Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Three years



dress: Free People, sandals: J Crew, bag: Ecuadorian market, necklace: Dogeared, sunnies: RayBan

Last week Tim and I celebrated our third anniversary and our first date night since Benjamin was born. 
I must say, it felt weird to be alone, just the two of us. It felt odd to want to keep my cellphone on the table just in case something went wrong with Ben and we had to rush back, and it felt weird to drink wine again.

That being said, it was nice to dress up and wear high heels, specially those of the pink variety. It felt incredible to sit right next to Tim, hold hands, and toast to the wonderful life God has given us these last three years, and you know what?, the wine was pretty darn good too.

Other than peeing through his diaper, Ben behaved like the sweet little man he is. Next time we do this, I may even put the phone away… Just kidding, nope, no way, no how.

P.S. Tim, this one's for you: 

"I want to sleep with you, in the most innocent sense of the word. I want to kiss you goodnight, turn the light off, and lie next to you. I want to be there and hear you breathe the same air I breathe. I want to share the covers and the warmth as we drift off to the land of dreams. I want to hug you and feel your arms around me. I want to be the last thing you see at night and the first thing you see in the morning. I want to begin and end each day telling you how much I love you, that I want you to be mine, and that I could spend an eternity telling you why." - Denise Marquez




Monday, July 21, 2014

First prize



When I was 38 weeks pregnant I told my boss that the time had come for me to call it a day because my body was telling me I needed to rest and slow down. Turns out my body knows a thing or two, because  exactly a week later Benjamin was born, but even though I knew that I was doing the right thing by stepping down, I still cried when I left my office that day. I will be the first to tell you that the workplace is no place for tears, but one, I was already in my car, and two, I find it perfectly acceptable to shed a tear or two when the reason is gratitude. 

I have worked my entire adult life, long enough to know that loving what you do is key if you intend to be good at it. I loved not only my job but the people I worked with as well, so when I left the office that day my tears were entirely justified.

There is a lot involved in making a design come to life. My job is to translate my client's needs and desires into a reality they love, but it takes an entire team of talented people to bring that reality to fruition.  So, when my coworker called on Friday to let me know that one of my designs got first prize in the Alaska's Best Kitchens contest, I put Benjamin in the car and we headed over to the office, because the only way to celebrate was to see the people who made it happen. I am beyond thankful for all of you.



P.S. Are you dying to remodel but don't know where to start?  Click {{here}}




Friday, July 18, 2014

#12monthsofben: 2 Months



This little munchkin is 2 months old today. 
Likes: car rides, bath time, holding his mama's hair, and the ceiling fan in our room, seriously, hours of entertainment watching it go around. 
Dislikes: Tummy time.

One of my neighbors gave us these little number stickers so we could document his first year of life. We missed month number 1, not for lack of cute pictures, but because that first month was nuts. Now that we are a little more settled I give you #12monthsofben. 

Let the cuteness overload begin!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Blah, blah, blah...



I don't think the Good Lord prepared Benjamin for how much of a talker his mother is, and I definitely don't think He told my baby that I'm a bilingual talker, so for the first few weeks of his life Ben would just look at me talking to him like his dad used to back in the day, before we started dating, with this look of suspicion about the things I was saying, and awe at the fact that it just went on and on.

I was starting to think that I scared the poor child with all my babbling, when all of the sudden he caught on to the fact that it takes two to tango, and that if I could talk his ear off, then gosh darn it, he too could make himself heard.

And so began a series of 'conversations' between us full of 'coos' and 'ayes' on his part, and a bunch of spanglish on mine. Throw in a few smiles, and sneezes in between and we are golden!

Speech and debate team, here we come!

Monday, July 7, 2014

The first 6 weeks: 12 Essentials

It's a little bit surreal to write this post. It feels like just yesterday I was walking my 38 week pregnant butt up and down the coastal trail trying to get little Ben out into the world. But it's true, this week Benjamin is 7 weeks old, he has completely outgrown preemie and newborn clothes, he smiles, coos, and follows my voice around a room because he knows I am his mama. Sweetest thing, I tell you!

I know I have a plethora of things to learn as a mom, and I know that all babies and mamas are different, but I put together a list of the things that I have found handy since he was born and I hope you find them helpful. Let me know what your faves are as well!




1. {{Newborn Clothes}} I know that this is not everyone's case, but my baby was particularly tiny when he was born. It was was estimated he would be around 7 lbs. but he only weighed 5 lbs. 15oz. Everyone told me to forgo the small clothes and only buy sizes 0-3 to start, this meant that Benjamin had not a single piece of clothing that did not swallow him. My advice: Remember that weight estimates are just that, estimates, so go ahead and get at least one outfit of each size and save yourself a trip to Baby Gap.

2. {{The body silk seamless nursing bra}} Not only a soft, comfortable bra, but also incredibly useful whether you nurse or pump. You can decide if you want to use the removable cups, but I tell you, back when I had sore nipples, those cups were lifesavers. I tried 8 different types of nursing bras and by far this Bravado Designs model beats them all.
Extra tip: Also super helpful is the {{Medela Sleep Bra}}

3. {{Aden and Anais classic swaddles}} These are in constant rotation in our house. Babies love being swaddled because it reminds them of their former womb quarters. Aden and Anais swaddles are long and soft. Pretty much the only way to get Ben to sleep tight.

4. {{A water bottle}} A lot of the weight you lose after giving birth is water weight. It may sound odd, but the best way to get rid of that water is to drink more water, plus keeping hydrated improves your milk supply, so drink up!

5. {{Mustela Stretch Mark Prevention Cream}} A little goes a long way with this cream, I only used 2 tubes throughout my entire pregnancy and I'm still using the second one. As we know the stretching of the skin by weight gain can cause stretch marks, but FYI, shedding those pounds can also give you some. I lost all the baby weight 2 weeks postpartum so you better believe I've generously applied to belly and boobs alike. Knock on wood, not a single stretch mark yet.

6. {{Motherlove Nipple Cream}} Nursing did not come easily or naturally to me. I could write an entire blog post on those woes, but for now know this, a good nipple cream is paramount in keeping your ta-tas scar free, and I swear by the Motherlove products. All natural ingredients so you don't have to worry about your baby ingesting it by accident, and it totally works!

7. {{Medela Manual Pump}} I'm sure you know by now that according to the Affordable Care Act, your health insurance provider is required to give you a breast pump at no cost to you. Go ahead, use it! But what if you are not at home and you are literally busting at the seams? Thanks to my friend Steph I learned that this handy manual Medela pump can be stored in my purse/diaper bag in case I need to use it on the go. Hellooooo pump freedom!

8. {{A swing}} Bounce and sway, baby, bounce and sway. There are lots of swings to choose from, we went with the mamaroo.

9. {{A stroller/car seat combo}} It was important to us to be able to use a compact stroller that was compatible with a car seat, meaning that when I go to the grocery store, I take Ben in his car seat, click it onto the stroller base, and off we go. The Stokke has gone with us from Nordstrom to the Forest Fair in Girdwood, it's compact, easy to maneuver, lightweight, and compatible with our car seat. Love it!

10. {{A baby sling}} There are tons of these in the market and you just have to find the right fit for you. The Solly Baby wrap and a sling that I borrowed from my lactation consultant have been great for me and Tim to baby wear.

These last 2 essentials are not things but people without whom, without exaggeration, I would not be here today.

11. {{A lactation consultant}} As I said before, breastfeeding was a challenge for me. Fortunately I had not one, but two incredible lactation consultants. I cannot tell you how helpful these women are! Constantly checking on me and Benjamin, making sure we found the right way to feed him while listening to my wants and needs, they have been key in making sure I take the right first steps in motherhood. I am eternally grateful for their patience and care.

12. {{A good partner}} Tim came with me to every single appointment, from the time we found out I was pregnant to my 6 week postpartum appointment. He held my hand through 19 hours of unmedicated labor, helped me figure out a feeding plan, holds me when postpartum depression gets the best of me, and is an incredible father to Benjamin. I have been fortunate enough to have not only him but my mom and many friends help along the way. The best advice I can give you is to make sure you have at least one person who believes and cares for you 100%, because when you're 2 hours into pushing a baby into this world, in the nursing trenches, or changing the 12th diaper at 3 AM, you will need their support. Whether it is your partner, mother, cousin or friend, remember, it takes a village.





Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Life as usual {kind of}



dress: Sonnet James, sandals: Clarks, diaper bag: Kate Spade, sunnies: Madewell, headband: Oh Sweet Joy

The past six weeks have been a blur.
I had a baby, my parents were here for an incredible month, and now that they are gone and Tim is back at work, it's life as usual. 
Except it's not.
This staying at home with a baby life is kind of surreal and I'm just starting to get the hang of it. Jury is still out on how I feel about it. I'll tell you one thing for sure, I am thankful for that little peanut of mine. His little coos, squeaks, and smiles make my heart melt into a puddle of happiness. 
Motherhood is changing me for sure, but that's a post for another day :)

P.S. Can you believe it's July already? Have an awesome 4th of July holiday!!








Friday, June 27, 2014

Contagion


The Conrad household looks like a scene of the movie Contagion. I managed to catch a cold after being perfectly healthy my entire pregnancy. 
Bummer. 
The pediatrician suggested I wash my hands on the regular, and cover my face in an effort to keep our 5 week old baby from getting whatever plague I acquired, that is, if I didn't already give it to him. 
Sigh. 
Tim is on baby duty while I try to coax my body into healthy mode before Monday, when Ben's scheduled to get his shots. 
Cross your fingers for us?