Sick Baby Survival Tips

I am quickly becoming the number one hater of stomach bugs. Bonnie was sick last weekend with a high temperature, so we took her to the Emergency Room and they gave us some Pedia-lyte and a dose of anti-nausea medicine, and sent us on our way. She perked up after a day or two and we thought that we had beaten this bug.

We were wrong.

Having a sick baby is probably one of the worst things that I have ever experienced in my life. You just feel helpless because you want to take away their pain but there is literally nothing that you can do except keep them hydrated and try to break the fever. Through this horrible experience however, I have found a few things that bring her (and me) some comfort…

1. Bathing together.
Go skinny dipping in your tub with your little one, in some cool or lukewarm water. They feel better because it cools them off, and you feel better because they’re close to you and relaxed. (add bubbles for even more fun!)

2. Take turns.
It is okay to take a break from your baby, even when they are sick. Talk with your partner and get a makeshift schedule with who is on-call at what time. Maybe one of y’all are on duty at night and the other during the day, maybe you switch every couple of hours; either way it’s healthy for both of y’all to get some time to yourselves for a few moments.

3. Make small goals, if any.
Just accept that whatever it is that you had planned is probably not going to happen. It will not be the end of the world, and it is more important to be there for your baby anyway! Plus unless you hang out with no-good people (don’t do that, they’re no good), most people will understand that you’re kinda’ incapacitated for the time being.

4. Take lots of naps.
You need to take care of you, too. When your little one naps, you should too. Whether it’s with them or not, sleep is one of the best things to take care of both of y’all.

These are my top four tips for dealing with your sick nugget, I hope that it helps! For now, Bonnie and I are participating in lots of snuggle and napping sessions… hopefully it works for her!

Lots of love,
Katie

Sick Baby Survival Tips

Coffee For Two / That’s a Lovely Shade of Blue

Hello, 
Today I want to talk about something that often goes unspoken, or only happens to “other people.” I want to talk about Postpartum Depression. I was inspired to share my story after reading the lovely Shiraz In My Sippy Cup‘s post about her battle with depression, today.

One of the first things that they ask you after you push a tiny human being out of your body, is “how are you feeling?” I think that this question is ridiculous because if you were anything like I was after giving birth, you don’t know how you feel…I felt happiness about having this beautiful and healthy baby. I felt angry because hungry and no one would give me the double cheeseburger that I wanted for every meal. I felt sad, and I didn’t know why. I felt scared because I felt sad.
Then they discharge you, and you go home full of hormones, and questions, and fear, and a tiny little human who needs you to survive. Swell.

My mom had planned on being there for me for the first couple of weeks, but she was called away when my stepdad had what was thought to be a medical emergency. So after Christopher went back to work after the weekend, I was alone. All that time that I had wished for my well-wishers to leave me alone in the hospital, I now regretted. I wanted someone to be there. Anyone to be there. When you looked at me on the outside, you would just see a new, sleep-deprived, but happy mama. I would tell everyone how amazing she was, and how much I loved her (which is totally true). But what you wouldn’t see or hear is the paranoia and fear that crippled my mind for months on end, to the point of exhaustion. I would smile and hide my raccoon eyes with a pound of concealer, all while worrying that she might spontaneously stop breathing, or the laundry would go undone forever, or that I would somehow hurt her beyond repair; every single one of these things and more haunted me daily.

I never told Christopher how hard it was on me. I never really told anyone. I was afraid that they would see me as one of those moms who couldn’t hack it, who was a danger to her child. When I went in for my postpartum checkup, they asked me all sorts of questions…
“Have you had thoughts of suicide or harming yourself?” No.
“Have you had thoughts of hurting your child?” God no. That’s what I’m deathly afraid of!
“Are you able to be happy or to find things can make you happy?” Well yes, I guess so.
I passed their line of questioning, because they never asked me the questions that pertained to my situation or my feelings.

So for months on end, I tried to be super mom. I would do all the housework, and my schoolwork, and take care of Bonnie (feeding every 1.5-2 hours mind you), and try to keep up with friends, etc. Breastfeeding was so hard for the first month because I barely had enough energy to keep myself awake, let alone Bonnie. I forgot to eat for whole days because I was just so tired. I was miserable during what should have been one of the happiest times of my life. And at the end of every day, I cried. Some days I cried without knowing why I was crying. I cried because I was sad, and scared, and scared of being sad. I wasn’t just blue, I was depressed.

I’m telling all of y’all this not to scare you, but to tell you that it is okay to feel this way. It is okay to have feelings and not know why you have them. It is okay to vulnerable and need someone to help you. It is NOT okay, to suffer in silence and leave all of that weight on your shoulders.

If you are feeling, or have felt anything that I have described above, please take time to…

1. Talk to someone, whether a friend, loved one, or professional. 
I talked to my husband finally, and to my sweet cousin who checked in on me all of the time. (Thanks Desi – you rock!)
2. Have some alone time.
Whether that’s just going to the grocery store, on a walk, getting your nails done, or a nice long bath – you deserve time to yourself and it does not make you a bad mother.
3. Give yourself a little grace.
You are not and can not be a perfect person. Something has to give – let the laundry go, or better yet get someone to do it for you. It is okay to ask for help around the house and with baby. That’s why the saying “it takes a village” exists!

I hope that this post will help some of y’all in your postpartum journeys, and lives in general. If you are ever feeling a little off, or just can’t shake off feeling down, PLEASE talk to someone. I love y’all and hope that your days are bright and easy!

Lots of love,
Katie

Coffee For Two / That’s a Lovely Shade of Blue

Happy Half Birthday! / 6 Months

Happy half-birthday, Bonnie!
Excuse me while I cry it out in the corner, over here. My baby, who I most certainly gave birth to yesterday, is somehow SIX MONTHS OLD. HALF A YEAR. What is going on, and why did no one consult with me first?
I am NOT okay with this. She needs to stay my chunky little nugget for forever. I insist.
Okay, I guess that she’s become a pretty cool little person over these six months. She loves to sing really, really loud. She is a mean, not-green, rolling machine. She can grab her bottles and her paci by herself and successfully get it into her mouth with a ninety-percent accuracy rate. She figured out that she has feet at the end of her legs…and that she likes to try and get them into her mouth. She loves to pet/pull out Osito’s coat, and try to hug him. She just recently has started grabbing peoples’ faces and feeling the different parts (i.e. she will stab you in your corneas with her little, sharp fingernails). She likes to eat bananas, and avocados…but not too sold on zucchini yet. She likes to hold hands with you while she naps and will – in fact – notice when you take your hand away to go lay her down. She has developed a laugh, especially when you tickle her or blow raspberries on her tummy. She is ALMOST crawling, and can sit up for short periods of time by herself (EEK!)
 She already has such a sweet and curious personality, and I can’t wait to see it in action.


Bonnie Grace
6 months old.
16lbs 10oz & 27 inches long.
Loves; rolling all over the place, eating her hands and feet, jumping in her exersaucer, taking walks with Mommy, talking gibberish, and bathtimes in the big bathtub with Mommy.
Hates; cutting teeth, not being able to crawl yet, taking naps, when Mommy doesn’t go fast enough on our adventures outside, and when Osito runs away from her.

Happy Half Birthday! / 6 Months

Motherhood Moment: Your First Trip to the ER

Your first trip to the ER, oh joy.
I knew that this day would come. I knew that there would one day be a late night emergency – yours was a spiking fever and “Poltergeist” level puke session – that called for me to frantically put on pants and try and cram every possible thing that you might need into a bag…

And I still forgot something.

Last night was our first late night sprint down stairs and into our truck, while trying not to jostle you the whole way. It was not the first time that you have covered my shirt in spit-up, but the first that I was concerned about.
Your dad and I both questioned the sanctity of our laws the whole way to the hospital…

“Should I run this red light?”
“I don’t need to wear my seatbelt, I need to sit with her!”
“Should I run that red light?”

When we finally got to the Emergency Room I’m sure that I setting the newest fashion trend of jacked up hair, crying eyes, and pajamas. Your dad had to make me breathe a few times… and tell me not to cry (which did NOT work). You laid like a chubby, little rag-doll on my chest while we waited for someone to tell us to come back to the room with the tiny window.

I lost it again. Briefly.

When your temperature was taken and your pulse read, you looked at me with those big, beautiful eyes like a puppy on an ASPCA commercial. The only reason that I did not cry was because I had to answer 3549254960.986 questions from the kind nurse, who was humoring my meltdown-mommy brain… and the fact that you were still coming up on seventeen pounds even after puking up a bucket load of yuck (way to go breastmilk).

When we got to our room, we snuggled. And snuggled some more.
We prayed as a family that it wouldn’t be anything serious – you chimed in with a hearty growl.
We waited.

The doctor came in and moved quickly… He checked your sad little eyes, your perfect ears, your pouty-lipped mouth, and listened to your tiny, chubby chest. When he said that you looked great I remembered how to breathe.

Some anti-vomiting meds, a good nursing session, and some pedialite kept down later, and we were more than ready to go home. You were tuckered out by the bright lights and excess attention.
The way home was much smoother and slower than the route to the hospital. No one questioned red lights or seatbelts. No one had to breathe calmly.

As soon as we were home, your daddy and I prayed again. Thanking God for keeping you safe yet again. We are blessed beyond measure.
Your sleeping little body curled up in my arms, as we climbed into our bed. You seemed happy to be with us tonight. I was happy that you were sleeping.

I knew that this day would come, I just didn’t want it to. I know that another day will come again and it will be worse, you will be worse. But I also know that we are blessed and highly favored, and that I do not need to fear.

I also know that I will always be that crazy lady in the ER, clutching you close and kissing your head.
I love you, little girl. You can puke on me anytime.

Lots of love,
Katie

Motherhood Moment: Your First Trip to the ER

My Life as a Lactivist

Hey there, friends!
I hope that y’all all are having a wonderful weekend and are enjoying the last of your Spring Breaks! I am a little melancholy today because my sweet little newborn (that I definitely had yesterday) is turning six whole months old on Monday! How did this happen and why wasn’t I consulted about it?

These last six months have been the most difficult, rewarding, challenging, and amazing six months of my life. I have learned so many things, both about parenting and about myself. Six months of changing diapers, sleepless nights, amazing milestones, and breastfeeding. Breastfeeding, by far, has been one of the biggest aspects of my new life as a mother. These last six months, breastfeeding has been a daily ritual that not only nourishes B, but has built this incredible bond between the two of us. As someone who has gone through the ups and downs of self esteem and not being able to love my body, breastfeeding – and motherhood in general – has given me a new appreciation for what I, and my body, can do. All of these amazing things are the reason that I feel so strongly about the right to feed in public, without scorn or conflict from my peers.

Nursing at home in our room.

I am lucky to have an amazing husband who agrees with me that breastfeeding is something that is natural and normal. He doesn’t ask me to cover up when we are in public, and never makes me feel like I am doing something scandalous or weird. Unfortunately, the majority of the other people that we encounter do not feel the same way. This Spring Break, we took a trip to visit Christopher’s grandparents in west Texas. If you’re unfamiliar with the territory, it’s a fairly conservative and old-school place; you mind your p’s and q’s and cover up. So when we were out and about and it came time for Little Miss to eat, I was met with “maybe you should go to the bathroom,” and “can you go somewhere else, maybe the car?”
No, I shouldn’t and can’t.

On the road again! Roadtripping out west!

In that moment I was filled with hot anger and embarrassment. I was angry because I was made to feel embarrassed and wrong for wanting to stay in my seat and eat, while I fed my child in my lap. I was angry that so many women encounter this sort of response daily, and are made to hide in corners of bathrooms or wear tarps over their necks to cover up the sliver of skin that might show. I wanted to tell these people that feeding my child was more important to me than their opinion of me. I wanted to tell them that God made my body in his image and that it was good, not dirty. I wanted to tell them that He blessed me with a body that has the ability to nourish my child.
But I didn’t.

During my short time here on Earth, I have realized that beating people upon their brow about your beliefs  is an ineffective method of changing peoples’ minds. So, instead of telling them off, I decided that the best method of attack would be to kill them with kindness. I decided to enjoy the beautiful day, and to not let other peoples’ negativity ruin my day or make me feel small. Bonnie and I nursed in peace out on the patio, unaware that there was anyone else was there.

The first “brelfie” that I ever took.

If you’re a nursing mother, and someone tries to make you feel small or tries to embarrass you, remember that you have the right to be wherever you are. You are doing right by your child and that is all that you are required to do in this life. Don’t let small-minded individuals take your happiness away. Fight the good fight!

Lots of love,
Katie

My Life as a Lactivist

Tips for a Thrifty Baby

Howdy, everyone!
So sorry for my extended hiatus, I have been removed from the world of WiFi for the last week and just got back home yesterday evening – it is good to be back! While I was away, my newly-bumping friend texted me asking me to help her with her baby registry. Like many new mommies, she was overwhelmed by everything available and the high costs of most of the baby gadgets, and wanted to know what she would or would not most likely use (in my humble opinion). Our conversation gave me the idea to create a little buying-guide to help some of y’all save money on your priceless little ones!

1. Cloth diapering.
I know, I know… when I say cloth diapering, the image that pops up in most of y’all’s mind is a baby with a wet nappie safety pinned together. Well my friends, cloth diapering has come a loooong way since those days! (see my previous post about how nifty and cool they are now) Although more expensive up front, you can save up to or more than $1,000 a year. Also, to save even more money, you can store them in a dry container and use them again if you plan on having more children.

2. If you simply can’t cloth diaper…
I cannot stress this enough. Cutesy baby clothes and gadgets are great, but the biggest item on your registry should be diapers. Not just newborn diapers either. Make sure to ask for newborn through three months – at least. One way to ensure that your supply will be stocked, is by having a “diaper party” in lieu of a more traditional shower (or in addition to if you’re lucky!). A diaper party is simply where you have your guests over to your house, or wherever you so choose, and they bring a package of diapers for your bundle of joy. They can be coed, and are normally more casual than what we might think of with a formal shower. But seriously, get a stockpile. And baby wipes. Those too.

3. Take advantage of freebies and coupons.
Many hospitals gift you some complimentary baby gear just for popping out a person in their facility! Be sure to ask your physician what to expect from the hospital before you buy anything! Our hospital gave us a nifty little goodie bag with a diaper bag, a few bottles of newborn Similac supplement, gift cards for a canopy carseat cover, wrap, and maternity bra, and a freezer bag for bottles. So sweet!

4. Breastfeed for as long as possible…
If you’re not able to exclusively nurse, look into buying an electric breast pump. They run anywhere from $100 – $400, but thanks to the Affordable Care Act, many insurance companies will issue you a full refund for a top-of-the-line pump! If breastfeeding isn’t the cards for you, buy your formula in bulk (your diapers too!). Look into your local Sam’s Club or Costco and see what their formula deals are… or look online for deals! Diapers.com is a great place for bulk-shopping!

5. When you can, buy used or take hand-me-downs, and DIY!
If you have someone in your life that has had kids recently, or you have a reputable, gently-used baby store in your area, utilize it! Go every so often and check out their sales, and get on their mailing list. I was lucky enough to have some AMAZING people in my life who so graciously donated their gently-loved items to us! Also, I found some very crafty ideas online about how to DIY many of the things in Bonnie’s nursery… like her mobile!

I hope that this helps y’all cut out the excess! I know that it’s so tempting to want your little one to be dressed Pinterest-worthy all the time, or have an over-the-top nursery, but your baby is going to be so beautiful that all of that stuff doesn’t matter! So don’t worry, having a baby will NOT leave you broke… in fact it will make you feel more whole than you ever have. If you have any more helpful tips to save on your bundle of joy, let me know in the comments!

Lots of love,
Katie

Tips for a Thrifty Baby

Sling Diaries / A Day In My Life

A sad, little whimper creeps into my sleeping ears.
I am catapulted from my slumber, instantly alert and searching for you.
I drag my tired body with all of the purpose I can muster to you, who is still half asleep searching for me in your crib.
Wasting no time, I scoop you into my arms and hold you to my heart, as I carry you to our chair; the chair that you seem to outgrow each time we sit to nurse, or read, or just rock.
You reach up to hold onto my finger as you nurse, and it makes my eyes water from joy. I relish in these moments that you want to be close to me, for I know that there will come a day when you will not.

For now, I choose not to think about the future. Or the past. Or anything that is not this moment that you and I are existing in. I breathe deeply and soak you in. You are magnificent.
I can see the sleepy look in your eyes return, but you fight it off; it is morning and it is time to be awake. You always hate missing out, or at least thinking that you are missing out.
I sing to you our morning song, and kiss your tiny fingers and toes. Please don’t grow up.
You giggle and caress my face as I smother you with a thousand kisses. You can stay this sweet forever.

Soon we are playing on the floor, rolling around like there aren’t a million things on my chore list for the day. But you tell me to let them wait, they do not matter today. Today we are exploring. Today we are making memories.

I am torn between never wanting this day to end and cherishing each day that you discover something new; I want you to stay my little one forever, but I love to watch you grow into this amazing and beautiful little person.
I wonder what you think when we take our walk in the park. What is the world like to you? My head is filled with worries and anxiety, but your tiny, fuzzy head nestled underneath my chin melts it all away. In this moment I am a mother, your mother. I will always be your mother.
Motherhood is a constant state in which I am both in terror and overwhelmed with joy at the possibilities that make up our days. It is the greatest and most difficult thing that I have ever done and ever will do.

By the end of the day, we return back to where our time began this morning. Back to the chair where I know that I have to put you down in your bed, but listening to your soft breaths against my face and feeling your hand tangled in my hair make me want to never let you go. Each day I feel this way. Each day of my life I don’t want it to end because I can’t get enough of this. This time with you. Every day I have everything I want, because I have you. Today was the best day.


This is my entry for the Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries, and I hope that y’all like it.

Lots of love,
Katie

Sling Diaries / A Day In My Life

Please, Take My Wedding Gown

Hey there, folks!
My wedding gown is beautiful. I found it three weeks before my wedding, off the rack at a David’s Bridal here in town. It was the third dress that I tried on and I just knew that this was the one. I walked down the aisle in my gown on one of the best days of my life. I danced the night away and clomped through the grass for Pinterest-worthy wedding photos. I love my wedding gown. 

An actual candid moment whilst taking a million staged photos.

But today, I am giving it away.
Before you get worried, me and the hubby are fine! Better than fine! He is so wonderful that he even supports me giving my dress away (which if you knew him would be miraculous because he is a straight-up hoarder)! By now I’m sure some of y’all are wondering why and to whom I am giving my wedding gown to… 

I am giving my wedding gown to NICU Helping Hands’ Angel Gown Program; a program in which they take the dress that you wore on the best day of your life, and turn it into a dress for a grieving family’s angel baby on the worst day of theirs. On their website, it says…

“NICU Helping Hands’ Angel Gown® Program began in 2013 because we recognized there was an overwhelming need for better support for families who lost a baby. Our Angel Gown® Program provides comfort for bereaved families through the gift of a beautiful custom made gown for final photos and for burial services. We provide support resources and mentoring programs for bereaved families as well. There is no greater gift that can be given to a grieving family than affirming the importance of the life of their child by offering the simple gift of our Angel Gown® and supporting them emotionally and educationally afterwards.”

I have been blessed in my life that my baby is healthy and strong, and has had no substantial health issues in her short life. I cannot imagine what it is like to lose a child. I cannot imagine what that parent feels and goes through every single day. One of my mommy-mentors, whom I am deeply blessed to call my friend, lost one of her twins in utero. The other fought for her little life in the NICU after being born very early, and is now a beautiful, precocious little girl. It is in her honor that I wanted to do this, because she is truly a magnificent person. She is an amazing mother to three little ones, and is the very essence of grace and faith. Her love for her family is only eclipsed by her love of God. I am so thankful that she is my friend, and that she has supported me and loved me when I needed it most. 

To all of those amazing women who have felt that loss and have angel babies; you all are still mothers. Y’all are courageous, and strong, and every night I pray for you and your families. Thank you to NICU Helping Hands for letting me be apart of this amazing program, and for having this free service in general.

If any of y’all are interested, you can go to their website and look at all of the ways that you can help out. They are currently full of dresses – thanks be to God! – but there are so may other ways to help this amazing cause!

Lots of love, 
Katie

Please, Take My Wedding Gown

I’ve Said it Once / Treat Yo’ Self

Hidey-ho there, folks!
Is that the correct spelling of “hidey-ho”? Oh well. Hello there, anyhow! I am sending y’all all good vibes and happy thoughts out there today, in hopes that you have a marvelous Sunday. Why am I in such a peppy mood, you ask? Well, it’s because I took the advice (again) of some of my favorite fictional people, that I am still pretty emotional about their show ending (curse you Parks & Rec for taking them away from me!), to take some time to treat myself. If any of you have watched the show, “Parks & Recreation”, you might be familiar with the saying. The idea is that when you work hard and do well, you deserve to take a little time to yourself and do what you want to do, or in their case buy very expensive items (I didn’t follow this trend).

As a new mama, I can say that I have never been more worn out in my entire life. Ever. Balancing all of my responsibilities as a student, wife, mother, friend, anal-retentive clean-freak, daughter, sister, etc., is really starting to weigh one me. I also have this horrible habit of drowning in mom-guilt whenever I feel like I may need a little time to myself; so I rarely ask for it/take it. Well, today I decided that it was okay for me to get out of the house for a couple of hours to treat myself….

My girl, Victoria, worked some serious magic!

A little background info on me, I am from Texas. In Texas, we like to get our hair done. Preferably with enough volume and tease that we scrape the clouds of Heaven as we walk by. I am no exception to this stereotype; one of my favorite luxuries in this world is getting my hair done. So, with that said, can you guess what I did to treat myself today?

I went to Starbucks!

And then I got my hair done. (Haha, I got you there for a minute!)

All of the stresses and worries of my world faded away this morning as I sipped my Hazelnut Macchiato, with extra espresso because it is my life-blood at this point, while my amazing hairstylist worked her magic! As I sat in the chair while my color started working (I am getting gray hairs y’all, motherhood is aging me), I thought about how nice it is to just take some time to take care of myself for a little while. As selfish as it may sound, it felt good to not be needed for anything or expected to do anything, just for a couple of hours.

I think as mothers we have a tendency to wear all of the hats, all of the time; which is sure to burn us out in some form or fashion. Yes, mamas are superheroes. Moms are amazing. But, moms are human and somewhere at some time, we need a break time too! For those of you out there who are new mommies, soon-to-be-mommies, or just moms who are feeling overwhelmed; it is okay to say, “Hey I need a little me time.” No one will fault you. Think of it this way… when you’re in an airplane emergency, they always say to put on your mask first so that you have the ability to help others around you. While sacrificing yourself for the good of others is basically the un-acknowledged definition of motherhood, you have to take care of you to be able to take care of others.

So, to all of y’all out there; you have my permission to treat yo’ selves! Even if it is just a walk outside, or a trip to the grocery store alone, or grabbing a coffee to fuel you for the battles later that day; go do something for YOU. You deserve it, mama. You rock.

Lots of love,
Katie

I’ve Said it Once / Treat Yo’ Self

Five Months

Howdy, everyone!
I hope that y’all are all staying warm and dry in this arctic attack! Today I am blessed to be toasty and snuggled up with my big FIVE MONTH OLD. Oh my goodness! Where has the time gone? She still rolls all over the place… including her crib now. She rolls over and sleeps on her tummy on her own. She is still working on sitting up, although she tends to lean over to far forward and hits her head on her toes. She has tried her first few bites of food, and we are starting to work it into her diet more often. And she is starting to get some of her first teeth!
It has been a whirlwind this month with all of the new developments in her little life… she even looks like she’s grown up! As she grows more and more, it becomes more exciting every day that she discovers new things and interacts/plays with us more. Next month she will be half a year old – I am debating on whether this calls for a half-birthday party or not (if you don’t think it’s a good idea…keep it to yourself!)

Bonnie Grace
5 months old.
15lbs 8oz & 26 inches long.
Loves; rolling all over the place, eating her hands and feet, jumping in her exersaucer, taking walks with Mommy, and talking gibberish.
Hates; cutting teeth, not being able to crawl yet, taking naps, and when Mommy doesn’t go fast enough on our adventures outside.

Five Months