Our Favorite Books

I recently posted about the books I’d read recently for book club, but the majority of my reading is in the picture book category…with some recent forays into chapter books with Tom and Nell, though those have not been the most successful and I need recommendations in the chapter books for young kids department. When I was pregnant with Thomas, one of B’s mom’s best friends (got that?) gave me a bunch of classic board books with a note that said “A read to baby is a loved baby.” I’ve never forgotten that. Since the moment we brought Thomas home from the hospital we read to him every night. I hate to admit that Nell and Peter didn’t fall into the bedtime book routine as early – partly because B would take bedtime books and tuck-ins with the older kid(s) while I fed and put the baby-of-the-moment to bed, but such is life after the first baby, eh? In the last six months, Nell has really started to love books as much as Thomas, though, and Peter is carrying board books around the house with him. I love it.

I tried to pick books that Tom and Nell love equally for this list – Nell enjoys her Angelina Ballerina books, Tom loves his football books, but our favorites are the ones the whole family loves.

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If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen. This is hands down my favorite book right now, and “If I Built a House” and a few other Chris Van Dusen books will be making their way to our house for Tom’s 5th birthday. It is clever, it is fun, and paired with the right building material (Magnatiles or Magformers with wheel bases), we’ve got hours of creativity.

The Day The Crayons Quit - This was the book we gave Tom as his “Something to Read” last year for Christmas and it was an instant favorite. It’s illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, who has been a longtime favorite author and illustrator of ours. Which leads me to:

Anything by Oliver Jeffers, but we are especially smitten with Lost and Found and its sweet story of friendship. Though truly, I’m not sure you can go wrong with one of his books.

Duck and Goose. We’ve had this one for years, but we read it multiple times a week. Especially when the book picker is trying to postpone bedtime because it’s a bit longer than many picture books – Duck and Goose, Charlie the Ranch Dog and the Day the Crayons Quit are top choices on nights when the kids are trying to stretch the bedtime routine out a bit.

Caps For Sale - This is an oldie, but a goodie. We love this one. We especially love stamping our feet and shaking our fists when the peddler yells at the monkeys. Books with the McKevitts, man. It’s a good time.

Pete the Cat – Any Pete the Cat, but I’m partial to I Love My White Shoes over the Buttons one – though we own both and the kids love them equally.

One Dog Canoe – This is a fun book – my mom has it at her house and we have a copy at the cabin, so I’ve refrained from buying a copy for our house, too, but Tom and Nell always have me read it to them over and over when we’re at a One Dog Canoe house.

My Father’s Dragon – This was our first chapter book, and it was a good one. I read it just to Tom, and then we moved onto Mr. Popper’s Penguins…which we have yet to finish because I’m not in love and the kids don’t seem to be, either. But My Father’s Dragon was a quick, fun first chapter book.

(*As always, I don’t use affiliate links, so these Amazon links are just for your convenience.)

 

I have a ton of books saved on a wish list for Tom’s and Nell’s birthdays, so hopefully by the end of June we’ll have even more favorites to add to our list. I will say that I tend to feel a little “Womp womp” about some of the “girl” books we order for Nell recently – so I’d love recommendations for truly charming and adorable illustrations and stories. And chapter books – we need some more chapter books over here.

Updates…

I have plenty of things in my head I could blog about…but life just gets so busy, and three weeks after Valentine’s Day how interesting is my valentines mantle? Ha! So here’s my typical “All the pictures in my iPhone catch-up”. Truth be told, I’ve been going back and forth about blogging and social media lately. And by lately I mean over the last two years. In my commitment to disconnect more frequently (and during the day) from technology, I post to Instagram far less. I rarely sit down at the computer during the day, and at night, on the weeks B is home and not traveling, I like to spend time with him. I deleted Facebook from my Phone for Lent and won’t be adding it back after it’s over — I was on the brink of just deleting my personal Facebook account, but decided to just remove the quickest access I had to it instead, so I only see things if I actually sit down at the computer, which is rare.  And can I say? It’s kind of nice. But then there’s the outlet of the blog – I like writing. I like the occasional family post, the pictures and the recaps of what we’re up to at this stage in our lives. I like sharing the occasional house project, but I’m a mom of three kids with a husband who travels 60% of the time…house projects are few and far between! And that’s okay – this is our life.  I love the community that so many of us built together 7 years ago when we all started blogging. But as our kids have all gotten older (and more numerous!), there’s less time. And more concern over privacy and kids. I don’t have a good answer, but I know the longer I wait to blog, the harder it gets to come back, so I’m recommitting to this old blog for the month of April to see how it goes.

So here we go, a quick catch-up:

I finished my third full Whole30 (my January Whole30 I didn’t finish, so I’m not counting that one) on March 15th. I lost 13 pounds, a couple inches all over and felt great – 6 of those 13 pounds were weight I gained over the holidays and the month of January, but the other 7 put me below my “happy weight”, which is awesome. I’ve done a great job of keeping with the eating – with the occasional treat here and there. B and I flew to Charleston last weekend for a wedding, and while I didn’t deny myself any foods I truly wanted, I definitely was conscious of how food made me feel. After three Whole30s, I’ve realized that I’m sensitive to gluten. Not intolerant, mind you – I like to be very clear on that in this gluten free world we’re inundated by – but just sensitive to it – it upsets my stomach and while I can deal with the discomfort, I feel better (and weigh less) when I avoid gluten, so that’s what I plan to keep doing. In the past, good craft beer has been the reason I’ve reintroduced gluten, but after this last Whole30, beer didn’t even taste good to me. (My first Whole30 recap is here).

 

With food kind of figured out, I’m turning my mind towards working out again. In January, I started P90x3. I loved the workouts, I felt strong and loved being in a daily workout routine…but I gained weight while doing it. And that was in conjunction with the failed Whole30 – part of why I gave up on the Whole30 in January was because I was annoyed at the scale. My friend and BeachBody coach was a huge part of getting me back into working out -and eating clean – last April. We both had newborns, and we both had baby weight to lose, and she was inspirational, challenged me to eat clean while doing a month long commitment to workouts through her accountability groups (if you’re looking to get started with a workout program, Jessica and her accountability groups are awesome – not perked to say that at all, just sharing the good :) ), and that’s when I found the Whole30. Jessica has been awesome talking me through the Beachbody programs and helping me find a program that works for me, so, I am starting 21 Day fix on Monday. I will be honest, I’m mostly doing it for the workouts. I’m scared to change my eating because I know that paleo and Whole30 work for me, but I will follow the 21 Day fix food plan as it fits into my paleo diet and am looking forward to the portion control portions of the program. But to fit this into my paleo diet, that means no grains or dairy (though I have promised to give vegan Shakeology a try) for me.

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B is traveling a ton for work, but he’s loving his job, and the two of us have figured out how to make it work. Thankfully, Facetime helps both the kids and me while he’s gone, and before he took the job we talked a lot about how important it was to me to not feel like having him around got in the way of our routine once we adjusted to his travel. The traveling husband and how we’re making it work with our marriage and the kids is probably a post of it’s own, and one that will continue to evolve…and I’m determined to blog more in April, so maybe I’ll get to that. But the long story short is: When B is home, we teamwork it like we always have, and when he’s gone, we talk multiple times a day so that he knows what’s going on, where we’re at with the kids, and how the week is going as a whole so he knows what he’s coming home to and he can pick up where he left off. It’s a lot of work, but doing that work is the most important thing for our family right now.

Thomas is in the homestretch of PreK and getting excited for summer. He’s playing soccer right now, and starts swimming lessons with Nell in two weeks. He’ll play T-Ball this summer (he’s psyched to finally be old enough – his June birthday put him past the cutoff date last year by 4 days). He’s getting more and more into Legos, but sports still reign supreme in his life. He’s a sweet, sensitive and fun kid, and we’re loving this stage of life where he’s doing “bigger kid” stuff, but still so small. He turns five in two months. Somebody hold me.

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Nell Caroline is 2 and a half, and you would know it. When Thomas was two and three, I remember telling people that his phases went in 3 month increments. We’d have a great 3 months, and then we’d have a rocky 3 months, although looking back at it I honestly don’t remember three month rocky stretches (ah, the gift of time and rose colored glasses!). Nell’s phases seem to go in about 3 WEEK increments. Which is exhausting, but thank goodness because the rocky stretches just about do me in…I can’t imagine if they lasted months rather than weeks. I went to confession at the start of Lent, and it basically turned into a counseling session about my sweet daughter, because my relationship with her was weighing heavily on my heart at the time. And it helped me enter these last 6 weeks with a different mindset – I’m trying to remember that I’m raising these children to be good people, to love God, and to share God’s love through kindness. And that starts with me. This is all probably another blog post in and of itself, but all this is to say that Nell and I are currently in a great phase, and I’m enjoying every second of it. I find myself thanking God each night lately for our good days, for his guidance as I navigate attempts at a whole new kind of attitude and disobedience, and for the sweet moments that remind me how lucky I am to have Nell’s perspective on the world.

IMG_7195_2 Peter Michael. B and I were gone for 4 days and we left our baby and came back to a toddler. He is into EVERYTHING. He’s walking, climbing, screaming when he doesn’t get his way and delighted by the sweetest, simplest things. I love 12 month olds, and I remember how hard it is when they feel independent but in reality are struggling to do anything for themselves. This baby boy of ours is so darn sweet – he’s snuggly and charismatic. I joke that he’s going to be our class clown, and I think he’s just going to be an easy going kid – used to rolling with the punches.

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And that’s our update. There are plenty of blog posts to come, and my goal is to blog 2 – 3 times a week this month. In reality, that will mean a lot of family posts, rather than a ton of house updates, but that’s our life right now. And I’m embracing it.

Kindergarten. Oy.

So, it’s January 2015. Which for some reason that I really struggle to come to terms with, means parents have to make decisions on school for their kids 8 months from now. I have to make a decision for my 4 1/2 year old that will go into effect when he’s 5 and 3 months. That’s insane to me. Since I found out I was pregnant in September 2009, our first baby’s June due date gave me a bit of anxiety. People I barely knew would bring red-shirting up with me. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, has an opinion on when a summer birthday kid should start Kindergarten. There is study after study showing that older kids do better in school and have more confidence. And there is study after study refuting those exact claims. So how the heck does a parent decide? I have friends with kids on both ends of the spectrum, and they all swear by the choice they made for their child. And I think that’s what it comes down to, you have to make a choice for each kid individually.

 

I remember when Thomas was brand new, our neighbors who had a boy 6 months before Thomas came down with dinner and a baby gift one evening. And as we were sitting in our living room politely chatting, it donned on me that this 6 month old would be in the same class as my infant. This sitting, almost mobile kid and my baby who couldn’t even hold his own head up, would someday be expected to walk to Kindergarten together. And I remember thinking, “Well, that’s that. Thomas will be the oldest in his class. No one can tell me that those 6 months don’t make a difference, even at age 5.” And then T started talking and walking and being a kid. And we kind of forgot about those 6 months. I say this simply to state facts, but T is a bright kid – he’s got a hell of a memory and an incredibly thoughtful persona. He knew all 50 states at the age of 2, he’s been reading since he was 3.5 and he asks questions that I don’t expect to hear from a 4 year old – he’s just an old soul. So, we knew that the school portion of Kindergarten would be easy regardless of when he started. But when T went off to preschool at 3, there was a pretty obvious difference between Thomas and his classmates. Size-wise for sure – he was the shortest in his class. But he’s also just a cautious kid. He’s an observer. A perfectionist. He’s a pretty typical oldest child, and in his class these past two years, he’s the only oldest – everyone else has older siblings, which makes a difference in how kids play.
And so, after much hemming and hawing, we’ve made a decision. Thomas is enrolled for five day a week, half-day Kindergarten at his current preschool – which has an excellent and accredited Kindergarten program. The intention is that he will do Kindergarten twice – so we’ll call this Kindergarten 1 and the following year he’ll do Kindergarten again at our local elementary school. The beauty of this arrangement is that because the class is accredited, if T’s teacher next year thinks two years of Kindergarten would be a disservice to him, then we will reconsider our plans and he can go straight into first grade. So really, we’re calling this a “buying time” year, but in a Kindergarten program that is incredible. And Nell will start preschool at T’s school next September, as well going two days a week. Thomas is so excited to have Nell at school with him, and Nell is so excited to go to school because she wants to pick out a pink backpack, a pink folder and a pink water bottle. Whatever it takes, right? And we’ll be in the same boat two years from now figuring out what’s best for Nell – and by then our experience with T will have shaped our own opinions, so I’m sure it will be an entirely different ball game. But right now,  I’m feeling pretty grateful that Peter has a March birthday and there’s zero gray area with that.

Babies 101: Just Ask Children’s

Babies. So sweet and snuggly. But there’s a steep learning curve when it comes to a new baby. And honestly? Three kids into this parenting gig, and I can tell you with confidence that each baby comes with their own unique learning curve for the parents. There were so many things that I couldn’t have prepared myself for, but somehow, through the magic of motherhood, you figure it out, and it doesn’t take long.

I remember shortly after Thomas was born, once we’d figured out breastfeeding (no small feat), I took him to the grocery store with me. And as I pushed the cart back to the car I realized that I would never again be able to load my groceries into the car and run the cart back to the cart return and then hop in the car and drive away. Now I had a baby who I couldn’t let out of my sight. Now I had to figure out this balancing act of loading the groceries, while keeping my hand on the car seat, then one handed carry the car seat while pushing the cart to the cart return, then lug that heavy car seat back to the car, lock it into its base…you get the idea. It seems silly, but it’s a good example of the learning curve of a new mom. {Side note: I will park as far out in a parking lot as I have to to park directly next to a cart return now. And when I can’t find a spot near the cart return, I just return the cart to a safe spot next to my car, and vow that when I don’t have my children with me, I will always return the cart}.

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Happy, Healthy Holidays with Kids

With buckets of Halloween candy sitting on top of our refrigerator that I dole out at snail’s pace and the countdown to Thanksgiving on, I’m well aware that the last month and a half of 2014 is going to fly by and that, as it flies, we’ll be presented with lots of opportunities to make choices for healthy holidays.

One of the things that I’m very cognizant of when it comes to holidays with our kids is making meaningful memories and traditions. One of my goals with the holidays is to create memories with our children that are not just centered around food. When I think back to my own childhood, I remember decorating Christmas cookies every single year with my brother, sister and mom, and I loved that and it’s a tradition we will keep alive. But I also remember the family beach trips over Christmas, playing cards with my aunt and grandma by the pool, and walking the beach every morning. In the years past, we’ve enjoyed several activity traditions with our kids, and I’m looking forward to those again this year! We love to take the bigger kids ice skating and tour the Denver Zoo Lights exhibit with my entire family. Every year we decorate our tree together on St. Nick’s Feast Day, and bundled up family strolls around the neighborhood to see all the Christmas lights (and blow up Christmas decorations) are a weekly occurrence from Thanksgiving through Christmas. We love to go Christmas Caroling with our friends and all of our kids, and we have a family sleepover in the family room once every Christmas season.

Whatever your traditions may be, the holidays are about being thankful, spending time with family & making lasting memories and traditions. Children’s Hospital Colorado has a “Just Ask Children’s” resource that allows parents to ask medical experts questions on the Just Ask Children’s site. Children’s is the leader in pediatric expertise and provides relevant information about keeping kids healthy, safe, and well. Whether you’re traveling over the holidays and looking for suggestions on safe travel tips with kids, or just looking for some solutions to help keep your kids diets a little bit healthy over the holidays, Just Ask Children’s is a great resource for all parents. Be sure to check out their live Q&A session next Tuesday, November 25th, from 9 am – 4 pm MST, where their experts will be answering your and other parents’ questions about how to keep the family happy and healthy during the Holidays.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Children’s Hospital Colorado. The opinions and text are all mine.

Toys for 2 Year Old Girls

It’s that time of year – my big kids had birthdays a couple months ago, so I can tell you what they’re loving now that we’re a few months into their new ages. Let’s start with Nell because finding things for Thomas was tough this year! No affiliate links, just sharing what we love, so click away!

 

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Nell is a baby doll girl. And when it comes to baby dolls, you have to go Corolle. Ok, you don’t have to, but they’re my favorite. They’ve been around forever – my two favorite babies were Corolle babies, and Nell plays with mine. My aunt bought Nell her first Corolle baby, and for her birthday, we got Nell a Corolle doll that is water safe. The body is soft, not hard like you’d expect, and my water loving girl loves giving her baby a bath. But, this is also Nell’s go-to baby right now for just general play. I’m telling you, Corolle dolls are the best.

 

Doll stroller. Most doll strollers don’t have front swivel wheels, which makes them a pain to take anywhere, and especially to push around the house. We bought a Graco one for Nell this winter and it just didn’t cut it for our circle floor plan – so for her birthday, I found this only slightly pink stroller on sale on Amazon (I think I paid $20 for it) and it’s been a hit. Note: The Amazon reviews aren’t great because someone thought this was a Maclaren stroller. It is made to look like a Maclaren, and we’ve loved it. Sometimes reviews are helpful, sometimes – like this time – they’re not.

Play kitchen. Santa brought this play kitchen to Nell in December. Santa specifically picked this one because it’s gender neutral since Nell had a big brother (at the time just one, but I was hugely pregnant with Peter and didn’t know if he was a boy or a girl – good choice Santa since we’re now a male dominated household). Honestly, Thomas loves playing here just as much as Nell.  Santa did leave B and I a note letting us know that it was a bear to put together, so keep that in mind should you be thinking of asking Santa for one for your little one this year…give Santa lots of extra time.

Play kitchen food. This is what I tell eveyrone to get Nell when they ask for ideas – play kitchen food and accessories. My favorite food is by Learning Resources – these healthy baskets are great because the baskets store the food, but the kids also like playing grocery store. My aunt got Nell this Farmers Market set from Learning Resources for her birthday, and it’s a hit. The kids play market and grocery store – and love it.

And I didn’t even move the water table off the picture from last year’s round-up, because it continues to be a favorite (Nell’s 1st birthday gift). I cannot tell you how many cups of morning coffee I’ve finished before 10am because of the water table. We use it outside Spring – Fall. I store it in the garage, but bring it inside every few weeks in the winter for the kids to play with like a sensory table. I bought ours at Costco for Nell’s 1st birthday – and they tend to carry a new one every year, but buy early, because they sell out by June!

So, that’s what Nell’s loving these days. What about your kids? I’ll get Thomas’s post together soon…if I can figure out what to put on it!

Here are my past toy posts:

Toys for 1 Year Old Girls

Toys for 12 – 18 month Old Girls

Toys for 2 Year Old Boys

Toys for 3 Year Old Boys

Our Favorite Games

 

Tongue Ties, Milk Supply, and Frenectomies…Oh My.

Remember when I promised you guys a kitchen update, but also mentioned I’d had some sudden milk supply issues? Well, kitchen update is on hold because I threw out the need to finish up the cabinets to focus on feeding Peter and figuring out why he wasn’t gaining as much weight as he needed to. And it was a stressful week, but one I learned a lot from. Then we went on a family vacation to the Oregon coast, and so now I’m back…with an update on the breastfeeding sitch, a couple posts in the hopper, and hopefully cabinet hardware arriving this week so I can finish up this kitchen project and show you pictures.

Okay, let’s back up. Since birth Peter’s spit up a good amount and was fussy and colicky, but he was growing beautifully, so I wasn’t too concerned about the reflux and figured that I would attempt to eliminate the triggers of his colic and reflux before medicating him. I went off every food that could possibly have irritated him, without much improvement. A few days before his 2 month appointment, my mom was over and I was at my breaking point: Peter had been screaming for days on end, it seemed. So I called our pediatrician and asked what our options were. They prescribed baby Zantac, and he was, I thought, a happier baby. He still spit up a ton, but he wasn’t arching as much while eating.  His colic was improving with age and the use of a daily probiotic drop, so the fussiness was less – but I knew reflux was still at play. Somewhere around 3 1/2 months, I felt like he was spitting up more and more. Everyone always says that it looks like more than it is, but I felt like he was spitting up significant portions of each feeding. He was also a fussy eater again – he ate quickly and then screamed, and then spit-up. Classic reflux baby, but we were treating it. Anyway, I expected his weight gain to have slowed, but since he was packing it on in his first two months of life, it didn’t cross my mind he’d be dropping growth channels.

So, at his 4 month appointment three weeks ago, I was expecting him to be around 13.5 pounds when his previous chunking would have indicated he’d be about 14 pounds – and he clocked in at 12lb 3 oz. I was horrified. I immediately blamed myself and my milk supply – it was my fault because I’d been working out and eating clean. Our pediatrician was out of town, so we were seeing our practice’s very thorough PA. Before I continue, let me say I totally understand where our PA was coming from in this story – she’s a medical professional and she wants to see babies growing. I tend to be pretty calm about medical stuff – I rarely take my kids to the doctor when they’re sick because I know that a virus is a virus. I don’t call for every fever, we use a lot of natural home remedies for comfort and let fevers and viruses run their course. But, I usually choose appointments with this PA when we’re trying to diagnose something outside of a well check – Nell’s GI issues, for example, because I know she won’t say, “Let’s wait and see what happens in a week.” When I get to the point  with an illness or dilemma where I decide we need a doctor’s visit, I want to know we’re going to examine every option. But for well-checks, I tend to prefer to see our pediatrician since she’s a little more on my level in terms of  remaining calm. But anyway, we saw the PA, and she was very concerned about Peter’s very slow weight gain (he did gain, just slowly). And I was a hot mess. Now, having seen our PA with all three of my kids, I think I can say at this point that she’s not the most pro-breastfeeding – the practice itself is, but this particular individual wants hard numbers, which breastfeeding doesn’t readily supply. At every single appointment during the year I nurse my babies, her first question is “How many ounces are you pumping?” – even when my one month old is growing beautifully and gaining growth channels. When I tell her I’m not pumping, she asks me to start pumping once a day so she has a number to go off of. I always say, “I pump when I need a bottle”. Her recommendation was to exclusively pump for every feeding so that I knew exactly how much milk he was getting and to supplement him with formula to fatten him up.

Now, I firmly believe that asking a mom to exclusively pump to see if she’s providing enough milk to her child is a sure fire way to get the mom to stop breastfeeding. I know that one of the ways moms – especially first time moms – are told to help bring their milk in is by pumping. I was told the exact same thing with Thomas, and I spent the first month of his life obsessing over how many drops of milk drip-drop-drip-drop-drip-dropped into those damn Medela vials.  Because breast pumps suck. And pumping is stressful. And I know for a fact that if I had to exclusively pump, I’d struggle to provide my children with breastmilk for the first year of their life. I’d try, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t go well. When I was working when Thomas was a baby, I had to pump three times during the day and twice after he went to bed in order to make enough milk for his bottles at daycare the next day – if I’d had to pump for all his feedings, I would have been pumping all day. I have many friends who have determined their milk supply by how much they pump, and quit before their babies are a month old because they aren’t producing enough milk. I also know there are circumstances where moms don’t produce enough milk, but generally speaking, I think that the United States is a little broken in how they approach breastfeeding and babies and weight gain.

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Obviously there was a weight gain issue for Peter – his reflux was part of it, he was spitting up a good portion of feedings, and luckily, he performed his spit-up routine in the office so the PA could see just how much he does spit-up. We switched his reflux medication from Zantac to Prevacid which made a difference in his spitting up and demeanor. But, we did pre- and post- feeding weights at that appointment, and he was only taking about an ounce during each feeding. Which brought milk supply issues to the forefront. So I panicked. I posted here and you guys were awesome. I posted on instagram and you guys were awesome. And then, when my friend who’s working towards her IBCLC certification got back from her family vacation, I called her and she came running over to my house.  Where she told me everything I needed to hear:  That this is not my fault. That eating a healthy diet and exercising do not affect milk supply – that my body would starve itself before it stopped producing milk and to not stop taking care of myself as a result of this. Then she told me that I have successfully breastfed two babies, plus Peter for 4 months, and I can get my milk supply back up. It will take work, but I can do it. She watched Peter eat, she witnessed his fussiness and agreed he wasn’t taking a full feeding, checked his latch (which looked fine) and told me to go to a breastfeeding group lead by a lactation consultant she really respects for pre- and post- feeding weights, and more ideas, because she wanted me armed with numbers information when we went back to Peter’s weight check the next week.

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So, the breastfeeding group was great, and the lactation consultant was amazing – encouraging and logical, which not all are. She spent a lot of time with Peter and me – at this point I’d been pumping after every feeding for a week, so my milk supply was much better than it was a week before, but Peter was still not taking a full feeding, and still screaming afterwards. She watched him eat and thought his latch looked fine, but because of his screaming and the fact that he wasn’t taking a full feeding, she checked him for a tongue tie: and he was indeed tongue tied. I was shocked. Peter was my best nurser from birth, and I couldn’t believe it would take 4 months for the signs to show up. She explained lots of possible scenarios to me, but the long story short was: get the tongue tie clipped, get my milk supply back up, and feed the hungry baby. She sent me off with a plan for continuing to improve my milk supply by pumping 2 – 3 times a day – such a relief after pumping after every feeding – and a baby weight gain plan which included supplementing Peter with 2-4 ounces of the pumped milk (or formula if necessary) 2-3 times a day until his tongue tie was clipped so he could nurse more efficiently. The next day, thanks to my milk supply rebounding due to all the pumping, and the bottle supplementation of the pumped milk, Peter was up 8 ounces, up a growth channel, and we had an appointment for his frenectomy the following day.

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The frenectomy was simple and done with a laser in a pediatric dentist’s office. It took a couple of days for him to start using his tongue, and we were on our way off to Oregon for vacation, but a few days into vacation I noticed that he was eating much longer and I could actually see his tongue when he was eating.   This whole ordeal also took place during a huge developmental period for most babies, and his fussiness has been better over the last few days since that  developmental period has past, as well. And that’s where we’re at: Feeding Pete’s still a priority, but he’s continuing to catch up on weight gain – gaining just under an ounce a day (Pediatrician wants to see 1/2 an ounce a day so he’s currently over achieving), and is generally happier. And I’ve got a few gray hairs, now.

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Updates

  • We had a great Easter (a week and a half ago now)…busy, but good. Starting with the kids coming down Easter morning to their Easter baskets. Side note: Our stairs have this diagonal in them for the bottom four steps. I’ve never loved it, but it wasn’t a deal breaker…I’d just prefer a more traditional staircase. But, Easter morning, I realized it’s perfect for three Easter baskets. It would fit four…but B says our stairs accommodating an extra Easter basket are not a compelling reason to keep having more kids. So there, one holiday transformed the way I feel about that crazy staircase layout. IMG_9203 The Saturday before Easter, we dyed Easter eggs using Kool Aid. It was perfect, and I’ll never dye eggs with one of those kits again!

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Easter morning, we woke up for Easter baskets, then booked it to church to get there at least 30 minutes before Mass was slated to start. The great Catholic dilemma arose as we arrived in time to hear the Homily and watch the 7 am Mass receive Communion – if we’re there in time for the Homily and Communion, do we call it attending and leave with the early birds? Or wait for our normal 8:30 Mass.  We waited for 8:30…but the debate absolutely took place. We love the church we’ve found and the community we’ve established going to church there for the last three years, but they could use some work on their time management. After Mass, we rushed home and before hosting B’s parents for brunch, we grabbed a quick family photo: our first, I’m ashamed to say, of all five of us (bonus that Casco posed!) since Peter was born.

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  • So that was Easter…Next up. Peter. We are loving life as a family of five, but it’s been loud :) . Peter is colicky and has reflux, but we’re doing whatever we can to get to the bottom of it to make our little guy more comfortable. I’m back off dairy (as I was with Nell, but for different reasons) and eliminating other foods from my diet, and we’re gonna get to the bottom of it.
  • I’m working out daily and eating clean to get back in shape (well, the clean eating was dictated by Peter, but the getting back in shape is a bonus) after Peter’s birth. My go-to workout after every pregnancy is the 30 day shred…and I’m so sick of it. But I’ll see it through the 30 days and post results here similar to what I did 3 years ago when I’m done. I am so passionate about not dwelling on body image – we have a daughter, and sons, who we want to raise to be healthy and confident young people, so I’m focusing more on being healthy than being back at my exact pre-pregnancy weight.
  • I loved Sarah’s thoughts on technology and kids from Monday. I’ve shared before that we really try to limit screen time and technology with our kids, like, the TV is rarely on unless there is a hometown sporting event in the background, and even then we turn it off if we notice Thomas paying too much attention to it. We started letting T watch an episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates, or similar, about once a week a few months ago so that he’d know what his preschool classmates were talking about, but otherwise we keep screen time to a minimum. I don’t say this to declare our way the only way…or even the right way. It’s just what works for us and what feels important to us.  But anyway, coming from a technology minimalist mindset for kids, I really enjoyed Sarah’s thoughts on technology for me to process as our kids get older, so thought I’d share if anyone else was interested.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Peter’s room is ready for me to take pictures of, so hopefully I’ll get to that in the next few days!

The Games We Play: Preschool Edition

B and I love games. We play Gin Rummy together frequently. Bananagrams. Scrabble when we have hours. We adore playing games with friends, too. So when it came to playing games with our kids, we were all about it. But, because B and I are game people – we wanted to like the games we play with our kids, too. From my babysitting days, there are plenty of games that kids love (and that I loved) that are a bit tedious for adults. Candy Land comes to mind…

So anyway, here are our current favorite games to play with Thomas, who is 3 and a half. Nell, at one and a half, “plays” some of these too.

favorite-games-for-preschoolers From top to bottom (no affiliate links, just linking for your convenience):

Uno Moo: This is just fun. Thomas loves this game and is obsessed with skunks suddenly as a result of it. Nell also loves the game – she plays with us and on her own, but one of us helps her by giving directions like, “Nell, play your yellow chicken now to knock out Thomas’s blue chicken”.

Spot It, Jr: Santa put this in Thomas’s stocking and it’s been a favorite since Christmas. There are a couple different games you can play with it, and it goes quickly. B and I have played a couple nights after the kids are in bed, too. This is also our go-to gift for Thomas’s preschool classmates.

Zingo: I bought this based on Sarah at Clover Lane’s suggestion at Thanksgiving to play with Thomas and my nieces, and it’s a definite family hit. I couldn’t figure out what was so great about it from the description online – sounded like a fancied up bingo (it is). But way more fun than Bingo, plus it’s quick and just competitive enough for little kids without overwhelming them or making you “go easy” on them.  And I feel like my kids are now going to have a leg up on their nursing home buddies in their old age. Preparing them for life right here. Preparing them for life.

Alphabet Memory: I’ve mentioned before that we play a shortened version of this game. And honestly, Memory is not my favorite. But it’s so good for kids – it teaches focus. We pull out the letters of Thomas’s name when we play most of the time, and every now and then will do the whole alphabet, but that’s still a bit complicated for him.

The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel: Since I mentioned this over a year ago, I doubt it needs much explaining, but it’s a really fun game, and goes relatively quickly, too. Thomas received this for Christmas when he was 2.5, but Nell can play this one by herself with very little direction from us, too, so it’s nice to have a game that the four of us can play together since so many of the games are a little beyond Nell right now.

Sequence for Kids: This is our newest game acquisition, and it’s Thomas’s current favorite. He loves “blocking” us from winning, and it teaches strategy – which is beyond Thomas right now, but something we talk about and work on. We play this at least once a day right now.

So those are our current favorites, what about you? Any great games you’ve played lately (kid or grown-up, I’m always up for suggestions in either category!)?

Britax Advocate 70-G3 Giveaway and Review

I’m so excited to get to share with you a review of the Britax Advocate 70-G3 car seat, and also giveaway a car seat to one of my readers this week! Read on for more about this great car seat, and your chance to win.
Britax giveaway
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