Two Hands

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Last week my son was sick. This was no runny nose situation. He had hand, foot, and mouth. It sounds like a pioneer-times disease…and if you aren’t familiar, consider yourself #blessed. I won’t scare you off by sharing details – that’s why God gave us Google.

I held my little boy. His usually wiggly body lay still. His lungs that usually burst out in song were quiet. His hands that are usually searching for mischief were at his side. My poor boy was sick. The baby was asleep in his crib, so I sat in the big, cozy rocking chair with my little boy. To hold my little boy. To hold him with both hands.

I had this moment where I had him completely wrapped up in my arms – and I was completely overcome with my love for him. I gently squeezed his little sick body as if to transfer my love to him. To show him how much his mommy cared for him. To let him know that I was there to take care of him. Of course he did not realize all this was going on – all he knew was that he was getting time with mommy. And it was especially special because it was two-handed time.

You see…when I was sitting there, I had a realization. Ever since we introduced a new baby to our family a few months ago, I rarely got two-handed time with my little boy.

Here is what it has looked like…

When we got home from the hospital, the baby needed me all.the.time. For feeding. For rocking. For ten poopy diapers each day. For everything. My big boy got very little time – almost no hands on him.

As baby got a little older, and I was able to hold him in one arm, my boy got some one handed time. Some short-lived back rubs. A ton of high fives. An occasional moment when mommy held the baby and the boy at the same time.

But not a lot of two-handed time. Not a lot of extended hugs that last and last. Not a lot of snuggles in the rocking chair.

And as I thought through this, my heart broke for my boy.

So as I sat there holding my boy with both hands, I realized how much I missed him. How much I missed our time together. Just us.

And I promised him more two-handed time. For him. For me.

 

 

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I’m Back

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Hey there. It’s been a minute. Adjusting to two kids has been real.

But I’m happy to share that I am back to writing for Twin Cities Moms Blog. After a very long hiatus because children.

I wrote a style post about fall style. But there is a catch. It’s fall style that must be nursing friendly and postpartum friendly and budget friendly. Dang. That’s a tall task. But you know what? I did it.

I love style – it’s my personal form of artistic expression – and I’m trying to figure out how that translates to a stay-at-home-mom-nursing-her-baby-24/7. But what I’m learning is that it doesn’t need to be perfect. It will look different than the younger version of myself. And to accept my body where it’s at today. Nursing and postpartum.

So go take a looksie. I hope you find it helpful, humorous and relatable.

Mom Un-Expert

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When you have your first child, you are expected to ask a million questions. To not know everything about raising a human. To use a serious dose of trial-and-error. To ask all.the.questions to the more experienced mom groups. It’s expected. You’ve never raised a human. You’ve never experienced sleep deprivation coupled with the physical recovery from labor/birth coupled with an insane amount of hormones you do not understand. And you balance that with a crazy cute baby that melts your heart with their side-smile (and tiny toots that more than likely brought on the side-smile). You are experiencing all of this for the first time. And it’s hard. And it’s reasonable to not know anything.

But then you choose to go through this process again…

And you expect yourself to know all.the.things this time.

But guess what?

You don’t. First of all, you were in a haze for the first three months of your first baby’s life and your brain was incapable of remembering many (or any) details. Secondly, you are now raising a new and different human. They have different needs. They have a different temperament. And YOU are different. Your needs have changed. Your perspective has changed. Many things are different.

And yet…you expect yourself to handle this new baby as if you have a master’s degree in parenting.

So if you find yourself reading this, and can relate, go ahead and load up on some grace. Ask your questions…because none of us have this figured out. Lay down your pride (because who needs that?) and lean on one another for help. Whether you are in the thick of raising your first baby or your eighth, we all need one another. We all have questions. And no matter what anyone says, no one has this figured out. It is impossible – but what matters is that we try our best (which we do) and we support one another in the process (which we better do).

From one un-expert mother to another, you can do this!

 

My body isn’t perfect…

At 28 weeks pregnant today with my second baby, I pretty much think about my body all the time. That is kind of a weird statement – but it’s true. IMG_3246

For me, I was nauseous for about twenty weeks so I basically thought about my body constantly during that time. Was I going to puke? Should I eat something to try to feel better? Would this ever end? SUPER fun.

Then there is the weight gain – every pregnant woman’s favorite topic. I am fortunate to never have had major body image issues growing up – but regardless, it is not easy to gain rapid weight. Or to have a nurse tell you to “watch what you eat” because you are every-so-sightly above the weight gain recommendation. And then there is the fun experience of un-rapidly losing the weight after you deliver your baby.

I often think about labor and dread the unavoidable pain that I’ll experience. I question whether or not I will be strong enough to handle it again. It was so hard last time (see Soren’s birth story). Will my body sustain me though another three day labor (please God, let it be faster)?

These are the thoughts that fill my mind.

But greater than all of that…IMG_3264

I sometimes look at my two year old son and think, “My body is a freaking miracle worker – it GREW a child.” Like actually stop and think about that – I grew eyeballs. I grew ten fingers and ten toes – each unique with their own fingerprint. I grew his fluffy brownish/reddish hair. I grew the vocal cords that explode with uncontrollable laughter.

And then I understand why I am so tired growing this second baby. And I accept the nauseous days. And I accept the weight gain that is above average. And I accept whatever it takes to grow this baby boy. It is hard work every single day because my body only has nine months to grow a human – before it is ready to basically thrive on its own (with a little help from his parents afterwards).

So to all the women growing a baby, give yourself grace because you are a freaking miracle worker!

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A Vacation Top Ten

J and I were the lucky winners of a weekend getaway – and by winners, I mean we funded/planned the trip…but you feel like you are winning whenever you get a small parenting break (anyone with me?).

IMG_2376If we are being honest, it was a really unproductive trip. I was trying to think of what to write about from our trip…and I came up short – but maybe that was the beauty of it. When I think back to our four-day stay away from home, I remember some of the little things, the conversations, the way an exact bite of food tasted. Having less busyness gave me more space to remember the meaningful moments. So here are a few of those highlights!

Let’s do this (in no particular order…do not get the feeling like these build up to an explosive ending…).

  1. This trip would have been (financially speaking) impossible without a super generous friend that agreed to let us stay in her home. When you stay in a hotel, there is a certain level of distrust I bring into that experience. Did they really REALLY wash the sheets/towels well? Did someone vacuum this floor? Will I find stray hairs in the shower? Sorry for planting those questions in your mind – nevertheless, my point is that when you stay with friends, you enter the experience with a major level of trust. Her home was welcoming. She left lights on in our room for us. She gave us giant hugs when we bombarded their house in the morning. And you guys…they have 12 chickens that were so cute! And lemon trees! It felt like our own tiny resort – and it provided us the exact calm we needed on this vacation. IMG_2365IMG_2375
  2. This is a no brainer to most parents in the world – but we had our first experience with the Dohm noise machine. On a couples getaway / baby moon, you look forward to quality sleep – and this noise machine did not disappoint. We are currently buying one on Amazon.
  3. When in California, do as the Californian’s do…which translates to “eat at In-n-Out as many times as possible.” We were staying near Pasadena where they have the most adorable In-n-Out – our first night we sat out on the patio eating our burgers / fries (animal style) / shakes. It was a slice of heaven. Our other trip to the burger joint was of equal joy. IMG_2377
  4. My friend suggested a local breakfast joint called Lincoln – and I’ll be honest, I’m married to someone who places a lot of importance on the first meal of the day. The guy could live on breakfast food. So naturally, he ordered their daily special – the Notorious P.I.G. This was the most delicious breakfast experience of my life – bacon/cheddar pancakes with salty caramel syrup and almonds. Yes, SUPER crazy food combo, but literally…it was so good we went back the next morning. IMG_2359IMG_2363IMG_2354IMG_2400
  5. We went to Santa Monica – we walked the massive beach – we put our feet in the ocean for 0.05 seconds because it was an ice bath. And there was this lady chasing birds on the beach with the biggest smile on her face. It went on for minutes on end. Pure / free entertainment. IMG_2382IMG_2380
  6. Before our trip, we talked about what each of us wanted to do with our time away from home. We agreed that we must go to a movie. We have not been to a movie since I was pregnant with Soren (sidenote: we saw Unbroken and I had contractions during most of the movie b/c it was so intense). We saw La La Land and I (re)fell in love with Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, and movie theater popcorn. IMG_2402
  7. Did I mention my friend’s home (or as I’m now referring to it, our “resort”) had a pool? I parked myself on a chair in the sunshine (it was 62 degrees and yes I was in a bathing suit because #minnesotawinter). And I read. And I read. And I read. And guess what? No one interrupted me. IMG_3225
  8. J and I wanted to spend time on our marriage this trip – we  by no means have the perfect marriage (mostly because that doesn’t exist) but we both want to continually work on it, learn about each other, and make progress to be a better wife / husband. A good friend of mine shared a list of topics with discussion questions. Sounds super intense – and it kind of was…but we took one section at a time – usually at meal time or in a long stretch of LA traffic. We had great conversation about our communication style, we had tough conversations about expectations and where we are falling short, and we talked about our hopes and dreams looking forward. You guys, take time to have these conversations in your marriage! It is worth it!
  9. On the middle day of our trip, it was pouring rain. We found this a good day to road trip to the desert…but…halfway to said dessert, we said, “What are we doing? We would rather be lounging around and go to a movie.” So we turned around and went home. It was an insane waste of our time – something that would normally irritate me – but my mantra going into the trip was to be relaxed and live in the moment. We changed our minds – and we made the most of it. Plus we had great conversation in the car and listened to some amazing ’90s throwback jams…so really…no time wasted!
  10. Gosh…you look forward to vacations because you just.need.a.break from your kid, and then you get on vacation and find yourself staring at pictures of your kid on your phone. It’s real. If you are not yet a parent, just wait. You’ll do this. Getting home and seeing my boy squeal when I picked him up was honestly one of my top moments of the year.

 

And now we are back home and getting ready for baby boy coming in June!

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A Lunching Experiment

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When I decided to quit my job and stay home full-time, the biggest hesitation (if we’re keeping it real…and we are, always) was what that would mean for us financially. We were by no means wealthy when we were both working, but we were definitely comfortable. Chalk that up to two good jobs and a modest lifestyle – but cutting out one entire income meant change. And despite the scary uncertainty, we took a leap of faith and went for it. I feel another blog post coming on this topic sometime because that is a totally different story – one of taking risk, exploring the unknown, following your heart/intuition. But that’s not where I’m taking you today. Let’s get back on track.

As you know (if you’ve hung out here for at least five seconds), I quit my job and that super scary budget cut happened. And guess what? It’s fine. It means different choices, different comforts, less spontaneity, more cooking at home, but it is working.

When I anticipated being a stay-at-home-mom, I envisioned myself “lunching” with friends on the regular. Like that would be my main source of socializing because who doesn’t love food and getting out of the house? But when I began staying home, it never happened. It was likely a combo of a toddler that begins to get cranky by 12:15 everyday and the aforementioned skinny budget. But I’m getting to that point in motherhood where I’m feeling a little bit like, “Hey kid – I know you’re cranky, but we’re getting out of this house ASAP.” I miss being with friends. I miss those conversations – even if they’re interrupted a million times by a toddler attempting to run out of the restaurant or eat food off other people’s tables. And from everything I’ve read and heard, connecting with friends and other mom’s makes this phase of life feel lighter. Less isolated. More understood. More connected. And surely someone to sit across and roll your eyes together about the reason your two-year old had a tantrum today.

So this week, I invited two friends (read: one friend and one sister that is a friend) and their kids to join me for a lunch out. An experiment. And you know what? It was amazing. We had lunch at Potbelly Sandwich Shop. (To be totally candid – I have been craving a meatball sub for a few weeks and promptly ordered one for myself and a child’s version for Soren. Pregnancy cravings are real.) We met early to avoid the lunch rush – and allow our kids to run around the place. The three of us mom’s got to talk about what was going on in our lives. And we got to eat our delicious meal when it was relatively warm – a true treat.

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And when the kids started to get a tad antsy, Potbelly had a live musician come in to play music for the lunch hour. The timing could not have been better! Soren and his friend, William, were born for the dance floor – they immediately became groupies and danced their hearts out. It was equal parts adorable and helpful…so that the mom’s could keep talking!

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So in summary of my lunching experiment, I’m crazy for not doing this more often! It was so easy, so fun, so delicious – especially that meatball sub!

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This post has been in partnership with Potbelly Sandwich Shop, one of my regular lunch spots for years…with more to come in the future.

BOY OH BOY!

We are expecting baby #2 in June – hooray – but old news. What’s the new news? We just found out that we’re having a B-O-Y!!! Soren Junior! (Just kidding…we need a name!)

We were not going to do anything special to announce the gender – I mean…come on…it is our second child. What special attention do they get? Wait…I’m a second child…so I demand to keep the fun going and do special things for all the kids!

We had our ultrasound on Monday and requested they write down the gender and place it in an envelope. My sister picked up said envelope from us and figured out a way to surprise us at our family party on Thursday. I am actually shocked at how long we waited to find out. I was so excited to know…but the suspense really was not too bad! Not to get too cheese-ball on you, but I am just so thankful for this baby and for a healthy ultrasound that I do not care what gender it is! Cheese-ball moment over.

So Thursday…we invited both of our families over. My sister and her husband ordered a surprise balloon filled with confetti. Once everyone arrived, we had each person cast their gender vote. I even had Soren vote (because I couldn’t vote! I was too torn) and he voted girl. Sidenote: every.single.time I asked Soren if we were having a baby brother or sister, he answered, “Mia!” For reference, Mia is a little friend of his…that apparently he wishes were a part of our family.

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The votes were even boy vs. girl!

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Soren casting his vote for a sister

The moment came. We put the balloon in place. I drew a large knife…and .001 seconds later, it exploded and BLUE confetti covered the floor. Honestly – I was mostly in shock of having confetti blowing into my face and a massive balloon popping…and moments later noticed the blue confetti.

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To be totally candid – I really thought it was a girl – this pregnancy has been different in every single way from our first pregnancy. Totally sick for the first 19ish weeks vs. not sick last time. But that’s just it – it is a different boy – it’s not Soren. It’s a new baby and we get to meet HIM in 20 weeks!

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Hello sweet boy! We’ll see you soon!