Things I SHOULD Have Put On My Baby Registry

Finding out you are pregnant is so very exciting. Once the initial excitement has died down and everything is going well you can start to think about what you might put on your baby registry. You soon realize this is a totally involved task. There are so many baby products on the market, most claiming to be ‘must-have’. With as many products come as many articles telling you what you really need. I decided to write my own version of what I really DID need/use and if I had to register all over again, exactly what I would choose! If like me, you are rendered clueless and overwhelmed by baby gear then look no further!

Things I Should Have Put On My Baby Registry

 

I quickly found out that I didn’t truly need an awful lot of what I received on my registry. I still put them to use so friends and family’s purchases were not in vain but there are certainly things I know I need not worry about if I was blessed with a second baby. Conversely, I discovered that things I received without requesting or things I purchased later on turned out to be the things I used and relied on the most! Those are the things I SHOULD have put on my registry.

*This post contains amazon affiliate links*

Here’s why these items became my holy grail baby products:

Muslin Burp Cloths

Baby’s spit up. A LOT or a little, either way you’ll be glad of these good sized burpies to save yours and baby’s outfit and minimize the laundry headache. Not to mention, they are the softest material!

Baby Nest

The Dock-A-Tot is pricey. There plenty of small business’ out there offering similar products. Either way, a baby nest is an excellent way to safely co-sleep, avoid traveling with a travel crib and in my experience, keep baby asleep longer.

Mamaroo

I was kindly gifted the mamaroo by my SIL and it’s a dream! The various gentle motions and adjustable seat position grow perfectly with baby. This thing is the reason I can get things done. It’s also been responsible for many 3-4 hour naps!

Baby K-Tan Carrier

I have a few carriers all serving different purposes (and people!) but the K-tan is my go-to for soothing a fussy babe! It’s no-tie which means no messing with yards of fabric and makes for a quick fix to an intense meltdown. Whether it’s for a trip to the shops or just doing something around the house – you get the luxury of TWO hands. I know,  a wonderful thought, right?

Velcro Swaddle

I bought my swaddles when baby was 3 months old! She didn’t enjoy her muslin swaddles since a very young age but I was struggling to keep her asleep longer than 20 minutes during the day. First nap all swaddled up in one of these and she went out for 3 hours!

Sound Machine

Oh glorious white noise! If you have other kids (or a noisy dog and husband!) you need this to drown out the sounds of…life! The one I bought, has multiple sound options, a night light and a projector with two slides!

Nose Frida

This is the grossest thing ever. I mean. SNOTS! I had no idea babies had so many of them, or is it just mine? While the hospital issued nasal aspirator is effective, it can take a while and is more of a torture device due to how long it can take. I wished I had a Nose Frida so many times.

Changing Clutch

Such a simple idea and yet so valuable to me. Take it on short outings without taking  everything but the kitchen sink. Use it while backseat-changing on roadtrips. Use it in the diaper bag for daytrips. Use it at home on the bed for a newborn.  Stick it in your handbag….it’s just the best!

Grabbing Toys

After the three month mark baby will get such a fun little personality, it’s so exciting to see them becoming interested in their surroundings and trying to grab things. Stock up on a couple of grabbing, development toys to feed their curiosity!

To regain some control of your sanity (because let’s face it, baby takes over) during the newborn stage I suggest you put these on your registry, PRONTO! 
See also, my top tips to lighten the load at home after baby’s arrival.

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The Newborn Stage Shockers (You Thought You Were Ready For)

Pregnancy is full of advice – welcome advice, unsolicited advice, good advice, questionable advice. It’s also full of anticipation. The type of anticipation I’ve never experienced and I’m an anxious person! Time both flies and stands still and although you expect a baby, you don’t yet have a baby so you have a lot of time alone with your thoughts. While ruminating on worries and fears isn’t good for you at this time, it is a great time to get ready and research some of those things everyone whose ever been pregnant is telling you.

The Newborn Stage Shockers You Thought You Were Ready For

So you and google sit for many hours together building your skill-set for motherhood. With weeks to go you’ve got this! You’re ready for the explosion of love. You’re ready to be awake for the rest of your life. You’re ready to hold your little bundle and be everything she needs. You’re ready for the towering laundry and messier home.

But here’s the thing…

No. You. Aren’t.

The reality, the shocking reality is that nothing and I mean, NOTHING can prepare you for the impending shift in your head, your heart, your home – your life.

Birth

I was lucky enough to have an amazing, positive birth experience despite having to undergo a c-section for a scary reason. Whether your birth is memorable for being amazing, traumatic or just miraculous in general it is a life altering experience and I’m not sure the roller coaster of emotion connected to it can ever be written down and communicated effectively.

The Love

Oh, the love. Indescribable, earth shattering love. How something so little can reduce you to such mush is beyond my comprehension. You created perfection and the wave of awe is quite overwhelming. I would look at my baby with tears in my eyes for the first few weeks. I could not look at her without crying or wanting to. I’m sure hormones had something to do with that also…

Sleep Deprivation

We all know. We KNOW new parents (and seasoned parents) get no sleep. We’re so ready! Ha. Haaaaaaaa. Exhaustion is evil. Exhaustion makes you think horrible things, have a short temper and overall be the more gremlin version of your usual self. If sleep is for the weak then I’m waving my white flag. I AM WEAK. There is no shame in craving your sleep with a newborn. You cannot pour from an empty cup and with a newborn your cup is usually very empty. Except your coffee cup, that’s always full of the coffee you no longer get to finish!

Breastfeeding

For me, this was the biggest shock to the system even over the loss of all sleep. I was not prepared, not remotely and this came out of nowhere and threw my whole world upside down. I thought I had researched it to a tee. To this day I am struggling with it but determined to persevere. Nursing is exhausting, especially at the beginning. It drained the life and soul out of me and made me feel like a total failure. I am not ashamed to say that it has not been the wonderful ethereal experience I was led to believe it would be.

The Loss of Yourself

Let me be clear here. Missing who you were does not make you selfish. It makes you a human struggling with change. When a newborn hits your home like a tornado and pjs, no make-up and four day old topknots become your new look it can be very overwhelming. You start to feel like you exist only to sustain your child and clean. It is pure survival mode with little else to spare and it can make you very, very sad. Do not feel guilty for mourning the loss of your old life.

Time

Savor every second because the time flies. Cliche or sad, terrifying reality? Both! I feel like I am outside my body looking at someone holding down a fast forward button while watching mine and baby’s life play out on screen. It will make you sad to see how quickly your baby grows up. It is of course wonderful to see them develop but equally scary to realize that these precious moments are so fleeting.

So my advice is to STOP preparing ‘to be ready’ for it all. Because you just never will. You can do the legwork for motherhood but it takes that baby in your arms to really activate your inner Mama Bear. That’s when the real learning begins. And it’s powerful.

Check out my post with some tips to cope with the newborn overwhelm.

What shocked you most about life with a newborn?

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Newborn Hacks To Lighten The Load

I’ve had this Motherhood gig for just over 12 weeks now, I don’t claim to know it all. In fact most days I feel like a complete and utter failure. If ever there was anything to etch away at your self esteem it’s a newborn baby. For the most part the inside of my head is an abyss of self doubt.

Did I do that right? Is she getting enough food? Is that pain because of the way I fed her? Did she just drink bath water? Great now she’s choking on it.

Newborn Hacks to lighten the load

The first few weeks were hard, I have no shame in admitting how much I struggled (let me clarify that I was NO less grateful for my daughter). It’s a difficult mix of emotions to process. I was drowning in depression, completely overwhelmed with the new work load, incredibly guilty for all of that but also bursting with love for my newborn baby. How is that possible all at once?

I was surviving not thriving and it was making me so sad that by being so preoccupied with the negative was making me miss that time with my baby. By the time all my family help was gone and it was just me and her, things got better. That’s not to say that help wasn’t productive or required – it was. It was just coincidental that at that time my fog lifted and I found my feet as a mother. Since then we have been BFFs and I love every moment of Motherhood.

During my most difficult times in the early days the smallest things would have helped me a lot but I just wasn’t thinking clearly. You may read this list and think ‘duh, that’s obvious’ and maybe so but to me it wasn’t. If this list helps anyone have an easier day then my job is done.

Diapers, Diapers Everywhere!

If possible, have multiple changing areas. Or at least one downstairs as well as up. Stock up your changing stations BEFORE you have the baby (I did not and had an actual meltdown having to set up diapers and wipes at 22.00 after arriving home from the hospital – yes it was THAT late, don’t ask!)

Zipideedooda!

Avoid outfits with buttons. WHY do teeny tiny newborn outfits have real buttons, not even snaps, real life buttons?! So silly! For the first few weeks try to find snap onesies or sleep suits with zips.

Dressing Down

Utilize the shoulder flaps on bodysuits. Most babies are not fans of pulling stuff over their heads. Plus you’re being mindful of the soft spots. Roll the onesie downward and even pull it up that way. Also, roll it down in the event of any poop-splosion!

Stock-Take

The moment you come home from an outing with baby re-stock the baby bag with any item you used while out. ALWAYS make sure there’s a spare onesie, outfit and pair of socks replaced after use. And wipes, dear Lord don’t forget to replace the wipes. What a horror show…

Bib-ity, Bobity, Burp

Use bibs and keep burp cloths EVERYWHERE. Even while nursing, use bibs to catch spit-up and save the outfit. I do this not because I’m so fussy that the outfit might get dirty but because it saves a ton of laundry and prevents those adorable little outfits from shrinking due to excessive washing. Unfortunately no bib or burp cloth can prevent what may or may not come out the other end…

Puke Prevention

Change baby before feeding. Yes I know, I know baby may need a fresh diaper right after feeding but if he/she doesn’t then you don’t have to put them flat down and risk throwing it all back up.

New babies are hard work! However, nothing can compare to the joy they bring. If you’re drowning in overwhelm don’t be afraid to reach out for help, if that help is unavailable then sit back and leave the dishes dirty and the floor unwashed.  You can vacuum at any time in your life but baby will only be this tiny today. It’s only a season!

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Cactus Gifts For Every Succulent Lover

Did I ever mention how obsessed I am with succulents? Maybe just a few times, like in this post and all the others. Move over pineapples, this year’s hot Summer motif is the cactus! As if the plants themselves weren’t adorable already now I cannot get enough of cactus themed everything. As obsessed as I am, all I have is a dish towel, a water bottle and a notebook. I think that shows some restraint. However, after doing my research for this post I think I’m going to acquire a lot more. If you love them – you’re welcome. If you hate them – you’re still welcome! I think you’ll win serious brownie points by gifting one of these to the succulover in your life.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links

Cactus Gifts For Every Succulent Lover

Cactus Gifts For Every Succulent Lover

The Beach Bum

The Homemaker

The Girl Boss

The Moms

Yep, there goes my bank balance because I literally added everything on this list to my wishlist. Sigh…

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Hospital Bag Reality Check (What I Really Needed)

Remember that hospital bag checklist post I published before baby arrived? Here’s my update on how that stuff actually worked out for me. Clue: it didn’t.

Hospital Bag Reality Check

At 37 weeks and 5 days pregnant I went in for one of my last routine prenatal check-ups only to find that baby was coming via c-section later that SAME day. Luckily I had tentatively packed my bags but there was still an element of surprise I was sure I’d never experience. When you’re in shock like that, even adding the remaining 3 or 4 unpacked items can seem like a huge challenge. I mean, who is in the frame of mind right then to pack intelligently? I wasn’t. Although I did curl my hair because, insanity…

I arrived at the hospital three bags in tow. I left baby’s bag and my recovery bag in the car, bringing in with me a small tote containing the few essentials I would need for waiting. Because waiting is never fun. In that bag I had my tablet, phone charger, camera and personal essentials like lip balm, hand cream, hair ties, clips etc. Mistake number one! I didn’t need that bag. I was admitted at 3.45pm, gowned by 3.50pm and by 4.45 I was being prepped for surgery! That bag turned into an inconvenience that had to be looked after at the nurses station and despite the fact that I was about to have major surgery and meet my baby, I was worrying about my belongings being safe.

Fast forward one hour. I was wheeled out of the OR, into a recovery unit where I spent another hour being prodded, poked and watched for surgical complications. Once I was sent to my room, I relaxed. I met my nurse, took my pain medication and settled into the world’s comfiest bed with baby in my arms. WE STAYED LIKE THIS FOR 2 DAYS.

I wore hospital gowns for my entire stay, they were far more convenient for skin-to-skin and feeding. Baby wore a diaper the entire time as she was skin-to-skin practically the whole stay. She was swaddled in hospital blankets and literally the ONLY thing she used that I brought was a hat (the hospital also supplied me with 3). In fact, the hospital supplied me with EVERYTHING. Diapers, wipes, blankets, hats, nasal aspirator, bath wash, wash cloths, hair brush, you name it – it was there. I was so happy but also kicking myself for agonizing over the bag of goodies I had packed. Not to mention, baby was only 5lbs 11oz and to this day still hardly fits into anything I brought with me. I used nothing but deodorant and my toothbrush until I was going home when I got dressed for the first time! The hospital provided me with all of my recovery essentials including random stuff like body wash, fluffy socks and other toiletries.

Long story short, I can’t wait to have my second baby and rock up to labor & delivery with nothing but my handbag. Well not literally but I will be going full minimalist!

What I’d Bring The Second Time Around
  • Boppy Pillow
  • Baby Going Home Outfit
  • Mom Going Home Outfit
  • 1 Muslin Swaddle Blanket
  • 1 Newborn Hat
  • Basic toiletries
  • Camera

I mean it, that’s it!

What was your hospital stay like? Were you given everything or left to fend for yourself?

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DIY Wood Letter Kids Name Decor

Long time, no post my friends! It’s been 8 joyful (and exhausting) weeks of being a mother and I was long overdue a new post. I planned on taking a month long blog break (HA!) but evidently I overestimated my abilities to juggle it all. Motherhood has been the steepest learning curve of my life but I wouldn’t change it for the world. My crafty side has been twitching from being so stagnant and today I’m bringing you this adorable DIY name project. Put your own spin on it and add the sweetest personal touch to baby’s room!

DIY Nursery Name Decor

I love my baby’s name. I should, shouldn’t I? I spent nine long months agonizing over what it might be and hopefully she likes it just as much! I’m amazed by the amount of people who haven’t heard the name before. In case you haven’t heard of it, here’s a little background.

DIY Nursery Name Art

I always wanted to display the baby’s name in the nursery but wasn’t sure how. I’m not a huge fan of letters hanging from the wall individually and since there are six of them in hers I wasn’t too wild about six permanent holes in my already terrible walls! If you search baby name craft on Pinterest you will be able to scroll for hours through wood letter craft. Some of them were just too well, ‘pinterest’ for me. I wanted something elegant and dainty yet without fuss.

DIY Nursery Name Art

To the craft store! The best part of this was the fact that I bought everything I needed for under $15! I decided on scrapbook paper to decorate. Rather than sticking to one pattern I got four different kinds for a mismatched, feminine look.

DIY Nursery Name Art

DIY Nursery Name Art

Making the name was easy as pie. I simply drew around the letters on my paper of choice, carefully cut out the shape (using a sharp scissors!) then mod podged it to the wood. Done!

DIY Nursery Name Art

Initially, I was going to display the letters simply. I purchased a narrow frame shelf on Amazon with the intention of propping them up against the wall but I (horribly) misjudged the length of the name and size of the shelf and so that was nixed. The shelf now displays some of her prettiest books in what turned into a happy accident! In the end I chose to arrange the letters in a fun design and glue them together before hanging the name as one piece. I absolutely love how it turned out!

Did you do any nursery craft? Feel free to share in the comment section 🙂

 

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How To Nurture A Baby Bookworm

Since I have had the ability to read, I have been a bookworm. While reading seems to be a love it or hate it pastime, it is a pastime I cannot imagine living without. As well as something to do, reading allows one to escape the banal, live other lives and learn without limitation. There are many things I want for my daughter, one of which is to instill the same love of reading that her Dad and I have. To see Isolde enjoying books will make my heart so happy. In fact, some of the first things I bought for baby’s room, while pregnant, were books!

This post is in partnership with ‘I See Me’ Books. I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

How To Nurture A Baby Bookworm

How To Nurture A Baby Bookworm

Read bedtime stories

Reading to newborns has been linked to early speech development, wider vocabularies and better listening and communication skills. Aside from setting your child up for these benefits, some quiet story time with baby can be a lovely bonding experience.

Create a cozy reading nook

There’s something satisfying about having your own quiet space to curl up with your book, young kids like this just as much!

Visit the book stores

You don’t necessarily need to buy a book each time but make visiting the book store a fun treat. Is there anything more exciting than a child asking to check out the new releases?!

Join your local library

Books can be expensive. Especially new releases! Visit the library and choose from thousands of titles for free or a nominal annual membership fee. Usually the children’s section also offers fun arts and crafts activities and story telling events.

Start a seasonal book buying tradition

Whether they are new titles or pre-loved, start a tradition of acquiring a book for each season/event. St. Patrick’s Day, Easter,  Independence Day, Christmas etc. It’s a great way to learn about the origins of the holidays while still having fun. Growing up I would also get a new book before vacations or as a gift on vacation.

Read a book about them!

Isolde at just 4 weeks old, was lucky enough to be gifted with another book to add to her rapidly growing collection. This book though, is incredibly special. It is a a personalized book from I See Me which is all about her. I adore it and I hope she will too. There is something so special about customized books in which the individual child is the protagonist of the story.

How To Nurture A Baby Bookworm

Since I met her Dad, we have traveled all over Europe and the United States and so the book It’s Fancy To Be Me was the perfect choice. In the book, Isolde travels around the world experiencing the traditional dress and unique cultures of the places she visits. It is the sweetest story with gorgeous illustrations!

How To Nurture A Baby Bookworm

The best part of the book is that the illustrations can be customized to have your child’s hair/eye/skin color making for total customization. As well as this, her full name and date of birth is included in the first page along with a dedication of your choosing.

How To Nurture A Baby Bookworm

I am already planning my next purchase from I See Me for both Isolde and gifts for others. I was impressed with the quality and the book was delivered within one week. As well as books, you can also purchase adorable puzzles, lunch boxes and growth charts. If Isolde is anything like me she will be a puzzle master 🙂

You can check out more of what I See Me has to offer here


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Folly Beach Maternity Photo Shoot – Charleston, South Carolina

*UPDATE*

Baby arrived unexpectedly three days prior to posting but more on that later!*

It is almost baby time, people! I can’t believe it, we are just days (hopefully not weeks!) away from meeting baby! On that note, I’ll be taking a month off from blogging to learn ‘how to mom’ but will be active on social media and hopefully reappear here some time in May. As I reflect on my pregnancy I wanted to share with you some of my maternity photos. Over President’s Day weekend we took a trip to Charleston where I had a surprise babymoon/maternity photo shoot thanks to my husband! From the start, I had always wanted to do maternity photos but it was one of those things I kept putting off for a multitude of reasons.

Folly Beach south carolina Maternity Shoot

Oakley Photography Maternity Shoot

We drove the short two hour drive to Charleston that Friday. I immediately kicked myself for spending two years living in Savannah and not visiting sooner! Downtown Charleston oozes charm and sophistication. It is the gastronomic capital of the South and has all the fun of the seaside just a stones throw away. It really is the perfect city for everyone whether you want a family vacation, romantic getaway or girls weekend!

Oakley Photography Maternity Shoot

Our first stop before the city was Folly Beach, a popular vacation spot just outside Charleston. We met the lovely Melissa of Oakley Photography and had a 2 hour session with her. My maternity shoot was my first ever photo shoot besides my wedding photos. I was so hesitant to have maternity photos taken because I feel a constant state of awkwardness! Well none of that mattered. Melissa is down to earth, funny and manages to make you feel so at ease. She knows exactly what she’s doing and has a great eye for flattering shots. I couldn’t be happier with my photos, it’s been a while since I felt that pretty and she made it happen effortlessly.

Oakley Photography Maternity Shoot

Oakley Photography Maternity Shoot

There’s something pretty powerful about growing a little person inside you and her photos exude exactly how I feel about that!

Oakley Photography Maternity Shoot

You can see more of Melissa’s work and book a shoot on her website melissaoakleyphotography.com

Or follow her Facebook page for regular updates and sneak peeks!

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6 Things To Do Before Baby’s Arrival

Whether it’s your first baby or your fifth, newborns come with overwhelmingly long to-do lists! When you are entirely preoccupied with everything you must do to prepare for baby’s arrival, it’s easy to forget the monotonous things that still need tending to in our day to day lives. Who wants to have a newborn baby, be overwhelmed by motherhood and realize you have to go to the store for toilet paper? Not this gal! With just a couple of weeks left before baby’s arrival, I’m sharing with you a list of things to get done that you will either have no time nor desire to do once baby arrives.

6 Things To Do Before Baby's Arrival

Your Hair!

This one isn’t the most important, I admit, but you deserve some pampering mama! It’s not easy waddling around feeling super uncomfortable 24/7. Get your hair done and relish your glamorous locks before they’re full of spit up on the regular. Not to mention, finding 2-3 hours for a hair appointment won’t be an option very soon!

Another good and important one would be to visit the dentist. Did you know that women are far more susceptible to dental problems during pregnancy? Now is the time for a check-up or even just a clean. Who knows when you might get time to go again.

Make Lists

This is the crazy organized part of me shining through. I have compiled a list of family and friends numbers who we want to share the news of baby’s arrival with immediately. This helps to avoid forgetting someone when you’re running on endorphins and won’t exactly be thinking of Uncle so and so who then gets super offended that he saw it on facebook. So make a list or y’know, tell everyone online and offend them all equally. Whatever your view is, it’s your baby!

A perhaps more achievable list to compile is a list of recipients for your Thank You cards as you receive registry gifts. I didn’t have a baby shower but we were still flooded with gifts from family and friends. For the love of God don’t fail to thank those who have sent you something. Rude! Even if you don’t do it as they arrive, be sure to send a birth announcement card with a thank you from baby attached.

Deep Clean

And by deep clean, I mean have your ever-so-gracious and helpful partner do it or hire someone. Don’t attempt all that bending and scrubbing alone. Have rooms/closets organized, carpets shampooed, windows cleaned and basically any big ‘Spring cleaning’ kind of task that more than likely will not get done with a newborn around.

Since January we have been taking a room or area of the house each week in which to deep clean blinds, window screen ledges, windows and baseboards. My husband has shampooed the carpets and we maintain a twice weekly quick and general cleaning of the whole house to keep it up.

Stockpile Household Necessities

2 days postpartum is not the time to find out you have run out of bin liners, toilet paper, disinfectant etc. Have everything stocked up that you use week to week. It’s not like bathroom cleaning spray is going to be at the forefront of your mom brain.

I went to my local Sam’s Club and stocked up on TP, paper towels, trash bags, body wash, razor blades, toothpaste, pantry staples such as cereals, pasta, grains, sauces & seasonings and also, a large freezer meat supply! I’m subscribed to diapers and other baby essentials on Amazon Prime so I can rest assured that will be taken care of. Basically all I will need weekly is fresh produce and dairy which my husband can help out with by quickly picking up on the way home from work.

Prepare The Car (+ Install Car Seat)

Keep your vehicle pet hair free when baby’s due date is getting close! We have an SUV that will be perfect for carting around baby’s gear but up until now it’s been the personal Uber car for our Labradoodle. Let’s just say he got WAY more lab than poodle and he sheds like a maniac every February or if he’s just been bathed. We’ve vacuumed out the car and installed the car seat to ensure no floating Doodle hairs end up on the baby. Ew. Poor Darby is now limited to riding in less style in my husband’s commute-to-work car. But he doesn’t mind once he ends up at the park, the beach or his friend Olaf’s house!

Prepare Freezer or Crockpot-Ready Meals

This one takes effort but oh goodness will it be worth it when you’re so tired you could crumple in a heap and cry! I’m a big supporter of the crockpot. That glorious device that I dump stuff into and can magically eat 8 hours later. Set aside an evening to plan your meals. Then spend a morning shopping for ingredients and the rest of the day assembling. Again, request help with this one. This is definitely a task where many hands make light work. Stock up on freezer bags and get to it. It’ll be so satisfying to see your meals for a solid month or more all taken of! You will be less tempted to order fast food. This is not only costly but not the healthiest for new mothers, especially if nursing your baby.

Bonus + Often Overlooked Task!

Make Arrangements for Pet Care

This gives me the most anxiety. Babies aren’t exactly known for their perfect, convenient arrival times on their exact due date. We’re lucky to have the world’s best puppy sitter! She’s flexible and ever so good to the Dood. Ensure you have someone lined up to take care of your pet. Decide whether they will take them to their place or stay at yours. These plans will be loose until the big day. Most people are understanding about the unknowns in this situation.

What’s important to you, to complete before baby’s arrival?

 

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St. Patrick’s Day In America Through Irish Eyes

Surviving St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is one thing. Surviving it in America when you’re Irish, is another! Put on your best smile and your pointiest elbows and be prepared for an obnoxiously green, semi-racially offensive grand ol’ time! I kid of course. Kind of.

St Patrick's Day in America

On March 17th, the whole world seems to honor the Irish – famous landmarks go green, parades are held and guinness flows more freely than usual. However, as far as parties go, America wins. You won’t meet one American on St. Patrick’s Day whose Dad’s cousin’s husband’s sister’s mail man was Irish and therefore so are they.

St Patrick's Day in America

Surviving St. Patrick’s Day in America

I-rish I Were IRISH

My husband always has a new anecdote for me and it cracks me up! Now and again at his workplace my nationality will come up and the response has more than once been, “Oh really? I’m Irish too! Where is she from?!” Now this would be a perfectly acceptable question if they were asking from which county or town. Alas, multiple people have now asked WHAT STATE I am from. Here’s what’s wrong, Americans now claim Irish heritage so haphazardly that being Irish no longer means from the country. It’s just a generic label and it can simply mean, ‘Ohio’. I’m currently working my way through all fifty States in response.

BEGORRAH, BEGOSH, TOP O’ THE MORNIN’

and all those other words and phrases that Irish people quite literally never say. They will be repeatedly shouted in your face if your nationality has been exposed. My personal tip for dealing with this is the ‘Carlsberg response’ of “ciúnas, bothar, cailín, bainne”. Irish people will know that in our native tongue this means nothing more than “silence, road, girl, milk” – a collection of random words. You’ve got to give the people what they want! Tell them it means “you’ve never met a nicer person” and be on your merry way.

DRUNKEN TOMFOOLERY

It sounds like a guy’s name (and NO I don’t know him because he’s Irish) but in fact it’s the theme of the day. This is the more offensive aspect of the day for me. A lot of people in the US and beyond view drunken debauchery as the ONLY mark of a true Irishman. Mimic my accent and use stereotypical Irish-isms – it’s fine. I don’t take it personally because frankly I know a lot of these people genuinely like Ireland, the culture and the accent. They mean no real harm. But hearing that I’m Irish and responding with a ‘drunk’ related quip then I’m going to get real mad, real fast! Sometimes I like a drink. Sometimes I don’t like a drink. Contrary to popular belief, holding an Irish passport doesn’t mean I binge drink regularly and have Jameson flowing through my veins.

Again through my dear husband this wretched stereotype has reached me again and again. Sometimes directly to my face. It’s taken me a while but I’ve managed to perfect a smile that is much less psychotic than my first few attempts.If you’re familiar with The Big Bang Theory it’s like Sheldon’s smile.

There I am among a group of people (all enjoying a quiet drink) and my friend is asked what she’s drinking, she replies with the name of her cocktail and then I’m asked by the same person. I tell this person what’s in my glass and the response is “of course you’re drinking, you’re Irish”. Now should I be mad at that comment or that my friend seemed to be able to enjoy her drink with no rude comment attached at all? I will stress again that I don’t really take this one too personally but I DO feel awfully self-conscious every time I take a sip of my drink after such a comment.

I will leave my feelings on a certain drink called the ‘Irish Car Bomb” completely out of this post!

If you’re looking for something to remind you of Ireland please let it be beautiful scenery, ancient history or scholarly achievements, not excessive alcohol consumption!

GREEN

All shades of it and all at once. If it’s green they’ll be wearing it, eating it and drinking it.

Last year I attended the parade in Downtown Savannah, the second largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world. That epic thing was almost 4 hours long. It was a sight to behold and probably my best St. Patrick’s Day ever! I have never seen so much GREEN! I probably shouldn’t tell you that practically nobody in Ireland with the exception of small kids will wear green on March 17th! But when in Rome…wear all the green you can?

Remember to keep it clean people, we’ve already established the penchant for assuming we’re a nation of drunks but at kid friendly parades it’s probably best to keep your explicit t-shirts in the closet at home!

St Patrick's Day in America

PATTY, THE FORGOTTEN SISTER OF PATRICK

At least, that must be who she is because no Irishman is called Patty. Patty is short for Patricia, Paddy is short for Patrick. Those are the rules. “But there’s no T, it makes no sense!” – I hear you cry! The name Patrick is Padraig (Paw-drig) in Irish, hence the Paddy.

Men called Patrick may be known as Pa, Pat, Paddy, Pod, Pawd, Pauric, Padraig the list goes on. But never Patty. I repeat – NEVER PATTY!

This sign was posted by Dublin Airport last year and I think it’s hilarious!

Paddy Not Patty


“Please share this simple message with your friends and relations in the United States and Canada. Using the power of your network, hopefully we can banish the scourge of St Patty once and for all. – Dublin Airport”

Every time you utter the phrase, ‘St. Patty’s Day’ a tiny leprechaun dies. True Story. You don’t want that on you, do you?!

Keep it real, protect the leprechauns. They’re dying out like the Irish language.

PINCH THIS

I don’t know where the heck that came from but I’m sensing it’s an American invention since as I said, Irish people don’t generally take part in greening their attire. The story goes if you don’t wear green, you’ll be pinched as a reminder that leprechauns will pinch you for the same reason. Fortunately, you’ve all said ‘Patty’ so much the leprechauns have suffered a massive decrease in population and won’t be around to cause any pinch pains.

SHAMROCK NOT  FOUR LEAFED CLOVER

Shamrock was used to symbolize Christianity in Ireland and is an unofficial national symbol. It’s not to be confused with the Harp which is our official national emblem and also not to be confused with a four leafed clover. Shamrock is a common three leafed clover, the four leafed version is said to be lucky because it’s harder to find.  The three leaves of the shamrock were used to symbolize the Holy Trinity by St. Patrick. On March 17th, people typically pin a small bunch of shamrock on their lapel or hat. Some don’t know the meaning of ‘small’.

All jokes aside, America made St. Patrick’s Day what it is today and like anything they do, they attack it with gusto! We all must grit our teeth  and roll our eyes deep within our brains from time to time but there’s little I would change (except Patty – stop that!) about Irish America and the festivities of St. Patrick’s Day here. The relationship between our nations throughout history has been strong and continues to be. No matter where I go in the US, people have nothing but positive words and funny stories to tell about their travels to my homeland.

Since I can’t be in Ireland, America is the only other place I’d rather be!

 

 

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