Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Guilt Factor

No one tells you that when you become a mom, you will leave the hospital with a sweet little bundle of joy and a gigantic side order of guilt. It starts out small with little new mom insecurities (why don't I feel bonded to my baby?--she's been inside of me for months!) and can grow to be a huge part of your life if you allow it to. I will note that there are some factors beyond your control i.e. postpartum depression, which I experienced after having Mia. It can be overwhelming to deal with the guilt and anxiety, especially the first time around, so I am a big fan of knowing yourself and knowing when you need to ask for professional help. Even with counseling and medication, I have found that the guilt never goes away.

Sometimes, I think it is worse now that I have two children because I have two little people who count on me in addition to husband, house, and dog. Moms have so many balls to juggle, we need about 8 arms to keep them all up in the air. Obviously, we only have the two arms, so something has to give. There are days when I think that something is my sanity!

Then the guilt sneaks in. It has a way of grabbing hold when we are feeling exhausted, frustrated, and disappointed with ourselves for not being able to be all things to all people (which face it, isn't realistic!) I hear that annoying little voice of guilt telling me that I need to be more patient, need to spend more time with each of the kids individually, need to get more housework done, need to spend more time playing outside, need to give the dog more attention, need to work on communicating better with my husband, and it goes on and on. The guilt chips away at my self-confidence, making me feel like I am letting everyone down. I feel even more guilty when I start to think I need a break from it all. The most ironic part of all is when I feel guilty for wanting me time. It's a vicious cycle of guilt I have yet to break away from (and I suspect that I never will). So, I self-medicate with chocolate!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Once Upon a Potty

Mia decided she was seriously interested in potty training sometime in early March after we had started visiting preschools. (If I had known that would do the trick, I would have started taking her to see preschools sooner.) I got excited a couple of days ago when I realized she had gone about a week without having an accident, but since then she has had an accident each day. I know it's a process, but I was so hopeful that the end was in sight. I don't know how much backsliding is normal, but it has happened a few times. She will be having a lot of success, and then something happens and she seems to lose it for awhile. So here are my records of some potty training milestones... I wonder if mapping them out will help me figure out a pattern if there is one. If you are sensitive about "personal business" you may want to stop reading.

Saturday March 13, pooped on potty for first time

Friday March 19, went all day without potty accidents

Saturday April 10, pooped in potty (not sure why I noted this unless it had been a problem?)

Sunday April 18, earned 2nd pony (This explains April 10--She was working to earn 3 My Little Ponies that we bought for potty training rewards.)

Wednesday April 21, gave suppository (Mia has a history of holding it in, perhaps making it that much harder to go on the potty.)

Sunday April 25, gave Miralax (still having problems, apparently)

Wednesday April 28, earned 3rd pony (pooped in the toilet!)

Thursday April 29, gave Miralax (I think she must have really been trying to go, but not been able to.)

Friday April 30, pooped in Pull-Up (We realized that just getting her to poop was important at the time, and tried not to push her to use the potty since she asked for the Pull-Up.)

Wednesday May 5, pooped in underwear

Thursday May 6, pooped in Pull-Up

Tuesday May 18, pooped in Pull-Up

Friday June 4, earned the My Little Pony Castle (final toy reward for pooping in the potty- and by that point I think I had told her it had to be in the toilet because emptying the potty was just too gross for me to deal with anymore.)

Thursday June 17, last reward (candy) for pooping in potty (At some point during that past 4 weeks she figured out that pooping didn't hurt if you didn't hold it in, and she started doing it in the toilet instead of the potty!!)

I have no idea when we stopped giving candy (M & Ms or Reese's Pieces) for peeing in the potty, but we had quit doing it and then gone back to it since she had some regression due to trying to tackle #2. I just know that we have tried several different incentives. We ended up letting her earn several more My Little Ponies and finally a big reward-- the My Little Pony Castle. I had gotten the castle and ponies at a garage sale for $2 so it wasn't too big of a deal and she was getting so excited when she pooped at got to pick out her pony. The funny thing is she would select the pony by size in correlation to the amount of poop she produced, and she felt that she had to do a fantastic poop to earn that castle. I was so optimistic that she had it under control at that point at least for day-time. I suppose some day it will be over and I will forget all of this and then it will be time to potty train Logan!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Make Your Own: Baby Wipes

Since we started cloth diapering, I have been making our baby wipes. I find that this is pretty simple and a great way to save money on something you buy a lot of when you have little ones. Plus, I know what is in them and what is not in them (ie. alcohol). I got this recipe from a friend (thanks, Rindy!), and I will pass it along to you.

1 1/2 cup water
1 Tbs baby oil
1 tsp baby soap

Mix together, and voila! Baby wipe solution. Next, add your wipes. I use both baby washcloths (with the tags cut off) and paper towels. Bounty Select-a-Size are perfect for this. I tear off a length, accordian fold it, and then cut down the middle so I have two long pieces. I usually double or triple this recipe, by the way, and store it in some old Huggies wipes containers along with my washcloths or paper towels. In our house, washcloths are for diaper duty and paper towels we keep in the kitchen for cleaning messy hands and faces, but you could use exclusively paper towels (especially if you use disposable diapers) or washcloths (perfect cloth diaper wipes).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Going Places: Finding a Balance between Preparation and Flexibility

I keep trying to be more organized when going on outings with the kids, but it seems like flexibility is just as important as organization. I knew we needed to leave kind of early this morning to go tour the Chelsea Teddy Bear Company, which the GPS said would take about 40 minutes to get to. So, I packed the diaper bag last night along with lunch for everyone. Then, I set my alarm clock (don't do that much anymore) to get up and get ready. Normally, I just wake up when the kids do and grab a shower whenever is convenient. Despite my best intentions, we left late and of course, arrived late. Luckily the mom's group is patient and waits a few minutes for stragglers (usually us).

It turns out that their "factory tour" isn't much of a tour. The lady told us about the history of teddy bears and how the company was started. Naturally, the kids weren't interested in that. Then she took us inside to a small closed in area and showed us a little about the steps involved in creating teddy bears from drawing to completion. Again, the kids weren't that interested in looking at the pattern on the wall or feeling the materials used to stuff the bears. The highlight of our tour was seeing the world's largest teddy bear, which is pretty sad looking. Gravity and time have not been kind to him, so he is a bit droopy and bedraggled. After the "tour" we looked around at all of the merchandise they had for sale, and I showed Mia the items I saw that had a sign reading "$2 or less." She chose a blue cheerleading skirt that I thought would fit her animals or dolls at home. It was a bargain at 53 cents.

The three other moms and I discussed our options for what to do next. Others didn't bring a lunch which left the Treehouse play area or McDonald's. I didn't want to buy expensive food at Treehouse since it would have cost $6 to get in, so we headed to McDonald's. I guess I didn't need to pack that lunch, but oh well. Mia enjoyed the play area and she even ate her entire Happy Meal, so I was happy. Logan made an enormous mess eating his food that I had packed for him. I think more ended up on the floor than in his belly, but again, oh well.

We loved the drive there and back since the Garmin took us on many winding, hilly back roads. Mia called out every time she saw horses, which was often, and I saw some really pretty houses. The most interesting part for me was having to stop to allow seven ducklings cross the road in front of us! I think everyone had fun even if it wasn't doing the thing we originally set out to do. This reminded me that it's important to be flexible. Sometimes it's nice not to have a schedule.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rollin' in the (Play) Dough

Some things are just better when you make them yourself. Play Dough is definitely one of them, in my opinion. Here is the recipe we use:

1 cup flour
1 cup water
1 tbs oil
1 tbs powdered alum
1/2 cup salt
2 tbs vanilla
food coloring (optional)

Mix all dry ingredients. Add oil and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until reaching the consistency of mashed potatoes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and food coloring. Divide into balls and work in color by kneading.

This play dough is super soft, lasts longer than store-bought (we made a batch 3 months ago and it is still good after almost daily use), and smells yummy-- bonus!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

June 13, 2009

Thinking back to one year ago today when we made that trip to St. Joe's in Ann Arbor believing that we were having a baby even though I was only 26 weeks, 5 days pregnant. I can't help but feel thankful that everything turned out okay, and I was able to carry Logan full-term (which I didn't even do for Mia!). That makes it totally worth all the IVs, blood draws, monitoring, and pills.

The doctors and nurses took such great care of me for the 7 weeks that I was in the hospital. I didn't want to leave. I felt that Logan and I were safe there and I was scared to leave at 34 weeks, especially since I had told myself day after day that 7 weeks was the end goal, the best possible outcome for Logan. This is what they told us initially when I went in with the preterm rupture of membranes, that if I somehow managed to stay pregnant that long they would induce me because the risk of infection would outweigh the risk of prematurity at that point. I thought that if I left the hospital without a baby it would be because he was in the NICU not because I was still pregnant. Yes, I put my faith in God, but I also believe in modern medicine!

The doctors cannot explained how the rupture sealed over. It is a very rare thing to happen. All I know is that prayer works and I am thankful for all of the prayers that were said on our behalf. Having a healthy full-term baby after all of that is proof that God heals through the power of prayer.

Even though I was happy to be in the safe zone, I didn't expect to make it another 4 weeks at home. I was sure we would be back at the hospital within a few days, but we hung in there until Dr. Walsh said my blood pressure was too high (170/120 at my checkup) and they needed to induce me. How crazy to think that they had to break my water that had already been broken!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Mom2Mom Madness

I am officially participating in my first Mom2Mom Sale (as a seller) tomorrow. It's been a TON of work preparing for this, so I hope it's worth it. My goal is to unload stuff we no longer need rather than to make money, although some money would be nice. It did cost $25 to rent the space (which I had thought included a table, but apparently not). It took about 4-5 days of folding clothes and sorting them by size, and I ended up with eight bins of kids clothes plus a large bin of maternity clothes. I was a bit surprised that I actually felt kind of nostalgic toward those clothes that I wore during my two pregnancies. At the time, I was so sick of them!
Okay, so assuming we can fit all of those clothes bins in the cars (and yes, we are taking both cars), I am hoping to also sell two Diaper Champs, the bouncy seat, the play gym, Logan's size small Fuzzi Bunz diapers, winter apparel, that cozy little zippered sleeping bag type thing for the car seat, and an assortment of noisy toys. What are the odds that anyone wants those? I guess if the price is right... Aside from the diapers, I don't think I will ask more than $5 for an item. I hope my guesses are good.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mia's Bedtime Excuses

Mia has come up with an assortment of excuses why she can't go to bed, and recently, why she is up in the middle of the night. She's only 3, but she is a pro already. The sad thing is that they have all worked for her, so being a quick learner, she pulls them out whenever she thinks they might get her what she wants.

1) There's a ghost in my room.
2) I'm hungry.
3) I need my water bottle.
4) I have a snotty nose.
5) I have water in my eyes. (from crying because we aren't buying her lines)
6) I'm not really tired.
7) I want 5 more minutes.
8) I want to say night-night to everyone. (She forgot the dog or the wall, or something...)
9) I went pee-pee in my Pull-Up.
10) I heard a scary noise.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Reasons Why I Love My Cloth Diapers

1) They save us so much money. The resale value is great, so when it comes time to sell them, I can say I diapered Logan for free (or nearly)!
2) Doing our part to help out the environment by not dumping thousands of diapers in a landfill.
3) Way cuter than disposables. :) So many choices for colors and patterns...
4) This is the only thing that cleared up Logan's diaper rash. (I probably should make this #1)
5) People think I am an awesome mom for using cloth diapers. (I believe just yesterday I was called "Super Mom"- gotta say that feels pretty good).
6) Used cloth diapers smell way better than a pail full of dirty disposables.
7) My hands actually get less icky during changes than they did when I used disposables.
8) I can use one cloth wipe instead of up to 5 or 6 disposable wipes to clean up a poopy bum.
9) You can customize the fit much more than with disposables (adjustable at the legs and the waist).
10) No weird, scary chemicals up against baby's tushie.
11) Snaps are harder for a baby to undo than the disposable's velcro-type tabs.
12) Diaper blow-outs: forget about it.
13) Soft, fleecy material or scratchy paper material? Is there really any question as to which I want against my baby's bottom?
14) I have heard that cloth-diapered babies potty train more easily.
15) A baby can wear nothing but a cloth diaper and look adorable. It's harder to pull off in a disposable (not quite as classy, if you ask me).
16) How many conversations have I been drawn into about disposables? (um, probably none) I love talking about our FuzziBunz, and people are always interested in talking about them. :)
17) The brand names are fun to say. I love FuzziBunz!!
18) Better absorbancy, again with the customization ie. add a hemp doubler behind the microfiber insert.
19) I love looking at our stash of cloth diapers. They make me happy. :)
20) Fun accessories like wet bags, which are also great for wet swimsuits and clothes that have fallen prey to the many accidents of toilet-training a toddler. (I actually get tons of compliments on my wet bag that I carry in the diaper bag!)
21) If I hadn't started cloth diapering I wouldn't have learned about the most awesome diaper rash salve, Northern Essence. Great stuff! (and it smells like lemon not zinc oxide, total bonus)

The Difference Between Girls and Boys...

#1 Girls pull the toilet paper off the roll because it is fun to play with; boys do it because it is fun to eat!

#2 Girls like shoes as a fashion statement; boys like them as a teething toy or appetizer.

#3 You never know what will come out of a girl's mouth; you never know what will go into a boy's mouth.

#4 Girls feel proud of themselves when they learn they can go potty in the toilet; boys feel proud of themselves when they learn they can play in the toilet.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Mommy Must-Haves

In a time when you can simply click your mouse to tell the world (or rather, the world according to Facebook) that you "like" something (I still don't know why they changed it; being a "fan" made sense to me), I have been thinking a bit about how much stuff there is to buy when you have a baby. Most of it is probably unnecessary since all a baby really needs is food, diapers, something on its back, and a place to sleep. However, there are many ingenious products out there that truly do make our job as mommy (or daddy) easier. Here I will offer my 2 cents on the subject.

My Must-Haves:
~ Moby Wrap This is seriously one of the smartest things I ever bought! As far as baby carriers go, it is ideal. You can wear the baby facing you, facing out, on your back, on your fits newborn babies on up to toddlers. And despite what people assume by looking at it, it is really EASY to use. Oh, and it is machine washable--total mommy must-have!

~ Boppy Pillow I keep one upstairs and one downstairs. Extra covers are handy, too. (Both of my kids had reflux and spit up often). This is so helpful with nursing, but also great for tummy time, supporting a new sitter, and holding a sleeping baby (your arm gets less tired and you don't have a sweaty baby head plastered to you).

~ electric breast pump I use the Medela Pump in Style for an entire year with my first child, and it is continuing to serve me well...

~ cloth diapers This is something new to me as a stay-at-home mom. I used disposables with my first, and I really wish I had known about modern cloth diapers sooner. I cannot say enough good things about my son's FuzziBunz. :)

~ wipes Now that I am cloth diapering, I use washcloths as wipes, but I also make my own from Bounty paper towels, water, baby oil, and baby wash. These are the ones that we use for cleaning hands and faces after meals.

~ diaper bag Any bag that fits your needs will work. You can just add a changing pad and you're all set. My main bags are a sort of large tote with inside and outside pockets and magnetic closure and a backpack (which I always use if I know I will be wearing the baby). I got by with the hospital freebies for awhile, but found that they just were not big enough for me.

~ Onesies Self-explanatory. You can never have too many!

~ Crib Obviously, this needs to be safe, but other than that you have many, many options for style, color, price, etc. I found that using the bassinet part of the Pack 'n Play (in our bedroom) was great for the first few weeks until I was ready to move them into their own room.

~ Baby Gates Not needed right away, but there will come a time...

~ Car Seat Again, make sure it is safe. There are so many! We have always purchased Graco, though. No complaints there.

~ Wet Bags They are so handy whether or not you cloth diaper.

Nice But Not Necessary:
~ glider Great for nursing, soothing, and reading bedtime stories.

~ Exersaucer

~ Bouncy Seat The Exersaucer and bouncy seat definitely got more use the second time around just because it is harder to juggle a toddler and a baby.

~ Play Gym

~ Changing Table Since our nursery isn't that large, and to save money, we skipped this. We just use a changing pad on top of the dresser.

Friday, June 4, 2010


We all say them when we become moms (even though we swear we won't; they just come out).
Here is my list so far:
~ Because I said so. (enough said)
~ I heard you the first time!
~ That's nice.
~ No, but thanks for asking.
~ Life's not fair.
~ We don't always get what we want.
~ What's the magic word?

And some newer ones I am trying to use more often a la' Love and Logic:
~ What a bummer!
~ How sad.
~ This is so sad...

Just Getting Started...

My first blog post:
It feels like trying to do a homework assignment when you don't really understand the directions (but you don't want to ask for help because you don't want anyone to know you don't have a clue what you're doing). Please bear with me while I am learning!

Why I feel compelled to try it out:
1) I'm on the computer all the time, anyway.
2) Trying new things is good, right?
3) As I told my husband last night, if I want to write, I need to start writing!

So Let's Begin...
Life as a stay at home mom of two kids (and a dog) has been a big adjustment for me, but as I am starting to get my bearings, I feel more and more often that I need something else to give me a sense of identity. Yes, I will respond to "Mia's Mom" or "Logan's Mom," but somewhere in the shuffle I have forgotten who "Meg" is (assuming I knew who she was in the first place!) This is my attempt to figure it out, and apparently you have chosen to come along for the ride. (I am not sure why, but that is your decision.)
As I have just had a birthday, and am now a mature 31, I feel it is time for me to start feeling more comfortable expressing my opinion (and I am discovering that I have lots of them, although they have usually been suppressed in my efforts to please everyone else). I know that is a lot to digest. It is for me, too. I have spent my whole life being a pleaser. Now, I am hoping to start living for myself a bit. Not a small undertaking, mind you, since I have a 3 year old and a 9 month old competing for highest priority in my life (and a husband, dog, and house to keep up with).

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I just had my train of though interrupted. However, it is with very good cause. Mia just hollered to tell me that she had pooped in the potty! Fingers crossed that she has overcome her HUGE fear of doing this... anyway, she is happily playing in her room now with her "new" My Little Pony castle (a brilliant garage sale purchase, if I say so myself). Well, I should probably get my shower now since she is playing and the baby is sleeping. More to come...