Blaise’s Birth Story + Our Fresh 48 with Allison Wolf

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Allison Wolf Photography

Happy Six Months Baby B! You are the chunkiest chunk of love that God has given your dad and I, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. You’re 3x bigger than you were when you were born. And while that makes me a teeny bit sad because you’re getting big so fast, I’ll never take a chubby baby for granted.

Six months later I’ve given a lot of thought to Blaise’s birth story and why it was so difficult for me to write it.

Expectation, comparison and judgment were the key mental blocks I had, and what kept me from accepting the circumstances surrounding Blaise’s birth. Both comparison to my other births as well as to other women’s birth stories, and the judgments that society has of certain aspects of birth. Quite frankly; having cancer has changed my perspective so much and really, I am just SO grateful to have a healthy baby.

I think that there is a lot of judgment in motherhood, especially on social media, that has played a part in how I felt about this birth. I felt like a failure because my birth wasn’t what I wanted or expected. The fact: no matter how it happened, I brought new life into the world. I carried him in my womb for 39 weeks. How is that a failure? In Spanish, to give birth is “dar a Luz,” which literally translated is actually to “give a light.” That’s kind of amazing, and true: every child is a light brought into this world for a purpose.

But for weeks I felt like my birth was a failure and that I wanted a do-over. I kept thinking about how I could have changed it or what I could have done to change it, which is pretty ridiculous because really it is what it is and the idea of a multiverse won’t do me any good. Let me give you some backstory here.

Mathias’ birth was a pushing marathon; I pushed for four hours and because he had pooped in his bag and because I was bleeding a lot, I didn’t get to hold him right away. My heart goes out to all of the mothers whose babies get rushed to the NICU and can’t hold them for days, because even a few hours was awful for me. His birth was traumatic, and there were several distinct thoughts I had during his birth, including: “I’m never having any more kids,” “I feel like I’m dying” and “I want a c-section.” I pushed for so long because I refused to get an episiotomy, and my midwife told me I didn’t need one and we could get him out without needing to do it. This plays an important role in my birthing psychology.

Livia’s birth was the opposite of Mathias’. I was induced at 39+2 because I was already 5 cm and fully effaced and my sister in law was in town to babysit only until the end of the weekend. After the traumatic birth I had, I wanted as much control over Liv’s birth as possible, meaning: my midwife and my husband present and not having to worry about Mathias during that time. They started me on a slow drip of pitocin which didn’t really help my contractions progress, but once they broke my water I dilated the rest of the way and pushed Livia out in 45 minutes. My labor was fast and furious; for whatever reason my epidural didn’t kick in and I experienced the ring of fire. But I pushed four times and pulled her out onto my chest, and laid and nursed her successfully. It was everything I had wanted; to pull her out on my own terms, to have a hungry baby who had the right instincts to nurse, to not tear at all in delivery. She was my redemption birth.

So after two polar opposite births, my expectations were high. I expected to fly through labor again, to not tear, to have that beautiful moment of reaching down and retrieving my baby from my womb and placing him on my victorious body. I had all of the signs that it would be a fast and easy delivery; I had been contracting my whole third trimester and was four centimeters dilated at my 38 week appointment. A few days before he was born, the ultrasound technician measured Blaise around 6 and a half pounds. No sweat.

The evening of February 22nd I knew that labor was imminent. First – Lucas and I were fighting, which is the perfect time to go into labor (#sarcasm). Second – every 30 minutes or so I would have a super painful contraction and had to go to the bathroom. This continues through the night, and I kept going back to bed expecting to wake up in full-blown labor. Instead, I woke up to a steady stream of contractions increasingly close together, but no more painful. I was 39 weeks exactly.

Lucas had to go downtown to work a huge Home Show, and told me that either we go to the hospital or that I could call him whenever I thought I was close to having the baby and we’d rush to the hospital again. Not wanting to deal with my kids while having bothersome contractions and afraid of going into labor alone or at home (no offense to home birthers – but having the possibility of another special needs baby it is not a responsible option for me or for my child) I chose to go in, despite my pain level not being very high. I even told Lucas to stop at the gas station so he could get himself snacks.

When they checked me I was 6 cm dilated and contracting 3-4 minutes apart. Should be no time at all, they said. So I sat on a yoga ball and chatted with my husband for an hour, two hours, with no chance at all. Then my midwife arrived and asked me if I’d like to just break my water to “get the show on the road.” My midwife, Anna, has delivered all three of my babies and I’m so blessed to have had her on my team. I know a lot of women don’t even get their OB to deliver once. But Anna is as much a doula as a midwife and I called her cell when I decided to go into the hospital. She’s the best. She remembered that with Livia all it took was for my water to break to fly into labor. So I said let’s do it.

My water broke in a huge gush that continued to spill out for several minutes after I thought it was over. At 7 centimeters, my midwife suggested to get an epidural before the pain was too high for me to sit through. I hesitated; Lucas looked at me and asked if I wanted to try to do it naturally. I said nah let’s just get this over with – and waited for the epidural.

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It took nearly 45 minutes to get my epidural because of some missing equipment, and in that time I hadn’t progressed at all. It was just taking SO LONG.

Once the epidural was placed, the nurse assigned to me asked me if I’d like to do some spinning babies techniques to try and help Blaise move along. I said yes, and so for an hour I rotated from side to side, peanut between my legs, stretching and trying to get this baby (who for so long seemed like he wanted to come out early) to finish the job. As a baby moves down towards the birth canal, they kind of nose-dive from your front to back. Blaise seemed determine to stay in the front and push down on the wrong place. 

During this time, things started to get increasingly more painful. I’m not talking about pressure – I’m talking about searing, intense pain, and contractions that made my eyes water. On multiple occasions Lucas told me to hit the epidural button to get more juice; I ignored him the first few times and succumbed one or two more times. Because my epidural was so dense with Mathias I couldn’t feel a damn thing and I didn’t want that to happen again; so I try to take it easy with the anesthesia. My ideal epidural: one that takes the edge off, but isn’t so thick that I can’t tell what’s going on with my body. It was at ten centimeters that Lucas asked if he could press the button for me, and I succumbed through tears. 

“It’s disconnected.”

What?!

So epidurals work like this: the anesthesiologist places a catheter through the needle into your back. The needle is taken out, but the catheter stays in place to provide more medicine as you need it. It’s not like an IV drip; it’s controlled by a machine and you can hit a button to inject more anesthesia as you need it. It was over two hours from the time the epidural was first connected to when I needed to start pushing, and since I had a walking epidural the whole time (total control of my legs) I didn’t realize what had happened; I just thought that the pain was getting worse. In reality: the wire that connected to the machine had disconnected and I hadn’t gotten any epidural juice since my first injection, which explained the intense amount of pain I had felt as Blaise moved down into the birth canal. 

The anesthesiologist was called into the room and after the machine was back in order he told me that I could hit the button and get more anesthesia, but that it might not kick in until after I had the baby. I didn’t care. I pressed it anyway, hoping for some amount of relief.

My midwife got her gloves on and we got ready for me to push. I pushed twice and she told me –

“You’re a great pusher. One more push and his head will be out.”

His head was out in the next push.

There was a variety of exclamations and I was told to push one more time to get the rest of his body out. I pushed. Once, twice, for longer than I pushed to get his head out. I pushed as hard as I could and nothing was changing. The sounds around me changed from excitement to an anxious cacophony as Anna attempted to pull the baby out while I pushed. Lucas’ face was concerned as urged me to push faster and that the baby’s face was turning blue. The baby hadn’t cried. NICU had arrived in the room, ready for the worst. All this in what felt like seconds. 

“Faith, she’s cutting you, she has to cut you -” Lucas stammered, wide eyed, torn between watching me and watching what was going on. “She cut you.”

The baby gave a weak cry and was passed immediately to the NICU team. They had to check to see if they had broken anything. He had gotten stuck at his shoulders, Lucas explained to me. There was nothing I could do, he was really that stuck. He was really big. Over 8 pounds! Bigger than my previous babies, a week ahead of schedule. And he was ok.

b1

I laid back, exhausted, upset that I couldn’t hold my baby. Lucas checked his toes and said they were normal; 93% of children with Smith Lemli Opitz Syndrome have second and third conjoined toes (it was the key to discovering that Mathias had SLOS) and since we don’t do genetic testing in utero this is the closest way to get an immediate answer. Sidebar: for those who are wondering, there’s only one way to know if the baby has SLOS in utero, which is an amniocentesis. Amnios are done after 20 weeks but there are some risks associated with it and according to Mathias’ geneticist the results are inconclusive for SLOS babies. To be completely honest: it doesn’t matter to me. We’re having the babies we have regardless of their genetic makeup. Liv and Blaise were both tested via cord blood testing after they were born, and they are both carriers (like myself and Lucas). But I knew right away with both of them that they didn’t have SLOS because they were able to latch and were obviously hungry from the moment they were put on my chest.

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I told the team too late to not wipe Blaise down, my mind focused on my midwife stitching me up. Lucas told me I had a full episiotomy. Emotionally destroyed, I asked Anna how many stitches I needed. Her answer: “a lot.” 

We named him faster than either of our other kids. “He has to be Blaise.” Lucas said. “He got stuck at his neck.”

We had a few names that we’d tossed around for a while, but Blaise and Liam were our top two. St. Blaise is the patron saint of the throat and it was too appropriate.

b2

When they handed me my new baby he nursed right away. My mind drifted between the present situation and the fact that I had failed. That’s how I saw my birth. A failure. A failure because it took so long; a failure because it didn’t go according to plan; a failure because I had an episiotomy. The reason I pushed for four hours with Mathias, thrown out the window. My previous two births had left me with a total of one stitch. Now – one long scar, where no woman should have to have one.

I couldn’t, wouldn’t accept it. I kept replaying the day in my head, telling myself that if I had gone in later, or waited longer, or gotten more exercise, maybe this wouldn’t have happened the way it had. 

I had totally different expectations. I thought I would have a fast labor, with minimal pushing and no tearing because that’s how Livia was (and frankly, that’s how Mathias was too, minus the four hours of pushing). But nope. That wasn’t the case. 

I was so upset about it and I think I needed my body to fully heal before I could accept it. Healing was awful, and it was by far my worst recovery. And in my obsession with my failure – which was completely out of my control and totally necessary, as my husband and my midwife repeatedly assured me – I lost focus on the good and how happy I should have been to have a healthy, hungry baby.

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Because at the end of the day, that’s what matters, right? That my baby isn’t just healthy, but thriving. Before Mathias, I took the health of my children for granted. Before cancer, I took my own health for granted. It is not guaranteed. It is not something to take for granted. So today that is what I am so grateful for: that this baby was born healthy and full of life.

Blaise is my happiest and easiest baby. He is constantly being shown love by  both of his siblings – something that I didn’t imagine was possible. Mathias ignored Livia for the majority of her infancy but he has grown so much since then and he shows Blaise affection at least five times a day. Livia is a little mamacita whose first word every morning is “Blaise?” when I go to take her out of her crib. The amount of love that I felt from my toddlers when they met their baby brother far exceeds anything I’ve ever felt from them before. It was a magical moment and I’m so grateful that Allison Wolf was there to capture all of those first moments with them less than 24 hours after Blaise was born!

Sarcoma Update, Pt I

Cancer

As I write this, I am well into week 4 of radiation. I have seven sessions left, which seems like nothing. The end is in sight!

It has been a roller coaster of emotions. Exhaustion. Gratitude. Frustration. Sadness. Loneliness. And sometimes – on a good day – acceptance and peace and hope.

When I was diagnosed with sarcoma my surgical oncologist told me that this type of cancer is very rare, very aggressive and very resistant to treatment. I can honestly say that I believe that my tumor has shrunk during this time of radiation and I truly believe that it has been so effected because of the myriad of prayers that has been continuously poured out for me across the globe. It has been a tremendous thing for me to witness – literally thousands of people praying for me, most of whom I have never met in person. It’s when I reflect on this that I am overwhelmed with gratitude and hope.

The whole point of radiation is to kill the cancer in the tumor as much as possible so that the surgery is easier and there’s a higher possibility of getting all the cancer out at once. If it shrinks, that’s a huge positive that no one was expecting. Of course some part of me is hoping for a miracle despite the improbability. A tiny voice has told me on more than one occasion that so many people are praying, maybe it’s possible…

But that, really, isn’t the point of prayer. I’m praying for acceptance of my situation whatever it may be. I went into this knowing a few facts that were hard to accept. That after surgery I won’t be considered “cancer free” by my oncology team until I’m 10 years out. My chance of sarcoma appearing somewhere else is 20% – and that’s a high number for me to think about. The fact that the cancer was still localized after having first noticed this lump two years ago is very unusual, and that the sarcoma itself is high-grade (aka, more aggressive) gives me hope that maybe once I’m past surgery it won’t reappear.

Last week – week three – was hard for me. Honestly: I struggle to show weakness to others. I talked a little bit about this in one of my posts last week, but I’ll explain better here.

Without going into details, last week two different things happened with other radiation patients that made me feel the injustice of my situation. Everyone – everyone – is at least 30 years older than me, probably closer to 40+ if I’m being honest. Everyone comes with their spouse and their grown up children and I imagine that they don’t have jobs and can go home and rest or do whatever they want after radiation is over. And here I am, with my little nursling who just this week turned 5 months old, my stroller, my diaper bag, my phone volume on high in case my sitter calls me about the two tornados – ahem, toddlers – at home. I have been told by all of the faculty (doctors, nurses, social worker) that I need to take time for myself but I feel guilty because I have a husband who works his butt off for us and three very little children who need me. Sickness is part of old age and part of the process of walking towards death. As I put it bluntly in my frustrated vent to my husband – old people are supposed to get sick. I am 27 years old. Not even 30. Not even close to “halfway” through my life, and I’m in the same situation as them except my situation is harder because I’m not in a place where I can spend all day doing what I want to do.

This attitude rocked me last week and made my life a lot harder. I’m sure that getting angry is part of this whole process, but in that moment I was like – this is not fair, I don’t understand why this is happening. I let other people who are also suffering get under my skin with their comments instead of letting go and letting God. I don’t understand the plan of God but I do believe there IS a plan.

Week four has been very exhausting. My whole body is tired. My radiation site is red and puffy and irritated because we are killing that dang thing and killing some healthy cells in the process. I am nervous about what the next few weeks will bring. Once I’m done with radiation we will redo my scans (MRI, CT), see what progress has been made and make a game plan for surgery at the beginning of September. If all goes well, then the best case scenario is that I’ll go in for scans every 3 months for the next 3 years and then twice a year until I hit the 10 year mark.

Pray for me, that I don’t let the little things get me down and that I remember all of the good things that have happened to me in my life, and in this time! I’m almost at the end of the first stage of this journey.

I’d love to answer questions in another post – so feel free to send me any you may have!

cancer.

Cancer

A little over a month ago I went to a general surgeon to take care of what I thought was a lipoma in my leg.

I’ve had it for two years and in that time it has grown from a tiny barely there lump to several inch oval. In the fall I started to get concerned about it because it became dark and I knew it was noticeably larger and uncomfortable if I put any pressure on it, but my dad has lipomas and multiple doctors told me that they were genetic. When I finally saw the surgeon in April she made me get an ultrasound and an MRI and told me that it was a tumor.

She referred me to a surgical oncologist who had a busy schedule so I waited four weeks for my appointment. When I saw him, he told me he’d be shocked if it was cancerous. I had the biopsy last Wednesday and this morning I got the call….

Cancer.

It’s cancer.

The first words out of his mouth were “I’m so sorry…I’m genuinely shocked that this is a lot more serious than I thought.”

The lump that has innocuously grown slowly over the past two years is a sarcoma.

Right now, this is our course of action: check to make sure that the cancer hasn’t spread to my blood, and then do radiation 5 days a week for five weeks straight. Then surgery.

When I received this news this morning I didn’t know how to respond or what to think, and I still don’t…my normal response is to joke when I’m put in a serious situation 🙈 but I’m asking for your prayers to help me to stay positive and strong 💪🏼 and that this cancer is located in the tumor only.

I have already received so much support and so many prayers since I made this public. Thank you so much, from the depths of my heart, for all of it. I will be making some phone calls tomorrow to get a second opinion about treatment options.

Lemon Poppyseed Donuts (Dairy Free!)

Baking

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe on here – and since National Donut Day was last week I’ve had donuts on my mind!

There are a few artisanal donut shops in Boston (namely, Blackbird Doughnuts and Union Square Donuts) and both have vegan options. I’d probably buy more donuts if they weren’t $3+ per donut….when I can make 6 at home for that price.

I adapted this recipe from Baker By Nature, substituting coconut milk for milk and vegan butter for butter!

Pro tip: use a piping bag or a gallon bag with a corner shipped off for easy donut pan filling.

I would definitely make these again! They were fast and easy and only made 6 donuts … Livia and I devoured them on our own.

Father’s Day Gift Guide + A Peek inside Lighthouse Woodworks

Collaborations, Uncategorized

Lucas and I met in 2012. Our relationship was long-distance, which gave us plenty of time to talk about anything and everything. One thing that Lucas told me at the age of 25? “I never want to own my own business.” Well, five years later, Lucas started a business with a lifelong friend of his and hasn’t looked back.

Owning a small business has changed our lives. We’ve had our ups and downs and a lot – a whole dang lot – of late nights, but we can’t deny that starting Lighthouse Woodworks has been the greatest thing to happen to our family besides having kids. In two years Lighthouse outgrew their original space and has acquired an additional two offices, two shop spaces and a showroom!

Our kids have been a driving force behind Lucas and his partner Daniel – in the time that they’ve been full-time, we’ve added four babies to our families! Being dads is such a huge part of who they are and I wanted to gift something to Lucas this Father’s Day that would be both special AND practical! A lot of times I end up gifting things that are sentimental (hello, Enneagram 2 over here) and they only get taken out on special occasions. I teamed up with Rustico to gift Lucas this awesome Journeyman Apron and wanted to give you some other handcrafted and functional leather gift ideas for the dads in your life!

For the Fisherman

Rustico’s Leather Fishing Log is a perfect gift for the fisherman in your life! Lucas loves fishing (I would call it a summer obsession, actually) and thought that this would be a really cool gift – think he’s trying to hint something? It’s handcrafted out of top-grain leather and made in Utah.

If your guy is into Fly Fishing, Rustico also makes this unique Book of Flies that is designed to hold up to 20 flies! It’s felt-lined on the inside and the outside is that same buttery Top-Grain as the Fishing Log and comes in a bunch of different colors!

If you can’t make up your mind, Rustico sells this On the Fly Gift Set so that you can purchase (and personalize) both!

For the Beard Aficionado

Ah, Beards. A source of pride for many husbands, the length of which may be a source of conflict between husband and wife… well, if he’s gonna let it grow, beard care is key! This Beard Grooming Kit comes with all the essentials and a gorgeous leather pouch to house all those products.

For the Businessman

Why should women get all the fun when it comes to bags? This Surveyor Leather Messenger Bag is perfect for the working professional, made with full-grain cowhide leather and designed with plenty of pockets for organization. It has antique brass hardware and can fit up to a 15″ laptop!

This Knox Bifold Leather Wallet has a sleek and minimal design; it’s a classic gift that will last for years.

For the Carpenter

The Waxed Canvas Journeyman Apron is such an awesome, functional gift for the maker in your life! I cannot say enough about how great it is. It’s made of waxed canvas and has multiple leather pockets, great for storing small craftsman’s tools.

The canvas and top-grain leather will show some wear over time but according to the use each artisan puts it to, so it’ll age rustically to tell the story of each person’s craft. It’s durable and has a beautiful design. It also comes in a variety of canvas and leather color options so it’s super customizable!

I’m biased but I think Lucas looks pretty dang good in his.

For the Beer Lover

This Beer Taster’s Gift Set is perfect for the craft brewer or beer lover! Just beer isn’t usually special enough for a gift…but pair it with this leather beer log, miner mug and leather coasters and it’s definitely something he’ll use and love!

Lucas’ Picks

Lucas is a huge fan of this Phoenix Copper Water Bottle; he said that he’d love to take this camping or fishing and I agree that it is pretty dang cool.

Lucas was also really into this Epoch Apple Watch Band – he wears his Apple Watch everyday! Lucas loves watches and I actually can’t believe I didn’t think of gifting this to him. Don’t be surprised if he ends up with one of these.

Every guy needs one good leather belt, and Lucas has been wearing the same one for seven years. It’s about time he gets a new one (as he pointed out to me) and this attractive, minimal leather belt is exactly what he has in mind. Rustico’s Leather Men’s Belt comes with nickel or brass hardware and comes in four colors.

Rustico has so many great products and their website actually organizes gift ideas into different categories too, so if you haven’t found something you love on this list, you definitely will on their site!

Thanks so much Rustico for gifting this Apron to us! *This product is gifted but all ideas are my own.*

A Non-Definitive Guide to Boston Beaches, Part 1

Adventures, Cities, Uncategorized

Nantasket Beach, Hull MA.

This is our fourth summer living in Boston! Every year summer rolls around and the question arises: “which beach should we go to?”

Lucas and I have differences of opinion; Lucas has two priorities: location and parking. He never wants to go very far. Firstly because we usually go in the afternoon, and secondly because we don’t know how the kids are going to behave that day which means if they’re not in the mood for the beach it’s a waste of time to drive for an hour just to leave an hour later. Lucas is from Denver which means that it still irks him that we have to pay for parking everywhere and doesn’t like having to walk very far from a parking spot to our destination (although, I think this is true for all people). He’s a very practical person. I am less practical, especially when it comes to beaches. My opinion is that I’d rather drive a little longer if that means the beach is much nicer! I also care less about parking, but maybe that’s because I am not the one who’s stuck carrying everything (sorry, Lucas).

With that in mind, here are some universal truths about all the beaches I have thus encountered in Boston.

  • The water is cold. Even in August.
  • You’re not finding a beach that makes you feel like you’re in Key West, sorry.
  • If you have a toddler between the ages of 6 months – 2 years you will change at least two sandy 💩 diapers per child.

Disclaimer: I am not a beach expert, just a mom living in Boston who has spent a lot of time thinking about which beach to go to!

Here are some of our most frequently visited beaches along with their pros and cons.

Nantasket Beach, Hull MA.

Nantasket Beach

Nantasket is a 30 minute drive from Boston and about 45 minutes from Eastie where we live! I’m gonna be honest: I do not like driving to the south shore. Not because there’s anything wrong with it, but because I dislike driving through the tunnel and the city when there are plenty of beaches on this side of Boston. However, if you’re already on that side of the tunnel – this is a worthwhile trip!

Pros: It is a good, family beach. It’s pretty clean, has ample parking (although depending on how busy it is, you may need to pay for parking – going on Memorial Day weekend meant it was packed and we had to splurge $20 to park in a grassy lot) and the water is clean! The sand is also pretty soft and fine.

This beach is located in a great beach town – there are quite a few bars, restaurants and ice cream shops in beachfront locations or walking distance from the beach. This is something a lot of beaches are lacking in and around Boston and something I don’t take for granted.

Also – and this could be a fluke, since we have only been here a few times – this beach has some serious waves! We saw a dozen or so surfers this weekend, while most beaches in Boston don’t get that kind of action.

Depending on where on the beach you park your fam, you can also go fishing – which is something my husband considers important.

Cons:

It’s a good beach and people know it – so it’s packed. Like, really packed. More than once one of the kids wandered into someone else’s space and you really need to stay on top of them – no wandering at this beach!

Another con – the tide! High tide reaches almost to the rocks, which pushed people out of the beach and squeezed them even closer together.

Bucket or Fuckit?

Bucket.

Winthrop Beach, Winthrop MA.

Winthrop Beach

I think Winthrop Beach is a hidden gem. Located in Winthrop, MA, this beach is tucked away from tourists and city dwellers, thanks to a lack of T stops near this beach. It’s mostly all locals and I don’t think they want to share.

Baby Mathias @ Winthrop Beach. You’re welcome.

Pros:

This is another clean, pretty beach, with fine sand and a vast beach – you’re not getting pushed off the beach from the tide at any time of the day. It’s quiet and family-oriented, and pretty empty during the week. Next to no waves makes this beach safe for your littles to hop into the water, which you can do with peace of mind; Winthrop Beach had one of the highest water cleanliness ratings in 2019, with a perfect score of 100%.

Nearby Deer Island has great fishing, with lots of striper bass; my husband and a friend caught two a few days ago.

Cons:

Parking is a big problem over here, especially if you plan on coming on the weekend. This is a big pain in the 🍑.

There’s also no shops or restaurants close enough to walk to, so pack a lunch or bring snacks!

Bucket or Fuckit?

If you only have access to public transportation or are going on the weekend, fuckit. But if you’re a mom looking for a quiet beach? Bucket.

Baby Liv @ Constitution Beach, East Boston MA.

Constitution Beach

Constitution Beach is a year-round favorite of ours thanks to a really awesome playground that they have (it frequents my stories). It isn’t the *best* beach but it’s a few minutes away from us and right next to the Wood Island T stop. Other bonus features? A concession stand, tennis, handball and basketball courts, and an ice skating rink.

Pros:

Everything I mentioned above, plus tons of free parking! This is a good all-around, family-centered beach. Plus, this is another beach that had great water cleanliness scores this year, with a 95% cleanliness rating.

Cons:

This beach is not a place for conversation, thanks to its location. You can see and hear planes landing and taking off at Boston Logan, which sits right across from the beach. Here’s a picture from the winter where you can see the planes pretty clearly.

The sand here isn’t the greatest, but the beach itself is clean.

Overall though? This is such a good place for a family outing!

If you’re local – bucket.

Revere Beach, Revere MA.

Revere Beach

Revere Beach has a bad rep. I think anyone from Boston (or who has lived in Boston for a few years) turns their nose up at Revere Beach, which is kind of the Coney Island of Boston. The oldest public beach in the states (est. 1896), this beach is probably the most busy beach closest to the city.

Lucas and I feel very differently about this beach.

Pros: it’s close to the city, and it’s a huge stretch of land, over three miles long. It’s accessible by two T stops on the blue line (Revere Beach and Wonderland) and there is parking all down the three miles of beach. There’s also a bandstand and a sprinkle of restaurants and ice cream shops. The beach itself is pretty wide and you won’t have a problem finding a spot to pitch your (beach) tent.

Cons: it’s not the cleanest beach, the sand is gritty and the crowd there isn’t the most family centric; meaning – while weed might be legal here now, I don’t want it around my kids. #isaidwhatisaid

But! Really, the city has done a great job trying to clean this place up. The water rating was 98% this year, pretty damn close to perfect, so even if you find some empty cans in the sand, know that the water quality is actually outstanding.

Revere Beach also hosts a Sand Sculpting Festival every July, and that brings out musicians, tons of food trucks and other fun activities for the whole family. In 2018 there were approximately 1 MILLION attendees, which is both amazing and claustrophobic, depending on how you view things. The sculptures are always really impressive.

Bucket or Fuckit?

There are better beaches. But the Sand Sculpture Festival is one for the Bucket list.

Nahant Beach

Nahant is about 30 minutes north of the city, but this long strip at the end of a peninsula is one of my favorites close to Boston.

My younger brother, last summer at Nahant Beach, MA

Pros:

The sand is soft and light, the water is clean, and there’s a fresh breeze that drifts back and forth over the sand. Another beach that received a perfect score on the water quality report, this one tends to be populated but not overcrowded. This beach feels more like a vacation beach and less like a city one because it’s placed away from anything else.

Cons:

It’s isolated. I like this, but this also means there’s nothing besides beach, not even a lone ice cream shop. Parking also cost $10 for MA residents and $20 for non-residents after Memorial Day, making it the only one on this list without any free parking. My husband thinks this one is overrated, but I appreciate that it’s secluded and that the clientele tend to be less rambunctious than those at Nantasket or Revere.

Bucket or Fuckit?

Toss up. I think it’s worth the parking cost; Lucas does not.

That’s it for now – and I’m only scratching the surface of the beaches in and around Boston! I’ll be writing another post soon, since there are four other beaches we venture to often that aren’t on this list!

Diaper Bag Essentials!

Baby Essentials, Collaborations

Today I received this diaper bag from Joone Co and it has exceeded all of my expectations!

Having three under three means that I need a diaper bag that is spacious and organized and this checks those boxes!

This bag is the Carryall Tote and comes in five colors. I chose Saddle!

It has plenty of pockets – THIRTEEN! With two insulated inner pockets for bottles, and two larger outer pockets for sippy cups or water bottles – and is still sleek and streamlined for a really appealing look. It’s made from oiled vegan leather and nylon so that it’s both stylish and easy to clean.

And while we’re at it, here’s a look at what’s inside my bag:

Ring slings are a must and I always regret not bringing one if I forget to pack it!

Blaise is exclusively breastfed, so this is a necessity since we are out and about a lot!

This is the Micro+ because my kids outgrow the Micro too fast. This is an older color but it’s called Saddle. Gathre has a sale going on right now for Mother’s Day so it’s a good time to snag one of these if you don’t already have one!

  • Pacifiers

I have three under three. I always pack at least three pacifiers in case of emergency.

  • Snacks

There’s always a few GoGo Squeez pouches in my bag because that’s the only brand of applesauce Mathias will eat. I usually pack Liv a granola bar or two as well!

  • Diapers + Wipes

We’re a Pampers family. For whatever reason my kids are super sensitive and these are the only diapers that don’t give them rashes!

  • Swaddle

You never know if a place is going to be cold – the hospital usually is! So I pack an extra blanket for B.

  • Extra G-Tube Supplies

I’m a special needs mom; that means bringing extra supplies. I always keep an extra bag of Nourish (Mathias’ food), an extra extension and a syringe with me, and keep an emergency G-Tube placement kit in the car in case something happens and it gets pulled out.

That’s it!

*This diaper bag as well as some other products pictured were gifted to me. However, I was not asked to write a blog post and all opinions are my own!