Baby Stuff: Must Haves

As our third child, June really shouldn’t need anything. I saved EVERYTHING from Reese and James’s baby days. Clothes, shoes, toys, bassinets, cribs, rockers, literally everything. When I was pregnant I was determined not to buy anything else, baby stuff has a way of slowly taking over your house until you are drowning in it. And baby instagrams, blogs, and advertisers make you think that you need EVERYTHING! I mean how did the pilgrims ever have all those children without an HD video monitor that could connect to Wifi so they could share snapshots with their friends?? Times were trying.

However, after our first sleepless night in the hospital (June had a marathon night where she was awake and fussing from 11 PM until 5 AM), Andrew and I would have paid any amount of money for any magic sleep suit, dock a kid, miracle bed, whatever! We have softened in our old age and one sleepless night had us Amazon Priming it up at 5:30 AM, in search of some baby sleep trick gimmick.

Since being home, there are a few things that have made these first few weeks easier, and a few that I could not have lived without.

Fisher-Price Rock ‘N Play Sleeper

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I know I am late to the party on this one, but this thing has been saving us at night. We got a hand me down rock and play from my sister and June has slept in it almost every night since we got home. She sleeps so much better in this than in the co-sleeper that we have. The co-sleeper was initially attractive to me because it kept the baby close to me and was also recommended for moms who had c-sections because you wouldn’t have to get out of the bed to get the baby. I didn’t find it easier though, I still had to completely sit up then kneel and reach into the bassinet to get her and lift her out. It was an awkward motion and after the first night I was in pain from all the moving. I don’t know if it was just our bed, but the sleeper never lined up directly with our bed, so I couldn’t just roll the baby into my bed and feed her, which is what I had imagined. The downside of the rock and play is that I did have to get completely out of bed to get the baby when she woke, but it cradled her, and she wasn’t just lying flat on a firm mattress like in a crib or bassinet. June loves it, and right now, she sleeps for 3 and sometimes even 4 hour stretches in it at night. I wish I had had this for Reese and James!

Swaddle Me Blankets
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I have used these with all of my kids and they are the best, especially in the first few weeks when the babies are itty bitty and still craving that womb-like feeling. Having their hands cuddled inside stopped their startle reflex from constantly waking them, and since you can’t use blankets, I never had to worry about them being cold. Also, the SwaddleMe brand was my favorite because the newborn sizes fit June perfectly and they never creep up around her face and mouth like some of the other brands do.

Reusable Nursing Pads
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I love reusable things. With the first two kids, I used disposable nursing pads, which were fine, but if I ran out of them I was screwed would have to stuff toilet paper in my bra all day long. I also hated how fast I went through them. This time I tried some organic bamboo nursing pads that I found on Amazon and I LOVE them. They are super absorbent and soft, you can wear them longer than the disposable ones and you can use them over and over. They are a little more bulky, so sometimes they can show through a thinner bra and shirt, but for the most part I love these. They are machine washable (I just throw them in with our regular laundry) and even come with a washing bag so they don’t get lost in the black holes that are my washer and dryer.

If You’re Nursing, A Good Pump
normalInsurance will now give you a free breast pump (holler!) but I still use the one that I got when Reese was born, the Medela Freestyle. My insurance didn’t provide a pump when Reese was born, but I was working at the time, pumping three times a day, and needed something that was easy. I bought the Freestyle and I don’t think I could have lasted a year of breastfeeding without it. It’s hands-free so I could continue working while I was pumping and the pump itself is small enough to hold in one hand and walk around with if needed. The battery life is long, so you aren’t tied to a plug the whole time you’re pumping, and the bag and cooler that are provided are small and make transporting everything easy. When I had James I got the free pump that insurance provided but ended up donating it because I just continued to use the Freestyle. This time, after hearing that my pump was 5 years old the nurses at the hospital basically insisted that I get a new one through insurance. The Freestyle isn’t covered completely, so you still have to pay out-of-pocket for a portion of it (I’m not exactly sure how much.) But because of that, I just got one that was free, the Medela Pump in Style. I still prefer the Freestyle though and continue to use it, and after two years of pumping it still works great. If you are working and planning on breastfeeding I would definitely recommend paying more for the Freestyle; the bag, the hands-free option and the small size make everything SO much easier. If you won’t need something every day, I would just use the free one through insurance; the Pump In Style gets the job done it’s just harder to tote around and doesn’t come with a bag to carry all that crap in.

All of This Happened

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So, I haven’t exactly been hiding, but I spent much of the past 9 months looking like this, so there hasn’t been much time for blogging.

img_7325Our third born, June Powers, arrived on August 23rd, 2017 at 11 AM, one week early, via a scheduled c-section.

And she is just beautiful. None of us can stop looking at her. She came into the world kicking and screaming and weighing in at 7 lbs 3 oz, our smallest baby yet. She is quiet and gentle until she gets hungry. Then she is pissed. She seems to be unfazed by the screaming/yelling, non-stop talking, and tackling that goes on in our house, so I think she will survive here nicely.

Her first week here has been chaotic. James and Reese both started school and there were visiting days and orientations, not to mention dealing with the aftermath of a pipe that burst in our basement while we were in the hospital.

Meanwhile, June is straight chillin’ all day long. She sleeps at night. The first couple of nights home from the hospital I actually had to wake her for her feedings. For the record, when other people told me they had to do this with their newborn babies, I secretly never believed them. I know this may not continue, but it’s nice to have right now, while trying to recover from the c-section and get two kids up and out the door for school in the morning. Sidenote: I laugh a little inside when I say things like “get the kids up and out the door for school.” It’s so mom-ish.

I actually love the chaos this time around. Reese was born in November and because the weather was terrible, flu season was nearing, and she was our only child, her and I pretty much spent her first winter hunkered down in our living room watching Laguna Beach reruns. When James arrived two years later in March, the weather was better but we also had a two-year old who wasn’t in school yet, woke insanely early, never went to bed easily and could do very little for herself. Sicknesses ravaged our house those first few months and those were probably some of the hardest days of my life. I could remember feeling guilty just wishing that James would hit that 3 month mark and maybe start sleeping better. I felt like I was wishing his babyness away. So far, I don’t have those feelings this time.

Now, Reese is in school full-time, we have swimming lessons and soccer practices to go to and June will be dragged to everything. Much like any younger sibling, and I think she will roll with it.

Here are some glimpses of our first few days.

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Last Day of Nursery School

On the last day of nursery school the same photobomber from the first day was still wreaking havoc on our photo taking.

Reese officially finished nursery school in mid June and it was bittersweet to say goodbye to her lovely little school. James will start there two days a week next year, so we aren’t leaving it completely but Reese loved everything about her school so much and I know she misses it. She is as pumped as ever for full day kindergarten next year, and Andrew and I are excited to see her in this new phase in her life, even if I will miss my little helper every day. Can someone take James all day instead? Just kidding Jamers.

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2016 Christmas Card Outtakes

DSC_0122This was all about 5 months ago, but better late than never I suppose.

A good lesson we learned this year is, don’t give your kids green lollipops BEFORE you are done taking photos. Their mouths and the surrounding areas will inevitably turn green and they will end up looking like the Hulk, and in James’ case, acting like the Hulk as well. We promised them lollipops if they cooperated. James did not pretend to cooperate, not even for a second, so we gave him the lollipop early, then tried to TAKE THE LOLLIPOP AWAY, and make him pose for more photos. Thus, tantrums ensued and we can only blame ourselves.

Here are our Christmas card outtakes.

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Reese at Five, James at Three Years

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Our little people are now three and five. There is nothing baby about them at all, and they both get mad when I say they will always be my babies. But they will.

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Reesie turned five on November 29th and we celebrated with her favorite sushi roll, fried ice cream, and a party at the YMCA a few days later.

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My dearest Reese, there was a time when the Happy Birthday song brought you to tears but this year you reveled in it. You weren’t even mad when I dropped your birthday cake on my lap on the way to the party and we served a leaning, lopsided, chocolate mess, half of which was smeared across the front of my jeans.

You still love art and can spend hours coloring in your room. You like your alone time, and you are like me in that way. Some days you ask to go to rest time so you can have some time to yourself. Your kindness is what I am most proud of. You get along with everyone, and I have never seen you being mean to another child (not counting your brother of course.) I can see the hurt on your face when other kids are being left out or not treated fairly. You are ULTRA sensitive, which is frustrating for me at times, but you do you. The other day after a particularly rough afternoon for me, I didn’t say a word in the car on the way home from the YMCA. I felt like I needed 5 minutes of silence and if I didn’t get it, I would explode. You started to cry and said that you know I’m sad and when I’m sad you feel sad. My heart officially melted and then we all went and got munchkins.

You take swimming lessons and gymnastics classes once a week.  You have come so far in swimming. You can swim up and down the pool without your floatie and you jump in the deep end like it’s no thang. You like gymnastics but complain that it makes you hot and tired. Spoken like a true athlete.

You are in school Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You can write all of your letters and numbers, your full name, and some short words. You love reading books and have memorized many of your favorites. You love The Magic School Bus, Shimmer and Shine (ugh), Batman, Legos, and dress up.

You are helpful and can do so much by yourself now. You help me everyday and are learning the hard lesson that because James is younger, and has bigger, louder tantrums (in public) he often gets what he wants. Ok, he always gets what he wants.

You are not shy, which I love. You talk to anyone you meet and tell them all about where we are going, who we saw yesterday, and exactly what mom said when she spilled the coffee this morning. One Sunday morning when I was away and your dad took you to church, you turned to the family behind you and said, “My mom’s at a bachelorette party.”

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James turned three on March 5th and had cake and ice cream with his grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles.

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Dear Jamesie, you still love trains, trucks and cars. Trains especially, and riding the commuter rail with your dad is a favorite activity. You are obsessed with puzzles. You love cheese. Your best friends are Reese’s friends and their siblings, all of whom happen to be girls. Whenever we show up for a playdate, the girls say “The boy is here! Run!” Poor you. This will all change one day, I promise.

You now sleep in a “big boy bed”, you are almost completely potty trained, and you talk nonstop, but I feel like you never get a chance to finish your thoughts because someone who will remain nameless, (Reese), is always cutting you off. You take swimming lessons with me on Wednesdays which you love. You are a great swimmer but just need to work on following the teacher’s directions, or any directions for that matter.

The terrible two’s have segued into the even more terrible threes, and you are constantly challenging me. You are a runner. You run away at any opportunity you have. There are few opportunities though because I walk around holding onto you by the hood of your coat, as if it is a leash. When I don’t have a free hand your sister takes over as hood holder. I don’t know what I’ll do when the weather changes.

You are a cuddler and I hope that never changes. I hope that you never stop saying “bathing soup” (bathing suit), and I hope that you hold on to a little bit of that mischievousness as you get older. Just a little bit though.

Happy third birthday my sweet little hellion.

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First Public Parental Shaming

Today was the first time I was publicly shamed for my parenting. Maybe I should consider myself lucky since I have gone five years without this happening, but right now, the rage is still real.

We were at 11:30 mass this morning with Reese and James, and to us, it was just a normal Sunday. James had dropped his train about 317 times and had asked for us to pick it up 317 times. Maybe the 5th time he asked us, the elderly woman in front of us turned around, looked at James and said, “whisper! whisper!” in a semi-aggressive tone. Andrew and I looked at each other. This was just the beginning of it all and we were already pissed.

James is 2.5 years old and doesn’t give a damn if you are supposed to be quiet somewhere.  At this point, I had actually thought he was having a pretty good day. Five minutes later, the woman turned around, and this is what she said, verbatim, while wagging her stupid old finger at us, “You need to teach him to be quiet at home, not here at church. I have four kids and they were always quiet in church and never acted like this.” Then she turned back around and we continued staring at her back, our mouths agape.

There was fire in my insides and I’m pretty sure I was shaking. I was mortified but would have also loved to punch her in her smug face.

I took James out of the church and spent the rest of the mass with him in the foyer, going over and over in my head what I wish I had said to that lady. “Well you were 20 minutes late to mass and didn’t even hear the gospel so your attendance today doesn’t even count you jerk!” or “I’m sure you remember exactly how your children behaved in church 90 years ago.” Take that! I had plenty of zingers, most of which probably can’t be mentioned here.

When we were getting ready to leave and I was zipping James’ coat up in the foyer, another elderly woman came up to me, put her palm on my cheek, and said, “He is a good little fellow, and you are doing a good job. She should probably just sit up in the front of the church next time.”

Thank you kind stranger! We needed that.

 

 

 

Election 2016

Just kidding! I am not touching that mess! This is about a post about Halloween.

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Reese decided last year that she wanted to be a mermaid for Halloween this year, and come October, she had not forgotten, so mermaid it was. James, who loves everything his sister does, also requested to be a mermaid for Halloween. Unfortunately for him we already had hand-me-down skeleton and superman outfits that were just his size. He was a skeleton for the trunk or treat at Reese’s school and superman for trick or treating in our neighborhood on Halloween night.

Both of them have the trick-or-treating thing down pat and I don’t think I have to worry about either of them ever being shy.

James learned quickly that mom and dad weren’t opening most treats until we got home, so when a neighbor would hand him a candy bar, he would often hand it back to them and ask, “can you open this?” He wasn’t trying to wait until he got home to get a bite. One house where no one answered he actually pressed his face against their window and yelled, “Hey! We want to get some candy!” I cringed and we all ran away.

Reese was in all her glory as a mermaid who also wears a fleece jacket. James has been asking to go trick-or-treating every day since, and Andrew and I have been eating all the Kit Kats we can get our hands on, so I would say it was a successful Halloween.

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