I cried today...

I cried today because you are growing up so fast, and time is moving so quickly, and I am not sure that I had a chance to take in every little moment with you this past year.  I cried because I can't stop time, even though I want to, it is one of the many things that I just can't control.

I cried today because you cried as I was leaving you at preschool and hearing you cry for me makes every part of my body ache.  I cried because every time I leave you, even though I know you love school, I feel guilty beyond all belief that I am not the one taking care of you each day.

I cried because I actually enjoy going to work while you are at school but I can't help but think that I am missing out on being a part of the amazing world you live in every minute of the day.  I cried because our few hours together each day are so short, and it takes everything I have to not to hug you for each second I am with you...  

I cried because this world is so big and can be so mean and I can't even imagine my sweet boy being a part of such a cruel world.  I cried because I can't even fathom the thought of someone picking on you or letting you down, and I know I can't stop either from happening, no matter how hard I try.

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My house has never been so messy...

Mason (11 months old) started crawling a few weeks ago and is now cruising (rather quickly) all over the house.  He managed to pull himself up on the pack-n-play once this past week and now there is no stopping him. 

He pulls up on anything he can find including the stroller, a rocking chair, the highchair, any and all tables and shelves - especially the ones with sharp edges, and even the diaper pail.  Most of which, topple over on him which then leads to a outburst of crying.  

The crib is no longer a place to sleep but a jail cell that he needs to find his way out of.  He no longer will just lay down in his crib when we put him down to sleep, since he learned to pull up.  Now he is jumping and yelling and using every bit of strength to try to heave himself out of his crib.  

Bedtime now involves listening to Mason yell on the monitor for about 30-45 minutes before he passes out.

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almost a year of breastfeeding...

This past weekend, I packed up all but a few of my breastfeeding supplies including my pump and stored it all away for the next baby.  Mason was no longer interested in breastfeeding and I was barely producing any milk when I pumped at work, so after agonizing over this decision for a few weeks, (and experiencing any and all forms of mom guilt during that time) I decided it was time to just stop pumping during the day.  I will continue to breastfeed in the morning for another month or so (I am not quite ready to give up our mornings together just yet) but at this point my breastfeeding journey is coming to an end.

He is almost 11 months old and is now obsessed with real food and essentially weaned himself over the past three months.  Everything I read recommends breastfeeding for at least the first 12 months while some recommend 2 years.  But 11 months was our number and I just have to accept that.   

I just can't believe that breastfeeding, something that was so tough and brought on so much heartache and anxiety would be so painful to let go of.  I was devastated all day putting the pump and bottles away, not devastated to be done with breastfeeding or pumping (definitely won't miss pumping) but that my baby was no longer a baby.

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transitioning baby to solids...

Starting Mason on solid foods (with pediatrician approval of course) was a daunting task for me.  Milk was so easy and manageable.  Solid foods added a whole new layer of utensils, bowls, food options, food storage, and labels.  I read a lot of Blogs and went through a lot of trial and error during this time to try to figure out the right foods for Mason...that I am now sharing with you...

We started out with the food pouches.  Vegetables first as recommended by the pediatrician then fruits as well as Oatmeal (we skipped Rice Cereal completely).  I started out with the Plum Organics single food pouches for a few days for each food to rule out any food allergies then moved on to the Ella's organic pouches which combine fruits and veggies in each pouch.  After about 3 weeks of buying pureed food in pouches I realized I was spending WAY more at Target each trip then I wanted to and started making his food at home.

Let me start this off by saying that I am a pretty terrible cook...and luckily you don't need to know how to cook to make baby food...

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infant in arms (flying with a baby)...

At 10 months old, we have now flown with Mason 3 times and each time was a drastically different experience. 

The 1st time, we flew with Mason was at Christmas when he was 5 months old.  We were more than ready.  And with what felt like a thousand bags we somehow made it to the airport on time.  I tried the whole nursing during take off and landing but it was rather stressful, and there really wasn't much room for nursing the way we were used to.  My husband tried so hard to hold up a nursing cover so that I didn't expose myself to anyone on the plane but that all went out the window when Mason starting fussing and wouldn't latch.  

It is so true that he felt my stress, it was one of those situations where I had prepared in every way and was doing everything I could to ensure he didn't lose it.  But just as babies do, he had a complete meltdown and walking up and down the plane we went until he calmed down.  I gave people the nod and quick "I'm sorry" but in the end we got lucky...he only cried for a few minutes...I realize now that things could have been WAY worse.

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A letter to my Mason on our 1st mother's day...

I am so so lucky to be your mom.  You have filled my heart and life with more joy and love than I knew I was capable of.  I love to snuggle in bed with you and watch you smile, laugh, and kick.  We roll back and forth and just laugh and laugh together.  You snuggle your head into my neck and bounce and bounce, you are my sweetheart, my honey bear, my everything.  You are the sweetest little boy without a malicious bone in your body.  You love adventures, books, and any and all types of food.  

You are happiest when we are all together, you, your dad, and I just hanging out at home, no toys, no distractions, just us.  You laugh more than I thought possible and sometimes for no reason at all.   You are so incredibly happy and our home is now a place filled with smiles, laughter, toys, and games.  Everyday we discover a new way to make you laugh, and it never fails that when you laugh, we laugh too.  

Our lives have completely changed since the day you arrived and we can no longer even imagine what our life was like before you.  There are days where I dream of a little more sleep and a little more relaxation but I would trade either for one more snuggle with you. 

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no longer a newborn...

Mason turned 9 months last week and off we went to the pediatricians office for his well visit.  These visits just get easier and easier - there are way less concerns about anything and more just keep doing what you are doing discussions and moving on.  I have less questions, they have less questions...and for once, I feel like we are really starting to figure out this parenting thing.

I will never forget when he had a fever a few weeks back of 102 and I called the nurses line frantic.  The nurse on call called me back completely unfazed about his temperature and said we should only bring him in if it goes over 104 or if he has a fever for more than 3 days.  6 months ago we would have been rushing him to the emergency room, now we are giving him tylenol and going about our day.

Everyone told me that time would go by so quickly, they told me to cherish every moment.  I worry every day that I didn't snuggle with him enough when he was a newborn, I didn't hold him enough, nap with him enough, walk with him enough...it all went by so quickly and I tried to keep up while it was happening.  I should have stayed home more with him and just soaked it all in, I should have closed us off from the world more and watched every yawn, every stretch, every blink of those little eyes.  I should have worried less about keeping the house clean, getting his playroom together, or grocery shopping.

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sleeping through the night...

Somehow, as luck would have it, Mason has been sleeping through the night since he was around 3 months old.  We have our occasional middle of the night wake up here and there, but 90% off the time, he goes straight through.   

Please note that I am fully aware from the massive amount of material out there on getting babies to sleep through the night that this is not a normal phenomenon, and we should count our lucky stars each and every day (and we do).  Mason loves to surprise us though sometimes...we will go 7 nights of not hearing a peep from him all night than on night 8 he will wake up wailing at 3am.  There is no magic trick out there, no rhyme or reason.  We just try our best, spend every last dime on crazy sleep training suits, and pray for a few extra hours of sleep each night.  

I am sharing some of our tips and tricks for bedtime in hopes that it helps even one other parent out there get some much needed sleep tonight:  

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baby and the beach...

The toys did nothing, all he needed, all he really wanted was to get his hands on the sand.  The one thing I did everything I could to avoid.  He hated all the toys we brought down, and contorted his body off the blanket multiple times to get to the sand.  Once I gave in, I realized that was all we really needed to keep him content, for about 10 minutes anyway, which seems to be Mason's maximize time he can currently focus on one thing.

Then it was time for his nap.  Of course he was not a fan of the fancy baby beach tent we set up specifically for his naps so I had to sit in the tent with him (which only my top half could fit into) and stroke his head and lull him to sleep.  About 20 minutes later, he would give in and finally pass out.  Then we would watch as every man, woman, and child passed the tent hoping they would walk quietly or talk in lower voices.  I never thought I would think of shushing people before on a beach, that very scenario had never ever crossed my mind.  He proceeded to nap for about 15 minutes (about a 1/4 of the time of his normal naps at home).  So with a 15 minute nap under his belt, this baby was a disaster.  Down to the ocean we went, where he gave out a cry each time the cold water touched his toes, so back to the blanket, now covered in sand.  Before we knew it, the afternoon was upon us and not a minute of relaxation for mom and dad had occurred, and Mason was miserable.  Sitting in a wet suit, covered in sand, and tired, he was not a happy baby.  

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while I was pregnant...

While I was pregnant with Mason, I was detached from what was really growing inside of me. I didn't want to get too close for fear of something going wrong. There are some things in your life (losing a parent or child) that can bring you down to your knees - I am frightened of those moments and choose not to prepare for them. 

We found out we were pregnant on New Year's Day and instead of being happy I was scared.  I remember I took somewhere in the range of 25 pregnancy tests during that first month and was relieved at every plus sign that I was still in fact pregnant.  I couldn't imagine or deal with not being pregnant after finding out - this is something I needed to be, even though I lived in fear of what it really meant.  I was at a point where every time someone announced on social media that they were pregnant, a part of me was happy for them, but the other part was devastated that it was not me.  

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all good things come to an end...back to work after maternity leave...

Going back to work is bittersweet.  A part of me always knew I was not cut out to stay home all day with a baby (it is really hard work - and seems to only get harder...)  The other part is screaming you have to be home with your baby and I know in my heart there is nowhere else I would rather be then at home snuggling with Mason.  

To think that I won’t see every smile, every milestone, every word, every everything from Mason breaks my heart.  My sweet little boy will be in another woman's arms for 40 hours a week.  Of course I thought of leaving my job all together and staying home – I am sure every Mother has.  But I vowed to give it a few months and try – I just can’t even imagine finding the balance and not feeling the guilt that comes with being a working mom.  It is hard not to believe that the best place for babies are with their moms.  But then again millions of moms are working and making it work – justified by the long waiting lists to get into daycare.  I can’t help but think that I won’t be able to do both well – be a mom and have a career.  Something has to sacrifice.  Something has to get less of my attention and I have already decided it has to be my career.  I will not be the mom who works late or travels extensively – that is not the reason I had children.  I have to choose – I know I can’t have both.

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pump and work...work and pump

It feels like I am constantly pumping at work to keep up my milk supply and meet Mason's needs.  I technically need to pump 3 times a day while I am at work for at least 20 minutes each session to produce about 15oz of breastmilk and even then I still need to supplement his bottles with about 6 oz of formula to meet his 21oz daily requirement.  It honestly feels like every second I turn around, I need to pump again - some days I feel like I get nothing done and the days I only pump twice I feel like a horrible mother with more guilt on my shoulders than I can handle.  

The act of pumping at work is insane.  I go into this little room, strip off the top half of my clothes, hook up to all the gadgets (which seriously needs to be revamped completely - I should be able to push a button at my desk and be pumping by now), then sit there as milk is pumped vigorously out of my body.  The fact that I take my shirt off in any form at work is completely inappropriate to begin with, add on top of that expressing milk and storing it in a bag at my desk, even weirder.  I have put together some of the best advice I received for pumping at work and that I strictly abide by:

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the awful, horrible, no good, weekend...

Some days I just feel defeated.  I feel like nothing can possibly go right.   The times when I go in the kitchen and realize I never put the milk I pumped in the fridge, let alone a cap on it.  The times when I get in my car already late for everything and discover I have no gas.  I feel like throwing in the towel, giving up, saying I have had enough.  I cannot possibly do this one more day.  Being a parent, I now have more of these days then I ever imagined trying to work, deal with daycare, keeping my marriage in one piece, and doing what feels like endless loads of laundry.  Today was one of those days.

We had an awful weekend, I was getting over a terrible fever and was exhausted, weak, and not at my best.  Mason we believe, though we do not have any little teeth buds to prove it, is teething.

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Mr. Mason's birth story...

I had been waiting and waiting for the arrival of our little man, what I did not realize was that he could arrive in July and not in September as originally planned. So when my water broke on July 29th with my due date a little over 6 weeks away, I should have been terrified.  But I wasn’t.  A calm rushed over me knowing that this was it.  I’m not sure if the calm comes from wanting to meet my sweet baby or the need to no longer be pregnant, but I just wanted to get to the hospital and move things along.

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