Wednesday, July 29, 2015

One Year Ago...


One year ago, I lost the best Dad to cancer. I can't say that this year without him has been easy at all but I can tell you that time does make the pain easier to bear. I've had to step up into a role as my Mom's caregiver (with awesome assistance from my brother, SIL and Scott) while also being a Mother to my two girls. It's often a very heavy burden and every day I miss my Dad. I miss him in both big ways and little ways. I miss the way he always had advice for me and was always willing to lend a helping hand. I miss that my children won't get to have that storybook Grandparent relationship. Molly got to have a few years of storybook Grandpa time but she was too young to really remember it. I will always treasure those days for her though.

Family #fmsphotoaday Molly and Grandpa

Today the girls and I will take my Mom to visit my Father's final resting place before heading out to lunch. We'll share funny stories about my Dad with the girls and tell them how much he loved them. He would so get a kick out Maggie's toddler antics and Molly's ever present three-ness. Dad, I'll Love You For Always. I'll Miss You Forever. May You Be at Peace.

Friday, July 24, 2015

5 Tips for Surviving the Newborn Days and a Formula for Happiness™

Snug as a Bug

My babies are quickly growing. In fact, *sniff* I fear my babies are no longer babies and are now a toddler and a preschooler. This doesn't mean the baby years are behind me though. So many of my friends are still having babies and I'm always the first to dive in to help them. Need a meal? I'm at your doorstep! Want me to hold your baby so you can shower? Let me sniff that fresh baby head! Need me to take your preschooler so you can bond with your newborn? Bring them over!

Smiling Maggie

All these newborns have me reflecting on my family's newborn days. When Molly was born, I had just gone through four days of labor and a c-section so I was exhausted. I also struggled to breastfeed and was on a rigorous program to get my boobs on board. Maggie's birth was fast and surprising but I was still exhausted. Maggie struggled to breastfeed so I was once again on a rigorous program to get her to breastfeed and eventually went to exclusively pumping. In the end, I did supplement with formula with both of my girls. I am so thankful that I was able to combo feed them even though those first days were hard. Once we got over the feeding hump and settled into a routine, then came sleep issues. Both girls were awesome sleepers for newborns but then the 4 month sleep regression hit. Oh boy! We still struggle with some sleep problems but they feel way more minor now.

Walking with Molly Pop

With all this reflecting, I wanted to share my newborn Formula for Happiness™, sponsored by Gerber® Good Start® Gentle.

1. Start a routine as soon as possible. It might be as simple as waking up at the same time every day, changing your yoga pants and nursing tank into a new pair of yoga pants and nursing tank before heading to the couch for a nap. Slowly build on your routine. It will help when you are so sleep deprived that you simply can not think.

2. Elicit help! Ask family and friends to bring you meals, run errands for you or even just visit for adult conversation. Ask the experts for help! When I was having breast feeding issues, I visited the lactation consultant daily for awhile. I was excited to learn that Gerber Good Start is now offering free appointments with their new certified baby sleep consultants, with their nutritionists or certified lactation consultants.  I would have made use of all of these free services on a daily basis. Make a free appointment at here.

3. Go Outside Once I felt like I had a handle on the feeding thing with Molly, I made an effort to go for a walk every day. Just getting out and roaming around my neighborhood made a huge difference in my mood. Molly usually slept in the baby carrier and I'd slowly amble around. With Maggie, I had a rambunctious toddler to entertain so I was outside everyday even if I wasn't quite ready for it. I still feel that daily outside time is a lifesaver for my mood and the kid's moods.

4. Slow Down The world moves fast and it doesn't slow down for anyone but I really feel like having a newborn is the time to slow it down. Don't try to tackle that to do list. Let it languish. If the dishes don't get done for a few days, don't worry (try to follow tip #2 and ask family to do them). Just slow down. You'll actually find yourself enjoying the moment more, no matter how trite that sounds.

5. Involve Dad! Scott has been such an involved parent from the very first moment Molly arrived in our lives. He helped me through those early days by changing all the diapers, mixing up bottles and making me take naps (I am terrible at taking naps!). He's been a lifesaver for those middle of the night wake-ups when I just didn't have it in me to handle another wake-up. Even with all this help, Molly and him still had a harder time bonding in the beginning. Since Molly spent so much time with me during the day, she wasn't so easily swayed to hang out with Daddy. I knew I had to nip this problem in the bud or I was never going to get any alone time so every night when Scott came home, he took Molly for 30 minutes while I headed down to the basement with headphones. I'd blast the music while checking email, writing blog posts and eventually exercising. In turn, Scott and Molly learned how to be with each other. They are now thick as thieves and often get up to trouble together.

3 Month Maggie Smile

What are your tips for surviving those newborn days? What helped you or is helping you make it through the sleepless nights and hunger-filled days?

I'll be posting some of our favorite throw-back moments of newborn happiness over on Instagram in the coming weeks and I'd love to see your family's formula for happiness. Tag your photos with #formulaforhappiness to share.

Gerber® Good Start® Gentle
Gerber® Good Start® Gentle believes that the Formula for Happiness™ can be a lot of things, and moms have different ways of enjoying the journey through motherhood. 

Certified Sleep Consultant
Good sleep–for your baby and your family—is an essential component of that journey. That journey isn’t always perfect, but getting support every step of the way helps.  That is why Gerber® Good Start® Gentle is happy to introduce a Certified Sleep Consultant for your little one’s needs.  

This service is brought to you by Gerber® Good Start® Gentle.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Jetty Island Fun, Dog Portraits and Parenthood Amp Up This Week's Links Around the Web

Jet On Over To Jetty Island For Summer Fun

Jet On Over To Jetty Island For Summer Fun My latest on Seattle Refined gives Seattleites all the tips for the best visit to Jetty Island! We had such a fun visit and can't wait to go again. 

How to Build an Emergency Kit Everyone in Seattle has been talking about the big earthquake that is going to devastate the region. This has reminded me that I need to update our kits. It's on my list to get done A.S.A.P.

The Captivity of Motherhood I was drawn into this article but quickly lost interest when I saw that the writer decided to fall upon the usual Mother stereotypes. Disappointing.

10 Comics that sum up Parenthood I laughed until I cried reading these! 
Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer Garden Update!

squash flower

It's been a super hot Summer in Seattle which means my garden is in a state of flux. The tomatoes are coming in big and bold. The lettuce bolted. I'm questioning my garden abilities and my peas have withered and died. This year's garden has me facing how little I truly know about growing my own food. I thought I knew a lot but there is so much that I do not know! I'm trying to settle my gardening angst by focusing on the bounty that is about to come from my garden.


My lettuce gave up the ghost a few weeks ago and since it has been so hot around here, I've decided that I'm going to do another round of lettuce. I'm going to try a few different varieties though since this will be my bonus lettuce round. 


I fear my beet greens may have bolted (is that even possible?) but the beets themselves appear to still be growing strong so I'm leaving them alone for now. I'm also leaving the onions alone for another week or so. I fear that I may have planted them too close together but they are looking quite lovely for now. 


I did initially plant my carrots too close but after some careful thinning, they are doing quite well. Our only problem is that we keep pulling a carrot or two to taste them every time we are out there and I fear we are going to eat them all before too long. 


The squash is going gang busters. I planted my zucchini late so while everyone else is starting to complain about an over abundance of zucchini, I have a few more weeks until that avalanche happens. I'm already researching how to cook up all that zucchini! Let's just hope I'm not counting my chickens before they hatch! 


How is your garden growing? Any tips to help me boast my gardening confidence? 
Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pinterest Thursday - Teacher's Gifts


Waaaaaaaayyyyy back in June, I made these simple gifts for Molly's teacher and my parent educator. I wanted to do something for these two special people who really helped us (ok, mainly me) through a rough year. My parent educator was a godsend. She gave me advice and grace for dealing with my Father's death and more importantly gave me direction on how to talk to my children about his death. I was really at a loss and she guided me through it so knowledgeably.

I unfortunately waited until the last minute to get their gifts together and I didn't want to fall back on a Starbucks gift card (though if you give one to me, they are VERY appreciated because I always need more caffeine). I spotted some beautiful succulents at the grocery store and quickly snatched them up. Once I got home though, I couldn't figure out how I was going to present them. Off to Pinterest I went!

Once there, I found these awesome printable tags which I quickly printed up and glued onto the front of some cards that I had. Inside I wrote a heartfelt note and then tied them around the succulents with some string. Molly's teacher and my parent educator loved the plants which made us very happy.
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