Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

This year is going to be awesome! I'm looking forward to having fun with Nick, watching Jo grow, making lots of cool things, and opening a store on Etsy.

May your upcoming year be filled with love, life, and laughing!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

They'll be coming round the mountain...

My family is coming! My family is coming! We just can't wait.

We spent the Christmas weekend with Nick's family in the suburbs and it was lovely. Lots of fun, food, prezzies, and people to hold the babe. Baby Jo made out like a bandit in the present department. She did surprisingly well with being passed around, wearing somewhat uncomfortable dresses and tights, and dealing with the screams and yelling that come with watching the Bears. She smiled and cooed all the way. That baby is a social butterfly. 

And the fun just keeps coming! My mom and siblings will be here tonight through Friday. Baby Jo is excited too, especially because she gets to meet her Auntie Sarri, Uncle David, and cousins Grace & Gabe for the first time. There will be even more food and more games and more prezzies.

I might step away from the blog for a few days to fully immerse myself in the family-craziness, but will be back by the end of the week. In the meantime, here's one of my Christmas faves:

Monday, December 26, 2011

Baby Style

I just stumbled across the online store Thumbeline. Whoa! Super fabulous! Here are a few of my faves for Jo:

Friday, December 23, 2011

She's a brick house!

My darling baby girl weighed in at 14 pounds yesterday and is already 25 inches long at 11 weeks. Our doc said that a good amount of weight gain is 3/4 of an ounce per day. Baby Jo is gaining 1.5 ounces per day. Girl likes to eat.

During the first few weeks after Jo was born, she had a hard time eating and wasn't gaining much weight (even our midwife was a little worried, and she never gets worried). We just kept plugging away. Then the first time she had a weight gain at the doc's I said to her, "Good job, baby girl." To which the doctor replied, "Good job, baby girl? Good job, Mom!" It didn't even hit me that her weight gain had anything to do with me. It's just my body doing its thing, right?

My sister has two adorable kids (although we still call them babies). Her sweet baby boy was a complete chubster when he was tiny, and my sister was so proud. Now I totally understand why.

Check out these cheeks.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dress-ups for boys

Dress-ups for boys

Ok, for those of you with boys, here you go. You can always go the suit-jacket route, but I like little vests or cardigans that let boys look like boys and not tiny men. I also love boys in bow-ties, so maybe add a tie like this.

 I was playing around on Polyvore for the first time. It's quite fun.

Woe is me

I wish I had known how hard breastfeeding was going to be for Jo and me. I don't know what I would have done with that knowledge, but at least I would have been a bit more prepared. We struggled so much at the start I totally understand why many mothers make the switch to bottles and formula. Jo and I stuck with it though, and it's finally paying off.

Baby Jo initially had some crazy latching problems -- enough to cause major "nipple trauma" (as our doctor calls it). For some reason I like the combo of the words nipple and trauma (it sounds super serious). I don't, however, like how nipple + trauma actually feels. I'll tell you this: it's not very fun. Two and a half months later after multiple sessions with our doc and midwife and lactation consultant and two rounds of antibiotics and two jars of Dr. Jack Newman's All Purpose Nipple Ointment and even trying a nipple shield (sigh) and tons and tons of pumping, I'm finally on the mend and even enjoy wearing a bra. I honestly thought this day would never come. When my nipples finally heal I will be throwing a party. Seriously. Yay!

Quite frankly, I was prepared to put up with the pain and the open sores for as long as we planned on breastfeeding. Crazy? Yes. I am insanely committed to breastfeeding. I'm also a hardcore, stoic Swede with a high tolerance for pain (we choose an un-medicated home birth). 

Did I mention there was also a time during the first week of Jo's life that she decided not to latch on at all? Yeah, that wasn't fun. After a frantic call to our doula who told us to start pumping, Nick ran out and bought a pump (we didn't have one yet). Our midwife suggested that we use a syringe/tube to feed instead of a bottle so we forged on with feedings with what my sister-in-law called a "medical procedure." Finally during a middle-of-the-night feeding attempt, Jo finally latched. It was magical. 

Oh yeah, and then I thought we had thrush, but it just turned out to be an infection. Gross. 

I'm still dealing with vasospasm  which means my nipples turn white and then red after and in between feedings, so I'm taking a high amount of vitamin B6 to help with that (it also turns my pee bright yellow and my breast milk a light shade of green -- neato). It's supposed to go away once the nipple trauma has officially healed. Fingers crossed.

Who would have thought that I would ever talk about my nipples this much?

This may sound crazy to many of you, but all of that struggle was totally worth it! Now that I can nurse pain-free I actually look forward to it and I'm amazed with the fact that my body can still make plenty of food even after all of that.  Jo loves to eat (as evidenced by her ever-growing chubbiness) and I love to feed her so it's totally a win-win. Yippee!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Baby!

Baby Jo already has two Christmas dresses (thanks to the grandmas), otherwise I would get her one of these.

Danger is her middle name...

...not really. Her middle name is actually Marilyn. But when she wears this little shirt that I made for her, danger may as well be her middle name. Watch out! Crazy baby on the loose!

I'm pretty sure she likes it too.

 I had left-over fabric so my mom incorporated it into a sweet little bunting.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Zulily Alert

WeWe means "little ones" in Yoruba. I would love to dress my little one in these bright, colorful tops and dresses. Just went on sale at Zulily today.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Girl talk

I read How to Talk to Little Girls (by Lisa Bloom) on The Huffington Post while I was pregnant. A friend re-posted the link on Facebook recently, and I read it again. I just love it!

There is so much emphasis on beauty for little girls. Just watch an episode of Toddlers & Tiaras or even America's Next Top Model. We all contribute. I've even noticed myself saying, "You're so cute," or "You're so pretty" to Jo. Which is fine, I think, as long as I'm also praising her other attributes (which are plentiful).

Now there's nothing wrong with being pretty, but we're doing our baby girls a disservice if that is the first or only trait we focus on. I have the chance to raise a baby girl who is beautiful inside and out: a baby girl who is confident and not afraid to be herself, a baby girl who is proud of her accomplishments and successes in all aspects of her life, a baby girl who is smart, sophisticated, and savvy. So I will encourage her daily to be her beautiful self. This is what I will tell her today.
Baby Jo, you are so beautiful, but only because you are all of these things too: 

You are so strong. You were born that way. You kick and kick and kick and stretch your arms and kick again. I just know that you'll be running circles around your dad and me before long. You are very opinionated as well. You know exactly what you like and what you don't, and you sure let us know.

You are so smart. You can recognize your dad and mama. You are already babbling and saying amazing things. I love it when I'm singing to you and you start to sing along. You tell your grandmas fabulous stories. I have a feeling you'll always have something to say.

You are so funny. Sometimes I hear your dad laughing out loud when he plays with you. I think you're telling him jokes. You make the most hilarious faces. You'll be hamming it up for years to come (just like your mama and her family).

You are so caring and compassionate. You love to snuggle. When I have a rough day you coo and smile to show me that you love me.

I just love you!

Let's dance!

Cue the David Bowie. Nick, Jo, and I have started family dance parties in the kitchen. Jo's favorites include The Beatles, The Decemberists, and the new Wilco album. Nick and I are so proud. This baby can shake it!

Music and dancing are huge with my family. I'll let my sister explain here.

We're so crazy.

Melissa & Doug

Melissa & Doug are my best friends! Actually, I don't know them, but their toys are super awesome. And with Christmas coming up I'm seeing them everywhere. Before Baby Jo was even born I bought her the abacus (we're hardcore about math in this house).

I'm also stockpiling the wooden play food for her play kitchen that I want my brother to eventually build. Since Nick does most of the cooking at home, he can help her create wooden food masterpieces.Yummy!


Baby Jo had quite a few nicknames even before she was born. At first my family and I called her Poppy because she was the size of a poppy seed when I revealed that I was pregnant. A friend of mine came up with the nickname Larry because she thought a baby named Larry would be awesome. After we finally learned that Fetus Jo was a girl we started calling her Baby Jo.

Now Jo has even more nicknames. Here are a few that frequently come out of my mouth. You'll notice some themes. 

Super Chunk, Super Chunk, She's super chunky (to the tune of Super Freak)
Chunkylicous Monkey
Monk Monk
Monky Monk and the Funky Bunch
Little Bunny Foo Foo
Toots McGee
Grunty McGrunterson

I'm sure there will be more.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Jo of the week

Baby Jo is talking in this pic. She always has very important things to say. Here she was saying, "I love you mama."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Comfy and cozy

The cute factor is crazy with these cozy looking basics from Kidz-Art. I especially like the cowboy onesie. I like cowboys a lot. Jo does too.

All I want for Christmas is a pair of pants that fit!

Muffin-top is no fun. No fun at all. And since I can't seem to find a pair of pants that fit, I have muffin-top every day.

My pre-baby pants are waaaaaaay too small. My maternity pants fit in the legs, but not the waist. I bought a few new pairs of non-preggo pants that seemed to fit in the store, but now they are cutting into my mid-section at its biggest spot, which is oh-so unflattering. I'm all for celebrating my body's ability to build and birth a baby and that means a little extra doughy-ness right now, but seriously, muffin-top?

Ok, enough whining.

Maybe if I'm really nice between now and Christmas Santa will surprise me. Do I need to send him my measurements?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mommy, may I?

Baby Jo said to me today, "May I please have some clothes by Marie Chantal? They are on sale today at and I just want them!" I replied to Jo, "Oh honey girl, you are so cute and smart. You would look adorable in these pretty little things!"

I'll treat Jo to this cashmere helmet because she's a star! A baby can never have too many little pilot hats.

Just doula it!

I just absolutely loved our doula! We had a home birth (which I'll talk about in another post) and couldn't have done it without Barb Belcore-Walkden. I knew from day one when we were still planning a hospital birth that I wanted a doula. I needed all the support we could muster and knew that it would be helpful for Nick too, being a first-time dad. 

I interviewed a handful of doulas and went with Barb since Nick and I both loved her energy. She is caring and knowledgeable and positive and calming -- we wanted her to be a part of our birth team. When we decided on a home birth, Barb was so excited and was invaluable as a resource.

There's not a lot I remember about my labor (it was a quick, intense six hours), but I do remember the minute Barb walked in. I can still hear her say, "You're in labor!" I was bending over on a birth ball and she walked over and immediately put her hands on my back. You know when you're a kid and you're sick or hurt and your mom comforts you? That's what it felt like. Barb knew just what to do and what to say to both Nick and me.

The other thing that sticks out in my mind most is what Barb said when I was pushing. It's what I call the theme of my labor. I was lying on our futon on my side, holding on to Barb's hands, and squeezing with each push. At one point I stopped pushing and whimpered, "It hurts." I was a bit whiny. To which Barb replied, "Don't be afraid of the pain. The pain is what gets the baby out." Holy cow, that helped! I squeezed the daylights out of her hands, pushed through the pain, and out popped a baby. Wheeeeeeeee! Then she made us breakfast, cleaned up the house, and held my hand through the few stitches that I needed.

The day after I had Jo, Barb went on vacation so we relied heavily on her back-up, Jacque, for support through our breastfeeding problems and other post-partum issues. Barb & Jacque are seriously the wonder-duo. Nick and I can't imagine going through our labor, delivery, and post-partum period without these two women.

If you are having a baby, hire a doula! Whether you are having a home birth (especially if you are having a home birth) or a hospital birth or a birthing center birth, hire a doula! If you are a first-time mama you should most definitely hire a doula! Did I mention you should hire a doula?

You can find a bunch of handy doula info at the DONA International site.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Doll's House

Just saw these not-your-run-of-the-mill doll houses from brinca dada. I'm keeping my eye on the dylan house (which has a kick-butt roof-top patio) for when Baby Jo is big enough. You can buy furniture too, by the room or for the whole house. I'd like a life-size house of my very own, please.

edward house

emerson house

dylan house

Also, you can buy the dylan house with furniture on right now.

It gets better...

It gets better. That's what everyone was saying to me the first month or so after Baby Jo was born. You know that time when you're in the thick of things and you're exhausted beyond belief and hungry and haven't showered in days (maybe weeks) and your nipples look and feel like raw hamburger meat and you're still not sleeping and your baby won't stop crying? Everyone said, "It gets better." I wanted to kick the people who said that to me, but just didn't have the energy. I couldn't even think about the upcoming better-ness since I was so totally in the trenches.

It has to get better otherwise no one would ever have more than one kid, right?

Well, it has gotten better, or at least different. There's more napping and more playing and much more smiling (from Nick, Johanna, and me). The daily challenges keep changing, which is good, because if things stayed like they were the first month I don't know if I could do this. I'm still not showering on a regular basis, but that's not a big deal, right?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


These tees from Jusami make me smile. I bought the black one for Baby Jo. When she wears it we can make up stories about what she would do with a pet dinosaur.

Co-sleepy time

Nick and I have been sharing our bed with Baby Jo since she was born. In the beginning she was sleeping on my chest (which I actually miss), and has since graduated to sleeping beside me. I can hear her little snorts and grunts so I know she's breathing (even though I still put a hand on her chest sometimes just to make sure). And I love not having to go into a different room to nurse in the middle of the night. It works for us. I've even noticed that she and I will often wake up at the same time during the night. We're in tune.

While all of this is good, in an effort to get her to sleep for longer stretches at night, we've moved her into the co-sleeper by our bed. Maybe she needs her own space. I don't know. We're trying it. We'll see what happens.

However, last night Baby Jo and I slept on the futon together since she was having an off night and I didn't want to disturb Nick. I was in heaven. It was so sweet. I couldn't stop looking at her right there beside me. I snuggled up next to her and put my hand around her little waist and fell asleep.

If you're interested, the Ask Dr. Sears website has a bunch of great co-sleeping info.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Zulily Alert

Danish brand, Poppy Rose, is on Zulily today.  I love the gorgeous color palette and unique detailing.