baby blues

I've debated writing this post for a while - not because I'm ashamed, by any means - but because the topic tends to make people a little uncomfortable. Exactly 8 weeks ago today, I gave birth to our sweet little peanut, Spencer, and it's been the most incredible, exhilarating, exhausting and trying 8 weeks of my life, as well as Ryan's. People warn you about the lack of sleep. They warn you about your body changing in ways you never thought possible. They even tell you about the woes of breastfeeding. The thing that's pretty hush-hush except in the medical community is the reality of postpartum depression.

I've found that, especially in the blogging world, people tend to show their world as it would be seen through rose-colored glasses. They don't usually talk about the harder parts, and while that can be good sometimes, I think it can also be somewhat detrimental. Here's the reality of postpartum depression: it sneaks up on you, dark and deceiving, undermining every bit of instinct you think you might have and bathing you in doubt. It shrouds the happiest time of your life in a blanket of fear and exhaustion, leading you to wish for a life you once had. Then, when you think those thoughts, you begin to hate yourself because you love your child more than anything and can't believe you've thought them.

I haven't had bad postpartum depression, but I've definitely had it. I love my son more than life itself. He is a wonderful, beautiful and pure little blessing for both my husband and I. And, I'll be the first to say that I hated myself for thinking these thoughts that are so forbidden and frowned upon. They do not, however, make me any less of a mother.

Through the support of my amazing husband, my sweet mother and my sisters, I've managed to dig out of my little pit of despair to enjoy my son more fully. I know that so many other women struggle with this though, too, and they're ashamed to reach out for help. It is not your fault. Take a break, ask for help and give yourself the time to heal - both physically and emotionally. That, my friends, is what has helped me more than anything.

And, seriously, don't be afraid to admit it. I think if more people talked about these struggles, more women would be okay with the reality of it. Why not discuss it? Why not lean on one another and get advice from those who've felt the same? Life with a new baby is hard, but it's fantastic, and if you think you might have baby blues or postpartum depression, there is absolutely no shame in talking to someone about it and getting the help and support you need.

a good sort of chaos

I have not been a very good blogger lately. In fact…I've been a terrible blogger. I'm excited to say that this little blog will be getting a makeover very soon though, and it will also be getting a real domain! I've put it off for a long time, but since I intend to blog more frequently, I'll be making sure to get that done. Life in the Moore household is chaos lately - a good chaos - but a chaos, nonetheless. We finally got our household goods on the 16th (one month after we left Arizona), and we're still in the process of unpacking and setting up our new home.

Spencer is doing pretty great! He's 8 weeks old tomorrow, which is insanity, and he's slowly but surely developing patterns! I'll be doing a whole update on his development and growth in just a few days!

We've met some of our neighbors, ventured to our new church, explored Watertown a bit, bought a new car and are slowly settling into this new life in this new place. And, with every great change, I make it wholehearted, so be ready for changes on the blog soon! 

on motherhood

At 7 weeks old, it finally feels like Spencer is developing into his own little person, which is both wonderful and terrifying. We're past that newborn phase where he needed us every minute of every hour. We're past the fear of his little cries and not knowing what to do to satiate him. We know these things will come back around, but we're also watching as things slowly but surely transform into a little routine. It's made me very reflective on motherhood and what it really means for women.

Motherhood is selflessness. It's letting go of the things that felt important before and embracing a new sense of self in which your child's needs are as important - if not moreso - than your own. It's learning that sleep is a forgotten past time that seems like a luxury you'll never get back. And when you do get 3 hours of sleep at a time, you awake for the next feeding rested and alive. Motherhood is almost constant exhaustion couple with the elation of knowing you helped to create this little life.

Motherhood means forgetting a meal, or two, or three, and when you finally learn that you must eat, it means scarfing down your food quicker than ever if only to stave off those quickly-escalating wails. It means coming to terms with a new body that's different than before; it might not be perfect, but it grew a human, and that makes it flawless. 

Motherhood means many tears of frustration, sadness when you can't calm the storm of your child's fury and happiness when you see that first smile as your child actually sees and recognizes you. It means questioning yourself, double-guessing your judgment and looking for any and all solutions to spit up, gassiness, fussing, sleeplessness, etc. Sometimes, it means pain. Giving so much of your body takes its toll, and motherhood means learning to make yourself a priority so that your child can remain your priority.

Motherhood, to me, means a stronger bond with my husband. This partnership we've had has increased tenfold since Spencer was born. We're navigating these murky waters of parenthood together, and while it's hard, and we've definitely had our arguments and share of frustration, I could never do this without him. Fatherhood has made him a million times more attractive in my eyes, and I am so grateful for the struggles, the challenges and the changes that come.

the journey is the reward

This move has difficult for us. Honestly, we thought it would be difficult because of the new baby and moving in the middle of winter, but it's been harder for the most absurd reasons. First, the bank failed to provide the proper closing documents, so we missed our home closing on 12/29 and had to reschedule - twice. Now, we've been in our home for two weeks, and the Army has still not delivered our household goods.

We were told yesterday (and called to confirm) that our goods would be delivered today. I received a call late yesterday that they were "incorrect in the date they provided," as there is another Moore family receiving their goods today. Instead, we have to wait until Thursday now for our furniture to arrive. Honestly, I know worse things could happen, and we're lucky that they will arrive, but still…the silliest, stupidest things are what's holding up our clean move into our first home.

Right now, this is our life. We have a beautiful new home - though it has fun little quirks, too, so I'll share those later - but we have zero furniture. I measure things with my hands, serve dinner on paper plates, change the baby on the floor, sleep on an air mattress and Spencer has been sleeping in his Rock 'n Play for a month now.

Is this the worst thing that could have happened to us? Heck no! Is it annoying as anything? You bet! One day, we're going to look back on this and laugh, but for now, we're just staying afloat and hoping against hope that our stuff really will arrive on Thursday. I suppose, in the end though, the journey here will be the reward.

our new normal

We have a new normal here in the Moore household now. It's one that's taking some getting used to. It's not always the easiest, but it's definitely a million times more worth it than ever. There have been many tears shed (on both mine and Spencer's part) about this new normal, and lots patience on Ryan's part. There's a sweetness to this new normal, and unfamiliarity about it that's both foreign and amazing. We're loving it.

I've discovered that working from home with a little man like this is challenging, and it's exhausting, but I have to say that I'm so blessed to be able to do this. Spencer's finally started smiling, and I'm glad to have the opportunity to be home, breastfeed him, see these little moments and cuddle him - and still earn a good salary all the while. There's a delicate balance to this new normal that has made it interesting to grow accustomed to, as well though. We're on Spencer's time, and sometimes an email - or a blog - just have to wait.

Black River and Fort Drum are so different than Arizona and Fort Huachuca, as you can probably imagine. Huachuca was such a small post, and the weather was always pretty much consistent. Here, however, the weather throws us curveballs daily. The post has already been closed twice for snow since we've arrived, and selfishly, I've loved having Ryan home. Drum is also huge. The PX and the Commissary are twice the size of what I'm used to, and it's like a whole new world when I drive on post. 

We're on day 13 at our new home without our furniture, but we've finally received word that it will be arriving tomorrow, and I'm so excited. Spencer's crib also arrived, and we've ordered custom bedding that'll be shipping soon, too, so I can't wait to show off his sweet little nursery once it's set up. There are so many things to look forward to that it makes our new normal even more exciting. Sure, there's a lot of fatigue, and more than once, I've questioned whether I'm cut out for this mothering thing, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I'm hoping to fall into a better rhythm soon, and when I do, I'll be a better blogger then. For now though, I'm enjoying this new normal with my little family, as well as all the little changes that we go through every single day. 2015 is going to be a wonderful year.

one month of spencer bruce

As I write this, our little Spencer Bruce is fast asleep next to me. His one month birthday was, coincidentally, on Ryan and my anniversary - January 4th - and we celebrated calmly with a family nap. It was glorious. I can't believe how quickly time is flying by. It seems like yesterday Ryan and I were in the hospital wondering how we could have been blessed with this precious little boy. In the same breath though, it feels like an eternity ago that we were just learning to navigate midnight (and 2, 3 and 4 AM feedings). 

 Spencer was such a champ throughout the entire moving process. He's taken to the time difference, the different surroundings, all the loving arms begging to hold him and a weird new schedule so, so well. He's a really easy-going baby, and despite the sleepless nights (and trust me, there are sleepless nights), we are so in love with his goofy little self.

Baby's Milestones: Spencer smiled about a week and a half ago! His smiles are real now sometimes - not just reflex smiles - and they just about explode my heart each time I get one. Aunt Nikki, my older sister, got the very first real smile, and I think it might have convinced her to give little Spencer cousins sooner rather than later. Fingers crossed?!

Baby's Loves: Spencer's Rock 'n Play is still his absolute favorite. Since we just went through a PCS, we're still waiting for all of our household goods. At Huachuca, we bought the Arms Reach Mini Co-Sleeper in lieu of a crib because of the fast move, but he didn't sleep well in it. He does, however, get about 3-hour stretches in his Rock 'n Play, which is wonderful for both Ryan and I.

Special Moments: Ryan and I had really been looking forward to giving Spencer his first bath, and much to our chagrin, he seemed less than enthused by the whole thing. You could see that a part of him loved it that first week, but he has a really strong Moro Reflex, so I think his panic took over. Once we moved into our new house though, I have been sitting in the tub with Spencer, and seeing Daddy over him while having Mama hold him seems to calm down his intense urge to hyperventilate and panic. He's finally able to really enjoy bath time, which is special for us and him. For those wondering what a Moro Reflex is, it's a reaction to a sudden loss of support or feeling of falling that pretty much all babies have during the fourth trimester…he gets it in the bath and when we change him…see exhibit A:

^^^ not having household goods means changing a baby on the floor

Mama Favorites: Spencer has a tendency to scratch his little face when crying or in his sleep, so mittens have been a must for him. He is also squirmy though, and he usually manages to extricate his little hands from them. Carters makes these amazing little onesies with mittens built in though, that have made our lives much easier…I just fold over the mitten, and his little hands are safe and warm again!

Mama Thoughts: I'm loving this new phase of Spencer's little life! He's finally fitting in his newborn clothes, and he's got the sweetest little personality. He's only waking us up (on average) twice a night now - once when Ryan feeds him a bottle of pumped milk around 1 AM, and one more time when we nurse around 4 AM. We're finally getting on a bit of a schedule, and he seems to be taking to it quite well. He loves to be held, and we just love holding him, so it's been a great arrangement here in the Moore household!

I'd be remiss if I didn't address the realities of how difficult transitioning to motherhood can be though. I've definitely struggled with a tad more than the baby blues, and there were quite a few tears shed. While I love my son more than anything, it's a very trying transition. I've had to learn that I still need to make myself a priority, that a shower can make a bad day better, and it is alright to let him cry for a little bit if his needs have been met. It's all a learning process, and I've definitely learned that by giving myself a little space, I can enjoy and appreciate motherhood all the more.

Happy one month to our beautiful boy (a few days late)! Mama and Daddy sure do love you!

adventures in breastfeeding + a giveaway

One of the biggest things that made me nervous about becoming a mother was the prospect of breastfeeding. Despite doing a ton of reading and research, plus knowing that I wanted to be my child's sole source of nutrition - there was an inherent fear that came along with that, as well. What if I couldn't produce enough milk? What if my baby didn't have a proper latch? What if, for some reason, I had to switch to formula…would that make me a bad mother? Nevertheless, I moved forward with a plan of breastfeeding and started looking into breast pumps so Ryan could help at night, as well.

As mothers and most soon-to-be mama's know, there are a ton of breast pumps out there, and it's hard to tell which ones are better than others. Some come with hefty price tags and great reviews, and some come with cheap price tags and great reviews…so which is the right one? Almost two months ago, Ameda contact me to try their Purely Yours Double Electric Breast Pump, and I was intrigued - if a bit wary. 

^^^ image via

When Spencer was born, I was so eager to try out the pump and start building up a store of milk so we'd never run out. I did realize quickly though that I had to wait for my real milk to come in, as the first 4 days were pure colostrum. Once it did though, I jumped straight in, and I haven't looked back. This pump has been gold for us. In those first few weeks where my body was learning to regulate my milk supply and adjust to Spencer's needs, the Ameda Purely Yours Double Electric Breast Pump helped relieve some pretty intense engorgement, plus it helped me build up a supply to freeze which helped for our cross-country move.

It's compact, comes with a series of bottles to fill and replace, and the parts are easy to clean - all of which were essential to me when choosing a breast pump. I love being able to adjust the setting on the pump, as well, and the speed control helps for those last-minute "oh my gosh, I have to pump" moments. I've had zero discomfort, and after almost a month of using the pump, I can honestly say this is one of my absolute favorite baby products. Plus, there's an awesome collaboration going on right now between Target and United Healthcare, where they might just cover the cost of your entire breast pump…a huge plus when first-time parents are shelling out thousands of dollars for a new baby. 

Compact, lightweight and super efficient, this is a must-have for mama's on the fence about their breast pump choices or just looking for a great (and pretty affordable option).

^^^ this sweet man and his oma…plus cheekies finally, thanks to plenty of milk!

Thanks to the generous folks over at Ameda, I'm so excited to be able to offer one of my lucky readers the chance to win a free Purely Yours Double Electric Breast Pump of their own! Simply fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is open through midnight EST on 1/12/15.

I received the Ameda Purely Yours Double Electric Breast Pump free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my review or opinion of this product.

time flies

I can't believe that in just a few short days, our sweet little Spencer Bruce is going to be a month old. That's madness, guys. It feels like just yesterday that he was kicking and squirming in belly, wracked with hiccups all the time. Now he's out and about, kicking and squirming…and still wracked by hiccups all the time. He's been such a good baby. I'm sure every parent says that, but truly, he really is a wonderful little man. He's got a lovely temperament, and he really just wants contact - and to be held - whenever possible. Spencer is great in his car seat, loves his Rock 'n Play and absolutely must wear mittens all the time.( His nails are lethal.)

I'm by no means an expert on motherhood at all, and I'll be the first to say that motherhood is extremely challenging, but I have learned a few things in the first four weeks of this little man's life. Mostly for posterity and my own future reference, I feel like sharing these things is necessary.

- It is so, so important to take care of myself as much as I do this sweet little man. It's so easy to forget to eat, forget to drink enough water and focus solely on him. It's the little things like a hot shower, plenty of water and a cup of coffee that keep things level and sane though. They're a must.

- The Rock 'n Play is the single most fantastic investment we have made for this baby. He loves it, and the gentle vibrating hum puts him to sleep almost immediately. (As an aside, he also loves white noise and the sound of a running bath.)

- Spencer has what we like to call his "naked and afraid" syndrome. He gets terrified when entirely undressed, but he's mostly great in his bath, and if you wrap him in a towel, he's perfectly content.

- Babies will poop in towels. We learned this the hard way. Blowouts after bathing do require a second bath, my friends.

- Diaper rash is normal, but it's easily remedied. We use Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Diaper Rash Cream. It's the natural equivalent of Desitin, but much more gentle on Spencer's little tush. Also, we've learned to blot instead of wipe with the baby wipes, as that's stopped a lot of the rashes.

- Spencer eats what I eat. We learned this very quickly after a day of delicious but spicy foods. He is prone to gassy episodes, so we're learning to keep foods a little bit easier and more mild on his belly. 

- Breastfeeding is incredibly challenging. It's also immensely rewarding. It takes time for your body to regulate your milk supply and adapt to your baby's demands and schedule. There were many days of engorgement and lots of fear that I wouldn't produce enough. Your body will adapt. Give it time. When in doubt, do call the hotlines. La Leche League is so helpful and important.

There is so much that we're learning about parenting and that I, personally, am learning about motherhood as we go. Spencer changes every single day, and it's both amazing and terrifying. I do also want to say that having a touch of postpartum depression is normal. It's also okay. My husband is incredible and helps me every single day. Ladies - never be afraid to ask for help. I love my son and husband more than anything in the world, but that doesn't change the fact that your body is going through insane changes, and you may need a little more help than you expect. It's not a bad thing.

I'm going to have a really awesome post for you guys tomorrow, too. A couple of months ago, Ameda reached out to me to try out their breast pump, and it's been incredible. I can't wait to share with you guys just how helpful this product has been throughout these first few weeks with Spencer. Love to all of you and your sweet families and a happy new year!