Thursday, December 12, 2013

Am I too Selfish?

Alright, this might be a controversial blog, as I feel as if I am about to admit a blasphemous sin in the world of mothers. 

I vaguly remember watching a Dr. Phil show years ago (back in high school) about a mother and her so called shocking view on parenting. I don't know why this show has stuck in my mind all these years, but I guess it is because it always confused me, as to why this mother was getting so much negative attention. To sum it up, there was a average mother who had written a book ( I have no idea what her name or the name of the book was) about how her world did not revolve around her 3 kids. The most popular line, and the one that sticks out in my mind is when she said, " I love my kids, but I am not IN-love with them." She talked about how she did things with out her kids. Her and her husband and even went on several day long vacations every year with out them on purpose. (I think the kids were like elementary ageish). They did things with their kids too, but she made it point to go out very regularly with her husband (more than the average date night) and did things weekly with her friends too. This mother's point of view was that while yes she was a mother, she was also a woman and wife before the kids came along and why should she give herself up just to be a mom? From what I can remember of the show, she was a middle class women in her 30's and still appeared to be a loving mom. They even brought the kids out and they seemed well cared for and they loved their parents. So why was this women getting publicity I wondered? They seemed like a happy family. I was shocked to find the controversy when the audience began to ask questions. Other moms in the crowd stood up and asked her how she could live with herself?! Why did she even have children is she didn't want to give anything up? How could she say she wasn't in love with her children and they aren't the center of her universe? Some even told her what an awful mother she was! It was all very weird for me watching back then, I truly did not understand what the big deal was. But for some reason this show stayed with me and today I am beginning to understand a little bit more.

Since having a child almost a year and half ago, I have been introduced to the world of motherhood. As any mother will tell you," Motherhood  has it's ups and downs, but at the end of the day, it is totally worth it". I think that is so true and I love my son so much that at times it actually hurts! I would not change anything about my adventure with motherhood and it has been the greatest thing in my life! 

That being said... Here comes the shocking part!

I sometimes miss not having kids. 

(GASP) All the other moms out there, go ahead and judge me. I feel like that is the one things moms CANNOT say. It feels like if you admit you miss your old life than you somehow love you child less. I don't think this to be true at all. And let me explain.

Having a child is rough. People always say it's hard and time consuming but I hardly think you can understand the realities of parenting, until you are a parent. You give up A LOT, if not most of yourself to be a parent. It feels like now-a-days mothering is an art, and you can sometimes learn it, but it is just so obvious the women that were born to be mothers. You all know what kind of mothers I am talking about, the moms that do every craft and cute pin on Pinterest, the mom's that always still looks super hot when they take selfies entitled "So tired, after taking care of the kiddos:)". I role my eyes at these moms mostly because I want to be them lol, and am jealous that I don't have it all together like they do. 
I do like to do things with my child and fun activities. We make things and since I stay at home with my son, my days do revolve around him and doing things for him. We are even involved in a playgroup, which I love, and do kiddy things twice a month. I love taking care of him and spending our days together.

However, it does get boring and lonely and I do miss the freedom I had when I didn't have him. I miss having a social life that didn't revolve around him. I miss going out to movies with my husband whenever we wanted. I miss just picking up and going on a day trip without being stressed about the baby crying the whole way or if we have enough diapers or if it just going to be a miserable trip. I miss doing what I want when I want. I miss taking naps or sleeping in on occasion. I miss being able to finish a book in a few days. I miss having and keeping a clean house. I miss being able to relax. I miss throwing really fun parties. I miss going to the bathroom with out a child banging and crying at the door. I miss being able to go and get my hair done or a pedicure without having to arrange a huge long day sitter. I miss not having the responsibility.

There are so many small things you don't realize you are giving up when you become a mom (and I only have one kid, so I truly can't even compare to people with several!) I think the mom from the Dr. Phil show may have been a bit extreme, but I get her point of view. I think you can love your kids, but still realize that you are a person without them. 

To make this blog even worse, I have another confession. A lot of my friends are family are pregnant right now, and my first thought when they tell me is " I am so glad it's not me!" Truly, that is terrible to admit, of course I happy for them and if that is what they want then I want them to be happy, but all I think about is how much work and stress they have coming their way. As a parent of one toddler, I am happy to leave the baby stage behind. I had even less freedom with a baby and with nursing. It is literally only you and the baby ALL the time! I love sleeping through the night now and  being able to cook a meal while he plays....Clearly, I am not ready for another child at this point and  I think this thought would definitely qualify me as a selfish person! 

To reiterate: I do love my son so very much! If you know either of us I think that is very obvious and I don't feel the need to have to prove it. I do love being a mother and cannot imagine a life where I never got this opportunity! However, I love being a women and a wife too. I don't think just becoming a mother means you have to sacrifice the parts of you that existed before you gave birth. Yes, things are definitely different after becoming a mom and I find myself wanting different things, but I am still me and I still love spending alone time with my husband. I still love going out with my girl friends. I still love baking cakes. I still love so many things that don't have to do with my child. 

So to any moms out there who are feeling the same way, I want you to know that you are not alone and it's okay to be yourself self and not get trapped in the thought that all you are now is a mom and nothing else. You can be both:)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Mommy Manners?

     So now that Max is getting older, he interacts with  other kids and parents a lot more often. When observing other mothers and kids, I can't help but wonder about the unspoken "rules" of what is appropriate for kids and moms in a public place. I sometimes let Max do something and then wonder, "Hum, I wonder if that was ok?" I am not talking about hanging out with your close friends and their kids at your house; but public places where a bunch of kids are playing. I often feel like I am breaking some sort of "mom rule" when I do or don't do something. So my question is, is there a secret set of Mom Etiquette rules that every mother should be aware of? If so, can I get a copy please:)

Here are a few examples of situations that have risen that have left me wondering what I should have done.

(Keep in mind that Max is only 15 months old, so a young toddler at best :)

1. Playground rules:  Kids are playing at a small neighborhood playground and a few kids are eating Oreos, Max goes up to them starts trying to grab the Oreos, the mom offers to give him one if its ok with me and I say "Ya thanks" (granted I had met this person before, but we aren't friends exactly) The mom then gives him one, but gives me a weird look like I shouldn't have let him have one when she offered. Then I start thinking, "Hum....should I not have? Is that a rule that I wasn't supposed to except that?"

2. Diaper Changing rules: I could care less if a mom changes her kids diaper at my house or in the living room floor, unless it's poopy which is another story, but is it only appropriate to change diapers in designated changing areas? Obviously, I wouldn't change the diaper in a place where people eat, but is it ok to change a diaper of you are out at park or something? I do realize that I can't have an objective perspective on this since I really don't care about where other people change their kids diapers, but I know that some people don't have kids and find things much more inappropriate that I do, I don't wish to offend anyone. So what is the unspoken rule of where you can change a diaper?

3. Disciplining strangers kids: So, in this scenario Max was playing at a indoor play place and in the toddler area. Some bigger kids came in (around 7-8 years old) and started playing really rough in there and knocking Max down. I asked them to please stop and asked if they could go play in the big kid area, since they were bigger. They left, but kept coming back. We eventually just left, but I couldn't help but wonder if I should have tried to find their mom. I really don't want to be an annoying parent and tattle-tale on kids lol, but I think I would want to know if my older kid was being mean to little kids. So, again, what is the right thing to do?

These are just a few of the times when I have questioned my Mommy Manner ability:)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I LOVE having a Toddler!

Maximus is 14 months old now and is just so much fun! I feel like I say that a lot, but there really aren't any other words to describe it.

I know the toddler years are draining and tiresome for a lot of mothers (it is for me as well, but more on that in a minute) and I know some mothers dearly miss the days when their baby would just lay there, content and happy with the world. They miss the non-mobile pudgy baby that smiled and squeezed their fingers. Well, I'm not sure if it't wrong to say, but I don't miss those days! I love having a toddler so much more than a baby! Let me explain....

He would not stop running around at the Fall Festival!
Having a toddler is tiresome. I am literally chasing Max everywhere, all day long. If we go in public, it is even worse. It seems as if everything is his to open, play with, touch, eat, or generally just get into. I can't just sit and have a conversation with someone in public and expect Max to sit still. He will play a game on my phone or watch something on TV for about 2 minutes before he goes to find what else he can get into. This does make taking him places difficult, but it has always been difficult taking him places. Good luck if I take him to a restaurant because he will maybe sit in his high chair and eat if it is something he likes, but once he is done, he is done and we better be too! So all this does add up to a very busy, never relaxing me. So why do I love having a toddler?

Climbing and playing!
Well, it is so cool to watch Max learn something new. It started when he began to walk at 11 months old, from then on I feel like he learns something new every day! I can communicate with him now too! He doesn't talk too much, but if he wants something he points to it and says "dat". He grabs his own drinks when he is thirsty and grabs his diaper when he is poopy, so I go change it. He loves to play on his own now for a while and will just and stack blocks for a little bit. Or he will pull his wagon around the house and put things in it. Yes, he gets into all my stuff and the Tupperware cabinet is constantly destroyed, but he can actually entertain himself. Plus, I actually have so much fun playing with him too! He will bring me books and come sit on my lap and we read them. He will point to things in the books and we talk about them; we often take walks outside where he picks up things on the ground and puts them in his bucket. A toddler is just so more interactive than a baby! Max understands a lot of what I am saying now and if I say "time for lunch" he will go over to his high chair, or if I ask him to throw something away, he walks over to the trash can and throws it away (that is actually one of his favorite things to do). I love watching him play ball with Jeffrey or putting easy puzzles together! It is like I am just now getting to see who he is and watching him learn new things just makes me so unbelievably proud! I can feel myself teaching him to do things, and then he can actually do it! Obviously, he is only 14 months old, but seeing him have fun scooting around on a toy truck and laughing when he knocks over his blocks tower just brings a smile to my face everyday! 

He find fun anywhere now!
As a baby, Max was a crier. I found myself so many times, just frustrated to the verge of tears because I didn't know what was wrong. I couldn't tell why he was crying or what I could do to make it better. He had to be held all the time and was literally NEVER content to be sitting my himself in a bouncer, or swing or anything for more than a few minutes. I was constantly afraid that he would start crying and I wouldn't be able to comfort him. I was sleep deprived not for a few weeks or measly months, but for the good part of the first year of his life. I remember the baby times although there were some good times of course, but I am loving Max being a toddler! Yes, there are still times now, when I don't know what is wrong, or like a  few weeks ago when Max was sick and I felt so helpless, but for the most part is is so much better than the baby stage.

I am loving being a Mom more than ever right now and am just trying to enjoy this fun, crazy toddler stage while I can! He still lets me kiss him and he loves to give hugs so as long as I can still do that, I don't think I will miss having a baby in the house:) Oh, It also doesn't hurt that Max is simply the cutest toddler on the planet! :)

Being silly playing with Legos

What!? eating with a spoon by himself!

Favorite outside toy!

Monday, September 23, 2013

What's New with the Beenes

Just thought I would post a little update blog to let everyone know what has been going on lately with me and my little family:)

Well, It seems as if Fall has officially come to England. We had one nice day yesterday, but mostly the clouds and rain and chilly weather has once again returned to stay until June. It was a nice warm summer, so I am not complaining really. But I am dreading the looming darkness and dreariness that winter brings to this part of the world. But on the positive side, I really like fall clothes and am really into hats and scarves this season, so I am excited to be wearing those things much more often:)

As far as me goes, I have joined the MOCSC (Mildenhall Officer and Civilian Spouses Club) as the historian this year. All I mostly do is take pictures and post them on facebook, but its fun for me to get involved with other spouses. I also volunteered to be a Key Spouse for my husband's flight. For those of you who aren't familiar with the program, I basically am just there to help out and reach out to any spouses who may need it. We try and spread word about upcoming events and ways to get out and about:) I also organize and participate in Toddler Play Group for Max. We are a bunch of moms and kids who get together twice a month to either go random fun places, or sometimes just to each others house to hang out. It's nice to get adult time and also nice to let the kiddos play. Hum, what else am I doing?.....I think that pretty much sums of my life right now... I have a few crafts I am working on like a new knitted scarf and I am really trying to get into couponing, but am having a tough time motivating myself to get it going. I have been able to read more lately and have recently finished "Divergent" and looking forward to continuing that series, but right now I am pretty consumed with the book "The Outlanders". I am looking forward to the Holiday season (as always) and already planning Christmas presents and parties:)

Jeffrey, well I suppose you'd have to ask him about more specifics as what he has been doing recently, as I only know so much about his work:) He has been keeping very busy the last couple weeks at work and I do know that he is getting to really love his job here, which makes it good for everyone:) Idk if you all know, but Jeff is working on his Masters Degree online and is only a few classes away from graduating, so that's one of his things to keep up with. Also, twice a week a participates in an online Spanish class which helps him keep his Spanish more fluent. He also has recently competed in a "tough mudder" and a "spartan" race the last few weeks.

As far as Maximus, well he has been keeping the most busy out of all of us. He is constantly on the go, from morning until night! He just went down to taking only one nap a day, which means even more time for him to run around haha. He absolutely loves playing outside and could play on slides for hours and hours. Going up and down and up and down is just so fun for him, but he only ever goes down the slide on his belly:) He is a pretty good walker for his age, almost 14 months, but he tries to act like he is a bigger kid and it doesn't always work out for him. I am constantly chasing him around as he still gets into things he shouldn't, puts randoms things in his mouth, and tries to climb on everything! He exhausts me almost everyday! He is getting to be so much fun as at this age is able to understand a lot of what we are saying. He can still only say a hand full of words, but he understands a lot more. We can finally do activities together like playing with balls or collecting pine cones or simple fun "toddler" activities. We are really starting to see him personality now and it is so much fun. It is like he is no longer a baby, but an actual kid you can play with! He LOVES bananas! He would eat them for every single meal if I let him. I suppose there are worse things he could love, but its so funny.  He is a really fast learner and Jeff and I are starting to have to be careful what we do or say in front of him as he is starting to mimic some things. You show him something once and he can usually copy it. I know all parents think their kid is super smart, but Max really is a smart kid:) He has been sleeping really well at night now, most of the time from 7pm- 7am, which is awesome for us! I guess it is because he is so busy during the day.

Well, thats us, the Beenes. Not a super unique crazy life, but we are enjoying it! We try and enjoy every single day and look forward to the fun things to come:)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Perks of being a lonely Military Spouse.

So we have all heard the woes and and hardships that military spouses have to go through when their spouse is gone. Although it is hard and there are SO many things that down right suck about having your spouse gone, I thought I would write about some of the good things. Being a military spouse, know one is immune to being alone or away from their spouse. I don't care what rank your husband is, he will be away from you for more than the average civilian couple, and you will be left to take care of the house on your own. Although none of us, (military wives) look forward to our husbands being away, it is a fact of the military life and we can either mope about it and cry and get depressed, or focus on the positive part and try to make the situation as best as we can. Whether he is gone for a few days for training or on a year long deployment, having the house to your self doesn't have to be all bad.
So, after giving it some thought here is a list of positives and not so terrible things about being a single mom/wife.

1. The house stays cleaner. I don't know about everyone else, but when my husband is gone I tend to focus much more time on keeping a clean house. Maybe it is because there is one less person to get things messy/use more dishes/create more laundry but my house is always just more clean when he is gone. I have more time when the baby is asleep at night to clean the house. When Jeff is home I would rather be watching a movie with him or playing a board game instead a cleaning, but when I am all alone, I notice more what I need to clean and it gets done!
2. I get to watch whatever I want on TV. Let it be said that there are some "trashy" TV shows that I simply love, that Jeff cannot stand! To name a few, "Keeping up with the Kardashians", "Teen Mom" and "I Didn't Know I was Pregnant", are among the shows that Jeff refuses to watch with me:) So I take the opportunity when he is gone to soak in all the bad reality TV that I can!
2010 Girls Twilight Trip to Forks Washington!
3. Time with girl friends. There is never a better time to spend with your girl friends than when your husband is away. It is easier to get more girl time when you don't have kids but either way, it can be done. When I lived in Montana and Jeff had a schedule of gone for 5 days and then back 4 days for nearly 2 years, it made for some times to get together with friends! My friends and I would get together a lot and take turns hosting parties or fun craft times, movie nights or even crazy vacations. We would share holidays and have such a fun time! Especially when you have friends whose husbands are also gone, this is the time to catch up and who doesn't love a Pinterest Party? Wives who have their husbands home every single day, rarely ever get to experience the fun of spending so much time with girl friends! It is harder to spend so much time with friends once kids are in the picture as you don't have the hubby home to watch the baby if you want a girls night, but you can a get a sitter at one house to watch the kids and go out and get pedicures with the girls, or even just have some other moms over during the day for soda and snacks. With kids or not, friend time is definite bonus!
4. More Money. Ok, so everyone knows about the non taxed pay while your spouse is deployed, but there are other pay benefits too, depending on where they are and for how long. They get paid a per diem amount and some hazardous duty pay and extra pay benefits too! While it sucks to have them gone, you may just be able to afford that new living room set by the end of the deployment:)
5. Extra time for "ME". When Jeff is gone, I get more time to work on crafts or sit in bed and read for hours when Max is asleep. "Me" time is hard to come by when you have a family and sometimes you can lose sight of who you are. Take advantage of this time and find things YOU like to do. Redecorate the house or work on making a scrapbook for when your hubby gets back. Take up a new hobby, just do something that you like to do and enjoy it! When you have a family, a lot of the time is spent  doing "family" things. And while that is not bad, use this time to remember yourself and that you are a person too:)
6. I always learn something new.
Lets face it, there are jobs and things around the house that normal wives would never do, chores that are set aside for husbands and considered "mans" work. Civilian spouse get the luxury of never having to learn or do these things, but when your hubby is gone, it is all up to you to keep the house in running order. I have learned to do things that I have never done before when Jeff was gone. For instance, I mowed the lawn for the very first time when Jeff was gone because we got a ticket from the base housing office and the lawn had to be mowed in the next 24 hours. I also learned how to change a furnace filter, (being in a freezing house in Montana, can teach you a lot of things). Learning how to drive in a foreign country is something I have also recently learned, because if my husband was always around, I would just have him drive me everywhere lol. Things like changing light bulbs, unclogging toilets are not necessarily fun things to learn but hey, when it's all done you feel pretty confidant that you can do anything- Girl Power!
7. Gives me that chance to lose some weight! Practically everyone I know would like to either lose weight or tone up their body. What better motivation is there than to have a rockin' body when your hubby gets back? It is the perfect time to eat healthier (It's always easier for me to eat better when I am not making meals for both us and can just plan for me:) and lose weight! Whether you have just 10 pounds to lose or 100, when your spouse is gone for months at a time, you have no excuse not to step up and just do it! Just imagine his face when you next see him and it will all be worth it!

There are obviously many downfalls to being alone, and not having your life partner around to actually live your life, can be a huge challenge. I am going to say it is easy, but I just want military wives out there to be aware that there can be some good in it. There are most definitely more negative than positive aspects of having your husband gone for an extended period of time, but Look at your life and look for the positive notes. It is what you make it! And that's all a military wife can do:)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Breastfeeding: Year End Review

*WARNING: This blog contains a lot of references to breasts, nipples and what they go through when nursing, so if you don't want the detail, I would recommend not reading any further:)

So WOW! It has been a YEAR (actually a little bit more than a year)!

If you had asked me one month, two month, or even three of four months in I would have said that there is NO possible way I could make to nursing for an entire year! But here I am one year of breastfeeding under my belt and I wanted to share my experience with the whole process:)

Now during pregnancy I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. My mom breastfed all of us kids and I also saw my aunts nurse my cousins, plus both of my sisters had breastfed their babies, so it is safe to say that I was more familiar with the breastfeeding process than the average person. I wasn't too apprehensive about nursing as it seemed like it was a natural part of life and having a baby. I was aware that some people had harder times nursing than others, so I was prepared for engorged painful breasts, sore nipples and difficulty latching. I tried to educate myself more on the subject of breastfeeding in the last few weeks of my pregnancy. I went to a breast feeding class where they taught me about how to hold the baby, how to get a good latch, how long babies should nurse for and basically things to do and not to do. I also attended a few "Meals on Heels" groups (a local breastfeeding support group). At one of these meetings I remember saying to a girl next me " I hope I am one of those women who breastfeeding is easy" she replied back saying " I don't think it's easy for anyone."  That statement made me think and become a little nervous about it.  I have to say nothing prepares you for breastfeeding beside just doing it.

So about 30 minutes after Max was born I started my journey with breastfeeding. Basically a nurse just kind of gave him to me and put him to my boob. Max didn't know what to do and with help from my mom and a nurse he kind of was able to latch for a second, but wouldn't suck. I had previously heard that babies just know what to do and nursing comes natural for them, so I was a little confused. No one seemed too worried, they said just to try for 15 minutes on each side and then try again later. Well, we did that and he still wasn't nursing despite help from several people. So I ended up pumping a little out and having to feed it to Max through a syringe. The nurses try and discourage giving babies a bottle right away as it may confuse them so for a few days we were forced to do the syringe feed. This process is quite time consuming as it requires me to
1. Pump as much as possible (which in the beginning was maybe an ounce)
2. Suck up the milk into a tiny syringe
3. Attach a little tiny tube to the syringe
4. Put the tube, and your pinkie finger in the babies mouth
5. Slowly squeeze the milk through the syringe and tub into the babies mouth when he starts sucking on your finger. ( This is supposed to teach the baby that he gets food when he sucks)
6. Wash out all the equipment used to use again

This isn't a picture of Max, it is just a photo I found online, but here  is what it looks like to syringe feed a newborn
Well, Max was a very slow sucker and this entire process took nearly an hour from start to finish so that gave me maybe an hour until we had to do it all over again. Plus before I pumped every time I would try and get Max to nurse normally, but every time he just wouldn't do it! Well, as you can tell it was a very time consuming process so needlessly to say we only fed him like this for a few days before we gave up and went to a bottle of expressed breast milk (which he ironically sucked on just fine!) The next week or two I tried several times a day to get him to latch and suck, but with no success.  I did see a lactation consultant and all she said I was holding him fine and he would even latch correctly but know one seemed to know why he wouldn't suck. The given advice was just to keep trying. After nearly two weeks of trying and puzzlement from consultants and my mother (she has nursed 6 babies and said she had never seen a baby not suck before) I had almost settled to believe that I would be forced to pump and feed in a bottle forever. Then, after doing some research online I found my breast feeding savior, nipple shields!
Apparently these things are some what slightly frowned upon by the pro-breast feeding community, because they can confuse the baby, but for me, they are awesome and the ONLY thing that kept me able to keep breastfeeding. They do what they look like and just cover your nipple and make it more like a bottle nipple. Well, the first time I tried these it worked! Max was able to nurse and he got milk and I can't tell you how good it felt to finally be able to to nurse! These were kind of a pain as you do have to wash them out and keep them sterilized and take them with you every where you go, but for me it was better than nothing. I used these for a solid month (occasionaily trying to get Max to nurse without them with no luck) until I decided to really try and get him to not use them. The only down fall to the shields were that I think they gave Max an incorrect latch and I pretty much suffered from constant nipple tenderness and pain. Especially on the right side. But, honestly I thought the pain was just something I had to live with while nursing.

TWO to THREE MONTHS-  I finally was able to completely wean from the nipple shields by offering him the breast normally first before trying with the shield. Sometimes he would suck, and sometimes he wouldn't but I just kept at it. It was such an amazing feeling the first time I got him to nurse the right way with out the nipple shields! I felt so accomplished and proud of myself that I didn't give up!
I have to admit that I was pretty seriously considering going to formula for a while. In the first month or two it was so hard and I cried a lot. I even bought some formula and gave him a few bottles. Well, he didn't seem to like it all and every time I tried to give him formula he just seemed sad, and I felt like a failure, so we stuck with the breastfeeding despite it being pretty painful and draining (physically and emotionally).

Max also began spitting-up A TON all the time! It wasn't projectile, and it didn't actually seem to cause him that much pain, but the spit up was honestly pretty constant through-out a day. I'd say the average day he spit up at least 5-6 ounces of breast milk, no joke. So naturally, I was concerned that it was something I was eating that was causing him to get an upset stomach. For about a month, I tried to find out what was the cause of his horrendous amounts of spit-up by eliminating things from my diet. I went without dairy products, chocolate, and type of citrus fruit or drink, caffeine and much more. I could never find an answer and every day the amount of spit up he had was exactly the same not matter what I ate. After a month or so, I gave up and just ate whatever. I accepted that I would just be literally covered in spit-up for the rest of my life. The doctors weren't concerned about his spit-up because he was gaining weight pretty well, but they did put him on the medicine Zantac for a while (which did not help one tiny bit).

Things got easier. Max was more comfortable eating and the process was less painful for me, but I still got occasional nipple pain from improper latching. At this point I was still nursing every 3 hours or less because of Max's intense reflux. It was at this time that I started introducing solid foods. (well, solids for babies) Things like rice cereal, pureed sweet potatoes, bananas and prunes were Max's favorite. He only ate a little baby food once or twice a day for a a few months, so I was still breastfeeding pretty often. I know it is recommended now a days to exclusively breast feed for 6 months, but Max needed something with more density to try and keep down. Also, I must admit that it was nice to have someone else be able to feed him once in a while.
I still was not a pro at nursing even at this point. It was awkward holding while nursing him because he was getting bigger and squirmier. I couldn't quite hold him with one arm anymore, but he couldn't hold himself up either. It was a weird stage for me. But thankfully by this point my breasts were finally hardly ever leaking and I didn't have to wear breast pads all the time anymore. I think my milk had finally kind of regulated and my breasts weren't uncomfortable very often at all.

I can finally say that during this span, breastfeeding FINALLY got easy for me. I never had pain, holding Max was easy, he latched and nursed quickly, it all was really great. Yes, Max still spit-up at least 5 times a day and by this time I had serious spit up stains covering my furniture and carpets, but I didn't even care anymore. Max was eating his purred food great and nursing on a pretty regular schedule.

Right about 8-9 months old Max decided he didn't want to eat purred baby food anymore. We started giving him regular food (cut up of course) and he really loved it. He loved being able to feed himself and pretty much refused to eat anything from a spoon (except yogurt). I think this helped with his reflux because at about 9 months he finally stopped spitting -up so much. He still got the occasional spit up or little dribbles, but at 9 months I was actually able to go somewhere with out worrying if Max would drench the person next to us in spit up:) It was also at this point that nursing became more a chore for him. He was able to crawl at 7 months and by 9 months, had no desire to be or sit still ever! Trying to get him to nurse just got harder as everything would distract him, and he wouldn't sit and latch for more than  few minutes at a time. We tried sitting in a dark room, giving him something to look at while nursing, but none of it worked. He just had too much to do and breastfeeding was not on his schedule. It is recommended that at this age babies still nurse at least 4 times during a 24 hour period. Well, I was lucky if we got that many. At first it really concerned me that he wasn't nursing enough, but at about 10 or 11 months old, I just said whatever. Max would nurse in the morning and at night right before bed time and try to get in just one feed during the day sometime.
At least I thought he would be pretty easy to wean.

I cut out the daytime feeding a little before Max's first birthday. As expected, he didn't seem to care much but, he has never been a kid that was attached to nursing. We did that for about 2 weeks and then I cut out the morning feed. I have to say that it was very nice to get to wear normal bras again. Also sleeping at night with out a bra on was simply awesome lol. I did notice that after we stopped nursing in the morning, Max started eating a lot more for breakfast, so that was nice that Jeff could just get up with him occasionally and just feed him breakfast. He also really loves cows milk and has no affects on him, so thats good. I probably nursed him only at night time for about 2 weeks. The last few nights he just really didn't want much. He would nurse for less than a minute on each side and then was done. I am not sure if I really just didn't have any milk left or he was just over it. Yesterday was the first night he wnet to bed without nursing. I had Jeff put him do the night time routine of books and then lights out, snuggles for a few minutes and then bed so I wouldn't be tempted to nurse him lol. I will admit that I was a little sad to see it end, and kind of needed a big hug from Jeff when Max went to sleep just fine without me nursing him. Kind of made me feel like Max didn't need me the same way anymore, and I think that part was just a little hard on me :) ( Oh man, what am I going to do when he goes off to college lol?) So as I had expected weaning was pretty strait forward.  I would really miss seeing his eyes get drowsy when we would do our night time feed. But, it is what it is.

When/if I have more babies I definitely want to breastfeed. Overall, it has been a positive experience for me. I liked being able to nourish my baby the way he was meant to and it made me feel good to not quit even when things got VERY tough. I would encourage other mothers to breast feed as it is a unique experience, and obviously there are a lot of other positive results.That being said, I have nothing against formula feeders. I do realize that for some families, formula is the way to go, and in some ways, formula would have been much easier. The pressure in the first few months of me being the only one that could feed Max was plainly exhausting! I think that, in itself, is one of the main reasons women don't stick with nursing. It is a lot of added responsibility to the already daunting task of taking care of a baby, and I totally get it. When I was writing this blog I felt some of the emotions come back from the early days of breast feeding. And for me, when everything else was going wrong and I just didn't know if I could do anything right as a parent, I always felt deep down that by breastfeeding I was doing at least one thing right! It kept me going. (Again, not that you are wrong if your formula feed, this was just how it felt for me at the time)
Breastfeeding seems to be sort of a hot topic these days, especially about feeding in public and breast feeding a 3 or 4 year olds. Feeding in public was never a huge issue for me as Max and I rarely went out in public for any long period of time where I would need to nurse lol. The times that we did, I would nurse in the car or somewhere private usually. It was honestly just easier for me as Max hated being under the cover and got distracted easily, so if there were things going on, he wouldn't concentrate on eating. I really don't care if women nurse in public without a cover at all. It doesn't bother me in the slightest if I see a boob or a nipple, but I do understand that it could bother some people. That was also a reason I tried to be very discreet about feeding in public. I don't think nursing mothers should have to hide, but we need to be respectful of other people too. I think people realize that breast feeding is the way a baby eats, but come on, it is your boob just hanging out there and ya people are going to look. Some people just haven't been around a nursing mother, so I think it just throws them off guard when you start getting undressed in public. So in my opinion, yes, please do nurse in public and don't be ashamed, but do realize that you are going to get looks if your boob is hanging out, in just the same way that you would get looks if you were wearing a super low cut shirt with cleavage spilling out. It's a ya people are gonna look at em:)
As far as nursing an older baby goes, well, I can't imagine doing it with Max. As I have said before, he has rarely showed interest, so there is no way I could see him nursing for much longer, by his own choice. If I had one of those babies who loved nursing, then it might be a different story, I don't know. I for one, was happy just to reach the year mark. I am ready to have my body back and not use it simply for the purposes of my baby any more ( not sure if that makes me selfish or not) I mean almost a year of pregnancy and a year a nursing...just think about it, 2 years where your body is for you child. I was ready to wear cute bras again and not have to worry about if the shirt I was wearing was nursing compatible. I was ready to have the same sized breasts and to be able to leave Max with a sitter without worrying about pumping and all that mess. It was definitely time for Max and I to stop when we did, but I show no judgement on women that nurse longer. Although I think I may draw the line at 3 or 4 years old:)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Things I Love about England and Things I miss about the USA

Since I have been here for over a year and feel pretty well acclimated, I figured it was time for comparison blog.

Things I like about the UK (in no specific order)

*Round Abouts- For those of you who don't know a round about is a type of driving intersection. It is a driving circle with at least 3 exit points and each car is required to enter and exit the circle while yielding to the cars already in the circle. There is a etiquette that comes with driving in these with certain blinkers being used when exiting and entering the round about. It took me a while to get used to them, but now that I have, I have to say that I really like them. It is a way better system than stop lights, or the terrible 4 way stop signs we have in the US. The huge round abouts (with 5 plus exits) can get a tricky and hectic, and there are also round abouts with stop lights, which are weird. But for the most part, I really like them and wish the US would convert:)
This is an example of a round about and the way you drive on it

*I like that all, or most, of the buildings are built of brick or stone. Almost any building here is built with solid and lasting materials. It makes them look really nice and honestly, it is why people here can live in really old homes. Its because everything here seems to be built better. I have not seen a building yet built with paneling or whatever all the cheap new homes in the US are made of. 

* Everything here seems to have culture or history. Yes, England has been around way longer than the US, but seriously every single little town you drive through had some major historical event attached to it. And I am not talking about "the worlds largest hay bail". There are castles or ruins or something cool to see everywhere. The little villages 

*The windows. So this may seem small, mot most the windows here in the UK are really nice, with pull down screens. I love them! It is so awesome on a nice day to keep the windows open. I guess because there is no AC anywhere, people always have there windows open and I truly do love fresh air all the time!

* Being able to shop on Amazon and Amazon UK! I know this is because we are military and have the luxury of having a US and an UK address, but I do love it! If you know me, you know I am addicted to Amazon. I order almost everything on Amazon and now I can check out Amazon UK too! They often have very different things and are often very different in costs. Every once in a while I will find something so awesome on Amazon UK, that is impossible to find in the states! Its like double the shopping lol.

* Television. I like being able to watch shows from all over the world practically. With satellite here I can watch all the shows I used to love to watch in Australia. Plus every once in a while there are some really fun British shows, plus American shows too and when the Olympics were on BBC like 10 channels, all with no commercial breaks at all! We got to see all sorts of cool events that they never show back home.

* Travel is so easy here, to get from one county to another I mean. I know so many friends back home that have never even been to another county, or some another state! Well, since everything is so small here, travel to multiple countries is simple and every does it lol. It is really cool having the opportunity to see so many places that most Americans never will.

Things I miss about the US (besides obviously being close to my friends and family)

* Plugs in the bathroom. Ok, so this kind of weird, but for some reason the British refuse to have outlets in the bathrooms. They have a small plug for men's razors but that is it. It won't fit a regular outlet. It just make is really difficult for doing your hair or anything really. I am not sure why this is this way, but anywhere I have been, you can not find an outlet in the bathroom.
*Staying on the bathroom theme. All the bathroom mirrors are really high up. Like it probably starts where my chin is. Again, making putting on makeup or even brushing your teeth a little odd.

* I miss drive throughs. They do have drive throughs here, but they are not that common. Apparently, the British are not big on driving and eating at the same time lol. They have a few McDonalds here and there and you will see a fast food place, but not with a drive through. I have to say, that this kind of sucks. Especially with a baby and just wanting to get something fast with out having to get him out of his car seat and him sunning around. I am looking forward to have drive throughs again!

* Stores staying open. So mostly all the shopping stores here close about 5:30. A few grocery stores stay open until about 8 or so, but really you are out of luck if you needed to pick up an outfit after work. The Brits really seem to enjoy the night life, so night time is for going out I guess. But I really do miss being able to go to Walmart or Target at anytime and get almost anything!  

* Simple roads and interstates. So I am still not a driving pro here and alot of the time find the roads just so confusing. They do have high ways and things like that, but it's not the same you'd find in the US. Most of the time, to get from point A to point B takes a lot of turns down tiny roads. (this might be different if we lived in a larger city) But a lot of the villages and town are layed out so weird. I know it is because theses things have been here forever, before modern surveying,  but honestly, I just dream of things being layed out east to west and neighborhoods not being filled with tiny winding roads.

* Television- This sort of needs to go in both columns. I dearly miss my old TV shows and getting to watch them at the same time as every one else. Most of the shows here get a delayed playing. Some are just a few episodes behind the States and some are seasons behind. Yes, we have a sling box so we can watch TV from the US, but I have to watch it on my computer and sometimes the internet
really sucks. And we don't get any US Sports channels, which makes Jeff sad lol.

* Parking! So parking lots are a thing of luxury over here. You would not believe how few there are. Back in the US, you would expect a restaurant to have it's own parking lot right? Well, here not a chance. You can find in larger cities some parking garages or maybe a parking lot for a grocery store, but that is it. You would not believe how many people seriously just park on or in the street. On a two lane road with no shoulder. You will often see cars parked right there in the street, and if you are behind it you have to go into the other lane to get by. It is crazy, the parking situation here and it is something I miss so much about the states!
Yes, this is a really a 2 lane road that you are supposed to drive down, both ways. This happens ALL the time!
I am sure there are more pros and cons but for now, these are the major ones! Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

First Night Away

Parents' first night away together from their baby can be an emotional one. I am not talking about a date night out to go to dinner, but a complete and total over-night away from baby. I know many parents who left their kids with family when the baby was only 3 or 4 months old, and I also know parents who still have never left their 3 year old over night with anyone. I think the right time to finally leave your baby/child with someone else is when you feel comfortable. I think it also depends on the baby. If the baby is breastfed, sleeping through the night and other factors can make the decision difficult. Also having someone you trust that is willing/available to watch your child is a major issue. Well, for Jeff and I, the right time to have an over-night get away came a few days ago.

Max is 10 1/2 months old, finally sleeping through the night consistently,and able to put himself to sleep so I thought it was time Jeff and I got our night away. We might have done it sooner if we lived near family, but I couldn't just leave him with any sitter so I needed to make sure it was with someone I trusted. Well, Jeff's family came to England to visit us so I knew that leaving him with the in-laws would be something I would feel comfortable with (plus I know they wanted to spend as much time with Max as possible:)
In the weeks leading up to this night, I was so excited! I literally dreamt of having an entire day and night for just my husband and myself. I couldn't wait to simply go out to a movie with him (we hadn't seen a movie in the theater together since before Max was born). I booked us a quaint British bed and breakfast room for the night and looked forward to the wonderful alone time I would get to have with my husband.

The hours before Jeff and I were marked to leave for our big getaway were very anxious for me. I couldn't understand why I felt so nervous. I found myself writing down every single possible detail of Max's schedule, bed time routine, eating habits and so much more for my in-laws. I didn't expect to be so apprehensive about the whole thing. I started to really think about it and could count on one hand the number of times I hadn't put Max to sleep at night ( he's still breastfeeding). And those few times, I was always there to see his smiling face in the morning. As I got him down for a nap right before we were about to leave I had him fall asleep in my arms and just held him for a while. My eyes got watery as I thought about leaving him. I felt like I was abandoning him. I didn't imagine getting this emotional.

My logical self tried to reason with the emotional self by reminding me that Max would be fine. I completely trusted my in-laws to take care of Max. It was me that was going to miss him, probably not the other way around. It was just strange to be away from him when I the longest I have ever been away from Max was maybe 3 or 4 hours at a time. It was different for Jeff, he has been away for months at a time due to his job. I have been left alone to take care of Max for quite a while and I just figured out that I need Max as much as he needs me. 

After I laid Max down to sleep, I went to get my stuff to go. I needed a hug from Jeff to re-assure me that it would be okay. He loaded up the car and I sat in our room and cried for a few minutes. For the record, I NEVER wanted to be this woman/mother.  

I thought it was so pathetic...and even as I cried in my room I felt a little embarrassed for myself haha. Well, I mustered up the courage to take a deep breath and go down stairs. Before we left I was searching my brain for anything and everything I was forgetting to tell my In-laws...I was trying to think of anything that would get me to stay a few more minutes. Jeff, on the other hand, was ready to go and had packed up the car...

As we got in the car, I again had to hold back tears. I wanted so bad to enjoy this time away with Jeff, but it was so much harder than I ever could have imagined! After about half an hour and while getting our movie tickets (omg we hadn't seen a movie together in the theater in over a year!) I came to the realization that this was so nice! I was determined right then and there to enjoy our time!

After that it was surprisingly easy. I did get Max updates from the in-laws (THANK-YOU!) which made things very nice. The rest of the day and night and next day went just fine and I have to say that it wasn't as terrible being away from Max as I had thought it might be.

All in all it was a wonderful day and night and I am so glad we did it! I don't think Max was traumatized in any way, and I know it was good for me. So a big thank you to Carol, Jeff and Allison for taking such good care of Max for 24 hours!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

What Not to Wear (because I'm 27 and a Mom)

Alright, well since I have gotten back  into my pre-pregnancy stage and it looks as if the weather may finally be giving us some warm days I have been looking into what to wear for the spring and summer. I am finding it a little difficult to fit my style and budget into clothes these days for these reasons.

My age. Ok, so yes I am only 27  so to me that still seems pretty young in the grand scheme of things. And I want to dress young. I do realize that I am getting older and can only pull off certain clothes while in my twenties so I don't want to waste the few years I have left. I have the rest of my life to dress "older" so why do I want to do it now? Answer: I don't. I still want to wear fun trendy items. But with this, there comes a balance. A few years ago I pretty much stopped buying anything from the Juniors sections at the stores because I figured I am an adult and need to start shopping like one. Today, I occasionally cheat and get something from that section if it is super cute or on sale haha, but for the most part I steer clear from it. Most of the clothes there are very "teenagerish" anyway and I find myself wondering if they make me look too young. I don't want to look like I am trying to be in high school again, or that I am desperately trying to make people think I am 21 again, because lets face it that is not going to happen. I simply want to appear to be a mature, yet trendy and cute 27 year old woman. I am still young, and want to appear that way without going too far. It seems to be kind of a difficult balance.

Since I am a Mother. Everyone is aware of "mom" jeans and how the stereo-typical mother dresses. It is less than pleasing. Mothers tend to fall into the "I just don't give a crap what I wear because I have so much other stuff to do" slot. I totally get it; wearing cute clothes that just get covered with food and pulled on just doesn't have the same appeal. And when I am around the house, I must admit that I spend most of my time in yoga pants and tee shirts, shorts if I can. But, on the few times a week that I get to go somewhere, I take advantage of the opportunity and dress the best I can. Plus, a lot of mothers tend to believe that they some how need to stop being women and start only being a mother. Which I don't think is right for me. I need the few days a week to dress up (sort of) and feel pretty and stylish again. I have always been a firm believer that even though you become a MOM, you are still a woman and a person. Being a Mom is not the only thing that defines me and I like to show that with my wardrobe.

My size. I have never been the skinniest person around, but usually not the biggest either. Over the years I have gained weight and lost it, but for the most part have stayed about where I am now. I have always thought I have good body parts and some other body features that I would rather cover up. For instance, I have always kind of liked my legs. I'm not sure if that sounds conceded but I think I have nice calves and ankles, and my thighs are just ok haha. For that reason, I always love wearing heels, they elongate my legs. So, it's one of my assets and I'd like to show them off while I still have nice legs. I am not sure how many years I have left, so I am going to take advantage of it. One of my problem areas has always been my stomach/belly region. This area got worse with pregnancy and so it is the area that I like to keep covered. There are many clothes items that there is an unspoken rule about and only for "skinny" girls to wear. But on the other hand, I don't want to go around always so scared of my body image that I have to cover up every part of me because it isn't in perfect shape. I have found that there is a line. I have accepted there are certain clothes items that just won't ever look good on my body type, and girls with my size just shouldn't wear. I think this comes into play with every body type and whatever size you are there are things you can wear and not wear.

Why are clothes even important to me? They are important because if you have ever seen the show on TLC "What Not to Wear" you will understand. The way you present yourself to the outside world is the way people perceive you. Since perception is reality, what a person looks like on the outside, generally is a reflection of what they feel on the inside. I want to project myself as a semi-stylish twenty something mother who has fun, enjoys life and enjoys wearing cute comfortable clothes:)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Opinions on Parenthood

So once you become a parent you will be over-loaded with advice and opinions on how to raise your child. Everyone is certain that their way is best and "the only" way it should be done. Mothers will get so worked up  I have found that parents can get VERY offended and opinionated about certain hot topics. I have found that there are certain subjects that I do not bring up with surrounded by a group of mothers as it can lead to a very heated argument and a lot of uncomfortableness. These subjects (and much more) are:

1. What and when to feed you child. (organic homemade food, all vegetarian vs store bought) ( when to start solids, juice, cows milk, you name it, people have an opinion about it)
2. The way your child sleeps. ( Co-Sleeping, sleeping on the back or belly, sleep training)
3. Breast Feeding vs Formula
4. Circumcision
5. Vaccinations
6. Birth Control
7. Chemicals in the home ( baby wipes, cleaners)

Most of MY personal parenting style as been to just go with the flow. I honestly didn't do too much research when I was pregnant about ALL the different baby products and advice because I found it WAY too over whelming. There was never any straight answer on anything. For all the research you do on one topic, there are 100 reasons why you should and shouldn't do something  I pretty much just told myself that I would figure it out as I go and people have been being parents since the dawn of time, so I am sure I could figure it out.
I have pretty much tried to do what I thought was best in my journey with parenthood. Yes, I have asked for alot of advice and there is still tons I will admit I don't know about parenting, but one thing is for sure. I know my child better than you. I am with him 24/7 and know his reactions/moods/temperament and personality. I remember getting so frustrated (when I was already beyond frustrated) about people telling me the way I should get Max to sleep or eat or the "Wow, you let your baby do that?" question followed by the polite smile. I do know that honestly some people just try to help. Saying something like, well "This _____worked for my child, so maybe it will work for yours? but all babies are different so just hang in there" was the way I liked to get advice. I can just tell that some other mothers are thinking "Well if you just do what I do then your baby will eat/sleep/ be happier"
I have gotten so fed up with young mothers telling other people and making a big stink about how their parenting choices are the best and because of them they are going to have a perfect child. I ABSOLUTELY HATE when a mother will say I need to STOP doing something.

I only have once child, so I only know how he is and thats it. I have learned to only take parenting advice from people I actually know (and like). Plus I have learned that advice from parents of at least 2 children is way more valuable. With only 1 child, a parent only knows one way to do things because that baby responded to it. ( I am including myself in this group) If they have an easy child who ate well and slept well then they think they had something to do with it. I think people with 2+ children understand how much the baby controls the parent and not the parent and not the other way around.And even then, it is just advice on their experience. That person who is telling you what to do is not living you life and in your shoes. I don't think some mothers know how bad they make other mothers feel about being an insufficient parent because their baby doesn't do the things yours does.

I am writing this blog because I want other mothers out there, or mothers to be to understand that everyone is just doing the best that they can. If you are a all- natural holistic mother who uses no chemicals, breast feeds in public, and doesn't vaccinate you child, good for you, but just because a mother uses formula and pushes her child in stroller, doesn't make her a bad parent and any less loving. I am fine with someone saying," ____ is my choice as a parent, and this is why I choose to do it or not do it". But please have respect for parents or choose a different method than you. You have no idea what their family is like.You may not agree or choose to raise your child differently , but that is the beauty of being of being a parent, you get to choose, but you don't have to be snotty or "holier than thou" about it. We are all mothers just doing the best we can, so lets start being supportive to all mothers and not JUDGMENTAL!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Thankful to be Alive

I am just so thankful to be alive.

Today is one of those days that I just can't help but feel so blessed.  

In my life I have experienced amazing love.

My parents have always been there to support me and I can honestly say have been the best parents in the world.

I have the most special love from all of my unique sisters. Although, my sisters are the only people that I can get in huge fights with, I love them more dearly than almost anything. I had such a special childhood that always brings the most fond memories.

I have a HUGE extended family on both sides and so many Aunts, Uncles and Cousins that love me for who 
I am, and I so lucky to have so many people to lean on. 

I have had and still do have close, loving, best friends that have and would do anything for me. I am so blessed to have not just one, but so many best friends that I can count on no matter what happens in life. It doesn't matter if we haven't spoken in months, I know for a fact that if I really needed something, so many people would be there for me in a heart beat.

I have known deep, passionate love for husband. It is the type of love that is literally unexplained and can only be felt. Every day I know that he loves me with all his heart and makes me feel like the happiest woman in the world.

I have given birth to the best baby on earth! Even through all the hard times, I for real do not know what I would do without my baby. He brings me such joy in the morning when he wakes up talking and smiling, I don't even mind that it is 6 am. I have been blessed enough to experience the joys of motherhood which know one can ever take away. 

All these things and so much more make me feel so blessed beyond anything. I feel like if something happened to me today, I would be at peace because I have lived a full and love filled life. Of course, I would like to live and grow old and see my grandkids, but I am lucky enough to make it this far in life. 27 years of joy is more than a lot of people get and I thank God for giving it to me. Every day is such a gift and I don't plan on wasting however many I have left! 

Thank-you Lord for giving me my wonderful life!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I miss my husband

So my other military wives will  understand. When your husband has to leave for months at a time, you are forced to live and get by on your own. There are so many things a military wife has to adjust to, and I have come to realize that there are so many things I miss about Jeff being gone. Besides the obvious of generally missing his company and my partner in life, I have realized it is the small things that I didn't even think about that I miss the most.

These are some of the things that Jeff did when he is here that I never had to ask him to do and I'm trying to remember or find time to do myself now haha

- taking out the trash and remembering to take the cans out on trash/recycle day
- lock the doors at night
- set the robot vacuum to run while we sleep
- mow the lawn
- check on the baby before we go to sleep at night
- get up with Max in the mornings while I sleep a little bit longer
- turn off the downstairs light
- start the coffee in the morning
- stop to pick up milk or any small things on the way home from work

These things and more are just some of the small things that I have to get used to doing on my own.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Nothing New

So I have been wanting to blog for a while, give people and update on my life and whats been going on, but the truth is that really not a lot. Since Jeff is gone my days are pretty much the same. Max and I wake up, I get coffee, feed him breakfast and play. After his nap we usually go somewhere short like to check the mail or for a walk. We have lunch, play more, he takes an afternoon nap, then hang out, dinner bath books and bed. It's all pretty basic. When Max goes to sleep, I clean up the house, do dishes and play around the computer and then go to sleep. Some days we have play group or meet some friends, but mostly the days just go by the same way. I'm not complaining at all, in fact I actually love the monotony of every day.

I plan for special events like I have always done. I am in the stages of planning for Max's 1st birthday, which I am so excited about! I know I am going to go overboard, but it's going to be so fun as long as its not raining that day lol. I am also looking forward to family friends coming out to visit this summer.
I am working on planning a family vacation for Jeff, Max and I somewhere this summer, but I am having a tough time with it. There are literally so many places we could go around Europe! Every time I think about someplace I want to go, I think about how hard it is going to be with Max, especially now that he is mobile and not too keen on sitting still for long periods of time. I pretty much have decided that day trips are going to be the best idea for a while. It's kind of weird since Max is not really old enough to enjoy any "kid" places yet but also doesn't do well in museums  or castles or other "adult" attractions that Jeff and I would want to see. So deciding where to go has been a challenge. Instead of any long vacation this summer I think we are just going to explore a few places around England this summer. For sure going to Sherwood Forest and hopefully making the trip out to see Stonehenge are at the top of the list, but we will see. Plus, everything is so expensive!
Um, so ya....that is really all I am doing right now:) hopefully I'll have something new and exciting to blog about soon:)

Friday, March 22, 2013

A List of VERY late resolutions.

Ok, so I have been meaning to post a list of things I want to improve about myself or do better. I meant to do it around New Years, but, of course, it never got done. So here it is.

1. NOT BAIL. It is so easy to have excuses not to do things when you have a baby. Seriously, you can pretty much blame anything on them and people can't really say much. It's not like someone is gonna say "You're baby isn't really sick, bring him out anyway". Plus it is honestly so much easier at times just stay in and not have to get everything ready to go, worry about if your baby is going to be fussy, or if its going to to interrupt his nap time. One of my hugest pet peeves, is when people bail on doing something last minute, when they previously said they would. I mean coming up with a bad excuse is one thing, but just not showing is so much worse! But then I got to thinking, holy crap, I am guilty of doing this exact thing! There have been many times where I am just not feeling like going out of the house and putting makeup on, so I make up and excuse...It is really annoying of me too. So I have decided to REALLY try and not do this. Unless there is an actual legitimate excuse, I am going to try and make myself do things and not cancel! A legitimate excuse being that Max or myself is Actually sick, with a fever or cold or what not, or something that I HAVE to do came up instead. Otherwise, if I said I am going, I am going!
2. PUT MY BIG GIRL PANTIES ON. This kind of goes hand in hand with the first one, but I really need to start manning up and doing things by myself, (or just me and Max) especially since Jeff is leaving in a few days. I still get so nervous about bringing Max out in public...I really do think that having him alone on the terrible flight a few months ago, seriously scared me. It was the worst feeling of my life and I honestly get sick to my stomach just thinking about it. Driving around England makes me nervous enough since the roads are all weird and tiny, so that in itself make me not want to go anywhere farther than 10 minutes away. But having to worry if Max is going to be crazy is the other major part. Well, I have decided it is time to get over it. Yes, I am still pretty terrified, but other people/moms can do it so so can I! I just have to make myself, otherwise I know I will be stuck at home forever.
3. MAKE FRIENDS! I think I got spoiled in Montana because I was able to make such good friends really quickly. Pretty much right away, I had good friend who I could tell anything too, and I miss so much! I have always needed good friends in my life and even though I have moved around a lot in my life, I was always able to make some relatively fast. Here is has been different. It gave me a huge shock to realize that in 2 months we will have lived in England for a year! Wow I can't believe how time flies! I know this time it has been different because of the baby, making it much harder to get out (thus the upper resolutions), but yikes. I  mean I am not completed lame, I do have a few friends here that I really like and we have started to get together. I know making close friends sometimes takes a while. ( and I feel like it is different with moms, because everyone has such different view on parenting and it can sometimes get really tense when moms don't agree) I just really miss being able just call someone and be like, hey im coming over to hang out and wathc movies, or lets jut talk, or hey lets grab dinner....I need to try harder to make friends here, because I REALLY miss it.
4. WEAR LIP COLOR. This one is slightly off from the other ones, but still important. Every few years or so try and change my makeup routine and I really want to make lip color a staple. Every time I see a photo of myself, I think "man my lips need some color" but yet I hardly wore and color because lipstick was always a pain. Well, I have changed that and am have several different color of lip stains which I wear whenever I put makeup on. It last mostly all day and I can just put gloss over it through out the day.
5. FLOSS. Man I just hate flossing so much! It takes time and is annoying and gross. I really just hate it, but every time I got to the dentist they always ask me, "how often do you floss?" I say "Umm... not very often". The they say " So like twice a week?" and I lie saying "Sure". Truth is I rarely floss at all, and I know it is important so I am going to really make an effort to so it twice a week at least so I don't have to lie to the dentist haha.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Some Baby/Mom Items that We Couldn't Live Without!

So, when I was pregnant I asked other mom's what were some baby items that they loved, and I always learned some new things, so here is my experience so far on what baby items Max and I LOVE! If I ever have another child, I will for sure be buying them or reusing them again!
I know not every baby likes the same things, so these items may or may not work for you and your little one, but Max is feisty, particular, and squirmy little baby who is always moving and reaching, so these items work for a baby like him!

(in no particular order)

1. This teething necklace has been so so so wonderful! I have two, in different colors, and wear them every single time I go out anywhere with Max. I originally wanted one so that I could wear it while I nursed to give Max something to look at/hold on to. It works for that, but it is the best teether ever! It is always accessible whenever Max wants it, and it never falls on the floor and gets dirty since I wear it around my neck! Max can yank on the necklace and it won't break, and he loves just playing with it! Plus, its not terrible to look at and really kind of looks like a real necklace so a simple accessory! 

Watching a football game!
2. Nap Nanny Chill! Ok, so I know these were recalled and a huge deal was made about them, but all baby items, when used INCORRECTLY, could cause harm. This product is great for us because it was the only thing Max would sit in for a while. Since he has reflux, it kept him propped up with being sitting up. He would nap in it when he was little because he didn't have to be on flat his back (which he hated) Max hated his baby swing and would survive in the bouncer for only a few minutes, but for some reason this Nap Nanny has been awesome for us! Just give him some toys to play with, or sit there with him and talk to him and he stayed pretty happy in it! He still uses this at 7 months old. We can put him in it with a toy and he'll sit there and watch TV (yes, I suppose I am one of those moms who let their baby watch TV for a while, but he's happy so oh well:) He doesn't like it as much now because he can now sit up and is trying to crawl so he sometimes tries to squirm out, but it has straps so it's fine. I think we will keep out for a while still. Again, great baby product for us and even though it was kinda pricey it was way worth it for sure! My mom even got one for her house when we were down there, so Max could be happy:) I am not sure where you can buy these now that they are recalled... maybe craigslist? But a great buy especially for a baby with reflux!

3. Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo- This is the only toy Max really likes. He will jump in this thing for probably about 30 minutes at a time! He just loves jumping like crazy and spinning all the toys! We started putting him in it when he was just under 5 months old, and now at 7 months he is still loving it! I am thinking he may change his attitude towards it when he starts crawling, but so far he loves it! It great because he can't escape from it and I can put him in it and make dinner, fold laundry or really get anything done! Again, a little expensive, but by far the best baby toy item we have bought!

4. Bobby Pre-Natal Cuddle Pillow. I love this pillow because it has so many uses! The regular Boppy Pillow is pretty well known and has a pretty good reputation already, but I actually liked this one better. The pre-natal pillow, was a great use for sleeping during pregnancy. I took this pillow everywhere, even on the plane when we traveled to England. It is a good shape for using when you sleep, ( I had the hardest time sleeping while pregnant, but this pillow helped) You can put it between your knees when you sleep, or just under your belly and then cuddle with the top part. I thought it was a great pillow because it wasnt as huge as a full body pillow so it didnt get in the way when I tossed and turned in bed, it also never bugged Jeff or pushed him out of the bed. So there is that use for the pillow, also I used it almost every time I nursed for about 4 months! It was great for propping Max up, and was so comfy, I honestly preferred this pillow over the regular boppy because it didn't form around me, but sort of just curved  nicely around me with good support for Max. After Max didnt need it for nursing anymore, I thought it had used it up, but a month ago I found another use for it! Max was learning to sit on his own, so I used this pillow to put behind him incase he fell backwards. Unlike the other boppy, it doesnt support him or hold him up, so this helped him practice on his own without the danger of hurting himself when he fell.

5. Hot Milk Nursing Bra- Ok, this one is basically just for the Moms (and Dads!). Nursing bras, if you have ever tried to find any, are typically pretty disgusting looking. They have to be full coverage and and supportive to hold up your now massive and milk filled boobs, but do they have to be so ugly and look like something that your grandmother currently wears? Lets face it, the months after pregnancy are not usually the most sexy in a woman's life. You are trying to loose baby weight, deal with the new stretch marks and are facing severe sleep deprivation. In my opinion, a cute bra, can help a lot with giving you a little pick me up! These bras are just as supportive and comfortable as any other nursing bra and are 10 times more sexy! It helps you feel a little more like a woman and not just a dead mommy. They are maybe a little bit more expensive than some other nursing bras, but well worth the extra money in self esteem:) -Oh, I would recommend waiting to get one until a few weeks after birth, so that way you can know what size you will be.  (PS, this site also has tons of fun lingerie for during pregnancy and after!)

6. Baby Bath Seat- Again, I know some babies love their baby baths and will just sit there and coo....Max was not one of those babies. For the longest time he hated the bath and in the little baby bath tub he would squirm and kick and fight. He hated just laying there. So when he was 3 1/2 months old we got this baby bath seat. Obviously, he could not sit up properly in it yet, but we put a towel behind him for some cusion and it worked great! You just put it in the regular bath tub and he sits right in it. He started to love bath time and splashing and not having to be laying down. At 7 months, we are still using this seat. Even though Max can sit on his own now, its nice to have him in this because he won't fall over and you dont have to worry about him hitting his head on the tub. I think we will use it for a while (probably until he figures out how to get out of it)! Max will play forever in the bath tub now!

7. Magnolia Organic Crib Fitted Sheet- If you have ever had to change crib sheets, than you know what a pain in the butt it can be, especially if you have a bumper on the crib. Well, I tend to be a little obsessive when it comes to sheets anyway, but I found crib sheets to be especially annoying. When we started out, we had the basic Target crib sheets, no big deal I didn't think it mattered, but one of them got really messed up in the dryer, so then we only had one sheet. I started looking around and found these sheets. We bought one and had to buy another as they are so soft and fit perfectly on the crib mattress without causing you to work up a sweat from trying to stretch this tiny sheet on the mattress. We have always had to change Max's sheets a lot, since he tended to spit up in bed, so maybe for some people, having an okay crib sheet would be no big deal, but not for us. Anyway, I recommend this sheet because it is comfy feeling and is actually large enough to fit a crib mattress that has a mattress cover on it, but it also stays taught and tight over the mattress as crib sheets are supposed to be. :) 

8. Silicone Baby Bib- We got a ton of clothe bibs for gifts and we used them a lot for Max on a daily basis ( for spit up and drool) but once he started eating some solids, we needed something a little sturdier that we hold in the mess. My sister had one of these bibs for her daughter and used it all the time, so when I found one at the store a few months ago, I just had to pick it up! It is, first off, very cute with the little bow tie, but it is also VERY useful. It cleans up so easily, you can just rinse it off, or even through it in the dishwasher from time to time. It has a lip on the bottom that catches anything that happens to fall out of Max's mouth. We use it for every meal time and love it! If you only buy one bib, buy this one!

As I have said in Many of my blogs, every baby and family is different, so what baby product you like/need might be completely different from the next person. What is a life saver for one person, may be annoying for the next. So, these are just my experiences:)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I have the COOLEST Family!

So I would like to dedicate this blog to my immediate family whom I love so much! I want to tell the blog world about how amazing they truly are.
First off, for anyone who doesn't know, I come from a family of 6 girls. So yes, I have 5 sisters! And they are all from the same 2 parents (or so they tell us!, I'm jk Mom and Dad, I love you!) Having 6 girls and only 6 girls in one family is rare enough, but having each of them so different and amazing is a whole new level.

To start the Family blog, I must talk about my parents who have managed to stay married for over 30 something years (sorry Mom and Dad, I can't remember the exact about of years, 33?) Anyway, that in itself is an outstanding feat! I know so many people who's parents have not made it together and I am so thankful that we all stayed together as a family. Their relationship really helped me realize what a relationship should be like and I think really showed us girls how to not give on marriage even when it gets tough.
1999 , L to R, Erin, Noah, Mom, Jacque, Aubrey, Ronni, Leigh

 My Mom put up with a lot, having six girls and ultimately six teenagers.... I know we were terrible at times, we were rude, sneaky, snooty and everything that teenage girls can be. Also, my Mom got the worst of it since each one of us tended to be "Daddy's girls" and Mom always got blamed for everything "unfair" in our lives. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for all of us. Since Noah is 18 and about to graduate high school, my Mom is about to leave the dreaded teenager stage behind and I know she can't be happier about that. I know I speak for all of my sisters that have left the house when I say that we have come to realize how helpful and truly wise our mother is now that we aren't living at her house:) So thanks Mom for all the advice and putting up with all of through all these years! We love you! Mom always put her girls first and taught us to do things like french braid hair and make Barbie clothes! My Mom is currently going back to school to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse. A career she always put on hold to raise us kids, and is now getting the chance too! So cool!

Christmas 2011 L to R: Leigh, Ronni, Aubrey, Mom, Noah, Jacque, Erin
2004 at my parents 25th Anniversary party!
Dad, the only male in the house while growing up, was always patient with us and tried his best to be involved with everything we did. He was and still is always supportive in anything us girls tried to do. He always did his best to encourage us, especially when it came to sports and was always there to help us practice, even when we didn't want to. When my oldest sister and I were in cross country one year, my Dad mowed our back property and measured out exactly how many miles it was so we could practice. He also built a softball pitching mound in our front yard so my little sister Jacque could practice pitching every single day. He always came to our sporting events and stayed until the end, even when (and I did several times) we came in last place and it may have been embarrassing for him. My Dad owns his own Semi-Conductor business in New Braunfels and gets to travel all over the world selling his patented valves! (for those of you who don't know what semi-conductor is, it is the industry that sells the  valves that regulate the gas flow of gas cabinets) (I hope that was a right explanation, I still get confused about it to this day:)

Kyle, Ronni and Clara at a reenactment 
Now, starting from oldest to youngest, my oldest sister Ronni is 32 and lives in Los Angeles area with her husband Kyle and 1 year old daughter Clara. What makes her cool, is that she has done so many awesome things in her life! She has traveled and worked on several reality TV shows including "The Simple Life" (plus she actually has a profile on IMDB, look her up!) Ronni has also been on a few reality shows herself including the pilot episode of  "Whipeout"! Ronni was an onset teacher to several very well known young actresses in Hollywood ( I want to tell you who, but she might get upset because I guess it's uncool to name drop in Hollywood and I don't want her to get mad at me, but trust me, you know would know their names!) She is such a go-getter and has tons more things than I can list here. Her husband Kyle is a writer and was been involved in writing for the HBO show "Hung".  They also know and have had many run ins with celebrities of  all types and I guess in southern California, that is not a big deal, but I am still a huge famous fan, so meeting anyone of status is cool to me, and that what makes Ronni and Kyle really cool! -Oh, Ronni also is an avid Civil War reanactor!

Leigh, Easton, Avery
Leigh, the second oldest, is 28 and lives in Bowie Texas with her husband, Daniel and  two kids Avery, 2 and Easton, 6 months. She is cool because I don't know where I would be with out her! Being the closest in age out of all the sisters, Leigh always told me what to do. Thanks to her I made it through high school with some fashion sense! Today she raises her two kids and keeps a flawless and beautiful house! She got her degree in Interior Design and it shows if you get a chance to go to her house! I wish she could come and decorate my house! She has the ability to organize everything and keep it in order!

Jacque, being awesome
Jacque is about to be 24 and it is safe to say that she is the most athletically talented of all of us. As a softball pitcher, she dominated Texas high school softball  (which is very competitive) and went on to play softball at ACU. Jacque can pretty much play and do anything! She is excellent at pretty much everything including, snowboarding, longboarding, rock climbing, and a lot more! She is in EMT training now and I know will rock at it, because she always wins at everything!

Aubrey, 22 (in a few days) is a senior airmen in the US Air Force. Her husband Brett is also a senior airmen and is currently deployed. What makes Aubrey cool is that, at a very young age, she enlisted in the Air Force, made it through basic training and got stationed in Anchorage Alaska. About a year ago she surprised the family and got married and last month she had her first child, a boy named Ryker. She is an awesome working mom who has managed to have her baby and keep her sanity without her husband around. (I think he gets to come home soon though so yay!) She is such a calm and relaxed mom and makes it seem so easy! She is handling being a parent way better than I did and I am so proud of her! She is doing everything by herself and is doing it all so well!

Aubrey and baby Ryker


Noah, being the youngest sister at 18, sometimes gets grief from all of us. She didn't have to grow up with all of us hogging the bathrooms and stealing clothes from each other. Noah has had her own room most of her life, where as the rest of us shared a room the majority of our childhood years (I would like to intereject that I only got my own room for 1 year while at home, ((that's the least amount out of any of the sisters)) ).  What makes Noah cool is obvious, as she is an amazing singer/songwriter and keyboardist! She has performed on several talk shows (link below) and places in the San Antonio/Austin areas She has always enjoyed singing and being in the spotlight. She is actually REALLY talented and is not just one of those singers whose family only thinks she is good, but she actually is. Check her out here if you don't believe me. I just know she is going to make it big someday!
One of Noah's most recent performances-

So there you have it! My super cool family!