Advice

I recently had a friend break the news that she is preggers! It’s always so exciting to see other people go through this for the first time. I remember the excitement and the nerves, the elation and the shock. When said friend told us she was pregnant, Brian proceeded to have several crowns with her husband, tell the couple that everyone is going to give them advice, and subsequently give them tons of advice.

The experience got me to thinking: I should write a blog post on my advice to new moms. Now that I’ve had a few friends go through being pregnant and having a baby, I have a few opinions of my own and it’d be great to have a place I could send them to as a resource instead of spilling 10 million recommendations onto them in one sitting, a la BT after several crowns…love you babe:)

I preface this advice with this: We decided to have a very unpopular birth plan and I completely understand it is not right for everyone or even most people, so my advice is not that everyone should do it the way we did.

      1. Knowledge is power, but you can’t take everything literally and you have to incorporate your intuition: I’ve heard of people reading millions of books (a few of which I’ll recommend below), and then raise their children according to exactly what the books say. Please do consume information, but please don’t hold yourself to a standard of doing something exactly as a book says all the time – it’s exhausting.
      2. When you first get pregnant (or beforehand if you’re the planning type), please get on a fabulous pre-natal vitamin. It needs to have 1000mg of folic acid and that’s hard to find in over the counter versions. This is vital for baby’s brain development.
      3. Try as hard as you can while you’re pregnant with your first to relax, take it all in, eat healthy food and stay active. It will not be as easy to do this the second time around, so savor it.
      4. Watch the documentary “The Business of Being Born“. I never thought I’d admire Ricki Lake so much – did I just say that out loud?
      5. If you have access to a HypnoBirthing class in your area, take it. This class was the best money we ever spent, I swear on it. We learned why hospitals operate the way they do and how to work with them and communicate effectively to accomplish your desired birth. HypnoBirthing taught Brian how to be the most amazing birthing partner and taught me what to expect during labor and delivery and how focus my mind and energy on productively working through the beautiful experience. I really can’t rave enough about it. Here’s the place to go in the greater Seattle area: http://www.seattlehypnobirthing.com
      6. Buy yourself this pillow for sleeping: Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow
      7. Register for Amazon Mom: it is so convenient, especially when your baby is just born and you don’t want to leave the house.
      8. You must register for or buy this product. It’s my Go-To gift for new parents and it comes in SO handy every single day! Leachco Podster Sling-Style Infant Seat Lounger, Sage Pin Dot
      9. Acupuncture and Massage: Honestly, if you can treat yourself to these things, please do…and don’t take it for granted. Again, savor every second. A month before I had Ellie I had insane heartburn. I went to acupuncture and had three pins put in my right ear and then a tiny gold ball was stuck to my ear. I don’t know why, but I didn’t have a lick of heartburn for the rest of my pregnancy.
      10. Books to Read:
        1. Sleep Training – this one is short, sweet, relatively easy to follow and doesn’t involve crying it out: The Baby Sleep Solution: A Proven Program to Teach Your Baby to Sleep Twelve Hours aNight
        2. Vaccines – obviously a big topic as of late. Especially if you have a tinge of nerd in you, this book will be very stimulating: The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child (Sears Parenting Library)
        3. How to Raise Baby – this is our favorite because at the end of the day, what matters most is that your baby is happy, smart and moral: Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five
      11. Things to NOT do:
        1. Watch a bunch of movies with crazy screaming women in labor – I strongly believe what you fill your mind with affects you in real life. That is simply not how it really is.
        2. Listen to terrible birthing stories from everyone you know. Find people who had amazing experiences and find out what they did and why they loved it. Fill your mind with good and good will come. It’s just like visualization for an athlete.
        3. Get anxious as you approach your due date. Just relax, baby will come soon and then time will fly by like it never has before.
        4. Spend a shit-ton of money on things that don’t matter. I can’t say I always obey this rule, but I think I do pretty well. It’s the 80/20 rule, right? Twenty percent of the time I might invest a little more than the best “value” option, but most of the time I try to be realistic. Honestly, I can’t understand why anyone needs a $1000 stroller – really people?!?!? I think the BOB is just great myself.

At the end of the day, once your baby is born, it’s important to pick a few things that are the most important to you and try to do them as best you can. I recommend staying away from perfecting everything. Don’t tell your kid not to do every little fun, dirty, crazy thing they try because we all have to learn from experience. Additionally if you tell them not to do everything it seems like that ultimately causes them to do everything. Life is all about balance. Have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously – that was difficult for me in the beginning. After all, what could be more serious than shaping and forming a human being? Ironically, us being happy and healthy as individuals, parents and partners is just as important to shaping and forming a human being as all the other stuff, so prioritize that as much as possible. Have fun on the ride – it definitely is fun, exhilarating, emotional, and scary – and we wouldn’t change it for the world!

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#2 Coming Soon

Since it’s been announced on Facebook, it’s now official to the world: we’re having our second baby!  People keep asking me if it’s been the same and I would definitely say no. I feel mostly the same as far as my body goes, but time is just flying so much faster. When we found out we were pregnant again, I didn’t rush out to the doctor because I knew what they were going to say. I didn’t have to start scanning websites or reading books to know what is going to happen. We’ve been through this before, so we know a little better about what to expect.

Now that we’re already to 23 weeks, it’s hard to believe there are only 17 more left to go. Ellie’s growing like a weed and learning so much. She’s a total chatterbox and such a sweetheart. We couldn’t really feel more blessed. We’re really cherishing this moment in our lives because while it’s very very very very hard work raising a little girl and being in a new house and both being working parents (did I mention it’s hard?), it is such a joy and we know opposite of this feeling so we appreciate it even more. 

23 Weeks with #2

 

It’s tough with a baby because we really try to make life a little easier on ourselves. We don’t cook extravagant meals anymore. We don’t spend hours getting ready; why bother when you’re going to have food in your hair in 20 minutes anyway? We try to be a little more efficient with our cleaning. It’s the little things that change when you have a kid. All that being said, I really wanted to do a fun announcement for the pregnancy and gender, so where did I turn? Pinterest, of course.

I found a cool idea of putting an egg into a box and having a little message inside it. I thought back to my days of elementary school and blowing the middles out of eggs and quickly put together a plan for this project. In case anyone is interested in doing it in the future, I’ve outlined the steps below and provided some photos of the finished product. 

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Step 1: Buy a bunch of cheap eggs, the box you want to put them in, spray paint, shredded paper, large labels, a punch if you like and some string. We picked purple for ours, but you could always pick whatever color speaks to you. You will also need a thumb tack, some skewers, paper, a printer and scissors.  

Step 2: Poke holes in either end of the egg with a thumb tack and blow out the yokes and white. We used a ShopVac for this; otherwise it will take you hours. Let the eggs dry out.

Step 3: Spray paint the eggs. Let try. We used some skewers and styrofoam to hold the eggs up so we could spray them while they were not on the ground. 

Step 4: Print your announcement. Ours said “Ellie’s baby Sister, Coming November 6, 2013, Blessed, the Thompson’s,” but you could say a multitude of different things.

Step 5: Cram the announcement into the eggs. I used a thinner skewer to wrap the paper around and then poked it through the hole. It’s worth mentioning that we made the holes larger than the thumb tack we used to poke them. It was difficult to get the papers in, but we managed. 

Step 6: Put the shredded paper in the boxes as a little nest

Step 7: Place the egg in the nest. It’s worth mentioning that if you wanted to decorate your egg or cover the holes somehow, there’s always room to get creative here.

Step 8: Print instructions on the label. People have to know what to do when they open the box so we printed “A Surprise Inside, Crack me Open” on a large label. 

Step 9: Use a punch to punch out the label. This is optional, but I think it makes the announcement look a little less generic.  Place the sticker in the box.

Step 10: Close the box and tie a ribbon around it

For people we see frequently, we hand delivered the box, but for most people we dropped it in the mail. We used FedEx, but you could use any carrier your heart desires.  It was a super fun project and a few people reached out and said they really enjoyed receiving it, so we felt like it was definitely worth the energy.  From here on out though, we’ll likely go back to being our efficient selves – until I get another wild hair in a few months;)