The girl in the red dress- Vday style

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Two days before Valentine’s Day, we went to our weekly Kindermusik class V-Day style. We had put together little valentines for everyone in the class to exchange with, pulled out a perfect red dress from the closet that had been waiting to be worn on this holiday… The class was a lot of fun and Lexi enjoyed exchanging valentines with her friends.

We hadn’t done anything special during the week because she still doesn’t get the point of crafts aside from scribbling or drawing and has no interest in trying it, and she is too active to cook V-Day themed recipes with me, so I didn’t want to even attempt any of it till next year. Besides, with our anniversary falling on Valentine’s Day, I wanted to keep this holiday for us, adults, without catering to kids too much, like we do for pretty much every other celebration.

After class, we spontaneously took pictures (we had no plans to do so) and those were our only V-day inspired photos this year. Later, Andrew drove up while we were taking pictures and brought some roses. Unprompted. 🙂 Sweet!

On the actual holiday our plan was to go do something fun outdoors, but luck would have it that was the day that the temperatures dipped down to 60s in Florida, seeing as we are not used to cold temperatures and therefore unprepared clothing-wise, we weren’t too crazy about going outside.

Instead, I slept in! Oh how nice it is to have a guilt-free morning snooze! And then I got brought strawberry pancakes. In bed. Seriously, that’s all I ever needed.

With Lexi’s 6 am wake ups in the last week, she has been going down for a nap at a reasonable time ( rather than stretching it all the way to 5pm when she would crash), so we hung out together, worked on our computers, and as soon as Lexi woke up, headed to Lover’s Key park to do their nature walk and watch the sunset on the beach.

It’s funny how things change when you have kids.  Not just holidays, but what you consider “special”. Staying home without any work to do, or anywhere to go. And extra day off is all that is needed to make it a nice day. Sleeping in becomes a gift. I remember days before we had Lexi where I would LITERALLY spend the whole day in bed playing Sims. Just because. That is out of realm of possibility right now. And probably for a very long time.

{iPhone photos}




So did we have a wonderful Valentine’s Day/Anniversary? Absolutely! Any time spent not working or rushing and spending time as a family is a win in my book.

Also, don’t ever get married on V-day! Seriously! Worst. Idea. Ever.

{Btw, her dress was bought on Zulily. I got asked about that probably a million times that day}



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  • Reply
    February 17, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    Happy Anniversary! Hope you have another fantastic year and many more to come. Your husband seems like a very kind and loving person.

    Why is it such a bad idea to get married on Valentine’s Day? Too corny? I think it is kind of sweet, if a little “on the nose”…

    I have to say – you had a nice life (poor you – lol) – I do not remember a time in the past 17 years when I could spend a day in bed playing whatever (no idea what SIMS actually is) … it just did not happen, even on a day off, because I used to do chores/errands, and do my long runs with the group (I was permanently training for races before I had kids), or hike, etc. Sleeping in is a thing of the past, but with my two little ones it is expected, but I think it is just a different phase of life, and there are so many great things happen in the morning.

    So, I have a question: when does Andrew get to sleep in and get served breakfast in bed? 🙂

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      February 18, 2014 at 3:02 PM

      Thank you, Irina! 🙂 My husband IS very sweet!
      Vday wedding- it’s a bad idea because the anniversary is always overtaken by the Vday messages you see everywhere. You can’t help it but think of it as Vday, not anniversary. 🙁 It’s kind of hard to break from it.

      Andrew gets to sleep in…. well, almost never cuz he can’t sleep past sunrise 🙂 But breakfast in bed on his bday, father’s day. Oh and he has one thing better- he doesn’t have to wake up every few hours to feed his daughter on daily basis! Ha! 🙂 lol JK

      • Reply
        February 18, 2014 at 6:03 PM

        Oh that’s very sweet that he gets those special days too, often times dads get over looked!

        May I ask why you have to feed Lexi every few hours? I’ve never heard of a child her age doing that (mine included!). Would really love to hear about this from your perspective.

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          February 18, 2014 at 8:12 PM

          She is still breastfeeding and wakes up to nurse quite often throughout the night. Most of my friends’ kids who still bf wake up at night too. It’s pretty common.

      • Reply
        February 18, 2014 at 6:55 PM

        I know little to nothing about extended breastfeeding, my oldest couldn’t due to my health issue at the time and my youngest self weaned at 10 months, so pardon my ignorance with this question, but is it ‘normal’ to still be feeding every few hours with a 2 year old?

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          February 18, 2014 at 8:23 PM

          Yup. 🙂 at this age they often increase their frequency if they hadn’t weaned before. It becomes even a bigger source of comfort for them as they try to deal with their strong emotions. Often it’s done to reconnect with the caregiver at night.
          If she is busy during the day she won’t ask for it for hours but when she’s feeling out of sorts it could be constant “mama need booboo”
          I belong to a FB group that practices WIO (wait it out rather than cry it out) and it’s funny to read how kids instantly start sleeping through the night once they stop BFing. (I’m obviously taking toddlers not babies)

          • Lauren
            February 18, 2014 at 8:35 PM

            So she nurses several times a day and night for comfort? I understand that nursing is about closeness and ‘bonding’ just as much as it is about nourishment, but don’t you think it could be unhealthy for her to associate ‘food’ (your breastmilk or any other food) with comfort? Again, this is a foreign territory for me, so I really mean no disrespect, I’m just curious.

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
            February 18, 2014 at 9:49 PM

            Nope, it’s absolutely natural and normal for a child to breastfeed for as long as they deem necessary whether it’s for food or comfort. We have no real way of knowing whether each session is for comfort or for extra nutrition or for thirst. We can also guess.
            Plus breastfeeding was never just about food for them, even as infants. They don’t see it as food source only, it’s the warmth of a mother, a closeness, something so familiar (I wish I could remember breastfeeding like some kids who were breastfed past age 3 do.) At this point, I honestly doubt she even thinks of it in terms of food, though of course I have no way of knowing.

            There are plenty of resources online that discuss extended breastfeeding that you could read if you are interested in how it works from the scientific and psychological standpoint. I am sure those resources would explain it much better than I could ever do. 🙂

            Also, I think I will have to write a post about bfing past age two. It’s not something that has been written abut much and it would be great to share my experience.

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
            February 18, 2014 at 9:51 PM

            And you know now that I wrote that, I have to amend a few things. I completely forgot that breastmilk changes with each stage and adjust to the needs of a toddler as they grow, so I guess while I don’t know whether Lexi needs it for nutrition still cuz she could easily go without it, I do know that scientifically my breastmilk is still a perfect supplement to her daily intake, giving her the most balanced content necessary for her age.

          • Rosie Perez
            February 18, 2014 at 10:59 PM

            First off, the Valentine’s pictures are great.
            but, OMG, poor you (still up at night). Would you ever consider lowering the night feedings until they are fazed out? What happens if you try to gently sooth Lexi to sleep in the middle of the night? Does your husband sleep in the bed with you (in Lexi’s room). This is all so interesting to me, as I am a mom of an 80s baby, and formula was the ‘in’ thing.
            I feel like she isn’t going to ‘know’ when to say no (to night nursing) if she isn’t given some guidance.

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
            February 18, 2014 at 11:18 PM

            hahaha that’s a very common misconception, but children wean on their own when they are ready. No one ever nurses till they are 18. Mom-directed weaning isn’t something I believe in personally as long as it’s manageable, and so far it is. Gentle soothing has never worked unfortunately ( tried all kinds of things early on and continue trying from time to time), it’s always been nursing only. I have been seeing slow progression towards falling asleep on her own. it’s slow but it’s very apparent. She almost never falls asleep WHILE nursing. She will nurse, then turn over and go to sleep which is a huge thing from what it used to be before. Every other time she will actually not nurse and just roll around trying to fall asleep on her own, roll roll roll, kick, bury her head and very rarely will fall asleep, but more often than not go back for more nursing. It’s funny but she’s ALWAYS been very difficult to get to sleep. She’s very aware of everything around her and has trouble turning off completely (which I can relate to), so seeing her learn that skill step by step is absolutely amazing to me.

            Andrew sleeps with us. However during really bad periods (she gets periods where she obviously goes through some developmental changes or emotional issues and wakes up often), he will occasionally sleep in another room so that he could get up rested and let me sleep in. When she has good periods of sleep (1-2 wake ups), it’s almost unnoticeable when she wakes up.

      • Reply
        February 19, 2014 at 9:20 AM

        Sometimes I’m amazed by how kind you are to commenters determined to bring you down with passive aggressiveness, backhanded compliments, or just generic mommy related cattiness.

        I don’t do things just like you do, but isn’t that part of the point of reading other people’s blogs? You get to see how other people live different lives from your own and maybe learn something from it.

        Keep on Keepin’ on, Elena. I can’t wait for the post in a year where you and Lexi spend the entire day in bed playing sims and nursing. Can you imagine the uproar? Screen time! Nursing a 3 year old! What an entitled life! Heh.

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          February 19, 2014 at 10:01 AM

          Bwahahahaha this is the funniest thing I’ve heard all week. I’ll have to introduce sims to her when she’s old enough to get it. 🙂

        • Reply
          February 19, 2014 at 3:15 PM

          I’m curious as to what you are referring to in this thread? I’ve read through a few times and can’t seem to find anything that would suggest that. *shrugs*

      • Reply
        February 19, 2014 at 3:50 PM

        Ha-ha – Valentine highjacked your wedding anniversary! Suck it up, girl, you chose it 🙂 But seriously, I see how this can be distracting. It is still YOUR anniversary – who cares about the Hallmark stuff!

        OMG – waking up every few hours to nurse is hard on mommy. Hope you get to a more restful place sooner than later! I have to give you props for sticking to your WIO guns. If that is what you believe to be best for Lexi, then that is it. You do know your situation the best, and if it is not broken, then there is nothing to fix. Hugs to your though, being sleep deprived is difficult, no matter how used to it you may be!

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          February 19, 2014 at 3:57 PM

          OMG you called it! I love the phrase “vday hijacked my anniversary!” So true!
          And yes I’m hoping that it will ease up eventually as I’ve been seeing progress but in the meantime I’ll do what I have to. 🙂

  • Reply
    February 17, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    I used to lay in bed for hours, playing the Sims! Since my daughter was born, nearly 9 months ago, I haven’t even attempted to play.

  • Reply
    February 19, 2014 at 12:16 AM

    Good for you for still nursing at 2! I am still happily nursing my 3 yr old, and I would like to (gently) point out that it’s also important to teach your kiddo other coping mechanisms and teach them how to communicate their feelings, and find comfort themselves. That’s not to say you can’t nurse Lexi as much as you want, of course (like I said, I have a 3 yr old I still nurse “on demand”), but it’s also important that she learns how to deal with whatever is bothering her, so she will still be able to function without you (not right now, but, eventually! Nursing won’t solve everything, especially as she gets older 😉 ). Also, have you tried letting Lexi sleep in her own bed? We co slept for awhile, until one night we let her sleep on her own, and she slept SO much better! She woke up once during the night, nursed, and went right back to sleep. Since then, we’ve let her sleep independently- the times she has slept with us, she wakes up every few hours, and has a hard time falling back asleep (probably because there are two other people in her space! lol). Just something to think about, I don’t mean any disrespect. Also, I am curious if you brush her teeth after she nurses? Breastmilk is super healthy for toddlers, but also pretty awful for teeth.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      February 19, 2014 at 4:28 PM

      Ariel, once again, like some commenters you’re talking about something that isn’t age appropriate at this time. Yes it’s absolutely important to let children learn coping mechanisms but the WAY they learn them is by having their emotions regulated by care-givers in the first few years of life until they are ready to do that on their own. I trust Lexi to do things in her own time without me pushing it or rushing her or forcing her and so far I have not been disappointed, and in fact have been absolutely amazed to see it work ( cuz once thing to be a believer in something but the other thing is to actually get to the point where you see the results). So when she is ready emotionally and psychologically to deal with problems on her own, she will do so and more effectively because she was allowed to work on her own schedule. Just today I was witnessing some crazy impressive self-control skills and emotional regulations skills without my help. And then the next one was with my help because obviously she has had her fill of being strong . lol

      Anyways, as far as sleeping, yes i literally have given a try to anything that isn’t any sort of CIO. She actually slept MUCH worse alone for a while there, so we went back to co-sleeping because it’s easier on all of us. She now likes sleeping in her own bed but always comes to me around 1-2am (we have them sidecar’ed). Kids are meant to sleep with their parents for a very long time, that’s why the majority of toddlers and even bigger kids still come to their parent’s bedrooms at night unless they have been “taught” not to. It’s natural.
      We’re getting a big bed for her at the end of April when the shipment comes in with her mattress, so I know she will be excited about it, but I have high doubts she will not end up in our bed for most of the night anyways 🙂

      P.S. Good job on nursing your 3 year old. I respect that a lot, because I know how many people succumb to pressure to wean if their kid isn’t weaned by 1-2 years of age.

    • Reply
      Ana O
      February 20, 2014 at 3:01 PM

      A common misconception about nursing is that it touches teeth, it simply does not. If the latch is correct the nipple bypasses the teeth and milk goes directly to the back of the mouth and swallowed. So night nursing is actually one of the best things you can do for your child regardless of age.

      • Reply
        Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
        February 20, 2014 at 3:38 PM

        You know I’ve always thought that but could never find any back up.

      • Reply
        February 20, 2014 at 7:27 PM

        I have a hard time believing that, as I oftentimes (when she was tiny, almost every time she nursed) see milk dribble down her chin, on her lips, etc. when she unlatches. I get what you’re saying about when they’re actively latching and nursing, it’s not bypassing the teeth, but you cannot honestly believe no milk gets on the tongue or teeth when they’re breastfeeding, especially when unlatching a sleeping/sleepy babe? I’m all for health of the whole child over health of the teeth, but it’s easily addressed- just wipe the teeth after nursing, or brush after nursing.

        • Reply
          Ana O
          February 20, 2014 at 11:36 PM

          I wouldn’t dare wake up a child in the middle of the night after multiple nursing sessions to wipe their teeth.
          Here is an AWESOME Australian article about breastfeeding (not bottle feeding with BM in it) NOT causing tooth decay. If it truly did then our ancestors wouldn’t have teeth in their mouth by age 5.

        • Reply
          Ana O
          February 20, 2014 at 11:40 PM

          An article from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry that states as follows,
          “Diet: Epidemiological research shows that human milk and breast-feeding of infants provide general health, nutritional, developmental,
          psychological, social, economic, and environmental advantages while significantly decreasing risk for a large number of acute and chronic
          diseases.61 Human breast milk is uniquely superior in providing the best possible nutrition to infants and has not been epidemiologically
          associated with caries.62-64 ”
          Bottom of page two.

          • Ariel
            February 21, 2014 at 12:41 AM

            Well, I’m certainly not talking about waking an infant, or any baby that’s “dream feeding”, I was suggesting that for a two year old who is nursing for comfort during the night (Elena even mentioned that Lexi almost never actually falls asleep nursing anymore, which is true in my case as well), it’s easy enough to make it a habit, it takes two seconds. Also, again, I’m a huge advocate of breastfeeding, and completely agree that the benefits of breastmilk (and breastfeeding) far outweigh any possible “downside”, I was merely curious what Elena thought about any possible dental ramifications. I read the articles, and I think it’s pretty cool that breastmilk possibly provides a barrier against dental decay, but I think it’s also important to note that the AAPD also says “the risk of potentially devastating … decay exists for the breast-fed child as it does for the bottle-fed child.” and then goes on to say that breastfeeding a child throughout the night “should be avoided after the first primary tooth begins to erupt.” (which I think we can agree, wouldn’t work! That’s typically a 6 month old!)( is the article that pointed this out to me). I’m not at all suggesting anyone ever wean their child at any point because it might “hurt their teeth”, I was curious as to Elena’s take on the matter, or if she had considered it at all. For me, I researched and made my own decisions for my family- I didn’t feel there was conclusive evidence that frequent night nursing (as a toddler, and older) didn’t contribute in any capacity to dental decay, so we brush after nursing. She knows that, and it’s never been an issue; if she’s sleepy after nursing before bed, my husband brings her toothbrush and we just gently brush them while I’m holding her. Easy peasy, and then I know her teeth are clean overnight. I wouldn’t “fault” anyone for making their own educated decisions for their family, I was merely curious about Elena’s. Cheers!

  • Reply
    February 21, 2014 at 2:26 AM

    With regards to the discussion surrounding nursing and dental decay, my understanding is that breastmilk on its own is not harmful to teeth, the danger comes when solids are introduced.

    I believe studies have been done that show breastmilk can actually strengthen teeth but when combined with the food / plaque that gets inadvertently stuck to teeth, this can be a breeding ground for the bacteria that causes caries. I also imagine that a baby / toddler that has a family history of dental issues will be more at risk of caries from night nursing.

  • Reply
    February 21, 2014 at 8:43 AM

    Hi Elena,
    I’ve been following your blog for quite a while now, but have never actually made a comment.
    First of all, I think your daughter is lovely and the kind of lifestyle you’re giving her is wonderful. I’m the mum of a nearly 2-year-old boy, who’s growing up trilingual, and has quite a lot of similarities with Alexis. I’ve been a a vegetarian since I was a kid and although I’d like him to decide later on whether to eat meat or not, I very rarely give him meat-some chicken, (grandmothers stress on it too…) but I still think he gets all his nutritions anyway. He’s a very good eater, loves fruit, vegetables, eggs, beans, lentils etc.,not eating sweets or biscuits.
    He’s also very active, loves swimming and as we’re living in the south of Italy, he adores the sea.
    And I still breastfeed, and that’s where my comment is coming from. He gets up several times a night and although it’s rather tiring, I’ve never thought about giving it up.
    It all changed about a month ago…when I’d found out I’m pregnant again!! We’re very happy about it, but unfortunatelly my doctor told me to stop breastfeeding straight away otherwise I’m risking to have a miscarriage…Of course I listened to her, and it was hell!!!! Taking it away from him like that, I cried, he cried, screemed actually for hours day and night. Sometimes he just looked at me with sad eyes that kind of said,don’t you love me anymore mummy?? It was heartbreaking! I tried giving him a dummy (never had it before), milk in a bottle, told him it hurt me and boo boo was sick-nothing worked, he just wouldn’t hear of it. And then I did a lot of research and found out that it is not dangerous to breastfeed while pregnant if the pregnancy isn’t complicated. And so after 6 days of no-milk, we are back again!! Against my doctor’s orders, but I’m not planning on telling her!!!
    I am a bit worried about the new baby though, because my son does wake up rather frequently at night, and he can breastfeed up to 30-40 minutes at a time. I try to explain him that he can only have a little bit of milk, but he still screems, I guess he still remebers the no-milk days, I can only hope it will get better as my tummy gets bigger! 🙂
    Anyway, you keep up doing it, cos it’s the most wonderful thing we can give them, and these special moments will never return!!
    Sorry it ended up such a long post….

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      February 21, 2014 at 6:02 PM

      OMG, Judith! I can’t believe your doctor would say something like this. That’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I am so sorry you had to go through forced weaning but I am glad you realized that you needed to do what’s best for you child. Like you, I know Lexi would have a super hard time emotionally if she was unlucky enough to be force weaned. Just withholding nursing for a few minutes when she needs it creates a lot of tears.

      • Reply
        Megan Ritchie
        February 26, 2014 at 3:26 PM

        It’s not all that unbelievable that her dr would suggest weaning, especially a toddler. I’m not saying that it is right, but it is common. It’s a personal choice and what is right for one is wrong for another. Nursing does release oxytocin and so there is a risk of nursing during pregnancy (small but it is a risk). (And I’m saying this as someone who nurses both my children for two yrs- one I weaned a little after two and one who self weaned a little before two- and as someone who apparently tandem nurses with my older sister 30 yrs ago.)

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          February 26, 2014 at 4:18 PM

          So what you’re saying that oxytocin has the potential of aborting a baby? I’ve never heard that.
          I mean it’s totally fine if a woman weans her toddler during pregnancy because that’s what she wants. I just can’t believe that a doc would suggest there is a danger of miscarriage if she continues BFing. (Unless there truly is in which case I would love to read about it)

          • K
            February 27, 2014 at 2:09 AM

            Pitocin is the synthetic form of oxytocin, hence why nursing can bring on pre-term labour in the same way that nipple stimulation and sex can induce labour. I wouldn’t say that oxytocin has the potential to “abort” a baby but it certainly might be advisable to wean if a mother was at risk of pre-term labour.

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
            February 27, 2014 at 8:14 AM

            That would be closer to the due date and this is theoretical based on our knowledge of how these hormones work. However our bodies are amazing and often put in safeguards for things like that. I’d love to know if there are studies that show there’s actual danger cuz so far it’s all anecdotal.

  • Reply
    February 27, 2014 at 7:54 AM

    Any advice with increasing supply my daughter is months and running out of back up milk. i nurse on demand while im home but work 25 houra outside of the home.. So whatever inpump prtty much is for the next timebi leave for work.. also do you and your husband think you’ll have another baby? Your daughter is just too adorable!

  • Reply
    March 25, 2014 at 2:56 AM

    I haven’t had time to answer before, but yes, I am and (I was) aware of the effect of oxytocin, but not in great details. i also heard stories of miscarriages due to breastfeeding, so my first instinct said to listen to my gynaecologist….thenI did some reserach and found out that it was only a risk if I had previously had a complicated pregnancy (which I did not) and it MIGHT induce labour more towards the end of the pregnancy. Hence I continue breastfeeding, although now that I am 14 weeks, I must say it hasn’t been easy… I feel rather tired and so far haven’t been able to put on a single gramm. My boy still wakes up at least 3 times a night and I must be very careful because he tends to kick a lot and so I’m concerned about my new baby too. I love breastfeeding, but to tell the truth, if I could gradually wean him towards the end of my pregnancy I wouldn’t mind…

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