two months

Carmen turned two months old on Wednesday! The first thing Ethan wanted to do when he rolled out of bed was take her "birthday photos" and so we did just that. He offered his input and expertise on prop placement and other behind the scenes opinions and that in itself sums up so much as to how he is as a big brother. Aside from one initial stint with jealousy, he is hands-on and involved and engaged. He is loving and caring and patient -- and so is she, because no matter how much he's driving her nuts, she's always all smiles to see her big brother.

Carmen had her two month check-up yesterday and is weighing in at 8 pounds, 11 ounces and she's 20.5 inches tall. She's still in some newborn outfits but also starting to move (slowly) into some 0-3 month clothing. She's wearing size one Seventh Generation disposable diapers which seemed like such a milestone, having moved up from newborn! We are trying to work with her on eating and gaining, which is something new for me because Ethan never had such issues (according to his baby book, he was wearing 3-6 month clothing and eating 7-10 ounces per feed at this age). When Carmen can polish off 4 ounces in a feeding, we celebrate the rare victory. She had her first set of vaccines yesterday with no reaction and slept her longest stretch at night yet -- four hours and ten minutes!

We have Carmen's cardiology check-up today (which is another update for another time).

At two months, Carmen loves the car, being worn in the Boba wrap, music and listening to her brother talk. She is giggling more often, too! She is a pacifier fiend which is another new thing for us seeing as how Ethan never took one.

Perhaps my favorite milestone was that she had her first class at My Gym on Wednesday as well! Her big brother began his My Gym classes at the same age, two months old, and this time he got to accompany her to her class. (The cuteness and sweetness of this deserves it's own post, too. Bear with me.)

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carmen's nursery reveal

Alright, anyone who knows me knows that room decor is serious business in my world. Also, I may or may not be a total control freak. Given the whirlwind nature of Carmen's adoption, I've had to try to function knowing that her nursery wouldn't be complete for a while after her arrival home. Today we put the finishing touches on her nursery and it feels so good. Like, take-all-the-pictures good. I mean, she won't be sleeping in her nursery for a few more months but it sure does feel like a relief having everything set up! Without further ado (and because once she is in her nursery it won't look half as pristine as it does now), introducing our sweet girl's nursery.

We decided on a minimalist (well, my take on minimalism -- it's a work in progress) twinkle twinkle little star themed nursery. Grays, yellows, gold -- and some glitter. (Ethan and I decided collectively that his sister deserved some glitter.)

Carmen's closet has some built-in shelving which has been awesome and spares me having to put in a dresser as we did with Ethan. To the right is our little cloth diapering set up which I'm eager to use once my petite preemie stops being so, well, petite.

I hate headbands and bows, but I am a little bit obsessed with turbans and headwraps. Girl can pull it off like her mama sure can't, I have to say.

This box is closed for the sake of her privacy, but is usually open and contains photographs of Carmen with her birth mom and siblings. It also has some letters they've written her for when she is older and hospital trinkets -- bracelets, copy of her footprints, etc.

Pillow by Wire & Honey

Watercolor birth announcement print by Sara Gourley Art

Carmen's beautiful letters were handpainted by Designs by Jessika

Her beautiful mobile is from Lovefelt Mobiles. Gisele, mama extraordinaire and maker of all these beautiful mobiles, may be the most kind, helpful and patient maker in the universe.

My little sister painted some small canvases for Ethan's nursery before he was born. We had Ethan carry on the tradition and create some artwork for his sister's nursery. Allegedly these are an abstract version of aliens and the cosmos. We'll go with that.

This changing table belonged to Ethan, but the hamper had broken in storage. I fell in love with this patterned hamper from Target and so all became right in the world again.

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strength in numbers.

I have debated making this post, or when to, or how to. I'm an oversharer by nature and people tend to notice when my social media activity tapers off even ever so slightly. Tonight I feel calm (and drained) enough to decide that I wanted to put it all out there. Today was one of the hardest days I've had to endure, but in the end I'm told that our worst case scenario is a best case scenario in it's own weird way. I'll just put it all out there:

Today, by a total fluke, Carmen was diagnosed with a couple congenital heart defects.

Ethan told me he had a sore throat this morning and so off to the doctor we went. (He's fine.) Before we left, I asked the doctor to look at Carmen just to make sure since I'm a little bit wacky when it comes to germs and neurosis (if you haven't noticed). As she held her stethoscope up to Carmen's heart, I saw her expression change to one of slight concern. And then there it was. Lately I've struggled to remember the exact pain, the exact panic, the exact feeling that washed over me when Wylie was diagnosed with a CHD. This morning at the pediatrician, I had no trouble rediscovering and reliving that terror. Ethan was swept off with the receptionists to color some pictures while I crumbled to pieces clutching my beautiful baby. Not again. Not this again. Not me. Not Carmen. Not again. Why? Why? Why? I struggled to breathe. I struggled to form coherent sentences. I managed to somehow call both my mother and husband to get here right now and the cardiologist, the same one we saw with Wylie, cleared a space in his schedule immediately for us.

The waiting hurt. It physically hurt. Even though now, at 11:15 p.m., I know the diagnosis, I can't unfeel the pain of waiting, of watching Carmen laying there for her echo-cardiogram in the same room where we learned Wylie probably wasn't going to pull through.

Carmen is okay. She isn't going to die. She isn't going to go to sleep one day and not wake up. They are minor defects, ones that likely and hopefully will heal on their own without surgery. We just need to keep waiting and monitoring, hoping we will hear the magic words that her issues have resolved and she won't need heart surgery. Our very worst case is that she will require surgery, although that is apparently very unlikely, but it was made clear to us that it isn't a major surgery. Of course, it's still surgery. Of course, I'm still a mother who has lost a child to a congenital heart defect and then here I was, two years later, listening as a doctor found flaws with our baby girl's heart. No amount of "but they're such minor, common defects" will ever alleviate that pain.

But they are minor, common defects. I am grateful for that as much as I am bitter, saddened, terrified, beside myself with the injustice and sadness in my heart of hearts. In three weeks we will be back at the cardiologist where I had hoped to never step foot again, finding out what we can. I let myself fall apart today. I drowned my sorrows and fears in queso, gangsta rap and unrelenting tears. I allowed myself to fall apart and now I pulled it together because we are going to fight this. We are going to fight this for daughter.

Now, we stay strong for Carmen.

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newton wovenaire crib mattress review + prize package giveaway

By now, you probably know that Carmen's arrival into our family was a complete whirlwind as we learned that we were selected to parent in the same phone call we learned of her early arrival. As we begin to scramble and made plans for her nursery, we began to do our research on what should go into her nursery. After all, so much has changed in the five years since we planned and created Ethan's nursery and, as parents, it's our duty to evolve with the times, science and safety. Safe sleeping, of course, is at the very top of our priority list. As parents who have suffered a loss as we did, I don't cut corners when it comes to safety.

We were fortunate enough to be able to receive a Newton Rest Wovenaire Crib Mattress and I couldn't wait for it to arrive. From the moment we unpacked the mattress from the box it was shipped in, it was evident that this was a high quality, safe and comfortable mattress. From a parental perspective, I know that messes happen (Ethan was a reflux baby so say no more) and I love that the Wovenaire mattress has a removable and washable cover. Bye bye, bacteria! The core itself can be washed with soap and water making it easy to clean down to it's, well, core -- and what more could any parent want for the space their little one sleeps?

The mattress itself is soft. It's beyond soft. It's a little bit like what I imagine climbing up onto a cloud would feel like: fluffy and calming and just so very cozy. As I studied the mattress up close, I was excited to see the details in the breathable design. Transitioning a baby from a bassinet into their own room is a big, scary milestone and having the Wovenaire mattress takes a lot of that fear out. You can tell that no stone went unturned when creating this mattress and that safety is Newton's main priority.

So what sets the Wovenaire mattress apart, safety features aside? Well, for starters, there is no glue, foam, springs or latex. Nope, there are no allergens or chemicals where your little one rests their precious head. From an eco-friendly perspective, it's completely recyclable! The core of the mattress is made up of 90% free air. Yes, air. I just think that's the coolest part.

The aforementioned design that I mentioned is not only breathable, but it also allows for prime temperature regulation. The Wovenaire takes the guess work and worry out and simply leaves your baby a luxurious, comfortable and -- most importantly -- safe place to sleep.

Babies deserve the best and parents deserve peace of mind. Newton delivers with the Wovenaire crib mattress. (Can I also mention that each visitor we get touches her mattress and remarks how they need one for themselves because ohmygosh, it's comfortable?)

That smile speaks for itself!

Visit Newtown's website for how to purchase or partake in the 100 night trial that they offer. We promise -- you'll be hooked and want one for yourself. Speaking of, adult Wovenaire mattresses are coming soon. I may have looked into that, I'm just saying.

Newton has teamed up with some other fantastic shops including Stokke, Bitybean and Nuna strollers to provide a prize pack valued at $1,110 -- including a Newton crib mattress as well! Click the image below to enter!

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