Surviving Your First Month as Parents

Surviving Baby's First Month

I survived. I lived through the toughest boot camp of my life – motherhood 101. Raising a newborn can be exhausting. I’ve experienced many sleepless nights, endless feedings, crying fits (both me and the baby) and lots of prayer time. I love my son, but he can be a handful.

One month later, and two pounds heavier, this little man can sleep five hours, loves to cuddle, smiles, coos, and knows mommy and daddy’s voices. His eyes will even follow us around the room. He eats every two – three hours during the day and even longer at night. He’s not as gassy and has managed to grow into his three-month pj’s! Overall, motherhood has gotten easier.

For all you new moms getting ready for your bundle of joy or who are already immersed in the amazing adventure of motherhood, remember you will survive. Try to focus on the positive. Instead of dreading those middle of night feedings, I looked forward to the quiet times to read my devotionals, level up on my new Harry Potter game and just enjoy the peace.

Many days, I felt really unproductive. I’m used to a very busy lifestyle which makes it difficult to just sit still. Some days, the baby sleeps or just relaxes in one of his loungers. Other days, I can’t put him down. Those are the days I try to be creative when I am too complacent. We read books, play the Kinect and walk around every inch of my house. But most days, I can work out for 30 minutes, or clean the dishes – sometimes even get to dusting and cleaning the bathrooms.

When you’re in the middle of it, month one seems endless. The days seem longer than ever before and you might even dread bedtime (which can really be two-hour nap time for your baby).

Still, one month later and I can find the time to write a blog post without a baby in my arms and the dark circles under my eyes are starting to go away. Pretty soon, this guy may actually sleep through the night. So good luck to all you parents on this same exhausting journey.

“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” Psalm 127:3

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Newborn Photo Ideas

AC had an awesome newborn photoshoot with my very talented sister. We really wanted to incorporate our favorite things and show off how adorable he is.

Check out how great these came out.

Surviving Your First Week of Parenthood

Survive first week of parenthood

I’m tired. I’ll admit it. Taking care of a newborn around the clock is exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, every lost minute of sleep is well worth it. My growing little boy is the biggest blessing I have ever received. Although our sleep is broken and we’ve gotten accustomed to periodic crying, my husband and I are loving being parents.

Here are some tips to surviving your first week of parenthood.

Horde your sleep.

Everyone’s said and we refused to believe. Newborns steal your sleep. They require constant attention and sleep will come as a minimum. During my little man’s first week, my husband and I lost a lot of Z’s. But we combated it with rotating naps. Although I’ve been almost exclusively breast-feeding, my husband was able to give me a break by giving a bottle with pumped milk, changing diapers and getting the baby back to sleep while I rested.

You’ve also heard the classic phrase, sleep when the baby sleeps. DO IT. It’s so easy to get caught up putting your house back together or staring at your precious angel. But seriously, nap whenever the little one is. Eventually, your house will get back together and you’ll be able to accomplish more than showering and eating.

Ask for help.

We  are lucky enough to have plenty of family and friends available to give us breaks. During our first week, we had meals for everyday and even had visitors to help change diapers. Just a note, if you are feeling overwhelmed with visitors, have you husband make a visiting schedule. That way you won’t feel like you have to entertain company while also trying to function without sleep.

Download the baby shusher.

My sister told me about this miracle app that helps keep the baby calm and rested. The shushing sound reminds the baby of sounds from inside the womb. Every time my little guy gets fussy or is trying to get to sleep, I turn my app on and it helps keep him calm and relaxed. Do prepare yourself for the fits that even the shusher app can’t combat.

Create Multiple Changing Stations.

Although we decorated and set-up the nursery, my little guy is too small to take full advantage of his awesome room. However, we do use his changing table and dresser throughout the day. At night though, we have a separate storage in our room with diapers, blankets, a wiper warmer and clothes. You’d be surprised how many onsies this boy had peed through.

Eventually, you will get on a schedule and things will calm down. For now, just enjoy your little blessing.

Maternity Photo Ideas

As I’m waiting for my son to finally make his entrance, I’ve been passing the time with fun maternity photos sessions with my best friend and sister. Both had to two completely different ideas to capture this amazing stage in life and make me feel extra elegant along the way.

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Below are the photos my best friend, Jesse J. Sutherland, staged for one set. His concept was to play with motion, silhouettes, the nursery and natural light.

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My sister also had an amazing idea to do some delicate maternity photos that included my pets and a milk bath! We’ve all seen the milk bath photos trending on Pinterest. There are so many different ways to make their unique to your pregnancy. Here’s how mine came out using light floral colors and my very own bath tub.

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Hope you got some inspiration on planning for your special moments!

Harry Potter baby shower cake

Harry Potter Inspired Baby Shower

Our little wizard will be arriving soon now and we wanted to welcome him with a magical Harry Potter inspired Baby Shower! From entering through Platform 9 3/4 to dining on Honey Dukes delights, this little celebration was straight out of the pages of Harry Potter.

Harry Potter baby shower banner

We started with the decor. I added handmade, and printed, details around the house to really bring the wizarding world of life. I created the above banner out of felt and card stock. I added little owls around the room as well.

Harry Potter diaper game

We even added a few traditional games with a magical twist. For the late night diaper game, every participant wrote something silly on the diapers and hung them from a twinkling strand of lights coming of out of Harry’s trunk. Once everything was hung, it gave a similar vision of Hogwarts letters flying out of the fire-place.

Every visitor was also divided into a house and carried a wand for the “Don’t Say Baby” game. Our Diaper Raffle was even transformed into a mini goblet of fire.

Harry Potter baby shower cake

Harry Potter snake sandwichesThe food was one of the main highlights. From a custom cake to Harry Potter inspired snacks, the menu was awesome.

We had a Slytherine snake sandwich, Hufflepuff chips, Golden Snitch candies, Licorice wands, Butter Bear, Poly Juice Potion, Ollivander’s pretzel wands, Professor Sprout’s vegetable garden, an owl inspired fruit platter, Drooble’s best blowing gum, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Jelly Beans, Nimbus 2000 chocolates, Candy Apple muggle treats, and gummy worms.

 

I even left candy bags for everyone to take home some extra treats.

Harry Potter Treats

Every person was also given a baby mandrake pot to take home with them at the end of the party. We made this with real mini flower pots, chocolate cake and pudding.

Harry Potter mandrake cupcakes

What baby shower themes have you tried for your little bundles of joy?

Homemade Sushi (Yes you can do it too!)

I love sushi. All your can eat is one of my favorite date nights. My husband and I love to go to this tiny restaurant just off the freeway and indulge on occasion. Since being pregnant, I’ve of course avoided this premium delicacy. But my husband had one request for Valentine’s Day, homemade sushi.

Wonderful World of Bree

Now, I have zero Asian heritage so I went straight to Pinterest for some pregnant friendly recipes. There are actually quite a few, and off the wall ones, that came up. For my date night in, I decided on a modified Volcano Roll, imitation crab roll, and a stacked shrimp roll. (all fish is cooked for the baby’s safety)

First you start with cooked rice mixed with rice vinegar. This is what makes the rice sticky. Then you spread the rice all over a sheet of seaweed paper. Be sure to cover the edges or else corners of the seaweed will not moisten.

Wonderful World of Bree

Next, spread your favorite foods inside. For these roles, I used cucumber, cream cheese, avocado and crab. But your options are endless! I’ve seen fruit only options or even breaded seafood options. You can make these as unique as your taste buds.

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Then, you roll the whole thing up and slice it. I laid everything out on a bamboo cutting board covered in plastic wrap. The plastic allowed me to capture any lost pieces and keep the roll nice and circular. You can always choose to use a tradition bamboo mat.

Wonderful World of Bree

I topped the volcano roll with shrimp and sriracha mayo and topped with other with crab and a little soy sauce. After you’ve finished rolling and cutting, place on a tray and enjoy!

Wonderful World of Bree

 

Sensory Gift for Anyone on Your List

We’ve all seen it. The five senses gift that has been dominating Pinterest for Valentine’s Day. Personally, I think it’s perfect. You have to be a little creative, but you can make this theme work for anyone on any occasion.

My husband and I have known each other for 10 years and unique Valentine’s gifts get harder and harder. This year, I put my creativeness to the test and gave him a sensory Valentine’s gift. His gift included a record (hear), a photo cube (see), chocolate (taste), Poo-pourri (a little smelling gag gift) and a bath bomb (touch – yeah, he’s a bath guy).

Wonderful World of Bree

Let me know what you put in your gift bag when you give this idea a try!

I can begin to optimize my Kingdom vision by…

Wonderful World of Bree

making tiny changes to my daily habits. Instead of shoving ear buds in while waiting for a drink at Starbucks, I can allow myself to be open to having conversations with people. Instead of vegging out on my couch, (although pregnancy has made this a must), I can get out of the house and work on relationships with friends and see what God is doing in their lives.

These minor switches can turn my daily objective from selfish to selfless. And like anything, practice makes perfect. Of course meeting a friend after work for a devotional can seem exhausting after a long day. But when it’s over, we will both feel refreshed and hopefully more focused on God’s will and not ours.

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” – Matthew 18:20

@KelseaMoriah. leads these prompts. Join me as I explore a different daily theme that leads back to God. If you would like to jump in, click here.

I’m not optimizing my Kingdom vision when…

Wonderful World of Bree

I choose to go my way. In my previous post, I defined Kingdom Vision as the plans that God has for his Kingdom and people. When I set myself up for positions in which I am choosing God first, I am putting the Kingdom first as well. But when I choose the easy way out, my way, I’m forcing God to take a back seat on his own plan.

Imagine mapping out an intricate scavenger hunt. You specifically decide where the user will stop, what they will find, and the optimum path for them to get to each target. Now imagine going on this hunt with a player who decides to throw out your entire map and just wing it. How frustrated would you be? You spent hours finding the best path from point A to B, but the player thinks they’re smarter than the designer and messes everything up.

In life, God is the designer and we are the players who ignore the map. Our objective is to get from treasure to treasure our way. It doesn’t matter that our way may set us back years or make us miserable and lonely at times. To us, the path doesn’t matter. To God, the journey means everything.

Every step along the way, God puts us in situations to be molded and transformed to look more like Jesus. Each windy road collides us with people who challenge our character but also allow us to grow in our faith. Now, I’m no perfect follower. Many times, I see the treasure and sprint through a short cut. And in those moments, God takes that time to show me over and over again the vision for my life and His Kingdom.

@KelseaMoriah leads these prompts. Join me as I explore a different daily theme that leads back to God. If you would like to jump in, click here.

To me, Kingdom Vision means…

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the plans that God has for his Kingdom and people. In Jeremiah 29:11, God tells us “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Long before the creation, God mapped out individual plans for all of our lives. He created an intricate design of what our lives should look like. Then, He gave us the free will to choose to follow Him.

A Kingdom vision to me is living for God’s purpose. When I choose to follow Him and the ideal path He created, I am walking with the intention of prospering the Kingdom of God and helping others find Him along the way. A Kingdom vision is selfless. It’s about surrendering and putting God’s needs first. It’s about choosing to go where God calls you instead of staying where it’s comfortable.

Keeping a Kingdom vision at the forefront of my decisions means that I am constantly asking myself, how will this help God? How can my everyday interactions lead others back to God? How can my lifestyle show what God has done for me?

At first, the concept of a Kingdom vision seems daunting. But when you’re living for God, it becomes simple. As we’ve been discussing at my church, our purpose is to first love God, second love others and third make disciples that make disciples. Everything we are called to do grows God’s kingdom in so many ways.

Mark Lewis does a great job at breaking down even more of what Kingdom Vision is. Checkout his post here. 

@KelseaMoriah leads these daily prompts. Join me as I explore a different daily theme that leads back to God. If you would like to jump in, click here.