Hi Moms! This is fellow Mom and resident MOMnationAZ professional organizer Katy Krupnik of The Tidy Cottage. I love my kids, I love the way they enjoy their toys, but man toys can be a… More
The triple digits have hit. Our MOMs are meeting up and cooling down in these area “hot” spots:
Desert Oasis – We love it for the rain drop and spray whale plus the zero depth entry pool with kiddie slide. There’s also a splash pad!
Mesquite Groves – We love it for the family area/pool with zero depth entry and the lazy river!
Santan Village Mall – The splash pad is very toddler friendly with a soft surface and nearby family restrooms. We LOVE that!
Rose Lane Park – We love the zero depth entry pool and awesome splash pad.
Eastmark Great Park – We love it for the covered splash pad and shaded picnic ramadas.
Golfland Sunsplash – We love it for entertaining the older kids and, of course, the water cannons!
Mesa Aquatic Complex – This facility just opened days ago and the pool and long and lazy river is why we love it!
Riverview Park – The playground is extraordinary and the splash pad is HUGE! We love that!
City Scape – We love the splash pad and its ultra urban feel. Even better that it’s accessible by light rail.
Desert Ridge Marketplace – We love the splash pad location right by AMC movie theatre!
Mountain Vista Park – The Ahwatukee location and the splash pad put this park at the top of our list!
Scottsdale Quarter – We love that the splash pad is surrounded by awesome shops and great restaurants!
Beach Park at Tempe Town Lake – This splash pad playground is one of the largest in the Valley. We love all the “water” play equipment!
Kiwanis Recreation Center – We love it for the wave pool!
Hey there Mamas!
Okay, so now you’re holding your sweet little bundle of joy, the birth is over, you’re sitting there in your hospital bed, probably still in your gown and now sporting hospital panties and a pad the size of a crib mattress. You’ve never felt more glamorous! Am I right? 😉 Well, now may not be the time for glamour, but it can be the time for comfort and confidence!
Let’s get practical (and cute!)
If you’re anything like me, those hospital panties don’t even come close to staying up on their own. Like not even close. So definitely let’s do the pants thing. Stay away from dresses for now, you’ll want everything down there to feel secure and in place. Pants can help. My recommendation for your first “mama outfit” would be leggings and a tunic. Get some soft, stretchy leggings preferably black, (just in case your pad betrays you) and wiggle your jiggle into those. They pull everything together and just hold it there. Now, you look like a toddler in a diaper under your clothes, so make sure the tunic you choose, covers your behind all the way. That way, there’s no lumpy bumps hanging out in the back.
Oversized tunics are pretty forgiving and hide a lot, so if you’re feeling super self-conscious about your postpartum pancake belly, join the club and throw on something that’s fitted in the bust and flows over the stomach. You can even find tunics that have been engineered to come apart around the boobs for easy access if you’re breastfeeding! Nifty!
Here’s the nitty-gritty about why this look works:
When you look at the model above, where do your eyes go first? Her boobs? Probably. Let’s face it mamas, if we’re going to try to flaunt our assets (one of which is covered in an adult diaper at the moment), we may as well go for boobs. That’s why we want the tunic to be a bit fitted at the bust. Dressing yourself strategically is all about drawing the eye away from where you don’t want it to go. Don’t want people staring at your belly? Get a tunic fitted in the bust, throw on some cute chunky earrings and if you’re heading out for grocery run, or just out to Target to try to stay sane, some cute flashy flats will also help keep the attention in a long line from head to toe. A tunic with a large print will also minimize your belly. The general rule is: large print= area appears smaller, small print= area appears larger.
Bottom line here, mama friends, don’t stress about it! This outfit is all about no stress and comfort, which is where you want to be right now. Now go snuggle that sweet squishy little newborn and smell his head for the rest of us. My kids’ heads just smell like dirt and maple syrup now.
Hugs Mama Friends,
Metro Image Consulting L.L.C.
Want me to come help you “Shop Your Closet” and learn to style yourself? Contact me on my website or text: STYLE to 480-296-4851. Be sure to mention MOMnation for a special discount!
Special thanks to Sarayah Blackburn with Blackburn Photography
It’s getting hot in the Valley of the Sun!! Our MOMs have great tips, tricks and advice for surviving these next 5 months of heat with kiddos!
Most of our Mama’s keep the AC set to 78. Infants are usually comfortable in thin material pajamas with long pants and sleeves especially those that are too young for bedding.
Drink water! Keep sipping water all day even if you don’t feel thirsty. It’s very easy for anyone to get dehydrated during the summer months in the Phoenix area.
Beware of the water that comes out of the faucet. Both sides will be hot and could be too hot for little hands. The same goes for the water in the garden hose. DO NOT let your child use the garden hose without running the water until it’s cool first. The water that comes out initially will be scalding.
Little feet should have shoes or sandals on at all times. Even the “kool” decking around the pool is scorching hot in the midday sun. Wear shoes while walking outside at night as well, even in the back yard. Scorpions can be found in many areas at night.
Stay away from the bees. Summertime is bee season in Phoenix and bees could be harmful to people and animals.
For the house, sunscreens for windows and covered patios make a difference in energy efficiency and comfort.
In the Car:
Get a car seat cooler. Popular styles have pockets in the material for four or five ice packs that you place in the seat when it’s not in use. This usually keeps the car seat cool even if you are parked for several hours.
Use a sun screen in the front window. It will help keep the car a bit cooler as well as the steering wheel. If the sun isn’t beating down inside the car, usually the seatbelt buckles aren’t quite so hot. Do be sure to cover those buckles or keep them in the shade somehow. They can be branding irons for little kiddos if touched after sitting in the sun.
Get an extension hose/tube for the front AC vent so that the AC can be directed easily and more effectively from the front to the back of the car. If your car doesn’t have designated AC vents in the back, it could get very hot for your small child / baby.
Always have lots of water! The new aluminum or stainless steel water bottles keep the water cool even when left in hot cars for hours.
Keep a light jacket or sweater in the car for both Mom and baby. It can be very cold in stores, restaurants and grocery stores during the summer months. This can also be used to cover up leather seats when parking in sunny areas. Leather seats can be very uncomfortable in the heat especially with shorts on!
Never, never ever leave a baby, child or animal in a hot car even for a minute. The temperatures are extreme and can be very dangerous.
Is your AZ home as efficient as it can be? CONTACT US and ask for a free copy of the “Efficiency Cheat Sheet” for tips on energy efficiency and tricks to maximize the comfort of your home and minimize your energy bill.
It’s 7:30pm and both babies are down for the night. Or at least, for now. With a 19-month-old transitioning into a twin sized bed (yep, we screwed this one up real good) and a 3 month old who faithfully eats every 3 hours (maaaaaybe 4 hours at night), my night is young. But right now it’s supposed to be that blissfully peaceful time, watching both babies on their respective monitors. Each fast asleep in their starfish positions, pacifiers on the verge of falling out.
Only I am not relishing in the peace.
I am vibrating. My nerves are raw, I can hardly collect my thoughts, yet I wanted to write this immediately while I was fresh in the aftermath. I keep checking the monitor because I swear I hear screaming, but no – there’s my peacefully sleeping starfish. A little angel.
My youngest has colic and this weekend was a bad “colic” weekend.
She was born in January, and around mid-February is when the colic started. At first I thought she was just going through the typical baby “evening witching hours,” but the intensity, frequency, and duration seemed more than that to me. Some quick internet searches confirmed that she’s the textbook definition of a colicky baby. February and March are complete blurs to me. I really don’t remember many details of these two months at all. Thank goodness, she is now 3 and a half months old and she’s starting to turn the corner. She actually had a relaxed couple of weeks, until this past weekend… so it took me back a bit.
We were at a friend’s birthday party on Saturday. I knew my baby had a fussier morning than usual, but I figured the car ride to the party would calm her down. I thought I’d nest her away in a quiet corner in her carrier, and she’d sleep while people ooo’d and aaaahhhh’d over her cherubic sleeping face. As soon as we walked inside, her eyes sprang open. And it didn’t take long for her to start crying. As the cries got louder my heart sank.
Then she was screaming.
I tucked us away upstairs, away from the noise and most of the people, and took over the host’s nursery as I tried to feed, soothe, walk, rock, everything. I left my toddler playing in the playroom, with a good friend watching her, and eventually my husband followed the noise of the screaming baby and diligently took over toddler watching duties. My husband, and friends, came to the door multiple times to ask if I needed anything… but when you’re in the throes of trying to calm a baby in the middle of a colic episode, there’s really not much that can be done and certainly not by anyone other than Mama.
And so with my baby on my shoulder and screaming in my ear, I moved quickly past the pitying eyes of the party guests and took her out for a drive. Usually the motion of the stroller, or the car, puts her to sleep. It worked, but only briefly. Having missed most of the party, we packed up and left.
Sure, I had heard of colic before but like anything else with parenting you just have no freaking clue what it’s about until you’ve gone through it. I thank my lucky stars daily that both of my daughters are healthy overall. But dealing with colic has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Listening to a baby not just cry, but SCREAM, for hours, is simply… maddening. There were times I thought I was losing my damn mind! My husband and I would take turns pacing the floor with her. We bought a sound machine and tried every trick we could think of to keep her from waking her sleeping big sister. We’ve had to let her “cry it out” more times than I care to admit. At those points, we were both just exhausted on every level – physically, mentally, emotionally. I am a very solutions-oriented person. I problem solve for a living. I am resourceful and smart, and know how to fix things – so when I couldn’t/can’t calm my extremely distressed baby, I feel defeated and depleted. We’ve used gas drops and gripe water. I’ve tried cutting dairy from my diet. I ran myself ragged with trying this and that and Google searches. I can’t tell you how many times I called her doctor, asking if “this is normal?” My last phone call to him, at my wits end, I literally said “You HAVE to have some secret trick that I haven’t found on Google for this.” He told me I was already doing everything right, and to keep the gripe water on hand. I wanted to scream right into the phone at that response.
The thing about colic is, in order to get through these episodes you have to dig deep. I mean, REALLY deep. At her worst, I was at my worst. The things I thought, and sometimes even said out loud… were just purely ugly and awful when I gave in to frustration. And when the sleep and calm would suddenly wash over her, aside from relief I was left with ringing ears and an incredible amount of guilt for not being able to keep it together. I was scared to find and confront these really dark corners within myself. In these moments, I understood why they make you watch those “don’t shake your baby” videos at the hospital before you go home.
People who’ve gone through this say that “it will get better.” And while I’m starting to see that, we’re not in the clear yet. I’m impatient. Like any mother, I want my baby to be happy all the time.
I’m writing this for any parent out there who’s in the thick of it. Stay strong. Call your doctor, as many times as you need to. Talk to your partner about anything you were feeling, no matter how bad you think it is. Talking it out really does help you prepare for the next episode. Remember that it’s OK to put your baby down in a safe place and walk away for a few minutes or to let someone else hold/rock/walk your baby so that you can take a few minutes to breathe. Because in these moments (well, more like hours), your baby needs your strength and your patience and you’ve got to try to reserve some of that for yourself as well.
It is true, that it will get better. I am hopeful and anxious to have a glass of victory wine when I know we’re truly on the other side of it!
MOMlife by Courtney Spiak
April is Cesarean Awareness Month. Today, approximately 1 in 3 women in the US have a cesarean delivery. In recognition of all of you mamas who had a cesarean birth, I wanted to address a topic that I help women with quite often.
The noted healing time following a cesarean delivery is 6-8 weeks. Often, women follow up with their doctor at 6 weeks and are “released” with little to no information about their scar and what to do with it to help with healing or what to expect of it. Is this you? Have you had problems that you thought may be related to your cesarean birth, but you are just not sure? Let’s discuss what happens to the area. During healing, scar tissue develops and takes the place of the tissue injured during cesarean surgery. It is distributed along the abdomen and uterus. The scar tissue is not as strong as the original tissue, though similar in structure. This healing process and laying down of scar tissue is influenced by many factors specific to each woman. Keep in mind that even once the incision site has healed superficially, the scar tissue underneath can span beyond the superficial scar and negatively impact the area, forming adhesions that tightly bond structures together. This can bring on various symptoms, some of which include
- -abdominal and pelvic pain that interferes with daily function
- -a pulling sensation at and around the incision
- -sensitivity on and around the scar
- -pain around the labia, clitoris or urethra
- -painful intercourse
- -digestive problems
- -bladder and/or bowel problems
- -low back pain
- -and in severe cases, contributes to infertility
What can be done about the scar tissue?
Scar tissue can be treated. I have had many women tell me that they have received little to no instruction on what to expect with their scar or how to take care of it. Once it remained painful or seemed to be causing other problems, they just were not sure what to do about it. Some have avoided it all together. The good news…
The scar tissue can be treated with pelvic floor physical therapy. Manual therapy and massage are used to treat not only the incision site specifically, but also the surrounding structures that are being influenced by the scar tissue. External and internal tissue mobilization loosens up the tissue and lessens restrictions to alleviate problems associated with the scarring and any adhesions present that may be binding tissue tightly together. As a PT, I also educate and instruct women on what they can do at home to assist in getting relief from c-section scarring in conjunction with the treatment they receive from me. Scar tissue can be addressed at any point in attempts to bring about change and decrease painful conditions. It is best to begin scar tissue work and treatment around the 6-8 week mark following the c-section, when the tissue is most easily influenced; however, treatment even after that is not too late.
By Robyn Wilhelm, PT, DPT Private Practice Owner in Mesa, Arizona specializing in pelvic floor and women’s health physical therapy. Connect with Dr. Wilhelm on her practice website http://www.wilhelmpt.com or email with questions about your core and pelvic health to firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s so important for our AZ MOMs to keep an eye on these maintenance items regularly. Even renters should be aware!
Have the pest control company that regularly treats your home keep an eye out for signs of termites. If you see a skinny tube hanging from the ceiling, that could be a termite tube. They do tend to appear frequently on the stem wall and walls of the garage.
Change your AC filters per the manufacturers suggestions and get the AC unit serviced every spring and the heater serviced every fall. Watch for signs of draining from the overflow drain pipe, that could mean there is a clog and a large leak could develop.
Keep an eye on the grading around the perimeter of the home. Ask a landscaper to properly grade the ground around the home periodically. This ensures the water runs away from the house vs pooling at the foundation.
Cut back trees from overhanging the house. The debris from the trees could cause water pooling on the roof which could cause leaks and other damage to the roof. Keep the roof and gutters clean of all landscaping debris.
If there’s a bathroom or other plumbing fixture (like a bar sink) that isn’t used often, run the water for a few seconds every week or so to keep water in the trap and to keep sewer gases and insects from coming into the house through dried up traps/pipes.
Check insulation levels in the attic and add or level as needed. Check every few years and especially after having work done in the attic. Be sure that insulation is replaced if disturbed. This will help with energy efficiency.
Have roof checked every 3 years or so and especially if there appears to be an issue or a leak develops.
Sweep any active chimneys to minimize debris that could potentially cause a fire. This should be done yearly.
Clean the lint trap on the clothes dryer between each use and clean (vacuum) the dryer vent / hose at least yearly.
Be sure to have anti-siphon devices on exterior hose bibs to keep the water from being disbursed back into the home water system after use.
Some homes do not have the anti-tip device installed at the kitchen stove and that could be very dangerous for a small child. If you are unsure if yours is installed, pull your stove straight out and look in one of the corners closest to the wall. The device will be installed at the base of the wall and secured to the floor. One leg of your stove should slide into it and it will prevent the stove from tipping forward if there is weight put on the open door (like a child standing on the open door).
Check your windows periodically, if there is fog or “sweat” between the panes, there may be a broken seal and the energy efficiency of the window may be compromised.
Have your garage door and opener checked often. Garage doors and openers can be very dangerous if they aren’t adjusted properly and if the reverse mechanism does not operate.
The access door between the house and the garage should be a fire rated self-closing door. If it does not close on its own, it’s very important to have it adjusted so it operates appropriately.
Brought to you by Team Evolution Real Estate
So you just had a baby! Congrats! That’s amazing! Your body did an amazing thing, carrying, growing, and then birthing that baby. I don’t know about you, but immediately after I had my babies I was in awe of my body. What I’d just accomplished, it felt like I had just completed the marathon of my life. I remember looking in the mirror after having my last babe and thinking, “Um, what is that?” It never ceases to take me by surprise the shape that your body melts into following birth. I looked just like a busted Pillsbury dough can. And it was easy enough to mold the dough into a shape that could fit into sweatpants, but anything else?
Forget about it.
I held my baby constantly in public so no one would ask me when I was due. I was frustrated. I had “bounced back” so quickly after my first. But I wasn’t a dewy-eyed 19-year-old new mom anymore. I was a tired, shapeless 4th time mom in my late twenties. It wasn’t my first rodeo and I felt like everyone was staring at my droopy waistline thinking about how far I let myself go. Breastfeeding did nothing to drop the weight. For some women, and some pregnancies, it works like magic. Not so for me. I breastfed almost 2 years and had only lost about 10 of the pounds of the 30 I had gained.
Around the time I was pregnant with my fourth baby, having babies was the thing to do. Beautiful belly bumps graced the red carpets, the covers of magazines, and everywhere I looked, another “glowing” mommy was draped in a couture maternity gown looking better than I did when I wasn’t even pregnant. Sheesh.
Then of course, post baby was a whole other ball game. After all these famous women gave birth, the spotlight went straight from “Aww Congrats!” to “Wow! She got her body back.” In record time, these women were out and about looking (again) better than I did even before pregnancy. One word: Spanx.
But I digress…
Without a personal stylist of my own, a hair and makeup team, and access to designers to custom make my clothes, there didn’t seem to be a guide for how to dress myself in this postpartum body. I didn’t want to just keep wearing my maternity clothes after the baby until the weight came off and my waistline returned, but I couldn’t bear one more day clad in sweatpants and an oversized t-shirt.
Anyone else feel my pain?
So, I’ll be doing a series of blogs on dressing your postpartum body, starting from Day 1! You have enough on your plate with a new baby, stressing about what to wear shouldn’t be one of them. Let’s figure out how to dress for going home, newborn photos, date nights, play dates, and more! I’m going to be your guru of postpartum style. I can’t to share this series with you! Stay tuned!
Hugs Mama Friend,
Metro Image Consulting L.L.C.
Want me to come help you “Shop Your Closet” and learn to style yourself? Contact me on my website or text: STYLE to 480-296-4851. Be sure to mention MOMnation for a special discount!
Almost as soon as my baby was born back in January, I knew the clock had started ticking on my (unpaid) maternity leave. Of course, it’s so distant in the moments of newborn bliss. I have 12 weeks to spend with my baby! I have 12 weeks to figure out how this family of four, with two babies under two years old, will function. I have 12 weeks to finally get around to these projects I’ve been meaning to tackle (Are you laughing at this last statement?? Because I am!!)!!
I was supposed to return to work last Monday. Even though I work from home and have invaluable flexibility that most working moms don’t, I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t ready. My baby had become colicky over the last couple of months and I couldn’t get to the bottom of it to find relief for her (and for us). Between my colicky baby and my toddler adjusting to her new room and bed (boy did we screw that one up!!), I wasn’t getting more than 3-4 hours of sleep at a time. I was officially running on fumes, barely able to function. I thought, there’s no way I could handle my job right now when I can hardly formulate a full sentence. It was difficult to do, but I called my boss, maaaaybe stretched the truth a teensy tiny bit and extended my leave another week. I could hear the annoyance in the voices of the co-workers I spoke to, who were covering for me and looking to dump things back on my plate. Sorry… not sorry.
When I realized this rare opportunity to take time for myself, which I will most likely not have again for a long time, things began to turn around. I could think a little clearer without the pressure. At my wits end with the colic, we shifted focus and realized that acid reflux could be the cause behind the crying. So the baby started Zantac, and although she’s still colicky it’s not nearly as bad! She has been sleeping more. I have been sleeping more. I treated myself to a manicure and pedicure, I’ve gone shopping by myself, simple acts to make me feel like a human woman again instead of a hot mess “Mombie.” I started to feel a little more ready to claim my professional life back.
And so here we are, my first day back to work. As much as I yearned for a break during my baby’s colic episodes, I cried my eyes out when my husband left this morning to bring them to daycare. Today will be the longest day in my new baby’s life, the longest time away from me. And while I know it’s for the best, eventually, it doesn’t make it any easier in the moment.
I prepared myself as much as possible last night – shower, outfits for me and the girls laid out, alarm set and morning prep mentally scheduled, coffee pot set for 6:45am – and it made all the difference. My baby even gave me the gift of sleeping through the night before my first day back to work!
“Mommy Feelings,” as I call them, can be conflicting and scary and all-consuming. My tears had to be put away quickly this morning because I had to be “on” for my first conference call at 7am. And that is a good thing, because it’s easy to slide down the rabbit hole of guilt. I’ve been slowly moving through my day, making a conscious effort to read each email and determine an action. I’ve been able to take a break to throw in a load of laundry. I pump at my desk so I can still get things done. And even though my mind is mostly on my babies and wondering if I’m ever doing the right thing, I am slowly settling into this new phase of my life. Because ultimately, we’re never “ready” for what needs to be done. We can only prepare so much. But the beautifully anguished act of letting go, and diving in, is what transforms us and builds our person. And that, I am ready for!
MOMlife by Courtney Spiak
AGH! It seems like it took forever yet no time at all and now it’s show time, baby!
Here’s what our local AZ MOMs suggest packing in your overnight bag for the hospital…and psst…pack it early!!
Baby Wrap or Carrier
Wipe Warmer and Wipes
Diapers / Cloth Diapers
Clothes / Onesies
Snacks / Bottled Water
Coins for Vending Machine
Toiletries – Don’t forget a Brush and Mascara
Comfy, Lightweight Robe
Socks and Slippers
Comfy Granny Panties
Long, Thin Overnight Pads
iPad / Magazines / Games
Sleeping Mask and Ear Plugs
Pillow and Blanket
Dads need a bag too!! You’ll be tired. You’ll appreciate being as prepared as possible and that will hopefully eliminate tasks so Dad doesn’t have to leave the hospital and you can maximize the time you have together as a new family with the nurses around for help.
Here’s what Dad will need:
Sleeping Mask and Ear Plugs
Change of Clothes
Spring has sprung and the weather here in the Phoenix area is GORGEOUS! Time to enjoy it while we have it, right? Our local MOMs love these locations …perrrrfect for picnics and close to home. You’ll be lakeside in minutes!
WE LOVE Veterans Oasis Park! There is a huge community fishing lake, a tortoise viewing area, waterfalls, a butterfly and hummingbird habitat, a play area and miles of trails to explore. You won’t believe this is in Chandler!
Desert Breeze Lake in Chandler offers a play area, walking trails, a splash pad, carousel/train rides, covered picnic areas and a Hummingbird Habitat.
Dobson Ranch Park in West Mesa is all new and some sections are toddler friendly. There is a lake, shaded picnic areas, a play area and basketball courts.
Located near the Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden, Papago Park offers a variety of family fun. Enjoy extensive trails through the sandstone buttes, the archery range, 1.7 mile exercise course and almost 8 acres of fishing lagoons. It’s also only 10 minutes from downtown Phoenix!
Red Mountain Park in Northeast Mesa is a popular favorite! The drive in has gorgeous mountain views and the HUGE park (over 1,000 acres) offers sport courts, covered play areas, covered picnic areas, walking trails and a fishing lake.
Discovery Park in Gilbert offers two fishing lakes, sport courts, swings and a climbing rock play area, covered picnic areas, a butterfly garden and a “learning” path. They even have equestrian trails!
Riverview Park in Northwest Mesa offers a fishing lake, a splash pad and a HUGE playground with a 50 foot tall Genesis climbing tower and a 60 foot long caterpillar mesh rope climbing structure. There are shaded picnic areas and shaded playground clusters for the little kiddos too starting at age two!
Encanto Park in downtown Phoenix is nestled right up against the golf course and offers a fishing lake, a playground, sport courts, a swimming pool, paddle boat rentals and Enchanted Island Amusement Park!
Surprise Lake in Surprise offers fishing, a playground, sports fields, a dog park and a swimming pool.
*Most locations prohibit feeding the wildlife for their safety and yours. Please make sure you check the rules of each location before approaching or feeding the wildlife*