Thursday, July 31, 2014

{One Year and Beyond} Separation Anxiety

Welcome to week four of the One Year and Beyond Series, part 2. The topic for today is dealing with separation anxiety. My first thought when I read this topic was Me or AG?  This mama has a HARD time being away from her little girl. Unless she's with her nana, other than that I worry all the time. 

 I know I need to talk about my little today, not my issues. I honestly don't have much advice to give on this topic. AG has never had a babysitter that hasn't been a family member or close friend. She's never gone to daycare or preschool. She has gone to the church nursery and also is left at the gym in the child care area. 

When we moved to TX one of my biggest concerns was how I was going to get any alone time without any family around. I absolutely love my time with AG. I cherish it. I don't want to sound selfish. At the same time I need some me time each week. In FL, I was used to my mom coming over one day every weekend while my dad golfed. During the week, my dad would come over one afternoon. I had help when I needed it. I was able to run an errand alone and get caught up on work without chasing around a little. In TX we knew no one in the area.

 To this day, I am not comfortable leaving her with a stranger. I won't use any of the babysitting sites or even using friends' sitters. Hubs and I go on dates when my mom visits. I do have friends in the area that I am comfortable leaving her with if needed, like I said I have my own issues with this topic. 

Before we moved to the area, I looked for gyms.
I found a YMCA that was about 5 miles from our house.
 A few days after we moved in and my parents left, I joined. It's one of the smallest Y's I've ever seen.  I instantly fell in love with the child care area and the girls working there.
 I knew I was close enough to AG if she needed me, or I needed to check on her for piece of mind.
I was excited about having some time to focus on me while giving her time to interact with other kids.

Fast forward to the first day she went. 
Mind you, she had never been left alone with a "stranger" before. 
At the time she was 13 months old. 
I decided the best approach was to go in with her. I sat down in the kids area. Showed her the toys, encouraged play with the other kids and girls that worked there. After 10 minutes, I would leave. 

And she would cry. 
Actually not cry, she would scream. 
So loud, you could hear her across the gym. 
Everyday my heart broke. I felt defeated. 
I would let her cry for 5 minutes and go in to get her. 
No workout for me. 

Even though it was hard, so hard I wasn't about to give up. 
I needed this time and so did she. 
So EVERYDAY for the next TWO WEEKS we went to the gym. 
I didn't wear workout clothes because I knew I wouldn't get a workout in. 
For the first week I continued going in with her and then leaving the room for a bit longer each day. 
Some days she would stop crying, others she wouldn't. 
On week two, I stopped going in. 
I would leave her at the door, screaming crying. 
I would go to a little table outside and listen to her cry for 10 minutes. 
Then I would go and get her. 
Each day I increased the amount of time I left her. 
As the end of the week came around, she started to stop crying. 

Over the next month, I continued to bring her. 
Most days she would have some tears going in but stopped within a few minutes. 
I was able to workout and she learned that I wasn't leaving her forever. 

It's been almost a year since we moved here and started at the Y.
Having that time at the gym three days a week is something I look forward to. 
It's my me time. 
It's also great for AG. 
It's her time to play with other kids. 
Learn how to share and trust other adults who are caring for her. 
Sticking it out was the best thing I did.
Not only for myself, but for her as well.


In a month she starts MDO two mornings a week. I would be lying if I told you I wasn't a nervous wreck. I know it will be an adjustment for the both of us. I'm sure there will be tears and rough mornings when she knows where she's going at the beginning. I'm not sure if I will be able to leave the parking lot on the first day but I know in time, we will both be okay. These are just the first lessons in growing up that we're going to experience together. Even though she'll always be my baby, she needs to be able to spread those little wings of hers and learn to fly. 

AG at 13 months. Where did this little lady go? 

Dealing with separation anxiety can be tough for any mama.  Be sure to check out the other mamas in our series for their helpful posts.  If you've got a post on separation anxiety, don't forget to link it up with us below!
July 10:  Keeping your marriage alive with a toddler
July 17:  Favorite summer toddler activities
July 24:  Helping Your Toddler to Communicate (Words, emotions, etc.)
July 31:  Dealing with Separation Anxiety
Aug 7:    Car Trip Necessities
Aug 14:  Deciding when the time is right for baby #2 (and/or how to handle these questions)
Aug 21:  Tricks for eating out with your toddler
Aug 28:  Feeling confident as a mom (How to feel this way, Your struggle with, etc.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

{Bump Date #2} 30 Weeks

I completely forgot to have hubs take a picture before he left for work this morning.
I guess this is better than nothing =-) Hopefully I'll be able to update with a "real camera" one soon. One thing I will say is I'm proud that I've been able to continue my workouts. I'm not happy with gaining as much as I did with AG so far. I was hoping to stay about 5-6 lbs under the 40 lb mark but I don't think that will happen. But I am working hard. I'm at the gym 3-4 days a week and am very conscious about what I'm eating. I'm definitely splurging for the things I crave or want but I'm balancing it out with salads for lunch and less carbs for dinner. I'm much better than when I'm not pregnant that is for sure. 

Week 30

Size: Cucumber   

Gender: IT'S A BOY! 

Movement: Wondering if and when this kid ever sleeps...

Sleep: Same old stuff here. Sleep sucks. Some nights are better than others. Last night it took about 2.5 hours to fall asleep (around 1 am) and I was up at 5. Wish I enjoyed regular homemade coffee right about now. I guess I'll be making a trip to Starbucks later today for a half caffeinated treat! 

Cravings: Nothing in particular. 

Aversions: None. This pregnancy is so different! 

Symptoms: Besides the dizziness, I really haven't had any out of the ordinary symptoms this past week. I'm still napping a few times a week and pretty tired. Swelling is there but not bad. Some of my sandals are tight so I'm down to wearing just a few pairs. With AG my feet grew and were out of control swollen each day, we will see if that happens this time around. 

What I Miss: My go go go energy. 

What I'm Looking Forward To: Celebrating hubs this Friday on his 32nd birthday! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Getting Ready for Baby #2

I thought I was unbelievably behind with this pregnancy and then I realized I didn't post my before baby bucket list with AG until 35 weeks.  Hey Hey! Maybe I'm a little more on it than I thought. Then I quickly realized (thanks to a look back on this blog) that her nursery was pretty much finished by this point. You win some, you lose some. Anyhow, we are 9 weeks away from little man making his arrival. There is a lot I need to do and start thinking about. In true Leah fashion, here is my to do list for getting ready for baby #2. 

Freezer Meals
Before AG was born, I had a freezer full of meals ready for her arrival. They were such a lifesaver. Even though my mom was with us for two weeks and did all of the cooking while she was there, they were great for our first days alone. Here is the list I made for AG's arrival. I'm sure I'll head to my Pinterest board for ideas for some others as well. 

Nursing Boxes
This is something I didn't think about the last time around. Now that I'll have a two year old at home with a new baby, I want to create something for her while I nurse. If Luke is anything like his sister, we will spend most of our days nursing. While I know AG won't be entertained with these boxes the entire time we nurse each day, I want her to have something new to do. My plan is to use the craft boxes you can find at a local craft store. I plan to fill it with some dollar store items that are new to her. I don't want to spend a fortune creating these boxes but I'll do whatever I can to make nursing with a toddler around go smooth. I also have some activities I plan on only letting her do while I nurse. One being playing with the iPad. Others are some Melissa and Doug sticker pads and puzzles she was given for her birthday (that she has yet to play with because I hid them for when brother arrives.) I'll make sure to do a post about the nursing boxes I create along with how they actually work when Luke arrives. 

Big Sister Gift
I want to have a gift for AG to give to her at the hospital from her brother. I have absolutely NO IDEA what to get her. I was thinking some sort of baby doll or toy but she really has enough of that. I want the gift to be something she's really into and will absolutely love. If he came tomorrow, the gift would be something having to do with Elmo, Mickey or Princesses.  Looks like mama has some shopping without the mini to do…Target here I come! 

Big Sister Busy Bag for Hospital 
This goes along with the nursing box. I plan on putting together a little bag for things for AG to do when she comes to visit. Again, I plan on visiting the dollar spot for these items. A few books, crayons for coloring with a book, maybe a few small toys and some of her favorite snacks. Again, I'll definitely post when I check this off the list. 

One of the best things I did with AG was created a notebook. In the notebook was all of my lists. What to pack for the hospital, things to do before baby, weekly checklists that I had printed and taped inside, pictures to take at the hospital, etc. All of the important information I needed having to do with birth was in this notebook. At the hospital it is what I used to record AG's information after she was born. Every day (after she was born) had a page. On that page it had every time she went to the bathroom, how long she ate for on which side and how long she slept for. The best thing about this was that everyone knew where it was and what to do. So if a nurse changed her, she recorded the diaper. Same went for hubs and my mom. When the nurses or pediatrician came in to check on how she was doing I just showed them the notebook. I didn't have to worry about remembering how many wet diapers she had or how long she ate. We did this for the first two weeks she was home. I also took this notebook to her first few pediatrician appointments, it was such a big help. After that we did move to the baby connect app, which I also thought was great. The benefit to using the notebook in the beginning as opposed to an app was that anyone could record things instead of needing my phone to do it on the app. 

Me Time
This was definitely easier before AG. Since I was off for 8 weeks before AG's arrival (they joys of summer break) I had lots of time to myself. I spent my days relaxing and crossing things off my to do lists. Things are a bit different this time around. I'm going to have to make an effort to use AG's nap times to take time for myself. Whether it's just putting my feet up watching TV or checking things off my list. I also will definitely make sure to get a pedicure or two towards the end! 

Date with Hubs
I'm hoping my mom will come a few days before my scheduled delivery date. That way she can help with last minute items and hubs and I can have one last date night before baby. He loves going to movies and I am someone who would rather wait for it to come our on DVD and watch at home. Since it will be one of our last dates before baby, I'll give in to a movie he wants to see and pick the restaurant for dinner. 

Family Date
One of the things I have on my list to do as a family is for AG to make a build a bear for her brother. I hope she'll really understand what we're doing and not want to keep it for herself. Even if she does, I think it will be something special for us all to do together. That, plus dinner and ice cream as a family sounds like a perfect before baby family date night! 

Pack Hospital Bags
I shared what I packed for AG in this post. I'm going to have to go back through that post 

Nursery Planning 
I do have an inspiration post coming for Luke's nursery. Unfortunately, he won't have one in this house. I'm completely bummed about not being able to have a decorated nursery to bring him home to. We moved to TX last September. We aren't in love with the area and know it's not where we want to stay and raise our families. Our lease in this house is up in January. We don't know what will happen then, but we know we most likely won't be staying in this house. I didn't see the point in going all out on a nursery when AG slept in the rock and play in our room for the first three months. I hope that we will be able to get back home to FL soon and find our forever home where I can decorate AG's big girl room and Luke's nursery. Until then, I'll plan away on Pinterest for when that day comes. 

Daddy Survival Kit 
I went all out before AG and made this kit for hubs. To this day, it's one of my most viewed posts on SMWL. I won't go all out this time around, but I'll make sure to have some of his favorite snacks and treats packed for the big day. 

Register at Hospital
Contact Pediatrician
Both things I completely forgot about until I looked at my list I made to prepare for AG's birth. 

Mamas, what am I missing? 

Monday, July 28, 2014

8 Back to School Family Traditions

AG will be starting MDO in just over a month. Even though she's only going a few half days a week, it's still a big deal around here. It's the first time she'll be without me for a longer period of time. I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't a nervous wreck about it. It's been just she and I everyday for the past two years. Even though some days are long, I love our time together and absolutely adore this age (tantrums and all.) I know that starting school is important for her. I want her to get used to the structure, along with the the socialization that comes with the MDO program I signed her up for. It may take some time for her to adjust, but I know she will do great. 

With that said, I've been thinking a lot about back to school family traditions I want to start. Here is the list I came up with. I may not be able to do all of them with a two year old, but as she gets older I look forward to these being our back to school family traditions. 

Plan a special dinner the night before. Whether your child picks where he/she wants to go out to eat or chooses what he/she would like for dinner that night. Make the meal special either way. Sit down as a family and talk about the upcoming day. If you want to go all out, there are some really cute table decoration ideas to celebrate the start of school.

Complete a back to school interview. This would be fun to do as a family at the dinner table. There are lots of printables out there for your child to complete. Most have just a few simple questions for your child to answer. Stash the answers away in a safe place and complete the same form at the end of the year. It will be sweet to see how your child's answers change over the years. Since AG is younger and can't tell me what she wants to be when she grows up, I will be letting her color on a piece of paper. At the end of the year I'll give her the same blank piece of paper and let her go to town again. I can't wait to see how her artwork changed over a year. I plan to do this each year and make a scrapbook of the artwork/ interviews that I will give her on her graduation day.

Printables featured on Tatertots and Jello from Kiki and Company

Pick out a back to school outfit. This is something I looked forward to as a kid. We didn't have uniforms at school. My mom let me pick up some new clothes for back to school and I always wore my favorite one on the first day. If your child's school does have uniforms, let your child pick out a new hair bow, shoes, leggings, etc.  It doesn't have to be something expensive. Just something new to start the new year off with and make your child feel extra special on that first day.

 I made these shirts for AG. Here are the rest of the designs I have for Back to School. 

Read a back to school book before bed. I plan on gifting AG a back to school book each year on the night before school. I will write a special note in the cover of the book to document the occasion. I know she'll love and look forward to unwrapping a book to read the night before school. Here are some back to school books: Biscuit goes to school, If you take a mouse to school, The night before preschool, Maisy goes to preschool, & Curious George's first day of school.

Back to school breakfast. This doesn't have to be anything big. It can be a simple pancake, waffle or donut with a candle in it. Or it can be your child's favorite breakfast. You can go all out with the back to school decor or keep it simple. The key to this meal is taking time to sit down as a family if possible to enjoy breakfast before the big day. Even if that means you have to wake up extra early to get everything else ready for the day.

Take a look at this adorable set up from Your Homebased Mom 

Take a picture. There are loads of First Day Of…. printables on Pinterest. You can find a bunch on my back to school pinterest board, found below. Take a picture of your child as he/she leaves for school holding the printable sign. This picture would be perfect to add to the scrapbook with your child's interview at the beginning of the year. Plan on taking a Last Day of… picture as well to see how much your child has grown over the year. Again, another item to add to the scrapbook.

Send a note to school in your child's lunch or snack. Again, there are some adorable free printables out there. Simply print one, leave a sweet note for your child to let him/her know they're in your thoughts. While you're at it, you can do this for your spouse as well =-)
Lunch Box Notes from Pickle Bums 

Have a special treat ready when your child gets home. Have your child's favorite snack waiting for when he/she gets out of school or go out for ice cream. Just take time to sit down together and talk all about your child's first day.

Apple Snack from Gourmet Mom on the GO

I've also been pinning away, check out my Back to School Pinterest board below. 

Do you have any family back to school traditions?  
I'd love to hear about them!