This is the 3rd consecutive year I’ve celebrated World Breastfeeding Week by — wait for it — breastfeeding. We’ve attended the annual World Breastfeeding Week Zoo Walk, hosted by the West Central Illinois Breastfeeding Taskforce, each year since 2012, when I started providing musical entertainment during the event.
In 2013, I was just a couple months in to motherhood and still working to get the hang of nursing Parker. He was a huge supporter of breastfeeding from the start, as you can see ;)
In 2014, he was down to nursing just in the morning and at bedtime, but neither of us were quite ready to give it up altogether. (He self-weaned a little over a month later, literally on the day I found out I was pregnant.)
And this year, I’m right back at the beginning with Mia, who is just 10 weeks old. Nursing her has been so much easier than it was with Parker, which I attribute to knowing what I’m doing this time around and feeling much more confident.
We always have a great time getting together with friends I’ve met through the mom & baby group at St. John’s Hospital, and this year was especially fun now that Parker is old enough to really enjoy the zoo.
I’m hoping that I can celebrate this week next year by continuing to breastfeed at least until then, if not longer. As exhausting and consuming as it can be at times, there is nothing better than having this girl snuggled up to me.
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.
Summer is over halfway over, which makes me very sad. July was off to an exciting start with a quick trip to Denver. We went out to visit my brother Josh and sister-in-law Jeni for the first time since they moved there last summer. I was looking forward to a relaxing, low-key getaway, and that is exactly what we had…starting with the flight out there. We left super early in the morning, which was perfect because Parker slept the entire way! He is such a wonderful little traveler.
On the car ride from the airport to Josh and Jeni’s house, it was Daddy’s turn to sleep. Parker got a kick out of watching him sleep as he drank his bottle. At that point, he was wide awake and ready to hang out with his uncle and aunt.
As much as he enjoyed his time with Josh and Jeni, he really loved hanging out with their big dog Lincoln. Parker was not scared of him in the least, even though Lincoln is a GIANT. A very gentle one, though; he was so good with Parker! He didn’t even seem to mind when Parker pulled his tail, tugged on his whiskers, and laid all over him. They were so cute together.
We had a big family cookout on our first day there, and I think Parker was a little jealous of all the guys playing lawn games while he hung out on the deck with the girls. He did get to go down and run around a little bit later, though :)
The next day was the 4th of July, and we were pretty lazy all day long! Zach met up with a friend to watch the World Cup game, while we hung out at the house and made a trip to the park nearby. We met up with Zach later on for lunch downtown, and Parker stood next to the table dancing to the music the restaurant was playing for most of the meal. He is a dance machine, I tell you. He was cracking me up with this “Mr. Cool” pose.
That night after we put Parker to bed, Zach and I headed to downtown Littleton for a little 4th of July date. We had ice cream and appetizers (yes, in that order…we are such rebels) and then got to see the fireworks before we headed home. We realized it was our first just-the-two-of-us date since February; how crazy is that?
We headed to Coors Field for the Rockies game the next day. Zach got us amazing tickets in the Club section, and we were in the shade for the entire game. Parker did really well sitting through 3+ hours of baseball, and it definitely helped that there were lots of people to take turns holding him on their laps. As long as he is outside and has plenty to look at, he is a pretty chill dude.
We had an awesome time in Denver, and it was a little bit of a bummer to come home — especially since I had to start work the very next day. Zach took Parker to his parents’ house after we got home on Sunday so that I could catch up on laundry, clean the house, and get ready for my students. I was absolutely exhausted by dinner time, but it was an extremely productive day. Parker and I took it pretty easy on Monday until it was time for me to work.
After I was done, we met up with Michelle, Annabelle, and baby Alec for one last dinner before they left. Parker loves his big cousin so much, and I think the feeling is mutual. It will be fun to see their relationship evolve as Parker gets older and can talk back to her.
I made it through my first week back to work, though I felt pretty rusty after taking the entire month of June off. I had a big meeting on Friday that went very well, so we went out to dinner that night to celebrate. We chose Obed & Isaac’s because the weather was so nice and they have a great patio. We didn’t even get seated until 8 (past Parker’s bedtime), but he was a perfect angel throughout dinner.
We ended up going out to eat again the next night, this time at American Harvest with my friend Crystal and her family. On Sunday, Zach dressed Parker up like his little mini-me and the two of them went to The Alamo to watch the World Cup finals. I got to enjoy an afternoon to myself at the pool, which was just awesome. I hadn’t done that since before Parker was born, so I soaked up every last minute.
We don’t have any travel plans or big events happening the rest of the summer, so my plan is to just make the most of the weeks we have left. I refuse to even think about the fall until mid-August!
One of our favorite summer discoveries has been the splashpad at Southwind Park. We met our friends from mommy/baby group, Angie and her little cutie pie Janie, there for the first time a couple of weeks ago and both kids had a blast. They are just a few weeks apart in age, and it’s so adorable watching them play together.
Parker wasn’t sure about the water fountains at first, but he eventually got over his hesitations and headed into the action. He even tried drinking the water, which was hilarious. There were only a few other kids there, so they pretty much had the run of the place. We spent at least 45 minutes there until Parker got bored and was ready for the next thing.
Southwind Park also has a fun playground, so we headed there for some swinging, sliding, and climbing. Mostly climbing. Parker is really into stairs now, and would be perfectly content spending his time going up and down them over and over again. He’s pretty fearless when it comes to the playground equipment, which makes playing at the park a good workout for me!
We liked the splashpad and park so much that we ended up going back the very next day. We met a bunch of moms and kiddos from mommy/baby group, but unfortunately the splashpad was sooooo crowded (especially with bigger kids) that they didn’t get to play together like we had hoped. Parker still had fun, but I was nervous about him getting knocked down.
This dude loves being outside, and I love the nap he takes after burning off all that energy running around. We try to get out and do something active every day, even if it’s just going to Rotary Park (which is within walking distance). We did that one afternoon last week, and Parker had the time of his life running around the empty playground.
How ridiculous is this face? It’s Parker’s new go-to expression, and he knows how insanely adorable it is. This baby keeps me on my toes as he becomes more and more like a little boy every day. Each new development reveals a new facet of his personality, and it is so much fun to get to know him better.
The last couple weeks have been pretty great. Since I’m on summer break, we’ve spent basically every waking hour together with the exception of a few hours of grandma time here and there. I try to keep our days as interesting as possible, because being cooped up in the house during the summertime is just wrong. We go on daily walks, take lots of trips to the park, and of course, get our pool time in.
Parker is still a huge fan of the water, though he doesn’t quite understand why he has to be in his floatie or in someone’s arms the whole time. He’s pretty independent for a tiny tyke. He is also way too cool for sippy cups; he’d much rather drink out of mama’s water bottle. Don’t ask me how, but he figured out how to drink out of the Camelbak — which is pretty amazing considering you have to bite the straw and suck.
When we do have some downtime around the house, Parker’s favorite activity is reading. This kid is obsessed with books! He likes to take them all off his bookcase and then plop right down in the middle, going from book to book. He flips through a few pages and then moves on to the next one. His favorites at the moment are Fuzzy, Fuzzy, Fuzzy and the That’s Not My…(Dinosaur/Kitten/Monkey) series.
I’m going to miss these lazy summer days when the pace picks up next week. We will head to Denver for a long weekend on Thursday, and then it’s back to work for this mama (only 4 days a week). As usual, summer is already going by too quickly and I’m trying to soak up every last drop.
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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