Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Momma's Got a New Gig

I know what you’re thinking… Lauren decided to be a stay-at-home mommy but all the Baby Einstein songs and playdates made her lose her mind. No, not at all! I absolutely adore staying at home with Connor. I mean, I wouldn’t say that I really “stay at home” all that much, but do adore my time with him. I don’t regret my decision at all. Besides, I burned all my dress pants so there’s really no going back now, is there?

Well, there kind of is. I got a job, y’all!

I’m the new Social Media Manager at ProjectNursery.com. Project Nursery is an online design resource for baby nursery inspiration. Anyone can share their nurseries, birthday parties or toddler/next step rooms on the site, peruse the project galleries or read the blog for inspiration. I've actually been a huge fan of Project Nursery since I was beginning to plan for Connor’s nursery. And if you've pinned any nurseries on Pinterest, well, there’s a really good chance you’ve pinned a PN nursery!

Here are just a few to give you an idea:

I’m managing their Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Google+. The best part is that it’s only about 10 or so hours/week and I can do it all from home (read: no dress pants), so I get to enjoy the best of both worlds – being at home with my little guy and still doing something that I’m good at (or at least something that they think I’m good at!)

So, if you’d like to follow along, please give us a like or follow!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Making Mommy Friends: Part Deux

When the hubby and I first made the decision I would stay home, I immediately started looking at what I would do to get out of the house. Luckily, I live in an awesome community where there are tons of opportunities to meet new people, but no matter where you are, there are things for new mommies.

So, let's get to it!

1. Birthing Class. Oh yes, you can start making friends before you even have your baby. A friend of mine was telling me that they met a couple in their birth class and they'd become good friends and best of all, their babies were only a couple of weeks apart. So, the hubby and I walked into our Prepared Childbirth class, took a quick survey of the room and went and plopped (ok, he didn't "plop," but at 34 weeks pregnant, I definitely "plopped") down next to a cute couple that just looked like they could be our friends. We totally bonded with the couple while giggling about some of the more intense couples... 

{Backstory: There came a time when we all had to get down on the floor  and practice our labor breathing techniques we had just learned about. Being an ole prenatal yogi from way back, I wasn't paying much attention to those around me (being busy labor breathing like a champ), but the hubby later reported back that there were some super-creepy couples around us. Lots of not-suitable-for-birth-class lower back rubbing - um, hubbies, your wives are not actually in labor. This is practice.}

Fast-forward to now, our baby boys are 10 days apart, we both had c-sections due to breech babies and live less than 2 miles apart. 

Um, can a girl get a censor bar on those new momma nursing ta-tas? Yikes.
2. Hospital Support Groups.  Before you go getting all weird on me thinking this is a "mom-aholics anonymous" group, chill the eff out. The hospital where I delivered my babe, Baylor Frisco, actually has a breastfeeding support group. And if you don't think you need support when breastfeeding, you have clearly never done it. Or maybe you had no problems at all, in which case, I hate you. Kidding. Kind of. 

When I first went, Connor was three weeks old. My mom actually drove us up there as I wasn't even driving yet after my c-section. I wasn't really going to make friends but rather get some advice on a bad latching problem (TMI?), but ended up making quite a few pals that I still keep in touch with and have play dates with. When we first started going it was for advice; later on, it was something to do every week, new mommas to socialize with and they also served delicious cookies . Ummm, ya. Count me in.

3. Get churchy. Now I will admit that I am by NO means the most devout Catholic you will ever meet. But many churches in the area (really any area!) offer new mommy groups. You don't have to be a member of their church and the groups aren't totally religion-focused, but rather they focus on creating a support system as well as a place to learn about parenting, get advice and develop friendships with other mommas.

{For those in the Frisco area, here are a few that I know about.}

MOPS (two locations)

4. Use your friends... To make more friends.    So, I made several friends on my own, but many of the pals I met are friends of friends. At each play date, I always tried to go meet new mommas and many of those gals, have become good friends!

5. Gym. Because every momma needs an hour break. I adore my time with Connor, but one of the smartest things I did after leaving my job was joining a gym. The local athletic center has a daycare or "Fun Club" where you can leave your little one for up to two hours a day. Of course, we only go a couple of times a week but it gives me just a bit of alone time to run or work out and gives the babe a chance to play without me.

So, technically I don't really go to the gym trying to make friends. Can't you just see me walking in the weight room all like:
No? Me neither. But getting out of the house, getting a work-out in and just a short break from the little one does a body (and mind) good!

And speaking of getting out of the house... We also do best when we get out of the house at least once a day, even if it's just on a Target run. ;-)
Now I'm not saying I pick up friends at Target... I am just saying that I'm not above it! ;-)

Ok, am I missing anything?!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Making Mommy Friends

"Awww, you're blogging again?!"
Before I promise to do better and start blogging more regularly, well, no promises. But yes, for now, I am back with it.

Right, back to it!

When the hubby and I first moved up to the burbs, I was really not concerned with meeting and making new friends. I have my friends. And thank god for them. How else would i know what snapchat is? Or be able to reminisce on funny memories from college? Or still get an occasional drunk text? They are my people. But most of them that live in town are either single or married with no babies. I'm lucky to have sister and nephew close, but I can't show up there, like, everyday. ;-)

So after I had the baby and especially after we made the decision that I would stay home, it occurred to me that I needed to make some mommy friends. Partly, because I wanted my little guy to have some buddies to play with and partly because I needed some adult interaction, in like, a really bad way.

Side note: I also had an extremely terrifying view of what the "Frisco Mom" is... All speed-walking around Target in her bejeweled velour track suit... Oh, I've seen her out and about.

And I don't know why but I kind of expected finding mommy friends to be like: 

You know... "You can't sit with us."

But I am so blessed to have stumbled upon some of the nicest, sweetest friends ever. I have found it so vital to have a support system of mommies who have/are going what I'm going through. 

With these women that I've only just met in the past 6 months, I've been on group texts talking mommas off the ledge during a particularly tough "cry it out" night, had moms assure me that I am in fact not a bad mother because my child fell over and bonked his head because I was so engrossed in eating a delicious brownie (I know, fat girl... ;-) that I couldn't catch his tumble, found things in common with these ladies besides just our babies and gotten the chance to love on Connor's sweet friends and have these gals love on my little one. No matter how much you hear it, it is still music to my ears to hear someone tell me how sweet or cute my little one is. 

I'll be doing a follow-up post on how I went about "picking up" my new friends. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Stay at Home Mom-ing: A Whole New World

So in case you haven't been stalking me on Facebook (and why wouldn't you be?), I am now staying at home with the baby. I loved my job very much and definitely miss it, but I'm so happy and at peace with my decision to stay at home. (Something that I was quite terrified I wouldn't be. I was fairly focused on my career the past 6 years and let me tell you - it has definitely been a change in pace, well, everything.)

I've been home with him for almost a month and am trying to get in a routine. So, on my first full day at home with Connor, we did lots of fun things, but after an hour or two I kind of didn't know what to do with the little guy. So I took to Pinterest and Google to figure out what the eff I should be doing. (I want to make sure he's learning and discovering and hitting all his developmental milestones.) 

Apparently, I'm not the only one wondering...

We were doing a majority of the activities listed (tummy time, practicing sitting up, grasping, "talking" etc.) but I definitely learned a few things. Like singing. Apparently, music time is important to baby's development. So, I pulled out the ole iPad and turned on a little Baby Einstein station on Pandora. While we started off strong, singing about Wheels on Buses and Mr Sun, Sun, Mr Golden Sun, the wheels (not the bus wheels, but the metaphoric wheels) really fell off when Pandora kept spewing out the most fantastic collection of Disney songs ever... I'm pretty sure I blacked out singing, and when I came to - in the middle of Aladdin's "A Whole New World" - Connor was looking at me like, errrrr.... Mom?

But I was all like:

So, I've learned to reel it in with the singing. But other than that, we stay pretty busy! We eat, play, nap (well Connor does, anyway), send Daddy selfies while he's at work, go to the gym/Fun Club at the gym, have play dates and this fall, we have a host of activities like various moms groups, books and babies at the library, etc.

Don't worry, we are keeping busy. And if you feel the urge to ask me what I do all day, just Google it.   ;-)

P.S. And now my blog has totally come full circle as I'm actually "playing house" now.

Monday, July 15, 2013

You've Been OutMom'd

The Scene: It was the day before 4th of July. That would be July 3rd. I read in Connor's school's newsletter that parents were encouraged to dress their children in red, white and blue to celebrate, so of course, I picked out a red, white and blue outfit. Nothing fancy - to be honest, I generally put him in "play clothes" to go to daycare most days (onesie and cotton pants) because I want him to be comfy.

So, I walked into the school with Connor, but when I entered the Infant Room, all the teachers were crowded around a rocking chair taking photos. Everyone was absolutely dying over this little girl, Harper. Freakin' Harper. So when the crowd parted, I saw a little 9 month old girl dressed in a head-to-toe red, white and blue lace romper. And to top it off, she had the most ginormous "flapper style" headband I've ever seen on a tiny body. It was some Toddlers and Tiaras-type shiz.
Pretty sure I was all like:

(Note: I'm not knocking putting a little girl in lace. Heck, if I have a daughter, you can bet your bidness she'll be wearing bows and ruffles. But for daycare?)

And how am I supposed to compete with that? Poor little Connor was like chop liver in his Target onesie and pants. I was surprised they didn't just throw him in his crib so they could finish the photo sesh with Harper. I mean, the only way I could even compare to this spectacle is if I dressed Connor in an Uncle Sam costume - complete with a red, white and blue suit, a top hat and full beard. Actually... <<scribbles down note for next year...>>

A few hours later, I'm wrapping things up at work and I see the weekly newsletter from Connor's school come across my inbox, so I open it up and (throw some salt in the wound) who do I see in the newsletter? Effing Harper. Really it was just an adorbs picture of her, but as my eyes glazed over, pretty sure this is really what I saw...

I think I've just been outmom'd.

Harper's Mommy: 1
Connor's Mommy: 0

And for the record, this is Connor on July 4 (his "real" 4th of July outfit)   ;-)

Friday, June 28, 2013

"Mom Brain"

Everyone tells you about it - pregnancy brain. In fact, apparently, it's a real thing. I used the excuse during pregnancy, but I'll tell you right now, I did not really lose my brain until I had Connor.

We'll call this "Mom Brain." Imagine me very annoyingly saying in a fake cheery voice, "Mom Brain!" In fact, lots of mommies have mentioned this "mom brain" phenomenon to me and they all say the same thing about it, "You never get it back!" (Your brain that is...) I find it super-annoying, but sadly, true.

I've been having trouble remembering things - like, one morning I got all packed up and got Connor to his school only to forget his bottles. Yeah, he probably needs those. The next day it was my laptop bag. The next day it was my cell phone. Lucky for me, I've never forgot the baby!

And then one day at work, I was looking all around my desk for that bag of Cheez-Its I'd been noshing on. Where the eff did they go? It took me about 5 minutes to realize that the bag was in the trash can because I'd already ate them all, like 30 minutes before.

And that look the random guy at the office gave me the other day was likely NOT because I was proudly rocking my pre-pregnancy pencil skirt. Pretty sure it was because I forgot to snap my nursing bra back after leaving the pumping room at work.

Hey, crazy. Pull it together.

But he's totally worth the loss of my mind, don't you think?

Straight up Strollin'

Tummy Time

That face.... melt my heart.

3 Months Old

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Connor's Birth Story

Well, we are 7 weeks in with our sweet Connor and wanted to be sure to capture his birth story. Not because I care if anyone reads this but because I want to be sure to remember every single detail of the happiest day of our lives.

When it first totally sunk in that I would not be having a regular birth, but rather a scheduled c section, I definitely went through a mourning period as I felt like I was being robbed of my birth experience. I thought, "what will be his birth story if everything is so scheduled and scripted?" In hindsight, it wasn't such a bad thing for this control freak but little did I know there were still fun surprises.

So, we got to the hospital as scheduled at 5:30 - ok, we were actually about 4 minutes late, which I blame on Greg (as evidenced by the pregnancy sass and stink eye I was giving him on the way to the hospital) but then Ace of Base's "The Sign" came on the radio on the drive to the hospital and all was right again.

We got right into our room where I'd hang out until it was baby time. I thought it'd be fairly low-key... just get an IV and try to relax. Turns out, it was the most stressful moment of the day. I think it's probably fair to say I am not super-tough but when it comes to blood/needles, it's even worse. But I'd had plenty of IVs before... So, they were putting in the IV and blew my vein on that side. I'm not sure if it was the discomfort, the fact that I was rather dehydrated or the words "blew your vein" but I started getting really dizzy/nauseous. It took about 15 minutes to get me in a good place and with a new IV (in the other arm). And turns out, I was actually having contractions, too!

Post IV-drama
Dad's ready!

After that, my mom and stepdad came in to document. everything. in. the. room.

They left after a bit and what do you know - it was already time! I seriously think my heart fell out of my chest I was so nervous. And guess what? They actually make you get up and walk into the operating room. Um, terrifying.

I kept my head down (as I was less than interested in seeing what tools they'd be using) and got on the table. Luckily, my anesthesiologist was awesome and walked me through everything. First, I got my epidural and can I just tell you - not all that bad. Maybe I was still reeling from the IV drama from the previous hour, but I thought it was going to be awful and it wasn't! I immediately started feeling my legs go numb and started to panic - it's an odd sensation and I looked at Greg totally panic-stricken and said, "I'm starting to not feel my legs. I don't like this. I can't feel them. Don't like this..." But my anesthesiologist pal assured me this was a good thing.

Then, literally minutes later my doctor came in and it was time. Greg and I just kind of mindlessly talked the whole time. Partly to take my mind off what was going on, partly to drown out the noises and partly to pass the time. I'm not sure either of us could recall what we talked about or were even listening to each other but I just remember how incredibly reassuring/calm he was and how he told me he was so proud of me and that I was being really brave. Which made me feel so good considering how terrified/unsure I was!

Then, my doctor announced baby was coming out and that I'd feel pressure. I braced myself ready to feel pain, but I didn't really feel that much discomfort at all. And then our sweet boy made his entrance in and started crying like a champ. They held him up so I got a quick glance but I really couldn't see much as my eyes were absolutely streaming with tears. Greg and I shared a quick moment and then I urged him to go be with the baby while he was cleaned/weighed.

A few minutes later, Greg came back over holding Connor and he sat by me while I was finished being stitched up. Honestly, this is all a little foggy and I seriously felt like the whole thing went by so fast!

Next, we went across the hall to a little "recovery" area and I got to hold Connor for the first time. It was seriously the sweetest moment of my entire life. Within 5 minutes, I feel like I already knew his little personality. We were supposed to be having skin-to-skin time, where babies generally immediately fall asleep on their mommy's chest. Not my boy, though. He immediately reared his head up (oh yes, he already had some head control 20 minutes after birth!) and started latching on to my shoulder. The nurse suggested I try to nurse him, which he immediately did. Um, can I just say he is so advanced for his age...?! ;-) Then, Greg and I just held him and stared at him, and took a quick picture.

Editor's Note: SO many people made comments about how put together I looked right after birth. Keep in mind, I did my hair and makeup before going to the hospital (bonus of a scheduled C-section!) but the picture was a little misleading. It looked like I had some va-va-voom hair:

When in reality, my hair just fallen loose and was kind of a disaster:

The nurse commented that the baby's temperature had dropped so they wanted to get him under the heaters in the nursery. Looking back, I'm surprised I was as laid back about the whole thing, but I had Greg go with Connor to the nursery and I stayed in recovery and rested.

Well the Connor Benson Welcoming Committee was VERY excited to hear the baby was going to the nursery so they could steal a peek at him for the first time.

Then, an hour later I was in my post-partum room and the baby was back with me. Looking back on that day, it was wonderful.I felt great, the baby was great, I was a little tired, but not too bad.

The next two days were pretty rough, though. One, they turned off my epidural. Bitches. Two, between feeding the baby, nurses coming in to check every few hours, we got very little sleep. And three, I had to get up out of bed, which resulted in lots of tears. (The recovery for c-sections is definitely tough!)

Overall, though, I had a great experience at my hospital (Baylor Frisco) - the staff and nurses were amazing and the food was damn good!
Enjoying our steak and lobster "new parent" dinner!

Finally, we got to go home 3 days later, which I was super-pumped about.

"Um, WTF. A bonnet. Really Mom and Dad?"

A few days later my glider FINALLY came in

And best of all, I had the world's best support and help over the next few weeks (Greg and my Mom)

Now, we've just been enjoying our time with him - he's such a sweet baby and Greg and I couldn't be more in love with him!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Baby Nursery Reveal

Last time I blogged about the baby's nursery, we were literally putting the pieces together, but it was nowhere near finished. Over the final 6 weeks of my pregnancy, we pulled it all together. And I'm sure glad we did - I haven't had a minute to even think about since we brought Connor home.

While there's no theme to the room, we did stick with a gray and navy color scheme with shots of bright green. I didn't want anything too babyish, but I also wanted to be sure it looked like a nursery. So, without further ado, here's Connor's nursery!

Reading Corner

Color-block curtains

Gallery Wall with Antique Dresser/Changing Table

Close-up of the Gallery Wall - Still adding a cute yarn ball garland at the bottom...
Shelf and Hook for Diaper Bag

Crib - we actually have put the pennant above his crib

I'm very proud to say that we completed the whole room for well under $1000, but that's certainly due to the generosity of our family and friends for helping us to furnish key items. And in case you were wondering, here's a breakdown of items:

Crib - Babies 'R Us (gift from my Dad & Stepmom)
Dresser - purchased at an antique store and refinished by my super-handy hubby for around $400 total (cost of dresser plus cost of paint and supplies)
Glider - BuyBuyBaby (Little Castle Glider Company) in Navy (gift from Greg's parents)
Accent table next to glider - Target

Pendant Drum Light - Destination Lighting
Rug - Target
Gallery Wall - frames from IKEA & Target; wall art is DIY'd or from Etsy
Book Ledges - IKEA
Curtains - DIY'd courtesy of my mom (similar at PB Kids)
Chevron crib skirt - DIY'd courtesy of my mom (similar at PB Kids)

Wall shelf- my Grandpa actually built this shelf years and years ago; Greg painted it white
"C" Wall hook - Anthropologie