Bringing Home Siblings

This post contains affiliate links to help you find the products we have found helpful. We may get a tiny reward if you use our links but the recommendations are our own. Pretty Photo above credited to Jordan Marie Photography

All of us Real Mothers have gone through the fun adventure of bringing home a second or third baby to the family and I think we’ve collectively had just about everything go wrong that the rest of you could expect. The inspiration for this post was a friend’s recent experience of her 2-year-old trying to help “calm” a fussy 1-week old brother by very silently and sneakily feeding him an almond <cue full mom panic by proxy>. Luckily she was watching and everyone is ok.

We thought we’d put together a rundown on what will help avert disaster in sibling-land and make the transition as smooth as possible. Most of this is directed toward families bringing home a new baby with a first child (or multiple children) between the ages of 1-5 years old. Older kids are generally a bit easier to explain about baby safety, mom’s recovery, etc… hopefully.

Talk early and often

IMG_3444Being pregnant while managing a tiny terrorist is hectic in and of itself. If this is baby #3 or more for you on the way, that craziness is compounding. It’s easy to forget to talk to your kids about what to expect with a new baby ahead of time because frankly, you’re just in survival mode 90% of the time as it is. However, it makes a HUGE difference and it is much easier to manage baby’s arrival at home if you have had a few convos ahead of time and set realistic expectations for big brother(s) and/or sister(s). Some strategies include using books (see suggestions below), children’s shows (also below), incorporating a little Q&A or “talking to baby” session into bedtime, or talking about it for a bit when you see other people with small babies.

Don’t Miss Topics:

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Photo credit: Fiona Margo Photography
  • Where Babies Come From: This is bound to come up in one form or another. Rather than just avoiding the conversation, do yourself a favor and have these books: What Makes A Baby and Hello in There!, for a low-level detail, kid-targeted, but medically accurate way to explain how the baby got in there and how it gets back out. Some other great books are in This Fatherly Blog Post.

 

  • Shows: This is a parent and sibling win-win situation. Your kid feels like they are being treated to TV time, and you get help explaining the sibling transition from familiar children’s characters. Some of our favorites include “We Can’t Wait to meet the Baby” and “The Baby is Here!” (also books!) from Daniel Tiger. You can also view some great short videos about welcoming baby on  PBSKids.org.

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  • Baby Safety: As reviewed above, kids love to “help” mom with baby and are often distressed by the baby’s distress. Go over specifically:
    • Never put anything in baby’s mouth (including pacifiers because you don’t know where that thing’s been when the toddler finds it). If your kid is older the rule could be “without asking a parent”, but err on the side of never. Since younger kids understand positive “DO” commands better than negative “DON’T” commands – you can frame this as always bring things to a parent BEFORE giving to baby.” This also is important because younger kids may want to share small (CHOKING HAZARD) toys that they may not understand are dangerous to baby even if they are not put near the baby’s mouth. More than one sibling in our crew has tried to share a lego or two to cheer up their new baby, and they need to understand that sharing with a baby is ONLY okay when a parent approves the toy.
    • Never put anything over the baby’s face. Kids also love to “play peekaboo” or give stuffed animals to the baby which can smother tiny nostrils easily. Again, the positive spin on this is that blankets/toys/etc always go on the legs, NOT the face. Include not putting things in the crib/basinet with baby – little kids are remarkably good at “sharing” when you least want them to.adorable baby beanie bonnet
    • Never pick up the baby without a parent’s help. If your kiddo is much older, you can adjust this to their ability. But again, err on the side of caution when baby is tiny and needs head support. A positive way to frame this is “always ask for a parent to help you pick up or hold baby.”
    • We also find it helpful to have a “no-touching-on-the-face or hands” rule to manage germ transition. Point out they can kiss the toes or top of the baby’s head. And keep antibacterial spray such as this kid-safe one from CleanWell ALLLLL over the house.close up of baby feet
  • Mom’s Body: As a second (or third or fourth)-time moms’ belly grows larger, it somehow becomes an irresistible target for kids’ boisterous jumping, bouncing and otherwise projectile launching. You can be reassured, the baby is very well protected in there – but of course if a direct hit results in ongoing pain or bleeding, go get checked! Talk a lot about ways to be gentle with mom’s belly each time this happens.

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    Photo Credit: Kimberlin Gray Photography
  • Birth and Recovery: Also take the opportunity to talk about what the plan will be while mom is at the hospital or birth center. Go over how mom will be very tired and have some “ouchies” after the baby comes out and talk about ways the kids can help out – getting ice packs for you, rubbing feet, making faces or telling stories to the baby, helping to fetch diapers, etc…. Most kids love being able to help. Emphasizing their “big kid-ness” helps them feel special. If your kid is reward-motivated, you can even set up a points-chart that they earn a sticker for each helpful act to earn a new toy or privilege.

Gift From Baby

Picking up a special time-occupying gift for big kid “from the baby” goes a long way to establishing the baby-is-your-friend status we all want. Some good ideas can be found in this post: Plane Travel with Littles: Carry-On Packing List. Do yourself a favor and DO NOT buy toys that make noise. Boys and girls alike usually like to have their own babydoll of some kind to “mirror” what the parents are doing with the real baby, here are a few other options by age.

1-2 year old: Buckle Toys, Latch Board or Latch Barn

 

 

2-5 Years Old: Magnatiles, Dollhouse and Green Toys Cars + Track

Also consider a tablet loaded with educational games, see Fave Fridays: Smart Screen Time for ideas!

 

Of course, you know your kid best, get them something you know they’ll be excited about and will play with relatively independently for a while. Avoid toys with choking-sized parts even for bigger kids until you know they’re on board with the “nothing-in-baby’s-mouth” rule.

Lower Your Expectations

Most kids go through some form of regression when a new baby comes home. That can take a lot of forms. Potty-trained kids might have accidents again. Kids who have no trouble sleeping alone at night might suddenly be getting up. They will want to play in the baby’s bouncer, ride in the stroller, suck the pacifier. It’s a normal phase and will pass if you don’t overreact. Acknowledge it, talk about it briefly and move on.

Also lower your expectations for getting stuff done. Enlist more help. You will not get those luxurious “nap when the baby naps” moments as easily as when there was just one little being taking your time. (Did those really ever happen anyway?!) Set yourself up for success with a decluttered house, easy food in the freezer and loved ones on board to help as much as possible. If you have trouble asking for help, make a list ahead of time of things that would be helpful or set up a MealTrain or other chore-registry to delegate.

love sweet face portraitThis post is about preparing the kiddos, but part of that also involves preparing your coparent and other family/friends who will be helping. Make sure they know the priority is helping with the housework and the big kid(s). Your job is the new baby. They’re NOT there to hold the new baby while you ‘get stuff done’. I repeat: THEY ARE THERE TO GET STUFF DONE and only as much of the new baby stuff as you want to delegate. Liberally use the phrase, “My doctor/midwife said I need to be holding the baby as much as possible for bonding, immunity and milk production, so can you please <do the dishes, fold the laundry, go to the store, make dinner, take Jimmy to the park, etc…> while we go take a nap together?”

IF and only if you desire a moment away from new baby to shower, snuggle your big kid or whatever else, then others get to hold new baby. No one has a “right” to new baby time except YOU.

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Photo credit: Stacey Petersen Photography

If you don’t have family or a community to help, look at neighborhood list serves like NextDoor to hire a middle or high school aged “mommy’s helper” – cheaper than a nanny or babysitter, literally they just come over and do chores or play with your big kid while you’re home taking care of baby.

Enjoy the Before

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Photo credit: Jordan Marie Photography

The one guarantee with bringing another little life into the family is that things will be different. Better in many ways, harder in many ways, and just altered in many, many ways.

Watching siblings grow together and love one another is one of the greatest joys of parenthood.

Try not to worry too much about how you’ll manage it, because you just will. Do your best to try to soak in the remaining time while the newest addition is still easily portable, fed and clean on the inside of your body. Plan special outings that will be harder with a new baby like going to a movie or kids’ museum. Take a moment every day to pay attention to the little life on the inside as you did with the first baby without even realizing you were doing it.

Good luck multiples parents-to-be, enjoy the ride!

Anne is a mom to three (including one beautiful brand new baby) and family physician in California. Christiana is a mom to three, military spouse, attorney, and currently a stay-at-home mom in New England.

This Christmas, Invest in Yourself

This post contains affiliate links to make it easier for you to get to the tools that were helpful for us. We may get compensation from the links, but the point of the post is to share a personal journey, not to be an ad.

As parents, we all know that our children are our priority.  So much so, that we often sacrifice taking care of ourselves (usually without even realizing it).  I am certainly no exception, and I’d like to share a personal journey of mine here today in the spirit of the holidays.

As a financial advisor, I’m here to give you permission to not only spend some of your hard-earned money on yourself, but to also call it an investment.  Because it is!  It is the BEST kind of investment, in fact.  Investing in yourself pays dividends in ways you can’t even imagine, and benefits ALL of the people around you, including the little ones in your life who deserve to have a HAPPY, HEALTHY mother.  Repeat this ladies:

My children and family will benefit when I am happy and healthy.

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It was this time last year that I realized that I wasn’t in ideal shape. Having kids changed my body and changed my metabolism. I stepped on a scale for my annual physical and was shocked!! Somehow, while all of my friends lost weight while breastfeeding, I managed to gain it and keep it on. Ugh!

You may be thinking: “Margo, how could you have not realized this without going to the doctor?”  Well, for starters, I have a wonderful husband who loves me 100% of the time no matter what I weigh, and would never EVER call something like this to my attention.  Secondly, before kids, I was mostly a slim person who didn’t really have to exercise to maintain a certain weight (annoying, I know, but stay with me), so I was not used to paying attention to these sorts of things.  I didn’t even own a scale.  Alas…  Here I was:

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I decided I wanted to get back to my best, healthiest self. But how? I started slowly but didn’t really see results – Now I know why. I didn’t know what I was doing! I know about finance, but I didn’t know about nutrition or exercise. There were 3 key things that turned it all around for me and I wanted to share with you all what worked in case it can help any of you struggling the way I was.

Step 1: Nutrition

So, in April, I decided to get serious and call in an expert. I started with Amanda Kettering and did The Arbonne 30 Challenge. Little did I realize it would be an entire lifestyle changer!! I started to learn how to eat healthier without sacrificing my happiness or sanity. The results were immediate thanks to the program and to Amanda’s coaching. In the first month, I lost 15 lbs. In the next 3 months or so of continuing the program 80% of the time, I lost 10 more lbs. That’s 25 lbs total ONLY with changing the way I eat.

This was without any exercise. If I, as someone who is horrendous at cooking with an insanely busy schedule can make this work, anyone can.  If you are committed to following the plan, you will succeed.  Yes, even if you don’t cook.  Yes, even if you are busy.  And yes, even if you’ve failed at other “diets” in the past. Want to access it?  Click here.  Have questions?  Send us a message, and I’ll tell you the honest truth about all of the good, bad and challenging.

Step 2: Exercise

After 4-5 months of this, I decided to tackle exercising. I made a huge leap and joined True Core CrossFit in Annapolis thanks to urging from my friend Andrea. She convinced me I could do it. I had heard about this place from my friend Patrick, but wasn’t convinced I was cut out for CrossFit. This was the girl who avoided any kind of weight lifting, other than her own children… Really? CrossFit? Little did I realize what enormous, amazing community I was joining. I not only got incredible education and hands-on personal help during every class, but I made a ton of wonderful friends who celebrate every success of mine as if it is their own.

True Core also gave me individualized nutrition training, followed with constant encouragement and feedback. It should surprise no one that the nutrition support closely aligned with all I had learned in Arbonne, with some modifications to support the health of someone aggressively lifting weights and working out in the CrossFit program. I also started doing intermittent fasting during this time (safely, according to the program and with the help of Kristy and Brandon). If you want to know more about intermittent fasting, see Kristy and Brandon’s post here: The Skinny on Intermittent Fasting.

The owner of True Core, Shannon, and every single one of her coaches helped me lose another 20 lbs in three months. And would you believe I am enjoying it???? Coming from someone who hates to run and usually wanders aimlessly around a gym, it should mean a lot to you all that I actually LOOK FORWARD to going to True Core 3 or 4 times a week. (Thanks to my mom Cece and my wonderful hubby for making it possible for me to make time for this!!)  Live in the Annapolis, MD area and want to check out True Core?  Click here and schedule a free intro session with one of the amazing coaches.  I’ll be there to cheer you on!

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This is me: 45 lbs less than I was a year prior.

Step 3: Skincare

There was one more problem for me… I had consulted a plastic surgeon at the beginning of all of this who said if I was able to lose my goal weight in a year, going under the knife was the only way to tighten that saggy belly skin I’d be left with. But I had a secret weapon, Dr. Annie and Kristy convinced me to try Nerium Firming Body Contour Cream. If Annie says something works, I’ve learned to believe her. And just LOOK! It’s absolutely amazing!!! Dare I say my stomach looks quite close to how it looked during my college years (after a few beers…lol)? Sure, I have a few pregnancy stretch marks but I kinda love them. The Firming Lotion lightened them significantly. Even though I love what they represent, I also love that they are lightening! This company sells only clinically proven products for wellness and anti-aging developed with a Princeton-affiliated biotech company, Signum Biosciences. Click here to get Nerium Firming AD Contour Cream for yourself.  I’m a believer!img_5613.jpg

I am here to tell you that you can BOTH love your body and be proud of what it did in pregnancy and postpartum, and also want your skin and stretch marks to look better.  I look at that before picture and feel that love and admiration for my body, AND I look at the after picture and feel love and admiration for the hard work it takes to help heal this body that grew two tiny humans that I love more than anything in this world.

I feel such enormous gratitude and admiration to these experts and friends that I feel compelled to tell you all and shine some light on their awesomeness. As you are considering Christmas gifts, don’t forget to invest in yourself. Don’t forget to call in the experts. Don’t forget that the value of these all FAR outweigh the costs. Plus, you’ll save your partner or family members the trouble of coming up with gift ideas – tell them you want this, make it easy on them, haha!

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I’ve still got work to do – more goals to hit and more milestones to celebrate, but at this point I am in the long game, and can’t wait to enjoy every minute of the adventure.

Don’t underestimate the power of consistency and desire

Your imperfect friend,

Margo

 

Pregnant, MD: Second Trimester

This post is not meant to be personal medical advice, you should always seek medical advice from your own healthcare provider. 

I love, love LOVED getting all your insights about second trimester experiences on Instagram and Facebook. I also had the great pleasure of being a guest on my good friend Shelly aka Doctor Mommy, MD’s podcast to discuss it – check her blog for even more info and hilarity!

Second trimester is for *most* women the best time in pregnancy. Good riddance, first trimester (if you’re still wallowing in that misery and want more info on managing the issues, see my first trimester post)!

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16 weeks, photo credit: Fiona Margo Photography 

Generally, you can expect decreased pregnancy-related nausea and fatigue. You’ll start feeling baby kicking more and more starting at about 18 weeks, which is the. most. magical. thing!! (IMHO). Mamas usually get to go to that fun 18-20 week ultrasound and see baby including finding out the sex if you so choose. And you get to look actually pregnant and fill out those maternity clothes! Woot! And you’re usually not starting the third trimester discomforts quite yet. However, it’s not all bliss and ice-cream sundaes…

Reflux

That cute belly that’s starting to look more unmistakably like a pregnant bump rather than like you just ate a huge breakfast burrito also puts more pressure on your stomach. Notice the loss of space in image above… This can lead to heartburn or acid reflux that can range from annoying to stop-you-in-your-tracks painful. You should ALWAYS get checked out for bad chest pain that is new. If you’re checked out and know it’s heartburn, you can try to minimize with a few strategies.

  1. Eat smaller, more frequent meals and not for 1 hour before bed. I know, you’ve probably got the appetite of a teenage boy on steroids right now, but pace yo’self!
  2. Make sure you’re managing that pregnancy-related constipation – the more you’re backed up, the worse this will get (again see first tri post for info on this)
  3. Avoid acidic food & drink: citrus, tomato, soda, black coffee, and spicy foods are the worst for most, but you might find your own special fire-starters you’ll need to avoid.
  4. Use Tums as needed if it’s been ok’ed by your provider. Never more than 6 doses daily, and honestly, if you’re taking 4 or more, you should be discussing other treatment with your healthcare provider. WORD OF CAUTION: The more of these you take, the worse constipation you may get, so beware.
  5. If all else fails – ask your provider about starting another antacid medicine daily

Back pain

Relaxin hormone (yep that’s actually what it’s called) is well at work loosening up your pelvic ligaments in preparation for birth. That along with your new weight up front can often start up some low or upper back pain towards the end of second trimester. Some women also start to get shooting nerve pains including sciatica or the infamous “crotch lightning“.

If you haven’t had the latter, praise Jesus for a minute because it’s awful. Basically, that’s one of your pelvic nerves getting pushed on and leads to a sudden sensation of being electrically shocked in the labia. Yowza! Here’s what you can do to help the back:

  1. YOGA!!! Prenatal yoga is a fantastic way to ward this off and stay balanced. That slight decrease in fatigue should help you make it to those classes. No prenatal classes near you? That’s ok – head for an easier flow class that’s not a “hot yoga” class and ask the teacher to show you how to modify poses.
  2. Heat it up. Choose your flavor – a daily heating pad session, steamy shower or very warm bath can work wonders for the soreness. IMPORTANT NOTE: You must stop as soon as you feel “hot” in your body. Getting overheated while pregnant is dangerous.
  3. Massage: I can’t say enough for the benefits of a regular prenatal massage. This is a GREAT thing to put on your baby registry – some places even offer a prenatal “membership” package. Do check that the person you see is trained in prenatal massage – certain positions and pressure points should be avoided.
  4. Still not better? Ask your healthcare provider if its ok for you to take medicine, see a physical therapist or consult with a Pregnancy and Webster trained chiropractor that they can recommend. Chiropractors trained in Webster & pregnancy techniques can be a great help, BUT there are some out there who have questionable training since it’s a less well-regulated field. Make sure you’re going somewhere safe!!

Peeing

You thought you were peeing more in first trimester, didn’t you?

Get ready ladies – more bladder pressure + tiny human karate chopping = soooo many potty breaks. Advantage of this is you can get your 10,000 steps in daily just walking back and forth. Don’t let this deter you from drinking enough water – that can lead to pregnancy complications. Accept it. Don’t fight it. It’s only going to get worse. Go with the flow (see what I did there?? #PunIntended).

You might also get the fun experience of snissing at this point too: sneezing that makes you piss yourself. Great reminder to get busy on your Kegel program!

Contractions

Anybody heard of Braxton-Hicks? Named after the random dude who decided to name the phenomenon back in 1872, these are contractions that are NOT part of labor. They can start as early as 16 weeks for some sensitive mamas, more commonly toward the end of second trimester or beginning of third. However, some women don’t get them at all – and that’s ok too!

The thought is that these are little “preparatory” contractions, the uterus is working on it’s squeezing abilities, but they are not coordinated in a way that leads to any change in your cervix. Some women feel them as a slight tightening, like your pants all the sudden downsized on you but for others, they are quite uncomfortable with pressure-like sensation.

They are by definition irregular. They can be triggered by being dehydrated, pushing yourself too much in exercise, having a full bladder or completely at random.

No need to worry about them UNLESS: Of course if you have known risks for premature labor (talk about this with your provider). OR you have 3-4 in one hour, they persist even though you hydrate, rest and empty your bladder, the discomfort lasts longer than a couple minutes for each one, you are otherwise ill or have vaginal bleeding with them. When in doubt, ask YOUR healthcare provider.

Round ligament pain

You probably have never heard of or known you had a round ligament until pregnancy. It’s essentially a tether for the uterus to keep it where it’s meant to be. It stretches as the uterus expands in pregnancy and can be tweaked with a sharp sneeze or cough or even just standing up. It causes a pinching or sharp pain in the side of your lower belly or groin that lasts for a few seconds to a minute then goes away on it’s own. Unless the pain doesn’t go away – no need to worry about these either.

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Not always the “Golden Trimester”

 

If you’re not the pregnant person yourself, don’t assume ANYTHING. Some of us have pregnancies where none of the first trimester misery gets any better and then second trimester just adds to it. Some still don’t look pregnant. Some are still puking. Some are still so tired they want to take 3 naps a day.  Ask how they’re doing. Ask how you can help. Restrain yourself from commenting on the size of a woman’s belly unless it’s to tell her she’s beautiful. Period. Hard stop. No one needs to hear they’re soooo small or sooo huge. In fact, a simple, “you’re beautiful” is a good comment for all 3 trimesters – because you are, mamas!!

What are your favorite parts of second tri? Any other weird symptoms you have/had?? Comment below for the other mamas!

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Dr. Annie is a family doctor, mama of 2 with 1 more on the way in the Sacramento area who has experienced all of the above.

Back-to-School Breakfasts

Back to school mornings got anyone else feeling like they are #herdingcats ?? You have TONS of time to make breakfast for everyone before the bus/carpool/work/drop-off, right?!?! 

Many times, school mornings are a “just trying to get pants on all parties before they exit the house” kind of mornings, so healthy, homemade breakfasts for the whole squad can sometimes feel out of reach. And we get that. BUT we also know that no one learns better hangry, so it feels awesome when we can pull together a nutritious breakfast for our little one’s learning minds.

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Christiana’s Pick: Make-Ahead Protein Waffles

We LOVE waffles in our family, but as a mom, I didn’t love that most prepared mixes and waffle recipes were full of sugar, hydrogenated oils, and not much nutritional value. Enter the make-ahead protein waffle. These are definitely not just for the kids! Full of healthy fats, protein, and fiber, these waffles keep our whole super-active family full and energized all morning. I almost always mix these up on a Sunday morning and double the recipe so I have batter to last me a few weekdays. If you make ahead, simply refrigerate the batter and add a teaspoon of warm water to the bowl and re-mix before cooking on the waffle iron. As a bonus: There also lots of great ways to top these. Our house favorites include farm-fresh berries and cream, bananas and nutella, or frozen blackberries with pure maple syrup.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cups milk of your choice (I like to use organic whole milk and/or unsweetened almond milk. You may need slightly more or less depending on the amount of optional extras you add, listed below.)
  • 6 Tbsp coconut oil  (Easiest to mix batter when oil is warmed to a liquid)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup ground flax seed (Optional)
  • 1/4 cup chia seed (Optional)
  • 1/4 cup protein powder (Optional. We prefer flavorless or vanilla, particularly Bob’s Red Mill Pea Protein)

To Make: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix and let rest while waffle iron warms. Scoop 1/4 -1/2 cup batter per waffle based on desired size. Top and enjoy!! Refrigerate leftover batter for busy weekday mornings. Will keep covered and refrigerated for several days.

Related imageAnnie’s Pick: Protein Banana Muffins

These are easy to make a week in advance, they freeze and reheat super easily – plus you get rid of those old bananas, hoorah! They are SUPER fast because you cheat and use Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes Protein Packed Flapjack and Waffle Mix. They are also healthy because they’re whole grain and pack great healthy protein in each one. They taste good enough for my picky eater to mow through them because they’re made with real butter. Don’t you dare start skimping on that or throwing in your “applesauce in place of fat” recipe substitute nonsense- if you need to review my post about healthy fats to convince you, go here. The recipe is from the back of the box with a little less sugar and added vanilla. Kodiak also makes a gluten-free mix if you’re a glu-tard like me 😀

  • 2 cups Power Cakes Mix
  • 1 cup organic whole milk or milk substitute of choice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soft unsalted butter
  • 2 ripe bananas, smashed up
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • optional: about 1 C chopped toasted nuts, coconut, chocolate chips…

To Make: Preheat oven to 350 and grease or line muffin cups (This will make 1 dozen but I usually double it). Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Use 1/3 C measuring cup to scoop into muffin tin. Bake 14-18 min for full-sized muffins or 10-14 for mini muffins. If you want to be a little “extra”, after they come out, melt some butter in one dish and mix up 2Tbs sugar and 1tsp cinnamon in another one. Dip muffins in butter then cinnamon sugar. You can also swap the banana for pumpkin and the cinnamon for pumpkin spice and up sugar to 1/2 cup for a festive fall version reminiscent of #PSL.

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Photo Cred: realsimplegood.com

Kristy’s Pick: Sausage or Bacon n’ Egg “McMuffins”

These paleo goodies are a Wright fam favorite for protein on the go. They are a meal prepper’s breakfast dream and can be made in regular size or “mini” for the kids. We have adapted this recipe several different ways, but from realsimplegood.com, the basic method is the same. If you’re like my household where”mushroom” is a bad word and provokes riot level hunger strikes, this recipe above needs to be adapted to avoid the Fungi That Shall Not Be Named. However, we’ve found it is easily substituted and a fun way to avoid the tummy rumbles and have the kids get involved! Also, since we have chickens, eggs are a plenty in our house so we try and utilize them any way we can.

For the bacon muffins:

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 lb bacon, diced and precooked
  •  green onion, diced
  •  handful of spinach, chopped
  •  salt and pepper, to taste

For the sausage muffins:

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 lb breakfast sausage
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, chopped (optional – create your own flavor options here)
  • handful of kale or spinach, chopped (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

To Make: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Heat two medium skillets over medium heat. Add in the sausage to one skillet and the bacon to the other. Brown the sausage and bacon and remove from the heat and set said.  In two separate medium bowls, crack five eggs into each bowl. Whisk the eggs up. Add in your ingredients to each bowl. This is where I let the kiddos take the lead. You can let them add herbs, cheeses, or extra meats they like! Next, rub a muffin tin with a little oil or spray with coconut oil spray, spoon the egg mixture into the muffin tin, filling them to just below the top. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Hope this gives you all a few options beyond toast and squeezie yogurt (no judgement on those options though!) or…. paper products. Happy Back-To-School week Real M*thers!

Dr. Annie Answers: Back to School Sniffles

Is back-to-school time giving anyone else the sniffles yet? No, I’m not talking about the emotional “my baby is growing up ones”. Though, holy pregnancy hormones, Kindergarten meet-and-greet had me reaching for the tissues tonight!!

Seriously though, I’m talking about the cold virus, mucus-attack-from-all-the-new-people-germs ones.

Cold and Flu Season

“Back-to-school” in my line of work means office visits are about to pick back up to packed days of people suffering with upper respiratory infections (URIs). If your kid is in daycare or just starting school after staying home with you – get ready for the fall/winter viral rodeo! We expect normal young children to get between 6-8 viruses per ‘school season’ in those first few years of exposure. Yep, that means pretty much one per month. This is all part of developing their little immune systems. Yayyyyy! Not.

Don’t despair though, people – once they get this immune system 101 out of the way, the frequency of illness decreases dramatically – generally by the time they hit 5-7 years old. Not everyone thinks this is a good thing – there were many, many tears from my 5 year old last year when 3 year old sister kept getting fevers and staying home from daycare with me, “I never get sick!!! It’s not FAIR!!!”. Proof that you can’t please everyone as a mom.

What the health?

Three questions come up over and over and over again in my office:

  1. Is it contagious?
  2. Do they need antibiotics?
  3. Do they need to stay home from daycare/school?

The answers to those, respectively are:

  1. “Yes, duh. If you are acutely sick with pretty much anything that is not food poisoning or an actual venomous snake/insect bite it is contagious”
  2. “Probably not. 85-95% of these are viruses not bacteria so antibiotics will do nothing except mess up your kid’s microbiome, probably give them diarrhea and probably increase rates of obesity.” Did that last part catch your attention? Check out This Article in Scientific American if you want to read a little more…
  3. “That depends.”. Let me expand on number 3 a bit.

And in case you’re wondering – no, that is not how I communicate with patients at my office. But this is Real As A M*ther and I’m gonna shoot you straight here.

To Stay Home or Not To Stay Home

That is the question, amiright? For me, staying home with one of my kids sick means either my husband or myself cancel 15-25 patients’ visits that they’ve been waiting for sometimes for weeks. Plus using my nearly non-existent PTO (no, doctors do not get great benefits a la Google employees). If I don’t really need to keep my kids home, I’m not gonna.

On the other hand – I know that other people who’s precious little ones are in our daycare or school are in a similar boat, so I’m also not going to go all Typhoid Mary and send my kids in to take down the class.  Here are the rules we go by – some dictated by science and some by school policy and some by just plain ol’ common sense.

  1. Pukers stay home until they’re eating normal food for 24 hours without relapse. This one is science + common sense.
  2. If fever happens (over 100.4F on oral or rectal thermometer), kid stays home until fever-free for 24 hours. This one is usually a daycare and school policy. It’s a little arbitrary since you can still be contagious with a virus for several days after the fevers go away. Usually you’re shedding less of the viral badness by then though. I would go with this as a minimum rule *but* if your kid has no temperature and yet still seems pretty sick, give it another day or two. 
    • IMPORTANT: This rule is different if you choose not to give your child a flu shot or the other routine childhood vaccinations. I’m not getting into any rights/wrongs here, but bottom line, if your child does not have flu or other major immunities and they get a fever, you MUST quarantine them for at least 10-14 days after any febrile (fever) illness. That means at HOME. Not taking them with you to Target to pick up a few things. Not hanging out at the library or the park. You do not get to take those germs in public to potentially kill other babies or people with weak immune systems. Period. Moving on…
  3. Diarrhea is a little tricker… in so many ways. This generally also earns a home-stay until it at least slows down to non-urgent, soft but not watery poos only a few times a day (I’m not being gross, you’re gross. Doctors have no TMI mode). If your kid is potty trained and old enough to wash their hands well or little and still fully in diapers, they can go back then. If they’re still in potty training mode and likely to have an accident, they should be kept home until they’re back to normal because that poo is still highly contagious for up to 2 weeks and who knows where it will end up. 
  4. Sniffles and coughs are generally ok to go in if they come without fever or rashes. However, if your child has asthma and needs to be watched more carefully or seems too sick to be able to be managed with only the offer of tissues or sips of water, keep them home until they’re better.
  5. Mouth sores, fever with a rash or a very sore throat should usually be checked out by a doctor before going to school. Some kids will get a ‘viral exanthem’ or viral rash at the end of the fever part of illness that is fine if it’s super mild – like you barely can tell it’s there, but if you’re not sure, get them checked.
  6. If they’re given antibiotics because the doctor is SURE it’s something bacterial like strep throat or true pink eye, they need to be on the meds and ALSO fever free for 24 hours before returning.

Gesundheit!

Got it? Great! Tell your friends and your mom and your sister and your cousin with all those kids. And as always, remember I’m not your personal doctor so take this as fun information and ask them specifically about any questions or worries. Getting your kiddo checked out in the office is always an option.

DSC_4458BW Dr. Annie is a family doctor, mom of 2 with 1 on the way and expert booger catcher in the Sacramento area.

Welcome to Real

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In the beginning

Once upon a time (circa 2000), in a faraway land (Maryland), four young ladies found their soulmates in high school. No, not dudes. Best friends who balance each other in the best way and support each other through (literal and figurative) thick and thin.

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Fast forward 18 years…  We are now a doctor, a lawyer, a doula, and a financial planner deep in the weeds of young motherhood who learned to laugh together, cry together, learn together, and support each other through this season of life via one (in our humble opinion) very real, very wise, and brilliantly entertaining text chain, which is the foundation of much of this blog’s content.

We decided one day, on a whim, to start sharing our collective experience – the good, the bad and the ugly – with other people out there. The core value: keeping it #real with advice on parenthood, health, home, style, money and just whatever else comes up. LockersToLittles was that flying-by-the-seat-of-our-pants adventure and wow, that was somethin’ else!

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That blog life

The last 3 months have been a profound learning experience. We’ve laughed our buns off, cried in frustration and all 4 of us have learned more about ourselves than any of us thought possible. And most importantly, we discovered that there are other people out there who want to share our experience – you!! Wow! Our feedback and followers have blown us away with their support, ideas, and general awesomeness over and over.

We are taking that feedback and blasting off into a whole new level of the blogosphere peeps! You spoke and we have listened are are ready to serve.

To Infinity and Beyond

We are here to help others grow into the best version of themselves, and in the process are working to do the same. The best workouts for moms with no time? We gotcha. Best way to save for retirement no matter what age you start? You bet! Kids won’t eat vegetables? Coming to the rescue! Wondering what’s up with eating brie in pregnancy? #answeredthat. Just want to commiserate about this season in life being hard AF sometimes??? Oh yeah. Between the 4 of us we’ve had a whole lot of life happen and if it hasn’t happened to us, trust us, we know a guy.

People! The sky is the limit. Or is it?

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So if you haven’t visited with us before, then WELCOME. To all our returning followers, THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS. You’ve been with us this far and we cannot wait to share what we have in store with you.

To reach our much desired goals, we need YOU! Please enjoy and visit or lightly stalk us on our various social media outlets. Got a topic you want covered? Give us a comment, girl! Share your experiences, this is #momtribe and #parentlife and we’re all in this together. Oh, and share! ALLLLLLLL the sharing!

Welcome to REAL AS A M*THER!

xo, Annie, Christiana, Kristy and Margo

 

Dear Mom, I see you.

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My mom and my son.

Mom,

Gush-y-ness is almost bursting out of me just when I phonetically begin to say the word. The smile of endearment that presides every time you enter my thoughts, blows the whistle on the teenager you once knew, who would protest your protection and tell you to “go away”. The one who knew better than you, and the one who stubbornly and willfully “went my own way” in times you wanted me to go yours because you knew I’d benefit from your wisdom. The confident lioness of young womanhood who played all the sports, had the lifelong friends she’d always wanted, and the family that was nuclear.

That smile has a second agenda. It also reveals the broken, battered, unappreciated, rattled, and worn-too- thin woman that currently calls herself a young mother of young children. Ok, maybe not so young at 34, but young-ish. A woman drowning in her responsibilities, not gracefully, and making ultimate mistakes that may or may not be founded in anything but simple selfishness. The one who is struggling and cautiously pacing through learning the necessary lessons in respect, gratitude, positive parenting, and overall happiness from the foundation of family, unconditional love, loyalty, and respect that you have given me.

The one who has the uncanny ability to forget who she is, guilt herself, and throw away remembering the DAILY good she performs in order to feel the almost masochistic weight of the “it wasn’t good enough.”

The one who is now referring to herself in the third person, because maybe that part of me, isn’t really real.

Scratch that. she IS real. And she is enough. And she is beaming with pride to call herself your daughter.

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That I can open my arms to that part of me, is because of you. You love unconditionally and accept all of me at a capacity that I am so profoundly lucky to know. I see you.

I am writing to you, about you, so you can see who you are in my eyes. I write of my brokenness so you can KNOW that you had every part in creating the strength in me to see the imperfection, and tackle it. To fall onto that foundation that you’ve so preciously and delicately worked with me to build.


4151_683495597259_329027_nI write to you to show you that you are my way-shower, my example of what defines grace and sacrifice. But who also personifies a silent power that I never knew existed until I became a mother. I see you.

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I often hear people refer to you as “angelic”. Your heart is both understanding and practically constructive in the same breath. It is peacemaking, authentic, and wise. It is all shades of happiness, and dynamically persistent in the acceptance of all with which you are facing.

People always say, “What until you have kids.” And they are right. I could never understand what blessings could lie behind the characteristic of beautiful patience. I have always watched, in awe, your ability to quiet your mind, and open your mouth to reveal the most perfectly and divinely guided words. A shining example of outwardly expressed love. I see you.

You’ve walked with me through all of my trials and tribulations. First, through childhood, through shyness and tom-boyhood. Always holding me close, and letting the leash out little perfect inch by little perfect inch. You supported me through adolescence, finding the most subtle and gentle ways to nurture me into this new body, and to tell me that I needed to actually shower every once in a while.

Drove me, every day, to school (piano, basketball, lacrosse, dance, music, variety show practice, games, tournaments, etc)from the country, just so I would get to have the experiences I deserved. These were the memories for which you sacrificed your mornings and afternoons. Hell, your whole weekend sometimes. I never once saw the wear of that sacrifice of time on your face. I saw a woman who, without a shadow of a doubt, would always be there for me. Whose pride for her kids, for her life, for her part in the decision to give us this opportunity to have the world more open to us, overshadowed what I know now was ultimately painstakingly sacrificially beautiful.  I see you.

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Who was it that yelled to (not at) me to please take care of myself after surgery, and not overdo it? I saw it then as trying to control me. I see it now for it’s pleading love. The resonance of experienced nursing knowledge in your voice that I had a future in front of me. I had college sports at my feet, and not to ruin my chance to have that opportunity.

I see your sleepless nights of worry through college. Your courage to let me go. A brave mother who let me make my mistakes to learn to truly live. Mistakes in love, in education, and in life.

You walked with me in the journey through Massage School. Learning a new passion for energy work and discovering that you’re pretty badass at trusting your intuition. You showed me that I have an outlet for my human angst in prayer and meditation. And most importantly, in God.

It was you that introduced me to the concept of soul family so that I never have to feel alone, so long as I have a moment to reach out to them. You’ve only grown stronger in that ever since, making spiritual and soul connections that feed you, and build you stronger. Making your faith a priority among a lot of things. Not just a faith in Spirit. A faith in yourself, your family, and your son and daughter. I see you.

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And you did all this through the debilitation of your own pain. You never ever left my side as a mother. Even when the worries of your body’s betrayal left you emotionally weathered and physically exhausted, you never left our side. Not once. I so see you. This was the greatest lesson I ever could learn about the breadths of self that had been undiscoverable to me until my blinders were removed. You courageously walked down an aisle with stairs one gracefully and smiling step at a time, to watch me marry the man that reminds me so much of you and your strength. You didn’t even flinch. You were in so much pain but I never saw it. Sweet sacrifice. I see you. You were so amazing that day, and added everything to the happiness and whimsicality of it.

You gave me the greatest gift I’ve ever been given the day you told me that you, too, have been broken. Someone who seems to me to be the portrait of perfection. To know that you felt anything but that, in body and mind, and came out of the other side not only stronger and more sure of who you are, but also posturing towards happiness, was everything to me. You shared that you came out with a bigger capacity for compassion for others. If actions speak louder than words, then your day to day must be pretty loud, Mom.

Somedays, I feel as though I am that little girl who cried on the bus in first grade, homesick for my mother and my bed. Homesick for her soft hand stroking my head and back. Homesick in this big and scary world for what would make me feel whole, safe, and loved. But then, I remember you. I remember that I don’t care if you hate the photos I am posting, I want to share with the world the person who reminds me of all that I can be capable. Of the qualities that are within me, ready to be utilized at any moment.

I see you, Mom. You were are there, so vividly and immediately, in the moment that I became a mother myself; honoring my strength and wistfully studying your grandson in your arms. It was that day that I knew that I had always had the person I want to be in front of me. It is now that I finally know, I have that person IN me, as well. I am a part of you, as you are of me. I can be enough. I am enough as a mother, because I have been learning its embodiment from birth. My vision is loaded with images of what it looks like to be a mother, memories that create feelings of just what exactly that word means to me. What you, mean to me.

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I wish I knew then what I know now. As I try to stay above water in a world that seems judgemental and impossibly navigated as a mother of two, every bump and bruise I receive that sends me running back to “home”. That place I wish to run now lies within me. It is the part of me that is you. That is brave, silent and patient, strong yet gentle. Angelic, warm and inviting. Open and divine with ambitiously positive and fervent nurturance. Glowingly proudly with a heroic view of the world she has helped build, and hardworking to adjust to its ebbs and flows. You are timelessly beautiful. Breathtakingly loving, and kind just on time. That is who I see. Both in you and now, in the mirror. This bond of sisterhood, of soul connection, runs deep within us.

My proudest moment of my life will be the day I can say,

“My God, I am becoming my mother.” with a grin of resilience, fortitude, and pride in my co-creation, as I cannot think of anything better to be in this whole world.

Because I am your daughter, I see you alive in me.

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Yours with benevolence,

Your daughter.  Kristy