First Child vs Third Child

Having three kids is amazing and all sorts of special. It also all kinds of crazy. It takes parenting to a whole new level when the kids out number the parents.

One thing that amazes me is the difference between when my husband and I had our first child vs our third child. Granted they were born 7 years apart. So there is a bit of an age gap there. But I chalk up the differences to upping my parenting level and having been around the block already.


Our 1st: Nursery was fully decorated and set up by 24 weeks along. I’m talking full bedding, bumper pads, lamp, all it matching.
Our 3rd: After she was born I bought a crib and we painted her room pink. In my defence she had a pink blanket. Different shade, but still pink.

Our 1st: Sterilized EVERYTHING. Over and over again. Every day. Every bottle. Special bottle sterilizer. Boiled things, twice.
Our 3rd. Throw it in the dishwashers, its all good.

Our 1st: We had two baby registries. We had new everything. Spent WAY too long comparing things, useless things.
Our 3rd: Do you have any idea how awesome hand-me-downs are?! Do you have idea how fast a baby grows?!

Our 1st: Special baby laundry soap.
Our 3rd: Throw all the laundry in together, who has time to sort things?!

Our 1st: If the pacifier or bottle touched the ground or went within inches of the ground, that thing was getting sterilized.
Our 3rd: Sweet found a pacifier in the car, score.

Our 1st: Leaving your child with grandparents, you packed enough bags to last a week, even when it was only for a few hours, you had a list of phone numbers to give them, you called every 5 minutes to check.
Our 3rd: The grandparents know what they are doing, they are pros! Have fun! (But I still call to check, just not as often!)

Our 1st: Nice changing table. Wipes warmer. Some diaper thing that was supposed to stop the smell, it never did.
Our 3rd: Change where you are, floor, bed, it all works.

Our 1st: Falls down. Rush over, check him over 10 times, call husband at work tell him that he fell down – translation he fell over on a pillow while sitting up.
Our 3rd: Falls down. No blood, we are good to go.

Our 1st: Our child won’t eat fast food.
Our 3rd: Gives you directions to fast food.

Our 1st: Professional photos.
Our 3rd: I can take a pretty awesome picture on my cell phone.

Our 1st: My child won’t see a screen for years. Educational toys only.
Our 3rd: Knows how to use my phone better than I do.

Our 1st: New everything.
Our 3rd: Hello second-hand store, you beautiful thing you.

Our 1st: Take birthing classes, breastfeeding classes.
Our 3rd: We’re cool, we got this.

Our 1st: Send child to lessons. Its important.
Our 3rd: Impressive when did you learn that?!

Our 1st: Document everything, write it all down.
Our 3rd: Its all good, I will remember.

How many kids do you have? What differences have you noticed in raising your kids? I would love to hear!

~ Michelle

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What Does It Mean To Be Productive?

Hello New Day.
Hello New Week.
Hello New Adventure.

HelloMonday

The sun is shining. The windows are open. Oh how I have longed for this day! Despite my best efforts the weather plays a big part into my moods. The fresh air is very much needed right now. Now if only I can tear myself away from the singing birds long enough to actually do something productive.

But really what does it mean to be productive? Are you only productive if your house is spotless, everything is cleaned, washed, put away? Are you only productive if you go to work every day? Is it strictly based on what others can see? Can you only really be productive if your actions can some how be measured? Who decides what is productive?

What does it mean to you to be productive?

This past weekend I sat outside in the warmth of the sun. I listened to the birds. I played outside with the kids. I watched the kids play in awe of how much they have changed since last year. I did a lot of sitting outside. Just being in the moment. My house didn’t get cleaned. Laundry is way behind now. My living room looks like some supernatural event happened.

So did I have a productive weekend? What do you think? My answer; Yes. Yes I did.

I did what I needed to do. I did what my heart and soul needed. I was in the moment. I relaxed. I watched my kids. I played with my kids. This is what I needed to do. For my own mental health, my psychical health, I needed a break. I needed to be in the moment. I needed to laugh. I needed to feel the sun on my skin, the wind in my hair.

If you looked at the state of my house you would not think it was a very productive weekend. If you looked at me you would know it was.

As far as house chores go, I am behind. In terms of my spirit, I am ahead of the game! I am refreshed, relaxed, and ready to take on this week. I am in much better shape to handle this week than if I had been inside cleaning all weekend.

So Monday, this week, bring it! I’m ready for you! Right after I finish my coffee and listening to do the birds sing, then I will get up and rock this thing!

~ Michelle

 

Adoption And The Holidays

Being a Birth Mom is never easy. It is not glamours. It never leaves you. It changes you forever. Your heart is forever missing a piece. Sometimes it is really hard. Sometimes it hits you like a brick wall. Sometimes you feel like you can’t breathe with the missing piece. Sometimes you feel like you are falling apart.

adoption

I am a Birth Mom. My son was placed for adoption right at birth. His mom was at the hospital during my labour, heck, she even stood by my side while I pushed. I ended up in an emergency c-section and she was actually able to see him first and spend time with him before I was. They were always meant to be a family. I love my son. But he was always destined to be her son. But that doesn’t make it any easier. I miss him every day. I think about him every day. I always think “what if?!” Always. All my children are always on my mind, every day, every single day. I sometimes even set a place at the table for him. Its hard.

I am so incredible thankful that he does have the family he has. As much as I miss him, as much as my heart breaks, as much as I feel like I am missing out on everything, I also feel connected. My sons mother has always included me. Sent me photos, videos, visits, phone calls, FaceTime, anything that connects us. I am forever grateful.

Last week she went above and beyond. Although I am not sure she knows just how above and beyond it was. How much it truly meant to me. How much it completely broke my heart, shattered it, and yet made me feel whole all at once. This incredible woman, whom I love so deeply, sent me videos and pictures during his school Christmas concert. It was the most beautiful thing. She didn’t have to. She could have waited till it was over. She could have just told me about it. She could have just enjoyed it for herself. But she didn’t. She included me. She shared with me.

I sat there and cried, I cried sad tears, heartbroken tears, proud mom tears, happy tears, so many different emotions. I held my daughter as we watched together. She didn’t grasp just how important all of this was, but I sure did. It was a moment I will never forget. A moment I am forever thankful for.

I wasn’t able to physically be there, I hardly ever am, but I was and always am there in spirit. This made the connection for me even stronger.

Being a Birth Mom during the holidays is extra hard. When you are surrounded by family, and someone is still missing, a part of you is missing, your mind is always wondering what that person is doing, wishing you could be with them. This little action of her sharing with me made me feel so connected and complete during such a hard time.

It really is the small things that mean the most. Small acts that have the biggest impact.

~ Michelle

 

I Never Thought I Would Co-Sleep, Then I Had My Daughter

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When I had my boys, just 13 months apart sleep was very very important! Thankfully my boys were born with a love for sleep. Sleeping 12 hours a night at 2 months old, and 4 hour naps. It was bliss. Pure bliss. I love sleep, and I was over the moon excited that my boys did too. It made parenting two babies 13 months apart so much easier. I swear it was the only way I survived 3 years straight of teething, back to back terrible twos, and everything else my boys did!

Fast forward to my daughter. She didn’t get my sleeping gene. I learned this on her very first day. She was awake, wide awake, following noises and such for hours at a time. I never even got a good look at my boys eyes for the first few days, but her… oh she was awake, wide awake. When she was just a month old she could go all day, ALL DAY, with no nap and still be wide awake and happy. She just didn’t need sleep.

From day one she hated sleeping on her own. We thought maybe she was cold and would heat up her bed with a hot water bottle, warm blankets from the dryer, an extra heater in the room. Nothing worked. We tried rocking her to sleep, I would breastfeeding her to sleep, music while she slept, no music, lights on, night light, pitch black, bedtime bath stuff, car rides, putting her in her swing, and anything else we could think of. I re-read every sleeping and parenting book I could.

We managed to get her to sleep for a few hours at a time on her own, but she never slept all night and never on her own.

Fast forward again, my daughter is 2 and half now. And you may have guess she still sucks at sleeping. She can be up all day, playing outside all day with her brothers and cousins, and guess what?! She will still stay up till 11pm! The girl doesn’t like sleep. (I’m starting to wonder if she is even human).

So 2 and half years later and guess what we do? We co-sleep. If you can call it that. We lay with her till she falls asleep, because after 2 and half years this is what works. And no, letting her “cry it out” is not an option. After she is asleep whoever is with her sneaks out and sometimes a miracle happens and she sleeps all night, but 90% of the time she gets up, and I go in there and she’s right back to sleep and we both sleep soundly the rest of the night.

This is what we do because it works for us. This is what we do because it is what our daughter needs us to do. I don’t stop being a mom at night. IF my kids need me, I’m there for them. Do I wish all my kids slept all night on their own, in the their own beds? Yes of course. Does it happen? No. Does life go on? Yes. Will we all survive? Yes. Will this eventually be a thing of the past? Yes.

Sometimes co-sleeping isn’t even a thought, like with my boys, and sometimes co-sleeping is the only way to survive. One day, maybe one day soon, maybe in a year or more, my daughter won’t need me like this. One day she will be able to go to sleep on her own and sleep all night. One day I will miss this. Kids grow up too fast to stress about where I lay my head at night.

Never will I think a parent is crazy when they say they co-sleep. Sometimes its a last ditch effort just so they can function on some what normal level.

~ Michelle

How To Get ‘Me Time’ When You Are Busy

Before kids ‘Me Time’ was ALL the time! Before kids I could do what I want, when I want. I could take a nap. I could stay up late because I wanted to, not because someone was keeping me up. I could sleep in. I could take a bubble bath. Read a whole book in one day. I could go shopping without running around after anyone. I could do my nails without ruining them in 2 minutes. So many things I could do.

I have my 3 beautiful children. My time is limited. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But still, some ‘me time’ would be nice. Here are my quick and easy ways to try to squeeze in ‘me time’.


1. Take a shower or bath. Especially if you have some new bubble bath or bath bombs or something to use to make it special.

2. Light a candle and enjoy the quiet. Even if for a few minutes. Scented candles are my favourite. Especially the Christmas holiday ones.

3. Grab your music device, iPod, phone, whatever you have, put in earphones and dance. Dance like no one is watching. Dance in your underwear. Just dance and block out the world.

4. Journal. Or color. Or some combination of both. Even for a few minutes. Let your creativity flow. Let your words out. Let your frustration out.

5. Apply a face mask and read while it does its magic. Just make sure your kids are in bed, or not home so you don’t scare them, like I may have done once.

6. Eat a special treat, and don’t for one minute feel bad about it. Enjoy it.

7. Read. You need to have time to read an entire book, or even half, or a chapter. A few minutes can make a difference.

8. Get lost in a tv show. Or a movie if you have more time. Bonus if it is a show the kids can watch, not exactly ‘me time’ alone, but its better than having to stay up all night just to watch something without them.

9. Go for a walk. Or a run if you are up for it. You get alone time, its healthy for you, and it gets you outside in nature. Win win.

10. Make your favourite meal. Comfort food is always a good thing.

11. Do some yoga. Even if you aren’t good at it, give it a try, you may surprise yourself or have something to laugh at.

12. Paint your nails. Probably have to wait for the kids to be in bed, or you could paint your kids nails too in hopes they will sit still as well.

~ Michelle

Relieving My Anxiety For Our Road Trip

I was once brave enough to travel with a 6 month old from Canada to Austria for a week during the Christmas holidays while 2 months pregnant. Ok in all fairness the Grandparents came with me. But my son was such an easy baby, it was almost unreal. He slept all night and simply stayed on his schedule, as if there was no time change. 3pm here was 3pm there. And when we got back, right back to schedule. No issue at all.

Then when my boys were 5 & 6 years old we drove down to Florida. We drove straight through and the trip was wonderful. Again, my kids were so easy to travel with.

Now… Well now I have 3 kids and my youngest, my sweet girl, my girl she hates sleep and hates the car. For whatever crazy reason we thought we would take a road trip to Florida again. 

My anxiety is on high. Honestly I am terrified of this trip! A very small part of me wants to cancel the trip because, well anxiety. Anxiety is evil. But I will not let my anxiety win! I want this to be a wonderful fun family trip! I want this to be a family trip to remember, and not because it turned out like a Stephen King horror movie!


I am trying to relieve my anxiety before and hopefully during this trip. Which is near impossible, but I will try. I have been writing lists. Planning and more planning. Planning so much gives me a false hope of being in charge. I have bought and made my toddler new toys. Bought new movies (THANK YOU in-car dvd player!). And I’m still coming up with activities she can do in the car. I am also doing the same thing for my boys. I am making them a travel binder (I will share that all with you when its done). And I am also making a travel bin for the boys ( will share that when its done as well).

Planning and packing can only take me so far. For other ways I am trying to relieve my anxiety right now is to eat healthy. Junk food may taste good, but it always makes me feel worse after.

Meditation. Well not really, three kids, more like I am taking time to be quiet, to concentrate on my breathing. Counting to 10, 100, or a million, whatever works in the moment. Breathe in the good thoughts, out with the bad. All that. It may sound cheesy, but it works. And if it works, then it is a good thing!

Music. Music can speak to us, move us, energize us, calm us. Music can do so much! I have been working on new playlists. One to relax and calm me, one to energize me, and of course a fun dance party one for the family. My daughter loves music and loves to dance, and it always puts her in a good mood, so music for this trip is a must!

Visualizing. This can work both ways for me. I can visualize the most relaxing trip ever, sitting on the beach, watching and listening to the waves. Or I can let my thoughts wonder and end up picturing all hell breaking loose.

Journalling. I love to journal. Music and writing are my outlet. So I have been journalling a lot and I will for sure be packing my journal with me. Lets just hope I don’t get carsick when I am writing in it.

Sleep. I would say get lots of sleep. Sleep is so important. However, like I have stated my daughter hates sleep. So getting plenty of sleep is out of the question.

Do you have anxiety? How do you help relieve it?

I’m sure as the time comes closer I will need to do these things more often. For now they are working. And that makes me happy. Happy wife, happy life, and all that jazz.

~ Michelle

 

When Someone Told Me My Marriage Would End.

Marriage. Why didn’t anyone tell me it would be like this?! My parents made it look insanely easy, or maybe they were just good at not arguing in front of the kids. Movies clearly lie about relationships, especially Disney. (I’m still waiting for animals to come help me clean the house, not that that has anything to do with marriage, it would just be nice.)


The thing with marriage, is that it is as unique as each person that is involved in it. No two marriages are the same, so its hard for people to actually give advice. When they do give advice it is more of a blanket type advice.

When I met my husband, I didn’t really listen to advice much. I’m not one for being told how to do things. I’m stubborn that way. I figured that we would figure out what worked best for us and go from there. Adjust and change as needed.

I have been with my husband for 11 years now. It is long enough to learn a few things, but clearly not long enough to know everything. We still manage to surprise each other. But what we have learned is what works for us, for the most part. We have learned how to communicate better, thats always something we will be working on. I have also learned that marriage is hard work, but so worth it.

I have also learned that everyone loves to put their two cents in, usually ‘helpful’ advice. What I never expected was when someone told me my marriage would end. To be fair this person did not just simply say something mean in passing, they actually yelled at me and tried to make an argument for their case. It was not because my husband and I were fighting a lot. Not because one of us had an affair. Not because we didn’t love each other. Someone told me my marriage would end because my husband helps around the house!

See in our marriage that was one of the things we figured out that worked for us. We both live in this house, so we both take care of our house. We both wear clothes, so we both do laundry. We both eat, so we both cook and clean the kitchen. I cook dinner, my husband cleans the kitchen. My husband cooks dinner, my husband cleans the kitchen – just kidding, I help!

When my husband and I got married we agreed we were an equal partnership. We help each other out, we support each other, we take care of each other, we lean on each other, we parent together, we make decisions together. We also help each other out around the house.

I’m not going to say my marriage will never fail, I hope it won’t, I don’t think it will, but I know for sure that if it does, it won’t be because my husband had to do dish and wash his own clothes.

My marriage is a partnership. My husband and I work together. And my husband sure as heck does not “babysit”! He parents along side with me! But that is a whole other story and issue. My husband is more than someone who brings home a paycheque. He is my husband and my children’s father. How we make things work, how we live, how we choose to spend our happily ever after is our story to write and enjoy.

Moral of this all, your relationship is your own. Your marriage is your own. For me and my marriage we figured out what worked for us. Marriage is hard enough without outside people trying to rip it apart. So when giving “advice” make sure it is helpful. Just because you think something needs to be said, doesn’t always means the other person actually needs to hear it.

Marriage and parenting. To each their own. Enjoy it as you wish.

~Michelle