Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Being a Mom of 2

On January 22, 2013, my world was ROCKED. Little baby Maleah was born and life as I knew it was changed forever. No one can ever prepare you for the process of going from a married couple to a couple of parents. No book, no anecdotal advice, no amount of watching friends do it... nope, nothing can prepare you for the way your life changes after your first child.

I remember struggling so badly with the 3-hour schedule. I felt like we were chained to this incessant wheel of feed-play-sleep. I remember resenting how long it took to get Maleah settled for bed - how am I going to spend an hour of my life every night getting this tiny person ready for bed?  I remember crying over lost sleep, crying over room-temperature cups of coffee, crying over her crying. 

I finally settled in to being a parent. All those things I found so difficult in the beginning slowly but surely just became part of who I am. And, no longer did I resent the bedtime routine... it actually became my favorite time of day. I don't miss the "freedom" I had before Maleah came along... and, frankly, during the times she's spending the night with a grandparent and we're able to do things kid-free, I'm really just counting down the hours until she's with us again. 

So when we found out we were expecting baby #2, I wasn't really sure how to prepare myself. How much more change would there be? How would I handle it? How would Blake and Maleah handle it? How could I stretch myself even more to care for another child? 

Honestly, the adjustment to two children has not been as difficult as I imagined. If Blake weren't as helpful as he is, I might be having a tougher time. But usually when things are hectic, we divide and conquer. We each take a kid and handle whatever needs to be handled. The hardest part, so far, about having two children is the heartache of not being able to be in two places at once. 

The other difficult adjustment has been helping Maleah transition to being a big sister. She has been the center of our world and, while we have tried not to spoil her, I know (as an only child, myself) that it's very different to suddenly have to wait... or to share... or to be told "no". She has adjusted fairly well, but also being almost-3 means she is changing in addition to the change of having a baby sister. 

The best part about being a mom of 2, though, is really simple. Snuggling both of them at once is like the greatest feeling ever. These two beautiful little girls didn't exist just a few years ago. Blake and I haven't even been married five years and, yet, we have these new people to call our own. It is such an amazing thing!

And who knows... maybe I'll eventually be writing about being a mom of 3. :) 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Two Months of Macey!

Two months ago, Macey Ellen came into our lives and - WOW! - what a crazy two months it has been! Macey is still just the sweetest little baby! She is very mellow and easygoing. She is the perfect addition to our family!

So... I'm gonna keep this short and sweet!

Eat = Macey eats every 3 hours and goes 7-8 hours at night. She takes between 3-4 ounces at each feeding and seems to tolerate it well! We are trying to wean her from the 5 a.m. feeding since it is so close to our desired wake-up time (now 6:30 am instead of 7 since I have to go back to work tomorrow!). She has started spitting up a little more, but she doesn't seemed bothered by it! Macey is also a very busy eater - sometimes she wiggles around so much while she eats that it's hard to hold her! 

Activity = Macey smiles SO much! Half of her awake time is spent with us getting her to smile! She loves the little mobile on her swing... makes me wonder if we should get one for her crib. She holds her head up fairly well and has also started turning her head towards noise. According to "Wonder Weeks," she's currently in a leap where she should start being even more aware of her surroundings. So, far, I'd say that's true! She is definitely more aware of us, who's doing what, and looks around to figure out what's happening in the room. Thankfully Macey is also usually really good about being put down... it's hard to juggle two kids sometimes, so I'm glad she's happy to chill in her bouncer while we attend to the other kiddo!

Sleep = Sleep... oh, sleep... while Macey does go 7-8 hours between feedings at night, she still cries out or makes noises for other reasons during the night. We're currently trying to stop using the rocking motion on her Rock & Play because she wakes up as soon as it turns off! She has become dependent on it. Eventually the goal is to move her into her & Maleah's room, but we want her to be sleeping soundly through the night first. Naps are pretty good... she sleeps for about 1.5-2 hours at a time (with some random waking). 

Our daily routine looks a little like this... the morning has been a little crazy because she's waking during the 5 o'clock hour, but so far this works most days:

5-5:30 a.m. - Macey wakes to eat, we get up for the day
6:30 - try to get Macey to take another 2-4oz, get both girls up and ready for the day
9:30/12:30/3:30 - Macey eats
6pm - we eat dinner
6:30 - Macey eats, then we do baths and play until bedtime
7:30 - Macey usually falls asleep by this time and we start getting Maleah off to bed 
10pm - Blake feeds Macey a "dream feed" and we go to bed!

I also pump during the day... right now at 5:15, 7:45, 11:15, 2:15, 5:15, 9:30. I'm trying to change to 5:15, 7:45, 11:45, 3:45, 9:30... but I'm going to wait until after Thanksgiving to do that.

Life is going great... it's really hard, to be honest, but it's worth it! We love our girls so much and want to provide the best little life for them! It can be quite challenging at times, but I have never had a better job!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Macey: One Amazing Month (and a half!)!

Macey girl is six weeks old! In so many ways, it feels like she has been a part of our family for WAY longer than six weeks. She completely just fits right in and it's almost like we've always had her! In other ways, we are quickly reminded that she is, indeed, still a newborn! I have had to remind myself OFTEN to take it easy, rest, and that it's okay not to take a shower until noon. 

The first several weeks are really hard with a newborn. They just are. There's the adjustment of just bringing home a new baby, healing from labor and delivery, trying to sleep whenever you can, mounds of laundry... and - oh yeah! - taking care of yourself AND a toddler (AND a husband!)!!! Life is busy, but blissful!

So, about Macey... first of all, she is a seriously sweet little baby! She has definitely "woken up" from the newborn slumber, but she's still a pretty calm baby. Every time I look at her, I just feel like she has always been part of our family. It's so hard to imagine life before her - even at this early stage! Since she is our last baby (never say never, but... probably never...), I'm really trying to just enjoy all of it and not stress too much. Easier said than done, of course!

I wrote about Maleah during each month of her first year so I must do the same for Macey, right!? So, here's All About Macey at six weeks!

With both of our girls, we have used the "E.A.S.Y." method to guide our daily routine. E.A.S.Y. in a nutshell just means eat/activity/sleep/"you" time... it has worked really well with both girls and establishes consistency in their day (as well as in ours). 

Eat = Macey eats every 3 hours during the day and has been going 5-6 hours at night. Currently she eats around 7a/10/1/4/7p during the day with 7pm being "bedtime". She has recently been taking a 10pm bottle and then waking around 3:30/4am again to eat (instead of waking at 12am and 3am, which is what she was doing before). I am exclusively pumping and am really pleased that we have not had to supplement at all! Pumping is a lot of extra work, but it works well for us and I love knowing we are both getting all the benefits of breast milk!

Activity = Obviously a baby this young doesn't do much during their awake period. Most days, Macey stays awake anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours after eating. I might use her alert period to do tummy time, read a book, walk outside, cuddle and talk to her... you know, baby stuff. This is also when she gets a diaper change. In the past week she has really started being a little more interactive - smiling, looking for us, staring at objects. I love it! She likes to practice holding her head up while she's on my chest and does pretty well! Right now we spend a lot of her awake time trying to get her to lay on the left side of her head - she prefers the right and it has caused plagiocephaly on that side. We are really hoping it resolves with re-positioning. We'll find out a little more at her 8-week appointment.

Sleep = Macey takes a nap after each feeding - so that's four naps a day before bedtime. We consider 7am "wake up" time. We get her up, feed her, change her clothes and that's when the lights come on and we let in the noise of the day. "Bedtime" is at 7pm - that's when she gets a bath, pajamas, we turn down the lights, and limit noise. I really think having these two "fixed points" during the day helps differentiate night and day and will help her sleep better in the long run. 
     Naps have been a little tricky lately. Macey has what is known as the "45 minute intruder" AND she seems to be somewhat of a light sleeper. While I definitely don't believe in tip-toeing around a baby, I also know she needs sleep so I'm willing to meet her in the middle! During the day, I dim the lights while she naps and try to keep the noise level relatively low - like, I keep the TV or music quiet. She rouses at the 45-minute interval, and I can usually just quickly soothe her without picking her up (b/c I want her to learn to sleep through that light stage of sleep!). For her early evening nap (after her 4pm bottle), I just wear her in the Moby wrap because when Maleah gets home, it's LOUD!!! Macey does GREAT napping in the Moby!!! 
      Night-time is going well, too! Macey really only wakes to eat and then goes right back to sleep. If she does have trouble sleeping, it's after her feeding and usually some gas drops do the trick! 

You Time = Well, "me" time isn't really about "me" these days! There's plenty to do... like write this blog post! ;) But I spend my down time trying to get things done around the house, rest, pump, and take care of myself (i.e., shower!). I have pretty much healed from delivery and am ready to start walking and exercising some... I'm just not sure when exactly I have time to do that! I think I've lost all but 8-10 pounds of my baby weight (I gained 26) and it'll come off eventually! I'm not really worried about it. I'm pretty tired and usually take a little nap after lunch... and then I have coffee!!! I look forward to my morning and afternoon coffee! :) 

Maleah has adjusted pretty well to having a new sister around. The first week was NUTS. Just being honest. While Maleah hasn't necessarily been jealous, she has had a hard time learning the boundaries of a baby (don't put toys on her face, don't push her head, don't scream in her face while she's sleeping... or, at all...). At first she was constantly in Macey's face, but that incessant fascination with her has worn off and Maleah has learned certain "rules". Maleah is also learning a lot about patience - sometimes Mommy and Daddy both have their hands full! But I'd say the past two weeks have been really good and I'm hoping it just keeps getting better from here!

One of the vast differences between my time with Maleah and Macey is that I am STILL ON MATERNITY LEAVE! :) I'll go back 1/2 days in 3 weeks and then full time the following week. It has made a HUGE difference to have this extended time to stay home. The biggest struggle for me staying home is that I am a really goal-oriented person. While I do enjoy being lazy, it's hard for me not to feel guilty about all the things I "should" be doing. When I think back to the past six weeks, I'm like... what have I accomplished!? My house is a mess, I have barely gotten out of the house, I rarely wear makeup, we've watched A LOT of movies... but, then I remember that my biggest "goal" during this leave is simply to take care of Macey (and Maleah!). And I have done that really well!!! All that other stuff will come with time - there is absolutely no need to rush it! 

So, now I have to go dry my hair and put on some concealer (so I don't scare myself or the UPS man) and watch Dancing With the Stars while I feed Macey! (Bindi is her favorite, BTW!) 

Stay tuned for more updates!