Entries in motherhood (5)


embracing the chaos

I've sat down to write this post about a hundred times the last few days but part of embracing the chaos that is life with a toddler and a newborn means that there is zero free time to go to the bathroom, let alone update the blog! And we are STILL in the midst of the longest lasting construction project going on upstairs, which is giving me a fair share of gray hairs.  I'm wearing lots of hats, applying under eye concealer with a shovel and I honestly don't remember the last time I shaved my legs, but I've never been happier (or more exhausted)!

Luca is ten weeks old now and is an absolute angel baby; I don't knowif it's because I'm so much more relaxed than I was when I had Lydia, but he's just the sweetest baby.  He loves to watch his sister and is a champion snuggler, which is partly why I don't get anything done because I'm so reluctant to put him down!  I'm still finding my footing, in terms of a routine, but he sleeps well and nurses even better and is growing at a record pace!  The only frustration is that he's a champion at spitting up.  We go through three outfits, on average, before lunch time and I have to time going anywhere around when I'm going to feed him because I have to hold him upright for 30 minutes after.  The doctor says he will outgrow it and that it's just a "laundry problem" since he's so big and is not in any discomfort, but it's still so heartbreaking to watch him do it and even more difficult for me to watch all that breast milk come back up!  

Lydia took to her baby brother immediately and honestly, has been so much better than we ever could have expected.  She's definitely testing me more than she ever did before but I made it a point from the very beginning to make her a part of everything - changing diapers, giving baths, reading stories and singing lullabies - she's so eager to help and we make a huge deal and fuss over her anytime she does something for her brother and to watch her beam with pride makes me so happy!  She's got her moments, though, like any other toddler with a new sibling, and it's usually between the hours of 4 and 8 pm when the house is more like a zoo/circus/mental ward while I attempt to make dinner, clean up, give baths...  I know I'll get into a routine soon enough and that these days won't last forever, and honestly, I feel more sadness than relief at that thought because it's all going so fast. All I want for Christmas is for my babies to stay little!

I've been on Instagram a lot lately, it's so much easier to snap and post a pic, so follow along there for more updates @bungalowblue!  Happy Monday!


he's here!

(5 days new, last week, and stealing his momma's heart)

My sweet little love bug, Luca James, made his grand debut the day before my birthday (his actual due date) on 2 September, at 900 pm!  He was 8 pounds, 12 ounces and 21 inches of pure sweetness and we are so, so in love!  He's got the most incredible head of jet black hair and the bluest eyes, just like his big sister and momma and daddy have a serious case of heart eyes! This newborn phase is so fleeting (I can't believe he's 12 days old already) so I've been soaking up every single moment and wishing I could bottle how amazing he smells!  Lydia is the best big sister ever; she's all about helping and holding him and smothering him in kisses, which warms my heart even more!

(meeting baby brother in the hospital)

Everyone told me that, with the second baby, time goes twice as fast and they weren't lying - between constant nursing and changing diapers, I'm playing dress up with Lydia or baking in her kitchen, just taking it all in.  I saw a quote the other day that simply said, "of all the things I'm proud of, being a mother is, by far, my greatest achievement".  And it's so true.  Thank you all for following along on this journey with me!  It's back to regularly scheduled blogging soon, I promise, but in the meantime, give me ALL the sushi....


being present with my baby girl

I've been really bad about blogging lately but it hasn't been for lack of subject matter because anyone who knows me, knows I can ALWAYS find something to talk about! I've been having a bit of a tough time trying to juggle everything lately - being a momma, working part time and holding down the fort while the hubby is away (which is a lot of the time).  Like all of you, life for me has been crazy the last couple of months but my biggest challenge, by far, has been being present in the time I spend with Lydia.  I decided when I went back to work last year that I would only do it part time, choosing to work during her naptimes and at night after she was in bed, instead of getting a sitter.  I hadn't tried to have a baby for so long to miss out on so much by having someone else watch her.  It worked SO well for such a long time, with most of my clients being out of town, but then, all of a sudden, Lydia gave up her morning nap and with me working at night, I never got to spend any quality time with the hubby.  And, as any of you military wives can attest to, that is not something you give up easily. 

I want the time I spend with Lydia to be completely hands on, and not with my nose in my phone or laptop, which has proven to be easier said than done since, for many of us, our cell phones have become like a third arm.  While everyone thinks it's funny to watch Lydia walking around the house talking on her play cell phone, it makes me cringe to watch her mimick me talking on the phone, hand motions and all.  My biggest fear is that her earliest memories of me will be on my phone.  Or clicking away at my keyboard. 

Being a momma is my top priority.  Nothing is more important to me than my baby girl and I am so lucky to spend day in and day out with her.  But maximizing that time together has not come without its own set of challenges.  Have any of you struggled with this?  Here are a few things I've learned along the way:

Turn off the phone.  I can't give 100% of my attention to her with contractors calling or notifications going off constantly with every new email or text.  I've found that turning it off or, at the very least, turning the sound off, is like a weight off my shoulders. 

Give baby girl her space.  While I'd love to spend every waking moment playing with her or going to the park or swimming, it's just as important for her to play and entertain herself sometimes.  This has given me the chance to throw a load of laundry in, pack the dishwasher or return a couple emails quickly. And then I don't feel so overwhelmed with getting it all done later.

Go easy on the routine.  We like routine around here and it's served us well; while I won't ever change our nap or bedtime routine, I try to fly by the seat of my pants and not plan too much, otherwise.  It's such a departure from how I've lived my life and in that regard, it's exciting and I know baby girl loves it, too!

Find something for yourself.  This is a big one.  It's so easy to get so completely and utterly caught up in taking care of everyone and everything else that you start to lose a part of yourself.  Whether it's going to the gym, getting a pedicure or having lunch with friends, I feel like it's so important to get a moment to myself every once in a while to recharge my batteries, make me feel better and help me to be a better momma.  For me, the blog is my outlet, my happy place and it's made me sad not to have been as regular here, something I'm making a priority to change. 

When it comes to blogging, I look at it this way: if I'm going to take the time to read someone else's blog post, it better be worthwhile and so, I try to make sure that I, in turn, only post things along the same interest level because your time is just as precious!  So, instead of loading a bunch of crap up here just to have blogged, posts have been sporadic. That's all about to change, though, because I truly love blogging and interacting with all of you!  I have some exciting out of town client projects wrapping up soon and I've tackled a few projects around my own house, too, both of which I'm so excited to share with you! 

Thanks for listening....even if no one comments, it's been so therapeutic just writing about this!  If any of you have ever struggled with being present with your littles, I'd love to know your thoughts on how you do it all!  Happy Thursday!


half birthdays, deployments + the sweetest homecoming

It's been a little while since I posted any pics or updates of my sweet baby girl, who is going to be SEVEN months already this weekend (quick, cue the sniffles, time is flying WAY TOO FAST).  My little miss has been sitting up on her own since 5 1/2 months, she popped her two bottom teeth right before that and lately, it's been a lot of downward facing dog (I swear, I have days left before she starts crawling!) After snapping this pic last weekend, I couldn't resist sharing:

A lot of you have asked how Gunner has fared with the adjustment of having a baby in the house - these two have a bit of a love/hate relationship; she LOVES her Gunner and can be in the middle of a meltdown and break into a fit of giggles at just the sight of him.  He, on the other hand, is still completely indifferent.  After an entire decade of being the only "baby", I can't say I blame him.  This picture says it all about his patience, though:

The last month has been a pretty exciting one; I've never been one to celebrate a half birthday, but when you're daddy happens to be coming home from a deployment on the same day you turn six months old, a celebration is definitely in order!  This post is a month overdue, but I wanted to share anyway because homecomings are a very big deal around here.  We get all dressed up and bake cakes and count minutes, hours, days and nights until daddy comes home after months and months away. In the eleven years we've been together, we've been through our fair share of deployments, but this was, by far, the sweetest homecoming yet:

After leaving when baby girl was just eight weeks old, he made it home in time for her half birthday and the 4th of July, another biggie at our house. Here she is getting a personal escort from Daddy after her baptism back in February:

Motherhood is the most amazing, challenging, rewarding, tiring, exciting, happiest thing EVER.  It is, BY FAR, the best job I've ever had, but going at it alone the the last four months has made it even sweeter for me.   Every month I think, "it can't possibly get better than this" and then, the next month it goes and gets a little bit sweeter and I think my heart will explode. 

I am over the moon with excitement that her daddy is home to share in the adventure (and, I'm not going to lie, I'm thrilled to have a second set of hands to help out!)  A full return to blogging is right around the corner; thank you all for continuing to read and check in to see how things are going.  I'm eternally grateful for all the sweet comments and emails!  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! 


my first 3 months of mommyhood: my 10 must-haves

Over the weekend, my sweet girl turned three months old.  Three months already!  Motherhood has, by far, been the best adventure of my life; just when I think it's impossible to love my little nugget more, another day dawns and my heart swells a tiny bit more.  I'll be honest, it's definitely been a roller coaster of emotions; in the very beginning there were a lot of inexplicable, hormonal tears and times where I seriously felt like I had no idea what I was doing, but that was nothing compared to the pure joy and excitement of being a momma.  Anytime my girl smiles and turns those baby blues up at me, my heart melts into a puddle; she is just the sweetest little thing and her daddy and I are completely mesmerized by everything she does! 

Our friends and family blessed us with so many amazing baby gifts and gear that I thought I'd never need anything else ever again.  But, as I packed away the clothes she no longer fits in (sniff, sniff), I realized there were a lot of items we haven't even opened or used yet.  There are a few things that I have relied on heavily these last three months, especially when Lydia was so tiny and new.  Now that she's getting bigger so fast (sniff, sniff...again!) I'm sure these items will soon be replaced by new ones, but I thought I'd share what helped get me through these last 12 weeks.  If you're expecting and don't know what to register for, or, if you're looking for a great baby shower gift, here are my top ten baby items I absolutely loved:

Rock and Play.  All of our friends who have had children in the last few years swore by this thing and we absolutely love it.  Lydia sleeps in this next to my side of the bed; if she stirs but doesn't fully wake up, I can just rock her gently back to sleep without taking her out.  I love that the seat is at an incline, too and it's super light weight and easy to fold down, making it the perfect travel companion!

Wipe warmer.  The only thing worse than having to get your diaper changed in the middle of the night would have to be feeling cold wipes on your bum!  This thing is worth its weight in gold, a must-have I definitely could not have lived without!

Swaddles.  My little miss did NOT like to be swaddled; in all her ultrasound pictures, her hands were up at her face and she, in fact, made her grand entrance into the world that way, too!  But, since she was born in December and it was always freezing, I wrapped her lower half in these organic swaddles to keep her warm.  They get softer each time you wash them and are pretty good size so I can cover her car seat or stroller to keep out the sun.  This 3-pack has been a godsend.

Zoom lens.  I got this bad boy for Christmas; the lower f-stop has made such a difference in picture clarity and I'm able to document every. little. thing!

Mamaroo.  This was a lifesaver.  It's got a great variety of gentle motions and soothing sounds that mimic what babies felt in the womb (Lydia loved the car ride best) and you could also connect your iPod and play your own music. 

Mustela newborn set.  I can't say enough about this line.  It's so gentle, smells amazing and is biodegradable.  The newborn shampoo prevents cradle cap, the no-rinse cleanser is great for cleaning up nasty diaper blowouts and I couldn't live without the barrier cream - NOTHING else clears up and keeps her diaper rash at bay. 

Nursing cover.  For someone who was antsy about nursing in public (what if I flash someone?  What if she suffocates under there?), this was the perfect answer because it covers EVERYTHING.  It comes in a bunch of colors and, in a pinch, I've used it to cover the car seat from wind and rain. 

Burp cloths.  These are super absorbant and get softer each time you wash them.  Right now, I throw these over my shoulder to burp baby girl and when she's a little older, they have snaps to double as a bib.

Sound machine.  For the first two months, the kitchen vent hood or a hair dryer set on low were the only two things that would get Lydia to sleep and a sound machine was the only thing that would keep her that way.  We no longer use the vent or hair dryer, but the sound machine is still a must. This one is my favorite.  It plays music, projects images onto the wall or ceiling and has the best white noise, which keeps my little miss in dreamland.

Breast pump.  If you're going to breast feed, it's worth the investment to have a great pump; I rented a hospital-grade pump for the first month and then switched to this one and have to say, I love it so much more. 

 What are some baby items that you think will help me through the next 12 weeks? 

I'd love to know!