DIY Baby Shower gift: “New Mom Survival Kit”

I recently went to my first baby shower after having Lincoln. When I was trying to think about the most important things that I’ve used in this first year, I realized that maybe the mom-to-be might need a little something too. Of course a baby shower is supposed to be all about the baby, but in order to have a happy baby it’s important to have a happy mom. Hence, the “New Mom Survival Kit” that I created.

The kit includes: A small bottle of red wine, Crystal light energy drink mixes, Advil, tide to-go stick, under eye cream, hand sanitizer, hair ties, and Chapstick.

Of course I got a little something for baby too!

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What would you put in a New Mom Survival Kit?

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Preparing for travel with a baby

Next week we are heading to Florida to visit John’s parents for a week. We’ve been piling items up on our dining room table for about a month now, trying to organize what we need to bring. We’ve been making lists, checking them twice, and heading to the store to pick up extra supplies.

It’s crazy how everything you do changes so much when you have a baby. When going on trips before I would just throw everything in a suitcase the night before and be on my way. But now with Lincoln, I want to make sure I have enough supplies to survive our day of travel.

Our flight leaves our home airport at 5:30 AM and we arrive in Florida around 1:30 PM. We have two flights, from home to Chicago (about 1 hour) and Chicago to Tampa (about 2 hours 45 min) and about a 3 hour layover.

I’ve been searching all over Pinterest on what to bring on the plane and what to pack when you have a baby. We don’t leave until early Wednesday but we plan on doing more of our packing on Sunday. This is my first time flying with a little one, but here are some tips I’m following to make the trip go smoothly (fingers crossed).

1. Bring as much formula/food, diapers, wipes, etc (and maybe a few extra) to get you through your travel and buy the rest when you get to your destination. (This tip works as long as you’re going somewhere with a store nearby.)

2. Look online at what you can and can’t bring or check on your airline. We are flying with United and we are allowed to bring on unopened, pre-made formula, which is so much nicer than having to pack the powder. We are also allowed to check one stroller AND one carseat for FREE. Checked baggage can add up quick when you need to pay so it’s nice that they let you do this.

3. Bring an umbrella stroller or baby carrier. The stroller could be plane side checked and you could fit a baby carrier in your carry-on bag. It will be so much nicer to have something to put the baby in rather than trying to carry them and your luggage at the same time.

4. Feed the baby or give them their pacifier on take-off and landing. The sucking motion keeps their ears from popping and makes for a much happier flight for everyone.

4.5. But make sure you don’t start feeding the baby until the plane is actually beginning take-off. If you start when you’re just leaving the gate the bottle will be gone and you won’t be so happy.

5. Bring their favorite blanket or non-noise making toy with you on the flight. Baby is more likely to remain in a good mood with familiar items.

I’m sure there are plenty that I’m forgetting to list, and I won’t find out until the day arrives but that’s okay. I feel we’re prepared but not over prepared to the point that we won’t fit everything in our suitcases.

Do you have any tips on packing for travel or flying with a baby? If so feel free to share below!

  

My first Father’s Day as a mother

Dads don’t often get the recognition that they deserve. Usually its mom that they come to when they have a problem, get hurt, or want something to eat. It is a tough job being a mom, but it is no easier of a job being a dad. Dads can be our best friends and the ones we run to when mom says no. Or sometimes they can be the enforcer of the rules and we spend our teenage years mad at them because we did something silly and got in trouble.

But like the old saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child” and I guess I never realized just how true that was until Lincoln came along. There are days when I probably wouldn’t have made it through if it wasn’t for John. Sometimes we might clash on our new vs old styles of parenting, but at the end of the day if we didn’t take each other’s advice we would definitely struggle.¬†Father’s Day is a day that comes around only once a year, just like Mother’s Day but I think as parents (and especially dads) they don’t get all the appreciation they deserve. But that’s the thing, once you become a parent you stop celebrating yourself and start celebrating your children, and your partner for helping you raise them.

Being a parent gives you a whole new light on what our own parents had to deal with. I am so lucky to have the father that I do. Together we get to share his love of hockey, his overall outgoing-ness, laid back attitude, and definitely his stubbornness. Our fathers are the first guys to steal our hearts, and to spoil us. I know my dad has spent many hours doing a lot of girly things, and maybe what we’re doing wasn’t always his favorite, but as long as he was with his kids it was his favorite at the time. And now that Lincoln and my niece are around, I can see his joy and love as a grandfather and it gives me the light to see how joyful he was his whole life because of his kids.

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10 things being a mom has taught me

You learn a lot in the first year of motherhood. Whether it’s baby things or personal things, there is a lot of knowledge gained.

1. Time management is key. Whether it’s the baby’s schedule or mom’s schedule, sticking to it is important. 

2. You don’t always need the fanciest or most expensive thing. Babies love to play with just the box the toy comes in, that should tell you how important price is to them.

3. You are doing it right. No matter what it is. As long as mom and baby are both alive at the end of the day, you’re doing it right.

4. Sometimes everything can be solved with a nap. They always say “sleep when the baby sleeps” and some days that can be impossible with the list of 100 chores to do. But some days it’s unavoidable to take that 30 minute nap, and when you do, you’ll realize it was your best decision of the day.

5. There isn’t an answer to everything. Sometimes you just have to trust your gut instinct and do what you think you need to do.

6. As long as you are dressed, it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing. Some days can be busier than others and there’s no time to look fancy, but you know what? Baby doesn’t care what you’re wearing!

7. It’s okay to let things wait. Heck, I even wrote a whole blog post about this. Worried about the clean laundry that’s been sitting in the basket for over a week? As long as the baby is happy, it’s okay that the chores aren’t done immediately.

8. It’s okay to be frustrated. Being a mom is frustrating, work is frustrating, life is frustrating. Just find somewhere to release the frustration and you’ll be okay.

9. Time goes by in the blink of an eye. I know I’ve heard this over and over, and there are days when you think to yourself “yeah right, this is the longest year of my life.” But then you look back on it and everything is a blur. 

10. You are the best mom ever. Each and everyone of you. Whether you feel like it or not, you truly are.

  

A typical day with a pre- toddler

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you might recall a post of mine called “The truth about a typical day with a newborn”. If you haven’t read it or don’t remember it, you can find the post here.

Anyways, to make a quick summary of that old post, it basically talked about the fact that Lincoln wasn’t on much of schedule at the time and one day was different from the next. It kind of mocked the normal posts you see about newborn schedules and how stay at home mother’s go kind of insane during the day.

Well, now that Lincoln is a bit older and has been able to actually adjust to a daily schedule, I would have to say that things around the house run a lot smoother now. And I like to call Lincoln a “pre-toddler” now because we like to call 11 and 12 year old “pre-teens” since they kind of adjust from being a little kid into a teenager during those years. Well, I feel that the same goes for 6 month olds to about 1 year olds. Some times it amazes me that Lincoln is only 9 months old by the things that he does and how fast he has learned, other times when he has a temper tantrum because I didn’t get him down for a nap on time it reminds me of some of his newborn days.

Well, back on topic now, here is what a typical day with my pre-toddler looks like (Also, I will leave out most of the diaper changes and that because I would hope you would know that those aren’t always scheduled and happen many times during our day)

7:45 AM – John heads off to work for the day and I spend a little extra time in bed (lucky me!)

8:20 AM – Lincoln’s internal alarm clock goes off and I grab him from his crib in his room.

8:21 AM – I bring Lincoln into bed with me so he can play around until my brain and body are ready to start the day.

8:30 AM – After Lincoln tries to dive bomb off the bed, or after he gets sick of trying to pull down our reading lamps attached to the headboard, we go downstairs.

8:31 AM – I put Lincoln down on the floor and toss his toys down with him and let him explore for a bit. We usually turn on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in the background, he doesn’t pay much attention to the TV itself but he loves all the songs and voices.

9:00 AM – After Lincoln gets bored with his toys and climbing all over everything, I put him in his highchair and we have some breakfast. He loves to have baby oatmeal and fruit in the morning.

9:15 AM – Once there’s breakfast all over his face, I clean him up and put him back on the floor to play. I usually end up chasing him around the house for a while until I see him rubbing his eyes and yawning.

10:00 AM – We head back upstairs, he has a bottle, and we relax a bit before nap time.

10:30 – 10:45 AM – He usually likes to climb on his crib for a bit (new thing for him) before he tires himself out and falls asleep.

10:46 AM – Most days I head back downstairs, drink my coffee, take my shower, clean up the house, and catch up on my blogging and emailing and any other computer things. Usually I’ll catch a show on Netflix for a bit or something. Basically it’s “mommy time” during Lincoln’s nap. Oh, and usually I eat some lunch too. Also, some days I just take a nap.

12:30 PM – Depending on the day and how much sleep Lincoln got the night before his naps tend to vary, but usually pan out to around 2 hours.

12:31 PM – I bring Lincoln back downstairs and we play on the floor for a while together.

1:00 PM – Back into the highchair for lunch time.

1:15 PM – Sometimes we like to go for walks or go to the park if it’s nice outside. Otherwise we explore around the house and play with the toys until John gets home from work.

3:00 PM – Depending on the day, John usually gets home from work at this time.

3-4 days a week this is when I would start getting ready for work which starts at 3:30 PM for me. So I’ll just continue the schedule as if it was a night that I didn’t have to work (because who knows what goes on when it’s just John and Lincoln!)

3:05 PM – We usually go run any errands that we need to and get groceries before Alexander comes home from school.

4:00 PM – Lincoln goes back upstairs for his second nap while I start to get dinner ready.

5:00 PM – Lincoln wakes up and we all have dinner together.

5:30 PM – Clean up time and play time.

6:00 PM – Depending on the weather we usually go for an evening stroll around town.

7:00 PM – More play time and chasing Lincoln around the house until bed time.

9:00 PM – Bed time for Lincoln (and actually usually for us too, because we’re exhausted by the end of the day)

Obviously, each day has a little bit of difference to it, and everything isn’t perfectly timed out like that. Such as today, Lincoln has had a high fever the past two days because of teething and it’s finally coming down today but his nap ended up starting at 12:00 rather than 10:00, but thats okay.

I have found the schedule is pretty key for the day to run smoothly and this is just what has worked out for us and it keeps us all happy.

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The alphabet of motherhood 

There are so many words to describe motherhood. Some are happy, some are angry, some are sad, but they all add up to define motherhood.

A // amazing

B // busy

C // crazy 

D // dirty

E // exhausting 

F // frustrating

G // giving

H // happy

I // incredible 

J // joyous 

K // kind

L // love, lots and lots of love

M // messy

N // never ending 

O // odd

P // precious

Q // quirky

R // rewarding

S // selfless

T // tiring

U // unforgettable 

V // valuable 

W // weird

X // “x”tremely the best 

Y // yucky

Z // zoo-like

Happy Mother’s Day!

  

You made me a mother

As my first Mother’s Day approaches, I can’t help but get a little bit emotional. Last year, I was pregnant with Lincoln and anxiously awaiting his arrival. My mother gave me some flowers in honor of the day and I happily dreamed about the coming year.

It’s so crazy to think how fast our lives really go by. When Lincoln was first born, those first couple of months seemed to drag on with the sleepless nights and my constant fear of “am I doing this right?!” And then once school was over for me and Lincoln started to get used to life post-belly, everything seems like a blur. He is becoming such an independent little man (ha ha, “man” even though he’s only 8 months old!) But really, I cannot believe how old he seems to me now. I see other babies in stores or on my various social media pages and cannot picture Lincoln that size anymore. And I have only known him for 8 months, I cannot imagine what it’s like for mother’s whose children are grown up.

These 8 months of being a mother have been the most tiring, frustrating, stressful, joyous, happiest, and rewarding months of my life. You never truly know what it feels like to be a mother until you become one and it is something that I never knew I was meant to be, but now that I am, I could not picture my life any other way. 

Not only have these months taught me what it’s like to be a mother, but they have made me appreciate my own mother on a whole new level. I have always told my mother ever since I was little that she is the best mother in the universe but I never truly appreciated what it meant to be to hold that title. I cannot wait for the day to hear Lincoln say the same to me. 

I am so thankful for all the things my mother taught me to be a great mother myself. Of course at the time she didn’t know that’s what she was teaching me, and neither did I, but now that I’m older I can say I have learned so much. The biggest lesson that I’ve gained is to give love. Mothers may not always have the best of everything to give their children, but as long as they give them their love, they will be set for life.

All I can say is, this Mother’s Day I am so grateful that I get to spend my life as Lincoln’s mother.

   

Baby “norms”

Like many new mothers, I’ve “researched” the web many times trying to find out what new stage in Lincoln’s life will be like. In those searches you find out things like when babies begin to hold their head up, sit on their own, eat solid foods, crawl, etc. 

Sometimes these things can drive a new mom crazy. “Why isn’t he sitting up yet, the Internet says he’s supposed to be sitting up!” Of course new mothers, including me, all know that every baby is different and every baby grows at their own pace, but these “norms” can drive a new mom kind of bonkers. Basically, the Internet can drive a new mom bonkers. We don’t even have to be searching for a question online but just scrolling Facebook I’ve been guilty in seeing another new mom’s baby doing something before Lincoln started doing it and I think to myself, “have I done something wrong?!” Of course I haven’t, and usually no new mom is really doing anything wrong, it’s hard to put a time frame on when a new baby will do things, but with lovely things like the Internet it’s hard not to expect a time frame. 

We recently moved Lincoln to his own room, he had been sleeping in his own bed in our room but wasn’t sleeping straight through the night yet (which according to the Internet happens around 4-5 months for some babies). It was easier for me to get up and walk a step away to his bed if he would wake up and need some readjusting. He would always fall asleep within a few minutes but I felt like if we had him in his room then I would wake up more if I had to walk down the hall to do that. Plus I was being a new mom and was worried something would happen during the night and I wouldn’t be right there to fix it.

Anyways, back to the point I was trying to make here.. I’ve been “expecting” Lincoln to sleep through the night (from when he goes to bed at 9 until about 7 am) for basically 3 months now because that’s what the Internet told me would happen, and that’s what I’ve heard from other mothers. But like I’ve learned, I need to stop “expecting” things and wait for them to happen on their own. Of course I know that there are LOTS of babies in the world that don’t sleep through the night until they are like 5 years old! (I’ve just been secretly hoping Lincoln wasn’t one of those babies.) But, it’s fine if he is because he’s my baby and whatever is his “norm” is okay with me.

  

I didn’t plan on being a stay-at-home-mom

Before I had Lincoln I knew that I was going to finish school so that I could receive my Bachelors degree. When the semester started it was decided between John and I that it would be best that I didn’t go back to work and just focused on school and Lincoln for the time being. This was something that I was totally fine with. I knew that I would need as much time as possible to complete my assignments and still be able to spend time with Lincoln.

Since it was such a busy time, I never had the chance to job search for when the semester was over with. So unintentionally, when graduation was over, I sort of took the role as a “stay at home mom”. It’s not that I don’t want to work, or couldn’t find work if I tried. But I really enjoy getting to spend these precious moments with Lincoln while I can. Soon enough he will be walking and talking, and not long after that he will be off to school.¬†Childhood is such a short time in a person’s life and I believe it should be shared with many people.

There are days here and there that I feel useless because I haven’t found a job yet, or to be more honest, actively looked for a job yet. But last night as I was scrolling Pinterest I saw a quote that caught my eye.

“When in doubt, choose the kids. There will be plenty of time later to choose work.” – Anna Quindlen

I believe that this is so true. I have the rest of my life to be caught up in work, but Lincoln will only be little for so long. This quote made me feel a little bit better about those thoughts that I frequently have.

Granted, I know these days it is very hard to be a SAHM because of financial reasons, and I am very lucky that it is something that I can do at the moment. And I give lots of credit to the moms that work and take care of their kids. Someday that will be me, and it will probably be very soon.

So as I said, I didn’t intend to be a stay at home mom before I graduated. But I will enjoy it as long as it lasts.

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