Baby’s First Easter

Hooray! We survived! Honestly it wasn’t that bad. But it wasn’t that easy either.

I’ve taken on hosting Easter brunch for our family for the past two years and I really love “owning” this holiday. We’re not a religious family but I love Easter as a celebration of the start of spring. Especially in New England and especially after this winter, tulips and pastels and fresh fruit and veggies are a most welcome sight.

Easter prep started about a month ago taking out my Easter decor, checking out my party supplies from last year (cups, plates, etc.) and thinking about the good and the not-so-great from last year. I decided to ditch two of the hot dishes I served last year and ask my Mum to make one more hot dish. With my aunt bringing her famous quiches, Mum taking care of cornbeef hash and potatoes, “all I had to do” was fruit salad, spinach dip, and store bought pastries. I say “all I had to do” in quotes because anyone who’s ever hosted even a cocktail party knows that it’s a lot more behind the scenes than people think- the cleaning, the decorating, the shopping, the prep, the actual hosting, and the clean up. Throw in a 3 month old and all I have to say is thank the lord for Dada and naptime.

But the day was just lovely. There was just enough food, plenty to drink, lively conversation, and everything looked… welll, blog-worthy.

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Little man was an absolute gentleman. He rocked a vest and snappy Trend Suspenders– until some spit up and other bodily functions got the best of the outfit.

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He really was a trooper having so many people invade his turf and they are not exactly a quiet group. I think his face here and his pudgy hand flipping me off really says it all- seriously Momma, when can I nap?

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His naps were intermittent but he slept well overnight since he used a lot of his energy on his baby walker, so I have a happy boy once again. I don’t regret hosting Easter at all but I am so so happy to have my house back to normal. Routine is essential for babies and (as we’re discovering) for parents too. I’m looking forward to a spring and summer filled with the normal schedule and small, manageable outings. Doesn’t that sound wildly exciting?

My cousin Alex grabbed this shot of me smooching on my boy. It’s my favorite shot of the whole day. Just goes to show that no matter how Pinterest-worthy my brunch table is, this is what holidays are all about Charlie Brown. So good to see my family and share this precious little dude with everyone.

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Baby Gear Essentials | 4-12 Weeks

So I dropped the ball on the every four week baby stuff posts so you are getting four all the way to 12 weeks today. These are the things we have not been able to live without!

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  1. I ‘grammed this a couple weeks ago but I’m completely in love with this Tadples Ash Wood Playmat. I saw it in another blogger’s post here and I have to second her sentiments that those giant primary color ABC mats are just not my style. I understand that babies and kids need colors and stimulation but don’t you think a neutral playmat helps make the toys themselves pop? Makes sense to me. Eli has really been finding his independence on this mat with lots of wiggling and even some rolling attempts!
  2. This Bright Starts Start Your Senses Sensory Plush Pals Dragonfly was one of the first toys that Eli has really responded to. I know I bought it from this link that clearly states “Dragonfly” but for some reason I’ve always called it “The Bee” and Eli just loves checking out and grabbing at The Bee.
  3. At some point I looked around and said, “I have a boy. We need to get him a ball or two or five!” And this Sassy Developmental Sensory Ball Set is the coolest. One ball is soft with tons of colors and polka dots with that crinkle material. Another ball is blue with all sorts of bumpy textures. It’s super lightweight so Eli can pick it up on his own. And the third is a noisy ball within a ball. The outside has openings that Eli can grab and wrap his little fingers around and the thing rolls like crazy. He wacks it and that thing goes across the room which is just hilarious to him!
  4. The drool in our house seems to be increasing daily. Instead of leaving little man in a damp onesie all day, he’s accessorizing like a champ with these Matimati Baby Bandana Drool Bibs. They are so cute and super soft around his neck. Plus there’s two snaps on the back so they grow with your baby. Love these.
  5. Thank the lord- Eli is a great sleeper and sleeps through most of the night. We’ll put him down between 6:30 and 7p and he’ll sleep until 3ish. Great stretch of sleep for Momma and Dada! And after a quick bottle he usually goes right back to sleep until 6a. That 3a bottle needs to be done quickly with as little light, movement, and sound as possible so he’s aware that it’s still the middle of the night and we’re not getting up to play. This Munchkin Light My  Nightlight is the perfect amount of light and Eli loves staring into his big eyes. It’s quite romantic actually.
  6. For that same 3a feeding, I don’t want to have to trudge downstairs to the kitchen for a bottle and back up again because then I’m awake! So every night I bring a bottle with pre-measured water up and then use this OXO Tot No-Spill Formula Dispenser to fill it. The dispenser holds 3 scoops of formula in three different compartments. I just have to swivle the opening to one compartment and dump the contents into the bottle. No muss, no fuss. And then I just refill the whole thing every three days. I have a second one that I use in the diaper bag and I’ve read that a lot of moms keep these for little snacks as baby grows.

An Ode to My Post Baby Body

Dear Baby Boy, I am different now. You’ve made me different.

My back is different- broad and strong. It’s spent hours bent over your changing table. Cleaning you, dressing you, making funny faces to make you smile. I’ve bent over your bassinet. Rubbing your belly, singing you songs, waiting for you to drift off to sleep.

My arms are different- muscular and tired. They’ve carried you in your car seat in and out of the house. They’ve held you, snuggled you, hugged you. Fallen asleep under you after the 48th verse of Wheels on the Bus.

My stomach is different- loose and far from toned. It may not be pretty, but it held you before my arms ever could. It was the first place I felt your tiny kicks and hiccups. It kept you safe and warm and for that, it will always be beautiful.

My breasts are different- lets just leave it at that. They’ve fed you, comforted you, soothed you. They were all we needed in the cool, dark, quiet nights together.

My eyes are different- older and sleepy. They are never closed for long but they wake to your big grin which is the best alarm clock I’ve ever had. They watch you get bigger and smarter everyday. But they are also filled with worry. They watch you cry, frustrated with your congestion. And stare at your belly rise and fall when you’re extra quiet at night.

I’m different, my sweet boy. But you’ve made me better. My body is stronger and my heart fuller. I love the me now. Perfectly imperfect and getting stronger everyday.

Hey! It's Not a Baby Post!

Yeah, I know. My sweet little DIY blog has turned into the “Look at my Baby!” blog but so what?! He’s the reason we did our whole renovation in the first place. The reason we turned this house into a home.

But back to a little home improvement project…

Our second floor bathroom has had this little cubby behind the shower. It was always intended to have shelves but since we were gutting our whole first floor, a couple of shelves were low priority and needless to say, fell by the wayside.

Until that is, Momma realized we needed to make space for baby in our bathroom too.

Eli’s baby bathtub fits great on the countertop next to our bathroom sink. His head-to-toe wash and wash cloths and bath toys and lotion and that little ducky cup that rinses all the soap off his head… were ALL living in that cubby.

So Gramps worked his magic and installed some shelves!

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What a difference a couple boards can make. I really think it gives the space dimension and purpose. vscocam-photo-1

And with a couple of bins, everything is perfectly corralled and looks so neat and pretty!
vscocam-photo-2So there you go. A home improvement – not entirely about baby – blog post. Go me.

Don't Grow Up! It's a Trap!

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How did this tiny naked boy go through so many clothes in the span of 11 weeks? Well no matter how, he did. And he’s getting bigger every day! As much as I love looking back at the photos of him when we first brought him home, I couldn’t be happier to have a perfectly plump (and super tall!) boy.

Yup, our little man of just over 2 months is wearing almost exclusively 6 month clothing! So to make room for all these new clothes, I’ve been throwing all the tiny tops and bottoms, hats and booties, jammies and onesies in two bins under his crib. Well those bins were starting to bust at the seams.

Time to organize and label, label, label!

I know if everything is organized and labeled by type and size it will either help me out in the future if we have another boy, or help whomever we pass on the clothes to. (I’m looking at you cousins! That baby-making train isn’t far from the station! Toot toot!)

So first I dumped out everything I’d been storing and sectioned them into piles.

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There’s newborn jammies, hats and socks, 0-3 month sweatshirts, 3 month pants and onesies, and 3 month jammies. Oh yeah, and those newborn cloth diapers from when I was blissfully pregnant and said I was going to “give it a try.” I think one week in, Jared looked at me after Eli’s fifth poop of the day and said, “remember when we were going to try cloth diapers?” and immediately we both just bust out laughing. All power to those who do and those g diapers we bought are insanely cute but cloth diapering falls under my parenting mantra of “good for them! not for me.”

So after the sorting I corralled some essentials…

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Then started folding and bagging my piles and labeling each bag.

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vscocam-photo-4And all of these bags fit nicely into one under-the-bed bin.

vscocam-photo-5Now hopefully the 6-9 month clothes last a little longer. And if they don’t, thank god for Carter’s 25% off coupons and Old Navy 50% off sales!

A Day in the Life | Part Two

12:30p Bottle and boobie feed. This is the last boobie feed during the 9 to 5 that I’ve yet to cut. We’ll tackle that next week but I have full confidence in the little man.

Since Eli can just lay on the Boppy and pretty much take breastfeeding into his own hands, Momma gets to check email on my phone or call my own Mum for a chat or even sneak in an episode of Parks and Recreation.

Not sure if it was his congestion or just a little extra sleepy but today, cuddles were in order. And I’m always happy to oblige!

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1:30p Playtime! When Eli’s awake and alert I try to keep him engaged in more than just watching me fold laundry.

The tried and true baby activities are…

Reading books.

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Eli’s favorites at the moment are The Little Engine That Could and The Giving Tree– which gets me every time! Tear!

But eventually books get old and we move on to the activity mat. This boy focuses on those hanging toys with such intensity! It’s so much fun to watch him and cheer him on. “Get that owl Eli! Yeah! Punch him!”

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And when that gets old, I try a little tummy time on Momma and Dada’s bed but wanting to keep him upright as much as possible for his congestion today, we settled for a little face to face time with Momma and a toy or two.

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2:30p Tuckered out.

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Playtime can be exhausting!

Momma gets the rest of the laundries done, cleans up a bit, and sits down with a hot cup of coffee and my favorite mommy blogs.

3p But of course this was a nap fake out and he was up crying before I could finish my cup.

We check the diaper, walk around the house, but nothing seems to sooth so…

3:15p Bottle feed. These can be tricky because he does still expect his boob-time right after. It’s a struggle today but I think mostly due to his cold.

3:45p Dada comes home from running errands and delivers us a brand new humidifier!

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Our old tiny one crapped out on us at three in the morning. This one comes highly recommended on all the mommy blogs and baby websites. You can purchase it here by the way.

4p Eli coughs and sneezes a lot while burping him so I plunk him in his car seat and immediately set up our new humidifier.

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We’re both pretty mesmerized by the vapor for a while and it isn’t long before we’re both dozing.

5p It’s Friday night (and Valentine’s Eve) so Dada recommends we get take out which I gladly agree to. That’s my idea of romance! With all the snow, we haven’t really gotten out much so we’re going to pretend we’re in Cabo sunning ourselves and order Mexican.

5:45p Dada returns with dinner! I’m able to eat at the counter holding Eli but then the witching hour hits and he starts wailing. I finish dinner while Dada bounces the boy and sings him silly songs about donuts (we’re running out of material for our Eli songs).

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6p Eli has a bottle and boob (I don’t think I’ve ever typed boob quite so much). Dada eats his burrito next to me and the breastfeeding boy. So romantic! Hey, at least I’m scantily clad.

6:45p Tubby time. Eli gets a bath every 2 or 3 days. We set up his little tub in the bathroom. He gets a nice washing and then over to his changing table where I dry him, lotion him all up, and get him in his cozies a.k.a. jammies.

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I love when he’s all sweet and cooing wrapped up in his hooded towel.

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7:30p Dada and Eli play and chat in our room while I run around “tucking the house in for the night.” Just tidying up and bringing two bottles and the Boppy up for the night.

7:45p Eli’s obviously tired but fussy so I recap our day in my PBS worthy soothing voice while rocking him and soon the crying dies, the eyelids droop, and the yawning begins.

8p I put him down and turn on our owl nightlight. Momma and Dada get to read and in my case edit photos and write this blog post while little man snores next to us with his humidifier pumping.

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Hopefully Eli’s cold lets up this weekend. It’s really hard seeing him uncomfortable. But despite being a little off, we still had a lovely day in the life.

A Day in the Life | Part One

5a – 6a The child stirs. Momma and Dada get up. Eli gets a diaper change and this particular morning, boogie maintenance.

The essentials…

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He’s been fighting a bit of a cold despite our attempts to keep him home this cold and flu season. Ever since we read sleep on latex reviews, we got equipped with new mattresses and now, he typically sleeps from 8p to 4a and goes back to sleep downstairs with us while we have breakfast and watch the news but since he was so stuffy, sleep last night was intermittent for all of us.

6:30a First feeding. Three ounce bottle of formula and then onto the boob (dessert) for Eli. Coffee for Momma while Dada sterilizes all bottles and makes even more coffee.

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7:30a Eli dozes in car seat while Momma cleans up kitchen, preps bottles for the day, and gobbles down breakfast.

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8a Momma/Eli changing table time! This is my favorite part of the whole day! Eli gets a fresh diaper, I wash his face, lotion up his body, and dress him.

There are lots of wiggles and giggles from both Momma and Eli as we talk and sing and love on each other a while. It’s the best!

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Note outfit number one.

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8:30a Tidy up. There’s laundry every. Single. Day. Something is inevitably covered in poop, spit up, milk, or some combination of the three. I’ve never spent more time with an appliance.

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Sometimes Eli will snooze or just chill in his car seat while I run around. As long as I talk to him while I’m doing things, he’s usually good. Like here I’m describing how to make the bed. Riveting conversation.

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But today he got pretty scootchy.

9a Momma tries new positions, rooms, toys until we get a little more mellow.

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Walking with Momma, fist in mouth worked for three minutes.

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Bassinet worked for fifteen. Score!

If I feed him before the 2.5 – 3 hour mark, he’ll just spit it all up. Or projectile vomit it all up on Momma- case in point, yesterday’s clothes currently in the wash.

9:30a Second breakfast for Eli. Just bottle of formula. Yes, I’m weaning a two month old. No judgement!

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I have to go back to work soon and I just f-ing hate pumping! He’s always taken a bottle of formula from the beginning and we’ve just used boob as an extra boost of nutrition and of course, comfort. I’ll continue to breastfeed as long as I can for the first and last feeds of the day but we’re almost adjusted him to bottle only from 9a to 5p.

10a Momma showers/gets ready.

I take advantage of Eli’s food coma and bring him into the bathroom with me. Not only do I get to peek out and see his cute little face but the steamy air is so good for him with the dry heat on in the house and now his stuffy nose.

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Oh, and “getting ready” these days typically means a fresh pair of yoga pants and a top bun. Occasionally I’ll go all out and swipe on some mascara and tinted lip balm. On my way to MILF status, eh?

10:30a Poopy diaper and second outfit of the day. I’m telling you- when little man goes, he goes! Hence the constant burp cloth under his butt in the car seat.

Oh good! Someone’s getting drowsy!

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11a Momma eats and (hallelujah!) gets to relax.

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Celery with guacamole, an apple, a hard boiled egg, and two homemade lactation cookies. Yes, I eat like a toddler but sometimes you only have one hand to prepare that lunch so the snack packs and pre-cut veggies are essential.

And I know I probably should be napping too but who really listens to that “sleep when the baby sleeps” advice? There are blogs to read and online shopping to do!

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OK, second half of the day tomorrow. This post is cutting into my sacred Momma time!

Grampy

I won’t say much because my Grampy wasn’t exactly what you would call loquacious but I do need to document here on this blog that my grandfather read every day- that my Grampy, Francis M. Skomro passed away last week.

He was 95 and lived a full and fascinating life. My Grampy and Mimi were married for 72 years. They would read my blog daily and complain when I took too much time off or wrote too short of a post. They were my biggest fans and my most honest critics. I would think of them each time I wrote, hoping they wouldn’t mind my cursing or complaining about first world problems. After all, Grampy grew up in the Depression and didn’t have the easiest life in the beginning. I look at Eli now, belly full of milk and cozy in his softest jammies, and wish that Grampy could have been loved and cared for like this little guy. But then I smile knowing that this is his legacy.

Grampy was a foster care child who went on to become a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army, marry my Mimi, have six children, 11 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. He was an extremely kind and generous man. Thank you for all you’ve done for this family Grampy. We love you dearly and will miss you.

Alex's Wedding

Grampy & Mimi