Hellobee

How I Learned to Stop Raising My Voice and Get to School On Time

The other morning, Charlie was late for school and as usual, he wasn’t listening to anything we said. I was growing increasingly exasperated but trying to hold it together and get out the door.

“Charlie, put your shorts on! We’re gonna be late for school!!”

“Ok, ok!” he said back to me in the exact same tone of voice, while doing nothing. After watching him dawdle for 10 more seconds, I felt I had to repeat myself.

“Charlie, did you hear me?? You have to get dressed for school right now!! We’re late!”

He disappeared into his room and didn’t come back for a few minutes. We peeked in there and he was looking for his stuffed animals. He wanted to bring them with him on the way to school. I could feel all the patience leaving my body. If I was Bruce Banner, I probably would have turned into the Hulk right then and there. Instead I did what I had been doing way too much lately: I raised my voice.

“Charlie, get dressed right now!!!  We’re late!!!”

He was finally moved into action, but not nearly fast enough. So I grabbed his shorts and started helping him get dressed.  We finally made it out the door, and started running to school.  It’s an 11 minute walk, but we can make it in half the time if we run.

As we ran, I thought to myself: there has to be a better way.  This isn’t the way I want to parent my kids.  I wasn’t at the point yet where I was yelling at the kids, but I was raising my voice and getting exasperated far too often.

So when I got home, I sat down and made a plan… and since then, things have gotten so much better!  Here’s what been working:

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The Grocery Shopping List for Kids

I loved Mrs. Chipmunk’s perpetual shopping list and decided to make one for myself because I’ve tried various apps, but good old-fashioned paper lists just work better for me. I shop at a bunch of different places, so customizing a list according to what I buy where makes the most sense. I plan to laminate it, stick it to the fridge, check off what I need as I run out, and take a picture of the list with my phone before I head out to the market.

I thought I would share the portion of my list that specifically pertains to breakfast and packing the kids’ lunches because that’s what makes up the bulk of our purchases (plus I love seeing what other people are buying!). Charlie and Olive get most of their daily calories at lunch so I always pack big lunches consisting of a protein, vegetable, fruit, cheese, olives or pickles (Charlie’s favorite food), and a small treat. I’ve shared some of our lunch ideas and favorite brands below!

P R O T E I N S

breakfast sausage (from butcher)
ground turkey (meatballs)
ground beef (meatballs or pasta)
beef stew meat (seaweed soup)
rotisserie chicken
cornish game hens (chicken porridge)
eggs (boiled or fried)
Applegate Farms Organic Bacon
Applegate Farms Organic beef hot dogs
Applegate Farms Pepperoni
Applegate Farms Organic Ham  (DIY lunchables)

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Back to Nature: Weight Loss Edition

Over the last few years in the Hellobee community, I’ve talked a lot about my visits to naturopathic doctors, and the various treatments I’ve tried. At first it was for general health and weight loss, then for PCOS and infertility, then for depression and anxiety, and now we’ve come full circle and I’m back on the general health and weight loss wagon.

Here’s the thing. I’ve lost the baby weight. It was gone by about 6 months postpartum. But I’m not saying that to brag. I’m saying that because, though the scale says I’m back to ‘normal,’ I know that’s not true. Having a baby does some weird things to your body, folks. I’ve got this weird muffin top/spare tire hanging out around my waist, my hips are wider than they were before, and there are some bizarre inner-thigh lumps that have tagged along. I’m not ashamed of my postpartum body….but I’m not content to leave it the way it is.

A big part of my issue when it comes to weight loss is that pesky PCOS. I’m insulin-resistant, and I hold on to fat like nobody’s business. Combine that with a sluggish thyroid, sloooooow metabolism, and general love of all things carbohydrate, and I’m a bit of a weight loss nightmare.

So, besides upping the exercise and ditching the cupcakes, what is my naturopath recommending for me? Here’s a glimpse into my treatment plan.

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Preparing For Our 18 Month Sibling Age Gap

When venturing into our parental journey, our hope was always to have our second child when our first was around two years old. Once Roman reached 6 months, I secretly started fantasizing about having another much sooner. Strangely enough, before that 6 month point I had trouble imagining having another at all. I wasn’t traumatized by my experience with Roman; I was just so intensely attached to him that having another baby felt like a betrayal of some sort.

At my last ob appointment, while I was buckling Roman into his stroller to leave, my doctor said, “Aren’t you a little sad, he’s still just a baby?”

I’m not sad, so apparently I went from one extreme to the other. I feel happy for my children that they will have each other through all their years. I daydream about them playing together, about family dance parties and adventures. (I feel it is important to document this now, so my future self can look back and laugh when they are pulling each others hair out.)

After finding out I was pregnant with our second baby I was so hungry for feedback on what to expect with this 18 month age gap. Every mother I encountered at the playground with a toddler and an infant was greeted with the ever popular, “how old are they?” followed by a slew of more questions if it turned out they were in fact “two under two.” I quickly got the impression that it isn’t something people like to talk about, as it seems they’ve learned already that when it comes to siblings it all depends on the individual children and every age gap has its perks and drawbacks through different phases.

I was also just so curious what to expect of my son as an 18 month old. How much will he understand; how well will he be able to express himself; what milestones and behavior bumps will he be experiencing? After some observation of 18 month olds, I concluded there will be no predictability with this either. Roman recently experienced a long independent streak followed by an intensely clingy phase, suddenly exhibiting jealousy when he sees me holding another baby or hugging family members. I am completely clueless as to what the next 4 months might bring. Right now he hasn’t the slightest idea what is going on. We point to my belly and say, “Isn’t mamma’s belly getting big?” but he has no interest. I can picture him looking at his sister with sweet curiosity, the way I see him check out the other infants he’s encountered, but I can’t imagine how this will affect him, what he’ll think, and how long it will take him to understand.

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Creative Play with a Sticky Mat

Have you noticed that little ones love stickers and sticking things onto other things? Glue sticks are practically magic! A fun twist on this is a sticky mat, and it’s perfect for even toddlers to explore!

This simple and fun activity is basically a sheet of self-adhesive paper that you can attach lots of different things to, all without glue. And because only the mat is sticky, you won’t have things getting stuck in places they shouldn’t.

Many items can be stuck down and removed, ready to be stuck down again, although some things (like tissue paper) will stay stuck for good. After you’re done or all of the stickiness is gone, you can throw away the mat and start fresh next time.

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Becoming a Big Sister

When I was still pregnant, I wasn’t terribly concerned with how Aliya would adjust to being a big sister. I knew she loved babies — sometimes she would go up to the random baby at the park and try to give them hugs and kisses (this was before we had a discussion with her about boundaries). Everyone would look at me and say, “She needs a sibling!”

And so when we brought baby home, I was more concerned with her trying to smother her brother. And true to form, she would bring him stuffed animals, cover him with a blanket, sing him songs, tell him stories, cover him with stickers, and pat him when he started crying. It is heartwarming to watch, but more often than not, we have to remind her to give her brother space.

We did a couple of things to prepare her for becoming a big sister:

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We Go to Church

Disclaimer: I’m talking about religion. These are my beliefs, and though I hold them dear, I also respect your beliefs, non-beliefs and personal decisions. 

I grew up in church. We attended every Sunday, there was youth group midweek, and more often than not, I was volunteering as well. Mr O and I met at church, we were married in the same church, and (since Mr O is a pastor), our faith is a very important part of our lives. It was vital to my state of mind during our infertility journey, and I believe wholeheartedly that Little Oats is a gift from God.

When we had Little Oats, we knew that we wanted her to grow up knowing the God that we know. We wanted her to have a church home that she would feel safe in. We knew the importance of having other adults in her life who would guide her (especially when she won’t listen to Mom and Dad). And since we both believe that God comes first in our lives, we knew He would be a big part of Little Oats’ story. To incorporate our faith into our lives, there are a few steps we take:

1. We go to church: As a toddler, Little Oats learns three crucial things at church: that God made her, that he loves her, and that he wants to be her friend forever. Though the ins and outs of Christianity are much more nuanced than that, doesn’t it all boil down to those truths? Little Oats has the same three group leaders each week; they constantly are excited to see her, they go out of their way to make her feel welcome, and they love what they do.

2. We pray together: Whether for small things like a good night’s sleep, or the bigger issues in our lives, Mr O and I pray with and for Little Oats before bed each night. We also say grace at dinner ( and if Little Oats is particularly hungry, she cuts it short by yelling ‘Amen!’)

3. We lead by example: I could tell Little Oats all day long the importance of reading her Bible or praying…but if she doesn’t see me making time for those things in my day, I’m just a hypocrite. By making sure that our own faith is in check, we provide an example for Little Oats to learn from.

Is faith part of your lives? How do you teach your little ones what you believe?

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