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Postpartum depression

I was diagnosed with PPD after both of my pregnancies and I wanted to share both of my experiences.

I was told during my pregnancy with Liam that Postpartum Depression was common in my family. I took that time to research, ask questions, and take as much precaution as necessary. After Liam was born I had the common aches and pains a woman goes through after a vaginal birth, I fell in love with my husband all over again watching him become a father to our son, and I had an unconditional love for this incredible little boy.

It took three days after he was born and those feelings turned to extreme anxiety, overwhelming sadness, and no control over my emotions. I would cry for hours and have no reason for it. I would get panic attacks that consumed my whole body, It was as if i had swallowed hot coal and the white hot burning feeling would start from the pit of my stomach and grow up into my chest and head. My heart would be pounding and I knew that everything that I had read was happening to me. My husband and I decided to officially start bottle feeding Liam that day because of the stress I was under and the fact that he was 100% uninterested in breast feeding. The next morning I immediately made an appointment with my OBGYN. They were very supportive and happy I had realized the things I was feeling was out of my control and it was ok to ask for help. Right then they prescribed me with some medication. I only needed the lower dose to just help get my hormones back in check. The medicine took about 2 weeks to settle into my system. During that time I was taking Melatonin to make me sleepy to control my panic attacks. My mom would come over daily to help take care of Liam, make me meals, and take care of my apartment. I don’t know what I would of done without her! After about a month I started to feel myself and my husband had his wife back.

When I got pregnant with Bennett I knew there was a very good chance my Postpartum Depression would return. We decided from the beginning that I would bottle feed him as I was already busy with a toddler and didn’t need the added stress. I started taking the same medication and dosage I had the first time 3 hours after delivery. The three day mark came and my anxiety was about a 5/10. The next day it was 3/10. By day five I had no anxiety and I felt like me. The pains of pregnancy were gone, I had a healthy baby boy, and my family felt whole.

I wanted to share my story for those woman who might have felt the way I did the days after having a baby. Some times you might fell a little overwhelmed and completely exhausted, but if there’s a chance it might be more than that please don’t be embarrassed to talk to someone. Being a mom is the best gift God has given to woman, but we need to stick together and help each other out when we feel it’s a lot harder than we expected.

Us Mommies have to stick together!

God bless.

Family

Diaper Free in Three Days

Today marks Liam’s 1 year anniversary of being potty trained. To celebrate I wanted to share our potty training technique and how I got him out of diapers and into underwear in 3 days.

I first researched for a couple of months the signs of when your toddler is ready to potty train. I found things like hiding when going in their diaper, being curious when seeing someone use the bathroom, being dry for long periods of time (including nap time), and Liam was showing them all. He was 2 years and 3 months old so I knew the day was coming. As a mom who was 17 weeks pregnant I was so not ready for this. I didn’t want to be stuck in the bathroom all summer trying to train a toddler, but I also didn’t want 2 kids in diapers so I sucked it up and made a plan.

Since I wasn’t working and it was just the two of us, I wanted to skip pull ups and go straight to underwear. We went to the store and he got to pick out 2 of his favorite character underwear. I then went to the dollar tree and purchased a plastic bucket, 8 special prizes and stickers (I’ll explain these later on). Pull-ups has a great app with a timer and games, plus it’s FREE!

Now that I had all the supplies I designed a chart and placed it where Liam could reach. Every time Liam went potty he would receive one sticker for #1 and two stickers for #2. I labeled the bucket I purchased as “Potty Prize” and filled the bucket with the 8 prizes. Every time he filled up a sheet he got to pick a prize. I printed 8 charts to achieve the 8 prizes. I wasn’t sure how well he would do and wanted to give him lots of practice.

Liam and I spent 3 days at home and he lived in just his underwear. I had him drink lots of water and we set a timer for every 40 min. We continued to keep a diaper on him for naptime and overnight. After two months I noticed Liam continually being dry when he woke up from his naps. By September he was wearing underwear during naptime and October he was completely out of diapers.

liam potty
Liam and his first potty prize

My fellow parents, this was my sweet and simple instructions but just know consistency and lots of praise go a long way. It was frustrating, exciting, and exhausting at times, but to see them master such a huge skill will be rewarding for the whole family (not to mention more money in your pocket). Below you will find four cute potty charts that you and your child can personalize. Remember this is a big step for everyone and stay positive!

 

 

Crafts

Independence Day Craft

July 4th is right around the corner and we’ve decided to join our towns Children’s parade. We plan to put some decorations on our stroller and make a shaker for fun. I wanted to share our fun crafts so you can make them with your child/children.

American Flag

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White cardstock. I put strips of blue painters tape and removed every other strip. Then we finger painted the paper red.
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Cut out a 4×5 piece of cardstock and paint it blue.
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Remove the tape once the paint is dry. Glue the blue paper onto your flag and add star stickers.

 

Paper plate shaker

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2 paper plates, blue and red crayon, tape, glue, blue and red streamers, rice (you can also use beans, beads, anything that will make a sound when you shake it)
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Color the back of the paper plates red and blue
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Cut out the streamers, 2 red and 2 blue, about a foot long.
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Glue the streamers on the inside of one plate.
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Add your rice to the plate.
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Glue your other paper plate to your “rice” paper plate. Pinch the sides till they all stick, add glue to places if needed. Let it dry for 24 hours to allow your child lots of shaking time.
Uncategorized

Hopscotch activity

Summer days bring late, firefly filled skies and lots of fun pool days. They can also bring a lot of showers and storms. This past week was pretty dreary and we didn’t see the sun for days. For anyone who have an active child like mine, too many days inside is a recipe for disaster. I decided to make this fun game that would get both me and my sons body moving and blood pumping. 

I don’t have a template for this activity because I made it by hand. You could also have your child help by cutting the paper and helping you color the paper for fun. This is also a guideline and you can write as many activities, more or less, and also change the numbers. Liam and I used a rock he had found outside, he loves rocks. 


Sometimes those rainy days are nice to remind yourself to slow down. Enjoy the time with your little ones!

Breaking Bread Bakery

Delicious New Arrivals

My husband has some yummy new breads he’s been working on. We have some for our sweet fans and our savory lovers. Let’s just say this Weight Watchers girl has gotten her hands on both and they do not disappoint!

berry seeded tin loaf
Berry Seeded Breakfast Tin Loaf (Raisin, Craisin, Flax, Bulgur, Sunflower, and Oat)
cinnamon raisin
Cinnamon Raisin
jalapeno cheddar
Jalapeno Cheddar
loaded loaf
Loaded Loaf (Salami, Sharp Cheddar, and Chive)
Family

Father’s Day 2017

Father’s Day in our house is a little different. Alex makes bread on Sunday’s so we celebrated all day Saturday. I sometimes have a hard time coming up with ideas because he doesn’t have an office so no homemade pictures. He doesn’t wear a tie so nothing tie related. We decided to go jumping at Defy Gravity and a fun MOVIE NIGHT. 

I found this really cute idea on Pinterest to put our Movie Night package together. We had large paper bags around for my husbands bread business and my picture of the boys was a left over from a large picture order. Walgreens always has specials for 100+ pictures at a low price, I usually jump at the opportunity to hand them out to family and then use the extras for crafts such as these. The ticket stub box is made from a Frozen graham cracker box. I covered it with construction paper and let Liam color it with markers. I purchased my candy from The Dollar Store; the candy tastes the same and is so much cheaper than other stores. I made sure to get M&Ms for Liam and then Twizzlers and Snickers are my husbands favorite. I purchased enough to share with everyone, even me! I made sure to portion my snacks and added the points even though it was my “cheat day”. I put the candy in left over cellophane bags from Liam’s birthday party and added a red ribbon. We already had a bunch of movies at home that we haven’t seen in a while and my husband was just happy to be able to pick. I also printed off some movie tickets for each family member to make it more fun. You can find cute free movie ticket printable on Pinterest.  I printed them on cardstock so they would be nice a sturdy. 

Now that Liam is three and talking I decided to have him fill out a Daddy Questionnaire, It was so cute to see Alex read the answers and will be a fun tradition to do each year. It also comes with a questionnaire for Grandpa too.

We also made these cute hand and footprint crafts I found on Pinterest. The boys are super ticklish so that was a fun experience!

I hope you enjoyed your Father’s Day and made your husband feel super special for all the hard work he does!

Family

Show your Superpower

A couple of weeks ago we stopped by our local library to play on their playground. I used to bring Liam to story time every Thursday for about 5 months. After many many many times having to chase after Liam and trying to keep him quiet and calm while choosing books I thought this is not setting either of us up for success and decided it’s best to find a new physical activity to make us both happy. 

While at the park we had to make a stop inside for a potty break. I was looking around and decided to grab some books since my husband was there to watch Liam. One of the books we check out was called “Ten rules of being a superhero“. My son’s eyes got so big and I could tell he was listened to every word. I felt if he was this excited and interested in a book, I had to incorporate this into our real life. 

The story follows a little boy (Lava Boy) and his superhero toy (Captain Magma) who show you the rules of being a superhero and how it affects those around them. Rule #3 was the rule that helped guide me in the direction I was looking for. 

Rule #3: Every superhero has at least one superpower, that’s what makes him SUPER! Captain magma had three superpowers which i thought was great and we made it our own. 

After we finished the book, Liam and I talked about superheros and what his three super powers are. 

#1 Has a friendly personality

#2 Is a great jumper

#3 An awesome big brother

His superhero pose

These three superpowers have given Liam such confidence and I’ve seen a huge growth in him. When we go places to play I remind him to show off his superpower and he gives me a huge smile with a thumbs up. It helps a lot at home as well when he forgets to be gentle to Bennett. I just remind him of his superpower and his eyes light up and he gets so excited to be a superhero. 

I hope you enjoy reading this story as much as we did. It might have become a household favorite and will soon be added to our library. 

Family

Indroduction

I thought it was about time to introduce myself…

My name is Jen Swearingen. I am the oldest and only girl of 3 children. My husband, Alex and I have been married for four and a half years and we have 2 wonderful boys, Liam (3) and Bennett (6 months). Liam is my strong, independent, funny boy who teaches me about parenting everyday while Bennett is a happy, laid back, go with the flow baby that this Mama desperately needed.

I’ve grown up in Wake Forest close to family. My cousins were more like siblings who lived in different houses, this called for many sleepovers. Family is a very big part of who I am and I’m so glad Alex grew up the same way. Both our parents live 10 minutes from us and our boys get to grow up with their grandparents close by. We have no shortage of babysitters.

I’ve been working with kids since I took a babysitting course at the young age of 9. Babysitting, various preschools, and teaching dance class. My recent job was as a two year old assistant at Hope Lutheran Preschool in Wake Forest. I worked there for 5 wonderful years. The first day my lead teacher and I met was the start of our amazing friendship. We married the same year, had our first sons 7 weeks apart and now have second sons 12 weeks apart. To say God just drops amazing things in your lap is ever so true with this amazing woman I call my best friend.

This month marks my first year as a stay-at-home Mom. I was so excited to start a new journey with my Liam  and anxious about adding another to our duo. Having a brother almost 10 years younger and working with kids I thought I had motherhood in the bag. Yea The Lord was definitely laughing at that joke. I love my son so very much. I carried him, gave birth to him, but he has no limits and tests my “expert” parenting everyday. Now that he is 3 I see his maturity and remorse. He’s grown not only in height but in his speech, knowledege, and integrity. He wants to know everything and is so curious. His fire for learning is a gift and I never want to put out his flame. God is my rock and shoulder when I feel this amazing boy is too much for my impatient, human mind to handle. My prayer for Liam is to lean on Jesus and to follow whatever greatness he has for him. I know he has a wonderful future ahead of him. Adding Bennett to our family this past December was just what our family needed. It was like he was part of our little family all along. He loves when we go out to parks, play dates, the pool, and indoor play places. He flashes his amazing smile and it melts everyone’s heart.

I started my Weight Watcher life style in February of 2015. I was almost 12 months postpartum and counting calories only got my so far. I was 15 lbs away from my goal and I was hungry ALL THE TIME. I knew there was a healthier, more effective way to lose weight. In just 4 short months I was down to my pre-pregnancy weight and felt amazing. I was eating the right portions, had lots of energy, and felt full! I continued to use Weight Watchers until I got pregnant March 2016. I didn’t consistently record my points but I did manage to gain 10 less lbs than my first pregnancy. Now that I’m 6 months postpartum I’ve been back recording my points everyday for the past month. I’m excited to share some yummy recipes and my healthy eating lifestyle. 

I wanted to enter the blog world to share my life with you. I want other moms to know there is someone else going through the same thing. I want to help support my husband and share his love of bread with people who share the same passion. I want to share my knowledge of teaching and working with children for so many years.  Thank you for joining this journey with me.

Family

Summer Rules

Now that it’s summer and your children are out of school do you feel a little overwhelmed? Personally I am a mess without my lists. I have lists for everything!! Diaper bag, pool bag, chores; you name it, I probably have a list for it. I was scrolling on my Facebook feed and saw this summer schedule for children. I find it so hard sometimes and feel so guilty for having the television on. I liked that the chart allowed us to watch TV but chores and activities came first. This also has helped us with getting ready when we have plans that morning. I loved the idea, but knew I had to change some things for it to work for our family. I wanted to share my “School Rules” chart with you to print and post in your home. This chart is geared for preschoolers (pre-reader) since that is what I’m catering to in my home. It only has pictures so my son can do the chart by himself and doesn’t need me to read it to him. Our goal at the end of this is to teach our three year old responsibility and to help the chaos that the summer brings. Below I will explain the pictures and the chores that go with each. They are pretty explanatory which is great for the youngsters. I hope you enjoy and feel a little more organized in the chaotic summer months.

Summer Rules

Top Line:

Get Dressed/Make your bed/Eat breakfast/Brush your teeth/Help mommy with a chore  

Middle Line:

20 min Read a book/20 min coloring/20 min play with play doh/20 min alphabet practice 

(I didn’t write a time on the chart so they can be adjusted)

Baby

Baby Registry

As a second time mom I now have the understanding of “every baby is different”. That statement couldn’t be anymore true with my two boys. I thought we were prepared in the registry department when I found out I was having my second son. I thought “great it’s another boy! We already have clothes, a crib, baby chair, jumper; I’m all set” (except for diapers and wipes of course). Man was I completely wrong. Liam hated being swaddled, Bennett loves it. Liam never spit up but WATCH OUT every time you changed his diaper; Bennett spits up everyday, all the time and can be un-diapered for 5 minutes. It wasn’t as difficult figuring these things out as it was with the first. You already have some experience under your wing so what doesn’t work you don’t sweat it and try something else. I have some lady friends who are pregnant with their first baby and want to know what’s best to register for. I made a list of items I used with Liam for the  first year of life and added some items that I didn’t have that Bennett needed. If you are a first time mom, second, third, even fourth time mom and trying to remember back on the baby stage and what baby items were best, (because you know once you’re pregnant your brain turns to mush and you’re lucky enough to remember to shower let alone a baby registry from your previous pregnancies) check out my Baby Registry List below. **I bottle fed both my boys so I don’t have any breast feeding items listed**

Nursery

*Dresser (used as changing table as well)

*Changing pad (cover optional, Liam used to pee on it all the time so I just stopped

using it. Bennett doesn’t so I use it for him)

*Crib

*Mattress (it’s best to get a new mattress for every child, as Liam got older he would jump in the crib and the mattress wasn’t good anymore)

*Rocking chair/Glider

*Mobile (optional, I got one for Liam, but haven’t set it up for Bennett. I’m afraid Liam

may play with it since they share a room)

*Monthly baby picture frame (optional, I got one for each boy)

*Diaper champ

*Sound machine (hush noise is okay for the first year but can be harmful to their ears after

12 months. I now use the waves noise)

*Monitor (as a new parent I used a video monitor, I suggest the Motorola MBP365. Mine ended up breaking and so I’m now using just a sound monitor, the Vtech safe & sound)

Baby Gear

*Stroller travel system (Graco) (I liked that I could get a car seat and stroller for one price. To be honest we focused more on the stroller to see if it would be tall enough for my 6’4″ husband and for it to have big cup holders. (this was at my husbands request as we enjoyed frequent lunches at Which Wich and the cup was rather large.)

*Baby carrier (I registered for an Eddie Bower carrier for Liam and only used it twice. I ended up giving it to a friend because I never used it and wasn’t particularly fond of it. Having two kids I love my Ergo baby carrier, I were it at most of our outings when Bennett is tired of sitting in his car seat and needs some mommy time. Make sure to register for the infant insert as well)

*Pack n play with changing station (I planned on putting both boys in the same room but knew Bennett needed to be somewhere else in the first months as to not wake up Liam during night feedings. We ended up putting the pack n play in the dining room of our apartment. It worked out so well and the attached changing station worked perfect for middle of the night changes)

Diapering

*Diapers (pamper swaddlers/luvs/target)

*Wipes (pampers sensative/members mark)

*Diaper caddy. (It’s nice to have a couple of these around the house, especially if you live in a two story house and your nursery is upstairs. Having supplies downstairs will help you a lot!

*Butt paste/target brand

*Diaper bag (Here is my bag, I have it in Aqua Radian. I purchased it when Liam was around 6 months and my first diaper bag wasn’t big enough. I like to strap the bag on my stroller handle to leave room to put stuff in the basket. I use this bag for both boys stuff. This is a cute bag if you like backpacks.

**Baby bum diaper cream brush** (We don’t own one of these but I wish we did)

Feeding

*Bottles (avent ) 4oz and 9oz (I got the 4oz bottles knowing it comes with stage 1 nipples, 9oz only has stage 2 nipples and those are for older babies which I now use that Bennett’s 6 months old. Also I registered for new bottles, using a bottle brush can cause cuts in the bottles which traps bacteria.)

*Poppy Pillow with cover

*Burp cloths (I find that cloth diapers work great as burp cloths, especially for all the spit ups Bennett has)

*Bottle brush (I boil my bottles for the first couple of months to sanitize)

*Formula (Enfamil infant) We used Enfamil Gentlease for Liam and started with that formula for Bennett. We found it made him spit up so much more than he does now. We tried other Enfamil products and found that the Infant was best. He still spits up but less than any other formula)

*Dishwasher basket

*Spit up bibs (These are originally called drool bibs but work perfect for spit up as well, also the patterns are so cute.)

*Drying rack

Solid Feeding

*High Chair (mine attaches to a dining room chair)

*Gerber food (I also make some homemade food, if I have the time)

*Bowls

*Spoons and pouch spoons (pouches are perfect for on the go)

*Sippy cups

*Splat mat for carpet

*Bibs (These are different then the spit up bibs. You can get cheap ones with the plastic on the back or the silicone. I liked the silicone for toddler stage for solid food)

*Munchkin fresh food feeder

Bathing

*Bath tub

*Toys

*Bath cup

*Tub Toy scoop

*Hooded towels and washcloths

*Shampoo (make sure to get tear free)

Sleeping

*Wearable Blanket (Especially for the winter months! Since Bennett liked to be swaddled I just tied the arms across his chest)

*Swaddle blankets  (I only purchased these for Bennett, make sure to go up a size to make room for growth.)

*Love to swaddle 50/50 (Around 4 months Bennett was getting a little big for the swaddle me blankets and he was getting upset he couldn’t suck on his hands. I found these and Bennett loves it. Some moms have only purchased these as they can be used from birth. Make sure to purchase at least 2 when one has to go into the wash.)

*Onesies under footie PJs (Both boys were born when it was cold, the onesies helped with an extra layer for warmth)

Baby Soothers, Toys, and Entertainment

*Pacifiers (avent, nuk, custom pacifiers) Liam still uses a pacifier for rest and bed time. To keep help him recognize the difference we purchased plain pacifier’s for Bennett and Liam got to have designs.
*Bouncy chair (rocker)

*Playmat

*Jumper (exersaucer) We chose the jumper for Liam, working with children and babies I saw that children enjoyed the jumper more than the exersaucer. I’m glad I went with my gut because both boys loved it.

*Books

*Teething toys

Health

*First aid kit

*Thermometer

*baby/infant tylenol for vaccinations (bring this to your first vaccination appointment and the doctor can tell you how much to give your child)

*Baby brush

*Bulb syringe

*Potty seat (Liam never used ours, we’ll see if Bennett will)

*Backseat mirror
*Car seat canopy

*Seat cover (I love this, all the yucky food ends up on the cover and off my seats)

Extra

*Shopping cart cover (babies love to put their mouths on the shopping cart handle, this protects baby from germs plus there are rings to hand toys)

*Batteries (AAA AA C D) Everything takes batteries!!!!

*Bumbo chair with tray (I fed the boys in it and it helps teach baby to sit up)

Yes babies need a lot, please don’t feel overwhelmed. All babies are different and have certain needs. Put all the thing you will need on your registry. You will not receive it all so with money and gift cards you can purchase the rest. Some registries you can make some items a high priority. I know Target has it, that’s where I registered. Remember to not stress and enjoy this special, happy time your with husband.