Happy 1st Birthday, Son!

To my third biological child — happy birthday to you!

It’s been said that the youngest child, or the last child, is the most spoiled.  They are typically the carefree ones, the risk-taker, because parents are less cautious by the time they have their third child (or last child).  I’m not sure if any of this is true just yet (except that we are definitely less cautious this time around).  One thing I do know, is that these last 365 days of the year have been THE TOUGHEST of all my parenting days.

“Have another baby,” they said.

“He’s cute,” they tell me.

I keep telling myself, “this won’t last forever.”

Except, when this baby isn’t like the others!  You would think we would know what we’re doing by the third baby, right?  Wrong.

I honestly, BARELY REMEMBER the first four months of his life.  I, we, were in literal survival mode.  Not only did we have a 2.5 year old to care for, but for 10 weeks straight, he would literally SCREAM for hours and hours and hours…and then some more.  Nothing worked — and I’m a babywearing, breastfeeding pro!  Or so I thought!  I had the most difficult time learning (yes, learning!) to breastfeed this boy.  It was painful.  It was tiring.  It was driving my insane.  Was I really going insane?  Is this what postpartum depression feels like??  As quickly as his screaming stopped, separation anxiety kicked in and now we have a STAGE 5 CLINGER.  Eeeek!

Life was getting crazy.  Hurricanes were coming (literally)!  I was losing myself and friendships.

But…

Here we are.  An entire year around the sun.  Though it was tough, I have SO MUCH to be grateful for.  I may have lost friendships, but I’ve also gained some beautiful friendships, too (something that many mothers will tell you, is difficult to do).  I’m volunteering and working in a community that I love.  We have a beautiful family and an amazing extended family that is always around.

So yes.  Nothing lasts forever.  But for now, I’ll celebrate this little guy that has completely changed our lives — Steele Lee Roy ❤

Though She Be But Little…

For 8.5 years, she was my “only child.” Oddly enough, she’s always fit the stereotype (as much as I hate that concept of that) of THE OLDEST CHILD.

Shes beautiful. She’s smart…like ridiculously intelligent. She’s mature beyond her years. She’s witty. She’s intrinsically motivated. She’s competitive. She’s quiet and surprisingly, she’s an introvert. I find it hard to believe, that I’m describing someone, so opposite from me (except we both hate the color pink); but she’s MY CHILD ❤️

It’s no surprise here, that we attended another one of her ‘Straight A’ Honor Roll Ceremonies.

However, look closely at what my “middle schooler, who isn’t into fashion or trend-setting,” is wearing in this photo…

Yep. A kinda frumpy, size LARGE, Men’s T-Shirt.

After her Middle School decided last week, that they were changing the Dress Code rules to: If a girl wears leggings, her shirt must be as long as her fingertips.

This little future, activist of mine, decided that her and her friends would come to school wearing an oversized T-shirt “as long as their fingertips,” showing how ridiculous it looks!

As subtle as this stance may be, I’m proud of her!

Safer Co-Sleeping. Say What?

Do those two words even go together?  In the same sentence?  YES!

Here’s were my thoughts on co-sleeping:

Baby #1 – Hell no. It’s dangerous. [Setup a beautiful nursery while baby ended up sleeping in a bassinet in our room]

Baby #2 – Let’s setup the crib in our room. [Baby slept on my side of the room, in her crib until 17 months – WHEW!]

Baby #3 – “What crib? What nursery? I’m too exhausted and tired at this point.” [Baby sleeps in bed with me]

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First, lets define co-sleeping, since often times it’s misinterpreted.

Co-Sleeping is simply, “sleeping near to your baby,” literally.  For a lot of parents in other countries besides the United States, there isn’t a term to define co-sleeping because that is their norm, simply out of necessity.

Now, for some, that may look a little different.  Some may choose to bed share — having the child sleep in the same bed as the parent.  Others may choose to room share — the child sleeps in their own separate space, but in the same room as the parent.  Lastly, some choose a combination of these — maybe placing a bassinet or “side car” of some sort, in or right next to the side of the bed.

And guess what?  Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) actually recommends that you share a room with the baby for AT LEAST 6 months, but ideally, a year.

You’re worried about SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), right?  Interestingly enough, even Doctors and Researchers have NO CLUE why babies die of SIDS, hence, why it’s coined “sudden.”  In fact, a lot of deaths are incorrectly lumped into this category.

Here’s what Dr. James McKenna, a world-leading Dr who is recognized for his work with mother-infant co-sleeping in relationship to breastfeeding and SIDS, says:

“In sum, overwhelmingly, bedsharing deaths are associated with at least one independent risk factor associated with an infant dying. These include an infant being placed prone (on its stomach) and placed in an adult bed without supervision, or no breastfeeding, or other children in the bed, or infants being placed in an adult bed on top of a pillow, or who bedshare even though their mothers smoked during the pregnancy therein compromising potentially the infants ability to arouse (to terminate too little oxygen, or to terminate an apnea). Drug use and alcohol have historically been associated with poor outcomes for bedsharing babies so if drugs and/or alcohol are present, please don’t bedshare.”

Also, it’s been noted that many SIDS deaths occur when parents ACCIDENTALLY co-sleep with their child.  We’re all exhausted parents, right?  If co-sleeping is something you’re considering, check out these 7 tips on safer ways to co-sleep, a La Leche League International’s book, Sweet Sleep:

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Are you a co-sleeping parent/family?  What are your sleeping arrangements?

Veteran’s Day

Vet Check

Today we get to honor Veterans. For our family, that means Daddy Daley.  When I met my husband, he was still in the Army but no longer active duty.  After spending 8+ years in the military and most of that career, as an Army ranger, we’re incredibly thankful that he’s one of the blessed ones who made it home.  For many former military members who served during wartime, though many came home, they’re still “fighting to return to normalcy.”

It’s ironic to pay homage to a military, government, and country who asks these men and women to “make a check payable to the USA, in the amount of ‘up to, and including their life,'” yet in return, a lot of them have to fight that same government and country to take care of their lives.  But as they will tell you, they didn’t serve with the expectation of getting anything in return.

They are selfless.  They are brave.  They are courageous.

They are U.S. Veterans.

Happy Birthday To Me

35 trips around the sun.

420 months.

133, 225 days.

18,396,000 minutes.

Well when I put it like that, it sounds like a LONG time!  Each year I get just a little bit closer to being “over the hill.” But instead of harping on how old I feel or am, I decided to jot dot things I’ve accomplished in the last year, along with things I’m grateful for.

I added another tiny human to our family. That’s a pretty big deal, right? Just after turning 34 last year, we unexpectedly found out we were expecting.  So, I spent most of my last 52 weeks, growing a little one on the inside.  And…I’ll spend the next few years still growing this little guy on the outside. #IMakeChocolateMilk

I became a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom), again. This isn’t quite an accomplishment, as it is a blessing.  Most of my friends are in the prime of their careers, hustling and bustling in Corporate America. I chose, again, to take some time off and raise my littles. It’s time I’ll never get back again, so I’m grateful that my husband and family have the privilege to do this.

I also became a Certified Babywearing Educator. Yes, this is a real thing.  Thanks to the Center for Babywearing Studies, I spent 5 days learning more about babywearing that I thought I knew.  Of course people have been wearing their babies since the beginning of time…but it was amazing to learn a lot of the “why’s” of babywearing.

I started a cloth diaper loaner program. This was jump started from a cloth diaper group that I use to admin, however, it also made me realize there was a great need for it.  A lot of nationwide programs will loan a small stash of cloth diapers to parents receiving government aide.  We know that that can create a gap for parents who make “too much” to receive any government assistance, but still not enough to cover basic necessities.

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So…while “the days are long, but the years are short,” here’s to ANOTHER FABULOUS YEAR!