Hellobee

Breastfeeding: Second Time’s a Charm

Breastfeeding my new baby was on the forefront of my mind during my entire pregnancy. I shed literal blood, sweat, and tears trying to get Bunny (my first born) to nurse, so I was preparing myself for a similar experience with my second baby.

“Breastfeeding,” they say, “shouldn’t hurt,” but even when Bunny and I were doing it correctly the first time, according to the lactation consultants we saw, it was still really uncomfortable. It was so painful that I remember shielding my breasts in the shower as the water poured down on them. I had tears streaming down my face, blending in with the water, because I thought I’d never be able to have a relaxing shower again. Eventually the pain from breastfeeding went away, but it took a tremendous amount of effort and will power to get to that point.

breastfeeding the second time around

So when it didn’t hurt—at all—the first time BunBun latched on almost immediately after she was born, I thought it was just a fluke. During that first feeding I could even feel and see her drinking; I figured the pain would come later. But later came and went, and the pain and soreness never arrived. Before she was born I stocked up on my favorite nipple cream, but it’s been sitting—on opened—on my dresser.

With Bunny I had a low supply and she had a shallow suck, or at least that’s what I was told. I took pills, I used a funky supplemental nursing system, and I pumped constantly to get my supply up. My boobs were literally out for at least more than half of the day. With BunBun I actually started out with an oversupply, and even now, four months later, I sometimes have too much milk for her and it spills out of her little mouth. When I was struggling the first time and I heard about moms having too much milk for their little ones I used to pray for just a little extra milk for my baby so I wouldn’t have to supplement. I used to pump, and pump, and pump for what seemed like forever only to get an ounce or two of milk. Now I get almost a bottle full in under 10 minutes. Her nursing sessions are like little sprints—she’s got that “milk drunk” thing going on after just 10 minutes total.

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Why Being a Country Kid is Awesome

Mrs. Bee and Mrs. High Heels recently detailed why they love raising kids in the city and suburbs respectively. Those great posts made me realize it’s time for me to write a shout out to country living. Mr. Blue and I live in a town of just under 200,000 people, but I grew up in the middle of nowhere on a working cattle ranch. And when I say “middle of nowhere,” I mean thirty minutes from the closest town of 1,000 people. I mean “country” as in the closest movie theater, doctor’s office, or fast food was 60 miles away, while the closest mall or any kind of major shopping was two hours away (in the town we now live in). While I didn’t always love everything about living on a ranch when I was a kid, one of the reasons we moved to our current city is because we wanted our boys to grow up getting to go out to the ranch and having an appreciation for that way of life.  And, let me tell you, it is absolutely their happy place.

ranch 6Country life: Where a road becomes your playground.

1.  You have almost entirely unhindered freedom to roam and play. We literally have one neighbor within five miles of my parents’ house and beyond that, we know everyone in at least a 30 mile radius. When we were little kids, my brothers and I would ride our bikes down the country road 5 miles one way to play with our cousins, and no one thought anything about it. My parents didn’t have to worry about who we might encounter when we were playing because we had miles and miles of front yard at our disposal, and every vehicle that drives the country road by our house knows that there are kids nearby to keep an eye out for. Obviously, I still set age-appropriate boundaries at the ranch; I’m not going to let them wander miles away, but they have much more freedom there than I could ever give them when we’re at home.

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Next and Final Steps!

One hundred forty-five days. That’s about 22 weeks. Or five months. It might seem like a random, arbitrary number, but that’s how long we waited for our Emigration Permit approval. That’s right, waited. Which means we are no longer waiting — we got it!

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Though we waited much, much, much longer than we had anticipated, we are SO very grateful things are moving forward and we are heading into our next and final steps. We had initially thought we would be in Korea at about this time, but with unexpected delays, that obviously didn’t happen. We knew approval would come, it was just a matter of when. And now that when has happened we are ecstatic!

So, what happens next? Next, we wait for a court date — our papers were submitted to the Korean Family Court the day after our approval and will be reviewed by a judge who will take our case. We anticipate we will hear about our court date within 1-3 months. Court dates are typically scheduled about 1-2 months after the notification, which puts us in Korea for our first trip any time between late August and November. After waiting so long for this step, we are praying hard that things will move a little more quickly for the next steps, but also trying to remain realistic. At this point, I’m thinking we’ll be in Korea for our court date in late September. From there, we’ll wait another 3-8 weeks for final approval and we’ll be able to bring our sweet girl home. We are 99% certain our Lil’ Cowgirl will be home for Christmas and everything will be done well before the end of the year.

It’s been a long, long, long process (this past May was our 3 year mark!) and we’re not finished yet, but we’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and we know we’ll be bringing our Lil’ CG HOME SOON. Can’t wait to have our little girl in our arms!!! We’re coming for you, Lil’ CG!

50 Fun and cheap things to do in the summer

Summer has officially arrived! After this brutal winter I am so excited to be finally enjoying the sunshine. I stopped babysitting last week so now I have the rest of the summer, until baby arrives, to spend with my two little ones. I want to enjoy our days but also enjoy them economically, especially in ways that I can still do after we have a newborn. So far these are some ideas I have about entertaining ourselves throughout these next few months.

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1) Library – We live close to two libraries in our area. Juliet and I have been attending story time at one now for close to a year and she loves it. We have made some good friends from the class and now that summer is here Drakey is going to start tagging along too. Besides free books the library has puzzles, puppets, and even some educational computer games to try out. All the libraries in the area are doing free movies on Saturdays. I already got Drake and I tickets to see How To Train A Dragon! Cost- Free

2) Spray Park – I love our local spray park. It’s been a source of great fun for Drake since he was two and last year Juliet got her turn and loved it. The spray park is attached to a playground as well and there are benches and plenty of lawn space to picnic. There is even a little vendor shop with hot dogs and ice cream that Drake loves. We meet a lot of friends there too and make a day of it. Cost- Free or a few bucks if we don’t bring our own food or want a little ice cream treat.

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Potty Training Readiness

About a week ago, as we were getting Little Oats ready for the bath, she declared “I go pee!” Since she was diaperless, I put her on the toilet to see what would happen. Sure enough, she peed…and cheered herself on when she was done. I was surprised, but sure that it was just a fluke; after all, she was standing *right* beside the toilet.

The next morning, we were headed out the door for daycare, and she announced again “I go pee!” She ran into the bathroom, tugged at her pants, and asked me for help. I took her diaper off, sat her on the toilet, and again, she peed and cheered. This has happened randomly and spontaneously at different times throughout the last few days, and every time, Little Oats is thrilled with herself. She will occasionally go if we ask her, but it’s usually her own doing. So, despite the fact that we hadn’t planned to potty train for another several months (she’s 22 months), I started reading, researching and planning out our potty training approach.

So, how do you know that your child is ready for potty training? Here are some great signs and signals from different sources (BabyCenter, this article)

Signs of Potty Training ‘Readiness’

  • walks and runs steadily
  • urinates a fair amount at once (as opposed to a little bit several times a day)
  • has regular bowel movements at somewhat predictable times
  • has ‘dry’ periods during naps, at night, or for at least 2 hours (showing bladder control)
  • can pull pants up and down
  • seems to dislike the feeling of a dirty or wet diaper
  • shows interest in others’ bathroom habits
  • can give a verbal or physical sign of bowel movements
  • takes pride in accomplishments
  • isn’t hesitant or resistant to using the toilet
  • is in a generally cooperative stage
  • understands the feelings of ‘having to go’ and can tell you before it happens
  • can follow simple instructions

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Toddlerhood & Discipline

Many experts say that the two most important things parents can give their kids is love and discipline. Loving our kids can come pretty easily, but disciplining them can be difficult or frustrating. When I hear the word discipline, I think of punishment. Even the dictionary defines discipline as punishment. I grew up in a home where I was punished whenever I got in trouble. It left me feeling hurt and distrustful of my mom who was the one who did the disciplining. Even as an adult, it still stings when I think about how I was disciplined and how that impacted my relationship with my mom.

When I became a teacher, I had to have a discipline policy in my classroom. It consisted of rules and consequences. It was a set of boundaries and expectations of behavior in the classroom so that all children could learn and feel safe. When I first started teaching, my inability to effectively implement my discipline policy greatly affected my classroom. It wasn’t chaos but it wasn’t pretty. It left me feeling frustrated and flustered at time. I was just trying to survive.

Being the parent of a toddler can feel like that. As a first time parent, when Little SB is pushing my buttons and having a meltdown because she didn’t get her way, sometimes I just want to throw in the towel. It makes me wonder whether she is doing that on purpose or not. But I know she isn’t doing it on purpose because there are certain characteristics of toddlers that make them the way they are. As the parent, I need to remember that she is learning about the world and doesn’t see it the way I do.

As I stated in a previous post, I’ve been attending a toddler parenting class and the class on discipline was such an eye opening one for me. I’ve always thought of discipline as a way of addressing misbehavior, but it should actually be an ongoing way of interacting with your child to encourage good behavior, prevent misbehavior, and resolve problem behavior when it occurs. It should provide guidelines and support for your child as they are learning how to behave and manage their emotions and relationships with others.

Encouraging Good Behavior

– “Catch them being good.” At my old elementary school, we used to have something called “GOTCHA’S.” Basically they were like referrals but were given to kids when we caught them doing something good. So many times, we focus on the negative instead of the positive. During a typical day with Little SB, I find myself saying, “No, don’t touch that.” Don’t jump, don’t do this, don’t do that, etc. I focus on what I don’t want her to do so much that sometimes I forget to acknowledge what she is doing. I’ve been trying to be more intentional and praise her for her behavior and catch her doing good instead of constantly criticizing or correcting her.

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Choosing a Double Stroller – Britax B-Agile Double Review

When we found out we were expecting Baby Lion, the one piece of baby gear that I insisted I had to have was a double stroller. Living in the suburbs, but also in a walking-friendly area, I used my single B-Agile stroller at least once, sometimes 3-4 times a day! I knew that having two children two years apart would make getting out of the house a struggle, and if I was to ever leave the house with both kids in tow, I really wanted to have a stroller that could contain both of them.

The most important criteria to me were:

  • Size – would both kids fit comfortably? Would I fit through doors and down aisles when shopping?
  • Weight – would I be able to easily get it in and out of the car?
  • Ease of folding and loading – again, would I be able to easily get it in and out of the car?
  • Maneuverability – would it be easy to steer one handed?
  • Infant Seat Compatibility – would our Britax Chaperone seat be compatible?

Other things we considered:

  • Ease of setting brake – we stop and go a lot, so I wanted this to be simple.
  • Recline – could Baby Lion recline for a nap while Little Lion remains upright?
  • Snack Tray – This is a favorite feature on our single B-Agile, and it was important that our next stroller also have this feature.
  • Cost – Since this was my one big new item, I was okay splurging a bit, but we still had a budget to work with.
  • Storage – Could I hang the diaper bag and put things into the basket?
  • Safe for jogging – would I be able to use it as an every day stroller as well as a jogging stroller?

Despite my great love for my single B-Agile, I was not quite so brand loyal that I didn’t consider other strollers.

We compared the B-Agile Double, the City Select, the City Mini Double, and the Contours Options Double. We did not consider the Britax B-Ready because I personally am not a fan of the seat configurations where the child in the back is below the child in the front, although if this does not bother you it might be another option.

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