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I’m all for Technology, But…

I’ll be the first to admit that I suffer from an insane compulsion to check my cell phone every 5 minutes. I can also truthfully say, however, that I can put it away and not rely on it when indulging in quality time with friends and family. I do think that in general, we all tend to lean a little too much on the at-our-fingertips information delivered through our pocket computers… but I also embrace it.

So does my husband… maybe a little too much at times.

A few weeks ago, we were enjoying a nice family weekend at our cabin out of town. While deciding what to do for the day, we were tossing around the idea of pack-rafting with the girls down the Talkeetna River.

Adam: It’s supposed to rain today.

Me: *glancing out the window* Looks fine to me.

Adam: No, it’s sprinkling and cloudy right now.

Me: *now staring at sunny blue sky through the window* Um… no. It’s clear.

Adam: JEN, my weather app SAYS it’s cloudy.

Me: ADAM, I’m using my EYES to look out the ACTUAL window at ACTUAL weather.

Adam: Oh, oops. I have it set on Seward. Hang on lemme check Talkeetna.

Me: LOOK. OUT. THE. WINDOW.

We enjoyed a fun trip down the river. On a beautiful blue day (at least, that’s what our iPhone apps told us).

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Why I Kept My Pregnancy a Secret

secret pregnancyHey remember that time back in January when I surprised everyone and just like… HAD A BABY?

Yeah… fun times.

I caught quite a bit of flack for that, honestly. But eh… I really didn’t mind. See, Finn was a surprise for US – a very welcome, wonderful surprise. Adam and I always keep pregnancy to ourselves for a least a little while (I think it was about 10 weeks with Ellie, and 16 with Jamie before we shared with friends and Facebook; earlier for family)… but for some reason, I was “weird” about my third pregnancy.

Once I found out I was pregnant (there’s a story there), I was over the moon excited. And nervous. And worried. And absolutely ecstatic. Adam and I had talked before about 3 being it for us, so I knew this would be my final pregnancy from the moment I found out. That… made me sad. Not necessarily because I want more children, but because all of these firsts are now “last firsts” – and I felt I needed to cherish the hell out of them. First ultrasound. First kicks. First time I got such horrid heartburn I thought death was surely around the corner (okay, I might not have wanted to cherish that one so much).

We didn’t share our news with anyone until about 19-20 weeks. Family, friends, and the virtual world included. I wasn’t showing (much) and honestly I could’ve kept it to myself and just popped a baby out without telling a soul if it weren’t for Adam getting antsy about it. Why? I’ll go ahead and be super-honest here… I was being selfish. Like really selfish. And I still defend my right to be selfish.

I felt a connection with Baby 3 from the moment I peed on a stick. I loved my little secret “relationship” with my baby – and I loved that I didn’t have to share it with anyone but Adam. We were in our own little bubble of safety and excitement. I enjoyed having this allllll to myself, I really did. It wasn’t meant to be devious or deceitful, it just… wasn’t something I was ready to let anyone else share with me. And I really still feel like that’s okay. Once baby news is out, you no longer steer the conversations you have in everyday life. You don’t get to choose the topic, or deflect to something else; pregnancy is the ONLY thing you’re allowed to discuss (or so it seems). I liked being able to feel so connected with my baby, but still carry on in the outside world as normal. I hogged the baby because… well, because it was mine. That’s my only excuse, really.

So, we found out in May last year. We told family and close friends in September. I could hardly hide it anymore as baby popped out pretty obviously around 24 weeks, so acquaintances and anyone who ran into me out and about town were allowed into the bubble after that. I did not, however, post anything to social media. I’m really not sure why, but I think after keeping it to myself for 4-5 months it just became… simple, to not share online. I wasn’t bursting at the seams to tell, and then I didn’t really want to steal anyone else’s thunder (a lot of my friends had pregnancies to announce last year too!). Then, it was just so late in the game that I decided to wait and announce when kiddo was born. Why not? It made for a fun day on Facebook, that’s for sure!

Finn Lea Fast was born on January 28th, 2016 – and we shared a cute little pregnancy AND baby announcement that day on Facebook. She was the biggest of all my babes, at 7 lbs 10oz and 20.5? tall. She was the best surprise we could’ve asked for in 2015/16, and she fits in with our cozy little family just perfectly. <3 I kept her to myself for as long as I could – I hope you enjoy her sweet, silly little self now that she’s an official SuperKid!

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7 Ways for New Moms to Cope with Sleep Deprivation

I recently went to a baby shower for a friend who is expecting twins. Instead of the usual “guess how wide the preggo is” or “who can drink this apple juice out of a baby bottle fastest” baby shower games, this mama opted for something a little more intentional – a round table discussion about the reality of being a new mom. As most of the guests had been new moms at some point, my friend smartly took this opportunity to ask candid questions and seek the truth.

A few of her questions were sweet (what traditions did you have with you mother that you cherish?), and some very practical (what was your most-used baby item?)… and one question struck me as funny. She asked the entire table of about 15 moms, “how did you cope with being sleep-deprived with a newborn?” – and a look of knowing washed over the faces of all of the “survivors”.

How do you cope with being sleep-deprived with a newborn? There were thoughtful answers, stumped expressions, and lots of giggles in response. I’ve had some time to think about it, and fortunately I’ve come up with a list of ways for new moms to cope with sleep deprivation.

 

 

  1. Forget that sleep exists, in the sense that you know it right now. From the time your first child is born, until… well, *ever*, you’ll no longer “sleep”. As a mom you will now simply drift into a state of conscious unconsciousness (oh is that a contradictory statement? don’t worry, that’s pretty much what parenting is anyway – one big contradiction). With a newborn in the house, you’ll do everything in this half-asleep/half-awake state, and it will continually confuse you. “Honey, why is the milk in the cupboard?” your husband will ask. And you will reply, “because I was looking for the mayonnaise” – and in your head, it will somehow seem like a reasonable answer.
  2. Focus on what’s important. With a newborn, “most important” will mean feeding the newborn. That’s it. Forget about the vacuum, forget about the shower, forget about the mirror, forget about making dinner (dude, your husband can proooobably prepare some sort of meal. If he’s like SuperHubs, Mountain House freeze-dried meals will come in handy in times like these). You will now solely be responsible for the nutrition of this tiny vampire that just exited your body. Just feed it. Bonus: you can totally “sleep” (see above) while nursing.
  3. Stop researching ways to cope with sleep deprivation. Seriously, you could be “sleeping” right now if you weren’t playing around on your phone. You’re probably spending your “awake” time doing this too. Cut it out, and go close your eyes. (I almost spent us into the poorhouse with my terrible online-shopping-during-nursing habit that I developed after all three babies… take it from me and know that you do NOT make good buying decisions at 3am. Seriously, you DON’T need that weird baby gadget, book that you’ll never have time to read, or 97 pairs of LuLaRoe leggings.)(BUT, the leggings are toooootally great for post-partum comfort. 10 pairs is justifiable, I’d say.)
  4.  But first, coffee. Lots of it. Oh unless you’re nursing, then “only 100-200mg per day”. Which is like the equivalent of licking the side of a coffee cup to catch a drip. So basically just be sleepy. Or drink the coffee and then be awake and riddled with mom-guilt because you’ve drugged your baby. Your choice! (I choose coffee. But just a supersize mom mug lick .) Funny story – SuperHubs and I got a beautiful red coffee maker for our wedding, and it sat on the counter completely unused- until the week after I gave birth to my first child. So basically I don’t feel bad about drinking coffee while nursing because my kids are the reason I even drink coffee now so *basically* they’re doing it to themselves. Right?
  5. Vitamin B. I get shots. Some people take supplements (read: pills the size of a Chapstick). Some people get that spray that you spray under your tongue. Whatever – it works (or at least that’s what I tell myself – “I’m totally awake right now! Wait did I shut off the oven? Where is my left shoe?”).
  6. Exercise. Exercise totally energizes everyone, right? Who wouldn’t want to work out after the marathon that is labor? Or during the marathon of a day that is caring for a baby? Because you know, endorphins and stuff. Just look up some of the many videos on YouTube or Facebook that highlight “how to workout while holding your baby” – and get right on that. I tried to do a workout video recently while carrying Finn in a Bjorn, and boy did that make planking fun. She has great abs now too.
  7. Sleep when baby sleeps. This is a classic piece of advice. I mean, your husband will totally do the dishes, clean the kitchen, finish the laundry, and prepare dinner, all to your normal standards, right? But seriously… sleep when that baby does. Then just get really good at doing everything else one-handed while baby is awake. I’m the one-armed dishwashing QUEEN, y’all.
  8. (Bonus!) Train your baby to sleep at night. HAHAHAHAHA just kidding. What I meant was, train yourself to forget sleep altogether.

Sounds easy, yeah? ? In all seriousness though, moms just… DO. We do it all. Having babies is like being thrown into a snake pit and told to “figure it out”… and we do! It’s our survival instinct.  Your body will naturally adjust to less/diminished quality sleep, and it will still function. You will get help from your husband, your baby will somehow learn how to sleep, and you will navigate this crazy new world just fine. You’ll lean on friends and family, you’ll figure out what works for you, and you’ll field a LOT of advice. You’ll drink your weight in coffee or tea or water or whatever wakes you up, you’ll figure out a new housework schedule or hire a housekeeper or threaten your husband with his life, you’ll figure it all out through lots of trial-and-error – and you’ll probably find the milk in the cupboard more than once. This is parenting… it’s tough, it’s crazy, it’s weird and it’s awesome. Oh, and one of the number-one ways you’ll LOSE sleep after your baby is born? Staying awake to stare at your baby. I won’t tell you to fight that one – I still do it. <3

(And then I just go lick my coffee cup.)

 

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12 Things I Don’t Like to Hear While Showering

Sometimes I try to shower while the kids are playing in Ellie’s room. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Here are twelve things I definitely do not like to hear while trying to take that shower (and I especially do not like to hear them all during the SAME shower):

1. “Mom?” (I know, I know, but it’s always the start of bigger and badder…)

2. “Jamie just ate a booger.”

3. “Mommy! Jamie threw my pony in the toilet!”

4.”Here Mom… can you wash this pony that Jamie threw in the toilet?” (while throwing sopping wet pony into the shower)

5. “Mama! Poopy!”

6. “Hi. Jamie bath too. Want in.”

7. “Mom? Can you open this?” (hands me a popsicle)

8. “MOM! Jamie took her diaper off!”

9. “Mama. I peed.”

10. “JAMIE PEED ON MY BED!!”

11. “MOOOOOOOOOM! Jamie just poured bubble bath in the toilet!”

12. “Mom are you done yet? It’s crazy out here.”

Yes dear. *sigh* It IS crazy out there.

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Growing into Angry Birds

The Angry Birds obsession has hit our household, and my girls are preeeeetty much in love with anything Angry Birds-related. I bought Ellie a swimsuit with the red bird on it, and a set of 5 pairs of socks. I had to buy myself the same socks, and now every morning when she wakes up she asks, “Mom what socks should we wear this morning?” – and then refuses to wear anything that doesn’t make our feet match (it makes my morning decisions just *that* much more difficult, having to remember that I MUST choose socks for which Ellie has a match). Anyhoo… at the store the other evening, I was treated to this lovely (and completely innocent) outburst:

Ellie: MOM! Angry Birds panties!!!

Me: Hmmm, well… These are just too big for you sweetie.

Ellie: Well when my ‘gina gets bigger can I get them?

(Most of the time I can stifle my laughter. This… was not one of those times.)

(AND she was still asking the same question like 5 minutes later in the milk aisle, and I finally had to be like “ummmm when your little booty gets bigger we can get them… Can we please talk about something else???”)

 

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Toilet Training: Husbands vs Toddlers

We women have spent YEARS attempting to train our husbands (and boyfriends/brothers/fathers/sons) to put the toilet seat back down afte they pee. YEARS, I tell you. Have you been successful? Because I have not. I don’t even think Adam hears the words coming out of my mouth once he realizes it’s a “nag” statement.

It’s just ridiculous the number of times I’ve mentioned (and nicely, at that!) how it would be really helpful and much less unsightly if Adam would *PLEASE* just close the toiled lid when he’s finished. I’ve pretty much given up on that – hell, at this point I’m just happy if he manages to actually FLUSH the damn toilet when he’s finished…

…which is why I found it absolutely, knee-smackingly, pee-my-pants (literally, thanks to my currently being 8 months pregnant) hilarious when my husband and I recently had this conversation:

Adam:(calling to me from the bathroom) Hey is there somewhere for me to put this stupid Dora potty seat of Ellie’s?

Me: Yes, Honey, there’s a hook on the side of the toilet. Just hang the seat right on it, please don’t leave it on the floor.

Adam:(coming out of the bathroom) Well I guess it’s cool that it came with a hook. Hey, you know what we should do? We should train Ellie to put her seat away when she’s finished using it.

Me: Oh, so it won’t be so annoying when the next person goes to use the toilet?

Adam: Yeah, it’s such a pain in the ass to have to deal with that every time I pee. I mean, she’s old enough to learn how to put her seat away, right?

Me: ONE WOULD THINK.

He still doesn’t get the irony.

 

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On Becoming a Supermom – How to Enjoy You New Baby

After visiting my sister-in-law Amanda in the hospital just moments after she gave birth to my gorgeous new nephew, Carson, I mentioned to Adam that I was jealous of her. He of course thought I was referring to the fact that she no longer has to deal with the aches and pains of pregnancy that I complain about 24/7- in a way, yes sure, I’m wishing I could move this whole process along, but I was really thinking of this particular time in Amanda’s life that has me wading through the waters of jealous remembrance.

She is now on Day 3 of motherhood, and I can’t help but tear up when I think of how overwhelmed with emotion I was when I was a 3-day-old mommy. Sure, my new-mommyness was a bit tainted with the pain of losing my father-in-law less than a week before, but nothing can get in the way of the pure magic only a newborn can provide. (I would even say that Ellie SAVED me from my grief-  a powerful feat from such a little human.)

Amanda is in this time-suspended period where all she has to do is stare at her new baby, breathe in the delicious scent of her new baby, and dream up all the things she hopes to accomplish for her new baby. When I had Ellie, it didn’t even matter who or how many people were in the room (we had a LOT of visitors) – I was completely submerged in her essence. Her smell, her tiny noises, her little squirmy movements- the way she blinked, breathed, yawned and especially the way she would just stare into my eyes.

I’m jealous because while I will definitely get to experience the new-baby fun in just a few weeks- I won’t ever get to be a “new mom” again. New moms have no expectations, no pre-conceived notions – they’re a clean slate, no matter what advice they’ve been given. Every single little tiny experience is created from a fresh, innocent place.

So- because I can’t help it (what mother can?), I offer this advice to my beautiful sister – and any other beautiful new mommies:

  • Smell your new baby, as much as possible. I always wondered when that “new” smell would dissipate- it takes a while, but enjoy every second of it.
  • Get lost in your baby’s eyes. They may change color over time, but you’ll be enamored with that part of your child forever. A child’s eyes carry so much emotion and wonder, you’ll feel like they make time stand still.
  • Relax when your baby cries (but don’t feel guilty if you cry a little too). It’s true that they feel your tension- and they also feel your calmness.
  • Learn to never stand still. I still do a little side-to-side sway sometimes, even when I’m not holding my daughter- it becomes an ingrained action.
  • Laugh. At everything. Laugh at the funny faces your baby makes, and laugh at how ridiculous you look (and feel) while using a breast pump. Laugh when you spill coffee all over yourself, and laugh when your baby has four “blowouts” in one day. Do NOT forget to laugh.
  • Listen to (and ask for) advice – from your mom, your dad, your friends, your sister (hint hint), and everyone else who may have something to offer. Do not feel obligated to use any of it. Motherhood is individual to each of us- my experience is different from my mom’s, and yours will be too. YOU get to make the calls now, and no one can decide anything for your baby but you.
  • Try not to get jealous when other people hold your baby – but don’t feel guilty asking for him back. It’s normal to feel naked without your baby attached to you, and during those first few weeks at home it’s really, really hard to willingly place him/her in someone else’s arms (until you really, really need a shower – then it’s a little easier).
  • Accept meals (whether homemade or fast-food) from anyone and everyone who offers. You just concentrate on getting to know your new baby – your family and friends will make sure you get fed. 🙂
  • Don’t forget about Dad. He’s experiencing all of this for the very first time too- and he’s loving it just as much as you are. Share in that together- and be thankful – every single stressful amazing second – for your new family.

I’ll reign in the rest of my motherly knowledge until I’m asked. Or hell, maybe I’ll spill it all out every time I visit, who knows? Just know that no matter what anyone tells you, your only job right now is to revel in the beauty of your baby and your new family.

I love you, Amanda. Now share your baby with me. I’ll be over in a few hours.