A return to blogging with “Not your average mommy-must-have list”

I’M BACK! Hello again blogosphere! (do people still call it that?)  I’m back on the blogging train and decided I won’t bore my 2 readers with what happened since I stopped writing here.  BUT I will say, since I’ve stopped blogging in October, a lot has happened.

Those of you who know about the health scare we had, it’s over. It was nothing more than just that, a scare. For those of you who don’t know, you probably won’t. But I can tell you it is what led to my long/yet temporary halt in blogging. I may one day share all of the details, but I won’t allow myself to go back to the dark place I was in at the time so we’re going to keep it moving right along.

Things are crazy here in Mrs. Waldo’s World. But really, we wouldn’t have it any other way. It seems like I’ll be at a wedding or some sort of shower every single weekend this summer. I have multiple family members getting married, and multiple friends having babies. With that said, I’ve had a lot of questions about planning nuptials and planning for baby. So it got me thinking about a series of posts I’d like to do. Starting with baby stuff.

A co-worker asked me recently about what baby items she should put on her registry. I thought briefly about it, and offered her the list you’re about to see.

**Understand this, most people are going to say things like, “Boppy pillow.” (which IS a necessity if you ask me). And then they’ll tell you why a Diaper Genie is a waste or a changing table is stupid. (I use both such things and happen to love them). My point? Get what you want. If you want a fancy schmancy crib that costs $1K, do it. More power to ya. BUT there are things people never told me to buy. I didn’t even know what some of these next things were – until the munchkin needed them. And by needing them I mean, NEEDED them within the first few days of life. ***

[Warning: if you’re not into poop talk, just stop reading this now.]

A butt thermometer

Butt thermometer

You’re a budding, beautiful first time mom. You’re only the 2nd trimester so the swelling, and kankles and carpal tunnel haven’t kicked in yet. And you’re still able to sleep through the night without waking to pee 7 to 9 times. You want the BEST for your baby so you register and receive a digital thermometer that not only scans your newborns body temp, but doubles as a water temp thermometer so you don’t burn your precious one’s bottom when bathing them. I, too, have one of those thermometers sitting in one of the changing table’s cubby holes. It’s been used 2 times. Once to test it, and once as a toy/distraction to get my child to stop wiggling while changing a poopy diaper.  Have I EVER checked the baby’s bath water with it? HELL NO. I stick my foot in the bath tub and if it’s too hot for me, it’s too hot for baby.

If you are the beautiful, budding first time mom I mentioned – you’re gonna worry like NO OTHER once the little one makes his/her grand entrance. You’re also going to believe your child is sick with a different illness each day. So you’re going to check his/her temp. And check it a lot. Guess what. The only way to get an accurate reading is through the bum bum. Here’s the one I have. Get this one or one like it. You’ll thank me later when you’re convinced he/she has a fever but the temp reads 96.1.  You can then relax for about 45 minutes. If you’re lucky.

 

 

Gripe Water

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This stuff is awesome. I hated that my baby got the hiccups all the time and wanted to something about it. So I did a few searches with my good friend Google and came across a recommendation for it. So naturally, if the Interweb approved, I had to try it. There are a ton of brands that make it, but I personally used Wellements Organic Gripe Water for colic. I am in no way, shape, or form one of those people who must have organic everything. But I did like the fact that this brand in particular offered an organic option so I went with it. I’m sure the other brands aren’t much different, but it worked on soothing the babe’s hiccups and calming her down when she would be particularly uncomfortable. Have in house, ready to go before you give birth. Ps. Gripe water is NOT for gas. It’s for reflux related problems (ie. Hiccups, spit up, etc.).

 

Gas drops

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Yea, who knew babies needed gas drops. I didn’t. Luckily, we didn’t have too many issues with gas. BUT the few times we knew she was uncomfortable and especially farty, we used the drops and they seemed to help almost instantly. Some mothers put the drops in every bottle or use with every feeding. Consult with your pediatrician, but if I remember correctly the dosage on the bottle allows for 2 drops every hour or something. So unless your child is eating more than that, you should be good to go. Again, there are several brands. I went with Little Tummys. No reason other than I liked the packaging… I also found a Target brand that came in packs of 2 that was significantly cheaper and used those as well.

 

Blooming Bath

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OK, so it’s not a “must have,” but it’s my favorite baby product I bought for myself. It’s a large flower shaped sponge that fits perfectly into any sink. It cushions the sink and provides a sense of comfort for the little one’s first bath times. I used my blooming bath nearly every day – even when we transitioned into the bath tub. We stopped using it when she could really start moving around. But I love this product and will endorse it as much as I can. I would even wet it down with really hot water several minutes before running the bath water so it would stay warm throughout the bath. They come in several different colors and are sold mostly online, but may be available in some stores near you. Check their website.

 

Newborn onesies, clothing

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Everyone is going to say, “they grow out of newborn sizes so fast!” Well, duh. But you still need them! When I went to the hospital I packed 3 days worth of newborn size sleepers (sleep and plays). When I got home I thought I had drawers full of clothing… and I did… except NONE of it fit. I had to send my mom out to get me newborn size white T-shirts and more sleep and plays. Also, skip the cutesy outfits for the first few weeks. The babe is so small that anything that doesn’t snap or button at the crotch rides up and looks (likely feels) terribly uncomfortable. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to what my child wears, but let me tell ya – you’re not going to be sorry having 15 to 20 newborn size sleep and plays,  and a boatload of those white t-shirts. Carter’s makes most of their newborn stuff with mittens attached (oh, you’re having a July baby? You still need them). By mittens, I mean that extra piece of fabric that folds over the tiny one’s hands. If your child is anything like mine, they’ll come out with razor blade nails.

 

Infant nail trimmers

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This may seem obvious, but it wasn’t obvious to me. I didn’t have these when we brought our baby home. So for a few days I tried biting, filing, and peeling her little tiny nails so she wouldn’t cut up her face when she didn’t have the mittens I mentioned above on. I have this pair and use them weekly on my now extremely wiggly 14-month-old. What’s nice about this pair is that there’s a light on it so when you are trimming up those nails, it aims the light on the nail so you can really see what you’re doing. Oh, and don’t worry. You will screw up and make your child bleed. It happens.

 

Miralax

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OK, so you can’t really put this on your registry. But buy it now and save yourself the trip after you have your child. The first poop after giving birth is just as scary as that first contraction, and you literally feel like you’re intestines are going to fall through your butt hole. Miralax helps. Trust me.

 

What are you favorite, not-so-obvious, baby items? Comment below. (I was not paid or asked to endorse any of the products in this blog post. I really really do use and like them.)

 

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Party planner: Gender Reveal

Since planning my wedding, I have been obsessed with event/party planning. Pinterest didn’t blow up until after my wedding in 2011, so I didn’t have that to reference but I still had a ton of small, intricate, original details. The whole year of planning made me want to get in to the wedding planning business and I still hope someday I’ll be able to do it.

I’ve thrown quite a few parties since my wedding and am currently planning a New Year’s Eve party and my daughter’s first birthday party. (I started planning her party before I was off maternity leave … that’s how obsessed I am with that one.)

To-date, my favorite party I’ve planned was our gender reveal party. If you’re not familiar, it’s a semi-new concept in the world of baby-making. When you go to your sonogram to find out what you’re having, you ask the tech to scribble the gender down and put it in a sealed envelope. Then a few days later you find out the gender of your new baby together with all of your friends and family.

This party was totally Pinterest-inspired, with a few details thought up on my own.

I chose to go with a “Whoo will it be” theme, complete with pink and blue owls. I decided on the theme based on these invites I found on Etsy.

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(TIP: A lot of graphic artists sell their designs on Etsy. You pay for the design, they send it to your email and then you print as you please. For less than $20 you can get an awesome design. I always send them to be printed at a professional printer and then glue the invite to coordinating card stock to add a more handmade/fancy feel)

I handmade all of the decorations: this included several pink/blue owls out of construction paper and a bunting banner that I hung above the dessert table.

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The dessert table included pink/blue owl cupcakes, pink/blue Kool Aid (with mason jars and pink/blue stripped straws with straw flags), Hershey bars (with HE and SHE colored), Sour patch kids, homemade pink/blue thumbprints (by my mom) and pink/blue chocolate covered pretzels everyone got as a favor for coming.

(TIP: I made the pretzels using molds from Joann Fabrics. If I can do it, so you can you. They make molds for everything!)

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Additionally, I asked everyone who was coming to wear pink or blue to indicate what they thought we were having. I also had everyone pose with a “team pink” or “team blue” sign when they got there. We had close to 50 people at the party and it was split down the middle! Here’s a pic of my adorable nieces casting their vote!

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I opted for balloons in a box for the reveal. This took some planning with the balloon people (and a lot of explaining to the old ladies who didn’t quite understand at first.)   A friend of mine had another friend use the same approach at her party a few weeks prior, so she gave me her reveal box. I had planned on making mine, but this one was adorable so I saved myself the time!

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The day of the party we took the box to our local grocery store’s floral department. (We had spoken to them a few days prior so they knew what to expect). We gave them the box and our sealed envelope. The lovely workers then put 6 weighted and as many other un-weighted balloons that could fit inside. We roamed around the store until they paged us back to tell us it was ready.

 (TIP: Tell your sonogram tech to wrap the paper with the gender in another piece of paper before putting it in the envelope. My husband actually saw through the envelope and knew what we were having THE DAY OF THE SONAGRAM but he kept it a secret from me for an entire week!)

After everyone arrived we congregated outside and ripped open the box. Here’s our (my) reaction:

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Additional details included “Blue” Moon beer and “Pink” champagne punch (for those of us who weren’t pregnant). Handmade tissue poms hung throughout our garage/house and $1 store pink/blue table clothes to cover up the nasty garage ceiling (it made it look like a circus tent!) Plus, Christmas lights and streamers hung in the garage to give it a more cozy feeling. (We have a fabulous finished basement but used the garage for the food so there would be enough room for everyone).

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A weekend in review: ‘You’re boring’

Sometimes I feel as if my weekends are more exhausting than my weekdays… and this past weekend was no exception.

I always try to cram as much as possible into the 48 or so hours a week that I get to exclusively dedicate to my family and my house… while also getting a chance to socialize a bit. I think most working moms would agree that something usually falls to the wayside. That something for me happens to be my social life. But more on that later.

Since the husband went out on Thursday night after work with a few of his work buddies, we made a deal that he would stay home with the babe and let me do a few hours of shopping…BY MYSELF. It was as glorious as it sounds. I got to Target and picked up a few things, including a Christmas gift for the baby and a ½ Birthday gift too (we celebrated 6 months of cuteness on Sunday). Then I hit up the mall and perused through the department stores, got my eyebrows done and took my time in Baby Gap. Ahhhhhh.

As usual, we had nearly every hour booked so Saturday morning rolled around and we were out the door before 9 a.m. to get our flu shots – which inevitably means we’ll get the ONE strain of flu that the shot doesn’t protect you against.

Nonetheless, the waiting room was filled with people who were complaining of flu-like symptoms, so get your flu shots people. There’s a reason why doctors recommend it and since I don’t have a Ph.D in medicine, I’ll shut up and listen (even though my arm STILL hurts).

After that I squeezed in some laundry and house cleaning before we were out the door to the pumpkin patch.  Here’s a couple photos from our adventure.

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The weather was less than perfect, but we tried to make the best of it. I think the little one was a bit overwhelmed by all of the sights and sounds…that or she was just unimpressed.

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My little cutie is wearing a custom-made onesie and leg warmers from this Etsy shop. Her name is embroidered on the onesie, but I whited it out for privacy purposes.

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(ps. I LOVE Etsy. If you’re not familiar, just go to Etsy.com and search for something you want. It’s there and it’s most likely handmade. I plan on doing an Etsy post later, stay tuned.)

The little one’s adorable cousins had a lot of fun and we had some awesome apple cider, so all and all it was a good day.

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As I mentioned earlier in the week, we made dinner reservations for our anniversary. After getting home from the pumpkin patch, I got myself cleaned up, fed the baby dinner and did a little more cleaning around the house before rushing out the door.

We ate at a restaurant that claims to be the best seafood restaurant in Pittsburgh. It was delicious; don’t get me wrong… but the best? Probably not. It’s called Penn Avenue Fish Company and they have two locations – one in downtown Pittsburgh, the other in the Strip District. I’m in no way a “foodie,” but I love food. Mine was delicious (lobster risotto) and my husband’s was good too (Chilean sea bass). But for the price we would have rather visited a restaurant with better atmosphere. The downtown location is small, loud and dark. But, at any rate, the food was good. We usually go to a restaurant called Joseph Tambellini’s in Hyland Park. If you want a fantastic meal and awesome atmosphere, go here. We’re sorry we didn’t go to our ol’ faithful and promise to be back for Valentine’s Day Mr. Tambellini!

We didn’t get any photos of us together on our night out, but here’s one he snapped of me while waiting for our check.

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(In full disclosure, we “unplugged” for the entire meal…but of course checked our phones when we were done. Sometimes I despise my addiction to social media.)

Following dinner we planned on getting a drink at a nearby bar. But here’s where my body decided otherwise. I was exhausted. We walked to a Starbucks a couple of blocks away to get me jolt of caffeine, which helped for a little while. But one drink into our after-dinner cocktails, I had it.  This resulted in a disgruntled husband who called me “boring.” But if fitting all of the aforementioned activities into one day makes me “boring” – then consider me guilty.

Sunday was just as crazy – in a nutshell, I did my usual Sunday morning routine: Peruse Pinterest for recipes, meal plan, coupon clip, make grocery list, grocery shop. After that we had family photos/baby’s 6 month birthday pics scheduled with a photographer at a beautiful park near our home. We brought the gentle giant to be included in some of the photos…and both the babe and the fur-babe were amazing. Rooney – who is usually freaked by the little one – let her sit in between his legs for a few photos. I cannot wait to see them!

Afterward I did MORE cleaning/laundry and then prepped dinner for Monday. I know it’s going to be a busy day, which includes shots for my little pumpkin. (It never gets easier, does it?).

We tired.

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Postpartum: It’s time to speak up.

Message in a Bottle

I feel compelled to discuss postpartum depression and open up about my experiences with this all-too-common-but-goes-unspoken disease. I have recently learned about the death of a beautiful, young, new mother due to this disease. And yes, it is a DISEASE. Those of you who think otherwise are:

 a. Uneducated

b. Naive

c. Judgemental (and need not read on).

While I did not know this young woman at all, her recent death has inspired me to become involved in postpartum education and awareness.

First let’s start with my own personal experience. I gave birth to my beautiful daughter almost 6 months ago. She is the light of my life. She has given me purpose and meaning. She has made me a better person.

But in the weeks and early months following her birth I felt overwhelmed, alone, exhausted (yet unable to rest), panicked and unable to control my emotions. I am lucky enough to have a friend who shared her similar experiences with me and I was able to text her late at night or early in the morning asking her if “I was normal.”

Having someone to simply call/text and discuss these  *embarrassing* emotions helped me cope and know that I was not alone. Most women DO NOT have someone to confide in like this – which is why I am ENCOURAGING those of us who have/had post-partum to SPEAK UP and let our fellow mommies know THEY ARE NOT ALONE.

After having several panic attacks and feeling simply overwhelmed, I hesitantly sought help (about 10 weeks after having my baby.) Before going to see a doctor I told my family members that I had a case of “baby blues.” But let me be clear – it was MORE than that. While I don’t recall having any kind of suicidal thoughts, I do remember thinking that I did not deserve this beautiful baby and that I was a horrible mother because I failed at breast feeding.

I was so embarrassed about my feelings/thoughts that I didn’t even call the doctor’s office to set up a visit. I instead found a way to make an appointment online so I didn’t have to discuss my issues with a living person. I knew I would have to once I saw the doctor, but that was something I thought I could work up the courage to do while waiting for the appointment.

Just two days later I was in a doctor’s office speaking with a female doctor who had just had a baby herself. It was almost liberating to be able to vocalize how I felt and have someone tell me that it’s something a lot of mom’s experience after birth. (and ANY doctor will tell you this. Not just female, recently pregnant ones). She asked me many questions, including how the baby was sleeping. My response was that the baby was sleeping wonderfully and, at that point, almost through the night. The doc then followed up with: “How are you sleeping?” I had never even thought about MY sleep. I pondered that question and realized that I had barely been sleeping at all. I was up every hour or less. Sometimes I would just stare at the baby making sure her tiny little chest was lifting, gasping in a breath of air. I told her I was beyond fearful of everyday things like driving and taking a walk. After a few more questions she explained to me that I undoubtedly had postpartum anxiety disorder, a disorder in the postpartum depression family.

Here’s a tid-bit about postpartum anxiety disorder from babycenter.com:

If you’re having recurrent feelings of intense worry or panic, you may have a postpartum anxiety disorder. Recent research has shown that about 10 percent of postpartum moms suffer from clinical anxiety.

Anxiety symptoms usually appear in the first two to three weeks after the birth of a baby, but may not reach a distressing level until several weeks later. There is some overlap between depression and anxiety, and some women have symptoms of both.

Symptoms of anxiety and panic may include:

  • Extreme anxiety or irritability
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pains or discomfort
  • Sensation of choking or smothering
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling in hands or feet
  • Trembling and shaking
  • Sweating
  • Faintness
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Fear of dying, of going crazy, or of losing control

Some women with postpartum anxiety have recurrent fears about harm coming to their children, other loved ones, or themselves.

I still struggle with my fears and worries from time-to-time, but thanks to a low-dose anti-anxiety medication and TIME, I have gotten better. That black cloud that seemingly followed me around for weeks and weeks has been lifted. I am able to smile, laugh and enjoy every smile, giggle, kick. But I truly don’t think I would have gotten better without the support from my friend and seeking help from a medical professional. My husband now understands the seriousness of this disease – something that he didn’t fully understand initially. I can talk to him about it and he is able to recognize when I’m not feeling myself. His support is what I lean on when I’m feeling particularly uneasy. Had I not spoken up and explained to him my feelings, he would have never understood and would have never been able to help.

I am writing this because I want to spread the message that suffering from any form of postpartum depression is NOTHING to be ashamed of. It is treatable and there are a ton of resources out there and a ton of people who love you and want to help.

Please please please pass this message on to any new moms. You NEVER know who may be suffering because of the stigma attached to depression in general. Let’s all speak up and not let another person lose their battle. We’re all in this together.

Post-partum depression help >>> http://www.postpartum.net/

I was wrong…

022Boy was I wrong.

I logged back onto this blog just one day after announcing our pregnancy to our parents and realized that nearly a month to the date I began to document my “quest.” In that post I wrote, “And who knows by August 14, 2012 maybe I’ll be prego.”

So here I am. 6 weeks pregnant. Exhausted. Craving broccoli cheese soup. Feeling like I’m literally busting out of my pants. And so incredibly thrilled, petrified, nervous.

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It’s no secret

It’s no secret that I want to become a mommy. Ask my husband. It’s become an often all-consuming, tear-inducing topic in our house.

When he proposed and we eventually began our talks about religion, finances and children B made it clear that he wanted to wait a year before we started officially trying. But being the persistent and often times demanding woman I am, we shortened that 12 month period (starting on October 14, 2011) to 10 months. So here we are, rounding the corner into August. It’s time to officially begin my quest for mommy. Though we haven’t been trying over the past 10 months of marriage, we haven’t really been not-trying either.

So why blog? Well — I’ve decided to document this quest in a (for now) private blog that not even the hub knows about to have some sort of place where I can express my inner-most fears and concerns. My never-ending list of fears will hopefully comfort other people out there trying to conceive, or at the very least, let other women know they are not alone.

The back story:

I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome when I was 24 or 25 years old. I can’t remember my exact age because frankly it wasn’t a concern then. I will never, ever forget though what my mom said to me when I told her the seemingly insignificant news. She told me that it was a big deal and that, “One day this will matter.” As usual, she was right. That woman is always right.

I have no proof that this is going to affect my fertility. None at all. And who knows… it’s July 17, 2012. Maybe I’ll be prego by August 14, 2012. And if that’s the case… I’ll blog about that in a published/public blogosphere.  I don’t plan on keeping the posts exclusively devoted to my “quest,” I also hope to share my never-ending Pinterest projects, experimental cooking and other typical girl things.