Monday, June 24, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up: Weed Edition

We had a very productive weekend! Friday night we grilled out and relaxed knowing we had a busy day on Saturday. But before really relaxing, the guys got started on the work...

Little C doesn't have a wheelbarrow his size but that didn't stop him from being just like Daddy! This dolly was sitting in our garage and C took it upon himself to use it like a wheelbarrow. Too funny!

Saturday we were up bright and early and went on a nice long stroller walk around the neighborhood for some exercise. We still don't have our double jogging stroller so Hubs and I each take a stroller (yes we have two, we've been hoarding my father-in-laws) and we walked at a steady pace. We covered a lot of ground and had a pretty decent workout. Not intense cardio by any means, but we were moving nonetheless.

Then we packed up the kiddos and sent them to my father-in-laws for an overnight stay! The last time the kids stayed somewhere overnight it was for a much needed K&K night. But this time we had a different agenda...

There is an area in front of our house that has become, "The Weed Pit." We have been neglecting this pit for some time and as you can tell, they were out of control! You can see how tall they were compared to the dog! At least we waited until summer officially started and it was well over 90 degrees to tackle "The Weed Pit." {read: sarcasm}


Now we just need to figure out what to do with the newly dubbed, "Dirt Patch." 

After the weeding we deep-cleaned the crap out of the house! You can currently eat off of any surface in our place, that's how clean we're talking, people. It felt so good to get the house in order. Every week we tidy up and on most weekends we scrub quickly and do the essential chores to prevent us from living in squalor. But this was a low-down-dirty cleaning that we needed to do and didn't have to worry about timing it with naps, feeding schedules, etc.

We are truly lucky to have family living so close and willing to help us out when they can. On top of tackling a lot of house work we were also able to get a solid night's sleep and even sleep PAST 7am! That right there was the true highlight of the weekend!

Plus, I think it is great for the kids to spend quality time with their grandparents. I know the grandparents eat it up and over time the relationships our kids will form with them will be very special indeed.

How was your weekend? Did you tackle any big projects? Do you try to have your kids hang with "the grands" as often as possible?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Real Talk: My thoughts on being a working mom

Being a working mom isn't always easy. There are days where it is feels overwhelming and exhausting or days where I'm not loving the grind. Some days I glance at a picture of my babies sitting on my desk and I long to touch them, hear their voices, and I want to drop everything I'm doing to go scoop them up on the spot! Or the worst is when I'm sitting in a meeting and find myself daydreaming about something funny my toddler said or my baby girl's sweet gummy grin when I'm supposed to be focused on something else.

Those are the days where being away from them is really, really hard. The days that I wonder what they are doing at that very minute and become jealous of the people getting to witness it. Then my good friend guilt joins this pity party and I wonder what in the heck I'm doing spending eight, or more, hours a day apart from them.

But there are other days... Days where it honestly feels like I'm on vacation while at work. Now before you go reaching for the pitch forks and torches, hear me out! I love my kids more than life itself. What I am saying here is in no way a reflection of my love for them so please don't take it the wrong way.

What I mean is there are days where I look forward to being at work and getting to participate in a world outside of poopy diapers, tantrums, etc. Parenting is exhausting and even the most stressful day at work doesn't seem to compare. Plus, I get to further my career which I've spent a great deal of time and energy on over the years and something I am very proud of. I get to connect with clients that have become an extension of my family. I get to make a difference.

I'm not going to lie and say there are never days where I wish I could stay home with my kids or wonder if being a stay-at-home-mom would be a good fit for me. But I have to quickly snap out of it because that is not an option in my life right now. I can't waste time dreaming of a life that doesn't fit my reality. Sure it can be hard trying to juggle it all and find balance as I race back and forth between each of my life roles, but that's all a part of what I signed up for.

I am very confident in how I am raising my kids and I have never once felt like someone else is doing the job for me. My husband and I were also raised by working mothers and haven't seen any ill effects because of it, which also makes me feel good about what I'm doing.

Being a working mom is challenging and rewarding and the bottom line is that the grass isn't necessarily greener on either side. It just is what it is. I work. I'm also a mom. I know I can have it all, and some days, I do. But honestly most days I'm grinding. Spinning my wheels, treading water, however you want to say it.

And for the sake of being completely transparent, I have to admit there are days where it feels more like I'm convincing myself that being a working mom is great instead of truly believing it. Days where I hate it and I think I can't do it anymore and I HAVE to figure out a way to make a significant life change. Those days exist and trudging into work feels impossible and incredibly hard.

But I do it and continue to do it because like I said, it is my reality. Even though those days of negative thinking exist there are so many other days that I feel 100% confident in my role as a working mom. I feel empowered and honestly enjoy it! On those days I'm not convincing myself of anything it is a straight up fact, Jack!

Truth is, I don't know how to juggle all of this with the greatest of ease. I certainly don't know how to find true life balance and that's okay. It has to be. I keep my kids with me in my mind and heart while I'm at work and you better believe I shut my work OFF once 5 o'clock rolls around (thankfully my job allows for that).

Bottom line, I'm a proud working mom and I have a happy family. What more could I ask for?

This is what I get to walk in the door to after a long day of work. Love.

Do you struggle as a working mom or completely embrace it? Do you work because it's part of your DNA or because your life situation dictates it? Either way, you rock! ;)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How do you do it, Busy Mom?

Today I'm at Mile High Mamas asking for help from you! Yes you, Busy Mom!! How do you do it? How do you juggle all of your life's demands and still find time to workout?

I know how important exercise and a healthy lifestyle is but I seriously don't know where I can carve out time for yoga, jogging, etc. So what do you do? Are you awake before the sun comes up? Do you workout late at night after the kids are asleep? Do you pack up the kids in your jogging stroller after work when it's 90 degrees outside and run your heart out?!?!

HELP! Give me your secret because my body is aching for a regular workout routine but I haven't the foggiest idea of how to make it happen.

You do have the secret... right?

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Poem For the Father of My Children

A Father's Day Poem

Feeling hopeful and happy I peed on a stick
Confirmed in an instant, it happened so quick!
Parents to be, we gushed with pride,
Ready and waiting, we'd take our new roles in stride.

With a pregnant wife getting bigger by the day,
You were so supportive and always knew just what to say.
Your hand on my belly, baby would kick you,
We learned it was a BOY, our dreams had come true!

After hours of labor we welcomed our sweet lad,
And at that exact moment you became, DAD.
You scooped up your new son and held him so proudly,
Comforting him as he cried ever so loudly.

And so began your journey of fatherhood,
Balancing the demands, always doing the best you could.
Bottles, baths, and reading nursery rhymes,
But your favorite of all, the rough housing times!

Your son loved you so deeply right from the start,
That love reciprocated, the boy had your heart.

And speaking of heart, a new surprise headed our way...
A daughter up next, it was our lucky day!

Around your girl's finger you are wrapped forever tight,
You will love and protect her with all of your might.
Simply walk into the room and you make her whole day,
Falling asleep in your arms, she'd have it no other way.

Tantrum taming, poo-plosions, and puke,
You slay the hardships of parenting and this is no fluke.
You were born for this role, you have it locked up tight,
With every ouchie soothed and tender kiss good night.

You have a tiny shadow, C tries to be just like you,
Clomping around in your boots, copying all that you do.
He calls you Dadeo. Where'd that come from? Ideas, we have zero,
But there is no denying you are that boys hero.

As sweet baby P-Nut continues to grow,
So will the love for her father, this I surely know.

You see, all three of us adore you my handsome man,
How lucky are we that you are the head of this fam?

You do so much for all of us, words can't possibly describe,
How grateful and blessed I feel to have you by my side.
You may be asking why all the fuss? Why even bother?
I'll tell you my love, it's because you are ONE HELL of a FATHER!

I love you to pieces my sweet husband. I know we feel we've won the lottery with the two perfect babies we are blessed to call our own. But the truth is, they are the lucky ones because you are their Dad. I hope you know how loved you are and I hope this weekend is very special for you. You deserve it!

All my love,

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Daycare Switcheroo

(photo credit)

One month before P-Nut was born we learned that our beloved daycare Little C attended since he was 12 weeks old, would be closing their doors. What were we going to do?!?! Little C LOVED his daycare and so did we. We had become very comfortable with the facility, the teachers, the directors, etc. Our son would talk non-stop about his friends at school and each day he would light up when we walked into his class room.

We searched around and soon found a new center right by our house that fit everything we were looking for. It was within our budget and it was independently owned (not a corporate chain like our last center). We put pen to paper and had Little C and his unborn sister enrolled. Woot!

At the time C was 21 months old and with the addition of his new baby sis and a daycare switch on top of it, he had a hard time comprehending it all. Mom is staying home with the baby but you can't stay with her. You loved playing with your friends at "old daycare" but you can no longer see them, along with your favorite teachers.

My husband had the rough job of dropping C off on his first day at the new location. It was brutal. Screaming and crying, leaving him there was the hardest thing even for my tough-guy husband. Poor C  just didn't understand.

(photo credit)
These brutal drop-offs lasted for a solid MONTH with no improvement. We felt like we were torturing our son and it was breaking our hearts. We were assured that the crying stopped soon after we left and that he did fine all day but we started noticing some new behaviors that we were concerned about.

His tantrums were out of control at home in the evenings. Each night felt like a battle royale with a moody, fussy, cranky, stubborn toddler. But the worst for me and what broke my heart was learning our out-going, playful little fella was only playing by himself all day and not interacting or playing with the other kiddos. This was completely the opposite of his behavior at "old daycare."

Since this new center was so close to where we lived I would often times drive by when I knew they'd be playing outside and seeing him off to the side in his own little world while the other kids played together and were having fun, was so hard to see.

Now let me address a couple of things here. First, I did start to wonder if this was our little guy's personality as he got older and being more independent was possibly just his thing. But the fact that it seemed so drastically different from the toddler we knew leading up to this experience had me feeling that he was not happy at the new center.

Second, some of you may be asking, "if you were home on maternity leave why didn't you just keep Little C at home with you?" We had to pay tuition to reserve our kids' spots at the center and since we were ponying up the dough we felt we should have him getting acclimated as soon as possible. Plus, having a newborn and a 21 month old at home was honestly overwhelming for me and having him go to daycare was a welcome option. I don't feel guilty for that, it just is what it is.

So back to the situation at hand. C was miserable, or so it seemed that way, and we were wanting desperately to make him feel better about his new location. Here is what we did:

  1. We would talk up daycare all. the. time. - Even as the poor dude was screaming on the changing table in the morning that he didn't want to go to school we would always talk about it in a happy, upbeat voice and mention how much fun it was going to be. At the dinner table we would talk about how cool it was that he got to go to school and before bed we'd talk about it some more.
  2. We learned all the kids names in his class on the first day - Being able to say the kids name when we'd talk about school was really helpful for him to associate who these new friends were. We'd ask if he saw so-and-so at school and if they played together. When we'd drop him off we'd say, "oh look, so-and-so is playing with a truck. Do you want to play with her?"
  3. As hard as it was, quickly leaving C while he was crying at drop-off was the best thing to do - Having Mommy and Daddy stick around only makes the crying worse. Your toddler wants you to rescue them or to coddle them and of course that's what we wanted to. But honestly as soon as we'd leave the teachers had a chance to calm him down in their way and he needed to get used to them. It was hard but it made sense.
  4. We talked with the teachers a lot about C's behavior - Having an open dialogue with your children's teachers/caregivers is extremely important in my opinion. We expressed to them what we were noticing at home and asked if they could keep an eye on specific things for us. Again, they always assured us he was doing fine and that this was normal for most kids his age that switch schools.
  5. We let him take a "buddy" to school with him - This was a suggestion one of the directors gave
    us and it really made a difference! We told C he could take his stuffed lion, Simba, to school with him and that Simba would be his buddy and play with him all day. The director said it would provide him comfort and it honestly did. He was able to take Simba outside, nap with him and we believe he provided a feeling of security and a piece of home.
(photo credit)

It took two and a half months before C truly became 100% comfortable at his new school. He now plays with all of the other kids and will talk about his buddies and his teachers at home. Drop-offs are a cinch and I have to beg him to give me a hug because he's ready to jump right in and start playing. He gives his teachers big hugs when he sees them and we recently ran into one of his buddies at the Zoo and you would have thought C won the lottery.

I was also worried that he would form a strong attachment with his stuffed buddy, Simba and we would not be able to send him to school without it. But luckily once he became comfortable he left Simba at home on his own one day and hasn't needed him since. Well, that's not entirely true... he actually took him to the doctor's office the other day when he wasn't feeling well so I'm guessing Simba is an on-call buddy! ;)

All in all this transition was tough on the three of us but it worked out and we tried our best to do it on C's terms. We never pushed him we only tried to make him comfortable. After the first month passed we did start to wonder if maybe he was telling us in his own way that he didn't like where he was going. Since we didn't see any improvement we started doubting our choice of location and wondered how much longer we should put him through this before we searched out a new daycare. 

I'm glad we stuck it out because as we've all settled in we are really loving where he goes. And now Baby P-Nut is there and we couldn't be happier with their infant room. 

At the end of the day I just wanted my son to be happy and seeing him struggle was tough. I know as he grows we will be faced with more of these tough changes and transitions and I'm confident that we will all get through them and learn from them. Besides, I don't think he's too scarred...

If you have a toddler making a daycare/school switch I hope you have a smooth transition but if you don't, I hope maybe I provided some helpful tips and if you ever need to chat with another working mom with daycare babies, I'm always happy to help! Solidarity, sista! It gets us through.

Have you had to change daycare locations with a toddler? How did your transition go? Any helpful tips you can share?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mama and Baby Update - Month 5

Baby P-Nut is 5 months old! Oh, how I love this little girl!

The cheeks...

The rolls...

Her sweet, playful smile...

And above all... her super hero form!

P-Nut is getting better at sitting up by herself but still not there yet. She is a tummy time rock star demonstrating her super strength which she has always surprised me with. She has rolled over by herself twice but doesn't seem to be too crazy about it and hasn't done it since. 

We also introduced the "jumpy roo" this month. She really likes it but we have to make sure Little C isn't around because he wants to bounce her to the moon and can get a bit rough!

Eating: She is eating like a champ. She has about 5 bottles a day, each 6oz. Some of the bottles are supplemented with soy formula because my breast milk supply is not keeping up. I also try to nurse as much as possible on the weekends and during the weeknights.

P-Nut is at an age now where she gets super distracted while feeding and whether it's the boob or the bottle, she is constantly trying to see what is going on around her so feedings are starting to drag on. Not a big deal though, and certainly not a behavior we think needs changing. Just a simple fact of her age.

Sleeping: She sleeps through the night but every so often will wake up around 4am (give or take) to be nursed for about 15-20 minutes, then falls right back to sleep. 

Miscellaneous: Other than the rolling over and the addition of the "jumpy roo", another developmental change has been giggling. It is super cute and very quiet. Our Baby P-Nut seems very introspective and purposeful with her sounds. By this age Little C was jabbering up a storm and making as much noise as possible. P-Nut is capable and we've heard her get super loud and "coo" and "caaa" her little heart out, but for the most part she just watches and takes in the scene. Plus, having a chatter-box big bro makes getting a word in pretty tough!

There is one more random thing I'd like to mention... I never thought in my wildest dreams I'd have a light-skinned, light-haired, blue-eyed baby girl! I mean I knew it had to be possible considering Hubs side of the family, it's just that I'm pretty dark and even Hubs has the darkest features out of all his family members so I assumed our kids would be the same way. At times I look at her and think, "who's baby is this?!?" I love it and consider it just one more splendid and endearing surprise from my sweet girl. 

Mama Update: The past few weeks I entered into my least favorite postpartum side effect. Hair loss!! Mama's, you know what I mean. It's way more than the typical hair here and there, it is full on HAND FULLS! It just drives me crazy more than anything and I look forward to when it ends.

Breastfeeding is still day-to-day for me. I do enjoy it but the pumping is what has me questioning whether or not "today will be my last day," on a regular basis. I'm trying to keep my supply up by drinking my weight in water, eating oatmeal, and nursing as much as possible whenever possible. I also know pumping more throughout the day would help but I really can't because of my job. So I am doing what I can and still shooting for my 6 month goal. My last ditch effort will be taking fenugreek supplements if none of the other stuff works.

I am also on a mission to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle. I do pretty good for the most part but feel the need for improvement. I lost all the baby weight but I really want to get to the ideal weight for my age and height. Not for vanity purposes (although that doesn't hurt), but because I want to be a good role model for my kids. Once I introduced dairy back into my diet I immediately noticed some weight gain. So I've decided to limit my dairy intake and Hubs and I have been changing our diets in a positive way. Now all I have to do is figure out a good routine for squeezing in workouts and I think I'll be doing alright!

So there you have it! P-Nut and I are doing great and lovin' life. And speaking of lovin'... She can't get enough of me either. Can't you tell! ;)

Now let's hear from you! How are you doing with your breastfeeding goals? Is your baby sleeping through the night? Does your baby look like you? What fun thing is your 5 month old up to? If your baby is older, do you remember what 5 months was like? 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Mama makes it all better!

Poor Little C is pretty darn sick! Thankfully it has been such a long time since he's caught anything and thankfully even longer since we've experienced any of his tummy issues. But man, when this kid goes down... he goes down hard!

Strep throat, double ear infection, AND upper respiratory infection. His breathing was extremely labored so we were sent home with a nebulizer to administer every 4 hours. We were prescribed 3 medications on top of continuing to give him ibuprofen for his high fever which peaked at 104.4.

He did not sleep much at all last night as he was in so much pain and discomfort. I ended up on the couch with him because he wouldn't get comfortable anywhere else. You know when you are sick and you ache from head to toe and at times your skin is crawling? That is what we were dealing with last night.

He would writhe around in pain and in between moaning he'd cry out for me. I assured him I was right there and not leaving. As I was holding him I'd tickle his back or his head. At times he'd request that I don't touch him at all as I'm sure the stimulation on his skin was painful. It was so hard to watch him go through this wanting so bad to make it all better and knowing it has to get worse before it does.

I would hold him until my arms went numb. I slept in the most awkward position on the couch, that is, when I was actually able to truly doze off for a moment or two. I've been snotted on, coughed on, and even puked on in the last 24 hours. I've wiped tears, and made promises that this would all be over soon. I reveled in the snuggles.

It most certainly made me feel pretty special to ease my little man with merely my presence. The soothing power of a mama is magical indeed and as a child I remember it all to well. But being on this end where I'm the one "making it all better," I really enjoyed.

I will gladly not sleep and transform into a couch contortionist at any time to be able to help my little man. Especially because I know as soon as he feels back to his old self, I will have to ask for my hugs, he will not be slowed down long enough to snuggle, and I'll sit on deck for my next call to action which I will enthusiastically leap into.

As for this weekend, we will be laying very low getting C better and doing everything in our power to prevent P-Nut from catching anything. Oh, and did I mention Hubs had to get his wisdom teeth out this morning? So he is on the mend and needs to take it easy. Or how about the fact that my breast milk supply is seriously diminishing and it makes me want to cry?!?!? I don't know what I'm going to do. But what I have learned from past experiences is that all I can do is roll with the freaking punches and I'm sure everything will work out. It always does.

I hope you have had a better Friday than the Full-Thyme Life household and I sure hope you enjoy your weekend!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Weekend-Wrap Up: K&K Night

Oh, what a weekend! I'm still exhausted from all of the fun we had! It was a weekend that Hubs and I needed so badly and it was one of those weekends that just makes you happy. Know what I mean?

I told you the run-down of our K&K adventure in Friday's post so here are a few highlights:

Here we are after dropping off both kids at my parent's house. We came home and everything was quiet and calm. Such a change of pace than what we are used to.

One of my best girlfriends came over along with Hubs' brother and sister. We sat outside on our back porch and visited for a bit then my BFF and I were off to the concert!

Let me tell you, this was one of the BEST concerts I've ever been to! Fleetwood Mac has still got it! They sounded fantastic and all of the band members have family in Colorado and consider it to be a special place for them. Fun fact: Stevie Nicks wrote Landslide in Aspen so she especially loves Colorado.

I had so much fun with my friend and we danced and sang and my soul was very, very happy. At times I would hear a lyric or a melody and I would think of my children, my husband and even my parents and I'd get a tear in my eye. Music is very powerful and a concert is such a complete visceral experience. 

After the concert we headed back to our place where we met back up with my Hubs, his bro and sis, my bro, and some of our friends. We laughed and partied like the good 'ole days and my Husband's bday celebration was a success. So many people love that man and I think he could feel it.

Needless to say we were draggin' our wagons a bit on Sunday and we picked up Little C and P-Nut in the afternoon. As much as I enjoyed our break, I was super excited to see their sweet little faces and have everyone back home. It was no longer quiet and calm as the force of toddler energy filled the house back up and it was a perfect evening with our babies to cap of our perfect weekend.

A HUGE THANK YOU to my parents for so, so many reasons. For being so generous and getting me the concert tickets for my birthday and for watching our little monsters overnight so we could enjoy some K&K time. Little C came home as tired as we were from all of the awesome, fun activities my parents did with him. We love you so much, mom and dad!! Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts. :)