DO | Holiday Traditions

Growing up I recall many traditions for Christmas. Once I moved out of the house for good about 8.5 years ago (to live with my then-boyfriend now-husband) all of those changed. I’m a sucker for nostalgia, but everyone keeps telling me I have to “make my own traditions.” I think this was the first year I actually felt that I could do that while still holding my old traditions dear.

Here’s a few of my favorite Christmas traditions, new and old:

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TODDLER | Books We Love 3yo – Q2 (Spanish too!)

This is the first time I’ve been late on a book post. I was incredibly on top of Christmas organization this year (cards arrived in friend’s homes starting Nov 30!) but getting a post out on the actual day I wanted to get it out was apparently a challenge. Sigh.

We visited the library a few times this month and took out some more fantastic books. So many great books, in fact, that I have to remind myself not to buy them all. “Just because I like it doesn’t mean we need it!” So I put them on our Amazon wish list for Christmas. Easy solution.

Speaking of Christmas (Merry Christmas Eve!), although my daughter would read Christmas books all year long if I kept them out, I don’t, so when I brought them back out this year (and added a few more) those have topped the list of bedtime stories.

I thought last quarter’s list was massive… this one tops it. Phew. Here goes.

Enjoy.

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TODDLER | Books We Love 3yo – Q1

This quarter we have a LOT of books. Partly because we started going to the library more (and actually utilizing the library for the first time in the children’s section – I have taken out a lot of books for me in the past but never children’s books), and partly because she grabbed some old ones off her shelf and refused to go to sleep without reading them. Some may be repeats from previous quarters, but here’s the massive list.

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NO FUN | Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

Last month we flew to San Diego for my cousin’s wedding. We made it a quick trip – in Friday night and out Sunday morning. Traveling with two to a hotel is enough for another post, so I’ll spend this one on the souvenir I brought home with me – Hand Foot and Mouth Disease.

Technically we had it before we got there. The Tuesday prior my daughter had a fever. Friday on the flight my son had a fever. My son had a rash that Saturday and one small mouth sore. My daughter and son were blessed with about 10 “blisters” a piece, so I got the brunt of the virus.

I’m writing this because while I was suffering through this I found solace in personal posts about people’s experiences. While the medical websites helped, they didn’t give me a specific idea of what might happen day in and day out. Hopefully this will help you if you’re searching for some answers.

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TODDLER | Books We Love, Spanish too! 2 yo – Q4

If you’re reading this, my little baby girl is officially a threenager. She’s been preparing extra fun tantrums for the last few months so I think she’ll fall into the new role just fine.

Storytime continues to evolve, and now that we have given her a big girl bed (that took over her reading spot) we’re trying to figure out the best way to read at night. On the bed? In the chair? While bothering her brother? While not bothering the dog? It’s a work in progress.

Luckily she still loves reading and having us read to her, so we will continue to do so until she can do it herself. Then she can read to us!

Here’s what she loved these last few months:

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TODDLER | Books We Love 2yo – Q3

Three months closer to my little girl turning three. It’s true what they say – the days are long but the years are short. I’m trying to savor every story time with her although they’re changing. No longer does she sit still the entire time, and no longer is it just her. Sometimes her little brother joins in too. I hope he’ll have an expansive vocabulary just like she did, and maybe sooner, since he’s getting a dedicated story time from the start (and not just random books I was reading out loud while breastfeeding like I did with my daughter).

She’s been into some fantastic new books this last quarter and I’m loving the new stories we have in our collection. Here are the ones that have been in heavy rotation since December.

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BABY | Fed Is Best

When my daughter was born, we quickly and relatively easily began a long and enjoyable breastfeeding relationship.

When my son was born, I expected it to be the same way.

Turns out it’s true what everyone has told me – no two babies are the same.

While my son latched decently at the start, it quickly turned into a fight to get him to latch and stay latched. I was pumping like mad right when he was born because I wanted to be able to store my excess milk to donate, but it turned out that milk went directly to my son since breastfeeeing was a struggle.

I was keeping up relatively well with his hunger level (which was very high in my opinion), though sometimes I was only one bag of milk away from not having anything either in my breasts or in the fridge. I knew formula was an option, but since I never used formula with my daughter I was trying not to use it with my son. I kept some on hand though just in case (and did the same with my daughter until we were almost done breastfeeding).

One night, a few weeks in, he was screaming bloody murder and would not latch. I had no more pumped milk. I had to give him formula.

I knew it was ok to do so, but it still upset me. Moreso that I wasn’t able to provide him breastmilk, but I still had a prejudice against formula. As much as I had told myself and others that “Fed Is Best!” I didn’t fully believe it.

After that night we supplemented with formula for a month or so while he got a better hang of breastfeeding. Now I pump about once a day and if he needs additional food he’ll get that. And since I still can’t guarantee he will latch when he needs to eat, I always bring formula powder and water when we go out.

I no longer have the stigma I used to have about formula because I’m simply grateful I can feed my baby whenever he needs to be fed. I know some mothers can’t do that. I saw a video of a child in Aleppo and the mother said she could only give her child milk every week or so. I can’t fathom their situation, and know I am blessed to have access to a surplus of food.

It turns out that first night I gave him formula he was screaming because he needed to suck something to soothe himself, not because he needed more food. As soon as he had a few sips he was asleep. But it broke down my barrier on using formula and allowed me to fully believe the mantra of Fed Is Best, regardless of formula or breast.