Category Archives: thoughts

I’ll Show You My Vacation

This summer has been a busy one around here. While we haven’t been out or travelling much with three kids from toddler to teenager, everyone has their own schedules and ideas of summer fun. On top of the kid schedules and summer ideals AJ has been keeping himself busy with travel for work and the National Guard. The poor guy needs some down time to unwind and relax. It seems even family vacations can be not as much fun for him, or me for that matter.

Our most recent family vacation was this summer just this month. I had a work convention in New Orleans with Younique and since none of our family had ever been there before we opted to make it a family trip. I think this sounded easier and better in theory. Don’t get me wrong, we had a good time but traveling with all the kids and exploring a city is not easy for one parent alone. Like I said, the man needs a vacation.

Our vacation started with our flight down to NoLa (New Orleans, Louisiana), read all about there here.  Once we arrived it was late at night and the 5 of us needed transportation. We hailed our first Uber! More on our Uber experiences later. Let’s get to why you’re here… our vacation!

We did a lot of walking around the city, our hotel was close to where I needed to be and downtown. My personal to do list while we were there frankly consisted mostly of trying the local food. Hey I know my priorities! Besides I was in classes most of the time during the day or had events at night.

AJ and the kids explored more than I did and they had a great time doing so. They walked around the city, visited the French Quarter, an insectarium and aquarium. (AJ has those photos on his phone, I forgot to snag them from him. I will edit the post with his photos later.)  The kids weren’t terribly interested in trying the local cuisine. They preferred McDs to local fried southern chicken. I still don’t understand that one, but hey no money or food wasted there I suppose.

There was a lot of rain, one day there was even a flash flood! We tried to keep inside during the downpour. We stayed safe but not dry. Later that night the power went out in our hotel, while we were trying to pack up for our flight home. No power, no water and no AC. I can officially check that off my list of things I want to do… ever.

Delicious food was what we had the most time for as a family and walking around Riverwalk near the convention center. I would definitely enjoy visiting NoLa again with AJ to explore the city more.  Enjoy some photos I have.

Brunch time at Ruby Slipper
Eating his yummy shrimp and grits for brunch.
Dawn hanging out
Art in an elevator
Jester statue
Dinner out with this guy (an a bunch of my gal pals).
Had to try fried green tomatoes with shrimp and grits
Delicious Beignets from Café du Monde
Waiting out the flash flood
Off to a ball
Homeward bound

Usually our vacations are near or with extended family, this was a nice getaway, even tho it was mostly a work trip for me. Where did you go this summer? Do you have a normal vacation spot each year?

What are your plans next year?  I’d like to go camping next summer and explore more of the woods and area where we live. A vacation doesn’t always need to be somewhere away from home. Post about your vacation? Link up with us below!

Join us next month for our Back to School post!

Mamas on Planes

We are out numbered 3-2. The kids haven’t formed a coo against us yet but I fear if they choose to. We will lose. 


On what should have been a 3 hour flight, we were delayed multiple times. From leaving the house to landing at our destination we traveled… hours. 

Left the house at 10 am and after check in and security arrived at our gate with time to spare. Our flight was to board at 1:45 and be in the air for 2 hours 45 minutes. We boarded the plane and were ready to go when a storm warning came in. We would be sitting in the plane for an hour due to the delay. An hour later we were deplaned. Our original take off time and our actual take off were FIVE hours apart. FIVE. Don’t misunderstand I am incredibly grateful our flight wasn’t canceled and we arrived on our originally planned day. But have you ever traveled with little children? We have a teenager, a high spirited 7 year old and a lap infant/toddler. Like I said, we are out numbered. 

I’ve read cute blogs from other moms about flying with kids and giving cute little care packages to the neighboring flyers. Yep not me. I don’t have the capacity for that. I have already thought of five things I forgot to pack. 

We do our best to bring distractions in many forms for our kids. But asking them to sit in an airport as our flight was delayed every 30 minutes is torture, for us and everyone else. 


Enter my saving grace, Vanessa. From our original boarding she was pure joy and kindness. She introduced herself to us and the kids, quickly mentioning she has three of her own little boys and knows what it is like to fly with little ones. Flying alone on this particular trip (turns out she’s a Younique presenter as well and is making her way down to New Orleans for convention as well) she assured us we are not to worry about fussing children. What a relief. A slightly older couple sat beside her and weren’t quite as happy with being in front of our little family but we’re keeping comments to themselves. Let’s be real here, I can see your head turns and corner of the eye glares while my child is throwing a needless tantrum. Sigh. 

Upon deboarding the plane, still in Newark, we stay near the gate as our departure time was only 30 minutes away. Time came and went, departure times changed; 2:30, 3:45, 4:10, 4:45, 5:10, 5:45, 6:10 and finally 6:30. Time to board! Yes! Quick check and adjustment of the fuel tanks and away from the gate we go!! Slight delay on the tarmac as there is a back up of all west bound flights as well as a possible new storm. Waiting 10 minutes for clearance, then an additional 15 minutes. Finally our turn to hit the runway, 7:30 take off time!! Our delays are longer than our flight time, but thank you Jesus our flight is still leaving. 

You may be wondering why Vanessa is my saving grace. Remember the 30 minute increment delays? AJ walked Baby K around our terminal, changed his diaper multiple times, he and the girls ate the snacks we packed for the flight. Four hours is a long time to wait for what I am sure seems like nothing to a child. Multiple times Vanessa was down on the ground playing with Baby K and Little Red (really should find a new nickname for Baby K). She took them to the windows, chatted with them and entertained them. Even while we were waiting on the tarmac she put a movie on her phone for the littles to watch and keep them occupied. Who does that for a stranger? While waiting we were free to move about, she took Baby K for a walk up and down the aisle waiving and saying hi to everyone. Then he wanted to be held and he let her hold him. She swayed with him while he tried everything he could to keep his eyes open. Time to take our seats, so close to sleeping. As soon as the plane was off the ground Baby K was out! Little Red still entertained by the movie, Baby K asleep in my lap, all is well. I thanked her profusely and many times. All she said was I hope someone does the same for me when I fly with my kids. Talk about paying it forward with kindness! 


So here I sit on our flight, writing about our family’s flight angel with tears in my eyes and drops slowly rolling down my cheeks. Hopefully we all will be a little more kind to those we interact with on a daily basis. This is how we show Christ’s love and compassion, being kind to each other. 

Love those who spitefully use you. Treat others as you wish to be treated. 

Help others on their way. 

Love your neighbor. 

Be the Good Samaritan. 

Real Talk… Time Saving Mom Hacks

Mom Hacks
Hacks. From shining your stainless steel with baby oil to the million uses for paper towel tubes – there’s a hack for almost everything. All of them have the same goal – to save TIME! So, let’s learn how to save some!

I’m a working Mom of twins who is essentially single (my husband works 12 hour shifts). I am also a tad obsessed when it comes to efficiency. It is a dichotomy of sorts; raising twins and being efficient. But…it can be done! So, let me share some of my favorite tips:

Time Analysis
First and foremost, you need to understand where you are wasting/ spending most of your time. Always looking for your keys? Invest in a key hook. Re-washing funky loads of laundry? Make laundry switches a part of your morning/ nightly routine (or, even better…enlist your husband to take over laundry 100%). But, the most important thing is to look for any patterns that result in time wasted – find just one and tackle it!
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The “On the Way” Principle
This one is easy and just entails a mind-set change. You’d be surprised at how much ground you cover in your home throughout the day/evening. I’d be willing to bet that you walk by your bathroom or laundry room at least 10 times a day. Why not make the trip worthwhile? Here’s what you do: keep your eyes open, observe what is in your surroundings. An old sock lingering in the hallway? Next time you walk down the hall, pick it up on your way to the laundry basket. That lone Lego under your foot…ouch! Put it in your pocket for the next time you pass the toy box. You’d be surprised how much the “On the Way” principle can limit or fully eliminate the amount of clutter in your house!

Bath Time
Your kids are young, it’s not safe to leave them in the tub unsupervised. As I sit and “watch” them, I feel like I am wasting so much time. Then it hit me! I could be cleaning the bathroom right now! I clean the toilet, floor, sink and mirrors all while my kids have a blast in the tub. Win-win-win!

For You Pumping Mamas
All the gear associated with pumping is unbelievable. Cords, flanges, membranes, tubes and bottles oh my! I pumped exclusively for my twins for 11 months. It was such a challenge! I’m going to give you two time-savers here…The first: only wash your pumping parts once a day. After you pump, put them in a big Ziploc bag and put that in the fridge. Then, at the end of the day – wash them. Next, buy a good hands free pumping bra. While you pump you can do many things with both hands! I chose to work and read. I even got into doing small crafts while pumping like a mo fo! Or, set an alarm on your phone and catch some zzzzz’s while you pump (but, don’t lay down)!

Potty Training
Oh the dreaded potty training phases! With my twins, it was double trouble! My son trained easily. My daughter…not so much. I was set on training them at the same time – regardless if they were both ready or not. Big mistake. I should have just gone with training him (since he was ready) and then training her at a later time. But, what’s done is done. I’ve spent loads of time cleaning underwear before throwing them in the washer. I couldn’t imagine throwing poopy pants into my sparkling washer. No way! There are three solutions to this poopy problem: 1) Keep a bucket of bleach water and dawn soap filled up. Throw them in (as soon as you can) and deal with them at the end of the day. 2) Get the soiled pants into water as soon as possible. It wipes off pretty easily if you catch it early. 3) Throw the underwear away. Sometimes it isn’t worth the effort. Also, stick a panty liner or pad in their underwear – this will help with small leaks/ accidents.

Take Advantage of the Dawn
Wake up 15-20 minutes before everyone else each day. Before you sleep the night before, have a plan for what you want to accomplish. You’d be surprised how much you can get done in just a few minutes. Or, take that time to meditate to prepare for the chaos that is about to ensue! I did opposite of this when my twins were babies. I stayed up 15-20 minutes longer and wrapped things up for the day. Saved my sanity!

Lost Souls
Kids and their shoes…they are constantly getting lost. I was spending WAY too much time going on shoe searches. Then I came up with a very simple practice: Shoes go on in the car and they come off before we exit the car. I put a small basket on the floorboard of my car and I fill it with a few types of shoes per kid. Then, when we arrive at our destination – we put their shoes on. When we arrive back home – we take their shoes off. Never a lost “soul” again! Remember to keep a few types/ styles – that way you always have choices. I do keep one pair of crocs per kid inside the house; just so we have the option for impromptu walks or backyard jaunts.

Showers
If your kids are old enough, opt for a shower instead of a bath. It will afford you a bit of time to get some things done while they shower. But, only if they are old enough to not drown. My kids are 3 ½ and this works fine for us.

Phone Time
Do most of your calls in the car. Remember, always hands free and safe!

Instant Pot
Just get one.

Tablecloth On the Floor?
Yep, you read that right. Get a vinyl tablecloth and put it underneath their highchair. Then, roll it up and add it to your compost pile.

Pastry Cloths
Instead of using bibs, try out pastry cloths. I’m a fan of the IKEA sleeve bibs – but when they grow out of those, the pastry cloths work wonders! They are long enough to tie behind their heads and cover their knees. Then, throw them in the washer. They’ll be stained, but don’t fret!

Dishes Galore!
This one is non-negotiable…run and empty your dishwasher every night. Every. Single. Night. Then, instead of putting your dishes in the sink – just do a quick rinse and put them in the dishwasher. It is way less effort!!

Indoor Movie Theater!
When things get way out of control…and it will, I promise you. Put the kids in their car seats on the floor in front of a movie/ show. Strap them in and give them a snack and soothing toy. Car seats don’t have to just be for the car! But, remember to avoid neglecting them for too long – especially if they have a short attention span.

Color Assignment
If you have more than one kid and they are constantly losing things or fighting over things – just assign them a color. I assigned “green” to Gwen and “orange” to Owen (note the “G” and “O”). They naturally choose the items that are associated with “their” color and they are happy about it! It also saves time when trying to organize their personal items.

Bibs for the Babes!
You’ll save “loads” of time on laundry and outfit changes by using bibs. Switching out a bib instead of switching out an ENTIRE outfit is so much faster and easier!

Set up Multiple Changing Stations
This works well if you have a large house. You’ll spend way less time commuting through your house if you just put a changing station on each floor; or just add one more if that is too overwhelming.

Magic Erasers
Enough said.

Eat Outside
We try to eat outside as much as possible. It will save tons of time on cleaning and the frustrations with mess!

Paper Plates
Don’t fret about the waste, you can recycle them if you scrape off the food. Dishes…yuck.

Don’t Let it Dry!
Stuck on mess takes way longer to clean than to just clean it before it dries. I keep a separate rag for their eating surfaces and I only use non-chemical cleaners for those areas. Then, when your kids get older you can have them help you clean up!

Laundry
Just do it every day. Avoid laundry piles and don’t worry about folding the kids’ clothes – just throw them in bins for organization. I have a bin for pants, underwear, and pajamas – never fold those. I do hang up shirts, but that isn’t the most efficient. If you want to get really obsessed – go and buy a giant pack (or two) of white socks – all the same. Then you never have to pick out socks or find their match!

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Online Grocery Ordering
Clicklist has saved me so much time! Order your groceries online (you could do it while they bathe) and they’ll bring it to your car at the store. GENIUS!

Outing Bag
Keep a bag fully stocked in the car. Never waste time packing a bag. My favorite supplies are diapers, wipes, empty Ziploc bags (for garbage or soiled clothes), sunscreen, clothing changes, water bottles, hand sanitizer, blankets (muslin…they are small), and snacks that last. I loved my roll-up diaper caddy for when they were little. Now, we just have a backpack.

Potty Stops
I rarely take my kids into public restrooms. Instead, I bought a fold up potty that I keep in the car. Pull over on the side of the road, bust that out and use hand sanitizer. Done and done! If you have boys, even easier – they can pee in the gutter or grass. Dogs do it!

Childproof
Never spend time chasing the kids down in an unsafe environment. If you childproof everything, you can get things done while your little ones roam safely in your castle!

One of my favorite mom memes just because.

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This guest post is written by Leslie Killinger, full-time mom, wife, employee, artist and friend. She has twin toddlers and makes life look like a breeze.

I’ll Show You My… Hometown

“Home is where your heart is.” If this is true my home is all over the country! When we first decided to write about our hometown this month I knew what I’d be writing about, the place I grew up and spent most of my childhood and teenage years, even part of my young adult life. Then I thought on this quote and all the other places I’ve lived, including where I currently live. How am I to write about my “hometown” when I have more than one? I thought maybe a quick internet search would help me decide. NOPE! Even Google says a hometown is “the town where one was born or grew up, or the town of one’s present fixed residence.”  Not helpful Google!

I narrowed it down to two (ok three) places I’d call my hometown. Let’s start at the beginning… where I began. Mission Viejo, California. I was born and raised in Southern California. Beaches, palm trees, delicious food, 6 lanes of freeway traffic, less than an hour from Disneyland. Yep this is my hometown and where some of my family still live. I love and miss them dearly. Let me show you…

Backyard in Mission Viejo
Nothing beats a gorgeous sunset over the ocean.
Going shooting with my Papa
Angels baseball games!
Watching my baby grow up here
Many hours spent at Disneyland
One of many delicious meal options.
Did I mention the beach?

Summer days and nights spent at the beach, I graduated high school and college living here. Would I ever move back? Probably not, the cost of living is ridiculously high now, ok it always has been. But part of me will always be a SoCal girl. Occasionally we visit and I am able to step foot on the glorious sandy beaches of the Pacific Ocean and grab a double-double.

Part of my youth was also spent living in Utah. The place has grown and changed much since I’ve lived there. As I’ve said before, home is where the heart is and I have much family in Utah still. While I lived in American Fork, UT, most of the Utah Valley and parts of Salt Lake Valley are my “home”.

Mountains are unbeatable
My Utah family

 

So many siblings, in laws, nieces and nephews living in Utah. Going back to visit is easy, leaving is harder every time.My current hometown is Milford, PA. I went from city life to rural life. I’ve never seen so many trees before living here. Just like each of my previous hometowns, there is beauty and excitement to be found here as well. We’ve lived in our home for 5 years now and I’m still finding the places for my heart.

PA roads and skies
Family friendly hiking trails along rivers and waterfalls
Sharing outdoor living space with deer
Milford, my hometown
Colorful sunsets over the lake
White winter views
Kids enjoying the outdoors

All in all I consider myself lucky to be able to have more than one hometown. Milford is my home and I’m learning more each day about myself, my family and this area. I look forward to finding where my next hometown will be, many years from now. Where is your hometown?

Share your hometown and link up with us here.

 

Momisms

Growing up I was always telling myself I would NEVER say the things my mom would say to my kids. Some of these are things I never thought I would need to say to my kids.  Over the last decade and a half I have heard my mother’s voice coming from my own mouth!

You’re not the mom
Worry about yourself
Get that out of your mouth
Shut the door
Did you wash your hands?
If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Shut the door
Flush the toilet
Money doesn’t grow on trees
Eat your vegetables
As long as you live here, you’ll live by my rules
Shut the door (Did I mention this one?)
Are your legs broken? Go get it yourself!
Don’t make me come in there!

These are a few of my ever repeating statements to my kids. Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall over here!  What are some things you find yourself saying and looking around the house to see your mother?

Real Talk, New Baby

 One of the biggest things I had to learn whilst being a new parent was that it was ok when my child was crying. Yes, I needed to check on them and tend to their needs but it didn’t have to happen that second. The world wasn’t going to end if I finished my meal or drink.

I would however get into trouble if I didn’t take care of myself and instead rushed to my child’s aid. You are not a bad parent by taking time for yourself. In fact, it is imperative. You cannot look after your child to the best of your capabilities if you do not take the time to eat, drink and rest.

As long as you know that they are not in trouble, you do not have to stop what you’re doing to ease their crying. Yes make sure they are fed, changed and comfortable but if tears come in spite of this, do not feel that you have to give up your meal to nurse your bub – they can wait until you’re done!

Christine – http://www.wealthinthebible.com/

FIRST YEAR
Remember how I said everyone has an opinion? This doesn’t stop… ever. You’ve spent nine months carrying this beautiful child around in your body, went thru your own personal hell to get it out and now that baby is here you need a whole new set of advice and tips from other parents.

Breastfeed vs formula: there is a hot debate and many good moms have fallen in the battle. Do what is best for you and your baby and stick with it.

If you do choose and can breastfeed my advice is don’t quit too early. This is not an easy feat. Finding the right position for baby and you and getting the latch is a difficult task. Breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally. All those sweet photos of loving moms nursing their happily sitting still babies can be a bit overwhelming and disheartening to a new mom.

Even after nursing two kids I did not remember the toe-curling pain involved with nursing a new born. The pain wasn’t from the onset of the first few latches or even the incorrect latches. The worst pain comes when the milk starts to fully come in and baby is nursing. I can compare it only to a sensation of microscopic needles sliding thru my ducts. Thankfully it does not last the duration of nursing, only the first few weeks of milk coming in.

When baby does get the hang of it he’ll get so comfy he’ll be zen, and start practicing baby yoga while nursing. Just let it happen, it’s a funny experience.

You do what you think and feel is best for you and baby. Mother’s intuition is a real thing. Trust it.

 

LESLIE
Emotionally, I was a wreck after they were born. I was worried they were going to die and that my babies would be taken from me. I couldn’t even text or talk to anyone without crying my eyes out for the first few days! I know my body was going through major changes, it definitely got to my head.
Pumping…I could write forever about pumping. My advice is to get a good pump if you plan to breastfeed. You never know, breastfeeding might not work out and if getting Mama’s milk is important — invest in a good pump! I pumped exclusively for 11 months and it was the single hardest part of the entire journey. If you are on fence about providing them breast milk — just do formula. It will be much less stressful — but it is more expensive, so be aware of cost. My point is, don’t stress about feeding the baby — formula, breast milk…whatever you go with, just be confident in your choice. The baby will grow just fine!
Sleeping is an essential part of your child’s growth. We avoided co-sleeping and put our babies in two separate cribs. They never slept in our bed and preferred to be in their own room. Get them into this habit early; you’ll be grateful for it later. If you still want cuddle time, do it for the first or last bit of naps. Avoid interrupting sleep cycles. They need sleep to grow, to build their immune systems and to be mentally happy! We also didn’t try to be quiet during sleep time. That gets them in the habit of sleeping through noise. You can’t shut your house down for naps! I have a friend that couldn’t even wear jeans in her house because the friction noise of her walking would wake up the kids — no bueno.
I am a fan of daycare or some kind of group learning (library time, outings with friends, etc.). My kids are super smart (and no, I’m not just biased) and they are very social — it’s because they spend time with others and have a lot of structured learning time each day. Have them go for a few days or hours a week, it doesn’t have to be a full time thing.
When they fall, have them get right back up (preferably on their own). For example, if your kid falls down the slide — have them go down that same slide immediately after — it helps them overcome their fears. Just don’t coddle… 🙂
I attempted to make my own baby food (all organic) and it was a short lived activity. I ended up just buying organic baby food and then pureed some things on-demand. Avocados were a great first food. Rice cereal is basically a waste, but we did it just to get them used to texture.
Make sensory toys! Crumpled up paper, bottles with water and glitter…stuff like that is a fun craft and is great for their learning time!
My last piece of advice is two fold:
1. Get out every day! It doesn’t have to be a grandiose activity, even just an outing to the store is good for them and YOU!
2. Lower your expectations and then lower them again!

RENEE

Being happy during the first year took actual effort. I thought just having a baby would be overwhelmingly satisfactual and fulfilling. In reality I had lost all concept of time management and felt I had no purpose other than to nurse this infant and shower away my strange new Mom smell. I had to come up with a personal mantra to chant during these low times and eventually I found happiness in my day-to-day routine and found an outlet through exercise.

Real Talk Part 2… L&D

L&D also known as labor and delivery is what naturally comes next in this segment. There are some great tips and stories for you to learn from, or just laugh at while relating.

  • If you think you can do it ala natural… more power to you. I tried it and my 9lb+ babies made contractions horrific
  • When you deliver in a hospital you’ll have tubes, IVs and straps on almost every part of your body. When you’re attached to these machines on your bed, don’t plan on getting up.
  • Not getting up means you’ll need a catheter… yep a catheter
  • While you won’t be eating… they’ll still let your husband eat, even when you’re bearing down trying to push his spawn out!
  • Forget the big overnight bag full of stuff for you, just grab a few essentials in your bag. I brought a cross stitch blanket I had been working on thinking I’d have time to finish it. I did except I was being hooked up to monitors making it nearly impossible to sew.
  • Ice, ice, baby. Then lots of fluids. Get a good lip balm and have plenty of ice chips nearby.

ELIZABETH

1. Just get the epidural 😉
2. I didn’t know my water could just slowly leak out. It didn’t really “break” it just leaked…
3. Be nice to your nurse and she will be nice to you.
4. Know yourself. This is about YOU! No one else. Don’t feel obligated to have a mom in the room.
RENEE
 
I had no expectations for labor or delivery but I expected to be fully recovered in six weeks. Due to complication during and after delivery it took me 12+ weeks to be back to “normal.” During labor (the actual pushing portion) I felt pain that was only outmatched by the sensation to drop a deuce. I asked the doctor-while pushing-if I could please take a break to go to the bathroom. I only remember asking once or twice but according to Dane I asked about 30 times!
ELYSE (check out her blog and adventures too)

When I first got my period, my Mom wouldn’t let me use tampons, which was terribly embarrassing, obviously. She said they were dangerous and yet I just couldn’t let it go. About a year later, she finally allowed me to use one, and of course, I was terrified. I had waited for that moment and begged for it, and then when it came down to it, I had to stick that thing, where!? I finally got the courage and it got stuck. Terribly stuck. Don’t ask me how, and I can’t even begin to explain it without further embarrassing myself, but my Mom wasn’t home and I called her in hysteric tears. So then here I was, sitting in the bathroom with a stuck tampon, with my Mom racing home to save me. And even better than that, within the next few moments, I was on that same bathroom floor with my Mom trying to take the stupid tampon out of me. It’s ok, you can laugh. If it weren’t weird to put emojis in here, I would be crying laughing with you. Probablynot our best Mother-Daughter moment!

So what’s this have to do with labor? Well, that tampon ended up creating this really strange tear. Every Gynecologist I ever saw, said it wouldn’t be a future problem, which always weirded me out. I couldn’t use tampons much because of it, so how would it not be a future problem?

Then I got pregnant with my first baby and I was in labor, and I kept telling the Doctor about the tear. I had this fear that the baby’s hand would pull it on the way out and make everything worse, as crazy as that sounded. And trust me, they let me know how crazy it sounded.

Sure enough, it became a big problem. It was the worst experience of my life, and it all started because that little baby hand pulled at the small tear and made it so much worse.

Not only that, I was at a terrible hospital, with a Doctor who wasnt present, and the nurse helping me was even worse. I kept telling her that I could feel my legs still and I was panicked. She kept telling me I was wrong.

And I felt wrong. I felt like since it was my first baby, I must not know anything; that since they were Doctors, they must know everything.

But here’s the thing; they don’t know me, and they don’t know my body.

You don’t need to know everything, but you do need to know yourself and know your inner voice. You need to trust your instincts. And that goes with being a Mother as well. With my second and third, I was extremely picky with my Doctors and did tons of research. With my third, I even switched Doctors when I was 30 weeks along because I didn’t feel right about going through the labor experience with the office I had been seeing. And I was incredibly grateful I did that.

No one told me how much I needed to trust my instincts.

There’s a lot no one tells you about labor, and I have stories for days of terrible experiences I had with my first. However, there is one thing I wish I would’ve been told that first time, and that is how important and vital and necessary a good nurse is. The Doctor? I’ve had a rainbow of them, and that doesn’t matter as much. But a bad nurse!? That could literally make or break the entire experience.

Some might disagree with me, but you have to think about the time they spend with you. In labor, you are with the nurse longer than you are with a Doctor. That nurse is tending to your needs, she is coaching you through contractions, and she even coaches you through pushing correctly if she is a good one. Because yes, there is a wrong way to push! If you need more epidural (that was me), she is the one that gets the right people, and she is the one who needs to be listening to you. The nurse makes ALL the difference. I honestly cannot stress that enough.

So then you are probably wondering how the heck you choose a good nurse.

With my third, I had thought I researched the Doctor heavily, but then there were many things within the office that were unorganized and appointments of mine were rearranged without notice. It made me uneasy, and even though I enjoyed the Doctor, I was not confident going into labor with that office. So at 30 weeks, after a lot of research, I switched Doctors. The first thing I did was ask to meet the nurses that had the potential of being with me through labor. It sounds so crazy, but I even had to go to the hospital at a random time to meet one of them. But this was my body! This was my baby! I needed to make sure I would be taken care of.

So meet those nurses. Make sure you know your team. And trust yourself and your instincts. Don’t feel bad if you have to tell someone they can’t work on you because you don’t feel comfortable.

Focus on getting a good team, not just a good Doctor.

LESLIE

I had a legitimate fear of pooping during delivery. Thankfully, I had a c-section and didn’t have to worry about that. It’s silly to even worry about something like that — the doc is up “in your business”, a little poop shouldn’t be a big deal!

During delivery I wish I would have been calm enough to appreciate that first view of my babies. I was so worried about their well-being, it was hard to be calm and appreciate that first look into their eyes. My babies went to the NICU, so I really feel like I missed out on that initial bonding time.
Get yourself a special robe and hard soled slippers for the hospital stay. Something just for YOU!
Hopefully you have found some helpful hints here. What are some of your L&D experiences? Want to share your experiences? Let me know!

Real Talk Part 1…. Pregnancy

The world is full of advice and helpful hints, on and off line. The trouble is figuring out what is helpful and what is utter nonsense. In this mini series I have asked some fellow moms in virtual reality and some of my own close friends for their experiences and tips. Together we are talking about and helping you tackle parenthood and giving it to you straight up. Follow along for the Real Talk as we dish out to you here on my blog.

Settle in and let’s get started with part one… pregnancy. My first little tidbit applies to all of topics in this series and is this; EVERYONE has an opinion. <insert eye roll>  Seriously! Complete strangers will stop you and give you advice ALL.THE.TIME. Learn the smile and nod method quickly, it will be used for many years to come.

PREGNANCY

Congratulations! You’ll hear this for the next 9-10 months. Yep, depending on how you count your pregnancy it will last from 9-10 months.
Let me break this down for you… There are 30 days in the average month, the rest have 30, except that one with 28. How many weeks are in a month? You don’t know? There’s no straight answer? When you are tracking your pregnancy it is by the week, 0-13 weeks is the first trimester, 14-26 weeks is the second trimester, and 27-40+ is your third trimester. Yes nine months and ten months become interchangeable in pregnancy. Save yourself the headache and start counting the pregnancy by weeks, much easier. If you must break it down into months, make each month 4 weeks long, hence the ten months. Let’s face it, when people ask how far along you are, the majority will not be calculating your pregnancy. You’ll know this because the next question is usually “When are you due?”

Around the middle of the 2nd trimester is when these questions begin because you have most likely begun to show your pregnancy. Yay! Baby bumps are cute and adorable, the miracle of life right there for all to see. Somehow this equates to your body suddenly becoming public property. There is something about the pregnant belly bump  which says, “please rub me” in our culture… hmmm is that something to do with a Buddha belly? It is completely acceptable for you to say please don’t touch my belly. Become comfortable with speaking your mind, blame the rudeness on the hormones… it is really ok.

Baby belly with Baby K

You will experience a plethora of emotions. I’m being serious here. I cried watching The Little Mermaid…. dead serious. I also was easily upset by the small things, like a single dish being left in the sink instead of put in the dishwasher. Yep, I admit it.

If watching sappy movies doesn’t make you cry morning sickness might.  Such a deceptive name… MORNING sickness implies you will feel ill in the morning… lies! There is no defined time it will hit you… middle of the night while you’re sleeping, cleaning the house, walking around the store… it does not and can not tell time.  From about the middle of my first trimester thru the rest of my pregnancy I had morning sickness. For all three of my pregnancies, especially my redheads. It didn’t matter what I did or did not eat, I was nauseous. Even taking a shower made me gag, acid reflux and stomach acid were no friend of mine.

Thankfully by the time I was pregnant with Little Man I had found a few tricks to help ease my stomach.  If you find yourself having all day sickness try snacking throughout the day instead of having three big meals. Ginger, in all it’s forms, helped me immensely. Particularly ginger ale and candied ginger. You may not like the taste but it may help.

Even with morning sickness I had pregnancy cravings. They would vary pregnancy to pregnancy as well as day to day. Generally with Dawn I wanted chicken, especially fried chicken.  With Little Red I craved pasta, and usually scampi or alfredo style.  AJ still says I asked him to buy pickles and ice cream so I could eat them together but I don’t remember that. I did like my pickles during that pregnancy tho. This last time with Little Man it started off as sushi (I didn’t eat it, except a crunch roll here or there) and then faded away to Italian cold cut subs. With each craving I managed to sneak in healthy foods here and there like a salad or a fruit smoothie. Most importantly I drank a ton of water.  Of course drinking that much water with a baby pressing on your organs means frequent trips to the bathroom…

Be prepared to lose control over your bladder. Sneezing… coughing… you’ll get a little bit of bladder leak. Kegel exercises will help strengthen those muscles, but let’s be real… buy some liners.

The last little bit of advice from me is you will lose your mind. I mean this literally. Once you are pregnant you slowly begin to lose your memory, it’s called mama brain. I misplaced an entire month one time, yep completely forgot all about March. You are your child’s life support, everything he/she gets is from you. It makes sense they will take part of your brain along with your blood and nutrients. It’s completely worth it!

Here’s a bit of advice from my gal pal Leslie, who had twins by the way!

Leslie’s cute pregnancy announcement.

I didn’t realize how swollen I could get! I had to wear flip flops in winter just to get through the last few months of pregnancy.

I also wasn’t expecting that I’d have my milk come in before delivery. It was just a bit of leaking, but I was very surprised.

Let’s talk Maxi dresses and skirts! Those were perfect for wearing throughout my entire pregnancy! I felt stylish, but oh so comfortable! Throw on a maxi dress and flip flops and you’re all set!

It was amazing to see the babies move in my tummy! It was an “alien” experience — but oh so wonderful! I remember worrying about the lack of movement toward the end, but that is normal as the baby (in my case, 2) run out of space.

I felt wonderful during pregnancy! My hair was more shiny, my skin was superb and I felt emotionally so very happy! Getting to the point of motherhood was a big hill to climb, so I think I was more forgiving of all the aches and pains.

Stretch marks…none of mine showed up until the 8th month. Then they just seemed to show up overnight. I was super careful about lotions — didn’t want any toxins; so just be aware.
Food! I ate whatever I wanted. I didn’t gain much weight, so I decided to just eat what felt right. Your body will have cravings, just balance them out with good food choices. I ate something raw with every meal and then ate that brownie if I wanted it!
I felt exponentially better when I stayed hydrated; very important.
Twins growing in mama’s belly very nicely.
My baby sister Elizabeth is the most recent first time mama I know and she has some great advice to share already!
  1. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep
  2. Forgive your husband because he just doesn’t get it. He does his best. Be patient with him. And really when he says something stupid…. just forgive him.
  3. Save your money! Don’t buy expensive stretch mark cream. Use coconut oil ALLLLL over your belly every single day. I did and I didn’t get any stretch marks.
  4. Enjoy every second. It goes by quick. You feel like you have been pregnant for years, but once it’s over, it feels like it just flew by.
  5. Take pictures.
Isn’t she a beautiful mama to be!?

Pregnancy advice quick view

  • full term pregnancy is 9-10 months, 40 weeks = 10 months, 4 weeks each
  • EVERYONE has an opinion
  • “How far along are you?” and “When are you due?” are interchangeable, sometimes used together, questions.
  • Your baby bump will somehow become “public property”.
  • Hormones will mess you up, emotionally and physically.
  • Stretch marks can be prevented
  • Drink lots of water
  • Find comfy clothes, maxi skirts and dresses are great
  • Take care of yourself
  • Cravings are normal and your body’s way of communicating
  • Pregnancy brain is real and will turn into mama brain.
  • Pregnancy is a life and body changing wonderful experience
  • Sleep is important
  • Trust your body
  • Your bladder will leak… no matter how often you use the bathroom
  • Love your significant other… and yourself!

 

I hope you’ve learned a few things, laughed a little (oops… hope you have a liner on), and found some helpful advice in our real talk. Do you have any tips or advice you’d like to add? Share with us. This is part 1 of the mini series. Part 2 will be about labor and delivery.  If you’d like to contribute your tips for any part of this mini series, let’s talk!

I’ll Show You My… Resolutions!

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, we are doing a New Year Resolutions post! Follow along in our series as we show you bits and pieces of our lives and who we are in our Mommy & Lifestyle Blog Collab. This month Katie, Tracy and I are joined by Dara and Jamie.

Each New Year seems to bring with it hope of revitalization and renewal of ourselves whether it be mentally, spiritually, physically or all of these aspects. Some of the more common “goals” seem to be to lose weight, quit smoking, eat healthier, quit sugar, read more, spend more time with the family, etc. Usually by the end of January most people have quit their New Year’s resolutions.

I am no exception! For the last few years we have sat down as a family to write out our personal and family resolutions. Each year a few of our goals are met but for the most part we have forgotten or lacked in one way or another. This year I have chosen a different approach. First AJ and I sat down and discussed things we want to improve upon as a couple and as parents.

  • planning out Family Home Evening (FHE) for each quarter
  • consistently saying prayers and reading scriptures as a family each night
  • say yes more often
  • slower to anger
  • focus more on the whos than the whats

Some of my personal resolutions are linked to my 40 by 40 goals.

  • continue working out to get into better shape and a healthier weight (my ultimate goal is currently 175 lbs but I will see how my body shapes out as I get closer)
  • participate in and finish my first Spartan race
  • read scriptures daily in my personal study
  • find and make more “me” time
  • make memories instead of stressing about cleaning
  • including more whole foods with meals (yep means more meal planning)
  • get pregnant – yes I said it, now hopefully it will manifest!
  • read more! in addition to spiritual enlightenment I want to read one self-improvement and one novel per month… realistically it’ll probably be once a quarter…
  • be able to interpret for ASL

I really am looking forward to finishing a Spartan race this year. Most of the time I am elated and can hardly wait… other times the thought terrifies me. I look back over the last year and realize I have become stronger and may be able to handle it. This incoming year shows much promise and room for growth. Whatever 2017 might hold I am waiting with open arms to embrace my future!

Tell me some of your resolutions or goals for 2017. What are you focusing on this year? Do you make New Year’s goals?

 

New Year, New Blog

For the new year I changed up my blog and am self-hosting now! Welcome to Simply Salisbury! This is a change I have been wanting to make for quite some time now. Yes I know it isn’t on my goals of things to do before I’m 40 but man it should be!

After much contemplation and deliberation for the blog topics, title and name I decided on something easy and I adore my alliterations (see what I did there?)

There are plans made for this blog. Things will get exciting around here! Stay tuned for:

  • home tour
  • family introduction
  • Real Talk mini series
  • More mommy blog collabs
  • photo shoot bloopers
  • recipes
  • shopping
  • dog rescue and fosters
  • product reviews & giveaways
  • and MORE!

I’m looking forward to what this new year and new blog will bring and allow me to share with you.  Make sure you are following along so you don’t miss out!