The Smith Project

Family

Joy

Life, Family, Motherhood, Marriage, Pregnancy, QuotesAndrea SmithComment

This quote is so hard for me to hear. I literally just sat here and re-read this about 20 minutes. 

I have been in a hard, long season of depression and joylessness. I don't know if that's a word but I just invented it, so whatever, it's my blog so my rules :-) Anyways, simple put, joy is a choice. Just like most emotions in life. I wrote on our blackboard this phrase,"Today is a good day, for a good day." So every time I get upset or want to yell at little Liam (my son) I see that big annoying board and it reminds me that I have control over my emotions, and I get to choose if we are going to have a good day or not. I am the homemaker and I am the one setting the tone or atmosphere in our home, so what will I choose today? 

So next time you're frustrated that the house is a mess and you didn't get anything on your unrealistic check list done, just remember that it's really not the end of the world. You get to be the person that affects your home, that little face looking at you, and the people who surround you. Joy is a choice, so what will be your choice today?

The Sound of Music

Family, Motherhood, QuotesAndrea SmithComment

To me this quote says, "Andrea, you can read books, ask for advice and get unwanted advice, but motherhood is different for everybody and you're going to have to figure out some stuff on your own."

I will be the first to admit that I ask for help and advice ALL THE TIME! But I'm not ashamed, cause I know I need help and I want to glean on the wisdom of others. I think though we can get caught up in what everybody else says, and what everybody is doing and you start to question, "am I doing this right? Why isn't this working for us?" The list goes on and on. What works for one family doesn't work for another, and God gave YOU your baby because he wanted YOU to raise your baby, not someone else. He gave YOU that baby because He knew YOU could do it, and that you would be the best mom for that baby. Trust your instincts. So if you just keep hitting a wall with your kid(s) and are wondering what more should you do, ask the Guy who created that little one and I'm sure He'll give you some answers. 

Being Present

Motherhood, Family, QuotesAndrea SmithComment

Maya Angelou... need I say more? Being present and thankful as a mom can be extremely difficult on a day to day basis. It's really true of what the moms of old say, "Enjoy every moment, you won't have it forever." It's hard to really appreciate that when your baby is screaming and your toddler is pulling your hair, when you just want to go to the bathroom in peace and they bang on the door and cry like you've abandoned them!

Being present and thankful in those small moments when you are feeding them and they stop, stare and give you a toothless grin. When they unknowingly hold your hand when you're crying about everything, when they say those precious words, "I love you Mommy". I have yet to hear that last one, but when I do it will be the best day ever and I will be more grateful to have that little person cheer me on and remind me to be ever present and ever thankful for the life that I have. 

5 Ways to Breast with Success

Motherhood, Pregnancy, FamilyAndrea SmithComment

Breastfeeding. Women have been using their boobies to feed their children for thousands of years. But what people lack to tell you is how freaking hard it is!

You've probably heard that babies naturally latch onto your breast when they lay your baby on your chest for the first time. Ya that's like the 1% buddy! I don't know a single person who has had an easy, breezy, beautiful Covergirl breastfeeding experience. All of you who have. I seriously give you mad props. I am truly happy that you didn't have to experience hardship when it came to breastfeeding.

But for the 99.9% of women I know who have had cracked nipples. mastisis, yeast infections, thrush, lip/tongue ties, teeth biting off nipples. You know, #thestruggleisreal

Don't get me wrong I do enjoy and appriecate the fact that my body can produce milk for my baby and give him all the vitamins and nutrients he needs. But if you are a first time mom or soon will be, please please please find a breastfeeding support group. Find friends or family that know how to breastfeed and ask for help. Having these two things are so important and critical for you to have a successful breastfeeding experience.

So here are some tips to have a good experience while breastfeeding. Whether you're a working mom or stay at home mommy, you can do it and don't give up! It's hard but you've got this ;-)

1.) Find a local breastfeeding support group

I can't emphasize enough how much this saved my life. When you are home on maternity leave and you are struggling at the house, you really need encouragement and support from others. My friend (who was pregnant at the same time as me) told me about this breastfeeding support group that the hospital does on specific days. I went and it was so encouraging to me that I wasn't alone in the struggle, and even better was seeing moms who had older babies than mine that were still having issues. As your baby grows and changes so does breastfeeding, there's different stages that you go through that I didn't know about.

2.) Nursing bras

Dude. You need to invest in some serious nursing bras. Yes I know they are expensive but you will not regret it. Plus you can always give it a shot for like a week or so and if it's not working out for you make your husband take it back! Duh! Some of the brands that seem to be super popular and also that I like wearing are the following...Bravado, Motherhood Maternity, Target, Walmart. Try a bunch of different ones and see what works for you. If you tend to leak a lot I would recommend getting a few day time bras and then getting a nighttime bra from like Target.

3.) Disposable nursing pads vs. Clothe

Honestly I use both. The best disposable nursing pads I've found are Johnson and Johnson. They are comfortable, stay in place and soak up a lot of milk if you get engorged and are leaking like a fountain. Clothe I use during the day which keeps me fairly dry and the disposable I use at night. They work great for me and you should try both to see which is most comfortable and conveint for you.

4.) Be patient and give grace

Patience is not one of my strong giftings. I struggle with it everyday to not be critical of others and of myself. I tend to have high expectations for myself and project that unto others. So regardless of what people have said about the baby naturally latching unto your breast which is true in some but rare cases, your baby has no idea what it's doing. Just like you have no idea what you're doing with this creature you just made for the past 9 months. You must, must, must give your baby grace and just as importantly give yourself grace. You just delivered a baby, your life will now be forever changed with screams, cries, hugs and laughter forever. The times when you get super frustrated with yourself or your baby, take a deep breath and try again. If you are still struggling to get your baby to latch or whatever, ask your spouse (if they are there) to take the baby for a minute. Put a binky in there mouth or your finger and they will quiet down for a minute for you to gather your thoughts and calm down.

5.) Spouse support

Your spouse can't breastfeed your baby but he can help you with the baby. You can pump and have dad feed the baby while you go take a nap. When the baby is screaming and you are about to lose your cool he can stick he's finger in the baby's mouth and they will suck on that for awhile for comfort. He can encourage you or if you need to vent you can ask him to listen to you and hold you while you cry it out with how hard it's going. Your spouse can do a lot more than you think. Trust me. All the above I've been through it. I seriously would have given up if my husband didn't encourage me, comfort me or support me with breastfeeding. Even though it's primarliry a mom and child experience, your spouse can and should be very involved with the process. Our nightly routine is Jared gets Liam ready for bed while I get ready for bed and he gets me water, gets me my iPad (I like to play games on it or Pinterest everything) hands me the baby as I get situate for our last feeding of the night and we're good to go. This process has been so helpful after a long day of work and taking care of everyone else, he takes care of the baby and helps me out even for a few mins.

Again you can do this! It's hard but you will be so happy you stuck with it. I promise you. I don't know a mom who has ever regretted breastfeeding her baby. #gohardorgohome

Traveling with a Newborn

Family, Motherhood, PregnancyAndrea SmithComment

We recently went on a trip to Florida for a friends' wedding. We currently live in Kansas City and the drive is roughly 14-16 hours. It was a last minute decision and our friends' were so kind as to pay for us to attend their destination wedding. We jumped on the opportunity 3 weeks before there wedding and were on our way.

Sadly we did not consider the effects it would be on our little then 3 month year old son and how it wouldn't be as fun as we would have liked it to be. From the car ride, to breastfeeding in the car, to 18 hours one way, to being with a car full of dudes. Yes, there was 4 other grow men with me and I was the only girl, ain't I lucky ;-)

I don't mean that in a bad way either! The guys were so patient, so kind, so helpful during that trip that I couldn't of done it without them. I'm so blessed to have such amazing men in my life that they were willing to deal with a crying, fussy baby and a married couple feeling very stressed out and self concious of their surroundings.

First off, if you can avoid it, I would highly and I mean HIGHLY recommend not traveling with a child under 6 months old. It is not only extremely stressful for you and your spouse. But it's very overwhelming for a little person who is new to the world as it is. Liam (my son) was used to a 20 min car rides not 18 hours. The beach was an experience which I think he enjoyed but was also taking a lot in visually, hearing the ocean for the first time, touching sand between his toes, sleeping was off due to a new sleeping environment etc. All so new and awesome. But A, he won't even remember it, and B it was just stressful for everyone taking in all this new information.

So, overall, Florida was an... experience. We had a lot of ups and downs but we made it, and won't do that again until he's older lol.

I learned a lot going on this trip. Like things to bring and not bring. Here are some traveling tips I would highly recommend to bring if you do want to travel with a little person under 6 months old. I don't believe that you over pack while on vacation.

Here are my top 5 things to keep in mind while packing up your little person.

1.) YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY DIAPERS!!!

I can't stress that enough. You never know how much or how little your person is going to pee and poop. We were gone for 5 days and I packed 7 outfits and 7 days worth of diapers and guess what. I used them all. Yes. I used his last diaper when we were 4 hours away from KC. Whew. Just barely made it!

2.) Pack extra clothes

Like I said above you never know if they are going to poop up their back everyday, or you get rained on because of unforseen weather conditions, but pack at least a couple days of extra clothes for them so you don't have to go out and buy them. This not only saves time spent at the store buying clothes, but saves you money so you can enjoy your vacation.

3.) Bottle or Breast needs

So, Florida is hot, if you didn't know. For you breastfeeders I would bring extra dispoable nursing pads and clothe pads. I would use the clothe pads during the day and use the dispoable ones in the evening. Or you can do vise versa whatever works for you.

For bottle feeders, pack enough formula. If you use a particular formula you don't know if the store will have what you need, so honestly, pack extra, you never know if your baby will have a growth spurt while you're on your trip and need extra milk or if they get sick and just want more milk because it's the only thing that will soothe them.

4.) Pack N Play/Bassinet

Whatever you have your child sleeping in at home, you want to bring that with you when you go traveling. We drove so it was a little bit easier to pack up our Pack N Play with us. But if you're flying and staying in a hotel I would recommend getting a King Size Bed. We were blessed with one in our room and discovered that Liam slept better with us than in his Pack N Play. Wish we had a King size bed at home but we alternate now at the house.

5.) Toys

This I think is completely optional. Liam was still so small that he was interested in anything but people. So we only packed like 3 toys for him and he hardly used them. I think for older kids I would do the same thing, bring a few of their favorite toys that they can play with in the car and purchase some cool toys at your destination. This makes the vacation a little more speical to them, they can say, " I got this toy in Toyko." Or wherever.

No matter what, you CAN do this trip. It's hard, but you can do it and it's not impossible.

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.