Archives for posts with tag: babies

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I have been a mom for just shy of six years now. By just shy, I mean six years ago today I started going into labor. Tomorrow will officially be six years. I have learned, grown, changed, and loved a lot in these last years. These are some of the things six years of motherhood has taught me.

That I want my children to grow up in a world that values love, kindness, equality, social justice, empathy, and generosity. It can feel like an uphill battle some days. When everything around you seems filled with ugliness and hate. That doesn’t mean that I will stop wanting them to live in that kind of world. I will always strive and fight to shape that kind of world for them. I will send them out into the world with those values, hoping they too will be agents of them. 

Perfectionism is a nuisance. You cannot control everything at every moment. Life and children are unpredictable and sometimes you have to let more shit go than you care to. I cleaned up the whole kitchen and living room on Wednesday. Spotless! By that evening they had scattered toys all over the kitchen floor. They are still there. I sighed as I walked by them to start writing this. At some point I will get to it, but I am sure when I turn back around, they will have recreated the same mess. You have to let it go. 

Humility. You are not above wiping a poop covered butt (and even back, cause that shit, haha, can and does get everywhere) You will find yourself in the middle of situations you never thought you would be in. Being urinated on. Catching vomit in your hands. Getting poop under your fingernail. Changing a diaper in the trunk of your SUV in the parking lot of a pumpkin farm. Wiping up a half spilled grande pike roast from the floor of Whole Foods that your two year old knocked over when he moved your cart as you were trying to pick up the box of his minecraft figurines he dropped everywhere. So now you have minecraft toys, a box, and a giant puddle of steaming hot coffee all over the grocery store floor. These things happen on the regular. Stay humble folks, there is no prize for being prideful. You will be wiping up floor coffee in public. Or your own version of that scenario. 

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Generosity. Be as generous as you humanly can. With your love and praise for your tiny humans. With your family. With your neighbors. With complete strangers. I have seen it pay off in these last 6 years. My almost 6 year old has started random acts of kindness. He has asked me why I buy coffee for the car behind me. Why I roll down my window and hand cash to the homeless man with the sign on the street. I explain why in detail. This week at school he brought his Pokecards. Some friends didn’t have any and wanted them. He was planning on trading with another kid. He did. Then he gave out cards to his friends that did not have any. Just because he wanted to, because they wanted some cards too. He received nothing in return. Save for my adoration and praise when he told me the story.

Selflessness. You have to give so much of yourself when you are a parent. At least you are supposed to. We all do things differently. I give a lot. It can be exhausting, but then I think about how if I did things differently. If I wasn’t around to give them 200% of myself and then another piece just to be nice. I would not feel right. I want to be around and be the face in their memories when they look back at their childhood. When it all clicks about the magical times, the birthdays, the random normal days, the dinners, the laundry, the hugs, the books, the kisses, the songs, the errands, the treats, the love. You learn to put other people ahead of yourself. Which can be a hard thing to learn to do.

On that note, you also need to take care of yourself. Self-care is crucial. A trip to D.C. to march for yourself and fellow humans. A epsom salt bath. And yes, lock the damn bathroom door. Pilates in the morning. Putting them to bed a half hour early because they are bat-shit crazy that night. Ordering dinner, even though you have things to cook, they wore you out and you just don’t feel like cooking that night. Order that pizza, and bask in the glory of little to no cleanup. Self-care can be huge things, like 4 day trips, or they can be tiny little minutes throughout the day, locking yourself in the bathroom for 5 minutes. It comes in all shapes and sizes.

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Love. True unconditional heart growing mind blowing all consuming love. It is a love like I have never experienced. Sometimes I watch their faces and I literally feel like my heart might explode with joy. Sometimes I still look at them and think “they are mine! How is that possible? How did I create these two super cool humans?” It still takes my breath away, that I get to have these two dudes in my life. I am not sure I will ever quite get over that. It is amazing.

The value of words. We talk through things a lot here. Taking time to use your words to explain things to your children will really strengthen their understanding of life. Even if you don’t feel it is sinking in in the moment. They absorb these life lessons and they take them out into the world. I tell my boys “everyone is different.” When they have questions about why someone does something differently than we do. I always explain it as best as I can, then sum it up with “that is ok because everyone is different.” When the oldest was four, some kids at school hassled him because he doesn’t like ketchup and wouldn’t eat it. He got frustrated and finally told me that he said “I don’t like it and that is ok, because everyone is different.” Words matter. Words sink in. Talking through things sinks in. They are very intelligent.

To say sorry. I am a firm believer in apologizing to them. Sometimes moms lose their shit. We do. If you say you don’t, you’re lying, sorry. It comes in different forms for each person, but we all get pushed too far sometimes. If I feel guilty that I snapped on them or was short, or yelled over something totally stupid, I will go and talk to them and say I am sorry. This is not every time they get in trouble. Sometimes they do naughty things and they have to be reprimanded. But I can feel it in my heart when I know it was more me than them. Then I do go say sorry. The oldest and I can have real conversations about human emotions at this point, and we do. We talk through it. The little one, a hug with kisses and saying “mommy loves you I am sorry” will suffice at this point.

It is ok to talk to children as if they are humans with thought processes and feelings. I try not to baby things down for them too much. I explain things to them. I am not a huge baby talk person. I have always interacted with them as the red blooded people they are. I think this has shaped them for the better. I can see it in the oldest. He has a grasp on reality. The things he can discuss blow me away sometimes. I encourage him to think through his thought process. I can explain something and then ask him what he thinks/feels/wants from that situation. I have explained to him what is happening if I think he feels anxious. I explained homelessness to him. We have had conversations about dissent. We talk about body autonomy and consent. They know the actual names of genitals. My motto is if I keep that conversation going and trust them with actual knowledge that it will pay off down the road as life gets messier.

Sometimes we cannot do it all. We just can’t. It’s a fact. We want to. We feel we need to. This leads to being burnt out. I know, I have been there. Sometimes you have to take a step back and delete some shit from your life and schedule. Sometimes you have to say no we are not going to do that. Today we are going to be lazy and relax and enjoy one another. There is nothing wrong with taking some time to just be. As a family. I am still working on this. I am not great at taking things off of my plate. It is a work in progress.

Children love their mother so much. Sometimes I can feel their love radiating off of their little bodies. It can be overwhelming. Sometimes moms just need no one to touch them for, maybe, 2 minutes. That would be nice. Then you hear their little tiny human voices saying “mommy” and they just want to nuzzle in and you realize how very loved you actually are.

My favorite most calming thing in the world is when either boy hugs me and snuggles in to the right side of my neck. I call that “the good stuff” and love when they hug me tight, their little cheek against my neck. That is my calm. That is my heart. That is my motherhood.

I am not a perfect mom. I feel like I am failing a lot. I am hard on myself. I always think I can do better (I should reread that perfectionism paragraph, huh?) I am just being honest here. I do know that I have grown so much since having children. I have become a better person and woman because of them. They have shown me where my heart actually resides. They have made me cry. They have made me laugh. They have made me angry. They have made me insanely happy. They have made me stronger. I am thankful for these last six years. I feel lucky that I get to take this journey with them. Even as I shouted to my husband last night “You are getting a vasectomy!!! I do NOT want a third baby, they are crazy right now!” Yes, they were being insane. Fighting over Mario toys, tears and yelling, all as I was trying to make their dinner plates. No one could eat until the fight was resolved. It was ridiculous. It was so loud. It was frustrating. It was all mine. My crazy, loving, obnoxious, kind, silly, frustrating, kind, hilarious, adoring, and imperfectly perfect family.

I am looking forward to where the next six years of this journey takes me. Thank you boys. Thank you Jackson for making me a mommy. Happy start of labor day my sweet boy.

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I have still been cooking. I have even been coming up with a few new recipes. I even revamped previous recipes to make it seem different and new. I have gotten zero posts up lately! I have an almost 9 month old (two more days!) Who just popped his first tooth through. Simultaneously he began a very intense case of separation anxiety from me and me alone. My time to get things done has decreased. I get more sleep. But my days are filled chasing around two little boys, both of whom are often literally clinging to my body. Ha!

As a mom you cannot do it all. Something has to give. Taking time to photograph and write down every night’s dinner has been that thing. I am usually trying to feed two children and myself at the same time. I am trying to keep dinner as tear free as humanly possible. Being a momma to two very attached momma’s boys is a delicate balancing act! I actually have a couple photographed and recorded recipes that I just never got around to posting. But my kitchen is vacuumed. A TON of laundry is folded and put away! My sink isn’t over flowing with dishes. There is room to add more. Kids have been exploring outside. Kids have been taken to their various activities. Kids have gone on a day trip out of state. Forts have been built. I have been getting in my runs and Pilates. Breakfast, lunch, and dinners have been prepared for all every day. Sitting down to blog, eh, not so much. Babies, amiright?

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Every season is different. There will come a time where Alexander will sit around without demanding my undivided attention every moment of the day. His big brother has those moments. He will get there too. This first year of infancy is all about survival. Things tend to even out after they turn 1. Or so I have learned in my parenting experience. I should end this small update and try to get one of those backlogged recipes up. Then I should go and throw some of those dishes in the dishwasher to make room for the future ones that are just itching to make their way into my never ending pile!

As I previously mentioned, I have begun to see the light at the end of the newborn exhaustion tunnel. He still is not always sleeping through the night. Last night just ended a long stretch of restless nights. Who knows what tonight will hold. I have given up expecting anything routine with my little love bug. He does what he wants! Ha!

As far as the sleep line practically being within reach, (I hope), it has brought about a new energy in me. I find myself missing teaching on the regular lately. Sometimes as I am training myself I think “Oh this would be great in a class!” Sometimes I even create classes in my head for no reason at all.

That being said, I absolutely love staying home with the boys. Ok, some days I might be screaming something else, but over all I love it. I love the freedom that comes with it. Oh, it’s Thursday and we wake up and decide we feel like going to a museum, can do! Or the baby was up 3 times and I feel like a Walking Dead extra, sounds like a good day to NOT leave the house.

I have been working on other ways to satisfy that. I have been focusing on my Instagram. I have been posting photos, videos, food, silly life things. You know, a typical Instagram account. Feel free to check it out. And follow me too! Earlier this week I also started up my Facebook page for this blog again! It is one way I can share my passion from the comfort of my role as a stay at home mom. I share my photos, videos, links, inspiring thoughts, humorous things about fitness, meals, and fun food for kiddos there as well. I was going to post some of the photos in this blog, but I will just share one. You can find all the rest at either of those spots. Heh Heh Heh

Jackson absolutely loves crawling under me when I am in a backbend. I am certain one day I will have both monkeys under me.

Jackson absolutely loves crawling under me when I am in a backbend. I am certain one day I will have both monkeys under me.

I am also going to start some training from my home. I have had a few people ask me about it. Nothing too crazy right now. Just family members that feel like making the trek to my home. It should help satisfy the itch a tad as well. See ya in the social media realm!

I have been rather nostalgic lately. There are a couple reasons. Jackson will be turning 4 in three weeks. I have been looking back at his baby photos comparing how he and Alex look as infants. Both of those together have supercharged my mommy emotions. I simply cannot believe how much Jackson has grown. I don’t even remember when his face stopped being so pudgy, round, and baby-ish. Did he just wake up that way one morning? Or did that sweet baby chub slip through my fingers one hour at a time like tiny grains of sand?

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My heart melts looking over these old photos. I truly cannot place how he grew. I cannot believe he is nearly 4. That he is this little boy who likes to arrange his toys and then ask me to take photos of them. He is going to be really good at whatever field he chooses one day because he spends 99% of his time debating me and trying to strike up deals. “That’s a good deal mommy.” Which, is debatable! Ha! He is a very passionate person. Whether he is loving on me or angry at me. Passion seeps through his pours. He gives his all to whatever he is feeling. He tells me I am beautiful. The most beautifulest mommy in the world. He loves to sing and dance. Then he likes to switch it up to “shooting guns” and ninja skills. He recently started getting into fashion. He has been picking out awesome shoes and shirts that do not have characters on them.

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His fingers are still pudgy, but they are much bigger. His feet are still adorable, but they actually get dirty and stinky. His face is still round with squishy cheeks, but it doesn’t have the look of a baby. It has the look of a little boy.

He loves to help me. If it is cooking, helping with Alexander, picking up things that are not his, shopping, everything. Well, everything except cleaning up his own toys. That he hates with that passion I mentioned. He tears up at ASPCA commercials, sad shows or movies, or anything that evokes a sad emotion. His empathy is boundless.

I look back on him being a baby and I understand those moments a lot more. His personality has always been similar to how it is now. Sometimes he doesn’t like to try new things. It freaks him out. I used to get so frustrated at infant and toddler mommy/me classes. He was so frustrated and I never understood why. That is just him. Change and people he doesn’t know well trying to touch him isn’t his cup of tea. I can now reason with him regarding trying some new things. But looking back, it all makes sense. It just takes him a long time to warm up to certain situations. As I parent him now, I have that voice in my head reminding me of that. I have to give things time with him.

I am sitting in the kitchen with him as I write this. He is watching Octonauts. His mouth is slightly open, eyes are wide, and he occasionally smiles at what they say. He keeps catching me staring at him. He asked me for a snack. He didn’t finish his lunch carrots. We just struck a deal, he has to finish all of them, then he can have a snack. Always a deal to be made.

I know he is only 4 but I already feel the time slipping through my fingers. I fully understand how fast it goes. I think it took birthing Alexander for me to realize this. I am now elbows deep in all things infant again. That phase had faded out a long time ago. I hadn’t noticed one hour, one day, one week, one month at a time. No. It just was business as usual. I was raising a little boy. I am afraid of what I will be feeling 4 years from today. How will 8 year old Jackson be? Even typing that sentence made my heart drop. One day he WILL be 8 years old. 8 years away from that tiny little babe I birthed during Snowmageddon! Terrifying.

Alexander is our last child. I think this fact has made me hyper aware to time racing forward while I try to hang on. I don’t want Alexander to stop being this squishy little babe (he could go ahead and sleep through the night though!) I don’t want Jackson to age another 4 years and be an 8 year old BOY!

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I want to hit pause. I want their faces to stay round, soft, creamy, and so squishy. One day I will kiss those cheeks and there will be stubble on them. Stubble. Ok, I have to slow down now. I am getting way ahead of myself.

For now, I will have to keep on kissing those cheeks and staring in wonder at those chubby little fingers. And requesting big passionate hugs from my little passionate guy.

Tomorrow Mr. Alexander will be exactly 12 weeks old. A couple days after Christmas he officially turns 3 months old. In our current state I live my life in hour by hour increments. I am still breastfeeding him and on average he eats every two hours. This is the average time. He has longer spurts and there are even times where he eats in under two hours.

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I am always checking my little breastfeeding app. How long has it been? How long-ish do I have? What can I get done before he cries out for me? Can I run to the store and be back in time so my husband isn’t trying to calm a very hungry caterpillar? Can I run to the store with both boys, putting Alex in the Ergo, get our errands done, get him back in the carseat and home without him wanting to eat?

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Sometimes the answer is yes. Sometimes the answer is I have lots of time. This afternoon has been one of those times. It is 3 and 1/2 hours and counting since he last ate. He is napping though and well, tick tock.

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There are times where the answer is no and Jackson and I are scrambling to drive home while Alexander is presenting us with his lively chorus of hunger. We live outside of Chicago. It is the end of December. It is in the 30’s. We are all always bundled up and stopping to nurse wherever can be tricky with several layers of clothing on! I have stopped the car a couple times and pulled over, climbed in the backseat or brought him in the front seat to nurse him. Especially when we have been very far from home.

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2 hour increments. That is life right now. It isn’t bad. It can be tiring. Say he eats for 20 minutes. I hold him for a little while after and we cuddle. I finally put him down and get up to do something. He decides he is hungry in under 2 hours. The 2 hours begin the moment he began nursing. There are times where I literally have 20 minutes to do something.

With Jackson I lounged around so much. That sweet boy and I would sit on the couch all day, drifting in and out of sleep and breastfeeding. Sometimes when Alexander is nursing I am thinking about how much I have to do and is he even done yet?? There is SO much laundry, toys everywhere, dishes galore, and I need to do something about some of it. I put him in a contraption much more often than I did Jackson. Sigh. The poor second child. I feel so guilty sometimes. But things have to be tidied up or we will be living in filth. I have to wash and dry laundry or we will run out of things to wear, and did I mention it is winter? Jackson needs to poop and needs me to wipe him. Jackson wants something to drink. Jackson wants to cuddle with momma.

2 hour increments. They really do fly by. There is no way it can be time to eat again already? Oh look, my app says it has been 1 hour and 58 minutes, so it CAN be time to eat again. Where did those two hours go? I swore I just finished nursing. I still have more dishes to load.

Then there are those moments at 3am, because he wakes up at 3am like clockwork. He stops nursing and I am holding him in my arms. He is sound asleep, ready for me to gently place him in his crib. I take a moment to breathe him in. I resist kissing his sweet little mouth because I don’t want to wake him. I settle for his little fingers instead. I try to focus on his sweet cherub face with what little light there is in his room. Those cheeks are so full. He looks so peaceful and content. He has really filled out since being born. His cheeks are so squishy. I see a little double chin. I know under his sleep sack and jammies there are two thighs that have several little rolls in them. His new jammies are 6 months.

I did that. In 2 hour increments, I did that. For now, those moments bring me back to what really matters. 2 hour increments can really accomplish more than I imagine.

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Yesterday Alexander turned 1 month old. We told Jackson that it was like his birthday, he was a month old. He thought that meant we were throwing a party! All day he kept asking me when Alex’s party was. In his world, birthday equals a party. I tried to explain that it wasn’t a big birthday just a little one and the 4 of us would just celebrate at home. Preschoolers are so literal it is precious.

One month old

One month old

IMG_0210 IMG_0208Jackson picked out these monthly stickers well before Alexander was born. He saw me scrolling through Pinterest and stopped me when he saw these. He likes superheroes. I was planning on doing the monthly photos anyway, so I went ahead and bought what big brother picked out.

It has been almost 2 weeks since I last posted an update. I have been pretty tired. Ha! I wanted to write but my energy went elsewhere, the boys, nursing, working out, cleaning, errands. You know the drill. Last night I got a bit more sleep though. This week I even did Pilates two days in a row. I may do some this afternoon or we will go swimming tonight. I will say, things hurt. I am sore. It hurts to take a deep breath. I am so overjoyed at this! Dormant muscles are being used again. Since I refuse to weigh myself I keep thinking about losing what I call pregnancy inches. See ya later suckas!

I mentioned the tiredness. Alex has GREAT nights (last night) and he has terrible horrible no good very bad nights (the two nights before last). We weren’t the only ones exhausted from his all night parties. Jackson doesn’t nap much anymore. He certainly doesn’t go to his room for a sanctioned nap. This happened Monday evening as I was cooking dinner. He was watching The Little Mermaid when I looked over at him.

IMG_0159It was pretty adorable to see him just go for it. I wish I could nap like that, anytime anywhere!

We have been maintaing our normal schedule, preschool, soccer, tae kwon do. I go shopping with both boys regularly. We went to our first family party with Alex on Saturday. Life has kept moving forward even with our newborn addition. There’s no rest for the wicked. I would really like a little more rest though.

Alexander has been busy doing a lot of this IMG_0155

And this

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And this

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Babies have it rough.

He does feel heavier to me the past few days. I usually notice it as I am readjusting him to my arms after a nursing session. He feels more like something and less like air as I transition him. So, he is growing. He loves the Ergo carrier. I always have it with me. He loves ME to hold him. He can be screaming his head off for my husband and I just have to take him in my arms and he quiets. He doesn’t want to eat, he just wants momma.

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see, I am tired....

see, I am tired….

Jackson just wants to help and be a part of everything. If Alex is in his swing crying and I am not there instantly, Jackson walks up to him and in a singsong high pitched voice and says “it’s ok, big brother is here. It’s ok. Jacky is here” He helped wash Alex’s hair the other night. He gets me my boppy if I ask him. He grabs diapers. He rubs Alex’s face. He hugs him. He is understanding when I need to shut my eyes on the couch in the afternoon while he watches way more TV that he should be.

Ah, one day we will go on our frequent adventures again. Right now though, we hang out at home way more than normal. I guess that is our temporary new normal. I am sure I will be more ready for all day long adventures just as the bitterness of winter is setting in. It is a good thing we live outside of Chicago, because at that point we will be museum frequenters. At least I have tons to choose from.

On that note, I have an hour to shower and get us out the door to preschool. Everyone but me is still asleep. Had it not been a school day, I too would still be laying in my bed drifting between awake and sleep until I heard those newborn hunger cries blaring through my monitor or until a 3 year old padded into my room and rubbed my face saying “mommy”

I am having a very tough time not working out. It will be 3 weeks on Saturday since my last good workout. I feel like time is dragging. I did do a very light post natal Pilates workout on Monday. I didn’t break a sweat and I didn’t exactly feel as if I had worked out. The past several days have been nonstop rainy, so my walks around the neighborhood have stopped as well.

Not working out is torture for me. I don’t enjoy being sedentary at all. I like to move. I like to sweat. I like to feel fit. Right now I mostly feel mushy. I know I just had a baby 2 & 1/2 weeks ago. I know I should cut myself some slack. I know i am nursing and up several times a night. Last night we were up for over two hours at one point because Alexander thought 2-4am was awake party time. I know I am tired. I know the mushiness shouldn’t be at the forefront of my mind right now. Unfortunately it is.

Trying on clothing is miserable. Gross! I know what my body is capable of. I know how I look when I feel my best. This new (and very temporary) body is not my best. I don’t mean to sound like a Debbie downer, but this is the truth. I don’t feel sexy and confident. I feel mushy and slow. I don’t remember being quite so concerned at this point after Jackson. I did start working out regularly at 3 weeks postpartum. But I don’t remember feeling this way. I think because I know I can and will lose the baby weight that I want to jump right back on that train. I did it before, let’s just go ahead and get started. Do it again. I gained a lot less this time. I really only went up a size or two in my pants, depending on the brand and cut. My shirts are basically the same size or a size bigger. My new giant boobs get in the way. So in my fitness obsessed brain, it will take me less time to get back to normal and I just want to start now.

I want to drip with sweat. I want to feel shaky. I want my muscles to ache for a day or two after. I want to feel strong and solid. I want to feel like myself again. I want that rush of exercise induced endorphins.

My weather app says it is supposed to be sunnier this afternoon, so maybe we can squeeze in a walk. I am going to do a different postnatal Pilates workout this morning. As soon as I finish writing this. To give myself a little fix. To help hold myself over for a few more days. Maybe each time I can get more and more intense. I won’t be running a 5k this week, but maybe my arms will be sore tomorrow. Is that too much to ask for?

Two weeks. Today Alexander is two weeks old. I feel like it has been simultaneously the longest and shortest two weeks of my life. When I look back I cannot believe that at this time two weeks ago I was still pregnant. Starting labor. I had yet to meet this little bundle of joy. At the same time so much has been going on and some nights have been restless for him, making it seem like an incredibly long time. It is a bizarre feeling. Having two sensations of time at once. That is parenthood though. The same has happened with Jackson. Looking at him I cannot believe he is pushing 4 years old! I remember him being a little squish that I nursed round the clock. At the same time it feels like forever ago that he was tiny like Alex. Time flies. Time drags. Depending on the season or moment.

I haven’t started officially working out again. I have started going on walks with Alexander.

Our very first walk

Our very first walk

Our second walk. This time I wore him. He's my new favorite accessory!

Our second walk. This time I wore him. He’s my new favorite accessory!

We walk around our neighborhood. It is a couple miles. I am contemplating doing a post natal pilates video that is designed for post parturm starting at 0 weeks. Meaning I am two weeks into this recovery so it should be all good. We will see if I fit it in later today. I have gotten to the point where I simply cannot sit around doing nothing anymore. The walks have been so refreshing. The air is crisp and cool, so it feels very cleansing.

Happy two weeks my sunshine face. I look forward to each day, week, month, and year with you!

A happy Sunday morning!

A happy Sunday morning!

One worry I had even before getting pregnant with Alexander was “How could I ever love another baby as much as I love Jackson?” It was one reason I was hesitant to even try for another baby. I just wasn’t sure how it was possible. Even after finding out I was having another baby, I was slightly worried. Jackson has been my whole world for 3 & 1/2 years. How is there room in my heart for more love like that? I know other moms who have had the same concern, so I know I am not alone in that thinking.

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I am here to say that it is entirely possible. I have discovered that your heart just doubles its love storage. It simply opens up more space without even trying to. That baby left my body and in the space that was left over my heart took the opportunity to expand. I easily feel the same way about Alexander that I did about Jackson the moment I saw him. Pure, simple, astounding, overwhelming love. I would move mountains for both of these boys. At the same exact time if I had to.

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Reading a book to my sweethearts

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I also have more love for Jackson. I swoon every time I see him melt over Alexander. Let me just tell you what he decided to call Alex all on his own: Sunshine Face. That is what he calls his baby brother. I sometimes call Jackson that and on his own he just decided that would be his nickname for his baby brother. I about died of love when I heard him say it for the first time. A 3 & 1/2 year old using a nickname like that for his little brother. I thought to myself “I am doing something right here.” He wants to help me with everything. If I need the binky, he is there to find it. If I need a diaper, he will get one. Or any other number of small things I need help with, he is there to lend a hand.

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Watching my husband be a parent to two children has also made me love him more. He is my partner in crime. We work together and we divide and conquer. It has only been a week! Somehow, we effortlessly slipped into this rhythm. There was no laid out plan of who does what when. We just flow together and handle all that has been laid before us over this week. One night Jackson helped me cook dinner while Jason hung out with Alex. Last night I snuggled with Alex while Jason and Jackson made caramel apples together. Earlier in the day all four of us hung out in bed watching Jackson’s shows. Jason even drove to two different stores in the middle of the night and in the middle of a storm to find gas drops for Alex. He had awful gas on night and was so upset and in so much pain, we had to do something right then.

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When you look at all of this, it is safe to say maybe my heart more than doubled. It also squeezed out some more space in the Jason and Jackson spots. Everybody got some more room.

And me? I am feel very confident as a mom. I am feeling that even with the challenges that we have faced this week (there have been a few concerning Alex’s health. Jackson has had a couple of jealously moments, which is totally normal!) that I can and will do whatever it takes for all of my boys. Last night after getting Jackson in bed Alexander was hungry. Jason was holding him as I moved around the house trying to get things in order. I had to pee, I wanted to change into a nursing tank, I had to gather my boppy, water, etc. Jason was whispering to Alex, “Mommy will be ready soon. She is very busy. Lots to do here. She is almost ready. She is a busy lady.” It was true. Getting two kids situated for the night while healing from delivery is a busy time! It was nice to hear him appreciate that.

My first photo with both boys!

My first photo with both boys!

My belly is much smaller these days but my heart is much bigger. I will take that trade off any day!

I am on day 4 of being a mom to two boys! On Sunday, September 28th, at 4:38pm Alexander was born. 7lbs 2oz and 20 inches. He is pure sweet shiny new perfection. 19-DSC_6613

I was not planning on having a baby on Sunday. I had a long to do list of things. I definitely wanted to go grocery shopping. I was going to call a spa around 10am to see if they could fit me in for a prenatal massage. My shopping list was ready to go before 8am. I decided to not workout that morning. I was feeling pretty tired and realized I could use a rest day.

The day before I walked 2 miles on the treadmill. I even threw in a couple jogs. Very short and slow jogs. Nothing crazy. I did a touch of arm work after the run and a lot of stretching. We all went to Apple Fest with my mom, sister in law, and niece. We walked around a ton there. I started having contractions. Not just tightening but enough to stop me in my tracks a few times. They got down to about 7 minutes apart. We decided to head home and see where this took us. In the car I had one last one and then they stopped. Later in the evening I had a few more, but again they stopped. I figured just more false labor. I went to sleep, not knowing in less than 12 hours I would be in active labor!

Around 8:30am I hopped in the shower and I was having even more painful contractions than the day before. They were closer this time. I ate some breakfast and got ready for the day. I was still not convinced. Around 9:30 they got even worse than they had been and were coming 2-3 minutes apart. I walked the staircase in our backyard over and over until I reached 10:30 and they had been happening for an hour. Jackson spent some time walking with me! I called my OB. She told me to head on over to the hospital. So much for that massage.

My labor walking partner

My labor walking partner

By the time I arrived to the hospital I was 5cm dilated. 6 days before I had only been 1cm! I said “I am not going home today, am I?” The answer was no. It was time. I wanted a natural birth. That was my plan. I declined the epidural and fluids. I agreed to a port during my blood draw just because it is easier to do it then instead of during an emergency. I also agreed to letting my Dr. break my water because she explained it progresses things faster and she hates to see people in pain longer than they need to be. That is when the party got started. My husband took some photos during my labor. I was initially pretty mad because I had no idea. Now, as I write this, I am a touch thankful.

This was before things got exciting. And before my parents arrived to help out with Jackson. See, I am still smiling. That changes fast.

This was before things got exciting. And before my parents arrived to help out with Jackson. See, I am still smiling. That changes fast.

As contractions are wont to do, mine progressively got worse and worse. The pain was incredible. The downtime was heaven. But then, my downtime started to disappear.

They had me on my side because his heart rate dipped. If I was gripping, things hurt.

They had me on my side because his heart rate dipped. If I was gripping, things hurt.

The contractions kept getting closer and closer together. Totally normal. Then, the downtime started to vanish. I would be on my way down from a painful contraction, never quite hitting 0, and another contraction would start. It would spike off the charts again and have to work its way down. Sometimes I was having 3 minute long contractions. The break in between those would be a minute or a minute and a half. IMG_8931

My Dr came in and asked for me to consider agreeing to a fluid IV to try to hydrate me. She thought I was dehydrated and that could be why these contractions were overlapping. She wanted to get me a break of 2-3 minutes in between each one. I agreed to the fluids. They ended up not helping much. She came back later and said I still wasn’t always getting a break and when I was that they were only maybe a minute and a half. She mentioned I still had the option for an epidural. She hated sitting out there at the desk watching the monitor knowing what I was going through. I hadn’t dilated past 7 at this point. I was frustrated but I held off.

The contractions started to exhaust me. I just wanted to sleep after each one. I felt like I was at the end of a long hard day after every single contraction. But I never got the rest time. It was boom boom boom. The pain was in my back, uterus, and would shoot down my quads into my knees. I tried all kinds of labor positions. Kneeling almost made the leg pain worse. I found nothing that worked in helping me work through it. There were contractions where I couldn’t even breathe through them. I was trying but even breathing hurt. My mom was trying to remind me to breathe. Jason was having a very hard time seeing me in such pain.  I started to get worried that I wouldn’t be able to push. I was so tired. So so so tired.

At my next check I was 8cm. At the check after that I was still 8cm. The epidural was mentioned again. I asked how long I had to decide on that. The nurse told me as long as I liked. I could get it whenever. She left the room. I had another long contraction. I told Jason to go tell her to get the anesthesiologist. I felt as if I were caving. This wasn’t my plan. I am a strong person, I should have been able to do this. I was just so tired. I know I am a great pusher. I know I have the core strength to push him out, but my energy had been depleted. I was really worried that when it came down to it, during those long contractions, I wouldn’t have the energy to push. Which could result in a C-section. I knew that was number one on my ‘I don’t want it” birth list. So my decision had been made. I weighed my options and went with the one that I thought would still result in the birth I would be most satisfied with.

After the epidural I was able to relax. It wasn’t long before my next check. My Dr said I was just about 10. Asked me to give a little push to try to get a part of my cervix to complete its disappearance. She said “oh you are a good pusher. His head is right there. I was going to have you push one more time but never mind. It is time to deliver. I am going to get ready.”

My mom left the room at 4:26. The doctor and nurses finished getting everything all ready. At 4:30 I started pushing. At 4:38, Alexander John entered this world. He entered with the cord around his neck and he was blue. My husband said that my Dr got that cord off so fast it was amazing. In one swift movement she unwrapped it from him. The cord was also wrapped around his leg, which I got a glimpse of. When they put him on my belly he was blue and not crying. My brain was racing “why isn’t he crying. He should be crying.” It was a blur. A nurse (who happened to help deliver Jackson as well!) started to fuss with him and he started crying. My life was complete in that moment. They put him on my chest and I held that sweet boy for the very first time. They took him away to get him ready for some more snuggles.

My first photo with my sunshine face

My first photo with my sunshine face

We were able to go home the next day, per our request. We wanted to get settled into our home with both of our sweethearts. We hate hospitals. Don’t most people? He is mostly healthy. Very tiny and a little jaundice. So his pediatrician is monitoring that. He has lost 8% of his birthweight. We have a follow up tomorrow to see if we packed some ounces on him. I have been nursing on demand all week. He eats close to every hour over night. If he even whines I offer him a boob! Ha! Time to chunk this little monkey up.

Jackson is over the moon for his baby brother! He is wonderful with helping. Jason and I are doing a great job being partners and making sure Jackson gets some one on one attention too. Family time and one on one time with each boy. We definitely got this. IMG_8785 IMG_8889 IMG_8957 IMG_8990

We are in love and I really do feel like my life is complete. I am so happy to have two children. I am enjoying the balancing the needs of both. I truly feel like I was born to be a mom. I do other things. I love teaching Pilates when I am working. But nothing gives me joy like being a mom first and foremost. I easily throw all of my energies into my family. I feel satisfied and content with that role. My heart is warm and overflowing with joy. Even if I haven’t slept. Even if Jackson was asking for Cheerios while I was trying not to pee my pants and make him a bowl and Alexander started crying at the same moment and I realized my husband put the old almond milk I wanted to toss back in the fridge and now I can’t tell the difference between the new and old. Which was this morning. It lasted 3 minutes and was chaotic, but it was home, it was life, it was uniquely mine and I wouldn’t trade it for a thing!

Welcome to the world sweet boy. Welcome to our family. You were made especially for us and you are perfect. 12-DSC_6563 11-DSC_6558IMG_8966 IMG_8979 IMG_8980