Sunday, April 23, 2017

Ways We Exhaust Our Kiddos!

 We didn't plan this weekend out in advance and were left kind of scrambling to put together some fun things for the kiddos. Saturday it was raining so we needed to find something good indoors. Luckily, we're not too far from Giggleberry and it was a perfect thing to do.
 There is a water table there; Chase couldn't care about anything else. He played at a few other places but running from side to side fishing for ducks and rearranging things was what truly made him happy. Abby, on the other hand, wasn't tall enough for that and thus wandered to a lot of other things. She crawled through the tunnel, rode a carousel horse, and played on the firetruck.

Then today, we met up with friends and visited A Day at Delaware Valley University. There were bounce houses to climb in, animals to see, and a bubble entertainer. All of this was great for Chase! It wasn't quite as good for Abby. Any time we took her out of the stroller, she kind of ran off. I let her a bunch. We got out to see the animals. She LOVED staring at the sheep.
 She also loved seeing the chicks and donkey. I'm so glad I was able to do that with just her because I was able to focus on letting her take it all in.

Isn't that such a joy - seeing how your kids take in the world? It's truly one of my favorite parts of parenthood. Chase is a tentative explorer, preferring to have me by his side. He's getting more adventurous though, which I love. Abby is more of a spitfire. You tell her no? She heads right in! She loves to touch, explore, and discover. It's rewarding to see but also sometimes a little nerve racking, as we have to watch closely to ensure she stays safe.
Both kids were thoroughly exhausted when we left there and slept in the car for about 45 minutes. Plus, we had an early bedtime for both!!
I call it a successful, kid-centric weekend!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Putting Myself First

Post second baby, the weight did not leave me like it did post first baby. Which is kind of funny because I nursed longer with the second kiddo. Anyway, I've never been the healthiest Stacy I can be and with the extra weight and the ever narrowing gap between my age and the age my dad died of a heart attack, it was time to make some changes. 

I knew I needed to find a way to increase my activity, both for health and energy. I've been working out pretty regularly for the last month and a half. I'm currently aiming for 5-6 times per week. I get up earlier than everyone in the house so I can hammer it out before the kids need me or I'm faced with a thousand other distractions. Although I don't always enjoy rolling out of bed, I definitely enjoy getting up and moving. I subscribed to Beachbody On Demand and have been doing some mixed martial arts, yoga, barre and other things. I'm really loving that 6-7 am time because I get to focus on just me. I feel like, when you have little kids, focusing on yourself is something that doesn't happen very often. 

I also love that post workout high. I ran for a short while (apparently running and scoliosis don't mix) and loved that high. Now I get it with punching and kicking!
Post workout sweaty selfie with a lovely iphone haziness
 I've also been using a FitBit again. I love tracking my heart rate and I like the reminder to get up and walk. Extra bonus is, if I do enough, the husband's wellness plan will give us money.
Since I've been working out it looks like my scale has gone down a few pounds. My big hairy audacious goal would be to lose about 50 pounds. But honestly, the most important thing for me is to get my heart as healthy as I can and to have more energy for keeping up with the kiddos.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Gift for Me

When we had our second baby we didn't get quite as many meals and other little bit of help as we did with the first. I think this is pretty typical honestly. You already experienced the parenting learning curve from the first and probably prepared more this time. However, I'm a HUGE believer in meals being so helpful. Plus, cooking and helping people are two of my favorite things.

A friend just had her second boy and I was able to work with our little group of friends to cover a few meals after they returned home. Tonight I delivered chicken tacos to them for dinner. Our chicken taco recipe is the easiest. It's just:
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 a package of taco seasoning 
Cook in the crockpot for 2-6 hours.

I doubled the recipe and we had tacos tonight too! Little do my friends know that bringing them dinner was a total gift for me too. Not only did I get to see that sweet baby but I got to help take one thing off their plate.
I also included some chocolate chip cookies and these little homemade friends for their two boys. Because homemade love is just awesome.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Looking Back on the Breastfeeding Experience

Now that we're past the breastfeeding/formula stage, I can look back on it all through a different lens. It was a true struggle for me both times to admit defeat. Because that's what it felt like. The first time, with my son, I didn't know a lot about breastfeeding and figured it would just work. Shocker to anyone who has gone through it - it's not that easy! And I was trying. The latch wasn't great. The production sucked. And I was so exhausted. Exhausted from lack of sleep but truly bone tired from trying. It made me cry. A lot.

The second time, with my daughter, I did the pre work. I visited with a lactation consultant (LC) in advance. I set up a follow up appointment for after her birth. I used a nipple shield. I met with the LCs in the hospital. I took advice. I used different positions. I breastfed then pumped. And man, was I EXHAUSTED. That's serious work. And it was again just too much for me emotionally.

A year later, I can look back on it all and be proud of myself for trying and proud of myself for quitting. Because quitting was what I needed for me. And that's okay. Thankfully we live in a society where formula is available. My kiddos were fed. And a healthy mother - physically AND mentally - is best for baby. I worried I'd miss out on that physical connection with my children. But I was still feeding them and comforting them. When they are hurt, I'm the one they want. When it's bedtime I'm holding them, reading to them, and helping them to transition to sleep. I'm so glad I was able to recognize that quitting was what I needed. And that I was surrounded by people - my mom, my husband, my doctors - who told me that when I needed to hear it. I sincerely hope all women who need to hear that get that. Because your health is important. Taking care of yourself allows you to care for your kiddos.

This post is in collaboration with The Honest Company. Learn more about their formula here

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Challenge of Food

My kids have gotten a bit picky when eating lately. They were such great eaters - going for pretty much everything - but suddenly we're a little unwilling to eat banana, grapes, or oranges. What's changed? No idea. But that's just kiddos being kiddos I think.

From the very beginning, we've subscribed to baby led weaning. We might not have called it that right away but that's what we did. My son - the eldest kiddo - was done with formula right at a year. He loved food so much and took to milk right away. It was kind of magically how he transitioned from bottles to sippy cups and from formula to milk. Okay, seriously magic.
The youngest is slowly getting there. She drinks a lot of water - more so than milk - so I'm hesitant to make the transition. She will tool around the house with that sippy cup on water all day, dribbling water down her as she goes. She also loves food, although not everything lately. She'd eat an avocado a day if I let her (who has that kind of money??). She loves hot dogs. She likes broccoli. She will eat all of her strawberries and then her brother's! But we're still working on moving off formula completely. And honestly I'm okay with that because I'm trusting her to get to the right place when her body is ready.

I also don't really fix a separate meal for them. They eat what we eat although it may be supplemented with something else. When we do chicken tacos, they eat tomato, tortilla, avocado, chicken, and olives. Last night when we had Swedish meatballs and asparagus; they did noodles, asparagus, avocado, and tomatoes. I'm not willing to fix a whole separate dinner. That's just not how I mom.
Speaking on momming (when you create a word, you determine if it has an additional m right?) I will say I've always felt good about the decisions we've made for them with food. They eat mostly nutritious food. It's a balanced diet with a few sweets thrown in. We let them explore and develop their palate. Personally, I'm trying to model healthy eating and exercise for them.

And I've never regretted using formula with them. I hang out with some crunchy mommas. But they also have always subscribed to fed is best. And choosing the formula route was what I needed for good mental health. Between latch challenges and production (oh production!! Don't get me started!), it was so taxing to me emotionally. I really hope all mommas focus on making that choice - the one that is right for their body, mind, and life.