Tag Archives: life of a mom

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 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!

A Day in my Shoes

Let me start off by saying most days, unless I’m going to the gym, I don’t get my shoes on!

Being a stay at home mom is overly glamorized most of the time. It isn’t all bonbons and soap operas all day long. 

My weekday starts just before 7am as Dawn is heading out the door to the bus stop. Thank goodness she can walk and the winter weather has been holding off. Although truth be told I think she hops a ride with the neighbors. Oh well. 

I get out of bed and most mornings before I can walk out of the bathroom baby K has woken up and is fussy. Diaper change and breakfast. Then just over an hour to get Little Red out of bed, ready and off to the bus. 

While Little Red is getting ready and eating breakfast I try to tackle the messes which seem to accumulate all on their own over night. 

Someone has usually, trying to be helpful, given baby K a dry bowl of their cereal. Maybe it was from yesterday? I find it somewhere during the morning. 

Within an hour of being awake my hot water for honey has been reheated a few times. I find a few minutes to have my morning hot honey water. 

Most mornings it waits until after a workout at the gym. Ya know when Baby K is ready for a nap and won’t be put down… 

Honey water and to do lists. Sometimes I have to do lists for my to do lists haha oh boy! 

I have high hopes for my day and even get the dishes done before starting on some laundry. 

The clean clothes make it to the bed before meltdowns begin. 

Lots of snuggle time and some nursing until I can gently and quietly move away from him in whatever sleeping position he finds himself. 

If I’m quick enough I can take a shower and change into normal clothes. Sometimes it is a choice between a shower or getting dinner started before kids start coming home. 

Pack up the sleeping babe and off to the bus stop to pick up Thing 1 and Thing 2. 

Ah the glamourous life of a stay at home mom. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 

I’ll Show You My Blessings.

This month in honor of Thanksgiving we are taking our blog collab and making it grateful. This month I’ll Show You My… Blessings, 30 things I am thankful for. Normally the month of November social media is plastered with daily posts of gratitude. We decided to post in our blogs for you to read in one place. Katie, Tracy, and I are joined this month by Dara and new blogger Danielle.wp-1469151611004.png

1. Freedoms.
Recently the kids and I took a day trip to D.C.  Dawn studied early American history last year and is taking American government this year. Of course a visit to the National Archives was s must. The decades and centuries of fighting, debating, and molding our country are awe inspiring. I am beyond grateful for the men and women who sacrificed, fought and worked so dilligently for the many freedoms we are able to enjoy. Some, possibly most, I take for granted on a daily basis. God bless America! 

2. Extended family
HUGE blessing! From cousins to aunts and uncles to grandparents and in-laws, our lives are full of love and blessings from our extended family. We don’t live close to any of them but if we needed them they’d be here.

3. Stay at home mom
Growing up I knew I always wanted to to be a stay-at-home mom, eventually. I had a lot of wild ideas. Never did I imagine I would actually be able to be a stay at home mom. Some days I love my children more than I could imagine and other days I lose my sanity. All in all I get to be home with my kids as they grow.

4. AJ’s job
This is a double blessing for me. I have the ability to be a stay at home mom because AJ has a job. He works so hard to make sure our family has everything we need and sometimes things we want. We have been thru tight times financially but we’ve never been on hard times so much we couldn’t see a way out. His always having a job has been a huge blessing for our family.

5. Baking skills
Some people can cook a mean steak or prime rib or a great chicken pot pie. I am not one of them, I feed my family and they definitely don’t starve but my skills are in the baking. It may have some connection to my love of sugar and desserts. Fall is the big kick off of my baking season and I’m super excited!

6. Friends
After living out here for 7 years, being an adult for over 15 years I can say I have this “friend” thing down. What I mean is, I have friends, great friends, even some amazing friends; but I have learned I do not need a TON of friends. I have no desire to be the cool kid sitting at the popular table. I am who I am and so are my friends. I know when the crap hits the fan they will be there for me.

7. Religion
We posted on our religion last month so you can read more here. Having religion in my life has been a blessing in my hard and good times. No matter where I live the gospel and Church have always been there providing me a stable foundation.

8. Adoption
Adoption processes have been a part of my life, woven in and out like a tapestry. I have friends who were adopted, and other friends who have adopted. I can’t imagine my life without any of these people and I know I wouldn’t have them if it weren’t for the ideas, processes, and ability of adoption.

9. My health
In all I do to my body and in my life I have been blessed with a healthy body. My blood pressure, despite my self induced stress, has been in normal limits. I have been working on getting my resting heart rate down with working out. I haven’t had any medical problems or difficulties so despite my own self-induced physical body abuse I have quite the healthy body. I have been blessed with great genetics.

10. Healthy kids
My kids have never had major illnesses, (knock on wood for eternity) and other than one broken leg over the last 16 years no broken bones or visits to the ER. No stitches either! We have truly been blessed in this department.

11. Beautiful seasons
Other than a few years in Utah, my seasonal changes have been nil. 90 degrees year round with a slight chance of rain were my seasons. Now I can sit in any room of my house and watch buds sprouting on trees, blossom into full green leaves, blow in the summer breeze, change colors and fall to the ground, then the tree gets covered in a beautiful white blanket. Such a beautiful blessing of colors and changes to watch each year.
one-street-four-seasons-newark-nj-afatihozay-instagram
*I found this image here

12. Owning my home
Ok technically, it is AJ’s house, but it is our home. We spent over a year looking for a house in NJ but could not find an affordable house with affordable taxes. After what seemed a small eternity, we finally landed in PA and have a lovely home. So many people are unable to find a place to call home and we have been blessed.

13. Being able to breastfeed
With the first two kids I was able to breastfeed short term. Afterwards they were on formula and on to organic whole milk. We have been so blessed to not have the added expenses of formula or special milk for baby boy K. He is still nursing, bonus! No formula this time around. Added blessing: special bonding moments with baby K.

14. Running water
Have you been anywhere without running water? I have… well water requires electricity and when we lose power we have no running water. One of the many modern day conveniences in America is running water… nope I don’t think I’d survive the zombie apocalypse.

15.Walks in nature
Living in north eastern PA has become a blessing in disguise for rediscovering nature. There are many walking and hiking trails in the local forest. Some trails lead to beautiful waterfalls, others to panoramic scenic views of the local area. Each one

16. Comfort food
My tastes have grown from instant pudding and mac’n cheese as a kid to dark chocolate and shrimp alfredo. ahh the good things in life.

17. My grandparents
These two amazing people have always been there for me. I can not imagine life without them. I really don’t want to. They will live forever right? Lie to me!

18. My husband
This man of mine… such a blessing. He is an answer to so many prayers, even the unasked prayers. Great to the kids, helps out around the house, and… he even loves me in all of my crazy quirkiness.
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19. My mom
Cheesy? maybe… but my mom has shown me I can overcome any challenge, to never accept failure as the end and to keep searching for my happiness. She is one of my best friends and I am so blessed to have an amazing relationship with her.

20. Relationship with siblings
Four girls and one boy… this is my core sibling list. My sisters and brother. Of course they’ve added on with spouses but my core siblings, the inner-inner circle if I may, are a crazy bunch, yes, and my crazy bunch. They call and text, check in, and fight as siblings do. They are MINE!

21. My Tribe
My tribe! Oh man I’ve been on a physical journey this last…. mmm not quite a year yet. They have been there to laugh, cry, fall, and push me when I need (and sometimes don’t want) it. I have held memberships to gyms before but have never felt like I was a part of a gym. I belong here. Best workout sessions ever! I mean have you ever laughed while doing an ab workout? I do!

22. Military Moments
This sounds a bit vague but it’s a broad topic covering many facets of the military life. Recently I attended a dedication ceremony on a gazebo for families of local fallen military. It was touching to see families and soldiers being honered and remembered years after their passing. The military community is another piece of the puzzle making me. I have been blessed to meet and volunteer with incredible men and women in the military community.
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*photo courtesy of Linda Kerr/Tobyhanna ACS

23. Technology
How did we survive without cell phones, instant internet access and google? Seriously? Does anyone remember. I do, but it’s all a blur like a different lifetime ago. No technology is definitely a 1st world problem. I take it for granted but know what a blessing it is being able to utilize technology every day to reach family and friends across the globe.

24. My education
Walkingor driving to school was no big deal. High school was… well I’m not telling how long ago. After high school I went to community college for the majority of my general education classes then continued onto a university for my undergraduate degree in business management, yep I have a BS in BM haha. Not everyone has these opportunities and I recognize the blessing school has been for me.

25. Music
In high school I actually wanted a doctorate in music and my big plan was to teach… ya I know big dreams. Music has always been a part of me and my life. I sing, dance, play instruments, everthing. When I’m home alone during the day music is playing. I’m not a technical music gal but I dabble a bit. Music brings joy in ways I can not describe. Aside from signing and dancing, music is a talent of mine. I have played an instrument since I was in 4th grade. I picked up a flute and haven’t quit since.

26. Talents
I believe recognizing and knowing our talents is important so we can expand on them. I’ve talked about music and baking. I am a Jane of all trades, master of none, as the saying goes. I dabble in much. Sewing, writing, sketching to name a few. The blessing of talents is the ability and opportunity to bless other lives with those talents.

27. Two car family
This may seem silly but if we only had one car (which many people don’t even have one car) I would never leave the house during the week. No tribe, no errands, no shopping. What would I do?! We do not have public transportation here. Life. Would. Be. Terrible.

28. My exes
Yes, my exes are blessings. The broken hearts, bad boys, terrible mistakes, ones that didn’t last… all of them helped mold and shape me into the woman I am today. They also helped prepare me and my life for the wonderful man I have today.

29. Creature comforts
This includes more of those little blessings I take for granted most days. Heat, a warm bed, comfy blankets, a fireplace, fans during the hot months, thick wool socks. The little things in life really make it great don’t they?

30. All of you
I am blessed to have followers and readers such as you.  Each of you brings new light and perspective to my blog and online life.

What are some things you find yourself thankful for this month? Posting your blessings and gratitude on your blog this month? Post your link in the comments.