Hellobee

If I Could Register Today, Part 2

Hi, Bee readers! I’m back again talking registry dreams. Since this poor second baby will be inheriting his brother’s “big ticket” items, this is the arena where he will likely actually see some of these new items (although with no shower or sprinkle in the horizon, it will likely be paid for by yours truly). But in my dream world, if I could register all over again for all of the accessories that go along with baby’s first year, here is what we would register for this time around:

If-I-could-Register-Today-Part-2-Layette
1) Aden & Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets  |  2) Summer Infant Swaddleme  |  3) Halo Fleece Sleepsack  |  4) Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit  |  5) Zipadeezip  |  6) Woombie  |  7) Breathable Mesh Bumper  |  8) Crib Sheet

I’m a firm believer in minimal registering for baby layette. People want to pick out their own adorable clothing choices for your baby, and honestly, babies are gross, and will poop or throw up on anything you dress them in or cover their mattress with (sad but true). However, there are a few key pieces that I would register for if given the chance for a first baby. First, I would register for a ton of different swaddling and sleep assisting options. Every kid is different, and since sleep-deprived moms tend to be more than willing to throw money at the problem, swaddles and sleep gear that you don’t end up needing will maintain a decent resale value.

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The End of Foster Care

One thing I’ve learned, is that change isn’t always easy. It isn’t always good, and it isn’t always bad. Sometimes it just is.

Foster care ended for us almost two months ago, and I’m still having a hard time putting a word on the feeling it left. I don’t want to call it empty, because my life is still so full. I don’t know what to call it, but it left a space where a child used to be.

He was never my baby, but while he was here, he was my son. He added so much complexity to my life that I wasn’t prepared for, and then the sudden absence of the chaos was almost too much to bear. Our life was madness for ten months, and then suddenly, it was over.

I still catch myself saying “my kids” or when someone asks how many children I have, I remind myself that the answer is “one.” I’m actually writing this in bed, in the dark, because I was trying to sleep and thought of a clip of a movie that reminded me of my two boys. It has been almost two months, and life still feels off. It doesn’t feel bad, and sometimes it doesn’t feel good.

I feel like I’ll always be different now. Not outwardly, but in the same way that infertility makes me different. No one can see it, but I can feel it. And some days it’s a lot heavier than others. Some days, it is just so heavy.

I don’t think I’ll ever shake off the mark that foster care left on me. I’ll never get used to the fact that we had to give him back. He’s safe, and he’s loved, but I feel like I have a child out there that I can no longer protect.

I know that the typical “happy ending” for foster care is to be adopted into a loving home. Our foster child is in a loving home, just not ours. But, I thought he would be. I thought we would have two boys, two months apart. I thought I’d stay home with them forever. I thought I’d wear the wheels off of the double stroller, and now I have no use for it at all.

I had to take apart his crib. I had to pack his toys and clothes into boxes to go with him. I had to cry. A lot.

And on nights like tonight, where all seems calm, I find that I still cry. For him. For us. For all foster children.

Breastfeeding a Preemie, Our Experience

After exclusively pumping for my first born, a real hater of the breast, I had high hopes for nursing the second. Then to our surprise baby number two arrived ten weeks early. NICU stays are probably the reason I’ve heard cited most frequently for breastfeeding not working out, so with the little confidence I had in my breasts to begin with, I was now full of doubt. This however, is a story of hope! Hope for moms of preemies and NICU babies with hopes of breastfeeding! As it turns out, breastfeeding was still a possibility for our Iris, despite a 6 week stay in the NICU.

I’m not going to pretend to possess some sort of secret for how to make this work; rather I’d just like to share our experience for the sake of anyone who finds themselves in this position and is looking for some positivity.

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Pinkalicious by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann

We’re launching a new regular feature where we highlight individual children’s book authors and their best books. Because Olive is currently obsessed with all things Pinkalicious, I thought that would be a good place to start. When she was about 2 1/2, the pink princess gene started to kick in, and now at age 3 it’s full-blown. Since I’ve never been a pink or princess gal myself, I resisted the Pinkalicious books for a long time to be honest. But I really wanted to encourage Olive to read more and to read longer stories since she’s never been as much of a bookworm as her older brother. I thought it would help if I could get her into some books that really captivated her — she doesn’t have too many books of her own because she’s always read Charlie’s hand-me-down books.

We’ve read a bunch of Pinkalicious stories now and Olive never tires of them. I think they really helped her enjoy reading for much longer periods of time, no matter the book. It used to be hard to get her to sit through too many books, and now she happily sits through 8 before bedtime each night, and I get tired before she does!

pinkalicious victoria kann

Pinkalicious, 2006
Author: Victoria and Elizabeth Kann
Publisher’s Recommended Age Range: 4 – 8 years
My Recommended Age: 3+
Grade Level: Preschool – 3

There are currently 5 books in the Pinkalicious series including Pinkalicious, Purplicious, Goldilicious, Silverlicious, and Emeraldalicious. The sixth book in the series, Aqualicious, will be coming out this March. There are also over 20 shorter early reader Pinkalicious books for kids 4+. Magazine and newspaper illustrator turned author Victoria Kann co-authored the first two books in the series with her sister Elizabeth, and then went on to write and illustrate the rest of the books on her own.

Victoria was inspired by her two daughters’ love of cupcakes and the color pink to write Pinkalicious. In the charming story, Pinkalicious eats too many pink cupcakes and comes down with pinkititis, which turns her pink from head to toe. Pink being her favorite color, she couldn’t be more delighted. But she soon discovers downsides to being pink and when Pinkalicious eats one too many pink cupcakes, she turns red. The only cure to return to normal is to eat lots of green vegetables.

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The Name Game (Take 2)

You might remember all the criteria we had when we were picking a name for Jack Jack. We wanted a name that fit with our older daughter’s name, that evoked the spirit of the early twentieth century, that wasn’t too popular currently, and ended in -ia. We hoped we might find a name with family ties and a good song associated with it. Despite all of those constraints, we found a perfect match for our second daughter that met all our requirements. It’s a name that our whole family loves to say– even to this day. It also lends itself to so many wonderful nicknames. Despite that, we pre-empted accidental nicknaming by picking one that might not be thought of immediately for Magnolia, but works very well for it.

I’m a naming geek and I want to find the perfect appellation for the child who will be our last. Since it is (maybe) a boy, you’d think I’d have a ton of great boys’ names stacked up… but you’d be wrong! With Little Jacks, we had a boy name that we really liked. Since then, there’s been a “Utah Names” video by ‘Mormon Girls Say’ that featured the name we previously liked. The video is hilarious (probably even more so if you live in Utah, work in healthcare, are a teacher, or are LDS), but in that moment, the magic was gone.

That left us completely nameless and struggling for a boy’s name that is classic, but not top 100 popular (preferably not top 200 — but we can give a little here). It can’t be a Jayden, Brayden, Aiden or Caden, and can’t end in -tt because of Mr. Jacks’ last name. It has to fit well with our girls’ romantic turn of the century names and multiple syllables would probably do that best. Bonus points if you find a name that Mr. Jacks and I can agree on that also has a song associated with it.

I’ve spent hours combing through Nameberry, Nymbler and Baby Name Wizard and yet the only thing that has clicked is a new perfect girl name. Why are boys’ names so hard? It seems like anything unusual is a target for bullying (Valentine and Thelonious are both names that I adore and would have at the top of my list) and yet more common names will result in having several boys with the same name in class. Little Jacks’ class currently has 3 boys named Eli. So scratch Elias off my list (which I really liked)!

You all independently picked Magnolia in the first name game blog post and that completely sealed the deal on a name that I was already smitten with. I’m hoping you’ll do the same for this child’s name. The task is even harder this time, but I know you are up for the challenge!

Tales from the Peanut Gallery

As I was looking through my blog for infertility-related posts to share, I came across this post from just after a church women’s retreat weekend I took when I was in my 20th month of TTC. 

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There is a group of women that believe a woman’s sole purpose in life is to procreate and tend a home. I have nothing against that mentality; I understand it fully and I can even see how it’s argued biblically. But these women live and breathe for their husbands and their children. And when the conversation eventually switches to, “How many precious little ones do you have at home?” It’s time to duck and roll as fast as you can. Because amidst the “three beautiful little girls,” and “six boys and a dog,” my “none” incites a riot.

“Don’t you realize how precious children are?”

“Haven’t you ever considered being a mother?”

“You’ll change your mind when you grow up a little, dear.”

To save myself from being stabbed with an errant fork or (more likely) with the pin-end of someone’s brooch, I blurt out something horribly awkward and conversation-halting.

“I’M INFERTILE!” I gasp, avoiding eye contact and shoveling chocolate cake into my mouth. Cue pitying glances. And most of all, more than anything, bring on THE LIST. What list? This list.

THE TOP TEN WORST THINGS TO SAY TO AN INFERTILE WOMAN
(especially when she’s sitting across from you at a table, and her chocolate cake is almost gone, and the dessert buffet is empty)

1. Just relax and it will happen
: The last two years of my life which have been spent having ridiculous amounts of babymaking “practice” can all be solved with a quick trip to the spa? A few ‘in and out’ breaths? Or even a weekend away at a rustic retreat? Tell me more.

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7 Non-Toy Gifts for Preschoolers

Christmas in our house was crazy! There are toys in every single room of our house and I recently received a few more gifts from family through the mail. We are so blessed, but I admit I am a bit toyed out now. I know I am not the only mom who feels like this; Drake has had quite a few invitations for birthday parties and some of the moms have mentioned the toy overload going on in their homes as well after the holidays. With that in mind, I started to think about gifts we could give Drake’s friends that weren’t toys but still fun for a pre-schooler.

7-Non-toy-Gifts-for-Preschoolers

1) Bank – Pre-school is a great age to start introducing the idea of money and savings. Mrs. Bee actually introduced me to the idea of the Moon Bank with the 3 sections — one for saving, one for spending, and one for donating. I like the colorful spots for each section and think it’s a great first bank for kids. As a parent I would love a gift like this for my child. I might get Drake this for his birthday if we don’t end up trying to DIY a modified version from this tutorial.

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