Thursday, March 31, 2016

Mom Hacks!

Being an adult is a tough gig. I thought it would be fun to list five of my favorite tips. If you have any interesting tips leave them in the comments so we can share and make our lives easier!

1) Google Calendar. Sign up and have your spouse sign up. Every appointment you make send your spouse an invite. Have them do the same. Voila a free synced up calendar that shows you everything planned. Get fancy with it with dinners or directions for the kids. They have really expensive shared calendars but this is free and pretty user friendly. You can even assign everyone a color.(I'm yellow!)

2) Emergency Cash in the glovebox. Keep enough cash for a full tank of gas and dinner for your family in the glovebox.That way if you find yourself without your debit card or in a town that isn't credit friendly you are able to get where you need to go and feed yourself. Sometimes this is cash for the $10 you need to pitch in towards a present.

3) Have a rescue bag in your trunk.I probably will shoot a video on this one at some point to show what I keep in mine but here are the basics. Bottles of water, Non-perishable snacks, extra formula in case of emergency, diaper, wipes of all kinds, hair ties, changes of clothing, and some cash. My reasoning for having this in the car is that in case I run out of what I need there is something I can use in the trunk.

This came in really handy this week. I noticed he was wet and his outfit was also wet (that sweetie can pee). I get into the family room to change him and no diapers. No diapers. I panicked. We were able to get to the car and rescue bag and all was well. Someone changed the baby last and didn't refill the diapers.

4) Keep your diaper bag packed and ready to go. As a mom of two I think getting out of the house requires more planning and organization. I keep my diaper bag stocked and ready to go at all times now. I pack using a modular packing system where I have a small bag for each category of item. This way I can make sure I have what I need to leave the house. I usually run down the basics like this- diapers and wipes, milk and bottle, change of outfit, Sammy water, phone, keys, wallet, and charger. I can get out of the house quickly and be confident that I have what I need in case I will be out for the day.

5) External battery charger. This thing is life. I am horrible about charging my phone but this thing keeps me in power. Get one or two. My husband got me two because I always have a dead phone. With two children and one really young I feel better about being out of the  house with another charger.

I hope this helps give you some ideas. Clearly most of my tips involve being prepared and doing what you can to mitigate the times you are out of the house and basically at the mercy of the elements around you. I feel like I am most powerful when I am able to have what I need for any given situation and oddly the most flexible.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Second Little Boy. Second Miracle. No daughter.

When my husband told me in the delivery room that our second was a boy I  cried. I was overcome with joy that I had a little boy. Being a mother to a little boy has been the best part of my life. Being given a second one to love was a moment I will never forget.

I knew not finding out the gender that it would be bittersweet in the delivery room. Either way I would be giving up a dream. If it was a little girl we were bringing home- I would not have another little boy to raise. If it was a boy then I would never have that daughter I had dreamed of to bring to ballet class and dress up in frilly bows. I knew I would love that child so much so really either way I would be happy. And sad if that makes sense.

Tim and I knew going into this pregnancy that this would be our last. Even though I would probably really like to have another child the logistics and finances don't make sense for our family. Childcare is such a burden and for a working mother that cost does not go away until they're able to watch themselves around thirteen. We are no where close. Short of some major changes with my husband's salary this is our reality.

Having Miles has been a dream. He is gorgeous. And sweet, smiley, and so cuddly. He loves to be held and kissed. He reminds me in so many ways of the baby Sammy was and I feel that I get a second chance to raise a sweet little boy. Plus clearly dressing a little boy is my heaven so that has not been disappointing at all! There is part of me that is really grieving over the loss of the daughter I always thought I would have. Not a big part really but I think if I am being an honest person that part is there.

At some point we all have to be done giving birth and having babies. That number for me seems to be two little boys. I truly feel so blessed to be their mother and advocate. Watching these boys grow and learn and become the people they are destined to be is the greatest opportunity and gift I could have ever been given. I wish it could have been three - or four- or five little cuties following me around and filling our lives but for me two it is. To their benefit (or dismay!) I will put all of the energy I have into them. Maybe they'll have daughters. Or even more cute little boys for me to spoil. I'm excited to find out.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pregnancy Story!

Pregnancy Story!

I wrote this post when 32 weeks pregnant with our second child. I will publish this after the birth announcement. We've been private about this pregnancy for a few reasons. One being that pregnancies aren't always stress-free and I felt that comments, even helpful and loving ones, were more than I was willing to take on while growing another human. Sometimes even good-natured comments really hurt. Second we had some complications early on and my husband and I decided that this news was best shared with only very close friends and family.

We decided last year that 2015 was the year we were ready to grow our family again. We always wanted a healthy age gap in between kiddos. One reason being that paying for college would be tough if they were back to back. Other reasons include provisions for health concerns and emotional resources. Plus I felt like I wanted to give myself some time to regain my nutrient stores in my body and teeth. With Sammy I had a C Section and I wasn't really ready until he was around three to think about going through this again.

I am only 5'3 and short waisted to boot. My husband is very tall and Sammy was a big baby. He was 8.5 lbs born nearly a week early and I am hoping this one is nine pounds. At least eight pounds is my ultimate goal. I like a big baby! Carrying to term is not something I had trouble with before, and really my pregnancy with Sammy was easy- I just knew my body needed time after being so extended.

We tried for four months. It went by quickly and I had a feeling that the latest cycle was a success around Easter. We were at the Zoo for a visit and I sunburned my cheeks. That was odd so I felt like it could be a possibility. (Pregnancy raises your blood volume and you burn easily) I waited a week or so and tested in the Target bathroom. I know some people would not have wanted to find out that way- but seriously Target is my second home. I love stopping in there on a work lunch break and just seeing what there is to see. Maybe with a popcorn and coke icee in hand. The sales girl wished me good luck after seeing the test.

I beat my husband home by a few minutes and put the positive test in the mailbox. He came in and acted nonchalant and then let me know he'd seen it and was very excited! We didn't tell anyone until much later and enjoyed the secret between the two of us.

The first trimester was honestly pretty scary. I started spotting around five weeks and was pretty concerned. The doctor ordered some beta testing to check that all levels were rising appropriately. After the first draw the nurse told me she thought I was losing the baby. My progesterone was extremely low. I was devastated. The second draw was better and the nurse said progesterone was hard to measure. I was ordered to be on a supplement until the placenta took over progesterone production. It made everything taste like metal and retain water. That was a small price to pay! I had no morning sickness and really only an aversion to meat. I craved sweet foods!

The second trimester was fine. I started having some mild back pain and tiredness but otherwise was great. We announced the 4th of July and everyone was surprised and excited for us. Sammy pretty much guessed the news because we had him watch the Daniel Tiger episode where he learns he's going to be a big brother. He asked me if he was going to get a new baby and we told him that he was in fact going to be getting a new baby at Christmas. He solidly believed the baby to be a girl and likes the names Lucy and Gracie.

It was pretty funny- Lucy is my grandmother's name and my sister called using it forever ago. I haven't really ever given a second thought after that so I told him that we already have a Lucy. He said he didn't like that one and we need a new one. He actually likes Grandma very much! Turns out his friend Olivia in class had a new baby sister named Lucy so he felt it was a good choice. Once during a OB appt- Sammy let the receptionist know that the baby would be Gracie. I like the name but I know we won't use it. He is a funny kiddo!

The anatomy scan went really well- my husband was able to attend and we enjoyed seeing the little one on screen. All ultrasounds have been pretty hard to read with a titled uterus so this was like the rest- overall just nice that everything is ok.

The third trimester was a little more fun. I've been tired and walking around is harder this go round. I passed my gestational diabetes testing which was a relief since sweets are my thing these days. I overall feel less anxiety and have a better time of letting myself be excited and optimistic. I have been focusing on really taking the time to be grateful and enjoying this season in my life. I had a blast during my pregnancy with Sammy and really wished this time would be as magical. With the initial complications I have had a tough time letting myself be excited and relaxed and I think my body has noticed and responded to that. We are getting there though.

My dear friends threw me the sweetest and most thoughtful baby sprinkle ever! We decorated baby onesies and played games. It was perfection. We are so blessed to have wonderful people around us! I could really go on and on about the wonderful support I have from my close friends. Without them this motherhood business would be a lot harder. I know a lot of moms don't have friends that share their struggles so I know I totally lucked out.

The lovely and amazing women of my bible study threw me a second baby sprinkle close to delivery and it was a shock! What sweet friends. I can't honestly believe we're this blessed. I mean that very honestly. After becoming a mom you really just hope you're being a good enough friend to deserve that kind of thing. And we all think we're failing all of the time. I just feel incredible that we have so many in our corner.

At some point I may post a delivery story but may not. I am completely recovered and healthy after delivering a very healthy baby BOY! Miles Henry. Big Brother loves his little baby and does a wonderful job helping out. The adjustment was harder than I expected by about a million percent. We're getting better each and every day and soon I will have Sammy go to Kindergarten. God is so good!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Cold & Flu

I am not sure if I have ever shared that Sammy has some respiratory issues. They are minor in the grande scheme of problems like that go- but still something that requires constant vigilance. Waking up to your kiddo not breathing well is something I really hope few parents ever really have to experience. I felt like I really wanted to talk about homeopathic remedies and my feelings regarding medical care. Hint: I think this goes against popular/trendy opinion here.

First of all- if your child is having labored breathing get actual medical help. Don't google- don't call around to your mom friends. Call 911 if it is severe. Get help. Don't mess around with breathing.

Sammy first got croup when he was around three. We'd had no problems with colds or viruses and anything we'd experienced was mild. No cause for alarm at all. That changed really suddenly one morning when I heard a barking cough. He had the stridor breathing and I thought he may have whooping cough. We went immediately to urgent care as it is right down the street. They listened to him and he seemed to get better during the visit and we got some steroids and went home. I stayed home with him for a couple of days and he was much better. We just used a humidifier and some vicks on the feet.

The second time was scarier. We went to urgent care and they sent us via ambulance to a local hospital. He received a breathing treatment en route and then another when we got to the ER room. After you aren't stabilized with one treatment they often require an overnight stay so after the second one we went by ambulance again to the children's hospital. We stayed overnight and his levels were fine. We followed up with his ped and she said it was just croup and he would grow out of it. I of course googled everything and was very worried. I decided to change peds because I felt like I really didn't need another go round of this.

The third time we went directly to his new ped and they gave him a breathing treatment in the office. We were sent home with a nebulizer and enough albuteral for a year. This basically made our croup struggle a non-emergency and things are much easier in this department now. Sammy gets this stridor breathing/croup thing every single time he's sick and we do treatments until he's well. We're managing and I really hope as he gets older and his airway becomes larger that this is a thing of the past. Now for the natural/homeopathic angle to this story.

I was invited to an essential oils party a few months after his hospital stay. Of course being a mom who realizes things like antibiotic resistance and over medication of our children are things that happen- I was interested in a more natural solution. Maybe even something to get us help before it escalated into actual breathing issues.

That party was an eye opener for one reason. Be careful who you get advice from and check for credentials. They were touting some breathing mixes for my son and after further review- those fixes and potions could have killed him. Some oils in there can cause breathing distress in children. The person selling that sure didn't know that but I don't think it would have ever occurred to them that their knowledge and lack of education could be deadly.  With the rise of homeopathic medicine there is also a rise in people making a profit from you and your choice to not use traditional medicine. Be wary of their education, credentials, and expertise. Get medical information from trained medical professionals. Everyone has a bias. My bias is that I  think breathing issues are best treated with medicine like albuterol. I view it as an emergency and we need the best care possible.

Look also for well respected brands in your treatments. Use the name brands so that you know the support items you are buying will stand the test of time. I really don't want to get a nebulizer or humidifier that stops functioning when we really need it. We love crane for the humidifiers. They are cute for kiddos and really stand the test of time. We use braun thermometers because we really need to know if a cold or virus is coming on. We just were sent the newest one that reads above the forehead with no touching and I have to say- it is amazing. We can check in the middle of the night without waking Sammy and I can trust the reading to be accurate and consistent. I need all products to function that way because I am not messing around with the safety of my child.

I made this little pinterest board to lighten the subject a bit from snake oil salesmen and respiratory issues. Check it out :)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Time to Buy....

I decided I am going to start a new series here on the blog called "Time to Buy..." Mainly because I always have a friend or two that are scrambling at the last possible minute to buy some weather/gear related essential and missed the popular buying season.

Right now- buy a coat if you have not already taken my advice and gotten one on clearance in the Spring. Gap has a Friends and Family discount for 40% off.

Get a few pairs of gloves and mittens and a few hats. Find a a sale. Hanna Andersson has 20% off and Boden is 25% off today as well. Go forth and find a deal!

Now is for sure the exact time to buy winter boots. They are going to be sold out soon. Sorel has a couple of nice options, Gap has two decent pairs, and Nordstrom has a few as well. Hunter is a good option for a rainboot/ cold gear combo if you get the fleece inserts but they're pricey if you don't catch a sale. I prefer a duck boot option myself :)

Happy Shopping!!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween Wrap Up

Halloween! It is my favorite holiday usually. I love dressing up and handing out candy. Aside from giving things to kiddos- Halloween is a stress free holiday because really no one expects anything from you. This feels like a huge break right before Christmas and Thanksgiving where my obligation list gets very long.

I woke up in a horrible mood which really isn't like me. We did some housework and I made breakfast. Sammy had a roll up which are about 100% of his daily calories most days. Thank goodness I buy the healthy stuff so it is better for him.

This Halloween we visited the neighborhood party and Sammy got to bounce in the bouncehouse for a while. That was adorable. It is awesome to see how confident he's getting with climbing up those giant play structures. We then visited the fire dept for a similar event where there was more bouncing. I figured that was a decent plan before naptime!

We got ready for Trick or Treaters and Sammy got up and handed out candy. It was cute to see him race towards the door from the dinner table to give to other children. After some delicious mac & cheese Sammy and I headed out to hit the mean streets and get some candy. It was such a nice night and Sammy did a great job running to the houses and figuring out based on the porch lights who actually was handing out candy. Tim manned our house then we switched. All in all it was a great time - we were thrilled to have it be just our own family and focus on Sammy for this holiday.

I do have to mention that there is a big trend away from Trick or Treating in my area. A lot of moms with smaller kiddos take them to the church trunk or treats or park hikes - which those are really cool. But it is sad to see the tradition of people handing out candy waning. There were many fewer homes with porch lights on this year. Maybe 10 on our street total and it used to be almost everyone. One house a few doors down even accidentally left their porch light on and that was pretty confusing for the small kiddos just learning how this goes.

I've really tried to be community minded this year- and it was a little sad to see so many people not handing out candy. Hopefully as Sammy gets bigger this trend reverses itself because it is such a fun right of passage to ring those doorbells and get your big bag of candy. (We swapped out the candy for some legos because Sammy is the only kiddo I know that actually doesn't care for candy.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015