nursing a toddler
Baby

Nursing A Toddler

I would love to be able to say I’m a loud and proud breastfeeding mama. Don’t get me wrong, I am so incredibly proud to be breastfeeding my toddler just four months short of his second birthday. But I’m not loud. In fact, few people know that I still breastfeed my son (unless they follow my blog of course). In some ways I feel like a fraud. How can I be proud about breastfeeding for nearly two years, but hide it at the same time? 

To be honest, I tend to not discuss our choice because I’m shielding myself, and my son, from unnecessary judgement. Simply sharing this post makes me a bit anxious. See, here is the thing… in 2017, in the United States, the average woman will breastfeed for only 3 months. Of course there is nothing wrong with that, but it clearly reflects our society’s attitudes surrounding the subject. I have encountered judgement in regard to the fact that we are still nursing. “But he has teeth!” Yes. Yes he does.  “You are still nursing?” Yes. He is still a baby!  But I’ve seen other moms be the target of hateful, ignorant reactions from friends, family members and strangers alike:

“You’ll turn your son into a sissy.” In 2017, who even refers to a boy as a sissy? And feeding him has no impact on anything but his health and his tummy. 

“That’s perverted.” Our culture has sexualized breasts. Female breasts are designed to feed babies. Period. 

“You only do it because you enjoy it.” It is not fun to nurse a toddler. It’s not. Sometimes it’s painful, and sometimes it’s frustrating.

“If he’s old enough to ask for it it’s time to give it up.” I just can’t even with this line of reasoning. Stop nursing because he knows he wants to nurse, and he can communicate that to me? 

No. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until 2 if possible. Research shows that there are nutritional, medical and psychological benefits for both mom and baby. So why do I still nurse my toddler? 

For our family, we rely on nursing to keep the munchkin healthy. Our son has an allergic reaction to cow’s milk. He breaks out in hives on his face and neck. He doesn’t seem to like the texture of other milks either. So, for now, breast milk is providing sustenance in addition to solids.

nursing a toddlerNursing has kept my son healthy. I was incredibly sick with an eye infection, and an upper respiratory infection. The doctor warned me to stay far away from my munchkin until I was feeling better. How can a mom “stay far away” from a toddler? Instead I continued nursing and he never got sick. Not even a little!

Finally, nursing is an important part of my relationship with my baby. It provides guaranteed snuggle time throughout the day with an otherwise active, rambunctious little guy. If he is hurt, or upset, it is a source of comfort. When it is time for bed, nursing is a source of calm, and lulls him to sleep.

Nursing isn’t for everyone. Nursing a toddler definitely isn’t for everyone. It is, however, an experience that I wouldn’t give up for anything. I can only hope that, in time, Americans will remove the stigma associated with nursing, and nursing toddlers, so that mothers can feed their babies in peace!

#2017ProjectChange

June Goals: Organize and Simplify

June is here! And a new month means new goals. Over the past few months I have been working on diet and fitness. I haven’t given any updates for a few reasons. While I have been going to the gym much more, I still haven’t figured out a routine just yet. I’ve been feeling pretty discouraged, because I crave routine. One major change that I have made is in regard to my diet. In the past month my diet has been mostly meat free, and I have cut dairy intake significantly. It’s amazing how much better I feel after just a few weeks. So, I’m going to continue working on these goals, in the background.

June Goal: Organize and Simplify

This month, my focus is on organization and simplification. Since my son was born almost two years ago, some areas of our house have gotten a little out of control. Our pantry, closets, bookshelves, and cabinets all need to be cleaned out and organized. Frankly, it is driving me nuts. It’s time to purge, and make some donations to Goodwill.

Why?

Eliminating junk from your life always feels so amazing. It’s freeing. And this is especially true when the junk begins to get out of hand. By junk I don’t mean that we have piles of junk just lying around. I’m referring to the work clothes that are still hanging in my closet, untouched since November 2013. The shoes that have never been worn. The five, count them, five jars of coriander in our spice cabinet, which I continue to buy because I can’t remember what spices I have. The five crockpots in the pantry. It’s time to make some changes!

My Plan

Each week I hope to focus on one to two major projects so that, by the end of the month, most of the clutter will be gone! As I work through these projects I will be sure to share before and after photos, as well as some tips and tricks you can try as well!

This Beautiful Life

Life Lately

Yikes! I have been slacking a bit in terms of blogging lately. Life got a bit busy, and blogging fell to the back burner. But, spring weather is here. Our little man is growing, learning, and amazing us each and every day. Life is good. Really good.  I don’t want to bore you with a novel about the last few months, so here are a few snapshots of our life lately.

Little man got a pint sized table from IKEA. He is a big fan!

We gave Door-to-Door Organics a try. Guys, for $25 a week, I don’t think it is a great deal.

These guys made Mother’s Day extra special this year!We found a great water and sand table for our little guy. He loves splashing, and playing with his dinosaurs!

We celebrated my stepson’s 13th birthday! He is a teenager now!

 

I am so excited for the summer months; for festivals, time at the pool and margaritas on patios! Hopefully I’ll be a bit better about staying on top of my blog, too!

#2017ProjectChange

Feeling defeated

Going into 2017, I had high hopes and high expectations for a new year and for my personal goals. This year I was going to tackle my lengthy resolution list, and make great changes.  And, to hold myself accountable, why not blog about it?

For the fourth month in a row, I have found that the universe has other plans for me. This month, I had hoped to really change my eating habits, read The Mindful Eating Diet, establish a gym habit, and blog all about it. None of this has happened, and it is really frustrating. To make matters worse, I get to share this failure with my readers…which is a bit embarrassing.

This month has been tough. We started with snowstorms, which kept us in the house, and away from the gym. Then, my son came down with a nasty cold, and I wasn’t about to take him to the gym daycare.

Then, to top it all off, I came down with what I thought was a cold, but ended up in as my eye began to swell shut. I had a nasty upper respiratory infection, and my body was just not fighting it. Fast forward a few days, and I was back at Urgent Care with a super high fever. We waited for nearly two hours, only to be told that they didn’t know what was wrong.

Since I was sick, we were unable to attend this year’s Cherry Creek Sneak, which I had been looking forward to all year.

The takeaway for me is this: It is important for us to listen to our bodies, and take time for self-care. I am a firm believer that illness is often our body’s way of saying, “You need to slow down.” This was definitely true for me this time around. I have been functioning on very little sleep, and a whole lot of stress, caffeine and junk food. It is time for me to stop.

So, April has really just been a wash. And, I will admit, I am feeling really defeated and discouraged. Summer is right around the corner, and I am back at square one. But, I am not going to give up. Once this nasty respiratory junk subsides, I am ready to get back to it. But it is important for me to be transparent, and admit my failures and setbacks.

I am going to rework my April goals, and give them another shot in May. Hopefully the outcome will be a bit better!

 

Baby

Our Favorite Books for Learning

Hello all! It has been a while since my last “favorite books” post! This time around, I want to highlight our favorite books for learning. These books have great pictures, simple words, and are a huge hit with our little boy.

In most cases, these aren’t books that we “read” to him. At least not in the traditional sense. Instead, we sit together and talk about the pictures that we see. This is an excellent opportunity for us to introduce new, and more specific language to our little guy. Oftentimes he loves just sitting and perusing the pages on his own, too! You’ll notice that many of the books are published by Priddy Books. They create some of the most beautiful picture books, overflowing with language. Here are a few of our favorites:

My Big Animal Book (My Big Board Books) This book is full of large, colorful pictures of all types of animals. This was one of our sons first favorites.

 

 

 

 

First 100 Words This book is small, and great for tiny hands! It features a number of different images of animals, clothing, emotions, cars, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

My Big Dinosaur Book This is our newest addition to our picture book collection! This features images of all different types of dinosaurs. I think some of the pictures are a little creepy or scary, but our little munchkin just loves it!

 

 

 

My Little Picture Dictionary We received this as a hand-me-down from my niece. Our son will sit and read through this book over, and over again. He points at and identifies most of the pictures now, independently!

 

 

 

Alphaprints: Colors This is yet another new addition to the collection, and it is my favorite of the bunch. This book creatively uses fingerprints in conjunction with everyday items, to create the animals and scenery throughout the book. And it focuses on colors, which is what we are learning at the moment!

 

 

A Is for Apple (Trace-and-Flip Fun!) (Smart Kids Trace-and-Flip) We love this book so much that we are going to have to buy a new one! Some of the pop-up pieces are now missing. This book is great for learning letters, and some basic beginning words.

 
I am hoping to expand our collection of picture books soon. Do you have any favorite books for learning? Share in the comment section, below!


DIY

DIY No Soliciting Sign

Recently, we have had many people ringing our doorbell.  As we have hail damage repaired on our house, our doorbell is constantly ringing—contractors , roofers, siding guys, window repairmen, you name it. Then add in the storm chasing contractors, the local milkman, the neighbor’s painter, and magazine salesman…it seems like our doorbell is always ringing. Normally this wouldn’t really be a problem, but it tends to happen most often during my son’s nap time. If you have been following my blog at all, you know that we take sleep seriously around here because it is incredibly rare.

So, I decided to make a Shhhh/No Soliciting sign for our front door. I had been shopping around for the perfect sign, but hadn’t really found what I was looking for, so I made one! This was one of the easiest DIY projects I have done, and I really like how it turned out! You can make your own DIY No Soliciting Sign in one afternoon, for about $10.

 

What You Need

Pre-made blank wooden sign (they have these at any local craft store)

Wooden Pencil

Ballpoint Pen

Printed template (which you can make on your computer)

Paint Marker in color of your choice

 

Make It

Step One

The first thing you want to do is design your sign on the computer. I used Microsoft Word, and downloaded some cute new fonts. Make sure you select a font that will be wide enough, and simple enough that you can use your paint pen to fill in the lettering (wide, clean lines are best).

Step Two

Once you create your desired layout and wording,  print it out on computer paper. I used regular computer paper. Nothing fancy.

Step Three

Cut your paper into more manageable pieces. This will help you to align your lettering on the sign. If you want to make sure your words are written in a straight line, try not to separate them!

Step Four

Select one of your words/phrases, and flip the paper over, so the print side is down. Use a pencil to shade in the entire area where the word is written (remember, you will be doing this on the back side of the paper). A wooden pencil works best for this.

Flip the paper back over, so the print side is facing up. Position the paper on the sign, where you’d like to transfer the lettering. Once you are sure of the positioning, you can use tape to secure the paper in place. Pressing firmly, use a ball point pen to trace the outline of the word onto the sign. Double check that the word transferred before completely removing the paper, as you may need to trace it once more.

Continue this process until you have transferred all lettering onto your sign.

Use your paint pen to fill in the outline. This takes time, and patience. Try to use short, light strokes to ensure that the paint stays within the lines!

And that is it! A few dollars and a few hours, and you have a personalized DIY No Soliciting sign!

#2017ProjectChange

April Goal: Eating Mindfully

April Goal

April is here and it’s time to begin work on this month’s goal: eating mindfully. Here is the thing… I’m not looking to go on a diet, and this isn’t necessarily to lose weight (although that would be a great consequence). Instead I’m hoping to make a major lifestyle change.

Why?

If you have been reading my blog for a while now, you know that I am an emotional/stress eater. It used to be an issue only on occasion, but now I find that it’s a constant struggle. Every day I want to indulge, usually in the form of endless Mexican food and sweet treats. And my body is paying for it. My skin is terrible, my weight is higher than I’d like, and I just feel terrible. I’m tired of trying to make changes, only to fall right off the wagon, leaving me feeling stressed out, defeated and disgusting.

2017 goals

My Plan:

In hopes of making a lasting change, a recently purchased the book The Mindful Diet: How to Transform Your Relationship with Food for Lasting Weight Loss and Vibrant Health Don’t let the title fool you, it’s really not a diet at all. Instead, the book takes the reader through a series of activities to learn to change how we eat, why we eat and what we eat.  In other words, it focuses on eating mindfully. This month I’ll be completing the exercises and updating you along the way, reflecting on the book, and the process.

At the same time, I’ll continue working on my March goal of creating a lasting fitness habit. I hope to go to the gym and/or run at least five days a week! Thanks to my hubby, I have a nice, new jogging stroller to help me meet my goal, now that the weather is warming up!

establishing-a-fitness-habit
#2017ProjectChange, Uncategorized

March Wrap Up: Establishing a Fitness Habit

As March comes to a close, so does my March goal of establishing a fitness habit. I am a bit disappointed in myself. I didn’t adhere to my weekly goals as I had hoped. I didn’t go to the gym four times each week. I didn’t establish a consistent gym habit, yet. But this month hasn’t been a total loss.

Good Things Happened

  • I have begun going to the gym more often…at least twice a week. This is progress. And progress is good, right?
  • My little munchkin is getting more and more accustomed to going to the gym’s day care. He no longer cries, but hasn’t yet branched out to playing with the other kiddos. This is a big deal!

A Surprising Outcome

My greatest accomplishment this month, however, is a bit of a surprise. I have always wanted to be a runner. Always. And I have tried, and failed, time and time again. A while back I purchased the Couch to 5K app, which helps you to gradually work toward running a 5K in six weeks.  I have tried to complete the program more times than I can count, but I have never really been successful, quitting long before I reach the end of week six.  I hated it. I was miserable. So I always quit.

This time around, something has changed. As I near the end of week six, I have come to enjoy running. I haven’t slept much (in 18 months), my nutrition is crap, and I have been feeling a bit more stressed than normal. But, somehow, I find running to be easier than it has ever been, and I have really come to love my time on the treadmill. Finally.

Moving Forward

So, even though I didn’t establish my initial goal for the month, I have made some great strides (pun intended) on my fitness journey. As we begin April, I am going to continue focusing on developing a more consistent fitness habit, and I will be focusing on eating better as well! In preparation for my April goal, I am reading (and loving) The Mindful Diet: How to Transform Your Relationship with Food for Lasting Weight Loss and Vibrant Health, as I hope to tackle emotional/stress eating, for good! Stay tuned!

 

This Beautiful Life

Life Lately

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how motivated you are or how well planned your week is…life happens. It feels as though March has been nothing but a series of curveballs, one after another: a sleepless baby, a computer with one foot in the grave, and random snowstorm. I simply haven’t stuck to my goals this month as I had hoped. I’m feeling motivated and discouraged all at the same time. But I’m not ready to give up. Tomorrow is a new day, and I’m ready to get back on track.

But life hasn’t been a total disaster. Here is a glimpse into life over the last few weeks

We had fun playing games at The Summit!

We spotted this HUGE owl at our local Lowes garden center!

Daddy bought the little man his own grocery basket, and he LOVES it!

He REALLY love it! 

We went on a few long walks, and the little guy was fascinated by the bunnies and ducks we saw along the way!

And then…we had a lovely blizzard. Gotta love Colorado weather!

Here is to a better, more productive week!

#2017ProjectChange

March Fitness Habit: Making Progress and Facing Obstacles

We are about half way through March, and I am two weeks into my goal of re-establishing a fitness habit. Let me tell you something. This is hard. The workouts themselves are not the hard part. I love being in the gym, running and lifting weights.  I am beginning to feel like myself again. Instead, But, I’m struggling with a never ending barrage of obstacles and issues.

For his entire seventeen months of life, my son has spent 99% of his time with either myself or my husband present. Needless to say, taking him to the kid’s club has been a tough change for us all. My son hasn’t adjusted yet, and can get pretty upset when I drop him off. Our gym is well known for their caring, attentive program, and there are monitors so I can see him. But knowing that he is sad breaks my heart.

The combination of his gym experience, teething and the time change mean some crazy sleep issues for our family. We are often up for extended periods throughout the night (1am to 5am), as our munchkin just fights his sleep. Needless to say I am exhausted. My husband is exhausted. Our baby is exhausted. But we will continue working toward our goals.

I continue to go to the gym as planned, to focus on my fitness habit, and to help my munchkin get more comfortable.  I also continue to struggle with my choice. It feels pretty selfish to take him to the gym, just so I can work out, knowing that he is sad. At the same time, I have to make sure I am well so that I can be the best wife and mommy I can be.  Last week I went to the gym four times, and accomplished my goal! This week is off to a rocky start since I didn’t go to the gym this weekend, but I hope to make up for the lost day, along the way.