Finn at 18 Months Old

The sweetest boy in the world is officially 18 months old. I blinked, and all of a sudden, here we are. We are at that point where I can look back at photos from a year ago and think, wow! was he ever that little?! Finn has such a great personality. Very sweet, with just the right amount of his daddy’s stubbornness 😉 He is learning quickly and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t say geez, kid you’re a smart cookie!

Parenting

We are now in the part of parenting where it’s less about changing diapers and more about regiment, discipline and keeping Finn engaged and busy. No longer can we set him on his playmat with a spinning mobile to keep him entertained for hours. Finn loves to read, so we do a lot of that. But we also like to make sure he is getting outside as well as playing with other kids. This is where I really pat myself on the back about putting him in daycare. It was tough in those early months, but now he thrives there and rarely wants to leave. He comes home learning new songs that we have to learn, which has been a fun adjustment.

I think as a parent I’m always second-guessing myself. There are days where I swear Finn understands what I’m saying when I’m disciplining him, but logic says he truly doesn’t understand reason quite yet. David and I try to stay consistent with everything, but it’s tough when sometimes, I just want to laugh because he is just too cute!

Physical Growth

Finn is weighing in around 30 pounds. He is and always had been a pretty solid kid. He climbs on everything, loves to run, and is currently trying to master the idea of a spoon and a fork.

Mental Growth

Finn’s vocabulary is becoming pretty robust. He knows mama, dada, ‘brudder’, bird, water, nana (for banana), and a new favorite, stop! among others. I’m sure others moms are laughing at my pure fascination at the simplest things, but watching him learn new things has been the best!

He’s also catching onto some sign language which is pretty cool. Another benefit of daycare! He knows all done and more. 

Sleep

Still, my great sleeper. Finn goes down at 7pm and wakes up like clockwork at 7am. He currently gets about a 2-3 hour nap starting at noon.

Eating

Finn will try anything once, but if he doesn’t like it, he will let you know. His current favorites are chicken nuggets (or really any chicken), green beans, applesauce, fruit yogurt, bananas, pears, carrots, and Goldfish. A healthy and very predictable diet for a toddler!

Things I Don’t Want to Forget

  • His little finger pointing at me when he says stop!
  • The way he slithers his tongue when showing us what a lizard does
  • The way he bends over and puckers his lips to give his brother (Juneau) kisses
  • The way he snuggles in at night by pushing his butt straight into the air and tucking his hands beneath his belly
  • The way he proudly shows off his belly and gives it a big pat when we ask where it is

finn-18-months

finn-18-months

finn-18-months

finn-18-months

finn-18-months

 

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How Many Kids Do You Want To Have?

motherhood number of kids

Now that I’m part of the motherhood club, I find myself having different conversations and different beliefs than I did when I was younger. Being a mother have certainly changed my perspective on things and I find that there is a new bucket of topics that I have an opinion on. I thought these sorts of topics would be a fun thing to include on the blog since I’d really love this to be more of a conversation than me talking through your screen. 🙂 This isn’t meant to include the non-moms at all. In fact, I think your perspective is equally as important and interesting and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Today’s topic is a question I find myself debating the answer to day in and day out.

How many kids do you want to have?

Growing up, my answer would have always been THREE! I am the middle of three girls and I thought that was the perfect family size. Even up until I had Finn I thought it would be The Gregorys, Party of 5. Nowadays, however, I’m not so sure.

Okay, let me take a step back first. There were moments throughout pregnancy where I thought to myself “wait, people do this more than once? And then you’re supposed to feel this way and take care of another kid?!”. Not looking forward to those days…

But once we had Finn our world changed so drastically. There have even been days where I thought Finn might be an only child because I don’t have the patience, the energy, or the time of day to be a mom of more than one, let alone be a good mom to more than one.

So, what’s my answer? I think David and I have settled on two kiddos. Of course, this is open for discussion and nothing is set in stone. However, we’d love to be able to give our children great lives and that means taking into account our lifestyle, our career ambitions, our finances and our sanity :). We want our children to be involved in clubs and sports and we’d like to be able to watch them do those things! We want to travel with them and introduce them to new places. With all of that in mind, two kids sounds like the perfect number.

Realistically, giving Finn a brother or a sister is a strange idea. Just like bringing him into the world, a new child will bring challenges and adventures that we will face together as a family. It’s an exciting thought!

PS. No, I’m not pregnant 🙂

So tell me, how many kids do you want? And if you have kids, do you think you’ll have more? Did you think you’d have less?

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Tips for Traveling with a Toddler

traveling with a toddler

David and I love to travel! We don’t get to do it nearly enough with jobs and PTO and lives here in Virginia. However, one thing that we refuse to let hold us back is Finn! In fact, he is the reason we want to travel more. I grew up traveling a bunch. I think by the time I was in high school I had visited every state on the East Coast. I want to give this same lifestyle to our kids. Adventure is always a good idea and there is so much to see in this world. Money, time, and certainly not kids, should hold you back!

However, I am going to admit that traveling these days is much more chaotic than it used to be. We’ve gone on a few trips with Finn and I thought I’d share some of our tips for successful traveling. Whether you are in a car or on an airplane, these are some rules we live by when traveling with a toddler.

1. Food is always a good idea.

One of the biggest things I’ve realized when traveling is that on-the-go-food (ie. sandwiches, subs, etc.) is not conducive to toddlers. For one thing, I try to feed Finn a well-balanced diet at every meal, and second I’ve yet to see an 18-month old hold and eat his or her own sandwich without throwing it everywhere. Instead, we like to bring our own food along. Cheerios, Goldfish crackers, sliced fruits and veggies, these yogurt pouches.

When Finn was bottle/breastfed, we always kept extra to-go formula packages and a bottle of water in the diaper bag. Those days seemed so hard at the time, but now looking back, everything was laid out for us. Finger foods and snacks are always in our bag these days. Along with a spare sippy cup!

2. Bring only what you need. 

The first time we traveled with Finn he was only 6 weeks old. I overpacked and ended up stressing out everyone around me. I realized after that trip that just because he sleeps in a certain bed at home doesn’t mean he won’t sleep elsewhere on the other end.

Ask the hotel you are staying in if they have a crib or pack-n-play option. You only need one sleepsack or blanket. You only need one or two bottles, max. If you are flying and don’t have a carseat, Uber has an option where you can pick cars with a carseat in it. And if you’re only going a short distance and you’re comfortable with it, most states don’t require a carseat in cars for hire.

I do suggest bringing a stroller everywhere. Unfortunately it’s the bulkiest thing we own for Finn, but not only does it give him a place to sit and potentially nap in, but it also acts as a carrier for all the other stuff you are bringing along. Another great tip, bring a baby carrier (we loved our Bjorn) for those occasions when a stroller isn’t going to work.

3. Forget the schedule. You’re on vacation!

The best thing we ever did for Finn was get him on a schedule. He goes to bed at 7pm every night, like clockwork. Now that he’s older he typically takes only one nap from 12-2pm. When we are home, we are pretty strict with the schedule because no one likes a grumpy baby. However, when we are traveling we tend to be a little more flexible. For instance, last weekend when we were in Boston, we didn’t want to head back to the hotel at noon to sit and wait for him to nap. Instead, we kept pushing through, and after fighting it for a few minutes, he collapsed in his stroller and got in a pretty decent nap. I’ve found that as long as he gets some kind of nap, he does pretty well.

That being said, we do make sure that he gets to bed early if he skimped on nap time. One great piece of advice I was given – as long as he naps the same amount in a 24-hour period it doesn’t exactly matter when those hours are!

4. Go hands free!

I recently invested in a backpack diaper bag and it’s a game changer with a toddler. I loved my shoulder diaper bag when Finn was a baby cause it was so big and easy to access. Now that’s he’s running everywhere I need both hands to wrangle the crazy kid in. I love having this backpack with me! It’s one less thing that needs to be jammed under the stroller and also counts as a personal item on an airplane!

Here are some great backpack diaper bag options:

Mamas, do you have any other tips or tricks?

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The Weird Things That Happen to Your Body Postpartum

postpartum body

postpartum body I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, but it’s taken a while to get far enough removed from that postpartum time period to even formulate the thoughts I want to convey. There are so many conversations I enjoy having with expecting mamas or other new moms, and this one might be one of my favorite! I’ve never been so in tune with my body and so aware of all the changes that have taken place in the last two years. It’s a truly remarkable thing that happens to your body when you have a baby, and to see myself bounce back has been even crazier.

Emotions

I definitely struggled with the baby blues and maybe even a little bit of depression. I’ve touched on this many times on the blog, but the stress of being a new mom, the hormones, the lack of sleep, the breastfeeding – it adds up. I was in survival mode for the first three months, and never felt like myself until I stopped breastfeeding at eight months.

Give yourself some grace. Your life is never going to be the same, and although that’s an incredibly scary concept, over time you will find your new normal. I always say, baby has it worse – they have to learn how to be a human! Give yourself the okay to eat a little bit more, take a night off, and get out of the house, even when you don’t want to. There are certainly going to be lows, but with them come all those highs!

Body

The initial days and weeks postpartum are uncomfortable, frankly. I wasn’t pregnant anymore, but still had my belly for about six weeks. (I gained around 45 pounds total in my pregnancy with Finn (shoutout to carbs!) but lost about 25 of those in the first week. I lost another 10-15 within the first six months, and the rest over the remaining few months.) I was not prepared for the Jell-o-like my once hard belly would become. I still carry around that mom-pooch, thanks in part to a weak lower back and lack of core muscles (thanks Finn!).

In the first few weeks of pregnancy my boobs were incredibly sore, but nothing prepared me for the feeling of milk coming in. The sensation was excruciating at first – bad enough that I even woke a sleeping Finn to help relieve the pain. Over time, the milk mellows out, but nursing pads are your best friend those first few weeks.

I’ve been taking good care of my body the past few months, working out and eating well. I feel more energetic than I have in a long time. I’ve been playing soccer as well which is a pretty tough workout when you aren’t training for 90 minutes of cardio. I can certainly feel little twinges, especially in my legs, that I didn’t feel before I got pregnant, but I also like to think  of these as my body’s reminder that I need to stretch and warm up. We aren’t 18 anymore, Erica. Also, thanks to the 30-pound baby I have to carry around, my upper body is much stronger than it was before.

postpartum body

 

Hair, Teeth & Nails

During pregnancy, my hair, teeth and nails were strong, sparkly and healthy. I was taking daily vitamins and certainly credit those, but those pregnancy hormones sure do wonders on your skin. I continued taking those vitamins as I breastfed, but around 4 months postpartum, my hair started to fall out clumps at a time. I knew this was completely normal, so I never really freaked out. UNTIL all that hair started growing back in! Now the top of my hair looks completely normal, but when I pull it up, I have about an inch of regrowth making it’s way down my neck. It’s quite the sight! I guess I’ll just have to give it time to grow back out.

My teeth have also taken a hit. I have always taken pretty good care of my teeth, but the dentist mentioned that pregnancy and breastfeeding can do a number to the enamel on your teeth. Makes sense, since so much of the nutrients you are eating are passed along to baby.

Similarly, my nails seem weaker than they used to be. I could blame this on lack of time for pampering (hehe) but in reality, I think it has to do with the nutrients being passed along to Finn. I have to make vitamins more of a regular part of my daily routine.

postpartum body

Mindset

My mom always said that when I became a mom myself, I would understand. Well, once again, she’s right. There’s never been a time that I’ve been so in touch with my feelings and the feelings of my family. It’s like a hyper focus. It’s a good thing, and a bad thing. I know what I can do to help, but it’s also incredibly overwhelming and I’ve become incredibly anxious about normal, everyday things.

This is just a side effect of becoming a parent, I would presume. I would imagine this is something I’ll have to live with and learn to deal with over time. As Finn grows up, there will be new things to worry about.

I’ve prioritized mindfulness and taking some time for just me. Every parent needs to be reminded of who they are without a baby attached to their hip!

Must Have Postpartum Products

Nursing bras, nursing pads and a breast pump are the top items any new mom who plans on breastfeeding should have. Add to that list some lanolin, which helps with sore breasts and witch hazel, which helps with healing.

By the time I gave birth to Finn, I was so over my maternity clothes. In the last few weeks of pregnancy, go out and pick up some new clothing. I suggest looser fitting items, and items like wrap blouses or v-necks to make breastfeeding a little easier.

 

Mamas, can you relate to these feelings?

Were the emotional or physical changes harder for you?

 

 

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Motherhood Check-in: 16 Months

16 months motherhood check-in

16 months motherhood check in

shop my look: dress (on major sale under $20! grab it in every color) // hat (found this one at a consignment store for $15, but here’s a similar one) // bomber jacket // finn’s diapers are from Wegman’s 🙂

Finn turned 16 months this week and I realized I hadn’t done a Motherhood Check-in post in quite some time – since he turned one! It’s pretty amazing how quickly time has gone by this summer. Finn went from a crawling little baby to a walking toddler with a vocabulary and crazy hair! Seriously, I was looking through pictures from his birthday party and his hair has gotten so long! I can’t quite get myself to cut it yet, though.

16 months motherhood check in

Motherhood, 16 Months In

I think I should stop myself from writing this because I say it in each update, but this is my favorite age by far! Finn is a little boy at this point. He has grown out of his baby face and into a kid. He climbs things with confidence, he dances and sings to his favorite songs, he interacts, gives kisses, points at animals, runs away when we chase him and so much more! This is what I’ve been waiting for! A kid to entertain and to entertain me in return.

I wouldn’t say that life goes without it’s hiccups, but we are just at a better place to deal with the hiccups. I recently read this piece by a blogger I follow and it brought me back to all of those postpartum feelings. Nowadays, Finn is not a burden but a bright spot in our lives. We live for that kid! I miss him every time I have to leave to go to work. I’m so glad that I was able to get myself out of those postpartum blues and get excited about being a mom.

16 months motherhood check in

Working Mom Guilt

I so wish I was at a point in my life where I could work from home, but I may be a little ways off still. I keep telling myself that the separation from David and I will do Finn good, but that doesn’t stop the enormous guilt I feel when I’m away from him. At first, this guilt held me hostage and every moment I wasn’t at work I felt like I had to be with Finn. Recently, I’ve made ‘me time’ a priority and have given myself the okay to get out without a baby. I’m playing soccer again and my girlfriends and I have started a book club. It’s little things that make me feel like my old self and keep me energized to be the best mom I can be.

16 months motherhood check in

Traveling With a Toddler

I plan on doing a much more in depth post about traveling with a toddler, as well as a recap of our trip to Colorado, but I can say that the trip went much better than expected. I feared that Finn would be restless on the plane, but he managed to get some good sleep on the way out there! He was really interested in the parts of the airplane, so it was fun to watch him point and stare. It also helped to calm my anxiety of flying because I was paying so much attention to him.

Overall, I’m feeling pretty good about life these days. I still have a lot on my plate, but being a mom to a 16-month old is incredibly different from being a mom to a 6-month old!

16 months motherhood check in

PS. These pictures are from Pearl Street in Downtown Boulder. They have a dancing fountain and since the babies had been in their strollers all day, we stripped them down, and let them dance! Finn just stood there, staring confused at the water. One he got the gist of things, he laughed and laughed. Natalie took a minute to warm up to the water, but once she did she couldn’t stop screaming with delight.

 

16 months motherhood check in

 

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