Friday, February 20, 2015

Postpartum Redux

This precious photo popped up in my Timehop app yesterday. 

Tiny, sleepy, 8 day old Arlo. Look at that adorable little man! I was immediately filled with nostalgia for the time when he was so small and wasn't a flurry of constant motion. Then I really started to reflect on those first weeks of his life and remembered just how HARD that time was. 

I wouldn't categorize myself as having had postpartum depression, but I will tell you that my days were not full of sunshine and new motherhood bliss. I remember feeling guilty for not feeling like the moms in the diaper commercials. Why wasn't I wearing a white linen gown and gazing blissfully at a fat, cherubic newborn? Why was I instead in the same yoga pants for 3 days with spit up on my softest college t-shirt swaying a colicky baby?

If I could go back to brand new momma Lindsey and hold her hand, I would tell her so many things:

  1. This crazy surge of love, despair, hope and bewilderment is normal. Your body has been through a HUGE change, your hormones are all over the place. You will cry from happiness at how precious this perfect little life is, and then start to cry from exhaustion. You will cry for no apparent reason, and that's okay too.
  2. Your baby is adjusting to this big, strange, new world. He's not crying because you're a failure at this parenthood gig. He just doesn't have any other way to communicate. Be patient. You will learn what his little cries mean very soon and be able to soothe him like no other!
  3. Get the eff off the internet! Yes, the internet can be a fantastic resource when you find your community (and you will), but for the love of all that is holy, quit Googling every single thing that pops in your head during a 1am feeding. You will make yourself and your husband, crazy!
  4. You can't spoil/ruin your baby. Do you feel better when you wear your baby close to you? Do it! Do you want to rock that baby to sleep at night? Do it! Does safe co-sleeping make sense for your family? Do it! Before you know it, that little baby will be an independent little guy and you will be glad you stole every one of those snuggles. 
  5. Ask for help. Admit when you need help. It doesn't mean you are weak or a bad mother. It means you are smart. So many people love you and want to help you and your new family. Let them. 
  6. Trust your instincts. You are his momma. You two just spent 40+ weeks together. You know him and will learn what is best for him and your family. Just because every other mom on the block isn't doing what you are doing doesn't make it wrong.
  7. You will sleep again. It won't be like pre-baby sleep. Just let that fantasy go. :) But one day soon, your baby will sleep for a 4 hour stretch! You will be amazed at how refreshed you will feel with a 4 hour stretch of sleep. Then he will sleep longer, and a little longer. Eventually the bone-numbing tired feeling will lift. Hang in there.
  8. Stop judging other moms by their Instagram feeds. Yes, your friend seems to have all her $%*# together. Yes, her 6 month old sleeps alone, happily in her crib for 12 hours straight. Awesome. Guess what? I PROMISE you there is another area of parenthood that sucks for her. Maybe her toddler won't let go of the bottle. Maybe her little one is hopelessly addicted to their pacifier. Maybe she has the awful task of doing an elimination diet to figure out what is upsetting her newborn's tummy. Whatever it is, all moms have some cross to bear. We all struggle in some area. Comparison is the thief of joy, sister!
  9. Know that it does get better. One day soon, that baby that will only sleep when you drive him around in the car will snuggle down in your arms and drift off to sleep soundly. One day soon, that baby who has such terrible reflux will be able to eat without pain. One day soon, when changing yet another diaper, that baby will give you the world's best baby laugh and you will cry at just how beautiful the sound is. Hang in there momma, it's about to get so much better.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate's Party for Arlo!

You know the adage that all moms impart to new moms, "It goes so fast"? Well, turns out they all say it because it's true. Somehow those incredibly long sleepless nights morph quickly into a blur of firsts. My baby boy will be ONE in just a few days. That seems so fantastically crazy that an entire year has passed since we welcomed him into the world, yet here we are with a toddling, babbling, wild-haired little man. Sounds like a reason to celebrate to me!

I began formulating an idea for Arlo's birthday party theme when he was about 6 months old and thanks to Pinterest, I had a nice space to stash my design ideas until party time. I always thought a nautical theme would be fun since my husband is a Navy vet, but ultimately decided to steer the ship (har, har, har!) towards a pirate party!

Below are some pics of the fun with links to some of the ideas I used:

Pirate map walkway: We used black and red duct tape to create a map to the front door complete with an "X" marking the spot of the party.

Photo Booth: I have a friend who is an alum from Southwestern University in Georgetown (the Pirates) who lent me loads of pirate decor. I wanted to use some of her cute props to have a photo backdrop for our guests to get creative.

Homemade (and easy) pirate costume: One thing you'll learn about me is that I'm always game to dress up in a costume for any occasion, so of course I wanted to match the theme of the party! I don't know if you have looked at women's pirate costumes, but let me tell you, they wouldn't have been appropriate for a momma at a one-year old's birthday party! Cue Pinterest! I found this awesome inspiration for a pirate costume and this quick tutorial for a t-shirt vest. I grabbed some red & black fabric from JoAnn's for the sash and headband and paired with my own jeans and black boots. Voila, instant pirate! 

Pirate Buffet: I wanted to try and match most of the food to the theme, so I got creative with naming my regular party food staples with fun pirate-y names and printed up some cute cards labeling the fare. Here is the recipe for the Pirate Punch and Scallywag Sangria. Both were a big hit! We used a local baker Tasty Bakes & Patty Cakes for our cakes. I sent her a picture of a cake I saw on Pinterest and she replicated it beautifully!

Fruit Swords

Seaweed Dip

Scurvy Busters! (Cutie clementines with pirate faces)

Pirate Punch for the kiddos and Scallywag Sangria for the adults. 
Birthday Cake and Smash Cake 
Photo Banner: One of the things I've been diligent about this year, has been taking a photo of Arlo each month in his glider so you can see how he changes from month to month. All along I had in mind hanging up his pictures at his first birthday so we could see his transformation. This was my favorite part! I love seeing him grow from an itty bitty baby into this fun little toddler!

We were surrounded by lots of family and friends. There were kiddos running in and out of the house and plenty of laughter. I'm so thrilled with how everything came together and that we had such  special day to celebrate our tiny buccaneer! :)