What is This World Coming To?

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I don’t watch the news. I don’t really read it either. As a journalism major, it doesn’t even pain me to say this. I can’t stand the news. I really can’t. I’m tired of all the violence, depressing stories and celebrity crap no one really cares about (actually a lot of people do because it’s so overwhelming covered).

Sure, maybe some people will say I’m naive (or maybe even stupid) or how can I stay up-to-date on current events but here’s my reply: one, sticks and stones (hopefully you can finish the rest) and two, I stay current on what I need to. Ebola? Yes. I watched and I read. Measles? You bet.

But there are some things I draw the line with. Do I want to hear about some lunatic that killed his entire family and now wants to plead insanity? NO! Do I want to hear about another that put her child in the microwave? NO! Or one who killed two of her kids and put them in the freezer? NO! It sickens me. It really, really does. When it comes to children I can’t handle it, I really can’t. What is this world coming to? What is wrong with people?

I am not here to judge, that is not my job, but it pains me what people do. Why can’t they get the help they need before they commit these terrible crimes? Are their symptoms going completely unnoticed? Do they just snap one day? What is it? The questions rack my brain as I hear about these stories. I recently watched a video that went viral regarding two parents abusing their children (if you haven’t seen it, click here, but be warned it’s brutal). The sister of the mom actually filmed it. I cried. I hugged my baby extra tight that day. Why? These children are innocent. Why? (side note: the parents in that video aren’t being charged yet for child abuse because there isn’t enough evidence…what?!)

I wish I had answers, I wish someone did. But what I do know is this is the reason I don’t watch the news and don’t read about it either. I can’t stomach it. And when I do find myself caught on something (I intently followed the Laci Peterson story in college), I can’t stop. I keep reading, searching and wanting to know the latest updates. As a mom now, I can’t do it. I can’t follow these stories. It’s too heartbreaking.

I pray for justice, I really do, but I also pray for these people. No child deserves this…ever. But there has to be something seriously wrong with these people. I can’t fathom anyone mentally stable doing these types of horrific crimes. There has to be an internal struggle they are dealing with.

I still have hope for the world. I hope that people stop killing and find a way to deal with their issues in a healthy manner. In the end, good will triumph over evil…we just have to continue to hope and pray. So the next time you’re tired of, fed up, frustrated and angry with your kids, try to focus on how much you love them. Children are a blessing to be loved for, protected and cherished no matter what…let us continue to hope that even in the toughest times, parents always remember that.

Caring For a Sick Baby

  Despite having a cold, this is my happy baby. You would never be able to tell she was sick besides her runny nose and dragon-like breathing. However, this was not the case two days ago. She was miserable, crying nonstop and at night waking up every 30 minutes round the clock (which meant absolutely no sleep for mom!).

I knew it was just a cold but felt quite helpless. However, in the beginning months of her life when she wasn’t feeling good I didn’t know what to think. Luckily that’s what a nurse practitioner grandma is for along with the peditrician. Here are some tips I recommend in caring for your precious peanut when he/she is sick:

1. Determine what’s going on. I have an excellent peds office. I can call and speak to the nurses line to explain my concerns.. They give her advice and let me if I should come in or not. I also have the capability to email the doctor on call and usually get a response with the half hour, if not sooner. Check your baby’s temperature then go from there. Anything under 104 is considered low grade but it’s still good to check and then call your peditrician. 

2. Don’t freak out. Babies can feel what you do. If react angry or upset, they know. If you act scared, they will feel scared. I am still trying to do this and it’s very difficult in stressful moments (like having to hold my daughter down at the dentist while she screamed with huge tears running down her face). Just remember, you’re their mom and they look to you for everything. You must be the rock!

3. Be ok with a schedule change. If your baby is on a schedule, chances are when he/she is sick it will be different. Naps might be longer or their eating might decrease (as long as there are wet diapers it’s nothing to be worried about). This is only temporary but can involve some sleepless nights!

4. Give lots of love. Babies need comfort when they’re sick and despite how exhausting the crying and fussing can be, give as much extra love as you can. I’ve had to rock my daughter to sleep the past few nights when she normally goes down well on her own. This is what she needs so this is what she will get. Don’t view it as spoiling or giving into your baby, but providing them with what they need to feel better. 

5. Remember this to shall pass. You’re tired, restless and you possibly even contracted whatever your baby has. It’s bound to happen. Just remember it won’t last forever and there a light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve felt quite helpless these past few days and hate seeing my daughter so miserable (I’m also pretty sure I have her cold), but with each passing day, she is improving. It might get worse before it gets better, but it will eventually get better. Hang in there!

New Mom Must Haves

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I haven’t been a mom that long but there have been some items I think are really great so I’d like to share with new moms, moms-to-be and anyone else interested! Here are some of my personal favorites in no particular order:

1. Boon Drying Rack. I have the Lawn and I love it. There’s also smaller sizes which include the Patch and Grass. Personally, I think it’s crucial to keep your bottles and their parts separate from your regular dishes and these ones aren’t an eye sore in your kitchen.

2. Boon Bottle Cleaner (Forb). I have used all the regular sponge cleaners, Munchkin, Dr. Brown’s, you name it, and I always ended up with the same results: the sponge on top would fall apart after a few weeks. I also worried about mold (you know, that moldy smell you sometimes get after you wash dishes and realize your sponge needs replacing?). I saw this at Target and couldn’t pass it up. Silicone, BPA free and won’t store water on it! You can also get on their website.

3. Chicco walker. I absolutely love this walker and my daughter does too (check out my videos on her on Instagram)! It has a lot of great features on it including various sounds and little gadgets to keep your peanut busy. It moves smoothly and the wheels also rotate in any direction. There’s also bumpers on the bottom to prevent from rolling off stairs. I purchased at Buy Buy Baby and used a 20% coupon (because it is a little pricey).

4. Fisher Price Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks. These are one of the few toys my daughter plays with. I have bought a ton of different things but she always goes back to these. They’re great for teething (she currently loves putting them in her mouth), banging them together or on anything she can! They also help to develop early motor skills such as hand-eye coordination. I’m looking forward to the day she can place the shape in the proper place without my help!

5. BabyGanics Moisturizing Daily Lotion. I just love this lotion! I know everyone has a preference when it comes to this, but the best thing about this lotion is how thick but non-greasy it is as well as being fragrance free (they do have fragrance ones as well but Emma’s skin a little sensitive like mine so I didn’t want a smell). Here’s some other great things about it:

  • Created with the Plant-Based Ingredients including Shea Butter, Olive and Avocado Oils
  • Non-allergenic formula that is extra gentle on skin
  • Pediatrician & Dermatologist tested
  • Exclusive 100% natural NeoNourish Seed Oil Blend to help nurture and support baby’s skin
  • No: parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil, petrolatum, artificial fragrances or dyes
  • Never tested on animals

6. Aden + Anais swaddle blankets. I really do love everything Aden + Anais. Not only do I have their swaddle blankets that we used the first three months of Emma’s life, but I also have their thicker blankets as well as towels, wash cloth sets and bibs! I truly love their products. You can get at most baby stores. Target has a line created especially for them that they carry (I prefer Buy Buy Baby because of the coupons).

7. MAM teether. I love this teether! It took me a while to find one that Emma really liked and this was it. It’s easy for her to hold, it doesn’t get too cold and she loves biting on the top bristle part as well as the sides. It’s by far her favorite (she also loves this strawberry one too). Obviously every baby is different, so you might end up trying a bunch (like I did!) or finding a good one your child loves right away. This one is definitely my recommendation.

8. Baby Ecos laundry detergent. I wanted something that would be good for Emma’s sensitive skin and since I use Ecos already, I was super happy to find out that their was a baby version! It’s hypoallergenic and keeps clothes soft with a built-in fabric softener. I actually get mine from Home Depot (surprisingly!) because it’s cheaper than any other place (Costco, Sam’s Club, you name it, I’ve checked them all!). They also make a stain remover that I get as well. Shipping is free for orders over $45!

9. Dr. Brown’s Microwavable Steam Sterilizer Bags. These are awesome! And they aren’t just for Dr. Brown’s bottles, you can put any kind in here. My girlfriend told me about them and since then I’ve been using. They’re perfect for traveling and I feel really comfortable about my bottles being ‘clean’ (I should note I soak them in hot, soapy water first then sterilize afterwards).

10. Wine. Lots and lots of wine! 😉

 ps. I was in no way endorsed to promote any of these products although I should be;)

Will I Ever Stop the ‘Breathing Tests’?

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Since the day my daughter was born I have been doing the ‘breathing tests’. You know, the one where you either place your hand gently on their chest to feel it going up and down or listen to hear their actual breathing. Or, maybe you zoom in as far as you can on the monitor to see their breathing movements. I remember in the early months checking on her every hour or so as she laid in her bassinet next to me as well as jumping up multiple times during the night because I felt like it was too long without hearing any crying. Yes, those tests.

I still check the monitor during nap times and at night as she curiously makes her way around the crib, bouncing and babbling until she eventually tires herself out and falls asleep. And when it’s finally time for me to go to sleep, I check it once more, turn up the volume just in case (we have a bungalow so her room is downstairs and ours is upstairs) and then if I wake up randomly during the night I’ll check it again just to see how she’s doing.

I’m not sure if this is a ‘mom thing’ or I’m just a paranoid nut but all I do know is it gives me some sense of peace. I know I have no control over her life. While my job is do the best I can to provide her with love, security and safety, God has a plan for her that is out of my control. And I am okay with that…in fact, I am more than okay with it. However, there is still a part of me that worries. A part of me that thinks, what if she stops breathing? Maybe that feeling will never go away because as moms, I think we will always worry. We will always worry about the safety and well-being of our children. How can we not? They are these little miracles that we created!

So while I may be overly checking on the breathing patterns of my child, I have to say that watching her sleep is one of my favorite things to do. Seeing her curled up (the above picture is usually how she sleeps) and just quietly reflecting on how much she’s grown and continues to grow brings the biggest smile to my face. I helped make her….and she is mine, and I am hers :).

Keeping Your Marriage Alive

Having kids changes things. It changes everything. But the one aspect of your life it changes the most is your marriage. The minute you bring that little bundle of joy home it’s longer the two of you, but the three (and maybe even eventually four or five or six!). It’s no longer reckless responsibilities, sleeping in, hangovers that leave you useless on couch all day, leaving the house on a whim and overall your sense of freedom.

You are now attached to another human being for the rest of your life. You are responsible for their well-being, their upbringing and their overall morals and values and their overall safety and security. You are their provider, their protector, their teacher, their guide and their unconditional love. You are their parent and no one can ever take that away from you.

The beginning months of parenting take a took a toll on my marriage quicker than I would have ever expected. We fought about the unknown, the fears, the insecurities, what we each felt was right or wrong and all of the changes we didn’t fully know how to handle. We were sleep deprived, scared, stressed out, frustrated, exhausted and overwhelmed. But we were also incredibly blessed, crazy in love, excited, grateful and overjoyed.

The good definitely outweighed the bad but it didn’t take away from what the bad did to us. We neglected our marriage and each other. We put our relationship on hold. We lost some of the love. We knew we needed to get out, it was just a matter of when. As much as it made us nervous (and me, super anxious!) to leave our little angel, we knew it was time. We ended up having a night out for our anniversary in August. Emma was a little over three months old. It was then we reconnected. We talked, we laughed and we even got ga-ga over pictures of our peanut. But most importantly, we found our love again, our spark. We found the reason we fell in love because it seemed to have gotten a little lost as we transitioned into parents.

I recommend that every couple who are parents go on a date night. And no, not a night to celebrate a friend’s birthday or a work event, but an actual date just the two of you. This is time to get away from the kids, the technology, the laundry, the dishes and everything that keeps you from noticing and spending time with one another. A night to celebrate just the two of you and really express how much you appreciate one another.

My husband and I recently had an overdue date night. With a few other big changes happening in our lives, we needed to get out. We needed to reconnect. And we did. It was amazing! I felt like it was one of our first dates all over again as we held hands and kissed in public.

The strength of your family lies in the foundation of your marriage. The love you have for one another will pour into the way your children view relationships. Life is short. You never know when it one of you will no longer be here. Cherish your love and one another. Never stop trying and never give up. Remember the day you two said “I do” and remember to take the time for just the two of you.