Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mommy Must-Haves

Before I get to it, I just want to say "thank you" to those who took a few minutes to fill out the survey! Your responses help me determine what, if any, changes need to be made around here to serve you best.  Based on the results, not many changes will be made, as it seems you're happy with the way Momster Mash is being run.  If you haven't had a chance to fill out the short, anonymous survey, you can do so HERE.  I'd love your input!

As a new mommy, for the second time, I thought I'd share a few items for baby, toddler and myself that I am simply adoring right now.  Of course, they are things I could live without, not necessarily "must-have", but they sure are fabulous.  Every baby, toddler and mommy will have different needs, so please share your "must-haves" in the comments at the end of this post so we can all benefit from what you've found to be helpful {Links provided for some}.

For Baby:
  • Boppy Lounger - Cannon doesn't need the movement of a swing (not yet, anyway), so the Boppy lounger is great because it's so easy to move around the house.  I'll take it up to the bathroom so he can chill in the lounger while I shower and get ready, put it on the kitchen floor while Lucy and I make dinner, etc...It soft and molded to hug baby's body, so I imagine it must be pretty cozy.  The lounger I have was a gift when Lucy was born, but we're already getting more use out of it the second time around. 
  • Shea Moisture Baby Lotion - This is the same lotion I've used for Lucy since she was a baby, and now Cannon gets it too.  It's perfect for delicate baby skin, especially during this dry winter weather. Not only does it smell SO amazing, but it is the legacy of Sofi Tucker, a 19-year-old widowed mother of 4, who began selling Shea nuts in Sierra Leone in 1912.  Sofi's grandchildren have continued to cultivate Shea Moisture, "ethically traded ingredients, sustainably produced, tested on family for four generations...never on animals."  I love the product, and love everything they stand for even more.  
  • Consignment - I've said it before, I'll say it a thousand more times...I LOVE shopping the consignment stores for my children's clothes.  It's especially nice for baby, because babies grow so quickly and don't "wear out" their clothes.  The consignment stores where I live keep their stores so well organized and the clothes they resell are in near perfect condition (I've even purchased items with tags still on).  I can buy a bag full of clothes for the same price, or less, as one new outfit from a department store.
For Toddler:
  • Netflix - Mostly Curious George, to be exact, but we watched Veggie Tales' "Jonah" yesterday and she was mesmerized.  I'm trying not to feel guilty about the amount of Netflix we've been watching lately, because with a newborn and a sleep-deprived mama, it really is a necessity some days.
  • Nail Polish - When Cannon was born, we gave Lucy chap stick and toddler nail polish I picked up from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  We gave them to her "from Cannon" when she met him and told her that Cannon heard how much she loved nail polish and chap stick and that he brought them for her. She loved it!  The nail polish is in a spill-proof bottle, dries almost instantly, and simply peels off.  It will keep her entertained for a good chunk of time...and she thought that was pretty nice of Cannon.
  • Play doh - Lately, Lucy has enjoyed having "play doh picnics"  I simply throw a blanket on the floor in front of the couch and give her play doh and "utensils" to mold her doh.  This is another way I keep her entertained while nursing Cannon.  She brings me "cupcakes" and "beans" and I find it pretty cute.
  • Finger Paint - This might not work with all toddlers, but Lucy doesn't like getting too messy with the finger paint.  She will only use one finger!  So I cover her little table with paper, put on her smock, and let her go to town.  Another distraction she can do on her own while I nurse baby. 
For Mommy:
  • Medela Postpartum Support - After baby, a mama's mid-section feels...loose and jiggly.  I have this support belt from when Lucy was born, and find it helpful to get things "sucked back in" to where they belong, and my midwife recommended it.  It's not comfortable enough to wear in public, and I would imagine it would be too uncomfortable to wear after a c-section for a while, but I wear it around the house for at least the first couple weeks.  
  • AdvoCare Spark - I feel caffeine really is a necessity right now. Baby Cannon is easy, but sleeping in 3-hour stretches and being rudely awakened by a toddler bright and early = "give me some caffeine!" Spark gives me a productive dose of energy without making me feel like I need more than one (like coffee) and doesn't give me an afternoon crash (like coffee).  Seriously, it's awesome.  I loved it before, but love it even more now that I have a newborn.
  • MAC Fix+ - I don't know how or why I haven't used this magic spray sooner!  My face is especially dry right now (combination of postpartum skin + winter skin), so I wash, moisturize and then spritz this on right before I apply my foundation, and it helps my foundation glide on so smoothly.  But let's be honest here, I rarely apply makeup these days, and if I want to be really honest with you...I currently don't always wash my face at night when I do wear makeup.  If I want to be really, REALLY honest...some days I just spray Fix+ on top of my second day makeup to freshen it up. This stuff is so versatile for my gross face right now.  And it smells so refreshing.  Seriously though, I'm not always this lazy; I am totally blaming the newborn.
  • Dry shampoo - While I'm being honest about my gross factor right now, let's talk about dry shampoo. I already had it on hand and would use every once in a while, but since baby #2 came along, I probably use it more than actual shampoo now.  Come on, I know I can't be the only one. Right?
  • L'Oreal Lumi Foundation - I've had this foundation for a while, but never really liked it.  For some reason, I'm in love with this stuff all of a sudden.  I think it may be in the name; it really does help liven up my dull, dry, postpartum skin.  It glides on smoothly with just enough coverage so it doesn't look like I'm trying too hard...I hope.  Finish makeup with a spray of MAC Fix+...even better! My tired, dry, mommy skin needs all the help it can get right now :)
Now it's your turn!  
Comment below this post with the items that you 
are currently loving and help your daily life as a mom.

Let's help each other out!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Meet Cannon!

Hello again!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, enjoying down time with family and fabulous food!  This was our BEST Thanksgiving yet, as we got to meet our son, Cannon Matthew, who was born early Thanksgiving morning.  
Yes, it's a new month, and while I do have a new Momster of the Month to introduce to you, I like to take December "off" from sharing MOMs; we are all busy right now.  So...we will pick back up in January with a new introduction for you.  

Ok, I'll give you a preview. Our January MOM will be sharing her very honest and very personal experience with Postpartum Depression with the hope that she can help another mama who may be struggling, and shed some light on a topic that many women don't want to open up about.  I know it may not seem like a joyous way to enter into a new year here on Momster Mash, but everyone envisions having a new baby to be a joyous, happy occasion...while the truth is 8-19% of women have frequent postpartum depressive symptoms, according to the CDC.  I am thankful to have not had to deal with PPD myself, but know it's very much a reality for so many.  Stay tuned to read more about this topic in January.  

On the topic of postpartum, I'm now a mama of two! While the new breast pump parts are boiling, my toddler is napping, and I have one hour until Cannon needs to eat, I thought I'd share his grand entrance with you {this post actually took me a couple days to get typed up!}

I'll start with the eve of his birth, Wednesday, November 26th.  I was only five days away from my due date, and hubby and I were discussing how we should really start going to bed early to rest up for Cannon's looming arrival.  Instead, we stayed up until 12:30 a.m. watching Silver Linings Playbook (great movie, by the way!).  When I got in bed I noticed some contractions, and although they were stronger than the Braxton Hicks I had been experiencing, they were not regular...until 2:00 a.m. I started timing them with my contraction timer app, and they were pretty consistently 8-9 minutes apart, and stronger than I remember Lucy's being at 8 minutes apart.  

At 3:00 a.m., one hour later, I woke up Matt and told him the customary "it's time!".  I called my midwife, Nancy, and she said to come in.  I tested positive for Group B Strep and needed to get on i.v. antibiotics as soon as possible.  We both showered and Matt got the car warmed up, and woke up our daughter to take to our neighbor's house.  We sent text messages to our families letting them know.  

We were on the road a little before 4:00 a.m. On the 30 minute drive to my midwife, my contractions grew stronger and closer together, about 4-5 minutes.  When we arrived, Nancy checked me and I was 5.5 cm dilated and 95% effaced.  She had just checked me 2 days prior and I was 1.5 cm dilated.  She hooked me up to my i.v. for antibiotics and I rested on the bed for about 30-45 minutes - not quite sure, it's all a little fuzzy :) - while my contractions grew stronger.  Nancy continually wrapped me in warm blankets from the dryer, just like my mom used to after bath time, and I found that so comforting...like my mom was there with me, hugging me.  Matt also sprayed my pillow with lavender-vanilla pillow mist that was my moms.  

About 4:45 a.m., my water broke.  WOWZERS!  So glad that didn't happen while grocery shopping 2 days prior! With Lucy, I only slowly leaked like I had no bladder control, but this...THIS was a crazy.  We got the pads I was lying on changed and within minutes I felt the urge to push.  The contractions with Cannon were more intense, and I think I had to push more with him, but overall, my total labor was 3 1/2 hours.  Lucy's was 9 hours total.  In my experience, faster is much more intense.  

Our 7 lb 10 oz boy was born on November 27 at 5:27 a.m.  About an entire pound bigger than Lucy was! He came out crying, but was immediately placed on my chest and immediately calmed down.  This is THE best part right here.  When I look into my child's eyes for the first time, the child that I've carried for 9 months, so anxious to meet.  The child I've already spent so much time praying over and dreaming for is finally in my arms.  His warm body melting into mine as he quickly relaxes and knows I am his mother.  

During the pushing I kept thinking "I'm so glad I'm not going to do this again!", but the MOMENT he was in my arms I said out loud "I can SO do this again!".  I remember pleading with my midwife, "how much worse is this going to get before he's out?!", and she replied with "It doesn't get worse, it just gets done."  That was the motivation I needed.  "Done" sounded amazing, and yet 2 more pushes when he was out...I already wanted to experience it all over again.  That is the miracle of child birth, of motherhood, and all of those hormones that have wreaked havoc on our bodies for the last 9 months, instantly make us feel such an overwhelming love for this tiny human we'd sign up to do it again.  Unfortunately, this is [most likely] our last child, and I'm so grateful that God gave these children to me!

I was greeted with one of two reactions when I told people I was planning a natural home birth.  "You are crazy!" or "That's so awesome!"  Some people thought I was crazy and told me there was no need to "be a hero" and to "just get the epidural", but this is the exact way I wanted to experience bringing my babies into the world and I don't regret it for a second.  I am thankful that certain interventions are available should I have needed them, and I completely support the women who choose to birth their babies in the way that's best for them.  With that said, if anyone lives in the South Seattle area and needs a recommendation for a midwife, I highly (HIGHLY) recommend Nancy Spencer with Lakeside Birth Center in Lake Tapps, She birthed both of my babies. Also, let me know if you have any questions regarding natural childbirth, or what I did to prepare.

When I was ready to leave, I got cleaned up, and we were back in the comfort of our home by 7:30 a.m.  I had prepared an overnight french toast casserole the night before, so we just had to pop it in the oven and Thanksgiving breakfast was served. Matt went next door to pick up Lucy just as his parents arrived, so we were able to enjoy breakfast together.  I had also prepped several dishes for a small Thanksgiving the night before, so with the help of his mom, we were easily able to enjoy our first Thanksgiving as a family of four (plus Grandma and Grandpa).

Of course I have mixed emotions about this being my first Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, without my mom.  Coupled with the fact that she is not here to meet my son and he will not have to opportunity to get to know her.  However, the birth of our little Cannon was timely.  A Thanksgiving baby took my mind off of the possibility for sadness over not having my mom, and replaced it with the overwhelming joy of the birth of our son and reminded me how very much there is to be grateful for. 

Cannon is such an easygoing baby! He only cries when he's hungry, and nurses like a champ.  He eats like clockwork every 3 hours, is awake and alert for a little bit and then falls right back to sleep.  Praying this easygoing gig keeps up :)

"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well."
~ Psalm 139:13-14 ~

Click here If you'd like to read the story of our daughter Lucy's birth in 2012 :)