Happy Father’s Day to my A+ Daddy

I can always count on my dad.  Always.  With Father’s Day fast approaching, I thought I needed to give my daddy a little love.

I guess I should start out with the fact that everyone loves my Dad.  He’s just the type of person that you notice when he walks into a room.  He has that thing, whatever it is…but my favorite thing about him is that he cares about people.  I mean he REALLY cares.  He would do anything for most people.  He always leaves a conversation with “if there is anything I can ever do for you, you let me know”.  And he actually means it.  He is a teacher and coach.  It’s what he does, but it’s also what he stands for.  Being the daughter of two teachers was sometimes embarrassing, frustrating, and awesome all at the same time.  I know that my parents have made a difference in thousands of lives.  I respect and admire them for it.  My Dad has shaped the type of person I am and the kind of Mom I am.  Along with his tenacity, passion for life, and his  “shit eating grin” as my mom calls it, he always has my back.  Sidenote, genetics at work here, Jack has the shit eating grin too.

I have the best memories of him driving us to school when I was in middle school.  We listened to oldies while I sat in the front seat with my feet on the heaters.  I think I love oldies mostly because of those memories.  It could also be because of his rendition of “White Christmas” or the “dance unit” in 7th grade that he so wonderfully embarrassed me during 🙂   Jack and I listen to the 60’s and 70’s station on Pandora when I get home from work and dance together.  Jack is now embarrassed by my signing at the age of almost 3.  (“you’re out of batteries mommy!”)

He was at every game, every tournament, every recital cheering us on and making us be our best always.   He mowed us a baseball diamond in our backyard and I know he hates mowing the lawn!  When he tried to teach me to mow the lawn I got it all wrong with him running and yelling behind me telling me straighten it out.  I was doing it on purpose because I didn’t want to mow the lawn.  He knew that and still loves me.  He taught me how to have a competitive spirit and to be anything we wanted to be.  He’s funny.  My response when someone asks me how I am now is “Hey, If I were any better I’d be you”  Classic Crock!  He leaves me voicemails all the time just tell me he misses me and loves me.

And for the girls, who probably don’t read my blog, but if they did would kill me for not mentioning “the speech”.   Every time I left the house in high school my dad told me and any of my girlfriends that were over “boys want one thing and one thing only”.  And yeah he was right.  We still crack up about that to this day.
So thanks Dad for putting me on the right path, setting a great example, and being you.  Happy Father’s Day and Gagi’s Day!  We love you!

Mom Guilt: Top Ten

After feeling guilty yesterday for taking time to myself to pee (yes pee!), I decided to make a list of the completely ridiculous things that I feel guilty about on a regular basis.  It was so long I had to cut it down to a top ten.  Have a laugh with me and remember to be kind to yourselves Mamas!

Here we go on the Top 10 Things I Feel Guilty About as a Mother.

#10 Drinking an entire cup of coffee in one sitting without having to reheat it ten times

#9 Brushing my teeth before noon

#8 Closing the door while I pee

#7 Watching a show that doesn’t include Mickey, Doc McStuffins, or Sophia in the title

#6 Taking a shower

#5 Going to Trader Joes without my helper because he just loves that little red cart so much

#4 Taking the time to make and eat breakfast that isn’t my kid’s leftover eggo

#3 Running without my boyfriend “BOB” and a stop at the park.

#2 Peeing first thing in the morning when the baby is awake and crying

And the #1 thing that I feel guilty about as a mom is …..

Eating my child’s delicious snacks and then telling him that he ate them “all gone” the day before.  Wait… I totally don’t feel guilty about that.  That is where I draw the line.

Happy Friday everyone!

The Motherhood Thing I Can’t Shut Up About

A lot of my friends are having their first babies right now.  I am so excited for each and every one of them to become mamas, because I love being a mom so much.  Being a mom has made me extremely happy, and whole, and filled me to the brim with love for my tiny people.  So friends… if I over share, get teary eyed, or try to give you unsolicited advice just know it comes from the best place possible.  I’m just so over joyed for you to feel that mama bear love and sometimes I can’t shut up about it.

That brings me to the subject of this post.  Nursing.  It’s usually the motherhood thing I can’t shut up about.  When a friend tells me they’re pregnant,  I usually say “if you are planning on nursing and have any questions please let me know I’d be glad to share my experience or try to help”.  I  leave it at that, but I want to tell them so much more.  I have loved my time nursing my babies.  It hasn’t been without struggles, but it has been an experience I will never forget.

When I was pregnant with Jack I wasn’t sure what nursing would be like.  I wanted to nurse because I had read about the benefits of breast milk for babies, but I had also heard that it was hard and painful and maybe not worth it sometimes.  I figured I would try it and if it didn’t work out I would stop and not beat myself up about it.  (which is what I would still recommend to anyone.  Nursing should be mutually beneficial and if it stops being for one or more parties considering stopping is A OK.  Happy mommy, happy baby)  I picked up a copy of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.  I think I was able to get through most of the book before Jack made a surprise appearance  4 weeks early.

Jack was jaundiced and sleepy from being early and started losing weight at a pretty alarming rate.  For over a month, I set an alarm for every two hours around the clock to feed him.  Our routine was to nurse (which sometimes took 45 minutes), pump, and then bottle feed to make sure he was getting enough milk and gaining weight.  Throw in an infection and medication for me that pushed me into exclusive pumping and dumping for ten days and I was ready to give up.  My Mom stayed with us for over two weeks.  She took care of me, and helped out with the bottle feeding, so I could continue nursing and pumping and get in a little sleep here and there.  I also had the support of an amazingly kind, understanding, and encouraging lactation consultant.  With my mom around to help, I was also able to get to a new mom group once a week which made me feel like I wasn’t so alone in our nursing struggles.  When my round of antibiotics was up I attempted to nurse Jack and he latched on right away.  I looked down at my happy baby, looked up at my wonderful mom, and cried I was so happy.  Some of the tears were probably relief too.  Let’s face it, I was exhausted beyond belief.  We still had a lot to learn, but he was bigger and latching well and we both started to get the hang of nursing.  It was smooth sailing for the most part after that.  I am so thankful I was able to keep nursing after our extremely tiring first 6 weeks.

With Molly, I had a very different experience.  She was a voracious nurser almost immediately.  When they placed her on my chest she snuggled right in, went straight for the boob a few minutes later, and camped there for three days until my milk came in.  Because of all of the sucking before my milk came in, I had cracked, bleeding nipples and a crazy oversupply, but the girl slept, and I had my lactation consultant, on speed dial!  We frequented the lactation clinic until my oversupply was under control and her poop turned back to a normal color.  (Block feeding and one pumping session per day did the trick!)

Nursing my babies has been a life changing experience for me.  It somehow nourishes my heart and soul.  Maybe it’s the Oxytocin.  Maybe it’s the milk drunk smiles I get from my half latched baby. Maybe it’s the undivided time to connect, just the two of us.  Maybe it’s because I feel so good about being able to provide them with nourishment.  Whatever it is I will really miss it once it’s over.

What I learned from Preschool Today

Your kid at age 2 is a lot more perceptive than they lead on and they will repeat everything.  I mean everything.  I volunteered at preschool this morning for a few hours.  Here’s what I learned about some of Jack’s buddies while we were playing tea party.  Their moms love wine.  They drink it out of big cups.

“what are you drinking in your tea cup Brad?”

“I’m drinking wine.  See my huge glass filled with wine?  My mommy loves wine”

Here’s what I learned about my own family.  We’re beer drinkers and we have lots of white foam on top of our beers.  We also drink coffee and Jack’s daddy drank too much coffee once.

“I’m drinking beer.  I’m going to run errands and buy beer for my daddy.  My daddy and mommy drink beer with lots of white foam on top”  Now I’m drinking coffee.  My daddy drank too much coffee once”

(if you know that story you are probably laughing out loud).

I love preschoolers.

**And for those of you who are judging me right now, we probably have a beer with dinner once a week on the weekends, so no we’re not gulping down beers in front of him on a regular basis.

PS Names have been changed to protect the innocent

Disney with Toddlers and Infants

We took two, 2.5 year olds, an 8 month old, and a 5 month old to Disney…and we planned and booked the trip in less than a week before we left.  I bet you think we’re crazy, right?  Well, that’s what happens when it’s February, you haven’t seen the grass in 4 months, and you see a sunny forecast for Orlando.  This all came about because of our annual get together with our good friends from MN.  We decided last minute that instead of the midwest meet up with our buddies from way up north, we had to get out of the weather and head to the happiest place on earth with all four of our kiddos.

PS You don’t have to pay park entrance fees for kids under 3 🙂

We didn’t have much time to research before leaving, so I am calling it our “practice trip”.  We will definitely be going back when M is a little older.

Top 10 Tips for Disney/Magic Kingdom with Toddlers

1.  Stay on Property 

Just do it.  There is free transportation to and from the airport and to the parks.  The best part is you won’t have to bring your crazy huge car seats with you!  We stayed at the Art of Animation in the family suite (yep all 8 of us!).  If your little ones are into Finding Nemo, or Cars they will have TONS of fun during their stay.  My favorite thing about this resort was the “toddler friendliness”.  There was an awesome Cars themed area complete with life-sized characters, a playground, a zero entry pool, and a Finding Nemo Splash Pad.  The kids ran around the splash pad for hours while we sat in the sun.

2.  Download the “my Disney Ap

You can plan your day to a T here!  I wish I would have done this better.  we could have seen a lot more!

3.  Bring your stroller and your double if you’re traveling with two!

There is stroller parking all over Magic Kingdom and it was awesome being able to have both in the stroller when J got tired.  It was also great for carrying our food and stuff!

4.  As soon as you get to Magic Kingdom, take the train straight to Fantasy Land

The entrance was really backed up when we got the park and it was a little overwhelming.  You can hop on the train right when you enter the park and take it all the way back to Fantasy Land to miss the crowds and start having fun.

5.  Our Favorite Magic Kingdom Attractions

Check out these rides:  Mad Tea Party, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, It’s a Small World, Dumbo, Buzz Lightyear, and Aladdin.  Skip Monter’s Inc Laugh Floor.  It’s basically improv on a video screen.  Pick you Character Experiences.  We only got to Meet Mickey, but the kids loved it.  It was a crazy line though.  (get your embroidered ears right afterwards at the gift shop you will exit through… watch little hands grabbing for mickey toys, we came out with mickey, minnie, and pluto oops!)

6.  Figure out your Fast Pass

Fast Pass basically makes the lines shorter by telling you to show up to a ride during a time window.  There were long lines most places and we messed it up so we only got to ride MadTea Party, Dumbo, and the Little Mermaid… but we got to ride them all twice.  Since J is under 2 we did not have to pay admission so he didn’t have fast pass.  He just rode with the adults.  Since we had infants with us two of us stayed with the babies and two of us rode with the kids and then we switched so the kids could ride twice.  We loved all three of those rides and they are great for kids.  I would have actually taken Molly on Little Mermaid if I would have known what it was like in advance.  We heard Winnie the Pooh, Belle’s Dance Party, Meet Ariel, Peter Pan, and Buzz Lightyear were all awesome, but we didn’t have time to ride those after we stood in line to meet Mickey for over an hour.  We had fast pass, but the line said 10 minutes so we didn’t use our fast pass on that.  You only get 3 per day.  That was definitely a mistake.

7.  Do a Character Breakfast

The characters are walking around at certain times, but if you’re only going for one day like we were, it is better to be able to meet all the characters at once.  We didn’t get to see very many and I wish we would have booked a Character Breakfast

8.  Stay for the Main Street Electrical Parade

Both toddlers were asleep in their strollers and we woke them up to see it.  They were mesmerized and talked about it a lot the next day.  It was everyone’s favorite part!

9.  Bring food into the park!

Apparently all the restaurants only take reservation except a few fast foodish places.  We found one in Tomorrowland for dinner, but we brought our lunch in and I’m so glad we did since the choices were limited and expensive!

10.  Stay until 1am!!  (you not the kids)

If you’re traveling with relatives have them take the kids back to the hotel and stay until 1am when the park closes.   If we had nana and gagi with us, we would have definitely done that and rode all the rides that the kids couldn’t.  The park cleared out like crazy after the fireworks!

I’d love to hear any of your Disney Tips!

{Guest Post} Check Me Out On Baby Blythe Blog!

Have you ever reconnected with someone from your past and thought “wow we are a lot alike, why weren’t we better friends back then?”  Enter my friend Rachel.  We went to middle and high school together.  We didn’t really run in the same circle, although we were friendly.  Being Mamas has brought us back into contact and we email A LOT.  Mostly about mom stuff, eco and green stuff, and my favorite, cloth diapering!  (She’s one of my go to experts on that subject!)  She’s a teacher, photographer, and fantastic writer.  I totally envy her put-togetherness!   (on everything, but especially Porter stuff.  Check out Porter’s 1st Birthday Party!  A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E).

Anyways, in the midst of a funny night getting M cubed to sleep, I wrote down, verbatim, what happened.  I wanted to be able to tell the mom circle the next day.  Rachel and I had talked about guest posting on each others’ blogs a while back, and I thought this little “situation” would be great for Baby Blythe after I re-read it.  And  my guest post was born 🙂  Check out “So Your Baby Sleeps Like a Baby?” on Baby Blythe.