House Update: Kids/Guest Bathroom

When deciding how to decorate our upstairs bathroom, I knew I wanted it to be kid-friendly since it is Faith's/Gabby's main bathroom, yet not make adults feel like they were three years old. Therefore, no Nemos, dolphins or any other fish that are usually reserved for bathrooms. And that my friends, is how my bathroom came to revolve around a $40 shower curtain.

It's Kate Spade in case you're wondering and I'm in love with it. (I've never said that about a shower curtain before and it's quite liberating!) I ordered some "words for walls" from Uppercase living, Rob installed them very carefully and splish, splash, Faith was taking a bath.

Howie T. Dog on supervision duty!
World's Greatest Mom (mine) painted the room (and deserves a  blog post all her own about how truly great she is) and I brought in the colors from the curtain with other accents in the room. The soap dispenser is from Target, the hand towels from BBB (we also have some plum ones) and the candle is a Scentsy. (Awakening smells amazing!) The faucet extender is from Amazon and an idea I stole from Mrs. Hartz. (hi, Nik!)

This bathroom also has an inordinate amount of spray-painted items for such a small space. I spray painted the "Bath" sign I got from Hobby Lobby to match the shower curtain. Rob spray-painted the frames (also from HL) with my signs I bought from Etsy and I even spray painted the trash can (after putting rubber bands around it). Don't look to closely. Our spray-paint jobs are far from perfect, but they turned out OK if you don't have 20/20 vision.

Now all that's left to do is buy a clock (we'll need to know how much time Faith spends primping in there in a couple years) and get a big canvas picture of both girlies in the tub to hang over these robes:

Right now, Miss Gabby is still taking baths in the sink. And she's quite pleased she doesn't have to share a bathroom just yet!

p.s. she smiles now. it's just hard to capture on camera!!

Ode to Breastfeeding

You may recall my last attempt at poetry on this blog, when I wrote a little ditty called Ode to Daycare.

This time around, I'm attempting a haiku...about breastfeeding. It goes a little something like this:

Ow Ow Ow Ow Ow
Why DON'T men have nipples, huh?
She can't be hungry!

If you would've asked me about my breastfeeding experience on Day 4, the above poem is how I would've summed it up. I was engorged with bleeding nipples (delayed warning: post is somewhat graphic/totally honest, so turn back now if you've since changed your mind about wanting to read it.
I promise not to be offended, mostly because I won't ever know, haha!) In short, things are MUCH better now, and I'm ready to share my experience mostly because I feel I've come full circle.

First let's rewind to when a girl named Faith was born and we never got the hang of breastfeeding. I pumped exclusively for 7-8 months, during which my pump became My New Breast Friend. When Faith was a little over three weeks old, our family drove to Green Valley State Park near Creston, Iowa to celebrate my Grandma Lucile's 99th birthday.

My mom told me it was only about an hour's drive from Council Bluffs, so I didn't bring my pump and we only packed one small bottle. Famous last words. After an almost two hour drive to get there (a combination of my mom's underestimation to convince us to come and construction zones) we could only spend a little time with everyone before we had to turn around and go home so I could pump. I tried breastfeeding Faith in a family member's camper, but she just wasn't having it.  It was a pretty frustrating day.

So with Gabby, I was determined to breastfeed a baby, not a black shoulder bag, from the start.

This might explain why I let her "practice" at the hospital for up to an hour at a time. Yes, one. whole. hour. 60 loooong minutes. In my new mommy fog (and on painkillers) it didn't hurt at all. Until we got home. My nipples were badly bruised and every time I went to latch her on, I cringed with anxiety and then cried out in pain. "Ouch" is probably the only PG word I used when this would happen.

To add to it, Gabby had a mild case of jaundice, which meant she was tired and didn't want to nurse for more than five-10 minutes. Peeing and pooping helps rid babies of the bilirubin buildup in their blood, so I needed her to dirty diapers and she wasn't having very many. I decided to pump to help with my engorgement and her lack of wet Pampers. We fed it to her by syringe and when that got old, the bottle. I started becoming dependent on my pump again and began using it for most of her meals. I feared it was deja vu all over again.

At her four day checkup, the jaundice had all but dissipated and she'd even gained weight. I told our pediatrician about my breastfeeding challenges and she suggested I try a nipple shield or what I like to call LIFESAVER #1. Right there in the doctor's office, I was able to latch Gabby on and nurse practically pain-free. It was amazing. That was Tuesday.

By Friday, things were better, but after Howie ate one of my nipple shields (damn dog!), I wasn't sure I could continue that way forever. I knew I needed to learn to latch on "normally" eventually. So that morning, I packed up the kitchen sink and Gabby and I headed to Mommy N' Me at UNMC. I was approximately 20 minutes late for the hour long session, but considered that pretty good for the mother of a newborn. The class was discussing exercising after baby when I arrived. At first I was confused because I thought it was supposed to be all about breastfeeding. Don't get me wrong, several moms were nursing right then and there and they all made it look effortless, which made me feel even worse. Finally, after a lull in the conversation, I piped up with the only question I could think of...."What are your thoughts on nipple shields?" As the lactation consultant began to answer my question with more questions of her own, I burst into tears. I explained how I was having trouble latching Gabby on without horrific pain and she immediately came over to help. She asked if I'd tried the football hold and I admitted I hadn't. She worked with me to get the latch right and Gabby started sucking away. I hadn't thought she was hungry but she ended up nursing for 45 pain-free minutes without the nipple shield. It was glorious! And when we weighed her afterward, she'd gained 2.5 ounces. I was so happy. Mommy N' Me quickly became the new LIFESAVER.

I debated whether or not to share this picture, but figured it didn't show anything more than a swimsuit/low cut shirt (since I wear so many of those) but I wanted to include it in this post because it truly captures my emotions at the time. Tears of frustration turned into happy tears!
Later at home, I tried the football hold on my left side to no avail. Gabby just seemed to scream in that position, so I tried the cross-cradle hold and realized she just liked to lie on her right side to nurse. We've been utilizing those positions (football hold on the right, cross cradle on the left) ever since. She's gaining weight and I haven't had any major issues since the first week. Gabby even started sleeping through the night (7 weeks is the magic number apparently!) I've started pumping in the morning to accumulate bottles for when I go back to work. Gabs is still nursing 6/7 times a day for about 20ish minutes at a time with 2.5 - 3 hours in between. (Sorry that last sentence is for me to remember when I forget ALL of this in a year!)

While exclusively pumping worked for Faith and me, I'm really glad breastfeeding is working out for Gabby and me. I by no means a seasoned vet at it yet, but I think we'll get there eventually. Because my little one knows what she wants and when she wants it, I've gotten to practice breastfeeding in the car twice, one of which was in a McDonald's parking lot at 10 p.m., which I would not recommend. I tried breastfeeding discreetly at a park once but felt really uncomfortable. Maybe someday I'll feel confident enough to do it in public, but for right now, I prefer the couch with my Boppy.

All that said, my girls (I love saying that!) and I recently traveled back to Green Valley State Park to gather with family members around what would have been Grandma Lucile's 102nd birthday. Again, I did not bring my pump, but this time I didn't have to. After a couple hours in the car (we now know it takes longer to get there than my mom likes to tell us), we arrived and shortly after stuffing my face full of sweet corn, I brought Gabby in the camper and sat on the same bed I struggled to feed Faith on three years ago. Gabby latched on and we nursed for a good 15 minutes. It was a pretty neat moment.

Sure there are bonuses to pumping exclusively...

- a pump never wakes you up in the middle of the can choose when you do it
-a pump never falls asleep on you when it's time to eat
- a pump latches on the right way every time


-a pump takes valuable time away from your baby
- a pump requires you to pack a bunch of parts if you leave the house
- a pump doesn't have the most beautiful blue eyes you've ever seen

Not that you asked for it, but my #1 piece of advice to new moms who choose to breastfeed would be "DON'T GIVE UP!" especially in that first week! Oh, and my #2 piece of advice would be to go to a Mommy N' Me class. Even if you burst into tears in the middle of your sentence, there are people there that can help. And it's totally worth it. I'm still learning (I'd like to work on mastering the side-lying position and not being so awkward at nursing discreetly in public) but I'm just giving it time and promising not to quit. That way on my tombstone it can say: Here lies Nicole Lindquist. She breastfed* (kind of, with Faith) two* (maybe more someday) children. :)

The Many Faces of Gabby Grace

Isn't it crazy how many facial expressions a newborn can make? Gabby Grace included. Though I haven't received a full on social smile from her yet, (just gassy/full of milk ones in her sleep and an almost-but-not-quite one when she's awake) she still has her share of ways she communicates through her "looks." See if you can tell what she's trying to say in the following photos, which I should note, most of these were taken within a few minute span one day.

"Dude, ceiling fan, ceiling fan, ceiling fan!"

"Life on the outside ain't so bad!"

"Heh. I'm naked under here."

"Did someone say bath? Nooooo!"

"Ugh. I only got 16 hours of sleep yesterday!"

"Ahh, so this is the infamous milk coma!"

And last but not least, "Here comes the boobie!" - courtesy of Ericka Lang, who won my caption contest on Facebook.

Faithy's Big Girl Room

At last, some updated pictures of our new house, specifically Faith's big girl room! I was hoping to show before and after photos, but Faith hid the memory card to our camera, so this is the only one I have:

When we discover her newfound hiding spot, not only will we find all the before pictures of the house, but our beloved baby crack toy that's missing and the magnetic letter I in Howie that used to be on a framed photo of our dog.

Since I can't show you all the before photos of Faith's room, I'll just tell you that it was beige and boring. Well, that certainly cannot be said for the room anymore. It's as pink as pink can be thanks to my amazing, awesome mom/Faith's Grammy Janny, who spent two days painting her room to look like bubblegum, one of which was Mother's Day. Seriously, don't anyone try to hire her out! She's mine, and Rob and I pay her in grandchildren. Gabby bought us at least a few more rooms, but it's a good thing we like the color in the living room :) Mom, if you're reading this, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for painting pretty much our entire house. It all turned out beautifully, which everyone will see as we share photos of the rest of the house.

Without further ado, Faith Janna's bedroom:

In the entrance to the cupcake themed bedroom hangs -what else- a cupcake calendar. This is also the only picture where you can see Rob's electrician work in the top left of the photo. He let Faith pick out the ceiling fan for her room and she went with a pink, flowery one. I personally thought this was a little over the top, but the room was probably that way without the fan so oh well.

My apologies for the horrible lighting on this photo but this is the bay window in her room, above which my mom (did I mention how amazing and awesome she is?) hung four 8X10 photos of Faith at 1 month, 6 months, 9 months and 1 year. Below is her hot pink rocking chair and dress up box. Since you can't see it in this photo, you'll just have to come over for a playdate sometime. 

This is my favorite view/angle of Faith's room. Rob actually picked out her new bed. It's from Nebraska Furniture Mart. A daybed was a perfect fit for this room and the fact that it had storage/drawers/a secret compartment (note to self: check compartment for memory card) made it a win win. Her bed certainly doesn't look like this on a daily basis, which is why it took me so long to get photos up. I had searched high and low for cupcake bedding and found absolutely none. (I dare you to find some!) Anyway, with everything else going on in this room, I figured having a pretty plain comforter/quilt would be OK. Throw in a couple pillows and I love how it turned out. However, the best part about her room is the frame wall above the bed. I laid out how I wanted it and Rob executed (similar to how a lot of things in this house happen). 

A few highlights: the frame on the top left is of the prayer my mom used to recite to me when I was a little girl. She typed it up and gave it to me for my baby shower and it's been a mainstay in Faith's room ever since. The clock on the wall is frozen at the time Faith was born: 11:15 p.m. (saves us from having to change the battery too) :) The F is from the letters my good friend Summer made when Faith was born. We just took off the animal, spray-painted the letter purple and added a spray-painted star.

The item on the bottom left was also spray painted pink. It was a gift for Faith's baptism and it says "Jesus Loves Me." The cupcake, donut  and "J" artwork are Faith Janna originals and the bigger framed photos are Hobby Lobby originals. :) The baby picture is from her Aunt Rachel back in the day and the framed text is from the "How to Love A Child" poem, which I love. I just used a variation of purple markers to write it on a piece of pink cardboard paper. 
And I think that's all for the wall.

This is a close up view of Faith's rug, given to her by --who else-- Grammy Janny for her birthday last year. I know you can make these out of old t-shirts, but my mom did one better and purchased it from Angel Guardians, Inc. a company out of Omaha that provides job opportunities for individuals with disabilities, a population very close to my heart. We can't wait to get one for Gabby's room next.

This little nook is right inside of the room, and features a little desk from my elementary school and the chair and tea set she got from her other grandma. The wall needs a little something so I think we might string the rest of Faith's artwork from daycare along this wall with clothespins when we --oh who am I kidding -- my mom, figure out how to do it.

This is the wall opposite Faith's bed. The photo was taken by my sister about a week after Faith was born. The dresser is a companion piece to the bedroom set and I forgot to mention before, though it looks like the wood is painted purple (both in the photo and in person) it's actually just a piece of plastic. You can swap out purple for a rainbow of different colors behind it so if my little princess ever likes any other colors, it's an easy fix!

Zooming in on the top of the dresser, we have my advice card book from Faith's baby shower, a cupcake Scentsy (I am OBSESSED!) a clock/frame that features a picture of Faith eating a cupcake (gotta keep the theme going) and last but not least, another favorite item of mine, a cupcake lamp, given to us by my sister as a housewarming present on the day we moved in. 

Hopefully you noticed a trend, and I'm not talking about cupcakes, but instead, our awesome family members who have helped make Faith's room the perfect oasis for her. It may be pink overload, but that is just the way she likes it and loves to show it off. For her, it's home.