Friday, August 19, 2016

Skincare Routine

So, I had what I think is a fun idea. I really love hearing about other girls' skincare routines and favorite brands, etc., so how about this: I'll blog my skincare routine and all my favorite products, tips and tricks, then you do the same. Put your blog link in the comments and we can all check out each others' skincare posts!

My Skin Type: I'm pretty sensitive and very dry with occasional blemishes. The dryness is most definitely at the top of my list of issues to conquer with my skincare products.

Right now, my favorite products are by Mario Badescu. I used to be loyal to Clinique, but I absolutely love the Mario Badescu stuff and am really glad I switched. I've noticed HUGE improvements in my skin and have gotten several compliments on it lately. I know it's my new skincare routine.

Here are the products I use and a review:

Step 1: Remove Makeup
I use whatever brand of makeup removing wipes I can find at the grocery store - usually the generic Equate brand from WalMart or the Kroger brand from Smith's. I like the calming nighttime ones. They're cheap and cheerful and work great. The wipes are slightly different textures from brand to brand, but I have never noticed a significant difference in effectiveness. I also use Clinique's makeup remover on my eyes. I can never get all of the mascara and eyeliner off with just the wipes. I have no stance on this makeup remover. It's fine. It works. It doesn't have any fragrance, it doesn't cause any irritation, and I have about 5 bottles of it around my house because I was Clinique-loyal for so long.

Step 2: Cleanser
My main cleanser is the MB Enzyme Cleansing Gel. It's super gentle and I love how it makes my skin feel. None of the MB products smell great. IMO, they all have a kind of grandma-ish smell, but I don't mind it and the results are worth it. This cleanser doesn't lather, which makes some people feel like it's not really cleansing deeply, but I definitely feel like it works and it makes my skin so soft. Every other day, instead of the Enzyme Gel, I use the Glycolic Foaming Cleanser - just at night. It's much more potent and contains glycolic acid (anti-aging). Using it a few times a week seems just about right for my skin. Right on the bottle it recommends that you only use it about every other day.

Step 3: Toner
Love the Alpha Grapefruit Cleansing Lotion. Mild, but helps brighten and even complexion.

Step 4: Serum
On the nights that I use the Glycolic Foaming Cleanser, I also use the MB Vitamin C Serum. 4 drops is all it takes to cover the entire face, and it feels so great. Light and so smooth. Again, helps brighten and even complexion and helps with anti-aging.

Step 5: Moisturize
I use the MB Glycolic Renewal Complex morning and night. It's an anti-aging product, but it's also very moisturizing. Lots of mornings, I just use this as my moisturizer. For me and my terribly dry skin, that's saying something. It is probably my favorite MB product of all right now. It's not too heavy or too light, and I love the moisture it provides.

In the morning, sometimes I use the Complex Moisturizer with Vitamin E - SPF 15. I'll be honest, I don't like it. It feels too greasy and heavy and I feel like it leaves an oily residue on my skin and doesn't let it breathe. I use it for the sunscreen when I know I'll be outside, but I usually just rely on the SPF in my makeup. Would not recommend.

At night, I use the Seaweed Night Cream over the Glycolic Renewal Complex. This is technically double-moisturizing, but I feel like my skin needs it, especially at night. This night cream is really pretty and green, haha. It is pretty heavy and some might say greasy, but I don't mind it. It does seem to absorb after a while, and I've never woken up with greasy skin because of it. I like this product, but next time I'm going to try MB's Protein Night Cream.

If I have any extra dry or flaky spots, I put some Aquaphor on them. I also use this on my lips at night. I love, love, love Aquaphor. I have little tubes of it all over the house. Bathroom, bedroom, baby's room, purse, diaper bag, etc. It's like Vaseline only 100x better.

Step 6: Eye Cream
I use MB Ceramide Eye Cream and really like it. Again, it's pretty heavy and greasy, but it does absorb and I feel like it has really improved my little crow's feet wrinkles. The skin around my eyes is less crepey and more hydrated-looking. I only use it at night, because of the greasiness, but I do like this product and it's a steal at $20.

**A few times a week, I also use a scrub. The MB Botanical is pictured, but I've used other kinds I like, too. One nice thing about this scrub is that it doesn't seem to make my skin break out. Other scrubs, like the St. Ives Apricot Scrub, do. I usually use the scrub on like, Wednesday night, and then on Saturday. Saturday is my beauty day, haha. It's the day I do a face mask (I love trying new ones, so there's not just one I stick with, although I really, really love Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay mixed with apple cider vinegar), give myself a full manicure and pedicure, clean my makeup brushes, maybe take a bath with essential oils and epsom salts. This might sound silly, but one of my New Year's resolutions was to take time for myself and those little luxuries. My anxiety is always an issue and so is my self-esteem, so taking an hour or 2 throughout the week to make myself feel pampered is really great. I definitely recommend having a scheduled weekly home spa day, haha.

Favorite Tips & Tricks:

  • Be nice to your face - dab dry, don't rub, gently rub/press in creams (especially around eye area), use tepid or cool water instead of hot.
  • Use a clean towel every time you wash your face. I feel like this should be a given. At my house, all the tan washcloths are mine and mine only - just to dry my face. I used to have really bad acne as a teenager and I think that's when my obsession with clean towles started. I have a big ol' stack of tan washcloths in a basket in my bathroom and I really do use a clean one every time I dry my face.
  • Follow an actual routine - I'm almost I felt like it was time to stop using products designed for pre-teens, haha. Like I said, I love the MB products because of the results I've gotten, but I also love that they're not ridiculously expensive. I was seriously considering committing to a skincare line that costs hundreds of dollars per month...and I'm sure it works just great, but...there are MANY other things I'd rather spend my $$$ on. The MB products are more expensive than drugstore brands, but they're definitely not outrageous, and you can buy almost all their products in a travel size first to see if you like them before you commit to a regular-size bottle.
  • Never sleep with makeup on. Ew. Your skin will be mad at you for so many reasons, plus you'll have missed a chance to give your skin all the moisture and skin-loving ingredients it can soak up during the night with good products.

Ok, your turn!!! Post a link to your blog in the comments so I can read about your routine!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Josie Jo - 5 Month Update

Happy Halloween! This cutie is 5 months old today! She's SO much fun and we love her to pieces. Here's a little bit about her lately:

  • 18 lbs. & 26 inches
  • Loves food! She drinks about 7 oz of formula every 3 hours and gets some rice cereal mixed in with her last bottle of the night to help tide her over until morning
    • She has tried rice cereal, green beans, and sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are definitely her favorite of them all (she's her mama's baby), but she'll chow down on just about anything you give her. The faces she makes eating are THE BEST. We get a lot of laughs at every meal. She also loves to chew on the spoon. She'll chomp down and won't let go. It's pretty cute.
  • Loves baths and has learned to splash! She loves to kick her legs and slap her hands on the water and she giggles and smiles every time she does it.
  • Best. sleeper. ever. (Pleeeeeease let that last!!!) She goes down around 8 p.m. and doesn't usually get up until 8 a.m. and takes about 2 45 min. naps a day (usually in my arms...I don't care if you think that's spoiling her. It's spoiling ME, and we both love it).
  • Loves to play with toys - her ball and her lion teething toy are her favorites, but apparently burp cloths and blankies are also great toys.
  • Still VERY much a mama's girl (ahem...see above post about spoiling). I get nervous every time I take her anywhere to be babysat because she usually screams for everyone. Our family has a really great schedule - Sean takes care of JoJo while I teach in the mornings, then when I'm done with work, I come home and take over and he goes to work. This is great, because we don't have to pay for childcare, but it also means that Josie spends ALL of her time with mom and dad, so she's not really down for hanging out with anybody else. I can't really blame her, we're awesome and all, but I do feel bad for grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles.
  • She can roll over from tummy to back, but doesn't do it often, although she spends a pretty good amount of time on her belly throughout the day. She is close to rolling from back to tummy, but hasn't done it yet.
  • She scoots around in a circle on the floor when we put her down on her tummy. She can go 360 degrees, haha. 
  • Still just has 2 teeth, and they're so cute. 
  • Loves to talk and has long conversations with daddy all the time. 
  • Has the best laugh ever! She squeals and does these big belly laughs that are so funny.
  • She's ticklish, especially under her chin and under her arms.

I could go on about her all day. She is the light of my life, for sure. I love her so much I could cry just thinking about it. Even though being parents can be tough and there are days when both of us wish we could have a break, I still get excited for her to wake up every morning and I'm reluctant to lay her down in her crib every night. I miss her like crazy during the 4 hours I'm at school and I just want to hang out with her all day. She's just basically the best baby ever. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Breast vs. Bottle Battle...a.k.a. A Really Long Post That Probably Gets A Little Too Personal

Breastfeeding was so important to me. It wasn't even a question, of course I was planning to breastfeed my baby. How could you not want to?! I took a class, read Pinterest posts with tips and stories, etc. etc.

It was hard at first, we both cried, but within a few days, we got it figured out. Then she started to grow and grow! She was eating so often and never seemed to be satisfied. Then we both got Thrush (a yeast infection that affects baby's mouth and mommy's breasts). She seemed to fuss every time she nursed and I think her mouth was sore. I started giving her a bottle with pumped breastmilk, and that seemed to be more comfortable for both of us while we dealt with the Thrush, but then she lost interest in breastfeeding. The milk didn't flow as quickly as it did from the bottle and she lost her patience fast. I tried and tried for a while, but then I started almost exclusively pumping. Then my supply started to seriously diminish. I'm not sure if it was from my Thrush, or the exclusive pumping, or what, but I could barely get 2 ounces per side during each pumping session. I had never really overproduced, so I didn't have any freezer storage to fall back on. I started supplementing with formula. I cried and cried when I made that first bottle for her, but she ate it with gusto and I could tell that although it was foreign to her little tummy and made her gassy at first, she was full and satisfied for the first time in a long time.

Now, a few months later, I'm still struggling with it all. My supply has steadily decreased, JoJo will only nurse when she's calm and not too hungry. If she's really got an appetite, she'll just cry when trying to nurse because she's not getting enough food fast enough. I have truly and honestly tried absolutely everything to increase my supply. I drink the recommended amount of water every day, I get enough sleep, I try and manage my stress and stay calm and happy, I've taken 3 capsules of Fenugreek 3 times a day for months, I've used essential oils, I've tried different breast pumps, I pump ever 2-3 hours including sometimes in the middle of the night, I drink lactation tea, I eat oatmeal every day, I've tried massage, I've tried more frequent nursing, I've tried more frequent pumping, I've tried praying, I've tried sobbing, I've tried begging, and nothing is working. As we sit, I only get 0.5-1 oz. per side, per session. Josie drinks about 5.5 oz. per feeding, every 3 hours. She gets whatever breastmilk I produce + formula, mixed together in a bottle. JoJo seems to be handling Similac total comfort formula pretty well, although we had to try several types to figure out which one seemed the best for her tummy. I am trying so hard not to be upset that she is pretty much a formula baby at this point, but I really am upset. THIS IS NOT WHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN! I know that I've done everything I can to provide her with breastmilk, and I'm proud of every half ounce I have been able to give her, and I will continue to do that for as long as I can, hoping and praying that she's receiving some of the important benefits.

Providing food for my baby takes twice as long as it does other mothers, whether they formula feed or breastfeed. I have to pump, then prepare a bottle, then wash everything, etc. It really is tough.I have learned a lot, and I have some ideas to try for our next baby that I hope will help me have a more successful breastfeeding experience next time, but I just don't know that there's any way of turning this ship around at this point.

Really, I just feel like I am a disappointment. Other mothers (and grandmothers and neighbors and friends and total strangers) seem to think that it's okay to ask if you're breastfeeding (which I kind of think is personal and not really their business to ask about...haha, obviously I feel like volunteering that information is different...if *I* bring it up, then we can discuss whether or not I'm breastfeeding...haha), and when you tell them that you're trying, but that you're giving formula, the disappointment and concern on their faces is really hurtful. I know the benefits of breastfeeding. I am not giving it some half-hearted effort. It's not that I don't want to breastfeed. I don't know what's wrong with me or why my body won't cooperate, but that's my situation.

I'm not worried about the aspect of bonding with my baby. When I feed her that bottle, I snuggle her close and look at her beautiful little face and talk to her just like I would when breastfeeding her. We are bonded, she loves me, she knows I love her. I am, howeverworried about her immune system and future susceptibility to diseases and conditions that breastfeeding seems to decrease the risk of, and that's why I continue to pump and give her the feeble amount of milk I'm able to produce.

It's just hard. I'm not a patient, carefree, easygoing person. I am an uptight, anxiety-ridden, perfectionistic person. Failure (or perceived failure) is so hard for me to handle. Criticism is also hard for me to handle. Those character flaws make this situation so frustrating and hard for me to let go of. This has been weighing on my mind so heavily for the last few months and I just needed to put it out there into the world. Maybe I'm hoping for support and for people to say, "don't listen to anybody, you're doing what's best for you and your baby," or, "I feed my baby formula, too. I know how you're feeling," or something. Maybe I'm hoping someone will tell me I am a bad mom so that I can get mad and defend and rationalize my choices, I don't know. But there it is.

3 Month Update!

Okay, she's 3 1/2 months old. I stink at this monthly updating business.

Here's the latest about our little princess:

  • Um, she has 2 TEETH! We noticed them on 9/16 - exactly 3 1/2 months old. She has been drooling and chewing on everything for several weeks now, so we thought it might be coming, but it seemed like all of a sudden, I looked and saw 2 sparkly white, sharp little chompers in there! 
  • She's enormous! She's so chubby and adorable. She's wearing mostly 6-month size clothes, although some of them are too big in the shoulders and arms and the pants are usually too long. She needs the extra width in the belly and thighs though! Her best chunky feature is her cheeks. In fact, "Cheeks" is her nickname from her grandpa Jim.
  • Still eating about 5.5 oz at each feeding, usually every 2-3 hrs. apart.
  • Still sleeps through the night! Plus a good nap in the morning and a short one in the late afternoon.
  • Tries SO hard to sit up. Great at holding up her head and always looks like she's trying to do crunches because she's pulling her head up when she's sitting or laying down.
  • Smiles and laughs!!! Her laugh is absolutely the best sound I have ever heard! She's totally ticklish. She also loves to talk, blow raspberries, and make spit bubbles.
  • Still loves baths and walks, the jury is out on car rides at the moment. She either sleeps and is great, or fusses the whole time.
  • She got to visit me at school a few times this month and my students love her, of course! They're working on teaching her Spanish, Russian, and Finnish :) We didn't get a whole lot done in our Choir Council meeting because her cuteness was so distracting...
  • Does okay with tummy time. Sometimes she seems to like it and does good, sometimes she hates it and cries until I pick her back up.
  • Still a total mama's girl! In fact, I get so scared to take her to be babysat because I'm so worried she'll just scream the whole time. She does love her grandmas and grandpas, though! :)
  • Has zero interest in rolling over. I think she's too fat maybe, hehehe :)
  • Loves cuddling and taking naps with Daddy. He can snuggle up with her and get her to fall asleep at almost any time of day. It melts my heart!
  • Spits up kind of a lot. My mom told me it's payback since I was a big spitter too.
  • HATES having a wet or poopy diaper. 
  • Still hates to turn her head to the left. She can, she just doesn't like to. She's got a pretty good flat spot on the right side of her head. We try to get her to turn to the left as much as possible. She eats bottles turned to the left and we put her to sleep lying with her head to the left (and I prop her up a little bit with a rolled up blanket to keep her that way...haha). I really hope it evens out and she doesn't have to wear a helmet...I guess we'll see.
  • Loves music and hearing singing. She smiles and stares when I sing to her and she LOVES to play air drums with Daddy.
I could go on all night. She's the most beautiful, funny, sassy, chubby baby I've ever seen and we love her so much!!!

Josie - 2 Months

Oh, look! Another late blog post!

Josie is 2 months old! Here are some updates:

She had her 2 month Dr.'s appointment and we found out that she is just under 13 lbs. and just under 24 inches long! She has gained about 5 pounds and 4 inches since birth. She got her 2 mo. shots, which she handled pretty well. She screamed for a couple minutes, but then she was okay. It was definitely one of the saddest things I've seen to look at her face after those shots...she just looked so sad and mad and I know it hurt. I kind of had to laugh at her a little bit...that pouty face was just so cute (in the saddest way).

We had a little scare with her shots later in the day. Sean was changing her diaper and noticed that one of her legs where she got the shots was really swollen and hard and red. She would SCREAM if you even touched it. I called the Dr.'s office and they told us to come in to check to see if she was having an allergic reaction or something. We headed there, but by the time the Dr. got in and looked at her, the redness had gone away. The reaction wasn't because of an allergy, she had fallen asleep after we got home from her shots and since she wasn't moving around, the fluid from the injection hadn't had distributed throughout the tissue very well and it got swollen and sore. We just gave her some Tylenol through the night. She was totally fine the next day.

She eats ALL the time. She is drinking about 5 oz. every 2 hours, except at night. She gets about 50% formula and 50% breastmilk (because I can't seem to keep up with her demands!).

She sleeps through the night (has been doing this for almost a month now and we SERIOUSLY hope it lasts!). She goes to bed around 10 p.m. and gets up around 6 or 7 a.m. Occasionally she wakes up around 4, but will eat and go right back to sleep. Also, after she wakes up at 6 or 7, she'll usually go back to bed for another hour or so. I know how lucky we are that she does this...and I am so glad.

She doesn't nap much during the day, surely because she sleeps so much at night. She just 'cat naps' for 15-20 minutes at a time several times a day. It's very strange (and wonderful) if she naps for more than 30 min.

She loves: food, snuggles (my favorite thing on earth is to hold her up on my shoulder - she snuggles right up under my chin and just wants to stay there forever), MOM (I'm definitely her favorite, hehe), prune juice (Dr. recommended we give her some each day because she's not pooping as often as she should), baths, when mommy sings and talks to her, going for walks and car rides, being swaddled, her puppy swing, and her binkie.

She is SMILING! It's the most wonderful thing in the world. I just melt into a puddle of happiness every time she smiles at me. She is starting to coo and make noises. I love that she seems to startle herself sometimes when she makes a noise. It's so cute and funny.

Depending on who you ask, she looks JUST LIKE ME or JUST LIKE SEAN. Hahahaha. I think she's just a good combo of both of us and we'll have to see which features she really got from which parent as she grows. It is fun to compare our baby pictures to her though...there are definitely some similarities!

She has been able to spend lots of time with both of her grandmas and grandpas and lots of extended family this month. She has been on lots of adventures too! Walks by the river, lots of lunch and dinner dates with friends, being babysat by Gma and Gpa Morris, lots of car trips to visit family, meeting lots of friends and cousins, lots of shopping trips, celebrating the 4th of July at Willard Bay, the Peterson Family Reunion (Sean's Peterson side, not mine...we're both Petersons, but we're not kissin' cousins...I promise), a family pool party, and more that I'm sure I'm forgetting.

She was blessed on Sun. 8/2 by Sean in our ward in Ogden. SO MANY of our friends and family came! This girl is very, very loved. We were so grateful to have so many people come to share the day with us. She got to wear the same blessing dress that my sisters and I wore. It was made for my mom for her blessing out of the same fabric as my grandmother's wedding dress. She also got to wear my mom's bracelet - a pretty gold bangle that was given to her for her blessing by her great-grandmother. My mom also made Josie a sweet little beaded bracelet that I know she will treasure forever. I bought her some cute little booties and she wore a headband that she got as a baby shower gift from a friend of mine at work. She looked like a perfect little angel! I recorded her blessing on my phone so that I could type it up and put it in her baby book for her. It was a beautiful blessing and I know it will be a treasure for her when she gets older.

I had a cool experience with her blessing that I wanted to write about. When Sean and I started thinking seriously about trying to have a baby, I remember praying and saying, "I know this world is a scary place to raise children, but I also know that there are many of Thy children who are still waiting for their chance at this earthly life. I want to be a mother and I want to raise up a child that will change the world for the better and be a warrior for Thy kingdom." I didn't really talk much about those prayers to anyone, even Sean, but in her blessing, she was told that she will be a light in the darkness and an example that people around her will look to. I just felt a strong witness that Josie is a very tough, special girl. She has a purpose and a work to do in this life - a work that God has chosen her for. It was a neat thing to hear, and even from what little of her spirit and personality we have come to know these past 2 months, I know it is true.

She is a beautiful, healthy, strong-willed girl and I am so proud of her. I love her with all my heart and am trying to cling to this newborn stage for as long as I can. I'm trying to soak up every snuggle and spend as much time just holding her and looking at her as I can before she changes even more!

Josie Jo's 1 Month Update

Well...I forgot to post this when I actually wrote here it is, just a couple months late!

Josie Jo is one month old! Well...actually she's almost 6 weeks old...but who has time for blogging when you don't even have time to take a shower? Anyway, here is some info. about our little monkey!

FOOD! - She is ALWAYS eating. I am not producing near enough for her, so she gets both breastmilk and formula (hopefully this is just temporary...we both have thrush, and it's affecting my supply and her ability to nurse). The formula seems to make her gassy, even though I give her gas drops every time she eats it. It does seem to fill her up better than breastmilk, so she's sleeping better, which is nice.

Snuggles - She just loves to cuddle. She loves being wrapped up in her swaddlers and to be held close. I'm trying to take advantage or every baby snuggle I can get!

The Swing(s) - We have a Mamaroo and a Fisher Price Snugapuppy swing (why do we have 2 swings? Because Dad couldn't resist the Mamaroo technology...that's why *eyeroll*), and she likes them both. They're also lifesavers for Mommy and Daddy...haha.

Going Out! - We joke all the time that she's easier to handle at the store than she is at home! She loves loves loves going for walks in the stroller. It's probably her absolute favorite thing. She also does pretty well on car rides and loves to look around and figure things out when we take her out to the store or wherever.

Grandmas and Grandpas - We've been able to spend lots of time with both of Josie's grandparents and she just loves them. I love to see her snuggle with them!

Movement - Whenever she's being held, Josie loves to be bounced, rocked, swayed, patted/burped, etc. In her bassinet, she loves for the vibration setting to be turned on.

Baths - She was not a fan at first, but now Josie loves being in the bathtub.

Getting out of the bathtub, having her diaper or clothes changed, taking her Vitamin D supplement (she shudders every time), and wearing her mittens (she has been scratching her face SO badly, but I'm too scared to do her mittens it is)

Here's a list of things I've learned in Josie's first month:

  • Huggies. Don't even bother with anything else. The Up & Up brand from Target are okay too, if you must.
  • If you put baby down on a surface without a burp cloth underneath her, she WILL spit up on it. 
  • It will take you twice as long as you think it will to get out of the house.
  • You CAN eat dinner in 30 seconds. It will already be cold by the time you have that 30 seconds to spare, though.
  • 4 hours of sleep in a row can feel like a luxury. WHAT?!
  • Breastfeeding is hard.
  • Resolve brand stain sticks...they will save the lives of all the cute outfits you bought (both hers and yours).
  • Hormones, anxiety, crying, endless questions that keep you up in the middle of the night, and a general lack of well-being are the new normal.
  • Boobs are no longer a private part. Nearly everyone who has spent any time at my house since she was born has now seen mine....but I don't even care.
  • I both love and hate Sean more than I thought possible. He's the best daddy and husband in the world, and Josie and I are so lucky...but at 3 a.m. when I've been up for 2 hours and he's snoring away next to me, I tend to forget that...
  • Being a mommy is wonderful. It's pretty amazing to be someone's favorite person in the whole world.

My Thoughts On... (AKA What I've Learned So Far)

So, I've been a mom for 3 whole weeks, which makes me basically an expert now ;) hahaha. Here's what I've learned so far...

My Thoughts On:

Labor & Delivery
Everyone's experiences will be different - from person to person and child to child, but, in my experience, it's NOT AS BAD AS THEY MAKE YOU THINK IT IS! My labor and delivery was so smooth. Yes, contractions are painful, but by no means were mine excruciating, and I was at more than 8 cm and 100% effaced before I got an epidural. BTW, my epidural was not scary at all. It didn't hurt, it didn't take long, and it was definitely a wonderful thing to have. Not being in any pain helped me to have a calm, peaceful, happy birth experience and I loved it.

It's hard. It really is. The first few days really were the worst. It's hard because it's frustrating if it doesn't work out easily from the beginning, it's hard because it's painful sometimes, it's hard because it feels like all you ever do is sit on the couch nursing your baby, it's hard because you want your baby to get plenty to eat and get all roly-poly like the Michelin man and you're just not sure if you're giving her enough. Also, breastmilk....everywhere. Just everywhere.

Cute Things
Why do we put cute changing pad covers over the waterproof changing pad? That's dumb. It will just inevitably get poop, pee, and spit up all over it, and you will change it every single day at least once. Also, it's unfortunate that babies can't just be nekked all the time, because their poop, pee, and spit up will also get all over their adorable clothes and stain them beyond redemption.

**Update: So, now I've been a mom for 3 whole MONTHS! So, I'm for sure an expert now if I wasn't before. Ha ha ;) Here's a few more things I would add to this list at this point:

Diaper Bags
I bought a cute, sort of expensive diaper bag. Then I found out it was really too small to fit all of the stuff I needed (*cough* firsttimemom *cough*). So, I ditched it and bought an equally cute, waaaaay cheaper, and much more useful diaper bag from WalMart. WalMart ftw.

Favorite Products
Here's just a gigantic list: muslin swaddle blankets, Avent natural bottles & binkies, Burt's Bees baby wash (best smell everrrr), Boudreaux's Butt Paste & diaper rash preventer spray, Huggies little snugglers (seriously THE BEST), Similac total comfort formula, Angel Care baby monitor, vinegar (I know, you didn't think that was a baby product...but it is. I use it in laundry, washing bottles, cleaning, etc. It's my favorite thing ever), binkie clips, Grow With Me socks.

The first few weeks of JoJo's life were so hard. Now I understand that what everyone tries to tell you really is true: you really do know what your baby needs better than anyone else. Your mother's intuition IS enough, you are doing a wonderful job, and everything WILL be okay. And the stress does get easier to manage. It doesn't go away, you just adjust and learn to be happy through it all and not take life too seriously.

In my experience, most of the "judgy-judgers" aren't actually trying to bring you down. They usually have good intentions when they make little comments or give you unsolicited advice. Listen to them, then decide for yourself whether or not it's worth taking to heart. If you don't feel like it is, or if you're somehow bothered by it, learn to brush it off and say to yourself, "Well, I'm the best mom ever, so I'll just do things my way, thanks." ;)