INTRODUCING MISS SIDNEY SLOANE

sidney sloane anderson birth announcement

We just celebrated her one month birthday, so I figured it was time to officially post her arrival here on the blog! Still can’t believe I have two girls, seeing as during the entire pregnancy anyone who had an opinion thought I was carrying a boy. I had mentally prepared myself for a boy. I was terrified to have a boy. But let’s be honest, I’m totally a girl mom and am thrilled to have someone who can now wear all of Parker’s hand-me-downs. Those fur vests and cowboy boots will have a second life! Sidney is a family name on Eric's side - it's his fathers and grandfathers middle name. Sloane is a last name on my father's side and a name I've always loved, especially after living in Chelsea by Sloane Square in London (my favorite city!). 

So what has the first month been like with a toddler and a newborn? Is it crazy to say it has surpassed all my expectations? Seeing as I was prepared for the worst. Literally, was meeting with friends before the birth and acting like I was dying. I would send them off and be like ‘Whelp, it has been real. Not sure when we’ll see each other again, but it’s been nice knowing ya!’. I thought for sure everything would be as difficult, if not worse, than the first time around... seeing as we also have a toddler in the mix. Sure, I’m zombie level tired and most days I smell like a mixture of breastmilk and dry shampoo, but I think I’ve found my ultimate happy place…… being a mom. Cheesy? 100%. Motherhood makes me feel completely unprepared and yet totally confident. It balances me out. It’s a reality check from all the unnecessary distractions we encounter every day, it reminds me where to invest my time and what really matters in my life. I don’t take it lightly.

sidney sloane anderson

I had a lot of internal struggles with the concept of our planned c-section. Surprises are my favorite thing and I always envisioned that ‘ah-ha’ moment that women have when they realize they are going into labor. I’ve never had that. I did, however, have some Braxton Hicks with this pregnancy, which occurred conveniently while Eric was on the other side of the country. Nevermind that I freaked out and started packing for the hospital, thinking about who I’d want in the operating room with me if he couldn't get home. I didn’t tell him at the time, as to not alarm him, but he did come home to a bag sitting by the door packed with ‘necessities’ like toothpaste, one slipper, a phone charge, a candle, some mismatched pajamas and a swim suit. I was clearly thinking straight.

Sidney Sloane Anderson birth announcement

So how has it been different? After the first week of Parker getting adjusted (read: throwing a fit at the drop of a hat), she has since mellowed out and is back to her old sassy and dignified self. We are back to life as we know it, just with an additional tiny human in the mix. My recovery was a million times easier this go around - thank god. Also, I fought for skin-to-skin post operation as soon as they could get her on me and kept her there in recovery and until we were admitted to our room. Now, I know every child is different, but Parker was terrible at breastfeeding until she was nearly four months old (read more on that here). Sidney Sloane has been a champ. She’s redeemed the nightmares I was having about these initial weeks. She’s shown me what it’s like to be in baby heaven and enjoy these first weeks. I missed a bit of that with Parker since I constantly had to hand her off to pump, she would cry every time I tried to nurse her and the logistics with pumping/bottle feeding made it hard to do anything on a whim. It’s amazing how much power the act of feeding our babies has over our lives and emotional well-being as a mother in these beginning weeks.

I know the harder days will come once I’m dealing with a mobile baby and an energetic toddler, but for right now, I’m just soaking in these simpler days before the real chaos begins!

 

APPLE PICKING AND THE FAMILY NARRATIVE

upstate fall apple picking hudson valley

I’m a believer in building a family narrative. One that encompasses both of our separate family traditions and also leaves room for us to build our own as our tribe grows. Our longest running tradition as a couple has been going upstate for apple picking in the fall. It is honestly the best thing ever…. seriously, ever. We used to go on weekend dates upstate exploring little towns, we got engaged and then married in one of those little Hudson Valley towns, we love the changing of the leaves, the crisp air and the perfect temperature, the apple cider with a side of apple cider donuts, the smell of the fireplace and….. I mean, you get the idea. We are very predictable city folk who yearn for a bit of country flair.  

apple picking_1.jpg

Some years we rent a house, gather some friends and make a whole vacation out of apple picking. It’s really the only way to fully experience the magicalness that is the New England fall season. It’s my favorite outfit season - layers and scarves, but not bulky jackets. It’s my favorite food season - all things pumpkin spice. It’s my favorite smelling season - all the candles are out and fire pits are a must. This is starting to turn into my love letter to fall. Fall, can you hear me? I love you. One of my wishes in life is to maybe live in a town where it’s basically fall all year around. Does that place exist?  

fall plaid outfit white jeans
plaid cape fall outfit warby parker sunglasses

The neat thing with traditions is that they can be passed on to your children or used to create larger stories with your existing family. Bringing Parker along has brought apple picking up to a whole new level. Is there anything cuter than a tiny person picking apples and then trying to eat them? Do note her tiny little Mickey Mouse gardening gloves that she referred to as her 'apple picking gloves' and refused to take off. As she gets older, I love watching her get excited by new experiences. The tractor ride at the apple farm….. girlfriend was having joy-rage she was so excited. Or maybe that was the after effects of the apple cider donut she ate. #sugarrush

white jeans fall plaid outfit

The past couple of years my dad has joined us and now this tradition has expanded to other parts of our family. It’s really neat! (Yes, I just said ‘neat’.... I guess it's like a mom thing.) I love seeing us creating and experiencing these memories together. I want them to be things our children remember when they are older and hopefully decide are something they want to do with their families - and then we can tag along!

OUTFIT DETAILS :: Jeans (budget option)/ Sweater (budget option) / Shawl / Diaper Bag / Boots (sold out, here's similar

OUTFIT DETAILS (PARKER) :: Leggings / Vest (similar) / Cardigan /  / Mickey gloves

REAL TALK WITH REAL MOMS :: SLEEP

sleep training baby advice how to

I'm thrilled to kick off this new series with an all-star group of fellow mamas today! We will have a variety of topics in the coming months, but today we are chatting about the ever elusive pastime of sleep. Here's the deal - there's no one way to parent and no two babies are the same. We came together to write these posts as a way to share each of our experiences knowing that the internet is a powerful tool for new moms, seasoned moms.... heck, just for parenting in general. Between the ages of 0-15 months, I Googled the heck out of everything that was happening with Parker. Take all the blog posts and commentary with a grain of salt, and in the end, you know your baby best. But it was nice and refreshing when I knew I had found a mother who had a baby similar to mine who was dishing out some sound and solid advice.... free of any side of crazy. So we start this series off with one of my favorite things in life..... sleep

how to sleep train a baby

Sleep. You are a different person if you don't get enough and you are a different person if you get as much as you want. Am I right, or am I right? It's the same for babies and they need all their beauty rest too or they cause havoc. Now that Parker is 2, she's sleeping 11 hours a night with one 2-3 hours nap in the afternoon and we're all in a happy place. She may not be sleepy when we put her down, but she'll play or entertain herself and put herself to sleep. But, the first few weeks you just live in a household of tired zombie humans crying all the time because they just want to sleep. At first, Parker slept in her bassinet in our room (all those days are a haze) and then at around two or three months, we transitioned her into her crib. At four months, we began sleep training for both bedtime and naps. I know this is a hot topic amongst parenting circles, but it was important for us that she could be an independent sleeper. It's not everyone's choice, but it worked wonders for us as parents who both had jobs outside of the house to get too in the morning. I can't tell you how many 15min naps I took while in my pumping room at the office. Trust me, you can sleep while pumping. 

sleep training a baby six months

Did we start sleep training and then everyone miraculously started getting 10 hours of sleep a night? No. We realized it's a gradual process. Parker was learning how to sleep, learning her nighttime routine, learning what to do when she woke up and didn't know how to get back to sleep. She did start sleeping in longer stretches most nights, others it was still touch and go. There were many nights of crying (both her and me), bouncing on our huge yoga ball to soothe her, nursing her back to sleep and sleeping with her in our bed or on the couch cause girlfriend just wanted to be cuddled. Some nights I was so tired I thought I'd never get to sleep a full eight hours straight again.... ever. In those moments at 3am, you will do anything to just get the both of you back to sleep. I remember a patch of time where she was still tiny and she'd be swaddled like a burrito and her soothie would fall out and the hysterical crying began. I would glide into her room like a ninja in the night, hide behind the crib, locate the soothie and then slyly put it back in her mouth and then ninja crawl back out of the room. It was really quite impressive. Eric would give me a high five and we'd both be back asleep in less than a minute. 

guide to sleep training a baby amy parker anderson parker etc

At around five or six months, she was really sleeping like a champ. But it's right when you start to get cocky that the baby Gods really set you straight. Here's the thing about sleep. If you take one thing away from this post.... it is this. Sleep is an ever changing process for your child that will go through waves of consistency and then weeks where you feel like you're living in the twilight zone. It changes as they change. It gets disrupted by teething, traveling, growth spurts, nightmares, potty training and colds. The most important thing everyone can agree upon is to establish a routine with your child that works for your family. 

I'll share a bit of ours in case it's helpful for anyone. We've always given Parker a bath before bedtime - it's relaxing. This signals that we are winding down and bedtime is in the future. We read a couple of books, hand her a 'lovie' and her soothie and say 'night night'. We started using the term 'night night' every time we laid her down to sleep - naps and bedtime. Eventually, she began to actually understand what that term meant - babies, so smart! She has some stuffed animals in her crib and her Baby Einstein toy (best gift ever) that she plays with and it still entertains and keeps her occupied her in her crib to this day. At around 16 months, we started leaving a water bottle in the crib with her. This was nothing short of pure genius! Every morning since, it has been empty when we go in in the morning. I think that water bottle buys us at least an hour extra sleep in the morning cause she'll wake up, drink water and hang out with her animals instead of crying. Or if she wakes up in the middle of the night, she'll drink water and then fall back asleep. She still has a soothie that she uses only when she sleeps - figuring out how to remove that is our next step in her sleeping process (tips/tricks gladly welcomed!) A routine also makes it smooth sailing for sitters, nannies, grandparents, etc to get your kid to sleep with ease. 

sleep training six month baby
guide to sleep training baby parker etc amy parker anderson

I could write a novel on all the different sleep chapters we've encountered in our two years as parents. But key things are consistency, routine and what works best for your family (co-sleep, cry it out, soothe, nurse, etc). Here's the deal, at the end of the day there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel. You sure as heck don't feel like it when you're in the thick of the newborn stage, but there's an end. No kid goes to college not knowing how to sleep. If you are a first-time parent of a newborn reading this, trust me, you will sleep again! You may never feel like you're ever fully rested again, but things will find a rhythm. 

** I'd love to hear from others on their experiences with sleep training, not sleep training, co-sleeping, tricks to napping while working and anything to expect in the coming toddler years in the world of sleep! Please share! This series is meant to spark some conversation so we can all learn from each other! **

Be sure to check out and follow along with the other amazing mamas who are sharing their stories as part of this series. Links below! #realmomseries

Jen : The Effortless Chic    |     Erin : Apartment 34     |     Sarah : Smitten Studio 

   Sam : Could I Have That   |    Rebecca : A Daily Something     |     Em : The Refined Woman

       Alex : Avestyles   |  Hilary: Our Style Stories