Wednesday, May 27, 2015

how we wore it // summer rain

I'm not gonna lie to you, guys, I'm not really a fashion guru at all. You'll probably see next to zero posts about my sense of fashion. I mean, I still wear clothes from high school. And I can count the number of pairs of shoes I own on one hand. The only kinds of fashion I rock are the jeans and random assortments of shirts that give easy enough access for me to be able to feed my babe, and that's it.

With that said, when I saw the opportunity to team up with Brooke from Silver Lining to do a fun "fashion for non-fashion-bloggers" post, I thought it'd be a lot of fun.

This is how it works: She finds a super awesome actually fashionable person and sends a picture of her in some supah-cute clothes to a bunch of bloggers (which included me this month!). We all then interpret that outfit and try to recreate it using pieces that we already own in our closets. And then voila! We all post our "how we wore it" posts on the last Wednesday of the month!

So, here was the picture we were all sent:

So I took one look at the photo and had no stinking idea what on earth I was going to do. I have no pieces like that!

I finally decided to go with the same color scheme she used. Here's what I came up with:

I did not have a cool purse or a cute pair of sunglasses, but I added in a belt! Plus jewelry. Being the daughter of a custom jeweler means I have strong beliefs about outfits not being complete until you're wearing earrings. :)

Rocking a skirt I bought when I was fifteen, my friends. 

We had our family pictures taken this week and I bought these shoes for that. I am so in love. I don't think I've taken them off since I got them.

And that, my friends, is how I wore it!

Want to see how everyone else wore it? Check out each of the lovely ladies below!

Brooke at Silver Lining
Deidre at Deidre Emme
Sierra at Sierra's View
Brooklyn at A Little Too Jolley
Laura at Sincerely, Laura
Kaycie at Redhead Memories 
Kyla at FordOlogy
Ashley at Absolutely Ashley
Tayler at The Morrell Tale
Bonnie at Life of Bon

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

the seven levels of poopy diaper horror

This post is not for the faint of heart. In fact, if you're not a mom, you'd better just stop reading right now because I don't think anyone but a mom could handle what I'm about to talk about.

Yep. Poop. And a lot of it.

There are varying degrees of poopy diapers--from mild to hide-in-a-closet-and-never-come-out horrendous.

I'd like to classify them from level one to level seven.

level one
This is what Husband likes to call a "juicy toot." Only like a quarter of a wipe is necessary. It's deceptive because it SOUNDS like you need to get out the gloves and galoshes, and it sure smells like that too. You get all the equipment together and call in the big guns only to find a little poop smaller than a dime. I guess there are worse surprises.

level two
I've got two words for you: "little nugget."

level three
This is your a smallish average poopy diaper. Only one wipe required. Nice and neat and stays right in the diaper, exactly where it should stay. Mildly stinky. The kind of diaper that grandmas and grandpas don't mind changing too much.

level four
This is the larger average poopy diaper. That diaper is full, my friends. There's no waiting for Grey's Anatomy to get over to change this one. It's gotta be changed immediately, or you'll end up with a level five.

level five
Poop came out. Little stains seep into the legs of the baby's cute pants. If the baby's exclusively breastfed, it's the color of mustard. If the baby's eating other foods, it's a much less sunshine-y color. Hope you packed baby an extra outfit in that oversized Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag.

level six
Yeah, your cute jeans are goners, my friend. Hopefully you weren't at McDonald's or someplace fancy like that because you and baby have just won a pair of matching, adorable, stinky stains. And, if you're lucky, you got some extra on your shirt. Yay for you.

level seven
You just sit and stare for a minute. There is no good starting point. There is poop everywhere. And before you're done, it's in even more places. Like on your face and in your shoes. This is where you dump the baby in the tub, seriously consider dialing 911, and stuff the diaper, 47 dirty wipes, and that once-cute outfit into three trash bags and throw it outside into the dumpster. Level seven is brutal. Level seven takes at least an hour to clean up. Level seven involves a lot of crying from both baby and mama. Good moms have been driven to the edge by a level seven.

Today? Today my little Bug decided to grace us with a seven.

It all seemed innocent enough. He was playing on the floor while I finished up my makeup. I went over to scoop him up into my arms and I smelled a hint of something. I lifted him closer to smell. Sure enough, he had a dirty diaper. Didn't smell too strong, so I figured it was mild. Maybe a level two.

I hauled him upstairs, laid him on the carpet (mistake number one) and lifted his legs (mistake number two).

When I opened the diaper, I realized how very wrong I was. There was poop everywhere. And it had squelched out of the back of his diaper and up his little back. It was squishing into a disgusting pile underneath him on the carpet. It got on his arms. It got on his feet.

I was shocked. How can something so little make SO MUCH POOP?!

I didn't even know what to do. Clean up the baby? Get rid of the diaper? Take off the poop-onesie? get him off the poopy carpet? Dump everything in the tub?

After thirty minutes, a lot of scrubbing, and a lot of yelling across the house to Husband to come help, we finally succeeded in making the room look less like a poop grenade went off in it.

Baby is now sleeping soundly and I am super proud of how I was finally able to get the poop out from under my fingernails.

A lot of things used to gross me out before becoming a mama. I feel like now I'm the queen of yucky, and I'm sure it only gets yuckier from here.

Anyone else have any great poop-splosion stories?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

what i hope my son learns from his daddy

I was very picky during my dating years before Husband and I tied the knot. I didn't have an identified list of things my spouse needed to be before I would say "I do," but I knew that whoever my husband would be was going to need to be kind of amazing.

Well, ladies and gents, I got a whole lot more than amazing.

I got a goofy, genius, hilarious, kind-hearted, fatherly, sweet, cuddly, self-sacrificing man who I totally do not deserve even a little bit. I married waaaaaay up, and I'm still waiting for him to figure that out.

But nothing in our pre or post marriage relationship has made me love him more than watching him become a daddy to my sweet little Bug. And sometimes at night when I go in to check on him after he's been rocking the baby for over an hour and I see him sound asleep with our sweet infant cradled in his arms, I laugh. Because they could be like twins 25 years apart. That sweet baby and that sweet man look so much alike.

And when I watch them both snoring in the rocking chair, I wonder to myself if little Bug will be like his daddy. I so hope he will.

I hope he will learn from his daddy to work hard. To put his everything into something he cares about. To never give up until the job is done.

I hope he learns from his daddy to be strong. To bow his head and push through the trials he will face in life. To recognize that this life, in the scheme of things, is just a small moment.

I hope he learns from his daddy to be brave. To try things he doesn't think he can do. To mess up sometimes so that he can become better.

I hope he learns from his daddy to laugh. To find joy even in the simplest things. To try to make others smile whenever he can.

I hope he learns from his daddy how to mow the lawn, how to change a flat tire, and how to build a campfire. How to wash dishes, make spaghetti, and give Mom foot massages (heh).

I hope little Bug will notice how much his daddy loves his mommy. I hope he sees how well he treats her--how he gives her a kiss as soon as he gets home, how he holds her hand whenever they go on walks, and how he tells her how beautiful she is all the time. I hope Bug learns from his daddy how to treat not only his future wife, but all women. With the kindness and love and respect that his daddy learned from his own father.

I hope my baby watches his daddy kneel to pray. I hope he sees his daddy read his scriptures every night. I hope he hears his daddy talk about God--the loving father in heaven who listens and loves him, too.

I kind of can't wait for the days when my little Bug wants to wear matching ties with his dad and tries to copy everything he does.

I can already tell that he is watching. Those big, bright, blue eyes are always watching us. And I hope he realizes someday how lucky he is to have this wonderful, tickle-you-til-you're-blue, wrestle-in-the-mud, climb-all-over-the-playgrounds dad who loves him more than I could ever have hoped for.

I hope he grows up not only to look like his dad, but to be like him too.

Monday, May 18, 2015

7 random mom skills you'll pick up when you have a newborn

There are a lot of new skills you pick up in the months directly following the birth of your baby. You know, like how to change a diaper, how to hold your baby so their head doesn't fall off, and how to tell if your baby is hungry. And there's no how-to manual, so it's really a crash course in learning while on the fly. However, there are a few skills I've picked up since becoming a mama six months ago that I am particularly proud of, and once your baby is born, I'm sure you'll be proud of them too.

the sightless swaddle
This one makes me feel like a mama-master! You know you're truly a pro when you come from a bright room into the pitch darkness of the nursery and successfully super-swaddle your baby before your eyes adjust. It doesn't get much more legit than that, mamas.

the wiggle wipe
Sometimes those little babies do NOT hold still, and it becomes a true athletic feat to wipe the poop off their bums before they wriggle out of your grasp. Extra points if you can change a baby who just learned how to roll over--and platinum goes to the moms of crawling babies!

the houdini handle
You know you're a virtuoso when you can successfully remove a poop-splosioned onesie from a writhing baby without getting the poop all over said baby's face. Seriously. High-five yourself, because you have my respect.

the silent stepper
Crap. You left your phone in the baby's room, and he's finally sound asleep! Not to worry... if you've got the silent stepper move down, you can get in and out of there without making a peep. You've mastered the art of opening squeaky doors, waltzing across creaky floors, and sneaking past the crib--all completely soundlessly. You deserve a medal of honor.

the nursing ninja
You are my hero if you've become one of these, because I still haven't figured out how you all do it. Nursing ninjas have the uncanny ability to nurse their babies while doing other things. Like walking. Or cooking. Or standing in line at the grocery store. Or, you know, doing anything other than sitting in the rocking chair with the baby propped up on a boppy pillow. Teach me your ways, ninja mamas.

the peaceful pumper
You've managed to sit up, put together the breast pump, attach it to your breasts, turn it on, pump a full bottle, store the milk, and clean the parts--all while still completely asleep at 3am. Sleepwalkers ain't got nothing on you, mom.

the loaded lifter
Once you become a mama, you get buff. Not even the world's greatest body builder can carry as many baby items as you can at once. You've got the diaper bag, extra blankets, car seat with baby in tow, your purse, AND a week's worth of groceries in your arms all at the same time. Plus, you can even unlock the front door without dropping anything!

I'm telling you, moms are the most multi-talented people I know. And don't get me started on those toddler moms...

Can you relate to some of these? What super-sexy skills have you acquired since becoming a mom?

Friday, May 15, 2015

being a mom is hard

I feel incredibly vulnerable sharing this. I usually like using sarcasm and cracking jokes and showing the world the brighter things about this life. But tonight, I wanted to share something honest.

I always knew being a mom would be hard. It would be hard to give birth to my babies. It would be hard to get up during the night. It would be hard to potty-train. It would be hard to never get a break.

I imagined all of those things and how hard they would be.

But one thing I didn't think of?

It's hard to realize that the reason your baby isn't having wet diapers anymore is all your fault.

It's hard to weigh your baby and realize he's lost almost a pound in the last couple of weeks and it is all your fault.

It's hard to hold the tiny human that you love more than life and see him cry giant, sad, hungry tears after nursing and know that that hunger is all your fault.

It's all my fault.

That's a kind of "hard" I didn't ever think of. This "hard" feels so very deep and bitter and cold.

On the surface, I know that I'm not failing as a mother. As soon as I realized what the issue was, I pulled out my frozen milk to make him bottles. And I pulled out my trusty pump to try to get my body making milk the way it was before. But I still feel like I'm failing.

Failing feels strangely like falling. Fighting to get my body to make the milk that I KNOW it knows how to make. Except it won't.

I pump and I pump and my nipples get sore and my body gets tired and I feel the word FAIL sinking into my heart.

I know it isn't as hopeless as it feels. My baby will get fed whether I can get my body to make milk or not. He will grow and thrive and become a wonderful young man. No one will look at him and think I failed because of this.

But it's hard to remember that sometimes.

Anyone else struggle with milk supply? I'd love some support right now.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

top ten baby shower gift ideas

I've been to a billion baby showers (it's true, I counted), and one thing all of them have in common is that all of the same gifts are always given at every single one. The mom-to-be gets piles and piles of super cute baby clothes and a thousand blankets. And while it's true, expecting moms definitely need clothes for their babies and blankets to wrap their bundles of joy in, sometimes it's nice to see a little variety. SO I put together a list of my top ten favorite baby shower gift ideas. Enjoy!

I put this one first because it's my all-time FAVORITE baby product that anyone has ever given me. Seriously, the NoseFrida is sheer brilliance in a box. It can be used by itself, but becomes a zillion times more effective when used with a sterile saline spray like the one Little Remedies offers. It works by simply spraying a little bit of the saline solution into the baby's nose, inserting the tip of the NoseFrida, and sucking through the red mouthpiece.

Grossed out? Don't be. There's no possible way for any of your friend's sweet baby's boogers to get to her mouth. I promise, it's humanly impossible for anyone to suck that hard. And just to reassure you, there is a filter in place, but honestly it's really not necessary. The boogers never even get that far into the tube.

The NoseFrida works like magic, I am not even kidding. Those bulb snot-suckers are the worst invention ever and I don't know anyone who can actually clear a sick baby's nostrils with one. The NoseFrida, on the other hand, is like a mommy super power. If I wasn't already married to Husband, and if marrying inanimate objects was a thing that people didn't make fun of, I'd marry this product.

I will forever be indebted to my amazing sister-in-law for introducing me to it. She's my hero. You can be a hero, too, at the next baby shower you attend if you bring one.

So you know how baby poop stinks? Well, I don't. Because I've got these bad boys. A friend told me about them when I was expecting Bug, and they are one of my favorite things to carry around in my diaper bag. I kid you not, these things make your poopy diaper smell like clean laundry! You simply drop the used diaper into one of these little bags, tie it off, and you're golden. Munchkin Arm & Hammer is my favorite brand, but I've also heard that the dog version of this product works just as well, so there's that.

And, if you want to get super fancy, you can buy the little dispenser for it that clips onto the diaper bag. I bought one, but promptly lost it (I don't know what else I expected to happen--I lose everything).

The same sister-in-law who gave me my cherished NoseFrida also made me a binky clip. Which I have also since lost (and I seriously almost cried. I'm crossing my fingers and praying and hoping that I'll find it again--it was the cutest thing ever. Much cuter than the pictured one I'm currently using. You can find some cute designs here).

Binky clips save my germophobic sanity. Because when we're out grocery shopping and Bug spits out his binky, instead of having it fall on the gross-gusting floor covered in AIDS, it stays firmly attached to his shirt. (Insert "Hallelujah Chorus" here.) And, as an added bonus, I lose way fewer binkies with this thing. (Except for the one that is still attached to the one my sister-in-law made for me... Where oh where did you go, dear binky clip?!)

If there is one thing babies hate, it's getting the sun in their eyes. Trust me. If the mom-to-be ever drives a car, she NEEDS one of these in her life. Because, get this, they stay on using STATIC CLING. Yep. The mom-to-be that you buy this for will love you forever, or your money back.

If the mom you're buying for is planning on breastfeeding, then these are one of the most helpful gifts you can give her. Trust me. The same sister-in-law that I've been raving about this whole post (love you Mads!) also gave me a gift full of breastfeeding supplies, and the storage bags were included. I've probably used close to 500 of these guys since my baby was born six months ago, and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon.

Also, if you want a breastfeeding-themed gift, check out my list of breastfeeding essentials.

You buy a mom some diapers, and she'll love you for life. Because one of the first things that first-time-moms have a meltdown over in the grocery store is diapers. They don't seem to cost that much to someone who's never had a baby, but if you've had one, you know how quickly babies go through them. Especially when they're newborns. (Hint: TEN A FREAKIN' DAY!) Diaper costs add up quickly. Save your friend some money and help a sistah out.

All hail the white noise machine. If I didn't already believe in a God, I'd probably worship this thing on a shrine. As soon as we started using it, my baby started sleeping like a little angel. Plus, when this thing is on, baby won't get woken up by the motorcycle screaming past your house, the neighbor blasting Justin Bieber, or your swearing at Simon Cowell for criticizing your favorite American Idol contestant. All baby hears is the white noise. Praise be.

Okay, so this might be a boring gift, but it is extremely practical. I go through gobs of this stuff. I keep a few bottles on the changing table and a few mini bottles in the diaper bag so that I don't have to wash my hands every stinking time I change my baby's diaper (which, in case you forgot from what I said earlier, is A LOT). Bonus points if you get the extra moisturizing kind.

In case you missed my post about how coconut oil is a mother's secret weapon, you need to know that coconut oil is one of the coolest products to give a new mom. It works as a diaper cream, nipple ointment, stretch mark cream, and so much more. Seriously. Coconut Oil. You won't be sorry.

This is kind of a fun gift to give. Matching towels and washcloths with some baby soap and a rubber ducky make a great little gift basket that the mom-to-be will actually use. Because, news flash, babies get dirty.

And that's my list! Have you tried any of these products? Are there any that you would add to this list?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

expecting the unexpected: preparing for an emergency c-section

When I was pregnant, c-section was the last thing on my mind. I had plans, my friends. I knew exactly how this whole labor and delivery deal was going to go down. I was going to start having contractions. Husband and I would start timing them. We were going to stay home and labor until I got to 3-1-1 (3 min apart, 1 min long, 1 hour). We would book it to the hospital where I'd give birth vaginally (without an epidural) to my beautiful baby boy. It was gonna be awesome and by the book.

We hardly even used the term "c-section" during my pregnancy. Why would we? We had no reason to expect one. I was healthy, low-risk, and having a perfect pregnancy (well, besides the PUPPP rash). Baby was head down, and at my 36 week appointment I was already dilated to a 2 and 70% effaced. Things seemed perfect.

Now on the other end of my delivery, I wish we would have discussed c-section a bit more. I wish I would have prepared myself for one "just in case."

Here's what I recommend doing before your delivery date comes around.

1Discuss it. What will you do if you end up needing a c-section? Do you want your husband to stay in the room with you? Or would he get queasy, pass out, and knock over your surgeon (not recommended) at the sight of blood? Would you prefer if he didn't look? Or do you want him to watch the whole thing and give you a play-by-play because you've watched too many episodes of "Grey's Anatomy" and are into that kind of thing? Will your husband stay with you once the baby is born, or will he go with the baby to the nursery? Have a frank discussion about what you want if things end up going that way.

Luckily, Husband and I did once casually talk about whether he would stay with me or go with the baby if we ever had a c-section. He thought I'd want him to stay, and I wanted him to go with our little one. I was so glad that we had talked about that, because when I was actually on that operating table, I was too exhausted and too foggy with medication to even recognize that the crying sounds coming from the other side of the surgical cover were coming from our baby. (No lie: I actually asked what it was.) I definitely wouldn't have been able to convey those wishes to him. But since we'd talked about it, he knew what to do, and he stayed with our little one.

2Don't plan crazy events for the first month postpartum. I've heard of women planning to run 5ks 3 or 4 weeks after their babies are born. And if you have an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, that could totally be doable. But try to wait until after delivery to schedule those types of things. If you end up with an emergency c-section, those are plans you have to cancel and, in some cases, money you will have wasted. C-section recovery is tough. Make sure you remember that as a possibility when planning.

3Recognize that c-section is not the worst case scenario, and prepare yourself emotionally that it is a possibility. It was very difficult for me for the first while after delivery thinking that I had failed and that my birth experience was bad. I'd spent all that time during pregnancy reading about how my body was made to give birth, and yet somehow that hadn't happened for me. I wish I had given myself time to think about c-section and how it could be a beautiful, wonderful, empowering experience as well.

4Freezer meals. This is a good idea even if you don't have a c-section, but even better if you do. After a c-section, even just standing up or walking around is difficult and painful. I remember almost passing out trying to take a shower even two weeks postpartum. I could barely get dressed. Cooking dinner? Forget about it. I wish I would have taken the time to make freezer meals for us. It would have given us a bit more variety than the cold cereal in our cupboard did.

5Decide who you want to be at the birth carefully. Determine what would happen if you were to have a c-section. If your mother or sister or best friend is going to be there, talk to them about what you expect to happen in case of a c-section. Recognize that for the first 12 hours after birth, you will likely not be up to having guests (unless maybe you're superwoman--in which case, that's pretty awesome). I was exhausted and pumped so full of morphine for those first twelve hours I didn't know which way was up. I could barely talk to my husband, let alone entertain guests. I was grateful that people waited for me to give them the okay to come.

6Talk to your OB/midwife about c-section. Tell them your expectations. Do you plan to breastfeed? Tell them so! Make sure your baby is brought in to nurse as soon as possible to establish that breastfeeding relationship. Do you want delayed cord clamping? Make sure your doctor is aware of that! Delayed cord clamping is still acceptable in lots of c-section situations (as long as the baby doesn't require immediate medical attention once it's out). Talking to the doctor about their specific procedures for c-section will also help you feel more at ease if things take a turn for the unexpected in the delivery room.

7Do your research. I spent hours and hours reading up on vaginal birth during my pregnancy, but I never once looked up anything about cesareans. When my doctor determined that I needed a c-section, I was terrified. I knew nothing about c-section except that it would involve slicing me open! I wish I would have read up on the procedure and what I could expect. (I'll be writing a "What to Expect During a C-Section" post soon, so stay tuned!)

8Try some relaxation tracks. Because I was trying to do Hypnobabies for a natural vaginal delivery, I had some relaxation tricks up my sleeve. Lying there on that operating table staring up at the surgical lights made me very jittery and panicky. I was grateful that I'd taken the time to learn how to calm myself down and breathe deeply. Plus, it was nice to go to my happy place for a little while after all of those contractions and hours of pushing. (Bahamas, anyone?)

9Stock up on ice packs (or bags of frozen peas--whichever you prefer ;). Ice packs are great for vaginal deliveries as well, so these won't go to waste if you don't end up with a cesarean. Putting ice on my incision helped enormously with the pain. I had my husband run out to the store for some a few days after I got home from the hospital. I only wish I'd had them sooner!

10Focus on the end goal: your baby. It became easier for me to come to terms with my c-section when I reminded myself that how my baby got here didn't matter. All that mattered was that he got here healthy and alive and happy.

Any other c-section mamas out there? What would you add to this list?

Monday, May 11, 2015

my mom, the tooth-extractor

I was a total and complete wimp as a child when it came to losing teeth.

My siblings would get so excited when their teeth started to feel loose, because... well... the tooth fairy?

But me? That stupid tooth fairy couldn't pay me enough for my precious little teeth. I knew how things worked. Teeth were supposed to stay in. If I let them come out, then I'd lose all of my teeth and I'd be ugly and it would be impossible to eat chips.

No, no. The teeth must stay in at all costs.

My brothers were tough beyond measure, and somehow bought into the lies my parents told them about grown-up teeth growing in after the baby teeth came out. They begged my dad to get his "bites" (the loving term we still use for his leatherman) and yank out their barely-starting-to-wiggle-a-tiny-bit teeth.

Me on the other hand? I let those teeth hang on until the bitter end. Whenever a tooth came out, it was a dramatic event that included a lot of crying, a lot of stuffing my mouth with tissues, and a lot of lying around dramatically like I was about to die.

I was around seven years old when my wimpyness finally drove my mom to the edge. I had a tooth so loose, it practically wasn't even attached anymore. I could pull it all the way out of my mouth--it was barely holding on by a tiny thread of gum tissue. But, as with my other wiggly teeth, I did not want to let that baby go. So instead of letting my dad pull out his leatherman or, you know, pulling it out myself, I spent my time popping it out of my mouth and sucking it back in in a way that made all adults in my vicinity shudder.

My mom, however, had had about enough of me dangling that tooth out of my mouth and asked me if she could just pull the dang thing out already.


It quickly escalated into Mom chasing me around the house saying, "come on, just let me pull it out! It won't even hurt!" and me screaming bloody murder because I knew I would bleed to death if she even tried.

I'm not quite sure how we ended up on the floor, but we did. Mom was straddling my chest trying to get my tooth out, and I was going ballistic kicking and screaming like a madwoman.

"Just let me get it really quick!" she was saying, reaching out a hand toward my mouth.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" I howled. And then I don't quite remember what I said, but I do remember that it was mouthy and not very nice. Because I was an angel 7-year-old, of course.

Mom didn't waste any time. She just popped me right on the mouth lightly with her hand. Not enough to hurt, but enough to show me she didn't appreciate my attitude.

Out flew my tooth at a surprising velocity. It hit the wall.

We both stared at the tooth for a moment, suddenly silent. Then we looked at each other.

I think it took us 15 minutes to stop laughing.

That is one of my absolute favorite memories of my childhood with my mom. I kid you not, she is superwoman. She beat cancer and ran marathons, all while raising me and my three younger siblings. She let us sneak cookie dough when she was baking cookies, took us to the park almost every day, and taught us to say our prayers before bed every night. She taught me what it means to apologize, to look for God's hand in my life, and to love my family more than anything.

She is the best mother on earth, and I love her for that. Now that I've grown and become a mother myself, she is my best girl friend and my go-to girl for when I have no idea how the heck to take care of a little baby.

And on top of that? She's the best grandma ever to my little boy.

I'm so glad to call her my mom.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 8, 2015

what 2am looks like with a baby

Baby makes small grunting noises.

I'm roused from a really great dream about getting back down to my wedding weight with a new diet called "Eat ALL The Calories!" Sigh. Love that dream.

I keep my eyes closed and listen really hard. Is he really awake or is he just grunting in his sleep?

Baby's grunts get progressively louder. The grunts could probably be classified as whines now.

Maybe he'll fall back asleep...

That's my wishful thinking talking, because deep down I know that once the grunts become whines, it's all downhill from there.

Husband is snoring.

He must be deaf at night. Seriously. How can he sleep through all of this?

I stare at the clock, sending as many sleepy vibes as I can through the wall into the baby's room.

My sleepy vibes suck. He's still whining. And getting louder.

Maybe if I pretend I'm still asleep, Husband will become un-deaf and hear the baby. Yeah. And then he'll get up and he'll magically grow breasts so he can feed the baby and I can be the one that gets to sleep all night! Yeah!

Husband's snores start to sound kind of like dying cows.

So it's about now that I start reasoning with God.

"You know, God, your whole babies-waking-up-at-night thing wasn't the best idea. Because didn't you know that if I don't get enough rest, I won't make as much breastmilk? Yeah. It's true. Because science. But for some reason you programmed that along with the fact that babies don't sleep. How does that make any sense?"

But God just laughs at me. And my baby's whining is starting to turn into wailing.

I'm completely and one-hundred percent wide awake now. But my body still doesn't want to move. My bed is so warm, my pillows so comfy... and I really want to get back to that dream where I lose the extra ten pounds I've gained since my wedding by eating spoonfuls of peanut butter and nutella all day.

But I can't be delusional anymore. Because Baby's wailing is now full-on crying, and there's no pretending he's going to go back to sleep anymore because there's no way his binky could still be in his mouth. Besides, I can hear him kicking the wall, which means the swaddle is out, too.

I roll off my bed super gracefully (read: like a drunken pirate who is missing a leg) and stumble into Baby's room.

Sure enough. The swaddle has become a knot of blankets around Baby's waist, and the binky has officially disappeared to the Land of Lost Socks and Bobby Pins with all its other binky friends. Baby's completely upside-down from how I laid him down, and has rolled over onto his stomach. His little feet kick against the wall with surprising vigor as he wails out into the night.

I spend the next ten minutes trying to wrangle down his flailing limbs back into the swaddle.

I fail.

So I hoist the still wailing, squirming baby into my arms, lug all 20 pounds of him over to the rocking chair, and latch him on.

He immediately quiets, and the stillness of the air is broken only by the sweet sounds of his slurping, milk-drunk sighs.

I lay my head back against the rocking chair and close my eyes. Ahhh, the magic of the milk. It cures all.

If only it could cure my exhaustion.

Baby's hand curls itself into a lock of my hair, but he's too sleepy to yank this particular chunk out. Thank heavens. I'm getting low on the hair these days.

I imagine how good a spoonful of peanut butter dipped in Nutella would taste right now.

And then I'm not really sure how it happens, but suddenly I'm startled awake by a motorcycle gunning past our house outside. My eyes find the clock and I wait for my sleepy vision to clear.


I look down at Baby. He's sound asleep with milk dried on his chin and his hand still knotted in my hair.

I gently lift him back to his crib and reswaddle him as delicately as I can. And then I all but dash back to bed.

Husband is still snoring away. I elbow him as I slide back into bed and he rolls over. The snoring subsides.

I close my eyes. All is quiet.

For now.

Sleep tight, little baby. See you in 43 minutes.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

picky eaters and #chobanikids

When I was a kid, I had some pretty wacky ideas about food. These were my philosophies as a 7-year-old:

1Everything should be eaten with ketchup. Especially cucumbers.
2Pizza should have cheese on it and NOTHING else. Not even sauce.
3We should all just eat my mom's chicken pot pie for the rest of our lives. (I still kind of believe that, though... my mom's chicken pot pie is that good.)
4Baloney. All day long. (Also: Bologna or Baloney? I got a bachelor's degree in editing and grammar and I still am not quite sure about the answer to that one...)
5If Mom wants you to eat it, you should probably not eat it.

As you can see, I was a pretty typical kid. Picky. I know some kids are pickier than others, but I don't know a kid that hasn't turned up his nose at a new food just because it's new.

My mom fought a lot of battles with me and my siblings--getting us to eat healthy foods was definitely a big one. However, one thing she did figure out with us was that if she froze the yogurt sticks, we'd eat about a million of them. We went crazy for yogurt.

That's why I'm super excited about the fact that Chobani has launched a new line of yogurts for kids! INCLUDING.... (drum roll)... squeezable yogurts!

I ran over to Walmart and picked up some Chobani Kids yogurt pouches and then a whole box of the squeezy-tube ones (which I promptly threw in the freezer because... yeah. I'm still kind of a kid, let's be real).

My baby is 6 months old, so not quite old enough to start eating these juuuuust yet, but let me tell you, as soon as he can, he's going to be eating Chobani Kids for sure! Here's why:

1Deliciosity. That is a word, I've decided, and it describes these products perfectly. I've practically eaten the whole box in less than 12 hours and I'm not even exaggerating. Also, there are so many flavors to choose from--you're practically guaranteed to find something for even the pickiest eater (check out the different flavors here).
2No mess. I'm telling you, Chobani made a brilliant move with this one by putting the yogurt in pouches and tubes. No spoons, no spilling, no mess. And the pouches are great because you can put the lid back on and toss it in the fridge to finish later. What mom wouldn't love that?!
3Healthy. Just check out the nutrition facts at their website! No preservatives, no gluten, natural sweeteners, and lots of protein... how can you get better than that? I even looked at the nutrition facts and was able to pronounce every ingredient! If that doesn't get a momma excited, I don't know what will.
4Kid-friendly packaging. I mean, with cute drawings and even Spiderman on them, how could a kid not want to eat Chobani?

But I think what has me most excited right now is that I've discovered Chobani Tots. That's right, Chobani has a line of products for babies and toddlers! And now that my little munchkin is getting old enough to eat foods other than breastmilk, I am practically chomping at the bit to go out and buy him some greek yogurt! The baby products come in pouches just perfect for little ones and have flavors like mango & spinach and banana & pumpkin. I'm looking forward to packing up these pouches for Bug when we head out on our many beach outings this summer. :)

Have you tried Chobani Kids products? What do you love about them? Have you tried freezing the tubes? I can't get enough of it!

Also, make sure you're following my twitter, pinterest, facebook, and instagram for more info on baby products like this in the future!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

coconut oil ATTACK!

So remember how I posted about my top five favorite uses as a new mom for coconut oil? Basically I love coconut oil and I tell everyone I know about all the magic it does at my house, and I use it on EVERYTHING.

But have you ever had an unrequited love?

Apparently, coconut oil does NOT love me back.

Let's back up in this story, though, to a few months ago when I first had my baby. Before I had my baby I had this one favorite shirt. It's purple (one of the twenty-three colors I claim as my "favorite"), it was soft, and it fit juuuuuust right. Made me look skinny and great, and that, my friends, is a very important thing to have in a shirt.

But then I had my little bundle of adorable joy, and I started breastfeeding him.

Side note to brand new and future mamas... breastmilk can STAIN your favorite purple shirts!

It's true. Oil stains from the fat in the breastmilk. That do not, I repeat, DO NOT wash out in the laundry!

Oh, that poor shirt. It looked like I'd sent it through the dryer with a tube of chapstick. I was heartbroken. And no matter how many times I washed that shirt, those oil stains never went away. And I cried.

Okay, so "cried" is a bit of an exaggeration, but not much of one. I was very sad.

So two weeks ago I decided I wanted to save my shirt because I missed wearing it. So I got the super-duper action Oxy Clean spray and I went to town. I soaked my shirt in that stuff and let it set for A WEEK. And then I washed it. And then I soaked it in Oxy Clean again. And after that second wash, like magic, the breastmilk-oily-stains-of-evil were gone! Yay!

I pulled that shirt out yesterday, and for the first time in MONTHS, I put it on and felt like a queen because GUYS MY FAVORITE SHIRT WAS FIXEDDDDD!

And I looked awesome all day, because that's how great my purple shirt is.

Then last night, as I finished nursing my ever-so-cute little buddy, I reached over to grab my jar of coconut oil from the table next to my rocking chair so I could put some on his drooly chin-rash.

Another side note. If you are not familiar with coconut oil, let me clue you in. It has this cool feature where it's solid at cool temperatures and liquid at warm temperatures. Ever since I bought my coconut oil, it has been solid whenever I use it. End side note.

I pulled the lid off the coconut oil and the entire freaking jar spilled ON MY SHIRT!

Yeah. Let's just pause to let that sink in.

I didn't scream. I didn't laugh. I didn't cry. I just sat there in stunned silence, staring at my baby (who was laughing at me on the inside, I'm sure of it) as the coconut oil seeped through the fabric and into my skin.

Oxy Clean is my friend again for the day.

Excuse me while I go say another prayer on my shirt's behalf.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

breastfeeding supplies you need

This is a post I wish I could have found about 6-7 months ago when my belly was the size of a house and my apprehension about all things baby was at its height. I was googling every baby thing under the sun in an attempt to "feel ready," and if one thing was a big question mark for me, it was breastfeeding.

So many questions, as a first time mom, were bouncing around in my head.

Will I make enough milk? Is my baby going to latch right? How do you even latch a baby? How do you know if you're doing it right? How do you know if they're getting enough? What if my boobs are broken and don't make milk? How often do you feed a baby? What do I need to buy?

If you didn't hang around me at the end of my pregnancy, be grateful. There was a whole lot of crazy going on there.

So, to help moms expecting their first babies (and maybe even some seasoned moms), here is my list of products a new mom needs if she is planning to breastfeed.

A Good Quality Pump
This has been a key component in my breastfeeding experience. I use a Medela In Style (you can find one here) and it has worked great for me! I love the electric pump because I don't have to do anything but hook it up and sit there while it goes. I do know some moms swear by their manual pumps, though, so just find what works for you. A pump is a must-have if you want to be really successful, though some moms use their pumps more than others do. I use mine all the time, and it has been a major help in establishing supply, freezing a little stash for emergencies, and making a bottle so Husband and I can go out on a date. And the great thing is, most insurance companies either completely cover the cost or pay at least a portion of it. I got mine for free! It's well worth your time to research it and find out if your insurance will pay for it.

Breastmilk Storage Bags
I've used probably hundreds of these since my baby was born almost six months ago. Once you pump out your milk, dump it into one of these bags and lie it flat in the freezer for easy storage. My favorite brands are Up&Up, Lansinoh, and Babies R Us.

If you're planning on exclusively breastfeeding, you likely won't need very many of these, but it's useful to have a few for when you need to leave the house and have someone else feed your baby every once in a while (read: DATE NIGHT!) I got a five-pack of Tommee Tippee bottles that I absolutely love! The nipples feel much more like the breast than any other bottles I looked at, and these bottles have a self venting system so that the air circulates in and out of the bottle as your baby drinks. Some babies are very picky about what kind of bottle you use, so you can try out different kinds to see what suits you, but my baby has loved the Tommee Tippees, and so do we. Plus, the wide opening makes for really easy cleaning!

Nipple Cream
This is a must. When you first start breastfeeding, it WILL hurt. I'm not going to sugarcoat that. It's going to make your nipples all kinds of sore. That pain will go away after your body gets used to the abuse, but until then, make sure you have a really good nipple cream on hand. My favorite thing to use is coconut oil (see my gushing post about coconut oil here), but I also tried and loved the Medela brand of lanolin as well. Whichever you choose, just apply it directly onto the nipple with clean fingers after every feeding (make sure to pat dry first!) and let it air dry for a couple of minutes. It works miracles!

Breast Pads
These are a necessity, I'm not even a little bit kidding. Especially in the beginning, leaking is a part of your life now. Breast pads sit right inside your bra and soak up those leaks. Some people love reusable breast pads, but I like to use disposable ones. My favorites are the Lansinoh brand (which have sticky strips on the back to attach to the bra--though I'll be honest, I've never used the sticky strips, but I know some moms love them) or the Nuk brand (which do not have the sticky strips, but are ultra thin and sit snugly inside the bra and are my preference). Just make sure to change them out regularly so that your nipples stay dry (otherwise you risk thrush).

Nursing Pillow or Boppy
I use one of these every single time I nurse, and I really miss it when I don't have it with me. It just makes my life a zillion times easier, and it is totally worth every single penny--especially in the beginning when you spend the vast majority of your time feeding the baby. You can find a boppy here.

Burp Cloths
You probably got a lot of these at your baby showers, but if you didn't, stock up. Especially right after birth when my baby was just getting the hang of nursing, breastfeeding was ridiculously messy. My milk sprayed everywhere, my baby spit up all the time, and mopping everything up was so much easier because I had a huge stockpile of burp cloths. I am a strong believer that you can never have too many burp cloths, but you CAN have too few.

And there you have it! My list of the absolute necessities! There are a few other products you can buy that are very helpful but not necessarily necessary (did you see what I did there? I'm basically a word master). You can check out:

Nipple Shields
Nursing Covers
Soothing Gel Pads
And many more.

Anyone have anything else that saved them during their breastfeeding days? I want to know about it! Comment below or email me at peanutbutterproblem [at] gmail [dot] com!

Monday, May 4, 2015

happy anniversary to the man who almost got me arrested

Today is our anniversary, and I wanted to share a story that really just epitomizes the past two years of our marriage (this is from a post from a while back, but I thought this story deserved a retelling).

the one time Husband almost got me thrown in jail forEVER

Once upon a time, my mom and dad and siblings went away for a week-long vacation (that Husband and I weren't invited to because we couldn't get work off... [We love being responsible adults... Not]). So Mom and Dad asked us to house sit for them. We took care of the dogs, watered the plants, and made sure that nothing exploded while the family was gone.

See, my parents had recently installed this brand new, fancy-but-kind-of-not-fancy-at-all home alarm system. Before they left, they showed us how it worked, how to put in the passcode, and that was that. Everything was going to be great.

Until early the third morning of our stay at the parents' house. The sun was not yet up, but we were. Husband had a 7am meeting that morning that he could not miss, and I had a date with a workout video before I started work.

It all happened while I was in the bathroom (because that's obviously when exciting things are supposed to happen, right?). I heard this loud beeping noise that sounded strangely like Husband had let the dogs out without turning the security alarm off. It was really loud, so I assumed Husband could hear it. I wasn't really in the position to go and plug in the passcode to shut off the alarm at the moment, so I just crossed my fingers that he was on his way to save the day.

But then the whole house started wailing like it was dying. The siren was loud. It was relentless. And the sudden shock of adrenaline to my system was incredibly effective at quickly getting me out of my morning zombie phase.

As I hurriedly washed my hands in the sink, I heard Husband desperately punching in the passcode and yelling "the buttons aren't working! It won't let me put in the passcode!"

And then the siren stopped and a piercing voice boomed from the security system box. "Hello, can I get your name please?"

Husband was flustered. And he stammered like crazy as he tried to tell the police that he was the home owners' son-in-law... but he got their first names wrong in his panicked state.

Super convincing.

"We're just house-sitting for them while they're gone..." he finally trailed away, wiping sweat from his brow.

"I see. Can you give me the spoken password?" the woman on the line asked skeptically.

"Is that the same as the passcode?"

"No, it isn't."

Dang it. My parents hadn't said anything about a password...

Husband and I looked at each other with panic in our eyes.

"They didn't give us a password," Husband mumbled.

"Thank you."

And the police hung up. The siren began wailing again. I scurried around throwing on clothes and praying out loud that pretty please I wouldn't get thrown in jail.

Husband looked at his watch. "Shoot. I'm late for the meeting... I really have to go..."

"Go," I told him. "I'll figure it out."

And, reluctantly, he left.

It wasn't until he'd driven away that I realized that I had left my wallet (which contained every legal proof of ID that I had) at our apartment. And I didn't have a car.

I finally got the siren to shut off, but I couldn't stop myself from dreading what might happen next.

I was going to jail. That was the long and short of it. Those police were going to show up and arrest me and lock me up forever.

At about this point, I was calling every member of my family--and where they were, it was about 5am. ("Sorry, Mom and Dad, but I might be going to jail, so if you could pretty please wake up, I would appreciate it a lot...")

After several phone calls, I finally got Dad to answer. He was already laughing.

"Making yourself known this morning, aren't you?"

Apparently, the police called them to tell them they had robbers in their house. Thank goodness my dad was feeling nice enough to verify our alibi.

So, I didn't get thrown in jail. In fact, I didn't even see a police officer.

I did, however, give Husband a hard time the rest of the day for nearly getting me put into jail.

And we lived happily ever after. Well, technically that part actually came after we accidentally locked ourselves out of the house later that same day and had to break in without setting off the alarm for the second time. But that's a different story.

The end.

The past two years have been a whirlwind adventure of fun, crazy, hard, and absolutely joyful times. From scorpions and home alarms, to a brand new baby, these two years have been the best of my life. I can't wait for more!

Oh, and also, just to show that my husband is the best human on the face of the planet, I give you this photo as proof:

Happy anniversary, my love.

Friday, May 1, 2015

dear c-section scar

Dear c-section scar,

Sometimes I hate you. 

I see you in the mirror and I hate the way you look. Hate the way you make the skin on my lower abdomen pooch out. Hate how no matter how many crunches I do and how many pounds I lose, you’re the reason the pooch won’t ever go away.

I hate the way you feel under my fingertips. I hate how you’re numb in some places, and how it gives me goosebumps to not be able to feel my own fingertips on my skin.

I hate the way my stretched-out, post-pregnancy skin wrinkles down over you when I sit down.

I hate that I couldn’t give birth vaginally. I hate how seeing you reminds me that I failed, that I couldn’t give birth “correctly.” I hate how your very existence makes every future pregnancy a high-risk one.


You changed everything. 

You brought me nighttime snuggles and morning drooly kisses. You brought me hours of re-reading “The Hungry Caterpillar” and playing with itty bitty toes. You brought me someone who needs me in a way no one has ever needed me before.

You may have brought me numb spots on my abdomen, but because of you, I can feel so much more.

I feel the wet of tiny tears as I brush them away. I feel the sweetness of pudgy arms around my neck. I feel joy in the munchkin fists knotted In my hair. I feel the closeness in the milky breath on my face. 

I feel heart-stopping amounts of love—a kind of love I never even knew existed before you.

You brought me so much more than I could ever have dreamed.

Because of you, I get to look into the bright eyes of someone who adores me. I get to watch him grow and learn and love. I get to see the face of God in those round cheeks and gummy smiles.

When I see you, I see my own strength. You are a physical mark of the overflowing love I have for my little child. I am reminded on days when I don’t feel like I am enough, that I have already done so much for him. I see you and I feel better because you remind me that even though I make mistakes as his mother, I am willing to do absolutely anything for him.

Because you happened, I have become a thousand times better than I ever was before. I have learned how to sacrifice, how to give my everything, how to care about someone else more than I care about myself. I have learned what it means to be the one person in the world who can make things okay after a bonked head or a bad dream.

Because of you, my whole future is brighter. I have first days of school and PB&J sandwiches and soccer games and graduations to look forward to. I’ll have bedtime stories and teenage curfews and Mother’s Day phone calls and a mother-son dance at a wedding.

I see you, purple raised skin nestled low on my belly, and I see him. I can look at you and see what his tiny face looked like the first time I ever saw it. I see the way his eyes found mine in the beginning moments of his life and I can feel my heart bursting all over again.

I didn't fail because of you. I am thriving because of you. You have completely changed who I am and what I do and how I see the world.

How can I hate you when you have done so much for me? How can I hate the pooch and the numb spots when I have tiny fingers that reach out for me and a little voice that calls me “mama”?

No, I don’t hate you.

That little child you brought me? Loves me even when my skin sags over. Wants kisses from me even when I have morning breath. Loves to hear me sing even when my voice cracks.

I hear his giggles and his coos and see his wide innocent eyes and wonder... how could I possibly hate you? You are beautiful. You make me strong.

You helped make me a mama.

I am forever indebted to you.

Liked this post? Please don't forget to share!

Also, be sure to read more about pregnancy and childbirth:
Read my emergency c-section story here.
Read about how to prepare for an emergency c-section here.
Read about what 2am looks like with a baby here.
Read about my PUPPP rash here.