Newsletter – October 2014

Hello children!

Back to our newsletter catchup! We’re on to October, a month full of fun fall activities and of course Halloween! We all had a blast this year. When I asked Peanut what she wanted to be for Halloween, she knew immediately that she wanted to be Merida from Brave, so I made her costume before Banana was born. I thought that Twig might want to choose something for herself, but she was happy to go along with Peanut’s idea and be one of the little brother bears, so we went with a full family theme. I was Queen Elinor (as a bear), Banana was a little brother bear too, and daddy was King Fergus.

Peanut, you are just so amazingly smart. I’ve always thought you were ahead, but wasn’t sure if it was parental bias. Well it’s confirmed that you’re really just smart. It’s all your teacher can tell me over and over. You’re just zipping through the books that you get to take home from school to learn to read. You love school in every way (except getting ready in the morning) and you love learning.

You also started basketball this month. This is sort of an “intro to basketball” class that you take before the actual Junior Jazz season starts. You caught right on to defensive stance and want to show anyone who will watch. You’re so excited to start playing basketball like daddy.

Twig, you love being my little helper around the house while Peanut is at school. You’re following me around the house helping me with every little task the whole time she’s gone. You especially love washing dishes, though try to insist that you need the good brush even when mommy needs it.

You’re turning into such a little person. You’ve started drawing real circles. It seems like such a simple thing, but it’s really the first time that you’re able to think something in your head and make it come out on the paper like you want it to. You also love music. You’re always telling me which songs you like and don’t like on the radio and you’re happiest when we’re playing music in the house. You also really got Halloween this year. Like you understood it was coming (though had a fuzzy concept on how long it would be until it came), understood what was happening, and got super excited to actually go out and trick-or-treat.

Banana, you are growing so fast. You started laughing this month. Listening to you laugh is one of my favorite things. You’re such a happy little baby. And you absolutely adore daddy. You just light up every time that you see him like you’ve really been missing him all the time he was gone. He’s the one who makes you laugh the most too. And of course you love your big sisters. Peanut loves to hold you and begs to do it all the time. And of course they’re always trying so hard to make you laugh. I can already see how much you adore them and I’m so excited to watch how that relationship grows.

That’s all for this month! Love you all!
Mama

Classroom Bean Bag Toss Valentines Game

So I’ve been volunteering in Peanut’s classroom on Fridays for the past few weeks. I’ve mostly been helping the struggling readers, which is surprisingly rewarding, but yesterday was the big Valentines Day party, so I was asked to make a game. After looking around Pinterest at all the great ideas (and there are plenty!), I just wasn’t finding what I wanted, so I decided to make my own! A bean bag toss!

The construction is simple. We just went by a local furniture store and grabbed a box out of their recycling (after calling and asking, of course) that seemed big enough. We painted one side pink (some leftover house paint, but acrylic would do) and let it dry. Then I cut out hearts with a box cutter and Peanut painted those while I painted around the rims. I cut off the top of the box so that we could reach the bean bags easily and I used one of the pieces to make the legend on the side (really only necessary for the more advanced game, so if you’re making this for a toddler you can leave this out). I hot glued the legend and all the hearts on. For the bean bags, I followed this basic idea, but left out the sewing around the edges because I didn’t care if they looked pretty.

If you’re making the game for a toddler or preschooler, you can stop here. My friend’s almost 3 year old came over right after I finished making it and he had a ball just throwing the bean bags through the holes. For Peanut’s kindergarten class though, I made this worksheet to do some math while they played. In the hearts you write the number of points scored for each toss (total of 4 tosses), then add them up. Repeating shapes mean that you write the number again so you can continue adding and get your overall score. It ended up being too complicated for kindergarteners though (Peanut could do it at home when I tested, but I didn’t account for the fact that there would be 5 different kids needing help adding at the same time), so I modified it on the go. I had them do one round of everyone just tossing the bean bags, then I started calling out colors for them to aim at while tossing. The kids really enjoyed the extra level of it.

Happy Valentines Day!

 

Party In My Pants Cloth Pad Review and Giveaway!

Just a few short months ago, Banana came rushing into this world. When you’re obscenely pregnant, all you’re worried about is getting that baby out of your body. Little thought goes towards how your body is going to feel after that baby comes out. And a big part your newly postpartum body is the bleeding. Oh, the bleeding.

I don’t think I fully comprehended the bleeding before my first was born. You bleed for weeks and weeks. And you can’t use tampons or menstrual cups. Nothing inserted. So that only leaves pads.

I hate pads. I hate them with a Fiery. Burning. Passion. Well I’ll say I hated pads. That was back in my teenage days when I used disposable pads. Oh dear lordy those things are awful. They were quickly thrown to the wayside once I figured out there’s a better option with tampons (and then those where thrown to the wayside when I found an even better one with my Diva Cup). But, alas, the postpartum bleeding made me go back to those wretched things.

So this time, having been down this road before, I knew I would want something better than the disposable junk. Cue Party In My Pants Cloth Pads. As fast as I could I got my hands on the postpartum set, and let me tell you, I’m happy I did.

First off, these are genuinely cute. I didn’t think I’d care much about the patterns, but it’s kind of nice. Just a little touch of beauty to my not-so-beautiful (minus the beautiful baby of course) postpartum days. And what impressed me even more was that the beauty stays. I never did anything special to these pads in the wash (I even washed them on cold) and I have zero stains!

Which brings me to my next point. I know what you’re thinking. “But I just had a baby, I don’t have time to deal with a bunch of extra laundry!” Good news folks! I was able to just throw these pads in with my regular laundry, which I was already doing plenty of given the leaking boobs and spitting up baby and pooping baby and two other children and so on. Trust me, laundry gets done around here. So I just threw these in with the rest and they came out spick and span.

Last, and very definitely not least, these are so comfortable. I only have a handful of cloth pads, so I used them in conjunction with some disposables, and oh my goodness I could tell the difference when I was in one of these. No pad rash! I wast even aware I could wear a pad without pad rash. And without getting too far into the gory details, I bled much longer this time than with my other two (though I had no hemorrhage issues immediately after the birth, so maybe that’s why?). Not getting pad rash was absolutely vital.

Also included in the kit was a pair of breast pads. I kind of scoffed thinking I wouldn’t leak this time because I didn’t last time. Well, apparently my body took that as a challenge. These nursing pads have not only been useful, but are some of my favorites. They’re thin, but don’t leak through. They stay in place. Oh, and they’re cute too! See a theme here?!

So do you want to try them out for yourself already?!? Well Party In My Pants has been gracious enough to give away to one of my lucky readers a $10 Gift Certificate to buy whichever pads you’d like! Want to know how? Here we go!

First off, make sure to leave a comment for each entrySo if the item you accomplish says 2 entries, leave two comments! I try my best to check through and make sure everyone gets all the entries they should, but I’m not perfect! Make sure to get credit where credit’s due!

Mandatory first entry: Go to the Party In My Pants site and check it out! Leave a comment here telling me what product interests you the most. Be sure to use an email you can be contacted at in case you win!

1 entry: follow me on Twitter. If you already follow, you still get an entry!

1 entryfollow Party In My Pants on Twitter. If you already follow, you still get an entry!

1 entry: Tweet about this giveaway (leave a link to the tweet in the comment). You can tweet about this giveaway once every day for an entry. That’s up to 15 entries just from tweeting!

1 entry: follow me on Pinterest. If you already follow, you still get an entry!

1 entry: follow Party In My Pants on Pinterest. If you already follow, you still get an entry!

2 entries (don’t forget to comment twice!): follow this blog by email (or other following mechanism of your choosing).  If you already follow, you still get an entry!

2 entries: follow the Party In My Pants blog by email (or other following mechanism of your choosing). If you already follow, you still get an entry!

2 entries: become a fan of The Adventures of Lactating Girl on Facebook. If you’re already a fan, you still get an entry!

2 entries: become a fan of Party In My Pants on Facebook. If you’re already a fan, you still get an entry!

1 entry: Write a post on your Facebook page about this giveaway! Make sure you link to The Adventures of Lactating Girl on Facebook and Party In My Pants on Facebook in the post and leave a comment here each time you do it. You can do it once per day! That’s up to 15 entries!

3 entries: blog about this contest (leave a link the comment). Once per giveaway.

The winner will be chosen on Sunday, February 15th at 5PM Mountain Standard Time by random. The winner will be emailed and must respond to the email within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen. Good luck everyone!

Books Featuring Babywearing

We are avid library goers (every Wednesday!), which means we get a whole lot of random books. I’ve read books on adoption to grandmothers dying to gardening to dinosaurs, to Anne Frank. We also read a lot of books that I specifically mean to get (yay holds!), but a lot of time it’s my children bringing me various books that look interesting until our bag is full. And let’s be honest here, I grab quite a few interesting-looking random books myself.

So it’s always a pleasant surprise when we come across a book with something unexpectedly hippie parenting in it, such was the case twice in the same week recently. Two different books that were grabbed randomly from the shelves that happened to have babywearing in them!

First up: Carry Me (Babies Everywhere). This one is a pretty simple board book and obviously about babywearing from the cover. It shows a lot of different carriers in different places.

Second: Baby Parade. This one is, as you can expect from the title, babies in a parade. With a bit thrown in of a baby being worn (by a dad!).

 

Well that’s it for today. Just a couple cute books with babywearing in them for your enjoyment. Go check your library for them (or other books with babywearing!). Be sure to let me know of any gems you find.

Our Routine

It takes time to get used to having a new baby in the house. To find your routine. Now Banana is 4.5 months old and I can say we’re pretty firmly planted in the routine. I’ve found that days that we follow it, life is easier. We find more time to do things together (like playing a board game with Peanut while Twig naps), more gets accomplished that needs to get accomplished (though still not much beyond the absolute needs), and life just feels easier. Having a routine now makes me think back to my days of one child and no routine and cringe. I don’t know how, but life with three kids and a routine just feels so much easier to me than life with only one and no routine.

Anyway, we’ve found something that works for us. I wanted to share it here in case anyone on the World Wide Web may find it interesting or helpful. I know that in the early days of establishing a daily routine were hard. Finding the balance between a schedule and over-scheduled, figuring out where in the day certain activities fit, those kinds of things. So here it goes!

7am: Wake up. I’ve found that everyone in our house (well, except my husband, he wakes later), functions best on a 7am wake up time. It doesn’t always work this way, like recently when Peanut kept waking up at 5:45, but this is our aim for a wake up time. To solve that recent issue with early waking, I put a timer on a dim light in her room and the light turns on at 7am, which signals to her that she’s allowed to get out of bed. If she wakes up before the timer goes off, she has to stay in bed. Within a few days she was back to a {semi}normal waking time most days.

7-8am: Breakfast, girls get dressed. We still often take a little longer doing this than I would like (and end up getting Peanut late to school or barely on time), but we’re working on it. Banana usually is awake and socializing with the girls during this time, but sometimes is still asleep if I’m able to sneak out of the room without him.

8-8:30am: Take Peanut to school. 

8:30-11am: Twig time. Sometimes we run errands (today we went to the grocery store and took the dog to the vet), sometimes we come home and hang out, sometimes we go to the Treehouse Museum, and recently we started going to a weekly preschool for Twig once a week during this time. Twig doesn’t mind me multi-tasking our hang out time and I’m way less stressed if I run errands with only two kids (the older two start to bicker the second we step into a grocery store). Banana usually naps during this time.

11am: Pick up Peanut and snack. We started doing the snack consistently at this time when Peanut started school and was always hungry at pick up. Now they have to have a snack at this time even on weekends because it’s so ingrained. Our snack consists of two items, one of which must be a fresh fruit or veggie. Here are some examples we’ve done recently: apple slices and a graham cracker, clementine and string cheese, cucumber slices and crackers, carrots and baby bell cheese. Sometimes we do two fruits/veggies. No dips because it’s just too messy to do in the van. I just throw them together real quick and toss them in bowls that we got at a secondhand store for their play kitchen (pretty similar to these). The girls eat it on their way home.

11:15am-12:30/1pm: Play/TV while I get lunch ready. I don’t spend this entire time getting lunch ready, but more like picking up the kitchen a bit/nursing the baby/changing the baby/getting lunch ready time. I generally have lunch ready to go between 12:30 and 1. Sometimes we end up leaving the house during this time and I inevitably end up regretting it.

12:30-1:30pm: Lunch. Simple stuff like leftovers, quesadillas, tuna sandwiches, etc. I always have some sort of fresh fruit or veggie with this too. Really trying to make sure we get some produce!

1:30-2:30pm Quiet time/naptime. Peanut still does quiet time (and if your no longer napping child doesn’t, I really recommend implementing it). Twig is in that weird in-between stage where she isn’t always tired enough to nap, but isn’t really ready to completely let go of it either. So she gets the option to nap or get quiet time. If she naps, it’s usually two hours. If she chooses quiet time, it’s an hour like big sister. Yeah, there are some days when she should probably choose to nap, but does quiet time (and she’s choosing nap less and less these days), but this has eliminated her fighting nap-time and thereby making me stay in the room with her for the whole time Peanut is in quiet time. I really need a bit of time to myself too, it really helps to keep me sane. If I’m lucky, Banana naps during this time too. When he doesn’t nap, I try to spend time interacting with him one-on-one.

2:30-5:30pm Free-for-all. The girls play. They may watch a show or two. I play with them at some point. Gideon is generally awake, but starts to fuss towards the end of this time period. I get dinner ready if I’m even getting dinner ready (sometimes my husband cooks when he gets home, we go out, we get fed by awesome family, or we eat leftovers, so often I’m not cooking during this time). If it’s warm enough I’ll send the girls outside (which sadly it mostly isn’t at this point in time). If Twig didn’t nap I try to give Peanut some focus during this time.

5:30pm Daddy’s Home!

5:30-7pm Dinner and Hang Out. Sometimes we watch some tv as a family (we’ve been enjoying How We Got to Now on PBS). Sometimes we play with the girls while my husband watches basketball. Sometimes we play board games. Just fun family stuff.

7-8pm Bedtime. PJs, brush teeth, potty, hugs and kisses, then reading. Generally we start this at the same time for both girls because Peanut gets more reading time so it makes up for the later bedtime. Really though, I’ve been contemplating moving this up for Twig (or at least getting her asleep on the earlier end of this hour) since she’s starting to drop her nap.

So that’s it! Our days still vary quite a bit, but most days have this general routine underlying them. I think it really helps the kids to kind of know what’s coming next. We don’t get many fights about quiet time because quiet time is always after lunch, that kind of thing. I think it helps me too because I just know at this point what times of the day are bad to do things (leaving the house after dinner is a nightmare that just doesn’t happen anymore) and that helps me avoid stress. It also seems like Banana naturally fell into a napping routine that coincides with our routines as a family (he had a schedule much earlier than is “normal”) and while it still isn’t a perfect nap schedule by any means (he often decides to take power naps and things of that sort), I still think it helps.

What are your routines as a family? Did you have difficulty finding your rhythm? 

Newsletter – September 2014

Hello kids!

On with catching up with our newsletters! For us September meant being a new family of 5. We started to find our routines this month and everyone had fun getting to know our new baby.

Peanut, you love your new little brother so much! There were many days where you asked not to go to school because you had to miss out on time with him. Of course you still went, but it made you feel better when I told you he mostly naps while you’re gone. You made up a little song for him that goes “hush little Gideon hush, hush, hush” to the tune of Hush, Little Baby. You sing it to him every time he cries.

Even with asking not to go, you really do love school. You come home every day just thrilled to tell me what you did that day. You’ve even gotten excited about doing some extra math online on Khan Academy with daddy. It’s amazing how quickly you’re picking it all up.

You painted this completely of your own accord.

You’ve also decided that your favorite color is no longer pink. Now it’s blue. No surprises that your inspiration is Elsa from Frozen. Almost the moment you decided pink is no longer the favorite, little sister decided pink is now her favorite! It’s like the torch was passed.

Twig, you are just so ridiculously cute. You decided that “oh my GOSH!” is the appropriate response to just about everything. Big emphasis on the gosh part.

You also love your little brother immensely. Every time I put him on the floor you’re getting down right next to him. You kiss him more times a day than I can count. We’re still working on being gentle with him (sometimes you try to move his head to make him look at you and stuff like that), but that’s to be expected for your age.

You love to spend every day running around with mama while Peanut is in school. Like I said earlier, Banana mostly naps while she’s gone, so it’s just me and you. You love to help me with chores, run errands, or pretty much just do anything I’m doing. It’s pretty nice to get quality time with you while still being able to accomplish what I need to in the small window your brother is sleeping and your sister is at school.

Banana, you decided to roll over front to back the first time on your one month birthday. It was funny because daddy thought it was a fluke and said you had to do it three times for it to be real. I set you on the floor and joy proceeding to do it three more times in less than five minutes. So that was that! And you started to smile shortly after. Baby smiles are the best.

We also started elimination communication this month. I had given myself a “pass” on trying of this time around. In the past I couldn’t ever get it to work and it just added to my stress. Well you developed a really bad yeast rash that wouldn’t go away even with the yeast cream the doctor prescribed, so I decided to give it a go. Turns out you really, really prefer to go in the potty! Especially the poops. You caught on to EC really quickly and we’re still doing it part-time to this day. And there’s no rash in sight. Yay!

Til next month!
Love, Mama

For the Supply, I Tell You!

The holidays are finally over, and believe you me, I’m breathing a big ole sigh of relief. While I love the holidays, I get pretty sick of the whole shebang by the time it’s all said and done. So this should mean I’m sick of the sweets that accompany the holidays, no? NO! Never shall I be sick of delicious things, especially those with a big heaping spoonful of sugar.

So tonight I’m making these amazing no bake cookies. They’re for my supply, I tell you! Never mind that my supply is a-okay, therefore not necessarily in need of a boost. I will justify eating too many delicious cookies on the fact that I produce milk. If you’re looking for a delicious fix, I suggest you give these a try too. And if anyone asks, blame it on the supply.

Happy Holidays my lovelies.