Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day Two

So far, I am really enjoying this Detox Plan. First and foremost, I think it's because it's not a diet, in that we are not trying to lose weight, so I feel no stress from it. Secondly, I love to eat this way. Raw fruits and veggies, wholesome protein, and some good fats. It feels good.

I did switch out our menu last night. We had black bean tacos instead of the carrot ginger soup. I figured I didn't want to shock my meat-loving husband's system too much. The tacos were soooo easy to make (onions and green pepper sauteed in oil with some cumin, salt, and pepper - then add some minced garlic, chopped tomatoes, diced green chiles, black beans, and freshly ground flax seeds - served with corn tortillas with fresh tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, guacomole, and brown rice) and were seriously amazing. . . so much flavor! I didn't even miss the cheese or sour cream that I would normally pile on a taco.

I am seriously loving this so far. Of course, it's only Day Two. Here is what we are eating today.


Gluten-free toast with almond butter and sliced bananas
Brown rice topped with almond butter and apricot


Sliced apple with almond butter


Leftover tacos


Carrots and celery with hummus


Carrot-ginger soup
Cabbage and carrot slaw

I have also been drinking lemon water like it's my job. Which means that I have also been using the bathroom a lot, but I think that's a good thing. I also made an awesome spiced coffee with brown rice milk that I drank throughout the day (I used decaf coffee since I am nursing, but it tasted great!).

Overall, I am just happy to be eating healthy, wholesome food. I will admit that it's taking more time and pre-planning than my meals usually require, but I am glad to be taking the extra time to do something that feels good for my body. It's so easy for us moms to put our well-being at the bottom of our to-do list so it feels good to be doing something for me which also happens to benefit our kids.

Also, I got an e-mail from a concerned reader about nursing and doing a vegan detox. I just wanted to let everyone know that I checked in with my OB and since this is such a well-balanced eating plan and not "cleanse" diet (a cleanse by definition would have no solid food - just liquids), this it is okay for breastfeeding. Just wanted to reassure everyone that I would never, ever put anything above Emma's health and well-being. Honestly, I ate more yesterday than I usually would. If I start to have any adverse effects, I will add back a lean protein source and/or dairy as recommended by my doctor. I am also continuing to take my prenatal vitamin and a calcium supplement.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Detox Ain't Just For Li-Lo*

Okay, what I am about to tell you is absolutely shocking.

Well, not shocking perhaps. But if you knew me (well, my husband, especially) in real life, you'd fall off of your chair with laughter at what I am about to tell you.

No, I am not pregnant.

M and I are starting a Vegan Detox today. Now, me, I could be a vegetarian perhaps. I have always felt a little blegh when it comes to meat and I probably could psych myself into never eating meat again. BUT (huge pause for dramatic effect) I love my dairy. Cheese, milk, ice cream, cheese, and have I mentioned cheese? Or ice cream?

Also (another pause for the drama), my husband? Oh, my husband loves meat. He adores it. He loves to chew it from bones, saw it from huge steaks, lob it down in hamburgers the size of his head. He dreams about meat. He also eschews most vegetables, especially the green ones, unless they are literally drowning in ranch dressing or cheddar cheese sauce. In case you were wondering, meat, ranch dressing, and cheddar cheese sauce are all items you would not find on any vegan menu.

On the other hand, both of us are feeling lousy lately; general indigestion, bloating, headaches, and just a general yucky feeling. For me, I know it's because we have been eating like crap since I was pregnant. I am starting to get my groove back now that Emma is napping a bit more regularly (not scheduled, but I can count on at least one good stretch a day), I can put a bit more time into meal planning and preparation. But even then, I make a lot of dishes that count on a box of something premade. There are many times when I skip making a salad or healthful side dish because, let's face it, carbs and fats are just so much easier and faster to slop on the plate. There are nights when M grabbing something through the drive-thru is so much more appealing than taking my free twenty minutes of the day to cook dinner.

I just feel kind of "bogged down" by what we've been putting in our mouths. And with two children to set a good example for, it gives us that much more incentive to eat better. While weight loss is not the purpose of this detox, I also know that if we eat this way for two weeks, there is no way that some pounds won't come off. Even if they don't, I am hoping to "retrain" us to eat a few more fruits and veggies, some healthful protein, and a few less carbs and bad fats.

I started feeling this way when I was pregnant and my good blog friend Mel was doing this. At the time, I promised myself that once life was somewhat under control again, I would do it. I didn't know if I'd be able to convince my meat-revering husband to go along for the ride. The past few weeks, however, he has been talking about wanting to change things up, so I figured it was now or never.

I shopped yesterday and had a lot of fun doing it. The total made me cringe a bit and made me wonder why it costs so much more to eat real food than processed food, but I believe it's worth it. Of course, this is also not the greatest time of year to be buying enough fruit and vegetables to feed a small army. Fortunately, a new WinCo just opened up a few blocks from our house. Their produce and fresh herb selection is amazing and the prices are unbeatable. They also have a phenomenal bulk food section where I was able to get a lot of spices and the more random things, like flaxseeds and nutritional yeast for a fraction of what they would have cost elsewhere. They also (cue angels singing) have a small section of gluten-free breads, bagels, and pizza crusts. I skipped those for now, but if we decide to cut gluten for a bit longer, I will definitely be visiting that section again.

So, here we go. Day 1. Here is what we are going to be eating:


Oatmeal with bananas and walnuts


Veggies and hummus


Mixed greens with corn, avocado, black beans, raw sunflower seeds, and a homemade lime-tomatillo-vinaigrette


Grapes (and some raw cashews for M)


Carrot-ginger soup**
Cabbage and carrot "slaw" with a hummus-based dressing

* Okay, Li-Lo might be the dorkiest celeb nickname I have ever heard. But it sure beats Firecrotch.

**I am super exciteed to try this soup. It sounds amazing!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


We have so much to be thankful for. Here are the blessings that I am counting this year.

Our health.

Our warm and cozy home.

Food in our bellies.

And, of course, I am most thankful for our miracle babies. Oh, how I love them!

Happy Thanksgiving to you, my dear friends!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Photo Update

Okay, I might have to print a retraction to my post on our pictures the other day. Here is our picture preview. We are also getting a disk with 152 other images. There are some really great pictures of Will and even a couple of Emma in there, too. I have to admit, there isn't really a family "group" shot that I love, but there are a couple of Mike and me that I like and definitely one of each of the kiddos to make a Christmas card. And we'll definitely use Arlene again, so we can try for a family picture this spring or summer when it's warmer out.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Couldn't Love Him More

Seriously, folks, Will is an amazing big brother. He really seems to care about his sister and if she is happy, sad, etc. When she cries, he is quick with a, "Why you cryin', Emma Drace?" (He rarely calls her just Emma. It's always her full name, with his very own pronounciation. Of course, M and I have taken to also calling her "Emma Drace," so it's her nickname of sorts.)

He has had his adjustment phases to be sure, don't think I am glossing over the tantrums, bedtime refusals, and general toddlerishness. But overall, I couldn't have asked for more from a little person who is really little more than a baby himself. When it comes to "Emma Drace," he is all sweetness and light. He protects her from overzealous friends and tries to make her happy when she is sad.

This morning yielded a precious (and yet, kinda gross) story that exemplifies the type of brother he is.

Emma had woken up super early this morning (the 4 month sleep regression has arrived in our house with a vengeance) and needed a nap around the time that Will woke up. I am not doing CIO here yet, but when both kids need something, I triage parent, which meant that I had just put Emma down in her bassinet when Will woke up. So, I left her, to see what a few minutes of grumbling would do while I tended to him.

I changed his diaper, put him in some sweatpants and a t-shirt, and set him down while I tidied his room a bit. He ran from the room. We have a gate that locks at the top of the stairs, so I knew he couldn't get far. Emma stopped crying, so I took a few more minutes to change his diaper pail. Then, I suddenly realized, it was too quiet.

I went in search of my son. . . and found him. He was by the bassinet, feeding Emma a bottle. While he fed her the bottle, he quietly said, "There, there, Emma Drace, it's okay. Stop crying."

I stopped for a second to appreciate the scene before me. . . and then I realized that the bottle that my son was feeding my daughter? It was the last ounce of a bottle I had given her before bed last night and then set on the nightstand and forgotten about. Yeah, "Emma Drace" was chugging down 12-hour-old formula. Ewwwww.

She's fine, btw.

But how cute and sweet is that? He has learned our family motto: Food makes you happy. And he's applying it to help his sister.

What a brother.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Picture Worth One Word. . . FAIL

I guess I shouldn't say that it's a fail yet since I haven't seen the pictures, but we had our family pictures taken today and I do not have any hope for the results being good.

We had heard about this photographer from some friends who had their pictures done with her. I really liked her work and after finding out how reasonable her prices are, we booked a session. It happened to be her last session before the holiday season really kicks off and we could get the images back in time to do some pictures as gifts for our families.

In order to avoid the session being stressful, we went to Old Navy last weekend and picked out some fun sweaters and accessories. I didn't want to be "matchy-matchy", but I wanted to look coordinated. I put together a bag of essentials last night, including a comb, baby wipes, extra clothes, a fun textured blanket, and accessories for Emma. I felt as prepared as we could be.

What I couldn't prepare us for was the chilly temperatures (32 degrees) and the snow. Oh, yes, and since I have a four month old with no day time sleep organization, I could only pick a time that would work for Will and hope it would also work for her. It didn't. In fact, nothing seemed to work.

I should point out that Arlene was great. It wasn't her fault it was freakishly cold for November and that both of our kids were completely uninterested in having their picture taken. Emma cried whenever we tried to put in her in the fun basket or on the textured blanket. I can't really blame her, the poor thing was probably pretty cold. Will didn't want to pose or smile. He did have a brief moment of fun during a game of peekaboo, but other than that, he didn't want to be captured on film. At one point, M put his jacket on him and accidentally caught his poor pinky in the sleeve. At another, he fell down on some rocks. Emma had a red nose from the cold and basically was done after the first five minutes.

Anyway, I was pretty frustrated by the end, as I felt completely stressed during the entire thing and I just can't imagine that they turned out well. The kids were both a mess by the end, with tears streaming down both faces. I felt like we had wasted a Sunday and our money.

I do hope I am wrong and have some fabulous pictures to post soon.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


One of the reasons that I blog is to capture some of the things that are happening with the kids. It has been awhile since I really talked about what they've been up t0. Here are some highlights.

  • She is becoming more and more engaging and active each and every day. Her smiles are the biggest you've ever seen. And her laughter. . . there are no words to describe it, but it is the best sound in this world. If I could bottle the feeling it gives me, I would be a gazillionaire.

  • She rolls over (front to back) like a pro. She still struggles with back to front but has done it a few times.

  • She has started [cue angels singing and rays of heavenly light] napping. In her own bassinet. For more than 20 minutes. Now, she is not on any sort of schedule, but she goes down for a solid 2 - 3 hour nap at some point during the day and will take another 45 minute to an hour nap at some other point.

  • I am still struggling to get her bedtime earlier. No matter what I do, this child will not go and stay down before 9 PM. We'll have a rare night where it's closer to 8 PM and those nights are awesome because it gives me an extra hour to just. . . be. Honestly, however, I can't complain too much because the little darling sleeps all night and usually doesn't wake up until 8:3o or 9:00. I know most moms would kill for that sleep schedule, and really, it's not too bad.

  • She is still in size 1 diapers, but next time I buy diapers, I'll buy size 2. She is wearing mostly 3 month clothes, some 0-3 things, and even some 3 -6 month things. We haven't had her 4 month appointment yet, so I don't know what she weighs, but I am guessing at least 13 pounds.


  • Will was very sick last week. Probably the sickest he has ever been. He just laid on the couch and moaned for an entire day. He didn't eat or drink anything for three days and had a high fever and a rash. One night, I don't think we got more than 20 minutes of sleep because he was so miserable. He is better now, thank goodness.

  • He is such a parrot lately. Seriously, he will just repeat back whatever was just said to him. While it is certainly an entertaining party trick to get your two year old to say "supercalifragalisticexpealadocious," it can be a wee bit frustrating when you ask the two year old if they'd like peas or carrots for dinner and they respond, "Peas and carrots for dinner." Which would be fine, except for when you serve him peas and carrots and then he whines for brocoli, which I would have happily made for him if he only would have expressed that was what we wanted.

  • He has become my little helper in the past few weeks. If I ask him to get something for me that I've dropped or that is in the next room, he happily obliges. This is a very handy new ability, especially when I am breastfeeding.

  • He is having problems with learning his colors. He can name shapes, numbers, and even some letters, but colors stump him. He thinks everything is orange. My dad is color blind, so the thought has crossed my mind that he could possibly be as well. We have done lots of creative things to help him with colors, but nothing seems to be sticking.
  • Probably one of my favorite things about Will lately is that he is starting to develop empathy. I got a paper cut the other day and said, "Ouch!" He responded with a very concerned, "Are you okay, Mommy?" He also offered to "kiss it make it better" for me.
So, that's what's happening with the kiddos lately. What's happening with you?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Distraction Is the Name of the Game

One of my major concerns with heading into the newborn phase was how to occupy Will while I nursed Emma. This is a really quick post on ideas that I have used with success and also some things that haven't worked so well. Please chime in with any ideas you might have. These same ideas would apply to any baby activity that you are doing (bottle feeding, changing the millionth blowout of the day, etc.).

The Good

1) T.V.

We introduced television at about the same time that Emma was born. I think the fact that it was something "new and different" really worked for him. However, some of my friends have not found this to be a good distraction tool for their kids.

2) Meals.

I usually try to nurse Emma while Will is having a meal or snack. I get him all situated with food and drink and then sit on the couch near his chair.

3) Coloring.

He is usually pretty happy to sit and color for around 20 minutes, which is about what a feeding takes.

4) Camping.

This is Will's latest favorite. I set up his little indoor tent, put some books, blankets, and pillows inside and then crawl in, make myself comfortable to nurse, and we play camping. This also has worked when Emma wouldn't nap by herself so that she could nurse, fall asleep, and then I could lay down with her while Will played. He wouldn't stay in the tent the whole time, but he would come in and out and wouldn't go far (our playroom also is gated so he can't escape so I even got a brief snooze a couple of time, knowing he was right there and safe).

The So-So

1) Reading.

This works occasionally, but I found it hard to hold the books and nurse. However, I might have to move this up to the Good Category as we just started the "I Spy" books and they are great! I can open it to a page and we can get through at least one side of nursing without having to turn to another one. He is really interested in finding everything and it takes him awhile. If we do run out of their things to look for, then he asks me what other things are on the page.

2) Play Doh.

This might work better with an older kid, but Will still gets frustrated and can't do a lot with the doh by himself.

3) Stringing beads.

This works slightly better than Play Doh, since he can bring me the string if he needs help. But he gets bored pretty easily with bead stringing and I haven't gotten through an entire feed on it alone. This works better for a diaper change.

Major Fail

1) Feeding His Own Baby/Animal.

This is probably pretty kid-specifc, but Will could care less. He does enjoy feeing Emma an occasional bottle (well, part of one anyway, he's never managed to last a whole feeding), but he has no interest in feeding his stuffed animals or things.

Okay, your turn!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Another Awesome Blog

I'll get back to my "life with two" blog entries as well as our regularly scheduled programming pretty soon - promise! I have a few questions to address as well as a diaper bag review to get to (and I do have a good recommendation for a diaper bag!). Unfortunately, Will has been very sick this week and, fortunately, I was hired by the company that I interviewed with a couple of weeks back. I train next week, so I have been pulling together childcare for the time that I have to be at the office for training.

In the meantime, here is a great blog that I stumbled across today. I was linked to it by the Seattle Mama Doc blog that I frequent (both because it is a great blog and because Dr. Swanson is our pediatrician). Check them both out if you are in need of some great medical resources that don't come from the Evil Dr. Google.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cooking For Real

If you've read my blog for any amount of time, it will be no surprise to you that I love food. I am passionate about cooking and baking for my family and friends and I am constantly on the lookout for new recipes and ideas.

I usually have the Food Network on if the kids are in bed or down for a nap and one of my very favorite shows is Cooking for Real with Sunny Anderson. The other day, she made a red velvet brownie that looked easy and amazing. I googled the recipe today and found Sunny's blog. I am so excited to read more about her and thought I would pass it along for any of my fellow foodies.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Smackdown, Boob, and Crazy Update

First off, thank you for all of the advice lately. Here are some updates.

HITTING: We have started taking away a favorite toy when he hits. This seems to be having some effect, but we also haven't been in a playgroup situation since we implemented that. However, he hasn't hit me in two days, which is a BIG improvement. And what is most impressive is that he has started to hit on several occasions, where he has pulled his hand back and up, but you can see him stopping himself. I know that we'll have regression here, but I am happy to say that things seem a bit better right now.

NURSING: WOW. Thank you for the detailed and supportive comments. Breastfeeding is one of those issues that I am always afraid to blog about as it can spark a lot of different opinions. I am working on pumping to increase supply, and I had taken fenugreek before but hadn't this time so I started that again. I also realized that I always locked myself up in the bathroom or other such not-fun-locations while pumping, and that makes it even worse. Yesterday, I pumped while I watched t.v. I still didn't get a ton of milk, but I got more than usual. So, thank you everyone.

CRAZY DROP MY KIDS OFF WITH A STRANGER LADY: Yeah, I called her back and told her No, Thanks. She had already found someone else in in the meantime, so she was fine with it*. She asked if she could call me in the future if she needed help, and I told her that I would feel far more comfortable if we had a playdate first. She didn't seem to like that idea and I doubt we'll be hearing from her again. That's fine by me. I am just glad to know that I am not the only one that thought this was insane.

*What she actually said was, "Oh." Then she paused for an incredibly awkward amount of time and said that she "didn't think that was necessary." I think she misunderstood and thought I wanted to be friends or something. I probably should have used a different word like "interview" or "practice day," but I think this is for the best anyway.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What the WHAT

I just got a phone call that has left me speechless. Obviously, I am not type-less, because here I am blogging about it. Again, let's play a game of "What Would My Blog Readers Do?"

First, we have to back up to about a month ago when I was visiting my parents and my mom and I went to a church rummage sale. She had Will with her and I had Emma in the Ergo. While I was looking over some lovely antique jewelry, one of the nice ladies manning the sale complimented me on Emma and we started talking. She asked if I worked and I said that I stayed home with the kids. She sighed and said that she wished that her daughter could do the same, but that she had to work. She then mentioned that her daughter was having trouble finding a nanny, as she doesn't need someone fulltime and her previous Nanny had given her notice. M and I had been discussing ways that I could bring in a bit of extra income, so I gave my phone number to her mom and told her to call me if she was interested in possibly discussing childcare.

Then today, my phone rings. It's not a number that I recognize and I was cleaning the kitchen, so I let it go to voicemail. It's the daughter calling me to see if I can watch her kids for ten hours TOMORROW. She apologizes for the short notice, but wants to drop them off at 7 AM and pick them up at 5 PM, and will be driving to a town an hour away, and wants to know how much I would charge.

What the WHAT.

Here are my problems with this:

1) She has had my number for a full month and never called me to arrange a playdate or screening interview or anything. I am the one who suggested occasionally watching her kids, but I figured we'd meet first or something.

2) She doesn't want to run a background check, meet me beforehand, or even talk to me on the phone before leaving her 18-month-old and 3 year old with me for the entire day.

3) She isn't just running down the street or even a few minutes away. She is going to be an hour away. And her mom told me that she is a district manager for a pharmaceutical company. I did that job, and as her message said she was going to be riding with a rep for the day, I know that means that she won't even have her own car to leave and come get her kids if necessary.

4) I am a complete stranger to this woman. I am not a friend of a friend or someone she has heard good things about from someone who knows me well. I met her mother for five minutes and that is our only connection.

I know that I don't work outside of the home, and therefore, I don't know firsthand the desperation of needing last-minute childcare. I get that. But I can't, even in my wildest of wild dreams, imagine the place I would be in where I would leave my children in a potentially dangerous situation like this. There have been times when I have needed childcare, for a doctor's appointment or a job interview, and I would still never even think of this being a good idea. Am I off-base? Is this normal?

Now, here is my dilemma: Even though I think this mom is crazy to even consider me as an option, I would be a safe place for her kids. If I don't do it, who knows where her kids will end up. So, should I watch her children?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Nursing Riddles

Emma is just not into the breastfeeding lately. It started with the yeast problems and got worse after the mastitis.

The girl likes her bottles. She chugged 10 ounces today while my girlfriend watched her. Ten ounces, people.

My problem? I hate pumping. I never get more than a few ounces from each breast when I pump and Emma laughs at anything less than 8 ounces lately. I have a nice pump, too, the Medela Pump In Style, so it's not that, but to get 10 ounces, I would have to pump at least twice or supplement with formula. Again, I have nothing against formula, but we are on a single income and breastfeeding is cheap while formula is not. It also isn't realistic for me to pump twice to get one bottle and keep nursing her.

One of my girlfriends said that in order to get Emma back on Da Boob, I should withhold all bottles and not do any supplementing. This is a great theory, but what about when she has been nursing for an hour straight and is still screaming with hunger? Or what about when she bobs off and on the boob for thirty minutes and is still screaming with hunger? There are days when she seems fine, but other days when I have to give her a little supplemental bottle in the afternoon. And we usually give her a "topper" bottle after our last nursing session of the day.

Does anyone have any pumping ideas? Or ways to get my little one back on track with nursing?

Friday, November 5, 2010

It Sounds Like A Hit

Will has been doing a lot of hitting lately. He hits the dog, his friends, and me. I'd say his friends get most of the hitting, but he will also hit me if I do something that he dislikes (like turn off "Caillou").

We've done stern "NO HITTING" talking-to's, timeouts ad nauseum, and leaving the playdate. Just when I feel as if we are making some progress, he has a total regression and has a hitapalooza at the next playdate. I am at my wit's end with this hitting because I don't want him to be "that kid," you know the one that you don't want to have over because he whales on your kid. And even worse, then I become the "parent of that kid," you know the one that you think should do something about the hitting. In the spirit of complete honesty, playdates are as much for me as they are for him, it's my socialization, too!

While I recognize that this (like pretty much all issues-remember the Great Bite of 2009?) too shall pass, I am looking for advice on how to make it pass sooner. Or at least how to consistently address it while it is happening.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


It is what it is asked for details on my routines. To keep it from getting too long, I'll break it down into three parts, starting with our mornings.

Pure and simple, I have lucked on my mornings (but don't hate me, we'll get to my afternoon and evenings in future posts). My kids sleep in, which gives me the dual benefit of some Mommy-time and time to get some things done before the day begins.

Here is how our morning goes (of course, no day is exactly the same, but it's starting to settle into a "routine" of sorts and has been this way for about the last month).

BOTH kids sleep in until at least 8 AM. I use the 7:00 - 8:00 AM time to get myself showered and dressed. This is key. If my kids didn't sleep in, I would shower the night before to get this done before they were up for the day (this is what I did when Emma was a newborn and getting up early). Basically, if I am not dressed and presentable by the time they get up, it isn't gonna happen. I also take this time to start a load of laundry and empty the dishwasher.

Will usually gets up first between 7:45 - 8:30 AM. I change his diaper (but keep his jammies on because he'll get whatever he's wearing dirty at breakfast) and bring him downstairs. I get him situated with something to eat and if Emma is still sleeping at that point, I will eat something with him.

Emma usually wakes up from about 8:30 - 9:00 AM. I go, get her, and bring her back downstairs to change and nurse her while Will finishes breakfast. If Will has already finished eating, then I either offer to read to him or let him into his playroom to play while I am busy with his sister. He is pretty good at self-entertaining and Emma is down to taking less than 20 minutes to nurse. When she was younger and nursing longer and more often, I would also use the t.v. to help distract him.

If we are going someplace that day (and we usually are), I then get both kids dressed and we are out the door anywhere from 9:30 - 10:00 AM. I enjoy getting them out of the house, but this will probably change as Emma gets a bit older and has a more predictable nap schedule. For now, she is still napping somewhat randomly and seems to get as much sleep in the Ergo as she does in the crib. To make getting out of the house a little easier, I keep the diaper bag stocked and by the carseat (I replenish the diaper bag each night with wipes, an extra change of clothes, diapers, and snacks). I keep a comb, our shoes, and my keys downstairs. My wallet is always in the diaper bag (I am currently not using a separate purse). That way, I can do a last quick comb of Will's hair, and put all of our shoes on right before we leave the house.

When we are out, I stick to very kid-friendly places like the zoo or childrens' museum. Emma goes in the Ergo for either (if you don't have a sling or carrier that you like, make that your number one priority before #2 arrives). Double strollers are nice, but they are limited. You can't chase #1 as easily if you are pushing a stroller - especially a double, as even the most streamlined, narrow version is still a friggin' bus.

The key at this young age is always getting the younger child out of the car first. Then you can deal with the older child. The younger child is still in those nifty carseats that lift in and out of the car and aren't able to run anywhere. So you can get them in the Ergo, stroller, shopping car, whatever, and then get your older child out. Also, I started training Will before Emma was born to stand still and not move a muscle. I have him place one hand on the side of the car and tell him he can only let go to take Mommy's hand. It took weeks (probably even a couple of months) to really drill this home and it was probably an age thing even more than a consistency thing that really made it stick. At around 2, he just started listening better and not dashing off as much (well, for now, anyway).

If we are someplace public and Emma needs to nurse or a diaper change, I find someplace "safe" for Will. So if we are at the zoo, I take him to a self-enclosed play area, some place where he can't just dash off. Same thing for the museum. If I can't find find such a self-enclosed area, that is when he gets put in the stroller or grocery cart - something he can be strapped into. I will give him a snack and/or favorite toy or two to entertain him while I am busy.

The other key is to minimize stops. Getting in and out of the car and remembering everything you need is a circus, so I try to make no more than one stop. I try to pick places where I will only have to get in and out of the car once. The library, for instance, is across the street from a grocery store, so if I need to grocery shop, we'll go to the library first (they also hav a little play structure there, too, big bonus!) and then walk to the store and then back to the car. That way, it's only one in and out. Drive thru anything is my friend, whether it's bank, pharmacy, coffee, or whatever. I seriously wish they would invent drive-thru convenience stores where you can pick up a gallon of milk or loaf of bread without getting out of the store. I know many moms that would pay a pretty hefty upcharge for that convenience. Start looking now for those all-purpose areas, shopping centers with fun things for the kids and places were you can also run an errand. For me, that area is this downtown shopping area where the grocery store, library, a book store (story time), and kid-friendly coffee shop are all in one walking-distance area.

After our morning outing, it's time to head home to nurse Emma and for lunch and Will's nap. But we'll save the rest of the afternoon for another post.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It Will All Be Okay

Elise's comment touched my heart.

I could have written her comment almost a year ago. This is what I wrote when I was about seven weeks pregnant. If you don't want to click back, let me summarize for you. I was overwhelmed and didn't see any way out of the dark tunnel of early pregnancy.

First things first, Elise (and anyone else reading this), it will all be okay. I promise. There is good news and bad news. The bad news is that the first trimester of pregnancy sucks HARD when you have a toddler. It will get better. . . until the end of the third trimester, which sucks equally hard when you have a toddler.

The good news is that (at least for me), having a newborn and a toddler seemed easy compared to pregnancy and a toddler. That's right, I said it, easy. After the initial recovery from childbirth, you will feel amazing. You will feel (and be) pounds lighter and that in and of itself will make things easier. When you are pregnancy, you are physically compromised. When you are no longer pregnant, you feel so much better and able to handle things.

Yes, you will be getting up several times a night to feed a newborn, but you'll be able to sleep in the intervals. At the end of both of my pregnancies, I slept like crap. The sleep I got between feedings was deep and restful. And sleep deprivation is not fun, but it's not the same the second time around. Even if your toddler has been sleeping well for awhile, you are still used to functioning on far less sleep, so you will feel more rested than you ever felt possible on very little sleep.

Your son will also be able to "help" you with things. He will be able to get a diaper, hand you the remote control, or even let the dogs out (or something similar if you don't have pets). He will be even older than my Will was, so I will imagine even more helpful.

So, my tips for surviving the pregnancy:

1) Let go of the guilt. You are a fantastic mom. Your child will not remember the daily details of their life at this point in time. Dishes aren't done? Eh, they don't care. House isn't vacuumed? A little too much t.v. in a day? Again, a toddler doesn't even notice. What your son will remember is the pervasive feeling of love that I just know you give him. I know, it's so hard to let go of the guilt. I spent much of my pregnancy feeling as if I was somehow letting Will down. But I can tell you, Will is fine. And he adores his baby sister.

2) Get help. I know you said that family doesn't live in town. That sucks. I am in the same situation. I do, however, have some very good friends that were willing to take Will for an hour here or there when I was really too sick to handle it. Can your husband take him places on the weekend - just for an hour or two - so you can nap or sit on the couch?

3) Get more help. Do you have a house cleaning service? Can you take your professional clothes to the dry cleaner? Can you buy some premade meals through a Dinner's Ready-type service or even frozen stuff from Costco? Anything you can take off your plate for now and again during the third trimester is golden. I felt guilty about spending the money, especially on house cleaning, but you want to know something? It was worth every. single. penny. And then some!

4) Television is not evil. We chose not to introduce t.v. to Will until his second birthday. That being said, we don't believe that t.v. is evil and I don't think the occasional bout of television-watching will be detrimental to your son. If you end up relying on the boob tube a little more than you feel comfortable with on a day here and there, then try to keep your overall average down (for example, when I was super sick last week, Will watched a lot of t.v. so I kept the t.v. off for the next few days to even ths score). So for you, a little t.v. on the weekend when you need the backup is just fine, but maybe no t.v. during the week?

5) Just remember that this too shall pass. I know, it seems like forever until the second trimester arrives and brings better health with it. But it will come and this will fade into your memories. I don't mean to belittle what you are going through right now, because I can remember how difficult this time was for me, too. I am just trying to give you a glimmer of hope.

How about anyone else out there? And coping strategies for Elise?

I'll be posting more on the schedule/logistics of two later on.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ask Away

Emma has been in our lives for three and a half months. It's strange how that time seems to have gone by so very quickly, and yet she is so fully entrenched in our family, that I can barely remember life without her.

A few posts back, It Is What It Is asked me if life with two is harder, easier, or about what I expected. Like all answers with me, it's not quite that simple. Overall, I guess I'd have to say it's been easier than I expected. But there are days that it is harder than I expected and days that it is about what I expected.

Going into having two children, I was scared about so many things. Here are a few things that I was concerned about and how I feel they "work."

1) The logistics of two in going places.

I am not gonna lie, there is a learning curve with moving the stuff of two small children around. I feel as if I have to make so many trips to and from the car when I go someplace. Even then, things get forgotten. But somehow, we get out of the house, and it has gotten easier. I remember the first time we went to the grocery store as a family and I cried in the car on the way home because I couldn't imagine going to the store (or anywhere else for that matter!) without M. Now, I go places all of the time and don't think twice about it. You just find ways to make it work. My biggest advice is to keep some sort of container in the car with extra essentials such as diapers, wipes, non-perishable snacks, and a change of clothes for each kid. That way, if something gets left behind, it's not a necessity. Just remember to replenish your box once a week or so.

2) That I wouldn't love Emma the same way that I love Will.

Well, here's a shocker, folks. I don't love Emma the same way that I love Will. I love Emma with all of my heart, but she and I are still in the very new stage of our relationship. Meanwhile, her brother and I have been together for two years. I don't just love him because he is "mine," I love him for all of the idiosyncrasies that make him Will. I am starting to love the special and wonderful things about Emma as I get to know her. She has her very own personality that blossoms more and more each day. I feel the love that I have for her blossoming with it. I always loved her, from the second that they placed her in my arms my heart seemed to triple in size, but the love grows and grows.

3) Sleep.

I am so fortunate that Emma is an incredible sleeper at night. Seriously, I lucked out in the night sleep department. Once she is down for the night, we don't hear from her for 11 - 12 hours. The problem is that she is a night owl. I cannot get her to go to bed before 9 PM. There will be the occasional night where we get "lucky" and she goes down at 8:3o PM, but it's rare. Granted, she will then sleep in until 8 or 9 AM, so I know many people would gladly trade me a later night for a later morning. In any case, I am not going to knock my situation. She is sleepin a long period of time at night all by herself, so I am not going to try and force an earlier bedtime. If it ain't broke, no fixing it.

She is not such a great napper. She takes one nap a day in her crib for about 45 minutes. But that's it. And she has to "fuss it out" for about five minutes to take that one nap. Of course, it's also in the morning, which is when Will is not napping. The nice part about that is that I get to spend some time with just him in the morning and then just Emma in the afternoon while Will is napping. Also, there is no organization to her daytime sleep yet. I think it's probably because she is sleeping in so late. Will was always up by 7 AM and had developed a 9 AM nap by this point, so I am wondering if I need to start waking her up at 7 to establish that nap. Ah, sleep.

Okay, so what other questions do you have for me? Ask away!