Monday, November 24, 2014

Best of Baby Gear (lately)

When my first two girls were born (in 2004 and 2006) I found the selection of baby gear to be overwhelming... but when I re-entered the world of babies in 2014 it was clear a number of designers have been expanding the world of baby gadgets and gizmos to all new proportions.

Here are five items that have come along since my older girls were born that have made the first month so much easier...

1. green sprouts Burp Pads - while burp clothes are nothing new, these "burp pads" are new and improved. The size is perfect, larger than the traditional cloths I used with the first two, able to catch any unexpected eruption. The kidney bean shape means it drapes over your shoulder brilliantly. And the organic muslin fabric means these pads are super soft and gentle on baby as she rests on my shoulder.

2. Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddle Blanket - it seems muslin fabric is the new "thing" in baby products, but there is a reason... it is light and gentle but has enough give that is can wrap a baby up snug as a bug in a rug. When she was brand new these blankets were perfect for a tight swaddle and now that she's growing the large size of the swaddle make it perfect for a cover for breastfeeding and a light blanket for napping.

3. Rock n Play Sleeper - seriously, seriously this is a must-have. The hammock shape of this (what I call) bassinet makes new babies feel snug and cozy. It is super light weight and portable so it can move from beside the bed at night to the school room during the day. Many other mamas have told me their little ones used this for naps well past the earliest (sleepless) days.

4. Wubbanub - This is one of those products that you look at and wonder "why is that necessary, is this just another infomercial gimmick?" I assure you it is not. The brilliance behind the Wubbanub is that it lays gently across baby's chest and even at 4 weeks our little one instinctively grabs on and gently cradles. Plus it is easier to keep track of and it's adorable.

5. Kiinde Breastfeeding System - Thankfully I have two more precious weeks before my maternity leave ends, but I have already found this system to be ingenious. The concept is basically that you pump into a twist-lock bag that is then transformed into the "bottle" through a nipple attachment, meaning no pouring between bottles and hardly any parts to wash.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Gwyneth's Birth

And so it happened that at my 39 week appointment my blood pressure was a little high. It was decided I should go to the hospital to be monitored and the doctor ultimately decided to keep me for induction the next morning. I had taken myself to the hospital, fully expecting to be sent home (this had happened with Carolyn 10 years ago), so when she told me I would be staying I got a bit weepy and texted Brandon that it was "go-time." There was much excitement (read: coordination of childcare and dog, grabbing of hospital bag, etc.) and the long afternoon / evening wait began.
The girls came to visit and were impressed with the IV, the contraction monitoring and all the rest. It was fun to have them see it all and be able to ask questions and get acclimated before the actual hard laboring started. It was not fun to be cut off from food for over 24 hours, but then the handsome photographer found the stash of popsicles and fetched them for me whenever I got hungry/ weepy/ stressed/ happy.
The evening meds had done their job and I was pretty uncomfortable as the sun was coming up and chasing away the heavy fog that had settled overnight. By mid-morning the incredible (and I mean incredible) anesthesiologist had administered the epidural, with Brandon by my side. I was comfortably ready for the girls to return for the rest of the labor party. Julia seemed especially nervous; when I asked her what she was worried about she said, "you."

My sister Emily, an ICU nurse and calm cucumber under pressure, came to be Brandon's back-up support should anything unexpected happen. Emily was there when Julia was born as well, and I am incredibly grateful. There is something reassuring about having your sister there when you give birth (especially a sister who knows about medical whatcha-ma-call-its).
The girls were very interested in the whole process, and our nurse (also very incredible, seriously the whole staff was a dream) answered all of their questions... no matter how obscure. Finally, at 3:10 the doctor came in, the audience went out (except Brandon and Emily) and at 3:19 Ms. Gwyneth Elizabeth Schultz entered the world fresh from Heaven. For the first few minutes she kept her eyes squeezed close tight, as though the new light of life was assaulting her eyes, which I guess it kind of was. Brandon was happy to have won the pool on her weight, Emily won the guess on the time she would be born, and I won because the baby was O-U-T!
As soon as the doctor gave the green light the girls were brought back for a quiet hour of family time... they were over the moon. Well, we all were.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Thousand Hills - Lake Weekend

It's become a great summer tradition - a weekend away at the lake. This year was monumental because the girls both learned to water ski. There was a bit of drama as Julia tried...and tried... and tried to get up to no avail. Carolyn, on the other hand, popped right up on her second try and left Julia steaming mad at her sister's skills. She was determined that we were not leaving the lake until she could count herself a waterskier. So Brandon spent Father's Day morning in a chilly lake under an overcast sky, helping his determined daughter fulfill her water skiing destiny. At last she did, and we left sunburnt and satisfied.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Drumroll please...

We had our sonogram, the long awaited moment when we finally got to see our wee one on the big screen (seriously they had a big screen at the doctor's office, things have sure improved since the girls were born!) Carolyn called out the sex before the sonogram technician even said it, clearly the iPad app is informative! We are over the moon to be welcoming our third princess to the Schultz castle. She is beautiful, though bashful, and only 20 weeks to go!

We had a few family members over for a balloon popping "gender" reveal in the driveway, it was just as the girls dreamed it would be - a big surprise and lots of hugs all around!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

SO... was this baby... planned?

Recently in Cubeville a coworker stopped by my offical and leaned in close, she half-whispered “so... was this baby... planned?” I get this a lot lately, it makes sense and I know that I would totally wonder the same thing. “Yup” I always reply, “Crazy, huh?”

I don’t think I pride myself on being odd, but probably couldn’t hurt to explore that with a therapist in the near future. Nevertheless the fact that my husband is a stay-at-home dad, we homeschool, and now this strange baby news has many people scratching their heads in our general direction. As she shook her head in delight/concern/disgust/confusion I joked “Actually, we just thought we’d hit the biology lesson right out of the ballpark with this one, the girls are getting a full 9 month crash course on fetal development and pregnancy!” She laughed and left, still shaking her head.

Of course we didn’t plan this pregnancy to be a glorified homeschool lesson (but it is surely a pin out in the Pinterverse somewhere!), though watching the girls learn and absorb all of the happenings has been nothing short of educational and highly entertaining.

I let Carolyn be the first to see the pregnancy test results, her eyes got wide and she stammered “M-M-Mom! There’s two... There’s TWO lines!” Since that night she has followed her Baby Development app religiously, able to quote current baby size whenever asked. The girls have accompanied me to each doctor’s appointment, ready with their questions when the doctor asks if I needed anything else? Julia asks me daily “how many more days until our sonogram” as they count down to find out if baby is a brother or sister. They have been planning a gender reveal party for weeks, with backup plans in the case we find out it is twins. And they argue over which days of the week will be each of their responsibility for full baby care.

After reading the description of the hospital’s “Sibling” class online I’ve decided I’m going to enroll them in the “Newborn Care” class instead. They would be offended to be told “not to poke the baby’s eyes”, after all, Julia has been serving in the nursery for nearly a year, and she’s practically ready to run her own daycare. Brandon and I will accompany them if for no other reason then to remind them to let someone else ask a question or have a turn with the diaper-changing-doll. I find I spend as much time daydreaming about what kind of big sisters they will be as I do wondering what this baby will be like. I catch myself thinking “7 and 9 are the BEST ages” but then I remember that I thought the same thing when they were 1 and 3, 2 and 4, 3 and 5... you get the idea.

And this is why we’re diving into parenthood for a round 3. Because when they are yours they drive you mad, both in love and insane. Carolyn gave me a glimpse of adolescents Saturday morning when she huffed “you never think of my needs!” because I had not planned a full day of pool play and macaroni-and-cheese eating. And then she returned to me within an hour to say “sorry” and climb up in my lap. It’s an adventure that brings all of the highs and lows that any good adventure should, and I’m incredibly grateful that these two girlies will be along for this one, as fantastic siblings to be sure, sideline entertainers when need-be, encouragers always, and just plain kids as their primary jobs should be for the time being.