Blog Break

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I went back and forth SO many times as to whether not I should do this, because I’ll miss blogging SO much.  But I have decided to take the month of July off from writing.

I really want to take a break from social media in general, to be honest.  I want to focus on making memories and really spending quality time with my kiddo’s.  I want to focus on mentally slowing down as much as possible and just embracing a slower-paced summer (or as slow-paced as one can be if they have two little ones).  ūüôā

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I’d also like to take out my good camera and to play with that when I can. 

Summer really is for simple momentsÔľĆand I want to spend as little time as possible behind a screen.

I will continue to update Instagram (because I love capturing memories too much), so you can follow me there!  ūüôā  And I WILL be back in August.  I love this little blog… AND all of you.  

I`ll kick off my blog posts in August with a day-in-the-life post!! AND I`m working on a helpful tips for moms post tooÔľĆbecause I`m learning some helpful tips and tricks aping the way.

I know I haven’t been writing much anyway lately, but I don’t even want to feel tempted to take out my laptop.  This girl needs to give her eyes a break from the screen.

Maybe I’ll even read a real book instead of reading on my phone!  ūüôā

I hope you all have a wonderful summer!!!  ‘See’ you in August!

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Fit’n Fab Friday – One Day Early

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Weeks Since Baby Delivery Via C-Section –  How has it already been 8 weeks?!?  

Exercise ‚Äď At six weeks, I was cleared to start working out, although I’m still not allowed to lift or to do ab workouts.  (C-section recovery can be no joke).  I’m also technically not supposed to start jogging yet, although no one can seem to give me a specific date as to when I can begin that.  I think a lot of it comes down to personal recovery, so I just have to be smart about listening to my body.

So for now, and for the next few weeks, I’ve been slowly building up my walking routine (and just figuring out how to fit a routine into my crazy schedule).  ūüôā  Honestly, I’m dying to start running, so hopefully I’ll be able to – very slowly – begin that in the near future.

Exercise Goals ‚Äď   This was my first week attempting to walk for actual exercise, and I have to say that felt SO good. I only managed to go three times though, so I really do need to squeeze a few more days in somehow.  Baby steps!!  ūüôā

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Food Goals ‚Äď  Eat ALL the food!

Ha, seriously, I eat all day long right now.  Breastfeeding makes me so hungry and obviously sucks out nutrient-rich calories.  So I’m eating when I need to, even if that means a slower weight loss.  I keep reminding myself that even though I’m not pregnant anymore, I am still nourishing my baby girl.  So I need to complete this last bit of that journey before I really focus on getting back to my goal weight.

That being said, my food options have been limited.  Just like Brady, Kaitlyn has acid reflux.  She’s intolerant to eggs, milk, soy, and nuts; which means I can’t eat any of those foods as long as I’m nursing her.  It’s been ‘fun’ trying to find enough options that I can eat these days, but I’m doing my best!  ūüôā  Thank goodness for my sister who helped me find a bunch of options at Trader Joes and Whole Foods.  (And coconut icecream is amazing, let me just say).

So I don’t really have any food goals yet.  Right now, I’m focusing on eating enough nutritious options!

Weight Loss ‚Äď I’m officially at my pre-pregnancy weight!  ūüôā  I’m shooting to land around the weight I was just before I got pregnant with Brady though if I can.  (I started out this pregnancy about 15-20 pounds heavier than I did going into Brady`s pregnancy).

I’m not focusing on numbers…  BUT I do know where I usually land when I’m eating well and working out a few days a week.  So that’s my tentative, goal weight. Also, even though I might have hit my pre-pregnancy weight, my body is still recovering.  I still have more weight and skin in my stomach area than normal, I’m carrying weight in my hips and thighs, and my muscles need toning.  Typical preggo-recovery stuff, especially since it was my second pregnancy and I didn’t work out much.  ūüôā

But still, I’m honestly feeling great mentally.  I’m feeling stronger, healthier, and more motivated; so I’m really happy about it.

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 Clothes ‚Äď   My maternity shirts are officially too big, so I put those away.  But I’m still wearing maternity shorts and pants, because they’re way more comfy on my incision area!  And I still have the preggo pooch so my regular jeans don`t want to fit.  By this point last timeÔľĆI was out of maternity clothes completely, but I`m trying to not let myself get frustrated by that.

Final Thoughts ‚Äď  Feeling great!  ūüôā

Q and A!

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I probably should have divided this into several posts, as this is a bit of a long one. ¬†But I decided to post it at all once this time. ¬†ūüôā ¬†So you can read it in pieces or just read the sections that interest you. ¬†Thank you for the great questions, Everyone!!! ¬†You all rock!


 

What do you miss most now that you’re on a special diet as a breastfeeding mom? –¬† ¬†Yes, I had to give up dairy, eggs, soy, and nuts while breastfeeding; because Kaitlyn is intolerant to them. ¬†(I’ve been off those foods for a month now, and she is doing SO much better).

Hmmm, what do I miss most? ¬†Honestly, cheese. ¬†Ha, ha. ¬†The first thing I’m ordering after I’m done breastfeeding is a large cheese pizza with a side of cheese sticks!!

Is adding a second baby just as tough on a marriage as adding the first child was? –¬†Yes and no… ¬†Like I’ve said before, I’m super proud of how well Nate and I worked together when Brady arrived. ¬†Yes, we had a few months where the most romantic thing we did every day was a peck on the lips before bed. ¬†(We were exhausted beyond belief and so busy taking care of our new baby boy). ¬†But we really did try to focus on our marriage, and we came through stronger and more in love!

So this time around, we’ve been more aware of how things will be for awhile. ¬†That has made the busy time even more bearable. ¬†(We’re very much aware of the fact that this is only for a season). ¬†ALSO, it has encouraged us to do even better than last time; so we try to make sure we communicate… and make time for intimacy, even if we’re tired. ¬†Taking the time to snuggle or hug before bed is huge.

So I’d say this time has been even smoother than last time, even if¬†we have our days same as anyone would. ¬†ūüôā

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(I just found this gem of a picture from Brady’s first campfire. ¬†This is definitely how we feel as parents some days. ¬†Ha, ha)!!

You’re supermom for giving up so many foods while breastfeeding. ¬†How do you do it? ¬†Awwww, thank you, Missy! ¬†Honestly, I don’t think I’m supermom at all. ¬†I think we all do what we need to do if we feel it’s best for our kids. ¬†I’m a huge proponent of supporting and encouraging moms, because we are all super!!

Is it really harder to lose the baby weight the second time around? –¬†Actually, I’ve already reached my pre-pregnancy weight! ¬†(That’s only my first goal, since I had put on about 20 extra pounds before having Kaitlyn. ¬†So now I’m trying to reach my weight from before having Brady). ¬†But I really do feel great! ¬†To keep up my breastmilk, I have to consume a lot of calories each day and make sure that the weight loss is slow, and – so far – it’s going perfectly. ¬† But every week, I feel stronger and healthier!

That being said, my body didn’t bounce back as quickly this time around. ¬†I still can’t fit into my jeans (other than maternity); because I’m carrying weight in my hips, butt, and belly. ¬†Last time around, I was wearing my favorite jeans by this point. ¬†But mentally, I’m still very positive and confident. ¬†And physically, I’m feeling stronger and healthier every week!

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How is Brady adjusting to life with a sibling? ¬†–¬†This has a two part answer, to be honest. ¬†The adjustment has definitely come with its challenges… ¬†The first couple of weeks went quite smoothly, but the last few weeks have been tougher. ¬†Because he’s unable to express his feelings verbally, he has acted out in anger quite a bit. ¬†It’s very apparent that it hurts his feelings that mommy can’t cuddle or play with him the way she used to, and he’s just too little to understand it completely. ¬†We also are stuck home a lot more now. ¬†So he screams at me a lot or punches things (including himself). ¬†If I respond with a calm smile and try to keep things light, he just gets angrier. ¬†In his little head, he thinks that a negative response from me – or even getting into trouble – is better than not getting attention at all.

I’ve had to do a lot of research to learn how to calmly deal with his episodes, because I don’t want to ignore it. ¬†But at the same time, normal time-outs don’t always work. ¬†He’s really crying out for attention and security, so acting appropriately has been vital.

The biggest thing I’ve done to help lessen these outbursts has been to spend quality time with him whenever Kaitlyn is napping or lying peacefully. ¬†(The dishes or cleaning can wait. ¬†If I have the chance, we’ll snuggle, dance, sing, or read). ¬†Also, if Nate is home, I’ll let him watch Kaitlyn; so that Brady and I can go for a walk, play in the yard, read books, or do a craft. ¬†I’ve really tried to make sure we spend the time together that he needs, and I’ve honestly seen an improvement in his overall attitude!

That being said, despite his occasional anger and insecurities, Brady¬†loves¬†his baby sister! ¬†I have never before seen my mischievous, loud, and energetic boy so gentle. ¬†(Honestly, I’m shocked by it). ¬†He touches her belly lightly with his fingertips and smiles at her with such love and devotion. ¬†It is absolutely the SWEETEST thing. ¬†She’s the first thing he wants to see when he wakes up in the morning; and if he can’t immediately see her, he has to seek her out.

“Where’s baby Kaitwin?” he’ll ask. ¬†“She’s qwute.” ¬†(a.k.a. cute)

So while the adjustment hasn’t been easy, it has been worth it. ¬†The love he has for her has already shown that they will be close and that their friendship will be strong. ¬†And soon enough, having a baby sister will be a new normal for him!

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What does a normal day at your house look like right now? – ¬†¬†This was my most requested question! ¬†ūüôā ¬†Stay tuned for my day-in-the-life post! ¬†ūüôā

How has your breastfeeding journey been compared to your last one? ¬†–¬†So Kaitlyn latched perfectly for the first two weeks, and then she struggled with it a bit. ¬†(I’m wondering if she might have a lip tie like Brady did, so I need to get that checked). ¬†And obviously, Kaitlyn has the same intolerances that Brady did, so I’m on the same restricted diet.

Honestly though, the toughest thing for me has been Brady… even though I’m breastfeeding Kaitlyn. ¬†Like I mentioned above, he’s struggling a bit with the fact that I don’t have as much time for him anymore. ¬†So when Kaitlyn cluster-feeds and wants to eat every hour and a half, he really struggles with that. ¬†(Also he gets into absolutely everything when I’m trying to give Kaitlyn her milk. ¬†So it doesn’t make for a calm, intimate experience with my baby when I’m worried about what he might be playing with).

As a result, I’ve been pumping and feeding her bottles, and my plan is to eventually cut out some of the breastmilk bottles and supplement with formula (if we can find one that doesn’t bother her). ¬†That way, I’m not pumping as much and only breastfeeding at night. ¬†Hopefully that will still be a healthy option for Kaitlyn but a less stressful one for Brady.

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In your opinion, is it more of a life change to go from no kids to 1 or from 1 kid to 2? – I received several questions similar to this too! ¬† ¬†The quick response is that – for me – it has been tougher going from 1 to 2. ¬†That being said, I don’t want to undermine just how big of an adjustment it is to add 1. ¬†ūüôā

When Brady arrived, Nate and I were terrified of the most basic of things, including changing diapers.  Every single thing was new and a tad bit overwhelming.  And honestly, I was terrified of leaving the house and experiencing all the firsts; because I had never done them with an adorable, squishy baby before.  That being said, I did absolutely love the newborn stage.  A friend had reminded me to enjoy every stage, and I truly did.

Yes, it was an adjustment! ¬†Yes, I was exhausted beyond belief; and I sometimes mourned my sleep, freedom, and sense of self. ¬†But I also absolutely adored my little boy SO much that I could hardly put it into words, and I’d literally cry when I looked into his beautiful face. ¬†(Remember this post? ¬†I wrote it in the midst of my exhaustion back when Brady was a newborn…).

So yes, adding one was a lot, because it was an adjustment becoming a mom for the first time.

This time around, I’m not sweating the same things I did before. ¬†Honestly, after chasing after a toddler all the time, a sleepy newborn feels quite easy. ¬†Ha, ha. ¬†That being said, going from 1 to 2 has been tougher in that there is absolutely no down time… at all. ¬†(I so very rarely even get to use the bathroom alone).

When one is sleeping, the other needs me. ¬†And usually, they both need me at the same time. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†And I’ve missed having the time to snuggle with my newborn whenever I’d like, because – this time – I’m taking care of a two year old. ¬†When I just had Brady, I could enjoy the excuse to slow down and stay home more, but – these days – staying home can be torturous. ¬†Brady hates¬†it and gets so bored (which means tantrums and a destroyed home). ¬†But at the same time, I’m not ready to bring a toddler and a newborn out much.

And on the rare occasion that they both are napping at the same time, I have so much laundry, meal prep, or tidying to do, I can’t imagine sitting down for a moment of rest. ¬†(Also, I had to deal with postpartum blues this time around, which I didn’t last time. ¬†That, of course, didn’t help anything).

So I guess this time is just busier and crazier. ¬†As always, worth it!! ¬†But definitely harder. ¬†I do know that life will continue to get easier though, so I’m trying to embrace this time… and to keep my chin up!! ¬†ūüôā

What’s the best part about being the mom to two? –¬† Seeing them interact! ¬†Just this morning, Brady was leaning in closely, letting Kaitlyn look into his eyes. ¬†And she sent him a sweet little giggle, and my heart just melted!

I know I’ve been really stressed lately, you guys, and sharing honest feelings with some struggles that I’ve faced. ¬†But things really are starting to get easier, as we get a bit of a schedule going. ¬†And I am just in love with my two little ones. ¬†God is continuously giving me strength, patience, and wisdom in how to best love both of them; and I know that I will just continue to learn. ¬†ūüôā

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Scrub a Dub-Dub – Foot Scrub DIY

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One of the things I missed most while pregnant was being able to take a long, HOT bath. ¬†After a busy week of chasing a toddler, lugging around baby supplies, and folding endless piles of laundry, a mom just needs a soothing soak to help her unwind. ¬†And although I took a few baths while pregnant, they weren’t the same now that I had to keep the water lukewarm. ¬†(Really, is a lukewarm bath even worth it?!?).

Honestly, my countdown to being able to take a hot bath began the minute I came home from the hospital. ¬†ūüôā ¬†The doctor told me that I had to wait six weeks in order to make sure my incision was properly healed; and although the HOT showers helped a bit, I was so ready for my first hot bath in months.

And in true Nicole fashion, when the day arrived that I could finally take one, I decided to go all out. ¬†ūüėČ

I had a face mask… ¬†Some lovely smelling bath gel… ¬†A candle to light… ¬†AND I decided to make myself a homemade foot scrub to help get my tootsies summer ready!

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Body scrub is so incredibly easy to make, I’m shocked that I haven’t done it before. It’s way more affordable than buying it from a store; and the awesome thing is that you can control the ingredients. ¬†That makes for a win-win situation in my book! ¬†(You’d be surprised at how many harmful things are added to something as basic as a sugar, body scrub).

The simplest of body scrubs require only 3 ingredients.

The oil – I used olive oil, but you can use coconut or almond oil as well.

The scrub – Salt and brown sugar work, but I used granulated sugar.

The scent РI chose a peppermint essential oil from Purehaven Essentials, so that I knew it was a good-quality (safe-for-me) oil.  And I thought that peppermint would particularly be perfect for a foot scrub.

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I used a bowl to stir together 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 cups sugar, and a few drops of essential oil.  (You can use a drop or two of food coloring to color your scrub, but I decided to keep mine simple this time around).  Then scoop into a cute glass jar (you can buy them really cheap at a dollar or craft store) and enjoy!

That’s it!

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And then, when in the shower, you can use it to gently scrub your skin until it’s I-went-to-the-spa smooth. ¬†ūüôā

I definitely plan to make more this fall, because I think this would make for wonderful Christmas gifts for my friends!!  The hardest thing will be deciding which scent to choose from!

 

#MOMLIFE (Part 3)

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Part 1 and Part 2 are here if you missed them… ¬†ūüôā


 

I am realizing, more and more, that this entire experience of adding a newborn to an already established family of three is a learning curve… for all of us. ¬†I’m learning how to juggle the needs (both physical and emotional) of two children now. ¬†Brady is learning to share the things he treasures the most – his parents. ¬†And baby Kaitlyn is just starting out, learning to drink from a bottle. ¬†To lift her head. ¬†To not poop and pee before a clean diaper is securely fastened. ¬†ūüėČ

Life will always be a journey of learning. ¬†And the lessons that these two little ones are already facing can be difficult, but they’re also important.

Even now, although they haven’t been on earth for long at all, they’re learning how to share. ¬†How to be empathetic. ¬†Even how to build healthy relationships.

They’re already learning from me and Nate… and from each other.

And these lessons can be difficult, especially in the beginning.

Oftentimes it feels as though they’re conducting an experiment together to see how long it will take Mama to crack. ¬†(And these days, I’m not entirely sure we’re far off from that). ¬†But they’re going to learn from my reaction to their outbursts.

They’re going to learn that even though Mama can’t be in two places at once, and that sometimes Mama does have to ask them to wait, she will¬†always¬†be there for them. ¬†Always be willing to listen to them. ¬†Always love them.

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They’re going to learn patience.

Independence.

To learn that family always comes first.

And that I believe in them.  Even when they mess up or disobey, I will always believe in them.

They’re both under three years old, so these lessons are very much hidden amidst the craziness of fast-paced days. ¬†More often than not, I forget about lessons and am more focused on survival, to be honest. ¬†But the lessons are happening anyway.

And one thing I know for sure… ¬†They may plot together to have meltdowns at the same times or to shift my perfectly planned days, ¬†But they’re going to realize very quickly that as crazy as it may drive me at times, I am committed to this mom life.

It is intense. ¬†And insane. ¬†And exhausting. ¬†And oftentimes I feel as though I’m about to have an anxiety attack. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†But it’s something I would¬†never,¬†ever give up. ¬†Because I would never, ever give them up.

They’re going to learn that very soon if they haven’t already.

A mother’s love is forever. ¬†And so is the mom life, even if it may evolve over the years.

So it’s tough for Brady to share mommy and to be stuck home a lot more right now. ¬†It’s tough for Kaitlyn to have painful acid reflux and to figure out how to drink pumped milk from a bottle. ¬†It’s tough for Nate to balance work, chores, and playtime with the kiddo’s. ¬†And it’s tough for this mama to have so much riding on her shoulders all at once.

But we’re all learning as we go. ¬†And that’s not just mom life… ¬†It’s life in general. ¬†The tough patches only make us stronger if we let them! ¬†ūüôā

And really, we can spend our time hoping it will pass, or we can do our best to embrace the sweet moments. ¬†Because this really will all be over too quickly… ¬†And then we’ll be forced to think back on the good ol’ days.

 

 

 

 

#MOMLIFE (Part 2)

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Read Part 1 here if you missed it…


 

In addition to their meticulously planned meltdowns or I-need-mommy-moments, my adorable – but apparently genius – kiddo’s also have learned how to control the schedule for the day.

It’s true… ¬†They’re like little secretaries that book and cancel events for you, except they don’t bother to consult with you first.

Come to think of it, they’re more like baby bosses than secretaries.

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For example, if they both burst into hysterical tears, demanding to be held and comforted at the same exact time, I will probably hold out for only so long before I too burst into anxious, overwhelmed tears. ¬†And then I’ll pile everyone into the Jeep to go visit Memere’s house.

Bada-Bing, Bada-Boom. ¬†To Memere’s house we go… ¬†

It’s obviously what they wanted all along.

And¬†not¬†wanting to go somewhere is solved even easier. ¬†Kaitlyn likes to take the poop-and-pee-all-over-her-changing-table-and-outfit approach. ¬†She’s really good at it too. ¬†Her timing is impeccable, always right¬†before we’re about to rush out the door. ¬†And usually while I’m desperately trying to figure out where to set down my poop-and-pee covered infant so that I can clean up the mess, Brady decides to bash in his big toe.

That seems to be his signature move right now. (The poor kid’s toe doesn’t have the top half of his nail or skin anymore).

If he’s feeling like taking a different route though, Brady too takes the I-have-to-poop method. ¬†Except instead of the quick, surprise attack that Kaitlyn uses; he prefers to draw it out. ¬†And there’s absolutely nothing that I can do about it. ¬†After twenty minutes of him working up the perfect moment to actually ‘do the deed’, it’s not like I can force him to just poo already.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had myself and Kaitlyn all ready to go, just to have Brady announce, “I tootin!” ¬†And then production haults, and I decide to make myself a cup of tea. ¬†Because I might as well enjoy the wait.

More than once, I’ve just decided to cancel plans and stay home, because I was suddenly too stressed or late to consider going out anymore. ¬†And it’s obviously what they wanted all along… ¬†I know, I know. ¬†They’re really good at what they do!

I sometimes have to remind myself that I’m the adult and that I’m smarter than they are. ¬†Or, well, at least I think that I am.

Most of the time…

I also have to remind myself that Brady will survive if he has to wait five more minutes for a hug, just so that I can finish burping Kaitlyn. ¬†And Kaitlyn crying for two minutes so that I can kiss a little boy’s injured big toe once more is okay too. ¬†The need to share Mama is okay…

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But in the moment? ¬†I’m one step away from having an anxiety attack. ¬†Having two children beg me – in their own way – ¬†to take care of them at the exact same time? ¬†I want to crawl into a corner, bury my head in a blanket, and scream, “Do you not realize that I’m one person?” ¬†And also “No, as brilliant as your father is, he doesn’t have the capacity to clone me, so don’t get any ideas! ¬†You’re stuck with one mama, so you have to learn to share!”

In all seriousness, I’m not sure which is worse. ¬†The anxiety or the mom guilt. ¬†Especially when it comes to Brady… ¬† I really do wish that he and Kaitlyn were communicating and not just perfectly timing their tough moments. ¬†Because then she could tell him that she’s here to eventually be his playmate and best friend, not to steal Mama’s time away.

He’s never had to share me before. ¬†Sometimes he begs for me to snuggle him him while he watches a cartoon, and I just can’t. ¬†Or he wants Mama to hold him, but I’m feeding Kaitlyn… or changing Kaitlyn’s diaper… or I’m burping her… or I’m trying to settle her after a bad round of acid reflux… ¬†or I’m pumping…

He has to share me a lot these days, and he’s too little to really understand. ¬†He gets lots of special time with daddy whenever my husband can bring him to the playground or the toystore, but Mama has to stay home to help feed baby girl. ¬†And although he is unbelievably gentle and sweet with his baby sister, he has shown signs of regression. ¬†Of wanting to be held more. ¬†Of acting out and disobeying just for attention.

And I can’t blame him. ¬†These are big changes for a little kid. ¬†And on top of everything else, he’s also at the age where he’s learning boundaries and testing out the rules. ¬†(They don’t call it the terrible two’s for nothing. ¬†There’s so much to learn and figure out).

(…to be continued. ¬†There’s one more post) ¬†ūüôā

 

 

 

 

 

#MOMLIFE (Part 1 of 3)

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My son is 2 1/2 years old, and my beautiful baby girl has just reached one month. ¬†So between the two of them, they don’t speak very much, except for awkward sentences and vocalizations along the lines of “Is me all wet?” and “Waaaaaaaahh!” ¬†But despite the lack of an extensive English vocabulary, I’m fairly certain that these two are already communicating…

It’s as if they¬†plan¬†their hysterical, break-mommy’s-heart, tear-filled meltdowns to coincide with the other’s. ¬†It’s like they know¬†that I’m outnumbered.

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Oh, you’re going to hysterically burst into tears, demanding milk from Mama, at a quarter past three? ¬†Great, that works for me too! ¬†I’ll bash my big toe in around then…

It always happens all at once.

Just the other day, I was sitting on the living room floor and pumping breastmilk¬†while¬†attempting to cradle my screaming baby girl. ¬†(If you’ve never tried holding a baby against your chest¬†while¬†pumping, then you totally should. ¬†It’s a riot). ¬† And since I had thought it would be a good idea to bring my toddler’s highchair into the TV room to watch cartoons while I pumped, baked beans were raining down on my head… on the newborn’s head… and on the newly installed carpet.

You know, because I had thought that it was a good idea to feed the stickiest meal¬†ever¬†to my tantrum-throwing toddler… during a part of the day when I couldn’t easily get to him…. all while my baby girl was uncomfortable, screaming, and desperate to be held. ¬†(Come to think of it, purchasing new carpet months before the arrival of a newborn probably wasn’t the smartest decision we’ve ever made either).

You live and you learn, am I right?

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But there I was, once again, surrounded by complete chaos; because my littles decided to impeccably plan their need for attention. ¬†Brady¬†needed¬†to be held and shown love. ¬†Kaitlyn needed to be held upright and secure to help her through a painful acid reflux episode. ¬†‘The girls’ needed to be pumped like two hours ago. ¬†Oh, yeah, and the cats also decided that now would be a¬†great¬†time to sit at my feet and beg earnestly for their lunch.

All…at…once…

And granted, no one is going to die or be injured if they’re left to cry for awhile longer. ¬†But it just seems to happen a little more frequently than I’m comfortable with, and – quite frankly – it breaks my heart. ¬†I’m left having to choose. ¬†Who do I comfort first? ¬†Who do I disappoint?

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Who has to sit in the background while Mommy tends to the other child first?

And the more I ponder that in my head (at a rapidly fast pace), the more my anxiety levels go up.  The more my mommy guilt shoots through the roof.  The more I somehow blame myself for not being able to properly diffuse the situation.

Because I’m a mom… ¬†So obviously, I’m supposed to be able to split myself into two mommy blobs and handle both problems at once. ¬†(Which, for the record, wouldn’t be necessary if my kiddo’s didn’t somehow communicate and sync their schedules so perfectly).

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(…to be continued) ¬†ūüôā

 

 

 

Spica Cast Tips

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This post is very specific to parents who have a child in a Spica Cast. ¬†So definitely feel free to skip this blog post if you’re not interested. ¬† ūüôā ¬†But I wanted to share some spica cast tips with anyone who might benefit from them!

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YOUR CHILD WILL ADJUST… QUICKLY!

Children are shockingly tough, and they bounce back so unbelievably fast. ¬†When Brady first had the spica cast put on, he had just turned two years old. ¬†There was no way to make him understand why his leg was now bound for five weeks. ¬†That devastated me the most… ¬†That I couldn’t explain to him that this wouldn’t be forever and that it was for the best.

But I really was in awe of his resilience. ¬†He found the will to smile. ¬†To crawl a bit and pull that heavy cast behind him. ¬†He even learned how to stand up and hobble around with the help of furniture. ¬†(I’ve heard that some kids even learn to walk while in the cast)!

His great attitude and ability to smile and laugh – despite everything – filled me with such pride, to be honest!

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YOUR CHILD WILL FORGET THIS EXPERIENCE

This won’t comfort you much in the midst of it, but know that your child won’t remember any of this. ¬†Brady has been out of the spica cast for just 4 months, and he’s running around like the broken leg never happened. ¬†And he doesn’t remember the boo boo, the cast, the pain, or the hospital stay.

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PAIN MANAGEMENT

When we first came home from the hospital, we had been instructed to give Brady children’s Tylenol every 8 hours. ¬†He was in SO much pain and miserable… and with good reason. ¬†If I broke a bone, I’d definitely be given something stronger than Tylenol!

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I ended up using this chart and rotating Tylenol and Motrin (with approval of my Pediatric doctor, of course). ¬†We’d alternate the medicines, so he’d have Tylenol every 8 hours but Motrin every 8 hours as well. ¬†So every 4 hours, he was receiving a dose of something. ¬†I noticed a¬†huge¬†reduction in his pain at that point, and he was definitely much more comfortable. ¬†It also allowed me to hold him (which was super awkward, but definitely necessary for both of us).

So during that first week or so, if the doctor tells you to give your little one Tylenol every 8 hours, I’d definitely ask if they’re okay with you doing the Tylenol and Motrin rotation!

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DIAPER CHANGES

I kind of wish I had taken pictures, because it’s hard to describe – in words – the tips I discovered for changing a diaper around a Spica Cast. ¬†This blog post that I found on Pinterest DOES include pics though, and I’d say that it’s almost exactly how I did it. ¬†(Right down to using two diapers… AND a cool-setting hair dryer to help dry the cast when Brady peed through a diaper). ¬†So if you want diaper changing tips, definitely check out that blog post.

Trust me, it gets easier!  In the beginning, I dreaded diaper changes SO much.  But by week two or three, I was a pro.

CAST MAINTENANCE

Keeping the cast dry was tricky at times, because Brady peed through his diaper a LOT overnight.  (Towards the end, I started to set an alarm to change his diaper in the middle of the night to help with that).  But the moisture, along with the chaffing as he moved, definitely started to irritate his skin in places.  My cousin Jill sent me Pure Haven Essentials baby powder to rub into his skin to help reduce friction along the edges of the cast, and it definitely helped!

CLOTHES

Brady wore shirts that were a size or two bigger than the size he was in (that way it would fit over the chest portion of the cast). ¬†And for the legs, I purchased comfy sweatpants that were a size or two bigger. ¬†I just cut off one of the legs, so that it fit the cast better. ¬†(Also, the cast is so warm that he didn’t need the extra fabric).

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ACTIVITIES

One of the hardest things was keeping a VERY energetic toddler occupied while being so restricted.  (Also, since I was pregnant, lugging him in and out of the special carseat was just too much.  Brady was already ridiculously heavy, but that cast added a lot of weight.  So other than occasionally going to visit my parents or inlaws with my husband, we were home a lot).  Had it been summer, we probably would have gone out more and just pushed him in a carriage or wagon.  But unfortunately for us, it was winter and quite cold.

Here are some of my favorite recommendations for fun in a spica cast.

— Peg Board Sets

Lauri Tall-Stacker Pegs & Pegboard Set

— Melissa and Doug Felt Food Sets

— Sensory Water Beads for Kids

Water Beads for Kids, Ultra Durable Special Needs Toys, Sensory Toys 8000 ct

— Playdough Supplies and Kits

Play-doh Cake Making Station Playset

— Melissa and Doug Wooden Puzzles

Melissa & Doug Farm Wooden Chunky Puzzle (8 pcs)

— Lacing Beads

OR use ziti macaroni and make macaroni necklaces!

— Dance Scarves

Granted,¬†official¬†dancing is out of the question. ¬†BUT your child can have fun waving these scarves in tune to upbeat music. ¬†It’s a great arm workout, and my little guy loved it.

Carykon 24" Hemmed Square Juggling & Dance Scarves for Creative Childhood Play Magic Show Ornament Hairstyle, 6 Colors, 12Pcs

– And don’t underestimate the fun of playing with fresh fruit! ¬†ūüôā

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IVY ROSE SPICA CAST CHAIR

If your child is going to be in – or is already in – a spica cast, I 100% recommend purchasing an Ivy Rose Spica Cast Chair. ¬†No, scratch that… ¬†I 200% recommend it. ¬†Or I basically can’t recommend it enough.

When the spica cast was first put on Brady, the chair was suggested to me by several family members and blogger friends who had read about it. ¬†At the time, I couldn’t see spending about $250 on an item that we’d use for 5-8 weeks, so I talked myself out of buying one. ¬†Two days later, my parents and sister offered to purchase the chair for us, and I very eagerly said “yes”. ¬†I needed help by that point, and I was desperate. ¬†Cost was no longer and option!!

Up until then, we had kept Brady propped up with a beanbag and a pillow under his cast for support.  After days of lying on his back, he was definitely over it.  Also, mealtime was very scary, as he had to eat at such an incline.  Kids in spica casts do experience a huge drop in appetite, but Рstill Рthey do eat.  And I was terrified of him choking.

The Ivy Rose Spica Cast Chair is built specific to a child’s height… as well as their cast measurements and type. ¬†So it fits perfectly. ¬†It comes dissassembled, but my hubby had absolutely no issues with putting it together. ¬†Also, I was¬†shocked¬†at how quickly it arrived! ¬†I’m talking¬†days. ¬†

I literally did a happy dance the first time Brady sat in his new chair.  He could actually sit.  It was SUCH a win for us and put us all in a much better state of mind.  For the first time in days, I felt like we could actually survive this experience.

Brady was able to now eat all of his meals sitting up.  He was also able to color and do crafts.  And when children came to see him, he was able to feel more a part of the environment, instead of being forced to lie down in the corner.  (Also, the other side of the tray is chalkboard, so he had SO much fun drawing on it)!!

It was the BEST purchase we could have made, and I can’t recommend it enough. ¬†The entire experience was an amazing one.

 

CASTAWAY DAY!

You will count down the days (minutes and seconds too) until that awkward, smelly, heavy, cumbersome cast comes off your little one.  That goes without saying!  BUT why not make that much anticipated day extra special by turning it into a celebration?

Keep in mind that it will take time (and potentially Physical Therapy) before your child can walk, even without the cast.  Their leg muscles will be weakened from the weeks of inactivity.  (I remember that Brady did stand up that first day, but his leg gave out quite quickly.  He screamed, and I was SO scared that he had hurt himself again.  But the doctor said that happens almost every time and not to worry.  Sure enough, Brady was fine).

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Keep the celebration simple… but special. ¬†Make your child’s favorite meal and dessert. ¬†Pick out a fun movie to watch together. ¬†Give them a long bubble bath. ¬†(Trust me, they’ll need it)! ¬†And invest in some good-quality lotion, because the skin on their legs and chest will be rough. ¬†¬†My cousin Jill sent me a sugar scrub that I could mix with a kid’s body wash or lotion to help lightly exfoliate his skin.

We even let Brady unwrap a few presents for the occasion. ¬†It was definitely a fun way to say ‘goodbye’ to that horrible cast!

REMEMBER… ¬†IT’S NOT FOREVER!

The cast WILL come off!  Take it one day at a time!!  You can get through this.  And you will!!!  xoxo

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Q & A!

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Hey Guys!!

Some of you might remember that I did a Q & A vlog when Brady was a newborn, and I answered some of your questions about life as a new mom. ¬† I thought it might be fun to do another one, since now I’m new to being the mom of two! ¬†ūüôā

If I get enough questions, I’ll do another vlog. ¬†And if I only get one or two, then I’ll probably answer them in blog format. ¬†Either is totally great!

I just thought I’d give you all the option of asking any questions you might have. ¬†You can ask about anything, right down to what my favorite food is right now. ¬†LOL! ¬†Anything goes!!

You can post the question below OR you can email it to me at: ¬†nicole_leb@hotmail.com. ¬†(If emailing, just include the header “Just Live It Q & A.” ¬†Or something like that, so I’ll know what it’s for).

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!

Love, Nicole

Fit’n Fab Friday – 4 Weeks Postpartum

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Weeks Since Baby Delivery Via C-Section ‚Äď Four¬†weeks postpartum, so basically a month. ¬†In some ways, it feels like it’s been longer… ¬†I already ¬†can’t imagine life without baby Kaitlyn! ¬†We love her SO much, and she really has completed our family.

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Exercise ‚ÄstWhat a difference just a week makes! ¬†I definitely felt so much stronger this week, and the random sharp pains that still sometimes hit were very infrequent. ¬†I’m still keeping my walks on the short side¬†(and honestly, they’re slow too. ¬†Brady has to stop to touch every single rock, twig, bug, and puddle. ¬†Ha, ha. ¬†But it’s been really good for me mentally to just be outside)!

I did go for two faster-paced walks when Nate was with me to help guide Рor carry РBrady.  And I honestly felt great!

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I also pumped breastmilk one day, so that there was a bottle at home that Nate could use to feed Kaitlyn. ¬†And I took Brady grocery shopping by myself. ¬†I know that doesn’t sound like exercise, but – honestly – it was more walking / pushing than I’ve done in a long time. ¬†So I’m counting it as a step towards being able to have a normal, exercise routine!

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Exercise Goals ‚Äď ¬†I’m not sure that I’m quite ready for specific goals yet, since I haven’t been cleared for routine exercising. ¬†BUT I will continue to be a bit more active as my body gets stronger. ¬†I’m hoping that my doctor clears me to begin walking regularly, when I see him at my six week checkup!!

Food Goals ‚Äď ¬†As I mentioned last week, breastfeeding makes me¬†really¬†hungry, and it does drain me of a ton of nutrients. ¬†So I am being careful to listen to my body and eat when hungry (which is basically ALL day EVERY day). ¬†ūüėČ ¬†That being said, I’ve been much more conscious of the calories that I’m drinking… ¬†I’ve been reaching for water¬†much¬†more than juice now. ¬†(When preggo, I had fallen into the habit of drinking fruit juice whenever I wanted). ¬†And although I honestly do indulge in something sweet every day (usually dark chocolate, sweetened cereal, or icecream), I keep it to a serving size or less! ¬†Well, except for on the weekends. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†Weekends are for splurging!

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Weight Loss ‚ÄstThe pounds are slowly but surely falling off, and I feel great. ¬†Again, what a difference a week makes! ¬†Although I’m not where I need to be quite yet, I’m confident where I am right now. ¬†I feel strong and much healthier!

My chunky, 10 pound, 4 week old baby girl drinks about 26-30 oz of breastmilk every day. ¬†That’s 600 calories that I’m burning JUST by feeding her!! ¬†What!?! ¬†Every couple of days, I drop almost a pound (even though I’m eating a ton). ¬†It’s kind of great. ¬†ūüėČ

I’m definitely excited to be cleared to work out, so that I can focus on toning. ¬†BUT for now, I’m really happy with where I am.

Clothes ‚Äď ¬†¬†So here’s the frustrating part… ¬†Ha, ha. ¬†I’m in a super awkward stage, where maternity clothes are getting super big. ¬†But I still do carry weight in my stomach, so my non-maternity shirts don’t fit quite yet. ¬†Thankfully this season’s style is loose, flowy tops, BUT I don’t own many of those. ¬†My sister actually showed up at my house the other day with 4 tops that she had bought to help carry me through. ¬†(Yeah, I know, she’s pretty awesome). ¬†ūüôā ¬†And then, around the house, I usually wear my maternity t-shirts; since they’re comfortable.

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Still wearing maternity pants and shorts right now. ¬†They’re getting big, but they’re so much comfier on my incision than my other pants. ¬†So I’m going to wear them for another week or two if I can.

Final Thoughts ‚ÄstLast week was¬†really¬†tough on me mentally, BUT I’m already headed to a better place. ¬†I’ll blog more on that next week… ¬†But for now, yes, I can say that I’m really feeling better mentally. ¬†And Kaitlyn is headed in the right direction physically. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Life is good. ¬†And God is amazing!!