Baby #2 Pregnancy Update: Week 31

This week was a little more hectic because Declan turned one! Happy Birthday to my sweet baby boy!

I spent most of the week doing little birthday party errands here and there. Declan and I went to The Dollar Tree Store and to Michaels. It is amazing how much less time I spend shopping when I have Declan in tow. No time for browsing with a baby who doesn’t want to sit still for very long.

I learned a lesson this week about mommy expectations. I baked my sweet baby a gluten-free cake. We bought a Costco cake for everyone else, but I wanted to make Declan a cake from scratch. It was a very long, difficult process if I’m honest. There was the grocery shopping for all the specific ingredients that go into a gluten-free cake. Then the going back to the grocery store for the few items forgotten. The dishes from baking the cake. The dishes from making the frosting. The standing a lot in the kitchen. And the only good time to bake uninterrupted was after Dillon got back from work, which is kind of when I’m running on empty. It was tiring for this 8 months pregnant woman. When I finally finished the cake and it was sitting completed in the fridge, I sank into the couch next to Dillon and confessed how exhausted baking a cake made me and that I should have just bought Declan a gluten-free individually sized bundt cake. Dillon agreed. I told him something along the lines of,  I just want to be a good mom. Good moms bake cakes from scratch. He told me something along the lines of, You are a good mom. And you don’t have to bake a cake from scratch to be a good mom. He is so wise. Baking a cake from scratch is a very sweet act of love. But I’m 8 months pregnant, I’m on disability, and I’m taking care of a one year old all day long. Now is not the season in my life to take on big tasks like baking a cake from scratch. Maybe a box mix cake would be ok.

I did get a picture that I love though. And the vanilla cake made the house smell fabulous. It wasn’t all bad.

The party went great. It was a small event and we did the traditional opening of the presents and the cake smash. Declan was adorable the whole time and did so well with being the center of attention. I was slightly worried he might get overwhelmed with so much attention, but he loved it. We had the party in our backyard which helped, I think. He loves loves loves being outside so I think that kept him content.

The next two days were spent resting and regaining strength. Honestly I think from baking that darn cake!

I love my little family so much. Hah, I used to joke with Dillon that he would only have daughters and he would just have to get used to being surrounded by beautiful women. I’m starting to think maybe it will be me who will have to get used to be surrounded by handsome men!

Also– my #boymom shirt is not a baby gender reveal. I’ve been asked quite a few times, but we still are waiting to find out what baby #2 is!

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Declan’s 1st Birthday Invitations

My baby boy is almost one year old! Definitely a reason to send out invitations in the mail. I love sending and receiving invitations in the mail. Old school. Romantic.

Since Declan is an October baby, we are having a pumpkin themed party. I found the cutest Our Little Pumpkin Is Turning One invitations on a few websites. They would have been ideal had they not been $2-something per invite. So, Costco wins again at around 69 cents an invite! They didn’t have any that specifically featured a pumpkin, but Declan made it cute enough.

So far for his party we have sent out the invites and froze some tri-tips and chicken that were on sale. I better get to prepping cute decorations and figuring out all the little details. I don’t expect a Pinterest perfect party, but I’d like to make it special for my little pumpkin.

Any tips for a first birthday party or ideas on what makes a child’s birthday party enjoyable for everyone? 

 

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The Summer of Pancakes, Moana, and Naps

The Mowdy family had a slow, sweet summer of 2017. Slow and sweet like maple syrup being poured onto pancakes. 2017 is the summer where Dillon and I both got to stay home. It’s the summer we sleep trained our 9 month old. It’s the summer we memorized the song lyrics to Moana. It’s the summer we started to figure out a balance to being parents, being married, and being ourselves again.

Pancakes

My husband is the main chef in the family. We used to tag-team it really well in the kitchen. He handled the protein and I handled the sides. Then I got pregnant with Declan and couldn’t handle any smells, so Dillon stepped up and took on more tasks in the kitchen. After having Declan, I was usually stuck to the couch breastfeeding, so Dillon continued in his role as the family’s main chef. I had started to migrate my way back into the kitchen more when I got pregnant with Baby #2 but the first trimester nausea and strong sense of smell had me stepping right back out of the kitchen.

One day I know I will be more active again in the kitchen. I still am in there a lot (#dishes…) and make most of my meals, but Dillon has spoiled me this summer with pancake breakfasts. Some bacon, some potatoes and bell peppers, fried eggs, a side of fresh fruit, and a big stack of gluten-free pancakes with butter and maple syrup.

I’m now really hungry and wanting breakfast food.

Moana

We first saw Moana as a family during a vacation to the beach. A beach college town near the coast of California still has a wonderful drive-in movie theater. Declan was about 3 months old, so our family outings were limited but we knew we could handle a drive-in movie with a baby who still mostly slept all day. We stopped and got a gluten-free pizza on the way from a popular pizza place in town that thankfully does large gluten-free pizzas. Most places just do individual size for gluten-free.

The movie night was not as magical as I would have thought. Declan spit up badly for the first time and the whole truck smelled like baby vomit. The pizza had gotten a little cold by the time I was done changing Delcan, breastfeeding Declan, and trying to bounce him in the front seat to go to sleep. I was nervous the other cars were wondering who brought that fussy baby, but Dillon assured me they wouldn’t be able to hear him. Pretty soon after having mommy bounce him and pat his back Declan fell into a deep sleep right on my chest. He normally napped on me, but without the drama first. I remember feeling like a mom because I got my crying baby to fall asleep.

The movie Moana playing in the background during the baby spit-up and the baby crying and the diaper changing was so calming. Probably all the blue on the screen during most scenes.

I ended up falling asleep before the movie ended. Moana and Maui were headed to the island when I feel asleep and when I woke up the credits were rolling. Dillon knows to not wake a sleeping mommy. It was some of the best sleep I got the first few months after Declan was born. Belly full of pizza, pretty songs playing in the background, and my baby in a hard earned deep sleep on my chest.

About two months ago Netflix added Moana! I was thrilled and finally got to finish the movie. Declan is also strangely mesmerized by Moana. He ignores other TV shows or movies when the TV is on, but as soon as we play Moana, this happens…

During rough mornings where Declan wakes up at 4 AM or when one of us needs an easier time watching the baby, Moana goes on in the background and the whole room (Declan) gets calm. Thanks, Disney! It’s his favorite movie. I didn’t really want my baby to have a favorite movie, but sometimes parents need some help.

Naps

This summer is the one where Daddy and Mommy took back our nights! We were so naive about baby sleeping schedules, but after a lot of internet research and helpful baby sleep websites, we got Declan on a really great sleep schedule around 9 months old and now he sleeps from around 6 Pm to 5 AM, give or take 30 minutes either way. He also takes one two hour nap around 8 AM and a second hour long nap around 1 PM. Some days the naps vary and go longer or shorter and some days the second nap is boycotted. But overall, most days and nights are now predictable. No more keeping the baby up until 9 PM because he just doesn’t seem tired. Some nights Dillon and I have to just laugh at how lost we were in parenthood by allowing Declan to dictate his bedtime. We now know all the signs of an overtired baby. Ours gets super super super playful.

Our summer revolved around Delcan’s nap times and bedtime routine. Occasionally Declan’s naps were used as times to get quieter chores done. Mostly Declan’s nap times were used for mommy and daddy to relax. To spend time together. To take naps together. To enjoy each other again before this next baby comes and we will be faced with many new challenges, sleep deprivation being one of them.

When I was pregnant with Declan, I remember getting really annoyed that people would say things like say goodbye to sleep! But man, it is so true. Unless the parents hit the jackpot with a sleeping baby (which I’ve met a few) babies mean less sleep. Especially the first few months when babies are eating throughout the night.

Our summer naps were exactly what Dillon and I needed to prepare for this upcoming baby.

I have a feeling that pancakes, Moana, and naps will always take me back to the slow, sweet summer of 2017.

 

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Declan’s Big Promotion!

Declan is going to be a big brother!

And these sweet little babies will be just 14 short months apart.

I found out I was pregnant when Declan was only 6 months old. Definitely a surprise baby to us, but not a surprise baby to God. This pregnancy is led by confidence in knowing God has a plan for my family that’s way better than anything I could come up with.

 

                          I can just tell this is gonna be good. Hard at times, yes. But hard doesn’t have to mean bad.

 

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Postpartum Haze Helpers

The postpartum haze months were the sweetest months of my life. Sweetest, not easiest. Postpartum can get rough.

Because of past family history and the caution of a few friends, I wanted to do my best to ward off postpartum depression. I’m in no way saying I felt completely blissful the whole time, but when I started to get lost in overwhelm, I was able to shut it down and absorb every last beautiful drop of goodness from the newborn/postpartum period.

In no particular order, these are a few key things that helped me remain calm, focused, and enjoy the very early days of mommyhood.

1.  An Incredibly Short To-Do List

Declan’s doctor told me on his 3rd day check up, “Your only job is to feed the baby and rest. No cooking. No cleaning. Just feed the baby. And rest.”

And you better bet I took that to heart. I may have added poop (it’s a big accomplishment after giving birth), eat, and drink a lot of water to my list, but I did not let myself get caught up in anything other than figuring out breastfeeding and letting my (champion!) body start to recover from not only birthing a baby, but also growing one. My body did an outstanding job and deserved some much needed rest.

The whole time I was resting luxuriously, I kept having a thought in the back of my mind that’s a tad scary… how do mamas rest like this if they already have another kiddo? Better enjoy it to the fullest now!

2.  The County Songs, “You’re Gonna Miss This” by Trace Adkins and “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” by Darius Rucker

These two songs stuck out in my head after giving birth. It hurt my heart to know how quickly Declan will grow up and how I’ll blink and his baby stage will be over, so I wanted to intentionally soak in as much as I could and not wish time away.  I did not want to miss the newborn smells and newborn snuggles getting caught up with frustrations.

I had heard from every parent ever how quickly the baby stages change. And mamas, it does fly by. So enjoy each part.

Enjoy waking up every hour to nurse your baby. Enjoy every crazy loud newborn fart and messy diaper that follows. Enjoy the newborn cries. Enjoy your baby falling asleep on you. Enjoy the overwhelm. Because it won’t be like this for long. And you’re gonna miss it.

3. My Husband

I get teary eyed just thinking back to how in awe I was of Dillon. He has always been like a rock for me. But this was different. After giving birth I was so physically broken I relied on his support to even stand, to walk, to sit back down.  I had no idea what to expect after giving birth, but I didn’t think I’d need help standing up out of bed. So while I had one baby to take care of, Dillon had two babies that needed constant, delicate, and comforting care.

He did anything and everything possible to help me stay true and focused to my short to-do list. And through it all, he just kept telling me how beautiful I was.

4. A Giant Water Container With A Straw

The hospital knows what’s up because they gifted me with the perfect water bottle. Nursing gets a mama mighty thirsty. The straw was key because when my hands were full, Dillon could just lift the water bottle up for me to sip on. (Yes, I got super spoiled…)

 5. Snacks

Nursing also makes a mama super hungry. I had a ton of salami, cheese, and crackers. Mandarins were also in season so each week we hit up the farmer’s market and I bought two full bags of those yummy little oranges. Snacks should be super easy for mama to prepare and no cooking involved was key for me.

 6. Comfy Clothes

Clothes that were extremely comfortable, breastfeeding friendly, and pretty enough to not feel the need to change when people came by to meet baby.

7. Sister’s Help

My sister stayed with us the second week after Declan was born. Dillon had to go back to work by then, and I was just not ready to be alone. She helped by taking Mattie on walks, driving to get food, doing baby’s laundry, or just by filling my water bottle up while I nursed Declan. Any little task that would help me stay resting she would be willing to do. She helped me take newborn photos and send out birth annoucements. She even helped me with the comfy clothes by going out to Target for me and getting me a few outfits that fit all three requirements.

Something else that really helped having my sister stay was that since she’s my sister, I had no problem breastfeeding in front of her or talking about my postpartum body issues or asking her to do random tasks like get me a stool softener pill. She could so easily read my mood and knew when I needed a nap or a milkshake or to laugh or to cry. She was also aware that sometimes Dillon and I needed to catch up after he got off work and was really respectful of giving us some time.

Once my husband had to return to work, having someone close by that I felt extremely comfortable with was so helpful.

8. Boppy Pillow

I loved my nursing pillow and I still use it. Declan is 8 months old.

9. Bathroom Goodies From The Hospital

I had read some advice from other bloggers about what to do while at the hospital giving birth and a few mentioned stocking up on all the postpartum supplies from the hospital. I made sure to ask the nurses for extra of everything. Everything meaning witch hazel pads, numbing spray, the biggest pads I have ever seen in my life, stretching mesh underwear, and peri bottles.

10. God’s Strength and Peace

I rely day by day on God’s supernatural strength to keep me going. Mine can only take me so far.

11.  Cell Phone

With a newborn attached to me almost constantly, I sometimes only had one hand available and still wanted to check in with the blogs I follow, work e-mail,  regular e-mail, Instagram, or just check The Bump to read about my baby each week. Oh, and of course, text people a ton of Declan photos.

12. Ugly Betty – A Comfort TV Show

Once my husband was back at work and my sister had to go back to her life, I was all alone with a tiny baby. I was still on the couch most of the day feeding or holding the baby while he slept, and it could get lonely. So I rewatched the entire Ugly Betty series. I had already seen that show at least two times so it felt like having familiar people around. Since I knew everything going on in the show, it didn’t matter if I dozed off with Declan in my arms to catch up on much needed sleep.

I would have liked to be a new mommy who reads while she is nursing, but I was super sleepy and not at all in the mood to attempt to read.

13. Paper Plates and Canned Vegetables

I was kind of a food snob for a few years and refused to eat canned vegetables or use paper plates. I don’t think I ate canned vegetables before Declan was born for at least five years. And I always thought paper plates were a waste of money, since it wasn’t that hard to wash a plate.

But having a baby changed things, as they say. We weren’t on our cooking game, so we ended up throwing away a ton of fresh vegetables that didn’t get cooked in time and then having no vegetables to eat at meal time. Canned veggies stay good for a scary amount of time, so while they aren’t ideal, canned veggies are better than no veggies. Frozen would be good, too.

Also, the paper plates just became a nice, handy vacation away from dishes. Since my to-do list was really short, Dillon got stuck with all the dishes, normally a job I tend to. Paper plates freed him up to spend more time with mama and baby. Paper plates for the win!

14. Salt Lamp

We ended up bed-sharing with Declan. I had a bassinet next to the bed, that was the plan. But when I brought that tiny baby home, it just felt wrong to have him so far from me. 8 months later however… Anyway, with a newborn so close I felt too nervous to have the room completely dark. I had to feed him at least every two hours, if not every hour, and the salt lamp provided the perfect amount of quiet light. Eventually I got skilled enough to feed him in the dark, but at first I needed some light. It also is a dimmer lamp, so I could easily turn it higher if I needed to and didn’t have to have a bright shock of light from a normal lamp.

15. Quick Visits

I loved having people come over to show off my baby. But quick visits were key. As Declan and I got the hang of it, I got better at breastfeeding discreetly in front of people, but for the first few weeks I just needed privacy when feeding him. And breastfeeding under a blanket was really strange… and hot. And disappearing to feed him to a different room for forty minutes made me feel isolated and put under pressure to hurry the feeding up since everyone came over to see the baby. Quick visits were also key because Dillon and I were exhausted new parents and could only entertain for so long.

16. YouTube Sermons

Church was, and still is, a little more complicated with a baby. So it was really nice to have access to sermons from pastors I like on YouTube whenever I needed some truth talked at me.

17. Letting Bad Advice/Comments Go In One Ear and Out The Other…

Babies get people talking. Talking with advice. Talking with their experiences. Talking talking talking. Some harmful words are bound to slip out. Some unwanted, bad advice is bound to slip out. I know family and friends are well-meaning and wouldn’t purposely say things to upset me or steer me in the wrong direction, but I was really hormonal and running on little to no sleep, so I made sure to be selective with which bits of advice/comments I clung to and which I tossed aside quickly.

A lot of times when people were giving me unwanted advice, I would remind them as kindly as possible that I am a new mom and will need to figure some things out through experience, just like they did when they had a baby.

18. Pro-Breastfeeding Friends

I was also given a ton of terrible breastfeeding advice. When I was experiencing problems breastfeeding (major clogging issues around 2-3 months), people who weren’t really pro-breastfeeding were super quick to tell me things like, “you need to give the baby water and juice” or “you’ll never be able to make enough milk so start supplementing with formula” or “you could just stop breastfeeding, you’ll feel a lot of stress gone when you give it up.”  I believe well-meaning comments, but ones I didn’t agree with and needed to ignore.

Thankfully, I had a few friends I would text weekly about how Declan was eating and how breastfeeding was going. I could ask them for advice knowing they had been through it successfully. They encouraged me, made me laugh, and understood why breastfeeding was important for me to try and stick out.

Trust My Gut — I Needed To Do This More

This is one I didn’t do as much as I would have liked.

I second guessed myself a lot. Example — there were a few times where I could tell Declan was hungry, so I would tell whoever was holding him, “I need to feed him, I think he’s hungry.” And they would tell me, “no, I don’t think he is.” And it got super awkward because I didn’t want to demand my baby back… so I would just say, “Umm…okay…?”

Or the same situation but Declan was tired and needed a nap, but people kept wanting to play with him or make him smile… and then he would get crazy grumpy and it took much longer for Dillon or me to get him to sleep.

I did learn to be more vocal once I gained more confidence as a mom. I learned how to sweetly, but sternly say, “my baby is hungry. I need to feed him right now.” I learned how to read Declan’s mood and insist play time was over because it was now baby’s nap time. Being more assertive from the beginning would have taken away some uncomfortable stress.

Anyway, this list could honestly keep on growing because there are so many different ways to help a new mama make the most of  the beautiful but challenging postpartum days. Sunshine is another key ingredient for a happy postpartum. Baby wearing made me feel like supermom.

Overall, I got so much support and Declan got so much love.

That time was a true gift from God.  It was a very sweet, unlike any other.

Mamas, was there anything that helped you have an easier postpartum period? 

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