Outer Banks (again)

On Tuesday morning we loaded up the Jeep with cameras and the baby and an infinite amount of blankets (for no real reason other than that people give you tons of blankets when you have a baby, so surely they are necessary, even in July at the beach?) I had another family vacation session at the Outer Banks (I'm still pinching myself that my life right now includes getting paid for this sort of thing.) 

It was a quick trip, and we only made it out onto the beach for all of five minutes, but just driving along the beach houses, kicking the sand off my shoes, smelling that sunscreeny smell on passersby was enough to bring a sense of rest to this tired mama. 

The room at our inn just happened to be a room that led out to the tree-lined, twinkly lit pool that overlooked the sound. When Karey finally fell asleep, we tip-toed out through the screen door and soaked in the hot tub under the stars. It was a deep sigh of relief, just those few minutes. 

Life Lately

Karey is asleep in her bouncer, in only a diaper because she's pooped through two outfits already and I'm over it. I'm munching on a kale (yes, kale) popsicle at our kitchen table, looking through these photos from the last month and trying to figure out this new way that time works now that I have a kid. She is two and a half months old, but it feels like an eternity since she was born. Heck, since some of these pictures were taken. 

I'm not going to ramble on about life being hard, or challenging, because who cares? Life is always hard and challenging. Instead, somehow, I'm feeling bizzarely grateful for the way having a tiny baby around has thrown us for a loop. Everything is more difficult, from getting ready in the morning to a simple trip to the grocery store, but she makes it all so much more fun. A poop explosion at Target is a little terrifying in the moment, true, but also makes what could have been a boring trip for packaged chicken breasts into a memorable adventure. An afternoon at the coffee shop where she sleeps through a coffee and a refill is a major victory. Getting to church on time and actually staying for the whole service? Someone hand me a trophy.

I've never worked so hard, and it feels good. I'm proud of myself for learning on the fly, for figuring out how to wash dishes one dish at a time as I race back to pop the pacifier in her crying mouth. For learning how to make it work with a baby, all of it - running my business, keeping our marriage fun and healthy, exercising, finding time to read. And it's all from God, because goodness knows I would not be able to figure it out on my own.

Not all days flow smoothly, of course (in fact, quite often they don't) but I feel like I'm learning how to do this thing. And that gummy, squinty-eyed smile she gives me (and, let's be honest, the ceiling fan) makes it so, so worth it. 

Emma - Raleigh Newborn Photographer

I'd never met the Andersons before coming to the hospital to photograph their first moments with sweet Emma, but as soon as I stepped into the room I felt like I was watching old friends become parents. The tiny hospital room was filled with a quiet excitement, an awe at the sweet girl they had brought into the world, and the feeling that this was only the beginning of a big, beautiful story. I'm so grateful to have been a part of it.

New Mama Necessities

So. I have no intentions to be a lifestyle, or a mommy blogger; I'm just a gal with a camera and a lot of thoughts who likes to ramble on here every once in a while. BUT after these past two weeks with a newborn I just had to share the little things that have made a huge difference in mine and my husband's sanity. There are a thousand posts out there on postpartum necessities as relates to physical recovery (we all know about the padscicles by now, right?) but there are so many other random things to think about, too. So, for what it's worth, here are the things that have made my new mama life a thousand times easier.

Nursing sleep bras - I was very much a minimalist when I put together my baby registry and started gathering things for postpartum life. True story, I only bought ONE nursing bra before having Karey. Because surely any more than one is terribly excessive, right? Eh, no. Let me tell you something: once your milk comes in, I don't care how many fancy, cute nursing pads you have, you will be waking up for those midnight feedings freezing cold and drenched in breastmilk. This is a fact. I used to not understand the concept of "sleep bras", (set the sisters free, am I right?) but when you're breastfeeding, they're a must. You want to have something comfortable to sleep in, and a few extras to change into when your boobs are exploding with milk those first few weeks. Target has some gorgeous ones that are incredibly comfortable and surprisingly sexy. 

Speaking of sexy - you'll want something pretty to wear during those first couple of days home from the hospital. It's going to be a little rough - you're wearing adult diapers, you can barely walk, your stomach is flabby and squishy and hanging all over the place. But wearing your husband's T shirts and your high school gym shorts are only going to make you feel worse. Find some comfy, pretty pajama shorts to wear with your soft, sexy nursing bra and you will feel like a million bucks, flabby stomach and all. I promise. 

A travel mug. One of my mom friends told me to make sure I have one so as not to have to resort to the whole re-heating your coffee in the microwave thing. Also, no worries about accidentally spilling on the baby. Genius. 

A project of some sort. I admit this one sounds a little bizarre. But after a week or so of being cooped up indoors with a baby attached to my boob 24/7 I was starting to get a little antsy. When I have a free moment (or even just a free hand) I write in my journal, or take and edit photos - nothing huge, just something that makes me feel like me, and like I've accomplished something that day, which is imperative to my sanity. 

A lineup of shows/movies. As much as Trevor and I love staring at her, during those cluster feeding marathons, we're ready to turn on an episode of Gilmore Girls (or ten.)

Snacks. Dried fruit, granola bars, those packaged crackers and cheese things that offer no nutritional value. I keep little stacks of them on my bedside table, because I never know when I'm going to get stuck there breastfeeding for an hour and a half.

Cheap tank tops. I grabbed a handful of these at Target about a week before giving birth and I am SO glad I did. I've lived in these almost every single day - they're comfortable, easy to nurse in, and I can throw them on without wondering whether they'll fit my postpartum body. (There's nothing worse than rifling through your closet only to discover that, no matter how much weight you're losing, about half of it still won't fit.)

A sleep swaddle with velcro. Those beautiful patterned swaddle blankets have many wonderful uses, but it is almost impossible to get your two day old baby swaddled in them correctly for the fifteenth time that night. At three in the morning, velcro is everything.

Burp cloths on every surface in every room of your home. For spit up, for when your boobs start leaking out of nowhere, for catching an explosive poop oozing out of those beautiful baby jeggings that were brand new and perfectly folded neatly in a drawer just last week. Again, something I only had a handful of before, but after baby came it was the first thing we added to our to-buy list. 

And lastly, but in my opinion, the most important purchase of all: a waterproof mattress cover. I bought one for the crib a while ago and gave myself a pat on the back for being so proactive in saving our expensive crib mattress. But it never occurred to me to get one for our bed, which is where we spent 90% of our time those first couple of weeks. I'm sure you can imagine the damage that can be done in only two weeks with a newborn baby between the breastmilk, the spit up, and poop and pee. I wish SO BAD I had thought to buy one of these sooner. 

 

Granted, not all of this will apply or make sense for other new moms, but these are just some of the things that I wish I'd known a month ago.