Thanks for sharing your beautiful children and life with us, Heidi!
Images from Hiedi Earwood
1. Describe your children in 3-5 words. How did you choose their names?
Kailee- helpful, organized, beautiful, kind, intelligent. Andrew- funny, sarcastic, sensitive, smart, analytical Boston- goofy, smart, determined, cuddly, sweet Estella - diva, loving, strong willed, precocious
Kailee Elizabeth and Andrew Philip were chosen before we ever got pregnant with them. We just liked the first names, and the middle names were after my sister in law and brother in law. Jacob Boston and Estella Rae, their names were chosen because my husband vetoed Finnegan and Kennedy.
2. How old are your children? How did you tell people you were expecting a baby?
Kailee- 11, Andrew- 9, Boston- will be 4 in May, Estella- 2. We told family and close friends between 10-16 weeks for each. I miscarried before Kailee and we decided we'd wait to tell people until at least after the "heartbeat" visit for future pregnancies.
3. How would you describe your pregnancies? How was delivery, birth and labor for you?
My pregnancies were all pretty uneventful. No abnormal side effects. Kailee was breach and born via emergency c-section, and I elected to have planned c-sections for the others. I loved knowing when they would arrive.
4. Describe yourself as a mom in 3-5 words.Involved, informed, creative, fun, frazzled!
5. What type of mom do you hope your children think you were someday when they're old enough to tell you?
I hope they will say that I was always there when they needed me (and when they didn't want me there!) and that I was helpful. And that they always knew I loved them and felt supported.
6. What things have you done as a mom that you're most proud of?
I take pride in getting my kids ready for Kindergarten. I am proud that they've always had fun birthdays. I am proud that they get home cooked meals and that I'm always trying to find ways to make them healthier. I am proud that they are kids other people want to be around.
7. What have been the most difficult parts to being a mom?
The most difficult thing about being a mom is the lack of an operating manual. Never knowing if you're doing it "right". Well, and the lack of sleep.
8. What is your favorite baby/child product(s) that makes your mom job easier?
I'm obsessed with any "toddler food" that sneaks vegetables in and looks fun. I have a strong love for Tommee Tippee. I am a loyal Pampers user. And car seats. ALL OF THE CAR SEATS.
9. What advice about being a mom would you give to a brand new mother?
Advice for a new mom...well, the first thing is to sleep any way you can manage. It is all that will keep you sane some days! Other than that, I would say, be informed. Don't be afraid to make your own choices and decisions, but research, ask other moms or professionals, pray ...whatever before you make up your own mind. Try your best.
Remember that your child is not the same as someone else's. But don't be closed off when others offer advice. If you don't want to follow their advice, that is totally fine! But I think it's important to be open to other points of view, and still make the decision that feels best.
10. What is a typical day like for you?
6:30-7:00am -get kids up and get older two moving for school. Change Estella's diaper, and get drinks for her and Boston. Pack lunches. 7:45-8:00 Get Kailee and Andrew out the door to school. Make breakfast for Boston and Estella. 9:00- 12 watch toddler TV or YouTube kids in the background while we play with blocks, read books, color, etc. Some days we have dr appts or other errands to work around as well. 12-1pm make/eat lunch and I usually answer emails and PMs during this as well. 1-2:30pm laundry/dishes while kids play. Referee every 5-10 minutes. Take breaks to blow bubbles and reassemble Legos as needed. 2:30 or so, Estella lays down for a nap and Kailee and Andrew get home from school. 3-4pm older kids do homework while I change loads of laundry/dishes or do other cleaning. Boston plays or "helps" me. 4-5:30 watch a show or movie with kailee and Andrew while Boston snuggles and falls asleep beside me. OR Boston and Andrew play a video game while Kailee and I talk and clean. 5:30 get Estella up and start making dinner. Referee. 6:30-7:30 Matthew comes home and we eat dinner. Then I clean up and bathe littles or direct older kids to shower. 8-8:30ish Snuggle with the littles on the couch while we read books or play with toys. 8:30-9 put kids to bed. Sometimes kailee stays up to watch a show with me, and sometimes she uses her kindle in bed until 10ish before she goes to sleep. Then I either watch a show with Matthew or talk or read until I go to bed around 11pm.
In pleasant weather, we will spend some time outdoors, but I was made for central air, so never more than an hour at a time.
Throughout the day when the kids are otherwise occupied I use my phone or iPad to read up on all things car seat, news, interesting blogs, and senseless buzzfeed posts. And Facebook. The best thing about my day is that I can snuggle my kids ALL DAY LONG. The worst thing about my day is that I have people who need or want something from me ALL DAY LONG.11. What 5 things would you like to do with your kids someday, if anything were possible and money no object?
1. Go to NYC for the week after Thanksgiving. Explore the city and museums and restaurants and parks.
2. Go on a whale watching trip off Washington State to see the Orcas. 3. Tour Washington DC. 4. Tour Boston historical sites. 5. Tour Europe.
12. What got you interested in helping other moms with car seat instructions? Why is important for moms to take car seat safety seriously? Do you have suggestions for moms looking for the best, safest car seat for their children?
Where do I even begin with car seats?! My interest in car seats was piqued when researching which convertible seat to move my youngest into. I had never even installed a car seat before that, my husband always did it.
Let's just say that if you're looking, there is a wealth of information out there about proper car seat usage. I had moved my older three kids into forward facing seats after they outgrew their infant seats at 12-14 months. I was shocked to find that the minimum recommended age for forward facing is 2yrs and it has been that way since 2011! As I started digging deeper and reading the scientific studies behind it all, I grew more passionate about the subject. I became a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician last year, and am in the midst of planning my next steps in the field.
The fact that motor vehicle accidents are still the leading cause of accidental death in children under 14 is reason enough to take car seat safety seriously! Add to that the fact that a properly used and installed car seat can reduce the risk of death to less than 1%, and car seat safety becomes one of the easiest ways we can protect our children.
The important thing to know when researching which car seat to buy, is that car seat features and limits on paper often don't reflect real life usage. A car seat may be rated for use from 5-40lbs, yet have bottom harness slots that are 9" high....it won't fit any 5lb baby and literally will not be able to be used safely until about a size 6-9mo onesie. Every seat has it's little quirks and it is important to know them. Much of this will be covered in the car seat manual which can be confusing, but it is extremely helpful to seek reviews and advice from a trained CPST or from sites like car-seat.org or csftl.org
13. Tell us a time where you felt like you failed at parenting... but then realized you truly had not failed, things worked out fine.
I feel like I've failed at least once every 6 months! The latest was potty training Boston. My first two were a breeze to train so I was ill-prepared for the struggle. After starting the process three times over a year long period, it finally clicked. It still took another 6 months before he felt comfortable pooping in the potty. It was a loooong process and I learned that with every new milestone, there is only so much we can do. It really comes down to their timing.
14. What makes you a strong mom?
I feel strongest as a mom when I feel knowledgeable about a subject. Be it from experience, researching, or advice from other moms here in our group! Having that support is extremely helpful in making decisions and sticking with them.