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Chapter 8: Soothing a Baby (With a Bra) + a $100 Babies R Us Giveaway!

Like many soon-to-be moms, I read a lot of baby books while I was pregnant with my first child. I knew all about what to expect during the pregnancy, and my husband and I took a class so we could prepare for the birth itself. Overall, I felt pretty confident. After all, we tried for 5 years to get pregnant with Chloe, and I was going to do my best to make her happy.

I didn’t know it at the time, but Chloe turned out to be a fairly easy baby. She was healthy and generally good-natured. She smelled as sweet as honey and I’d spend what felt like hours just marveling at her perfect smallness. However, there were some things that didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped. Breastfeeding, for instance, took us a while. The books and the nurses made it sound so easy, but it took lots of tries and advice and eventually a nipple shield (for a short while) for both of us to get the hang of it.

Then there was the sleeping. Or… lack of sleeping. Chloe was an extremely light sleeper. Anything could wake her up, even quiet sounds like the dog walking by her door or the heater kicking on. Unfortunately, during those times the only thing that would help her back to sleep was nursing.

Eventually, exhausted, I began searching for an alternate back-to-sleep soothing method. I scoured the baby books and parenting web sites. At first, we tried giving her the pacifier that the hospital had given us. I’m embarrassed now to say that I really wanted to do things “by the book,” and “by the book” meant discouraging pacifier use. But, I tried it anyway. Chloe would give it a few sucks and then spit it out. I’d edge it back and she’d spit it back out. Basically, no go.

So began the long trial (and error) of every soothing thing I could think of – humming, singing, white noise, radio, baby-wearing, softies, blankets, rocking, teethers (I had high hopes for Sophie the giraffe), and anything else I could think of. Each option was given several chances in the hopes that it would be “the one.” Sadly, some crying ensued, but I wasn’t about to give up hope.

One afternoon, after putting Chloe down for her nap, I heard her rouse after just a short while. I’m sure I cringed inwardly, and honestly, I can’t remember exactly what I was doing (possibly prepping dinner), but whatever it was took a little time to complete. By the time I got back to check on her I found that she had gone back to sleep! On her own! Hallelujah! But, wait. What was that thing clutched in her little hand? Was that… my bra?!

Miracle of miracles, all Chloe needed was my bra. I’m not saying it was all perfect from then on out. Oh, no. However, I began leaving one with her and sometimes it worked. Plus, I learned to not go rushing in (this was totally against the grain of “by the books” back then, but I was beginning to see how bending the rules might have its advantages). Eventually, Chloe began putting herself back to sleep (and sucking her thumb, sigh).

The moral of this story? No matter what anyone tells you, no matter what advice you’ve been given or tales you’ve been told – there will never be a child exactly like yours, or a mother exactly like you. While it’s good to glean information from the plethora of sources out there, the best things you can do is experiment, trust your instincts, give it time, ask questions and don’t be afraid do things the way that works best for you and your baby. Because, you are the mom, and you will figure it out… eventually. 🙂

…….

The post above is one of many personal stories that have been included in the MAM Blogger Real Parenting Guide. My particular post is Chapter 8: Soothing a Baby (With a Bra), but I encourage you to read other chapters and also to find out more about the products (bottles, pacifiers, teethers, etc) that MAM makes. The right tools definitely make the job of parenting easier.

Want to win a $100 Babies “R” Us gift card?

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

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This sweepstakes runs from 08/21/13-10/07/13.

Be sure to visit the MAM Brand Page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts and find more chances to win!


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Picking up the pieces of a real life mess

This is what I caught the kids doing earlier this morning. Actually, it was Chloe who came to me to let me know something was up. Turns out Leo climbed into Chloe’s closet, pulled down the jar of Pyssla beads, unscrewed the lid, and dumped handfuls out all over the floor.

A pretty big mess, as you can see.

This son of mine… don’t let that innocent looking face fool you. Only a year and a half old, but he gets into EVERYTHING. He is his father’s son, for sure. A real problem solver, always trying to figure out how things work and what they do. Right now he loves things that have moving parts or pieces that work together  – latches, drawers, door knobs, lids… I’m sure throwing all those colorful beads around must have been quite a reward for a job well done.

I’ve known for a while now that I need to find a way to lock that closet. The last time he was in there he drew on the walls with marker. Just this week I installed latches for the hallway drawers after the internal latches failed to keep out little hands. How can such a little boy, who barely talks, be this capable? And why do I continue to underestimate him?

For now, I guess I need to install more locks!


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Dear Leo, 18 months

(I wrote this in December, when Leo really was 18-months old, but I never posted it before we left on our whirlwind Colorado-to-Cancun trip. I figure better late than never…)

Dear Leo,

You turned 18 months old this week. Just thinking about you as I write this makes my heart swell with joy. You are such a wonder – so sweet and loveable and very smart! You are so interested in how things work – how pieces go together and come apart, how they move, or float or spill or  break. You are observant and curious about everything. The more new things you get your little hands on the happier you are. Even the tiniest speck of debris interests you and you’ll happily bring it over to share.

You are a good eater, which brings your mama much relief. You rate normally for height and weight, unlike your petite big sister. It does seem like you’re getting pickier as time goes by, though. You have your front four upper and lower teeth in, and the other day I saw one of your top back left molars peeking out. I bet it will be a lot of help for grinding up food you can’t quite eat on your own yet.

You’re fast and mobile. Oh boy. You were able to climb onto our bed and the sofas early on, and now that you’re up on the chairs you want to get onto the table, too (eek!). You’ve had lots of tumbles, but they don’t seem to deter you much.

Now that you’re big enough, Chloe has had to get used to you “sharing” toys that were once free whenever she wanted. She still grabs things out of your hands, but she is learning that is getting harder to do, and your not afraid to make a fuss. On the other hand, you give her quite a bit of grief, too, always wanting what she has, or being where she is. Or pulling her hair – you have definitely yanked both of us good. Not just strands, but clumps.

The thing that concerns me most about your development right now is the fact that you don’t talk. I mean, you can say mama and dada and dog (da!), but you don’t do it very often. The word you say most (and quite clearly) is “ball.” Oh, but you are good at sounds and noises – vroom, vroom, ruff, ruff, and meow along with many others.

Despite being a little man of few words, you certainly communicate. You point like a champ, nod and shake your head for yes and no to answer a question, tap your bowl or hand me your cup when you want more, rock in your high chair when you want to get down, and grab and tug on your diaper when you need a diaper change. See? Its all so clear. And maybe your dad is right, that its my fault you don’t need to talk. In my quest to become a good mother, I have learned to read your body language and other subtle (and not so subtle) cues to interpret your needs and wants, or I simply anticipate them. I’ve tried to wait and make you talk, but it doesn’t seem to work and we both get frustrated.

The delayed talking thing concerned me so much that I took you to see some specialists. And you know what happened? You wowed them in every other way. Your fine and gross motor skills are very well developed for your age AND you passed a test in cognition as well as a three year old. So. You have a lot going for you. I guess maybe I just need to be patient. You’ll talk when you’re ready, I think.

Love you my darling boy,
Mama


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Leo’s First Birthday Photos

I can hardly believe that Leo is already a year and a half old. Where has the time gone? I will so miss having a little baby to snuggle and hold, but I have to admit that having a toddler to interact with is pretty darn fun. I was looking back at some of my old photos and realized that I never posted these gorgeous images taken by my friend Greta at Olive Hill Photography last June. So bright and fun! I don’t think I’ll ever tire of looking at these images for as long as I live.


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Camping with the kids

This past weekend we took the kids camping at Nehalem Bay State Park. It was… challenging. Not that it wasn’t worth it… it just… took a lot of effort. There were times we had to remind ourselves that home was less than two hours away and we could leave at any time. But hey, we did it! The kids had a great time playing on the beach both days – soaking up the sun, splashing in the water, flying the kite, and generally getting sand everywhere. The hardest part was in the evening, I think. Of course the kids couldn’t get to sleep on time, were occasionally loud which I worried bothered our fellow campers, and then there were “incidences” – like when Leo jabbed himself in the eye with a fork and I feared that we’d have to rush to the hospital, or when Chloe fell face first into the fire pit, scraping her face, bloodying her nose and getting soot all over herself. And sleeping, well… we only have 3 sleeping bags, so I shared mine with Leo, which was kind of awkward, and I kept waking up all night wondering if he or Chloe was cold.

Anyways, it was a good learning experience (and exercise in patience!). Next time we are going to do what our neighbors are doing this week, and getting a yurt. 🙂
More photos can be seen here.


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Leo’s First Birthday!

Leo had his first birthday party last weekend! We invited the same good friends who attended Chloe’s first birthday (who conveniently all have had their second children as well, so it was a perfect match of preschoolers and baby siblings). We put together a pasta lunch – pistachio, garlic and olive pasta for the adults, mac ‘n cheese for the kids, salad, fruit, cheese and crackers and trix crispies as a colorful treat. Since Leo’s is our first summer birthday in the family, I thought it would be special to do an ice cream cake (strawberry) from Baskin Robbins, and found some toy animals on top to match the lion party theme. I can’t believe he is one already!!!

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Sleep baby, Sleep!

Here’s a simple mobile I made for Leo’s room using a Kikkerland hanging photoclip mobile. I actually bought it years ago from a now defunct downtown toy store with the intention of making a felt mobile for Chloe’s nursery, but I never got around to it. I’d like to sew one for Leo, but in case I never get around to it either, I thought these paper elephants would make cute placeholders, and Leo seems to like it.

Speaking of Leo, he had his best night ever last night – only one 3am night waking and then up for good at 6am as usual (I don’t count the wakings that occur before David and I go to bed). What a change from the 4-5+ night wakings that have been plaguing us for months! Maybe it was the excitement of his first birthday party (photos to come!) or that he was still recovering from his 5(!) vaccination shots at his Friday check up, but we’ve definitely seen improvement, especially over the last few days.

You know parents who say “we’ve tried everything!”? Well, that certainly feels like us. In the last few weeks since we’ve moved Leo out of our room and into his own we’ve:

(1) Strewn several extra pacifiers around his bed in the hopes he’d try and find one himself instead of waking us up to do it.

(2) Installed a bumper to keep the aforementioned pacifiers from falling out while he reached for them (which happened A LOT).

(3) Plugged in a night light so he could see the pacifiers in the dark (a major downfall of the mam brand pacifiers, which are mostly transparent. They do make a glow-in-the-dark version, which we’re trying, but unsure if that helps.

(4) Started using a white noise machine. I think this has been a key element. I was against these with Chloe, especially because I personally can’t stand noise while I sleep, but Leo is very tuned-in to the sound of his sister’s voice, or her pounding feet in her room next door (for such a lightweight she walks like an elephant). Also, Leo’s new bedroom is at the front of the house so street sounds can be an issue. Even with the noise machine, our neighbor’s ridiculously loud pick-up engine roars to life in the wee hours of the morning and never fails to wake him up.

And these are all things we’ve added just since his new room, so that doesn’t include cutting out nighttime nursing (which occurred a long time ago), creating a consistent bed time routine, etc.

All in all, I think we’re on track to a better sleep schedule for both of us. However, the irony is that last night, during Leo’s best night sleep, was one of Chloe’s worst nights. A record 10+ wakings because she was sick. Ah, the irony.

 


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Tackling the Toys

I FINALLY organized the toy drawers in our living room. I think its been about 2 years since the last time, and that was just to pull some of the infant toys Chloe no longer touched. Talk about procrastination! And honestly, once I finally sat down to do it, it went pretty fast.

The dresser is a Malm that we use as a console table (not the bins shown above). Of the dresser’s 6 drawers, the 4 lower ones were dedicated to Chloe’s things. One drawer is for Chloe’s jackets and hats, so she can put them away by herself when she comes in the door. The other three were full of toys and random junk. I wish I had taken a “before” photo, just to prove what a mess it all was, but the energy to do it came on suddenly. I mean, I had thought about doing it a million times, but this is the first time I sat down to do it. That is the hardest part, in my opinion, just setting down to the task.

Getting Started
I started with 2 large empty bins and one paper bag for junk. Junk equaled anything broken, useless, missing pieces, or not worth giving away. The first bin was for donations and the second for holding items to keep, so I could fully empty a drawer and vacuum out the accumulated dust. After a short time I brought over one of Chloe’s little play chairs, to help my back. Once I saw a pattern emerge, I began to group items in organized piles on the floor, a lot of which needed to go somewhere else. In our house this means:

Bathroom
Bath toys

Chloe’s Room
Books to the bookshelf
Play clothes to the dress-up bin
Play jewelry in a play purse
Finger puppets bagged together (closet)
Games (closet)
Play doh/ Art supplies to the art shelf (closet)

2nd Bedroom (soon to be Leo’s!)
All Legos and blocks

Great Room (aka kitchen/dining/family area)
Baby toys for Leo in the baby toy bins (more about this later)
Play food and utencils to the play kitchen

Living Room
After sorting and putting toys away that belonged to the above areas, the remaining toys that stayed in the Malm drawers now fit into just two drawers. One drawer is for all stuffed animals, dolls, and doll clothes. The second drawer is divided into musical instruments on one side and tiny figurines, knick-knacks, cars, wind-up toys, small balls, bean bags, and anything that Leo (now 8 months) shouldn’t play with. Also, any very small toy that was worth keeping, but that I didn’t care about losing, were put away into a separate grab bag for taking on trips.

The remaining empty drawer will be used for Leo’s jackets and hats, and to help ease Chloe’s jacket drawer for now, which is completely stuffed thanks to generous hand-me-downs. Through the winter she mostly rotates between only one coat and a jacket, but once spring comes she’ll be using her lighter-weight ones, too.

The biggest accomplishment in all this, at least for me, is that now everything has a place. No, I don’t like that things are spread over four rooms, but the fact is that Chloe would rather be where we are than playing by herself in her room. Right now her room is for sleeping, getting dressed, and reading. Otherwise, she spends most of her time in the great room or the office where she is allowed to watch occasional shows on the computer (via Netflix or PBSkids.org).

Leo, being the baby, is also, naturally, wherever we are. Thus there are 2 of the large Target bins (shown above) of baby toys in the great room. And honestly, Chloe plays with them, too. Someday I’d like to add structure and storage to the great room (maybe with some Besta?), but that won’t be anytime soon.

The hardest part of this whole experience was keeping Chloe from undoing the work while I was trying to cull and organize. She would want to play with some newly uncovered toys and then walk away with them, or scatter my piles before I had a chance to put them were they belonged. I also had to take breaks to entertain or feed Leo. So I would suggest doing this while the kids were elsewhere, if possible. Even if, by some miracle, both my kids napped at the same time, our house is too small and the noise of shifting toys would certainly wake them.

So there you have it. I feel I should add that I am by no means naturally tidy, and I don’t expect everything to stay put, because it won’t. But, when I occasionally attempt to maintain it, it is much easier to do now. Chloe is able to find things easier and enjoy her toys more. It is a really good starting point for an organized (if not tidy) future.

If only I could organize my office as easily…


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Beaded Baby Teether Necklace

Have I mentioned that Leo LOVES hair? Grabbing it, pulling it, playing with it, burying his face in it and even eating it. Sometimes after holding him I feel crunchy places in my hair where he has been sucking. He also sometimes rubs and pulls his own hair to soothe himself. Perhaps I’m raising the next Vidal Sassoon? All I know is that what once was cute when he was less strong is now becoming a bit painful at times. Just ask his poor sister. She basically cannot come within reach of him or she gets grabbed or scratched. Oh yes, he’s also a scratcher. Naturally, he doesn’t mean to, but those little fingernails… well… ouch. I’m just hoping that scab on my nose doesn’t scar.

I made the teething necklace above as an attempt to divert his attention. I’ve seen several fun and funky looking ones, and they are easy enough to make. Basically, you

1. Sew a tube of fabric big enough to insert wooden craft balls.
2. Tie a knot in the fabric between each ball
3. Sew the ends closed and add a ribbon to tie it (or twill tape, in this case).

Leo, however, is only minimally interested. It isn’t hair, after all. And so it doesn’t get  a ton of wear. I tend to prefer smaller jewelry anyway (which I don’t wear now, so as not to have it yanked off and swallowed). Ah, well. Gentle admonishments will have to suffice for now…


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Love + Bubbles

We’ve been having a lot of cold, snowy and wet weather lately. I don’t take Chloe and Leo out into it as much as I should, but we do get out on occasion. Like this break in the weather. Chloe and I both enjoy blowing bubbles. Who would have thought that the best bubbles would come from the dollar store? Good thing, too, because Chloe still spills her bubbles a little too often (and the ones with the “spillproof” caps have too tiny of a wand to be really fun).

I love these kids so much. When I was pregnant with Leo, I couldn’t imagine loving Leo as much as I loved Chloe. She was my baby, my precious little girl, my darling first-born. She was all I knew. My whole world. Then along came Leo, and my heart swelled. I am amazed every day at how deep my love is for these two little ones.

Leo is barely over half a year and already his charming and affectionate nature is obvious, way more so than Chloe was at this age. Then again, I am not very good at remembering things, and even now I’ll have to ask David his perspective from when Chloe was a baby. Just one more reason I need to put more effort into recording the kids’ milestones. I know later that I’ll be glad I did.

 

 

 


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Haircut!

I finally gave Chloe her first “real” haircut. “Real” meaning all the way around and not just a bang trim. It was a little bittersweet. At almost 3 years-old she’s hardly grown enough hair to cut, but it was getting a bit too ragged around the edges (see photo from previous post). She’d also get knots and tangles in the back from going to bed with her hair still damp. Afterward I gave her a princess tiara. Naturally she responded “Can I have a haircut again? Now?” I wish I would have gotten a better photo, but she’s on to me, and when she saw the camera come out the little stinker started running away. I’m happy that at least she sat still for the cut!


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Dear Leo, 3 months old

Dear Leo,

You are 3 months old. I love you very, very much. When I found out I was pregnant with you, I had thought (and hoped) you were a girl, but now that you are here and we’ve gotten to know each other, I can hardly remember why I felt that way. I am so happy you are who you are, and I mean that with my whole heart.

Here are a few things about you right now:

Every morning when you wake up, you smile. I love this.

Occasionally you’ll fall sleep with your eyes slightly open. This is called nocturnal lagophthalmos. Turns out it is fairly common and you’ll grow out of it.

You have sweaty feet. You get this from your dad.

You easily overheat in the car seat. I can’t believe car seats aren’t made with more ventilation or a more breathable material. I’ve looked at dozens now and haven’t found anything better. We’ve practically frozen ourselves with the air conditioner this summer just trying to keep you comfortable.

You prefer to be carried upright.

You have a mild case of cradle cap. I did one treatment with jojoba oil and now it is clearing up nicely.

Your hair is slowly filling in and replacing your (now longer) newborn hair. I’d attempt to cut it and even it out, but your dad won’t let me.

You have never had diaper rash (fingers crossed).

It’s too early to tell, but I think you’re going to have your dad’s blue eyes, just many shades darker. Although, already you have the tiniest patch of brown on the bottom of your right iris.

You’ve begun using your hands. You swat and occasionally hold your toys, and sometimes soothe yourself by sucking your fingers. You’ve even figured out you can rub your face with the backs of your hands, so you don’t accidentally scratch yourself (a good sign you’re tired).

Sweet dreams little one!

Love,
Mama


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Softly

The other night I looked at my son. I mean really looked, with all my senses. Starting at his tiny toes, moving up the soft curve of his ankle and calf, squeezing his chubby thighs, nuzzling his tummy with my nose and cheek…

His little fists and fingers were resting in mine, and I marveled at each crease on his palm, pressing gently with the pad of my fingers the dimples on the back of his hands. I made my way up his shoulders, his neck, tracing the shape of his head and shell ears, lightly feathering his baby-fine hair. I leaned down to smell his warm, sweet-earth baby smell. To feel the soft skin of his cheek on my lips. I kissed his forehead, his eyebrows, his eyes and little nose. I admired the color of his hazel greys and he looked back into my brown ones. He cooed. He smiled his big, meltingly perfect, dimpled smile. Oh, that smile. My heart flip-flops. You know me, I think. Of course you do. Your mama.

This newborn time is so fleeting. I’ll forget so much. Sometimes I think back on what it was like before he was born, resting my hands on my growing belly, him shifting and pushing beneath my skin, imagining what he would be like. Now he is here, part of our lives forever. I feel so blessed, so grateful. Tears form. Words fail. But oh, how I love, love, love this little boy of mine.


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More kid art recipes & ideas

Homemade Finger Paint Recipe from Easie Peasie

Shaving Cream Bathtub Paint from Having Fun at Home

Sponge-soaked finger paints for less mess from Baballa

Making Pretend Make-up from Nail Polish from Not So Idle Hands

Cornstarch Sidewalk Paint Recipe from Pink and Green Mama

All finds thanks to the lovely eye-candy that is Pinterest.


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A good day

Despite having even less sleep than usual for the past three nights due to extra fussy baby, today turned out to be really great. Took the kids on a successful outing to the zoo. While there Chloe used a public restroom for the first time with help from this which I picked up from a yard sale for $1. Anyway, she is doing awesome, and even napped today in her big girl underwear for the first time. Looking back, this process wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be once I made the decision to give it my full attention. Although, this may still be the honeymoon period, so I best not count my chickens…

Currently reading: Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five. I came across this interesting paragraph where the author talks about the importance of relationships:

When I lecture on the science of young brains, the dads (it’s almost always the dads) demand to know how to get their kids into Harvard. The question invariably angers me. I bellow, “You want to get your kid into Harvard? You really want to know what the data say? I’ll tell you what the data say! Go home and love your wife!”

Fascinating! Although, when I told my husband this when he got home, he replied that that must mean our children will be going to community college. Boo.

Here is something else I found out today – this blog made Babble’s list of Top 50 Mom Craft Blogs 2011! How’s that for crazy? I had gotten an email a while back saying I was nominated, but I didn’t realize the result. And within that listing, my blog also ranks #8 in the Best for Moms Category. Well, I’m so honored. Thanks! 🙂


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DIY Baby Mustache Pacifier + Printable Template PDF

Doesn’t it seem like the majority of the really cute “make for baby” projects are geared toward girls? I was reviewing the baby craft tutorial list and saw only a few for little boys. That got me thinking. What would be a fun and easy project to make for the baby?

How about mustache pacifiers!

These are hilarious. I’ve included the above printable pdf to download with several different styles. Handlebar mustache, anyone? Or perhaps a curling fu manchu? There are both Soothies and Avent pacifiers in our house, so that is what I used for sizing. You can cut the shapes straight from the printed sheet or use the template to cut the mustaches out of felt, as I did. Double stick tape worked well, although, if your child is older, you may want to do a better job of securing it, perhaps with hot glue or super glue.

Score one more for the boys club!

Common sense precaution: These are just a novelty. You probably shouldn’t leave your child unattended while using a mustache pacifier.

Copyright Note: Downloads are for personal, non-commercial use only. In addition, please do not redistribute or modify any of the templates. If you’d like to link to the pdf, please link to this post directly. Thanks!


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Splish splash

Another beautiful Saturday at Cannon Beach. David and Chloe purchased her first “real” kite at the Kite Factory, and it joined the many other flying colors in the air that day. I felt so happy watching them play. I want Chloe’s (and Leo’s) childhood to be filled with days like this – full of sunshine and fresh air, and lots of joy. I want them to love the beach as much as I do. My only regret is not taking a photo of Leo. It’s his third time at the coast, but it’s always been too windy to lay him down on the sand. Instead, he spends his time sleeping on my chest in his carrier, which makes him hard to photograph. But it won’t be long before he is out enjoying the water just like his sister.


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4 Sanity Savers for a New Mom of 2

Being a mother of 2 is hard. Here are 4 things that have been a big help to me this second time around:

1. Face Wipes When I am too exhausted to wash my face (or even shower), I’ve found the Yes to cucumber towelettes a quick and refreshing substitute. The Yes to Baby Carrots Nose + Face wipes, have come in handy for cleaning up baby, too.

2. Tandem Stroller A tandem stroller is a must. We got the Joovy Caboose. My toddler usually wants to walk everywhere, but there are times when she’s tired or needs a place to stand while I speed along. This stroller has an almost universal infant car seat attachment, so baby goes from the car to the stroller with ease. The optional Joovy Parent Organizer puts drinks, keys, phone, snacks, etc., right at your fingertips. The only down side to this stroller is its slightly heavier weight and size (compared to a single stroller), but they do make a more expensive ultralight version.

3. Video Monitor There were so many times when I wished I could check in on our first baby without going into her room. My babies are such light sleepers, that a floorboard creaking can wake them up. And an audio monitor just isn’t the same. A picture is worth a thousand words (or sounds)! Plus, our Summer Infant Baby Touch monitor can pan & zoom, has two-way talking, and can take multiple cameras on the same handset.

4. Smart Phone OMG am I so thankful to have one of these. Its great for taking photos and videos of the kids, handy to keep in my pocket, check the weather, you name it. And there really seems to be an app for all things baby – from tracking feeding, poops, and milestones to providing white noise. Sometimes I’ll read, play games or surf the web while breastfeeding, and when necessary I can instantly hand it off to my toddler to play with when I just want some peace with the newborn.

Are you a mother (or grandma, aunt, child-care provider, etc)? I’d love to know what helpful items you’d suggest!


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Lazy Weekend

I hope you had a nice weekend! Ours was pretty relaxing. I think the most effort I put into anything this weekend was dyeing my hair. I had to fix a botched lightening job from a few weeks ago that I did without David here to help me with the kids. Big mistake. It turned out patchy and strangely reddish. If I had done my research, too, I would have realized that they discontinued that line of products. Last night I dyed it back to my normal color. Much better. Makes me wonder why I wanted to lighten it in the first place.

When we woke up Saturday morning, we noticed two of our Painted Lady Butterflies had emerged from their chrysalides. Two more emerged this morning. It is nice to see Chloe curious about them, since she is NOT into bugs. Sometimes she’ll be playing outside and I’ll hear a blood-curdling scream because she saw a bee or some such insect get too close without warning. She usually shies away from butterflies, too, since their flight pattern is so drunken-looking and unpredictable. We released them this morning, and Chloe did great. Now we are just waiting for the remaining one to hatch.

Otherwise, besides getting groceries, and taking Chloe swimming, David and Chloe spent most of both weekend days playing Legos. Leo watched them from his play pad for a while. Will he like Legos as much as his father and sister?
Only time will tell, but as a mama, I’m not looking forward to keeping all those little pieces out of his reach, and out of his mouth!

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