Thursday, October 29

The Baby Clambake

It rained. It poured. But not even a forecast with an 80 percent chance of thunderstorms could deter us from celebrating the arrival of Charm City Baby.

Here is the pictures.

Plenty of alcohol calls for plenty of water. (I used leftover wedding ribbon for a finishing touch.)

The Raw Bar...

..was a hit!

The Cupid Shuffle makes everyone dance.

But my parents would dance to anything.
It runs in the family (my niece).

the hosts...(check out the rain on CCD's blazer).
And OF COURSE...the guest of honor, Charm City Baby!

with MIL and expression of "what the heck is going on?"

Ironically, Olivia slept through most of her own party, only making three appearances. Luckily I had the foresight to create a DVD of the hundreds of photos I've taken over her first two months of life including the momentous hospital arrival. So, our guests enjoyed the slideshow set to Maxwell's Pretty Wings in our living room until the guest of honor made her appearances. It worked out rather well, I must say.

It will be a while before we do another one of these 6-hour bashes, but I see lots of house parties on our parental future.

Wednesday, October 28

The "Po-Po" Explosion...

Good Morning!!!!!!! Thanks to Cafe DuMonde coffee from our New Orleans trip, I've been wired ALL morning! yeeehaaww!

I just had to post this morning that since Olivia has made it up to 12 pounds (with a major growth spurt where she can handily chug down 5-6 ounces) we debuted our cloth diapers for the first time last night for bed. And yes they are sooo cute on her little bum, although she had J.Lo booty with the doubler in there.

We made it all night with no leaks of "Chi-Chi" (which means Pee Pee according to the Columbian nanny). And then this morning for her first feeding she let out a "Po-Po" (pronounced Poe-Poe) explosion in that there BumGenius 3.0 that made me regret my whole life!

It was massive and it did stay nicely contained in the diaper but THEN I had to clean it! O.M.G. I don't think anything short of a power washer could have remedied that awful, grainy, yellow mess (that continues to haunt my memory).

I put her little tail right back into a disposable diaper this morning. I'm not ready yet.

What will we do when she starts eating solids? Adios Mio.

Tuesday, October 27

New Orleans

Finally, a few pics from our trip to New Orleans...

Yes, that's Olivia was a bit chilly thanks to the Mississippi.

So glad I brought the BundleMe stroller/car seat "sleeping bag" for Olivia . It was 90 degrees and humid the day before we arrived but in the low 60's and windy while we were there.

How about a closer look at that adorable baby?

I enjoyed some delicious gumbo from here...

We also enjoyed warm delicious beignets (fried dough!)

From here...

All I can say is there was powdered sugar EVERYWHERE!
...and I was wearing all black. Bad move.

One of the downfalls of the historic French Quarter was that restroom renovations was often an afterthought in most restaurants. Therefore ZERO changing tables or countertops, or bathrooms you would even want to bring your child to. So, Olivia had her diaper changed in the open air here..

Jackson Square was beautiful.

We had pralines, shrimp po' boys and jumbalaya, and as much local food as possible. We also enjoyed some delicious Chargrilled Oysters (wow!) from The Royal Oyster House in the French Quarter across the street from our hotel, actually. Unfortunately we devoured them (2 orders) before I realized that I didn't get to take a picture.

On the ride back to the airport, the driver pointed out places that were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. You could still see the stained water level on the walls of some of the buildings, and some areas that still need repair. It was eye opening and something I will never forget.

Finally, the reason we came to New Orleans in the first place. This lovely couple's nuptials..

What a party! The reception included the traditional Second Line parade with the entire wedding party and guests trailing the Bride, Groom and band in a parade. I loved it.

Funny Story

So my  maternal grandma and one of my elder cousins from my dad's side came into town this weekend for Olivia's Baby Clambake. Just to paint the proper picture, Grandma is 85 and Barbara Ann is probably in her early 70's. They are both the sweetest two people you will ever meet, in fact Grandma made all of the deserts for the party including a moist strawberry cake , lemon meringue pies and chocolate pies!

During the party, they saw some of the baby gear we had around the house including the three strollers we've purchased to date (jogger, bugaboo, and the most recent umbrella). Like most older people, they laughed at us for all of the stuff us youngin's need these days that older folks never had. Of course I explained my rationale behind each of these purchases, but had to laugh along with them.

During our usual Sunday dinner visit at my parents house, as we're packing up the car to leave, Charm City Daddy complains to the ladies about how small the X3 is and how we need to get something bigger already. Well of course grandma, mom and Barbara Ann laughed at us again. We smiled, finished packing up the car and went on our merry way back home. As we are driving down the road (at least 5 minutes away) just chatting away we suddenly get a call from my mom who is laughing so hard she can't even speak. She said we left the dog (Buckley, our Black Lab) behind. Ooops!

It gets better. Did CCD even slow the car down and begin to turn around? No! Instead he chuckled a little, and asked "Do you want us to come back and get him?" HAAAAAAAAA! How terrible is that? Now I'm laughing my tail off. Laughing harder my mom said, "No, I'll just bring him to your place when I come on Wednesday!" And we drove on down the road back to Baltimore with the baby and no dog.

Yes, we are your typical new parents. The kind that people feel sorry for in airports and grandparents and great grandparents are amused by.

Glad we could give you folks a chuckle.

Stay tuned for the long-awaited photos from New Orleans and Saturday's clambake.

Friday, October 23

Did I Tell You...?

Did I tell you that baby Olivia nearly has full neck control? I mean she came into this work with freakishly good neck strength (according to her doctor) and now she's nearly stabilized and freely rotating that bobble head around. I'm so proud.

Did I tell you that the baby's almost sleeping all the way through the night too? She's always been a good sleeper but last night she crashed at 9pm and woke up at 4 am this morning. Yes sir! The night before that she fell asleep at 7pm and work up at 3 am. We are soo close we can taste it! The pediatrician said 14 pounds seems to be the magic number for sleep training. Almost there!

Did I tell you that it is going to RAIN on our Baby Clambake tomorrow? Our backyard is tented within an inch of its life right now to preserve the paaaarrrtaay. The band seems to be okay with the rain. We'll see what happens.

Did I tell you that my mom is feverishly cleaning my house right now (to make herself feel better) in preparation for the party tomorrow? Allow me to define "feverishly" for you. She emptied my fireplace ash chute yesterday---all 15 buckets. Did I ask her to? nope. Are we burning a fire anytime soon? nope.

Did I tell you that I love my husband? I just love him. That's all.

Another "Baby Up In This World!"

Congratulations to my friend and fellow blogger, Catherine on the arrival of her little baby boy, Franklin Howard Long, III this morning. FHL3 was a healthy 6lbs 12 oz and 19 inches long!

Can't wait to see pictures of this little one and hear about the first weeks of parenting, because when it comes to preparation little FHL3, your mama is the REAL DEAL. So much so, I don't want to have second child unless we can do it together again...but next time she should go first.

You hear that Catherine? :)

Wednesday, October 21

The Airport Story...

Hey friends...I promise the NOLA pics are coming soon.  Sorry for the delay. I used mom's camera and must now get her data cable to download the pics.

But until then, let me fill you in on the dramatic voyage to New Orleans with baby.

The night before I gave baby a bath, packed up her things (in my carryon to save space of course), and we set out our outfits. She got cute pink fleece pants with pockets and floral pink shirt and pink bows and socks and white mary janes and...its SO much fun dressing a baby girl! (breathe)

For myself, I set out a t-shirt, cardigan, and some new jeans as well as some new boots I've been itching to wear somewhere (since heels have been off limits while pregnant). Why I am telling you what I was wearing you ask? Because it became a major point of contention between Charm City Daddy and I the entire day of traveling. In fact, anytime I wear heels he accuses me of "trying to be tall." huh? It really cracks me up. Anyway, yes the Tory boots are roughly a 4 inch heel and yes I can handle it.

Anyway Charm City Daddy likes for us to "match." He was wearing a long-sleeve t-shirt jeans and top siders and to him I didn't "match" him nor did I "look like a mom."  While I could have taken that as a compliment, I was a little insulted and thus driven to prove that YES I can wear 4 inch heels traveling through airports with a child and gear and be a SUPER MOM! Because of his comment I'm a woman on a mission.

Knowing we'd have to drop off the dog at Grandma's for the weekend on the way to the airport, we decide to head to Grandma's a few hours early. Luckily grandma only lives 10 minutes from the airport. We pack up the car (barely) and realize that there is no way we will ever get second child in the new family car we've only had for 6 months. After dog, carseat, the new stroller, 2 carryon duffels, a diaper bag, the au pair and her carryon backpack, the car was filled to the brim.

We finally make it to Grandma's after turning around once (forgot the wedding gift!) with just enough time for me to realize that I will need to borrow her camera (forgot mine) and her curling iron (whoops forgot that too). So far, the super mom thing is not working so well for me.

At Grandma's in anticipation of the airport security rigamaroo, I slip my drivers license into my back pocket for easy access at the check-in and security line. We head to the airport, check in, and hop into the super long security line with no problems. alright! Then I reach in my back pocket for my ID. It's NOT THERE! Ahh! I look at the AP and hubby in pure horror. I will not get past security without ID! Everyone (including my baby) will make it on the flight but me!Ahh!

I search every bag we have while the security line inches closer to the ID checker. NOTHING! I then start backtracking all the way to the garage where we parked the car RUNNING in FOUR-INCH HEEL BOOTS! I search everywhere, the elevator, under the car (on my hands and knees) in the car. Nothing. I call my mom as I am now SPRINTING through the airport. Did I leave it there? She can't find it. I am fighting tears and RUN down an airport cop and ask him where the lost and found is that I lost my ID. He tells me it won't be there this soon. CRAP! He tells me to plea my case to the security checker and show them what I have. Husband, Baby, and Au Pair have proceeded through the line without me and now struggling to collapse the stroller, I hear my baby crying. I approach the  TSA checker and as soon as I open my mouth (out of breath) I tell her my whole story in about 5 seconds flat running the words together and burst into tears "and my baby is right theeeereeeeeee! waaaahhhhhh!" The woman cuts me off and tells me "wait don't cry we'll figure something out." I let out a big exhale. Now I have to get my wallet from the diaper bag my husband has b/c in the frenzy all I could think to grab was the car key and my boarding pass. A TSA guys gets my wallet from CCD (who is disgusted that I "forgot" my ID) and stressed from baby crying and the AP not knowing how to fold the stroller. I show the TSA ID checker every card in my wallet including my Sam's Club card which is the only other picture ID I have on me.  She lets me through and tells me I have a beautiful baby. Thank you Jesus.

I finally get to the gate where I see AP surrounded by our bags strewn across the floor, bouncing a crying (hungry) baby which is missing a sock, a shoe, and hubby is no where to be found. We feed the baby, find the missing shoe, but not the sock just in time for them to call our Zone for boarding. I've got my boarding pass, but CCD is at the bookstore and has the AP's boarding pass. Now I'm worried that if we don't hurry up and board we won't get the coveted overhead storage! So I get in line with the baby and as many bags as I can carry and tell the AP she'll have to wait for my husband. He walks up seconds later.  We board. We sit. Baby falls sound asleep before take off. Charm City Daddy turns to me and says "Well, you do look nice." I burst into full fledge tears. The flight attendant notices baby is missing a sock and asks me "what happened mom?" Still crying, I replied, "at least I didn't lose the baby right?" She gives me a tissue. Charm City Daddy gives me a sip of his cocktail. And scene.

On the return trip I wore flats.

Oh, and word to the wise never trust the back pocket of James Jeans. Mom found my ID in her driveway.

Monday, October 19

We Survived!

We survived: our first trip/flight with baby; baby's first round of vaccinations; and Mommy's first day back to work (today).

What a 3-day span we've had!

New Orleans was a blast and getting there was certainly eventful--definitely requiring a post of its own, so stay tuned for pics  of NOLA and the airport story.

Olivia had her 8-week check-up today. Here are O's latest stats:

Weight: 10lbs, 7oz (50th percentile)
Length: 23 inches (25th percentile)
Head Circumference: 38.6 cm (50th percentile)

She also had her first round of vaccines today! Ouch! Poor baby has been fussy all day (the perfect time for me to make my exit and return back to work). The au pair couldn't wait to hand her over today which was perfect because I ran into the house to see her.

Yep! I went back to work today (after O's appointment of course) and the practical jokester that is my boss had this in place of my nameplate outside my office door:

Haha ! VERY funny. I got the joke right away and burst into laughter (and knew exactly who was behind it). I love my job, but even better the wonderful people I work with.

And can you believe the presents are still coming in? Here are two recent gifts we were fortunate to get from dear, dear friends.

Today the mail brought a lovely surprise from a dear friend (and her mom) from my high school days!

And a sweet lady from church who we consider our guardian angel (and who also shares a birthday with Olivia--coincidence? nope.) gave us this beautiful portrait of Olivia.

I need to get a frame for it, but for now it hangs here in the nursery.

Thanks Julie, Debbie, and Gennifer!

Stay tuned for the lowdown on the NOLA trip.

Tuesday, October 13

Traveling with Baby...

So we have finally arrived at the much anticipated First Family Trip.  This Friday daddy, baby, au pair, and I are packing up and heading to New Orleans for the weekend for a wedding in the French Quarter.

Long before Charm City Baby was born, we decided we wanted to bring her with us on this trip, so I've had baby-traveling-anxiety pretty much ever since.  Ahh!

Here are the thoughts that have been racing through my mind since we booked our tickets 3 months ago...

Should we bring the car seat?Will we need the stroller or the baby bjorn carrier in the airport? If I bring the stroller should I bring the bassinet or the car seat? Can I keep the baby strapped to me in at the security checkpoint? Do strollers go on the belt for the x-ray scanner? What if baby cries in first class? How can I prevent it? How will I make it stop? Will people hate us? Where do you change baby diapers on planes? If we take a towncar/cab/shuttle from the airport will they require us to have our car seat? If we go out to breakfast, lunch, or dinner in NOLA and we have no carseat what will we put our baby in?

We've resolved some of these issues (like we're not bringing our carseat--car service will arrived equipped), but not all of them . I'm sure we'll figure it all out. I guess we just have to go through it once to figure out what will work for us. The problem is, Charm City Daddy isn't the smoothest expert traveler, and by that I mean he has no real "system" routine to move efficiently and quickly without forgetting or losing something. I find this silly because he travels all of the time! Go figure.

The good news is, since the trip is just for 2 nights--I'm thinking we can skip checking bags. Also as much as we like to travel and intend to bring the baby with us, I decided to invest in this highly recommended umbrella stroller (in lime green), so I can take the stroller all the way up to gate check. There is nothing wrong with our main stroller, but it doesn't fold as straightforward as an umbrella and the fact that it required its own travel bag sends off red flags to me. I'd die if a wheel axle or something got bent. Plus I don't think it wise to leave it to airport folk who often damage luggage on-the-regular to fold and throw around what was a significant investment that had BETTER last through the rest of my child producing years. Okay!?

Other than all of that silliness, I'm really looking forward to my first visit to NOLA and devouring some beignets! YEAH!

Monday, October 12

Just Look at Her... third post of the day. Gotta get them in when I can!

Look at my little girl--getting big (Charm City Grandma is holding her)!

Thanks for the adorable outfit uncle Kev!

Planning a "Baby" Clambake

That's right. We're planning a post-baby party honoring Olivia's arrival.

Many of our friends couldn't make the shower or cannot wait to meet Olivia, so we decided (before she was even born) that we would have a little party after she arrived to introduce her to the world. Now we're trying to get her Christening to be scheduled for the same weekend so that family can be present, but it's been tricky. Hopefully it works out.

Because themes are fun to work around we decided to go along with a Clambake theme--quintessential New England which of course has Charm City Daddy written all over it.

The Clambake themed invitations went out a month ago and the RSVP's are coming in.

Here's how the party planning is going so far:
  • 20 x 30 framed tent rental BOOKED!
  • live band BOOKED!
  • dj BOOKED!
  • dance floor rental RESERVED!
  • caterer BOOKED!
  • cocktail, dinner table rentals SCHEDULED!
  • make a Sam's Club run - to be completed this week.
  • lantern centerpieces PURCHASED!
  • floral arrangements - to be completed this week.
  • linen rentals RESERVED!
  • get noise variance from Baltimore City for band noise-WAITING ON GOV'T! BOO!
  • organize basement- DONE!
  • upgrade electric in outside of garage for band power DONE!
  • patch plaster and paint in living room - to be completed this week
Did you notice how that list started veering off into the major repair side? That's beauty of living in a 82-year old house. You get to lump in major/mini renovation projects and upgrades with your party planning budgets! We added recessed lighting in the living room just before the baby got here and hadn't had a chance to get the plaster patched and painted--until now.

The party should be fun. I'm going with a red, yellow, and navy color scheme for the linen and flowers.

I've added more of these IKEA lanterns to my arsenal, which are proving to be party staples for me.

I've also selected some fun cocktail selections too...
  • Weed & Water w/ Lemon ( Sweet Tea Vodka, a dash of water, lemon)
  • Sex on the Beach
  • My favorite Maryland Vineyard's wine
  • An assortment of New England beers including Sam Adams & Magic Hat
The caterer just went over the menu with us on Saturday and it looks incredible. We're talking raw oyster bar, jumbo shrimp cocktail, cornbread, lobster mac and cheese, clam appetizer shooters, and more...

I'll be sure to take lost of pictures to share!

End of Another Era...

As my maternity leave comes to a close, it's time for me to part with my hospital rental breast pump...otherwise affectionately called my "Pursuit of Happyness Bone Density Scanner."

Just look at it...

Striking resemblance, eh? What made me giggle is that it actually comes with a sticker on the back that promises a reward if lost, just in case left this heavy-ass box in some park like Will Smith, I mean Chris Gardner, did in the movie.

Call it ugly, but this ugly contraption WORKED very well and did the job. It's also the reason I stuck with the Ameda brand for my portable pump purchase.

So, so long fond friend. My bedside will miss you. I have no idea what I am going to do with all of the extra space on my nightstand! Yeah right.

Monday, October 5

Storytime with Daddy: Part Two

She has a very broad range of interests...

Let's Talk About...Breasts

Breastfeeding, that is.

So, when you're pregnant other moms often ask you, "Are you going to breastfeed?" and you respond "but of course!" Then their eyebrows raise and they say "Good for you! Good luck! If you can just get through the first few weeks, its gets better." And you roll your eyes and think to yourself, "Duh! That's why I'm reading all the books, blogs, internet articles I can get my hands on--AND taking a breastfeeding class!"

Then fast forward and the baby is born (waaaah) and then when the celebration is over you look at the clock and in T minus 59 minutes its showtime--baby it's first meal--and the pressure is on!

Olivia knew exactly what to do--just open wide and turn her head until she felt something. But, even after all of that information and instruction, I was a softy on guiding her into the latch and to this day I am convinced that is what got me off on the wrong foot. By the way getting off on the wrong foot on breastfeeding REALLY hurts. I had no shortage of help. Two different lactation specialists and the nursery nurse still weren't helpful in the hospital.

It wasn't until Saturday 5 days after Olivia was born that I got the BEST hands-on instruction from a lactation consultant that came to the house. She is a no nonsense lady name Dee Dee and she taught me something called the "Slam Dunk" that made the clouds of heaven part for me. Wow! You literally push the baby into you with your hand forcefully just behind the baby's neck and head.

I wasn't using the right amount of force to get the baby on the breast, and on top of that you have to be a bit of a "quick draw McGraw" to get the baby in position while her mouth is open.

I just wish I had proper latch technique before all of the nipple damage was done. In order to continue breastfeeding I had to use a nipple shield for a few days. Then after a few bad latches here and there, I became a coward and started using the shield on both nipples for all feedings. Attention moms-to-be: That was not wise! So, after my first mommy's group (4 weeks into breastfeeding) I mustered up the courage to remove the shield and do a normal latch and yay! that lasted for 2 blissful, convenience-filled days until Olivia clamped down on me and I was back to the shield again. And folks that's where I am again today.

At 7 weeks old, Olivia has pretty much gotten used the firm nature of a bottle nipple and the nipple shield and looks for that when she's breasfeeding. Without it, we have a very very angry baby. It is amazing what a difference a few weeks make. She was fine latching between bottle and breast at 4-5 weeks, but at 6-7 weeks she has basically told me and my natural boob to get lost. Thanks baby.

So, I'm pumping a lot and using the nipple shield AGAIN! I hate the shield. You have to know where it is at all times, quickly put it on before your baby has a hunger meltdown, clean it, and store it and the cycle continues over and over again every 2 hours. Just to hold out hope every now and then I try a natural latch but it's increasingly difficult because now Olivia doesn't want to open her mouth wide at all. This is all really my fault. I've come to grips with it. I also didn't monitor close enough exactly how the Au Pair gave Olivia her bottle: making her root, putting the nipple at the roof of her mouth, making her choke down on the bottle nipple. Good job mom.

Despite these inconvenient setbacks, my milk production has continued to flourish. I'm up to 3 ounces per sitting which is right on par with what Olivia wants and gets her to a happy state of punch drunk. They say nipple shields can interfere with milk production and milk transfer, but I've been lucky so far to dodge this bullet.

So, I am still plowing through this breastfeeding thing with stubborn determination. I must say it is saving us lots of money on formula and is super convenient at for late night feedings. Also, there is still the option to exclusively pump and feed baby with bottles--as a few moms I met have done. So, I still have that out.

Onward and upward! I am staying encouraged!

Happy Anniversary

Not that Charm City Daddy ever reads this blog, (or has even visited it once), BUT Happy Wedding Anniversary to "my first baby"!

It's been two glorious years and it still feels like we're honeymooning. I love you more than you know and feel so blessed to have met my match.

Oh and baby, I'm glad you picked me up with that lame-o pick up line "Hi, how are you?" with the crazy eyes at that political event. We've been watching Fox News ever since.

I can't wait to continue building this beautiful family with you.


Charm City Mama