Friday, August 29, 2014

Asthma, Boy Quotes, and Star Wars {7QT}

Friday is here, and I am lacking in post content due to a night of restless sleeplessness followed by a night of worry (more on that in QT #1), so here I give you some Quick Takes whilst linking up with Jen to tide you over until my brain begins connecting thoughts again.



1.

Asthma took down my eldest again this week. We were enjoying a lively last week before school starts for us next Tuesday, and a minor sniffles turned into a full fledge asthma attack in a matter of hours. Poor boy was whisked away to the ER late last night and didn't come home til after 6 this morning. My husband is a saint. I was worried enough as I waited for text message updates from home, but he sat up all night in his hospital after pulling a loooong week wrapping up his Masters paper.

Dominic is back home now and on some meds to keep his breathing and whatnot regulated. Prayers would be appreciated that the new tactics we will be trying work, and if he has another attack, that we are able to catch it before we end up in the ER.


2.

As a treat and mostly as a bribe to keep him as rested and still as possible, we have finally come to one of the moments we have been waiting for as parents. Introducing Star Wars. As two nerds who have married, we have this long list of nerdy things we will one day share with our offspring. From Firefly to Princess Bride to Carcassone, Star Wars is a must on the list and ranks pretty high. And now we can say we've shared it with one more human.



The Force is strong with this one.


3.

And as always my oldest has been full of great quotes these past few weeks:

"Can I eat bacon for all the rest of my days?"

"If I don't eat all the treats I got from aunt Anna and we see a homeless person, I will share with them because they're probably hungry."


4.


And he is not alone.
Blaise, now 2.5, is full of his own one-liners.

"Um, can we go sausage picking?"

"There's two boys in this bed and one boy in Dommie's bed."
Me: "You're right, Blaise. How many boys altogether?"
"There's six boys altogether!"


Prophetic or just bad at math?


He calls snowflakes: "Netflix."

I guess we've watched too many movies this summer.



5.



If you haven't heard about Blessed Is She, go check it out now! The website will be having devotionals as well as the daily readings starting this coming Monday, September 1st. Right on the homepage you can sign up for daily e-mails or subscribe via BlogLovin. Also, check out the InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest accounts to see inspirational pictures, shared articles to challenge you, and other fun to keep you active in your Faith as a Catholic women.

I'm really excited for this project. As a matter of fact, I will be writing some of the devotionals over the year. Many great bloggers you will probably recognize are a part of this awesome resource. Sign up now, so you are ready Monday morning when all the fun begins!


6. 


The blogging world has been pretty awesome this week… I recommend you go read the following:

Molly Makes Do :: Judging a Book By Its Cover: My Seven Favorite Children's Book Illustrators

Fountains of Home :: Homeschooling With a Bunch of Little Kids


7.

A great opportunity to grab some awesome Healthy Living Bundle of eBooks is coming up soon, and you can sign up here! Over $1000 worth of eBooks, including Haley of Carrots for Michaelmas' book: Feast!, for only $29.97! I'm excited about this opportunity to get so many great books. The best part is if you follow this link, you can also refer your friends and earn extra goodies or even a free bundle. And who doesn't like free stuff?



And an extra...


And lastly, as per Jen's request, the last song I listened to was:

You Can't Stop the Beat from Hairspray.




Showtunes are always around when my siblings are in town. This week it's been my 16 year old sister filling our life with dancing, cookies, and all around schnazziness. And one of my brothers is crashing on our couch this week, too. Fun all around.



Linking up with Jen @ Conversion Diary




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This post: Asthma, Boy Quotes, and Star Wars {7QT} first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 29 August 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mass Effect: Why We Bring Our Kids to Church

"Is Mass over yet?" A whiny two year old voice asks me this question on an almost weekly basis. Typically it arrives right after the homily, which in his defense, must be a trying time As he attempts to keep his little self mostly still. These days he's the winner for being removed from Mass the most.

And then there's my four year old. At this point it's mostly working on his attitude being correlated to his actions. Years of working with him each week has him mostly participating at this point, and a typical week has him kneeling and praying right alongside us.

A newborn was thrown into the mix this summer, which has been mostly interesting due to the fact that David and I have found ourselves not one on one, as we were before, but instead working defense in the pews. We no longer have one to stay with the mostly behaved child while the other parent removes misbehaving/overly loud child from the scenario. Now we most pick who is taking out one and leaving the other juggling two.

I know so many of you find yourself in this situation or one very similar. Perhaps you only have one child, but they have the energy of four. Or maybe you and your spouse are unable to attend the same mass time due to work schedules, and you are on your own. Maybe you feel like you just have lost control and you don't know where to go next. Everyone of us that has brought an energetic, excitable, open minded, little person into a Church knows the humility that comes along with it. 



So, this brings us to the inevitable question: why even bring them to Church in the first place? The answer is exactly the description I gave you above. Because they are energetic, excitable, and open minded. The Mass is for every Christian, big or small. Just by coming and joining in, each person receives God's graces, and why would you deny that to children?

It is so important that even from their earliest of days, we bring our children and show them that they are an active part of the Church community. We not only drag our children into the pews weekly, but we encourage them to actively participate as much as they can. No, this doesn't mean our children sit perfectly still and pronounce each response at just the right volume. This just means we do the best we can to help them delve into the Mass with all their senses.


As parents, we, too, work hard to make Mass a more engaging time for our children. Here are a few ways we have found help do that:

Have reasonable expectations for each age. This is probably the most varying of these ideas. Only you as a parent can know what each of your children is capable of. Know what your child is ready for now, and start there.
For our 2 year old, Blaise, we expect him to say all the "Amens," the "Our Father," pass the Peace with those around us in a simple handshake, and remain in our portion of the pew. Absolute quietness is hard, but we remind him that there are parts of the Mass for listening, and parts where he can respond, too. He's not quite tall enough to kneel yet, so we have him just stand on the kneeler between us and fold his hands. He's capable of crossing his arms to create "Blessings Arms," to receive a blessing from our priest when mama and dad go forward to receive. And his most recent accomplishment: a one kneed action of genuflection when going in and out of the aisle.
Dominic, our four year old, can do all of the above, plus we except him to sit, kneel, and stand at appropriate times. He knows most of the responses and is to say them along. No talking is tolerated from him, and he is not supposed to agitate or tease his brothers in any way. I know that he can handle these things because I've seen what he's capable of at home. He is a very concentrated child and picks up quickly on the order and correct way of going about things.
Obviously each child is different, and that is for you to figure out where you want to draw the line and how your son or daughter can participate in the Mass.

Bring Mass bags and appropriate literature. Basically a Mass bag is a small bag with a few items that help to keep your mind focussed on what is happening around you with a more tactile approach, and this is pretty much what helps us keep our sanity with squirmy preschoolers.
Our mass bags include holy cards with a hole punched in the corner on a metal ring, a few picture book Bibles, a copy or two of different parts of Books of Saints , The Saving Name of God the Son (love, love the beautiful art by Renaissance painter Fra Angelico featured in this one!), and finally, Catholic Icing's Mass book, also featuring lovely art from the great Masters.
We had rosaries, which we no longer bring because they kept making loud noises as they hit the floor. And we avoid Saint finger puppets, figures, dolls, and the like because although at our house they are fantastic, at Mass they'd just become a character in a story, and no attention would be paid to what was happening around us.

Forego snacks. Make sure your young children are well fed before you leave for Church, and then don't bring snacks. They'll be in a better mood if they are full upon arrival, and it's best to start young with the "no food in church" rule. Obviously, nursing/bottlefed babies are an exception, but once your child is eating real food, there really is no reason why they cannot go one hour without food. Ages 2 and under, we bring a water bottle along for, and if they truly need it, we go to the back to drink.

Remind them (and ourselves) that it is not about us. We often remind our children that they aren't attending mass to make us, as their parents, happy. I am delighted that we attend as a family, but that isn't the true reason for why they are there. God wants them there. We get the great privilege to come and be in the presence of the Eucharist, and we treat it as such. It's a special time, which we set aside time for every week, wear fancier clothes than normal, and learn about our Faith and dwell in community with the Church here on earth to bring God honor and glory.

Practice at home. Use bedtime prayers as a time to learn the Our Father. Say the Apostles or Nicene creed after dinner once a week. Get your one year old crossing themselves after meal prayers (it's pretty much the cutest thing!). The possibilities are endless! When your child is familiar with the prayers, and they hear them in mass, they'll realize they can join right in because they already know what to say.

Have a game plan for when there is disruption. And it's not always going to be perfect. Chances are, you'll be lucky if 25% off the time, it goes off pretty well. Prepare though, so you're not in the pew with the screaming child and trying to figure out whose turn it is. Our baby is young enough right now (3 months) that I typically wear him in a wrap to mass. This means if he cries, obviously I would be the one to take him out. This also means that if the two year old starts shrieking because he wanted to stand when it's time to sit or vice versa, my husband usually takes him out. Figure out a plan that works for you!

And lastly, our children apologize when their behavior calls for it. After Mass, they go and say they're sorry. Not to me or their Dad because once again Mass isn't about us. Pretty much any Catholic Church has a statue of Jesus, where your child can go and say they're sorry for being ____ during the Holy Mass. Worst case, there's probably a statue of Mary, and your little one can apologize for grieving her heart as they disrespected her Son. We have found this to be a beautiful way for their behavior in Mass to be because they know we owe God all honor and is a small peek at what repentance looks like.


There you have it. With a little preparation, I have found that it isn't the worst thing in the world to bring three boys under the age of five into the pew every Sunday. Our children are far from perfect in their behavior, but in honesty, the many adults around them are rarely all perfectly focused and reverent. However, they are able to grasp the concepts of the Mass and participate at their level alongside the best of them. We have found that the whys in this part of our family life far outweigh the what ifs. 

And sometimes, as a mama, I'm treated to those little voices saying things such as, "But we have to go to Mass then we can see Jesus!" Or watching my very shy two year old stand patiently for almost a minute with his tiny hand outstretched, just to offer the homeless man a row ahead the Peace of Christ. 

And that folks, is why I make an effort to get even the smallest members of the Church into the pew every Sunday to wholly participate as best we are able in the Mass. 






Some of my blogging friends also have great ideas regarding this, so make sure to go read what they have to say about kids and Mass:




Fountains of Home :: Survival Skills for Mass with Kids


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This post Mass Effect: Why We Bring Our Kids to Church first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 27 August 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

Google Yo'Self.

I've yet to join in on Cari's weekly "Theme Thursday," but this week I just couldn't resist. And since I've been lacking in the blog atmosphere, I figured I owed you guys something, and this was the perfect chance to be a bit narcissistic AND accomplish a quick drop in to say hi.

The week has been the longest ever. I feel I say that way too often for you folks to take me seriously anymore, but really. So. Much. Tired. David's wrapping up the last week ever of his Master's, which has meant long days for him and consequently, long days for me. Also, it's meant he's taken our only vehicle daily, so I'm a bit stir crazy from being locked in with three under 5 year olds all week.

Now onto more about me.

When I Googled myself, I was happy to see there was at least one actual image of ME that showed up. Having a photography business as well as an Etsy shop with my name in the title typically means those are the first hits. This proved true as you'll see by the screen shot in a sec.

First off, here is the number one hit for me:



Obviously not me, but I did take this picture, so I consider it an extension of myself. It's a photograph of a little boy that I daily ran into in the main park in the center of town when I was in Nicaragua working on a photo project during college. 

And then there's this lovely screen shot of the top results.



(You can enlarge it if need be by clicking on it.)

I can claim connection to most of that top line. Not sure what's up with number 6… or the old man at the end of the line? And then, yeah, lots of weird hits in the next four lines. I promise I don't masquerade as an underground boxing champ or video game warrior princess. I cannot ride a horse. And I've never been to Italy.

And there you have it. My contribution to this week's Theme Thursday even though it's Friday.


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This post Google Yo'Self. first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 22 August 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

Currently {Vol. 2}

We got back into town late last night after a wonderful weekend in Pittsburgh seeing my parent's new residence, celebrating 50 years of my mama, and 23 years of my brother. Obviously I am now just resting and enjoying this lovely summer day.

Just kidding.

Like any mama can attest to, coming back from a vacation, no matter how long, is a test to see how fast you can dig yourself out from under the laundry piles. Is it just me or does it seem like when you're out of town, the family wears twice as many clothes?



Now that I have one load in the washer, some thrown in the dryer, and the rest on hanging racks outside, I am taking a moment to jot down some thoughts on what's happening Currently around here and enjoying a bowl of Trader Joe's french vanilla ice cream (it really is delish) topped with PB and chico chips. It's been awhile since I last linked up with Jenna at A Mama Collective, but it seems a fitting way to check in on this fine Monday.

Thinking about:: the minuity of our issues compared with the rest of the world. The more I read about the horrors facing the Iraqi Christians and other people being dehumanized by ISIS, the more I hug my little ones close. Jenna from Call Her Happy just put out an excellent post today with some ideas for ways you practically can help.



Thankful for:: a great weekend with my family. All 7 of my siblings made it back for my mama's party, along with my bro's fabulous fiancĂ©, my sweet Nana, my ever ridiculous aunt, and my cousin, who may be only 8 but can draw a fabulous Marauder's Map. 
The Party went off mostly without any problems, and even with some insane amounts of car problems (not our solo vehicle this round), there was still much fun and laughter to be had. Also to be noted, my 14 year old sister seriously has rapping skills.

The only phone capture from the Party: the dessert table.

Listening to:: it's a jazz day today. Was swaying to some Louis and Ella unnnnntil I remembered that this guy had an album of jazzy tunes.

Enjoying:: the sweet coos of my baby boy and his utter contentment with life. The smiles from his lil face, complete with dimples, make the moments complete. Just breathing them in.


Loving:: my older boys' new obsession with Star Wars. Although they've not yet seen the films, they have memorized the names of half the characters, including more obscure ones like Max Rebo. Imaginary Star Wars scenarios are constantly taking shape around me. Pretty sure David's and my nerdiness has fully been passed on. 

Looking forward to:: catching up on my favorite Belgian detective. 



The last season ever is airing now on PBS and is available next day online for free. Hoorah.  =)


What's going on with you these days?


A Mama Collective

Linking up with A Mama Collective


Want to follow my blog? It's easy - subscribe via the RSS or email links in the top righthand corner. 
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This post Currently {Vol. 2} first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 18 August 2014

Saturday, August 9, 2014

6 Years of Marriage and What It's Taught Us

Today marks 6 years of marriage celebrated between David and I. 6 years! Wow, it seems so crazy to me. I am pretty sure if anyone who's been married for say a quarter of a century or so read this, they are probably chuckling at me and thinking to themselves, "She doesn't even know." Still our six years have encapsulated so much beauty, growth, and transformation.

Last night I remarked to him that although in some ways it has gone pretty fast, it also already feels like forever. I then noted how much our lives have changed as this morning I instructed my 2 year old to go make his poop, so we could get dressed and started with our day. Marriage changes you, but in so many good ways as you leave your individuality behind and transform into one flesh.

We aren't the silly early 21 and 23 year old anymore. Yes, we are still just as nerdy (if not more so), yes, we still love to dance, and yes, our Faith holds us strong. Our marriage, however, has changed us in ways I hadn't really expected when I said "I do" 6 years ago. Lessons have been learned, I've been humbled and grown as a result, and as we've both let our individuality die, our one-ness has increased. If this is 6 years, I look forward to seeing what the next many decades can do.



So, obviously we don't know everything or even near to it, but last night David and I sat down and came up with 6 things we wanted to share that we have learned since our wedding day. We're still on the path towards holiness and obviously don't have these down pat, but we aim for our best.


Different isn't wrong, it's just different. Whether it be the way you fold your shirts, the way you pack for a vacation, or the way you deal with family snafus, both you and your spouse will enter the marriage with a set way of how you did things before. Then you have to determine how, in your household, things will be done. We're both pretty stubborn (I think I am a bit more so), and this is something we apply to many of our arguments in an attempt to remedy them before they get worse.

Silence isn't always golden. Talk it out. If you have a problem, address it. I tend to need to internalize my thoughts first, which David respects, but if it's held in too long, room is made for bitterness and anger. This doesn't mean you need to shout at one another, but discussion is key.

Love is a choice, and when we said "I do," we meant it. Daily you make this choice. It wasn't a one time deal, but rather something that you wake up each morning with the intention to love the other. You also must trust that your husband or wife means it. The vows you say you act out daily, and it is vital for the life of your marriage for you to trust that your spouse meant it and means it.

You don't have to leave the house to have a great date. This one is especially important A.K. (after kids). Money, time, scheduling, etc makes actual date nights out hard; however, that doesn't mean they have to end. We've had some great times together in our own house after putting the kiddos to bed. You can even order dinner out, light some candles, and play some jazz to make it more special.

Depending on what stage you're in, what love looks like will differ. In early days of our marriage, love often played out as holding hands and any other oozy-gooey type of romance you can imagine. Not that these things aren't good and don't happen from time to time, but you will find that over time actions like grabbing a damp washcloth for your vomiting other or getting up early with the starving children after a long night are the truest displays of love for that particular moment.

I still don't truly know my other, even after 6 years (but I've gotten a few glimpses). God created each human with such a beautiful soul, and marriage, like every vocation, helps to reveal that. To each other and to the world. After 6 years, there is still so much more to learn about each other, but those peeks into one another do happen. And they are a glorious vision of who we truly are.




Happy Anniversary, my love. As the song we danced our first dance to says, like a philosopher loves to know and a toddler loves a bubble bath, so do I love you.

Here's to many more!






Wedding Photography by Oscar Durand, www.oscardurand.com 

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This post 6 Years of Marriage and What It's Taught Us first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 9 August 2014

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Playlist for Those Long Days

So, today started out like those typical days. Awoke to the 2 year old poking me in the face a little later than I wanted to be up and at 'em, but still I would have enough time to make it to our 10 o'clock zoo trip.

And then…

The baby was woken up from his morning nap not once, but twice, by his older brothers.

Blaise decided yogurt sometimes called breakfast was good for his complexion.


Dominic stepped in some "soft, wet stuff that looks a little like salt" aka the innards of Blaise's nighttime diaper that Blaise decided needed a punt down the stairs. (Needless to say, my stairs that I rarely vacuum got disinfected today).

Get to zoo, and Dominic who's helping me buckle the back of the Beco gets his finger caught in the buckle. Commence screaming. Also, nothing like helping the 4 year old get his dominant hand out of the now closed buckle when it's on your back.

Only dumped diaper bag thrice at the zoo. Oh, and ran over the 2 year old as he leapt from the moving stroller.

Had a blast at the zoo and seeing friend, but of course by the time we got back to the car, Adrian was hungry. Again. Because it happens.

Nursing him in the car isn't bad except that it means in the backseat of my Accord, I usually end up with a wrestling match of sorts. Today was no different. 

I then calmly turned to remind my loud offspring to calm down. Who am I kidding? I swung around so fast to holler at them that I pulled several muscles in my abdomen that haven't been in the correct position since little man was born. Pain hit me hard enough I teared up. 

Finally we were homeward bound when I realized the gas tank was pretty much on the empty line. Our little alert ding and light have been broken since forever so I rarely notice until it's time.  By this time the younger two were passed out. Pulling into the gas station woke Adrian up, so he started screeching. I peek into the backseat only to notice unexplainable blood on Blaise's chin. I still have no clue where it came from - he had no cuts or scabs or anything anywhere.

Home we get. The plan was to quickly put the older two down for a rest, so I could have a little breather. But it had to get a little bit worse first, right? It always does.

So then the toilet overflowed lovely brownish tinted water ALL OVER the bathroom floor. Our landlady hasn't sealed the bathroom in a good decade or so; therefore, whatever sealant does exist is nil.  I quickly grabbed the closest bath towels in attempts to stop any water leaking into our coat closet below.

By this time, I plopped both boys in Dominic's single bed, promised them I'd let them up in an hour and a half give or take a bit, and got myself a beer.



I know all mamas have days like this. Thankfully they are only 24 hours long. And thankfully our children go to sleep eventually. Usually. 

Fellow mamas, I feel your pain. We all have these ridiculously long days where nothing seems to go right, and they're hard. You're not alone. And if you don't have these days, you're either lying or due for one soon. *Cue ominous music* Just kidding - I promise I don't wish these days on anyone, but I do want you to know that all mamas struggle to pull through on those long days. 

As I cannot provide each of you with a beer, I made the next best thing. A playlist of a bunch of music for those long days. So I present to you


Yup, my 4 year old gave my 2 year old, who doesn't even like peppers 8 of them,
out of which he promptly took a single bite of each and lined them up like so.





Enjoy.

Disclaimer - I don't think there is any foul, foul language, but some songs might not be something you let your young kids listen to. Mine have heard these, but I know all parents have different standards, so let this be your warning. 



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All rights reserved. ©Sarah G. Ortiz
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This post A Playlist for Those Long Days first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 7 August 2014


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Answer Me This: Windows, Zoos, and St. Maximilian Kolbe

I started this on Sunday, and here it is Tuesday night. I finally find myself in a quiet house with three sleeping boys. At the same time, which really is the miraculous part. The older two have been going to bed at 7:30ish because we find they then sleep until at least 7am and are a lot less grumpy. How bout that?!
Adrian, however, finds himself needing LOTS of mama cuddles in the evening hours, so typically every time I try to lay him down, he wakes up and complains. Life's hard when you're a 2 1/2 month baby that also happens to be one little chunker. I believe he is competing with Dwija's baby.

So, with this quiet moment in my life, I present to you a lil Tuesday evening Answer Me This.


1. When driving, are you more likely to listen to the radio, to CDs or an iPod, or nothing at all?

Typically the radio. Only when it starts playing ads, do I turn to CDs. As I never have a great selection in the car (being as my main source of music these days is Spotify at home), they're always my 2nd call.
My iPod is 6 years old and hasn't been updated in forever. I actually don't know where it is. So not that.
And nothing at all? Only if I have a migraine, which if that's the case, I should probably be in bed and not driving.


2. Do you prefer window or aisle?

Window, always window. The looking out and enjoying the view. The not being hit with drink carts, suitcases, and the like. The not being climbed over.

Adrian thoroughly enjoying his window seat.

On my plane flight to Texas last weekend I did experience that one time where I hate the window. I had an infant in my lap, and I was in the window seat. The guy in front of me put his seat all the way back. And the lady next to me was on the larger size, which I usually wouldn't mind except that her left leg and left arm were well into my seat area. I'm not claustrophobic, but I am about one step away, and this whole scenario was starting to make me feel smothered.


3. Do you fall asleep on your side, back, or stomach? What position are you in when you wake up?

Side. I love stomach sleeping, but nursing and being pregnant a fair amount of the past 5 years has taught me what my chiropractor was wishing for all along. I can't fall asleep easily on my back, but once I'm drowsy and in the stage of actually falling asleep, I sometimes can sleep that way. I very rarely wake up in the same spot I went to sleep in. You're thinking of my husband. Which could be construed weird.

My sweet boy, Blaise, takes after me, I must say. The kid is snugly as all get out but kinda painful to sleep in the same bed as.


4. When is the last time you attended a zoo, circus, carnival, county fair, or parade?

Zoo- 5 days
Circus - 17+ years
Carnival - 5+ years
County Fair - 2 years
Parade - last St. Patrick's day, so 4.5 months?

Is it sad that I vividly remember each one? So many good things have happened at each though. The Zoo is a frequent haunt of our family's because the membership is cheap, it's a great way to get exercise year round (they salt like no one's business when it is the Arctic months), and there's animals and who doesn't like animals?

Couldn't find a picture of us AT the zoo, so here we are going to the zoo.

Fairs and carnivals are always fun; however, I am a lover of rides, and my husband, although a great fan of rides, isn't convinced that the set up/take down kind of rides are actually engineered to be safe, so yeah.We don't go to many carnivals.

Parades totally a toss up (I always want to type 'throw up' there, and then I do, and think about it…). Dominic was scared of the loud honking the fire trucks make and only recently has he been able to move past it. Thus making this last parade we attended the first we actually enjoyed as a family.


5. Do you have a favorite quote or inspirational saying?

Many, oh so many. I am presently kinda in love with this one:
"Let us remember that love lives through sacrifice and is nourished by giving. Let's remember that not everything which is good and beautiful pertains to genuine, essential love, because even without those other things love can be present, indeed a perfected love. Without sacrifice there is no love. Sacrifice the senses, taste, hearing, and above all, the mind and the will in holy obedience. I wish for you and for myself the best appreciation of sacrifice which is the unconditional willingness to sacrifice" (Letter of S. Maximilian to Fr. Konstanty)
Yup.

6. What's the best thing about summer?

Barefeet. Summer is typically my least favorite time of year. Even here in western NY we usually get some fierce temps. This summer I am going to put as being "abnormal" in the books. We've only had a few super hot days here and there, so overall I have been able to enjoy it.

Every other year, I'm the one counting down the days until summer ends. Perhaps when my children are old enough to warrant a membership to a local pool it will be more fun?


And that makes it a wrap for this humid Tuesday night. (In case you were interested, humidity is the worst thing about summer.)

G'night!





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This post Answer Me this: Windows, Zoos, and St. Maximilian Kolbe first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 5 August 2014


Friday, August 1, 2014

7 PostPartum Mama Necessities

I just wrapped up my 2nd month of having a newborn for the 3rd time a week and a half ago and figured that was time enough for me to come up with a few of my favorite things to share with you. Things that I've found to be super helpful in this post birth, chaotic sweet and meaningful time with your baby. I can't guarantee that these items/services will make your life any kind of breezy, but hopefully they will make it a little bit smoother.



Here are 7 Mama Products that are a must need, at least in my book, for those postpartum weeks/months:


1.
Water Bottle

Imagine yourself in a desert, walking and walking. That's pretty much how I feel whenever I'm in that postpartum stage. Between hormones and nursing, I'm a dehydrated mess. I personally purchased and LOVE my Glass Water Bottle by Lifefactory, but really any vessel you can keep nearby with h2o in it will do. Especially if you are nursing, you will need to stay super, super hydrated, but no matter what, you'll probably be thirsty.


2.

Comfy Clothes

A given. Even though your past your pregnancy, you've entered into what some might call the "4th trimester." Your body is in recovery mode, and feeling comfortable is a must. You (sadly) don't magically shrink to your pre-pregnancy size, so make sure you're thinking at least a size or two bigger than usual.
I found this go round that my favorite pair of pants in the first few weeks post partum was actually a pair of Gap maternity jeggings similar to these. Jeggings are definitely not usually my thing, but man, those pants were comfortable, and I didn't feel like I was wearing PJs all the time. There's a time and place for loungewear, but when you want to feel put together, I recommend finding a pair of still comfortable but a bit more fashionable pants.


3.


Bamboobies (or some kind of bra pad)

I've tried several different companies reusable nursing pads, and these are by far my favorite. I am a leaker. A serious leaker. Most nursing mamas will find themselves leaking in the first 6 weeks, so you might only need a few sets of pads, and reusable will not only save you money, but it will also help lower waste. Bamboobies are super thin and not noticeably lumpy under your shirt, and with the bamboo layers inside, they absorb a lot more than other brands. I swear by both the regular thin pairs and their overnight options.

It's World Breastfeeding Week this week, so there are going to be many articles and recommendations out there from way more informed and authoritative figures. Also, check out my 5 Favorite Breastfeeding Products from last year's WBF.


4.
Pad Pads

Annnnd you'll leak out the other end. It's totally dependent on you and your body and how it heals, but for some extent of time, you'll be pretty consistently bleeding. Enter pads. I've been using reusable, washable pads for postpartum and my period for right around three years. They're so much more comfortable, cost-effective, less stinky, and are obviously eco-friendly.
I have again tried several different brands, and thus far my favorite favorites are from Party in my Pants - they even have a free sample offer to try them out at the cost of shipping only.


5.


Drive to the store to pick up the diaper rash cream you're almost out of? Ain't nobody got time for dat. Amazon's free 2 day shipping, included in their Prime membership, is totally worth it. It saves me many a trip to a store, where I would only be picking up 1 item, if they even have it.
Also the many movies and TV shows included in the Instant watch will give you something to do in the many hours you find yourself sitting and feeding your little one.
Where else can you get Nutella shipped to your house and the 8+ hour Pride and Prejudice streaming to your house as perks of a service?


6.



Coconut Oil might just be some magical elixir (that sometimes solidifies depending on the temps). Really, though, you can use it for practically anything. Sore and cracked nipples, chapped lips, stretch marks, rub it on. You can also use as a 2-in-1 makeup remover and skin moisturizer. Add a tablespoon or two to your diet daily to up your breastmilk supply.
For the baby it's safe and works as a bum protectant (I've found it works better to prevent rash rather than heal them), moisturizer for cradle cap and baby acne, a low SPF sunscreen, and even to clear up a sinus cold by rubbing around baby's nose. Yup, pretty much magical.


7.


A pair of Pearl Earrings

Technically these might not fall under "necessity"; however, after giving birth, there are many days after being puked on, pooped on, and the like, you just feel sort of grungy. These are my personal pick-me-up item. It may have been 4 days since my last shower, but at least I've got something pretty in my ears. Find your thing that makes you remember that you're beautiful and wear it.



And always, always remember: Life comes in stages. This stage doesn't last forever. My oldest is starting kindergarten this fall, and seriously, it does feel like he was born just a few months ago. Time does miraculously move faster once you have kids. You don't have to love the long sleepless nights or everlasting periods of crying and cranky babes, but as much as you can, try to have perspective. That little person will be walking, then reading, then driving faster than you know it.


What might you add to this list? What did you find helpful or necessary during your recovery from childbirth?


Friday is on its way out, but I do have 7 things, so I might as well link up with Jen with:





Want to follow my blog? It's easy - subscribe via the RSS or email links in the top righthand corner. 
You can also follow me on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.
All rights reserved. ©Sarah G. Ortiz
::This blog post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. 
By clicking through to make a purchase, you help to financially support TO+M::

This post 7 PostPartum Mama Necessities first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 1 August 2014

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