Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Where my MoMos at?!

I started this blog because I felt a little bit adrift in the fog of new motherhood. I didn't fit into one particular parenting group. I practice babywearing, but didn't breastfeed. We co-sleep, but ditched cloth diapering. I opted for organic baby food, but let my toddler watch TV. I also realized that most of my preconceived (and admittedly naive) notions about motherhood were nothing compared to the reality of holding and nurturing a baby.  

I decided to embrace my maternal neutrality and I know I'm not the only Moderate Momma (MoMo) out there. So the question is, are you a MoMo?

Are you...

  1. A mom/grandmother/aunt/parental figure in a child's life?
  2. Figuring this out as you go just like the rest of us?
  3. Willing to laugh at yourself? (can you say Pinterest fail?)
  4. Comfortable letting your mess show?
  5. A working mom, stay at home mom, a work at home mom, a trapeze flying mom?
  6. A breastfeeder, formula feeder, pumper, or a combination of these?
  7. Trying to raise a healthy, happy child without screwing them up too much?
  8. Doubtful that you're doing a good job, but busting your ass anyway?
  9. Ready to leave judgments behind and embrace the sisterhood of motherhood?
If you can answer yes to these questions, WELCOME! You are in good company. We are all so much more alike than different. :) 

Fellow bloggers, I invite you to join the MoMo movement. Share a post about motherhood, tweet or Instagram the post with #MoMo. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Letter to Arlo

My little man. In my eyes you are perfection. Just when I think my heart is full, you do something to make it grow a little more. You are 11.5 months old and keeping me on my toes more than ever. You are walking laps around our little home, crawling off the furniture, laughing, baby talking, and eating up a storm. You finally have two teeth with two more on the way. You are challenging, funny, headstrong, and according to your Honey and PawPaw "very advanced". 

You love to play with your books and frequently shove them into our hands and demand to be read to.  You blow raspberries and take delight in making tooting noises on the back of your hand when I'm trying to settle you down for bedtime. When a song with a strong beat comes on you stop what you're doing and start shaking your diaper clad booty.

I feel like you're starting to comprehend the things I tell you. You like to shake your head "no" at me when you know you're doing something you shouldn't, but then continue doing it anyway. You delight in throwing all the food off your tray when you decide you're done eating. I keep thinking we need to get a dog to clean up after you.

You have the most amazing head of baby hair. Everywhere we go strangers comment on it and want to touch it. You were born with striking blue eyes and while people told us that they might change colors, yours have just become brighter. When you master a new activity you look at me with the sweetest smile as if to say, "did you see that mom?!"

Somedays you take all of my energy, attention, and strength. I won't lie...there are times when I countdown until bedtime so I can rest, recharge, and have uninterrupted time with your daddy. The funny thing is, once you're asleep and we're alone, we still talk about you and laugh about what you did that day.

I hoped and prayed to be a mom. It was a long journey, and at times I doubted I would ever hold you. My love, you were worth the wait.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How I got my flirt back

Today I dropped off Arlo at Mother's Day Out, went to the dentist for a teeth cleaning, and then had an impromptu date with my husband. :) 

It was the middle of the work day, it was the lunch hour, but we felt like we had flashed back in time to our dating days. When I pulled into the parking lot and parked next to my husband, he jumped out to open my door and greeted me with a big smile and a kiss.  The one thing that we have been missing since becoming parents has been uninterrupted one on one time with each other. Time to be still. Time to reconnect. Time to see each other as we used to. Not as "Mommy" and "Daddy" but the person who makes our heart beat faster. 

The silver lining to our infertility struggle was that we had 7.5 years of marriage to just be the two of us. While we longed for a baby, we loved our freedom and time with each other. Our lives have been filled with so much joy since having Arlo, but sometimes  while passing off a baby to be fed, tag-teaming story time, or playing another long game of peek-a-boo, we catch each others' eyes and say, "I miss you." We both know what the other means. We're in the same room, but we miss the us that we used to be.

That's why these spontaneous date lunches are so important. While we did talk about Arlo, we also talked about our other common interests, day dreamed about the future, and flirted. After the check was paid, we walked back to our respective cars, shared a kiss and went back to our days. 

I had a long list of things to-do today. It would have been easy to stay holed up in my home office knocking out work and getting ahead on deadlines while Arlo was away, but today the best thing I could have done with my time was sit across from my husband, share a meal, and do some flirting. 

What are your creative ideas for making time for dates and keeping your spark alive?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

How does she do it? Babywearing!

Before having a baby, I thought, "I should get one of those carrier thingys" and that was the end of my thought process on babywearing and I honestly hadn't even heard that term yet. As I do with most purchases, I started doing a little research into infant carriers and came across the term "Babywearing" and realized that there was much more to learn.

Anyone who has seen The Hangover has seen a Baby Bjorn and understands the concept...baby is close and your hands are free, but I had no idea how many carriers there were to choose from, the benefits of wearing your little one, and the community of awesome babywearers I would meet.

For us, we immediately found several benefits to wearing Arlo:

Helps with colic/reflux: Arlo had acid reflux and needed to be held upright for an hour after each feeding. When you're feeding your newborn every couple of hours, this means you are in essence holding baby ALL DAY LONG. With baby wearing, I was able to feed him and tuck him in close to me. He would doze off and I would be hands free to work. AMAZING!

Tummy time replacement: Arlo really, really hated being placed on his tummy. Probably due to his reflux and his stubborn nature that he comes by naturally. :) Tummy time has become necessary since we have adopted the Back to Sleep campaign. Babies spend much of their time on their backs (in a crib, stroller, pack and play, carseat, etc.) All of this time can lead to a flattening of the back of the head and weaker neck muscles.  I'll be honest with you, we did tummy time maybe 5 times in the traditional sense. The melt down hysterics just weren't worth it. Thankfully, I found out that babywearing doubles as tummy time! When baby is in an upright position in a carrier, their core muscles are constantly working. 

More Happiness / Less Crying: Babies who are worn reportedly cry 43% less and 54% less during evening hours. I personally believe in the 9 months in, 9 months out philosophy. Our babies come into the world needing comfort, reassurance and touch. What easier way to accomplish this than babywearing? Plus, when babies are worn they get more adult interaction. They are at eye-level with the big people and can see and experience more of the world. :)

A Happier Momma: Studies have shown that babywearing can decrease postpartum depression. While I didn't have this struggle, I did find I was much happier babywearing. I felt freedom to get things done around the house, venture out to run errands, and just get out in some fresh air for a walk without the burden of carrying a carseat, juggling a stroller, or exhausting my arms. I hosted a bridal shower when Arlo was 6 weeks old with him snuggly against me in a sling, we went to a farm and met some friendly and not shy goats,  and Arlo even went with me into the voting booth on election day! 

I'd also like to debunk some of the myths surrounding babywearing and common misconceptions we heard from others:

"It's all just a little too crunchy for me" I have met babywearers from all backgrounds. Working professionals, stay at home moms, hipsters, hippies, you name it. There's nothing "crunchy" about wanting to meet your baby's needs while not having your arms fall off. :)

"Aren't you worried he'll be too clingy?" Nope. I don't think you can spoil babies. They aren't milk! Arlo is now 11 months old and likes to play independently, goes to other caregivers happily (most of the time), and is all about trying to do things himself. 

"He'll never learn to walk if you carry him all the time" All that  wearing doubles as tummy time (see above). Arlo began crawling at 7 months, pulling up at 8 months and took his first steps at 10 months. (Note: I understand all babies develop at different rates, just trying to make the point that babywearing didn't stunt or slow his development)

So you think you might want to babywear but don't know where to start? 

I started out with a Moby wrap. This is a pretty popular beginners wrap. They are sold at major retailers like Target, and are relatively inexpensive ($40 - $50 new). You can also frequently find these at resale stores like Kid 2 Kid and Once Upon A Child in the $15 - $20 range. The Moby is essentially one really long piece of fabric that you wrap around your body and tuck baby into. It takes some practice to get comfortable with the wrap, but I highly recommend this for starting out and until the baby is about 15 lbs.

Once Arlo got a little bigger we switched over to an Ergo Baby Soft Structured Carrier. I'll likely be able to use this until he's about 2 years old so at $120 it's been a sound investment and just about the only piece of baby gear that we use absolutely every day. 

If you're unsure about which carrier will work best for you, check to see if there is a Babywearing International Chapter in your area. Not only are these groups amazing for education, support, and meeting other mommas, they offer lending libraries so you can rent a carrier for a month to see if you like it before making the investment. :)

Happy babywearing!

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015 To-Do List

Resolutions are so 2014. I'm a veteran list maker. I love organizing tasks and ideas in list form and the accomplished feeling of marking them off upon completion. So for those of you who are list makers like me, why don't we ditch the vagaries of resolutions and make ourselves a concrete to-do list for 2015?

Here is my to-do list:

  1. Make structured time to write weekly. I love this blog of mine, but really need to make writing a priority.
  2. Create a rotating meal plan. This is my ultimate weakness. After chasing Arlo, trying to get a little work done, and keeping up with the house, the last thing I have brain capacity for is deciding what's for dinner. I need simple, go-to recipes with the ingredients at the ready so I always know what's for dinner and we can avoid takeout. :)
  3. Save & Pay off Debt. We are still paying off debt from infertility treatments. My goal is to continue adding to our savings while making significant progress on the debt pay-off. 
  4. Drink more water! Sounds simple enough, but I'm a major slacker at staying on top of this. I feel better and look better when I'm hydrated, so why don't I do it? The simple answer...forgetfulness. Check out these adorable printable reminders! You can laminate one and stick it to your fridge or leave it at your desk and mark it off as you go. LOVE IT!
What are your 2015 goals? Are you utilizing a check-list?

Here are some great resources for organizing your goals into monthly, weekly, and daily tasks:

If you feel overwhelmed getting started, start small! :)

Christmas is Magic

I love Christmas. I always have. For years, I've looked forward to celebrating this beautiful season with a child in our lives. This year we were blessed with the birth of our little man and having him in our lives has made Christmas even more special. There really is something magical about viewing the holiday through a child's eyes. 

Our little elf

I may have gone a little Griswold a little early this year. I set up these adorable inflatable Christmas decorations and our tree the day after Halloween.  Momma was a little excited. Arlo delighted in seeing the lights and new characters. 

I made some salt dough handprint ornaments to commemorate Arlo's first Christmas using this recipe. I loved how they turned out. Not perfect, but unique and sweet memories for us to hang on the tree for years to come. 

Even though he's only 10.5 months old, we wanted to start our family traditions. We read The Night Before Christmas, The Polar Express and Song of the Stars. Ken and I watched Christmas Vacation while playing Santa's helpers and assembling Arlo's new toys. Rookie parent mistake, we didn't check our parts until Christmas Eve and were missing some. Arlo's new 4x4 Cozy Coupe didn't get assembled until the day after Christmas, but he clearly didn't miss out!

We were so thankful to be less than an hour from my parents so after opening gifts at home on Christmas morning we were able to spend the afternoon celebrating with family.

I hope your Christmas season was filled with family and fun! What traditions do you and your family celebrate?