Prepping for the second kid

 

“One is none, two is ten.” My mom always used to say that and frankly, this terrifies me. In ten short weeks, I’ll be a mom of two and I’m not quite sure how the hell I’m going to pull this off. I know it’s possible – I see people do it. One of my best friends just had her third! I know it’s not a big deal to society to have two kids. But in our house, I feel like it’s going to shake us into utter insanity.

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Maybe I should provide some background so I don’t sound like I need therapy. I mean, I probably do, but wine is cheaper so I go that route when I’m not knocked up.

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Our transition to one kid was NOT EASY. I know some people have a smooth transition into parenthood, but that was not us; it sucked us into long term survival mode.

Not to compare, but I’m going to compare. Some babies are easy going and start sleeping through the night at three to four months (some even earlier). These same kids might even be relatively well during their first and second years of life. These babies probably don’t have GERD, chronic ear infections, or weird autoimmune issues that pop up. They also probably don’t want to nurse every 30-45 minutes and are willing to be put down, or at least “worn” in a baby carrier. These parents are often fooled into thinking ALL babies are easy and might even judge other parents for having a hard time – I begrudgingly wish all the judger parents will have terrors for second children.

Porter gave us a hell of an introduction to parenthood, but the sleep deprivation was the most challenging part. It wasn’t that he was still waking up to feed, it was several wakings per night from pain because he had chronic double ear infections from about four months to eight and a half months, before we finally resorted to ear tubes. So the wakings were more dramatic than just a nursing session – he was upset, often had a fever and suffered from chronic diarrhea from the antibiotics.

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Just before his surgery

But even after the tubes surgery, he still got ear infections! The difference was that the tubes relieved the pressure/pain and the infections were finally treatable. We would routinely go into the ENT to have his ear’s cleaned out, which was traumatizing because he had to be held down wearing a straight jacket and would stare at me with horror as he sobbed. Hello mom guilt.

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Our happy boy a few days after surgery

We just had a rough time. We wondered how the hell people have more than one kid.

Then suddenly, Porter’s illnesses stopped (aside from the common cold, etc.), the ear infections became less and less frequent, we were consistently sleeping through the night, the GERD was a thing of the past and we felt like we could breath.

Then baby fever started to kick in, and bam, we conceived.

We went from, “holy shit how do people have more than one kid” to “I sort of get now how people have more than one kid” to “let’s have another kid” to “we’re due in March with our second kid” in a very short timeframe.

 

So here we are, preparing for baby number two, hoping and praying we get a little lucky this second time around. Would love a relatively painless c-section, no GERD, no constant illnesses, no chronic ear issues, a baby that likes to be worn, a baby that lets us sleep longer than three hour stretches sooner than eight and a half months.

Porter, we love you and wouldn’t change anything about you. You made us stronger as a family and you’ve grown to be the sweetest most loving two year old boy ever. I predict you will be a gentile giant – a big boy with a big heart. But I can say with 100 percent certainty that we just don’t have it in us to have another you ever again. So please, baby Preston, cut your parents some slack and be jackpot baby.

If you have any good baby vibes to send our way, please do. We need them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Remodel Update

Our holiday season started out in an ideal way; the day after Thanksgiving, we made the trek up to Apple Hill’s Smart’s Tree farm to cut down our Christmas tree. We got apple donuts and met up with family – Porter had a blast. That was our first real break from working on our house in weeks.

Back to reality on Saturday morning as we pawned Porter off to Nana and continued to frantically try and finish the kitchen remodel before the arrival of baby #2!

The hurdles we’ve run into during this project have been plentiful. It really is true what people say about embarking on a construction project – you will run into problems – especially if your house is 45 years old and had questionable owners who’ve cut corners over the years. We are trying to update our house built in 1970, but at the same time, we’re fixing what other people did wrong.

We still have lots of work to do. But to give you an idea of what we started with, below is a “before” picture of the kitchen. I forgot to take one myself, so this is the kitchen photo that was included in the real estate listing when we bought the house (which means all the ugly crap on the counter is not mine). Don’t you just LOVE that golden oak haha.

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And here it is now…

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It’s so exciting for us to see our vision for this ugly kitchen start to become a reality, but you can see we still have much to do. I sanded and painted the sink and corner base cabinets at the height of my second trimester energy burst. I found a great method that really works well and will eventually write up a step-by-step tutorial. Every other cabinet is new, but we bought them in unfinished oak, which saved us a ton of money. I’m super anal about paint color anyway and really wanted my cabinets to be White Dove by Benjamin Moore, so buying white stock cabinets was unappealing to me.

We were gifted new appliances for Christmas from my parents during a sale at Pacific Sales in Roseville. We are beyond thankful and excited to have brand spankin’ new LG appliances – I realize we are lucky ducks to be gifted something like that.

We also have new quartz countertops, a sink and a new kitchen faucet. The quartz was leftover from my parents’ big remodel they recently did (major score). I ordered brushed gold cabinet hardware to match the faucet. The fancy William Sonoma soap set that matches the Palladian Blue wall was a gift from a thoughtful friend.

We added pantry cabinets to either side of our new refrigerator; we still need to add an upper cabinet. One of my pet peeves was that we previously had random snack crap on top of our frig and I’m so excited for it to be clutter free now that we have enough storage.

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After we Ryan knocked down all of the upper cabinets (funny story involving a crow bar and major destruction), we were left with a pretty hideous drywall situation, but it was fine, because I saw this picture on Pinterest and felt inspired to cover it with bead board, which will then have open shelving over it. We also installed white subway tile for our backsplash.

Next big thing is installing the open shelving on either side of the microwave. We found this great local place that will cut new wood for you and gave us some stuff to make it look like reclaimed wood, saving us a ton of money. Apparently actual reclaimed wood is pricey. I pulled this look from Pinterest as my inspiration…

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Couldn’t find the source to this, but the pin caption said it was from Countryliving.com

Other than the shelving, crown molding, finishing the cabinets by the frig and a few other finishing touches, we’re done. We’re just going to keep plugging away until it’s finished. In the meantime, I’ve finally started working on the nursery 🙂

 

11 tips on how to blend a family (without emotionally scarring your kids)

About a week ago, Hot Moms Club did a post on Tori Spelling’s Christmas card and how she’s receiving criticism on social media for not including her step-son, Jack, 16.tori spelling christmas card hot moms

This struck a chord.

I can’t say that I agree with the criticism being directed at her – isn’t Dean to blame? I can tell you that I personally grew up being treated like a second class child whenever I was with my dad’s “new family” (my step-mother who had never been married before, and my half brother twelve years my junior). The feeling of being an outcast in my own father’s house every time I visited him was emotionally damaging and I’m sickened when I see it happening to other kids – especially after decades of what should have been the learning curve for society to figure out the right and wrong ways to blend a family.

We can and must do better.

Every family has its own unique set of strengths and weaknesses based on personalities and circumstances, but it is possible to blend a family successfully. These tips aren’t complicated and are worth taking to heart. There’s an ugliness spectrum for divorce; where you and your family end up on that spectrum is up to you.

1) The family photo (including the Christmas card)

There are two parts to this one…First, don’t be an ass hole and hang “family photos” all over your house that clearly exclude one or more of your children/step-children. This was my life every time I visited my dad’s house. Literally not one shred of photographic evidence that I existed anywhere in view. It’s hard enough to be a child from divorce – you don’t need it rubbed in your face that your mom/dad has a new family. Be considerate of your kids’ feelings. Second, when you find yourself in a moment where family photos are being taken, don’t exclude your “other kids” from the photo. One time at a cousin’s wedding, my step-mother got upset that my older brother and I were in the photo with her, my dad and half-brother and insisted on a second photo being taken of just the three of them…psycho. If your new spouse shows any sign of wanting you to disassociate yourself from your “other kids,” run the other direction. If you really want to take a picture with your “new family” (totally understandable), make sure to take an equal amount of photos with only your “other kids” to even it out.

2) Family vacation

It’s a family vacation; therefore all family members should be included, right? My brother and I went on little vacations every summer with my Dad, until he got married to his third wife and had another child. Once my half brother was born, my older brother and I were never included on family trips during the summer – they would get their trip done before we arrived for our visitation. It felt like we were being gradually written out as his children. If you insist on a family vacation that does not include your “other kids,” you need to make sure you plan a second one that does not include your new spouse and new child/children to make it fair.

3) Celebrate birthdays equally

All birthdays should be created equal; equal attention, equal gifts. My dad would forget to even just call me on my birthday, but buy my half brother gifts that cost $100+ dollars and do a birthday celebration. Also, DO NOT have your new spouse buy birthday gifts for your other kids (they will know) unless it’s in conjunction with something else you got them.

4) Don’t talk shit about your ex in front of your kids

Even the snide remarks. Just don’t do it. Lock it up. Resist the urge. Be a grown up.

5) Don’t fight with your ex in front of your kids

They probably had to witness enough of that before the divorce. Have the courtesy to fight in private post divorce.

6) Verbal reassurance

Give your kids verbal reassurance on a ridiculous level. Tell them you love them more than anything and that the love is unconditional. Just know that whatever verbal reassurance you give your kids, it must be accompanied by actions; otherwise your words are meaningless.

7) Have empathy

Strive to empathize. Play the “what if” game in your head and try to imagine how you might feel in your child’s shoes. Be so committed to the game that you actually start feeling the feelings.

8) Force therapy

Literally force your kids to go to therapy. When I was a kid, my mom forced me and it was probably the best thing she ever did for me. I told her I would refuse to speak to the therapist (as kids will often say), and her response was “Fine. You can just sit there silent for an hour every week.” I eventually cracked and the therapy benefited me.

9) Have one-on-one time with all of your kids

This is the one thing on this list my dad didn’t fail at, so at least he sort of tried a little. When your “other kids” stay with you, make sure you spend alone time with each of them. They might not like your new spouse and shouldn’t be forced to constantly be with them. Plus, alone time is just good for relationship building.

10) Be there for the milestones

Make sure you’re there for ALL of your kids’ milestones.

11) Spend money equally

Whether it’s cars, education, or whatever else. Don’t spend more on one kid than the other. Unless it’s a girl vs. boy thing because everyone knows girls are more expensive haha.

It’s important to remember that divorcing your spouse doesn’t mean you need to divorce your children. I know it’s probably hard to co-parent in a divorce scenario, but that’s not the kids’ fault; it’s yours for marrying the wrong person. Your number one priority should be to reduce and ease the affect the divorce has on your child/children’s lives. Don’t make your kids pay for your mistakes in life.

Did you grow up in a blended family? What tips would you give divorced parents today?

Photo via Hot Moms Club