A Struggle In The Dark: Jessica’s Story

Those of you who have been following for a while may have already seen the story of my battle with Postpartum Anxiety and Depression (if you haven’t, or would like to read it again, you can see it here).  This year, because I know that every experience is different, I wanted to share stories from other moms.  Hopefully, you can read these and know, whatever your experience has been, you are not alone.  

Read on for Jessica’s story. 

Sleep when the baby sleeps. The advice given to women around the world since the beginning of time. So I did. Or at least I tried. I would lay there in bed. My heart racing in my chest. Breathing as deeply as I could, trying to slow it down. Then I would hear my child crying. My head would pop up to listen. But he was not crying. He was asleep in the other room. All I could hear in my head were his screams. So I would sing to myself. Only one song. Only the chorus. “I don‘t want to be lonely no more“…those were the only words I knew, but I would sing it over and over in my head like a broken record player. Finally, I gave up. I could not sleep.

I could not sleep. I could not eat. I couldn’t physically swallow. It was as if there was a wad of cotton stuck in the back of my throat. Food was so dry. And the waves of nausea that would ebb and flow only made it worse. The advice given to women when breastfeeding? You need an EXTRA 500 calories a day to help your body produce milk. I was lucky if I could nibble my way through 500 calories total in a day. I couldn’t eat. Dizziness ensued. I wouldn’t stand while holding my child, for the fear of falling over lingered in the back of my sleepy head. Talking on the phone and watching tv only made my head spin more. I spent most of my day with my eyes closed. 

Calls to the doctor were made. Try vitamin this or that. Maybe ginger ale? How about the BRAT diet? No. This wasn’t my equilibrium giving me problems. This wasn’t an ear infection. I COULD NOT SLEEP. I COULD NOT EAT. I could not take care of this newborn who was placed in my arms only a few days ago. But, I tried these remedies. Nothing helped.

Finally, after a week, I went to the doctor. In a tearful sleepy daze, I remember asking her if this was all self-inflicted. Was I just nervous? I didn’t know what was going on. At the time, I had only been educated on postpartum depression. I had never even heard of postpartum anxiety. But, that is what it was. Anxiety. Now what? Zoloft. Oh how it pained me to hear the word antidepressant. The stigma of antidepressants weighed ever so heavily on me. Only weak people took pills to make themselves feel better right? But, if they helped with the anxiety. Ok. What ever you say doc.

But I wasn’t depressed…yet. A few days later, those “I don’t want to hold my baby” feelings kicked in. Even looking at him would make my stomach flip over. He was the cause of all of this. He was why I felt like a zombie in someone else’s body. I wouldn’t share those thoughts with anyone, but you could see it on my face. 

Luckily, after a week or so, I was feeling better. So much better. I was sleeping. Eating. Loving my baby. The meds helped, but made me feel a little off. So I decided to stop taking them after three weeks…never taking a whole dose of the medication.

About a month later, we let my mother keep our child overnight. For no reason, only because she wanted to. I felt very awkward about it, which I assumed was completely normal considering it was the first night away from my little one. But, something felt awkwardly familiar. I hardly slept that night. Was rather panicky. Not hungry. And when the time came to pick up our little boy, I didn’t want to. I wanted to leave him there. I told my parents I did not want this responsibility. Knowing full well that was not me. And it was not how I really felt. But I could not help having those thoughts. I still remember the look of dismay on their faces. How do you explain to someone how you feel, when you don’t understand it yourself? I did not want my child. I wished I had had a miscarriage. Wished none of this had ever happened. I cried every day. Went through the motions of life with so much anger and confusion. My anxiety level was at an all time high. Panic attacks every time I tried to sleep. My temper was short. Especially with this being that I wanted nothing to do with. 

I couldn’t eat, again. And because I could not eat, my body would not produce enough milk to sustain my child. So I pumped as much as my non-caring brain would allow me to. But soon enough, even the thought of having to pump caused me much grief. My breasts just hurt. I would cry at the thought of pumping one more time. 

I felt so alone and in such a dark, dark place. “How DARE YOU feel that way about your child.” “Suck it up and deal with it.” “Oh, it’s all in your head.” All of this floating around my head like some cartoon character in deep contemplation. 

And then one day while at my parents house, I tried taking a nap. I laid on the bed and closed my eyes. The longer I laid there, the faster and harder my heart would beat. I tried taking deep breaths. In. Out. My heart was racing. Soon enough, I found myself close to hyperventilating. I got out of bed. Short of breath. my heart felt as if it would just jump out of my chest and run away. And as I walked out of the room I saw my mother holding this sleeping child. MY sleeping child. My child who I wanted nothing to do with. But there he was. And I loved him. But, I could not bring myself to take him from her. I burst into tears. Rambling apologies through gut wrenching sobs. And I knew right then and there, this had to stop. I had a job to do. I had a child to take care of. He relied on me. And I could not continue going day to day feeling like this. 

I was done. I knew what this was. I knew that THIS was not me. And I could not deny it, fight it or hide from it. It was staring at me in the mirror every day. Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. I wanted it gone. I wanted to feel somewhat normal. I wanted to be able to enjoy at least a flicker of time with my child.

So, back on the medication I went. And this time, I took the correct dose, knowing that I was in fact not weak. And if I needed this medication to help me get through my suffering, then so be it. I also started taking birth control to help regulate my hormones. Anything to get my brain and body back in working, functioning order. 

But, in order to take birth control, I had to make a very difficult decision. I had to stop breastfeeding. A decision that broke my heart into a million pieces. My body had failed me. Because of all of the mental interruptions, my physical body could not do what it was meant to do. Feed my child. Something I wanted so badly and still pains me to this day. But, I knew it was best for my child and my mental health. Antidepressants, birth control and formula. Three things that would be my life savers. 

Then, I waited. Waited for those pills to start working. A week went by. I was still not sleeping well. Waking way too early, thinking my heart was going to bounce out of my chest and walk away. Food was a little more palatable. But, I couldn’t eat while in the presence of my child. He still made my stomach flip. So I would sneak off into the bedroom to attempt to eat. 

But soon enough, one day, I slept. All night long. And it felt like I had slept for days. A small victory. But what it did for my mental state was immeasurable. Food began to have a little more flavor. Swallowing became a little more easier. I started feeling a resemblance of my former self. I began to see the light after a long struggle in the dark.

A few weeks later, I sat in my rocking chair feeding my child. The child who, only a month ago, I wanted nothing to do with. Wished his existence to cease. This being in my arms with a head full of blonde hair and big blue eyes. A sole dimple on his right cheek. This wonder I had created, with a whole life ahead of him. He was mine. His presence no longer made my stomach flip in agony. He made my heart jump. But in a way I never could imagine…

Jessica is the mother of one little boy in Amarillo Texas. She is a Postpartum Progress Warrior Mom and a strong advocate for maternal mental health, always offering peer support to those who need it.
If you haven’t seen it yet, please take a moment to watch the 3rd Annual Climb Out of the Darkness official video.  #myfightsong #climbout #warriormom

Have a story YOU would like to share?  Please email twofaulttolerant@gmail.com.  Want to join the Climb next weekend or donate to the cause?  Go here!

If you or someone you love is struggling with perinatal mood disorders, find help at www.postpartumprogress.org.

Summer Sun & Fun with #Swimways

I participated in a Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for SwimWays. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
I don’t know how it is in the summer where you live, but here in Texas, we have two key ingredients to summer survival: water and air conditioning.  When you have kids, the water part, while fun, can also be incredibly stressful.  I’ve found that quality water safety products can make a mom’s (or dad’s!) life so much easier when pool/beach/lake season hits.  Good support products also make for smooth transitions to water activities for younger children, setting the stage for a lifelong love of swimming and promoting confidence and independence.  

The Swimways brand has been helping children learn to swim for over 40 years, and they’ve even created the Swim Steps program, making it easy for parents to navigate entry into the world of swimming and for children to become confident swimmers.  If you’ve followed my blog much, you already know that I don’t pay empty lip service to products, and I only choose to work with companies in whom I truly believe, no matter the compensation.  So when I say that Swimways is a best bet for peace of mind, you can rest assured that I really mean it.

Read on for my review of what is, in my opinion, the single best baby float on the market today: the Swimways Baby Spring Float.  (Along with some photos of our non-traditional swim party/photo shoot….)

As soon as our Baby Spring Float came in the mail, Thing 1 and Thing 2 immediately began the “Let’s Go Swimming Nownownownownow” Campaign.  Planning to do a formal photo shoot at a later date, we obliged, and the kids LOVED it.  And let me tell you, this mama loved it too.  Keeping track of a rowdy preschooler and an adventurous toddler can be trying at the best of times.  Throw in a pool, and you can easily have a recipe for Mama Meltdown.  Honestly, though, I feel like the Baby Spring Float gives me a way to gently introduce Thing 2 to the water, while still being able to play with Thing 1, who is still not ready to swim independently yet.  

Some things I loved:

  • Sturdy construction:  the materials used on this float are truly quality.  They feel strong and durable, and the float manages to be both substantial and lightweight all at once.
  • Quick pop open design: When your kids are ready to get in the pool, they’re ready NOW, and you don’t have time for a labor intensive float/toy process.
  • Removable, multi-position canopy: I love this canopy! It’s easy to put on and take off, and it can be used in a full upright position or clipped back at a recline.  So much versatility!

The only real “complaint” I have is that it took me a minute to figure out the valves on the small section that inflates.  At first I thought it wasn’t working, but then Mr. TFT (thank goodness for engineers, right?) showed me that the valve flap is just really low.  Once you figure out that part, you’re golden.  And it actually makes the inflating process (you know, where you interrupt yourself multiple times to yell at children to stop beating one another with pool noodles?) much easier because the air doesn’t all leak back out if you stop pinching the valve.

Now, parenting is all about having a backup plan —a two fault tolerance, if you will–for when things don’t go quite as planned.  And let’s be honest, that’s most of the time, right?  So, as I mentioned before, we had a wonderful time using our float with the intention of doing a photo shoot a few days later.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans.  We have had an endless barrage of cooler weather, severe storms, and sick kiddos (and Mama…).  With a deadline looming, a husband going out of town for business, and no end in sight on storms, I formulated a brilliant plan for getting action photos of the float.

Ok, so Mr. TFT might argue the validity of my “brilliant idea” claim, and admittedly the inflatable pool I rushed out to buy was, well, larger than I realized….but we had an indoor pool party all the same!  Only, Mr. TFT drew the line at actually filling the pool with water in the living room, so you’re going to have to work with me a little here.
There was much excitement from Thing 1 and Thing 2 at the prospect of an indoor pool party, although, as you can see above, Thing 2 quickly decided that Mama’s “pool party without water” was an incredibly nonsensical idea.  Nevertheless, we got in our floaty (Thing 1 insisted it was only fair for him to get in too, of course), and we even did some floating on our backs.  Check out my awesome bikini!
I know you’re all jealous of our amazing #Swimways pool party fun, and since May 16th is National Learn To Swim Day, now is a great time for you to buy your own Baby Spring Float!  Remember to kick off summer safely with these resources and tips!

A “Statute of Limitations” on Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders?

About 6 months after Thing 2 was born, I sat in my OB/GYN’s office and listened to him tell me that I was no longer really “postpartum” and would need to find another doctor to prescribe my antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds.

Now, before I go further, I must say that I absolutely love my OB/GYN.  He delivered both my children and helped me through the decision process before my hysterectomy.  Even with this experience, I wouldn’t trade the amazing medical services he provided.  In fact, when my gallbladder failed me during my pregnancy with Thing 2 and all tests came back normal, he was the only doctor who said, “Hey, sometimes a doctor just has to listen to the patient and look at symptoms, not just test results.”  

This is a large part of the reason I was so floored when he told me I needed to look elsewhere for treatment and support of my depression and anxiety as I was “no longer postpartum”. At a time when I was feeling extraordinarily vulnerable and helpless, I felt as if one of the few shaky legs I had to stand on for support had been kicked out from under me. I was still in that “you’ve given birth fairly recently” timeframe, so regular doctors sent me to my OB/GYN, but here was my OB/GYN telling me to find a regular doctor.  I think this is indicative of a huge problem with the way our society, as “enlightened” as it is, handles Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders (PMADs)–or really just mood disorders in general.  

The postpartum period is most often defined as the period beginning immediately after birth and extending for about 6 weeks after.  Interestingly, perinatal mood disorders (like postpartum depression and anxiety) can show up any time during pregnancy or in the 12 months after.  That’s a heck of a lot longer than 6 weeks, and it’s certainly longer than what I’ve found to be the standard “acceptable” time frame for suffering.  

In the past two years, I have connected with so many other mothers with stories like mine.  A common thread?  The statement, “Don’t feel bad.  I’m [insert number here] years postpartum, and I still struggle!”  This seems to be the rule, rather than the exception, so I have to wonder why the “rules” haven’t been updated, or at least made more inclusive. Does it really matter how many months ago I had my baby?  I was pretty well in control of myself, then I had a baby, and now I’m not.  I’m married to an engineer, so I get the scientific need to classify things.  But really, in times like this, I think the most important classification to be made is not WHEN you started needing help, but rather WHETHER you need help. 

The last thing any of us needs in this battle is to feel alone, so I encourage you, no matter how old your youngest child is, to know you have a place in the ranks of the Warrior Moms of Postpartum Progress–the women who band together to lift each other up and climb together out of the dark valleys of PMADs. And when we’re standing at the top of those mountains (whether it’s the “I’m finally back” mountain or the “I took a shower today” mountain), you’d better believe we’re there to cheer one another on. There is no real statute of limitations on the suffering of a mother, nor should there be on the availability of support.  

If you know someone who has survived or is currently struggling with PMADs, don’t be afraid to reach out!  In fact, on June 20th, nationwide (and even some international locations!), mothers and friends, families, and supporters will be participating in the Third Annual Climb Out of the Darkness to raise awareness and funds for supporting struggling mothers everywhere.  You can find a climb near you (or start your own!), here.  

Whether you’re taking the trail one step at a time or one day at a time, and whether you are still pregnant, had your baby a few weeks ago, or find yourself wondering where the last 5 years have gone since your baby was born–know that you define your own normal, and you CAN climb back.

Live.Breathe.Grow Gives–A Tricycle for Afton

I’m fairly certain that the first tricycle/bicycle makes the Top 10 list for childhood rites of passage–right up there with First Day of Preschool and First Time to Pee On the Side of the Road (wait…maybe that’s just the list for MY kids…).  For a child with special needs, that list can look a whole lot different (First Time to Breathe Without Assistance, First Holiday Out of the Hospital…), but why should special needs children not get to enjoy some of those same firsts?  Why shouldn’t they get to experience the exhilaration of the first bike ride, too?  

This month, t-shirt company Live.Breathe.Grow is launching its LBG Gives campaign.  Each month, 33% of the sales from a specific shirt design will go toward giving happiness to someone in need, and this month the goal is to help a special little girl ride HAPPY and FREE.  Read on for Afton’s story.

Afton Allen is a sweet little girl who just turned two.  She’s sassy, clever and she knows what she likes.  Afton has also likely fought harder in the past two years than many of us have in our whole lives.  You see, Afton was born at 25 weeks and spent the first 15 months of her life in hospitals.  She has overcome so very many obstacles already and likely has many to come.
Watching Afton grow has been bittersweet.  She was due to be born about a month after Thing 2, so while we celebrate her milestones and hard-won triumphs, we’re also somewhat saddened because she and Thing 2 should be enjoying many of the same things in life.  Though they may never walk hand in hand down the sidewalk, why shouldn’t they be able to stroll side by side in their first trikes? 

Afton’s parents, Ryen and Dana, have many of the same dreams for their child as any parent, and they have, in my opinion, handled challenges and setbacks with beautiful grace.  I’m often shamed by my own tendency to get caught up in trivial frustrations when I look at how the Allen family has coped with considerably more.  So, when the opportunity arose to help get Afton an adaptive tricycle, I jumped.

You see, while most of us can run to the store and get a reasonably priced tricycle for our toddlers, Ryen and Dana are looking at upwards of $1500 to special order an adaptive tricycle that will work for Afton.  That’s a lot of money, but Afton is totally worth that (and so much more).  For those of you who aren’t familiar with adaptive tricycles (and I wasn’t, until we saw that Ryen and Dana were trying to get one for Afton), the benefits of an adaptive tricycle go so far beyond the happy childhood memories of riding (though that’s a big one!).  There are therapeutic benefits as well, including:

  • Lower extremity strengthening
  • Reciprocal leg motion patterning
  • Balancing skills
  • Using visual, spatial perception for steering
  • Social interaction with peers and neighbors

You can find out more about adaptive tricycles here.

This month, when you purchase a BE HAPPY & FREE Live.Breathe.Grow shirt (featuring Ganesh, overcomer of obstacles), you are not only getting a comfortable and trendy shirt, you’re also investing in childhood happiness.  And what better investment is there, really?

Verizon Spring Forward:  What’s Hot Event

What do you think when you hear “Verizon”?  For me, it used to be, of course, “cell phones”.  Then, last week, I went to the Verizon Spring Forward: What’s Hot event, and oh my.  They are seriously more than cell phones!  Wanna hear about the other awesomesauce devices and accessories they carry?  That’s a rhetorical question:  of course you do!
If you follow me on Twitter at all, you’ve probably seen my dance party pics.  One of the devices we learned about at the #VerizonSpring event was the UE Mini Boom.  I got one to take home and, you guys?  We are IN LOVE!  It’s so easy to set up (just power on, hit the Bluetooth button, and select the device on your smartphone), and we can use it everywhere!  I take it upstairs to the kids’ rooms, we used it outside while gardening, and we turned it on for some lovely dinnertime tunes.  Mr. TFT is already planning a purchase of a second one, because you can link two together to get stereo sound.  Yeehaw!  (Oh, and bonus: you can answer your phone while it’s connected for music and use it as a speakerphone.  Mama’s life just got easier!)
Another device we learned about was the Moto 360, and I. Am. In. Love.  This is such a cool watch (and I’m pretty sure Mr. TFT will be getting one for Father’s Day, because I’m far too excited about it to not buy one).  It is an Android Wear device, which means that lots of the fun things you can go with your Android phone, you can now do with your smartwatch.  You can, “Ok Google.”  You can download an app to control your smart thermostat.  Need to send or receive hangouts messages?  Go for it.  Got an urgent email?  Check it.  Want to monitor your heart rate?  Done. The list goes on!  It also comes with a handy charging dock, thought the battery will last all day, and is IP 67 certified (dust and water-resistant).  I actually kinda want one for myself…
These were my faves, and the ones I could see REALLY making parenting easier, but here are some highlights of other devices/accessories we were shown:

  • Kate Spade back-up battery: Ok, so we didn’t learn much about this one, but I thought it was really cute, and it opened my mind to the possibilities of having something other than the plain black backup I borrow sometimes from Mr. TFT.
  • Garmin VivoFit:  This fitness tracker is battery operated (so no charging required), and the battery lasts over a year.  It also tells you when you’re inactive, although if your children are like mine, you already have inactivity monitors in your life.
  • FitBit Flex:  What I liked most about this fitness tracker was that it tracks your sleep modes!  I’m not sure that I need to see a daily reminder of the crappy quality of sleep, but maybe it will bolster my “Mama needs bi-weekly massages” argument?  For those of you who are fashion minded, you can also get Tory Burch covers for this.  Snazzy.
  • Belkin Netcam HD:  If we didn’t already have another very similar system, I would have been very interested in this.  It’s a video security cam, which has a lot of the same features as systems like the DropCam.  So, it has two-way communication, cloud storage for recorded videos, night vision, etc.  This would make a handy video baby monitor system, if you’re looking for one. 
  • WeMo Switch:  You can plug this into a light (or, it can also be used on a surge protector to control multiple!) and turn your lights on and off via your smartphone.  I can think of so many possibilities for this, from the handy (not breaking my neck making it from the door to the lightswitch carrying a sleeping child when I forget to leave a light on before leaving the house) to the fun (mess with your kids at sleepovers, y’all)!
If you need your life to get a little easier, I seriously encourage you high tech your life a little with some of these devices.  Verizon even has Smart Stores, set up according to lifestyle, where you can test these things out!  Yeah buddy!

LILLEbaby Meets tokidoki & Has Trendy Little Baby Carriers

By now, I’m sure many of you have heard about the amazing collaboration between LILLEbaby and tokidoki. You can get your very own limited edition prints of the Complete All Seasons (standard size) and Carry On (toddler size) at lillebaby.com.  If they sell out there or, since the mad rush seems to be breaking the internet, you can also find them at the participating retailers listed below. You may want to put on your speedy typing fingers–they’re going to go fast!

A Much Better Way
Baby Sweet Pea’s
Basic Baby Shop
Blossoming Mama
Castle Rock a My Baby
Cloud 9 Baby
Dearest Diapers
Figgy Fuzz
Fluff Envy
Go Baby Go Shop
Heart Hugs
Heavenly Hold 
Hippie Baby
Itsy Bitsy Bums 
Kelly’s Closet
Kissed By The Moon
Lil Tulips
Maison Drake
Nature Baby Outfitter
Planet Bambini SOLD OUT
Simple Cloth
Simply Carried  
Sweet Cheeks Baby
Wee Sprout

Keep Calm and Carry On

Today’s post concludes the Week of #LILLElove with a review of the newest LÍLLÉbaby carrier, the Carry On.
The Carry On is made of the same ultra-breathable, moisture-wicking mesh as the Airflow which, if you read my review earlier this week, you already know is seriously cool. (See what I did there?)  Since Thing 2 still fits fairly well in the standard sized  LÍLLÉbaby, I use the Carry On primarily for Thing 1, and he loves it.  

To give you some size reference here, Thing 1 is 4.5 years old, 38 lbs, and about 38″.  Mr. TFT (wearing him here) is 6’2″.  As you can see, Thing 1 fits quite nicely in the Carry On, with good knee to knee coverage and back support up to his shoulders.  You can even pull the hood over his head, were he to fall asleep.  

I will say that I frequently carried Thing 1 in our Complete Organic with no issues, but putting him in the Carry On made a world of difference.  The body of the carrier has a wider footprint with padding on the legs, and the shoulder straps and waist belt are also wider, all of which help distribute the weight better.  It truly makes for a more comfortable experience for both mom and little one.  

A few other convenient features are: 

  • Lumbar support:  The Carry on comes with the same amazing lumbar support as the other LÍLLÉbaby carriers
  • Three position (Front, Back, Hip) ergonomic carrying for children up to 60 lbs
  • Three-Way Straps, allowing for maximum adjustability (fantastic when you have parents with two very different frames!)
  • Pockets: There is a large zippered storage pocket, as well as an easy to reach pocket for storing the hood and other essentials.

Of course, the Carry On works wonderfully for Thing 2 as well and, since I have it, I use it when I am out and about with only her.  Toothless the Night Fury says it is just a tad too roomy for a newborn…(Yes, the dragon wearing was heavily influenced by Thing 1.)

One of my favorite things I can do now that I have both an Airflow and a Carry On (dare I say that I am doubly cool?), I can also comfortably tandem wear, which comes in handy on those days when nobody is listening, Daddy is working late, Mama is losing her mind, and each kid comes walking up with a carrier asking to be worn.

Looking Forward to Verizon Spring Forward: What’s Hot?

So.  Many of you know that I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a fashion maven–a fact I was reminded of this morning when I took Thing 2 to school in her dress for Easter Bunny pics, only to see just about every other little girl wearing leggings and tunics (that’s another story)–but we are a fairly high tech family (and by that, I mean Mr. TFT is high tech and the rest of us stand next to him hoping we look cool too), so I’m really excited about tomorrow.

You see, I was invited to attend the Verizon Spring Forward: What’s Hot? event tomorrow.  We’ll be learning about this season’s fun, hot tech, accessories and apps.  Some of the devices we’ll be learning about are: UE Mini Boom Wireless Speaker, Flip 2 Portable Wireless Speaker, Belkin Netcam (HD) Camera with Night Vision, FitBit, and WeMo Switch.

I’m personally very excited to learn about the UE Mini Boom and the Flip 2.  In fact, I was just telling Mr. TFT that we need a good way to play our music upstairs in the kids’ rooms (dragon tea parties are way cooler when there’s music) and outside while we’re working and playing in the yard.  Dance parties everywhere!

My fitness coach (ok, I don’t really have one of those, but it sounds nice, right?) would love for me to get a FitBit to increase motivation and negate the lies I tell myself about calories burned.  I’m really thinking that I’ll leave tomorrow’s event at least 5 lbs skinnier just from learning about the FitBit!

How much easier would it be to spy on your kids with the Belkin Netcam?  I mean, seriously.  HD and Night Vision?  No more parties up in THAT crib!  Get back in bed!  Your kids don’t want me to learn about this one and share my knowledge.  But I will.  Oh yes, I will.

The WeMo Switch is actually a fairly intriguing concept.  Imagine how much simpler your life would be if you could turn off the lights in your house using your smartphone once you finally wrangle all the children into the minivan and realize that you left every light in the house on after searching for junior’s favorite green sock.  Or, turn the lights on when you get home after dark so you don’t trip, break your leg, AND wake the sleeping child on your way to the light switch.  For those of you with older kids: Imagine the fun you could have at sleepovers, all from the comfort of your own bed.  Wait until the scary stories start, then get out your smartphone and play with the lights.  This one is going to be fun!

Joking aside, If you guys have questions about any of these devices (or related topics), post them here, and I’ll try to get answers for you!  

Feelin’ Cool in the  LÍLLÉbaby Airflow

So, it’s no secret that I love to wear my kids or that my carrier of choice is LÍLLÉbaby.  Now, I also live in Texas and, as much as SSC’s are my favorite, It. Gets. Hot. We’ve survived summers in the past with our Complete Organic (including my 2 mile hike for the Postpartum Progress Climb Out of the Darkness last summer carrying a 3.5 year old Thing 1), and it wasn’t terrible, but there was definitely some sweaty Mama and kiddo involved.

Enter the Airflow.  The Airflow is made entirely of a soft, breathable mesh (not just a panel–the WHOLE carrier body), and it’s amazing how much cooler it is.  Our first trial was on a shopping trip to IKEA.  Now, if you’ve ever been to IKEA, you know that getting out in under 2 hours is nearly impossible.  This time, we were there for about 4 hours.  I wore Thing 2 in the Airflow pretty much the whole time.  She even stayed cool enough that she napped for about half the time, which is amazing considering she and I are both hot-natured.  The best part?  When she got down, neither of us was sweaty! 


Back view of Front Toddler Carry (hood in)


Back view of Back Carry (hood out)

As you can see from the photos, Thing 2 (21 months, 29 lbs, approximately 32″) still has good knee to knee coverage and back support.  In both photos, the extra support is folded down, but it can easily be clipped up for extra head/neck/back support when needed.  

After testing this in many other settings and for varying lengths of time (including family walks outdoors), I can honestly say the IKEA no sweat incident was not just a fluke.  Now, I’m sure that when it’s 100+ degrees outside (as it so often is in the summer in Texas), we’ll have a little sweat, but I also know that the magic Airflow mesh will keep us much cooler than we’d otherwise be!

Here are some highlights of the new, redesigned LÍLLÉbaby Complete Airflow:

  • 3D breathable moisture-wicking mesh for maximum ventilation and allowing both parent and little one to stay cool
  • 6 ergonomic carrying positions with no need for an infant insert: front fetal, front infant, front outward, front toddler, hip, and back
  • Lumbar support
  • NEW Two-Way Straps enable carrier to be worn “backpack style” or with straps crossed in the back.  Dual-adjustment buckles simplify breastfeeding and strap adjustment on the go
  • Removable hood
  • Extra tall, extendable torso (provides extra neck and head support for younger little ones and extra back support for older kiddos
  • Pockets (yay!)

The Airflow is currently available in 4 colors: Champagne, Charcoal/Berry, Black, and Grey/Silver.  For those of you with older kids, check out the new Carry On, which is made of the same breathable mesh as the Airflow.  And look for a review of the Carry On later this week.


You don’t LILLE?! Let me share!


Sweet snuggles

Also, if you haven’t yet, don’t forget to enter to win a LÍLLÉbaby doll carrier here.

Pure Food From Pure Spoon

A couple of weeks ago, as I was wandering the produce department of Whole Foods with Thing 1 and Thing 2, the kids spotted a sample table.  Begging ensued, and I figured “Why not?” since it was, after all, the produce department.  (Free samples totally count toward the daily fruit and veggie allotment, you guys–I read it on the internet.)

What we found at the table was Pure Spoon, an organic “from seed to spoon” baby food, made locally in Austin, TX.  Thing 1 mostly eyed the selection dubiously (because he’s 4, and there was nothing chicken nugget shaped…), but Thing 2 tried EVERY SINGLE FLAVOR.  I’m not joking.  She even tried to climb out of the cart to get to the table for more.  The proprietor of Pure Spoon, Alyson Eberle, gave us a couple of containers to take home and try out.

Aside from the fact that Thing 2 really seemed to enjoy the taste, I was really impressed with what I found in researching the company a bit more.  Here are some highlights:

  • Over a pound of Certified Organic fresh fruit and veggies in each container
  • 100% pure and free from preservatives, additives, color, etc.
  • Ingredients are steamed, rather than boiled, to lock in nutrition and flavor
  • Food is pasteurized with High-Pressure Pasteurization to avoid chemicals or nutrient depleting high heat
  • Recipes are created with the help of a licensed pediatric dietician
  • Buy an ounce, give an ounce – For every ounce of Pure Spoon purchased, the company donates an ounce of organic food to feed American children

Now those are some values and practices I can get behind.  If you live in Texas, Oklahoma, or Louisiana, check out your Whole Foods now for some of this yumminess.  It’s marketed as a baby food puree, but it totally gets 4 thumbs up (an an exuberant toddler clap) from me and Thing 2!