Happy Birthday, Simon

One year ago, after a quick Thanksgiving lunch at auntie’s, we checked into the hospital. Later that night, we welcomed our sweet Simon Earl into our world. 

Just like when Lyla turned one, I am blown away by how fast a year can pass. How quickly they transform from this…

Simon Earl Byrd

…to this…

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Our little “bubs” has rounded out our family in the most perfect way. His sweet disposition almost immediately put to rest all of the fears and anxiety that I had about adding another baby to the mix. 

From the get-go he showed us that the old saying “boys are wired different than girls” is SO true. I am constantly amazed at how different the two of them are from the way that they play with their toys to their physical and mental development. 

Mister Simon is an explorer. He is so curious about his world and spends lots of time everyday examining his surroundings. 

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He loves us all but Daddy is a clear favorite. 

Simon can give kisses and high fives. He also says “hot”

He scoots around and gets where he needs to be. Just before we put him to bed last night decided to stand up and play with a toy unassisted. 

He has the cheesiest, most contagious smile. 

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Simon loves to play with his sister. Until she takes a toy from him (which is almost always, we’re working on it). He fights back by pulling her hair. 

He is a champion sleeper at night. Naps are a different story. 

Our boy scoots toy trains and cars around the house making the cutest little motor noise you’ll ever hear. And he loves groovin’ to music. Doesn’t matter which kind. 

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He is a nature boy. Has loved looking at trees since our trip to Michigan this summer and still points them out on walks and hikes. 

He is also a sports guy. Give him a ball, throw the King’s game on TV and he is good to go. 

Simon is so easy going and is a great sport about being tagged along on Lyla’s playdates and such. 

simon-smash-cake

My sweet boy, 

I am so thankful that God put you in our lives. You have already brought so much happiness to the world in this short year. Being at your side while you learn and grow is an amazing gift. I love you “bubs”. Happy first birthday!

 

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Preparing For Date Night After Baby

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FormulaForHappiness #GerberTarget #CollectiveBias

We are nine months into this whole “two kids” thing and Alex and I are totally due for a date night. I think that dating your spouse is so important, especially after having kids, but it’s hard. There are a lot of moving parts to figure out. The three biggest obstacles I find are time, sitters and letting go.

TIME || As your family grows, the amount of time that you have to spend with your spouse shrinks. It takes some serious effort to carve out a few hours amid the never-ending cycle of mealtimes, chores, laundry mountains (yes, mountains – piles are a thing of the past) and bedtime routines.

LAST DATE NIGHT

^ us on our last date night before Auntie left for the mainland

SITTERS || Once you finally find the time, you have to find a sitter. While we don’t live near any immediate family, we are lucky enough to live on the same island as my auntie and uncle. They are so great, and the kids love spending time with them. My auntie has been on the mainland since late April so we have been sitter-less so far this summer and it has really made me realize how hard it is to find someone to watch your babies – you can’t leave them with just anyone!

LETTING GO || Found time and a sitter? Awesome. The rest is easy, right? WRONG. Leaving your baby for the first (OK, and the second. And maybe the third…always?!) time is hard on a mama’s heart and takes some major mental preparation. No matter how badly I need the break, or how much I am looking forward to alone time with Alex, I still have a hard time leaving our babies.

One of my biggest worries is feeding Simon. He has started on solid food (boy loves to eat) but still gets a majority of his daily calories from breastfeeding. I have a hate-hate relationship with the breast pump so I really haven’t used it this time around. No pump = no frozen supply = no breastmilk bottles for Simon.

We’ve started using Gerber® Good Start® Stage 1 Gentle for Supplementing Infant Formula for those times when Simon needs to take a bottle. The formula is designed to supplement breastmilk which makes it easy on his tummy. It is made for tiny tummies (birth to 12 months). It’s made with no GMOs which also puts my mind at ease. Gerber has made this change across all of their formulas, and now  offer non-GMO products to moms with a wide variety of needs—those who want the base product, those who supplement with breast milk, those with babies who need a soy formula, those who have babies with tolerance issues, etc. We send a bottle with him when he goes to the nursery at church and he has no troubles with it.

Knowing that he is happy supplementing with a bottle from time to time is a huge relief for me and makes the idea of leaving him with a sitter a lot easier.

Once you’ve jumped the hurdles of finding time, arranging a sitter and figuring out how to let go of some of the control, all that’s left is to enjoy your date. OK, and maybe kiss your babies cheeks a few hundred times before walking out the door. Am I the only one that does this?!

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Gerber Good Start Target

Gerber sent us samples but I also stocked up at Target. You can find Gerber® Good Start® formulas in the baby section at Target. Here is a great Cartwheel offer good from 9/4- 9/17. 

When did you go on your first date after baby? What is your favorite date night activity? I’d love to hear your ideas!

 

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Don’t Be Afraid, Mama

A photo by Pineapples. unsplash.com/photos/Q7PclNhVRI0

Too often I hear other moms tell me that they are afraid to take their kids out on their own. Whether it be on a trip to the grocery store or a day at the beach they will wait until they can go with a friend/spouse/on their own. 

To an extent, I get it. I really do.

Toddlers are overwhelming. Wiggly babies who don’t want to sit in the cart while you shop are frustrating. Simple errands take double, maybe even triple the time that they used to.

It’s hard. 

But mama, don’t be afraid…

…of being outnumbered || Before having Simon I wondered how I would ever go out in public with two babies. Two of them > one of me. I’m not very good at math but I know I at least got that down. I quickly learned that it is very unrealistic for me to wait until Alex is home to do things like grocery shopping while still being able to prepare meals and enjoy time together as a family so, I just dove right in. Sometimes, we double stroller. Sometimes, Lyla walks and Simon is in the Ergo. Sometimes, I’ve got a crying baby pulling my hair on one hip and a limb-flailing toddler on the other…you know, whatever works. 

…of your kids crying || Kids cry. This isn’t news to anyone. They cry in their carseats. They cry in the stroller. They cry because their shoes aren’t sparkly enough. They cry because they hear other kids crying. You get the picture. As long as you’ve made sure they are fed, changed and not in any sort of pain just try to drown it out. Easier said than done, I know, but sometimes you’ve just gotta let the choir sing! 

…of tantrums in the store || Gosh, these can be embarrassing. You will probably get some looks, maybe even a comment or two, but hey – tantrums happen! It’s part of the game. This is your chance to teach your kids what sort of behavior is acceptable in public and what is not. Are they going to listen the first time? Probably not (unless you are really effective, and in that case, sign me up for the first copy of your parenting book!). Will your child throw another tantrum the next time you don’t let them open three bags of Goldfish before you even leave the snack aisle? Probably. Just take a deep breath, stick to your guns and roll with it. 

…of being tired || It took me two and a half years but I have finally resigned to the the fact that I will never feel rested again. Between the kids and the house and the dog and the husband (kidding, babe) there are simply not enough hours in the day. It’s easy to brush off invites to fun outings or playdates when you are feeling “tired” but don’t let that be a reason for missing out on life anymore! Yes, you are tired. So is every other mama, so pour yourself a mug of coffee and get out there. At least you will be in good company 😉

…of being unprepared || One of the hardest things for me about having two kids is how disorganized I feel ALL THE TIME. On a recent outing, Simon had a huge blowout. No big deal, right? Right. Until I realized that I didn’t have any diapers OR wipes in my backpack. I was carrying around this big backpack, that I swore I had packed full of essentials (and backups…and backups for the backups) that morning, for no reason because it was empty. So, I took Simon into the ladies room, wet some paper towels to wipe up the mess and then made a makeshift diaper with a bunch of wadded up toilet paper. Definitely not my proudest moment as a mother but it did get the job done and did not interrupt our family fun time. 

…to ask for help || I am not superwoman. You are not superwoman (I don’t think so, anyway). Sometimes you are going to need help. In those moments, you are going to be cursing under your breath wondering why you ever tried to get out in the first place. You are going to vow to never do it again. But, in these times don’t be afraid to ask for help. Wherever you are, chances are that a lot of the people around you are parents too. They get it. They want to help. Don’t be shy. 

Don’t let the fear hold you back.

Get out there. Enjoy life. Embrace your gifts.

Laugh off the crazy. 

This season of life is going fast. Too fast. Before you know it, we will be meandering through the aisles at Target alone and wishing we had some little crazy people in our carts (OK, maybe not – solo Target does sound pretty fab 😉 )

Make memories. Take photos.

Smile, laugh, and dance with your kids.

Thank your spouse for these beautiful gifts. For this precious time. 

Lean on your friends when you need some help. We all do. 

Don’t be afraid, mama. You’ve got this. 

 

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Strawberry Fields Forever

On our recent trip to Michigan, we spent one morning at a local farm picking strawberries with my grandma. Lyla wore a pair of my old overalls and picked berries like a pro. The sun stayed behind the clouds, leaving us nice and comfortable. We joked, we worked, we tasted sweet berries (shhhh, don’t tell). It really was a special morning and I found myself holding back tears numerous times. My grandma must have felt it too because she kept telling me to make sure I grabbed some photos, so I did. I’ll let them do the rest of the talking…

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Transitioning from 1 child to 2

In the weeks leading up to Simon’s birth I spent a lot of time (ah, time – I still had some back then) thinking about how life would be with two little children. Looking back, I wish I would have spent less time worrying and more time singing to my belly…or catching up on laundry…or doing absolutely nothing…so I wrote a little letter to one-child Natasha to ease her worries 😉

Lyla and Simon

Hey past-self! 

I know you are afraid that you can’t love another little body as much as you love Lyla, but I promise, you can. I know, I know every mom says it…but that’s because it’s true. The second that Simon Earl is born, you are going to feel your heart double in size. 

Speaking of him being born, I know that you are not looking forward to doing the whole labor and delivery thing again. Sure, your first experience was a little crazy, but this time will be much less eventful. Yes, it’s going to hurt – bad – but the pain is temporary and the reward so worth it. I know that you are debating whether or not you are going to get an epidural this time. Spoilers: you don’t. And it’s fine. So stop fretting about it and just trust the process. You have an awesome doctor and an incredibly encouraging husband.  The first words out of your mouth will be “He’s perfect. I’ll do it again” and when it’s all said and done you will weirdly look forward to doing just that.

Newborns sleep a lot. So much so that for the first two months you almost think that the whole “two under two” thing is overrated. Enjoy this time. Don’t get cocky. Spend Simon’s sleepy time snuggling your first born and when she’s sleeping too? Catch up on Hart Of Dixie while you still can. 

Once Simon is out of the “sleep all the time” phase, things get a little harder but it’s nothing that you can’t manage. I know you are wondering how you will ever manage taking two kids anywhere by yourself but you do it. Everyday. It’s really a non-issue. Simon is kind of just forced to go with the flow and you are all happier because of it.  

Sleep deprivation isn’t nearly as devastating the second time around. Thank goodness, right? Simon is going to spoil you with sleeping six hour stretches at night for the first couple of months but don’t get too comfortable. He will start waking every 2-3 hours wanting to nurse, and still will be at six months with no end in sight, but you will manage.

In the beginning, you are late to everything. No matter how prepared you think you are, you will always forget something. It’s going to make you feel crazy and scatterbrained. It’s going to irritate you more than you would like to admit. Eventually, you get it together – you even make it to Simon’s six month well-visit 20 minutes early! 

Right now, you can’t imagine how sweet it is watching your babies interact with each other, and I can’t try to explain it to you either. It’s simply the best. 

Speaking of being the best – that newborn smell? MAN you didn’t realize just how good it was when you had Lyla. As soon as you have your baby boy in your hands you won’t be able to get enough. For the first couple of weeks (ok, months) you will stay up at night after nursing him and just hold smell him. For hours. No shame. I’m actually pretty envious of you right now. Take a sniff for me, k?

I hate to be the one to tell you this, but breastfeeding hurts just as bad the second time around. Bummer, yea? But you will stick with it and Simon will thrive. He’s a big, healthy boy. 

The hardest part about transitioning from 1 child to 2? Missing your husband. Alex is an amazing dad (duh, you already know that) and is so great about sharing the parenting load. Having just Lyla, you still have a lot of time to spend together. Meals, diaper changes, bath, bed time – it’s always two against one, you have so much time to spend together as a family. Once Simon enters the picture, a lot of “divide and conquer” happens. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard. You miss him. A lot. But it gets better, I promise. 

There are so many unknowns right around the corner. So many emotions to feel. In the next few months you will experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. You are going to fall more in love with your husband. You are going to grow in your faith. You are going to gain a deeper respect for your own parents. You are going to be encouraged and you are going to be let down. You are going to have days when you feel like Mary Poppins and days where you feel totally unprepared to be a mother. 

I know that you are scared now, but try really hard not to be, k? Becoming a mother of two is going to be the best thing that has happened to you since becoming a mom for the first time! You are going to learn and grow SO much. Your life is going to be richer than you can imagine. 

Rub that belly for me (I miss it already), soak up your Alex and Lyla time and make sure you pack your hospital bag when you go to Auntie’s for Thanksgiving – you have an 8lb 2oz turkey on the way! 

Love, 

Older, wiser you

 

 

 

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