There are so many milestones we reach throughout the course of our lives.  Once you become a parent you will begin to realize just how many milestones there are that you don’t even remember from your very own youth.  You will be a witness to so many “firsts” through your child that it will be hard to keep track of them all. This got me thinking about “Mommy Milestones.”  A milestone is defined as a “significant point in development,” and because children grow so quickly from infancy to toddlers these regular milestones will become so apparent.  All the top things like their first words, first steps, first birthday, etc. will be very exciting.  But, I think “Mommy Milestones” are a little different and exciting in a different way, in a sense of accomplishment that you are actually a “good mom.”  You will start to have these startling moments where you sit back and can’t believe you just did this, or got through that, or that actually just happen?

So, here are the top 15 “Mommy Milestones” I’ve come up with from CONCEPTION TO TODDLERVILLE:

1) GETTING PREGNANT!!!!  Any woman planning on having a baby can tell how wonderful it is to pee on that little stick and have it come out POSITIVE!!!  As a female I think its safe to say that we feel this is a part of our role, our God given right to be able to grow a baby inside of us.  Whether it takes you a short, long, or ‘somewhere in between there’ time to get pregnant, it’s truly a moment of pure bliss that you won’t ever forget! pregnant_clipart

2) GIVING BIRTH.  Being preggers can be very exciting and exhausting time of your life.  But that is nothing compared to the craziness of giving birth!  Everyone has a different experience when it comes to labor.  However, fear not!  The most painful experience of your entire life is entirely worth it because you are rewarded with the most beautiful baby you will ever meet! You gave birth FROM YOUR VERY OWN BODY to this little blessing.   YES, YOU ARE AWESOME!!

3) NURSING YOUR CHILD (errr, successfully).  I was looking forward to being able to breastfeed, another God-given right, right??  Well yes, in a manner of speaking.  My daughter was not easy to nurse and we had many problems along the way and then just as we finally got into the swing of it around six weeks, I had to give it up due to her acid reflux.  Oh well, at least I gave it my best effort.  I was still very hard on myself as we were trying to nurse.  Some women have no issues and swear by it, others never try, some stop due to the many different circumstances.  But, if you are successful in doing this, I can tell you its amazing feeling to be able to feed your own child from just purely and simply, you.

4) Being able to care for your child on YOUR own for the first time.  Sounds strange right?  So much preparation goes into planning for the baby, but what about when they are actually there?  At the hospital you have so much help, then at home I had the help of my Mom and my husband for almost two weeks on just about a daily basis.  Then the reality kicks in on the day it’s just you and your baby for the first time!!!  It’s a little scary at first, but you manage to do it.  Plus you feel pretty cool (and relieved) when your husband gets home and you tell him, that’s right your are a Mom and yes you kicked ass taking care of your child by yourself, ALL DAY!

busy-mom

5) Leaving your baby alone successfully with someone else for more than a few hours.  I can still remember the first time I had to leave my daughter alone with my Mom for about 8 hours.  Of course I completely trusted my mom, but as I drove away from Juliette I felt an overwhelming ache, sadness, and worry for a while.  Then once I got to my destination I was so overwhelmed with people asking me for photos of her, how she was, how I was, etc. that the ache and sadness subsided mostly, but I still had worry.  It also felt a little freeing and somewhat normal again to be on my own, just me.  I now know the worry will probably never fully go away, but it does get better and a little easier with time.

6) Getting your baby to sleep through the night.  Any mom will tell you that this is in one word, wait for it…LEGENDARY!  (HIMYM fans will get that legendary reference) Right around 8 weeks old my daughter starting doing this and I can’t even tell you what the magic key was, but whatever we were doing with her was working!!! You will hear that Hallelujah song literally ring through your head, so much that you will have to make sure you keep doing what we are doing.  Of course, any mother will also tell you that just because they slept through the night, it does NOT mean you will.  You will wake up, stare at the monitor, listen to the monitor, turn it up, make sure its working, wander into their room, feel their chest, watch them, pace the halls, make sure they have enough blankets, are in the proper position, tiptoe to the bathroom, not to mention check the time about 40 more times, etc. This also gets easier with time.

2011-12-17_20-29-20_417

7) Losing the baby weight.  For me, nursing really helped with this one, plus honestly it truly is hard to find time to eat for quite a while.  Sometimes you just shovel into your mouth what you can between feedings.  Happily, after bout 4 weeks, I was back in my old jeans.  I was pretty proud of having shed almost all the pounds because it felt awesome.  I think the last few were gone after about 10 more weeks.  This is not to say your body will look exactly the same after, you will have stretch marks and that line down your stomach will fade, but your body will never truly be the same.  It will be a little stretched out in different places.  It’s all worth it though as you almost feel a sense of accomplishment like who cares, they are almost like battle scars and I’m ok with that. fat-woman-2-clipart (1) 8) The pride of their Independence (seeing them do things on their own for the first time like eating, drinking, walking, crawling, talking, etc.)  These are milestones for both baby and parents.  It’s fun to watch them try to become mobile and the strange things they will do to get there.  You’ll feel like you are living with a little drunken munchkin for a while.  You’ll have many proud mommy and daddy moments here.  Is the saying true that it’s all over once they start to crawl or walk?  Well its over for a little while, but once they become steady and you childproof even more so than you ever thought was necessary or possible, it gets easier.  Talking is also quite humorous at first, but when you start hearing real words, its just adorable.  Eating and drinking can be quite the scene too as you’ll learn that even your cell phone apparently tastes delicious, so does that 2-week-old Cheerio from under the couch you missed while cleaning…

9) Saying Mama!  Admit it, you know you want to hear “Mama” before “Dada.”  I still stand by the fact that Juliette’s first words were not “Dada” but merely “DAAAAAAA” followed barely by another “daiiii.”  Anyway, whether its said first or not, it’s amazing to hear when they actually look at you, know who you are, and say it out loud, be prepared to grab the tissues!

10) You become the ultimate healer.  Who still doesn’t want their mom around when they are sick?  I know I do!  There’s something about them that just makes you feel better.  Guess what?  You will have the same power over your child; a mother’s nurturing is the ultimate gift to their child.  It’s incredible that by just comforting them and knowing what to do when they aren’t well makes you the Dali Lama!  Caring for them in this state makes you realize how much they truly need you, that you are that person who makes it all better. Healing Heart-256x256 11) Signing up your child for their first independent class.  My daughter’s first ‘non-Mommy and Me’ class was her dance class the started in the fall of 2013.  Let me tell you that YOU will be more nervous; YOU will be “that mom” in class that becomes the worrywart.  However, my fears subsided when I realized how well Juliette did when that door shut, and that there were, in fact…NO TEARS!  A bit of tears came a few weeks later on for her, but she got over it and now she absolutely LOVES her dance class, her teachers, the students, and looks forward to every Tuesday!  I catch her doing moves all over the house too, which is thoroughly adorable.  They learn, you learn, it’s a wonderful all-around learning experience.  Plus, it gets them used to taking direction from other adults besides their parents and social interaction with other little ones. IMG_0524

12) Signing up your child for school.  Preschool was a hard word for me to say.  I stay at home with my daughter, so it was probably a little harder to let go, as Juliette is like my little sidekick all day, everyday.  But, whether you are a working mom or a stay-at-home one, I think this is a BIG milestone and it is never easy.  Juliette will start two half days of preschool this coming fall and that was a big moment for her, her Daddy and I.  My little girl is growing up, which is a very bittersweet pill to swallow. school  

13) Getting them off the Pacifier.  Juliette was very attached to her beloved “paci” as it really did get her through lots of tough times, but they say around 18 months old its time to give it up.  Well the timeline was near and I first tried poking holes, but Juliette realized what I did right away and just tried making the holes bigger by poking at them, so now she had a new and very cool paci toy to pick at.  Then I tried cutting off the top of it, as apparently most babies realize the sucking sensation is gone and give up, well my daughter is NOT that easy.  She realized what I did took it out of her mouth, gave it a maddening stare and then looked at me with a huge pout and proceeded to throw the paci across the room in effigy (almost hitting my head and the wall).  Hmmm, ok maybe a little too soon??  At that point I realized maybe it was too early for this, so about a month later I tried to take it away cold turkey, which led to various battles, lots of crying to sleep, and some nights where she would get so worked up into a tantrum that she would end up vomiting.  Ok, still too early!  As the months went on I starting putting away the pacifiers hanging around the house and in my bags, therefore keeping them out of sight and out of mind…and ONLY giving them to her at nap/bedtime if needed.  This part worked well, but I still wanted to get her off it for dental reasons and for the fact that I hate seeing preschoolers walking around with a pacifier in their mouth.  It’s a comfort thing but luckily Juliette still had another comfort things, her favorite blanket, a.k.a. “binks” which she could NEVER sleep without.  Then on one magical and splendid summer night right around 22 months old she didn’t ask for it, so I didn’t give it to her and she went happily to bed.  I was thrilled and hoped it would continue.  The next night she asked for it as my husband and I were leaving the room and we just ignored it.  She asked again a few times and I would just say something else to distract her, or sing her a favorite song, or give her a little stuffed animal to sleep with.  There was a little crying in some of the nights following, but nothing too major.  After this we never looked back, and said goodbye to the PACI!!!  I was so ecstatic I might even have proceeded to do a little “BYE-BYE-BYE” dance on my way out of the room, well ok not every night.

pink-pacifier-md

14) Feeling that special bond.  You’ll see once you become a parent that ‘that special bond’ you always hear about doesn’t always happen right away.  Maybe for some it does.  Of course you love them unconditionally right away, that goes without saying.  But as a first time mom, I remember feeling so much worry and emotion at the same time and that can take you over.  You just want to make sure you are doing all the right things for your new baby.  But as the days, weeks, months, years etc. go on you will have those special moments that make everything completely worth it.   You will fall more and more in love with your child as time goes on.  I can still remember the first time Juliette really smiled at me, genuinely laughed at something I did the first time, the first time she ran over to me to just give me a hug, the first time she reached out to hold my hand; the first time she said “I love you.”  There are so many special things that will make you feel that bond as they grow; it’s truly a wonderful and amazing thing.

IMG_0688

 

15) Potty training success!!!!  This brings me to my very last thing, as it the most recent thing we are trying our best to conquer.  I’m learning there is no real magic spell to get your child to start peeing in the potty.  There are many methods and like most things as a first time parent, you try them all through trial and error.  Different methods work for different children and at all different ages too.  Potty training takes a LOT of patience, routine, perseverance, cleaning products, and happy dances…oh and in my daughter’s case- STICKERS!!  After trying various methods, the one that worked was an intense 15-minute rotation onto the potty and using pull-ups for a few weeks straight and then she finally started to get it.  Something started to click and we would all get super excited and reward her with a sticker immediately after, and now she knew what was up.  We’ve now worked up to about every 30 minutes or so, and sometimes she even tells me when she has to.  We still miss some here and there, still haven’t had any poop in that potty yet, and we have tried underwear a few times which didn’t go so well.  So my hope is that in a few more months is that she will be fully potty-trained…fingers crossed!!!  Again it takes a lot of patience, just like most things in parenting do.

Potty-Training-Boy-Cartoon

 

Parenthood is a very long and winding road, but it is filled with many memorable milestones, so be sure to appreciate them as the years go by.  Any other Mommy Milestones you can think of for this stage that I might have missed?  Or any extra special ones we might have to look forward to?  Leave it in the comments, for now happy parenting!!!   ~J

garden-path-stone-3

Image

How wonderful is it when anyone or anything makes your life a little easier as a person, an adult, or most importantly…a MOTHER!!  That led me to come up with the following list.  Now I know 16 sounds a little long (But whom am I kidding??  If you know me at all you know I have short ummm, pretty much nothing), but actually my original list had 21 things at first and I shortened it because I made the rest into another different list (for another entry to come very soon).

Image

 So here we go, 

THE TOP 16 THINGS THAT MAKE MY LIFE EASIER AS A MOM

 (this list is in no particular order)

1 – A Dishwasher.  Need a say more here?  What family can live without it??  Even before I had a child I couldn’t live without it.  Ours was broken for weeks earlier this summer, and it made me appreciate my beloved dishwasher so much more than I ever did!!!  Juliette also now shares in my love for this machine; she helps me unload it now whenever it is clean…I LOVE YOU DISHWASHER!!!

2 – Baths. (For Mommy) Ahhhh baths, how can any woman in her right mind not love to take one?  What’s better than a bath?  A hot tub, perhaps??  Until we get one of those though, after a long, hard day or running around with your little one(s) (once they are finally in bed or you have some downtime) it’s such a wonderful relaxing thing to lie down in a nice, hot bubble bath!!  I think I am going to start running the water right now!

3 – Household Paper Products.  “HI MY NAME IS JESS AND I AM A Paper Towel-aholic.”  Paper Towels are just one of the best inventions to clean, dry, and do all many things in between.  I must add that I WILL ONLY use the PICK-A-SIZE ones now too.  I find them much more economical, when I recently mistakenly bought the regular sized ones I felt like I was wasting so much, I just couldn’t stand it!  I even use paper towels as apposed to baby wipes (see http://juliettesworldblog.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/anti-monkey-what-anti-monkey-butt/) PAPER PLATES ARE THE BEST TOO!  Not only do I use paper plates as well just an actual plate, but I use them as an occasional cutting boards, what I put underneath frozen food to defrost, Juliette’s many snacks throughout the day, etc.  Napkins, tissues and toilet paper are, of course, lovely things we cannot do without either for numerous reasons, many of which actually and funnily enough have to do with our bodily functions. If you didn’t get it already, I will write it again, I LOVE PAPER PRODUCTS!!!  And yes, I do recycle!!!

4 – My Mom.  Now in all fairness I have an awesome mom.  She is now known as “Mammie” by Juliette (sounds like “Grammy”) and she has been there from the very moment Juliette was born and is still is whenever I need her…no questions asked, and did I mention I live in New Jersey and she lives in Connecticut??  No great distance shall overcome how much I love my Mom, and how I appreciate her more now than ever before!  LOVE and APPRECIATE your Mom too, because chances are you will need always her, especially once you have kids!!!

5 – Other family members.  Juliette also has quite a few other beloved family members on both my own and my husband’s side of the family.  These people can be very helpful and it’s also cute to see your child play with them and the different games, activities, ideas, etc. that they help bring to the table.  Above all, it’s important for your child to be loved by their immediate family, but being loved by their relatives is a wonderful enrichment to add to their lives as well.

6 – Babysitter.  If you don’t have one, my advice is to get one!!!  We didn’t seem to need one until Juliette was about 18 months old and it was getting harder to ask family on the fly if we needed them in a pinch, they have lives too after all.  Plus, it’s good for you child to get to know other people outside of the family.  Also, since you are paying this person (which yes, is hard to do at times) you expect them to do a great job, and my experience so far this remains true.

7 – Children’s Toys.  Some of the first favorite toys your child ever has and gets attached to you will always remember fondly.  These special toys not only helped them learn, but it also helped to occupy them and teach them, making your life much easier in the process.  There are so many toys out there, so explore them all and let your child try all that they can; they will find the ones they like most.  Just be very careful not to lose their favorite one, because if you do you will literally never hear the end of it and then you will do anything you can to find a replacement.

Image

8 – Books.  My daughter loves books, she loves being read them, pretending to read them herself, pointing out the things she likes, turning the pages (sometimes ripping the pages, we are working on that).  It’s also very interesting to see what they are introduced to from books and what they tend to gravitate more toward than something else.  For instance, my daughter currently loves this one book entitled “Mama, Do You Love Me?”  Granted I could recite this book word for word, and now so can she!  Certain books will be read so often it shows you how great your child’s memory is becoming.  Its just adorable to see them come alive when they hear certain words, it makes it all worthwhile and intern, your job a little easier.

9 – Television.  I will fully admit I am NOT one of those Moms who waited until their child was 2 years old to watch TV.  At around 6 months old Juliette became attached to a furry little red Muppet called “Elmo.”  So around that time I sat her in her little Bumbo seat quite away from the television during the last 20 minutes of Sesame Street to a segment called “Elmo’s World.”  She was hooked!  Now that she actually is 2 years old, I’ll admit I do feel a little bit better about her watching it. I will say though that I ONLY let Juliette watch “learning shows” a.k.a. PBS (and a few shows on Disney Jr.).  The only movie she likes is “Finding Nemo,” and I believe that is also a “learning film.”  I do monitor how much TV she watches per day and try not to let it go over 2 hours, sometimes it is more though, and on our busy days she sometimes watches barely any TV at all.  It can be both a calming mechanism when you are out and they are having a rough time (thanks Netflix and YouTube app on my phone) and it can be a bit of a help for them to watch a show while you are barely up in the morning or trying to make dinner in the evening.  My daughter has actually learned things from TV too, more than just who the characters are too.  For example, Juliette loves letters, I taught her all of her uppercase letters in order and how to identify them, and she loves to recite the alphabet.  I did not teach her the lowercase alphabet yet, however, she seems to know many of them…HOW???  SUPER WHY, that’s how.  “Super Why” is a great little cartoon where the characters dive into storybooks and learn how to solve a problem through reading and letters, etc.  Additionally, having Mommy’s own favorite TV shows can help during downtime too.  I know that I love to get lost in one of the top shows on my DVR.

10 – Music.  You know how your favorite song can just instantly put you in a better mood?  Guess what?  Your child’s favorite song has the same effect on them.  Yes, I know some children’s music is kind of lame and repetitive, but it can really help with long car rides, tantrums, learning, dancing, cheering them up, naptime, and many things in between.

11 – Mommy friends.  Having fellow Mom friends is a must have for chatting, advice, venting, and most importantly, understanding.  Other people can listen, but moms have been down the same road and can really understand what you are going through, the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between.

12 – Daddy.  My husband is becoming more and more of a wonderful father as each day passes.  He was a bit of a nervous Daddy as first (what parent isn’t nervous at first?), but he is now truly hitting his stride.  Daddies are great because they do different things than Mommy does.  Juliette looks forward to Daddy coming home everyday and has her special daddy things she does with him.  Daddies are especially great for Mommies too, because not only do they give you a break, but also they are there for support and love you on those days where you feel like no one else does.

Image

13 – Cleansing wipes.  I love Clorox wipes, Lysol wipes, Wet Ones, baby wipes, pacifier wipes, face wipes, antibacterial wipes and really any type of wipes.  They help keep you, your house and most importantly you child clean, in an instant!!!  I cannot express to how much they have changed my life for the better. #wipeaddict

14 – Swiffer.  I would gladly become the spokesperson for Swiffer with no payment, just purely for my love of their company.  They can clean the floor, dust the floor, dust your furniture, and also cleanse all of the above.  Everything they use is disposable and just wonderful.  Thank you Swiffer for making my life better and easier!!

15 – Alcohol.  Yes, I have no shame.  However, obviously I don’t get drunk while watching my child, I am NOT that mom, lol.  But what is more satisfying than a glass of wine or two at the end of the day?  Going out and having some drinks on a date night with your hubby or some friends is a wonderful thing too, while your child is blissfully sleeping at home under the supervision of a family member or babysitter.  Be careful not to overdue it with the alcohol though as you have children and get older.  Not that 32 years old is old, but trust me you will pay for it the next day running around after your little one with the what feels like the worst punishment/hangover of your life for having one drink too many.  Know your limits with the alcohol, and be responsible, after all you have to lead by example with children at all times!

16 – NAPS!!! (for your child)  I think sometimes while Juliette is napping I truly could rule the world!  I get so much done during those two hours that I don’t know what I would do without them.  You can get certain things done while your children are awake, but when they are small and curious it’s a lot easier to get the larger things done or the things that require you to leave the room when they are not there.  You can do so many things uninterrupted like cleaning, laundry, showers, reading, writing, and on those days when you are just too tired to do anything else you can actually nap too, if you are able to.  I was easily able to nap when Juliette first came into our world because any new mom will tell you how exhausted they are.  I am going to try to keep naps for as long as I possibly can with my daughter because on the day they go, I will be going into mourning.

Image

So there it is, the list I could NOT do without, now that I am a Mommy.  As I already stated, I did have a few more, but I narrowed it down for the readers’ sake.

Image

Anything you want to add???  Leave your comments below…   Thanks ~J

Image

Image

What did I eat for those two very strict months that I followed this diet?  I basically ate to live, not lived to eat!  In the South Beach Diet book there is an exact list of “Foods to Enjoy” and “Foods to Avoid” for each phase and this really helps.  I used to copy that list and put it in my purse to look through as I was grocery shopping.  Plus they have meal plans you can follow if you need the extra help each day.  On top of that, they have an awesome amount of amazing recipes to follow.  The book makes everything extremely simple for you, and it also gives you perspective from other people’s success stories.  There are many south beach books out there now, my Mom has the most updated version and the pocketbook version, I have the original version and the website is also very helpful too.  Not to mention the many other websites and recipes out there that are South Beach friendly.

I am not going to go through everyday of what I ate on my diet because this would be WAY too long.  But, I will give you my favorite things I ate, the food switches I made, tips, my go-to snacks, and meal plan examples for each phase, including the “maintenance phase” (Phase 3), which I currently try to follow.  Overall I learned that dieting is really not eating less, it’s just eating the right things, which eventually lets you eat SOME of the wrong things…in moderation, that is!

The Switches (to help cut the calories, carbs and fat):

-Sugar for sugar substitute

-Regular flour for whole flour or whole-wheat pastry flour

-Butter for Smart Balance

-eggs for egg whites

-regular mayo for some type of light mayo (I like the Olive Oil mayo by Hellman’s)

-honey mustard to Dijon mustard

-regular bread crumbs to whole wheat bread crumbs

-Regular chocolate and hard candy for sugar free chocolates and sugar free hard candy

-Peanut butter for natural peanut butter (I like Skippy Natural)

-Regular maple syrup for sugar free maple syrup

-Second helpings at meals to just adding more vegetables that help fill you up so you don’t need that second helping

-Bread/wraps to make a sandwich for pieces of lettuce

-Regular cooking spray for olive oil cooking spray

-Vegetable and/or Canola Oil to Olive Oil

-Ketchup in recipes to tomato paste in recipes

-Sugary cereals to Fiber One Original with berries

-Instant Maple brown sugar oatmeal to Old Fashioned Rolled Oats with fruit or sugar free jam or sugar free syrup

-Regular pancake mix for whole-wheat flour and oatmeal homemade pancake mix

-Bacon for turkey or Canadian bacon

-White bread to wheat bread

-Potato Chips to baked Sweet Potato chips

-Fries to Sweet Potato fries

-Granola bars to South Beach Diet Snack bars (the whipped Peanut butter ones are my favorite) or a handful of nuts (pecans, walnuts or almonds…just a small amount really can fill you up)

Favorite Snacks:

-Fruit, especially berries

-half of an Avocado

-String cheese

-A few slices of a reduced fat cheese

-A handful of nuts

-Sweet potato salt and vinegar chips

-Russell Stover sugar free coconut crème chocolates

-Celery stuffed with peanut butter or laughing cow cheese

-Humus with veggies for dipping

-Hard-boiled egg

-fruit smoothies (made with nonfat Greek or regular yogurt)

-kale chips (if you can’t find them at the store, you can always make your own)

-South Beach Mocha Frappe

-South Beach Chilled Chai Tea Latte

-Sugar free hot chocolate with fat free RediWhip

Image

Here are some meal plan examples:

Phase 1:

Breakfast:

-6 oz. vegetable juice cocktail (I like V8 low sodium)

-Egg white omelet with half a slice of low salt 2% American cheese

-1-2 slices turkey bacon

-decaffeinated tea with few drops of skim milk and a teaspoon of sugar substitute

(coffee is allowed as well, either regular or decaf, I just don’t like coffee)

Midmorning snack:

-mozzarella string cheese (low moisture, part skim)

Lunch:

-1 Turkey rollup (rollups are a large piece of romaine or Boston Bibb lettuce with light mayo, I like the South Beach cilantro mayo, it is delicious, a slice of turkey topped with scallions and either roasted red peppers or fresh red peppers)

-2 Ham rollups (made the same way as the turkey roll-ups except with boiled ham cold cut)

-Sugar free Jell-O with a tablespoon of fat free whipped cream

Midafternoon snack:

-celery stuffed with 1 wedge of Laughing Cow Light cheese

Dinner:

-Tossed salad (mixed greens, cucumbers, green peppers, tomatoes) with Balsamic Vinegar dressing (their recipe is easy and yummy, but you can always just use oil and vinegar or buy a fat free low sugar oil and vinegar based dressing)

-Surprise South Beach Mashed “Potatoes” (not really potatoes, instead steamed cauliflower with half and half and smart balance and a few other ingredients blended together)

-spinach stuffed mushrooms

-Marinated London Broil (a south beach marinade with yummy spices)

Dessert:

Peanut Butter non-flour cookies (you can have 1 or 2, my favorite cookie on this diet and one of my husband’s favorite cookies now too, http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2007/10/recipe-for-flourless-sugar-free-peanut.html)

*What did I drink besides that tomato juice and tea in the morning???  WATER!!!  And lots of it, and sometimes I threw in some lemon too.  NO SODA, FRUIT JUICE, OR ALCOHOL ON THIS PHASE!!!*

Phase 2:

Breakfast:

-6 oz. vegetable juice cocktail

-1 poached egg

-1 slice Canadian bacon

-half a whole wheat English muffin

-regular or decaf tea with skim milk and sugar substitute

Midmorning snack: (if needed, once Phase 2 kicks in you will find yourself not always needing to snack as much)

-3-4 slices of an apple with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter

Lunch:

-South Beach Greek Salad

-1/4 cup of blueberries or raspberries

Midafternoon snack: (I found that I did still need the midafternoon snack, but some people say they don’t always need it)

-4 oz. nonfat sugar free Greek yogurt with a few tablespoons of chopped nuts and a dash of sugar substitute

Dinner:

Easy Chicken in Wine Sauce

Italian Style Spaghetti Squash

Steamed Broccoli

Dessert:

-Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Phase 3

Breakfast:

-Wheat flour & Oatmeal blueberry pancakes with Sugar free Syrup and more fresh blueberries on top

-6 oz.  vegetable juice cocktail

Midmorning snack: (if needed)

-fruit smoothie (fresh fruit, fat free milk, nonfat plain Greek yogurt, and tablespoon of splenda and/or a splash of orange juice)

Lunch:

-South Beach Gazpacho with a few slices of low fat cheese on the side

-veggies with hummus

Midafternoon snack:

-Sweet Potato Pop-up chips

Dinner:

-Lemon Pepper salmon with dill yogurt dipping sauce

-Spiced Quinoa

-Garden Salad

Dessert:

-1/2 cup of half churned ice cream

Here’s a list of some great websites I used:

-Southbeachdiet.com

-Kaylynskitchen.com

-Theleangreenbean.com

-Skinnytatste.com

-Noshandnourish.com

And there it is!!  Now do I follow this Phase 3 maintenance stage super strictly?  Well, I do follow it, but I make my own alterations to it.  I am pretty strict during the weekdays and splurge a little on the weekends. But what’s wonderful and I now know what I should and shouldn’t be eating, I have much better knowledge about the healthy foods versus the not so healthy foods.  So the things I shouldn’t be eating I eat in moderation, or if I have a day where I didn’t moderate as well, I will go back to mostly Phase 1 for the next day.

I also used to weigh myself daily, now I weigh myself once or twice a week to make sure that I am staying on track and I and happy to write that I have maintained my 30 pound weight loss.  Exercising is a big part of this too, on a good week I exercise 5-6 days and then on a week where I have a lot going on or am just too tired or busy to do it, I make sure that I exercise at least 4 times a week.  Exercising and eating better have just become a part of my life now, a part of my daily routine so much so that I feel badly when I eat too many unhealthy foods or don’t have the time to fit in exercise.  Now that I have lost the weight though, I have some wiggle room, so I try not to be too hard on myself because we all have to a live a little sometimes.

Image

To sum it up, my first diet (and exercising 5 TO 6 DAYS PER WEEK) got me drop to 32 pounds and to live much a healthier lifestyle!  I now feel like a better person and Mom too both mentally and physically for giving my body, mind, and spirit an overhaul.

Image

Your body changes as you get older and it especially does after you have a child.  It will never look exactly the same as it once did, but embrace yourself and try do not be too hard on yourself, because all that you have gone through has made you the person you are today.  You can do this diet too, once you are ready to, and if you do, like me you will get some of the confidence back you were missing before.  I have a nice little extra swing in my step, which helps me to keep up even better with the little apple of my eye.  Where do toddlers get their energy from anyway?  Most likely their youth, all that sleep they get, or even food perhaps??  Man, it is a viscous cycle!!

~J

Image

Part 2- And so it begins…

Image

You might ask why did I choose the South Beach Diet?  Well for one thing, it was easy for me as I already had the book at my disposal.  The second thing was that my sister did it and had such success with it; therefore I knew she could be my touchstone for any diet related meltdowns, queries or questions.  And while I know there are various diet options out there and you don’t necessarily need a DIET to lose weight…I decided that I did, IN FACT, need it.

As I mentioned in Part 1, I always made sure my daughter ate so healthy, why wasn’t I doing this for myself?  I know many people have great success with Weight Watchers, but the problem I saw with Weight Watchers was that I didn’t want to join a “program” (not that you have to join the program part of it) and I didn’t want to have to count anything (I don’t like math).  So, January 2, 2013 my diet began!!!

Image

I was very prepared for it, almost looking forward to it in fact, and I have to say it was also NOT quite as hard as I expected.  I had read the book so many times and I had semi-started following it in December, so believe it or not I was actually excited to start the diet!!  Even with all of the holiday junk I ate in December I had felt results working already, and that kept me very motivated.  I became even more motivated when I actually saw results on the scale. I went out and bought myself a scale for the first time in my life and weighed myself religiously every morning.  Most women hate to weigh themselves and once I started to gain weight I became one of them.  However, on this diet I was seeing such wonderful results that as soon as I woke up in the morning to the lovely sounds of my daughter humming and babbling in the next room, I gave my husband a good morning kiss and hopped out of bed to go weigh myself.  January 2 was my D-Day, my “Diet Day” where it all officially started!  I hopped onto that scale that morning and saw that just semi following this diet in December I had already lost 6 pounds!!!  Even with all of the holiday food, I couldn’t believe it…needless to say I was extremely motivated as I saw that weight go down!!!

Image

What’s this diet all about?? I will give you a quick run-through…The South Beach Diet is a diet plan designed by cardiologist Arthur Agatston and dietician, Marie Almon.  The original purpose of the diet was to prevent heart disease in Dr. Agatston’s real patients.  But then in the early 2000s, word of the diet spread so quickly and gained such popularity, that he wrote a book on it.  I believe the South Beach Diet philosophy is relatively simple to follow in principle as it replaces “bad carbs” and “bad fats” with “good carbs” and “good fats.” What does this mean?  I will explain…

The diet is divided into three phases, with each progressively becoming more liberal, or easier if you ask me.  Phase 1 is the first two weeks of the diet (unless you decide to stay on it longer) and in my opinion is the hardest phase of the diet.  This phase eliminates all sugars (which I as very afraid of), processed carbohydrates, fruits, and some even higher-glycemic vegetables as well. And how can I forget…during Phase 1….NO ALCOHOL!!  But hey, I gave up alcohol for nearly 10 months while pregnant, so how hard could two weeks be?  Well, it was HARD, for some reason, maybe that precious little fetus growing inside of you makes it easier to give up alcohol while pregnant, go figure!  The main purpose of this phase is to get rid of the hunger cycle you are in.  And it really does, although I will say the first 4 days of this phase are pretty tough, and you feel your stomach churn missing your old food, but after a few days, you get used to it, and your stomach stops making weird noises that sound like “feed me.”

Image

I found it so liberating to see such wonderful results in such a short period of time.  I lost the bulk of my weight during this phase, and you know what’s really awesome?  You see the weight melt off on your STOMACH first, and the continuing motivation was seeing the scale number go down every morning!  During Phase 1 I lost about a pound a day, sometimes more, making my total weight loss during phase 1, 15 pounds.  My goal was to lose 30 pounds total, and since I had already taken off 6 POUNDS in December and had lost 15 on Phase 1, my total weight loss already was 21 pounds, so I only had 9 pounds left!!!  I was thrilled, but did not want to get ahead of myself.

What was the most difficult part????  Switching to a sugar substitute was very difficult, even for someone like me who does NOT have a big sweet tooth, it was just hard to get used to that “fake sugar” taste.  I tried Splenda, Stevia in the Raw, and Truvia.  Truvia I thought had the best taste and it was actually considered to be a “natural” sugar substitute, so that is what I stuck with.  (Now it is months later and I actually prefer Splenda, but mostly now all of them taste the same because I am used to them) Taking bread out of my diet I wasn’t as worried about, because while I do love bread, I thought it was only two weeks right?  Well maybe not, slices of bread themselves, and rolls and such were easy to give up…the difficulty was that I began to realize just how much bread is in so many things!!!  Or I guess I should say how much flour is in so many things! Regular white flour is just empty calories, it is delicious but it is truly that.  Now I read the ingredients and nutritional facts on all foods before I buy them.

Image

A fun part was I began to make new recipes everyday, which I found to be exhilarating too.  Not only was I feeling better physically, but also feeling better mentally.  I had three meals a day, and two snacks (if I needed it) and a dessert after dinner, all south beach approved of course.  My whole self felt better and even my back pains were diminishing, leaving my visits to the chiropractor almost non-existent.

Moving onto Phase 2, there is no real timeline here for Phase 2, it basically continues as long as the dieter wishes to lose weight. It re-introduces most fruits and vegetables and some whole grains as well.  I welcomed the things I could reintroduce to my diet, plus you can have wine again!!!  YAYA!!!  However, while I was on Phase 2 for four weeks, I hit a plateau.  It was so awesome to see the weight drop so quickly during phase 1 that I got a little discouraged during Phase 2 as the weight was coming off much slower…I know, I know it takes some people years to lose the weight they want to lose, but it was tough to hit the point where your weight stayed the same or you barely lost when you are on a diet, as losing the weight was what motivated me the most.  As a result, after four weeks of Phase 2, I decided for one full week I would go back to Phase 1 to try to lose those last remaining few pounds quicker.  And this actually worked!

In two months (8 weeks exactly) of strictly following the south beach diet I lost 26 pounds, and adding those 6 pounds I lost in December (just loosely following it) brought my total weight loss to 32 pounds!!!  I was so proud of myself!!  I was able to fit into ALL and I do mean ALL of my old clothes again.  This was very exciting, but as many of those old clothes were out of date and some were actually even too big, I had a new problem, a nice problem to have, but still hard nonetheless (unless you rich), I needed more new clothes that fit properly.  Now, here comes the other hard part…the maintenance!

The maintenance is where I am now and well that’s what they designed Phase 3 of the diet for.  That’s why this diet is so brilliant!  Phase 3 is the maintenance phase and its supposed to last for life. There is no specific list of permitted and prohibited foods. We are expected to take what we have learned and apply it to our life without any guidance.

How am I maintaining my 32 pound weight loss?  Part 1 told you how I arrived at the decision to go on a diet, Part 2 explained to you all about the diet and how much I lost and now stay with me for the final part… Part 3, where you can learn all about what exactly it was that I ate on this diet to get me to my goal weight!!! Read Part 3 here: http://juliettesworldblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/part-3-the-final-frontierwhat-exactly-did-mommy-eat-on-this-diet/

Image

I always considered myself a “healthy” eater.  I am not picky and truly enjoy most foods, but months back I started to think… I am really that healthy of an eater as I think?…and moreover, do we all really EAT to LIVE or do we LIVE to EAT?  This could be a very hot topic to digest (literally and figuratively).  I am sure we’d all love to say that we ‘eat to live’ that we basically eat to get through our day, it is our fuel and we need it to survive, so we all only eat when we are hungry, right???  WRONG!

Food can be in a word…comfort!  No matter how you cut, slice or dice it, eating yummy food makes you feel good, sometimes too good that we ignore that inner voice that says “STOP” OR “I’M FULL” or “THIS WILL GO RIGHT TO YOUR SPARE TIRE.”  We’ve all been there, eating that extra cookie, having that second helping, snacking on something while we watch our favorite show or movie, surrendering to that late night craving, or even heating up something quick or ordering food for dinner because its easy, but not really ‘the best for you.’

Image

A little after my daughter Juliette turned one, I started to think a whole lot more about food, and how I always make sure my daughter has the proper food, nutrients and vitamins, so why am I not doing that for myself?  Why not???  This led to the “Top Ten Reasons Why We Need to be More Like a Baby” entry I wrote right before Christmas (http://juliettesworldblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/top-ten-reasons-why-we-need-to-be-more-like-a-baby/).  That entry was not completely dedicated to food, however it really made me rethink why I eat the way I eat, or really it made me start to think about that dreaded word… “DIET!”

I am NOT a fan of the word DIET.  Now I know some people call it a “lifestyle change,” but I am not really a fan of that phrase either, it’s such a cliché to me.  I prefer the phrases “healthy living” or “eating healthy.”  Whatever you want to call it, you have to be truly ready and committed to go on a diet, and I never really realized that before.  You have to remember that this comes from a girl whom when she was younger couldn’t gain an ounce if I tried!!!  I know, I know, I hate me too when I look back and think about it, because oh how I wish that still were the case!

I understand that every body type is different and growing up I was often made fun of because I was very tall and very thin, almost too thin…in other words, the good ol’ days, haha!  Luckily, after puberty kicked in I got a bit more of a shape to me than just skin and bones, but still could pretty much eat whatever I wanted and not gain an ounce. I should have cherished that time in my life much more when it was around!  I could eat a whole bag of salt and vinegar chips and not feel bad about myself or grossly bloated afterwards.  Granted, I was also very active and very athletic in those days, always participating in a sport.  Even in college when I was forced to give up track due to an injury, I didn’t even gain the dreaded “freshman 15.”  However, you metabolism does change into your 20’s and even more so as you get older.

What kicked started this weight gain?  Well, it wasn’t baby weight.  In the summer of 2009, I had two foot surgeries only two months apart, one on each foot and something bad happened to me…I GAINED WEIGHT!!!  I had to be off my feet for a while after each surgery, so my metabolism slowed way down, plus with no real movement going on for many weeks at a time you can’t really burn anything off…at all!!  To top it off I went on a cruise after one of the surgeries and definitely splurged on the lavish menu options.  So, by the end of 2009, even though I had recovered from my foot surgeries I did start to notice my pants were all a little bit tighter.  At this point though, my husband and I happily decided to work on expanding our family, so I thought, “hey its ok if my waistline expands a little too, I should be pregnant soon,” right?  WRONG!!!  At about the 6-month point after trying to have a baby and having not succeeded yet, I started to get down on myself about my increased weight and my lack to reproduce as of yet.

By the end of the summer in 2010 I decided it was time for a change, I started to exercise much more and eat much better, healthier foods.  Then, just as I was starting to lose weight and not worry about my ovulation cycle, a wonderful thing happened that made me forget all about the scale…I GOT PREGNANT!  At this point, I WAS OVERJOYED!!! (you can read all about my 11 month process of getting pregnant here http://juliettesworldblog.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/11-months-later-and-we-are-pregnant-or-are-we-get-the-digital-testand-get-a-new-obgyn)

Image

I gained a total of 35 pounds while pregnant and actually taking off the baby weight afterward wasn’t the hard part.  Thanks to breastfeeding and the life of a busy first time mom I lost all of the baby weight very easily after only three weeks.  I wasn’t so concerned about the rest of the weight that I hadn’t taken off yet from before I had gotten pregnant, as I now had bigger things to worry about…like a new baby!  Plus, a lot happened only a few months after Juliette was born.  My husband got a new job in NJ and we quickly had to move from one state (CT) to another and started looking for a new house.  I also became a stay-at-home mother, and your life changes in many ways when that happens.  Anyway I am straying from the point.

Image

I started to realize last summer that I needed to lose some weight when some of my clothes got so tight that they didn’t even fit anymore.  I actually had to go to the stores and buy bigger clothes and this was the first time in my life that I DID NOT ENJOY SHOPPING!  When this happened I realized that I needed to start working out much more.  In addition to that, anyone who knows me well enough knows how much I love to take pictures, and once my daughter was born, this got even worse as most pictures were of her.  When I did see myself in some of the photos, I began to not like how I looked as much.  Of course I felt much bigger than I was, and because I am very tall, I carry my weight well and many people didn’t notice…but I DID NOTICE!  And that is the most important thing, that I wasn’t losing for anyone else, I needed to lose the weight for MYSELF!  I started to notice that no matter how much I exercised something had to be done.  To top it off, I recently learned that I had a mild case of scoliosis in my lower back, and the extra weight did not help with that problem.  I did not feel that great about how I looked or felt.   My wonderful husband always reassured that I was beautiful not matter what weight I was, and while that was lovely of him, I didn’t feel that way.  Not that a number on the scale defined me, but not feeling good about the way I was did define me.  As a woman I always wanted to exude confidence and be a great role model for my daughter.

Image

My breaking point came when my younger sister came to visit on Thanksgiving 2012 and I saw how wonderful she looked, she had taken off a quite a bit of weight and I was so proud of her.  She went on the South Beach Diet, which I knew a little bit about from her.  She had been on that diet before and when she lived with me for a short period of time a few years back, we had made some recipes from the book, and I had read a little bit of the book, so I had some knowledge about it.  I thought to myself, if Tara could do it, so can I! (thanks again Tar)  Luckily, she had left the South Beach Diet book with me and one day after I had really had enough, I ended up reading it probably 3 or 4 times in a row and came to a decision…it was time, I finally admitted it to myself that MOMMY NEEDS TO GO ON A DIET!!!

Of course coming to this conclusion with Christmas just a few weeks away I thought it might be too difficult.  I didn’t want to miss out on Christmas cookies, or be that annoying person at the holiday get parties who couldn’t eat certain things because they were “on a diet.”  So I decided to only loosely follow the diet and still splurge for holiday things…then after the New Year, (January 2 to be exact) I would totally and completely surrender and start myself strictly onto the South Beach Diet.

If you want to know more about my journey of dieting Part 2 of this “dieting” entry will be up very shortly.  I will tell you, that this diet is one of the best things I have ever done for myself!  What I realized so much more than anything else is that being on a diet is way more mental than anything else!  You have to truly be willing to surrender yourself and follow a strict regimen and NOT to stray from it.  Exercise was a part of this too, but I had already conquered that many months ago, which is why I began the diet, it was the missing link because I wasn’t seeing all the results I wanted from just exercising.  So…if you are at all curious about how much weight I lost, how I did it, stuck to it and any pratfalls in between, I’ll meet you at Part 2!!

“It’s not how much you eat, it’s what you eat.”

To read Part 2 click here: http://juliettesworldblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/mommy-on-a-diet-part-2-of-3/

Image

Happy New Year!!!  Even though it’s now March, I think it’s a safe bet that we are all still getting used to writing “2013” when we write the date, well I know I am anyway.  I did want to get this entry back in January, but honestly I had a real hard time fitting it in, not just because of the busy life of a mom, wife, human being, etc., but also because I was on a DIET for the first time in my life, which took up A LOT of my time, but more on that later in the entry.

Image

Now, (I feel like there should be a drum roll here, ha-ha) here is that blog I have been working on that some might consider a little controversial.  To all you MOMs, MOM-to-be’s, those who want to be a MOM one day, (even dads, parents, or if you’re just a little curious), here it is…THE UGLY TRUTH!

Before I dive into that, I would like to explore a bit why it is called the ugly truth?  I never really liked that terminology, because what makes the truth so ugly?  I consider myself to be a very honest and truthful person, and you know what?  NOT EVERY ONE IS, and that’s ok, some people are not quite as blunt as I can be because they believe perhaps that the TRUTH hurts.  I have gotten in trouble here and there for being so honest, so you do have to watch it.  However, I also believe that the other saying is true too “the truth shall set you free.”  While the truth does hurt, sometimes it is just what the doctor ordered!  I do not expect everyone to be the same as myself, nor am I saying it is the best way to go, but I do believe that I wished someone had told me about not only the millions of WONDERFUL things about being a Mom, but also the truly UGLY things about being a Mom.  So here goes, I hope this truth is not too ugly for my readers out there…

Here is what i believe to be The hardest (ugliest) things about being a MOM:

You will be saying goodbye to:

  • Your free/alone time
  • Sleep and showers, as they become a luxury
  • Having time to eat/cook/bake
  • Staying up late
  • Exercising
  • Having time to clean like you used to
  • Having time to put on makeup/groom yourself
  • Making the time for you and your husband/significant other
  • Saying goodbye (pun intended), as its very hard to leave your child, even when you do they are now always first in your thoughts

Not that the above things are impossible to do, you find a way to work them into your schedule, that is unless you haven’t passed out from sheer exhaustion.  But, you do become creative and find a way to (as Tim Gunn would say) “make it work.”

Plus, in my experience, these things become much easier after the first two months…you then have a window of time between from about 2 months until they start moving where you start having some new ugly truths.  Once they start crawling and walking, which for my daughter she was crawling at 7 months and walking at 10 months, you have a whole slew of new things to worry about.  You have now moved onto the next stage, the mobile stage (or the nervous wreck stage if you were like me).

You will be worrying about:

  • Them falling constantly
  • If you baby-proofed everything well-enough (and trust me NO ONE ever does)
  • Where did they get that bruise?
  • You mean I can’t use the play-pen/yard as much as I did before because they want to explore?
  • When will they stop being so wobbly?
  • Where did they get that piece of food they just put in your mouth (you will be cleaning your floors A LOT more)
  • Some days you want to just drop from being so tired of chasing them around, or saying “no” or “not for babies” for the hundredth time

Now, these worries also get much easier as they become more stable on their feet and learn their boundaries.  It’s funny how we all as parents are sooo eagerly waiting for our children to become mobile, (I was one of them too) but once they do, IT’S ALL OVER.  Free time again becomes even more diminished, but just like everything else in life…you learn, you grow, you adapt right along with them.  Seeing them in any type of pain is a very difficult thing to deal with as well.  Not to mention just how awful it is when they are sick and/or you don’t know what’s wrong with them too.  But, once these things subside (they don’t ever fully go away, but they do get better) you really begin to enjoy everything much more again.  They start talking even more and doing all sorts of things that just make you happy, and sometimes yes they do make you crazy as well.

Another ugly truth?  Well, as a proud parent we sometimes like to brag about our child.  So, here is my little bit of boasting, I am very proud to admit that Juliette can walk, run, skip, dance and gallop at 19 months old.  I feel like she says a new word almost daily lately, she has even started to say phrases, I am waiting for her first real sentence soon.  She knows all of her letters, how old she is, most of her body parts, and now we are working on numbers, shapes, and colors.  She even knows some songs and animals sounds…remember you are talking to a former teacher here who is her Mommy.  But, I will also admit that we are currently trying to get her off the pacifier, which is proving to be a VERY difficult task.

This now brings me to the much happier side, the most beautiful things about being a Mom/parent.  I will tell anyone who has asked me about motherhood, “it is the best thing I have ever done in my life, but also the HARDEST thing I have ever done in my life.”  The rewards and the benefits definitely outweigh the tough times.  So, just try to keep in mind if you are having a rough moment about your child or children no matter what the age, “this too shall pass.”

Image

Here’s my favorite list…

THE TOP TEN MOST WONDERFUL THINGS ABOUT BEING A MOM:

1)   HOW you feel when you child looks into your eyes and smiles because they are happy to see you

2)   How you feel from watching your husband play with your daughter as he falls more and more into being a father everyday

3)   How you feel when your child accomplishes something/anything for the first time, whether it be getting their first tooth or saying “thank you” (sounds more like “tank tuuu” from Juliette as she said it this week for the first time)

4)   How you feel from just thinking about your child

5)   How you feel having some peace and quiet when they are quietly and blissfully asleep J

6)   How you feel when you hire a babysitter (outside your family) and feel comfortable leaving them with someone you trust, that’s was a BIG step for me

7)   How you feel when you make them/hear them laugh

8)   Hearing them say “Mama” for the first time

9)   Realizing that you didn’t know anything about being a parent until it actually happened to you

10)  Realizing how you life is now forever changed for the better because of them

And the truth is here that I could go on and on and on about the joyous things, the hard things, the scary things, and so much more, and I know this list will only increase as my daughter and my family grows.

One thing I know for certain is you will love the child more than life itself as soon as you feel them kick inside of you for the first time.  I’d like to say it all gets easier with certainty, but it probably won’t.  What I do know (as I previously wrote) is that the benefits outweigh any of the hard things that happen, and you will adjust.  Like this blog is so aptly titled, it’s now purely “Juliette’s World” and I just live in it.

Image

One last little confession here, earlier in this entry I wrote about how I was on a diet, the first diet I’ve ever been on and I’m going to save all the information about that until my next entry.  Until then, I will leave you with my take on the answers to these questions I asked many of the readers, my friends, and family in order to come up with this entry.  Thanks girls :)

What is the hardest thing about being a Mom? Wondering if you are doing the right thing for your child

What is the best/your favorite thing about being a Mom? Everything

What do you wish you could have more of now that you are a Mom? Free time

What were you most surprised about now that you are a Mom? That I would constantly be infected with the syndrome I now call “Mommy-brain”

Do you want more kids? Yes

MOM-to-be’s (here I thought of myself when I was a Mom-to-be): What are you most excited about? Seeing and holding my child for the first time

Is this your first pregnancy? Yes, Juliette was my first pregnancy

What are you most afraid of (if anything)? I couldn’t think of anything here

Those who want to be a MOM (hopefully) someday: Why do you want to be a Mom? (For these questions I just had to think about when I knew I wanted to be a mom, which was pretty much always, truly it was)  I believe I was born to be a mother; it’s as simple as that

How many children do you think you want? We know we want at least two kids, maybe three, but we will see how we feel after two

What are you most excited about or afraid of as/once that day comes near? I was most excited about being able to have my own child, as many people cannot.  I was afraid of giving birth a little, but just looked forward to end result, giving birth to my beautiful daughter. 

Until next time, hope you guys enjoyed THE UGLY TRUTH!!!

Image

~J

“When a child is born, so is a mom.”  -Carter’s commercialImage

merry xmas

I know it’s been a while since my last entry.  I blame it on the life of a busy mom, Hurricane Sandy madness, power outages, Juliette getting over a stomach virus and a cold, hosting our first Thanksgiving, starting the Christmas rush, etc…I am sure all you Moms out there can relate, sometimes life just gets in the way.

I was planning on making my next blog all about “The UGLY TRUTH behind Motherhood,” which I did much research on and even had the help of some questions answered from many of you moms out there.  However, in the spirit of the holidays approaching, I’ve come up with a funny little list, which I truly believe to be the truth, and have wanted to write about for some time now, as I think about it OFTEN.  Basically it breaks down to the fact that the life of a baby is just awesome for them, and we should try to live our lives the same way!  Never fear though…The UGLY TRUTH will be coming shortly after the New Year.

funny ecard

Until then, I have been thinking lately about how the more and more as we get older, being an adult sometimes, well sucks.  There is so much responsibility to being an adult; at times it can be intoxicating.  Isn’t there an age old saying of something like how we all wish we could see the world “through the eyes of a child…” quite ironic isn’t it?  Because all we want when we are younger is to be older, right?

 Well, here is my Top 10 list of why we should all should aspire to be more like our little ones:

 1) THEY GET 10-12 HOURS OF SLEEP EVERY NIGHT! If you are lucky enough to have a baby sleep through the night, (Juliette has done so since about 2 months old thankfully), with the few exceptions of an illness or new teeth waking her up.  In addition to sleeping soundly, they don’t have to get up to relieve themselves in the middle of the night, thanks to their diaper.  They can roll around wherever they want and not fall off the bed.  They have a nice lullaby to fall asleep to, and a pretty twilight turtle that lights up the room.  If they don’t happen to sleep through the night, they get rocked to sleep, sung to sleep, put in a vibrating chair, put into a swing, or practically anything their parents can possibly find until they are finally sleeping!  What’s an easy solution for us adults?  Go to bed earlier!!  Juliette barely makes it to 8:00 p.m. most nights.  As adults, we don’t get nearly enough of sleep as we should per night due to many things, some out of our control, some in our control…but whether it be our jobs, stress, television, trying to get our little one to actually sleep, etc.  Oh how I wish I could get 10-12 hours of sleep like they do!

2) THEY EAT A VERY WELL-BALANCED DIET- From mother’s milk to the most expensive milk that money can buy, formula.  Any parent who has gotten even one of the so-called ‘cheaper’ formulas know how expensive it is.  From there they move onto cereal and lots of pureed fruits and veggies.  My now 16 month-old daughter still has three cups of whole milk a day and quite a bit of water too, (she hasn’t had any fruit juice yet, as it has really no nutritional value in it).  I always make sure she has 3-4 servings of fruit/veggies each day and I don’t let her have too much sugar in her diet.  She always has fruit with her breakfast and no matter what we are having for dinner I always make sure Juliette has a vegetable with it, which intern had led my whole little family to always have a vegetable with every dinner now too…no skimping on that one anymore.  Anyone heard of the baby diet??  I think I might try it!

funny dinner ecard

3) THEY APPRECIATE THINGS WE NEVER WOULD- We’ve all seen our little tots play with the box rather than the toy.  My daughter is very happy just to “be” and always wakes up in a great mood.  She gets such pleasure from things like our dog barking, waving at others, bananas, applauding at herself when she learns anything new, a song she likes, saying a new word, reading a book, and how can we forget ELMO? As adults, we get too caught up in the nonsense around us to appreciate things like this, but WE ALL should do more of that.

4) THEY NAP!  Does this one really need an explanation?  I miss my siesta days from camp, my almost daily naps as a college student, ahhhh naps are just wonderful…if you ever have time in your adult life to fit one in, do it!!!  You will be very thankful you did, and you will also feel amazing afterward too!  Babies have the right idea, at first they nap constantly, then move onto 3-4 times a day, then onto twice a day, and now Juliette just recently got to one nap a day.  Even though this one long nap is now smack dab in the middle of the day, she needs it and I must admit, I need it too.  This one nap is usually (on average) about 2 hours (sometimes more, sometimes less) and I get soooo much done during those two hours it’s a wonderful thing!  Do I nap during those two hours???  Heck no!  I used to nap when she napped back when she was just a few weeks old but now, no way!  I clean, cook, do laundry, catch up on correspondence…but if I am completely exhausted or just need to kick back I might lie down and read or watch some TV, or on a an extremely rare occasion I might even fall asleep for a small amount of time.  I miss napping!

Juliette sleeping photo

5) THEY DRINK LOTS OF MILK- I sort of covered this one in #2, but we all see the “Got Milk” ads just about everywhere.  Plus, there is the wonderful benefits that the vitamins and nutrients in milk give you, like calcium especially.  Additionally, until the age of 2, babies drink whole milk…and from someone who drinks skim milk on a regular basis let me tell you they have the RIGHT idea…have you tasted whole milk lately?  It tastes like cream…yum yummm!!

baby with milk

6) THEY DON’T HAVE TO CLEAN UP AFTER THEMSELVES IN ANY WHICH WAY- From the time they are born until they are way into those grade schools years, let’s face it- these kids have it good!  They don’t wipe themselves, don’t feed themselves (for a while anyway), don’t bathe themselves, or dress themselves (that comes after a little while too).  NOT A PARENT YET?  You will soon learn a huge part of your everyday it just keeping them and your house looking presentable.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve almost tripped over a toy or book on the floor.  Once (if you are ever) done cleaning them up, be sure to keep yourself presentable, I know it’s hard especially at the very beginning to even fit in a shower, but you will learn the best times to do so.

NOTE: My husband gave me the idea for this one…how did I not think of it first on my own?  Leave it to the stay-at-home Mommy who does just about everything for her daughter to get BABY BRAIN (to learn more about this BABY BRAIN craziness see http://juliettesworldblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/losing-my-mind-my-balance-and-even-my-shoes-have-i-become-a-mom-or-a-just-klutz/) while trying to come up with a list about her!  Thank you Steve :)

7) THEY CAN BURP AND FART IN PUBLIC AND NO ONE CARES!  No ones cares IS RIGHT, its actually cute instead!  How many time have you been out and let one loose and didn’t know what to do?  You could never fart or (god forbid) much less poop your pants and not feel embarrassed.  Burping?  That’s a whole other story; it’s not crazy embarrassing in public as you can always excuse yourself, unless it was too big that is.  But when you are a baby and you burp, Mommy and Daddy are very, very pleased.  Juliette was a very tough burper until about 10 months old, so when she did get those burps out, we had our little mini-celebrations….unfortunately it was usually followed by some lovely looking (and smelling) spit-up, but in her defense, she did have a bad case of acid reflux.

8) THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT THEIR WEIGHT!   They don’t care if they’ve gained weight at all, in fact it is so important that they do during those first few weeks of life, you feel like a failure as a parent if they don’t! The fatter they are, the better and cuter they are.  Juliette was an average sized baby at first, 7 pounds 9 ounces, very long and skinny though.  I always thought I was going to have a hugely chubby baby at first, but little did I know she would get there after a few months.  Now that she is stretching out a bit and losing her cute little chunky baby thighs, I have to admit I am going to miss them!  She is still in the 90th percentile for weight, and does that bother her or me?  Not one bit at all!!  I realize she might fall behind the 90th percentile, but whatever weight she is, I hope she doesn’t worry about it for a very, very, very long time!  I wish we could all take a cue there.  Back when I was an adolescent, I couldn’t gain an ounce if I tried, I was very tall and very thin, (and wish I appreciated that more), but that changed when I hit my late twenties, had two foot surgeries and then got pregnant too.  Having to watch what I eat, and exercise for more than just ‘fun’ wasn’t a great feeling, but hey just another sucky part of being an adult I guess.

9) THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH WALKING AROUND IN THEIR UNDERWEAR!  Onesie anyone?  The cutest thing!  Just a diaper?  Why not?  Even naked is just adorable too!  Some people may love walking around in their skivvies in the privacy of their own home, or perhaps wearing an itty-bitty bathing suit on the beach.  However, I think we can all admit that no matter what size, weight, etc. a baby in with just the tiniest amount of clothing is truly precious.

10) THEY HAVE NO PREJUDICE- Ignorance is truly bliss sometimes, and that is definitely the case with our little ones.  They have no prejudice and are (for a little while anyway) oblivious to the world around them and all the hate there really is too much of out there.  I think we would all be a little better off sometimes if we were the same way, unfortunately, life happens.  Tragedies, sadness, death, and many other experiences could and most likely will affect them, but its important for us, as parents to do the best we can to help them through those difficult times and let them know they are truly loved.  We need to reassure them that no matter what, no natter the color of their skin, or any religious or political view or something they have been through, I believe LOVE does and will truly conquer all.

children

So, there it is my list of why being a baby is freakin’ awesome!  (I’m sure if I were a guy writing this I would also include something about breastfeeding, but I am sure we can all use our imagination there…)

Yes, I do realize that most of these things, as they are only babies/toddlers, they don’t care about because they are too young to even fathom any of this, but hey it’s the holidays and thought we could all use a little extra holiday cheer!  Especially in light of the fact that of the absolutely terrible school shooting happened last week in my home state, Connecticut.  I always knew Newtown to be a very safe, quaint, and nice place to live, and my hearts truly go out to those who lost anyone in that shooting.  This is an awful thing for anyone to go through, and not only does it hit home with me because I was a teacher, but also because innocent children and staff were a part of this shooting.  Losing a loved one is always a horrific ordeal, but when that loved one has barely lived yet, and is the apple of your eye (like I know my daughter is), I can’t even imagine going through something like that.  Additionally, I am extremely proud of my fellow educators who stood in front of these children and risked/lost their lives.  I am proud to say I was a teacher too, and will be again one day.

Now, go have some even happier holidays and enjoy that extra glass wine, or spiked egg-nog or pour a little extra peppermint schnapps into your hot chocolate, because if you are a parent, you deserve it!  Hey, even if you aren’t a parent, we all work our butts off on pretty much a daily basis, so enjoy!

silly ecard

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!     ~J

Someone's been good this year :)

Someone’s been good this year :)
Juliette’s 2nd Christmas

So imagine this…you think you are a super-cool and super-organized Mom (perhaps using “super” now makes me so very uncool, hmmm…oh well).  You think you have everything with you as you get in the car before you leave your house: a fully stocked diaper bag, your purse, sippy cup, snacks, water bottle, coupons, shopping lists, and (you would think, most importantly) your DAUGHTERbut there is another very important item that I am missing here!!!  I go to start the ignition and I am missing my…KEYS!!!  Yes, I forgot my keys and had locked myself out of the house with my baby!!

Has this happened to you?  Well, before I became a mother this NEVER happened to me, I actually was that super-organized, not to mention a much less forgetful, person.  I was that person who always had everything anyone needed, and more.  Hey, I was a Girl Scout after all, and our motto was,  “Be Prepared,” and up until I became a Mom, actually scratch that…up until I became pregnant, I was a very together person.  This has all changed now!

I always prided myself in my organization, my to-do lists, and my great balance.  I was an athlete growing up, very flexible, and I was barely ever hurt.  I would forget things every now and then (like anyone else did), but I was not a klutz…nor was I completely absent minded.  I had my “blonde” moments and could be a little ditzy from time to time, but well, if you have been pregnant before I am sure we can all say an “AMEN” together when you hear the term “BABY BRAIN.”  Sometimes it is also referred to as either, “pregnant brain,” or “Mommy brain.”

As I have mentioned before, when I was pregnant I was a teacher.  As I got further and further along in my pregnancy, I suddenly noticed myself making quite a few mistakes inside the classroom.  So, instead of making an excuse to my students I began to blame my mistakes and forgetfulness on my newly found (or lost) “pregnant brain.”  It actually became a running joke in my classroom, any time I had some weird “brain fart” or error, especially at the white-board, I would look at the students shake my head and they would say, “pregnant brain!” and I would nod my head, smile, and throw my hands up in the air.

At home, my husband started to see a whole new side of me too, besides wanting to go to bed at 6:30 p.m. and hibernate (like that of a bear), I began running into things constantly, slipping, getting strange bumps and bruises all over my body.  I can’t even tell you how many times he would ask me, “Jess, are you ok?”  or “what did you do now?” and I would say, “oh yeah hunny…I just it’s just my pregnant brain.”

Think this might stop after you’ve had your baby???  THINK AGAIN!!  It does not stop, actually it gets worse, because now your pregnant brain has magically turned into “Mommy Brain” or “Baby Brain.”  Besides the lack of sleep and free time from the start of being a Mom, or a parent for that matter, you slowly start to lose your mind.

So, here is a TOP 10 list of what BABY BRAIN has done to me (as it has slowly taken over my body over almost the past two years…from pregnancy to the present, as Juliette is now 14 months). 

1)   Losing my keys for the first time- When Juliette was only about a month old, I couldn’t find my keys.  Instead of making a big fuss over it, I used my extra set and didn’t fret about it.  About 30 minutes later we had arrived at our destination.  As I went to get Juliette out of the car, I discovered something very odd…MY KEYS on THE ROOF?!  They were stuck on the roof rack on top of the car right above the car door near her car-seat side…how did they stay on top of the car that whole time???  I haven’t a clue, but either way it saved me a lot of time and money.  Note to self: Next time you get your child out of their car-seat, do not temporarily place your keys on top of the car!

2)   Getting Lost- While driving home from work one day, very tired and pregnant, I got so dazed out I missed the same exit that I took home everyday for almost four years!  The funny thing is that I didn’t realize this until 6 more exits passed!

3)   Slipping on the Ice– On one cold wintery day while exiting the car ( I think I had just entered into my second trimester) it happened to be very slippery out and, even though I was wearing boots, I slipped and nearly did a split, and skinned my hand and wrist.  Not a hard enough fall where I was worried about my belly, but hard enough where I got a little shook up and switched to better gripped boots for the rest of the winter.

4)   Colliding with a student- Monitoring the hallways during the change of classes ifs always a part of any middle-school teacher’s job.  So, once the bell would ring I would waddle over and stand in the small crevice between the hallway and my classroom door so I didn’t get plowed into as I watched the students pass by.  One day, while I was doing this, I heard something behind me, stepped forward and turned my head to make sure everything was ok.  Just then- BOOM…I was hit by the student carrying all of their books!  As their books fell and the student quickly saw my face, she abruptly apologized.  I was getting pretty big at this point, I think about 6 or 7 months along and even though I played it off like I was fine, I did feel a tiny little pain in my belly.  I called the doctor on my way home and they told me I was probably fine, but if I was worried I could stop by.  OF COURSE, I STOPPED BY.  After being hooked up to a monitor to check the baby’s heartbeat, crisis was averted and all was fine.

5)   Ankle hit #1– (right ankle) One day over my due date and VERY restless and uncomfortable, I decided to go on a walk with the dogs, my Mom, and my husband.  I hadn’t even gotten out of my parents driveway when my ankle turned out and I fell right down onto my butt.  No bumps or bruises this time, just very shaken up, and a very twisted ankle.  That’s all I needed, I just wanted my baby to be delivered, and now I had a huge swollen ankle, which makes it even harder to walk around.  I had to wear an ace bandage and ice it very often up until Juliette came, which was just three days later.

6)   Ankle hit #2 & #3- Juliette was about six months old when I walking down the stairs with her on one arm and my purse and diaper bag on the other, when I slipped!  Of course all I worried about was my baby, so I protected her as I stumbled down 4 stairs and landed on my bottom, but definitely sprained left my ankle.  Juliette was fine as can be, but after a trip to the doctor and I learned I did sprain my left ankle and had to wear a brace for almost a month, at least I didn’t have to use crutches.  I was still able to walk, just with a limp for a while.  Ankle hit #3- You think I would’ve learned my lesson at this point!  After my left ankle was just about healed, I was walking down the stairs, thankfully alone this time, but of course carrying two bags, and fell down the same stairs again!  This time it was VERY bad, I could barely move my right ankle and I had never seen it so swollen.  Another doctor’s visit later, I had a new brace, lot of icing to do…and oh yeah crutches this time too!!!  How do you take care of a baby with crutches?  You become just like them, you are stumbling, kneeling, and even crawling a lot, plus you get lots of help from family, thankfully.  The very LONG week of crutches was NOT fun or easy in any which way!  Believe it or not my right ankle is still swollen to this day!  I STILL have to ice it sometimes, as the doctor said I jammed this one up very badly and it could take up to 8-12 months to fully heal.  However, I have a feeling that this right ankle won’t ever be the same.

7)   A Pain in the neck…and back– I strained my neck so badly on Mother’s Day…(yup on my first Mother’s Day) when I had turned around very quickly to see what Juliette was doing behind me.  This was a mistake, my neck was strained so bad that I could barely keep it straight all day, let alone move it to the right side, and it took about two weeks to recover from that.  Then, just a few weeks ago, I once again strained it while rocking Juliette to sleep.  Just to top it off, again last week (NO BABY INVOLVED THIS TIME) I was just lying down in bed when I moved, not even quickly this time, to grab my glass of water and again strained it!  The back issues have not been fun either.  They have been there for the past four years or so, having to bend for most things, (because as most tall people know, the world is not created for tall people…or short people for that matter…it’s made for average sized people).  The lower back pain got so bad while I was at the end of my pregnancy I had to wear a back brace.  Just recently, I really strained it again bending over to pull the sheet off of Juliette’s crib.  While heating pads and ice did help slightly, a very necessary chiropractor appointment was made…but more on that issue in another entry.

8)   Forgetting to put on deodorant– Once on my way to work when I was pregnant, I realized I forgot to put on deodorant.  Luckily, I had an extra one in my desk, which I quickly put on before the students arrived.  Much later on, after rushing out of the house when Juliette was only about four months old, we were on our way to a party when I realized that I once again forgot to put on deodorant!  So, we had to make a pit stop for me to get some deodorant at CVS.  Which I now proudly keep in my glove compartment, thanks to the advice from my husband.

9)   Losing my sandal at Walmart- it was almost the end of September, and I always hold onto my  sandals as long as I possibly can before getting into closed toe shoes.  I was running some errands with the little one and when my flip-flop broke!  This was not just any old flip-flop either, it was one of my favorite (not to mention expensive) pairs, my Fit-Flops!  So, there I was dragging my foot along the aisles of Walmart, looking for the shoe section.  I ended up having to buy some imitation Converse sneakers and wear them out of the store.  I have to admit, I am not one who embarrasses easily, but for some reason this one really did embarrass me.

10)  LOCKED OUT OF THE HOUSE- This brings me to the start of my entry, when I had locked my baby and myself out of the house.  Jumping through the back window, which was very high might I add, even for a girl who is 6 feet tall, was no easy task.  It was the middle of August, and as I wrote at the beginning, I thought I had everything with me!  But, I got into the car and what was I missing, MY KEYS!  I called my husband in a panic, who (if he had to, he could have drove home) but it wouldn’t be for at least 2 hours (one hour to get out of work, and another hour to drive home)…did I really want to waste the money and call a locksmith??  No, instead I remembered that I may have a left one of the back windows unlocked…of course it wasn’t the one connected to the deck, that would’ve been too easy!  It was the highest one on the side of the house in the back.  So, after stacking up three chairs and a small table on top of each other I got that window open and slipped in (and when I mean slipped I mean bumped, bruised and jumped…err, skidded through the window).  Juliette is watching this all go down in the backyard perfectly content in her stroller playing with her teether keys and babbling to herself…probably saying, “Mommy did you have a brain before I was born?”  This was the worst set of purple and red bruises I’ve had since I was 9 and had fell over a fence.  These bruises took weeks to heal, and were quite painful, it’s now October and one of them is still going away!

So, there you have it!  A list of all my LITERAL ups, downs, accidents, bumps, bruises, etc. over the past two years due to the joy of motherhood (well that’s what I am blaming anyway).  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…because everyone falls down, even those who are not Moms!

 “When real people fall down in life, they get right back up and keep on walking.” –Carrie of Sex and The City, from the one of my favorite (and I think one of the most beloved) episodes, “The Real Me,” (Season 4) where Carrie becomes ‘fashion road-kill.’

Diapers, wipes, and pins…how soon the fun begins!  You never realize looking back how easy it was to change your darling baby’s diaper when they were a mere few  weeks, or even a few months old.  Then you are struck with a new reality once you flash forward to the present time, where it is almost impossible to change your now 13-month-old.  On top of that, she now has a terrible recurring diaper rash, due to her teething, on and off, for the past few weeks.  A diaper rash due to ‘teething,’ you might ask?  Yes, due to her four new molars coming in, which is what my doctor declared last week.

Thankfully, in our modern day society, we have dodged one bullet…we no longer have to use cloths and pins for diapers, thanks to our various diaper brands.  In fact, I just asked my Mom just last week, “Did you really have to use cloth diapers for Valerie?” (my oldest sister, born 1978), and she responded, “yes.”   Wow, what a pain in the butt, literally and figuratively.  Now, I know that some mothers still chose to use the ol’ cloth diapers, as it is more economical and much less pricey, but I am not one of those women.  I do, however, applaud any who do that.  I have a hard enough time wiping her poop diapers with wet paper towels or cloths (not wipes, more on that further down this entry)…so I knew if I used cloth diapers I would probably have an even harder time.  I am very glad to be living in a time where I can just run to the store and buy some diapers, even though it WILL cost me!

But let’s back up a bit.  Looking back at my shower, I remember getting some very cute diaper gifts.  Before I became a mother, I used to think, “Giving diapers as a gift?  No thanks, I must buy a cute outfit or a toy or something better,” boy was I wrong…I soon learned that every mom would love to get diaper gifts!  I even remember this awesome Winnie the Pooh theme tiered diaper cake (thank you Aunt Angela), equipped with, of course diapers, and many other cute Pooh baby items (Juliette’s room theme was Pooh and Friends).  These modern day diapers we have come in many any different sizes, brands, and shapes, not to mention all of the creams, wipes, powders, etc. that you will receive as well.  It’s all very exciting it all setting up…from your diaper pail to your diaper stacker, the diaper baskets, the changing table, etc., but soon enough though, your baby is right there and you are now stuck changing many diapers…after diaper, after diaper.  You do get used to it, but it did feel like a bit a chore at first.  The pee-pee diapers are not so bad to clean and are pretty quick to do too, and even the poop diapers aren’t so bad either at first, but as they get older that gets a just a little bit harder.

I was a big baby when I was born, 9 pounds 9 ounces, and my sisters were pretty big too.  My husband was also a big baby, and most of my older sister’s babies were big when they were born.  And since I was carrying Juliette so low when I was pregnant, and had such a big pop-out tummy, not to mention terrible lower back pain, I was convinced I was going to have this huge baby!  But, and I am NOT complaining here, when Juliette came out she was 7 pounds, 9 ounces, which is a small baby in our families…but that was plenty big enough for me, as that is an above average size.  Thus, I did not think we would need many newborn sized diapers, so I didn’t have much at home, I had more size 1’s all ready to go.  Luckily while you are in the hospital, they provide you with diapers, but once you get home, you are on your own.  Although I must admit my husband and I grabbed all the remaining diapers in our hospital room to take back home with us…hey it’s just like when people steal the hotel shampoos, right?

Juliette was in newborn sized diapers for almost two months, so my husband ran out and stocked us up on Newborn sizes after just a few days at home.  No biggie, since we had started with Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive (newborn size) at the hospital, and had one small pack at home too, that’s the brand what we stuck with.  The first few days I didn’t use any powder or creams, as the doctor had advised…but, then on the fourth day, she got very red down there, so I started to used Johnson’s regular baby powder and Desitin (I had about 5 of each of those powders and creams from shower gifts).  I did have a few small free samples of Bordeaux’s Butt Paste too, so I stuck those in my diaper bag for small and easy carrying.  A little while after that, I started to see how the Butt Paste (at least for Juliette) worked much better, so I switched to Johnson’s cornstarch baby powder (which also worked better) and the butt paste for diaper changes.  The powder was on after every diaper change, while the paste was only used a few times a day, just as needed.  This great combination seemed to work for a while on her little tushie.

Then, around the four-month mark, Juliette got a terrible diaper rash, and though it didn’t seem to bother her, it bothered me, A LOT.  As a new mother, as I am sure many new moms can relate, we wonder, “What was I doing wrong?”  The doctors said it could be many things.  I was convinced it was because of the generic form of diapers, (which we had also gotten as a gift), that we started using.  They said it probably wasn’t that, but it could be the baby wipes I used, the fact that she had started teething, etc.  So, they said discontinue use of all wipes, and instead use a soft paper towel with warm water, or a wash cloth with warm water (and a mild soap when needed) to wipe her.  They told me to stop using powders and creams for now, and instead use Vaseline as a barrier on the diaper, then to apply Lotrimin (yeah that funny smelling foot fungus cream) on her rash area.

A little over a week later, this started to work.  I have to tell you though, it was a pain to use wet cloths or soft paper towels, especially when we were outside the house.  Once the rash was cleared though, anytime I tried to use another brand of diapers (other than Pampers) or any type of sensitive wipes, she got a rash…actually, Huggies agreed with her, but she always leaked through those.  So, since Juliette has been about 4 months old, she wears Pampers Sensitive or Cruisers, and I have used purely a wet washcloth or wet soft paper towels to wipe her (Kleenex Viva paper towels seems to work best, they are very soft and cloth-like, and actually cheaper than buying wipes).  I really did miss the convenience of wipes, but oh well…in the words of my favorite fashion mentor, Tim Gunn, it was time to “make it work.”  Figuring out how to wipe her when we were out (if not sink was around) wasn’t too hard, I just had to keep a water bottle and the trusty Viva paper towels in my diaper bag.  I know sensitive skin runs in my family, and I definitely have it, as does my Dad, and I know Juliette carried on that trait too…so, no more wipes for her.

Now, as for the powders and diaper rash cream choices we made.  It is hard to figure out what works for your baby and it changes as they change, and we tried many different brands of each, like Desitin, A&D, Bordeaux’s Butt Paste, Aveeno, Caldesene, Burt’s Bees, Johnson & Johnson’s, Gold Bond, etc.  Through trying all of these we learned that Juliette’s new magic combination was Gold Bond Medicated Baby Powder (not always easy to find, of course, so I always bought a few bottles whenever I did actually see them at the store) and applied Bordeaux’s Butt Paste too as needed.

Up until a few weeks ago her magic diaper combination always worked, without fail, until that is, I saw the worst diaper rash appear that I had ever seen on her!  In addition to that, she had also become impossible to change.  She neverwants to lie down for me for more than 20 seconds without turning over, moaning, or standing back up.  Even with every distraction possible she still wouldn’t be still, and now it was even worse, because when I would wipe her, the poor thing cried in pain.  I called the doctor and told them how bad this rash was and they advised letting her air out (bare butt) as much as possible, soaking her bottom in warm water with a dash of baking soda a few times a day, and applying an antibiotic cream, like a Neosporin or a bacitracin.  If the rash did not go away, they said she might actually have a yeast infection, and I would have to bring her in, but I was very much hoping it would go away!  I acted fast and did all of the things they told me to do…but it was NOT easy.  Letting her roam free we had quite a few accidents, pee on the floor and in the playpen, and on top of that my dog, Layla, even tried to lick some of that pee up, that was really fun to try to get her away from.  Luckily though, we had no poop accidents…whew!

No yeast infection after all, and after a few days it cleared up.  About a week later, we also had her yearly pediatrician.  I had noticed that she had been a bit more cranky than usual too, even though the rash had cleared up, she was waking up in the middle of the night a few times a week, which really wasn’t like her.  She was biting as much as she could, and drooling even more than usual too, so I knew she was probably getting more teeth, on top of the eight ones she already had.  After speaking with the doctor I found out that four of her molars were starting to come in…heck if I would know how many, as she never lets me put my finger in her mouth or even keeps it open for a few seconds for me to look inside it.  She told me that all of this extra saliva from teething that Juliette could be ingesting can actually give her a bad diaper rash…apparently the secretions from the saliva can throw off their PH balance, well that explains the terrible rash!

Her little bottom was clear for another week or so after the appointment, then the rash came back just at the end of last week, ARGH!!!…here we go again.  So, again we started her roaming diaper free here and there throughout the day, soaking her in warm water and baking soda.  The next problem I faced was that I wasn’t sure what to apply on her this time around, as it was not as serious (or had any peeling skin this time) as the last rash.  Then, God smiled upon me and I discovered something wonderful that all mother MUST now about…Baby Anti MONKEY BUTT diaper rash cream!!!  Pretty funny/cute name, right??  I thought it was, and ironically enough, it wasn’t another mom who told me about it, it was a cashier in the Target checkout line when I was searching for my butt paste coupon.  She said her nephew had this terrible rash and that was the one and only thing that helped, but that they didn’t sell it there.  So, I dropped the butt paste and quickly drove down the street to Babies ‘R’ Us, and luckily  they had ONE LEFT!!  I started using it as soon as we got home, and by that evening the rash actually started to look better already!!  AMAZING!!  I would like to thank the people who made Anti-Monkey Butt Diaper Rash cream, because they have helped my daughter’s poor little bottom SOOOO VERY MUCH!  Apparently, it has some magic stuff in it along with calamine lotion, and well, whatever they put in there, it could be mud for all I care, the truth is that IT WORKS!!!  Her rash is pretty gone now, but you better believe I am still applying this cream to keep it away a few times a day.  In addition to that, I will be putting it in my diaper bag, at her changing stations, in my purse, etc.  I will always keep it handy now!  I have also heard that the same brand’s powder is awesome, so I will definitely be trying that too!!!  If you are a mom, or even a person for that matter, and find something that makes your life even a little bit easier, it makes you so extremely happy…and for my daughter it has made a world of a difference!

   

While every baby is very different, and each has their own set of diaper rash and skin issues, be sure to try ALL that is out there!  Although, I have to write, whenever I mention Anti-Monkey Butt to most moms now, they have nothing but great things to say about it, who knew???  Above all, we want to do the best we can for our child…even if that means we have to let them pee on the floor to air out, and then slapping on a good ol’ heaping amount of Anti-Monkey Butt onto their, impossible to change while staying still, little buttocks.    ~J

          

when I was only a mere 15 weeks along

Just a few days ago Juliette became 13 months old, and I find myself still in disbelief that my little baby could be actually over 1 year now.  Should we still be counting the months at this point?  It seems like most people do when it comes to pregnancy and babies.  Actually with pregnancy you count weeks, and unless you’ve been pregnant before, when most people ask, “how far along are you?” you tell them by the weeks, not months.  However, I soon found out that you had to convert those weeks into the amount of months for the everyday person.

Looking back on the long road it took to get pregnant, and then how it finally happened, it seemed like such a dream to me.  I was full of a fantastic bliss during those first few weeks that I found out I was pregnant.  I was living on cloud nine for quite some time, just beaming with smiles.  I was teaching at the time, and I found that the pregnancy even gave me a newfound patience with my trying and troublesome homeroom class at the time.  I was about 6 weeks along when I found out, and I only told close friends and family members, before we decided to announce it to the world at that safe 12-week mark.  It was December and all the lovely Christmas songs, décor, and shopping was in the air.  Just in time for the holidays, I did, however, start to get some of those dreaded first trimester symptoms that pregnancy brings on.

First off, I had to switch from my comforting and awakening morning tea in my handy little to-go cup (for my hour long drive to work) to a can of coke…the only thing that seemed to help my unsettled stomach.  Parts of my body, (and ladies you know which parts these are), were already bigger and swollen, which lead to no more button fly pants and more elastic ones until all maternity clothing started.  Then there was the appetite and change in food.  Since I was young I can remember, whether pregnant or not, most people relied on those every handy saltine crackers to be the cure for that nauseas stomach, especially that one you get during your first trimester (and not just in the morning, though that did seem to be the worst time of day for it).  Of course, in my case, (because it never seems  to be that easy for me), saltines were not the cure, they actually made me feel more nauseated.

I tried to eat whatever I could hold down for breakfast, usually some type of dry cereal and then I would head to work not feeling too hot, and still hiding my growing tummy from everyone at work (except my closest teacher friend my principal).  Let me tell you…it was not easy hiding it from my other fellow coworkers or my 140 students or so, who began to ask why I always had coke now in the morning, and why started to chew gum from time to time.  I had heard somewhere that gum could help with that sour stomach and for me, it did.  Cinnamon flavored Trident was now my new best friend.  But, when you teach at a catholic middle school (that doesn’t allow gum for its students) and one of the teachers suddenly starts to chew it, the students will notice, as they usually notice everything!  My explanations?  Well as for the coke, it gave me that extra caffeine I needed to get me through my early mornings.  Explaining the gum was pretty funny, I told the students that it was a special prescription from my doctor for a dental gum condition I had, which also explained my late arrivals and/or early leaving some days for those many OBGYN appointments and blood work you need during that first trimester.  They actually bought this idea, and even asked me how my mouth was and if I was going to need surgery, ha-ha…silly kids.

I was still having lots of trouble subsiding my churning stomach though, as I wasn’t a puker at all, but wished I were for once, just to have some relief…I just always felt like I was going to puke.  Then on an absurd day, right around Christmastime, on one of our last days before our vacation we had our annual Christmas party with our sister elementary school.  On this day, we had snack time with the student visitors.  For this, we always passed out juice and animal crackers, which I hadn’t had much of since I was a kid myself, but now all of the sudden they looked better to me than any other food I could possibly think of!  So, as we began passing out the snack, I grabbed myself a few of these sweet crackers, and even had some apple juice to boot….and wow!!!  Who knew that a second graders snack would be my new cure for my rumbly tummy.  I felt like a new person!  That same weekend, my husband dashed off to BJ’s and bought me any economy-sized tub of animal crackers.  I kept a stash of those crackers on my nightstand, in my purse, in the car, in my desk at work…it got so bad that I began to pop those lovely little crackers as much as my favorite TV doctor, Gregory House, popped his vicodin pills.

What’s even stranger, is that throughout my pregnancy I seemed to revert to the many simple foods I loved as a child.  Grilled cheeses, anything with eggs (egg salad, eggs over easy…which I used to call “dippy eggs,”) an English muffin with peanut butter, mac’ and cheese, French fries, white grape juice, Jell-O, and many others…it was quite funny.  I craved many carbs, veggies, and fruit in the beginning too…so dinner was quite challenging as I could not eat any meat or fish throughout my first four months of pregnancy.  I also loved all things bitter…especially those with vinegar.  Bigger meals were very hard, as just a salad of fruit or greens, or some pasta didn’t seem to fill me up very much.  One night I even fell apart crying on the kitchen floor as I was so hungry, and couldn’t figure out what to eat, (besides an animal cracker or bread), that didn’t make me sick.  I think my husband was getting tired of it too, because even though he would try to make his own dinner, but it was so bad that I couldn’t take the smell of any meat either, so I would either brave the cold outside to get away from the smell, but he wouldn’t have that as I was carrying his unborn child, so he stopped cooking the meat as well.  Speaking or smells…oh good God the smells when I pregnant!  I will have to save that for another entry, because it was very, very bad…so bad, I think I am still going through it.

Soon though, that 12-week mark came and I was able to announce it to my students and the whole school at the Monday morning assembly that I was preggers!  It was very cute, they all clapped and cheered for me.  As that week went on, many of 8th graders were like “I knew it,” and some of the girls tried to call me “Mama,” which I politely told them “please do not do that, I am not your Mama,” (seriously? NO!).  A few teachers even said they had a hunch I was ‘with child,” as I came in many mornings looking quite green.

Then soon, after many food mishaps, my nausea eventually started wearing away by the 4th month, and I was able to slowly start eating more food again, like meat, especially hot dogs, I seemed to love hot dogs…so hot dog day every Wednesday at school was something to look forward to!  Throughout my whole pregnancy though, I could not eat any beef or eggplant…and so I began to wonder, would I ever be able to eat those things again?  All things considered though, I didn’t have it too bad with the food part of it, I have heard about woman who had it much worse…and the nausea did subside.  After all, I did only actually vomit once, but always had the feeling like I was going to in that first trimester.

Luckily, after I gave birth I was able to eat beef again, and any and everything I used to eat after a few weeks  I could even drink alcohol again (after all those breastfeeding mishaps and having to give that up, I needed a good stiff drink).  I really thought too, that I would miss alcohol much during my pregnancy.  I remember toward the end, I would occasionally miss a glass of wine, or a nice cold margarita in the summer.  And oh gosh, how I could’ve used a nice strong mixed drink toward the end of the last trimester due to all those horrible aches and pains at the end…but more on that at another time too.

Now, I can proudly say that Juliette is officially over a year, or 13 months to be exact…and we are both very healthy eaters.  She even started to spoon-feed herself yesterday, which is still very much a learning process, and very messy one at that.  Plus, while Juliette has that cute little baby potbelly and oh-so squeezable thighs, while I am still trying getting rid of the last little bits that are left of mine.  She is a very good eater, not at all picky and loves cheese (just like her Mama) and bananas too.  The challenges of eating don’t change though, as once you are post-preggers, you will have to restrict yourself to not overindulge.  You will once again feel bad about those McDonald Frappe runs and Baby Ruth bars that felt like a wonderful sweet indulgence and were “OK” while pregnant, but not so much post pregnancy.  At least now though you can have that nice glass of wine or a margarita again (or whatever drink you so desire).  And trust me, you will need that drink once those minutes of the day have worn you down and your baby is soundly asleep (if, hopefully, they do sleep well)…at that point you can put your feet up and have that nice relaxing drink, if you can still stay up by the end of the day.

In conclusion, whether you count months, years, days, minutes, etc…just know that while its hard to figure out what you can eat while that little one is growing inside you, it all goes back to normal.  Your baby and you will be able to eat as much or as little as you need…even when you are still craving something unusual like a peanut butter cheesecake (thanks Lisa) on your daughter’s  Lucky 13th month birthday.

and so the spoon-feeding begins

Any funny cravings (pregnant or not) or weird pregnancy food choices you had?  What about your baby?  Please share on the comments below if you’d like…

very proud of herself =)
(so is her Mommy)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.