First Family Vacation

When most people think of vacation they get excited – I am not most people.

Don’t get me wrong I love vacations, every one needs a break now and again, but I am a planner by nature. Add a baby into that and you have one stressed out momma!

Everything that I packed was based off where we were going, what we would be doing, and where we were staying – and it still wasn’t enough! This includes items to help my child sleep peacefully– and let me tell you it is very hard to get a baby to bed in a hotel when there are high school basketball teams surrounding your room! (Go Warriors!)

But after it was all said and done we had a great time.

Here are 5 tips if you are traveling with a baby younger than 1 year old.

Note: our vacation had 10+ people so some of these tips may seem like common sense, but it never hurts to be reminded.

1. Breathe

I know this step sounds basic, but for me it was essential. When you are with a large group there are things that are out of your control. For instance, on our way to the hotel Tobias was just done with the whole car ride he screamed and cried for 2 hours and nothing I did could calm him. I know its sad, but I made a short clip of it, honestly his face is so cute when he cries…I just couldn’t help it!

2. Stop trying to control everything

IMG_2556Maybe I am the only one, but I love order (I know I am not the only one, my sister-in-law and I battled it out on our vacation to see who was really in control.

Most of the time it isn’t worth it. If you want to enjoy your vacation with the 10+ people in your party and your baby you just have to go with the flow. Sadly, it took me until day 3 to figure this part out.

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3. Pack plenty of play clothes
Now what I mean by play clothes are clothing that you don’t mind if they get stained and dirty. After returning home and doing laundry, even with Shout, stains were set. Now personally I don’t care if my son has stained clothing, but some do so just be prepared that no matter what you do to prevent it, something will get messed up.IMG_2534

4. Bring extra clothes for you

I didn’t think it was necessary to bring extra clothing for my husband and I. I made sure I packed extra clothing for Tobias, but never thought anything would happen to our clothes. Boy, I was so wrong. The second day my son decided it would be funny to pee on me!

Yes, I had everything covered, but his little hands moved quickly and he wiped it out and peed. It soaked through everything I was wearing and the whole time he was just smiling!

I have to be honest though, I can’t be mad – he is just too cute to stay mad at!

5. Relax and spend time with your family

IMG_2546Since I work full-time I don’t get to see my son often, so it was very important to me that I spent as much time with my son as I could, but I also got to spend time with my brother and his family and of course our parents.

We don’t live to far from our families, but we don’t get to see them all the time, so I was really enjoying talking to my nieces and nephews and hearing about their adventures at school and with baseball and soccer.IMG_2526My husband and I are embarking on a new journey soon and I know that it will take me further from our family. This time with them was precious and greatly needed!

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These are just a few tips, too be honest I could keep going, but I am sure you would get bored!

Also, here is a video of Tobias swimming for the first time! Hope you enjoy!

What are some of your favorite memories from one of your family vacations? Leave a response in the comments below!

Happy Monday!

~Sarah

3 Games To Play With Your 3-Month-Old

Recently I had a great friend come over to visit my family. It was great catching up, and like all people who don’t have kids… they have questions.

Heck, I still have questions!

What Does He Really Do?

My favorite question that I get from almost all of my friends is,  “What does he do?”

I loved this question; because it is one I always asked. All my son seemed to do for the past two months was eat, cry, poop and sleep. I didn’t know how to play with him. Because of my experiences my response was “Honestly, they don’t really do anything.”

It’s true!

Don’t let anyone tell you different. Until a baby can smile at you on their own, not a reflex, there really isn’t much that they do.

Don’t get my wrong, you should smile, tickle and “play” with your baby as much as you can. This will help build not only your relationship, but also your child’s motor skills.

What a baby can do and what you can do with your baby are two totally different things – at least in my mind they are! If you don’t engage your baby then typically they are just laying there, staring into space, or at their hands if they have reached that stage (My son is fascinated by his hands right now).

Tobias playing with his hands...
Tobias playing with his hands…

Tobias still hasn’t developed his muscles enough to sit up yet, so our playtimes are limited to just a few activities. Here are 3 games my son loves so far.

3 games to play with your 3-month-old

  1. I’ve Got Your Nose

Yes this sounds like a trivial game, and your baby may not know what you are saying or doing, but you are engaging them with touch and sound. For my son I get as close to him as possible so he can look at me and watch my expressions then I touch his nose and say either I got your nose or Beep.

He loves it, a smile will spread over his face in a second and we can do that for 15 minutes before he gets tired of it.

Tobias playing I've Got Your Nose with momma!
Tobias playing I’ve Got Your Nose with momma!

My husband does a different game to this where he says he is going to “eat his nose” and will use his face to get a smile from Tobias.

This brings me to a side note, do you ever say, “I’m going to eat you up,” to your child? This saying really freaks me out and I recently just read an article that gave me a clue as to why people say that.

You should check it out!

Why Do People Want To ‘Eat’ Cute Babies? Scientists Say It’s Their Smell by Lizette Borreli on Medical Daily.

  1. Tummy Time Tug

Now if you haven’t tried Tummy Time then you are missing out. I even enjoy Tummy Time, but for an infant it has a lot of benefits. It not only helps them with their neck muscles, but it does also help with leg, arm and abdominal strength.

Tummy Time!
Tummy Time!

Since my son is a bit older now and has way better head control we took Tummy Time to the next level and added in some things for him to reach for. He loves reaching for the little toys and well – he just loves to be on his tummy.

On a good day he will do Tummy Time for about 10 minutes until he decided to roll over. If you really want to engage your child, get down on the floor with them and call their name to get them to look at you. As soon as eye contact is made you will be greeted with the cutest smile – I promise (unless you child absolutely hates Tummy Time that is!)

Tobias Tummy Time Tug - he loves reaching for the monkey!
Tobias Tummy Time Tug – he loves reaching for the monkey!

Note: this should be common knowledge, but just in case it isn’t please don’t leave your child alone while they are doing Tummy Time (or really ever!). They can get tired easily and if they drop their head they can hurt themselves.

  1. Dance Party

Now this game is self explanatory, but just in case – Pick up your baby and move! My son loves to dance with me. I will either hold him, or use a harness and we will dance around the house. Now this puts a smile on his face quickly, but it also overstimulates him.

That being said, only do this game in short bursts if you have a child that over stimulates easily. My son can personally handle this game for about 5 minutes then he is tired and wants a nap. It maybe a short game, but it keeps him alert and he is engaged with sound and touch while we are playing.

What To Do When You’re Done Playing

Keep in mind that every child is different and my experience is based of my child, but once games are done we typically have a cool down time. This is a time that we try and settle down right before its time for a nap.

Tobias personally likes to listen to music on his Boppy or laying flat on the couch. I have learned that nature sounds and classical music help him calm down (anything with words in it tend to overstimulate him once he is done with an activity).

Tobias was tired from all the fun we had!
Tobias was tired from all the fun we had!

Here is a link to Tobias’ Personal Favorites: Sleep, Baby Sleep by Twin Sisters Productions, and John Tesh Classical Music for Babies (and their Moms) by John Tesh.

If you have missed your window for cool down time and your child has reached the COMPLETELY OVERSTIMULATED phase of the day be patient and just hold them close. I have been there – a lot! I was having so much fun playing with my son that I didn’t watch him closely enough to realize he was just DONE!

Now It’s Your Turn

 Go and enjoy your infant and have fun!

I know I will!

What games do you like to play with your babies? Leave them in the comments below!

~Sarah

Let’s Talk About Babies and Crying…

Being a new mom you get advice all the time, and I do mean all the time! Most of the advice I get comes from strangers and for some odd reason it occurs at Walmart the most. Its like women can smell a new mom, and like a hunting tiger they attack!Tiger

I get the everyday advice like how to stop a baby crying – mostly because my son is crying when we are in the store, but it isn’t like the stranger is being sweet and trying to help. They are judging! I see behind those fake smiles people and yes I have heard the under-the-breathe comments like “my baby never cried,” the “I can’t believe she hasn’t stopped that baby from crying yet,” or my personally favorite, “this is why kids should be left at home.”

What did they just say about me?
What did they just say about me?

Now I am not being bitter, honestly I find all of these comments to be hilarious and I hear them a lot! Here is my take on babies crying in public- he is a baby and guess what – he cries! Just like you are taking time and energy to express your feelings about my son to me, my son is taking time and energy to express his feelings as well. His articulation is perfect it’s just that he doesn’t know the words yet.

You say your baby never cried…I doubt that. Unless of course you kept shoving a bottle or pacifier into their mouths, which I personally think is cruel. Children need to learn to develop their own voice and this starts with crying. As far as I am concerned if my baby is fed, changed, I am holding him and he is crying, then he must need to cry – get over it people! Babies cry, end of story.

They just can't see it...
They just can’t see it…

Remember that anyone can give advice, that doesn’t mean you are obligated to take it. When it comes to children it typically takes awhile for new parents to realize that everyone has an opinion and will shove it down your throat. I was blessed to have an older brother who has 3 children and was able to learn this lesson early on.

New parents stand your ground and don’t worry about the others around you. If your child is crying in a public place don’t let the haters get to you. As long as you care for your son or daughter and love them unconditionally than you are a great parent! Keep doing what you are doing!

 ~Sarah

Becoming an Adult – Age is Just a Number

Peter De Vries has one of my favorite quotes about marriage and becoming an adult, “The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults.” If you think about this, it is scary true! Just because you are over a certain age doesn’t make you an adult.

I always have thought that I was mature, but in all reality I was just selfish (Yes, I am admitting it). Having a child is a great equalizer. It doesn’t matter what job you had before becoming a parent or how much money you make, you are now mommy and daddy. Through parenthood you have now been bonded to other parents and congratulations – you are in the club. But surprise – there are no quick fixes and all the advice in the world cannot prepare you for those sleepless nights and all the heart wrenching cries you hear escape the mouth of your child.

Yes, you may attend important meetings and have coffee delivered to you by an intern and feel that you are important, but now you are the most important person in the world; you are a parent and you mean everything to that child!

It is time to put down the mocha and pick up a package of diapers; skip that “important” meeting and watch your child take his/her first steps. Life is now, more than ever, about sacrifice.Sleepy head

I will gladly sacrifice my own comfort so that my son can finally get some good quality sleep, even if it is on my chest or in my arms. Yes, I will complain later that I am tired, hungry and haven’t showered yet today, but as soon as he smiles up at me it is all worth it and believe me, he cries A LOT!

I was not an adult when I graduated from college. I wasn’t even full an adult when I got married, but I did become an adult the day I brought my son home from the hospital. My life became about sacrifice and never ending love.

We were given the perfect example of adulthood in the Bible. God gave up His Son and His Son gave up His life so that we could choose to have everlasting life through Him. Now I don’t want to get all preachy, but honestly I never saw it that way until I became a parent. Giving yourself over to another takes a lot of trust and patience. You are no longer your own, now you have a “little” person to look after.
So far the hardest thing for me has been discovering my son’s personality and coming to terms with the fact that my idea of parenthood is not what he has in mind. I have lost numerous hours in a day thinking I was a bad mother because I couldn’t figure out what he wanted, now I know that I have to slow down and look at things from his perspective. He is a person and already he has his likes and dislikes I just had to figure them out.

For example, every time I gave my son a bath he screamed his head off and I couldn’t figure out why. I thought for sure he would love bath time. After going through the different scenarios, I learned that it isn’t the water he hates, but rather the cold plastic tub we put in him for the bath. Eliminate the tub = enjoying bath time ☺

Fist Smile
Fist Smile

I am not perfect though, and my poor husband has watched me break down on a number of occasions, but with practice and patience we are starting to see our son’s personality form. Discovering my son’s personality helps me discover who I am more and more. This journey is one that is never-ending and even through the tough parts I am thrilled at the chance to discover my heart.

If you are a parent please share what surprised you about your child’s personalities in the comment section below. Also don’t forget to subscribe for more updates about the chaos of being a new parent and the journey of Discovering My Heart!

Labor and Delivery Story

It has taken me awhile to write this post, I had too process the events that occurred. It has taken me a few weeks to really come to terms with the fact that I almost lost my life, but I also gave birth to life. God has always been good to me, but I have yet another testimony to share with others about His grace. Not only have I been blessed with a son, but also I have been given a new appreciation for this life that God has blessed me with.

As with most of my pregnancy things did not go according to plan – but in life what plans really turn out the way we envisioned them? Finding out I was pregnant with my son was one of the best days of my life, leading up to his birth that is. My husband and I were overjoyed and couldn’t wait to experience parenthood and start a new journey together as a family.

Well just a few weeks ago our son was born, but there is more to the story than just a beautiful baby boy.

 

Tobias  I was induced late on a Sunday evening and waiting for things to progress. After 24 hours of labor I finally got the epidural. I wasn’t in that much pain, but I had a feeling in the back of my mind that I would need the medicine and I later found out it was a smart choice on my part.

Even after the epidural I still had not progressed with my labor. The dosage of Pitocin that was pumped into my system seems, now, quite ungodly. Each time they increased the dosage they had to request its approval from the doctor. 36 hours later I had no baby to show for my hard work. It was then that my doctor told me we had no other option, a C-section was needed.

At 5:00 AM I went into surgery with my husband by my side, since I had the epidural it didn’t take to much more medication to “numb me up” for the procedure- I was not that numb, I could feel every cut and every staple that went into my lower abdomen. Soon my son was born and I watched as they carried my crying child from the room.

Even though my husband wanted to stay with me, I sent him to be with our son. I was so happy when I got to hold Tobias for the first time, but sadly it didn’t last long.

After about 20 minutes being out of surgery a few nurses came in to check on me. At first I thought it was routine, but then they started pushing hard on my abdomen, I guess they didn’t care that I was just cut open, and blood started pouring out of my body. I didn’t think much of it, but then more and more nurses started to pouring in, my husband said that it was close to 20 nurses in our room. I was completely out of it, but I thought it was due to the medication, I know now that it was due to the blood loss. I had no idea that anything was wrong until I saw the color drain from my husbands face and they were taking Tobias from my arms.

Soon I was rushed back into surgery and I remember praying to God asking him for peace and protection. I lost over 2 liters of blood, but I am still here. After receiving a few blood transfusions, 4 to be exact, I was finally released 4 days after the birth of my son.

Yes, these events that took place were scary and even now I cry sometimes thinking about them, but truth be told I am so blessed every time I look into my sons eyes. Things did not go according to plan, but they all turned out okay.

Hopefully now that I am healing properly I will be back to my normal self in no-time.

Family Time

~Sarah

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures,he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever -Psalm 23:1-6″