Baby P’s First Birthday

Last weekend we celebrated Baby P’s first birthday. My sweet little baby has become a walking, talking toddler! It was a great day and Mr. P and I had so much fun celebrating our girl with our family and friends. As I mentioned in my party planning post the theme of the party was flowers, and we used mostly pink and green to decorate.

I ordered Baby P’s invitations from DesignAndDonuts on Etsy and had them printed at a local print shop. I love how they turned out. Several guests showed up wearing floral print or pink and green.


We had her party at home with about 30 guests. We turned our entry table into the gift table and also put the party favors there. Inside the party favor bags were a pinwheel, bath drops, bath crayons, finger paint soap, and a mini watering can that we thought would make a fun bath toy.

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Step 2 to Restoring Peace – Write a Family Mission Statement

I’ve been writing about our family’s 4-step plan to restore peace in our house. Last week I dove into Step 1 of our plan and outlined how we created our budget, and this week I am tackling Step 2: writing our family mission statement.

I first read about family mission statements on the Art of Simple blog, which has a great series of articles about creating your family purpose statement that outlines in detail the why, the who, the how, and the what. I also recently read the “Secrets of Happy Families” by Bruce Feiler, which has an entire section on creating your family brand by designing a family mission statement (this tool kit is a nice preview of Feiler’s book). I highly recommend both of these resources if you are thinking of writing a family mission or just want to read more about ways to restore peace in your family.

Simply put, the goal of creating a family mission statement is to identify your family’s priorities and core values and put them down on paper. On a more macro level, the goal is to create a clear vision for your family that allows you to recognize the difference between the important and the urgent and allocate more of your time and resources to the important and non-urgent stuff. Thinking about a mission statement in this way was really eye-opening for me. The days I am the most stressed and anxious are the days where everything feels urgent yet nothing feels important, so my main goal in this exercise was to sit down with Mr. Peas and together create a list of our family’s core values and use that list daily to help us (1) make decisions; (2) know when to say yes and when to say no; and (3) focus more on the important and less on the urgent.

This is a surprisingly difficult exercise – it’s much easier to create an aspirational list of everything you want your family to be or do in a perfect world. It’s much more difficult to really sit down and think about the things that are MOST important to your family (important enough that you can and will prioritize it on a daily basis) and to future-proof that list so it works for your family today and can continue to work for your family in the future.

In Feiler’s book, he quotes Jim Collins, a best-selling author of several business books, who wisely points out that:

If you’re trying to identify your family’s core values, the most important thing is to identify what your values actually are, not what you think they should be. A core value is something so central you would say, ‘Even if it’s harmful to us, we would still hold on to this value. Even if we had to pay penalties, even if we had to punish our children for violating it, even if we had to deny them something that would bring them pleasure, we would still hold to it.’ That’s what you need to keep in mind as you’re making your family brand: It will work only if it stands for something.”

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When Your Child Hates the Car

We have had exactly one peaceful car ride since Bug was born, and that was our ride home from the hospital. Maybe he was still in shock to find himself Earthside, but he made it through that 20 minute ride without a single whimper or cry. A very far tale from what would happen just two days later, when we got back in the car for our first pediatrician visit, and every single ride after that… pure chaos. This child hates the car.

My own mom likes to talk about how, as a toddler, I would only sleep in the car. She or one of her sisters would drive me around for five minutes to get me to fall asleep for naps, then carefully carry me inside to my crib. I should also mention I was not in a car seat, just on a blanket in the back seat. Different times! Maybe it was the motion or the sound of the engine, but it put me to sleep easily. I expected the same for my baby. Doesn’t everyone? We hear all the time about how much babies love cars, fall asleep instantly, and stay asleep for the entire ride. Except, that isn’t always the case. Some babies are indifferent to the car, and then there is the rare, tiniest of screamers, who will start to cry as soon as they see the car door open. No matter how many distractions you offer, how many times you stop, getting through a trip outside of the house is a huge, emotional, and upsetting undertaking.

bugsadA very typical, very sad, baby Bug in the car!

When your child hates the car…

It can be isolating. Bug hated the car so much I rarely took him out for the first six months. I got to know our grocery delivery guy extremely well! I didn’t attend parenting groups, mommy and me, music, or anything else. Our only outside time was walks in the Ergo (he wasn’t a stroller person either) or rolling around on blankets in the backyard. I felt like I had no connection to the outside world, all because my child screamed like I was torturing him anytime I put him in the car. I wondered what I was missing out on, what experiences this baby would miss while stuck inside. I felt so isolated; it was hard to relate to the other moms and friends I spoke to online who spent their days in gym and music class, took their babies to yoga, or even managed to go out to brunch. Those things just weren’t an option for us.

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What Happens When it All Goes Wrong

After my twenty week anatomy scan, and subsequent follow up at a maternal-fetal-medicine specialist off post, I found out that I was in possession of two (2) healthy boy-children. Unfortunately, because they found the second baby so late in my pregnancy, nobody was completely confident in saying that the boys were mono-di or di-di twins. Mono-di refers to twins that are monochorionic and diamniotic, meaning that they share a placenta, but not an amniotic sac. This type of twins is always identical. Di-di refers to dichornionic and diamniotic, meaning that each baby has his or her own placenta and amniotic sac. In rare cases di-di twins can be identical, but they are generally fraternal twins. Identical twins come with increased risks of complications, including twin to twin transfusion syndrome, or TTTS. It’s important that the mother be monitored by ultrasound by a maternal fetal medicine specialist every two weeks starting at sixteen weeks so the doctor can hopefully diagnose and treat TTTS before it is fatal to one or both babies. As a side note, it’s a little distressing that so many OBs aren’t aware of what the current testing and delivery recommendations are for mono-di twins. These have the potential to be very high-stakes mistakes, so if you’re pregnant with mono-di twins PLEASE educate yourself on the care you should be receiving from your provider, and don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. End PSA.

In my case, nobody could definitively confirm whether or not the boys were mono-di, since at 20 weeks what appeared to be one placenta could also be two placentas that had already fused into one. As a result, I was referred off-post to a high risk doctor about two and a half hours away. Every other week, I would drive in for an ultrasound to make sure the boys were still looking good, and, when it came time for delivery, I would deliver there. I saw my MFM for the first time at 21 weeks, then dutifully drove down at both 23 weeks, and 25 weeks for my check-ups. At the 25 week appointment, I brought Addie with me. She sat in her stroller, and said hi to her brothers on the ultrasound screen. Afterwards, we stopped by some outlets and bought her a new swimsuit for the summer. Then, instead of driving straight home, we got dinner together at a real restaurant. We colored on her kid’s menu together, and I remember trying to figure out when she had gotten so big.

Given what was coming our way in about six hours, I’m eternally grateful to have spent that meal with her.

That night was cold, surprisingly so for April. The wind howled outside, and I put Addie to sleep with extra blankets to compensate for the shorts and t-shirt she insisted on wearing to bed. Around 11:00 I went to bed myself, but was having a really hard time winding down. I couldn’t figure out what it was, but I felt off somehow. I turned off the lights, and tried to fall asleep, when I felt a pop accompanied by a gush of fluid.

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My Favorite Cotton Underwear

I am not and never will be a fancy undies girl — I live in comfy cotton underwear. Growing up I wore Victoria’s Secret underwear, although it was no secret that they ever fit me very well. Then I discovered Gap’s underwear and wore that for many years. But I think either their fit changed or they discontinued the bikini briefs I used to buy, and they just weren’t flattering anymore. I was looking for underwear that provided good butt coverage, wouldn’t give you a wedgie, and didn’t have excess fabric giving you a baggy butt.

I turned to the Hellobee boards and Aerie was the most highly recommended brand. This is a store I never would have walked into otherwise, given that it’s targeted to women 15-25 years old and I’m turning 38 soon. I didn’t bring enough underwear with me when we moved to this remote destination though, and buying nice underwear locally is impossible. So on a recent trip to the country capital, I had a chance to buy some Aerie underwear in the bikini and boy brief (the most popular) styles. And the verdict is… I’m a huge fan! I even picked up several tops since their boho beach vibe is in line with my current lifestyle.

aerie underwear

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Calling 911- My Fail

About a year ago in December, my whole house was decorated with Christmas stuff. We used a lot of tinsel and a lot of hanging decorations. Most of the items we’d been using, we have had for at least 6 or 7 years, so they are old, and not in the best shape. I also had three tinsel trees that we displayed on top of our entertainment center, and they were easy for the kids to take down and mess around with. I was pretty careful with them, making sure to grab the pieces that fell off of the trees so Little Bug didn’t get them.

I came home from work early one morning and the living room was pretty messy, as it usually is when I get home, so I started picking up all the toys and getting the vacuum out. During that time, Little Bug picked up a piece of the fallen tinsel and put it in his mouth. I didn’t see this happen, and had no idea anything was wrong until a few minutes later when he started to make a really weird noise. It sounded like he was throwing up and coughing at the same time, and I didn’t immediately panic because he had been sick and was coughing periodically anyway. I checked his mouth, didn’t see anything in his mouth, so I assumed everything was ok. Honestly, I was more worried at that point that he had croup, as he had been exposed earlier in the week. I immediately called my friend, who is a nurse practitioner, and her son had just gotten over croup, to see what I should be looking for. As I was on the phone with her, Little Bug started making the strange noise again, and it seemed like he was having trouble breathing.

At this point, I was panicking. My friend could hear the noise he was making and told me to hang up with her and call 911, which I did. The dispatcher was very calm, asking me all the basic questions — was he breathing, did he lose consciousness, was his color good, etc. Little Bug was still breathing, but clearly having trouble, and while I was on the phone with the dispatcher, he threw up, but even that seemed to be difficult for him. I was extremely fortunate to live within a mile of a fire station, and I was even luckier because there was a police officer within a block of my house. He arrived within 2 minutes of the initial call, and was very calm and able to calm me down. He could see that Little Bug was struggling a bit, but was not in a dire situation. To be frank, I was way too panicked to see how bad it was, so having the officer assess Little Bug quickly and reassure me that he was ok but needed assistance from the paramedics was incredibly relieving.

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Daughters and Halloween.

Last year we had our first run in with peer pressure and Halloween costumes. I will admit I was not ready for it. So far my sons have had no issues and they are in the second grade. They have picked their costumes, gone to school and everyone was fine. Last year was different. Last year my daughter was in preschool. She picked Hermione Granger, a character she loves and admires. We made her costume and even bought her a Croockshanks cat to carry with her. She was thrilled with her costume and was so excited to wear it on Halloween.


Then it happened. The day before Halloween they went around their preschool and everyone said what they were going to be. That night I sat with her as she cried about her costume choice. Everyone else was going to be a princess and they didn’t like Hermione. Her costume wasn’t going to be pretty and sparkly and therefore it was deemed a bad choice by her friends. I wasn’t sure how to handle it. Pressure to be like everyone else was starting in preschool?

I sat down with her and asked her why she picked Hermione in the first place. She looked at me like it was the most ridiculous question in the world. She said, “Mom, Hermione is the coolest person. She is smart and nice and can solve any problem. I want to be like Hermione.” I asked her what made her want to be a princess. She said “all the other girls are going as princesses.”

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