Sunday, May 8, 2011

My FIRST Mother's Day as a mommy!

So, before I start this post, I want to say a big THANK YOU and JOB WELL DONE to all the mamas out there. Before I had Annie Louise, I didn't think being a mom would change my life that much - I thought I would still be able to be social, read all the books I want and I would always have it together.


Being a mom is the most beautiful thing ever....but it's a hard job, too! I feel like there are never enough hours in the day, I have a stack of books I haven't touched since giving birth to Annie Louise, and sometimes I feel like I have NO idea what I'm doing.

But, you know what?

It's fine.

I'm so lucky to have this baby girl in my life. I never knew I could love something so much - and I tell her that all the time.

So, hats off to the hardest working women I know! I salute you today :)

Back to MY Mother's Day....
I knew B would have something for me - maybe pretty special, too. I had NO idea that this gift would probably be the best gift I have ever been given (besides my doodlebug).

It's going in the "things-to-grab-when-the-house-is-on-fire" stack.

It's a handmade book from B with pictures of me and Annie Louise. Throughout the book, B talks about all of Annie Louise's first memories...from when I was pregnant, to her first bath, her first bite of cereal, etc. etc. - then he ends with this absolutely beautiful note about her favorite memory was when she first saw me. Then, there is another note (from Annie Louise) about how much she loves me and all. When I saw the first page (it was a picture of me with a little baby bump), I immediately started bawling like a baby. I couldn't believe all the time and thought he put into - it absolutely blew me away. SWEETEST. GIFT. EVER.

Then, he gives me this GORGEOUS pink sapphire necklace - sapphire, because it's Annie Louise's birthstone and pink, well pink because she's a girl (and we LOVE pink).

So, needless to say, I have had a pretty amazing Mother's Day - I spent it with all of my favorite women and my adorable baby girl.

And you can't get much better than that!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The best newborn baby products...according to Mama LeeLee & Annie Louise!

I have a lot of friends that are expecting or have just had new babies, and one of the most common questions I get is...what do I need??????

I didn't really have anyone tell me what to use - I did get a lot of advice on certain products, but for the most part, I did a lot of research on my own (plus, once you have a baby, you figure out REAL quickly what works and what doesn't work).

So, here is a list of the things I used most frequently once Annie Louise arrived - these things worked well for us, they make not work for you, so just take it as advice! I am by no means an expert :)

1. Diapers
(and LOTS of them)
I didn't really use many of the newborn size (we used pampers swaddlers) since Annie Louise was so big at birth, so we pretty much started in size 1. Those first few weeks, you go through so many diapers...who knew something SO small could make a mess SO big! Oh, and LOTS of wipes, too! I bought a few in the containers, and then I started buying the refills so that I have them on hand - it's hard to get out and get things, so stock up now! We use cloth diapers now (we made the switch after the New Year) - we use the BumGenius 4.0 series, and we LOVE them! They are super easy to use (and wash) - but we still use disposables if we are out and about or traveling!

2. Swaddle-Me swaddle blanket -
I wish I would have gotten this thing sooner - Annie Louise was NOT sleeping there for a while, and the doctor suggested we try swaddling her really tightly. Apparently, she was just keeping herself up at night squirming around and moving. Anyways, this thing (we call it the straight jacket) - it literally kept her swaddled all night long, which helped her sleep better. It definitely earned it's nickname of "the miracle-worker."

3. Medala Pump in Style double breast pump.
I use this DAILY. When Annie Louise was just a few days old, my body was trying to figure out how much milk to make, so sometimes I would be extremely engorged, and it was nice to have the pump so I could pump some milk for storage (get some milk storage bags). I also use it while I am at work - my mom is keeps Annie Louise in the afternoons, and she gives her bottles with breastmilk, so I pump once at work. I like the double pump, because it goes faster (I really only need 12-15 minutes to empty). Breast pumps are extremely expensive, but they are worth every single penny! You can also rent them from your hospital, too! We also use Avent bottles and pacifiers - I like them a lot - they are easy to clean, too!

4. A good stroller and diaper bag
I always tell my friends to splurge on 3 things - the breast pump, the stroller and a diaper bag. These are the things that you need to "test out" and you definitely need to splurge on these because you will use them so often. We have the Quinny Buzz stroller (with the bassinet attachment), and I have a Petunia Picklebottom diaper bag. Most people freak out when I tell them how much my diaper bag was, but I absolutely love it. It can be carried as a backpack, which is super convenient while pushing a stroller or carrying a baby. It also has a fold out diaper changing pad (which can be removed to wash) which is handy when you are at a mall, store, restaurant, etc.

5. A swing and/or bouncy seat
These are great to soothe the baby or keep them occupied so you can sit down and eat or whatever. A lot of times after Annie Louise's first feeding, I will put her in her swing while I do laundry/dishes/clean up. She really likes to sit in her bouncy seat, too!

6. A diaper genie
These are good to keep dirty diapers out of sight - I never noticed smelling dirty diapers either. You will want to go ahead and get a couple of the refills for them, because you will go through a lot of diapers when you are first home.

7. Breast pads and nipple cream -
If you are planning to breastfeed, go ahead and get these! I use the breast pads daily (yes, it's true, you do leak) and the nipple cream is good (I used Medela nipple cream) when you are first starting to breastfeed and your nipples are sore. Lansinoh makes nipple "soothies" - put those suckers in the freezer/fridge to let them get cold...OMGEEEEEE! Heaven!

8. Nursing tops and pajamas -
This is all I wore for the first 2 weeks after coming home from the hospital. People won't care what you look like, believe me! So, apologies to all my guests that came to visit! Ha!

9. "Sleep Sheep"
They have one at Pottery Barn Kids - it has a "heartbeat" sound, I think it soothed Annie Louise those first few weeks at home since that was all she heard in the womb!

10. Bottle warmer
We didn't give Annie Louise a bottle with breastmilk until she was around 3 weeks old - and B would take over the "night shift" so that I could sleep some - it was nice to have this because it made bottle warming so easy!

11. Some sort of wrap/carrier
This is nice to have when baby is fussy and just wants to be held - it lets you be free to hold them and have your hands, too! I have the "sleepy wrap", but I know the Moby brand is nice as well. Annie Louise always had a "fussy" time from about 4-6 p.m., and this helped us tremendously!

12. "Brest Friend"
This is my BEST friend, seriously! I still use this thing every single day. I like it better than the boppy, as I thought Annie Louise was up way too high with the boppy. I like how the Brest Friend can snap around you, so if you need to get up, you can still hold on to baby. It has great back support, too! The cover is super easy to wash (I wouldn't dry it), and they have cute patterns as well!

13. A support team
I literally don't know what I would have done without my family (especially B & my mom) - I don't know how women have babies and don't have any help. I would just sit and cry and cry and cry and cry some more when I first got home (hormones make you do CRAZY things). My favorite part of the day was when my mom would get to my house and let me go take a shower...she would tell me to just get in there and cry it out. And I would (more like sob it out). I appreciate my mom even more now because when she had me, she was all the way over in Texas, with no one. I have no idea how she did it. So, mama, THANK YOU!!!!!!

So, mamas out there, what products could you just NOT live without? And always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


It's gloom-y and rain-y here in Tennessee, and I'm dreaming about the wonderful weather we had on Saturday.

Dear beautiful, sunny, warm weather,
Please come back. Rain showers aren't nearly as fun.
Yours truly,

Anyways, back to the whole reason behind this post - this is my newest obsession..."sugars" from Annie Louise!

And they aren't just sweet kisses,
they are full-on, slobbery, lick-your-face, may-get-some-tongue-in-there kisses.
And I love them.
Judge all you want. I have always loved kissing my doodlebug on the mouth since she was born. I'm sure some of you think that's weird and strange, but I love it.
And I'm going to continue doing it until she says
"maaaaaaaaama, don't kiss me on the mouth. that's weird."

See that yellow thing in her hand? That's her favorite toy these days, a yellow ball that goes with a bigger, even better toy. But, my child LOVES the yellow ball. When we go to SheShe's house, it's the first thing she looks for when you put her down in the middle of all her toys.
The yellow ball.
It used to be a blue ring (like the link rings that you use to hang stuff off her exer-saucer).
But now, it's the yellow ball.

Hope you all enjoy your day...and mamas out there, make sure you get your sugars!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Birthday parties!

Annie Louise was invited to her first birthday party for a friend - this past Saturday, we went to Ryerson's FIRST birthday party! It was such a beautiful day (not like the day Ryerson was born - lots of rain and floods)! We had such a good time, and it really got me excited for Annie Louise's big birthday that is just around the corner! Lots of ideas are running through my head...but for now, a few pictures from Saturday!

Happy Birthday, Rye Rye! We love you!

Mommy + Annie Louise all smiles at the birthday party!

My sweet friends, Betsey and Megan - so lucky to have these amazing women in my life!

Abi & Tommy with the birthday boy! Love this family!