Archive for January, 2015

Teaming With Tech

Friday, January 30th, 2015

As we head into our finally day of our first “normal” week as a family of four, I’ve found myself realizing a number of times this week just how dependent our family is on technology. So I thought it would be fun to reflect on the top five ways in which my family relies on technology during the course of a day or week. to help navigate the stormy seas and calm waters of parenthood.

Text Messages
Texting is, hands down, my main method of communicating with my husband during the course of a day. The parent handling day-care drop-off lets the other parent know via text how Rory’s arrival at school went each morning. We let each other know via text when we are heading home for the day. We regularly communicate our whereabouts and ETAs via text. Quick questions that would otherwise require emails or phone calls are asked and answered via text during meetings, breastfeeding sessions, and otherwise inaccessible time periods. We’ve even been known to text each other from different floors of the house if necessary (e.g., we’re out of ear shot or yelling might wake Charlotte and/or Rory). Whether to communicate essential information or simply keeping the other person informed, texting helps both of us feel involved in the lives of our children even if we are not both physically present. I’m thankful to have such a mechanism to stay involved, so that when we do arrive home from our respective busy days, we can enjoy the time in the present, we’re already up to speed on the day’s events (at least to some degree).

Each of us blogger moms has lamented the volume of conflicting information out there on the internet. I proceed with extreme caution when seeking parenting advice or other guidance, as it seems as though you can find volumes of conflicting opinions and advice. That said, having all of that information at your fingertips is tremendously helpful when seeking basic, objective information like the instructions for the prescription that you accidentally threw out, or reviews for repairmen and/or other vendors. Google is one of my primary time-saving techniques and I rely on it at least once a day if not ten or more times.

We are just under two and six hours, respectively, from my parents and my husband’s parents. Accordingly, we rely on video chats to keep in touch with the grandparents in hopes of allowing our children to get to know their extended family. We also chat regularly with my brother, sister-in-law, and their two boys. Rory adores his cousins. I’m consistently thankful that our kids are growing up with access to this quick and convenient method of staying connected. Sure, it is no substitute for actual visits, but it helps make the time and distance between those visits seem much shorter.

Online shopping
Amazon prime is my saving grace as a working mom. The annual fee I pay in order to get  two-day shipping on all purchases means that the time I might ordinarily spend running errands on the weekend can be spent with my family. Or, as necessary, at the office. It’s a small price to pay for a little free time. Other sites, like for example, have similarly swift shipping over a certain dollar amount. Between these two, I find I can meet most of my baby/toddler feeding/bathing/diapering needs.

Nursery gadgets
I’m pretty sure there is a product on the market for just about every walk of parenting life that is meant to make the task at hand faster/more convenient/less intrusive/more soothing/etc. for your child. My mom and I had a good laugh last week at a baby seat/swing that costs upwards of $300 and does just about everything but feed the baby. I’ve tried my best to make cost-effective decisions when it comes to equipping our house for both Rory and Charlotte, but there are certainly a few conveniences that we’ve come to rely upon for our peace of mind (and sanity). The top three, in no particular order, are our video monitor, our sound machines, and our fisher price bouncy seats.

What technolog(ies) do YOU rely on the most?

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
It has always been a challenge to get Tate adequate sleep. After several years of trial and error, we have developed a bedtime routine that works for Tate, as well as us. The current issue is that Tate gets up WAY too early.

Most days, Tate is up well before there is any sign of life in our house. He keeps his bedroom door closed and plays respectfully until he hears somebody else get up.

I applaud him for not purposefully waking us, but I am concerned that getting up so early leads to a chronic lack of sleep.

Tate’s behavior and maturity have been improving over the school year and his preschool teachers are optimistic that he is ready for kindergarten next year. However, when Tate doesn’t get enough sleep, his behavior regresses. If he gets up at 4:45AM, of course, he is exhausted by early afternoon and he refuses a daily nap. We’ve tried the alarm clock tricks and they weren’t successful.

This behavior is cyclical. Some days, I have to wake him up, especially after an active day of play or if he isn’t feeling well. Other days he is wide awake at 4:45AM. Tate tells us he wakes up because he just can’t wait to play and get his day started. I’m happy that he is excited about playing. I’m not happy he’s not getting the recommended amount of sleep for his age. The child needs rest!

My hope is that as Tate’s daily schedule gets busier, he will naturally be more tired and less likely to awaken so early. As he gets older, I’m sure the day will come when I can’t get Tate out of bed before noon. As my sister says, “the time will come much sooner than you think.”

Mommy-Daughter Time

Monday, January 26th, 2015
From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I really missed Haley while I stayed at the hospital with Hudson. For the last few years, it’s been me and my girl, together almost all of the time. It was so hard being apart from her. I couldn’t believe how well she handled my absence. She stayed with my parents and only whined about missing me intermittently. I only got to see her for a few hours on a few random days, but she seemed to understand that I needed to be with Hudson at the hospital. For a little girl who not more than a few weeks ago was not thrilled to share her parents with anyone, her maturity was impressive. As soon as I got home, I told my husband that I wanted to do something special with Haley– just the two of us.
I had what I thought was the perfect plan. Haley had never been to a movie theater and was very excited about the new “Annie” remake that recently came out. She had seen the original several times– thank you very much, streaming video services. Taking her would be a huge treat. I told her we were doing something special and loaded her into the car. As we approached the mall where this particular theater is, she asked excitedly if we were going to the “big girls’ store,” also known as Claire’s. I told her no, and pointed to the theater. She was so excited. She loved getting our tickets, ordering popcorn (which she had never had before) and getting settled in our seats. She scarfed down her snack as she happily watched the previews. Then the movie started. But we were just passed the early scene featuring “It’s A Hard Knock Life” when she decided she had had enough. Haley announced that she was tired, and that she wanted to go home and “lie down and watch a show.” I was worried that would happen, since she woke up extra early that day, but I was hoping the excitement of the new adventure would allow her to power through. It wasn’t to be.
I often put too much pressure on myself– and by extension, on Haley– in these situations. Luckily, before we left my husband made a point of reminding me that whenever Haley wanted to leave, it’s fine to go. So that’s what we did. Of course, later in the day, she was begging us to take her to the movies again with earnest promises that she would stay the whole time. I think we’ll wait until she’s a bit older. It wasn’t an entirely wasted day, as we did stop at the “big girls’ store” on the way out, where Haley procured a sparkly pink headband. She earned it being such a brave girl these last few weeks. Maybe we didn’t get to see the movie, but we were together. Which made it the most perfect day we could have had.

Daddy Time

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Charlotte is now a little over two weeks old, and we are still working on adjusting around here. Unfortunately, given all of Rory’s illnesses, we’ve been taking a divide-and-conquer approach to parenting, with me taking the lead with Charlotte and my husband taking the lead with Rory. Now, as my mother prepares to head home and we start in on life as a family of four, Rory has become pretty dependent upon his daddy… pretty much to the exclusion of all others.

I had certainly noticed his preference, but it was only when he returned to school on Wednesday of this week and his teachers commented on how much he talked about daddy during the day that we realized we had started down a dangerous path of single parent dependence. I actually picked him up from school today in hopes of giving us some mommy-and-Rory time, but he still asked about daddy much of the way home.

I am hoping that a two-week trend is largely reversible. However, I am also realizing how much of a concerted effort we both will need to make to demonstrate to Rory that mommy and daddy are still a team, and not so easily divided. Part of our new approach will be ensuring that daddy spends time holding and caring for Charlotte, and letting Rory realize that he will need to share both of us with her. The other part will be figuring out ways for Rory to be a “big boy” helper with her little sister, so that he can be involved too. I’m sure we’ll try a number of other approaches as well before we find a silver bullet. And I’m sure I’ll have a number of updates along the way.

100th Day of School

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
When I was younger, the 100th day of school came without much fanfare. If I knew about it, it was because someone was counting the days. Today, it’s quite a big deal, at least for the younger kids.

Yesterday, Jack’s school celebrated their 100th day of school. The students participated in a whole bunch of activities involving the number 100. There were loads of math exercises, art projects, and Jack was encouraged to dress like he was 100 years old. The students really enjoyed it and it’s another great learning tool that sparks their interest.

Jack was sick in bed for the better part of the long holiday weekend. He was so upset he was going to miss this special day at his school. It was the only thing on his mind all weekend. Thankfully, he started feeling better and had a grand time picking out a silly “old man” outfit. We didn’t have much to work with, but he looked adorable in his suspenders and dark-framed glasses.

It feels like we celebrate every occasion these days. Some occasions are fun; some are very random and ridiculous. I’m all about kids celebrating a milestone at school knowing how far they have come from the beginning of the year, and knowing they are one hundred days smarter.



Back on Track

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Thank you for your patience, those who regularly follow this blog, with my absence the last few weeks. I am so happy to be back sharing my recent journey with you, because it means the terrible experience that kept me away is finally over.

Hudson developed a cold on Christmas. We didn’t think much of it, but by the next day, it was bad. Since we were visiting with the grandparents, we took him to the pediatrician we used to go to when we lived there. She told us to go right to the hospital– that he had bronchiolitis, which causes inflammation in the airways and difficulty breathing–and that it was a very dangerous condition for a three month old with little lungs.

They saw us right away in the Emergency Room, and I felt confident that he would receive thorough, straightforward care and that we’d be on our way– in a day or two, tops. I had no idea what we were in for.
We were technically admitted but had to stay in that tiny ER room overnight because there was no space for us upstairs. The staff told us that a machine required to treat Hudson was only used in the ICU, so that’s where we’d have to go. I was thinking at this point that us being in the ICU was a mere technicality. I was pleased because I knew that the ICU provides the very best care, and we were at a renowned children’s hospital. A few doctors mentioned that as they monitored Hudson, there was always the possibility that he would need a breathing tube. There had been so many indications that Hudson might not even be admitted to the hospital to begin with, so I never took that seriously. I should have. Four days later, he was on a ventilator.
It was as awful as you can imagine. I was so worried about my son. I knew that the doctors were excellent, that they did this all the time (much more often than I ever realized), and that he just had to go through the process. But it’s horrifying to see your child sedated and covered in tubes. He and I were at the hospital for three weeks total. After two, I said to my husband, I can’t do this anymore. It’s too hard. I can’t take it. But I kept going. I had no choice.
I’ll spare you the details of Hudson’s course of treatment–  I have a huge body of knowledge about respiratory illness in infants in intensive care which I hope to never use again. He is back home and doing wonderfully, and that’s what matters. He should not have any lasting issues.
I, on the other hand, will need some time to process the scary situation we survived.
Our kids are tougher than we think. And so are we.


Friday, January 16th, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Our first week at home with baby Charlotte has been an eventful one.  So far this week, Rory’s daycare has had two weather-related two-hour delayed openings, meaning that I’ve had to take him in because his dad was already at work.  I have been to the pediatrician once with each child, and Rory has stayed home twice from school with a mild fever and strong cough.  Rory’s daddy has been sleeping on the couch most nights to avoid waking the baby up with his piercing cough.  My mother, who has generously agreed to spend a few weeks with us to help out with the new baby, has been helping disinfect and run interference for germs.

We’ve been dividing and conquering to keep the kids as separate as possible in hopes of keeping Charlotte away from whatever delightful virus has stricken Rory and his father.  So far, Rory has been reasonably cooperative in staying away from his little sister.  We’ve had to tell him a little white lie– rather than explain that he is sick and can’t be close to her, we’ve told him that she is sick and that we don’t want him to catch her germs.

Having two kids born in January comes with a certain number of perils– namely: cold weather and lots of germs.  When Rory was born, it was pretty easy to keep him from most infection vectors.  We didn’t really allow anyone who wasn’t perfectly healthy into the house to visit, and we barely left the house for those first few months. Now that Rory is in daycare (and remaining there during the duration of my maternity leave), it is substantially harder to keep the germs from entering the house.  Plus, with an antsy toddler, it is a virtual certainty that we’ll be heading out into public far more often with Charlotte than we did with her brother.

All of this begs the question– is it truly possible to protect our young daughter from her brother’s germs?  Probably not.  Instead, we’ll work on doing the best we can and hope that we can at least defer her first cold for a few more weeks.  Fingers crossed.  Tightly.

Taco Tuesday

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Ever since the Lego Movie came out, my children love having tacos on Tuesdays. It’s one meal I’m guaranteed they’ll eat. It’s a dinner we do quite often, because I know I won’t hear any complaining about the usual meal of grilled chicken and veggies.

Last night we served up some tacos. I try to make it fun by letting Jack and Tate help prepare dinner. They like to set up the toppings on the counter, as well as set the table. The more invested the boys are with dinner prep, the better chance I have of them eating their meal. They like to stuff their tacos full and hear the loud crunch from the shell. I also try to throw in some veggies they don’t always care for, like tomatoes or onions, and see if maybe their taste buds have changed. Usually it’s a no go, but someday I might be surprised.

We even have a favorite taco book entitled, “Dragons Love Tacos.” It is a children’s book about how much Dragons like tacos but hate spicy salsa because it gives them fire breath. The illustrations make them laugh. Daddy likes to dare the boys to eat spicy salsa. Jack has actually tried it, and — after drinking almost an entire glass of milk — he says, “ah ah ah… too spicy. “

I hope we can expose our kids to other interesting foods as they grow up. My husband wants Sushi Saturday, but I’m not ready for that grocery bill. For now, we will stick with Taco Tuesday.


Monday Update

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Hello all,

Our regular readers will be pleased to know that Monday Mom’s younger child, Hudson, is doing a bit better. He’s breathing on his own, and there’s reason to be optimistic now. Moms know how hard it is to have a sick child, so please keep Neetika, Hudson, and their family in your thoughts. We’re looking forward to having them back soon.



Friday, January 9th, 2015

From Friday Mom  – Erin:
I am pleased to announce the arrival of our newest addition, Charlotte Ann, who entered the world this past Tuesday afternoon and has been keeping us hopping ever since. We have only had a few short days with us so far, but we arrived home yesterday afternoon and are getting used to things slowly but surely.

So far, Rory is not entirely certain what to think of his new baby sister. I think he is angry with me, but has also shown signs of complete normalcy. Like snuggling with me and reading a book while I nursed and reading stories together at bedtime. I am anxious and intrigued to see how the four of us fair this weekend when we spend our first full days together. I am sure it will be the first of many adventures as a family of four.