Top Ten Tips for Enjoying the Beach with a BABY!

I LOVE the beach!

Almost every year of my life for as long as I can remember has included at least one trip to paradise (i.e. anywhere with sand, water, and sun). Taking pre-baby trips to the beach meant spending literally ALL DAY sitting in my chair, taking walks, reading books, really just relaxing and doing whatever I wanted…

and then we added this blessed third member to our little family.

Then everything changed.

I’m a planner at heart and if there’s a “right” or “best” way to do something, I’m all about it! I would prefer to skip the learn from experience phase and learn from someone else’s experience. Trouble is, everybody experiences things differently. That being said, MY list of “must haves” or “must do’s” might differ greatly from someone else’s but that’s not going to stop me from sharing. Hope this helps and I hope you have a blast on any trips you take this summer!

So here you have it! My Top Ten Tips for having a BLAST with your baby loves at the Beach!

1. Practical Beach Wear: I am a girl mom and I will be the first to say that I LOVE the sweet little two piece swimsuits. But I found the one piece is the way. to. go. at the beach. For boys, get the cute little swim shirt that matches the trunks. And if your kid will keep a hat on their head, bless them. The more covered up babies are, the less surface area you have to cover with sun screen! And speaking of sunscreen…

 


2. Bring SPRAY sunscreen: I am a stickler for any substance that goes on the largest organ of my baby’s body so I’m going to go all crunchy when it comes to sun screen. The problem is, the less chemicals in the sunscreen, the more goopy it can be. I tried both the lotion and the spray and found that the spray was much easier to apply AND rub in. We love this sunscreen from Babyganics. I really only applied once in the morning and then tried to keep her in the shade for a good amount of time. And speaking of shade…

3. Plan a Baby-friendly home base: If you’re one of those people that doesn’t mind bringing your entire play room to the beach, go for it! I prefer simplicity so for our little spot on the beach, we had a big picnic blanket, two umbrellas to provide plenty of shade, and a few beach toys. The beach is the playground so teach your kids how to enjoy it. I put the toys by the edge of the blanket so we didn’t get sand everywhere. But if sand DID end up in unwanted places…

4. Baby Powder WORKS: I read on a pinterest post before we left about how baby powder could easily remove sand and it’s true! Worked like a charm! If you’ve ever tried to get sand out of baby crevices, you know what a task it is. Trust me on this one, bring the baby powder. It’s great if you have to reapply at the beach and even better when you’re trying to get the excess sand that even the bath couldn’t remove.

5. Stick to your routine: In the past, taking vacations meant leaving your schedule and routine at home and just “going with it”. You might have a kid that will literally go days with no nap or just fall asleep wherever but mine isn’t like that. We found that creating a sleeping environment that was close to her “normal” was a must. We kept her routine almost exactly as it normally goes with a few slight variations. Most meltdowns come when a baby is tired, hungry, scared, etc. Keeping their little bodies on their normal routine will minimize the need for any freak out moments. For baby and you!

6. Bring snacks: Another great way to stay on a routine AND keep baby out of the sun is to bring snacks! We had snack time every morning after we had played for about an hour. Bring things that won’t melt in the heat. Also, remember how thirsty you can get on the beach and plan accordingly with water or juice.

7. Bring a wagon: We got our wagon from Costco last year and it has been a life saver! It folds flat so it’s easy to store in the car but it also has plenty of room for towels, toys, and baby to ride! Having a practical way to carry all your stuff to the beach every day is quite the convenience I wouldn’t do without.

8. Buy water shoes: Maybe you’re going to be one of the lucky ones whose child just LOVES the sand but we weren’t so lucky! Reese hated, and I mean HATED, the sand when we first arrived. Thankfully we had gotten her these shoes from OLD NAVY and they were awesome. Aside from making her feel more secure, it also made me feel better knowing her little feet wouldn’t get burned. We all know sunscreen on feet is the first thing to rub off and it STINKS to get burned there!

9. Set realistic expectations: This is especially important if this is your first time going to the beach with your baby. Keep expectations of your little one low. They might love the sand, they might hate it. They might jump right in the water, they might not. The point is that this season of watching your sweet baby experience something for the first time is irreplaceable. And going into the trip with the expectation that your baby will be experience everything in a picture perfect way might just leave you feeling disappointed. Stay calm if things don’t go as planned and remember that mommies set the emotional tone for the rest of the family. So stay chill and remember you’re making memories that will last forever!

10. Have FUN: Ok, it might seem like this last one got thrown in because I ran out of tips but I think it’s really important for us mommas to remember to enjoy ourselves! We can get so bogged down with planning, preparing, packing, etc. that we let everyone else enjoy the trip and we come home feeling like we need a vacation! Realize that this is maybe not going to be a relaxing vacation but it IS a trip with your family and you need to take the time to enjoy it!

I hope these tips will help you this summer as you brave the beach with your babies. What other tips do you have that you’d add to the list?? Please share!

Happy Summer, y’all!

Godfrey Family Beach Trip

Summer is HERE! We kicked it off the best way we know how by going to the beach. Here’s a quick run down including LOTS of pictures. Prepare for the cuteness that is a baby in smocked swimwear!

Reese was a wee bit terrified  unsure about the sand and surf at first. The first two days involved a LOT of mommy and daddy holding her.
 
 
 
Snacks in the shade on our beach blanket was a favorite part of each day.
 
 
Sweet baby finally warmed up to beach life by about day three.
 
 
 We ate dinner out a few nights. This was one of our favorite spots! Sea n Suds! It was a perfect night on the beach. Can you tell I curled my hair? 🙁 Gotta love humidity!
 
 
 Reese was dressed to impress in her anchor bubble from Smocked Auctions
 
 
 We are definitely in a fun phase of “Look away from the camera as soon as mommy says to look and smile.” Makes for lots of outtakes.
 
 
 Mommy/daughter walk! I did try a maternity tankini the first day but I got too darn hot. It’s ALL about comfort, y’all!
 
 
 It was SO fun watching these two play all week! I am pretty limited these days thanks to my growing baby belly. Daddy to the rescue!
 
 
 WEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!
 
 
 “Reese, say cheese!!” “NO thanks.”
 
 
 Matt’s sweet parents kicked us out of the house one night so we could have a date! It definitely included put put and I definitely showed this boy whose boss!
 
 
 Toward the end of the week, we had the opposite problem that we experienced in the beginning. Now we were trying to make sure this brave girl didn’t float away.
 
 
 Maybe my favorite picture from the whole trip
 
 
 Here’s our home base!
 
 
 Lolly and Poppa were always close by and Reese was their little shadow the entire week!
 
 
 Another little Smocked Auctions bubble for our last night out to dinner!
 
 
 Tried to get some pictures of Reese before dinner and let me just tell you, I WORKED for these. Girl was wayyyyyyyy more interested in throwing sand and walking into the dunes. Let’s just say I was sweating like a wild banshee by the time this little photo session concluded.
 
 
 Sweet little beach baby
 
 
 This was the best we got when it came to a family picture.
 
 
The BEEEEEEEEEEEEautiful house we stayed in for the week!!
 
 
Hope you enjoyed our week in photos! Be sure to check back in the next few days for my post on tips for having a toddler at the beach!
 


Tantrums

My sweet Reese is now 21 months old. Up to this point, we have some how avoided the whole “public meltdown” fiasco. I don’t know why, I just assumed it was because I’m such a good parent so she had no reason to throw fits.

Riiiiiiiiiight.

Think again.

Over the last few weeks, the tantrums have become a little more, um, frequent. I can pretty much tell when they’re going to happen but for some reason whenever they do, I still feel myself slowly spinning into a panic attack… red face, sweat forming in all the wrong places, saying weird things to strangers I pass while frantically removing ourselves from the public eye… “Kids, you can’t take them anywhere!” As a side note, I wouldn’t suggest making comments to anyone. The awkward stares that generally follow usually just make matters worse.

I like to think of myself as a problem-solver at times, but for the most part, I really would prefer to be a problem-avoider. So instead of figuring out how to handle the meltdown effectively, I usually find myself trying to figure out why it happened in the first place. Because if I figure THAT out, the tantrums will stop! Right? Am I right?

Yeah, no, that’s definitely wrong.

Here’s the thing about most almost two year olds: they are barely scratching the surface of how to have self control. And they don’t have it figured out yet. They also handle their emotions very differently based on their developmental level.

 It’s funny to me that as adults, we don’t have much patience for this. Yet we expect other people to totally excuse us when WE are the ones lashing out because something makes US mad. Have you ever heard someone use the phrase “Stop acting like such a child!” Well, telling your child to stop having meltdowns, throwing tantrums, and acting out is like saying “stop acting like a child.” The problem is, they ARE a child.

Tantrums are teachable moments if we can direct them in the right way. It’s not unreasonable to expect that our children behave but we have to teach them that. I see a lot of parents ignore meltdowns. But I think that is when our kids need us the most. Can you always reason with a two year old? Haha. NO. But you can help guide them through those scary moments.

1. Walk with them away from the situation (prepare for kicking and flailing about at this point)

2. Do your best to remain calm and talk in a voice that is going to turn away wrath, not stir it up

3. Watch in amazement how quickly your little ray of sunshine returns to their former pre-tantrum glory.

4. Don’t let yourself be bothered by the disapproving stares of others. They either don’t have children or are too far removed from that stage of their children’s lives to give you the grace you need.

But whatever you do, don’t say things like “Anybody want my kid?” It just makes things awkward.

Mommy Wars Part One: The battle with no winners

When I first become a mom, I was incredibly overwhelmed by the amount of love I felt for this helpless little person that I had just pushed out of my body. No one can prepare you for what it’s like to become a mom. It is truly a gift like none I’ve ever received. But with this great gift came a lot of pressure that I never planned for. Not just pressure from myself but also pressure from outside sources, leaving me asking myself the question “Will I ever do this mom thing right?”

                                                            Enter: The Mommy Wars.

It’s a real thing. A real battle between mothers over the various ways WE choose to raise our families. You can see it all over facebook, instagram, twitter. Name the outlet, the mommy wars are being fought there and no one is winning.

If only it were over just ONE thing. But it’s not. The battle is waged over all kinds of ideologies…

Stay at Home VS. Full time out of the home worker

Cry it Out VS. Attachment Parenting

Organic diet VS. The McDonals drive thru

Home Schooling VS. Public School

Vaccinating VS. Natural Immunization

Natural Child Birth VS. The C Section

DIY VS. I’d rather buy, thank you

I’m sure there are more that I’m missing. I’m sure in your own experience, you’ve seen the way any number of these battles has effected you. Maybe you’ve been the victim of someone’s critical spirit over a specific decision you’ve made. Maybe you’ve lashed out in defense of your point of view at the expense of someone else’s.

The point is, this is a battle with no winners. No matter how many people you have on “your side” there will always be “another side” that feels differently. This is the beauty and tragedy of our role. We have decisions we have to make and they WILL be different than the decisions that others are making.

So in an effort to wave the white flag, let’s expose this issue for what it really is: Satan’s attempt to rob mother’s of the joy found in their role AND the opportunity we have to nurture each other in those roles.

Even with all our vast differences, we can still find common ground.

1. We are all moms
2. We all feel insecure in our role and decision-making at times
3. When we are critical of another mother, we are fighting the mommy war
4. When we are defensive of our own position, we are fighting the mommy war
5. We are all doing the BEST we can with information that WE have to raise our families

We have seen the power that we as mothers can have in our homes when we nurture those who live in it’s walls, but have we even tapped into the potential we have to be each other’s biggest advocates, greatest support, loudest cheerleaders, and sweetest nurturers?

Can you imagine what we could accomplish if we stopped tearing each other down and competing with each other?  If instead of fighting against one another, we started playing on the same team? We would be a force of good to be reckoned with.

Will you join me in waving the white flag and ending this war? It starts in our own hearts by examining our motives and the way we CHOOSE to lift each other up.

If you walk away with anything from this, I want you to know, sweet momma, I’m on YOUR side.

Reese’s Birth Story

This is the story of how my first baby came into the world.

August 8th, 2012 was a super typical day in the Godfrey house. When Matt got home from work, we went to the park to walk. When we got home from the park, I made supper. When supper was made, we sat down to eat. I remember Matt saying the blessing and when I opened my eyes and looked down at my food, my first thought way “I cannot eat that. Gross.” It was a meal I normally liked but I just felt off so I told Matt I was going to go sit on the couch for a bit. 
The rest of the night was uneventful. I had a little bit of bloody show but having convinced myself previously that I was NOT going to be THAT girl that was all like “Oh my gosh I’m in LABOR” when I wasn’t, I played it off and sent a quick text to my midwife. It was probably something like “Had some bloody show. It’s whatever.” In my mind I’m trying not to freak out. This baby isn’t due for nine more days so surely this wasn’t it. My midwife responded quickly asking if there had been any *eh hem* activities of the marital sort going on recently. Um yep. That’s embarrassing. So that was it. Not baby time after all.
When I went to bed that night, I had some pretty intense crampiness along with lower back pain. The lower back pain was nothing new. I had experienced that the whole time I was pregnant. It was the way it came in waves and would actually wake me up once I finally fell asleep that had me a little curious. When Matt woke up, I told him about my night. Still trying to be cool about it all, I told him to go to work. I got up and showered for the day. If I was going into labor, I wasn’t planning on looking a hot mess. The pain in my lower back got more and more intense as the day went on. I lost a small part of my mucus plug around 10 am. Is this real life? I called Matt and told him he might want to come home. But this was only after my oldest sister told me that’s what I should do.     
Matt came home and was so excited to ask me about the phases of labor and what I was experiencing so far. He was already the picture perfect “husband coach” as our Bradley instructor called it. We decided to go for a walk in our neighborhood since the contractions were still about ten minutes apart. This part of the day was really one of my favorites. We just walked back in forth in front of our little house and talked about how our lives were about to change. No one was around. Just the two of us. Looking back, I realized it was the last time it would have been our family of two. It was the calm before a storm of change and we just rested in it as long as we could. 
The hours flew by and before I knew it. my contractions were consistently five minutes apart. Now this is the part of the story you may be thinking that we grabbed our hospital bags and headed for the baby factory. Well, we did not. We decided as soon as we found out I was pregnant that we wanted to have a home birth.  I can talk more about that later but in a nut shell, I was low risk throughout my whole pregnancy, which made me a perfect candidate to have my baby in the comfort of my home. We hired a midwife who specializes in home births and took classes to prepare for an out of hospital birth. 
So let me stop and answer a few questions… Yes, it is safe. No, I didn’t have any pain meds. Yes we would go to the hospital if there was an emergency. 
Ok, back to the story. My midwife got to our house around 5:30. She was ready to check me and I was terrified I was going to be at like a 2. To my surprise, I was already at a 7! Yes!!!!! I was still only experiencing back labor, which to be honest, is the pits. I knew we were getting close. 

 I went from 7 to 10 pretty fast but when I got in the water to try to start pushing, I just couldn’t get in the right frame of mind. I felt too relaxed.

We changed to my bed and after adjusting positions a few more times, we finally found one that worked. Labor is described in a lot of different ways but maybe one of the most accurate pictures is that you are having an out of body experience. I knew everything that was going on. I remember my legs felt shaky and I remember just feeling so tired. I thought at one point I had looked at my midwife and suggested that maybe it was better if the baby just stayed in my tummy. So if she could make the contractions stop, we would just try this again another day. I remember feeling like I was yelling during each contraction but then afterward, everyone kept talking about how quiet I was. It was the most focused I have ever been. All I could think about was wanting the contractions to stop. I didn’t feel strong or prepared. I felt week and unable. It was a moment of pure vulnerability. 

I’m super blessed to have two incredible sisters who have already had four babies of their own at home. One was holding me up from behind while the other held one of my feet up. One was bringing me water to sip in between contractions, while the other was whispering how strong I was and how amazing I was doing. I can’t even describe how precious it was to have them there. I understand when women say they want to experience labor and delivery alone, but having the support of my sisters who had walked this road in the not too distant past, was totally invaluable to me.
At this point, it’s nine o clock. My water still hasn’t broken and I’ve been pushing for over two hours. I was so tired. All I kept thinking was “I can’t. I can’t”. All everyone else kept saying was “You can. You can.” We finally started to make some progress and I got the hang of the whole pushing thru the contractions thing. Only took me two and a half hours to get that down. 
Geez. 
I got a really great push in and she started to crown. This was the moment I was most afraid of. I still didn’t quite grasp how something so large was going to come out of something so NOT large. The strange thing was that as she started to crown, I don’t remember the pain at all. I felt the most amazing relief. Unlike anything I’d ever experienced. 
This was the birthing high. 
Out comes the head and before my midwife could even get in a word to stop me, I pushed with all my might and out she came. I knew I only had one more push before I felt I was just going to collapse so I gave it all I had. Matt caught our baby girl and then handed her to me. All I could do was just cry and I kept saying “hi! how are you? welcome to the world.” 

 We just sat there in such a precious moment. No one rushed in to take her away. Her heart tones were perfect, she was already showing us how vocal she was, and all I kept thinking was that I couldn’t believe she was finally here.

Time passed and it was time to cut the chord. Matt did that too. What a man. I got up and wobbled myself into the bathroom to shower and then returned to assess the damage. All I have to say is praise the Lord for my awesome midwife. Good. As. New. 
I got a victory dinner of chick fil a (duh) and just got to sit in my bed and snuggle my sweet little girl. It was perfect. 
I wouldn’t change anything about the arrival of Reese Taylor. Did it hurt? You’d better believe it. Was it worth it? Absolutely. The feeling of empowerment is something you can’t even begin to explain. When every thought in your head is telling you that you can’t do something and you do it anyway, something changes. It spills over into other areas. The feeling that you were brave enough to accomplish such a huge insurmountable feat doesn’t just stay in the confines of baby having. I am a different person than I was before I gave birth. I’m so grateful to my sisters and my husband for being the ones to say “yes, you  most certainly can” when everything in me was telling me I couldn’t. 
August 9th, 2012 will forever be one of my favorite days of all time. A seven pound, ten oz bundle of love stole our hearts that day. Everything changed when she got here and we are so grateful that God saw fit to allow us to be her mom and dad.