We went on the road trip with a plan B to turn around and go to Disney if it was too bad but it all went smoothly. Maybe it helps that we were braced for a worst case scenario, I don’t know.
The boys did very well with spending the better part of 2 days stuck in their carseats with only a small selection of books and toys for entertainments. We had no iPad or DVD player, something people told me again and again was a must have. There was very little whining and it was always quickly stopped with a snack or some running around at the next stop. They were models of perfect behavior and I couldn’t be more proud of them.
We had a good time visiting family, the New York Renaissance Faire, hiking in the Catskill Mountains and visiting Woodstock (no self respecting hippie would skip that!). We also enjoyed a couple of days in Long Island where my husband grew up and visited Adventureland and had real New York Pizza and Chinese food.
Despite some traffic and a car rental swap the trip was a success and I no longer fear the idea of a road trip with toddlers.
Hubby is already talking about driving to Georgia for Thankgiving which would be a shorter drive than what we just did. I said “Ok, as long as we are not driving on Wednesday or Sunday” so what dates is he looking for? You guessed it, driving on Wednesday and Sunday ::facepalm::. We’ll see…
Living within 2 hours of Orlando Florida we have the luxury of being able to make affordable mini trips to the theme parks. There is no airfare costs, FL resident discounts on admission and we can get there on half a tank of gas. Add in a Groupon deal for a hotel and we are blessed to be able to go several times a year. I thought about writing a Disney on a budget post but there are plenty of websites and blogs with that information already, that is how we learned how to save!
This years for Mother’s Day my husband got me an annual pass to Disney World, this is great because I love going to their special events such as Star Wars Weekends which has become a Fox family tradition for the past 3 years. We are all big Star Wars fan and while the boys haven’t been allowed to watch the movies due to their violent nature, they have enough Star Wars related toys and books to know the main characters. Chewbacca is our favorite and we wore matching “Bacca” shirts.
Now that I no longer have to worry about pregnancy keeping me from going on rides and Zen is starting to hit the minimum height for some rides the trips to the park are even more fun! It is amusing to see Zen becoming the adrenaline seeker of the brothers as he yells “weeeee!!!” on a ride while his older brother curls up to me complaining about it going too fast.
We now have annual passes to Disney World, Universal Orlando and Legoland, if we get lucky and hubby gets his wish of landing a good job in the Orlando area we will get a lot of miles out of these. Meanwhile I get to “suffer” through a summer break from theme parks (too crowded and hot) and get to look forward to our next visit in the fall.
Meanwhile I get to look forward to doing the boy’s birthday pictures this weekend (a month early because I have a Groupon for a really good price that expires soon). Hopefully they’ll come out nice and I can share some next time.
It has been a while so I’ll give a recap… In the last couple of months we moved to a new house. One that is in a (supposedly) safer and quiet community (so quiet that we didn’t hear fireworks on New Years) and is right next to a park. It is a 2 story house villa which I love despite the inconveniences that living in a 2 story unit with kids brings.
One of these inconveniences is that our computers are upstairs while I spend most of my time downstairs with the boys. This meant that every time I felt inspired to write something it didn’t happen because the computer was no longer in the living room like I was used to. To try to remedy that I have a bluetooth keyboard now so I can write on my Kindle Fire without cursing the touchscreen keyboard’s existence.
Babyproofing a set of stairs when renting can be challenging. We have a pressure mounted gate at the bottom of the stairs which although it won’t stop Zen if he is determined to go up, it does work well as a deterrent and keeps them from trying to play on the stairs. The top of the stairs is still open and after 3 months it hadn’t been an issue until last week when Zen figured out how to climb down, at least he did it safely!
At our new house we converted the master bedroom into a computer/play room and chose a secondary bedroom as our sleeping room. This room has wall to wall mattresses on the floor and no other furniture making it the perfect cosleeping space.
During this time Shammy has made excellent homeschooling process. Since he is only 3 years old I wasn’t pushing any curriculum or lessons, just trying the whole homeschooling thing on for size and it’s been working very well. Shammy is now able to read at a primary school level and is starting to write. I admit to using a lot of technology tools such as ABCMouse for math and social science and Kindle Fire apps for writing. We do reading the old fashioned way though in addition to e-books.
While the holiday season was very enjoyable, it also meant the end of the daycare that the boys were attending 1 day a week while I worked at the WIC office. I didn’t expect it to be so hard to find alternate care but it has turned into a 3 month nightmare. Despite the things we didn’t like about the old daycare we now miss it because it has been so hard to find anything after searching for so long with no luck. Granted, we may have higher standards and a lower budget than some parents but it had never been this hard to find the right match. In the meantime my mother in law has helped out but I can’t count on that as a long term solution and I fear that we may reach the point when I may be faced with having to quit my job (which only has me out of the house 1 day week) because of this.
I did the math and working full time after factoring the cost of daycare and other expenses wouldn’t allow me to provide any extra contribution to the household budget than I do now unless I got a REALLY good paying job, something that doesn’t exists in this area.
I frequently hear from mothers complaining that they don’t get very much milk when they pump. A breastpump is nowhere near as efficient as a baby at emptying a breast but it’s better than nothing when baby isn’t able to nurse for whatever reason or you need to save milk for future use. The amount you can pump will vary greatly depending on several factors including the type of pump, time of day, last time the breast was emptied, length of session and even level of distraction. I have been known to pump 7 ounces from one side in one session and only drops in another and every amount in between.
I wrote these tips in a document for the La Leche League Facebook group and I frequently copy and paste it to e-mail replies when asked for pumping help so I figured that it would be a good idea to share this on my blog for quick and easy reference.
Below is a list of things that worked for me when I used to pump and that have helped many of my clients. I hope that you find at least some of them useful.
The type of pump, the frequency and length of the sessions all play a role in how much you’ll get. There are different tricks, many minor tweaks that have helped me and many of my clients such as:
If pumping at work try to time your breaks at baby’s usual mealtimes
Be hydrated, drink water right before and during pumping (for myself cold water worked better than room temperature water)
Being relaxed when pumping is important, muscular tension can also occur in the breasts which inhibits letdown. If your neck and shoulders are tense, chances are that you will have a hard time getting much milk out. Deep breaths, relaxing music, brief meditation, whatever works for you as a quick relaxant will help. A lot of moms find that using a hands free pumping bra allows them to have a more relaxed posture than holding the flanges against your chest (you can easily make your own pumping bra out of an old sports bra).
Avoid multi tasking while pumping- it’s harder for your brain to have a good letdown with a machine so focusing on baby helps. Some moms use a piece of clothing that baby wore, a picture of baby, a video. Iin my case a recording of baby crying gave me more milk than a picture of him smiling and double the amount of milk than if I was just sitting there eating, watching tv, Facebooking or texting while pumping.
I know it’s hard to do but avoid staring at the bottles while pumping as stressing over ounces will reduce output.
Dry pumping for several minutes after the last drop sends the signal to your body that it needs to make more milk. For me I found that drinking a tall glass of water while still dry pumping would give me a second letdown after about a minutewith an average of an extra ounce per side.
I hope that at least some of these tips are useful.
I commend those very active mother bloggers that are able to post content several times a week. They obviously don’t have a stream of consciousness writing style like mine as it’s near impossible for me to finish typing a thought before getting interrupted. I really wish that I could write more, there is so much I want to share!
The fact that this pregnancy has kicked my ass hasn’t helped matters. With Shammy I was huge and uncomfortable but didn’t have reason to call the midwife at all. This round I have had to call the Dr more than once a week for several weeks and have had to seriously contemplate the possibility of a trip to L&D more than once. I am at a point that any type of physical activity beyond moderate walking triggers painful and regular contractions. I can’t even load the dishwasher or do laundry without being out of commission for an hour afterwards while I try to get the contractions to stop. The Doctor’s response? “listen to your body… lie down and drink lots of fluids…. I don’t care if your house gets dirty…”
I do care that the house is getting out of hand, we’ve never been the poster family of OCD clean but I hate that something as simple as picking up toys from the living room floor is beyond my scope. So imagine how easy it is for me to chase after the toddler when I’m home alone all day, I usually feel like death by the time he finally goes down for a nap.
This round it feels like making it to 31 weeks is an accomplishment but enough whining about me…
I’m starting to become annoyed at the fact that so many websites/books make a mom feel like she can’t breastfeed without a breastpump. I know that I felt that way too the first time around and securing the right pump at the right time became a source of stress. I am not anti-breastpump, they are great, they have their place, but they’re not a must have item like consumerist advice sources seem to make us feel, specially if mom is not going back to work again. There can be some cases in which a mom may have to pump in the first few days (baby in the NICU, etc) but having it “just in case” seems to cause more trouble than is needed. I’ve seen cases of oversupply, nipple confusion from introducing bottle too early and unnecessary stress about milk supply because a pump is a horrible indicator of how much milk a breast truly has.
I’m not trying to tell people to not get a pump, but rather hold off on it until AFTER baby is born to see if you truly need it (they’re expensive!), I don’t recommend pumping for at least the first 2 weeks and if you must for a medical reason, the hospital or WIC can set you up quickly.
So what if you need to pump milk and don’t have a pump? Hand expression is free and not that hard. Feel like you must have a pump? go ahead, just don’t become its slave and let it mess with your confidence.
Speaking of WIC, there is a new petition floating around the internet to have WIC provide cloth diapers to low income families. As huge of a cloth diaper advocate that I am I did not sign this petition. Why? Because it will never happen! I’m not against the government helpingwithcloth diapers but this is not the program for that. WIC is a nutrition program funded by the US Department of Agriculture, cloth diapers are not food. It takes an act of congress to change anything about what WIC gives and even if congress wanted to support fluff, it will never be through the WIC program.
Speaking of fluff, I have become quite the fluff-activist lately. I’ve had the opportunity to teach a couple of cloth diaper classes and during Real Diaper Week in April I converted no less than 9 moms to cloth diapers, yay!
Shammy has gotten a new nickname from my husband, he is now the “boob zombie” because when he wakes up in the morning he walks around groggily saying “side…. side…. side….” until he finds my boob. (side is the word that he uses for nursing).
Even though he’s not going to finish weaning anytime soon, he is taking steps in that direction and my pregnancy hormones are making it very hard for me to cope with it emotionally. The first time he went to sleep without asking to nurse I cried. The other night I woke up in the middle of the night, remembered this poem and cried uncontrollably for almost 2 hours over the last 3 lines of it.
Wean Me Gently
I know I look so big to you,
Maybe I seem too big for the needs I have.
But no matter how big we get,
We still have needs that are important to us.
I know that our relationship is growing and changing,
But I still need you. I need your warmth and closeness,
Especially at the end of the day
When we snuggle up in bed.
Please don’t get too busy for us to nurse.
I know you think I can be patient,
Or find something to take the place of a nursing –
A book, a glass of something,
But nothing can take your place when I need you.
Sometimes just cuddling with you,
Having you near me is enough.
I guess I am growing and becoming independent,
But please be there.
This bond we have is so strong and so important to me,