Never Leave Home without Your MiaMily

When I made the decision to move abroad with my twin toddlers, my first thought was, “You’re a dumbass! You can’t take the tots with you on your adventures. You cant hike, bike, or ride an ATV; you have TWO babies. The roads aren’t stroller friendly either. What will you do?” Then, I decided a backpack carrier was the only way to go. Surely I can take the babies on daily adventures with a backpack carrier, right? Well…not all carriers are created equal. 

  • I used wraps and kangaroo shirts when they were babies, but these dudes are pushing 30lbs now.
  • I tried the massive hiking backpack carriers and felt like they were appropriate next time I attempt to climb Everest, but they looked a little silly for a stroll to the farmers market.
  • I tried the ones where you can wear the baby dangling off your front or your back, but I knew that position wasn’t comfortable (or safe) for a baby’s hips.

Enter, the Mia Mily 3D Hipster! Hell to the yeah! This is what I’ve been looking for! I researched it ad nauseum, I read all the mommy blogs on it, read through reviews and so on, but when it arrived it was even cooler than I expected. The designers thought of everything!

Badass Fact #1:

Its designed with a baby seat to support baby’s hips whether they’re facing in, out, or worn front or back, or side.

Badass Fact #2:

I can wear my baby 9 different ways OR I can tandem wear! Yep, I can wear BOTH babies at the same time. #twinning

Badass Fact #3:

It comes with a carrying case, teething pads for the shoulders, and a shade to protect your baby’s face.

Badass Fact #4:

Its adjustable; and I mean adjustable to the fullest extent of the word! I’m 5’6 and small framed and my husband is 6’5 and quite the giant. We can both wear the carriers and adjust the straps at the shoulders, across the chest/back area, or the waist. We can choose hos high or low we wear the baby.

Badass Fact #5:

It’s super lightweight! I tried so many huge, cumbersome, bulky versions of carriers and the MiaMily trumps every one of these on portability. I stopped checking in my trunk to make sure I had my stroller, but instead, I never leave home without tossing the carriers in my front seat or in my grocery cart even. God forbid theres a tantrum in the cart while I’m mid shopping. Now, I just strap on the carrier, throw the fussy one on my back and keep on trucking!

I loved my carriers when I lived in Austin for daily life, but I’m in lust now for the way they assist me with adventure life in Central America. I’ve worn my boys at LaPaz Waterfall Gardens, hiking through butterfly gardens, riding ATVs through the jungle, shopping in mountain towns, on the beaches, monkey farms, animal sanctuaries, zoos, climbing down to the Rio Machuega, and even an aerial sky tram in the tropical rainforest 300 ft in the air!

The carriers support babies and toddlers no matter what position is preferred and get them at the right height to enjoy the same viewpoint as the adults they’re with. Whether its 95 degrees and humid in the jungle or 50 degrees in the mountains, the Mia Mily can withstand the journey.

You on live once! Strap that baby to your back and go! #YOLO

Stay Gold, 

That Girl

“That Girl” is Preggers!

It’s been one HELL of a journey to get to this point. Lordy, what I’ve been through, but it was all worth it. In the end, I’ll have TWO (not one, but two) sweet chunks o’ love (to love and to hold) from that day forward. I used to be “that girl” who has a baby business, but no baby, but now I’m “that girl” with the baby business and twins!

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Let’s recap in case you’re new to my blog. I dated my husband for seven years prior to getting engaged so when we got married we were READY to start our family. I knew after only a few shorts months of trying that this wasn’t going to be easy. Basic blood work showed I was “fertile” and I was basically laughed out of the fertility clinic (being only 28 and all).

Six months later I was put on clomid. Double the dose. Triple the dose. Nothing happemed so we moved on to femara. Double the dose. Triple the dose. Moving on to injectables. Increase injectables. Give up hope. I had a PAINFUL HSG scan done…PAINFUL (which is not the norm unless somethings wrong although no one said anything regarding that. HSG ruled inconclusive.

Then, over a year and a half later, my fertility specialist suggested a laparoscopy to check for endometriosis. BINGO! That was definitely hindering the process. When that was removed we thought we were good to go. Then…nothing. More meds, injectables, sonograms, IUIs…nada.

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So, I switched fertility doctors. “Umm…did you know you have a uterine septum?” What the what?! For two years of seeing umpteen thouand doctors, each of whom had a guided tour of my uterus and nobody stopped to see the sights?! Welp, we scheduled that surgery pronto.

By the way, if you have surgery for a septum removal, do NOT listen to the doctor when he says you’ll be back at work on Monday unless you think you can focus on the job while simultaneously dealing with the labor-esque contractions your body goes into trying to deliver the uterine ballooon that’s being held in your uterus. If you can do that, mazel tov! Me? I was on bedrest for two weeks with my legs squeezed together and crying in the fetal position.

So, fast forward another year, thousands of dollars spent, more meds, more procedures, more injectables, more scheduled pharmaceutical trips, more doctor visits, and one TRAGIC, heart wrenching pregnancy loss. Finally comes June, 2015 when the stars finally aligned for us.

I go to the doctor for a day 3 ultrasound, no cysts. They GIVE me $1300 worth of meds that were donated. Hallelujah! Some financial relief that allowed me to move forward this time. Every day for a week I went for lab draws at 7am, sonograms at 4pm. No cysts, no damage, no hyper stimulation. Looked good! On June 7 (my 32nd birthday) we’re ready for an IUI (aka turkey baster insimination), then we did that again on June 8th. This time I had 7 follicles (ie 7 possible chances to create life), 4 of which were “very” mature, and…TWO of them decided they were ready to meet me, their mama!

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Not one, but TWO! I found out on Father’s Day that my babies were here, but last Friday it was confirmed that I had the twins I felt I had. Baby A and Baby B will be in my arms early 2016.

I know I likely have many readers struggling with infertility and I hope you don’t find this post discouraging. I hope you find it encouraging. Whenever I get concerned, I hear God’s voice saying, “Whay are you afraid? Peace, be still” Matthew 8:26

He has got your back, ladies. Turn to Him and pray for your babies. He nows when it is your turn so be patient and He will come through. 

Stay gold, Ponyboy

That Girl

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Fighting the Good Fight: Raising Kids on Faith

“That’s my brother. My Mom calls him Captain Crazy.” Oops. Guilty mom alert and pretty sure I didn’t mean for the oldest to repeat that. But sometimes it’s not just one kid that’s crazy, it’s all three…and therefore I am crazy too.  Every now and then it is truly insane around here. And by insane I mean the most unpredictable, unthinkable, and what-on-earth-are-we-doing kinds of days.

But we’re fighting a good fight here. A really, really good one. It’s a fight to raise men of faith with character, ambition, courage, and (one of my favs) a healthy sense of humor.

Have you ever just watched a little boy play? Maybe a three year old captivated in his own little world of dragons and swords (squirrels and sticks) with an uncontainable zeal for life and enough energy to run a marathon. Always on the move; jumping, spinning, and throwing himself on the ground. On multiple occasions I’ve questioned my children’s hearing because I literally must shout their names 3 times before they snap out of dragon world with a, “me?” Yes sweet child, you. I am trying so terribly hard to help you tame that wild little spirit.

It feels like a lost cause to correct every single thing that my children do in the course of a day. Why? Because it is a lost cause.  In my mind, constant correction doesn’t tame the spirit, it crushes it. I love, love, love the wild little side of my boys so in these young years! The day to day is tough (understatement of my life) but my husband and I try to focus our efforts on a few broad categories and expect to focus more on specifics as the boys get older (check back in about 7 years for that post). And before friends and family laugh at these, remember that I said we’re working on these; we certainly have not mastered them.

LISTENING: My sweet boys have the biggest and brownest eyes you have literally ever seen. 

Big eyes

I’ve learned that they have a certain stare that can be translated, “Mommy, I see your mouth moving but I’m not hearing any of your words.” My new approach is to make eye contact, give short and concise instructions, then have them repeat what I said. It works a solid 60% of the time. In my mind, listening and following through will be appreciated by future teachers, will get us closer to being out the door on time (I once heard myself say “put on your shoes” 12 times), and will certainly save my sanity.

RESPECT FOR STUFF: Literally everything falls into this category…toys, utensils, cups, papers, books, trees, flowers, chairs, shoes, floors, cars, etc… Little boys must touch everything…EVERYTHING!! I tell myself that it’s part of learning, which is true. However, breaking things is not ok. One of my pet peeves is things being ruined or broken just because “he breaks everything.” Don’t get me wrong here, my kids have broken, spilled, torn, and squished plenty of things but I try to stay a step ahead of them or at least use teachable moments to constantly encourage respect for ‘stuff.’

ADVENTURE: One look at kid entertainment and you’ll see superheroes, explorers, discoveries, and a whole host of action packed adventure. My sweet boys seem to be “adventurous” in quite scary ways; jumping off couches, scaling high furniture, climbing the door frames like monkeys, or sword fighting using any and every object that is remotely long or skinny. 

Standing on Couch

It is truly a case by case basis to figure out what we will and will not approve of for the boys. Some of their suggestions are an immediate ‘no.’ But other suggestions have me coming back to a couple of thoughts; we are raising men and men love adventure and adventure is ideally both fun and safe. Will they possibly get hurt? Yep. Will they possibly build confidence? Yep. Will I possibly regret this? Yep. Will I possibly be overcome with pride? Yep. Is parenting a whole host of difficult questions? Yep.

CAMARADERIE: I am not competitive; never have been, and never will be. But these boys? I can’t even count how many meltdowns per day we have over who is the ‘winner,’ the first, best, fastest, tallest, loudest (my middle child always win this one), and the list goes on. The only real loser of these conversations is me! So we started to focus on brotherhood, teamwork, camaraderie, and we made a shift to encouragement over competition. 

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And let me tell you, it has been GLORIOUS. Good attitudes make winners and bad sports make losers. Talk about a good fight! Fingers crossed that this one pays off when high school sports begin.

Don’t misunderstand me here, we do a whole lot more parenting than these four things. But life with boys can quickly become a crazy house full of little minions that don’t listen, break everything they touch (which is going to be everything), run wild in dangerous ways, and allow natural competition to break one another down. We certainly don’t get it right every time but we’re trying and we’re fighting the good fights.

From the battlefield,

Mommy Pigg

 

 

 

My Little Miracle

The machines began to beep just as I was closing my eyes to rest. It had been a long morning with rushing to the hospital; being sent home from not being dilated enough, then back to the hospital again because the pain was just a little more than I could take. I was not one of those women who wanted to experience the miracle of birth without any medication. I wanted the drugs. And I wanted them ASAP! The epidural did help ease the pain, however it also made it difficult for me to breathe. They attached an oxygen mask to help with that discomfort and strapped on a heart rate monitor. Finally, the drama seemed to be dwindling and I was told to try and relax. I breathed a little easier with the mask on, at least until the next dose of drama was announced with loud, consistent beeping sounds.

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My doctor rushed in as the heart monitor attached to my belly began to make a weird sound. He gave one look at the nurse, and I could tell something wasn’t right. Within seconds, a rush of nurses came storming in. I didn’t even know what was happening, or what was going on. I did know that something was not right with my baby, and that he was about to come bursting into this world one way or another. The bottom half of my body was numb from the epidural, so the full episiotomy incision that was made, didn’t even make me wince. My sweet boy would not budge from his 9-month bubble of safety, and the doctor had to use a machine to suction him out. Pull, yank, snip, and he was finally out. At last I was able to exhale with relief, however the feeling subsided very quickly because my baby wasn’t breathing, or moving.

I looked over at, my husband, Daniel, because if he was calm and ok, I knew everything was going to be fine. He was the one I could always count on to reassure me. When I saw his face go white, and his body tense up and fall back on the sofa in the room, I started to cry. All the visions, and hopes I had were being ripped away from me, and I begin to cry harder, only this time another cry was also heard in the room; small but strong. The best noise I had ever heard in my life. I welcomed the tears that were streaming down my face. As weak and nauseous as I felt after having lost quite a bit of blood, once they placed my little human in my arms, nothing else mattered.IMG_6110

Stopping Nursing…Today is the Day

Today my baby girl is 7 months old. Today is the LAST day she gets my breastmilk. I pumped for 6 long, hard months. I am a mix of emotions, which is why I was prompted to share this with you all.

When Sydney was born, I tried really hard to get her to latch. I dreamed of breastfeeding her for the whole first year. We went to lactation consultants, occupational therapy, we tried all sorts of tricks and it just didn’t come easily. I pumped around the clock and tried to nurse for the first 10 weeks. Then I went to exclusively pumping. You guys exclusively pumping is HARD WORK. You have to find time, ideally when your baby is napping, to hook up to the machine, pump out milk like a cow, and then repeat 8-10 times a day. Oh, and you still need to feed your baby 8-10 times a day too when you aren’t pumping. That was a lot of TIME spent creating milk to nourish my baby. It’s really fascinating what our bodies are capable of, and how we can sustain life with what our bodies produce. It was so rewarding to see her drink something that I had just made, and to be filled up and so happy. It made it all so worthwhile. I was HAPPY to do it, I was THANKFUL I could, and I was GRATEFUL that my baby was healthy and getting MY milk.

Sydney

I pumped, and pumped and pumped. I still hear that dang machine going on in my head. I had a huge stock pile growing, with a couple hundred bags. We even had to buy a deep chest freezer to store it all. As 4 months came, I really wanted more time with my baby and to go out more and enjoy not being glued to my pump. We NEEDED to experience life outside the house and be surrounded by other people. So I eventually began to wean myself down to 5 pumps a day, then 4, then 2 and before I knew it I was done pumping. This was about a month ago when I finally finished. I had already started to use my supply when I began weaning, because she needed more milk than I was producing. I truly thought I had enough supply to make it a year. News flash, milk goes very quickly with a growing baby!

Aunt Emily and Sydney

There were a lot of tears. I cried on several occasions, through breast en
gorgement and clogged milk ducts, trying to pump in the middle of the night and nothing would come out. Yet, there were also those happy moments with daddy and other family members that were able to have memorable experiences with feeding Sydney. She is very lucky to have so much family close by and in her life.

For the last month, I started introducing Formula to her with breastmilk for two reasons. 1. To get her used to the flavor, which she really doesn’t have a problem with, she is a tank and will eat anything! 2. To stretch out my supply as long as I could. It was like everyday I counted how many bags I had left, trying to avoid THIS day. I am sad I didn’t reach the year mark, I feel guilty for weaning too early. But then I think about what I did do… I gave her my milk for 7 months, which would be a huge gift for other moms who can’t breastfeed. I gave her more of my time, when I didn’t have to pump so much. I gave her a happier and healthier mommy, not a crazed, frustrated mad women who cried every time I tried to nurse. Which, in the end was a better mommy for her and what she really needed. Well here we are, we made it to the 7 month mark! Today is the day, and I will celebrate it with my baby girl. Happy 7 months Sydney Rae, I love you.

Bennett and Sydney

Baby On-the-Go

I’m currently assisting a family with their nine month old baby boy and will be traveling (worldwide) with them from now until next Spring. This has had me thinking, “What gear do you need (and not need) when traveling with a baby?”

STROLLER

I’ve always known not all strollers were created equal, but some are just flat out a pain in the ass! Any stroller that requires you to set up, or break down, is NOT travel friendly. I prefer a 4Moms, BabyJogger, Stokke Xplory, or Orbit baby that allow for easy, one-hand folds. Plus, these all have PLENTY of space for your stuff so you don’t have to carry a purse, diaper bag, coats, blankets, and shopping bags. Boo to being a packhorse.

CARSEAT

The law states that a baby or toddler does NOT have to be in a carseat or carrier in pulic trasportation so…forgo the 30lb carrier and just leave it in your car. Get yourself a bomb-diggity baby carrier like the Baby K’tan or Happy Baby Wrap and just call it a day. When you’re wearing the baby on-the-go, there’s a 0% chance you’ll accidentally leave it on the subway or bus, lol. Keep it strapped to you.

BACKPACK

The mama I work for carries an Hermes Birkin and/or her Prada diaper bag on the daily; however, I’m sure she would opt for a backpack  or crossbody when we’re traveling because there’s no shame in her game and we both agree “comfort trumps style” when it comes to traveling with a baby. Diaper Dude has great backpack, Lily Jade has diaper bags/backpacks that double as purses, and SkipHop offers some crossbody options. The goal is to downsize, consolidate, and have all that you need.

Lily Jade ROCKS! (you heard it here first)

PATEMM PAD

You may think you have a portable diaper changing pad, but if you don’t have the PateMM, you ain’t got a clue how awesome life could be. The PateMM is circular, wipeable vinyl, packs up flat and quare, and is just sticky enough to hold your wee little gymnast in place during changing. You can whip this out of your pack for a quick diaper change on the airplane, the bus, the amusement park changing table…whatev.

COVERED GOODS

I think this is a must have! This lil feat of engineering is a nursing cover that doubles as a carseat cover, shopping cart cover, OR scarf! It provides 360 degree coverage, which is great to protect baby from sun, rain, stares, glare, germs, etc. while on the move!

EZPZ PRODUCTS

When you’re away from home with your baby, you can’t bring your toddler meal set or placemat with you. The restaurant will likely bring you a glass dish, sharp silverware, and baby may not be able to reach their food. That is unless you pack an EZPZ Happy Mat or bowl! This is easy to drop into the diaper bag or backpack and super easy to clean up since it’s nonstick. Pull it out at the restaurant, chop up baby’s food and let them just go at it. It won’t slip off the table, they can’t move the placemat/dish, and when you’re done, you just have to rinse it off or wipe it out. DONE and DONE!
EzPz Fun Mat, Shop Whole Heart

What would you add to this list?