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.

 

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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.

 

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.

 

Surviving Life with a baby Part 4: The Yearly Schedule

There are things we have to do every year, that are sometimes easy to forget. If you write them down ahead of time you might just remember, before they spring up and surprise you.

Before the baby was born I read a book about surviving marriage after a baby. Personally I found most of the information in there to be horrible advise that would never work for my and my husbands relationship. In fact I thought the book was down right deplorable all around. Which is why I’m not going to mention the name of it. However, I did find one really good piece of advice in the financial section of the book. The author recommended making a list of all the yearly expenses including one time expenses such as vehicle registration and inspection. They also noted anniversary gifts, birthday gifts, monthly bills etc. etc. I took that idea and I also applied it to yearly events.

If you want to survive life with a baby finances and understanding your own finances is a big part of that. I had originally created a list before the baby was born, but at this point it is obsolete we have so many new expenses. Expenses I had not considered we would have prior to the babies birth. Here is just a brief sample of how our year looks.

January:

Monthly bills: Rent, Electric, Internet, Phone, Netflix, and Car insurance

Events: Visit Daniels father (First Saturday Brew day)

February:

Monthly bills: Rent, Electric, Internet, Phone, Netflix, and Car insurance

Events: Inspection/Registration (Car), Anniversary

March:

Monthly bills: Rent, Electric, Internet, Phone, Netflix, and Car insurance

Events: Tax returns Oil Change

April:

Monthly bills: Rent, Electric, Internet, Phone, Netflix, and Car insurance

Events: NA

May:

Monthly bills: Rent, Electric, Internet, Phone, Netflix, and Car insurance

Events: Daniels Birthday

June:

Monthly bills: Rent, Electric, Internet, Phone, Netflix, and Car insurance

Events: Visit Daniels’ Dad (first Saturday of the month Brew day), Oil change

July:

Monthly bills: Rent, Electric, Internet, Phone, Netflix, and Car insurance

Events: Wesley’s Birthday, New planner

August:

Monthly bills: Rent, Electric, Internet, Phone, Netflix, and Car insurance

Events: (In the future we will have to add schools clothes and school supplies shopping here.)

September:

Monthly bills: Rent, Electric, Internet, Phone, Netflix, and Car insurance

Events: Oil change

October:

Monthly bills: Rent, Electric, Internet, Phone, Netflix, and Car insurance

Events: Halloween (Costume shopping for Wesley)

November:

Monthly bills: Rent, Electric, Internet, Phone, Netflix, and Car insurance

Events: My Birthday, Thanksgiving

December:

Monthly bills: Rent, Electric, Internet, Phone, Netflix, and Car insurance

Events: Christmas, New Years, Oil Change

This is just a basic run down of all of the expenses that occur regularly from year to year in my household I would add more detail, but that would in my opinion open my family up to too much visibility. I don’t care to share my families true financial situation as it is in my opinion very embarrassing, but we are in the process of working on it. Soon our debt will be much smaller I hope. However, if you want to do well writing down every unexpected finance you might encounter throughout the year such as oil changes, vehicle inspection and even license replacement are good things to remind yourself of. For instance a good thing that I didn’t add to my sample list is my husbands food handlers card it is something he needs for work that he has to renew every 2 years and it cost money. His work clothes, I swear I replace those two or three times a year because of how rough he is on them that should be included. Take a day or even a week to consider every single expense that you end up having to pay each year even if it is a one time thing. Do you have a copay for Dr’s appointments? Do you know there’s one or two months that you somehow end up seeing the Dr every year for those appointments? Include those.

Birthdays, anniversaries for friends or family that you celebrate by providing gifts include that. This list is called the everything list and it should include everything. Chores and errands can be broken down this way too. There are certain things we only do a couple of times a year, there are things we do every month, or only every few months. The everything list can help us work together with out spouses not only to help alleviate some of the work load, but also help prepare us for our financial situation. When we as parents can see the impending future we can prevent and lower stress by preparing for the inevitable. Of course we all have unexpected expenses that are bound to occur. We have to replace a broken window, or a flat tire. We have an unexpected work event, or an unexpected accident. Things like this happen all of the time, and that is what an emergency fund or savings account is supposed to be for. However, if you can plan for the known you can then better plan for the unknown by writing all of it down before it occurs you can prepare yourself for the unexpected, because you already know where the money is going for the year.

 

15 Month Baby Post

masks-833421_1280My Mental Health:

Wow, what a crazy first three months the start to year two has been. My husband received a promotion and I have returned home to continue my writing career. The baby is super active and getting into absolutely everything. I’m finally on the other side of postpartum and enjoying my life with baby. I started working part-time for instacart just to make sure I’m bringing in some consistent money. Instacart is a company/app that purchases and brings groceries straight to a persons front door. I work as a shopper at my local H.E.B. We also have a new family member, Lovebug, she is a beautiful pitbull-boxer mix. She is black with orange stripes and white paws. My husband has been wanting a dog for quite some time and when one of his co-workers mentioned her to him he immediately began begging me to bring her into our home. It took some convincing, but her and the baby are good friends now.

I have started working on two books one a non-fiction e-book to be published by early December on how to write a research paper like a graduate student. The other is a creative piece placed in the world of steampunk. I will eventually be moving forward to get my teachers certification. My husband and I are also considering having another baby. We have discussed it and agreed that we will revisit the discussion of trying after our tax returns come in, in the spring. We have started making progress on our debt and have cut it by $500, not a small feint considering our recent experiences.

baby-923963_1920How Baby is doing:

He is very verbal, he isn’t walking yet, but he is climbing. Climbing onto chairs and boxes, but not the couch. He is also getting into everything, he pulls things out of drawers, cupboards, boxes, and just about anything else he can get into. His verbal skills surpass what is typical for his age. So far he has the following in his verbal repertoire: Mama (was first), Dada (second), I wuv you, kitty, dog, I want pet dog, nose, this, thank you, and out. His favorite words lately are dog and out. He really seems to enjoying dancing and singing. He loves his fathers cooking more so than mine. We’ve been to daddies workplace a couple of times to eat and he will always attempt to steal my food if I don’t give him some. He loves daddies sushi.

baby-21167_1280Life as a Breastfeeding Mama:

So my breastfeeding days are over for now at least until little one number two decides to come along. Wesley and I made it 13 months with breastfeeding before he made the choice to stop. He just stopped asking for the boob naturally on his own. It didn’t take long after that for my milk to dry up.

circle-304524_1280Tips and Tricks:

If you are going to introduce a dog into a family with a baby make sure the dog is not a puppy. Also teach the baby to pet not grab or pull. Show the baby how to treat the dog. Then slowly allow the two to interact.

Once baby learns how to take the diaper off do not put baby to bed without clothes. Otherwise you might wake up to a poop disaster in the crib.