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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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A Watched Sorbet Never Softens

Sometimes I swear I feel like an alien in my own house.

I pulled out a rock-hard tub of raspberry sorbet tonight after dinner, and told Ellie to go play for a few minutes while it softened up. She promptly perched herself directly in front of it at the counter, and said “Mom I’m just gonna watch it.”

Adam was in the living room with Jamie, and I laughed as I called out to him, “Hey Babe? Will you tell your daughter that a watched pot never boils?”

Adam: A what never what?

Me: A watched pot never boils.

Adam: A washed what?

Me: A watched pot never boils!

Adam: A washtot?

Me: ADAM! A WATCHED POT NEVER BOILS!!

Adam: Yeah I’ve never heard that. What’s that?

Ellie: I’m not watching a pot, MOM, I’m watching the ice cream!

Me: *siiiiiiiigh*

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10 Radio-Popular Songs for SuperToddlers (plus some bonus suggestions)

My two girls are absolutely obsessed with music. Like, ALL MUSIC. Any time music comes on, they want to dance and sing at the top of their lungs. Now, I don’t think I’m alone in my frustration with all of the profanity, lewd content and general gross-ness of most music on the radio today, so I’ve been doing a little homework. I swear, every time I find a song with a great beat that the kids seem to LOVE, up pops a curse word, or a line that makes my eyes bug out. I recently read somewhere that Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” was a song that’s got a “great message for girls”…. uh, yeeeeaaahhh… after hearing the lines “We know that sh*t ain’t real“, “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night“, and “Tell them skinny bitches that“… mmm NOPE. I mean, yes, overall that’s probably a good message for teen girls (basically that being skinny isn’t everything and you should be proud of your body), but the presentation lacks the G-rating I’m needing for my babes right now.

So… here are 10 radio-popular songs that I feel comfortable allowing my nearly-2-and-4-year-olds to listen to (links are to tunes on Spotify):

1.  Shake it Off – Taylor Swift – Oh holy hell, is this song catchy. We have probably broken the record for most-times-played-in-a-row on this one. The second the car engine starts on the way to drop Ellie off at school every day, Jamie is shouting at me from the backseat: “SHAKE! SHAKE! LISTEN SHAKE! SHAKE!” (Also, a GREAT message in this one. Shake it off, get back up, do it your own way.)

2. Happy – Pharrell Williams – Pretty sure every kid (okay every person) in the world starts wiggling when this song comes on. How can you not?? I can barely listen to this song in the car because I want to jump out of my seat and start dancing.

3. ROAR – Katy Perry – Catchy beat, zero profanity, and a great message for kids. A good one for them to scream at top volume.

4. Good Feeling – Flo Rida – Upbeat, happy, clean (surprisingly so, considering the artist).

5. We Found Love – Rihanna – Probably the cleanest song Rihanna has released. Unfortunately the video is NOT clean, so if you play music on YouTube for you kids, this may not be a good choice. On the radio or a Spotify playlist, however, this is a great dance tune with no profanity.

6. Good Time – Owl City & Carly Rae Jepson – Oh man… there was a good 8-12 month period in which this was the ONLY song Ellie would allow me to play. SO catchy (major ear worm, this one), and fun. I used to sing different words to the tune all the time – “Woke up with Ell-ie’s feet on my head… What’s up with that girl sneakin’ in my bed?” … still makes her giggle.

7. Steal My Kisses – Ben Harper – Love this one. Probably leaning toward the adult side, but I just chase and kiss and tickle my kiddos when this song is on and they think it’s hilarious.

8. Break Free – Ariana Grande – Yeah, it’s about a failed relationship, but it’s also about independence and it’s clean, catchy and fun to dance to.

9. Stronger – Kelly Clarkson – Super positive, and major girl-power lyrics. Another one the kids’ll want to scream-sing.

10. Cups – Pitch Perfect (Anna Kendrick) – Besides the mention of whiskey, this one is really fun. I actually taught myself how to do that whole cups rhythm with Disney princess cups, so I use it to sing the girls stuff like the Alphabet Song and many others… but they still love it when this one comes on the radio. And then they want to bang on cups LIKE RIGHT NOW.

 

 

 

Here’s a few bonus songs as well – ones my kiddos ask for on a regular basis (daily), either to listen to in the car via Spotify or for me to sing to them in the evenings. I didn’t include them in the above list because most of them are not necessarily radio-popular, but boy do my girls love these:

1. September – Earth, Wind & Fire – That chorus a fuuuuuuun one. I love listening to Ellie belt it out.

2. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – Julie Andrews – Because it’s super fun to try and say. Not sure I can even say it. But I do remember that when I was a kid I loved telling people that this “word” has 34 letters in it! (Side note – I also loved telling people that the longest REAL word in the world is antidisestablishmentarianism… at 28 letters. And I could spell it. BOOM.)

3. Heavenly – Harry Connick, Jr. – I often push HCJ on my girls. I’m pretty much in love with him as an artist, and I would have NO problems if Ellie & Jamie grew up loving him as well. This is a super-cute song about the sun and the moon falling love.

4. Be OK – Ingrid Michaelson – Although it seems to be about not-so-happy things, it’s got a happy and upbeat way about it. Ellie loves singing this one – there aren’t many words so it’s easy for her to get into.

5. WitchDoctor – David Seville & The Chipmunks – Jamie is SO into this song right now. “DOCTOR! DOCTOR!” She sings it while running around our living room a lot as well. “ooh eee ooh ah ah, ting tang, walla walla bing bang!”

6. Splish Splash – Bobby Darrin – Who doesn’t like a bath song? 🙂

7. Lollipop – The Chordettes -  Dead lord MAKE SURE you click on the Chordettes song with this title. Trust me.

8. What Does the Fox Say – Ylvis – No explanation needed. A ridiculous hit that makes absolutely no sense, yet all children go bananas whenever this song is played.

9. Real in Rio – Jamie Fox, Jessie Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway (from the Rio Soundtrack) – Jamie went through a 4-month phase where Rio was the only movie we were allowed to watch, and this song was the only one that would make her happy. I even had to turn it into a lullaby for her so I could sing it softly while putting her to sleep. (Actually… Ellie did that first. I copied her because it toooootally worked to calm Jamie down at bedtime.)

10. You Make Me Happy – Cathy Heller – SUCH a sweet song. I love it as a lullaby, and the girls like to sing along.

11. Wake Me Up Before You Go Go – Wham! – Fun for all ages. You’re made of stone if you don’t like JitterBug. 🙂

12. ANYTHING FROM FROZEN – Because, Disney wins everything.

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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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I promise, he doesn’t.

Ellie is very into contest games right now – as in, everything is a race. Everything. And everyone is always playing, even if they don’t know it.

“I finished my dinner first, I win!!”

“I made it to the car first, I’m the winner!”

“Aw, Jamie beat me to the bathtub!”

“I got my shoes on the fastest!”

All of this seems so fun and innocent, until I overhear her talking to the nanny last week while we’re apparently doing something race-worthy,

“My Daddy beats my Mommy every day.”

Errrrrrrr… yikes. I feel like I need to just shadow her for the next 5 years so I can clarify everything that comes out of her mouth.

Calm Down, there’s totally an explanation for this…

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10 minutes with my 1-year-old

Sometimes, a ten minute conversation with my one-year-old will cover as many as 97 topics.

Other times, it’ll go like this:

(While visiting a friend who has turtles in a little plastic pool in the backyard)

Me: Jamie, do you see the turtles?

Jamie: Turtle.

Me: Yeah! There are six turtles.

Jamie: Turtle.

Me: Do you see them eating?

Jamie: Turtle. Corn. OH! CORN!

Me: Yep, they’re eating corn on the cob.

Jamie: CORN!

Me: Corn is yummy, huh?

Jamie: CORN. TURLES EAT CORN. CORN.

Me: Yep. Okay, neat.

Jamie: Corn. Look! Corn. Turtle. Corn.

Me: Yes. Corn.

Jamie: Mama! CORN!

Me: I see. Corn.

Jamie: CORN. Turtle. CORN. Look! Corn!

And you guys? I walked away about 5 minutes in, but Jamie stood there at that pool and pointed at the corn and turtles for TEN WHOLE MINUTES, and every time someone even walked near her she pulled them into her scintillating conversation. “CORN!”

I’m still chuckling. Who knew corn was so exciting?

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