Monday, September 30, 2013

Last Summer Hoorah

 We spent our last weekend of the summer trekking down to Governors Island for a little French Carnival.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Taking Zach to the NYPL

After walking around Lincoln Square we headed to the New York Public Library. We found a map room and enjoyed walking around the Children's Literature exhibit.  Such a lovely place to spend the day.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Diary of a Breast Fed Baby

*I want to preface this by letting you know this post is all about boobs and the struggles of breast feeding. Feel free to not read on if you were like me 9 months ago. completely offended and disgusted by the idea. Somewhere between conception and birth I had a serious change of heart where my desire to breast feed and see the beauty in it grew beyond my wildest imagination.

Everyone knows the breast is best. The countless health and developmental factors were enough to keep me going. I had also heard beautiful stories of bonding and emotional fulfillment for mother and child that I was desperate to experience.

Sitting in the hospital the day after Anna was born, I had a melt down. I had gone to a nursing specialist and was given tips and tricks to get Anna to latch properly. I knew she was getting hungry and so I tried everything. Nothing was working and she was getting mad. I cradled her as i cried hopelessly and desperately tried to comfort my screaming Anna. As Zach sat there watching the pathetic scene, he recommended calling the specialist in again. We did, and this time she came with a plan.

We concluded we had to teach her to put her tongue down to suck properly. And so the express (pump) and syringe method began. We kept this up for two weeks until we finally, finally, purchased the Playtex Nursers bottles and a nipple shield. I have no idea why it took us so long. We were scared of nipple confusion, but whats to confuse when she wasn't even breast feeding. Don't get me wrong, we tried. Every day, multiple times a day, we tried. 5 minutes of uninterrupted latching and sucking (with the shield as that was the only way to get her latching) was like finishing a marathon.

Now that we had the pumping and bottle feeding thing figured out my breast feeding attempts slowed. The shield was inconvenient and temperamental. It was so disappointing to be rejected time and time again. Its hard not to take it personally. But more than having my feelings hurt, I felt like I wasn't able to perform my job as a mother. My body was built to do this, dang it, so why was it so hard?

I learned that breast feeding is hard for many, but I wanted this so bad, so we kept trying. After giving it a break, completely, for almost a week, my curiosity peaked and I tried again, this time with out the shield. 5 minutes, 6, 7, 15 minutes of uninterrupted latching and sucking. I told my mom and Zach right away. I was ecstatic. We kept on bottle feeding, but now I was trying to breast feed again, and she was getting the hang of it. She never stayed on long enough to be full so we still did the bottle thing but 5 - 30 minutes at a time was huge for us. Finally at 1 1/2 months we went 12 hours with no bottle. I had arrived. I finally felt like a real mom. One that could feed her baby and everything, just like the movies! All joking aside, I really was filled with a deep sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

Then after a week of real breast feeding the pain set in. Sharp piercing pain that started at the beginning of every feeding and grew until I had to pull her off and make her take the bottle. It got so bad I didn't even want to offer the breast. I just knew it would hurt. So I consulted Google about this pain that felt like needles being pulled from my toes and arms through my breast with every suck. Come to find out I was doing everything wrong. And trust me, there are a lot of things you can do wrong. (See Here for feeding solutions.) I was slouching, putting her in the same position every time, waiting to long between feedings and more. All those tricks I had learned in the hospital were all good when you're holding a 7 1/2 lbs baby but a whole new story with a 10+ lbs baby with her own set of bad feeding habits.

So, we pulled out the Boppy and used it to support my arms and her body. We mixed up our positions, practiced eating early and often, and here we are ladies and gentleman, we are learning how to feed and be fed. 8 weeks and we are finally where I naively thought all new moms walked out of the hospital at.

I am sure each stage of infancy and life will bring new sets of challenges. I'm not all gung-ho about breast feeding for the next 3 years or anything but I will confide that each successful breast feeding has touched my heart. Its an odd thing really, that this act of complete giving can feel so incredibly rewarding. But, isn't that how life works? Serving others gives us that sense of fulfillment that no shopping spree can bring.

To all you mothers who know what its like to struggle, bless you! To those who are struggling and wondering if its worth it, I say, yes. Yes, it is worth it. Every mother and child is different and I know that for some the benefits do not outweigh the struggles, and to them I say embrace the bottle, your sanity (and husband) will thank you. You know what to do and what you can handle. You are a mom!

Happy Monday everyone.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Anna: The Swim Edition

This is what happens when two girls are home alone with a closet of new clothes and a camera. 

Happy Friday everyone.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Little A.L.A

Happy Thursday from our favorite little person to photograph. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tea Dying

We decided we wanted an American flag in our home. We're patriotic and we thought it would be a fun way to decorate and an awesome thing to create a theme around one day. Okay, so we started with Amazon. We liked the aged looking flags but did not like how dark the discoloring was on most of them. So, Zach started looking at the tea dying process and after i mentioned the previous tenents huge barely touched tea stash, we decided to give it a try. By the way the "made in America" non-stained flag was about $25 and the made abroad stained flags were closer to $45. So our project total in the end was $25.We were feeling pretty thrifty.

Step 1: Make a huge pot of tea. We did about 10 cups of water and 12+ tea bags.
(For darker color do more tea bags.) 

Step 2: Rinse flag and pour tea into a container big enough to soak the flag in. We used our garbage can in the bath tub. Make sure you use something that you don't mind staining. 

Step 3: Submerge flag in tea. Let it sit anywhere from 30 minutes to 8 hrs overnight. We let our flag set in the (not so concentrated) tea for 3 hours. We didn't want a dark stain but just enough to dull the white and give the flag a softer look.  Again for darker do more tea bags and let it sit for longer.

Step 4: Rinse flag and hang to dry

Step 5: Hang and enjoy.
We noticed that the stain did not permeate the embroidered stars hardly at all. You can see the difference in the stripes and the stars below. If you are working with mixed fabrics and materials be prepared for mismatched color. Luckily we were totally fine with it and love how the flag turned out. 

Happy crafting!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Working Mom

I have learned that being a mother is a full time/over time job. So, what am I thinking going back to the office? I have been working from home part time the past two months and am making the slow transition back into the office. Starting 4 hours, 1 day a week. I am excited to be able to get back into the middle of some big and exciting projects but feel so overwhelmed at the same time. Putting on clean cloths, makeup, and a bra before 12 is an awesome day. Add taking a shower, and getting everything ready for Annas day to the line up and we're lucky to be out the door before 1:00. But to be honest, I can deal with little sleep knowing I will have the rest of the week to make it up. Its the part about missing anything monumental that really makes me sad. Call me selfish but, I want to be there to see every smile and hear every giggle. If we weren't living in the most expensive town I would join with you stay at home moms and feel satisfied in my 24/7 capacity. Thankfully I have an amazing boss who treats me like a granddaughter. He and his darling wife are so good to me and my family. Going back to work for a boss I disliked would probably have been the kicker that made me say forget it, Zach, you're on your own. So, I guess today, though its going to be tough, I'm feeling grateful. Grateful for all the time I do get to spend at home with Anna. Grateful for two ladies from church that are willing to take turns watching her. Grateful for a boss that likes me enough to let me work from home and make my own schedule. Grateful for a husband that works hard full time at work and over time as a dad. Grateful to be a mom.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Furniture Inspiration

Between Restoration Hardware, West Elm and Pottery Barn, how could you not feel inspired. (Not to mention, more than ready to live in a real house, like with stairs and a yard and everything).
Happy dreaming and happy Monday everyone!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Anna Goes to the Beach

We enjoyed Labor Day on the beach in Connecticut with Patty, Caleb, Kezia and the little Donny.  It was warm and cloudy which was perfect for a day with sensitive skinned babies. It felt so good to sit back and relax with good company and happy kids. After the beach we stopped for some fabulous frozen yogurt. I always love a good cake batter frozen yogurt with those mini gummy bears on top.

This is Anna's "ohh, ohhhh, oh" aka: "I'm hungry, mom" face. We had no idea she was making it when we took the picture, and now I can't stop laughing about it.