Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I love her smirk.
She's been very pensive lately.
Finally starting to appreciate her toys more.
She looks so Irish in this pic!

There were times in the beginning when I truly wondered if we'd survive to this point, and now look at us:
She's happy, I'm happy.
She's packing on the pounds, and I'm losing them thanks to breastfeeding :).
She's learning about the world, and I'm learning about myself.
She's trusting in me to nurture her, and I'm trusting the Lord to sustain me. 

It's all good here in the House of Branca.  Happy 3 months my dear!  I love you sooooo much!   


Love It, Leave It

Monday, April 18, 2011

(First of all, a little update:  I really am starting to love mommyhood.  People were so right, it does get easier and it even starts to feel normal.  All the phases that seem like they will last forever do pass.  For example, the following phases- 10 bibs a day, 10 poops a day, grunting 24/7, peeing on me as soon as I remove the diaper, feeding every hour, etc. etc. etc. have all passed. Even the catnap phase that drove me to tears is starting to pass.  I feel bad for labeling Siena a "bad sleeper" initially and getting so frustrated with her; Siena is quickly becoming a darn good sleeper! I will have to do a whole separate post on all the fascinating things I've learned about infant sleep.  Well, it's fascinating to me anyway...)

For all my friends and readers who are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant soon, here is my list of favorite baby products!

LOVE IT!  Stuff I love and use almost everyday:

  • Nosefrida Snotsucker- makes sucking out snot almost enjoyable.
  • Gripe water- not crazy about the fructose, but it does seem to calm Siena down when she's gassy, and helps with the hiccups she gets after almost every feeding.  Maybe it just calms her down b/c it tastes like candy. Anyway, I'm using less and less and hope to wean her off it soon.
  • Moby Wrap- I have 4 carriers, and this is the one I use the most.  Definitely takes some getting used to, but Siena is usually happy to snuggle up to me in this.
  • Lamaze Jacques the Peacock toy- there is a reason why this toy gets 5 stars on amazon.  One of the first toys Siena showed any interest in. 
  • Ikea Korall baby fish mobile- this makes Siena do the happy dance every time she gets a diaper change.  Discontinued though, despite the fact that everyone who has it LOVES it.
  • Seventh Generation diapers- pricey, but eco-friendly and really sturdy
  • Costco baby wipes- perfect texture, wetness, and fragrance free
  • Moses basket- we ordered this one off amazon after we realized that we needed a safe place to set Siena down while we did stuff around the house.  She liked it much better than her bassinet, so we started having her sleep in it at night. We could wedge a pillow underneath it to prop up one side, which has helped Siena's mild reflux. Now it sits in her crib so she can still have the coziness of being more confined, but get used to waking up in her crib. Our big baby has almost outgrown it at 3 months, but it's been a lifesaver. 
  • N.A.P.S. 90 Minute Sleep Solution book- seemed a little gimmicky at first, but I'm a total believer!!  I may have to review this book in a separate post since it made things MUCH worse before it made things MUCH better. Let me say, just as the book describes, Siena usually falls asleep 90 minutes from her last waking.  Like 90 minutes on the dot. Ask me to show you her sleep charts as proof. Now that I know her natural sleep rhythm, I spend about 5-10 minutes soothing her to sleep for each nap and bedtime, as opposed to 40+ minutes.  People think I'm totally loony tunes for putting her to sleep so often and so early, but Siena is much happier and more well-rested because of this book (combined with bits and pieces of other books I've read.) And that notorious "witching hour" that most babies and parents endure after about 6pm?  All but disappeared.  Hallelujah!
  • California Baby products- the calendula cream helps clear up any mystery bumps and rashes, and the body wash is so gentle and smells delish.
  • Gold Bond baby powder- so old school, but it works!  Easier to apply than diaper creams, in my opinion.
  • Trixie tracker- I purchased a smart phone just so I could use this.  It's a super handy application to help you track sleep, nursing, diapers, bottles, and solids.  It will show you charts, averages, probabilities, and scatterplots of your babies eating and sleeping patterns. The inner Type A nerd in me likes this a lot!  Once again, many people roll their eyes as they see me track every nap and nursing session down to the minute, but it's really allowed me to get to know my baby's rhythms, and to learn to read her better.  It is so satisfying to see routines forming, without any real help from me (I just try to follow Siena's lead.)
  • Miracle Blanket- like a little baby straight jacket, the only swaddle that Siena can't bust out of (we do have to reinforce it with duct tape, which looks so strange)
  • Air purifier- 3 birds with one stone:  provides white noise, cleans the air, and works as a fan (reducing the risk of SIDS)
  • Humidifier- as soon as we started using this, Siena stopped waking at night.  Coincidence?  Maybe. 
  • Graco Snugride infant car seat- no complaints at all, and the price was right.  
  • Trumpette shoe socks- I just can't resist them!  I bought the ones that look like little converse. Never mind that each pair costs twice as much as adult socks. 
  • Nursing tanks from Target- affordable and convenient. 
  • Zip up onesie pajamas- especially the terry cloth ones. 
Leave it!  Stuff I rarely use or don't use anymore:
  • Baby swing- Siena just never took to it, despite my efforts.
  • Stroller- I'm sure this will come in handy as Siena gets heavier, but for now, wearing her around town is so much easier.  On walks, I kept running over my dogs' paws with the stroller. 
  • Electric breast pump- I used it maybe 3 times. I actually use a cheap manual pump instead.  I can get just as much milk just as quickly, and don't have to plug anything in.  Plus, it's silent and I can pump in bed without waking Joe.
  • My Brest Friend pillow- I did use this for the first month when Siena was so small and awkward to hold, but it quickly became unnecessary. 
  • Pacifiers- I bought like 5 different kinds, hoping Siena might take to them. She did for one random week, now she spits them clear across the room.  Oh well, one less habit I'll need to break.  
  • Puj Tub- I was a big fan at first, but Siena's now too big for it and I wish I had just bought a regular infant tub.  
  • Baby Monitor:  we actually never got around to buying one, and I'm grateful for it.  Any time Siena cries, shouts or babbles, it echoes down the hallway straight into our bedroom, but we don't hear all the little moans and groans babies make when they sleep. 
How about you?  What are your love it, leave its?  


    Subtle Pinks and Whites

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    After putting The Treasured Petal aside to be a SAHM and focus on Petal and Thorn, we've had over 5 amazing blog features!  Just because I've shifted away from flowers doesn't mean I'm any less proud of these features.  I'm super thrilled that my floral work continues to inspire brides!

    Soo and Seongmu were married almost exactly 1 year ago at the St. Regis Hotel in Monarch Beach.  I love love loved this wedding- it was soft, romantic and effortlessly elegant (words that just as easily describe the lovely bride!) Soo was actually a bridesmaid in the wedding of one of my past brides, Sebyul.  Both their weddings were photographed by the incredibly talented and sweet duo Jamie and Dennis of Viera Photographics.  Their work is breathtaking.  I mean, look at that shot of the couple reflecting in the vase- isn't that insane?  I can't get enough of these images!

    Thank you to Junebug Weddings for such a fantastic feature!


    Our Nite Nite Routine

    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    To anyone sick of Siena-related posts, I PROMISE to start posting about fancy hair accessories very soon. I'm actually brainstorming a few new creations for an upcoming photo shoot.  It's good to use my hands for more than diapering and pumping :)

    BUT I thought I'd share the bedtime routine that has developed over the past few weeks.  More for my records. It's one of the most precious times of each day, and I want to remember exactly how it was when Siena was 2 1/2 months. 

    - 45 minutes after she wakes up from her last nap (around 7 pm-ish), daddy bathes Siena in her Puj tub with California Baby soothing shampoo and body wash. 
    -daddy wraps Siena in a fluffy towel, and massages her with Aveeno lavender lotion.  he also does a little baby yoga to get the farts out :)
    -daddy uses the Nosefrida Snotsucker to clear her schnaz, gives her some gripe water, and rubs baby oil on her fro
    -daddy forces SiSi to play with her night night doll, a special dolly that we're trying to associate with bedtime.  she's not that interested in dolls yet but we hope it will become her lovey.
    -we dim the lights in the house and light scented candles in the living room. 
    -mommy breastfeeds Siena on the sofa.  she's usually very drowsy by this point and just snacks a bit, but manages to eat enough to last through most of the night.
    -then i burp her and swaddle her in the miracle blanket (truly the best swaddle blanket in my opinion!)
    -we turn on the air purifier (great for white noise) and humidifier in her bedroom, and shut off the lights.
    -i place a heating pad in her moses basket (which is placed in the crib) to warm it up for her
    -i gently rock her and pat her back slowly
    -i sing Amy Grant's "Baby Baby" song until she's conked.  don't ask me why, i just started singing it one night and it stuck.  now it's in my head allll day long!  i tried to switch it to "baby love" by the Supremes last night and she just wouldn't have it. 
    - i remove the heating pad, carefully place siena in her basket, and creep out of her room.  it's usually about 8 or 8:30 when she's out for the night.  she's been sleeping until about 5 am when she wakes up hungry and having busted out of her miracle blanket.  we'll be transitioning into the Magic Sleepsuit when she's ready to be unswaddled. we tried to use it tonight but the change in routine made her fussy.  she still likes to be swaddled like a burrito. 

    SiSi is such a creature of habit.  She's been going down so much easier since we started this routine.  She's always happy to fall asleep if given the right vibe and atmosphere.  But I'm realizing she's not one of those babies who can sleep anywhere, anytime.  I was really bummed at first, but I've come to accept that, and I'm ok with routines if that's how my baby ticks.  And I'm ok with structuring my life around her schedule if that means she gets the sleep she needs.  In my mind, sleep is just as important as milk for this little baby.  If she's hungry, I feed her. If she's tired, I make sure to help her sleep.

    This week we're working on laying her down in her basket "drowsy but awake" so she'll learn how to fall asleep without me.  It will be tough, but if she's tired enough and in a good mood, I think we can make it happen.  I know she's starting to learn to soothe herself b/c instead of demanding the boob for comfort, she's been sucking on her own tongue, making these click click noises.  I'm always so proud when she does this! My little girl is finding herself!   

    And I've decided to hold off on hiring a baby whisperer for now, but we're still researching different trainers in case we need to resort to that.  For now, I think we're already on the right track... 

    Do your LO's have nighttime routines?  How have they changed over time?