I hate to admit it, but I dreaded those first few days at home alone with both Parker and Mia. Aside from the fact that I was still healing and exhausted from waking up several times a night, I had no idea how in the world to take care of two kids — both in diapers — at the same time.
Parker goes to school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, so Mondays and Fridays are “mommy days” from the time Zach leaves for work around 8 am until he gets home at 6 pm. Truth be told, I was pretty terrified when that first Monday rolled around.
It was rough in the beginning. Parker wanted my constant attention, and he also wanted to climb all over the baby to give her hugs and kisses (usually while I was nursing her). “Baby down” and “put baby in swing” were common phrases out of his mouth; he was much happier when I focused on him alone. I felt like the days were endless, especially since it rained so much which meant we were stuck inside.
But every day with both kids at home got a little easier. We started to establish a routine, and the novelty of Mia wore off for Parker. He got used to having her and is now at the point where he asks for her as soon as he wakes up in the morning. We’re seven weeks in to life with 2, and now I look forward to Mondays and Fridays.
Our days now have some actual structure, which has made all the difference. A typical “mommy day” goes a little something like this.
5:00 am – I set my alarm for this time every day, but I usually don’t end up needing it thanks to Mia. She typically wakes up to eat at about 4:30, so I scoot her rock ‘n play into the nursery, change her diaper, and feed her before putting her back down. Then I go downstairs, make my coffee, and get some work done while everyone is still sleeping.
7:30 am – Parker usually wakes up around this time. I get him up and changed, then bring him downstairs for breakfast. Zach usually feeds him and they hang out together while I take a shower and get ready for the day.
8:00 am – The next couple of hours are nice because Mia sleeps while Parker and I spend some one-on-one time together. If it’s nice we’ll play in the backyard, come in and have a snack, hang out in the playroom, and maybe watch an episode of Daniel Tiger on Netflix.
10:00 am – Mia wakes up, so Parker and I go upstairs to change her (he loves being my helper and throwing away diapers) and then I nurse her while Parker plays in the room. This is the point where I’m ready to get out of the house, so if it’s not raining, we’ll load up the double stroller and go for a long walk around the neighborhood. I love our walks so much, because Parker and I talk the whole time while Mia snoozes. The things that come out of his mouth crack me up. If the weather is bad, we will go run a quick errand — one that doesn’t require leaving the car, like getting gas or running through Starbucks ;)
11:30 am – Parker will usually have a snack when we get home, or if he’s really hungry, lunch. I put him down for his paci-free nap and then nurse Mia. Once they are both asleep, I come downstairs to make myself some lunch and catch up on email.
1:30 pm – Parker wakes up around this time, and is usually hungry again (either for lunch or a snack if he already ate before his nap). I feed him and then we either play in the backyard or in his playroom until Mia wakes up.
2:30 pm – I nurse Mia and then we head back outside if it’s not raining. This time I’ll wear Mia in the Moby wrap and put Parker in his wagon, just to change things up a little. Zach got me a FitBit for my birthday, so I get pretty excited on nice days when I can rack up my steps.
4:00 pm – Come back in for a snack and some chill time. Parker will either play with his toys, ride his train or scooter around, or we’ll all read books together. I try not to have him watch too much TV throughout the day, aside from an episode in the morning and maybe another right before Zach comes home.
5:30 pm – I call this the “witching hour” because Parker starts to get a little stir-crazy and Mia is cranky. At this point we usually go outside and play in the front yard while we wait for Zach. We are all pretty happy when we see him coming down the street :)
We’ve also ventured out for pool days and play dates, and hopefully over time I’ll get more comfortable being out and about with both kids. All in all, I’m starting to get the hang of this “mom of 2” gig, though we still have plenty of bumps in the road. I’m pretty sure that will always be the case, no matter how experienced I am…because, parenthood.
On the morning of Parker’s birthday, we took him downstairs so that he could open up his BIG gift: a brand-new playroom! I’m so happy we caught the reveal on video, although he has since grown much more excited about it than he was that morning.
This playroom has been a work in progress since the day we moved in. We referred to it as the “Bozo room” for the longest time, because this is how it looked originally.
I wrote a blog post about the beginnings of our playroom makeover way back before Parker was born; it only took 15 months to complete this little project! Isn’t it amazing what a coat of paint and foam tile flooring can do to a room?
The last week or so before Parker’s birthday, we spent just about every evening downstairs putting in the floor, decorating the wall with decals, putting together the furniture, and slowly moving in the toys. I took some photos before that last step, so in these photos the room is looking pretty stark. Trust me, it’s chock full of toys now.
It was actually my mom who came up with the ocean theme for the room. I had chosen the wall color last year just because it was bright and pretty, but I didn’t really have a them in mind. Once we agreed on the ocean theme, we ordered the blue foam tiles. Zach found the decals online to complete the look.
My mother-in-law ordered the Carolina craft table from Pottery Barn Kids as a gift for Parker. It comes with two different sets of legs, so there are longer ones for when Parker gets bigger. We also have chairs for the table, which we are storing in the closet until Parker is old enough to use them.
The nautical rope mirror is also from Pottery Barn Kids. I found the frames at Target, and filled them with some of my favorite photos from Parker’s first year. Never did I expect that those photos would be one of his favorite parts of the room!
Here is a close-up shot of the photos. It’s so funny to watch Parker go up to the frames and touch them, and then look at each photo. He is a little vain when it comes to pictures of himself ;)
The wooden letters are from Hobby Lobby. I have added a few more decorative touches to the room since these photos were taken, though I wanted to keep the walls pretty sparse (besides the decals). I imagine one day they will be full of Parker’s art work.
Parker received SO MANY TOYS for his birthday that this room was pretty much a necessity. I love that it is self-contained; there is a door to the downstairs family room that can be completely shut, so when we are playing in the playroom, he almost forgets that any other rooms exist. It’s big enough that we don’t feel claustrophobic, and with all the toy choices, he doesn’t get bored easily.
This summer has been insane so far, and we haven’t had much time to spend at home as a family. After Zach gets home from the World Cup in Brazil (yeah, that’s a different topic for a different day), the plan is to start hanging out in the basement more often. I don’t think Parker will have a problem with that!
My favorite milestone so far: independent play. Parker has enjoyed demanded my full attention since he was born, and it wasn’t until the last couple of weeks that he has finally been able to entertain himself for longer than just a few minutes.
Since he mastered sitting up on his own — both getting into sitting position and sustaining it — he’s been very content to play with his toys on his own (as long as I’m in sight). I’ve dubbed the far side of our living room “Parker’s Playhouse”, because that’s where we spend a LARGE portion of our day together. Most of the time I’m right down on the floor with him, but now that he is happy to play on his own for a little while, I can use my laptop/eat lunch/fold laundry and still keep an eye on him from just a few feet away.
The key is to have a LOT of toys on hand, because this baby has the attention span of a gnat. I usually dump out two bins full of various toys, teethers and stuffed animals, though it is inevitable that he makes his way off the playmat eventually (he’s a champion roller, scooter and backwards crawler).
I also have a mobile version of the playhouse for when I need to work at my desk for a little bit. Since my office is carpeted, I can spread out Parker’s toys on the floor and plop him in the middle of the room where he’s perfectly content. He especially loves listening to me write songs or record, my little musician in the making :)
Our plan is to finish Parker’s downstairs playroom in time for his 1st birthday, but for now, I love that he has his own space in the room where we spend the most time together as a family.
Well, we finally got around to finishing the nursery…and it only took two months after the baby was born! Actually, we started working on this room way back in April (here’s a sneak peek I posted) and SLOWLY added furniture and decor as the weeks went on.
Fast forward to 10 pm last night, when Zach and I were arguing over which wall to put the anchor decal on — I won that battle ;) Up went the canvases above the crib, and we called it a night. I posted all the photos on Facebook, which you can see here.
I have to admit that Parker got the best room in the house, and it is the most decorated of any room, too! I’m not known for my interior design skills, but I hope one day to work on those (right after I develop my cooking skills a bit more). I feel like I need to be better at both of those things, now that I’m a mom and therefore, a true grown-up.
This week we started making progress on the nursery after several delayed attempts. The first step was getting the carpet cleaned, which had to be pushed back two weeks — first due to a sick puppy, and then thanks to 18 inches of snow (which inevitably resulted in several days of muddy paw prints).
But it finally happened last Monday, and we didn’t waste any time moving the baby furniture in afterward. To be completely honest, I was a little nervous about how the bright white furniture would look against the white-ish carpet, but it works…especially since our beautiful rug covers so much ground.
I am in LOVE with the yellow walls paired with the blue and white. I chose the nautical theme because it ties those colors together, but little did I know that there is SO much out there as far as decorations and accessories to complement this theme.
Here’s another shot from the opposite side of the room. The changing table we picked out is so cute, don’t you think? I like that it provides extra storage space, since there’s no closet in this room.
What I like best about this room is the big picture window, and all the natural light it provides. Of course, we will have shades and blackout curtains so that Baby Rambach can sleep during the day, but this room just feels so fresh and airy when the sun is shining in.
The newest addition to the nursery was delivered on Wednesday — a beautiful navy blue rocking chair that perfectly matches our rug! It’s so comfortable, and I love that it swivels all the way around so that I can face either the inside of the room or the window.
I’m anxious to start decorating the walls and adding accessories, but with three showers coming up this month and next, it seems a little silly to go out and start buying things just yet. For now, I’m just happy to have the basics in place, and I can’t stop walking by the room and admiring it :)
Welcome! I’m Rachel Rambach, board-certified music therapist and creator of Listen & Learn Music — educational songs and musical materials for children. I love sharing my work with you, along with my behind-the-scenes creative process, adventures in business ownership, and life as a mom of two little ones.
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