Thursday, May 19, 2016

Baby Hungry

It's not what you think. This warm weather has me reminiscing about last summer, when I was anxiously (as in, literally having major anxiety) and excitedly preparing for the birth of Lydia. But I look back on that time--on both of my pregnancies, actually--as one of the happiest times of my life. There's just nothing like the anticipation of expecting a new baby! And now that she's almost a year old, I can't help waxing nostalgic, and so being the sap that I am, I had to go back and read the blog post I wrote a year ago about all of the emotions and excitement I felt while I was carrying her.

On the other hand, as stressed and overwhelmed as I've been trying to take care of two kids only a year-and-a-half apart--which, as you probably guessed from my last blog post, has been a challenge for me--having another baby should be the last thing on my mind. The truth is, while I hope and dream of another "miracle baby" (ICYMI: I have high-risk pregnancies, a history of recurrent miscarriage, along with other fertility issues, including a blood-clotting deficiency and endometriosis), I don't feel ready to be pregnant again anytime soon. And even though my baby isn't a tiny newborn anymore, I'm loving the sweet and spunky girl she's becoming, too.

So to satisfy my "baby hunger," I'm taking a little break from my almost-29-year-old-hot-mess self to live vicariously through my 27-year-old-pregnant-and-glowing self, via this blog post from last April (until the memory of my 9-months-pregnant-can't-move self brings me back to reality). Enjoy!

"Wow. Today I’m 29 weeks pregnant--in my final trimester--with less than three months to go until our baby girl arrives in July. I’m absolutely thrilled, but still somewhat in disbelief. With Caleb, we’d waited so long to become parents, it was almost as if we’d been “expecting” him for years.

But this was a complete surprise. I never could’ve imagined or expected such a miracle. It’s almost too good to be true--I even feel guilty, because I know so many people still waiting for their miracle. Isn’t it their turn?

I don’t know why this second miracle pregnancy happened so quickly, but this little girl must be meant for our family right now, and so many things have fallen into place--my health, great doctors, our financial situation (thanks also to Ben graduating and years of working and saving)--to make it possible. It’s all through the hand of God, and we’re in absolute awe.

I know well enough that not all pregnancies end with healthy babies. I’ve lost three. But just like I did with Caleb, I’ve tried not to fear what I can’t control and instead trust in God’s plan. Every day and week and month that this baby continues to grow inside of me is a miracle and a gift.

Now that I’m in my last trimester, it’s all becoming real, even if it still feels too good to be true, and it’s time to get ready for this little girl. It’s as terrifying as it is exciting..."

CLICK HERE to keep reading the original blog post + see more pictures!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

What to do + what not to do while holding a baby

The other day on Instagram I shared how much I've struggled lately with trying to do everything one-handed, and ever since, people have been asking me what happened to my arm. Well, about 10 months ago, I had a baby.

We're pretty much joined at the hip these days! Of course I love holding her--I mean that smile! Those kissable cheeks! And it's not that she doesn't like crawling around by herself, in fact she loves it. But with a two-year-old brother who loves to "play" with her (i.e. smother her...we're working on that), she only lasts about 3 minutes. And if I'm busy doing something else, she usually crawls over to see what I'm up to. She doesn't like being left out...who does?

The thing is, it's just impossible to do some things one-handed. I mean, you could write a novel, govern a nation (technically, it's the European Parliament), or travel the world, all while holding a baby. But put on pants? That's a different matter entirely. So in honor of Mother's Day, here are a few do's and don'ts to keep in mind while toting your tot:

Things to do while holding a baby:
  • Shower. Seriously, don't wait until your hands are free, or it might be a few days. It can be done, as long as you don't shave.
  • Put on make-up and do your hair (minus mascara), you overachiever, you!
  • Go to the bathroom. Avoid if possible. 
  • Go on a walk. Could you use a stroller? Sure. But if your baby decides that's not her thing, you'll end up holding a baby AND pushing a stroller with one hand (#beentheredonethat). I recommend a strap-on baby carrier or sling. (I've tried a few different ones, but I happen to like this sling I got free best.)
  • Go shopping--also a good time to use a carrier.
  • Travel or fly. Again, a carrier is a MUST.
  • Work out. (Here's how I do it.)
  • Take pictures. Two words: neck strap.
  • Type on a computer. Remember to hit CTRL+S every few seconds.
  • Talk on the phone. You have approximately 10 seconds until your baby hijacks it. 
  • Put away laundry, especially if you don't fold. (I give you permission to stop folding your kids' clothes. You're welcome.)

Confession: I don't fold my kids' clothes. And I love it! Caleb helps put away and pick out his clothes everyday, and the clothes go straight from the laundry basket to these #DollarTree bins inside his #IKEA dresser, except for maybe a quick fold now and then as I drop it in. And believe it or not, they don't look any more wrinkled than when I used to fold them. I hang up their church clothes, and I still fold our clothes (most of them hang anyway), but I do the same thing with Lydia's pajamas and everyday clothes in her dresser. Plus, I wash and dry just one load a day, so it only takes a few minutes to put it all away, especially when Caleb helps. It's saved me from a life of sitting and folding laundry for hours. I know, I'm such a rebel. Take that, #MarieKondo! #momlife #simplify #makeroomforwhatmattersmost
A photo posted by @jennyfromgeorgia on

  • Sweep, vacuum, mop. Or don't.
  • Make dinner. Pasta, rice, soup, and sandwiches are easy one-handed meals. At the very least, set out all your ingredients on the counter, so when you do finally catch a moment with both hands, everything is right there, ready to be chopped up and thrown together.
  • Play with or read to your other kids.
  • Dance to your favorite music.
  • Just sit back and enjoy holding that baby! 

Things NOT to do while holding a baby:
  • Use scissors. Nope, I'll never try that again.
  • Use a knife. (See above on making dinner.) 
  • Use any kind of sharp, pointy object.
  • Browse social media on a smart phone (unless you want your baby to post a picture of you breastfeeding on Instagram, which definitely did not even come close to almost happening to me once, but you can never be too safe).
  • Operate heavy machinery, except in emergencies, like when you have no clean clothes or dishes.
  • Lift heavy objects.
  • Climb a ladder.
  • Paint.
  • Wear the same outfit that you're planning to wear somewhere else later.
  • Sit down for too long. 
  • Read a book that has actual paper pages. You'd better stick to board books for the next few years.
  • Handle anything valuable or breakable.
  • Put sheets on a bed. Trust me, don't even try it. 
  • Put on pants.
  • Put on mascara. 
  • Replace batteries or light bulbs. 
  • Put a new roll of toilet paper on the springy-thing.
  • Clean up your pet's mess
  • Open a bag of chips. (And don't even think about using your teeth.)
  • Eat that special treat you've been saving.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Giant Blocks (of Kindness)

A few friends suggested I blog more about the hands-on learning I do with my kids at home, rather than just sharing it on Instagram. I'm a little hesitant--I know there are hundreds of professional "mommy bloggers" out there doing the same thing, only way better. Really, this is just something I do for fun (you know me, living on the edge), but I love when other moms share their ideas, so I'll give it a shot.

We made these giant blocks a few days ago, and not only have they have been tons of fun, they've been the perfect learning tool. We've had almost NO timeouts or do-overs in the last week. A couple weeks ago, I was exhausted from having to constantly stop and send my son to timeout for being way too rough with his little sister or friends. Many tears were shed all around, including mine, and he was getting as frustrated as I was. I knew I needed a different approach.

The truth is, he's a really good, sweet boy, but he's a boy--an active, spirited, and sometimes rowdy boy. The idea that his baby sister doesn't want to be tackled and some friends don't like being chased was inconceivable to him. We'd talked about being respectful and gentle many times, but he needed to learn how to put kindness into action. 

A stack of cardboard boxes, which had been cluttering our front room while functioning as a "construction site" for all of his trucks and tools, seemed to be begging for a higher purpose. First, we wrapped them in craft paper and colored on them. I let him help me decide how to illustrate each word, so he told me which friends to draw and what colors their clothes should be. We ended up with four steps of fun--wrapping (he liked taping best), coloring, stacking, and of course, unwrapping (Caleb: "IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!"). Even Lydia had a blast, climbing on the boxes and crinkling the paper scraps.

We used WAY too much tape. 

For us, it was a way to learn about kindness, but you could make these blocks for any purpose. They could be about letters, numbers, family, superheroes--whatever sparks your kid's imagination. Or you could just wrap some cardboard boxes in paper and let your kid scribble whatever he or she wants to. For Caleb, wrapping the boxes was half the fun. Sure, they looked like a toddler wrapped them, but it kept him busy for a good hour, and it was a tactile, touchable, stackable lesson in kindness that stuck with him longer than any timeout. That's a win-win in my book.