Tag Archives: husband

THE Most Important Things to Bring Camping with a Toddler

This isn’t going to be one of those fancy-shmancy checklists where I dish out all the camping basics like bring lots of clothes (no duh!), bring sunscreen, bring bug spray, yadda yadda.  I think we’re all competent enough to remember the basics of camping with a toddler or infant in tow, right?  I mean, it’s just like any other day just this time you’re in a tent (that leaks like an ‘effing sieve). 

This is THE MOST Important Things to Bring Camping with a Toddler or you’ll kick yourself in the ass kinda list.

Mmm, bacon.

Other kids.  Preferably other kids your toddler is ubber comfortable with.  Need to run to the outhouse or port-a-potty while the hubs is busy?  Free and instant toddler entertainment!  Want to lounge around the campsite with a book for a hot minute?  The kids are probably busy playing with bubbles, so, go for it!  We brought our two nieces this weekend when we went camping and J was just beaming about it all weekend.  She had so many people to “tiggle tiggle tiggle“, run around and have fun with, plus, I got a much needed break from time to time while still being connected.

Me & J's bed.

A huge umbrella and extra blankets. Because when your tent starts raining on the inside as much as it’s raining on the outside you need to keep your toddler warm and dry while your husband sets up the reserve tent.  We didn’t have a reserve, sadly, so I camped out at the end of our bed holding my daughter as she nursed back to sleep at 3am all while holding our giant umbrella over us to keep us dry.  I was able to keep her asleep until right around 5am, luckily.

Weeee!!!!

Tissues.  Because you never know when and if you’re going to tear up because your kid has grown up so quick that you say “Ok, but be really REALLY cautious, please!” as your husband straps your 18 month old into “The World’s Fastest Go-Karts”.  J giggled and said “weeeee” the whole time while using her own little steering wheel.  I cried, I’m not gonna lie.

So, these are the most important things I need to remember to bring camping with my toddler – don’t leave without them on your next camping trip! 

Have you been camping with your little?  What did you forget to bring?

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10 DIY, Homemade, Fun & Easy Father’s Day Gifts

Dad, dadda, daddy, pops. Father’s have many different special names and even a very special day coming up where we get to celebrate our appreciation of all the dads out there.  The day is quickly approaching so now’s the time to get your very special handmade, DIY, green, fun and easy Father’s Day gift ready! 

Not sure what to have the kids make for good ‘ole pops to honor him on his special day?  Well, here are 10 ideas for you that can be completed in one afternoon!

  1. No-Sew Tool Belt Made from Repurposed Fabric: Have an old shirt and pair of pants from dad? 

    Well, you only need some scissors, duct tape, iron and beer koozie to create a one-of-a-kind tool belt!  Checkout this awesome video on Vimeo created by Man Made DIY.  This tutorial is really simple and totally unique.  You can make this project in less than an hour and for FREE (if you have all this stuff lying around, that is)!

  2. DIY Photo Album: This photo album is simple and fun!
  3. Nuts & Bolts Salty Snack Tin with Label: Make the snack, put it in a wax paper lined tin (an old cookie, popcorn or other snack tin) with a lid and put the label on it.  Can’t find a tin?  Try an old oatmeal canister or coffee can and maybe cover the sides with colored construction paper or card stock.
  4. World’s Best Dad Coupon Book: Just print, cut, staple/fasten/sew together this coupon book template.  Easy and he’s sure to love it.
  5. Drift Wood or Scrap Wood Key Holder: Scrap of wood, a couple hooks & screws – how simple.
  6. Lego Charging Station and Key Holder: This one will take a bit with all the drilling and glueing but for a techie/geeky/lego-loving dad this one is fantastic.
  7. Dad Rocks Paperweight: Have your kid(s) pickout some of their favorite rocks on a nightly stroll tonight for this simple paperweight project.
  8. Bungee Cord Memo Board: Skydiver, mechanic, and avid camper dads will probably get a kick out of this one.  Maybe not so much if you use all his bungee cords, though!
  9. Rustic Woodsy Frame: So simple and classic! 
  10. Felt Picture Frame: The name says it all and you can definitely play this one up by adding maybe some fish on the front for a dad who loves to fish or maybe a little felt camp fire for a picture of your first camping trip.  The possibilities to customize this easy frame are endless!

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Getting Un-stuck by Taking Action

A lot of people would (and do) call me crazy for making this action step I’m about to take.  I’m about to take a leap of faith into the unknown and figure things out as we go.  I have plans but I don’t like to make them set in stone.  I have back up (a bit, only, kinda) to help make this transition easier and I have a support group making this all a little easier.

Friday, May 20th, I will be giving my formal resignation letter and my two-week notice to my full time employer.  The scariest thing about the whole plan is that I do need income to supplement my husband’s so we can actually afford to eat but it’s not like my plan is to sit around staying at J all day.  Oh no, not at all.

I want to wake up rested and see that cute little squishy face smiling up at me instead of getting jostled awake by my husband while my daughter is having her early morning nursing at 6am.  Being told over and over I need to shower, stop, get in the shower, Sara WAKE UP.  I won’t miss the way I start my mornings as they are now, that’s for sure.

I can't believe how big she is - I feel like I've missed a lot.I will start my day with a list of to-dos for household, time with J, meals, business and family fun.  I’ll spend my day completing tasks by priority of importance and not just what I can cram in at the end of a busy work day when we pull in the drive at 6:30pm.  All while being more present to one of my favorite (and missed) people in the world; my daughter, J.

I will take action and start living a life for tomorrow instead of just living day to day. 

It’s scary to go into the unknown but when I look back… back to when she was 2 months old and I really made the decision to go back to work I remember why I went back.  It was the worry.  The worry that we needed more, we needed a house, we needed our cars, we needed more “stuff” and we worried about paying our bills, worried about having fun doing what we love and making more time for everything.  Do you know where we are today?  Still worrying… still living day to day and worrying about all that crap.  You know what we haven’t done?  Taken action to pursue what truly will bring balance and happiness to our lives.

Some will call me crazy, some will call me stupid and some will think that I’m brilliant.  I know my daughter will, I know my husband is supporting this decision and I know I have friends and family that have my back.  So, here I go.  I’m taking that step to getting un-stuck.  I firmly proclaim that from this day forth I will live with intention, take action with abandon and use my skills to their fullest potential instead of feeling trapped in a job and resenting it.

What action steps have you taken lately or are you planning on taking?  Are you scared (but, a good scared), like me?

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April Showers Bring Renewed Senses

I had to take a break.  I have so many projects, hopes, dreams, realities and commitments that something had to give.  I kind of simplified to an extreme to stretch, grow and renew; boy does it feel good.

I still have a million projects but I feel like I can manage more since I’ve reconnected with myself and my family.  I’ve made a major life decision to pursue a change – a pretty drastic one.  I’ll hint that I plan to work for myself, my family and my passions instead of “the man”.  But, more on this to come as it all unfolds.

With the coming of spring I’ve started to chisel away at one of my most important goals for myself this year.  That goal was to simplify our lives.  Physically de-cluttering for 15 minutes a day in one room has changed my life drastically.  As boxes get unpacked (yes, nearly a year after we moved into our home), items get recycled/donated, while others get priced out for a large family yard sale I’m coordinating I can feel the heaviness lifting little by little.

We’ve finally started to jive into a solid family routine so I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that it’s not so much on me anymore.  My husband always did try to be helpful and was/is a wonderful dad and husband BUT we butt heads a lot.  I know I suffered from the elusive “mommy burnout” from time to time here and we’ve been working on creating a more balanced household and life.

So, that’s my short and sweet little update on me.  How are you these days?  Are you simplifying your life in any way and how has it impacted your life?

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Snow, snow, snow, snow.

Ok, so I’ve been slacking on the blogging front after that awesome giveaway I had. Sometimes life just gets crazy, other things take priority, and I get lazy! But, this past week has been H-E-C-T-I-C. My main job is as a buyer for the SE region of the states but I’m located up in Wisconsin, for those of you not in the know. Did you hear about The Snowcopalypse that came barreling through here!? It was insane.

But, since we knew it was coming Monday & Tuesday I had to go into hyperdrive trying to get caught up on work to leave early Tuesday and then have Wednesday off for our impeeding doom. Here’s what it looked like for those of you that didn’t experience the most amazing snowfall I’ve EVER SEEN.

My husband poucing his way to our garage...

Our house... we have a garage under our house on the left hand side that is MIA.

My husband bringing the neighbor some gas so he can snowblow himself out the rest of the way.

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Breastfeeding is The Most Natural Way…Alies the Challenge

Breastfeeding seemed to be and I’ve always heard that it is the easiest and most natural way to feed a baby.  Like the urge to have a natural birth was just, well, natural – breastfeeding seemed like a given, too.  Maybe I was dense but I didn’t realize that it wasn’t something that was always easy to do until my daughter and I struggled.  In many ways I was (and still become) booby trapped along the way.

During my pregnancy it seemed like 99.9% of my brain was being used for planning the birth of our daughter, learning about pregnancy, learning about babies and getting the apartment ready.  I mean, we took one of those hospital classes, mainly to see the hospital, but other than the 5-10 minutes they talked about breastfeeding I didn’t do much to prepare.

My daughter was born at 7:41 in the morning after about 12 hours of labor.  Needless to say I wasn’t quite thinking straight after she was draped across my chest.  I sat there in a daze just simply amazed with her and myself.  When I think back about that morning I think about all the things I could have done differently that could have helped us.

For starters, I did a great job coming up with a birth plan that worked for us but it really only included the fact that I’d like to breastfeed and not that I’d probably need some help.  I birthed at a Certified Baby Friendly Hospital so I thought that getting help would just be a given, I guess.  I am not the type of person to ask for help with anything unless I really need to and by that point I’ve usually messed up pretty bad.

I didn’t get good skin on skin contact with my daughter right after her birth because I was so excited to have everyone meet her and I didn’t really know about the importance of skin on skin contact.  I mean, I read a bit about it in my Hypnobabies workbook but it went in one ear and out the other.

I remember asking the nurse about 5 minutes after she was born if I should try to breastfeed.  She said sure, you could try and as I put J to my breast I felt this pang of panic.  She didn’t just latch on, or lick, or show any interest at all.  So, I stopped and the nurse took J for her bath (in the room!).  I don’t know why I told her to take her and give her a bath instead of just laying there skin on skin with her for a while.  It’s something that I really truly regret.

Our family members all came in to meet our bundle of joy.  It was a great morning and we were all so happy.  After an hour she started to grunt and protest which got me excited.  Our first real breastfeeding session would be under way!  I put her to my breast and she slurped it up like a champ.  It was pretty uncomfortable but I figured it was because I wasn’t used to the sensations. The nurse told me to let her nurse as often as she’d like but not to go longer than 2 hours while also checking her poops and pees.  I diligently obliged and nursed her on cue like I was told (and I had read).

Things were going great except I noticed that it was every half hour or less

Dad's tuckered out!

that she’d want to nurse.  It seemed like she was on the boob more often than not. The first night together we happily co-slept in my hospital bed and I’ll never forget lovingly gazing at my sleeping husband across the way as my little nursling ate to her hearts content all night. 

I remember in the middle of the night our nurse came in so I asked her if she could help me because I didn’t know if I was breastfeeding right.  She helped my figure out the football hold which was AMAZING.  But,

J sleeping on Mama

when I asked about the latch she told me I’d have to ask the lactation consultant.  The next morning we were supposed to be discharged right away so things with the LC were rushed.  J was sleeping the whole time and I didn’t want to wake her because it was the longest stretch she’d had yet.  So, the LC asked me questions, showed me how to manually express, answered my questions and we were good to go!

I didn’t know we had a shallow latch issue for months. I thought that she just needed to comfort nurse, a lot.  When A’s entire family (seriously, like 9 people) came over on Christmas night at 9:00pm I was pissed, she was fussy, we couldn’t get a good latch the whole time and we damaged my left nipple.  My nipple has never been the same since that.

When people asked me if she needed to nurse again after she just ate I started to doubt myself.  When the first weigh-in at the doctor’s office showed that she’d lost too much weight I really started to get freaked.  I called the hospital lactation consultant and asked questions but I was always leaving messages, not getting calls back and when I did it was something that I already found out myself – or something not really helpful.  I didn’t know any LC’s that did home visits and I didn’t really have money for one.

So, I sat down with my nursling and read a zillion blog posts, articles, kellymom, watched youtube videos, read The Breastfeeding Book, listened to insights from my ONE nursing friend etc. until I could figure out how to get her to latch better.  Once we had a proper latch (which, sometimes I failed at my first round of discipline as a mother and let the lazy latch be ok) most of the time she still wanted to nurse CONSTANTLY unless I was wearing her.  Once I started wearing her in my moby wrap things took a glorious turn.  I felt like I was finally starting to understand her and we were jiving.  I’d know when she was getting hungry during her pre-cues.  It was fantastic.

Now I understand that although breastfeeding itself is natural, the act of it isn’t always a natural one for mother and baby.  Especially for those moms like me that live in a world of assumptions.  To succeed at breastfeeding you need to be informed, be dedicated, be flexible and most importantly have support and USE IT.

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Giving Thanks – A Little Late

‘Tis the season for ‘giving thanks’, stuffing our faces, awkward family gatherings, watching your ‘p’s & q’s’, and getting up super early for the deals, right? That’s all I thought about holidays for years and years. I’d just get through them and when they’re done no more family for a whole year!

For the record, it isn’t my family that I’m avoiding and it’s not that I’m not thankful. I do want to spend time with my family and I miss my family often. It’s really the awkwardness, pain and pressure I feel being around my family with my mother during the holidays.

I’m being vague here so let me just say that my mom is the drunk of the family. She’s not one of those funny drunks, either. She’s either crying, being mean, telling an inappropriate story at an inappropriate time, yelling to be heard above everyone, giving a piece of her mind (and it’s not usually a nice or constructive piece) when no one asked, or she just starts making things up.

Baby J & Cousin A w/ Grandpa C

Anyway, aside from my crazy mom we had a great Thanksgiving double feature celebration this year. First, we had dinner at noon with A’s family – which I’m still weird around. It’s just that I don’t do hugs, I suck at random chit chat, I’m socially awkward and I don’t really know his family members well. I’ll get better at it over the years, I hope. But, it was nice and also really funny to have the 11 month old screaming (literally) in her booster seat over how delicious her turkey was 🙂

Dinner at my aunt’s house was at three and over an hour away from our first celebration. I was really excited to go to my aunt’s this year because some members of my family haven’t met our daughter yet. My extended family is amazing, though. We each wrote three things we were thankful for, put them in a jar and took out three things to read off throughout dinner. My cousins each read either a poem, story or song about thanksgiving which was great.  I really wish that we weren’t hours apart so I could spend more time with my aunt, uncle and cousins because they’re all hilarious and fun.

Having a child made me realize and I’ve really learned that this time of year isn’t something you should just try to get through like I used to think. This year I’m really thankful for my life and everything in my life. Sure, the holidays can be a little awkward and family members embarrass you, but I also realized that I am my own person.  I’m not my mother – I’m just a product of her.  So, when she’s drunk and being herself I can be thankful that she’s still well and with us.  Even if she the family drunk. 

I’m thankful for my daughter, who is so full of life and filling my world with joy.

I’m thankful for my husband who can see through the cranky and know-it-all that I am and still love me deeply (even on the bad days). He takes care of us and I don’t show him nearly enough thanks for everything that he does.

I’m thankful for our family’s health, our home, our annoying yet faithful pets, and a steady flow of income even if some days we’d like to quit our jobs.

This year I hope to start some great family traditions, follow along with old family traditions and to start teaching our daughter how to give in the spirit of giving not out of feelings of obligation.

I did get up at 6:00am to go shopping with my sister and my daughter in tow on Black Friday, though. It’s the consumer in me, I guess, just trying to save a buck or two. At least the shopping is done and I only have a couple more gifts left to craft.

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