December 29, 2013

James' First Christmas

So, I wrote us a pass this year. We moved in late October, and barely dug out enough from boxes to get a cheap card table/dining table by Thanksgiving. There was no way we were going to dig all of our Christmas stuff out of storage in enough time to decorate without giving me an ulcer first. So... we opted out of any frenzy, decorated the fireplace mantel (fireplace! mantel!) with a lit garland and our holiday cards from friends and family, and called it good. The other plus? Not having to turn around and put everything away.

Our holiday was a bit untraditional this year, since we were far from our family and being as frugal as possible. We had a little present-opening session (but our biggest gift this year was a contribution into James' 529) on the living room floor on Christmas Eve. Kudos to Dad for manning the camera!


James was a bit stunned throughout the process, but Zoey made sure to get involved and show him how it's done. <3

Christmas morning, we ate breakfast and geared up to go explore our beautiful new CO mountains. Alan recently visited Mt. Herman in Monument, so we went there. What a gorgeous hike! Beautiful trees, a touch of snow, and water! Just laying on the ground! Running in a stream! These Coloradans don't know how good they have it. :) James was warmly bundled in the carrier with dad, and Zoey probably ran 3 miles for every mile we hiked (back and forth between us, over and over). We loved it.


While it might not have been the most traditional holiday, we're so glad we had the chance to get out! I'll call James' first Christmas a success.

December 22, 2013

Hey! I'm here!


Well, there’s no way to begin again than to just jump in. I could brood and stew over the fact that I said I’d keep this blog updated and then I didn’t… but I won’t. I’m here now, and that’s all that matters.

It does make me chuckle a bit, though. When I think about myself and all my assumptions back before James arrived. Why, I’ll have plenty of time to blog/read/think/work on my photography/practice basic hygiene while the baby is sleeping/gently cooing/amusing himself. It turns out that real life is a bit different than my initial expectations. Turns out there’s a pretty stark hierarchy of needs… and everything nonessential gets pushed to the back. Some things that get pushed shouldn’t – like generally keeping in contact with family and friends. (Sorry, guys.) Some things that get pushed are no brainers – who the heck cares about a pedicure when I’m trying to help my wee one navigate the awesome yet terrible process of renegotiating cognitive schema while stuck in diapers and teething. (Don’t get me wrong, I still care about the pedicure. In fact, I dwell on my lack of pedicure about once a day. I’m not sure why, it’s just THE ONE THING that I want so bad and haven’t been able to get… so I think that’s why I’m stuck on it.)

The other thing that gave me a bit of a nostalgic, wistful feeling: the snacks that I stocked our freezer with pre-baby. Don’t get me wrong, the suggestion was golden – make sure you have ready-to-eat snacks and food, because you’ll be up with baby in the middle of the night for feedings and YOU will be hungry and tired. Fool proof it. So we had a pile of frozen burritos, single serving pizzas and hot pockets. Psh. Are you kidding me? Yes, I was starving and usually parched. But I had barely enough energy to lug kid from bassinet-next-to-the-bed to in-the-bed to feed him, then plop him back in bassinet-next-to-the-bed. Much less get up, travel to kitchen, MICROWAVE something, eat it and go back to bed. If I did that, by the time I got back to bed, kiddo would be up again. I learned what worked for me pretty quickly. I cleared out that top nightstand drawer and stocked it with raisins, granola bars, hand fruit, and Gatorade. Our general system (to be fair, Sarah’s system that worked LIKE A CHARM) involved me feeding James on one side, having Alan get up and change him (while I wolfed food/chugged Gatorade) then bring him back to finish nursing.  Then pass back out. And repeat ad nauseum.

Now, maybe moving to a new state right after expending massive third-trimester energy on painting a nursery has jaded me a bit, but guess what I totally could care less about? A matching, coordinated nursery theme. I’m not knocking nesting (because Lord knows that’s real), but I could really give a damn what sort of paint-colors-match-with-linens-connected to stuffed animals. If I’m in the nursery, it’s usually to soothe a crying baby, or feed a crying baby, or change a crying baby… you get the idea. Yes, I’d like the basic nursery items, but for the next kiddo I think I’ll have a much more realistic idea of what to focus on and what works for us. 

November 27, 2013

Don’t get cocky because the puking stopped...


For our first Bagley-only Thanksgiving in Colorado, we kept things quiet. I decided to roast a chicken and prepare the staple dishes Alan requested. We didn’t travel, and no one traveled to us, so it was pretty simple. Kind of nice to have the first holiday ever where I only had to worry about US… not getting us somewhere, or planning something. Anyways, the food came out really well and the day was a success. Alan gave James a bath and put him in cute little footy pajamas while I cleaned up after dinner, and voila. Time for bed.

Not really sure what instinct possessed me to take James out on the front “porch” of our apartment, but it was pretty warm inside from the fireplace and oven. We stood there for a moment, enjoying a cuddle… then he looked at me, and barfed all over both of us. Your first thought might be “Gross!!!” but honestly, the only thing that sticks with me was the bewildered look on his face (and my gratitude that we were outside when he upchucked). Poor little guy just didn’t understand what was going on. Needless to say, he had a full on stomach bug for about 24-36 hours. Alan was such a trooper staying home with him the next day… there was a lot of laundry and clothes-changing done that day.

I was a bit nervous taking over kid watching the next day after hearing about how much barf there was on Alan’s shift. But there was none! No barf! How lucky! I started feeling all proud and excited that I dodged the worst. Well. Apparently I conveniently forgot that while it’s called a ‘stomach’ bug, the whole digestive system is connected. So I had the dubious task of dealing with everything that came out the other end… yuck yuck yuck. Definitely much worse than your run of the mill poo.

So, needless to say: don’t get cocky because the puking stopped. 

August 5, 2013

the bagley house: moving to CO!

i'll imagine there were some double-takes, so let's just say that one more time:

the bagley house is moving to denver, CO! 


whew. that feels a little more real. yep, it's totally true. i've been absolutely turrible about keeping the blog updated, but with work, james, and trying to figure out this epic decision on the down-low... i'm not surprised.

so... let me fill you in!

the backstory
alan was stationed at fort carson in CO during his time in the army. when he got out of the army, he came back home to AZ to attend college, and stumbled across moi. ;) he's always loved colorado, and we even honeymooned there. our trips were always so much fun, and really tapped into what we loved best: being outdoors, spending time together, and bringing zoey pretty much everywhere. we thought, one day maybe we'll have a chance to go up to colorado on purpose. and that was pretty much that. real life happened - we got pregnant, alan graduated from college (woo!) and we went to work every day.

one day, alan got a phone call from an old army colleague (hi matt!), with a job offer that would put us in denver. whaaaat?! we sat on it for a little while, turning the idea over (and over and over) in our minds and hearts. it was like our someday was all of a sudden... now. which is by the way, kind of scary. we decided that overall - this is a fantastic opportunity. not only for alan's career, my career and our original dream... but for us to live in a place that allows us to live the life we want to create for our little family. and let's be honest, it will also allow me to get closer to my crunchy-granola roots. ;) 

the info
- alan will be working for an all-natural meat company: anderson meat company. we're really excited to be part of this growing company that focuses on a simple idea: providing fresh, high quality meat to customers in local farmer's markets and grocery stores.

- i'm currently interviewing for a position with our denver office (wish me luck!). this will allow me to remain with my current company and simply transfer locations.

- we'll be looking for a house to rent for a year or so, giving us time to save up and purchase a home. eep! therefore, if you currently have a lovely rental property and would like to have some excellent tenants - let me know!

the plan 
- alan will travel to CO ahead of us, sometime in the next two weeks-ish. until then, we'll be sorting, cleaning, purging and packing like fiends to get as much done while we're together as we can.

- once he arrives in CO, alan will work like crazy to get a head start while also scouting out the above-mentioned rental properties for us.

- james, zoey and i will continue on here as normal, with an added dash of sorting/cleaning/purging/packing.

faqs
- we don't have an exact move date yet (anticipating within 1-2 mo); as of now this hinges on my interview process. no pressure.
- while we don't have family in denver, we each have a few friends - we won't be totally alone!
- there will definitely be visits back to phoenix, and if anyone wants to come play in the snow - now you have an excuse to come north!


so there you have it. we're excited to start this journey!


small-stuff updates:
1. we celebrated our 3 year anniversary on 7/31. <3
















2. james is still adorbs. (margi, that's for you.)
(proof of current adorability)

June 29, 2013

June 17, 2013

is there anything more amazing...

i was in the middle of this blissful, loving train of thought a few minutes ago. it was going along the lines of: is there anything more amazing than being recognized by your baby? james had just locked eyes with me, giggled, and i think he might have thrown some flirting in there just to top it off. beautiful and perfect moment...

...and then he spit up ALL over me. and not just spit up, he must have been saving it since it smelled more like throw up than anything else.


ah, my child. thank you for bringing me down to earth. honestly, it's a good thing today was a no-shower day. the amount of bodily fluids i got covered in was not conducive to trying... well, i was going to add to that sentence, but really - i could just end there.

;)


June 13, 2013

The next 6 weeks: Continuing to learn...


Things I learned over the next 6 weeks...



-       You are going to be tired. More tired than you have ever been, but you will still find yourself doing more than you knew you could do. Take the opportunities for sleep when you can, but also embrace that this is the season of your life.

-       Find a mom’s group. Real life support with other mamas is incredibly important. I am blessed to be connected through my birth center, but if you don’t have a pre-loaded group, be proactive. Use meetup.com or other online resources as a starting point, then get out there and meet other moms! Ask for phone numbers! Don’t worry if it feels like you’re dating again! Then make sure to text/call them when you’re having a breakdown moment or a triumphant success.

-       It’s hard to fit everything in. That’s still okay (even if you’re past the 6 week check up with a clean bill of health). Continue asking for help. Can a family member come watch the little one while you nap, or get caught up on paying bills, or simply taking some time to breathe? Don’t feel like you have to be superwoman – remember this is a marathon, not a sprint.

-       But make sure to take care of yourself. Take your vitamins. Drink water. Eat food. If any of these are tough, think of possible solutions. In my case, I’m hunting down ‘on the go’ recipes I can make/freeze even for breakfast/lunch. My freezer crock pot meals are fantastic for dinner, but I notice that when I’m single handedly trying to navigate the day my own nourishment often gets pushed to the side.

-       Time passes SO quickly. Take pictures with your phone or camera and flip through them. Even over a couple of weeks, you will marvel at little one’s growth and change.


-       It takes time to heal – give yourself that time. If you’re worried, go see the doctor. If the doctor says you’re okay – give yourself a break. I was so worried about how much I still hurt even as I approached the magical 6 week mark that I may have been psyching myself out and getting in the way of my healing. Once I allowed myself to let go, I noticed that I very quickly resumed healing and felt much better.

-       Build time for your first relationship – that with your husband/partner. As a mother, I found that all other connections really did seem further away. This tends to make sense – I am biologically connected to this tiny, helpless being and my very body responds to his cries. However, I am also stronger with my husband by my side – we are a family, WERE a family before our little one joined us. I found that even when tired, it feels so good to reconnect and spend time being close. It helps us rejuvenate and better face the ups and downs of the next day. It really opened my eyes when I heard him say “It’s nice to be appreciated as more than just someone else to hold the baby.” While I never meant to come across that way, I can see that perspective.

-       Along the same note, make sure to keep lines of communication open with those around you: husband/partner, family, friends. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your own thoughts and just steam ahead while leaving others out in the cold.

-       Continue to advocate for yourself. You may need some time to have your own thoughts and rediscover your needs. This is hard to do in close proximity to the little one (at least for me). Remember your voice. Keep a journal, keep your hobbies, find a quiet space. You are you, in addition to being a wonderful mama and partner.

-       You will find yourself obsessing over eating, pooping and sleeping. (Your baby’s, not necessarily yours.) This is normal. Take time to be educated, ask questions and rein yourself in. (As in, don’t spin yourself up into hysteria. I need help with this often.) While there are some norms, remember that each baby is unique. Take all information with a grain of salt, and know that you have partners on this journey. If you’re concerned, ask your lactation consultant, doula, midwife, doctor, mother, friends. There’s no way to just KNOW everything.

-       You will also find yourself incredibly frustrated by the lack of consistency. One day (or night) will have something amazing/awful happen… and the next day/night could be the opposite. Even though you didn’t DO anything different. This is also normal. It’s way easier to accept on the good days, but just remind yourself during the bad (like nights when all of a sudden baby is waking twice as often) that this is temporary.

-       Keep in mind that nursing is not just about food – there’s so much more. The connection, love, and stimulation that go along with nursing should be attended to – not just survived. Don’t get me wrong – some feeds I zombie through. But if you find yourself wondering “How can I make it through this feed?” – take a moment to recenter. Your little one is still your most important focus. Look at his eyelashes, fingers, cheeks, toes. Immerse yourself in this loving moment and know that it’s just the two of you.

-       You may find yourself thinking “this is the worst Easter-egg hunt EVER!”… in relation to stretch marks, that is. As my swelling went down, I kept finding NEW stretch marks. The ones on my belly were a no-brainer, but surprise! on my hips, thighs, boobs… I was apparently stretched to my limit! You might find yourself despairing over these changes. It took me some time to evaluate myself and get comfortable within this new body. This helped: 
-       There will be some scary stuff in this time. You’ll have to consider things like circumcision and vaccinations, and confront possible struggles with breastfeeding. Keep this in mind: it might be the hardest thing you’ve done so far… but when you’re through it, you don’t have to do that day again. You’ve gotten through that hard day, and while there will be another challenge at another time you’re slowly building up your bank of experience and confidence. My friend Brandy from the birth center put it like this: At our house we call them waves - some are bigger than others - and we just ride it out. Some waves take 10 minutes to ride and others 2 days…” I think that’s a great analogy.

-       It’s hard to see the changes in your little one since you’re with him all the time. A great tradition is to take a photo with an object to show scale, and follow his growth. It will amaze you all over again. Our current project involves a regular laundry basket – I plan to take a photo each month to see him change. It’s already amazing – even at 2 months! 




Ultimately, it boils down to the fact that the most miraculous event has happened: your little one has joined your world. Over time, you'll get to know each other better and better - and you'll grow into the family you were meant to be. Take it easy on yourselves. You've got a long way to go.









May 24, 2013

THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE FIRST TWO WEEKS AFTER BABY


This is (of course) just my take. But I thought this would be important to write down not only for myself, but for anyone else who may soon be expecting their first. 

If you are a new mama or dad and have anything to add, please do so in the comments! 


-       Sleep when baby sleeps … for real. Everyone says it, but it’s hard to understand what that means. Sure, there’s going to be some light laundry or dishes that you HAVE to do to survive during the days (especially if your partner is working full time)… but back off the big stuff. Your baby needs your 100% energy, focus and love. If you don’t sleep, you won’t be up to the early challenges. It’s super tempting (SUPER TEMPTING) to get “caught up” while the baby sleeps. I’ll bet that you’ll find out that it’s NOT WORTH IT if you give it a try. Because neither the baby or your partner will appreciate you having a rotten day and feeling miserable, but hey! The floors got vacuumed. (Can you tell this happened to me?) There’s always someone to help with heavy cleaning or chores - your job is to nourish your little one and recover. You have the best excuse on the planet to take some time. Use it.

-       Ask for help. It might feel weird and counter to normal (our culture is very much “I got this!”), but this is the biggest change of your life. You need time to recover and bond with your little one. Doing chores or cooking doesn’t get you there. Your family and friends are dying to help, but many people might not know how. Consider sending out an email or letting your family know what they can do to help: come over to drop off food and leave, come over to do some chores  (like dishes/laundry) and leave, come over to hold the baby while you nap in another room, then leave. Notice a theme? :) One of the best presents I got in the early days was my best friend coming over on her lunch break, taking the baby to the other side of the house, and giving me 25 minutes to sleep. Amazing. These first two weeks are not the best time for you to feel like a hostess. Focus on yourself, and encourage your family to help you with what’s needed. Advocate for yourself and your baby.

-       If you are planning to breastfeed, please be patient! Even though it’s the most “natural” thing, both you and your baby need to learn how. Take full advantage of the hospital lactation consultant. Nurse your baby as immediately as possible. If you don’t have a lactation consultant outside the hospital, get one or get in contact with La Leche League and attend meetings (it’s tough to figure out nursing problems long distance, you want someone in person to help you if needed). From personal experience, I can tell you that even with a pretty successful start to breast feeding (James latched right on and we were good to go!), it’s incredibly helpful to have a lactation consultant available to see for appointments and available via phone/text for quick questions. Be patient with yourself and your little one. Visit kellymom.com for incredibly helpful articles and information about breastfeeding.

-       Set yourself up with a nursing “area” – I have two. One in the living room, with a basket nearby with snacks, a box of Kleenex, a charger for my cell phone and an area for my drinks. My other area is in the bedroom – I cleaned out a nightstand drawer for the same purpose: stocked with bottles of Gatorade and easy snacks for middle-of-the-night feeds. Remember: you’re going to be sitting in those areas for hours! Might as well be comfortable. :) Another huge help was Netflix for TV/movies due to hours of nursing, and also an electronic book reader – whether it’s your phone/Kindle/Nook. Super awesome for middle of the night feeds.

-       Hormones are normal. Roll with it. Embrace them. You’re not weird or crazy. Good and bad is to be expected, even on the same day. You’ll experience the highest highs and the lowest lows, sometimes one after another. It’s exhausting... and normal. It’s incredibly helpful to have a partner that understands that you’ll be going through some intense days. It’s also helpful to have a friend that you can call/text for the good/bad/questions/venting.

-       Before you go to the hospital, make sure you have stuff at home for your comfort like nursing pads, nursing bras/tank tops/comfy pants/shorts/slippers (remember you’ll be swollen in those early days, stuff may feel snug at first).

-       Remember newborns have limited needs. It’s not a Mensa test or anything personal when the baby cries. And cries. And then screams. Check the diaper. Check to see if she’s hungry. Give her some good cuddles. And when all else fails, pass her to someone and take a moment to calm yourself – step outside, and take a deep breath. She can sense your frustration. BUT KNOW THIS: there is a “normal” fussy time for almost all babies… this typically happens in the evening, and can last a few hours. All of a sudden, your calm contented babe will turn into an inconsolable little screamer. I remember when it happened on day 7, I was completely unprepared and wrecked. This is okay… your little one just needs more cuddles/nursing and you WILL get through that fussiness (sometimes 2 hours, sometimes 4… sometimes starts at 7PM, sometimes starts at 4… be flexible).

-       One of the biggest things I noticed about my ‘bad’ days was that I ‘expected’ something that didn’t happen. Like, I expected to get a lot of sleep, or that baby would nap, or that I would get a shower and get out of the house/accomplish something ‘like I used to’. Invariably, I wouldn’t be able to do that because… I have a newborn. So my frustration would build, and I’d be disappointed/upset/sad. There’s a huge attitudinal adjustment here. When I took a moment to realize what was happening, and reset my mind to the fact that this was what my baby needed more than he needed me to shower or whatever else I thought I ‘should’ do – everything turned around. I could then appreciate the day and the magic of what we were doing. 

Finally, here are some hugely helpful resources I couldn't do without: 

And of course keep in mind: take what you need from these resources and ditch the rest. Take everything with a grain of salt, and keep in mind that what works for one family/baby/mama might not work for you. And that's okay. 

You are amazing. It can be tough to remember that during these first few weeks, but you are. Love on yourself, your baby and your partner. And know that this is truly an amazing adventure we're all on. 

 
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