Postpartum

Favorite Baby Care Products

The market for baby shampoo is insane. Before having a kid, I thought that there was one type of baby shampoo. You know the traditional Johnson & Johnson yellow bottle? If you’re anything like me, you figure out what works best through trial and error. I have to be somewhat careful with the types of products I use. Because Ellie was lucky enough to inherit .5% of my genes (look at her, she is 99.5% her dad), she has a touch of eczema. Certain products can aggravate her eczema which is a pain in the butt to stay on top of.

Through my trial and error as well as recommendations from family/friends, here is a list of baby care products I am loving right now. Love to hear if you have anything else you are slathering on your little minion(s)!

~Karen

Continue reading “Favorite Baby Care Products”

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Postpartum

Toddler Mealtime Escapades

Is your kid a decent eater who will eat literally anything you put in front of them or do you have the kid who will only eat chicken nuggets, but only that one specific brand from a co-op four states away? We all know that feeding your toddler can be rough, especially because their palate can change like the wind. One day they LOVE apples and can’t get enough of them, the next day apples are being thrown across the room (thank goodness for my built in floor cleaners, AKA the dogs). The minute I find something Ellie loves and pretty much buy stock in that company, the next thing I know she is turning her nose up at it. Well, EXCUSE ME, Queen of England! For this post, I thought I’d list out a few of my go-to meals and snacks. As I have mentioned many times, my bar is set really low. I don’t typically get home on time to be like Julia Child in the kitchen… and let’s be real, even if I did, I still wouldn’t put the time into cooking. Continue reading “Toddler Mealtime Escapades”

Postpartum

Let’s Talk About Size Baby

Hi! It’s me, Karen. It’s been awhile. My apologies for ghosting you. I am sure you have been missing my parenting insights (and flops). Well, I am back. If you celebrate, my hope is that you had a wonderful holiday season. After talking to my sister-in-law for a while the other day on clothing sizes for our toddlers (her little gal is just a couple months older than Ellie), I thought a little rant about baby and toddler clothing would be prudent as you sort through the clothes your kid(s) received as gifts. Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Size Baby”

Postpartum

Being a Mom During the Holidays

I love the holidays. I have always loved the holidays. I love decorating. I love thinking of just the right gift for every person on my list. I love Thanksgiving. I love to cook and to try out new recipes and to be in the kitchen with my favorite people in the world. The list could go on and on. My love for this time of year has not changed since becoming a parent, it may have even grown now that I have a little one I get to incorporate into all of these wonderful family traditions. What has changed though is the increased amount of pressure I feel to make the holidays perfect for those around me. While I know I don’t need to be making 13 different kinds of cookies each year, 6 would suffice, I just can’t seem to let some things go (but I need to). That being said, I am committing to do some things that decrease the pressure I have felt in recent years, while at the same time keeping the holiday cheer ever so present in my life. Continue reading “Being a Mom During the Holidays”

Postpartum

The Life of a Working Mom

The last couple weeks have been… demanding, to say the least, for Kristin and I. Like many of you out there, August and the first few weeks of September are the busiest work weeks of our calendar year. So I thought this week, the post would highlight some not-so-foreign feelings we working moms have. Holding my shit together during these times has developed a whole new meaning.

Continue reading “The Life of a Working Mom”

Dad Stuff

The Bedtime Conundrum

This week, we have a very special guest post! Zach, Karen’s husband, has written an excellent tidbit on his experimentation in getting Ellie down for bed at night. He has become quite the bedtime expert in their household. We hope that you find some applicable insight. Enjoy! 

Continue reading “The Bedtime Conundrum”

Postpartum, Pregnancy

Special Edition: Our First Guest Post!

Today is a very special day. It’s Kristin’s birthday! To make this day even more special, Kristin’s mom, Maureen, has kindly agreed to write a special guest post for today (I only cried a little bit reading this). Happy Birthday Kristin! 

My Baby Has a Baby!

I am blogging today to celebrate Kristin’s first birthday as a Mom!  Thirty-three years ago, August 14th Kristin made me a mom, and it changed my life.

img_0190-e1534210156694.jpgLiving and working in Manhattan, Don and I got the news that I was pregnant.  We were blessed with a “surprise” pregnancy and we needed to nail down the changes that will take place in our lives.  We both had demanding jobs and lived in a four-floor walkup, neither conducive to becoming parents. The amount of decisions and commitments needed to consider was daunting.  Stay in the city? Daycare? Schools? Yup, schools. Most women I knew enrolled their child in a preschool as soon as they got pregnant. That’s pressure!

Our lease was up in May, three months prior to meeting this new person, and we need to make a change.  We decided to move to New Jersey. This was to be a “two-fer”, getting a place closer to my family and my sister was going be her nanny! SCORE!

IMG_0165The day we met Kristin was an amazingly beautiful “beach” day on the Jersey Shore.  I was overdue and thought a day at the ocean would do me wonders. I got in my car, stopped at my parents’ home, grab a beach chair, and schlepped all my stuff to the ocean.  I parked myself near the lifeguard, just in case. After a while I started to feel a bit crampy, nothing much but I couldn’t get comfortable. I decided to leave the beach to go home and nap.  Dropping the beach chair at my Mom’s she said, “How are you?” I said I was good, but I needed to go home and take it easy. She said I looked tired and to let her know when I got home. Don called, from work in Manhattan, around 5p and asked how I felt.  I told him I was just fine and not to rush home. Oh, and I added that I was cramping… just a bit. He said he was leaving immediately and by the time he got home 1-1 ½ hours later I was in labor. My Jersey Girl arrived at 8lbs 9 oz, full head of hair and in great health.  Let motherhood begin.

I had a three-month maternity leave, Don went back to work in Manhattan, and Kristin and I settled into a new routine.  Mostly sleeping when she slept. I was breastfeeding and she was a hungry bugger. I experienced my first obstacle, cracked nipples.  Ouch! Never anticipated that! The internet was not around, and all “Mom” information came from books, your mother, or close friends/family.  I bought MANY books. One of my favorite authors was by T. Berry Brazelton, kind of the Mr. Rogers of pediatricians, he wrote Infants and Mothers and Touchpoints.  (For Kristin’s birthday I’m sending her an electronic copy of Infants and Mothers circa 1983. ☺ )

My biggest fear in becoming a mother was how to communicate with a newborn.  Would we bond? How would I be able to understand and anticipate her needs? Would she be able to feel loved and secure?  What kind of woman would I become? Could I put her needs ahead of my own and Don’s? What happens when I go back to work? And probably a million more!

These questions seemed to come up and be answered as needed.  She felt perfect in my arms. I was fortunate to have the time to bond, understand she was “out of sorts”, become enveloped in her laughter, know the difference between hungry and “hangry”, go through the conflicting feelings of returning to work, and just sink into the new “family”.

IMG_4809I now get to be part of her beginnings of motherhood.  I watch Kristin and Kris navigate parenthood with excitement, enthusiasm, anticipation, dedication, joy and love.  I see them create a home and family. I’m excited to watch as they create their own rhythm and schedules and I am touched to think that both the Hummel and Kvam family values and customs will continue on with the next generation. The holidays and traditions she has had over the years will mean even more to her now that she’ll get to share them with her child.  I have the joy of getting to know my grandchild, be his Nana and watch him develop into the Finn that he will be.

It was my JOY to have Kristin changed my life, and now I celebrate as Finn changes hers.

Happy Birthday Kristin.

Love and Lollies,

Mom

Maureen Kvam, aka: Kristin’s proud Mom.

Postpartum, Pregnancy

Our Favorite Parenting TV Shows

Hellllloooooooo! This week we are going to share some of our favorite mom/parenting TV shows (in no certain order). It’s fascinating how relatable fictional TV is to the plight of becoming a new parent. Sometimes the the mental escape from reality is much needed, and the only thing that can fill it is a 30 minute episode of Bob’s Burgers. What are your favorite parenting TV shows? If you say Keeping Up With the Kardashians you should seriously reflect on what constitutes “parenting” – no judging here though (as we discretely throw shade your way). Just kidding… you would be shocked to know the amount of hours spent watching trashy TV at our house. Yikes.

The Letdown

Ever drive your kid around at all hours of the night and finally get baby to fall asleep, only to have some jerk tap on your window? Moms, you’re gonna relate with this show!

Shameless

Having a particularly crappy parenting day? You will immediately feel better about your parenting skills after watching Frank being Father of the Year.

Bob’s Burgers

Need a good laugh? Bob’s Burgers will certainly do that for you. As Bob put it so well, “I love you, but you’re all terrible”.

Life in Pieces

Whether you are a parent of preteens or are brand new to the parenting gig, you will definitely find something to relate with in this show. Jen and Greg highlight the emotional nuances many of us new parents feel.

RuPaul’s Drag Race

Mama Ru will keep you on your toes with every new season as she brings in a new barrage of girls. With each episode, she reminds us that “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you going to love somebody else?”. Could not have said it better Ru.

Honorable Mentions:

Big Little Lies

Transparent

Jane the Virgin

SMILF

Parenthood

Game of Thrones (I am only mentioning because Zach told me to)

Happy binging!

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Postpartum

Childproofing Your Existence

Did you wake up one morning and found that you had a crawler or walker on your hands? In that moment, I bet you cheered your little one on, thinking this kiddo is the cat’s meow. Every new development is such an exciting milestone, it’s no wonder we are thrilled when it happens. But that thrill quickly turns into the familiar ‘oh shit’ ball of worry in your stomach.

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Scheming her way out of this prison.

My home is barely safe for my husband – I say this in earnest as Zach nearly broke his face after tripping over my weights strewn about the floor the other day (sorry pal, I owe you some Ben & Jerry’s). While we have already done  what feels like a ton of childproofing, we are finding something new everyday we need to change or update. Inevitably Ellie finds a new cable to chew on or a ledge to tumble into. I caught this kid actually somersaulting off the couch a few weeks ago. It was quite graceful but not ideal. So, while I am working on getting Ellie down from the ceiling fan… enjoy reading just a few home childproofing recommendations:

  • Stairs: If you have them, get a gate up… like yesterday. Babies seem to be attracted to stairs like moths to a bug zapper.
  • Outlets: Purchase those cheap plug things and plug any open outlets you have. Ellie loves finding outlets. One day she is going to resemble Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus, red hair and all.
  • Cords, cables, and the like: These can be challenging if your living room is set up like a Van Gogh painting and you have to configure your set-up in the most inconvenient way. We’ve taken to using packing tape to hide our cables in plain site. #classy
  • Hard edges (fireplace, tables, etc.): There are these great padded furniture edgings that can be cut to fit and stuck to most edges. These have saved Ellie from many bruises and tears.
  • Vacuum: The most random things can fall on the floor which are prime pickings for little curious hands (and mouths). A word to the wise, if you have guests over, make sure to vacuum and pick up after they leave. People often forget that there is a baby around that likes to eat everything. Also, maybe they left some change or valuable jewelry between your couch cushions – no one said daycare was cheap.

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    Ellie pets her PUPPY.
  • Pets: We have two decent size dogs we watch like hawks. Our dogs are pretty good with Ellie, but you never know if some new things she’s doing (like running across the room screaming “puppy, puppy, PUPPPPPPPYYYYY” and throwing herself on them) will bother them. We fortunately have never had an incident but it doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

While there are about a million and a half other things that could be done, I believe this is a good start. Just remember, while we can only do so much to keep our kids safe, sometimes they are their own worst enemy.

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Feel free to let us know what your tips are! Happy chasing!

~Karen

Postpartum

Winning at Weaning

The time has come. Every breastfeeding mother arrives at this point sooner or later. I am talking about weaning. Initially, Kristin and I discussed my writing this post about a month or so ago as my intention was to wean Ellie on or soon after her first birthday. I’ve mentioned before, I am a planner. I like to have things in order and to be able to plan out, at nauseum, how things will play out.  What is it they say, the best-laid plans often go awry? That seems to be a quote that many parents can live by. Sort of a delightful take on Murphy’s Law for parents. Regardless, I find that with most mom things, life works itself out in its own way. Often not how you planned.

When Kristin and I discussed this post and I began writing, I quickly realized that I wasn’t mentally ready to share my weaning process. It took an emotionally toll on me I wasn’t ready for. Ironically, I can relate some of my feelings surrounding weaning to learning to breastfeed. Frustration. Exhaustion. Struggling to understand my kid in a whole new way. Crap. Maybe I actually have a pre-teen on my hands.

There are plenty of ways to wean, some people do the cold turkey method and others come up with some master variation of gradually reducing their feedings. I chose the latter. Mostly because I try to avoid pain and the possibility of getting mastitis at all cost. Plus I wasn’t in a rush.

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Just a day in the life of a nursing mom.

My pump/nurse schedule on a typical (pre-weaning) day looked something like this:

6am – nurse on one side and pump on the other

9:30/10am – pump

1pm – pump

4pm – pump

7pm – nurse

10/11pm – pump

I was provided a lot of advice and did a fair amount (hours, let’s be real) of research. What I ended up doing is slowly cutting out the pumping at work. For the first couple weeks, I went down to two pumping sessions a day at work. Then the following week I pumped once a day at work. Then I stopped pumping all together at work and only pumped/nursed twice a day – and how glorious it was to no longer have to drag around that cumbersome pump. Initially, I then planned to cut the evening nursing, and finally, the morning feeding. Most people recommend cutting out the night nursing session last, because that’s the most challenging one to wean baby from. Zach puts Ellie to bed at night, so it’s actually the morning nursing session that will be hardest to wean for me and the one I intend to wean last.

Daycare has been great about transitioning Ellie to whole milk, she actually is just taking sippy cups there now. This is amazing for me because I no longer need to prep bottles in the morning.

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Nursing wears us out.

As a final note, weaning is something that is specific to baby and mom. No one can or should tell a breastfeeding mom how and when they should wean. I was taking in a lot of this static noise and putting unnecessary pressure on myself. Interestingly enough, not one single mother who is or has breastfed gave me their opinion on when a nursing mom should wean. I only got this unsolicited advice from mothers who never nursed or people who do not have children, yep, because their the experts (insert eye roll here). It wasn’t until I allowed myself a little grace that I was in a way better place mentally to accomplish this. In the end, Ellie and I will continue nursing twice a day until we decide we’re done. And I’m happy with that.

xoxo,

Karen