Wednesday, August 5, 2015

My Must-Haves for Baby...

You've seen them.  The lists are all over Pinterest.  Girls saying that they have THE list of must-have baby items.  I scoured those lists when registering for baby showers over a year ago, but as with anything else, I had to feel my way through the craziness that is life with baby and determine what really worked for us…this time…with this particular baby.  Everyone will tell you they know what you just HAVE to have, but the truth is, you just have to fumble through and figure it out as you go.  I'm pretty sure that is parenthood in a nutshell, right??

I like to think that Grant was perfectly designed by God for me…to challenge me and remind me I am not in control.  The perfectionist in me had read every book, researched all that I could, planned ahead, stocked his nursery, and felt somewhat prepared with an arsenal of varied pacifiers, bottles, swaddles, diapers, wipes, you name it.  And then our bundle of joy arrived…and very little of what I had worked.  Frankly, some things still don't work for our little one.  So after many Googles, asking around, trials and errors and gift card swipes…I have a list of items that I would most definitely use again.  This list is more for me than anyone else, so that I can remember the things that worked for us the first time around.  But maybe it can help you too!

SLEEP

Dohm--This is a really awesome sound machine.  It plugs in…no batteries needed.  And it sounds like a loud fan.  We had a Sleep Sheep to start, and it would go off after either 23 minutes or 46 minutes.  And our little love bug would wake up, without fail, each time the Sleep Sheep went silent.  I read about the Dohm when looking for sleep solutions, and I have never regretted the purchase.  I have a feeling Grant will sleep with this for a while--it allows us the freedom to make noise in the house while he is sleeping too!

Miracle Blanket--We received this at a shower, and I wasn't really sure what made it any different than any other swaddle…until my little love refused to sleep.  We busted this sucker out the first week home from the hospital.  It looks like a torture device, but it works.  It swaddles each arm separately, and then the arms to the body.  Even a baby Houdini couldn't bust out.  Grant had colic pretty badly (meaning he cried most every waking hour of every day)…so we even used this throughout the day at times to help him cope.

Sleep Sack--This is what we transitioned to after the Miracle Blanket because our little friend was a VERY hot sleeper and had several skin issues that bothered him at night.  This allowed us to put him in only a short-sleeved onesie underneath.  He still sleeps in one and it keeps him at just the right temperature!

Lovie--The lovie really came into play when we started sleep training around 6 months.  He needed something to cuddle with that smelled like Mommy and this did the trick!  He has the elephant lovie from Pottery Barn, and it is so soft.  He took to it very quickly!

FEEDING

Bibbity Bib--It catches at least SOME of the food that inevitably falls while self-feeding.  And it's wipeable.  Enough said.

Graco 4in1 Highchair--This high chair is a bit on the pricey side, but so worth it.  The top part of the chair can pop off and be carried along on trips or dinner dates at a friend's.  It's also very wipeable and has a single button release in the front (which helps when you inevitably have a baby in your arms!).

Medela Breast Pump with Bottles--I'm sure we all know this by now, but be sure to contact your insurance company about a breast pump.  CIGNA completely covered the cost of my breast pump--the exact one I had researched and wanted.  I received a couple of gift sets to match that included bottles and nipples, and I found that while our little guy took a bottle (only the first 4 months), he seemed to like the Medela bottles.  Meaning, all of the other trial bottles I purchased are still sitting in his closet.  I will likely start with these next time.

TOYS

Jumperoo--This bought me a lot of time from 3-7 months or so.  He LOVED it.  I've seen a lot of different types of jumpers, but this bungee-typed one worked best for our little one who loved to bounce incessantly. 

Activity Table--I tried out several in the store and decided on this one.  He loves it.

Vtech Walker--SO many people have this.  It truly is an awesome walker.  He walks with it back and forth and back and forth…without tiring.  Me, on the other hand???

BATH/SKIN CARE

Eucerin Eczema Relief Creme--If you have a baby with skin issues (eczema, contact dermatitis, psoriasis, etc.), this is the best thing on the market.  Trust me.  We paid through the nose and tried them all.  It is a very thick cream and moisturizes better than anything else out there.  We continue to use it every day.

Aveeno Body Wash and Shampoo --Once we met with a pediatric dermatologist and got G's skin cleared up (we still use prescription ointments/oils on certain spots on a near daily basis), we primarily use this body wash because it seems to have little to no smell and does not further dry his skin.  I do make sure to allow him play time in the bath BEFORE adding any soap to the water.  I wash him right before getting him out so that he isn't sitting with the soap on his skin for long.  Also be sure to put lotion on with the skin still moist.  It really makes a difference!

Inflatable Bath Tub--This was GREAT when G outgrew the baby tub, but was not sitting independently enough to bathe in the big tub.  A wonderful transition item, and it's great for travel too.

GEAR

Video Monitor--I think we all understand why you might want one of these.  

Chicco Infant Seat and Stroller--Easy to use, install, and has great ratings.  The pop-in option with the stroller base was quick, light, relatively cheap, and great for the early stroller days before he  could sit up.

Baby Swing (one that plugs in)--I hear some babies love the swing, and some hate it.  Grant fell into both categories depending on the day.  But you will need places to safely lay the baby when trying to get anything done, and this provided enough music and swinging to calm him on some of his better days.  It usually only worked in the morning hours when he was most willing to be soothed.  By afternoon/evening, all bets were off!

Bouncer Seat--These don't last super long, but you just need places to put the baby down sometimes.  And this is one way to do it!  This one has music and vibrates, which I think lengthened the amount of time he would sit in it.

RockN'Play--This is another great item for putting baby down in.  However, I will not rely on it as heavily the second time around.  It's great because it keeps them snug and elevated (and vibrates!), but it sure does make the transition to the crib more difficult if you allow them to sleep in it consistently!

DIAPERING

LUVS Diapers--When registering, I thought I just had to have Pampers Swaddlers, but someone had given us a pack of LUVS and I tried them.  Virtually no smell when wet (Pampers smelled sour on Grant with the slightest bit of moisture), a better fit, and cheaper than most of the competition…we will start with these next time around.

Travel Diaper Trash Bags--Sometimes you are on the go…and there just isn't a good place to throw a smelly diaper away.  These are VERY handy and deodorized.

Washable Changing Pad Liners--Diaper changing gets MESSY.  These kept me from having to change the entire changing pad cover each time I changed a dirty diaper.  I could just throw this little pad in the wash if it got dirty--no big deal. 

LAUNDRY

OxyClean BABY Powder--You will have more pee/poop blowouts than you ever thought possible in those first months.  Then come the baby food stains later on.  I finally learned to just allow his clothes to soak in a sink or in the washer with this powder in the mix until I had a load of things to wash (which wasn't every very long--I have done more laundry than ever before in the last year).  And trust me, this stuff works (if given adequate time to soak)!

Dreft Laundry Detergent--Whether your baby has sensitive skin or not, this stuff smells like a baby (and is gentle on skin).  It's a win-win.  We tried using other products, but I keep coming back to it.  I use it on all of our clothing because even our clothing (if washed with other detergents) broke Grant out.

 Wool Dryer Balls--I found that dryer sheets are half of the battle with sensitive skin.  Even unscented dryer sheets leave a residue on clothing that can bother a baby's skin.  We've decided to make the switch to dryer balls permanent around here…they get the job done!

OTHER

Probiotic Drops (AKA Colic Drops)--These were suggested by our pediatrician when G cried all the time, and we are actually still using them to keep him regular, as pooping has been a struggle in the past.  They are pricey, but we believe they work.

Hidden in My Heart Lullaby CD--Grant has always had a fairly strong opinion about the car/carseat.  Meaning, he screamed near constantly when riding in the car for months.  Even now, if he gets sleepy, or if he's just not in the mood for riding, he will scream.  This lullaby CD (we've also used Praise Baby) is wonderfully soothing…we call it baby crack.  I also don't find that I lose my mind when listening to it.  And it's full of great scriptures too!

Pottery Barn Stroller Blanket--This was a great weight for use in the fall, winter, and spring.  It is also the right size to drape over the carseat to block the sun, and great for draping over baby in the stroller.

Other things to have on hand…

Lysol disinfecting wipes (for shopping carts, restaurant tables, etc), portable Germ-X (helpful when you've changed a gross diaper on the go!), Lansinoh quilted breast pads (they are the BEST…I've tried them all!), a travel diaper changing pad (never know where you will have to change), ONE nursing cover (more than likely your baby will hate it anyway!), a Tide pen, an emergency stash of diapers, wipes, and clothing in the car (never know when you'll need it).

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And these are a few items I will probably invest in the next time around…

1.  Car Seat Cover--One that is light and breezy, but something that attaches to the carseat.  A draped blanket works, but it is hard to really hold the handle while carrying the seat around.

2.  On-the-Go Sound Machine--There were many times when I thought G might have slept longer in the car seat if he had a portable sound machine with him.

3.  Solly Baby Wrap--I've heard great things about this one.  G wasn't ever a fan of being "worn," but I would have gotten much more accomplished if he had been wrapped.  I have the Ergo and a Moby, but this one seems a bit lighter and less complicated.

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Why do creatures so small have SO much stuff?!?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Nearly a year...

It's been nearly a year since my last post.  What a year it has been!  Most definitely the fastest year I can remember.  A lot has happened since those pregnancy posts from last summer.  More than I could ever recount adequately in words.  This almost-year has made me a mom, made Andy and I parents, and has allowed a baby boy to grow and change in ways that are so dramatic I feel as though I could blink and he'll grow another inch.  There were many hard moments, especially in the beginning, where I thought life as I knew it was over.  And really it was.  But in caring for this little boy, life has grown to be richer and more fulfilling, and I have changed and grown in ways I never thought possible.  



Although we are very much settled in our newish home, and we are updating things here and there as nap time allows…projects and crafts are slow coming.  Ideas are constantly swirling in my head, pins are still being pinned on Pinterest, and magazine pages are still being dog-eared.  But the work of raising a little boy comes first, and he keeps me busy, so who knows when I will get in the rhythm of changing things around here on a regular basis.  Most changes currently involve moving "pretties" to top shelves, covering electrical outlets, and putting up baby gates.  But these are the days!  Those sweet baby snuggles before bedtime and giggles playing peekaboo are the moments I am trying to soak in with every fiber of my being.  I know they will be gone all too soon. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

What not to say to a pregnant woman...

I have been absolutely blown away by the comments that perfect strangers, family, and friends have said to me while pregnant.  I'm very funny about speaking to people I do not know, and I'm a bit of a "bubble" person (I like my personal space), so I have been mortified on occasion by the brazen comments and actions of people around me just because I am with child.  It's ironic to me that we do not make these kind of comments to overweight people--just preggos.  Why is that???  


Here is a list of some of the craziness that I have endured over the last 10ish months...

1.  "You having twins?  NO!?!  Well, at least you can hope he's healthy!" --Toothless Wonder at the flea market

2.  "So, how far along are you?  Like 8 months?" (only 7 months at the time--don't guess, people!) --Neighbor

3.  "Man, you're BIG!"  --Too many people to count

4.  "Mrs. Bozeman, your belly is getting BIG!" --Too many students to count

5.  "Your feet look swollen."

6.  "When are you DUE?" (said with BIG eyes looking you up and down) --Most any stranger I encounter

7.  "He's going to be like 10 pounds, isn't he?" --Appliance repair man

8.  "I was thinking, "WOW, that girl is huge!"...Then I realized it was my sister." (after randomly seeing my sis in Target)

9.  "You aren't going to go into labor right here in the store, are you?"  --Random Target worker on the same day I encountered my sister

10.  "Are you sure there isn't another one in there hiding behind the first baby?  Maybe a whole football team?" --A friend...I think :)

11.  "I know how pregnant girls don't like their bellies being rubbed, so I just have to do it!"  --A woman I DO NOT know in a restaurant who grabbed my arm as I walked by her table and feverishly started rubbing my belly


To say that I really have to suck up my pride before going out of the house these days is an understatement.  I can almost always tell it's coming...usually someone creepily checks me out for a bit before saying something.  However, if there is one thing to be said for going past your due date, I have my replies ready for them now.  I DARE you to ask me when I am due!!!  The poor guy at Kroger hanging his head out of the car window to watch me walk by got the first taste of it as I said loud enough for him to hear, "I CAN STARE TOO!!!"  Watch out world! :)


And here is my two cents on what SHOULD be said to a pregnant woman (regardless of how she is carrying):

1.  "You really have only gotten bigger in your belly.  You look just the same everywhere else to me."  --My sweet hubbo (he accidentally said JUST what I wanted to hear!  It's no longer true, but it was very sweet at the time!)

2.  "You look so cute!"  --Several sweet girlfriends who have recently been pregnant themselves--they know!

3.  SAY NOTHING AT ALL.  All pregnant women are VERY aware of their changing bodies and figures.  We get up each morning and struggle to pull on one of the 3 maternity outfits that still fit, breathlessly try to pull on our shoes as our bellies bulge to the point that it's nearly impossible, and stare at a reflection in the mirror that looks very little like it did several months before.  Believe it or not, we do not need you to draw attention to our growing bodies at all!  It is always so refreshing to have a conversation with someone that has NOTHING to do with my belly, due date, etc.  Do not get me wrong, pregnancy is a BEAUTIFUL process that I feel so incredibly fortunate to be experiencing...but somewhere beneath the "pooch" I am still just a girl going about daily life trying not to draw attention to myself.  Sometimes a smile/nod are all that are needed!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Due Date Update...

So, the day that we have long awaited has arrived!  Our due date of August 14th is finally here!!!  So many family and friends have been sweet to check in over the last several days waiting and wondering if our little bundle of joy was making his way into the world, so I thought it might be best to update everyone interested at once.  


I went to the doctor yesterday for an ultrasound and checkup to see how things were going with Baby Bozeman.  Due to a work conference this week, Andy wasn't able to make it, so my mom got to join me and see the nugget on the screen.  A fun outing, for sure!  She got to witness what Andy and I had seen several times before...our little guy snoozing like a champ and the ultrasound tech bouncing him all around to try to make him move, but he just napped on.  Might as well bust out the sweat pants.  It looks like we have one laid back baby in there.  The poor technician tried for 15-20 minutes to make him move.  I turned on my sides, she jiggled and prodded my belly, and she even busted out a buzzer that she said she rarely has to use to wake him up.  Even that just gave us slight squirms.  Please let this indicate he will be a chill baby and a champ napper!  I guess she eventually got what she needed, and she printed me a few really awful pictures of him.  At this point, when they are this big, you just cannot see much at all in there!  The BIG question was also answered...so how big is he?  Well, folks, he is estimated to be 8 lbs 15 oz.  Yowzers!  They warn you that there can be at least a pound of error either way, so the way I see it, our boy is likely somewhere between 8 and 10 pounds.  Take that, toothless wonder at the flea market that asked if I was carrying twins!!!  Just one fairly sizable babe in there.


From the ultrasound we went on to my doctor.  She said after looking at the results of the ultrasound, things look great.  My fluids are good, baby's heartbeat is strong, and he seems very content and happy in there.  Before she "checked" me, we had the obligatory conversation about what to do now that I have reached my due date with a fairly large baby.  My doctor is not a fan of inducing (especially if the mother's body has not naturally progressed to a certain point), and neither am I.  Not that things won't come to that (because they may), but I just don't feel like I need to force him out before I really have to. She discussed the fears that many have about waiting out an already sizable baby up to another 2 weeks, and that was something I had considered as well.  Basically, it was up to me.  I could have said let's induce and get this jig over with.  She then checked my progress (I think we all know what that means?), and I have made no real progress in the last few weeks.  So, at that point, I felt a sense of peace in waiting him out another week.  Clearly, my body and baby were saying it wasn't quite time.  And as I told my doctor, I am not miserable at this point.  Frankly, I feel extremely blessed to have made it this far!  God has allowed me to carry this sweet boy to this point.  What's a few more days/couple more weeks, right?  I'll tell myself that for now. :)  Although, I won't lie.  Andy and I both feel a small tinge of disappointment in the fact that he isn't ready to come today.  You just get so used to that date in your head!!!


So for now, we are taking it a day at a time.  I will see the doctor again next Wednesday, and I would assume we will have to set a date for inducing from there if things haven't changed.  Regardless, we will have a baby by the end of the month!  They won't allow me to go any longer than that...no matter what Baby Grant says!  As always, prayers and happy thoughts are welcomed by our family.  Thanks for reading (if you made it this far!).

Friday, August 8, 2014

Life as we know it...

I currently sit with a bulging, bouncing belly pressed against my laptop wondering why it has been so long since I have blogged.  So much has happened in the last months.  Noteworthy events that definitely warranted posting about, but I didn't make it happen.  I've resorted to living in the moment, you might say.  I've also journaled quite a bit, which is something I've always enjoyed doing--perhaps why I wanted to start blogging in the first place.  But nonetheless, I sit here realizing we are days away from one of the most life-changing moments in our lives, and I need to make that a part of the blog's content.  

I'll give you the short version...

Andy and I found out in early December that we were expecting our first child.  Very exciting to say the least!  Although some family and friends have shared their fears that we would never actually have children, we, after much prayerful consideration, planned/hoped to become pregnant last fall and were very blessed by the timing of it all.  We both will forever cherish our four years of marriage prior to "expecting," and we are so thankful that we waited for this exciting chapter.  You can't get that time back, folks!  We waited with our HUGE secret for 12ish weeks before telling anyone we were expecting.  It was partly due to our collective nerves/our doctor advising us to wait to share, and it was also our desire to share in the excitement just between the two of us for as long as possible.  A decision we will never regret.  Much excitement ensued in sharing the news around, and we are currently less than a week away from our sweet babe's due date, August 14th (just 3 days before my 29th birthday!).  Grant Walker seems pretty content to stay where he is for now, but we anxiously await his arrival.  My pregnancy has been smooth with no real morning sickness, good energy levels, and mostly good-feeling days.  The last couple of weeks have definitely not been the most comfortable, but still, I feel mostly like a plump, swollen version of myself.  I have been very blessed, and I thank God for allowing me to be a vessel to bring this precious boy into the world.  May Andy and I never lose sight of the enormous blessing we have been given.


As if becoming pregnant with your first child isn't enough excitement, we have also relocated back to Tennessee.  Again, much prayerful consideration went into this decision, but several things fell into place in a way that led us to feel that this was the direction we should go.  We always hoped to come back to Tennessee, but we knew that we needed to wait for the right time and right job.  An opportunity basically fell into our laps earlier this year, and although the timing did not feel 100% right, we could see the pieces falling into place.  So, we did what only crazy people would choose to do and accepted the job and moved.  And although the decision was bittersweet, we have both felt completely content with our decision.  We sold our home in Rome, purchased a new one here in early June, and have been settling in ever since (there was minor drama squished in here and there as with any move, but we will leave it at that).  Andy really likes his new position, and we are both tickled to be so close to family and friends as our family is growing.  We pinch ourselves and count our blessings (admittedly, not as often as we should) when we realize all that has transpired in the last several months.  God is good and faithful.


There are so many other details and moments in time that could be collected and typed up in this post, but as we are already overwhelmed with anticipation for our upcoming, significant life-change, I think I'll call it quits here.  As always, thanks for reading!  Prayers greatly appreciated for our family in the coming days!

Monday, January 20, 2014

One Year In...

This past Saturday marked one year of being in our current home.  It's crazy to think that by this time in our last house, we already knew we were moving and had it on the market to sell.  Thankfully, we are not in that same position this time around.  Andy is still plugging away in his position at the hospital as I am in my position at my school.  No plans to move anywhere just yet!

Here are a few pictures to show the difference that a year can make in a home (the notes in parentheses are to list updates made since the photo was taken)...

Dining Room Before
Dining Room Progress (chairs have been changed up, as well as table decor)
Living Room Before
Living Room Progress (minus new curtains, new kitchen lighting, and lamp change-up)
Master Bedroom Before
Master Bedroom Progress (minus curtains, new nightstands, and a new end-of-the-bed storage bench)
Basement Before
Basement Progress (minus Fathead on wall)
Master Bathroom Before
Master Bathroom Progress (minus new framed photo, towel bar removal, and curtains)
Screened Porch Before
Screened Porch Progress (minus new color scheme and removal of bamboo shade)
Half Bath Before
Half Bath Progress
TV Room Basement Before
TV Room Basement Progress
"Starry" Guest Bedroom Before


"Starry" Guest Bedroom Progress


Guest Bedroom Before


Guest Bedroom Progress


Open Upstairs Room Before

Open Upstairs Room Progress

Foyer Before

Foyer Progress

I labeled all of the "afters" as "progress" because many of these rooms/areas have already been tweaked, and the truth is, I never really feel like a space is finished.  After looking through the photos for this post I realized just how much I have never blogged about.  The new lighting in the kitchen, the new curtains in the living room (and a non-iPhone pic of the master bedroom curtains), the new nightstands in the master bedroom, the new additions in furniture to the living room, and a bit of new artwork around the house.  I guess when you post as sporadically as I do, you are bound to miss a few things!  Hopefully I will get around to those soon...

Friday, January 3, 2014

Thoughts for the New Year...

I've decided not to use the word resolution in regards to the new year anymore.  Resolutions never seem to work well for me, and it often implies a large undertaking/life change of some sort.  I decided to come up with a few things I want to work on in the new year.  Keep it simple--things I actually think I can do.


1.  Eat better.
To be honest, I don't eat that terribly overall, but there is definitely room for improvement.  I've given up caffeine and sweets for the most part here lately.  The removal of caffeine was a slow weaning-off process--definitely not a cold turkey situation.  The weird thing about sweets is that I have sort of lost my sweet tooth over the years.  I used to always crave sweets at the end of a meal, but my salty tooth has really taken the lead recently.  I tend to crave jalepeno kettle chips much more often than a bowl of ice cream.  So it wasn't really a conscious decision to stray away from excessive sweets, I just sort of evolved.  That being said, I now have a salty food issue.  I need to cut out the afternoon snack habit of crackers, chips, or whatever else might be around the house and start substituting for veggies/fruits.  For me, half the battle is just not keeping things in the house that are tempting, and even bigger than that, not allowing myself to get too hungry.  Other than this, I need to continue making good cooking choices with decently healthy options and add in more fruits and veggies throughout the day.


2.  Be more active.
As Andy can attest, I have really slacked off on the exercising.  I'm so darn tired at the end of a long work day and I fail to do anything active.  I make myself feel better by saying that I am on my feet most of the work day, but I think we all know that is not enough.  I need to be better about fitting in a short workout video or a walk with the dog.  Something reasonable to fit into my daily schedule.  


3.  Travel.
Andy and I are already planning a trip to NYC this year, but any other small-ish trips we can fit in would be great!


4.  Less technology.
Andy and I have gotten REALLY bad about always having to be connected to the internet in some way.  We are really missing out on decent time together because we are always "plugged in."  We are making plans to set better parameters at home for technology (maybe checking our phones in at a certain time each evening?), but it will be a work in progress.  This article really hits the nail on the head.


5.  Read more.
I really love reading, but I can't always manage to make myself read.  Honestly, that's where the technology rears its ugly head again.  It often keeps me from reading.  I am in the process of reading Between Shades of Gray about a girl and her family trying to survive after they are sent to Siberia by the Soviet police.  Believe me, it was fun checking out at Barnes and Noble with this one when the girl behind the counter clearly thought I was reading the Fifty Shades of Grey series.  There are others on my list that I would like to read, I just need to get to it.


6.  Be a better person.
Generic, right?  But I have so much work to do as far as being a better wife, friend, daughter, sister, teacher, Christian, etc.  I need to work on compassion, patience, kindness, thoughtfulness, and so much more.  I am easily overwhelmed by life in general, and often fail to show the ones that I love most that I love them.  I am a constant work in progress, I tell you.


7.  Find more creative outlets.
I have a need to be creative.  When I find myself feeling yucky and uninspired, painting a canvas, scrapbooking, and making new plans for decorating spaces in our home really seems to help.  I need to make room for more opportunities to be creative in my life.


8.  Grow.
No, not in height (although it would be nice).  I'd like for this year to be a year of growth and change for me as a person.  I want to look back at 2014 and say I came out of it different than I went in.  I want to take new roads and try new things.  What will that look like?  No clue.  But I'm up for the adventure.

Looks like I've got my work cut out for me!!!

***All images from Google***