Oh, Hello There

Hi, I’m Christene and the author of this little blog that I started almost 3 years ago after I had my first baby in 2011. I blogged for myself mostly as a way to write down my memories of being a first time mom and also as a way to keep track of milestones, things I did not want to forget and share with friends & family who couldn’t be here. Because let’s be honest, the 2 baby books I purchased during the pregnancy sat empty on my desk for months. Looking back, I am so glad that I wrote so many little moments down and captured it in words.

In the beginning I blogged for myself and I wrote anonymously and gave my son the pen name BabyBird. Partly because I was working and didn’t want this blog to come up as the first search result in Google and having colleagues & clients read about my birth story or struggles with breastfeeding. But now over time I have found the blogging community, especially the mommy bloggers, to be amazing and have made some great friendships over the years. Not only are they a great resource for advice and how-to but a great online community of other women going through the same stage in life – motherhood. And overtime I have grown to feel more comfortable in sharing with other bloggers, friends and relatives.

Now that my son is about to turn 3 in a few months the pen name Babybird seems rather silly and I had no clever ideas as to what to name his baby sister. So I would like you to meet…

boy

Cayden William aka Babybird :: 2.5 years old and is a ball of energy and melts my heart with those eyes. He loves to sing, especially Mumford & Sons and dance. His favorite has to be his toy guitar and banjo. Loves books, stickers, running and being mommy’s little helper. He is a few months shy of turning 3 in February and so far his two’s haven’t been too bad. He talks up a storm, has his own preferences & opinions and is turning into more of a little boy each day.

 

girl

Alexis Paige :: 7 weeks old and absolutely adorable. She loves to snuggle, be held, getting her diaper changed and nurse. Hates having a dirty diaper and will squirm and wiggle until it is changed. She loves to party from 1am-3am most nights, but other than that she has been a good sleeper (3hr-4hr stretches at night). Loves listening to music and overall a pretty chill baby.

 

us

Christene & Dustin :: married since 2006 and have been together since the summer before my freshmen year of college in 2002 which would mean we’ve been together for over 11 years. We both graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder and we got married on the top of Flagstaff mountain, bought a house, changed jobs, went on trips, changed jobs again, and then started a family in 2011 and then expanded it in 2013. I used to work full-time in the accounting dept of a graphic printing equipment industry and then moved into a finance role and Dustin works for a start up tech company called MobileDay.

 

When It Rains – It Pours

All of a sudden this week we went from hot summer days to instantly cool and rainy fall days. I’m not complaining about the weather, in fact I love the rain. It’s just – it hasn’t stopped raining for 3 days straight.

By the looks of it – it’s going to keep on raining for the rest of the week.

rain

One morning we got up early: showered, dressed (and not just yoga pants & t-shirt dressed, like actual cute outfit dressed) snacks were packed and we were fed – we were ready to head out the door for a fun morning. We hop into the car and … it doesn’t start. At all. Poor girl was dead. I called my friend, who we were meeting up with, and bless her heart she came and got us and we still had a great morning playing and even a pizza lunch date afterwards. How cute are these two?

coloring pizza pizza2

On a side note – BabyBird was so excited to play that we had our first ever full blown accident. In the chaos of the car situation, moving car seats and getting to our destination, by the time he got out to play he was so excited that we both completely forgot to stop for a potty break. All of a sudden BabyBird just stopped playing, stood still and looked at me with these sad puppy eyes and that’s when I realized he soaked his pants. And of course since I wasn’t in my car, I had no change of clothes with me. Mommy fail. Lucky, we borrowed a pair of pants from our friends (saving the day, yet again!) and kept playing.

The next day I called around repair shops to see who could replace the car battery and luckily found a shop that could do it the same afternoon. I waddled in, drenched from the rain with BabyBird on my hip. I’m sure I was a sight to be seen. Want to know something awesome about BMW batteries? You can’t just replace the battery like any normal car – oh that’d be too easy. You have to reset the computer chip inside which of course only an authorized BMW shop can do and therefore translates to longer waits and more bling. Sure wish that fancy computer chip told me it was about to die but at least the battery died a tragic death in my garage and didn’t leave a 9+ month pregnant lady and her 2.5year old stranded somewhere. So there’s that.

When we picked up the car later that afternoon, the service guy in a playful manner asked if BabyBird wanted to sign for the on my behalf and without missing a beat BabyBird grabbed the pen from him and wrote MOM across the receipt. How sweet is that?

mom

He was such a champ since all we did today was drive into town, drop Daddy off at work, back home and back into town to pick up my car & Daddy from the office.

So remember that rain I was talking about earlier? And how it’s been raining continuously for the last 3 days? Now the main road into our neighborhood is flooded and closed. The Boulder Creek is overflowing and flooded along with parts of the city. Flash flood warnings and sirens are going off. Crazy Colorado weather.

Speaking of crazy weather – several weeks ago, we got hit with one freakish and nasty hail storm. Strong winds knocked trees and destroyed roofs in our neighborhood. Now all of our neighbors, us included, are filing roof claims with our home insurance companies and getting new roofs.

Nothing makes you feel like an adult like replacing car batteries and getting a new roof on your house.

hail

 

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Being a Stay at Home Mom – One Year Later

On this day a year ago – I was heading to the office 3 days a week at a company that I’ve been at since my college days. Except on this day, it would be my last day at the office.

Initially I had some mixed feelings about how the departure was handled – as anyone would in my position but after the initial shock wore off I have found that I’ve embraced and enjoyed being a stay at home mom.

grass

Now keep in mind that ever since I was 16 I have had a job in one form or another whether that was in retail, restaurants, or doctor offices I’ve done the whole range of jobs before having a career. After I got pregnant with BabyBird I worked my entire pregnancy (literally up to the very day I went into labor) and I couldn’t imagine what my daily life and rhythm would look like without being employed. It was just what I had known. I’ve balanced a job with being in high school and in college – so naturally I felt like I would balance it while having a newborn. I took a 3 month maternity leave (technically I did work during my leave answering emails and doing what I could remotely) and sent my sweet 3 month old BabyBird to Montessori daycare and I went back to work.

It was a hard transition at first but slowly we got into a groove but it wasn’t easy. I battled breastfeeding and supply issues being away from him 8 hours a day and struggled to pump enough milk to fill his daycare bottles for the next day plus the added stress of being back at work. Each night it felt like we were just preparing – washing bottles, laundry and getting everything ready for the next day. With both of us working it was a juggling act in the mornings on getting out of the house on time. Not to mention how badly I missed the little guy. Some parts did get easier as the months went on, but by the end of the year I decided to make a change and asked if I could work part-time. By the beginning of 2013 I was working just 3 days a week and I had 2 days off to spend with BabyBird who was about to turn 2. It was the best of both worlds.

What frightened me the most about being a stay at home mom was the lack of everyday social interaction with people. At first I had a hard time imaging what my days would look like spending them with just BabyBird doing the same routine over and over. But what I couldn’t see was that as each day and week passed he got older and things got so much easier. He’s a pretty laid back kid and we signed up for music classes, soccer, gymnastics and all the other daytime activities that I couldn’t do when I was working. And we made friends with other SAHM and that was a complete life saver. Now that he’s 2.5 years old, he talks up a storm. all. day. long.

us

Some days were tough and monotonous and other days we didn’t even get out of our PJs. But we spent them together. These first few years are so precious and so much changes in just a few months that my heart was absolutely breaking that I was missing these moments while at the office. Being at home isn’t easy and between the constant food preparation, clean up, laundry and daily chores it does keep me fairly busy all day & evening long – and that’s just the house stuff. Not to mention the actual toddler that is walking around looking to be entertained, taught and loved.

In the last 6 months, everyone has gotten into a great groove. BabyBird still attends the same Montessori school but only 2 school hour days a week and this allows me do the grocery shopping and run errands solo. It also gives him interaction with his teachers and classmates which has been so beneficial to him both socially and his independence. The hubs’ job allows him to work from home a few days a week so we get to see him during the day and spend time together for lunches. I am beyond grateful and blessed that the hubs is a total rock star at his profession and we could afford for me to stay at home. After a day of working, he’ll take the little guy out for runs or bike rides (while I cook dinner) and always does the bath & bed routine. He puts in long hours and I know I don’t always give him proper credit but he really is our rock.

jump

It’s been an amazing year filled with ups and downs – but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I never imagined myself as a stay at home mom but now I can’t picture anything different.

In just another 6 short weeks – our worlds are going to be rocked again with this new addition and I am excited to see what this next year will bring with two little ones in tow.


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10 Survival Tips for a New Mom

survival tips

Do not make sleep training decisions in the middle of the night. This is the best piece of advice I got when I was in the trenches with a newborn. You will be tempted one night when your child just won’t fall back asleep and you are beyond exhausted and just want a few hours of continuos sleep and suddenly the idea of sleep training sounds like heaven. Don’t do it. At the same time, don’t try to switch up the sleeping arrangement in the middle of the night whether that is co-sleeping or they are in their own room. The middle of the night is not the time to make these decisions.

It will be hard when you are trying to calm down a fussy baby while your husband snores peacefully next to you. Try not to smother him with your pillow – you’ll need him later.

You cannot spoil a newborn. Does he only sleep in his carseat? Or only in the swing? Or do you need to wear him in order to get him to nap? Whatever it takes, go ahead and do it. You cannot spoil a newborn and you will not set bad sleeping habits at 6, 8 or 12 weeks of age despite what all of the sleep books say and he will be ruined for the rest of his life and never sleep.

Take pictures – with you in them. I have tons of newborn pictures but rarely any with me in them and that’s because I would growl at my husband if he tried to take one of me in those early days. I hadn’t showered, my hair was a mess, no makeup and just looked awful and no way was he going to capture that in a picture. But the truth is, later on you’ll look back through these pictures and wonder where you were. Just take them – your kid will want to see you in his baby pictures. Also invest in newborn photography – your uterus will thank me later.

It’s okay if they are crying. I was so nervous taking my newborn anywhere in fear that he would start crying at the restaurant, grocery store or in the Target aisles and I would draw unwanted attention and glances from people judging me why I couldn’t calm my baby down. This is quite the opposite. For one, newborn cries are so mellow & quiet compared to the tantrum of a 2 year old as you are attempting some form of discipline (trust me on this one) that people barely notice. And chances are 75% of those people have kids and they understand. This also applies to flying with a newborn – just relax, if your baby starts crying it’s okay.

Bring extra clothes with you. You will get puked on, or have a diaper explode on your lap. This will happen – bring extra clothes for yourself and baby.

It will get lonely and repetitive. After the initial excitement of a new baby wears off and friends and relatives go back to their everyday lives, you will be doing this day in and day out for the next few years. It is repetitive: feed, burp, change a diaper, nap, and then rinse and repeat. Except sometimes you don’t get to rinse and it’s just repeat.

Remember to eat. In order to take care of your baby, you need to first take care of yourself. Feeding yourself is the first step then work on getting some rest and then try to set aside some time just for yourself. Even if that means browsing Target by yourself for 30 minutes.

It is a phase, and this too shall pass. There is a light at the end of the tunnel – I promise. Sleep will get easier, so will breastfeeding and they will stop shitting themselves in the middle of the night. It’ll get better and easier just try and make it through today and not worry that this will forever be your life. It’ll change in a week or two – or three.

Hire help. Get a maid.

Stop Googling. Also applies to reading sleep expert books, baby blogs (so guilty here) or following other moms on social media. You’ll oogle over their perfect pictures and spotless houses and moms who have showered and have pretty lipstick on. This is not normal. Also stop googling how to get your 3 week old to sleep through the night while rocking your baby at 3am on your iPhone and be oozing jealously over other moms posting that their babe was sleeping through the night at 6 weeks of age. Wonder where the mom is that has a 9 month old and he is not sleeping through the night? Probably still rocking her baby and is not posting on BabyCenter’s forum.

 

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Linkin’ up with Becky over at Mrs. to Mama on her 52 Weeks of Blogging series