Toddler Work

See this right here? This is a pile of towels folded by my 3 year old girl, Ziva. Let me tell you a bit about how we got here.

2 days ago it was a pile of towels I had folded but left out, which became a heap of messy, unfolded towels used as a bed for a doll. I was annoyed and felt overwhelmed by little bits of work in our long list of to-do’s being undone by my unaware toddler…

In the last week I realized that in the chaos of our house hunting and move I had failed to pay enough attention to Ziva’s changing needs. She’s no longer just our little girl, she’s a big girl who wants to be helpful and contribute to our family and home. She has been for a while, but recently we haven’t been keeping up with her ever growing and changing needs. She has been restless and destructive recently, which FINALLY woke us up.

Brian and I both started to request her “help” with tasks here and there. Carrying things to the car, packing things, and putting things away. Each task (when posed as needing her help) led to a happier, more relaxed, and proud toddler. On Tuesday she beamed as she announced all she had done all on her own because she’s “a really big girl, but still a little girl” as she put it.

Cut to this morning, after Brian had refolded the pile of towels, Ziva got busy unfolding and playing pretend with the whole stack all over again. I sighed, accepting defeat and turned back to my work. But a few minutes later Ziva called for my attention and I was gleefully surprised to see that she had refolded THE WHOLE PILE.

Really, I shouldn’t be surprised. She is learning so many wonderful practical world skills and self-care skills at school. It just took remembering to give her a little space and encouragement at home to open up this whole set of skills and possibilities.

So, this might just be a small pile of haphazardly folded towels, but to me it’s a sign that my big girl is growing up, and I couldn’t be more proud.

Advertisements

Joint Birthday Themes

Okay, so for my girls 1st and 3rd joint party I started mulling over ideas about 6 months in advance. Never too early, right?? Well, maybe it’s a bit too early… but I can’t help it! The planning is the fun part!

I’m currently obsessing over a Donuts 🍩 and Dinosaurs 🦕🦖 theme for my girls. Z loves talking about Dinosaurs (she’s my little Zivasaurus) and Ari is too small to have much of an opinion! Plus, after going the princess route for Halloween I wanted to make sure we maintained a little balance when it comes to the overly gendered tropes.

(We were the royal family of Enchancia for those of you who aren’t familiar with Sofia the first and her sidekick, Clover the rabbit.) Since I’ve got our theme all hammered out. I started thinking of Boy/girl themes to share with my sister-in-law for her two who have close birthdays as well.

Okay. So really any theme can be either gender, but here are some super cute gendered party theme pairings for a Boy/Girl Joint party:

  • Mermaids 🧜‍♀️ and Pirates
  • Sharks 🦈 and Mermaids 🧜‍♀️
  • Under the Sea
  • Circus
  • Bugs (Caterpillar 🐛 and Butterfly 🦋, Lady bug, etc)
  • Superboy and Supergirl
  • Superheros and Princesses 👸🏼
  • Superheros (medley of them, girls and guys)
  • Mickey and Minnie Mouse
  • Bows 🎀 and Bow ties 🤵
  • Trucks and Tutus
  • Wonder Woman and Superman

Oh man, I could keep going all day it seems. But, I want to hear from you! What are your favorite joint birthday themes (Boy/Girl, 2 girls or 2 boys). Links to Pinterest boards welcome. 😉

It Won’t Be Like This For Long

*I wrote this post back in 2015 when my oldest, Ziva, was a newborn. I never posted it because it felt cliche telling people “you’re gonna miss this” etc. that’s the last thing a mom struggling with baby blues or who is not into the newborn phase wants to hear. I just came across this post wasting away in my drafts folder and it struck me how much it is still true for me. It brought me to tears remembering how intensely I savored each moment of the early days as a mama. Even with baby number 2 I was too busy and distracted to fully indulge in those early days of drowsy couch nursing sessions and staring endlessly at the new life in my arms. I cry a little out of sadness for myself and Arielle that we didn’t get as much focused time together, and a little because the memory of the feelings in the early days of motherhood are still so strong- and true in each phase we’ve entered since. It all just goes too darn fast.

Even the hard parts of each stage just remind me how fast they are growing and changing, and how soon they won’t be my little babies anymore. Oh gosh, here come the waterworks again! Arielle is already 5 months old today and Ziva is 2 and a half. our newborn days may or may not be behind us forever now… so now more than ever I feel the truth in these words I wrote 2 and a half years ago. It’s okay if you’re not feeling the same way about newbornhood, but I know some mamas out there can appreciate these sentiments!

***

May 12, 2015

For some people the newborn phase can be pretty grueling. While I was pregnant I was preparing myself for the sleep deprivation, difficult crying sessions and all of the challenges of being a new mommy to a brand new little girl. But instead of finding myself wishing away our newborn days, I’ve found that I absolutely love it. If you aren’t feeling the same, don’t hate me, just hear me out.

Sure, I’m tired… I smell like spit-up (bile and sour milk), I’m pretty sure I have spit-up in my hair more often than not. I’m sweating from the heat of her little body constantly pressed up against mine. My wrist sometimes feels like it’s going to get stuck in one position from being squashed under her little head during long nursing and nap sessions. I can’t fit in most of my clothes still and I definitely am not feeling pretty. So, what has possessed my over-tired brain to make an outrageous declaration of love for this phase?

It’s going to be gone before I know it, in the blink of an eye I’ll be back at work missing these moments with a fierce nostalgia and love.

Honest Social Media

I’ve read a fair number of opinion pieces about how people lie on social media. Presenting an overly perfect, positive facade for the world, leading to feelings of inadequacy and envy in real-world moms. I don’t think anyone would accuse me of being one of those people (the missy McPerfectPants of the web). In fact, other than full-time bloggers staging a shoot with amazing lighting and perfect settings, and people who make a living off Instagram ads, I think most people are pretty real about their lives (or just don’t share very much). I mean, why would you want to share that your kitchen table is so covered in clutter you can’t use it?! Not that ours is… it is…Okay, it is, actually. 

Well, since I’m a chronic oversharer, I thought I’d give y’all a little glimpse of our imperfect paradise right now. I’ve only been sick a few days and my husband is keeping our heads above water as best he can, but the reality is that we are drowning in our own everyday mess right now. Super glamorous, I know. 

I’m sitting on my sofa, which has been peed on 2 times recently and puked on once by my sweet 2 year old angel. That’s right. We haven’t had covers on 2 of the cushions for a few weeks cause they’re dry clean only and we haven’t managed to take them in yet.

While I’ve managed to keep the laundry moving, (yay me!) there are perpetually about 3-5 loads worth sitting in laundry bins waiting to be folded and put away. 

Our floor is riddled with debris blown in from the patio.

We are in a losing battle with the dishes. 

No one will sleep. Alone. Through the night. I expect that from the baby, but come on 2 year old, you were doing so well? What happened?? 

So, there you have it. The glamorous reality we’re living in. I’m sure there are McPerfectPants out there thinking “I had 2, 2 and under and my floors were still clean.” Well, to you I say congratu-freaking-lations. Aren’t you special. 

Maybe in a few days (or weeks) we’ll have successfully crawled out from under this marvelous mess we’ve made… maybe we’ll be back with our heads safely above water and an only mildly gross living space, per usual. I know, the days are long but the years are short. This too shall pass, yadayadayada. 

Until then, in the words of Dory, “just keep swimming.” And, mediocre homemakers, over-tired mamas and papas, and even you McPerfectPants of the world, unite in honesty. Sometimes we’re all in a little over our heads. 

Party of 4: Adjusting to life with a new sibling


We’re almost two months in to this new gig as a family of 4 and it almost seems that the magnatude of the level of change is only just starting to hit us. The sheer logistics involved in managing daily tasks and  outings is enough to make your head spin! 

All in all we are doing pretty well in my book. Brian and I are like a team of elite disaster prevention specialists juggling intricate procedures while under sleep deprivation. Ziva is both a little cautious and a little protective around her little sister. When Arielle cries Ziva comes running yelling, “Get her mom! Get her!! She crying! Get her!” But when Ziva is feeling fragile and in need of her mama’s lap she’s not afraid to tell us, “I want daddy to take her,” so she can have her spot back in my arms 😂. 

I’m not totally naive, come on. I knew there would be big changes ahead. But, going from 1 baby to 2 is hard in different ways than I expected, but also exactly as everyone said:

Managing both babies’ needs is hard.

Managing your partners needs at the same time is super hard.

Managing your emotions about the whole thing at the same time… even harder. 

Ziva, like the champion adjuster and go-with-the flow kid she is, she hasn’t put up too much of a fight about the big changes in her life. She is, however, 2, and her new found anxiety about her place in the family comes out with some big emotions at times, and some subtle sadness and uncertainty. 

What I didn’t expect is how hard it is to sit back and watch my beloved big girl go through these big emotions and changes. Even if they are normal and necessary changes, it’s hard to see your little one in any amount of distress. I want to scoop her up and just hold her and squeeze her and help her be her usual perpetually happy self… but often my arms are occupied and Arielle is nursing and I just can’t.

I didn’t realize how having your heart in two places at once can wear you down a little. I feel so for Ziva and her feelings of uncertainty, and yet I want to give Arielle all the care and attention I know she deserves as well. 

Gradually, we are all learning how to rearrange ourselves to make room for this new little part of us who we all love so much. 

Arielle may be tiny, but like all new babies she’s made big waves in our family. So far we’re all keeping our heads (mostly) above water. 🌊 And it’s s all worth it when she cracks a smile 😍. 


Bit by bit they are becoming sisters, and that is enough to melt my heart. 

Introducing Arielle Rose!

Born March 24th, 2017, little Arielle Rose joined our family and stole our hearts! She was 7lbs 10oz (exactly as I predicted, down to the ounce!) and just over 19 inches long. 

Arielle “Ari” Rose is named for her paternal great grandfather, Leo (Ari and Leo both mean Lion), and her paternal great-great aunt Rose. Both of my great grandfathers also had names starting with “r” so her name is also a nod to them. 


Ziva loves her baby sister and is already an attentive big sis, though there are some pain points around sharing “nuk” (her word for nursing). It’s adorable when Ziva asks to kiss baby sister goodnight, or when the baby is crying and she comes running, yelling “Get her mama, she crying! She crying! Get her!” 


So far Ari has been a pretty great, one might say easy, baby. She wakes up a couple times a night, and cries when she is hungry or has tummy trouble, but that’s all to be expected. She is a big sleeper so far, and eating like a champ. I was a bit worried we wouldn’t get lucky and have another chill kid, but so far things are looking pretty good!


Welcome to the family, kiddo, we are so glad we are yours. 

Big Changes Part 3: Getting Some Answers

Before we moved, before we miscarried, I had done my research and found a GREAT OB to provide my prenatal care once we were to arrive in California. I was super excited to work with my new doctor after receiving countless recommendations from women who had delivered with him. My 12 week appointment was scheduled for our first week in town and after I miscarried I decided to keep the appointment for follow-up and planning for future pregnancies. I’m so glad I did.

My new doctor listened to my pregnancy history– my first miscarriage, the challenges we faced with Ziva’s pregnancy, and this most recent miscarriage. Generally the medical establishment look at early miscarriages as bad luck until there are 3 or more in a row without live births in between. But this new doctor really listened, and he decided that despite my not having had 3 successive miscarriages without a live birth in between, he felt there was reason enough to do some blood tests to take a look at why I may be experiencing recurrent miscarriages. I’m so glad he did.

I went in and had my blood drawn right away and waited till after my next cycle to go back to meet with the doc for my results. I fully expected and was bracing myself to hear that there was no explanation, nothing unusual with my results, and no potential explanation for why my babies keep miscarrying. I’ve never been so relieve to find out there was a problem. I mean, usually a positive test for a medical test isn’t a good thing… but in this case it meant answers. It means I may be able to do something about my recurrent miscarriages and POSSIBLY avoid losing another baby when we decide we’re ready to try again. I can’t imagine a more hopeful result.

Of the handful of tests they ran on my blood I received 2 positive results.

I received an ANA result (Antinuclear-Antibodies) that was positive. I don’t know a ton about this test and I wonder if it could be caused by my Psoriasis, which is an inflammatory autoimmune condition. The doctor wants to retest me for this in a month because it has a high false-positive rate. He did not make any treatment recommendations based on this test. You can read more about ANA here- http://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Antinuclear-Antibodies-ANA

The second thing that came back positive was MTHFR. I won’t even attempt at explaining it myself, I’ll let my doctor do that:

What Is MTHFR?

MTHFR (5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase – what a mouthful…) is a specific gene found on a specific chromosome within every cell in every person The MTHFR gene produces an enzyme responsible for a multi-step process that converts the amino acid homocysteine to another amino acid, methionine. Specifically, MTHFR irreversibly reduces 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate to 5-methyltetrahydrofolate.  5-methyltetrahydrofolate is ultimately converted to methionine to make proteins and other important compounds. When the MTHFR enzyme “malfunctions” the process gets backed up, so that homocysteine (considered to be somewhat of a toxic amino acid) levels increase.  Elevated homocysteine can cause inflammation in blood vessels and increases the risk of microscopic clot formation.”

(From http://www.stephenwellsmd.com/mthfr.htm)

This is the test that gives me hope. There are treatment options available that may reduce the likelihood of miscarrying due to this condition.

There’s something I can do.

There’s something I can do.

No words are sweeter to a mom who’s lost multiple babies (or even just one). No hope greater than learning there may be something you can do to keep it from happening again.

My doctor recommended that whenever we decide we’re open to becoming pregnant again, or if there is a possibility I will become pregnant, I should start taking a low-dose aspirin daily.

Just one little pill.

Hopefully this is the first step towards our next baby sticking around for the long haul. I cannot tell you what a relief it is to know that there is hope, if even just a small glimmer, there is a little bit of hope that maybe we won’t have to go through an early pregnancy loss again.

May it be so.

 

* This is not meant to be medical advice to anyone. I am just sharing my own experience and what I believe my doctor told me to do for my health. Please consult your own physician before taking anything.

Big Changes Part 1: Cross country move, miscarriage and answers

Whew. We did it!

We successfully moved across the country with a 15 month old, dog, and household of stuff. It’s been an incredibly hard, exhausting, exciting, and challenging spring so far and I don’t even know where to begin. So, I’ll just jump on in. This could get long, so I’m going to break it up into a 3 part series. You can read Part 2 and 3 Here and Here.

Pregnancy and Miscarriage

Positive Test_ReadySetSarahBlog

We found out in early March that we were expecting baby #2! We were THRILLED! I always wanted my kids close together and I wanted to start working on #2 just in case we experienced any trouble (like the first pregnancy which ended in a miscarriage at 12 weeks). The timing was a bit insane, since we were prepping for a cross-country move May 7th, but we couldn’t wait to show up in California with a little stowaway! Well, things didn’t go as planned… do they ever?

First, at what we calculated to be our 8 week appointment (based on my last period), the baby was only measuring 5 weeks. Strange… but our dates could very well have been off since my cycle was nowhere near regular yet. Then, a week later we went back to find a 6 week baby with a little steady heartbeat! A bit slow, but the Doc figured it was just getting going.

Heartbeat_ReadySetSarahBlog

Baby’s heartbeat.

Whew, it felt like we were in the clear and everything from there on out would be the (relatively) uneventful, smooth, and healthy pregnancy I’d always dreamed of… then I saw the tiniest bit of blood the Friday before what would be our  8 week appointment (based on the new dates adjusted at the first appointment). Okay, I’ve spotted with both my previous pregnancies…. those went 50/50, miscarriage/live birth. I trusted my gut and got in that day to have the baby checked.

The baby’s heartbeat was gone. It had stopped developing sometime in the 6th week after we saw it last.

This couldn’t be happening.

I was in shock, disbelief, numb.

Another miscarriage.

Why?

All our plans for another little November baby (like the first we miscarried which was due Nov 2nd, this baby’s adjusted due date was November 15th) were crushed. It took 3 weeks of bleeding before I finally miscarried fully. I had worked from home for a week waiting to pass the baby, but ended up miscarrying in the office on my last day before leaving for our big move to California. April 23rd. Almost exactly 2 years after I miscarried my first baby.

I Love You Forever_ReadySetSarahBlog

I packed away our Sister Bear and Baby bear shirts along with my hopes and dreams for these little siblings who would grow up so close in age. I pushed down the excitement for seeing Ziva as a big sister. I forced myself to see the silver linings this time around. At least I wouldn’t be having morning sickness and fatigue as I packed for the big move, at least I’d be able to lift things, at least, at least, at least…

I promise you, there was and is no silver lining that makes pregnancy loss of a wanted baby feel okay. There’s no silver lining good enough to replace the weight of a newborn in your arms, the kicks of a little growing baby, the joy of their first smiles, the love, the person they become. There just isn’t.

At least this time I had Ziva. At least this time I could hold her and find joy in her as she grows and changes… at least this time I know that I can survive, and life will go on, and eventually the sharpness of the pain dulls.

At least I was preparing to move back home where I could be close with my family and have a wide network of support for whatever the future holds. Our little family of 3 (4 with doggy Brinkley) would continue and move forward and move on, missing one more little angel.

Looking Ahead 2016

img_0282

First, Looking back

2015. Wow, what a year. It’s probably obvious what made my year. Becoming Ziva Pearl’s mother is the most amazing, fulfilling, joy inducing experience I could have ever imagined. Seriously. Don’t hate me for saying it, but I’m in love with this mommy gig. We have had our rough patches, but nothing a little mama-snuggling and troubleshooting couldn’t fix (thank you nipple shield). She brings me so much joy and is such a happy baby. I feel lucky I get to be her mom.

2016 is going to have to work extra hard to top this year! That’s okay though cause I have big plans. 😉

img_0185
2015 was all about our journey as new parents, and my guess is every year of parenthood is a new learning process with curve balls and triumphs, so why should we expect anything less in 2016?!

Looking Inward

In the hustle and bustle of parenthood, I want to make 2016 a year for retrofitting and reinforcing the walls that make up my personal foundation. My goal is to rebuild my sense of self now that I’m a mom. It’s funny how much my perspective, style, and focus has shifted in such a short time! I don’t want to be that mom hiding from the camera and absent from the family album. I want to be a confident, healthy, and active role model for Ziva as she gets older and I’m willing to do the work to make that happen.

img_0303
Looking ahead together

As a family, 2016 is going to be another year of big change… Nope! We aren’t pregnant with #2. We are, however, preparing to make the big move to my home state of CALIFORNIA! The details are still in the works, but by summer of 2016 the little Lubetsky family of Ann Arbor will be heading west!

Review: The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson, pictures by Beth Krommes

IMG_4445

Since I was very small I’ve had a love affair with picture books. My mother, a kindergarten teacher and artist, nurtured a love for beautiful books filled with diverse stories and artful illustrations by gifting us books for all special occasions. After dinners out, my family would meander over to the nearest bookstore and spend time perusing the shelves, often coming home with a new book to add to our ever-growing collection.

Now, as a new mom, it’s my turn. While we may have boxes upon boxes of magnificent stories tucked away in the shed back in California, we have begun growing Ziva’s own little collection here in Michigan. Hopefully someday we’ll get my collection here for her to enjoy as well. In the meantime, I’ll share with you my favorites, the classics, and ones we discover together.

Over the weekend we visited Literati, the adorable local book shop in downtown Ann Arbor. I headed up to the second floor to find the children’s section and picked my way through the board books until I found one that felt just right for little Z. The House in the Night (by Susan Marie Swanson with illustrations by Beth Krommes) caught my eye with its striking black and white, intricate illustrations, and simple, rhythmic words.

The House in the Night by Susan Swanson, Illustrations by Beth Krommes

The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson, Illustrations by Beth Krommes

I always loved the books with big spreads of sweeping scenes filled with tiny little details you could get lost in. The art is just beautiful. The black and white with just touches of warm yellow light seem magical. The story has an arch to it like a relaxation exercise, taking you all the way out into a dream like, ethereal space, and then back into the warmth of the scene. I can imagine this one will be sending Little Z off to sleepy land for years to come. Thumbs way up.

HouseInTheNightBack_ReadySetSarahBlog

HouseInTheNightspread_ReadySetSarahBlog