DO | Take Action

It’s been a very interesting 6 days since Trump took office.

I can’t say I agree with everything he’s doing which is why I am committed to taking action against it. As a private citizen who is not involved in politics, there isn’t much I CAN do, and add to it a stay-at-home-mom of 2 and that knocks out the majority of what I would be able to do to make my voice heard (such as join in on protests or go to evening townhalls).

So here’s what I have been doing.

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EAT | January Dinners

Between me and my husband we have a laundry list of things we don’t or can’t eat. Then throw a toddler into the mix. This makes it difficult to feed all of us with one meal, so I usually end up making three different meals almost every night.

Last year I kept a basic record of what we ate for dinner for about five months straight. It helped me remember what we ate so I could keep from repeating dinners too frequently, and also gave me ideas of what to make when I’d forgotten some of the things we would eat.

I cook almost every night of the year so it’s helpful to keep our approved dinner options at hand. This year I will (try to) post a monthly “menu” when the month has finished of what we ate each night. It’ll help me remember what I made and remind me to better rotate our meals so we’re not eating the same thing week in and week out, and perhaps help you get some ideas too!

The list below is a basic explanation of our main course. Most nights there is also a cucumber/tomato salad for my husband, or something extra for me, and perhaps I’ll get more thorough as the months go on.

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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.

Toddler | Books We Love 2YO – Q2

I can’t believe the year is almost over. That means my daughter is two and a half years old. 2.5 years since this little (now much bigger) child entered our lives. It’s even more of a striking difference between her starting size and her current size now that we have a newborn in the house, too. My daughter seems enormous!

What else is enormous is her choice in this quarter’s books. Most of these books are age appropriate, but some are big. And long. And I have to find a way to read them FAST because I can’t handle yet another repetition of a 30 page child-novel.

I will say, however, that reading her these enormous books must be helping her vocabulary and sentence structure because this little girl of mine speaks so darn well and clearly for her age. It helps me, as well, to speak more clearly and properly after I read these books aloud. It’s almost as if I can still learn a thing or two…

All right. Onto the books.

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DO | Origami Bows

Last year I wrote a post on ways to reduce holiday spending. One of those ways was to streamline your gift wrapping. I enjoy the look of brown kraft paper with a colorful origami bow.

In addition to using the massive roll of brown kraft paper I purchased a year or so ago (so I’d never run out of inexpensive wrapping paper), I also started prepping my origami bows out of magazine pages earlier this year. I knew I would have a newborn during this holiday time and wanted to reduce the amount of time I spent doing pretty much anything. Now I’m ready to wrap and I’m happy I had some forethought to make my holidays easier.

The bows are simple to make once you get the hang of it and add they a unique touch to your gifts.

Have fun and happy holidays!

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BE | Moving Forward

A lot of things have transpired in the weeks since my last post.

I gave birth to our son! It was a wondrous experience and he’s brought an enormous amount of joy to our family.

The Cubs won the World Series (!!!), 108 years after our last championship. What a tremendously exciting series to watch, and the buzz and energy following was a great diversion from the day-to-day.

And this past week, as you may have heard, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote for the Presidential nomination but lost in electoral votes, giving Donald Trump the title of President-elect. (This isn’t an anti-Trump rant, so please try to make it to the end if you can.)

I want to write posts about all three of these things, but since my emotions today are closely tied to the election results I will do that first. Other posts will come when I have a spare minute to write (which clearly I haven’t had in over a month).

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TODDLER | Books We Love 2yo – Q1

My daughter turned 2 in June, so this is the first “Toddler” book post, seeing as she’s definitely not a baby anymore. It’s amazing to see her grow and learn, and really difficult to think of how she used to be when she was an infant – even with pictures and video. I say, “Is this the same kid?!” Turns out it is. Who knew.

This quarter we have been focusing a lot on counting and the alphabet, as well as some shapes. However, the stories she likes don’t always have a counting or alphabet theme, so we may use physical books to count, or look at a page in a book and see what we can count. She points out the letters she knows by heart and I remind her of some others she knows but isn’t quite sure of yet.

Her storytime has expanded from before bedtime to also before naptime, however sometimes she doesn’t want to do any reading. I try to read a story and she’ll tear it out of my hands, insisting that she read it. Then once she realizes she can’t exactly read, I’ll get it back, or we’ll move on. So, sometimes storytime really only gets us one or two stories instead of the 5-10+ in months past.

Here are the ones that she at least lets me read, and usually asks for by name:

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