Category Archives: New Life

The Best Christmas Present Ever is Our Baby Boy!

The best Christmas Present for 2017, that is. I don’t want our sweet 4 year old girl, Avery stumbling upon this post one day and forever having her feelings hurt. I promise, Avery, you were definitely the best Christmas present ever for 2013. ūüôā

I don’t find much time for writing lately, and this one will be short, but I wanted to give an update to my last post about how we are having a boy. Since then, she grew from the 15 weeks pregnant pic in that post….

15 weeks with our baby boy.

…..to 36 weeks pregnant.

And right before hitting the 39 week mark, she gave birth to our boy!

natural birth, babies, newborn, infant, birthing
Hello, World, I’m here!

Going Mom gave birth naturally at an awesome birth center near our home to a handsome little guy named Weston on Sunday, November 19th, 2017. Just 5 days after his big sister’s birthday; talk about close!

People kept telling us the second child comes fast and makes for a quick labor, but my wife and I were both shocked at how fast the entire birth went. Her water broke at home around 7:50 pm and he was born that same night at 10:10 pm. We are forever thankful for having such an amazing midwifes and doula crew who knew how to support us, ensure everyone was safe, and keep calm throughout the process. Thanks to them, we had our boy in our arms, safe and sound to hold and snuggle with.

 

Our friends with 2 or more kids told us going from having a kid, to having kids is different, simply put, and so far that’s holding true. Different as in hard, different as in wonderful, different as in, awesome, different as in….well, you get, it’s a mixed bag of emotions! But I’ll be damned if it’s not the sweetest thing seeing Avery being a proud big sister.

It will take some time to adjust to not getting all of the attention, but overall, I’d say she’s coping fairly well. We get Going Mom at home for the next 4 months since her job has an awesome maternity leave policy, and man do we need it just to get somewhat adjusted to life as a family of four. Besides the crazy sleep schedule and constant diaper changes, I’d say we’re doing just fine though. We even picked out our (real) Christmas tree together and took the obligatory selfie.

We made Wes cut down the tree, that’s why he’s sleeping in the pic.

I’m cutting it short since I need sleep. Once things settle, I’ll try for more details, but until then, keep up to date on my Facebook and Instagram pages if you’d like.

If I don’t post before, have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Get Them Talking: Six Ways to Develop Early Vocabulary Skills

I wrote the post below over a year ago, when Avery only made a lot of noises, but now she’s starting to communicate A LOT to us and I know these tips helped. Going Mom and I have worked on¬†all 6 ways to develop early vocabulary skills consistently which¬†created the walking, talking, crazy talking little girl we have today.

Since they worked so well for us (and still going), I wanted to share this post again to help anyone in the same position. Parents, enjoy the tips and get your little ones talking sooner rather than later. Trust me, them letting you know when they pooped is more than worth it!


Me: Hey Avery, are you hungry?

Avery: ……..

Me: Okaaayyyy, how about we try walking?

Avery: …….

Me: What’s wrong, did you poop?

Avery: ………

And so on and so forth. Thus is the typical conversation most parents have with their babies.

When you start life as an at-home parent your infant, silence is inevitable and expected. Sure, there’s crying and cooing, but unless you’re caring for other kids at the talking age, you have no one to actually converse with when at home.

We only have one kid, so it’s just Avery and me spending every day together, learning and growing along the way. I love it. It’s fulfilling, rewarding, better than sitting in an office (to me), way better than daycare (financially and physically), and it sometimes drives me INSANE!

Oops, did I say that? It’s not when¬†she’s extremely fussy and screaming out loud, or when she’s pulling out my leg hair as I’m trying to cook meals for day; it’s the silence. Crying, I can take, but sometimes it gets quiet, a little too quiet.

Don't mind me, I'll just sit here and stare.
Don’t mind me, I’ll just sit here and stare.

As I first mentioned, it’s expected from an infant, but at a year old and close to making actual words with her babbling, it’s just awkward when she turns silent. I’ll be working¬†in the kitchen as she’s happily pushing her boxes across the floor (yes, we’re classy) or we’ll be playing in the front room, but all too often,¬†she turns silent and stares into space.

I know you’re thinking, “Must be¬†poop!”, and I used to think the same, but that’s usually accompanied by grunting and a strawberry-red face. I’ll check anyway because you never know (right?), but 8.3 times out of 10, there’s no poop in sight……or smell.

Luckily, there are solutions to most problems in the world, and I’ve found six that¬†help combat the awkward silence as an at-home parent. As she grows, many of these will act as a wonderful base to build upon and hopefully expand her vocab skills and mind.

1. Explain what you are doing. When I’m in the kitchen (it’s a lot!), I’ll catch Avery staring at me as I work. Instead of just carrying on in silence, I’ll explain to her exactly what I’m doing as if she’s a student anxious to jot down all of my notes. I do this for everything from the exercises I do when working out and even during diaper changes. This gives me the pseudo-conversation I sometimes miss and helps keep her engaged in daily activities.

2. Explain what they are doing. Since it would be narcissistic to only talk about yourself, describe the actions your kid is making too. This goes along with number 1 above, and will help them begin to understand their capabilities.

Yes dear, you are accurately portraying Chucky, the killer doll.
Yes dear, you are accurately portraying Chucky, the killer doll.

3. Make eye contact when speaking to your child. In doing so, your child may be more inclined to communicate. Of course, watch what you’re doing too; like changing dirty diapers!! I’ve tried looking into her eyes while explaining how I’m cleaning her bottom and next thing I knew, well, you know. #ParentingFail

4. Read to them often. Even when they can’t stand still and try to tear the pages from your hands as they scream, keep reading! Avery does this to Going Mom and I daily, but trust me, you’ll help build vocabulary skills and maybe even have them reading before others their age. Make sure to choose books with big, bright colors and fun pictures. Moby Dick is not the best book to start with. ūüôā

5. Acknowledge¬†their sounds and actions. When Avery started blowing raspberries, we made sure to return the action and let her know what she was doing. Now that’s she’s babbling a lot, we repeat (as good as we can) the string of “words” she spouts out and encourage words like “momma” and “da da”. Lately, Avery has become an expert at sticking out her tongue on queue and it makes my wife and I so proud!

6. Play music. You don’t have to have “The Wheels on the Bus” on repeat, play actual music, whatever you like, and it’ll be fine. This is a big one for keeping sane and having some kind of background noise at all times. Almost every day, I turn on Pandora with a mix of my favorite channels and frequently sing out loud with Avery staring at me in bewilderment. Despite the strange looks you might receive, have no doubt that your kid will pick up on words that help expand their vocabulary. For this reason, I tend to stay away from the Eminem station….

Although you can never fully escape the awkward silence when you’re an at-home parent with only one kid who’s not yet talking, these six solutions will help get you through this time and help build your child’s speech and learning skills as well.

Have you made use of any of these before?

Do you have other tips/advice to share?

10 Tips From A Stay-At-Home Dad: Where I Stand

At over a year and a half of being a stay-at-home dad, I know I still have a lot to learn and experience. That said, I’ve also come a long from the first days of my at-home life. So, when I read a recent post on the Baby Center Blog¬†title You’ll Love these 10 genius tips from a stay-at-home dad, I was mostly able to understand and relate to them.

First off, I’d like to say the stay-at-home dad of three¬†is spot on with his advice, and I think any parent currently or considering staying at home¬†would benefit from heeding his tips. They’re¬†easy to incorporate (for the most part) and simple to understand, so I thought I would share them¬†here along with where I stand for each one. Let’s get started, shall we?

stay-at-home, dad, mom, parent, advice, tip

Bam! Right off the bat my gut was twisting in guilt after reading this. But then I realized she’s not even 2 yet and we do get out of the house everyday for a walk around the neighborhood; sometimes even going over to one of her peers’ house too. Plus, grocery shopping happens at least once a week, so there’s that.

My wife made me feel better after I exposed my guilty feelings by letting me know right now it’s okay just to have fun at home while she’s younger and as she gets older, we’ll go and do more things. I can’t explain how heavily this was wearing on me, so a million thanks to my lovely wife for easing my angst!

I’m fairly good with this one. I can’t stand to leave a dirty spoon in the sink, so dishes are always done. I almost always have several food options in the fridge that I prepared because yes, you really never know what tomorrow will throw at you. I do know, however, that Avery will most likely throw some sort of food and/or drink at me or the floor each and every day. So, leave a cloth lying around and ready in every room, you’ll need it!

So true, and a big reason on why I vacuum every day. I also started “making” (just pulling the sheets up to make them straight) the bed for this reason. When you’re around the house all day, you just feel better if it looks better. Try it, if you aren’t already.

We can count on our hands and toes the amount of times Avery has watched TV, but I do let her watch YouTube videos on the iPad when eating lunch most days. She enjoys Sid the Science Kid the most, and I won’t lie, I like it too. Hmmm, I bet Bill Nye the Science Guy would be fun…..

This is a good one, and I have no problem here. Food, fitness, cars, reading, watching shows on Netflix, and unsolicited advice giving; I’m able to¬†hold a conversation with most people on a multitude of topics¬†. Of course, as an introvert, it’s not on a frequent basis, but it’s good to know anyway.

TAKE THIS TIP SERIOUSLY! I have been very bad about this and only now have I improved (I hope. Have I, dear?) and still need to work on it. This is very hard to follow since the working parent obviously misses the kid(s) and wants to spend time with them before bedtime, and by then, it may not leave much time before needing to get to sleep to start the day over again.

We can make excuses all day, but just a simple hug can work wonders. The power of touch and a few loving words goes a long way in showing appreciation and acknowledging one another.

Holy crap, yes! Get two! Make a big batch of oatmeal for breakfast in one and some sort of dinner/lunch in the other. I used to only cook something in the slow cooker on the weekends, but now it’s a daily thing. We all have a healthy and tasty (most of the time) meal to eat together and usually enough left over for Kelley’s work lunch and Avery to eat too. This is not a panacea for stress, but it sure does knock it down a good deal.

Yeah, that 45 minutes used to be 2 hours what seems like a long, long time ago. This me time is usually when I blog or just zone out looking food or fitness sites. I also stay up late when everyone is in bed just because it’s quiet and I can be alone in my thoughts. Of course, my sleep suffers, but I feel I need it too much to give up.

Fact. I can be bad about not sending pics to Going Mom while she’s working, but she’ll make sure to ask demand a cute pic when I fall behind. To add to this, Mondays can be the hardest, so have a pic or 10 ready to launch through the airwaves to her phone/computer the beginning of each week.

Hell yeah! There should be ZERO shame as an at-home parent. If you have any, lose it now, and remember your emotions can speak volumes to those little eyes that constantly watch you. My wife and I have to remind ourselves and each other of this all the time, but it’s true.

Staying at home full time is hard work, but don’t confuse it with being a job, because it’s not. Parenting is quite possibly the most important thing any of us will ever do, and therefore should be done with vigor and pride! This goes for the working and at-home parent, we’re all parents, and we all have wondering eyes on us learning from our actions.

I won’t say that I go through my slump days worrying about what the future holds as far as jobs are concerned or just about how the food I made that day looks unappealing (or is), but for the most part, I maintain my pride in what I do and definitely have no regrets. If it wasn’t for my wife going to work for our family, I’d be lost, and I’m forever grateful for what she’s doing for us to make it all happen.

Again, this is great advice for any stay-at-home parent, and as you can see, advice I still need to work on in some areas. But hey, just like most things in life, this is a marathon, not a sprint, and it’s best to remain steady and learn as you go.

Be sure to go to the actual article and read the comments for more advice and just some funny things people say.

The author of the article, Carolyn Robertson, asked what additional advice readers would give to a stay-at-home parent, so I’ll pass that question on to you. Leave your wisdom in the comments below, maybe it’ll help someone else, like me!