Two years ago this week, my husband proposed to me at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. I was under the impression that we were taking couple photos for a friend’s photography business as we have done once before. During our last photoshoot two months prior, I thought he was going to propose and was a little disappointed when he didn’t.
The proposal took place in one of the most beautiful areas of the garden with a large fountain in the background. I started crying when he bent down on one knee because we talked about our future before and now it was here; a reality.
There were a few people around that gave us our congratulations. Later, we drove to a low country restaurant, which is my all time favorite food. My mom is from the low country of SC so I know it well. When I walked in, to my surprise, our family and friends were there! They were there to congratulate and celebrate our new engagement. We talked, ate, took pictures, and had a good time. Afterwards, it started raining and we ran to the car. There we kissed like they do in the movies; corny and in the rain lol.
Today’s post discusses simple ways we encourage our son’s cognitive and physical development through play activities.
Tummy time helps to strengthen many muscles throughout a baby’s body. It helps with other skills such as crawling, rolling, sitting, etc.
Everyday, Baby Zay performs tummy time on his Little Einstein activity mat for as long as he can tolerate it. He started as soon as he came home from the hospital with two to five minute sessions and now he can last up to an hour. While your child is performing tummy time, you want to remain present to monitor your baby and intervene when neccessary.
High Contrast Books
High contrast books supports young eye development. The simple lines and bold patterns are easier for babies to see.
We read to Baby Zay daily and point at the pictures. The goal is to support his eye development as well as attentional focus.
We use the rattle during play time because it helps with eye development and focus as well.
Baby Zay is able to focus on an object and watch its movement.
Wrist + Sock Rattles
Baby Zay loves these! The sound excites him and encourages him to move his arms and legs.
Relationship experts often say that one of the keys to keeping the spark alive in a long-term relationship is continuing to court your significant other after making it down the aisle. They recommend setting designated time for one another to reconnect and revive feelings of romance and love. Personally, I think the execution is easier said than done, especially with a newborn baby. At home dates are an easy remedy to overcoming the challenge of not having the time and opportunity to go out on the town.
The concept of an at home date is what you make it. You can get creative and come up with fun, one-on-one activities to do with your significant other without having to leave the house. If you have kids, your date starts once they go to bed.
Below are ideas for enjoyable, easy-to-plan, inexpensive at home dates you can try with your significant other.
Netflix + Chill
My husband and I love to watch movies at the theater, especially if they have dinner and drink options. The same can be recreated at home with more privacy and a fraction of the costs.
Wine + Vinyls
We built a vinyl record collection with golden oldies and current artists. If you are into the same, they make a great conversation piece. Add a glass of wine and you have a relaxing music filled evening!
Create a Wanderlust List
Make a list of places you’d like to travel to and plan a vacation together. I’m sure there are going to be a lot of airline and hotel deals to take advantage of after everything settles down.
Have a Tasting Party
You can sample small plates of food, desserts, wines, beers, Etc.
Couple’s Paint Night
Let your creative juices flow with an art project. You can create a new piece of decor for the house or DIY gift for family, friends, etc.
Set up a little tent in the living room. You can make s’mores and roast sausages in the fireplace. The best part is you don’t have to worry about the weather.
Video Game Challenge
Face off with your favorite multiplayer games like Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros.
Bake Sweets with your Sweetie
Feast on your favorite sweets together.
Put a Puzzle Together
Challenge each other by completing a large puzzle in one night.
Tomorrow will be two months since our Baby Boy was delivered and things have gotten much easier. Hubby and I have a better understanding of our boy’s cues. His appetite has increased significantly so we will consult his Pediatrician about adding cereal to his milk soon. He is eating four to five ounces each feeding and I’m having to pull from our reserves from time to time. We are very happy about his health and growth considering he was born early.
I started working out this week. Everyday, I walk at least two miles and I return home to complete a 60-minute weight lifting routine. My nutrition is pretty standard: plenty of water, no sweets, no junk, large amount of leafy greens, fruits and lean protein. From time to time, I’ll blend up a smoothie. Other than continuing my prenatal vitamins, I am not taking any other supplements right now.
The COVID-19 virus is a new strain of the Coronavirus making it’s way around the world. There has been a lot of panic and chaos, much due to the fear of the unknown. Because this virus is new to us, there are no vaccines available to provide immunity.
My current residency has less than twenty illnesses with no deaths at this time. Officials closed schools until the end of the month and people are making preparations to stay indoors for a while.
Because of the highly contagious nature of the virus, experts recommend we all practice “social distancing” and limit our interactions with others to contain the spread. There is data from past pandemics to support the benefits of social distancing.
The chart above compares two cities during the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918. One city experienced higher numbers of fatalities because people continued to interact in large numbers. The other city intervened right away by enacting the “social distancing” method. As you can see, their fatalities were significantly less.
More Local Happenings…
The stores are completely out of hand sanitizers, Lysol disinfectant spray, and Lysol/Clorox wipes. I notice more people are wiping down the carts at the store more than ever before. Also, people seem to be much more aware of public hygiene practices such as covering your cough and sneeze.
Preparation and Mental Health
My family has been following ALL of the recommendations by the CDC and WHO; social distancing, hygiene, our vaccines are up to date, etc. There’s not much left to do, but check for updates, then unplug. Watching the news is depressing right now and will drive you crazy. We are taking this time to catch up on chores, read from our 2020 booklist, and find some other hobby. There is a silver lining to this confusion.
Everyday, I or my husband make sure to thoroughly sanitize and sterilize our son’s bottles before we make his milk. Per the Center for Disease Control, properly cleaning baby bottles helps to prevent microbials from contaminating the milk you feed your baby.
Antibacterial dish soap
Small basin tub
Bottle cleaning brushes
Bottle drying rack
First, fill a large pot with water and place it on the stove.
Turn the stove on to the highest setting because you want the water to boil at an extremely hot temperature. High heat kills bacteria and viruses.
Fill a small basin with warm water and dish soap.
Next, take a bottle brush and thoroughly scrub each bottle piece.
Rinse with warm water.
Next, place the bottles in the large pot and let it boil for at least two minutes.
Use tongs to transfer the bottle pieces from the pot to the drying rack. If you don’t have a drying rack, just use a clean towel or multiple paper towels.
Spring is around the corner so you know it’s time for some heavy cleaning and decluttering!
I have started the process of shredding old documents and miscellaneous papers we don’t need. You should never throw away papers that have impertinent information due to the risk of identity theft. I organized the papers that we need into labeled folders so we won’t have to scramble to find what we need.
Next, Hubby and I teamed up to tackle our clothing. We separated our clothing into two sections: what we are keeping and what is being sold/donated. We aren’t using any of the popular marketplace apps to sell our clothes; we will just visit the local consignment stores. The donated pieces are going to the Goodwill.
Parting ways with items that hold “sentimental value”
The biggest dilemma of the decluttering process is figuring out what to do with items that hold sentimental value. This includes: trophies, plaques, and other awards, old high school prom trinkets, my prom dress, my debutante dress, our high school and college grad attire, etc. Many of these things signify very special moments in our lives, but we’re ready for them to go. We already have pictures and fond memories so there’s no need to hoard these items.
I wash and treat my hair every weekend. My routine is very simple and I do not use a whole lot of products.
Shampoo: Aussie Miracle Moist
Conditioner: Aussie Miracle Moist
Protein Treatment: Aussie Miracle Moist mixed with one egg
Leave-In: Aloe vera gel and water in a spray bottle
Oil: Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
First, I part my hair into four sections. Next, I shampoo my hair, rinse, and repeat once more. Next, I take the conditioner and mix it with the egg. The egg boosts the protein content of the conditioner, making it a protein treatment. I apply the treatment to each section and sit with a plastic cap for ten minutes then rinse it out. I follow up with the conditioner, detangle with the wide tooth comb, and rinse. Lastly, I spray my hair with the aloe, add oil and twist my hair into eight twists to air dry.
While air drying, I go about my day completing chores, tending to Baby Boy, etc. Once my hair dries, I style my hair as I choose. Lately, I’ve been wearing my hair in a bun.
Today, baby reached 30 weeks in utero. Tomorrow Hubby and I will begin the final preparations the big day! I already purchased what I need for my hospital stay and will pack this weekend. Per this week’s OB visit, my fundal height measured at 28cm and baby’s heart rate measured at 141bpm. Baby is active as always and packs a very strong punch lol.