Adventure, Baby, Family Travel, Motherhood, Travel

Doing New York City – The Baby Way

When I first moved to New York City I got lost at least a dozen times. . . in my first three days! I would walk off the subway, confidently walking in the direction I was sure was correct, only to end up calling my husband to come find me on his way home from work. Once I at least got my sense of direction I then had to navigate my timing of when I would leave for things, how much time it would take (always give yourself an extra 30 minutes at least), and of course, my husband’s favorite, pre-walking to the ideal spot on the subway for the quickest exit.

After a year I felt pretty confident in Manhattan. I even knew my way better than my husband who always knows where he is going ;). And then I had a baby and everything I had learned, had taught myself, was gone. Now almost another year has gone by and I feel like some of that confidence has come back. With that confidence I would like to share the best I have learned, as it can be just slightly overwhelming to figure out what you are doing, how to get there and what to take with you when you have miniature people traveling alongside you (yes, for those of you who are Manhattanites, you have your ways down I’m sure, but for those coming for a visit, it may help).

  1. Subway No-Go Hours: the subway is a wonderful, easy way to get around the city. However, traveling this way during peak rush hour is very ill advised. Traveling at this time is almost certain to induce nausea, anxiety and overall unhappiness. Not to mention that if you are traveling with a stroller (more on that decision in a moment) you will be looked down upon and few, if any, will offer you help. So between the hours of 9-10:30AM and 5:30-7PM be warned.
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Roo has her subway riding skills down.

2. Stroller Travel: I have been pleasantly surprised with the ease of which this city can be navigated with a stroller as well as how accommodating almost everywhere is with them. Almost anywhere you go will have either a parking spot for them or will just let them be, no fuss. And while having a stroller with you is a great thing, there are definitely times when you do not want one if you have a carrier to use instead

  • The Subway: Really, it is so much easier to travel the subway with a carrier. Think about your trip – if you can get around with a carrier, use it!
  • Chelsea Market: Unless you are in the city at a more slow paced time of year, this place is a mad house and is much better off just walking though, navigating with just your body, baby attached and all. But I highly recommend this place, I love going there and then adventuring along the Highline for a bit!
Stroller Chill

We make this stroller travel look good!

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Mom, can we go for a walk now!?

  • Museums: Ok, so this one is a bit of a toss up but I have found, after doing some museums both ways, that the carrier is much easier. For example, the Museum of Natural History has A LOT of stairs. Sure, it has elevators, but those things take forever (really, I waited for 10minutes at one). It is also much easier to navigate around some of the displays with just yourself and not a stroller.

3.  Breastfeeding: This one is easy. Anywhere you need to. Nobody cares or bats an eye. Besides, there are plenty of other crazy things to look at besides a woman taking care of her child 🙂

4.  Other Food: There are markets everywhere, Whole Foods, Food Emporium, D’Agostino, etc. There is also a Duane Reade on every single corner, maybe even two of them! For those who are not from the East Coast these are Wallgreens/Rite Aide. They have those fantastic food packets for kiddos of all solid food ages. So if you realize you forgot to pack your mini’s food, pop into one of these and hangry crises is averted!

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Taking a little food break down in Battery Park

Some other things I have learned from other moms that I think are great are just general rules. Being such a large place, the thought of being separated is probably very real (my child is 10-months-old so I fortunately don’t have this fear yet). Moms tell me that establishing meeting places is key. For the subway, tell your child that in the off chance you get separated, they are to either stay at the station right where they are (if you get on and they don’t) or get off at the next stop (if they get on and you don’t) and wait right there. If a cop is nearby at the station, point them out and tell them to go hang out with them until you return. A police officer is always a good person to go to if separated. While walking around, introduce your kids to them for an official NYPD picture! Hold hands always walking across the streets, but let them hail a cab for you, or run loose (by like 10 feet haha) in Central Park.

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My husband and nephew being too cool for school.

This city really is great for children and moms and dads and families of all sizes. There is so much to see and explore, and it is all so accessible.

These are my little tidbits from what I have gained thus far. I have no doubt that I will learn 1,000,000x more things in this next year as my daughter goes from 10-months to 2-years as this city shows me more and more with every day. If you happen to be traveling this way and there are other questions you have, please don’t hesitate to comment and ask!

For a mountain town who keeps hoping for a mountain baby, she does well with the city (much better than her mountain mama) and makes this city even more of an adventure than it already has been!

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Baby, Life Changes, Love, Mom, Motherhood, NYC, SAHM

The Start of the SAHM Life

I have been meaning to write this for almost 8-months now, but every day I say I’m going to do it, the day ends and merely the thought of writing is all that has happened. Such is the life of a newly inducted SAHM (that’s Stay At Home Mom for those of you who don’t know).

I didn’t always think I would be a SAHM right off the bat. I mean, I wanted to be one eventually, after I had all the kids I would have, but right away – meh. Then my Little Roo was born. Really it was even before that moment that I knew I would be beyond 100% satisfied with my life if I stayed home. And did I know it would be hard? Yeah. I had no doubt that when people told me it was one of the hardest jobs they have ever done that they were telling the truth. But to actually experience that personally took that belief to a whole other level.

 

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I’ll be honest – I already don’t remember what my job entailed those first couple months. I was a complete zombie who apparently kept a very happy demeanor (according to my husband, who didn’t tell me that until after, just in case a comment like that made me explode, haha). Once my husband went back to work I was sure I would be able to keep up with my old schedule. I mean, the baby just sleeps 90% of the time, right? Well, all I could ever answer when he would come home asking what I did for the day was. . . “I don’t know”. As along as it wasn’t too negative temperature-wise outside I knew we went for a walk, but the rest of it – well my memory decided to go the way of Dory.

Fortunately for my sanity (that was probably on the brink with the lack of sleep, even if I wasn’t aware of it), we were blessed with a good sleeper who was sleeping through the night by 8-10 weeks. That was at least one really hard part out of the way, but that by no means made the list of hard things smaller. I tried making a schedule, writing down exactly what I wanted to accomplish (I’m a total list person). I pinned everything on fun things I could do with my Roo, and yet I still felt like I was being inadequate as a mother. My job was to stay home, enriching her life but also make the home clean and comfortable for us all – why was this so overwhelming!?

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Almost 8-months have gone by now, and while there are still days I feel completely overwhelmed, desiring to do nothing more than to crawl into my bed and sleep everything away, I wouldn’t trade any of these last months for anything. Being a SAHM is the dream job I didn’t fully realize I wanted but it’s a job I can’t imagine not having and not giving my absolute everything.

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Baby, Birth, Husband, Love, Miracle of Life, Motherhood, NYC

That Moment

Do you believe in love at first sight? That moment when you make contact and the whole world stops. Where a breath is impossible to take – words indescribable in the moment.

I knew I loved you before I met you. I knew we were meant to be before I even knew you existed, and it took only nine minutes to prove my feelings were true. For the second time in my life I was completely, helplessly, madly in love.

Looking at your face I needed to memorize it all in that moment – I didn’t want one detail to slip by. Your nose. Your lips. Your eyes. Your ears – perfection. I needed to touch them each a hundred times and then a hundred times more just to reassure myself that what I saw was real.

Once our eyes met. Big and beautiful, they pulled me in, captured me heart and soul.

Then I saw you in his arms. Stars exploded, worlds collided – there was nothing else in the world that could compare to my two loves. My world was rocked once six years ago, and now it had been jolted again. How did I get so lucky? What had I done to deserve this?

My husband stood before me holding our daughter. It was a moment I had envisioned over and over, imagining how perfect it would be. This man who had enraptured me from day one was standing, smiling, gazing down at this little being, this beautiful little girl we had created. He was perfect. She was perfect. Life, in that moment, was perfect.

My world has been stopped twice and twice I have been completely without air. And words – there aren’t enough to adequately describe these moments. So I just sit silently, letting it overflow my heart and fill up my world.

CP Family

I believe in love at first sight.

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Birth, Judgement, Life Changes, Miracle of Life, Motherhood, NYC, Pregnancy

Judge Ye Not. . . A Birth Story

It is unique to human beings. No other animal is so harsh to one another. So callous and cruel. Humans are constantly trying to one up one another, pointing out how they are better or superior in some way or another. This is shown through clothing worn or money earned. Where one lives, what one drives and even how one eats.

Since becoming pregnant (and now becoming a mother) I had become even more conscious of the human species viscousness through their judging of one another. And while I had made an effort before to not be so quick to judge another person, I was adamant to be better after judgement I have heard and received over the last nine months.

Pregnancy judgment begins the day you choose to announce to the world (or even close family and friends) that you are expecting. The happiest moment in your life (well, at least until that Little Roo is born), immediately becomes a harbor for constant worry and constant scrutiny from others.

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The moment I started telling people that we were expecting I was bombarded with questions. While ‘congratulations’ was the first thing to come out of people’s mouths, it was quickly followed by; “do you have a birth plan?” or “are you planning on having a natural birth?” and even just the advice of, “you know you should breast feed for at least the first year”. People, my baby is the size of a pea and is indistinguishable between that of a tadpole – CALM DOWN PLEASE!

Fast forward to week 25 or so and I was that lady the people were afraid to ask if I was pregnant. Really, I just looked like I had gained a few pounds. I really had the prefect example of a spare tire. When people did choose to ask and I told them how far along I was I immediately got looks of concern. “Are you sure what you are doing here {at the gym} is ok for you?”, “Are you sure that’s how far along you are?” (no, actually, it’s not a perfect science, you get an ESTIMATED due date, not an actual – doctors are good, but not that good). I even had people have the audacity to tell me they didn’t think my pregnancy, or at least the baby, was healthy with how small I was. Here is what they didn’t know:

At week 13 I went in for routine test looking for downs syndrome and chromosomal abnormalities. While almost everything came back looking great, one blood test made my doctor a little concerned. I even had to have the discussion with her about what our decision would be if the additional blood tests showed the same result (scariest discussion I have had to date). Everything, thankfully, came back fine – but there was a, shall we call it, a side-effect to this red flag. Come week 28 I would be going in frequently for additional ultra sounds and non-stress tests. I was a ‘high-risk’ pregnancy. I found myself immediately being judgmental and had to catch myself. ‘I can’t be high risk, I’m too young. That’s only for those people who choose to have babies later in life’ – massive error. I don’t know what leads people to have a baby later. Maybe they have been trying for 10 years to get pregnant. Maybe they had such a wonderful job that they couldn’t imagine leaving it just yet. Whatever the reason, they were choosing to bring life into this world and that’s all that matters.

Every time I was asked if the baby or just everything was ok I would just smile and say, ‘yes, everything is great’. And it was. I was lucky. Every test I had taken looked great – my baby was smaller than average, but not dangerously so. We just really were going to have a little Little Roo. But did that reassurance help me when constantly getting asked about our health by others – no. Every time it made me a little nervous.

Now let’s go to the birth. I had a c-section. We chose to tell very few people this. People push the whole natural birth thing so much these days that having a c-section is practically frowned upon by many. Did I want to have a natural birth? I most definitely did. Some crazy part of me wanted to feel that euphoric pain that comes with a natural birth. But do you want to know what I wanted above anything else? A healthy baby. Before my baby’s birth I had more random people give me advice on what the baby’s gender was and how I needed to birth her. I had one man (yes, a man) tell me that I HAD to have a water birth. It was the best for a baby. Hospitals were not a good place and if I wanted to, he could give me the info for the place his wife birthed their child. I had a woman in a nail salon tell me it needed to be ‘au-natural’ as well and that a Doula was necessary; “especially since you are from Utah, you definitely need a Doula” (um, what? What does Utah have to do with anything!?). The c-section was not my first choice, or even one I wanted to even choose from – it was, however, the safest choice. My baby was breach, and even though we attempted a version, our Little Roo wasn’t budging. It was much more content kicking my bladder constantly.

Now some of you reading this may think, “well yeah, it’s safer, but you can still at least try a breach natural birth”. True, this is something you can choose to attempt. To me, the thought of going through the stress of actual labor to have the chance that something goes wrong that they do an emergency c-section anyway wasn’t worth the risk. I would enjoy my birth experience no matter how it happened. My husband and I were having a baby! That’s the ONLY thing that mattered.

It’s funny, now, to hear people’s reactions when I say I had a c-section. I even catch myself defending my reasoning. Why should I have to give an excuse for why I had a c-section? There are people who elect to have them all the time. I think I do so because, in the back of my mind, I am still worried about the judgement people will place on me for that decision. That I wasn’t strong enough to go through labor, that I wasn’t willing to do more, to try more to make a natural birth happen. But I shouldn’t have to defend my choice. I grew a human being for heaven’s sake! I created life. I altered my body so that it could harbor this miraculous being, and regardless of how it was brought into this world, it is still a little miracle. My little miracle.

So next time you are walking down the street and you see something different than what you personally believe in, stop you brain from even starting to judge. But if you can’t quite quit judging cold turkey, at least start with not judging the lady with the belly. Tell her congratulations. She is creating something miraculous and her body will change in whatever ways it sees fit. You, at one point, were that little miracle too – you still are, that’s what makes you, you.

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