!) but it's great to have the flexibilty of schedule and can work from home and at nights when needed to make my days more flexible. I feel very fortunate to work for a company and team that's very supportive of that model and work/life balance.
Ellie is doing great - and getting bigger and chunkier by the day! And I just LOVE a chunky baby - especially my chunky baby!! I kiss all over her sweet cheeks and those big ole' thighs so much! I just know those days of holding her, loving all over her are so limited (have I mentioned how sentimental I am??? Patrick teases me about it - but really, I just want to cherish every single baby/infant minute that I can, b/c I know how darn fast it goes!) I would say that around her turning 3 months - it got a little harder with her being awake/alert more - and not just snoozing all the time. She was doing great with sleeping at nights - I was bragging on her sleeping 8 hours straight the night I went back to work, and sometimes going 5-6 hours pretty regularly - but we have kind of taken a step back. I think the older she is getting the more aware of her surroundings and awakens easier. But, she usually (we have had a few rough nights for sure), usually goes back to sleep pretty easily - and compared to big brother is easier with the sleeping and is overall a very happy, laid back baby. She just wants to be held, or around people all the time (hmmmm... Patrick says she gets that from her Mom :))
Will is still being a great big brother---he usually wakes up and is very excited to see his baby sister, and I find it so funny how much he copies the things we say! He will say 'Oh, hi sweet girl' or "Hi Ellie Gracie" or "It's ok, Mommy's here, Mommy's here Ellie" :) He gives her sweet kisses too every night and when he wakes up, and usually doesn't hug her too hard. It's funny how at his age (2 1/2) how he can go from being his usual sweet self, to flipping a switch and throwing some big, crazy tantrum over the silliest things. Typical toddler stuff, but man, it's crazy how he can go from one extreme to the next! I have heard that the 3's are actually more difficult, so I can't wait for that! Ha- but good thing he generally is a very well behaved, fun little boy. I always find it pretty funny the things that he says (again, picking up SO many of our terms and things that P and I say) and how grown up he can sound... he definitely gives us a lot of laughs....as well as our share of frustrations as well when he isn't listening. (He will tell me over and over at times to 'Be a good listener Mommy' - ha!)
Since our Florida vacation (right before I went back to work) - we have had some fun weekends. P had a Bachelor party for his friend Matt Petcoff, so I had the kids most of the weekend at the end of June. 4th of July was spent down at the lake with some awesome memories with the kids and Daniel/Gwyn, and John, Kathy and Emily. We love our lake trips! Then, Patrick and I had a quick adult night out to celebrate Brad Birkel's surprise 30th birthday and the next day I got to celebrate my friend (and pretty much sister in law) Cristin Decker's baby shower with some good friends. The following weekend we went to NE to celebrate my Grandpa Mack's 90th birthday - and got to stop in Seneca to see Great Grandpa Joe and Grandma Betty -special weekend with our 'Great's'. I love the picture of Ellie, me, Mom and Grandpa - we are all exactly 30 years apart, as I turned 30 this year, Ellie was born, Gpa is 90 and Mom will be 60 next weekend. So special - and I love that we got that picture. I was definitely thinking a lot about my Grandma Mack and how I know she would have loved to be there - and I most definitely felt her spirit there with us all, in our celebration together. She was and is missed though.
So, that's our update in a nutshell. We are preparing for Mom's 60th birthday this weekend, and for Ellie's 4 month appointment check-up, as well as getting ready for my sister to have baby #3 - we are calling the baby TieBreaker - as they are not finding out gender. I can't WAIT to know if we will add another little sweet girl to the mix (that's my guess at this point) or a sweet boy that will be our baby (if it sounds weird that I call it our baby, it's just that my sister and I have always said that we love each other's kids like our own, so I kind of feel like it's my baby too!) Even though our times together can get a little chaotic with all the littles, on both sides of the family.... we are so fortunate that our kids get to spend so much time with their cousins. I love that Will always prays for each one of his cousins at night - and he loves them all dearly :)
More soon - this Mama needs to get to bed!