Holiday Parties (Liberating Working Moms)

Dont feel bad, I’ve been neglecting this space almost as much as I have Liberating Working Moms. But after a missed preEaster party at L & Z’s daycare, I had to turn to my fellow working moms to see how these events were handled.

Thursday before the Easter holiday weekend, Lucy & Zach’s class held an Easter party complete with decorated eggs & holiday snacks. All the class parents were invited – dare I say encouraged – to attend. In attending, parents can watch their child eat snack then take them home (a couple hours) early. I had missed the party sign up sheet, but I had extra stickers & napkins on hand to provide that morning for the party.

Jason & I (along with my aunt) attended their Halloween party. We left work early to watch them eat snack (& smile at us while also looking like why are you staring at us eat?). Since it was still working hours we then took L & Z by my work to show off their costumes & cuteness before dinner & trick-or-treating.

We went out of town Thursday night to my grandparents’ house at the beach. So instead of using vacation time to attend their Easter party, I met my husband at home, & we finished packing, loaded up our van & went to daycare together. We arrived about 30 mins after he usually picks L & Z up. Out of the 11 toddlers in their class, only 5 were left. But L & Z were the typical thrilled to see us & off we went on our road trip.

Click over to read the rest of Holiday Parties & see photos of L & Z during our cool & raining Easter beach weekend. I’d love to hear what you do for your little ones parties?!

The End of Co-sleeping?

It started due to sickness. One had a bad cold/ear infection/stomach bug/something. And to prevent the other from getting it & waking up while their sibling coughed/sneezed/vomited, we bought Zach in bed with us. And it worked. Once well, L started sleeping through the night in late November/December {after some not welcomed 10-midnight wakings led to successful modified CIO sleep training}, and Zach would wake to nurse still.

So having him co-sleeping meant just rolling over when he said ‘mommy’ & tugged up my top. As I’ve said for almost two years, we do whatever works. Whatever gets us the most sleep; letting nay-sayers be darned. So what if he wasn’t “sleep trained”? We were getting by & he was getting the extra milk I thought my lil guy might need in the middle of the night.

Well a couple weeks turned into months & months. And co-sleeping became our routine. We liked the cuddles, the convenience for dream-feeding, & being close after away from him all day. We talked about transitioning him back to a crib via baby steps into a pack-n-play in our room or the guest room so they still wouldn’t wake each other. But then we didn’t. And then L was sick again, then it was Zach’s turn, then his surgery & stomach bug.

But my turn at the stomach bug last Thursday night was kinda a line in the sand. Vomiting your brains {& dinner & lunch} out then your son wanting to nurse & sleep on your pillow was rough.

When we went to GA & Jason’s parents’ house last weekend {post to come!}, we did their bedtime routine in our shared room, then put both L & Z in side by side pack-n-plays. I’ll be honest, Jason & I went to bed just after L & Z, fully expecting to be up most of the night with Z {& maybe L too} awake due to being in strange bed. And he slept til 4 before crying & us pulling him up between us!

The following night, L & Z went down to sleep fine & both lasted til 515a when the husband’s forgotten alarm had us all awake then snuggling in the queen size bed.

With those sleeping successes, we discussed trying Z out in his bed when we returned home. But I had a work conference Sunday & Monday, & I fully did not expect changes from our routine made while I was gone.

To my shock, my Dad & husband did a modified CIO with Zach that Sunday night & within 20-30 minutes of tears & fussing that first night, Zach was asleep in his crib. And even cooler, Lucy had gone & stayed asleep while Z was carrying on! When he woke up in the middle of the night, Jason did bring him into our bed to co-sleep til morning.

Monday night, Z put himself to sleep in 5-10 minutes & lasted in his crib all night. My arrival in the mix of bedtime Tuesday meant a few tears & cuddles, but he still put himself to sleep within just a few minutes & slept through the night!

Y’all this might be a bit premature, but we’re on a streak of sleep here. For everyone! It’s wild & crazy. Who knew what 8 hours of straight sleep was like?! Not this momma for more than TWO YEARS!!!

Working Mom Snow Days

Bless my fellow contributors at Liberating Working Moms hearts. They put up with me flaking blog post ‘deadlines’ way too often.

But this past week, I {& so many other Southern working mommas} experienced real snow day{s}. The looming uncertainty, the first flake excitement, & the reality of being snowed in.

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I shared my Snow Day working mom thoughts on Liberating Working Moms last Friday. Jump over there with me ~ I’d love to hear your experience {& there’s another L & Z snow photo too}.

Why We Read

There’s a newish blog out there co-written by a group of busy moms who champion their continued love of books, we still read. And while I haven’t been able to keep up with all their posts or {even recently} my own reading, I love the idea behind managing to find little bits of time to keep up with book reading in between raising kiddos & sharing it online.

Wednesday night, as L & Z sat together sharing their toddler elephant chair each with their own book & then L jumped in my lap while we tried to capture a still photo of Zach stacking up his current favorite books then sitting on them to read on his own, I thought, THIS is why I read. This is why I read to them. This is why they will sometimes see me reading. Raising little readers (lil book nerds!) brings me so much joy.

Snow Day Reading

Frozen Love

We watched Frozen this morning after I made waffles for our half-snow day, half-delayed work day. It was the kiddos first full length movie! They caught some of it in between book reading, Little People animal playing, & car riding/pushing. I really enjoyed it ~ the winter setting was perfect for our snowy morning. I loved the strength of the female characters, the silly snowman & fun reindeer & the male characters of substance. I know we’ll be watching it again.

And then I went to shower & start getting ready for work while L & Z played & laughed in their cribs. My mind started on the bond of the sisters in Frozen & how that love changes everything. And that took me to tears, because Lucy won’t get to experience that.

Most of the time, I’m 99% over the loss of baby B while living in the wild, fast paced life of working & keeping up with two toddlers. Then something as silly as sisters in a movie takes me back to the hard shock of our loss.

Now it’s more the sadness over what could have been for L & Z; what it would be like for them to have a third party in their shenanigans, another sister to fight with & love & hug. Things we & they will never know.

{Stay tuned for non-sappy snow & makeover posts this week! I promise I’m done with melancholy now that I’ve gotten that out. Also feel like I shouldn’t have to qualify my feelings, & yet I do.}

ReLearning to Eat

From Nov 7th 2011 until very recently, I’ve been eating for three {or 14 weeks for four}. At first, that meant pouring through mom of multiples books for sample eating charts, foods recommendations & recipes to try to reach the goal of 3000 {then 2700} calories a day. I was told to add all the protein & fat I could because I was growing multiple babies {who’d most likely be preemies} & needed all they could get before they arrived. I switched to higher fat milk & subbed extra real butter on everything. Gone were any low calorie yogurt, cheese, cream cheese, breads, crackers, etc.

Then Z & L were born & my hard work eating all.the.things paid off as they were huge in comparison to their other NICU residents.

And boom. I was told by NICU LCs & MoM breastfeeding books to up my calories & fat again after L & Z were born to keep up my milk supply. So I was once again eating everything I could plus sticking with my ice cream before bed routine. In about 9 months after they were born, I’d lost the 50 lbs I’d gained pregnant plus 20-25 more. I was wearing clothes I hadn’t dreamed I’d ever fit into again while eating whatever I wanted {pretty cool, right?! Breastfeeding FTW}.

Then even when L & Z started eating solids as their main nutritional source & we started cutting nursing sessions, I kept up my big breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner & dessert routine. It’s what I knew & what my stomach was telling me I was hungry for. I was busy & tired & usually somewhat overwhelmed by life & just doing what I could.

Cue 19 months post-partum. Today. I’m still nursing L before bed & Z during 1-2 dream feeds a night. Yes my 19, almost 20, month old son doesn’t STTN {& nor do I} but that’s a whole other post. I’m still trying to drink a lot of water {although thankfully not the 100 oz I was doing while pregnant & EBFing} & maintain calories of hopefully healthy food to pass through in my milk. But honestly, my eating is kinda of a joke some days. My constant {especially strong post-nursing} sweet tooth & the holidays didn’t help.

I’ve gained back 15-20 of those pounds I’d lost. My post-multiples lower belly is a mess of chub & stretch marks & my boobs will never be where they once were. I do have kick ass arm muscles for someone my size thanks to carrying 50+ lbs of toddlers multiple times a day though. Multi-mom bonus!

I’m okay with my body shifting. Hello, I grew babIES! And at some point, I’ll find time from somewhere to work out & see about tightening up those stomach muscles. But my priority now is relearning how to eat. This might sound crazy, to some, but it’s been 26 months since I was eating for just me & I’ve kinda forgotten normal portions!

It doesn’t help that I’m on my own with getting all three of us up & out the door in the mornings. My prior life breakfast routine of leisurely eating cereal isn’t an option as I’d have L & Z going after my spoon or food while I run around the house. This past weekend, we hit up Trader Joe’s for some quick & healthy week night meals {L & Z like to eat by 6p which makes recipes with a lot of effort or cooking time a non-option} as well as their organic milk & yogurt & breakfast items for me. So I’m going to admit that instead of my usual two bagels with cream cheese when I get to work at 830, yesterday am, I ate a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese at home. While I peed. & L & Z dumped out their sock drawer. Because that’s the 5 2 mins I had to eat.

I bring my lunch to work most days & have started to pack less. And I’m cutting out my mid-afternoon snack since we usually eat dinner early.

Dinner is tough because, like I said above, it has to be made quick & I still want high calorie foods to bulk up L & especially Z. I’m not a short order cook & I want us all eating the same thing.

And I’m not ready to give up my beloved dessert forever but have cut it out some nights this week. I’m motivated. But not that motivated. 😛

So, long long long story short, I’d love to hear how, post-baby{s}, you got back to normal or the new normal.