Monday, May 16, 2016

Maternity Leave Diaries

I have only two sweet days remaining in my maternity leave. My heart is so heavy as I think about returning to work and leaving my sweet girl. In the last week, there have been extra cuddles, lots of napping in my arms instead of the crib, and just taking extra time to take in that sweet newborn baby smell.

Since Madeline came early, I'm having to go back a little earlier than planned. I extended my leave to the very last day my contract allowed and the grandmothers are taking turns providing daycare. Luckily, there will only be a few short weeks left in the school year when I return and I will be home again with my girl. But, she'll be almost four months old and more interactive and mobile by then. Things will be different, which is both exciting because hopefully we'll have more of a routine down but also so sad because she won't be a newborn ever again. Part of me has been wishing this newborn stage away because we are so exhausted. Yet, part of me wants to savor the sweet baby smell and snuggles and a time when only I can comfort her when she is upset. 

Right now, no two days really look the same. Some moments that frustrates me to no end. Being a teacher, I am so accustomed to my day being scheduled to the minute and being held accountable for following that schedule. Now, I have a sweet baby girl whose heart's desire dictates my every move. For example, she cares not that we are in the middle of Target or that she only nursed 45 minutes ago. The baby is hungry so we go out to the car and nurse in the parking lot. 

Our schedule is constantly changing but here's a little snippet of what it's looked like most recently. The pictures aren't perfect because it's easy to capture the moments on my phone instead of missing them to set up the big camera. 

6:30 - 7 Madeline wakes up. She sleeps in her own room in her crib so I go in and change her diaper, dress her, and nurse her. Then we head downstairs and she does tummy time and we play on her playmat while I have my coffee and Shakeology. Then, she either relaxes in her swing or cuddles with me on the couch for about ten minutes before we go back upstairs for a nap.

8:00 Madeline naps for about 45 minutes. She still has to be swaddled or her naps look like this.
I do a number of different things during this nap. Sometimes I work out. Sometimes I shower. Sometimes I straighten up or clean something. I always get me dressed, usually in yoga pants unless we have somewhere to go with friends and make the bed.

8:45 She is awake! That was fast. We are hoping naps start to become longer soon but right now she is a solid 45 minute to 1 hour napper. 

We do tummy time on the changing table for a minute or two and then change her diaper. Madeline HATES tummy time so we try to get it in one or two minutes at a time all day long. Then, we usually head out for a stroller walk with some friends or just Riley. 

Disclaimer: I snapped this in my kitchen for my mom because she bought her that outfit. I always buckle her in before we head anywhere! 

9:45 Time to eat. I nurse her and then we head upstairs to look at a book and get ready to nap again. 

11:00ish Madeline will wake up. While she was napping, I probably cleaned the kitchen, pumped, and took a shower if I didn't already. Since our house is on the market I do lots of cleaning and straightening whenever I have a minute. And laundry. Laundry is endless and I really try not to let I pile up as I did before we listed our house. 

While she is awake, we usually play with some sensory toys or sit in the Boopy and make faces at each other or relax in the swing for a little bit. 

12:30 Usually my girl is ready to eat by now and I feed her with a bottle. She had her first bottle in a Comotomo when she was 4 or 5 days old so she has no problem taking one. I'm still trying to make sure she takes a couple every day so she is used to it when I return to work.

After she eats, we run an errand if I have any to do or head to Target just for the hell of it or to watch my checking account deteriorate. She will nap in her car seat. If we don't have anything to do its back up to the crib. This nap is usually about an hour and a half long. 

3:00 Madeline is awake, if not a little before now, and it is time to eat again. Afterwards, we either play or take another short walk if it isn't too hot.

4:30 Time for our last nap. She is usually pretty fussy around this naptime so it can be really tough to get her down. But necessary. 

5:15-5:30 Madeline is awake and ready to eat again. Around 6:00, Corey will come home from client meetings or emerge from his office if he is in town so he can spend time with her and this gives me a break for a few minutes. I'm not even going to pretend I use it to cook. We've eaten a grilled meat and roasted veggie, coldcut sandwhich, or Thai or tacos takeout every night since she was born. Just telling it like it is.  

6:30 Bath time! This is her favorite time of day! So fun! Corey usually runs bath time and I get some house work done, wash bottles, or take a few minutes to put on my pajamas (Yes, at 6:30) and take off my makeup.

6:45 Bottle and snuggles in the nursery before bed. We do a formula bottle at night. My pediatrician recommended it and it did get our girl up from sleeping just two hours at a time to six. 

Corey deals with dinner while I put Madeline to bed. If he is traveling, I eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich and an apple because I am too exhausted to cook. Experienced mamas, tell me that gets better?!

Then I try to relax for a little bit and am always teeth brushed and in bed by 9:00 because come 1:30 (and 3:15 and 5:30 and 7:00), our girl will be up to eat. 

The days are long but the weeks are short. How have 13 of them already passed and it is time for me to go back to work?!

Friday, May 13, 2016

5 on Friday

So this happened this week. We have already had a number of showings, one of which was last night. Corey was out of town so I took Riley and Madeline for a walk, AFTER checking the weather. iPhone weather said there would not be any rain until much later in the evening but apparently it was misinformed because I got caught in a downpour with a newborn and a very furry dog. Big thanks to my neighbor for letting us hide out in her garage until after the showing was over. Now someone please buy my house.  

Today I am off to my school to visit my class. We are having our multiplication ice cream celebration and I need to talk to my sub and team and get my thoughts together for what I am going to be teaching next week when my maternity leave is over. I am super anxious about leaving Madeline and heading back to work but am excited to end the school year with my kids. They have been practicing a play for me to see today. Super cuteness, I am sure. 

I have been spending way too money on cute clothes for Madeline. I refuse to buy anything for myself until I shed the last few pounds of baby weight and do lots of toning and tightening. I have been purchasing  a lot of her clothes on a local resale page on Facebook as well as a smocked resale page. Super cute clothes that don't break the bank. Win-win. This week I purchased her a blue smocked top and bloomer set, shrimp and grits bubble, and a couple cute casual everyday cotton rompers.

My first Mother's Day was so special. Corey treated me to some pampering last Friday so I had my first post-baby haircut, mani and pedi and then came home to flowers being delivered. We had showings all day Saturday so we headed out with friends and then went to brunch at Cafe Monte on Sunday. 
I enjoyed this eggs benedict on a croissant, a cappuccino, and a macaron for dessert. Then, later in the evening we grilled out and enjoyed some crisp white wine on the patio.

I have to brag on my child, now. I don't want to say she has been a terrible sleeper.....but it certainly hasn't been easy! Then, this morning I laid her down in her crib at nap time and went to dry my hair and by the time I came back she had put herself to sleep for the very first time. No rocking, walking, nursing, shushing, patting required. And no crying. If you don't have children you don't understand what an amazingly big deal this is but if you do, I'm sure you totally understand my excitement.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Why you should never, ever build a house.

Corey and I built our first house. It is not an entirely custom home by any means but I was able to pick out all the finishings inside and make minor tweaks to the layout, like adding our third bedroom.

Now, we are ready for a larger home. With Corey working from home and a new baby, we are cramped for space. That third bedroom that sat empty for so long and then became Corey's office (filled with a huge desk, dual monitors, and a phone that rings nonstop) is now Madeline's room. And Corey's office has moved to a small room downstairs. With no door. 

So, when we began to look for a home we were really disappointed in what we can get in our preferred neighborhood of Charlotte for our budget, which we thought would be fairly generous. We're not looking for a mansion or anything. Just one more bedroom, a nice, flat backyard, and a designated office area for Corey. 

The thing about building our current home, though, is that everything is totally customized to my taste. White kitchen, my favorite shade of granite countertops, the travertine backsplash I fought with our builder over, dark wood floors, 8 inch crown,waines cotting, high ten foot ceilings, lots of large windows for natural light, an open concept, giant tub for bubble baths that is separate from the shower, his and her sinks, his and her closets, an upstairs laundry. The list really goes on and on. It is small but I love everything about the inside. There isn't one other thing I could have asked for in a first home.

We've been so spoiled. When I list off the things we have now versus what we have seen in our price range, I start to think we don't actually really need that extra bedroom. And having more outdoor space for dogs and children is overrated, right? Maybe we can just stay here....forever.

This is why you should never, ever build a house. At least for your first house. It spoils you. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Madeline's Nursery: Splurge vs. Save

Many months ago I shared my inspiration boards for nurseries of both genders (girl, boy). Then, we announced Baby W was a little girl and we moved along with creating a nursery similar to what I envisioned. I ended up making some very economical choices for furniture compared to what I highlighted in my dream nursery and I love my choices so much.

Let's play a little "splurge vs. save, buy this, not that" before we see the finished product.

I wanted the Madison crib from Pottery Barn. I loved that it was convertible. Simplistic yet had some great details. Look at those feet.
What I actually bought was he DaVinci Laurel crib courtesy of Wayfair. The feet are the same but the front doesn't have quite the same level of detail. All the baby stores and big online stores have it but Wayfair was least expensive and shipped it free. It even got a tiny scratch during shipping and they promptly replaced the piece no questions asked so that the nursery would be perfect. 

For a dresser and changing table, I started out really loving the Blythe dresser from Pottery Barn, pictured above. Once I decided I wanted to do true white instead of antique white in the nursery, I ended up loving the Ava Regency dresser. It was a little bit too big and way too expensive once I factored in the uncharge for large furniture delivery.
I ended up going with the Jeslyn dresser, which I found on Overstock. This turned out to be such a great purchase. Not only is it beautiful and I love it but it shipped for free with room-of-choice delivery and set-up.

For Madeline's glider, I really, truly loved the Charleston glider once again from Pottery Barn kids. Having seen it in person in the store and priced it out online in my fabric choice, I don't think its altogether unreasonable for the quality. However, knowing that I will only use this for two years or so then maybe, if we are fortunate enough to have a second child, another two years in a different nursery, it just didn't seem practical. It is a beautiful chair, though.
I ended up going with the Delta Children's Avery glider. It is available all over the internet but I ordered it from Target for a couple reasons. The sand color was least expensive there and it qualified for free in-store returns. Since I didn't get to sit in this one before purchasing, I was nervous about ordering it sight-unseen because paying to ship back a glider would have been costly. Lugging it in a friend's pick-up truck back to Target on the other hand would have been totally do-able. There weren't any reviews on when I ordered but all of the ones I read on other sites were very favorable and we are happy with it.

With all of these savings on furniture, don't worry. I made a few splurges as well. I purchased the bow curtains from my inspiration board as well as these wall shelves, the pink posh pouf to use as an ottoman, and the Bridgette quilted bedding