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    Kids Activites

    Lava You (DIY)

    It’s been a tough week for our family and being a parent during this time has been difficult. The hardest part about mourning as a parent is also having to be emotionally and physically present for your child. Calvin reminds me that life continues to happen no matter how much I want to stop time. So in the mist of sadness and grief we did a this DIY Lava Lamp. He was so amazed and loved it, we know our dearest Tia Ada would have loved watching videos of this.

    Items needed for this DIY:

    Cooking Oil , Water, Food Coloring & Alka Seltzer Tablets

    Added half the cup with water and oil, then added some food coloring drops. Calvin choose the color blue.

    After I had him put the pieces of seltzer in the cup, I’ve enjoyed having him help during these projects. I’ve been using it as a time to practice active listening.

    The bubbling was really amazing to see! He loved it!

    This experiment is pretty quick and easy, so I would say doing at least three jars at a time. You definitely need lots of oil and consider using taller plain water bottles. It’s perfect for a toddler and great for building conversations.

    Some questions I asked him and things I had him identify as we did the lava lamp:

    What is the oil? , what is the water?, what colors do you see on the table ?, what color is the water turning?, what color is the seltzer tablet?, what is happening now that we put the seltzer inside?

    If you’ve done this DIY before let me know how your kiddo love it or what you did differently.

    Pregnancy

    Everything to know about Boobs & Babies (Part 1)


         Let me give you some back story to my breastfeeding journey with Calvin. Due to having preterm labor (A labor before 37 weeks), Calvin was premature as a 33 weeker. I gave birth, I got to hold him and the doctors took him away after that to the NICU. The first night my milk barely came in. I think mentally and emotionally I was too exhausted to even try but I did. Through the tears and sadness of not having him bu my side the first night I had to wake up every three hours ( Newborns feeding schedule is usually every 2 – 3 hours)  and pump, that was the hardest thing I had to do. I went on to do that for two weeks which was the time he spent in the NICU.

          The times that I would visit him we had a lot of skin to skin ( this is great for bonding and also stimulating your boobs to produce milk)  and tried to breastfeed but either he was sleeping or couldn’t latch on correctly. Due to that he was fed through a feeding tube and given the formula to supplement what I wasn’t producing. I read articles on breastfeeding, spoke to lactation consultants, bought pills and cookies to increase my supplies, and spent hours pumping to produce in a day maybe 12oz of milk. I think over time Calvin became used to being bottle-fed and it wasn’t until that he had surgery that we found out he was tongue tie. Babies that are tongue or lip tie struggle latching on to your breast since they aren’t able to fully get a grip of your whole areola. It’s very painful for you and also frustrating for them because they’re only getting to latch on to your nipple. Clipping their tie, which is a small surgery allows the baby to freely open their mouth and latch on correctly. It’s easier for them to eat and empty out your breast.

        After he got his tie clipped I moved on to exclusively pumping till he was six months and supplementing with formula. He got half breastmilk and formula in his bottle. I spent all those months crying and praying that my milk would increase. Some days were great but going back to work made it hard to meet the demand of pumping every three hours. Here’s something I would say if you find yourself in my shoes, your mental health is more important than the guilt of being a “bad mom” because you have to formula feed your child. Not everyone can produce milk, our bodies are imperfect. However long you tried, be proud of it. 


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    Breastfeeding 101 

    My boobs produce MILK? How crazy is that! Being a mom has grown a love in me for my body. I’ve been so amazed at all the things I’ve been capable of doing. Embrace all of it, even the milk stains on your shirts. 

    Your milk will come in three stages: Colostrum, Traditional milk, & Mature Milk

    • Colostrum: When you hear in the beginning people talking about the “liquid gold” this is it right here. This yellowish milk is the first milk you will let down for your baby. It’s packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals in order to help your newborn fight against any bacteria or viruses.
    • Transitional milk: This milk is a mixture of colostrum and mature milk, usually around the third or fourth day.” It contains lower levels of immunoglobulins and protein than colostrum but has more lactose, fat, and calories.
    • Mature milk: This milk is thin and white, very much like watery skim milk, it’s packed with all the fat and other nutrients that growing babies need. This will be the milk you let down for the rest of your time breastfeeding.

    (More information can be found on the “what to expect” website)


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    Breastfeeding tips

    The beginning is very much trial and error, You’re new at this and so is a baby. If you’ll be delivering at a hospital, don’t be afraid to ask for help. I personally would suggest that if you can have skin to skin contact with your baby right away that you take the time to embrace each other and even attempt to breastfeed. Babies are usually ready to breastfeed right away but if your baby is not or even if you too tired after labor, it’s okay mama.

    During your stay at the hospital, they will offer to feed the baby especially if your let down is a little slow if that’s not something you want to do then continue to ask for help in latching on the baby. Be vocal about what you want and what you need. Nursing isn’t easy, but with patience and help from others, you can get things going fast. Hospitals usually provide you with pumps in case you would rather pump milk for baby but if not, make sure to pack your own in your hospital bag.

    Talk to a lactation consultant

    You can talk to this person as many times you want and when you leave the hospital they will also be available. Hospitals offer lactation classes, however, during the pandemic I’m not sure how that looks like. So make sure to ask for information and even a number to get help from a consultant at home. The lactation consultant gave me a lot of tips and even a booklet to help me at home. She observed the way I would feed Calvin and also step in when I needed help. So take advantage of that. If you’re delivering at home, your midwife will most likely be your key person in the process.

    Breastfeeding On Your Own

    • Create a feeding area: This is the area you want to use when breastfeeding at first. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be breastfeeding anywhere in the house.
    • Get comfortable: If you can be the couch, your bed, or even rocking chair. If you need pillows or back support use them. The more relaxed your body is the easier it will feel for you and baby.
    • Water is your BFF: Drink lots and lots of water. It increases your milk and also keeps your hydrated.
    • Practice: Even if the baby is struggling, don’t give up. Keep trying to catch baby on and take note of things that work or don’t work. Does baby eat better is a certain position? Does one boob feel more full than the other?
    • Switch sides: It’s important that baby drains (empty’s out) one boob first before switching to the other. The more you drain your boob, the more milk you’ll continue to produce.
    • The more you feed, the more milk: It’s very important that you consistently breastfeeding or pumping in order to produce more milk. Babies usually eat every 2 – 3 hours average and some will even cluster feed ( feeding more consistently between hours. Although the temptation is to just let baby sleep or wait more than five hours to nurse or pump, try to fight against it. Building up your milk production will continue to increase your supply. If you’re feeding fewer times, your body will think that it’s already meeting the needs of your baby and therefore not produce more then it already is.
    • You got this:  For some moms, breastfeeding comes very easy and for others, it doesn’t. it can feel emotionally draining and exhausting especially in the middle of the night. You may even feel resentful or lacking the desire to breastfeed your baby. As someone who’s experience wasn’t at all great, reading about the norms of breastfeeding helps me a lot. I felt so horrible at first and cried a lot trying to breastfeed. It was painful for me because of Calvin’s tongue tie. But breastfeeding should not be painful and if it is for you, check for babies latching or ask for support from a lactation consultant.


    Here are some breastfeeding Must Have’s 

    1. Nipple Cream – This is my favorite nipple cream, it’s organic and very smooth on your breast. Breastfeeding can often leave your breast dry and raw, constantly putting cream on them will help. It’s as safe for babies while feeding.
    2.  Breast Therapy Pack – I haven’t used these before but I’ve heard great things about them. They’re great for soothing your breast, helps relieve engorgement. The hot therapy encourages milk let-down and helps relieve plugged ducts & mastitis.
    3.  Breastfeeding Pillow – Breastfeeding pillows are meant to support your baby while you nurse. I love the boppy but I will recommend looking for a pillow with a much flatter surface and back support. Here’s One
    4. Nipple Shield – These are often used when a baby is struggling to latch on to your breast correctly. Some mamas use it if they have inverted nipples. Once the baby has a hang on feeding, no need to keep it for a long period of time.
    5. Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump – This product is used for pumping during nursing, catching milk let down during feeding or a quick go-to pump.
    6. Nursing Pads – Great for wearing under your bra to avoid milk leaking on your shirt.
    7. Nursing Cup – Works in the form of a nursing pad, but it’s actually catching your precious liquid gold.
    8. Lactation Massage Roller – Massaging your breast before feeding and during pumping helps with milk let down. The roller serves as a support to get rid of any milk ducts you may have hidden in your breast.
    9. Cool Gel Pad’s – Cracked or raw nipples… meet you’re other best friend.
    10. Organic Nursing Pad’s – These are cloth washable pad’s. Easy to wash and be used.

    I hope these tips were helpful, what are some of your breastfeeding faves or tips?

    Part Two: Pumping/ Formula

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    Pregnancy

    Baby Number Two

     


            Well, the secret is out… we’re having another baby! I still can’t believe it. I’ve been dying to spill the beans but we’ve been focusing on taking care of each other and also this baby. After my pregnancy with Calvin I knew that moving forward my pregnancies would be high risk. During my first pregnancy I was told that my cervix was short and therefore my chances of carrying a baby full term were low. It’s the very reason why Calvin was premature (born at 33 weeks) but I’m thankful it wasn’t earlier. After our experience with Calvin in the NICU and everything that came after that we had a lot of fears. Would this baby come early? What if we couldn’t bring him or her home? Leaving the hospital without Calvin was one of the hardest things we had to do but we’re believing that God is in control of this pregnancy and it will finish however He sees fit. I’m so ready to smell tiny toes and wake up to cooing noises in the middle of the night. Haven’t had that in a while, so I’m excited. 


    Pregnancy During Quarantine 

        It’s been bitter sweet, sweet because I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with Calvin and Ruben. We’ve had some really good times. Bitter because my anxiety has been all over the place. Being home has been hard mentally. I’ve been resting a lot and taking small walks in order to keep myself active. My energy has picked up during this 2nd trimester. The 1st trimester was the hardest. I was nauseous, tired, I barely ate anything and physically my body just felt hit. I was worried about telling people or even getting excited without knowing if things would go smoothly. Overall, I think this quarantine has been a blessing. I get to be home with Calvin and prepare him to be a big brother, I’m nesting like a mad woman and throwing everything out but mostly I get to spend time with Ruben. 

         Entering the 2nd trimester I’ve been more joyful and mentally I’m doing better. I’m much bigger than I was with during my first pregnancy but I heard that happens. I feel beautiful just like I did with Calvin and I’m mostly all stomach. I’ve been on progesterone injections which help strengthen my cervix so I don’t go into early labor and I’ve been getting sonograms every two weeks. The injections hurt like hell, but hubby is killing it at playing doctor ( He’s the one giving me the shots)  and despite having to go to the hospital so often, I’m pretty happy I get to see the baby grow. I’ve had some days of discouragement and sadness, I don’t have much control over my labor plan. At risk pregnancy have to labor in hospitals due to complications or any other emergency’s that may arrive during labor. I’m just hoping for a healthy baby and to have Ruben by my side, I’ll be one happy mama.

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    Big Brother Calvin

          I’m not sure that Calvin fully understands that he’s gonna be a big brother but he knows something’s up. He’s been really attached and his mood changes a lot. It’s been hard having him home while working also, he needs a lot of attention like most toddlers. He’s been asking to go for walks and being a bit aggressive, he has an arm I tell you. We’re excited to see him transition to being an only child to a brother. Calvin is a sweet and loving kid, I’m sure he will love his sibling more than anything. He says “he is strong and brave” all the time. It’s the cutest thing ever. He randomly kisses my stomach and points at his own stomach and says “baby”? We’ve been trying to prepare him by helping him grow independence. Potty training was first on our list and now transitioning him to a big boy bed. We want to make things easier for him and us as we balance caring for both kids. For the rest of the time we just want to soak in all our time with him. It’s the last time it will be just us three. 


    acs_0214I’ll be sharing more on our journey here on the blog, so stick around. In the meantime, here is our “The Office” theme announcement. We really love this show and couldn’t think of any better way than to tell everyone like this. Like how cute is Calvin dressed up as Dwight!


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    Pregnancy Fun Facts

    I’m officially 20 weeks

    Due date is September 30th ( Maybe Calvin and baby will share birthday months)

    Cravings: Mangu, Ice cream, Chips

    Baby is weighing bigger than expected… I’m not scared at all. Ha!

    I’ve been sleeping like a baby.

    Lots of nose bleeds, Any mama experience that?

    My sense of smell is on point, I can smell everything.

    Stomach is pretty tight and no stretch-marks.

    I bought a sling as a welcoming baby gift to myself.

    Baby registry got done back in February, it was a piece of cake this time around.

     

    Motherhood

    Potty Training a Two-year-old

    It’s been about a week since we started this journey, but we really started back in December. The idea of potty training sounded scary to me. The last thing I wanted was to find poop on my couch and have to clean up watery “accidents”. The first time around was hard because Calvin wasn’t able to really identify when he wanted to go, he didn’t want to wear any undies and would fight us to sit on the potty. Our busy schedules kept us from being consistent and then life hit us and pull up’s seemed easier at the time.  So here we are again, but this time we’re ready!! Here are a few things I found helpful for my 2-year-old.


    Asking for Tips

    As a first-time mom and still learning how to navigate through it, I leaned on my Instagram mamas for some help. I got a lot of tips from different parents and it was very helpful.

    I also read different articles on potty training and looked up a few books. One book I came across was called Oh Crap! Potty Training,

    Many parents suggested it but reading a book was just not something I had time for, but if you love reading definitely check out this book.

    These are some of the articles I found helpful:

    1. Potty Training: How to get started
    2. Potty Training 101

    Methods? – This was on “Today’s Parents” 

    I had no idea there were different methods to potty training. Back in December we definitely were doing the “slow and steady” method. I wasn’t in a rush and I didn’t want to push him if he was still showing signs of not knowing when to go. This second round we definitely aimed for the “three-day method and “rewards.” Calvin showed all the signs of being ready and by day three he was fully going to the bathroom. This method also worked since we’re stuck at home during quarantine.

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    Is he or she ready? 

    Here are a few signs that told me Calvin’s was ready to be potty trained:

    • He started to take off his diaper and was uncomfortable being wet.
    • He would make fascial expressions when he had to pee or poop.
    • He could stay dry for at least two hours and his diapers during nap time were usually dry.
    • He enjoyed watching me sit on the toilet and flushing.
    • He could sometimes tell when he had to pee.

    Potty Training 101 
    Things we did to prepare ourselves for this process:
    •  Creating a habit takes time and sacrifice, we mentally prepared ourselves for adjusting our schedules at home and cleaning up “accidents”.
    • We bought tons of undies of his favorite characters. (This really helped motivate him)
    • The Potty Chart has been the game-changer in this process. You can create one or get one from Pinterest. Kids love stickers and rewards.
    • We were gifted a potty to have around the house but also got a potty seat for the toilet. I think having both is worth it because it can help you identify which one makes your child feel more comfortable. Calvin chooses the potty seat.
    • Setting a timer to remind Calvin every 20-30 mins to use the potty. We did this for the first two days. ( As the days go by, extend the reminder time) 
    • Since we’re not going anywhere, being home has helped train him. I would advise that you stay home three days while potty training your toddler.
    • Be patient and have a celebrating attitude. The accidents can be annoying, especially if they pee two minutes after you asked him or her if they needed to go. ha!
    • Every child is different, some kids can do it in three days and others take a week to be potty trained. Enjoy the process, this is a big milestone for your child.

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    Our Potty Training Day to Day 

    Day 1: Went 5 times to the potty, no poop, no accidents.

    • The day before we read a book on potty training with him. ( Disney Pull Up’s book)
    • Set up the bathroom area with wipes, undies, and hanged “Potty Chart” and stickers.
    • Took him to the bathroom once he got up and changed from Pull up’s to Undies.
    • Introduced him to the chart and wipes.
    • Taught him how to clean himself.
    • Let him choose which undies he wanted to wear throughout the day.
    • Asked him if he wanted to go potty every 30 minutes.
    • I paid attention to his facial and body movements in order to help him identify when he had to go.
    • Celebrated him loudly and many high fives. ( MUST DO!)
    • Got a sticker every time he went to the potty and when he hits the yellow spots he got a cookie. ( This is great for teaching positive reinforcement and also learning he can’t get something every time he does something well.)
    • He had no accidents.
    • Napped and went to bed in Pull up’s.

    Day 2:  Went 4 times to the potty, no poop, 1 accident.

    • Took him to the potty once he got up and changed into undies.
    • Reminded him every 1 hour, this increased the times he told us on his own.
    • He showed a lot more excitement to use the potty.
    • Continue celebrating him together in the bathroom.
    • Got a sticker for each time he went and a cookie on the yellow spot.
    • Napped and went to bed with Pull up’s.

    Day 3: Went 6 times, Pooped twice, and 2 accidents. 

    • Same morning routine
    • Officially says when he has to go pee and poop.
    • Pooped for the first time in the toilet.
    • I continued celebrating and giving stickers.
    • Napped and went to bed with Pull up’s.

    Day 4: Went 5 times, pooped, and no accidents. 

    • Same morning routine
    • No reminders, he stated when he had to go.
    • We continued celebrating and giving stickers.
    • Finished the first chart and earn a prize, a monster truck.
    • Napped and went to bed with Pull up’s.

    Day 5: Went 5 times, pooped, and no accidents. 

    • Same morning routine
    • Created a second chart, this chart has less yellow spots. ( Teaching him to enjoy going to the potty, not for a treat)
    • No reminders, he stated when he had to go.
    • We continued celebrating and giving stickers.
    • Used undies during nap and woke up dry.
    • I took him to the bathroom right after nap time.
    • We went for a walk with undies for about 15 mins.
    • Went to bed with Pull up’ s

    Day 6: Went 5 times, pooped, and no accidents. 

    • Same morning routine
    • No reminders, he stated when he had to go.
    • We continued celebrating and giving stickers.
    • Used undies during nap time and woke up dry.
    • Took him to the potty right after nap time.
    • Went to bed with Pull up’ s

    Day 7: 

    • Same morning routine
    • No reminders, he stated when he had to go.
    • We continued celebrating and giving stickers.
    • Used undies during nap time and woke up dry.
    • Took him to the potty right after nap time.
    • Went to bed with Pull up’ s

    *As you can see, progress was made as the days went by. 

    *The latest update is that he’s been waking up at 4 am to use the bathroom, I heard this is a good sign to removing diapers at night. However, he still has a wet diaper.


    Potty Set Up

    Being consistent with your set up is also key in my opinion. It helps your toddler recognize his or her area and also gives them the independence to go when they want. If you’re using a portable potty, place it somewhere in the house that they can see it. Have some wipes and undies next to it, it might encourage them to go on their own. 

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    Our Set -up: Wipes, Potty seat (should always remain on the toilet), Stool for getting up, and “potty chart” hanging on the wall. 


    Potty Training Items 

    Here are some items I found to be essential for potty training our son. You may find them helpful too if you’re wondering what to get for your toddler during this milestone.

     

    1. Potty Book: We used another book but this book is pretty cute. Many parents recommended reading a “potty” book when starting this process. Also, Youtube has tons of videos. ( Here’s our favorite)
    2. Portable Potty: Many toddlers enjoy portable potty’s and parents find it easier to have around the house instead of running to the bathroom always.
    3. Potty Seat: While other toddlers enjoy the portable potty, some don’t. Calvin didn’t. So the potty seat was perfect for him and it’s way softer on his butt.
    4. Potty Chart: We created our and just filled it with Calvin’s face stickers. You can find on on Pinterest.
    5. Favorite Undies: Calvin is loving “Lighting McQueen” so we got him a few undies or McQueen and his other favorites of “Toy Story.”
    6. Stool: The stool is for helping them sit independently on the toilet. Some toilet potty’s come with steps already attached.
    7. Travel Potty Seat: These are definitely needed when traveling with a toddler elsewhere. If your boy toddler can pee standing up, no need but may need it to poop. Need a potty seat for a road trip? Here’s one.

    Out and about with a potty training toddler? 

    • Pack extra clothes and undies.
    • Bring your travel potty seat.
    • Use the potty as soon as you get to where you have to go.
    • Be patient with the accidents.