My struggle with autoimmune and thyroid disease is directly tied to my motherhood. I developed Hashimotos after I had my first baby. I talk about it here, but looking back I didn’t even have a clue about my disease. I thought one of the symptoms (postpartum depression) was the toughest part at the time. I had no idea that the depression and anxiety would come back and persist and that I would struggle with so many more symptoms because I never treated the Hashimotos, I only dealt with the resulting hypothyroidism and replaced my thyroid hormone. But honestly, I had no idea that there was more to do because my doctors never told me otherwise and I didn’t realize there were answers out there to look for. I thought that as long as my thyroid levels were within range that I was good. And for a while I was.
After I had Calvin, I went clinically hyper while still having underlying hypo — meaning I was getting too much thyroid hormone from my medication (probably because my body was used to sharing it with Calvin when I was pregnant) and my symptoms were those of hyperthyroidism (racing heart, sweating, anxiety especially) while my condition was still technically hypothyroid. My medication was adjusted. I had a major hormone crash when I weaned around 8 months postpartum (Calvin started biting and I couldn’t work through it). And then I got the surprise of my life when I found out I was pregnant with Quincy a month later. But I mostly felt good — I had lost all but around 5 pounds of my baby weight from Calvin, which was huge for me because it took me around 18 months to get to that point after Charlie, mostly because I probably gained 20 lbs from my hypothyroidism. But still, all of the changes and stress on my body were setting up the perfect storm for a Hashimoto’s flare up once Quincy was born.Read More
After having two babies who I felt I had successfully trained into good sleepers, I considered myself an unofficial baby sleep expert. Then I had baby three and realized the universe had thought I was a little too cocky and gave me a really tough nut to crack when it came to good sleep. Quincy didn’t sleep through the night until he was almost a year old (compared to his big brothers who were more like 2-3 months), and even then he was a very early riser. After almost two years of having to get up by 5 am with a screaming baby (he was never happy and rested when he did wake up), I was ready to find a better solution than three cups of coffee. So I called in expert Melissa Brown of Sleep Shop Consulting.Read More
My last baby turned two last week, and even though I was certain I was done having babies from the minute he was born I’ve been having the “maybe just one more…” thoughts lately. I always knew I wanted to have at least two babies, and when Calvin was born, something told me we weren’t done. And then Quincy surprised us not too long after that. But three kids, two really close in age, and a baby that had colic and reflux and wakes up with the roosters (still) just about did me in. I have felt ‘done’ for two years. But my health is starting to finally improve, and with it comes thoughts like “I could do this again.” And I have no doubt that I could. Sometimes I wonder if my having those thoughts means I’m not done — that another baby is meant to join our family — or if I will always have those thoughts. I think a small part of me will always yearn to have a tiny baby in my arms. To wear a baby wrapped close to my body. To feed and nurture a life at my breast. I know some women just know when they’re done and they feel good about that. I thought I was one of them after Quincy. But something in the back of my mind keeps pulling at me. And it doesn’t help that Charlie keeps asking for another baby. Actually he doesn’t ask, he just says that we’ll be having one more very matter of factly. I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m not 100% sure either way, and I’m not 100% sure I’ll ever be 100% sure…Read More
This post is sponsored by Stonyfield® Organic Kids® but the content and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Oh Lovely Day and its sponsors.
I think Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to remind us to do something extra special for our little ones and partners. But I think it is even better when we let it inspire us to show extra love to our families in little ways, every day. I’ve been trying to think of creative ways to show a little extra love to my littlest Valentines and I thought I would share some of my favorites. Here are 25 little ways to celebrate love with your family every day, not just Valentine’s Day.
ways to celebrate love with your family
- Leave little hearts in places they will find them: one stuck to a mirror, one taped to their cereal box, or one under their pillow.
- Put notes in their lunches (for your kids and spouse).
- Forgive them when they make a mistake.
- Make heart-shaped pancakes for family breakfast.
- Hold hands.
- Plan a special one-on-one date with each child individually, and a date night with your partner.
- Comfort them, even when what they’re upset about seems silly to you or is making your day harder.
- Make their favorite snack or dessert heart-shaped.
- Have family cuddle time.
- Give them a card for no reason.
- Draw hearts and notes in steamy shower doors or mirrors for your family to find.
- Put a surprise under their pillow.
- Offer hugs and kisses for no reason.
- Put away all of your devices and give them your undivided attention when it is their time. Quality over quantity.
- Give them extra praise for something they did well or did for you.
- Be silly together and show them how happy they make you.
- Cook or take them out for their favorite meal.
- Ask them, “Do you know how much I love you?”
- Let the little things go—try not to nag or be negative for an entire day.
- Dance together.
- Do their favorite thing with them, no matter what it is (like playing cars for hours or pretending to be a dinosaur).
- Let things get a little messy.
- Be silly together.
- Movie night in your bed.
- Give them a special treat or dessert.
While I don’t mind giving my kids a little sweet treat on very special occasions, during our day-to-day I try to keep things wholesome and good for them. So, I look for things that they think are a yummy treat but that I know are free of all of those ingredients that aren’t so great. One of my favorite sweet “treats” to give my kids is Stonyfield® Organic Kids® Choco-Mooo Yogurts. I love them because they are all Non-GMO Project Verified, have no high fructose corn syrup and now contain 25-40% less sugar than the leading kid’s yogurt. And because they are organic, I know that they are also free from toxic persistent pesticides and artificial ingredients. My kids love them because they are delicious, easily portable, and are a “sweet chocolate treat!” Win win 🙂
What are your favorite ways to show your family love? Do you do anything creative or extra special?
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Stonyfield® Organic Kids®.
I can hardly believe it, but it has been six months since we said goodbye to Los Angeles and embarked on our next family adventure of moving to Columbus, Ohio. We took the photo above in front of our old home together before we left for the airport. My husband stayed behind for twelve weeks for work, and I flew with my mom to Columbus, stayed with a friend for a week until our belongings arrived via our U-Packs, and officially moved into our new home. I moved to a new state, new town, new home with three small boys all by myself. To a town we had never spent any time in and into a home we bought without being able to see it in person (thank goodness we had an amazing realtor who happens to be married to my best friend). When I reflect back on all of that, I cannot believe I made it. I had a ton of help from our parents and friends, especially my mom who has been a lifesaver throughout the hardships of a move and my solo-parenting weeks. But I moved with my kids, I got our house ready to move into, I got my oldest enrolled in a new school, I got our home unpacked and set up, and I mostly did it on my own. It is amazing the things we can do when he have to 🙂
The first couple of months were hard without my husband but were also new and exciting and fun. We were seeing friends and family more, we were getting to experience the end of summer and a real fall, and we had a new house that was all ours with a big yard and so much potential for making wonderful family memories. We watched birds in the feeder out of our front window and found frogs on our walk to school (yes, we can walk to school!) We stayed up to see lightning bugs and dug in our backyard to find worms and planted flowers and watched the leaves go from green to red and orange and brown. We played in our backyard a lot. We visited my best friend and my kids played with her kids and we met their chickens and barn kittens and my boys were in heaven. We tried our best to soak it all in.
Then at the end of October my husband arrived and everything fell into place. We started to explore our new city more, and we have fallen in love with Columbus. We are members of COSI (our science museum), the Columbus Museum of Art (which has a wonderful kids area), and the Columbus Zoo, which is possibly the best zoo I’ve ever visited. My husband and I took advantage of a weekly daytime sitter and went on day dates and explored new areas like German Village and the Short North and Clintonville. We’ve found places we love to eat and have discovered a great indie movie theater. We miss the beach and Griffith Observatory and LACMA, and I miss my hiking trails, but we’ve found some wonderful new places here in our new home city. And there’s so much more to explore once spring comes.
It hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows. In fact there hasn’t been nearly enough sunshine and there’s been way too much snow. The snow was fun at first, but I’m seriously over this brutal winter that is hazing the crap out of us. Seasonal affective disorder and cabin fever have really set in, and with it a level of homesickness for LA that is hard to describe. I don’t miss the traffic or how it would take hours to just run to Target or the supermarket. But I do miss being able to take my boys outside and feel the warm sun on my face. It’s cold y’all!
Even more than the sunshine and warm weather, I miss my Los Angeles friends. Meeting people here in the burbs has proven harder than I thought it would be. Charlie’s school is a good one and we can walk there but I don’t feel the sense of community that we had at West Hollywood Elementary where he went before. We really loved the kids and parents we met there. For example, when Quincy was born we had food delivered to our house for two weeks, all from parents of Charlie’s classmates. We just celebrated Quincy’s second birthday, so we’ve been here as long as he was in school that year and I only know two of the moms’ first names (and it isn’t for lack of trying, there just isn’t as much opportunity to connect with other parents). I think many people grew up in this area and have their friends and family already and aren’t in the “meet new people” mindset like we’re used to in a big city. We have some friends that we already knew before we moved here but we’d love to meet some people in our burb or neighborhood. Meeting new people that you connect with is always hard, but I’m hoping once we all come out of our winter hibernation that people will be all warm and friendly 🙂
I’ve had a few people contact me who are thinking of making a similar move (from CA to the Midwest) and asked me if I would still make the same decision or if we regret it now that it is winter. And as much as I’m slogging along through these cold months and stuck inside because it is too cold or flu germy to leave the house with the kids, I don’t regret the move at all. I miss LA tons. But the move was the right one for us and the boys are so happy. Life is easier and simpler here and things take less effort. And financially it was a great decision. We love being closer to our families. But we’ll always miss Los Angeles and our LA family and I’m looking forward to getting back for a visit.
So that’s our first 6 months in a nutshell. I’m really looking forward to the next 6, where we’ll thaw out, finish some projects around the house, and get back outside. I can’t believe 6 months have already gone by — just look how much they grew by comparing those last two photos. Insert all the bawling emojis.
Have you ever done a big city to suburb move where you needed to meet new people or acclimate to new weather? I’d love to hear how long it took you to adjust or any tips you have.
One of the most common questions I get from readers is “how do you manage bedtime with three kids when you’re on your own?” So I thought I would share our bedtime routine and a few tricks and tips I have for managing three kids when you’re flying solo at home. My husband sometimes travels for work for weeks at a time, so I had to come up with a good routine that worked for us long term, rather than just surviving a few days on my own. And the first time I did it, I had a lot of anxiety about it and felt very overwhelmed. But instead of thinking “omg I have to put three kids to bed all by myself” I just focus on one at a time and it definitely helps ease the stress of it.
5:00 — Dinnertime
5:45 — Bath, brush teeth for Quincy (I don’t really do a bedtime book with Quincy because I read to him like 100 books a day…)
6:00 — Quincy’s bedtime
6:30 — Potty, bath, brush teeth for Calvin
6:45 — Read a book with Calvin
7:00 — Cuddle and bed for Calvin
7:30 — Charlie does his own bathroom routine, then we read together
8:00 — ALL OF MY KIDS ARE IN BED (high fives all around)
So, here’s how I do it:
Our Bedtime Routine
The whole bedtime routine starts with dinner for us. My kids are usually ready for dinner early, so I typically have dinner on the table by 5-5:15 pm. Quincy goes to bed at 6:00, so I’m lucky that he’s a fast eater. My older two are the slowest eaters ever, so they’re usually still eating when I need to give Quincy a bath and put him to bed. I put a show on tv for them (you can see the TV in our family room from the kitchen table). Quincy also goes down super easily, so I’m really lucky.
Calvin goes to bed around 7:00, so usually I let he and Charlie finish their show after I get Quincy to bed. Then it is potty, bath, brush teeth, read a book, and bed for Calvin. Charlie is usually allowed one more show while I am putting Calvin down — or if he has homework and doesn’t need my help then he does that first and then is allowed to put a show on). Calvin is slow and high maintenance at bedtime. He insists on dressing himself (if you’ve followed me on IG you’ve probably seen him in my stories). Then he takes forever to pick a book. Then he insists on “reading” the book to me. Then I have to lay and cuddle with him for at least 10 minutes usually. It is a process! But since Quincy is already in bed and Charlie is happy to watch a show it usually works out ok.
Once I am finally done with Calvin, I help Charlie with any homework he might have left. He then does his bathroom stuff on his own (hallelujah) and I clean up the dinner mess and dishes. When he’s done with his bathroom business he meets me in my room and I read to him in my bed. We’re currently reading the Hardy Boys and he gets a chapter a night (sometimes two). He’s in bed between 7:30-8:00.
- Don’t be afraid to use screens (tv, iPad, both, whatever it takes)
- Do keep your little ones in their high chairs for maximum containment.
- Don’t bathe your kids together when you’re on your own. It is better in theory than reality.
- Do have wine.
- Don’t feel bad about skipping baths. When I only had one kid he got a bath every night. Now they get baths every other night or every 3rd night (in winter especially)
I wanted to mention that this is easier for me because I work from home — I know lots of working moms who don’t get off of work until 5:00 or later, then still have to pick up kids from school or daycare, figure out dinner, etc. So our schedule probably starts earlier than is possible for many, but it is what works for our family.
How do you handle bedtime with your kiddos when you’re on your own? Any tips or tricks to add? What does your family nighttime routine look like?