My Parent Self[ie]

Mothering. Truly beautiful take on the complicated emotions of parenting.

Unlearning

IMG_1749

The picture was terrible. Just terrible. But, then again, selfies were likely invented by someone younger than I am.

After several chaotic hours with my children, I decided that the real cherry on top of our day should be special. Go hard or go home, right?

We ventured to the local Wildlife Center in a muggy 90 degrees for their daily show. Thirty minutes of educational entertainment for $0 sounded like the best idea I have had in weeks. My son was thrilled.

So excited, in fact, that he improvised and stuck his tongue out when my thumb finally found the capture button.

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Chocolate Snickerdoodles, Whaatt?!

I love to put my own twist on something that is generally familiar to people, I enjoy their reactions to the new flavor in an old favorite, or their surprise at how familiar they are with a recipe that they did not recognize in its new clothes.

Today’s fun; Chocolate Snickerdoodles. These are a thick chocolate cookie that you’ll know is familiar by the bite, but can’t quite place why.

I learned how to make snickerdoodles in 7th grade at school, but I can’t quite recall why we learned this. I did retain the recipe for all of these years, but the recipe uses a box cake mix and I try extremely hard not to use those. Although there are good, natural alternatives these days. (I really like Arrowhead Mills, Organic.)

For years I didn’t share this recipe with others because it was my ace in the hole. Everyone loved them, but had never tasted them before. I always kept a box of cake mix in the pantry in case I needed to impress someone on the fly.

I finally stopped being lazy and figured out how to make these from scratch about a year ago.

**Here’s a little throw back to how to be “that woman”: scoop them, roll them in sugar mixture and then place them in a zip lock freezer bag and toss them into the freezer.  At any given time you can have ‘holy cow, these are amazing’ cookies with only a 15 minute thaw time.

Chocolate Snickerdoodles Cookies

Chocolate Snickerdoodles

** If you need to cheat a little with a cake mix, keep scrolling.  I got your back. I won’t tell a soul.

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Mixture for rolling cookies:

1/4 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon cinnamon
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (325 Convection).

Whip butter, sugar, cream of tartar, vanilla and salt until light.  Using a mixer with the paddle attachment is easiest here, but a wooden spoon and a bowl will do just fine.

Add the cocoa and egg; mix only until combined.

Add baking powder, baking soda and flour.  Mix only until combined.  Do not over mix.  Will be dry and crumbly.

Scoop into 4 oz balls.  Roll in sugar and cinnamon.

Bake 5/6 minutes, turn pan and bake 4/5, centers will still be very soft.

Let cool on cookie sheet.

 

Makes 8 really large (amazing) cookies.

Cake Mix Option (easiest with little helper hands)

arrowhead mills

1 package cake mix

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 egg

Rolling Mixture:

1/4 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

Dump the mix into a bowl. Add the butter and mix until combine with a wooden spoon. Mix in the egg.  Scoop, roll and bake as above.

Attempting Perfect: Red Velvet Gift Bread

Every woman, at some point, dreams of being ‘that woman’.  You know the one: she always brings the perfect gift, her hair always looks right, her car doesn’t have crumbs or what was once a complete outfit in the back.

I’m going to share with you my go-to gift giving treat that occasionally lets me have that moment of  “Damn, she’s got her shit together!”

Red Velvet Loaf 2

I created this bread years ago as a freezer staple.  I can make a batch, wrap them up all pretty and at the drop of a hat I can grab one and dash off the surprise a hostess with what looks like a gift I woke up early to get ready for her.

It is a comforting bread that has a heady texture and a light bite.

red velvet loaf 4

Its not too sweet and bread works nicely at adult affairs as well as kid friendly ones.

As is true with all red velvet, the red food coloring is not necessary, it just makes it more fun!  So if your life if full of granola moms that frown at red food dye, simply replace the quantity with milk.

This recipe makes 2 full size loaves; I have included the half measures incase you don’t plan to share and want to make just one.


Red Velvet Loaves

First:

Make the filling:

1 Package Cream Cheese
¼ Cup Sugar
1/8 Tsp salt
½ Tsp Lemon juice
1 Egg
2 Tablespoons All purpose flour

Cream together the cream cheese, sugar, salt and lemon juice with a whisk. This can be done by hand or with a mixer.  Mix in one egg until smooth.Whisk in the flour until smoothly combined and place in pastry piping bag or zip lock freezer bag; promptly refrigerate to firm up the mixture.

Second make the batter:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Step one:

1 ½ Cups Buttermilk (3/4 cup buttermilk)

1 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar (1 ½ tsp)

2 Tablespoons Red Food Coloring {replace with milk if not using dye} (1 Tbl)

Combine milk, vinegar and food coloring in a measuring cup, leave to sit while you continue on.

 

Step two:

1 Cup brown  sugar (1/2 cup)

½ Cup Butter (1/4 cup) – at room temperature

1 Tsp Vanilla (½ tsp)

¼ Tsp Salt (1/8 tsp)

In a  bowl cream together the butter, brown sugar, vanilla and salt until light and fluffy. Easiest with a mixer, but not necessary.

 

Step 3:

4 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (2 Tablespoons)

4 Eggs (2 eggs)

Add the cocoa powder and the eggs before mixing again.  I prefer to mix this part by hand with a hand held whisk, over mixing eggs is easy to do but I’m far to lazy to achieve that by hand.  You only need to mix thi until it is fully combined.

 

Step 4:

At this juncture you will add the milk mixture you concocted at the beginning.  Add it slowly incorporating it into the batter.  Your batter should be quite liquid at this point.

 

Step 5:

2 Cups All Purpose Flour (1 cup)

2 Tsp Baking Soda (1 tsp)

 

Add dry mixture to the wet, stirring until completely and smoothly combined. Try not to over mix.  The baking soda and the vinegar will interact at this point and may foam up a little bit.  Don’t worry, you’re not going to blow up your kitchen. Carry on.

Next, pull your cream cheese from the fridge, snip the end or one corner and set it on a napkin or a counter top you don’t mind cleaning up later.

Grease and cocoa (or flour) a full size bread pan.

Here’s a quick video if you’ve never done this before:

I love Baker’s Joy, it is a staple in my kitchen.  It combines this step into one easy spray.  Who doesn’t love easy?

baker's joy

Spoon or scoop slightly more than ½ of the batter into the 2 pans.

Pull your cream cheese from the fridge, snip the end or one corner and pipe 3 thick cords of the chilled cream cheese mixture onto the center of the batter in the pan.

Spoon the remaining ½ of the batter around and on top of the cream cheese, making certain to cover it completely.

Place pans into your 350F oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on a rack in pan. Do not remove it early, it will lose shape. Allow to cool completely.

You can drizzle the top with a cream and powdered sugar glaze, or just slice and eat. It is delicious and has a lovely texture.

I wrap them in cellophane and then place them into a large ziplock freezer bag.  Into the freezer they go and at a moment’s notice I (believe it or not) am THAT woman, perfect gift in hand.

Red Velvet Loaf 2

Baby Wearing: The best thing (ever!)

I am not an active person. I do not run marathons or lift weights, I do not do any pointed working out.

However, I am a let’s go do something person.

I walk around town, dig ditches, put in gardens and things. That is just who I am, who I always have been.

So, when I was blessed with a tiny bundle of joy that is not capable of feeding herself, much less carry a T-post what is a ‘I got shit to do’ momma to do?

t post.jpg  t Post diggin

Strap that baby on and get to it.

Spindle-1

What about when baby can walk, when baby is not a tiny bundle of joy but a big sack of ‘taters? You put that toddler in a carrier so she can’t run off.

Sandra and Z wearing

People keep telling me that leashes are just generally frowned upon. Just kidding, but seriously toddlers are everywhere and nowhere all at the same time.  I have to keep track of her some how.

Daddy Wearing

Safety First! When wearing your baby in the front always be sure you can kiss there cute little punkin’ heads. Wearing your baby on your back should only be done after s/he can support their own head. Always ensure proper alignment and support of joints and back.

Here are two great references for child wearing safety both from Baby Wearing International:

Kissable

 

Safety check list

My second piece of advice is to find the right carrier. This matters a lot.

Again, we borrowed this from Baby Wearing International:

Wraps

wrap

 

Wraps are the most traditional and simple of all carriers. They come in a variety of lengths and fabrics such as knit jersey (ideal for newborns), gauze (good for warm weather), cotton, linen, wool, and other fabrics. Wraps can be used to carry an infant, toddler, or child in a variety of positions including front, hip, and (if made of woven fabric rather than knit jersey) back carries. Wraps are infinitely adjustable to meet the specific needs of the individual wearer. Learning to wrap may seem intimidating at first but can be mastered with practice. The beautiful fabrics used in many wraps make them an aesthetically pleasing style of baby carrier. Their lack of hardware makes them ideal for snuggling newborns but wraps are wonderful for babies and toddlers of any age.

Ring Slings

Ring

A ring sling is a modern adaptation of traditional one shoulder carries found in Mexico, Indonesia, and other cultures. A pair of metal or nylon rings are securely attached to the end of a roughly two-meter-long piece of fabric. The tail end of the sling is threaded through the rings to adjust to the wearers body. The weight of the child in the carrier secures the rings against slipping. Ring slings are available in a variety of fabrics from basic cotton to luxurious silk. The long tail of the sling can be used for many things including a sun shade, nursing cover, light blanket, or hand hold for older children when your hands are full. Ring slings are excellent for newborns and for toddlers who want quick up and down carries.

Pouch Slings

Pouch

A pouch sling is a simple tube of fabric worn over one shoulder like a sash and used much like a ring sling but without the ability to adjust the size of the sling each time it is used. Pouch slings are sleek, easy to use, inexpensive, and convenient to stash in a diaper bag or glove compartment. However, because pouches are sized they are hard to share between caregivers and must be correctly fitted for safety and comfort.

 Mei Tai

Mei Tai

The Chinese mei tai (pronounced “may tie” not “my tie”) is the most popular of a group of modernized traditional Asian-style baby carriers. It has a panel of fabric with two shorter straps that go around the waist and two longer straps to wrap over the shoulder. Modern mei tai straps are often padded or made very wide (known as “wrap straps”) to provide extra comfort for the wearer and they are often made of attractive fabrics. Because they lack buckles and are tied to create a custom fit each time, mei tais are easily shared between multiple caregivers. They are easy to learn how to wear and can be used for front, back, and hip carries. Mei Tais are ideal for older babies and toddlers but can also be safely used with newborns.

 Buckle Carriers

Buckle

Soft structured carriers (SSCs) offer a mix of comfort, convenience and accessibility that is appealing to many caregivers. Most feature a thickly padded waistband and shoulder straps for a comfortable, ergonomic fit and can be used for front, back, and sometimes hip carries. The straps typically are adjustable for a custom fit and often these carriers have additional features such as sleep hoods, front pockets, adjustable seats, etc. SSCs have a low learning curve because they go on and off like a backpack but offer the same skin-to-skin benefits of wraps, slings, and mei tais. Some soft structured carriers may require the use of a special infant insert below a certain weight and size but most quality, ergonomic carriers can be used well into toddlerhood. There is a soft structured carrier for every taste, budget, and body type making them the most popular style of baby carrier on the market today.

There are awesome groups where you can rent a carrier for a month to insure it is the right one for you and baby. I participated in one of these groups in Austin,Texas but they can be found all over the US.  Here is a piture of one that I rented:

International carriers

I highly recommend this because baby carriers can be very expensive.  They even have small groups at their meetings to ensure you know how to properly use the carrier you rent!

Now then the fun part:

Why baby wearing is the best thing {like ever}:

1)    The lactating breast regulates temperature to keep baby from overheating. ( but please still pay attention to signs of over hearing; flush cheeks, clammy skin, extreme sweating, ect.)

2)   No more holding baby and pushing the stroller {Who want to keep up with all that?}

3)   Your kiddo can see everything you do, helping them learn.

4)   Helps baby bond to you and feel safe

5.)  Daddy can wear too; promoting bonding and shared experiences.

6.)  Being worn makes baby happy.

7.)  And puts them to sleep?!? Yeah it does.

The list goes on and on.

For even more information Dr. Sears has a lot of very good thing to say on the subject in his book, The Baby Book.  {Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Dr. Sears?}

Now go have fun. And wear them babies/Toddlers! {and eat your BAM bars, they are great for energy!}

daddy2

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Some images borrowed from: http://babywearinginternational.org/

 

Panicked Momma: Postpartum Anxiety

Sit down on the floor.

Block everything out.

Breathe deep: in through your nose, out through your mouth.

Now listen to what’s going on around you.

This is a conversation I have with myself very often because I have postpartum panic attacks. I didn’t even know panic attacks were a possibility after giving birth to my daughter, but now it’s a part of my weekly routine.

According to Psychotherapy.com these panic attacks are formally called Postpartum Panic Disorder.  Here’s some quick info from them:

  • Occurs in up to 10% of postpartum women.
  • Symptoms include:  feelings of extreme anxiety and recurring panic attacks, including shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitations, agitation, and excessive worry or fears.
  • Three common fears experienced by women with a Postpartum Panic Disorder are:  1) fear of dying, 2) fear of losing control, and/or 3) fear that one is going crazy.
  • 2 significant risk factors: 1) a previous history of anxiety or panic disorder, and 2) thyroid dysfunction.

Let me explain what it felt like the first time I had a panic attack.  It first happened two years ago when my daughter was a few months old, it felt like the world was closing in on me.

Back then it happened at any given moment.

Once I was in a shopping center parking lot, about to go home, and I started crying uncontrollably, for no reason at all, I couldn’t catch my breath, and my heart pounded.  I thought what I was feeling was just a part of giving birth and it would soon end, but I was wrong.

The Mighty, a site devoted to addressing mental health issues and disabilities has a brilliant article about what having a panic attack can feel like.  The article, written by Rachel Kassenbrock, does a great job of showing what panic attacks feel like through a series of photos. Warning: the images are very real and may be upsetting.

Two years later I am still having the panic attacks that began after giving birth.  They are more predictable and manageable now that I have learned calming and breathing techniques.  I also use an anxiety ease essential oil in an oil diffuser or smell it directly from the bottle to help calm me down.

I rarely find myself crying because of them. My panic attacks usually happen when I have a to-do list that I’m running through my head. I can tell it’s approaching when my heart starts palpitating.

I have since learned that I am not alone in my suffering Postpartum Anxiety Disorders.  They are common, yet are diagnosed far less than the others because of the belief that new mothers are just naturally anxious. There are two forms of Postpartum Anxiety Disorder; if you’d like to read more about the different specifics and definitions HERE are the definitions as defined by Psychotherapy.com.

When I first began having panic attacks I spoke with my midwife and she advised me to start taking fish oil pills.  I took three 1,000 milligram pills per day.  The panic attacks weren’t as intense after taking the fish oil, but they were still there.

I even took Xanax, prescribed by my midwife, for a short time, but the side effects outweighed the benefits.

After doing some research on my own I found a solution that works for me.  I must recognize what’s happening, slow down, and realize that I need to be present in that very moment.  If you would like to give this a try here is a great video explaining the process for you.

Here is a tool kit that I found very helpful from another blogger named Kate over at Post Partum Progress:

  1. Take 10 deep belly breaths (also known as diaphragmatic breathing).
  2. Drink a big glass of water.
  3. Eat a protein-based snack such as lean meats, nuts, cheese, or a hard boiled egg.
  4. Ground yourself in the present: Look around you and note (out loud if possible) everything that you can access in all five senses. What do you see? What can you hear? What do you smell? What does it feel like to be sitting on your chair? What, exactly, do you taste as you eat your snack?
  5. Find a “mantra” of sorts that you can tell yourself such as “I am going to be okay,” “I am doing the best that I can,” or “I am taking care of myself.”
  6. Go outside. Stretch. Feel yourself move and notice the sensations in your body.
  7. Once your initial symptoms decrease, find some help so that you can take a nap and get the rest that you need.
  8. If need be, call your therapist, your doctor, or someone who you trust to come and be with you until you feel better.

 

 

 

Images borrowed from:

http://themighty.com/2015/05/gripping-photos-capture-what-this-woman-feels-like-during-a-panic-attack1/

What if Breast isn’t Best?

To all the moms who have chosen not to breast feed: We support you.

I know what your thinking. You sell lactation products; why would you want women not to breast feed?

We are a company that supports moms, ALL moms. Our products can benefit everyone, even men. Our list of ingredients is wholesome, vitamin/nutrient filled and energy rich.  Like we said, everyone needs more of those things.

I took a risk when baby Z was about a year old that could have ended our breastfeeding journey. I started using Clary Sage essential oil to control my mood swings.  I was having fits of rage, for no reason. It scared me. I sought holistic help.  One side effect of using clary sage oil is that it can reduce milk production.

Clary Sage

My mental health was more important than my babies need for breastmilk.  It was that simple.

Fortunately, for us, the oil did not reduce my supply.  It did help my mood. I was lucky. Some women need to be on prescription medication to manage their mental and physical health. This may prevent them from nursing. They are good, I’d even go so far as to say great, mothers doing what is best for the health of their family.

Medical need, low supply, sore nipples, general aversion: all of these are valid reasons to chose other ways to nourish your child. There is support and resources out there to help combat these if breast feeding is something that you want to do, but sometimes breast isn’t best.

Being a mom is freaking hard, adding these challenges can just be too much. We understand and support you. You are a great mom.

This video says it all.

Either way you chose we are here to support you.

If you bottle feed we want to hear your story. bottle-feeding-baby

cropped-zoey-1.jpg  If you breastfeed we want to hear your story.

If you bottle feed donated breast milk we want to hear your story.donated milk

Bottom line: we support your right as a mom to make the best choice for you and your baby. PERIOD.  We support you.

mom support

Easy taco dinner, at your house

Let’s begin by making introductions.  I am Holly.  I am the founder of B.A.M! and I cook for a living.  What that really means is that when I get home, I don’t want to cook.

I’m not blessed with tiny humans of my own, but I have many Momma friends that I support endlessly.  I think that needed to be said since I know the question will come up at some point.

The man in my life is a single dad to an amazing young man.  I cant believe that I get to be a part of their lives.  I love everyday of it, even the tough ones.

One of the first meals that I made for that amazing child was one of my go-to’s.  Chicken Tacos.  I started making them years ago from left overs and they became one of my favorites so I built an actual recipe instead of just throwing together what was left in the fridge. Consistency is a good thing.

These are one pot magic.

Start with chicken, I use the breasts off of a rotisserie bird from the grocery store.  Shred that chicken into a skillet.  Pour in all of the ingredients (I’ll list them down below), cook until thickened. Warm up tortillas and DINNER TIME!

Easy Chicken Tacos

Chicken Breast

2 large chicken breasts, shredded

 

 

Salsa

 

1/2 of a 16 oz Jar of hot sauce (Hell on the Red is my favorite, but any that you like will be perfect. Red or green.)

 

herb Ox

 

2 Packets of Chicken Bouillon (Herb Ox is my favorite, but use what you prefer)

 

Combine all ingredients in a skillet.  Cook them together on medium/low heat for approximately 10-15 minutes.  The liquid from the hot sauce will evaporate a bit and the mixture will thicken. Continue to stir the ingredients as they cook.

Remove the pan from the heat.

Warm up tortillas, we prefer corn, but flour is great too.

We top them with shredded cheese, but other options are lettuce, tomato, cilantro, or onions.

Dinner is served. Eat immediately.

This serves the 3 of us well, with a little left over for grazing after the meal (Boys!).

You could add some warmed up canned black beans as a side.

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The Strong Momma

This is a blog about working out.

WAIT! Don’t change the page just yet.

I’d like to paint you a picture so that you know who’s telling this story {bear with me, my medium is finger paints these days}:

I am five foot four inches tall {not leggy at all}.

I weigh 135 pounds. I am thin because I am super active, not because I have been blessed {like some women – you know who I’m talking about: the one eating an ice cream cone in her size 0 jeans}.

I have big boobs; I tandem nurse. {Ask me about those big perky boobs in a few years}

 

I live under no false pretenses that I will ever be a Barbie doll style fantasy girl.

 

My name is Miranda and I am an addict. I am addicted to being happy, healthy, strong and fast.

 

Here it is: I LOVE WORKING OUT. {Who knew I’d be that girl?} Working out should always be about FEELING good. If you look good too? Icing on the cake.

Never having been a trend follower imagine my surprise when I find out I belong to one. I am a “Strong Mom.”

Women and fellow mothers who take pride in their fitness and athletic abilities after having kids.

How cool is that?! My family has always given me a hard time for devoting chunks of time to working out, seeing it only as time not directly spend with my girls. Which has been a huge hurdle for me. I am constantly torn between wanting to be healthy and giving my kids my very best. Guess what? Working out is what has turned out to be the glue that helps bonds us.

Back to that picture I was painting; I have recently acquired some kick ass obliques but, honestly, most days they kinda look like love handles. We are all different and we all look different, but there is a workout for everyone. Whether you’re my sister the free spirited, no body issues type who is fantastic at yoga or the super intense slightly neurotic (still adorable) me, who thinks they have to do it all. Whatever does it for you, whatever makes you feel good: that’s the workout for you. They’re all great.

My new opinion: It is absolutely vital for Moms and Babes to have fitness a part of their daily lives.

I have an 18 month old and a three year old and although finding the right rhythm and schedule was hard. With a bit of work however, my workouts fit perfectly and benefit each of us.

I feel there are three great reasons to work out just as far as children are concerned:

 

  1. Establishing healthy habits. Seeing me workout everyday helps teach my girls to take care of their minds and bodies as they age.
  2. Momma is important too. Taking time for myself teaches them that it is not ALWAYS about them. Granted, 95% of the time they are, but taking just that 5% for yourself helps let them figure out how to entertain themselves. This, in turn, gives them healthy independence.
  3. Happiness is learned. The countless benefits for you momma’s out there, live longer, feel stronger, and let’s not forget that serotonin shot we all so desperately need. Teaching that happiness is a choice we make every day is an invaluable lesson.

 

The first couple of weeks/months of working out, especially if you have gotten out of shape, is hard. Add kids to the mix and its easy to see why so many out there have a hard time getting started. The good news is after you jump that hurdle you’ll never know how you survived without working out.

 

My back hurts less than before I even had kiddos and I had back labor! I have a ton more energy, sleep much sounder(when I get to sleep) and a much needed boost in my self-esteem make life much easier.

holly4

 

The best thing for us was finding and establishing a schedule so everyone knows what to expect.  Our typical days go like this:

  • The girls and I wake up at the same time since we co-sleep
  • The second all eyes are open we grab a book and have a little story time. Generally two to three books (largely because I have  a rule about books before any television)
  • Then both babes get half a banana/apple/pear, whatever fruit we fancy that day. Which largely helps fight off that early morning drop in blood sugar.                            *During that time I set my oldest up with her favorite show of the week, which she watches at least fifteen seconds before getting distracted by something going on.
  • The youngest gets set up with four or five distracting toys, a drink in her Sippy cup and a fresh diaper directly in front of my workout station.
  • Now, finally, I can get to my morning 30 to 40 minute cardio. For this work out I turn to Jillian Michaels videos, I love them! Some say addicted.
  • Following that the girls and I all sit down together for breakfast.
  • Later in the day I’ll do one or two focused strengthening moves and these usually only take ten to fifteen minutes a piece. The girls and I usually sing songs back and forth which gives me that added bonus of increased cardio.
  • Evening time is reserved for yoga, which is so mellow the girls typically join me. Which thrills me to pieces to see their little bodies gain balance and strength while we giggle and poot (those who do yoga out there you know what i mean) our way through practices.holly3

You have to go into every momma workout with any open mind- things will come up, you will have to multi-task sometimes. That doesn’t mean you are not getting your full workout and interruptions don’t have to mean you’re not having fun. When you have to stop to take care of something (and you will) just get back to it as soon as you’re done. Sometimes I try to jog over to whichever one needs me or sing to keep that cardio from falling off. My littlest loves trying to trick me into changing her perfectly clean diaper, and I know her little silly self thinks its hilarious when I see there is nothing in the diaper. You do what you have to do. It’s a balance that we all have to integrate into our lives, so what’s one more thing. You have plenty of time anyway…..don’t you? {eye roll!}

Helpful hint: One of the very best investments you can make is a full length mirror to work-out in front of.

It’s a great tool in checking your form but it has another purpose: No matter how careful you are one day you will hit/kick/knee your kid while working out. They will zig zag when you only have time to account for a zig.

You Will Feel Terrible!!! Even if it doesn’t really hurt them.

Don’t worry though if your child is old enough she will remind you of the terror you caused every day for quite a while. Anyway, the mirror helps avoid this situation by working out in front of it. {While we are on the subject maybe save kick boxing for nap time ;)}

 

Working out can be for any family, in any situation.

Mine is very organized and is important to me, but every workout is a good one.

Taking baby out for a long morning stroll has fantastic benefits. 20 minutes of yoga while you’re waiting for baby to fall asleep so that you can have a glass of wine will make that wine so much more enjoyable.

Each mom out there has the right to take time for herself to be healthy, because in reality that will pay off more for your children in years to come.

So… bad ass momma’s out there: free yourself from guilt, taking just a half an hour “away” from your kids a day could give them years more later in their life. {and yours}

To sleep, or to Co-Sleep

Sandra fact: I do not function on lack of sleep, as in not at all, not even a little.

Lets begin with how much I love and appreciate my husband.  I do, truly and honestly, appreciate everything he does for our family and for me.  He is the yen to my yang.

That is the sweet, kind way of saying we drive each other crazy.

If he is up I am down, black and white, oil and water, so on and so forth.

Most of our life is a careful balance of give and take that ends up in compromises that work for us.

Co-sleeping has been one of those compromises. {Giving birth in a Birthing Center was another one, we can save that for another blog.  Spoiler alert: my crazy, country ass wanted to give birth in a barn.}

Honestly, I had not thought about this much before I had to.

Here is what I knew and thought going into my first days of being a momma:

 

  1. My sister advocated for co- sleeping after her first baby.

Her legacy of life not going quite to plan is in play again here.  She tried putting her little bundle of joy in a bassinet by the bed to sleep. Two weeks into being a momma the exhaustion over took her and without planning to she fell asleep with baby in the bed. She woke alarmed, the baby was OK.  She was surprised by her actions but took them as a sign to do what came naturally.  From that night forward the baby and, now her little sister, share a bed with their parents.

  1. I knew how to sleep without moving.

As a child I bottled raised rabbits. {I mentioned that I’m a little country, right?} Those baby rabbits slept in my bed to keep warm; I could totally do that with a real baby.

  1. Co-sleeping meant I would not have to leave my bed to feed my baby.

With any luck she would not even wake to nurse. Dude, why would you do it any other way?

My husband, the quiet thinking type, could give you a few reasons why he was against the whole idea. All his reasons came from a place of love and worry. Among other logical things like simple space equations his main concern was that he would roll onto Baby Z during the night. I quickly dismissed this one as he is the lightest sleeper I know, one might not even call it sleeping as much as lying still. So the idea that he would, in his sleep, roll onto our warm, squishy baby seemed a very unlikely scenario to me.

I decided to hit the books.

I was quoting Dr. Sears in my sleep.

Finally, that husband of mine conceded.

He did make sure that we had a crib ready when we brought Baby Z home. He likes to be prepared. {Truth be told I don’t think he was really sold on our tiny fragile baby sharing a sleeping space with two 150 pound steam rollers that could crush her at any moment.}

In the spirit of compromise I will admit that we were both right. He was right that we don’t really all fit on the bed. How would I have known he would need to sleep on the floor just to get some rest? I was right too, though. We did not roll onto her, we did not harm her in any way in our sleep.

My sweet, loving husband slept on the floor for at least the first month. He saw that my inability to function without sleep took precedence as I need to feed our tiny girl.

His act of love and self-sacrifice took a toll on my guilt level and on his sleep.

We eased him back into our bed. Slowly, he started napping with her and then we put the mattress on the ground so we could all sleep together.

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Focus on the sweet baby, ignore the mustache {eyeroll:it still isn’t funny}

We have since graduated to having a full-fledged bed, not on the floor, and at 19 months along we all are very happy with our sleeping arrangements.   Turns out that the little I knew, based purely on my instinct was plenty {Confirmed after doing a TON of research} the combo of my instinct and my husband’s push to investigate yielded a process of compromises that made us all safer and happier.

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Maybe next we can talk about the compromise that ended up in my junk food loving husband making fair trade, organic bread for our family 😉 ;).

 

Momma Lachanda

Baby Grace has changed her word for breastfeeding several times: it went from nana, to nano,to noy noy, and now noys.  Noys has more meaning than I want to breastfeed. 

It means:

“Mommy I hurt my hand and I need you to make me feel better.”

“Mom I’m throwing a tantrum and I need to settle down”

And the one I love most:

“Mommy it’s the  middle of the night and I want to be close to you.”

I never knew breastfeeding would not only be beneficial for my child’s nutrition, but also be an amazing parenting tool.

Growing up I never saw anyone in my family breastfeed and it never crossed my mind to do it.  I always figured I’d have a C-section and give my child formula.  One day my husband suggested we watch “The Business of Being Born“, a documentary about natural child birth.  It changed my views and my life.  After watching the documentary, natural child birth and breastfeeding were my biggest desires and I’m happy to say I was able to do both.

Breastfeeding went fairly smooth after Grace was born.  She latched on perfectly from the beginning and gained her birth weight back within a week.  There were only two times that we ran into a little difficulty.

The first time Grace had a full body rash and we couldn’t figure out what caused it.  Thank God for breastfeeding support groups; I posted a picture of the rash on Grace’s stomach and  the mothers immediately suggested that she may have a milk protein allergy.  I cut dairy from my diet and within a month the rash cleared up.

The second run-in happened when I returned to work when she was eight weeks old.  I was pumping too much at work and when I got home she would get agitated because my milk didn’t flow as fast as it did prior to pumping.  My lactation consultant suggested that I stop pumping so close to the time I was going to see her after work so I would have more milk stored in my breast.  After making a slight adjustment things went back to the way they were before I started work.  Now that I’m home full time I no longer have to pump.

I often wonder what I would do without breastfeeding because it’s how I parent and part of our life style.  When Grace was younger she had a lot of physical reactions to different things due to her eczema, and I would put breast milk on the area or give her a breast milk bath and it would clear up within hours.  When she’s upset and crying because she can’t have her way, breastfeeding comforts her and stops the tears immediately.  It also helps nap and bed time run smoothly.

I can say that I never thought I’d breastfeed my child, and I sure didn’t think I’d be breastfeeding for 19 months, but I’m so happy I am on this journey with her.

I’m also happy I have a husband that supports our journey and a daughter that I have a beautiful bond with because of his support.

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