Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Life with a Two Month Old (It couldn't be sweeter)

Life is great! I mean, just look at that little face! Marlene Mae turned two months old on October 15th and she is growing by leaps and bounds. Here is a little glimpse of what she is up to...

Marlene's favorite activities:

Having daddy bounce her on the yoga ball
Laying on the floor playing in her baby gym (she works out)
Swinging in her cradle swing
Snuggles with mommy, daddy, and her big brother
Going on walks
Being worn in her Moby Wrap or Mei Tai
Taking a bath

Marlene's Stats:

Weight: 12 pounds, 3 ounces (her birth weight was 8 pounds, 7 ounces)
Height: 24 inches (her birth height was 20 3/4 inches)

Weight: 60th percentile
Height: 96th percentile

Marlene's Sleep:

This little lady is not a daytime napper! She cat naps for about 20 min a few times per day.
At night, she usually goes to bed around 11pm, wakes up at 4:30am to eat, goes back to sleep and wakes up again at 7am to eat. If I'm lucky, she will go back to sleep for another 2 hours. 

Marlene's Eating:

She is exclusively breastfeeding (go Marlie!) and she is doing so great! 
She eats every 2 hours during the day, for about 30 minutes total. 
She loves eating!

Marlene's Favorite Toys:

Pink elephant stuffed animal/rattle/book/squeaker/crinkle (yes, it does it all!)
Crinkle flower/rattle
Black and white zebra stuffed animal

Little Miss Marlie loves being talked to, we spend all day chit chatting. She loves to be held and kissed and loved on. I am one happy mama! I take like a million pictures of her everyday, if you don't follow me on Instagram, you totally should because you will get to see this adorable face!

Thanks for reading! I love comments and questions, so feel free to connect with me!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Meet Marlene and Life with a New Baby

I have not blogged in a long time! I guess that's what happens when you have a new baby :) Sure, some bloggers are awesome about having a baby update on the blog within hours, but that has never been my style. Also, life with a new baby is time consuming! I thought "oh, my baby will sleep all of the time and I will have so much time to blog...". Wrong.

If you would like to meet the little lady that I spend all of my time with, here she is...

Little Miss Marlene Mae was born on August 15th at 1:57pm. She weighed 8 lbs, 7 oz. Eventually, I will post her birth story, because every birth story is amazing, and I would love her share her story with you all. Marlene is named after my two grandmothers, Marlene Rose and Betty Mae. We call her Marlie for short, and we love every second with her. Every moment with this little angel is a gift, and we love her so much!

As of today, she is 7 weeks old, she will be 8 weeks old tomorrow. All of these photos are from her newborn photo shoot with my talented sister, Melissa. She has changed so much, and I can't wait to share more recent photos with you all, but my OCD is making me post pictures in chronological order.

Life with Marlie is incredible. I am breastfeeding, so that comes with its' own set of challenges, but overall it is going well. We have been exploring the world of attachment parenting and baby-wearing and we are having a blast! We spend our days nursing, playing with toys, attempting to do housework (yea right) and running errands. Did you know that going to the grocery store with a newborn takes upwards of two hours? I forgot! My oldest is 13 years old, so it has been a long while since I cared for a newborn baby.

I have always been a working mom, so staying at home with this little beauty is something I am getting used to. I am so lucky to be able to be a stay at home mom to her during this time, I honestly did not think it would be able to happen. We are adjusting to our new schedule and loving life at our own pace.

I hope you enjoyed all of her sweet newborn pics, and be on the look out for more Marlie updates!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

29 Week Bump Date! Aches, Pains, A Rockin' Baby, Classes, and What's A Doula?

I have to say, this week has been one of the more challenging weeks of pregnancy. I'll share with you the good and the bad of Week 29! 

Aches and Pains:

I have been experiencing a lot of back pain and pain in my stomach muscles. My doctor said this is because this is my second pregnancy and my muscles are weakened from my first pregnancy. I was not in great physical shape when I became pregnant, so this does not completely surprise me. 

Over the past few days, the pain started to impact my daily activities. I wanted to cry every time I got out of bed, or out of a chair. I had an incredibly hard time getting dressed, walking and standing. I feel like there was a point this week when I crossed the threshold from "regular pregnancy" pain to "this shouldn't be happening yet" pain. 

I decided to go and see a chiropractor yesterday. I think my favorite part about seeing her was that she listened to me, which made me feel good. She didn't blow me off, or tell me to "suck it up", she didn't laugh at me or make me feel like a wimp. She gave me some empathy, which is exactly what I needed. Well, I needed empathy and a back adjustment. She aligned my back in a few places and actually saw me again this morning for follow up adjustments. This is my first time ever seeing a chiropractor and so far it has been a great experience. I am still sore, but not in pain like I was before I saw her. 

Rockin' and Rollin' Baby

I'm starting to feel really big movements from Miss Marlie! I can watch my stomach moving and feel her big twists and turns. I love it! I can feel her becoming more active everyday.  

Class Time

I finally signed my husband and I up for a natural childbirth class! I had been debating whether or not to take an actual class, or to just watch videos online. In the end I decided that I really wanted to experience this with my husband in a way that I don't think we would get from online videos. I like the idea of a small class setting, with other couples and an instructor we can see face to face. 

The class I decided on is a 7 week class that covers the following topics:
  • Mechanics of childbirth, natural labor preparations, first and second stage labor information, breastfeeding, postpartum care, and tips for labor partners
The instructor seems really nice and I am excited to meet her! The class was originally $300. She was able to give me a voucher for $50 off, and she is willing to do a payment plan for us. This made the class much for affordable. I am really exited for what we will learn!

What's a Doula?

Over the past few days I have suddenly had the urge to hire a doula. I never knew what one was or what exactly they did, until I began to research. They are like a support person for both you and your spouse and are with you before, during, and after labor. 

Here is an official definition from DONA International:

"The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period. Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily."

In my area (St. Louis, MO) the average Doula's services cost about $1,000. However, I have found one provider that has a service price listed of $400, and a few others that have service prices between $500-$600. I have found that most of the doulas in my area offer a package of 2 prenatal visits, unlimited phone calls, support throughout the entire labor and delivery, breastfeeding support, and 2 postpartum visits. This totally sounds worth it to me! 

No one in my family has done a natural birth or exclusively breastfed. I think it would be beneficial to have this person as a resource. If my husband and I can afford it, I would love to hire a doula! 

**I know that was a long post for week 29, thanks for following along on my journey! I would love to hear about anyone's experience with a doula or natural childbirth tips! 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

27 Week Bump Date!

Woo hoo! I just finished my 27th week of pregnancy! Here is what has been going on during the past few weeks...

Pregnancy Symptoms:

  • Baby Movement: Holy kicks and punches! During the past few weeks I can really feel Marlie kicking, punching and dancing. I still love it :) She's kicking my laptop as I write this. 

  • Braxton Hicks Contractions: I never had these with my son, but I started feeling them during this pregnancy about 2 weeks ago. They mostly happen when I am walking around (baseball games, grocery stores, and at work). They feel like a stitch in my side and then my whole belly tightens up. They aren't really painful, just uncomfortable. My doctor told me if I have more than 5 in one hour to put my feet up and drink water. 

  • More Potty Breaks: I can definitely tell that Miss Marlie is squishing my bladder! I wake up about twice per night to go to the bathroom, if I'm lucky, it's just once. The other night at my son's baseball game I had to go to the bathroom about 4 times during his 2 hour game. 

  • Standing For Too Long Hurts! I have noticed lately that I can stand for about 45 minutes before my back and feet really hurt. I finally asked for an accommodation at work. I bought myself a $10 camping stool from Dick's Sporting Goods to take with me on work site assessments. I had to provide a doctor's note saying that I was allowed to sit for 10 minutes out of every hour. I was embarrassed to ask for an accommodation at work. I honestly felt like a "wimp" and felt ashamed that I was asking to sit, when I know that there are pregnant women who stand all day as cashiers, nurses and hundreds of other occupations. But then I counseled myself and I told myself that I don't need to compare myself to other women and just because others handle discomfort differently, doesn't make my discomfort not valid. 

Baby Planning

  • We are going to register for our baby shower today! We have been wanting to do this for weeks, but haven't had the time or energy. I am determined to get this started today!

  • I have been researching natural child birth and all of the benefits. I am trying to decide if my husband and I should pay to take a class, or if there is enough free information online to prepare us. I would love to hear suggestions! We are also looking for information on infant care. I am sure a lot has changed since 13 years ago when my son was born. I want to make sure I am up to date on the latest! 


  • I am officially done with school! I graduated with my Master's Degree 2 weeks ago! 

  • I am in full blown nesting mode. Every time I walk into a room, I think about a new paint color and decor. I wake up in the middle of the night and can't stop thinking about how to arrange the nursery furniture. This is happening! 

Thanks for following along on my pregnancy journey! I would love to hear any suggestions or advice! :)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One Of The Best Things Anyone Has Ever Said To Me

Sometimes, things come out of our children's mouths that astound us and stop us in our tracks. Often these things are inappropriate, funny or just out of this world. And sometimes, what your child says to you can be one of the best things anyone has ever said to you. I had one of these moments recently.

"Mom, how did you get to be so accomplished?" My 13 year old asks me.

"What do you mean?" I responded, a little surprised by his question. I don't often think of myself as "accomplished".

"I mean that you are 28 years old, married, have a kid, are pregnant, have a job and are getting your master's degree. You have already done so much."

I sat quietly, a little speechless.

"I don't know if I will have done everything you have when I am your age. How did you do it?"

I smiled and explained to him that I made a decision about what was important to me, and I set goals. I told him that he can accomplish anything he wants to by any age if he sets his mind to it. I have no doubt my son will be extremely successful. He is smart and charismatic. He is wise beyond his years in so many ways.

I was taken back by the thought that I am "accomplished". I spend so much of my time focused on the things that I don't have, what I haven't done and what I might not be able to do in the future. This conversation made me realize that I really need to take some time to reflect on my accomplishments, and give myself a little more credit now and then.

I try to stay humble, but maybe there is a fine line between being humble and not recognizing value in yourself on a regular basis. 

More than anything, it means the world to me that my son views me as accomplished. For me, it means that it has all been worth it. Every class, every test, every 20 page paper. Every date, every bad relationship, every time my heart was broken. Every time I struggled and I wondered if it would make a difference to anyone. It did. And that is why when my son told me I was accomplished, it was one of the best things anyone has ever said to me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How Can I Be A Stay At Home Mom?

I am in need of some help and advice. I spent my lunch break at work googling "how to be a stay at home mom".

I have hit the point in my pregnancy where I am completely preoccupied with my baby. All I want to do is get her nursery ready, knit her a blanket and organize her cute little clothes. There's only one problem I keep running into: I'm too exhausted.

Right now I work full time at a job that can be both physically and emotionally demanding. Sometimes I am standing for 2-3 hours with a client at a work site assessment, or counseling an emotionally distressed mother, or getting cussed out by an angry client. By the time my day is over, there is no part of me that can muster up the energy to prepare for the arrival of my baby. I also take classes two nights per week, so there are some nights that I don't get home until near 10pm. I know school will be over in a few weeks, so at least I won't be quite so drained those two nights per week. I have reached the point where I spend my days dreaming (and researching) how I can stay at home with my baby.

When my son was born, I was a single teenage mom. There was no option to stay home. I knew that I had to work, finish school and he needed to go to daycare. I was in survival mode for the both of us and my mind was focused on how the two of us were going to make it in this world.

My life is different now. I don't have to be in constant "survival mode". I have a loving husband who will be my partner in caring for the baby, and my incredible teenager who will be here to help as much as we need him. This isn't a one woman show anymore. Ever since the thought has crossed my mind that I could be a stay at home mom, it is all I can think about.

I want to be with my baby all day. I want to be the one to care for her. I want to take her on walks and trips to the park. I want to have time to prepare her meals and make her healthy baby food. I want to be the one to help her learn her colors and letters and numbers. I was never afforded the chance to do these things with my son. I got to spend a few hours with him in the evening before bed. All while juggling school and work and being completely exhausted all of the time. I had to let family and daycare providers do all of the things I wanted to be doing. My son has turned out wonderful, he has always had the love, support, and everything he needed. It's me who has missed out.

So tonight, I am sitting in my bed, wiping away tears as I write this post. I am pregnant and emotional and sad. I am sad because I don't think I will be in a position to stay at home with my baby. I don't think I will be able to deprive my family of my income or the health insurance I carry. Financially, I just don't see how I can stay at home with my baby when she arrives.

This is where I reach out to my readers for advice. Have any of you made the transition to a stay at home mom? How did you do it? Maybe there are things I have not thought of. I need all of the help and advice I can get. How can I be a stay at home mom?


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