Babywearing, Part 2

(This post is a continuation of the story I started yesterday about Babywearing.)

Fast forward to my pregnancy with E. I started to take a more laid-back approach to motherhood (ok, it’s probably the whole 2nd baby thing), and realized I could try to rock the baby wearing look. When I ordered my free (pay shipping) Udder Cover, I soon got an offer for a free Seven Sling. It involved sizing (which I measure all the time and according to their site have correct). Sizing scared me. What if I gained more weight than I expected? What if I suddenly lost weight post-baby? What if my ladies ballooned in cup size? So many ifs, so I bought size insurance. Evan arrived, and after he was a few weeks old, I decided to put him in the sling and walk around the house with him. I was comfortable, but he wasn’t exactly “close enough to kiss”. After about 5 minutes, he would get really upset. Now I see realize that the sling was pretty uncomfortable for him–I compare it to low thread count sheets. Basically, he didn’t like being held in a sling position by a carrier that I wouldn’t think twice about wearing as a piece of clothing.

I didn’t want to give up. So, I became a Twitter lurker on some chats and learned about the Moby Wrap. After many reviews, this seemed like the one for me. This carrier was made of higher quality material that felt like a t-shirt. Unlike other similar carriers, there wasn’t a size to be chosen. This was great, because as a plus-size mama and tall and lanky daddy pair, we needed a carrier that would work for both of us. So, I bought the wrap, washed it, and started to wear it that night. I hadn’t felt closer to E than when I was pregnant! It was love at first wear.

(Here’s a shot of me wearing Evan.)

My husband was a bit unsure of it at first, but after he realized all I could do while wearing the baby, he wanted to join in, too. We were both hooked.

(Greg and Evan)

So when the opportunity was presented to join Mrs. ‘Ski at a Baby Wearing Class, I was all about it. It took a few days, but Greg was interested too. Off to Robinson’s Happy Baby Company for a free class presented by Pittsburgh Babywearers. Let me warn you, the store is adorable, especially if you are into cloth diapers, I already have a wish list. But, my Navigation (on my phone) did NOT take us far enough down the road and we got lost. Thankfully, the class waited on us, and we hung out for over 2 hours learning about the right carriers for us and what we could move into.

It was nice to have our choice of the Moby Wrap affirmed because unlike other similar carriers, it keeps baby from sagging (until they get too heavy) and their chin off their chest. Evan is extremely comfortable in the wrap, which helps a lot. You really have to find what is right for you; however, the wraps or carriers that require sizing are not necessarily the best. We also have a lot to look forward to–other ways to wrap the Moby Wrap, carriers like the Beco and Ring Slings (that if we really wanted, we could carry Ari in. There is also a lending library from Pittsburgh Babywearers and meetings you can attend to learn more about baby wearing. Exciting!

Spring is coming, and you are guaranteed to see us rocking our lil man wrapped while we are out and about! (Greg even whipped out the Moby later in the afternoon at a cousin’s birthday party.) Thank you, Pittsburgh Babywearers & Happy Baby Company, for helping us with our journey as Baby Wearers!

Babywearing, Part 1

Years ago, I never pictured I would be excited about be considered a “Baby Wearer”. Never. To me, I thought people who wore their babies were some “elite” society of women who truly had this mommy thing down. They were a style of mom that I didn’t think I could be. Seriously, whether it is a mother in Ethiopia, Africa, or here in the US, I think that baby wearing moms are adorable and strong. (Check out this great article/gallery from Growing Your Baby!)

When I was pregnant with Arianna, I briefly read up on babywearing but wasn’t all that into it. Personally, I didn’t think I could exactly rock the sexy, pulled together yet hippy look, but needless to say, I was a teensy bit jealous.

So, in preparation for Arianna’s first flight, I knew I didn’t want to tote a carseat (my parents were getting us with her carseat at the airport), diaper bag, and my carryon with a new(ish) born. I can’t remember where I bought it, but I picked up a “knock off” Baby Bjorn carrier with straps and buckles. Before the flight, I practiced putting the carrier on a few times, but I wasn’t 100% sold on it. I was a single mom, and would be traveling alone, so I was scared to death I was going to drop her without help. I remember taking a practice trip to the mall with a friend, and I asked him not to help me…well, I snapped the buckle on my finger and ended up throwing up some words my little one should not have heard. But I trudged onward. I knew carrying A was essential for ease. I got to the airport and had my roommate make sure she looked secure, then it was off to check in and security. When I stepped up to the TSA Agent, I was asked to remove my baby from the carrier. Seriously? What was I supposed to do with my baby? So I handed the baby to the agent and walked through. Next, they were demanding I put my shoes back on and open her bottles for testing. I was so frustrated, and had to put her back in the carrier. Once she was back in, I boarded my first of two flights and was asked to remove her from the carrier. After I finally landed in Pittsburgh, I was able to seamlessly carry A through the airport and to my Dad’s truck. Needless to say, this first flight was made needlessly stressful, but I survived. Sadly, the carrier sits on the floor of a closet, not used since.

…you are going to have to come back tomorrow to hear the rest of the story!…

Life’s Blessings

My husband and I often tell each other how blessed we are to have the life we live. We know first off that we are lucky to have found each other and fallen in love. Unlike some couples, we are able to spend a lot of time together, thanks to him being a Stay at Home Dad (another blessing). For that we are thankful. Our kids have been sheer joy, and our extended family and friends are amazing. Our house (not one we picked out to look at, one our realtor suggested), is a roof over our heads, a warm place at night, and a gathering spot to share love. My job allows us to go on trips or buy things we otherwise may not be able to.

While we realize how blessed we are, we also know not to take it for granted. You may not know our back story (and some of it is best left as a back story), but times haven’t always been easy for us. There were times when we had 20 cents in the bank. There were moments when I felt like I was going to break [especially as a single mom]. There have been illnesses and deaths that have impacted those we love. Thankfully, we know life can be tough and that they are the “T’s and D’s” given to us to make us stronger.

Looking back to where I was a few years ago, I never would have believed that my life would become what it has. I specifically remember crying over rent, electric bills, car payments, bounced checks, and medical bills while 9 months pregnant splitting a bag of Ramen noodles in half so I’d have a lunch the next day too. I remember the time in College when I had a repair on my car that was needed and it was costly and I didn’t know what I was going to do. I remember moving to South Carolina with no job prospect, an unstable relationship, and a fresh Master’s Degree, hoping I would find something to pull me through. I remember staring at credit card bills for 7 maxed out cards, working 2 jobs, selling makeup and scrapbook items, and still not sure I was ever going to be ok.

But thankfully, God is there. If you are in a tough time, it may not be easy to see, but He is. Every day, I am thankful that I got a handle on my faith, true love, personal life, and professional life. None of the things that I have accomplished could’ve been done without God.

It’s not to say everything is easy for us now—we have 29 years left on a mortgage, 3 years of car payment, 1 year of credit card debt consolidation, 20ish years of student loans, medical bills—but it is better. Better enough that Greg can be the one raising our kids instead of a daycare. Better enough that we can pay it forward as a way of gratitude to those who helped us in the past. Better enough that we know our kids are going to have the things they need and perhaps want. For all these things, we give thanks.

Lil Man Turns 2 Months

The day you were born could not come soon enough. My contractions were getting to be a pain in more than just the butt, and I was so ready to see how handsome your little face would be. Every visit to the doctor and hospital seemed to prolong those last few weeks. But finally, on 12/17/10, it was Baby Evan Day!

And now, in the blink of an eye, you are two months old. Seriously, where does the time go? While you have grown, you are still wearing newborn pants and 0-3 onesies. My big little boy weighing in somewhere around 10-11 pounds (we’ll know today at your doctor’s visit), you have your daddy’s long legs and non-existent booty. Those beautiful eyes of yours melt my heart. And your smile and laugh are the cutest things ever.

Little Evan, you are an incredible addition to our family. Happy 2nd Month Birthday!

What is this, the Spanish Inquisition???

In October, our little girl turned two. She’s always been brilliant (yes, I am a little biased, but seriously, the kid knows a whole heck of a lot for her age), but once that “two” switch was turned on, it was TURNED ON. I wouldn’t say the last almost 5 months have been the Terrible Twos, but I would say that they’ve been interesting.

Her biggest thing is asking questions. Not just “why?” or “how?”, but thought out questions that lead to paragraphs of conversation, prompted by Spanish Inquistion-style questions. Here are some of her gems of late.

“Daddy, is that baby Evan still asleep?”

“Can I have some more-a juicy please?”

“Are we going to get in truck and go-a Get Go?”

“Is that Mommy’s Steeler bum/Daddy’s Steeler arm/my name on my Daddy?”

“Can I brush teeth and shower read-a book and go bed?”

“Does baby Evan have a boogie?”

“Is that Rowdy gonna go potty?”

“Can I watch’em my Reba?”

“Are those little hot dogs?”

“Will I see my Amy/my Rich/my Sally/my Great Great [insert various family member here]?”

“Does that Baby Evan need a change? Is he hoo-wee?”

“Is that Evan waked up?”

“Mommy, did you wash in the shower?”

“Is this like the ocean?” (looking at little waves and bubbles created by the shower)

“Can I paint a picture of Santa?”

“Is it chilly?”

“Are we gonna eat-a my dinner?”

“Is there a woogie boogie in that tissue?”

“Are you putting shoes on?”

…I think we’ll keep her. 🙂

And, It’s Over.

April 16, 2010, our lives changed.

We found out that we were a month pregnant with our second child.

After exactly 8 months (which seemed like a lifetime), our little man arrived just in time to enjoy Christmas at home.

Believe it or not, that was 8 weeks ago, and today I am back at work. Really, I think I blinked and my leave was over. Somehow, we have plugged alot into the past 8 weeks,and I even had time to schedule blog posts (such as this one).

Let’s take a quick look back at everything that happened while I was on my leave.

* Greg’s parents and sister visited.
* Evan was baptized by my dad on Christmas Eve.
* We hosted our first Christmas in our new home (yes, coming down the stairs was everything I hoped it would be).
* We welcomed 2011.
* Greg adopted Arianna.
* We’ve worked on potty training Arianna–almost there!
* We took the kids and my mom to Sesame Street Live.
* Our friends from Canada visited.
* Greg’s younger sister and our friend Ash visited.
* Arianna had a first trim.
* I filed our taxes (win).
* Greg and I went to Columbus to get Steeler tattoos.
* Greg, Lil Man, and I went bowling and to the Strip District for market shopping.
* We watched the 4th Steeler Superbowl of my lifetime, the 2nd in Ari’s, and the 1st in Evan’s. Sadly, Ari, Greg, and I have a .500 record and Evan is 0-1.

What an adventure the past 8 weeks have been! Thankfully, through it all, I somehow found time to heal and bond (and beat Angry Birds & Angry Birds Seasons–both Halloween and Christmas). We’ve made a lot of memories. These memories, and the realization that even more are in the future, are what will get me through going back to work. I have been so lucky to have a stay at home husband, supportive family, and great friends to be there with us through the pregnancy, birth, and bonding. <3

In Love

Since tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be the perfect time to talk about love. A little over two years ago, I fell deeply in love with the man of my dreams and I KNEW I’d never fall in love like that again. Well, I was wrong, and I have to tell you that I am deeply, head over heels, madly in love with another man…

…my ‘lil man! Don’t get me wrong, I fell hard for ‘lil miss when she was born and I am still crazy over her. I fell really hard for Greg (to the point I literally hit the kitchen floor, ha!). But somewhere in my heart, I left room to fall in love once more.

The love I feel for Evan is so amazing. When I first laid eyes on his perfect little self, I saw something that God had created. I saw a little person who was part Greg, part Becky. I saw someone Ari would take under her wing and love. I saw a child who would rely on me for everything (atleast until his independent sister takes the wheel). I saw two blue eyes that would take in the world that I had to show him. I saw two hands that would hold mine for safety. And I saw two arms that would hug me when he was happy, sad, or just going to bed.

It’s no secret Ari’s is a Daddy’s Girl, and if I were to guess, Evan is going to be a Mama’s Boy. Personally, I think that’s a good thing. Of course, I have no intention for him to grow up and be clingy to his mom, but to show women respect because of the love he has for his mom. Well, growing up does depend on whether or not I decide to bottle up his sweetness forever. 🙂 What mom doesn’t want to freeze these precious infant days forever?

I know it’s just a phone camera shot, but here is one of my favorites of my lil man and I…can’t you see why I am so much in love? <3

How I Became a Proud Nursin’ Mama

This post has been in the back of my mind for the past few weeks, and I am finally getting up the nerves to post it. It seems really silly, but I wondered if I should share that I am nursing our son. Sometimes when I am on Twitter, I wonder if I should tweet about nursing struggles or accomplishments (do I really want the local radio DJs to hear about that?). But you know what? I quickly got over it. Nursing is a natural, beautiful thing. It is saving us money, and Evan is very healthy because of it. I have now joined the ranks of proud breastfeeding mamas! I am proud that Evan has been solely fed with my milk. I am proud that it is going to continue when I go back to work in a week. And I am proud that I am able to share my ups and downs with other moms who are going through the same things we did.

We overcame a lot in the past ~ 8 weeks, giving me even more reason to want to share. Unfortunately, Ari wasn’t nursed. Ok, I tried for 4 weeks, but the hospital had given her supplements and she is lactose intolerant. It was a rough 4 weeks for me…and I didn’t have the support I needed. She would projectile vomit and diarehha. It was awful, and I felt like a failure. Looking back, I am glad I tried, even though it was not the easiest thing for us. Now with Evan, I feel empowered and proud because this is what works for us, this time around. It’s not been an easy road; however.

First, he has an incredible sucking complex–when he was about a week old, all he wanted to do was suck on EVERYTHING. This was making his feedings last over an hour, and 50 minutes later, he’d be ready to go again. Feeling dehydrated, cracked, and bleeding, I hit bottom. I had a breakdown in the middle of the night (early Christmas Eve morning, in fact) and luckily a fellow new Mama was up feeding her twins and a good friend was there to listen to my struggles (Greg was sleeping away…and seriously, I don’t expect a man to understand how much cracked nipples really hurt). Later in the morning, I texted my cousin to let her know I wanted to give up. She promptly told me not to give up and delivered “The Baby Bible” (a great read for new moms–but it is a little bit scattered), muffins, and Lanolin. I bucked up, and decided to keep going for Evan’s sake. This meant I started to feed him on one side, every three hours for 15 minutes. After he was done, I would pump the other (oh, and my Playtex pump had seen better days–one piece had deteriorated and so I could only pump with one side, also, it was ready to go to the pump cemetary). He would take the bottle from the previous feeding while I pumped. This lasted three days until I was healed and ready to do 15 minutes on each side.

Coincidently, Evan also started to lose weight, although he was focusing steady for the 15 minutes and then getting about 3 ounces in a bottle. His weight had gone from 9 lbs. 1 oz at birth to 8 lbs. 7 oz. at discharge to 8 lbs. 4 oz. at 1 week. That meant he lost 13 ounces when he should’ve been gaining. When I talked to the doctor about my issues, she didn’t seem to think that was the cause of his loss–the mere fact he was getting at the least 3 pumped ounces was huge for a baby his age. For some reason, the kid (like my husband and daughter), has an incredible metabolism. So, it was off to more scheduled (3 hours on the DOT) feedings for 4 days and then a return visit. In those four days, he gained back his weight and was back to 9 lbs. 1 oz. We are still not sure what was going on, but are very glad he’s back on the up.

Since then, I have been proudly feeding him. Thanks to a great nursing cover (you know a Top 10 is coming), I have been able to feed him in the mall, in the car (while stopped–I was waiting for Greg to go in a store), and at family events. Other than shopping, we haven’t really ventured out, but I know that feedings at the zoo, amusement parks, and museums are definitely in my future.

Of course, I have had bad nights (who really thinks waking up at 4 am and feeding a kid for over 30 minutes is a good time?). This time around; however, I have had great support. While my mom, MIL, and cousin have been there for me (they are all experienced), my GREATEST support has come from fellow breastfeeding moms on Twitter. It seems like all I had to do when I was down was throw up a Tweet with the hashtag #bfing and there was someone to talk to me and cheer me on. It has been a great experience, and if you are a breastfeeding mama, you need to make yourself a list of fellow tweeps who are there for you. It is a great resource, and there are occasionally chats where you can meet up with other moms and talk (and win prizes–last week I won a nursing support pillow from My Brest Friend). And you can find other great goodies for nrusing mamas (my Top 10 is coming, I promise again!). Seriously, I love my in person supports, but having someone who is also up at 4 AM cheering you on or sharing your dying pump struggles means alot.

The ups of nursing are quite abundant. It means alot to know that I am the one person that can truly calm my child. Our bond is incredible–his beautiful blue eyes looking into mine just melts my heart. Plus, my lil man is very much on a routine (he gets that from me and Ari), so he makes my life predictable. Saving money is a huge game in our house, so not buying formula adds to our savings. I never have to worry about having a warm bottle when we are out somewhere and he’s losing his mind (although this week we are trying to see what life when I go back to work will be like, so he is taking 2-3 bottles during the day, sad times for mama). Having a baby and a toddler (with allergies), we have so much to carry with us, that not having to tote a cooler and bottles around is awesome, too. And sterilizing? I never knew how much time I was saving until another friend with twins came for a visit and had to spend alot of time in the kitchen getting bottles ready for her boys. Phew, that is not something I miss (but much props to you CH, you’re a super mama too!). And it’s nice to know that I am also able to have extra food prepared for him if he’d go to his grandparents’ for a night (we have about 10 bottles in the freezer, not bad for my pump issues).

Oh, and my pump? Although it didn’t truly meet it’s final death, it was about 2 pumps away from smoking. Since Playtex doesn’t offer a similar pump, I had to give in and get a new one (but you’re going to have to wait for my Top 10 list to see!).

Hopefully in a week I will still be a proud nursin’ mama. I go back to work on Monday and really hope I can maintain my strength, schedule, and pumpin’ power. Wish me luck–and in the meantime, if you need me at 4 AM, I’ll be there! 🙂

Mama is on Time Out


This weekend we are spending time with Greg’s sister (Nurin) and one of our best buddies, Ash. Little Miss Ari got a paint set for toddlers from Ash. The brushes are weeble wobble shaped and don’t drip (gotta love crayola). Ari has been sitting at her easel painting with Aunt Rin and Ash. Mama got a bit jealous (I really want to paint her a Steeler symbol, the colors are red, blue, and yellow). I ask the lil one if I can paint, and she said NO. Nurin asked why I wasn’t allowed to paint, to which Arianna says, “Mama bad. She’s on time out.” It’s going to be a long 27 minutes…