Super Simple DIY Nursery Letters

I have developed an obsession with Paper Source and seek out excuses to pick out beautiful pieces of paper whenever I can. My favorite craft project so far has been these letters for the nursery. It’s so very simple, takes no talent, and with all of the gorgeous paper to choose from, you can easily create something quite special and lovely!

What I used:

I chose this quilt paper because it offered so many designs in one… making the letters look far more involved then they really were.

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Life with a Feeding Tube

Before D, I had never given a thought to feeding tubes, and most of my exposure was sensational – like, hearing about prisoners being force-fed during a hunger strike. I had a tour of the NICU when I was in the hospital before D was born, which was my first exposure to feeding tubes on anyone (specifically nasal-gastric or NG tubes). D had his NG tube placed on his first day of life – it started out going through his mouth, and later they switched it to his nose – both of which just went down the back of his throat to his tummy.

10 days old

Most infants will either get breastmilk or formula through their feeding tube, and some families choose to switch to a diet of blended food when their LO is bigger. The formula is either put in the tube through a syringe, or using a pump to give the dose at a slower rate. Often, babies/kids on feeding tubes need to eat at a slower rate to better tolerate the food, and for a while D was “eating” 20 out of 24 hours every day – a “bottle” given over 5 hours, with a 1 hour break before the next one started.

When D failed his 2nd swallow study and it became clear that he would need to eat via a feeding tube for an extended period of time, we had two choices:

  • Keep the NG tube
  • Get a G (gastrostomy) tube surgically placed

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Breastfeeding: Weaned at 16 months

If someone told me, during those early newborn months, that I would breastfeed Julia until she was 16 months old, I would have cried. I know the tears would’ve fallen, because hearing that would have felt like a horribly cruel joke. Our journey was so rough at the beginning that I’m still shocked we made it this far.

I wanted to talk about this earlier, but it would’ve meant saying that I was pregnant, and I wasn’t ready to let that cat out of the bag quite yet. I’m not sure being pregnant was the reason she stopped breastfeeding, but I definitely think it contributed to her weaning.

When she turned one, I introduced whole cow’s milk and gave it to her in a straw cup after she woke up and after she nursed. Little by little, I started offering the cow’s milk before I nursed her, and little by little, she stopped asking to breastfeed after those naps. She was too interested in playing instead of nursing—who can blame her? Toys are fun!

I was 10 weeks into my pregnancy, and Lil’ Bunny was 16 months, when—out of the blue—she didn’t ask to nurse at night for the first time ever. I knew that was the beginning of the end.

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Getting ready for the first day of preschool

For the last three years I have sent each of my kids to their first days of preschool. I was talking to a mom who was recently sending her triplets off to college, and she called it their launch. I laughed a bit at the term she used because I really felt those first days of preschool were our own little mini launch. I was sending my kids onto their next adventure, and it was one that they would have without me nearby. I can only imagine what this mom, who is sending her now fully grown “babies” off into the world, was feeling. I know the beginning of preschool was enough to give me butterflies in my stomach and feel that bittersweet twinge of our children growing right before our eyes. I feel like those early days are a huge transition for our little ones and us (I won’t lie, there may have been some ugly crying in the parking lot after dropping of my youngest for her first day). So here are some of the things we did to prepare for the big day.

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Postpartum anxiety

I got up at 1am to feed Charlotte. While I was nursing her I checked Facebook, and my feed was filled with local news stations reporting that a killer had escaped from prison. The prison is about two hours from our house. My heart was racing and I was convinced that he was on our back deck. I made my husband check every door and window to make sure they were locked while I sat on the couch and cried. Images flashed through my mind. I knew he was going to break into our home and kill us. My husband couldn’t calm me down, and I sat there trembling and awake until the news reported he’d been caught.

I already had an emergency appointment scheduled with my psychiatrist, but this was the first time I could say to myself, “okay, THIS isn’t normal. It isn’t just hormones. You need help.”

I had our daughter on a Tuesday morning and felt wonderful. I knew to expect a hormone crash. I had one with Chloe, but my crash was tears of joy. I cried because I was happy. I couldn’t believe how happy I was! We were a family of three and my life was absolutely perfect. This time, by day 3, I was sobbing uncontrollably and I didn’t know why. I was happy that we have a healthy daughter. Two daughters! I was glad to be home with my husband and girls. But I couldn’t figure out why I was crying so much or why I constantly felt on edge.

I have a history of anxiety and depression, so I went into both pregnancies knowing that I was at a higher risk for PPD and PPA. I’ve been on medication before and routinely see a psychiatrist. I was weaned off meds when we decided to TTC both kids. My psychiatrist met with my husband and I, and discussed what could happen if I wasn’t on meds. He said I could be ‘protected’ during pregnancy, but I kept regular appointments with him so we could regularly evaluate my anxiety. He said he wouldn’t hesitate to put me back on a pregnancy-safe med if I needed it. My husband was coached on what signs to look for — my biggest trigger is lack of sleep — and I signed a form stating my husband could talk to my doctor without me present. If he was going to be in the lookout for problems, I needed him to be able to call my doctor on my behalf.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

My pantry is filled with cans of pumpkin. They were less than half price at the grocery store last week, and I don’t think non-pumpkin-lovers realize how difficult it is to find in the off-season. So I grabbed a few (massive) cans, and am determined to try as many pumpkin recipes as possible.

The cookies I like best are crunchy on the outside, and chewy closer to the middle. Nearly all of my favourite recipes result in this texture, and I wouldn’t change them for the world. However, the other cookie-eater in the house likes soft cookies. Not underbaked…more like pillowy. Cakelike. So in an effort to satisfy Mr. O’s cookie texture preference, and to fulfill my pumpkin dreams, I baked these.

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Tips for an Extended NICU Stay

Mrs. Blue had a great post a while ago on Parenting in the NICU. I would add these suggestions if you’re staring down the barrel of a long stay, either due to having a LO with an illness or injury, or an early preemie. D spent 65 days (mostly) in one NICU, was home for 25 days, and then spent 63 days (mostly) in a different NICU, so these tips are a culmination of long and varied experiences!

- Allow yourself time to grieve. Like Mrs. Blue said, it’s a hard place to do it since there are families with angel babies and other really tough situations. But, I think it’s fair to allow yourself a few moments, or a few days, to just be sad. Rely on your partner and your support system.

- Find your zen. A good friend of mine always reminds me that you have circles of concern, circles of influence, and circles of control. It’s much better to focus your attention on what you can influence and control (like, making medical decisions when faced with discreet options, or getting the doctors to explain something fully to you) instead of worrying about what the future holds. Obviously, this is very hard, and I’ve found I need a good pity party first, but then you have to pick up the pieces and move on, one foot in front of the other.

I went through these two steps many times, after each new hurdle in the road or new diagnosis. For example, I lost it and sobbed in front of doctors and nurses when they told me that D could no longer have breastmilk, since I was a pumping machine and had a fantastic supply! But in the next few days, I had a plan for weaning from the pump, and tried to focus on his improving condition on the formula.

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