Category Archives: Mommy Matters

As I Wait for My Second Child to Arrive…

H and Mommy

I am mixed with emotions. I am excited, I am nervous, and I am sad.

We have long wished for and hoped for another baby, especially after our miscarriage last year and we are going to meet our little girl very soon (hopefully very soon).

But it has also been weighing on my mind that these are the last house/days of just having H all to ourselves and us all to him. I’m sad for him in a way, but very excited to see what kind of big brother he will be.

Our lives will change again, for the better I know, but I’m cherishing these last few hours/days with just him. Trying to soak in every cuddle, every “mommy,” everything. I know it is far from the last time any of these things will happen, but it will be the last time they happen with just him and us. We have been so blessed (and so as he) to have him to ourselves for almost four years (time has gone by so fast). I want him to feel just as special as he has every day since he came into our lives and for him to know that he is just as loved.

For those of you out there who have had a second or third child, what special things did you do before you had your other children?

My Miscarriage

Last week I found out that I lost my second baby. I was nine weeks pregnant, and I learned that the baby had stopped growing at six weeks.

I was out of town at the time visiting family, getting ready to share the good news, when I had to go to the ER and was given the sad news.

I had to call my husband, who was not traveling with me, and tell him over the phone. A little over a week later, I’m back at home and recovering from a D and C today. I chose to have a D and C because it had been four weeks since the baby had stopped growing inside of me, and I needed closure. I also am a planner so I needed to know what the next step was so I could move on both emotionally and physically.

Aside from being a planner, I’m also a person who opens up about things that are bothering me, and for some reason this is not something people talk about very openly. It’s nothing to be ashamed of as it happens to 1 in 7 women and there is nothing I, or anyone else, did wrong to make this happen. But still it seems to be a taboo subject.

When I started telling people that I had miscarried, more and more of my family and friends opened up about their own experiences. This made me sad for them, as I now understand what they went through, however, it also made me feel better in a way. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone, that if they could get through this and move on to have other beautiful children, so could I.

Oddly enough, in the news last week, Mark Zuckerburg announced that he and his wife are expecting but have also experienced multiple miscarriages. I appreciate him opening up about his and his wife’s experiences and hope that others will feel they can do the same when they’re ready.

I am fortunate because I already have one healthy, happy son. If I never have another baby, I will be okay because of him. He has brought me back to reality after this loss because he has no idea what is going on, and is wrapped up in his toys, or cartoons, or whatever is keeping him occupied in that moment (as he should be). I still need to be here for him and be his mom. No time to grieve, at least not for too long.

I keep explaining it to my close friends as a loss in the family, without ever having met the person. When we lose a family member to death, we are allowed to grieve, even in public, why is this loss any different?

My hope as a mother, as a woman, as someone who has gone through a miscarriage is that we can all be more transparent about these things when they happen. Everyone is entitled to take the time they need to heal after something tragic, but just like we speak about breast feeding (or not to), pregnancy joys and pains, I hope we too can discuss miscarriages and how we feel with the people we love.

I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. I am certainly not the first or the last person to go through this, just one of many. I just wanted to open up about my own experience in hopes that it will give others an outlet (if they need or want one) to discuss and find closure in their own way.

My New Office and Craft Room

desk in white officeWe have an small, extra room on our second floor that I wasn’t quite sure what we would use it for. It is literally 8×8 feet and has a row of very skinny windows that look out to our backyard.

My husband suggested it be my office/craft room, something I have always dreamed of having. So for my birthday, my wonderful husband designed and built me a new home office in this room.

craft desk with sewing machine

I now have a custom “L” shaped desk that I can have my sewing machine and computer set up on. I also have great storage and shelving and a place to hang and put all of my important documents, craft supplies, party kits (which were starting to take over the whole room), books, and wrapping paper.

The end result makes me want to work and craft all the time (something I do a lot anyway, but will be especially excited to do now).

Tips for Organizing an Efficient Office Space

  • I like to organize items by category or material. So I have separate cups for pens, pencils, markers, and tools. I also have drawers for each of the following scrapbooking paper (organized by color), fabric, sewing supplies, office supplies, etc.

office 6

 

office 7

 

I love this modular table on wheels. I can use it as a separate desk space for when I’m cutting items on my self-healing mat, or roll it around to hold items I need within arm’s reach. I also store my fabrics, paper, templates, and supplies in these drawers by color.

 

  • Have multiple places to store things out of sight, but also have a few places to hang things that you want in front of you. So I have three sets of drawers for storying things out of sight and a cork board, and shelves for things that I want within reach and out in the open.
  • For anything that doesn’t fit in my drawers or on my shelves, I have matching white boxes from IKEA. They are nice to look at, but hide items that I don’t want out in the open. I stack them under my desk neatly and label them so I know what’s in each (ribbons and bows, gift bags, printer paper, photos, etc.). I always have a few extra on hand (folded up) so nothing gets too out of order.
  • Designate separate spaces. I have a work space on one side of my desk where I have pens, paper, my laptop, and files, then I have a separate space for my crafting and projects (or wrapping presents). This space has my sewing machine, a self-healing mat, and all of my craft supplies.
  • A monochromatic office is a happy office. I decided to get a white desk, white chair, and white desk supplies (for the most part). I just think it looks really clean, it’s easy to spot other things I have on my desk, and I can mix in colorful accents with no problem.
  • Keep files and magazines organized and go through them often to get rid of what you don’t need. I use white magazine holders so I know exactly where my magazines are at all times. I also have fun file folders that I use for my files, which I also label. Stacks of paperwork are okay, but they at least need to be organized and sorted so you know what is what.

white magazine files

  • The P-Touch is my friend. When everything is labeled the same, it makes me feel really organized. I P-Touch all of my files, my magazine holders, and my boxes. I even use it to label the inside of my drawers if I feel I need a little extra help.
  • And finally, create a fun and comfortable space. You won’t want to work in a room you don’t like going into. Add special touches, photos, illustrations, music, whatever makes you happy and helps you be productive.

office 5

 

I love fresh flowers so I always have at least one bud on my desk like this peony from my garden. I also have a framed first issue signed by the original EIC of People magazine for inspiration, my phone, photos of my son, and a paper weight that is my initial.

Traveling with a Toddler

Quite awhile back when H was really little (still snuggling in my arms and not moving around) I wrote a post about traveling with a baby.

We have since traveled with H quite a bit, but the biggest (and longest) trip we’ve ever gone on is coming up. We’ll be going to Hawaii, which for us is a 10 hour trip on the plane.

I still stand by everything I said in that original post, with a few additions. We’re now dealing with a toddler, who is much more active, opinionated, and then there is the whole temper tantrum thing.

My Tips for Traveling with a Toddler

1. Send anything you can ahead of time. This includes toys, books, any clothes you don’t need immediately, snacks, your stuff, whatever you can ship, do it.
2. Bring baggies of fun. Fill each bag with a different activity and snack. That way you can easily pull one out at a time to keep your little one occupied in the sky.
3. Bring on the technology. I’m not a huge proponent of screen time for little ones, but trust me, H is. He loves any electronic! So bring on the iPad, iPhone, Android, portable DVD player, whatever you have and load it up with games, apps, books, movies, etc.
4. Pack the snacks. Bring whatever you can in terms of snacks, etc. H loves the fruit and veggie or apple sauce pouches, so I pack a lot of those, but you can also bring cut up veggies, crackers, puffs, etc. Wait until you get to the airport to buy yogurt, fruit, and string cheese.
5. Let him run around (with supervision of course). Tire him out before you get on the plane, but then also on the plane. No one can sit still (nor should they) for a long flight and that especially goes for your toddler.
6. Let him run around on the plane too. I don’t know about you, but I certainly can’t sit still for 10 hours, so how can I expect a toddler to?
7. If you can, get him his own seat. This will allow him to have his own space and more importantly, you to have your own space. Plus, you won’t have to worry about checking a car seat.
8. Keep him on his schedule as best as you can. That means during the flight he should sleep when he normally sleeps, eat when he normally eats, etc.
9. Rent whatever you can when you get there. We will be renting a stroller, a wagon, as well as a tent for the beach for H. There is no sense packing this stuff if they have it where you’re going. Call ahead.
10. That goes for a crib or pack and play too, but bring your own sheets and blankets.
11. And if you’re traveling across time zones, plan ahead. A few days before you leave start pushing his bed time back 1/2 hour every night. It will make the transition less hectic for everyone. Do the same thing on the way back, but move his bed time up.

Did I Mention We Moved?

Not the site thecraftymommy.com, but my family and I moved. Sadly, after 10+ years in the city, we made the big move to the burbs and now have a house in Connecticut.

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Here is a photo of the house. H is so happy with all of his new-found space that he has even started taking his first steps.

With that said, I will be working on a few big home-improvement projects over the next several weeks (and maybe even months) that I will be posting about, but I will also be trying to bring you the same crafty and mommy-inspired posts I always do as often as I can.

And don’t think I haven’t forgotten about my big announcement (note: this is not it). I plan to have it released by Christmas so stay tuned.

Tackling the First Haircut

The day had finally come! It was time for H’s first haircut.

haircut 1

Looking at this photo, he was in definite need of a haircut and a nap.

Deciding on a style for your little one is a big responsibility. Sure, it may not take the same priority as let’s say feeding him or nurturing him, but it is something that will stick with him for the rest of his life. So I did not take the first haircut lightly.

haircut 2H has very curly hair, which he got from his dad, and for which I have no idea how to take care of. It had started to get long enough that it was forming knots, which I would painstakingly comb out after every bath (not fun for either H or I).

So I felt it was time to take him for his first haircut. I was tempted to trim it myself, but I have seen some of those outcomes on other children, and I did not want that fate to fall upon my little one. So I made an appointment at a kids-only salon called Cozy Cuts on the Upper Westside.

haircut 3

It was adorable! He got to pick his own chair, he chose the red jeep, they had a bunch of fun distractions such as bubbles, DVDs, video games for older kids, and toys galore. The stylist was fabulous and really knew her stuff.

final haircut

It was just a trim (I’m not quite ready to lose those curls yet), but it was a great experience for both H and I. The best piece of advice I can give is to stay calm yourself, so your little one also stays as calm as possible, and to take the extra time to find a salon that specializes in kids.

Gifts for Baby

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Along with the five weddings we have this year (yes, five), a lot of our friends are also starting to have their first or second babies.

I typically like to do a themed gift or something special that is off of the registry with something from the registry (hey, they asked for those things for a reason).

For my friend Kate’s first child, I gave her a set of monthly onesies and a scrapbook so she could take a monthly photo throughout Emily’s first year and have a place to put them.

My Favorite Gifts (I’ve Received and Given)

A gift card to diapers.com

Diapers! Okay, so no one gifted this to me exactly, but what I wouldn’t have given for a supply of diapers (big or small). You may not think they make a glamorous gift, but boy do you go through a ton of them.

A family heirloom – something that has been passed down (and is still safe for today’s babies) that means something to your family.

Anything handmade – my grandma and aunt both made me beautiful quilts for H

A gift basket for mom – everyone seems to forget about the mom-to-be during showers. I love giving a basket full of lotions, creams, magazines, books, etc. that she can enjoy before and after the baby is born.

A box full of all the little things that were left on my registry. I had two showers and there were a lot of little things we still needed, and one of my friends bought them all. It was so much fun to open everything and some of those things we use still to this day.

A piece of furniture for the nursery – Ryan’s grandma bought us H’s crib and my mom bought us a rocker, but you could go in with a group to do the same and make it more cost-effective. But what a wonderful gesture, and one less (big) thing the parents have to worry about.

A nice frame (or two) – my friend Darcy gave us a beautiful Kate Spade silver frame that says “…And Baby Makes Three” and I just love it. You have so many photos taken of you and the new little one, you need somewhere to display them, right?

There are also some great gift ideas for baby here on homemadesimple.com that I think are fab.

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What’s Important for Your Kids?

I recently came across this blog post and thought it raised some interesting questions about American parents and the style in which we raise our children.

The writer talks about how in other countries they focus on teaching their children manners, taking care of their siblings, hanging up their jackets, cooking, etc. while we, here in America focus more on cognitive intelligence.

We are given milestones from the day our children are born and we are taught to teach them to meet those milestones until they’re well out of college. But do any of those milestones include saying “nice to meet you” or teaching a younger sibling a new thing or not interrupting when you’re talking to someone else?

I think there is such competition between parents and kids about when a child reads, or high he can count, or what he gets on his SATs or what college he gets into that we, as parents, focus more on the ABCs and 123s than we do the please and thank you’s. Wouldn’t it be nice if we stopped putting pressure on ourselves and therefore each other?

Yes, I want H to progress and do well in school when the time comes, but from the beginning I have tried and will continue to try to put an emphasis on relationships with other people, manners, and respect. When we see a homeless person on a cold day, H and I buy them hot chocolate and although he is possibly too young to understand what we’re doing, I take the time to explain it to him. Someday he will understand, and just like with anything else, the earlier and the more you do something, the more he will understand it later on.

What are the priorities you have as a parent when you’re teaching your child?

When is It Too Soon to Introduce Solids?

This week, I heard about a study on the radio that showed some moms were introducing solids as early as 4 weeks old.

My husband found this article that went into further detail stating that in about half the kids researched, solids were being introduced before 4 months well before the recommended age of 6 months.

If you’ll remember, about two months ago I introduced solids to H when he was 4 months old. He had been holding his head up, showed interest in what we were eating, sat in his high chair nicely, and was eating more milk than I could keep up with. Even though my pediatrician said she does not recommend solids for babies less than 6 months old in any circumstance, I reached out to my sister-in-law and some other mommy friends and was told that if he was showing signs that he was ready I should try it, but not earlier than 4 months.

I will admit that we have gone through some learning curves. Finding the right balance of milk and food and how much to give him has been a struggle. Somedays he handles the portions I give him fine, and others he spits up. Some days he cries for more, and we give it to him only to find out it was too much. When I don’t give into him, he still may spit up. Since H never really spit up before it can be a little disconcerting, but on those days we scale back his portions later on in the day.

I also think it’s odd that baby food companies have their stage 1 foods marked as for 4+ months. If the CDC has this recommendation, and it’s a strong one, why are the food manufacturers allowed to say it is for 4+ months?

What do you think? I stick with the reasoning that every child is different and I’m not sure there can be a universal rule to when you should introduce foods, but anything before 4 months becomes a developmental and health issue. What issues have you ran into when introducing solids?

The Feminist Housewife

retromom130318_1_560Although I don’t have a ton of time these days to keep up with all of the reading materials I subscribe to, this week’s New York Magazine cover story certainly caught my eye. The title is “The Retro Wife” and was written by Lisa Miller.

I was immediately drawn to this article because I’ve always struggled with the idea of whether women can have it all, and if you can still be a feminist and an empowered woman while staying at home raising your kids, cooking, and cleaning. How I feel about both of these debates is this:

1. You can have it all, you just won’t be able to do it all 110 percent. Something has got to give. That means you may have to leave work earlier than you used to in order to get home in time to relieve your childcare or you may not be able to make it to all of your kids’ soccer games because you have a job that requires travel or you may not have a hot dinner that you made on the table every night (or even a couple of nights a week).

2. Yes, you can be an empowered feminist and still stay home as long as you decide that that’s what you want to do and are not forced to do it. My mom always told me I could be anything I wanted when I grew up, and if I want to be a stay-at-home mom or housewife, that falls into that category. A woman can still be an independent thinker, smart, and powerful while staying at home.

And although I’m still working, I work from hom as a freelancer and can make my own schedule leaving my time open for H. I’m not saying I would never go back to a fulltime job, but it is overwhelming to ponder how I would work with a nanny or daycare center on how to raise H the way I have. I love that I get to be with him 24/7 and guide who he becomes without anyone else’s opinion or interaction.

I want to make it very clear, I am not judging. I’ll admit it, I used to do that before I had my own child and started staying home with him. I don’t think there is one right way to raise your kids and work. I think every mom and parent has to do what is right for them. And the grass is always greener.  Some days I find myself in sweats running to grab some caffeine with H strapped to my chest jealous of those briefcase toting office goers, but I think they are probably jealous of me sometimes too.

So my question is this: Do you have any regrets about the decision you’ve made? Do you think women can have it all and do everything at full capacity?