Back to Reality

I went back to work on Monday. I’m pretty sure those were the shortest 12 weeks in the history of time. I originally intended to blog SO MUCH during maternity leave, but you know what? I really just focused on spending time with my family, and that didn’t seem to include much time on the computer…. and that is just fine. I was super intentional during these weeks to soak up the sweet new baby-ness of Ford, and that’s exactly what happened. You guys, I am so in love with that baby boy. I think because it had been four years since we had a baby, I was so ready to do it all again. I know some people are the total opposite, that once they get out of the baby game, they don’t want to go back. Something about it seemed so refreshing and new, and Ford feels so much like a missing piece that’s finally put into place.

Trevor has made similar comments, as well, just how different this time felt. I think with Knox, we were the typical first-time parents, overthinking everything and stressed out way too much. With Brody, we felt like we were drowning, chasing a toddler and then dealing with this tiny screaming person that never slept. Ford seemed to come at just the right moment to catch us in a comfortable season- we know what we’re doing, but we’re far removed enough from the baby/toddler years that it all seems fun again. It’s been such a joy.

Everyone asks us “how is life with three?” or “has it been a lot harder adding a third?” Truthfully, three is pretty darn amazing. Ford is a sweet, squishy little guy, and I could kiss his little fat cheeks all day long. He’s pretty happy (unless he’s hungry or deems it necessary to nurse… which is often!), and he is easy to please most of the time. The transition back to work was hard. I cried for a few days prior and leaving him about killed me. Luckily, I was passing him off to Trevor and/or my mom, so that made things way easier than they could have been if he had to go to daycare. Basically, Trevor keeps Ford (and the big boys) on his off days (two out of three days), and my mom keeps them when Trevor’s on-shift. Knox is in kindergarten from about 7:30 to 2:30, and Brody is in preschool from 8:30 to 11:30. I pick Brody up from preschool (at the church where I work), and I take him home on my lunch break. So, I am able to see and nurse Ford at lunch, which is SO nice. That has honestly saved me when it comes to having to leave him. Knowing I only have to go a few hours instead of eight is a big deal. I am pumping twice a day at work, which isn’t nearly as annoying as I thought it would be. I think a lot of that is because I have oversupply and overactive letdown, so it takes me literally five minutes to pump 12 ounces. So, that’s pretty nice.

Now, onto Ford himself. This kid is huge. I think he’s probably 16-ish pounds. He was 14 at his two month visit, and he’s days away from being three months old. He’s wearing size six to nine month clothes and filling them out WELL. His sweet little chubby legs are still too short for those sizes, though, so all of his pants get cuffed. He eats about every two hours (or more if he wants to, I nurse on demand). He’s in a size two diaper. He has cheeks for days. He takes a few really good naps a day- his big morning nap varies from two to four hours, and his late afternoon nap is about two to three, depending. He cat naps throughout the day, and he’s not on a schedule yet. He wakes up a couple times at night to nurse, down to about two or three, which to me, is very doable since we co-sleep.

He loves to look at lights and ceiling fans, and he LOVES his brothers. Knox and Brody both make him smile just by looking at him. For some reason, the sound of blowing raspberries with our lips makes him shake his head back and forth. I have no idea why, but it’s so funny! He prefers to be glued to me, and he likes the car much more than he did in the beginning!! He’s becoming a much easier traveler when we go to stores, etc. and tends to snooze as long as we go during his napping times. I think that’s enough information to inundate you with for now, and here’s about one billion pictures since it’s been so long since I blogged!

This was an afternoon trip to the zoo- Ford’s first visit (he slept through the whole thing)

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“Oh Baby Ford, he’s super cute” is Brody’s new refrain. We hear it at LEAST 20 times a day. No really.

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This face.

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My mom (Gigi) and Ford with his squishy sleep mouth

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This is my great-aunt, and she’s the one Ford is named for (Bradford is her last name). I adore her, and I hope I’m as spry as she is at 92!

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Easter egg decorating with Knox and Brody

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I love this smile on Knox’s face. He LOVED his Easter outfit, which cracked me up.

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Easter Sunday with my boys

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Ford’s fan club on Easter evening

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This is Brody’s favorite shirt right now. His “chicken shirt.” Brody has intense feelings on his shirts.

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Superheroes and football players. They hang out and play catch.

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Typical Ford posture: chubby hands together, cheeks everywhere.

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He was thrilled to suck on Sophie’s ear.

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Not so thrilled when he realized nothing came out of it.

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How I Became a Minivan Mom (aka the end of all things as we know it)

So, life with three kids is pretty amazing. The biggest difference was our travel situation. We had finagled three car seats into the backseat of my Ford Edge (two Radians and a Chicco KeyFit 30). They fit, but man alive it was TIGHT. I didn’t love how snug things were back there, in terms of the seat installation, and let’s not even talk about how annoying it is to buckle in kids when you’re having to lean over one to reach another. We’d been talking about a new car for a while, but we were pretty (read: extremely) upside-down in my car and would have to make a humongous down payment. We wanted to wait a while to see if it was really something we wanted to do before forking over that much money.

Well.

I’ve never been more thrilled to give someone all of my money. Except maybe when I got an epidural. After a few weeks of three in a row (more power to those of you that make that set-up work for your families!), I had enough. So, we sucked it up and laid down some moo-lah and became the proud owners of this:

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Y’all, never say never. I swore up and down that I would NEVER EVER EVER drive a minivan. Funny thing happens when you add a third kid to the mix, you guys. Just combine amazing safety ratings, tons of space and a billion amenities for a family and you get a brand-new appreciation for all things uncool and mommy-like. I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing it is. Like, I am obsessed with this minivan. I  went to the car dealership and was all “power doors, GET IN MY LIFE.” The convenience so far outweighs the cool factor, I can’t even. The children have room. There is no poking of one another or choruses of “he’s took my toy!” They can’t touch each other if they want to, which, thank you so much, Toyota. Knox sits in the way-back and can now buckle himself in and out of his car seat (life-changing, I tell you). Brody and Ford sit in the bucket seats in middle. I sit in the drivers seat and sing the praises of Japanese auto makers. I have Bluetooth. I can talk on the phone as if by magic without touching anything. I can stream music without plugging anything in. There are two glove boxes. There are air vents everywhere. Our floor mats are all-weather, which means you can hose them off if someone vomits or poops on them – there is even room to change a diaper on the floor without having to put your baby under the drivers seat. And don’t even get me started on the back-up camera. I can park correctly for the first time in my life.  It’s like a whole new world.

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The moral of this story? Give in to the magic. Minivans are awesome. All the cool people think so.

P.S. Here is an obligatory cute baby picture of my TWO MONTH OLD. How the heck did that happen in five minutes?!

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My Baby Must-Haves (Newborn Edition)

I feel that after three babies, I have a pretty good handle on what newborn items are needed and which ones are unnecessary or just trendy. With a four year gap between Brody and Ford, lots of new things have come out, so it’s been fun to give some of those a try. We didn’t go crazy buying things this time around, which was pretty refreshing. I knew the basics of what I loved before and based my shopping off of that. We got rid of EVERYTHING after Brody because we were “so sure” that he was our last kiddo. Ha. Ha ha ha ha! So aside from the obvious baby clothes, crib, car seat and diapers, here are my favorite, absolute must-have baby items:

The New Stuff:

Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper

You guys. This thing is magical and glorious. We didn’t have one with the bigger boys, and I knew I had to try it out with Ford. So many of our friends told us “you have to get one!” that we were curious about it. We got the automatic version, which rocks itself, and I’d highly recommend springing for that upgrade. Ford sleeps in this thing for hours a day, and the subtle movement is just enough to keep him soothed to sleep if he wakes up mid-nap. I give this sucker an A++, and it’s probably my new favorite baby item ever.

 

 

Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddle Blanket

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I can’t even with that smirk. See, Ford is also a fan of Aden + Anais.

I know these are expensive for swaddling blankets, but there’s a reason. They are AMAZING. These blankets are the softest things ever- they’re so lightweight and won’t make your baby sweat but keep them tightly swaddled. If you’re in the market for some, keep an eye out at TJ Maxx- I got them there for just $25 instead of the $40 you pay at big box retailers. I had seen them when I first got pregnant and didn’t buy any- I went back a few times before they re-stocked and grabbed a pack immediately! These are also great gifts because everyone having a baby would be able to use these things and love them.

 

 

 

 

 

The Solly Baby Wrap

Please excuse my tired, non-make-upped face... but yay for this cute wrap!

Please excuse my tired, non-make-upped face… but yay for a cute baby in a wrap

I wanted to like baby wearing with Knox and Brody. Really. But every single carrier or wrap I tried made me sweat to death. I am so hot natured, and so are my kids, so nothing was worth using long-term. I knew that with a third baby, baby-wearing would be a huge must, so I set out to find a perfect baby wrap. I kept seeing the Solly Wrap on Instagram and thought it may be the one, then, I saw that my friend Sara had one and she confirmed that it was awesome. It’s incredibly lightweight and soft- reminds me a lot of the Aden + Anais blankets- and easy to tie. Ford passes out when I put him in there, but I do have to give him a pacifier, otherwise he roots around like crazy being so smooshed against his food source! I really can’t recommend this wrap more highly.

 

 

 

 

Honest Company EVERYTHING

content_desktop-1b7cf792-8ee7-408d-872c-0b003cf26414I am super cognizant of chemicals and toxins in everyday products, foods, etc. I care a great deal about food quality, organics and doing things as naturally as possible. The Honest Company wasn’t as prevalent when Knox and Brody were babies, so I never tried their stuff until recently. We use their shampoo, lotion, wipes and diapers for Ford, and everyone in our family uses the very same shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, etc. which makes re-ordering and shopping in general so easy! I check all of my personal care products in the Environmental Working Group “Skin Deep” database before purchasing them, and all of the Honest personal care products we use rank “1” which is the best and lowest indicator of unnatural ingredients in a product. The scents are all from essential oils and are so light and natural- I hate strong-smelling products but still like a little fragrance, so this is a plus for me.

We tried their free trial pack first, which you only pay $6 for shipping and get five bottles of sample products. If you like them, you can order a bundle, which is the BEST value for your buck. They’re $35 a month and include five products of your choice. Considering just a bottle of the shampoo is $10 at Target, this is already a great deal. Then, when you consider things like laundry detergent (72 load bottle) can be included in your bundle of five, the savings increases even more. You get a discount on your first bundle, so I bought tons of extras (also at a discount) to try that first month. We have now tried and loved: shampoo, lotion, conditioner, bubble bath, organic body oil (was amazing for my itchy pregnant belly), bathroom cleaner, multipurpose cleaner, laundry detergent, hand sanitizer, wipes, diapers and hand soap. The only thing I have tried and haven’t loved is their dishwasher detergent- it works fine and is the best “natural” cleaner I’ve tried, but I still can’t find a natural option that beats Finish tabs for getting dishes really clean. If you want to try a bundle, click here to try it– you can change your products every month, depending on what you need- and you can change your shipping frequency if you don’t need things as often. I highly recommend it!!

Tried and True Favorites

Medela Pump-in-Style Breast Pump

81eryoA2dPL._SX522_This pump. It’s awesome. When I go back to work, I’ll be having to pump twice a day, so I knew I would get another Medela pump. I used this same model with both Knox and Brody, and it is effective, easy to use and reliable- all qualities you need in a pump.

 

 

Lansinoh Breast Pads

51BQYc9EbmLThese are the very best, most absorbent breast pads I’ve used. I really hate having to use disposables, but I have oversupply and leak like crazy the entire time I nurse (as in over a year… every day… all the time). I’m jealous of those people who stop leaking after the first few weeks! I’ve tried all of the “amazing” washable pads and end up with a wet shirt in a few hours. I’ve had lots of recommendations for Bamboobies, so that will be my last shot before I give up! But as far as disposables go, these Lansinoh pads WORK. They are less visible than most brands I’ve used, they do not leak and they are soft. Plus, you can find them almost everywhere, even Publix.

 

 

Boppy Pillow

IMG_0903Yes, you need one of these. The Boppy pillow is such a convenience before babies can sit up- it helps prop them up and keeps them from rolling away or tipping over. We used ours until it was nearly flat with Knox and Brody- the newer models are “fluffier” than the old ones were, so I foresee this one lasting a long time!

 

 

 

And a Diaper Trial

I’m currently doing an experiment with disposable diapers. I’m trying to find a more natural diaper that 1) doesn’t leak 2) is soft and 3) won’t break the bank. I seriously thought about cloth diapering again, but working full-time, having three kids and endless laundry already, I decided that it really wasn’t an option, even though I LOVED it when I did it before. So. Disposables it is. So far, I have tried: Pampers Swaddlers (no, not the most eco-friendly, but also not the worst out there), Honest Company, Earth’s Best and Bambo Nature. I don’t hate any of them, but I will say, the Bambo Nature are amazingly soft for a disposable because they’re made of bamboo. They’re also the most expensive of the lot and have to be ordered online. I’ll let you guys know what I decided after a bit more experimenting!

So that’s my short list of must-have products for a newborn… I’ll likely do another version when he’s a bit older and we delve into more “stuff.” What’s your favorite/must-have baby item??

Ford’s Newborn Session (& Due Date)

Today is Ford’s due date: Valentine’s Day. I always had the 18th in my head as his “real” due date, but the doctor’s office insisted on the 14th… after a few months, I gave in to their date since he always measured ahead anyway. It’s hard to believe that today he’d be 40 weeks gestation and has been with us for nearly three weeks. And even though it’s only been three weeks, it feels like he’s always been here.

He’s a sweet, sleepy baby. He definitely thinks the afternoon is night and sleeps sometimes four hours straight heading into evening. At night, he was waking up every two to three hours… until I tried co-sleeping with him. When he’s nestled next to me, he’ll go four hours straight. Co-sleeping for the win! He definitely loves to eat and would do that every waking second, if I allowed it. He’s staying awake for longer, now, during his alert hours, which are generally first thing in the morning and early evening.

We had his newborn photo session when he was one week old, and we got them back this week. I am so in love with these- my friend, Candice, took them and did a great job. It took about two hours of posing, re-situating, calming, nursing, pee clean-up, etc. to get these pictures- I never knew how much work went into newborn photography! Without further ado: here are a few of my favorites:

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IMG-60 IMG-62Happy due date, sweet cheeks. I love you more than I could ever say.

Two Weeks

The last two weeks have been a blur- a haze of sweet baby smells, sleepless nights and forgetting what day/time it is. It’s been amazing. The first night home from the hospital last week, I lay Ford in his Rock ‘n Play, looked at that beautiful sleeping face and just cried. Trevor saw me and asked “happy cries, right?” The very happiest. There have been moments of holding and nursing this sweet baby where I think my heart may explode, and I tell him, “I couldn’t be any happier than I am right now.” Things are messy and hectic and sleepy, but that’s par for the course with a newborn. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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The postpartum phase has been easiest this time, I think. I barely had any pain after delivery, aside from the cramping that’s expected (and apparently gets worse with each child you have, according to the nurses). I never took anything stronger than a Motrin, and have felt great. I dropped weight almost overnight and am just about five pounds shy of pre-pregnancy weight. Thanks, gluten-free diet! I have a little bit of extra fluff around the midsection, but it has shrunk faster than both of my previous pregnancies, which makes me happy. I haven’t experienced much in the way of postpartum anxiety or depression like before, granted I am currently on Zoloft, so I figured it would help keep that at bay. I have had some mild anxiety, but nothing compared to how I was after Brody’s birth. Hopefully that continues! I did find out the day after I had Ford that I’ll be on Lovenox injections again for six weeks postpartum. YAY. Apparently the clot risk is still high while my hormones are elevated, so it’s back to needles in the stomach. I had two days with no shots, and they were pretty nice!

Breastfeeding has been going amazingly well. It’s definitely the hardest with your first baby, and then with each progressive baby, the pressure and stress is less and less. I know what I am doing, and I am not as tempted to worry or freak out over supply, etc. as I would have been the first time around. Though I do need to bust out the pump more often to get a freezer stash built up, but I have ten more weeks of maternity leave to make that happen. I do need to find some good reusable breast pads- I have oversupply, so I leak a ton the entire time I nurse. I hate using disposables, but so far, they’re the only things that don’t leak. Recommend your favorites to me if you have them!

Knox and Brody have embraced Ford from the second they met him, which by the way, was one of the best moments of my life to date. Seeing their smiling faces come into the hospital room and see them look at their baby brother for the first time, well, it was enough to make me burst from the sheer love of them. Brody immediately asked to hold him, so both boys climbed up in the hospital bed with me and took turns. Brody first, since he asked so sweetly, then Knox. They were THRILLED.

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Brody has really surprised me- I thought for sure he’d be much more  jealous, but instead, he is absolutely enamored with Ford and loves to hold him, rub his head and watch him. Knox thinks he should be able to hold and jiggle Ford around like we do, so we have to be extra cautious during his holding sessions to make sure the baby isn’t loved on a little too much! They’re both wonderful brothers and love “Baby Ford” as they both call him.

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Something about having a baby makes me fall in love with my husband over and over again- Trevor is head over heels for this kiddo, and it makes me melt. He has been so amazing keeping Knox and Brody occupied the past couple weeks. He took three weeks off of work, and it is going to be rough on all of us to see him go back. He gets the boys up and ready for school, does drop-off and pick-up every day and handles baths and bedtime pretty much solo while I tend to Ford. Brody has kept trying to come into our bedroom at night, and Trevor has been super determined to get him sleeping on his own. Of course because of this, Trevor ends up falling asleep in Brody’s twin bed nearly every night! Oh well, hopefully he’ll get the picture soon and stay put in his own bed.

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As far as Ford goes, he definitely sleeps best in mid-afternoon (not at night, of course) where he’ll go three to four hours at a stretch. He has learned quickly that he much prefers to sleep in bed with me than in his own bed at night, but isn’t that how it always goes? I am getting sleep, just in short spurts. Ford wakes every three hours at night, so I get about two hour chunks of sleep. We stay in bed until 9 or so until I feel coherent enough to wake up. He does really like the Rock ‘n Play, and I wish we had one with the other boys! We have the automatic one that rocks itself, and it’s pretty much the best thing ever. He loves to be swaddled, but he finagles one arm free almost every time.

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He eats all the time. If I am holding him, he thinks I should be feeding him. He is starting to really study our faces when he’s awake, and I swear he smiled for real today. We were talking to him and he cracked the biggest grin…. I know, I know, it’s probably gas or a “reflex smile”, but still. It was precious. I am insisting on a pacifier with this child because I was a pacifier for Knox and Brody- so far, so good! He loves his elephant WubbaNub and will take it if I’m not available.

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He makes the very best noises ever. Those sweet baby squeaks and grunts are just perfect. We did his first tummy time last week, which was hilarious. Ford hated it, Knox and Brody loved it.

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His umbilical cord stump fell off on Friday, so he got a real bath for the first time. He yelped in protest then almost fell asleep after his initial grouchiness.

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We’ve gone through so many diapers with this child- he is the worst at faking us out. You’ll think he’s done, go to change him, and he’s not. Really, really not. Our changing pad (and shirts) have taken many hits! At least we know he’s eating well, since he’s a diaper-filling machine. I have no idea how much he weighs- when we left the hospital, he had dropped from 7 lbs 2 oz to 6 lbs 10z, and when we went to the pediatrician two days later, he was still at 6 lbs 10 oz. Maintaining was great for that stage, but I expect to see some good gains when we go back next week. I’m already dreading him growing out of his sweet newborn sized clothes… I just know how fast this stage passes, so I am trying to soak up every single second of it. I love, love, love the newborn baby stage. Even their cries are cute at this point, and we all know that changes quick! Look at that mad face…

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We had newborn pictures taken on Tuesday, and I cannot wait to see them! My friend, Candice, took them, and just the set up was so cute, I know they’ll be awesome. Lots of squishy naked baby pictures- I promise to share when I get them! I didn’t do official pictures with Knox and Brody, and I figure that as the third child, Ford will likely get the short end of the stick on some things, so I wanted to do something special with him. I pretty much spend the whole day staring at him because he’s so darn cute. I’m so amazed at how miraculous birth and new life are- we are so, so blessed to have been given this precious boy.

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