Sometimes, the best time for me to write is when I am in the moment, feeling the emotions as they come to me. I don’t know if it’s my pregnancy hormones making me more emotional, but I broke down tonight and just sobbed.
My baby boy is growing up. Much quicker than I could have ever anticipated. This is the heartache they warn you about. The kind where your heart hurts so bad because you want a moment to last and know that it cannot and time is slipping right out of your fingertips.
Breastfeeding. It was quite the challenge at first. The milk didn’t come in right away. We were worried about Silas’ initial weight gain after birth and encouraged to supplement with formula until the milk came in. After our first supplemental formula feeding, the milk came in full force.
Cracked nipples. Painful. Uncomfortable. Mastitis not once, but two times. Rounds of antibiotics to combat the infections, only to lead to a stomach infection that didn’t want to go away. More antibiotics to kill off the overgrowth of bad stomach bacteria.
“Is this really worth it?” I remember thinking. A little voice inside my head said, “Keep going.”
Eventually, breastfeeding became easier. My breasts and body healed and my son and I bonded closer than I ever could have imagined. Breastfeeding became our special time and part of our routine.
Fast-forward sixteen months. In those first few weeks of breastfeeding, I never thought we would have made it this far. I feel grateful for the opportunity to feed my son from my own body. We were fortunate to be able to breastfeed for sixteen whole months.
Over the past few weeks, our special time has dwindled and Silas has become less interested in breastfeeding. Six feedings gradually turned to three, which quickly turned to one or two. All within a few weeks. I am guessing my current pregnancy is the culprit and is causing my supply to dip or the taste to be off. Maybe he’s just growing up and over it.
Either way, I am sad that our breastfeeding days are over. It was a hard road at first, but eventually, it became our thing. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to do it as long as we did. I will forever miss our special time together.
It's the middle of summer and we have been so busy with life! To avoid complete boredom, I have been doing my best to keep activities on the calendar for Silas and me. We have been visiting our local pool weekly, attending story times, puppet shows, and outdoor concerts, visiting animal friends at the zoo, and taking loads of sand home from the beach (found in various places, like Silas' diaper and our lunch bag).
In case you are bored with your little one or like to keep a packed calendar of events, I've compiled a little list of our favorite summer activities. Some of these are Minnesota-specific, but many states offer similar activities and programs.
- Music Class: We recently started a music class through Ladybug Music and it is oh-so adorable. It's a 40 minute class with other kids and their parents/caretakers, and we sing, play instruments and dance. Silas is a little ADD and doesn't quite get the concept of staying in the "circle" yet. He likes to explore the room most of the time, but we still have a blast listening to the music and playing with the instruments.
- Puppet Shows: What's better than a puppet show in the park? Probably not a whole lot! These shows are put on by the City of Golden Valley and they are quite possibly the cutest thing. Each show is about 30 minutes long and is packed with puppets singing to hit songs. We brought a blanket and sat under a tree, while we danced and sang along with these furry creatures.
- Swimming at the Local Pool: We try to go "twimmin" once a week at our local pool. I have no idea why we call it that, but Silas thinks it's funny and knows what we mean when we ask, "Do you want to go twimmin'?" We were gifted a summer pool pass for Silas' birthday (great gift idea for friends and family!) so both Seth and I can attend the pool for free all summer long. Silas falls into the "free" category and we won't have to pay for him until he is a little older. At our pool, there is a baby slide that he loves to go down and a sprinkler splashy water contraption that him and Seth always play with. Our baby section of the pool also has a shaded area, so we don't have to worry too much about the sun getting in our eyes.
- Outdoor Music Concerts: Seth and I both grew up in Maple Grove and love going back for all of the family and kid-friendly activities they offer. One of the coolest things they have is a free outdoor music concert every Thursday morning. In fact, they have it on Monday and Wednesday evenings as well, but the Thursday morning concerts are tailored towards kids. Silas loves music and these outdoor concerts put us in the best mood. We usually bring our stroller, a blanket to sit on, and a snack to enjoy as we listen to the concert.
- Story-Time in the Park: Most cities offer a few outdoor story-time events throughout the summer. Silas and I recently saw Goldilocks and her three bears and plan to attend another story-time event later this summer. Did Silas totally get what was going on? Probably not. He spent most of the time focused on eating his snack and watching the other kids. But I like that we are getting out of the house, interacting with other families and kids, and spending time outside together.
- Visiting Animal Friends at the Zoo: In Minnesota, we have two main zoos that you can visit: The Como Zoo and The Minnesota Zoo. We have visited both this summer, and appreciate that The Como Zoo is less expensive, and only requests a donation for your visit. At The Minnesota Zoo, you have to pay for parking and admission, and before we even saw an animal, we ended up spending over $40. The animals that each zoo has are pretty comparable too, so we will probably visit The Como Zoo more often.
- Splash Pad: Silas is still perfecting his walk, but I know that we will be visiting the local splash pad once he's a little more stable on his feet. We stopped at one earlier this summer and had fun watching all of the other kids splash and run around in the water. It's also completely FREE. I know Silas will be crazy about the splash pad when he's better at walking.
- Swimming at the Beach: I'm going to be completely honest. This isn't my favorite activity, because it is a lot of work getting all of your stuff (stroller, wagon, lunch bag, baby, chair, umbrella, etc...) from the car to the beach, but once you are all set up, it is a little slice of heaven on earth. We always put our beach chairs right on the edge of the water, so we can be close to the kids and stick our feet in the wet sand. Heck, I've even been with a group of moms who may or may not have brought adult beverages with them. Sounds like a summer vacation to me! We bought a summer pass at our local beach, because a handful of visits make up the cost. The water is clean and filtered, and if you go early enough, you might be able to snag one of the large shade umbrellas.
What are some of your favorite summer activities with your kids? I am always looking for ideas to keep us busy and out of the house!
Well, we have a ONE year old, folks! I cannot even believe it. We celebrated by grilling with the grandparents on his actual birthday. He tried ice cream for the first time and fell in love. Over the weekend, we had a small(ish) party at home with some friends and family. Silas tried cake and seemed to love it, although he didn't want to get too messy eating it. What a gentleman!
Throughout the festivities, we learned that the song "Happy Birthday" makes Silas cry. I'm not sure why this is, but I have a feeling he might be a softy. :)
I also learned that I can't remember everything and forgot to put up a few decorations I worked so hard on. Crap! Learning to roll with the waves of motherhood!
Here are a few of my favorite photos from his birthday.
Happy 1st Birthday, Bubba! We cannot believe it has already been a year since we welcomed you into the world. You are the best thing that has happened to your Daddy and me and we love you so very much.
This last year has been a wonder watching you grow. It seems like each day, you learn something new. You amaze us.
We have learned a lot in the last year too! We now know that everything takes an additional 30 minutes, especially when we are trying to get out of the door. We are learning how to go with the flow and not sweat the small stuff, because we know that this will all go too fast.
Nothing is sweeter than waking up to your little squawks over the baby monitor.
Although it’s a little earlier than we would like to get up, we can’t wait to go into your room and see your smiling face. It makes us forget how tired we really are.
You excitedly point to the airplane hanging from your ceiling and say, “Oooooh!” We make airplane noises for you and pretend to fly one around the room. You look at us with amazement and must think it’s the coolest thing.
You are our everything.
A lot can happen in one year. It seems like just yesterday, you were swaddled in a warm blanket with your eyes closed tightly. Now, you are crawling around half-naked at full speed. We can barely get a diaper on you these days.
As much as we miss those early days, we are beyond excited for what is to come.
What will you like to do for fun? Who will you grow up to be?
We hope to teach you how to be a nice person and always treat others with love and respect.
We hope to teach you right from wrong.
We hope you know that you are always loved.
We hope you know the love that Jesus has for you and you walk a life of faith.
We hope you know that you can always come home.
While dreaming about your future is so fun, we are doing our best to take in the present and just enjoy who you are now.
You love music. You have rhythm and bounce up and down to any tune that has a good beat. Listening to your dad play guitar is one of your favorite things to do. You even sing along and love to say, “Ahhhh” to the music.
You are beginning to show your preferences, which include Sesame Street, bouncy balls and fire trucks. You show your excitement when you are sitting down and tapping your heels on the ground.
You are a little jokester and like to make us laugh. You make silly noises at the dinner table and look to see if we crack a smile. Even if we don’t laugh, you laugh at yourself.
You are becoming a trickster too. Even though we say, “No” when you feed the dogs food from your high chair, you continue to do so in the most clever way. You will stare right at us, pretending to put your food in your mouth, and instead, quickly swing your arm to the side and drop it casually onto the floor. You love your dogs and they really love you too.
You are a friendly kid. At the grocery store, you make eye contact with everybody and flash them a smile. You love interacting with other kids too.
You are a charmer. You love to give your grandmas kisses, which are always with an open mouth.
You love to explore. You can crawl really fast, traveling to all of the rooms in the house. You open and shut doors along the way, examine hinges, unplug the carbon monoxide detector and laugh hysterically at the beeping noise it makes.
Your favorite phrase is definitely, “Uh Oh!” You say it pretty much all the time, but especially when you drop your pacifier or anything else for the matter. Your other favorite word is doggy and you say it with the most enthusiasm.
You point to things when asked. Right now, you know where outside is, who your Daddy is, who your dogs are, where your head is, and where the light is. You are quite obsessed with light fixtures and ceiling fans.
You are really happy. We often get asked, “Is he always this happy?” Yes, you are really happy most of the time and we are so grateful for your joyful demeanor.
You are the light of our lives and we can’t imagine a day without you. Our world is forever changed because you are in it. We love you so very much, Siley! Happy 1st Birthday to you!
Mommy and Daddy
I can hardly believe it, but I have almost wrapped up my first year as a mom! It has been one of the most challenging, yet rewarding years of my life. When you become a new mom, there is definitely a learning curve, but you slowly figure out what works best for you and your baby.
In light of Mother’s Day coming up, I would like to share some of my favorite items during my first year of motherhood. These are the things that helped me get through, survive and keep my sanity.
- Mother Love Nipple Cream: This stuff is the tits! If you are breastfeeding or thinking about breastfeeding, you need this cream for your boobs. Your nipples will crack, bleed, dry out and take on a new shape within the first few weeks of breastfeeding. I applied this cream a few times daily in those early weeks. It was recommended to me by a lactation consultant and we purchased it in the hospital gift shop. You can also purchase it on Amazon.
- Breast Pads: These are a must if you are breastfeeding your baby. I learned the hard way and woke up one night soaked in milk from my leaking breasts. I tried a few different breast pads, but my favorite is made by Lansinoh, because the pad fits perfectly in my bra cup and soaks up a lot of milk.
- Padsicles: If you are planning to have a vaginal birth, these padsicles are essential for postpartum recovery. You keep them in the freezer, so they stay nice and cool. They feel amazing on your healing girl parts. Two weeks before Silas was due, I decided to set up a station in my kitchen and make the padsicles. I packaged them up in aluminum foil and threw them in the freezer, not knowing my water would break that night and I would be needing the pads a lot sooner than anticipated. I was so happy I made them in advance!
- Gap Nursing Sleep Tops: I live in a cold climate and need to wear long-sleeves at night. These tops from Gap are my favorite because they are so incredibly soft and comfortable. They also make breastfeeding in the middle of the night a breeze. Whip out the boob and away you go!
Note: If you have a larger cup size, you will definitely want a nursing bra you can wear at night. I purchased these ones from Amazon, because they were inexpensive and gave me some extra support.
- Extra Long Phone Charger Cord (Android / iPhone): I don't know what it is about having a baby, but for some reason, your phone is always low on battery. I think it is from the mass amount of pictures and videos you take to document all of their firsts. It could also be from the large number of texts, phone calls and social media notifications you get right after having your baby. I constantly had my phone plugged into an outlet in the living room, where I set up shop for the first few weeks postpartum.
- Manual Breast Pump: Why I didn't purchase this sooner is a mystery to me. Around the time Silas was nine months old, Seth and I went to Nashville for an adults-only weekend. Because I was still breastfeeding, I needed to pump on my trip. I planned to bring my electric pump, but I did not want to haul it around to the bars with us. Someone recommended I get a manual breast pump and it was a lifesaver. While we were out and about, I would occasionally slip off to the bathroom and use my manual pump. I didn't have to worry about plugging anything in or hauling around a big bag. The manual pump is small and doesn't take up a lot of room in my purse.
- Hands-Free Pumping Bra: If you are pumping, you will want a way to use your hands to multitask. This bra is awesome, as it holds your pump pieces in place so you can eat food, scroll your newsfeed or simply pet your dog at the same time. (I might add, this was Calvin and Winnie's favorite first-year item too!)
- Baby Wrap Carrier: This was another hands-free favorite. Babies love to be swaddled and close to their mommas during those first few weeks, and this wrap does the trick. This one is soft and really easy to use. Silas was able to snuggle up and stay close to me, while I got a few things done around the house.
- Ergobaby Carrier: Another carrier that we loved during the first year and still love today! This one is a little more durable and better for trips outside of the house. It also can be used longer than the cloth carrier, because it is adaptable to a growing baby. When the baby is an infant, you wear them in the front. As they get bigger, you transition them to the back. We used this carrier when we went to Basilica Block Party (an outdoor concert), the X Games and the Minnesota State Fair. You need the infant insert for younger infants who have limited head and neck control.
- Coffee. An endless supply of coffee. And a glass of wine doesn't hurt. :)
There you have it! I'm sure I will continue to edit this list as I think of things (Mom Brain is REAL, people!). If you are a mom and reading this, please comment with some of your favorite first-year items. Knowledge is power!
Stay tuned for a list of my favorite first-year baby items!
Photo Credit to the amazingly talented: Gabe Photography
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