Archives for posts with tag: mom

img_4054

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. 

img_4143

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.

img_4309

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.

img_4263

Kindergarten started last Thursday. I feel like we have been at it for a century already! I have already been missing our lazy summer mornings. Taking my time getting us ready. The boys leisurely eating breakfast for an hour. Deciding that very morning what adventure we would tackle that day. Last minute trips downtown. Our preschool mornings were pretty lazy too. We only had two of those a week. I could arrive there whenever I wanted. I aimed for 9 am, but at times we got there later. Sometimes we rushed to get out the door, but nothing quite like now. I haven’t been in a “where are my keys I cant find your shoes lets go lets go NOOOW” rush yet. The process is still shiny and new and I remain rather organized. Smoothie foods prepped in containers, clothes laid out the night before, backpack organized, up at 5am on the dot, tea preset to brew at 4:50am, and a down to the minute timeline. We do have to get out the door by a certain minute and so I am always watching the clock. We have made it with time to spare every drop off. (knock on wood) I am sure those hectic moments will come as I get more and more comfortable in this new life. I hope not, but I am being realistic here.

kindergarten first day

He has had a bit of a rough time adjusting. We have been pretty inseparable his whole life. He has never gone away every day. There are only a few times I have been away from him overnight. This is a whole new world for him. He doesn’t want to leave me in the mornings. Yesterday was his best day and a teacher still had to peel him off of me when I walked him to the cafeteria. I am supposed to drop him off by the front doors. But his eyes fill with tears and he clutches my hand so hard and begs me to not leave him up there alone. I have a hard time saying no to that. He is only 5 after all. I am not complaining. I love being so loved, I just wish that this were easier for him. I hate seeing him cry. I want him to have fun or at least enjoy himself.

IMG_5676

I made him do this several times the other night because it cracked me up. 

Yesterday was better when I picked him up. He was happy and chatty and “had so much fun!” This was a new page from the other pickups. I was relieved. A whole weight fell off my shoulders on our walk back to the car. I try to play it cool, but on the inside I was doing a backflip while holding a toddler! This is the hardest part of parenting I have come across. Not being able to just fix whatever the issue is. Not being able to BE there physically to hug him and help him. I am a very hands on mom. (see: me insisting on holding Alex while he was put under anesthesia) So taking a step back for me is a new challenge. It is hard for me to not chat with his teacher at every drop off and pick up. It is hard for me to not physically walk him into his classroom. I am doing it, but on the inside I am also crying and screaming. All while smiling, reassuring him, and encouraging him to let his wings spread and fly.

IMG_6416-1

After school yesterday we stopped to meet Sofia and Jake!

When Alex saw Jackson at pick up yesterday he ran up to his big brother, wrapped his chubby little arms around Jackson’s waist, hugged him hard, and said “bruh bruh!” I was goo on the floor. This has been an adjustment for all of us. But seeing how much Alex loves his brother, asking for him all morning, and then the first thing he does is hug him tight, makes this a pinch easier. Small moments like that help you through more challenging times. The innocence of a nearly 2 year old being excited to see his best friend after being apart for a few short hours is truly one of loveliest moments in life. Children have a way of making simple things magical.

I have been writing and drawing notes for Jackson’s snack. They don’t get lunch because it is still half day. (When Alex’s shuffles off to Kindergarten it will be full day, I am preparing myself now). The other day he told me “I actually kind of love the notes mom.” Every day I have wondered if they brought a smile to his face. If they help make his day a little brighter. I hope so. Yesterday he saved his picture and put it in his pocket to carry with him. It tore in two pieces when taking it off the napkin. He saved both pieces. I just hope that these little reminders that he is loved make any rough moments at school a little less rough. That he knows he has loving and snuggly arms to come home to.

IMG_6425

Fly guy was from yesterday. Apple Blossom is today’s note.

Today is a new day and as always I am greeting him with a smile and words on how amazing today will be. I will praise him. I will encourage him to make new friends. A boy told him he didn’t want to sit by him anymore. Which is one of the reasons he was so upset. I told him I will always want to sit by him and he can always sit by me, no matter what! As cheesy as that may sound, it is true. The deeper lesson I am hoping to convey is that this is his safe place, we are his safe people. No matter what, he has love and support with me and his daddy. We will always sit next to him if he needs us. This week he needs us.

 

The rather hot button topic of what occurred at the Cincinnati Zoo last Saturday has been weighing on my heart since Monday morning. I have to admit I was a little oblivious of what had happened until then. Alexander woke us up Monday morning bright and early and very hysterical. Upon calming him down, we slowly started our day. That included lounging on the couch after he wiggled his happy way off my lap to go play with his toys. I decided to put on the news.

I heard a brief preview of what they planned to speak about after the commercial break. My husband sat to my left. Immediately I got a bit snippy about it. They couldn’t tranquilize him? He had been more apprised of the situation and began explaining things to me. I have to admit that my initial reaction may have leaned a bit toward the masses reaction. Then I opened my ears and my heart and listened carefully to the whole news story.

I sat on my couch in my pajamas and glasses. Sipping my coffee. Watching my very precocious and often mischievous 20 month old play with his things, often stopping to give me his sly little grin. I heard the story. I heard how he had been told just moments before that he could NOT go play with the gorillas. (Here is an account from an actual witness) And then in the blink of an eye he was gone. 15 feet below in a pit with a male Silverback Gorilla, who by all accounts, regardless of intention, was still whipping that small boy around. I turned to my husband and tried to say, “that would be Alex. Alex would do that.” I couldn’t. The words stopped in my throat. The tears came to my eyes. I physically ached in my chest. I hurt for that mom. I lost my breath for a moment. That could be Alex. He would do something like that regardless of my stern warnings not to. Jackson would likely never. Even at Alex’s age. Certainly not as the 5 year old he is now. He has always been more inclined to follow my rules. I discovered months ago that I am dealing with the horse of a different color when it comes to my sweet baby boy. I have to parent differently.

Yesterday I had to stop at Walgreens. Alex did not want me to hold him the entire time. He wanted down. He is a wanderer. He is a fast wanderer. I was waiting in line. Within the 10 minutes we were there he bolted from me 4-5 times. One of those times we were near the exit and I was trying to pay. I had to chase after him before he made his way out of the automatic doors. I then attempted to physically restrain him between my two legs so I could finish paying. He broke free. This time taking off towards the back of the store. I again, had to stop what I was doing to chase after him. The mom in line behind me smiled and laughed. I said “He is a wanderer.” As I scooped him up into my arms. She smiled and said “I remember those days.” Her older maybe 8 year old daughter closely at her side. Alex then dropped a sticker he had been clutching in his pudgy little hand for the past 30 minutes. She immediately bent down to grab it for me and hand it back to him. As I was clearly trying to wrangle him in and get him to listen as best I could. I don’t let him run free. I tell him over and over and over and over that he HAS to listen to mommy and he HAS to stay with mommy. He has two choices, stay with mommy on the ground, or in my arms/cart/stroller. He smiles and runs away. Some kids are that way.

13323427_10153458636275836_4352208969099709827_o

Alex. My bright, mischievous, brave 20 month old.

If you know me in person, it is fair to say I am not a neglectful mom. You may have even picked that up through following this blog or even my Instagram account. I have committed fully to being their mom. Maybe sometimes to the point that I do get burnt out, but yet here I am. Recently I was very sick and my husband offered to put the boys to bed without me. They both wanted me to come up and help. Jackson said “It’s fine, she will hear us crying for her and just come up anyway.” So even my very bright 5 year old sees me for who I am. A workaholic. They are my life, my job, my world, my very breath that keeps me alive (and often drives me crazy). So when Alex has wandered off for a brief moment and I happened to be in the middle of something else, paying, talking to Jackson, or any of the other million tasks I am balancing in one day, does that make me a neglectful mom? Does every other parent out there never ever take their eyes off their precious porcelain offspring? Have they never looked away for the briefest of seconds only to find their human being child with an active brain has made a decision for themselves regardless of all of the parenting they have done over the years? And the non parents, don’t even talk to me. As Ygritte would say “You know NOTHING Jon Snow.” Seriously, non parents should not judge what an actual parent has to go through with their child on a daily basis. You have NO idea. I had none before I had children. I admit that. Accidents happen. We balance life and children and pets and cleaning and interaction with other people in public and sometimes things happen. I have had bad parenting moments where I think “holy shit. I will NEVER forgive myself.”

There I was sitting on that couch. My heart aching for the whole situation. Then reading up further to try and learn more. I saw the angry cries for harm to come to the mom. I read people calling her a bitch. I felt a rush of anger myself. Anger towards the people who are so hateful. I am saddened that an endangered creature lost its life. I am more happy that a little boy didn’t lose his. I am empathetic towards that mom. Because being a mom is literally the hardest thing I have ever done. It takes a lot out of you every day, no breaks. You do so much as a mom. I wanted to hug that mom. I wanted to tell her that I am so happy her boy is alive. I wanted to tell her I am sorry that people are so cruel. I wanted to ask these people where is their outrage for people hunting these majestic creatures in the wild to eat them? Or the outrage for the NATURAL habitat loss? Are you as angry about that? Or just over the fact that Harambe lost his life while in captivity, a life that arguably was no life at all? Are you going to call for petitions to end the poaching and habitat loss? Are you going to call for petitions to help save them from Ebola? The link has some information about the real threats to Gorillas. Where is your outrage for the injustice that led to them being endangered animals? Or did you just wake up feeling like “today I could really go for some mob mentality?”

I am not perfect mom. Truly. I do dote on my boys. I am devoted to them. My world revolves around them. Sometimes they are all I have to talk about because I am literally with them 24/7. I have a wanderer, as I call him. I don’t know what he will be like when he is 4. I hope that we have worked through this a bit by then. I cannot guarantee that. He has a wild side. He is adventurous. He has little fear. He goes for things he wants when he wants them. He is incredibly smart and understands the world around him. He has a sly grin that lets you know he is about to do something you are not going to agree with. He is only 20 months old. So from one mom with an inquisitive child to another, I want to hug you. I want to tell you I know mistakes happen. I know you didn’t set out to go to the zoo and have your child end up in a gorilla exhibit. I don’t think you’re a bitch. I don’t think you should be thrown in jail. I empathize with you.

I came across this in my IG feed and it seemed fitting for what I have been grappling with since Monday. The world would be a kinder place if we all took a collective deep breath and remembered this.

FullSizeRender

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.

IMG_3058

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?

IMG_2947

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.

IMG_2458 IMG_2258

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.

IMG_2923

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.

IMG_1995

A common theme I see out in the mommyhood world is that we never have time to care for ourselves. I am usually rather baffled by any post regarding this. Since the birth of Jackson nearly 4 years ago I have never once left the house unkempt or in pajamas. That is just not my style or how I want to present myself out in the world. I am not saying it is effortless to get us all out the door cleaned, dressed, and coiffed. It takes a lot of balancing, rushing, and using our time down to the minute.

On that note, how does one maintain a fitness schedule with children in the home? That is also simple for me. I choose to do it. Since Jackson was 3 weeks old I have been working out in front of him. Alexander was around 2 & 1/2 weeks old when I started gentle workouts. I bring them to my Pilates room and they hang out. Jackson has started to take interest in trying things himself, so sometimes I train myself and him.

He is so used to it that the first place he looks for me every morning is my Pilates room. He leaves his room, walks across the hallway, and opens the door to see if I am in there already. For him, working out is just a normal part of our day.

I also own a jogging stroller. Around 5 months old I started taking Jackson on runs with me. This continued until the fall before I got pregnant with Alexander. During this spring and summer my jogger was used for walks with Jackson. Once spring rolls around and Alexander is 5 months old I will start going for runs with him after taking Jackson to school on Wednesday and Friday.

We also own a treadmill. We keep it in our basement, which is filled with the boys’ toys, a pool table, and a tv. Both my husband and I run on it while the kids are awake. They will hang out in the basement. There are all kinds of things for Jackson, and eventually Alexander, to do while one of us runs.

I feel it is so important that the kids see you taking care of yourself, especially through fitness. Children learn through example. You can talk until you are blue in the face sometimes, and they seem to ignore you. However, you will find that they will easily repeat things you say and act in ways you act. Fitness is no exception. Jackson has asked to go running with me, something we will start this spring as well. He always wants to try new Pilates moves. He has showed his classmates Pilates, and that was when he was 2 years old! So working out in front of your children is very beneficial for the whole family. The kiddos will want to be fit and healthy if they see you wanting to be fit and healthy.

I want to mention another important factor in our family fitness balancing act. Both my husband and I do not mind taking over the duties while the other one works out. Sometimes you want a quiet workout to yourself. That is when the other one steps up if they are home and keeps the children distracted. There is nothing wrong with wanting a little time to yourself and if you have your spouse there to help with that, then take advantage of it! All parents can use a little mind clearing peace and quiet from time to time.

There are many mornings where I set an alarm to wake up early enough to get that workout in. Things are a little different with a 6 week old, since his schedule is all over the place, but before he was born I knew what time to get up to get a workout in before we had to leave for the day. Now I adapt it around feeding times and getting out the door. It is all a balancing act of priorities. It is a priority for me to be in shape, so I make the time to maintain that.

That is how we do it in our home. That is how I manage to workout 6-7 days a week. I just adapt my schedule and incorporate my sweet boys into my workouts. I am raising the future generation of fitness fanatics. I am taking care of myself. I am taking care of my family. We are having fun. Which is the most important part!

Pilates with the boys

Pilates with the boys

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

IMG_0102

And this

IMG_0214

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.

Alex and Jacky are really adorable together. IMG_0164IMG_0070IMG_0027

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”

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.

IMG_9209

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.

IMG_9203

Reading a book to my sweethearts

IMG_9088

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.

IMG_9009

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.

IMG_9100 IMG_0078_2

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 a bookworm. I have been since before I learned how to read. I have vivid memories of my mom reading to me when I was a little girl. After learning how to read, I couldn’t put books down. I would spend hours in the library deciding on which books to check out next. It was always torture that I could only take a few at a time. My grandma would take me to the library with her and we would spend hours? there. To me it seemed like hours. I am not sure how long it was in actual time. As a child though, I was in that magical wonderful place for what seemed like an eternity. In college I spent a lot of time studying in the library. If I had time in between classes I would head there to read, study, work on things, or just be there.

I have worked to pass that on to Jackson and soon Alexander. Their book collection is extensive. I even have a book box where I add new books all the time and Jackson gets to pick a new book rather often. Last night I decided to grab two new books that I wanted to read to him. One of them is titled If I Could Keep You Little.

I bought this book a while ago. I read it in the store and cried. The premise is a mom who would love to keep her child little but knows she would then miss out on all the great things they did as they grew. I think this is my number one struggle as a mom. The idea that one day my boys will leave the nest. That one day I will have to let them go play outside in the big world without my hand a few inches away. I try to not be a total helicopter parent. I don’t hover constantly, especially in our home. I let Jackson play on his own. But outside, in the big scary world? He is only 3 & 1/2. I am not ready to let him wander. I don’t have to be ready quite yet, but one day I will.

The tantrums and arguing back can be hard. The bad days where we all don’t seem to sync up can be rough. But that is not the hardest part for me. With those moments I have about a 2 second rebound rate. I never feel defeated or that it drags out to the next day or even the next moment. Sometimes I can reset with just 20 minutes. It is the letting go that I know I will struggle with more and more as my boys grow.

Having a new baby on the way 4 years after we were expecting Jackson has proved that. I have seen now how much I have let go over the past 3 & 1/2 years. Much to my surprise. Things changed a little every single day. I do it, but it doesn’t mean that it was easy. To be honest, I usually still feed Jackson dinner. He can do it. He prefers me to help him. Much to my husband’s eye rolls. But one day he won’t want mommy to scoop his food and feed him. I will probably be trying to convince him to sit down and eat with us! Those are the kinds of things I think about. While I am saying “But Jackson, you are a big boy, you can feed yourself, right? You do it at breakfast and lunch!” In my head I am just perfectly fine with scooping that pasta into his mouth for him.

I made it through the book this time without crying. I didn’t even choke up when I read it to him. I even was able to point out similarities in his life and watched a big smile beam across his sweet soft face. My lap has less room these days. My belly is getting big. Less than 2 months to go until I have two boys squirming for space. But each day we cuddle on Jackson’s old rocking chair and we read books. We adjust every day to that growing belly. I suppose that is what parenting is. Every day you adjust to the changes just a touch. You have to wiggle something over to make room for something new and different. Some new skill, ability, task, thought, need, or want. Sometimes it happens without you even realizing it. When did my belly get so round? When did Jackson have to learn to sit differently on my lap? It wasn’t in one fell swoop. We grew together.

How I long to keep my boys little. Even looking back on infant photos of Jackson, which I have done more and more lately, I wonder, how did he grow into this boy? As we tucked him in and he had to show me one last fancy trick before being snuggled under his blankets I just watched his face. The book fresh in my mind. He used to be this squishy little infant, with a personality, but certainly not this specific personality. When did he grow into this little boy and leave that squishy infant behind? When did I stop using onesies? When did my world revolve around themed tshirts and pajamas? Spiderman adorned my sweetheart from head to toe last night. No more sweet baby blue footie pjs for him. He used to fit into all the clothing I have purchased for Alexander. Now, you couldn’t get a foot in some of those.

But, like that book tells me, if I kept him in those, I would miss out on him calling to me as I left “Mommy one more hug and kiss. Hugs and kisses are my favorite.” They are mine too sweet boy, whether you’re a newborn or a grown man. They will always be my favorite, in every stage you pass through.

Our growing family

Our growing family

Today it is pushing 90 degrees where I live. I am not complaining! After the terrible, long, brutal, 50 below 0 winter we had, I welcome the sunshine and warmth on my face! But being pregnant in summer is far different than being pregnant in winter. Jackson is a February baby. I was in the nitty gritty of pregnancy in much cooler weather with him. This time I get the joy of a summer pregnancy. Both have their perks I think and both have their challenges.

I wanted to share some summer (and not necessarily summer) pregnancy essentials that I am obsessed with.

1. I used this with my first pregnancy and I escaped stretch mark free! I swore by it, I swear by it, and I share it with most new preggos I know. Bella B Tummy Honey Butter.
photo 3 (1)It always soothes an itchy belly for me. I usually use it twice a day. It can be a bit greasy feeling initially but the way I see it is, it soothes the itching and I was stretch mark free. So far I am as well. Greasiness is a small price to pay for both of those! You can find it on their site or Amazon. I am a fiend for ordering it from there. This is my current tub and I have two or three more stored in a cabinet. Just watch the price on Amazon. I have sometimes noticed it to be priced higher than their retail price.

2. My Gap Maternity jean shorts. I have two pairs that I love. They are so comfortable. They are the same pair but different dyes of jean. Unfortunately it appears that the darker wash I own is no longer anywhere on their site!

photo 4I am wearing the lighter wash in this photo. I was 16 weeks here. I am a few days into 24 weeks now and I am comfortable wearing them today. They are still loose but comfy! I also like that they are a panel at the waist and not a full panel. I wore full panel shorts one hot day recently. We walked to the park. That was a mistake. I was so hot, sweaty, and itchy that as soon as I walked in the door off they came. Never again!

3. Three goes hand in hand with the above photo. I am obsessed with any kind of ribbed tank. The one above is also from Gap. One of their Essential Tanks. I also have the white one I linked to. I am again wearing this tank today at 24 weeks and it is still way comfy and fitting. I have ribbed tanks from A Pea in the Pod too.

IMG_5657This was Memorial Day. Also, note the shorts 😉 These kinds of tops are just so comfy and keep me cool. Plus they show off my shoulders and arms. They are fitted so I don’t feel overly billowy. Tank tops are just a must have summer pregnancy staple for me.

4. Be Maternity BeBand. I know I said I hate full panels, and that is true, unless I am running! I need the belly support. I have found that two of these or one with a full panel maternity running capri keep me supported enough to not have any ligament pain in my low abs during runs. I have 4 of these. Two white and two black. Not that colors matter for me because I wear them under a fitness top. I have tried another band, a more elaborate one but right now, at this stage, it was more cumbersome than helpful. Perhaps as I get bigger in the next 3 months I will be switching. But for now, these rock my running world.

5. Pacifica Kona Coffee Sugar Scrub. This stuff smells so good I could almost eat it in the shower! Ha! Just kidding but really it smells fantastic, if the smell of coffee doesn’t bother you. I find it amazing.photo 2 (2)

This product leaves my skin so fresh and smooth. It is the last thing I use in the shower. I go through it quickly because I use it all over my body. So, it can be a bit of a splurge. But it is so relaxing and refreshing to start my day with this. I initially found it at Ulta. I have also ordered it directly from Pacifica. I also have read that Target carries this brand. I keep forgetting to look for it when I am there, so I cannot confirm or deny if they have this specifically.  Like I said, it is a splurge that it is worth it for my pregnant self.

6. On the same brand note, I am loving their Coconut Crushed Pearl shimmer lotion.photo 4 (1)

It gives a nice sparkle to your skin. It is also very moisturizing. I was playing in the pool with my husband yesterday and he kept trying to grab my arms and legs. I was swimming away. Each time I was able to slip right from his hands. I bragged about how I can get away because of all my lotion! Ha! It leaves me glowing and moisturized. It smells lovely as well!

7. Ok, this is the last Pacifica product…..for now! Indian Coconut Nectar hand cream is a must for bedtime for me. I put it on every night.photo 1 (2)

I will also use it in the morning after getting ready and before I put on my rings. It keeps my hands soft and smelling lovely. I wash my hands so much between a 3 year old who is potty trained, but sometimes needs help, and the washing of the dishes or cleaning in general, that they get dry even in summer. I also have the Tuscan Blood Orange. It smells lovely too!

8. This is by far my favorite foot lotion, pregnant or not! I have been using it for years. It feels especially nice before bed after a long day. H2O Softening Mint Foot Rub.photo 5 (1)

It is cooling and moisturizing. I will usually sit with my feet up on a pillow in bed for a few moments after and the cooling feeling is so refreshing. That is especially important as a pregnant lady in the summer! I usually buy it at Ulta, but you can also order it directly from H2O or go to one of their stores.

9. A reusable water bottle of your choice. I am on the go so much with the little man. I have an assortment of water bottles I can fill and take with me. Especially if we are walking to the park. You have to stay hydrated while pregnant and even more so in the summer heat.

10. Pilates/yoga/birth ball. Ahhhh!! Again, one of your choice. I love to do pelvic tilts and circles on mine at the end of a workout. It is also a great way to stretch. I am planning a medication free labor/delivery and I will be bringing it to the hospital as a birth ball as well. It is so versatile. It is not just for pregnancy either. It can easily be used for anytime workouts! I have had mine for a few years. I love it.

11. A good swimsuit of your choice. I have played around with a one piece and several tankinis. I was so miserable in them! I always felt puffier than I am sure I appear to everyone else. I am just a bikini kind of gal. I love them for swimming. I feel so much more free in the water when I wear one. photo (6)

I actually found a non maternity top that fits me nicely. On the clearance rack at target. I am normally a small but I bought a medium for my much larger chest (two freakin cup sizes!) Those bottoms are maternity bottoms from Target as well. I happened to buy them to go with the aforementioned tankini tops. A bikini during pregnancy may not make you feel more comfortable, and that is fine! That is why you just need to find one that makes you feel sexy and beautiful. Getting in the pool while pregnant, any time of the year, is so wonderful. You feel weightless. You can float on your belly! You can get in a workout. You can cool off. It can even help with water retention. I usually have to pee a ton by the time I get out of our pool. So if you don’t have one, check your local Y or gym for a prenatal swim class. I did that with my first pregnancy. This one, we have an indoor pool so I lucked out. I just train myself in there.

Do you have any pregnancy essentials? Anything you could not live without during your maternity time?