The Great Disney Stroller Debate

A lot of the time when people are asking me about advice on their upcoming Disney trip, they ask me what kind of stroller they should bring. Do you bring your big one you use at home that is significantly bigger? Or do you bring an umbrella stroller thats much smaller?

My vote?

The big stroller.

And heres my top five reasons why:

  • You really won’t move through crowds that much faster if you have a small stroller such as an umbrella stroller. I hate to break it to you, but if you have a stroller (of any size), you’re just not going to be zipping through the park as quickly as you would sans stroller. IMG_5508
  • The storage is beautiful. Our stroller has a big pouch in the bottom and we utilize that space so dang much on our Disney vacations. We stick our sweatshirts down there, souvenirs, bags, blankets, leftover food, water bottles, etc. You don’t get that luxury with a teeny stroller. IMG_1274.jpg
  • Your little one is more comfortable in a big stroller. I love that when my boys fall asleep, I can recline them a bit, or know they have a little more wiggle room so their sleep is a little deeper (and heavens knows that little ones need those naps while in Disneyland!). IMG_8596.jpg
  • The cupholder/top storage. Ok, this is just assuming your big stroller has a cupholder and a little extra space to store things up top. I’d lose my mind without that. Thats where we keep drinks (obvs), Fast Passes (when you still needed the paper ticket), easy-to-reach snacks, pins, cel phones, sunglasses, etc. Half the time what I wear to the parks don’t have pockets, so this is something especially important to me. IMG_5162.jpg
  • A bigger stroller often times can also become a double + stroller. Its so nice to have it all just in one spot. When everyones loaded, its great to have everything we need (mainly our children) right there in one stroller – one spot. I especially love our stroller because we have a little connector piece that we bought that a third child can stand on called a glider board! (H loves to switch from his seat to the glider).

I don’t know guys. If you ask me, you just can’t go wrong with a big ol’ stroller. You know what the say – go big or go home!

Also, if you’re interested in the stroller we have, you can find it here. I LOVE it. Yes, its a pretty penny, but its absolutely worth it.

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You Will Never Regret Being Kind

A couple of days ago I ran to the grocery stores with my boys for a just a few items I needed. We live pretty darn close to a grocery store so I decided to load the boys up in the stroller and walk over. In my mind it was going to be the perfect, quick activity. My boys love being outside, the weather was beautiful and the grocery store would be a fun little change of scenery. I was so, so wrong. So wrong. E started crying hysterically only seconds into our walk and H started crying hysterically once we got to the store and I wouldn’t let him out of the stroller. Before I knew it they were both fully tandem tantrums of the highest caliber – which is weird because I’m actually very lucky and my boys are usually very well tempered. I figured since I only had a couple of items to grab I could hurry and it wouldn’t get too bad. Again, so wrong. It quickly went from bad to worse. The boys were just hard, getting louder and I was getting overwhelmed. Its not the first time I’ve felt stressed out in a store before, but it was already kind of one of those days and then I met eyes with a older man who was glaring at me! A full on angry, annoyed stare. It tipped me over the edge and I’m embarrassed to admit it, but my eyes started welling up with tears and when the man saw this, he rolled his eyes and walked the other direction. I was embarrassed. My feelings were hurt. I felt defeated and very, very frustrated and just sad. I know I shouldn’t feel that way, its part of motherhood and I have a toddler and a baby! Of course they throw fits, its what they’re supposed to do from time to time. But this man just got to me. I wanted to sprint out of there with my wailing children and scream and cry in my room. But I was almost done with my list so I decided to toughen up and finish, even if I was apparently ticking some people off.

Some people suck. Some people are impatient and inconsiderate. Its incredible how a rude comment or look can send someone spiraling.

The only reason I didn’t leave the grocery store with tears flooding down my face and leaving all my groceries behind was because of the wonderful, kind people that I thankfully also encountered.

No one did anything huge or went really out of their way, but they still saved me mentally and emotionally. I received a lot of sympathetic smiles. I saw a lot of women who just gave me that look like, ‘I’ve been there, so sorry!’ I even encountered a sweet woman who left her cart, approached me and squeezed both of my shoulders and said, “you go girl!” They were small, simple things but in that moment of stress, frustration and embarrassment it was 100% what I so desperately needed.

You guys. It is not hard to be kind. It will cost you nothing. It will make someones day. You will feel good about yourself. You will help the world be a little bit brighter, happier and kinder. Unfortunately sometimes the mean things stand out more than the kind things, but the good news is that there is usually more kind in your life if you look for it. I’m encouraging you to do your part to make sure there is kindness in the world though! Just smile! Don’t glare at a stressed out mom! Compliment someone! Offer simple favors! Send a nice text message! Write something nice on someones instagram post! Say hi! Just be kind, however that may look or sound.

This has been your public service announcement from a frazzled mom who was pretty shaken up by some grouchy man in the grocery store but is very grateful for nice people with nice smiles and simple words of encouragement.

xo

Speech Update and Q&A

I am so proud of H. He has been in Speech Therapy for a few months now and he is doing so, so well! I have seen so much progress and in the last couple of weeks he has just turned another big corner. My heart could burst! When we began this journey with our sweet Speech Pathologist I really had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know if change would happen quickly or if it would require a lot of patience. For us, it is definitely taking time and patience, but changes are happening! H is talking with an open mouth (he used to mainly ‘talk’ through closed lips), he is trying new sounds, will mimic words and is even using very simple 2 (sometimes 3) word sentences! We still have a ways to go and more goals to accomplish, but little by little my awesome, smart H is reaching those goals and making his mom beam with pride.

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H working with his sensory box – one of the several activities we have to help him use words and grow his vocabulary.

I know a while ago I said I was planning on making a video and posting it about our journey and giving advice and answering questions. Well, I still haven’t done that, though I still plan on doing so. Just bear with me – sometimes I’m a procrastinator. But for now I thought I’d answer a few of the questions I’ve got from several people. If you have more questions let me know what they are – I am happy to answer them in the best way I know how. Keep in mind, I am not a professional. I’m not a Speech Therapist or Pathologist, I’m not kind of medical professional and don’t even entirely know what I’m doing. I’m just a mom with a two year old with a speech delay and this is all based off of our personal experience.

How do you tell your child has a speech problem? It all started when I realized there were toddlers much younger than H that could speak a lot more. At first I chalked it up to knowing everyone develops at different speeds, etc. But it just became more and more relevant as time went on. I read stuff online about speech delays and realized he had a lot of the qualities as children with speech delays. I never really was 100% sure if he did have a delay though because you always hear about those late-talkers or those kids that just wake up one day and are able to speak so well. I just kept waiting for that magical day where he’d wake up and call me mom. But it wasn’t happening, so I finally talked to my husband about my concerns and together we went to our pediatrician to discuss our worries and the options.

What are some ways you’re helping H speak? I make sure he is hearing language all the time. I am constantly talking to him. I’m repeating words he is working on. He has a sensory box that encourages tons of language, we name colors, shapes, animals, people, etc all day long. He has game called ‘Pow’ (i’ll cover this in more depth in a video someday) that has really helped him. I encourage mimicking of my actions and words and he picks up on that really well. I praise him when he tries new words and sounds. And I pray. A lot.

How did you go about get H screened? It started with our pediatrician. We scheduled an appointment with him to talk about our concerns about H’s speaking – or lack there of. He referred us to a local company that screens kids under three for developmental delays. They came to our home and did the screening and decided he could benefit from speech therapy. If you are wanting to get your child screened – talk to your pediatrician!

Whats your main piece of advice for parents of a child with a speech delay? Be patient. Your little one is going to figure this out, but its a lot and isn’t going to change overnight. Be patient and encouraging – trust the process.

Did H being a binky baby have anything to do with this delay? According to our Speech Pathologist, no. So I also say no. Think of all the kids who took binks when they were younger and speak just fine…

Is H frustrated he isn’t speaking at the same rate as kids his age? I’ve never been able to recognize that he is frustrated. He may not speak great yet, but he communicates really well so I don’t think he’s ever really felt like he’s not being understood. However I do know that some kids do get very frustrated when no one can understand their own little language and their body language (because our speech pathologist told me).

Like I said, if you have any more questions let me know! But thats the scoop as of now. H is awesome. He’s doing so well and has come so far!

Theres nothing this little guy can’t do.

I Never Had to Split My Heart in Half

When I got pregnant with E, I was ecstatic. But almost as soon as I saw that positive sign, another weird, unexpected feeling rushed over me along with the joy. That was guilt. It instantly hit me that H would no longer be an only child and his world of near constant attention and having his parents all to himself would be over in several months. I knew having more than one kid was absolutely right for me. I knew I was going to have more than two kids even. But I never knew how part of me would feel guilty for growing our family. I never thought about that when I was younger and to be honest I never really thought about it much until I learned I was pregnant with my second child.

The feeling of joy was a million times stronger than the guilty and sad feeling. But when I let myself really dwell on those two words, it got worse and worse. I knew how much I loved H. SO MUCH. So how on earth could I possibly love another human as much? Was my heart even capable of somehow dividing such a strong, powerful, fierce love to two kids? How would H not just always be my favorite because I’d had him and known him the longest? Would my second child feel neglected? Would he see that I had a ‘better’ relationship with his big brother? Fear and worry would creep over me easier each time I allowed myself to think on these scary thoughts.

I did my best to ignore them. People add children into their families every day and guess what? The other kids are ok. The new babies are ok. The family is ok. The mom…I hope she is ok. I would switch my focus back to joy. Adding this new little brother to our family was perfect. He was going to be so sweet and handsome and I couldn’t even handle the thoughts of how cute his relationship would be with his brother. Having two sons was absolutely going to be the best thing ever. It was right. It was good. It was perfect. I was going to figure out how to split my love.

Split my love. I hated that phrase, but I thought it all the time. Somehow I’d have to figure out how to take half the love I had for H and give it to his brother. Thats where the real guilt came in. Would H notice I had to share my love? Would he feel like he was less loved and less important? Sure he wasn’t even two yet – but even toddlers notice change. Was he going to be sad? Was he going to be mad at me? Was he going to resent his brother for this big life change?

I never told anyone these fears. No one. I was worried saying I was worried I couldn’t love them both as powerfully, equally and strongly made me a weak mom. I thought it would make me a bad mom. I kept it to myself and I tried not to worry and focus on the joy. I prayed a lot. I tried to have as much faith in myself as a mother as I could.

Then the day came. November 10th happened and I had my second son that night!

I learned something incredible. The second my c-section started I started praying in my head. I prayed that the operation would go well and that my new baby would be safe and healthy. I prayed I would be healthy. I prayed that H was happy back home with his grandparents.

I prayed that my heart could figure out how to be a mom of two.

Something pretty cool happened then. E’s delivery was a little bit scary. As soon as he was out, he was taken immediately to a NICU team in the next room and my husband went with him. I was alone on the operating table with medical people around me. They were talking to me, trying to distract me from the scary thing that had just happened. They were trying to distract me so I wouldn’t dwell on the fact that my new baby still hadn’t screamed or cried or taken a very good breath. I was terrified. Their distractions didn’t work. All I knew is I had only seen my sweet son for a split second and he was gray and silent. I just wanted to hear him cry. I needed to know he was ok. Nothing else in the world mattered in those unknown moments.

Thats when it all dawned on me. I loved him with my whole heart. I loved him just as powerfully, equally and strongly as I loved H. But it wasn’t because my heart split in half. It was because my heart doubled in size in a way only the heart of a mother can do. My love didn’t change, it didn’t shrink or alter for H. It stayed big and the same – maybe it even grew. My love for my new son matched the love I had for H perfectly. I just knew all those worries and fears I’d had most of my pregnancy were all a thing of the past now. I knew that both of my sons had equal, huge love from me. It was such a calming, overwhelming feeling. I was so gracious.

It felt like forever, but not too much longer there were finally some loud and glorious screams from the room next door. My doctors all sighed with relief saying, “there he is!” or smiling really big at me. My anesthesiologist energetically patted my shoulder. My nurses cheered. He was ok. So was I. I loved that little boy I hadn’t really seen so, so much.

He was finally brought out to me where we had our little post c-section face snuggles. It was so spiritual and perfect. He was snorting in my ear and seemed to be telling me he loved me and he was comfortable and happy to be back with me. It was perfect. I told him I loved him and I felt that. I truly, truly meant it.

My heart never had to change its love for H. It knew what it was doing. Maybe all the while my belly was growing, preparing to deliver a child, my heart, too, was growing – preparing to love another sweet little baby.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Buddy!

Two years ago our worlds changed forever and for the best when our sweet baby H was born – making us parents and making us the happiest we have ever been! I always, always knew I wanted to be a mom and was constantly dreaming about the day that those dreams would come true. I had high, high expectations and knew I’d love it. But wow. H exceeded those expectations by so much and I love being a mom much more than I ever could have imagined I’d love it. He has always been so easy going and calm. He is genuinely good and as he’s got older, he actually tries to do good too. I am forever smitten by this precious boy and am forever grateful that he is my son and I am his mom.

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Wild Man and I are already happy people but when we had H he brought a joy to our family we never knew we were so terribly missing. He was truly the puzzle piece that completed our little starter family that we weren’t aware we so needed. He has given light to our bummed out days. He has been a constant reminder of whats actually important and what should be a priority and what should have a lot of our attention. He is our pride and our joy.

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Being this sweet boys mom has given me so much purpose and so much knowledge. I guess in my mind, motherhood would just be me teaching my children, but I had no idea just how much I would be learning from him – even when he was teeny tiny. I think the greatest thing he has taught me is about unconditional love. He showed me parts of my heart that only he could have. He showed me a new side of myself that I never could have found myself. He has also taught me a lot about self-love. I easily can feel like a not-so-great mom, but the way he treats me and loves me no matter what has helped put things into perspective and helps me realize I’m doing a good job and he loves me and thinks I’m a great mom.

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Happy Birthday to our big, new two year old! These past two years with you have easily been the best two years of my life and I’m grateful to know that my life will always be good and have positivity in it because you are my son and I am your mom. You are my light, my happiness and my reason. Thank you for being you and creating a new, wonderful life for us. Have the best, happiest, most magical birthday, buddy. No one deserves it like you do. I love you to infinity and beyond – forever and ever.

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xoxo

ceeceesparkles

How We Found Out #2

Quite a while ago I posted about how I found out I was pregnant with H and how I told Wild Man. You can read that story here if you’d like. I figured it was only fair that I also share the story of this baby, as well. Just a heads up – much like the story of H – this is not anything exciting or cutesy. Apparently I turn incredibly uncreative when it comes to giant life changes like this.

We didn’t get pregnant immediately when we were trying for H. So when we had settled on a timeline for when we would start trying for baby #2 I wasn’t holding my breath for it to happen very fast (for the record, Wild Man had a very different attitude about this). So when we hadn’t been trying long like…at all…I was both hopeful and skeptical. No way it happened this fast this time. Nope. Regardless of my negative attitude, I couldn’t quit thinking about the pregnancy test sitting in the box under our bathroom counter.

One day Wild Man had just got home from work and we were all at the table eating dinner. I wasn’t even a day late for my period yet but I had been thinking about it all day. Somehow I just felt pregnant even though it made no sense. There was only one way to confirm my suspicion, though. I decided the next morning I would take a test because rumor has it, you get the clearest results when you take pregnancy tests in the morning.

Never mind. The longer we sat at dinner the more impatient I got. I knew I was pregnant and I just needed that little stick to tell me I wasn’t crazy. I got up from the dinner table and just said I needed to use the restroom but didn’t explain what I was doing. When you take a pregnancy test you’re typically instructed to lay the test on the counter for 2 minutes (or so) and check back on it. But I wasn’t about to wait 2 minutes. As soon as the test began I sat and watched it. I watched the test go from blank to…positive. I was right. I was pregnant.

I said a quick prayer of thanks, had my moment, cleaned up then ran out to our kitchen and stood right next to Wild Man and said, “Want to see something cool?” Then I handed him the test. (my cute, creative announcements are back at it!) We were both so excited! We told H he was going to be a big brother then Wild Man talked to my stomach for a minute. The rest of the day was just full of that pure elation you feel after seeing that positive sign – and to be honest we’ve been riding that high since and now we are this close to meeting this sweet baby!!

This is just for me to remember.. We were almost 4 weeks when I found out..

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

30 Weeks!


Yesterday I hit 30 weeks pregnant! I can still so vividly remember reaching this point when I was pregnant with H and feeling so proud, excited and CLOSE to baby time. A lot of those same feelings are happening again, but also so many more. I think that since this time I’m already a mom, my whole attitude is different. I basically know what to expect this time. I know I am capable of at least decently raising and caring for a little human. I know how much I’m going to love this baby. I know what needs to really get done before his arrival and what can be put on the backburner if need be. 

Mostly I am just really, really excited. I’ve been having a lot more dreams about baby boy lately. When I lay in bed and can’t sleep or have free time during the day I find myself daydreaming about this new baby and watching him and H grow up together. I have a lot more feels. I feel a lot more in tune with my body. But I’m still definitely not patient. Ten weeks (ish) left and I worry they’re going to drag on because of how anxious I am to get this little guy here. I tell myself all the time how close November is, but have you ever realized that a lot of the time when you’re really excited for something it tends to come slower? I’m hoping that isn’t the case. Maybe like the rest of the pregnancy it will come quickly. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about labor too. I think it’s normal to be nervous. My labor with H was really straight forward and we both reacted totally fine with no real issues (except my epidural not working but that’s not a big deal really). There is part of me so worried that I couldn’t possibly repeat such great luck. But thankfully the more people I talk to, the more I’m made aware it’s actually very possible. I was recently talking to a friend who had her second child several months ago and she told me that leading up to her birth she had these same concerns but decided to just imagine her ideal delivery situation. Power in positive thinking! For her it totally worked. I know every situation is different. But I love this idea of focusing on all that could go right instead of wrong. I totally believe that sometimes your thoughts and attitude can influence the way something turns out. I’m channeling that. 

It’s crazy to think that in 10 weeks give or take H will finally meet his little brother. I’ll finally be able to snuggle this tiny guy and I’ll finally get to see Wild Man become a father again and melt into a puddle of emotions while I watch him dote over another sweet son. I am so darn excited!

xoxo