Saturday, May 28, 2016

Fletcher 1 and 2 Months

I'm sorry, no one told me that time suddenly vanishes after you have a child. Rude. But seriously, where did TWO months go?!? On one hand I feel like Fletcher just got here but on the other I don't even remember what our life was like before him.

Basically we had no idea what the hell we were doing. Jared and I read zero baby books in preparation for our boy's arrival. I think in a lot of ways that helped us because we were not overloaded with information and trying to do so many different things, but I also wish we had known just a little more beforehand. The number one thing: newborns can only stay awake for 45-60 minutes MAX. Yes, this is so true and overstimulation is the realest thing ever. This bit of information would've saved us from a lot of guessing in the beginning.

Eating: Luckily we both took to breastfeeding really well and until 3 weeks Fletcher ate every 2.5 hours on the dot. After his 3 week visit he was gaining enough weight so we moved the schedule to every 3 hours. I also started pumping at 3.5 weeks and at first it was just one pump per day with Jared giving him a bottle for his last feeding before bed. But around 4 weeks he started to scream before and just after latching and we never knew if it was going to be a good nursing session or a frightening one. So we switched to the bottle full time and never looked back. He is much happier with the bottle, probably because he gets it faster and at a more consistent rate. We also never did on demand feedings. We tried to stick as close to the schedule as possible. Now, if he were going through a growth spurt or wanted to eat early obviously I fed him. I quickly learned when he was hungry versus tired.
Sleeping: From the beginning Fletcher has been a "good sleeper" (minus the first 2 nights home from the hospital) We attribute his sleep habits to his chunkiness. We moved him into his crib on day 7 and I think that made a world of difference for all of us. Babies are really loud sleepers in case you didn't know. Weeks 2-4 he went down at about 10pm and woke to eat 1:30-2:30 and 4:30-5:30 like clockwork. We tried a lot of different swaddling techniques during the first month. First I thought he didn't like to have his hands swaddled. False, his hands would wake him up from startling. Then we tried the "swaddle me sleeping pod" and that worked well until he started wiggling his arms out. Finally, there was the Halo sleepsack which got us our first 7 hour stretch! We introduced our nighttime routine around 3.5 weeks which consists of bath, food, book or song, then rocking to sleep. Some naps he would do in his crib but it was hit or miss and a lot of them were taken on my chest those first few weeks.

Activity: refer back to the 45-60 minute rule. When he was nursing, which took about 30-40 minutes every 2.5 hours, he was only awake for maybe 10-15 good minutes before getting fussy. Once we switched to the bottle and realized the timing you could set your watch to his schedule. Now if he starts crying everyone will look at the time and can immediately tell what the deal is. In month one he slept (a lot), really just enjoyed being held and would be pretty upset if you tried to put him down for longer than 5 minutes when he was awake.. He loves being outside and going on walks. Around week 4 we started to get our first smiles. They were far and few between but melted my heart every time.
One Month Picture Recap:

came out expecting some answers

mama's push present. Jared's birthstone (garnet) and diamonds. red and white for life ;)
stole mom's heart
met the fur brothers
battled some serious baby acne
found out Aunt Jules and Uncle Will are having a BOY aka Fletch's bff!
mastered the stank face in several different forms

slept. a lot.
bonded with my best friend, dad

Hey, who were those parents that knew absolutely nothing? haha joking, we still know next to nothing. But, we have started to learn what works for us as a family of three. I wish we could say that we are really great new parents and know all the tricks but it is really him who is just that awesome and chill ;) In all seriousness, there are still hard days but those are becoming really infrequent. We have learned a lot of Fletcher's queues and know how to respond (most of the time).
Eating:full-time bottle-eater and exclusive-pumper over here. I pump three times per day and they are my least favorite parts of the day. I just feel so alone when pumping. Its 30 minutes where I am tied to a machine, can't hold Fletcher and then have to do dishes after, not that fun at all. He is taking 4-6oz per bottle and eating every 3-3.5 hours. The boy loves to eat!
Sleeping: around 5-6 weeks we started getting our first 8 hour stretches at night. The first night he slept through his usual 3am wake up I shot up in shock and checked the monitor to see if he was still breathing. From 6-7 weeks he slept 9:30pm-5am pretty consistently. On week 8 we moved on to the next schedule in our "Moms on Call" book [which is a recommended reading. thank you again Jessie!] so he is now going down between 8/9 and sleeping until 6/6:45. Yes, those are 9 to 10 hour stretches people! There are still some wild nights where he wakes up at 4:30 and wants to eat. Our goal is to get to a 8pm-7am schedule but we aren't trying to push it and are beyond happy with where our almost 9 week old is currently! He takes three 1.5-2 hour naps and one 45 minute catnap before dinner. Napping in the crib the first half of the month was a real struggle but we are happy to report almost all naps are now in the crib! This month we broke down and bought the Ollie swaddle which was a total game changer in the swaddle department. It is made of the softest and most breathable material plus its super stretchy so you can get baby tight, tight, tight! He has only broken out of it a handful of times which were mostly due to my poor securing of it. Finally, we started putting him down in his crib somewhat awake and letting him soothe himself to sleep. It doesn't happen every time and we only do cry it out for about 5 minutes but he is putting himself to sleep and it feels like winning the lottery every time.

Activity: he started cooing and giving us his biggest-gummiest-sweetest smiles around week 6. He has started to enjoy his activity mat which I swore I would never own because they are hideous. Still loves to be outside and has started joining me on my morning runs. I think his favorite part of the day is bath time. He could splash in his little whale tub for hours! He is getting more tolerant of tummy time but still only lasts a couple minutes. He is able to hold his head up really well when being held or sitting in your lap. He gets the cheesiest grin when Jared reads to him at night and it might be the cutest thing I have ever seen. He loves to "talk" to us and wiggles all around.
Two Month Picture Recap:

grew. a lot.

attended uncle Michael's graduation
twinned with dad
mom's first Mother's Day gift
first trip to the beach
bath time serenade 

grew some more
told mom how much I hate tummy time
hung out with dad before work
flirted with the Dr. at my 2 month check up
mastered the art of blowouts

Biggest things I learned from my first two months as a parent:
-a good lactation consultant is worth their weight in gold [Raleigh friends, Heather at Pediatric Partners is ahhhmazing]
-having a mom friend who is similar to you is the best thing you could ever ask for [Thank you Jessie times a million! You, my friend, are wonderful]
-babies cry. Sometimes a lot and sometimes for no reason at all.
-finding support in each other even when said baby is screaming in your ear every night for two weeks straight from 7:30pm-9pm [Jared, you are a trooper. Thank you for dealing with me and all my crazy antics and questions about swaddling and scheduling even though we both have no clue what we are doing half the time. There is no one else I'd rather be with in a zombie apocalypse]
-a positive attitude is a saving grace. Yes, some days are wonderful and Fletcher sticks to his schedule to a tee. Other days are shitstorms (literally) where he wants to cry a lot for no good reason and be held all day [luckily these are seldom]. For me it was taking a deep breath, smiling at my sweet sleeping baby (who refused to nap in his crib for the third time that day), knowing dad will be home to help soon, the day will end and we would get to restart in the morning. It is all a season and one day I will want all that craziness to return.
-people tell you about the love you will have for your child but there is nothing that will prepare you for it. It is this amazing, all-consuming, knock-the-breath-right-out-of-you, heart-swelling, gut-busting, every-second-of-every-day, kind of love.
Fletcher James, you are the best thing that has ever happened to me. You are truly a blessing to me and your dad. I pray that I am the best mother I can be for you. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Fletcher's Nursery

The nursery is hands down my favorite room in the house. While we were piecing it together I knew we would be spending a lot of time in there so I wanted to make sure it would be a comfortable space that we all three loved being in. I also knew that this was going to be one of the last times I would get to pick everything that was going into our child's room because in about four years there will be requests for footballs, airplanes, and racecar bed (just like his dad).
Before we knew the gender of our little babe Jared and I discussed what we each had in mind for the nursery. I believe Jared's first pitch was for an NC State theme with a Carter Finely mural on the wall behind the crib. That was quickly shot down by me (sorry hubs). His next suggestion actually stuck. He said we should do themes for boy or girl based on our favorite childhood Disney movies. Jared's is Fox and Hound and mine is The Little Mermaid. Initially I was picturing cartoon characters all over the walls and absolutely hated that idea. But then I realized we could have that theme without it being so "Disney."

Once we knew we were having a little boy I got to planning the Fox and Hound theme sans cartoon characters. I knew I wanted earthy tones with a woodland feel. I based the room around these prints:
They were all found on Etsy from various sellers. The large white distressed frames are from a clearance sale at a furniture store last year. We just held on to them waiting for the perfect use :) The rest of the frames are from Homegoods of course.
The changing table is actually a hand-me-down from my best friend, Caitlin. Her mom used it for her and her older sister when they were little which makes the dresser almost 32 years old and that much more special to have! I just repainted it white and changed out the knobs, which are actually sticks from out backyard cut down to drawer-pull-size. I almost passed out when I saw that bear hamper in Homegoods. I had been looking for weeks for the perfect hamper for his room when I stumbled upon that gem.  
Since I was planning to breastfeed I knew I need a comfortable glider for nursing Fletcher throughout the day and in the wee hours of the morning. We searched high and low for a reasonably priced, comfortable, functional, and attractive glider. However, that does not exist and the one I fell in love with was way out of our price range. Jared suggested we just recover the old recliner we had sitting in the guest room unused. I was against it at first, naturally, but this is by far the most comfortable chair. All it took was a navy slipcover from Amazon to make mama happy.

The curtain rods are one of my favorite things in the room. They are just sanded down tree branches from the woods in our backyard. I will never forget being huge pregnant walking back there with Jared and Maverick looking for the perfect stick/tree/branch for my insane idea for a curtain rod. I love the way they turned out! 
I picked up this side table at the Restore for $15! I painted it and added drawer pulls to match the changing table/dresser.

The jar on the table is a gift my mom gave me at my baby shower. It is filled with pearls. There is a card attached that gives instructions to remove a pearl from the jar once a week, every week, until Fletcher is 18 years old. It is to remind me to cherish the time I have with my boy each week.
 The closet doors in this room are straight from the 70's. So I jazzed them up a little by painting them a greenish-grey color and framing the doors with wood that I stained and distressed.

The bookshelves turned out just how I had pictured them. I stained and painted the wood to match the wood around the closet and Jared put them together for me. I think we are going to need to add some more shelving because baby boy already has an insane amount of books! 

I had to point out a few of my favorite things on the shelves, the monogrammed wooden rattle and the "Go Wolfpack Go" book. The rattle was a gift from our friend Emily. She knows us so well! The Wolfpack book is from our friend Alyson and will be my new go-to shower gift for our fellow expectant NC State mamas. It is an interactive book that follows Mr and Ms Wuf around campus and Raleigh. It is just too cute! 

The initial letters were one of my other Etsy splurges. Each letter is handmade from driftwood found on the beaches of Rhode Island.
The final piece in the nursery was this cross-stich made by a friend. It is a play on the song "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys." Jared's idea of course. Gotta start em' young ;)

Other miscellaneous things in the nursery:
Target: rug and pouf
Homegoods: toy chest, baskets, lamp, and curtains
Pottery Barn Kids: crib

Then here is a picture of our updated master. This was a surprise facelift for our room in conjunction with the nursery.

And...what is a blog post without pictures of Fletcher?

this was the very first onesie we purchased after finding out we were going to have a baby!

intentional smiling just melts my heart every.single.time.

first trip on to the beach. he loved it!