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Giving birth: you never know whats going to happen

As it gets closer and closer to baby’s due date, I find myself thinking more and more about labor and delivery. This will be my third birth, so I’ve been through this twice already, but I still have so many questions about what will happen! The thing about birth is every baby is a completely new experience.

hand and face ultrasound

I know this particularly well because my first two births were total opposites! Both times, I was planning on having a vaginal birth with an epidural. How many times did that actually happen? Zero. Instead I ended up with one C-section delivery under general anesthetic and one med-free birth. Definitely not what I expected.

When I was having my first, I didn’t have a lot of expectations of birth. I just knew I didn’t want to have a C-section if at all possible. When I was 39 weeks, I went in for a routine appointment with plans to have dinner with my husband afterwards. Instead I found myself headed straight to the hospital to have our baby! My amniotic fluid was too low and the cord was around the baby’s neck so my doctor decided we really needed to go ahead and induce. Twenty four hours later, I had still only dilated to five centimeters and nothing much seemed to be happening. So, it was decided we needed to do the one thing I didn’t want: a C-section.

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Pregnancy Update: 34 Weeks

It is hard to believe I am already well into my third trimester. Only a few more weeks to go! I haven’t shared a lot of updates this pregnancy, so it seemed like it was definitely time to share how things are going before the pregnancy is over!

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Photo taken by Family Tree Photography

Baby’s sex:  boy  (boy #3 for us!)

Position: Head down. yay!

Symptoms: At this point, I am firmly in the ‘generally uncomfortable most of the time’ phase. My back and ribs often hurt, especially after sitting for an extended period of time. Sleeping is getting more and more difficult. And keeping up with my preschooler and toddler is definitely getting harder. With my previous two pregnancies, I developed carpal tunnel in both wrists during the last few weeks of pregnancy and it didn’t go away until several months after birth. I’m really hoping that doesn’t happen this time around, but I’m just starting to notice some tingling in my hands at random times so I’m not very hopeful.

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End of school year reflections

After watching a Daniel Tiger episode on “mixed-up feelings” the other day, Lila told me, “Mommy, I have mixed-up feelings. I’m excited for 1st grade, but I’m sad that I won’t see Mrs. S. anymore!”

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Mrs. S. is Lila’s kindergarten teacher who has been the BEST elementary school teacher I have ever met in all my years as a student and parent. She sends pictures and updates daily, genuinely raves about all our kids, and encourages Lila to do her best work everyday.

Here are a couple examples: one day Mr. Juice went to be mystery reader for Lila’s class in the afternoon. Before he even got home, she had sent pictures and an email about how much the kids enjoyed The Lonely Phone Booth (a really fun book about the last real phone booth in NYC). Mrs. S is truly a whiz at communicating, and isn’t that what all parents want to know — what their kids really did in class all day?

Another example was when, to our surprise, Lila was somehow chosen to be in the Math enrichment program earlier in the year to work on 1st grade concepts. Mrs. S. said it was due to her test scores and her own observations in class. This was pretty surprising to Mr. Juice and me, since with Lila being our youngest, we don’t spend much time working with Lila outside of school… actually none at all really.

Well, what was more of a surprise, was a few months later, when I asked Mrs. S.  how Lila was doing in the math enrichment program. I fully expected a, “Oh, she’s doing great…” response. But Mrs. S. was honest with me and said, “Well, she’s struggling a little bit! We’ll see how she does. Maybe you could work with her on it at home.”

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What Toddlers Learn in Swim Class

Last week Petit Macaron had his very first swim lessons. It was also his first time in the pool. I was actually fairly nervous about the experience and how he would react, but overall I think it all went quite smoothly.

Petit Macaron is 16 months old and I already feel like he’s starting swim lessons late! All the moms I talk to seem to have their kids start at 6 to 8 months. Yikes! I just felt he was so tiny and I didn’t even have him in the actual tub yet. On top of that, I honestly was nervous myself thinking he might slip from my arms and I pictured the most horrible scenarios. Ultimately, I decided I needed to push my fears aside and do what was best for my child. I wanted him to enjoy the water and also know water safety. Additionally, he would cry whenever I put water over him to wash his hair. I knew we needed to tackle this water dislike sooner rather than later, and so I made the dive and signed us up for swim lessons.

pool

We are having our lessons at the YMCA where we just became members. The YMCA swim lessons are progression based, so you use age to determine the class. The class names are pretty cute: shrimp, kipper, ilia, and perch. You can start at 6 months and go all the way through to teens. They offer adult and senior classes as well so you can take swim classes your whole life, haha.

At 16 months, Petit Macaron landed in the kipper class (15-24 months) so he is on the younger side. It seems most of the other kids in the class are closer to the older side and all have taken a class previously. Luckily the instructor was great and took special care to help us out. For instance, Petit Macaron was overwhelmed and clinging to me with a death grip, so she suggested we take to the outside of the group when crossing the pool to keep the splashing and commotion to a minimum. She would also suggest positions on how to hold Petit Macaron to do modified versions of what the others were doing. Another tip she gave us was to come during open pool time when there were less kids in the water and to just have fun with him. It was great to get this advise to help us acclimate Petit Macaron to the water.

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How to survive the trenches

Recently we went through the toughest of times, the most emotional, and the busiest. We were flying by the seat of our pants, and there were many weak points filled with tears, stupid arguments, high stress levels and pure exhaustion. In those moments, I felt incredibly overwhelmed and like there was no end in sight. The trenches. I feel like we’re finally over the hump, and those few weeks of transition and complete chaos are now a blur to me. Hey, we survived! In reflection, here’s how.

Repeat: This too shall pass. Everything is a stage and a phase. The good and the bad. Savour the good moments, and repeat as often as necessary, “this too shall pass” to survive those can’t see past them tough moments. Time is your best friend and worst enemy.

Let other priorities drop. We got married on our property, and hosted a wedding here. That was the messiest our house has ever been. Well, these past few weeks? Gave that mess a run for its money. Big time. We’re still not there, but hey, at least now I can say our floors have been washed twice since W was born. The housework had to fall to the bottom of the list. Something had to give.

Make time for the things that will keep you sane. See above. Let other things go, but don’t give up on the things that help you relax a bit. Mr. M went on a camping trip. I had lots of baths and binge-watched a few Netflix shows while staying up too late. Me time is more important than sleep sometimes.

Splurge on something that will make you feel better. For me, I spent some money on some energy work that I knew would help me sort through and process all of the change and craziness that I was experiencing. Get a massage, get a manicure, see a therapist. Whatever it is that will make you feel better and somewhat grounded, it’s probably worth it. 

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A Meal Kit Review of Gobble

I recently ventured into the world of meal subscription services with HelloFresh, but wanted to see what else was out there, so next on my to-try list was Gobble. Again, this service was chosen based on the recommendation of friends. Gobble promises convenient, fast, and easy recipes with using farm-fresh food that is locally sourced, using fresh produce and hormone-free proteins. All of the recipes are created by celebrity chef Michael Mina’s protégé, Thomas Ricci.

Plans: 3 dinner kits for two (6 meals per week), or 3 dinner kits for four (12 meals per week).
Price: $11.95 per meal (per meal = per person) if you order 6 or more meals, and $13.95 per meal if you only order 4 meals.

After spending more time than I would’ve liked cooking the HelloFresh meals, I went into this with a fair amount of skepticism. After we got the box, I even said to my husband, “I’m really not in the mood to cook tonight.” Imagine my surprise when I read the recipe card and it said “10-minute dinner.” Did I read that right?? I spent a few minutes reading and re-reading the instructions to make sure I understood the words “10 MINUTE DINNER” correctly. Are they sure they didn’t mean just the prep time? But nope, they indeed promise 10 minute dinners from start to finish, and I was actually pretty close to hitting that 10 minute mark. All my meals took no more than 15 minutes to make, but they tasted like I had spent at least an hour in the kitchen!

First impressions: The box came past dinnertime on the day I requested it to be delivered. I was a little disappointed because I had not planned for dinner that night, so we were left scrounging. However, they do have a 12-hour delivery window between 8 am and 8 pm, so they did deliver within the promised timeframe. One thing I didn’t like was that when I placed my order online, I was only given a choice between Tuesday or Saturday for delivery. Ideally, I would’ve wanted my delivery to be on a Monday, but was not given that as an option.

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Being a Shoe Gal for a Little Boy

Besides my love of hair and makeup, one of the girliest things about myself is that I love shoes, and my love for them has now moved over to choosing shoes for Baby Pencil. He has so many pairs of shoes waiting for him!  It’s pretty hard to dress up a little boy because so many places cater toward little girls’ accessories. But I’ve found my sources and want to share my favorite styles and stores!

My favorite place to get cute boy shoes is at Zara. What I like about it is that they are good mix of trendy yet cute and they last a long time. Also, people don’t usually buy their kids’ shoes here so they tend to be more unique. I get asked all the time where I got Baby Pencil’s shoes! Since they are a European company, you’ll have to get used to the sizes. They tend to run a little bit big. Overall, I love their winter bootcut style shoes! Most of them are pretty easy to take on and off, which is so key for toddlers.

zara shoes

These in particular lasted a really long time and looked great with jeans! I also use these shoes if he needs to dress up a little. Zara can be expensive except when they have sales. Most of these shoes were originally $35 but I would get them for $19.99 when the sales hit the stores.

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