Archive for September 2015

Two Kids is Like....

September 29, 2015

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Having two kids is like.....

Wrestling two opponents at one time where one is a crazy drunk raccoon and the other is a baby koala that clings to your neck and never leaves your boob.

Driving past your destination and telling your toddler you "forgot how to get there" just so you can squeeze in an extra 15 minutes of nap for the baby.

Eating the cold mac n' cheese off of your toddler's plate because it's likely your only chance to get lunch.

Having a stranger hold your crying baby while you sit in the hairdresser's seat with a toddler in your lap because he's scared to sit by himself. And if he doesn't get a haircut right now he never will.

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Nursing a baby on the couch while the toddler naps next to you. It's such a sweet moment with both of your kids that you start to feel all warm and fuzzy inside...until you realize that warm feeling is actually toddler pee. 

A dance party in the middle of the kitchen during "the witching hour" to get the wiggles out.

Stealing a pack of fruit snacks and eating them in the bathroom.

Having discussions about boy parts and girl parts every time your toddler "helps" you change a diaper.

Having your toddler dictate the family's halloween costumes: Sadie is either going to be Thor or a helicopter. Not sure how I'm going to pull either of those off.

Getting slobbery kisses from two kids and loving every second of it.

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Laying your baby inside of your giant purse on the floor of the library bathroom while you help your toddler hover over the toilet seat. True story. Note to self: never forget to bring the carseat with you to the bathroom.

Nursing a baby while playing catch. Nursing a baby while crashing toy cars in to each other. Nursing a baby while talking in a batman voice. Nursing a baby while playing a game you don't understand,  has no rules, and involves you being the "bad guy."

Sending your toddler on pretend missions to fetch a burp cloth/wipe/diaper just to have 30 seconds of peace.

Getting so excited that both kids are napping at the same time that you spend the entire 20 minutes of the nap overlap texting your mom about it. 

Racing out of bed when one kid cries out in the middle of the night so that he or she doesn't wake the other.

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Thinking that having just one kid with you on an errand feels like a luxury.

Praying that the baby's diaper doesn't leak all over the place because you forgot to pack an extra outfit.

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Luckily, that last one can be prevented by purchasing quality diapers, like these. Now that Sadie is rolling around, grabbing her feet, and becoming more and more mobile, we've switch over to using Huggies Little Movers diapers and I couldn't be happier!

The new Huggies Little Movers Diapers have a moving baby system for outstanding grip, fit, and wetness protection which absorbs on contact. So Sadie can so get the most out of every little move as she begins to kick, roll, crawl and walk. Lord help me...I'm not ready for my baby to grow up!

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Be sure to visit Huggies and upload a photo or video to Instagram or Twitter of your moving baby using #SetBabyFree for the chance to be featured on Huggies social pages!


How have you adjusted to two kids? I'd love to hear your stories in the comments!






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8 Tips for Potty Training and Keeping Your Sanity

September 24, 2015

Potty Training

I did it. Yes, I did the impossible and potty trained a toddler just a few short months after having a baby. And I didn't loose my mind. Forget the M&Ms and toys, I deserve a special treat, don't you think? In reality, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Hudson shocked us all and trained in 3 days. YES, 3 DAYS!

Want to know my secrets? I'm not a potty training expert, but here are my 8 tips for potty training and keeping your sanity:


1. Wait until your child is ready. SHOCKER. What can I say? If you came here for some super miracle potty training technique then you came to the wrong place. It sounds simple, but waiting was the key to our success. Hudson's pediatrician recommended we wait to train him until he was close to 3 years old. He said we could torture ourselves for several weeks or months by trying too early, or we could wait until he was ready and train in a few days. Well, the wait paid off because Hudson rocked the potty train like nobody's business. 

I don't know about you, but I'd much rather change more diapers than have to clean poop and pee off of every surface in my house. Can I get an amen?

2. Praise. Lots and lots of praise. We cheered, clapped, high fived, and danced our way to the potty train. Every success was celebrated so that our big boy felt proud of his accomplishments. And he should be proud. Using the potty is a big deal! If Hudson had an accident, we quickly cleaned him up and moved on. Zero negativity was vital to our success.

3. Bribes. Yep, I said it. My name is Julie and I bribe my child. M&Ms did the trick for us. Each time Hudson used the potty he got one M&M. Two for #2. The first few days we would remind him that he would get an M&M, but then we stopped mentioning it. If he asked for an M&M we would give him one, but he soon forgot to even ask! Also, we used these just for potty training and not any other type of reward, so they were a special treat.

4. Ditch those diapers. Once it was potty day, we ditched the diapers and rocked undies. Pull-Ups are great, but they feel like a diaper, so don't even bother (except at nap-time...more on that later). Wearing undies not only helped Hudson feel like a big boy, they also helped him feel when he was wet. 

5. Don't leave the house. Wait to potty train until you can stay at home for at least 3 days. Because potty training while at Target is...the worst. Wait until you feel confident in your child's ability to let you know when they need to potty before you head out of the house. If you can't do this within 5 days then I think you've jumped the gun on potty training. We didn't leave the house for three days while we trained. Fun times.

6. Potty Options. If you have baby, buy your toddler a little potty in addition to a potty seat for each toilet in your house. (To find out what seats we used, see below.) Toddlers don't really understand how to hold it. When they have to go, they have to go RIGHT NOW! Since most of the time I can be found either nursing a baby or holding a baby, a little potty was a lifesaver for me! Hudson can get on it without my help, and I don't have to worry about him falling or tripping while using a step stool. It definitely comes in handy when Hudson has to go and I'm in the middle of taking care of Sadie. The only problem is he prefers it to using a potty seat.....which is a major downfall of a little potty.....because cleaning it is zero fun. So if you don't have another young child to tend to I recommend skipping this and using potty seats only.

7. Communicate, communicate, communicate! Kind of like tip #1, wait to potty train your child until they can communicate with you when they need to go to the potty. If they are too little to understand that, then it's too early to train them. Waiting until Hudson was able to communicate to us when he needed to go potty was another key to our success. I think girls reach this milestone before boys...another reason to wait! Hudson was about 3 weeks shy of turning 3 years old when we trained....but every kid is different.

8. A big reward. We let Hudson pick his reward ahead of time and he picked this backpack for school! We also kept reminding him that in order to go to pre-school he had to be able to pee on the potty every time. Hudson was so excited about school that this worked for us. Find something that motivates your child and remind them frequently of their reward.

So here's how it went down for us: 

Potty Training
Hudson was probably ready for a few weeks before we attempted to train him. Yep, that's right...I put it off. Mostly because I had a newborn to take care of and didn't have the energy for what I thought would be a big potty battle. But in order to go to pre-school Hudson had to be potty trained, so I had to get it done sooner rather than later. If I knew then what I know now, I would have just gone for it....but I had no idea he would knock it out in 3 days!

Day 1: 4 accidents. After an accident we would clean him up, remind him to tell us when he needed to use the potty, and move on. Absolutely no negativity of any kind!

Day 2: 0 accidents. Say what? This was probably a fluke.

Day 3: 1 accident. He told me he needed to go but I was on the phone and couldn't help him in time. My fault.

But that was it! We've been accident free since then! 

A note about Pull-Ups: Some people will say that a sign of being ready to potty train is your child waking up from a nap/bedtime with a dry diaper. Well. Hudson only did that a handful of times....so we stick him in a Pull-Up at nap time and bedtime. Lately he has been waking up from his naps dry, so it's about time to switch to undies. But I think we'll wait a little longer on the night time switch. Cleaning wet sheets is not on my list of fun things to do in my spare time. 

Here are a few things we found helpful when potty training........

Potty Training

1. A potty seat for each bathroom in your house. We have three....so we have one of these (which I like for boys because the front part comes up pretty high to prevent pee getting everywhere) and two of these (which I like because they have handles)....Hudson likes both seats equally.

2. A little potty. We used this firetruck potty and Hudson calls it his "car potty."

3. Flushable wipes are a must have for messes that need just a little more clean up. These ones are my favorites. Trust me on this one.

4. M&Ms. I'm not above bribing my kid and these did the trick!

5. Hudson enjoyed this little book about using the potty, which we read in the weeks leading up to training.

6. Cute undies. These days of the week truck undies are our favorites and Hudson loves picking out a pair each day. Not knowing how many we would go through in a day, I bought like 20 pairs. Turns out we didn't need that many, but you never know! And how cute are these? Love.

7. The Potette Plus. My aunt sent us this after someone recommended it to us on Instagram. It's great for potty-ing on the go. It can be used as a potty seat on a big potty or it can be it's on travel potty...it has legs that pop out and comes with disposable bags that you tie to it so your kid can pop a squat anywhere. Genius.

8. A big reward. In Hudson's case, a back pack. Or as Hudson would say a "pack bag".

So there you have it! My tips for potty training and keeping your sanity. The big takeaway? WAIT until your child is ready. And did I mention waiting until he or she is ready? Can't stress that last one enough folks.

*affiliate links used


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The Breastfeeding Diaries: Lauren from Perfect Little Happiness

September 23, 2015

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I knew from the beginning of my pregnancy that I wanted to breastfeed. I wanted to because it was going to provide invaluable benefits to my future child, from the immunities and vitamins to the security and comfort it would give her. I researched and researched and kept finding more and more benefits. How cool is it that your breastmilk constantly changes in order to meet your child's needs? The information felt endless! It was really a no-brainer to me.

I will start off by saying I truly wanted to give up breastfeeding several times, but I actually made it until my daughter was 2! See? There is light at the end of the tunnel.

I tell you, though, each age has its very own hurdle:

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Newborn:

Getting the latch down. And having it not hurt so bad you have to bury your head into your shoulder and scream your favorite curse word. That was my main focus. Latch more, hurt less, so I can swear less. Thanks to lanolin and my cooling gel nursing pads, the pain went away after about a week. Thank god, because I'm pretty sure my nipples would start to quiver when it was time for her to eat.

2 months:

Supply. Man, did this hurt my ego. Why does it affect our egos? Probably because it's supposed to be innate, it's the purpose of boobs after all. But when struggles arise, it makes you feel like a failure. Going in and seeing the lactation specialist was the best thing ever. Seriously. She was so sweet and kind and helpful, I felt like I owed her big time. Reasons why my supply could've been suffering: not pumping enough, latch could be a little off, not enough calories (ha, right!), hormones changing, introduction of the mini birth control pill, sports bra could be too tight during gym time, and a few other possibilities I can't remember. Did I ever narrow it down? No. I still don't know exactly why I had a drop in supply, but I do know what to do/not to do for next time.

3 months:

Back to work. Pumping was a breeze there. After all, I had my own office. Granted, my coworkers could still hear the sound of my pump, which I was extremely insecure about, but I had my own space. So it was all good. I was drinking mother's milk tea like I had some sort of addiction. But let me tell you, NO one would be addicted to that stuff. Gross. I had no choice but to get used to it. Later, I would discover blessed thistle capsules and say good-bye to the tea.

4 months:

Supply. Again?! I have almost run out of my frozen milk supply. I have not discovered blessed thistle yet. I'm still oh so young, and oh so naive. I pumped and pumped until I wanted to cry. I would nurse my daughter, and then have to pump for another 20 minutes afterward. It was emotionally taxing. Especially when she just wanted to be held. We had to give in and supplement with 4 oz of formula at bedtime. And sometimes intermittently during the day. Why did this feel like a punch in the gut? I'm still feeding my child. It just didn't feel good to be unable to provide.

 photo DSC_0430.jpg6 months:  

I have now introduced myself to Blessed Thistle capsules. Wayyyy easier and less gross than the Mother's Milk tea. Finally no supply issues. Finally. I was getting pretty sick of that roller coaster. But now we are getting ready to start solids.

9 months:

Teething. She now wants to nurse all the time. I am her pacifier. Oh did I mention she ditched those? Apparently she only goes for the real thing. She also sometimes bites my nipple. THAT hurts. She is eating solids three times a day now. Growing baby.

 photo DSC_0680.jpgOne year:

Breastfeeding is easy peasy. I made it to my goal of one year! We have also just introduced whole milk. It's very limited, but sure helps me out. Pumping at work is getting harder because it's hard to find the time. Since I'm not bringing home a ton of milk anymore, she gets a sippy cup of whole milk instead of breast milk at daycare.

14 months:

I'm packing the breast pump away. I haaaaated pumping. I mean who really likes to stick their boobs in a vacuum? I wasn't getting much out anymore anyway. So I figured as long as my daughter was fed normal food during the day, I could nurse her nights and weekends.

15 months:

I was right! My supply intuitively knew to produce nights and weekends. This was amazing. I started to worry if my daughter was too old and if people would judge. She has started to become acrobatic while nursing and kicking me in the face. This is kind of fun :).

18 months:

Thought we would've been done breastfeeding by now, but she has no interest in quitting. She has even started to call it "hummy". I mean, how cute?! I feel like the "right" thing to do is start weaning, but she would be extremely upset. So I just keep going. I started to gradually cut down nursing once a day weekdays and twice a day on weekends. People would start to ask "when does she quit that?" I would just smile and say, "when she's ready".

23 months:

This is the final month. I decided I had to be done. I needed my body to be mine. I never thought I would nurse my child until she was 2 years old, but it was an amazing run. We made it to the World Health Organization's recommendation of 2 years! I couldn't tell you exactly the last nursing session I had. I remember thinking the next day, though, "well I guess yesterday was the last time I would ever nurse her." I wasn't sad, I was happy for the time we had. She tried to hop on my lap a couple times after that, but with good distractions she completely forgot.

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My daughter is two and a half. She has only been done with nursing for 6 months, but it has felt like 6 years for some odd reason. It's not that I miss it, either. I have tested her out a few times by asking her if she remembers "hummy" and she doesn't seem to at all. She usually responds with, "hummus? and crackers?", her favorite snack. I will always remember the way she begged for it immediately after getting home from daycare.  The way she would play with her ear and kick her leg up. The way she would look up at me and gaze into my eyes. The way my left side always seemed to have way more milk than the right. The way she would "talk" with a mouthful of boob, which was basically humming, about how yummy the milk was.

My advice to new moms or moms-to-be someday: Don't give up. There will be hurdles, but in the end it's worth it, because there are so many benefits for you and your baby. If you need help, don't hesitate to ask someone. Educate your family and significant others so they can learn and be as passionate about breastfeeding as you are. Everyone needs a good support system!

You can find Lauren on her blog, Perfect Little Happiness. 


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Hudson's Construction Truck Party

September 22, 2015

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Over the weekend we kept the 3rd birthday celebration going by throwing Hudson a little party, construction truck style. 

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Best theme ever. We had lots of trucks to use as decorations and my truck loving boy was in heaven!

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See what I mean?

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We had the party at a local park and splash pad....it was WAY too cold for the splash pad, but the kids had a blast at the park! And it was a little too windy to put up the birthday banner...so naturally I had to re-create a few of the photos above for you. #bloggerlife

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For the favors, each kid got a little truck and some candy....yes, we had trucks everywhere. 

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The favors turned out so cute and were a BIG hit with the kids! Even the girls loved them! And the birthday boy might have wanted to keep them all.

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My mom and I made cupcakes and topped them with crushed oreos to look like dirt. I decorated the tables with all of Hudson's trucks...which of course ended up being played with by all the kids. Such a fun and easy party!

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We didn't tell Hudson about his party, so when my in-laws arrived with him he was so surprised! He couldn't believe it was all for him. It was such a fun day celebrating our big boy! And afterward, mama was tired. Not going to lie...having the party at a park and coming home to a clean house was kind of amazing. 

Sources:
Construction Party Printables

*affiliate links used


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A New Look

September 18, 2015

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Yep, that's right! It was time for a new design! I'm still finalizing things but will be back next week!


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The Breastfeeding Diaries: Britanie from My Circus, My Monkeys

September 16, 2015

Hi Mamas! My name is Britanie, and I blog over at My Circus, My Monkeys.

I've been a blog reader for years and years, but only recently started my own blogging journey! Like many other Stay-at-Home-Mamas, I found myself needing an outlet to connect with other people walking the same life path as myself. I am so happy with my decision to start blogging, and I love being able to share thoughts, glimpses of my life, and some of my favourite recipes with my friends and readers!


I am a step-mama to two boys; one who is already grown and living on his own, the other is the sweetest 8 year old I have ever met, and then there is our 17 month old wild child!


I knew I wanted to breastfeed long before I ever became a mom. I have always admired breastfeeding mother's and I couldn't wait to experience a nursing relationship of my own! As soon as we became pregnant, I began actively researching and reading all about breastfeeding! I was so excited, and desperately wanted to be successful. It was at this time that I stumbled upon Julie's Breastfeeding Diaries Series; and I swear,  I read every one of your stories! I was so encouraged and loved reading about all the successes and struggles that mom's overcame.


I was fortunate enough to have the fast, natural delivery I had dreamed of - and naively expected Grayson to latch right away. Well let me tell you, that did not happen. Despite my research. My preparedness. My excitement.  He just did not latch. I had a nurse who didn't have the patience (or education?) to help me, and gave me a (improperly fitted) nipple shield and said "here ya go!" He was eating at least, so I didn't stress too much about it. And can you blame me? I hadn't slept in days, I was exhausted, emotional, and just wanted to snuggle and nurse my tiny human. Since baby was feeding fine with the nipple shield, I was sent home two days after I had him. But get this, I couldn't bring the nipple shield home with me. I had to turn it over to the nurse so they could clean it and another mother could use it.

Yep. That's right. They took away the one thing that was allowing my baby to get any milk! But they assured me I could just go buy one at Wal-Mart (wrong). I was so upset and just sat at home and cried. My mother marched back up to the hospital, and demanded that they give her a nipple shield for me. They did, but I knew I needed to contact an IBCLC immediately; and I hooked up with one the next day! 


Her advice and help was invaluable, and I was so grateful that I contacted her. Within a matter of weeks, and several sessions with her, we were off the nipple shield, and breastfeeding away! She helped me deal with Grayson's poor latch (which caused a ton of pain while feeding), my abundance/oversupply of milk, and she gave me the confidence to continue on with my breastfeeding relationship!

I knew that I would do whatever it took to be successful in breastfeeding, and for me this meant no bottles, no pacifiers, co-sleeping, and limited time away from my babe so I could always nurse him on demand. I am so passionate about breastfeeding, and encouraging other Mom's to fulfill their breastfeeding wishes. The special bond that breastfeeding creates between a mother and child truly lays the groundwork for your path as a mother, in my opinion. It is such a natural thing, but it doesn't always come naturally and it can be so discouraging! 


I am so happy that I persevered, and was able to overcome the obstacles thrown my way!


I am still happily nursing my 17 month old spit fire, and I can't imagine us stopping anytime soon. I love seeing the smile on his face when I offer him milk, and though our nursing relationship has evolved from the beginning, I truly believe it is still something we both enjoy and need. 

If I had any piece of advice to offer Mom's who want to breastfeed - it would be to establish your support system before your baby is born, and to contact a Lactation Consultant in the early days of nursing. Even if you feel like you aren't struggling, you could likely benefit from seeing one.

  You can read all about my other Tips for Breastfeeding Success here. 

Be sure to catch up with the rest of the Breastfeeding Diaries at the top of my navigation bar.


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Sadie Mae: 3 Months

September 14, 2015

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Time is flying by and I pray every night that it slows down. Sadie is just the sweetest baby who ever lived and I want to keep her forever and ever.

I mentioned that at 2 months Sadie was sleeping 10 hour stretches and I knew it was too good to be true. Turns out I was right and that only lasted about 2 weeks. But man, those 2 weeks were HEAVEN! Now both kids have decided to be difficult at night. Lucky us! Usually Sadie sleeps between a 6 and 8 hour stretch at night, so I really can't complain. She still refuses to go to sleep until 9pm...but that might have something to do with big brother fighting bedtime and therefore pushing back her bedtime too. 

 photo IMG_0905.jpgSadie LOVES Hudson and wants to watch what he's doing at all times. Her eyes light up when she sees him...it's just the cutest thing ever! But, when he cries and has a tantrum she cries too! Sadie is SO expressive...she looks you in the eye and can communicate so much with just a look. I don't remember Hudson being like that at all...so either 1) I'm crazy, 2) I'm just better at reading babies this time around or 3) It's a difference between boys and girls. I'm going with #3.

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Our big girl weighed in at 14 lbs 8 oz at her 2 1/2 month check up (which was supposed to be her 2 month check up but we were about 2 weeks late)...so I'm guessing she's over the 15 lb mark at this point! She was also in the 90th percentile for height! Looking over Hudson's stats, he was pretty much the same at this point, but it's hard to know for sure since his appointments were actually on time #secondchild.

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Sadie loves to "talk" and socialize and she started laughing this month. It's the cutest thing ever. She just wants to be by one of us at all times and if she's left alone for even a minute she is not a happy camper. I joke that she's the type of girl who always has to have a friend go to the bathroom with her...which I am totally the opposite but find myself with one or two "friends" (aka kids) in the bathroom with me nowadays anyway. Funny how that works.

We just love this little girl so much and are so thankful we get to call her ours.

P.S. Who wants some extra cash to spend at the best store ever? TARGET! Today is the LAST day to enter the Target gift card giveaway! If you all could please click here to visit the Snuggle Bear page and then click to enter the giveaway here I would really appreciate it! 


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