Entries in baby boy (57)
The boys and I just got back from our 2 week vacation to Portland. I grew in a small town just outside of Portland so I consider the North West my stomping grounds. We go back often to visit family and friends. I love it there. I love it there so much I often wonder why we don't live there!? The first week we were there it was absolutely beautiful! After living in Dallas for the past year I am always surprised at how the beauty of a place can really take my breath away. Literally, it will catch me so off guard that I feel like I might cry. (Dear Dallas, you are so good to us but you aren't the prettiest place we have ever lived. Sorry. I love you for other reasons.) Then, the second week we were there it rained. Constantly. And then I remembered why I don't live there. I love the sun. I often think of myself as someone who follows the sun wherever it goes. I am drawn to it, hence the move to Hawaii the minute I graduated from high school. (and Dallas, that is why I like you most, you are nothing if not sunny!)
I love that in Dallas I can take my kids to the park everyday. Or play in the back yard while our funny little chickens cluck around us. Yesterday we stayed at the park all afternoon. I just let Henry run around with his little friends while I lay on a blanket with some other mommy friends talking about our day. When we got home I put Wayne in his crib and got Henry a few books to look at while I made dinner. The sun shining in their window was perfect so I decided to snap a few pictures. I want to remember days like this forever. I spend a lot of time wondering why I am in the place I am - physically, emotionally, spiritually. How did I get here? What am I supposed to learn from this? But yesterday afternoon I didn't wonder at all. The warm sun beaming in the window, the grass stains on Henry's little gray pants and the smell of my warm baby content in his crib reassured me I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
The boys are wearing Winter Water Factory clothing in these photos. Have you heard of them? Their cute little spring line is out and has the cutest prints and patterns for girls and boys. To celebrate their new line we are giving away a $100 gift card to their store. To enter the giveaway like their Facebook page or their Instagram feed and then leave a comment here letting me know which item (or item(s)) you would buy with the gift card! Only one entry per person. The winner will be chosen at random and announced here on Friday the 11th by the end of the day.
Now that the new year has begun and Wayne is starting to sleep longer through the night I am diving back in to work. My plan for the year is to work smarter not harder. I plan on only taking on projects that I am excited about. As a freelancer it is easy to get stuck in the habit of working more, more and more. Anytime you think of something "extra" you want to buy you just take on an "extra" project. But when you have kids you can't really do that anymore. Time is a hot commodity. So saving money, and being selective about projects is how you survive...
As I planned out my next year as a working mama of two I decided I would share a few of my working mama tips. This is how I balance work and life (if you can call it balancing... I like to just think of it as life with kids, things are messy and unbalanced) I work from home and have 2 really young kids so this stuff might not apply to everyone but I think a lot of it is pretty universal and it has saved me quite a bit of time and money in the last couple of years.
1. Meal Plan - I know this one sounds boring and trivial but it has been a game changer in our house. Every week I sit down and write out a dinner menu. We usually eat out once a week and have leftovers one night a week so I really only have to plan 5 meals. I take stock of what I already have and then only buy things for those meals (I also stock up on lots of eggs for breakfast and fruits and veggies for lunches). Then I try my hardest to not go to the store for the entire week. I sorta make a game out of it. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I lose. But we save a ton of money this way and there is less stress at that time of night when everyone just goes bonkers. You know, your kid has that switch that automatically flips at 5 in the evening? And they start screaming about everything and nothing? and going wild for no apparent reason? Mine too! It's so convenient because it's right at dinner time when you need to get food on the table. Having a plan usually helps this time of night go a lot smoother.
2. Scale Down - This was/is a hard one for me. We decided as a couple to live well within our means a long time ago. I hate feeling like I can never buy anything I "want" because all of my money is going towards stuff that I "need". I want to be able to take my kids to get ice cream and buy myself a new shirt every once in a while and not feel like I am breaking the bank. So we scaled down. We don't have overly expensive "needs". I used to drive a new Honda Element that I absolutely loved. Now, I drive an old Volvo wagon (she's a boxy little thing but I think she's pretty) that we don't have to make payments on. Instead of furnishing our house all at once we shop around at thrift stores and buy things on sale. In order to make our lives less stressful we scaled down our expenses. Now I don't have to worry about taking some time off of working here and there to spend more time with my kids. I know I will be able to pay my bills because I have scaled down.
3. Child Care - This is probably the most important one for me. It is absolutely impossible to work with children pulling you in several different directions. It's even harder when they are in someone's care that you don't really trust. Or at a daycare facility that you feel uneasy about. I have extreme anxiety about my children's well-being. I'm not just exaggerating either. I mean I really have panic attacks over my children's health and safety. I tried taking Henry to a day care while I worked for a while and I would go pick him up really early every single time because I couldn't breathe thinking about all of the things that could possibly happen to him there. I know that might sound a little nuts but I am pretty nuts when it comes to my kids. I think most people are. You have got to be able to find something that works for you. I finally found a nanny that I love. I love her so much. She is more money than a day care but that is why I drive an old Volvo wagon. Because knowing that my kids are safe and well taken care of is more important than a nice new car. And without our nanny I am not able to work at all - so she seems really worth every penny. If child care solutions are hard for you don't worry! It's hard for everyone! Don't give up if a child care situation doesn't feel right. Try something else until you feel secure. I don't know why I felt like I needed to say that? Maybe because I really was about to give up on ever trying to work again when my mom encouraged me to keep trying different solutions. Working has helped me feel fulfilled and sane. It helps me be a better mom. So it was kind of a big deal to be able to find something that helped me do what I love and still feel like a good mom.
4. Get your partner on board - I don't know how single parents do it. They are amazing. I know I can't do it without my other half. Ever since I read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg I have had a way easier time asking Conor to do specific things around the house to help take care of the kids. I am able to express to him what exactly it is that will help me each day. For example Conor gets Henry dressed and ready for the day before he leaves for work. This simple thing helps me get myself and Wayne ready so much faster and there is less drama when we head for the door. It is amazing how that simple little act makes my day go a lot smoother. Without him putting in time and energy I would not be able to get anything done.
5. Let go of the Type A personality - I am still working on this one. Those who know me well know that I am a closet perfectionist. I like to pretend like I can fly by the seat of my pants but really I am constantly planning, plotting and cleaning. With two kids, a job and myself to take care of I don't have a lot of time for relaxing, painting my nails... just sitting and talking with my husband about anything...let alone cleaning and organizing. But those things are sooo important. I have learned the hard way that sacrificing relaxation or one on one time with my husband for a totally spotless house does not make me happier. It makes me grumpier. So I have had to learn to overlook messes. I walk out of my house with dirty dishes in the sink quite often. More times in the past 2 months than I ever have in my entire life actually! I have a "good mom" mental checklist that I go over every night in my head: did I feed the kids good healthy meals? Did I take Henry to do something fun or exciting or to the park? Did I give him enough time and attention? Did I tell them that I love them and make them feel important? If I can answer yes to those questions I feel good about myself. I've stopped asking myself if the house is clean or if there is clean clothes left in the dryer... that stuff can just WAIT!
Anyway, I hope this was helpful to someone out there! If not, at least you can enter the RockaRoo giveaway! I've teamed up with 4moms to do a fun little giveaway. One lucky Mama out there will win one of these new RockaRoo infant swings. I'm a huge fan of all of the 4moms products but this is by far my favorite! It is super light so it is easy to relocate to different rooms around the house. I think it looks super comfortable - Wayne slips right in that seat and just hangs out while I eat (with two hands!) or play with Henry. I love the rocking motion and you can really crank it up for those babies that need MORE motion in their ocean (this would have been so nice to have 2 years ago with Henry who was a very very difficult sleeper). To enter LIKE 4moms on Facebook and leave a comment below letting me know you "liked" them and that you want to win the brand new RockaRoo swing by 4moms! Also check out the 4moms 31 days of RockaRoo on Facebook - they are giving away a RockaRoo swing everyday for the entire month of January so if you don't win one here, you still have 30 more chances!! Ready Go!
This giveaway will be closed on Friday January 10th and a winner will be announced right here on JaneReaction. This giveaway is only open to US residents.
So I know this photo op might be a bit over done but I'm still not over writing out the new year with sparklers on a slow timer. In fact I didn't feel like the new year had really begun until I did it. So, sorry, I'm not sorry.
So now here we are in 2014. I've been thinking a lot about the start to this new year. I've been thinking about it since November actually - planning my New Year's resolutions and getting really determined to accomplish just about anything. I thought a lot about what a really successful year looks like - lots of money is earned and saved, huge trips are planned and taken, less time is spent stressing over the little things and on and on... and as I planned my New Year's goals I couldn't get that beautifully designed quote that I saw a million times on Pinterest out of my head. You know the one about doing something "amazing" with your "one wild and precious life"... and I started to feel overwhelmed. I felt as though I somehow need to make 2014 the most exciting and astonishing year ever. And just as soon as I thought I might have figured out how I am going to do that I saw another quote (again on Pinterest) about not only living the "length of your life" but also "the width".... WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? I mean I know what it is supposed to mean, but what does it really look like? Do you start the feel the pressure too? Like you might be wasting your life if you're not flitting off to some new country every day and buying your dream home and working to the point of exhaustion? Are those the things I need to do to feel like I have successfully lived a full life?
And then I take stock of everything good in my life - and at the center of it all, the thing I am most proud of is my home. It's a comfortable home I created with my best friend. And we filled it with two of the most amazing little boys you have ever seen in your life. Their smile's take my breath away every single day. And I think that that has got to be the "width". If loving them like crazy is what I spend every last second of my one wild and precious life doing it will be a success. And I will say at the end of it all that I have really lived.
I do have a few new year's resolutions for 2014. Goals that I can actually cross of my list at the end of the year if I have accomplished them. But my real goal this year is to just love. Love the people in my life the length and the width and back again.
Hope you are all preparing to have the best Thanksgiving ever! I know I sure am. Henry's birthday falls on the first of December so we have a lot to celebrate over here. I am getting ready to throw him a tiny little robot party at our house after Thanksgiving is over. He came up with the theme himself. Bobots of course. He is obsessed.
There are a few things that can throw a toddler for a loop: daylight savings time, a new sibling, being ridiculously sick for a week straight... And oh yeah! All three of those things happened to Henry in the same week. Poor kid. He is having the hardest time sleeping after that evil tri-fecta hit him square in the face. He has never (and I mean NEVER NEVER NEVER) been a good sleeper but that just really did a number on him.
I've tried everything. Singing to him for hours, rocking him, laying by him, begging him... and some other tactics that I'm not so proud of (yelling, threatening time out...etc. all of those fool moves that never really get you anywhere and just make you feel like a crappy person). Nothing works. Sometimes he naps but usually he doesn't. Sometimes he sleeps at night but usually he gets up at 4 in the morning and wants to play. It's been rough.
But... what I wanted to say about his birthday and stuff is that in the moments when I remember to just breathe and try to just love the crap out of him sans nap - we end up laying next to each other in his bed cheek to cheek and I ask him serious questions and listen to his answers -
Me: "Henry, what is your favorite thing?"
Him: pauses for a long time while licking his lips... "Bobots!"
Me: "Oh really?! Why do you love Robots so much?"
Him: pauses again for a long time... "Uh... buts!"
Me: "You love their buttons?"
Me: "What else is your favorite?"
Him: he takes forever to think of his answers... "izza"
Me: "You love Pizza? Do you want a bobot izza party this year?"
The conversation continues and we end up talking about all sorts of things: elephants, babies, daddy, hats, motorcycles... and he is particularly fond of "gurrrs" aka monsters. The conversations make me laugh and melt my heart. He really is just trying to be the best little 2 year old there ever was but he just doesn't know how to sleep. And I have to forgive him for that. Sleep eludes the best of us sometimes, especially when there is so much in the world to discover and be curious about. So this year I am so excited to celebrate my little guy's birthday! Especially because I think his mind is going to be blown by the robot cookies, huge balloons and lots and lots and lots of cheese pizza... oh and I may or may not be attempting to make a life-size Henry-Bot. He's going to flip out! I can't wait! I hope he always stays this curious and passionate about life. It's what makes him so great! and although I could seriously use a nap I wouldn't have him any other way!
Happy Birthday! Love you, my little Henny!!
Wayne Norman Riley was born October 28th 2013 at 12:51 am. It was a crazy whirlwind week before and after and I have barely been able to get my mind around it all. The week leading up to Wayne's birth I was super anxious. My midwife assured me that I would not make it to my due date (October 22) because I was dilated to a 3 at 37 weeks - so I was anxiously awaiting his arrival long before he came. As my due date came and went I became even more anxious. If you have ever gone past your due date I'm sure you know what I am talking about. If you haven't ever had the pleasure let me tell you that it can drive you completely insane. It feels like your entire world has come to a complete halt and no one else has slowed a bit. I prayed and begged the universe to just let him come out. I desperately wanted to hold my baby in my arms and take care of him. I did everything I had heard of to induce labor - walking for miles, clary sage oil, pineapple, spicy food, sex, more walking... nothing worked. I was dilated to a 3 for 3 weeks and never made any progress.
Then Henry got sick. Really sick. Throwing up, diarrhea... it was the worst. Then Conor got sick. Then I got sick. We were all throwing up and not eating anything. All of the sudden, I didn't want the baby to come out anymore. I didn't want to bring a newborn baby home to a germ infested house. I didn't want to go in to labor after not eating all day and being dehydrated. At about 10:30 pm, as I lay in bed praying that the baby would hold off for a few more days, Henry ran in crying for his mama covered in throw up. I stripped him, got him in the tub and as I sat next to him on the tile floor picking chunks of food out of his hair I felt the contractions start up. They were strong and fast immediately.
Conor woke up his sweet mother and told her I was in labor. She took over cleaning up Henry as Conor got us ready to go to the birth center. It was 11:20 pm when we called the midwife. She told us she would meet us at the birth center at midnight. I got my running shoes on and somehow managed to get myself in the car. Conor had to pull over several times on the way there so I could throw up all over the side of the road. We reached the birth center at 12:03 am. I breathed through several contractions as I walked up the front steps. As I walked through the front door Tracy (our midwife) said she wanted to check me - sometimes when your sick you can have some pretty painful contractions but not actually be in labor... when she said that I wanted to head butt her. If this was not labor then I was a monkey's uncle! She checked me and I was at a 6. I immediately crawled in to the tub where I planned on spending the rest of the night in labor. I pressed my forehead into the side of the tub as hard as I could while trying to breath through the contraction. After about 30 minutes Tracy asked me if I wanted to push. I told her I wanted to but only because I wanted it to be over with already. I didn't think I was actually ready to push... and then I couldn't help myself. My body started to push, I had no control. And then it really started to hurt. I think there is always a point during labor where you say to yourself, I just can't do this. I'm just not strong enough. My body is too small and too weak to do this. And then you realize you have no choice in the matter at all. Your body is going to do it whether you like it or not. And do it I did. It's the craziest rush of adrenaline you'll ever get in your life.
Conor knelt down over the tub and caught Wayne and placed him on my chest. When they told me the birth time was 12:51 I was so confused. I lost all track of time and could have sworn I was in labor for longer than that. Conor cut the umbilical chord and helped me onto the bed. They stitched me up as Conor and I drooled over our new perfect little miracle. I couldn't stop telling Wayne how perfect he was. After about an hour I took a shower and got cleaned up. We settled in to the bed and took a nap for about 2 hours. We were home by 6:30 that morning.
Henry continued to be sick for several more days. Just when we thought he was over it he would throw up again. It was a nightmare. Trying to keep everything sanitized so the baby didn't get sick, trying to comfort a sick toddler while nursing and taking care of a baby - it was one of the hardest weeks of my life. I was so worried and emotional and tired. Something had to give or I was going to lose my mind. Finally after 7 days of throwing up Henry got better. Wayne never got what we all had and things are finally starting to feel normal. It's funny what having a new baby can do to you. I have cried tears of joy everyday since he was born. I am so thankful for my little family and for all of the joy my babes bring and will bring in to my life. I know I am so lucky to be their mom and as hard and scary as it is I wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world.
Above: Wayne in his new MamaRoo Swing. When we had Henry out in Hawaii we had absolutely no room for anything other than a crib. With Wayne we still have a very minimalistic approach to baby gear but a swing is by far my new favorite baby accessory.
While in San Diego a couple of weeks ago we ate at one of my favorite restuarants - Eclipse Chocolate. I love this place! Practically every dish is infused with chocolate or carmel or something sweet. They even put vanilla bean in their water... it is delicious! We met up with some friends from Hawaii who so kindly took these sweet family pictures! You can check out more here. I love the idea of having simple mornings like this frozen in time. These are the times that I want to remember. Thanks Amy Elizabeth!
We are expecting! Yup, that's the big Riley family news. I'm 18 weeks and feeling great! Due October 22. We have been sitting on the news for a while because we had a misscarriage this last October (another blog post entirely) but things seem to be going really well and baby is healthy and kicking! We have been trying to tell Henry about the new baby but so far he is just really interested in belly buttons and not babies. I can't wait to see him interact with a sibling. He is going to make this very interesting for sure! We are over the moon excited to be a family of four!
I've been invited to be part of a fun little photography project. Spilled Milk- is a collaborative photography blog. 18 mothers from around the world are prompted by a weekly theme reflecting some aspect of parenthood and the complexity and beauty that comes with raising our kids. I love looking at these beautiful pictures and thinking about how wonderful and exciting it really is to be a mom.
Some days are hard. Sometimes the screaming and the crying make me want to scream and cry myself. If you have ever had days like this too (and if you never have, well, then I don't think you are human) read this blog post. It made me chuckle out loud to myself. I especially like the part when this parent talks about wanting to hold anyone under water who says, "enjoy every moment! it goes by so fast!" I hope it makes you laugh too... Because we have all heard someone say that. And we are trying to enjoy every moment, we really are! But some days are just plain hard! Because that's what being a mom is. Making a sacrifice for someone you love more than life.
And then there are days like today. Conor and I took our shiny new bikes down to the lake for our first ride! We have been looking forward to getting bikes for some time now! Henry screamed and cried when we forced his Mickey Mouse helmet over his cute dumbo ears and buckled it under his squishy little chin. He somehow managed to get his legs up over his bike sit and kick me in the back during the entire ride. He cried and screamed in the car on the way to the farmers market. While at the market he ran away from us and hit small doggies in the face. We made one last stop at an estate sale on the way home and as Conor bargained for some new furniture I chased Henry all over the front lawn. Tired and out of breath I finally scooped him up kicking and screaming and started towards the house to tell Conor I couldn't take another second when an old man stopped me. I noticed that he had been watching me and as I got closer he said, "that was my favorite part of being a dad! and a grandpa! I loved chasing my kids and grandkids around.." Reliving his past as he watched me chase my crazy Henry around that lawn made this man smile bigger than the moon! It was as if I had taken him right back to the best days of his life. I could see it in his eyes. "My wife and I had 5 kids you know! and chasing them around like that was my favorite!" I said a few polite words and hurried along to find my husband. As we crossed the street to get into our car I saw him helping his cute little old wife down the stairs... no children with them, no grandkids at their heels. Just the two of them. I sat in the car and wept.
Yes these days are hard! and they are long. And sometimes I'm pretty sure the best days of my life were in college when I was wild and free and everyone I lived with was over 21 - and I could sleep under the stars on the beach all night if I wanted to and not have to nurse anyone at 5:30 in the morning if I didn't want to! But when I think of all of this being history ... when I imagine Conor helping me down stairs because I am too old to do it myself, and all of our kids have kids of their own.. my heart aches for these long hard days! And I say a silent prayer that God will somehow make these days last forever. Now, writing this, I question my sanity a little. Because it is hard. But something inside me tells me I will be just like that old man someday. Yearning for the days that my babies were little. Wishing and willing to give up anything to go back to even the hardest day.
We decided that we wanted to find the best pizza place in Dallas. Every weekend we have been going to a new pizza place and trying it out. So far I think our favorite place is Serious. The pictures above were taken at Eno's which was pretty good too but we liked Eno's more for the ambiance than the pizza. Pizza is also a pretty affordable date night for families trying to save money - you know, pay the bills, buy diapers, save for your kid's college?! We usually order one pizza for the three of us to share and an appetizer. We don't drink so water is just fine for us. Our bill has been less than $20 every weekend! What's your favorite pizza date?