Sponsored: The Hart Home│With Christmas Came Big News

Shortly after my grandmother passed away in November, we got the surprise of the year. I had been feeling off, tired and I was eating everything I could get my hands on. For someone who doesn’t eat a lot, even my husband thought it was weird and looked me dead in the face and told me I was pregnant. And I laughed and then proceeded to take a pregnancy test wherein, I was in total shock to see two pink lines staring back at me.

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The day before Christmas Eve, I had my first ultrasound and our little life puff was growing and had a strong heartbeat. We were so incredibly excited! Our Logan might wind up sharing a birthday, but I know that he is going to love being a big brother and having someone to grow up with. I still can’t believe that by this summer I will be a mom of two. I have a strong feeling that I am having another boy, but we won’t know for sure until February and it’s only slightly killing me because I can’t wait to shop for a newborn again. In honor of our big news, and because I can’t buy anything yet, I am hosting the following sponsorship. Goumi Kids is one of my favorites stores to order cute clothes from and with the code and link below you will be able to snag yourself some free shipping with your order:

Goumi Kids

The Hart Home│For My Little Boy

A year ago, I was heavily pregnant with you and struggling to get through each day. I was so exhausted and you were already on your way to being 10 pounds. I was running out of room in my body and you just wanted to stay inside me. I made it too comfortable for you.

I found it hard to breathe or eat or really function outside of the recliner we have. I also was so excited to meet you. In a week from now, I would have labor that would start and stop. We had one full false alarm and then finally when we were well past our due date, they finally induced me, but you still wanted to stay inside.

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An emergency c-section and several complications later and my beautiful baby boy that I had dreamed and prayed for was at last in my arms with his haunting almost black eyes and my face staring back at me.

We had a crazy first year together with me writing my doctoral dissertation and my going back to work way too soon. I have enjoyed every day that I am home with you this summer getting to see you turn from that little baby I brought home to the charismatic, brave and funny little boy you are so quickly becoming.

Getting to know you now as a little boy are the best ways I spend my days. You think so many things are funny and you love cuddling with me. You also love to tell me stories and yell at the TV. You’re walking everywhere and if you can figure out how to climb something, you will.

I find myself falling more in love with you every day, but also, I find myself getting a little sad at the end of each because I know by morning you’re going to be even more of a little boy and less of the baby that I have held and cradled, soothed and rocked, wore and breastfed for the last year. You’re finding your independence and as a mother that makes me very proud because it means I have loved you well, but at the same time, it makes me sad because you won’t need me like you did when I first brought you home.

I catch myself watching you sleep more and cuddling close to you, wanting to get in every last minute of who you are now, smelling your little head and holding your little hands. It amazes me how in another year, you will be so much more like a little boy and again I will feel this bittersweet sadness over your growing up.

No matter how old you are though, you will always be my little prince.

The Hart Home│What They Don’t Tell You is That There Will Be No Time and So Much Poop

I took a little step back from blogging as much as I was to enjoy the first few weeks of summer vacation with my son. I have had such anxiety every day this year since I came back from maternity leave when I would leave him to go to work and it turns out, Logan was feeling the same way. We have been inseparable since I have been home. He just wants his mom and I just want my baby. I am sure I will write more about this in a future post.

Today, I wanted to share the story where I felt like I really became a mother. Outside of my anxiety of leaving my son every day, I also struggled with my identity as well. I have been working sometimes up to 7 days a week and doing a doctoral degree full time up until I had Logan. My interests and hobbies and friendships all took a back seat because I was working on paying for a wedding and then, finishing school. As I approached the end of that journey, I realized how far from myself I had come.

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While I know that my weekends at concerts and trips to music festivals and art shows are not going to dominate my life like they used to, I do know that I can have some of that back as I navigate my life as Logan’s mom. Time is just stretched so thin and it’s really of the essence more so than we get a lazy day of not doing much of anything. Time has sped up 1000% since Logan came home. I have to consciously make time for friendships or time doing other things outside of being a mom and a teacher. It took me several days to find the time to text one of my good friends that I haven’t spoken to in over a year. Just as we were catching up and updating each other about everything that we have going on, Logan went into the kitchen for a brief moment.

Now, I have been letting him toddle into the very baby proofed room and giving him a minute before I go after him. Well, in that minute my son pooped on the floor, peed on top of it and came back into the living room with a hand full of poop outstretched with the biggest smile on his face as if he were so proud to finally have figured out where his stinky diapers come from.

I immediately grabbed him and picked him up, holding his hand out away from me as the stink permeated the living room. I run to the kitchen and find the carnage. He smashed most of it and then the true horror came into view…we fed him corn last night with dinner. I wanted to puke.

I quickly get him up into a bath and changed into a fresh diaper and clothes. I run downstairs and throw the baby gate up to keep him out while I scrub the kitchen floor and made sure to find all of his corn kernels, gagging the entire time. He happily sat watching his cartoons like all was right with the world.

Kids man, why didn’t anyone warn me about the poop???

By the time I got back to my phone, my friend was off doing her thing and the conversation died. And there I sat in my living room with my de-pooped kid watching Simple Songs on YouTube until my husband came home laughing because I had texted him the entire poop saga.

I don’ think I can ever look at corn or my kid the same way again.

The Hart Home│My First Mother’s Day

My first Mother’s Day was a little bittersweet. I missed my aunt as this was the first Mother’s Day without her so there was a sadness throughout the day that she wasn’t there. She was so excited to meet Logan and it makes me really sad that she was gone before she had a chance to do so. They would have loved each other.

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Me and my boy on my first Mother’s Day.

I got to sleep the night before because my husband took teething baby duty and when I woke up there were roses and my favorite ice cream because on Mother’s Day calories don’t count and you can get butter pecan ice cream for breakfast and it is okay. Mother’s Day is a mandatory work day for my husband so it would have been nice to have had him there yesterday, but he had to work. We made up for it later with the AWFUL, DISAPPOINTING (I won’t go further because…spoilers) Game of Thrones episode.

Going to my mom’s puts me back to where I grew up even though she doesn’t live there anymore. I drive through my hometown and through my college town to get there and every time I take that trip it reminds me of so much of my life. It got me thinking about the small identity crisis that I have been going through and the very true fact that I had lost part of myself throughout the years. I started thinking about when I was done with my PhD I would go back to Rutgers and take some graduate classes in art history and just enjoy it. Then, I laughed at myself because can I really stay in school forever? Probably.

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My fortune cookie

After that daydream about Rutgers and art history, I couldn’t help but laugh at my fortune cookie following the annual Mother’s Day Chinese food feast. I’ll take it as a reminder that I as figure out the next phase of my life that I had to escape from who I was to become who I was supposed to be, but that doesn’t mean all of my former self is lost forever. She was just away for awhile while I focused on other things.

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And those focusing on other things led me right here to meeting my husband and getting to be a mom to this amazing little boy. His Mother’s Day gift to me? He took his first steps on Friday when his dad and I were sitting in our living room and talking. We both got to see him do it together. It was the best gift he could have given us this weekend. I can’t believe how fast it’s going. I just wish time would slow down a little bit because I can’t imagine having to watch this little boy leave us.

I hope you all had a wonderful day filled with love and family.

The Chop That Was Part II

When I started trying to get pregnant, I stopped dying my hair. At that point in my life I was becoming a mom and as such, I would worry about anything and everything from that point out. I used to love dying my hair. I had been doing it since I was 16. I have had every color from orange to purple to deep reds to black. Today, it is my natural dirty blonde and no longer hanging down my back but stopping at my shoulders:

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In college, when I was living in Paris, I had a girl I was living with embarrass me by pointing out the beginning of the gray hair that I already had. It was just a few strands at the time, but when she was loudly going off about in as we stood on a street corner surrounded by a bunch of people, it was just humiliating for me at 20 years old. It was also the first time I had noticed it.

By the time I was done with my masters program and was set up as a tenured teacher, the few strands had become a full on strip. Now, once that I had the baby, my slim strip was a full blown patch. When I went back to work my students even asked me if I had done it on purpose or if it was a birth mark. Instead of being embarrassed though, I have embraced my natural hair color and my big, white strip. I feel as though it is just part of this new season in my life.

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I never knew hair could be so liberating. Looking back at all the times I changed it though, they often coincided with hard parts of growing up: changes in jobs, ups and downs (and breakups) of relationships, moves, etc. This season in my life also marks one of the most settled ones of my life.

Are Moms and Dads that Different?

My son has reached a point in his development where he knows that I leave in the morning and he does not like it. He has the most heartbreaking yet oddly adorable cry face too which just means he knows how to pull it out to get me to cave in .1 seconds.

He needs me to hold him. All the time. From the moment I get home at night, I am holding him and carrying him around with everything that I do. This was much easier when he was smaller and less mobile and therefore, easily wearable and between that and my body heat, would spend much of his time napping. Now, not so much.

This morning I was running late for work because my son had woken up and immediately wanted to nurse. I have IMMENSE guilt when I turn him down from nursing, so I will always nurse him when he asks for it. He nurses and then once he’s more awake he wants to cuddle and be held, only I REALLY have to pee and shower and get ready to go. I attempt to put him into his pack and play which is just explosive tears the moment he realizes that he’s headed for it.

Quickly, I hold onto him and run to the bathroom. And yes, I pee while I am holding him and he’s happy and chatting as he plays with my necklace. It is 100% true: you lose all privacy once you become a mom and as a mom, your kid will be in the bathroom with you.

Enter my husband.

He just starts shaking his head when it finds us there and takes our son from me.

“We have to get on the same page,” he tells me. I roll my eyes. My mom never let us cry needlessly or for anything when we were my son’s age. You can not spoil someone with love. You can spoil them with things, but that’s something for when he’s older to be worried about.

“Why do you think he’s so different and calm when I’m home? He’s secure. He knows I will be there when he cries.” Then my husband rolls his eyes.

“You’re going to turn him into a mama’s boy.”

And here’s where I zing him good. “Well, apple…tree.” I wink. My husband is further not amused. “And, he’s already a mama’s boy. He’s making little mmm and momom sounds when he cries now because he knows I will be there. We’re working on the official, mama.”

“Go to work.”

The irony in all of it though is that while I am teaching today, our son will be sitting on the couch with my husband as my husband does work for school and my son watches wrestling or cartoons and takes his nap. Then I’ll be home and we’ll switch to Murder, She Wrote and Little House on the Prairie and we’ll sit cuddling and sharing my evening yogurt that he has become obsessed with and the night will go on.

As different as moms and dads are, I think they’re also a lot more alike than they are different. Moms just have more patience and are more open to giving up personal freedoms such as peeing without a small audience.

 

Baby Led Weaning is a Life Saver

It is a fact that my son did not want to be born.

I did EVERYTHING I possibly could to start labor.

I walked, ate hot food, bounced on a ball, did all kinds of stretches…everything, but I would not dilate and the moment the doctor said they were willing to induce, I jumped on it because being 42 weeks pregnant with a nearly 10 pound baby is life’s slowest form of torture.

Only once he was born, all our Logan wants to do is grow up. Physically, he is ahead of every benchmark. He was already trying to roll over in the hospital and was picking his head up. By 6 months old, he was using his play stroller and taking steps. There is no stopping him.

Baby-Led Feeding

I started him on home made purees at 4 1/2 months by almost 6 months, he was grabbing the spoon from my hand to feed himself. I did pre-loaded spoons for awhile that he would take and eat from, but then we reached a point where even that was frustrating for him so, I began to research baby led weaning.

It really freaked me out at first because I was terrified that he would choke. However, it has been such a life saver. He is so much happier when he has strips of food in front of him and he tries so much more food now. This morning he ate more than half of his breakfast.

It’s also teaching me more about foods. It makes me have to cook for my family even on nights when I am exhausted from work and school. I know what’s in food now and I have finally shifted over to a almost completely organic food list. We replaced cow’s milk with fortified almond milk. Even the cleaners I have used have gone from whatever name brand my mom used to get to plant based products. Logan continues to change us everyday and it’s almost fun to see what new challenge he’s going to give me and how quick I can figure out how I’m going to be the best mom for him.