Can a Mama relate?! I have 3 boys! They are 10, 6, & 1. I love them so very much! But Oh My Wow! They can be so gross, hyper, loud, & just down right drive me crazy sometimes! But, I still love them so very much!! The two older ones aggravate each other like there is no tomorrow & tattle on each other over the slightest wrong look or sound of breathing. But, I still love them so very much! My 1 year old sometimes has fits, but we call him out on them & he stops. But, I still love him so very much! He is getting better each time. My 6 year old hits when he has had enough aggravation from his older brother then comes & tattles when he gets hit back. But, I still love him so very much! My 10 year has the mouth of a teenage girl & reminds me a lot of me when I was young. But, I still love him so very much!

I love my boys so very much despite all the chaos & grossness & loudness & hyperness. I love them so very much even though I NEVER have a minute to myself to just breathe! My days would be too quiet & too clean without them! I cherish each moment one of them hugs me & tells me they love me, just because! It melts my heart to watch them play together & get along. I love watching the way my 10 year is so protective of my 1 year old. My world would not be the same without these gross, hyper, loud, drive me crazy (sometimes) little boys! I love being a Boy Mom!! I thank my God everyday for them & for blessing me to be their Mom!!

I Still Breastfeed My 14 Month Old!

This is my 3rd, & probably last baby boy. My plan was to breastfeed until he was 6 months. We continued! My plan was to stop breastfeeding at 1 year. We, again, continued! So here we are, the day before he turns 14 months old. At first, I just thought he was not ready. But then, about 2 weeks ago, I realized I’m not ready either! This is the last time I will stop breastfeeding. I love our sweet bond! I love our precious time rocking him, while he nurses, laying on our nursing pillow & him looking up at me with those beautiful blue eyes! I’m going to miss these days, just as I have the other two times with my older boys! With 3 boys & a husband, not to mention school for my older boys, 1 more semester of college for me, soon will be soccer & baseball, plus work, it’s really the only relaxing time that I have. That is our precious time together & I cherish it. On the other hand, he has six teeth!! I’ve actually gotten used to the bites, but every now & then he catches me off guard! I had to work with him to get him to understand that biting the nipple that feeds you is NOT funny!! We mainly have it down to only breastfeeding at nap time on the weekends & at bed time. He still wakes up over night & it is so easy to just flop it out & lay in bed with him while he breastfeeds. He doesn’t wake up completely & I get a little more sleep as well. Someone told me to put anbisol on my nipples & that would break him. I have some, but I just cannot make myself do it. His pediatrician said that once he starts walking he would probably be less interested in my boobs. We are still working on the walking, but not quite there just yet. Maybe in another few months or when he starts walking we will come to an agreed upon end time. Until then…

The Way He Looks At Me

Have you ever had someone look at you in a way that makes you smile from your heart all the way out? I have a very special guy that looks at me that way!! He is so smart and so very handsome & he gives the absolute BEST hugs & kisses!! He is my 11 month old baby boy!! Everytime my husband holds him, he always has his eyes on me. No matter where I go, sometimes, my husband has to carry our baby boy around right behind me. He does not let me out of his sight very often. When I hold him, he turns toward me and just smiles! Sometimes when he is down playing, he wants me to pick him up just so he can give me hugs & kisses, then he will go back to playing. Oh, and he loves my hair, too! The way he looks at me melts my heart every time. I do not remember our other boys looking at me quite like this one does. They all have been “Mama’s boys” to an extent, but this one has been the biggest one. I love it! I also love the way that my older 2 boys still are not embarrassed to give me “Bye, bye sugars” no matter who is around to see; or at least they let me give them some. I know all of this sweetness won’t last forever, so for now, I am going to cherish every bit of it!! I love being a boy mom!! Loud, wild, & messy, but so very sweet!!

Co-Sleeping…Brother Edition

Our youngest son is almost 11 months old. Our middle son is almost 6 years old, and our oldest son is 10 years old. Our (2) “big boys” or “big bubbas”, as we often call them, slept in our Queen size bed with us, until the first night we were home with our baby boy #3. Our oldest slept at my feet and our middle boy slept in between my husband and me. This was tough and not very comfortable. Especially being 9 months pregnant and huge. But, for the most part, I was OK with our sleeping arrangement because I knew our boys were safe and sleeping nice and sound. The other side of me really needed them to sleep in their own room and in their own beds. I needed the room. We needed the room. They needed to learn to sleep on their own.

Over the years, I would go through periods where I would try to enforce the “sleeping in your own bed(s) tonight” rule. But I would get discouraged and give up so easily. I tried with my oldest for a few years, before our middle son was born, but I was never successful. Then, when we had our 2nd son, he slept in his cradle beside our bed, just like our oldest did, until he was too big for it and crawling into our bed overnight. Some of those nights, I was so tired I did not even remember putting him in our bed, so the only explanation was that he did crawl right out of his cradle, over me, and right into our bed. So, we were all (4) sleeping in our Queen size bed, lined up like sardines.

When our middle little was about 3, we tried their own bed thing again. Just to get them to sleep in their own beds was a chore. I tried several different ways. But at least 1 of them would always pull the “I’m thirsty”, “one more song”, “one more story” card, then laughing and talking before they would finally fall asleep. While I did enjoy this somewhat, just spending a few more minutes with them and just listening to them get along and laugh down the hall way, I really wanted, needed them just go to sleep and stay in there beds all night long. They were just a bit grumpy the next morning after one of these nights. Sometimes we had the nights where they would come to my room at least 5 times and I would have to walk 1, or both, of them back to their room. They were getting better at starting out and finally going to sleep in their room, but they still always ended up in our bed sometime overnight. Half of the time I would not even realize it until I woke up the next morning.

FINALLY, fast forward to our first night home with baby boy #3. We had our nightly routine of story, song, and prayer. I kiss them good night, and they slept all night long in their own room, in the same bed!! So, this is the new current situation. They do share a room, but they each have their own bed. I guess you could say that we compromised. They do go right to sleep now, and sleep through the night. I am so happy for this. But they still co-sleep. This does seem to help them, and they do actually get plenty of sleep now. I’m just going to let them continue their co-sleeping just a little longer. Our oldest will be a teenager soon. I am pretty sure he will not want to sleep with his little brother then. So, I’ll just wait.

1 Sometimes I do miss them being little and sleeping with us. But then I remember how many nights I was woken up by feet kicking me or a booty in my face. I do not miss those times at all. I guess I gotta let them grow up sometime. I have one more to hold on to a little tighter at bed time. But I know that will not last forever either.

Our Nightly Routine

Every night, well most nights, after a long day of work, school, and the baby sitter’s house. After we come home and eat supper, do homework, bathe, and brush our teeth. It is finally OUR time!! The big boys share a room and the baby is still in mine & my husband’s room, for now. We all go in to the big boys room. The big boys lay in bed and get all snuggled in. I sit on the edge of the bed with the baby in my lap. We read a bed time story. We have a whole set of stories from the Bible for kids. A coworker gave these to me about a year ago. They are over 50 years old and they are still in perfect condition. I let the big boys take turns choosing a story each night. They either choose to read from the Bible stories or one of our Dr. Seuss books. Then I sing them a song. Ever since my oldest, who is now 10, was a baby, at every nap and every night before bed, I have sang him a song by Plumb called In My Arms. That song is just beautiful! Maybe not when I sing it, but it is to my boys!! This is OUR song. After the story and song, the boys take turns each night saying our prayer. Listening to my boys pray is so heart-warming! I love it!! I take a turn on the nights that they are a little extra sleepy. We pray for each other, for others, for our big extended family, and for other families. If we know of a particular someone who needs a little extra special prayer, we pray for them too. Our prayers are not perfect, but we know God hears them!!

Unfortunately, we do not get to do this every single night because I do work a full time job and am currently finishing up my Bachelor’s Degree. But, we are able to, most weeks, 4 days of the week on average. We start about 30 to 45 minutes before they should be going to sleep, which is usually 8:15 on normal nights or 8:45 on chaotic night when we got home late or I have an assignment due. We LOVE our time together. They really miss it when we have to cut our bedtime routine short. When we do, we usually skip the story, but still have the song and prayer. I know reading is important, but we read as part of studying as well. They will not want me to do this with them for long. So I am going to enjoy every minute of it while it lasts!! Our week day evenings are very hectic at times, so I really miss our bedtime routine when we aren’t able to keep it too!!

Our bed time routine has not always been so calm either. Before the baby came, we would start our bedtime routine, but the boys were still wound up and did not want to go to bed. They did not want to listen to the story at all and we did not pray. Somehow, they always ended up in our Queen sized bed by morning. The oldest at my feet and the, now middle boy, in between me and my husband. Some nights they came one at a time and sometimes they came together. A Mama can only be woke up so many times before saying “just get in bed”. It was no fun being big and pregnant with feet up your booty and a child on your back while sleeping as close to the edge as possible without actually falling out. I loved the closeness, but at the same time I longed to be able to sleep in my bed and not on the edge with feet up my booty!

To our amazement the first night home with our youngest, I put the big boys to bed in their room and they slept through the night, in their bed! I was so happy! For the next 5 weeks, our bed times were a little wild. It was summer and I was still out on maternity leave. The week before I started back to work, we started our new bedtime routine. Story, song, and prayer! The big boys were still, they listened, and stayed in their bed all night long. Eight months later, we do still have the occasional night that 1 or both big boys end up in our bed. But not often or frequent. It actually took me some time to figure out a bedtime routine and night-night time that worked best for our family. If it’s too early, they were still wide awake and wound up. If it’s too late, they were restless and grouchy. If they had screen time too close to bed time, they wanted to tell me everything they did in the game they played. So many variables!!! But we eventually found what worked for us.

“Night-night, sweet dreams, I love you!”

Do you have a nightly or bedtime routine with your kids?

Do I Really Need That Nursing Bra? Regular Bra vs. Nursing Bra (Wire vs. Wire Free)

Sometime during each of my (3) pregnancies, there always came that time when my boobs would grow to the next cup size, or two, and I would have to make the decision on what kind of new bra to buy. All these questions were constantly running through my mind. I tend to over analyze almost everything. Do I buy a regular, since I really do not need the nursing one yet? Do I go ahead and buy the nursing bra, because I will need it in a few more months. Do I really even need the nursing bra at all? Can’t I just breastfeed with a regular bra? If I do buy a nursing bra I should probably get the one with wires because the wire free nursing bra probably won’t be able to hold up my heavy boobs. Or can it? What do I do??!! Well, after my 3rd son and breastfeeding all of them for different lengths of time, I finally decided which bra worked the best for me.

With my 1st son, I was blessed to be able to stay home with him for his first 2 years of life. I breastfed him for 6 months. I made my regular bra work. With only one income, money was a little tight, so I did not make the effort to budget in a nursing bra. It was just easier to deal with what I had. We stayed home most of the time, except for the weekly errands run. So it was easy just to lift my shirt and bra and feed away. I did not even buy any nursing tops. I was new to the whole breastfeeding thing and I never really thought about how uncomfortable and hard I was making it on myself by not investing in a nursing bra or nursing tops. Looking back, I wish I would have. It was very uncomfortable to raise my shirt and have all my belly hanging out and even more so to pull my regular bra, with a wire, over my boob. Even at home!!

With my 2nd son, I had to return to work when my baby was only 6 weeks old. Thankfully, my Mom was able to keep him for until he was 7 months old. Then he was kept by an older lady that my husband and his family had known for years from church. I only breastfed him until he was 4 months old. Since I had to pump at work and because I learned from my first go around, I did invest in a nursing bra. But, I was still too stubborn to invest in any nursing tops. I just wore a tank top under all of my regular tops. Our dress code was very relaxed, like T-shirts and jeans. With the nursing bra alone, I was much more comfortable when nursing and pumping.

By the time my 3rd son came along, I decided that I was going to definitely invest in a nursing bra and nursing tops. I had a different job, so I had a dressier dress code. I did have to return to work when baby was 6 weeks old. This time, thankfully, my sister is able to keep him. He is almost 10 months old and I still breastfeed him. I only pumped at work until he was 6 months old. I send formula and baby food to my sister’s for him and I breastfeed when we are together. I even invested in a hands free bra so I could double pump at work with ease. Great investments!!

Regular bra’s do not have the give and flexibility that you need when breastfeeding and or pumping. While they may save some money, you may sacrifice comfort and enjoyment of breastfeeding baby. Nursing bras are a great investment. Even if you only use them for a short time, they are so worth it. I have used a nursing bra with a wire and without. I loved the nursing bra with the wire, until the wires broke in several different places. They provide the support that my milk filled boobs need, but after so many times of flap down and flap up, somehow caused the wires to break. I’m still not for sure how this happens. Just to make it last a little longer, I pulled the broken under-wires out and it still supported nicely and still worked great. Then, the plastic clip broke, so the flap on that boob could not stay clipped closed. So I used safety pins to hold that side up. After 2 days of this, I finally broke down and invested in another nursing bra. This time one without a wire. I’m going to be honest. I do not love it. It does not support very well, and I am constantly pulling my boobs up in the front and pulling my back strap down. There is a reason big boobs need wires. Even more so, when they are filled with milk!

So my conclusion is that nursing bras, with a wire, are the absolute way to go!! Just make sure that you invest in at least 3. This is a good rule of thumb with any bra, actually. One to wear, one to wash, and one to rest. Even if you do not plan to breastfeed very long, they are worth the investment. You can sell them once you’re done, if they are still in good shape.

What about you? What is your bra story and which do you prefer?

What’s in Your Pump Bag?

I breastfed all 3 of my boys, but I only pumped with my last 2. I was very blessed to be able to stay home with my first baby for 2 years, before returning to work. With my last 2, I returned to work after my 6 week maternity leave. During the next few months for each of my babies, I pumped at work twice a day. This go around, I seemed to have it all together! I purchased a great pump bag that was roomy enough to fit everything I needed plus some! Ladies, let me tell ya, it really is all about the bag when it comes to pumping!! I purchased the Medela Pump In Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump with Tote. Which I absolutely loved!! The double pump saved so much time! But that tote was not quite roomy enough for me and what I needed to carry. I did not want to have to carry a purse and a pump bag to work every day. So I found and purchased the Terra – Jay Elle by J.L. Childress Breast Pump Bag 6-Piece Set. I fell in love with that bag from the moment I opened the package it came in!! I was so excited, I switched bags right away and filled each pocket with everything I needed to carry as a pump bag and purse. The front has a small zipper pocket, just big enough for me to put my credit/membership card book in, as well as my car keys. The back has a long zipper pocket for me to carry my tablet and planner, wallet and checkbook. One side unzips to easy access my double pump motor. Inside the bag is a divider in the center where, on one side, the side with the easy access side zipper for my double pump motor is, and the other side is where I put both of my nursing covers, one is an apron like cover and the other is an infinity nursing cover that can also be used as a scarf, high chair/shopping cart cover, and/or blanket. I also kept a mesh bag that contained a package of extra membranes, extra boob pads, and my baggy with my tubing. On this side, I also kept my double pumping/hands free bra and breast milk collection bottles, I usually carried (2) to (4), and my wet bag. Also on the inside, is a medium sized zipper pocket where I kept breast milk storage bags, a pen pocket where I kept my Sharpie, a small little clear pocket, where I suppose you could slide in a name card, and 2 nice sized pockets. In one of those pockets, I kept Medela wipes. In the other pocket I kept a battery pack, a car adapter, and a wall plug in so no matter where I was I had a power source for my pump. I also kept extra batteries in that pocket as well. My pump bag also came with a 4 way divided cooler bag, a mesh bag, and a wet bag. It also came with a dry cloth and a jay elle C.O.D.E. Handbook.  I kept my breast shields/connectors in the wet bag. I love being organized and this bag made pumping just that!

What’s in your bag?