Saturday, August 24, 2013

How to Add Social Media Icons to Your Blog!

So I'm currently obsessed with social media, especially for my blog (which is kinda silly considering how infrequently I post on the blog but that's another story...)  I noticed when one of my favorite blogs, Life with the Ladniers, had these really cute buttons for her social media sites so I immediately Googled how to do them for my own blog.  I expected it to be a long, tedious process and while it was a bit repetitive, it was completely easy.  I found the instructions at My Favourite Things and she even has icons that you can use, for free!  They are really cute but don't quite fit my blog, and I like the way the icons look on my iPhone so I searched Google for the iPhone versions of each icon: Facebook, youTube, Pinterest, Instagram.  She also provided icons for Google +, etsy, e-mail, and more!  Plus you can use whatever images you want and whatever links you want so really, the sky is the limit.  You could use an image of your dog to link to your dog's website if you wanted.  It is really so much easier than I thought; I imagined you had to use a generator from a outside website but it's just code that you edit, and Olivia is extremely specific and instructive in her directions.
I want you to visit her site for the instructions but I'll give you the basics.  What you'll need is the web address for each of your social media sites, as well as the link for the image you want as the button.  She suggests using Photobucket or a similar site to generate the web address for each image and that's what I used.  All I needed was two web addresses for each social media site.  One thing I changed that I feel accomplished doing was instead of using the HTML option for each button, I put all the code together in one HTML option and then, this is how awesome I am, added "<CENTER>" to the beginning of the code and "</CENTER>" to the end (not necessary) and it centered everything!  I am amazing at HTML! Haha. I'm so happy the way it turned out, it's exactly what I wanted and now people can easily follow me everywhere. So make sure to click on all the buttons to follow our family! 
Thank you Olivia for your virtual help!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Robbie's Favorite Pacifier: Nuk pacifiers for my breastfed baby

When I was pregnant I did not expect my child to take a pacifier. I was planning to (and went on to) breastfeed and I had heard opinions about how pacifiers may be detrimental to the breastfeeding relationship in the beginning. A baby needs to stimulate the mother's milk supply to make sure she makes enough and if a baby uses a pacifier, it's not stimulating the breast. Plus for purely selfish reasons: I strongly dislike pacifiers in pictures! So for many reasons I didn't want to use a pacifier and did not even have any when he was born. I ended up having quite the milk supply from my constantly nursing infant, and I did not mind him nursing all the time. What I did mind was him crying in the car or in the stroller when he went on walks. If someone was holding him, he was perfectly happy but did not like to be put down at all. I think my wanting to soothe him on walks is why we ended up buying some. I researched what was best for breastfed babies and decided to buy Playtex Binky pacifiers. 

Well we all hated them. They were "shaped like mom's nipple" but for a baby that had never used a pacifier, it was hard to keep in because of the shape. We then tried the same brand but the orthodontic kind to see if he could keep them in better. They worked a bit better but he still didn't like them. 
We pretty much only offered them when we were on walks as I held him or wore him the rest of the time. I starting thinking maybe it would be a good idea to offer it to him when I went back to work if he was upset. 
One day when Robbie was about 3 months old, I was at my parents' house and we were getting ready to go visit some family friends. I had forgotten to bring a pacifier (even though he rarely kept one in) and asked my parents if they had any left over from my niece. They happened to have one latex Nuk pacifier (that I think was actually 18 months+ but didn't realize it). He started crying in the car as he always did so I offered the paci and he took it and stopped crying! Did not spit it out! 
This started our real experience with pacifiers. At almost 16 months Robbie still uses them, exclusively Nuk brand though although he seems to prefer latex, he'll use a silicone one. He needs one if Daddy puts him to sleep but if I nurse him to sleep, he only sometimes uses it. If it falls out he will continue to sleep. 
We try not to give it to him except for naptime or bedtime but if he's fussy I'll give it to him, especially in the car. I had planned to not use a paci, then decided when he started using them, to take them away at 6 months. Then I decided 12 months. Now I don't really care! 
I used to be the person that questioned why a three year old was walking around with a paci and though I hope he won't need one by then, who am I to question that? It's not my child. Just another one of my enlightened thoughts that hit me when I actually had a child of my own.

This was supposed to be a review but evolved into my thoughts on pacifiers as well. They sure changed when we started going him the pacifier, just like pretty much all my opinions before I was a parent myself!

Robbie's Sign Language at (almost) 16 Months

  • Milk (also signed while "babbling" in sign)
  • More
  • Food/ eat
  • Bug!
Bug was a funny development.  He'd been touching his nose with his thumb with his hand spread open but couldn't figure out when he was trying to say.  Water?  Whatever it was, it was really cute and interesting, as his signs are always initiated by us and we weren't actively teaching him a sign like this.  Then while we were watching the Baby Signing Time: A New Day, when the song "I'm a Bug" came on, he used this mysterious sign!  We've used the sign before when watching the video but don't normally show it to him.  We tend to focus on food signs, if that says anything about us. It is so adorable to see him decide to use this sign all by himself, although he's not usually talking about bugs.  It may turn out that he's been saying something else, or babbling but either way, it's a cool development.
We're now working on:
  • water
  • Mama
  • Dada
  • some foods like apple, cracker (though we may make our own, it's a hard sign for a baby), granola bar
  • thank you 
One awesome thing about sign (among many things) is that he uses a phrase!  He says "more food."  If it was speech at his age, it may be "mo foo" but he's not even there yet.  It makes me so happy to know that he can communicate with us, even if not with speech.  This makes me more invested in teaching him sign and I can't wait til he learns more.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Touched Out"

I'm not happy to report after 15 1/2 months, I reached that dreaded point for the first time: being "touched out."  Surprisingly even though my toddler still nurses many times a day (and night), I hadn't ever felt the itchy, overtouched feeling.  It was a culmination of wanting to nurse because he's teething, plus the whining from the pain, plus wanting to be held and comforted, even when I had things to do like make dinner, that ended with me saying to my husband, "he is so annoying right now!"
What a terrible thing for a parent to say.  Or is it?  I'm only human after all.  If I wanted to seem like a perfect mother, I would never admit such a thing.  But I'm over the "mommy wars" drama.  I felt this way and it's okay.  I'm almost 100% sure I've looked down on someone that confessed this same feeling.  How can you not want to be touched by your child?  But especially if you have more than one child and stay at home with them, you are with them all the time and may not have one second where one of your children is not hanging on you, crying.
Yesterday for example was one of my days off.  When Robbie woke up, he of course was right next to me as we bed-share, and I got up with him.  So we played together while Daddy was at work.  Then right as Daddy came home from an extra long shift at work, Robbie and I both laid down for a nap that lasted two and a half hours.  So we were touching the whole time.  Then we got up and went to the pool with some friends.  My husband and I took turns holding the floatie that Robbie was in but my husband left earlier than us to go to the grocery store for dinner supplies.  So it was up to me to get Robbie dried off while drying off myself while he ran around the pool with some pool toys.  He wanted to go back in the water and cried and fought when I didn't let him.
When we got home, he was tired from the pool but it was too early to put him down for the night.  So he was fussy and whining while I made dinner.  If I were alone, I probably would've got out my Ergo baby carrier and strapped him in but me and my husband just traded off holding him and trying to entertain him.  We gave him some ibuprofen for his teething pain (a post about this coming soon) and he did settle down a bit and actually played somewhat happily for a few more hours.
But this just shows he was almost literally touching me all day, and whining while he was climbing all over me, demanding to nurse.  When I think about it, I know it's one of my jobs to accept this.  And wearing him in a carrier really would've helped if I needed it.  But at the time I was SO ANNOYED and voiced this to my husband, who acted shocked but he'd been in my shoes before.
If you feel this way sometimes, it does not make you a bad parent!!!  If it is a constant feeling then it should be looked into to make sure it is not something more serious.  But I know for me that it is just a mix of many things coming together at once that made it overwhelming.  It was not my proudest moment to admit that my young son was annoying me but I recognize that it was the situation, not him as a person.
Admitting it to my husband helped, and after work today I will spend a few minutes alone at a coffee shop.  I'm sure it will help and I will be rejuvenated for him.  I'd still felt a bit touchy this morning but when I went home on my break, he was a joy as usual.  It was hard leaving him as always and I'm looking to being with him tonight.
I had a real mommy moment and I wanted to share it with other parents that have these moments and think it makes them bad parents.  It does not!  To have these moments every now and then is totally normal, especially if you stay at home or have more than one child.  Neither of those describes me so I think that's why it took so long for this normal feeling to happen.
It sure knocked me off my high horse and I'm glad it did.  It's just one more way to make me realize that these mommy wars are ridiculous and most of us are doing the best we can.