Motherhood, Year Three, Year Two

Month 2 with 2

My 2nd son was born two months ago, and let me tell you these first two months have been a whirl-wind of activity. It has required a lot of adjustment.

I am going to follow the same format as I did throughout my eldest son’s first year. I found keeping track of his milestones and my own mental state was a great tactic for my posts and getting out my thoughts. I realize I didn’t really do a post for the first month like I did with my eldest son, however if you have more than one child you understand that first month takes a lot of adjusting. I’m honestly surprised I have the time or energy to pump out this post out.

Mental Health:

Honestly, I feel like having a second baby fixed me. With my first I was so depressed, I was crying and angry all of the time. With this baby, yeah I have had a few crying fits, masks-833421_1280but life around here has been very stressful and I’m pretty sure I would have cried even if I had not just had a baby with some of the things that have been going on. I feel like I have a renewed sense of energy and purpose. I also feel guilt though, because I didn’t feel this way with my first. I feel like I made a lot of mistakes after he was born, because I allowed my depression to control me. However, even with that deep sense of guilt I find myself becoming even more connected with my first born son. He is such a good big brother and I couldn’t be more proud of him. Overall, I’m pretty excited most days, I’m excited about our future, and about this new bundle of squishy joy we have in our lives. I know we still have a long way to go and that Post Partum depression can pop up anytime within the first year of giving birth to a new baby. I’m being diligent and I’m doing my best to stick to a routine and get myself and the boys out of the house regularly. This combined with my daily magnesium supplement seems to really be helping a lot.

How baby is doing:

He is just the most beautiful little squishy thing I have ever laid my eyes on. We learned at around 3 weeks that he is allergic to pork. He had green runny diarrhea poop for about a week after Christmas. We ate ham for Christmas and had it for leftovers most of the week following. The one day I didn’t eat any of the leftover ham his poop started to go back to normal, so I completely avoided all pork for a week and by the end of the week his poop was back to the mustard yellow you want with breastfed babies. His gas issues even cleared up for the most part. The poor little guy also appears to have eczema, which I have been treating with coconut oil. So far so good. He doesn’t sleep well at night, unless he is next to me, which is fine, but I am looking forward to us being able to start sleep training. He doesn’t mind tummy time, though I really should be more consistent with it. (Again working on that routine.)

How Brother is adjusting:

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My son’s baby Charles Joseph, and Wesley Dominique.

Wesley has his good and bad days. There are days when he really wants attention and gets into everything and wants to help with everything. I am working really hard with him on providing things for him to do to be helpful as well as making sure he gets individualized attention and social interaction with other children his age. He really seems to love his little brother and asks to hold him at least once a day. I usually place brother in his arms, while I support his head for a couple of minutes until Wesley becomes bored and then I take him back. This whole experience of finding new things for my eldest to do, both while breastfeeding and changing diapers has been an interesting one. I am learning so many new tricks as a mom in terms of multi-tasking.

Life as a Breastfeeding Mama:

This go round I feel like an expert. My milk came in pretty quickly, thanks to Pineapple juice and oatmeal cookies. I also don’t get engorged as often, however I feel like I am leaking a lot more. It seems every hour or two I’m having to grabbaby-21167_1280 a burp cloth or towel and shove it down my shirt to keep from turning my floors into a sticky milk mess. So many mama’s talk about their issues with under supply, and I really wish I could collect all the milk that I feel gets wasted into my clothes and onto my floor, because I feel like I could feed an army of rugrats with the amount that leaks from me constantly. I also can’t wear a bra, because I can’t find one that will still fit me a week later after I have bought it, being well endowed with both milk and boobs definitely has its cons. My plan this time was to do more baby wearing to make feeding on the go or while I did other things easier. I have mastered the newborn setting of my k-tan and wear Charles on most outings, he really seems to love it and it definitely makes feeding on the go easier. All around I am really starting to love and enjoy breastfeeding and am starting to understand what other mothers mean about the breastfeeding bond.

circle-304524_1280Tips and Tricks:

  • I had two in diapers for most of the past two months, we have started potty training so hopefully we will be only buying diapers for one very shortly. What I learned about having two in diapers is its best to change the eldest diaper first, because theirs tend to be messier as they are eating a more solid diet and the blowout from that could be tragic.
  • Coconut oil is very helpful with eczema on babies.
  • When you have one kid who is no longer breastfeeding and one who is, make sure the one who isn’t breastfeeding has a meal or snack already waiting for them when you feed during the day. If they have already eaten make sure they have an activity to distract them.

So do you have any tips for raising two boys? I’d love to read them, share in the comments below.

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Motherhood, Year One, Year Three, Year Two

Preparing for and Dealing with Postpartum Depression

I originally wrote the following post back in September of 2017, while I was still very pregnant with my second baby boy. He is of now 6 weeks old and I am feeling absolutely amazing. Its a complete 180 from my first postpartum experience and if I’m being honest I think having a second baby is what finally pulled me out of the long depression I had myself stuck in. I’m choosing to go ahead and post this in hopes that it might help another mama out there. 6 weeks postpartum and I have so much energy, I feel even more bonded to my first baby who is now 2 in a half and I am working hard to help get my family to the place it needs to be financially. In fact I had so much energy after the birth of my second I went out and found a job just one week postpartum. I feel like a combination of supermom and crazy.

It is estimated that 80% of women will deal with some form of postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, or postpartum psychosis following the birth of a child. Some women may even experience pre-natal depression or anxiety. It is important for anyone experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression to speak with their Dr.fear-2903342_640

I’ve been doing a lot of healing exercises lately. I realized recently that I’ve been in a cycle of depression for I’m not sure how long. I estimate I have been in this cycle, probably since I hit puberty. For as long as I can remember summer break was always depressing and anxiety ridden for me, because I no longer had the mandatory school schedule and day to look forward to. After graduation I had a plan for my future, but an unplanned pregnancy threw my plan off road. I was no longer able to just “fake it till I made it.” then postpartum depression set in and I could barely function for a while. I am pregnant again and I sort of have a plan, but again I know I’m just going with the flow, taking those baby steps expected of me to move forward. I know once this baby is born I’m going to once again find myself in the overwhelm that is postpartum depression.

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Postpartum depression has many forms and showcases in many ways. For me I was exhausted, unmotivated, irritated, angry, and just sad. The sadness was probably the worst part, because it made me feel lonely, my loneliness fueled my anger. My anger caused me to push away the one person who was meant to support me and he tried he really did. Since I took notice of the cycle that I have been caught in for who knows how many years I’ve been setting small realistic goals for the right now and I’m brainstorming goals and the steps needed to reach them for the future. I’m trying to decide  and I mean really decide before this baby arrives what it is I want to do with my life. I’m attempting step five from my post, What to do after trauma?

Since I have been through postpartum once before and if I’m being 100 percent honest have yet to fully recover from. I know I’m likely to experience it all over again. As a result I’ve been doing some research on postpartum depression and anxiety. I’ve learned about a number of different vitamin deficiencies that can lead to it one of which I already know I suffer from and another that I suspect to be a key player in my depression.

As a result it is my plan for the first three months postpartum to partake in a vitamin regimen, which I plan to discuss with my Dr. and child’s pediatrician (since I breastfeed). In addition, once my bleeding stops I plan to start taking daily walks around my apartment building and once approved by my Dr to begin exercising I plan to increase that walk to around my entire block at first with just the babies, but after a month I will likely add the dog. I’m also planning 10-20 minute yoga/meditation sessions everyday. I’m hoping that 3 months of vitamins and exercise will be all I need to see a difference in my state of mind. However, if after 3 months of doing all of this consistently I still feel sad, angry, unmotivated, and irritated I plan to have a serious talk with my Dr. regarding anti-depressant medication.

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I wrote this poem to help describe the emotions I felt following the birth of my first baby.

Postpartum Thoughts

By Leeann Minton

 

I sat there staring adoringly at you.

I cried heavy tears in adoration of your newborn face.

I felt like a river overflowing its banks,

My soul cloudy with lifes’ debris.

I feared my actions would be your downfall.

 

I hated your touch.

The need you had for me.

Though innocent all I could think was,

But why is it always me.

Sleepless night after sleepless night I stared at you.

I held you to my breast to feed.

 

As time moved forward you consumed me.

I forgot everyone else,

I could only see you and me.

I lost my motivation.

I forgot about my goals.

 

Keeping you alive.

Keeping you from crying.

Keeping you away from the pain.

Pain, which I felt every day.

 

I wanted so much to be good for you.

So much to do what was best.

I didn’t always succeed.

I almost always felt I failed.

I tried walking away.

 

I thought it would be better if I was gone.

I thought I should take my life.

I thought maybe I could run away.

However,

Your face it always had a smile.

You knew just when to learn something new.

You managed to pull my heartstrings.

 

Your father he protected you.

He saw me falling.

He never gave up.

I hope you are like him.

 

Mommy is getting help now.

One day I will feel all better.

 

I have spent years avoiding medication as a means of controlling and “fixing” my problems, but recently I’ve realized that sometimes we need the extra help. Sometimes will power is not enough to move past the hurt and to get out of the darkness.

Since my son was born 6 weeks ago I have been taking my regular dosage of magnesium, which helps to prevent my seizures, but its also been known to help combat depression. In addition, I have been purposeful in getting out of the house. Its a little more difficult with a breastfeeding newborn, however my husband has also been extremely helpful in this regard. Sometimes though it can’t be helped the newborn has to go with, in those instances I have been wearing him both so he stays warm and so strangers do not try and touch them during cold/flue season. I have not managed to do the workout routine I originally set up for myself, however I’m so busy that I might as well be working out. Staying busy seems to have definitely helped keep the depression at bay.

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Motherhood, Year Three, Year Two

Birth Story Baby #2

*Warning, graphic imagery.

We welcomed baby Charles Joseph into the world on December 8, 2017. He was born 9 pounds 7 ounces, 22 inches long. A full pound heavier than his brother. By comparison this pregnancy was very different from my first. I was in labor for weeks, and had multiple false alarms/trips to L&D. In addition, to the on again off again labor, I also gained 17 more pounds with this pregnancy.

On 12/7, I went into my OBGYN, 39 weeks pregnant, miserable and having been contracting on and off for 2 weeks stuck at 4 centimeters dilated and a negative two station. Baby was also measuring two weeks ahead. I asked the Dr to try a membrane sweep and scheduled an induction for the following Wednesday on 12/13. I woke up on 12/8, having regular contractions 3 minutes apart. This wasn’t completely unusual as I had been experiencing this type of situation for two weeks. The difference this time being that the contractions were much more painful. So my husband and I packed it up found someone to watch our son and headed to the hospital. When we arrived I was 5.5cm dilated, so things were definitely moving along.

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I experienced a lot of back labor and just knew baby was not sitting right. 4 hours later they checked me again and I was only at a 6. This was nothing like my first labor where I arrived at the hospital at a 5 and 4 hours later was holding my son in my arms (after two hours of pushing). Nope it appeared the contractions were just not doing what they were supposed to. So the Dr requested to break my water. Now I was very adamant in my birth plan about not wanting my water broken unless I was trying to push and changing positions didn’t help. My biggest fear being that it would place me on a 24 hour timeline towards a c-section. They assured me that if they broke my water they would not put me on a 24 hour time limit and the only way a c-section would occur was if I or baby were in serious distress. So I agreed. They broke my water and placed me on my side with my legs wrapped around  a peanut ball to help the baby turn. Contractions become crazy close together, and the pain intensified so fast I was unable to get myself to the meditative state, which ultimately saved me during my first labor. I screamed, cursed, and squeezed my partners hand.

It was maybe 20 minutes before I was ready to push. I literally felt my son’s head and body turn and push its way down. I pushed for about ten minutes, and felt the ring of fire. That was probably the most painful part of the whole experience as I literally felt myself being ripped apart. With my first I was in such a deep state of meditation I didn’t feel the ring of fire and didn’t even realize that I pushed for 2 hours, and thought the pushing lasted only fifteen minutes. This time I pushed for 10 minutes and it felt like an eternity. With my first I ended up getting an episiotomy (because of babies head size), which became a 4th degree tear. This time I experienced a 2nd degree tear, which included some un-sewable tissue loss. Despite the awkward tear, I have a million times more energy this time than I did the first.

I was able to jump back into things much more quickly as well. I also have not had any issues with baby blues or ridiculous crying boughts’. I have cried on a couple of occasions, but only about things one would expect an overly hormonal newly postpartum mother to cry about. It appears at least for now that I am/have avoided postpartum depression.

After pushing baby out, he was immediately handed to me, and I got to hold him while I delivered the placenta. I also got to watch my husband cut the cord this time, and was able to feed him right away. With my first he was immediately whisked away, because there had been mecconium and they were worried he might have swallowed some. There was no mecconium this time, in fact baby pooped for the first time right in my hand as I held him. I was so happy to just finally be holding him that I didn’t care. I was left alone to feed baby, and after holding him for two plus hours they finally took him for measurements and testing. They were quick about it though handing him back to me within 20 minutes and giving me yet another hour with him before they took him away for vitamin k shots, eye goo, and whatever other testing they do while they switched me to a recovery room.

I was at the hospital for 2 nights and three days, they took baby each night for testing, and knowing I wasn’t going to be getting any sleep at home I allowed them to hold him there until it was feeding time so I could get extra sleep. On the second night, while baby was out of the room for testing I had a small scare where it appeared like I might have a seizure I felt the early signs with the numbness forming in my jaw. I learned during my first pregnancy that I have a magnesium deficiency, and I had not had my daily dose. I managed to inform the nurse in enough time and they brought me a magnesium pill, which seemed to really help things and I avoided a seizure.

The entire experience while painful was incredibly beautiful and amazing. I didn’t realize how much I had missed out on with my first. I feel so much more bonded to this baby than I did at this point with my first.

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Growing Up, Motherhood, News, Social

What to do After Trauma?

The recent hurricanes that took place reeking havoc on Texas and Florida had me a hormonal mess. I’m located in Texas and have family and friends located all across Houston. Some of my friends lost everything, some got away with minimal loss, and others are just fine. I so badly  wanted to run down there and help after it was all said and done, but being pregnant it was not and is not safe for me to do so. Ultimately however the entire event has got me thinking and meditating on how I can help to fix my self and my own personal problems. My family has been through a lot in just a few short years: we had a baby; my husband lost his mother; I suffered severe postpartum depression; we had a roommate issue (actually we had a few of these) that nearly broke us mentally and financially; honestly the list goes on and on. While I have done well in terms of fixing and managing my husband and I’s relationship there are still ongoing issues that I will never be able to fix if I do not first fix myself.

What is trauma?

Trauma comes in many forms a complicated birth, a natural disaster, emotional abuse, a terrible car accident, or the loss of a loved one. No matter what type of trauma experienced a road to recovery is needed. Trauma always constitutes a type of loss, whether its the loss of time, emotional security, physical capabilities, or a person, that loss hurts. When you have a family and you are experiencing this hurt whether its something directly effecting one person or every person its important to not only know how to properly care for yourself, but others as well.

For the person currently suffering because of trauma?blancoynegro-1217184_640

Maybe you are one of the many people who’s lives have been devastated by Harvey and Irma, or a mom suffering from postpartum depression and healing after a very traumatic birth experience. Perhaps your someone who just lost their best friend. Life does not always give us a silver spoon, a ray of sunshine, or a silver lining. However, that does not mean we give up. If you are currently suffering and have tried everything you can on your own to make yourself happy then perhaps it is time to seek out extra help.

Helplines:

Suicide Prevention Lifeline (United States)Copy of What to do after

1-800-273-8255

National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-7233

LGBTQ Crisis Hotline and Services

https://www.ostem.org/crisis-hotlines

Financial Assistance, Medical Affordability, Local Help Resources

Call 2-11 in the U.S if you have any questions for financial assistance regarding food, paying bills, childcare, social services, and/or medical expenses.

If you are not sure where to begin in terms of trying to make yourself better and are too scared to reach out for help try some of these tips below.

Step 1:

  • Make sure you are taking time for yourself.
  • If you need to cry, then cry.
  • If you need to sleep, sleep.
  • If you just need some time to be alone, do it.

Step 2:

  • Get outside, you need 20 minutes of sunshine minimum everyday.
  • If you can see a Doctor and discuss with them about having your vitamin levels checked.
  • Take a multi-vitamin, it will help if you are lacking anything in your diet. Discuss with your Doctor on what the best multi-vitamin might be for you.

Step 3:

  • Drink water
  • Do your best to maintain a well balanced diet.

Step 4:

  • Try to workout at least 3 times a week for 20 minutes, even if its just walking around your office building or apartment complex.

Step 5:

  • Set a goal or goals, write down all the steps need to achieve that goal.

Step 6:

  • Start working towards your goal.

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If you Know someone who has recently experienced trauma?:

Perhaps you are not currently suffering as a result of trauma, but know someone who is. Maybe your spouse lost a parent or your best friend is getting out of an abusive relationship. Whether they are blatantly asking for your help or you are simply reading their story via Facebook updates, there are ways you can help even if you are not there next to them or capable of visiting in person.

Step 1:

Listen to what they tell you. Ask questions if you don’t understand.

  • What do they need?
  • What hurts?
  • Why does it hurt?
  • How does it hurt?
  • Where does it hurt?
  • When did it start?
  • Who caused it?
  • How was it caused?
  • What was the cause?

Step 2:

Be a shining light or a positive place for them. Build them up.

Step 3:

Help them problem solve.

Step 4:

Ask them about their goals, keep them on track to reaching them.

When someone is healing as a result of trauma they may try and gloss over the problem by saying everything is okay. They may hide behind good things or excuses. Don’t be afraid to show your failing points or troubles and how you fixed them or are working to fix them. If you feel someone is hiding their true emotions ask them about their goals, share with them about yours. Check in with them often to see how they are doing with their goals and give them an update on your own.

You and someone close are dealing with trauma simultaneously?:sad-child-1759986_640

Whether your family lost everything to the hurricanes or just experienced a traumatic car accident there are times in all of our lives when we are forced to not only care for our own mental well being, but the well being of others as well. Some are good at this. Others just freeze. It is okay to show emotion. It is okay to cry, it is okay to be mad. However, its important to also know where the balance is.

Step 1:

Have open discussions about every ones feelings.

  • What is everyone feeling?
  • What does everyone fear?
  • How can those feelings be properly expressed?
  • What can we do to fix those fears or bad feelings?

Step 2:

Give everyone their individual time to heal and move forward.

  • Maybe counseling with a third party is needed.
  • Maybe mom needs 20 minutes everyday to  just take a breath and relax without anyone touching her or asking for something.
  • Maybe the children need time with their friends.
  • Perhaps dad needs mom to listen to and hold him for a little while while he cries a few times a week.

Step 3:

  • What are the goals for the family?
  • How can you prevent future trauma?
  • What is everyone’s individual plan/goal for the future?

When you work through trauma individually it can be overwhelming, however we all must do things to care for ourselves otherwise we will not be able to care for others. When we are caring for others we must first listen to them in order to provide them with what they really need. If our entire household is experiencing trauma we need to not only listen to ourselves and voice our needs, but also listen to the needs being voiced by our spouse and our children. If we are not capable of doing exactly what someone needs, we must then find a compromise or something that is mutually beneficial to both parties.

The beautiful thing about Houston and really most of South East Texas is that despite the political, religious, and racial differences expressed, debated, and argued they will always help their neighbor in need. The entire country watched as the people came together to rescue and evacuate thousands who were stuck. The part you won’t see is how they will also come together to clean it up and rebuild. Social class, religion, race, politics, and gender will have no place to stand as neighbors will come together to exchange labor, goods, shoulders, and ears to help one another move forward. The hurricane was a trauma shared, for some it was more devastating than others, but that doesn’t mean those who are doing better move forward unscathed, instead they take their time to heal and they heal themselves, by helping to heal each other.

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Motherhood, News

Baby #2: My Birth Announcement

It was our goal to have another baby this year, and come December 11, 2017, plus or minus a few days, we will have a little girl/boy in our lives. I’m so excited to be pregnant again. As much of a surprise the first pregnancy was, this one has its own challenges, but is so much easier.

First, I have more experience this time around. I’m not basing all my knowledge on what I was told growing up, instead I have personal experience to go off of.

Second, we are more financially stable this go round, and we have our ducks in a row. My sister was amazing enough to gift us her second vehicle as she had just bought herself a new one and no longer needed her old vehicle.

Third, I will be hiring a doula. What is a doula? A doula is a labor advocate, she helps make sure everything goes your way in the room during delivery. She also provides advice, breathing techniques, and helps relieve pressure during the laboring process. I choose to hire a doula this time for two reasons. A) I tore horribly during my first delivery and I do not want to repeat that again. B) On the good chance that my labor progresses faster than someone can pick up our son who will be a little less than 2 in a half, I need someone I trust to be there for me, while my husband is entertaining our toddler in the waiting room.

How this pregnancy is different from my first?

My nausea lasted a lot longer than with my son. In addition, heart burn has been horrible. I am a lot more active this pregnancy than I was with my first. I am determined to maintain my leg muscles this pregnancy so I can be in a vertical position during delivery. Having a toddler certainly helps with this. My last pregnancy I craved mostly tacos, whereas this pregnancy I am craving fruits and veggies. I’m pretty sure this little one will be a girl, but I won’t find out until next week, so stay tuned for the gender reveal.

 

 

Growing Up, Motherhood, Year Two

2 Year- Toddler Post

I started this blog when I was pregnant with my son, he inspired me to follow my dream of writing. I have had many ups and downs not only with my emotions, but also with my writing. The past few months I have been very distracted with a combination of family drama, financial crisis, and a roller coaster of depression. We have had a lot of changes take place over the course of a short period. Tomorrow I will be making a big announcement. It amazes me how quickly time has moved forward, my little boy is two today it feels just like yesterday I was holding him in the hospital.

 

masks-833421_1280My Mental Health:

The last few months have been difficult for many reasons. I’ve basically been on a roller coaster, but everything seems to have evened out in the past couple of weeks. My son is into everything. He climbs on things and no toy stays in the toy bin for long. The constant need for cleaning and housekeeping has definitely caused a good deal of stress. The messy house combined with the slight financial mess we found ourselves in has definitely not helped with my roller coaster of depression. Fortunately everything seems to be improving. I’m working on creating new schedules and plans via the bullet journal method. (More on bullet journaling next week.)

 

toy-box-1916163_640How Toddler is Doing?:

He has all of his teeth and is getting taller. His vocabulary is incredibly large with new words being added everyday. His 1 year old cousin came to stay for a couple of weeks and the two had a great time playing with one another. Wesley doesn’t quite understand sharing, but he definitely learned what “mine” means while his cousin was visiting. With summer here I have started taking him to the local kiddy pool. He is tall enough that he can walk across the whole thing. It goes from 9 inches to 2 feet. I sit/stand next to him the whole time while he walks around and plays with his and others water toys. He hates getting his face and hair wet, but since taking him to the pool regularly he enjoys baths much more.

20170409_165549Feeding Toddler?

So we stopped the food pouches, they were no longer filling him up and they were getting very expensive. He basically eats almost exclusively what we eat. I do buy him snacks that are more specifically for him including goldfish, animal crackers, peanut butter crackers, and fruit snacks. The kid also loves tomatoes, so even though I am not a fan I buy him tomatoes every now and again. Recently he has been over-indulging himself on fruit-snacks. I’m working on getting him to understand they are a sometimes treat. He knows how to get into the pantry and fridge by himself. We have successfully set it up so he can’t get into the kitchen, but keeping him out of the pantry has proven impossible.

circle-304524_1280Tips and Tricks:

Pool shoes are a must have for splash pads

Summer is host to a whole slew of free fun family activities don’t forget to check your local city center and library for free events. Tired of visiting the same park or pool over and over again, change it up by driving further away from home to visit a neighboring public pool or park, just make sure you check their open days and times, some pools are closed during certain week days for cleaning.

 

Motherhood, Year Two

21 Month Baby Post

It’s been a fun road I must say. My little man will be two in a few months. He’s so big, plus he is smart and has personality plus. I am so happy to get the opportunity to spend so much time with him on a daily basis.

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My Mental Health:

Well the little man is almost two and the tantrums have already begun with him. It is definitely difficult. I’m having to provide boundaries for him, which is difficult for me, because I want him to be happy. I want him to eat whenever he wants, I want him to have the opportunity to explore his environment. However, at the same time he has to learn that he can’t touch the T.V, he cannot eat 5 plus apple sauce pouches in a day or an hour. It’s very difficult keeping up with his energy level as well. I constantly have to decide between work, play, and chores. Then there’s just day where all I want to do is sit on the couch and not move. We have been sick a lot this year. In January I had mono, in February DH and I both got the flu, and in March my son Wesley got a stomach bug (I’m assuming it was mild food poisoning from eating out of the trash.) That little kid is quick, we have since made sure he cannot get his paws inside the trash can. This month, Wesley and I have both had a terrible cold. Basically I’ve been feeling miserable, which is why this weeks posts were non-existent until today. Mentally these last few months have just been exhausting. Fortunately, while I’ve been pretty exhausted the past three months, I have also been mostly relaxed without too many financial concerns. I’m so happy to be clear of the post pardum.

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Wesley got his first haircut recently. We were grocery shopping when he swiped the bell pepper from the display and bit into it. He thought it was an apple. The kid ate the whole thing including the seeds.

How Toddler is doing?:

His back teeth came in, he almost has a full set of teeth now. He’s walking and climbing on everything. However, I’m happy to say I can still make good use of the play pen and crib. He doesn’t climb out of those. Daniel (my husband) thinks its because he is lazy and doesn’t have a real reason to, because he won’t play with his toys alone. We got him new clothes he’s sort of in between 18 month and 24 month sizes. I bought him a bunch of 24 month clothes just to make it easy. He is starting to show interest in the potty and we are thinking about starting potty training here soon. I’m considering trying out the three day potting training method. I’m planning to start on a Sunday so my husband is here, I will take care of it all day Monday and then he can help me finish it off on Tuesday. Starting next week he will have Sunday and Tuesday off.

My only concern with potty training is that Wesley does still sleep in his crib at night, plus he does not yet know any bathroom words. However, he has shown the ability to pick up on words quickly when they are introduced and used consistently over a short period of time. I figure maybe he will pick up the bathroom words when we are teaching him. We have a little seat to place on our toilet for him, but we should probably get a step stool so I don’t have to lift him up their each time. I’ve sat him on the potty a couple of times with the kids toilet seat, he seemed a little scared, I’m hoping with the stool he would be more comfortable, because he would understand he can get down.

 

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Feeding Toddler:

He weaned himself from the boob, but recently he keeps lifting my shirt or pulling it down to look at my boobs. I’m not sure why he has the sudden fascination. I have started monitoring his snacks a little bit, he doesn’t realize when he is full. So I’ve set it up so that he gets one veggie bowl, one fruit bowl, no more than 2 apple sauce pouches, a cheese stick, and crackers or bread. Total he gets about 6 snacks a day now. Plus he also gets Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yeah my kid can eat. He’s currently around 25 lbs. and just under three feet tall. He’s a big boy, he still has some of his leg rolls, but most of the arm rolls are gone, and the belly is slowly disappearing too. His back muscles are amazing though, I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned into a little athlete. I just hope he chooses something like swimming.

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Tips and Tricks:

Use small take and toss kid bowls to break up healthy snacks for your toddler. You can also use ziplock bags. Put a few different fruits in one, a few veggies in another, and if you want you can do nuts, crackers (goldfish), and raisins in the third. Provide the snacks through the day when they are hungry.

Keep a basket in your fridge specifically for kid snacks, so you or they can just open the fridge grab, open, and hand to them. Saves time, and prevents meltdowns.

 

Motherhood

Surviving Life with a Baby Part 7: Meal Planning

Since the new year I have been busy finding ways to get myself organized as a work at home mama. Meal planning is a big help when you are trying to cut down your grocery bill, but it also removes the worry about what’s for dinner. When it comes to life with a baby the concern of what is for dinner can be a big one, after all you are super busy changing diapers, breastfeeding, and chasing the little ones around it can be easy to forget that you have to feed yourself. Here are my top 5 meal planning tips.

Tip #1: Don’t plan too far ahead

I don’t plan ahead by more than 3 days, when I do the grocery shopping I buy based on what is on sale and what I currently have already at home if I am missing one or two ingredients for a favorite meal I make sure to pick those up. Many people who talk about meal planning tell you to plan out your entire week or month of meals in advance. I have a sensitive pallet and sometimes I am just not in the mood for something, so planning my menu out a week or even a month in advance is not realistic for me. It is for this reason that I make sure to have a variety of meals and snacks available. I typically buy two-three weeks worth of groceries at a time. How do I manage not to let food spoil when I only meal plan ahead by three days? I freeze a lot of our meats and we use frozen vegetables for a lot of meals. I do make stops to the store for perishables that run out before the two or three weeks is up.

Tip #2: Keep it visible

I have a white board on my fridge that allows me to plan out lunch and dinner for the week. I write down three days of meals in advance, and as I work through those three days I consider what we have left/available and brainstorm what I would like to eat after those three days. It helps me to see what we have already eaten so I know if I need to make one day a leftovers day. In addition, there are some days where I just don’t want to cook or we have too many errands to run so I will be sure to assign leftover days, pb&j days, or take out days as necessary.

Tip #3: Make a grocery list and stick to it

Just because you are not planning your meals a full week in advance, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider the number of meals you will need to make for the week or weeks ahead. When you make your grocery list make sure that the items you have listed can easily be mixed and matched together to form the number of meals necessary to make it to your next grocery shopping day. Prevent over spending by considering what is in your pantry, fridge, and freezer already. Consider some ideas for future meals, or new recipes you may be thinking of trying. Avoid buying things that are not on your list.

Tip #4: Put it in your planner

I like to plan my weeks out in advance, especially since I work from home running this blog and writing content for other websites. When I fill out my planner either at the beginning of the week or beginning of the month I like to write down my daily goals, my work goals, and what’s for dinner. I consider what my goals for that day are and any events/errands that are taking place that day. If it looks like an exhausting day I will opt for an easier to cook dish. For example last week I had a networking event to attend. I spent the whole day cleaning in preparation for the babysitter and  had to rush through getting ready so I could arrive to the location in time. I knew that when I got back that night I was going to be exhausted. I prepped part of the dinner ahead of time and kept it simple with pasta salad, sausage, and asparagus.

Tip #5: Prep ahead of time

Note how on the day that I was really busy last week I opted to prep earlier in the day for later in the evening. There are many ways to pre-prep your food. Some people opt for spending one day a month cooking/putting together a bunch of meals and then freezing them. This is an excellent option if you have help, I don’t have this thing called help so I often prep things the morning/afternoon before dinner, or sometimes I will prep the day before if I know I’m just not going to have time. Things I like to prep in advance are large amounts of chopping, and making of broth/chicken stock.

Did you find these tips helpful? How do you plan out your meals?

 

Motherhood, Year Two

18 Month Baby Post

Wow we made it! My baby is 18 months old or for those of you attempting to do the math, he’s one in a half. So much has taken place in the past three months it is absolutely amazing to me.

masks-833421_1280My mental health:

The past three months have been rough between a car accident with my husband totaling our only vehicle. The one year anniversary of my mother in laws passing. Plus, the added stress of my husband switching jobs for the fourth time this year. Things have been crazy. Communication was not going so well for a little while their. Arguments were had. Severe yelling matches took place. In addition, to this my crawling baby became a walking toddler. Yep, that’s right my Little Wes is walking. I’m surprised my sanity has remained in check with the extreme magnitude of everything that has transpired in the past few months.

I will be honest it hasn’t been easy. My husband and I have argued before, more often then not it was related to us being hungry or because we do not communicate well when it comes to giving directions. However, that all being said it is likely something just clicked when the New Year came along. Just a few days into the new year and my husband and I are communicating together. We have worked out  a plan that gives me the time I need to work, but also provides us with the time we need to communicate together. Seeing as we lost the vehicle. I am no longer working with instacart, because though I could easily walk the distance to the local H.E.B, the money isn’t worth it to me. Plus I don’t want to be a personal shopper, I want to be a writer and I am determined that I can make the wage I need this year doing just that.

In all honesty, I believe the real reason I was able to keep sane over those last few months of 2016 was because I wrote in my journal religiously. I spoke about the troubles I was experiencing with an outside source (mostly my upstairs neighbor who is Awesome). I also spent months creating a plan and a routine that would work and allow me to complete everything I needed to do in a day. I think knowing that I had a plan for the new year to make it better was what really made the whole thing better. So enough about me, lets get to who you really came to this post to read about let’s get to my handsome baby boy and how he did these past few months.

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How Baby?…wait no How Toddler is doing:

Well the cat is already out of the bag my little boy is walking. He is your typical happy toddler emptying book shelves, up-ending his toy bins, and pulling clothes of baskets and drawers. He’s climbing anything and everything. Somehow he still hasn’t figured out how to get out of his crib or playpen, but he does know how to climb onto the couch and on top of the dogs kennel. Wesley and the dog have become quick best friends. They “wrestle” together and even share food. I know not very hygienic, but really what am I going to do. Wesley has a large vocabulary now including words like…Wow! Dog! Out! Very Good! Thank you! For those who are new or don’t recall his first word was Mama. He quickly learned Dada and I Wuv You. He is also quickly learning food words like apple, Nan-Na (banana), and he even said waffle the other day.

We had a lot of holidays take place these past months. He enjoyed trick-or-treating and went as a “Dragon Roll.” I dressed him in a sushi outfit I created and decorated his stroller up as a dragon. I went as a Warrior Queen, using pieces of clothing I had in my closet. Thanksgiving we went simple, he loved the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and green beans. For desert we had pumpkin pie. Christmas looked like a carnival. Santa treated him really well bringing him a play kitchen, tent, wooden ball maze, Mater-Pillow, play cell phone, and stacking cups. He got a few other things as well. He loves all of his gifts and plays with them all a little bit each day.

One big thing we learned about parenting over these past few months, was how much of a solid and regular routine toddlers really need. He started throwing tantrums if he didn’t get what he wanted. Now that I have goals of maintaining a regular routine (originally developed so I could have more time to write and make money blogging) we are seeing a happier less crabby baby. He still throws tantrums every now and again, but we are slowly working on getting him on a regular routine he is used to.

child-932083_1920Feeding Baby:

Well as you know he gave up the boob during month 13 all on his own. He is currently on almond milk per Doctors orders since cows milk was a bit rough on his stomach. He spent most of the past three months eating pouch baby food, plus solids that included what we were eating and what I had around the house. However, he is consuming so much food these days we are being forced to wean him off the pouched food and get him on a strictly solids diet. With the holidays our food budget was really tight last month. I got really creative and tested out some more solid foods with him. He is a big fan of frozen waffles, hard boiled eggs, PB&J, and chicken nuggets. He will eat basically anything you put in front of him. I’m working on creating a regular menu for him and I to share for Breakfast and lunch. He eats dinner at a different time from my husband and I so I’m attempting to work it out where our lunches are the leftovers from the previous nights dinner.

circle-304524_1280Tips and Tricks:

Keep a clean sippy cup in the diaper bag for long trips where you need to give the baby some water to tide them over. (It may also be worth it to carry around a bottle of water as well.)

Keep a clean trash bag in the baby bag for dirty diapers or clothes

Keep a bag of Gold fish, cheerios, or animal crackers for easy snacking when on the go.

 

Motherhood

Three Ways to Recover From the Holidays

Finally, the Holidays are over it is the beginning of a new year. As a mom you likely just spent the last few months cleaning, shopping, cooking, more cleaning, and chasing of little ones all over the house. As a welcome to the New Year I provide you a list of three ways to relax and recover the Holidays.

lemon-1578370_1920Detox:

Holidays are often filled with heavy carbs and sugar intake. Help your body recover from all the stress of the holidays. My favorite detox is water flavored with lemon, mint, and cucumber.

Another thing I like to do is add powdered ginger to my soups. This helps with arthritis and inflammation. Hot lemon water with ginger and honey is also great for healing a sore throat.

Finally take a 20 minute bath in a tub mixed with lavender oil, Epsom salt, and baking soda. This will help clear your body of any toxins that are sitting in your pores. It will also relax your aching muscles and help you sleep.

plank-1327256_1280Do Something you Enjoy/Love:

Whether it is getting a pedicure or a massage, maybe you enjoy yoga or kick boxing. Choose something that you really like to do, but haven’t done in awhile. Basically take at least one or two hours to yourself this week to do something just for you. If you can, do that everyday this week, because it will really help you to start off the new year fresh.

target-1747236_1920Set Goals:

If you haven’t made your new years resolutions yet, it isn’t too late. If you have then get started working towards them. New goals are great for rejuvenating and getting yourself going again. The holidays may have derailed your diet or maybe you spent a little too much money on those Christmas presents. When you set goals it is important to also create a plan of action for reaching each of those goals. Consider all aspects of your life to determine where you can improve.

Wishing you a happy New Year. Share in the comments ways you relax once the holidays are all said and done.