Bytes of Love

Working mommy. Startup daddy. Rascal toddlers.

Category: Mommy Musings (Page 2 of 7)

How Varsha’s Getting Her Groove Back

“What do you MEAN he might have pinkeye?!” I was admiring the gorgeous skyline of downtown Chicago while on the metro, with Anil on the phone. He had just gotten to work in Durham. Dilan was sick and had to be picked up from daycare. At like 9:15 am. Seriously, why do the kids ALWAYS get sick the second one of us gets on a plane? Poor thing. I’m not even there to comfort him. Doesn’t he NEED mommy?! Normally, this wouldn’t faze me much. When you’re breastfeeding and pumping  around the clock though, hormones aren’t on your side in stressful situations like that. I had gotten up around 3 am to catch my flight and had to present in 20 minutes or so. Slight panic.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned after having kids, it’s that they will constantly throw you curve balls. Nothing ever goes as planned, no matter how much you plan. I’m obviously a planner. I have to do-lists for our meals, clothes for the kids, weekend plans, travel, work obligations, birthdays, you name it. It’s helpful and helps things moving smoothly in our household, but for a good chunk of last year, I felt like it was never enough. Classic new parent burnout. I caught a good dose of it.

After a fairly smooth labor and delivery in March last year, I thought I was prepared for taking care of a baby again. I’ve done this before just 2.5 years ago, what could possibly be so hard about it? Well, everything. Everything that was easy with Dilan, was difficult with Asher. Food allergies, sleep issues, breastfeeding jaundice, recurring ear infections, developmental delays, you name it. I think both Anil and I did all we could to keep Asher comfy and keep Dilan as happy as he is. I can’t complain too much about his health issues because at the end of the day, they should all get resolved. They’re all first world problems. However, as trivial as taking care of healthy kids may seem, it can still take a toll on you. It’s ok to think things are hard. It’s ok to be sleep deprived. It’s all temporary, after all. BUT: if there’s one thing I absolutely hate, it’s becoming a mommy martyr. Not me. Definitely not me. I believe you can work hard and still be light on your feet. You can take care of the kids and still have a life of your own…really.

On most days, we wake up at 5:30 and don’t sit down until about 11 pm. Working full-time is actually very helpful for me because I get to eat lunch in peace on most days – HUGE working mom perk. However, there’s not a ton of “me time” at work either, no matter how well balanced I think my job is. Going non-stop still takes a toll on you. So the other day, I came up with some fun new habits for myself to get back into my groove. Everyone needs a groove, a rhythm to keep you going. Here’s what mine consists of:

  1. A little time to myself. For me, this translates into audio books and podcasts. (Or, just straight up brownies – pick one). I know this sounds really counter intuitive. You want to get back into your groove with more technology? How “un-zen-like” is that?! Well actually, it’s been amazing. I never get to read at home because our evenings are all about meal prep for the next day, cleaning the house, laundry / getting clothes ready, and some laptop work or HOUSE OF CARDS (can’t complain about that one). Having the ability to listen to books, sometimes even with the kids in the car has made a huge difference for me. I’ve learned so much while driving. It’s sneaky “me” time that makes me feel human and connected again (ironically). Stay tuned for my favorites coming soon.
  2. Device-less nights. As you may have guessed, Anil and I are constantly connected. It’s the only way to manage the household, work, and everything else. Like I said, we’re planners, and a lot of our planning and shopping gets done online and in apps. But sometimes it’s nice to just disconnect, have a glass of wine, sit, and re-set. It’s hard for two technologists to make this happen, but we’ve loved the few nights when we’ve done this. Tub time is the best. Steal your kids’ bubbles. Trust me. Also, you can make any dinner look fancy with candle light. Just wait until the kids go to sleep.
  3. Work-less weekends. Of course there are those weekends when you do what you have to do for work. But in general, we try to get out with the kids as much as we can. Museums, parks, even grocery shopping and outside chores can be fun with the kids. The main point is that staying home often forces you to clean, organize, cook, fix up stuff, etc. While that’s great, it’s not so fun for the kids, no matter how much you try to involve them. By getting out more, we’ve felt more balanced and the kids have much more fun. They learn a ton about the outside world too. It doesn’t always have to be expensive. You’re talking to a thrifty mom here. I hunt down those deals, girlfriend.
  4. Taking more risks. Last year was a great year for me at work, but I didn’t take as many risks as I’m planning to take this year. I didn’t drop the ball on anything, but when your mind is so consumed with a move, newborn, and potty training a preschooler, you’re just preparing for constant change at home and it’s just a lot to handle in addition to work. It chugged along, but this year, I’m planning to be much more innovative. Because…, why not? Innovation is refreshing and just as good for the soul as letting your mind rest, if you ask me.

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I’m typing this post while waiting for my flight back home from Dallas. Of course, one of the kids is sick again and Anil had to take time off work to take care of our poor sweetheart Asher. Thank goodness sis-in-law was around this time to lend a hand. Regardless, he’s done a fabulous job and that’s one of the biggest reasons why I married him. When you don’t have the grandparents or lots of family nearby, it can be hard to manage a startup, work, two kids, and all the glory that comes along with everyday life. I’m such a work in progress, but I’m no longer afraid of the chaos. I embrace it and make small tweaks to help me feel human again in all the blessed mess. I may not be where I want to be yet, but I’m on my way. On my way to getting my groove back…

Happy First Birthday, Asher!

Dear Asher,
I was about to start this post by saying that you’re the bomb diggity. I then refrained because by the time you’ll actually be old enough to fully comprehend this (sometime in middle school?), that would be really uncool ;-). In all seriousness, thanks for joining our family a year ago. I had a flawless pregnancy and yet you were born just a few grams shy of NICU time. I have never cried as many happy tears as when your brother came to give me the news (with daddy’s help, he was just 2 after all), that you were a perfectly healthy 4 lbs and 6 ounce baby boy.

Those first few months of your life, you grew huge! Some say that’s miracle, but it would only be one if there was something wrong to begin with. I say it was mostly mama’s milk. But I won’t go into too many nursing details because I know that’s the last thing you will want to read as a middle schooler as well ;-). Although you grew really well, we had our share of challenges: breastfeeding jaundice, ear infections, dairy and soy allergies. They were really rough for you at the time,  but I can’t help and think of how much we’ve all learned and how much stronger we are as a family because of all of these annoyances. Being a baby or being a parent is tough when things go smoothly. It’s even more challenging when they don’t. The biggest lesson you’ve taught me (in addition to patience) is that you are who you are.

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And I wouldn’t want it any other way. After all, what would we do without your curls (which I smell and run my fingers through at least 19 times a day), your giggle and smile, your lashes (!!!), and your beautiful eyes? You’re extremely strong-willed, just like your brother, impatient, just like everyone in our family, sweet, CUDDLY, fussy when things don’t go your way, talkative, and funny. You love to clap, roll around, shake things, bang objects together, bury your head when you cuddle, and do anything and everything wild with Dilan. You love to eat most foods, but lean meats and carbs seem to top your list. You like spices and love to drink from a cup. You LOVE Apple watches and remotes, too. I think your first words are “ball” and “mama” (not going to complain about the latter one ;-)). We still nurse twice a day and I never thought I’d say this, but I am cherishing every minute of it.

Happy Birthday, my dear. I am so sorry for traveling most of the day on your birthday, but I hope that one day, you’ll appreciate all the hard work that your dad and I have and will put into raising you. I also hope you don’t remember my dance moves. We’ll have a beer together when you’re old enough if you do. Here’s to another year of fun, being brave, and making a difference. Hope you enjoy these bytes of love.

Even though you’re one now, you’ll always be my baby boy. Love you,

– Mommy

PS – Stay tuned for all 12 of your monthly pictures!

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Asher’s 9 Month Update & The Best Resolution Ever

It’s hard to believe that just 9 months ago (almost 10 now), I gave birth to 4 lbs, 6 oz of pure chillaxed joy (that is the best way to describe Asher, after all). Other terms that come to mind? Boy diva, Bay dawg (long story, but that’s what Anil and Dilan like to call him), and pudge bucket. The latter one refers to:

Weight: 19.14 lbs (used to be a whopping 21 lbs, but he lost 2 lbs while sick) – 37th percentile
Height: 29.25 inches – 77th percentile (we like our babies nice and tall)
Head size: 17.72 inches – 43rd percentile

You guys, he was not even on the charts when he was born…He’s grown a ton and LOVES to eat. He’s eaten every purée and handfuls of finger foods we’ve fed him so far. He also loves to roll around (no crawling yet, he’s just too lazy), watch Dilan do anything wild and crazy, fuss until he gets picked up, let his voice be heard (he’s easily the loudest baby you’ve ever met), and flirt by giving people his signature “slow blink”. He also has the curliest hair you’ve ever seen on a boy and a smile that melts my heart faster than any ice cream you give to a toddler.

Asher has been through a very rough few weeks ever since Thanksgiving. He’s had 3 ear infections in a row and went through 5 rounds of antibiotics. We’re working on fixing this very soon, but he’s such a trooper for making it through it all. The toughest part about him being sick has been the sleep. We had Dilan sleeping through the night at 7 months. Asher? Until about a week ago, he still woke up 4 times a night. Sucks for us, yes, but also really hard on the poor boy. We got some sleep help because we forgot some fundamentals about baby sleep, which is such a rookie move, but it’s helped a ton over the last week or so. I am one of those people who needs 3 hours of consecutive sleep to make it through a full work day. Not 3 hours total, 3 hours of continuous sleep. Since I wasn’t getting that (and neither was Anil), we made some changes and are doing much better now. The good news for tired parents everywhere is that whether you’re co-sleeping or want a totally independent baby, there is almost always something you can do to get more / better sleep. Sleep is so important. Hit me up if you want some guidance / tips / a shoulder to lean on.

How’s the rest of the family coping with all of this? Here ya go:

State of the Mommy

As you already know, I’ve been dead tired (and unnecessarily cranky from time to time). On the plus side, work is going great and I’m never more than 2 – 3 loads of laundry behind on any given day, which is a HUGE accomplishment in the crazy Chawla household. I’ve been home (staycation) for almost two weeks and am loving it. I haven’t gotten out of yoga pants, t-shirts, and hoodies, guys. I’m still breastfeeding a little bit every day, which makes me really proud (breastfeeding + working full-time is HARD), but I’m looking forward to getting my (social) life back some day. Asher will let me know when that day will come. If you see me in the meantime, hugs, wine, chocolate, back massages, and a “this too shall pass” is always appreciated ;-). If you work with me, don’t worry, I’ll be kicking butt at work again when I return. Work never suffers.

State of the Daddy

I won’t lie. The daddy takes all the sleep deprivation and taking care of Dilan much, much better than I’m ever capable of. He’s so organized, positive, hardworking, and kind. This is why I married him. He keeps me sane. Ladies, be jealous. His company will grow to 18 people next year (next week, actually!) and I beam with pride every time I think of how hard he’s worked for it. If I make it through the next 9 months, he’s one of the biggest reasons for this.

State of the Dilan

Dilan is his usual 3-year-old self: an absolute sweetheart / moody as hell / determined / iffy on dinner pre-schooler. Yep, he recently moved up to pre-school and LOVES it. Much more work for him to do there and he’s learning a ton from the older 5-year-olds in his class. I’m happy for him. At the same time, I know a poorly sleeping baby brother, the holidays, and moving to a new school is a lot to deal with. We hear ya, Dils. We’re taking a big break to help you through all the changes. He does fantastic with going to the bathroom and his vocabulary is expanding every day. I think we couldn’t ask for much more right now (ok fine, sitting still during dinner and going to sleep on time would be nice…).

That’s it. Super quick update. We’re surviving. Asher is growing. I’m thankful for everything that comes our way. Every challenge provides a new way to learn and grow, after all. As far as resolutions for next year (tomorrow!) go, here is my biggest one: to simplify EVERYTHING. Yeah, yeah, I had that as a resolution last year as well, but when you go through a huge move and have a new baby, simplifying things gets lost in the mess and excitement somehow. But this upcoming year, I’m simplifying everything. Getting rid of everything I don’t care about, while keeping the things that make me happy. Because having less to worry about and having more fun never hurt anyone, right? Let me know what your resolutions are and Happy New Year, guys!

PS – this picture: pure joy. One of my favorites ever. We transformed it into a canvas and it’s currently hanging in our toy room downstairs, along with some other favorites. I love to look at it on rainy days like today when the kids are driving me nuts.

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Mommy’s Must-Haves #3

When Dilan was 6 months, he broke four of my favorite necklaces while nursing. That boy has some serious arm muscle power. I haven’t worn any of my favorite jewelry since then. I’ve learned the hard (fun?) way and started mommy’s must-haves lists of useful products. This edition contains some of my current favorites. It’s funny how our tastes, attitudes, and preferences change over time. One thing I love about being in my thirties is that I’m so much more balanced, calm, collected, and easy going than I was in my twenties. It’s also a huge help to have a second child close in age to the first one. Your time becomes so much more valuable because of it and it really forces you to focus on what’s most important, and not care about what anyone else thinks (ok fine, this is still work in progress, but I’m slowly getting there…). So with that in mind, here are some products that have made my life easier and more fun lately:

  1. Honest’s Everything Cream Foundation. I’ve never been a big make-up person. I usually throw on some loose face powder and mascara and call it a day. I’ve never worn foundation, except for one or two big events over the last few years. One of them was my wedding. I think the last time I wore lipstick is over three years ago, at my sister’s wedding. Yep, that’s how low maintenance I am when it comes to make-up. I’m lucky to have a husband who is used to my bed-hair- and-yoga-pants look at home and honestly, I wouldn’t want it any other way. The bright spot is that when I do try to look nice, it makes a big difference. I’m also very cognizant of chemicals in make-up. With that in mind, I decided to try out the Honest Company’s Everything Cream Foundation. I love all their other products and got a $20 off coupon, so why not give foundation another try after all this time? Well, I LOVE how the almond shade looks on my face. It evens it out without having that “caked on” look. It’s not too greasy and not too dry. I’m a big fan. You can find the newly launched Honest Beauty line here: https://www.honestbeauty.com/c/makeup

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  1. Teething necklace by Dimples and Grace. I found this one on Amazon and absolutely love it. Know who loves it more? Eight month old Asher, who is working hard on getting those first teeth out! He loves chewing on this and I love the fact that it’s easy to wash and doesn’t scream “TEETHING NECKLACE”. I love the emerald green as well. It gives a nice pop of color to my mostly black and gray sweater collection 😉

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  1. Toms tote bag. What’s one thing I don’t like? All the prep and planning to just GET OUT OF THE HOUSE with two kids. It takes me at least half an hour on a Friday night to gather everything we’ll need to get out on Saturday morning. Enter Toms’ “YOU’LL BE AMAZED AT WHAT THIS BAG CAN DO” tote. It’s expensive, but by purchasing it, Toms paid for the materials and care needed to ensure that one mom somewhere in the underprivileged world has a safe birth. Now that’s awesome. By carrying around this tote with diapers, wipes, extra clothes, etc., I remind myself that I’m lucky to have two healthy kids to gather stuff for in the first place. I’ve never been an expensive purse person. I own two somewhat expensive purses, both bought on clearance, but that’s it. And you know what? That not-so-sexy Tom’s tote is way more attractive to me than either of the brand name ones.

Tomstote

Enjoy your weekend!!

 

3

Well, we made it a full three years. I’m writing this post while absolutely beaming with pride. We went from a colicky newborn who had a difficult time soothing himself to an independent, thoughtful, and smart three year old. For all you new parents out there: there is a light at the end of the tunnel, although it’s difficult to see when you’re so sleep deprived that you can’t remember your birthday (true story). We’re right there with you with Asher right now. But, I wanted to take a break from baby duty to show you what happens when you hang in there for three years or so. We’ve got an excellent sleeper and eater on our hands (partial luck, partial persistence) and so much more to be thankful for every day. Sure there are tantrums and days when all he eats are crackers and cantaloupe (and we’re lucky he always picks a fruit), but those days are minimal and much more manageable at 3 than they were at 2 for us. Things still get messy and chaotic and STUBBORN, but our house is filled with laughter and fun and silliness at the same time. Rather than me telling you about him, I asked him a few questions so he can tell you what 3 is like:

How old are you?

“Threeee” <grins ear to ear>

Favorite color?

“Orange”

Favorite animal?

“Monkey”

Favorite food?

“Banana bread” (Editor’s note: probably because that’s breakfast this week and we just talked about it)

Favorite person?

“Bobo” (his monkey lovey). Daddy is usually ranked right below Bobo, for the record. Everyone else comes after.

Favorite song?

“INK!” (by Coldplay, from the Ghost Stories album – heavily influenced by mommy)

What are you scared of?

“Spiders”

Favorite superhero?

“Spiderman”. Don’t tell me you didn’t see that one coming. He’s smart, but still 3, after all 😉

What do you want to be when you grow up?

“A monster” (probably heavily influenced by Halloween coming up)

What’s the best thing you’ve done today?

“Create pumpkin art, work, see baby Asher”

 

Dils, if you’re reading this later, two things: 1) I’ll be reminding you of how much you loved your baby brother when you guys fight in the future, and 2) you are the best 3 year old EVER. We love you, pickle.

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Sangfroid

sangfroid, noun: the ability to stay calm in difficult or dangerous situations. Also: self-possession or imperturbability especially under strain.

Remember that from your SAT vocab days?? Oh sweet memories. I thought about this word the other day because being a new mom of two under three requires A LOT of sangfroid. Like when you think your toddler is choking, but he’s really just faking you out (true story). Or, when he fails to reach a developmental milestone, which he probably should have mastered by now (also a true story). Even if you’re not a parent, I think there a ton of situations in which you can practice to become better at sangfroid. We are beyond blessed as a family to never had to deal with something truly traumatic or excruciating. However (and not to be too much of a debby downer, but you know where I’m going here…), I know that someday I’m going to be thinking about how glad I was that I practiced sangfroid, because it will prepare me a tad bit better for that gloomy day….Are you pumped yet? 😉

Even if you’re not preparing for doom and gloom, I’m still sharing my best sangfroid tips because I hope you may be able to use them on a daily basis. Here they go:

  1. Get really good at task switching. A few weeks ago, I woke up at 2:30 am to nurse the (crying) baby. I then got ready, went to the airport, pumped breastmilk in the restroom at RDU, ate breakfast, jumped on a plane, landed, pumped again at the Chicago Midway nursing room, jumped on the metro, arrived at our SAS office in Chicago at 8:45 am, and presented to a packed room of people at 9:00 am. I jumped back on a plane at 3:50 pm, came back from the airport, walked into our house, took off my heels and nursed our baby to sleep in my work attire at 7:20 pm. Crazy days like that make me feel empowered and lucky to have a mini village (daycare teachers and daddy) to watch the kids while I’m gone. They also make me realize how important it is to be able to switch gears in your head effectively. They prepare you for chaos, even if there is none in sight yet. No one does task switching better on a daily basis than Anil. He’s a startup CEO and a fantastic dad at the same time. It’s my secret goal to be as good as him, one day.
  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Here’s the funny thing: I have to admit that I’m not always prepared, so I won’t preach too much here. But, on the days that I am, things definitely run smoother and I feel so much less stressed. One of the biggest things I do with having two small kids is making sure that I always have water and snacks nearby for everyone. Dilan and I get HANGRY and can’t think straight when our blood sugar levels runs low. Always having something to nibble on makes a big difference in tantrums and everyone’s stress levels. So does carrying the right size diapers and wipes that aren’t dried out ::darts eyes::
  1. Be mindful. When I’m at work or home and things start to get tense, I try to stop myself and think about what the other person must be thinking. Could they possibly be having bad day? Sure, they get snappy at you, but what’s the real reason behind this? You can’t go and over-analyze this in every situation (because you simply won’t have time), but it often does help to think about how everyone is fighting a tough battle and everyone has rough days. A little kindness never hurts and could just make the situation a little better. Unless, you’re dealing with a jerk. Stay away from jerks.
  1. Get personal – down at “eye level”. I’ve been practicing this with Dilan a lot. Whenever I can’t catch his attention (which happens a lot since he is two, after all), I get down at his level and tell him to look me in the eye. I then ask my question or ask him to calm down and this works way better than when I’m simply yelling talking down to him. Great way to interact with kids, not lose your cool, and prevent things from blowing out of proportion.

Now I know I have some seriously hippie yogi talented friends out there. What are some practical things you guys do to keep your sangfroid?

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Jack Johnson, Hives & A Lot of Love

A quick six month update from the trenches: this has been a pretty rough week for everyone. Asher caught a (daycare?) bug and has had diarrhea for about six days now. A pediatrician told us to try probiotics, which caused him to break out into hives. She didn’t catch that probiotics contain dairy, which he’s allergic to, and I thought about it too late: #momfail. Our work and travel schedules are pretty insane this month, and I could really use a glass of wine.

On the bright side: Asher has turned into the smiliest six month old I’ve ever met. He went from being too small to be on charts, to growing to about 35th percentile for weight. He’s a bit weak when it comes to gross motor skills, but I think / hope we just need to do a better job practicing with him. Other than his dairy and soy allergies, he’s completely healthy and it shows (ok fine, not today, because he broke into hives). He likes the few fruits and veggies we’ve fed him so far and LOVES watching Dilan do anything wild and crazy. He still wakes up 3x per night to feed, even though he knows how to put himself to sleep. We’ll work on that when he feels better.

As for me, I hit two big milestones today as well: I finally lost all my pregnancy weight and met my goal of nursing for six months on the dairy and soy free diet. I think I’ll keep going a little longer, because Asher loves to be nursed and that’s what’s most important: not just providing food, but a dose of special love as well. We’ll see how my supply holds up. I’m not anti-formula, but I just enjoy the sweetness of nursing. Asher and I celebrated everything by slow dancing to Jack Johnson after lunch (a veggie burger for me and two teaspoons of sweet potato for him) . Jack, you know what’s up when it comes to our babies. They love you and your sleep inducing songs.

So our six month update doesn’t contain Asher’s official six month picture or any type of Pinterest-perfect outfit. It’s your typical, second child status post: written in an extreme hurry…but with a lot of love :-). Hugs to you, my little one. Happy six months. You are loved more than you will ever realize. Here’s to many more to come ::raises imaginary, much needed champagne glass and milk bottle::

Asher

626 Diapers Later

If there was ever a time when I had to put my big girl underwear on, these last 3 months were IT. We had Asher, who was born small for gestational age, has reflux, and is apparently allergic to dairy and soy. We found out about this on the day we moved to our new house and I had to pump around the clock for two weeks while formula feeding Asher so the dairy and soy could get out of my system. I was feeding or pumping 16 – 18 times per day while unpacking boxes. In addition to that, we had some major sleep regression with Dilan (still working on this), had Anil travel for work a week after we moved, and had a boat load of people over all at the same time. Some of this was planned, some of it wasn’t. That’s just life. But talk about a whirlwind of a three months!

No one really talks about not loving or being too exhausted to fully enjoy those first newborn weeks, but I am here to tell you that it’s absolutely ok if you don’t love every moment of it. Now if you’re not having fun at all, you may just have a problem. Your life isn’t going to be like that Hallmark or Gerber commercial you see and that’s fine. Even if you don’t have as much going on as we just did, you just have to remember that YOU’RE GOING TO SURVIVE. Just like we just did. All the stressful sleep and feeding habits eventually disappear and this too, shall pass.

After spending three months with the most adorable preemie sized baby boy, I felt obligated to follow up on this post I wrote for Dilan. Though we’ve been giving Asher a good dose of the second child treatment (sorry dude, comes with the rank), we still had to track what he’s been up to these last 12 weeks, so here it is:

Diaper count: 626 total
Nursing: 210 hours, for a total of 859 times
Bottle count: 198, with a freezer full of expressed, but “contaminated with soy and dairy” milk =(

Asher is growing rapidly and though he may stay small for a while, I’m confident that he’ll be just fine in the long run. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep him on track when I go back to work next week.

Work. Yikes. I absolutely love my job because it challenges my brain like nothing else does. But man, I will miss staying at home with that boy and Dilan, who stayed home on occasion. In the long run, there is nothing glamorous about staying at home with a newborn and a toddler, as I’ve said before. It’s madness. I truly appreciate everything SAHMs do and in the back of my head I keep thinking “I could never do this full-time”. Staying at home and taking care of the kids is a luxury, but not for the stay-at-home parent. It’s a luxury for the family because nothing’s nicer than coming home to a home-cooked meal, a clean house, and folded laundry. But doing it sure isn’t simple when you have kids around. I’m glad I got to do it for 12 weeks and got the family somewhat settled in. So for those of you embarking on something similar, here are my best newborn tips for those tough first few weeks:

Meals – Cook before the baby comes. Freeze some meals and pick up take-out menus beforehand. If people want to bring you food, TAKE IT. We had both sets of grandparents come visit us for a full two weeks, which was glorious. However, not everyone has the luxury of having family in nearby states, so take any and all meals that come your way. Just tell people what you want, really.

Laundry – I do at least one load every other day to keep track of laundry. Between a newborn and a two year old, it piles up quickly. Buy those pods that you can just toss in with the laundry so you don’t have to measure anything.

People – Speak up. Tell people what you want and when you want it. Most friends and family will be glad to help, but you have to tell them when it is and isn’t a good time to come over (witching hour, anyone?)

Getting out – I won’t lie. Two and a half is a tough age. Especially if there is some regression and your child is going through some developmental changes (read: lots of tantrums). It’s pretty much impossible right now for me to go anywhere with both kids, but we’ve ventured out a little bit. It just requires a lot of planning and patience, and at least 30 minutes of buffer, unless you want to be late all the time. Carry extra diapers, a boat load of wipes, at least two extra outfits per child, sippy cups, bottles, and a ton of distractions for the toddler. New books, your iPad, dollar bin toys from Target, whatever it takes.

That’s about it, guys. Wish me luck at work next week!! This corporate mama is as excited as she’s nervous. Greatness comes to those who embrace the chaos, after all. And to be completely honest, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Newborn Things to Love

I can’t say things aren’t super hectic right now. We’re in the final stages of packing up our house and getting ready to move to our new house in the next week or so. On top of that, I’m at home feeding the newborn about 14 times a day, while changing an average of 14 diapers a day as well. Daddy is back at work and is traveling for work a week after we move and our two year old is as busy as he can be and just picked up the word “nasty” from somewhere…oh dear.

Amid all the chaos and fun, I couldn’t help but share some of my favorite newborn things right now. You may have seen my Top 20 Must Haves for a new baby that I created when Dilan was born. I did come across two new things the second time around. Aside from the amazing baby smell and cute noises Asher makes when he nurses, here is what else I’ve really been enjoying:

My Brest Friend nursing pillow. You probably have a Boppy pillow or some other type of pillow to help support you if you’re breastfeeding. I thought the Boppy was pretty great until my lactation consultant introduced me to the Brest Friend. Not only do I love the nice and geeky name, I really like the firmness of it as well. There is no gap between your belly and the pillow and it wraps around you to provide some back support too. It’s made all the difference in my posture. The best part is that you can rest your gadgets on it while nursing. My MacBook Air is actually sitting on top of it right now while I’m feeding Asher and writing this post. Totally worth checking out if you’re planning on nursing for a while. Definitely worth the money and you can get it shipped to your house from Amazon if you don’t have time to go to the store to grab it.

Minted.com. Have you heard of Minted yet? If not, go add them to your Instagram account right now! Minted focuses on outstanding design by hosting ongoing design competitions. The Minted community then votes on the best designs and those are the ones that are sold on their site. You can find the cutest announcements and invitations, stationary, decor, and custom art work. I’m actually looking at getting our birth announcement through them. We love magnets because they’re easy to stick to the fridge, of course. Here’s what I’m looking at: the birth announcement magnet by Jennifer Wick:

ashernew

I’m usually more of a crisp and clean font person, but I kind of like the different fonts Jennifer used here. It makes the announcement unique and adds an artsy flair to it. I would love for you guys to help me pick a final design, though. Take a look and let me know what appeals to you. In the meantime, I’ll go look for some more and newer snuggly baby pictures.

So there you have it, just a couple of my favorite things right now. When things get hectic and you’re trying to fight your way through the sleep deprived haze, don’t forget to  enjoy the small things (besides your small baby ;-)). They may just make those rough newborn days a bit brighter :-). Signing off now to do some diaper changing. I’ll talk to you guys soon and stay tuned for our official birth announcement coming soon!

All The Small Things

I’m sitting at my desk in my dorm listening to this Indian boy telling me how my music collection sucks. He downloads a handful of sappy songs instead and then continues with “All The Small Things” by Blink 182. “You don’t even have that song?!” Who cares about small things, I think in the back of my head. I don’t even like Blink.

Fifteen years later, that Indian boy is still there. He’s holding my hand this time around, helping me through contractions in our Labor & Delivery room. We’re about to have our second baby boy. He’s an IUGR baby, which means that he’ll be very small, though not a single doctor has been able to tell me why so far. I gained an acceptable (for my body size) 30 pounds and we had only made one doughnut and one fried pickle run during the entire 9 months. I can’t say I didn’t try to be healthy. It was nerve wrecking.

What made things worse is that we’re trying to watch “Back to the Future” (one of my favorite movies of all time) to distract me from contractions. I normally love Biff, but MAN is he annoying during contractions and the transition of labor part. After about an hour of telling Biff to go to hell, I decide that I’ve been at it long enough and ask for the epidural. I didn’t have one when I gave birth to Dilan. Everyone who’s had one tells me it’s amazing and you’ll be able to nap right through those contractions. Sounds good to me! I finally get one in and am about to lay down, so ready for my nap when I hear a silent “shit” from our L&D nurse. She’s looking at that screen that graphs your contractions and the next thing we know, she’s pinging my doctor and the delivery crew. The contractions are getting worse and I can still feel them. I SO do not have the energy to push out a baby and beg for my nap. Yeah, right, not happening. The special crew is called in, just because the baby is expected to be small. Twenty minutes, that annoying oxygen mask, and a lot of pushing later, Asher Anil Chawla is born:

Weight: 4 lbs, 6 ounces
Height: 19 inches
Head size: 32 cm

His name (Asher) originates from the Sanskrit word for “happy”. And that is exactly what he’s made us. There was no need for the NICU, he was breathing on his own and did not need any special care. I was floored. Since then, he’s been battling jaundice and some really bad reflux. He still manages to nurse like a champ and is growing slowly, but surely. Our pediatrician has told us twice already that he’s very feisty and the strongest little 4 pounder she’s ever met. We tend to agree. We’re not completely out of the woods yet, as he does need to grow more and shake off the breastfeeding jaundice, but every single day, things look more promising. Asher is small, but mighty.

I must send out a special thanks to Dilan. I know it’s tough to not get all the attention anymore, but just think of it this way, Dils: if it wasn’t for your awesomeness, we would have never thought of having an Asher in the first place. You’re going to be an amazing big bro. As for me, I will never take small things for granted again. My music collection back in the day might have sucked, but thank goodness it did, because it introduced me to a pretty amazing daddy who knows how to create some darn cute kids :-). Small things are growing on me. Heck, I may even like that stupid Blink song one day.

 Asher

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