Pipsticks Monthly Sticker Subscription

I'd been looking for a good sticker book for the kids for a while when Maureen (a fellow Brooklyn mom and sticker lover) at Pipsticks contacted me about her new monthly sticker subscription service. I was excited to give it a try because like most kids, Charlie and Olive love stickers, and it's a perfect indoor activity for the winter months spent indoors ahead. Collecting stickers was also one of my all-time favorite childhood hobbies (I still have my Sanrio Ahirunopekkle sticker book from over two decades ago), so I was really looking forward to introducing it to the kids.

How it works is you sign up for a plan -- either 1, 6, or 12 months for $15/month -- and they arrive in this fun package with at least 15 sheets of curated stickers, paper, and a pre-stamped postcard. My favorite were the puffy bunnies.

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Reinventing Me-Time

Before Little Oats was born, I needed healthy doses of time alone. My anxiety disorder meant that being around people completely overwhelmed me, and working in a busy clinic left me worn out by the end of the day. Every night after dinner, I would crash on the couch and just get lost in a book, some blogs, or a bunch of TV shows. Cleaning got done on the weekends (after I slept in and lounged around for several hours), and the grocery shopping typically happened on Mr. O’s day off. I needed time and space to regroup, and I liked the chunks of ‘me time’ that were so often available.

Now that I have a 15 month old running around, the idea of ‘me time’ has changed a great deal. I don’t mean in the cliche ‘running to Target alone is a vacation’ sort of way; I mean it honestly. I mourned the loss of my nights laying on the couch, leaving dishes to pile up until the next morning. I didn’t manage to get through an entire book until Little Oats was at least 8 months old, something I couldn’t imagine pre-baby. Free time seems like such a silly thing to mourn, but it was an actual process for me.

I got really depressed when I thought about how long it would be until I could take an entire Saturday morning to sit in a cafe and write. I was completely overwhelmed thinking about the fact that I had to come home from a busy day of work, and KEEP GOING. Dishes, laundry, cleaning - these were no longer Saturday chores, because Saturdays were as busy (or busier) than any other day of the week. I truly struggled with a sense of entitlement; didn’t I DESERVE to sleep in until 10 if I wanted to? I fought these feelings for several months. I grew resentful of my situation (not of my baby), and longed for a vacation from my life.

And one day, after a long discussion with Mr. O, I realized something. I still had free time; it just looked different than it did before. Everything else post-baby was different, why would this be an exception? I realized that pre-Little Oats, I was lazy, and my tendency post-baby was to be lazy as well. But that just doesn’t work when you’ve got a little person relying on you to do things. There was now more to do in less time - I had to get more efficient if I expected to have any ‘me time’ left over.

So, how have I managed to eke out some ‘me time’ in the midst of a busy life? Here’s a little glimpse:

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Figuring Out Sleep When Adding a 2nd Child to the Family

Amongst all the worries that ran through my head when we decided to add a 2nd child to the family, the one that really kept me up at night was probably the issue of sleep! As parents, we all know how sacred sleep is, and how hard it can be to come by, especially those grueling first four months. I thought I'd never get to nap again, and I worried how I was going to sleep train with a toddler in the next room over. I thought for sure that my oldest would wake up at every peep, and that I'd be dealing with multiple middle-of-the-night wake ups from not one, but two children. Luckily, none of my fears came to fruition.

Once we brought Baby Jaren home, we had him sleep in our room for the first few weeks. We alternated between letting him sleep in the rock 'n play and the arms reach co-sleeper. This worked out fine for us except for the fact that watching Mr. Heels snore peacefully away while I nursed for every night feeding made me want to kick him (not literally, but you know what I mean right?). Sure, he helped with middle of the night diaper changes and swaddles, but he had this magical ability to just knock right out again while I was left for another hour on my own nursing the babe. By the 4 week mark, I was ready to transition the baby into his own room. I thought we would all be more sane this way. I'd rather trek down the hall to nurse the baby than torture myself by watching my sweetly sleeping husband every night. Plus, I thought we'd all sleep better without the little baby sounds waking us up at every turn.

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Parties for Every Season

I am already starting to think about Drake and Juliet's birthdays in the summer, which got me thinking about party planning in other months as we start to think about trying for our third child. Here are some great party themes for every season of the year.


Though I have two summer babies I have always wanted to try a milk and cookies party.  This can obviously be done any time of the year but something about winter time makes me think of cookies, leaving them out for Santa, baking treats as gifts, and also I imagine milk to do better sitting out in colder months vs warmer months outside. You can make a cookie buffet for the kids to sample or even let them get into the decorating themselves with a cookie making station.

You could also make a gingerbread themed party in the month of December before the holidays!  A hot cocoa bar would be a wonderful addition as well!

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Pinterest and Weekly Time Machine

Do you follow Hellobee on Pinterest? We have over 18,000 pins on everything from kids' rooms to recipes to holidays, and we've been pinning tons of inspiration daily!

(image via stephaniesterjovski)

What Little Sisters Can Teach Big Brothers

It's no surprise that Juliet has learned a lot from Drake. From morning to night she loves her big brother and follows him everywhere. Drake is a great big brother, for the most part, and really doesn't mind having Juliet tag along with him all the time. Since they spend so much time together, I always encourage Drake to show Juliet what he is doing, explain to her how games are played, what letters are on the book, where to put things away.

Juliet is in that wonderful stage where she imitates everything, so oftentimes she will copy Drake which also helps her learn. The downside is of course when Drake is being naughty or silly (shoes on your head, anyone), she often picks up those habits too. I always tell Drake he is Juliet's best teacher and as her big brother he will always be the one she looks to when learning about our world. With that in mind though, there have been certain things that I have noticed Drake has learned or gotten a better understanding of since Juliet's arrival. I never realized how having a little sister, or a sibling in the home, could help teach Drake things I have been working on with him for years to much frustration and futility. Watching him interact with Juliet and learning these lessons from her really warms my heart, especially since I know he will teach Juliet countless things throughout her life. It's nice to know that she can also help him become a better person too.

Feelings -  Of all the lessons Juliet has taught Drake, the biggest one I have noticed has to do with feelings and emotions. Before Juliet was born, my biggest worries about Drake always stemmed with how he played with other children roughly. Drake would push and shove and snatch and grab no matter how often I would tell him it wasn't nice and that we don't use our hands on others. Going to school and just simply growing up and maturing have definitely played a part in helping with this, but it wasn't until recently with Juliet that I noticed Drake starting to grasp the idea that others have feelings too.

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Holding Down My Little Fighter

Last week was a busy one for us. D had an appointment at the GI clinic (which means they draw a TON of blood), and an IVIG infusion (which requires an IV line to be placed), and because he has a cold he's back to getting nebulizer treatments. These weeks full of appointments used to be much more common for us, and somehow the timing worked out that these two big ones were back to back. At each appointment I had to hold him down for multiple painful pricks or uncomfortable procedures, which is one of my least favorite tasks. I really hate doing it, but in the moment I can just tune out his struggling and complaining and crying since we have no choice. In a way I dread the day when he is more vocal, since I imagine him yelling, "No Mommy, stop it, it hurts!" will be much harder to ignore, and the questions about why he has to go through all of this so regularly will be harder to answer.

D waiting to see the GI doc one day, getting his IVIG infusion the next

He gets the IVIG infusion about every 5 weeks to give his immune system a boost. Apparently a lot of short gut kids have weakened immune systems - although his hemotologist is hopeful that he won't need it forever. The prep for the infusion takes over an hour (I start by putting numbing cream on the possible IV sites before we leave home), and the infusion takes about two hours. They have to continuously monitor his temperature and blood pressure, even though he's gotten it since his 2nd NICU stay and has never had a bad reaction. The IV prick itself is the least offensive, followed by the blood draw at the GI clinic, where they have to keep squeezing his arm to get enough blood for all the tests they have to run. Thankfully now we only go to clinic once every few months, although for a while it was weekly. Worst of all is the nebulizer, where he has to be pretty still for about 15 mins breathing in the meds - three times a day! The only saving grace is that the nebulizer is more effective when he cries, since he takes deeper breaths.

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