pack your bags!

So, back to some baby talk. You always hear people say to pack your hospital bags about a month in advance so you are ready at any moment to load up the car and head to the hospital. Well, I started to pack our bags multiple times just to find most of what I was needing in the bag were things that I need on a daily basis.

A few weeks before my due date, I did have a bag started, along with a list of what I needed to pack in the "oh my gosh, we've got to get to the hospital right now" moment. I am a list maker - without one I am lost.

So, here's my hospital bag list(s)!

- comfy/cute pajamas
- a robe
- slippers or flip flops (depending on time of year) for walking around hospital - maybe socks as well?
- nursing sleep bras - to wear all day, not just at night (don't forget your granny panties!)
- lanolin and nursing pads (at this point the pads are really just to keep the lanolin off your nursing bra.. they will really come in handy later)
- toiletries
- hairdryer
- makeup
-hair ties and/or headband
- clothes for the ride home - keep in mind, you will still look about 6 (ish) months pregnant. (You may want to bring comfy pants and a nursing tank for during your stay in case you get tired of being in the hospital robe or pajamas... or maybe that was just me)
- cell phone with charger

- toiletries
- comfy clothes
- cell phone with charger

- car seat correctly installed in car
- going home outfit - from experience, make sure it is easy to get on.  don't pick the most complicated thing... even if it is the cutest.
- diapers and wipes - they will provide these at the hospital - you are paying for it, so take them! I packed Turner's whole diaper bag and never used any of it. (But some hospitals may not provide these- check and see!)
- extra baby clothes - the hospital put Turner in these cute white soft diaper tees, so he just wore those along with being swaddled all the time

- wallet with drivers license, insurance cards, etc.
- laptop with charger - for music, uploading photos, announcing the birth to the world, etc
- camera with batteries
-video camera - but we just used our phones
- snacks!
- gum
- baby book for handprints/footprints and guest/visitor messages - I got everyone who came to visit to sign the baby book
- your bed pillows - and a comfy blanket for your husband
- bath towels - just my opinion... the hospital towels we had were terrible
- journal - if you are planning to jot down first thoughts.  I guess you could bring this instead of the baby book and transfer it all over later

Anyone have anything to add?


McIntyre Ridge Trail -- or so we thought...

A few weekends ago, we decided to go on another hike - this time to the McIntyre Ridge Trail near Mt. Hood.  
Most any day of the week this is how our mornings begin.  Maggie loves her morning snuggles. HA! We got up, had breakfast, got ready, played with some bubbles, and we were on our way!

We were just cruising along, following the map, turned off of the main road and followed the route to the trailhead when all of a sudden this is what we saw:

Really? Snow?? The high was like 70 degrees that day!  I guess we are still getting used to living somewhere with high elevations.  (You can actually go skiing on Mt. Hood all year round.) We were really disappointed, but we got out, let Maggie and Turner run around and explore a bit, then we regrouped.

Jesse found a nice county park with a creek and some hiking trails just down the road a bit, so we loaded back up and went on our way.  We had a picnic lunch where we all shared sandwiches, pretzels, and golfish. :)


This trail was really flat and wide, so it was a great place for Turner to have his first hike where he was actually walking. He did ride in the pack for the harder part of the hike, but it was fun to let him start out walking around himself. Our pace was a lot slower, but it was so fun to watch him explore creation... he wanted to stop and touch EVERYTHING. 

He lead us down a path to the creek and immediately just walked straight out into the water!  It was FREEZING but he loved it!  Seriously... such a boy. 

So what does a dad do in this situation?  Give his son his first lesson in how to skip rocks, of course!

These guys stood here and threw rocks into the water for about 30 minutes, while Maggie ran in trying to get them. It was awesome.  There's just something so relaxing about being out in nature with your family... away from all technology, all the stress and worries of the world, and just, you know, through rocks into a slow moving creek.

We are so happy to have Maggie with us out here.  She is such an adventurous dog and such a fun companion for us and playmate for Turner.

The next day we tried out our first church here where Turner got his very first skinned knee while playing outside on the playground.  Sorry, as first time parents, we had to document it. Sweet little baby skin, no more! :(

After church we had a brunch-y lunch at Costello's Travel Cafe just down the road and then after naptime, spent the afternoon at a local park.

We are having the BEST weekends out here.  We are loving having so many places to go see and explore! I am literally living for the weekends these days. 


playing on the bed

I am very thankful for days at home where just doing the ordinary can be fun and memorable.  Today, however, is NOT one of those days... Turner has woken up well before the sun the past two mornings and has really tested my patience. He has been one whiny kid.  It's exhausting.

I wanted to post this to remind myself that there are really fun days at home!  The other day while I was doing laundry, Turner was playing on the bed after I took the sheets off to wash. 

I was putting clothes away while he was playing... and after a little while of it being way too quiet, this is what I find! This was the first time he has fallen asleep anywhere other than his crib/pack and play, carseat, stroller, or (as a baby) on me. I could NOT believe it when I turned around and there he was just a snoozin' (and snoring).

Such a cutie! I moved him to his room where he continued his nap while I finished with the laundry.  I am so thankful for this little guy and for him adding some fun to the normalcy of life MOST days.

Although this morning was really trying, Turner is taking a great nap right now before we head to the doctor to check on baby brother/sister! And me? I got a shower and just got pizza delivered. The day is looking up.  :)


favorite baby products

So I said I was going to do a few posts on having a new baby at home.  Today I wanted to focus on what you need (in my opinion) in those first weeks of having your baby home.  I felt lost when it came to registering for baby stuff - it was very different from my experience with our wedding registry. When you are engaged, you are all on cloud 9 and imagining your perfect new life with your new hubby and all of your new things for your home.  When you are pregnant, it starts off with: oh my gosh, do I need all of this? How do I know what to pick out? ... and if you aren't careful it turns into: I must have this. If I don't have all of this my baby is going to die. Marketers do a pretty good job in making you believe if you don't have this "thing", your baby is going to be dumb work at Walmart never learn how to roll over die (fill in the blank with something negative).

I'll never forget the first time I walked into Babies R Us; I felt very overwhelmed. If you are a first time mom, I would recommend you go with a friend who has had a baby... one that you trust for their advice and mothering skills... and one who isn't overwhelming herself... which would just add to the anxiety.

Hopefully I am one of those friends you trust for my advice and my lack of  mothering skills.

Now, I am NOT saying this is the perfect list of items for everyone.  These are just the tried and true things that were very helpful to us in the early weeks.  These things could be VERY different for you. Funny how this list can change at 3 mo, 6 mo, 9 mo, 12 mo, and so on. But that's for another time.

As I was typing this post, I got a handy-dandy email from babycenter.com (If you are preggers, join their site. It was wonderful while pregnant and still is!) about what you really need for your baby. I laughed thinking, "Why am I doing this?  People can just go here to see their list."  So, if you want to do that, here is the link and I agree with most all of it! The difference in their list and mine is that they will tell you generic things and I will tell you the name brands I liked the best. And I'm not going to be as thorough as them. Sorry.

So, in no particular order, here we go!

**Not that I should have to say this, but I am not being sponsored by any of the companies... boy would that be nice!**

boppy pillow

This was fantastic for nursing.  It helped to bring Turner up to the correct height and really helped me to relax my back.  Babies nurse 10-12 times a day, so I consider it a MUST to have a comfortable nursing pillow. These are also great as the baby grows for a place to prop them up as well as tummy time for building their neck strength.

aden + anais swaddle blankets

I didn't find out about these until later, but they are on my must have list for baby #2.  These blankets are incredibly soft and just get softer with every wash. They are a GREAT size and so versatile. They can be used for swaddling, as a burp cloth, as a nursing cover, as a stroller cover for sun or rain, just to snuggle with, etc.  They are very lightweight and come in some adorable patterns.  This company also makes bibs, sleep sacks, and a whole lot of other cool things.

dr. brown's bottles
We tried a couple types of different bottles before we discovered these guys.  It was iffy if Turner would take a bottle until we tried this one.  After one try, we threw the others away and never looked back. These do a great job of limiting the amount of air into the bottle as the baby is drinking, therefore reducing gas.  A gassy, fussy baby is NO FUN. Whether the baby is drinking formula or pumped breastmilk, we found these bottles to be a winner.

gerber cloth diapers (used as burp cloths)
Sure, you probably will get a ton of cute burp cloths as shower gifts, and cute burp cloths are exactly that! So CUTE! Really fun to have in public, so it looks like you have it all together as a new mom.  But as cute as those are, these were great basic cloths to have lying around.  I swear I think we had at least 2-3 in every room of the house and I think I have one permanently adorned onto all of my shirts. You never know when they will be needed - for lots of different things... instead of listing those, I'll let you wait to find out. :) 

nuk pacifiers
Depending on who you talk to, you will get pretty polarized views of pacifiers.  Most lactation support people will tell you to never use a pacifier if you are wanting to have breastfeeding success. I was on that train until day 3 (I think).  My mom and I went into for Turner's check up at the hospital and the WONDERFUL nurse there (haven't forgotten about you, Tamara!) said that as a lactation consultant she says, "no, don't ever use a pacifier," but as a mother she says, "YES!"  We bought one right then and there and it helped a lot.  This is the kind we got at the hospital, and Turner liked it at first, but switched over the nuk a few weeks later. Trial and error, people. 

medela pump   
A sweet cousin of mine lent me her breastpump at the beginning and it was such a huge help until I got my own.  This was a big help at the beginning with engorgement, but became a necessity the 2 weeks that I had to go back to work before our move.  If you are going to be a working mom and plan to continue breastfeeding, this is an absolute must have.  If you are going to be a stay at home mom, this is still a VERY nice thing to have around.  Think - FREEDOM!  Oftentimes nursing can be overwhelming since hubby, grandma, sister, friend, etc. cannot feed your baby... that is unless you are able to pump for a bottle!  This means freedom to go have a pedicure, go to the store, go on vacation, share the night shift, or just go have some ALONE TIME. (What is that??)  These bad boys can be pretty expensive... but I think they are now included as benefits of some insurance plans - check it out!

iPad (with netflix!)
Before Turner was born, I was really wanting an iPad, but we didn't have a good reason to spend the money on one... that is until I was reading a blog and the mom included this on her must have after a baby list.  BINGO! I was getting an iPad.  We sold my laptop and bought one of these.  It was a lifesaver during all of those nursing sessions - especially the ones at midnight, 2 am, 4 am, you get the idea.  I'm sure Turner will have the How I Met Your Mother theme song permanently recorded into his brain because I watched the first 6 seasons while nursing. Yes, I should have been watching or listening to something more important, meaningful, that I could have learned from, but I was TIRED and just wanted to laugh at a funny show. Lily, Marshall, Robin, Ted, and Barney were some of my best friends those early weeks. And now Lily is pregnant in Season 7! (I'm behind.)

pampers swaddlers diapers + pampers sensitive wipes

Everyone is going to have their own diapers and wipes preference. These were ours at the beginning.

If you are nursing, these stuff is a necessity.  You will carry it around with you everywhere. It will help relieve nursing issues (that's all I'll say on here), but I have heard of moms using it for all kinds of things. Just make sure to keep a burp cloth or something around because this stuff is thick and sticky!

baby swing
Baby swings can be tricky, because you never know if your baby will like it or not, and they can be pretty pricy to have around just in case... We were given one that Turner could take or leave... that is until we went to visit my parents and they had one they were borrowing from a friend.  Turner was a totally different baby when he was in this swing... so much so that we bought it from that friend and took it back to Starkville with us! I'm embarrassed to say that we also traveled with this huge thing and even carried it to a beach condo just to use for a few hours during our one night stay.  Anyways, both swings that we tried were Graco brand, each with a little different swinging motion, so I guess Turner was just very opinionated about his swinging. The one he liked also played music and "noises" and he HAD to have it on the bird noise.  I swear we listened to the loop of those birds so much I can still hear them. There are a lot of great swings out there, so good luck trying them out!

moby wrap
Man, oh man, when we discovered the baby carrier.... "What do you mean, I can use two hands while still holding my baby?!?!"  This was one of the things I was overwhelmed about when looking at baby stuff.  There are so many different brands out there.  I will say that the BabyBjorn and ErgoBaby can be good options for once your baby is a little older but I fell in love with the MobyWrap at the beginning.  A friend of ours let us borrow theirs before we made the purchase.  This wrap itself can be a little overwhelming in how you tie it and at first it took me and Jesse both to get it situated, but before long it became second nature to me. Youtube is a great place to look for "how to tie" videos. One of the things I LOVE about this carrier at the beginning is that it is really soft and it hugs your baby in a sweet embrace, as though you are snuggling with them.  Turner always took GREAT naps when he was snuggled up with me in this wrap.

bouncy seat
This was the bouncy seat that we had, but any will do! I recommend one that vibrates.  This thing came in handy so much when I was cooking dinner. The thought of putting Turner in one of these and him staying there all bundled up is funny to me now.  He took many many naps in his bouncy seat.  Actually, there was a while there where this was the only place he would sleep, so we put it in the crib at night! Hey, do what you have to do, right? 

sleep nursing bras/ nursing tanks
When you are at home all day with a newborn and nursing, it's nice to just throw on a nursing tank and some shorts/pjs/yoga pants.  Sleep bras are also awesome!  You'll need some breast pads as well to handle the milk machines when you aren't feeding your baby. 

for kicks:

BIG water bottle
At first I used the one that I got at the hospital, but sadly google didn't have an image of a good ole OCH water bottle.  I'll never forget that thing... but seriously, take it with you from the hospital - you are paying for it!  If you are nursing, you will be thirsty ALL the time, especially while you are feeding the baby.  I always kept one of these around.  Advice:  If you want cold water during your night feedings, before you go to bed, fill up a bottle of just ice and by the time you need it you will have ice cold water to help get you through! I thought I was a genius when I discovered this.... it's the little things.

granola bars
Along with being REALLY thirsty all the time, you will also be really hungry all the time.  I always kept a granola bar or something with me while nursing.  I can remember being in the hospital, using both arms/hands to learn how to feed Turner, so Jesse was right beside me feeding me pieces of these granola bars.  What a sweetie.

So there you have it.  AC's must haves.  You may totally agree or totally disagree.  That's the funny thing about all this baby stuff.  We stress and worry about everything but all most babies end up just fine... no matter whether you co-sleep or not, breastfeed or not, sleep train or not, or start solids at 4, 5, or 6 months. It's all trial and error and figuring out what works best for you and your baby.

Thoughts?  What were some of your must haves?  Or moms to be, what are you most looking forward to buying for your bundle of joy? Let me hear it!

 Happy shopping to all the new moms to be (or to all the people buying shower gifts for these lovely ladies)!


babies, babies, babies

I have several friends who are expecting babies right now and it is so exciting! Some will be first time moms, and others are already fully initiated into motherhood.  With me expecting our second child, I feel strange to put myself in that category.  I DO NOT consider myself a seasoned professional by any means, I'm just barely over 14 months into the gig and struggling at times. But alas, baby #2 is on the way, so here I find myself in the bunch of girls that are expecting.

All of this has me thinking about pregnancy, labor, breastfeeding, and all things baby. These are all topics that I talk about on the reg with other mama friends.  This is my life now, so these conversations could (and sometimes do) have me going ALL day long.

Part of me feels like I don't know anything about this baby stuff. I'm in the throws of learning all about toddlerhood, that sometimes babyhood (especially having a newborn) feels like it was years ago.  But it wasn't.. only one to be exact!  This time last year I had a 2 month old and finally was confident in breastfeeding and was starting to get some sleep... maybe. That sleep part is all very hazy, which is probably a good thing.

I started pinning some things on Pinterest this morning and went back and forth between 'things to keep your toddler busy' to 'what to pack in your hospital bag.' The baby stuff started to come back to me, so I thought I would do a series of posts about some baby things to get my memory going.  If you aren't into this kind of thing, sorry! Just ignore the next few posts.

I feel a little silly posting these things because I read 'real bloggers' writing on these topics and there are actually people out there (me included) who take to heart what they say.  Who am I to write down my thoughts on the internet?  Who even reads this blog besides a handful of friends and family? This is mainly for me to have a record, and perhaps someone who is expecting can have some unsolicited advice (as if you don't get enough of that while pregnant.) Or maybe it is for some mamas to look back and remember what it was like to have a newborn at home. Hopefully someone out there will get something out of what I write.  But if not, its for me anyways - my outlet!

Pregnancy is such a joyful time.  Even through all of the tiredness and nausea in the beginning, and a huge belly, swelling ankles/feet and lack of sleep at the end, it is such an exciting time of expectancy. Sure, you should hold off on all the extra caffeine and stay away from your favorite wine or beer.  But, man do you have great hair!!!

Seriously though... think about it. New life. You are doing something that is greater than yourself. Creation within you. It's pretty awesome.

Jesse and I have been talking a lot about how many children we want.  For now I am trying to enjoy this pregnancy, whether it is my last or not.  I want to cherish it regardless, because it goes by so fast and before you know it, life changes, and to be quite honest I'm a little scared of how ours is about to change.

Stay tuned for more baby talk!