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As I mentioned last week, I’m closing in on D-Day with just about three weeks till I give birth to my third child and the anxiety about going through labor again is kicking in. If you weren’t completely traumatized by my last post about the top 10 things nobody warned you about labor, then read on. If not, hopefully it’s not to late to consider surrogacy.

The closer I get, the more my memory comes back in healthy anxiety-producing flashbacks, but I know the crazy body changes don’t stop once the baby is out. If you’re a first time mom you may want to turn back now, but I always aim to prepare with the truth and dose it with just enough humor so that you don’t go running for the hills. So here are the top 5 hilarious and weird changes your body goes through after your baby is born.

1. Am I Bleeding To Death? – The nurses warned me about the size of the blood clots I would see when I went to the bathroom, but that still didn’t prepare me for that one massive clot that had me frantically pushing the call button, sure I was bleeding to death. I can’t speak to the C-section mamas because I never had one, but massive clots and heavy bleeding are pretty standard after giving birth. Invest in the most ginormous pads you can find, and granny panties you don’t mind throwing away if they get super gross. I snagged a few extra pairs of those mesh disposable undies from the hospital. Dermoplast spray and Tuck’s pads (witch hazel) are tremendously comforting, especially if you’ve had stitches. They also give you a squeeze bottle for warm water rinses which also helps. Be prepared for your bathroom routine to take twice as long as usual between all these different steps.

2. Sweat Much? – I don’t consider myself someone who sweats a lot, even while exercising so I was shocked to wake up days after giving birth with damp and matted hair, completely covered in sweat. Nobody ever warned me that this is how your body gets rid of a lot of the excess fluid it takes on during pregnancy. Wear some loose clothing and be prepared to change the sheets. It’s not a matter of being too hot so you just have to go along for the ride on this one.

 

3. Well HEEELLLOOO Dolly – I know some women would be thrilled to wake up one day with their boobs double their normal size. However, nobody quite prepares you to suddenly find yourself as busty as Dolly Parton. On about the third post-pardom day (it could be the second or fourth) your milk will come in and when it does holly crap does it come in. Your breasts will feel huge, hot, and hard as rocks. It’s not the most pleasant feeling as you can imagine, so invest in some ice packs to stuff into your bra and heavy duty nursing pads. Some women swear by putting cabbage leaves in their bras, but I just don’t know if I can get past the idea of cooking cabbage in my bra. I hate the smell of it cooking in my house let alone having it on me. But hey whatever works.

If you’re breastfeeding keep feeding your baby, but don’t worry if they stop frequently and cough or choke a little. Unlike the manufactured nipples you buy for bottles, yours only come in one flow and it’s your baby that adjusts by slowing down while eating and yes, spitting or choking a little. Don’t worry, you aren’t drowning them. The day your milk comes in you will have way more supply then your baby could possibly eat so don’t force them to drink more than they can handle. Instead pump just enough to take the edge off. But be warned, pump too thoroughly and your body will just produce more, prolonging engorgement. It’s a perfect supply and demand system. Instead try ice packs and a couple of IB profin and know that the worst of it will be over by tomorrow.

4. Cry It Out – Your baby isn’t the only one who’ll be crying when you bring him or her home. Your body is going through the process of dealing with a tremendous flood of hormones after giving birth. You may cry or feel sad for seemingly no reason. With my first child I remember having a conversation with my grandmother the day I brought her home. She asked me if I was going back to work and when I said yes she said, “Why? You wanted that baby so much.” Now I love and miss my grandmother dearly and in her defense she had no idea that I had a miscarriage before getting pregnant with my daughter and how desperate I was to get pregnant again as soon as the doctor gave us the green light.

But it was the spark that started a two week long cry fest. I would hold her in my arms and look at her little face and wonder how I could possibly hand her over to strangers at a daycare in a few short months. Because of my grandmother I hatched my job-share plan so I could work part-time and my mother could watch her. It’s an arrangement that worked brilliantly for four years before my company entered into a merger. I am so grateful to my grandmother, whose well-meaning but painful question gave me the courage and creativity to create the work/life balance I wanted and of course to my boss and family who supported me.

I can’t speak to Postpartum Depression, except to say that mood swings, sadness, and crying are normal right after birth but if you keep experiencing symptoms long after the baby arrives you should seek the advice of your doctor. It’s a real thing and there is help for it, so don’t be afraid to ask.

 

5. Incontinent? That Depends – Ok so I’m entitled to the occasional corny joke. I really didn’t expect this symptom after I had my first child. I think it’s because I pushed for an hour to bring her into the world, that I temporarily lost some feeling and I had no idea I had to pee until I was practically peeing my pants. It was all I could do to find a safe place to put my daughter down and run to the bathroom. The doctor assured me it was perfectly normal, but I guess this is another reason those ginormous pads come in handy and the granny panties you don’t mind tossing in the trash if need be.

And you thought it only took blood, sweat and tears to bring your baby into the world. Well, you still experience them after delivery as well. Whoever said pregnancy was a beautiful thing was never a pregnant woman. Sure the miracle of growing a baby inside you is pretty awesome, but all the weird changes that happen to your body can be pretty weird, gross, and scary. I always tell people you don’t forget how hard pregnancy and childbirth are, but you look at your child and think, “What wouldn’t I have gone through for you?” It’s a good mantra to repeat when they hit about age three and you want to tear your hair out, but that’s for another day and another post.

What was the most surprising thing your body went through after having a baby?

 

School’s out forever!… or just the next two months which might feel like forever if you have some bored kids hanging around the house. My daughter has been on vacation from preschool for two weeks and the boredom has already begun. But, I’m not worried for two reasons: I think it’s good for her to be bored once in a while. She always manages to find some way to entertain herself eventually making her all that more resourceful, and the Hudson Valley has a lot to offer this summer, many of them free.

If you’re looking for something fun and free to add to that summer bucket list, here are a few that are on ours:

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1. Sycamore Farms has officially begun their summer program: Sycamore Saplings. Every Thursday at 10:30, kids will explore a farm topic and complete a craft. The program is free but it’s almost impossible to leave without purchasing their fresh produce!  They just ask that you RSVP on their Facebook page so they know how many children to plan for.

2. Your local library is always a great form of free entertainment. My oldest daughter will be attending kindergarten in the fall, so I signed her up for our library’s summer program for upcoming kindergarteners which will be held in the elementary school library. My girl is shy and nervous about kindergarten, so I’m hoping this class will forge a few friendships and familiarize her with the school building a bit.

3. Storm King is an adventure for the young and old alike: open fields to traverse over, sculptures to take in (we like to let the girls identify each piece of art-their explanations are pretty funny), and nature to explore. The best part? The last Thursday of July and August will be free.

4. Every Sunday night, the West Point Band will perform under the stars. Enjoy the music while overlooking the Hudson. Some nights there will be fireworks, another a petting zoo. Bring a picnic and a blanket for a night of free entertainment courtesy of the West Point Band.

5. Head over to the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum and hop on the Story Walk. Nature, exploration, and a story, not free but only $3 per person. On Thursdays, join the Nature Strollers on a guide led stroller friendly hike. $5 per parent/child pair.

 

Check back next week for another 5 free activities in the Hudson Valley.  Have a great weekend!

I really love the 4th of July! Next to Christmas, it is one of my favorite holidays.  I know Christmas is pretty awesome, but I really feel like the 4th is a spectacular holiday without all the pressure and stress of finding the right gift. And there are no hard and fast rules on how to celebrate. For me it has always been the perfect kickoff to summer.  Whether we are at the beach, in our hometown or traveling home to see family the formula for the day is the same. Eat, laugh and watch fireworks. It doesn’t get any simpler than that!

Here is a fun little recap of how the girls and I are preparing for our holiday of red, white and blue!

We made a sparkly art project using cookie cutters, paint, glitter, glue and construction paper. All items I already have at home. Ok, I had to go out and buy the construction paper because I was out. So really I spent a whole buck on this project!

Final Product

Final Product

JULY 4TH ART

  • Red, white and blue construction paper
  • Washable paints (we chose red, white, blue and yellow)
  • Star-shaped cookie cutters
  • Glue
  • Any color glitter
  • Paper plates
  • Plastic forks

Squeeze some paint onto paper plate and allow kids to dip the cookie cutters in. Then help them stamp onto construction paper. We used red, white and blue for the stars. For fireworks we dipped a plastic fork into yellow paint and stamped on the page, and we used glue and glitter.  Nice effect either way!

Angle fork prints to make fire works effect

Angle fork prints to make fire works effect

Glitter makes everything better

Glitter makes everything better

These are so cute! I think these will make really fun cards for some of our friends!

 

Hand prints are a cute stand in for the stars on our flag craft

Hand prints are a cute stand in for the stars on our flag craft

“STARS” AND STRIPES

  • 2 pieces of white construction paper
  • 1 piece of red construction paper
  • Blue paint
  • Paint brush
  • Glue
  • Marker
  • Scissors

Start by painting your child’s hand and placing print in upper left hand section of the white paper.  (Be sure to give them an extra piece of paper to continue stamping hand prints). Next, place stripes on page and have child help you glue one at a time. The top most stripes will be longer than the page as it borders the hand print. You can cut off the excess before or after you glue it. Tip: Before you bring the kids to the table for this craft have all the red stripes already cut. This saves wiggly kids from having to wait. Also, have plenty of baby wipes, or paper towels on hand! Makes 2 flag crafts.

 

No summer holiday is complete without icy cold treats! Anyone else remember eating bomb pops as a kid; those red, white and blue striped frozen treats on a stick? We made ours with berry purees and coconut milk.

Layer berry puree with coconut milk, almond milk or vanilla yogurt for a holiday look.

Layer berry puree with coconut milk, almond milk or vanilla yogurt for a holiday look.

BERRY “BOMB POPS”

  • Frozen ice pop tray
  • 1 cup of strawberries, washed and hulled
  • ¼ cup of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of blueberries, washed
  • 3 TBS grape juice

Puree strawberries and pour small amount into molds. Freeze. This is your first layer.

Pour small amount of coconut milk into each section, but do not fill. Place in freezer. You want the milk to be firm, but not frozen. This is your second layer.

Last, puree blueberries with grape juice for a more intense blue color (really a dark purple). Fill remaining space in your pop mold and place the sticks inside. This is your final layer. Place in freezer and allow to freeze until solid. Tip: Use a funnel to get perfect fill lines and for less mess!

All we have left to do is put out the flag and fire up the grill! Ok, maybe a few more frozen treats and one more cute craft.

 

What are some of your July 4th/Summer faves?

This week was the last day of baseball for Beautiful People. They have an adaptive sports program for people with special needs. Every week the athletes try their hardest to play the best game they can. They have fun, joke around, and really excel at making Sunday the best day of the week.  I know we had a great time this year. We made some new friends. Sara got great exercise and fresh air. I am looking forward to more events we can participate in with Beautiful people over the summer, but for now we say goodbye to the 2014 season. I asked Sara to help me write this story. I asked her what did she likes about Beautiful People?  She quickly came up with a dozen things she likes about this season:

  1. Seeing her friends every week.
  2. She love the coaches, and all the volunteers
  3. Learning new baseball skills.
  4. Always has a good time.
  5. Likes getting a trophy at the end.
  6. Likes seeing  her friend Rebecca .
  7. She likes to invite friends to watch.
  8. Sara loves the Beautiful People buddies.
  9. We have a lovely field.
  10. There is more than one field.
  11. Baseball is one of her favorite hobbies.
  12. There is lots of stuff she likes about it.

BP last day 2014 017 BP last day 2014 020 BP last day 2014 025 BP last day 2014 026 BP last day 2014 032 BP last day 2014 035 BP last day 2014 037 BP last day 2014 038 BP last day 2014 039 BP last day 2014 043 BP last day 2014 003BP last day 2014 042 One bonus of being in the Beautiful People sports program is our really creative director Jan Brunkhorst always has something great planned in addition to the team sports. This summer we will go as a group to the Renegades Semi-pro baseball game. We are planning on having another July track and field day. We have a raffle that is started to help with our expansion plans of getting a ball field with a soft surface to help meet the needs of players who are physically challenged. Check out their programs. You may know someone who would really love an adaptive sport or know someone who would love to volunteer. By volunteering you get to improve the lives of a person with special needs and surprisingly you might improve your own life.  Lisa Bock For more information about the programs check out: http://www.beautiful-people.us

I’m officially in the home stretch of pregnancy with 4 weeks to go, so I’m not going to lie I’m truly starting to panic. I feel like I’ve got to keep it real with you. Whoever said that you forget the pain of childbirth was a liar. I don’t think you ever forget what labor is like. Sure, if you’re one of the lucky ones you may be able to block it out, but as for me and the rest of the mamas out there I can safely say that you can experience a kind of Post Traumatic Labor Disorder (PTLD). Ok so I clearly made this up, but trust me the anxiety and flashbacks are very real.

Labor Photo 1

Enjoying my one hour of pain relief right after getting
an epidural during the birth of my daughter Hannah.
Little did I know it would wear off.

A Baby Story

I can safely say that I miss the days in my pregnancy with my first daughter, when I only had a vague idea of how bad labor would suck. Ignorance and pain killers are truly bliss when it comes to labor. During my second pregnancy I started binge watching TLC’s A Baby Story as I got closer to D-Day (Delivery Day).

16 And Pregnant

Call it a sick kind of torture, but I find myself doing it again this time with (palm to face) MTV’s 16 And Pregnant of all shows. I think it’s part mental prep and part coping mechanism. I mean these young girls surely can’t be as prepared as a veteran mom like myself, right? Surely it wasn’t as bad as I recall, right? WRONG. I don’t want to be like all those, “oh you’ll forget the pain when you see your baby” women who don’t prepare other women for what it’s really like. So here the top 10 things I wish someone had told me about before I had my first child. Some are truly gross and hilarious so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

1. Induction hurts like a B**** – For my first go round I was induced and the pain started immediately. With baby #2 I went into labor on my own and didn’t feel any pain until I hit active labor at 4 cm. If I could go back in time, I would have forgone the induction, which in my case I opted for simply because I was absolutely miserable in the August heat.

2. You CAN forget to breathe – Ok, I know it totally sounds laughable and you’re probably picturing a sitcom where the husband keeps telling his laboring wife to breathe while she does these crazy rythmic huffs and puffs. Truth be told, my contractions got so bad with my first I didn’t even realize I was holding my breath through them. I also did a lot of hyperventilating, which I didn’t know I was doing until I asked the nurse why I felt so dizzy. Luckily I had my husband and sister-in-law talk me into slowing down my breathing, but I still needed an oxygen mask on while I pushed.

3. Pushing is NOT the WORST part – the contractions will be so painful you’ll be dying for the moment you are finally told, “ok it’s time to push.” It may be the part that freaks us out the most, but honestly it’s a huge relief and it means you’re just about done.

Labor Photo 2
Contractions are the pain you remember most.
Pushing is a relief because it mean’s you’re almost done.

4. It is possible to push the WRONG way – If you were like me, you’d seen countless movies that made pushing look like the ab workout of a lifetime. Boy are they wrong! After my nurses scolded me and scared the crap out of me by telling me I was doing it wrong, they made my husband play tug of war with a bed sheet to get me to push right. The correct way you ask? It’s to push like you’re pooping. Yes, indeed. Gross, but tis true, which brings me to #5.

5. Get ready for the grossness – I hear it’s normal for some women to poop while pushing. Like I said, you are doing it the same way so go figure this would happen. I don’t think I did it, but I hear nurses are so quick and discreet in cleaning it up that you may never know if you did anyway. Beyond the possibility of pooping, there’s a great chance you’ll vomit at some point during labor and I’ve heard of people peeing the bed as well.

Let’s face it, while we would like to be in control of our bodies, during labor our bodies take over and we’re pretty much just along for the ride. Truth be told there is no room for embarrassment during labor. You become single minded and you’re only thought is “Get this baby out, NOW!”

6. There’s no way to predict it – You could be in labor for 36 hours or just a few and there’s no way to know which. It would have been great if my nurse didn’t remind me it could take awhile while I was laboring with my first. That’s truly on the list of things NOT to say to a woman in labor. It could be quick as well and you could find yourself urging the doctor to “hurry the hell up” because he’s just casually strolling into your room while you’re fighting the urge to push your baby out while the nurses frantically prepare everything.

Ok so I only said, “Could you hurry up.” But looking back on my second labor experience, I think I was laboring down for a good 45 minutes while I was waiting to push. That means my son was working his way down the canal, which is probably why it hurt like a B**** despite my fabulous epidural those last 45 minutes and why he came out in only 3 pushes. Once you’re on the rollarcoaster there is no getting off till the ride is over. And by the way it’s totally normal to say, “I can’t do it” a LOT during labor, but you do find inner strength you didn’t know you had.

7. Pain relief does NOT work perfectly – I felt a thousand times better once I got my epidural 6 hours into labor with my daughter, that is until an hour later when it wore off. Since I was in active labor and had my water broken for me at that point, feeling the pain at its new level of intensity was truly the worst. It took an hour to get the anesthesiologist back in the room since he was in the OR assisting with an emergency c-section. Despite my hour of pushing, this hour of waiting for a second dose of pain relief was the worst hour of the entire 12.

With my second they gave me a drug called Stadol while I awaited my epidural. I can’t recall if it helped much with the pain because it literally knocked me unconsious, that is until I came to every few minutes when my blood pressure cuff went off. It was like a bad cartoon. People would be standing on one side of the room and then the other in what felt like seconds. Imperfect as it is, you can bet I will be getting pain relief during labor this time around. I applaud the women that can do without it, but I don’t aspire to be like those women. Call me selfish, but I’m in it for the baby in the end and the labor is really not a “special experience” so much as a “trial by fire” I need to get through in order to have my precious child.

 8. Modesty is NOT an option – I’m probably one of the most modest people I know and the idea of someone looking at my downstairs really freaked me out  before I went into labor with my first child. By the time I had to push however I didn’t bat an eye when my sister in law asked to watch my daughter coming out. I had other things to think about besides my lady parts being exposed to the world. But I will tell you that I kept my socks on as my small act of modesty. LOL Ironically it did make me feel a little better, though it’s not like anyone was looking at my feet.

9. You’re not done yet! – I remember a sort of denial setting in as my daughter was placed all purple and white on my belly. “She’s really out,” I said, even though I could plainly see her. I was like, “Oh thank God it’s over.” Little did I realize I had to wait while the placenta came out and during what felt like a hundred stitches being placed. I was so over people touching me by this point, but it’s something you just gotta put up with.

With my second, the doctor was pressing hard on my belly, massaging my uterus after my son came out. Little did I know he was just trying to stop what was a very large hemorrhage. Luckily he stopped it, but at the time all I knew was that it was supposed to be over at this point and he was hurting my belly. The ghostly look on my sister-in-law’s face just told me I better shut up and deal with it.

10. The second the baby is out, you’re chopped liver – The second the baby is out, everyone is all about the baby. My husband was too busy counting the baby’s fingers and toes to pay any attention to me and I get it, but it still kind of stinks when you’re still in pain and nobody is left standing by your side. Of course you care about your baby too, but sometimes motherhood doesn’t “hit you” so much as “settles in.” With my first it wasn’t until a few hours later that I was  like, “wow, I’m really a mom now.” With my second it was the instant I held my son. No matter when the feeling hits, that feeling of overwhelming love is incredible. This single moment makes you feel like you just won the greatest battle of all time and this little being is a symbol of your victory.

Labor Photo 3
Of course this is why we all do it – our children.

So if you ask me, nobody ever “forgets” how bad labor is, they just choose ignorance and denial as their refuge. It’s a survival instinct to push the trauma way down deep into your psyche so it doesn’t threaten to choke you. You don’t really need to relive it until you’re like me sitting in your living room, ready to stare down D-Day once again and asking yourself, “why on Earth did I sign up for this again?”

There’s nothing I can do at this point except wait and try not to hyperventilate about it. I try to focus on how much better it will feel to have my body back to myself without the acid reflux, the need to pee every 10 minutes, the sweating and being uncomfortable in the heat, and of course meeting my new daughter face to face.

Read my labor tips in Hudson Valley Parent’s Baby Guide. What was the most unexpected thing that happened to you during labor?

 

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In our house, we often devour a pint of strawberries in a day. My girls are fruities and strawberries are their favorite, so I consider us somewhat an expert on the subject.  With that being said, the best strawberries are always the ones we pick ourselves. We went for the first time when Sophie, now two, was just months old to Ochs Farm in Warwick.  We drove all the way to the top of the mountain, got out of the car and took in the scene. To the right, strawberry fields flanked by cherry trees; to the left, views for days: rolling hills, forests, and blue skys dappled with clouds. The strawberries were vine ripened sweet, and Madison ate more in the fields than I could count.

IMG_1440

 

So, to say high expectations were set right off the bat is an understatement, but in our three years of picking, local Hudson Valley strawberries have yet to disappoint.  This year, Madison showed some restraint and came away with some actual berries to take home. The same cannot be said for Sophie who attempted on several occasions to pop the berry- stem and all into her mouth. We brought some friends along ranging from 2 weeks to 5 years old and everyone had fun. The babies slept in their strollers while the big kids picked and ate, ate and picked.

 

 

DSC_6285

 

The Hudson Valley is known for its apple picking, but it turns out we have access to pick your own fruit all summer long; you just have to know what fruit is in season and which farm to go to as they all specialize in different produce.  The farm we frequent, Ochs Farm, has a pick your own with seasonal fruit from June to October.  There are also several other Hudson Valley pick your owns that can be found here listed by county.  So grab the kids, your camera for some good obligatory strawberry juice covered kids pics, and a basket and have some fun!

Final product

Final product

It was such a gorgeous day today, the girls and I spent most of it outside. We played with the water table, ran around flying kites, kicked a ball and even enjoyed our lunch outside. Then someone said, “Let’s make a craft.” I didn’t feel like making a huge mess with paint and no one was biting the line for crayons and coloring books. Quickly, I remembered I have this fun book I picked up from a retired teacher selling her 20 year collection of classroom books! I scored 2 big boxes of pristine kids books for $8.00!

There were a few different crafting books in the collection and I nearly forgot about this one. But, my girls pulled it out recently and asked to make a craft. I guess I couldn’t put it off any longer.

 

Original print date 1979

Original print date 1978

I love that it felt like I was opening a time capsule from the 1970’s when I opened this “How-to” book!

 

Easy to follow pictures in a book is easier for little ones to see and read.

Easy to follow pictures in a book is easier for little ones to see and read.

You can certainly find instructions on how to make pinwheels on Pintrest. But I love that the instructions are in pictures and simply laid out in this book. It is a much easier way for little ones to follow without the annoyance of scrolling and dropping WiFi signals. Plus, there’s a lot less pressure for perfection. (For me).

Here are the materials you need:

Materials for pinwheels

Materials for pinwheels

  • Scrap book paper (double sided has a great effect).
  • Scissors
  • Wooden dowels (I used wooden skewers).
  • A pencil
  • Thumb tacks
  • A ruler
  • A 1-2 inch circle to trace

 

Snag your kids toys for projects

Snag your kids toys for projects

STEP 1: Measure an 8×8 square on paper. (I cheated and traced the instruction book to create my square page).

STEP 2: Cut out square.

STEP 3: Fold your square corner to corner and crease. Unfold and refold to opposite corners and crease.

STEP 4: Draw a circle in the center point. (I found this easier to do after I made the creases).

STEP 5: Cut along the fold lines and stop at the circle.

STEP 6: Lift every other corner of each triangle and pull to the center circle.

STEP 7: Push a thumb tack through the center of paper and then through the wooden dowel (or skewer).

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

The pinwheels really turned out better than I expected (since I didn’t use any actual tools to measure).

We did this just for fun, but it would make a brilliant party decoration! I inserted the stems of the finished pinwheels into colorful drinking mason jars. I removed the straws and pushed in the skewers. The points on the skewers makes it easy to poke into potted plants around a deck, or push into the ground to line a walk way. You can even fill up buckets with fun treats with a pinwheel poking out. Or just make it a fun way to pass the time on a sunny day!

 

What’s your on-the-fly/go-to craft? Feel free to share pictures or comments below!

 

Disclaimer: Clearly in 1978 kids were allowed to play with thumb tacks. Most likely while sliding down a hot aluminum slide over top of loose gravel. If you make this craft, please be sure you take precautions for little ones who still like to explore by putting things in their mouth.

If you’re one of those women who have husbands who rub your pregnant belly and talk to your unborn child, and generally treat you like you’re in a “delicate state,” then consider yourself lucky.

Pregnant Doesn’t Mean Delicate (for me anyhow)

At seven months pregnant with my second child my husband had me help him move not one but two heavy mattresses down the stairs. He doesn’t rub my now very pregnant belly, BUT I know the look he’ll have on his face the second his child arrives. I know that he’ll listen to her breathing every night. In short, I know from experience that he’ll be just as great a dad to baby number three as my other two.

When it comes to parenthood, we’re all about Mom, right? Moms know best when it comes to their kids, right? They read the most articles on parenting, tend to spend the most time with their kids, and tend to take on the role of primary care giver. I’m not going to lie, I remember telling my husband:

“When it comes to our kids, you are the CFO, but I’m the CEO and you need to check with me.”

Not my finest snarky moment I’ll grant you that, but in my defense he had just taken the kids to the store to pick out a dessert five minutes before dinner time causing my son to tailspin into a full on meltdown. Despite the frustration that comes from our different parenting styles, I can safely say that “He’s No MOM” and here are the reasons why that is the BEST thing for our kids and why we should celebrate the fathers out there.

Hannah & Daddy

1. Dads Create A Balance  – Sometimes moms tend to freak out at every bump and scrape (sure I never do that LOL) and there needs to be a calm person even when the situation does warrant a trip to the Emergency Room. Both parents can’t freak out or else who would take charge of a situation and keep the kids calm? Sometimes it’s dad’s turn to freak, but that’s why it’s great to have a tag team partner in times of crisis.

2. Someone Has To Be Good Cop – In my house my kids know that I’m the one to lay down the law and daddy is the one to “get one over on.” But the truth is, if we examine our own lives, we really needed that as kids. Sometimes the rules are meant to be broken and occasionally dessert SHOULD come before dinner. Moms may keep us grounded, but dads inject some much needed magic into childhood. As long as he backs me up on the important things, I guess I can learn to appreciate my husband’s breaking of the “mom rules” once in awhile.

3. Someone Call For Security? – Ok so maybe it’s just in my household because my husband works in law enforcement and carries a gun, a taser and handcuffs, but my husband brings a sense of physical security that I just don’t. I think we all feel more secure when he’s home. Perhaps it’s the same in your household. I think just the nature of daddies being bigger and more imposing than mommies, makes kids feel a sense of security, like they are protected from the bad guys out there. I don’t know if the need to protect is something innate in men or learned, but my son is always telling me that he will protect me if a bear ever tries to attack me (guess the bear threat comes with the territory of living up here in the mountains).

When I think of physical comforting of our children, mommy’s hugs are for healing and daddy’s hugs are for reassurance that everything is right with their world.

The Dad Jungle Gym

Plus who else could be the human jungle gym that dads are. Sure they may have made my uterus a training camp for future Olympic gymnastics for 9 months, but I’m not the one my kids want to catch them as they do crazy stunts like jump down the stairs while running at full speed.

Snow tubing

4. They Bring A Different Skill Set – Men bring different interests and skills to the parenting table. I for one would rather die than watch sports with my kids and I’m not the one who will teach my kids how to fish or build things with their hands. Dads will bring not only a different perspective, but different skills than moms, even if those aren’t the typical sports and outdoor survival skills. We need to appreciate them for things they do well that we don’t because it makes our kids’ lives that much richer and well-rounded to be exposed to new things.

Fishing

Hannah Fishing

Are Stay-At-Home Dads The New Moms?

Men are becoming more and more responsible for childcare these days, but I’ve noticed a trend to idolize these men (especially Stay-At-Home Dads) for taking on a role that’s not typical for them – the “Mom role” if you will. We tend to look at these men like a new species in a zoo. We might think, “Wow he changes diapers, hosts play dates, AND volunteers on the PTA, how amazing!” Nobody ever says, “Oh she works full-time and still finds time to cook, clean and drive the kids to karate and ballet, how incredible!” Just because our roles may overlap sometimes doesn’t mean that we can or will tackle parenting the same way.

The truth is Dads will never be Moms and vice versa and that’s more than ok; that’s GREAT! We bring different and special gifts to our children’s lives that can’t be measured on the same scale.

So Happy Father’s day to all the great Dads out there! You really are just as important to your kids as Moms are so keep doing what you’re doing. Happy Father’s Day to my husband Willie! Enjoy the last one before we officially become outnumbered.

 

So my son Luke just wrapped up his final year at the Boces Satellite in Warwick.

I think it was the songwriter Dan Wilson who sang, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”.

This is the end of Luke’s 5-year run in this building. A building where he came into his own, made some friends and met some wonderful teacher’s and aides. I wanted to use this platform to say a special thank you to everyone who has been involved with not just his educational development, but also those who played a role in the boy he has become.

Luke with his Principle's Award

Luke with his Principal’s Award


All of this starts at home, but he is in school for most of the week and it’s so important that what we practice at home translates elsewhere and continues when he is in the care of others.

The end of the year awards ceremony is always a tear-fest for us. I kind of relate it to fighting a strategic boxer:

• From the get go you get jabbed at (you can feel the tears forming.
• A couple of songs go by, awards are given out one class at a time (you feel those tears rolling down your face)
• If you’re not crying yet, you will once the school year is wrapped up with a slide show presentation (Wham! Knock out blow and your balling)

This year we got a special surprise. Luke was awarded the Principal’s Award. My wife and I were not ready for this. Sure we have seen improvements with Luke, but to see his achievements recognized at school was something special.

The inscription on the certificate is as follows:
“Because of you our school is a better place to learn. You have proven to me by your actions that one person can make a difference. I applaud you for what you have accomplished and look forward to hearing even more great things about you in the future.”

I hope he looks at the end of this chapter with excitement and ambition to begin the next.

Happy Father’s Day to the other dads out there! I will leave you with my favorite father related quote:
“My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, “You’re tearing up the grass”; “We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply. “We’re raising boys” – Harmon Killibrew

 

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It’s Father’s Day weekend, and it promises to be beautiful, so enjoying the outdoors is a must on our list after all this rain.  However, it has to be something the whole family will enjoy, especially dad since it is his day, after all.  So, last week I did my homework because there is nothing worse than showing up to enjoy somewhere new and it ends up being a bust for whatever reason: not kid friendly, not adult friendly, too far, too lame…Trust me it has happened more times than I care to recall and is how this blog came to be in the first place.  Thankfully, the trip we took last week to one of my childhood favorites: Awosting Falls was a huge success, and I am happy to report that it is now one of my kids’ favorites as well.

 

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Awosting Falls shares the entrance with Lake Minnewaska also known as the Main Entrance.  The $8 parking fee will grant you access to both locations.  After paying at the booth, make your first right, and park at the end of the road.  Thankfully, there are bathrooms there so that everyone can start their hike off right.  After parking, walk back down the road you drove on, cross the street and make your first left after the bridge.  This trail will wind down and around the waterfall, depositing you at the base.  It’s an easy walk and stroller friendly if your stroller has bigger wheels like a jogger.  However, the walk itself is a little more than a quarter mile and my 2 and 5 year old walked it by themselves.  A word of warning, you do begin this trip at the top of the waterfall so don’t let your little wander too far ahead or out of sight.

 

 

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The waterfall was just as I remembered as a kid, and my girls loved it just as much as I had.  The rocks surrounding the pool are smooth and gradually slope into the water which is perfect for little feet to traverse and explore.  There are also plenty of pebbles for little hands to collect and throw into the pool.  My girls dipped their toes in, splashed, and skipped stones with endless pleasure.  After a while, we wandered a bit further and found a sunny spot beside the stream for a snack and a little more exploration.

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It was a peaceful but adventurous way to spend the day, and would make a great way to spend Father’s Day.  To the dad’s: I wish you all a Happy Father’s Day!  And to my husband and the father of my children:  Your love and devotion to our family knows no bounds, and I can’t thank you enough for being such an amazing father.  You are by far the girls’ favorite, but I don’t mind cause you’re my favorite too.  Happy Father’s Day!

 

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GPS Address: 5281 Route 44-55, Kerhonkson, NY

You can find a list of more family friendly hikes here.

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