My little goblin

Happy Breastfeeding Month and World Breastfeeding Week! Breastfeeding is a touchy topic and I have not yet been able to wrap my head around why, considering it is why God gave us breasts; to feed our young.  Yet society is totally fine with Vickie exposing all her secrets at the drop of a hat….Anyways,  I digress.  (Still love my girl Vickie and her secrets).  As always I am here to be relate-able to other mamas and parents.

Growing up I had never seen anyone breastfeed so when I first had sass I was a little hesitant to dive into the whole experience.  I decided to ease into it and exclusively pump with her. (She had a gnarly tongue tie so she refused to latch anyways so it just worked out well for me).  I  was able to exclusively pump for 8 weeks for her and decided to stop when it was time for me to go back to work.  My office at the time didn’t have a designated lactation room, we had an empty office that didn’t lock so I was a little skittish about the whole thing.  Not to mention a nasty case of Mastitis around 6 weeks PP…so it just wasn’t something I had my heart set on.  Enter formula.

Fast forward to today…here I am with our little man and currently at 14 and a half months of breastfeeding.  I remember telling my husband that I really wanted to succeed at it this time around.  I had major mom guilt when I stopped EP-ing for sass and I just hoped to make it to 6 months this time.  Well turns out our little guy is a tiny boob goblin. He has basically refused a bottle from the start.  We had a few good streaks of him taking one, but he just has a preference I suppose.

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Looking back, I am embarrassed to say that I used to find it odd and unnatural to nurse a baby after their first birthday and now here I am with a 14 month old who is showing no signs of fully weaning yet.  He goes through phases of only wanting to nurse 3 or 4 times in a 24 hour period to the past week reverting back to what feels like newborn days and not letting me out of his sight.  We are currently working on “boob manners”  because he is getting a bit rude and unruly with his frisking.

According to the CDC’s 2016 breastfeeding statistics, 8 in 10 mothers begin breastfeeding their babies at birth, but only about half are still breastfeeding at 6 months and less than a third at 12 months.  For the life of me, I can’t seem to find how many mothers continue to breastfeed after a year, apparently we are like a lost treasure and extremely rare. Boob Unicorns. Support is such a HUGE thing when it comes to breastfeeding.  Just hearing how proud someone is of your achievements is a real morale booster.  I honestly couldn’t have done it without my husband telling me how amazing I am day in and day out.

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I have been on the other side of it though, a formula mom, and I can honestly say feeding babies is the best option.  Feed all the babies! Whether with breast milk or formula, it is what works best for the family of the child.  So feed on mamas and don’t let anyone get you down!

Below is what my mornings often look life.  Trying to work with a little goblin refusing to unlatch, multitasking at it’s best.

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Shower Me with Compliments

Kids have an innate ability to make their parents feel like they are the most unattractive human beings on the face of the planet, especially their mothers.  They deprive us of sleep and suck the life out of us.  Not only did I suffer 10 months of haulin their asses around (I hated pregnancy), but they seem to remind me of my “mom bod” on the daily.

It is a million degrees outside currently and I hate the heat.  I love nice weather, but I usually tap out around 75 or 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  We have done a ton of swimming this summer so there has been a lot of sunscreen application.  (Note: applying sunscreen to a baby is comparable to wrestling a greased pig, but being just careful enough to not get it in their eyes or mouth.)  19748668_856439448182_5803820596675168684_n

Our stroller and car seat for the little man are currently stained white due to the amount of sunscreen his little white bod requires.  I digress.  Sass also hates sunscreen application, heaven forbid she stops her Evil Knievel scooter tricks into traffic for 90 seconds to have SPF applied.  Upon explaining to her that sunburns hurt really bad and cause wrinkles she replied “That’s okay mom. I want wrinkles, just like you.”  In addition to that gleefully pleasant compliment she tells me on the regular that I have cracks in my forehead.

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As I stated previously, it is hotter than the depths of hell outside right now.  So I have been rocking a lot of shorts, tanks…apparel to keep cool, the usual.  Like most women, at least most women/mothers I know, I don’t shave my legs every single day.  I am usually an every other day type of gal in the summer.  Leg shaving season is A LOT of work.  This morning sass came downstairs happy as could be when she woke up (at 9:34 am mind you – mom win!). She climbed on my lap and wrapped her tiny arms around me and exclaimed “Good Morning Mommy!”  Right after her pleasant, little greeting she told me “Mom, you need to cut off your skin, you have spikes, see these points?” Dully noted, kid.

Henceforth, like most women who have had children, I have some saggy skin on my tummy.  It has faint silvery stretch marks and I never comment on them or point it out in front of my kids.  I want my children to think motherhood is beautiful; saggy skin and all.  The baby loves to pinch my belly, a lot.  I have no idea what his fascination is with it, but he cracks up.  Maybe this is the baby version of play doh.  In addition, every time I rock a bikini sass makes sure to point out that I have a squishy tummy.  Without skippin a beat I reply with “Yes I grew two babies in there, I had to make room somehow!”

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If you want to know how you really look, just ask a 4 year old, she is sure to point out all of your troublesome areas and boost your confidence.  Below is Sass showering me with compliments…

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THIS IS 30

I turned 30 in May.  It didn’t really hit me right away since we had a lot of things going on throughout the month of May.  The baby turned one and my sister got married on the 27th, so between soccer games, work, wedding prep, every day parent stuff and first birthday shenanigans, we overlooked the dirty thirty that crept up rather quickly. My sweet man felt bad that we didn’t celebrate big, but this is 30 to me, not a big Vegas shindig.

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I can remember thinking 30 was SO old when I was in college, and yet here we are.  I don’t often feel like I am thirty.  I get carded when buying alcohol, EVERY SINGLE TIME.  A year or two ago some political campaigners asked me if my folks were home when I walked up the driveway after a run because I “looked like I went to the local high school.”  I spend most days in yoga pants with a messy bun.  I look a lot like a college kid when heading off to the grocery. We got married young and started a family on the earlier side compared to a lot of my peers, but I wouldn’t change a thing.  This is 30.

 

 

Most days we have discussions about bowel movements at the dinner table.  “The baby took a massive shit today.”  “Ugh, I haven’t pooped yet today, it is going to be a hog.”  “Did the dogs poop when you let them out?”  “Yes, we will wipe your butt, do you want mommy or daddy to?”  It never fails our daughter has to take a massive, steamy dump during dinner.  Almost every night, it is like clock work; we have a shitty dinner.  Note: She is also a religious Target pooper, but we have to turn away as she goes…

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I can’t remember the last time my handsome hub and I went out drinking together.  We will sit and watch an episode on Netflix and have a beer or two, maybe sit on the patio while the kids dodge pug poop in the grass, but days of going out are long over.  I went to my sister’s Bachelorette party at the end of April.  I had approximately 4 beers the entire night (5pm-2am) and had the worst stomach ache the next day.  Back in college I could have case races with friends at parties and do keg stands; classy I know.  Fast forward a few weeks later and my husband had my (now) brother in law’s party in Cleveland and felt like hell for about 24 hours following.  It takes us far too long to recover from those nights, I may look like 21, but I cannot drink like I am.

My husband is very busy at work, I work from home (not one of those pyramid things) and have deadlines to meet and I chase kids all day.  Every day our text conversations consist of the below.

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Never fails, almost every night we end up saying we are too tired to watch a show together after fighting with our children to go to bed and stay asleep.  Long gone are the lusty texts we used to send each other…Maybe we should start that up again?  (insert fire emoji here)  I think that is what the kids use these days…sigh.

Some days, my joints kill me.  That tells me I am 30.

I don’t look far enough into the future in terms of retirement. That tells me I don’t act 30.

Last night I practiced crocheting while Grant had a cup of tea, does that say we are 70?

I roll my eyes in disgust at some of the things kids say and wear lately.  I hope that just means I am trying to set a better example for my kids than the nipple pasties and booty shorts I see at the mall and on TV.

Everyone tells us to enjoy our lives now, enjoy the chaos because one day it will be gone. We do, very much.  I love our little life we have together.  I love our kids and that we can keep up with them.  Just because I need to vent from time to time about the temper tantrum that happened in the antique store over a chicken cookie jar or the fact that I haven’t had a full nights’ sleep in over year doesn’t mean I wish it all away.  We are blessed.  Some days are chaos.  Some days my ankles crack up and down the stairs.  Some days I let sass watch the iPad far longer than I should.  Other days my kids eat 3 balanced meals and we do fun activities.  Today, I let my son chew on an empty paper towel roll while our daughter helped herself to chocolate milk with sprinkles poured in it.  This is 30, I love it.

 

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An Angel Tea Party

Up until last month the hardest parenting tasks I have had to deal with were potty training and breastfeeding, but explaining death to a 4 year old is on a whole new level.  I joked that potty training was the Lord Voldemort of parenting, but death is exactly as you would picture it; The Grim Reaper that puts a shadow over your child’s innocent and naive, little life.

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Last month my husband and his family said goodbye to an absolutely amazing, selfless woman, his grandmother; Margaret. She was and still is the glue that holds the family together and my heart breaks when I think we will never hear her sweet voice or play cards with her again.  She welcomed me into her large family over 8 years ago as if I were her granddaughter my entire life.  Sass loved visiting her great grandma; Grammy Miller and associated cookies and flowers with her house whenever we talked about visiting.  Baked goods and flowers were pretty much Margaret’s mantra.

The night Margaret passed away, I laid with sass in her bed and explained to her that Grammy Miller had died and was her angel now.  She looked at me very confused through teary eyes and asked if we could go see her tomorrow.  In the past we had taken flowers to my grandfather’s grave, and most recently I had taken the bouquet from my sister’s wedding so it gave me an opportunity to connect the dots for her.  I had no idea how much empathy and compassion my sassy, little lady had in her tiny body but I soon learned.  Kessler

She proceeded to ask me if Grammy would be buried and if we could take her flowers, then very quietly asked me if I missed my grandpa.  Through tears and a cracking voice I told her I missed him very, very much and that we could take flowers to Grammy Miller whenever she missed her.  Over the next few days she continued to ask questions and seemed genuinely concerned that Grammy Miller would get dirt on her face and in her hair if she were buried in the ground.  Throughout the wake and funeral, our brave little girl marched up and back from the casket a couple dozen times.  She told her great grandmother how much she loved her and how pretty she looked over and over again. In all of the heartache, it was the light my husband needed.  I was so proud of her.

Flash forward a few weeks and our sweet girl asked me if we could go have a tea party with Grammy Miller.  Up until now, she had not mentioned much more of death and didn’t bring up her great grandma since the funeral.  I explained again that Grammy had died and was now her angel.  Sass continued in a snarky, little attitude that she knew and wanted to go have a tea party at her big rock with her name on it.  I couldn’t help but chuckle and wrap my arms around her.  Just like I promised that we could go see Grammy Miller any time she missed her; we got ice cream and went and sat with Grammy Miller for a tea party in the 90 degree heat that afternoon.  If it were 20 below zero, I think my heart would have still melted that afternoon at how sweet and grown up she is becoming.

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Take Care of You

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I pride myself in being a very open individual, it must be because I am a mother.  All modesty goes out the door when someone is shining a light on your downstairs waiting for you to push out a human being.  I go to the bathroom with the door open and walk in front of windows in my underwear.  Although, there is one thing I have not shared with many, I am not sure why.  Maybe I felt ashamed, maybe I just felt like by navigating through it alone I could get through it.  As always, I want to relate to other parents.  So here goes nothin.  I have postpartum anxiety and depression.  I had it after sass was born, and was also diagnosed again after our little man was born.

I tried to tiptoe around it this time.  Doing all of the “right” things.  I went on an incredibly low dose of anxiety medication to try to avoid, what was ultimately the inevitable.  I was determined to continue my breastfeeding journey longer than I had with our daughter.  I took time off work and slowly increased my hours as to not get overwhelmed with life as a mother of two and a hectic sales environment, but to my dismay at around 4 or 5 months postpartum the all too familiar feelings came back.  I never had feelings of hatred or harm towards either my children or myself, I just felt lost.  I had a constant worry over the uncontrollable which ultimately lead to a spiral into a depression.   I don’t want pity.  Please don’t look down on me as I try to help others up.  I am not broken.

On average, 15% of women are diagnosed with a postpartum illness.  That is just those that are diagnosed, there are far more who go without a diagnosis.  I always tell myself, if I were diagnosed with diabetes or an infection of some sort, I would not go untreated. The same goes for a postpartum illness as well.  There was no prevention for me, as I had hoped and tried so desperately to plan.  Our son slept great as a newborn (not so much now), I had all the help in the world from my amazing husband.  I truly had everything, but I just felt like I was navigating through a fog.  Every day was a struggle to not cry or snap at someone.  The once healthy and active lifestyle I loved so much just seemed too daunting to continue.

So here I am, exposed.  I am fine.  I am okay.  I am doing great.  There are some days where I still fall into a discouraging slump.  I worry about anything and everything and then internalize it and it just all snowballs.  Other times I will go days, even weeks without even noticing.  It will be an ongoing battle for a little while I am sure, but I am proud.  I am a proud wife.  I am a proud mother.  I am a proud daughter, sister, friend.  I am happy and ya know what, it does get better.  Always remember to take care of you and know that you are not alone.

How to be a Hot Mess

Now that I am a seasoned mother of two, I can assure you I qualify as a “hot mess”.  I thought chasing after one child was a handful, sprinkle in a second and wooooweeee have we got ourselves a hot mess over here.

Step 1: Be a mother. The end.  Just kidding…kind of.  Being a mom totally qualifies you as a hot mess.  Most of the time I look at the clock and can’t figure out where my entire day has gone.  Granted I work part time and chase two kids, but being a mother seriously is messy.  I took the kids to the park a couple days ago.  Chasing after two kids at the park is like herding cats into a bathtub of water.  (Note: I have never herded cats or tried to give them baths, but I assume it is a shit show) The baby somehow got sunscreen in his eyes even though I slathered his little, glow in the dark, white body with it before we even left for the park.  He must have been sitting in his car seat licking his arms and then smearing the slobbery, sunscreeny mess all over his face.  I spent a good portion of the 90 minutes we were at the park wiping snot and tears off of his face and convincing people he wasn’t a leper, just all irritated from his sunscreen.   Sass refused to get out of the sandbox, so she had that dirty park sand caked in random places that will only become clean once I run her through the car wash.  When it was time to leave she had the most dramatic reaction because she wasted 87/90 minutes parked in the sandbox instead of running off her energy like I had hoped.  All I got from the park visit was snot in my hair, gross sand all over my car, and pit stains on my tee shirt from chasing after the baby who kept trying to climb up the slides.  Hot mess.

Step 2: Pepper in some pets.  We have two pugs.  One was a package deal with me when I met my hunk of a hub, the other we obtained after we got married.  I love our pugs, but they stink and don’t listen and get dog hair all over my house.  They run out the front door and garage every chance they get.  The older one doesn’t venture far because she knows she has to come back, but they can be almost as exhausting as the kids.  Trying to get the baby to sleep an extended period of time is torture for me.  (I am typing this furiously fast as he naps). Anyways, pugs.  The pugs have a vendetta for me.  They bark at anything and everything.  The older one is senile, I think.  She is pushing 10,  she even barks at the air conditioner when it turns on, but the younger one barks at cartoon animals on the television and NatGeo so any type of animal show is out of the question. Sorry Paw Patrol and Secret Life of Pets, you’re out.  So afternoon naps are hard to come by, especially when someone knocks on the door and the dogs lose their minds and wake the baby.  Frickin pugs.

Step 3: Lack of sleep.  My son sucks at sleeping.  As previous noted, extended sleep is hard to come by.  I rock a pretty constant purple/blue bag under each of my eyes and can almost always be found with a cup of cold coffee in hand. I have gone so long drinking cold coffee because I let my hot cup sit for too long, that I can’t even tolerate hot coffee anymore.  Even my coffee is a hot (cold) mess.  I fall asleep at the most inopportune times; during movies, during shows, while putting the kids to bed, rocking the baby in the rocking chair….I consider two wake ups a night from him a “good night” and I have a hard time sleeping more than 6 hours because I am so used to a lack of sleep that I feel hungover the next day if I sleep for more.  Sleep, I miss you.

Step 4: Work from home.  As I type this, I am still in my pajamas at 1pm.  Granted I ate two meals  today and brushed my teeth after lunch, but most days I look pretty similar to what I did when my husband left for work at 6am, starving and can’t remember if I brushed my teeth or when I last took a shower.  Anyways, I can answer the phone and emails and nobody knows I have bedhead and coffee breath.  It’s great but I look like a college student and/or Frank Gallagher from Shameless most days.  Hot mess.

Step 5: Be late to every social function you attend.  We are late, to almost everything. Always.  Sass can’t find her shoes, the baby takes a big steamer as we are walking out the door, I forgot my wallet, I can’t find my shoes, where are the baby wipes, we need snacks, forgot the blankie, need the iPad for an extended drive.  We have to tell ourselves that something starts 15 minutes prior to the actual start time just so we can get out the door on time.  Going places as a family is a hot mess.

Step 6: Messy House I have given up on cleaning up.  Honestly this was a good move on my part because it has made me much less neurotic during the day.  I try to do the dishes and clean up toys after dinner right before bath time instead of throughout the day.  It was like chasing a tornado.  The mess just moved from room to room.  It was exhausting.  I do a swift cleanup before G man gets home from work, but often times he is stepping over cars and ponies in the kitchen.  I found a toy sheep in the crock pot and a teething ring in the pots and pans yesterday.  I am not sure if I put those there or one of the kids.

Steps 7-10: Forget.  I forget what I was going to write for these steps.

Here’s to you hot mess of a mommy, cheers!

Note: most likely typos and grammatical errors as I can’t seem to find my reading glasses so I feel blind.  mess

Thank you, my love

Who knew parenting 2 kids and keeping up with a blog was so tough? Oye ves! I was looking back and just realized it is has been forever since I posted again.  I blame my sleep deprived state that I am in most days.  Thank God for my hot roommate who helps out when he isn’t slaying the aerospace industry with his in-geniuses.

So here is to my baby daddy.  Thank you for driving an hour one way to work every day so I can tell people my husband works for NASA.  Thank you for working so hard day in and day out so I can hang with our tiny savages and peddle ATMs on the side.  Thank you for picking up Chipotle when I am too lazy to cook dinner because I spent my day arguing with our 4 year old sassy dictator.  Thank you for filling my water bottle 100+ times a day while I am trapped under our mama lovin little man.

Thank you for looking the other way when I spend too much money at Target, again… Thank you for supporting my breastfeeding journey with both of our kids.  When I decided to stop at 8 weeks with sass and when I decided that our son will wean when he is ready.  Thank you for supporting me in EVERYTHING I do.  Whether that everything is trying to eat better, trying to eat Paleo, weightlifting, running, yoga, making homemade Kombucha tea, making homemade jam, planting our own veggie garden, building our mini farm….  Thank you.

Thank you for loving me when I was 8 weeks pregnant and sicker than a dog.  Thank you for loving me when I was 9 months pregnant and miserable.  Thank you for loving me 8 and a half years ago when we met.  Thank you for loving me now.  Every day.  Even though I am covered in stretch marks and my boobs feel like they sag down to my hips. Even though I struggle with anxiety day in and day out.  Thank you for loving me.  Every day. Even when my hair hasn’t been washed in 4 days, I am in shambles, and I have bags under my eyes and am crying because our kids drive me nuts but good God do I love them so much.  Thank you.  I love YOU so much for loving me. Jana-66

Beautiful Girl

I like to think that I am a strong woman.  I like to think that I am instilling those traits in our daughter.  We tell her she is strong, kind, intelligent and beautiful, nearly every day.  We try to work with her to see how she can overcome obstacles and get past frustrations.  She is a strong willed child.  What is that part in the Moana song?  “You are your father’s daughter, stubbornness and pride…”  That is sass in a sentence.  She is growing and changing so much every day.  She is noticing that people are different, and like every 4 year old she states those differences very bluntly.

Wednesday evening while I was getting her ready for bed, she stood in her little undies and smacked the sides of her thighs.  I asked what in the world she was doing.  Her response was “Mommy, I am getting fat, I need to stretch and do workouts more.”  My heart broke.  It sank down into the pit of my stomach.  I nearly welled up with tears as I pulled her close to me and told her “No, you are not fat.  You are beautiful.  You are smart. You are brave.  Mommy and Daddy are so proud of the little girl that you are.  You have become such a great big sister and you are our favorite girl in the entire world.” She smiled but still seemed displeased with my response.

I wrapped my arms around her and asked her to look at her hands.  She did.  I said “Now look at mommy’s hands.”  She did.  I asked her what was different about them.  “Well mommy, your hands are big and mine are tiny.”  I then asked her about the other differences we have in our family.  “Mommy you are short and daddy is big.  Daddy is bald and Harrison has baby hair and I have long hair like Rapunzel.”  I kissed her on the head and told her she was right.  The next statement I said, I was hoping I would never have to have with our daughter.  Let alone at the age of 4.

“Honey, you are beautiful, you are not fat.  Fat is a bad word, we don’t say that word in our house.  Everyone is different.  Some people are tall, some are short.  Some are big, some are little.  Some people have blonde hair, like you, some have red hair, like Harrison.  Some people have blue eyes, some have brown.  Some people have different colors of skin, and guess what?”  She looked at me and smiled, “What mommy?”

I said “It is beautiful.  Everyone is different and it is beautiful.”  She seemed pleased with that response.  She repeated everything I told her back to me and assured me that we wouldn’t say the word “fat” anymore because it was bad.  Now if we could all remember that when thinking of ourselves and others.  Everyone is beautiful.  Everyone is different. That it is perfectly okay, too.  Mommies and Daddies.  Brothers and Sisters. Grandmas and Grandpas. Aunts and Uncles.  Please remember that our littles are sponges, they absorb everything they hear.  Some of the words are hurtful and can have a big impact on their little minds.

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Welcome Back!

Hello everyone! It has been quite some time.  A little over a year, actually.  We became a family of four.  We have been finding time to adjust to all the changes of having two kids, basically it is an even playing field these days.  Two vs Two.  Bed time is typically a shit show, but I digress.  We welcomed our handsome, little man on May 19, 2016.  He is a joy and we are so blessed to have him in our lives.  Sass has adjusted I guess as well as any 4 year old can to having a brother.  We go through trials, we have ups, and downs, but seeing the two of them starting to play together (and fight) brings me so much happiness. It is why we had two.  Welcome back, and I look forward to sharing more chaotic stories in my life as a momma to two beautiful, little poop bandits.  CI6A7592.jpg