4 Reasons NOT to Arrive Unannounced at a Stay-At-Home Mom’s House

For three hours you have been fighting a teething, growth spurting, angry at life child down for a nap.  When you finally transfer the now sleeping little and shake off the stress of the battle, gazing lovingly at their little sleeping face……THE DOORBELL RINGS.

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That tiny sleeping face contorts and their body squirms and you not only have someone impatiently waiting at the door (or not because yay delivery people who ding dong ditch when leaving a package) but you also have a crying baby who is now beyond over tired and just as frustrated as you that they are awake again.

I think it’s safe to say that every stay-at-home parent has experienced this exact scenario.  Some have a dog that barks in response to the doorbell or knock.  All usually respond with a bunch of words that are typically seen in a blog like this, “$&%#”

For me, that scenario is with TWO children since I have twins.  The battle is almost always epic and I feel victorious and accomplished when I finally get them both down for a nap and somehow scoot away from their nursing sucker lips.  So, seeing as I currently at this moment have napping twins, here are some reasons NOT to arrive unannounced at someone’s home when they have kids.

  1. The above scenario is not a joke:  I cannot tell you how many times a delivery man has left a package and rung the doorbell before skipping off back to their truck.  Not only does it make often freak out the dogs, scare the crap out of me, and wake the babies, but I have NO idea it is a delivery man leaving a package and not someone who actually needs my attention.  So I end up opening the door with a crying child, boob usually out, to find no one there.  I cannot tell you how infuriating that is.  Even more infuriating is when that person wants to come in and hang out or “just drop something off” or “just wants to chat”.  Love you.  Love the thought.  You should have called first.  No.  Texted.  Because I can’t answer your phone call with a sleeping baby leech either. 🙂
  2. More than likely, I am at least partially naked:  Breastfeeding, especially in the early days, and ESPECIALLY with twins, means that my boobs are out….a lot.  Newborns often stay latched 20 out of 24 hours each day or more and that is normal and necessary and right.  Growth spurts and cluster feeding are pretty intense throughout infancy and toddlerhood.  And quite frankly, it gets old having your shirt pulled on or fighting with it for breast access all the damn time.  My solution?  There is absolutely no need for a shirt when it’s warm in the house and you’re home alone with your nursling(s).  Don’t arrive unannounced because boobs are most likely out and I don’t have an “oh s***” shirt laying out preparing for your arrival.
  3. On top of being naked, there’s a good chance I can’t physically get up:  Take this scenario right here. This is the first time we got the girls latched tandem since they image1 (3)were in the nicu with specialists to help. They were over a month old already. If I were alone and someone knocked on the door or rang the doorbell I literally would not be able to get to the door. I have a burp cloth propping up my breasts to the right height, two pillows under each side of the My BreastFriend Pillow, at least two rolled up receiving blankets to prop the girls sideways, and two pillows to keep them in place. Plus a pillow or two behind my back and one under my butt. It took so much effort to get here. If someone rang my doorbell when I got here and disturbed the nursing session I would be a very very angry Mama Bear.
  4. My home is a disaster:  I play with my kids.  I cook food for them.  I try to cook food for myself.  We make messes.  We make dishes.  They throw food on the floor.  They decorate the home with toys.  I probably haven’t vacuumed in a week because it requires two people to do so.  My life is about taking care of the kids, not cleaning.  That usually means my home looks horrible to anyone who doesn’t have young kids and as much as I have confidence in my above statements, I don’t really want unannounced guests to SEE that disaster.  It causes me all sorts of unnecessary feelings that I don’t need to give energy to.

So, next time you are thinking about just dropping in on a stay-at-home Mom, shoot her a text first.  I am sure that she will appreciate the heads up and opportunity to say “thanks but next time” if it’s been a particularly tough day.  Even more so, she may just ask you to bring a coffee on your way over. 😉

 

Winter Storm Jonas and Juno: Blizzards 2015 vs 2016

 

Well, the girls have survived their second Blizzard of their lives.  Last year, right around the same time as this year, they survived Winter Storm Juno where we got over two feet of snowfall and blizzard conditions.  It had only been a couple months since we had moved from California and I was really overwhelmed with the possibility of being snowed in.

Taking the girls outside in Winter Storm Juno last year was hysterical.  We got them into a million layers of clothes and this huge puffy bear suits.  They looked like a picture out of A Christmas Story with their arms and legs sticking out awkwardly from all the clothing.

They only lasted maybe 5 minutes.  Enough to get some candid pictures before one of them toppled over face first into the snow.  A year ago they weren’t even sitting unassisted yet.  How mind boggling.

12549103_10100439801676239_7912145019406630296_nThis year, we had a much more enjoyable time in the snow.  Well, River did.

She was eager to get down and walk around.  She giggled and kicked snow and wandered around.  She toppled a couple times because of the bulk of a snow suit that’s a little too big for her still but was completely content.

She LOVED it and was upset when we decided to go inside because of the intense wind making her little nose all red.

12523073_10100439801666259_1864809054618655388_nSerenity was not so impressed.  She hated the wind and had a really hard time with the snow hitting her in the face.  She was really intimidated by stepping on the snow and only wanted to walk in the places that had already been shoveled.  Yet, each time I brought her inside, she kept signing “more” and got upset, wanting to go back outside.

While the totals this storm have nothing on the totals from Juno last year (we only got about 7.5 inches this time), it is snowball snow and we will definitely be venturing outside at least once today.

As always, our two female dogs absolutely hated the snow.  We had to put on their coats and coax them to stay outside long enough to use the bathroom.  Charity then spent the new few hours under multiple blankets snuggled up to Scott because she was cold.  Our old lady.

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Gandalf running in snow during Blizzard Jonas 2016

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Gandalf diving in snow banks during Blizzard Juno 2015

Gandalf though, was in love with the snow all over again.  Last year, he literally ran and dove head first at full speed into the snow drifts.  He LOVED the snow.

This year was no different, except there weren’t 6′ snow drifts to dive into.  So, he ran around chasing snowballs Scott threw for him instead.

The crazy pup of ours wanted to be outside more often than not through the whole blizzard and I have no doubt will want to be outside most of today as well.

As for me, I want to build a snowman.  Specifically, an Olaf. 🙂

Purging the Plastic – Frugal Ways to Toss the Tupperware

What does your tupperware drawer look like?  Is it a jumbled mess of plastic?  Mine was.image1
It was impossible to keep clean.  No matter how often I pulled every piece out, neatly stacked and placed them in the drawer or cabinet, or rearranged to a different spot to attempt to make organization happen, they always ended up a jumbled mess within a week.  I’m sure it probably has to do with how you pull out a container, put the leftovers inside, and then magically that ONE container’s lid had apparently decided to grow legs and walk away from its plastic counterparts.  It happened EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Washing it all wasn’t any less stressful.  Dishes are very overwhelming to me and the mountains of plastic tupperware from leftovers needing to be washed, dried, and put back into the bane of my existence cabinet was a constant stressor.  Since plastics have been suggested to leech toxins into foods when agitated by corrosive use, I felt obligated to washing all of it by hand instead of putting it into the dishwasher.  Not to mention, tupperware is bulky and I would be running my dishwasher every single day if I put tupperware inside.  Hand washing also kept the plastic clear, new looking, and working properly.  I never had to worry about warped lids, damaged containers, cloudy plastic with an impossible to get off film, none of it.  But, I was constantly washing it.
I needed a solution.  I needed an alternative.  I needed to wash less dishes.  I work so hard to keep plastic toys to a minimum in our home but I was storing all of our food in plastic.  It didn’t make any sense to me.
image1 (1)Have you ever looked at pyrex storage bowls?  They are INCREDIBLY expensive compared to plastic.  Since I am not wealthy, that was quickly scratched off my list of options.
Unfortunately, I found very few other optons besides this.  After a couple weeks of contemplating the problem, I was cleaning up the kitchen one day and dumped out the juice from an empty pickle jar (my husband is obsessed with Klausen Pickles) and…it hit me.  I peeled the label off of the jar, stuck the jar in the dishwasher, the top in the silverware tray, and stood stunned at the goldmine I had just happened upon.
My storage containers were sitting right in front of me.  I had been buying and recycling them for years.
image1 (2)We now have more glass jars for food storage than I could probably ever need at one given time.  Our tupperware drawer went from a jumbled mess to rows of neatly arranged glass jars with lids either screwed on top of stacked neatly beside the jars to prevent them from going missing.
Our fridge is more organized than ever too!  Not only do the jars store nicely in the fridge because of the small footprint, but because they are clear it is easy to tell what is inside the jars.  If it’s not, we can just use a wet erase marker to write down the contents on the glass and the date it was put in there and it comes off easily in the dishwasher or with a sponge.
Using the glass hasn’t significantly impacted how often we need to run the dishwasher either.  It sits like a glass in the top rack or perfectly in the bottom rack if there’s no room.  We have been using some of our jars for nearly a year now and we see NO wear or stress on the jars whatsoever.
What do you use for food storage in your house?  If you use tupperware, how do you contain the chaos?  Tell me in the comments below!
As always, we invite you to join the conversation on Facebook as well!

Diamond Boobies! A Brief Summary of 18 Months Breastfeeding Twins and My 5 Keys to Success

When I first started seeking other twin Moms for advice on breastfeeding, I kept getting variations of the same advice.  “The first 6 months are pure and complete primal survival, the first 12 months are really difficult, and the first 18 months are just difficult.”  It would get easier, they said, in those increments, but the first 18 months were by far suggested to be the most difficult timeframe for nursing twins.

Boy were they right.

12509316_10154625373978475_8787246130014027012_nNow that I’m on the other side of the dreaded “first 18 months”, I have wisdom to share.  Lots of it, as a matter of fact.  I claim to be no expert…insist I am the know-it-all of nothing…but I lived through these 18 months as a first time Mom with some very very difficult obstacles and here we are.  So, I hope what I learned helps at least one twin Mom struggling to find her way.

First…a brief summary of the struggles we faced.  Some of these struggles are unique to my situation but many are not only common among twins but common among breastfeeding Moms in general!  I’ll make this in a list for ease of reading.

  1. My twins were born preemies at 36+1 by crash C-section and required heroic measures to come Earthside.
  2. I did not meet River until she was over 30 hours old.
  3. I was ignored and not provided a pump until nearly 12 hours postpartum despite asking hourly.
  4. I was denied a lactation consultant until more than 50 hours postpartum AFTER Serenity had also been stolen from me and admitted to the NICU, despite demanding one over a dozen times.
  5. The “lactation consultant” (I put that in quotes because she doesn’t deserve that name) did nothing to actually help me succeed in breastfeeding.  She handed me a nipple shield (a shield…not two) and shrugged and said, “Well, your babies are in the NICU so you won’t get to breastfeed anyways.”
  6. I was not encouraged to visit my babies and was shooed out of the NICU.
  7. I was discouraged from touching, getting close to, or holding my children.
  8. I was not taught how to pump or given syringes to suck up the drops of precious colostrum until 3 days postpartum.
  9. My colostrum was never fed to my preemies until we switched hospitals despite my demanding it be done.
  10. Both of my twins had lip and tongue ties.  My doctor denied the existence and it took a wonderful IBCLC, demanding my pediatrician for a referral, and a visit to a pediatric ENT to get the diagnosis and revision.  This didn’t happen until they were 8 weeks old.  That’s over 675 feedings for two babies (so over 1,300 nursing sessions) that I had to hobble my way through with extreme pain and reflux and struggle latching.
  11. My children’s first latch did not happen until they were nearly 4 days old.  It was only possible through the help of a skilled IBCLC, a nipple shield, and determination.
  12. I was severely depressed and pumped maybe 5 times a day during their NICU stay.  I didn’t pump overnight.  This is NOT ok.
  13. The NICU overfed, didn’t pace feed, forced formula against my consent, gave pacifiers against my consent, and many other anti-breastfeeding actions.
  14. I was sent home from the NICU with a massive amount of formula “for when I gave up.”

I think I’m going to leave it at that for my list.  There is more but I’m exhausted just writing that much.  Needless to say, our journey was difficult.  We hit so many bumps in the road.  I felt like I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  I felt like days molded into nights and into weeks and months.  Days and nights were exhaustingly long but weeks flew by and I felt I had accomplished nothing.  My entire existence was nursing, pumping, and changing diapers.

But, that crazy beginning didn’t last forever.  Slowly, as we muddled our way through each bump, things started to get easier.  I became more and more comfortable with nursing.  I got better and better at nursing in public.  Growth spurts didn’t completely unravel me anymore.   I didn’t feel blind sided by their cues anymore and started anticipating their hunger and catching early signs of hunger.  It got easier.  And easier.  And after the 6 month growth spurt, it wasn’t impossibly hard anymore.  And after the 12 month growth spurt…and a minor meltdown by my wonderful self…it wasn’t extremely difficult anymore.

Now that we are on the other side of 18 months, I have found that nursing is almost always enjoyable and easy.  It is a cure all.  It fixes all bumps and bruises.  It fixes hurt feelings and sadness.  It fixes over tired toddlers and helps settle big emotions.  For me, it helps me slow down and reconnect.  It helps me remember not to get so tied up in housework.  It helps me remember to kiss and hug and smell and snuggle my kids and gives them the stillness for me to do so.

Nursing is incredibly versatile and a huge part of my key to raising twins overall.  So, here are some of my biggest tips on how to get through those impossible stages to make it to the wonderful stages…

 

  • Don’t assume it will be hard or that you will struggle.

Not everyone with twins has NICU time.  Not everyone with twins has a traumatic birth.  I know some incredible Moms of multiples who had unassisted home births with twins or home births with a midwife.  I know Moms who had planned C-sections that were absolutely beautiful too.  They had that beautiful first latch, the immediate skin to skin time, the perfect synchronization from the very beginning.  I know Moms whose babies never struggled with reflux, never fought a latch, never needed a shield.  It is not a guarantee that you will struggle and have to fight this uphill battle to breastfeed.  Do not ASSUME that you will hit every obstacle because it will make you pessimistic and less likely to persevere through growth spurts and sleep regressions.

  • Build your breastfeeding support networks while you are pregnant.

The ONLY reason why I did not give up is because of support.  I cannot stress enough how incredibly and vitally important having support is.  I don’t believe that I would have struggled as much as I did if I had set up my support networks for breastfeeding BEFORE birth.

Find a La Leche League or breastfeeding sisterhood in your area while you are pregnant and start going to meetings WHILE YOU ARE PREGNANT.  Make sure that you get to know the IBCLC running the group.  If there is not an IBCLC running the group, get recommendations for an IBCLC and talk to them.  Anticipate using their services and do not be afraid to call them.

Join Facebook groups that use evidence based advice and are not quick to supplement.  The Facebook group “Breast Friends” is by far one of my favorite groups of all time.  They use completely evidence based practices, do not recommend formula supplementation unless every single other option has been exhausted and there is a true need, help assess situations and find Mom proper support, and don’t take bullshit when it comes to bad advice.  I also love the group “Nursing Twins”, which is a multiple’s specific group and abides by the same high standards that Breast Friends does when it comes to supplementation, formula use, and bad advice from pediatricians (which is so common it blows my mind).  In my early days, another group that was very helpful was “Mothers Nursing Multiples” and a local group to me at the time that was connected to the sisterhood I attended.

  • Say “yes” to every single person who offers support after you give birth.

Do not be a hero.  I repeat.  Do not be a hero.  SAY YES.

“Can I bring you a meal?” YES

“Can I clean up your kitchen for you?” YES

“Can I throw some laundry in for you?” YES

“Would you like me to watch the babies while they sleep so you can go take a shower?”  YES YES YES

I did not say yes nearly as much as I should have.  Please for the love of everything that is milky, say YES.  Accept any and all love you are offered.  Know what is helpful and what is not.  Offers to hold babies while you do chores is not helpful.  You need to be close and connected with your babies in the early days so that you can master breastfeeding.  Offers to do housework, make food, walk your dogs, let you shower or do other self care tasks, watch a show with you while you nurse to keep you company, all are very helpful.

Motherhood is not this lonely solitary journey that society has made it out to be in recent decades.  It is successful when our significant other is supportive, patient, kind, and helpful.  It is successful when the people we surround ourselves with are just as much that too.  It takes a village.

  • Understand that if it hurts, something is wrong, and seek help immediately.
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Serenity’s lip tie before revision

Breastfeeding DOES NOT HURT.  In the very early days when your nipples are becoming accustomed to the stimulation it may feel uncomfortable for the first 30 seconds or so.  But, I spent 8 long weeks in literal tears during every single feed because it was so painful (remember that’s over 1,300 feeds for twins).  The nipple shield caused deep fissure cracks in my breasts because I was not using it correctly because of lack of knowledge and help.  An undiagnosed lip and tongue tie was the main cause for our pain and had it been corrected in their early days of life I would not have struggled.  So, seek help.  Visit that IBCLC.  Ask questions at your sisterhood or La Leche League groups.  Ask questions of your friends who have succeeded in breastfeeding.  Demand a consultation with a pediatric dentist or a pediatric ENT (the ONLY doctors who are qualified to diagnose a lip and tongue tie).  Do not take no or “it’s normal” or “just switch to formula” for an answer because pain during breastfeeding is not normal.

 

  • Trust your body

Finally, and probably the most incredibly important tip I have, is to trust your body.  Only 3% of Moms have a legitimate and true issue with supply.  THREE PERCENT.  Yet, on many mainstream Mom groups I see dozens upon dozens of Moms say they “couldn’t” breastfeed because of “low supply”.  Beware of the top up trap.  Beware of comments and advice that is not breastfeeding friendly.  Beware of doctors that want preemies to “catch up” and gain weight according to a formula feeding chart by chronological age.  Beware of anyone telling you to feed on a schedule.  Beware of anyone telling you that you can’t possibly be enough.

You are enough.  Your body just spent the better part of a year growing TWO human beings from just two cells.  At the same damn time.  Your body is incredible.  TRUST your body to continue providing for those tiny humans just as you trusted your body to provide for them while you were pregnant.  Count diapers and know how many are ok (6+ in 24 hours for a baby over 5 days old).  Know what breastfeeding weight gain is normal (3-7 ounces a week).  Understand that your baby cluster feeding, feeding often, feeding for a long time, or fussing or being cranky are NOT signs that you have low supply.  Not feeling engorged is not a sign of low supply.  Your baby guzzling a formula bottle is NOT an indicator of low supply.

TRUST YOUR BODY.  Breathe, breastfeed, eat, sleep, and heal.  Those are your only jobs in these early days.  You are enough.

Twin newborns is no task for the weak.  But, with these tips and hard work, maybe you can avoid some of the struggles that I had while breastfeeding twins in the early days.

For Moms with older twins who breastfed, what were your keys to success?  What helped you get through those early days?  Share your story of full term nursing in the comments below!

 

Note:  If you would like to be added to the “Breast Friends”, “Nursing Twins”, or “Mothers Nursing Multiples” facebook groups, please e-mail me at doublecrunchblog@gmail.com.  They are secret groups so cannot be linked.  I would be happy to help you into the groups if you need the support.

New Year’s Resolutions – Why I Don’t Do Them and What I Did Instead This Year

I’ve never been “into” New Year’s Resolutions.  More often than not, the goals are things like losing weight, stopping a bad habit, or buying a new and expensive luxury item.  My newsfeed is filled with gym selfies, “join my MLM team” posts, and food…lots of food.  By February, those posts are less than half of what they were in January.  By March, New Year’s Resolutions seems to have slipped everyone’s minds entirely and it’s back to eating out, couch surfing, and life as usual.

 

This year, however, something new caught my attention.  I originally saw it from a mother I follow closely in one of my many facebook groups.  She chose one word to represent her entire goal for 2016 and expanded from there.  I found it inspiring.  Many of her items on her list were one’s of self love, self care, and patience.  None of them were stereotypical of a New Year’s Resolution.  Her list was beautiful, empowering, and moved me.  So, I decided to make my own.  After some quiet thought with myself, here is what I came up with.

 


 

My word for this year will be:  RESTORE

 


 

I will RESTORE my body:

 

-I want to find a physical activity that I enjoy.  This activity will not be with a goal to “lose weight” or “get in shape”.  This will be an activity to feed my soul.  An activity that I do alone.  One that I do as an expression of love and nourishment for my current body.

 

-I want to see a chiropractor regularly.  I still have lasting effects from my extremely difficult pregnancy and birth.  Lasting pain, both physical and otherwise.  My pelvis still painfully pops from the SPD.  My incision still hurts regularly.  My neck and shoulders ache from breastfeeding in less than ideal positions with twin toddlers.  My body carried, built, and kept two human beings alive for 36 weeks and has been nourishing them for nearly 18 months after that.  It deserves care and attention.

 

-I want to actually find a routine that feeds my body appropriately.  I am currently eating nearly or more than 3,000 calories a day and I am barely barely hanging onto 105-110 pounds.  In two years I have gone from a healthy 120 pounds, up to 185 pounds when I was 36 weeks, and down to 105 pounds.  I do not feel healthy, strong, or confident in this weight.  It is obvious to me that my body is not taking in enough to ideally nourish all parts of myself.  I have been looking into protein powders, additions to food to increase protein and fat, changing my type of food intake throughout the day, making sure I am taking in enough water, etc.

 


 

I will RESTORE my mind:

 

PTSD
-I want to start seeing a therapist for postpartum PTSD, postpartum anxiety, and postpartum depression.  I have not discussed this in my blog yet and am not ready to go into detail yet.  At some point in 2016, I am sure I will, though.  My 2015 was clouded and muddied and suffocated by these three ailments.  I did not have the privilige of seeking counseling in 2015 and am determined to do so in 2016.

 

-I am too attached to my phone.  Between blogging, facebook, admining groups, my Etsy shop, couponing, apps for couponing, and keeping in touch with other moms through texts and Facebook message, my phone is out entirely too much.  This will probably be the most difficult task of 2016, but I already have some plans in place for this.  My husband and I have figured out designated work times for me to blog, make blankets, manage my Etsy shop, and other work related tasks.  I will be doing this without the presence of the girls so that I can focus entirely on being productive and have no distractions.  This will allow me to overall spend more valuable time with the girls and my husband because I am not distracted by the things I need to do for work.

 

-I want to find out who I am.  My entire life these past two years has been about the girls.  Work was my whole life before them.  I worked over 100 hours a week and loved every single solitary second of what I did.  When I was strictly forbidden from work as soon as they found out I was having twins at 9 weeks and 5 days, I felt like life itself was taken from me.  My work gave me drive and energy and confidence and motivation.  It made me feel valuable, like I had an impact on people…like I was making a difference.  Christmas was eye opening for me because I had no idea what to ask for.  The only thing’s I could think of were space.  I wanted space to go get coffee with friends.  I wanted space to build my Etsy shop and to blog uninterrupted.  I wanted space to read alone.  I wanted space to shower more regularly without feeling rushed.  I wanted space to go for a walk and be in quiet beauty of nature.  But that is not who I am.  That is survival, not living.  I could not think of one single INTEREST I had that had nothing to do with the girls, the house, or survival.  Not one.  So, this year, I want to find that.

 


 

I will RESTORE my safety:

 

-My husband and I have a goal to move in this year of 2016.  We have been in a transition stage since we relocated from California back to New England and I do not feel safe where I am living now.  Relocating to California in 2009 was for my safety and returning has brought up a lot of feelings that I had long since put away.  Our goal is to move into a single family home.  We wish to have a fenced in yard with direct access from the house, enough space for our large crew, and that space to feel big so that we can feel comfortable growing our family further.  Ideally, I will have enough space to eventually add chickens to our little zoo, as well as set up large decked out kennels for our dogs…particularly our outside loving and rather large Husky/Malamute mix.  Relocating to a safe place will allow me to breathe again…to take walks with my kids…to be able to run to the local corner store without legitimate intense fear…to live as I did in California.

 

-An easy task in this adventure is to get a PO Box.  This won’t happen until after we relocate so that I don’t have to pay for one twice.  But having a PO Box will enable me to keep my address private, thus increasing the safety I feel in our new location.

 

-I want to write a will with my husband.  In the worst case scenario of our demise, I want to make sure that the girls are taken care of the way we wish for them to be cared for.  I want to make sure that the people in their lives as a result of our demise are the people that we want involved in their lives….and the people we don’t want are kept far away.

 


 

I will RESTORE my relationships:

 

-My husband and I have a goal to spend quality time together each night after the girls go to sleep.  We have been working really, really hard the past 4 months or so to get a better nap and bedtime routine down.  For their whole lives, I had to go to bed when they did because transferring them to the bed and leaving the room was downright impossible.  This meant that my husband and have literally had no time alone together since before the girls were born.  That is not easy.  Now that the girls are sleeping without me there for 2-3 hours after nursing them to sleep, my husband and I have been able to revisit our time together.  We watch shows together on Netflix, eat dinner, clean up together, or just sit and talk.  It has been really really nice and I am hoping the 18 month sleep regression doesn’t ruin that.  Fingers crossed!

 

only goal as a mother
-I want to practice conscious mothering.  My only goal as a Mom is to raise children that don’t have to recover from their childhood.  I am having to recover from my childhood.  Breaking that cycle is the hardest thing I have ever done.  Not because I want to hurt my kids…I would never hurt my kids.  Never.  It’s the undertones, the ingrained beliefs, the brainwashing that resurfaces and rears its ugly head in the oddest of ways.  THAT is what is hard.  It’s being patient when you want to run away.  It’s being compassionate when you feel frustrated.  It’s being loving when you feel angry.  It’s being understanding and aware of developmentally appropriate behavior when you know you were injured, degraded, and abused for those very same behaviors.  It’s seeing how much you love your children with your whole being and really truly knowing the depth of your loss in a whole new light.  This is why I want to constantly strive to be a more conscious, patient, gentle, attachment parent.  The cycle ends with me.

 

-I will be letting go of friendships in my life that do not benefit me.  If a friendship does not make me happy, does not fuel me, does not offer give and take of support, love, caring, nurturing, and abundance, then it is not worth having.  Furthermore, I want to take that energy I have been spreading far too thin on far too many acquaintances and consolidate it into being a better and more fruitful friend for those who DO make my life more full through their participation.

 


 

I will RESTORE my drive:

 

-I am so happy to have a purpose outside of changing diapers, doing laundry, and nursing babies again.  This type of work feeds my soul.  It’s how I breathe.  It’s how I flourish.  I am very excited that I will be announcing some awesome changes with Double Crunch very soon!  My goal in 2016 is to sell 50 beautiful, custom hand made blankets.  Fifty people who will wrap up in the hours of my handiwork.  Five hundred toes kept warm by my diligence.  That’s a nice warm goal. 🙂

 

-I want to blog at least once a week.  I am SO enjoying blogging!  Now that I have a work scheduled figured out with my husband, I look forward to much more time letting my fingers fly across the keyboard.  I hope you will follow my ramblings. 🙂

 

-And finally, I want to re-launch The Survivors’ Ink Project.  I have some big plans and my husband and I are working hard to get them ironed out so we can re-launch the project entirely.

 


 

With all of these goals and aspirations, 2016 is looking to be a wonderful and filled year.  I absolutely cannot wait to get started.

 

What are your goals for 2016?  Share with me in the comments below!

Timeouts are Absolutely Necessary – But Not For Who You Think

At this very moment, I am sitting in a closed room upstairs letting my fingers fly on the keyboard.  My husband is downstairs wrangling our two teething, growth spurting, leaping, tired toddlers.  They woke early and took nap early today, which leaves them more accurately described as “toddlerbeasts” (I can’t own that….someone I know came up with that incredible phrase).

Friends, I am in a timeout.  And it is absolutely 100% necessary for our home to function.

Hubby changed the girls for bed while I got the bedroom and myself ready.  I took them both upstairs, snuggle down into the soft bed with them, and pulled down my shirt.  Tandem nursing in bed is how we have been doing bed time since they were teenie little things..lighter than a bag of flour.
11667548_10154215270563475_5386344639998447544_nSometimes, they snuggle in, give me a kiss, and nurse right to sleep.  Other times, like tonight, they were your typical gymnurstics toddlerbeasts.  Standing on the bed with their face smooshed into my breast blowing raspberries…throwing one leg up into the air and losing their balance…falling onto their back and trying to take my nipple along for the ride…Serenity thought it was cool to bite and then laugh hysterically at me…both wanted to twiddle and since I was tandem nursing they were gouging each other’s eyes out instead…pounding on the wall…trying to climb off the bed…trying to grab the phone and shove a pacifier in my nose and scratch and pull my lips….

Friends…..there is good reason for my timeout.

I came downstairs upset, exasperated, angry, frustrated, short fused, and triggered.  Twiddling, biting, and scratching are full stop under no circumstances can this happen in our nursing relationship things for me.  I will get into the why’s on another post down the line I’m sure.

Downstairs they were just as crazy.  Throwing things, screaming, asking for 6 things at once, hitting, and clamoring to sit on my lap.

My husband looked at me and said, “I think they’re feeding off of you.  Go upstairs and take 10 minutes.”

A nice way of saying, “Go to timeout.”

So, here I am.  I just got a text from him that the girls are very tired, if I am ready, and I asked for 5 minutes to finish this blog post.  He said ok.  I can hear River at the stairs intermittently calling, “Hey!” up the stairs for me.  Often, my timeouts include indulgent food, messing around on my phone, creating something, or listening to music.  Today, it was writing.

11048703_10154178337958475_353479500602769359_nNursing is not easy.  It is not always fun.  It is not always the beautiful amazing pictures and all the gooey feelings.  Sometimes it is.  But sometimes, it is just really really hard.  Often, it is tiring and triggering and leaves you run bare.  And sometimes, it is so triggering you have to walk away.

So now that I have been flying my hands on a keyboard for 15 minutes instead of fighting with tired and grumpy and super touchy toddlers who just want to sleep but can’t slow down their bodies enough to do so, I feel much more in control.  Much more capable.  Entirely more calm.  No longer triggered.  Why?  Because I am doing something for me to recenter.

It is ok to take a few minutes for yourself when you feel stretched past your limit.

This is the best advice I have ever been given, so I am sharing it with you.  It is absolutely necessary, even in the most attachment parenting and gentle parenting homes, for timeout to be a part of the household structure.

It is not at all for the children though.

It is for us.

And it is perfect.

 

An Open Letter To Hit and Run Drivers

Since I was young, I have always carried uninsured motorist coverage on my car. Its value was quickly solidified when I was hit hard by someone on the highway and thrown into an 18-wheeler in my little teenager older Corolla. That someone kept driving, leaving me confused, upset, terrified, and with a totaled car. 

I felt those same feelings this past weekend when I discovered someone had smashed into the back of my parked, new, hard to miss 2015 Swagger Wagon. With a big dent in the trunk gate and a smashed headlight I was just as confused, upset, and exasperated as I had been almost 10 years prior. 

  
So, here is my letter to whatever fantastic person decided to not leave a note. 


Dear Hit and Run Driver,

Hi. I’m the face behind the headlight you smashed. You know. The car you hit, probably because you weren’t paying attention. I hope you at least thought about leaving a note to whoever owned that van. But, it’s new right? They have money to fix it. You’re in a hurry and it’s just a little dent. So you drive off. Probably not thinking twice. Probably exasperated and angry about the damage to your own car that you caused. 

There’s a saying that the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can cause typhoons on the other side of the world. I want to explain to you the typhoon you caused my family because of your negligence

Through no fault of our own, we will be without a car for 2 weeks while it’s fixed. The damage you did is estimated at over $2,000 that we have to claim on our insurance the first year we have the policy. Our deductible is $500.  This claim will raise our insurance for the next six years until it falls off giving us our clean record back. Even if it only goes up by $10 a month (which is an extremely conservative estimate) that’s a minimum of $1,250 out of our pockets because of your mistake and lack of character to own up to that mistake. 

Since we cannot afford to pay $30 a day for a rental, we will be without transportation for those two weeks. It would cost us over $500 for that rental. My children will miss play dates, park adventures, Christmas shopping, and visits to Nana and Papa. The financial loss is now $1,750 total. 
There were two car seats in that car you hit. Because car seats are always latched onto the car and thus always activated in a crash whether the child is in the seat or not and because of our user manual instructions, we now cannot use those seats anymore. Those seats were $170 each.  We were planning to use those seats for our future children.  Financial loss is now $2,090. 

This loss in seats required us to make an immediate purchase of new seats. My husband ran around for 3 hours to multiple stores to get the seats we needed. We spent over $300 on new seats and when we got home we opened them to find them used. So, he’s going back to the stores today to return them and we are purchasing new seats online. They will take 6-10 days to arrive which means my children cannot go anywhere in a car until then. Financial loss is now $2,400.

If you had left a note, your insurance may have gone up a little and you would pay the deductible on your insurance to get my car fixed. Your insurance would also likely pay for me to have a rental. Your financial loss would have probably been roughly $1000 or so over the next few years. Yet, your lack of character and integrity led you to believe that it is acceptable to put a financial burden of 250% more onto me when I had no part or fault in this crash. Please, tell me how you justify that in your mind. 
Sometimes, being honest sucks. Owning up to mistakes, saying sorry, having someone be angry at
you, these are not easy things to handle and I understand that. However, that is not an excuse to damage someone’s lifeline to basic needs and slink away unnoticed. 

So, hit and run driver. I hope that you feel satisfied causing someone financial struggle during the holiday season. I am sure that karma will only bring you exactly what you brought to others. And next time, just leave a damn note. 
Sincerely,

Mom of that Swagger Wagon