My mom and I are separated by 2,148km, or 1,074km if we met in the middle. Over the next year we are going to track our walking/running/biking/swimming distances with the goal of each accumulating 1,164.5km to “virtually” meet in the middle – Portland, Oregon.
When we virtually get there, we will actually go there for a mother-daughter weekend celebration.
Can’t wait to see you in Portland Mom!!! We are soooo spending hours at Powell’s Books.
Before I had a baby, I never wore leggings outside of the house. Leggings as pants have been popular since I was in grad school 6-7 years ago, but I never adopted the trend until now. And now that I’ve experienced life in leggings, I hope they never go out of fashion or my mom-uniform is toast.
You may be reading this thinking, “oh dear, Heather has let herself go”. Au contraire my friend, I have been liberated. And here’s why leggings are the perfect mom-staple.
Leggings can be worn 24 hours per day. You can go from bed, to pushing a stroller, to playing on the floor, to rocking a baby to sleep, to back to bed all in the same pair of bottoms. I don’t actually do this, I promise I change into a fresh pair every day, but the fact that you wouldn’t be able to tell my jammies from my day-wear is liberating.
Leggings fit. Post-baby, my pants are either too loose, too tight or too loose in the waist and too tight in the thighs. Leggings don’t give me the problem of my pants falling down off my butt just to be wedged above my knees. They just fit.
Leggings don’t require a belt. Have you ever tried to nurse/rock a baby comfortably wearing a belt? It’s not comfortable! Plus the belt digs into DK’s back, which annoys him, so I always end up taking it off and then I’m back to the waist gap tight thigh problem mentioned above.
Leggings make everything feel tighter. Post baby, everything is loose. Everything. Leggings hold it all in and make me feel less like I’m leaving wobbly bits of myself all over the place.
Black leggings hide all manner of stains. My kid throws food, spits up, drools and sneezes on me all day long. I could change every time, but I already do a ton of laundry. But in black leggings, the fact that my kid had carrots for lunch is un-noticeable.
Hopefully someday, when I’m out of this mom-of-small-kids phase of my life, I’ll go back to being the “leggings aren’t pants” kind of girl. But for now, leggings are not just pants, they are a lifestyle.
Recently, my husband had to go to London, England for a week of work meetings. I had two choices: stay at home alone with DK, keeping our schedule and routines,or join him in London and throw the schedule and routines out the window. DK is now 8 months old, sits up well, sleeps well and shows all the signs of becoming mobile within a month. So, it was the perfect seize-the-day opportunity to take him on a global adventure. We spent 10 days in London, and 4 days outside of London with a rental car in the Cotswolds. DK impressed me with how adaptable he was – he continued to sleep well, eat well and learned how to pull up to stand while on our trip!
Here are some things I’m glad we did, and things I wish I had thought of.
Best things we did:
Direct flight. Flying SFO to London Heathrow is a long 10 hour flight with a baby. 5 hours in, we were just passing over New York. I think I would have cried if we had to land in New York and catch a connecting flight. Yes, flying direct is more expensive but there is a much lower chance you will lose your luggage, miss a connection, and end up stranded.
Showing up 3 hours early to check in to make sure we got a bassinet-ready bulkhead seat. Yes, I love snuggling my 8 month old in my reclining laz-y-boy. Plane seats are not that. Holding DK for more than a few hours is back and shoulder torture in those seats! We flew with Virgin Atlantic and booked through a customer service rep on the phone instead of online to make sure we got the bulkhead seats, had DK’s infant reservation all figured out and got tips on when to show up to check in, what kind of luggage we could take etc.
Night-flight. This wasn’t really planned, our direct flight left at 8 pm out of SFO and it was great timing. DK usually goes to sleep around 6:30 pm, so he was awake a little later than normal, but we did his bedtime routine as close as possible in the airport bathroom and waiting lounge and when we got on the plane, he nursed and fell asleep. We transferred him to the waiting bassinet, ate our meal provided by Virgin Atlantic, and attempted to sleep. DK slept better than he has in months on the plane, waking only once in an 8 hour stretch to eat.
Airport Hotel. We weren’t sure if DK would sleep on the plane, but I knew that I for sure would not – as I have never slept on a plane in my life unless heavily sedated and unfortunately sedation and breastfeeding aren’t compatible. Our flight arrived at 2:30 pm London time, or 7:30 am SF time, so I knew when we landed I probably wouldn’t have slept since the night before, getting up with DK at 6:30 am the day of our flight. Therefore, upon landing priority #1 was a bed, any bed. We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn at Heathrow airport, which was fine and had a great bed, but see my next section on things I would change for more on this hotel experience. Of course, DK had had a full-nights sleep on landing so he was really only ready for a few short naps – but we powered through, napped in shifts and attempted to put him to sleep for the night at 9 pm, a time he normally takes his afternoon nap. Bedtime routine worked wonders and he fell asleep for 6 amazing hours, woke to eat and then shockingly fell back to sleep for another 6 hours. It was the best sleep I’ve had since he’s been born.
Brought his playpen. We have a travel mini Graco pack n play that he is almost too big for. If we had waited another month to do this trip I’m convinced he would be too big for this bed and would be crawling around hotel rooms. This was a handy for a sleep space for him.
Got an Airbnb with kitchen and living room. You know what sucks? Eating your room service dinner in the bathroom of your hotel room. Having an extra room to hang in while baby sleeps is the key to a fun vacation when travelling with a baby. Hotel suites in London were so expensive! So we got a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, kitchen and living room Airbnb apartment instead for a similar price AND my wonderful in-laws came to London too and stayed in the second bedroom. What a difference a living room and stove makes! The place we stayed in was family friendly and even came with a high chair!
Packed light. You’re probably laughing. Travel light with a baby?! Yeah right! No, I’m serious. We could carry everything we packed multiple blocks. We took two big suitcases: one half a suitcase for each person, and one half of one suitcase held the car seat base. We borrowed a stroller that works with our car seat. We both carried a backpack. I pushed the stroller and rolled a suitcase, my husband rolled a suitcase and carried DK’s bed. It helped that I only brought 8 days worth of clothes for each person and we did laundry at our Airbnb. It also helped that I am nursing and DK eats very little in terms of solid foods or milk from a bottle, which eliminated the need for a breastpump or baby food lugged from home.
Travelled with grandparents! Aside from DK getting to spend quality time with his grandparents, grandparents are also super helpful travel companions. Need to carry a stroller up or down a flight of stairs? No problem with 3 people! Need someone to watch the baby while I go to the bathroom? No problem! I am so lucky and grateful that my husband’s parents came along with us to sight see. We had a great time together.
We went to London. Yes, there are so many places to see in the world, and I’m sure many of them are family friendly – but man, London was top. Change tables in every public bathroom. Free museums. Amazing, creative and totally dangerous looking playgrounds. Pampers diapers and organic baby foods. Did I mention the abundance of diaper change tables?!
Brought a mesh bag with small toys. We carted this bag with a few toys per day on all of our outings. The bag is small, collapsible, see-through and breathable for all the slobber covered tethers. Toy dropped on the floor of the subway? No problem, put it in the diaper bag (don’t put it back in the mesh bag of clean toys) and wash when you get back to the hotel every day.
What I would do differently:
Stay at a closer airport hotel the first night. I mistakenly assumed that an airport hotel would be near the airport. When we landed and got our bags, the shuttle bus to our hotel was a 40 minute wait and we were exhausted. We opted to take a taxi just to get to a bed faster. It cost £20. And the next morning, we took a taxi from the airport hotel to the airport rental car company…£15. I picked the hotel because of its proximity to the airport and the price – but factoring the extra £35 in taxi fare, we could have stayed at the hotel right at the airport instead of near the airport for the same price and my post-plane bed would have been that much closer.
Rented a car seat with our rental car. We opted to bring our car seat and base because we were more comfortable with installing it, DK was comfortable sleeping in it, we were concerned about taking taxis in London without it, if the bassinet on the plane wasn’t available, maybe an extra seat for the car seat would be, and we needed it to get to the airport anyways. In hindsight, we didn’t really need it – you don’t have to ride with a baby in a car seat in London taxis or transit. We could have rented it with the car and gotten a friend to drive us to the airport in our car. Our entire time in London the car seat and base sat unused in our Airbnb.
All in all it was a great trip! DK is still on London time upon returning home, so is waking up to play between 1 am and 3 am. But a small price to pay for how well he adjusted to travel!
It was a beautiful, sunny day. DK was two months old. My house was a mess, I was a mess. I wasn’t feeling great, so that afternoon DK nursed and snuggled and slept in my arms while I ate chocolate covered raisins and I binge-watched Heartland on Netflix.
Looking back, it was the best afternoon ever, but I didn’t enjoy it in the moment because I felt guilty about watching 6+ hours of tv on a sunny afternoon. I felt like I should have been doing anything else. Cleaning, eating something healthy, drinking more water, sleeping. “Sleep when baby sleeps” is the advice we new moms get. Yes, good advice – but DK slept best in my arms and I did not want to put him down so that I could rest only to have him wake up a few minutes later crying. It was easier to just watch Heartland and eat raisins. So I worried that he’d never sleep anywhere but my arms and I’d be one of those mothers who turns into a husk of her former self that people whisper, “she’s too attached…” behind my back.
But time moved on and DK sleeps like a champ in his crib next to my bed. I didn’t need to worry that I was giving him a bad habit of sleeping in my arms. I lost 5 more pounds, so I didn’t need to worry that I would never lose my pregnancy weight because I ate so many chocolate raisins. My husband came home and didn’t even care that the house was a mess. The next day was sunny too, and the next, and the next (a perk of living in sunny California) so I didn’t need to worry about not taking advantage of the nice weather. You can take the girl out of Canada, but you can’t take the Canadian out of the girl.
Now I look back on that day fondly as a very special time I spent with my son, snuggling him and watching scenes filmed just outside my hometown in the Foothills of Alberta.
I’m going to stop feeling guilty for feeling guilty about that day. *Sigh*, being a mom is tough!
When you wake up at 4 am with a baby, by noon you are ready for a stiff drink. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing with my son and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to stay home with him everyday – but one can only take so many hours of pass the toy back and forth before needing some additional stimulation.
I try to keep us pretty scheduled as I am a planner by nature. Every morning around 9 am we leave the house. Most days we just go for a walk. I take DK for a 5km loop around our neighbourhood that passes two parks, the library, a grocery store and a Starbucks (and yes, I almost always stop for a English breakfast tea latte).
Once a week we head into the library to take out some books.
I love the library. I’ve loved it since I was a little girl and my mom would bring me to choose books to read for the week. As much as I love it, however, I find the library overwhelming. You could read ANYTHING. When shopping for books at a bookstore, I am limited by my available spending money. But at a library…I can take out as many books as my little heart desires (and that I can feasibly carry home). I can read them front to back, skim them, or return them unread.
With children’s books, I could conceivably take out a hundred picture books a week and manage to read them all, but DK would quickly lose interest. As DK is 7 months old, it doesn’t really matter what we read together, as long as we read. I get into the children’s section and I’m paralyzed. How do I choose?
All this freedom is exhilarating but I’m also trapped by the possibilities and often leave empty handed, unable to make a decision. Does anyone else experience this?
And so, I’ve begun to take books out by theme. DK is learning to make the “deh” sound, so the first week I took out 5 books about ducks.
Then, one morning that week we went for a walk at a local park with a duck pond and looked at ducks. We played with his rubber duck, we sang songs about ducks (5 little ducks) and we quacked. We looked at a picture of Donald Duck.
Basically, any way I could bring up the word duck in our play, I did.
Week two, I took out 5 books about dogs. On our walks, whenever we saw a dog I’d point at it and say, “look at the dog!”
We sang “BINGO” and “How much is your doggy in the window?” too many times. We went and visited our friends with dogs so DK could touch and smell them.
It’s week 3 now, and today we took out books about pigs. We have plans on Thursday to go for a walk at Rancho San Antonio to Deer Hollow Farm where I think we will see a pig. DK also loves the This Little Piggy rhyme and we have a toy pig to play with.
I like doing the theme because it helps me stay focused at the library and it also challenges me mentally to come up with new games and activities that fit within the theme.
Some ideas I have for future themes are:
Grandmas (grandma’s coming to visit)
Trains (stop at the Caltrain station and see the train go by)
There are a million options!
Would this method work for you? Which themes would you try?
I don’t always have my $h!t together. In fact, most days I feel like I’m running a marathon without shoes on (and I only have one kid…how do the mothers with more than one kid do it?!). But sometimes, I impress myself. Therefore, it is worthy of a blog post.
One of my “mom goals” is to do some kind of art activity with DK every month. When I was a kid, my mom sent homemade calendars to my grandparents every Christmas of our artwork and photos of us doing art. It was a nice keepsake, and I actually got my calendars back from my paternal grandparents when they both had passed away.
In January, I started documenting DK’s artistic growth by doing a monthly art project. Obviously, at 6 months…his artistic talent is limited and probably will still be limited at 12 months, so I’m not sure what kind of “growth” we will even see. But hey, at least we will see his footprints and handprints grow over the year. I hope to do a monthly art activity for the calendars over many years, so that one day he can look back and see how he just smeared paint around with his feet at 7 months…but at 3 he was painting with a brush.
Spoiler warning: If you are DK’s grandparent, you may wish to stop reading now…or you won’t be as surprised as you could be Christmas 2017.
Here are my art activities so far:
I took an idea from Pinterest and put a sheet of paper in a ziploc bag, added some finger paints, taped the bag to the floor and let DK smoosh it around during tummy time. He mostly liked scratching the bag with his nails, which I’ll admit made me second guess this whole “mess-free finger painting” claim from the Pinterest mommy blog. Would his tiny baby nails pierce the plastic and smear paint all over his hands? With the stealth of a cheetah would he put his paint-covered fingers in his mouth before I could stop him?
The good news is that Ziploc lived up to its name and kept that paint zipped and locked inside, despite the scratching.
DK also didn’t cry and moan in protest of being on his tummy, so I consider this art project a success.
As Valentine’s is fast approaching, I thought we’d do a Valentine’s themed painting with DK’s footprints in bright red paint. Perhaps one of my most genius ideas was to do it with him in his Exersaucer Doorway Jumper. This way, his hands were nowhere near the paint, meaning his mouth was nowhere near the paint.
While his feet were already covered in finger paint from the footprints, I got out a big sheet of paper, taped it to the floor with some masking tape and dipped his feet in some more finger paint. He loved smearing it around on the paper!
For clean up, I made sure I had a wet cloth nearby to wipe up any paint splatters that got on the floor, and I prepped a mixing bowl of warm water. When he was done painting, I put his feet in the water to splash around a bit, which he also loved. So clean up was mostly just wiping up a few water splashes and drying off his feet.