Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I Can't Do it Least not All at Once

For the past few months I've been busy trying to figure out how to do everything and miss nothing. How to make everyone happy and keep myself from falling into the background. I've fought a hard fight, but I've failed miserably. If I do well in one area, there's another area that is suffering severely. Trying to keep up with everything is mentally and emotionally exhausting. I no longer think I can do it all or at least not all at once.

Wow, just typing that...admitting that I can't do it strangely freeing.

I don't know what it is, but I've always felt that everyone can keep it together but me. I know in the back of my mind that this is not true, yet I continuously try to be this "perfect" person. I have finally come to the realization though that life isn't about doing it all and having it all, all at once. It's about moments.

It's about moments when you forget that the house is a complete disaster and instead focus on spending the whole day with your first born "chasing alligators". It's moments when you take nap time and those precious night time hours that could be personally yours and instead hold your baby who won't fit in your arms "just so" for as long as you would wish. It's about moments when your husband takes the kids on a drive so you can paint your nails and sit in the peace and quiet. 

There are moments too when you have to get things done, because really who can be sane when the house is constantly in shambles? Instead of snatching those precious moments when the baby is asleep in the swing and the toddler is happily occupied to mindlessly check in on whatever hoopla is going on in the internet world, it's those moments when I should choose to fold the laundry and unload the dishwasher. I so desperately want to have more moments where I can focus on my hobbies and "me" time, but I need to find a more structured time to do so. 

I haven't figured it all out yet, but I've realized it's time to give up on doing it all and having it all, all at once. Instead I'll be focusing on the moments life hands me and trying to make the most of them. I can do it all, I can have it all, just not all at once and that is fine by me.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Jackson's 3 Months Old!

Oh baby Jack, how time is flying by. So much of me just wants to will you to stay little. Stay cuddly. Stay simple. You are three months old now and while I haven't captured you in as many words or pictures as I did for your brother please know that I am incredibly busy soaking you up with my eyes, my hands, my heart and my time.

You are still sleeping next to my bed in the rock-n-play. By this time, we had certainly kicked your brother out of our room, but I just don't feel ready for that yet. I will in time. You can't stay there forever, but for now it's part of our special bonding. I lay with you as you fall asleep making the cutest little movements with your lips. When you wake up in the morning I sneak you back into bed for some early morning cuddles and I lay there just watching you sweetly sleep.

You are certainly my little cuddle bug. You love nothing else than to be held although the swing is slowly becoming more popular than your mommy's arms. Or maybe it just doesn't tire out as fast. You talk to us with sweet little coo's and give us a big, gorgeous smile when we talk to you in that sing-songy voice that babies seem to love so much. I still have yet to capture your frowny face on video. It is absolutely the most perfect frowny face there ever was complete with lip quivering and sad eyes. One of your favorite things is being smothered in kisses and swayed to sleep in your daddy's arms.

You still haven't rolled over. Well, I take that did once, but it's been so long ago that I think it was a freak accident. Just like your brother you absolutely hate tummy time. In fact, you hate it with a passion, so I don't expect there to be any rolling over soon. You have no problem rolling onto your side, but rolling to your tummy....forget it!

Currently you are weighing in at 10lbs 8oz. Not a big gain this month, but what you didn't gain in pounds you certainly gained in inches. You are now measuring 23 inches long and wearing mostly 3 month clothing. I can still squeeze you in to a few 0-3 month two pieces (only because they are some of my favorites), but you would probably be more comfortable in 3-6 months. I haven't been able to bring myself to switch out your closet again just yet, but don't worry it's on the to-do list!

I love you so much little one! You fill my heart with love every single day.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I Just Want to Bottle Him Up

The past few weeks I have found myself just soaking up Ethan. We have finally made it past the uncontrollable toddler stage and arrived at some sort of reasoning phase. Of course things are still difficult and a battle of wills at times, but lately Ethan has been easier....happier really. In fact, just the other day, Ethan's teachers were telling me they have noticed how much happier he is in general; that his personality is shining through. 

There is something simply magical about a child running happily about with a smile on their face in their own little world. I sat there watching him do just that this past weekend running around the driveway with his little lawn mower just giggling to himself and it struck me that I couldn't remember the last time I've felt that way. He just seemed so carefree. I guess being carefree really is the blessing of childhood. 

Oh how I hope that he gets to stay that way as long as possible! 

At this age we have our children in a little bubble completely protected from all the meanness that the world can serve up. Part of me knows that we are on the brink of having to let him experience those things. He's starting to grow his wings. He is already in school (MDO) and I know that as these little ones develop their words and emotions that things are going to happen. Not everyone is going to get along, not everyone is going to be nice, not everyone is going to be included. 

It breaks my heart to think that he is going to have to experience these things or even at times be the cause of those things. He is going to get his feelings hurt. He is going to be disliked at times. He is going to realize that he is not always the best at whatever it is he is doing. I've cried over this really. Multiple times as silly as that sounds. As blissful as childhood is at times, I know that it's also equally as difficult. 

As much as I hate it, I know that these experiences are necessary evils. They are part of a learning experience. They help you become a stronger person, a nicer person, a better person. I just hope when the time comes that I can help him deal with these experiences in the best way possible. 

I want so badly to just bottle up this carefree stage for him, but I'm already starting to see a little bit of uncertainty peek through in my normally very independent and confident little boy. He's beginning to realize there are wrong answers, wrong actions and unfairness in life. I can't protect him forever. I just hope that I can give him the tools to come through childhood as strong and happy as he is in this very moment. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

5 Postpartum Essentials: Tips for the postpartum body

First, I will preface this with the obvious...I am no fashion blogger. I am just your everyday new mama that struggles with a frumpy postpartum body. I had no clue what to do with myself when I had Ethan and frankly I was a little depressed with what I had to try and work around. 

The most important piece of advice I can give you is to be realistic. You are going to walk out of that hospital looking at least 6 months pregnant. If you aren't then yay! Good for you, what a fabulous surprise. I hate you. Just kidding. Just don't set yourself up for disappointment from the get go. Your body will be swollen and saggy and not what you are use to. Face the facts and then you can prepare to deal with them.

Here are a few things you will need to survive the first 3 months...

1. Bio-Oil - I have loved my results from using this. My stretch marks are already gone and now I am using it on my c-section scar. The only other product I've used is Palmers, but I found Bio-Oil to be much more effective.

2. Get the right undergarments. I love a good comfy nursing bra you can sleep in....and live in. Although I should, I rarely wear a real bra at this point because these are just easier and more comfortable. I also highly recommend a good shape-wear panty after you hit the 6-week mark. I bought one from Target that I love for only $16. I believe it's Hanes brand. Goes up to my rib cage, doesn't roll down and I can wear it all day without feeling like I'm about to suffocate to death. It smooths out everything, hides some overhang (oh how I loathe the overhang) and stops the jiggling. 

3. Don't be ashamed to wear your maternity stuff. Maternity wear is meant to flatter a pregnant midsection. Guess still have a pregnant looking midsection! I wore my maternity jeans until they basically started falling off. They were more comfortable than regular jeans that would have cut into me at that point. The panel basically acted like shape wear. It was fine. No one knew. It wasn't a big deal. 

Guess what...3 months into this whole postpartum gig...I still wear some maternity tops. GASP! I know...the horror! I bought some great tops from the Gap that you wouldn't even know were maternity wear. They don't have the side ruching (although I do still wear some that do), they are long enough to hide some things I still want hidden and they fit just right in the chest and arm areas. I have bought some regular tops to incorporate too, but I'm still wearing a size larger than normal and sometimes that makes me look just plain sloppy. I need the bigger size in the mid section but the rest of my torso is back to pretty much normal. Maternity tops are a perfect solution. If the idea of wearing the same shirt you have been wearing for the past 9 months depresses some new ones. 

4. Buy accessories that take the focus away from the belly. Scarves are perfect for this. They hide that pooch very easily. I also love wearing long, open front cardigans. They help give me some shape when I'm wearing that slouchy looking oversized non maternity top. They also help with that side view "is she or isn't she pregnant" situation. 

5. For the first few month, focus on the stuff you can easily change. You can keep your nails painted, whiten your teeth, buy new make-up...the weight is going to take time and work to get off, but all of these things make you feel instantly better about yourself. 

I know none of this information is particularly mind blowing but it is information I wish I had know pre-Ethan so I thought I'd share. There is nothing weirder than instantaneously having to deal with a new body shape. Good luck and if you have any tips and secrets please share!

***PS: If you are switching to Bloglovin from Google Reader...check out the right side bar to follow my feed.***

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Thankful for Normalcy

Today is one of those days where I feel led to write, but here I am just staring at a blank screen. It's been quiet around my little corner of the blog world so far this year. At first my excuse was sickness, but now I think I'm just caught up in trying to achieve a sense of normalcy in life. 

We haven't been up to anything big, I haven't had any mothering epiphanies worth sharing and we haven't been traveling anywhere exciting. 

I've been making eggs, trying to keep my babies fed, getting cuddles when I can and trying to keep the toddler from being bored out of his mind in the winter gloom and doom.

Just your regular everyday stuff really.

I know it's nothing exciting, but it's kinda nice just to be here. In fact, today, I'm actually feeling lucky just to be here.

Do you ever have those moments in life where you are very aware of the fact that things could have gone another way? Those moments when you realize life is fragile and nothing is promised.

I've been having those lately.

I guess I'm just at that place where life is good. Life is normal. And in a way, I'm just holding my breath, hoping I keep all my balls in the air and that none of them get dropped while I'm not looking. 

I don't know the meaning behind this post. There isn't one really. I guess I'm just here to say I feel lucky. I feel blessed. Life is good.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My Favorite Baby Items (Months 1-3)

If I had made a list of my favorite baby items for my first born, it would have been much different. After living and learning I have discovered that sometimes the "must have essentials" aren't so essential and that a few luxury things here and there make all the difference. I've also learned that less is more. For real. I don't even carry a baby bag most days at this point.

1. Tourance Baby Blanket - I've talked about this blanket before, but it's worth mentioning again. Softest blanket ever! It's one of those luxury items I spoke about above, but honestly both my boys love their blankets and it's seriously the only blanket I use these days (unless it's in the wash). It's fairly pricey if you buy it full price, but if you keep an eye out, it frequently comes up on One Kings Lane for half price. It's worth it. Believe me. Downside...the fibers do tend to get stuck to pacis, but it has never shed on anything else. Still worth it.

2. Paci Clips - No more worrying about that paci falling on the floor or wondering where you put it last. It's also quite handy when you have to reach in the backseat at a red light to make the crying stop. I have for my purse, one for the car, a couple at home. I don't leave without my paci clip. 

3. Gripe Water - With Ethan I would have put Mylicon as my favorite, but I've found Gripe Water to be much more effective at fighting tummy troubles.'s all herbal. Love it! 

4. Bitsy Bag - This is another luxury item, but I'm completely sold. It's a blanket that STAYS ON the baby. It won't fall on the floor and the baby can't kick it off. And? It's totally adorable.

5. Zippered Footies - Do not buy the snaps!!! You will not be able to put those together at 3AM when you are half awake. You will thank me later. My favorites are from The Children's Place and I'm partial to the stripes.

6. Aden and Anais - These swaddle blankets are the only ones you will need. Yes, they are more expensive than receiving blankets, but one 4-pk is all you really need although you will want more. They are generously sized and very breathable so you don't have to worry about overheating. 

7. Rock and Play - With Ethan, the pack-n-play was my go to, but this is my new favorite. Why? It's super easy and non bulky to pack up and take with me wherever we go and I can put it so close to my bed that I don't even have to get up to get him. Plus it rocks. Get it.

8. Baby K'Tan - I had the Moby Wrap with Ethan, but the K'Tan is so much easier. Half the work is already done for you and there isn't so much fabric to drag around. With two kids in tow, this is the only way I can go to the grocery store. 

Of course I've left off a few no-brainer items that you must have like a swing (seriously), pump and bottles, but honestly these items are what I use most every day. I've tried to get by with so much less this go around because it is just easier. Like I said, I don't even carry a diaper bag unless we are on a day-long excursion. A diaper and some wipes are really all you have to have with you...I can put those in a purse or honestly I usually shove them in a jacket pocket and even ditch the purse. And when it comes down to it, quality over quantity is really key here. You don't need a billion Target blankets or receiving just need one or two nice go to ones. Honest.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

And just Like that, Life is Good

Tonight my nearly 2.5 year old wild child toddler was a sweet little angel. He cuddled in next to me on the couch for a whole two minutes to watch TV with me before he hopped up, kissed my arm, hugged my leg, said "I wuv ew!" and explained that he was "off to work". 

Michael was upstairs taking care of our sweet and newly sick again baby while Ethan was buzzing around the living room with a big (and very crinkly) brown bag hooked up to his Mater tow truck hauling his freshly acquired accordion "to work". Normally he is not very content with just hanging out with me if Daddy is anywhere in our premise. He gets enough of me during the week it seems, but tonight I could tell he was especially happy to be spending time just the two of us. 

Things have been falling back into a new normal around here and it's getting quite comfortable. Of course we are still battling illnesses and all the disruption that comes with that, but as a parent I've come to realize that there will always be some sort of disruption around here no matter what. It is now part of our normal. 

I guess what I'm really saying is that things are finally getting settled. 

We've slowed down.

We are content. 

Most importantly Ethan is content.

These toddler days are tough. Throw in a lot of changes and a busy lifestyle and they are even tougher. I think I can finally say though that we've hit a breaking point. 

We have a system in place now. There are rules. There is cooperation. There are still meltdowns and bad days but they are fewer and farer between.

As it neared bedtime, Ethan and I made our way upstairs to find Michael and Jackson in the hardly ever used nursery quietly rocking. I whispered to Ethan to be quiet because the baby was sleeping and he whispered back that he wanted Daddy to read him a book as he crawled into the other half of Michael's lap. I fetched a truck book (it had to be a truck book) and stood in the doorway as I watched my three boys rocking away.

I thought about how perfect things were in that moment. 

I thought about how many of these exact moments were to come.

I thought about all the love that was in that room.

And I realized, life is good. So very good.
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