Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday 5: Must Haves Before Baby Arrives

With Hudson's first birthday just around the corner, I've been reflecting a lot on this past year. For the next few weeks, my Friday Five lists will be focused on what our favorite baby items have been throughout each stage of Hudson's life so far. This week, I'm sharing the things I suggest getting before baby arrives.

1. Amazon Prime/Amazon Family

These two products are essentially the same thing. Family is free with your Prime Membership, so I recommend just getting a Prime membership and opting into Family when the time comes. You get great discounts on things like diapers and wipes, as well as other special offers. The Amazon Prime membership gives you free two day shipping on tons of items, and if you live in a Prime Now service area, you can get some items delivered within two hours! 

2. The Target Red Card

You save 5% on every purchase, whether you choose the credit card or debit card option (we use the debit card). You can combine this with all other discounts, like Cartwheel, registry completion rewards, and manufacturer coupons. You also get random special coupons or offers throughout the year, which is pretty nice. For awhile, we were able to get free sodas or smoothies each day just by showing our Red Cards!

3. A stockpile of all the essentials

Fill the freezer with easy meals to reheat. Fill the pantry with your everyday essentials like cereal, coffee, and snacks. Have a good stash of diapers and wipes built up. Do everything you can to avoid having to go shopping for the first week you're home. We thought we were prepared, but I think Trevor went to Target and/or Publix each day for the first two weeks after we brought Hudson home.

4. Pain management options

I received two different prescriptions for pain relief when I was discharged, but within a few days, I realized I needed relief, but not that much relief. I wish I would have thought ahead and purchased some pain relievers, but I had no clue how much I would hurt, nor how long I would hurt. 

5. Really comfy pajamas or loungewear

You will live in them for days (maybe weeks or months, depending on if/when you go back to work). Make sure they are comfy, fit well, and you wouldn't be embarrassed to be seen in them by a delivery man or a neighbor. I am still wearing nursing camisoles with yoga pants or pajama pants almost all the time, usually with a t-shirt or hoodie over the cami. Today, I'm rocking some grey leggings with mint and black monarch butterflies on them, a grey cami, and a mint raglan t-shirt. This outfit is perfect for following Hudson around the house because the leggings stay where they belong, and I can easily cuddle up with him when it's time for a nap. 

What were your must-haves when you first brought home your baby? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Surviving Baby's First Cold

At the end of January, we were struck with our first cold of the season. Though Trevor and I were able to avoid catching it, Hudson fell hard. Of course, it was on the second day of Trevor's six day trip, so I got to handle an angry, sick baby all on my own. It was completely miserable. However, I did figure out a few tricks to make things easier on us. Today, I'm sharing my must haves to help both baby and Mommy survive the first cold.

For baby:

1. Sleep

Do whatever it takes to get the baby to rest - even if you have to hold them through their naps, sleep holding them in a chair at night, or put them in your bed with you. I tried to get Hudson to nap two hours after waking up, and that worked well for us. 

2. Fluids

I offered Hudson a bottle or breast every two hours when he was awake, even if he wasn't acting hungry. These feedings usually resulted in the naps described above. Keeping Hudson hydrated helped him pass mucus, which was really important with this particular virus. Hudson sounded wheezy and sniffly most of the time if I hadn't just cleared out his nose.

When it came to solids, I tried offering him more liquidy favorites I knew he would eat, like pieces of clementines and blueberries. People often forget that food can help with hydration, and the fruits had the added bonus of vitamins and antioxidants to help fight the cold, too.

3. Steam/Mist

I closed the bathroom, left the fan off, and put Hudson in the shower with me each day. By the end, gobs of green snot were streaming out his nose. He was SO much better after that. At bath time, I closed the bath room door and let him breathe in as much moist air as possible. I also ran a humidifier in his room non-stop. I honestly never used the Nose Frieda while Hudson was sick because the steam did such a good job opening up his passageways and getting the mucus to flow on its own. 

4. Hyland's Cold Tiny Tablets

We love the teething tablets for Hudson, so we knew that the cold tablets would probably be amazing, too. Because they dissolve as soon as they hit the tongue, Hudson showed almost immediate signs of relief when he took them.

5. Vick's Babyrub

My friend Erin recommended this, and it helped Hudson oh so much! I rubbed it on his chest and neck at bedtime until he felt better. It's a much more mild version of the VaporRub we're all familiar with. I think it really did help him a lot because he seemed to sleep pretty well when he first went down each night (though he would wake up somewhere between 2 and 4 a.m. each night).

For Mommy:

1. Wine

You'll need to unwind when you finally get that angry kid to sleep. A nice glass of wine definitely helps, and red wine is full of antioxidants, right? ;)

2. Healthy Snacks

It's always good to have something nutritionally-dense on hand that you can eat quickly, but especially so when you've got a sick baby. I basically survived on Lara Bars the week Hudson was sick. They are nut and date based bars, so they are vegan, gluten free, non-GMO, and dairy free. I think Apple Pie and Lemon Bar are my favorites. The Coconut Cream Pie bar almost tastes like an Almond Joy if you roll it in a little unsweetened cacao powder. Not that I've tried that or anything....

3. Amazon Prime Now to deliver medicine and snacks

If you live in the Atlanta metro area or one of the other select cities served by Prime Now, you can order certain necessities for free two hour delivery from Amazon. It's truly a lifesaver. I ordered Hudson's medicine, my Lara bars, and a few other things when he was sick. Three weeks later, Trevor got a stomach bug that was just awful. That day, I ordered saltines, Sprite, Gatorade, Pepto Bismol, and yummy snack for Hudson and me. None of us had to leave the house that weekend. It was so wonderful to not have to worry about anything!

4. Comfy clothes

I lived in my pjs and slippers while Hudson was sick. Cozy was my number one goal. We spent a lot of time napping together either in the rocking chair or my bed, so it didn't make sense to put on anything else.

5. A friend to vent to!

Trevor and my friend Rachel got tons of texts that weekend. I had to complain about it to someone because it was so frustrating to go through the worst of his cold without anyone to help me! But if I hadn't been able to text them, I really think the pressure would have broken me. Raising a kid alone for half a week isn't easy, but it's truly difficult when your kid is sick!

Hopefully, my experience with Hudson's first cold will help you through your kid's first cold. Every kid is different, so use your best judgment, make sure what you choose to use on your child is age appropriate, and consult a doctor when necessary (because I sure as heck don't have a medical degree, so don't take my advice as coming from any sort of expert!).

Friday, February 12, 2016

2016 goal updates | 2.12.2016

This year is going too quickly already! I cannot believe we are almost six weeks into 2016 - and that I'm less than three months away from having a one year old little boy, not a baby. I fully intended to write this update around two weeks ago, but here it is, finally.

1. Read the entire Bible.

I did really well for the first three weeks of the year, but then I started reading the first work of fiction I've read in years...and I got distracted. With Lent beginning this week, I plan to get back on track. I want to catch up on my year-long reading plan, as well as stay caught up on a Lent devotional plan.

2. Declutter and organize our house.

Well, things haven't gotten worse, so I guess that's progress when I compare it to how the first eight months with a baby looked in our house! I'm slowly chipping away at the existing disorganization and putting out the organizational fires before they get too terrible. With luck, I will be satisfied with this house by the end of 2016!

3. Lose the leftover baby belly. 

I started the Whole 30, which is huge. I wanted to go walking with Hudson each day, but the weather has been extraordinarily awful over the past six weeks. Ugh. I am planning to join a gym soon. I'm really excited because I've found two gyms that have both childcare and barre method classes! They both cost a fraction of what I was spending to go to a Pure Barre studio, and they are both significantly closer to my house. I am still trying to decide which one will win my membership, though!

4. Update the blog 3 times a week. 

I've averaged something more like twice a week so far, but I hope that will change as the year goes on. I have about 30 posts that were started but never finished. Right now, I'm working on going back and finishing them up. I'm also trying to blog from my laptop so I can schedule posts in advance.

5. Learn to use my DSLR camera. 

I've made no real progress on this front. None whatsoever. I'm hoping I can start doing more on that front soon. I would love to sneak off to a pretty park for a day this spring and play with my camera without Trevor and Hudson. Then, maybe I can take some awesome first birthday pictures for Hudson!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The (Almost) Whole 30: 10 days in

The first day of our Whole 30 was Sunday, January 31. I did pretty well the first five days. I ended up eating a handful of non-compliant foods to avoid wasting them and to help myself save some time while dealing with a sick little boy all week. It was rough trying to change my diet that much while caring for a sniffly, coughing baby all on my own!

On Thursday, we got a call from a friend who had a pretty awful thing happen (everything is OK now, though). We don't get to see her often, so we picked her up and went out for a comfort food dinner at the original Chik-fil-a Dwarfhouse in Hapeville. Well, there's nothing compliant on the menu there, so we suspended the Whole 30 until lunch the following day. I had a breakfast potluck event on Friday morning. The breakfast was amazing, but full of carbs and sugar! 

We finished off Friday with delicious, healthy meals before heading to the airport on Saturday morning. We traveled to Chicago for a Super Bowl party. We ate huge, non compliant meals at Pilot Pete's, drank a lot of hard root beer, picked up dinner at Taco Bell, and gorged on creamy, cheesy, and carby snacks at the party. Then, we ended up ordering a pizza on Monday evening when we got home. We finished off the pizza for lunch on Tuesday, and got back on the Whole 30 diet with dinner.

What has surprised me most so far is how quickly I adjusted to eating fresh, healthy foods. I felt pretty icky by the time we got back from Chicago, and two days later, I'm still not feeling totally back to normal. We have decided to keep up the diet through March (or at least until Easter Sunday on March 27). We really haven't been all that serious about it so far, but we are hoping to really change our lifestyle. Doing it for another month seems necessary at this point, and highly doable. I'm really excited to see what happens in the next month and a half as we continue following this diet!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Currently: February 2016 Edition

Each month in 2016, I'll be answering the same set of prompts. I love to document real life, but also how real life changes over time. This series is designed to help me do both.

Eating: the Whole 30 diet 

Drinking: LaCroix sparkling water

Wearing: yoga pants and t-shirts

Watching: The Walking Dead

Wanting: Cheese. Diet Coke. Bread. All the stuff Whole 30 forbids.

Needing: More sleep!

Hoping: Trevor makes his flight home tonight!

Thinking: About Hudson's first birthday party!

Reading: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Praying: For a few friends quickly approaching their due dates (and it is #4 for two of them!)

Planning: Our belated Valentine's Day date 

Wishing: I looked as good as Carrie Underwood does (our babies are the same age).