Raising babies with Pets – Not an easy task! 10 positive lessons animals can teach kids!

Being the animal lover that I am, having pets is no question! Before having Ellie we had two dogs and a tank of fish! There were many times I wasn’t sure how bringing a baby into the picture would work and how the dogs would adjust.

Brutus is our big boy weighing in at 145 lbs. He is special in his own way! He likes his space, he is a resource guarder, he does not like other dogs (Chloe is the only exception), he is very much a protector of his family. He is they type of dog that is perfectly happy to roam our 14 acres without leaving the yard. He likes to leave and go on adventures with us but it does stress him out at the same time. He likes to feel safe and to him safe is at home without any “changes”.

Chloe is our 5 lbs Yorkie who is our easy one! She loves people, loves dogs, loves to do whatever I want to do! Want to take a nap? Sure! Want to go for a walk? She’s ready! Road trip? She’ll ride for hours and love every minute of it! She is getting older and is not so much a fan of younger kids. They move to fast for her and she just isn’t sure of their intentions.

We knew bringing a baby into the picture would be an adjustment for both our dogs but we never hesitated. We would make it work somehow. We had the dogs first, we are not getting rid of them!

How would Chloe like having a baby around? How about as she got older? Would Chloe spend more time alone because she would avoid being around the baby?

What about Brutus? Can he learn to share his space with another human? Will he be gentle with her? Will he share his toys or will we have more of an issue?

Once I had Ellie I was less concerned about teaching the dogs to adapt and more concerned with teaching Ellie how to respect the dogs. She needs to learn they are living animals with feelings too. Showing her when its ok to be in their space and when to give them space, how to be gentle and nice when interacting with the dogs, how to read some of their body language and what to do in response to it. Teaching Ellie how to respect the animals like she should has made the transition so much easier for the dogs. In fact it was pretty dang easy and not much of a transition for them at all!

We then got 16 baby chicks! Ellie loved them! she already knew she had to be gentle, she knew they were a bit timid of her and to let them be and give some space and that she can watch them from a distance! Then we got a bunny! Again, she loves the bunny! More than loves she adores that little girl!

Watching her grow up with animals is so fun and I know is teaching her so much! however, it’s not all fun, unfortunately!

Our first little bunny didn’t make it more than a couple days with us, He was very young and may not have been in the best health. The heat got to the little guy and he ended up dying of heat stroke. Ellie was about 8 months old when this happened and I kept her away from the bunny that day, I am more than confident she doesn’t even know what happened.

This morning while loading up the car to bring Ellie to daycare, Brutus was barking hysterically in front of the chicken coop. I looked over at him and said “What boy? Let the babies be!” When he still didn’t come back to me or change his stance it made me curious. I watched for a minute. Ears up, tail up, body stiff and ready. I knew he wanted to show me something. I walked over to the coop to see what his issue was and to let the chickens out for the day. Once I got there I saw one dead chicken on the ground in the coop and a bunch of feathers. Body all in tact, just laying there, limp, and lifeless. My heart sank, its too quiet for there to be 15 other chickens. I knew we lost all of them. Brutus just kept running the length of the coop run, barking. I ran back to get my husband and told him, we have a problem!

Ellie is now 10 months old, she doesn’t know any better right now. We obviously are not going to show her the murder scene that took place over night with the scattered lifeless chickens. But it made me think, if she were older how would we ever explain this to her?!

Owning animals is so amazing in so many ways! But it can be so so heartbreaking as well. Even Brutus was so distraught from the incident. I don’t want to leave you off on a sad note so to end this post I want to share some reasons it may be good to raise children with pets!

  1. Kids with pets may spend more time outside!
  2. Life lessons provided by pets: Life, reproduction, birth, accidents, illness, death, grieving, etc.
  3. Responsibility!
  4. Patience and Self-control
  5. Friendship and reduced loneliness
  6. Siblings being able to bond over the shared love for pets
  7. Sharing and personal space
  8. Improved Self-esteem
  9. Empathy and compassion
  10. Joy and happiness!

Always,

Desiree

xoxo

2 Things I said I would never do prior to having kids. Now I am doing both! Can other moms relate?

I can think of 2 topics which I said I would never do or never be before I became a mom and now that I am a mom I realized I am and have done both these things! Before becoming a mom I used to look around at what other mothers do or don’t when it comes to their children. For the most part I would say do what you have to do. No Judgement. On occasion I would look at whoever I was with and say “Not Me!”

  1. I will never let my children do that!

I specifically remember being in a restaurant with my husband and a few friends and while we were waiting for our food there were multiple kids running around, screaming, standing on chairs, etc. They were just being kids and honestly were not bothering us in anyway. But I remember saying if I were to ever have kids I would be intervening and telling them to behave. I wouldn’t allow my kids to act that way in a restaurant. No judgement on that family whatsoever but my personal preference would be to have a bit stricter parenting style with my kids.

Since becoming a mom, and my daughter is still young, I’ve realized its all about survival! I no longer will ever say anything like that anymore! Rather I look at families in situations were their kids may be too hyper or not behaving as they should and I just look at the mother with the “you do you momma” look. Its all about survival as a mother and picking your battles accordingly!

2. I will not be the mother posting photos of my baby on social media all the time.

I used to see other families posting photos on social media everyday of their kid and giving us all an update on their latest accomplishments. I always said that just isn’t me and if I had kids my social media accounts would not be over taken by my children. Here I am after my first baby, 10 months old and every day I post photos of her sometimes multiple photos. I’m not really sure what changed in me but its a way of always having those photos to go back to. It keeps other family members updated on her life. And it’s just fun to see all the other baby photos!

All in all, my take away from this post is to never judge another mother and to never say you won’t do that or be that mom when you have kids! Motherhood is a journey and I am learning every single day on how to take it or how to handle situations.

Always,

Desiree

xoxo

Santa’s Village + Covid + 10 Month Old Baby – The Good, The Bad, and Everything in Between

I’m back from my stay-cation!! I took a little over a week off to spend some time camping with my family! But I’m back and refreshed and ready to work! I wanted my first blog post back to be about our experience from one day of our vacation: Santa’s Village!!

My husband, daughter, and two nieces made the 2 hour drive to Jefferson, NH to spend the day at Santa’s Village. Being the Christmas enthusiasts that we are it was only natural we spend a day in Santa’s world!

I had a few concerns about going since the Covid pandemic is still in full effect. Would the trip even be worth it? My short answer: ABSOLUTELY!

The park is restricting how many people are allowed in during the day, therefore you have to purchases your tickets ahead of time. This did not end up being an issue for us at all! We bought 4 regular tickets and 1 baby ticket the night before around 9pm. I had no issues at all reserving the day. This also helped keep the lines short and social distancing was extremely easy since the crowds were non existent!

Another concern were how often we had to wear our masks. I didn’t want all our photos to be in masks or for us to be super hot with a mask over our mouth and nose. This also wasn’t bad at all! We only really needed them on inside any of the buildings (which were air conditioned) and on some of the rides. Other than that you could take the mask off. Even with the weather super hot that day and being pregnant the mask did not bother me!

The park is extremely kid friendly! And by kid friendly it definitely caters to younger aged children!! So my 10 month old daughter had an absolute blast!! She was even able to go on a few of the rides; the train, the sleigh ride, antique cars, etc. She was able to meet Santa himself (even though she was half asleep by the time we made it to him). Her favorite part of the day was the water park! This was definitely geared to younger kids! They even had infant swings in one section for the real small babies! She could not stop walking her dad and I all around in the ankle deep water! We spent hours in the water park!

Our nieces are a bit older but they still had a blast as well! They were both tall enough to ride every ride and because the lines were not long they were able to ride them more than once! They also had a blast looking for the Elves throughout the park to stamp their cards they picked up from the Elf University. At the end they traded their stamped cards for a reward! We were also able to go into the Elf work shop where all the kids were able to enjoy some craft time. The oldest made some sand art, the middle made her own stuffed animal, and my daughter used her feet to make a reindeer shirt (her feet were the antlers).

The only down side I thought of the day was the food. I was not a fan of the lunch we got. Some of the other locations may have had better food but mind you we did not go for the food!

Overall this was definitely worth the trip and one of my favorite days with my family! We will be going back!

Always,

Desiree

xoxo

10 Postpartum items I didn’t know I needed (#6 and #8 Are an absolute MUST!)

I never gave much thought about what happens after giving birth. I knew Giving birth would be painful and I would have bleeding, but I had no idea how gross I would actually feel. I had what they call 3rd degree tearing. I didn’t even know what this meant until I googled it once I got home (I’ll leave that to you if you’d like). There were items the hospital provided me but there were also items I needed to gather on my own.

Here are the 10 essential items I needed for my postpartum recovery.

  1. Peri Bottle
3 Best Peri Bottles For Hygienic Post-Partum Washing

I honestly have no idea what it would be like to go to the bathroom without this because I was way too scared to even try! I used these bottles for weeks on weeks!

2. Depends

These were great at night! I had to be careful though because just like a baby, I ended up with a diaper rash.

3. Prenatal Vitamins

One A Day Women's Prenatal 1 Multivitamin, Supplement for Before ...

I had no idea I had to continue taking my prenatal vitamins after giving birth!

4. Pain Killers

Tylenol Extra Strength Pain/Fever Relief 500mg - 100 caplets ...

These were essential to elevate some of the pain I had “down there”

5. Cold Packs

Amazon.com: Frida Mom 2-in-1 Postpartum Absorbent Postpartum ...

These were 100% a lifesaver for me! They felt AMAZING and helped so so much!! Which leads me to the next item:

6. Tucks Pads

Amazon.com: TUCKS Medicated Cooling Pads 100 Each (Pack of 3 ...

These were another item I used for weeks on weeks on weeks!! These helped my healing process SO much!!

7. Nipple Cream

Amazon.com : Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Soothing Cream 40 Grams ...

My nipples were so so raw this cream was an essential for so many weeks and went everywhere with me!!

8. Coconut Oil

Amazon.com: Garden of Life Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil ...

Oh my goodness did this help SOOOO much!! Again, I needed to heal “down there” as well as up top! I went through so many tubs of coconut oil! As soon as it would dry up and absorb into my skin I would add more! This was so needed!

9. Sitz Bath Salts

Amazon.com : Sitz Bath Salt – Postpartum Care and Hemorrhoid ...

I never used the sitz bath (pink bucket) the hospital provided me, but I did sit in the bath with the water constantly running and draining. I did this each day I had the chance to help the healing process “down there”

10. Donut Cushion

Comfort Foam Hemorrhoid Donut Seat Cushion – Grey - Chesna

This was not provided by the hospital but definitely needed for the first 2 weeks or so as sitting definitely hurt where I had stitches.

The decision between being a stay at home mom or a working mom and how it effected my PPD

Initially this seemed like an easy decision. Most women are faced with the decision and life changes of being a stay at home mom or a working mom. Now first let me say both roles require WORK…no doubt about it! My entire life I always just assumed I would be a working mom if I were to ever have kids. I considered myself a workaholic! I began working at the age of 12 and from then on I always had a job, sometimes, multiple jobs.

Years later I found myself pregnant with my first child. This came when I found myself in a great career which I absolutely loved! My day to day grind was enjoyable and yet challenging to me! I remember my boss asking me what my plans were after I had this baby.

“Will you be returning to work?”

Is this even a question I thought to myself. Did I give my coworkers/boss the impression that I would not be coming back?

“Absolutely!” I replied.

I felt like it would be good for my baby to have a routine, to be around other kids, to have to listen to someone other than mom and dad. I also felt it was important for me to have my own life too. Becoming a mom is wonderful and a job in itself but for me personally I didn’t know how to not get up and go to a job each and everyday.

Then maternity leave hit me! I literally felt so overwhelmed and exhausted and being a mom was significantly harder than I ever thought it would be. I had no idea how I would return to work just to come home and make dinner while watching my baby and get her to bed on time. How can I add all this extra stress when I felt I was already stressed to the max. How am I supposed to add one more thing to my plate?

Not just the added stress and things to do, how was I going to let someone else care for my baby each day? I want to be there to see all her firsts, I don’t want to to share those moments with someone else and have to hear about it later.

At my initial PPD appointment, my doctor first told me not to worry about work yet. I still had 8 weeks left of my maternity leave. She also told me she thought I should try to go back and take it day by day. She also reminded me not to quit my job on a bad day. If it didn’t work out then fine, stay at home with your baby. There is nothing wrong with that. But at least give it a try.

I felt like that was awesome advise! I wanted to stay home with my baby but when it came time to return to work I did just that. I took it day by day and honestly to my surprise each and everyday I felt a little better. Yes, I had more on my mind, I had extra task I now needed to complete but I also enjoyed my evenings with my baby that much more.

Going to work during the day and doing something for me and spending the evenings with my daughter was just the “break” I needed! Before I became a mom I thought I definitely would be a working mom, during my maternity leave I fully wanted to be a stay at home mom, I returned to work and loved it! This is a personal choice for each and every mom! Working is what worked for me and my family!

Always,

Desiree

xoxo

I Need Alone Time But I Miss My Baby

Alone time?! I’ve learned since becoming a mom that alone time is necessary! That break is needed for both mental and physical health! the frustrations, anger, stress, overwhelmed mind all fade after a nice break.

I get it, you’re elbows deep in diapers, feedings, tears, naps, cleaning, laundry. A mom break is not as easy as it sounds. However, the biggest struggle I find with a mom break is missing your child the entire time your away from them! Can you relate?

Every time I’m not with Ellie I feel like I should be. I’m her mom, I should be caring for her. I know I need this break and that it’s good for both of us. I still can’t help but constantly think of her and even end my mom break early to go back to be with her.

What is she doing right now?

Did she eat enough?

Did she get her naps in?

Is she having fun or is she having a rough day?

Did she experience any new “firsts”

I bet she misses her dogs!

I wonder if she had any wipe outs?

Did I pack enough diapers?

These are just some of the thoughts I have when Ellie and I are not together. I’ve learned motherhood is being so excited for a break and then missing your kids the entire time you are gone!

Always,

Desiree

xoxo

Baby #2 So Soon

Imagine, my first baby is 7 months old, I am still tackling this whole new mom life, and the daily struggles of postpartum depression. My period is late but it still is not ‘regular’ yet since delivering. No big deal, I have other things to worry about, I will start in the next few days.

While visiting my mom she asked me when we will have another baby. It hit me, I haven’t started my period. I pulled out my phone and looked at my period tracking app and realized I should have started about 4 days ago, at the latest! No, no, I’m just late, this is all part of the postpartum process.

For the rest of the day I couldn’t get the thought of my period being late out of the back of my mind. I KNEW it was nothing but still. We had to make a trip to the store that night so why not just put this to rest and get a test.

Low and behold, it was positive. I am pregnant. Again.

My husband was absolutely thrilled and so excited! and he said to me when he found out we were pregnant with our first he was scared and this time he’s excited. I looked at him and said I feel the opposite.

I was so excited and could not wait to meet our first baby girl. I was literally so happy! Now I want to share the thoughts and feelings I had finding out I was pregnant again because it was drastically different, and I’m sure I am not alone!

  1. “OH MAN! Here we go!”
  2. How can I handle 2 children….2 Babies?!?
  3. How can this second baby even compare to how perfect our first baby is?!
  4. Will I even be able to have enough love for BOTH babies?!
  5. I had so much bonding time with just Ellie and I and now this second baby will not get that.
  6. Will Ellie feel abandoned by me when the next baby arrives?
  7. How can I survive pregnancy with a mobile baby?!
  8. I literally hated every single second of breastfeeding but Ellie got my breast milk exclusively for about 3-4 weeks, I don’t even want to try with the second baby but now I feel guilty for depriving the second baby the chance to have the nutrients from my breast milk. I don’t want to feel the pain, the engorgement, the bleeding/raw nipples, cluster feeding, the pressure, the feeling of a food source and nothing more. But I feel like I gave Ellie the chance and offer and what kind of mom would I be if I didn’t allow the same for baby number 2?!
  9. I do NOT want to stop taking my postpartum medication. Is it safe to take throughout pregnancy?! What if my doctor tells me I need to stop?! What will happen to me???
  10. How bad is PPD going to hit after this second baby? I know I will have it and it was pretty dang bad with the first pregnancy, will it be worse during the second?!?!
  11. How will I ever get sleep?! My luck the babies will be on opposite sleep schedules which means mom doesn’t sleep at all at night. “Sleep when the baby sleeps” isn’t going to be an option when you have a second baby in the picture.
  12. Do I put Ellie in daycare while I am on maternity leave or should I keep her home with me so she can bond with us as well?

These are just some of my early initial thoughts when I found out I was pregnant again so soon. I was absolutely terrified. I know what it takes now to care for a baby and its a lot and now I’m adding another baby?! I’m sure I am not alone in this!

Always,

Desiree

xoxo

Sleepless Nights

At 9 months old, Ellie was still waking up 3-5 times a night needing a bottle. Now, I know every child is different but its hard not to compare myself to other moms who post on social media about their babies sleeping through the night at such a young age (2 months old even!!!!).

I was about 4 months pregnant with my second child when I brought Ellie to her 9 month baby appointment. At this point I had given up on the sleeping thing and just figured this was my life now. Her sweet doctor was super impressed with how well Ellie has been doing it was as if she was digging to get to the real truth and find something she could help with. Then she asked

“How’s she sleeping”

DING DING DING!!!

I explained how she wakes up 3-5 times a night, some nights more, some nights less.

“No, no, no, she needs to be sleeping through the night.

My goal was to get Ellie sleeping through the night before baby number 2 arrived. But I was at a lost of what to do during the middle of the night when she does wake up. Giving her a bottle stops her crying and we all get back to sleep.

Her amazing doctor gave me a game plan and honestly I still wasn’t completely sure, my husband didn’t believe this would work at all. But by night number 3 she slept through the entire night, 7pm-7am, and woke up with a dry diaper even!!

I’ll share what we did, I have no idea if this works for every baby or not, but it worked for us!

  1. Have a night time routine.

This was already established for us. We start around 5:30pm with dinner, then bath time, then some quiet time (reading, tv, light playing, ect. ), then bed around 7:30pm. Ellie knows what is coming next every single night and we never had an issue with putting her to bed.

2. Putting her to bed.

We now give her a bottle during her quiet time if she needs one rather than in her crib. She doesn’t get a bottle in her crib at all anymore. I set her room up the same each night, put her down, tell her the same thing every night “goodnight, I love you”, and walk out.

3. Time her cries if needed.

The first couple of nights were rough. We had two options to either let her cry it out or time her cries and go back in. As soon as I walked out on the first night she started crying, I would start timing one minute. After a minute I would go back in, not say anything, just rub her back adjust her if needed, until she stopped crying. I then would say “goodnight, I love you” and walk out again. This time I double the amount of time once she starts crying. Now I set the timer for 2 minutes. Go back in without saying anything soothe her, tell her I love her, and walk out. I continued this process doubling the time of her cries each time I went in. The first night she cried for a total of 10 minutes. The second night took about 2 minutes, as well as the third night. By the fourth night she understood and cried for 30 seconds and was sound asleep. The fifth night and on she doesn’t cry, she watches me walk out and lays there until she falls asleep.

4. What to do if she wakes in the middle of the night?

If she woke during the middle of the night I would repeat step 3. Wait one minute, go check on her, rub her back until she stops crying and walk back out. She usually was already tired that this was all it took but if she were to continue to cry I would keep doubling the time between each check in.

That’s it!

That’s all it took for us!

After about one week of doing this and things were going great she did develop a habit of needing mom in the room. She figured out that I was in there when she was awake and wasn’t while she was sleeping. I stuck to the process and would rub her back or forehead until she was calm, walk out, and time her cries. This habit lasted about 3 nights which made our bed time routine rough but I didnt give in and she sleeps so so amazing now.

Now that I saw how amazingly well the sleep training worked I will definitely be starting this process sooner with baby number 2!

Always,

Desiree

xoxo

My Favorite Newborn Item

One thing I purchased after having my first child was the Baby Breeza Formula Pro.

Initially, I had planned to exclusively breastfeed. That changed after a couple weeks and I began to introduce formula to her diet. Eventually, we found a formula that worked for her and slowly she was completely weened off breast milk and exclusively formula fed.

We prepared her formula the old school way of measuring out the scopes and water combination. We always tried to get the temperature just right. This usually was taking place all while Ellie was crying for food. The Baby Breeza took all the guess work out of it!

We simply place her bottle in the Baby Breeza and select how many ounces and hit start. Within seconds her bottle is ready for her! This become our favorite item during the middle of the night feedings! I placed the Baby Breeza on my nightstand and when Ellie would wake up in the middle of the night I could just hit the start button all sleepy eyed and give her bottle to her in the bassinet.

Both my husband and I saw the real benefit of the Baby Breeza when night time fell. We loved it during the day but it really shined for us at night!

If you are wondering what you really need or don’t need for your child, I would highly recommend spending the money and getting yourself a Baby Breeza!

Always,

Desiree

xoxo

Maternity leave nightmare; living with PPD

I envisioned my maternity leave to be this long blissful experience and a little bit of a break from the day to day grind. I was in for an abrupt, rude awakening!

PPD was something everyone told me to watch for when I was pregnant. They never told me what to watch for, or what PPD truly looks like. Looking back at it now I can honestly say PPD hit me before I even left the hospital. I delivered my daughter just minutes before 9pm and by mid-night it hit me, I was not going to get sleep. I had to be the one to feed my daughter, no nurse, not my husband, just me. I had to call the nurse to my room to ask her how to swaddle my daughter. I had to call the nurse in to help me from my bed to the bathroom just so I could pee. My legs were uncontrollably shaking, when would they stop? Around 3am my daughter decided she was going to cluster feed until about 9am. I had no idea what cluster feeding was but I learned very quickly. Around 4 or 5 in the morning I laid in my hospital bed bailing my eyes out while my daughter fed off my raw sore nipples.

Exhausted

Frustrated

Overwhelmed

Sore

These are just a few of the emotions I was feeling that night/morning. I could literally feel my mood take a complete dip to rock bottom in a matter of hours. Once I arrived home these emotions did not go away. In fact even more emotions and feelings started coming to play. Every. Single. Thing. made me cry! I felt like not one person understood what I was going through or understood how I was feeling. Soon I began to think they didn’t even care; as long as I was well enough to feed Ellie. I began to feel like a milk bank and that was the only value I was bringing to anyone.

I kept putting these feelings off and telling myself I was just over tired. Many people told me its the “Baby Blues” and not to worry because it’s normal. I would just tell myself they’re right, I’m ok, I’m just over tired and having a little case of the baby blues. I’ll be fine! I longed to get my daughter on a feeding and nap time routine. I thought some sort of structure would help my mood. Keeping a brand new baby to a routine added even more pressure for myself. The frustration and defeat I felt when the routine was compromised was unbearable!

I felt like I had to do EVERYTHING with no help whatsoever. I felt like my husband was just another child I had to look after. It wasn’t true, he did help, he also worked each day. But in my mind, at the time, he did nothing. I had multiple break downs, severe break downs. I had the most negative thoughts about myself. I began thinking how I wasn’t cut out to be a mom, my husband would be better off with someone other than me, my daughter would have a better life with her dad and someone else as a mom. I felt like I was ruining everyone’s life around me. Then the suicidal thoughts came. One night, during a feeding, I had a plan. That night After putting my daughter back to sleep I would say my goodbyes to the dogs and leave my husband to deal with everything in the morning. I was giving up and done with life at that point.

The next morning I called my doctor for help. I fell asleep trying to get my daughter back to sleep. I saw it as my second chance. I can seek out professional help and try to feel better sooner, or I can keep struggling alone and hope things get better. My doctors office saw me right away, I felt amazing walking out of that appointment! I knew I was not cured but it was a start. I was filled with so much hope for my future!

I started my medication that day. I was ashamed that I had to be the “crazy girl that was medicated”, I didn’t want anyone to know about it. Two days passed and I felt better! I was still sad but I didn’t feel like a ticking time bomb anymore. A few more appointments and an adjustment to the medications and before I knew it I was feeling so great! I no longer cared who knew if I was on medication or not! I no longer had the mindset of stopping the medication once I felt better. I’m scared to stop the medication! I know how I am feeling now and I never want to go back to how low I felt during my maternity leave.

Keep in mind this all happened so quickly! From giving birth to my daughter to my first PPD appointment was a total of 4 weeks. In 4 weeks time I went from feeling myself to nearly taking my life. It is so scary how fast this can happen! How quickly your mind can convince you of such awful things! I am so thankful for my doctor that saw me that first PPD appointment and how well she handled the entire situation!

This is a look into my situation and my story. Take your meds! And take care of yourself!

Always,

Desiree

xoxo