Can you guys believe this is my 7th blog post round up!? I sure can’t. As of April I have been blogging for 3 years. Wow! Just wanted to take a moment and say thank you to everyone who has been a loyal reader and a part of my blogging journey. And now, without further or do, Here is my 7th blog post round up.
DIY Padsicles and Postpartum Care
This post I wrote when I was very pregnant, maybe 37 weeks? I wrote a variety of different blog posts before I gave birth so that I could take some time to spend with my newborn before returning back to blogging. This was a recipe I found online and heard great things about from different moms who’ve gone through a vaginal birth. I added my own twist to this recipe and I believe many others found this post helpful as well
Baby is Here!!! (Our Birth Story)
This was by far my most popular blog post, on every platform including Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and WordPress Reader. I will say this too is one of my favorite blog posts as this is the story of how my sweet Baby Bear was born.
My Baby Bear is 1 Month Old!
After my son was born, I quickly realized that any blog post that was about my baby, usually became a popular post. This one was about Matthew turning a month old.
Why We Named Our Son Matthew
This post was a very special one to write as I was able to share the meaning of my son’s name as well as how and why we came up with the name Matthew.
Anxiety and Motherhood
I have always been an anxious person, but my anxiety intensified even more when I became a mom. In this post I talk about the joys, the challenges and the anxiety of being a mom.
How to Style a Bookshelf
This post helped me to unleash my creative juices and my need to organize everything. I thoroughly enjoyed creating and sharing my ideas on styling a bookshelf.
People Who Inspire Me: Meet My Mom
This post I wrote about my momma. I’ll be honest, I’ve been wanting to write this post about my mom for a long time, but I was almost always too emotional to do it. Once my mom finally became a Grandma, I decided to just buckle down and do it, and I’m so glad I did.
My Summer 2022 Bucket List
If you’ve been here awhile, you all know how I love creating a summer bucket list every year. This year things are going to be looking a little different as I’m temporarily staying with family, but never the less we’ll make it work.
My Nursing Journey Part 1
Nursing is no joke. It is hard work and an experience that I definitely wanted to document and share to encourage other mommas on their nursing journey.
Physical Therapy for Phagiocephaly and Torticollis
I decided to write about my son’s health because I enjoy reading other moms and their experiences and I too wanted to do the same thing to help others. I also wrote this post, because I’m curious to see his progress in the next few months.
Our Love Story (Part 6)
On a chilly November afternoon almost 6 years ago, I married my best friend. This is the story of our wedding day, and by far one of my most popular blog posts.
When my son was 4 months old, our pediatrician gave us the go ahead to start solid foods. I was excited but very nervous about this new adventure. I took two weeks to do research before starting solid foods.
My husband and I decided on starting with purées as these seemed to be the most safe and best option for us. We first started with carrots and let me tell you, my son was not a fan. The carrots would go in and a moment later the carrots would go out. Three days later we tried butternut squash. This time he swallowed a few spoonfuls and the rest went all over his bib.
My son is now 6 months old and so far we have tried peas, carrots, butternut squash, apples, bananas, mango, chicken, green beans, prunes, cereal, pears and peaches. His favorites seem to be bananas, butternut squash and apples.
This solid food journey has been exciting and I can’t wait to see what other foods my son likes to try. 🙂
My Baby Bear is 6 months old! I can’t believe it. So much has happened and yet time just feels like it flew right by. Feels like just yesterday we were bringing him home from the hospital, and now he is a sweet, charismatic, energetic, vocal little boy.
The past 6 months have been the best and hardest of my life. When people say “you won’t remember what life was like before you had kids.” Believe them. It’s true. I don’t remember. Part of that is sleep deprivation and part of that is just realizing how truly blessed I am to have a baby.
Anyway, enough of me being all sentimental. Here is an update on Matthew!
Weighed: 7lbs 11oz
6 months old
Wears 9 month clothes
Size 3 Diapers
Doesn’t sleep through the night yet. We’re lucky if he gets a 4 hour stretch.
Still nursing, as well as eating solids including apples, peaches, bananas, pears, prunes, carrots, chicken, cereal and peas.
Favorite toys include anything that lights up or plays music, penguin paci, piano, kiddy pool, snuggle bug and links.
A few of his favorite things include: Bath time, swimming in his pool, trying new foods, blowing raspberries, having giggle fits, listening to music, exploring his blocks, cuddling with mommy and playing with daddy.
– He can officially sit unassisted,
– Roll belly to back and back to belly
– Put his toes in his mouth.
– Reaching for toys.
– Starting to throw
– Trying to stand and walk,
– Sip water
– Say mama 💕
Happy Half Birthday Baby Boy! You’re officially half way to 1! Can’t wait to see you grow these next 6 months and beyond!
Since my son was born, I have found myself going through a lot of old photos. My intention of this was really just to see how much my son ended up looking like me. But as I’ve perused different photos, I found myself going down memory lane, and really thinking back to the last 7 years and the experiences that have helped mold me as the person I am today.
In September of 2014, I met an 18 year old boy in Spanish class. He was kind, polite and a little nosey. I didn’t know it then that he would one day be my husband. ❤️
I didn’t intend to meet my future husband in Spanish class. I actually signed up for the class so I could prepare for a mission trip to the Dominican Republic in February of 2015. This trip changed my life. I learned how to be grateful for the things I have, like an indoor shower, a floor and air conditioning. I also grew more in love with helping others and teaching children. 🖍
In the fall of 2016, I became a lead preschool teacher for 3 year olds. I graduated from community college in the Spring of 2016 and instead of heading straight to a university, I decided to take a gap year and gain some experience in my field. It was wonderfully challenging to say the least. Everyday was an adventure. From potty training, to positive child guidance, to sickness, to coloring on the wall, to giggle fits, to Disney dance parties; it was enjoyable and one of the best years of my life.
While planning my classroom that fall I also planned my wedding. Talk about a lot on your plate all at once. Charles proposed in August and we got married in mid November. A beautiful fall wedding that wonderfully captured our love for God and love for each other. 💒
In Spring of 2018, I decided to go back to school to further my education. I had already received an Associates in Early Childhood Education and an Associates in General Studies at community college. My next step was to a university for a Bachelors in Child and Family Development.
While studying for my Bachelors, I hit a little bump in the road and got pregnant. Though it wasn’t planned, we were excited and ready to venture into parenting. Sadly our first pregnancy came to an end at 11 weeks.
After my first miscarriage, I started writing my blog, and sharing my story to cope with my grief and help others. I had the opportunity to get published in a magazine, and start a blogging platform on WordPress and Instagram.
After my second miscarriage, I got involved in advocacy work on my college campus. Even though I didn’t agree with everything that was taught, I did learn the fundamentals of what it means to be an advocate, overcoming trauma and standing up for what you believe in
After many twists and turns, I finally graduated with my Bachelors in Child and Family Development. I may have graduated in a pandemic, which certainly wasn’t planned, but I was able to finish my education and start my new career.
Shortly after graduating and getting back into my field of teaching and child care, I decided to work on a new project. I wrote and illustrated a children’s book about miscarriage and grief.
In August of 2020, my mothering heart was longing for a baby. And though we had decided to hold off trying for a baby, we decided to try adopting and caring for a kitten. We went to a local cat cafe where we met Breadstick. This little 4 month old kitten worked his way into our laps and our hearts. We adopted him on a Friday afternoon, renamed him Rocky, and the rest is history.
On Mother’s Day of 2020, my husband and I decided to try again one more time. We prayed and hoped and waited for a baby. Our trying to conceive journey lasted a year and was full of ups and downs, negative test after test until finally we got out positive.
Pregnancy after suffering two losses was not easy. I worried constantly about the unknown, the past and things I couldn’t control. Thankfully with faith, prayer and encouragement I learned to be thankful for pregnancy and appreciate each moment as it came.
During my pregnancy, I mentally and emotionally prepared for my upcoming roll of motherhood. I leaned on other mom friends as well as my mom as I prepared for the journey ahead.
Giving birth was one of the most life changing experiences of my life. No things did not go as planned as I did not plan on being induced or being in labor for 3 days. But with the support of Jesus, family, friends and my medical team… I realized what my body was capable of and I had the strength to give birth to my beautiful miracle baby.
On January 2nd I became a mom, a mom earth-side that is. I’m not just a mom, but I’m a mom to two angel babies as well as one pretty incredible rainbow baby.
These last 7 years have been amazing, stressful, exhausting, entertaining, relaxing, memorable, wonderful, hilarious, beautiful and challenging. I love my life. It is exactly like and nothing like I had pictured. As a 19 year old girl, taking classes at a community college, to a new mom, with an education in children… I have to say, so far my life has turned out pretty great.
As I write this, I can proudly say I have been nursing for 3 1/2 months. That’s 15 weeks, 109 days, approximately 872 nursing sessions, 218 pumping sessions and roughly 600 oz of frozen breast milk. Nursing in a nutshell has been… HARD WORK!
When my son was first born, we immediately did skin-to-skin contact and tried our first session of nursing. It was a challenge at first as we struggled with positioning and latching, but my amazing labor and delivery nurses helped me.
When we were transferred up to the Mother and Baby floor, my son’s blood sugar was checked and was reading fairly low. It was thought that since I had nothing to eat that day after my water broke at 3am and he was born around 2:30pm, that that was likely why his sugar was so low. It was also considered that my gestational diabetes was playing a factor here. I tried latching immediately when we got settled into our room but it wasn’t working. Since his sugar was low and he was exhausted from the birth, he was getting lethargic rather quickly. I became very frustrated and discouraged.
After a few minutes my nurse recommended that we try an alternative so we could get some nutrients into his body quickly. She suggested that I request some formula or some donor breast milk. I was on the fence for doing either of these alternatives as I was worried about nipple confusion. I took a moment to discuss with my husband, and we decided to go with the donor breast milk option. I decided that it was better for my baby to be healthy over latching on to me. I had my preference of course but when it came down to it, I didn’t mind how my baby was fed, just as long as he was happy and healthy.
Thankfully my son took the bottle of donor milk just fine. I felt some relief briefly only to worry about how his next feeding would go, and his next one and so on. My nurse encouraged me to try and feed him every hour to hour and a half in order to help keep his blood sugar up. They stressed that if he doesn’t wake up to eat then I needed to wake him.
Every hour from about 5pm to 2am I tried feeding my baby. Every hour we would struggle to latch for 10 minutes or so. My baby would seem disinterested and I would start crying. feeling like a failure as his mom. At one point around midnight I called my nurse in to see if she could guide me in positioning my baby so I could try and get him to latch. I had just seen her about a half hour before hand and before leaving she said “Let me know if you need anything. Don’t hesitate to hit your call button.”
When my nurse came back in, I asked if she could help me position my baby again to see if I could get him to latch. She seemed rather irritated and came over to the bed to help. Charles was doing his best to get some sleep so that I could hopefully get sleep later. After my nurse helped us latch she left the room saying “You know this is when Dad needs to assist you because we can’t keep coming in here to help you.” As she left I felt so hurt and embarrassed. I never intended to bug her, she literally just got done telling me to call if I needed help. After that I felt like I was on my own when it came to figuring out breastfeeding.
Throughout my time in the hospital, I decided to start pumping. I had read that pumping would help me increase my supply so that I could produce more milk for my baby. As my baby’s blood sugar numbers improved, his feeding schedule was moved to every 2 hours. So every hour I was either pumping or nursing. I tried latching every chance we got but during our entire time in the hospital he only successfully latched 3 times.
On the second day of our hospital stay, my son was scheduled for his circumcision. As the doctor came to take him to his procedure she did a quick exam and paused. She looked at me and said “Is he having any issues latching?” I told her that we had been struggling. She said she noticed as my baby started sucking on her finger that he had a tongue tie and that could very well be why he was struggling so much to latch. She explained that the procedure to correct it could be fixed at the same time as his circumcision. I felt some relief as she explained all of this but also fear as he had to go through another procedure, even if it was only minor. I called my husband and talked it over with him (since he was running errands) and we agreed to have it corrected.
On January 4th, we were discharged from the hospital. I was totally and completely terrified of leaving. Were we ready for this? Could we really take care of a baby that was less than 72 hours old? I was still struggling with this whole nursing thing. What if I couldn’t feed my baby? What if he needed formula? There weren’t nurses, lactation consults or doctors to check in on us and measure his weight everyday. I was fearing the worst and started down a hormonal postpartum spiral.
I think the only thing that stopped me from completely losing my mind was that my parents came to our apartment the day we came home. With the strict covid guidelines at the hospital, the only family members I had seen since being in labor was Charles and Alli. I felt some relief as my parents arrived and got to meet our baby. He was sleepy but he was happy. They instantly fell in love with him and I felt like I was doing something right.
Easter this year did not go as planned. I had all these high expectations that everything would go smoothly and my son would have the very best first Easter. My expectations were we’d get up, listen to worship music, have breakfast, dress up for church, read the Easter story from the Bible and children’s bible as a family. We’d find some church service virtually to view online, and/or go visit some church for a sunrise service. We would then head to my parent’s house for lunch, spend time with family, take some gorgeous family photos outside and create precious memories until the sunset and we headed home.
Those were my expectations…..
This was my reality:
Matty woke me up around 6:30-7am. I changed him, nursed him and we played. He was in the best mood! Everything was going great. I turned on some worship music and got some breakfast. After that it was like a switch flipped. Matty got fussy and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I changed him, burped him, tried feeding him, putting him in the swing, letting him play on the floor… nothing was working. I woke up my husband and he was exhausted and struggling to get out of bed.
I then decided to get Matty dressed. Now as a new mom, I knew better than to put him in his outfit I wanted his pictures done in until right before hand in case he had a blow out or spit up. I however didn’t factor this in when I was putting on my Easter dress. Matty started screaming as I got him dressed. I became frustrated and impatient as I quickly tried getting him ready. I picked him up so he would stop crying… and… he burped. It was quiet and I figured that’s why he was screaming. He had a bubble. And within seconds a waterfall of baby spit up went down my dress. Of course.
Charles got up and got breakfast. I walked around the house bouncing our 3 month old trying to get him to calm down. I tried different positions, singing, rocking… nothing. When Charles was free I handed him off. Low and behold Matty stopped crying immediately.
By this time it was already 9:30, and I was at least an hour behind on where I wanted to be with our morning. Charles pulled out the children’s bible and handed it to me. I read the scripture about the empty tomb, and Jesus coming back. Matty sat on his Daddy’s lap smiling and listening. The minute we were done he started screaming again. I nursed him and put him down. We started loading up so we could decide where we wanted to go for church.
By the time we got the car loaded, and Matty in his car seat it was already almost 11. No matter where we went to church at the this point the service would be almost over. And of course Matty woke up in his car seat and started crying. The morning was not off to a good start.
We got to my parents close to 11:30am. Matty fell asleep in his car seat just minutes before we pulled in. When we got in the house Matty was all smiles at Grandma and Grandpa’s. Me on the other hand, I was officially in a funk. I was taking it rather personally that Matty was in a bad mood at home, but all smiles at Grandma and Grandpas. I was disappointed things weren’t going as I had planned and I felt the weight of grief on my chest that I just couldn’t seem to shake.
My mom made ham, green beans, corn bread casserole, jello salad, deviled eggs, hors d’oeuvres, and baked potato which tasted great. Everybody was exhausted after dinner and we all took little cat naps throughout the afternoon, even Matty… thank goodness cause that baby needed sleep.
In the afternoon, Matty seemed off. He had a bellyache, acted like he needed to poop but couldn’t and was gnawing and drooling like crazy as if his mouth hurt. Poor baby, it felt like one thing after another. I tried handing him off when I could so I could get rest while I had help but when your baby doesn’t feel good, sometimes the only thing they want is mom.
In the evening before getting ready to leave we tried taking family photos. There were more outtakes than good photos. Matty seemed uncomfortable and didn’t want to smile in any of them… and if you know my baby boy you know he is very photogenic and loves to smile. We were also stuck taking pictures inside since it was a chilling 45° and I didn’t want to take Matty out in the cold if he already didn’t feel good. This all made for awkward, poor lighting family photos.
By 6:30, we said bye to my parents and headed home.
On the way home, I found myself sitting in the backseat with my baby, sobbing on the way home. Some big emotions I had been trying to keep buried all day were welling up to the surface. It dawned on me how old my other babies would be on this holiday. Mackenzie would be two and a half and Chase would be one. Grief never really goes away. I then found myself feeling guilty looking at my son with a tear stained face. Was I being selfish for wanting things to be perfect? Did I seem ungrateful because he was now here, but i still missed my other babies?Was I being a bad Christian for focusing on my grief and motherhood rather than remembering the true meaning of Easter?
By the end of the day, I felt defeated. I tried. I tried making my son’s first Easter the best I could. But you know what, he’s not going to remember it anyway. All he is going to remember is that he was loved. And as he gets older he will continue to feel loved and learn the importance of Easter as his Daddy and I teach it to him. And that’s what matters, not some picture perfect holiday.
Now that my baby is 3 months old, I have decided to try to implement more structure to our day-to-day life and set a routine for myself and my baby. Since he is still very little, I am not expecting our routine to be very strict, but rather would like to have repetitive tasks throughout the day that can help my baby feel more secure and allow myself to better plan out each day as it comes.
Our current routine is pretty basic.
After each nap baby wakes up, gets changed, has a feeding, burps and snuggles mommy or whoever is caring for him.
He has 8 feedings in a 24 period and eats every 2-4 hours.
He has anywhere from 1 to 4 naps in a day.
Baths are at night before bed 2-3 times a week.
Tummy time, swing, music and sensory play happen periodically throughout the day, but at least 3 times.
With the weather getting nice we sometimes go on a walk or spend a few minutes on our balcony.
Below is an example of what I would like our routine to look like between now and when he turns 6 months old.
I’m hoping by 6 months we will be very close to our baby sleeping through the night, but we shall see.
This is only the general framework of our routine, I’ll keep you posted on how things are going! 💕
In the past few weeks as our baby boy has gotten older, we have been sprucing up Baby Bear’s nursery!
This crib was a gift from family friends who buy storage units. It’s considered a mini crib which is perfect for apartment living. We also put up the animal pictures which were a gift from a coworker off of my registry,
A majority of our son’s books are in the living room, however I like to keep a couple in his bedroom for easy access and late night story time.
We have continued to keep his shelf with bins full of clothes and it is perfect and a very efficient system.
Matthew started rolling around 7 weeks of age. He is now 10 weeks as I write this. Between 7 and 8 weeks we transitioned Matthew from the bassinet to the crib. However, we have kept the bassinet and are using it as a diaper changing station until he fully grows out of it.
This diaper caddy has been a lifesaver. We love having everything accessible and organized for diaper changes.
I decided to also create a bath time basket where all his wash cloths, soaps, shampoos, extra diapers and brushes can be found. I also am hanging his towels on a hook nearby where it can be easily found. I am currently storing this in his room while we continue to give him baths in the kitchen sink. Once we switch to doing baths in the bathroom, I would imagine we will move everything there.
Finally, I’ve continued to store blankets, sheets, bibs, socks and shoes on this shelf.
Thanks for taking this fun little tour of our Baby Boy’s updated nursery! 💕
Do you have some busy bees in your home who seem to constantly be on the move? Do you feel like the walls are closing in when it’s raining or too cold to send the kids outside? Do you ever run out of ideas of indoor activities to try with your kids?
Well, here is a simple idea that your kids will love! This activity is perfect for kids ages 2-5! All you need is these two around the house items: Paper Plates and Markers.
First, give your child two paper plates. Explain to them that you are going to create ice skates! Provide your child with markers to decorate the plates. You can even include other art supplies such as stickers, paint, glitter glue, etc.
Once your child has finished decorating their skates (paper plates), then place the plates on the floor. Demonstrate for your child how to step and slide on the carpet while remaining on the paper plates.
Once your child has mastered sliding across the room while using their ice skates, throw on some music and let them go to town!
I never realized I could love someone so much… I thought to myself as I held my brand new baby not even 6 hours old. I looked into his deep brown eyes and thought I love you so much. I love you more than I ever thought I could. As each moment passes I grow more and more in love with you. With these intense emotions and genuine endorphin high, also came fear and anxiousness.
I felt a piece of my heart leave my body when I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy. It was beautiful but also incredibly terrifying. For 9 long months, 39 weeks and 3 days I carried my baby. I loved him, nourished him, prayed over him, worried about him and protected him. As a mama who knows loss, I knew throughout my pregnancy that at absolutely any moment this miracle baby I was carrying could very well be taken away. Throughout my pregnancy I continuously told myself things for me to make it through. I just have to get to 5 weeks… I just have to get through 6 weeks…. I just have to make it past the first ultrasound and if baby is okay, I’ll be able to breathe. I just have to get through the first trimester. And ultimately I would say I just have to get through this pregnancy. Once I get though this pregnancy I will be able to relax and all will be okay. Little did I know that my love, as well as my anxiety for my baby was only beginning.
While in the hospital the first two nights of my baby’s life I didn’t sleep. I didn’t sleep not because he was crying but because I was so scared of losing him. I was afraid he would stop breathing if I wasn’t watching him. I was afraid he would aspirate. I was afraid he would some how suffocate from his swaddle or his organs would suddenly stop working. It was a never ending cycle that I’m sure a lot of moms encounter. It was exhausting and sometimes hard to live in the moment and enjoy my sweet newborn.
As the weeks went by I continued the roller coaster of postpartum anxiety. Was Matthew eating enough? Was he pooping enough? He sounds congested, did he aspirate? He’s crying, is it a hungry cry or is he in pain? He isn’t comforted when I hold him, is he mad at me? He failed his hearing test, does he have an impairment. Throughout this cycle I had a hard time taking care of myself. I would forget to eat, forget to drink which would ultimately mess with my milk supply and make me irritable and impatient. I would refuse to sleep because I hated hearing my baby crying even though I completely trusted my husband when he would get up to care for him. I kept putting my baby first but forgetting that I can’t be the best mommy for my baby, if I didn’t try to take care of myself too.
Postpartum anxiety is a real thing. I had no idea. I had only ever heard of postpartum depression. But these moments of mind racing, panicked anxiousness was real and hard to control. I wasn’t crazy, but going through what a lot of mamas do.
Since becoming an earth side mama, I love deeper, cry harder and laugh longer. I also fear the worse and struggle with just letting go and letting God do what he’s going to do. Part of that is just being a mom and part of that is postpartum anxiety. Motherhood is a beautiful blessing and I thank God everyday for my beautiful rainbow baby. And with time, meds and rest my anxiety and emotions will eventually settle down some. I’m getting the help I need as well as taking it one day at a time.
Motherhood is a journey. Just like how trying to conceive, pregnancy and labor are all journeys in themselves; motherhood too is a journey… and accompanied by love and anxiety.
When I was 19 weeks pregnant, my husband and I started discussing baby names. I wanted to find a name for a girl and a boy. I wanted to do this so that when we found out at our 20 week anatomy scan what we were having, we could give the baby a name right away. There was something about giving baby a name for the second half of the pregnancy that made things seem even more real.
On my birthday, when I was exactly 19 weeks pregnant, Charles woke up and told me he had a dream. He dreamt that he was at some sort of musical event and his old choir director from college saw him. They started talking and his old choir director said “How’s baby Matt doing?” Then he woke up. Charles had another dream that same night where he was playing with a baby girl named Grace.
Later in the morning as we were getting ready for breakfast Charles told me about the dream. He then suggested that if we were having a boy we should name him Matthew and if we were having a girl we should name her Grace.
I was shocked at his suggestion for the boy name, because Charles had momentarily forgotten that I had had a brother named Matthew. My brother Matthew died before I was born. He was 9 months old and died of a rare genetic condition, At first I wasn’t totally sure how I would feel about having a brother and a son named Matthew.
Throughout the week, I continued contemplating both the names Matthew and Grace. I focused mostly on Matthew because I still had this strong feeling we were having a boy. I decided to look up the meaning of the name Matthew just to see what it said. A gift from God. I thought How perfect is that!? Our rainbow baby’s name means A gift from God. Charles and I loved the meaning of the name and we also loved that it was classic, biblical and could be shortened to Matt or Matty.
About a week later we had our anatomy scan. We found out we were having a precious baby boy. We didn’t tell anyone about the boy name we had picked out until 23 weeks. At that time, I asked my mom if she would mind if we named our son Matthew. She was absolutely honored that we had even considered that name. She loved that her first grandson would be named after her son and she loved the meaning of the name.
So there you have it. We named our son Matthew. He is named after my brother and is our gift from God. ❤️