Tag: Baby

Baby Boy Birth Story – Darkest Night Begets Brightest Light

Every birth story is a unique and special experience. Our Baby Boy spared no expense in making this a memorable occasion. He has brightened our life ever since he cured the darkest night.

 

Doctor’s Appointment

I had been hoping to naturally go into labor. I made it to my 39 week appointment and with despair heard that not much had changed. It was all I could do to not burst into tears. My baby boy was already measuring big, my mom was coming into town on Saturday and I didn’t want to wait and then have to deliver via C-section because of his size. I was so uncomfortable and Siena had been big too.

My amazing doctor asked me if I wanted to be induced and after talking with Austin about it, we decided that that was the best thing for us to do. I had been induced with Siena and was told that it probably was for the better, just because of her size and Baby Boy was already measuring bigger. So, if we were going to be induced, we might as well get that baby out of me sooner rather than later. The induction was scheduled for that night.

 

Last Moments as a Family of Three

Dropping Siena off before Baby Boy CameI was supposed to go in and have something put next to my cervix that would help soften it all night and then they would start Pitocin the next morning. Austin decided he wanted to spend the night with me in the hospital, so our friends were nice enough to watch Siena. Before dropping her off, we all went out to dinner one last time as a family of three. It was a restaurant we’d never been to and I got chicken strips and had one of them. I wasn’t that hungry… even though I knew I should probably eat because I wouldn’t get to later.

We took Siena to our friend’s house. We got her pajamas on and set up a Pack ‘n Play in their master closet. She looked confused and a little scared. We said a little prayer with her and told her that daddy would be there to get her in the morning. I felt like my heart was breaking a little as we closed the door. She had no idea what was going on or how things were going to change. I just remember looking at her big, beautiful eyes staring up at me, trusting that we would be back for her. It was probably harder on me than it was on her. Apparently she woke up the next morning and was just fine after she had her moment of confusion with new people around.

Getting Checked In

Trying to Sleep Before Baby BoyWe drove to the hospital and checked in. It didn’t take long to get situated. They had a room all ready for me. I donned the hospital gown and they did their usual prep stuff, reading documents, going over legal things, etc. I was dilated to a 2 ¾ and 70% effaced. Just a little more dilation than earlier that morning. It wasn’t super encouraging and I was glad that I had opted for the induction.

They stuck something next to my cervix that was supposed to help get labor going. Things were going pretty well. My nurse was super nice and I was pretty comfy in the bed. Austin conked out almost immediately and since I wasn’t tired enough to go to bed I started watching a movie on my tablet. Then I found out from my awesome nurse around eleven that I would be getting a new nurse…which is when hell began.

A Nurse Makes All the Difference

I knew it would be rough when I asked her, “so do you have any crazy stories from working here?”

She looked at me with a cutting, patronizing look. “That would be a HEPA violation.”

I’m sure my eyebrows raised in obvious surprise and disdain. I was just trying to make conversation but now felt like I couldn’t ask her anything without some sort of judgment being passed.

The Expert

My new nurse apparently had an idea of how every pregnancy was ideally supposed to go and my attitude  about my medically assisted labor did not seem to measure up to her standards. She obviously knew better than his mama or his doctor what was best for my Baby Boy. I started feeling contractions around 11:30 or so. They were bad enough that I wanted an epidural.

austin waiting for baby boy
Austin found a spot to rest while waiting for Baby Boy.

The nurse did not approve of my getting an epidural so early. She would say things like, “Well… because you’re getting an epidural so early… You really should wait… Are you sure you really need it?

But I was insistent and soon the anesthesiologist was there to relieve my pain. It was hard for me to even bend over, I was hurting so bad. I couldn’t relax.

I think it is also important to note at this time that I did have a terrible cough so my nurse was passively making comments like, “What was your doctor thinking? Inducing you when you have a cough?” To which I thought, my doctor is a genius. There’s no way I want to be miserable with pregnancy any longer along with this miserable cough. (And I had the cough for another couple of weeks… it wouldn’t have mattered.)

The Never-Ending Nausea

After my epidural, I suddenly felt very nauseous and remembered that the same thing had happened with Siena. I also knew that with my first pregnancy, they had given me something almost immediately that cleared up my nausea. Well, this nurse told me they gave me something and it could only be administered ever 6 hours, which I later found out was only Zofran!

Extreme Nausea waiting for Baby Boy
Trying to smile while suffering through the nausea.

It was doing absolutely nothing for me. Every time I rolled over (to evenly distribute the epidural) I felt horrible waves of nausea. I couldn’t remember what had been given to me before but I knew this wasn’t it. She refused to even ask the doctor on call if there was something else.

The Urine

TMI WARNING!

The fluids they kept giving me for baby boyShortly after the epidural, the most embarrassing horror, that I will never be able to forget was that they refused to put a permanent catheter in me. They are pumping me with fluids, I’ve lost all feeling down there and I have a cough, that unless I squeeze my legs together will force urine out of me. I complained to the nurse and tried to explain the situation.

“This is the way we have to do it,” she responded. She eventually did ask the doctor, who without coming to talk to me, also refused. I couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t do it when I had had one with Siena, even though I didn’t have a cold.

I pleaded and threatened, “you will literally have to keep changing my sheets because I cannot stop myself from peeing the bed.”

“Well, we could give you some pads.” I must have gone through 30 pads that night. My hands were covered in urine and the nurse and whoever the resident on call was that night, refused to put in a permanent catheter. And on top of all of this, I am trying my hardest not to spew vomit everywhere.

 

The New Nurse

Some time in the middle of the night, I got a new nurse who liked to interrupt me every time I asked for something for the nausea, by saying, “You have already asked for that.”

Obviously I have! Would I still be asking if I wasn’t desperate? Do you think it’s pleasant for me to constantly request for someone to come into my room and help me?

Pitocin

At 5:30 in the morning they finally started me on Pitocin. I was so excited because I was so ready for the night to be over. Delivery couldn’t be as bad as my night had been. Things were at least starting to move in the right direction. After they took out the string next to my cervix, they informed me that it hadn’t been inserted far enough and it had essentially done nothing all night. That was all for nothing then.

Around 7:30, I was dilated to a 4. Maybe things would move now!

The End in Sight

My doctor was going to be there in half an hour. I still felt horribly nauseated, but at least the nurses were gone and daylight was starting to come in through the window. They checked me at 7:50 because I guess it looked like my contractions were increasing. Suddenly I was at a 7. Then, just a couple of minutes later I really felt like I needed to push.

I told my morning nurse, who was perfectly pleasant, that I felt like I needed to push and she was like, “well, you were only at a seven a couple of minutes ago.” She checked again. “Wow! You’re at a nine.”

Then my doctor came in. I breathed a sigh of relief. It was over! It was finally over! Light had broken over the horizon. Immediately I felt like everything was going to be all right. She was scheduled to come in at 8:00 am. Good thing! Because Baby Boy was coming fast.

Doctor came to deliver Baby Boy
After some Phenergan and my Amazing Doctor came!

We were talking about my nausea that I had been fighting all night and then she said, “we’ll just give you some Phenergan,” without even blinking an eye. As soon as she said it I said, “that’s what it was!” That was the medicine the doctor had prescribed when the epidural gave me nausea with Siena.

My wonderful doctor gestured to the nurses and they started putting me on it and I instantly felt better. Why couldn’t they have given that to me 9 hours ago?!

Go Time

At some point I had to interrupt her as she was talking to me and I was like. “I really feel like I have to push!” She checked me and said, “Well, let’s get this baby out of you.” Time for Baby Boy!

“Right now!?” I thought I’d have more time after my Doctor Goddess got there.

She laughed. “Yeah, I’ll just break your water. Let’s have this baby.”

getting ready to push out baby boy

Pushing out my Baby Boy!
Pushing to see my Baby Boy!

She broke my water; it gushed everywhere. I pushed for twenty minutes or so and my Baby Boy was out! I couldn’t believe it. When I had delivered Siena, I had been in so much pain in spite of my epidural. The ‘ring of fire’ or whatever they called it. When I asked my doctor about that, she said that some hospitals turn off the epidural before you start pushing so that you can feel when you are supposed to push! WHAT?!?!?!

With Grayson’s delivery I could feel no pain, just pressure. It was awesome! I felt so alert after he was born, even though I hadn’t had a wink of sleep the night before. And there was my beautiful Baby Boy!

My beautiful Baby Boy

Baby Boy all cleaned off!

He was so amazing. Also, he was all covered in the white gunk when they handed him to me for the first time. They cleaned him up while some new resident stitched me up. My Doctor was not happy when she found out that the other doctor had let a resident practice on me.

waiting to hold baby boy

I was a little annoyed because the stitching took so long and I just wanted to hold my baby again. Finally, they were done and I got to hold him.

Holding my precious baby boy
Finally Holding My Baby

My Baby Boy

The first thing I remember about him is he had this cute little pointy nose! I’m pretty sure he has my eyes, at least the shape. And he was super bald. Siena had a lot more hair than he did. Oh and he was definitely a boy! It was so cute.

My precious Baby Boy. We named him Grayson. He was finally in our arms, healthy, happy, alive! I couldn’t believe the pregnancy was finally over and that the most horrifying night of my life was in the past.

Look at his leg rolls already! He was a hefty 8 lbs 15 oz and he was early! I have big babies.

After we shared some time with just Austin and I and our little bundle, Austin left to go get Siena.

I couldn’t believe we had Baby Boy Grayson already. I still called him Baby Boy because that is what we called him for so long. We had kept his name a secret and now that I could finally say it, he seemed more like Baby Boy. Grayson was here. We were a family of four! Our lives were forever changed.

My Sweet Grayson

Big Sister Siena

Siena about to meet Grayson
Her life is about to change forever!

When she came in, she looked like she always does in a new situation. Her eyes were really big. She just stared at everything and walked slowly into the room. I had Grayson in the bassinet because I didn’t want it to seem like we had replaced her. After she finally made it to the bed, we showed her, her baby brother.

Siena meeting baby boy brother

siena meeting baby boyBaby was already one of her favorite words so she just kept saying baby over and over again. She liked trying to hold him and was super sweet with him. I don’t think I detected jealousy or her being mad once. From day one, she just loved her brother.

The rest of the day we stayed in the hospital together as a family and hung out. At night time, Austin went home with Siena and they slept there. I slept in the hospital with Grayson.

That night I got a little bit of sleep because in spite of how exhausted I was, I couldn’t sleep much. I had to resort to watching a movie, You’ve Got Mail, to fall asleep. It took my mind off of the rush, adrenaline and excitement I felt at having Grayson finally join our family.

 

siena checking out baby boy
In an act of unparalleled love, Siena placed her treasured Owl Blanket with her new baby brother.

Family of Four

We are now a family of four! It feels like Grayson has always been here. In some way, he probably was, just waiting to come and join us. He and Siena have so much fun together. I love watching them interact. Thank-you for joining our family, Grayson!

If you happen to be expecting yourself, you might want to check out information on what you’re in for. Best of luck new Mama!

After having spent 6 months with him, I have a little idea of just how special he is.

doctor who delivered baby boy posing for picture with our family
Us with our incredible Doctor!

12 Moments When Your Baby WILL NOT Sleep Through the Night

Some parents are lucky and their baby starts sleeping through the night. Other parents are extremely talented and they lull their baby into a tender unconsciousness for the duration of the night.I have not been so lucky. My baby will not sleep through the night.

We have tried everything it feels like. He eats a ton and wakes up to eat all the time and he REALLY eats! I think we are just doomed to endure. When your baby will not sleep through the night, I think you are with me on these 12 moments you get to embrace.

1. When you make sure his bedtime routine has been performed with perfection and he has been properly pampered:

2. When you got him to go to sleep and you’re pretty sure tonight’s the night:

3. When you just have to check on him one last time:

4. When you hear him start to fuss and realize once again, your baby will not sleep through the night:

5. When you wish your husband would shout this:

6. When you climb back into bed, are on the brink of falling asleep and you hear him:

7. When you wake, but you knew it was coming and it’s probably the last time:

8. When it wasn’t the last time and you’re up 30 minutes later:

9. When that wasn’t the last time either and you’re up 30 minutes later again:

 

10. When your alarm clock goes off:

11. When you try to be a normal person every day:

No one can know for certain how long this will last. Our son is almost 6 months old… and that baby will not sleep through the night. I long for and pray for the day when I find moment number 12.

12. When you finally wake up and realize it’s the morning and the last time you were conscious is when you chose to go to bed:

 

If you want to read about one of my ACTUAL horrible nights, ENJOY!

Postpartum Anxiety & OCD without Medical Help

There are few experiences written on the web about Postpartum Anxiety or Postpartum OCD. They frequently get swept into the category of Postpartum Depression. But if you have ever experienced this, you will know that they are not the same and hearing about PPD all the time can make you feel that you are all alone in your struggle.

You are not alone.

taking care of my daughter after months of battling postpartum anxiety

 

My First Baby

I was obviously anxious about having a baby, but I was more focused on the delivery part of it. I figured that since I was the oldest of five, having a child would be easy. Having helped my mom change so many diapers, feed my siblings, gone babysitting, I just assumed that I wouldn’t have a problem with that.

 

The First 6 Weeks

For the first 6 weeks, postpartum, I was fine. We were with family and felt like we had a great support network. Our moms would gobble up any opportunity to hold Siena. They helped her fall asleep, changed her bum and were there for us to lean on physically and emotionally.

Literally, the day after my daughter was 6 weeks old, we flew all the way around the world and began living in China. There is nothing that could have prepared me for that kind of culture shock, but that is a story for another time.

 

Living in China

Facetiming to help cope with postpartum anxiety
My mom helped me through so much just by being available to talk to me whenever I needed to.

We were excited to go on this great adventure, but we weren’t entirely sure what it would be like with a baby. We had planned everything out and felt like we were prepared, we just didn’t anticipate the very real possibility of the mental health issues that might arise.

I was alone frequently during the day. Before we had left I didn’t think this would be a problem. I could make friends, and if not I could catch up on some of the things I’ve been wanting to do. I could blog, I could read, I could watch movies and of course I would be caring for our little angel.

Then I realized there was no one around me who spoke any English. And my Spanish only served to frustrate my attempts at learning Chinese. That was fine. I still had friends online… except that Facebook, Gmail, Youtube and any other American social networking site was blocked by the government. My saving grace was FaceTime, but the time change also made that very challenging. If it was four in the afternoon in China, it was two in the morning back home.

The afternoon was usually when it would start to get hard. I knew Austin wouldn’t be back from school for another couple of hours and by then I was at the end of my rope with Siena. I didn’t know how to make her happy. Being a Mama was much more difficult than I had anticipated.

 

Signs of a Problem

From the beginning, I was always a little paranoid about my baby girl. I was terrified she would just stop breathing while she was sleeping. A kid was coughing into her hands and then touching Siena’s hands… I about lost it. Fear gnawed at me constantly that something would happen to her.

We hadn’t been living in China for very long, maybe just a week or two when I started having the thoughts. Siena would be crying for hours and I would have no idea how to calm her and these unsolicited, unwanted images would flash through my mind. The images were a constant stream of me doing horrible things to my daughter. I couldn’t stop them. It seemed like the more I tried to rid myself of the thoughts, the more they permeated. (I will not get specific about what those thoughts were because I know that such descriptions can trigger images in people who suffer the same things as I did.)

I used to sit on my bed, sobbing and clutching my daughter with fear, terrified that somehow, I would do something that I had seen in my head. The fear that I would somehow do those things without wanting to may sound irrational to anyone not in my head, but it didn’t feel impossible to me. It felt terrifying and very real. 

 

Logical Explanation

mama who looks perfectly happy but battling postpartum anxiety
No one would know how I struggled unless I told them. You never know who could be going through this.

At first I thought that the only explanation for me having these thoughts was that I was a horrible mom. After all, how could I be a good mom if I was seeing all of these things in my head? It reaffirmed my belief over and over again because I couldn’t make them stop. If I was really a good mom, I wouldn’t keep seeing atrocities in my head. A good mom would never think these things.

The bad thoughts persisted so I finally looked it up online. At first the only articles I found were about postpartum depression and as I would read those, I thought, see… it’s just me. I’m the only one who thinks this way.

I finally clicked on a link labeled Postpartum Anxiety/OCD. OCD was never something that described me, but I certainly had a history of anxiety. As I read the article, everything made sense. I felt a relief just knowing that I was not the only one who had experienced this. Maybe, just maybe I wasn’t having these thoughts because I was a bad mom!

 

Postpartum Anxiety & OCD Explained

When someone experiences Postpartum Anxiety or Postpartum OCD they feel extreme anxiety about the well-being of their infant. The OCD describes ritualistic things done to help avoid the dangers that the mom foresees. As a mild example, a mom could constantly be washing her hands to make sure her baby doesn’t get sick. Another example is getting rid of items they perceive as being potentially harmful to the child.

For each of these mental illnesses, bad thoughts are a central theme. They could be bad thoughts about things in general, happening to your infant or things that you are specifically doing to your child.

Another core feature of Postpartum Anxiety or Postpartum OCD is repulsion at the images you are seeing. If you are experiencing a desire to do the things you are seeing or feel like someone is telling you to do those things, it is imperative that you stop reading my blog right now and seek medical attention. This is something called Postpartum Psychosis and is very treatable if you get help.

For all of these Postpartum Anxiety, OCD, Psychosis & Depression… it is not your fault. They don’t make you a bad mom. Merely the fact that you are worried about it and researching it on the internet proves you are a great mom. You are worried about the safety of your baby and yourself.

 

Postpartum Anxiety without Medical Help

I don’t recommend this. If you are experiencing any Postpartum Anxiety, Depression, OCD or Psychosis, please seek help ASAP. There are professionals who know how to help you.

I did not have this luxury. I was in a country across the world where very few people spoke English and it would have been extremely good fortune to find anyone who knew anything about Postpartum Anxiety. It was also hard to talk to my family about it because I was afraid they wouldn’t understand. But I did find a couple of things that were helpful in my battle for it alone.

I share these with you if you are in a situation like I was and cannot receive medical help. This may be a rare circumstance, but it was extremely frustrating to receive no guidance online beyond, go seek a medical professional when that was something I couldn’t do. If nothing else, these things might help until you can receive help.

 

Things that Helped

Talking to my husband was one of the first things that helped. I told him of my thoughts even though I was ashamed and embarrassed. Getting them out in the open helped to normalize the situation. He also shared his fears and even though they were not the same as mine, it helped to know that I was not the only one struggling during what should be “the most joyful time of our life”.

My beautiful angel who I fought for during my postpartum anxiety

When I did get back to America, I went to a group once. It was helpful to an extent. The other women there struggled with postpartum depression and it was hard to really share with them because I was embarrassed about the bad thoughts I was having. However, before anyone else arrived, I got to talk to the psychologist there one on one and having a medical professional validate my experience was helpful.

What helped me the most though was realizing that my fear behind all of the thoughts was that I was a terrible mom. I was scared that deep down maybe I really was this horrible person. Once I realized my fear, I also learned that this was a lie. I was not a terrible mom. I’m not a bad person. From that point forward, whenever I would see the horrifying images, I would repeat to myself “I am a great mom.” I would repeat it until I believed it and then they would leave me alone for a time.

To me, it seemed like infusing myself with truth was the only way to combat the lies that accosted me constantly.

 

Spirituality is Helpful, but Not a Curemy husband rescuing me when I needed help with postpartum anxiety - an answer to prayers

I am a very religious person. While I was going through this, I used to read my scriptures, go to church, pray and plead with my Heavenly Father to take this away from me. I tried everything I could think of to implore heavenly help. It came, but it came in the form of ways to cope until I could find professional help.

For example, I found an article that reaffirmed I was sick, that there was a name for something I was going through. That felt so liberating.

Another example is my husband would have strength when I had none. I have a picture of him standing, silhouetted in the dark while he held our crying baby and had saved me from emotionally crumpling in on myself.

Even though I was doing everything I could to stay close to my Heavenly Father, I still had the bad thoughts. And part of me likes to think that I went through that so I would know that this is a legitimate illness that is not imagined or something that you can just control. Because I know this, I can now be there to support other women who are struggling in the same way.

In fact, this is a video put out by my church talking about the need for professional help. This woman describes her experience and there were so many things that resonated with me. I always appreciate it when someone has the courage to share their experience. It helps me feel like I am not alone in this struggle; that it has happened to other women.

 

Length of Time

After I returned to America and was around family again, my bad thoughts almost went away. But they didn’t completely. Sometimes they would return full force and I would find myself crippled in emotional hell.

They came back more frequently when we moved to Detroit. I had read somewhere that it would last throughout the first year of your child’s life. This seemed impossible to me. How could they just go away? I would never be able to forget the images that had tortured me.

While that is true, it is also true that the illness went away. After a year, I was no longer consumed by it. I still remember every horrible thought I had with impeccable clarity. They are not easily forgotten. But, they don’t replay in my head over and over again, threatening to strip me of my sanity.

Instead I think, “my poor new mom self. I wish I could tell her how amazing she was for being strong when she felt impossibly weak.”

 

my angel baby and her big eyes helped me battle postpartum anxiety
My beautiful girl was a light to me during the trying times.

 

Will it Return?

Postpartum Anxiety and OCD is most common with your first pregnancy, but that does not mean it is impossible for it to return. As I prepared for the birth of my second child, I talked to my OB/GYN about my experience with Siena and she helped me take some precautions. She recommended some mental health professionals and prescribed some anxiety meds.

Taking the medication gave me extreme insomnia so I quit taking those. And I never did get to go see someone before my son was born, or after for that matter. I am happy to report that I haven’t needed to so far. He is 5 months old and I have been so happy. I didn’t know this kind of happiness postpartum was possible.

And in case you were concerned or wondering, the postpartum anxiety I had with my daughter does not in any way affect how much I love my children. I love them both the same and am so grateful that this time around, I got to enjoy all of the experiences that being a new mom can bring.

 

enjoying the sweet moments with my son
My Sweet Son, Grayson

You Always Have Help

I am not a medical professional, I don’t have a degree or a license. I just have a lot of experience that can at the very least, assure you that you are normal. You will just need some help getting through this.

If you are struggling with this and have no one else to turn to, I am here as a resource. It will get better. It doesn’t last forever and you are an incredible mom.

If you would like to reach out to me, please send me an email or leave your comments below. I am sure there are many people who struggle with this and would be able to offer even more insight than I can. 

Cake Smash Fail – Definitely Not Pinterest Perfect

In my days before I knew that I was not Pinterest Perfect, I thought it would be a great idea to make a cake for my daughter’s first birthday and we could do a Cake Smash! Smashin’ idea, eh? It was going to be brilliant! I made a cake that looked like one of the owls on her precious owl blanket. This was going to be so fun!

And then of course, being the photographers that we are, we were going to document every fun, messy second. Bring the Cake Smash on!

one-year-old-in-the-middle-of cake smash

Building the Cake

I did two layers. I know, I’m so fancy! There were different colors of frosting that I had made with cream cheese so not only was it going to look pretty but it was going to taste pretty darn good. I spent an entire afternoon creating my masterpiece and I wanted it to look just like her blankie.

All in all, I think I did a good job. It looked like a cake fit for my princess to smash.

cake smash-cake, my perfect creation!

Finding a Time

This was tricky, because my husband’s work schedule was busy, the Holidays were upon us and we didn’t necessarily want a big audience around while we went crazy with our camera. We ended up having to wait a couple of days after her birthday before we could do it... which affected the density of the cake

Finally, we got her in her cute little bootie cover and got everything all set up. Time to show off our cute, messy angel to the world.

 

The Cake Smash

This Cake Smash wasn’t exactly what you would call a success. First of all, our daughter didn’t seem remotely interested in the cake. She was more interested in the lights we had set up and the big giant cameras in front of her parent’s faces.

Well, the Cake Smash was a giant FAILURE! My cake that I had spent hours meticulously baking and decorating was hard as a rock and she tried everything to dig into it, but to no avail. 

 

1-year-old-pushing-down-on-cake smash-cake

1-year-old-trying-to-penetrate-cake smash-cake-with-teeth

Finally, we tore a chunk off for her and she at least got to taste it, but her interest faded shortly thereafter.

trying-some-of-the-cake smash-cake

 

We tried the cake too. It was now like a calcified brick with baby slobber all over the top. Needless to say, we ended up having to throw the whole thing away. So sad!

Lessons Learned

Sometimes it’s just better to pay for a cake. I am obviously not a Cake Smash baking expert.

Don’t assume your child likes to get messy. Ours hates it.

When it comes to kids, it’s okay to let go of expectations, because it is never going to go the way you planned.

You will still get adorable pictures though!

1-year-old-not-getting-to-enjoy-cake smash-cake

More Mom Fails!

For more Mom Fails check out: 5 Mom Moments That Were NOT Funny at the Time.

Or, enjoy my failure at trying to teach my daughter how to use the potty.

My Daughter – Ambassador of Light

I’m sure most people feel the way about their kids that I do about my daughter. She lights up my world. My son does too. This post however, is about my daughter. It is over the last two years of having her in our home that I have come to realize just how special she is. Let me share with you what little I know about my daughter’s potential.

When I First Met My Daughter

My daughter was born in the afternoon after a grueling labor. Twenty hours of labor and three and a half hours of pushing. As I finally got her out of me, I collapsed in a kind of exhaustion that I think few have experienced. My body and spirit felt broken and I didn’t know if I would ever be the same again.

I was right in being worried; I never was the same again. But it wasn’t because of my delivery experience. It was because of the big, beautiful eyes looking up at me when they placed her in my arms. She made me a mommy. Her eyes were wide and it seemed like she was seeing more of me than I have ever seen of me. My baby girl was perfect.

my daughter-at-6-months-old-looking-up
Looking-at-my daughter-right-after-she-is-born

The First Sign

The first sign of just how special my daughter really is, was the complication with the umbilical cord. We found out after I had delivered that the cord was small and that it had a knot in it. If she had somehow managed to tighten the cord during her 9 month stay in my womb, she would have died. If it had pulled tight during delivery, she could have died. But somehow, through all of that, she survived.

Survival

She survived during a very rough postpartum for me. Our challenging stay in China would have been enough to rattle the calmest of babies, yet she survived.

I got really sick when she was just two and a half months old (bronchitis, tonsillitis, a viral infection and the flu). My temperature was 104 and I finally had to an IV with antibiotics to knock out the infection. Yet somehow, she never got sick. Not one time during the China trip did she get sick.

We rode in taxis without seat belts or car seats (because they didn’t have them) on what looked like some of the most dangerous roads we’ve ever had the pleasure of taking. Granted, we were observing with our Western eyes.

She has shown her resiliency time and time again, proving to me that she is here on earth to bring light to those in darkness.

waiting-at-a-bus-stop-with-my daughter

Helping her Brother

Grayson, has not been as easy-going as his sister was. Perhaps it is because he was not forced into a life of nomadic venturing from the very beginning. He gets very upset when he cannot go to sleep on his bed, our bed or someone else’s bed.

If we are out and about and he is having a hard time, Siena will grab his hand and say, “It’s okay.” She’ll give him her favorite blanket and her favorite baby. If I need her to, she will run and grab his pacifier so that he will have something to suck on. She wants to help her baby brother to be happy.

my daughter-holding-her-brothers-hand

Helping her Mommy

About a month ago, I got the flu after she did. She had thrown up, been miserable and then of course, it was my turn.

I was laying on the couch, perpetually letting Daniel Tiger occupy the screen so that I would have to get up as little as possible.

At some point, Siena came over and patted my hand and then climbed up with me. She snuggled next to me, grabbed my arm, put it on herself and held my hand to make me feel better.

my daughter-holding-her-mommy's-hand
My daughter-at-6-months-old

What I See

Every day she is learning. She creates new things, comes up with new words, or impresses me with her actions as she learns to be a good person.

One of the things she absolutely loves to do, is be a mama. She tries to do everything I do, so I have to watch what I do sometimes. I have to send her out of the room before I trim my bangs… because we all know what could happen if she found scissors and decided she wanted to be like mama.

She puts her baby and bunnies to bed. She tries to feed Grayson. Her favorite thing to wear when mama wears boots, is her boots that match. She likes to sit in the sink while I get ready and pretend to put lotion on her face while I’m getting ready. She loves to wear a backpack and get ready to go because I have a diaper bag backpack that goes everywhere with us. Our baby girl is a Mama in training.

Siena loves music. She dances, tries to play the piano and sings along when her mama is singing at the top of her lungs. She laughs when she tries new things at the thrill of doing something new. My daughter is the sweetest.

She is Human

She gets angry, throws tantrums and tries to kick the cat. My daughter is imperfect, but her human nature is not ever going dissolve her worth.

my daughter-sleeping-as-a-newborn

Rarity in Vision

It is rare that someone gets the opportunity to see just how special someone is. I think that is the role of a parent. I doubt anyone will see as much as I, her intrinsic value. She has overcome so much already and she is only two years old.

I can already see her doing so much. One day she’ll light the world. She is going to accomplish so much and become so much. I can't wait to be a witness to it. Even now, there are so many people who want to talk to her because she is lighting up their day. My daughter is an ambassador of light and one day, everyone else will see it too.

5 Mom Moments That Were NOT Funny at the Time

Mom Moments = Memories

Mom Moments may find us as soon as we see that we are going to become mommies. Three of the ones I will share with you today occurred while I was pregnant with my first child. The other two are ones that happened within her first 4 months of life. You cannot have too many Mom Moments because those are the memories you talk about until you die.

Passed Out

I was only four months pregnant when I had one of my first Mom Moments. We had spent all day shooting a wedding, that night I had walked a midnight 5K with my two sisters and then we had had to spend the whole night packing up our apartment to move. The next day, we had somehow managed to get everything out of our apartment.

I had ended up without a car, stuck at the apartment with just me, the cat and the litterbox. All the furniture was gone and I was exhausted. Finally, I laid on the ground and immediately fell asleep. Less than ten minutes later, my cat let out these long mournful cries like I had never heard before. I got the distinct impression that he had literally thought that I had died. As soon as I moved and called to him he came over and plopped next to me and demanded to be comforted.

Me&My-Sisters-before-the-5K-during-one-of-my-Mom Moments
Selfie-on-My-Birthday-to-Get-Oil-Changed-Before- the road trip of one of My-Mom Moments

Pit Stop in the Canyon

The second of my Mom Moments: The day after my birthday, we were driving and I was pregnant. I had had some bad sushi (all cooked fish) that morning and was already prone to morning sickness. We were driving out in the middle of nowhere to get to a family reunion. The road was on the side of the mountain and on the left side of the narrow road there was a cliff and on the right side of the road, a wall.

My nausea kept building and building. I told Austin that I had to throw up, I couldn’t hold it in. I looked for something, anything to catch the vomit and found a grocery bag. Barely opening the bag in time, vomit spewed from my mouth.

I quickly realized that my grocery bag had holes in it. “Austin, there’re holes in this thing!”

He was already pulling over in the first tiny alcove he could see in the canyon wall. I hadn’t even noticed that he had already rolled the windows down. Apparently the fumes from the vomit had been immediate and it was all Austin could do to keep driving and not throw up himself. “Get that out of the car!”

I am not proud of us that day. We definitely littered. We left that grocery bag full of vomit on the side of the road and I still hope that no one has found it.

A Memory Lapse

Mom Moments #3 - I was driving and Austin was giving me directions on how to get somewhere. He said, “K, now turn left at the next stop sign.”

I nodded and silently took note. I pulled up to the intersection, stopped at the stop sign and went straight.

Austin stared at me in shock. “You didn’t hear me?”

“What?”

“I literally just told you to turn left at the next stop sign.”

I started laughing. “I’m so sorry. I seriously forgot.” I could suddenly remember him telling me, but not a second after he told me to turn, I had already forgotten. He was in disbelief.

Jennifer-at-the-Steering-Wheel,-representing-one-of-her-Mom Moments
hotel-room-in-china-location-of-one-of-my-mom moments

No Boundaries

Mom Moments like this are ones that few people in America will get to experience this viscerally. Six weeks after Siena was born, we moved to China for the next 5 months. During our stay there, our parents came out to visit and we stayed in a hotel. One evening, I was inside of our room breastfeeding and a maid comes in to prepare it for the nighttime.

She puts the candies, adds the towels, oh and makes sure to peak down my cover at my nursing baby. That’s right, she walked all the way around the bed, came over to me, grabbed the top of my cover and looked down at my naked breast and my hungry child.

Although she was more assertive than other Chinese women, she was definitely not the first or the last to attempt such a thing so while shocked, I was not surprised.

The Great Wall Disaster

The Great Wall Disaster

My Mom Moments will make you feel better about any Mom Moment you may have, especially this one. We obviously had to see the Great Wall when we were in China with our parents. We put little Siena in our “Joey” (front pack) and went off on our grand adventure. The Wall was quite a ways from our hotel and we realized as we got off the Wall that Siena had pooped.

I looked in my backpack for a diaper and with crippling fear realized I did not have another one. It would be at least a couple of hours before we would be able to get back to the hotel and that included a miserable, hot bus ride.

We pulled out what we did have in the diaper bag and realized we had a “cloth diaper” that we had been using as spit up cloths.

Then I spotted a Subway. I wasn’t sure how I was going to communicate with the server there as no one speaks English. I walk in and play a game of pantomime and charades until she finally hands me a plastic bag, big enough for a 6 inch sub.

We took Siena to the main reception area for people wanting to go on the wall where there were some chairs. I tore holes in the corners of the bag and we made a makeshift diaper for her. She hated it at first, but you know what? It held up. She peed on the way back and her clothes stayed dry.

My-poor-trusting-baby-during-one-of-my-mom moments
My-poor-trusting-baby-during-one-of-my-mom moments

Share Your Mom Moments!

Do you have a Mom Moment that can stand the test of time? Please share it in the comments below. It will make the rest of us feel better about our own Mom Moments. 

If you want to read about an epic FAIL of many Mom Moments about potty training, check out my blog post: Potty Training, Poop Everywhere Edition

Want to see more embarrassing Mom Moments? Check out Embarrassing Mom Stories

Potty Training, Poop Everywhere Edition

toddler-girl-sitting-on-the-potty-in-the-bathroom-for- potty training

All parents have a Potty Training Story so allow me to add mine to the mix. That way, if you are perusing the internet, late one night because you are desperate for validation and understanding, perhaps you will come across my blog and know YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Potty Training has got to be one of the most feared and dreaded rites of passage that parents will get the pleasure of enduring. I assume that once you have passed the threshold, you will emerge pee-stained and poop-smudged, but victorious. You have slain the beast! The mammoth that blocked your way to that time-honored badge of parenthood has now been defeated. You are a champion among us mere mortals.

I have held no such honor.

In the Beginning

My naivety at the beginning was laughable. Potty training would be a breeze! After all, everyone has to go through it at some point, right? I read all the books, searched the internet and I thought that I would come through the dark abyss faster than most parents.

"I've got this," I would think to myself.

My daughter was exhibiting all of the tell tale signs.

She would grab her diaper after she had urinated or defecated and say, "potty!" Check!

She was uncomfortable in a wet diaper if she wore it too long. Check!

She could take off her own pants and her own diaper. Check!

She showed an interest in the potty. Check!

The only check that eluded me was the staying dry at night. But we could just potty train her during the day and she could still wear her diaper at night. So, that was an unnecessary check.

Approaching the Beast

We had so many well-intentioned talks. We bought her some panties, explained what the potty was for, showed her how to use it, let her sit on it at night before she went to bed and when she woke up in the morning she would sit on it. This was going to be a piece of cake!

Things started out smoothly. The first day, only one accident! She went to the potty every time. We applauded her, cheered for her and gave her a treat. She was ecstatic. We were ecstatic. Our wallets that finance her diapers were ecstatic.

The second day the potty training had a couple of setbacks. More accidents, but nothing we couldn't overcome.

Maybe We Weren’t So Smart After All

The third day, things took a turn for the worse. She was acting like she had to go potty and of course, the doorbell rings at this exact moment. I left Siena in the living room with the potty and go answer the door. I signed for a package and went back to find Siena standing in the middle of the living room saying, "Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh!"

She hadn't ever said uh-oh before when she had an accident. I followed her line of sight and gasped. A BIG GIANT POOP LOG was on our living room carpet! So many questions rushed through my mind. How had something that size even fit inside of her? How did she manage to poop in the middle of the room like that? What words do I use to explain that this is not okay without it sounding like she had gotten in trouble.

toddler-staring-at-her-poop-on-the-living-room-floor-during- potty training
piece-of-poop-on-living-room-floor-during-the-course-of potty training

The Mania Continues

The next day, another poop fiasco. This time the poop was in her bedroom and my husband was the lucky one to find the present bestowed upon us by the potty training gods.

A third poop visitor came in the subsequent days. Okay, this wasn't working. She didn't like pooping on the potty. We knew when she had to poop, but she wouldn't sit on the potty. Instead she would go off somewhere else and poop on the floor. Was the floor a superior receptacle for catching poop?

Change of Tactics

We tried a lot of things to adjust our potty training regimen.

We put a diaper on her after the poop as a form of consequence. She didn't care.

We had her wear panties to at least try to catch the poop. This resulted in more pee pee accidents.

We quit rewarding her for pee pee in the potty and encouraged the poop more. Indifference.

We tried pull ups. She didn't love the pull-ups and forgot to take them off to go potty.

toddler-sitting-on-potty-in-living-room-for potty training

The Toddler will Adapt Too

Our potty training antics were not lost on our daughter. She started changing her tactics too. I'm still not sure if it was an effort to try and become better at potty training or if it was to stunt the progress so she could keep being a baby. Regardless, we were at a loss after the new developments.

This may get to be TMI. You might have to shield your sensitive eyes if the poop talk is too much for you. One of my other tactics was to show her the poop in the toilet so she could see, "Look, poo poo goes in the potty!"

At this point, she was back in diapers unless she decided she wanted to go potty. And since she could strip down and take off her diaper (and she did on many occasions, even without trying to use the potty) it worked some of the time. We were exasperated and so we had almost given up hope, but we still continued to teach her about the potty.

She clearly had an interest after all.

The Straw that Broke the Camels Back

Every time she would poop, she started squatting and going, "potty, potty, potty".

I said to my husband that maybe she was ready now because she was recognizing when she needed to poop.

Then she ran off to the bathroom. I didn't want to follow her too closely, because she seemed to like to poop in private...I should have followed her immediately.

I finally followed her to the bathroom. To my dismay, she had taken all of her clothes off, thrown her poopy diaper inside of the big potty and sat on the little potty (covering it in feces), peed and was now unrolling all of the toilet paper to try and clean herself.

It took me a good 15 minutes to get everything cleaned up.

Beating a Dead Horse

My husband was once watching the kids while I was off doing something productive, but really just provided me an excuse to get out of the house. He apparently fell asleep on the couch while watching Siena.

During his slumber, the unthinkable had happened. He awoke to Siena placing a dirty diaper on top of him and a poopy bum to catch before she sat on something. After cleaning her up, his new quest was to find the poop that had fallen out of the discarded diaper somewhere in the house.

He must have been successful, because I have not found any other poops.

Guests

The potty training had pretty much come to a halt. We didn't bring it up. If she wanted to do it, fine. We would indulge her whim begrudgingly.

Then, one morning, I had a couple of ladies from my church in my house. We were chatting in the living room and suddenly Siena runs off, shouting, "potty!"

Oh well, if she comes back naked, I'll put some clothes on her.

We kept chatting and then I realized that Siena had still not come back yet. I heard her clanking around in the potty and suddenly felt a bowling ball drop into my stomach.... it was happening again.

I ran to the bathroom and her poop and diaper were still on the floor at least but her bum and potty were both covered in smeared poop.

I quickly cleaned everything up while my poor guests tried to help. One of these ladies had also just seen me cleaning up one of my sons blowouts in her own home. She literally has been witness to me cleaning poop off of both of my naked children. Oh, the things she must think.

Then, I washed my hands, put Siena's diaper and clothes back on and we got back to visiting.

potty-training-at-its-finest---toddler-running-down-the-hall-with-toilet-paper-rolls-on-her-wrist

The Consequences of My Actions

After the ladies left, I put Siena down for her nap. When she woke up, she suddenly had Pink Eye! What the freak?! We had just spent the last month and a half sick with colds, flu, pink eye, bronchitis, bronchiolitis, every sickness that this winter had felt the need to inflict upon us and now she was sick again.

Bowling ball drop. I had forgotten to wash her hands. I didn't know she had probably tried to pick up her poop and throw it in the potty like she had done the last time.

toddler-in-panties-in-living-room-for-potty-training

The End of Potty Training

That was it. We're done! No more potty training. I refuse to do it. My daughter will wear diapers for the rest of her life. My son will never have a chance to experience what underwear feels like.

Ever since that day, the potty has been locked under the sink. Perhaps I will forget one day and my daughter will be able to coerce me to pull it out again, but for now, our potty training days are over. And we will not be lured to the battlefield again. The beast has slain us and we will play dead for as long as possible.

Share Your Own!

Have a crazy potty training story? Please share in the comments below so the rest of us can feel a little bit better about our own defeating stories.

For another potty training horror story, check out this lady's fun blog:

http://thishappymom.com/authenticity-2/confessions/potty-training-horror-story

Most Days will be Just a Day

Just a day. Nothing newsworthy to report. No pictures to share with my friends. Only lame stories to share with my spouse. Today was just a day. It must not have been very significant.

I feel like there is this pressure to fill your day with activities that you can later share and brag about on social media. Or, perhaps not even to share or brag, but that if you don't keep up with everyone else online, you are somehow less than everyone else. It's easy to look into the rosy tinted windows of other people's Facebook feeds and think, "I didn't do any Funtivities with my kids today... we didn't go on any adventures... I didn't create a custom painting for my future baby's nursery... I haven't traveled anywhere that amazing..."

And then the conclusions that you don't even recognize, but permeate your subconscious nevertheless. Those conclusions are things like, "I must not be a good mom, I must be pretty boring, I must not be very creative and I must be trapped in my life of poverty or obligations." These are the lies that siphon into our thoughts and create feelings of sadness, worthlessness, frustration, anger and jealousy. And when I say lies, I mean LIES.

The Lie of Just a Day

Suddenly, seeing the accomplishments or good times of someone else is determining my character? No. The very idea of that being the logical succession of actions is laughable. And it's not that you are actively comparing yourself to other people. You are just thinking, "That looks fun!" "Wow, I wish I could go there!" "How did she make that?" "That is so cool!" These lies don't come from you, that's why you don't notice them slither into your soul. They are suggested to you, and unless you recognize what is happening, you will start to believe them.

3-month-old-laying-in-mommy's-bed-like-most-mornings when it is just a day

‘Just a Day’s have been around for Forever

I have found that one of the best ways to combat the lies that so frequently affront us, is with truth. So, today, I hope to impart some truth about the lie of Just a Day. It is not JUST a Day

My childhood was full of days that many would qualify as Just a Day and I feel like I had one of the most incredible childhoods. My mother was amazing. She cared for us, let us explore, took us on adventures... but the most important thing, was that she loved us. She didn't have Pinterest to plan the perfect toddler craft. She didn't have Facebook to show her the latest recipes to make our meals look like farm animals. She didn't have YouTube to show us kid friendly videos.

And some days, I was downright bored. I would follow my mom around the house like a grumpy slug and complain of my boredom. I'm sure mothers of older children have heard the song. "Mom, I'm so bored!"

Sometimes she would just respond, "I'm sorry." And then we would be forced to try and fix our own problems, which is the last thing we wanted to do.

Other times she would try and give us ideas and we would always have an excuse to hurl right back at her. "No, that's too messy. It's too cold outside. I don't want to do that." But, if we were bored long enough on one of those, "Just a Day"s we would come up with something awesome and that is what we remembered forever.

What we did on the Days that were Just a Day

• We used to go out on the trampoline and use the added time in the air to perfect our Mighty Morphin Power Ranger Moves.
• If we had to do our chores, but didn't want to, we would make our stuffed monkeys do them for us.
• Once I convinced my siblings that it would be a good idea to run away with sleeping bags filled to the brim. We made it to the front porch and my dad found us around 3 in the morning when he went to let the cat out. My sister started laughing and we were caught!
• We made clothes for our dolls.
• We created food in the kitchen and to my poor mother's dismay, left the mess for her to clean up.
• We made a disgusting looking bologna casserole for a game show on TV. We were not selected.
• We played in a canal outside my grandmas house and my sister and cousin told me that a dead dog floating down the canal touched them... I still don't know if I believe that.
• We slid down the stairs in our sleeping bags.
• We paid my brothers one penny every couple of hours for them to pull us around the house in sleeping bags.
• We played princesses.
• We played barbies with the barbie house my Grandpa made for us... until once we opened the roof and a whole colony of earwigs was discovered.
• We stayed home while my parents went on a date night and cowered in the basement under a bed once because my brother accidentally admitted to someone on the phone that our parents were not home, so surely they were coming to break in or kidnap us.
• During a thunderstorm we went into our empty living room with blankets and would hide under them every time the thunder rumbled.
• We decided to race down the neighborhood on our scooters and bikes after dark and I broke my arm.
• We played outside in the sandbox and tried to build bridges.
• We made friends with the neighbor kids.
• We tried to invent things.
• We created mazes for our hamsters.
• We made cards, scrapbooked, and tried to figure out ways to fly.

just-a-day-when-toddler-girl-is-pajamas-and-eating-candy
Scripture-for-most-days-will-be-just-a-day

Why Just a Day is AMAZING!

I hope you realize that no day is Just a Day, in the sense that every day matters. Every day is significant. Even though you may not see it now, there is something incredible about the days that are Just a Day. Not every day is going to be spectacular. Even if you spend the whole day lying on the couch, depressed or you just let your kids watch TV all day or your house is still a mess; the day was not wasted. That day was just a small note in a symphony that is shaping who you are. If every day was momentous, no day would ever feel special and we would become exhausted.

One of my favorite scriptures is "And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength... therefore, all things must be done in order." - Mosiah 4:27

I don't need to have a playdate every day. There is no need to have an immaculate house every day. If I neglect cooking for a day, no one is going to starve. I could do absolutely nothing noteworthy or "post-worthy" and my 'just a day' would still be amazing! I would still have a home. My husband would still loves me. My kids would still be happy and healthy.

Today is spectacular because my baby got some sleep or I called that friend I've been thinking about or I didn't get frustrated. Perhaps I actually wiped off the counter or I could have forced myself not to move because I've been sick and didn't want to overdo it. All of these are a great! My day is a success! Just a Day is the best day.

The One who Loves your ‘Just a Day’ the Most

I look at my kids and see their little accomplishments. My daughter throws her hands in the air and yells "I did it!" when she has accomplished something great. She put on her shoe! She put the papers on the floor! She ate the bite of oatmeal! She colored all by herself! She gave her brother a kiss! She put her baby in bed! She got the cap on the marker! Even though these seemingly insignificant achievements are irrelevant, I know better. She's learning independence. Her confidence is growing. She is expressing love and her happiness infects those around her. She brightens my day just by being herself. My baby girl is perfect just the way she is and I can't imagine condemning her because she didn't do anything that would seem incredible on social media.

I don't think our Father in Heaven ever condemns us for having a hard day. It seems impossible to me that he would look down at us and shake his head in disgust for not accomplishing as much as we would have liked. His expectations are different from our expectations. He loves us more than we love our children. He recognizes more than we do, just how much good we are accomplishing for those around us. If all we do all day is wipe the boogers off of our sick child's nose, he probably metaphorically shouts, "you did it!" But even more significant, I think he is eternally grateful for the service that we rendered that child.

just-a-day-where-my-toddler-is-playing-with-kitchen-measuring-tools

And those who Love your ‘Just a Day’ who you will never know

"Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." - Matthew 25:37-40

You will never know how much you have helped someone just by living your 'Just a Day'. I can't count the number of times I have received a text, gotten a phone call, someone stopped by or said just the right thing that helped heal my soul. Most of these people don't know how deeply I needed them. And I guarantee that Heavenly Father was so grateful to His other children for helping me to feel loved even though they may have felt like they were having just another day'.

Don't ever feel bad about your "Just a Day". Your "Just a Day" could have been someone else's life changing answer to their prayers. Your life is never insignificant to Him and it will never be insignificant to those you are helping along the way.

If you would like to read about one of my ‘Just a Night’s click below:

Family Fun at the Farm & Mom Fail – Simple Outings are Easier than Complicated Ones

Why I decided on Family Fun at the Farm

Family fun at the farm wasn't something super planned, we just wanted to go and do something after a long winter. It finally warmed up enough to go and spend the day outside. Even though both of the kids had a bit of a cold, the three month long sick stay at our personal Residence Inn was getting tiresome. But what should we do?

One of the best things I have learned is it is best to just go somewhere. Get out of the house. Go do something. Even if you don't have anything planned, something is bound to happen and because when you do something out of the norm, it creates an experience.

Putting off the Milk

We left right after Grayson woke up from his nap. He had had a bottle a couple of hours ago, so I thought he would be fine until we got to the farm.

We drove up there and met my friend and my daughter’s future husband (if all goes according to plan…) to walk around the farm. Because family fun at the farm can be even MORE fun with someone else having family fun at the farm. Plus, they can also help with crowd control, because when one kid runs off, you have another adult keeping an eye on them. Thank goodness for great friends!

toddler girl running across the field after her boyfriend starting out the family fun at the farm
cold toddler for family fun at the farm

Mama’s Mistake

So, in the middle of February, this mama foolishly didn’t bring jackets because it was ‘so warm’. It was NOT so warm. It was tolerable by our house but when we arrived to the open plains of the farmlands, it was now a little chilly.

I didn’t bring many blankets (just one for the shade and my daughter’s blankie), didn’t bring jackets and we were all wearing short sleeve shirts. Smart.

Cows

First we visited the cows. It wasn’t long before Siena was yelling, “cow! Cow!”

“It is a cow!”

“Mooo! Moooo!”

This conversation happened about 4 times in a row. And as a sidenote, last summer we went to the farm and every time we approached an animal bigger than a chicken she started sobbing and trying to climb around me to hide from the cows, sheep, goats or horses.

When we were standing by the cows, Grayson was suddenly not happy anymore. I realized he still hadn’t eaten, so I shook up a bottle and fed it to him. He guzzled it down, but slowly. As he was eating, we wandered to the sheep, with me awkwardly holding the bottle up for him to eat.

toddler looking through bars at a cow during family fun at the farm
toddler girl and her cows to start off the adventure of family fun at the farm
toddler girl looking through bars at a farm at sheep
toddler looking at a sheep through bars in a farm as part of the family fun at the farm

Sheep

We made it to the sheep and Siena insisted on screaming, “Baaaa” at all of them and then was confused when the sheep ran away from her.

Then, Grayson started fidgeting. He spit up all over himself and I tried to catch it with my spit-up rag. He probably had more coming, so I quickly got him out of his car seat and tried to burp him. Of course, this was the exact moment that the wind picked up and took his breath away. He screamed; I felt terrible.

I wrapped him in the blanket that I had brought, but that was not enough for him. It was still too much for his face that was exposed to the elements.

No more burps, no more spit up, just more sad baby. I put him back in his car seat and buckled him in, hoping the pacifier would do its job. It did not. I wrapped him in Siena’s blankie, without her seeing and covered his car seat with the bigger blanket. The sun was blinding and had to shade his eyes.

From then on I was consigned to constantly moving the stroller, or he would cry out in protest.

infant boy unhappy with bubbles out of mouth while his sister is having some family fun at the farm

Bunnies! & Chickens

Siena loved looking at the chickens and bunnies, especially the bunnies. She loves bunnies. She jumped up and down when she saw the bunnies and shouted, “bunny! Bunny! Bunny!” I rocked Grayson back and forth while trying to get the occasional picture of Siena.

toddler looking at chickens during family fun at the farm
toddler looking through chicken coup fence during family fun at the farm

Playground

Then she went to the playground and ran around with her “boyfriend”. I paced around the perimeter trying to sedate my angry child. This was especially difficult when Siena wanted to slide down the big slide and the only way to get her up there was ‘spot’ her as she climbed up the bars to get to it.

toddler girl sitting on wooden horse in playground after having some family fun at the farm
toddler girl on playground during family fun at the farm
toddler girl on spiderweb at playground during family fun at the farm
mom & toddler selfie, proof of family fun at the farm
toddler girl on playground spiderweb during family fun at the farm
toddler girl going down the slide after having some family fun at the farm

Picnic

After they were all done playing, Grayson had fallen asleep and we sat at the picnic tables to eat lunch.

After a couple of bites of Siena’s sandwich, the wind picked up again and my little toddler sat quivering on the bench.

“Do you want to eat in the car?” I asked her.

“Okay.”

toddler girl enjoying sandwich at picnic table after having family fun at the farm with all of the animals

Going Home

And that was the end of the farm trip. Just ninety minutes later, we were heading home.

I guess the family fun at the farm was still family fun. It didn’t matter that I had forgotten coats. We still had fun, my babies are both still alive and well and I got some pictures to remember our eventful trip. All in all, not bad. Mom fails don’t matter as much when you’re just trying to be One Helluva Homemaker.

If it's too cold outside and you're stuck inside, here are some fun ideas for things you can do inside that you probably already have on hand!

When Anger Blinded Me to My Toddler Who Kept Getting Out of Bed

The Frustration of Kids Getting Out of Bed

Why do you keep getting out of bed?! Don't you understand that if you don't go to sleep you're going to be grumpy all day tomorrow and then I'm going to be grumpy all day tomorrow and then you'll have to go to bed even earlier? I want to take this knowledge and insert it into my child's cranium with a thumb drive so they can process the consequences. And yet, every night I feel like I am waging the age old war of the toddler who keeps getting out of bed.

I don't have a solution per-se. Our methods work on and off. But, I do have a story for the moms or dads who want to rip their hair out because their baby doesn't treasure sleep the way that us adults do. Welcome to one of the countless nights that my 2 year old kept getting out of bed.

Calm before the Bed Time Storm

It was a quiet night. My husband and I were excited for some downtime and a break from work and caring for two sick kids. I had just managed to get both of the kids in bed and felt like I could finally relax after an exhausting day. We had just settled into the couch cushions when I heard the familiar turn of the knob from down the hall. Ugh... it was happening again.

Flashes in the Distance

My daughter stood in the hallway, waiting for mama or dada to come put her back in bed. This happened about three times in the evenings. Each time, we took away one of her toys that she likes to sleep with. The one that usually keeps her in bed is the threat to take away her baby if she gets out of bed again. This was the last threat before she finally stayed in her bed.

Thunder Rumbling

We stayed up later than usual and I didn't fall asleep until around 12:30 in the morning. At 2:00 am my 2 year old daughter walked into our room. "Mama? Dada?" I woke with a headache.

To my dismay, it looked like she had gone into my 4 month old son's room to let him join in on the fun. He was awake too. My husband was down for the count. I quickly put my daughter back in bed, after taking away her baby (as promised) and then fed my son.

It was 2:30 now. That was rough, but my bed was calling me. My eyes were just drooping enough to partially sedate me when I heard the door open again.

Lightning Strikes

I growled as I dragged myself out of bed, trudged down the hall and less calmly explained it was time for bed. After flinging some more animals out into the hall and listening to her scream as I walked back, I laid down on the couch this time, having some inkling of what I was in for.

Torrential Rain, Tornado Wind, Flooding Molten Lava

She kept getting out of bed again...and again..and again...and again! I wanted to cry. I wanted to swear. I wanted to strap her to the bed with a couple of tie downs. Instead, after about the 8th time of putting her back in bed, I towered over her and said loudly, "This is not okay. It is time for bed." It was the sternest voice I could muster without screaming the way I wanted to.

I stripped her bed of all toys, blankets and happiness and then stood outside of her bedroom door like a rabid dog about to attack the bunny rabbit inside. Anger flowed out of me like the never ending spit up of my infant son. Could she not see that her mama was at her wits end? Did the darkness mean nothing to her? If I broke down and started sobbing in front of her, would that make a difference?

I had let my anger get the better of me and suddenly I felt very childish. I was raging against a two year old. She had reduced me to her behavior. This had to stop. I had to regain control and act like an adult. But since I had no idea how to do that, I silently said a prayer that I would be able to let go of my anger.

Clouds Break

I listened intently at the door, still irritated but the blood boiling, all consuming rage had subsided. The furnace was blowing hot air throughout the house and I couldn't hear into her bedroom very well. Finally it stopped and I could hear deep breathing coming from the room through an extremely congested nose. I considered leaving her there, but I couldn't bear the thought of her sleeping the rest of the night (what little was left of it) without a blanket. As angry as I was, I couldn't shake the thought of a shivering, little girl in her room.

My daughter did have jammies on that night. This is a picture of her a different day but still sick.
I cracked the door open. It woke her up immediately. She sat up, looking sad. I grabbed some blankets from the closet and put them on top of her. "Thank you for staying in your bed," I said.

She tried to snuff her nose but it was still very congested.

"I'm going to go get you some medicine."

Tears of gratitude and in a tone that expressed that I finally understood what she wanted, she said, "Okay."
 

Sun comes Out

I wanted to cry now. My little girl was just sick and needed help feeling better and that was why she kept getting out of bed. And in my anger, I couldn't see it. All I could see was how angry I was that I still wasn't asleep, that my husband was still asleep and that I was traipsing around the house in less clothes than I would have liked, trying to deal with my misbehaving child.

But if I had just taken the time at the beginning to ask her why she had gotten up in the first place, I could have saved myself 2 1/2 hours! That's right, it was now 4:30. I got her some Ibuprofen and her bunny and her favorite blanket.

After she got her medicine, she immediately laid back in her bed. I gave her her bunny and blanket. "Baby? Baby?" she asked.

"No. You still got out of bed and so we can't have the baby. But when you wake up in the morning, you can have your baby."

"Okay."

Warm Breeze

I kissed her goodnight and finally laid back in my bed. This time, I knew she wouldn't be getting out of her bed. And I could finally rest my eyes without waiting for her to get up. I was right. I slept all the way until 6:30 when my son woke up, ready to eat again.

While my night actually had some legitimate reasons behind the nighttime wakings, there have been plenty of nights that were just frustrating until I finally 'fell asleep' with adrenaline still flowing through my veins.

We’ve all been there.

Mamas, dadas, we've all been there. And if you haven't, just wait. And for those of you who feel like you are all alone because you don't know anyone else who has gone through this, you can know that this mama has.

If you want to read about someone else's miserable night of trying to keep their kid in bed, click below:

My Baby's Heartbeat Bear Blog