Guess who’s back, back again…

March 24th, 2014

This has been the longest & completely unintentional blog break I ever taken. I never intended to break for so long but life gets in the way as it very often does & blogging became less of a priority to me. However, the longer I was gone the more I felt the desire to NOT come back and write. One reason was because I felt kind of empty. I didn’t feel inspired and I thought that if I blogged I would end up doing the mistake that most new bloggers make. A vomit of my day all over my sparkled blog layout. You know that post. “We went to the zoo, then Phoenix said something funny and we ate a snack and then we got in the car and then and then and then.” I was that kind of blogger when I started but have no desire to go back to that.

The other reason was/is that I am a fervent reader of the GOMI forums. I make no apologies of that and I am NOT ashamed to be amongst the many blogger lurkers. To make a long story short, there is sooooo much crap that bloggers pull & the more I read there the dirtier I felt trying to be a part of that world. I thought long and hard about if I came back how that would look. Did I want to continue reading the same articles over and over about the best times to post, pin, tweet, Facebook, Stumble, think, read, write, look, and cough? Did I want to spend hours a day reading and commenting on blogs hoping that someone would notice my little comment and click over? Did I want to spend hours writing boring content to get $75 and a pack of toilet paper? The answer I soon discovered was no. I’m not going to write articles that don’t resonate with me in hopes that they will go viral. I won’t continue to share the same post over and over by the same pseudo popular blogger just to gain access to that circle and hope that I gain a speaking spot at a conference I shell out a $1,000 to attend.

And the third reason that I suddenly stopped blogging was because…I got pregnant AGAIN.

The last time I sat down to write a blog post I was going to tell you how heart-sick that 1. Ezra (Pretty Little Liars) was/is A and 2. That I was going to wean Caspian who had just turned a year old so that I could go balls to the wall on getting rid of the baby weight from 2008. But before I had a chance to properly edit that post I got sick two mornings in a row at the same time each morning. According to my calendar I was about 3/4 days late and had 1 test left from the box that I bought after we had Caspian. So on a whim and a “I’m totally not, but I will just check to make sure” I peed on a stick as Shawn flew around the house trying to get Phoenix out the door for school. Not even two full minutes later the pregnancy test jumped up from the counter, pointed at me and started laughing at me. “But I’m STILL nursing!” was all I could respond.

I predict we will recover from this shock & finally accept that we are expecting again sometime around May 11th, which coincidently also happens to be when I’m supposed to be delivering.

We waited several months to announce on Facebook and we used the below picture.

 

baby#3

And here was our much anticipated gender reveal video.  

 

So there you have it folks. 600 words on where & why I have been away. I am picking the worse time to try and start blogging again as I have reached my 3rd trimester and have had to start building naps back into my schedule but I will forge ahead because I have lots to say *I think*. Like what it’s like to still be nursing a 30 pound 18 month old, what I think life may look like with THREE boys, and why the word “bossy” doesn’t need to be banned. 

 Alex is back, tell a friend…


The Power of Letting My Child Just Be Him

September 9th, 2013

The most judgmental people I have ever met are pre-parents & Christians. In my very distant past, I used to be a very judgy Christian, shouting my scriptures & thumping my Bible in the faces of heathens. But I was also a very judgy pre-parent. My kid will never act like that, she won’t ever say those things, eat those things, do those things. Guess who’s eating those words?

One judgement I held to tightly even into having kids was how I dressed my kids. I have always been vehemently against those loud, bright, screen print Wal-Mart character clothing, or almost anything from Wal-Mart. If I ever saw kids dressed mismatched in public or in costume I always turned a side eye to the parent thinking “Wow, You really lost control today huh?” And my disdain for light up shoes could cover a paragraph & a half!

power to be

Until I had kids.

I have strict rules about clothing. What type we wear to the playground, to playgroup, church & school. Never shall a playground shirt meet with church pants. The same goes for shoes. Phoenix started becoming obsessed with costumes around the age of 2. I fought him hard to keep those clothes out of our public outings. I never let him dress himself for fear that someone would give me the stink eye for losing a battle of wits with my toddler.

Until I realized the power of letting my child just be him.

It happened this summer (yes it took that long!). He’s 5 now & has become increasingly independent with every passing day. He’s figured out how to hop on the kitchen counter to get dishes, find his channels on the TV, & grab Caspian out of his crib if I’m tied up. But somehow I couldn’t trust that I could send him upstairs to dress himself. The first few times I let him do it, I cringed when he’d come down the steps & I would have to climb them myself to get more appropriate clothing before heading out. But somewhere down the line I just stopped.

power to be 2

I let him continue to wear whatever super hero costume he had on at the moment & allowed the accessories to spill across the backseat. I allowed him to create different looks and disguises with glasses, too small vest & hats. And then one day…I sent him to school dressed like that, and he looked adorable. He effortlessly pulled off the “Clark Kent” look he was aiming for & I could see how proud he was of being able to do something by himself or the time I let him go to the movie in the park dressed in a raincoat when it was 100 plus outside. He walked up to a family of people & said “Want to see what’s under my jacket?” & he unzipped to reveal his pride and joy. A dirty Superman tee. 

I stopped worrying about how much dirt covered his pants or how scuffed up he would get his brand new shoes. “He’s a boy.” I often remind myself. The best times in childhood, are spent covered in mud with scratches & scabs. Imagination thrives when I don’t restrict him to staying clean or playing inside the lines.

power to be 3

I have always been a creative person & Shawn makes his living with his creativity. It is inspiring to us as parents to watch our children form their own opinions & build for themselves something that makes them happy & feel as if they have a sense of power. I always want to strive to cultivate individuality, creativity, and boldness in my children. Besides, I know he won’t be 5 forever. There will come a day where I will need to wear a gas mask & flashlight to enter Hollister to pick out overpriced t-shirts & hoodies & I will be longing for the days where it was as simple as pulling on a Superman T-shirt & shorts with cool buckles & a purple fedora.

However, I secretly hope that he will forever hold on to this part of himself that isn’t afraid to be bold. Isn’t afraid to be daring. That he proudly wears all of his decisions as a badge of honor. Smack dab in the middle of a retro tuxedo shirt to his prom.

 You can see more of his adventurous in dressing on my Instagram & click here to actually find out who #Phizzle really is.


a song for you

August 26th, 2013

I can hardly believe that a year has gone by since we welcomed Caspian into our lives. I was very worried before having him that my heart was already at capacity with the love for Phoenix. And that I wouldn’t be able to give as much to him or somehow my love for Cas would be lacking. But one thing I have learned this year is that the heart knows no bounds and has quadrupled in size to accommodate everything I feel for Caspian. He has brought so much joy to a house that was already overflowing. I’m obsessed with him & his gap toothed smile. 

When Phoenix was a baby I had a song that resonated in my heart for him. And when I was pregnant with Caspian the song in my heart for him was A Thousand Years.

I have died everyday waiting for you. Darlin’ don’t be afraid I have loved you for a Thousand years I’ll love you for a Thousand more.

I feel like my heart has been patiently waiting for this boy to come in & transform my very being.

Happy Birthday to my soul & my heart. 

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things i want to teach my sons about being a man

August 22nd, 2013

beingaman

A few weeks ago I was up really late trolling my Feedly feed & came across this fantastic video that Rebecca of Girl’s Gone Child posted called Be A Man. Honestly. I am not a huge internet video person & when I realized it was almost 15 minutes long I was all “Can I just get the cliff notes?” But let me tell you. I am so glad I watched this!

I have been hurt by boys, I have been loved by boys, & I have had pine cones thrown at me by boys. When my boys are all grown up & I’m putting on a girdle and pearls, preparing myself for a rehearsal dinner I hope that the future wives of my boys can say to me upon my arrival “Thank you for raising such a wonderful son. He’s so gentle & kind with me.” I never want your little girl to sit on the edge of her bed crying because my son hurt or disappointed her. And if for some reason he does end up making her cry I want her tears to move my son to change, be better, learn, listen or shut up.

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There is that beautiful song by John Mayer crooning to the fathers of the world to treat their daughter well. Reminding us that boys are tougher, stronger, breakable…but are they really? If we raise boys thinking we can break them we have a generation of broken boys going out and breaking everything in sight. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with society now. It’s easy to forget that boys are made of all the same things inside as the pretty girl in the petticoat {I don’t have girls. Do they still wear petticoats?} when they’ve got a weeks worth of dinners & dirt on their person. A skinned knee is proudly shown off, scars counted & collected like they are a part of a stamp collection. But that doesn’t mean they don’t hurt.

I remember a few weeks ago I was watching a movie that ended with the father sobbing. Phoenix looked up & said “What! Mens don’t cry!” it was words I was hoping never to hear from him, but he said them. “They do cry. Daddy cries. Daddy cried when you were born. And Daddy would cry if he ever lost you.” “Yeah, well mens don’t & Daddy doesn’t” I left it at that & let him finish running away from Krypton or to Krypton, whatever. I’m too tired to remember. But he marked me. And it was just a few days later that I watched that video.

The importance of emotions. The importance of kindness, graciousness, thoughtfulness, loving. All the markers for a true man. That is what I want to teach my sons.

 PicMonkey Collage

 


I’m Having A Baby. Now What?! Breastfeeding Edition Pt. 2

August 19th, 2013

im having a baby BF2

Can you believe I have been a mom of two for almost a year now? This totally makes me a pro so I decided to give you legit & not funny hardy, har, har tips about being pregnant & being a mom. The first post in this series was Breastfeeding Edition Part 1. And now for Part 2

Should my baby also be getting a bottle of formula? If you are planning to exclusively breastfeed your baby there is NO reason that you will need to supplement with formula. Phoenix was what the doctors called a “slow weight gainer” & it was recommended to us to supplement him with one to two bottles a day. I begrudgingly did it & he didn’t gain any faster. Looking back I wouldn’t supplement Phoenix at all. But If you feel your baby is not gaining weight like she should or she seems to never be content after a feeding try upping your feedings for the day and increase your intake of healthy foods & foods that can help boost milk production. But if your baby is gaining weight, meeting milestones & content after a feeding there is no reason you will need to add in a bottle of formula unless you choose too.

Should I be pumping? If you ever want to spend time away from your baby for longer than two hours then by all means pump or be ok with a bottle of formula every once in a while. Some women pump religiously even if they don’t work or don’t leave their babies all the time. But pumping is a lot of work & I didn’t like having to remember to work pumping sessions into my day. If your plan is to be exclusively breastfeeding with maybe one bottle a day then take 2 or 3 weeks to be tied to your pump & pump after each nursing session to build up a stash. After that do a stash session once every other month or more if you think you need to.

How often should I feed my baby? Babies usually need to eat every 2 hours or if you are Caspian less! In the early days your baby will eat between 8-12 times a day for as little as 5 minutes a session to up to 30 minutes. Try to feed your baby before he gets really fussy. Look for cues that your baby is ready to eat like rooting, sticking out their tongue, opening & closing their mouth, or sucking motions. Our schedules have always been baby-led & I would feed on demand. It’s important to remember that babies have small stomachs so its normal for them to want to eat a lot. That is just what babies do! Your baby wanting to nurse often is not a sign of low milk supply. As your baby gets older they will start to fall into their own schedule that will be about every 3-4 hours between a feed. But if you notice that your baby who used to be able to go 4 hours without eating has shortened that to every 2 hours or even 1 hour it is a sign of a growth spurt-which are usually at 7-10 days, 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 3 months, 4 months, 6 months and 9 months. Just indulge them! I used the Baby Connect app with Caspian to help keep track of when the last time he ate, how long & which side.

When should I start giving my baby solid food? The AAP recommends that you do not introduce solid foods until at least 6 months of age. Delaying solids until then reduces the risk of allergies, rashes & gut related issues. Whenever you do decide to start your baby on solids he should be able to hold his head up & be able to sit in a highchair. If you determine your baby is ready to start solids you can start the traditional way by offering your baby purees or you can do something called baby-led weaning. BLW is completely skipping the spoon & pureed foods & offering your baby appropriate sized (soft) chunk food right out the gate. If you choose to do BLW make sure your baby is able to grasp the food first. Good first foods (for either the traditional or BLW way) are avocados, apples, bananas, carrots, squash, and plums. Along with a whole host of other foods! With both boys I would give them a wide variety of food. If it could be cut small & wasn’t spicy I gave it to them. I did follow some rules though. I stayed away from foods known to cause allergies like peanuts, strawberries, & eggs until right at a year or a little after. I also stayed away from foods like citrus fruit & other acidic foods because they can cause diaper rash. Try my favorite resource KellyMom for more about solids.

When should I wean my baby? Whenever YOU and your baby are ready to. However, the longer you breastfeed the more benefits your baby will get. Even The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until age 2. Some may tell you that after 6 months or even a year that there are no longer benefits to breastfeeding. But that is a lie! The longer you breastfeed the benefits become more significant & long-lasting for both you & baby! However, weaning is a necessary part of your baby’s life & your life. So the best time to wean is whenever your baby is ready. When you first start solids you always offer breast first. When you are ready to start weaning you can start offering solid food first at a feeding instead of your breast. You may also consider dropping some feedings during the day and offering a bottle of cow or almond milk instead of nursing.

Is breastfeeding the easiest & best choice? No it is not always the easiest choice. Sometimes I wish I could just grab a bottle & some formula and roll back to sleep or go away for the weekend with my husband without bringing a pump. When my babies were younger (Caspian especially) it was taxing to always be the one who had to be on because I was the one with the tits. Always being grabbed on & constantly needed can be exhausting. But you know what? Breastfeeding is also the easiest choice :-) I can grab & go. I don’t need to worry about making sure I have enough formula, clean bottles, or filtered water. I don’t have to worry about who’s going to hold the bottle. If I’m using my Ergo I can nurse & still move around. Slings, Wraps, or baby carries are amazing for hands free nursing. I’ve nursed in the movies in my Ergo, in Yoga, shopping, & while taking a picture of my sister & Rob Kardashian at the mall. And when in doubt…just nurse! I don’t have to play 20 questions with Caspian when he’s upset I just offer him boob & that usually satiates him. And is it always the best choice? Yes & Yes & Yes!

For more breastfeeding tips you can check out Part 1 of my Breastfeeding tips. Included are my favorite resources & breastfeeding essentials.

More information & Cool links

Breastfeeding past infancy

Benefits of breastfeeding your baby

Benefits of breastfeeding your toddler

Kissing & Breastfeeding (this is AMAZING!)

Kids who were breastfed longer have higher IQs

Spoken word poem about breastfeeding in public

 

 


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