Author: Lindsey

Kids Rooms

Climbing

As I was reading this really adorable kids nursery post this morning from a new blog I stumbled upon called two twenty one through iheart Organizing, I was thinking about how adorable and organized it was.  I was feeling a twinge of jealousy as I looked at her beautiful photography of inanimate objects and adorable baskets holding baby toys and her coordinating closet containers and I found myself wishing my baby’s room looked like that.

JealousNursery

I’m a decorator.  When I say I’m a decorator I mean I love decorating and I’m pretty good at it *horn tooted*. I spend most of my days and often my sleepless nights thinking about decorating and redecorating and renovating.  If I’ve been in your house, I think about decorating and redecorating and renovating your house too. It’s really more of a problem I guess.

So, as I was thinking about this adorable nursery I realized that I have that.  My son’s nursery is painted in the most prefect color of Dust Bunny.  It’s perfect for the bunny theme I’ve held onto for two babies and will reuse one more time for baby no. 3. I hand picked the most perfect neutral baby bunny fabric that has the whimsy for a child but the adult like nature us 21st century moms are looking for. My roman shade, crib bumpers and bed skirt were hand made by my mom so everything is exactly how I wanted it without having to settle on some packaged bed set.  See, that’s me.  I don’t buy it packaged unless it’s curtain panels because it usually comes down to a per yard cost.  Pre-made panels are almost always less expensive and tend to be more interesting (plus they’re already done).  In this instance, the curtain panels were fabric I already had from my previous single-girl apartment shabby chic life. Some kind of cheap gauzy stuff I found somewhere. I added ball trim to make it “baby”. I painted and embellished an old chandelier to use as a mobile because nothing from those big box baby stores would do.  I didn’t want music or bright colors or monkeys.  No offense to the monkey lovers, but it’s past being overdone in a baby’s room.

Mobile

The white furniture is something I purchased at Target long before I even met my husband, but don’t you think for a second that I didn’t plan to put it in my baby’s room ‘someday’. I wonder what my future husband would have thought if he knew the first night he slept in my single-girls bedroom that he was actually taking a glimpse into his future son’s bedroom.  Haha!  He would have ran like a bat outta hell.  No doubt!

WhiteFurniture

And the final piece to my perfect baby’s bedroom are the three hand cross stitched bunnies that I made myself. I spent many childless hours stitching those in my teen and young adult years in between binge drinking and late nights with fake i.ds.  Apparently it was all part of the plan. 3 bunnies.  3 babies.

CrossStitch

*Record Scratch*

What I realized reading that blog, as I was imagining redecorating my son’s room, is that I do have all of those things, but seriously, you’d never know it because my son’s bedroom is a total mess most of the time.  There are usually storage boxes of clothes coming in or going out because he grows so damn fast. Often there are random belts or watches from my bedroom because the kids can’t keep their mitts off my stuff. And there are always toys that belong to his older brother strewn about.

Even I get caught up in the beautiful moments captured on camera for social media, but just like adorable Facebook and Instagram photos of kids doing things “my kid would never sit still long enough to do”, the photos we see are just clean moments in time produced strictly for the camera. Don’t worry, I used my phone for all of these beauties. For some of them I was holding a wiggly crying child.  I think it gives it a more ‘realistic’ vibe. Haha!

My little guy is 19 months old and knows nothing about putting things away other than to copy me.  Well, I unfortunately throw the books in a pile because I’m seriously not up for stacking them for the 15th time today.

BookPile

The dresser is a collection of things I don’t want him to touch.

Dresser

The crib bumpers are always untied.

Bumper

The furniture is pushed up against the walls to provide space to play and far enough from the crib so when he’s bored of being in there he doesn’t pull the lamp over.  He did once and ripped the feather fringe almost off.  There were feathers Every Where!  The crib had to be moved because he’s tall enough to grab the mobile now and turn the light switch on and off.  He yanked the ball trim off most of the roman shade, and I see no point in fixing it until the new baby comes because he’s just going to do it again now that he knows he can.

RomanShade

The rocking chair is never used for rocking, but mostly lies in an upside down position to act as a tiny slide.

ChairSlide

The organization I currently hold onto is that things in the general closet area should be toys and everything up high and behind closed doors are clothes that are either too big or too small because I don’t want to get them mixed up.

So, as I said, I felt jealous when I looked at those pictures.  I see them all the time on Pinterest.  The biggest thrill and also time waster of my life.  I’ve really gotten some fantastic ideas from Pinterest and I really don’t knock it in any way because I’m so obsessed, but it is a little too perfect. Don’t you agree?

Because that’s how it is.  The baby’s room is and can be perfect until they start moving. Once they start moving get used to ripped books on the floor, Sophie perfectly placed in the wrong bin, and questionable baby toys.

QuestionableToys

A Bittersweet Goodbye to Winter

MomRyterBoots

Well, it looks like winter is finally over in Wisconsin.  We wait for it all winter.  On the first 45 degree day that’s sunny you’re bound to see many people, mostly kids, in shorts like it’s 75.  That’s what it feels like to our bodies though.  After months of -15 windchill forecasts, 5 degree days, and snow that just appears while you sleep, there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel.

Saying goodbye to winter is bittersweet because it means it’s time to give up our lazy reclusive ways and venture out into the daylight and physically move our bodies.  It’s not bad spending the first nauseous trimester of pregnancy in the winter because really it’s a pretty good excuse to watch tv all day and never go anywhere anyway. Plus, I think I might be one of those lazy people at heart.  I like to be busy and do projects and stuff, but I also really love spending a whole weekend watching Fools Rush In and Friends.  It’s hard to give up that lazy attitude after months of committing to it.

So, here we are.  It’s finally beautiful outside and I’m dreading it.  It’s change.  It’s getting used to the mud and muck and the in-out-in-out, but at the same time I’m excited to give the kids action and adventure that we miss all winter.  The first days outside brought facial injuries, mud, and pee.  Yes, just like Lisa, a day in the life of a little boy is not complete without mud and pee.

Without further adieu, our first week of spring went a little something like this:

Hudson smacked his face on the windowsill running to look out the window.  The bright spring sunlight blinding his poor little eyes.  There was blood, there was a frantic hot mess mamma, and a lot of crying.  Oh well, we’ve all gotten a fat lip or 7.

Ryter smacked his face on the housekeeping shelf at school.  I got a phone call just to let me know “The bleeding has stopped.  I don’t think he’ll need stitches and his tooth didn’t go all the way through, but he bit his lip pretty good.”

FatLip

I got another phone call from school.  “Everything is fine, but we just wanted you to know Ryter got a small injury on the side of his eye today.  It’ll probably be a black eye.” Yup a good old playground facial smackaroonie from a swing flying too wild and too high.  What would spring playground injuries be without those unwieldy dangerous high flying empty swings?

SwingSmack

A mud bath, that despite my feminine distaste for being dirty and ruining my hot pink maternity pants, was probably the most fun we’ve had in a while. Just the idea that I encouraged it was so fun.

Mud

And pee, lots of pee.

I really hate it when my kids pee outside, but honestly it really is the only option a lot of the time.  Freshly potty trained kids don’t really give themselves very much time.  They have accidents just running from the living room to the bathroom. I really can’t expect my kid to stop what he’s doing, run all the way to the house, remove his muddy boots, run all the way through the house, up the stairs, and to the bathroom before he pees everywhere.  Our house was built in 1930.  Apparently there was no such thing as main floor bathrooms in that time period.  He can’t hold himself just right.  He usually pees all over himself anyway, but some of it gets on the grass.  How am I supposed to teach that?  Daddy!!!

I didn’t take any pictures of Hudson’s injuries or in the mud, so here he is. 1 year old entrepreneur.

Hudsons

Bodily Fluids-These Things Happen

sleepCartoon

My alarm went off at 2 a.m. this morning. The 18-month old sleep regression alarm. I didn’t really believe that sleep regression was a thing, but I’m totally a believer now. Our little guy has been doing everything on that list.  Refusing naps, refusing to go to bed at night, screaming in the middle of the night, fussy, clingy, no appetite.  It’s very similar to an ear infection actually.  Since his brother is prone to ear infections, I figured that was his problem.  I had him at the doctor-nothing. I gave him Tylenol-nothing. I tried essential oils-nothing. So, I looked it up. If the internet is correct, as it almost always is, he has what they call The 18 Month Sleep Regression *echo *echo *echo. Apparently it can last from 2 up to 8 weeks.

8 weeks?  F*@k! Well, the oldest is getting up to pee at least once every night so it’s not like I sleep anyway.  Finally something the two of them can synchronize.

Well, this little sleep regression alarm is what got me up last night.  When I saw that it was 2 a.m. I was concerned because my 3 1/2 year old had not yet gotten up to go potty.  Uh oh!  He always gets up around 1 so I expected the worst.  After soothing the screamer, I went to check on the big boy, sound asleep, sprawled out on top of his blankets, SOAKED.  It’s such a sad sorry thing to find your little baby sleeping in a puddle.  I had to wake him, change him, and change his bed.  Needless to say, he was less than thrilled and probably would have preferred I just leave him alone in his puddle.  He had an accident the night before so I had gambled last night and quickly threw on a couple layers thinking “he’s not going to pee again tonight”.  Well, I should know Vegas isn’t my thing.  I’m a penny slots kind’a gal.  My gambling skills are zilch! Of course he peed-a gallon!  He had a tiny 1/4C of milk before bed. How does it multiply in their system to equal an entire gallon of pee?

Before I got him back in bed I decided a quick trip to the bathroom wouldn’t hurt.  There can’t possibly be any more pee in that tiny body, but lets do it anyway. It’s more about the habit I guess.  He was pretty much asleep so I propped him up on the potty in the dark, his little booty so far down in that potty it was probably dipping, elbows rested on his knees, cheeks rested on his hands, asleep. He started to go, alot.  I could hear it…and then I could feel it.  There was one little matter I forgot about, or more never thought about. That little guy wasn’t pointed down.  Actually, it was stuck straight up in the air.   It was dark.  He was curled up in a tight sleeping peeing ball.

“Wait, I don’t get it. It’s going everywhere!” I started to shout. “Stop! Stop!” I said.  I tried to push my hand in, just to assist in getting some of it into the potty.  I was unsuccessful.  It was EVERYWHERE.  I was up to my elbows in pee, dripping everywhere. I stood there in my husband’s perfectly comfy, most favorite, worn to a thread, pre-pregnancy t-shirt that I refuse to put away for 9 months and my underwear.  I was soaked!  His nice clean jammies were soaked.  The tile was soaked.  There was no rug to catch a drop because the little guy peed all over it before bath time earlier that evening.  I just started at the top and started to clean, in the dark.  I got everything cleaned up, got him off the potty, stood him up, and he just looked at me.

“I’m so sorry mommy”

“Oh, hunny, don’t be sorry.  It’s ok.  These things happen.”

*yeah! you shouldn’t be the sorry one.  Somebody many generations before you should have thought twice before giving a potty training child control, or lack thereof, over such an important piece of equipment.

I have two boys, I’m no stranger to stray pee.  Usually it’s on my hands, or maybe I’ve stepped in it.  But NEVER have I been showered in pee.

I got him snuggled back in bed, changed my clothes and got back into bed.  It was 2:30. I couldn’t expect to sleep much more.  I dozed maybe and then around 5:30 the alarm went off again.  This time it was the foster cat lurching, heaving, please don’t puke on my stuff alarm. I didn’t have my phone as a flashlight. I didn’t have a magazine to slip under his mouth. I couldn’t see a damn thing anyway.

I just waited for it to be over.

I lay there awake, trapped, wondering where he did it, how bad it was.

Preparing myself for yet another form of bodily fluid to find me.

It did.

Don’t Waste Your Breath

 

Advice

This morning I was all set to present to you my Bittersweet Goodbye to Winter about my desire to continue to be winter-lazy, but something very important happened a couple nights ago.  Something I believe should be posted here and shared.  Even if you’re not the Facebook “liking” and “sharing” type, no matter who you are, I think this will hit you.

I belong to a local Facebook group that posts items for sale.  I’ve been lucky a time or two selling our appliances and cupboards from our kitchen renovation and many people seem to have great luck as well selling old baby clothes to furniture and everything in between.  Many of us also use this group to find out local information like

“Whats going on downtown today? There are so many cars. Am I missing something fun?”

Sometimes, it’s more personal like

“I lost my job.  If you know anyone who is hiring, please comment.”

I’ve also used the group to promote my Skin Care Consulting business Rodan + Fields. Most people receive an overwhelming response from whatever they post.  Of course there’s always going to be someone with an opinion on a post that usually doesn’t belong there, but they feel compelled to comment anyway.  To each his own, I guess.

Well, today…today is different.  A very innocent post asking for information, just like many of us do, created a comment that hit home for me. Like I said, to each his own with the opinions, but going out of your way to hurt not only the person posting but probably everyone that commented on that post is completely shameful.

So, this is the innocent post I read:

Post

Immediately I was excited because this is my business.  I personally make great money and I feel like it’s a really great decision for mom’s that want to spend more time with their kids, but still receive that independence and financial family contribution. Mind you, my work is done mainly by word of mouth, Facebook posts, sometimes some phone calls or a meeting over coffee or wine.  My job can be done when my kids go to bed, early in the morning before they wake up, or during nap time.  It can also be done in casual conversation in line at the grocery store while my kids are snacking on the doughnuts they would have gotten regardless of whether I decided to have a conversation with someone or not. That’s my job.  It’s pretty awesome!

I’m a mom, yeah.  And usually when people ask me what I do I say I stay home with my kids.  I often insert that I also am an Independent Skin Care Consultant. They’re not asking me to tell them that I went to two different art schools, I stay home with my kids, I love crafts and hope to sell them on Etsy one day when I have more time, that I also have renovated my home and plan on making that a business for my family to enjoy once my kids are older, that I’m teaching myself how to be a home contractor so I can build my own house, that I’m a blogger and that in my previous pre-mom life I was an Administrative Assistant.  They wanna know if I’m an accountant, a lawyer, a yoga instructor, etc.  It’s just conversation.  So, when I say I stay home with my kids I DON’T MEAN I’m a mom, only a mom, don’t ask me about anything else because I only focus 100% of my time on being only a mom.  I have no opinions, no interests, no desires.  I threw it all away when I decided to have kids.  My life means nothing anymore because my kids rule everything.

To see the following response to this new momma’s post was disturbing:

Response

Keep in mind, I don’t know these people and really am not personally hurt like if it were a friend that said those things but it’s still offensive.  I am a stay at home mom.  Do I wish everyone I knew was a stay at home mom too?  Yeah, but it’s purely selfish!  It’s not because I think it’s the best thing to do for you, but because I want adult conversation over coffee at 10 a.m.  The idea that a person should only have kids if they can financially afford to have them without working is just strange.  Most 30 year olds I’ve met can’t afford much.  Many of us are just starting out our careers at this point.  Getting our first really good job and hopefully buying our first houses. Most people have some kind of work their way up the ladder plan and we all hope we’ll be making more money when we’re 40 and 50.  Guess what, 35 is still your cut off for having kids before things start to get questionable. So, judging by this lady’s response if we have the desire to be anything other than a mother and if we can’t support our family on one income we shouldn’t have children.  Whether or not you have a job or desire to do anything other than make lunches and play with 3 year olds does not define whether or not you are a mom.

I’ve never really come in contact with judgement like this before so I really had no clue that it existed.  I mean sure, we probably all have a mom or mother-in-law that roots for you to do it one way or the other mostly because they either did it that way and liked it, or didn’t do it that way and regretted it.  In the end though, we mostly do our parenting the way we do our parenting, our parents usually accept it, and we take advice sometimes and other times we do exactly the opposite because we’re still kids that don’t want motherly advice.

If you’re one of the moms that’s trying to do it all.  Work to make money, thriving off of your independence while still having a loving family with happy children, and receiving judgement like this just know that there are very few people out there that act and think this way.

You are a mom!

Your kids love you because you’re a great mom, not because you work or don’t work!

Most importantly, you must always follow your heart and make the best decision for your family.  The opinions of others should never dictate how you create the perfect family!

There are many things that come to mind that I’d like to say to this woman, but I won’t waste my breath.

 

And Baby Makes Five

 

BB02

Making the decision to have three kids wasn’t an easy one for me.  I have always been a two kid person.  I never imagined myself having three kids and really never even considered the possibility that my husband might want more than two.  After having two kids two years apart I kind of felt like I was done having kids.  It seemed like the perfect amount.  Plenty of room in the car.  I have two hands, one for each of them.  There are two of us, one for each of them.  It seemed pretty straight forward.  My husband always wanted more so we kept it on the back burner and gave ourselves a decision deadline.  I’m not young (obviously I’m not old either), but age is to be considered when carrying a child as much as how old we’ll be when they move out of the house, get married, and have their own kids.

After our second was getting out of that baby stage and into more of the toddler stage I started to have those feelings.  I suppose the same feelings many moms feel when they say goodbye to the baby stage for what may be, or definitely is, the last time.  It’s hard to pack up all of those tiny things and think the next time you get them out is probably when you clean out your basement or your sister gets pregnant. That’s when I decided to consider the idea.  A girlfriend and I had discussed the idea of both of us at that crossroads of having a third child and I think we both found one silly thing that kept the thought process from getting further.  We’d have to buy a new car.  Well,  my husband and I have both been very lucky children of generous parents and have never, in our adult years, had to purchase or make payments on any vehicle we’ve owned.  They’ve been hand me downs, but our parents are no slacks in the nice vehicle department so we have not suffered.

The idea of buying a new car was twofold for me.  I didn’t want a car payment and I didn’t want to drive a bigger vehicle.  I like cars.  I like that I can see everything.  I like that they fit in my garage.  My husband did a little research and found this great article that a mom wrote on getting a third car seat into a regular sedan.  It gave us hope and also took away that lump in my throat for the car payment, or the idea that my awesome, super cool mommy style would be compromised by the addition of a mini-van.  As a side note, I did also recently find out that Mazda 5 is a 6-seater.  If my car goes in the pooper, that’s where I’m headed!

mazda5InteriorProblem solved in the car department.

Besides the underlying feelings of something missing at our dining room table and in that empty spot in the back seat of the car, I really had this feeling of owing my oldest son.  He was 2 when I was pregnant with our second one and he didn’t really fully get the baby thing.  By the time I was ready to pop he was understanding more because we was quite a bit older than when the pregnancy started, but I made some mistakes. Looking back now, they were big mistakes and for some reason I just felt like I owed him.  It certainly isn’t the reason we’re having a third baby, but the fact that we were excited and comfortable with the idea and had already made the decision to give it a try, having this opportunity with my son is an added luxury.

We were in the middle of a home renovation.  Well, we’ve been in the middle of one renovation or another since we moved into our house 2 1/2 years ago, but I really had plans to update our bathroom before the baby came and so we made the decision to send him away for 2 weeks to my husband’s parents house about 4 hours away.  We thought it would be fun for him and it would give us the opportunity to get everything done that we could before the baby arrived.  He seemingly had a wonderful time.  There were nothing but good reports, he never cried, he slept great, ate great, and didn’t even wet his diaper at night (something we’re still struggling with a year and a half later).  On the surface everything was fantastic and he was asking when he was going back, but when he got home he was different.  Really different.  He didn’t like us very much anymore and it broke my heart.  I guess I can’t explain it.  Maybe it was the time he was gone, maybe he had one of those toddler changes we see over those two weeks.  Who knows, but two days after he arrived home my husband and I left in the middle of the night to have the baby.  We never told him anything.  We just disappeared.  I was gone for two days and when I came home, well, I had a baby to take care of.  I was different to him too.  His behavior went into a downward spiral of hitting, not sleeping, and crying a lot.  A whole lot of crying.  I’ll never forget a few days after having the baby he was playing in the pool, he got out, stood there and just started crying.  I guess you could call it a breakdown or a release.  He cried for a very long time in my arms until he just fell asleep.  I think it was in that moment I realized how sensitive he was and how much this was affecting him.

I kept telling myself that everybody goes through this and it’ll be ok once he gets used to the baby.  I will say that it took a long time.  He’s back now, but it’s been a year and a half.  Only very recently has he started to snuggle with me again and say I Love You unprompted.  Oddly enough, about the time I got pregnant is when he started to climb back into my arms. I just really hoped for another opportunity to tell him everything.  To not exclude him because I didn’t think he’d understand or because I didn’t think he’d notice.  I spent the entire day with him having contractions, just the two of us and I never said a word.  I knew the baby was coming that night, and I just never said anything.  I still cry about it.  I was so selfish and it cost us a year and a half.  A lot of yelling went on, and lot of punishment, and a lot of frustration on my part. He was just this tiny little thing that couldn’t find his place.

It taught me so much.  It made me understand just how much kids are aware of everything.  Of course he was going to notice that we were gone and of course he would notice that little baby in my arms taking up his space, but I just never imagined how much he would notice and how something so small could have such huge emotion.

sad
The expression on his face says it all.

 

 

 

On Dressing Little Boys

Jumping

I have no idea what it’s like to dress a little girl, but judging by the opinions of myself and other women I know, I’m thinking dressing boys is much easier.  They don’t really care what they wear.  Red cashmere sweater and navy blue and gray striped sports pants?  Great!  Cars swim trunks and a fleece Mickey Mouse jammie shirt in the dead of winter?  Even better!

BUT

Have you ever tried to ACTUALLY dress them?  Like physically put those swim trunks on?  It’s crazy!  I can only speak for my boys, but I imagine many mothers of boys have quite the same experience every morning and every night.  They run a lot, and sometimes it feels like the only time they run is when I’m trying to dress them.  If I can manage to get both the top and bottom of the pajamas off in one fail swoop I consider myself doing pretty great!  It saves a good minute or so.  I often manage to get only the top off before the sprinting begins.  It’s not unlike a dog chasing it’s tail.  Once I get the bottoms off then there’s naked sprinting.  That’s their favorite part.  Being naked is the greatest thing a little boy can experience. Hopping on the bed, snuggling in the blankies, jumping on you…Naked.

Getting dressed is a longer process than getting undressed, but there’s always running. Yesterday the undies ended up on the fireplace mantel before the body, buying my oldest a few more seconds of naked running.  It’s winter here right now and the undies had snowmen.  “It’s not Christmas anymore!  I’m not wearing those!”  Probably the only protest I’ve ever heard about clothes.  He forgot he protested and the undies did eventually end up on his body.

After undies we move on to the socks which are typically “silly”. Have you ever heard of silly socks?  Silly socks is when your socks are twisted at the heel or the seam is touching the tips of your toes.  I’m a weird sock person so I know exactly how crazy that makes me.  Apparently at least one of my boys contracted that.  Tantrum.  Crying. “These socks are silly!”  I’ve never seen such a reaction over a twisted sock, although if I weren’t stable I probably would react in a very similar fashion.  I knew exactly what he was talking about.  These were words I never knew I wanted to speak!

I typically pick out the clothes to speed up the process because it seems like no matter how much time we start with, we’re always rushing toward the end. I often look at clothes in my son’s closet and think “hmm, I wonder if that still fits him?”  I have two choices at that point.  Put it on his body knowing full well that there will be no opportunity to take it off and put something different on if it’s too small; or put it in the too small pile, pass it down to the next kid, and promise myself I’ll put it on him at least once before he gets this big.  Because I’ve got a second boy, I usually go with the latter.

We all know pants are the hardest part of getting dressed right?  You have to get one leg in and then keep it in there while you put the other leg in.  You know what I’m talking about right?  You’re getting dressed while doing bicycles in the air and bouncing on your snowman butt.  You get one leg in and before you know it, it just fell out.  Right out of the pants. It’s something only little boys know how to do so successfully.  It’s a magic trick really.  You can be sitting there holding the foot that’s already made it through the pant leg and then out of nowhere, like you passed out or something, that leg gets out.  You have no recollection of it getting out.  You don’t remember letting go of the foot, but somehow you did.

He’s sprinting again.

Sometimes I try two legs at once.  Like that’s better.  I figure I can save time and just try to pull the pants up one time.  All that invites is jumping.  Yup!  Jumping into the pants. Have you ever jumped into your pants before?  It doesn’t work does it?  Nope.  Have you ever tried having your husband hold your pants for you and then you stand on the bed, start jumping to build up momentum, and then jump?  Like maybe if you start higher it’ll work.  Still doesn’t, does it?  Little boys don’t get that.  It’s fun of course to jump on the bed and then on you, but the pants are not really part of the equation other than you are holding them when he jumps on you.

WardrobeIndependence
Wardrobe Independence

One great part about the 3+ age is they can dress themselves if you can handle that.  It’s a lengthy process as well, but at least you can just direct if needed.  Undies usually end up on backwards and the socks always end up silly, but I feel like there’s less frustration for me. My son went through a period of time where all shirts had to be worn backwards.  Whatever.  He’s dressed right?

BackwardsShirt
Backward shirt.

What about the little ones?  My little guy is 18 months and he’s not so easy either.  He definitely has no opinions so that’s great, but not really a far cry from the bigger boys as far as that goes. There’s just a lot more to do at this age.  There’s a diaper with tabs and onesies with snaps.  He can’t run very fast so he can’t really get away from me, but man can he roll!  It’s that magic boy thing again with the pants.  No clue…no clue how they do it!  Right now I’m teaching body parts.  Pee pee is his favorite.  There’s lots of pointing.  And the love of being naked begins!

VariousFormsOfUndress

And yes, one more naked baby to come.

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Due Sept 21.

I’ve heard there’s lots of crying with little girls.  Like crying every morning about pink leggings, and ruffly kittie t-shirts.  As chaotic as it all sounds to dress a little boy, I think I’m good.  I’m good without the tears.

BFing

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There’s an acronym for everything these days, breastfeeding included.  BFing. It’s sort of a swear word, don’t you think?

That probably sums up my experience in a word.  It’s just one big SWEAR word. It’s like you enjoy what you’re doing as a whole, but you swear a lot in the process. Kind of like parenting.

*I just can’t write BFing seriously and breastfeeding is just too long, so I’ll go with either nursing or one form or another of boob from here on out.

Nursing for me is a love hate relationship.  I love the simplicity of it when it’s simple and I hate the complicated parts of it which consume a good 12-14 waking hours.

It’s really easy in the middle of the night when you can wander sleep deprived into your comfy chair, cuddle that tiny baby while he quietly eats and you both go back to sleep.  That’s the precious part.  The part that everyone should have a chance to love. But, that’s when you’re alone.  That’s when you don’t have a 2 year old climbing on your lap or any of the other 1 million things going on during the day that need to be dealt with.  More kids bring more entertainment, distractions, and “mommy mommy mommies”.

I’ve nursed two babies so far and will be nursing a third one sometime in September, but now that I know a lot about it, I’m kind of dreading it.  I feel badly about that for obvious reasons, but I can’t help but feel that way. The clothes. The pump. The storage. See, there’s this dream with nursing.  This perfect world in which your baby eats wonderfully, you have a great bonding experience, you’re skinny, and your boobs are awesome.  But then there’s the reality of it.  For most people that dream doesn’t work out.  It doesn’t mean you hate nursing or you regret the decision to give your child all of the nutrition it needs without spending a dime, but more that it can make something so simple and natural be so complicated and calculated. Additionally, watch the look on your husband’s face the first time you tell him these things are not to be touched…EVER!

I dreamt that I would nurse my baby until he was at least a year old because that’s what the doctor says, but probably longer because, well, Why Not?  It would be great because I’d have food with me all of the time which will make diaper bag packing a breeze.  Feeding him will be basically free for his first year and I’ll pump so much extra milk when he’s not eating that I’ll have to buy an extra chest freezer to keep that golden milk which he’ll drink through his second year (I know people like that).  That way he’ll never be sick plus we’ll have a bond like no other mother and son on the planet. Selfishly, I’ll enjoy all of the calories I’ll be burning while nursing him too and be back to that super cute 125 pound body in no time.  My boobs will look awesome for the first time in my life and everyone will say “Wow, you have a baby?”

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Reality?

Okay, first lets just cry a tear for everyone up there that lives that dream. I think they’re probably more lucky than typical and I’m very jealous of them.  It ain’t me. I didn’t make it to a year with either of my kids. I always took extra milk with me when I went places which actually made diaper bag packing more of a nightmare. I pumped a lot, but nothing ever came out.  I fooled everyone because it was effortless for me as far as what people could see.  I could hold that baby and wander around a foreign country feeding him at 5 weeks old and nobody knew a thing. I could shake hands with people at parties and nobody knew my boob was hanging out.

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But, behind closed doors my problem was production.  My first baby was a sleep eater.  Nursing No-No apparently.  My second one got an ear infection at 4 months and spent a full month pacifying himself and eating very little. Don’t you think it’s kind of funny that I solely nursed my child and he got an ear infection? Isn’t that glorious cantaloupe juice supposed to keep your child from getting sick? So, your production is dictated by how your child eats.  News to me!  I read so much with my first baby and somehow missed the part about supply and demand.

Oh!  and I wasn’t skinny!

Every moment that you are nursing is calculated. What will I wear today, tomorrow, and every single day from here until a year from now?  The first questions you ask yourself with every item of clothing is “Can I nurse with this?” I can tell you right now I will not put my body into a single shirt made for nursing. The flaps with the holes and the slits etc.  They’re ugly and they’re actually a lot more difficult than a stretchy vneck.

I found myself watching the clock constantly.  Living in 2 hour increments. What could I accomplish in 2 hours?  Could I get there and back before the baby wanted to eat? There’s all kinds of bracelets, clips for your bra straps and even apps for nursing.  What boob your baby drained, how long they ate, etc. What?  Yes, there’s an app for that!  Google it.  My second hit was 9 Must-Have Breastfeeding Apps.

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NINE?!? Nine apps for nursing your child.  What in the world did anyone do before 2010?

Then we have the other children.  You know them.  The ones you already nursed.  They’re 4 and 2 now.  They need you.  All.The.Time.  You’re challenged to see how many times you can watch Elmo’s Potty Time hoping that at least they’re learning something while you nurse. Sometimes you lose track of them in the 20 minutes you’re stuck to the couch. They may do any and all of the following:

Go to the bathroom and fill the sink with water and play in it.

Turn on the bathtub and leave the room.

Eat toothpaste (poison control got a call that day and we had a paranoid visit to the ER).

Quietly put clear nail polish on their eye lashes (My husband still doesn’t know about that one!)

It’s worth it if you can make it work.  Everything they tell us about it being great for your baby is true, our generation has made such a hissy about BFing (eeww) that it seems like the only option because everything else is like feeding your baby licorice for breakfast. That’s not true. The most important thing I found with nursing is that it isn’t always rainbows and unicorns and it’s not nearly as easy as you think it’s going to be.  There are most likely going to be struggles.  The most important thing is a happy mommy because without that everything else falls apart. If you’re not happy, stop what you’re doing.  The world will continue to turn and everyone will survive.   Especially you.

Home Schooling Nightmares

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I was never the person that thought I’d home school my kids.  To be honest, I always thought it was a little strange when I was a kid although looking back on it now I probably would have been one of the kids who would have seen a lot of benefits from it.  I hated school.  It started in about 2nd or 3rd grade and really never quit.  I hated homework, the social aspect of it, the getting called on and not knowing the answer…I hated it!

So, now here I am with 2 kids and one of them is going to be 4 this summer.  Sadly, our time at home is almost through and we will need to begin our school discussion.  I leaned heavily the home school direction after my first son was born and basically decided that was what I was going to do…until he was 2.  Stuff started to get tough at home with a new baby and so I started sending him to daycare a couple mornings a week.  It’s actually been really great for him.  He stopped all the hitting that he was doing and is challenged when I can’t always deliver.  I upped him to 4 mornings a week recently and I think it’s even better.  Although some days he says he doesn’t want to go, when I pick him up he’s always happy and the teacher always tells me how great he is.  That shows that he is blossoming in that environment plus there’s all that consistency stuff professionals tell you about.

So, this morning I was met with a challenge.  I didn’t figure it’d be a challenge, but I almost blew my brains out folks!  Seriously! Last Friday my son was given an assignment to bring in 100 goldfish crackers to help celebrate the 100th day of school.  The kids are going to be making a snack mix.  I thought “Aw cute!  His first assignment.”  I also thought “We’re definitely going to sit down on Saturday morning before the baby gets up and count our goldfish.  It will be so fun” (and give us a Saturday morning purpose that isn’t Pinterest and cartoons).  Well, of course Saturday morning came, he counted about 8 goldfish, and then started eating them. I gave up.  Remember, I hated school!  I waited ’til the last minute for everything.  I promised myself I wouldn’t do that to my kids.  I’m a grown up now. I can be on top of everything, but I guess old habits die hard! It’s apparently also like riding a bike.  You never forget how to procrastinate.  At any rate, I was awoken by a small child on Tuesday morning (the day this assignment was due) at 4:55 a.m. (F**king Yup, you read that right! 4:55 a.m.!) I figure, there’s no time like the present to count goldfish.

It was painful!  So painful in fact, that I may have realized in that moment that I am not fit to be a teacher, not even in the privacy of my own home.  The poor kid was tired, defeated, and kept saying two came after six.  He knows how to count to 10, and in fact can make it all the way to thirty without skipping a beat, but forty comes and his poor little brain just melts.  The idea of repeating one through nine over and over again is a concept he just cannot grasp.  I explained over and over how to check himself, how to remember what number comes next.  We got out our fingers and we counted one through five, he would then say “Six”.  Great!  Then I would say “OK, forty five.  What comes next?  Fortyyyyyyyy?” The poor kid looked like he had no idea and then he’d say “Two?”.  Two! Two?  What in the heck?  I thought I had him…but nope.  The whole time we were going through this I wanted to cry because I could see myself in him.  I know he’s smart…Man, he’s really smart, but something wasn’t quite clicking.  I know it’s only counting to 100 and I can’t freak out about his entire life based on the idea that he can’t magically count to 100. But Seriously!

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I just kept having flash backs of sitting at the dining room table with my dad learning algebra.  I actually came to love algebra later, but when I first started learning I could not get past the letters.  Why X?  Did it matter?  Could it be a different letter?  Did the X stand for something?  Did I miss the part at the beginning of the school year where they said X=5 or something?  My dad never got frustrated on the outside, but I’m sure “What the F**K is she not getting?” was going on on the inside.  I remember the moment I got it.  It wasn’t gradual.  I didn’t get it for weeks and weeks and then one day, I just understood.  “Oh, X is what we’re trying to find?  Well, why didn’t somebody say that?”

I’ve feared a lot of things as a parent.  I’ve feared screwing them up by letting them watch too much tv or not taking them outside enough or giving them cookies as a snack.  I’ve never in my parenting life been so terrified to screw up my kid more by choosing the wrong kind of education.  Public. Private. Home. It’s all good is some ways and probably not in others.

As of right now the only thing that is quite clear is that I can not pass the Patiently Count 100 Goldfish Crackers test.

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Don’t Be Afraid

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When I had my first child I was pretty excited to be at home with him, do whatever I wanted for once, and pretty much have this little person go with me everywhere I went.  Well, obviously who ever told me that I could do whatever I wanted with a baby was crazy because, well, that’s just crazy. Especially with your first one. Eh, the second one you can manage to ignore a little more successfully. For me the first one brought a lot more stress than I ever imagined. The packing and repacking of the diaper bag. Lugging the breast milk in the cooler for times when you may not be available at that perfect moment to plop your boob out on the table. The changes of clothes preparing yourself for not one, not two, but potentially three different diaper blow outs or vomit explosions.  Then there’s all of the other stuff like when will they talk, walk, play by themselves, be trustworthy, eat their own food.  Well, you get the idea.  Having one child, for me, was a reason not to have a second one.  I love my first born with every fiber of my being. It had nothing to do with that.  It was the fear. How would I manage two children in a shopping cart and all of the groceries? My two year old was definitely not at a trustworthy walking around the store age. How would I leave the room to go upstairs to the bathroom and leave my two year old with the baby?  Would he try to pick up the baby or stuff raisins in his mouth? How can I go to a friend’s house for a party if my husband can’t be by my side? How will I be able to take the baby upstairs for a quiet nursing session while my two year old untrustingly wanders the house?

Well, knowing my fears you can imagine the immediate terror when I found out we were having a second child. I knew I didn’t really have a choice at this point and I honestly felt so much relief when I found out I was pregnant because the decision was made for me.  I didn’t have to go through that whole planning to have another kid thing because luckily for me, it just happened.  (Side note here, I do understand how incredibly lucky I am to have that simplicity when it comes to having children.  Being a part of this amazing trio we call Hot Mess Mamas, has made me understand that!) I really wanted more kids, but my fears were ruining it for me and for my husband. I spent endless hours analyzing how I would manage things.  I would play out public scenarios in my head because I like to be prepared. A lot of this had to do with my oldest because he was a little bit behind in the whole holding hands in the parking lot, sticking with mommy in public places, listening. to. anything. Lets just say he was difficult to take in public if I didn’t have both hands free to manage him at all times.  I was not as comfortable with the Hot Mess moniker then as I am now.

See, when you have your first child you have nothing better to do than stare at them all day, bother to care about their outfits, and change them with every crumb.  Your house is probably pretty clean, dinner is pretty easy, and you probably have a pretty good wake up, eat, nap kind of schedule. If you have only one kid and you just read that and thought I was crazy, well I think my former one child self would think I was crazy too.  The second one comes and shit goes down hill really quickly and you realize all of those things that seemed hard at the time were super easy compared to your new two child self. Your house is a disaster, it feels like you run a restaurant / brothel because your oldest does nothing but eat and your youngest does nothing but suck on your boobs, and everyone naps at weird times in weird places…except you.  P.S. You don’t nap anymore.

But. But but but but buuuuuuut, things start to get easier and at a rapid pace. Your diaper bag stress?  Gone.  I carry a diaper and small package of wipes in my purse. Whatever happens happens.  No diaper bag required. Change of clothes?  Who cares what they’re wearing; how many days they’ve had it on; and whether or not it matches, is clean, or even belongs to them. I know it’s so cliche, but time flies by so fast after you have the second child because you’re so much busier. You have a lot less time to worry about when they’re going to walk, talk, play alone, etc. It’s just the way it is. They’re learning from each other, something you didn’t have before and unbelievably, things just become, well, easier.  You’ve been through this once already.  That’s not to say your kids aren’t going to be completely different because they probably will be.  Mine are. It’s just the act of juggling everything, and the memories of stages with the first one that seem easier with the second one because you know what comes next.  You’re so unguided with the first child.  You have no experiences yet.  You have no idea what is coming next, how long things will last, and how to treat any situation.

Give it a good month and you’re pretty much a well oiled machine. You’ve got the system down for a while.  These fears do sneak up on you periodically as big changes come, but just having that second kid gives you all of the tools to gracefully figure out what to do next.  Big changes like the big kid bed for the oldest, taking your youngest out of that easy bucket seat and into a regular car seat, allowing your oldest to walk through Target and knowing you can actually trust him.  I know it takes a while to get a system down.  You try lots of different things before you get your groove, but just like you did with the first one, you will with the second one, and the third, etc. Something I had to remind myself of, and what I look back on and realize, is that it’s all gradual changes.  It’s not like the day you get pregnant you’re all of the sudden carting two screaming two year olds through the grocery store in your pajamas looking for a gallon of milk. I think if we have a third baby I will analyze a lot less because I know it all just happens and I’ll be so much more relaxed because, for the most part, I know what’s about to happen.

Don’t be Afraid.
You might miss something great.
I know I would have!

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Ugh, Food!

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The title of this post says it all.  I hate meal time and as a stay at home mom it’s seriously every 2 hours.  Breakfast. Snack. Lunch. Snack. Dinner. Ugh!

I used to love cooking and actually I was really good at it.  My bag of tricks, when I met my husband, was pre-packaged taco seasoning and spaghetti sauce…POWDER. Yeah!  When his mom came to visit for the first time and cooked a meal she gave me the green onions and told me to cut them up.  I actually said “Do you eat the green part or just the white?”  When she couldn’t contain her laughter, I realized this guy was never going to marry me if all I had for him was tacos and spaghetti.  Yeah yeah, there’s more to a woman than how she can cook.  Blah blah.  Lets just say, if you can’t cook, you better be a really good kisser!

Fun Fact: I can’t peel a grape in my mouth or tie a cherry stem into a knot using only my tongue.

Fast forward 10 years and 2 children later and I’ve completely fallen apart.  I have lost all cooking confidence and creativity.  It may because every day at 5:00 is break down time in our house.  I can’t be the only mom that considers 5:00 the worst part of the day…or can I?  Everyone is crying including myself, eating frozen corn, digging through the pantry for anything that resembles food or grabbing unfinished snack pieces out of the trash (I’m not making that up!) and constantly moving stools about the kitchen.  Stools. Constantly.  My 18 month old has this thing that he does now where he head butts me in the thigh, puts his arms around my legs and pushes me around the kitchen. Crying of course. This is usually happening while my oldest is eating brown sugar with his fingers or flooding the kitchen “washing dishes”. I swear, that’s true!

My 3 1/2 year old has been introduced to kid food at school so he used to be a Curry Shrimp or Smoked Salmon eater and now basically all he wants is candy.  It’s fine. They make organic candy right?  I think my kids still eat better than most kids and I’ve stuck to my one-meal dinner table.  The kids eat what we’re eating or they don’t eat.  My husband had a problem with that for a while, but now we’re over it.  They’ll eat when they’re hungry.  My oldest had lamb for dinner last night. Maybe because he hadn’t eaten dinner two nights in a row, or maybe because I gave him ketchup.  No additional salt added, of course.  For those of you who are wondering what I’m complaining about if I managed to cook and serve lamb, it was reheated left overs from my mother-in-law’s visit.  If I serve something my kids don’t like my youngest just throws it on the floor for that foster cat and my oldest just says to me “Ok mom, lets talk about this.  I get it.  I get it.  No treats.  I’m not eating.”

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I have no meal suggestions because I basically cook based on what I feel like eating and everyone else can suck it. My husband will eat anything, God love him!  What I can say about cooking in my situation is I have discovered ways to make it easier on myself, after I open the wine bottle of course.  One of them is cooking meals that take a long time.  The 20-30 minute meal is death for me. A short meal is actually asking for trouble. My kids are biting my ankles at 4:30.  It’s better if I can throw something in the oven around 4 or throw a soup on at 3 instead of trying to cram it all into those 30 minutes before dinner time.

I buy most of my veggies in the frozen form and I always check to make sure the only ingredient is the vegetable.  Never extra salt.  I’m a huge label reader.  My rules are the label has to be short because I get bored fast and because my kids have a very short grocery store attention span.  If the ingredients are all the same things I would use to make the sauce or soup from scratch then we’re golden.  I always get the low sodium or no salt added versions of everything.  I could care less about organic, but I do find that the organic products tend to have less ingredients and a lower sodium content so that’s when I buy organic.

Speaking of the whole organic thing, I don’t really buy it.  I lived in the Austin, Texas bubble of organic and grass fed and free range.  That idea is contagious and I’ll admit it, I was all in, but when I moved to small-town Wisconsin I realized that nobody else really cares.  That’s when I started to wonder if it’s really as important as they make it sound. Who knows.  I have two kids and two mortgages so organic isn’t really on my radar.  If you live in one of those organic-grass fed-free range bubbles, don’t beat yourself up if you can’t buy that way.  I’m more concerned about the ingredients than whether or not it’s organic.

I always have macaroni and cheese on hand, I like the Annie’s white cheddar kind.  It’s organic, blah blah blah, I think they even have grass fed cow cheese ones.  Huh?  Whatever!  If that floats your boat, be my guest. I just like the flavor of the cheese.  It’s not healthy so lets not pretend that it is with all of that organic mumbo jumbo. I often throw in frozen peas and shrimp and the kids dig that.  Shrimp is so high in protein they don’t have to eat much to get a good dose.  Plus, the peas stick to the shells which makes them easier for little ones to get into their mouths.  My preference with macaroni is 100% home made and depending on the day I’m down for that because it’s seriously the best! This one’s my favorite but as long as you can make a roux you can make any kind of macaroni!

Check Wikipedia if you don’t know what a roux is.  It’ll give you everything you need to know and way more you don’t care about.  Otherwise, equal parts butter and flour will do it.

I also love all of these new pouches of skillet sauces. Check out Campbell’s and Frontera .  I don’t like the crock potty home style ones, but otherwise, Yum!  Read the ingredients.  If you don’t know what it is, don’t buy it. There’s a big movement toward healthy pre-made food and short cuts these days so gone are the days of Hamburger Helper as your only quick meal option.

It’s not like we don’t eat pizza or anything because…uh…we do!  And chips too.  WITH all of the salt and fat, because otherwise it’s just gross. For most meals we eat healthy and I rarely feed my kids the chips or pizza.

Meals in our house are a hot mess, but I have confidence that I will regain my composure when my kids are older and can either help me in the kitchen or get the heck out of my free-range bubble. It’s either that or I learn how to do that cherry stem thing!