Breastfeeding: The End

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For the past nineteen months Berlin and I have enjoyed the same routine every night; bath, nurse, books, then bed. But early last week our routine suddenly changed. As I prepared to nurse Berlin, I lifted my blouse, and without hesitation she instantly pulled it back down. She then stuck the pacifier in her mouth, turned the opposite direction and cuddled up to me to read a book; and just like that we were done nursing.

In all honesty I was hoping it would happen this way, and I was wishing the time would come soon. For months I had battled the weaning process; reading books and blogs on how to wean and discussing it with my fellow nursing mothers, but despite my best efforts there was little weaning done.

There were times when it seemed I was having success, we would drop down from six to four nursings a day, sometimes even as low as three, but then just like that, we were back up to six plus times a day. Admittedly so I wasn’t as strict about the process as maybe I should have been (I mean obviously or her feedings wouldn’t keep increasing as they did), but due to her slow weight gain I felt tremendous guilt not giving her the added nutrition she needed. So I continued on, allowing her to nurse as often as she liked, whether it be two or even eight times a day. This roller coaster of feedings went on for several months (you can only imagine how sore my boobs were from this constant flux of supply), until nearly two months ago when I successfully got her down to three times a day; morning, noon and night. At that point I was perfectly satisfied with the number of daily feedings and felt less pressure to wean her. I began to trust in the natural weaning process and was more than confident that she would begin to wean herself as she was ready.

Admittedly I was yearning for my independence and the feeling of owning my total body again, but it was still a shock that she weaned so suddenly. I’m thrilled she did so on her own terms, without any pressure from me, but I still feel a sense of sadness knowing I will never nurse her again. But alas, I’m sure this holds true for all nursing mothers and I’m confident that down the road I’ll be nursing another.

For now I’m so proud of both Berlin and I for having made it through a year and a half plus and I’m beyond grateful for the beautiful end to our journey; a self-weaned, satisfied baby with little pain and no depression on my behalf. I have to say, it was a perfect ending.

 


 

 

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Be a Homie and Vote

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Hey there dear readers! I’m very excited to announce this little blog here has been nominated for the Homies Award under the Best Family-Friendly Cooking blog on Apartment Therapy (specifically the Kitchn). The first round of voting ends at midnight on Friday February 21st, from there the top 5 blogs with the most votes will move onto round two of the competition. I’m currently holding at number four and would be so happy to move onto the next round! If you feel so inclined, I would love your vote.

If you have an Apartment Therapy account, just click here, scroll down to Berlin by the Bay and hit +1 (you may need to first sign in).

If you don’t have an account, you will need to sign up for one here, then confirm your email (you will receive an email from Apartment Therapy asking you to confirm your account). Then return to the Family-Friendly category under the Homies award and hit +1 for Berlin by the Bay.

Thank you, thank you in advance for all your support! Wish me luck!

 

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Physical Therapy: Part Two

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Back in October we began seeing a physical therapist to help accelerate Berlin’s gross motor skills (you can read part one here). Since then we have taken several months off to concentrate on the exercises given from the therapist. But a few weeks ago we began up again with a new therapist (based on the advice of our pediatrician).

After our final visit to the previous therapist in the fall, Ryan and I felt confident we had the tools to build Berlin’s strength. We very much thought she would be walking in no time. But unfortunately several months went by and still no steps were taken. I wholeheartedly believed she would walk on her own timeline, but I was feeling (personal) pressure from others. While I realize this pressure came with the best intentions, it seemed all conversations with family and friends revolved around Berlin’s lack of mobility-which of course deepened my anxiety further. So we set up a follow up visit to the pediatrician to make sure nothing was physically wrong with Berlin (which thankfully there was not) and we began to see a new therapist.

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The second therapist was just as comforting as the first. She was excellent with Berlin and reassured us there was nothing to worry about. She absolutely feels confident Berlin will begin walking soon-cheers for that!

During the initial visit she found that Berlin’s hips were weak, which is either caused by the scooting itself or the hips were previously weak forcing her to find an alternative to crawling, guess we will never really know…

She told us to focus on building her hip strength through encouraging crawling and doing hip exercises on the ball. We are of course suppose to urge her to cruise and stand, but the main focus is to build her strength. She feels once that strength is established she will pop right up and begin walking.

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Its only been a few short weeks and already Berlin is cruising (dare I say even jogging) around the house on her push toy. Its amazing!

I couldn’t be more thrilled. She is still quite wobbly, but I see improvements daily, and even better she is really enjoying it.

Cross your fingers that I’ll be chasing her around the playground soon!




 

 

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2014: Identity

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Although 2013 was an amazing year for our family; with the purchase of our new home, my husband making advancements in his career and Berlin growing into a happy, healthy toddler, at the end of it all, I’m left feeling empty.

I spent several days mulling over this feeling, trying to place its origin. Then it finally dawned on me. This lack of satisfaction I’m feeling is because I didn’t achieve any of my own personal goals.

The year came and went and I now realize, I poured all my energy and focus into my family, and left nothing for myself. While I would do it all over again-as my family means the world to me, I recognize this is not a healthy state of being.

I feel this is a space so many new parents find themselves in. The first few years we submerge all our focus into growing and caring for this beautiful little being; we feed them before feeding ourselves, we wake several times in the night to comfort and soothe them, getting little to no sleep for ourselves and we totally disregard nurturing ourself, our spirit.

With the birth of Berlin I fell victim to this common self neglect. I lost my sense of self, my self worth and my motivation.

In 2014 I would like to find myself again, focus on me, my soul, my identity.

Putting these thoughts into words, I realize this focus may sound selfish. However, as my friend once reminded me, you must “put on your oxygen mask before assisting others.” Therefore, in order for me to be a better lover, friend and role model to my child, I need to take care of me first.

Honestly this may be the first year I’ve ever set a true new year’s resolution for myself, and my goal seems a bit lofty, but I feel totally achievable. To achieve it I plan to first make my health priority number one; exercising on a consistent basis, taking care of my skin and eating a whole foods diet. I also plan on enjoying hobbies I once loved; taking a photography class and reading a book or two.  And my hope is to take the next steps in my career (whatever that may be is unknown yet). I will take each day as it comes and remember the ultimate goal is to be true to myself and those around me.

“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” – Aldous Huxley

What are your resolutions this year? Let’s all support one another and help each other be the best they can be.

Linking up with Drea for Making 2014 Count.




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Succulent Centerpiece

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In celebration of New Years Eve this year we threw an “adult” dinner party that included twelve adults and four children. Seeing as Ryan is a DJ in his spare time (don’t ask me what spare time!?), there hasn’t been one single NYE since we met that he wasn’t playing records in some dingy nightclub. This year, much to both our delights, Ryan had the night off, and we were able to host a night in with our friends.

I absolutely love playing hosts at parties, any party, big or small. But each time I bite off more than I can chew, and this time was no exception. On top of planning an elegant dinner for twelve, I attempted to hang every picture on the wall, paint the hallway, finish putting the final hardware on the doors and make a DIY centerpiece for the table. Admittedly I was a complete stress case the day of, but I did it! I almost completed each task on my list (minus painting the hallway-this will just have to wait) but thanks to the help of my best friend and hubs the list was a success.

We have amazing natural light all around our home so I’ve been planning to pot some herbs and succulents, and building a terrarium that could serve the purpose of a beautiful centerpiece was the perfect start. They are quite simple to make and beats the heck out of paying the insane $100 +that nurseries are charging these days for nice terrariums. I spent $15 on plants and supplies and the jar was leftover from our wedding. This is a great bargain for a terranium that will last for a good long time.

Here’s the simple instructions to building your own. Enjoy!

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  • Choose a glass container with an opening large enough to place the succulents
  • Thoroughly clean the container to avoid any bacteria growth
  • Add a layer for drainage, this can be river rocks, pebbles or sand. You will need 1-2″ of rock base

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  • Next add a thin layer of activated charcoal to keep the soil fresh
  • Add several inches of cactus soil
  • Then plant your succulents, placing your largest plants in the container first

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You can then layer on more rocks, sand, add figurines, old toys or a blanket of moss. Just have fun with it.

Sorry I didn’t post this prior to NYE, however I’m sure there are many more opportunities to come in 2014. Happy planting!




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Reflection

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In April I wrote my first blog post. Writing the blog was something that I battled with; putting myself out there, getting caught up in the throws of social media and allowing my daughter to become victim to it all. However in the end I decided if I could influence others to make healthy lifestyle choices for themselves and make nutritious, homemade meals for their baby, then it would all be worth it. With all the craziness in my hectic world lately I have strayed from providing healthy recipes for the family lately, but I strive to return to sharing more meals in the coming year.

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I had the amazing opportunity of staying home and raising my daughter. Although this was a frightening decision to be made, mostly because my career has always been a big part of who I am, it was ultimately the best decision for our family. I have been around to watch all of Berlin’s milestones and I have been a big part of shaping who she will become. With my husband working as much as he does, I’m very thankful that one of us is home with Berlin. I am thinking of returning to work in the future, but my hope is to launch a small business on my own and still be the main caregiver for Berlin.

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I took a food photography class that not only inspired me to become a better photographer (overall) but took my food images to the next level-thank goodness for that! When I began the blog I had so many goals for myself and the blog and so many ideas of what could aspire from it, but I honestly never thought I would take to photography so much. I had never taken photos beyond my phone or a simple point and shoot camera-and those were horrible at best (Ryan was always hesitant to hand the camera over to me). But this past year I bought a DSLR and taught myself everything (thanks to YouTube) and I haven’t used the Auto setting once on my camera. Photography is definitely the best gift I have given myself this year.

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My youngest sister (by 11 years!) got married in June. Poor thing was supposed to marry in August the year before, but I announced I was pregnant and the baby was due in August so in lieu she moved back her wedding almost a full year. I am so very thankful to have her my life (all my siblings for that matter) and I’m beyond happy she found her partner in life.

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We made it through the first year of Berlin’s life! I honestly never knew that I wanted to have kids at all, until I met my husband, then I knew I wanted to have a family this man. I didn’t know what to expect, nor did I know if I would be a good mother, but it turned out that I am a good mom and having Berlin has been the best thing to ever happen to me.

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I went through a lot of ups and downs (and some really tough weeks, maybe months) as Berlin went through many developmental changes. Lots of exhausted days on 3-4 hours of sleep, lots of questioning my ability as a parent and lots of struggles trying to maintain my relationship with my husband. But in the end the hardships always passed and a new developmental stage was right around the corner and we just kept carrying on.

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We ended our year with a sudden purchase of a house. We didn’t really intend on buying a home so soon, but we found one after the first week of looking and that was that. We have lived in our new place for 2 months now and have done much work around the house and its feeling like a true home. It was the right decision for our family and will be the perfect house for Berlin to grow up in (for the first couple years anyway!).

2013 was a challenging, yet amazing year for us and I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings us. Wishing you all the best in the new year.




 

 

 

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To Bob or Not

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Bob’s are all the rage lately, and I’ll admit, I’m drinking the Kool-Aid. I’ve been growing out my hair for years now, seven to be exact, but I feel its time for a change.

I’m completely smitten by these adorable bobs, but do I dare? No more ponytails, braids or messy updos. But no more thirty minute blow dry routine either-the hubby will be happy about that!

What do you guys say, bob or no bob?

Images fro: top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right

 



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Holidays Around Here

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As a child, I have such fond memories of the holidays, all on account of my mother. For each and every holiday, she would decorate the house to the nines. I’m talking, Christmas, Easter, Valentines…you name it. My mom made every holiday one to be remembered.

She always went above and beyond making all five of us kids feel special {and extremley spoiled!} every holiday, and especially at Christmas. She took extra care filling each our stockings with goodies that we loved (I always had Red Vines & a Recess peanut butter tree in mine) and she surprised us all with gifts beyond our wildest dreams.

Not to say the holidays were all about the gifts, nor that they expressed just how much she cared. Yet the time, effort and extreme thoughtfulness that she put into making the holidays so special for us kids is a tradition I will be proud to carry on for my family.

It saddens me that I will be missing a holiday at home this year. But I look forward to creating fond memories for Berlin as my mother did for me.

 



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One of Many Firsts

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Berlin’s first haircut thanks to Grandma Connie. Granted with some snacks and a little cartoon time and Berlin was an angel throughout it all.

Here’s to one of many firsts. I feel incredibly blessed to experience all the joys of motherhood, its a beautiful thing watching my little girl grow up.

 

 




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Moving with a Toddler

Its been a few weeks now since we made the big move into our new home. The dust has finally began to settle, and Berlin’s mood is at last improving. While this move was particularly hard on me (for countless reasons), I came to realize it was even harder on Berlin. Although she is still so young, its clear our move had an emotional impact on her and in turn her behavior became a challenge to both of us (considering she can’t communicate or express her feelings).

Throughout the move I learned some valuable lessons on moving with a toddler that I thought I would share. I’ll admit I didn’t consider all the ideas beforehand, but shortly into the midst of chaos I came to realize how important each of these steps were to maintain normalcy for Berlin.

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First and foremost: Be sure to set up your little one’s room first. Although I was knee deep in boxes and couldn’t find the coffee grinder (horror!) nor a towel to bathe with, I made certain to set up Berlin’s room first. Mind you everything was not in its proper place (and there were blankets taped to the window in place of blinds) but all in all it resembled her room at our old place (minus the thousands of vinyl records she previously shared the room with).

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Next, adhere to the regular schedule-despite the madness that is happening all hours of the day. I made it a point to keep on schedule and not disrupt her routine (too much), not allowing for any more fussiness than was already occurring.  It’s important to keep nap and meal times consistent and even more important to carry on with the normal nighttime routine; bath, books, rocking or whatever it may be. I found this familiar routine really soothed Berlin and made her feel more at ease in her new room.

Have a helper-or two! I was incredibly fortunate to have my mother-in-law volunteer to fly down and assist us with the move. It was crucial having her around during that first week (did I mention Ryan flew to London literally in the middle of our move!?). Having a toddler is a full time job in itself and then complicate it with the physical exhaustion and madness of a move, and I would say its near impossible to do without someone solely focusing on the little one.

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Furthermore, be sure to stop and give your little one lots of cuddles. Its easy to get carried away rushing to unpack the entire house without even a thought to eating lunch (or even going to the bathroom), but its crucial to take breaks and spend some quality time with your nugget. Although Berlin was happy playing with her Nana, I found it was important to drop everything once and while and concentrate on showering her with some mama attention. Things were already so chaotic for her, I didn’t want her to feel separated from me as well.

Lastly, be certain to get outside at least once a day. Considering your to-do list is massive, its easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of it all, but its important to take a breather and get a breath of fresh air-for everyone. On day three of being cooped up in the house, I forced myself to put it all down and take Berlin to the playground. It was refreshing not only being outside, but it was wonderful spending some much needed time with my sweet little girl.

These were invaluable tools to get me through a crazy move, what lessons have you learned from moving with a toddler (or any age for that matter)?




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