babies


Remembering the Homebirth of our Son Seven Years Later #WorthRevisit

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Today, on the seventh year after our third child’s birth, I’m joining Allison Gingras’s Reconciled to You #WorthRevisit link-up to re-share his birth story. In the months and even first couple years after birth, it seemed impossible I’d ever forget the details from such an amazing, surprising, and life-changing experience. Yet, seven years later, I actually had to re-read the story myself to remember some of the details.

His was our first homebirth in our home, and also the first time my husband got to catch the baby, and the first (and probably only time) we birthed a baby all by ourselves, though that part wasn’t planned.

In the post I shared a year after his birth, Remembering the…homebirth…of my son, I reflected on my son’s personality as a one-year-old.

I love my sweet little baby so very much. He drives me crazy and stretches my soul but he fills me with enough joy to make up for it. In this year, I have watched him grow and develop. He’s doing this quickly so he can catch up with his older brother and sister. In the blink of an eye, he’ll be running laps around our house and jumping off the swings in the backyard right along with them. He has no fear and determination runs wildly through the blood in his veins.

Oh yes, seven years later and he’s still driving me crazy, runs more than a few laps around the house and jumps off more than just the swings and climbs trees and all sorts of other fun adventures that test the strength of my heart. His fearless determination is stronger than ever. Just like his birth, he continues to surprise us and challenge us. He’s quite the fireball but, for all his crazy wildness, he’s got a whole lot of love and sweetness about him too.

The birth story itself is pretty long, there were a lot of fun and hard moments but I think this part was my favorite that I can still remember and laugh about.

Each contraction was getting stronger and I felt like they were speeding up too. As I was swinging my butt around in front of the bed during another one, my husband [who had been downstairs watching a football game thinking I was asleep] suddenly came into the [dark] room and, thinking I was in the bed, ran right into me, knocking me onto the bed and causing me to cry out and laugh at the same time until that one passed. We both laughed and I also wondered if he’d knocked the labor out of me…

If you like a good birth story and have nothing better to do, you can read the rest here – Remembering the pregnancy, homebirth, and first year of my son.


One Last Breastfeeding with my Two-Year-Old 2

A few weeks ago, I realized it had been almost a week since my 2 year-old had nursed. I felt emotionally conflicted. On the one hand, I was relieved to be done. On the other, my heart ached because I couldn’t remember when the last time was. It was just suddenly over. One day I couldn’t stand it anymore so I decided we needed to have one last nursing that I would remember just like I remember our first. It was beautiful and I soaked up every minute of it. I decided to write it down so I can come back and read it and remember. 


A warm morning light glided through the window, awakening me to the moment.

The robins and black birds chirped from their nests in the trees and hopped around on the ground collecting pear tree seeds whistling while they worked.

We sat down on the couch and I scooped him up onto my lap and snuggled him close.

“This will be our last time for mamas, ok?”

He looked up at me with a half-open anticipating mouth and perhaps a slight understanding of the significance my words.

While he nursed with glee, I delved into his deep brown eyes, looking back on the love we’d cultivated over almost three years.

I caressed his skin, still smooth but not quite as new as his fresh newborn skin, tougher and thicker after two and half years living on the outside.

I ran my fingers slowly through his hair, letting each hair run through my fingers like the sand of time.

I swept my hand down the length of his body, now longer and sturdier, remembering the first time I held his slippery wet body against my own.

I cradled his feet in my hands, the same feet that used to kick at me from underneath layers of skin and muscle tissue, keeping me awake at night and reminding me there was a life other than my own in me.

I brought his feet up to my lips, kissing them tenderly, wondering what adventures and roads they would travel on.

I twirled his toes between my fingers proceeding down the row of all the “Little Piggies” going this way and that with a surprise sneak attack tickle under the armpit.

He broke off with a sideways giggle, trying to continue nursing while simultaneously laughing; dribbles of thick milk ran down his chin.

Even though he’d hardly nursed anymore I guess there was still a little left in there; the chunky remnants from the bottom of the carton.

I thought about picking up my phone, checking for emails or any exciting status updates.

Nope. This is the only moment that matters right now. The phone and all its instantaneous current events will always be there. This is my status update, this is my now.

So we sat there, together, soaking in the sacred silence and profound beauty of that moment.

I took a long deep breath in, sucking up every single detail of the moment and tucking it carefully in my box of special memories, hoping to come back to it from time to time and cherish.

This one. I prayed. May I keep this moment forever, please?

I lifted my head to stretch my neck, and gazed out the window. The morning light poked through the trees and a gentle breeze twirled from branch to branch, shaking the tiny and delicate white pear blossoms off as it went.

I watched the thin blossoms glide slowly through the air, like a light spring-time snow. It was my favorite part of spring when the blossoms first cracked out of their buds and slowly stretched themselves out creating a lovely Monet landscape right out my window.

A simple piece of beauty that lasted but a fleeting moment until the blossoms reached maturity and then the winds blew in to carry them away and usher in a new stage of growth for the tree.

The blossoms slowly detached from the stems that had given them life and protection, although a few stubbornly clung to their stems. They landed softly and covered the ground in a silky white blanket. I knew the same time had come for my own baby blossom happily gulping every last ounce.

It was time to let go of this precious time we’d had to bond and nourish each other. The winds of time brushed over us and suddenly, POP! He unlatched, looked up at me with a satisfied smile, rolled off my lap and happily hopped onto his next adventure.

“The moment was over, the blessing forever.”

 


You Know There’s a Toddler in the House When… 11

Ever since the “baby” started walking and toddling around, I’ve been snapping pictures of all the strange items I find around the house that are living proof that a toddler indeed lurks around these parts. After several months, I finally collected the good ones and share them here with you for entertainment on this cold and snowy day. Do you live with a toddler or other small creatures? Feel free to share your own below or link-up on your own blog!

Pencils in the vents (amongst other things) and only toddler knows what lies below…

Toys in the kitchen drawers…

and in the fridge…

and in shoes…

Kitchen bowls and containers are a permanent part of the kitchen floor. (This is actually a very mild picture compared, usually the whole kitchen floor is covered in a mine zone of kitchen tools and gadgets for me to strategically avoid – which makes cooking even that much more exciting!)

Once the kitchen floor is cleaned up, you enter another room and find evidence of what the toddler was up to while you were cleaning up the kitchen. (Again, very mild picture in comparison to how bad it can get, which usually puts me in too bad of a mood to take a picture.)

A small child trying to look innocent whilst sitting atop incriminating evidence.

Crayons with the baking spoons.

Kitchen chairs turned backwards.

Feeling proud of the backwards kitchen chairs, you return from the bathroom and find this. So much for that idea.

Signs a toddler had recently tried “helping” unload the dishwasher…

and loading it too.

A small creature reaching into your drawers and “inspecting” its contents.

Half-eaten apples in the fridge…

And other small items that don’t quite belong there.

What about YOU? How do you know a toddler/small child lives in YOUR house? 


Mom Boots & Skinny Jeans, Scarf Love, Shapewear, & Sippy Cups that actually work! {5 Favorites} 12

I’m joining Hallie’s Five Favorites today to share 5 of my favorite recent purchases. I know, how consumeristic of me! Nonetheless, these purchases have brought me some happiness even if only mild and temporal.

#1

As I mentioned a while back, I’ve always liked the boot look but struggle with “boot envy”. Still, I decided to try and find a pair that was both practical and “fashionable” but mostly practical for a mom with four young and very active children. It had to be “flat” since heels and mommyhood go together about as well as an elephant on ice skates. Long story short, my mom offered to get me some as a gift so I spent a few evenings looking through obsessing over pages and pages of womens boots.  I finally found some that I liked and saw that they had them at the local Famous Footwear. However, when I went to try those on I realized I didn’t like them as much as I thought but then….I saw these – 

R2 Women’s Hanna Flat Boot!

I tried them on and knew. These were the ones. The ones I’d been searching for. Finally, I’d found them. And they were on sale! I’ve been very pleased with them so far. I did order a whole size larger than usual which is good since I usually wear thicker boot socks. I’ve been happily surprised with how comfortable they are – I can even do my marathon grocery shopping in them! And to top it off, they actually keep my legs warmer! Who would have thought these could do more than feed my vain hunger for fashionable boots to wear “like everyone else”? This is a great time to buy fall and winter boots since they are trying to get rid of their stock and make room for Spring = SALES! What I like most about these though is how “normal” they are. They don’t scream – “look at me I’m trying to be cool!” but they also help me feel a little more put together, especially on the days when I’m really not. (read: every day.)

#2

In that same “vain”, here’s another very exciting recent discovery:

Charlotte Russe High-Waisted Skinny Jeans!

After years and years and years (ok maybe not that long) of wanting and searching I finally found them! Skinny jeans that postpartum moms can actually wear! I never would have imagined I’d go into a Charlotte Russe store, let alone buy anything from there, but when I read that they sold high-waisted skinny jeans I had to try it. Now I can finally wear “skinny” jeans that come up high enough on my waist to avoid the dreaded “muffin top” but without extra fabric hanging down awkwardly in the front and without the super annoying back of pants gap – cuz moms tend to do a lot of leaning over and trust me no one wants to see what lies behind.  

That said, these pants are so comfortable! I wasn’t sure with the three buttons but it’s actually given my tummy/flabby area more support! I sometimes even do my walking exercise in these they are so comfy. So, not only do they fit well, look great with a pair of boots or flats, but they are also suitable for  mommy “field work”.

When I bought them there was a buy one get one 1/2 off deal so I got the regular jeans and the black ones. So I’ve been using these instead of the black leggings since they are thicker and I feel like I’m actually wearing pants instead of…tights. (I still wear those every now and then and feel like I’m in one of those nightmares where you go to school and everyone is laughing and pointing at you and you look down and realize you forgot to put any pants on. I think I’ll stick to wearing leggings under skirts and dresses from now on.) I’d also like to get the wine or burgundy colored ones –

 I will note that their sizing is a bit wonky. I got one size too big for the jeans but the same size in the black was too big but then when I tried the smaller size in the wine color they were too small and they didn’t have the bigger size in that color. Weird. So if you try these, keep that in mind.  

 # 3

Speaking of postpartum tummy/flab control…I have to share a little personal secret…

Ready for this?

I use Shapewear. 

There. I said it. 

It’s true. A friend of mine kept talking about it and I had tried the ones that go from under the bra line to basically long shorts and they pinched my ribs and gave me heartburn. Well one bad shapewear ruined the whole bunch and I just quit the whole thing for a while. At first I felt so liberated and didn’t care if it all just hung out. Then one day I saw a picture of myself….oh. Yikes. It was like cascading waterfalls of “extra skin” flowing over my pants and bulging out in all the wrong places… no wonder people were asking when I was due…even though I was holding my baby. (Note: never ask a woman when she is due unless she mentions it first. And even then, if she’s already said you shouldn’t have to ask.)

Anyway, this is all to say even though I know my postpartum body is not ugly, after talking with my friend again about how wearing her shapewear while exercising has helped with her postpatum abdominal diastis, I thought, what the heck. So I got onto the computer and searched for shapewear – because I’m too lazy (scared) to go to the store with children. I learned two things, 1 – Never, ever search for “images” of Shapewear and 2 – If you must, be prepared to tape black paper over the sidebars of websites with all the ads for the next few weeks. However, my online search wasn’t a total nightmare because I did find some at Target. I went with this:

Hanes® Women’s All-Over-Slim Torset Bodysuit T191 – Nude

No. I will not include a picture and I beg you – if you are a man – do not look. Nope. Don’t.  Ok this picture isn’t actually that bad but still. I tried looking for a picture of just the item without a model but no.

I hesitated even sharing this clothing item but it has made such a difference I couldn’t keep the secret to myself any longer. Probably the only downside is it can be a little tricky snapping and re-snapping after using the facilities. Especially if you are using a public bathroom and you are also holding the baby so he doesn’t have to touch the toxic floor while trying to hurry before your four-year-old runs out of the bathroom before you are done and you have to yell at him to come back while you are still in the bathroom stall holding your baby and trying to re-snap the fricking snaps and get your pants back on! But really, this is a great product. (I guess snaps would be better than having to take everything on and off just to use the bathroom. The upside though is that since the bodysuit helps keep all my insides up I don’t have to use the bathroom as often as a 90 year-old woman anymore!) Ok, TMI limit reached, I’ll move on.

# 4

Scarf love! I’ve also mentioned I have a secret love for scarves! You wouldn’t know it since I don’t wear them too often but I oogle them and want to run my hands through them in the stores. If you ever see a lady frolicking in the scarf aisle at Target or Old Navy or Maurices (or anywhere there is a special scarf aisle) you’ll know it’s me. My family, knowing me well, picked up on this hint and gifted me with this beauty:

 It’s from Maurices but I’m not sure it’s available anymore. I made the mistake of checking on their site….I’m surprised I didn’t get lost. I’ll have to make a trip over there soon…but I should probably “forget” my wallet. Anyway, I love the color and especially the different textures mixed with the two ribbing and lace work – so genius! It almost makes me want to take up knitting again. Thankfully they didn’t pick this one:

#5

Ok, this last one isn’t about clothes – finally. I don’t only think about myself and what I wear you know. (Well not all the time.) So here’s another happy conclusion to a years-long quest. For years – at least 10 – I’ve been on a hunt for a sippy cup that really doesn’t spill and is really easy for a child of mine to drink from. Because for some reason, even though they’ve all been expert nursers, when it comes to the run of the mill “spill-proof” sippy cup, none of my kids can ever get the water to actually come out. So, in desperation, I turned to the place where all answers lie. Facebook friends. A friend of mine suggested the 

Tommee Tippee sippy cups

So I researched it and saw that it was “guaranteed”  “spill-proof” and “easy-flow”. They sell them at Target so off I went and grabbed a 2 pack of these:

and these:

And guess what?! They worked! They really don’t spill and my 18-month old can actually drink the water! We were all so thrilled!! So 10 years and 4 kids later, I can finally “give water to the thirsty” without going crazy cleaning up water spills all over the house and car. Best of all, the baby really loves his new cups so a big win for everyone!

 What about you? Any Favorite Finds lately? 

(P.S. I forgot to mention this post contains affiliate links so if you like something and decide to buy it, you’ll get the extra satisfaction of sending our family pretty pennies through any purchases you end up making via these links (even if it’s not what you originally clicked on – thanks!)

 


Journal ~ Surviving the Winter Blahs 2

Tuesday, January 21

Outside: Brrr! For a few days there I forgot it was winter. Today, with morning temps in the teens and the frigid wind stinging my face, I remembered. Although it was still sunny outside and it warmed up a tad in the afternoon and that’s enough to keep my spirits up. And if the sunshine didn’t do it, an impromptu visit from a dear friend who I haven’t seen for an embarrassingly amount of time brought me so much joy I almost danced. 🙂

Speaking of winter and it’s blahness, I shared 10 SURVIVAL TIPS FOR THE WINTER BLUES at CatholicMom.com yesterday. I forgot to share this there but this comic describes this stage of winter precisely:

I also saw someone else somewhere describe the month of January as one long Monday. Yup. But what does that make February?

It was helpful researching about it and coming up with a survival strategy. I was feeling pretty blah these past few weeks but once I got back into our routines, started walking for ten to fifteen minutes a day, and got OUT of the house at least once a day, I’ve been feeling better. How do YOU survive the Winter Blahs?

Weekend Highlights: Since it was so warm and sunny here on Sunday, after Mass and lunch, we all went outside and played freeze tag and climbed trees together. We had a lot of fun. I haven’t laughed like that in a while. I forgot how hard it is to run while laughing. We had a lot of fun and there was only one minor injury and close call (husband’s leg collided with a wooden post and I almost ran face first into the sharp point of our iron fence). After that, we made quesadillas and made a big exception and took our food downstairs and enjoyed a family movie. (Wizard of Oz, which we’ve seen together before.) It was a great family day. Plus, all that running around and extra sun gave me more energy, which I desperately need.

Other exciting news: I bought an airplane ticket to visit my Abue (Grandma) in a couple of months! I’m excited and a little nervous but am so glad I’ll get to see her again. (I need to refresh my Spanish pronto!) She’s in her nineties, though you’d never know it, and I’ve been wanting to see her but know she probably won’t be traveling up here again so decided it was now or …never in this life again probably. I’ll take the baby (and meet up with my mom and sister) but I’ll have to leave the husband and other kids behind. Which they are sad about but I’m sure they’ll have plenty of fun with daddy while I’m gone.

Kind of funny – After we told the kids about my trip I went with my mom to the store. I waved goodbye to the kids outside and after I left our seven-year-old son says, “Well, I guess we won’t see her for a few days…” My husband reassured him I was only going to the shoe store and would be back soon. (Although as my sister pointed out, it could take a few days to pick out some shoes! Touché sis.) Anyway, so then a little bit later while they were still outside, an airplane flew over and our son called out, “Bye, Mama!” Silly boy. 

Watching: Our latest Netflix rental was The Thin Red Line, apparently based on the novel by James Jones. After watching and deeply enjoying Terrance Malik’The Tree of Life, I was intrigued and wondered how this one would be. Watching the Tree of Life prepared me for the style of his movies – the way the scenes are put together kind of like a collage instead of following a linear and clear chronological scene order like most movies. Watching the Thin Red Line, like the Tree of Life, is like watching a movie reel of someone’s inner thoughts and emotions. This can make it hard to follow and but once you are used to it, it becomes interesting. However, this also makes it a little slow and if you are tired – like I always am – it’s hard to stay awake through it all. I did nod off here and there but despite that I can say I did like it, even if only for it’s unique style and creativity in film making. Watching this movie also coincided nicely with some thoughts I’ve been mulling over about war and human nature and our continual propensity to destroy ourselves and all that is good in our lives. And yet, despite our horrible weaknesses, GOOD still exists and perseveres. I think some people don’t like this movie because it comes across as very “anti-war” and making our soldiers seem weak and cowardly. I honestly thought it’s depiction of war probably comes closer to the reality of war than all those other “G.I. Joe” flicks portray. Overall The Thin Red Line is a beautiful and poetic piece of philosophical artwork that tells a story not just about war, but about humanity and our precarious balancing act along the thin line between the forces of our own nature against our abilities to rise above those forces. I haven’t read the whole thing yet, but this looks like an interesting article about the film and Malik.

Other Things I’m Thinking/Praying About: I don’t really want to think about this anymore and I know a lot of people would rather we just not talk about it anymore or at least not as much. But how could I really ignore or forget that over 55 MILLION babies have been aborted (killed, terminated, etc) since the infamous Roe v. Wade decision. (And that’s only since then and only here in the good ol’ ‘free’ U.S. It really is overwhelming like this author writes. Maybe I’ll write more about this later, I don’t know. All I can say is that for me, it used to only be about the babies. It still is. But now it’s more than that. It’s about the Women. About the Men. About the Families. It’s about ALL of us. Abortion doesn’t just “kill babies”. It’s destroying us all. 

Well it’s taken me all day to do this and now it’s [past] my bedtime so I think I’ll finish here for now. I don’t really  have much else to say anyway and I’m sure you’re tired or reading by now. I hope everyone’s weeks are off to a good start! 

P.S. I’ll be “hosting” the CatholicMom.com Facebook Page tomorrow (Wednesday) so if you haven’t already, “Like” the page so you can stay up-to-date with all the exciting news and happenings and find encouragement and support with other Catholic Moms throughout the day.

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