Lorac Pro Palette

Untitled

Well look at this little birthday surprise that showed up on my doorstep! My great friend Suz is super thoughtful and better than anyone I know at remembering occasions and choosing gifts that people actually love.

Untitled

I have been adding the Lorac Pro Palette (not sponsored, just having fun) to my cart and taking it out for months. On one hand, what a perfect palette, the whole range of neutrals, matte and shimmer all in one place.

Untitled

On the other hand, I knew it would not be a palette match, so I just couldn’t pull the trigger. Now that I have it in my hot little hands, I can see quite a few shades that will work, and the warmer shades will be fun to play around with.

Best part; I’ve been looking for a better color to use as brow fill for months; I’ve been using MAC Brun which is close, but too warm, Espresso, the dark matte brown on the palette is a perfect cool brown.

Time to play! When I was a single gal living alone I used to “play” make-up- on a night in I’d play around trying new looks, this little gift inspired me to play again.

Untitled

Of course the first place I looked for a tutorial to make the best use of my new palette is my favorite make-up blog Maskcara. Although I use her tips less and less the more I embrace my bright winter palette, she’s definitely my first stop for all thinks make-up.

“Natural” Make-up look tutorial- I put natural in quotes because this looks nothing like natural me, but I suppose that’s the point right? If I wanted lo look totally natural I’d skip the make-up all together- and most days I do.

Untitled

I took my search to YouTube for this next look. I’ve never been able to do a smoky eye without looking like I got beat up, so I’m pretty happy with the results here. It’s definitely a look better suited for a night on the town than a night on the couch, but hey, that’s my life!

Tutorial for a smoky eye

(Forgive the weird lighting in these pics, the first is very early morning, the second is late at night)

Have you tried this palette? Have any great tutorial recommendations for me?

365 Fridays

Late again! I was traveling last Friday. I’ve been taking pic everyday, but this week is a bit of a grab bag. I lost track of what happened when… and I definitely don’t have time to sort it all out.

On Friday’s I’m linking up for a 365 hosted by Sarah @ Nurse Loves Farmer, Mindi @ Simply Stavish, and Stephanie @ Behind the Camera & Dreaming.

Untitled

80/365
80/356 Henry likes to play all over and around his brother when he’s trapped in his car seat when we are getting ready to leave the house. Because it;s not stressful enough trying to get 2 kids out the door, we need to add tortured baby cries into the mix. “Look Copley, I’m driving my car on you! No you can’t have the car, it’s MY car”

81/365
81/365  josh took this photo of my at The Art Institute last weekend, I think I look great, he thinks I look totally scary (maybe that’s what I like about it). Either way, I love the light.

82/365
82/365  On Sunday Josh was potty training Henry (in one day! more on that in another post) I drove up ti visit my friend Buffy of Daily Adventures of the SAHM and her babies. How sweet is her newest one! Too cute!

83/365
83/365 Henry is FINALLY tall enough for his balance bike. Now if somebody cuold jsut come over and teach him how to ride it…

84/365
84/365  Ah. I’m so happy when I take a picture and it actually captures everything I wanted it to capture. The bright eyes, the reflection on the shiny table, the pinky cheeks…

85/365
85/365 I mostly grab my camera on days when I’m showered, dressed, and generally put together… so here’s a glimpse of real life. Grubby 3 year old nursing tank, swet pants, iPad, big kid underpants, and baby who fell over and was waiting patiently (for a while) for someone to right him. Isn’t life grand?

86/36586/365- Traveling solo with 2 kiddos! Boy, was it tough! But we survived, more on this later!

How To Be More Photogenic

This is the question Josh and I were asking when we were preparing for a little project that I’m looking forward to sharing with you soon.

Josh took his question to Google, and Google took him to photographer Peter Hurley’s tips on YouTube; It’s All About The Jaw and It’s All About The Squinch. We watched, we practiced, then we put our practice in practice.

Untitled

Untitled

What do you think?  Does it work? Is it baloney? Do we need more practice?

How To Side-Car Your Crib

Untitled

Bedsharing can be a bit controversial. I get it. Do what makes you comfortable. Here is what works for us.

We tried and failed at cosleeping with Henry; he never got great sleep, I have trouble sleeping without my blankets, we abandoned the idea pretty early on and everybody slept well in their own beds. I’m definitely pro-whatever works.

Copley is my snuggle bug, he sleeps best right on top of me, and I love sleeping with my baby, but a lifetime of sleeping alone made it a little hard for me to adapt. By side-caring the crib we all get what we need; Cop gets to be close to mama, nigh time nursing is a piece of cake, and I can still get a good night’s sleep in my own space.

Untitled

Remove one side of your crib, leave the other three sides in place. The height of our crib lined up best with our bed when we removed the bed frame. We used plastic cam straps to secure the crib to the box spring, it is important to secure the crib to your bed frame or box spring so that there is no gap between mattresses.

Untitled

A pool noodle filled in the gap on the other side of the crib mattress perfectly. This entire “project” cost about $12.

Co-sleeping Benefits:

Everybody gets more sleep
Breastfeeding is easy
Helps boost milk supply
I get to wake up to Cop’s smiling face everyday, groggily nurse him and then roll over and go back to sleep on weekends.

Co-sleeping Safety:

Mattress should be firm, sheets should be tight fitting, there should be no gaps.
No pillows, blankets, stuffed animals near baby
Bedsharing only in bed, and only with mama.
No bedsharing if you smoke, drink or use illegal or prescription drugs that could impair your judgment or cause sedation.

 

9 Months!

I can’t believe Cop is more than 9 months old.

Untitled

This baby is such a love! He makes everybody who he meets smile! He’s my snuggle bug. He is so curious. He will eat anything you put in front of him.

Untitled

He loves to be held and squeals with delight when I grab a wrap. He is sleeping great (knock on wood) and even slept in brother’s room a few nights!

Untitled

He’s working really hard on sitting up, and we are very close, he can even do it by himself for a few seconds! I know how much he wants a little independence, to see more, to go, to follow his brother. I’ll be so happy for him when he can. But I’ll miss my snuggle bug too.

 

365 Fridays

I’m participating in the link up a bit late, I didn’t want anything to compete with WDSD last Friday!

On Friday’s I’m linking up for a 365 hosted by Sarah @ Nurse Loves Farmer, Mindi @ Simply Stavish, and Stephanie @ Behind the Camera & Dreaming.

Untitled

73/365
73/365- Very dramatic tummy time.

74/365
74/365- I’m having a lot of fun learning to work with light right now. Can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can really have some fun.

75/365
75/365- Baby loves his daddy.

76/365
76/365- Cop is working so hard on his strength. He can only hold himself up for a few seconds, and we need to help him, but he is making such amazing progress. I’m so proud of him, and he is going to be so happy when he gets a little more independence.

77/365
77/365- Just wearing my baby. That’s what I do.

78/365
78/365- This is probably the very best picture I’ve ever taken.

79/365
79/365- And this is a cheat! I had terrible food poisoning last week and didn’t even think about grabbing my camera. So instead, here’s a picture of a boy and his dog. Murphy, who never wanted anything to do with Henry, is Cop’s gallant protector. He even growls at Henry is he thinks Hen is a threat (and gets in trouble for it).  Nobody is impervious to Cop’s charm.

World Down Syndrome Day

Untitled

Last year at this time… I didn’t know. I had no idea how in love I’d be with Copley, and with Down syndrome. I had no idea I’d count myself among the lucky ones. I read a phrase that stuck with me “We aren’t sad and life isn’t hard” I wonder why we ever thought we would be.

Join me today in a celebration. I’m proud, I’m happy, I’m so in love.

Babywearing And Down Syndrome

I guess now is as good a time as ever to tell you guys I’m now an official Volunteer Babywearing Educator with Babywearing International.  I took and passed my test last weekend, and I’m working with the BWI Chicagoland group.

When I was pregnant, avid babywearing mama and woven wrap collector I am, I was busy dreaming and planning to wrap a newborn again.  Babywearing is a big part of my life as a mama, for both utilitarian and hobbyist reasons. One of my first questions, after, you know, asking the BIG questions, was how am I going to need to adapt babywearing to meet our needs?

Of course there is no way to predict or plan or know ahead of time which characteristics or challenges your baby might have, but on the whole, there isn’t too much extra to worry about wearing a baby with Down syndrome. The biggest challenge for us was hypotonia, low muscle tone that makes Cop a little weaker and floppier than his brother was.  This means you have to keep a better eye on positioning when wearing.

stick

As far as what KIND of carrier is the best choice for you, the answer to that question deoends on what kind of carrier you like! But I will add that in my experience I’ve found the more adjustable the better.

I prefer a ring sling to a pouch

 

I prefer a woven wrap to a stretchy wrap

Untitled

 

I prefer a mei tai to a SSC or buckled carrier.  Now that’s not to say that you can’t use a pouch, a stretchy wrap or a soft structured carrier, but you’ll have to be extra careful about fit, and make sure you use inserts or bolsters to keep baby in the proper position.

Friends and Family Q&A

Untitled

Someone I love just got a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis, what can I do help them?

I put this Q&A together based on questions I received from some friends who were brave enough to ask. I like talking about Down syndrome, I don’t want people whispering about it or acting like it’s taboo or off limits, so if you have questions, I really encourage you to ask me, I’m happy to talk about our experience.

What do I say to my friend?

Anything. You can’t say the right thing right now, because the right thing doesn’t exist. That’s not your fault. Your friend’s world just got thrown off kilter, they need time to adjust. They are figuring things out. Give them space and time if they need it, but they may not want space either; follow their lead. The amount of supportive love and messages we got in the early days was maddening, but looking back now all I remember is how much people flooded us with love.

Don’t blame them for having lots of conflicting feelings and emotions. Don’t turn their child into a mascot for your pro life politics. Don’t say you’re sorry. Don’t pity them.

Do tell them you love them, and that you’re excited to meet their baby. If they have older children and you are able, offer to babysit. They are about to have a lot more doctors appointments.

People came out of the woodwork to tell us stories of a kid with Ds they met at the park, or their cousin’s aunt’s neighbor who was the sweetest man ever. They sent me email addresses and phone numbers of strangers they expected us to call because they also have children with Ds. I’ve been flooded with recommendations for blogs and people have sent me the same YouTube video a hundred times. It’s annoying. But also? It’s amazing. We are so lucky so many people love us and care enough to reach out, recommend and hit send. Don’t stop, we love you too.

But what do I say? What words do I use?

It should go without saying that the R-Word is off limits. But you might not know not to call their child a “Down’s baby”. Their child is a beautiful tiny human who happens to have an extra chromosome. He has Down syndrome, he isn’t Down syndrome. Use people first language, please; for example, Copley is a baby with Down syndrome.

Will their baby look like them?

Of course he’ll look like them! He’s made of their DNA! I admit, I was a little worried about that too when I was pregnant, as silly as it seems now. We have a doctor who asks us at every visit if we are sure he has Down syndrome, “because he doesn’t look like he has Down syndrome”. Come on, Doc! Of course he looks like he has Down syndrome (I say “looks like he has Down syndrome” not “downsy” which I’ve heard, cringe), in so much as anybody can look like they have Down syndrome. That is, he does exhibit certain characteristics associated with Down syndrome, but that doesn’t mean he looks like every other person who has Down syndrome, or that he’s not the cutest damn baby in the whole world who, incidentally, looks just like his mama.

Does it have degrees? Is it possible to have mild Down syndrome?

Their baby will have an extra chromosome in every cell in his body, that’s how Ds works. A friend shared an analogy with me once, and it was so simple and brilliant.

Down syndrome isn’t a spectrum is disorder, it is a syndrome where people with Ds share in a set of characteristics, each of varying degrees.
Think of Ds like a salad bar. It’s not a perfect analogy but it simplifies the point.
The salad bar contains all of the characteristics of Ds. As you watch people go through the salad bar, no one gets every item on the salad bar. Some get several things and some just grab a couple. Some get heart issues, GI problems, hearing problems, sandal gap toes, Palmer creases, small ears, etc. but not everyone gets the same amount of any one item.
Everyone gets lettuce though. You can think of lettuce as intellectual disability. Some people get more lettuce than others but everyone gets some of it.
And almost everyone gets salad dressing. Dressing is the hypotonia or low muscle tone. Some just get a little and drizzle it on the side of their plate, like someone with Ds might have mild hypotonia in their arms, or some might gets lots of thick dressing, like some people with Ds have hypotonia throughout their body, including the organs and digestive system causing their digestive system to move slowly.

In the end, you may find a few salads that are similar to each other but ultimately no two salads will be alike. People with Down syndrome have characteristics in common but each has their own unique combination of those characteristics.

I’m worried about their baby. Some of those “characteristics” sound like pretty serious health issues.

They might have some pretty serious health challenges, Or they might have a totally healthy baby. Some of us get so lucky, but some of us are given babies with broken hearts. It’s not fair.

10 Things You Should Know About Your Prenatal Down Syndrome Diagnosis

Untitled

1) This is not the end of the world. It’s not even the end of the world as you know it. In a few months, it will surprise you how little you think about Down syndrome.

2) You aren’t special. Or chosen. You weren’t given a special child because you could handle it. I don’t mean to burst your bubble, I want to lift you up. You don’t have to be Supermom, you just have to be mom.

3) There are some medical things that are going to become pretty important. If you haven’t already, soon you’ll start seeing a MFM for more and better ultrasounds to keep an eye on your baby’s growth, a cardiologist for a fetal echocardiogram to look for and plan to treat a congenital heart defect that is common in babies who have Down syndrome, a geneticist or genetic counselor to learn about Down syndrome and do your baby’s karotype, and you might start BPPs (bio physical profiles) and NSTs (non stress tests) to keep an eye on your baby toward the end of your pregnancy. I know that sounds scary and overwhelming. And it is, it’s also exhausting. But it doesn’t last forever, soon your baby will be here in your arms.

4) YES you CAN breastfeed your baby! A lot of people will tell you that babies who have Down syndrome will have trouble nursing. They should tell you that they MAY have trouble nursing. And they may not. It’s a great idea to be proactive, especially if this is your first baby. Go to a few La Leche League meetings, talk to a Lactation consultant, read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. Grab a nursing pillow and stock up on some nipple cream. You can do this.

5) Some people are awful, mean, ignorant, spiteful, rude, and hateful. I’m sorry. I don’t have advice about those people because they make me mad and sad too. Hurtful comments and language should be a thing of the past. I wish I could tell you it was.

6) Some people are well meaning, loving, caring… And still can be hurtful. They don’t mean it, and they wouldn’t be if they knew better. Try to remember the difference between the well meaning and the spiteful, and give the former a break. Your friends and family want to be supportive, but odds are they are as lost as you are, and it’s going to fall to you to teach them how to support you.

7) Find community. Find a local group, we love our local Gigi’s Playhouse, find a Facebook group, go to babycenter and find both Down syndrome and prenatal diagnosis groups. It’s nice to know people who just get it.

8) Feel your feelings. whatever they are. It’s complicated and it’s okay. Are you feeling sad? Angry? In denial?  It’s so normal, give yourself a pass on adding guilt into the mix. You won’t feel so lost for much longer.

9) The Internet is full of great stories and YouTube videos that will bring tears to your eyes AND put a smile on your face. Just don’t read the comments! (see #5)

9) Resources! Start here at www.downsyndromepregnancy.org There’s a free downloadable ebook with so much information, tips on how to deal with comments, how to tell family and friends, and even a grandparents guide to help them adjust.

Congratulations! I’m so happy for you, you are so lucky! I mean that, Down syndrome sounds like such a big thing when you first hear the words, but really, the similarities vastly outweigh the differences. Your baby will eat, sleep, poop. Give hugs and kisses and snuggles. Laugh and cry. And you will too. Welcome.