Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tricks of the Trade

Life is officially back to "normal" with Joel on days again (Hallelujah!). I can't properly express how thankful I am to have someone to tag team with during the everyday (especially evening) baby routine. I had so many questions before I had Harrison - wondering if I had the right stuff or what I'd actually need. We borrowed or were given 95% of the gear we have, so I was able to test out a bunch of stuff to see if Harrison actually liked it. 

Lessons learned, gear tips, and general observations from 4 months in:
  • Buy carpet cleaner. You laugh - but you'll be amazed at how talented babies are at projectile vomiting, pooping, peeing and general messiness. We got carpet and upholstery cleaner with the built in scrubber and it has been used frequently. 
  • White onesies - if your baby is born in the summer, you really don't need these (at least not the exorbitant amount all of the websites tell you to buy). Winter babes, these go under clothes. 
  • Butt Paste (Boudreaux's) - it's awesome. Buy it. It seems expensive (like $16 for a tub), but it lasts. We are still on the same jar from when HWB was born and have about 1/3 left. He has yet to have a diaper rash and we put it on after every poopy diaper and about 50% of wet ones. The pop top is clutch for one handed opening and diaper change madness. 
  • Buy lots of burp rags. Size is more important than looks. I made some really cute contoured ones I thought would be awesome - we never use those. We use the plain white hospital grade ones because they cover more surface area. If you want cute ones - start with big ones as a base and make THOSE cute!
  • Also buy shout spray/stain remover for clothes. If your baby has a blowout, get the clothes down to laundry room to rinse with hot water stat. Rinse the offending stain, spray with stain remover and throw it in the washer (doesn't need to be washed right away, but helps to soak). 
  • Carriers - if you buy a carrier. K'Tan - they run big! Size down (I got a medium and probably should have had a small, and normally wore Medium or Large shirts at the time I was using it). Soft carriers are great for teeny tiny babies. Harrison slept during a lot of grocery trips or walks when he was itty bitty because he was in a carrier. I love my Ergo 360 too - I never bought the infant insert. A rolled up blanket under baby's buns works just as well (started using it when Harrison was about 2.5 months) - far more comfortable for me than the soft carrier because it had more support. 

  • Baby laundry detergent - we used it at the beginning, but already have moved to all laundry together. Harrison hasn't had any reactions to regular detergent - and I like the smell of normal detergent to get spit up smells out of clothes!
  • Swings/Bouncers - if you can, buy these used, borrow etc. The not so fancy ones work just fine. For swings - the "on the go" or travel version are awesome. The travel feature means it's smaller with a carrying handle - so you can move it from room to room! We tend to put Harrison in it during meal time or when I'm cooking. If he can see me, he's fine - so portability is key. Bouncer - we just got a super plain one that vibrates. We rarely used the vibrate function, but use it propped up on the counter, kitchen table, or in the room where we are so he can see us. Again - fancy is not needed. Just a seat with a belt function in case you put him on an elevated surface. You probably don't need both of these - if you are given them or can borrow, great - if not, choose one (I'd say travel swing). 
  • Boppy - dual purpose. Great for nursing, also great as a napping device to fake the baby into thinking he/she is still cuddling with you. It takes some skill to transition baby from your arms to the boppy, but once you have it down - boppy got us extended naps so I could get up and get some things done around the house! Before he was moving much, I'd just leave him napping on the boppy on the couch. Once he got more wiggly, I'd put the boppy napper on the ground. 
  • Jumparoo - Harrison loves this thing. He finally is big enough for it now at 4 months. Great for solo play while mom/dad need to do things around the house (ours lives in the kitchen so I can make dinner!)

  • Diaper caddy - if your nursery is on a different floor than your main living area, I highly recommend getting a changing mat and a tub/caddy with diapers/wipes/cream/outfit change for your main living area (especially for those first few weeks postpartum). It makes your life so much easier not to have to do stairs early on for those frequent diaper changes. We still do 90% of Harrison't diaper changes with that. 
  • Bibs - great for outfit protection if baby is eating or hasn't burped yet and you need to go! I recommend 1 in the diaper bag at all times. 
  • Diaper bag - great for full day adventures. If you're not going to be gone all day - a travel case of wipes and a few diapers in the purse will do the trick
  • Tiny baby clothes - you need sleepers. That's about it. The tiny real clothes are cute - but anything non stretchy/sweatpants material just doesn't seem comfy. We had some adorable outfits that we never used because we just had Harrison in sleepers or onesie/sweatpants all the time (yes, even in the summer)
  • Humidifier - worth it to have on hand for the first time your baby gets sick. It makes a big difference with congestion. Speaking of sick - have one of those bulb snot sucker things too (or a nose frieda). Kind of traumatizing to use, but really helps the baby breathe. 
  • Diapers - stock up during sales. You know you're going to need them - and places like target will exchange sizes / return with no hassle (no receipt needed either). We like pampers swaddlers. 
  • Baby shoes - who needs them? Ha - we have yet to put Harrison in shoes. Personal preference. 
  • How many bottles do you really need? I have 6 that we actually use - we put the rest in storage because it was more of a hassle to have bottles everywhere than to just wash them and re-use. Tommee Tippee and Avent natural were the two kinds that Harrison preferred. I have about 8-10 of the containers that attach to my pump with matching lids - that numbers makes it so I don't have to wash them out every time I pump. I send 4 bottles to daycare, then have 2 back up for evenings/extra in the fridge. 
Ask me questions if you have them - I'm a pretty open book. 

It's hard to believe we already celebrated Harrison turning 4 months old this weekend. He such a happy little guy most of the time. It's fun to see character traits of ours already coming out in him at such a young age. He is very particular (sometimes will only nurse from one side, or I have to not touch him while he eats, or prop him up a certain way) like his daddy, he sometimes stays up too late for his own good if he's around people like his mommy (if we have people over, he doesn't want to miss out so fights bedtime, then ends up a hot mess from over exposure). He doesn't have much of an inbetween - he's either happy and playing and socializing or he's DONE. Yup, he gets that from me too. 

Still really enjoying being a mom. I got to experience the helpless feeling of watching Harrison be sick over the past weekend. It's awful. I can only imagine the pain of more serious health concerns, death of a child, future bullying etc. The mama bear mentality is real - wanting to ferociously protect him from harm, but realizing that I can't. He has to live. Putting him in a bubble might seem like the best option in today's society -- but he can't thrive there. Trusting Jesus has new meaning when my precious son is growing up. Being a mom has already changed my prayer life. Now I ache over politics - over the world Harrison will grow up in. Some of the current "concerns" in society - I wonder what school will be like for him. and it makes me pray. I pray for his teachers, for his character to be strong so he can stand alone, and for him to be rooted in Christ above all else. And I pray for God to continue working in our family - that our home would be a haven, a place where Jesus comes first and TRUE love (Kingdom love) is known. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A birth story and maternity musings

I really enjoyed being pregnant. I loved feeling the baby move, seeing my body transform kind of amazed me, and I thought it was fun how nice everyone is to pregnant women. By the end, I was having trouble getting comfortable at night (or anywhere), needed help getting up off our big sectional couch, and sometimes had to give myself pep talks to stand back up after squatting down to get something from a low shelf of the pantry. I had a crazy last few weeks before baby with flying out to Vegas at 35 weeks for work due to a co-worker's family emergency. I realllly tested those Travel Director uniforms' stretchiness. I had some major foot and calf swelling from about 24 weeks onward....it would come and go (especially when I traveled), but HOLY COW. After getting checked out by a few doctors and getting an ultrasound on one leg to check for clots, they determined it was just how the baby was situated. He must have been blocking a vein/artery, so blood was pooling in my lower extremities.

Last picture before baby - taken 6 days before he was born:

On to the birth story:

I had been steadily progressing towards go time since they starting checking 'down there' at 36 weeks. I had one false alarm where I thought I was in labor. Early on Friday July 3 I woke up in the night with contractions. I ended up being awake for around 4 hours before they got painful and long enough for me to actually get up to call the dr. As soon as I called the dr, contractions stopped (SERIOUSLY?). With that in the back of my mind, I was skeptical when only 3 day later I woke up at 11pm on Monday night (July 6) with mild contractions. I'd had my 39 week appt that morning and was dilated to 3cm (no change from the week prior). I starting timing the contractions around midnight--They were about a minute long and varying in time between from 4.5-8 minutes.

I got up out of bed and walked/paced to make sure the contractions continued to intensify since the last time they had stopped when I got up. They did keep coming and started getting a little bit more intense. Between pacing, sitting on the edge of the leather recliner, and grabbing the edge of our bathroom counter- I waited them out for about 3 hours. My goal was to let Joel sleep as long as possible to make sure this was really it (and in case it wasn't, so he could get a pretty normal night of sleep if he ended up having to go to work!). I took a hot shower then woke Joel at 3 to tell him I thought this was it - he could shower and not be in a huge hurry, but then we needed to go. Our bags had all been packed for a week or two, so once he showered - we were off!

We got to the hospital around 345am (after getting detoured by brand new road construction on the way to the hospital!) and got checked in. I was still able to talk/answer questions at this point and was curious if I was having a fake out again, especially as a first time mom. I was kind of anxious at this point. Nurse checked my cervix and said I was at 7cm (holy crap!). This was really it!! I got to skip most of the vitals and normal process so they could get me into a room on the delivery wing in a hurry. Was admitted officially at 445AM. I was really excited that I had been able to get through that much of labor at home with walking/moving prior to wanting the epidural. They hooked me up to IVs since I had tested positive for something requiring 4 hours of antibiotics before delivery.

Contractions got worse fast-- I asked for the epidural around 5:30 (thank goodness). The anesthesiologist had just started surgery, so it took about an hour for them to get to me. I got my epidural around 630AM. They had the nurse on one side of me and Joel on the other to kind of "hold me steady" while they put the epidural in. Joel got a little pale/clammy during that part-- the nurse had him to go lay down and brought him juice. I think he just had trouble seeing me in that much pain since the biggest contraction yet hit while they administered the epidural and I was squeezing the HECK out of his hand. I got a bolster of lidocaine after my epidural because I could feel contractions just as bad as pre epidural on one side of my lower abdomen. The epidural helped the pain be much more manageable and get through the strongest contractions (I could barely feel anything!). Right after the put in the epidural, they said I was at 9cm (SO CLOSE!).

So excited to have the epidural!

My doctor came in to check on me around 8AM. She broke my water and put me on pitocin to help move the baby down since baby hadn't progressed down at all. Ends up my water was all that was keeping him up! She said that she guessed I'd have a baby at 1130 that morning. She was going to finish rounds at the hospital and run over to the clinic next door then she would head back to deliver the baby. I started pushing around 9:25AM with just the nurse and Joel in the room. Yes, I had an epidural - but my experience was still feeling PLENTY down there (I don't want to think about the pain level with no epidural during the pushing!!). After a few minutes of pushing, the nurse called my dr back in to check me again. She took one look at me at and said - it's time to have a baby now! The quiet, intimate scene quickly changed to lights on, Dr suited up in a full gown, hustle and bustle of nurses. A short time later - Baby Harrison was born at 9:56 AM. It was a pretty special moment when Joel told me we had a little boy (we had waited to find out his gender!).

We had a scare during those first few minutes when Harrison wasn't breathing at all. He was bagged for about 5 min as they tried to get him to respond. He finally perked up then stopped breathing again for another few minutes. Fear turned to happy tears when I finally heard him start crying and they put him on my chest for skin to skin. We didn't get much time together as he was whisked away to the specialty care nursery for chest X-rays and tests. Joel went with Harrison for the first few hours while I waited for the epidural to wear off enough to be able to go see him. Both of our parents were able to get to the hospital and be in the waiting room by the time he was born. Joel got to go out and tell them they had a new Grandson!

Those first few nights were kind of a blur - with me in the L&D wing and Harrison on another floor in the Specialty Care nursery, we had a lot of going back and forth between floors. I was in a lot of pain, so the process wasn't as simple as "just walk down there". I wanted to breastfeed him as much as possible (he had to supplement some since he was in the specialty care unit and they had different rules as to how much weight he could lose/gain before they would allow him to leave the hospital), so that meant going down there about every 2-3 hours.

After 2 days in the specialty care unit, he was released so we could all go home!

Headed home!

Overall - I had a great experience. The nurses and doctors at the Mother Baby Center were fantastic. The nurse shift change at 7AM gave me the exact personality of nurse I needed for each phase of labor (the nice encouraging one for pre epidural and getting the epidural, the more direct and less touchy/nice one for pushing). The only part that I was not a fan was how fast the epidural meds stop once the baby is out. I mean - they still have things to do down there that HURT. Luckily, I had a cute baby to look at for the majority of that time. Joel was a fantastic partner during the whole experience. I didn't say much/yell at all during labor - he could tell I was having a contraction every time my feet curled/tensed. He would rub my feet, or just be there. His quiet presence was perfect.

My birth experience confirmed that our doctor, hospital, and plan were just right.

Our plan? Have a baby. No - really. This is what I told my doctor my birth plan was.

Our labor classes? None. Neither of us were really wanting to take any classes and my OB said she didn't really think they were necessary if I was willing to take instructions and not necessarily "run the charge" in the room. Why would I want to run the birth? I'm not a doctor. I told her I was perfectly okay with her being in charge.

Our doctor? Super low key and relaxed. She was calm, so I was calm. My whole pregnancy she allayed me fears and told me all was well. Even in the midst of Harrison not breathing and me starting to panic a little bit, she calmed me down and told me his heart was strong, they were just having to work a little harder to get him going. She assured me that this was pretty normal for a baby born at 38.5 weeks.

We decided to savor that first week at home with just us as a family of three. Joel and I wanted to figure out feeding, sleeping, and Harrison as much as we could together.We had a few adventures out and about together before Joel had to go back to work-- home depot, the mall, out for margaritas and nachos. Mostly though, we spent the time rocking Harrison, watching him sleep, and just being together.

One week after we got home, my sister Ellen came to help/visit. Immediately after Ellen left, my mom came, then the next week Joel's mom came. They all helped us with food, cleaning, laundry, and helped my sanity once Joel went back to work, and just loved us so well.

Breastfeeding was definitely a bit of a challenge at the beginning. Little man had some trouble getting enough initially, so I was sent to see a lactation consultant. I saw two different ladies at my two different appointments -the first time was a great experience, second one was horrible. After the horrid appointment (which led to being told to use a supplemental feeding device for a week, and based on his poop color he wasn't getting the right nutrients AND that he might need his lip clipped etc), I decided that MANY women have done this whole breastfeeding thing without tubes and extra nonsense. So, I canceled my third appointment, threw away the supplemental device and went back to basics. I fed him when he seemed hungry. If he didn't seem to be getting enough from me - I gave him formula. Ya know what? A few days into that - we were both thriving. He was gaining weight just fine, I was less stressed out, and we were able to ditch formula altogether. Plus I was getting probably twice as much sleep since I no longer had to pump, breastfeed with the device, then bottle feed the remainder.

I loved my time on maternity leave. The first 6 or 7 weeks, I really was just healing. Everyday tasks like going to the grocery store were fine, but by the end of it - I was pretty tired or sore. I wanted to get out and go for walks etc, but the reality was - my body needed more time to heal. At about 7 or 8 weeks, I was finally able to get out and about like I had envisioned in all my sparkly pregnancy visions of me with baby. I started putting Harrison in one of his carriers and we'd go on adventures. Most mornings, we'd walk around the Lake for at least an hour. I wasn't walking fast, but it was good. We sent a lot of selfies to Joel at work, wishing he could be home with us too.

I had some really late nights and some days with tears. I had one night in particular that I remember - I was SO tired and Harrison kept crying and wouldn't go to sleep. 3 hours in to what turned out to be a 4 hour crying/freak out phase, I had tears running down my face rocking him and just started praying for him. This tiny, crying and writhing baby - praying for the man he would become. I was realizing in that moment, that as tired as I was - he would never be this tiny again. One day, the cries would turn into words. Those words could build others up or tear them down. That moment - me rocking that baby was an answered prayer. I can distinctly remember the night when I lived in Austin, Texas when I felt God start putting it on my heart to pray for my future children. I hoped and prayed that one day, I would indeed get married and have kids. This boy - this baby - HE was who I had been praying over for all of those years. That's amazing. God is faithful.

The transition to daycare and official end of maternity leave (this week) has been challenging. The at home daycare provider that I found suggested I drop him off for a few hours the Friday before my leave ended for a test run. I'm so glad I took her up on that offer. I went into it all happy and fine, dropped him at the door with his gear and instructions, got to my car to turn the key and the tears started flowing.

I didn't expect that. I thought I was fine - rational and knowing this time had to come. Well. feelings trumped rationality. I cried hard. Then went to the grocery and cried there while walking down the aisles. Then got myself together then got all teary in the parking lot again. I didn't want someone else to get to spend so much time with Harrison. I didn't want to miss his smiles or his milestones. I didn't want him to get attached to someone other than me. Monday went significantly better- no tears. He has been a happy, smiley baby and gets all great reports from daycare.

We've been soaking up the after work snuggles and loving the time we have.

So. I love being a mom. Being back at work is hard, but good. I'm ready for Joel to be done on nights. The transition back has been doubly strange with just Harrison and I in the evenings. Harrison overall is a pretty relaxed/chill little baby - but he can get kind of cranky at night! Joel is so good at taking over when he can tell I'm getting stressed out, so I really miss that. November can't come soon enough!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ok. We're ready for you now.

This spring flew by --work really made me sideline the whole pregnancy gig until the last month or so. Now I'm unquestionably pregnant - to myself and to strangers. The pregnancy waddle/moans when I stand up are more noticeable, sleep comes in shorter spurts, and the comments about how close I HAVE to be to delivery from anyone and everyone. 

I have noticed one thing - strangers are so nice to pregnant women. In general, everyone smiles at me at the grocery these days. Everyone! I haven't really had any strangers try to touch my belly (just friends - and I'm fine with that). 

Side by sides I should have posted before (since I'm now way past this point): 

12 and 28 weeks: 

17 and 32 weeks:

36 weeks:

I'm now at a whopping 37 weeks and ready to meet Baby Boggs! To quote Joel from last night - yeah. Anytime now. I think we're ready. We hung pictures, washed clothes, folded tiny onesies, packed the hospital go bag, packed the diaper bag, packed Joel's to go diaper changing kit, Joel built an Ikea side table, I hemmed curtains and made a crib skirt out of the extra curtain fabric, and I arranged and rearranged stuffed animals and diapers. 

Not finding out the gender has been such fun. The chance to have friends (and strangers) guess the gender. Funny- early in my pregnancy, overwhelming majority of guesses were for GIRL (other than Joel). Now - almost all the guesses are for BOY. 

A peek into Baby Boggs' nursery. I'm not big on themes or accent walls or anything restrictive, really. So I found a light light aqua paint color that Joel and I both liked, kept the crib we were getting from Joel's sister in mind, and picked pieces of furniture and art that I thought would be functional now and later. I love the room. The paint color is light and soothing, the stuffed animals we've been gifted from showers look like they were purposefully chosen to match the room, and the art from Etsy gives the room a bit of life (Minneapolis Skyline Watercolor and the Yellow Bike). 

I have felt so loved and encouraged during this pregnancy by my community of friends. My Connection Group ladies threw a baby shower complete with a table of my cravings (citrus juice with stripey straws, apple fritters from Mel-O-Glaze, rhubarb anything, fruit), prayer, and fun games. I completely spaced taking any pictures at the church shower!! 

My work colleagues also threw a beautiful shower when I headed back to the DSM office. We did a fun baby picture game, ate great food, and more than anything - just enjoyed getting to be around such fun friends. My mom and sister got to join that one too! 

The latest baby event was a Diaper Shower / Baby-Q co hosted by my bestest best friend Steph/Her husband Jon and Joel/myself. Beer was flowing, diapers and wipes were generously given, food was plentiful, and neighbors stayed til Midnight. Again - I only got before and after pictures, none during. What a bummer! We had a great turnout of Joel's co-workers, our community group, family and neighbors. What a fun night! For any expectant parents - I HIGHLY recommend the baby-q/diaper party idea. Co hosting with close friends was perfect so Joel wasn't tied to the grill and I wasn't the only one watching the food inside. It was a relaxing night to hang out with friends - no agenda, no pressure, open house style. Baby is SET on diapers for at least a few months (I THINK a lot longer than that, but I don't want to make a first time mom over estimate). 

 We're eagerly anticipating the arrival of our newest family member. We have big dreams for this little soul. We're praying for patience, rest, lots of laughter, grace with one another, and exceeding joy during this transition. 

The closer I get to meeting this little one face to face, the more sappy and prayer-focused I've become. I realize that this child is not my own. God is the creator and giver of life. He is the one who has the power to breathe physical life into baby's little body and to breathe spiritual life into our baby. Joel and I can do everything within our power to have a home that reflects Christ but without God opening our baby's eyes to the truth, our efforts are in vain. 

So pray with me and with Joel for our baby. For him or her to become a mighty vessel for the use of Christ. For God to move in his or her heart at a young age and to powerfully raise up Baby Boggs to be a part of the next generation of his kingdom. For God to give Joel and I the knowledge, humility, and grace to parent in a way that points our child to Jesus and reflects Kingdom glory to other families around us. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Busy season is upon us: Work, holidays, winter doldrums, and the usual suspects. 

This year we have a few more things keeping us busy! 
We're in the process of buying a house. As long as all goes as planned, we'll close on February 27. We're very excited about the new house. It's in a great location a little North and East from where we currently are in Minneapolis. To make the home even more special - it's only 2 blocks from where one of my best friends in the world lives! 

The second big ticket item keeping us busy is the prospect of being parents! I'm due July 15th with our first baby. 

cravings: apple fritters (so strange), oranges, runny yolk eggs, sandwiches
aversions: salads, coffee, super salty foods
gender: we're team green!! Not finding out til the delivery room

I still wasn't feeling like I looked pregnant -- then I compared two 'bump' pictures where I was wearing the same sweater. I'm convinced - the bump is real! First pic was taken at 7 weeks, Second at 16 weeks. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Dream Worthy Taco Pizza

Guys. This pizza is great. I've made it a few times and it has topped Joel's dinner favorites list. I HIGHLY recommend!! This is my version of the Taco Pizza that I first tried at The OP.

1 recipe of your favorite pizza dough at room temperature (mine is this one by Bobby Flay)
1/2-3/4 lb ground beef (depends how meaty you want it!)
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 can refried beans
2 cups  shredded cheese (I use a blend of mozzarella and mexican blend or cheddar)
2 tomatoes, diced 
1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, rinsed and thinly sliced (or you can buy shredded lettuce)
A few giant handfuls of Taco doritos (crushed)
Taco Sauce and Sour Cream for garnish

Preheat oven to 475

Brown beef, drain and rinse. Pour taco seasoning and 1/3-1/2 cup water into the pan. Mix well, set taco meat aside. 

Stretch dough out using your favorite method on pizza pan or stone. I swear by my 16 inch Calphalon pizza pan I got at target -- perfect crust EVERY TIME! Spread 1/2 can refried beans over dough like sauce. Spread meat mixture over beans, then sprinkle cheese on top. 

Bake 10-12 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and dough is medium brown (bake this slightly longer than your normal pizza time - we need the crust to be kind of crispy to hold all of these glorious toppings!).

Pull pizza out of of the oven once it is browned to your liking. Generously sprinkle with diced tomatoes and lettuce. Crush 2-3 handfuls of taco doritos (OR MORE) over the top of the pizza. Drizzle with taco sauce of your choice. Serve with extra taco sauce and sour cream. Cut and eat immediately. ENJOY!