Let’s face it, the reality is, our babies who want us around 24/7 will grow into children and teens who want nothing to do with us.  It’s just the natural way of things. So, looking ahead at our future, here is a pretty awesome video. And if you’re a fan like me, the 1980′s was a time us 30 and 40 something moms totally appreciate. Go ahead, cut loose Momma!





toddler travel tips
Hot off the heels of our Mommy & Daddy getaway to Cancun, it was once again time to hop on a plane and enjoy some fun in the sun–and this time, our toddler gets to tag along!  I know what you are thinking: Why the HELL would anyone want to vacation with–better yet, board a plane–with their toddler? Well, the truth is, our dear friends (who also have a toddler) moved to Hawaii a while back, and since we missed them so much (and were longing to visit Hawaii again) we had to jump on the opportunity.  Also, the hubby and I would like to add another baby to the mix sooner rather than later, and we know that a real vacation would be out of the question for a while.  The best part about this vacation? Our wonderful friends insisted we stay with them in their spacious home, rather than a hotel or rental. This would eliminate the need to haul all of Bubba’s stuff, and he would have a playmate and a house full of toys while on vacation. Perfect.

Preparing for toddler’s first big trip

If there is anywhere to take a baby or toddler, it’s Hawaii. Sun, tropical weather, beautiful green land, clean beaches, nature, good food, friendly people, laid-back way of life, and family-friendly activities and attractions. The hard part is getting to Hawaii from California with a toddler.  I read-up, and asked many wise moms for toddler flight and travel advice, and felt pretty prepared for the big adventure. One thing I must say (that I am sure has been said by me a million times) is to lower all expectations and be flexible. Baby will do what baby wants to do in a situation like this. Imagine how stir-crazy you get when stuck at an airport or airplane–why would this be any different for your kid?

Toddler’s first airplane ride

Flying with a toddler
We had it all figured out. We packed an iPad loaded with his favorite shows and a few games, snacks, water, milk, a few (brand new) small toys, books, and of course, Children’s Benadryl. Now, before you judge me on the Benadryl (I, too, judged many moms in the past for using meds to calm their children on flights) the flight happened to fall during his normal nap time, and I knew there was no chance my child would be able to fall sleep on that plane. Bubba’s doctor actually recommended giving him a dose for flying, and insisted we try it at home ahead of time to be sure he didn’t have the reverse reaction (staying awake and acting like a crazy monkey). We experimented at home, all was good, so I went out and bought a travel-size bottle of the medicine. Unfortunately, I picked up a travel size bottle of Benadryl D (allergy meds with decongestant), which my hubs and I suspect may have caused Bubs to stay awake, alert, and fussy.

So much for a peaceful 5-hour flight.

To make matters worse, Bubba hurt his ankle during some “free time” out of his car seat, and had to receive medical attention in the back of the plane: iodine, ice pack, lots of cuddles, etc. After that, we knew the nap wasn’t happening. Time to break out the books, toys, and iPad, and hope we somehow time travel and get to Hawaii quickly. Since my child does not have his own tablet device yet (I know, GASP!), the iPad really worked for most of the flight. I had to put all my excessive “screen time” fears behind me, and suck it up. That’s what you do when vacationing with little ones–suck it up. Here’s the best part: Bubba finally fell asleep when the plane was landing. Of course. The good news is, he stayed asleep while we got off the plane, hung out at baggage claim, and rode a shuttle to Enterprise–about an hour of sleep all together. I’ll take it!

We’ve arrived!

traveling to hawaii with baby
It was rocky getting into the rental car and driving to our friends’ home (he was grouchy and probably hungry since he’d been grazing on snacks all day), but once we got there, and he saw their playroom full of toys, he was good to go. My husband and I were finally able to relax. We sat on the lanai (the deck that overlooked a beautiful marina and mountain range) and watched our toddler peacefully play, and finally felt like we were on vacation.

Then Bubba started pooping.

Poop happens…and then some!

toddler pooping on vacation

It was almost like green diarrhea, but almost each time he’d poop, the consistency would change a bit. What could this be? He had a tiny bit of his complimentary meal on the plane, and snacked a lot. The hubby and I felt fine. Was it something he touched? I tried to disinfect as much as possible. We decided to put him on a “BRAT diet” and hoped it would clear up in a day or two.

Sleep was the part I was fearing the most. Funny thing was, he slept great! He may have had a hard time settling here and there, but I think because he had his own room (awesome, huh?), plus he had his own bedding with him– and his lovey, “Quackers,” he slept pretty great. Of course, the 3-hour time difference affected him, and we were up at 4:45 am the first morning. Early, but at least we made the most out of our mornings, and he was able to settle pretty early in the evening.

We managed to visit the zoo, many beaches, the Dole Plantation, went to dinners, and even took a ride on our friend’s boat; but Bubba’s non-stop pooping got the best of him, and resulted in a very painful rash. The rash was probably made worse because of the humidity, and Bubba was beyond miserable. We wound up cancelling many plans and staying-in to change him every 30 minutes, and let him run around completely bottomless. The air really seemed to help his rash, but the pooping (no matter how many bananas I fed him) would not let up. It was a two-person job to change him (he screamed and kicked the entire time). We finally called his doctor, and she suspected he contracted some sort of bug that needed to work its way out. She suggested we apply hydrocortisone 1% and thick layers of Desitin each time we change him, and keep him as dry as possible. It definitely helped!

In conclusion

Ultimately, we had a wonderful visit with our friends and their toddler. I truly think if we did not have our friends supporting our situation helping us with Bubba, and keeping us sane, we may have felt like the trip was a disaster. We have no regrets, but most likely will not fly again with our toddler until he’s a bit older (although he did do better on the flight back–and actually slept for 2 hours, thanks to picking up the right Benadryl at the store!) This trip taught my husband and I a lot about our child, our relationship, and about who we are as parents. I am so pleased with how we worked together and practiced patience and teamwork. I almost feel like this trip made us stronger as a couple–definitely stronger as parents.

Remember, no matter how beautifully planned-out you think your trip will be, babies and toddlers will always do what they want to do! It’s vital to have backup plans, tricks up your sleeve, and always be flexible. That is the only way to actually enjoy a trip with a baby or toddler.

I now leave you with a list of important tips for traveling with a baby or toddler. I hope this helps you prepare for an adventure of your own:

  • Purchase a couple small toys or books in advance, and hide them until the trip. These will serve as great distractions on the flight and/or car ride.
  • If traveling with a rowdy toddler, and if feasible, consider buying your tot his own seat on the airplane – My son would have never stayed in our laps, so it was money well spent!
  • If you are planning to purchase baby her own seat, and are planning to use a rental car (you have to get around somehow!) be sure the car seat you have is airplane-friendly. There is usually a symbol or some sort of indication on those types of seats. Otherwise, borrow a friend’s.
  • If flying, pack milk/water/juice, snacks, or a pacifier for the take-off and landing. Sucking or chewing will help your tot with the pressure change.
  • Umbrella strollers RULE. They are cheap, light-weight, take up almost no space, and easy to gate-check. Plus, if the airline throws it around and it gets a little tweaked, it’s better a cheap umbrella stroller than your beloved Bob.
  • Leave your designer diaper bag at home and opt for a diaper backpack (or regular light-weight backpack). You will most likely be on-the-go a lot during this trip, and a backpack is easier to tote. Also, think about how yucky that airplane floor space will be…certainly not where I’d like to keep my Pickle Bottom bag!
  • Bring little one’s bedding (just strip whatever he slept on last, and pack it up!) This way, wherever he sleeps during the trip will smell a bit like home. Don’t forget his lovey and sound machine!
  • Don’t bother packing food items or diapers and wipes (other than what’s needed for travel duration). Make a grocery store run once you are at your destination. This way, you have less to carry during transit.
  • Tablets loaded with toddler friendly apps and shows will SAVE THE DAY. Just think that bears repeating.
  • Don’t overload your itinerary. Keep it simple, and try to go with the flow. You never know if baby will get sick or have a hard time with the time change. Try to plan outings that will appeal to the whole family, and are truly relaxing and enjoyable.
  • Be mindful of any time difference. This will definitely affect baby, and you may have to strategize how to get back on track, or just roll with it.
  • Speaking of rolling with it…baby might not act like he does at home. He may skip a nap, graze all day (rather than eat meals), or not settle for bed until 10 p.m. In order to enjoy this vacation, you need to stay positive and flexible.
  • Lastly, work as a TEAM! Support your spouse, partner or family members during the trip. Everyone has baby’s best interest in mind, but also want to relax just as much as you do! Take turns changing diapers in the ridiculously tiny airplane lavatory, and THANK your partner, spouse, or family member when they step-up to help. This mutual respect will be the icing on the family-vacation-cake.




It used to be that a sick day at work was miserable.  I’d trudge through the day dealing with customers while feeling like absolute crap.  Answering phones with a sore throat, walking all around the office with body aches, and all of the other joys of an illness while at the office.  Fortunately, most of us can take a sick day when we are at our worst.  That’s not really an option once we enter motherhood.

For stay-at-home or work-at-home moms, there isn’t a “sick day”.  We typically juggle our nasty bug with little ones, housework, meals, errands and more.  Our world doesn’t stop for a day while we recover, and we don’t get to put our obligations on the back burner. Some of us are lucky to have family or friends to help out which we should definitely take advantage of.  However, that isn’t always an option.

Nowadays, a sick day at work (SAHM style), means having body aches but still carrying, rocking and picking up baby. Lying on the floor, using your achy body as a jungle gym, to entertain and play with your infant. Singing and reading to baby with a scratchy throat and getting up and out when all you want to do is stay in bed. It’s tough!  Especially the first time around.  The only reward (if you can call it that) is the powerful, mom-tastic feeling when it’s all over, knowing that we survived it.

And let’s not forget that there are often occasions when the whole family falls ill together.  Such was the case in my house when we were all hit with the stomach flu.  Baby, daddy and then mommy all sick for one long week.  My mom duties shifted to health and housework mainly, keeping us all hydrated and constantly washing bedding and disinfecting the house. Absolutely miserable and something I NEVER want to repeat!

To conclude, motherhood leaves no room for wusses.  When we are sick, our mom duties continue and we must power through even the worst days.  And staying a step ahead will do you good.  So tuck away a new book, dvd or toy for your baby to enjoy on your sickest of days, and ask for help. A sitter or grandparent could allow you a little rest time. Good luck mommies…you’ll get through it!

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Sorry Momma…gotta tough this one out.

 





FRIDAY FUNNY: Flying With Baby

July 11th, 2014 | Posted by Lauren in FRIDAY FUNNY - (0 Comments)

Are you embarking on a family vacation this summer? If it’s your first vacation with baby, you may want to brace yourself! My husband, Bubba, and I returned from Hawaii this week, and BOY do I have a post coming about that experience! Stay tuned.

Since it’s Friday, I thought it would be fun to marvel at the joy that is flying with a baby or toddler…

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Body image challenges: before, during and post pregnancy.

Although we all know of at least one fellow mom who’s body looks absolutely unaffected by pregnancy and childbirth, I think it’s safe to conclude that about 95% of our fellow moms don’t quite bounce back to their pre-baby bods. We hear the tales about body changes and that our bodies “will never be the same”, but it isn’t until after giving birth ourselves, that we truly understand this.

Before Ladybug was born, I like many women, struggled with body image issues and weight. In the few years after my wedding, leading up to my pregnancy, I was in the best shape of my life.  I didn’t fully appreciate my body at that time and felt that I’d never accept my figure. On the bright side, at least I was healthy prior to conceiving my daughter – eating right and working out 3-4 times per week.

Upon the news of my pregnancy, I halted my workouts out of sheer worry that I’d hurt my unborn baby.  I wish I had continued to workout regularly throughout maternity, but more about that later.  My eating habits changed as well when morning sickness kicked in.  Vegetables and various healthy foods made me gag and only salty carbs soothed my tummy.  For about 2 months straight I binged on potatoes and burritos, then my appetite shifted toward the sweets to which I indulged!  I was gaining weight which didn’t bother me for the first time in my life.  Funny how pregnancy makes stuffing our faces and ballooning up suddenly acceptable.

After I delivered my precious daughter, I remember looking at my body and thinking that I still looked pregnant.  I was just so bloated and it seemed to last for weeks.  I knew it was normal and that I needed to give it time, and so I was patient for the first 2 months.  And luckily Ladybug was breastfeeding so well which I knew would help me shed a few pounds.  Unfortunately, I was eating so much more to keep my milk supply up that I was gaining a few pounds right back. And I was so physically tired and emotionally drained that even the thought of a walk around the block to get some exercise exhausted me.

So, there I was, one year after my daughter was born and feeling as if I’d never like the body I saw in the mirror.  I even continued to wear maternity clothing so I didn’t have to face buying new, larger clothing.  I was depressed and had absolutely no motivation.  Suddenly, Ladybug began walking and soon was on the move.  This helped tremendously.  Keeping up with an active 1 year old really forces you to get active.  Slowly, over the course of the next year, I was getting healthier.  And by the time we reached Ladybug’s 2nd birthday, I was feeling good.  Not great, as I still yearned to be stronger and work on the tummy area (never ending, right ladies?).

As of today, I still have body issues.  Most of us do, some deeper rooted than others perhaps. I have a daughter though, which means I MUST get these issues under control.  My girl will closely mimic me and will need to learn to love and respect her body.  In order to be the powerful, grounded and all around best role model for Ladybug, I am now a 33 year old woman learning to appreciate her body for what it is.  I cannot grieve my pre-baby body or put down my current figure.  I can, however, improve it in a healthy way and learn to embrace it. Teaching Ladybug to love herself will be the best motivation for a healthier, and self-loving lifestyle.





HelicopterMom

A friend of mine recently chuckled when I referred to myself as a “Helicopter Mom.” She had never heard that term before, and I imagine she thought it was a pretty spot-on description of me. I have come to accept that I am the type of mom that follows my toddler around, nervously commentating on the things he’s trying to stick in his mouth and apologizing for the messes he is making–while simultaneously barking at him to “be careful” and to take “big steps!” …I can only imagine how annoying this is to the people around me.

Most parents start out with the same anxieties I have: contact with germs or fecal matter, potential injuries, choking, allergic reactions, skipping naps, refusing food/liquids, constipation, diarrhea, vomit…etc. But now it seems that many moms I know have eased-up a lot on those anxieties, and trust that their toddler will be fine in such situations. That’s fantastic, but that’s just not me. I wish I was the kind of “Zen Mom” who could just roll with it, and be okay with my toddler eating chalk or sand, because I am confident it will only make his immune system stronger. But I am not. I follow him around the playground (though, I am getting better at letting him have space); I cringe as he takes a tumble, or chews on sticks, and I even nag at him (get used to it, Son).

A lot of my friends joke that I need to relax, and let him be a kid, and I know that’s true to a certain extent. But what I find, is that sometimes when I let my guard down, he gets seriously hurt or contracts a nasty virus. I just can’t win! What I need to do, is find a sweet spot between Helicopter Mom and Zen Mom, and learn to let go of my deeply ingrained OCD tendencies. But how? I imagine it come with practice, and from being around both types of Mommas. Luckily I have many mommy-friends in both camps. I think small daily practices will help me let go of my need to control: not picking up toys until the evening, or letting Bubba bounce from the back yard to the living room with sand on his hands and feet (I can always vacuum later, right?).

Daredevil Baby

This child is fearless!

For the record, I don’t think there is anything wrong with being 100% Helicopter Mom, or 100% Zen Mom–we all love our kids, and believe our parenting style is what is best for them.  I just know that I feel so exhausted (mentally and physically) these days, and wonder if I am getting in my own way by being Helicopter Mom. Plus, I wouldn’t want my anxieties and OCD tendencies to rub off on Bubba.

Cheerio Baby

Hmm…when was the last time I vacuumed?

So, here  is the plan: I vow to become the type of mom who remains protective, yet is comfortable letting her child to navigate and learn a bit on his own. From what I hear, this crossbreed mom-style will most likely be forced upon me when I add another baby to the family, so I will find my sweet spot eventually. What type of mom are you?





While we honor our country’s freedom today with high flying flags and U.S.A. themed attire, let us take a moment to laugh, err, salute these patriotic overachievers. Thanks to Awkward Family Photos for this fantastic set of of goodies.

Most of their faces and body language say all that needs to be said here.

So, they meant well, and did it tastefully. BUT, what’s with the bare feet and randomly placed eagle prints?

Oh geez, how I love this one! From the granny-panty style to the headbands, these ladies know how to sparkle. Just wish they would’ve rehearsed the pose a little better (ahem, girl on the left).

Where do I begin? The individual red/white/blue threads, the odd backdrop or the even stranger presence of rabbits? Because nothing says “America” like fluffy bunnies.

Oh wow, this one is my favorite of this bunch. I imagine that the mom stayed up late the night before crafting these hats with sheer joy. This group actually looks happy to be wearing their patriotic bucket hats and matching outfits. Oh, and check out the retro photobomb action!





baby4th

America, we salute you! Yes, it’s that time for BBQ’s, pool parties and fireworks. For some of you mommas, it may be babies first Fourth of July. What do you need to know? Well, with the upcoming holiday in mind, we bring you tips for a safe and successful Independence Day.

Boom! – Noise is definitely a factor for some. Example: our home is located directly behind a university stadium where a large firework display is held. The sound rattles the windows it’s so loud. So, I was very nervous for Ladybug’s first 4th. I considered buying headphones or ear muffs, and found that Walmart or sporting goods stores carried a basic pair for a low price. They are “adult” size, but would still do the trick.
Another tip is bottle feeding or nursing infants during the fireworks. I had Ladybug nursing on her side, one ear on the pillow, and my hand gently covering her other ear. She looked at me intently as she listened to the booms, but remained calm throughout.

Water Watchdog – July 4th parties often take place near pools or bodies of water which makes this safety tip obvious.  According to Mayclinic.org, it only takes as little as 1 inch of water for a baby to drown. Scary! It’s easy to get distracted when entertaining guests or in a crowded atmosphere, so we all have to keep a keen eye on the wee ones. And of course, let’s not forget to lather up those kiddos with the SPF.

Delicate Drinking - Go ahead and have a drink or more to celebrate, just be cautious of baby.  You’ll want someone to be sober enough to tend to baby’s needs and safety. Seems obvious, but a friendly reminder never hurts.

Nom Nom- So many yummy foods are placed out for the festivities.  Although we typically graze the food tables all day long, it is wise to throw out dishes that may have passed their prime or have been left out in the heat.  You’ll also want to keep the pests away with some food covers like foil or nets. We can judge questionable foods for ourselves, but the little ones can’t.  A food poisoning fiasco isn’t fun.

Fire Festivities - This goes triple – Firecrackers, BBQ’s and bonfires.  All which are potential dangers to small children and should be monitored with extremely caution.

Now that all of that is covered, we sure hope you all have a fantastic Independence Day!





FRIDAY FUNNY: Miles Of Piles

June 27th, 2014 | Posted by Lauren in FRIDAY FUNNY | Toddlers - (0 Comments)

This week’s Friday Funny comes straight from yours truly! I have been cracking up all week, as I watch my 21 month-old create hoader-like piles of random items, and then proceed to move the piles to another area–one item at a time! It’s fascinating to watch his busy little mind work, and I know this type of exercise is right in line with his development, so I’m thrilled. Plus, it keeps him very busy!

However, I can’t help but wonder if he’s using these piles to communicate with aliens, or showing early signs that he’s some kind of child-prodigy artist who specializes in “pile installations”…Do your toddlers do this?

Happy Friday!  ;)

MilesOfPiles





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Breastfeeding hasn’t always been easy and surely wasn’t scheduled to last as long as it has.

Before baby arrived, I didn’t really think about the length of time I would want to breastfeed, I just knewthat I wanted to do it. One year on the breast sounded like a long enough time after 9 months of pregnancy where I was vigilant with everything I put on and in my body. Once Ladybug arrived, and was nursing like a champ, I thought I’d stick out a year of it with ease.  Fast forward 3 months when I experienced my first mastitis, maybe this breastfeeding thing isn’t always done with ease. And when baby girl didn’t take a bottle, I started to realize how daunting the breastfeeding would be.  There weren’t breaks – no bottle feedings from daddy and no formula from a bottle.  Ladybug protested strongly.  It was then that I was eager to get to the point where she’d either take a sippy cup or take cow’s milk.  Whichever way, my boobs wanted a break!

After her 1st birthday, although she was somewhat interested in the cow milk and was successfully using a sippy cup, she still strongly preferred my breast.  Her pediatrician was pleased and urged me to try and continue to nurse her until her 2nd birthday, especially seeing as she was a finicky eater. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, especially as she was getting bigger and less controllable during nursing sessions.  Her hands grabbing at everything in sight, feet in my face and pausing in between sucks to talk to me.  Cute as all of it was, often it was tiring. But, we continued nonetheless.

The entire year following I waited for a sign that she’d be slowing down. I assumed as more teeth grew in, she would be more interested in foods. She did pick up a few food favorites, and did slow down to fewer nursing sessions, yet wasn’t planning to stop nursing at anytime. Sure, I could have pushed to ween her, but as we neared her 2nd birthday, it just seemed right to keep it going until then. With Ladybug still not eating well, I also figured that giving her just a bit of nutrition with breast milk was helping her diet. Our pediatrician praised the efforts upon our 2 year check up and hinted that I continue to breastfeed if possible.

Now here we are, just over 2 years, and at times, I loathe it. I long to have a guilt-free cocktail. I long to not have my shirt pulled down by my toddler when she decides to hunt for “mommy milk”. Not to mention I’d like my daughter to be less dependent on it. However, all of that aside, I am pleased with the nutrition she still gets from my milk considering she’s such a picky eater. And of course the closeness is something I’ll miss when the nursing ends.

Personally, it is a bit awkward when I reveal the continued nursing, even to close family and friends. Over the past couple of years I heard a lot of “Good for you, sticking it out!” Now I Hester, “Wow, you still breastfeed? Why?” It just seems less appreciated and less acceptable at her age and in our society. Sad but true. I won’t say I’m ashamed to tell people, but I do avoid it. If it is brought up in conversation I am honest about our situation. Bottom line, I’m doing something awesome for my daughter and she is worth any of the discomfort, struggle and inconvenience that comes with toddler nursing. It’s a beautiful moment in her life that I’ll cherish forever.

…but I still dream of having my boobies back someday!