Baby Girl Fashion

I have never been terribly picky with Miles’ clothes.  Many of his clothes were hand-me-downs or consignment finds, with some adorable brand new things thrown in for good measure.  But…I really have always loved finding cute outfits for him.  I may or may have not spent more than I should have on some suspenders and a new white dress shirt for this past Easter, just because I couldn’t help myself.  🙂  I’ve carefully and saved all of his clothes that didn’t get ruined or stained and then learned that we were having a girl.  Surprise, surprise!

I’m still trying to wrap my head around this whole “having a girl” thing, but lately I’ve been looking around at baby girls (and picking up a few things).  I’m getting more and more excited.  hah!  I’m really trying to simplify things and keep clothing to a minimum.  I counted recently and Miles literally had 30 0-3 month onesies…what a waste!  It’s definitely not easy, though.

I’ve never been into the big bows and giant ruffles and gobs of pinks for little girls.  No offense if you are, but it’s just not my style!  When we were little my sister loved lace and tea parties.  I, on the other hand, was busy pretending I’d tamed a wild stallion.  So, yeah…no surprise that that reflects how I’ll dress my baby girl.

Anyway, here are some things I’ve picked up or found that I love:

As you can see, Baby Girl Baker is already getting lots of cute outfits from her Aunts and Grandmas…

Don’t tell my husband I told you, but he actually saw these cute onesies and insisted we get them.  We really didn’t need any more onesies, but they when your big tough husband picks out clothes for his baby girl, you can’t really say no.  Plus…how cute are they???

I picked up these sleepers on clearance because I love yellow and grey…and the elephants?

Miles insisted on being the model for these little booties (he says they are for “seestah” I found on clearance.  Miles’ first winter he pretty much never wore shoes, but these looked warm and the elastic actually might keep them on her feet.

These bows were also clearance finds.  Like I said, I’m not into giant bows, but these dainty little things were just my style (not sure why the pic is sideways).

I don’t have any like these yet, but I love these cute retro-style headbands as well.

You can’t see these very well because my model got a little antsy, but I did go through Miles’ clothes and pick out the things I thought would work for baby girl as well.  Like, these striped onesies.  With leggings or tights these would be definitely girly enough.

I found this post and, for the most part, I loved all these ideas and outfits.  The one exception being that I probably won’t be putting a belt on my baby girl…too impractical for playing!

Here are a few more things I pinned on Pinterest.  Pretty much things that are girly and sweet without being too over-the-top.  Adorable, no?

All of this inspiration is really getting me excited for my sweet baby girl to get here. 25 weeks today! PS: You can also follow me on Pinterest to see more baby girl clothes and ideas.

Second Baby Forethought

When Miles was born, I thought I was prepared.  I had all his clothes washed and folded, a few meals in the freezer, and the gear I thought I needed all ready to go.

Those first few months, I was anything but well-prepared.  We ate fast food WAY too much, the dishes piled higher and higher in the sink, the house looked like a pig sty, the laundry never got done, and I pretty much lived in a sleep-deprived, caffeine-addicted haze.

This time around, I’m hoping that knowing what to expect will help enormously.  I know not to stress about getting things done, to not worry about being the perfect stay-at-home mom and housekeeper, and to not expect my baby to “follow the book”.  However, there are a few things I’m working on getting prepared that I’m hoping will make the addition of another baby a tad bit less chaotic.  Hey, you live and learn, right?  Here’s my list of preparations for this baby:

Freezer Meals.  Lots and LOTS of them.  Especially the kind that you dump right in the crockpot and don’t need to make a side dish for.

Stockpile of Paper Plates, Napkins, Utensils, and Cups.  I really hate using disposable things.  They make me feel so uncaring of the earth…so lazy.  Yet, I know from experience that trying to keep up with all the dishes is just not worth it.  Period.  End of story.  We can get out my nice plates again sometime in the future.

Stockpile of easy, premade things that my husband can pick up.  Again, I really try to avoid processed, prepackaged foods as much as possible.  Yet, somehow I think that the store bought granola bars are going to still be better than the candy bar from the gas station.  Prewashed fruit, bagged lettuce, frozen rolls, instant oatmeal…these all suddenly make the cut.

-Snacks.  Specifically for Mama, but also for toddler boy.  When Miles was a newborn, eating enough was SO hard because I just didn’t have quick things on hand that I could just grab without prepping.  This time I’m making a list of snacks to buy/make, such as hummus, carrots, granola, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, etc.

Simplified cleaning.  I’m making a list of the minimum basics that need to get done, and letting the rest slide.  In addition to cutting myself some slack, I’m stocking up on things that make cleaning a little faster…magic erasers, swiffer wet pads, etc.  Basically, things I usually turn my nose up at that would actually make life easier. 😉

Books, movies, and NETFLIX!  Confession: we didn’t get real, honest-to-goodness internet until a few weeks ago.  And we’ve been married four years.  This time around, I’m hoping the addition of Amazon Prime and Netflix will make those first few weeks of near-constant nursing a little more bearable.

Cash Stash.  Let’s face it…despite my careful planning, we’ll still need to pick up a quick meal every once in awhile.  I’m hoping to have a little cash set aside for this, so I don’t get too stressed about our increased eating out “eating” into my budget.  Pun intended.

Bills Paid and/or Ready to Pay.  I do most of the bill paying, checkbook balancing, and budget figuring in our house.  After Miles was born, I got pretty far behind.  I just was not organized and bills would sneak up on me.  I’m sure we’ll still have a few late payments, but I’m hoping to have everything either paid or all ready to pay (aka, check written, envelope sealed and stamped). 

Moving the rocking chair into our room.  Why did I make myself walk halfway across the house to nurse Miles in the middle of the night?!  No wonder he ended up in our bed so quickly!  This time, the glider, diapers, and wipes will be in our room. 

House Folder.  This will include food lists, budget info, etc, as well as any pertinent numbers and info.  You know, the pediatrician’s number, the phone number for pizza delivery (okay, I wish…nobody here delivers!), etc. 

Lists.  I pretty much have a list going for every one of the things listed above.  Lists I can just hand to Andy to take to the store.  Lists I can pull out and look at (or pull up on my phone…love Evernote).  Lists just make my life better.

It’s a…

About a week late, but wanted to share with you that we had our anatomy scan and it’s a…

Or, if you don’t want to watch the whole video, just look at the candy color:

Yep, that’s right…its’ a sweet baby girl!!!  We’re excited, but still a little in shock.  We’re in such “boy mode” right now.
Here’s our sweet baby girl:
And her apparently enormous feet.  Not sure why, but I think she might be tall (if you know us in person, you’ll know why 😉 ):

Life: An Update

Today I realized that I’m 19 weeks pregnant, and the only thing I’ve posted on here about it is our pregnancy announcement and one other post.  It’s not that I don’t have things to talk about…life just keeps seeming to get in the way.

I’m a SAHM to one busy toddler, so how busy could I really be?  The problem is that “Stay at Home Mom” is only a job description…not an accurate picture of my daily life.

A year and a half ago, my husband and his father had the opportunity to buy the business that they had been running for a number of years.  That in and of itself was crazy.  Six months ago we had the opportunity to buy the counterpart retail store on the square of our little town as well.  Somehow, remodeling and revamping a 10,000 square foot retail space wasn’t enough…we decided to open a coffee shop AND a brick oven pizza place in part of the building as well.  Add to that the fact that my husband was taking 13 college credit hours this past semester, and you start to realize that he was really rarely ever home.  We hardly got to see him unless it was at the store, and we frequented it as often as we could.

Life was crazy, to say the least.  I felt like a single parent many days.  I even traveled on a plane alone all the way out to sunny California with my wiggling, active “lap child” toddler son because my husband was far too busy to go.  I missed having family time.  I missed getting to eat dinner together every night.  I missed my husband.

Yet, somehow we made it out and things have slowed down considerably.  Only now, I’m the one working.  My husband was needing help with some office work at the plant, and I’ve been working a few hours a day to help them catch up.  The rest of the day is pretty much a wash from my son being so thrown off his schedule.  Its rough, to say the least.

And did I mention that I’m really, REALLY trying to stay on top of my garden this year?  Yeah, life is full and crazy.  Yet, somehow amidst all this craziness little Baby Baker makes his or her presence known with near constant kicks and jabs.  I’m thankful for those little kicks.  They make me slow down and really sit and think.

So there you have it…a little snippet of my life right now.  Hopefully it won’t be too long before you hear from me again.  I’m not making any promises, though. 🙂

Second Baby Guilt

I’ve never really had baby fever.  I’ve never felt an overwhelming need to hold a newborn baby…never cried over a friend who got pregnant before me.  I do remember aching for a child of my own, though…a babe to fill my arms and turn me into this mysterious creature called a “mother”.

When Miles Patrick came along, he filled my arms and my heart more full than I could ever have imagined. Almost two years later, he still does.  Not once since he was born have I felt the need or craving for another baby.  Yet, today another precious life is being formed within my womb.  

Despite not having that aching for another baby, I knew that I wanted another child.  I knew that we needed another child and that Miles needed a sibling.  Let me assure you, this babe that grows within me is very much wanted.  We know that he or she is a wonderful little blessing being knit together to fit perfectly into our family.

Still, I find myself dealing with guilt.  The excitement I feel over this pregnancy just doesn’t match the excitement I had with my first.  I don’t know how many weeks pregnant I am down to the day.  Some days it takes me a minute to even remember how many weeks along I am.  This pregnancy seems to fly by to the point where I wish it would slow down because I just don’t feel ready yet.  I feel guilty because I didn’t, and still don’t, ache for this baby the way I did for Miles.  Does that make me a bad mother, or make this baby any less wanted or cherished? 

A second baby is so different from the first.  I know what to expect so much better.  I dread the sleepless nights and worry about breastfeeding struggles.  I wonder, and for good reason, if I will be able to keep my sanity with a newborn and a toddler to care for. 

Yet, I also know about the good parts.  I know what it’s like to hold your newborn baby for the very first time.  I know the pride you feel when your child takes their first steps, or the way your heart melts when they kiss your cheek for the first time.  I also know without a doubt that each precious coo, each sweet smile, will make up for all the hard realities of motherhood.

A mother should never feel guilty for feeling differently during her second pregnancy.  Knowing what’s coming does not make your love for this child any less.  In truth, I may not ache for a baby to hold, but my heart does ache.

What does my heart ache for?  My heart aches for the day when not just Miles, but another beloved child as well, will wake me up in the morning with tackles and eskimo kisses.  It aches to watch Miles transform into a big brother, and to give his brother or sister one of his sweet, wet kisses.  It aches to see one child on Daddy’s strong shoulders while the other holds his hand beside him.  It aches to sit out in our backyard on a warm spring day and watch my two little ones play with our dogs.  I may not ache for a baby, but I do ache for a child. 

There is no guilt or shame in that.    

And so to this baby due in October I say: “Precious little one, don’t let my dampened enthusiasm make you doubt my love.  Instead, know that, despite knowing how hard and exhausting and draining motherhood really is, I still chose you.  I may have ached for Miles…but I wanted you.

Finding Yourself in Motherhood

Four days after my son was born, I bawled like a baby as I heard the little cry start again.  It was 3 am, I was utterly exhausted, and this was the fourth time I had tried to lay my new son down and slip into bed.  Thirty minutes later, I fell asleep with him draped across my chest…something I vowed to never do…something the pediatrician who had checked him out in the hospital had told me to never, ever do.  As I slipped into sleep I cried again, feeling like a failure as a mom. 
I’d always wanted to be a mother.  I was pretty sure that, when the time came, I would know exactly what I was doing and that motherhood would come naturally to me.  I was so wrong.
Sure, I had those amazing feelings of love you always hear about.  Changing dirty diapers didn’t make me cringe a bit.  Once the struggle of the first tough month was over, I even enjoyed nursing.  What I wasn’t prepared for were the feelings of inadequacy and uselessness.  My filthy house, dirty dishes stacked high, and inability to get one decent meal on the table made me feel completely incapable as a house wife.  The fact that my son was not a “typical” newborn (as I thought he should be) made me feel out-of-control.  My exhausted frustration at my son when he would scream for hours every night from colic made me feel like a terrible mom.  Most of all, though, I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing anything all day.  I struggled with feeling a sense of purpose.
I knew that taking care of my son was my purpose for this season of life, but there was a disconnect between knowing that and feeling it in my heart.  I knew I was doing something very worthwhile and purposeful, but most days I felt like I was just treading water.  The problem was that, deep down, I wasn’t just a milk-producing, diaper changing, baby holding robot…there was a very real and individual person just dying to be let out!  The challenge in any change of seasons is finding the balance between who you are as a person and the tasks God has put before you for today. 
For me, finding this balance meant two things.  The first was that I had to change.  I had to let go of my need for control and desire to do things the “right” way and instead be flexible and learn to be the mom my son needed…not the mom I wanted to be.  Anytime God refines us, the process is far from easy and painless.  There were days that I despised the new mom posting on Facebook asking for ideas of things to do because her baby was so easy and she was bored.  Yet, I have come to realize that God gave me Miles with all of his out-of-the-boxness so that He could mold me and force me to let go of my controlling tendencies.  He gave me a very real little individual so that He could change my individual self.
Finding the balance for me also meant fusing who I was as a person with the role of mother.  Again, this isn’t an easy process.  I have come to believe that, in any season or role we find ourselves in, our personality should still shine and show through.  I don’t parent the same as any other mom because I am not any other mom.  I am a tea-drinking, outdoor-loving, greenthumb-wannabe who loves traveling and good food.  Consequently, my son spends a lot of time outdoors, is well acquainted with garden tools, has traveled more than most people will in a lifetime, and will eat just about anything…including spicy food or strong-flavored ethnic cuisine.  He is his own person, but his daily life is the way it is mostly because of who I am as a person.  God placed Miles in my care because He knew that the mama I am is the mama Miles needed.   
As I approach my two-year anniversary of being a mother, I’ve gotten into a better groove.  I have a system down for at least keeping the house manageably clean.  We do eat a home-cooked meal most nights, even if it was something I stuck in the freezer two weeks ago and just dumped in the crockpot that morning.  I already have long lists of freezer meals to assemble and preparations to make for whenever Baby Baker #2 decides to enter our home, knowing very keenly how needed those will be.  I feel very purposeful as I order our home, chase my toddler around, and reach out to other moms in our community. 
I am not the same person I was before my son was born.  And yet, I am more than just a mother.  I am Caitlin Baker, wife, mom, homemaker, and very real person…something that brings me very great joy.    

Exciting News…

No, I’m not preggo…but someone else is!  I’m going to be an aunt again!  Andy’s brother and his wife are expecting their first little one sometime in early Spring. 

In other news, Miles will have another Baker cousin.  Due to the very strange coincidence of my sister marrying a guy with the same first and last name as my hubby (no relation, though), all of Miles’ cousins have the last name Baker.  I sure hope my sisters and sister-in-laws get married soon and have babies, or Miles will be liable to think that everybody in the world has the same last name. 😛
Here’s a pic of the latest Baker baby:

We can’t wait to meet him/her!

Being Mama

I talk about my son a lot.  He is, after all, pretty much my life.  Sometimes, however, I feel a hesitancy to talk too much about him, or about the blessing that being a mom is.
I have so many friends and relatives who have struggled with infertility or losing babies.  I know women whose hearts ache everyday for the child they were never blessed with.  In a way, I am hesitant to talk freely about motherhood because I don’t want to make their pain or their loss worse.  I don’t want to rub it in their faces that I have a beautiful, healthy son when they don’t. 
I cannot imagine the heartache that these women go through.  Losing my son is one of the greatest fears I’ve ever experienced.  Yet, at the same time, it does these beautiful, hurting women no service to not talk about my son, or portray motherhood in a negative light.  Complaining about our children or not appreciating the incredible blessing that each child is only deepens their pain.  They cannot help but wonder why a woman who is so negative on children and motherhood was blessed with a child and they were not. 
So, today, I’m sharing about the blessings of motherhood. 
It’s hard to believe that tomorrow my beautiful Miles Patrick will be one year old.  You’ve heard it before, but time really does fly…and they grow so very fast.  Each morning they seem to wake up older and smarter and more capable. 
This past year has been quite the change for me.  My days now revolve around diaper changes and nursing, nap times and story times, bouncing and holding and rocking.  Simple things, really.  And yet my days are so full and rich and deep
To be needed is to feel purpose, and that is something that I feel every moment of the day.  I feel it every time he wakes up from a nap, rubs his sleepy eyes, smiles, and reaches for me.  I feel it every time I nurse him with the wholesome, fatty milk that God provided just for him.  I feel it when he lays his head on my shoulder and picks at the mole on my chest.  I feel it when I’m going to the bathroom and he bangs on the door yelling “Ma Ma Ma” until I finally emerge.  I feel it every minute and every second.  I am needed.  I am wanted.  I am cherished.  I am loved.
And the love I feel for my little man child?  It’s hard to even describe.  It’s like there’s a hole in my heart that I never knew I had, made perfectly for him to fit into.  I would do anything for him.  I would lay my own life down for him in a heartbeat. 
Isn’t that the miracle of being a parent?  Your life was perfect and complete before this demanding little person came into your life, and now you cannot imagine your life without them.  You wouldn’t want to.  Because, as much as they need you, you need them.  You need their love and admiration.  You need the purpose they give you.  You need to feel the responsibility of this helpless little child being wholly depend on you. 
Having a child of your very own completely changes how you view and relate to God.  The despair and agony of giving up your only son is real and unthinkable.  You are all the more grateful and thankful for God’s great love and mercy unto you.  
Being Miles’ mother has been one of the greatest blessings of my life.  I cherish each moment that I get to spend with him.  I watch in wonder and awe as he grows and explores and learns.  Each time he wraps his little arms around my neck, or gives me a big open mouth “kiss”, I feel the distinct longing to stop time.  If only there was a way to capture each moment and bottle it up…to always have with me.  But there isn’t.  The moment passes and becomes a mere memory.  Yet, no sweeter memories have I ever known than those involving my son. 
I love being a mother, but most of all I love being Miles’ mother.  May I never take the incredible miracle and blessing that he is for granted.  May I never get so caught up in the day-to-day tasks and chores of life that I miss out on time spent with him.  May I never forget to be thankful for the simple, little gifts that make being a mama such an amazing blessing. 
Every day that I wake up I am thankful…because every day that I wake up I get to be Miles’ mama.       

Miles Love

I’ve talked a lot lately about how demanding being Miles’ mama can be.  But, lest you think that it’s all hard, I wanted to enlighten you into the neat parts of having a high-needs baby.  Here are some of the things I love about my beautiful baby boy:

1.) I love that he’s so curious.  Since he was born his big, blue eyes have constantly been taking in the world.  It’s really neat to see those wheels turning in his head.

2.) I love that I can take him just about anywhere with me.  I seriously have no fear of going grocery shopping now.  As long as I don’t forget my trusty Boba carrier, we’re good.  Miles just loves to be up snuggled next to mama, looking at people and things.  If he gets hungry, I nurse him.  Other than that, he doesn’t get fussy or anything.  (The one exception is restaurants, because he’s usually expected to either sit in his car seat or a high chair…and he hates that.)

3.) I love that he’s such a people person.  He seriously is afraid of no one.  Sometimes he just wants mama or papa, but he will go to almost anyone.  He especially loves other kids.  He could watch the older, rowdier boys play for hours.

4.) I love that he sleeps best snuggled next to me.  I know this is one of those mixed blessing things.  We’re currently trying to transition him to being full-time in his own bed, without much success.    But there’s definitely something neat about picking your screaming baby up out of his crib, laying down with him, and watching him immediately fall fast asleep in your arms.  That’s bliss, right there.

5.) I love that he loves the outdoors.  On Saturday, I put Miles in his stroller and rolled it down to my garden bed.  He literally sat there for 30 minutes “talking” to me and looking around, while I worked on moving some dirt.  He would never, ever do this inside the house.  This kid seriously loves being outside.  Being a bit of a nature junky myself, I love this about him.  Plus, it makes my garden plans for this summer seem doable, since I know he’ll be happy to sit out there and watch/help me.

6.) I love how cute he is.  Okay, this is definitely the prejudiced mama coming out, but I love when people say how adorable Miles is, go on-and-on about his big eyes, etc.  It fills my heart with such pride.

7.) I love that he forces me to focus on the simpler, quieter things in life.  Being a stay-at-home mom really is about the simple things that some would call mundane.  Yet, my life has never been so full or so busy.  I don’t sit on the couch eating bon-bons all day, but my long to-do list revolves around caring for my sweet Miles, taking care of our home, and making delicious, nutritious food for my guys.  Miles keeps me busy and on my toes.  Yet, I never doubt for one second that this is exactly where God has called me to be at this time.

I really do love my Miles.