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    My Dearest Daughter: Saying Goodbye to Gender Disappointment

    My Dearest Daughter, Though I’ve never actually met you, you have always a part of me: a dream, a desire, a hope. Until today. Today I say goodbye to the dream that was you in order to make room for other dreams. For as long as I can remember I dreamed about hearing ‘it’s a […]

  • Our Boys Are Watching Too

    Our Sons Are Watching Too

    This past winter I had the privilege of attending a conference called “Shine” where the main speaker was the talented pastor and author, Bo Stern. Recently Bo also wrote a blog post discussing one of the main points that she spoke of at the conference. To summarize, both were about the shame that surrounds women and […]

  • Summer Themes

    Summer Vacation Weekly Themes

    I’ve had some interest in my “themed” summer so I thought I would take the time to type it out as it’s currently in scribble form on my notepad at home as a compilation of ideas and outlines that I continue to add to. Depending on where you live you may have more or less weeks than […]

  • That Parent 1

    You’re only “that parent” to yourself

    It was lunch hour in the middle of a very large metropolitan Red Robin that was way over capacity. We had 4 starving children and we were pushing nap after 2 very full days visiting the Portland Zoo and Ikea during Spring Break. The wait would be long but because we knew it would be […]

  • Advice for New Dads

    26 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Being a New Dad

    If you missed last week’s posts about the  25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy,  the 25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Birth, and the 25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know about Postpartum I suggest starting there. I’ve compiled some advice from several veteran dads and their wives about what soon to be […]

  • New Dads and the Postpartum Period

    The First Few Weeks After Birth: What New Dads Need To Know

    If you missed the following advice for new dads: 25 Things New Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy, and the 25 Things New Dads Need to Know About Birth I suggest starting there. Once you bring your baby home from the hospital you and your spouse are on your own. No more nurses, no more doctors. On. […]

  • Advice for Dads about Birth

    25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Birth

    If you missed yesterday’s post about the 25 Things New Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy, I suggest starting there. After waiting 9 months the time is finally here! Birth. Some fear it. Some are excited for it. Or, maybe you’re feeling a little of both? Totally normal. Birth is incredible. What the human body […]

  • Advice for New Dads

    25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy

    First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…uh, what? Oftentimes soon to be dads (and moms alike) don’t know the first thing when it comes to pregnancy, birth and the weeks following birth. The very thought of having a baby can be scary and overwhelming. Don’t worry, with the help of several veteran dads and […]

  • Dating Kids

    Dating Your Kids: 10 Fresh Date Ideas to Get You Started

    All too often I have gotten to the end of the day and stopped to realize that I was never fully present with my children. Sure I was there in the flesh. But my mind was constantly multitasking: making mental lists of everything I needed to add to my to-do list for the next day […]

  • Brothers

    Redefining family after baby gender disappointment

    They sit across from me waiting anxiously, eager to play cars, trains, superheroes, or ninja turtles. Boys. My destiny. I’m learning to embrace this. Honestly, it hasn’t come easily. My parent’s closet still has my American Girl Doll neatly packed waiting for my daughter to play with. There also sits my dollhouse my grandfather made […]

Feb
14

Redefining family after baby gender disappointment

Brothers

They sit across from me waiting anxiously, eager to play cars, trains, superheroes, or ninja turtles.

Boys. My destiny. I’m learning to embrace this. Honestly, it hasn’t come easily. My parent’s closet still has my American Girl Doll neatly packed waiting for my daughter to play with. There also sits my dollhouse my grandfather made for me and all the adorable little mini people and furniture that go inside all boxed waiting for my daughter’s hands to carefully take them out. Only my daughter doesn’t exist.

5.5 years ago my vision of my family changed when we found out we were expecting our 2nd little boy. I had always wanted 4 children but had never really thought much past the first being a boy and the second being a girl. When I wrote about having baby gender disappointment  I experienced during pregnancy (and even for several years after) 4 years ago I had no idea there were so many people that shared similar feelings. Since then it has been the most commonly viewed post on my blog.

I spent 3 years after the birth of our second son wondering if my desire for a girl would ever be overtaken by the desire to simply have another baby no matter the gender. Three long, embarrassing years riddled with ugly emotions of self-pity, anger, disappointment, jealousy and guilt over feeling all of those things especially when there are so many women that would do anything just to have a baby. I would see friends with their daughters heading off to dance class with leotards, tights and ballet shoes in tow and my inner core would ache with such intensity that I was sure I was going to spill my insides. I would sob whenever I thought of all the things I did with my mom that I would never have a chance to do with my daughter. And my heart would hurt when I thought of the father-daughter moments my husband would never have. All the while desperately trying to fill my role as a mom to little boys. But as the months and years passed I found God changing and reshaping my heart. I began embracing being a boy mom. I would be completely lying though if I said the longing was gone, but it finally reached a point where I was ready for a baby…boy or girl.

Good thing because an adorable, wonderful, happy, light of our lives baby boy joined our family. Yes, that made boy number 3. Initially, when we found out that we were expecting boy #3 I could feel some of the same emotions creeping back in. It wasn’t until a dear friend of mine wrote

“I believe that raising a boy to become a good man, today, is such an incredibly important task. God wisely chooses special people to get that privilege. And now that I have a daughter, I’m praying for parents like you to have boys, so that someday Paisley will be loved well by one of them. Congratulations.”

that I realized what I gift I have.

Though I often don’t know what I’m doing with boys and it certainly isn’t what comes naturally I’ve been redefining what family looks like and redefining my role. Of course, I am mom. But more importantly, I am mom to 3 wonderful boys. And of course we are family. But our family is not your 2.5 kids: one boy, one girl, and a dog. We’re creating another mold in which to fit.  Something I’ve realized is that little (and big) boys need their mommies just as much as little girls. And though our relationship will tweak and change as they grow who is to say that I can’t have the same relationship with my sons that I do with my mom? Raising these boys to be great men is going to be a challenge, but one that I am embracing. My husband and I hope to teach them how to treat a lady, to be sensitive yet strong, and most importantly teach them that our love for them is fierce.

And let me tell you…Brothers? The bond there is strong. Best of friends, worst of enemies but at the end of the day when they’ve “secretly” crawled in to bed next to one another and fallen asleep it completely melts my heart.

Redefining family

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Dealing with Gender DisappointmentAnd please, when you see someone with all the same gender, don’t assume we’re trying for the opposite gender. Maybe we are and maybe we aren’t. Just know that we’re redefining family.

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on baby gender disappointment …both good and bad! Please follow me on Facebook 

To see the original post on dealing with Baby Gender Disappointment when you’re disappointed with your baby’s gender check out the following link:

Transparencies of Motherhood: Baby Gender Disappointment 

Feb
12

Unsung Heros

A special thanks for all the great teachers

Dear great teachers,

There’s a difference between a teacher and a great teacher. A teacher is someone that shows up, speaks the material, does daily duties, and goes home. A great teacher is so much more than that and I want, no, I need to express my gratitude to you. All too often your hard work goes unnoticed and I want you to know that it’s not for naught.

This mama has noticed.

Thank you for loving our children, both little and big, as your own, for watching over them when us parents can’t be there. Thank you for always putting them first before yourselves. Thank you for not only teaching them their ABCs but also proper classroom and playground etiquette. Thank you for the countless shoes you’ve tied, jackets you’ve zipped, and gloves you’ve put on. Thank you for not only teaching them algebra but also how to deal with and balance academics and life because as you know, personal affairs are never left at home. Thank you for the broken hearts you’ve helped mend, friendships you’ve salvaged, and all the times you’ve just been there and not even known your presence alone is making a difference. Thank  you for finding a balance between challenging students that need the extra push, giving extra assistance to those that are too challenged and working with those students that may be more challenging in and of themselves. Your day is busy.

This mama has noticed.

Thank you for going above and beyond the four walls of the classroom: Read More

Feb
10

Top 5 Valentine Tradition Ideas for your kids

I’ve been talking with some friends lately about creating memories, not moments. What I mean is trying to find ways to step away from the quick and easy and create something that will have a lasting impression on our kids. This doesn’t have to be difficult nor does it have to be expensive. Actually, it’s often the gift of time spent rather than anything monetary that has the best impressions. So this Valentine’s Day instead of candy, create a new tradition. Here is a Top 5 List of Tradition Ideas I compiled so your kids can feel special and loved on this fun day:   Read More

Feb
4

Taking the ‘but’ out of Love

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“Birth.” A day that will change your life forever. This day looks different to everyone. For some, it’s actually days…plural. For others it may be so fast you almost didn’t make it to the hospital. For some, it may not even happen at a hospital. For others it may include the best Neonatal Doctors and Nurses there are. For some it might be a c-section. For others it might be au natural. For some it may be the day you adopted your child. For others it may be the day you became a foster parent. But whatever you call it, however you experience it…it’s amazing. As parents we have spent hours, days, months (and for some even years!) wondering what our unborn child(ren) will look like, smell like, feel like. Wondering what it will be like the first time we hold them, hear their cry, see their smiles. We wonder about the personalities they will develop, and the men and women that in a blink they will become. We spend hours praying for them, for their friends, for their teachers, for each of their spouses, for the jobs they will have, the careers they will hold. The pictures that formed in our head during those expectant months just bold outlines in a coloring book waiting to be filled in.

Of course we have many hopes and dreams for them. But please consider this…

Read More

Feb
2

What to Pack in your Hospital Bag

 

What to pack in the hospital bag when having a baby...For mom, baby, dad, and older siblings

What to pack in the hospital bag when having a baby…For mom, baby, dad, and older siblings

A friend of mine asked what I packed in my hospital bags when it came close to time to deliver my babies. Hopefully this helps someone else out too :)

For Baby:

1. Car seat. Obviously you can’t leave the hospital without it. Yet, it’s amazing how many people forget to install that sucker before they head to the hospital.

2. Going home outfit. Yes, cutsie them up…we want to see pictures!

3. Binky (if you plan to use one). The hospital around here no longer provides them.

4. A cute hat. The one the hospital provided was, well, not cute.

5. Cozy receiving/swaddling blanket. The one the hospital provided was not soft.

–What the hospital did provide: diapers, cloths you wet to use as wipes, a nose/throat sucker thingy (I have no idea what those are called), alcohol wipes for umbilical cord, pretty much anything else you can think of for baby–

For Mommy’s Labor Bag (I would highly suggest a labor bag and a post-baby bag)

1. Birth plan. Are you wanting a water birth? Drug free? Epidural? Who do you want in the room for delivery? Are you going to listen to music? Do you want it completely silent? Etc. Write it down, give it to the nurse when you get to the hospital.

2. An open mind. Huh? See #1? Yea, that goes out the window if there is anything wrong with you or baby. Planned on doing it drug free but your child was 9 1/2 lbs and you ended up getting an epidural after 16 hours of pitocin induced labor? Yea, me too. Or how about your child was 9 1/2 lbs and you ended up having to have a c-section. Yup, plans change.

3. Chapstick.

4. Camera!!! Assign someone duty beforehand of taking pictures if you are going to have the birth documented. You’ll still want your camera though for all the middle of the night pictures :)

5. Bathrobe. You’ll want something to cover your fanny if you end up walking the halls. Plus, your body temperature will rise and fall throughout labor…you’ll want something easy to take on/off.

6. Slippers (or socks). See #5.

7. Books, magazines, movies, playing cards, Laptop, iPad, etc. Something to pass time if you get an epidural or even just to take your mind off the contractions if you don’t.

8. Something to hold your hair back.

9. Lotion or massage oil. Just make sure you can stand the smell of it.

10. Glasses. If you end up having a c-section (and some hospitals require it regardless) you’ll need to take your contacts out.

11. Anything else to set the mood. Music? Flame-less candles? Mirror? Birth ball?

For Mommy’s Post-Baby Bag (leave post-baby bag in the car until…you guessed it…post baby)

1. Toiletries. Most important is toothbrush and contact stuff. I think our hospital supplies travel sized shampoos and soap.

2. Makeup. You may decide you don’t want to bother. However, with my 2nd I just felt so much better about the huge belly I was still sporting after I put some mascara on.

3. Maternity clothes to wear home from the hospital…if you’re like me. And if you’re like my friend that didn’t even look like she had a baby, well, please excuse me while I briefly hate you.

4. Nursing bra and/or nursing tank. Your nursing bra may not fit until your milk comes in so consider a nursing tank instead.

5. Jammies. If you don’t want to wear the hospital gown you’ll want to bring jammies that have easy access down below as well as open in the front on the top if you’re planning to breastfeed. Don’t bring your favorite jammies because they may get ruined.

6. Chargers. Cell phone, camera, laptop, etc. Make sure you have them because it’s when you don’t that your camera doesn’t work. ;)

–What the hospital did provide: mesh undies (so you may want to bring your own loose cotton undies that you don’t care about throwing away), a water bottle (but if you’re partial to your own bring it), pads galore, ice packs, ours even provided some shampoo, meals were all included for mommy at our hospital except from 12 am to 6 am–

For Daddy’s Bag (don’t forget to pack for Daddy too!)

1. Toiletries. 

2. Money to buy food. At least at our hospital the food for Daddy costs extra. Bring some change too in case you need a late-night-cafeteria-is-closed vending machine run.

3. Pillow. Even dad’s need their rest. Make sure hospital provides a blanket!

4. Something to wear to bed. You’ll be up and down a lot in the middle of the night so you don’t necessarily want to just wear your boxer briefs. Or maybe you do. Heck, your wife just showed the world her goods.

5. Make sure your wife grabbed the camera!

6. All the phone numbers for people you’ll want to notify. 

7. Snacks. See #2

8. Button up shirt. I didn’t have this on my original list but it was suggested by a friend and I love the idea! For dads that want to participate in skin on skin contact with baby it’s a great way to stay warm and modest.

For Older Siblings 

1. Gift from baby. Older siblings can easily get overshadowed when a new baby arrives. It’s a great way to get baby on their good side from the get go :) Better yet, wrap this gift! (Doesn’t need to be expensive…even a sucker is great) Tuck it in either mom’s or dad’s hospital bag.

2. Something special to wear. This would actually be great left wrapped at home for them to open while you are away at the hospital. They can wear their special Big Brother or Big Sister shirt/outfit when they come to the hospital to meet baby.

3. Clothes, toothbrush, jammies, diapers, wipes. This is only necessary if you’ll be dropping the older kids off somewhere other than your house on your way to the hospital. You can pack up this bag ahead of time too.

4. Lovey. Again, if they will be staying somewhere other than home make sure you grab the lovey (or whatever it is they won’t be able to live without).

  

Pack light. Try to keep everything in one backpack for labor and one backpack for post-labor. After all, the only thing you really need to have there is YOU and a car seat. 

 

Readers: Do you have anything to add to the list? 

Jan
31

I am Mom

iammom

I know how to make homemade playdough, build the best forts. I race matchbox like a pro, have the best Choo Choo sound around, and have built some pretty great Chima Legos. I have seen every Veggie Tale movie, can belt out any Disney song, and know how to shake my thang to Raffi. I despise The Wiggles, Spongebob, and Yo Gabba Gabba. I know how to sing the abcs, twinkle twinkle and every other nursery song imaginable and I have made up countless versus to nursery songs to keep them going long enough for tiny little eyes to close.  I can recite Goodnight Moon, The Going to Bed Book, and On The Night You Were Born. I know the theme songs for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, and Curious George to name a few. I am fun.

I have stretch marks snaking my belly, an extra 5 lbs on my hips, spider veins on my legs. I’m lucky to get a shower long enough to shave, never mind actually getting lucky enough to shower. I have bags under my eyes and constantly have my hair pulled back in a ponytail.  And after nursing 3 kids well, my boobs have shrunk to nothing. I have been peed on, pooped on and thrown up on. Yet, I am beautiful.
Read More

Jan
28

Miscarriage–a letter to my unborn twins

My Dear Sweet Angel BabiesIMG_3521

As I stood in the bathroom, hovering near the pregnancy test, I could feel my heart beating in my chest. I knew I didn’t need to take any tests to confirm what my body had already been telling me. With 3 healthy pregnancies behind me, I knew. I was pregnant.

Though you weren’t a ‘timed’ pregnancy, you was most definitely a planned one. By that, we knew we wanted 4 kids, just didn’t know that it would be this soon.

From day one, everything about this pregnancy seemed right. It was God’s timing, not ours. It was in the middle of a move we weren’t even sure we would make until the month before. And we had an offer on a house initially that would have been too small for a growing family…and we beat the odds with our new house which would fit us all perfectly. The cards had all fallen in to place for this pregnancy to happen.

Though it took a couple of weeks for the shock to wear off and the idea of 4 kids to settle in, both your Daddy and I were elated, especially knowing you were so meant to be. I had a certainty about it that I didn’t have with any of the other kids. Within a week we had told your big brothers and they were so excited to tell all our family and close friends. We had already begun to imagine what our family would look like. We began making plans, arranging vacations, and ‘sick leave’ based on your impending arrival. July couldn’t get here soon enough…

Jan
28

Hello world!

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What was formerly www.transparenciesofmotherhood.blogspot is now gretacheney.com. Welcome. I hope you find this site an inspiring, raw, transparent, and real look at motherhood…or at least my experience as “mom.” In the next few weeks I will be posting some old posts mixed in with some new ones.

Mar
18

Food Allergies in School

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If your child has a life threatening allergy, it is best to prepare an allergy bag to remain at the school. Actually, schools require this. I would suggest getting a little bag and including the following:

  • 2 Epi-pens
  • Inhaler (if your child uses one)
  • Benadryl
  • Action plan
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Picture of your child

Make sure you label the outside of the bag with your child’s name and picture on the front, and all emergency numbers on the back.

The inside of the bag should include the epi-pens, inhaler, benadryl and action plan. Make sure you label the outside of the Benadryl bottle with the dosage in large print so it’s easy to see. Also make sure you include the dosing cup or syringe. Basically you want to make things as easy as possible.

The Action Plan is just as important as the emergency items. This is where you again include your emergency contact numbers, but also the numbers for your child’s pediatrician, emergency contact if you’re unavailable, and how/when to give the dosing of each item, what to look for as an allergic reaction and the severity of what type of allergy that is presenting itself. A great example of an Action Plan to use is found here.

You should make sure your child’s teacher reviews your action plan frequently. You can speak with the Director or Principal and Nurse of the school to make sure all teachers are trained with an epipen and know what to look for/when to give dosing, etc. If the school hasn’t had any firsthand, hands-on experience with life threatening food allergies, I would highly encourage you to take the practice epipen and do a mini-training for the teachers prior to your child’s first day. Additionally, you can hire the Red Cross to come and train the staff. You may feel silly, but it is your child’s life they are taking in to their own hands, in a more extreme way than they are with other children. Same goes for all the parents if your child is attending a co-op or a parent participation school. Everyone that will have contact with your child should be trained.

Your emergency bag should be clearly labeled with your child’s picture and put in a visible, easily accessible spot that any adult can get to.

Remember, every second counts.

 

Mar
18

Choosing a Preschool–Questions to Ask

Choosing a Preschool

Again, welcome to the series: Choosing a Preschool

Once you’ve reviewed thethings to think about and determined which  preschool philosophy you would like your child’s preschool to have, it’s time to pick a preschool.

I would suggest visiting a local preschool fair, if your town offers one. It’s a great chance to see many, or all, of the local preschools and get your basic questions out of the way.

However, once you’ve narrowed it down to a select few I would encourage you to actually go visit them (see if you can bring your preschooler!) and get a hands-on idea of what the preschool is like. At that time I would suggest you determine which of the following questions are important to you and ask a handful (if not all) of the following:

1. During your tour ask to see the curriculum.

-What are the children in each age group working on?

-Will they get a chance to create artwork?

-Will the children be working on any reading, writing, etc.?

-Will the children be experimenting with any music?

-What is the structure (if any) to the day?

-What is the student/teacher ratio?

-How much tv do the children watch? (For us, I didn’t want any since I could do that myself)

-What type of experience/education does each teacher have?

2. During the tour make a mental note of:

-How many classes there are.

-Do all the teachers appear friendly?

-Is there any outside play area? If so, how is it supervised and is it enclosed?

-Are the room(s) safe and easily accessible by the children?

-How do they keep kids safe inside and strangers outside?

3. Other things to consider:

-How are the children disciplined?

-How often are the facilities/toys cleaned?

-Do YOU feel comfortable there? Ask your child too! If you don’t, trust your gut.

-How do they handle bathroom breaks for themselves and the children?

-What type of parent involvement do they require?

4. And great questions to ask if you have a child with a life-threatening food allergy:

-Are you familiar, and have you had direct experience with, children with life-threatening food allergies? Has anyone had a reaction here? If yes, how was it handled?

-Do you provide meals? If so, how many, and how do you take precautions for those with allergies?

-What type of training or experience have you (and all staff) had related to how to handle a food allergy crisis?

-Do you (and all staff) know how to use an Epi Pen?

-Could I (the parent) bring in the Red Cross for a training for the staff on how to handle a situation involving a life-threatening food allergy?

-How do you handle celebrations? E.g. birthdays, holidays, etc. regarding treats?

-What is your medical emergency routine/policy?

Always feel comfortable asking for references! After all, you would do if it you were a business owner hiring them to work for you. In fact, they ARE working for you! They are helping raise and educate your CHILD.

Of course there are probably 100s more questions you could ask. Before you go, make sure to think of everything that’s important to you and write them down! You’ll be shocked at how easily you forget once you’re there. And never feel bad for asking questions; remember, this is YOUR CHILD we’re talking about.

Anyone have any good questions to add to the list?