Half-Way There! 20 Week Pregnancy Update

So here I am, half way into my second pregnancy! I can’t believe how fast it’s going, much faster than with Noah. Maybe because running around after a toddler makes the time go by faster? Not sure, but I am excited to watch this belly grow. Last week was the 20 week anatomy ultrasound last week (yes, confirmed a girl!) and baby is growing nicely and everything looks good. We are happy and blessed it’s been a healthy pregnancy thus far. It’s all we could ask for.

20 week pregnancy update

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My Mother’s Day Wish List

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Mother’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. Even before being a mom, I always felt like it was the kick off to summer and another excuse to get the family together (with lots of wine and food of course). Now it’s extra fun and I love it even more as a mom. Not sure about anyone else, but I get asked every year, “what do you want for Mother’s Day?”. I’ve learned I need to give a few ‘hints’ ahead of time. So if you are stuck and need some ideas either for yourself or some hints for the hubby, here are some of my favorites this year. Read more on my favorites Motherhood & Family

 

Winter Fun for Everyone: Indoor places for the Family

Chicago winter months can be brutal, especially with little ones. The days can become even longer when you are stuck inside all day. I have rounded out a list of our favorite indoor spots. I have included classes, open playrooms and additional fun, indoor activities to keep everyone entertained (hopefully!) and sane during the cold months. I also got some help from fellow moms too and included their favs. Even included a special discount code, a promotion and several free options because who doesn’t like to save some extra cash right?!

Chicago:

Merry Music Makers– Music based classes from kids birth to 5 years old. Children can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat and participate in the music of our culture, provided their early environment supports such learning. Merry Music Makers offers research-based curriculum.

TIP: There are three locations throughout the city; Lakeview, Andersonville, and Edgewater

NYC Kids Club– Just recently opened, this gym has various classes, but several are gymnastic based. We have done one open play and a Gym Tots class and really enjoyed it. They have some great grand opening specials that includes Monthly – 50% off your first month + 1 year unlimited open play! Offer expires January 31. 

TIP:  There is a parking lot on the side on the building.

NY Kids Club- Chicago

Bubbles Academy– We have been to several events and open plays here, Noah has always enjoyed it. They focus on an art integrated curriculum and have many classes like art, music and creative movement. The facility has lots of space and they are always having FREE events. Some upcoming parent workshops like potty training and building math skills are really informative for parents.

TIP: Sign up for their newsletter and get the latest events, workshops, and classes.

Bubbles Academy

Purple Monkey Playroom– Located in Bucktown, this playroom is nice for children to explore in the large play space. They have free coffee, tea, and WiFi. I really like the mini kitchen area to heat up lunch and have some snacks. We have always done a day pass for $15 and usually stay for at least minimum of two hours. I think its a great place for play dates on a cold day.

TIP: They have lot parking available in the 90 mile Cuban Cafe gated parking lot at 2449 W. Armitage, directly under the El tracks. It’s about a 3 minute walk to the playroom.

Purple Playroom

Sod Room– Sod Room is an eco-friendly, indoor play space located in the South Loop of Chicago.  They provide toys and materials from recycled cork flooring, low VOC paint, and reclaimed wood. It is uniquely designed to utilize as much natural light as possible.  They also have workshops and classes. A day pass is $15 dollars.

TIP: They also feature a retail boutique which offers local, organic, fair trade, and recycled products and gifts for children and parents.

Goldfish Swim School- Through some research and word of mouth, we found Goldfish Swim School and we LOVE IT! It’s our favorite activity to do as a family. We each take a turn in the water with him during the 30 minute class (because of his age). We have the same teacher each lesson in a very small class and they work with you and the level your child is at. You can read more about our experience here. By lesson 3, Noah was enjoying it and learning to do the activities much more independently. After we showered, they have diapers, blow dryers, lotion and wipes to help get ready after the shower.

TIP: They have locations in Chicago and Chicago-land suburbs.

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Lesson 1- He definitely warmed up 🙂

Lil’ Kickers Soccer– We started soccer lessons when Noah was 20 months (now turning 2 in two weeks) and LOVE it. The program is designed to help develop a child’s social, emotional, and cognitive skills while providing physical exercise and developing players who are good sports and good teammates, on and off the field. The coaches are very encouraging, always high-fiving, and players get stamps at the end of each lesson (my son’s favorite part!). It is a 50 minute lesson with an adult, but at the age of 3, a parent is no longer required.

TIP: They have locations in Chicago and Chicago-land suburbs.

LIl' Kickers soccer practice

Mini City on 21– Located in Norwood park, this is an open playroom that is a parent/guardian supervised indoor play, party and cafe. They have have classes and birthday party packages available. Day passes are $10 for children 1 – 10 years old and $7 for children 11 – 12 years old. 0-11 months are FREE.

TIP: You can get a MINI “PASSPORT” (only for children 1 -10 years old) with a 5-day pass, $40, 10-day pass, $80 or 15-day pass, $120.

Tinkergarten–  All classes take place outside at a local park. Outdoor classes where children can play with other children alongside adults to learn through well-designed, outdoor play-based activities. They help kids develop a host of important capabilities, including empathy, collaboration, creativity, persistence and problem solving. Classes range from 18 months to 8 years old.

TIP: Free trials in March for the spring season

Zumbini– Created by Zumba and BabyFirst for kids ages birth to 4 years old, the Zumbini program combines music, dance and educational tools for 45 minutes of parent and child bonding! Also taught by a local fellow mom! Check out their schedule for classes all over the city.

TIP: Use the code Mamatribe15 for 15% off (only valid at the Irish American Heritage Center).

Young Explorers at the Adler Planetarium– Children between the ages of 2 and 6 years old can check out Young Explorers’ Mondays from 9:30 am – 1:00 pm, where children and their families can try hands-on activities like Fly a Kite, Stories Under the Stars, and more. Or add a sky show to your day when you purchase a Basic Pass that includes One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure.

TIP: Free with admission.

Kids playroom at the Adler Planetarium

Kidsyard–  Located off Irving Park Road, it is a 2,400 square feet play center for children aged 0-12 years. They have soft play structures, giant blocks and a climbing wall. All activities are created and appointed based on the age of the children and other safety requirements. For the babies or children under 4, there is a specific area to enjoy, with activities that engage their senses, body and mind. They have their own ball pond, mini slide, soft play blocks to crawl on and play equipment.

TIP: They do NOT allow outside food, but have a cafe.

Learning Loop Academy-Learning Loop Academy is dedicated to providing a safe and caring learning, playing and growing space where parents and caregivers can spend time together with their infants and toddlers. It is an interactive area to gather and explore many aspects of movement, music, art language and literature with the opportunity to meet and connect with other families. Check website for pricing.

TIP: Free parking and Wifi

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Chicago-land Suburbs:

Kohls Children’s Museum– Kohl Children’s Museum in Glenview, offers 17 interactive, hands-on exhibits for children ages birth to 8. All of our exhibits and programs are aligned to the Illinois State Learning Standards and are designed to nurture a love of learning in young children. Adults and children are $12 dollars.

TIP: Children under 1 years old are free.

Adventure Playland– Located in Mt. Prospect, it is an indoor playground for the kids while serving food, coffee and free WiFi for parents. Open to children 6 months to 7 years old.  Children under 1 are free with paid sibling. Monday-Thursday is $10.00, Friday & Sunday is $12.00. An after school special on Monday-Thursday after 3:00PM, is $7.00 per child

TIP: They have punch cards available.

Adventure Playland

Fun Republic Play– Fun Republic in St. Charles, was founded by three local moms whose main goal was to create a play center to help children not only develop basic motor skills and social skills, but also develop self-confidence while having fun. Fun Republic strives to offer a safe, creative and exciting play setting for children of all ages.

TIP: Kids under 1 years old are FREE.

Wonder Works  Wonder Works is 6,400 square feet of fun, a place of creative play for kids birth to age eight. Located in Oak Park, the children’s museum helps kids, their parents and caregivers unleash their imaginations. Wonder Works Children’s Museum provides a hands-on environment for children from birth to age 8 years old. The museum includes six permanent experience zones and hosts parties, field trips, concerts and other fun, educational events. Plus, an outdoor organic garden. Regular Admission is $7 per person, child or adult

TIP: Wonder Works also offers reduced admission for groups of 10 or more children when scheduled in advance through our field trip program.

Peekaboo Playroom– A playroom located in Oak Park, children from 0-6 years old can enjoy the variety of toys, play hide-and-seek in between the little house, read books in the book corner, play basketball, climb and slide in the clubhouse, and much much more. One day unlimited play is per child $12, sibling #2 and Sibling #3 FREE.

TIP: 1 hour pass for $6 dollars

Meet at Gather– Located in downtown Evanston, this playroom offers a place to Gather for art and music classes, workshops and events, open to all ages and abilities. They are open for drop-in art and play Monday-Saturday.

TIP: They have won for Best Playroom in 2017.

Gather for kids in downtown Evanston

Gather in Evanston

Free:

Story Time at Barnes and Noble

Dawn- Marie’s Toddler Jam Sessions

Garfield Park Conservatory

Harold Washington Library

Swedish American Museum

Free Thursdays at the Nature Museum

French Story Time (Various locations)

When all else fails:

Have the fun delivered to your door! These are kits that are toys with a purpose. Ranging from science to arts and crafts. Here are some kits that you can customize based on your child’s preferences. 

HOOT for Kids- For newborn to 6 years old, these treasure boxes are customized based upon your child’s age and developmental stage. They are toys with a purpose.

Bramble Box– Bramble Box award winning Play and Craft Kits are hand-curated activity boxes for kids age 3-7. Mom created and kid tested for hours of fun (& learning) with items to inspire imaginative play and all the materials for at least 2-3 hands-on activities and crafts.

Curiosity Pack– Curiosity Packs inspire a love of learning through age-appropriate activities. Children will learn about letters, numbers, friendship, science, art, love, and every other intriguing subject you can imagine.

My Giant Box– My Giant Busy Box will keep ’em busy! ThB001AQDA50ere’s 16 projects, mold dough animals, collage a farm and sticker art. Decorate paper bag puppets and tissue art pictures, then frame them. Includes plastic frames, animal punch outs, bright dough colors, peel and stick tissue art pictures, tons of tissue paper, glue, and easy to follow instructions.

Building Tiles Set for Kids

Magnetic building blocks are hands on learning tool. They can be combined in so many different ways! It includes a set of 102 pieces, including magnetic alphabet blocks & numbers. 

With a few more winter months left, I hope some of these ideas help out your little ones (and you!)

Until next time,

Christine

 

Helmets and Head Shapes

IMG_0143 (1)Around a year ago, my son had to wear a helmet from ages 3-6 months. Right around his 3 month check up, we started to notice that Noah’s head shape was starting to take on more of a “flat head” appearance in the back. But it wasn’t until our pediatrician suggested we see a specialist that it really sunk in for me. It was just too difficult to even imagine having him wear a helmet, but even worse, to think about what could happen in the future when he was older. It was not an easy decision. We were seeking the perfect head shape, but it was starting to become very obvious to us that it wasn’t going away. Read more at Motherhood & Family

Picnic Essentials

There are many items we need for the park, but there are a few that we MUST have before we leave the house for long periods of time. Now that Noah is a toddler, some of the items are necessary to keep him entertained and make motherhood just a little easier on our summer adventures.

This waterproof picnic blanket is the best! It folds up really small, easy to clean up spills and has handles to make it easy to carry. Picnic Blanket ( 70x80 extra large fold & portable )for family travel , camping , outdoor concert tablecloth lawn or beach mat with color stripes , best kids water-resistant mat tote bag with handle Read more at Motherhood & Family

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Our Summer Must-Haves

The heat of summer is IMG_4804here and there are a few products that are must haves for us this season. Now that Noah is 17 months, we are enjoying the pool, being outside and staying up late. But I am not going to lie, one of my “mom triggers” is the sun and his sensitive skin. All moms have a few triggers like nap schedules, food, etc. The sun is mine, I will admit it. So the products below definitely work for us. Hopefully, for you too! Read more at Motherhood & Family

Toddler Meal Planning Made Easy- Little Harvest

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As soon as Noah started to eat solids around 6 months, my husband and I were so excited for him to try EVERYTHING. Our plan was to cook all his meals ourselves, meal prep for the week and have him it only the best, organic food. Well, fast forward to 16 months now, we haven’t been as good. Meal prep is hard for us sometimes, because like everyone, we are busy. So I did a little searching and found read more at CGL Baby.

Quest for the Best *Thin Pizza Only

There are a few things that can get me out of the house during winter hibernation or away from my summer Netflix and Chill; pizza,  wine and maybe a manicure. If I’m desperate enough.

There are so many good places in Chicago to eat a good slice, but I can’t stand deep dish. Except, maybe when I’m hungover. Or pregnant. One of those happens more than the other.  But really, I’m a thin crust kind of girl. I have narrowed it down to just three, but there are so many more options in the city. Read more at CGL Food

Our “Planned” Birth Story

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My son, Noah, is two years old now. He is a happy, healthy, silly little boy and that is all that matters. I love him so much, it is actually hard to describe. But to this day, I carry around what I call “MG” aka mom guilt.

I was watching TV recently and someone was giving birth and I started to cry.  This often happens when I think about my own experience with Noah. My husband actually suggested to write about it to see if other moms feel the same way. So in honor of all those moms out there and releasing some of my own MG, I thought I would share our “planned” birth story.

For the entire pregnancy, I was healthy and so was Noah. I had no problems and everything was routine.  But in 2015, two days after Christmas. I noticed a change. Noah was pretty active in the womb, but all of sudden, I felt nothing. Something just didn’t feel right. I called the doctor and I immediately went into triage. After stress testing and ultrasounds, we discovered Noah had turned into a breech position, which was limiting his movement. What was this? And why did it happen? So of course, I freaked out and spent the next upcoming weeks Googling everything (I know, it’s my weakness). The doctors reassured us not to worry because most babies eventually turn on their own. They kept saying only 3-4% of babies are breech at birth, so most will turn on their own.

Through my research, I learned that there are several types of breech positions, which means the baby is not head first in the womb. Noah was in the oblique position. His head was under my right ribs, bottom on my pelvis and feet under my left ribs.

So from 32 weeks on, my husband and I were told that he will turn on his own, everything will be fine and they will continue to monitor his position.

Come 36 weeks, he still had not turned. My doctor suggested a version, which is manually turning the baby around from the outside. This is done at the hospital as an outpatient procedure. The chances of him moving was 50%, so we decided to do one. But, it was unsuccessful and the most painful experience ever, even with an epidural. He didn’t budge, his heart rate dropped during the procedure and I was in excruciating pain. As a result, we had to schedule a c-section at 39 weeks. I was absolutely devastated. I was bruised from the inside out, heavily medicated, and could not believe I would have to have a c-section.

So many thoughts and questions ran through my head (and still do to this day). I would never experience my water breaking or going into labor. Was there something wrong with me or him? I wouldn’t be able to spend time with him immediately after his birth. Would I have to have one with future children?  I thought motherhood meant to go through labor, like a right of passage. It broke me. For the first time, I didn’t want anything planned, I wanted him to come when he was ready.

From 36 weeks on, there were several things the doctor suggested we could do naturally on our own to move his position. It completely consumed my life. We tried everything. Acupuncture at The Nest (which I highly recommend for any moms to be), music,

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Acupuncture at The Nest

bouncing balls, moxa sticks that burn at your feet, yoga, chiropractor, essential oils, etc. We would spend hours in Chinatown to just to find herbs and incense that might help him move. Hundreds of dollars spent, countless hours worrying and sleepless night, but no success.

At 39 weeks, I went in for the c-section at 39 weeks and it went perfect. There wasn’t anything more I would ask for. I still don’t know why this continues to weigh heavy on me, but I am working on releasing it. It shouldn’t matter how our children come into this world, but mothers and women in general always carry so much guilt. We should all try to give ourselves a little more credit.

This is a deeply personal post, but I would love to hear more about your experiences.

And as always, you can sign up for weekly blog post alerts here. Thanks for following along!

Until next time,

Christine

The First Haircut

Ok, moms. We did it. We finally got Noah’s first haircut. After 14 months, I finally gave in and realized I no longer have a baby, but a growing toddler that needed a haircut. Desperately.

It wasn’t really about his hair or whether or not he would behave in the chair, but more about getting over the fact that he is growing and growing FAST. With all my anxiety, I needed to find place to calm my nerves and also find a salon great with children. Through lots of research, I found Kid Snips. With 8 locations in Chicago and surrounding suburbs, stylists that specialize with toddlers and kids, my hesitations were put to rest. Read more at CGL BabyFullSizeRender(13)