Wednesday, February 3, 2016

must-have swag for baby

Hi friends! I've been a slacker, but for good reason. My keyboard on my MacBook is broken. �������������� I'm afraid to take her in bc if they tell me she's dead I'll exhibit the above emojis. So, today I'm on my phone. However, being a pre-millennial, I can only type at the speed of light on a trusty ole Nokia. So, this will be short and to the point. As a FTM, I did a lot of research on the best car seats, strollers, high chairs, cribs, rocking chairs, you know, the biggies. But, these are the products I've found along the way that are my faves! All links are here:
Firstly, sleep is really important to my health, so we do all we can to ensure she's a good sleeper. I swear by the Babywise method. But these products help:
1. Swaddles. First, you'll need a ton of muslin swaddle blankets. She was a NB in the summer, so we nixed jammies and had her sleep in onesies (the T-shirt kind) and used these to swaddle her. Babies can get heat rash easily and like to sleep between 65-70 degrees. After they're too tall for blankets, please, please get at least two Miracle Blankets! They really are a miracle!
2. Black out blinds. Is it morning or night? Who cares. It's dark so I should sleep. Ours were a bit pricey and hardcore. They let zero light in. Link will come soon. We like these Gro-anywhere with me shades for traveling! 
3. Sound machine. It creates a womb-like environment for baby AND drowns out and external nursery noise. Any of them are good, but for on-the-go, I love our Sleep Sheep by Cloud B! 
4. Pressure relieving pillow. A's having some flat spot issues. I bought this pillow at four months and oh, how I wish I'd found it sooner. 
4b. You're also gonna need a video monitor so you can lie awake at night and watch them breathe. �� (Or you can get a Snooza or Owlet if you're a millionaire.) We love our Foscam! It has an away version so Spencer can peek in on his angel while he's at work, or if I'm out I can make sure he's keeping her on schedule! �� Also, get a cool-mist humidifier to keep congestion down if you live in the desert like me. And a box fan is a must. Studies have shown that the air circulation helps prevent SIDS. 
5. Diaper Genie. I have two; one upstairs and one down. Get one. Or two. Trust me.
6. Tub stuff. You'll need a tub, of course, but what to use in it? Nix the J&J. I'm sorry, I know it's sad, but just trust me. A had bad eczema and cradle cap and as soon as we switched it got better, and if we keep up on it it stays away! Use Mustella for their hair with a hair scrubbie and plain Dove soap for their yummy lil rolls. Be careful not to get Dove in their eyes, but the shampoo is tear-free. I use Cetaphil on her face, just like mommy. When she's out of the tub and ready to be rubbed down, we swear by the Cereve cream! Not the lotion, the cream. You'll also want a care kit. This one by Summer Infant has EVERYTHING, including a sore gym rubber! Get a Nose Frida booger sucker too. Those bulb syringes ain't fooling anyone. 
7. Feeding. You're gonna need a crapload of bibs and burp cloths. Like, more than you can ever imagine owning. Or you'll be doing laundry every day. A boppy is also a necessity and not just for feeding. It's great for early tummy time too. I'm a formula mom so I know nothing about breastfeeding and what you need for that, but the Baby Brezza formula maker has changed my life. It measures everything, heats it to the right temp, and dispenses the perfect amount for you! I also love these formula holder/dispensers while we are on-the-go. Gripe water is this secret potion that will help with colic and especially cure hiccups! You'll want that as well as some infant gas drops! I love my bottle brush and Boone drying rack. The air circulation allows things to dry much faster, it holds things up, and is super cute. You'll also need at least two dishwasher baskets to corral small parts. I like my sterilizer too, for quickies. However, I have melted some stuff in it, so read if it's safe to boil before you melt all of your stuff. ��
7. Teething: The Yummy Mitt is soooo high on my list! A always has her hands in her mouth and this keeps them from getting raw, it absorbs saliva to prevent rashes, it doesn't drop on the floor, and I can throw it in the washing machine! The banana is also something she loves and gets her ready to brush her teethies someday! Sophie is also a classic. A also loves the fresh food feeders, but save them for hard foods and get the silicone ones for mushy things. Highland teething tablets work fast wonders. You'll also want some super cute drool bibs that look like scarves so they can look cute and you won't go through nine shirts a day.
8. Organizing: I love my closet organized I bought! I also went to IKEA and bought a ton of their great drawer organizers and bins to have around the house so I don't always have to run to the nursery. 
8. Playtime: I loved this little gym bc A LOVES to kick! Make sure you get something that can grow with them bc they don't last very long! And use that pillow dang it! Speaking of pillows, I loved our boppy bean bag when she was a newborn. We could play while she laid on it and it helped with her acid reflux before she could sit up.
9. Car: you'll want some shades to keep the sun out and a mirror so you can see their sweet lil face! As far as car seats go, we got the britax travel system and like it. The stroller is compact, morphs, and is easy to put up and down. 
10. Baby wearing. Omg, wear your baby. I was planning on wearing A allll day but then I thought it not safe bc of my seizures and I was/AM CRUSHED. It's SO good for their muscles! It helps them strengthen their neck, chest, head, even legs! They have improved sensory skills at an earlier age, AND the bonding...oh the bonding. It's so, so, so good for them. It even counts as tummy time! 
Any other moms have some must-have items?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

my first month as a mommy

I'm skipping ahead.  One day I'll tell you all about her birth story.  One day soon.  But for now, I want to talk about being a mom.  This is Avaya.  This is our miracle.  Our squishy, gorgeous, miracle.

For months, years, I studied.  I read, I watched, I took notes, I watched videos, I planned.  It turns out, I'm built with this thing called "maternal instinct," and it's pretty rad.  You guys, this girl, she's my life.  She's the missing piece.  For not just me, but for our family.  She's the reason for everything.

Things have changed.  There is no more lounging on the couch watching TV together till all hours of the night.  There are no spontaneous declarations of, "Let's go to..." There is no spontaneous shower sex.  Not yet, anyway.  Everything is planned and scheduled and fast.  I love it.  We had nine years to float around, and we were both ready for our anchor.

Everything I do is faster now. I pee faster. I shower faster. I wake up faster. I eat waaay faster, which is resulting in some serious indigestion.  I go to sleep faster (goodbye ambien). Everything is faster, yet I want it to be slower.  Days go by so quickly and I just want it to slow down.  I want to soak everything up, rewind, and pause.  I want to sketch her a million times and paint her a million more.

Everything is better. Our relationship is better. My skin looks better.  My days are more productive. My smile is bigger.  My nerves are calmer.  I thought I would be the nervous one that Spencer would have to calm, but Avaya calms me.  She brings me peace, and I'm not nervous being her mom.
She is such a good baby.  She took right to my strict Babywise program and is sleeping 5.5 hours through the night!  I thought it would be harder, but she has made it so easy.  She's a great eater. Like, really great.  She was back to her birthweight within 5 days!  She is sweet and happy, unless she's naked, but she's getting better at that.  She's freakishly strong and will roll over any minute.  She actually enjoys tummy time, and she loooooves music.

I thought everything would be harder.  (I will live to regret those words, yes, I know.)  But everything is perfect.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

the last lesson: talkin' bodies

Tonight will be my last time at Young Women's.  It is better this way, because if I just got released and didn't have the ultimate joy to distract me, I'd be an absolute wreck.  Girls' camp this year was last week.  The theme was "Embark."  We talked of anchors.  About anchoring yourself in the gospel.  These girls were my anchor in the roughest storm of my life.  I wouldn't have made it had it not been for my calling.  There were weeks where my only good day was Wednesday because I had their hugs and smiling faces to distract me.  And for months, they were the only reason I even went to church.  They were my saving grace. I wrote each of them letters, but I don't think I can ever adequately express my love for them.  These dang girls have stolen my heart and I will miss them all so much. They have taught me more than I could ever possibly teach them.  They make me a better person. They make me stop and think about my language, about the music I listen to, about what I watch and read.  Aren't all of these things the things I'm supposed to teach them?  They make me want to be better for them.

The last day of camp we went swimming at a lake, and I almost didn't go.  I was tired, I had a ton to do, but these were just excuses because I was worried about my body.  I've put on [baby] weight, I have adult bacne, I have cellulite, my legs are pasty white.  I'm not like my friends who do crossfit and marathons and have rockin' golden brown bodies. I want my girls to look up to me and to admire me.  That's the thought that got me.  I thought about how I want them to admire me not for my body and beauty, but my confidence in the body that Heavenly Father gave me.  I'm basically a grown teenager.  They all have different body shapes.  Some are closer to the ideal that society has set, some are less, but they are all beautiful to me.  And bacne, well, they're just starting with that so they like totally get it.  But zits or not, I want them to be confident in their bodies. I'd be devastated if some of them went home early because they were embarrassed.  So, at 31, I silenced my embarrassment about my own awkward body, put on my suit and got my beach on.  I swam, I laid out with them, and I didn't think twice about it.  My body is great.  It works.  I enjoyed the feel of floating, of my hair swirling around me, of the clay in between my toes, the feel of the sun on my back.  Of my body doing its thing.

Everyone has issues with their body.  My YW's president, a runner who falls into the category I mentioned above, lamented because she doesn't have boobs.  We all have different bodies and only one is good enough for society, but for Heavenly Father, they are all His masterpieces.

Monday, August 3, 2015

the whole story

In the beginning, on May 6th, there was an e-mail.
"Hi Spencer and Chelsi, We are Jade and Nate. I am expecting a baby girl in August. We're considering placing our baby for adoption. We saw your profile and thought you guys seemed interesting. We'd love to get to know you more! -Jade, Nate, and baby girl"

Then there were more emails, and on May 22, there was a date.  We went to the Olive Garden at 7...except we got there at 7:45 because there was traffic.  I was freaking out.  FREAKING out.  The plan was for me to take the train to meet Spencer in American Fork at 6:30.  I spent the train ride reading and painting my nails across from this lady who was high as a kite.  At 6:30 I got off the train to meet Spencer and he was stuck in way stuck.  So we decided it would be best for me to get back on the train to Provo...maybe if we met in Provo traffic would clear up.  I got to Provo and he was still in Draper...I sat in the sun just freaking out while I waited for him and texted Jade.  By the time we got there I was super sweaty, entirely anxious, with deflated curls and hope.

We had a good dinner and spoke about adoption, how things would be, etc.  They seemed really sure. When I found out about Jonah I thought, "There's no way they will place.  What's another kid." But to these kids, they know what another kid would mean.  They get how hard it is to parent after Jonah.  They get that they have another option and they have brave, strong hearts.  Their firmness in their decision was reassuring and we left by meeting their little Jonah bug, as well Jade's mom, and setting up a time for a second date.  We continued to go out about every other week. On our second date, I threw my back out a few days before (belly-dancing!) and I was in a lot of pain. I wanted to go out, so I decided to take a Loritab and stick it out.  I got so sick and ended up in the bathroom at Chilli's throwing up, then faking like nothing was wrong.  After it just got worse, not better, I decided to get real with them and tell them I was a hot mess and couldn't go to a movie without barfing everywhere. It was really disappointing, especially for Spencer, but we offered to pay for a movie for them, and while they watched Pitch Perfect, I was pitching my cookies at home.

In the middle, more dates ensued.  Fun ones like Trafalga where they played mini golf for the first time, and the boys DRENCHED us in the boats, and where I forgot to wear a bra. Yeah, you read that right.  We went to the duck pond and on a picnic, we went to the aquarium, we went to the splash pad and to fun cafes.  Each time we hung out we fell more and more in love with these amazing kids.  Nate is turning 18 this week.  He's funny, bubbly, and sweet and excited.  We have similar personalities I think.  We're both a little goofy and will do ANYTHING for ice-cream. (We are also afraid of heights but walked across a tiki bridge at the aquarium!)  He loves Jade and Jonah more than anything in the world. Jade is 18. She is level-headed and smart, and does so much to help her family. She's happy and has the sweetest little smile and beautiful big brown eyes.  She is up for anything and has the biggest heart in the world. 

Somewhere in the middle of these dates, they told us they were considering another couple.  It was around our anniversary, June 30.  We were heart-broken, but knew that it was the right thing, and something we would've done had we been in their position.

10 long days  (it felt like so much longer!!!), and two dates later, they told us.  We went to lunch and then met her family at the splash pad.  We played with her nephews and niece (who I just want to eat up!) and Jonah, who is the best baby ever.  The whole time Nate and Jade were acting really weird and I just kept thinking, "Just get it over with! Just tell us you picked the other couple!" So after a few hours, it was time to go home. I was prepping to put my game face on and accept the fact that it wasn't going to work out, but had no idea on how to do so.  As we all walked to our cars, I looked up and saw a jeep decorated with pink ribbons and bows and balloons.  I couldn't believe it.

"Is that our car..." I said.  "That's our car," Spencer said.  I just turned to Jade and started bawling and held her.  

 I don't think the birth mom/adoptive mom bond is really something that can be explained....When we hug it's like we are one person.  I would walk through fire for her with no hesitation. I firmly believe that Jade is my sacred vessel.  My sacred vessel that I needed in order to bring our little Avaya here.  My vessel is broken, so Heavenly Father found me someone strong enough, brave enough, and loving enough to be my deliverer.  How can you possibly explain the feelings that come with the magnitude of that?  She's making me a mom, Spencer, a father.  I'm not just gaining a daughter, I'm gaining Nate, Jade, and Jonah. All of us, no matter what, will be a family, always and forever.

And, so, in the end, there's a family.  And a baby...but you'll have to wait for that post.

We love you, Family.  Always and forever.  See you soon!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

to those of you

To those of you who wanted to kill my feed yesterday. To those of you who cried, a little for me, but honestly, more for you. To those of you still waiting to be matched. To those of you whose IVF failed. To those of you still fighting...I'm sorry. Not, of course, for my baby, but for the absence of yours. For reminding you of it. For leaving the club. It's odd being on the other side of this. The video was something Spence really wanted to do, but I was a little hesitant. I remember being you. I was you three weeks ago. I get it. And if you say my name followed by a number of expletives and want to throw your computer through the wall, it's ok. I get it. I wish I could hug you. I wish I could have my happy ending and still be in the club proclaiming solidarity with you. Know this: I love you. My thoughts today were with you. My prayers tonight are for you. And remember, one day can make all the difference. Don't give up.