Lifestyle

Things you do differently with your second born

  1. Sleep
  2. Change diapers less often… oops
  3. Bathe less often
  4. Bathe baby less often
  5. Let them cry more
  6. Realize your extra baby mattress protector really belongs under you to block those night time milk leaks
  7. Swaddle confidently
  8. Nurse more confidently
  9. Lay them down for naps vs cuddling
  10. Swerve societal pressures

SLEEP

If you’ve read any of our other posts, you’ve probably noted that I hardly slept when our first, Ivy, was born. I was so paranoid. I come from a line of worry warts, it’s literally in my blood. If she wasn’t sleeping, what did I eat? Did I give her stomach ache because I inhaled a family sized bag of BBQ chips today? Did she not get enough milk when she nursed 7 minutes and 33 seconds ago? Are her socks too tight? When she was sleeping… *wakes up Ian* is she still breathing? They’re so quiet when they aren’t crying. I better go check *fumbles out of bed into the brisk Midwest February bedroom air to discover she is breathing, gets back in bed, complains about to chill of my sheets, force cuddles spouse for warmth. Repeat after a 30-minute nap.

So this time around, we swaddle little baby Rae right out of the gate. She spent her first night in the nursery with the wonderful nursing staff. Ian went home to care for Ivy and I slept like a rock for 2-3 hour increments. Pure bliss. A room to myself. No snores. No crying. Just the gentle buzz of hospital noises. I had great nurses… so I subdued the roaring Cave of Wonder’s Tiger that stirred deep down inside me.

Cave of Wonders from Aladdin – my labor & delivery spirit animal.

DIAPERING

With my new found parenting confidence, I mean we kept Ivy alive and relatively uninjured (no hospital visits, just a goose egg or two managed at home – no signs or symptoms of brain injury, don’t worry ☺️), I felt the pressure to be perfect slip away. And by slip away I mean like an ice cream cone that’s melting close to the sun… a hard plop to the ground of normalcy. When Ivy was new I felt like I had to be right there at every peep. Change every diaper instantly. Feed her inconspicuously but with great eagerness; you know to please both sides of the breastfeeding views. I’ve learned my lesson with trying to change Rae right after she goes… more is coming. Just wait a moment. Yep. Pee or more. Obviously, each kiddo is different. Mine prefers urinating when you’re trying to hurry out the door or in a fresh diaper or when her sister is screaming from (her perceived) starvation. To sum it up, you’re not a horrible parent if your kid’s diaper is wet for a bit. Or if you hold off on a poop change for a few minutes while you wait out the sneaky second take.

After wrangling a toddler, changing a new baby is nothing.

SHOWERING

In the midst of the chaos of transition to two, I found myself noticing weird smells around the house. A regular culprit… was me. Poor Ian came in for a hug one day, pulled back and asked if that smell was me. Yes. Yes, it is. I knew it was really bad when I noticed my milky BO scent amongst all the other smells at the state fair. How pungent it must have been to fight its way through animal poops & fried food… but look how cute Ivy’s overalls were! She HAD to wear them that day.

Our Iowa State Fair adventure 2018. Ivy’s second state fair and Rae’s first. It was filled with family support as we all took turns herding and chasing down Ivy. Rae was an easy keeper as she slept through 90% of the day. Although she was the topic of most discussions with strangers. The sweet encouraging glances and congratulations outnumbered the unnecessary “two weeks and she’s at the fair?!” statements. My poor future sister in law happened to be holding her during the most uncomfortable comments. First, someone woman asked if that baby was real. Whaaaaa.

The second and most challenging statement, “I don’t like how you’re holding that baby. I don’t like her color.” I’ll continue to tell myself she was well-meaning; expressing a concern for a child’s health. She then shared how she was a nurse for many years, thank you for your service, and all her baby experience. Sweet, patient sister in law even asked how the woman would prefer her to hold Rae… “just not that way!” OKAY. So you charge up a complete stranger but don’t have the time to educate them? Let’s move on… Ian wasn’t our with us so I’m assuming she had no idea Rae was biracial which would explain why Rae’s coloring did not match the three white adults she was with at the time. I’ll just leave that there for now. Probably deserves its own post in the future.

BATHING BABIES

Ivy experienced stinky milk neck on the regular. The let down is heavy and the poor thing almost drowned daily. Rae is no exception. Instead of filling the baby tub, getting everything sorted while Ivy is helping, I grab a washcloth and wipe through those double chins and neck creases. She only gets a traditional bath every three to four days. Strategic timing of baths comes into play now. Ivy loves being involved with Rae for which I am grateful. However, it does add an element of difficulty. Extra tiny hands and a lack of awareness to her own strength poses potential risks for a tiny baby sister. Some nights, when I’m too worn out to carefully guide Ivy’s help, we wait until Ivy is asleep for Rae’s bath.
*Rae is now three months and chonky. Our newest strategy for double bath time involves Ivy playing in the tub with a sneaky dunk of Rae in the other end. Ivy still longs to help… which occasionally presents itself has pushing Rae deeper into the water… 

While people feel guilty about taking attention away from the firstborn as the second comes, I felt bad for number two. Not nearly as many snuggly naps; must put down baby to feed, clean, love on the toddler… as soon as I start feeling guilty I remind myself that each child is different. They have different needs, strengths, and weaknesses. They were given specifically to me to raise and love at the perfect time *whether that aligned with my plans or not.

So no beating yourself up. No comparing to how you did things the first time. As long as both are fed and relatively clean and deeply loved, they’ll be just fine.

Uncategorized

Finding a Way With My First Baby Mobile

Baby mobiles are one of those baby items that I skipped. I felt like it was just one more thing to spend money on and definitely did not make our “need it” list. Now, did I see mobiles that I thought were incredibly cute? YES. Did I try to convince myself that Ivy needed one? Yes. She is currently 16 months old and has survived without one. But I still wonder occasionally, did I make our lives more difficult by not giving it a shot?

No sense in worrying about what could have been, especially when it comes to sleep. What sleep was lost is lost and will never come back. I do regularly have the internal discussion with myself about joining Ivy for naps and the benefits that adequate sleep provides me as an individual and as a mother. I’d say I’m batting 500 in that debate.

Pinterest always finds a way to pop new adorable craft ideas into my feed. One of the more recent trends has been baby mobiles. There are so many beautiful products that I would love to indulge in but typically find myself checking out the DIY options with my money saving mind leading the way.

After looking at a few tutorials, I decided I was going to go for it. Making my own! My general plan was to use black and white scrap material I have to make some little critters, more than likely cats. The high contrast of black and white is best for babies eyes as they’re developing. I then found myself finding some beautiful more ornate mobiles. Now being honest, most of these seem geared towards mom’s decorative wants. Which I have zero problems with! Make that baby space a place where you feel happy and calm. Kids used to be raised on much less artificial stimulation than what we feel pressured to provide today. All the flashing lights and loud noises just seem a little over the top to me. Don’t misunderstand, Ivy definitely has toys that sing songs and flash. She loves her new xylophone grandpa just got her. She gets to beat on something and make pretty noises!

So with modern and minimalist moms in mind, I decided to keep an eye out for something special. I literally had no idea what I was looking for but felt confident that I would know it when I saw it. I was making one final lap around JoAnn’s when I stopped by the stringed beads. While I love shiny tiny cute things, I never buy beads so making this stop was entirely a gut feeling.

Poof! There they were – the cutest little round owl beads I had ever seen. Adorably shaped, delicately painted and all in a row. Literally, one line of thread held 11 little fluff balls. I mean how cute are they?

I grabbed an embroidery hoop, some natural looking hemp rope, and my little owl buddies and went to town! In classic mother mode, I was nervous about the potential choking hazard of the bead. I secured each of these bad boys with heart.

Super simplistic. I do have a tendency to go one… or two steps past the best stopping point in craft projects. I did consider adding some strips of ribbon, lace or fabric between the owls to add some more volume. But I restrained myself. If whoever wants to bring this baby mobile home would some extra cuteness added I’d happily do so!

Feeling like the baby mobile owls turned out well, I think I will try my scrap fabric cat idea next!

Blankets, Handmade, Product Stories

Avocado or avocuddle? Flannel Baby Blanket

Ever see something and know you need it but not sure what for? That’s exactly how I felt when I saw this avocado couple flannel I tossed it in my cart. While I was still shopping for other material that was actually on my list, I decided I wanted to love on the traditional flannel swaddle. It is a classic baby blanket that has stood the test of time, used by mothers from all over.

Most of the mommas I’ve spoken with complained that the flannel swaddles they had were too small and difficult to use. Simple solution: make it bigger! The final dimensions of this baby blanket ended up being 35″x40-something… naturally, I can’t remember now that I’m writing this. I will, of course, remeasure it before uploading it to the shop later tonight. *settled deep into our big comfy chair watching the most recent episode of The Bachelorette so I can’t do it right this moment.

Baby blankets are strange things. Sometimes they mean more to mom or dad than the actual owner. Others are deeply loved by a tiny human and cherished forever. What an amazing feeling it is to know that something I made could be loved so deeply by someone so gentle and pure?

*pulls self together…
So my thought with the avocados was 1. the halves make a whole – precious 2. avocados make guac and who doesn’t love that?! Just kidding. I can understand how someone may not love guacamole, but only if you’re a texture person. The flavor is too wonderful to dislike.

With guac on my mind, tacos follow closely behind. I destroyed four classic corn hard shell tacos tonight. It was magical.

If you know a soon to be momma that’s been craving tacos and or guac, can I make a suggestion? Shower her with this adorable avocado swaddle and toss in the taco bout awesome burp cloths!

Handmade, Product Stories

My Many Mistakes Making My First Skirt and Headband

I remember seeing pictures of my friends as little girls in adorable matching outfits. I was the challenging child of my four siblings so I’m pretty sure my mom was happy if I was dressed when we left the house. I never imagined I would be a mom who would enjoy dressing her kid. I was so wrong. I love shopping for tiny clothes. I love putting together tiny coordinating outfits. What seems odd is that while shopping, it is difficult to find a matching skirt and headband. I’ve seen plenty of coordinating headbands but what if you want that same adorable floral on the booty and noggin?

Apparently, I’m not the only one looking for a reasonably priced matching set. A gal I ran track with in high school asked if I was able to make leggings or skirts with a matching headband. While I was still slightly traumatized by my swaddle struggles, I let her know leggings were scary but I had saved a pattern for a skirt from Pinterest.

Her daughter has beautiful red hair and momma has a hard time finding colors that work well for her. We decided an olive floral was the way to go.

Pinterest fails have been a regular occurrence in our house. Rest assured that it typically revolves around cooking rather than sewing. Any time we associate something with failure, it can make us timid. Like many of my other projects, I decided to just dive right in. The faster I start the less time I have to overthink.

The skirt went fairly smooth. Only a few oops here and there, but overall it was simple enough. I was disappointed that I didn’t’ find a cute lace trim that went with the material I chose. I guess I’ll just have to make more!

Now the headband.
Ugh. Mistake after mistake.

I had to recut a few pieces after trimming back accidental stitches or needing to pull poorly executed stitching. I was trying to replicate one of my favorites from Ivy’s collection. Looked simple enough. Maybe my brain wasn’t functioning well that day and that’s why I was driving the struggle bus. The second time I tried this same style, it went so much smoother!

After struggling through the tiny complexities, I do believe we came out with an adorable matching skirt and headband!

You can follow photographer momma Abby on Instagram!

Blankets, Handmade, Product Stories

Blanket Gift Set Swooning You Have Needed In Your Life

I’ll start by saying I totally believe in signs. I also love every baby blanket. While shopping for some other fabric last week, I saw this adorable donut and sprinkle cotton material that I fell in love with. I typically try to stick to my list when shopping and didn’t have delish donut cotton listed, so I reluctantly left it behind.

Within a few days, a good friend requested a donut themed baby blanket and headband set.

Happy Jennifer Aniston GIF

Our original plan was to find a knit material and pair it with a burp cloth she had seen and wanted. Unfortunately, I wasn’t finding what i wanted in the knit section so I asked for some creative freedom with the project. Bless her heart, she let me run wild.

I knew those tiny sweet colorful donuts were coming home with me! I decided to duplicate the blanket my sister had gifted to Ivy the day she was born. It’s a beautiful black base cotton with yellow floral cuteness backed by a soft yellow minky.

Naturally, I thought the minky wouldn’t be too much to handle. I was almost right. With a few hiccups and “dang it’s”, the blanket is completed. Now for the sprinkles on top; the headband.

Ivy refused to wear bows and headbands when she was tiny. Now she’ll pick out headbands herself and bring them to you randomly throughout the day. One of my personal favorites is light denim with white polka dots.

I measured the three segments and went to work. My first duplication, beautiful olive floral material for a sweet redhead, was slightly off but still functional. The second round of noggin decorating cuteness called for a few changes. I’m quite satisfied with my new changes. I think I can say I’m ready to go to town on these bows!

The size I based the design off fits Ivy’s average 15-month circumference measurement. She’s also been wearing that original design for a few months so I’d be confident saying it’ll fit a wide age range as it still has plenty of elastic expansion left.

I think this may be one of my favorite items to make now that I figured out the little details. Keep an eye out for more headbands to come!