Leaving On A Jet Plane

Is it weird that I keep forgetting I’m going on vacation tomorrow?

I keep making plans only to cancel them shortly after with an, “Oh wait! I’m not going to be here.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually incredibly excited for this week.

I get to leave 104 degrees of sweaty armpit hell and go to mid 70’s and night time sweater weather.

Camping, pontoon boating, family time, lots of bbq, and a live NFL Sunday night football game await me.

The only thing that stands between me and a week of North Carolina bliss is a plane ride.

A plane ride with a kid that hates sitting still, throws tantrums, and never sleeps.

*Cue scary music*

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I remember being so worried about our flight when he was six months old.

If you can recall, I made a bunch of “care packs” for our fellow passengers with chocolates, ear plugs, and a little note.

Surprisingly, he was awesome on both flights so we really didn’t even need them.

Well this time I am almost certain we WILL need them but the only chocolate I am bringing along is for me.

Because let’s be honest, nobody is having a worse flight than the parent’s of the crying screaming child.

I shouldn’t have to apologize to you for taking my son to see his grandparents.

If anything, YOU should buy ME a vodka cranberry for having to sit in the same seat as the monster.

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Those screams are going directly into my eardrums.

I’m sorry, what did you say?

I think I’m partially deaf now.

So wish me luck!

We leave bright and early in the morning and since drugging your child with Benadryl is frowned upon we will be relying heavily on The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the iPad and snacks.

So many snacks.

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About The Whole Breastfeeding Thing…

My body decided to round out World Breastfeeding Week (yes, it’s a real thing) with a nice case of mastitis which is a breast infection caused by a blocked duct.

I had it back when Declan was about two months old and both times it has sucked.
But I’ve got some antibiotics and should be better in a few days.

Anyway…

I always teeter totter back and forth on discussing my views of breastfeeding on here because the whole topic is so controversial.

But in honor of the week I decided to woman up and do it.

I’m going to calmly tread into the storm that is nursing and hope that everybody walks away with the right message.

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As a mother who has been breastfeeding for over a year now I am obviously a huge advocate for doing so.

You just can’t deny the science, the health, and the bond attached to it.

But I don’t post links about how mom’s who formula feed are lazy, selfish, and poisoning their children.

I don’t ever say things like, “breast is best”.

And I never take or post nursing selfies.

I’m not trying to be glamorous or admirable or to stick-it-to-the-man when I nurse.

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I do it to nourish and bond with my child.

The end.

There is no other reason.

It’s not about feminism to me, it’s about me and my son.

Primitively speaking, this is what I was designed to do.

Culturally speaking, I was raised to know that nursing your child is a good thing but so is being respectful to your environment.

More than that, nursing is a very special and personal experience for me.

In the home I grew up in, my father would have been absolutely mortified if he had walked in on me changing or seen any private part of my body exposed.

I was taught to treat my body as a temple and to guard it from the sick world we live in.

I treat my son’s body with the same respect in that I never post nude photos of him on the internet, no matter how adorable his little toosh may be.

My breasts are more than just boobs to me.

They are a part of my temple and they do more than just entertain my husband.

They nourish my child and provide him comfort.

It is such a beautiful thing and I can see why mothers want to share it with the world.

But for me personally, that beauty is something that should be protected.

I guard that beauty with my life because I want to preserve it and keep it safe.

I have nothing against a mother who proudly displays her breastfeeding in public.

Feeding your child is nothing to be ashamed of.

But I want to make it known that just because I choose to cover up does not mean that I am ashamed.

I will feed Declan whenever, wherever.

But I will do so proudly covered up.

And I shouldn’t be looked down on by moms doing the exact same thing as me just because I choose to do so.

I mean, really?

Being a mom is like being in high school all over again.

Only this is an all girl’s high school that has over 85 million women in attendance and all of their periods seemed to be synced.

It’s time to stop mommy bashing.

Why do we care so much either way?

Does it really ruin your entire day if you see someone nursing?

Is it the end of the world if you cover up your baby for five minutes while they eat?

It’s not okay to make other women feel like less of a mother for doing one or the other.

Talking down to people doesn’t make you an activist but it does makes you an asshole.

Nursing is not easy and I commend the women who have kept with it but I do not blame the ones that didn’t either.

Formula or breast, covered or uncovered; are these the type of things we want to teach our children are the most important?
I want my son to be kind, patient, and courageous.
I fear that in an effort to stand up for what we believe in sometimes we end up teaching our children hate and intolerance rather than love, respect, and kindness.

We deserve to feed our children however we see fit as long as our child is not in any harm from said methods.

I believe that my mother did her very best to raise me and loves me just as I love Declan.
I do not think she is less of a mother or lazy or careless because she chose not to continue breastfeeding past 6 weeks.

Don’t let your legacy be the way you shamed other women

Breastfeed or not, covered or uncovered, homemade food or pre-packed.

Being a mom has no instructional manual and we are all just trying to do the very best we can.

I hope you teach your children to speak, act, and live from a place of kindness.

Because not a single one of us is doing it all right.

And every single one of us deserves some slack, especially from one another.

Month Eleven

First and foremost I would like to say Happy Memorial Day to everyone.
I just talked to my little brother yesterday who is in the final stage of Army bootcamp and it just reminded me how fortunate we are as a country that our men and women VOLUNTEER to dedicate their lives to protecting us.
It’s because of these volunteers that we get to enjoy a bbq at home today, go on family vacations, and work where we want to.
Were they not to step up and sacrifice so much, we would go back to drafting and I may not be lying next to my husband right now like I am.
So thank you soldiers.
The fallen, the retired, the current, and the training.
Your heroic efforts do not go unnoticed and I am forever grateful.

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Today Declan is 11 months old.
It makes my eyes all watery when I think about the fact that almost a year has passed and I can never get that time or those moments back.
But on the flip side, I am so amazed by my son and everything he has accomplished in such a short time.

….

SPREADING HIS WINGS:

I’ve been very candid about how attached Declan is to me.

It has been both incredible and difficult to navigate at times.
But he beginning to establish his independence from me and let other people hold him, play with him, etc.
I can even walk out of the room to pee now!

SO THAT’S HOW IT WORKS:

Declan is starting to understand that things are meant to be more than simply chew toys.
He’s started to put toys in buckets, understand different shapes, and even mimic the actions we do.
Example: He has seen Derek and I grab the doggie door cover and put it on several times.
Out of nowhere one day he walked over there, grabbed it, and tried to put it on himself.

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(Don’t mind me all weird in the background, lol)

It’s now one of his favorite things to do.

FAMILY PHOTOS:

We’ve been using the same photographer (Theresia Villanueva Photography) since our first pregnancy because we just love her so much.
Unfortunately for us, (but amazing for her!) her fiancé just got a pilot gig in Dubai so this was our last round of pictures with her before they leave.

Here are a few of my favorites.

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MISCHIEF AND MAYHEM:

If he knows he is not supposed to play with something he wants it that much more.
If he knows he’s not supposed to do something he will smile at me first, then do it anyway.
Yesterday he kept pulling my hair and when I finally batted his hand away he began to hit me.
Our solution is to basically put him in an infant time out (aka we just put him down and don’t hold him).
He hates it but I think it’s working.

BED HOG:

The bigger he gets the harder it is to share a bed with him.

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See what I mean?
We plan to start slowly transitioning him to his own space.
We will see how that goes.

Next month is sure to be an exciting one with his first Disney trip and first birthday!
I’d better start getting serious about party planning.

But let’s be honest, I’ve been planning this thing for months!

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Month Ten

I don’t typically post on the weekends but since Declan is 10 months old today I decided to make an exception!

As I type this he has gone back to sleep (after waking us up at 5 am) and is cuddled up in my arms making cooing sounds.
These moments are truly what life is all about.

WALK MAN:

We’ve officially got a walker on our hands!
He took his first steps a few days before he hit 9 months and within a week he was full blown walking.
Every week he practices a new skill within like walking in circles while clapping, quick turns, and my least favorite; running.
But more on that later.

CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DECLAN:

He’s started to really get into playing and initiating games.
His favorites include hiding and playing a mix of peek-a-boo/hide-n-seek and crawling under/in things like chairs, tables, etc. with the intent of making you get him out.
He also loves to be chased.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:

Declan loves to be the center of attention and to entertain the people around him.
Last week during a doctor visit he took it upon himself to be Patch Adams and put on a show for the entire waiting room.

I didn’t get it on video but he went up to every group and tried to perform for them, it was too cute.

GO HOME DECLAN, YOU’RE DRUNK:

I don’t know what it is about this kid but he refuses to stop moving even when his body is begging him to.
This results in him falling every few steps he takes.
But he gets back up and tries to run.
His exhausted body just can’t keep up with his mind though and so he looks like a drunk guy stumbling home from the bars.

I WANT IT AND I WANT IT NOW:

Full blown tantrums have begun.
Like, he puts his whole body into it.
Currently it’s trial and error for me, trying to find the best way to handle these outbursts.
Wow does he have a strong personality though and damn it sucks dealing with a flailing child in public because you won’t let them put your keys in their mouth.

Despite that I am loving life as a stay at home mom with my son.
I consider myself so blessed to have the opportunity to spend so much quality time with him.
Tonight is my first overnighter without him since he was born so wish me luck!

Hope everyone is having a beautiful weekend.

The Road To Napping

Declan has begun the dance.
The snake-in-a-woven-basket dance where he appears boneless as he wiggles his sleepy limbs around.
I try my best snake charming moves but somehow he defeats me.
So I decide to take him to the store, knowing that by the time we get back in the car for the drive home he will knock out.
My plan is successful and I delicately remove his car seat and begin to creep to the front door.
Suddenly, our neighbor pulls his car up next to me and rolls down his window.

I turn the car seat so he can see the baby sleeping and gesture frantically.

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He then shouts,

“He’s asleep, eh?!”

Annnd Declan wakes up.

“Oh look! He’s awake!”

Do you want to sit here and talk to me for ten minutes now?

Once the neighbor leaves I notice that Declan’s eyes are starting to droop closed again.

Yessssssssss.

Put the keys in the door, open slowly, and creeeeeeaaaaakkkk!

He moves but his eyes remain closed.
I’ve got to remember to get some WD40 for that damn thing.

Oh. Shit.
I forgot to put the dogs outside before I left.

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These two lugs come running into the living room screaming at the top of their lungs.
I try to quiet them.

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Try explain to them that the baby is sleepy and they need to calm down and silence themselves.
But in unison they both reply,

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By now Declan’s eyes are wide open and he’s watching the whole thing.
I’ve got to act quick so I pull him out of his car seat to cuddle him and kick the dogs outside.

His head nestles into my shoulder and he starts to doze off again as I rock him back and fourth.

But suddenly, there is a violent knock on the door.

He pops up and I swing the creaky door open in a rage.

The UPS driver is already back in his truck.
My package did not require a signature but he ding-dong ditched anyway.

At this point I know it’s going to take more than some swaying and a lullaby so I plop down on the couch and breastfeed.

After about 10 minutes of eating Declan is back to dreamland.
I prop up my feet, lean my head back, and close my eyes.
Maybe I’ll take one too, Lord knows I need it.

I feel my body relaxing more and more with each breath.
The weight of the day lifts off my eyes and I begin to drift.

American Psycho (2000)

We both jump from the terrifying noise.
I then realize that it’s not a masked murderer in my front yard with a chainsaw but rather the gardeners.

Declan looks me in the eyes and deviously smirks as he decides whether or not we will be going back to sleep.

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Just like that he’s declared that his 10 minute nap gave him the energy of one hundred men and daytime sleep becomes a dream of the past for me.

I cry a little on the inside, make myself an iced coffee, and pull it together.

 

Naps are overrated anyway.
We’ll try again tomorrow.

Month Nine

39 weeks ago to date I was exactly 39 weeks pregnant and in the process of pushing welcoming Declan into this world.

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39 weeks ago I didn’t know how to change a diaper, breastfeed, or live off of 4 hours of sleep every night.

Week by week, month by month, my son challenges me to be a better mother and person.

I am in such awe of his every move and I know this is just the beginning.

This month brought so many firsts.

STEP BY STEP:

Declan took his first steps!
We haven’t been able to get it on video but it is absolutely amazing to watch.
He’s only mastered three steps so far but that’s three more steps then he could take a month ago.

STANDING OVATION:

On a similar note, little man can pull himself up to a standing position without any help.

It took me weeks to get it on video but I finally did!

I LOVE YOU DADA:

He’s been saying “mama” and “dada” for a while now but this past month he has started to say them on cue.
While he does say mama when he’s sad or upset he says dada all other times.
On top of that, he’s started to move away from me at night and snuggle up next to Derek.
We spend all day together so I love seeing how special their bond is despite not being together as much.

TAKE ME OUT:

The weather has been really nice recently so we’ve been taking full advantage of it.

We have been going on family park dates during the week and have been trying to do at least one outdoor activity on the weekends.

We had Declan’s first beach experience the other week and it was awe inspiring.

If you’ve never looked at the world through a baby’s eyes I recommend stealing your friend’s kid for the day and trying it.

Everything has a new sense of excitement and life to it.

The ocean has never been more beautiful to me.

CUDDLE BUG:

As his personality develops he continues to become the sweetest guy.

He will pull you in for a hug.

Turn your face to snag a kiss.

And nestle his face into your chest.

He shares his food and loves to be involved.

It’s just the best feeling seeing how kind and loving his nature is.

I’LL SLEEP WHEN I’M DEAD:

Or I will die from not sleeping….

But seriously, we actually had a good system going until the whole trying to walk thing started.

Ever since, his sleep patterns have been all jacked up again.

I think it’s because he’s just so excited and wants to practice his skills 24/7 because he legitimately never stops moving.

Still, I’m hoping that we can get back into the groove with something soon because I’m one sleepy mama.

OUCH, CHARLIE BIT ME:

If you don’t know what the title is referring to then you live under a rock.

Declan keeps biting my shoulder and with seven teeth, it HURTS.

Sometimes he does it when his mouth hurts which I can understand but other times he does it just to do it.

When I tell him “No, ouch!” he either laughs like it’s a game or cries because I’m telling him no.

Oh the joys of a developing personality.

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It still blows me away that God put me in charge of this little person.

He is such a gift and it is a joy to watch him grow.

Can’t wait to see what happens this month!

Month Eight

Everybody can tell you how fast your child will grow before your eyes but there is still no way to prepare for it.
One day they are flapping around like an immobile penguin during tummy time and the next they’re jetting across the room on all fours.
At breakfast you see the outline of a tooth and by dinner it’s already cut through.
Don’t blink they say, you’ll miss it.
And boy are they right!

It’s worth noting that I had the most difficult time ever today trying to get him to pose for pictures.

Normally he’s a ham but all he wanted to do was crawl around today so it was a struggle to get any pictures of him standing still.

Zoom Zoom:
This past month Declan has perfected the art of crawling.
He no longer stumbles over himself and can easily (and quickly I might add) jam across the entire house.
Additionally, he loves being chased and has turned it into quite the game.

Finger Lickin’ Good:

Declan quickly decided that he prefers feeding himself to being fed.
One of the lactation consultants I saw recommended letting him eat things as they come rather than mashing and puréeing everything.
I was pretty nervous about him choking but he seems to have a really good understanding of the process.
So far he does bananas straight from the peel and apples that we start for him.

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Stand Up:
When he’s not crawling he is practicing standing.
He’s even gotten brave enough to let go and balances for a few seconds before ultimately falling.
It’s crazy to think that he’s in the beginning stages of walking already!

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Mad Skills:
Declan is a pretty fast learner and I’ve been having a lot of fun teaching him some new skills.
He can clap and high five now which are both adorable.
I’m hoping that waving catches on soon too and may try out baby sign language since he’s been picking up things so well.

Teeth, Teeth, And More Teeth:
Teething is just the worst.
I don’t remember it personally but I know how I get when I have a toothache so I feel for the guy.
Just in the last two weeks four more teeth have popped and Declan is in a lot of pain as they finish pushing all the way out.
Naturally as a result he has been fussier than usual and his sleep pattern is all out of whack.

Zoom Zoom, Crash:
That’s right, crawling made both lists.
With this skill comes a lot of falls and a lot of exploring.
And with exploring comes the realization that your home has several dangers you weren’t aware were actually dangerous.
Let’s just say we have a lot of baby proofing to do this weekend.

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To some my life may look boring but I have so much fun with Derek and Declan everyday and I wouldn’t trade my life for anything.
Our home is filled with laughter, dance parties, and early bedtimes and I absolutely love it.

Happy 8 months baby boy!

Month Seven

It was a long night in the Franklin home.
Derek had some sort of 24 bug that had him throwing up and going in and out of a cold sweat and Declan decided that he was just in a bad mood and was inconsolable.
I could definitely go for another cup of coffee to say the least.
Fortunately things have calmed down today and we will be off to my nephew’s 1st birthday party shortly.
But before we venture on I wanted to pop in to say happy 7 months to my baby love and to share what’s been going on in his world this past month.

Two Front Teeth:
Last month I shared that his first tooth cut and shortly after that his second bottom tooth followed.
He looks absolutely adorable with his two front teeth in, I just wish he didn’t feel the need to bite me all the time!

Babbler:
Declan has been a chatterbox for a long time now, but he has recently started to mimic us.
One of the ways we have been able to get him to smile for a few months now has been to look at him, stick our tongues out, and say “blah!”
And now he had started to say blah, as the video below will show you.

Adorable, right?
He’s also said mama and dada, but since we couldn’t get him to repeat them for us we know they don’t count.
Words are clearly on the horizon though!

Pass The Bananas:
We started solids at six months with Declan which has been so entertaining.
His first food was avocado which he is lukewarm about.
Next we did banana and it has become his favorite thing in the whole world.
He literally screams and tries to yank the spoon out of our hands when we feed them to him.
I recently tried pears and it seems he may have an allergy to them but I will have to attempt it one more time to see if that was the trigger or not.
I’ve been making my own foods which I also really enjoy.

Hey Girl:
My son is the biggest flirt!
He definitely knows a woman when he sees one and he promptly puts on his game face.
In NC we were at the register paying for something and I put Declan over my shoulder.
He screamed at me and flipped his body back over just so he could stare at the woman working there.
He can be in the middle of crying but if a girl walks by and makes eye contact with him he will immediately stop crying and bust out his dimples and a smile.
I’m going to have my hands full with this one.

I Want What I Want:
Of course I have a stubborn, strong willed child.
The apple definitely doesn’t fall far from the tree between Derek and I.
I’m sure both our mothers would call it payback.
Declan knows exactly what he wants and when he can’t get said thing he throws a fit.
This can be really challenging when, for example, we are in a restaurant and he’s reaching with his whole body for your iced tea.
Not only is he stubborn, he is strong and squirmy so it can be hard to keep him from grabbing things and then when we do succeed in stopping him, he screams and snarls.
It’s actually cute and funny sometimes but I doubt the people around us agree.

Spaghetti Noodle:
Again, he is very strong willed.
We have even calling him spaghetti noodle because when he gets sleepy his body starts to go limp and wiggle around like a pasta noodle.
Once he realizes that he is starting to give in to the sleepiness however, he pops back up and repeats the whole process.
This can last up to two hours before he finally falls asleep.
I’m sure you can imagine the struggle.

Long And Lean:
At Declan’s 6 month check up we found out that he had only gained about 3 oz. in the past month, putting him in the zero percentile for his age weight wise.
Naturally I freaked out but the doctor assured us that he looked really healthy and that he seemed fine and may just be a tall, skinny guy.
We had to do some blood work just in case and two of the tests came back just slightly under so we have to have his blood drawn again this upcoming week and check to see if he’s gained any weight.
They don’t seem worried so neither I am but prayers would be much appreciated!

As to be expected, this month was filled with new challenges but also new excitements.

My little boy is growing so quickly and it’s going to be a blast to see how different he is in just another month.

I’ll leave you with a shot of his pearly whites because I can :)

XOXO

Traveling With A Declan

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No, I didn’t abandon my blog, I’ve been on vacation!
We spent ten days in North Carolina visiting Derek’s family.
It was cold but as beautiful as ever and it even snowed a little.
Traveling with a baby for the first time was definitely an experience though.
Vacations take on a whole new meaning with a Declan along for the ride.
I would say “a baby” but my son doesn’t seem to fall into the category of a baby so he gets his own.
Surprisingly the flights weren’t bad.
I planned for him to be a monster and had earplugs with chocolate on hand for surrounding passengers but they ended up not needing them.
The two hour drive from Charlotte to Etowah, North Carolina however, was a different story.
Declan just hates the car seat with a fiery passion of a thousand suns.
I had to put my head near his and sing to him while rubbing his scalp for him to calm down even a little bit.
The trip itself was good overall.
His smile is infectious and people stop to chat him up anywhere we go.
And ten days at my in-laws gave Declan plenty of time to bond with his nanny and grampy.
But with new surroundings and spending a lot of time with everyone came a new, stronger sense of clinginess.
And naturally, he clung to me.
I love my son with every fiber of my being.
But not being able to get up and grab a water without him screaming began to take its toll on me.
Because he was so overstimulated he would also nurse all night long leaving me sleepless almost every night.
At one point I asked my mother and father in law to watch Declan while Derek and I went to the store.
The minute we got into the car Derek said,
“Go ahead and cry baby. Let it out. I know that’s why you wanted to go.”
I broke down.
Through my tears I confessed:
“I’ve been turning the fan on when I pee just so I can drown out the crying and breathe for one minute. How sad is that?!”
I felt so drained, so defeated in that moment and I wondered how I was going to make it through the rest of our trip.
Fortunately I have Derek.
He massaged my head, told me I’m a good mama, and then proceeded to make me laugh the way only he can.
And just like that I had strength again.
I think sometimes the best thing you can do for a parent is let them know that they’re doing a good job.
Because in the sea of salty crocodile tears, fighting to change dirty diapers, and banshee screams your confidence as a parent can easily get lost.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to read other blogs and see other babies so calm, so “normal.”
I have to remind myself that there is no such thing and that we truly are lucky that Declan is the way he is, even though it might not always feel that way.
Having a hyperactive infant is so challenging but it is also so rewarding.
He has such a strong personality that is so uniquely him and it is incredible to watch the way he processes and responds to everything.
But on the days where it’s rough I try to remember that this is temporary and that one day we will look back and laugh about these times.

And because I’m so excited that I was able to catch it on video, here is Declan giggling to lighten this blog post up :)

Hope everyone is having a good week!

Me Who?

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Before I became a stay at home mom I took a lot of things for granted.
I never considered drinking my coffee while it’s still hot, doing my hair in the morning, or peeing solo to be luxuries.

But these once seemingly mundane things are now special moments for me.
Still, I would hardly consider peeing by myself to be “me time” and I was recently reminded just how important taking time for yourself is.
For Christmas Derek got me a membership to Massage Envy so that I could start getting monthly massages.
I went to my first appointment last week and during my session my massage therapist asked me how I was feeling.
I told her I couldn’t remember the last time I felt that relaxed and her response really stuck with me.
Knowing I was a new mom she said:
“That’s not good. You need to remember to take time for yourself mama, even if it’s only an hour here and there. You are going to burn yourself out if you don’t.”
I spent the rest of the session thinking about what she had said.
And she was so right.
I easily spend 90% of my day tending to Declan and the other 10% I use to make dinner, do the dishes, laundry, etc.
Even my work outs have been put on hold these past few weeks due to Declan’s poor sleep habits.
It’s funny what a difference that hour away made.
I went to get a massage and came straight home but that me time made me feel like a new woman when I walked through the door.
After weeks of breakdowns from lack of sleep and a grumpy, extra needy baby I found myself smiling despite Declan crying.
I didn’t mind that he refused to let me put him down.
And I was happy to fulfill his needs because my needs were also met.
It’s really easy to get burnt out when you’re a parent in general.
It’s even easier when you’re with a high need baby literally 24/7.
I have realized that taking time for myself is not selfish and it does not make me a bad parent.
It is perfectly normal to want and need time away from your child.
And in order to be the best me I can be for my son and husband I need to remember to take care of myself too.
Yesterday Derek and I went to the Rose Bowl game and my parents babysat for us.
Normally I would be in a panic the entire time, worrying about this and that and feeling awful for leaving Declan.
But instead I enjoyed the time alone with my husband.
Sure I still checked in with my parents and ogled over the pictures they sent me.

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(Because seriously, how cute is he eating his banana?!)
But I wasn’t obsessing over being away from him.
I had fun.
I missed him, but I had a good time.
And I think if I can steal away for even just 10 minutes a day I will be a much better mama for it.
So in light of the new year, I resolve to remember to love and care for myself daily.
Tonight I took a long shower.
Now I’m snuggled up with my two men and I’m ready to face a night of nonstop breastfeeding.
Here’s to me time!