Tuesday, February 2, 2016

My time is valuable, too.

Today I had a revelation. It stems not from ego or vanity, but from a place of true realization. 

Today I discovered that my time is valuable. 

I can't put a dollar amount on it. I'm not the President of the United States. I'm not even the type of person who sees someone she knows at the grocery store when I go shopping. 
I'm not claiming to be a big deal.

But I am a mom. I keep two kids alive on a daily basis. I'm a business owner. I'm the person who keeps our household running. I'm an office manager. I do a lot of shit that may not be important to some people, but it is important to others. And that means something to me. 

Let's rewind to the event that led to this stunning epiphany: 
an eye appointment. 
Yep, you read that right.

As I sat waiting in the lobby 30 minutes after my [according to the receptionist] five minute appointment was scheduled, my ears started releasing steam. 

Five minutes. This appointment will take five minutes. And I've been sitting here for 30.

It was only after sitting in the exam room for an additional 20 minutes that I came to the aforementioned conclusion: 
My time is way too valuable for this shit. 

I sat there, seething, making a list of things I could be doing instead of waiting in that wood-paneled room:
   I could be catching up on office work I didn't get done yesterday.
   I could be folding the laundry that I ran before I left because both of my kids peed through their diapers last night.
   I could be in my pajamas, nursing the cold that I just came down with.
   I could be reading a book to my daughter.
   I could be editing photographs on my computer.
   I could be updating Quickbooks.
   I could be paying bills.
   I could be doing literally anything other than sitting in this effing exam room waiting for a doctor to decide I was important enough to be next in line.

Don't get me wrong, I know doctors have a lot of things going on. Hell, I know anyone who works has a lot of things going on. But so do I. And that office made me realize just how vital time is.

Because life is short. 
Because I want to spend time with my kids while they don't hate me.
Because I like getting things done. 
Because sitting in a dingy Optometrist's office isn't something I enjoy doing.
Because my time is important, too. 

This isn't really about the doctor's office making me wait. I'm used to that after being pregnant twice. I spent a majority of 9 months at the Doctor. I get it. 

This is about me realizing that what I do, though it's not rocket science and I'm not necessarily changing the world, is important to some people. Just because I'm not out solving world hunger doesn't mean what I do doesn't matter. 

And I wanted to say it to anyone reading this because I'm guessing you don't realize how much you matter, too. Moms or Dads who stay at home with their kids, Grandparents, college students struggling to figure out their life, working moms and dads, single folk, hormonal teenagers who hate everything - you all matter to someone. It's a powerful thing to realize, and it's important that you do.

There are a lot of days when I feel like all I get done is changing shitty diapers and cleaning up messes my toddler made. Those days suck. 
But they still matter.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Packing with kids

We recently traveled to Florida to see my in-laws while they're hibernating there for the Kansas winter. While I was excited to leave, it also required me to pack my newly 4-person family for a 5-day stay and a plane ride.
The last time I flew with my daughter, she was 9 months old. I had researched relentlessly and eventually just realized that shit was going to hit the fan regardless of how prepared I thought I was, so it was best to just let go, drink a beer and call it a day.
Now with two kids I was even more terrified. A toddler and an infant on a plane? Somebody get me a Xanax.
So I thought I would write a post about packing for a toddler and an infant in case you wanted advice. Or are entertained by other people's disastrous vacation experiences.

1. First Step: Put the kids to sleep

I cannot stress this enough: packing and kids do not mix. Toddlers love unpacking the shit you just packed MUCH MORE than you hate unpacking the shit when you get home from vacation. 
Go ahead and try the whole, "why don't you help mommy pack?!" approach with the hopes that it will be a fun bonding activity. I dare you. It does not work. 
Save yourself the aggravation and gather it all in one area, lock the door, and throw away the key until they're in bed. 

2. Don't even bother with the house
If you think to yourself, "I'd love to leave the house shiny and clean so I don't have to dick with it when I get back!" think again, my friend.
Because while you're busy trying to get the laundry done and finding the bottom of the sink filled with last night's dishes, your toddler is in the other room playing out her very own special version of Armageddon with the toy box.

This is their golden hour. They've spent the last two years preparing for this moment. Nothing can stop them now.

Put the dishes in the dishwasher to prevent weird smells when you return, finish the laundry so you don't have to walk around nude on the beach, and hope that the cats will get hungry enough to eat all of their own hair off the floor.

3. Speaking of cats...
If you're a cat-owner, you know this struggle.
The exact second that you bring a new piece of...well, anything out from a room they're not allowed in, they will immediately sit on it.
I don't care if it's a couch made of daggers. Those assholes will make themselves comfortable.
Don't leave anything on the floor unless you don't care that it's covered in cat hair.

4. Charge yo goods
For the love of God, do not get on the airplane only to find that you haven't charged the iPad. Or laptop. Or whatever you use. Nothing induces panic more than that moment you are trying to figure out what the Hell you're going to do to entertain a toddler for 3 hours in two cubic feet of space without technology.
Don't be that guy.

Alright, now on to the actual packing.

5. Pack all of the things.
-Car Seats: My in-laws drove down so they brought Addi's car seat [God bless them], pack and play and even bought a crib. All we had to bring was Will's seat. My sister let us use her car seat bag and we checked it with our big suitcases. I cannot recommend this enough. His seat handle [the Keyfit 30] did get a little banged up, but all of the Styrofoam was in tact [I took the covers off to check] and not cracked so I call it a success. There were a lot of people who checked their seats without bags and they came out looking gross. Of course they could've been gross before the trip across country but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.
Also, be prepared to sit and wait in terror at the luggage carousel until the very last bag comes up because they send all of the seats last [in Orlando they actually had it at a different carousel].

-Carry on's: We had about 90 4 carry-on's, which didn't include the umbrella stroller we gate checked.
Matt carried my computer bag with the laptop [I had work to do remotely while I was there], my camera [I don't check it because they don't exactly know the meaning of "fragile"], the iPad, spare diapers/wipes, a few snacks and coloring supplies.
I carried the diaper bag that was equipped with as much shit as you can imagine. I'm talking hoarder levels. Many people, including my mom, were entertained by the amount of crap I had out trying to entertain our 2 year old.
Among the thousands of items: 

  • 4 diapers for each kid
  • wipes
  • hand sanitizer [airports..gross]
  • books [new ones Addi got for Christmas and had never read]
  • changing pad
  • snacks..lots of snacks
  • more wipes
  • a few more "new" toys [I went downstairs and gathered up a bunch of them she never plays with anymore]
  • spare bottle/formula
  • spare paci
  • take & toss cups
  • Will's reflux meds [in case luggage got lost], infant tylenol & kid's ibuprofen

Addi got an awesome bag from her Aunt for Christmas which I packed full of toys that she had either forgotten about or were her favorites. I also bought her this adorable pair of headphones for the iPad on the plane that she used for approximately seven seconds. Money well spent, folks. [Side note: she also refused to carry her bag. We are slaves to a toddler.] Don't forget their favorite blanket & stuffed animal!

-Checked Bags:
I packed one large suitcase for the kids and one for Matt & I. As always, I over-packed, but I'd rather have too much than too little. My in-laws' house down there has a super nice washer and dryer, which I utilized a lot, and I only came home with a few pieces of dirty laundry!
A mother's dream...doing laundry on vacation.

Anyway, in the kid's bag I packed everything...diapers, sheets, blankets, clothes, bottles, formula, sippy cups, and all of Addi's extra crap that she brings to bed [which includes, her baby, bunny deer, two more lovies and about 33 other items]. I packed one extra pair of shoes for Addi and an extra pair of pj's for both, just in case. I knew we would have a washer/dryer in the event of a poop-tastrophe so I didn't go overboard on their clothes.

For Matt and I, I packed the usual plus anything that didn't fit into Addi & Will's suitcase. Our flight left at 7:10 am which meant leaving at the asscrack of dawn, so we stayed at a hotel the night before. This meant two extra overnight bags to prevent digging through our suitcases in the morning. We also had to bring two pack and plays for the hotel, but it beat bringing them through the airport too so I didn't mind a bit.

Overall the experience wasn't terrible, despite the low bar I had set for it [packing, not the trip. The trip was awesome.]. And I did manage to leave the house somewhat picked up, so I considered that a win-win. We also left before I had planned, which was a mind-blowing experience that will probably never happen again.

The airport and plane ride were a whole other experience that requires at least one other blog post so I might get to that in the next year or so [I jest].

If you're traveling with kids soon, God Speed. I'll drink a beer for you [or two].

Monday, September 7, 2015

Will's Nursery!

Well, I've been mostly MIA for the past several months but I am incredibly excited to say that I am no longer pregnant! That's right, folks. My little man finally did his mom a solid and made his grand appearance! 
We're so excited for him to finally be in our lives [no one as much as me..summer pregnancies are the worst]!! 
So, I'm going to get his birth story written up along with tons of pictures posted, but in the meantime I wanted to finally share photos of his nursery. I hope you like it!

To begin with, we had to find a place to put the kid. You might remember the playroom reveal I posted last year..

It was a colorful concoction filled to the brim with toys! A friend of ours took the piano off our hands [It made me so sad to let it go, but we just didn't have a place for it anymore!] to free up a lot of space. 
Next, I designated the block book-case to Addi's room for toys and pretty much everything else went downstairs. 

Because the orange wall took so much time [and because I didn't want to paint over it] I decided to play with that color for the theme. I added a navy blue stripe across the top to tone down the brightness a bit!

The original plan was to take down the yellow submarine wall decal that I put up for the play room but I just couldn't bring myself to get rid of it. I contacted the Etsy site I bought the original from and asked for a custom design to add Will's name and a few extras to center it on the wall. 

This was the finished product! So great. 

Addi's crib and dresser are both white so I wanted to do something different for Will. In the end I decided on a light grey. 
 The dresser originally came with knobs that were grey. I wanted to jazz them up a bit and was unsuccessful at finding cute ones at Hobby Lobby or Lowe's, so I spray-painted them with a navy blue paint I had on hand. 

I love this room for the giant window!

I've stocked up on diapers when they're on sale and my sister gave me a ton of like-new clothes from her two sons! 
 Again utilizing one of these nursery door hangers from Wal-mart! 

The sheet fabric was bought from Fabricworm.com and my mom took them to a local gal who does all of her alterations to make two sets of crib sheets. I love how they have stars just like Addi's and that the colors perfectly match the walls! 

Hope you all liked the nursery reveal! 
Up next: the birth story.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

14 luxury baby products you can live without

Baby fever is running high in our family since myself, my sister, and my sister-in-law are all pregnant and due within a month and a half of each other. 
My sister will be a third time mom, me a second, and my sis-in-law will be having her first. 
Because we are on our second and I was adamant about gender neutral baby gear when we had Addi, we will not be having another shower [per my request]. We're having a hard time finding room to store all the crap we have as it is! 
We had a garage sale a month ago and it got me thinking about all the junk that comes along with having a baby. It's amazing the crap they have these days to make our lives so much easier! And while these things are nice to have, they're not all necessary, especially if you have a small house or are working on your second or third [or 4th or 5th!] child.
I wanted to make a list for new moms who want to find ways to keep the baby crap [literally & figuratively] to a minimum.

Here are the things we could have or did live without:

1. Diaper Genie
We actually received one of these from a friend for a shower, despite it not being on our registry.  I went back and forth on whether or not to put it on our registry in the first place and after some research decided we could live without it. I didn't want to have to buy the extra stuff that it required to maintain, but the main problem was that we didn't have room for it in Adelaide's nursery.
Instead we set up a small trash can right outside our garage door equipped with a pop-open lid and some Febreeze-fresh can liners. This was ideal for a newborn since they poop about 6 times a day and when they're only on formula or breast milk their dirty diapers don't really stink that bad. It's still a good idea to empty the can at least every other day [we do it every day in the summer time because heat + poop=yikes]. Now, at 18 months, we just take dirty diapers out to the dumpster since they reek and she doesn't poop as much [hallelujah].

2. Tummy Time mat
I bought like 3 different types of these and you know what I could've done instead? Put a couple of blankets down [or one thick blanket]. We have hardwood floors so it wasn't really an option to just put her on the floor. I bought this really cute elephant one and then another one with a bunch of "taggies" and it was just unnecessary.
A much better idea: if you have one of these nifty activity mats [which I would highly recommend], you can just do tummy time on there! They will also use/stare at the fun toys when you lay them down for playtime on their backs.
Via Amazon
3. Changing Table
If you've got the room and the cash then by all means, go for it. We didn't have either to spare so we just skipped it and put a changing pad on top of her dresser. Dressers will go a long way - as in the kids can use it until they're much older. Changing tables? Not so much. Besides, we barely used the changing pad in her room [it mainly just held clothes that needed to be put away]. The couch, blanket or carpet is a much easier [and cheaper] option.

4. Expensive Baby Carrier
As much as I wanted a fancy Ergo or Tula baby carrier, it wasn't something I wanted to spend hundreds of dollars on. I've heard AMAZING things about the Ergo [my sis has one and used the crap out of it!] and Tula both but it just wasn't something we had the money for.
Instead, we received a Jeep carrier for Matt from our registry
Via Amazon
and I got the Peanut Shell adjustable sling for when Addi was little, which also came from our registry.
Via Amazon
Once she grew out of the sling I got an Infantino Mei Tai wrap that I LOVE! It was $25.99 and worth every penny!
Via Amazon
All of these were under $50 dollars and worked great for us. I know there's some debate on how some carriers [like the Jeep one above] aren't good for hip dysplasia and all that good stuff, but my daughter is walking just fine [that's not to dismiss the fact that it happens, it just wasn't a problem for us].
Carriers are a big deal for some people [as I'm sure it will be for me when we have a newborn and are chasing a toddler] so the expensive carriers are probably a no-brainer for them. To each his/her own!

A couple months ago, my mom scored a HUGE deal at Target for me in the form of an Ergo 360 for FORTY-FIVE DOLLARS! I think it was an open box deal or something but it's in perfect condition. I can't wait to use it for Will!

5. Bed Set
Via Amazon
The baby bed set. Every new mom's dream to buy! This one from Amazon is $99 - not a bad price for a 10-piece set. That being said, you can't use a few of the things, mainly the bumper, quilt and bed skirt [personal preference]. Remember: nothing but a sheet in the bed until they're older.
I enjoyed personalizing both of my kiddo's nurseries with my own style. For both of the kids' rooms I've ordered fabric online and had the crib sheets made. Target also makes super cute crib sheets and you can order bed skirts and window treatments separately. The nursery pictured is cute, but it would ideally have a blackout curtain over the window and I would rather pick out my own decor with colors that match the set.
Again - this is a completely personal choice so if a bed set is just easier for you, go for it! The quilt could easily be laid over a rocking chair or dresser as a decorative piece!

6. Baby Food Maker

I ordered one of these off of Amazon when I was in my "making baby food" phase. It's basically just a food processor with a "baby food maker" label on it. So dumb. If you're going to make your own baby food [more power to you!], just buy a regular food processor and call it a day.
Mine just sold at the garage sale we had for $2 bucks. I paid $25 for it on Amazon. [d'oh!]

7. Baby Food Storage containers

Along the same lines as the baby food maker are the baby food storage containers. Otherwise known as glorified ice cube trays with a lid.
These, too, sold at our garage sale for a whopping $1. The lady who bought them was going to make "ice cream treats" for her dog..
[Note that some people use these for breast milk storage which is wicked cool! Pun intended]
Instead of these, you can use regular small tupperware containers or the take and toss bowls with lids.
These are what I use to store most of Addi's frozen foods!

8. Fancy Formula Dispenser
Not gonna lie, if we had $130 bucks of spare cash lying around, I would totally buy one of these. It's awesome. But as I pointed out to my husband when he claimed we desperately needed the one at Target, it's not really necessary. Convenient? Yes. But you won't have it with you everywhere you go so you might as well get used to making those bottles the old fashioned way.

9. Bottle Warmer
I bought one of these used from a friend and never once used it. I don't think the Tommee Tippee bottles would fit in it anyway and warm water worked just fine for our daughter. Again, you won't have it everywhere you go [unless you're planning on carting a shitload of baby stuff when you travel] so you might as well get used to doing it the "hard" way.

10. Fancy Sink Bathtub
I had one of these on my Target registry but didn't receive it [sad face]. It was $46 dollars and my mom had the brilliant suggestion to just buy one of those cheap foam sink inserts. Guess what? It was perfect for newborn baths. And it was like $5 dollars. So it worked out. 
But I still kind of want one because HOLY BABY CUTENESS.

11. Name brand/pre-mixed formula
This is not a one-size-fits-all suggestion because every baby's belly is different. Some do not take to certain brands of formulas; that's just a fact of life. You've gotta give that baby what works best for them! And what keeps them from screaming.
After a ton of research I discovered that pretty much all formulas are made equal. They're all monitored by the FDA so they all have to have the same nutrients in them, no matter the brand or price. We went with the Target Up & Up Premium formula and it worked just fine for our daughter.
I won't lie and say the pre-mixed Enfamil formula we got at the hospital wasn't amazing, but it's stupid expensive and money doesn't grow on trees [if only]. We plan on using the same for Will, assuming his tummy handles it as well as Addi's did.

12. Baby Cereal
This is kind of a hot topic and a really annoying one at that. A lot of people will suggest that you give your baby cereal when they're not sleeping through the night at 3 months or if they're fussy. This, in my opinion, is a fallacy. Maybe it worked for you - and that's friggin' fantastic! Do what you do, mama. But our kid hated it. And everyone and their Aunt Betty told us to try cereal in her bottle at a time when her tummy couldn't handle it and our pediatrician didn't recommend it.
I'm one of those annoying moms who listens to everything our pediatrician says. And ours explicitly told me that cereal is just not necessary, especially before 6 months. So that's what I'm going with; the woman who has a medical degree.

13. Everything baby Einstein
I know, I know. You want your kid to be brilliant. But - and I haven't done any scientific studies or anything - you don't have to buy all of the baby Einstein stuff that's available. Buy a few to keep them entertained, but babies really aren't picky.
Seriously, give them a spoon and they're set for hours. Read to them, sing to them, give them hugs. It's all good for their tiny minds! But you don't have to spend a billion dollars on taggy blankets and teething toys that guarantee a 32 on their ACT later in life.
Chew me and you'll automatically qualify for a full-ride scholarship to Yale! Yippee!
Addi actually preferred my keys and cups to just about any other toy we gave her.

14. Super Fancy Baby Monitor
We never used a video monitor with Addi, partly because I was all "whoa those buggers are expensive!" and partly because I was afraid of seeing a ghost on the monitor when I woke up at 2 in the morning to check on her. Either way, not ideal.
My sister uses these for both of her kids and absolutely loves them, so I'm not saying they aren't both cool and incredibly useful. There were times I wished I had a video feed so I could see if I really needed to get out of my warm bed to check on the nugget when she was fussing..

Instead, we bought a cheap $20 dollar set from Target with sound only and it's served us well. Granted, it does have a lot of static so I think we'll splurge for the $35 dollar one for Will but we're otherwise really happy with it.

Again, these were just some of the "luxuries" we decided to live without, but that's no to say we didn't have any nice stuff for our child. Believe me, thanks to both sets of her grandparents she was not lacking in awesome baby gear!

Here are a few things I would highly recommend splurging on: 
-Diapers - the cheap kind will leak and you will wish you didn't get them. Changing wet/poopy sheets in the middle of the night is no bueno. Trust me, stick with name brand. There are tons of coupons out there for Pampers & Huggies so you can save some money [they both also have rewards programs online for a chance to save even more]! Our favorites are the Pampers swaddlers - the blue wet-line indicator is legit. Addi was allergic to Huggies but my sis uses those for her boys and they work great! 
-Play yard
-Johnny Jump up [not really a splurge since ours cost $20 bucks]
-Sound machine/projector
-Tommee Tippee Bottles [not a lot of parts and great for both breast-feeding & formula babes!]
-Lovey [we use Little Yellow Chick]
-Mam Pacifiers [Just happen to be our favorite brand]
-A light weight pack & play
-Rock & Play [they even have the auto-rockers now!]
-Chicco Keyfit 30 infant carseat - I would also highly recommend getting a spare base if you have two cars. Each of our sets of parents got a base as well! My sis, SIL and I all plan on using the Keyfit 30 because it's a fantastic seat and it will make it so much easier for us all to have compatible bases!
-Britax convertible seat [we have the Pavilion G4] or Chicco Nextfit [we have used both and love them!]

Hope this helps some desperate mamas when trying to figure out registry items to add!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Getting Rid of the Pacifier at 18 months

We took the next big leap in our child's life: 
Taking away the Pacifier. (eek!)

I was never one of those parents who was under the impression that pacifiers were the devil and that my kid would have screwed up teeth because of it. 
My husband had braces for 10 years so there are already potential dental woes in our kids' futures. Might as well let her enjoy the paci. 

We gave her a pacifier from the day she was born. Knowing what I do now, I have my favorite brand and will be utilizing only that type for Will. 

Speaking of Will; this whole decision arose somewhat out of the blue after I realized that my goal of having Addi off the paci by 2 years old was going to fall right after her new little bro came into the world. After reading extensively on the easiest ways to rid your kid of this demonic sucking device, I knew that just wouldn't be the right time. She'll have enough adjusting to do without taking away her beloved paci. 
Plus, I planned on getting rid of [either throwing away or hiding] all pacifiers from our house, car, office - anywhere and everywhere [because they really do end up everywhere. I'm sure I'll find a few in my jacket pockets next Winter]. And that just wouldn't be possible when we plan on having Will use the same paci that Addi did. 
I saw a lot of stealing from her brother in our daughter's future. 

Now as I said, I read as many articles as I could on the best way to go about doing this without traumatizing all of our lives in the process. I tend to over-research everything I do with my daughter. Did the same thing when we were switching from formula to milk and bottle to sippy cup. It's just the way I mentally prepare for such daunting tasks. So I thought I might help out another desperate mama who is looking for a few tips. 
If I can help just one more mama out, I will feel like it was all worth it!

First off, let's start with the "why." 
Why did I really want to get rid of the pacifier? She's only 18 months old, it's not like she's one of those 5 year olds still using a paci. 

-Gone by 2. As I mentioned before, my goal was to have it gone by the time she was 2 years old. No particular reason for this, it just seemed like a good age [and the age most doctors/dentists have it gone by]. But with a new brother coming when she's 22 months, I thought it best to get this over with before he was in the picture. 

- She's starting to talk. A lot. And consequently after we got rid of the stupid thing she picked up like 10 words in a matter of a week. Not even joking. I hated having her try to talk with the paci in her mouth. It drove me friggin' crazy. And forget asking her to take it out to talk. 

- I just wanted it gone. Much like the bottle, I was tired of it. I was tired of the terrifying thought that I left her paci's at home. I was tired of cleaning them after she dropped it on the ground for the 100th time. I was just done. I also felt like she was getting really attached to it and I needed to nip it in the bud before it got too out of hand. 

-It was starting to look ridiculous. Now that my baby is starting to look less like a baby and more like a little person [sobs], it was beginning to look more and more silly when she popped the thing in her mouth. 

Now onto the good stuff;
How'd we do it?

Before you start:
  • Choose a time when nothing is going on. No traveling, no major life events, no family in town; just a boring time where you can focus solely on this event. I would recommend when taking it away completely that you start on a Friday and do it through the weekend. If all goes as planned they will be over it by Monday. 
  • Agree on a plan with your partner. Even though I was the one who researched it all, I ran everything by my husband before deciding on what to do. I wanted to make sure we were in complete agreement on what we were going to accomplish so that when things got tough we would stick together. This eliminates the chance of the "well maybe if we did it my way..." arguments later on. These things are tough as it is. Add in arguments with your partner and you're destined to fail.
  • Collect all of the paci's you can find. It's like a treasure hunt only not fun. Look everywhere. Under crib mattresses, under beds, toy boxes, random cabinets, diaper bags, cars; if your kid is anything like mine, they hoard them for later use. It's like she knew we were going to pull a fast one on her and she wanted to be prepared for this moment. Put them in a container and store them out of sight. Otherwise they'll point to it and say "I want dis!" Sorry my love. I really want a million dollars but that's just not how it works.
  • Choose what method is right for your child: cold turkey or slow and steady. What I mean by this is, do you want to take it away in one fell swoop or do you want to limit it to only bed/naptime for a few days and then get rid of it completely? You know your kid best so you'll know which method will work. Make a plan and stick to it. Don't give up when it gets hard. And it will.
  • Set the bar low. I dreaded this process to the point where it made me ill. I just knew it would be horrible. Luckily it wasn't as hard as I had anticipated. By setting the bar low I felt like we did a really fantastic job! 
  • Embrace the phrase, "This too shall pass!"

As for us, we went with the slow and steady method. This was a mistake.
Our reasoning was because we were supposed to be traveling the following weekend and didn't want to break one of the rules I outlined above.

Starting on Tuesday I allowed pacifier use only at nap time and bed time. This seemed to work well except when she woke up from naptime or bedtime. 
Case in point: The first morning following this change in routine was rough. Her dad always get her out of her crib [he's the morning person], changes her and then feeds her breakfast. They have a set routine. That morning he asked her politely if he could have her paci. She, of course, refused and an epic battle ensued. Usually filled with giggles and laughs, this morning our daughter cried for 40 minutes straight. Including the ride to work. This did not help mommy's poor morning attitude.

That day after naps I was very careful to get her away from her crib as quickly as possible and distract her in any way I could. This involved singing, books, and movies on the iPad.
The quicker they forget that they don't have their pacifier the happier they will be.

The days following never really got better, and as our trip got cancelled I decided to get rid of the damn thing completely. I believe this would have been our better option from the start, but again - you decide that for your child!

From most of what I read this was the preferred method for most parents. It's hard for the kiddos & parents at first but in the long run they get over it quicker.

Friday night at bedtime was when I decided to take it away completely. She had it for naps that day (I bring her to work so I couldn't exactly let her cry it out when she was pissed) but it worked out none the less. 

During the day on Friday I talked to her a lot about how we were going to go to sleep without paci this evening because we were a big girl now. Did she understand? It's hard to say since she's quite young, but I think she at least got the gist. If you have an older child this will be a lot easier. Calmly explain what's going to happen. This will prepare them for what's coming and there won't be any surprises.

We were out a little late at my in-law's house (on purpose) so she got to bed about an hour later than usual. This helped to ensure that she would be extra tired when we put her down for bed.

That night, we had a very calm night time routine. Sometimes we stray from our plan (loud TV, lots of lights, etc.) so we were extra careful to make sure she was calm and relaxed before bed.

Daddy did her bath routine as usual and then we went into her room and got jammies on and read at least 4 books (she loves to read!). We had turned down the lights and turned her sound machine on in preparation for putting her directly to bed. 

When we had finished all of our nighttime tasks, I said, "it's time for night-night, Addi. We aren't going to have our paci tonight because we're a big girl." We kissed her good night and then laid her down in her crib. 
I told Matt, "We need to leave immediately." So we did. 
(Usually I linger at the door, tell her we love her and that we will be right outside)

She talked to herself for probably 10 minutes or so and then she was out.
That was it. 
I nearly lost it. I figured we'd have at least 40 minutes of crying and then her finally giving in and falling asleep. Much to my surprise, she just chatted with herself and decided it was time to go to sleep. 
And she slept through the night. *drops mic*
 She did wake up fussing at 5:30 (que the "helllll no" thoughts going through my head) Saturday morning but we let her fuss for about a minute and she went back to sleep until about 7, which is when she usually wakes up.When she got up in the morning she was a little fussier than normal, but much better than when we had let her have the paci some of the time. 

For nap times I followed the same routine we always do for naps. 
I said, "it's time for night-night, Addi. No paci again because we're a big girl." 

Naps have been the hardest as she will typically fuss/cry for 10 minutes or so. I'm okay with letting her cry a little bit (I can differentiate her "fussing" cry and her "shit's gotten real, help me!" cry. Typically the latter happens when she drops her lovey over the side of the crib.

Not everyone is okay with letting their child cry and that is okay. Especially if you're dealing with a really young one. In our case, if I go in there she will not go back to sleep. It's better to let her know that she's not going to get her way simply by whining. This is obviously not appropriate for babies under 6 months, and sometimes not okay for babies under a year. It just depends on the child and your family's choices.

After that morning nap on Saturday I didn't mention the paci again. I thought it best to quit bringing it up. I would just say, "time for night-night!" and she was good to go.

Other tips from around the web: 
-Offer a lovey instead 
-Collect all of the pacifiers together and have your child throw them out themselves
-Collect the paci's and take them to their 2-year check-up and give them to the doctor in exchange for a small toy or book
-Collect the paci's and take them to a store to "trade" them in a for a new toy
-"Lose" it! Tell your kiddo it's lost and hope they believe you

We're about two weeks in and I couldn't be happier with the results. As I mentioned in the prelim's, I set the bar really low. I was terrified of this process and thought it would go horribly.

Car rides have been the worst for me. Usually she sat there happily sucking on her paci and I never really heard a word. Now when I put her in there and she didn't want to get in, she will let me know. The entire car ride. Luckily we live in a small town so trips usually aren't that long, but it doesn't make it any more pleasant to have her screaming from the back seat. I have no recommendations for this problem other than investing in ear plugs. I'm hoping she gets over this trend soon.

Update since I wrote this: We had our first long road trip (3 1/2 hours) without the paci and it went surprisingly well! I always try to time my trips around her nap time so she slept for a good two hours each way. I also have Toy Story 1 & 2 on our iPad so she got to watch that when she was awake (she is currently OBSESSED with Buzz!!). 

I strongly believe that our success with this came from working together and sticking to a plan. Did we scream at each other once? Yes. 
Well, I did the screaming. But I'm pregnant and hormonal and my husband should really know to tread lightly around me. 
See, isn't she just so much more beautiful without the paci in her mouth?! 
Overall, just try to stay positive. If you don't freak out, your child won't freak out.
This is a really hard tip for me to follow because I'm high-strung as a rule, but I made it a point to talk to her patiently and quietly and it seemed to work very well.

I hope this helped! And if you weren't looking for assistance on getting rid of a child's pacifier, then I hope it was at least enjoyable to read! 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My Version of Childbirth vs. the Movies

I meant to write this post before Mother's day but I never got around to it, so it will have to do being a couple of days late. 

In honor of being knocked up [and therefore having one thing on my mind: babies], I thought I might share the differences between movie births and actual births. 

Hint: they're not the same. 

My sister-in-law is currently pregnant with her first and, like I was with my first, is terrified of the birth process. I swore in my younger days that I was going to request a C-Section just to avoid the awkward "poop during labor" scenario. Turns out I was just young and stupid. 

The birth of my first daughter was the best moment of my life. The entire experience was so pleasant that I'm absolutely looking forward to the next one! I'm excited to push a kid out of me. Something's wrong with me. 

Anyway, let's get down to the nitty gritty, shall we?

6 Differences between my Childbirth & the Movies:

1. Most women's waters break to start labor
False. In fact, only about 15% of women's waters actually break on their own. The other 85% have theirs broken by doctors to get labor a-movin'.
Turns out I was one of the 15%, though. My water broke in the morning as I rolled over to attempt to get out of bed! No contractions, no other indicators. In fact, I wasn't even aware that my water had broken until later that morning.
Speaking of which...

2. A woman's water breaking is a giant gush of fluids, Niagara Falls style
Also false. Well for most of us Fifteen Percenters, anyway. According to a Baby Center survery of over 1,000 moms, only 14% experienced the movie-themed "waterfall" effect when their water broke.
As for me? I thought I pee'd myself while attempting to roll out of bed. Which isn't really that rare of an occurrence when you're 109 months pregnant. It wasn't until later that morning when I was at work and experienced a...er...."trickling" effect that I thought perhaps something much more was going on. Surely I couldn't be peeing myself that often. I called the hospital and they had me come in to check if it was amniotic fluid or pee. Turns out it wasn't pee, so yay! Baby time!
My sister went into labor via contractions and had to have her water broken with both of her boys. Every mom is different!
Pictured: as Jane waddles down the street, a sudden gush of fluid indicates that she has suddenly gone into labor!
Not pictured: The poor bastard with a mop cleaning up after her uterus.
3. There's no time to get to the hospital! 
For some moms this is 100% accurate. For me, it was a lot of waiting. Even though my water had broken at 6 am that morning, I didn't have an actual contraction until they started the pitocin. When your water breaks you only have a 24 hour window to have that kid before there's a risk for infection so they gave me the option to start a pitocin drip and I happily obliged. I wanted to see my baby girl and I wasn't going to wait any longer than I had to. Plus they wouldn't let me eat and that was not cool.
I did my make up and hair while waiting. #badass
Once they got me started on pitocin the contractions started rolling along and I wanted to get that kid out of me as quickly as possible. I waited too long to ask for an epidural so I got to feel way more of the contractions than I cared to. Luckily we live in a small town so the anesthesiologist was in the hospital already and came right up.
I had Addi at 8:41 that night, so I was technically in labor for 14 hours, though it didn't feel that way since I didn't have horrible contractions the entire time.

4. You want to murder your husband.
I honestly thought of all the pregnant people in this world, I would want to murder my husband the most. Turns out that wasn't true. We totally teamed it up and he helped me through the entire thing. I could tell he was terrified, but for some reason I thought that was pretty damn cute.
Yeah, sure, they got you into this mess. But they are also there to help you through it.
So try not to murder them.

5. Epidurals are like magical unicorns, only better.
This is 200% true. My mom had all three of us naturally, mostly because epidurals just weren't that common when she was pregnant with us. Everyone was all scared of the whole "spinal tap" lingo [can't really blame them] and the long-term effects so they just didn't do them much.
Now days it's epidural central. THANK GOD.
Once I started having contractions, I wanted to kiss the ground my mother walked upon. I said over and over, "I don't know how moms do this without medication!" Natural birth mothers became my new heroes. Seriously. I worship them. Do I think they're a little crazy? Sure. But I get why they want to do it. I'm not here to start a debate on drugging my kid, I just don't share those values.
The minute after I got my epidural I felt like everything was again right with the world. I actually got to ENJOY the birth of my child!

I couldn't feel her coming out [which I was okay with], I couldn't feel the giant tongs they had to stick in my lady parts to get her out because the cord was wrapped around her neck, and I didn't care afterward when they had to put like 1,000 stitches in either. And you know why? Drugs.

6. The entire birth process is awful, sweaty, incredibly painful and all around a miserable experience.
Like pregnancy, some women love birth and some probably don't. I truly enjoyed every second of my daughter's birth, even though there were complications at the end that nearly caused me a heart attack. I slept maybe 4 hours the entire time we were in the hospital because I was riding high on adrenaline and the fact that my baby girl was finally here!

I cannot stress enough to first-time pregnant moms or people who are just mulling over the idea of having children that it is absolutely, positively one of the best things in life. 

Pregnancy can sometimes suck but once you have that baby in your arms you couldn't give a crap about all that other bad stuff. 
Including crapping on your OB during labor. 

I still have no idea whether the dreaded accidental labor poop actually occurred. The doctors and nurses spare you the embarrassment and allow you to keep your dignity if it does happen, so don't stress. 
Just go, man.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Gender Reveal!

I'm sorry it took me so long to get this post up! It's been a crazy past few weeks
Exciting, but a bit crazy! 

A couple of weeks ago we had our 19-week sonogram which also included the gender reveal! I commend those who can wait the entire 10 months to find out the sex of their baby but I am not one of those people. I have  to know!! Mainly because it drives me crazy to call my unborn child "it". I like to call him/her by name! It makes it a little more real for me. :)

So here's how we did the reveal:
My parents came into the sono room with us. I wanted them to be the ones who had the secret this time around, as hard as it was for them! The sono tech did the gender parts last, so we turned away and she silently showed them the parts. Luckily it was very easy to see, I was really worried the little one wouldn't cooperate!

The night before I had made cupcakes. I got a box of the funfetti ones from Walmart for $1. One dollar, people. I also got a thing of icing for $1.50. The thing that cost the most was the candy to fill the inside of the cupcakes. Instead of doing M&M's, I found a chocolate candy that was similar and did a red & blue. Total investment for the cupcakes was about $15 (the candy was ridiculously expensive. If we were doing this again, I would have dyed icing instead, much cheaper!). Compared to the $50 bucks that some places charge, this was a steal. 

Anyway, when we got home from the sono, my mom and dad filled the inside of the cupcakes (I had cut out the middle of them the night before) with the appropriate color of candies and then iced them! 
They turned out so cute and they were super tasty! 

Another fun last minute addition I decided to do was the clothespins. I saw this idea on Pinterest. The one I saw painted the appropriate color on, but I wanted something quicker (I had already baked cupcakes and made an entire spaghetti dinner for the crockpot!) so we just wrote the name in sharpie. One side said "Charlotte" and the other side said "William". I asked everyone to choose which they thought it was and pin it to their shirt!
 I was sure it was going to be a girl, for karmic reasons.

Turns out it was a.....

Addi: "Uh ma, can you get me one of those spare cupcakes?" 

Mav enjoyed the reveal more than anyone else. 

We did a small gathering, just our parents and brothers/sisters. It was perfect! I didn't want to make it a big hairy deal, just something quick and fun (since we're stopping at 2 kiddos).

I really should have done a tutorial for the cupcakes but it was super simple. I just kind of winged it anyway. There are lots of tutorials available on Pinterest if you're interested in saving some money and going this route!

We're super excited to have a little boy...a new challenge for us! I'm 21 weeks tomorrow so I'm more than halfway done. September will be here before we know it!