Matteo's First Photoshoot and Pop Quiz

Saturday, December 27, 2014

My little guy is just over 2 weeks now.  He is still in that newborn haze where he has just enough energy to nurse, suffer through a diaper change, and give a little eye contact for 5 minutes.  Then he's totally wiped out and needs to sleep for an hour or two before beginning the process again. He's eating every 2.5-3.5 hours, which feels totally manageable compared to Sisi who ate every 1.5 hours.

My biggest anxiety while pregnant was going through Postpartum Depression again, and I'm so happy to report I'm all smiles so far.  Maybe a few panicky moments when the sun goes down (totally hormones), but nothing that deep breaths and Amoryn can't solve.  With Sisi, everything was so new and overwhelming.  I'd never even held a newborn, and suddenly I was responsible for keeping one alive and happy.  If she cried, I took it as a chastisement that I was a horrible mother.  I remember being so surprised when she first smiled at me at 6 weeks.  I thought, "Wait, you actually like me??? You're not miserable? I had no idea!"

This time around is so much easier, for lots of reasons.

  • I have confidence in my mothering abilities. I realize that babies are sturdier than they look.  I know to pause (aka "le pause") before rushing in to rescue him when he cries, not to be cruel, but to listen to him and figure out what he really needs from me. As a result, I feel I've gotten to know Matteo really well already.  Also, an ounce of prevention is my motto this time around when it comes to sleep learning (not training, learning!). That means no crazy shenanigans to get him to fall asleep, because while rocking/nursing/shusshing and bouncing a 7 pounder to sleep is no big deal, when he's 15 or 20 pounds it becomes a huge burden. Babies can happily fall asleep on their own, I'm amazed to discover!  
  • I think of babies as intelligent and worthy of respect.  They are not just squirmy blobs, they are people, and they are worth talking to and listening to.   It's amazing how much Matteo relaxes when I just tell him what I'm going to do, whether it's a diaper change or nap time or even if I need to put him down to be by himself for a bit. When he cries, I listen to him and empathize. This sounds very kumbaya, doesn't it?  But I really believe this kind of communication is so good for both of us.  It's actually therapeutic for me to talk things out with him. He's like my little shrink :) 
  • My physical recovery was fast.  Thank the Lord, my labor was so short that it left me pretty much unscathed.  That makes EVERYTHING easier to handle.
  • I have Sisi to distract me.  My days just fly by, because while baby is napping, I'm busy caring for my eldest. With baby #1, each day never ends. It's like the twilight zone.
  • I have perspective.  Every annoying phase ends.  Nursing was pretty painful with Matteo at first, but I didn't despair.  I told myself it would get better soon, and it already has.  Even waking up every 3 hours at night is tolerable because I know one day, just when I think I can't take it anymore, he will start skipping those night feeds and I'll enjoy a full night's sleep again.  And of course, watching Siena thrive is daily proof that it all works out in the end.  Matteo is probably our last baby, so I am treasuring each moment with him.  Every day I think, "I'll never have a baby this itty bitty again."  
Ok, onto the newborn pics!  Trista blessed us with her talent yet again, and took some adorable pics of Matteo.  Every parent knows how stressful the newborn shoot is.  Sure, your baby looks all cute and serene in the pictures, but behind the scenes there is poop flying and lots of griping.  Thanks to my aforementioned perspective, I was able to keep my cool and really enjoy the shoot!TRISTA LERIT, you are such a good friend and you are amazing at capturing wee babies!!!

Sisi is handling the changes pretty well, although I can see she is grieving a bit.  I trust that she will work out her mixed emotions in her own time.  She likes to help me with the baby, but does not want to hold him.  I was actually surprised she did it for the picture!

And just for kicks, POP QUIZ!  Can you tell Sisi and Matteo apart?

And try this one...


Matteo's First Week!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Fresh from the womb... 

My dream team.  Lindsey and Melanie from OC Midwifery are so amazing.  

I'd like you to meet Matteo.  He was born on 12/12/14, at 4:34 am- 6lb 15 oz, 20 inches long.

 I probably won't share my entire labor story this time around (it's sacred!), but here are the main points.  Cramps at 3am, tried to walk them off or sleep through them, but I couldn't.  Woke up Joe who called the midwife and the doula, apologizing that maybe this was false labor.  20 minutes later, thunderstorm starts, water breaks, I'm pacing around the house trying to survive the contractions.  Deep breathing, listening to the rain fall onto our roof, praying for strength.  I retreat into Matteo's nursery, and try to count the fishes in his room as a distraction.  I decide to get on hands and knees just to give my legs a little break, and suddenly BOOM!! head falls, I'm fully dilated and ready to push.  Midwife and doula are still not here.  Sobbing hysterically, trying not to push, remembering that the exact same thing happened with Sisi, staring at the Christmas tree and counting the ornaments. Hold him in, hold him in. Focusing on the monkey ornament.  Midwife arrives. Doula arrives (both were coming straight from other births!!) Joe is trying to fill the tub in vain, midwife hears me pushing and guides me to the couch.  No time for water birth, one excruciating push, then another, Matteo slides out and I'm making this face.  Yeah, I was pretty overwhelmed with love, relief, thankfulness, and also terror.  Being a mom is a mixed bag of emotions!
I'm so in love, so proud of this little guy.  He is tiny and oh so sleepy; his eyes are almost always closed, unlike Sisi who was staring everyone down from day one.  


Enjoying my last few days...

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

before baby boy is born!  I'm due in about a week, and the practice contractions are getting stronger and stronger.  I'm having to pause and breathe through them as I write this.  Baby is measuring great, in the ideal position, and I have a feeling we will meet him very soon.  At this point I am more excited than I am anxious.  I am so curious about this little boy.  Will he look like Sisi?  Will he be super active like he is in the womb?  I'm even curious about my labor- will it be just like last time?  Will I handle it with more grace and self-confidence this time around?  I can't quite remember the pain, so I'm weirdly curious about how painful it will be.  (According to the Hypnobirthing classes I took last time, I'm not even supposed to use the words "due date", "contractions" or "pain", and I've said all three in this paragraph.  Let's be real, euphemisms don't always work.)

I'm not one to wish pregnancy away because I know how hard and tiring those first few months can be.  I consider pregnancy to be a nice little vacation, a calm before the storm.  I'm a pretty happy preggo, it's almost like the hormones put a little pep in my step! I'm treasuring my time with Sisi and Joe before the family dynamics completely change.  Here's what I've been up to...

Hubby time: 

Fermentation Farm and lunch at Fukada Restaurant (where we didn't mind the long wait because we brought reading materials :)

The goods:  kimche, duck eggs, organ meat sausage, boar bacon, and red currant kombucha tea) 

 Nana time! 

Playmate time! 

Mommy-Sisi-Dragon time: 

And of course,a few crafting projects for the nautical nursery.

I would show more pics of the nursery, but it would require me to move car seats and daipers and Christmas presents out of the way, and I'm just too lazy.  Baby's room is still a bit of a storage area :/


Totally Practical Gift Guide

Most gift-guides on the internet make me cringe a bit.  Gold-plated drink stirrers?  Wiener dog shaped eye mask?  Trendy geometric toothpick holder? These are clever gifts that make a really splashy first impression, but usually just end up adding clutter to your home.  I probably sound like such a scrooge!  I do like gifts, both giving and receiving, but my tastes have changed.  I now appreciate more practical items- either things that make my life easier in some way, or consumable things that will be used up and won't gather dust for years and years.  The coolest thing is that without my saying a thing, most people have picked up on my new minimalist tendencies.  They end up buying me consumables.  My sisters-in-law have gifted me with things like really good quality olive oil, raw honey, and shea butter.  My brother gifted Joe with a huge leg of lamb for his birthday.  That's what I'm talking about!

As the Christmases roll by, we have less and less gifts to buy.  It's really liberating to just be able to enjoy the season and look forward to the traditions of Christmas instead of the stuff. Joe's family does a white elephant exchange, my family is just a handful of people and we have a 20.00 limit.  Joe, Sisi and I don't really do gifts under the tree.  Instead, we stuff each other's stockings with useful things, like the following...

Here is my little Gift Guide for the person who doesn't need or want a lot of frou frou stuff.  It's the kind of stuff people could buy me over and over and I'd never get sick of it.

Minimalist Gift Guide Part 1

1. Life Extension Liquid Vitamin D 2000 IU Mint Flavor:... (A few drops a day keeps sickness away!) 

2. Bees wax tea light candles (Burn so much longer and cleaner than regular parafin wax candles)

3.   Sea Salt tealight candle holder (Made of a real salt chunk (I licked it to see), supposedly neutralizes the air of bacteria, mold, and allergens by emitting negative ions, but I just love the vibe of these candles.)

4. Cupsco Classic Cup 16oz 4-pack Stainless Steel (I break cups all the time, so these are Kristin-proof and baby-proof.  Also, stainless steel is so easy to clean and is supposedly more hygienic than ceramic, plastic, or glass.)

5. Peak Fresh Re-Usable Produce Bags, Set of 10 (Essential for anyone who does CSA, or eats a ton of produce- keeps fragile greens like spinach fresh for 3 weeks, which is pretty amazing.)

6.Winter Dream Tea from Coffee Bean  (I get this every year- it's sweet and spicy and so good with a splash of cream and honey.)

7. Stella Mare Cranberry Tangerine candle (Stella Mare is definitely my favorite candle brand.  Soy wax, so it burns longer and cleaner, amazing scents, and super reasonably priced.) 

minimalist gift guide part 2

8.  Fruit Pigmented Lip and Cheek Stain (100 Percent Pure is my favorite natural beauty brand, and this lip stain is such a pretty cherry shade.  It's a lot like benetint, but no yucky chemicals.  I put on a few layers on my lips in the morning, let them dry, and then apply clear lip balm on top.  My lips look berry stained for several hours.  Only bad thing is it tastes awful.)

9.  Redmond Earthpaste Cinnamon Amazingly Natural Toothpaste (This toothpaste is made out of mud.  It's completely safe if swallowed, which makes it perfect for Sisi, too.)

10.  Facial Primer by 100 Percent Pure (I never used to use primer, but this one feels so wonderful on my skin and provides such a nice even base for my powder foundation.)

11.  Everyone Soap (This one bottle of soap has replaced my shampoo, body wash, shaving cream, dog shampoo, baby shampoo, and bubble bath.  My shower has like 3 things in it- it's a minimalist's dream come true!!)

12.  Paraben free deodorant (Another great 100 Percent Pure product.  Truth be told, I don't usually wear deoderant.  I'm fortunate to not have smelly pits.  But my pregnancy hormones have kicked in and I am finding deoderant is necessary.  This one has only a handfull of ingredients.)

13.  Pacifica Wanderlust Perfume Trio (These fragrances are fairly natural and don't have a chemically scent.  The blood orange and the vanilla are lovely, and would probably smell even better blended together!)

14.  Primitive Sweet Almond Oil (I read  that French moms use this to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.  I've used it religiously this pregnancy, and I have very few stretch marks on my belly.  It's also a rather light oil that absorbs quickly into the skin.  It doesn't have a strong scent like coconut oil. I also apply it to my face, let it sit, then rub it away with a cotton ball to remove my makeup.)