8 Ways to keep Toddler Busy while Nursing 

 

8 Ways to keep Toddler Busy while Nursing - Nursing a newborn means a lot of sitting quietly, but what about your toddler how do you keep them busy. Try these 8 Ways to keep Toddler Busy while Nursing

Nursing I found was one of the hardest things to do on my own with two kids.  Keeping toddler occupied and quiet while you try to feed baby quietly and get them to sleep is a big challenge.  It can be done, but honestly needs a lot of planning and organization.  Try these 8 Ways to keep Toddler Busy while Nursing.

One of the big problems my toddler had was that she was left out and needed attention too.  The best activities were things we could do together WHILE I was breastfeeding so she was included but quiet.  The first few weeks I end up living on the couch with a sleeping baby to my breast.  But my daughter misses me too, so I soon learned she needed activities too!!  Please enjoy these 8 Ways to keep Toddler Busy while Nursing, great for any new mom, or ideas on presents to get a mom to be of two or a big sibling gift.

8 Ways to keep Toddler Busy while Nursing - Nursing a newborn means a lot of sitting quietly, but what about your toddler how do you keep them busy. Try these 8 Ways to keep Toddler Busy while Nursing

Activities you can do with your toddler are:

If your toddler is anything like mine be prepared before sitting down.  Sometimes that means baby has to fuss for five minute while you grab stuff, but, it’s better than starting all over again and having a crankynewborn.  Are you potty training? If toddler is potty trained make them go potty.  Even if they claim they don’t have too, do it anyway.  We had a few accidents as toddler always had to pee while feeding and I couldn’t always get her there in time.

  • Flash cards – shapes, colours, numbers, animals, alphabets, etc. go over them together.
  • Make busy books & bags so they have activities to do quietly.
  • Colouring – get a little tray so they can do it next to you.
  • Stickers – get the big stickers books, little sticker books or just regular stickers to put on paper.
  • Shape puzzles.
  • TV – I know not ideal right? Well, you have a newborn and they have needs too.  If putting toddler in front of the TV can buy you some quiet time to put baby down for their nap and nursing then that’s what you have to do.  You can always pick educational shows if it bugs you, but seriously sometimes it is the only option and that’s ok.  It won’t last forever, toddler needs a treat too and you need a break.
  • Get them a drink and snack.  Preferably stuff that won’t make a mess when they spill it like water (not juice that stuff is so sticky when they leave it to leak on the floor) and raisins or crackers (not apple sauce, yogurt or anything with peanut butter).  Pouches are great healthy snacks too, with fruit or yogurt.
  • Snuggle!  Snuggle those two babies close together, it is hard now and not easy, but it won’t last long and they will be big sooner than you know it.  You won’t always be able to cuddle with two babies together so take advantage while they are small and cooperate!

The NUMBER ONE activity?

  • Basket of books: this was the number one quiet activity to do while nursing.  Have special books they have not really read before so they are more interesting.  If you have friends or relatives close by get them to do a library run every week or two for you to get some new books.  Turning the page can take some maneuvering, but get toddler to help.  It’s a great way to keep them included and work on their fine motor skills. If you have an iPad, tablet, smart phone, kindle etc., use e-books, easier to hold and there are an abundance out there.

This too shall pass

Having two little ones is challenging, you will not always be able to handle it easily, but you will figure it out and get in your groove. It will pass and things will get easier. As kids get older things get easier too!

 

What are your tips to survive nursing a newborn and keeping your toddler from wrecking the house and waking up baby?

8 Ways to keep Toddler Busy while Nursing - Nursing a newborn means a lot of sitting quietly, but what about your toddler how do you keep them busy. Try these 8 Ways to keep Toddler Busy while Nursing

 

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My Four Favourite Baby Carrier’s plus a Giveaway

My Four Favourite Baby Carrier's plus a Giveaway - Baby wearing is amazing! Having the best baby sling or baby carrier is important. Here are my top four favourite baby carriers plus a giveaway!

I am frequently asked what kind of carriers I like and which I recommend.   I have been thinking and working on My Four Favourite Baby Carrier’s for a year to be honest.  I want to preface this by saying that carriers are like bra’s, very personal to shop for.  Each carrier fits each woman differently, and they also fit the baby’s differently too.  I firmly believe you need to try out a lot of carriers to find the one that fits you best.

I have a pinched sciatic nerve, which gives me a lot of back trouble, I was not sure I would be able to babywear at all.  I started with some of the cheap and free ones (Infantino stretchy and soft structure, Seven Slings free pocket ones) and found even with a newborn they hurt my back and were not that comfortable.  It did not take me long to realize I needed a better carrier.  My local baby store lets you try out carriers (for free!) for a few days and I found it really helpful.  I tried out four carriers before I found one that didn’t hurt my back.  I found that the carriers with the crossed straps in the back were the easiest on my back.

Are you looking for the best baby sling?  There are tons of amazing ones out there, but I am going to introduce you to My Four Favourite Baby Carrier’s plus a Giveaway at the bottom of the post so stick around!

My Four Favourite Baby Carrier's plus a Giveaway - Baby wearing is amazing! Having the best baby sling or baby carrier is important. Here are my top four favourite baby carriers plus a giveaway!

Please ensure you are practicing safe baby wearing, here is a great site to remind you of some important safety rules while baby wearing.

My Four Favourite Baby Carriers

Wrapsody Water WrapWrapsody Water Wrap

Honestly, I cannot stress my love of this wrap enough.  I use it so much and for so many things!  Bee was not very tolerant of being on her own for long, even while I showered.  I heard of a wrap I could wear in the shower so she could shower with me.  I literally went out the next day to buy it.  This was a life changer!  I could have nice long showers with a baby all happy and close on me and shower every day.

I wear this wrap a lot in the water while camping.  It is REALLY hot in a tent and can be near impossible for baby to sleep.  I put baby in the carrier, put a hat on their head to protect and shade from the sun then go to the beach and hang out in the water for an hour so they can sleep in cool comfort.  It works amazing!  On vacation this summer this was Po’s main way of napping during the day, my sister would watch Bee playing in the sand and I chatted with friends and enjoyed the water.

I also used it a lot as a newborn stretchy wrap (like a Moby, Baby K’tan, or Maman Kangaroo).  I started wearing Po when he was a few days old in my Wrapsody.  It is super comfortable and worked so well for him to be snuggled up against me.

Hopefully I have convinced you of how awesome this wrap is!  You can use it as a newborn stretchy wrap, lightweight wrap easily stashed in your diaper bag, and for in the water for showering or hanging out at the beach.

Beco SoleilBeco Soleil

This is my favourite soft-structured carrier.  I prefer to wear it with the straps crossed, but I can wear it regular in the front or as a back carry too.

Po napped in here in a front carry for the first 6 months of his life while I worked.  It was super comfy for me and a lot cooler than a stretchy wrap for him (he was a hot baby) and gave me lots of room to get my arms around him to type.

I also use this while running errands as it is super easy to put on and put him in, I also used it for Salsa Babies (baby wearing Latin dancing), while cooking/baking, going for walks, watching Bee at the park, pretty much anywhere.

When Bee got older I loved having her in a back carry.  I had SPD while I was pregnant so I couldn’t carry Bee without having excruciating pain in my pelvis.   Not all stores have carts kids can ride in and using a stroller wasn’t always an option so a carrier worked great.  She was also happy being up high and seeing everything.  It was also much safer in parking lots, I could not chase after a toddler, she was a lot faster than I was and I was worried about her safety so being in a carrier made me more comfortable and her out of harms way.

Toddler TulaToddler Tula

When I had Po my hubby got me a Toddler Tula!  I was so excited!  I could tandem wear them both, which I do not do often as they are heavy.  I found the Beco Soleil was a little small on Bee at this stage so this was much comfier on both of us.

My sister tends to wear Bee in the Tula more than I do as when we go somewhere I wear Po while she wears Bee.  It makes going to festivals and events so much more convenient.  Although she can walk, sometimes she is tired and with large crowds we prefer to baby wear them both and zip through places, not to mention we don’t have to worry about escalators, elevators, rocky slopes, or tight quarters.

Want to find an awesome #babycarrier, love #babywearing, here are my top four plus a #giveaway Click To Tweet

 

Tula carrierTula

My final favourite carrier is the Standard Tula.  I didn’t get to wear this for long.  I had an amazing adventure with my son’s birth group in which we shared a Tula and it got shipped across Canada so everyone had a chance to wear their December 2014 baby in it.  You can check out my story on it here.  This is one of the most well-known brands and most popular so our group went with this Tula as the baby carrier, I only had it for two weeks (insert crying here) but I fell in love with the Tula and seriously debated getting a new pretty Tula in a fun print to enjoy with my son too.  It is similar to other soft-structure carriers too but super fun!

Have you considered baby-wearing? Here is a great site to check out on WHY you should babywear and how awesome it is.

Giveaway Time

I am super excited to announce I am doing a giveaway for a $50 USD gift card.  You can enter in the giveaway below, may the odds be ever in your favour!  We will be contacting the winner after the contest is over.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I love this baby wearing quote on Pinterest, “Food Spoils. Babies don’t. Hold her. Wear her. Breathe her in. Keep her close.  It goes too fast.”  You can never spoil a baby by loving and baby wearing them!

 

This giveaway is a partnership with Nakturnal, with a prize of a gift certificate to Diapers(dot)com

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My Four Favourite Baby Carrier's plus a Giveaway - Baby wearing is amazing! Having the best baby sling or baby carrier is important. Here are my top four favourite baby carriers plus a giveaway!

Getting your Freedom Back as a Mom

Getting Your freedom back as a mom - ig

This past week I had the amazing experience to go camping with my two wonderful children (3 and 1.5 years old), my sister, friends, and other acquaintances at an awesome festival we visit each year.  It is an amazing experience, the only place I go where I can really feel the “village” still has an effect.  Everyone helps to look after each other’s kids (even the child-less adults are moms for the week), we don’t wear shoes and get to run wild in nature hearing bands, attending workshops,  doing crafts at Munchkinland for the kids, swimming daily, and playing at the park.

I have been attending this festival every year for about eight or nine years.  I did it last year with a 2 year old and seven month old baby, and honestly it was hell.  Trying to juggle the two of them (even with help) was awful.  I was an emotional wreak and broke down more than once.  Trying to get the two of them to cooperate for naps and bedtime was just awful, after last year where it was seriously challenging and hard I knew no matter what this year could not be as bad!

This year was a JOY!  My children were amazing!  My daughter was at the age where she could be independent and play on her own while I put her brother down for a nap.  My son LOVED exploring nature and had a blast studying plants and wandering around enjoying his freedom.  They visited friends at neighbouring campsites and I didn’t even have to worry as it was only 10 feet away!

Last year I felt so tied down, I couldn’t attend any workshops, go to any of the nightlife activity since I had to be at the tent with the kids, and my emotions were so raw from trying to juggle a baby and a cranky toddler.  I was thrilled with how different this year was.  Yes they are still children and have their moments, but it was great to see everyone playing nicely (for the most part!) together, both kids had friends their age there from some of my BFF’s so we had two 3-year-olds, 2 1.5-year-olds and other kids around those ages who popped in and out regularly to play.  That combined with the five adults to look after them and back each other up was great.

13872712_10155161292169478_4642200756022411313_nAlthough I still couldn’t make it to any workshops or nightlife this year, I didn’t mind as much, I still got to leave the site with the kids and check out the vendors, and the swimming, that is what gave me my freedom back.  Moms, have you heard of a PUDDLE JUMPER??  It is a LIFESAVER!  I used to have to hold my kids in the water, neither are big enough to swim on their own, then we discovered the puddle jumper, and my life has changed forever.

 

I always loved to swim, I was a fish and loved to be underwater all the time, with kids, you can’t really do that, I was really limited since I am always with my kids, and although I still loved swimming and went in the water, I mostly stayed at waist height playing with the kids.

You give up so much as a mom, get your #freedomback! Click To Tweet

13659164_10155161293509478_3227132755319959401_nFast forward back to the camping festival, with both kids in puddle jumpers, I got to SWIM!!  We swam out to the floating dock every day, my kids love to swim and I was thrilled they would go on an adventure with me to the floating dock.  In case you are panicking, there was at least one adult per kid and we were always close to the kids swimming, even in their pudde jumpers.  Once at the floating dock we all climbed on board, my daughter was content to sit on the dock and count for people jumping off, but my son (18 month old) LOVED to jump off the floating dock, sometimes into my arms sometimes nowhere near me.  It was amazing.  I loved to see my kids have so much fun and for me, I got a little freedom back this week.  It may not seem like much, but to someone who loves swimming (and doing anything really on yor own) once you have kids, you realize you have to give up stuff you never even considered before (like going swimming underwater with no child in your arms).  If there is a way to give you back some of your freedom easily, then go for it!

For me it was a simple puddle jumper (you can buy it at Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire, Amazon, or we got one free from our local buy nothing group) that helped me get some freedom back.  Now my kids could swim WITH me instead of on me, so we were all comfortable going deeper and could do so safely.

Maybe next year I will make it to a workshop, maybe I will get to swim to the dock alone, maybe I can hit up a concert or fire pit and dancing or other night life, for now I am content to be near my kids and satisfied they are safe and happy, but when they are ready for more independence I cannot wait to get back some of mine!

 

What is one thing you didn’t expect you would have to give up when you became a parent.  Comment below!

Please do not forget to share this post with others!

Getting Your freedom back as a mom - pt

 

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Epic Water Play Summer Edition

Epic water play summer - Summertime is the perfect time to play outside and enjoy some water play!  Here are some great (free or cheap) ideas to keep the kids busy playing.

As you can tell if you read my winter edition epic water play post, I am a big fan of water play.  It is a  great way to keep kids busy, help them practice different motor skills like pouring and scooping and also just foster their creativity and imagination by playing different things with the water.  You can really spark their imagination when you add in different toys, kitchen utensils, etc. so they can have a chance to make believe what they think it should be used for.

Epic water play summer - Summertime is the perfect time to play outside and enjoy some water play!  Here are some great (free or cheap) ideas to keep the kids busy playing.

Here is my epic water play summer addition:

I think that setting up your outdoor play area is an essential part of summer survival regardless of what age your children are.  Summertime is the perfect chance to be outside and play.  You don’t necessarily need to have a lot of toys out there, but you need to be organized with activities and ideas of things that they should do out there to keep them busy.

I’m going on my third summer with outdoor play being a very important part of our summer plans.  Having a perfectly set up deck has always been essential for me.  Two summers ago I had a toddler and I was pregnant with my second child.  I had a lot of dizziness in my first and even into my second trimester, incredible vertigo where standing up made me so dizzy it was like I was drunk.  I wasn’t even safe to drive most of the time and trying to keep up with the busy active toddler was really difficult as all I want to do was lie on the couch and not move, as I am sure many people can attest to in their pregnancy.  I learned early on that summer how essential it was to keep my daughter busy outside while giving me a place where I could sit and watch her without having to move too much because moving made me dizzy.

I am sure it does not need to be said but you need to be cautious and ensure your child’s skin safety before you go outside to begin with.  When we go out I know we will be outside for a bit, so I try to put sunscreen on, then rash guard bathing suits with long sleeves so we can play outside for hours and not worry as much about getting burned.  None of us go anywhere without our water bottles either. I also try to set up the activities in the shade so they are not in the direct sun.

Looking for some fun #waterplay activities to keep your kiddos busy? Look no further! Click To Tweet

Toys I found useful for various activities in our backyard:

  • Little kids pools
  • Water table
  • Big swing set and slide
  • Toddler-size slide and climbing structure
  • Sports equipment (t-ball, foot ball, baseball, soccer ball, etc.)
  • Ride-on toys
  • Push toys
  • Buckets, cups, of various sizes
  • Random water or bath toys
  • Nets (like on a stick from the dollar store for catching stuff)
  • Bubble wands and solution

Water table

The water table may seem extravagant but for three years it has been a big part of keeping my kids busy outside.  My kids just love playing in the water.  Even though my son was only six months last summer, he loved the water table.  He figured out how to stand up and hold onto it and he could still play with it by “furniture cruising” around the ends of the table.
As with indoor water play, any kind of  waterplay is all about the set up.  If you can be really organized a few days ahead of time that is even better.  If you know the weather is going to be really really hot this is the perfect time to get organized for your waterplay battles.  Take some old yogurt containers and freeze some plastic animals inside.  I went to  the dollar store and bought a whole bunch of animals specifically for this purpose. I freeze the animals in the bottom of the containers of water (you can add food colouring for fun if you want) then when it’s time for us to actually go outside and play I put the frozen containers in some hot water so that it melts a little and I could get the ice out of the container.  I put all the frozen blocks of ice in their table and they can practice trying to get them out with hot water and tools or they can just practice letting it float around the table until the animals float free.  Either way they love the addition of animals throughout their water play to play with as well.

Another idea is to take some ice cubes and color them with food coloring before you freeze them, this will help the water get a dozen different colors.  They can also practice mixing different color ice cubes together and see what color it forms.  Random kitchen utensils also make a lot of fun, as do colanders, whisks (for some reason ??),  measuring spoons and cups.

Water table play

We have water toys dedicated for outdoor play to keep it fresh. I would just let them play for hours out there and they would have a blast. I even set up the blowup pool with cold water and the water table with hot water so they can experience the difference between temperatures. I would fill up parts of the water table with soapy water so they can practice giving animals a bath.  It is also a great way to get them to clean up their own toys.  Sponges are a lot of fun in the water table to see how much it absorbs and try squeezing it out.

All-around water tables are a great way to keep your kids busy in the summertime, especially when they are getting Squirrley towards the witching hour waiting for daddy to come home from work.  This is the best time to stick them in the water outside and have them play for a bit.

water bubble pool

I even fill up the kiddy pool with bubble bath and the kids can have a bath while playing in the pool!  Two activities in one!  We eat most of or meals outside in the summer too and before you know it you have been outside for about four hours enjoying the sun and making it so the fresh air will help them have a nice deep sleep that night.

Water kiddie pool

Some ways to keep the entertainment fresh with a kiddie pool:

  • Using a net scoop up plastic toys, or play fish.
  • Fill up watering cans and water the garden.
  • Scoop up water in cups and pots and pour it into a bucket/water table/etc.
  • Fill up with bubbles and use as a bath time.
  • Have the kids fill up the pool with the hose, it’s great practice aiming.
  • Plastic boats, squirt guns, tons of possibilities for play!

What is your favourite way to keep the kids busy outside?  What activities do you like to use to keep the kids busy?

Epic Water Play Winter Edition - IG

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Epic water play summer - Summertime is the perfect time to play outside and enjoy some water play!  Here are some great (free or cheap) ideas to keep the kids busy playing.

 

Product Review – Duo Diary: A wellness journal for baby and caregiver

Duo Diary Review - IG

I am super excited to be reviewing this cool journal called Duo Diary.  It is a great journal that both mom and baby can use to help them keep track of their daily needs.

 

I was approached to review this really cool product called the Duo Diary.  Maybe I am just old-fashioned but I still love to write things down and find it easier to view in a journal.  After baby is born it is just easier to write things down in a book so everyone can see it, dad can write things down and keep notes too, as well as baby sitters, and it is easy to show to your midwife or doctor during checkups to see how newborn baby is doing.

 

I have had a lot of friends suffer from depression pre-baby, PPD (post-partum depression) with baby, as well as anxiety post-baby, which can be quite severe.  Trying to battle depression, or any of these illnesses is awful, especially with a new baby.  It can be so hard to function, your care and well-being goes down the toilet.  You focus all your energy on keeping this new lttle person you created safe, fed, dry, and preferably happy  (aka not cying), if you have older children too……. well…. life is not going to be easy for quite some time for you.

Duo Diary Review - TW

When I first heard about this journal all I could think about was how AMAZING I would be for a mom suffering from PPD (or any of the above anxiety, depression, etc. I will lump it together as PPD for this post to make it easier than writing it out each time) Mom can easily use this journal, and even dad can help her fill stuff in if she is having a hard time with it, to help her track of her needs as well, making it easier to see what is missing and how badly it needs to become a priority.  Dad can look at the journal and see how mom is doing today too, has she only had 2 hours sleep?  Send her for a nap!  Not enough food?  Make her a healthy snack to munch on while being a human milk machine.  Did she get any exercise?  Maybe suggest a walk around the block?  And water, well I think anyone around a breastfeeding mom will make them forever grateful if they just always fill up her water bottle or bring a glass of water when she is nursing, nursing makes you super thirsty and you drink a massive amount of water, keeping her water full (whether with PPD or not) is an incredibly thoughtful and practical thing to do.

 

This journal has a grid every day to help mom keep track of her food intake, sleep (or lack thereof!), exercise, and water intake.  Plus times for each entry.  There is also a blank section at the bottom for additional notes.  I would probably note  (or ask mom to make note of) when she gets to have a shower so anyone supporting mom can ensure she gets a shower as often as possible.  I know some people with depresson used little happy/sad stickers to keep track of their moods and you could easily put a sticker on the sheet to help mom track her mood as well.  For the first few days after birth it would also help track her painkillers (well can we even CALL Advil and Tylenol post-partum painkillers?) and any anti-depressants they are taking or other medications they may need to track.

 

On to baby, the reason I am sure this journal was primarily made, everyone has to keep track of baby stuff when they have a newborn.  The midwife or doctor will ask you almost daily for the first week how much baby is sleeping, are they feeding (whether breast or bottle), how many wet or soiled diapers they have a day, etc. You can track all this in your journal, plus a blank note section to calculate any extras you need.  I had issues nursing my daughter and had to keep track of whether she fell asleep at the breast, if I ended up using a nipple shield, etc.  This would have been a great spot to track our use of the shield and progress at getting her back on the nipple afterwards.  How does the umbilical stump look?  When did it fall off?  Are the poops still meconium or have they moved to the mustard seed kind yet? Any mini milestones?  All information you can track in your journal and information the doctor or midwife will need to know.

 

I had a 21-month-old when I had my second son, appointments with my midwife where chaotic to say the least.  Being able to just hand her this journal so she could see for herself exactly how we were doing would have made both our lives much easier.  Also, any question’s I had that came up I could write in the journal to remember to ask her next time we talked would have been great as well.

 

You get the picture, this is a really cool tool that can make a new mom (or a second time new mom’s) life much easier, keeps everything in the same place, helps dad understand what’s going on and any other caregivers supplying back-up to mom, and a BIG help to anyone suffering from PPD to make their life easier to track their symptoms and help ensure they are taking care of themselves too.

 

 

If you would like to buy this super useful journal  for yourself (not just for newborns!) or as a gift for an expecting mom in the future (especially if you know they have suffered with anxiety or depression before, make it easier from the start!), check out HERE where you can buy it.  I even have a coupon code FAIRIES10 to use at checkout and get 10% off (plus they are currently running a summer sale, 10% off in addition to the sale price).

Follow on Facebook or  Twitter or Instagram: @duodiaryinsta

Breastfeeding Caddy

A gift for a pregnant friend: a breastfeeding caddy!  All things to help her while breastfeeding, a receiving blanket, nursing pads, newborn diapers, diaper cream, nipple cream, stretch mark cream, and a book and activity book to keep her toddler busy while she is nursing.  All held together perfectly in Thirty-One’s Double Duty Caddy and of course featuring the Duo Diary so mom and baby can track their habits easily.

Duo Diary Review - PT

If you were going to use a journal after baby, what would you want to be tracking?

 

DISCLAIMER:  This is a sponsored post, I received compensation for sharing my opinion on this cool product.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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Travelling Tula

The Travelling Tula - What an amazing journey we had with the Travelling Tula! Check out our journey and tips on having a Travelling Tula in your group.

I am so lucky to have an amazing birth group with my son.  The women are all so supportive and have grown so close.  A bunch of us got together and each pitched in some money and bought a Tula soft-structured baby carrier together.

For the past year I have seen the posts and pictures as the Tula started off in British Columbia with the mama’s and babies there and slowly made its way across Canada.  Unfortunately for me I was the second last one to get the Tula but finally my time came!!  I proudly took the Tula to our local Animal Farm to carry my 16-month-old, shopping at an outdoor mall, and he napped in there a few times for grocery shopping.  It felt amazing each time I put it on.

This carrier was filled with so much love and I could honestly feel it while wearing it, the Tula went to 24 mama’s and baby’s, 6 provinces, and lots of events ad attractions across Canada: the worlds largest fly fishing rod in Houston, BC, a light up festival in Leithbridge for Christmas, Valley View farms in Ottawa, Bluewater Bridge  in Sarnia, watching older siblings practice at hockey rinks, tons of shopping trips, walks around local neighbourhoods, a Halloween costume party, and lots more.

Watching the #TravellingTula was an amazing experience & so much fun! Click To Tweet

If you have a birth group and are close I strongly recommend this.  We all signed a waiver on care and damage and each pitched in money, which covered the carrier itself and also helped cover the shipping costs between everyone.  We all voted on which design we wanted to get.  One mama was in charge of funds and we just sent her a copy of the receipt to be reimbursed each time it was shipped to the next mama,  we got the insurance each time for added protection.   We would get the Tula for two weeks then pass it on to the next mama.

One mama (who has her own business selling them) even made a matching chewlery accessory for the carrier so the babes could enjoy chewing as they snuggled.  My son liked to play with it so it did the trick.  It was super cute to have a little accessory to go with the carrier and help out all the poor little teething babies.

I will add, we did the draw this week and the Tula is on it’s way to it’s new forever home with a lucky mama (not me unfortunately!).  We decided to donate the money to a local shelter near our group’s treasurer to help with baby supplies.  There wasn’t much left but it was something!

Travelling Tula Mamas & Babies - What an amazing journey we had with the Travelling Tula! Check out our journey and tips on having a Travelling Tula in your group.

If you are thinking about doing this with your birth group (or another group) I strongly recommend it.  I have some tips below to consider and discuss with your group to ensure you are all on the same page.

  • Decide on the type of carrier off the bat.
  • To figure out the cost decide on the carrier and find out the total cost of it (including tax and shipping).
  • Get confirmation from everyone who wants to participate.
  • Figure out shipping costs between everyone.
  • Assign or get a volunteer to handle  the funds.  This is a big responsibility as they collect it from everyone and also reimburse shipping costs as you go.
  • Get your total from shipping costs and the carrier and divide it by participants, that’s your magic number everyone has to pay.
  • Decide on a set of rules, do you wash it after each transfer, how do you wash it, no sick baby’s or food in carrier, no smoking by the carrier etc.  Pretty much ensure everyone has a good idea on etiquette around the carrier so no one has an asthma attack or gets sick from someone else’s germs.
  • Decide on how long everyone gets to keep the carrier for.
  • We didn’t do this, but I recommend writing up the rules and including it with the carrier, I blame my lack of sleep but I thought we got it for two weeks and not one and accidentally kept it longer than my turn 🙁  By the time I got it months and months later I had forgotten everything, and I am sure others would too so a quick guide to remind people is always a safe thing to do.
  • Decide what happens to the carrier at the end and the remaining money.  Having people know what they are signing up for is important.
  • Finally everyone can vote on their favourite carrier!!  This made it super fun as everyone got a say.  We chose a travel-style one (based on a voting process) which was perfect for the travelling Tula.

I have a Toddler Tula and a Becco Soleil so this was my first time using a standard Tula and I LOVED it.  It was a great chance to try out a different carrier, I am not in the market for a new carrier unfortunately, but if I was, I would get a Tula, I really liked it and it was super comfortable.

The Travelling Tula - What an amazing journey we had with the Travelling Tula! Check out our journey and tips on having a Travelling Tula in your group.

It is so amazing to know that this carrier has been used by 24 women and babies in my birth group. I love cuddling my son in here and knowing this carrier is full of love from so many of my fellow mama’s loving and snuggling their babies in here too.  The Tula has had a fabulous journey across Canada and it was such a fun thing to do with my fellow birth group mom’s, seeing the places it went and the pictures taken.  A big thank you to a certain few from my group for all their hard work organizing this journey, you guys were awesome and made it a great experience!

DISCLAIMER:  None of this was my idea, the amazing ladies in my group came up with it and the rules and facilitated it, I am just sharing our journey as I thought it was so much fun and want to share it so others can have the same experience.

The Travelling Tula - What an amazing journey we had with the Travelling Tula! Check out our journey and tips on having a Travelling Tula in your group.

Would you ever consider doing something like this with your birth group or another group of friends?

The #travellingtula with my #birthgroup was so much fun #babywearing #tula Click To Tweet

Please share our journey to motivate other groups to do it too.  It is such an amazing experience I really want others to learn more about it so they can try it out too.

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Epic Water Play: Winter Edition 

Winter Water Play 3Water play is such an easy and fun activity to do with your kids.  Even better it is also very time-consuming and can keep them busy for a very, very long time, giving you enough time to drink coffee while it’s still hot or check your email or just sit down.  Playing with water is such a great activity for kids.  It gives them experience touching different textures, pouring, scooping and just using their imagination.  When you add in another texture like snow, it gives them a very different sensory experience.  They can experiment with the difference in temperature between the warm water and the cold snow.  They can feel how different it is with the snow being more like a solid than a liquid and how the snow melts when it gets too warm, usually once having poured water on it.

 

In my house we usually do epic water play at least once every week or two.  The kids love the winter addition of playing in the snow inside.  They have a lot of fun and fortunately where we are, we either have tons of snow or no snow, it’s either warm or freezing.  When it feels like -40 going outside to play with both kids is not always an option.

With our epic water play battles it doesn’t matter what the weather is like outside we can always play inside.

Epic Water Play Winter Edition - Sensory water play is the key to keeping your kids busy, thus giving you time for a coffee! Try this epic water play winter edition to entertain them.

Materials needed:

  • Every towel in the house and a large blanket.
  • As many big bowls, measuring cups, wooden spoons, and other random kitchen utensils you can think of.
  • A big tub or bucket full of snow, sometimes I use my kids empty toy buckets.
  • A pitcher or large jug of water.
  • Other optional add ins: food coloring, soap, ice cubes, plastic animals and toys.

Set up:

The set up is key.  I assume that whatever water and snow I give them will end up on the floor.  They will be pouring it Winter Water Play 2back-and-forth, they will be scooping and spilling.  Every bit of it will be on your floor so try and protect it and make the cleanup easier.  Get every towel you can get your hands on, I recommend doing this when you have a really messy floor, it will help clean it up with less work on your part!  Lay out all the towels on the floor, overlapping the edges, cover it with a blanket, this will help the towels stay in place because the kids will move around and pull them up again.  Pile other random towels around the edge of your play area.  If you cloth diaper or did cloth diaper, grab some pre-folds, those things are amazing and can hold a lot of water.

 

Would you like to have a coffee? #waterplay is key to keep your kids busy! Click To Tweet

 

The key to water play is to keep them interested for a long period of time, so don’t put out everything at once.  Stagger Winter Water Playit.  First we start off with just a big pile of snow and some cups and spoons to have practice pouring and transferring.  I place plastic animals at the bottom of the bucket and they get to be archaeologist’s and dig for treasure like pirates.  I add drops of food coloring to the snow so they can stir it around and see what happens.  I give them pitchers of water, usually warm water to help warm up their cold hands.  At this point they can practice pouring the water and melting the snow.  If their hands are getting really cold I fill up a bucket with some really warm water and as you can see from the picture this happened.  My son just climbed right in there and decided not to get out again.  Then my daughter wanted to to do it too.  I decided that this could double as bath time so I put some soap in there, filled up some more warm water and let them go to town playing.  Now they are pretty darn clean, my floor is soaked, but also getting clean, I am on my second cup of coffee and almost finished this blog post.  Win-win for everyone!

This can keep my kids busy for a minimum of 20 minutes, usually closer to an hour.  As I said, the key is to keep introducing new things to keep their attention span.  As the snow melts it starts to give them practice with different things like playing with liquids. My kids had fun playing, they also got a bath, I got to blog and drink hot coffee, and my floors are cleaner, isn’t water/snow play awesome?   I strongly recommend you do this with yours, especially on days when you are stuck inside.  It’s a great activity to keep them busy and a lot of fun too.

Try this great #winter #sensory activity with your #baby #toddler and #kids Click To Tweet
Make sure you have tons of warm clothes close by and extra towels to dry them off when they’re done playing because when they decide they’re done, they will be freezing cold and probably should’ve been done playing five minutes before.  Make sure you bundle them up in socks, sweaters and shirts because they will be very chilly after playing with snow.  Time to snuggle up on the couch and read a story and congratulate yourself for having a few minutes to yourself and letting them practice their exploring skills and creativity.

Epic Water Play Winter Edition - Sensory water play is the key to keeping your kids busy, thus giving you time for a coffee! Try this epic water play winter edition to entertain them.
Do you do water play at your house?  What are your favorite things to introduce in water or snow play to keep the kids busy?  Please comment below with more tips so I can have a warm coffee and work on next weeks post!

Epic Water Play Winter Edition - Sensory water play is the key to keeping your kids busy, thus giving you time for a coffee! Try this epic water play winter edition to entertain them.

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Children’s Book Review – December & January books

Book Review - Jan & Feb TW

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A Tower of Giraffes

Animals in Groups

Anna Wright

Genre – Children’s Novel

Version for Review – Kindle

I was not the biggest fan of this book.  Perhaps it is because I am reading it through the Kindle app on my iPhone so it is not a big screen, but the font is too small to read, it is the kindle version but it is almost impossible to see.  The graphics were a little confusing, it had the shape of an animal, but different patterned paper made up the s’s body.  My toddler had a hard time identifying the animals and between me holding the phone up to my nose to read and the graphics not capturing her attention, it just didn’t work for us.

But, the story itself is quite interesting.   Each page is talking about a different animal and what their grouping is called.  For example a gaggle of geese, and some information on  geese, such as the sound they make.

If the font was larger and the graphics a little more colourful and basic I think this would be a great story and I think my toddler would have loved it.  The information is great it’s just the presentation that gave me problems.

I would not buy this book unfortunately.

 

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Little One

by Jo Weaver

Genre – Children’s Novel
Version for Review – Kindle

A story of a mama bear and her cub emerging in the spring and how they live until it is time to hibernate again.

The story is in black and white with pictures of the Bears in nature.  This book just does not captivate my toddler, whether the lack of colour to keep her interest, or the more factual feel, she just is not that interested in the story and does not ask for it.

I may or may not buy it, maybe if I had a child really into bear’s and loves learning about them I would get them this book.

 

 

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Walk on the Wild Side

by Nicholas Oldland

Genre – Children’s Novel
Version for Review -PDF

The story is about three friends, a beaver, a moose, and a bear, who like to challenge themselves by outdoing each other.  When one gets in trouble they band together to try and help.   This book kind of reminds me of a bunch of teenage boys after too much beer.

It was not my favourite book but was not awful either.  It did not really captivate my toddlers attention and she has not showed any interest in it since.  Apparently it is part of a series and I am definitely going to look into the other books in the series.  I would not buy it, but I liked how it starred Canadian animals.

 

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Stanley at School

by Linda Bailey

Genre – Children’s Novel
Version for Review -PDF

This book is adorable!  I really like it.  Stanley and his friends watch every day as children walk by them to go to school.  They cannot help but wonder what the kids do in the school all day.  Riddled with curiosity they decide to check it out and see for themselves what the children do in school.  That is where the adventure begins.

My toddler fell in love with this book immediately, the dogs are fun to look at and all show so much personality, the story is cute and enjoyable to follow.  Super cute story for any dog lover in your life.

 

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The Midnight Visitors

by Juliet David, Jo Parry

Genre – Children’s Novel
Version for Review -PDF

I was very surprised to learn this part way through the book but it is a Christian book and the animals are in the barn where baby Jesus is to be born.  The story opens with a cow alone in the barn and lonely.  She is happy when she gets some company and other animals to join her. Then a pregnant woman and man join them and baby Jesus is born. Not a big fan of reading obviously Christian books to my kids as I am pagan. But, it was not too over the top so I did not mind too much.  It was a nice story about the animals but not one I would buy.

 

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Squirrel Me Timbers

by Louise Pigott

Genre – Children’s Novel
Version for Review -PDF

This is a fun story about a squirrel who is following a treasure map to reach a treasure of nuts.  He encounters other fun adventures along the way. It was a little spooky at one part, but did not scare my daughter too much. Very cute story and anyone interested in pirates will enjoy this.

 

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Little Meerkat’s Big Panic

A Story About Learning New Ways to Feel Calm

by Jane Evans

Genre – Children’s Novel
Version for Review -PDF

This is a sweet little story of a Meerkat who is supposed to be doing the big job of lookout, but drops the ball when he falls asleep and then panics as he realizes something went wrong and all the Meerkat’s are missing.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t know how to fix it.  He finds some friends to help him along the way.

I think it is a cute story and has some talking points to go over with your child as you read about emotions and how they feel little Meerkat felt.  My daughter is only 2.5-years-old so this was not very applicable to her, but she enjoyed the story none the less.

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Why Horses Are

by Tana Thompson

Genre – Children’s Novel
Version for Review -PDF

 This story is about a little girl who adores her horse.  She hears a story of a school nearby for disabled children who use horseback riding as a means of exercise and to help them overcome some of the challenges they face.  Unfortunately, they are down one horse and not all of the children get a chance to ride.  She decides that as much as she loves her horse it would be better if he went to the school where he could help out all the other children who desperately need him. I enjoy the story because it teaches how to do a selfless act.  It teaches that although she loves her horse very much, she puts her own wants aside and does what is best for others.   It is a very sweet gesture and it teaches children to think of someone else before themselves.  I enjoyed the message the story gives and I would recommend it to others, especially if somebody enjoys horses a lot.

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Good Dogs, Great Listeners

by Renata Bowers with JoAnn and Joel Bacon

Genre – Children’s Novel
Version for Review – PDF

I really enjoy this story and it is by far my daughters favourite right now.  About a little girl, her litter of stuffed puppies, and also her dog Lily and the adventures they go on instead of reading like they are supposed to do. Until one day Lily hurts her leg in their adventure and has to be kept quiet.

Are you looking for some new #childrensbooks ? Maybe these would interest you. #bookreviews Click To Tweet

 

What is your child’s favourite story to read right now?   Please comment below and let me know.

Book Review - Jan & Feb - A collection of book reviews from all the Children's books we have read and reviewed lately up to January.

Professional Reader

 

DISCLAIMER:  I was given the PDF or Kindle versions of these books to review by Netgalley. I was not compensated in any way for my opinion.

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Book Review - Jan & Feb - A collection of book reviews from all the Children's books we have read and reviewed lately up to January.

 

Why didn’t anyone tell me this before I gave birth?

 

People tell you a lot of things about birth, how much it hurt, how badly they tore (they needed a WHOLE SPOOL of thread to sew me up… uhhhh sure), about their birth plan and/or how perfect or awful their birth was.  Some of that may be true, but here are some things NO ONE warns you of regarding labour and delivery.

Why didn't anyone tell me this before I gave birth? Click To Tweet

Why didn't anyone tell me this before I gave birth - People talk about a lot of things after giving birth, some are common knowledge, some common sense, but not everything is talked about.

    • There is NO privacy in the delivery room, you have no control over who comes in and out of the labour room.   When I was giving birth there was no joke over 10 people there.  No, I was not happy about it, but since I had already been pushing for two hours and didn’t have the mental ability to yell at the nurses and students to get out I had a big audience staring at my crotch while I pushed out a baby.

 

    • Labouring with AthenaYou have no control over your modesty.  You *think* by telling people to stay by your head you can spare them some nudity and keep some privacy.  Nope.  They have to get in and out of the room and your legs are wide open for HOURS sometimes, so there is no hiding that.  Also, people kept stripping me without my consent!  When they want me in a gown, my clothes come off and I can’t do anything about it.  Baby comes out, they wipped off all the blankets and gowns covering me to place baby on my boobs, my mom was there (and that whack of strangers) so I did not appreciate having my coverings ripped off to expose my naked post-baby body to everyone.  Or have them watch me catheterized or getting stitched up after, or delivering a placenta.  Unfortunately, you do not have an option sometimes.

      Choose who you want in the delivery room very carefully, you will not be able to control what they see… neither will they for that matter.

    • toilet-1552924You go to the bathroom in front of people.  Whether it is someone bringing you to the bathroom during labour (yeah not something you want an audience for either) because they alone, or after, or just the nurse saying she has to see you pee after, yup, you get to do that in front of people too.

 

    • shower-1427304People have to help you shower, and by people, I mean my husband lol.  You know you are close when your husband helps you wash all the post-baby/labour off of you!

 

    • You can be in the early stages of labor for WEEKS.  Yup, not kidding.  With my first I had contractions every hour for a week before I had her.  I am talking tears of pain, gasps, and sometimes screams.  I could not sleep for longer than two hours without waking up screaming with contractions.  It sucks so bad!  You are so tired of them and exhausted before labour even starts.

 

    • You may not even notice when your water breaks.  I KNEW it with my first but my second, no idea when it broke as I wasn’t sure it even did until I had the baby.  On TV the water breaks, then they go into labour.  Yeah, that RARELY happens.  Most women have their water break during labour or someone has to help break it.  Your water may not break all the way so the doctor/midwife might have to help break the rest of it.  This is not comfortable and can be a little painful I might add.

 

    • Getting “checked” aka how dilated you are is super uncomfortable and hurts really bad during a contraction.  Brace yourself and breath.   I actually yelled at my Midwife “get out get out get out!” when I got a contraction in the middle of my internal.

 

    • st-bernard-1257090Sorry to be graphic but…… it seriously feels like you are trying to poop out a Saint Bernard, the way baby comes down, you honestly feel like they are trying to come out of your butt.  I said this sooo many times in labour to my husband!  “How are you doing sweetie”? “It feels like I am trying to poop out a Saint Bernard”!!  Cue everyone’s laughter including mine .

 

    • Newborn PoHaving the baby is not the end of labour.  You still have to deliver the placenta afterwards, which does require a little pushing and stuff.

 

    • Contractions also do not stop after labour.  After-birth pains, which get more painful and worse with each subsequent child, so so painful!  Advil and Tylenol do not take the pain away!!

 

    • Baby PoHours after birth you will be ready to do it all over again.  My sister asked me when she came to visit me with my first, would you do it again? I said yes, just not right away!

 

  • You will be amazed at how in love you are with this new baby.  They have already stolen your heart before they are even born, once you meet them you’re done.  If almost hurts how much you love them!
  • Daddy LoveYou will fall in love with your husband all over again!  Watching him with your new little bundle of joy will melt your heart and fill you with another kind of love too

 

What were you unaware of before you had to give birth?  Any surprises during labour or in the delivery room?  Please share them in the comments below.

Choose who you want in the delivery room carefully, they will see everything. Click To Tweet

Why didn't anyone tell me this before I gave birth - People talk about a lot of things after giving birth, some are common knowledge, some common sense, but not everything is talked about.

 

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Why didn't anyone tell me this before I gave birth - People talk about a lot of things after giving birth, some are common knowledge, some common sense, but not everything is talked about.

 

 

I did it! I survived a year!

DSC_0015I did not know if I would make it, but I did!  I survived a year with two children!  Two under two for the first three months was brutal.

As I sit here, the night before my baby turns one I cannot help but look back to this time last year, sitting in the same spot, hoping these were serious contractions that were signalling my impending labour and not just the start of another week of contractions and no baby.  Little did I know by sun up the next day I would be in the birthing tub having delivered my beautiful little boy from the comfort of my own home.

I did it! I survived a year! - Happy Birthday to my sweet baby Po! I cannot believe it's been a year, and even more that I was able to survive it with my sanity intact with a baby and toddler!

This year has been the hardest year of my life.  I have not slept through the night straight with no wake-ups since June 2012, to say I am sleep deprived is a humongous understatement.  When you are a mom of two young ones, working from home and juggling all the normal mom household jobs, it can be incredibly overwhelming and you learn a lot about yourself and those around you in the process.  I learned a few things over the past year that I thought I would share.

Come check out some of the things learned from a year with a baby and toddler. #Isurvived Click To Tweet

Second children really are different from first babies.  My boy can sleep anywhere!  He ignores noises and can sleep through his sister screeching.  He is pretty durable too, his sister loves him, but is a toddler so less than gentle and he really only cries if he is actually hurt, she can yank him around and steal his toys and he doesn’t make a sound.

Mermaid Paintings

I got these amazing paintings done by Lissa James as a present to my husband and I for surviving a year, the one of us in the birth pool was for him especially. Click the picture to visit her Etsy store and see what else she can do.

Tandem nursing is really HARD, amazing but hard.  I was hungry all the time and ate like a bottomless pit.  I had to adapt a lot to fit both kids nursing needs in and it was super time consuming.  The moments when I fed both kids were amazing and painful, looking down at the two contently nursing was adorable, especially when Bee held Po’s hand or started stroking his hair too.  I will write more on tandem nursing at a later date, in general I loved it, but I found it really took it’s toll on me.

Gender stereotypes actually do exist.  I never really bought into them, I hated all the pink stuff at the store, like you had to choose the “girl” or the “boy” airplane, kitchen, phone, etc. But my daughter is a major girlie-girl, more so than I ever was.  At two she loves make-up, dresses, tutu’s, purses and all those things.  My baby boy is a real BOY.  He loves to bang into things, knock things over, throw things and makes Godzilla sounds as he does it.   He loves playing with cars and stacking things to build, it is so fun watching his little personality come out and how different it is from his sisters.

DSCF6441Having two kids to entertain each other is amazing.  Watching Po chase after his sister, crawling as fast as he can is adorable.    The affection they show each other just melts my heart.  The way he snuggles against his sister, or she puts her arms around him and hugs and kisses him, it’s fun to see their little bond form.  DSC_0031When he was four months old they started playing peek a boo together and would laugh and laugh,  now they play hide and go seek.  I adore seeing them together and watching Bee “mother” him already.  He has already tried to walk to her, and she bent down with her arms out cooing “come on sweetheart”, I think they are on their way to being great friends.

I am amazed at how easy it was to adapt my heart to having two children, I was really worried I would not be able to love my new little boy as much as my daughter (crazy pregnancy worries), but as soon as he arrived I was amazed at how quickly I fell in love with him.

IMG_5580I  also now understand the term “mama’s boy” because make no mistake he is SUCH a Mama’s boy!  He started saying my name by 5 months (maaamaaa) usually while sobbing when he woke up in hs crib. DSCF5809 He loved to snuggle, we co-slept and even as a newborn he would worm his way as close to me as possible, usually sleeping in my armpit.  When he started crawling it was towards me to not get left behind.   He loves kisses, hugs, snuggles and baby-wearing.  He is called my little koala as he is happiest snuggled into my  side and looks just like a little koala.

I love watching how his little personality has come out, he is such a happy boy, has a great laugh, and such a sweet innocent smile.  I cannot wait to see what kind of man he grows up to be.

Kid Kingdom (17)

Bee at a Kid’s Play Place for the day while Mom & Dad rest with newborn Po

I literally could not have done this without my “village”. The support of my friends and family has been amazing.  Right from the beginning we had people taking Bee for the day, it was great, we got cuddles and rest with newborn Po and Bee got one-on-one attention and still got to come home for some cuddles with us at night. I have had people bring us over meals, frozen for whenever we need them and fresh to eat that night, people who cleaned when they were over, took care of cooking the meals, watched Bee so I could get my work done, and grabbed groceries for us.  People who were there emotionally for me to have coffee and vent together, or cry with when overwhelmed.  Friends who came to visit from far away, who slept over and had much needed “girls” nights so we could relax and de-compress together (usually involving wine and adult colouring books).   People who brought me Starbucks when I needed a caffeine boost and checked in via text messages or Facebook to see how things were going.

It takes a Village to raise a child and support a family, I am so thankful for my #village! Click To Tweet

I am so thankful to all my friends and family, I would be a mess without you and my life in even more chaos than it already is.  You guys know who you are, and I thank you from the bottom of my sanity for helping me in whatever way you did for allowing me to stay sane!

I did it! I survived a year! - Happy Birthday to my sweet baby Po! I cannot believe it's been a year, and even more that I was able to survive it with my sanity intact with a baby and toddler!

Happy first birthday to my little Po, I am so proud of you and cannot wait to see what adventures you have in store!  I know it will be tons of mischief and to be honest I am a little scared already!

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