TODDLER | Books We Love 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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DO | Take Action – Take 2

A few weeks ago, a friend tagged me in a post on Facebook. The purpose of the FB post was to see how many likes and comments she could get, and each of those translated into $1 or $2, respectively, to be donated toward a charity that helps others. That person would then tag 10 people to do the same. I was one of the tagged.

I participated in the challenge, but I chose to split the total amount between dollars donated and calls made, since I believe calls help sometimes just as much as money.

My total was 143 (a combination of likes at 1 point each and comments at 2 points, and I included the comments I wrote back to my friends), so I rounded up to 144 and donated $72 to the ACLU and pledged to make 72 phone calls over the following few weeks.

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DO | Get What You Want

When you make a purchase online or in store, most retailers want to ensure your satisfaction. This means they have easy return policies, price adjustment policies, and helpful customer representatives. Big box stores (some of my favorites as you’ll see below are Target and Amazon) can afford to not do these things, but know they’ll benefit more in the long run from having happy customers. Smaller businesses can’t afford to miss out on the opportunity to provide excellent service to their customers because the future of their business depends on it.

It also depends on you, the consumer, to let them know when they’ve done things that aren’t up to your satisfaction. This isn’t to be nit-picky – this is to let them know when their products aren’t doing what they should, or their staff isn’t doing what they should, and both of those things are important if they’d like to have you as a customer again.

As a side note, I must throw a big blanket apology out there to everyone I ever served in the retail world when I didn’t or couldn’t give them what they wanted. In my heart I usually wanted to (unless they were nasty), but I also wanted to keep my job and that meant complying with some pretty awful store policies. I’m sorry you wasted your money on those products and were unable to get satisfaction when you came to me for help.

Just in the last few weeks I’ve had multiple experiences with products where the product I purchased did not arrive as it should have, didn’t stand up to normal wear and tear as it should have, or changed prices.

Now, getting what you want in general is important, but for the purpose of this post this is only referring to the retail realm of this world. Since I’m a consumer almost daily in one way or another, it’s also important for me to know I have a chance to voice my opinion and get things righted.

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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.