I know people always say that time flies and to enjoy this time we have right now because she will never be this little again.  Its SO true.  I cannot believe that she has been here for 3 months.  On one hand, it feels like she just got here and on the other hand, it is hard to think of life without her!  I don't have tons of time right now (its precious nap time and I have SO much to get done!) but I wanted to do a quick update post!

Baby girl is 3 months old!  Tomorrow she will be 13 weeks....ahhhh!!!  I think she starts doing something new every day too!  She is really starting to suck on her hands/fingers.  She hasn't started just the thumb yet but I bet its coming!  She also brings anything else that is soft to her mouth to try to suck on it.  She hasn't really starting bringing anything hard yet because she still doesn't hold on to it long enough.

She has also started to squeal from delight some.  There isn't anything specific I or Keenan do to make it happen, it just does sometime.  She also had her first laugh a little over a week ago and Evan and Christy's wedding.  It was such a perfect little sound!  Since then, I think she has laughed two more times.  Again, nothing specific brining it on but I can't wait until we can do something to get her to laugh--- so fun!

She is VERY observant.  Its so funny that some of her personality already shows!  It we are in a new place or with a lot of new people, she has to be held by me or Keen and she likes to just look around.  She doesn't want to be played with or anything, just hang out and watch!

Sleep at night is still good!  Last night was wonderful- I feed her once during the night and other than that, she was in bed from 8-7:30!  Yeah!  The few days before that were her 3 month growth spurt and boy was that a doozie.  I was up at least 2-3 times each night.  I thought about how I did that during her newborn days and I don't know how I did it!  Now that I have gotten some sleep at night, its so hard to go back.  Luckily, I think the growth spurt is over so hopefully our sleep will go back to normal!

She still only naps about 30 minutes-- not able to get through that first sleep cycle when she wakes at the end of it.  Sometimes, she will wake up, cry for a few minutes and go back to sleep though, so there is hope!!  She can only stay up for about 1 hour 15 minutes or 1 hour 30 minutes max.  Then, its super fussy baby!!!

3 months is a really fun age.  We are able to entertain her.  I was even at the doctor's office a few days ago with her for 2 hours.  Yes, 2 hours of waiting with a baby!  And, it was during her naptime.  Yikes!  I was able for the most part to keep her distracted without too much crying and she eventually fell asleep.  That so would not have happened two months ago!

Ok, thats about all the time I have.  I hope to get some 3 month pics done soon but here is a pic we took yesterday when we went to go visit Keen at school:

We had a beach trip and she did great on the way there, adjusting to a different place and the way home. We made it to the beach one day and the pool one day. It was a great trip.

This weekend we spent time with Keenan's mom while he was in a wedding. We drove down to Columbus for the wedding and she did great then too!!!

My parents came to visit today and I love it when they get to spend time with her!

Lori got a picture from when Keenan was little. I know she looks like me a lot but she looks so much like him too!

My big girl is growing up.  She will be 11 weeks Friday so I put some pictures together to see how much she has grown:

Pics on the left are from her first week or two and the pics on the right are from the last week or so

What a cutie pie!!!  I love her!!!

I think there are a lot of different reasons people cloth diaper here in the US.  I think it has become very trendy, it helps the environment and my big reason: $$$$$.  It saves it....a LOT of it!  Yes, there is an initial, up front cost but it pays for itself in less than 8 months.  And, you can use the cloth diapers for your next kid, and your next, and your next.....you get the picture!  I think anyone who is considering cloth diapers doesn't need me to go into the details or specifics of money spent/saved.  You can easily google it if you are curious though-- lots of posts out there about it!

So, I decided I wanted to do it before we even got pregnant.  Then, we got pregnant and I thought, Yeah, we can do this!  So the research began.  And if any of you know me, I can DO some research.....almost to a fault!  When I first started looking, I thought the only decision was: cloth vs. disposable.  After about one minute of looking, I thought, Oh, there is also velcro vs. snaps.  HAHAHAHAHA!  Anyone who has done research would have laughed at me too!  I would NEVER have believed how many options are out there.  Snaps or velcro is only the beginning!!!  I am not going  to go into all of the options on here either because you can just google and see what I mean.  I will just tell you that eventually, you just have to make the plunge and just buy them.  I read a lot of moms who said....these didn't work perfectly, this didn't fit just right, etc....but I just had to do it.  I have several friends who use them and I ended up going with one of the brands they use.  I went with the BumGenius4.0.  I also got them at Sweetbottoms Baby.  Since I bought more than 12, I was able to get them for $16.95 apiece.  Maybe a bit pricier than other sites but they come with a lifetime warranty and free shipping!  I also had a certain amount set aside (thanks to our amazing diaper shower!!) to purchase the diapers and accessories.

I read to wait at least 4-6 weeks to begin using cloth because of how many diapers you change up until that point and that was GREAT advice!  We also went to the beach when she was 9 weeks old so we decided to wait until after that to start them.  Looking back, I probably could have started them and gone to disposables for the beach and gone back once we returned.  Oh well!

So far, the 2 hardest parts of cloth diapering has been:

1- Figuring out how to wash them.  Remember how many different kinds there were??  Yeah, that many different ways to wash them too!!!  My friend texted me directions for my kind and I typed them up, put them in a sheet protector and taped it inside my laundry room.  (Weird, I know, but I always know where they are!!)  Just reading the directions is kind of confusing but when I actually washed them, it totally made sense.  I followed the directions as I pre-washed all of them and I have now done 2 loads of them and it really is super easy.

2- Organizing.  Or maybe this is just hard for me because I like to be super organized and I am still trying to figure out how to organize the diapers, where they should be, where my pail should be, etc.  I will have to do another post once I figure out how to organize.

I did decide that it was a hassle to have cloth diapers but disposable wipes.  I wasn't throwing the diaper away anymore so I had nothing to stick the wipe inside so I was just putting them in a plastic grocery bag at our changing area- gross.  So, I made cloth wipes.  If you are interested, you can read my post here.  I really like them so far!

Here are the colors I chose:

I tried to get "gender-neutral" colors so if we have a boy later we can still use them.  I also love the blue and purple but needed to get some lighter ones in case she was wearing white or something.

Each diaper comes with a regular insert with these snaps so you can make them different sizes:

A newborn insert that I didn't use for a newborn but I stick it in with the regular sized insert at night for lasting power--- it has worked for 3 nights now!

Directions on how to snap them for your size baby:

Here are some other essentials for cloth diapering:

Charlie's Soap- Anyone who cloth diapers swears by this stuff and I can honestly say I am VERY impressed.  I can understand why you would want to use it on everything!!

Lavender (its an anti-septic)

A sprayer-- I hear if you actually purchase something labelled as "bidet" it will be cheaper than the one labelled "diaper"- does the same thing.

An Ubbi (or another good diaper pail)-  I have not purchased this yet, but I will either tonight or tomorrow.  I will probably purchase the white- boring I know, but that way it can go into whatever room I need it to at any point.

I had a friend give me 4 PlanetWise bags-- the large size ones-- and I will be using them in the diaper pail.  They are incredible and I just wash each bag as I wash the diapers.  So, it is nice having a few of these so one can be in the wash and I have another ready to go.  I also plan to get some smaller ones soon for my diaper bag to carry with me when I go places.  I also hear that many day cares will use cloth diapers if you provide this specific brand bag because they really do keep the smells in, just in case anyone is interested.  Having your child in day care doesn't mean you can't cloth diaper anymore!!!

I like to dry the outsides and the bags outside in the sunshine (they can't go in the dryer) so I would recommend a drying rack and clothespins.  

I am really enjoying cloth diapering so far and I don't feel like it is adding that much extra time to my day.  We go through 5-6 diapers on an average day so its really not much more.  I was really worried that cloth diapering would be like "sitting in pee" but it really isn't.  The fabric on the inside of these diapers wick (isn't that such a big word right now) away all moisture.  Yes, I have tested it and its true.  The insert was very wet but the part that actually was on her bottom was totally dry.  Score!!!

The only con I can come up with for these would be their bulk.  I actually thought they would be MUCH bulkier than they are but there could be some outfits, especially pants, that may not fit well over the diaper.  I will have to see and just adjust what we wear though because I am sticking with these for sure!!!

Cloth diapering....sure!  Cloth wipes....WHAT?!?!

When I decided to do cloth diapers I saw a lot about cloth wipes.  I kinda thought it was a little gross but then I began the cloth diaper adventure.  I found myself putting the diapers into my awesome planetwise bag (incredible!) and I was left with a wipe (or 2...or 3) that I would have normally put into the diaper and tossed the whole thing.  What do I do with just the wipes???  I didn't just want to drop them into a small trash can at the changing table...yuck!  So, I grabbed a grocery bag and kept that at the changing area.  Luckily, everything isn't too stinky yet so I didn't have to worry about it.  But still, I had a rhythm with disposables--- new diaper under, old diaper off, wipe, put wipe into old diaper, close up and re-velcro, new diaper on.  Things were a bit different with cloth.  And getting the wipe into the bag was not ideal-- not when I had to put the used diaper to the side (so I could get the insert out) and needing to get the new diaper on-- its too bulky to put the new one under the old one like I used to.  An somewhere in there I needed to get the wipe thrown away.

So, the path to cloth wipes began.  I began texting a friend (who I got lots of cloth diapering info from!!!) and we discussed cloth diapers.  I basically did everything that she did and I can say (since I have used them), they are great.  And I just threw them into the bag with the diapers and inserts and they will get washed just the same!!!  I even put them in the wipe warmer too!

How did I make them???  Here goes:

First, I took some receiving blankets I had (some I had gotten from a sale and were actually quite small, but super soft!) and cut them apart.  I just took scissors and decided I didn't mind if they were the exact same size or not, so I cut away:

But, then I remembered myself and knew they needed to match a bit more than this, so I got out my quilting supplies and cut them all 6in x 8in.  I figured that was a good size to fit into my wipe warmer.  I cut 3 blankets into 36 wipes.

Put the wipe and sewed a basic zig-zag stitch (to help keep it from fraying) up one side.

When I got the the corner, I stopped and lifted up the foot but left the needed in (my machine automatically ends in need down- love it!)

Presser foot up, needle still down.

Then, I turned the fabric to get ready to sew the next side.  I did this three more times until I had sewed down each side.

Finished wipe

Close up so you can see the stitching.  Is it perfect?? No!  Will it work??  YES!!!

Then, I just wet them all, wrung them out and put them in the wipe warmer:

Now I just use them!  I will go through them quick enough that I don't have to worry about mildew or anything.  Also, it is just water on them so nothing will irritate little tooshies!  I hear there is a gentle spray I could use from a sprayer bottle if I wanted but so far, this is working just fine!!

I suggest this to any and all, but especially if you are cloth diapering.  You are already doing the wash- throwing in a few wipes won't make a difference and it makes cleaning up during the diaper change much simpler!!

Baby girl turned 10 weeks old yesterday!!! Here's a picture of her today.... What a trooper !

I have struggled with deciding whether I would actually post this to the blog or not.  Of course, if you are reading it, then obviously, I decided to go ahead and post it.  I feel like I must say this first though- I know several people struggling with infertility/trying to conceive and I don't want to seem ungrateful for the gift of motherhood.  It is a gift- the sleepless nights, the pregnancy pain, heartburn, messy EVERYTHING-- a gift I know anyone who desperately wants a child would gladly accept if it meant a child.  This post is meant for new moms- first time moms- and to anyone else who follows my facebook or instagram.  I also am not trying to scare any FTM but I am very thankful someone told me how hard it was going to be.  They told me some of the thoughts I might have and that it was ok.  I didn't really understand it until I was going through it, but when I started to feel like she said I might- I was encouraged that there wasn't anything wrong with me.  And I am happy to say that now, I am SO thrilled with every moment of the day and I can truly say that I AM loving this time with her.  I love being a mom and I am feeling more and more confident each day at being a mom.  So, here goes....

Parenthood- or better yet- Momhood:

I recently saw a link on facebook to an article titled, "Stop Instagram-ing Your Perfect Life" or something to that effect.  I debated this idea in my head for awhile and though, well, yeah- I totally get it.  When I read someone else's blog or see their pictures or look at ANYTHING on pinterest, sometimes I can compare my life and either be jealous or not feel good enough.  But then I started looking at what I was posting-- I wasn't trying to hide the "real" parts, because the fun pics and smiling pics are real too.  If I have a choice of a screaming baby pic and a smiling pic (which were probably taken 5 seconds apart- ha!) then of course I will pic the smiling baby pic!  I think it comes down to a personal choice of what parts I want to be remembered so to say.  Believe me, I have LOTS of the not so smily pics.  Here are some examples:

So, while I may have posted these on my blog/facebook/instagram....

There was also.....

I also thought about the first few weeks at home (which I will be writing about further down) and how hard they were.  I would look at facebook pics of friends and family who had babies just a bit older than Emily Anne.  It was encouraging when I saw their "perfect life" because it let me know that yes, smiles and laughs were coming (for both of us- ha!).  So, I really appreciated seeing this.  If I had seen the "real life" pics (again, I actually consider them all real life), I would have thought- seriously- this tough part never ends?!?!

Ok- "real life":

The first few weeks are hard.  Not hard as in- man, this test is going to be hard, but as in HARD- THERE IS ANOTHER HUMAN BEING THAT IS DEPENDENT ON ME FOR ITS SURVIVAL HARD.  I never really understood when people would say, I can't believe they let me leave the hospital with a baby.  Now I was saying it.  I read some books but they cannot truly prepare you for what is coming.  You suddenly have this infant that needs you 24 hours a day.  They don't care that you haven't eaten in 12 hours or haven't gone to the bathroom either.  Nope, they need you.  And you can forget showering.  And makeup.  And anything but yoga pants and a t-shirt (that probably smells like spit-up/old milk- gross I know, but its true).  Oh, and forget about moving around your house-- where you nurse becomes your chair/table/bed.  I felt like I didn't move for 3 weeks.  The sofa became my world- and thats tough.  Huge lesson in selflessness-- and boy was I selfish.  First of all, I have a wonderful husband who did (and truly continues to) treat me as a queen.  So, while in marriage you need to put the other first, I think I allowed Keenan to put me first more.  Then, there was cancer.  I was treated like a queen by EVERYONE-- for a very long time.  I remember that being an adjustment for after.  NOT being the center of attention and trying to figure out where I belonged in different friend/ social groups.  It was hard- but I think I was still pretty selfish.

Then, you have a kid.  I think I am finally learning the "die to self" idea or at least beginning to.  Sadly it has taken me so long, but its finally starting to stick.  So, I think the "hard weeks" are probably different lengths for different people.  I had a friend warn me that the first 2 weeks were horrible and I think even if you are completely selfless (impossible but maybe close!), then maybe it would just be hard adjusting but maybe it was hard for me for so long because of how selfish I actually was.  (I am not trying to be hard on myself, just offering some honest-- and with no proof!- opinions on ME!)  The first 3 weeks were really rough and even as I started to feel more confident in my ability to have a child depend on me, I peaked around 5 weeks thinking, yeah- I am ready to go back to school.  I think I might rather be there than trying to do this.  There's some honesty for you!  And anyone who is in public education right now knows things must have been really hard for me if I wanted to come back before my leave with my baby was up!  There were even times within those 5 weeks where I thought, Oh my goodness, I seriously can't do this!  I really can't.  What were we thinking having a baby????

Why is it so hard??  Obviously, I think most of it is that you truly have to put another's needs before you-- 24 hours a day.  There are some other reasons too, though.  The next biggest one being- sleep.  Or rather- lack of sleep.  Everyone says to sleep when the baby sleeps, don't do laundry, don't clean the house...you know, all that can wait, right?  Of course it can, until you run out of clothes to wear because they are all covered in spit up or poop!  I did very little housework the first few weeks and I STILL couldn't sleep when the baby slept.  I tried, I really did, its just still hard.  Babies are LOUD!  And not just their crying.  When they are asleep, they are constantly making noises and so I would constantly be thinking, Is she waking up now?  Or, babies do wake up a lot.  And sometimes they need some help to keep sleeping.  So, not much sleep at all in the beginning.  So, lets look back over this: no sleep, no showers, no clean clothes, no going out, not much eating--- hard times.  You begin to run on below empty and that is really hard.  And on top of all that going on with you- there is a baby that has to be fed, changed, re-clothed, rocked, cuddled, sang to, played with, etc.

Another thing that I really did not know ANYTHING about was breastfeeding.  I read about it some, but I just figured that it was an easy thing.  She would be born, I would get her and it would just happen naturally.  I think it might for some people-- not for me though!  EA ended up going to the NICU for a small fever for a few days and we were informed there she had lost too much weight as well.  So, they had me on a strict regiment of feed her (hard!), pump myself to get my milk to come in and Keenan would give her supplement.  Also, while I was feeding her, we had to use a syringe to supplement to help encourage her sucking.  She was not a natural eater.  We had to do some training so that was really tough.  And I had to do training.  I ended up with some bruises even- ha!  They gave me a nipple shield to use (kind of controversial) but all I can say is Thank you Lord!!  It gave me some confidence and helped her learn how to eat.  Yes we still use it and yes I would like to get off of it and she just can't yet, but she gets plenty of food and is in the 95th percentile for weight so I can't complain too much!

With the beginning problems of breastfeeding, I was not very confident in my ability to feed her.  I can't see it leave me and go into her so I didn't know if she was getting what she needed.  Also, because of all the supplementing at the hospital, she gainer her birth weight back and a little extra by the day we left (our first ped. appointment) so he did not make us come back until her 2 month appointment.  In the first few weeks I was so unsure of whether she was getting enough or not because I thought she was getting enough in the beginning, but obviously not!  Around week 3, I realized she was gaining weight (we don't have a scale) so she must be doing ok.  And, after we started to figure out her cries and things like when her fussy times are, I realized that yes, she is getting food.

So, no sleep and not being sure if you are sustaining the life you are supposed to be sustaining- tough.  Then, if people came over or you went out they were constantly asking...Aren't you just loving this??  Isn't this time so special??  Isn't this like a dream come true??  By the way, if you are reading this and you ever asked me something like those, don't feel bad!  I think the constant state of exhaustion makes us forget how tough it is in the beginning and we only remember the really good parts--- which is great.  The actual birthing part- hard and painful- but I think its the first few weeks that make me think- oh I can't have another one.....at least not for a bit, right?!?!  Plus, EA is 10 weeks today and I have already found myself saying all of these to others who have had babies since!!!  Its just the way it is I think but I wanted to make sure to write about my difficulty before I forgot it too much.  So, while you nod along and mutter, Yes, this time is amazing...I am just loving it!, know that its ok if that is not what you are really feeling.  So if you are really feeling, No, I am NOT loving this time.  I haven't slept in who knows how long and even if I do sleep, its never longer than a 1 1/2 hour stretch at a time, I am hungry, I smell, she smells and sometimes she cries and I cannot figure out how to stop it!!!!  So no, not really loving this.--- ITS OK!!!  I think at some point, all new moms have felt this!  And I want to tell you this---- It really does get better.  Yes, as soon as you get a routine, it changes but you learn to change with it.  You realize that she is getting enough food and she is getting more efficient in eating so it doesn't take so long!  You start to learn the different cries and maybe you realize that the tends to be fussier at a certain time of day and as long as her needs are met, she may still cry some!  She will start to sleep longer at night and you will even start to get 4 or 5 hour stretches--- which feels like heaven!!!  And don't worry- it will get even longer soon!!!  You learn the things she likes and what she looks like just before she gets too fussy and you can put her down for a nap.  You learn her sleep cues and there is interaction.  You will get smiles and coos and laughs and giggles.  She will do something new every day and it will just delight you.  Then, all of a sudden, you are at week 8 and you realize how much you are loving being a mom---that you have been loving it for awhile.  You try to think back when the change in your attitude happened and you can't remember it.  It is that gradual of a shift- but its a wonderful shift!

All of this to say that motherhood is wonderful--I love it!  It is very hard, especially in the beginning and I just hope this is an encouragement to anyone who may be in those first few weeks and feeling like they just can't do it.  That maybe they weren't cut out to do this, even if it has been a life-long dream.  Its ok to feel the way you do--- it is hard but it will get easier and much, much better!  So, cut yourself a break, order food in and enjoy the snuggle time you get with your little one.