Ideas for Funtivities

Are you not sure of what to do with your little one? Are you out of ideas of what is “fun”? I hope that I can relieve the uncertainty and spark some creativity!

Play Outdoors

2-3 Hours

We love our Regalo Play Yard! We bought the 8 panel and yes, we put it on top of our blanket that we bought at Costco! This allows us to use the play yard indoors and outdoors.

We move the play yard to the backyard and set it up on a patch of grass, we put a couple of toys and his water in the play yard with him, even though he mostly likes to watch us mow, dig holes, and weed whack, even clean the pool! Don’t forget SPF and a hat, if they will wear one.

Being outside is refreshing and brings a new perspective and has lots of benefit for you, and for baby:

  1. Great way for you and your little one to get Vitamin D
  2. Great way for your little one to watch you work and learn
  3. Great way for you to workout when you can’t go to the gym
  4. Great way for you to contain your little one and get some much needed yard work out of the way!

So as you can see, this is a “great way,” to boost your mood, improve your home and take care of your little one! And it honestly took us about 2-3 hours from start of set up to breakdown, which is a great activity between lunch and a nap.

If you don’t have the playscape, another idea is to take out the stroller during nap time and let them snooze in the fresh air while you work.

Theo loves to snooze in his #UppaBabyVista

Read Books

30-45 Min

Spend more time reading. Even though babies are hard to pin down, try to read 3-5 books before bed. It is really important to take time out of the day and read. Try at first to read in a quiet place and if they really can’t calm down, I just let Theo play in his play pen. He plays with other toys and I read to him. If I read enough he starts to get interested and even starts turning and flipping pages. It is hard at first but you will get it! We spend about 30-45 minutes reading in the evening.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

1 Hour Per Meal

This isn’t just about feeding your kiddos but it is about including them in the process. When we start to make a meal, we put Theo is his Joovy Walker and he watches us in the kitchen. Especially when we are kept inside all day, we have to make food anyways so this is a great activity for him to be included to:

  1. See how his meals are made
  2. Learn about cooking
  3. Walk around and burn some calories before he eats
  4. Eat a pre-snack cracker to distract his hunger if get’s too hungry!

And… it also:

  1. Gives us time to whip up something for him
  2. Prepare our own meal
  3. Set the table so we can all eat together

We spend about 30 minutes cooking and getting everything ready, because this is also when we feed our dog Ellie. We like to make sure the table is set and that we all sit down for all three meals, our kids are watching our every move more and more each day. It is important to unplug and talk and share a meal together to have a focused meaningful conversation.

And the last 30 minutes is eating together and cleaning up together. Make the last step cleaning up your little one so that you can get everything done before you set them down in the play pen. It is definitely more fun to play with them instead of cleaning up!

Nap Time

3-5 Hours Per Day

It is important for your kids to take a nap so they can recharge and recoup from the day. Theo is not on a schedule and he definitely is not consistent with his naps. We can take a guess of when he will settle down, but sometimes the naps aren’t as long as we hope.

Regardless, if you can, get your little one down for a morning nap, Theo likes to sleep around 11am-1pm, then you can use this time to clean up the house, do some work or even make lunch if you don’t want to do it while they are awake (like my suggestion above).

This is you time though, remember that, this is time for you commit to the things you want down, so here are some tips to make it the most effective:

  1. Get up early, which means just before the kids wakeup, write down your priorities for the day. Tackle this list during the first nap time.
  2. Relax, read a book or watch a show
  3. If your husband can watch the kiddo, go for a walk or a run outside even if it just around the block. That’s what I do!
  4. Play fetch in the yard
  5. Connect with your husband
  6. Take a much needed nap

Free Play

30 Minutes- 1 Hour

And don’t forget, let them have some free time to themselves! We have a setup so Theo can play all by himself. We try to leave and come back – always watching- but trying to also show him that we can leave and we will come back. This helps with separation issues later on and can also help with clinginess, which is what my doctor suggested. It has definitely helped when we noticed he would just cry to get our attention. He is a sneaky one! Start with 5 minutes and build up with 5 extra minutes every time until you get to 30 minutes total. We do this once in the morning and once in the evening.

Go For a Walk

1-2 hours

Okay so this was in Santa Barbara back in August 2019, we definitely don’t have this view in Austin, but the concept is the same! It is so easy to keep your distance from people but to also still go for a walk. We usually get ready and walk for about 1.5-2 miles on our walks, with stops along the way. It is a great way to get fresh air and to also give your little ones something to observe, smell and look at! Think of all the things they see and take in:

  1. New faces and animals, dogs, cats or even deer too!
  2. Different smells and flowers
  3. Sounds and vibrations from cars, bikes and busses
  4. Colors from the sky, houses, plants and cars
  5. The taste of the fresh air and feel of the wind along their face
  6. The sun in their face and the good vitamin D soaking in!

So please, take them outside, let them see the world and your neighborhood!

Thank you!

I hope that this was helpful and I hope that this sparks some creativity to stay home and be with your little ones while we all try to stay safe and help stop the spread. We are the answer and the problem, it just depends on which position you take. We are definitely trying to be part of the solution and to help our neighbors! If you have any questions or you want to know more of our day to day, let me know! I am happy to help and as Theo gets older, I know I will have more suggestions for you.

Thank you so much and be well. Stay strong mamas!

Our Typical Costco Haul to Help Prepare for days at home

We are currently in a time of uncertainty, of what is going to happen tomorrow, next week or even in the next few months. Nathan and I have been focusing on spending more time together at home and spending time at the dinner table, unplugging and being a family again.

There are so many people who may loose their jobs, who may not be able to provide food for their families, and my hearts go out to all of you. I really do hope that our world starts to find ways to support and take care of their neighbors, just like the big companies and government are starting to come up with a plan to help each and every person, business and community alike.

I’m hoping that with this article, you can use it to find ways to buy in bulk and save $$ like we do.

Our family loves to save, and we have found that Costco is a great way to do that (if you stay on task and don’t venture, this is key!). I know that a lot of you have done your shopping already, but if you haven’t.. here is what we typically buy at Costco every 2 weeks for the fresh items and every 2-3 months for the canned and dry good items.

This shopping list honestly helped us from having to go to the store last week. We braved the chaos yesterday and only had to grab a few fresh items. Of course, Theo couldn’t come, which was unfortunate, as he usually loves to sit in the cart and watch everyone in the store.

Shopping List: Every 2 Weeks

  1. Ground Beef and Chicken (if stocked)
  2. Ciabatta Rolls
  3. Turkey and Cheese slices from Deli
  4. Smart Noodles (only 25 calories per serving!)
  5. Bananas (Great for smoothies and baby food)
  6. Mini Romaine Hearts
  7. Brussel Sprouts
  8. 1 Cesar Salad Kit (2 Dinners for 2 people)
  9. 1 Case of Bottled Water
  10. Diet Coke (We drink a lot of this, so we usually buy 2-3 cases)
  11. Wine or Beer (If we have budgeted for it)

Shopping List: Every 2-3 Months

  1. Frozen berries and vegetables (for Theo and us)
  2. Fish Sticks (Theo LOVES fish sticks)
  3. Bacon
  4. Butter
  5. Milk (look at the expiration, usually 1 case, which is 3 gallons will last you for 2 months)
  6. Cereal (Raisin Bran and Cheerios)
  7. Peanut Butter (Jif Creamy)
  8. Organic chips and salsa (Mateos)
  9. Tomatoes and tomato sauce
  10. Fresh white onions and red onions
  11. Corn
  12. Green Beans
  13. Chicken Broth
  14. Beef Bullion
  15. Pasta
  16. Garlic
  17. Almonds
  18. Cheese Whisps
  19. Dave’s bread
  20. Toilet Paper and Paper Towels
  21. Diapers
  22. Dish Soap
  23. Cascade and Laundry Detergent (every 3-4 months- buy the powder laundry detergent, it is so much easier to measure and portion out!)

So the second list is stuff we already had at home before people were requested to do social distancing and stores and restaurants started to close up. Having some of these things made it easier for us to stay home when we need to, and there is a lot that you can do with canned food. And honestly, it is a lot easier to just toss in a can of corn or green beans than make something from scratch.

Here are a couple of other tips to help keep you prepared and always have something to cook on hand:

  1. Take the ground beef that you buy and separate it into about 4 to 5 sections. I like to put 3 out of the 5 sections into plastic bags, flatten so they can freeze flat and it easier to put on the stove frozen if you forget to thaw it. Take one other section and put into another baggie for ground beef pasta sauce or tacos and put into the fridge for the week. Take the last section, mix in some seasoning to make hamburger patties, and put in the fridge. You just prepped 2 meals for the week and have 3 in the freezer. These portions usually make 2 servings with leftovers, which is great for lunch the next day!
  2. Take the chicken you bought, put 3 out of the 6 breasts in the freezer, if you have the time I would try to find a way to make sure it is flat in the freezer and doesn’t ball up so it thaws better in the fridge when you pull it out. Use the remaining 3 for things like baked chicken and green beans, chicken pot pie or chicken and rice. If you don’t think you will eat it fast enough, only keep 2 out of the 6 breasts in the fridge. Each package makes 4-6 servings depending on your appetite.
  3. If you don’t have any pasta sauce at home, you can combine the tomatoes and tomato sauce with the garlic and onions with some Italian seasoning. This will create a great sauce from your pantry in a jif! And it can be a bit more cost effective, not much but some. Mix with the pasta and boom! you have a home cooked meal.
  4. People say that bread can loose it’s luster in the freezer, but I don’t care! I think it tastes just fine, if you are one of these people, I understand what you’re saying but I really don’t see much difference. Pop it from the freezer to the toaster oven for toast or microwave for mushy bread. I promise it is still good! We buy Dave’s bread from Costco, and yes you get two loaves, so what I do, is I like to put one in the freezer and keep one out, so in case you are in a pickle where you can’t make anything, you have peanut butter in the pantry and bread in the freezer. Easy lunch meal! Bonus if you have bananas on hand.

So since we had a lot of things on hand, we were very fortunate to not have to go out in the first few days of the “panic.” I really don’t like to use this word because we all have a right to worry, but I must say, if we take a moment and breathe, and don’t panic, things will get better. And, we can even start to take care of our neighbor and leave some for the next guy.

And to be fair… we went to Costco at 2:30 in the afternoon… it was like COstco on a Saturday or Sunday after church. Just with people wearing masks that was unsettling.

Good luck my friends and I hope we all stay safe and start to spend more time at home, cooking and taking care of our families in the best way that we can possible with the resources that we have, so that we can be kind to our neighbor and stop the spread!

Love you all lots, and so does Theo. Here is a photo of him eating Costco Chicken and homemade pasta sauce, if I don’t say so myself, he loves it!

Day in the life of 6 month old Theo

Nathan and I have the opportunity to work while raising Theo. We have found a daycare that works for right now and we are loving the time we do watch Theo but also enjoy the time that we have to work and focus on our professional career.

Depending on how your family situation is, some of you may work and some of you may not, and you may full stay at home parents. At the end of the day, what I say always is, “you do you.”

There are so many reasons why parents do what they do, and here is one of our reasons for not having him full time, I have never raised a kid before, I am not sure what to do with him on a day to day basis! I mean I have a general idea of what I should be doing based on research and mom intuition.

With that being said, here are some ideas that I have that might help you also play with your little one, including in order for activities we doing the day (our typical Saturday and Sunday routine):

Morning

  • 8AM: Wake up and eat (30 min-1 hour), Spoon feeding and bottle feeding: I take the time to teach Theo about food and the ingredients, I like to make a story and talk about where food comes from and when I can’t get creative with my story telling, there is always YouTube or books you can read up on and speak to! Make this fun too, make airplane, train sounds or gurgling sounds and “nom nom nom” sounds. This can be an auditory and tasteful event for your little one, make it fun! And educational!
  • 9AM: Clean and play in high chair (30 min), Your baby needs enough time to let their food digest so they don’t spit up. If you immediately put your baby on the ground they could potential roll on their bellies and spit up. I like to put a couple softy toys like soft stacking rings and practice stacking/ unstacking them. Theo likes to watch and then play with these and eat them. It keeps him entertained for 30-45 minutes!
  • 9:30AM: Theo has enough control to jump in a jumper. Keep in mind the age range that is listed on the toy, as always know your baby, but Theo does just find with his head and standing control so he can use an activity Jumper. I like to do this after he eats because it allows him to again, stay off his belly. He would stay in this all day! This gives you a break to put away the highchair and take care of any other cleanup from eating. Let your little one jump and jump and jump. If you have an activity spinner they can stay entertained for about 30 min-1 hour. How long should they stay in it? Probably only 30 min but I keep him in it for 1 hour, maybe work your baby up to this timeframe.
  • 10:30AM: Floor time. I put Theo on his activity play mat with some toys dangling above him. He lays down and rolls around in the activity mat for an hour (1 hour). If he gets fussy I climb in with him to show him and tell him stories about the different toys that dangle above him.
  • 11:30AM Pre-nap feeding: if your baby is starting to get fussy, as Theo usually does, Theo usually takes a nap by this point, but he likes to have 2-3 ounces of milk to go to sleep. Feed and put your little one down in their crib for a good solid nap.

Afternoon

  • 11:45-1:30PM Nap time: take the time during the nap to make lunch and set up for the afternoon. I like to have different stations/ ideas already in the works, like setting up the high chair or a music area.
  • 1:30PM Feeding: place your little one in their high chair and try to feed the rest of the jar from before the nap. Top off the meal with formula or breastmilk. Feed until your baby is full.
  • 2:00PM Practice sitting: I went ahead and bought a seat for Theo, so he can practice sitting on his own in his own chair. This toy allows him to sit independently without me, and to also have a few toys in his grasp. This is essential so he can work on his own to pull things up and practice grabbing and passing items between both hands.
  • 2:30-3:30 Story Time: Keep your little one in their seat, and read them a few stories. Increase the amount of time that you doing this activity. Story time is a bit easier when they are locked into a spot, the only thing they can do is either play with the toys on the seat or listen to you!
  • 3:30-4:30 Snack time: Theo is really hungry and we do another jar and 4-6 ounces of formula in between activities and he usually likes to have another meal before we move onto the next thing!
  • 4:30-5:30 Practice sitting up with you: It is important to consistently practice siting with your little one around this age so they can continue to physically develop. I have found more success in the afternoon into the evening with sitting, especially after eating. It is good to make sure they don’t lean over on their belly which can cause them to spit up.
  • 5:30-6:30 Music time: Buy a xylophone and play songs they give you the music too! Even though we aren’t great at music, it is fun todo because we keep trying new things and choose to either play the music or come up with new creations. You can put your little one between your legs and play with your arms wrapped around them or play across from them.
  • 6:30-7:00 Nap time: Theo usually takes a power nap, no longer than 30 minutes so he can go to bed at the right time.

Evening

  • 7:00-7:30 Dinner Time: We feed Theo one last solid food meal for the day, we feed another jar and 6 ounces of food.
  • 7:30- 8:00 Jumper and story time: I like to put Theo back in his jumper to burn some energy and to make sure he enjoys it and continues to jump, I read to him, sing to him or just dance with him. It is so fun to play games and tell him to, “jump, jump, jump!”
  • 8:00-8:30 Bath time and feeding: We give Theo a bath 3 times a week and then give him one last bottle before putting him down for bedtime. After all the activity he is usually ready to turn in.

I hope that this “day in the life,” of Theo and our family helps to give some good ideas on how to engage and play with your little one! If you have any more ideas for me or questions on what products I am talking about, i am happy to answer any and all questions!

Thank you and happy playing! I hope that you have great days with your little ones and can find joy in all that you do!

The First Night in the Hospital: St. Davids North Austin Medical

Most moms talk about what to pack and how to prep for delivery, but I want to share a little more. What should you expect on the first night?

I think that I was lucky, I had a great postpartum nurse after I delivered Theo, also remember that I had a C-section so if you have a vaginal birth some of what I talk about may not apply to a momma who delivered vaginally.

**Disclaimer: There may be some gross details I share below, it’s only to help make sure you know what happens after birth**

Right after birth

  1. After your C-Section you will not be able to feel everything below your ribcage, or below your shoulders if you received too much medication like I did
  2. Your face will be SUPER ITCHY, you will want to rub and rub your nose- this is a side affect to the anesthesia
  3. After you deliver, you have to go to a recovery room where only you and one more person can be (essentially your partner)
  4. You can switch your partner out with any other family members (My mom, dad and mother-in-law rotated with Nate to see Theo and I)
  5. The recovery room is the best place to have your first moments with your little ones as a family, absorb it and relish in the moment
  6. Use the hour in the recovery room to breastfeed your little one if you plan on breastfeeding… but have your husband help and hold him since you won’t be allowed to lift them on your own due to the anesthesia
  7. Ask the nurse to take a few photos of your new family and to help you! They can help with breastfeeding, getting ice chips and making sure your husband has a seat too.

First Few Hours in the Hospital Room

  1. Your husband usually has a couch that can convert into a bed- ask for sheets and a pillow if they didn’t provide them
  2. You’re hooked up to an IV in your own hospital bed, the pain meds go into the IV for the first 12-24 hours (some pills are taken orally)
  3. You are assigned a nurse during the day and they rotate around 6pm, so you get another nurse for overnight
  4. Nurses are swamped and they prioritize based on need, so how “needy” you are, be needy
  5. You just had a C-section and you can’t walk or hold your baby without assistance, you are the most “needy” and that’s okay
  6. Your nurse is your lifeline, use them, not your husband, it will keep both of you sane and keep your relationship healthy
  7. The nurse should be giving you medication, if you need it, don’t let them encourage you to take meds, trust me this will happen, so question what they are giving to you and why you need it and if you need it
  8. If you are going to have some of your days that you stay on the weekend, remember your doctor isn’t going to be there, so if you have questions, ask questions before or the day of surgery – we wanted to inquire about other pain meds and had to wait until i was discharged to get an answer from my personal doctor. I wish I would have asked sooner.

First Overnight in the Hospital Room

  1. The overnight nurse should be checking in on you every 1-2 hours.
  2. The nurse will help you use the restroom until you can go on your own, essentially when they take your IV out.
  3. You will not be able to poop for a good 2 days, and don’t even try! It will hurt, which is why they give you stool softeners.
  4. When you’re nurse helps you, she will help you maneuver the IV, pulling down the hospital undies and changing your pad – lean on her, it’s okay and it will hurt less. You may not even remember most of the bathroom breaks.
  5. Make sure your husband sleeps- your nurse is your lifeline and should be helping you 100%- and if she helps you instead of your husband, there can still be some magic left since he’s not changing your pads (LOL).
  6. You need to heal, so have your baby sleep in the nursery if that is an option- we also recommend this because our nurse noticed a breathing problem with Theo overnight so it ultimately admitted him to the NICU. I don’t know what we would have done that first night if he stopped breathing while under our care.

Visitors After Birth

  1. It is great to have people visit, but you will not look 100%. If you’re okay with that, have visitors.
  2. If you want to look great, pack some makeup and a brush… have your husband remind you to put it on and even get him to help. I say do this regardless because you will like your photos with the family better.
  3. Wear the hospital gown they give you, since you will be bleeding much more in those first two days. Have yours ready as an option.
  4. Be selfish, you have to take care of you and baby- if you aren’t up for visitors, say something and have your husband be the coordinator.
  5. Let your husband run the show and make sure he knows that he has to be the one to say “yay” or “nay.” You won’t be in the mood to do so.

To Do’s at the Hospital

  1. Call your insurance company to see how many days you receive included in the hospital. Most people say take as few days as possible, I would agree but we wanted to stay a while since Theo was in NICU.
  2. Make sure you fill out the birth certificate information, we had to remind our nurses to send someone over to “register” Theodore.
  3. You will be filling out a lot of paperwork, talk to your husband beforehand of who wants to take care of it.

Leaving the Hospital

  1. Now that you have had a few days, you will be required to leave the hospital. If they don’t have a full hospital you can leave as late as 8pm in some places to get the full day in if you want it.
  2. I made a list of what I brought so I collected everything; checked it off on a list so I didn’t loose anything. It helps you keep track of what are your clothes and what belongs to the hospital.
  3. Ask for freebies like extra pads, ice packs, bottles for breastfeeding storage, grey tubs (these help with washing pump parts), pacifiers, formula that they didn’t use in your crib drawers, burp clothes if you can take them, extra swaddles, an outfit if you forgot one or don”t have the right size, gel pads for scars, and extra undies, to name a few.
  4. Ask our nurse to help you and your husband put your little one in the car seat.
  5. Once in the car seat your husband should grab what he can carry and go down to pull the car around.
  6. Your nurse will most likely then start taking you and your little one down to the car. They will “check you out” by making sure your wristband and your little one’s wrist band matches – that you have the right baby. They have to turn off the alarm.
  7. You will wait until your husband gets curbside and stay with your infant.
  8. The nurse and your husband can load the car.
  9. You get up and load your little one in the car and seat yourself down and you head off to home!

And that ladies is what to expect at the hospital! It really isn’t too bad. I think that we all worry about it because we don’t know or talk about what we do once we deliver. This should help so you don’t have to worry about the logistics and you can just focus on bonding with your new baby. Cheers mamas!

C-Section: Still a “natural” way to have a baby

Everyone will tell you that a C-Section is:

  1. Major abdominal surgery
  2. Not natural
  3. Having a vaginal delivery is better and you will recover quicker
  4. You must have a vaginal delivery

And guess what?

  1. It is major abdominal surgery
  2. It is natural
  3. The way you deliver your baby is the best way, it doesn’t matter if it is a c-section or vaginal delivery
  4. You don’t have to have your baby vaginally if you don’t want to

Everyone I talked to said that I shouldn’t do a C-Section, well mamas, it is time to stand up for yourself and hear the advice but at the end of the day, you make your decision.

Here is what I found out once I had my C-Section.

  1. It doesn’t feel like major abdominal surgery, you are in and out in 45 minutes and your baby is in your husbands arm within the hour
  2. You can’t hold your baby right away but have your husband hold them up to your cheek- it is amazing and feels just as great
  3. I had no pain, I actually was given a too high dosage of the pain meds so I couldn’t feel anything from my shoulders down.. You should be able to feel everything above your ribcage if you are given the right dosage
  4. It hurts the next day and the following but the day you checkout and that week you don’t have pain – at least I didn’t – everyone is different, remember that
  5. You have an option to take Norco or just standard Tylenol or both… You don’t need the high dosage! And you actually don’t even have to take pain meds, just tell your doctor you don’t want any to make sure you don’t have them dose you
  6. You will be just fine and you get 2 more weeks to recover form work usually.

If you do have some trouble, everyone is different and I don’t mean to say that you absolutely won’t have any pain or it will just all be easy, but what I do mean to say is that you can relax. A C-Section is scary, but try to take a deep breath and stay calm. Realize that you are a strong mama and you are doing your best. You will be delivering your little one and the best thing you can do for them is to be calm. Babies can snese when we are nervous and you want them to always think you have your “shit together” HAH.

So good luck mamas and let me know if you have any more questions about having a C-Section. I would be happy to take away all your worries!