The Longest Shortest Time

by Rachel on August 25, 2015

The Longest Shortest Time

You know that feeling you get when you look in your closet and are overwhelmed with so many choices that you just can’t make a decision, and end up in yoga pants and a t-shirt?

(I used to know this feeling, back when I wasn’t dealing with a postpartum body and the clothes in my closet actually fit. So now I’m wearing you pants and t-shirt for LACK of options.)

But back to the original scenario. That’s how I’ve felt about this blog lately — SO much has happened in the last month and I have SO many things to write about, I don’t know where to start…so I haven’t.

I mentioned over at Listen & Learn recently that this season of having young children really is the “longest shortest time” (shout-out to one of my favorite podcasts). The days go by so slowly and seem to be a million hours long, but when I look back at the past 3 months, they seem to have flown in the blink of an eye. Seriously, wasn’t Parker just an infant learning to roll over? Now he’s talking in complete sentences while my second baby (what?!) begins working on her rolling skills.

These long days/short weeks have been filled to the brim — with playdates, potty-training, swimming in Mimi’s pool, walks in the double stroller, and all the other things you do with a toddler and an infant. Someday, hopefully soon, I’ll write more about Parker’s interactions with his little friends, his favorite games to play in the pool, and all the times he’s fallen asleep on our walks while Mia stares at me wide-eyed the entire way. I want to remember all these things and read about them many short years from now.

But that day is not today, because right now the days are long and full in the best possible way.

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World Breastfeeding Week

by Rachel on August 5, 2015

World Breastfeeding Week

This is the 3rd consecutive year I’ve celebrated World Breastfeeding Week by — wait for it — breastfeeding. We’ve attended the annual World Breastfeeding Week Zoo Walk, hosted by the West Central Illinois Breastfeeding Taskforce, each year since 2012, when I started providing musical entertainment during the event.

In 2013, I was just a couple months in to motherhood and still working to get the hang of nursing Parker. He was a huge supporter of breastfeeding from the start, as you can see ;)

World Breastfeeding Week

In 2014, he was down to nursing just in the morning and at bedtime, but neither of us were quite ready to give it up altogether. (He self-weaned a little over a month later, literally on the day I found out I was pregnant.)

World Breastfeeding Week

And this year, I’m right back at the beginning with Mia, who is just 10 weeks old. Nursing her has been so much easier than it was with Parker, which I attribute to knowing what I’m doing this time around and feeling much more confident.

World Breastfeeding Week

We always have a great time getting together with friends I’ve met through the mom & baby group at St. John’s Hospital, and this year was especially fun now that Parker is old enough to really enjoy the zoo.

I’m hoping that I can celebrate this week next year by continuing to breastfeed at least until then, if not longer. As exhausting and consuming as it can be at times, there is nothing better than having this girl snuggled up to me.

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The Best Stage Yet

by Rachel on August 4, 2015

Parker at age 2

The other day, I took Parker and Mia over to my friend Crystal’s house for a playdate. She has four kids ranging from under 1 to 10 years old, so I pretty much consider her a seasoned expert on parenting. We were talking about how the time goes by so quickly, and she said something that really stuck with me.

Even though you think these early months and years are the best stages, it just keeps getting better and more fun. Every stage is the best stage. 

Parker at age 2

I’ve only been in this parenting game for two years now, but I can already tell she is right. Infancy and early toddlerhood is adorable and exciting and fun, but man is it hard. I know my perspective is a little skewed since I spent months 15-23 of Parker’s life pregnant, but I think any parent would agree.

When Parker turned 2, a whole new world opened up for us. His language has exploded in these last two months, so we are having full-blown conversations. He understands so much more, he has an amazing sense of humor, and he is becoming my little helper — it’s truly awesome.

On my first day home with two kids, I had no idea how I would make it to 6 pm, let alone through the end of the summer. But now I truly look forward to my days with both of them. They can still be difficult and overwhelming at times, but mostly they are just fun.

Parker and Mia

The very best thing about this stage is watching Parker develop into a loving big brother. He is over the moon for his baby sister, and is always genuinely concerned when she is crying or spits up. “I rock her,” he’ll say when she’s getting fussy in her bassinet or carseat. And he makes sure she is included in whatever we’re doing, whether it’s going for a walk in the stroller, playing in the backyard or running an errand.

Parker and Mia

I really do feel like I have the best of both worlds right now, with a two-month-old and two-year-old. I get to enjoy ALL the baby snuggles while looking forward to living this stage again in a couple years when Mia turns two. (However, I can’t handle the thought of Parker being four, so I just ignore it for the time being.)

Parker and Mama

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A Day in the Life With Two

by Rachel on July 12, 2015

Parker and Mia

I hate to admit it, but I dreaded those first few days at home alone with both Parker and Mia. Aside from the fact that I was still healing and exhausted from waking up several times a night, I had no idea how in the world to take care of two kids — both in diapers — at the same time.

Parker goes to school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, so Mondays and Fridays are “mommy days” from the time Zach leaves for work around 8 am until he gets home at 6 pm. Truth be told, I was pretty terrified when that first Monday rolled around.

Parker and Mia

It was rough in the beginning. Parker wanted my constant attention, and he also wanted to climb all over the baby to give her hugs and kisses (usually while I was nursing her). “Baby down” and “put baby in swing” were common phrases out of his mouth; he was much happier when I focused on him alone. I felt like the days were endless, especially since it rained so much which meant we were stuck inside.

But every day with both kids at home got a little easier. We started to establish a routine, and the novelty of Mia wore off for Parker. He got used to having her and is now at the point where he asks for her as soon as he wakes up in the morning. We’re seven weeks in to life with 2,  and now I look forward to Mondays and Fridays.

Parker and Mia

Our days now have some actual structure, which has made all the difference. A typical “mommy day” goes a little something like this.

5:00 am – I set my alarm for this time every day, but I usually don’t end up needing it thanks to Mia. She typically wakes up to eat at about 4:30, so I scoot her rock ‘n play into the nursery, change her diaper, and feed her before putting her back down. Then I go downstairs, make my coffee, and get some work done while everyone is still sleeping.

7:30 am – Parker usually wakes up around this time. I get him up and changed, then bring him downstairs for breakfast. Zach usually feeds him and they hang out together while I take a shower and get ready for the day.

Parker on his playground

8:00 am – The next couple of hours are nice because Mia sleeps while Parker and I spend some one-on-one time together. If it’s nice we’ll play in the backyard, come in and have a snack, hang out in the playroom, and maybe watch an episode of Daniel Tiger on Netflix.

10:00 am – Mia wakes up, so Parker and I go upstairs to change her (he loves being my helper and throwing away diapers) and then I nurse her while Parker plays in the room. This is the point where I’m ready to get out of the house, so if it’s not raining, we’ll load up the double stroller and go for a long walk around the neighborhood. I love our walks so much, because Parker and I talk the whole time while Mia snoozes. The things that come out of his mouth crack me up. If the weather is bad, we will go run a quick errand — one that doesn’t require leaving the car, like getting gas or running through Starbucks ;)

On a walk in the double BOB

11:30 am – Parker will usually have a snack when we get home, or if he’s really hungry, lunch. I put him down for his paci-free nap and then nurse Mia. Once they are both asleep, I come downstairs to make myself some lunch and catch up on email.

1:30 pm – Parker wakes up around this time, and is usually hungry again (either for lunch or a snack if he already ate before his nap). I feed him and then we either play in the backyard or in his playroom until Mia wakes up.

Parker in his playroom

2:30 pm – I nurse Mia and then we head back outside if it’s not raining. This time I’ll wear Mia in the Moby wrap and put Parker in his wagon, just to change things up a little. Zach got me a FitBit for my birthday, so I get pretty excited on nice days when I can rack up my steps.

Mia in the Moby wrap

4:00 pm – Come back in for a snack and some chill time. Parker will either play with his toys, ride his train or scooter around, or we’ll all read books together. I try not to have him watch too much TV throughout the day, aside from an episode in the morning and maybe another right before Zach comes home.

5:30 pm – I call this the “witching hour” because Parker starts to get a little stir-crazy and Mia is cranky. At this point we usually go outside and play in the front yard while we wait for Zach. We are all pretty happy when we see him coming down the street :)

Me and my babies

We’ve also ventured out for pool days and play dates, and hopefully over time I’ll get more comfortable being out and about with both kids. All in all, I’m starting to get the hang of this “mom of 2” gig, though we still have plenty of bumps in the road. I’m pretty sure that will always be the case, no matter how experienced I am…because, parenthood.

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Mia’s Newborn Photos

July 10, 2015

At just 5 days old, Mia was the perfect model for her newborn photo shoot — she slept the entire time! Our photographer, Tara Long, took advantage of her sleepiness by using lots of different fun props and even taking the shoot outside. I couldn’t believe that despite all the outfit and prop changes, Mia […]

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Peace Out, Paci

July 3, 2015

I find it more than a little amusing that we’re weaning one child from the pacifier while simultaneously trying to teach the other child to take one. And it’s going better than expected…for one child, at least. Mia isn’t a fan quite yet, but if she’s anything like her big brother, she’ll develop a deep […]

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A Lullaby for Little Sis

June 23, 2015

The question everyone is asking these days: “How is Parker adjusting to the new baby?” I think this video pretty much sums up his relationship with her. In all honesty, I thought we were going to have some serious jealousy issues to deal with once Mia arrived. Parker is used to having 100% of our […]

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Mia’s Birth Story

June 3, 2015

The story of Mia’s birth begins on Friday, May 22. It started out like any other Friday — Parker and I ate breakfast, played in his playroom, read books, and went for a walk. I kept the walk short, though, because I didn’t want to tempt the baby to come. As much as I was […]

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The Final Stretch

June 3, 2015

The last month of my pregnancy was a bit of a rollercoaster. It started smoothly enough; I was feeling pretty good, just huge and tired. Work was keeping me more than busy as I wrapped up lots of loose ends, and of course Parker kept me on my toes at home. But at the beginning […]

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3rd Trimester

April 26, 2015

We spent the first few days of my 3rd trimester in Florida, which was (as) relaxing (as vacation can possibly be with a toddler in tow). But there was nothing relaxing about the following month, which I spent feeling completely miserable with a never-ending sinus infection. It didn’t help that I had a LOT going […]

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