Lesson Plans and La Leche Meetings

trying to balance life as both mommy and teacher

1 Comment

Bennett’s Birth

Here we are three weeks after Bennett made his grand appearance and I am still in shock and awe of his “birth” day. I may be in the minority, but after both boys’ births I longed to go back and do it all over again. Elliot’s…not so much (hospital vs. home birth? Who knows). The feeling of seeing your baby for the very first time combined with the satisfaction of knowing that your body is capable of growing and then birthing another life is something I could do over and over again. Alright, enough rambling, let’s get on to the details:

Tuesday, August 22

According to our estimates, baby was now 8 days overdue and I was starting to get impatient. Each morning I’d wake up wondering if today was the day and then I’d go to bed each night feeling down that another day had passed and still no baby. Tuesday was like any other day, and after the recommendation to eat a Bloomin’ Onion to make the baby come, I went to bed pregnant for another night…

Untilllll, I awoke to a huge gush at 2:30 in the morning. This was shocker #1 because my water had never broken spontaneously before. It’s such a weird sensation to feel like you are continuously peeing your pants, but I immediately jumped out of bed in excitement because I knew babe would be here soon and a little worried because both of my other babies came about an hour after my water was broken. 

We called my mom to head over because of course Elliot was in our bed during the amniotic flood and she was not about to go back to sleep and miss the excitement. She arrived, I texted the midwife, stripped the bed, started some laundry, cleaned up the toy room (because obviously a clean toy room was of utmost importance), and then tried to lay back down because nothing was happening. Zero contractions. 

I laid in bed for about an hour, drifting, but not really sleeping since my adrenaline was pumping already. Finally at 3:49 I felt the first contraction. Then again about ten minutes later. And again. And again. This was it! Finally, around 5:00 I decided to get up since I would definitely not be getting any more sleep for the night. I hopped in the shower to shave my legs (ha! Funny how you care when you’re in early labor) and let the warm water help take some of the pain away. Contractions continued on, getting stronger and closer together. 

Justin eventually rolled out of bed, and I decided to run a hot bath because once again the water really helps me manage my contractions. Justin alternated between applying counter pressure on my back and using the kids’ shark bath cup to pour hot water over my back. I highly recommend the shark cup for labor and think they should be included in all birth kits ;).

I usually have one moment during my labors where I lose my cool with Justin, but really he is a birth coach extraordinaire (I mean how many guys are willing to swim around in a birth pool of placenta and blood? Sorry TMI). With Elliot, I remember yelling at him to push harder on my back during some of my strongest contractions. With Mackin, I about exploded due to the fact that he was enjoying chicken wings a little too much while I was in pain. And this time around was no different. At this point, Elliot was downstairs spending some QT with Peppa Pig and Mack was fast asleep in his room. I told Justin that if the kids were content, I was fine for them to hang out at home during the birth. No sooner had I gotten the words out, that I had a really strong contraction and may have uttered a small profanity because Justin was not fast enough to rub my back. He immediately responded,  “Alright, the kids are NOT staying here.” If I would’ve seen that he was texting my mom telling her to take the kids to her house DURING said hard contraction, there definitely would’ve been even more foul language used. 😉

Back to the birth story, I continued to hang out in the tub, the kids came in around 6:30 to kiss me goodbye, and the midwives showed up at this time. Heather got right to work checking my vitals and baby’s heartbeat. Immediately, we could all hear baby’s heart rate was a tad low. I was also feeling a little dizzy and lightheaded, and thought to myself, “Oh my God. We’re going to have to transfer to the hospital.” Luckily, Heather is a very experienced midwife and encouraged me to move into a different position to see if that would help things, and sure enough it did. I got out of the tub, and as soon as I laid down on the bed, baby’s heart rate went back up. 

Heather mentioned that she was going to go into Macklin’s room and take a 20 minute power nap (she had already been at another birth all night and she was exhausted). However, I put a damper on her nap plans when I mentioned during the next contraction that I felt like I could push. I heard the word “transition”* being used, but I thought there was no way I was already at that point.

Justin and I decided to get into the birth pool and get the show on the road, even though I was still doubtful that baby would be arriving anytime soon. I knelt and leaned over the edge of the tub while Justin sat behind me so he could continue to massage my back. During the next couple contractions, I pushed but still felt like it would be hours before we’d meet our baby and Heather coached Justin on how to catch the baby. All of a sudden, I hung on longer to my next push, and heard them say that the head was out. This was all I needed to hear, so I pushed once more and at 7:38 am baby was born! Justin caught the baby and brought “her” out of the water and onto my chest.




As the midwives checked the baby over, we all marveled over the amount of hair the baby had and how small “she” was. I casually said, “It’s a girl, right?” but no one really checked and we continued to admire the dark locks. Finally about 10 minutes later, I casually lifted up the umbilical cord and was shocked to see that it indeed was not a girl. Justin and I looked at each other stunned and a little worried about how Elliot would react to the news.

Finally, we made our way out of the tub and into our bed (my favorite part about home births). The midwives left us alone with our new bundle and allowed us some time for the surprise to sink in. We spent this time wondering how we would share the news with our families and the big kids as well as try to come up with a name for the little guy. Eventually, the midwives returned to check me over, do the newborn exam, clean up (they even threw in a load of laundry!), and run me a healing herbal bath before heading out and leaving us with our still nameless baby.

It took us all day, but we finally came up with a name, and turns out there was no need to fret about Elliot not loving another brother (Mack was a little unsure at first though)!

DSC_0434 DSC_0439





Bennett King Hritzak

August 23, 2017

6 lbs. 14 oz. ~ 20.5 inches long


*Transition – the most intense part of labor between 7 and 10 centimeters. Luckily, it only lasts a short time and means baby is almost here!


Leave a comment

Playing Catch Up

I looked back at my last post to see where I left off and…November 4. Yikes! Things got crazy and the blog took the back (non-existent) burner. “A lot has happened” might be the understatement of the year for the Hritzak’s in 2017. I’m gonna fill ya in (although everyone reading this most likely knows all this so it may be a skimmer of a post) and hopefully I’ll do a better job of blogging from here on out…famous last words!

Where to begin?? Ahhh let’s take a jaunt back to December shall we? Such a fun month with all the Christmas festivities and the excitement of our Disney trip that we were surprising the kids with on Christmas morn. All that merriment came to a screeching halt on the evening of December 13 (I remember the date because…well #gamechanger) when I had the biggest “oh shit moment of my life to date. 


I took this guy after realizing I was having the longest hangover of my life and also I was about a week late. Please know I’m not trying to be insensitive and my heart genuinely goes out to those who are struggling to conceive, but this was not in our immediate plans. Justin was happy to shut the baby factory down. I was still hanging onto hope that he’d change his mind about a third, but I definitely wanted it to be something we both agreed on 100%. I was sick to my stomach thinking about how I’d break the news to him, assuming he’d be mad at me. As I handed the test to him through teary eyes, Justin hugged me and said it would be okay. Instant relief was followed by a few days of Justin acting a little strange (he had to process things for himself which I understood), but slowly we wrapped our heads around the idea and became okay with being a party of 5. 

Our Disney trip came and went (hopefully another blog post on this because it was magical, but this is already gearing up to be my longest post of all time).



Elliot’s face when we told her she was getting another sibling.

Winter passed, we shared the news with our family and friends, and made another emotional, life changing decision. We decided to downsize and put our house on the market. First, we were living in a 3,300 square foot house and that is just a lot to maintain, especially with two whirling dervishes that leave tornadoes in their tracks…ahem Macklin. We didn’t need all that space and it was just room to collect more stuff. Second, with the third baby news we were throwing the idea around of me taking off more time from work to adjust to the impending crazy. We knew going in this was a two income house payment so without me working, we needed something less expensive. This was such a hard decision to make because obviously this was the home we had planned to raise our babies in, but also my parents had moved right down the road and that is truly a perk you can’t put a price tag on. In the end, the RE/MAX sign went up, and within a couple weeks we had an accepted offer. If only finding a house would’ve been that easy.

FullSizeRender (1)

Spring passed, we found out we would be having another little lady (more on that later), I officially made the choice to take a one year leave from teaching (again maybe I’ll type out its own post), and we continued our house hunt. Let me just say it’s extremely difficult to try to find your forever home on a downsized budget when you’re increasing your family size. I won’t bore you with specifics, but after three offers on three different houses, house #4 that we wrote up an offer on was finally successful. We actually put in our offer sight unseen while we were on vacation because we are nuts…and we were getting desperate. Luckily everything worked out, and we loved it once we eventually saw it in person. 



Finally, summer arrived and what is normally a chill out and relax season has been a whirlwind that I’m ultimately glad is now behind us. Not only did I have to pack up my entire classroom, but we also had to pack up our entire house in the same time frame, and I was roughly 30ish weeks pregnant. Then because we took so long finding the perfect house, we had to move in with my parents for about 5 weeks. It was ultimately a blessing to have extra helpers with the kids, but it also meant we would have to move twice. Finally, on July 18, less than a month before my due date, we moved into our new-to-us house and scrambled to get things unpacked and ready before baby made *her* arrival. 


Phew, that was a stupid long update, but now you’re pretty much caught up on all things Hritzak…well mostly. I’ll be back to share the latest. Spoiler alert! It ends in a baby…


Leave a comment

Friday Randomness

Long time, no blog. I REALLY want to make it a point to start blogging again because it’s one thing that I enjoy doing for myself (and all my faithful readers of course…lolz). Anyhow, I’ve collected a smorgasbord of items to share on this beautiful Friday afternoon.

  1. We have two walkers on our hands now, and it is no joke! We were just talking the other day about how each stage of parenthood seems so tough when you’re in it, and then you look back, laugh, and realize how easy it was compared to the current stage. For instance, looking back I wonder what the heck I did with all my free time when there was just Elliot, but in the moment, I know I felt like I had none. Then when I had Macklin, I thought managing two kids (toddler and newborn) was the most difficult thing ever. Now, I find myself once again wondering why I thought that was so hard. I mean Macklin would stay in one place and he was a pretty content baby. Now, he is all over the place, and into everything. And Elliot tries to be helpful by holding his hand to keep him on course, but it usually ends in her pulling him to the ground because his little legs can’t keep up. I can’t wait to see what the next stage brings…
  2. We also have two non-sleepers on our hands. Totally, our fault, but they both have difficulty sleeping without a body next to them. We’ve tried pillows, stuffed animals, the dogs, a life sized Cinderella doll, but no. It must be a living, breathing, warm blooded human being. I’m hoping that when Macklin gets a wee bit bigger, they can become cuddle buddies and rely on each other to stay asleep. Wishful thinking? Just let me dream.


    This lasted about 20 minutes before he realized the bear didn’t have a pulse.

  3. Justin’s sister temporarily moved into our basement while she transitions jobs, and it has been the best. Seriously, I highly recommend everyone have a sister-in-law move in. We weren’t sure how things would go, but she has been a dream come true. She cooks, she plays with the kids, she folds our laundry, she brings home the occasional Steak-n-Shake milkshake. I’m not sure who will shed more tears when she moves out, me or the kids!
  4. I was going to do a whole post about it, but after reviewing my blogging habits, I figured I better just write about it now. I *think* Elliot is in the self-weaning process. She rarely asks to nurse and when she does, often times I can distract her with something else. I can say this now (I couldn’t a year ago), but I am so glad I stuck it out throughout my pregnancy, and tandem nursed for this last year. I know it’s not for everyone, but I truly feel like this was how our nursing relationship was supposed to go. Weaning has totally been on her terms and we are ending things on a good, non-stressful note. I used to think people who nursed their kids beyond infancy were weirdos. It wasn’t in my plans to nurse her this long, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way and I’m proud to be that type of weirdo. 😉
  5. We have Elliot’s first parent/teacher conferences coming up in a couple weeks. Say what?? It’s moments like these that having me wondering how time can go by so fast. It’s strange to be on the other side of things, and I’m a little anxious to see what her teachers will tell us. Of course we think she’s the smartest, kindest, funniest 3 year old around, but I realize they may see things differently. Having Elliot in school has really changed my mindset as a teacher. When I am at my wit’s end with a student, I now stop and think about how that kid is the apple of somebody’s eye just like Elliot (and Macklin) is for us. This mindset has made me look harder for the good things about each student, instead of just recognizing the things that they aren’t doing so well because I know that’s how I would want my children’s teachers to be. People have said that you become a better teacher when you become a parent, and I’m really seeing that this year.
  6. We are less than two months out from our Disney trip, and I can hardly contain my excitement. Last week we got our itinerary that listed all our character meals, fast passes, and appointment at the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique, and I literally get teary eyed every time I look at it. I am visualizing Elliot’s awe and amazement, and I am so excited to experience it all through her eyes.  I promise a post highlighting that trip for sure (it just may be months after the fact).
  7. So this happened: img_2818I am cherishing the years of family costumes because I know before long the kids will not be willing participants. I already have ideas floating in my head for next year, but I guess we’ll see what Elliot wants to be and if Macklin will have an opinion by then.
  8. Photo dump:


That’s all she wrote. I’ll be back…soon(ish)…I hope.

Leave a comment


*I’m not going to even address the fact that this is waaaay overdue. Well I guess I just kinda did, so let’s just leave it at that.


Dear Macklin,

It’s hard to believe that it has been one whole year since you made your appearance on the night of the Blood Moon lunar eclipse. As I look back through pictures from one year ago, I’m filled with pride, longing, and of course tears. Even though you were born over 9 pounds, you were still so tiny compared to the big toddler looking boy that you are now. The days of snuggling your sweet newborn self seemed so long ago and so fleeting. What I wouldn’t give to go back to those days just to smell your little (big) head and feel your warm body sprawled out on my chest.

Of course, I wouldn’t trade the days we have with you now. You are so entertaining and I truly enjoy playing with you/chasing after you. You are still obsessed with all kinds of balls and are an expert at fetch. You screech “dall” anytime you see a ball and immediately must have it in your hands. You still get into all sorts of mischief, but the adorable little grin you give me when I say, “No Macklin” is enough to make me not care that you are singlehandedly destroying our house (maybe a slight exaggeration). You have started to really get into books and being read to…and ripping the pages but that’s besides the point. I got Dad a basketball A-Z book for Father’s Day and you could sit and look at it for a good 20 minutes which is hours in baby time. Your other faves are Goodnight Gorilla, I Love You Stinky Face, and Five Little Monkeys. 

Eating and talking are a couple of your other most liked hobbies. You are up to two scrambled eggs for breakfast and are pretty much a bottomless pit at dinner time. You easily can eat more than your sister (which isn’t saying much because picky toddlers), and are rivaling my portion sizes. I can already foresee our grocery bills getting astronomical as you get older. You seem to be saying more and more words each day, which is a stage I absolutely love. Right now, you’re saying mama, dada, yay yay (for Elliot), Pa (my dad), La La (Justin’s sister), wa wa (water), dog, buh bye (with the cutest little wave), mo (more), go, and ah done (all done). I think you know you have to hone in your language skills if you ever want to get a word in and be heard with little miss chatterbox big sis.

I absolutely adore you, Mackles, and I cannot wait to see you continue to learn and grow into toddlerhood. Even if it does make me just the tiniest bit sad.



Leave a comment

Dear Macklin…x2

*So I’ve become a really terrible blogger/mother for not staying up to date on these posts, and now I have some major catching up to do. Because you know I can’t just skip two months of Macklin’s life in his virtual baby book (let’s be real this is his only baby book. Mom fail, again). With T-4 days until the big numero uno, I figured I should take a short jaunt down memory lane.




Dear Macklin,

How can it be that my sweet baby is turing into a little monster toddler?!? You keep me on my toes every second of every day. If I turn my back on you for even the shortest amount of time, you are most definitely half way up the stairs or knocking down any and all picture frames that are within arms reach. Or pulling the trim off the sliding glass door. Or unrolling an entire roll of toilet paper. And taste testing it. Or dumping the dog dishes upside down and mopping up the water with your onesie. I use that as an opportunity to say the floors have been mopped so that last one I’m not too concerned about. And I promise I’m not a neglectful mother, but you get into these predicaments so quickly!

Although you cause quite a bit of mischief, you are also the sweetest lover boy. Probably your number one word right now is “mama” and I don’t mind it a bit. It never gets old seeing you reach your chubby little hands up towards me and calling for me. You sprawl your arms out into great big hugs and are learning to give those wet, open mouth baby kisses. Usually followed by a bite. Tormenting your sister is the name of your game and you prefer to “play” with her toys more than anything else. And by play I mean steal and immediately put into your mouth. Which sends E into a tizzy because now said toy is all drool-y and has to be washed right away. Your other favorite love has become balls, which Dad is pretty pumped about. You sit in front of your mini basketball hoop throwing down dunks for a good period of time, excitedly squealing “baw” over and over again.

You are getting into one of my favorite ages because you are learning new things every day and when we try to teach you something, you actually will repeat it. You have really caught on to signing, and you try to say new words each day. You are getting closer and closer to walking on your own, which I’m not sure I’m quite ready for.

I’m getting glimpses of toddler Macklin every day, and it’s both exciting and heartbreaking. Time goes so darn fast and I know that I’m going to blink and hardly remember this stage at all, so I’m trying to soak it all in while I can. Here’s to hoping you stay my baby just a little bit longer!

I love you so, so much!






Leave a comment

So this happened…


I’m not sure how I feel about it. The bigger part of me is super proud of what a sweet, smart, funny, and brave  little girl Elliot has grown up to be. But there’s a small part of my heart that aches for my baby back. I mean how did we get here already?! We both did good today, but I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a tiny sliver of me that was hoping she’d squeeze me tight and not let me go at drop-off. I guess the fact that she didn’t just means we’ve done our job and raised an independent and confident little lady who is ready to leave our nest. *Tear*

Like mother, like daughter in the squinting department.


Clearly, the feeling is mutual here.


Here’s to our next adventure, life with a preschooler!

1 Comment

Come With Me…

…And you’ll be…in a world of pure imagination…

Okay, that’s enough. My blog game has clearly been on point lately so I thought I’d add to it by posting about events that took place over a month ago. Because they don’t happen unless they’re blogged about, right??

Anyways, those of you who know me, know that I’m a sucker for a good themed party. So I was delighted when Elliot decided on Willy Wonka as her birthday party theme of choice. I went straight to my go-to source of creativity and began making lists. And lists. And lists. No lie, I had at least 6 different lists on my phone in regards to her party. Eh, whatever keeps you organized I guess.

Instead of typing out every itty bitty detail, I’m just going to go ahead and do a photo dump from Elle Belle’s par-tay to get everyone up to speed. Oh and one noteworthy tidbit about the day: Elliot woke up feeling not great so after all the weeks of hard work and planning, she somewhat enjoyed herself, but girlfriend was not her normal self. Major bummer for us both. Oh well, onwards and upwards…

Entering Wonka’s factory…errr….our house:


The traditional pre-party family picture:


This photo just exudes happiness, don’t ya think? Maybe if we switch children…



Moving on to the activities:

The inventing room was a fan favorite.


The lickable wallpaper was not. Perhaps it was because Elliot was the only little who had seen the movie and didn’t think I was completely bonkers for getting the go ahead to lick the wall. It got a couple licks from Elliot (and maybe the dogs after the party) so it wasn’t a total wash.


The awesome dessert spread created by our go-to cupcake guru. These might’ve been my favorite cupcakes she’s made for us to date. And for the record, we served more than chocolate and sugar. The meal included tomato soup, roast beef sandwiches, and blueberry pie pops (seems like a bizarre meal especially for the middle of July, but if you’ve watched the movie a zillion times like we have, you’ll get it).

Elliot was able to enjoy one of those. No surprise there.


And probably my favorite picture from the day, Elliot and her “boyfriend” (her words not mine). I love when my friends go along with my themes (Rhys is Mike Teavee and shame on you if you didn’t know that).


Some might say I go over the top a little *cough Justin cough*, but I do it because I really do enjoy it and of course because I love to make my kids happy on their special day. Now on to planning a first birthday party! A month away…eeek! I better hop to it!