March 25, 2013

oh baby :: stinky feet

One of my favorite things to do to get Lily to laugh is something I picked up from my mom when we were little. After bathtime, I lay her on her towel to dry her off and give her bare belly plenty of raspberries. She'll always kick her feet into the air near my face, so I grab hold of her freshly washed feet, stick my nose to her bubble toes, give a great big sniff, and say "Peeeeeeewwwwwww! Stinky feet!" She always giggles uncontrollably, and we keep that going for a good long while. As long as she'll giggle, I'll keep going. Nothing like overstimulating your baby right before bed, right? I don't care. Baby giggles are like getting smacked in the face with a rainbow and carried off into a sparkly sunset by a unicorn that feeds you delicious cupcakes.

Who wouldn't want to soak up every single bit of that feeling?

Thanks to my beautiful friend Jenny for this amazing personalized towel featuring Doctor Who's T.A.R.D.I.S.! It's so soft and Lily loves snuggling in it when she gets out of the tub. Jenny, just let me know when that Etsy shop is open! ;)

March 17, 2013

happy st. patrick's day

We're off to celebrate in Sean's wicked Irish hometown; a parade, corned beef and cabbage, and a hard-earned datenight to the pub in the harbor. I can't wait!

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

March 16, 2013

lily :: 6 months

6 months. Half a year. How is this possible?

Nicknames: Lil, Lilypie, Lil Bean, Little Miss, Stinky Face, Punky-doo (short for pumpkin doodlee-doo)

Favorite Toys: Pink bunny, pink triangular chewy, "Tex" bear, pink bear, Fisher Price piano, ring stacker, colorful links, football "o-ball", exersaucer, an old tv remote, and pretty much anything you can get her hands on.

Loves: Sitting up to look around and play, playing peek-a-boo, being tickled and funny faces and voices, "flying baby", petting Loki, watching Loki, eating oatmeal, smashing any food other than oatmeal and dropping it on the floor, kicky legs during diaper changes, and bathtime is now the best.

Doesn't love: going to sleep, having your gums checked for teeth, having boogers wiped or sucked away.

Sitting up has been the big milestone for you this month. You look like such a big girl, on her way to breaking hearts and conquering the world. You love that you can look around and reach for your own toys. You can't quite get yourself sitting up yet, but we plop you down and you're happy to hang out and play for quite a while.

You're a thinker. We can see it in your face, you don't just look at stuff, you are really thinking about what you see.

You've started saying "Mama", usually when you're crying. I love it but it also breaks my heart. You know your "mama" is a big ol' sucker and that's the way to my heart.

You snuggle now when you're tired. You lean your head on us and your hands reach for our faces, necks, hands, anything to soothe you.

You're still sleeping well (knock on wood), but we had a couple rough nights last week. I blame growth spurts.

Still no teeth.

You had your first adventure in the snow and didn't give a crap.

You traveled home with me and we had a slumber party at grandma's house. I love our girl time.

I still bring you into bed every morning when you wake up and nurse you, and then you snuggle with daddy and I for another hour or so. It's my favorite part of the day.

You're eating solids now. Not quite every day, but we're getting there. You've had oatmeal, sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas, banana bread, avocado, and french toast sticks. We're going to start branching out more, and I'm not looking forward to those dirty diapers.

You are the queen of blowing raspberries.

You adore Loki. I think he likes you, too.

The past 6 months have brought more joy to my life than I ever knew was possible. I love watching you grow and can't wait to see who you become.

March 12, 2013

she'll never know

Thank goodness for signs of spring. We had a rough night last night with a cranky baby who refused to sleep more than 30 minutes stretches and screamed like a banshee no matter how we tried to soothe her. I am willing to file it away in the back of my mind for my sanity's sake and think about how nice yesterday was. Blue skies, warmer temps, church (the reading was The Prodigal Son which we thought was ironic since we've barely been to church since we got married over three years ago), pancakes at the diner and then home to fling open the windows because 40 degrees in New England = bikini weather, obviously.

I wound up spending a good chunk of the afternoon hanging out on the floor with Lily in her room while she occupied herself, and I finally opened her dust-covered baby book. As a third child whose baby book tapered off after the first two weeks of life (I don't blame my mom - she had three kids under the age of five and her hands were full), I vowed that she would have a complete and detailed book full of shiny pictures and plenty of anecdotes about her first year of life. As I turned the pages, I felt mama shame as the words "Milestones" and "Your Baptism" flashed by my eyes with empty lines, void of dates and details and pictures. Date of first smile, discovered hands, first laugh, discovered feet, first solids....Some of those were months ago. I found myself scrolling back through my Facebook and Instagram feed, hoping to find posts proclaiming that these milestones were reached. No dice.

So I made them up. I faked the dates on her milestones. I got them pretty close to when I remember them happening, but actual dates? Nope. Couldn't remember them. She'll never know, right? We can all just pretend I didn't get caught up in life and forget to jot down these very important things. As we sat there on the floor, she was bashing the bejeebus out of her little Fisher Price piano and I realized that this is another thing I just need to let go. I squeezed every last drop that I could out of my maternity leave. I chose snuggles and giggles over writing down details, and I'm ok with that.

These icing on the cake is that I wrote down that she smiled for the first time on my birthday when she was 2 weeks old. Then I drew a happy face.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I believe that one is right. I'll just keep telling myself that. She'll never know.

March 8, 2013

life :: snow day

This is a story about an incredibly cheerful, inquisitive baby who wanted absolutely nothing to do with going out in the snow...Poor kiddo. These pictures make me laugh, though. I have never seen her so not interested in anything. I don't know if it was the cold or just not know what to think of the stuff. I hope she grows to enjoy it, though.

Daycare is closed which means I'm working from home and able to sneak in some extra cuddles today. That is just the best. On days like this, you shouldn't have to work. You should be able to stay in your jammies a little longer, go sledding and make snow angels, then run inside once your feet are numb, dropping your dripping wet duds on the floor to make cocoa with marshmallows and cuddle into the couch to watch a movie. Grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch and then an afternoon nap. Sounds like a perfect day to me.

One last piece of business to take care of before I send you off on your weekend. We have a giveaway winner! Our winner was chosen randomly using Out of 11 comments numbered 1-11 in the order they were posted to the blog, the random number selected is...2!

Congratulations, Cameron! She wrote:

"Oh my goodness! I can definitely not pick just one. The Dragon Print, and the Chipmunk Feast, and the Gnome Home are so fun. And my inner-nerd just adores the Mario and Yoshi. Her style is just perfect for nursery prints... the Monster Parade is destined to end up in my baby's room, too."

Please email me at shannonlsorensen at gmail dot com to arrange getting you your prize!

Happy weekend, friends. Make it a good one!


oh baby :: what to do with your newborn

The newborn phase is so sweet, and goes by so fast. There are days, though, that feel endless, like if you spend one more minute sitting on the couch watching Kathie Lee and Hoda, your eyes will permanently glaze over and you'll become a mama statue, forever frozen in place. And sweet as they are, newborns can be boring. Yes, I said that. Them and their sleepy eyes and little yawns and mushy brains. I have seen the question posed several places - what can you do with a newborn? And what can you do for yourself to avoid mama statue syndrome?

1. Hold them.
It kind of goes without saying, and maybe I am a weirdo, but I wanted to hold Lily all the time. Whether she was awake or asleep, I loved holding her tiny body close and touching noses, rocking. They say the first 12 weeks are like the "4th Trimester" and your baby is going through a lot of sudden changes, physically and mentally. For them, feeling physically close to their mama or papa is immensely comforting. And guess what? It's good for you and those post-partum hormones, too. And before we know it, they won't want to be held for so long, and for any other reason than just because.

2. Let them hear your voice.
They have been listening to you on the inside for 9 months, so another great comfort will be to hear your voice. Establish familiarity. They don't care what you're saying, but hearing your voice, your inflection, and the words you say will get those mushy little brains developing. I spent hours walking Lily around our apartment, describing the people in the pictures on the walls, and telling her what we saw out the window. "This is your mommy and daddy on our wedding day. We got married in a church by the sea. It was a beautiful winter day. We will show you all of our pictures one day. See that squirrel out there? He's looking for his nuts. And I'm not sure why or how, but that is a pink hula hoop up in that tree. It has been there since we moved in. Trees are brown right now, but soon they'll be covered in bright green leaves and then it will be Spring...This is a Kitchen Aid mixer. We're going to bake lots of cookies together and then eat them all together. We'll make chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter...."

3. Read to them and sing them songs. 
When you've run out of things to talk about, start reading all those books you stockpiled for your little one's library. They might only be able to see blobs of black and white and red, but it's never too early to teach them how to use their downtime (as opposed to sitting in front of the television). Then pick some favorite songs to sing. It doesn't have to be You Are My Sunshine or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, either. Pick music that you love to listen to that maybe be soothing to your little ones ears. I love singing showtunes to Lily. If you don't like to sing or feel self-conscious...

4. Slow dance.
I made a playlist while I was pregnant of songs that I love that are either fun or soothing (or both), and I would play it while sitting at my computer working on photos. Now we listen to that same playlist and dance and sing together. When she was an infant, I cradled her and we'd slow dance in the living room, or in her nursery. Now she rests her head on my shoulder while we sway. It's nice to have that physical closeness, and can be soothing to both of you when you're having a rough day or just want a snuggle. 

5. Go for a walk.
This might be a no brainer, but I know as a new mom, just getting out of the house on your own can be daunting. Trust me when I saw just do it. Get some fresh air. Grab a cup of coffee at the drive-thru, go to a park, and just walk. Hopefully your little one will take a snooze, and the fresh air and movement will do wonders for your post-partum mood and physique.

6. Meet a friend for coffee or lunch.
Maternity leave can be lonely. You wonder if your friends remember who you are. Make plans to grab coffee or lunch during the week with your coworker or friend close by. They'll love seeing your baby, and you can get some adult conversation back in your life.

7. Dress them up and take pictures. 
There aren't enough days in the year to put your baby in all the different outfits you have been gifted, and some may not even be seasonally appropriate for their current size, so have some fun and put them in that crazy adorable outfit and snap a picture. Then email it to the person who gave you the outfit. You will make their day!

8. Nap together.
"Sleep when the baby sleeps" isn't always possible. There will be some days, though, where it'll be nice to take a snooze together. I would curl us up in our reading chair in the nursery, put her quilt over us and we would doze for 30 minutes together. Even if I couldn't sleep for as long as she could, it was sp refreshing to just clear my mind and relax. I felt like I always had to do something while she was napping; laundry, dishes, vacuum...but try to take the time to hold your sleeping baby and rest. You'll be back at work soon enough, and your weekends will be busy, and they'll be big and won't want to be held to sleep.

9. Read that book/do the craft/watch the movie you've started and stopped 10 or so times.
On the flip side of the previous idea, every once in a while it will be good for you to use a naptime (or after they've gone to sleep for the night) to do something for yourself. Work on a quilt or knitting a scarf, grab that stack of Real Simple magazines that has been piling up, and enjoy that guilty pleasure movie you've been wanting to watch forever. You are allowed to do things for yourself. I almost cried tears of happiness when I finally took 10 minutes to paint my toenails which I intended to do when my water broke. It maybe have been 4 weeks post-partum, but I did it and it made me happy.

10. Play.
You probably got some toys and stuffed animals that are sitting untouched in your baby's room. They might not be able to play with them yet, but you can. Hold them up for your baby to look at and start learning how to focus their eyes. Shake the rattles. Crinkle the taggie blankets. Touch the soft ones to your baby's cheeks and hands. Describe the colors to them. They'll get so many benefits from you playing with their toys.  

11. Go to a new mama group.
This is something I really wish I had done. I went for one week to a new moms group at my pediatrician's office, but it was really crowded and I got overwhelmed and just never made it back. I do have a group of mom friends online that I could go to with questions or to just chat. And of course, my girl Katie who had her Ben two days before I had Lily...oh Katie, I could not have gotten through those first few weeks without being able to text her in the middle of the night when I was up nursing Lily, or when I wasn't sure if she was pooping enough, or just to check in on each other's mental health. It's wonderful having someone in your life who is going through the same changes at the same time.

12. Learn how to use that expensive camera you bought for this exact time in your life.
I can't tell you how many times I have heard people say that bought "this fancy camera" so they could take great pictures of their baby (or for their nice trip overseas or some other life occasion), but then they don't use it. Or they set it to Portrait and use it like a point and shoot. There is no time like the present to start learning how to use that camera. Read the manual. Look online for tutorials and tips (I see them all the time on Pinterest). Practice while your baby is sleeping. Trust me, I maxed out my storage on my phone in less than 2 months taking pictures and Instagraming. But if you're going to spend the time and money to invest in a nice camera, do yourself a favor and use it. And then make sure you print out those pictures or put them in a book so they aren't sitting on your hard drive when your computer crashes in 3 years.

13. Watch some trashy tv. 
You are going to be stuck on the couch every now and then for a few hours at a time, so just go for it. I watched three seasons of Gossip Girl on Netflix. I also decided to watch every season of Parenthood, which turns out, was the best and worst show I possibly could have watched. Holy hormones. Beware ya'll, it'll make you cry every. Single. Episode.