Friday, June 29, 2012

What I've Learned Thus Far...

These past 3 weeks I've learned a lot...

I've learned to always have a boppy or pillow close by to help with nursing because my arm feels like a wet noodle after holding Isla and nursing 20+ minutes.
I've learned not to be as quiet as a mouse while she sleeps, but never to wake her up when she is sleeping either... .
I've learned crazy ninja breastfeeding moves...
I've learned I can do a lot with just one hand and I can pick up a lot of things with my feet! Ha!
I've learned going to Target and dinner is a big deal.
I've learned to always have my Cloud B Sleep Sheep on the Go sound maker close by. She loves listening to the ocean waves over and over again. It calms her down.
I've learned that I will basically sing anything. I never thought I would say "Shhhhhhhh" this much or be saying "Ooooooo" and Ahhhhhh" so much.
I've given in to using a paci when I've tried everything else.
I've learned some days... there is just no need to get dressed.
I've learned how to manage what little free time I get... the essential things I need to do for myself.
I've learned to sleep when she sleeps... this was hard for me at first...crazy, I know, but I wanted to get things done like laundry, dishes, cleaning, etc.... I've learned to let those things go somewhat too.
I've learned not to run and change her diaper the minute I think it's dirty...because there is more coming.  I learned that one the hard way...
I've learned to stock up on gripe water and Mylicon gas relief drops.
I've learned to keep trying new positions until she is satisfied if she is gassy. 
I've learned not to really care what shirt I put on, chances are it will have spit up on it in a matter of minutes.
I've learned to converse more with Joel after he's home from work. With me not having many adult conversations and also not going to work together every day like before...I miss him more and more.
I've learned to take it one day at a time. There will be amazing days and there will definitely be hard days.
I've learned Isla Rae doesn't like my sock bun... I think she doesn't recognize me when I wear my hair up and as soon as I take it down, she smiles.
I've learned the days go by WAY too fast and I don't have the time to do all the things I thought I would. 


I've learned a lot so far, but I know there is still so much to come. I'd love for new moms to send tips and stories about their first weeks!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Top 10 things I try to do every day:

  1. Give thanks to God when I wake up – because every day is a gift from Him!
  2. Smile when I answer the phone or talk on the phone to friends, family and clients– because it sets the tone for a good conversation.
  3. Give at least one compliment to someone – because it makes the other person and myself feel good.
  4. Take a walk (when it's not nearly 100 degrees outside!) – because I need the fresh air and exercise.
  5. Tell Joel and Isla I love them – because I do.
  6. Smile at strangers and say hello – because I love being friendly.
  7. Read at least one Bible verse – because there is still so much I don’t know and need to know to grow spiritually and be able to teach Isla.
  8. Catch up with a friend – because I’m lucky enough to have them.
  9. Spend time singing, reading, holding and talking to Isla – because I want her to always feel loved.
  10. Think positive thoughts – because I believe it begins there. 

This picture makes me think of Heaven

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Letters to Isla Rae

Isla Rae,

Today, you slept over two hours in your bouncy seat listening to the sound of ocean waves over and over and over!

I am so proud and relieved... at first I didn't know what to do when I put you in your seat and you didn't cry. Until now, the longest you have lasted in your swing or bouncy was 5-10 minutes before you would start screaming for your momma to pick you up.

Since they first laid you in my arms on June 4th, you've constantly wanted to be held, cradled or just lie on me. You also love bouncing on daddy's shoulder. You would cry almost the instant we put you down...(your newborn shoot was a big challenge because of this). But we don't blame you! I can't imagine the feelings and confusion you must have from coming from such a tight, warm and cozy home to this big world and learning how long your arms actually are, how many different sounds, smells, strange objects and yucky tasting gas drops there are and unfortunately, what pain is. No wonder you cry... I would too sweet girl.

Today, I watched you drift deeper and deeper into sleep, astounded that you were actually going to make it longer this time. Then the thought crossed my mind, what should I do?...
 
Until today, I haven't had any time to really think, what would I do if I had an hour to myself? First things first, I ran to the bathroom...had to get that out of the way while I had the chance. I actually made me a decent lunch... Hey, it was 3pm, but still considered lunch for me. I guzzled down as much water as I could drink, knowing its difficult for me to remember to stay hydrating while normally nursing, burping, bouncing, consoling, diapering, etc. I did a load of laundry, swept the floors, ran the dishwasher (and emptied it!) and took out the trash! I did all of this while you slept like a perfect angel! (Periodically, peeking at you and secretly even wanting to wake you up because I was missing holding you). And now.. I'm writing you this letter so you can look back and laugh at me one day and also know how much I love you.

I'm relieved that you slept without me holding you...not because I don't want to be holding you 24/7 (because I could, and I do....I have to share you and even that's hard for me). I'm relieved because I feel like your gass pains were less today and our prayers for your relief have been answered for today. We're praying tomorrow will be even better for you and as you continue to grow these horrible pains leave your tiny precious body.

I can't believe it's already over 3 weeks! Wish I had a time machine or a pause button for life... Your growing and changing too fast for momma to keep up. I would hold you in my arms forever if I could.

Love you,

Momma

Monday, June 25, 2012

Baby Milestones: Weeks 2 & 3

Happy 3 Week Birthday!


Happy 3 week Birthday sweet Isla Rae. It's ironic we both woke up at 3am this morning... exactly when they told us 3 weeks ago I was 10cm and its time to meet my baby. After over a day and a half of laboring and waiting to see you, I thought I would meet you within the hour. Little did I know, it would be nearly 4 hours later at 6:50am when I held you for the first time. We heard your cry and our hearts melted.

With overwhelming love, triumph, admiration and exhaustion we cuddled for hours discovering one another. I looked your whole body over. Ten tiny toes, Ten tiny (and long) fingers, a perfect nose, chubby cheeks, delicate lips, a head full of brown hair just like I had when I was born. With vulnerable eyes you looked up at me, but yet you knew exactly who I was... you recognized my voice, your daddy's voice and you were calm lying on my chest knowing that you were in your momma's arms and we would keep you safe.

Each and every day I spend with you my love for you grows immensely. It amazes me that it has already been 3 weeks and at the same time it scares me because I know how fast you will grow up. In a blink of an eye you will be walking. It's hard to fathom how much you have grown, changed and accomplished already during these 3 week short weeks. Every minute I spend with you is priceless.

You are an unbelievable Godsend and I thank Him for you every day.

DIY Nursery Art

Look at this darling quote I came across while planning the nursery! My friend, Kristen, who is also expecting a girl in July made this for us to use in our nurseries. I had it printed on card stock and framed for the nursery. I used a frame left over from our wedding and the print was less than $1. Another inexpensive nursery decor item that melts my heart and has my personal touch!

The quote reads, "No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you. After all, you're the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside."

So true, my love for my darling babe is indescribable! 




Sunday, June 24, 2012

There's nothing like cuddling...

My mom has always told me some of her favorite memories of me as a baby was when I would snuggle up with her at night wearing my terry cloth pajamas with the feet in them. She said she would just breath my baby smell in and my hair, skin and pjs would all feel so soft.

Well, I finally got to experience this delicate moment for myself and now I know exactly how she felt. I put a mint green terry cloth sleeper on Isla the other night and felt like I could just lay there and rub her back, cheeks and baby fine hair forever. She was so warm, loving and cuddly. I wanted to live in that moment over and over again like the movie Groundhog Day.

I'm so glad I now know exactly how my mother felt because I feel the same way and it is an amazing feeling.... I know looking back years from now this will be one of my favorite moments. I love my lil Isla Rae.

Here she is sitting in her crib for the very first time. These aren't the same terry cloth pajamas as mentioned above.... she peed on these (and momma) before bedtime. ;-)



My first rattle, thanks cousins Macie & Emery.



Here's looking at you, kid...



Saturday, June 23, 2012

Letters to Isla Rae

Dear Isla,

Here is a review of happenings, your accomplishments and Isla-isms we have noticed the week June 17th - 22nd.

  • Our dear friends wrote and recorded a song just for YOU! We're looking forward to revealing it soon. Possibly with your birth video. We love it!
  • You had your first pool day (in the shade) to celebrate father's day with your Papa.
  • Your daddy doll came in the mail. I know you are going to adore it as you grow.
  • Your daddy celebrated his first father's day with us. It was a very special day of doing a whole lot of nothing! :)
  • You got to meet your Uncle Mike B's parents! Mrs. Baker made you the prettiest blanket ever!
  • We celebrated your 2 week birthday on Monday.
  • You upgraded from newborn diapers to size 1 and we'll be trying cloth diapers soon.
  • Your Mamaw came to visit and help take care of you (and me) for four days! It was such a blessing to have her here with us and you loved cuddling with her.
  • Your tears flow now when you cry. You shed your very first tear on the 14th, now these heart breaking tears flood from both eyes... mostly when you run out of patience with momma and daddy. 
  • You are doing a much much better job nursing - which I thank you for!
  • Music calms you down. I played music for you while I was pregnant almost every night. Your favorite Pandora station seams to be Mozart's Lullaby Radio.
  • Your favorite shoulder in the world is your daddy's right and you love laying your head on your right side.
  • You want to be held.... all the time. 
  • You love to sleep snuggled right up against me, or even on my chest...
  • You started finding your voice more this week (and not your screaming voice) Your awwws, and ohhhhs are starting to be more regular.
  • You gained a whole pound since your birthday! You now weight 9lbs and 3ozs... and are very healthy!
  • You overcame thrush - such a strong girl already.
  • You had your first bath at home with mom and dad, then later in the week Mamaw gave you one too!
  • You visited your friends at Yodle and wore one of your favorite onesies that Ms. Jodi made for you.
  • You wore one of my sleepers that I wore when I was a newborn...
  • And on Saturday, we're hoping you'll be able to meet Mamma Pat and Nana! (Your Auntie Kati's momma and grandma)

Here are some pictures from this week.

Hanging out looking cute.



 Loving my daddy doll already!

Rocking my vintage attire from mom

Showing Dad who's boss...


Sleeping just like momma used to when she was a baby.

 Getting ready for my 2 week doctor's visit. I love my socks!


Getting ready to go see my friends at Yodle... don't I look fancy?!

I love my poodle onesie Ms. Jodi! And the headband mom made this morning to match :)


A lil butterball! 

My new girlfriends.

I look forward to checking in soon with more weekly updates!



Friday, June 22, 2012

Checking up on Isla Rae...

Today, little Isla had her 2 week check up (3 days overdue). We got some amazing news that the thrush has cleared up beautifully! She still has to continue taking her medication, so please keep her in your thoughts and prayers that the side effects subdue and her poor tiny tummy can find some relief. The pain cries are the worst! Heart wrenching!

She showed off her lungs with loud screams to our wonderful doctor, Dr. Shulstad. She also shared those same vocals with us all the way home in her car seat scream machine. Maybe she will grow up to be a remarkable singer...

Dr. Shulstad didn't mind though. He is so wonderful with her. I couldn't be happier with our decision to choose Charlotte Pediatric Clinic. Dr. Shulstad was the First Chief of Staff for Levine Children's Hospital, past President of Charlotte Peds Society and one of Charlotte Magazine's "Best Doctors."

We visit the main location and our experience with the doctors, nurses and lactation consultant, Jan Ellen Brown, have been outstanding thus far. Jan Ellen has helped us tremendously in ensuring we are starting our nursing journey out right from day one. They are all so compassionate, knowledgeable and really take their time explaining everything. It's one of the few doctor's offices I've visited where the visit doesn't seem rushed. Oh and not to mention the wait time is remarkable! I've been to plenty of doctors where the waiting portion alone took an hour. Thus far, we've been able to be in and out in an hour or less.

Today, we received the best report for Isla Rae yet! No more biliruben concerns, jaundice is no longer a worry. Thrush has cleared up for now, so as soon we finish her medication we will be able to put that behind us. Also, I think I've mentioned before one of the nurses referred to her as a "robust little girl" and she is still holding this nickname in the office. Those little chubby cheeks and rolls of hers weighted in at 9lbs and 3ozs today (well technically 9lbs and 2.6ozs, which her real birth weight was 8lbs 2.6ozs). Now we just have to work on getting her on a regular schedule... or at least somewhat of a schedule.

She is a very healthy girl and we couldn't be more thankful!! My mom always told me her wish for me was to have the 3 H's. Happy, Health and Heaven. We're so grateful our little pumpkin is healthy and getting stronger and healthier every day. Now...if we can just get rid of these gas pains she will be happy too....

I'm here! Fashionably late of course...


Look Momma, I have a belly button!

Here I am this week...

And here I am today looking so pretty for my doctor's visit!



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Motherhood...


This week I was blessed with my mother coming to visit and help me out tremendously. Not only does she have a natural soothing way with babies, she also knows just what I need and takes care of me with the same compassion as I take care of my baby.

Through my pregnancy and birthing experience, I have grown to have a new found respect for my mother. The sacrifices she made, the sickness she endured, the hours of labor she muddled through, the love she showered me with all my childhood years and even now as I am in the last year of my twenties...she still looks at me like her "babydoll."

A true mother's love is instinctual, unconditional and forever.

Good mothers make so many sacrifices for their children. I always knew my mother had given up so much so that my brother and I could have more...but I never realized the kind of love she felt for us until now.

Thank you momma for being the kind of mother I aspire to be. Thank you for always loving me unconditionally. Thank you for always being there for me no matter what. Thank you for being protective of me and teaching me right from wrong. Thank you for always believing in me. And now, thank you for being a wonderful mamaw to my little girl. I know she is going to love and adore you just as I do.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Little Isla Rae


While I was pregnant, I was on the hunt for the perfect song for Miss Isla Rae. Luckily, some of our close friends helped us out with that and I can't wait to reveal HER very own song at a later date.

While searching for tunes, I came across the song, "Little Liza Jane" by Elizabeth Mitchell. I fell in love with all of Elizabeth Mitchell's songs for children. They are all so happy and cheerful. I sing the below song to Isla but instead of using Liza Jane (which I like that name too by the way), I substitute Isla Rae.

Enjoy!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Good, The Hard & The Tomorrows

The Good:

  • Waking up to my beautiful daughter's face snuggled tightly against my skin every morning
  • Spending time just starring at her in awe of the miracle that she and every baby is. Trying to grasp the thought that we actually made this special little being that has changed our lives.
  • Watching her develop and change each and every day... thicker hair, stronger grasp, different noises and little glimpses of her crooked smile. 
  • Seeing Joel be so loving and compassionate to her every need. Knowing he is going to be the best daddy as his princess grows and develops into a young lady.
  • Seeing family and friends light up when they meet her for the first time, hold her, kiss her and share stories about who she looks more like.
  • Kissing her countless times with no resistance from her... in just a year or two I may have to bribe her for those kisses and hugs.
  • Watching her sleep so peacefully. Wondering what she is dreaming of, what she will be when she grows up and thinking about how much I love every single inch of her.
  • Late nights - sure for some people this falls into the "bad" or hard category, but those moments are irreplaceable to me. Consoling her, rocking her, singing to her and giving her the comfort of knowing her Momma will always be there for her. 
  • The time I have now. I'm so thankful to be able to have this time to spend with her at this stage of her life and to be able to witness these priceless moments.
  • The way she has changed me... I have never felt love like the love I feel for her. It is indescribable

The Hard:

  • The first week it was hard to even let anyone else hold her... after laboring in love for 36+ hours, I just wanted to stare at her and feel her next to me for days. I wanted to be the only one taking care of her... and learning that I had to except help (and share her) was a hard realization 
  • Taking time to take care of myself...after 36 hours of labor, 21 non-medicated and 4 hours of non-medicated pushing... I needed lots of R&R to get back on my feet, but taking the time to actually rest when she rests was hard for me. I had to learn to let some things go and this didn't exactly mesh well with my slight OCD cleaning nature. 
  • Seeing her first tear shed from her right eye... it melted my heart and I felt like there was nothing I could do to stop her tears from flowing. Feeling so helpless is so hard for a parent. You want to take away all your child's pain and discomfort and it's even harder when they cannot communicate to tell you what hurts or what they need after you have tried everything... Hearing my baby cry out in pain and not being able to take it away is so hard!
  • Struggling to find our rhythm nursing. Dealing with thrush, some days are good and some are challenging. The medication needed to cure her thrush has some pretty hard side effects for an 8lb baby.
  • Getting her satisfied in her car seat, or as our friend Mike calls it, "the scream machine"... No one likes to be strapped tightly down, no wonder she cries.
  • Thinking about the moments I may have to miss as life goes on and we have other obligations.
  • Some people will think this one is crazy, but I even miss her being in my belly. Feeling those kicks, hiccups and rolls. I'm so glad she is finally here, but it's a strange feeling to not have her inside me any longer. I once felt her hiccups inside me, a sweet little rhythm inside my belly, and now I feel them as I hold her in my arms (multiple times a day).

The Tomorrows:

  • I'm looking forward to seeing her smile her biggest smile yet.
  • To hear her find her voice and her coos, ahhs and gagas get louder.
  • To hear her first giggle and uncontrollable laugh. 
  • To put her in my sling/ergo and feel her snuggled up to me while I'm hands free :)
  • To see her roll over and cheer her on as she makes her first big move.
  • To watch her tummy time turn into a crawl and her crawls turn into pulling up and those pull ups turn into her first steps.
  • To hearing her first words...secretly hoping it's "momma"
  • To teaching her to clap, walk, share, baby signs and much much more.

Oh and so so many more precious moments. I'm looking forward to all of Isla Rae's milestones, but taking in every day with her now while I can. I can certainly wait for her to grow up.... If I had it my way she would be itty bitty forever! :)




.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Super Hero Dad


Today, Joel returned to work. I can't even begin to describe how much we will miss him during the days. As I've mentioned several times, he has been the greatest dad and helped me through my recovery of 36+ hours of labor so much.

He was the BEST labor coach. So patient, compassionate and there at my beckon call...Whatever I needed, he had already done or prepared for me. He also showered me with compliments which every wife loves to hear from her hubby.... especially in times of need or discomfort. To put it simply he was my super hero.

A couple weeks before Isla's arrival, I was trying to plan a fun and cute father's day gift for him. Joel's not big on gifts. He likes trips and of course golf outings, but with a newborn on the way, I knew these gift ideas were not practical options. Instead, I wanted to do something meaningful for him and also for Isla. I scoured the web, mostly pinterest and etsy, and stubbled across these amazingly hilarious daddy dolls by Duke & June. The dolls can be made to look exactly like the dad. First of all, I thought this was hilarious, and secondly, I thought this would be so special for Isla to always be able to have her daddy with her. I asked Joel if he had a favorite t-shirt and of course he replied, "batman." I contacted the shop owner and it was easy peasy! I simply described Joel, what attire I wanted the replica to wear and sent in a recent photo just in case they should need it. Joel also likes to rock hoodies so it came with a removable one as well. Ha! They nailed it! I think they did an awesome job. The only thing that's missing is the little brown spec Joel has on his left eye. :)



Coincidentally, he also wore this t-shirt to the hospital and on Isla's birthday, so now it has even more meaning! He even asked me during labor if it was okay if he wore his batman t-shirt... I said "of course" in between my contractions, like it was the craziest question ever...

I was so excited to show him his mini me and be able to have something special to share with Isla on Joel's very first Father's Day. I even entered a picture for a daddy & me contest from EverydayFamily.com. Please feel free to vote for us as we will get lots of freebies if we win!

Here's baby Isla Rae at 9 days old loving her super hero daddy doll already!





Joel,

Isla Rae and I miss you so bad today it hurts, but we will have lots of love, fun times and maybe even dinner waiting for you when you get home! Hope you have a wonderful day and thank you for being you - the best hubby and dad two gals could ask for! Love you Bubsy, I mean Batdad.

Isla,

Happy 2 week birthday baby girl! Momma loves you soooooo much!


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day To The Men In My Life...

To My Husband,

Happy 1st Father's day! Wow, I can't believe what all we have accomplished in just barely over a year of marriage. It has only been 13 days since God graced us with Isla Rae's presence and I can already see what an amazing father you are. You care so much, you always put Isla and I's needs first and you never complain about the sleepless nights, stinky blowouts, warm spit ups down your back or any of the challenging times. :)

I watch you look at her with such love and endearment that it melts my heart. I can see she is already going to be a daddy's girl and that's okay with me because I am so thankful she has such a Godly father. A father's love is so important and special to little girls and helps shape them into the women they grow up to be. I know with a father like you, Isla Rae is going to grow up to be an outstanding woman with an abundance of love, knowledge and sound morals to light up the world.

Thank you for being my rock and supporting me through all of our ups and downs. Life's a roller coaster and you always hold my hand whether we are laughing or screaming. I couldn't have dreamed of a better husband (it's true....even though I nag a lot) and now I thank God for blessing Isla with you.

Love,
Your wifey & baby girl


To My Dad,

Happy Father's/Grandfather's Day! I wish I could be with you on this day to celebrate what a wonderful father and papaw you are, but know that my heart is always thinking of you. We have a special bound that is irreplaceable and I love you so much.

Thank you for always being there for Mom, Bobby and me. I know all your hard work in life has been for us and I am so grateful for everything you do and continue to do for us. It's been so wonderful to watch you love Macie and Emery so unconditionally and with such amazement at all their milestones.

I thank God that we were able to bless you with another granddaughter to love (and spoil)  and look forward to watching your love for Isla continue to grow. I'm so proud of you, Dad and I thank you and Mom for all your love, protectiveness and sacrifices you made to help to shape me into the person I am today. I love you today and always.

Love,
Your princess


To My Father-in-law,

Happy Father's/Grandfather's Day Papa! I'm so glad we got to celebrate with you yesterday. I feel so blessed to have you in our lives. Thank you for everything you do for us.

You are always so easy to talk to, never lack sarcasm (which I have grown to love), and there is never a dull moment with you!

With every Bradbury family gathering I continue to feel more and more loved by you and I can't wait to share Isla with you to love as well. I'm so grateful we were able to give you another grandchild to love, enjoy, and scare - haha.

But seriously, I am so thankful for you and Karen. Isla is blessed with a wonderful Papa and we couldn't be more excited to celebrate many more special moments and happy days with you.

 
Love,
Your "favorite" daughter-in-law


To My Brother,

Happy Father's Day! You are such an amazing father! Your love for God shines through your children and I pray we can raise Isla with the same Godliness, priorities and love that I see you instill in your children. I am so proud to call you my brother and its been a wonderful experience to watch you grow as a father, son and now uncle.

I'm so happy to finally be able to call you Uncle Bobby! Thank you for always encouraging me and reminding me of the right things to do and the things that really matter in life. You are my hero in so many ways and I love the way you live your life.

I hope you have a very special day with Alexas and the girls. You deserve it! I love you very much.


Love,
Your sister


And most importantly to my Heavenly Father,

Today and every day, I humbly thank you for the sacrifice you made, so that I can live a better earthly life and am promised eternity in heaven through your continuous love and forgiveness.

Thank you for all the blessings you have given us, the guidance you continue to provide and the never shaking remembrance of knowing, you are my God and through you all things are possible.

We celebrate, praise and give thanks to you on this Father's day and always.

Love,
Your humble servant

Happy Father's Day to all dad's out there. Being a father is such a wonderful gift from above. I hope all the father's reading this have a blessed day and enjoy their children's love today and always!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bottle it up...


I wish there was a magical way to bottle up these special moments with Isla Rae. Maybe it's just the postpartum hormones, my uber sensitive heart or my overflowing mommy genes kicking in, but it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about these precious moments we have with Isla and how fast she is and will continue to be growing and changing. I know with each stage of her life there will be more and more precious moments, but I just adore her itty-bittyness now. It reminds me of the song by Jim Croce, "Time in a bottle" that I used to listen to on record in my parents basement.

I love her baby smell and her soft tender skin. I love the shape of her mouth when she sleeps. I love cuddling with her every night as we sleep and nurse. I love kissing her 100s of times and her never pushing me away. I love staring at her in awe of the blessing God has given us.

I wish there was a way to go back 30 years from now and live one of these priceless days over, but until then I will be taking in every single minute of every day with my sweet Isla Rae like it is my very last.

She is such a God send and my cup runneth over....