Berry Picking

Not long after I was a SAHM once again, HomemadeDady and I took the younger three kids out to an orchard to go fruit picking. Needless to say it was an experience!

Our first stop was raspberry picking. We found golden raspberries, black raspberries and red raspberries. We had BabyM in the stroller enjoying some sunshine while HD and I each took one of the boys. Each boy had their own bucket as well. The red raspberries were the hardest despite being the most plentiful because we had to lift the branches off the ground to find the good clusters of berries.

My kids are also afraid of anything that moves that isn’t human. They screamed and hid behind me at all the little bugs, crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars and bees. The black raspberries were easier since they were up off the ground but by the time we reached the backs the boys were ready to move on and made sure to let us know! They both had pretty full baskets of raspberries so we packed everyone up and moved on to the apples.

The apples were difficult because so many had fallen off the trees and attracted all the fruit bees the kids weren’t willing to stay in the orchard for more than a minute or two. So HD picked a couple apples and we posed LittleM and PirateM for apple picking pictures and off we went, into a giant mud puddle. Thankfully we were able to get out fairly easily.

On the way home we stopped at our favorite Hawaiian restaurant for lunch and got smoothies from Tropical Smoothie. Since my anxiety was still pretty high there were many ways this trip could have gone sour but thankfully everyone had a good time and we got some really good berries!



Mom-day Interview ~ Cesarean Birth

To kick off my Mom-day interview series I turned to a dear friend of mine who I knew would be candid and real with ya’ll. Boy did she prove me right! We talked about what her birth experiences were like from having an emergency cesarean birth to having a planned one. Read on and lets break the stigma and mom-shaming together!

How many children do you have? Ages?

I have 2.  One is 3.5 and the other is 3 months.

What do you appreciate most about your children?

The love and joy they have for everything.  Everything is new and exciting to them and its wonderful seeing things through their eyes.

What is a struggle you have regarding motherhood?

Worrying if I’m good enough, and doing a good job.

Do you have any hobbies?


Do you have a favorite recipe?

I like to bake recipes from the Pioneer Woman cookbooks.

What was the biggest difference between your two births?

The biggest difference was being more educated and more prepared for the second c-section.  I didn’t pay any attention in birthing class to the part about c-sections because I was so sure on a natural birth.  I then had to have one, and was totally clueless on what they were doing.  The second time around I felt more in charge and knew what I wanted and didn’t want.

What did you do differently to prepare for the second birth?

To prepare for the second birth I read about “soft c-section” or “family c-section”.  I also talked to my doctor about doing things differently this time.  She understood that my first c-section caused my post partum depression so she understood and agreed to do things differently this time.

What were some recovery lifesavers for you?

Big pants (and underwear!)  When you have a c-section the scare is basically where your underwear hits, and you don’t want anything touching it.  Underwear and pants that you can pull up like grandma are a must.  Sleeping on a recliner is also a must because you can’t get in and out of bed.  You don’t realize how much you use your abdominal muscles until you have surgery on them.  

Why did you request skin-to-skin in the OR?

I talked to my doctor about this at my first ob appointment.  She already knew that my first c-section caused my ppd, and that things needed to be different this time.  Being able to see your baby right after they pull them out and being able to “hold” them immediately is the most amazing feeling.  When I had my first they pulled her out, cleaned her off, wrapped her in a blanket, put a hat on her and handed her to my husband.  All I got to see was her face and then they left to the nursery and I was wheeled to the recovery room.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was awful.  That is not the way anyone should give birth.  The second time they lifted him above the curtain so I could see him and then they laid him on me skin to skin so I could hold him and feel him.  It changed everything.  I finally had “that moment” that was taken from me with my first birth.  I finally had the bonding moment I desperately needed.  I blame myself for not researching anything the first time, but I also blamed my doctor and the hospital for the way they acted.  My doctor told me when I was pregnant the second time that herself and the hospital where working together to do more immediate skin to skin.  Now I tell everyone I know that’s pregnant, do your research!!

If you were to become pregnant again would you do anything differently i.e. VBAC, mother assisted delivery etc.?

I wanted to do a vbac with my second but the only hospital that does them is 40 minutes away and has a horrible reputation.  I don’t think I’m comfortable trying for a vbac if I have a third, I would have another c section.

How long was your recovery?

I was moving around and pretty much pain free by 2 weeks.  I had to be careful though, too much walking would make things sore.

What do you wish you had known the first time?

I wish I would have known all my options.  I should have researched c-sections and been prepared just in case.

Can you tell a little bit of what the delivery was like for you? Pain, feelings, process?

You want to know what c-sections are like?  They suck.  The doctors make you walk into the operating room.  Once they give you the numbing shot in your spine (I will never forget that pain) they lay you on a table that has places where they strap your arms down.  You are stressed out worrying that you will feel everything and that they will start before your body goes numb.  You can feel all the pushing and pulling they are doing, it just doesn’t hurt.  It’s the most uncomfortable feeling.


Circling the Drain

Yes, this title seems a bit dreary but this was a phrased used in a conversation with some family recently and it struck a chord with me. I’m sure that everyone has noticed how long it has been since my last blog post. Needless to say there has been quite a bit going on in these last 2+ months.

I am not going to go into details about it here right now. The one thing that I will say is that it all led to multiple medical diagnosis that I am having to manage. Nothing is life threatening thankfully. I am lucky in that regard. A result of everything going on has been me quitting my full-time job.  This has taken time to come to terms with. I have also had to learn how be a Momy to these 4 wonderful littles, again.

A few weeks have passed since all this went down. We are starting to hit a rhythm as a family. This means that I am now ready to start working on blogging on a regular basis as well. You can expect to see weekly posts from me on here. Don’t forget to check out my social media as well! I will slowly be adding in Twitter and Instagram and the Facebook page in addition to writing on a regular basis.

What are some topics you would like to see on here?

BabyM: 2 Month Update

BabyM has been developing so quickly! I say developing instead of growing because I don’t see much of the growth right now. At her 2 month checkup she had gained 3 pounds and 1 inch. When BigM was a baby, his Grandpa used to call him little elfin boy. Well, I think we have our little elfin girl now. BabyM is the sweetest little thing though, so petite. Don’t let her size fool you though. She has enough personality and attitude to make up for it. We could see her personality coming out when she was just 4-6 weeks old.

Surprisingly she doesn’t mind tummy time now. BabyM will happily spend time on the floor by herself with a mirror to look at. She does prefer to have someone there talking to her. She especially loves to interact with her big brothers. BabyM has also started vocalizing A LOT the past couple weeks. She will lie in your arms and stare at you and hold a rather lengthy conversation. Little Miss is also full of smiles now. She will smile when she sees mom or dad but not quite for her brothers yet.

She has a weird relationship with nursing. She prefers one side but when she nurses on that side she does not have the best latch. This isn’t something new that developed when she started taking a bottle it has been there from day one. Bottle feeding is going much better this week than last. She will now take 8-10 ounces in a day which is about double what she started at. The doctor isn’t too worried about her refusing to eat much from a bottle at this point. We are all just happy that she is eating something!

The reflux and gas problems she was having have mostly gone away. Poor baby can still have some bad gassy periods but they aren’t nearly what they were a few weeks ago. She is sleeping a longer stretch during the night but isn’t sleeping through the night yet. We are up to 4-6 hours at a time which is fine with me! There is no reason to rush her sleeping any longer at this point.

Bucket List Trip

We all have a bucket list. If you don’t you really should make one. My bucket list has evolved over the years, when I was in high school in included things like graduate from Yale and go to medical school. While I was enlisted in the military my bucket list included making a certain rank and getting a specialized position. In Alaska visiting Nome and Barrow topped my list.

One item that has stayed on my list through all variations has been to visit the Mall of America. While I was on maternity leave we made a trip north and I got to cross another item off my bucket list. I’m grateful that we live close enough that we made the trip an overnight one and did it easily. We left mid-morning after our chiropractor appointments and made it to our hotel by mid-afternoon. I had packed lots of food and snacks in the car so we stopped at a rest stop that had a playground and picnic benches for lunch. This allowed the boys to run around a bit and eat lunch about half way through the trip. It was a very nice little area. The only downside was that it was windy and BabyM did NOT appreciate the strong breeze while she was trying to eat. Instead I got to sit in the car to feed her and then walked around inside the restroom and vending machine area to get her to sleep.

The hotel we stayed in was a bust. The carpets were disgusting, there were pipes showing in the ceiling that made me feel like we were in a basement and the TV guide pamphlet did not match the actual channels on the television. I know that last bit is a first world problem but when you have crying kids because you promised them cartoons but now you can’t find any, it becomes a point of frustration. The final straw for the hotel doom? The chains’ famous continental breakfast was rather lacking at this location. It was limited with one type of fruit and two types of cereal plus toast, eggs and waffles. This was not the type of breakfast we were used to from this chain. In fact the sketchy, off-brand hotel in the middle of nowhere South Dakota had a better breakfast and had half the serving space!

Our first evening there we checked out Mall of America. Our plan that night was to eat at a restaurant and scope out the mall for any must see stores or attractions. We were able to take the kids to Rainforest Café for dinner. It turned out to be a little bit too much for them. The simulated thunderstorms made LittleM cry to leave after the third one and still upset PirateM although he was starting to get used to them.

We had made plans to go to the aquarium at the mall but the kids lost the opportunity to go and so HomemadeMomy and HomemadeDady had to suffer as well. May be next time we can make it. We checked out the amusement park in the middle of the mall and visited several stores. On the second day we made a stop at Ikea in the morning. I had never been to Ikea before and while it wasn’t all it is hyped up to be it was pretty cool to see. I do foresee another trip in our future sometime soon. We returned to the mall for a second round of walking the mall after eating a packed lunch.

Some of the stores we visited were the Disney store, American Girl store, Lego Store, Peeps store, board game store, Toll House cookie store and a few clothing stores. We have plans to go to Jamba Juice when we go back and possibly the Crayola experience. When I first looked at the Crayola Experience it didn’t appear to be worth the entrance fee but we may at least go to the store portion next time we visit.

Cooking with Kids

BigM will be six soon. In my Mom’s family, by the time the kids were his age they were in the kitchen helping to cook. I decided that it was time for BigM to learn as well. I didn’t want him to just learn to cook though. We have ended up raising him without much appreciation of where things come from. To help with this I wanted him to go through the entire process. This is how the idea of having him take over one meal per week was born.

We sit down with BigM and help him use the computer to find a recipe to cook. Eventually I may pick up a kids cooking recipe book for him but for now Pinterest is working. I let him decide everything. He is very visual and that is why Pinterest works so well for him, I can scroll through pictures of dishes and he can pick which one he wants to use. Once he has picked a dish we save the recipe and work with him to go through the ingredient list to see what we have and what we need. While doing this he writes up a shopping list. When we go grocery shopping we take him with us and he shops for what he needs for his two meals. I usually try to do this at the store that has the kid sized shopping carts so he can put the foods for his stuff in his cart. When it comes time to do his meal plan he helps to prep and cook the meal.

I did put some limitations and rules on this whole process. When making his menu he has to choose a meat, carbohydrate and a vegetable. Having fruit or a dessert is up to him. Surprisingly he hasn’t planned a dessert or fruit with any of his meals so far. When it comes to prepping and cooking he isn’t allowed to use anything sharper than a table knife, can’t take items in and out of the oven and has to have close supervision and limited activities at the stove. We let him do things like pour rice into a pan but HD does most of the stirring and flipping. We are teaching him how to start the oven pre-heating.

His first two meals have gone over very well. He chose 40 garlic baked chicken with Spanish rice and broccoli for one meal. The second meal he chose Greek meatballs with cheesy zucchini rice and baby carrots. Everyone loved the chicken and rice and had seconds. We may just introduce that meal into our normal rotation. The greek meatballs ended up not happening when we ran out of ground meat but he did make the cheesy zucchini rice. That side dish wasn’t as good and we probably won’t make it again. That’s ok though because these were all new recipes that we hadn’t tried cooking before.

We do plan on continuing this on a weekly basis. The first two tries were super successful and maybe with time BigM will come to appreciate the effort it takes to plan a meal and cook it. Now if only we could do something similar with toys.

HomemadeMomy to WorkingMomy

My maternity leave was too long. Or maybe it wasn’t long enough. Either way it was an awkward length. By 4-6 weeks I was ready to return to work and even talked to HomemadeDady about cutting my leave short. He pointed out that I was getting 100% pay and had more than earned the break from work. What would I benefit from returning to work early? We could not think of any benefit to returning to work early so I stayed home. When it came time to return to work however, I found that I was no longer ready and wanted more time. May be if I had been able to have just two more weeks so I could take her to her 2 month appointment I would have been ok. That way I would hear it from the doctor that she was healthy and growing well and would do just fine with HD.

I didn’t have that. Monday dawned bright and clear and I was a teary mess. Thankfully HD drove me to work that day so I didn’t have to deal with potential construction and it gave me a few more minutes to cry and then compose myself. Walking inside was a little easier than I expected it to be. Knowing that the kids have HD home with them right now is helpful. While it isn’t me they still have a parent at home with them.

At work I armed myself with a phone charger, breast pump, lots of snacks and a good book to read. Luckily my breast pump is battery operated so I can charge it at my desk but don’t have to worry about trying to plug it in when I go to pump. Currently I pump in the bathroom at work. I know it is illegal to require me to pump in there and they do have an alternative space that I could use to go pump but I choose to go to the bathroom to pump. The other space is in a different building nearby and I have to schedule to use it and that doesn’t even guarantee that it would be available and free of people when I need it. The bathroom is 3 cubicles down from me and has a chair, table and curtain that has you tucked into a corner by a row of lockers. It’s not the best but for my short pumping session it works fine for me.

When I am home during the day BabyM will nurse close to a dozen times during the daylight hours, if not more. At work I only pump twice right now. It works for us. She is still fighting the bottle and doesn’t eat much during the day. I pump 12-15 ounces and stick it in the fridge and she eats that milk the next day. When I am home at night and on the weekends I make sure to hold her and nurse her as much as possible to keep up that relationship. It isn’t ideal but it works for us for now. As she begins to accept the bottle more I may need to pump more and that’s ok. I had originally planned on pumping three times at work. I know that we will do everything we can to make it work and have the support of an amazing lactation consultant to help us out if we need it.

Movie Night: Big Hero 6

Our last “Movie Night” was such a success we decided to try another one. This one was a lot of fun to plan the menu and then change and change again and change while we were cooking. I like to think we went through a similar process the Hiro did when he was designing the original suit for Baymax.

The movie for the night was Big Hero 6. The kids love the movie and HomemadeMomy loves the soundtrack. It was a win-win! Our original menu was Hiros, or sandwiches, honey lemonade, wings and mochi. Then we were going to have hiros, honey lemonade, wing style chicken breasts and mango-go mochi. We ended up with hiros, honey lemon chicken, monster juice and mochi.


Hiros – turkey breast, lettuce, tomato and condiments

Honey Lemon Chicken – a mash up between Honey Lemon and Aunt Cass

Monster Juice – it was even orange in honor of Fred and his fire breathing monster suit

Mochi – because it was super easy to make and there is a cat named Mochi

PirateM did have a deconstructed hiro because he isn’t fond of bread and sandwiches but otherwise this was another big hit. LittleM even got to help make the mochi. The recipe we used was super simple and one done in the microwave. We didn’t add anything to the mochi but that didn’t stop anyone from eating their piece and asking for more. I may or may not have sat down with the bowl the next morning and eaten the rest for breakfast.

Nursing Snacks

A shopping trip at WalMart left me with a fully stocked food drawer at work. I knew that with pumping at work and nursing at home I was still going to need snacks to eat during the day. Some I brought to leave in my drawer and others I bring on a daily basis.

I have Emerald Breakfast on the Go pouches. I chose two different flavors of Smore’s and Coffee House Blends. I was a little nervous about the Coffee House Blend pack because it has chocolate covered espresso beans in it. Coffee makes me sick with severe stomach aches almost immediately after drinking it. I can’t even have the mixed drinks that have coffee in them. I tried one from Baskin Robbins once and still got sick from it. I can usually handle the cappuccino flavored jelly beans but had never tried straight espresso beans before. I won’t be repurchasing these and not because the beans make me sick. The entire bag is infused with a coffee flavor and not a good coffee flavor. Everything tastes like either stale coffee beans or cheap coffee beans maybe even stale, cheap coffee beans. The granola, the nuts, the chocolate, all of it has an unpleasant hint of bad coffee to it. I won’t be repurchasing the Smore’s blend either. While the blend as a whole was delicious, the marshmallows have a funny texture to them. They were along the lines of those soft, mint candies that dissolve in your mouth. They don’t taste like marshmallows either. I’m eating the rest of what we have of those but we are going to be making our own stuff soon.

I also picked up two different granola bars, Quaker Oats Girl Scout Thin Mint bars and Sunbelt Bakery Banana oat bars. The banana oat bars aren’t all that bad despite the slight fake banana taste. They have banana chips in them which I wasn’t expecting but it gives the bar a nice little crunch in an otherwise very soft and chewy bar. I may not buy them again right away but I will get them again soon. The Thin Mint bars are everything you expected and then some. These I have to force myself to only eat one bar a day. Aside from the fact that these have oats instead of a chocolate cookie they are just like the cookies you can get once a year. I’m crossing my fingers these aren’t a limited edition flavor like the ice cream is.

I also bring in bags of parmesan and garlic pita chips and white cheddar popcorn. For something on the fresh side I have oranges, green pepper slices and baby carrots. Now I don’t eat all of this every day. These are just options we got and the non-perishable stuff I do keep at work. Rounding out my snack stash are wheat thins and string cheese. The string cheese is good because it is the only cheese I can eat without having to worry about flare-ups from the gallbladder. I also keep a couple water flavorings for the water bottles that the company provides for us. I have Jolly Rancher Watermelon flavor and Crush Strawberry flavor. The crush won’t be a repeat buy because it just isn’t the same without the carbonation but the jolly rancher one is just as good as the candy but more refreshing!