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Motherhood – The first 8 weeks

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Jackson was born on October 10, 2014. The first eight weeks have been so exciting and rewarding, and of course, challenging!

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Honestly though, I was expecting life with a newborn to be incredibly difficult (and the first three weeks are still a bit hazy), but Jackson is a very relaxed, sweet, and healthy baby.  I’ve been trying to live by the “fourth trimester” philosophy of not relying on schedules and just letting Jackson eat when he’s hungry, sleep when he’s tired, and so on. It definitely made the first few weeks much easier, although now we can usually figure out what he wants.

Lando and Rascal have adapted to life with Jackson very well. We started preparing them while I was pregnant. Rascal can’t jump onto the couch, so we stopped lifting him onto the couch whenever he wanted. He got used to sitting on the rug by our feet. It is very sweet, actually, he tends to sit by the feet of whomever is holding the baby. Lando has gotten more patient waiting for walks (at least with me), but we are still working to reduce his barking! Luckily Jackson is not terribly disturbed by barking chihuahuas. I’m glad that Lando and Rascal have each other for company, as I am less available to pet and snuggle them. That is just temporary, though!

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A few things that have helped me immensely these past few weeks:

  • Company!  Paco stayed home with me the first 5 weeks. My dad visits most days, and we had a lot of friends and family visit during those first weeks. Short visits from the outside world are very refreshing.

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  • Support. Breastfeeding can be much harder than most new mothers realize. Jackson and I have had a relatively smooth ride, but I found that going to a lactation support group was immensely helpful. Even if you think things are going well, they are full of insights that can make it even easier and make you more comfortable and more mobile.  I have also been going to La Leche League meetings, which is great for the sense of community (Jackson is hanging out at the park in the picture below).

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  • Baby carriers.  Jackson loves to be carried in a carrier and walked/bounced/danced around. The Ergo (pictured below) is awesome for going out and longer walks, and I have a ring sling which I wear around the house, and which is perfect for throwing in a diaper bag. In general, I feel much more comfortable taking him out in a carrier than the stroller at this point. It’s one less thing for me to worry about, and if you’re going to stores, it doesn’t involve taking the stroller in and out of the trunk.

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Happy holidays!

Nursery Pictures

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Paco and I are not very focused on interior design. We like things to be comfortable and functional, and most frequently disagree about the amount of “stuff” around (I like less, he likes more). With Baby Flores’s nursery, I think we came to a nice happy medium.  I hope that the little guy likes it when he gets here!

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We wanted a boyish room without making it too gender-specific. We did not initially intend to have a theme, but we ended up choosing lots of animal pieces so we sort of have an animal theme going. I love it!

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Our main goal was to create a simple, comfortable space for us and the baby to hang out at all hours. Here are a few thoughts on nursery furniture:

Crib – We opted for one with clean lines and plenty of ventilation. If he’s like his mom, he will run warm at night.

Changing table – I wanted to avoid baby-specific furniture as much as possible, so we added a changing pad to our regular dresser.

Glider – I wasn’t sure we’d need one, so I was reluctant to purchase one. However, we inherited this one from Paco’s generous colleague, and I’m so glad that we have it now.  It’s super comfortable with back support and a place to put my feet up.

Night stand with a lamp – I think this will be convenient, especially for middle-of-the-night meals.

With less than a week until my due date, I think we are pretty ready for his arrival!  I can’t wait to meet him.

 

 

Maternity Clothes – What worked for me

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This blog has been neglected for a while, but I haven’t just been sitting around!  I am 34 weeks pregnant, and it’s been a very busy summer. Highlights included a trip to London for work (and visiting my mom’s side of the family in the U.K.), two gorgeous weddings in California (picture below is from Santa Barbara), and Paco’s and my last childfree vacation (for a while at least) to San Francisco.

 

Paco and me (32 weeks pregnant)

Paco and me (32 weeks pregnant)

When I first found out I was pregnant, I did a ton of internet searches on what types of maternity clothes are useful. There are tons of recommendations out there, some which worked for me and some that didn’t, so I thought that I would put my two cents out there. A few things to note–I live in L.A. and it’s been warm (uh, HOT) for most of my pregnancy, and I work in a casual environment (jeans are okay, no need for maternity suits, etc.).

  • Belly bands – I bought both the Bella Band from Nordstrom and Be Band from Target. Although they’re both made by the same company, the Bella Band worked better for me; it’s longer, a little bit more snug, and has rubber lining on the bottom hem which keeps it from riding up.  These allowed me to wear non-maternity pants for an extra month or two.
  • Versatile maternity jeans – I tried on a bunch at all price points, and chose a pair of Paige skinny jeans. I can wear jeans to work so these were worth the price for me, but if you don’t wear jeans as often or are looking at a lower price point, Gap’s skinny jeans were the runner up and were about $60.
  • Long, stretchy tank tops – I bought a few maternity tank tops from Old Navy early on for $6 or $8 each. Other than the side ruching, they pretty much look like regular tank tops, and you can wear them when not pregnant. I still wear regular tank tops as well, but it’s nice to have extra long ones that you know won’t ride up.
  • Blousy, stretchy, long, non-maternity shirts – I bought/borrowed a few blousy shirts to wear to work, but didn’t buy any maternity tops outside of the tank tops mentioned above.
  • New bras – I definitely needed new bras by 20 weeks. I have read “minimalist” recommendations that you wait until your 8th month to buy new bras, but that definitely would NOT have worked for me. Go to TJ Maxx/Target/Ross and pick up a few cheap ones. . .I changed size multiple times so I would not recommend investing in nice ones until after the baby arrives.
  • Thick leggings or yoga pants with a fold-over waist – I bought regular Victoria’s Secret black yoga pants in my normal size and one size up for further along. Honestly, I haven’t gotten to the point where I wear these outside the house beyond dog-walking, but I think these will come in very handy during maternity leave, paired with a long sweater (assuming that it cools off!).
  • Stretchy dresses, empire waisted or able to be belted above the waist – I had a ton of summer dresses that I thought I would be able to wear while pregnant. However, I did not realize how short everything gets (if your clothes tend to be shorter).  So I did end up buying a few stretchy dresses to wear to work and on the weekends. Both regular dresses (sized up if necessary) and maternity dresses (which can be worn after the baby comes if they’re just the stretchy type) will work.
  • Long cardigans and light jackets – Some I bought while pregnant, some are from before, but all can be worn after the baby comes. These really helped to round out my wardrobe and make clothes evening or office appropriate. This light sweater jacket from Nordstrom is perfect for L.A nights and will remain a staple all winter.
  • Comfortable shoes, flats or wedges – Try to find something with arch support. These Born Julianne flats (which I purchased before being for traipsing around a hot city) are a little boring but they are super comfortable and go with almost everything. A pair of Nine West gladiator sandals that I picked up at the Nine West outlet were also a lifesaver and are actually more comfortable than flip-flops.

Everyone says it, but my main suggestion is to not overbuy early on. . .your body changes in pretty surprising ways, and what looks good on others won’t always translate to your body. Also, be open to veering from your normal style. I love fitted clothing normally, and I thought I would be able to get into the maternity “body-con” style, but after trying on a few dresses I realize I feel much more comfortable in a flowy empire waist or something a little less form fitting. Be open minded!

Singapore, March 2014

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I was in Singapore last month for work, and I had to post a few pictures of the food.

Beef noodle soup from a mall food court (which are amazing there):

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A food hawker center:

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Tiny deep-fried prawns from a Japanese restaurant:

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Prawn fishing with my aunt, cousin, and her husband (we caught 3, not sure we would survive in the wild):

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Skewered and grilled prawns from a Szechuan restaurant:

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Soft-boiled eggs with toast (they slice frozen butter for the toast, then top it with sugar). I have been eating a LOT of soft-boiled eggs since I got back:

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Thanksgiving 2013

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Paco and I hosted Thanksgiving for both of our families at our house. We decided on a turkey-less Thanksgiving meal, with bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin roast as the main course. Also on the menu were a mango-chutney glazed ham, stuffed mushrooms, apple herb dressing, roasted squash with brown sugar, goat cheese chive mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and gravy.

My brother Doug took the pictures below; he is the real photographer in the family!

I tied two pork tenderloins together and wrapped them in bacon after rubbing them with the mustard marinade.  I followed Claire Robinson’s recipe, but since I roasted the pork loins together, I roasted them for about 50 minutes, until they reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees. I also brined them overnight to ensure that they would be juicy.

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Here’s Lando waiting for me to drop a morsel of pork.

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A few of the finished dishes.

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For other recipes that I used to inspire this meal, please see:

Happy holidays!