Above is Neil finishing his 5k and below me because what’s a Sunday without a selfie? For a full post about Edith’s first race head on over to Running With Tongs.
I think I had a pretty fashionable pregnancy with Edith and I totally regret not keeping my cute maternity clothes for the second time around. However when it came to postpartum/nursing wear I was a hot mess. I lived in old t-shirts, nursing tanks and maternity jeans for months and months and by the time I was mentally ready to buy new clothes I was pregnant again.
This time around I am not waiting 15 months to buy clothes that I feel good wearing. While I am still struggling with embracing my new postpartum body I am working on it. Luckily I have a few great pieces of postpartum clothing including the beautiful NOM nursing top that you may have seen in my Nursing Wear YouTube video.
First I want to thank Belly Dance Maternity for sending me this beautiful top to share with you. I am absolutely loving it. I love black and white strips and this top has a bonus feature it is nursing friendly. You just unbutton the snaps on top and lift up to easily nurse. I don’t have any other nursing tops like this and let me tell you I plan on buying a few more. It’s so much easier than wearing a nursing tank under my shirts and having to lift it up every time I need to nurse. Plus you’d never really know it’s a nursing top from looking at it. It is also a fantastic maternity top and the ruching is great for an expanding belly or in my case a postpartum belly.
Belly Dance Maternity features fashionable gear for your entire pregnancy and postpartum. I am loving their new Fall clothes and am making a list of items I want to buy. I am seriously lusting after MICHAEL STARS POSEY SURPLICE MATERNITY TOP (also great for nursing), SERAPHINE BLACK JOLENE KNOT DRESS (because cute nursing friendly dresses are hard to find and the holiday season is upon us so of course I need a dress for parties and events) and seriously how cute is this LOYAL HANA CROSSHATCH CARRIE POCKET SHIRT. If anyone is looking to get me a late birthday gift …..hint hint.
What are your favorite nursing/maternity styles? How do you stay stylish while pregnant or nursing or being a mom in general?
Edith isn’t into conventional toys all she really wants to do is read. From the moment she wakes up to the moment she goes to bed she has to have a book by her side. All day I hear “mama read!” and as soon as Neil arrives home and sits down to relax for a moment Edith is grabbing a book from one of her many book boxes and is running over to Neil saying “dada read!”
While we have our own collection of books I like to mix it up a bit and I take Edith to the library to read and to borrow books to read at home. We have recently moved but at our old library had this amazing, huge Eric Carle rug in the story time area that we would spend time on reading books. Edith loved this rug because she could go around and identify all the animals from the Eric Carle books we have read. One of our favorites is From Head to Toe which is a super interactive book that shows animals doing different things and encourages you to try to do them took. This is a favorite book of ours to read at the library because they have an oversized copy that is bigger than Edith that we can layout and read on the big Eric Carle rug.
Each visit we tend to pick out a new Eric Carle book – I didn’t realize there were so many of them! Since I grew up with Eric Carle books these books each time we read one it brings me back to my own childhood, sitting on the couch or in my room reading The Hungry Caterpillar or Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? I love that I can share these books with Edith and Alder.
Edith has really come to love Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What do you see? and we have been reading it daily. I think it’s because since Alder’s birth she has become obsessed with everything baby. She is also obsessed ABC’s and the moon so I was thrilled to find out Gymboree has as new limited edition sleep and playwear collection by the World of Eric Carle. I loved the baseball style playwear shirts but what really caught my eye were the super cute and colorful pajamas. I immediately knew I had to pick up a pajamas with the ABC pants for Edith and I couldn’t leave Alder out so I picked up the moon pajamas for him.
Edith couldn’t wait for bedtime to wear her pajamas and insisted that she wear them for her nap. How can you argue with that? She wanted to read Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What do you see? for one of her three naptime books and ear her Eric Carle pajamas. Seriously too cute. Alder is a little small for his moon pj’s but he tried them out anyways after Edith insisted he try them on.
Don’t forget to head here to get your free printable Eric Carle coloring pages, mazes, games and more. For even more fun, download the Eric Carle and Gymboree iPhone app so you and your little one can add some Eric Carle fun to your photos and play a caterpillar game!
Inspired by Eric Carle’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See, from 9/2-9/30, Gymboree will be hosting a photo contest, where they are encouraging parents to help their little ones take a picture of what they see. Entrants can submit a photo via Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr or via our designated direct photo upload site, using the hashtag, #WhatDoYouSee. Entrants of the #WhatDoYouSee contest will have the chance of winning one of ten Eric Carle gift baskets including: A House for Hermit Crab book, a signed copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar book, figurines, stickers, The Very Hungry Caterpillar Sippy Cup, Chunky Colored Pencils, Match and Munch Game, Place Mats Book, and Stage & Play (Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) $144.99). The winners will be announced at the end of the contest period, which is 9/30/14.
Thanks to Gymboree for sponsoring today’s post!
This is a sponsored blog post. I received compensation from Gymboree. The opinions and text are all mine.
This post was written in collaboration with Orbit Baby.
These days, getting out has become a little more of a challenge. We are still getting used to being a family of four and while Alder is in the wonderfully portable newborn stage, we also have an active two-year-old. Getting out the door has become quite a production. It involves making sure the diaper bag is fully stocked with diapers for two kids, books and toys for Edith and – of course – an extra outfit for Alder. Not to mention my phone and wallet. 90% of the time I end up forgetting something.
I also have to make sure that I’ve nursed Alder (at which point Edith usually unpacks the diaper bag) and then I have to get him in his seat and Edith in hers(which usually involves a little negotiating). By the time we do get out the door and into the car we are already running 10 minutes late. For someone who used to always be early for everything, this can me a bit of anxiety but I am trying to embrace it. What can I say? I’m newly a mom of two and still trying to figure this whole thing out.
With all of that in mind, I haven’t been venturing out too far with both kids during the week. Weekends are a whole other story. Thankfully, Neil is home on the weekends and that means we can tag team. And, while we still seem to always be running late, getting out the door is a whole lot less stressful.
After spending the past few weekends moving and getting settled into our new place we were happy to take advantage of the beautiful weather and the long weekend to show my parents around Portland. They’ve visited us a few times since we moved to Portland, but of course there is always something new to show them.
The first stop on our Portland adventure was for donuts at the new(ish) Southeast location of Blue Star Donuts. It’s embarrassing how many times we have been to this donut shop since it opened but what can I say their donuts are amazing and and they have a great vegan selection. We did the whole Voodoo thing during my parents first visit but Voodoo is old news (and not very good). Blue Star is where it’s at. We picked up a box of donuts and found a spot to sit and enjoy our treat.
The thought of donuts bored Alder so he decided that he would rather sleep. So, we decided to take out the Orbit Baby Double Helix. I love how we can easily transition Alder from the car to the stroller without disturbing him thanks to the G3 Infant Car Seat.
We had planned to just use the single part of the stroller since we parked a block away from the donut shop, but as soon as Edith saw the stroller she insisted that she ride in it, too. Since it is incredibly easy to add on the second seat of course we said yes (even though as soon as we had the donuts she was ready to get out).
After indulging in donuts we figured we’d better get out and do something active. We headed to the Eastbank Esplanade for a family walk along the Willamette River. We have lived in Portland for a little over 18 months now and I’m going to be honest we haven’t spent very much time down by the river. Although, I should correct myself and say the collective WE, because I know as Neil edits this post he will say to me that he has spent a lot of time going on runs around the Esplanade when he worked in the Central Eastside. Anyways, Edith and I have only been down to the Espalande a handful of times and every time we’re there, I say to myself that we need to do this more often.
The Espalande is a 3.5-mile multi-use loop that involves crossing two of Portland’s bridges and is just absolutely beautiful. We didn’t do the loop this time as it’s too far for my mom to walk and I’m still healing. However, we did enjoy walking and watching the boats along the west side of the Esplanade.
Our walk along the Esplanade worked up an appetite and we decided to to head back to the car and set off for our last destination: Basecamp Brewing.
Of course we had to stop for an obligatory family photo since we had someone with us to take the photo. The thing about toddlers however is that they aren’t always in the mood for a photo and so may end up looking a little distracted (see above).
We arrived at Basecamp Brewing just as they flipped their sign to OPEN and I was thrilled to be there for good beer and even better food. Yay for no longer being pregnant! Don’t worry I didn’t drink all of those samples. Neil and I shared (about 60/40) this sampler with a few stolen sips from my parents. We paired this with a lovely spread of hummus, falafel, fries and pickles from Gonzo.
This was the perfect end to our Portland Adventure and the long weekend. I was telling Neil as we started the drive home that this outing was exactly what I had been missing out on all summer. While we had a wonderful summer the past two months have been hectic with the end of pregnancy, packing, having a baby, moving and attempting to get settled. It was nice to just spend the day doing things that we love with no worries or rushing.
While getting out of the house isn’t as easy as it once was, we are figuring things out. With a double stroller that Edith is in love with, it’s just that much easier. We aren’t parenting experts but we are learning and hope to share more of our adventures with you. We’d also love to hear your tips and stories about how you get out of the house with children.
For more photos of our weekend adventure head to Running With Tongs.
Getting out of the house with two kids can be quite the production. We have to get two kids in the car, make sure the diaper bag is fully stocked (95% of the time it isn’t) and then, when we finally make it to our destination (usually at least 10 minutes later than planned), we have to figure out who is going to walk, ride or be worn.
We are still slowly getting out of the house beyond the grocery store and Target and this weekend we took a break from unpacking to head to the market. I honestly was not feeling the trip to the market at all. We had headed out right when it usually starts to get busy and it was hot and nap time was slowly sneaking up on us, but, we did it. When we arrived I noticed we only had the Solly Baby Wrap in the car so right away that meant I was on baby duty. Neil can wrap but it usually takes a little talking through and help so it was just easier for me to do it and for him to be on tot duty.
I wrapped Alder up snuggly on the Solly Baby Wrap and he fussed for just a moment before falling asleep. We walked over to the market and I had my hands free to carry market bags and hold one of Edith’s hands.
We headed straight to my favorite farm stand to pick up our produce for the week. I was so excited by all the beautiful produce that I started to fill our bags and then realized that we had no cash. Neil said he would run to the ATM, which was luckily not too far away, while I continued to shop – the catch though was that Edith had to stay with me. If Alder had been in the stroller or in my arms there would have been no way that I could have held the half filled bags of produce and chased a very curious toddler around but thanks to babywearing we made it work.
After finally purchasing our produce we walked around the remainder of the market, picking up a drink and a treat on our way out. We stopped over by the beautiful water fountain to enjoy our drink and snack before heading back to the car. The best part? Alder was still sleeping. Also we had no toddler tantrums, I was able to purchase 90% of the produce I had on my shopping list and we got to enjoy the market and sunshine as as family. The worst part? I dropped my shopping list so I had to go home and rewrite it and head out again to pick up our grocery items.
Having come ten days early, we were caught by surprise by Edith’s birth. After a nice afternoon walk around the Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington, VT, Edith started the final part of her journey to join us. Not so much with Alder. They say that if your first child came early then your second probably will as well. We were both convinced of this and started to prepare and expect Alder to join us about two weeks before his expected due date.
We started to nest around the house, I started to warn everyone at work that I may be out on paternity leave any given day, and Lindsay started to prepare for the birthing process by getting massages, acupuncture and going for daily and nightly walks to help to relax and maybe speed up the process a bit.
The only thing was that we were going through a lot of other transitions in life that made it hard to be comfortable and hard to relax in anticipation of our new baby joining us. I had just started a new job across the river and over the hills (with the possibility of an hour+ commute home), we were preparing to move to our new apartment in the middle of August, and our landlord was scheduling showings of the apartment at all hours of the day throughout the week. It seemed like there would never be a “convenient” time for this home birth to happen. Even so, on July 22nd (8 days before the due date), Lindsay started to feel what we thought was the beginning of early labor and had me work from home for the next two days.
Heading in to our second to last prenatal appointment, Lindsay started to feel even stronger contractions and both she and our midwife were both convinced that this baby would be joining us at any time now. However, that was just the beginning of another long week of anticipation. Another week came and went, with Lindsay having occasional contractions, back pain and nausea but being cautious about having me come home from work early for support (she was convinced that people would view her as the wife who called wolf). However, things surrounding the major stressor in our life at this point started to fall into place.
Tuesday night, our landlord showed the apartment to a woman who seemed really interested and on Wednesday as we were about to head to what would be our final pre-natal appointment we were told that she put in an application for the apartment. We started to feel the stress dwindle and our spirits start to lift. That Wednesday, Alder’s expected due date, we went in for our final appointment and our midwife scheduled an acupuncture appointment for that afternoon for Lindsay with another doctor/midwife who shared the same office and had a pretty great success rate of inducing delivery within 24 hours through acupuncture.
Thursday Lindsay started to feel more cramps, contractions, nausea and back pain. I left work early that afternoon to beat traffic to be sure I wouldn’t miss anything. As we headed out to run some last minute errands that afternoon, we ran into our landlord outside our apartment and she let us know that the application for the new tenant was approved and the showings would end. We went to bed that night with that weight finally off our shoulders. And, I truly believe that was the last barrier for us to feel at ease with the birth happening at home.
Friday morning we headed out for a family walk to our favorite local coffee shop and after chatting with the baristas moved on to get some breakfast at the neighborhood bakery. We sat and enjoyed our coffee and chatted while we ate our breakfast before beginning the long (for Lindsay) walk home. With Edith yelling “Faster!” from the stroller, we were stopping every couple minutes on the 5 block walk home as the contractions started to become more frequent and more overwhelming.
We made it home, and going by my memories of Edith’s birth, I thought we had lots of time. I stopped in the downstairs office to send an e-mail to work saying I wouldn’t be in and poked around the internet a bit while Edith played on the floor next to me. When we made our way upstairs, I found Lindsay on the exercise ball hanging on the edge of the couch timing her contractions.
It was an entirely different experience than I remembered with Edith where I was laying on the bed with Lindsay, smart phone in hand, trying to figure out exactly what the beginning and end of her contractions were. I called our midwife only to get her answering machine and then called our backup midwife (technically our backup’s backup as our primary midwife was out of town) and spoke with her and updated her on Lindsay’s status. Both of our midwives lived in our neighborhood and headed right over after making arrangements for their children. I spent the next 20-30 minutes actually keeping Edith busy while Lindsay continued to time her contractions. It was a huge difference from the jokes, back rubs and romantic 75 mile drive at 3 in the morning for Edith’s birth. Even still, it felt right in a way.
As our family grows, the dynamics are going to always be shifting. Where I used to be able to give her 100% of my focus and attention, we need to learn to shift and adapt that to serve our whole family as best we can.
Dr. Amanda (our midwife and primary care physician) arrived around 9 am with Kayla (their midwifery student) and Dr. Liz (backup midwife) arriving shortly thereafter. Lindsay was continuing to progress through labor with her contractions getting stronger and more frequent. Edith was happy to show off for all of the familiar faces in the room, giving me some time to support Lindsay as best I could – rubbing her back, applying pressure and getting her whatever she needed. I started to inflate the birth pool and attached the hose to the faucet, preparing the fill the pool. While I waited for direction, I put Edith in the empty pool and she had a blast bouncing around and peering over the side.
We started the process of filling the pool and waited anxiously. One of our midwives was considering heading home for a while until she checked Lindsay and realized how far along she was. At this point we really started to get things into gear. I took out some new Mega-Bloks and books we had gotten Edith for the birth. While she showed those off to Dr. Liz and Kayla, I helped Dr. Amanda by boiling water in every pot we had available and filling the tub with water from the bathroom so we could make sure Lindsay had the opportunity to labor in the pool.
Once we had the pool filled high enough, Lindsay began to labor in the pool while Kayla checked for the heartbeat and took Lindsay’s “vitals”. I took time where I could to support Lindsay as best I could. Reminding her how strong I thought she was and how confident in her I was.
While a lot of things were different than what I had expected and what we had experienced with Edith, I was filled with just as much or more amazement and awe and how strong and inspiring she was during the birth process. Lindsay let Dr. Amanda know she was ready to push and with that came the same low noises, chants of “Ouuuuuuut” and “horse lips” that I remembered from Edith’s birth. Dr. Amanada let us know that Lindsay’s water had not broken yet and that it was helping to maintain the progress Alder was making.
As Lindsay pushed, Edith stood next to me and watched in what seemed to amazement, joy and fear (as Lindsay let out a scream of pain). Dr. Amanda asked if I wanted to catch Alder and, what seemed like only a few minutes later, asked if I wanted to feel his head. I jumped at both opportunities. I got to feel his head and with just one or two more pushes saw his face and his lips coming out and then got to catch our beautiful baby. As we worked to untangle his cord, I passed him to Lindsay and she was the first to announce we had had a baby boy. Dr. Amanda rushed to take pictures as Lindsay, Edith and I took in the newest member of our family.
It was amazing to see something that built up so slowly culminate in such a quick, fast delivery. I joked to Lindsay before Alder was born about how this would probably be a sign of his personality, as I really think Edith’s birth is a reflection of hers. As Dr. Liz and Dr. Amanda tended to Lindsay and Alder – taking measurements and sewing stitches (only 3) – I spent time with Edith as she showed me her new toys and then bringing her in to meet her new baby brother and settling into the idea of our new family of four.
Even though we can’t always provide each other with the same direct forms of support that we once did, we will continue to show our love in support in so many different ways both direct and indirect.
I can’t believe a week has already passed since Alder was born. We have had a crazy busy week and have really had our ups and downs. Luckily we have had a lot more ups than downs but let me tell you the start of our week as a family of four was a real struggle.
Friday (8.1.14) was a pretty crazy day considering we started our morning off as a family of three and by 11am we were a family of four. The midwives had cleaned, done their check ups and were gone by 12:50pm. We were all a little tired out from our whirlwind morning and Edith went down for a three hour nap (!!!) around 1:15pm. Then it was just Neil, Alder and myself hanging out on the couch, which in itself was a really weird and amazing thing. That night we had BBQ and just hung out as a family. I don’t really remember what we did besides sit on the couch and Edith held Alder for awhile.
Saturday and Sunday (8.2.14 & 8.3.14) were two more difficult days for us. Neil and Edith spent a lot of time together going for bike rides, to the park, to the market and just playing together at home. While Edith seemed to enjoy these activities and we kept her normal routine we were facing a new challenge, a rebelling child. Edith is generally a pretty mild mannered child who has her feisty side as well but generally she is a pretty happy, relaxed kid but last weekend she was the complete opposite. While we knew that this was just her way of dealing with the life changing event that had just occurred we were just not prepared at all to handle her acting out.
Monday (8.4.14) this was easily the hardest day of them all. Edith was miserable and doing everything and anything to push our buttons. At one point Neil and Edith were heading out go somewhere (maybe the park? I can’t remember) anyways Neil asked her to say goodbye and I love you to me and she looked at me and said goodbye and then gave me a look and said I love you Alder, which was nice for Alder but in the moment was a stab at me (it’s really hard to put this whole event into words). Anyways that broke my heart and I just broke down. That day she also skipped her nap and Neil had scheduled a hair appointment during her naptime so I was home with her and Alder for a few hours by myself. By the end of the day Edith’s acting out had exhausted all of us and Neil and I were so happy for bedtime. We spent two or so hours post bedtime routine just talking about the past few days and trying to prepare ourselves for more acting out and discussed ways we could take a more positive and relaxed approach.
Tuesday (8.5.14) I swear we woke up with our old toddler. Edith seems to be (knock on wood) back to more of her normal self with a side of sassy two year old. We had our first outing as a family this day to the pediatricians office for Alder’s appointment and Edith and I stopped in the craft store to pick up an afternoon art project. Our appointment went well and despite it happening in the middle of Edith’s naptime we did make it home in time for her to take a nap.
Wednesday (8.6.14) Edith and Neil spent the morning at Oaks Amusement Park for their preschool morning. She had an absolute blast and I hope we can maybe make it once more before the close for the season and I’d like to go down as well. In the afternoon we had our first non-doctors appointment outing to the farmers market. I have to say that I did a little too much walking this day and was feeling it by the end of the night but it sure felt good to get out.
Thursday (8.7.14) We didn’t do too much on Thursday morning but after Edith’s nap we headed out to Target to pick up some things that we were out of and some clothes for Alder. Again too much walking for me but it was great to get out. We then decided to stop at Native Foods for dinner since it was getting late and we had a nice family meal out on their patio.
Friday (8.8.14) We had our normal Friday morning play group at our house despite everyone thinking I was crazy. It actually ended up being great for all of us. Edith and her two girlfriends played while us moms had time to chat and since Neil was home too he entertained the little girls for awhile. While Edith napped Neil and I ate BBQ because we had an oven mishap that resulted in needing to do the 3 hour auto clean and lots of fans and open windows. After Edith’s nap Neil took her for a bike ride while I rested with Alder. The day ended with Neil and me on the couch with Steven’s cold brew cinnamon vegan ice cream <–AMAZING.
Now it’s Saturday and we are getting into a new version of our old routine. We are preparing ourselves for next week which includes moving and Neil going back to work. One plus is that Neil will be working from home which means a little extra help before I am fully on my own.
If you missed Part 1 read here first. Contractions started to intensify and I labored on the exercise ball, walked around a bit, and did some side lunges/rocking while Neil worked with the midwives to get the birthing pool set up.
Around 10am one the midwives checked me and found I was at 7cm and I don’t no how effaced actually but I must have been getting close to 100%. She said she expected me to enter transition at anytime now. I labored through around 5 more contractions before getting into the birthing pool. Soon after that contractions picked up and started to become more and more intense. I kept going back to Edith’s birth and tried to remember to make low sounds and keep my mouth loose. As contractions intensified I suddenly felt the urge to push and I said I needed to and was told to go ahead! At this point my water still hadn’t broken and it wasn’t until I started pushing that it finally did break. I had 3 rounds of contractions, 9 big pushes, 1 time of unnecessary (and unhelpful) screaming and then a loud roar when I felt the “ring of fire” aka Alder’s head being born and then finally his body and a surge of relief once I felt his body being born. At 10:59am Alder was born. I birthed Alder on my hands and knees in the birth pool which was a position that I just couldn’t get comfortable in with Edith and Neil ended up catching him behind me. It was about a minute (which felt like forever) before I actually got to see this little baby that I just birthed but finally I turned around and got to hold him and reveal that we had a baby boy.
I held Alder while he had a quick check and then Neil cut his cord. Shortly after that my placenta was out and I was laying in bed with a new baby boy on my chest. I ended up with a small tear and had to have 3 stitches but so far things haven’t been so bad down there compared to when I had Edith. While Alder and I were getting checked the other midwives were cleaning up everything and by the time they had left, which was around 1pm, it didn’t even look like a birth had occurred. Seriously it was amazing. Side note Alder didn’t have a name until around 3pm and his name actually wasn’t even on our list of first names. Alder was a name that I had liked as a middle name and Grey was a middle name that we both liked and in the end we waffled between a few names that stuck out to us but then Neil said something about having Alder be the first name and it just felt right so that’s what we went with. Prior to this we had about 10-15 girls and boys names picked out and nothing even close to standing out as a front runner. How/where was Edith during the birth? Edith was in attendance! She “helped” Neil inflate the birthing pool at first and then we brought out a special new toy for her to play with incase the birth was during the day. This new toy (Mega Blocks) was as huge hit and kept her happy and distracted for amount of time. She spent her time checking in on me, playing with toys and the midwives helped to distract her at times as well. While I was in the birthing pool/giving birth I was told she was curious, interested, excited and a little confused as to what was going on and she had a few moments of concern when I was having some of my louder moments. She watched her brother being born and was super excited when Neil caught him.I’ll blog more about transitioning to being a big sister another day. Neil also plans to blog about his experience of the birth so that will be interesting to read! Lastly I hope to do a quick meet the family YouTube video in the next week or so!