What to do After Trauma?

The recent hurricanes that took place reeking havoc on Texas and Florida had me a hormonal mess. I’m located in Texas and have family and friends located all across Houston. Some of my friends lost everything, some got away with minimal loss, and others are just fine. I so badly  wanted to run down there and help after it was all said and done, but being pregnant it was not and is not safe for me to do so. Ultimately however the entire event has got me thinking and meditating on how I can help to fix my self and my own personal problems. My family has been through a lot in just a few short years: we had a baby; my husband lost his mother; I suffered severe postpartum depression; we had a roommate issue (actually we had a few of these) that nearly broke us mentally and financially; honestly the list goes on and on. While I have done well in terms of fixing and managing my husband and I’s relationship there are still ongoing issues that I will never be able to fix if I do not first fix myself.

What is trauma?

Trauma comes in many forms a complicated birth, a natural disaster, emotional abuse, a terrible car accident, or the loss of a loved one. No matter what type of trauma experienced a road to recovery is needed. Trauma always constitutes a type of loss, whether its the loss of time, emotional security, physical capabilities, or a person, that loss hurts. When you have a family and you are experiencing this hurt whether its something directly effecting one person or every person its important to not only know how to properly care for yourself, but others as well.

For the person currently suffering because of trauma?blancoynegro-1217184_640

Maybe you are one of the many people who’s lives have been devastated by Harvey and Irma, or a mom suffering from postpartum depression and healing after a very traumatic birth experience. Perhaps your someone who just lost their best friend. Life does not always give us a silver spoon, a ray of sunshine, or a silver lining. However, that does not mean we give up. If you are currently suffering and have tried everything you can on your own to make yourself happy then perhaps it is time to seek out extra help.

Helplines:

Suicide Prevention Lifeline (United States)Copy of What to do after

1-800-273-8255

National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-7233

LGBTQ Crisis Hotline and Services

https://www.ostem.org/crisis-hotlines

Financial Assistance, Medical Affordability, Local Help Resources

Call 2-11 in the U.S if you have any questions for financial assistance regarding food, paying bills, childcare, social services, and/or medical expenses.

If you are not sure where to begin in terms of trying to make yourself better and are too scared to reach out for help try some of these tips below.

Step 1:

  • Make sure you are taking time for yourself.
  • If you need to cry, then cry.
  • If you need to sleep, sleep.
  • If you just need some time to be alone, do it.

Step 2:

  • Get outside, you need 20 minutes of sunshine minimum everyday.
  • If you can see a Doctor and discuss with them about having your vitamin levels checked.
  • Take a multi-vitamin, it will help if you are lacking anything in your diet. Discuss with your Doctor on what the best multi-vitamin might be for you.

Step 3:

  • Drink water
  • Do your best to maintain a well balanced diet.

Step 4:

  • Try to workout at least 3 times a week for 20 minutes, even if its just walking around your office building or apartment complex.

Step 5:

  • Set a goal or goals, write down all the steps need to achieve that goal.

Step 6:

  • Start working towards your goal.

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If you Know someone who has recently experienced trauma?:

Perhaps you are not currently suffering as a result of trauma, but know someone who is. Maybe your spouse lost a parent or your best friend is getting out of an abusive relationship. Whether they are blatantly asking for your help or you are simply reading their story via Facebook updates, there are ways you can help even if you are not there next to them or capable of visiting in person.

Step 1:

Listen to what they tell you. Ask questions if you don’t understand.

  • What do they need?
  • What hurts?
  • Why does it hurt?
  • How does it hurt?
  • Where does it hurt?
  • When did it start?
  • Who caused it?
  • How was it caused?
  • What was the cause?

Step 2:

Be a shining light or a positive place for them. Build them up.

Step 3:

Help them problem solve.

Step 4:

Ask them about their goals, keep them on track to reaching them.

When someone is healing as a result of trauma they may try and gloss over the problem by saying everything is okay. They may hide behind good things or excuses. Don’t be afraid to show your failing points or troubles and how you fixed them or are working to fix them. If you feel someone is hiding their true emotions ask them about their goals, share with them about yours. Check in with them often to see how they are doing with their goals and give them an update on your own.

You and someone close are dealing with trauma simultaneously?:sad-child-1759986_640

Whether your family lost everything to the hurricanes or just experienced a traumatic car accident there are times in all of our lives when we are forced to not only care for our own mental well being, but the well being of others as well. Some are good at this. Others just freeze. It is okay to show emotion. It is okay to cry, it is okay to be mad. However, its important to also know where the balance is.

Step 1:

Have open discussions about every ones feelings.

  • What is everyone feeling?
  • What does everyone fear?
  • How can those feelings be properly expressed?
  • What can we do to fix those fears or bad feelings?

Step 2:

Give everyone their individual time to heal and move forward.

  • Maybe counseling with a third party is needed.
  • Maybe mom needs 20 minutes everyday to  just take a breath and relax without anyone touching her or asking for something.
  • Maybe the children need time with their friends.
  • Perhaps dad needs mom to listen to and hold him for a little while while he cries a few times a week.

Step 3:

  • What are the goals for the family?
  • How can you prevent future trauma?
  • What is everyone’s individual plan/goal for the future?

When you work through trauma individually it can be overwhelming, however we all must do things to care for ourselves otherwise we will not be able to care for others. When we are caring for others we must first listen to them in order to provide them with what they really need. If our entire household is experiencing trauma we need to not only listen to ourselves and voice our needs, but also listen to the needs being voiced by our spouse and our children. If we are not capable of doing exactly what someone needs, we must then find a compromise or something that is mutually beneficial to both parties.

The beautiful thing about Houston and really most of South East Texas is that despite the political, religious, and racial differences expressed, debated, and argued they will always help their neighbor in need. The entire country watched as the people came together to rescue and evacuate thousands who were stuck. The part you won’t see is how they will also come together to clean it up and rebuild. Social class, religion, race, politics, and gender will have no place to stand as neighbors will come together to exchange labor, goods, shoulders, and ears to help one another move forward. The hurricane was a trauma shared, for some it was more devastating than others, but that doesn’t mean those who are doing better move forward unscathed, instead they take their time to heal and they heal themselves, by helping to heal each other.

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Baby #2: My Birth Announcement

It was our goal to have another baby this year, and come December 11, 2017, plus or minus a few days, we will have a little girl/boy in our lives. I’m so excited to be pregnant again. As much of a surprise the first pregnancy was, this one has its own challenges, but is so much easier.

First, I have more experience this time around. I’m not basing all my knowledge on what I was told growing up, instead I have personal experience to go off of.

Second, we are more financially stable this go round, and we have our ducks in a row. My sister was amazing enough to gift us her second vehicle as she had just bought herself a new one and no longer needed her old vehicle.

Third, I will be hiring a doula. What is a doula? A doula is a labor advocate, she helps make sure everything goes your way in the room during delivery. She also provides advice, breathing techniques, and helps relieve pressure during the laboring process. I choose to hire a doula this time for two reasons. A) I tore horribly during my first delivery and I do not want to repeat that again. B) On the good chance that my labor progresses faster than someone can pick up our son who will be a little less than 2 in a half, I need someone I trust to be there for me, while my husband is entertaining our toddler in the waiting room.

How this pregnancy is different from my first?

My nausea lasted a lot longer than with my son. In addition, heart burn has been horrible. I am a lot more active this pregnancy than I was with my first. I am determined to maintain my leg muscles this pregnancy so I can be in a vertical position during delivery. Having a toddler certainly helps with this. My last pregnancy I craved mostly tacos, whereas this pregnancy I am craving fruits and veggies. I’m pretty sure this little one will be a girl, but I won’t find out until next week, so stay tuned for the gender reveal.

 

 

2 Year- Toddler Post

I started this blog when I was pregnant with my son, he inspired me to follow my dream of writing. I have had many ups and downs not only with my emotions, but also with my writing. The past few months I have been very distracted with a combination of family drama, financial crisis, and a roller coaster of depression. We have had a lot of changes take place over the course of a short period. Tomorrow I will be making a big announcement. It amazes me how quickly time has moved forward, my little boy is two today it feels just like yesterday I was holding him in the hospital.

 

masks-833421_1280My Mental Health:

The last few months have been difficult for many reasons. I’ve basically been on a roller coaster, but everything seems to have evened out in the past couple of weeks. My son is into everything. He climbs on things and no toy stays in the toy bin for long. The constant need for cleaning and housekeeping has definitely caused a good deal of stress. The messy house combined with the slight financial mess we found ourselves in has definitely not helped with my roller coaster of depression. Fortunately everything seems to be improving. I’m working on creating new schedules and plans via the bullet journal method. (More on bullet journaling next week.)

 

toy-box-1916163_640How Toddler is Doing?:

He has all of his teeth and is getting taller. His vocabulary is incredibly large with new words being added everyday. His 1 year old cousin came to stay for a couple of weeks and the two had a great time playing with one another. Wesley doesn’t quite understand sharing, but he definitely learned what “mine” means while his cousin was visiting. With summer here I have started taking him to the local kiddy pool. He is tall enough that he can walk across the whole thing. It goes from 9 inches to 2 feet. I sit/stand next to him the whole time while he walks around and plays with his and others water toys. He hates getting his face and hair wet, but since taking him to the pool regularly he enjoys baths much more.

20170409_165549Feeding Toddler?

So we stopped the food pouches, they were no longer filling him up and they were getting very expensive. He basically eats almost exclusively what we eat. I do buy him snacks that are more specifically for him including goldfish, animal crackers, peanut butter crackers, and fruit snacks. The kid also loves tomatoes, so even though I am not a fan I buy him tomatoes every now and again. Recently he has been over-indulging himself on fruit-snacks. I’m working on getting him to understand they are a sometimes treat. He knows how to get into the pantry and fridge by himself. We have successfully set it up so he can’t get into the kitchen, but keeping him out of the pantry has proven impossible.

circle-304524_1280Tips and Tricks:

Pool shoes are a must have for splash pads

Summer is host to a whole slew of free fun family activities don’t forget to check your local city center and library for free events. Tired of visiting the same park or pool over and over again, change it up by driving further away from home to visit a neighboring public pool or park, just make sure you check their open days and times, some pools are closed during certain week days for cleaning.

 

21 Month Baby Post

It’s been a fun road I must say. My little man will be two in a few months. He’s so big, plus he is smart and has personality plus. I am so happy to get the opportunity to spend so much time with him on a daily basis.

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My Mental Health:

Well the little man is almost two and the tantrums have already begun with him. It is definitely difficult. I’m having to provide boundaries for him, which is difficult for me, because I want him to be happy. I want him to eat whenever he wants, I want him to have the opportunity to explore his environment. However, at the same time he has to learn that he can’t touch the T.V, he cannot eat 5 plus apple sauce pouches in a day or an hour. It’s very difficult keeping up with his energy level as well. I constantly have to decide between work, play, and chores. Then there’s just day where all I want to do is sit on the couch and not move. We have been sick a lot this year. In January I had mono, in February DH and I both got the flu, and in March my son Wesley got a stomach bug (I’m assuming it was mild food poisoning from eating out of the trash.) That little kid is quick, we have since made sure he cannot get his paws inside the trash can. This month, Wesley and I have both had a terrible cold. Basically I’ve been feeling miserable, which is why this weeks posts were non-existent until today. Mentally these last few months have just been exhausting. Fortunately, while I’ve been pretty exhausted the past three months, I have also been mostly relaxed without too many financial concerns. I’m so happy to be clear of the post pardum.

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Wesley got his first haircut recently. We were grocery shopping when he swiped the bell pepper from the display and bit into it. He thought it was an apple. The kid ate the whole thing including the seeds.

How Toddler is doing?:

His back teeth came in, he almost has a full set of teeth now. He’s walking and climbing on everything. However, I’m happy to say I can still make good use of the play pen and crib. He doesn’t climb out of those. Daniel (my husband) thinks its because he is lazy and doesn’t have a real reason to, because he won’t play with his toys alone. We got him new clothes he’s sort of in between 18 month and 24 month sizes. I bought him a bunch of 24 month clothes just to make it easy. He is starting to show interest in the potty and we are thinking about starting potty training here soon. I’m considering trying out the three day potting training method. I’m planning to start on a Sunday so my husband is here, I will take care of it all day Monday and then he can help me finish it off on Tuesday. Starting next week he will have Sunday and Tuesday off.

My only concern with potty training is that Wesley does still sleep in his crib at night, plus he does not yet know any bathroom words. However, he has shown the ability to pick up on words quickly when they are introduced and used consistently over a short period of time. I figure maybe he will pick up the bathroom words when we are teaching him. We have a little seat to place on our toilet for him, but we should probably get a step stool so I don’t have to lift him up their each time. I’ve sat him on the potty a couple of times with the kids toilet seat, he seemed a little scared, I’m hoping with the stool he would be more comfortable, because he would understand he can get down.

 

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Feeding Toddler:

He weaned himself from the boob, but recently he keeps lifting my shirt or pulling it down to look at my boobs. I’m not sure why he has the sudden fascination. I have started monitoring his snacks a little bit, he doesn’t realize when he is full. So I’ve set it up so that he gets one veggie bowl, one fruit bowl, no more than 2 apple sauce pouches, a cheese stick, and crackers or bread. Total he gets about 6 snacks a day now. Plus he also gets Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yeah my kid can eat. He’s currently around 25 lbs. and just under three feet tall. He’s a big boy, he still has some of his leg rolls, but most of the arm rolls are gone, and the belly is slowly disappearing too. His back muscles are amazing though, I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned into a little athlete. I just hope he chooses something like swimming.

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Tips and Tricks:

Use small take and toss kid bowls to break up healthy snacks for your toddler. You can also use ziplock bags. Put a few different fruits in one, a few veggies in another, and if you want you can do nuts, crackers (goldfish), and raisins in the third. Provide the snacks through the day when they are hungry.

Keep a basket in your fridge specifically for kid snacks, so you or they can just open the fridge grab, open, and hand to them. Saves time, and prevents meltdowns.

 

Surviving Life with a Baby Part 7: Meal Planning

Since the new year I have been busy finding ways to get myself organized as a work at home mama. Meal planning is a big help when you are trying to cut down your grocery bill, but it also removes the worry about what’s for dinner. When it comes to life with a baby the concern of what is for dinner can be a big one, after all you are super busy changing diapers, breastfeeding, and chasing the little ones around it can be easy to forget that you have to feed yourself. Here are my top 5 meal planning tips.

Tip #1: Don’t plan too far ahead

I don’t plan ahead by more than 3 days, when I do the grocery shopping I buy based on what is on sale and what I currently have already at home if I am missing one or two ingredients for a favorite meal I make sure to pick those up. Many people who talk about meal planning tell you to plan out your entire week or month of meals in advance. I have a sensitive pallet and sometimes I am just not in the mood for something, so planning my menu out a week or even a month in advance is not realistic for me. It is for this reason that I make sure to have a variety of meals and snacks available. I typically buy two-three weeks worth of groceries at a time. How do I manage not to let food spoil when I only meal plan ahead by three days? I freeze a lot of our meats and we use frozen vegetables for a lot of meals. I do make stops to the store for perishables that run out before the two or three weeks is up.

Tip #2: Keep it visible

I have a white board on my fridge that allows me to plan out lunch and dinner for the week. I write down three days of meals in advance, and as I work through those three days I consider what we have left/available and brainstorm what I would like to eat after those three days. It helps me to see what we have already eaten so I know if I need to make one day a leftovers day. In addition, there are some days where I just don’t want to cook or we have too many errands to run so I will be sure to assign leftover days, pb&j days, or take out days as necessary.

Tip #3: Make a grocery list and stick to it

Just because you are not planning your meals a full week in advance, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider the number of meals you will need to make for the week or weeks ahead. When you make your grocery list make sure that the items you have listed can easily be mixed and matched together to form the number of meals necessary to make it to your next grocery shopping day. Prevent over spending by considering what is in your pantry, fridge, and freezer already. Consider some ideas for future meals, or new recipes you may be thinking of trying. Avoid buying things that are not on your list.

Tip #4: Put it in your planner

I like to plan my weeks out in advance, especially since I work from home running this blog and writing content for other websites. When I fill out my planner either at the beginning of the week or beginning of the month I like to write down my daily goals, my work goals, and what’s for dinner. I consider what my goals for that day are and any events/errands that are taking place that day. If it looks like an exhausting day I will opt for an easier to cook dish. For example last week I had a networking event to attend. I spent the whole day cleaning in preparation for the babysitter and  had to rush through getting ready so I could arrive to the location in time. I knew that when I got back that night I was going to be exhausted. I prepped part of the dinner ahead of time and kept it simple with pasta salad, sausage, and asparagus.

Tip #5: Prep ahead of time

Note how on the day that I was really busy last week I opted to prep earlier in the day for later in the evening. There are many ways to pre-prep your food. Some people opt for spending one day a month cooking/putting together a bunch of meals and then freezing them. This is an excellent option if you have help, I don’t have this thing called help so I often prep things the morning/afternoon before dinner, or sometimes I will prep the day before if I know I’m just not going to have time. Things I like to prep in advance are large amounts of chopping, and making of broth/chicken stock.

Did you find these tips helpful? How do you plan out your meals?

 

18 Month Baby Post

Wow we made it! My baby is 18 months old or for those of you attempting to do the math, he’s one in a half. So much has taken place in the past three months it is absolutely amazing to me.

masks-833421_1280My mental health:

The past three months have been rough between a car accident with my husband totaling our only vehicle. The one year anniversary of my mother in laws passing. Plus, the added stress of my husband switching jobs for the fourth time this year. Things have been crazy. Communication was not going so well for a little while their. Arguments were had. Severe yelling matches took place. In addition, to this my crawling baby became a walking toddler. Yep, that’s right my Little Wes is walking. I’m surprised my sanity has remained in check with the extreme magnitude of everything that has transpired in the past few months.

I will be honest it hasn’t been easy. My husband and I have argued before, more often then not it was related to us being hungry or because we do not communicate well when it comes to giving directions. However, that all being said it is likely something just clicked when the New Year came along. Just a few days into the new year and my husband and I are communicating together. We have worked out  a plan that gives me the time I need to work, but also provides us with the time we need to communicate together. Seeing as we lost the vehicle. I am no longer working with instacart, because though I could easily walk the distance to the local H.E.B, the money isn’t worth it to me. Plus I don’t want to be a personal shopper, I want to be a writer and I am determined that I can make the wage I need this year doing just that.

In all honesty, I believe the real reason I was able to keep sane over those last few months of 2016 was because I wrote in my journal religiously. I spoke about the troubles I was experiencing with an outside source (mostly my upstairs neighbor who is Awesome). I also spent months creating a plan and a routine that would work and allow me to complete everything I needed to do in a day. I think knowing that I had a plan for the new year to make it better was what really made the whole thing better. So enough about me, lets get to who you really came to this post to read about let’s get to my handsome baby boy and how he did these past few months.

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How Baby?…wait no How Toddler is doing:

Well the cat is already out of the bag my little boy is walking. He is your typical happy toddler emptying book shelves, up-ending his toy bins, and pulling clothes of baskets and drawers. He’s climbing anything and everything. Somehow he still hasn’t figured out how to get out of his crib or playpen, but he does know how to climb onto the couch and on top of the dogs kennel. Wesley and the dog have become quick best friends. They “wrestle” together and even share food. I know not very hygienic, but really what am I going to do. Wesley has a large vocabulary now including words like…Wow! Dog! Out! Very Good! Thank you! For those who are new or don’t recall his first word was Mama. He quickly learned Dada and I Wuv You. He is also quickly learning food words like apple, Nan-Na (banana), and he even said waffle the other day.

We had a lot of holidays take place these past months. He enjoyed trick-or-treating and went as a “Dragon Roll.” I dressed him in a sushi outfit I created and decorated his stroller up as a dragon. I went as a Warrior Queen, using pieces of clothing I had in my closet. Thanksgiving we went simple, he loved the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and green beans. For desert we had pumpkin pie. Christmas looked like a carnival. Santa treated him really well bringing him a play kitchen, tent, wooden ball maze, Mater-Pillow, play cell phone, and stacking cups. He got a few other things as well. He loves all of his gifts and plays with them all a little bit each day.

One big thing we learned about parenting over these past few months, was how much of a solid and regular routine toddlers really need. He started throwing tantrums if he didn’t get what he wanted. Now that I have goals of maintaining a regular routine (originally developed so I could have more time to write and make money blogging) we are seeing a happier less crabby baby. He still throws tantrums every now and again, but we are slowly working on getting him on a regular routine he is used to.

child-932083_1920Feeding Baby:

Well as you know he gave up the boob during month 13 all on his own. He is currently on almond milk per Doctors orders since cows milk was a bit rough on his stomach. He spent most of the past three months eating pouch baby food, plus solids that included what we were eating and what I had around the house. However, he is consuming so much food these days we are being forced to wean him off the pouched food and get him on a strictly solids diet. With the holidays our food budget was really tight last month. I got really creative and tested out some more solid foods with him. He is a big fan of frozen waffles, hard boiled eggs, PB&J, and chicken nuggets. He will eat basically anything you put in front of him. I’m working on creating a regular menu for him and I to share for Breakfast and lunch. He eats dinner at a different time from my husband and I so I’m attempting to work it out where our lunches are the leftovers from the previous nights dinner.

circle-304524_1280Tips and Tricks:

Keep a clean sippy cup in the diaper bag for long trips where you need to give the baby some water to tide them over. (It may also be worth it to carry around a bottle of water as well.)

Keep a clean trash bag in the baby bag for dirty diapers or clothes

Keep a bag of Gold fish, cheerios, or animal crackers for easy snacking when on the go.

 

Three Ways to Recover From the Holidays

Finally, the Holidays are over it is the beginning of a new year. As a mom you likely just spent the last few months cleaning, shopping, cooking, more cleaning, and chasing of little ones all over the house. As a welcome to the New Year I provide you a list of three ways to relax and recover the Holidays.

lemon-1578370_1920Detox:

Holidays are often filled with heavy carbs and sugar intake. Help your body recover from all the stress of the holidays. My favorite detox is water flavored with lemon, mint, and cucumber.

Another thing I like to do is add powdered ginger to my soups. This helps with arthritis and inflammation. Hot lemon water with ginger and honey is also great for healing a sore throat.

Finally take a 20 minute bath in a tub mixed with lavender oil, Epsom salt, and baking soda. This will help clear your body of any toxins that are sitting in your pores. It will also relax your aching muscles and help you sleep.

plank-1327256_1280Do Something you Enjoy/Love:

Whether it is getting a pedicure or a massage, maybe you enjoy yoga or kick boxing. Choose something that you really like to do, but haven’t done in awhile. Basically take at least one or two hours to yourself this week to do something just for you. If you can, do that everyday this week, because it will really help you to start off the new year fresh.

target-1747236_1920Set Goals:

If you haven’t made your new years resolutions yet, it isn’t too late. If you have then get started working towards them. New goals are great for rejuvenating and getting yourself going again. The holidays may have derailed your diet or maybe you spent a little too much money on those Christmas presents. When you set goals it is important to also create a plan of action for reaching each of those goals. Consider all aspects of your life to determine where you can improve.

Wishing you a happy New Year. Share in the comments ways you relax once the holidays are all said and done.

Christmas Gift Ideas

Babies cannot tell you what their wants are, so trying to decide on Christmas presents might prove difficult. A good rule of thumb at any age is want, need, read, wear. Find an item for each and you have at least four good presents.

Newborn- 1 year:

Read: Hard books or cloth books are good for little ones all the way to age 3. Baby might be little, but its good to start reading early. Find a few hard covers that were your favorites when you were a kid and start reading.

Wear: Babies grow out of clothes quick, buy baby a few articles of clothing that are one or two sizes bigger than he/she is currently.

Newborn-3 months:

Want: At this stage they are really just laying there sleeping, eating, and pooping. Get them some tummy time toys, a key ring, stuffed animal, or o-ball are all good options for this stage.

Need: Is there something that would make taking care of baby easier i.e a swing, bouncer, play mat that you did not get at your baby shower. Go ahead and get it now, even if its something like a play pen which you probably won’t be needing until babies mobile. Baby proofing supplies like a baby gate and cupboard locks are good options too.

3-6 months:

Want: At this point your little one is probably rolling from back to belly. This was my little one last year. They are probably also getting used to sitting and have some head control. Last year we got our little one a kids singing piano, and a singing farm. Friends bought him a slide with a car that slides down it. He also got one of those weird balls with all the different sliding things on it. He was also given books, and clothes.

Need: Last year we had not yet purchased a high chair by the time Christmas came along. He was just a few weeks away from being ready to eat other foods besides just breast milk, we went ahead and bought Wesley a high chair at that point. If you don’t already have one this might be the time to purchase one. I also came across a really good deal on a bob stroller at a Pawn shop. We already had a stroller, but this stroller worked out way better than the one we had originally purchased. If you don’t have a stroller, or a baby carrier and feel its a necessity this Christmas may be the excuse you need to splurge a little on your new little one.

6-9 months

Want: By now your little is likely crawling and if not they will be soon. Your child is already fascinated by their world, pay attention to what captures their attention. You will be amazed at the kid friendly toys available out their. My son for instance was fascinated with the remote around this point and so I went and I bought him a kids remote. He is pretty good now about keeping his hands off mine. Its a great distraction away from what it yours. Does your little have a fascination with your laptop, phone, purse, shoes? Get them something similar that they can play with safely. Amazon has an amazing collection with a ton of ideas.

Need: My beautiful son grew out of his carseat around this time, thank goodness tax returns came otherwise I don’t know how we would have been able to afford the carseat upgrade we had to make. Now all children grow at different rates so very likely this is not an issue yet. However, consider your future finances. Is their something your child is going to need down the line here soon?

9-12 months:

Want: Your child likely is not walking yet, but they are certainly working their way around and getting into everything. By now you can see a quirk or two emerging. My little one loves music and sound. For his birthday we got him bongos, and a bag of blocks as he seemed to enjoy playing with them at our neighbors. We also got him a big fire engine that your can build the large lego blocks on. It was super cheap at a local thrift store. Don’t be afraid to buy the toys used, especially since many of the toys you get might be played with for a short period of time, before they become boring.

Need: If you are looking forward to your little person walking their are many different types of walker options out their. Now this is less of a need and more of a parenting choice. Some feel walkers are unsafe. I did not purchase my son his walker until he was 15 months, because I was unsure if it was worth it. Within three days he was walking on his own. I got it because I knew from experience that my son can be a little lazy. He refused to crawl at first preferring to roll everywhere, until my husband put pillows in his way making him realizing he couldn’t always get around like that. My little one is a walking machine now.

12-18 months:

Want: This year my son is getting a fake children’s smart phone, and some stacking blocks. I’m considering a few other toys as well, but they are mainly educational. His one want for this year is the children’s phone.

Need: We have covered most of the needs at this point, but with him beginning to walk I’m thinking the next need is going to be shoes, especially for when we take him to the park and little rocks and glass are sometimes littered on the ground.

Christmas Tree Safety

There are multiple ways to have a safe Christmas tree. Some people create a two  dimensional one on the wall that children are able to move the ornaments around on.

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Check out this cool sample from Cheryl Spagenberg’s blog “that’s what she said.”

 

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Others put a small one on an out of the way table. There are a number of options on amazon. Some come decorated, others without decoration allowing you to personalize it to your personal style. The best part about this option is when your kids are old enough to trust around a large Christmas tree you can use this little one for the kids bedroom or playroom.

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There are of course individuals like myself who keep with the big tree tradition. A few options for keeping your baby safe around the traditional Christmas tree.

#1: A fake tree is safer, as needles won’t be all over the house for the baby to find and attempt to eat.

#2 Keep all breakable/glass ornaments off the bottom of the tree (better yet invest in some shatter proof ornaments).

#3 Make sure all wires are protected and safely put away where baby can’t grab them.

#4 Never leave baby alone in the room with the tree. If you must leave the room, make sure baby is in a play pen or other safe place that they can not escape from. (High chair, bouncer, or swing are all good examples of a safe place for baby. Properly strapped in of course.)

Wishing you a happy holiday season. Please let me know of any other holiday hazard concerns and how you protect your little one in the comments below.

What a healthy relationship looks like?

I did not grow up witnessing healthy relationships, in fact you can say I grew up witnessing all the wrong ways of building, creating, and maintaining a relationship. With that said it is likely that I could be incredibly wrong in my perception however this is what I believe a healthy relationship should look like having grown up watching all the wrong ways to have one.

  1. A healthy relationship is filled with honest communication. You cannot have a healthy relationship if both parties are not 100% forthcoming with one another in how they feel about the every day things. My husband and I are 100% honest with one another about everything, because we don’t want tension in our relationship, we want to be able to enjoy every moment of every day as best we can with one another. When I wasn’t giving my husband enough physical contact in the months after the baby was born he was honest with me about how he felt, and we took steps to fix the problem so that both of us were happy.
  2. Yelling should not be an every day event in your relationship. In fact it shouldn’t exist at all especially if you are following tip number one above. However, as we are all human yelling sometimes does ensue. It is important for you to recognize the triggers for why you yell when you do. For instance my husband and I will yell at one another if we are hungry or otherwise “hangry”. My husband is also not the best person to be around when he is first waking up, if you wake him up too forcefully or with a negative attitude (meaning you wake him up with bad news or in a disrespectful manner) he will often yell. When you can find these yelling triggers then you can do your best to avoid them. My husband and I will often stop our selves during yelling matches realizing how ridiculous we are being and ask one another when they last ate.
  3. Listening, its great to be honest, and not to yell, but if you are not listening then you are likely to miss something and cause problems down the line. Not long ago, I felt my husband was not hearing my side in regards to his helping me around the house. I had asked him to help me with the chores, but it didn’t feel as though he was assisting me or doing what I needed. Finally, after months of trying to get him to understand what I needed and becoming increasingly frustrated at his constant interrupting of me to argue. I looked at him and told him I did not want him to respond to anything I said, but instead to just listen to what I had to say until I was finished. We were able to come to an understanding with one another and the argument is no more.
  4. Understand each others strengths and work with them. My husband is an amazing chef, therefore he often takes over most of the cooking. I am great at organizing and researching, therefore I take care of most of the household paperwork i.e insurance, bills, payments, appointments, and the like.
  5. Understand each others weaknesses and help one another to grow stronger. Do not utilize one-an-others weaknesses as a means of punishment. I am terrible at remembering anything that is not written down, therefore my husband invested in a white board so we can record when all the bills are due and how much they cost. We also record our grocery list on there. In addition, I have a planner that I write my daily to-dos in. My husband is terrible when it comes to work politics therefore him and I discuss together different issues that come up at work and the best and most responsible way of handling them.
  6. Perform acts of kindness randomly and without request. My husband frequently brings me flowers, sometimes he purchases them, and other times he will pick them as he walks. He loves surprising me with them. I will often pick up some of his favorite food and drink items when at the store. He loves Shin-num-yun a sort of Korean ramen. I also take the time to massage his back and legs after a long night at work. Sometimes I do it in the morning to help him wake up in a nice way.

The most important part of any healthy relationship is first-and-fore-most honesty you cannot have a healthy relationship without it. Be sure to listen to your partner and do not yell or say things that are otherwise designed to tear them down rather than build them up. My husband and I are a team, we work together to help make each other better individuals. We walk next to each other rather than racing back and forth against one another. We are not two mountains pushed together, but rather the hikers climbing the mountain together.