Friday, March 30, 2018

Adventures in PB&J Parenthood: 3 Months!

& just like that, we've made it to 3 months!

I can't believe it, can you?! It literally feels like time is flying by being parents to Benjamin. Whereas month one felt like a crazy, overwhelming initiation into parenthood, I'm extremely happy to say that month three has felt so much more.... "normal" πŸ˜€


The new norm
Normal? Why whatever do you mean by "normal"? Well I'm happy to report that PB and I have finally started to adjust to our new norm with having Benjamin in our lives! While the first month was this crazy roller coaster of emotions and lack of sleep, month two brought a glimmer of hope with learning how to be parents without going crazy, and by month three we're finally feeling like real bonafide parents!

I've heard that sometimes the parenting gene just "clicks" for some right off that bat. If you read in my last parenting update post it obviously didn't happen for me right away, but now it finally feels like it has. Apparently it just took me 3 months to finally have that mommy switch finally turn on. It might have helped that PB returned to his Apple EngiNerd duties by returning to work and I was left to pretty much figure it out on my own with Ben. I admit, I was scared the first day PB had to head back to work. Could I do it on my own? Could I handle the entire day with Ben without freaking out? Those first days being a stay-at-home mommy for Ben would either do one of two things: 1. cause a huge emotional breakdown or 2. be okay.

It ended up being okay.

Mommy & me time
The first few days on my own with Ben did have it's challenges. Scenarios like being hooked up to a breast pump, baby crying in the crib next to you, laundry piling up, bottles and dishes in the sink, hardly get your teeth brushed by 2pm come to mind. But then there were also the little moments like getting so much one on one time with little Ben. All the smiles he'd start to give, the giggles, the snuggles that began to emerge. These little love filled moments seemed to make whatever day's hiccups that would arise... feel better. Ben's personality really began to shine through weeks 9-12. He became so much more playful and interactive.

As the days and weeks went on, Ben and I kind of melded into one. We started a great routine together, wake, eat, play, sleep (him only, lol), and repeat! The once overwhelming thought of everything vanished. It really was like something really did finally "click" and the mom gene took over. It's been great to have so much time with my little guy during the week.

Month 3 milestones
The moment Ben turned two months and received his shots/clear from his pediatrician, we've been on the go with lots of local adventures!We've been able to enjoy the outdoors with plenty of walks, still making daily visits with my mom to my grandma. We've even ventured out for different kinds of new outings like lunching out, the grocery store and dun dun da dah.....TARGET!

We're slowly building up our adventures to get Ben used to the great big world. We even booked our biggest adventure to date coming up soon: DISNEYLAND! We can't wait to bring our little rainbow to the happiest place on Earth! As you can probably imagine, this Disney mama is literally counting down the seconds until Ben's first Disney trip and already brainstorming all the family outfits we'll have to wear πŸ˜‰

Onto month 4
Month three has brought us so many new moments with Ben. We no longer feel that initial wave of "what do we do?!" with our son. We've leaned his behaviors, are distinguishing his cries, getting lots more sleep (YES!) and are just enjoying all the little moments life with Ben brings us! Here's to another month of love, snuggles and our happily ever after with our son πŸ’œ






Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

May your day be filled with lots of green and good luck! Personally, this is one of my favorite holidays because I LOVE GREEN! πŸ’šπŸ€ Here's a little dose of St. Patty's Day love from our little leprechauns 😁



Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Datsy the Frenchie

Today is a very special day at the PB&J house: It's Datsy's Birthday!

Datsy, forever our first "fur"baby. He's a French Bulldog that took over our hearts 6 years ago today!
The very first photo we saw of our lil' Datsy!
Love at first sight
Peter and I knew from the start that we wanted a pup to call our own. Even during our dating days we had talked about adding a dog into our lives, but it wasn't possible since we were living in an apartment at the time. Flash forward a few years, now married and living in our own home. We never let go of the fact that we wanted a dog, so now having the ability to own a dog, we began to search for a doggy to call our own. We had always loved the "squish face" dogs ex. Bulldogs, Pugs... but one breed always stuck out to us: the French Bulldog.

Enter Datsy.

Frenchies are known to be an adorable breed, stubborn, but adorable in so many ways! They're supposed to be good indoor dogs, loyal, loving and pretty much everything else we were looking for in a pup. So when we found a mutual friend who had a Frenchie that just had pups, we knew it was fate!

We met puppy Datsy when he was about 4 weeks old and the moment we laid eyes on Datsy, we knew he was the one. He was the biggest of his bunch, when all his puppy brothers and sisters went and slept, Datsy stayed awake and fell asleep in his food bowl. He captured our hearts the moment we met his little nugget self. 
My very first photo with puppy Datsy!
Welcome home
At exactly 8 weeks Datsy finally got to go home with us. He literally bounced into our home and changed our lives forever! They say that having a puppy is like having a baby in the first few weeks (FALSE now that I have a baby πŸ˜‚) but it comes pretty darn close. We would have to wake every few hours to let Datsy out to pee and begin potty training. We needed to make sure he had a safe and secure environment. Keeping up a puppy feed/potty/play routine. Thankfully, Datsy's transition home was smoother than expected and within the first few weeks we were on a happy schedule all together!

Over the years
Datsy filled our days with his quirky personality over the years! He's a natural "grumps" as I like to call it. He forever has a grumpy face, or best described "not impressed". For a French Bulldog breed he often goes against what his breed is meant to do, lol! Frenchies are supposed to be indoor loving pups and Datsy can never get enough outdoor time. His favorite activity is sunbathing! Frenchies are supposed to tire easily and love to lounge. Datsy loves any sort of activity and is always on the go.
The classic Datsy "grumps" face!

#DatsyTravels
Datsy was so much part of our lives that we couldn't bear to be without him during our travels. Since he couldn't physically be there with us, I found an alternative way to bring Datsy along on our adventures. I would take photos of Datsy, in destination specific style might I add 😜, and make cutouts of him to take with us. The result? So many fun memories! It was our little way of keeping our pup close to our hearts while we were away from him!
Datsy at the Disney Castles worldwide!
More Disney x Datsy Travels!
Our little guy's adventures with us around the world! From Paris, Italy, Greece, the Maldives and everywhere in between!
Disney Pet
Naturally, since I'm such a Disney geek, poor Datsy is forced to be a Disney pet, too! Datsy has been such a good sport in putting up with his mama's "crazy dog mom" antics

Happy Birthday Datsy!
As you can see, our little pup is loved a thousand times over! So it's no surprise that each year we try to make him feel as special as possible on his birthday.
One year old!
Birthday king for his 2nd Birthday!
3 years young!
Star Wars theme for his 4th bday!
Rainbows & Hearts for a very special 5th birthday
One very special pup
As you can probably tell by now, Datsy is one very special pup. He's warmed our hearts and made each of our days so happy since he's joined our family. From his little (BIG) personality, his quirky mannerisms and his all around lovable self, we couldn't imagine our lives without him! Thank you for making our days so "pawsome. We love you our little furbaby, happy "barkday" πŸŽ‚

If you'd like to see more Datsy goodness you can check our his personal Instagram @Datsyuk_the_Frenchie. I don't update his page as often as I used to, but you can find plenty of his past adventures and cuteness on there! For his current happenings and fun with Datsy, keep checking back on my personal Instagram @pbandjellyjenn. Datsy always finds a way to steal the show on there! πŸ˜œπŸ’œ

Happy Birthday Datsy-poo! Thank you for being the king of our hearts these past 6 years!


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Adventures in PB&J parenthood: 2 Months!


We've made it to TWO months of PB&J parenthood!

We can't believe that it's already been two months being parents to our little Benjamin. We couldn't be more thankful for each and every day we've been blessed having him here with us. He's truly completed our family happily ever after!

Time is literally flying by! So much so that this blog entry was originally supposed to be a one month parenting update, lol! I guess you can say that the #newparentlife truly took over. Well, it's better late than never, so let's dive into our adventures in parenting these past two months!

Month One

The first month of being newly minted parents to a newborn were definitely an "adventure" to say the least. Each week brought a new discovery, challenge, and joy. The moment Ben entered the world, our lives instantly changed forever. Both PB and I had read the baby books, multiple ones at that, to best prepare ourselves for becoming new parents. Let me tell you, no book can ever prepare you for becoming a parent. Within the first few hours of Ben's birth, we were already navigating the waters of parentdom! Let me give you an example, after our families had left the first night Ben was born and it was literally just the three of us, we were so cautious (and clueless) that we didn't know that we could just let Ben sleep on his own in his bassinet. We concocted this "brilliant" solution, we'd each hold onto Ben for an hour, while the other slept.... GENIUS, right?! HAHA, no.... Our amazing nurse finally came into our room halfway through the night and mentioned "you know you BOTH can sleep while he's snuggled away next to you in his bassinet". A resounding "OHhhhhh" from PB&J. First parenting obstacle and lesson learned! It's hilarious to look back on now, but not so much at the time, haha.

Since I had a C-section birth, we stayed for about 5 days at the hospital to make sure I was healing okay after the surgery. We loved our care team at the hospital. It was so nice to have round the clock care for both me and Ben. All that hospital help definitely proved for a little bit of a learning curve when we finally came home. I can say that recovering from major surgery, having a newborn and adjusting to life back home proved to have some initial challenges. The first night home we experienced an earthquake which definitely rattled all of our nerves. The next few nights, Ben seemed to be adjusting to his digs by showcasing his best "night owl" impressions.


Expectations vs. Reality
The next few weeks were filled with finding our footing as new parents. We were learning how to balance our lives to having this little ball of everything (aka Ben) and I will admit, it was overwhelming at times. We went from becoming new parents, a surgery recovery for me, transitioning to home and all the while running on a few hours of sleep. I had this whole "dreamy" motherhood scenario that I built up for myself but reality sunk in and the expectations I had for motherhood weren't happening. It started with my medical scare and stress the weeks prior to Ben's birth (read about that HERE) and having to forgo the natural labor/birth that I envisioned due to said medical issues for a c-section. After birth, a combination of adjusting to our new life with Ben and physical recovery hit me harder emotionally, not to mention physically, on a deeper level than I thought it would.

There is so much pressure to being a mom, especially a first time mom. There are so many things you're told to do (breastfeed, be a supermommy from the get go, things will just "click") that I found myself feeling so discouraged when mommyhood wasn't going according to that ideal plan. My recovery from the c-section was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I would hear stories of women "bouncing back" right after their birth and mine was slower than expected. I could barely walk due to the pain, I wasn't able to lift anything, not even little Ben. I couldn't bend over to reach for simple items like diapers or to put on my own socks. It crushed me to not be able to do the simple things and miss out on changing Ben's first diapers and having the freedom to just be able to pick him up on my own when he started to cry. On top of that, we ran into big issues with breastfeeding. Poor Ben wasn't gaining enough weight which we later found to be due to a low milk supply. It felt like in those first few weeks I kept taking a stride forward, then two steps back on some days.

Being a new mom is full of expectations and when you feel like you aren't living up to them, it sends you through a loop. What made things even more complicated for me was the fact that we prayed, wished and hoped for our little miracle and he was finally with us... but then I was feeling so down at times. You read about the "baby blues" post birth and let me tell you, its a real thing. If it hits you, it can be as little as being overly emotional, to hitting even harder and feeling incredibly off. Thankfully my support network was there ten-fold to help me wade through all of the emotions I was feeling. My amazing family, especially PB provided endless support. Our medical team was also incredible and together with my family I was able to find my way back to where I needed to be physically and emotionally!
Multitasking and not always looking the most magical, but being the best mommy I can be to my loves!
We consulted with Ben's pediatrician about his weight issues, along with several lactation consultants to help with my breastfeeding issues which resulted in a unanimous agreement: Keep Ben healthy, FED IS BEST! I was so stressed out about not knowing if my little one was getting enough to eat and plain and simple, he wasn't. I ended up having to stop breastfeeding due to many physical issues (7 lactation nurses tried everything!) and move to a mix of both pumping whatever milk I could produce, then supplementing with formula when needed. I know this will be controversial for some, but my body just wasn't doing what it needed to do.  Mixed feeding was never in my "ideal mommy plan" but it's just another testament to reality not always going according to how you think it will go. On the bright side? Ben is healthy and eating, he's still getting the benefit of my milk even if it's in smaller amounts. Once it was agreed that I'd stop breast-feeding and just pump, I instantly felt so much better. And the best part?! PB can actually help with some of the feedings! On another note, once I started sharing my feeding issues with my loved ones, I started to find out that so many others had issues breastfeeding as well. We're always told "Breast is Best" as you enter pregnancy and new motherhood, but I've quickly learned that "FED IS BEST". So to any other mama's out there having a hard time when it comes to this issue, you're not alone! Do what you need to keep your baby healthy, happy and yourself healthy and happy!

I was able to drop the initial expectations I originally had on becoming a mommy and it made life so much easier. My support network helped me realize that I was Ben's mom and I would know 100% what was best for my own son. Once I accepted that fact, it felt like a cloud was lifted over my head. Day by day things got a little easier and I'm happy to say that it's been positive ever since! Being a new mom means brings so many new emotions into your life. As hard as I was on myself during the first few weeks the one thing that always made things a little easier was gazing down into this little guy's eyes. The struggles, the stress,  the emotions, the tiredness... was all worth it in the end for this guy!

Continuing the tradition of weekly photos, but this time in "Mommy and Me" form! This was also a way for me to give myself a little pick me up each week. Getting a little dolled up and capturing a moment with my son was a way to make my day a little brighter.

Words of parenthood wisdom
The first month of parenthood proved to be a doozy. What helped was the endless encouragement from loved ones, friends, family, and everyone in between. There were two sayings that helped us the most though getting through the first month. First was this:

"The first month is always the hardest, after that it gets easier!".

This was literally the #1 piece of advice we were told and we can't agree more. It felt like month one was an initiation into parenthood. Every single limit of your being tested in those first few weeks of being a new parent. There's no manual on what to do with a newborn, you literally have to figure it out on your own because every baby and parenting experience is so unique.

Another phrase that I found especially uplifting was this simple saying:

"You are doing an amazing job, you are an amazing mom"

It's so simple, yet so positive. And it's honestly the exact words of encouragement that a sleep deprived and struggling mama needs to hear whenever she starts doubt herself. So to any other mom's out there reading this and needs a little pick me up, YOU ARE AMAZING and YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB!
We made it through the first month!

Month Two
Thankfully, once we reached the one month mark and beyond our little PB&J family started to find it's groove! The post baby blues/funk I was in for a chunk of time after Ben was born finally resolved and I've been able to find myself and my balance as a mommy to a newborn. There are still the off days where there will be struggles, but hey thats the #momlife right? Overall the overwhelming feeling and the pressures to be the "perfect" mommy are gone and I've accepted the fact that I may not be that poster of mommy perfection, but I'm the best mommy for my own son and nothing will change that!

When it comes to our little Ben, he's been great in helping us figure out a schedule that keeps us all happy and most importantly rested! While in month one his sleep schedule was all over the place, he just began to sleep for longer periods at a time at night. Some nights we're able to get a good 4 hour chunk of sleep in between feedings and diaper changes! He's also been so much more active and alert during the day. It's been amazing to watch him explore his surroundings and get stronger each day with his tummy play time. He's also starting to smile more and be more interactive with us. It's been the highlights of our day when he shows off his little (big) personality.


We're also getting a ton of quality family time in while PB is still on paternity leave. It's been so amazing to have PB home with us these past two months. His work schedule at Apple is all sorts of crazy, so you can definitely say that we're all super thankful to be able to really enjoy these little family moments together.

Looking ahead
Now that we've officially made it two months in, what next?! Adventure! The past 60 days or so we've been in what can only be described as "baby quarantine". Ben's pediatrician is the absolute best, so when he advised us to keep Ben away from crowds/public places for 60 days due to the horrible cold and flu season. We followed his orders and for the most part have kept Ben away from public spaces. Does that mean we've been holed up at home these past 60 days? By no means at all, we have taken advantage of the sunny days and have gone for walks all together as a family, we've made treks to a variety of places, mainly parking lots (LOL) what?! To relive cabin fever, we'll all hop in the car and drive around since Ben LOVES motion. PB is then able to hop out and run errands while Ben and I stay in the car! We did cave and finally (with extra, extra caution) take Ben out for his first official outing on Valentine's Day. We grabbed lunch and went for a little stroll here in our downtown area. We have yet to venture out to more public spaces ex. our favorite Target, so you better believe once Ben's cleared at his 2 month appointment that will be the first spot we visit! #BensFirstTargetRun

Looking back
Parenthood has proven to be the single most challenging, yet rewarding thing both PB and I have ever taken on. Nothing could have prepared us for life with our Benjamin. There have been days where we've been overjoyed, tired, overwhelmed, tired, but overall at the end of each day (or 3am feeding) there's been unconditional love for our blessing. 🌈

Stay tuned for even more PB&J family adventures in parenting and beyond! Thank you for reading along with us! πŸ’œ



© Our PB&J Adventure Book
Maira Gall