Mollie arrived to us on July 6, 2010 at 10:42 AM. She weighed in at 6 lbs, 6 oz and 19 inches long!
We could not be more in love and can already see the start of our little family blooming!
Thanks for your continued love and support ~Leigh Ann, Matt & Mollie

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What we've learned in just 8 weeks

  • Home takes on a new meaning
  • One really CAN function on very little sleep!
  • My control went out the window about 8 weeks ago and I'm not sure if it'll come back
  • I always wondered how/why people can do daily loads of laundry-now I know, we go through many outfit changes in one day.. and I mean Mollie AND us!
  • On that note, thank God we purchased the pedestals to raise our front load washer/dryer- my back (nor patience) would have made it.
  • A new mom can never have enough bibs and burp cloths- It's the bulk of my daily laundry.
  • A shower every day is a wonderful treat and I welcome the alone time!
  • I have eaten more ice cream in the past weeks than ever-also thanks to mom for always having a go-to dessert!
  • When Mollie sleeps longer one night than the night before, of course I wake up early and then wonder if I should wake her up..what gives?!
  • My parents & sisters mean more to me now than ever before. Didn't even know that was possible.
  • Babies can blow through some diapers & wipes!!!! 
  • I have the best parents-in-law and grateful they live so close to Charleston
  • Pretty much every baby toy/piece uses batteries..go ahead and keep some extra on hand in case your go-to item, like our swing, starts to die!
  • How does someone so little need so very much stuff! Our home and cars are totally taken over:)
  • I am thankful everyday for my life and the people in it. We have some amazing friends.
  • Taking care of an infant is non-stop..did I think otherwise?!
  • When my confidence as a mom starts to waiver I just try and remember that if I didn't second guess myself that might mean I didn't care. 
  • The internet and message boards can be your best friend, although make you question just about everything you are doing!
  • Breastfeeding takes true commitment and dedication--and is worth every minute.
  • Invest in a good rocker/recliner/glider for baby will spend a ton of time in it
  • Spend the first 2 weeks solely getting to know your new baby and taking time for yourself and to sleep! Let others do the laundry, cook, clean, etc. I cannot say this enough!!! Oh, and it's a great excuse to stay in pj's for 2 weeks..wish I really would have done it.
  • I never thought I'd be getting in bed before the sun went down..and quite honestly I don't mind it one bit
  • Getting a few quiet minutes on the sofa now with just me & Matt makes that time even more special:) Pretty soon, maybe we'll have some conversations that are not solely baby based!
  • A swaddle blanket really can make a world of difference. I swear it's what helps Mollie sleep at night.
  • Babies fight sleep just like we do sometimes..they cannot get comfortable or are even too tired and get fussy due to lack of sleep.
  • We never watch any tv's anymore when they actually come on, everything is tivo'd
  • I'm not sure when I last bought something for myself..even on brief shopping trips, I dart straight to the baby/kids section and or get something baby related. My how things change so quickly:) Even at TJ Maxx!!
  • She is becoming an inchworm and scooting herself all around her crib in the night, even in her swaddle! It gives us a laugh to see what position she ends up in after her long sleep stretch.
  • I am attached to my breast pump. Literally. I even bought a car adapter. Don't worry, I don't pump & drive.
  • We could NOT live without our video monitor- it's the bomb and gives us peace of mind during naps and especially night
  • We are in love. As soon as that girl smiles at us, it's over.
  • Mollie is a water baby, hooray! She LOVES bath time and she loved the beach, ocean and pool too!
  • She is growing so quickly- Matt & I adore watching all these new little developments. She kicks like a rockette, coos/giggles all the time, loves music and us making funny faces at her.
  • Sleep is a learned skill...if you give them the tools and space needed, they will learn. (I am no pro, but we're getting there)
  • Getting somewhere on time and with everything you need is a total feat. I still try my best to be somewhere a few minutes early, but hey, spit ups and poops happen RIGHT as you walk out of the door, it never fails.
  • I can do more things with my left hand now more than ever, although eating left handed is quite odd I will say.
  • As much as we have loved this baby time and cuddling, we are both pretty pumped to see Mollie's personality really evolve & expand. We cannot wait to really play with her!!
  • It's crazy that I wake up in the middle of the night missing her face...I actually look forward to wee hour feedings sometimes!
  • I need to be better about documenting us with photos. Maybe we even need a video camera:)
  • Daytime TV is horrible. Just bad. At least DirectTV has all those music channels or Mollie and I would be in silence.
  • 8 weeks feels like such a short period of time on one hand & so long on the other!
  • It seems sort of strange looking back and trying to remember times/life without Mollie. I feel like she's been with us forever.
  • At times when it feels overwhelming or a hassle, all it takes is one glance at her and it makes it all worthwhile:)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ahh the sweet life

After 6 plus weeks of us having a summer baby and not once stepping foot on the beach with her, we figured it was time for a little getaway! The 3 of us went to Myrtle Beach for a few nights to relax and enjoy the sunshine, beach, porch sitting and each other:) We could not have asked for more beautiful weather and being 1 block from the ocean, we had the nicest COOL breeze in the am & pm.
                                                Mollie with her suit on for the 1st time!

We had the car packed down to say the least and Matt even got to use his new back rack that attaches to his trailer hitch- oh the little things that get us excited. It's crazy how much stuff you need & use for someone so darn tiny- we were afraid to leave anything, so we pretty much just brought everything! We even bought her a new travel swing to make the transition a bit easier:)

We were a bit nervous about traveling with Molls- how would she do in the car for 2 hours? How would she sleep away from home? How would WE handle the change? But alas, all was wonderful!! She slept like a champ in her pack n play for the first time ever, too. Whew. Since she adores bath time so much, I think we're now convinced she is a water baby..cannot wait until she is a bit bigger and can play at the beach!

It's so funny how our original idea of taking her to Disney World in September was very quickly changed once we realized what exactly an infant entails, how much of an ordeal it would be to tote her (and all her stuff) around, get her naps in, keep us sane, etc. Instead we opted for a few days close by and it was awesome. Think we all needed a change of pace and to do nothing but have fun!

We had a great time crusin' on the golf cart, playing in the water, going to the pool and of course people watching on the porch. We had a few outings and got to hang out with GiGi & Poppy a bit, which of course Mollie (and us) loved!

I'm excited that we're so close to our beach house and we know we'll be going there even more now than we have before. It's such a perfect place for kids to play and so many fun things to do. Perfect home away from home!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Happy Child

From the moment we laid eyes on Mollie for the first time, we KNEW she was a happy baby- she smiled at us! I know, the real smiles don’t come for a while, but either way it was a smile and we didn’t care where it came from or why! I also have always felt she’d have Matt’s easy going personality, thank goodness:)

So here we are 6 weeks later and real smiles have for sure been happening! We can talk to her and she’ll smile, she knows our faces and voices & then will even smile after sleep and naps. The latter is only recently. These past few weeks have been reeaaally tough on me and her. I felt like I was spinning my wheels, not learning her cues very well and so the list goes on. After a few rough days I decided that it was time to revisit the Babywise concept and book. I read it while pregnant, but yet to pick it back up since she was born. I knew whatever we were doing wasn’t working and her fussiness and lack of sleep was so confusing to me- I KNOW she is a happy baby! So, yesterday Matt and I made it our goal to try some new things.

First and foremost, the concept of Babywise is to always ‘get full feedings.’ Then the scheduling part comes in where feedings should be between 2.5-3 hrs- which ultimately falls into place when they have full tummies. You see the circle?! Now, from the get-go this left my mind because Mollie was a ‘lazy nurser’ and would fall asleep breastfeeding and/or would just really, I created the habit of letting her ‘snack feed.’ In my haze of exhaustion a few days ago, mom and I put our heads together and realized that she has been fussy and only taking cat naps because she is HUNGRY! Duhhh, so simple, right?! She has not been getting a full tummy- the basis of Babywise and the essence of a happy child. But now my concern is a low milk supply and/or her not taking full feedings from me. Maybe that’s partially why she snacked in the first place. Since you can’t measure what the baby takes from you, you have no clue what they are getting. So snack feeds were fine with her and she seemed content for a bit, but then 1.5ish hours later, she’d be ready to eat again! It was exhausting to say the least. Probably on her, as much as I know it was on me.

It’s even double hard when you hear totally conflicting theories and ideas based around babies, eating, etc. One specialist I know says ‘feed on demand’ which for Mollie we were doing and might have been fine and naturally fallen into a routine IF she were getting full feedings. Yep, back to that. On the other hand, our Pediatrician says ‘do not feed your baby before 2 hrs have passed since the feeding time before.’ Ok…but what if your baby is crying a lot and exhibiting signs of hunger?! Mollie was doing that, but again, she just wasn’t getting enough milk at each eating period. That concept had not occurred to me as at the time she always seemed content. I re-read Babywise and we came up with a game plan. I have some milk stored up which is great, but I will pump in place of her nursing and then give to her in a bottle. She will still need to nurse on me at least 2x a day.
This is what Day 1 looked like:
6:45am – waketime, breastfeed
8:15-9:30 – nap on me
9:30 – 3oz breastmilk in bottle
10:30 – nap in crib (first one ever!!)
Noon – 3oz breastmilk in bottle
1pm – nap in crib
2:45 – 3oz breastmilk in bottle
3:30 – nap in swing
5:00 – breastfeed
6:30 – 4oz breastmilk in bottle
9pm – 4 oz breastmilk in bottle

As you see, whether this routine works everyday or not, we are totally getting the hang of this. Mollie is even sweeter than before!! All she needed was a full tummy…and who of us doesn’t need that?! It’s crazy that sometimes you really have to take a step back from your own situation to be able to figure it out. And pray about it, ask friends, ask family- all of those things have to come into play!
No one said raising a child is easy, but if you can have tips/tools to make it easier and make sure you go easy on yourself than you will enjoy the process and the new time together. That’s exactly where Matt & I are right now! Mollie is such a delight and LOVE that she is happy again. Just a minute ago, I was holding her and she began to dose off, so I put her in her swing to do so and her be around me. She was a bit squirmy and I could see she wasn’t settling in very well, so I picked her up and figured we could try the crib. peep and she is sound asleep in about 5 minutes. Guess she loves her alone time and her room. I love her so very much and couldn’t be happier that she is happy (and full!)

Note: Today is going fabulous, as well!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Is there true balance?

Mollie has reached her 5 week mark and it's hard to believe. Each day brings a smile to my face for a new reason. She is just a true blessing to us and hard to imagine our lives and home without her in it.

I took the first 2 weeks after her birth as vacation time from work and then shortly after that, had to get back into the groove of things. I have really found it difficult some days to even get makeup on my face or clothes on my body, much less feel like I am doing my best with my work responsibilities! Luckily, I have great flexibility and really don't have a ton to do, just keeping up with Fall events/programs we're doing and emails..oh the emails.

My plan is to be back in the office 2 days a week in September and then back in the office full-time come October. I can already tell this will be very hard..but in a bittersweet way. While I LOVE being with Mollie all day, every day, I don't feel like I've mastered the art of motherhood yet- part of me is ready to get back into the office where things are not so 'random' and where I know what I'm doing! Even after just 5 weeks here, I have a whole new respect for stay at home moms. It's hard work!! I cannot even imagine it with an infant AND other kids at home, wheeeww!

It'll be interesting to see how balance will come into play for both myself and Matt working and Mollie having daytime care that's not us! I can already feel the tears welling up when I have to leave Mollie for the first day. Each day with her makes me love her that much more. I do look forward to Mollie growing up with a working mom & at the same time, Mollie will always know she is our top priority. Matt and I will do anything for her and I think all working parents have to find a routine that works best for them. We'll work during the day, come home in the evening, eat dinner as a family, play together and maybe Matt & I will even squeeze in some adult conversation with each other:) Is that routine too much to ask? We will see come Sept/Oct.

I will do my best to always put Mollie and her needs first and at the same time I do have other responsibilities to factor in. At least I have a very helpful hubby who is great around the house, as well! I have also quickly realized, not that it ever was but, it's not about me anymore. I have someone (a tiny someone!) who I want to do everything for. Now, that does not mean I wont take care of myself nor will I treat myself to something every now and again, but that's where balance comes in. I know more posts will come on this when the real world kicks back in...for now, it's just us in this little bubble and while the balance scale is totally tipped to side Mollie, I am savoring every moment and loving this time with just us!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Happy 1 Month, Mollie!

How has it already been 1 entire month with Mollie and then on the other hand, has it really only been 1 month that we've known Mollie?! That speaks to the ideas that God does give you amnesia for some moments you don't need to remember AND that time does fly when you're having fun!!

We are so in love with this little girl it's hard to explain. It has been a true learning experience every single day and sometimes, every moment of every day - and I would not trade it for the world! Matt and I are so very blessed to have had an easy pregnancy, easy delivery and the best of all a beautiful, healthy little girl. It's been awesome watching Matt love her more each day. When they are so little, don't play, breastfeed, etc it's kind of hard for the guy to do a whole lot, but he is great with her and she just lights up with him! Oh Matt, you have your work cut out for you for life & certain you are already smitten!!

The thought crossed my mind a couple weeks ago, that sadly enough, maybe Mollie would be our only child. I didn't know if I was cut out for this, felt like I wasn't doing a good job as a mom and not certain I would do all of this again. I guess that was what I would call a 'low moment' as even today, I looked down at her and for sure want more!! Matt- don't worry, not TOO soon:) Such a huge difference just a few days in a week make. Future moms, remember sooooo does get better/easier. When you have hard times, just say that to yourself...& then lean on your girlfriends for support and encouragement!!

I am slowing losing some of this 'Type A' personality and am actually liking it. It feels pretty good not to always have things planned and lined out! I know I will get more back to my usual ways when I go back to work, she gets older, we are on a schedule, etc but for now, I am trying to enjoy NOT knowing what is to come. Scary, but exciting at the same time. But hey Mollie, I am ready to get on a great sleeping schedule, so anytime you are ready I am too! But until then...we'll take it one day at a time & enjoy every moment. Happy 1 month birthday sweet girl!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Milk Factory!

 In honor of 'World Breastfeeding Week' I figured there is no better topic- After all, it's ALLL I have felt like I do these days!! And I am counting down the days until my next Breastfeeding Moms group at the Hospital. Is that what my life has come to?! Haha, I'll take it:)

As an earlier post said, there is much to be left out of discussion with new moms and breastfeeding is one of them. I have loved (almost) every minute of breastfeeding and the time Mollie and I share together, but boy oh boy, it is HARD WORK! The concept seems simple enough; You naturally produce milk and your baby naturally needs to eat. Now..what can be so hard about that? Where do I begin. Now don't get me wrong, I am a full on supporter of breastfeeding, the benefits both mom & baby reap, the bonding that takes place and so on. All potential nursers need to prepare for the mental, emotional and physically challenges that come along with it. Matt is a great help before baby and now still, which I am totally grateful for. Breastfeeding is just one major thing that only you can do- daytime and middle of the night- no one can help you with that, but you know what, they can help with other things! Laundry, dishes, cleaning the house, grocery shopping, etc. Know how to delegate!!

A couple of days ago I broke down, as I could not even figure out a schedule to get out of the house & run to the store, as I had recently fed Mollie, she dozed off, but knew I would need to feed again soon- very soon. I felt like all I did was feed her..and have my moments of still feeling so. I felt so bad for even complaining, as this is a very healthy and loving child, but at that moment I needed a break and not feel attached to her every 2 hours for nursing! It is challenging, there is no doubt about that. Just another reason why we can all lean on each other and support another breastfeeding mother. It's so time consuming and draining, but well worth it!

I've dreaded using my pump, as I seriously would just stare at it, but now that I have tried it out a couple of times, I am in love. I still prefer nursing her, but working on building a little stash of milk for us to try and introduce a bottle to her in a week or so. The Garrett Household will soon become The Garrett Milk Factory I do believe,once I really start my deep freezer milk stash to go back to work! Hard to believe she is already 4 weeks today!!! Ahhh, but still my tiny little munchkin:)
                                                               Our Sweet Lil' Bunny!!!