Monday, August 25, 2014

10 Things My Wild Toddler Has Said or Done Recently

The last two weeks have been part amusing, horrifying, and heart-warming- sometimes all three at the same time. Some of these things are so awesome I had to share. You might want to go use the restroom before we get started. Here we go:

1. While eating outside at one the sidewalk cafes in town: Boo Creature proceeds to wave and smile at every male human that walks by, including several homeless bums, while ignoring all the females. Hubby will be buying a shotgun soon.

2. When not at daycare, continues to mention a boy named "Cooper" from school. She's not even two years old!

3. "Mommy work" is the first thing she says when she wakes up and I'm, well, working in the office. And now she says this every time I'm not out in the living room/kitchen area with her or if I'm on the computer. Maybe mommy works to much?

4. Everything that Boo Creature eats must now be shared with Pooh, her favorite stuffed bear, including blackberries, bananas, yogurt, mac n' cheese, spaghetti, oatmeal, and well you get the point... any good stain-removing tips welcome.

5. She randomly yells "Mama!" with a tone of sheer excitement and runs over hugging my legs or any other body part she can wrap her arms around. Sometimes she adds, "I miss you." *reaches for tissues*

6. "I help" is her newest response when she sees me doing anything around the house. "Why yes, baby, you can help. Here's a mop and some floor cleaner. Knock yourself out. And while you're at it throw some laundry in the washer, fill up the kitty's water dish, and here's the toilet brush. Mama's going to make herself a lemon drop."

7. Her favorite nursery rhymes: "Tinkle, Tinkle" "Ashes, Ashes" "I Happy (If You're Happy and You Know it, in case you couldn't figure that one out) and "Bitty Spider"- all complete with hand gestures.

8. When asked what she'd like to eat for lunch, she opens the fridge, places one hand on hip, sighs dramatically, and says "Let's see." Theater lessons, anyone?

9. "I have belly-body," and points to her navel. Then she pulls up my shirt, inserts finger in my navel, and says "Mommy's belly-body." This has happened in public several times. Once she even attempted to pull up my dress to access "Mommy's belly-body." Because pulling down mommy's shirt and saying "Milk" at top volume wasn't enough.

10. Boo Creature has a discovered mommy's bras. The last night she grabbed one from the laundry basket, placed it on her chest, and proceeded to walk around the house saying "I want boobs." Me too sweetie, me too. Today she grabbed two of my bras and says "I have boobs." Did I mention she's not even two?

Boo Creature & "Mama's Shoes"

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Zulily Mountain Buggy - Nano Exclusive Sale and Giveaway!

Hello Dear Readers,

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

This is for all of you new parents out there! Zulily has just released the Mountain Buggy - Nano Travel System: a one-of-a-kind Stroller and Protect Infant Car Seat combination system that features the lightest car seat on the market and a stroller that folds ultra compact into a shoulder-strap bag, perfect for a family on the go! The best news — we can both win one! Here's how…

Starting today (8/19) through Thursday (8/21), you can enter the zulily Moutain Buggy - Nano Giveaway by sharing your favorite Nano color in the comments below.

zulily Mountain Buggy - Nano Giveaway!I'm entering the zulily travel system giveaway contest and if I win one, so can one of you!

A little about the Mountain Buggy - Nano:
• Includes the Protect Infant Car Seat one of the lightest on the market at 8.3 pounds
• Lifts out of its sturdy LATCH base without disturbing Baby and into the Nano easy-push 13.7 lb stroller
• The stroller folds ultra compact into a shoulder-strap bag to simplify travel for a family on the go
• Available for $349.99 with free shipping!


Good Luck everyone!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My breastfeeding story.

Since August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month, I figured now would be a great time to share my breastfeeding story.

Long before my daughter was born, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I wanted to breastfeed. I mean, really, free food for baby & burn calories at the same time? Sign me up! The day I was supposed to attend the breastfeeding class at the clinic, I went into labor so I missed it. I tried not to worry because, hey, women have been breastfeeding their babies for thousands of years so it's pretty much embedded into our DNA, right? Plus, I'd watched all those baby breast crawl videos on Youtube. I planned to have a natural delivery, preferably a water birth, and breastfeeding was only appropriate.
Unfortunately my labor & delivery did not go as planned (you can read the story here). So it became very important that I breastfeed my girl, because I wanted to make up for the bumpy start to our mommy/baby relationship. Had I not been as committed, I would have given up within the first month.
When she was born, they placed her on my chest. I watched with amazement as she slowly worked her way to my nipple. It worked. She latched on and started sucking hard. It hurt a little, but after what I went through giving birth to her, the pain seemed more like a light pinch compared to the punched-in-the-crotch-by-a-boxing-champion feeling that came as my epidural wore off.
Every two hours the nurses came in to make sure I was feeding her. I did. Around the clock, I was up trying to nurse her. The lactation specialists came in and checked to see how well she latched because with each feeding my nipples hurt more and more. Latching wasn't the issue. Once she got my nipple in her mouth she chomped down on it every time. It wasn't until the last day in the hospital (day 5) that we finally got her to not bite my nipple.
But the other problem was my milk hadn't come in. The lactation specialists set me up with a pump and after every feeding, I had to pump for fifteen minutes. (Sleep became a relic of the past.) While in the hospital they supplemented with breast bank milk, but as we were getting ready to check out I started to freak-out about what we would do once home. Lucky for me, a girlfriend gave me several bags of her frozen milk which was just enough to get us through until my milk arrived (day 7).
Every feeding session for the first couple of weeks was a traumatic event for both of us. I'd silently curse away as she suckled, many times she would fuss for reasons unknown. Most of the time I blamed myself because I was so tense and she could pick up on that. Or at least that's what I thought at the time.
Within two weeks of the birth we developed thrush. Not sure who got it first but I had it in my nipples and her poor mouth was covered with white patches. So now not only were my nipples bleeding and sore, they also hurt like a mother of Satan. Every time my daughter nursed I felt like someone inserted hypodermic needles into my breasts. My midwife prescribed some medicine for both of us. Now my every two hour feeding routine included, washing nipples with apple cider vinegar,  applying generous amounts of all purpose nipple cream, and changing breast pads. Oh, and pump. I still wasn't producing enough milk... I also drank truckloads of Kefir. The thrush cleared within a week.
I had many mama friends stop by and say, "yeah, the first couple of weeks hurt, but then you nipples get tough." Two, three, four weeks had already passed and I still had to use all purpose nipple cream to help with the pain. One mama however told me it took her at least eight weeks. That made me feel better. Especially since that's how long it took my nipples to finally "toughen up."
After that breastfeeding became the natural wonderful magical thing everyone keeps talking about. I watched my newborn grow for the first six months primarily on the milk my small B size boobs produced. How freaking amazing is that?
My daughter is almost 19 months now and is slowly weening herself, which makes me rather sad that our beautiful moments are coming to an end.  But I have a few selfies like this one that captured a half of a nanosecond of one of these moments.  Please share your breastfeeding story in the comments for others to read. Happy Breastfeeding Month!

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Art of Extreme Self-care Chapter 8

Hello and welcome to The Art of Extreme Self-care postpartum style. For those of you who are new to my blog, last December I announced I would be doing a read-a-long of The Art of Extreme Self-care by Cheryl Richardson and sharing with you how I applied the principles of the book in a postpartum setting.  We will be focusing on one chapter a month and while I try to post the first Monday of the month, that doesn't always happen. Last chapter was about creating a soul-nurturing environment. Let's dive into chapter 8.

Chapter 8 overview: Protecting your sensitivity.

What I got out of the chapter: I've always been a sensitive person, but over the years I've grown pretty thick skin and then the Boo Creature arrived last year. Everything changed. One layer at a time her birth and the postpartum period stripped me of the defenses I had established through life circumstances. Never in my life did I feel more vulnerable than the first year of motherhood. And I was in a particularly fragile point in my life when I read this chapter.

Cheryl talks about how sensitivity isn't necessarily a bad thing and that we should embrace and protect it. As a mom, being sensitive allows me to anticipate the needs of my daughter and provide the necessary care she requires to grow. Cheryl gives 5 different ways to protect this gift.

1. Step into the Moment: Being present in the moment allows you the freedom to live. I tend to worry about the future or rehash the past, so being in the moment took lots of practice for me. Still does actually. Life is so much better and no matter how terrible the day goes, if I think in minutes rather than hours, I feel empowered instead of overwhelmed.

2. Turn Down the Noise: Sensitive people need quiet. I need quiet. I'm so much more productive at work in the morning before everyone arrives. When the house is quiet I feel regenerated and the creative juices start flowing. When I feel stressed and frustrated, I go up to the mountain and hike. The stillness of the woods calms my nerves. At the same time the roar of the ocean has the same tranquil affect on me too. I guess it's the electronic noise that gets me. One of the things I noticed is that if I wake up in the early morning and take 10 minutes for quiet meditation and yoga, I feel so much more grounded throughout the day because when challenges arise, I can always go back to the still place I established in the morning. At night I turn my cell phone ringer off and power down all the electronics (computer, TV, etc). This helps me slow down to prepare for sleep.

3. Stop the Violence: The older I get the less I enjoy violence on TV. I've never been able to handle violent news. A few years ago, I stopped watching the evening news, because I always went to bed depressed by all the terrible things happening in the world. People have asked me if not watching the news is like burying my head in the sand because we need to know what's happening in the world. If I need to know what's going on, I can look on the internet and read about it. The way news is presented through the media these days is so sensationalized to play with one's emotions. Even the weather is reported in such a dramatic fashion sometimes I stress out about the rain and I live in Portland where it rains. A lot. Now, I have a weather widget on my phone and computer desktop. For world news I'll listen to NPR or watch News Hour on PBS.

4. Limits on Toxic People: As a mom, my time is limited as is, so why would I want to spend the precious little free-time I have with people that bring me down or don't appreciate me as is? My circle of friends dwindled quite fast after baby arrived and surprisingly I was okay with that because I don't have time for drama. While I lost some friends, I gained new ones. Other moms came into my picture who have helped me so much on the road to recovery through postpartum depression. The people who understand what motherhood is like are those who have stayed close even though I don't get to see them as much as I would like. I'm extremely grateful for those friendships.

5. Managing Technology: Oh boy, the moment I went into the hospital to deliver my daughter, I turned my phone off and kept it off for several days. Those first few weeks, I rarely answered my phone or went online unless I needed to research something or order diapers. As my daughter has gotten older, I found myself on Facebook more often or checking my email frequently throughout the day--something I used to limit not long ago. Last month I realized I spent way too much time on the computer outside of the 40 hours a week for my day job (which most of those 40 is spent on a computer). When I reread this chapter, I knew I needed to change this unhealthy trend especially since my next book, Urban Goddess Mama-to-be, is only 1/2 written when the rough draft should have been finished by the end of July. That's when I made an announcement that I would be offline for a while so I could get my writing caught up. The last couple of weeks have been wonderful not having the pressure of social media demands. When I do finish the book and return online, I will put more effort into limiting my social media interaction.

So what about you? How do you protect your sensitivity?