Confession I am an adult woman who had never owned an electronic toothbrush until a few weeks ago. Why? Why would so wait so long? First off I though they would cost hundreds of dollars, the other big reason would be I thought I didn’t have the space. Seems silly but hear me out, I don’t have a vanity in my main level bathroom, space is scarce, basically enough for a hand soap and that’s it, plus we all know anything within reach of a toddler will be grabbed off of the counter so that’s not an option.
Enter the Smile Brilliant cariPRO. Mornings are complete chaos, CHAOS. Remembering to brush my teeth before noon is a task let alone making sure I am taking the time I really need to do it. Y’all! I don’t get freaking two minutes to brush my teeth without a stage five clinger attached sometimes. What is happening? But, I’m serious as soon as the girls are awake it’s pedal to the medal. So, the fool proof timed brushing, my jam, I can continue to chase while brushing and KNOW that I got it done properly. I swear my teeth are whiter and feel front he dentist clean, after I finally get to brush them for the day. ha ha!
It’s sleek enough to pop into the storage with the rest of my family’s toothbrushes include the FOUR my daughter hoards. My favorite mode is the “White” but, I would have really loved to have the “Sensitive” as an option during my pregnancy when I had super touchy teeth and gums. The kit come with the charging station which it totally modern, magnetic, and space not like some of the other “displays” that other brands come with. I don’t need to display it, I need to charge it occasionally and brush with it. The charge holds for roughly 30 complete timed cycles, so at twice a day brushing that gets you about two weeks worth, not bad! Then leave it on the charger overnight until the light turns green again and you are good to go again.
What’s the cost of the freshest breath, whitest, and cleanest teeth I have ever had outside of a dentist’s visit? Only $119 for the starter kit with two brush heads! When you break that down by cost per use or even year that’s a steal! But, fear not I have your chance to win one! Enter below for your chance to win a starter keep and have great teeth despite your children.
If you don’t win or can’t wait to give this brush a try use my code shaunahyler20 to save 20% OFF when you order, such a great deal! Let me know what you think!
I you follow me on Instagram and I hope you do, you would have experienced the epic fail, that was my first serious attempt at potty training that I documented for you my friends, to follow along with....
I mean it helped me keep my sanity for one, sharing it, and there was so much solidarity when I called it quits after 8 hours. I couldn’t clean up one more per puddle and my then two year old and I were both nearly in tears.
This time I was more prepared and she was showing the classic signs of being “ready.” She can pull her own pants up and down, she told us when she was wet or dirty (sometimes) I mean she just generally didn’t love being in a nasty diaper even taking it off sometimes on her own (facepalm). She was interested in other people going potty. So, for a week leading up to us starting I told her I was going to be throwing her diapers away and brought out all her character underwear and encouraged her to look and them and choose which ones she might want to wear. Then it began...
The Monday, admittedly, two weeks after I told her I was going to toss her diapers (I wasn’t mentally prepared the first week) I put underwear on her after I took off her nighttime diaper and was armed with “potty candy” and stickers. LET’S DO THIS THINGGGGG.
The mornkng started off very shaky, she asked for one of her friends to come over that day and so agreed only because this friend is potty trained, AND I knew her momma would keep me sane and encourage me to continue going through the trenches of my pee and pop cover house (Love you Kam!). When her little friend went on the potty for the first time at our house I rewarded her with a potty candy. Listen, pissed isn’t even a strong enough word for the emotion that came out of my toddler. Where was HER potty candy????
Me: “You did not go on the potty so you don’t get potty candy, when I see pee in the toilet you can pick any color you want.”
Who was I? Some hardcore potty candy wielding drill Sargent? I don’t know but something came over me and I was determined, I KNEW she could do it and there was no going back. We struggled through the morning but stuck too it and by lunch time I could see the light, the underwear were piling up in the tub but alas there was pee in the potty. Three potty candies were earned that day and her best friend said she was proud of her for going pee on the potty!!!
You have to up the ante a bit as you go, for every three stickers she gets a prize or varying sizes. Her Gigi got her a charm bracelet which is honestly genius, so every three that hit the pot and her characters on her underwear stay dry and “happy” as she says, which is too cute, she can pick a charm or something else. The rest of th prizes are random small things from the bins at Target! Once a whole sheet is filled she gets a big prize, like a new Barbie! My kid is most definely reward and attention motivated. EVERYONE in the house has to know every time she goes and they have to be proud, she even made me call my mom to tell her a few times. I’ll call the president if it lands a turd in the toilet ok kid?
So what else was different this time? She was older, by like fourish months I think. Up until we were ready to really give it a go this time we didn’t talk about, just leave it alone, we even put the potty seats away for a while. The praise is really really high, and the rewards are even better. Why would you want to just play all day and have someone change you? Never having to stop your fun for a trip to the bathroom right? Whatever gets her to do it has to be better than waiting and getting a diaper changed. So whatever that is for your kid figure that out. We only let her hang out with friends that were potty trained for the first week. Later that week another little girlfriend came over too and they got the potty candy and again that worked like a charm, no accidents during that visit.
Maybe most importantly my husband and I were on the same page, no diapers and NO PULL UPS! Stick it out until after dinner time when she gets into PJs diaper for sleeping only. Which honestly is such a relief when you aren’t on edge that you are going to walk through a pee pile. Best part of the night.
The thing is you have to let them lead though, no matter how you do it, read their cues. Are they proud? Do they want to do it? Are they ready? The most unexpected rewarding part is the changes in her. She is still a stinker, she’s three give me a break. But, she is definitely soak up something that’s just for her, Mom and Dad are more focused on her that we have been able to be since little sister came along. Of course she is still a three-nager, but there is a spark in her and more of a connection to me I think anyways. It was such an experience to kind of watch her grow through, and myself to be honest. It is so true whoever said you have not truly experienced parenting until you have potty trained. Godspeed!
Oh, and the letterboard is just a line from Big Daddy that won’t stop playing my head. I am still most definitely the wiper of asses.
“My cup runneth over!” Or my breasts runneth over and filled my freezer. Something like that. So, I stand holding my 7 month and and stare into my packed freezer of perfectly frozen and “bricked” rows on rows of breast milk, and I count in my head as I place another precisely measured and sealed bag nice and flat to freeze, “everything the freezer light touch is your kingdom little one...” oh wait different kind of story. But, nevertheless there we stood, me feeling proud, her feeling robbed that the noisy machine she made every attempt to unplug stole her milk in the end.
First time around in this EBF rodeo I never made it passed 100 ounces in the fridge at once. 100 though? Good job right? Meh, it’s ok if I’m being honest but babies eat a lot of milk in a day, a lot. My girls in particular never went more than 3 hours without nursing, typical two hours, yes even still at 8 months. So three ounces every two hours for the twelve hours she is awake, 18 oz give or take because when she is taking it from the tapper we don’t really know how much she’s getting exactly. 18oz a day out of 100oz, ain’t gonna last very long. But the intent of the stash was never to deplete it, just to tide her over if I didn’t pump enough for the day during my morning session, or worked late, or a bottle got spilled or went back. But, the best laid plans right? I started rushing home with full breasts begging my husband not to thaw another bag, adding a night pump session that was just drips in hopes of restoring my gold mine, to no avail by the end of the year, I was down to my last bag and ready to take my pump to burning man. I told myself, never again.
New baby new plan. With my second I started pumping earlier and more often and very, very diligently. My body adjusted, my routine were established, my stash grew. Now, I have just over 4 months left and an abundance of breastmilk that risks not being consumed. I reached out to my tribe “how can I help another momma?” They offered up suggestions, and personal testimonials as donors and recipients and my momma heart smiled! I could do this I could bring this joy to another momma!
I sheepishly post my first offer of 100 ounces of the good stuff in a Human Milk 4 Human Babies Page on Facebook. Then I waited, then I panicked “what if no one wants my milk?” “How will I chose who gets my milk?” “Is this even a good offer, is it enough milk?” “Will it really help someone or am I just trying to make myself feel better?” The messages started rolling in and as I chatted with moms I realize I had a criteria that I didn’t know existed. But, oh boy did it exist. Ideal ages, stories, connection, location, just a feeling deep down I needed to feel. What’s the big deal Shauna you want to give it to someone how about the first taker she needs it right? I know right!? I have spent almost 8 months of my life, pumping, measuring, flattening, freezing, labeling, counting, cleaning, time, money, sweat, tears, and LOVE. This is a piece of me literally, I didn’t think I would feel this way I am so not a sap. But, there I was giving mommas the third degree and waiting for the spark like I’m speed dating.
Then there she slide into my DMs. She explained that her 9 month old was eating just more than she produced in a day while she was away. She also explained that she has plenty for a while so don’t feel bad if I don’t choose her, and thanked me for donating. I didn’t cry right then but, I did want to. A few mommas were pushy and some and just weren’t forth coming and I just didn’t feel a connection or relatable to some at all. But THIS momma, shared that with her first she produced enough and was fortunate enough to donate and knows how it feels the first time and that this donation would be enough for her to provide for him until he turned one. My heart swelled and I chose her.
I KNEW that stress of making just not quite enough and watching your stash
slowly deplete just as you think you are about to get ahead. I wanted to take that stress off of her shoulders and help her meet her goal. So I did, she came with her cooler and baby, and I exchanged my full bags of milk for fresh new empty ones from her. I told her baby boy to enjoy the milk and felt the weight lift off of her shoulders, or maybe the old me felt it.
I never really knew anything about donor milk or milk banks or any of it, until now. I honestly don’t know if I would take donor milk if the shoe was on the other foot but maybe, maybe the me who knotted her stomach and counted every last drip as a I pumped sitting on a floor pumping, hunched over my lunch, swiping through pictures and videos of my baby on my phone because that’s supposed to help right. Maybe? But, this time I don’t have to wonder and I am just so filled with joy knowing I could help someone else. ❤️
Trying to make it look like you are not drowning every second of the day as a mom is totally harder than it looks. It can be compared to trying to pull off a wash and go style, or a natural makeup look, like, way more work than you would ever think goes into making something look natural. A few people have complimented me (like on an especially good day) and my ability to keep two children alive for almost three years for one and a ripe 7 months for the two of them simultaneously so I feel that gives me authority to give advice. Kidding, sort of. Here's my half assed advice on surviving summer with two, maybe a little diddy will be helpful here.
I never pictured that I would even have it together enough to ever leave the house with them both and no we do it multiple times a week in a relatively effective fashion. Bonus: we are typically on time if not early places.
More specifically, high value toys or snacks that can be used to peel your oldest child away from whatever fun activity they would like to keep doing when it is way passed time to leave. Think "rice crispy treat with sprinkles" or "themed fruit snacks." Save the "big guns" for emergencies, offer ICE CREAM. WE ALL DO IT PEOPLE.
Play places with gates that lock, strollers, outdoor play yard, exersaucer, high chair, BABY CARRIER, it is best to have one child contained in a specific area at any given time, especially if both children are mobile! Just spend the money on ALL of the baby gear of all varieties to maintain your sanity (sell it later). I have a carrier and TWO strollers in my car at all times because, life comes at you fast, your containment play can change on route to your destination.
Sunscreen BEFORE you get to the fun place, you don't want to chase a toddler while the swimming pool is dangling like a carrot in front on them! TRUST! Pack all the snacks because toddlers who loved gold fish yesterday wouldn't be caught dead eating them today! Also, keep a well stocked diaper bag, go check out my packing list for our diaper bag, I always restock when we get home so we are good to go whenever at least with the bare minimum of supplies.
Take your time.
I know its normal to feel anxiety when your kid decided to have a blow out of barf on you right when you are ready to walk out the door but that's life honey buns, your friends and destination can and will wait. Take your time, handle everything appropriately and make sure you have everything y0u need before walking out the door, nothing like forgetting your kids water and paying $7 for a bottled one at the zoo. 🙃
Just say no.
Don't take your kids into a situation you are not ready to handle with both. Some things are two extreme for us still, I know they will just end in tears flowing from multiple family members. The best part of saying no is that your kids has literally no clue what they are missing? So, don't beat yourself up, kay?
Choose your tribe.
DO NOT HANG OUT WITH PEOPLE WHO WILL JUDGE YOU! Chose a tribe at your level and stage of motherhood, the ones who will give you the nod a wink, who will say "oh just glad it isn't my kid this time" with just the amount of empathy and sarcasm you need because NEXT time Lord it will be there kid and you will feel their pain! Smile and nod to that momma peeling her kid of the ground or breastfeeding without a cover because her toddler is using it as a cape, I FEEL YOU! I SEE YOU! Life is too short to act like you are out here momming harder or better than someone else. Share your secrets!
Having a second kid is like going from 1 kid to 100 kids. You are so much more tired, so much more anxious, and its so much more amazing. We are all hot messes I'm just here to help you hide it as well I do...some days.
You can only truly "learn" to parent once your child is in front of you. All that BS we say to one another about what type of parent we are going to be is JUST that. You have not a damn clue. You can talk about what type of parent you aspire to be but you don’t really know until it happens, boom, you have a kid out in the world!
Three things my FIRST born taught me.
1. I know nothing.
"I was the perfect parent until I had kids."
Yep that was me, misses know it all with a list 10 feet long of "things I would NEVER do as a mom. Isn't that just freaking hilarious.
2. I can only parent the child I was given, er, made.
I had a billion list and ideas and things I would and wouldn't do and plans, ha plans! I had 'em. The way the I can parent is 100% based on my reactions and interactions with this small human, who is very different from me, but a mirror image of me all at once. I can not take credit for all that she is, I can choose how to react and how to parent her only, not an imaginary being I thought would appear that always listened and potty trained herself and would never misbehave in public. Not that child, this child I have that is a living breathing human I can not control.
3. Patience, Patience, Patience.
Nothing was happening on my timeline or my way anymore, this was a tough one to swallow but a very necessary lesson to learn. I was no longer the boss, this tiny human is in charge of me, when I sleep, when I eat, when she eats, I am simply the vessel.
Three things my LAST born taught me.
1. You HAVE TO say no.
Life is a whirlwind with one, its a Tsunami with two. There is no more yes to everything. There is no more accommodating. No is my new favorite word. No because they need naps, no because it's too hot, it's too cold, no because I simply do not want to. What ever is best for my village is what I shall choose.
2. You can do this.
It is fucking hard being a parent. It is hard everyday. But, I can do it and so can you. We do it everyday. When people compliment me on surviving, hell somedays even thriving with two I take it in grace, because the next day there could be a turd in the middle of my floor and barf in my hair. We are all hot messes but we can do it, we DO do it, somehow, everyday. Sometimes it is like I am living the life of one of my beautiful Instagram squares and some days it pure chaos and tears. Either way, I get it done.
3. You made the right choice.
When I look at my girls together sometimes I just tear up. This is it. Even though I was miserable at the end of my pregnancy, even though I am tired and sore down to my bones sometimes.
Every pound gained.
Every contraction felt.
Every late night wake up.
Every nursing session.
Every pump session.
Every single thing is worth it. Every. ONE.
Three things my NIECE taught me.
1. It's not where you come from, it's where you belong.
I don't really have to explain this I don't think. ❤️
2. You don't get to decide when the time is right.
After watching the journey that led to her, I am amazed. It is just proof that we are not in control and what child comes to us when is not up to us. And now, here we are, basking in the joy of some of the most joyful children I have ever met.
3. Even though someone parents different than you, it's also perfect.
Just like I said I can only parent the kiddos I have the same goes for everyone else. My sister and her wife couldn't have a more different take on parenting than my husband and I. How happy are our girls? Like lil piglets in poop happy. Every single one. They are the perfect parents for her and are we for our girls. Let stop with the damn shaming already! I am 100% positive I would not be the right parent for my niece and my sisters aren't perfection for my girls. But, would we all lay down out lives and do whatever it takes for anyone of these ladies? You bet your ass.
Lets start at the beginning. First things first. The worst thing about breastfeeding is pumping. It's not latch or chapped nipples or waking up at night to feed. It the damn pump. Attached to you, draining every drop of gold, just for you to spill it on the counter because the baby is crying and you are rushing to transfer it into a bag to store. I HATE pumping, I think you would be hard pressed to find someone that found their roll as Bessy enjoyable. But, alas, we are not here today to dream about the moment we can finally set fire to are milk expression machinery. We are here to talk about the holy shit moment when I thought I had been wasting my life pumping and storing over 500 oz for my impending return to work all for...my baby to refuse a bottle. ALL THAT FROZEN MILK Y'ALL. Ready for the thawing. Waiting to nourish my sweet babe while I returned to the world of the living from Mombie land. Don't let this happen to you, don't be like Shauna.
So much baby gear so little time! I have researched and researched and asked for advice and bought and sold and switched out baby gear. Here are the five things that I would say helped me through this first 2 months with two under 3! If you would have asked me last time around I know for a fact I would have had different answers I just don't think I every got around to writing that blog! Ok, here we go. Five faves from a second time momma.
I have had a love affair with this pump since my first time nursing. It is powerful, portable (enough), and super simple to use. There are tons of accessories you can get for it to make your life even easier. I has a pretty standard price point for a pump I would say in the $200 range. But, you may be able to get it covered by your insurance, see my blog about that here. I even used it to pump on a road trip with the battery adaptor when we thought it was a good idea to take a 9 month old on a 18 hour car trip. That I do not recommend.
Double the poops double the stink. I had pretty much given up on my diaper genie before my second was born because I was so freakin sick of buying those special bags. How freakin’ annoying! Then I discovered this adapter which is amazing, you can use their 7 layer bags, or ANY bag, yes any bag!!! No more of pressing that last diaper in just to have the bag go flying into the bottom of the pail! Because we’re friends you can use the code SHAUNA30 for 30% off of your order. Boom!
We rotated through all of the brands of swaddles that we had on hand in the first few nights being home with the new baby. This one did the trick and it's super easy to use, no snaps or zippers, you can practically do it with your eyes closed in the middle of the night...
This has been the preferred seat for relaxing and napping for both of my girls. I think that it is at just the right angle and snuggly enough to comfort them, it also has a vibration option. Super simple, easy to clean, light weight to take from room to room. It is also important that it keeps the baby high enough off of the ground so that the dog can't reach her.
I can not say enough about this sling! I am just really wishing I would have used a ring sling the first time around. I have no idea how I would have survived these first two months without it, I think I probably would have never left the house at all! With my oldest I was a little intimidated by baby carriers to be honest I am so glad that I got over that fear, I think you kind of have to wear your second to survive.
I hope this is helpful for you mommas! Of course I could go on and on about baby gear, just feel free to ask!
So guys, remember that post when I was like, asking for advice on how to survive a plane ride with a toddler? None of that mattered, all she wanted was the tablet and to watch Trolls while she was awake. But, that's not what really matters, something no one could prepare for happened.
I solemnly swear this is the truth! I am not going to embellish because the story is already unfuckin' believable.
Before I get down to the details, if you don't have kids, or even if you do we need a reference point for the stages of toddler poop:
Turd - self explanatory, belongs in a toilet but kid refuses to put it there.
Cream cheese - either they at something a little wrong, or, it was a turd and they decided that it was acceptable to continue normal activities with it in their diaper including sitting.
Mashed potato - no outward signs that your kid has pooped are present because it slid right out and they continued about their business.
Melted smoothie - specks of food are visible, overall liquid texture, likely will leak out the side of the diaper.
Vinaigrette - smells God awful, acidic, your kid's stomach is fucked, mostly liquid, features small pieces of poo "shrapnel"
So, the night before we were headed to leave on our big adventure. It began. Right before bath time, toddler squatting and screaming inconsolably until "vinaigrette" poo escaped her tiny little body, took 2 to hours get her down for the night, no bath before plane travel, not a good start. Then, her worried parents paced around the house continually checked the monitors and did a middle of the night diaper change only to discover.... A FIVE ALARM DIAPER RASH!
Fuck. We are about to board a plane = two hours of sitting, followed by a one hour car ride, with a hot booty tot. Not good. I scraped the last of the triple paste from the bottle, slathered that booty, and hit a 24 hour Walgreens on the way to the airport. Jesus help us.
Ok, we're on the road and everyone is so nervously excited!!! It's freakin 5am, I'm jazzed, game face on, all the toys and snacks are ready. Baby Phee here we come (oh and Britt and Erin, and Baby S).
Just hanging in the back of the truck singing Trolls jams with my baby and then it happened. One second I forgot one minor detail, before we left at 4:30am, the hot butt baby slammed not one but two drinkable yogurts and I was too sleep deprived and distracted when she screamed for a second one that I just gave it to her instead of thinking that through. Big mistake. DAIRY PUKE, in the car seat that we are taking on the plane. What a cruel world we live in. And side note, why do kids ALWAYS put their hands right in the projectile puke path?
Incase you wanted to know, wipes are good for cleaning a multitude of messes, Danimal barf removal from a car seat is not one of these. But, a mom on a mission, on a curb, in an airport unloading zone, is a woman with a way. So, I did the best I could, packed that stink bomb in the bag and off we went.
Oh one good thing did happen, babygirl was going to be a lap rider because why wouldn't I take advantage of that while I could? She won't be two until next month, boom, money in the bank. Luckily, the flight was not full so we got to occupy the whole row, and I'm sure everyone else was grateful for this as well. Because...during boarding, a devilish child, I mean my sweet offspring, squatted down in front of her seat, and "melted smoothie" happened. Did you hear me, during BOARDING. People are coming down the aisle, there is no hope of getting this poo out until we are in the fucking air.
Everyone strapped in, own seats, Princess Poppy is at the ready. As soon as the seatbelt light is off I'm up for the impossible task that is changing a giant toddler in an airplane bathroom. Time of take off 6:25 am. Time my poo clad toddler fell asleep on the plane. 6:35 am.
Now, I had a choice to make here. Wake a sleeping, chapped assed, beast, then attempt to change said beast in a glorified port-a-john, and have both of us make it out alive. Or, let the beast rest, survive the flight, deal with what lies beneath when we get there. Third possibility which was out of my control is deal with it if and when she wakes up mid-flight.
What time do you think Ursula woke up. If you guessed "right when the seatbelt like came on and we began descending," step on down and claim your prize! There we were trapped in a three seat, doo doo death trap, inside of a flying tin can. And now that she is awake she is miserable, refusing to sit, bouncing on my legs in sneakers, and screaming. My husband even asked the flight attendant if there was anyway we could just go change her quickly in a desperate plea. Denied.
I think I blacked out for the rest of the flight. We made it. Somehow. Got to the nearest bathroom, screaming, wiping, second wardrobe change of a the day, and a ring pop later, we got our bags and sour car seat and made our way to Long Island with the sweet smell of upchuck in my nose in the back of a rental car.
The weekend spent with family was rather uneventful in the best way possible, and in relation to the horrifying events of the aforementioned car, and plane ride. There was a really, really cute one month old baby who is my new Niece! How lucky am I!?!? Two crazy toddlers, my sisters (parents of the most perfect niece ever born) who we were so happy to see after not being in the same state since last Christmas. However, 3 kids under two and 4 adults in a cozy, two bedroom, rental for four days could really be a blog of its own...
The plane ride back was far less eventful, I think the Lord knew I was too weak to handle much more. But, she did not sleep a wink and there was a "mashed potato" diaper. If you think I let her sit in that diaper after spending 3 days tending to a diaper rash that was one wrong wipe from broken skin and ended our beach trip early, you are a very silly person.
"Center seat changing station for two please." You know what really seals the smell of sweet diaper changed victory away from other passengers? Puke bag. See how we came full circle here? Fold over twice, and bend the tabs like so.
'Til next time, I wish you all SAFE, bodily fluid free, travels. Bon voyage.
Just a momma trying to figure it all out and survive this crazy life I love.
Shauna Hyler, mommy of two beautiful girls! Working, blogging, and adventuring with the hubby and my sweet girls.