to moms (expectant, newborn, and toddler): this is for you

I have some advice / words of wisdom to share with you.

Because all new moms love unsolicited advice. 

Because I’m such an expert now that I have an almost 3 year old and an over 1.5+ year old. 

Or really, just because I just have all these thing to say that I wish someone would have said to me…or that I wish I would have listened to back then.

First, do yourself a favor and go read You’re Doing Good {A Letter of Encouragement} by Sarah over at It’s a Vol. 

If you’re pregnant:
1.  Enjoy this.  This will not, even if it feels like it will never end, last forever.  In the span of your lifetime, 9 months is nothing.  This time goes by so quickly and after that baby is born, it will be surreal.  You’ll be thrilled to bend over. To tie your own shoes.  To walk 10 feet without feeling out of breath.  But you will miss those kicks (even the ones that take your breath away).  You will miss looking at the profile of your round belly in the mirror.  You will miss running your hands from the top of your stomach, all the way down to the bottom and feeling your baby react to your touch. 
2.  Have someone take pictures of you.  They don’t have to be professional.  You don’t have to feel pretty or get dressed up.  You are beautiful – you will realize this later.  You will want to remember the way you look.
3.  Lay around as much as you can.  Sleep as much as you care to.  Go to restaurants to have someone else take care of you and the mess you’ve made.  Enjoy those dinners out because after this baby comes, the last thing you think about doing at a restaurant is relaxing and being taken care of. 
4. Don’t freak out.  Billions of women have gone before you and birthed babies successfully.  Your body was built to do this exact thing.  Being excited is fine, but don’t let anxiety about the birth consume you.  In the span of your lifetime, the time labor and delivery takes is nothing.  Don’t be afraid.  It might seem like the longest day of your life, but it will be the best day of your life. Focus on the latter.

If you have a newborn:
1. While becoming a mom may be completely natural, there are things about it that seem to go against nature. Nursing can come naturally, but sometimes it does not.  If this is important to you, don’t give up. Be stubborn. Billions of women have gone before you and nursed their babies successfully.  Your body was built to do this exact thing. But.  If it doesn’t work out, it’s not your fault.  And your baby will be fine.  Don’t let other people make you feel guilty.
2.  Ask for help.  It doesn’t make you less of a mother.  It doesn’t mean love your baby any less.  It doesn’t mean you’re weak or that you suck at this.  It’s normal to need a break and it’s important to take one when you get a chance. 
3.  Hold your baby as much as you can.  Your baby has been in your womb for 9(ish) months and has been held 24 hours a day.  Why would you deprive him or her of that now that she’s on the outside?  He may need to be held…and it’s not going to ruin him.  This sweet baby will not always want to be held.
4. You know how they say to sleep when the baby sleeps?  Rubbish.  You’re holding your baby when he’s awake; this is the only time you have to get anything done.  I missed the boat on this – get a GOOD carrier.  One that doesn’t hurt your back.  Do whatever you need to get done with the baby in the carrier while the baby is awake so you can sit and do jack squat (text, talk on the phone, play Words With Friends, or whatever else makes you feel normal) while the baby sleeps. 
5. Get. Out. Of. The. House.  There are those days when you can barely find time to shower.  Doesn’t matter.  Pack that baby up and go walk around the your neighborhood.  The park. The mall. The grocery store.  Fresh air does wonders for baby blues, feelings of isolation, and exhaustion.  I was paralyzed by the fear that Theo would puke all over both of us, crap all over himself, and/or scream bloody murder and people would stare.  After about 6 weeks, I learned that if the baby pukes, I can clean him up.  If he poops, I can clean that up too.  If he cries, so what.  People have heard babies cry before.  I can calm him down.  Fresh air improved my mood every time. P.S. Take comfort in knowing that, if there is a second time, it will be soooo much easier the second time.

If you have a little kid:
1.  This is just a stage.  Whether it’s good or bad. Hard or easy.  This is going to pass soon.  Try not to spend too much time dwelling on the negative. It will get better.  It will. There are things you will miss about your child being this age.  It’s a cycle.  Something is always getting easier while something else gets harder.  I don’t think that ever stops. 
2.  Today, your child is the smallest she will ever be.  She will never be this young again.  When you think your little kid is just too grown up, remember this.  In the span of her lifetime, the time spent as a little kid is nothing.  Cherish it, even when you can’t wait for her to be older, bigger, and more independent.  She will be more independent next week than she is today.
3.  Make memories on purpose, but realize that favorite memories will be ordinary things.  Like sitting on the counter while you cook.  Or sitting on your lap while you peel an apple for her to eat.  Or going to grandma’s house. Take pictures.  Don’t let too many days go by in between.
4.  Do things for yourself. By yourself.  With a friend.  Don’t lose sight of who you are just because you have a new role. 

What would you add to this list?


cute things

Theo loses a little bit of his baby-ness every day so I’m trying to keep track of some of the cute things he says and does before they fade away.  Dexter is just now really talking in short sentences but is pretty cute too, I suppose.

I like how Theo calls crayons “crayleons.”
And ambulances are “ambliances.”

I like how Dexter claps his hands and says “yay! I deeeed it!” whenever he’s proud of himself.

I like how Dexter randomly grabs my cheeks and pulls me in to kiss him on the lips.

And how he says “I wuv eee.”  Sometimes to me and his dad, but mostly to his stuffed animals when he looks deep into their eyes.

I like how I can tell Theo to talk to Dexter when he’s crying and Theo sweetly says “Dexter, it’s okay. Don’t cry buddy.”  Even more, I like how Dexter listens to him.

I like how obsessed Theo is with Toy Story, and how he carries that 4” tall Woody around with him EVERYWHERE he goes. (I don’t like looking frantically for Woody’s hat 6x a day when it’s lost…super glue anyone?).

I like how Dexter wakes up with a smile on his face

I like how Theo is refusing to sit in his booster seat because he’s just too cool and old for that.

I like how Theo calls Penelope “Pepelome.”

I like how Dexter says lollipop…“Peepop.”

I like how Dexter decides it’s bedtime most nights by announcing “I want milk!”  He’ll stand in front of me, repeating this until I stand up.  As soon as I get up, he runs to the kitchen.  When I start getting the milk out, I’ll ask him if he’s ready for bed and he says “uh huh!” He’ll go get his favorite blanket and start telling daddy and Theo “nigh nigh!”  So cute.

I like how both boys call their favorite blanket “kanket.”  Dexter definitely stole that one from Theo.

Dexter loves to color and asks to do so almost every day.  “I wanna kuh-lah!”

P.S.  I like them. 


Added on 1/30:  Instead of saying he “forgot” something, Theo says he “got-for.”  Love it! 

now or never

We had big plans of going to Tennessee to visit our one-week-new niece, Penelope, this weekend but both boys had colds and by Friday, it seemed that Theo’s was getting worse instead of better.  Turns out, it’s just a junky cough that has not changed one.bit. since late Thursday night.  He acts like he feels fine so who knows if it was/is anything contagious.  Dexter hasn’t (yet) developed a cough.  We worried about the car ride, them sleeping somewhere else, and mainly, that Penelope would catch it.  As much as I wanted to go to Tennessee, I knew the right thing to do was to stay away from a 5 day old baby while the kids were not 100%.  Despite being super bummed, we made the most of our weekend.  Friday afternoon the weather was nice so we took the opportunity to play outside and go for a quick wagon ride.  Unfortunately we only made it about four houses down the road where a few neighbors were gathered, chatting. Even though I really wanted to bust on down the road and burn some calories, I stood and chatted for a few minutes as well.  Afterwards, Theo was ready to go back home.

Saturday we mainly relaxed around the house doing stuff like this:

then ventured out at dinnertime for Cheeseburger in Paradise.  COASTAL TACOS, y’all!!

I remembered a Groupon I bought for a bouncy place so we took advantage of that today.  The boys just loved it.  I was excited because I remembered taking Malachi (my nephew) when he was three and sweating to the oldies right there with him.  I figured we’d all get some exercise.  I was figured right about that part.  I figured we’d stay for about an hour. I figured wrong.  We were there almost two hours.  I was begging the boys for a break, “hey, aren’t you thirsty? Don’t you need a sip of water?”  Really, it was a lot of fun.

I couldn’t hear him, but I know this face + clap = “Yay! I deeed it!”
quite possibly Theo’s favorite part

After almost 2 hours of bouncing, we went across the street to Bajio, where we had a coupon. Can you tell I love a deal?

Woody was the only one that didn’t have a hard time staying awake on the way home.  Also? Maybe one of my favorite pictures. EVER.

It was almost 2 by the time we got home and the boys were bushed.  I have been telling myself since January 1st that I was going to re-join the gym.  I snuck back out as soon as we got Dexter in bed and joined the Y.

 Since I had worn my yoga pants to the bounce place, I figured I may as well take advantage of the facilities and get in a little work out.  I only did 35 minutes on the elliptical.  I only burned 220 calories.  I kept telling myself how pathetic it was that this was wearing me out. Then I pep talked myself (silently of course).  Although I was struggling, at least I was making myself do it.  It felt good to move my body instead of spending the boys’ nap taking a nap myself.  Those 220 calories are the only ones I’ve burned on purpose since Theo was about 4 months old.  Those 220 calories made me sweat like I haven’t since Theo was about 4 months old.  Seriously.  The more I thought about it, the prouder I felt of myself for taking this initiative to take back control of my life.

“Yay! I deeeeed it!”

I was active with my kids today. It was fun.  I did something for myself by working out and I felt accomplished afterwards.  I don’t want to be skinny minny, I just want to feel good. I want to have energy left at the end of the day to do something besides just lay on the couch playing dumb games on my phone.  I want to be able to wear shorts at Disney World in the fall and not feel disgusting.  I’m trying.  And that’s the most I’ve done in a long time.

looking up,