Daily Life, Parenting

International Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day: This Is Our Story

I vividly remember the day I found out that I was pregnant.  I had this strange urge to grab a home pregnancy test on my way back from work. It hadn’t missed my period and, other than feeling tired that week, I wasn’t exhibiting any of those “tell tale” symptoms associated with pregnancy (I would later come to discover that most of those symptoms don’t even surface until around week 6-8). The next morning, I quietly took the test in the comfort our our master bathroom and was shocked to see a positive result. It was a happy surprise. Joyful tears flowed down my face as I realized that life was stirring inside me. In the weeks that followed before our first prenatal appointment, we shared our happy news only with close friends and family. It wasn’t until after our first ultrasound that we shared the news of our impending arrival with our extended network of friends and co-workers. Like many new expectant parents, we were under the impression that our baby would be one that we would take home from the hospital and love as he or she grew into an independent person. We were mistaken.

In early November, my husband and I headed to a routine prenatal visit where we were excited to hear our sweet baby’s heartbeat via doppler. Elation soon turned into worry as my OB doctor referred us to a prenatal imaging center for an ultrasound. It was there that we would discover that the child we thought we would take home would never be an outside baby. For parents who have never experienced a loss, it’s hard to fathom how heartbreaking that news can be. For several weeks I had developed this relationship with the child I thought would be mine and it was stripped from me. It hurt and I didn’t understand. It was the worst moment of my life. My doctor recommended a D&C in the days that followed after we received the news and I was told that we were clear to start trying again at the end of December 2009 or early January 2010. The prospect of “trying” was scary. There are so many uncertainties associated with getting pregnant after a loss and the thought of losing another baby can be overwhelming but our loss made me realize how much I wanted a healthy baby and I knew we would have to eventually move on and try in order for that to happen.

By April 2010, after months of charting, ovulation tests, and negative home pregnancies, I was losing faith. If I could get pregnant without even trying the first time, why wasn’t it happening this time?! Everywhere I looked, it seemed, other women were getting pregnant, having babies, and enjoying the life that I thought would be mine and I wasn’t. By the first week of June 2010, the realization that our due date was upon me. My husband and I decided to take a couple days off of work to spend together, doing something fun, in memory of the child that never made it home. Later that month, on the 22nd, I found out that I was pregnant with my daughter.

I had just arrived at a good place, emotionally, after mourning the loss of our baby, and I was scared that it might happen again. I feared every cramp and ache fearful that it might mean the worst. I took home pregnancy tests periodically (pretty much throughout my first trimester) just to make sure that they were still showing up positive. Thankfully, Charlotte Grace came into this world in February 2011 after a healthy and relatively text book pregnancy. Not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for her presence in my life. The takeaway that I gained from my experience in loss is that it’s hard and it’s okay to be angry, heartbroken, and sad. It’s okay to mourn the loss of something that should have been yours.

I was certain that our first baby was a boy. So we named him Elijah Steven. I keep a box with his first ultrasound picture, a few congratulatory cards we received from friends and family, and a little teddy bear we had purchased as a gift for our baby shortly after we found out we were expecting. These keepsakes are likely things that I will share with my own daughter one day down the road as we talk about life, loss, and family. If you’re mourning a loss of your own, know that you’re not alone and that it’s okay to be sad. Sometimes sharing your story is a good way to let other women know that they always have support.

In honor of International Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day, I wanted to share with you some information about “Count The Kicks“, a campaign that aims at saving the lives of unborn children in late pregnancy.  Although stillbirth is vastly different from what I experienced (which was a miscarriage), I think the Count The Kicks mission is important and I encourage you all to take a look at this video: 

To join the movement, start by visiting and liking the Count the Kicks Facebook page. 

 

 

Daily Life, Parenting

Potty Training: We Did It! (Plus Some Helpful Tips)

It's An Ordinary Blog

As you might remember, we’ve been working on potty training our two year old daughter. Several months ago, I had it in my mind that we were supposed to be aggressive when it came to potty training. Now that I look back, I’m glad that my (somewhat) relaxed parenting style overshadowed my internal desire to push my child into potty success. A few weeks ago, something just clicked and she got it. It was one of those incredible, amazing moments where you’re immensely proud and completely blown away by the small child that lives with you. She’s so smart and allowing her to lead the way (with our help and encouragement) was one of the best parenting decisions I’ve made to date.

You might remember my post about utilizing a potty chart as incentive to get your child to use the restroom. While I still advocate the use of sticker charts to help motivate young children (we use a sticker chart for ‘daily activities’ that C is expected to complete and she loves it), I’ve also learned that sometimes children will figure things out on their own in time. Some children might prosper having that ‘push’ for potty training but, in observing my child’s behaviors, I learned that she is more motivated by independence than she is by my encouragement. I found myself asking her, time and time again, until I was almost blue in the face, if she needed to try and use the potty and she never seemed to want to…on my time. So I stopped. I wasn’t going to make her feel guilty for eliminating in her disposable pull up and I wasn’t going to punish her for not sitting on the potty. Eventually, I knew if she wanted to try to go…she would. And she did.

About a week into it, we abandoned the potty chart (but we still used a chart for daily activities) and decided that we would take a break and re-visit potty training when C seemed to be more ready. Fast forward a few weeks when we toured a preschool that we were interested in part time. One of the stipulations for enrollment is that the child must be in underwear. So I sat down and explained to her that if she was big enough to attend preschool then she must also be big enough to use the potty and not wear pull ups anymore. Not wanting to push her too hard, we tried again.

We took the leap of faith and simply stopped putting her in pull ups. Much to my surprise, the transition into underwear was really easy. We didn’t try giving her an absurd amount of juice. She didn’t run around naked. We didn’t make her sit on the potty all day. She just got it. We had a few accidents the first day, a couple the second day, and one or two occasionally ever since. My husband and I are always encouraging of her, almost to the point where we embarrass ourselves when we’re in public with the “Wow! You did it! Good Job!”  and the “You went POTTY?! AWESOME!” but I am so proud to announce that my child, at two years and seven months old, is fully potty trained and it was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done with her. Hooray!

horray

I wanted to share a few things that I learned in our potty training experience with you…

  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff 
  2. Give it time
  3. Children should never be made to feel guilty for accidents
  4. S#it happens
  5. Celebrate each accomplishment

More than anything, I want you to know that potty training doesn’t have to be stressful. It can be enjoyable and it can be simple. Knowing your child, stopping when something’s not right, and letting your child lead the way are the best things I’ve learned in this process and they’re things that I will take with me in other parenting adventures down the road. If you’re preparing for potty training, I wish you the very best with your little one!

 

Daily Life, Parenting

It’s Potty Time (Getting Started)!

 

Potty TrainingRemember this picture that I posted over on Twitter the other day?!

It’s official: We’re Potty Training! 

When my daughter turned two, she was so excited to sit on the potty like a big girl. Like any parent of a toddler, I excitedly purchased a potty of her very own. All of this, of course, under the assumption that potty training would be a breeze. That hasn’t so much been the case. Now that she’ll be two and a half next month, I know it’s time to get serious about potty training but every time we ask her if she wants to sit and try to use the bathroom, she cries. Logically, I know that forcing her to do something that she clearly doesn’t want to do isn’t going to do any of us favors and so I decided to turn potty training into a game (of sorts). The other day I went to my local Target (my home away from home) and purchased some poster board, a ruler and incentive stickers all with the purpose of creating a potty chart.

How To Make A Potty Chart

For each day of the week (from Sunday to Sunday) there are nine boxes. The game is simple: For every attempt to use the bathroom, she earns a sticker. If she fills out nine stickers every day for 8 days, she gets to have dinner at our local T-Rex cafe (it’s a pretty big treat for her since we don’t go there often).

Its Potty Time

I tried to make the chart bright and fun. What toddler doesn’t love a good sticker?!

Potty Chart

Potty Incentives

I hung the potty chart on the mirror in the bathroom and there it will stay until next Monday morning.

How To Potty Train A Toddler

Although she earned her first sticker this morning, she didn’t seem all that interested in going. I love the idea of using a chart but if this doesn’t work by week’s end I’ll try a different approach (a pre-purchased gift that she can only have if she tries to use the bathroom all week). I’ll keep you updated on our progress on Twitter and over on Facebook. In the meantime, what are your tips for first time training?!

 

Uncategorized

The Funky Mommy

As you may have noticed, I’ve been ignoring my blog lately. Not only that but I’ve also been less active on my personal social media accounts, haven’t been interested in keeping up with what’s going on around the world (something happened in Egypt, right?!) and I’ve been in somewhat of a funk. The worst part of is that I couldn’t even begin to tell you what’s caused this. It’s not that I’ve been depressed or that anything in particular has happened because neither of those are the case.

I feel like my life is at a crossroads. I’m approaching 30, have a toddler who will inevitably start to ask questions about life in the near future, and I have no definitive answers to give her. I feel lost. I feel confused. For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m going through a bit of an existential crisis. I watched a Ted Talk the other night about the importance of being a twenty-something and it really rang true. So much of my life, especially in terms of how I view the World, has changed over the last seven years. Now I feel like I’m in a defining moment. I need to figure out who I am, what I stand for, and what kind of legacy I want to start working on to leave behind one day down the road (hopefully a legacy I’ll have another 60 or 70 years to work on).

I’m certain I’m not the only person, or parent, who has ever struggled with this issue (What do I believe? How do I convey that to my child as she grows?)  and you’d think I would have this figured out by now. As I work towards getting out of this funk I’m in, I’ll keep you guys updated. I’m committed to getting back into the swing of things in terms of my blog and keeping up with it but I also felt that it was important (and necessary) to explain why I’ve been MIA lately.

Until next time…

Daily Life, iFamilyKC, Kansas City, Parenting, Pictures

It’s Just Pictures: Johnson Family Farms in Belton, MO

I had the opportunity to attend an event at Johnson Family Farms last week in Belton (a small town about forty five minutes from where I live). The morning was hosted by a local magazine and online publication called iFamilyKC (you might remember that I’m blogging for them). You can find my Johnson Family Farms review here but I also wanted to share some pictures that I took while we were there..Enjoy!

Belton MO Events at Johnson Family Farms Flowers at Johnson Family Farms It's An Ordinary Blog Johnson Family Farms 2 Johnson Family farms 3 Johnson Family Farms 4 Johnson Family Farms Belton MO Johnson Family Farms Johnson Farms Belton Johnson Farms in Belton Johnson Farms Kids at Johnson Family Farms in Belton Johnson Family Farms 2 Johnson Family Farms 3 Johnson Family Farms 4 Johnson Family Farms 5 Johnson Family Farms 7 Johnson Family Farms 8 Johnson Family Farms 9 Johnson Family Farms 10 Johnson Family Farms 11 Johnson Family Farms 13 Johnson Family Farms 14

Culture, Daily Life, Parenting, Society

Happy Mother’s Day

It's An Ordinary Blog

 

Three years ago today was a little difficult for me. My husband and I had been trying, unsuccessfully, for five months to get pregnant again after experiencing a loss in November 2009. I’ll always remember the feeling I had on June 22nd, 2010 when, after several positive pregnancy tests, we found out that we were going to be parents. It was a feeling of pure joy. I felt it again, a little more intensely, on October 4th, 2010 when we found out that the baby growing inside me was a little girl. Both of those moments were trumped with C’s birth in February 2011. I felt  (and still feel every day) so incredibly blessed. Motherhood is my greatest joy, my biggest passion, and my most precious gift.

I was surprised yesterday afternoon with an early Mother’s Day gift. After playing outside for a little while, my husband had me go inside before he and C did. When they walked through the door, flowers in hand, my daughter came up the stairs and said, “Happy Mother’s (Day) Mommy!”.

I’m not big on commercialized holidays but I do think it’s nice to honor the special people in your life on their respective days (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, etc) and hearing my daughter wish me a Happy Mother’s Day (along with a hug and very thoughtful flower presentation) was the best gift I could have gotten. It brought me to tears. Today was wonderful. We slept in (until 9:30!) and then got up and had a nice breakfast together as a family. We ran errands, got the supplies for C’s new big girl room (more on that later), ran some errands, and then enjoyed a nice Lunner (lunch/dinner) at McAlisters. Tonight we’ll watch the season finale of Survivor on CBS before C goes to bed for the night. I literally could not have asked for a better day. Thanks to my husband and my amazing daughter (who can’t read this yet) for making this day such a special one for me. I love you guys to the moon and back.

To all of the wonderful moms out there, including my own mom (hi!): Happy Mother’s Day.

I hope that this day has been a great one for you. 🙂

 

Daily Life, Parenting, Society

The Strong Willed Child

| Difficult | Stubborn | 

There are a lot of labels we put on individuals in life. Perhaps accurately. Perhaps unfairly.

But I don’t believe in labels (unless, of course, your label for me is awesome).

It's An Ordinary Blog

My two year old is amazing. Being her mom is, hands down, the greatest joy in my life but not every day is full of puppies, rainbows, and glitter. The “mean mommy voice” surfaces far more than I’d like and I often find myself saying things like, “You need to be ALL DONE!” and “Your behavior right now is UNACCEPTABLE!”. Parenting, for me, becomes a balance of lessons and love. (Read my post “Walking the Line”: On Parenting). My child, like many other others, enjoys doing her own thing. She likes to make her own choices (even when they don’t fall in line with what my husband or I want), and she isn’t always receptive to change. Maybe it’s just a phase that she’ll grow out of, maybe not. As frustrating as that can be, I don’t necessarily see it as a bad thing.

If her personality at two is any indication of how she’ll be as an adult (maybe minus the crying at nap time and the difficulty sharing with friends), I am confident that she’ll go on to do amazing things. She’ll march to the beat of her own drum. She’ll be confident enough to do what she thinks is right instead of following the crowd. She’ll set goals and work hard to achieve them. She will have a vision for her life that is uniquely her own and she will work hard to make her dreams come true.

No matter what she does or who she grows up to be, I will always love her.

I will always be proud of her. She will always be my little lady. 

So maybe the world views raising strong willed children as a challenge but I view it as an opportunity to grow the kind of human being who will one day go on to make great differences in the world around them. In the meantime, we’ll continue setting boundaries, teaching her lessons about life, and loving her each and every day.