Amazon Prime- How Would We Parent Without It?

0

box on doorstep | Amazon | Providence MomCall it sad.

Call it laziness.

Call it I’m-too-disorganized-to-get-out-of-my-own-way-some-days.

Call it what you like, but, for me, Amazon Prime made being a parent in 2019 so much easier.

There’s just so much we need to keep track of as parents in 2019. Work, sports, extracurricular activities, CCD, doctor’s appointments fill up our calendars.  Parents are expected to juggle it all and get their kids there on time and with everything they need.  Add in social events (for both the kids and grown-ups), just keeping up on general household stuff (the laundry doesn’t do itself after all), and some months I have only a handful of days that something isn’t going on.  This, honestly, makes shopping time-consuming in world where time is precious.

Let’s face it: you blink and the kids’ underwear is too small, socks are orphaned, the granola bar supply runs low, there’s another birthday party to go to, you still don’t have a gift, and you forgot you volunteered to bring in a very specific color of yellow cups and plates for the next school event.  We won’t even talk about the times we’ve run precariously low on toilet paper.

Amazon has saved my sanity in those situations and more; so many times in the past.  There is pretty much nothing Amazon doesn’t have.  With prime shipping, it’s a no-brainer.  You get whatever you need quickly which is a big plus for someone like me who is a chronic procrastinator.  Let’s not even get started on the fact that there are also great deals for shopping in bulk (that was great in the diaper and wipes days).

Don’t worry, I still shop local and make an effort to support businesses in my community.
I don’t always beeline to Amazon or big box stores for everything.  But the ability to get some shopping done from the comfort of my own home, in my pajamas, while sipping on an adult beverage and comparing prices is pretty darn awesome.  Never mind all of the times I’ve randomly remembered something I needed and have whipped out my phone, opened the Amazon app and purchased said item in less than 5 minutes.  Like I said: chronic procrastinator.

So I’m taking ownership of it, loud and proud!  Did you like my kid’s 100th day of school get-up where he dressed like a 100-year-old man?  Scored those supplies on Amazon 3 days before it happened.  The tablecloths that matched the theme of my kid’s last party?  Found those on Amazon.  Were the Valentines my kids wrote last year super cute?  Yup, picked those out on Amazon.  The extra tissues and disinfectant wipes the school requested during the height of flu season?  You guessed it.  Amazon.

There.  I admitted it.  I don’t know how I’d get it all done, at least with my wits intact, without Amazon.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some shopping to do.

Praising the Pack and Play

Look at that happily contained baby! (Pictured Playard: Joovy Room 2)

A grape cutter with my name on it had just appeared on my front porch. The amazon package from whence it came contained no note, no gift receipt, no indication whatsoever who had sent it. But I had my suspicions.

“Tracy, did you send me a grape cutter?”
“Yes, I did. That thing is a [gosh darn] miracle. You needed one.”
“Haha well thank you! You didn’t have to do that.”
“Dude. I put my kid in a pack n play because of you. It’s the least I could do.”

Ah, yes. The pack & play. Another gosh darn parenting miracle, and so much more than a portable sleep space. I first heard the P&P gospel from an older, seasoned mom when I was expecting my first child. “The pack and play is such an underused tool by modern parents.” She told me, “ It teaches them boundaries and gives you a safe place to put them down when you need time to yourself. Use the pack & play.” It was advice I took to heart. As soon as my oldest was able to roll over I broke ours out and never looked back. All of my kids have spent daily time in our ‘baby jail,’ and it’s been a true sanity saver. Mom needs a shower? Pack & Play. Time to start dinner? Pack & Play. Want to visit the bathroom alone? Take out the trash? Switch the laundry? Lay on the couch for 20 minutes like the zombie that you are? Pack. And. Play.

“I tried that once. They just cried.” I’ve heard this objection multiple times before when suggesting the baby jail technique of sanity preservation. But I maintain that a good play yard can serve any parent well if you give it a solid try. So here are my suggestions for getting the most out of your play-yard without torturing your baby or toddler.

1) Start young. Just like sleeping at night, taking a bottle, or anything else you want your kid to do, the earlier you start making this part of your routine the easier the adjustment will be for your little one.

2) Toys. Reserve a few special toys your child only gets to use during play-yard time. This makes the time more fun for them. They may even start to look forward to it. Rotate these toys periodically to keep it exciting.

3) Snacks. A cup of cheerios or other age-appropriate snack goes a long way to entertain a contained child.

4) Screen time. I’m not ashamed to admit that my kids spent a lot of time with their play-yard parked in front of the TV, and so far they have all turned out fine. When I brought my third child home from the hospital I immediately plopped him in the pack & play, switched on an episode of Mother Goose Club and went to take a shower. I’m happy to report that at two years old he is the chattiest kid I have ever met with an extensive vocabulary. If that offends you I have good news: I am not about to strap your kids down and force them to watch TV under the age of two. The balls in your court, mama. The play-yard is a judgment-free zone.

3) Invest in an oversized play-yard. Roomier designs like the Graco TotBloc or the Joovy Room 2 Playard are much more enjoyable for kids to spend some quality time in as they grow. Mine never managed to climb out of these even when they were able to climb out of the smaller models. Another fantastic option and my new personal favorite is the Graco Pack ’n Play Sport Outdoor Playard. It’s lightweight, compact, and can be used either inside or outside. Plus my older kids love to use it as a tent for ‘camping’ or other imaginative play. A true multitasker.

So that my friends, is my pack & play gospel. I remember my mom using the ‘playpen’ constantly with my sister who is ten years younger than me, but now it seems like we have all but forgotten the magic properties of this renamed parenting artifact. So my challenge to you is to unearth this humble piece of baby gear from your dusty storage space and try using it today. It may just be your ticket to drinking your cup of coffee while it’s still piping hot.

My Week Without Leggings: One Stay-at-Home Mom’s Journey Away from Comfort

Before having children, I was a career woman with a fairly decent nightlife. I wore heels. A lot of heels. And pencil skirts. I wore mascara every day.

Fast forward. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the past five years and my wardrobe has gotten . . . let’s say, more and more comfy as time has gone on. Leggings have become a way of life. And it’s not that I have anything against leggings – in fact, you can pry my Zella high waist live-in black leggings off of my cold, dead legs. But my youngest is now 2 years old. I’m getting out into the world quite a bit more. And I need a bit of a fashion boost. Maybe it’s to shake off the stay-at-home monotony. Maybe it’s to prove to myself that I’ve still “got it.” Maybe it’s just because fashion is fun, even if it’s casual.

So, I’ve challenged myself to a week without leggings. 7 whole days without those stretchy delights. And I’m chronicling my journey for y’all. Here we go.

DAY 1 – MONDAY

[Photo cred: my 5-year-old son. #headless]

Since I knew from vast experience that my children don’t prefer giving me more than 5-10 minutes to get dressed in the morning – and I didn’t want that fun fact to derail my legging-less goals – I actually put out my clothes the night before. I eased myself into this challenge with some distressed skinny jeans, a light striped sweater, and loafers. Thanks to my genius move of planning ahead, I even had time to accessorize. Is this necklace even close to on-trend anymore? I don’t know (this is one of the many bizarre time warp-esque side effects of being a stay-at-home mom, similar to not knowing anything about what movies are playing or what the current top music is), but, y’all, I’m wearing a necklace so I’m considering it a win. This outfit got me through a whole day of stay-at-home mothering, including bringing the kids to the zoo, cleaning the house, handling a yogurt-covered (and I mean covered) toddler, playing in the yard, and grocery shopping. The challenge is off to a good start.

DAY 2 – TUESDAY

[Ignore the smudgy toddler fingerprints that are ALL over this mirror.]

Today was a day I TOTALLY would have worn leggings if it weren’t for this challenge (I know, I know . . . day 2 and I’m already ready to break). We had errands and play group, I had a painful dentist appointment in the afternoon, and my husband was working late so I’d be doing bathtime and bedtime solo. But, I stuck to my gussied-up guns and pulled off this look. Distressed jeans (these are my “best” jeans – in other words, not from Marshall’s, Old Navy, or Target), mustard cardigan, ankle boots, statement earrings (I know – statement jewelry two days in a row . . . who am I, Cleopatra?).

DAY 3 – WEDNESDAY

[Shhhhh…they’re jeggings.]

Ok. I almost broke today. It’s raining. I made the decision to stay home with both kids all morning and do crafts, bake cookies, be cozy. The day was screaming: Leggings! Sweatshirt! Slippers! But if there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s this – when I set a goal for myself, I follow through no matter what. And so, here’s my look for today. You may be asking, how many pairs of distressed jeans can one gal own? The answer, apparently, is as many as she can. Full disclaimer, however – these jeans are actually pull-on jeggings. I allowed myself this one little comfortable pseudo-treat! Feeling a bit more put-together actually really helped me stay on top of things all day long. But – drum roll please – it’s time for a new challenge within the challenge. Tomorrow I need to break away from jeans . . . they’re starting to feel like a fashion crutch.

DAY 4 – THURSDAY

[#knotyourshirt  #leopard]

Y’all, check me out. Not only am I not wearing leggings, but I’m also not wearing jeans, either! (Consider my denim shirt an homage.) Today is the first day of the challenge that I actually wasn’t secretly longing for leggings as I was getting dressed.

DAY 5 – FRIDAY

[#amazonforthewin]

Ok. What do you do when you’ve been up since 4 a.m. with your teething toddler and you’re tired and cold and you were even going to try to rock a dress today but now you just want to crawl into a cave while wearing your leggings? Leggings that have never failed you but you challenged yourself to this crazy notion of not wearing them for a week and you really, really want to stick to it, even if only because how you look is the only thing that feels under your control and even that is an overstatement because your kids cut off your shower time and they tug on your clothes and oh my Gosh enough with this day?!!??

You dust yourself off. You break out the dry shampoo. You banish the thought of the dress because you have to give yourself some grace. And you dress up a sweatshirt by adding a scarf and ankle boots and a great bag. This tunic-length sweatshirt is from Amazon because a) I clearly need to be a complete stay-at-home mom cliche and because b) what CAN’T Amazon do for us?

DAY 6 – SATURDAY

[This outfit is son-approved.]

I did it. I wore a dress. And I made a discovery. Tights are just as comfortable as leggings, y’all.

DAY 7 – SUNDAY

woman wearing red sweatshirt and white vest | week without leggings | providence mom

[The vest makes it look like a totally different outfit, right? Right?]

Last day of the challenge! We were off to a farm festival so warm and casual was the way to go. And you sharp readers may notice that I basically just wore the same outfit from Friday but added a vest and a hat. Not re-wearing clothes multiple days in a row might need to be a separate challenge. Stay tuned.

*****

Well, challenge completed. What are my take-aways? Putting together actual looks and wearing jewelry is great. I liked feeling somewhat stylish (even if over 90% of the above looks are from the stay-at-home mom trifecta: Old Navy, Target, and Amazon). But I must admit – I am dying to slip into something more comfortable. You can bet I’ll be wearing leggings tomorrow – sort of like when you eat really healthy all week long and then dive into that pizza on Friday night. Yes, I will continue to rock the leggings. But I’m going to keep mixing up my looks, too, just to remind myself of the whole woman I am, ankle boots, earrings, and all.

woman wearing leggings

[The day after the challenge (I still haven’t cleaned this mirror).

Leggings, I just can’t quit you.]

Montessori is My “Thing”- A Visit With Ocean State Montessori School

Thank you to Ocean State Montessori School for partnering with us to bring you (and me!) this information about their school and all it has to offer.

“So, why are you interested in Montessori?”

“Well, I’m not sure- but from what I’ve seen and read about it, I think it might really be my thing. I don’t know enough about it to say why, though.”

“My thing” tends to be anything that doesn’t expect every student to be a cookie-cutter learner. It’s anything that doesn’t expect young children to spend countless hours a day being still and quiet. It’s a place that doesn’t breed competition and self-pity by placing scores circled in red pen on every assignment. It’s a place where children are seen as individuals, and their uniqueness and confidence are fostered and celebrated, not stifled.

After attending the Open House at the Ocean State Montessori School, I know for sure, Montessori is definitely my thing.

I began my tour feeling awkward and slightly as I felt during my first year at a new high school. I had brief moments of wondering if I would say something stupid or ask a dumb question, but quickly realized that the teachers and guides at the school wanted my dumb questions. They wanted to give me answers and make my understanding of Montessori and its teaching/learning styles grow.

We began in the Wee Threes Classroom. Wee Threes are young children who turned 3 between September and December and would otherwise have to wait an extra school year to enroll when it comes time for them to enter kindergarten. The Ocean State Montessori School is one of the only Montessori schools in RI that has a unique space for those children with late-in-the-calendar-year birthdays. This classroom focuses on social-emotional learning, with opportunities for typical Montessori academics as children show readiness. One of the highlights of this room was hearing about the daily life skills that they work on. Montessorians call these skills and the associated classroom activities “Practical Life”. Using a dustpan and brush. Learning to pour. Beyond being thrilled that my child could start sweeping up the dirt pile on the floor, I was thrilled with their reasoning behind these tasks. Sweeping up a dirt pile well typically causes frustration (that little line of dirt never quite disappears!)- learning this task from a young age teaches children to feel the frustration and to work through it. Pouring from one receptacle into another requires concentration, patience, and good muscle control, not something typical 3-year-olds have, but definitely something they need to practice from a young age.young boy working on math skills at Ocean State Montessori School

I left the Wee Threes Classroom with a list of books to read recommended by Ms. Jill, the lead teacher, who had recognized my excitement through my questions. I thought back to my school years, wondering if a teacher had ever “seen” me as well as Ms. Jill.

As I toured the Primary and Elementary Classrooms, Extended Day programs, and Specials Rooms, I was met with the same open and welcoming atmosphere that I found in Wee Threes. Teachers who are truly passionate about Montessori methods of learning, and proud of their students. The classrooms are multi-aged (grouped into ages 3-6, 6-9 and 9-12 -or- grades Preschool to K, 1 to 3, and 4 to 6), teaching kids to work with and learn from a variety of children. The younger kids look up to the older kids in the class, and the older kids learn to help and connect with children on different levels socially and emotionally. Older children begin to plan out their work and progress, keeping track of the lessons they have done each week and ensuring they are meeting their academic goals. Because children work so independently within the classroom, teachers are able to work with children who may be struggling or not mastering concepts quickly as needed.

Walking through the halls, we came upon multiple copies of a poster with the Ocean State Montessori School Community Agreement on it. In speaking with Amy Andrews, Head of School, I learned that the Community Agreement was created about five years ago in response to the frequent statement from parents: “My kids are so well behaved at school, why can’t I get that at home?”.Community Agreement Poster from Ocean State Montessori School

“Just like we go above and beyond to give kids access and answers to their questions, we wanted to do the same for parents”, said Andrews. The Community Agreement was the answer to this question from parents. The agreement allows parents to use the same language and expectations at home that are used in the school. It encourages adults from multiple settings in a child’s life to show consistency between and respect for each setting. Additionally, Ms. Andrews set up monthly Coffee Chats for parents to attend. These Coffee Chats are safe spaces where parents can talk openly about their parenting struggles, hear and give advice, and enjoy community with each other.

As I walked out of the building, wishing I could go back in time and attend OSMS myself, I realized that this was a school that cared about the whole child- the focus wasn’t on reading before kindergarten, sitting still during circle time, “behaving” in a particular way- the focus was on life skills and readiness and being a good human. True care and respect for the whole child and the ability to teach and work with each child as an individual- to harness their interests and use it to create a love of learning.

teacher and student working at Ocean State Montessori SchoolTo learn more about Montessori Education, visit the Ocean State Montessori Website, where you will find their mission as well as a number of resources about Montessori. Be sure to check out the next Admissions Open House, Thursday, 1/30 from 9:00-11:00 am. To register email: off[email protected]

The Ocean State Montessori School offers classes for students of all ages, extended day programs, and in summer and vacation camps.

Student Learning Times

Wee Threes: 8:15 – 11:45 (Young 3 year olds)

Primary 1 & 2: 8:15-11:45 (3 and 4 year olds)

Primary 3: 8:15 – 3:30 (Kindergarten)

Lower Elementary: 8:15 – 3:30 (Grade 1-3)

Upper Elementary: 8:15 – 3:30 (Grade 4-6)

All Students Attend 5 days per week.

Special Studies

  • Art
  • Foreign Language
  • Physical Education
  • Health
  • Music

Extended Day Program

Early Drop off: 7:30 am

Afterschool Programs:

Wee Threes, Primary 1 and 2: 12:00 – 5:30

Primary 3 and Elementary: 3:30 – 5:30

Vacation and Summer Camp Programsacation camps are offered during

Vacation camps are offered during February and April vacations and are each one week long. Summer Camp is offered in eight one-week sessions with a new theme introduced every two weeks. Campers may enroll in a single session, all eight sessions or anything in-between. OSMS is currently accepting registrations for our 2020 February Vacation camp and children do not have to be current students to enroll. Register here!

Campers do not need to be enrolled at the Ocean State Montessori School to participate in OSMS camps.

Planning Ahead Makes for Quality Time Together

0

 

January marks one year that I’ve been back to work after maternity leave – so officially one year of being a full-time working mama. There are so many feelings associated with leaving your babies at daycare or with other caregivers. For me, the adjustment was difficult but I’m also a NICU mom so leaving my happy and healthy son at daycare was a lot easier than walking out of the hospital alone night after night. With that said, I knew I would miss my baby fiercely so I set out to ensure that I spent quality time with him when we were together, which meant minimizing time spent on household tasks, mealtime, etc. 

I focused on finding ways to be incredibly efficient but with minimal effort because I was also running on very little sleep (hello, 4-month sleep regression!). I still do many of these tasks a year later because they really helped to make the week go smoothly. More importantly, they allowed me to free up time to spend with my baby, dogs, and hubby. Whether you work full/part-time or are a SAHM, these 5 tips might provide a little relief from your busy weeks.

1.  Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan.

If you do nothing else on this list, start meal planning today! I’ve been doing this a really long time and I can’t imagine not doing it. It makes pulling together lunches and dinners so much easier during the week. Try planning and grocery shopping on Sundays. There are many apps out there, I use AnyList, which enables me to save recipes, insert those recipes into my meal plan and then add ingredients from those recipes to my grocery list (that’s the best part!!).

2. Restock everything.

Walk around on Sunday evenings filling up the napkin holder, replacing toilet paper rolls in the bathroom, adding more diapers to the holder, etc. Basically anything that you could run out of during the week gets restocked to save time during the week and/or running out of something at a really inopportune time.

3.  Empty all trash receptacles.

Mondays are stinky enough so this super easy task ensures you don’t start the week with a smelly diaper pail or an overflowing bathroom wastebasket! Full disclosure: This one belongs to my loving husband!

4.  Find shortcuts with your breakfasts and lunches.

Every couple of weeks, make pre-packaged bags of oatmeal. Include rolled oats, cinnamon, coconut, etc. and then for breakfast, just add fresh fruit, water or milk. Also, invest in some reusable bento boxes so that you can use to both control portions and save time washing containers since you’ll only be cleaning one container at the end of the day.

5.  Walk around your house on Sunday evening and put everything back in its place.

You might be thinking “it’ll be messy by the next day” and you are probably not wrong. However, there’s something about starting the week with a tidy house that lessens anxiety and creates a bit more calm on manic Monday. Bonus: you can easily find things that have been put away!

If you are embracing being a full-time working mama or are just looking for some ways to make your weeks a bit easier, these tips for planning ahead will help! I still do these things every week, but I’m always on the hunt for time saving tips to create more moments and experiences with my family! 

What do you do to free up time to spend with your loved ones? 

Going Gluten-Free; Products and Local Bakeries You’ll Love

0

I’m 31 years old, and I love carbs. I grew up in a very Italian neighborhood and went to the Italian Catholic school; I used to joke I was Italian by osmosis. So when I went to the allergist to have allergy testing done and I discovered I was allergic to the molds in gluten, I thought it was an awful joke.

For me, this wasn’t just an allergy but a lifestyle change. It’s been 3 months since the diagnosis and here’s what I’ve learned. When I am good about not cheating and I actually make an effort to be Gluten Free, I feel significantly better. My bones and joints don’t ache, I sleep better and my allergies aren’t nearly as bad. I also have more energy in the day, after eating a sandwich I always felt tired and lethargic.

So when my girlfriend tagged me on Instagram about the Gluten-Free Expo I knew I needed to go. I won 2 tickets, and off I went! My husband loves Gluten and Wheat – so we used this as an opportunity for me to learn more, try some free samples, and for him to try some samples to make it easier. It was a great experience and I’m so excited to share some safe brands of foods. I was ecstatic to find safe ravioli that actually tasted like my best friend’s grandmothers growing up (remember I’m Italian by osmosis!).

The hardest part about being Gluten-Free was breakfast- I’m a bagel and egg sandwich kind of girl; it fills me up and it’s easy on the go. So while we were at the Expo I focused on the on-the-go goodies. The other thing I was excited to try was the Gluten-Free Beer; I’ve missed beer and resigned myself to the fact I wouldn’t be able to drink it again. Well, now I can! The beer tasted just as good as any beer with Gluten; finding a beer that tasted as good as the craft beers I’d been missing made this day complete.

Down below are some safe brands of Gluten-Free goodies; some of these can be found on Amazon and others are located out of state. But don’t panic, you can get just about everything delivered right to your house.

Something Sweet Without Wheat – has incredible muffins and bagels – they ship and they’re out of Woburn, MA in case you’re looking to make a road trip.

GoMacro had two delicious sample morning bars, they’re moist and taste great. I loved the Maple Sea Salt. They also ship.

Super Seedz – fun fact! I don’t like pumpkin or anything having to do pumpkin. Until I tried these Pumpkin Seedz, I bought 5 bags and got a free tote – they had 10 or so different flavors and each one was better than the next. My favorite was the “Somewhat Spicy”.

Packed by Sarah – I can not wait to order more of these. They had 2 flavors; Original or Jalapeno. I went with Original. Each bag has dry fruit, a protein stick, savory snack, and mint & fruit candy. These packs are great for on the go parents who can’t enjoy eating McDonalds chicken nuggets with the kids before soccer.

Glutenberg was the beer Itried. I had the Blonde and West Coast IPA. I preferred the Blonde but the West Coast was great too. Glutenberg is available at Wines ‘n More in Cranston.

There were so many different vendors and options, everything was amazing. A & J from Cranston was there as was Sans Gluten located in Johnston. For anyone who can’t have Gluten, I highly encourage you to attend the expo next time around; you’ll learn more about what you can and can’t have and find a replacement for literally anything.

The Muffin Top Chronicles Part 3: Prioritizing Fitness- Going All In

I’m sure there are some parents who can do it all.  They manage to cook healthy and organic meals, keep a clean house, be there for every game, arrange play dates, work just enough but not too much, and maintain 9% body fat.  But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that most of us do NOT fall into this camp of parenting perfection. In my house, life is a constant battle of give and take.  I cuddled my sick baby, so the dishes have to wait. I have to work late, so we’re eating frozen pizza.  You get the idea.  And in the past few years, it seems that something has almost always taken precedence over my health.  Making time for fitness has been tough.

The Excuses

I hate the phrase “What’s your excuse?”.  Particularly with regards to exercise and nutrition. Even now, as I’ve embarked on a new journey with my own fitness, I still find that phrase irritating.  In reality, we’re all doing the best we can for ourselves and our families.  Right now, I know that I need to be physically stronger and healthier to be happier. And so I CHOOSE to exercise.  If I chose to go home and eat a pizza instead, I wouldn’t need an “excuse” for my behavior. Choosing to prioritize other things over the gym isn’t a character flaw, and I don’t need an “excuse” like I’ve done something wrong.  We all make choices—priorities—for what we want or need MOST at the moment.  And often, the needs of our families supersede our own.

I’m sure most logical people would agree that a healthy, active lifestyle is associated with lots of positive outcomes—but so are the cuddles I get after work.  So I want to preface this post by saying that despite my change in behavior, I haven’t changed my mindset.  And that mindset is—you do you. (Profound, huh?)  This change is for ME. It’s not an endorsement of what you should or shouldn’t do for yourself.  I reached a point where I needed a change, and I made a drastic one.

After a couple of months of dancing around the idea of becoming healthier, and making subtle changes, I realized that what I was doing wasn’t enough.  I was eating lots of broccoli but not implementing sustainable change. Additionally, I decided to make self-care (in the form of fitness) a priority.  I told myself that I needed to stop feeling guilty about leaving my sons for an hour to go to the gym.  I told myself that while my husband would need to do more than his fair share after work sometimes, that marriage is give-and-take, and that right now, I need him to give a little extra. I am not just a wife, mother, employee…I am a person who used to make time to take care of myself.  I am a person who used to love feeling fit.  I am a person who used to have SO MUCH energy.  It isn’t neglectful of me to make time for myself—I deserve this too.

For the past few years, I have agonized over the idea of fitting in workouts, thinking, “My sons need me. My husband needs me.”  That’s true, they do.  But they also need me to thrive and live to see my grandchildren.  Despite the fact that we often neglect them, our needs don’t disappear when we become mothers.    Life gets busy, and finding time is difficult, but I’m in a relative “lull” in my house. The baby now sleeps through the night, I’m almost done nursing…I have a little extra time.  I need to take the bull by the horns. And let me tell you—my muffin top is in total shock, as I make it plank and burpee and do box jumps. Jiggling away, screaming “Laura, what are you doing?! Get back on the couch! Where are the chips?!”

Making the Change

So I joined Cross Fit. Frankly, I think you need to be just a little bit masochistic to enjoy this type of workout—but I guess I’m just a little bit crazy.  It’s not for everyone—but so far—it’s for me! It’s humbling and challenging.  The community there is incredibly welcoming and supportive, and despite the fact that I’m still really far away from my goals, I can see how doing this would help me achieve them.  I’m not napping in the afternoons anymore.  I can feel muscles underneath this layer of fluff.  I get up and down off the ground more easily, and I’m naturally eating better because exercise makes me crave nutrient dense foods.  I’m in a better mood, and my feelings of self-loathing are fading away.  I think the emotional payout has already been worth it.  

This type of thing isn’t for everyone.  But it’s not about Cross Fit—it’s about finding that THING that’s been nagging in your head, making you feel “less than”…and addressing it if you can. It’s whatever you need to do to find yourself again, and find your happiness.  I don’t like leaving my sons to go to the gym—but I like the person I am when I come home.  They have a mother who is happier and more at peace.  As parents, there is plenty to feel guilty about, but I’m done feeling guilty about this. I feel like myself again, and not just a medium to meet the needs of my children and family. Don’t misunderstand me—my children and husband are obviously important—my husband has lots of say in my workout schedule since he holds down the fort while I’m gone, and I check in with him constantly to see how it’s going. And hopefully, it goes without saying that anytime my sons NEED their mama, I’m going to stay home with them.  But if they eat chicken nuggets for dinner with my husband every Monday because I’m at the gym, they’ll be just fine.  And maybe I’ll find myself again.

Next time on Muffin Top Chronicles—will I sustain this momentum?  Or will they find my corpse, crumpled into a corner at the gym because I attempted a handstand push up? Stay tuned!!!

Lessons Learned from a Couple’s Trip

My husband and I recently spent a weekend away with two other couples who have been long-time friends. We’d all been planning this couple’s trip for months.  At one point, due to a job change, my husband and I weren’t even sure we’d be able to go.  Honestly, since there are 6 kids between three couples, I think everyone expected some proverbial shoe to drop.  Let’s face it, nothing is predictable when it comes to being parents.

I’m happy to report we all made it there and had a fabulous weekend.  As we enjoyed the beauty of upstate New York during peak foliage season, we shared a lot of laughs, a few tears (read: my tears), and copious amounts of wine.  At the risk of sounding cliche, we made some memories that will warm our hearts for many years.  Really, I mean it.  And, during our couple’s trip, I learned some lessons:

Just do it:  Sometimes someone just needs to take the first leap and bring up the idea.  (Thank you to the couple who did just that).  Let me tell you, there will never ever ever be the “perfect” time to go away.  Our lives are just too busy and if you start to overthink it, you’ll never agree on anything.  You don’t need a special occasion, just do it.  In fact, a server inquired at dinner one evening what we were celebrating.  The answer?  “Being friends.”  While we had a good laugh at the delivery (you had to be there), it was the honest truth.

It doesn’t need to be fancy:  I know some couples may enjoy a week-long cruise together, or jaunting off on a 5-hour flight to a fun metropolitan area.  Maybe one day when our kids are older and they aren’t bleeding our bank and time accounts dry we can do that.  But for now, a quick local weekend away within driving distance was perfection.  In New England and the Northeast, we are privileged to be surrounded by so many beautiful areas within driving distance.  Take advantage of it!

Your friends are always your friends:  Sometimes it feels like we don’t get to see each other much.  We work, we have kids similar in age.  We are all in the same season of life:  the BUSY one.  When we do see each other it’s usually in the presence of our kids who also enjoy each other’s company (side note: it’s awesome to watch your friends’ kids become your kids’ friends).  But with that come what feels like unending interruptions to any conversation.  This weekend reminded me our friends are still OUR friends.  Now we just have a few bags under our eyes and some wrinkles to show for our life experience.  Yes, beneath all of that adulting stuff, we are still the same people that became friends all those years ago.

Childrencouple's trip | drinks can be the center of our lives, but don’t have to define 100% of who we are:  Yes, we talked about our children over the weekend.  In fact, I had a very raw, open moment of concern (see: tears mentioned earlier) for one of my kids early on in the trip.  The best thing I could have done was talk about it with our friends (thank you to my husband for encouraging that I start that conversation).  Stories were shared, advice was given, support was offered, and I was able to move forward.  And while our kids were the topic of conversation here and there, I realized afterward that they weren’t an overarching theme of our trip at any point.  Pedaling back to my previous point, we spent a lot of time going back to our roots and talking about US and it felt good.

We aren’t getting any younger, but that’s not all bad news:  Do I wish I had the time, the body, the energy, and lack of gray hair I had 10 years ago?  You bet.  Do I mind that that we all turned in earlier than we used to start our nights out back in the day?  Not really.  I mean, sure I wish I had an endless supply of energy, but frankly getting a good night’s sleep is precious.  We all appreciate now what we didn’t appreciate then and we’re ok with that.

group photo from couple's tripWine, beer, good food, and fresh air never hurt anyone: I mean, do I need to really elaborate on this.  Let’s just say kicking back, relaxing, reconnecting, and growing our inside joke collection was amazingly refreshing for all of us.

There you have it.  My best advice: Take a couple’s trip. If you can, reach out to your friends, do something, spend time together.  Remember who you are.  You won’t regret it.

Providence Mom Guide to January

January 2020 Rhode Island | Providence Mom

January is a time for resetting, renewing, and relaxing.  Warm blankets, hot coffee, good books- it’s a time to relish the slowness of winter, the calm after the holiday chaos, and a fresh start. What’s your favorite part of January?

Jan
10
KinderScience Friday at Pow! Science!
KinderScience Fridays! Our longest-running weekly program! KinderScience is a weekly class featuring...
Jan
10
Toddler Try-It / Friday mornings
Toddler Try-It On Friday mornings, young children use real tools and explore the creative process as...
Jan
10
Museum Maker Club / Friday afternoons
Museum Maker Club Each Friday afternoon, kids explore materials, tools, and themes in PCM’s ne...
Jan
11
Story Time @ Books on the Square
Parents and children can join our storytellers two times each week for the ongoing Story Time event ...
Jan
11
Family Game Days at Mystic Aquarium
Family Game Days returns every Saturday in January starting on the 4th. Explore all of your favorite...
Jan
11
Newport Seal Tours with Save The Bay
Join Save The Bay aboard an education vessel as we motor through historic Newport Harbor and take in...
Jan
11
The Cardigan Connection and Brown Bookstore Present Peggy Orenstein
Join us for a lively conversation about BOYS AND SEX with New York Times bestselling author Peggy Or...
Jan
12
Trainer Days at Mystic Aquarium
This January, Trainer Days returns! Bring your most riveting marine animal questions to Mystic Aquar...
Jan
12
Newport Seal Tours with Save The Bay
Join Save The Bay aboard an education vessel as we motor through historic Newport Harbor and take in...
Jan
14
Little Creators
Little Creators is a guided art class for kids 3.5 – 6 years old. Each week we will work on co...
Jan
14
Sensory Friendly Night at Launch
A quieter, private time where we are open exclusively to jumpers with special needs along with their...
Jan
15
More than Just a Kitchen: Meeting Street Training Institute Hosts Dramatic Play Workshop for Infants through Preschool
The Training Institute at Meeting Street will host a Dramatic Play for Infants through Preschool wor...
Jan
17
KinderScience Friday at Pow! Science!
KinderScience Fridays! Our longest-running weekly program! KinderScience is a weekly class featuring...
Jan
17
Toddler Try-It / Friday mornings
Toddler Try-It On Friday mornings, young children use real tools and explore the creative process as...
Jan
17
Museum Maker Club / Friday afternoons
Museum Maker Club Each Friday afternoon, kids explore materials, tools, and themes in PCM’s ne...
Jan
18
Children’s Theater: “That’s My Ball”
Children’s Theater: “That’s My Ball” Bear and Ladybug meet each other in Little ...
Jan
18
Newport Seal & Lighthouse Tours with Save The Bay
Join Save The Bay aboard an education vessel as we motor through historic Newport Harbor and take in...
Jan
18
Story Time @ Books on the Square
Parents and children can join our storytellers two times each week for the ongoing Story Time event ...
Jan
18
Family Game Days at Mystic Aquarium
Family Game Days returns every Saturday in January starting on the 4th. Explore all of your favorite...
Jan
19
Children’s Theater: “That’s My Ball”
Children’s Theater: “That’s My Ball” Bear and Ladybug meet each other in Little ...
Jan
19
Newport Seal & Lighthouse Tours with Save The Bay
Join Save The Bay aboard an education vessel as we motor through historic Newport Harbor and take in...
Jan
19
Trainer Days at Mystic Aquarium
This January, Trainer Days returns! Bring your most riveting marine animal questions to Mystic Aquar...
Jan
20
“M.L.K.: Amazing Grace”
“M.L.K.: Amazing Grace” at Providence Children’s Museum In “M.L.K.: Amazing Grace,” aw...
Jan
20
Newport Seal & Lighthouse Tours with Save The Bay
Join Save The Bay aboard an education vessel as we motor through historic Newport Harbor and take in...
Jan
20
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
20
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
21
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
21
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
22
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
22
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
23
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
23
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
24
KinderScience Friday at Pow! Science!
KinderScience Fridays! Our longest-running weekly program! KinderScience is a weekly class featuring...
Jan
24
Toddler Try-It / Friday mornings
Toddler Try-It On Friday mornings, young children use real tools and explore the creative process as...
Jan
24
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
24
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
24
Museum Maker Club / Friday afternoons
Museum Maker Club Each Friday afternoon, kids explore materials, tools, and themes in PCM’s ne...
Jan
25
Sewing & Quilting with Brooke and Steve
Amgen Maker Series: Sewing & Quilting with Brooke and Steve Guest artists Brooke Goldstein and S...
Jan
25
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
25
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
25
Story Time @ Books on the Square
Parents and children can join our storytellers two times each week for the ongoing Story Time event ...
Jan
25
Family Game Days at Mystic Aquarium
Family Game Days returns every Saturday in January starting on the 4th. Explore all of your favorite...
Jan
25
Newport Seal Tours with Save The Bay
Join Save The Bay aboard an education vessel as we motor through historic Newport Harbor and take in...
Jan
26
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
26
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
26
Trainer Days at Mystic Aquarium
This January, Trainer Days returns! Bring your most riveting marine animal questions to Mystic Aquar...
Jan
26
Newport Seal Tours with Save The Bay
Join Save The Bay aboard an education vessel as we motor through historic Newport Harbor and take in...
Jan
26
Aurea Ensemble Of Nature Composed
Breaking boundaries between words and music, this performance ensemble with a superb string quartet ...
Jan
27
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
27
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
28
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
28
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
29
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
29
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
30
Open House at Ocean State Montessori School
Ocean State Montessori School holds a weekday Admissions Open House in January. The event provides p...
Jan
30
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
30
Kidtopia
Kidtopia Transform two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional sculptures! Build a community that c...
Jan
31
KinderScience Friday at Pow! Science!
KinderScience Fridays! Our longest-running weekly program! KinderScience is a weekly class featuring...
Jan
31
Toddler Try-It / Friday mornings
Toddler Try-It On Friday mornings, young children use real tools and explore the creative process as...
Jan
31
Museum Maker Club / Friday afternoons
Museum Maker Club Each Friday afternoon, kids explore materials, tools, and themes in PCM’s ne...

Febrile Seizure Awareness

The other day my son had a febrile seizure. I had no idea what that was or what it meant for my sweet 3-year-old boy. All I knew was that a seizure was something I never wanted or expected my child to experience.

child in hospital bed after febrile seizure

It started on an ordinary, chaotic Monday morning. My son goes to a family daycare two days a week, and Monday is one of them.  I was doing my best to wrangle the toddler and puppy and get out the door. The morning seemed much like any other Monday, nothing notable.

A few hours after drop off, I received a phone call at work saying that he felt very warm and he had a temp of 103. I was shocked, as he had no symptoms of being sick that morning or days before. He was complaining of being tired and wanting to lay down and I left work immediately to go get him.

About 15-20 minutes into my drive I received another call. A call that absolutely rocked my world. My daycare provider asked me if I was close, and proceeded to tell me that my son was having a febrile seizure.

As you can imagine, my reaction was pure panic, shock, and confusion. I had no idea what a febrile seizure was, but I did know what a seizure was. The fear set in instantly. I told her to call the rescue and through the flood of tears made my way there.

The ambulance had already arrived, with my son inside; non-responsive, connected to wires and being given an IV. He was still noticeably trembling and his temperature was rising. The EMTs administered medication to stop the seizure as well as Tylenol to help bring down his fever.

I was in a full-blown panic, pale and shaking, trying my best to keep my composure as my 3-year-old lay there lifelessly. The ride to the ER was a blur of questions, and the EMTs attempts at answers.

My mind was racing: When was he going to wake up? Was he going to wake up? Was he in a coma? Was he in pain? Was there going to be lasting side effects? Would there be more seizures? I watched his heart rate rise to 200 on the monitor. I watched the EMT take his temperature again, it had gone up. I was becoming physically sick with worry.

When we arrived at the hospital the nurses were able to wake him. His eyes opened, but he wasn’t fully there. He wasn’t speaking, he was able to look in my direction when I spoke, but couldn’t make eye contact. Luckily my husband had shown up this point to physically and emotionally hold me up.

My son was moved into the trauma section of the ER and his temperature had yet again risen, this time over 104 degrees. He was given more IV medication to bring the fever down, as I did my best to answer the doctor’s questions.

This is what I knew: His seizure started shortly after the fever spiked. He had full-body convulsions. There was some foaming at the mouth. His seizure lasted 6 minutes. There was nothing out of the ordinary leading up to the seizure, besides the sudden fever.

All of this information seemed to be “good news” as far as the doctors were concerned. I was informed that a febrile seizure is caused by a sudden and significant change in body temperature. His body was unable to handle the rapid increase and as a result went into shock, which presented itself physically as convulsions.

Finally, his temperature began to drop and he was stabilized. We moved to another room where we could monitor him and he could finally rest. At this point, he was still unable to speak much, and when he did he sounded very weak and could barely move his mouth to form the words.

The doctors informed us that they wanted him to be at “baseline” or his normal self before we could discharge. I looked at my husband with doubt. It seemed impossible that our stubborn, energetic sweet boy would be coming back any time soon.

But after a 2-hour nap and a popsicle: he was back. He was more alert, able to speak clearly and was making perfect sense. He was so brave. When I asked him if he remembered what happened, he gave me a brief recap of being at daycare, then laying down because he was tired, and then a bunch of people coming in. He even went on to say “then I went to my doctor’s appointment.” I was surprised and completely relieved. He had no real memory of this traumatic event and was less than phased that we were sitting in the emergency room.

We were able to go home that night. He was back to himself, and I was (am) a complete mess. I can’t un-see my baby laying in that ambulance. I can’t un-feel that fear and panic.

We were lucky our daycare provider had some knowledge of these types of seizures, and that the ambulance came so quickly. The hospital staff was amazing. The one thing that is hard to swallow is that there is no “cause” other than the rapid rise in temperature. All we were able to get out of this was that it was caused by some type of virus.

My hope in writing this is that someone will read it and gain some knowledge of what this experience is like. That if this happens to someone else’s child, which it could, that they will have some information to help get them through.

In the following days, I read everything I could on febrile seizures. My most important takeaways are:

  • Febrile seizures can happen to any child, and are most common from the ages of 6 months through 5 years.
  • After age 5 children have basically “outgrown” febrile seizures.
  • Febrile seizures lasting less than 15 minutes are not linked with any neurological disorder or issue, and most leave no lasting effects.
  • If you think your child or a child in your care is having a febrile seizure: Place the child in a safe space, like the floor, and don’t try to restrain or hold the child. Lay the child on their side or stomach to prevent choking. Never put anything inside the mouth. Note the start time of the seizure. Stay with the child and call an ambulance.

Sources:

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Febrile-Seizures-Fact-Sheet

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/febrile-seizure/symptoms-causes/syc-20372522

Get Social

6,447FansLike
2,739FollowersFollow
194FollowersFollow
786FollowersFollow

In + Around Providence

Providence Mom Guide to January

0
January is a time for resetting, renewing, and relaxing.  Warm blankets, hot coffee, good books- it's a time to relish the slowness of winter,...