Category Archives: stuff for the baby

My Products During Pregnancy

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Throughout this pregnancy, I have gotten lots of advice about which products to use for which ailments/symptoms.

I tried a lot of different things, and THESE are the ones that I really appreciated and used. If you’re just starting out, keep in mind that there are lots of options out there! These are just my preferences. ๐Ÿ™‚

My least favorite thing in the world? Heartburn. I’d never had it until I got pregnant, and it is just awful.


The second thing that kept me up at night was numb hands. One thing that actually helped was using wrist braces. It kept me aware of my wrist position, even if I was asleep.

Braces, Supports & Rehabilitation Products

In order to prevent stretch marks, a colleague gave me this product from Mama Mio. It’s really oily, but it feels great and smells nice. So far, no stretch marks! I’m around week 37, so I think I’m all good at this point!

mama mioYou can find the Mama Mio product at Yes Style!

Beauty Korean

Along the same lines, I have started to apply Lansinoh’s Lanolin to my boobs. It’s supposed to soothe and heal sore nipples after breastfeeding, but I’ve heard it can also help to toughen you up before you even start. So occasionally, I will use that just to get into the habit. ๐Ÿ™‚


Throughout my pregnancy, you may have seen my workout posts. I did Crossfit throughout the whole thing. And I loved my Reebok Crossfit shoes. They were bright and colorful. And since Crossfit incorporates a lot of weightlifting, it’s important that the bottoms of the shoes are flat. If you’re trying to do squats, and you’re already on your toes a little (if the shoes have too much cushion), then you’re setting yourself up to fall forward. Reebok teamed up with CF to make a whole line of products. After I have the baby, I’ll stock up on some CF gear!

Here’s a picture of me, wearing my Reebok CF shoes. And then there’s a link where you can get some, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

Picking up barbell


Those were the main things that kept me happy and sane!

What were your favorite pregnancy products?


Baby Showers

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I had a baby shower a little while back with some friends from my church. Here is the post from that day!

Since then there have been two more baby showers! I can’t believe it. Altogether I’ve had about 70 people bless me through their time and gifts. I’m really grateful for everyone! (See the previous post!)

Work Baby Shower

This was a total surprise. I had a doctor’s appointment the same day, and because of timing, it didn’t make a lot of sense for me to come back to work afterwards. BUT my department chair, Shanna, told me I really needed to come in so that we could talk about the last few weeks of the year and the logistics of it all. I bought it. Hook, line, and sinker. We had our meeting (which was legitimate), after which she offered to drive me home. Walking down the hall, we were just chatting. Then she suddenly said she needed to go into the Spanish teacher’s room to get her stuff. Again, I didn’t suspect a thing.

When she opened the door, there were about 20 coworkers in there who all yelled “SURPRISE!” And my reaction….

*The big surprise

Quick funny story: After 5 minutes, there was an unexpected fire drill, so we all had to evacuate the building….

Back inside! Here are a few shots from this particular shower:

It was a lot of fun!

Louisiana Church Shower

I may have mentioned this before, but my dad is a minister of music at our church in Louisiana. I have not been a regular attender of that church since 2002, when I graduated high school. I would attend during the summers when I was home from college, but in 2006, I moved to NYC and haven’t been back for very long at a time.

Regardless, these folks saw me grow up and love love my family. They offered to throw me a shower, even though I wouldn’t be able to attend!

Here are a few pictures from that shower:

And here are the presents that my mama is going to send me soon, before she comes up for the baby!

*gifts in the trunk

And there you have it. I am blessed. Thank you to everyone who was part of the three showers that I had. I was not expecting such an outpouring, and I just can’t say thanks enough!


Weekend Shenanigans

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Here’s what we did this weekend (it was super busy):

Blog Stuff
First, I set up a ToDoist account where Iย tried to figure out when various link parties went live and on which days. Not sure how many of them are the exact same time every week, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 5.14.07 PMBaby Stuff
We have a tall black bookcase that we use to hold shoes. I decided it should hold baby stuff instead. We went to the Container Store to find another option for holding shoes.

shoe organizerI wanted to organize the black bookcase into a few simple containers for baby bath stuff, baby books, baby toys, that sort of thing. So we found some pretty boxes and re-did the black bookcase!


Then we went through a bunch of baby stuff we had gotten recently and put a few more things away. For example, the teeny tiny diapers under the changing table attached to the crib:

diapers under changing tableAnd we put some MORE clothes away….

clothes in drawer

Speaking of stuff we’ve been getting, we also started on the Thank You notes! I don’t want to get swamped later on because I put them off for too long. Cameron helped with the stamping!

thank you notes

Also, we read a book to the baby, in utero. Apparently he’ll recognize when he comes out? We shall see!

in utero book

Work Stuff
Finally, I hand out certificates each year to my students. Everybody gets something. In high school, the only ones who get awards are the few kids who have perfect attendance and those on Honor Roll. Most of everyone else doesn’t ever get anything, so I think it’s kind of nice to just let them know that they’re special in some way.

class awards

And for the first time in … almost a year (?, I can’t remember for sure), I slept in on a Sunday morning. I am a greeter at church, so I always get up early and get stuff set up for the kids’ church (I’ll write a little more about that in another post). But I’ve been exhausted (you can see why… I probably do too much), so I asked if it was okay that I skipped out. Of course, Jen (the coordinator) was super sweet about it.

Normally, I get to the church by 9:00. But we’d need to leave by about 9:40 in order to get to justย the service on time. Cameron said that he came in to get a shirt that morning, and I didn’t even budge. I woke up around 10:15, the latest I’d slept in months. So I think that a solid 11 hours of sleep did me some good. I needed it.

And THAT is what I did this weekend.

Baby Shower

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Today was my first baby shower ever! At least I believe it was my first. I don’t remember going to any other showers in my life.

It was a lot of fun!

Sweet table settingI loved the sweet napkins and cups. And man…fresh strawberries? That was awesome. We also had lasagna, chips and salsa, and some other fresh fruits.

We played a lot of games! It was great for me because I’m a total game nerd. I prefer playing games to just about anything else. For the first game, the girls had to use streamer paper to guess how big around my stomach was. It was silly!

The second game’s objective was to create the perfect diaper using toilet paper. They were in teams, and I had to judge it. It was hilarious. I HAVE pictures of this, but I don’t want to embarrass anyone. ๐Ÿ™‚

Playing a word scramble gameHere, everyone had to unscramble baby-related words. Whoever got the most, won a prize! Actually, I was the only person to get them all right. But I couldn’t win prizes since I got a bunch of gifts already!

Baby food tastingThe next game was the traditional, taste-the-baby-food game. Apparently the two yucky ones were peas and turkey with gravy. I did not participate. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I just watched everyone else.

After those games, we opened presents. I got some really sweet cards. Everyone was really thoughtful. The gifts were just great. Unfortunately, my camera takes blurry pictures more often than it should. So I got very few good gift pictures. Here’s a couple, though!

Sheep noise makerActivity Gym and Play MatI’ve never heard of this tradition, but apparently, you take all the bows/ribbons from all the gifts, tape them onto a plate, and make a “crown” for the mom-to-be.

crown of bowsHere is my crown ๐Ÿ™‚

Finally, we had some cake!

The ladiesClockwise from top left: Chenoa, Elena, Jen, Becca, Cat, Jenny, Me, and Tina

Chenoa works with the kids’ church with me. She’s pregnant and one month behind me! She has two kids, Liam and Leslie.
Elena is a random friend (I’ll actually talk about her in a future post that’s already written)! She’s a teacher and a mom to little Ian, who is 14 months old.
Jen is a great friend and the coordinator of kids’ church. She’s got 3 boys, Sam, Levi, and Nate. She was one of the hostesses of the shower!
Becca is another worker with kids’ church. She’s heading to Jordan on a mission trip in about a week!
Cat is another volunteer with kids’ church. She is a nutritionist/dietician. And she does awesome stuff with her hair.
Jenny is one of the moms of the kids we work with, little Sophia. She’s super sweet.
Tina was the brains behind the shower. She came up with the games and the themes and stuff. She did a great job!

It was a lot of fun! Now I know that a baby shower isn’t scary or intimidating. I think I could do one again.

Childbirth 101 (Slightly Mature!)

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This post isย primarily for me and Cameron to revisit if we get pregnant again in the future. It is a nice way to organize our thoughts and what we learned. It isย secondarily for those of you who are just interested in what goes on in a childbirth class!

Childbirth Express Class

Friday 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Saturday 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Here is a picture of our instructor for the weekend, Ruby!

Me with Rubina

Stages of Labor

Stage 1: Opening of the Cervix
Phase 1: Early Labor
This stage lasts from 6-12 hours, and the cervix gets to about 3 cm during this stage.

Here’s the stage where you just hang out at home, contractions are regular but not really super close together or super powerful. You can walk and talk throughout. This is a good time to eat some snacks and make sure to stay hydrated!

What you’re looking for, before you head to the hospital, is known as 5-1-1. Basically, if the contractions are 5 minutes apart, last 1 minute each, and this continues for 1 hour, then you should head on over to the hospital!

Phase 2: Active Labor
This stage lasts 3-5 hours usually, and the cervix gets up to about 7 cm.

This is when things get a little more intense. You’re usually at the hospital by this point. If you want to get drugs (particularly an epidural), it’ll happen during phase 2. [Note: I plan on going drug-free!]

During active labor (and the rest of the stages), it’s recommended that you don’t eat anything besides popsicles and ice chips. The reason is that, since you’re tensing up and getting overheated and all that, you’ll probably throw it up anyway. Actually, I forgot the REAL reason, but that was one of the reasons.

Phase 3: Transition
This stage lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. The cervix makes it to 10 cm. Woohoo!

Here is where most folks lose it. ๐Ÿ™‚ In other words, you start feeling disoriented and weak and frustrated. Contractions are way closer together and super powerful. But the baby’s getting closer! So stick with it!

Stage 2: Pushing and Birth

This is it. This could take a while, and sometimes this can be frustrating because you FEEL the need to push, but it won’t really be worth it. So the doctor will tell you to just breathe instead of pushing. (I’ll talk about breathing in a minute.)

Finally, when the baby reaches the point where he’s crowned (you can see the top of his head), you’ll push, then breathe, then push, breathe, and so on.

What’s kind of neat is that the baby knows what’s up. He gets into the right position (if he’s head down to begin with), and he’ll turn his little body so he fits easier coming out. When his head comes out, the doctor will wait for him to turn his own head to align with his little shoulders, and THEN the doctor will pull him out the rest of the way. If everything went pretty smoothly, they’ll just plop him down on your chest right away.

Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbili...

Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbilical cord has not yet been cut. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stage 3: Delivery of the Placenta

Your body knows what it’s doing. Some point after the baby comes out, you’ll have a few more contractions to deliver the placenta. You’ll probably be too busy and overwhelmed to notice it even happens.

Right afterward…
As soon as the baby is born, it’s important to have that skin-to-skin contact (if possible). It’s also a good idea to breastfeed the baby within the first hour. You don’t want to get engorged (that means there’s too much milk in there), and immediate breastfeeding apparently makes a difference. So the baby’s little stomach is only the size of a walnut. Also, it’s not milk that comes out at first! It’s some other stuff (I forget the name of it) that helps build up antibodies in the baby.

NOTE: Here’s another thing to consider: while you’re going through it, you don’t want to respond to phone calls and texts (and neither should your coach <– that’s Cameron). People will want to know how you’re progressing, which is fine. But you shouldn’t keep in touch with everyone. Come up with a system ahead of time. Call your moms, then they can call the grandmothers, and they can call the aunts, and so on. That way, you aren’t on the phone with a bunch of people all day.

Picture from childbirth class

Breathing and Other Relaxation Stuff

Neither Cameron nor I realized that he would be sooo involved. I mean, I knew he’d be there with me the whole time. I imagined he would hold my hand, maybe rub my back a little here and there, tell me I’m awesome, you get the idea. But he’s basically having to do stuff the whole entire time.

Here’s a nice article from a dad’s point of view:ย Dad’s Experience of the Miracle of Childbirth

On Saturday, we spent a lot of time practicing breathing and different body positions to help with discomfort.

It’s hard to talk about “how to breathe” using words. But basically, we learned 3 types of breathing. Some people will use just one of them up until the transition. During transition, things get intense, and a lot of people tense up and hold their breath. Or they scream. And those are not what you want to do! Relax and breathe. Ruby suggested “blowing out candles”: short, shallow breaths for a short period of time. You won’t really be able to get a good deep breath at that point. And screaming is no good because you’re tensing up and breathing OUT!

Cam got to massage me a lot on Saturday. ๐Ÿ˜€ There is a touch massage, which is what he’ll do if he notices I’m tensing up my shoulders. He’ll just calmly run his hand down my back or along my shoulders (or wherever he notices the tension).

Guys, never start doing a for real massage without asking! It could be the last thing she wants.

She recommended finding things around your house to use for massage: a rolling pin, tennis balls in a sock, that sort of thing. Imagine if you’re the guy, and you’re having to massage her for 10 hours. I mean, your hands are going to get tired obviously. Those items should help.

The guys in the room seemed to get weirded out by this… But I don’t get the big gross factor.

Basically, if you are peeing, and you can stop the pee, the muscles you use are the same ones you want to strengthen. If you get those muscles stronger, then you’ll be much less likely to tear down there when the baby comes out. She recommended getting into a squat position and trying to tighten up for 10 seconds at a time. Heck, while you’re sitting there in your chair, try holding them for 10 seconds.

Here is a PDF of the stuff that the partner/coach can do!

I have been hearing and reading a bit about breastfeeding, but there were a few things that Cam and I learned.

For one, Cam learned that it’s important to breastfeed right after the baby is born.

Another thing is this:
When babies breastfeed, it seems like it’s all about mom. They smell the milk, they smell mom, they feel mom’s heartbeat, and so on. How can dad get involved at all? Well here’s how…

During the night, when the baby starts to cry, have dad get up first. He can change him and put on a new little outfit if needed. Then DAD will hand baby over to mom. She’ll breastfeed. Then DAD will take baby and burp him, then he will hand him back to mom. She’ll breastfeed a little more on the other side. Then DAD will take baby and burp him again. Then dad will put baby back to bed. That way, the baby will associate the milk with the smells of both mom and dad.

Later, at around 4 weeks, you try using a bottle for the first time. Let Dad give the first bottle! It’ll smell like mom’s milk, but baby will be used to dad’s smell too. You don’t want the baby to freak out all the time if Dad’s the only one around to feed him.


Ruby had a good idea! She said that, after the baby is born, all your peeps are going to want to come over and check him out. Some people end up having constant visitors the first few weeks. They want to see and hold the baby and all that, but mom is exhausted! (Come on, people! Duh.) What she suggested is this: Plan a two-hour window on a weekend day (say, this Saturday from 3-5), and that’s when people can come see the baby. Mom, you can put on some makeup and a normal outfit and look all cute for just a short while. Anyone who wants to come by should do it at that point. Encourage everyone to bring a meal in an oven-safe container! And then you get it all out of the way at once.

The Hospital Bag

This will be a totally separate post, but here’s the short version: You should have 2 bags, one for mom and one for dad. There are lots of items I had NOT thought of, and many are just obvious.

I’ll link up to this post whenever I make that post (it should be later this week, for sure!).

Cameron’s Reflection
Cameron really appreciated learning about the experience of it all. There are so many emotions (for both of us) throughout. At first, there’s anxiety and discomfort. That moves toward frustration and exhaustion. And it all climaxes with relief and joy and an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and pride. In his words, “It’s great storytelling.”

Since I have less than 6 weeks until my due date, there are some things I gots to do!

1. Create a birth plan. I have a doula, Candice, whom we’ll meet with this week.
2. Find out my doctor’s direct number (if it’s different from the main hospital one).
3. Find a pediatrician!
4. Pack the hospital bags.
5. Practice breathing, massage, and strengthening exercises.
6. Ask my doctor about her policies regarding what to do if my water breaks and how she feels about 5-1-1.

That’s it, folks! I’ll probably post an actual “MY childbirth story” some time after the baby’s born.


The Nursery Makeover Part 1

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Cameron and I have a one-bedroom apartment here in DC. Here is the basic layout of our bedroom BEFORE putting the crib together:

Today, our friends Helen and Jesse came over to help!
Helen and I went through the piles of baby stuff that I’ve already gotten (before any showers):

We organized stuff by basic size (NOT the size on the tags, as I’ve heard that isn’t always accurate). So far I have two drawers of stuff, plus a bin that will go under the bed for “other” (toys, bibs, and so on).

While Helen and I were in the living room organizing, the boys were in the bedroom, assembling the crib and rearranging stuff.

Here’s Jesse helping to get things going:

After much deliberation, we decided on the following arrangement!

Here’s my handsome husband next to the finished crib (sans mattress):

And here’s the two of us before we broke for dinner and The Office!

Today was just organizing and rearranging. Once we have a baby shower or two, I’ll hopefully have some decor for that space, and I’ll post more pictures then!

Thanks to Helen and Jesse for their 4 hours of hard work on a Saturday!

Raising Imperfection

Super Sunday Sync

BWS tips button

Also part of the Weekend Show Off Party at


Lookey what we found!

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Cameron and I were walking home from the gym and stumbled across 3 bags of books that said “Free!” One of those bags had some baby books on top…or so we thought. After sifting through, we noticed that it was an entire bag of books for young kids! So we took them all.

Check out the haul!

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