Don't Hate, Advocate

I suppose this is sort of a follow up to my last post, though I never really intended to follow up on it. Yet again, I am unpleasantly surprised by people. 

Everyone has an opinion about something, and these days everyone has an opinion about everyone else. When it comes to parenting? We have extra opinions. I suppose it's because we think that what we're doing is the best thing ever, for everyone. While whatever decision you're passionate about may be the best thing for your family it may be the worst decision for someone else's family. Or heck, it may not even be possible at all. 

Yesterday, a good blogger friend of mine posted about her recent experience with a breastfeeding group. Ya'll, I was blown away. I still am, in fact. (If you want to take a moment and click over, I'll understand.)  

I'm going to admit something that will probably make some people upset: I have a knee-jerk reaction to bottle feeders, too. There is a small part of me that cringes every time I see a baby with a bottle in his/her mouth. Mostly it's because I don't understand why on earth someone wouldn't want to breastfeed their baby. I'll spare you the inner-monologue I have every time, because it's not really worth it. Because in the end I know that there are many factors that go into a mom's - a family's - decision to not breastfeed. Maybe she couldn't nurse and pumps instead, maybe she couldn't produce milk at all, maybe the baby is adopted, maybe she was on necessary medication that would harm the baby if she were to breastfeed, or maybe she had DMER and the very thought of nursing again made her ill. There are any number of reasons. Unless we know the person, we'll never know the reasons. And all of this just made me wonder....what's the point?

By somehow taking offense at the fact that some people feed their kids with bottles, what are we hoping to gain? By bashing women - moms - who bottle feed, what exactly is our goal? To make them feel bad? To educate? To make them want to breastfeed? How is this helping?

If you've been following me anytime during the last 3 years you know I'm nothing if not an advocate for breastfeeding. I think breastfeeding is awesome and you'll never convince me otherwise. I think it's the best food for baby (because, hello, it was designed to be!) and I think the health benefits for moms are awesome, too. Is it hard? Heck yeah. It takes a lot of time and effort in the beginning, and sometimes a lot of pain, too. But more often than not, it's totally worth it and for many, many reasons. That's why I think waiting until you're past the newborn stage to call it quits on breastfeeding, but again, that's my personal opinion.

Before I had babies - like way before - I was pretty determined to not breastfeed. I thought it was weird, and why the heck would I want to share my body after I'd just grown a person for 9 months?! I'd also never been exposed to breastfeeding...ever. My brother and I were bottle-fed, the babies I watched were bottle-fed, my mom's friends bottle-fed their babies, and the list continues. Of course I thought it was weird!

Thankfully, some friends and my SIL were there later on to share the benefits of breastfeeding with me and my whole view changed. Now, I find it important to try and bring some sort of education to people about breastfeeding -- why it isn't weird or gross, why it's beneficial for moms and babies, etc. But here's the thing: 

If we look down our noses at women/families 
who choose to bottle-feed, we'll never succeed 
in our goal to make breastfeeding normal.

Who will want to breastfeed when they think that all women who do so are just a bunch of snobby, rude know-it-alls? Who will want to breastfeed when they know that if they turn to a bottle for any reason, the nursing mama masses will crucify them? Who will stand beside the nursing moms when someone calls us out for nursing in public without a cover?

We can't make a difference in normalizing breastfeeding, or breastfeeding education with this 'anti-bottle' mentality. We just can't. You can't reach people with that kind of nastiness. When it comes to parenting, we need to just leave each other alone. You don't live in that person's house; you don't know what their life is like. You can't judge their motives from the outside.

So moms, let's just stop. Just say 'NO' to the temptation of bashing, name-calling, hate-mongering, fear-mongering, or whatever. It's not helping you, and it's most certainly not helping anyone else. You think breastfeeding is awesome? That's great. Tell them how awesome you think it is, and why. You think bottle feeding is the best thing since sliced bread? Fantastic! Tell them why it's great for you. Then proceed to trade epic blow-out stories, or share in the woes of sleepless nights. 

We're all just doing the best we can for our babes. 
It's time we recognize that in the faces of others, too.


You're Doing it Wrong

Thus sayeth the so-called Mommy Wars. 

Do something that the attachment parenting know-it-alls think is wrong, and they'll crucify you...online. Hiding behind veils of perceived anonymity and nasty words, they'll tell you that you're - for all intents and purposes - torturing your child. 

Proclaim that breastfeeding is the healthiest option for babies, and bottle-feeders will be ready to decry that you're judging them for making a personal decision. Never mind that you yourself once considered it...and were also bottle-fed as an infant. Those facts don't matter. You're clearly judging them because you disagree with their choice. 

Things like this make me want to throw my computer across the room and never pick it up again. 

Last week, I responded to a mom's post in a group I'm in on FB. She had asked some questions about Babywise and I replied with my experiences. I don't remember exactly what I said, but it certainly did not warrant the responses I received.

Babywise is ABUSE and TORTURE. Period.

Babywise is the one book the FDA warns against...

...babies starve in silence...

...a baby who is always content is worrisome.

Sorry, guys, but YOU do not know MY kids. Why are they so content as babies? (With the exception of colic...whew.) Because I make sure they get plenty of rest and nurse enough. That's it, plain and simple. Isn't that what everyone else does? I thought it was.... Apparently I was wrong.

A few days ago I commented on someone's status... I felt like it was baiting a little, but I commented anyway. Rookie mistake. The woman said something like "I'm going to write a post about bottle feeding. I could barely stand to breast feed my babies for 2 months and HAD to switch to formula. It was the best thing for both of us." {I hope it's obvious I'm paraphrasing here.} So I commented. 

I wanted to let her know that the first 2 months of breastfeeding is hard for everyone. Either your nipples hurt so badly you wish they'd just fall off already, or your baby is attached to you 24/7 and you feel like a cow. (At least those were my experiences.) But if you push through those parts, it can really be awesome! It was breastfeeding and having those sweet moments with Millie that kept me sane because that was the only time she wasn't screaming. Since we have the option these days, I get that how you choose to feed your child is super-personal. Even so, no one will be able to convince me that formula is healthier than mama milk. 

Cue the bottle-feeding judgy mamas. 

Great for you, but don't judge me for choosing a safe option.

I can still bond with my child while bottle feeding!
I still love my child.

The "breast is best" thing is great if you can manage it, but don't
bully or shame me for giving up!

My comment eventually got deleted because I didn't 100% agree with the author's point of view. How's THAT for acceptance for everyone's decision?! There were other, far more heated comments, but that's not the point. Obviously I should have known enough to not comment on a post like this, but sometimes I can't help myself. I'm sure that's happened to any number of you.

My point is this: in this day and age where we have options - and many of them - there is no right choice. Make one comment, one post, one observation and the masses who think or choose differently will be right there to make sure you know you're wrong. Because if you don't do it their way, you are clearly wrong and stupid. You're hurting your child, don't you know it!? 

To them...

A crib = baby jail
Letting your child cry in bed for 5-20 mins = child abuse
Bottle-feeding = giving your child poison
Breastfeeding in public = flashing your boobs to the masses
Scheduling your baby's naps and feedings = torture

Here's what I think:

You make choices for you and your baby and I'll make choices for mine. 
You're awesome. 
I'm awesome. 
Our kids are the most perfect human beings ever.
We rock. 

Being a mom is hard enough without having the entire world scrutinize and judge your every decision.

P.S. Don't forget to check out my giveaway for some great kids' books! Ends on Wednesday!


Usborne Books & More: A Giveaway!

Hey, friends!

I'm super excited to share this giveaway with you today! My best friend, Melissa, is a consultant with Usborne so I've been able to see first hand just how awesome their books are. They have books for babies all the way up to Young Adult titles. They have books on learning how to draw, coloring books (even for adults! ;)), wipe-clean books that are perfect for tracing letters and numbers (and many other things), and some of the best quality (and cute!) board books I've ever seen. 

We have probably a handful of Usborne books in the house, mostly because of Melissa. ;-) I've seen my kiddos fight over the That's Not My Fox book and Touchy-Feely book quite a few times. 

Around Christmas I talked my mom into buying the Nutracker book (with music) for the kids...mostly because I love the Nutcracker so much! Charlotte loves the music, too, and I love the fact that the pages are durable enough to withstand these two crazies. I also gave my niece and nephew two of the sticker books for Christmas, because, what kid doesn't love stickers?!

So anyway, today I'm sharing with you a giveaway for a Brain Bag! 

If you would like to create your own bag, you can select one of each of these categories:

  • A set of Activity Cards or an Activity Book
  • A Coloring or Drawing Book
  • A Sticker or Wipe-Clean Book (LOVE these!)
  • A Chapter, Non-Fiction, or Phonics Book

Honestly, I kind want one of these for my girls!! They would be great for the never-ending road trips (either to see family or for when we move...again...), plane rides, long doctor appointments, when you need a little bit of quiet time (*wink*), etc. 

So. Go forth and ENTER! Giveaway will be open for 1 week, starting NOW. Winner will be selected randomly by Rafflecopter, will be contacted via email, and then announced here on the blog no later than Friday of next week. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


A Little Nugget

It's funny how you learn, over time, to trust to your intuition. It's even funnier how accurate it becomes. 

One day a few weeks ago, I spent the day on the couch with a massive migraine. Nausea came in waves along with the pain in my head. Thankfully, it barely lasted 18 hours and I was back to normal again. Over the next few days I noticed other things: dips in my blood sugar, trouble with my asthma. It was weird. My metabolism can be wonky while I'm nursing, so I dismissed that. But the asthma flare up? That was one thing I couldn't explain. I wasn't having trouble with allergies. We did just move into a new house, but it had been almost a month. And then it hit me.

I have trouble with my asthma when I'm pregnant. Every. Time. Without fail.

I tried to make the thoughts go away... We'd been trying not to get pregnant; we'd been careful. I was still a few days away from my period. So maybe it was just that? But I couldn't put the thought out of my head. Lying in bed one night, I just knew. 

2 of the most clear pregnancy tests I've ever had later....

Hello, Baby!!!

It's crazy. And it's going to continue to be crazy....for a while! I'm not quite as worried about having babies close together this time, though I know it will not be easy. It's definitely not what we planned, but I'm in no way upset about it either. 

I've felt pretty awful this time around, which is making things more difficult. I'm no stranger to pregnancy nausea, but this takes the cake! Not eating makes me sick, eating makes me sick, I get random heartburn, sometimes have to run to the bathroom... It was not like this with the girls! After sticking it out for 3 weeks (because my nausea always kicks in right at 6 weeks), I called the OB's office and begged for drugs. I tried everything I'd done before with the girls, and it barely even touched it. Even with meds, there are days I can barely stand to look at food. 

On the bright side? I haven't gained anything! ;-) 

I don't know if it's because this is my 4th pregnancy, or I just know what it feels like (maybe both?) but I have already been feeling this little nugget! At first I thought I was crazy. Then it kept happening. When I had an ultrasound, the midwife said "what an acrobat!" and then I knew that I had absolutely been feeling this little one for over a week. The girls were crazy, crazy kickers in the womb so having another one is no surprise! And for now I'm enjoying the itty bitty kicks. I know that I'll blink and have feet in my ribs!

So, there's my little nugget. He or she (probably 'she' given our track record, LOL!) will be here on/around October 18th! Please wish me many nights of amazing sleep until then. Lord knows I'm gonna need it....and may never sleep well again! ;-)


We Made It

So, hey! We moved. We survived. Barely.

The movers came, and no one napped. Which is pretty evident just by looking at their little faces. I'm sure a lot of the not-sleeping was due to the fact that a bunch of guys were in the house (or had been in the house), putting all of their toys, beds, and TVs in boxes. It's slightly traumatic for me, so I can only imagine what it's like for the littles. 

I'm still slightly in disbelief that we no longer live in that house. It's empty. (Because GAH no tennants! But that's a story for another day.) We packed up the kids, the dog, the suitcases, and drove 3 hours to our new 'home'.

It was a ROUGH day. We tried to clean our house with the kids running around and awake, and we also had to leave in time for him to sign in to the new unit.... (Which is incredibly dumb....he signed out that morning, and was expected to sign in and the new post before COB on the same stupid day. I can't even.) Both kids passed out before we even got to a place to have lunch. So we decided to haul a** and get as far as possible before someone started crying and/or got hungry.

After what seemed like the longest day ever, we made it. Joe signed in, we got keys to the new place, (thanked God for an amazing realtor managing this place), went to city hall to get water turned on ($$$$$), came to the house, unloaded the car, and then went back out to dinner. At dinner, I ordered the largest beer possible. Because it had been a day and I never wanted this move to happen in the first place.

As stressful as it was for me, it seemed like the girls handled it pretty well. They stayed close to each other most of the time, which made my mama-heart melt. The movers also really liked Charlotte, haha! She provided comedic relief for most of the move. From all the tales I hear about Joe, I think it's a fair assessment to say she is her father's daughter in more ways than one. ;-)

So, there it is. Part of the new house. That's the view from the couch, looking into the kitchen. As much as I don't want to be here (there are days when all of me just screams "I want to go home!"), I really do like this house. The kitchen is smaller, but everything else is really nice. We seem to fit better in this house, which is nice. ;-) The backyard is nowhere near the size of our other house's, but we'll manage. 

If we have to be somewhere for the next 2 years, this isn't the worst place to be. Now, if we could just get our house at Fort Gordon rented, we'd be all set! (So if you know anyone moving to the area..... ;-))

Happy Friday! I'm off to enjoy what is supposed 
to be a gorgeous weekend here, near good 'ole Savannah. 


Woes of Moving

The movers come, you know, tomorrow and here I am writing up a blog post instead of doing one of the many more productive things I should be doing. But that's the problem. There's so many things I could - and should - be doing, that I just really can't do anything. 

I'm trying, but I just can't quite wrap my brain around the chaos that will ensue tomorrow morning. Boxes. Paper. Loud tape machines. House full of strangers, touching my things. A truck that will encase all of our belongings. 

This will be our 4th PCS and I still can't get used to the idea. Of course, it's different now that we have kids. Isn't everything? It's not just the fact that people will be in our house packing our things. It's that I have to take care of the kids, too. I have to be 'hall monitor' and mommy. Like, what am I going to do about naps? And snacks? And lunch? Toys? TV? How do I contain the children?! It's just one day, and I know we'll make it through, but the logistics of it all is making my brain hurt. {Not to mention AF decided to show up this week so I have all the hormones raging, too.}

We also have to worry/think about the house we're leaving, too. We bought this house shortly after moving here, and now we're faced with renting it. No one has signed a lease yet. We're hoping someone will sign one soon and we'll have less to worry about, but there's nothing like having a mortgage payment and rent hanging over your head. Not to mention utilities. 

Then there's the fact that I'm really not looking forward to moving to a new place, not really. I really, really, really like living here. Despite the trouble I've had making friends, we did find a really great church less than 5 minutes from our house and I would love to be more involved. Everything I need store-wise is less than a half-hour away from me. The town we live in is small, and yet we have access to everything we need and more. We have pretty great medical care here, which can be very hard to find. 

And if I let myself think about it long enough, it makes me sad to leave this place. I don't want to go. I want to stay here in this house that is mine, and fix it up exactly the way I want it. (I had so many plans that I didn't get to do!) I'll miss the large backyard, privacy fence, and the porch. I'll miss being close to so many things, yet far enough away from the bustle of town. But most of all, I think I'll miss this house the most because it's our house, and because we became a family of four here. 

There is a small possibility we could move back in the future but until then, I'll hang on to all the great memories we made here.


All Things New: New Year, New House, New Town

Here we are. 2015. Anyone else clueless as to where the last year went? I swear I just had a newborn a few weeks ago....not a baby who just turned 1. (Still can't get used to that!)

2014 was not the best year for me. I feel like I struggled my way through most of it. The difficulties weren't just any one thing, but all of it combined. It wasn't just that I had 2 under 2, or that my sweet baby had colic, or that my hubs was gone for a month of that mess, or the ice storm, or that I finally recognized the symptoms of PPD. (And that was just the first 3 months!) A whole lot more happened, too -- not all of it bad. It just seems like the year as a whole was difficult.

And right in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Joe got orders. So, hey! We're moving! I'm really not excited about it, but I'm really trying to have a better attitude about it. Although I will miss where we live now (seriously in love with this area), and hate being forced to move and rent out our house, I know good things will come of this, too. There are always good things about moving -- a new house to decorate, potential for new friends, a new area to explore (hello, Savannah!), and who knows what else. 

So in an attempt to have a better attitude about all of this.....I've set some goals for myself for this year. And yes, I joined the #olw (One Little Word) bandwagon, too.

I know that several of my goals for the year can be accomplished within the first couple of months, but I'm trying to go easy on myself here. ;-) It took us forever to unpack when we moved in to this house, and we just had Charlotte then. (Although I was pregnant at the time.) I really have no clue how I'm going to handle the girls with the movers coming next week, (!!!) so I feel pretty sure that unpacking is going to be a slooooow process. I've also been extremely stressed about moving out/moving in/finding renters, so "survive PCSing" is an extremely legitimate goal for the year. I won't lie: I have considered begging my doctor for some anxiety meds. It's been that tough. But I also have a tendency to fixate.....so..... Yeah.

Once we're all settled in, I really need to set up a routine. I'd like to do some 'tot school' things with Charlotte, get her fully potty trained (seeing the light at the end of the tunnel there, though!), and also start working out again. I hate to admit it, but I haven't lost anything since Millie was born. *gulp* I was so snowed under with her colic and my PPD and everything else that I just couldn't even think about it for a while. And then....habits were habits and....yeah. So, routine goals: homeschool stuff for Charlotte, working out, and daily quiet time.

My meet neighbors & try MOPS/PWOC goals stem from my one little word for the year. 

Okay, I guess that is technically a phrase. It's still applicable. 

I am nothing if not an introvert. I hate large social situations, especially those where I don't know anyone. I tend to either clam up when I meet new people or (and I'm not sure which is worse) blurt out random things...and then feel extremely awkward for the rest of the event. I've gotten better over the years (and moves), but it's still very hard for me. This is probably part of the reason that I'm leaving this place with zero friends. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration; I have friends. However I don't have the come-over-to-my-messy-house-and-say-nothing-and-just-hang-out friends here. Nope. 

Anyway, so BE BRAVE -- in order to actually make friends, I'm going to have to get out of my comfort zone (read: my house). I'm going to have to make plans, invite people over, be uncomfortable, be honest, and be real. It's not easy

No matter what my fears, if I'm going to step out of this funk - if I want to make any friends - I've got to be courageous. I love the definition there -- not deterred by danger or pain. There may not be any real, physical danger in putting yourself out there and attempting to make friends, but there is a certain...emotional danger. And there is definitely pain in rejection of any form. 

And as far as my Jamberry business is concerned, I'm not going to make any progress or meet any of the goals I have if I just play it safe. I'm going to have to step out, take chances, and try new things. I know I haven't talked about Jamberry just a whole ton here (and to be honest, it's probably part of the reason I haven't blogged much in the last few months), but I really love it. I haven't done all that fantastically in the last few months, but I think it's more to do with me not getting out of my comfort zone as much as I need to.

So clearly, Be Brave is definitely the key for me this year. Be brave in business, in friends, and in trusting God. {Because, let's face it, that's probably the root of a lot of my problems. Namely my bent on worrying about ev-er-y-thing.}

So what's your #olw (One Little Word) or phrase for the year? Here's hoping for a much better 2015 for all of you, too, friends!