Category Archives: Just For Fun

A Home Day

We do a lot during the sunlight hours. And by a lot I mean tons of tiny different things. Lots of bathroom breaks and diaper changes. Snacks upon snacks upon more snacks. Playing outside several times. Playing music because anything can be a drumstick when youre a kid (or husband driving and keeping beat on the steering wheel). Then, when I feel like we’ve exhausted all activities/my wits end, we watch a movie (Frozen is the current favorite). Sometimes on repeat.

This is an honest space guys. I’m not gonna sugar coat my parenting style. I already beat myself up more than I knew possible over technology vs low/no media. We are a movie-watching family. Especially on days like today, where the rain won’t stop and the kiddos seem to be morphing into monkeys, clinging to my every limb.

Does rain make other peoples kiddos act up? I’ve already handed out multiple fruit snacks and it’s not even 9:30 in the morning! Anything for them to just sit for a few moments. I put Elanor down for an early nap because for some crazy reason she woke up at 5:30 this morning and randomly started asking to nurse, after weening herself almost a month ago.

It’s already felt like a long week, and it’s only Tuesday. Of course by Friday I’ll be saying this week flew by, and Sarah will be a week closer to being 4 and Ella will be saying new words that I didn’t even know she was learning. The simple blink of an eye.

Speaking of eyes, Sarah informed me I had several spiders in mine and she had to remove them for me. Dr. Sarah to the rescue.

 

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When we play with Sarah’s medical bag we take turns being the patient and when it’s her turn I’m Dr. Mommy. It’s one of my favorite names.

Sometimes, occasionally weekly, I move furniture around. I think it makes me feel like I’m “accomplishing” something when the laundry pile won’t stop growing, no matter how many loads I do, or I don’t want to mop pee off the bathroom floor for the third time. This desk has lived in several places. We are trying it out in our room because for some reason I won’t allow myself to accept that it will probably just become another drop-zone for misplaced mail and half full plastic cups. It started with good intentions, and that means something to this lady.

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Then, sometimes (rarely), I get smart and use my time wisely. Grocery list making from the swing set. Sarah has learned how to turn the hose on, and I’ve decided it’s not a battle worth pursuing. They both love playing with the water hose, especially when it involves making mud puddles, so if our yard turns into an overwatered lake, so be it. They’ll only want to do this for so long, so I better enjoy it while I can. #TakingTheHighRoad

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I’ve been attending an early morning Boot Camp with my friend Dahlia. It starts at 5:30, so I’m up by 4:45. Week 1 almost killed me. I had no idea how out of shape I was until all of last week. We only signed up for a two-week intro course, so I’ve only got 2 more days of non-stop muscle exhaustion. On the plus side, Stephen has been getting up just after me and having some time to himself in the mornings. I get home around 6:15, grab a good bye kiss and he heads out the door for work. It’s made for some really early bedtimes around here, and not a lot of spouse talk time, but with our bodies adjusting I think we’ve found a good new system.

I’ll check back next week and let you know how hilarious I find that statement and the idea of not getting every precious minute of sleep my children allow.

I was also able to plant some herbs. I really enjoy getting my hands dirty, especially when the girls follow behind me and take all the fresh placed soil out. The rosemary and lavender smell amazing, as you would expect.

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Sometimes Sarah plays dress up in random peoples clothes. Today was daddy’s shoes.
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Then, when it’s been an extra long day and I can’t seem to get my thoughts organized, or even form full sentences because I’m so scattered from a three-year olds endless questions, her younger sister asking up-up while at the same time spilling cheerios on the floor while I try to search our pantry to see what I should make for dinner… aka: everyday. That’s when popsicles enter the pictures. Popsicles and bubbles in the bath. Run on sentence, much?!

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There you have it. Another typical day in the Ringl house. The girls are getting crazy big and I’m finally learning how to make myself healthy snacks so I don’t consume goldfish and leftover PBJ’s all day. Parenthood is all about baby steps and not having crazy high expectations for yourself or your family.

And because you are wondering, yes, those popsicles are delicious.

 

Sisters

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Sarah left for a moment and came back to Elanor eating her cereal.

Our Little Chicks

It’s funny how much having children can change a person. How rewarding it is to see the fruits of the hard work we put in. From the simple things like teaching manners, “please” and “thank you”, watching their individual personalities bloom from the very foundation that we lay before them. Learning and seeing how they observe everything we do. When they start to question and critique us. Want to know reasoning behind actions. The “why” behind it all. Knowing this truth has made me want to be a better person.

There isn’t an age where we begin to instill the desire for hard work into children. From the moment they enter our world they are watching our every move.

Becoming a parents means taking on new roles. One of those responsibilities is being an educator. There’s no better way to do that than letting them see us live our words. Teaching by example.

One of the ways I’ve been doing this recently is by working our home. The very surroundings that we live in and sleep around. I often joke about wanting to have a green thumb. To be able to grow things. Whether it be flowers to smell or herbs to consume. To view the fruits, or in this case vegetation, of hard labor. I want my children to understand this use and grow their desire. If one day they take it on for themselves, I will be overjoyed. Until they are at the age where they can decide whether they do or don’t enjoy working with their hands, I am going to teach them how it’s good and the many ways they can do so. Show them that they can choose to create something big from almost nothing. Use and learn skills and crafts to better our lives and the lives of those around us. I feel it’s important to know that it costs time and effort to reap rewards. This is something that bleeds over into all elements of our lives. From relationships and jobs to hobbies and schooling. We don’t always get back physical rewards when we put in hard work, but it grows us and teaches us. It shows us the ways to do things and when/how to alter methods when we see what does or doesn’t work.

I am a hands-on learner. Always have been. That fact made learning in school pretty interesting over the years. I could read a textbook ten times over and not understand a concept, but if you show me how x + y = z on paper it clicks. I don’t yet know how my children best learn, so until then I will instruct them in the manner that I know best.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons I love letting them get dirty. Encouraging them to play in the mud and dirt. Painting with our fingers and letting them taste playdoh to find out for themselves that I’m not joking, it truly isn’t worth eating. I don’t know. All I am sure about is that I have a lot of joy watching my children get excited about learning. My heart is constantly growing in new ways. Even when I see them fail. Letting them know it’s okay to not always win or have the success they were expecting. To see when they need encouragement and an extra push to try again. Or in some cases, take a break and move on to new things. Trying to find the balance that works for each of us.

Since getting a swingset in our backyard we play outside even more than before. We will start out in the front yard, watering our plants and riding tricycles and cozy coupes, to venturing into the jungle of our back terrain. A space that has a lot of possibilities. Most currently they involve digging, playing with the hose, learning how to swing, finding lizards, and watching mommy try to kill all the ants. A lot of activities that keep us busy.

I mention to Stephen, more often than he likes, how fun it would be to have some chickens. To raise the girls with some backyard “friends”. Of course I mean ones that we know are there. I’m not counting the families of squirrels, rabbits, birds and who knows what else we have on our property.

We are getting a few trees removed soon and I’ve been slowly trimming back some of the overgrowth that’s accumulated over the past few years. More land, more to mow?! Ooorrrr, more land, more space! And where there is space there’s opportunity!

Recently we got to take a visit to my friend Rene’s house. They live on a nice sized property about 10 miles from us and have some fun animals that the girls don’t get to regularly see. When I found out that there were chickens, goats, pigs and some baby chicks in that mix, I knew we had to make a visit. My friend Amanda picked us up one morning and we headed over to have some fun hangout time. Conversation for the mom’s, outdoor adventure for the kiddos. Always a great plan in my book.

After some phone map navigation we found our destination and set the kids free to investigate the open space. Another great thing about living out in the country. That’s definitely a statement I never saw myself making when I was younger. It’s amazing how much time and age changes us.

I’m pretty sure I was just as excited, if not more, about seeing, petting and feeding the animals.

 

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Elanor & Jacob getting some proper chicken introductions!

I think it’s time to rent a goat. I’m sure it would chow down all our weed-trees a lot faster than I’m getting to them. Baby steps. One week we can try a goat and then we can work our way up to a hen or two. Maybe I should get the girls to draw pictures of baby chicks and give them to their dad. That worked for me and a kitten when I was a kid.

 

Icy Fun

That’s definitely not a title I thought I’d write, in relation to our normal day to day at least.

All this crazy cold weather has taught me something I never thought I’d say – bring on the heat! Guys, it is so much more work getting kids dressed, comfortable, potty-trained, diaper changed, bags packed, and carseats buckled when it’s freezing outside. Not to mention all the mismatched shoes and socks tossed about in the back floorboards of the car. Why do kids hate shoes so much?!

This past week the temperature dropped nice and freezing. It seems no matter how many blankets and shirts I wear my temperature does not rise. Our poor heater hasn’t stopped running in almost 2 days. Not looking forward to that electric bill. Yikes.

Stephen’s office closed early on Tuesday so people could get home before the roads iced over and/or closed. Crazy thankful for that foresight because all of Stephens paths home closed later that day. Before we put Sarah to bed that night Stephen took her outside to play with icicles. She loved it. The only way we could get her to go to bed after all the excitement was telling her about how fun it would be to play in it in the morning with Elanor.

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The next morning we made plans to meet our neighbors out front. I was surprised and excited to see they had real sleds! We pulled the girls up and down the driveway and they loved it. I quickly had to go back inside and search the house for gloves. I don’t think my hands have ever been that cold. Thankfully Sarah was recently gifted a pair from friends at church, so one kiddo was covered. Elanors tiny hands were still gloveless so I found some fuzzy warm socks and she never knew the difference.

Our long driveway was perfect for sledding. All the rain made for a super long iced slippery slide.

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Elanor had a BLAST!
sock-gloves are where it’s at

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Sarah pulling her sister

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Playing with icicles in the backyard

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Icicles

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Sarah has such an adventurous and curious spirit

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Love my little E

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who also has gotten very curious and adventurous

(click here if video isn’t working)

 

 

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This last clip was pretty much how our day in the snow and ice concluded. Sarah told me she wanted to pull me on the sled so I got in. She pulled me about 10 feet and pronounced “Mommy, you’re too heavy” and then headed for the front door.

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(If the video isn’t working, click here to watch )

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After this we headed in, got Elanor down for her nap and Sarah and Stephen cuddled on the couch while watching Tangled and drinking hot cocoa.

It was a great day at the Ringl house.

A lot of January

You guys, it’s almost February! How did that even happen? Life has been busy but yet kind of unproductive here. Unproductive on the house being clean and let’s start 2014 by being organized front, and busy on the I’m always tired and how do kids have so much energy bewilderment.

I figured it was time for a few in-the-life-of-the-stay-at-home-ringls photos. You know, in case you have checked the site a few times and noticed I haven’t reported in since just after Christmas.

Well, here you go friends, happy browsing.

Morning color time

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Those brown eyes have my heart.

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We are super thankful for all the friendly outdoor weather lately. Florida is weird.

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I think Sarah says “Run mama, Run!” 600 times a day. Girl keeps me in shape!

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They re-dig this dirt pile every time we go outside

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Snuggles in Hobby Lobby

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She has mastered how to ride her new bike.

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Hanging with the sun rays

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They are still learning to “share” the faucet in the bathtub. It’s like a waterfall, I get the appeal

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Bubbles

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Playing in Nana’s planters

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Exploring
(holding hands is my favorite!!!!)

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Visiting daddy at work & playing at Mr. Harry’s desk

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This sandbox was way worth the $3!

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Digging their hole

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Playground fun

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A group slide

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Family time is the best

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Flying a Blue Angel plane

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I always feel like we spend too much time cooped up inside, but going through these photos I see we are outside a lot more than I realized.

Somehow that makes me feel better about myself as a mom. Motherhood is weird.

Park by the Bay

A few weeks ago we went downtown for some fun outdoor time. It started with us visiting a place called the Imagination Station at the Wahoo Stadium. It’s a free event for parents to bring their kiddos on the weekdays. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was awesome. Sarah and Elanor both had a blast. Plus, I got to talk to some other moms, which was really nice, while all our kids ran from play area to play area. It’s always great to go somewhere and not have to worry about your kids running around, making a mess, or being too loud. Imagination Station folks, if you are in the Pensacola area – hit it up!

Now for some pictures. You know me, a post isn’t legit unless I share some (super cute kid-filled) visuals.

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Walking along the water

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Playing in the Amphitheater

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All you need is a puddle and a toddler

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Probably apple #3 of the day

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My mom, Miriah, the girls and I had a blast. We played inside from 9-11′ish and then walked along the bay. It was a fun, relaxing, and crazy hot day. Elanor took a nap in the stroller while Sarah jumped around and played her little heart out.

It was my first time at the Wahoo Stadium and I didn’t even have to go to a baseball game to see what a family friendly environment it is. We will definitely be going back soon :)

A Years Difference

While cleaning out my iPhoto folders I came across this picture of our eldest daughter.

This was her one year ago.

This is her a week ago.

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It’s weird that I remember that moment 1 year ago, but not how she looked. It seems like I always think she looks and speaks the same way she does at that current moment in time.

Her vocabulary has gotten huge and she has become such a little girl in the past few months.

She loves to play “mommy” with her dolls. She has a great imagination and watching her play with us, or independently, is so much fun. She loves to be outside getting dirty and exploring while searching for frogs, lizards, and bugs. Her favorite toy is her mini mouse doll. She loves to sing and dance, especially when her daddy plays guitar. She is a mini-Stephen with her love for musical instruments. She plays air guitar and drums on anything within reach.

Twinkle Twinkle, Jesus Loves Me, the Alphabet Song, Pat-a-cake & Itsy Bitsy Spider are sung multiple times a day. She learned Pat-a-Cake in one day after one of our youth sang it to her at church. She is a huge helper when it comes to cleaning. The clean-up song that my sis in law Kelly taught her has been a HUGE help. She always wants to help me cook and do dishes, most recently she has learned to make some awesome cornbread (thanks, Jiffy)! If I am doing laundry she puts the clothes in the washer and then later into the dryer.

She takes one nap in the afternoon, from 12:30-2:30. She has a toddler bed and goes to sleep between 7-7:30 and wakes up at 6:30 each morning by coming into our room and saying “Too early, mommy?” due to me telling her “It’s too early Sarah” for a few weeks after she first learned to open her door. She now goes to her daddy’s side of the bed and he gets up with her to eat breakfast and cuddle on the couch before he has to get ready for work.

We drink a TON of play tea that she makes me in her singing teapot. She makes delicious food by sprinkling it into my hands and on plates straight out of thin air. She has recently learned how to take off her clothes AND diaper. Since we started potty training this was useful, until she started bringing us her already poop-filled diapers. Our carpet and tile have never been cleaner!

She has the sweetest little spirit and is a wonderful big sister. She likes to “help” when Elanor needs her diaper changed, and is my little pacifier hunter. Most times she will get upset if Elanor is crying. She hates for her sister to be sad. In the morning, when Elanor wakes up she runs into their room and says “Good Mowning, Elanowr!” and then shows her how fun it is to jump on her bed. We go through more bananas than a zoo and she loves my [secretly filled with vegetables] smoothies.

We could not hope for a sweeter and more loving toddler. While she is hard headed, independent, and stubborn sometimes (no idea where she got that), her compassionate heart and sweet smile make every day brighter.

Parenthood is everything and nothing like I thought it would be. I can’t begin to imagine all the things she will learn and how much more she will grow by next summer!

All I know for sure is, while the days may seem long the years are flying by!

Post-Birth Unexpectedness

Yep, you read that correctly. I am going to do a little more (over)sharing of the baby birth variety. As if my last post wasn’t enough here I am to divulge even more.

After having my children I was beyond blindsided with things that no one told me would be happening to my body. I guess we are all so focused on preparing for labor and birth that people forget to share the insane things that come just after. I am here to make you more aware so that you aren’t surprised and confused or lack-of anything you may need but didn’t know to prepare for.

Alright ladies, here it is. You have been blessed by not having your period for 9 months and you need to prepare yourself. Yep, you are about to have the longest menstrual cycle of your life. Not a normal one either. A really really reeeeally heavy and uncomfortable one. Make sure that you have pads at home before you go to the hospital. You don’t want to send your husband to the store to pick out the wrong kind of super extra jumbo pads your first day back home. Who am I kidding, you won’t be picky about the type of pads, you will be too busy searching for old ugly granny panties so that you don’t ruin any of your nice ones. Not that those fit anyway, since, another fun unexpected surprise, you are entering the awkward “none of my clothes fit and I still look pregnant but in a weird droopy belly not cute kinda way”. I hope your stretchy pajama pants aren’t stored up in the attic because it’s time to bust those suckers out, and you are in no condition to be climbing stairs.

Did you know that after you have your baby you can actually request for them to leave the baby with you and hold off on all the checklists, pricks, prods, and paperwork!? Who knew, right. They don’t have to get your babies APGAR score in the first few minutes. Those moments are far too precious to have your baby crying across the room while a stranger checks their measurements. Ladies, you just had a baby. The child you have been dreaming of holding for the past 9 months. The one you picked a name for and spent time decorating a room. Unless there is something wrong with your sweet newborn, don’t let them steal those first moments from you. You will never get those first seconds, minutes, or hours again. Don’t ask or request that they can leave the baby with you, you are the patient YOU make the decision to keep, hold, and stare at your baby. Let your eyes be the first they stare into. Not just for 90 seconds, but for as long as they will allow. The nurse gave us over an hour of alone time after I had Elanor. It was just me, Stephen and our new baby in the room. Hospitals have routines but you aren’t going to break any laws by requesting to keep your baby. Be the first to witness your babies first blinks, cries, coos, and finger squeezes. You will never forget those first moments, and if it takes you demanding they wait, then do that. You don’t want to have regrets about this.

Ladies, I’m gonna be blunt with you (as if that’s new). You can not even prepare yourself for the crazy hormonal imbalances after baby is born. I’m only going to lightly touch this topic, because it honestly deserves an entire post all of its own. After little one arrives your body starts a rapid decrease in hormone production. The amount and intensity varies for everyone, but it is a serious, confusing, overwhelming, and for some medication needed experience. Think of a time you cried about something really upsetting. Now ADD together all the other times you’ve cried in your life on top of that and multiply it by ten. I’m not even kidding. Have some tissue boxes on hand bc hormones + sleep deprivation is gonna make you a crying red-eyed mess. Driving in the car and you start crying for NO reason, normal. Husband offers to go buy you dinner and you feel a rush of pressure in your head as you hold back tears. Done it. Baby wakes up crying and you want to run away. Seriously and totally been there. Expect the unexpected because some crazy lady is gonna take over your body and brain for a few weeks. Don’t worry too much, you will return back to a normal person. To top it off you won’t even remember much about it a few weeks or months later, but your husband probably will ; )

Now for a seriously important topic that I never thought would be an issue but it turns out is the toughest part after having a baby. Breastfeeding. No, I’m not kidding. I am 100% positive that those first few minutes after having our second baby are what made me feel so instantly connected to her. My breastfeeding experiences with our two daughters are like night and day. I believe one of the reasons that is is because I was able to nurse Elanor just minutes after birth. She latched on like a pro. She was a great nurser from that point forward. Our first daughter was completely different. Due to a combination of being immobile from my epidural, lying on my back while being stitched by the on-call doctor, and receiving medication that made me vomit and dizzy, I wasn’t able to try and nurse Sarah for over 2 hours after birth. After that she did latch but she wouldn’t eat because she instantly fell asleep since it was past that first “alert” time they have an hour or so after birth. While she was a confusing and trying nurser, I stuck with it (using a nipple shield) and did not give up. I was rewarded for my efforts when on the day she turned 4 months old she latched on me directly and nursed perfectly from that point on until she weaned at 1 years old.

Side-note: don’t let a lactation consultant be so busy they don’t give you the time of day and stick you with a nipple shield. Unless you want to hate nursing and have to pump EVERY time your baby eats. While the shield is a great blessing for women who need it because of actual nipple-related reasons, if your baby can properly latch then there is no reason you should need it.

The topic of breastfeeding has so much information that never seems to be discussed… Did you know that your milk doesn’t come in for a few days until after you’ve had your baby?! I didn’t know that. I also didn’t know of a thing called engorgement. Yep, it is exactly what it sounds like. Imagine your boobs being as hard as a rock, and then add in that they are so full that your skin feels like it’s going to stretch apart. Okay, now that I’ve scared you to death you will be relieved when it’s bad – but not THAT bad! You’re welcome. But in all seriousness, engorgement is painful and it will benefit you to invest in some heating pads if you don’t have any on hand. That, or just get a hot shower or bath and let the steam do some of the work.

I feel like the first 6 weeks are make or break for breastfeeding. If you can push through the pain and exhaustion in the beginning you can make it as long as you previously dreamed. I was a little aware of this next discovery, but not fully. For the first few days/week or two after delivery you experience contractions while breastfeeding. It’s great for your body because the contractions are your bodies way of shrinking your uterus back down to it’s original size, but that doesn’t mean they don’t hurt like they did in childbirth. Not as bad as just before pushing baby out contractions, but definitely between the 4-7cm variety. Because engorgement, sore nipples, and healing down below isn’t enough to experience, the body decides to throw some more contractions into the picture. Thankfully extra strength tylenol is safe to take and it can really help take the edge off.

Sitz bath. Ever heard of it? I hadn’t either. What’s worst is when the doctor told me to take a sitz bath 2-3 times a day I felt so dumb not knowing what “sitz” were that I didn’t ask. Because of that I didn’t take a single bath until my mom explained it to me a week or two later. Turns out a sitz bath is just a weird confusing spelling and pronunciation to just go and SIT in a BATH. I don’t know why the “Z” is added on the end, but now you know. SIT(z) in a bath with just enough water to cover your legs and let the warm water help heal and relax your lower half. Not only is it good for your body, it’s also good for your brain. Having a few moments to just sit by yourself can be sanity saving when you and your food-producing-boobs are on call 24/7. Sitz = Sit. Stupid z. If you don’t know what something is when instructed by your doctor just ask. Don’t let pride and dumbfounded’ness get in the way.

While packing for your hospital stay one of the most useful things you can throw in there is a trunk load of snacks. Yes, I’m totally serious. I went through an entire bag of family sized trail mix in 2 days, not to mention the 2 subway sandwiches, chips and cookies I chowed down on between hospital meals. Birthing a child is the longest workout you’ll ever have, and it makes perfect sense that you become ravenous. I had a friend that was a delivery nurse in the hospital we went to and she let me know that they had sandwiches and crackers stored in the fridge when the kitchen is closed. This is an additional tidbit for you, be nice to your nurses! Definitely can’t go wrong by rubbing elbows with the people that are in charge of your chart and controlling your food/medicine.

Poop. Yes, of the bowel movement variety. I’m totally going down this road with you. No reason to overshare on this topic, but just be aware that constipation can be at it’s highest after birth and investing in some stool softeners wouldn’t be a bad idea. Actually it’s a good idea, so just trust me and get a small bottle to help things along during the first few weeks after baby arrives. Things are extra sensitive down there and if you can make things easier on yourself than there’s no reason not to.

I am not writing this to scare any of you. If anything I am wanting to encourage you. I just know that I found it VERY helpful to know what to expect during my second pregnancy and delivery. All of which was NOT mentioned in that “What to Expect” book. It might be stuff you already knew, or maybe you weren’t aware of one or two things I listed, but I have to honestly admit that everything I shared above were things I did not know about until after having our first daughter and experiencing them first hand. I felt completely blindsided. Hopefully this information can be useful to someone. Even if it helps prepare just one person it was worth putting all these details out there.

Well that is all that I can think of to pass on from my experiences. If anyone else has some thoughts or insights please share. I’d love to hear other peoples stories and tips.

 

 

Currently

Starting this Monday off with coloring books…

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and baby nap cuddles

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A great morning in my book :)

Beach Babes

While Miriah was on spring break we decided to start the season right and head out to the beach. The weather greeted us perfectly, we couldn’t have asked for a prettier day.

Sarah absolutely LOVES the beach and Elanor seemed to agree with her big sister. You know what I’ll stop with the words and let the pictures do the talking.

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a lot of my time was spent filling up a water bucket

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Sarah is in a mimicking stage and it’s really cute
[example seen below]

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the Ringl gals

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I love her so much!

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We had a great first beach trip and I know we will be having many more over the next few months!