Posts Tagged ‘things I love’

New Mom Advice: Get A Thing

Monday, September 15th, 2014

When I was pregnant with Evan oh those many moons ago, I first discovered blogging. I mean, I “discovered” it the same way Columbus “discovered” America, since there was already an entire world of people who were like “Nice going, you found this big giant thing that’s been here for a long ass time”. But for me, it was all new and exciting. I wrote words on the internet. Then I moved up to pictures. I found other people’s words and pictures. I blogged and blogged and talked about blogging and read articles on blogging and read actual blogs and when I found one I liked I’d stalk their archives back to the birth of their children and I know more about some of those people than I do about my own siblings’ lives.

Blogging was My Thing.

My Thing kept me connected to people when I was too tired to get off the couch. It gave me something to think about when I couldn’t think about my crying baby any more. I learned the shorthand and the big players and the culture and made friends who I still talk to literally every single day. The internet connected us but I’ve now hugged them in person and slept on their couches and can’t wait to see them again.

If I could give pregnant women one piece of actual, helpful, universal advice, it is to get A Thing.

Obviously your baby will be Your Thing, but there is a lot of busywork with babies. You are up with them in the middle of the night, you are trapped on the couch feeding them, you are so so so tired you can’t even sleep. You need A Thing you can read about and think about and learn about and talk about. Thanks to the internet, it’s easy to find other people who share Your Thing and also want to obsess about it, so you’ll never run out of ways to waste your time. Even if Your Thing is something you can’t really do as much as you’d like, you can still obsess about it online. Like running. There are about fifty zillion ways to learn about running that don’t actually involve running.

Here is a brief list of Things you might try: blogging, photography, baby wearing, cloth diapers, knitting, crocheting, breastfeeding, scrapbooking, gardening, knitting, couponing, crafting, cooking, conspiracy theories, tv, computer games, video games, puzzles, art, eBay, Etsy, painting, sewing, puzzles, running, paleo, cross fit, hair, make-up, monthly subscription services, fashion, YouTube, nail polish.

Any of Those Things have a million deeper levels and sub-levels. Not just cloth diapers, custom-made WAHM diaper covers. Not just Etsy, handmade baby moccasins. Not just running, long distance marathon training. Find a Facebook group or forum about Your Thing and dive in. Don’t worry, you will never know more about your thing than ANYONE else, so just start somewhere.

Most Things are going to cost you a lot of money. Even if they seem cheap and harmless now, there is a collectible version or a new version or a fancier version or an exclusive version and you WILL want it and you WILL find yourself spending what previously would have been a crazy amount of money on it.

Try to find a way to get involved in Your Thing in real life too. Meet-ups, conferences, swaps, or even just one friend you can have coffee with. But even if you just have internet friends from Your Thing, they will easily become real friends (just not in-person all the time friends).

You can have more than one Thing at a time, but it’s best to focus on one and then let it become less intense while you move to another. I still tweet, but Twitter isn’t my go-to Thing. I can still knit, but I don’t hunt down a babysitter to go to the weekly knitting group. Photography will always be A Thing (your thing can often lead to an actual business), but the forums aren’t holding my interest they way they used to.

Clearly blogging is something I still love and do regularly (well, semi-regularly) but it is not longer my thing. Currently, My Thing is woven wraps for baby wearing. For real. I’m just now discovering baby wearing goes far beyond the Moby and the Ergo. Waaaaaaaay beyond. Insanely beyond. I’ve joined four different Facebook groups and formed a real-life wrap group that meets every other Friday (which was easy to do, thanks to mama friends I met through Stroller Strides, which was My Thing a few years go). I can browse the Facebook swap group any time of day or up at night with the baby and there’s new stuff to look at that I can google and learn about fiber content and warp and weft and brands and makers. It’s INSANELY boring to anyone who doesn’t care but right now I can’t get enough.

So tell me what’s Your Thing? Just don’t make it too interesting, I don’t have time for much more.

 

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My Week(202) in iPhone Photos

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

There is a lot of my face in this post, which is weird. I am not a selfie person, but when all you do is hold or nurse a baby there isn’t that much else to take pictures of.

Sunday:

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They will never get tired of swinging.

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Even the litter in Mystic is classier than regular litter.

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That bubble gun is identical to the one we bought the exact same weekend last year. It lasted exactly as long (10 minutes).

Monday:

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I feel so naked in this photo because I took the case off my iPhone.

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A+ for adorable sleeping

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OMG I ACTUALLY PICKED UP MY NEEDLES

Tuesday:

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School bus buddies

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GTFO Big Lots

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I’ll never get tired of how people react to this thing.

Wednesday:

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Uniform on top, her own wacky fashion on the bottom

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Mmmmmmmmm homework

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Multitasking: feeding a baby, breaking in a woven wrap, transferring pictures, Facebooking and cuddling a cat. WHILE TAKING A PICTURE.

 Thursday:

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Happy baby, happy octopus shirt, happy monkey diaper

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More school bus fashion

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Bathtime smiles

Friday:

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I’m at the ATT store and smiling. CAN YOU GUESS WHY?

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Sometimes your mom knits a newborn hat and then uses you unwillingly as a guinea pig

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Sooooo…I have this new hobby. Habit. Obsession? #tryallthewraps

Saturday:

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I swear that face is the reaction to the cow barn at The Big E, not the hat.

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Clam fritters and Del’s – Rhode Island wins at food

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Caroline does not look nearly terrified enough

I am already done with this week and it’s only Sunday night. I haven’t felt this tired since the night I didn’t get any sleep because I was giving birth. And even then my back didn’t hurt so much thanks to the epidural. I plan to be in bed by 8 as many times this week as I can.

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Life With 3: Update 1

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

It is 11:25 am and I am watching The Price is Right, which means life is really good right now. That’s how I judge my level of happiness: am I able to be home, eating a sandwich, between the hours of 11 and 12 so I can watch Drew Carey give away cars? Yes? Success!!

Tomorrow Linc will be 1 month old, and I’ll start doing monthday updates again. I have big plans to do a same-spot monthly photo like I did with Caroline’s tutu, but I am TERRIBLE at following through with stuff like that so we’ll see.

It turns out the hardest part of having three kids isn’t the third kid – it’s the first two. I thought I had done a really good job teaching Evan and Caroline to play on their own without needing me to intervene or referee much. But in reality I just didn’t realize how often I had to step in until I was stuck on the couch under a sleeping or nursing baby and couldn’t break up their squabbles. There has been a LOT more yelling than I like (and I’m not even strictly anti-yelling) just because I CAN’T walk into the other room and deal with them calmly. Caroline has started shouting “Moooooom Evan is TORTURING ME again!” and Evan shouts “DON’T COME UP HERE!” and then I have to stomp up the stairs while they both shout “NOOOOOO! We’ll be good! We promise!!!!” It’s fairly exhausting just to listen to them all day, plus the stomping is really rough on my knees.

Luckily, I only have everyone home for one more week before school starts. School itself is going to be a challenge – Evan’s bus comes REALLY early and I’m kind of nervous about how he’ll behave during a long ride to school – but the quiet I’m going to get while both big kids are gone is going to be life-changing. I can start blogging again. I can edit photos. I can finish knitting one of the 5 baby hats I’ve started but not finished. I can start taking pictures for other people so I can start saving up for the new lens I want.

And I can do ALL that stuff because Linc is a super easy baby. I have absolutely NO delusions this has anything to do with me or my parenting whatsoever. It’s luck. Just luck. Maybe there’s a little truth to the idea that because I’m not tense and nervous and stressed the baby isn’t tense and nervous and stressed, but that’s anecdotal at best. I know plenty of people whose second or third baby was WAY more high-needs than the first one. I just got an easy one this time, for which I am unbelievably thankful. With E gone almost all the time I would be seriously, SERIOUSLY losing my mind if I had an inconsolable, colicky baby.

The day my mom left me alone with all 3 kids I looked around and realized my house was clean and organized, and if I could just MAINTAIN that current level I could avoid a disaster. I’ve been doing really well – right now there’s only one load of laundry not put away and all the dishes are in the dishwasher – but I’ve given up on the kids’ room. Until they go to school and I can spend a good 3+ hours in there purging it’s hopeless. Luckily the rest of the house is still in good shape, so I can just shut their door and ignore it. I’m also ALMOST done with Linc’s nursery – I still haven’t ordered the crib and I need my husband to build me a shelf – and I’m really excited to share it.

Now I have a very important episode of House Hunters: Where Are They Now? to watch while I make a grocery list and a meal plan and enjoy this slightly annoying update while I can. I feel like the next one (after the 6 am wake ups and lunch packing and school drama) will be…much less smug.

 

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Introducing: Baby Lincoln!

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Lincoln Scott Davis
July 23, 2014
12:52 am
9 lbs, 21.5 inches

annoucement

(Doesn’t that baby look like the baby model that came with the announcement? THAT’S MY ACTUAL BABY.)

Birth story disclaimer: It’s a birth story, read at your own risk. Also looooong.

I made it 6 days past my due date with my “oh you’ll definitely go early” baby, which was the longest 6 days of my life. It was actually more like the longest 3 weeks of my life, since I was thinking I was about to pop ANY SECOND since I hit 38 weeks. Literally every time I left the house I planned in my head what I would do when (not if) my water broke. I had started psyching myself up for having a baby in the car or in my bathroom or at Target because obviously once my water broke the baby would basically fall out, right? I mean, I was huge. There was a ton of water. It was my 3rd baby and things are supposed to go faster.

NOT QUITE. I had an induction scheduled and then canceled because it was “elective” and the maternity floor was too full. Luckily E’s schedule was pushed back a few days (again) so I wasn’t AS panicked but I was still HUGELY PREGNANT. People who are hugely pregnant don’t like to be told they have to remain hugely pregnant indefinitely.

But I did get the one thing I wanted: to experience my water breaking spontaneously, like in a movie. Oh no, my water broke! Must be time to head to the hospital! Look at that adorable little puddle!

LIES! All lies. I don’t recommend it.

On Tuesday morning I woke up to a gush and thought “Oh! So that’s what that feels like!” And then I sat up and water poured out of me like a river and thought “Oh man, this is kind of unpleasant.” And then I shoved the towel I was keeping next to the bed between my legs and tried to waddle to the bathroom, still leaking everywhere but now with contractions on top of it and thought “Nope nope nope nope”. I ended up using every spare towel we had to half-heartedly clean up fluid before taking a shower and just hoping most of it was done draining out. (It wasn’t. I went to the hospital with a hand towel in my pants. I threw it away.) If it had happened in public you wouldn’t be reading this right now because I would have willed the earth to open up and swallow me whole.

Once we got to the hospital nothing happened. I had a non-stress test scheduled for that morning anyway, so they put me on the monitors. I should have stayed home longer so I could eat and walk around and lie on my couch, but again, I was pretty much expecting the baby to FALL OUT so when we got there and I was at 2 cm I was both shocked and disappointed. Since my water was broken (they didn’t even check, the doctor said “Yeah, you had so much water if you said it broke I BELIEVE YOU”) they did want to keep me though. so I tried to get comfortable and just enjoy the last few hours with my inside baby.

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It was pretty boring. E and I played cribbage, just like we did when I was in labor with Evan. He beat me every time, just like when I was in labor with Evan. By the afternoon I was still mostly just sitting there, contracting but not super painfully, and they asked if I wanted to start pitocin. I told them that was fine but I would need the matching epidural. The very nice anesthesiologist came and stuck me with needles and then the magic epidural made me feel totally drunk and I was MUCH HAPPIER. It was exactly the right amount of numb, where I can move my legs and feet but feel no pain. I think I updated Facebook and made a bunch of jokes. It’s sort of a blur.

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For a while (OMINOUS DUM-DUM-DUM). Now that baby didn’t have a swimming pool to play in, he started playing with the cord instead and every couple of contractions the monitor would register a deceleration in his heart rate. A few times it dipped really low and I got a rush of nurses in to rearrange me and ask me to roll on one side or another. It was sort of stressful on everyone and I started to get pretty worried I’d end up with an emergency c-section, although when I mentioned that to my nurse she said I wasn’t even allowed to THINK that word.

They eventually found a spot on my right side where the baby’s heart was happy but it meant that my epi started to wear off on the left. A lady from anesthesiology came and hung a new bottle and gave me a bump, but warned us lying on one side meant the other side might always get less medicine. My left side hurt more. And more. And more. AND THEN A LOT REALLY A LOT IT REALLY REALLY HURT. Then the baby’s heart rate deceled again and they made me get up on my knees and hang over the bed and I realized I wasn’t numb AT ALL on the left and it was wearing off on the right and my epidural had officially failed and OMG HOW DO PEOPLE EVEN DO THIS WITHOUT MEDS?!?!?!

No, for real, it sucked. Snaps for anyone who does even 5 minutes of natural/pitocin labor.

E fed me a delicious Italian ice to distract me, but when I started to actually cry during a contraction my nurse decided to page anesthesiology again. The first nice doctor who put the epi in came up to check on it. He ripped all the tape off my back to check the needle and was getting ready to give me another bump when I heard him say “The pump isn’t on.”

YOU GUYS. THEY TURNED OFF MY EPIDURAL. The woman who hung up the new bottle NEVER TURNED IT ON, so I hadn’t had any meds in HOURS. And my pitocin was at a 16 (on a scale of 2 being “meh” and 20 being “WARNING: BABY MAY SHOOT OUT LIKE A CANON BALL”). They turned the pump back on. Literally 5 minutes later I was fine again.

I have no sense of time from when the epidural stopped working until I started thinking “Hey, there’s that pushy-feeling! I should get the nurse!” but it was probably around 11:30 pm when the doctor came in to check me. Unfortunately, my giant baby refused to move down into my pelvis AT ALL, so I was at -1 and only 9cm.  It looked like I was still HOURS away from delivering.

Not that much later I was still feeling REALLY REALLY PUSHY. It also sort of hurt and I could feeling the burning ring-of-fire thing people describe so I told the nurse again I was probably about to have a baby. She called the doctor back to check again…and again I was at -1 and not fully dialated. I was the laboring woman who cried wolf, but no matter WHAT the doctor said I know what pushing feels like. I KNOW. So when I got the pushy feeling I might have pushed a little.

Me to nurse: It still feels like I should push.
Nurse: Don’t push yet.
Me to nurse (totally pushing): Ok, I won’t. But it really feels like I want to.
Nurse: If you’re not fully dialated your cervix can get all swollen and labor can be harder.
Me to nurse: Right, of course, I know. I’m not pushing. (MORE PUSHING)

Literally FIVE MINUTES after the doctor said I was at -1 I grabbed my nurse and said very seriously “LOOK, I’M ABOUT TO HAVE THIS BABY. FOR REAL. CHECK ME.” So she called the doctor back.

Guess who was right? I went from a -1 to a +3 in less than 5 minutes. My secret pushing worked (or, you know, just like my other 2 births when I get to the end babies come flying out of me). Luckily my doctor was aware of my short pushing history and everyone moved fast.

Then everyone tried to tell me how to push and I ignored them because y’all, I got this part. Four pushes later I had a baby. Then E said “IT’S A BOY” and my only response was “…..REALLY?!” Then they gave me my baby boy and I was like “Of course you’re a boy, I knew that. I know you!”

I really love that part at the end when you get a baby.

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And now I’m going to brag a little bit about maybe the weirdest thing anyone has ever bragged about – they took the baby to weigh him and said “Whoa, NINE POUNDS” and then the doctor (assistant doctor? midwife in training? Whatever, the chick that caught my baby under my doctor’s supervision) said “You didn’t tear at all! No stitches!” I’m pretty proud of my no stitches. I got up to pee like 10 minutes after I gave birth and it didn’t hurt.

E went and got the kids and my mom in the morning so they could meet their new brother. They were both excited…for about 2 minutes. Evan got bored because he didn’t do anything and Caroline just wanted to be the center of attention. She did a lot of dancing.

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The next day I entertained myself by taking pictures until we got to go home. For a minute.

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Just like his brother, Baby Linc ended up a little bit jaundiced. I dragged him all over creation trying to get blood work done on Saturday only to end up back in the hospital overnight. I’m not going to lie, that really sucked. I had a bad night staring at my baby under the lights (he loved them) and ended up asking the nursery to watch him so I could get a little sleep. It’s easier to mentally beat myself up for not doing MORE to force my newborn to eat and poop when I’m not quite so tired.

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But his numbers came up fast and now we’re home for good (fingers crossed).

And that is the LONGEST POST I’VE WRITTEN IN YEARS. If you finished it I probably owe you $14 and a drink for the time it took out of your life. Seriously, I can’t even bring myself to read it again for typos. But I had a baby 6 days ago so my brain is fried anyway. TOTALLY worth it.

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Dance Mom

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Caroline had her first ballet recital on Friday night. She’s taken 13 weeks of classes and she’s only three and half, which means about 75% of the performance was her staring into the wings to watch the teacher and 25% was her screaming the words to “Deep In The Heart Of Texas” with a giant, dramatic point at the audience for every “Texas!!!!!!!”

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That was pretty standard for the entire class, although there were a couple of girls who you can imagine on So You Think You Can Dance in 15 years (or whatever the 2030 equivalent is – So You Managed  To Not Let Technology and Common Core Ruin Your Life And Are Capable Of Expressing Emotion With Your Movement Directly Into Our Brains??). They’ll say things like “I’ve always loved being on the stage” and “I can just feel the music and connect with it naturally.”

Caroline will probably not be that girl. I mean, this is a really early prediction and far be it from me to crush her dreams in any way and if she wanted to spend the next decade in dance classes I will be NOTHING but supportive. But I do not thing dance is going to be her thing.

Dress rehearsal was…long. And a little stressful. The class is through a local town’s parks & rec department but the instructor REALLY wants the kids to do a good job so she can be capital-I Intense. There may have been some yelling because the 3 year olds didn’t have the laces on their ballet shoes tucked in. There was some public scolding about an improper hair clip. The teacher is basically a SAINT for dealing with. like, 100 kids whose parents don’t care enough to pay for fancy dance but want a recital anyway, but even saints lose their shit a little bit right before curtain.

By the end of rehearsal, when all Caroline had left to do was the Hokey Pokey with the rest of the little kid classes, she lost it. She was the kid – the only kid – who ran off stage crying that she wanted her mommy and didn’t like dance anymore. I left Evan to misbehave in the audience while I tried to coax Caroline back on stage.

When I say “coax”, I mean I tried every single thing I could think of that didn’t involve physically dragging her on stage and leaving her there. I told her she needed to be a big girl. I told her she could quit if she wanted to and we could go home. I told her she was being ridiculous. I promised her ice cream if she would JUST STOP freaking out. I told her everyone got scared before they went on stage and it was totally OK and I loved her no matter what. I told her dancing was FUN and she LOVED dancing and why didn’t she want to do some FUN DANCING on the stage?

I don’t really know what my parenting style might be called, but it is definitely not “consistent”. I have no idea what I am doing.

The next night, before the actual performance, she threw a fit again. I was supposed to drop her off with her class back stage but every time I tried to leave her eyes filled with tears. There was an incident with her hair bow (apparently it was on the wrong side and needed to be moved despite the fact that no one had EVER said ANYTHING about WHICH SIDE it needed to be on before WHATEVER I DON’T CARE) and she started crying again. I went back to comfort her (mistake!) and she started the clinging/crying/yet insisting she DID want to dance cycle all over.

I left. I sat in the audience with all my crossables crossed that she at least WENT on stage, even if she just stood there.

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And she did great! Once she was out on the stage under the lights she performed and hammed it up and blew kisses. She loved the applause and the cheering and being the center of attention. She did both routines as perfectly as I could have hoped from a 3 year old. It was adorable.

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But even though it ended well, I’m not sure how I feel about signing her for more classes. I don’t want to be the mom who pushes her kid to perform when she doesn’t want to. I didn’t like snapping at her not to mess up her hair or smush her skirt. I am embarrassed that I was embarrassed when she was upset and even though she knows I am SO proud of her I don’t want her to feel disappointed in herself if she messes up. I loved dance class when I was a kid but never really loved the recital part. To this day I have that nightmare where you show up backstage and realize you have NO idea how the routine goes.

I am probably (definitely) overthinking this. Caroline is 3. If she says she wants to take ballet again in the fall, she can take ballet again in the fall. If she DOESN’T want to do the recital next June, she doesn’t have to do the recital. I do not have to have a philosophical discussion with myself over Intro Ballet or Beginner Tap and whether or not I am turning into a crazy Dance Mom after ONE recital. If you ask Caroline right now if she liked performing she will say “YES!” and shout at you about the stars at night and their largeness and brightness. That’s really what matters. But I think I learned something about myself and my parenting I am not sure I’m totally sure I like what I learned.

Let’s ignore my poor parenting and just squee over how adorable my daughter is instead.

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Adorable cowgirl themed finale costume handmade by me…HAHAHAHAHA NO, I bought it on Etsy. I could have tried to find her some jeans and a bandanna but this was easier to do from the couch.

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