Naughty or Nice

Santa

Last night we went to visit Santa.  It was our yearly tradition of “Sushi and Santa” at Katsuya at the Americana.  So LA, I know.  But it’s lovely.  Millions of beautiful lights, a giant tree, live music and snow.  It’s a Christmas wonderland.  On our drive there I realized that we haven’t talked about Santa much this year.  Lake had no idea who he is and I wanted her to be excited and not terrified.  And Adam hasn’t talked at all about what he was going to ask Santa for.  In fact, he hasn’t really talked about getting presents at all.  So far Christmas truly has been about being excited to go to Minnesota to see family, decorating the house and their room, and practicing songs for their school Christmas program.  I didn’t realize it until last night, but I was proud that Adam wasn’t making it about things he wanted.  It took him a long time to even come up with something to ask Santa for.

When it came time to actually meet Santa Adam was prepared.  He very politely told him he would like a new Transformer toy.  The lovely Santa was so sweet and kind and said well that sounds fun!  But remember you have to be a good boy.  And you have to do two things, be nice to your siblings and listen to your folks.  Seemed easy enough.  Alex and I giggled, Adam smiled, we took a photo and left.  10 minutes later we were getting in the car and Adam was drinking what was left of his water.  Lake had said she wanted water also so as he was drinking Alex told him not to drink it all.  Two seconds later he finished it.  Alex and I immediately jumped all over him about being disappointed that he didn’t share with his sister and he immediately burst into tears.  The inconsolable sobbing, can’t talk kind of tears.  We let him cry for a second and started driving home thinking he was just tired.  But he was so beyond upset, more sad than I’ve ever seen him.  Through the sobs he was trying to say that he didn’t hear us and that he didn’t know Lake wanted water.  And then he said I just don’t know if I’ve been a good boy this year.  And my heart shattered into a million pieces.  This sweet little boy with a heart bigger than anyone I’ve ever known, who is endlessly kind to his sisters, even when they are terrorizing the place, who shares without being told all day long, who constantly asks if we can go home and “cuddle as a family.”  But he was so scared that this one single incident made him a bad kid.  He said he was going to have a sad Christmas because he wasn’t going to get any presents.  I pulled over to the side of the road and crawled into the back of the car next to him and tried to explain through my own tears that he was the best person I know.  And that Christmas was about giving gifts to the people you love and that so many people love him.  It sort of helped.

Up until last night we have never tied presents to being naughty or nice.  We don’t have an elf that watches over the house to report back to Santa about how the kids are acting, we don’t talk about naughty and nice lists.  We don’t believe Christmas should be about threatening kids into good behavior.  And yes, in most houses an innocent reference to Santa watching to illicit good behavior is completely benign and I am certainly not passing judgement.  But in our house right now it’s just not necessary.

While I love the magic of Christmas, I haven’t completely been able to wrap my head around the whole Santa situation.  I want my kids to believe.  I just don’t want Christmas to revolve around him.  So we will still leave him cookies and set out our stocking, but we won’t write him letters telling him how good we’ve been and the gift he brings will be small but fun.  And if Adam starts asking real questions I think it’s going to be hard for me to keep the ruse alive for too long.

Already this morning Adam has gone back to talking about gifts he wants to get for Lake and Poppy, and getting excited to go to Minnesota.  So hopefully he knows he’s going to have a great Christmas.  Because I know giving really does make him happy, and we can’t wait to fly to Minnesota to play in the snow and spend time with all the people we love.

Thoughts From Our First Days As A Family of 5

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Things I’m grateful for: a beautiful, healthy, snuggly warm baby girl.
Adam and his sweet, caring, nurturing love for his new baby sister, and his mama. Today he randomly turned to ask me, how are you feeling mama?
Lake’s singing. Last night Lake was having a hard time going to sleep with everyone else in the house still awake. So I laid in bed with her and we sang every song she knows. Twice. Her little voice touches my heart in such a way. After a few days of relying on Alex whenever she needed anything, it was really nice when she asked me to lay down and sing with her.
Adam and Lake’s team. They have grown so close, and you can see them appreciating their friendship during this time of crazy transition. They were off to school together this week and I couldn’t help but tear up with pride over this incredible bond they have formed. They truly do have each other’s backs and love each other as only siblings can.
My team. I am so hyper aware of Adam and Lake’s feeling right now. I might have even bought them a box of Count Chocula at the store today to bring home as a surprise. And of course there is also a hungry newborn to take care of. But I’m feeling ok with it all right now, like I might actually be able to handle this. Because of my team. My parents who are staying with us, making my favorite meals, bringing me coffee in bed in the morning, loving up my kids. My friends who are bring me my favorite snacks and sending love and support all day through texts, calls and emails. I feel it all. And it’s giving me the strength to be able to give everything I have to my 3 little ones.
My husband. And his thoughtful gifts, his baby rocking in the middle of the night, his patience with the toddlers and his overflowing love for our tiny Poppy. His support for all 4 of us is unwavering.

What’s In My Hospital Bag

After many weeks of procrastination, I finally packed my bags for the hospital!  We had an external version scheduled yesterday (which ultimately was cancelled since baby girl turned on her own) and it forced me to be prepared in case she decided to make an appearance.  Here’s what’s in my bag, I also have a separate diaper bag packed for baby since we won’t need her things right away.

what to pack for the hospital

  1.  A comfortable nursing bra.  Find one that is good to sleep in and provides easy access for nursing.  My favorites are always from Target.  I have splurged on higher end brands in the past only to be disappointed in the long run.  You also may want to throw in a couple pairs of very large undies in case you don’t like the mesh underwear the hospital provides.  I happen to love the crazy mesh underwear, they are super soft and stretchy, but many moms don’t share my enthusiasm for disposable underwear!
  2. Milkmaid Tea  I love Earth Mama Angel Baby but there are a handful of great options.  If you plan to breastfeed it’s smart to do everything in your power to get your milk to come in as soon as possible.  This tea has always helped my milk supply so I start drinking it almost immediately after my babies are born to start speeding up the milk production process.  Plus it’s yummy and cozy to have a warm cup of tea in bed.
  3.  Zoe Organics Belly Butter  This super rich belly butter that I used throughout my pregnancy to prevent stretch marks also has ingredients to help your skin regain it’s elasticity after you deliver.  And trust me, you are going to want all the elasticity you can get.  Also, your first shower after delivery will be the best shower of your life and it’s nice to have some of your favorite products with you to make it even more luxurious.
  4.  A pretty robe.  I love this one from Plum Pretty Sugar.  Everyone will tell you not to bring anything you don’t want ruined.  But my philosophy is that all clothes can be washed and it’s nice to feel pretty if you will be having visitors or photos taken during your hospital stay.  You don’t need to be dolled up every day all day, but there may be times when you want to have the option of feeling cute.  This goes for makeup as well.  I have a small bag of just a few necessities, some lip gloss, tinted moisturizer, blush, and dry shampoo for my hair.  It may not ever get touched but I like having the option.
  5.  A phone charger, or two or three if your husband also needs one and you are also bringing an ipad or ipod.  There is often a lot of down time during your stay and you will constantly be sending photos and calling friends and family.
  6.  Speakers for your phone or ipod.  Make a great playlist ahead of time or find your favorite streaming stations.  I always loved having nice calming, chill music to help me relax during labor.
  7.  Comfy shoes.  I love having my Minnetonka Slippers in the hospital.  They are roomy and easy to slip on and off as you get in and out of bed.  Also, the hallways are often cold in the hospital so I prefer a soft warm shoe for walking the halls during labor and recovery.
  8.  Personal touches from home.  I made sure to pack photos of Adam and Lake so I can always look over at their cute faces.  I know I am going to miss them dearly while I’m at the hospital.  These prints are from my favorite print shop Artifact Uprising.
  9.  A keepsake from my dearest friends.  At my baby sprinkle my friends each strung a few beads to make a lariat to keep with me in the hospital.  It is meant to be a reminder that they are thinking of me and sending love and support.  Isn’t that so lovely??
  10.  An outfit to wear home.  You will still look pregnant (at least 5-6 months) so don’t even thing about grabbing those pre-pregnancy skinny jeans.  Keep it simple, loose and comfortable with easy access for breastfeeding.

Registry List for Baby #3

By the time you get to baby #3, you are fairly stocked with baby gear and supplies.  And the thought of adding any more STUFF to your house is harrowing.  But there are a few things that are nice to have new for each baby, and a few things that have been updated since your first (a 360 Ergo!  yes please!).  Also the process of registering is now incredibly easy thanks to my favorite new app Babylist.  It’s an online registry that links to any website.  I love supporting small family owned shops and finding unique handmade items on Esty and the Babylist app makes it easy to add any item you can find online to your registry right on your phone.

Here is a round up of my “must haves” for baby #3!

 

baby registry

 

1. Ergo Baby Carrier – We have always loved our Ergo carrier.  We used it for both Adam and Lake.  With their new design the baby can be worn facing you or facing forward.  Alex is able to wear the Ergo as well, which makes it so versatile for our family.  Our Ergo is always with us wherever we go and I can’t wait to try the new design!

 

once-upon-a-time-organic-swaddles

2. Aden + Anais Swaddles – When our kids were babies we use these swaddles for everything.  As a swaddle, as a stroller cover, as a burp cloth, as a changing pad.  We used them so often both Lake and Adam adopted them as their “lovies” and have slept with them every night since.  It’s a great set up as they each have 10 or more, and they will take any of them.  So one can be in the wash, or one can get lost, and they can be replaced without them noticing.  It’s also nice that Aden + Anais makes them with different fabric options.  Adam’s are traditional muslin, Lake’s are bamboo, and I thought it would be nice for baby 3 to use the Organic line so we can always tell them apart.

 

baby registry must haves

 

3. Diaper Pail – A necessary evil in the baby world.  Seriously these things are the worst.  But you need one, and you need a new one.  I have tried a handful and have yet to find one that actually works as well as I’d like.  This Diaper Dekor gets great reviews and I’m excited to try it out!

Misha and Puff Playsuit

4. Adorable New Outfits – Yes you have plenty of old used sleepers saved in a bin in a garage somewhere.  But let’s be honest, by baby #3 most of them are looking pretty dingy and you could use a few new pieces.  I’m in love with hand knit baby clothes, especially these gorgeous heirloom pieces from Misha and Puff.

 

baby registry must haves

 

5. A New Baby Bath Tub – At our old house we never had the right sink for these cute Puj bathtubs.  I’m excited to now have an easy, comfortable bath for a squirmy slippery little baby.  Also the puj hangs dry and is much smaller and easier to store than a big plastic bath tub.

 

wood baby play gym

6. Wooden Play Gym – Our old play gym survived two babies, but now all of the attached toys are lost or broken and the playmat has been washed and washed too many times.  But babies love them and they are so important for their development.  I love the clean look of this handmade wood play gym from Nin and June.  And I love that you can add different toys as your baby grows and has different developmental needs.  They also make adorable play mats with gorgeous fabric that fit perfectly underneath the gym.

 

best nursing pillow7. A New Nursing Pillow Cover – If you have a favorite nursing pillow (mine is this one from Luna Lullaby) you can most likely keep your pillow and get a new cover.  The Luna Lullaby is recommended by lactation specialists to help position mom and baby for optimal latching.  Plus it’s much more soft and comfortable than some of the other popular options.

solly baby wrap

8. Solly Baby Wrap – I didn’t know about Solly Baby carriers when Adam and Lake were born, and I’m so excited to support this family owned company.  I like having both the Ergo carrier and a fabric wrap, and I use them for different purposes.  My babies all loved sleeping in their wraps, and it’s a nice way to be present with the older kids while keeping the baby happy.  They also make Solly Dolly carriers for Lake so she can carry her own “baby”!

 

 

baby registry must haves

 

9. Your Favorite Swaddle Blanket – It’s always nice to have a fresh new swaddle blanket for each baby.  Our favorite is the Miracle Blanket.  Our kids never LOVED being swaddled, but we would sneak them into a swaddle once they were drowsy and it made them sleep so much better!  The miracle blanket is easy to use and incredibly soft, with no scratchy velcro or harsh zippers.

 

baby registry must haves

10.  Gift Cards From Your Favorite Food Delivery  – When Adam was born some very thoughtful friends sent us food from one of our favorite local spots.  It was a bag full of meals, sides, cupcakes, and snacks.  Although my parents were staying with us for a few days and more than happy cook us meals and go to the grocery store, it was really nice for us all to be able to just relax and enjoy life with a newborn.  When Lake was born whenever anyone asked us what we needed for a baby gift, we always would say Joan’s on Third gift cards!  And any night when she was fussy, or I was tired and not up for cooking, we would call and order food that Alex could pick up on his way home from work.  It’s small things that can make your day easier and give you just a few extra minutes to savor this amazing time that flies by so quickly.