Browsing Category: Parenting

Today’s Arduous Shopping Trip (Or, Why You Should Always Carry A Quarter In Your Purse)

My Aldi's Shopping Trip

Today’s shopping trip required a long venting text to a friend afterward…I LOVE my local Aldi’s, but this shopping trip in particular was a fairly trying one.

My Aldi's Shopping Trip

Let me tell you the tale…

I was rushing to grab just a few items before I had to pick up my older daughter from dance class. I carried my 2.5 year old daughter above my big pregnant belly to hurry the trip along. I set her in a shopping cart, and rummaged in my purse for a quarter to unlock it. Nothing. Just 3 pennies. Jealously, I look over at a happy elderly couple blessed with a 25 cent cart of their own before I hustle my daughter out of the cold and into the store. She immediately begins crying, “I’m tired of walking! I want a shopping cart!”. How do you explain to a 2 year old the process of renting a shopping cart and getting your quarter back for returning it to the corral when you’re done so the grocery store can cut costs? You don’t. So she cried throughout the entire store.

Aldi shopping trip

So I’m in Aldi’s discount grocery store, 36.5 weeks pregnant, in high heeled boots, with a crying toddler. I had neither a cart, nor reusable bags. I was there to buy, among other items, a heavy bag of flour and cans of beans.

I tried to distract my daughter from her tears with a pack of napkins to carry, oh what fun! Alas, this lasted only 3 minutes before she began crying about having to carry those heavy napkins.

After finally locating the beans (having asked an employee for direction who looked at me as if bean buying was a highly irregular occurrence…”Beans??”, she exclaimed! And I suddenly felt like a very odd, very gassy person.), I was lucky enough to find a box for my groceries!

This box happened to be on the lowest shelf, so I squatted down to unload my arm full of groceries. My daughter happily put her napkins in the box too. I slowwwly unsquatted my pregnant self back to a standing position. Hefting the box (with flour and beans and impulse buys) onto my hip, I turned to leave with a satisfied sigh.

Except then I saw the milk display case. Nearly empty, but with a $1.49 sign above it. “Wow!”, I thought! “I should buy some milk while I’m here! That’s a great price!”. Unfortunately, it just so happened that all the gallons of milk on the top shelves were gone. Only the very bottom row had any milk left in stock.

Not one to let slight annoyances get in the way of a good deal, I squatted down once again. And by some miracle, I was able to haul my body, my box of groceries, AND that gallon of milk back up off the floor. In my high heeled boots, without falling over!

At this point, I was definitely done “window shopping” and listening to my daughter whine, so we headed to the register. We walked right up to a deserted checkout with an employee ready and waiting for us! What luck!! The skies were clearing!

However, double checking my list as I threw items onto the belt, I realized I’d forgotten powdered sugar – a definite must have to make my daughter a birthday cake this weekend! I felt bad, but I told the cashier I needed to run and grab it as more customers lined up behind me. The baking aisle was as close as it could be; it would only take a second.

But my daughter panicked, screaming, “Mommy, don’t leave me!!” as she began crying louder than before.

Feeling nearly defeated, I threw the sugar on the belt and whipped out my credit card. I was almost done; I just might be able to make it to the car without any more trauma or drama!

Except going out the door, we encountered a lady whose toddler decided to stop right smack in the middle of it, which stopped the lady short in front of us, which caused ME to smack my daughter upside the head with the gallon of milk and step on her shoe. Upon which another round of crying ensued.

But you know, it was all worth it. I came home and was able to proudly tell my hubby how I saved him a whole dollar* on my shopping trip AND we managed to survive!

Moral of the story: Pay it forward; next time, leave your quarter in the cart just in case a very pregnant mama with a very whiny toddler comes along quarter-less and bag-less. 🙂

*I exaggerate, but all other details in story are completely unembellished.

A Very Hungry Caterpillar Nursery

A Very Hungry Caterpillar Nursery theme

Nursery themes are always so much fun to put together! Preparing a special nursery space is my favorite way to contain all the anticipation I feel for welcoming the newest member of our family.

A Very Hungry Caterpillar Nursery theme

I am due in just 5.5 short weeks with our 3rd child, and his nursery is still a work in progress. Reusing the same furniture and wall color was a must (we hate painting!), but we’re changing out all the decor. I’ll share photos off his nautical themed nursery when it is done!

Meanwhile, here’s some pics of my last nursery theme, which proved to be quite difficult in executing. At the time I chose this theme, there was almost NO Hungry Caterpillar themed decor to be found anywhere. When I did find it, it was quite expensive. That resulted in several DIYWMH (do-it-yourself-with-Mom’s-help) projects. 😉 Zulily, Amazon, and an online fabric site were my bff’s!

Enjoy!

Hungry Caterpillar Nursery decor
Hungry caterpillar switchplate (DIY, just modge podge and a fabric scrap!), framed puzzle, bookends, etc that we found on Zulily.
Eric Carle shelf decor
On the shelf: I bought a cardboard “C” at Hobby Lobby and used Modge Podge to cover it with a strip of leftover fabric from the valance my Mom and I made. The blocks were special ordered from Etsy, and the wooden toy from Amazon. On the crib: My friend found a hungry caterpillar plush at a yard sale for $1. 🙂
Eric Carle fabric made the cutest switch plate!
Close up of the switch plate I covered in a fabric scrap – it was a sticky project, and involved a learning curve, but still holding up after 2.5 years!
Hungry Caterpillar puzzle
We found some Hungry Caterpillar puzzles at a bargain store for $3 each. I picked up the frame on clearance at Michael’s and was delighted to find it fit the puzzle perfectly! So much cheaper than the licensed prints I found online, and I love the playful look of a puzzle in a child’s room!
Hungry Caterpillar bookshelf
We found an apple shaped bank on Zulily as well as a musical jewelry box. Score!
Hungry Caterpillar changing area
On the shelf to the right: Some wooden buckets from the Target Dollar spot (from a friend), a small wooden toy from Amazon and a music globe from Zulily. Diaper basket half off at Michael’s I believe…
Hungry Caterpillar nursery theme
The Very Hungry Caterpillar rug is actually a tummy time mat, but it made a perfect, plush rug.

So that was our second child’s nursery decor! It’s a little sad to dismantle the decor after all the love I put into it, but I feel like the new little guy should get his own nursery theme. Plus, how else am I supposed to keep the ants in my pants away in anticipation of his arrival? I need something to keep me busy besides an entire house to clean, meals to cook, a hubby and two kids…. 😉

What was your child’s nursery theme? Did you DIY, or buy most of it?

 

A Very Hungry Caterpillar Nursery Theme!

How Your Friend with the Colicky Baby Really Feels (And How You Can Support Her)

colicky baby

Hi, my name is Rachel and I had a colicky baby.

I’ve thought several times of writing a post with tips how to survive, tips for soothing a colicky baby, etc. But there are many good resources already, I’m sure. However, I didn’t have time to research them during our colicky baby “adventure”. I had my hands full – literally – with a crying baby nearly every waking minute of the day. Even the non-waking moments.

colicky baby

So I thought today, I would write about how having a colicky baby made me feel. If you know a mom with a colicky baby, read my tips in the bullet points. Maybe they will help you understand and support your friend a little better. 🙂

Looking back, that time for me is a blur. I don’t remember much except feeling miserable and alone. Now, I look at photos of my baby girl and I see how adorable she was. In that moment, my heart swells, and I remember the love and adoration I felt when I snapped that photo of her sweet face. But then I also see that tear, still fresh on her cheek, and I remember what a brief respite from the crying that moment was. That mostly I felt in that moment sweet relief, and an anxious fear that any moment she would resume crying. I felt a desperation to capture as many non-crying moments as I could, but there were so few!

Colic is supposed to last about 3 months, but in reality, I feel like ours lasted much longer. I didn’t relax or feel like I could take a deep, easy breath until she was one year old.

I didn’t have any family in the area to help me, so I never got a break. I was alone all day with a two year old and a crying baby.

If I went out into public, baby would taunt me by being on her best behavior. I felt ridiculous, like if I told people what our days were really like, they would never believe me. Probably the reason baby was so good in public is because I typically carried her in a ring sling or wrap. She loved to be held. While you were standing. And moving. But try doing that all day long on only four hours of sleep and see how you feel!

  • If your friend tells you she’s having a rough day, that her baby cries all the time, that she can’t take it anymore, pay attention. Don’t brush her off as being overly dramatic.

I don’t know how many times I tried to tell people I was struggling, and no one ever seemed to really understand the depths of my misery.

I received help just once. A friend saw a post of mine on Facebook and came over to show me some tips that worked for her colicky little guy. I was never so grateful when my baby slept for the next four hours – the longest stretch ever!! Except then the baby was up all night. I was damned if she slept, damned if she didn’t. Nothing I did mattered, nothing helped, nothing would make it better. I was at my wit’s end.

  • If your friend vents on Facebook once in a blue moon, don’t EVER tell her how blessed she is to have a baby in the first place. That it isn’t as easy for some people to get pregnant. That some people can’t have babies at all.  Chances are, she knows this full well, and feels like crap for not being capable enough, patient enough, or good enough to handle her own life and child.

When I had a colicky baby, I felt trapped. I wasn’t accomplishing anything, just barely surviving. My house was a mess, prepping healthy meals and snacks to get myself back to a normal pre-baby weight was nearly impossible, and I wasn’t able to do anything I enjoyed.

  • If your friend smiles and tells you she’s doing ok, don’t believe her. Never give her the benefit of the doubt. Offer to take hold baby. Get the woman a cup of coffee. Of course she can do it with one hand, but she would like to feel a surge of freedom now and then. 🙂

By evening, when hubby got home, I was exhausted. But my day wasn’t over because colic gets worse in the evening. And forget sleeping soundly…my baby was fussy even in her sleep. I could hear her rustling, crying out, whimpering during the night. And then she would wake to eat more often than necessary, sometimes only 45 minutes after her last meal. She didn’t like to take a bottle, even if I actually found the time to pump her milk.

Being on call 24/7, with never a restful night’s sleep takes a toll on you mentally, emotionally, and physically!

My daughter also liked to comfort nurse – I was her pacifier! More often than not, me and my boob were the only path to happiness and harmony. This is incredibly draining (no pun intended, ha!), and puts such a great weight on one’s shoulders.

What would have helped me back then was a listening, non-judgmental ear.

I also could have used a friend who let me dash out to the grocery alone while baby napped. Someone who would hold and walk with the baby while I took a shower. I was desperate for peace and quiet, with time to do something I loved – cooking or baking. I daydreamed about cooking giant meals and decadent desserts for anyone who would come and hold my baby for awhile.

  • Moms of colicky babies don’t need your judgment. They need your help to keep their sanity.

I loved my baby, but I couldn’t take her constant crying and need for attention. People would tell me, “They grow up so fast; enjoy the cuddles while you can!”. But how do you enjoy non-stop kisses and snuggles while your house falls down around your ears? When you never get to talk to your husband because you can’t hear each other over the noise? When you look in the mirror and all you see is a fat, tired, slob?

When people made those “enjoy this time!” remarks, it only made me feel guilty and even more downtrodden than I already was.

At age 2.5, my daughter is still a more difficult, dramatic child than my first born ever was. But she is also the sweetest, cuddliest little cupcake you ever did see. She is funny and spunky and full of life. And I can totally see how she was a colicky baby. She was a needy, high maintenance baby just as she is a needy, high maintenance toddler.

I wish I could have seen then what I see now, and comprehended her personality a little better. Because it all makes sense, now!

But what matters is that one way or another, we somehow made it through the colic. We all survived. And hopefully now, both you and I can help someone with a colicky baby someday. 🙂

It’s a….Gender Reveal Party!

It's a...Gender Reveal Party!!

Have you heard of the gender reveal party fad? In the past couple years, it seems like there has been a surge of people hosting gender reveal parties! I’m not normally one to jump on bandwagons, but I wanted to do something special and different for baby number 3! I thought a gender reveal would be the perfect way to share our excitement and celebrate our newest little one with people who are dear to us.

It's a...Gender Reveal Party!!

So we decided to find out the baby’s gender at the same time as our guests. Our ultrasound technician put the two most important photos of our baby in an envelope (which she sealed and STAPLED shut!! Do I not look trustworthy??). I was intently watching the ultrasound the entire time, but…I still had no idea what we were having when we left the hospital.

I drove to my cake lady’s house and dropped off our precious envelope.

She then made us this adorable cake, which she layered with pink or blue icing inside. We weren’t sure which. And no matter how much I texted her that night, she wouldn’t give me a single darn hint!

Gender reveal party cake

I went home and got to work decorating the house, mostly with repurposed decor we had laying around already. I had also made a trip to the Dollar Tree earlier in the week for pink and blue paper ware and balloons and glow sticks for the kids. 🙂

I made a couple signs that night…one for the front door…

Old Wive's Tales poster

And one I hung in the kitchen.

Old Wive's Tales Gender Predictions

I made a quick, easy garland with pink and blue ribbons from my craft stash. I used mini binder clips to hang our ultrasound pics (All but the ones with the “parts”.)

Ultrasound Pic Banner

I decorated our dining room table with a pink sparkly piece of material from JoAnn Fabrics and a blue polka dot table runner.

Gender Reveal Party decorations

I used a blue, antique cut glass bowl and put pink Good N Plentys in it. My girls and I enjoyed eating all the white ones. 🙂

gender party dining room decor

I love using photos for decorating at parties…so on the dining room table, I put photos of me and my husband while dating/engaged, a photo of us with our first baby, and a photo with our second. In front of the frames, I formed a question mark with heart rhinestones I picked up at the Dollar Tree. I don’t know if my guests picked up on the symbolism, but it made me happy. 🙂

gender party dining room table decor

I got to work early the next morning painting these pumpkins my mom gave me. I didn’t want my girls insisting on “helping” me, haha! These were not only cute decorations, but they also made cute photo props later on!

It's a....girl? Boy?

I incorporated the big question on everyone’s mind in our refreshment layout. 🙂

Gender Reveal Party M&M's

Finally, at 6:30pm, the day after we’d had our ultrasound, it was time to party! I was 98% sure that a third little girl would be joining our family…we have a total of 6 girls in the family on my husband’s side. None of Hubby’s siblings have had a boy, so what are the chances we would? Our friends were cheering and laughing, calling out their gender predictions as I sliced into the cake. The moment had arrived!

Cutting our gender reveal cake!!

And to my absolute shock, it was BLUE! I was speechless. I couldn’t stop staring at those blue layers.

The big moment!!

Moments later, I’m still staring at the cake wondering, “How can this be?”. But my four year old  simply shrugged, “I knew it was a boy!”. And somehow she did…she has stuck to her belief for months now.

Surprise! It's a boy!

Date night on the night after the party, I was officially 21 weeks. And the blue pumpkin makes for an adorable photo prop! Love my little man already!

Bump pic - 21 weeks!

If you’re planning a gender reveal party, check out my Reveal Party board on Pinterest!