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One of the best memories I have of my childhood is dancing around the living room with my mom. Tom Petty, Counting Crows, Bonnie Raitt. We would spin and sway; twirl and laugh.

I don’t look back fondly on too many moments of her relationship with the man she dated seriously for years after my parents divorced (he broke her heart and I’m not down with that), but I do remember them dancing with each other around the living room. Spinning and swaying; twirling and laughing.

I dance around the room with Owen on my hip, bouncing him to make him laugh.

And today, when our wedding song came on randomly while uploading songs to itunes, Michael pulled me into his chest and we slow danced in our living room. Spinning and swaying; twirling and laughing, with baby at our feet.

I hope one day our children think back to us dancing around the house together.

Spinning and swaying; twirling and laughing…

I know posting has been light. Between the Man Cold that turned into the Man Flu that turned into the Man Plague — putting Michael out of commission an entire week –, then the endless snow that keeps coming, paired with the nap training we’ve started with Owen (another post for another day…yaaaawn), by the time I get a chance to sit down at the computer, I just plain don’t want to!

So, things have been chaotic. But we were able to take Owen out to “play” in the snow for the first time. He went from apprehensive, to curious, to full-out joyful by the end. It was fantastic and it’s times likes these I wish we had the no-baby’s-face-on-the-blog revoked because, oooooh my goodness the cuteness.

So instead, I’ll show you the aftermath:

Hehe. I love that snowy butt.

It makes up for the ocean of projectile spit up that he shot across himself and my bed at 6 a.m. today. I have seriously never seen so much liquid come out of someone. But! There’s a good reason for it. See, he came in bed and nursed — nursed a lot and quickly — because he was super hungry. Super hungry because he slept from 6 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. before waking up. Guys, I feel like we’ve earned this sleeping through the night stuff, I really do. It was a loooong road.

For the sake of conversation, I leave you with this: if I were to do something lame awesome different and a few times a month post a recipe and the results of that recipe from Every Day with Rachel Ray, would you be into that? I kind of have a love/hate relationship with her. She annoys the stuffing out of me, but I enjoy her food. Enough that I’m considering subscribing to the magazine. Anyway, just a thought. Let me know yours1

“Just wait,” my mother told me. “One day, you’ll get it. You’ll understand.”

She was referring the love she has for her children. The love that makes her want to call us each day, offer advice (even if unsolicited) and causes her to worry about us when we travel. I always understood, in a way. I mean, we’re her children. Of course she loves us. I got it. At least, I thought I did.

~

The other night I was watching a story on the news about the shooting in Arizona. As the reporter finished her coverage of Gabby Giffords’ condition and moved on to the death of nine-year old Christina Green, I felt my breath catch in my chest and my eyes start to water. I have a hard time watching the news lately. I left the room, unable to listen any longer, and went into the kitchen to prepare dinner. As I stirred the contents of a pot on the stove, I stifled a sob; not wanting Michael to hear me in the other room because I knew if I started to speak I would lose it completely.

At that moment, Owen began to cry. He hadn’t been asleep long, so I went upstairs to soothe him back to sleep, taking the stairs two at a time. I scooped him out of his crib and he buried his head into my shoulder as I settled into the glider. He quieted quickly, but I continued to rock and rock. Longer than necessary. Not because he needed me, but because I needed him.

~

I wear my heart on the outside now, constantly in a position to have it shattered into a million pieces at any moment. Sometimes when I look at him, I actually hurt. It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But it’s true. The emotions I feel for this child translate into something physical, something that aches. I had heard about this: this love for a child. But I didn’t get it.

Now I do.

~

A lot of my friends are pregnant with their first babies right now and part of me is envious of them, because they will get to experience this feeling for the first time soon. It’s not the same as the love you feel when you’re pregnant with them. Not even the same the moment they are placed on your chest seconds after being born. This volcano of emotion that comes with being a mother is something that these words aren’t even close to accurately describing.

There is an invisible string tethering me to my child; one that cannot be broken because he is my son. My son, whose smile, whose babbling, whose laughter makes the sun shine, the birds sing, and every other sappy thing you can think of. I have never felt love like this before.

~

I have an amazing husband. One who makes others look bad — even the good ones – because as husbands go, he takes the cake. I love him with my heart and soul. And one day, there will be a woman who loves my son with the same intensity as I love his father.

But guess what? She will never love him like I do. And I hate to admit it, because as someone who has struggled to win approval from my mother-in-law, I always swore I would make it easy on my future daughter-in-law. And while I will be sweet and kind and hope that she will be like a daughter to me, she will still never be the one who loves him the most. Even though she will love him with everything she has, it will never be the most.

That will always be me.

Always.

~

Tomorrow Owen will be seven months old. Michael remarked today that once that happens, he’s closer to a year than to a newborn. That sentence made me cry. He’s still a baby, yes, but it’s fleeting. It’s flying by and one day years from now, he will be a man. I cherish these achingly wonderful days because even though love hurts, it hurts so good.

I get it now, Mom. I really, really get it.

Somebody is six years old today…

“It’s me, guys! Kodiak! Remember me? I’ve been totally neglected lately on the blog since that kid came around, but today is MY day! I’m SIX!”

It’s true, he has been neglected. As much as we swore it would never happen, that he would always be our first, our Fur Baby. But as it turns out, Mr. O requires a lot of attention and Kodiak had to adjust. He still loved, of course. Oh my, is he loved. But he had to move into second place. And while he did so reluctantly, and often shoves himself into your face demanding, “Attention! Now!”, he actually has taken this big brother thing in stride.

The truth is, he’s a wonderful big brother. He gives kisses (“not in the face!”), and is first to get to Owen if his cries resemble anything other than your standard waaaah’s. He’s cautious if Owen is playing on the floor, and even tries to share his toys. And he’s super excited now that there is a high chair to lie under and potential sweet potato or pea mash to catch.

It’s been nearly five years since we adopted a loud and playful one-year old Newfoundland. Over time he has become more that just a dog to us; he is family. He may not get the 24/7 attention he once basked in, but you can bet that when Owen goes to bed, it’s Kodiak time, and he is reminded just how much we adore him.

I love this dog. This dog who may be six, but has the heart and attitude of a puppy. This dog who has a personality like I’ve never seen before in a an animal and will tell you exactly what he wants and when. “Dinner. Now, guys. Time to eat.”

Happy birthday, Kods Man. Here’s to many more!

- The last few days have been spent trying to avoid my husband in our own, small home. He’s been sick. For days! It started off as a Man Cold. You know, the little tickle in the throat that becomes a cough, that becomes THE END OF THE WORLD.

But then, it became the flu. Not even a Man Flu, just an honest to goodness flu that brought with it body aches and a fever. And since freezing rain was pouring from the sky making it impossible to go anywhere, Owen and I hibernated upstairs as far away from him as possible. I’ve been sleeping in the guest room and while he talks to O from afar, he hasn’t picked up his son in days. (He’s really upset about this. It’s sad!)

We’re on Day Three now, and while the fever is gone, the coughing and sneezing and runny nose are in full force. KNOCK ON WOOD, O and I are still healthy, maybe just by luck or maybe by the compulsive hand-washing/orange juice drinking routine I’ve been doing. But as much as I feel badly for Michael, I have to say, a little bit of the Man Cold symptoms are lurking again, and I’m not sure how much longer I can take them.

The moaning after every cough, specifically. I know he’s sick. I feel bad for him, I do! But it’s been three days. Of Man Cold Moaning. And that’s enough.

- Owen, on the other hand, is great. A riot, actually. This week as brought some new discoveries. Specifically, pelvic thrusting. Yes, my little boy is thrusting. Omigod. In reality, he’s just figured out he can arch his back from the reclined-on-pillows position, but holy crap is it hilarious. And he knows it makes me laugh, so he does it even more.

TROUBLE, this one, I tell ya.

And tonight, he also discovered…his parts. Now look, I don’t call them “his parts” in real life, but I’m not about to write the anatomically correct word for “his parts” in a post about my baby. Because ick, I do NOT want to see the search results that would come from that.

Moving on…

The discovery of “his parts” happened on the changing table tonight and guys, he thought it was just about the best thing ever. He looked at me like, “Mama! Did you know this was down here? Like, right here? This thing? A toy! For me? Right here? All the time?’

Boys. They’re a weird breed.

What else? Ah yes, poop. Because we always talk about the poop. The other day he went 36 hours without pooping. I know this can be normal, especially with the addition of solids (he loves those sweet potatoes), but THIRTY SIX HOURS is a long time. I did everything I could to help it along…a little diluted pear juice in his food, yoga moves to promote digestion, taking his temperature rectally. (It’s supposed to trigger the pooping reflex, I swear!) But in the end, I think he just went when he was ready. He didn’t go again today, so it looks like it might be another long stretch…

(I’ll stop talking about poop now.)

- On a totally unrelated topic, I’m think of getting a steam mop. Does anyone have experience with these? Is there one brand that’s better than another? Do they actually work? We have light-colored linoleum in our kitchen that gets gross fast (thanks, Kodiak), and the only thing I’ve really found that works is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Mop. But I can’t use that on our hardwoods and I’d like something natural once Owen starts crawling.

- A friend told me tonight he had a very vivid dream (rare for him) that I was pregnant. I’m not, but I sometimes think that I could be (did I just feel nauseous? Am I smelling things more strongly? Why is my nose all runny??) and freak out a little. Not enough that I’ve taken a test or anything, just enough to start flipping out about where we would put another baby and how I just got my body back and how Owen changes so quickly and I just want to keep getting to know him before we become a family of four.

And then I think that if it were to happen sooner than planned, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Challenging, yes, but not impossible.

But the short answer is no: we have no immediate plans to expand our family. We’d like the kids close, but not that close.

- I ate an entire package of Keebler Fudge Sticks in three days. They are delicious; I am disgusting.

- I need to get out of the house tomorrow, before my brain completely turns to mush and I can only ramble on about bodily functions for the next few posts. No one wants that, now do they?

Well, hello! It has recently come to my attention that this little post of mine has been pinned over 30,000 times. With a picture of my face hours postpartum, none-the-less! HA! I figured that since so many people are benefiting from it, it only made sense I pop in and say hello. Since writing this post, I’ve had a second baby boy and am pregnant with my third little guy, due in June 2014. If you’re curious whether or not I would change anything in this post having been through it again, my answer would be no. I stand by it all, and am thrilled at the outpouring of comments it has received. You should definitely take the time to read through them all.

Thank you for visiting These Little Moments. Be sure to hop over to the homepage to read about my adventures in motherhood (I’m pretty brutally honest…), find some yummy recipes and share in my little community. Good luck with your pregnancy, and happy packing!

~

 

Asked on Formspring: Hi Molly! I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now (pre-wedding!) I’m 30 weeks with my first baby now and remember you having done a post on what to pack in your hospital bag but I can’t seem to find it! Can you repost it?

Congrats on the almost-arrival of your little one! The original post was a list of things I had already packed and I asked for advice from those who had gone through it before me. So I’ll do you one better than reposting it, I’ll give you an updated one now that I’ve done it too. There are great compilations out there already, but here’s my two cents.

Paperwork:

- Birth plan, if you’ve written one. I didn’t, but I discussed it with the nurse when I arrived.

- If you haven’t filled out admission papers prior to arriving at your choice of hospital (Ours sent us the information to fill out and send in during the pregnancy), you or someone with you will most likely have to fill that out when you arrive. Have proper identification and health insurance information on hand.

- A pen. They always come in handy.

For you:

- Toiletries. Bring the whole shabang – shampoo, conditioner, soap, tooth brush, tooth paste, razor, face wash, make up, hair product, brush, hair dryer (if your hospital doesn’t already have one in the bathroom.) The first shower after a vaginal birth (I can’t speak to a c-section…anyone?) is awkward and uncomfortable. You are sore and exhausted and will most likely be instructed to shower sitting down. Don’t worry, you’ll want to! For me, the first shower was just a get clean situation, but my second shower felt wonderful and I wanted to look as happy as I was feeling. It felt great to “dress up” for guests and the thousands of photos that were being taken. (Also might want to bring toiletries for your partner. We lived close enough that Michael went home to shower, but you might not have that option.)

(Post-second shower. Well worth it.)

- Clothing for you. When you arrive you will change into a standard hospital gown. I’ve heard of some women bringing their own fancy birthing gown, but I personally think it’s a waste of time and money. Here’s the thing about birth; there’s a lot of fluids. A LOT of fluids. So my recommendation for clothing is:

- Dark colors. (See: fluids). I wore a thigh-length black sleep shirt that unbuttoned in the front right after my first shower. It was comfortable, allowed for easy access to the bits that needed lots of ice and attention that day (it’s a true fact), and was easy to open for breastfeeding.

- Stretchy, comfortable pants. I wore (black) yoga pants and a (black) nursing tank on day two. Remember, you will still look at least 6-months pregnant, so you want things that stretch and give.

- A lightweight robe, zip-up sweatshirt or cardigan. Hospital temperatures can vary and you will be losing a lot of fluids. Again, with the fluids!

- Slippers (ones that you don’t care too much about) and flip flops, for walking around/taking showers. Socks.

- Nursing tanks. You most likely won’t want to bother with a bra during those early days, so a nursing tank provides coverage and support without being binding.

For baby:

- Going home outfit. A general rule of thumb is that baby will need one more layer than you do. Owen was born during a very hot June and came home in a onesie, long-sleeve jammies and a hat. I also used a lightweight blanket over him in the air conditioned car. Make sure you bring at least one outfit in the NEWBORN size. I know, they look so small you can’t imagine anything fitting in it, but trust me. Unless you have a really, really big baby, yours will most likely fit in the newborn size. For like, a minute. Bring a 0-3 as a backup.

- Car seat.

- Honestly, that’s really all you NEED for baby. The hospital will provide diapers, wipes, lotions, creams, receiving blankets, hats and t-shirts. I brought all that stuff from home, and didn’t use it at all. If you feel like dressing up your little one before on the days before you leave, by all means bring extra clothes. Owen wore the hospital-issued hats and tee’s and stayed wrapped up in blankets for most of our stay.

Electronics:

- Cameras, camcorder (if you’re so inclined), lap top (you will have down time, believe it or not) and cell phones, as well as any needed chargers, batteries and memory cards.

Extras:

- Boppy or My Brest Friend pillow. Great for early nursing and visitors who want support while holding baby.

- A pillow and pillowcase for you. Hospital pillows are flat as pancakes. Bring something that makes you comfortable.

- iPod, photos or anything you think you want to use during birth. I brought my iPod, but it never made it out of the bag.

- SNACKS. I cannot stress this one enough. Yeah, yeah, for everyone else, but bring snacks for YOU. I was famished after birth and it felt like just moments before I was asking to eat something. My first food post-baby was a Kashi granola bar and holy cow, was it delicious. Hospital food, well…it’s about on par with airplane food. Bring take out menus or at least the number to a good pizza place if your hospital doesn’t already provide them.

Also, since we’re taking hospital setting here — you most likely will not be able to eat once things get rolling. My hospital had popsicles on hand that were fabulous, but if yours doesn’t, see if you can bring your own.

Note: You will notice I didn’t mention anything about bringing underwear. That’s because you will be introduced the infamous mesh undies and lo, they are divine. Mine were boy short-style and they stretch to massive lengths, which is good, because you will be wearing sanitary napkins the size of down comforters. Again, fluids.

That being said, when you leave the hospital, take everything you can get your hands on. Seriously. Receiving blankets, diapers, baby toiletries, EXTRA MESH UNDIES, the perry bottle (I hate to tell you, but you won’t be using toilet paper for a while), numbing spray, extra pads, etc. The hospitals actually encourage it and will mostly likely give you more of whatever if you just ask. I asked for more mesh undies. Seriously.

Now, I’m sure I forgot something because jeesh, that’s a lot of stuff. So feel free to comment and tell me and all moms-to-be what you couldn’t have lived without during your birth stay.

Happy packing!

This is a long one, so if you’re not interested in breastfeeding, this one probably isn’t for you! Also, I’d like to be clear that while I am a total breastfeeding advocate and feel really fortunate that it worked out for us, this isn’t a Breast is Best post looking down on anyone who formula feeds for whatever reason. It’s just my experience with it. Ok? Ok.

Welcome to my breastfeeding journey… Read the rest of this entry »

A tooth and his first cereal? Hey life, slow down a little bit, will ya?

Mmmmmmm.

The first Randoms of the new year!

- How was your new years, lovelies? Mine was quiet and just right. I spent it with my little family, a box of cupcakes and a bottle of sparkling wine. And I didn’t even make it to midnight, falling asleep next to Michael on the couch. Ah, how things have changed.

- I was totally spoiled this holiday and among other things I received that fancy dancy phone on my wish list…and a pair of…oh god, I don’t even want to say it.

OK, I’ll say it. But you have to hear me out.

I received a pair of jeggings.

I know. I KNOW. I know exactly how it sounds. JEGGINGS. Ugh. Just the hybrid of the words “jeans” and “leggings”  makes me twitch a little. But I had been complaining about how none of my pants fit correctly and the last time I saw my mom she had on these cute pair of skinny jeans. I told her I liked them and I guess Santa was listening.

Except I was shocked to see a big ol’ tag reading “JEGGINGS” attached to them. But guys, they have real pockets. And a zipper fly and a button — both functional. They actually look really cute and fit so well, so I’m going to wear them thinking that they are in fact just really stretchy skinny jeans and not the dreaded J-Word.

Because guys, I don’t care if you put a J in front of it; leggings are not pants.

- On the Owen front, he clocked in at his six-month appointment weighing just under 23 pounds and measuring 28 inches, putting him the 97th percentile for weight and 95th for height. Basically, he is the size of a one-year old. And I love every chunky morsel of him. It surprises me that I produced such a large kid, but since Michael is a lean 6’4″, I bet you Owen is going to lengthen out once he gets mobile and will always be the tall boy in the back of class pictures.

He’s starting food this week. Omigoodness!

Also, after the crankiest of days on Sunday, I discovered yesterday morning the first little ridges of a tooth! A TOOTH! Like a real person! How is this happening so quickly? I don’t know how long it takes from the appearance of the top of the tooth until the whole thing pops out, but it’s pretty exciting.

Last night he slept 6:30 p.m. – 5 a.m., then back in bed with us until 7. Sleeping.Through.The.Night.

Can I get a “hallelujah”?

- For my birthday, Michael got me the perfect mommy necklace commemorating This Little Family. I love it, and it looks like I can add to it in the future!

- How was all your holidays?

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