Hellobee

The first year with two kids

I can relate to Mrs. Yoyo’s recent post on having two young children and still being in the weeds. A friend of mine said “being a mom of two kids is no joke” and that really hit me; it’s so true. Things are wonderful, but the first year of Summer’s life absolutely flew by faster than I thought it would. I’ve been so busy while time has been passing, and I feel like I haven’t had much time to reflect. These days my mantra is pretty much keep moving. I’ve sort of realized that when I get behind on chores, meal planning, errands etc., it amplifies and creates stress for all of us. As a mom of two, the biggest thing I’ve learned this year is prep work is key to keep on top of everything and avoid unnecessary stress for me, the kids and my husband. Here are a couple of other things that I’ve really learned to manage better this year.

Staggering naps. Alright, admit it — we all look forward to one of the most glorious times of day — nap time! I am aware of the brutal fact that some babies follow their own agenda and absolutely laugh at your “schedule,” and every baby probably has times of nap protest due to teething/overtiredness/other random problem, so this absolutely will not work sometimes. However, the best thing I figured out this year was to stagger naps so that they overlap. In the beginning, when Summer was really little she needed two naps so it was pretty easy to get both kids down around the same time in the afternoon. Ahh, some much needed downtime for me… until she dropped to one nap at 10 months. So after a bit of trial and error, I realized the best time to put her down was around 11:30am. Gemma could be persuaded to nap for a shorter amount of time if I put her down earlier than usual- around 12:30pm. This has been giving me 45min-an hour to eat lunch and rest, and has even moved bedtime up for both girls.

Combining errands. When you go from one kid to two, taking two kids in and out of car seats/shopping carts/carriers is pretty physically draining. I order a lot more online, do bigger grocery runs, and try to combine a few errands into one trip so that I don’t have to run out every day.

Prepping meals while feeding. My ideal is to have meals where I sit down, but right now that’s just not always the case. In general I get to have dinner as a sit down meal with the family which is really nice–when it works out. :) I use most of the time that the girls are eating during the day to cook. I make them meals and then when I get them seated, I turn on some music and they eat and laugh and I start cooking. At breakfast time I pack lunches while feeding the girls, and at afternoon snack time I prep dinner and they have snacks. Then Gemma starts helping me cook while Summer practices feeding herself. These are actually some of my best moments of the day; we all have a lot of fun and the kids enjoy trying new food and playing games in the kitchen.

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Early Intervention Evaluation 12 Month Review

In September Juliet will have been enrolled in early intervention for 6 months (so fast!).  She has been progressing nicely in the program so far seeing both a developmental therapist once a week and a physical therapist once a month. In September her review will be up to see if she can remain in the program or what services need to be added or dropped depending on her progress. Both her therapists recently did an evaluation to submit paperwork ahead of the evaluation. Currently Juliet is still delayed in every area practically (in varying degrees), and most likely will be staying in the program, though we don’t know if any services will be added or taken until September.

The therapists evaluated Juliet on 6 different categories. Juliet will be 15 months of age in September, but for the paperwork she was assessed for her abilities at a 12/13 month range as that is how old she is currently.

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…And It All Comes Flooding Back

Back when we were in the thick of our infertility and even after we started our adoption process, the question I dreaded most was, “When are you having kids?” It was like a stab in the heart. Every. Time. I know the question is well-meaning and innocent on the part of the asker, but when what you’d want more than anything else in the world is to be able to have a child, that innocent question becomes a painful reminder that you can’t. At least not yet.

We have been in the process for our second adoption for over two years now. Yes, we know who our sweet daughter is now, but we will still need to wait up to another year until she is able to come home. So, while we might technically have a daughter, it’s hard to explain our situation to others who don’t really know us or how the process works.

And now, with Lil’ CB at 4, almost 5, and heading into Kindergarten, the questions that are currently driving me crazy are, “So, is he your only one?” followed by “When are you going to give him a sibling?” or “Aren’t you going to have more?” or some variation of the like. The worst is when they ask Lil’ CB, “Don’t you want a little brother or sister? Ask your mom and dad for one!” That one makes me want to punch that person in the face. (I swear, I’m normally a very non-violent person!)

Sure, I could say that we are in process with our second adoption and that our little girl is waiting in Korea, but most of the time, these questions are from strangers and almost all of the time, I don’t want to launch into our family history or worse, my reproductive status, with a complete stranger.

Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely proud and grateful that our family was formed through adoption and am happy to talk about it with anyone who is genuinely interested, but again, with a stranger, I just don’t want to (or need to) go there. Plus, as Lil’ CB gets older, I want him to know that his story is his story as his sister’s is hers. And I want to help be protective of those stories until my children are old enough to share on their own with others the parts they are comfortable sharing.

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Gearing Up for Baby No. 2

After reading Mrs. Jump Rope’s post on gear items for Baby 2, it made me think and question if I have everything we need for our little guy! I am pretty close to the finish line and expect to deliver in the next couple of weeks!

Fortunately, before we had Toddler Checkers, I made sure to buy a lot of our bigger gear items as gender neutral so that we could reuse them for the next baby.  Truth be told, I was a little sad to pack/give away a lot of her girl items (since I am mostly sure this baby may be our last), knowing we might never use them again!

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Everything You Wanted to Know About Surrogacy

Our surrogate Aimee posted a “Surrogacy 411″ post on her blog after receiving so many questions about our surrogacy journey, and she offered to share her post here on Hellobee.

I’ve been wanting to do a blog post all about surrogacy for some time now, but I wanted to finish my journey first before I did. It’s always been like this secret society that only the few select knew about, and it was difficult to find information about it when I began my journey. It really makes me super sad to read so many negative things about such a beautiful thing. So I’ve made it my mission to show and inform people just how wonderful the whole process is.

Here are some of the questions I’ve been asked during my entire journey….

One of the most asked questions was, “How did you get pregnant? Did you have to have sex with the intended father (IF)? Or have a three-some with the mother to get her eggs?”
Nope, no, never. Prior to my meeting my intended parents (IP’s), they’d gone through the process of retrieving eggs from my intended mother (IM) and sperm from my IF and the embryos had been frozen waiting for transfer. There is an option of doing a fresh transfer which usually includes syncing the cycles of the woman whose egg is being used with the woman who will be carrying the baby. I’m not familiar with this way, so I don’t have any information of that side. For us it was after weeks of meds and ultrasounds showing the lining of my uterus was thick enough and ready to house and grow a baby. An embryologist came into our reproductive doctor’s room where we all were waiting, and he inserted the embryos into my uterus where it attached and grew a sweet baby boy! It’s all done through IVF… science. Not some crazy backwoods thing!

“Did you use an agency?”
Yes and no. I had decided to seek out a couple independently and found my IP’s on a classified site called SMO. When I found my IP’s, they had been going through a small agency but the woman who ran it was extremely flaky. So while we used her to draw up our contract soon after that, she pretty much dropped off the face of the earth and we all agreed to continue on without her. I really liked that better because I felt like it strengthened our relationship and helped it to be as great as it is today. I can see both pros and cons to going through an agency, but I was really happy going independently and just being the one to solve any problems if they arose, directly between ourselves. There are many, many, MANY agencies out there and each have their own rules, as well as rules with the reproductive doctors offices, but I’m a little biased towards going independently.

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Momma’s Chili Recipe

My mom is notorious for flying by the seat of her pants when it comes to cooking. She can look in a nearly empty pantry and come up with something that may not be gourmet but is completely delicious. When Mr. Bear and I were married, I would often call my mother up and ask her what I should make by listing the ingredients I had available. She would patiently walk me through how to pull together a meal because she knows I’m not a cook. I can bake but when it comes to taking what I have in the pantry or fridge and making it work, I’m missing the necessary gene.

While I admire my mother’s ability to pull recipes out of thin air, I wish more of her dishes were actually on paper somewhere. The winter of my first marriage I was feeling hugely pregnant and homesick. I knew that with the temperatures as low as they were, my mother would be making what had once been a staple to my winter diet – chili. Unfortunately I had seemed to marry a man that didn’t understand that chili isn’t a want, it’s a need. Especially when the person who needs said chili is pregnant.

When I called her up one afternoon asking for her chili recipe, all I got on the other end of the line was my mother’s laughter. It wasn’t my request that had made her laugh but the idea that she had a recipe to work from. Still she took pity on me and sat down at her desk and typed up a recipe for me to use as a guide for when I went grocery shopping. It’s taken us nearly a year and quite a few tweaks since then, but I think Mr. Bear and I finally have something resembling the chili that I’ve missed so much.

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minted zucchini orzo salad

I had the most amazing salad on the cruise we took in May, and I couldn’t wait to get home to try and replicate it. It tastes amazing ice cold, which is something great in this heatwave Seattle is having, and great as a mom in general since my food is always cold by the time I get to it.

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