Thursday, May 10, 2012

Teachers appreciation week

"To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing."- Eva Young

I have a huge problem with procrastination.  I have all the good intentions in the world.  I am very organized with my thoughts and love to plan things.  The problem is that by the time I get in to the action of doing what I have been planning I am rushed and do not do what I intended to do because I procrastinated too long.  This is a bad habit that I have to break.  I have too many ideas and not enough time. (Or at least that is my excuse!) 

I knew that Teachers appreciation week was coming and I really wanted to do something cute for Brandon and Austin's teachers.  I really do appreciate all they do for not only my kids but for so many others as well.  I do not think that teachers are thanked enough.  So I told myself at the end of last month that I was going to look for something cute and easy to do with my kids so that they can give their teachers a gift.  I went on Pinterest (great place for wonderful ideas but bad place for a person like me that gets easily distracted) and after I pinned tons of wonderful ideas.  I had no idea what great idea I wanted to actually do, I know I cant do all of them.  So a few weeks later and more visits to Pinterest, I had nothing.  The week came and every morning I took the baby to daycare I would see that other moms beat me to some of the ideas I had pinned.  Now I am already midweek and I still had no idea what I was going to do.  So yesterday when I got out of work I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things and decided I was just going to by cookies from the bakery and improvise.  I felt disappointed that I did not do what I originally wanted to do.  However, I was not going to just not do nothing. I felt that something was better than nothing.  On my way home I was going crazy thinking, do I have at least nice ribbon at  home so I can at least accessorize the box of cookies?  Do we have time to get the kids to create a cute card?  It was late and I did not want to wait another day and give the gift on Friday,  I did not want to be the mom who procrastinated... (shhh!)  As many of you might have read my crazy schedule, you know that when I get home it is none stop.  So as you may have guessed, I did not do anything to the boxes at night.  So THIS morning I looked high and low for a ribbon, I found it.  I also found empty gift tags.  I wrapped the store bought cookies and made a pretty bow and attached a handwritten note to the teachers.

Thankfully, it came out cute.  (At least, I think so)  I also was able to express a heartfelt thank you instead of a generic one like I was thinking of doing before.

This is how it came out:

These are the ideas I wanted to do:

Source: via Kenia on Pinterest

Source: via Kenia on Pinterest

I can always do one of these ideas for the end of the year... I should start planning to do that now then!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Tips of the trade

   When I was at home during my maternity leave from work I thought about how I was going to continue feeding my baby while I was away from him.  I knew that I wanted to continue giving him breast milk for as long as I can.  I just didn't know how it was going to be possible.  During the last few weeks I pumped as much as I could so I could stock up enough milk for at least the first few weeks.  It was really hard.  I was able to get enough in the freezer for only 1 week.  I figured that was going to have to work one way or another.  I was lucky enough to go back to work part time for a month that allowed my supply to last longer. When I went back to work full time I felt like I was not pumping enough while I was gone and I was afraid that my supply was going to reduce. I was pumping twice a day.  I knew that I should pump about every time that he was scheduled to eat, for me that would be every two hours.  That was difficult with my schedule at work. I thought that there had to be another way to make this work better. Here are a few tips that has helped me so far:

Pumping while commuting   Yes, I actually pump while I am in the car.  I saw this idea on a YouTube video while I was looking at different ideas other moms had for pumping while going to work.  This mom pumped using a pumping nursing bra under her shirt.  Although, it was a good idea, I couldn't make it work for me because I thought it was a little difficult.  Instead, I decided that I would just pump one at a time, this way I had control over the bottle.  (I guess my controlling personality would not let me do it this while I drove)  You might want to try her way first, it may work for you.

At first, I used my electric pump using a car adapter for the power.  I only used one of the pumps while I held it under my shirt.  This worked good for me except that I hated bringing the electric pump with me everywhere everyday.  Every morning I was dragging 5 bags with me to the car along with the baby in the car seat.  I wanted to reduce my load, so I left the pump at work.

Using a manual pump  I know most of you are thinking that I must be crazy. (well... I have heard that before.)  I decided that I was going to buy a cheaper manual pump so that I can use it it the car and at home during the week since I am going to be leaving my electric pump at work.  This is working well for me so far.  I bring home my electric pump on Fridays and sterilize everything and bring it back to work on Mondays. 

Hands free pumping bra  At work I use the hands free pumping bra from Medela to pump.  This way I can pump both breasts at the same time.  Since my hands are free I can multi-task.  I try not to take my computer in with me so I can work because you should be relaxed while you pump.  I usually put a timer on my phone and either go on Facebook or check my email on my phone.  Sometimes I just close my eyes and relax for a few minutes.

Cleaning pump accessories  Every minute of pumping time at work is precious.  I pump for about 15 minutes and it usually takes a long time to clean everything and put things away for next time.  I found that if I just quickly wiped down the shields and put them into a gallon size Ziploc bag, I can just put them into the small refrigerator.  This way I do not have to clean them completely every time I used them.  Putting them in the fridge allows any milk left in the shields not to go bad.  At the end of the day I use the Medela Quick Clean Breast pump & Accessory Wipes and let them air dry in the accessory bag.  On Fridays, I bring everything home and boil to sterilize everything.

Cooler bag  I bought this really handy cooler bag at the baby store.  This bag has freezable ice packs inside the bag already.  You just fold it and put it in the freezer and it stays cold all day.   While I am at work I usually leave this bag in the refrigerator along with the milk.  When I get home I separate the milk he will need for the next day and if I have anything extra I put it into milk bags to freeze.

Last but certainly not least, I nurse him every chance I have with him.  It is real important to have body contact with baby to keep your body producing milk.  It is also important to drink tons, I mean tons of water.  I usually drink about 120 oz of water a day.  That is 15 8oz cups.  If I can squeeze in more I do but never less than that.  I also have taken Fenugreek supplements which help with milk supply.  I have heard that Mother's Milk Tea works too, but personally, I do not like the taste. (I am very picky)

Please share with us if any of this worked for you?  Or if you have any other cool tips that we can use please share.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Things baby does not need

Having a baby is overwhelming.  There are tons of things that go through your mind.  One of the many questions is usually, what does the baby need?  Babies do require many things and Im sure you all have gone into a baby store at some point in your life.  These stores have advertisements that tell the expectant mother and family that the baby is going to need all of it.  If you are a first time mom, you usually have no choice to believe it!  It is real exciting to go through the baby store with the scanner and add things to your baby registry.  There are just so many cute, practical and even "what is this for items?"  I hope to not discourage you but rather help you.  Even though everyone is different and every famlilies needs are not the same. I have found that some things are just not necessary.  With my first baby I registered for what I thought was everything I needed and I realized afterwards that I did not actually use alot of the things I thought I needed.  The second time around, I was a little smarter with my registry but I am sure that I still could have done without some other things.  Here are a list of the things I learned that is basically a waste of money: (save on these items and get other things you do need)

Diaper genie
I usually just put the dirty disposable diapers in the garbage. We keep our garbage can underneath the sink and take out the garbage daily so we never even have smells lingering in the house.  If it is a very stinky diaper I put it in a plastic grocery bag and tie it up to put it in the garbage, that contains the smell.
(we also do part time cloth diapering, so it also helps)

Wipe warmers
This is a personal choice.  I did not want my baby getting used to warm wipes because if I needed to use regular wipes on the go I did not want the baby to freak out.  If I think the wipe is too cold I just warm it up with my hands.

Bottle sterilizer
This is an item I thought I was definitely going to need even the second time around. However, I find that boiling everything is easier, faster and takes up less counter pace.  I also think boiling might do a better job.

Changing table
I thought I would just buy the changing mattress only this time and put it on a furniture but I found that I don't ever use it. I use the the changing table that came with the paypen that I have in the living room.  If not, I change him on the couch, bed, or even on the floor.

Expensive bedding
I know, every mom would like to have a beautiful nursery for their baby.  I did thiis mistake twice! lol  Problem with the bumper, it is a breathing hazard and the nice quilt/comforter, it is not used.  If you just get cute fitted sheets and light blankets it is great.  If you feel you need a bumper, there are breathable ones sold.

Sheet Savers This is a good concept, just not necessary.  All I bought was a waterproof matress cover to save the matress but I just change the sheets if my baby gets it dirty. (I actually dont use the crib at all for a few months anyways.)

Diaper Stackers
These cute diaper holders usually come with the nice bedding set.  If you follow my advice for the bedding this is not necessary to buy seperately.  I actually find it annoying.  I like to have my diapers ready and available when I am changing him so I usually have a few stacks by the playpen and by my bed.  I organize them in a small cubby or basket.


Expensive bathtubs
This is another one that I am guilty of.  Sure they are comfortable if you use it in a kitchen sink.  I tried mine in the bathtub and boy was my back hurting.  The problem is that it is not very convenient.  You have to take it out to the kitchen, then after clean and dry it out before putting it away.  And realistically, my babies grow out of it so fast.

These are items that I personally feel I could do without.  I know every mom and baby are different so you have to just see what works for you.  However, if you are on a budget I would definitely forgo these items.

I would love to hear what you all think.  Tell us what your waste of money items were?  Maybe I missed a few and you can help out other moms.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Feeding my babies

Breast feeding for some comes real natural for others it takes tons of patience and determination. I have had two different experiences that I would like to share with others. Maybe I can encourage some moms through a tough time.
As a first time mom 7 years ago, I was young and did not know much about breast feeding. My mom did not breast feed us so she did not know much about it either. I knew I wanted to do it because it was “the best thing” for the baby. I did not know how hard it would be. I did not know how much support I was going to need… I was clueless!!! Needless to say, I didn’t last very long. In my mind, I thought that it was all or nothing. My son was a very hungry baby. I was a very stressed out first time mommy in a marriage that was falling apart with a man who was not supportive at all. My son would eat every hour, I would try to pump but I just did not have enough time to do anything. I was a disaster! This lasted for about 6 weeks until I called it quits. I gave in and gave him formula and I felt so guilty! This was not a good experience. I felt alone and like a failure… I couldn’t feed my baby, I must have been a horrible mom. (UGH! What a horrible time in my life, I am sure there were also post-partum hormones to blame as well.)
After reading parenting magazines, books, websites, blogs I realized that I could have stuck it out and things would have been better… which made me feel even guiltier! I told myself that the next time I had a baby I would not give up and I will be more knowledgeable and get the help I need in order for me to successfully breast feed. I was determined! 

Years later, after a divorce (I am not promoting, or telling others to do this, lol) and meeting an amazing man I had my second son, Austin. This time I was not going to let this opportunity to pass. I was ready to go full force. The day the baby was born I put him to my breast and remembered how I had Brandon latch on for the first time… I wasn’t successful! Austin would not latch on properly. I asked the nurse, she would physically help me to get him on and he would try but nothing! I begged for a lactation consultant to come visit me in the room. They would come in and reassure me that he will, just give it time. I told myself, “its ok, I will do this!” I was prepared this time though. I was ok with giving him formula to supplement while we learn this together. (I would have never thought about this with Brandon) So we gave him formula and just kept on trying. I pumped and would give him any little drop I produced. My breasts were so tender with all the failed attempts to latch him on. I went home and called all the support hot-lines that the hospital provided. This was during Christmas holidays and many offices were closed or not responding. I finally left a message to a lactation specialist/doula and I got a call back a few minutes later. I explained what was happening and how I needed to be able to breast feed. She told me matter-of-factly, “You will, I will help you, it is not too late”. That was an angels voice on the phone, I was sure! I was excited! We scheduled an at home appointment and the next thing I knew she was actually there. She was so down to earth and helpful. The first thing she did was a physical exam on the baby. It was that simple, she knew what was wrong. My son was born with a Tight Frenulum (Tongue Tied). My son was not able to latch on because he just physically couldn’t. We tried using a nipple shield in the meantime and this worked. By the following week we had a very quick and simple procedure and we had it fixed. I thought I was going to be able to breast feed with no problem... didn’t happen. Turns out that by this time he was used to nursing with a nipple shield and would still not latch on. I did not care though. I decided that if he would drink that way, that is just the way I will nurse. Not a big deal. I was producing and he was drinking. 

I would take that shield everywhere and he would happily nurse that way. A few months later (4months) I tried without the shield just to see what he would do. He actually latched on. While Im at work I pump and he drinks breast milk out of his bottle at daycare. When I get home and throughout the night we are successfully nursing without a problem. I am so glad that I continued and did not give up.

I am sure that I am not the only one who has had a rough start. Please share your stories so that maybe we can help a new mom.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Celebrating life

This post is real hard to write, however, I am writing it because this is the precise reason why I wanted to start writing blogs.  I would like to use this as an outlet to express my feelings and thoughts and maybe help someone else dealing with the same things I am.  I am normally a very social person but when it comes to my feelings I am very reserved and just put a smile on my face as if nothing is wrong. 
Hmmmm… now where do I get this from?  Where do I get this strong and passionate attitude from?

My mother!

My mother passed away July of 2011.  It hasn’t even been a year yet.  She was diagnosed with an unknown source of cancer in January 2011 and she fought the hard fight until there was nothing else to fight.  There are no words to explain the pain I have felt.  She was my best friend! 
Today is her birthday!  I want to celebrate her life today.  I know this will be a difficult task but it is necessary.  Without the day she was born we would not have been able to experience the great life we did have with her.  

Today I will make it a point to be happy!  I will remind my oldest son about how much she loves him!  I will show pictures to the baby and tell him that even though she did not get to meet him, I am 100% sure that she loves him and is watching over him.  I will keep in mind the things that she did for us and how much she gave of herself for us.

My mom was always very supportive and always wanted me to follow my dreams.  I know that I cannot let her down.  I will keep on moving until I accomplish my goal of one day being in a classroom and making a difference to some kids.  I cannot wait until the day that I get there and I can smile and show her that I did it.  I remember the smile she had on her face the day I graduated college and she told me that no matter how long it takes or how hard it will be for me, she knows I will do it! 

My brother and I have always been close.  Since she has passed, we have gotten even closer.  My mom always told us that we are all we had.  We were family and that family always sticks together.  I know that my mom is happy that we love each other so much and that we look after each other.  I am sure she is very proud of us.  I am thankful that she made us this way.  I hope to show our kids the same values in family. 

When I told my oldest son, Brandon, that it was Lala’s birthday today he was very excited and asked me if we can bake a cake and sing happy birthday?  He wants to blow out the candles for her.  She would have let him do that anyways.  So we will be celebrating her birthday along with her life today!

WE love you mom! (Ana Landrian 1955-2011)   

Friday, April 20, 2012

Divide and Conquer

Divide and Conquer!

A day in the life of... us!

So in this whole idea of doing it all, like I have said before, I don’t! It may seem like I do partly because I do it little by little one day at a time but mainly I have help.  I have two wonderful men in my life that help me do it all! I have my lovely boyfriend, Robert and my amazing brother, Jr.  Robert and I live together and he helps out a great deal.  I know that I am extremely lucky to have a guy like him.  I know from past experiences that there are not many men out there who help out.  So now that I have him around I do appreciate him a lot more.
We divide and conquer every day.  My mornings start off by waking up and feeding the baby.  As I am feeding the baby he wakes up and showers.  When he gets out of the shower and gets dressed I wake up my older son, put out his clothes so he can dress himself and then put his Eggos in the toaster.  While I get dressed and put my makeup on, he changes the baby.  We split the kitchen duties by helping one another get bottles ready for the day, putting together lunches, make a quick breakfast to go and take out what is needed  for dinner.  He puts the baby into the carseat while I put all the bags that go along with the baby and a working mom into the car. My oldest is at the age that he is pretty much self sufficient with just a little direction needed.  While we are getting things done he is brushing his teeth, putting his shoes on and getting his last minute things in his book bag.   I take the baby to daycare and my boyfriend takes my oldest to school.  

After work is another divide and conquer mission however this time we have another player in the game.  In comes my older brother Jr, have I mentioned, he is amazing?  He usually picks up my oldest from school and 3 days out of the week he takes him to MMA, Jiu Jitsu and Kickboxing lessons along with his own son.  When I get out of work I either pick him up from his house, meet him at the lessons or he drops him off at home for me.  He is also there for me whenever I need him. 

Robert usually picks up the baby from day care. As you may have noticed, my schedule at work is not always  reliable to leave at a decent hour.  Whoever gets home first, which it is usually Robert now a days, he starts dinner.  When I get home, I start washing bottles the baby used at daycare and fill them for the next day ( I pump during the day at work). I do homework with Brandon while Robert is finishing up dinner.  We all eat together, usually in front of the TV.  I know, I wish we had dinners at the table more often in order to talk but since our schedules are so hectic this is usually the only time my son gets to watch TV with us, so we usually watch a recorded show of Wipe Out.  After dinner, Brandon goes to shower and I wash the dishes while Robert is with the baby, usually he puts in a load of laundry if needed at this time.  When Brandon is finished and ready for bed, I go with him to his room and we read together.  (This is our “special one on one time” which also helps with school, multitasking at its finest!) After that, I feed and bathe the baby while Robert folds laundry or relaxes. If we are lucky we usually get about half an hour to sit on the couch together and watch a show or a game. Then he gives the baby the last bottle for the night and he goes to sleep while I take a shower.  Usually, I am sleeping by midnight just to wake up intermittently throughout the night to feed the baby.

Then we do it all over again in the morning!

So we do eventually “do it all” but it is definitely a group effort.  I was a single mom for about 5 years so I know that doing it all alone is not an easy task and you just do not do it all, at all!   I read other moms blogs all the time and I take advice from the ones that also “do it all”.  I feel that whether you are a single mom, a working mom, a stay at home mom or any other combination it is a hard job and trying out things that work for others may just work for you.  There are actually some things that I do not do and I will like to figure out how to fit it into my already packed schedule, for instance, exercise.

Later on, I will talk about how I managed to get my 7 year old to do most of his things on his own.  I will also share how I do my groceries and my very laxed dinner menu plan.  If there is anything else you all would like to know about how I do things please ask away.  I would also love to know if you have any tried and tested routines that you would love to share with the rest of us moms who are trying to do it all.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What punishment?!?!?

What punishment?!?!?

I have a rule in my house that school comes before anything.  I am more lenient with chores or things at home but with school I may be a little extreme.  So when Brandon brings home a yellow, I lose it.  (In his school they have a daily behavioral monitoring that is Green, Yellow or Red.   If they bring home a green it means they had a good day, a yellow means that the teacher had to call their attention a few times or give them many warnings and a red means that they did not correct themselves after the warnings and there was a consequence.)  The only reasons he has brought home yellows is for talking in class when he is not supposed to.  To be honest with you, I know that this alone is not a big deal.  If they had this system when I was growing up I would have had not only yellows but probably would forever be bringng home reds for talking.  (maybe he got my talking gene =/) However, I feel that if I do not give a consequence at home for a yellow that he will think that bringing home a red is also acceptable.  Lets just say I try to nip it at the bud.  So we are almost at the end of the year and so far he has brought home a total of 5 yellows but the last two were last week in the SAME week.  The first time he got a yellow I had him write a proper letter to apologize to the teacher and I took away TV/electronics for a day.  I figured that I will use this as a writing lesson as well as an apology.  The second and third time I added days to the previous days of no tv/electronics.  For example, the third time, he had no tv/electronics for three days.  I told him if he continues to bring home yellows I will continue to add on days.  

That seemed to work until the last week, when on Tuesday and Thursday he brought yellows.  I had the no tv/electronics on full force for 5 days.  However... on Saturday we had a pool bar-b-q at my uncles house that was planned for a few weeks ahead of time.  He had a blast that day playing with all his cousins, did not matter that he had the no tv/electronics punishment because they were in the pool all day. Then on Sunday, I thought I had the upper hand since I had tons of “boring” errands to do and Robert was staying home with the baby.  So I gave him a choice. (you know the thing that all the parenting books tell you to do. ha!)  He had the choice of either going with me or staying home and doing a cleaning project in his room if Robert was watching TV.  He thought about it and at first he was leaning toward staying home because going with mommy would be just too boring.  However, I think he changed his mind when the lazy bug kicked in.  So he came along with me, almost reluctantly.  I warned him that if he complained, whined or misbehaved he was going to have another day added.  He agreed.  

So there we went, to the mall first where we also had some lunch.  To my surprise we actually had a very good and entertaining conversation.  Then I went to go do my nails, I knew he was going to be bored so I had brought along some math worksheets to practice two chapters he was having a hard time with at school to have him do.  He whizzed by them quickly, I guess he no longer is having trouble with that.  I had also brought a spiral notebook, so I proceeded to write down addition problems about 5 pages worth.  I was astonished that he found that not only challenging but entertaining, he loved it and asked me for more when he was finished!  When I was done with my nails I had to go to a few more stores and grocery shopping.  When we were at the grocery store he was helping me with the grocery list.  While in the car, we had more great, silly conversations.  By looking at his face I can tell he was extremely happy and I actually was having a great time too!  I guess I had not noticed that we have not spent a day alone together in a very long time.  

This little outing was supposed to be a punishment for him.  Little did I know that he was going to enjoy all of it!  Made me think though. I really need to make a bigger effort in spending more one on one time with him more often.  Also, this whole punishment strategy needs a major overhaul because obviously my tactics are not working.  He actually enjoys it!  Sheesh!!!

How do you punish your kids?  What works?  What doesn’t?  I need ideas!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Oh my, how time flies!

Where has the time gone? 

I feel as if it were just yesterday that I was a kid myself.  I sometimes feel like I am a kid trapped in an adult’s body.  I don’t know how exactly or when exactly I became an adult.  I am an adult with two kids, a career, and an apartment with bills to go along with all of it. I can remember being probably about 9 or 10 years old thinking how I could not wait until I was an adult and on my own.  I wanted to have my own rules and not have to rely on anyone else.  Boy, was I wrong!  The older you become the more responsibilities you have and you really do not follow your own rules.  I feel I had more freedom at 10 than I have in my almost 30’s.  I did not have a care in the world, except for of course the constant dilemma of whether or not I was going to have enough time to play outside after I did my homework. 

I look at my boys and I pray that I can give them a childhood they would hypothetically want to come back to when they are adults.  Back to a time where they had fun and did not have to worry about a thing. 

They are already growing up so fast.  I sometimes wish I can press pause and just enjoy them being little for just a little longer.  I feel as if my 7 year old was just a toddler a few days ago and I cannot believe that my new born is already 4 months old.  I hope that I can help them understand that their childhood only last for just a short couple of years compared to the many years of adulthood they have before them.  In reality, you’re an adult for the most part of your entire life.  I hope that I can enjoy their childhood as well.  I often find myself so busy and stressed with work and housework that I lose the special moments they are having being kids.  I try to remind myself about how fast they grow up.  I try to stop doing all the other stuff and just enjoy the moment every now and then.

What do you miss most about your childhood? What do you all do to make yourselves “stop and smell the roses” so to speak?  Do you make a special time for you and your kids to enjoy?  I would love to hear about your special moments that you treasure with your kids.

Just For Today
© Misty J. Eades

Just for this morning I won't wash cloths, instead we will watch your favorite cartoon.
Just for this morning I won't wash dishes, instead we will color together.
Just for this afternoon I won't watch my soaps; instead we will go to the park and feed the ducks.
Just for this afternoon you and I will snuggle up on the couch and watch a favorite movie and eat popcorn.
Just for tonight I will let you help me fix dinner and I won't yell at you for making a mess.
Just for tonight I won't yell when you splash water all over the bathroom floor.
Just for tonight when I tuck you into bed and we snuggle together to read your favorite story I will hold you a little tighter and a little longer and Thank God for giving you to me.

Just For Today, Family Poem about Love