Monday, December 4, 2017

How to Survive the First Few Weeks of Breastfeeding

I am about to begin week 3 of breastfeeding my newborn. I was very worried about breastfeeding this time around (baby #2) because I struggled with my older son and began supplementing at 3 days old and was never able to breastfeed exclusively until he didn’t want to nurse any longer. This time around I was a little more prepared when I went to the hospital and though I had to supplement a few feedings it didn’t prevent me from nursing exclusively when my milk came in.  Here are my tips for making it through those first 2 weeks.

1.     Drink loads of water in the hospital and when you get it home. I didn’t do this before and saw a major difference in my milk when I did.
2.     If you must supplement, be sure to do it while nursing through a supplemental nurser, it’s basically a syringe that you place in the baby’s mouth while he/she is nursing to get in some formula along with the colostrum. I needed to do this as my son needed to void (pee) before he could get his circumcision as they needed to make sure he wasn’t having any problems before they performed the procedure.
3.     Mother’s Milk tea is your friend. I didn’t discover it before until a friend showed it to me when my son was 6 weeks old, by then I was really struggling to keep up with feedings.
4.     Rent a hospital grade pump or use one in the hospital at least. This really helped with the milk coming in for me as well. Plus, I could capture some milk and stick it in my baby’s mouth to know for sure he was getting the colostrum.
5.     Feed baby every 2 hours, this really stimulates the breast and even if he isn’t eating, having him on or near the breasts stimulates production, too.

I am so happy to be nursing exclusively and will send an updated post at 6 weeks to see where I am and talk about my babies sleep pattern, which right now is still at every 1.5 to 2 hours of waking up.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Montessori Education: The Absorbent Mind book review

I have a 4 year old and have been a Montessori mom for exactly a year and 2 months. My child attends a public school Montessori program, so I am extremely fortunate. The school has been great about inviting parents to events to learn about Montessori education and even offers free books for us to learn more. I have recently begun reading "The Absorbent Mind" by Maria Montessori and it has been extremely helpful in helping me understand the concept of the "guide" in the Montessori classroom. I would suggest this book to anyone thinking of sending their child to a Montessori program. The book begins with birth and talks about the education of the child into adulthood. The primary theme is that the child's brain is learning from the day he/she leaves the womb and it's up to us as parents to foster that....this was a breakthrough concept in the early 19th century and still relevant today as a lot of times we think we need to save money for our kids education when they are older, but Montessori challenges that by saying invest today. The investment can be a time commitment as well as just paying attention to the child's needs and interests. These interests can be in everyday life like picking of up language and speech or cooking or math equations. I haven't finished the book, but already Montessori has convinced me that my child needs an extra language course, so he currently attends Language Stars, a fun class that teaches many different languages to young children. My son loves and looks forward to this class on Saturday mornings, and so do I. He's learning a new language without even realizing it and working on his social skills outside of his everyday classroom. In the spring, the program will focus on gardening other outdoor life skills.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Toddler Birthday Party: Spider man bounce house theme

So, this year, my little one is getting close to the end of his beloved toddler years, so I thought, we’d bring in year 4 with a fun mix of his favorite things: music, jumping around and spider-man all in one place. Enter “Pump It Up”, Pump it up is a fun company that has indoor bouncing fun in 2 different rooms and then a fun and colorful birthday party room with cake and a visit from a special character upon request. You can even add features like a bubble machine, air hockey and a wind machine.

We really loved this year’s party theme of spider-man, too. The funny thing is the 4-year-old boys love Spider man, however, it takes a while for them to get used to him in person, so we had a few tears at first as they warmed up to him. Here are some fun photos from the party.

I would highly recommend Pump It Up as a party destination and the best part is….no clean up. The company orders a pizza from Papa John’s and drinks but they allow you to bring in a veggie tray. I have a lactose intolerance so I couldn’t eat the pizza from Papa John’s and some of the other parents opted for the veggie tray as well. We also, had a non-dairy cake this year, which made everyone’s waistline happy.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Easy Easter basket idea

So, last year was my first time creating an Easter basket for my son. He was 2 years old at the time, and not really into Easter, except when he saw the pretty baskets at the store filled with toys and treats. I decided then that I wanted to create a tradition of our own by making his basket each  year myself and filling it with fun things that I know he really enjoys, I also created a few of our own surprise eggs since he loves to open those, too.

So, I grabbed my basket from Michael's and plan to use it for a few years. I picked up inexpensive items from Target for a few weeks that I thought he'd enjoy. Walmart had the cute clear plastic wrapping paper that I used to wrap the basket and the cute bow also came from Michael's craft store.

Check out how easy the basket was and how it turned out below:

Friday, February 24, 2017

How to keep Christmas spirit all year long

So, I just starting doing just this year. My son gets so many gifts from my family for Christmas that it's embarrassing to carry it all home. I also don't want my son to be overwhelmed and then quickly underwhelmed with all the toys and other gifts. I decided to take half of the gifts and put them in a hidden place in the house and wrap and give them to him when he does something special, for example last week he received a "gift" when he entered preschool without tears for a week. Other times he will receive a gift when he goes a week with no accidents at school or when winter time blues hit and he could use a pick me up because playing outdoors isn't possible due to the cold. It's actually a lot of fun because each gift gets a lot more attention and I explain to him who wanted him to have it, etc. Let me me if you do this, too!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Toddler boy Valentine's tissue box decor

We got the lovely email asking parents to help kids decorate a tissue box this year for Valentine's day, so we went with the lego theme as this is my 3 year old's favorite toy of the moment. Check out this tissue box, made with wrapping paper, bottle caps and shiny letter stickers from Michael's craft store.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A birthday at Sesame Place - Sesame Place review

We spent my son Shane's 3rd birthday at Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. Shane has grown to really connect with Elmo in the past year. He loves the show and has numerous stuffed animals that he tries to take everywhere we go. Sesame Place seemed like just the right place to celebrate, so we loaded up the car with food and family and made a  day of it. We drove up on Saturday and spent the day at the park and opted to stay at a hotel Saturday night, rather than drive back home that night after a full day of sun and fun. Here's my review of my experience at Sesame Place below!

Sesame Place Parking

There were two types of parking available one is a “VIP” parking for visitors with disabilities and there is regular parking. The regular parking is a dirt field and unmarked spaces. You do have to beware that drivers park very close and can possibly nick your doors. Parking costs about $18, so it was fairly reasonable.

Sesame Place Park Rules

Park rules are fairly strict. Even though we brought an infant along for the day at the park, the park turned us away with our cooler. We opened the cooler and the contents were all baby milk and baby food. We explained that we planned to be at the park for a long time and needed the food for our infant. The security told us that our cooler was too big and they didn’t care that the contents were infant formula that we didn’t want to leave in the car. Our cooler was only off by an inch on each side. I actually plan to lodge a complaint and took several pictures of other park goers who were allowed to bring in their coolers that were the same size or larger and one person actually had a bucket that was much larger. This was disappointing as we drove 2.5 hours to visit the park on a Saturday morning with an infant and toddler.

Sesame Food

The food at Sesame Place was just okay. You are allowed to leave the park and get a hand stamp and then return, so I would definitely leave the park for lunch and go to a restaurant or eat at home as the food wasn’t satisfying for the kids or adults and costs way too much.

Dine with Me Experience

We went to Sesame place to celebrate my son’s 3rd birthday, so we decided to purchase the dine with me experience for our family. The theme in September was a Cook Out with Elmo. This experience takes place indoors in a building near the entrance to the park and the experience included pictures with the characters and buffet style eating. Let me just say, it was by far the most fun we had at the park. The characters were lively and engaging for all age groups and the food was absolutely delicious! The barbecue buffet included brisket, pulled pork, London broil, chicken tenders and salads and macaroni and cheese and plethora of deserts (cakes, cupcakes, cookies, fruit). I was glad we decided to have the experience because my whole family enjoyed the meal and the characters led the kids in line dances and singing songs, it was perfect end to the day as we selected the Dine with Me for dinner at 5pm.

Sesame Place Rides

So, we arrived at the park around 11:15am and then left at 3:30pm and returned again at 5pm and my son only really got on 2 rides, and this was because of lines and him just getting adjusted to the park and the scenery.

I would really recommend bringing a swimsuit because the water rides rule. My son who is 3 really enjoyed the Count’s Splash Castle, where he got to walk through a fun maze of water and then go down a small slide and just splash and have fun. There are tons a reclining chairs for older adults to relax and enjoy the scenery, too.

Ticket prices

Ticket prices usually hover around $55, but we were able to get a Groupon for $35 for each person, so this was by far the best deal. There was another deal that SeaWorld/Sesame place had where you could purchase a ticket for $55 and return another time for free, but since we don’t live in the area, we thought we probably would not be able to return any time soon.
Additionally, if you happen to be season ticket holder for Busch Gardens or any of Sea World Entertainment’s other parks, you can purchase a discount ticket at the door for $35 with your season pass.

Overall, I enjoyed being at the park and most of all my son enjoyed it too. The park is small enough for kids don’t feel lost and parents don’t feel alarmed every minute that they will get lost in the crowd. We went on a Saturday in September and the lines for rides was moderate. I never felt that it was simply too crowded to have a good time. I would recommend thoroughly reading all park details before going and relax and enjoy the Sesame Street parade, which takes place twice a day on the main drag.

I’d love to hear about your experience at Sesame Place as well, please comment below.