Bringing Up Baby

Documenting the baby makin' experience. From Trying to Conceive, to Bringing Up Babies, I share all the laughs and all the horror.

I'm Jess, I'm 32 years old, I live in Minneapolis with The Husband, Jack (the girl dog with a boy name), and our little dudes, Cormac (Mac) and Fitzgerald (Fitz). They're case you were wondering.

If you're interested, my primary blog is Scattered Jigsaw Thoughts.

Feel free to Ask Me Anything

Or you can just email me: sutherslat {at} gmail {dot} com


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On Sunday, after eating a metric ton of deep fried fair food and snacks my friends brought out to my parents’ house, I maybe had a bit of a food baby belly going on. I was holding Mac and snuggling with him when all of a sudden he pat my belly and said, “hey mom, how come your tummy is so big?”

Thanks Mac. You really know how to make a mom feel good about herself.

I’ve chosen to assume his comment meant I’ve been looking rather slim and trim lately and so the food baby belly was such an anomaly that it warranted comment. Whatever I have to tell myself, right?

Mom, I can’t stop saying yum! It’s so good! It’s incredible! Good job, me!
For the last day, I bought the kids mini Papa Murphy’s pizza that they got to assemble themselves. Mac is pretty impressed with himself.

Today Mac says goodbye to two of his best friends. He says goodbye to the two kids he’s known virtually his entire life. When Mac was 6-months-old, I started taking care of W, who’s just a couple months older. Then, about 6 months later, N joined us and the 3 kids have been together ever since. Other kids have come and gone, but these 3 have stuck together for close to 4 years.

I would venture to say that more of their memories include each other than don’t. They have grown up like siblings and treat each other like siblings. They are at turns sweet and thoughtful then spiteful and bothersome. They share like angels and hoard toys like brats. They love each other fiercely and fight like maniacs.

They have grown up together. The longest they’ve been apart were the 6 weeks I was on maternity leave and even then, we still had playdates. But they are all growing up and it’s time for everyone to go to preschool. W and N have already visited their schools and are so excited for the next chapter. Mac, on the other hand, is less thrilled to be moving on to the next step. School and change do not interest him. I don’t think it has sunk in that his friends won’t be returning and he is going to be bored as hell stuck at home with me and babies all day. I think it’ll take a couple weeks to realize he doesn’t have his built-in playmates anymore.

Taking care of someone else’s kid is hard. Caring for them the same way you care for your own kids is even harder. To see another child fight with your child and be able to step back from the situation to teach the correct behavior rather than go mama bear on the offending child takes a lot of practice. But it has been such a blessing to have these kids in our lives. We have been so lucky to have such sweet and loving friends for Mac come to our house every day. He tells his friends that he loves them multiple times a day and he really means it. They are such a huge part of his world.

When I was Mac’s age, my mom did daycare out of our house. She stopped by the time I was 5 and I have only fleeting memories of the kids she used to take care of. I think I disliked most of them since I resented having to share my toys (which Mac, to his credit, has never had an issue with) and I can’t easily recall any of their names or faces. One of the kids I took care of before Fitz was born has been seemingly erased from the other kids’ memories. That broke my heart a little bit. People and events are so fuzzy in these early years, but I hope Mac can always recall his friends with complete clarity.

I hope they continue to love each other and make room for each other in their lives. I hope they all go on to make a whole bunch of new friends but still keep a special place for each other. I hope we have playdates and family get togethers. I hope they continue to know each other as they grow.

It’s a bittersweet day. It is so amazing how far we’ve come from the blobby baby days. 4 years ago I never could’ve imagined sending all these kids off to preschool. But it’s such an exciting new chapter to be able to watch them all branch out and find a whole new world out there. I can say with confidence that they’re all going to be amazing. And that I’ll miss them more than I ever thought I would.

Since I’m just starting out in this business, it’s important for me to get some testimonials for my portfolio. Pictures of my own results will only take me so far. So I have a proposal for anyone reading this little blog:

I’m looking for 10 of you to try our crazy body wraps AT MY WHOLESALE COST ($59 for a pack of 4 wraps) for 3 months. I’ll need you to take before and after pictures to document your results and write a brief review of your experience with the product.

Oh, and as for the giveaway? Everyone who helps me will be entered into a raffle and one of you will win a one-month supply of our Greens On The Go.

If you would like more pictures or info, please comment on this post, message me, or email me and I’ll be happy to discuss this further. If you’ve been looking for a reason to try our wraps, now is the perfect time! 

What fresh hell is this?

If you follow my instagram or are friends with me on facebook, you may have noticed within the last couple weeks that I’ve seized a new business opportunity. I’ve joined the It Works! Global family and become an independent consultant for them.

As I’ve written about in this space, I’ve struggled recently with trying to figure out what to do with my life professionally. For better or for worse, I’ve been pretty open and honest about my dilemma and it is because of this that an old high school classmate contacted me a few weeks ago to let me know about It Works!. We spent some time going back and forth, chatting about her business and what her days looked like. I did lots of research and had a lengthy conference call with another woman from the company. I received a product demonstration. And finally, I was sold.

This is it, you guys. I’m determined that this is it. These crazy wraps are the ticket to buying us some breathing room, making me feel successful again, giving me a foundation to build on, oh — and giving me a better looking body in the process.

In addition to being the ticket to career establishment, the wraps that are the flagship product of It Works! ACTUALLY WORK (plus they’re SUPER affordable!). Stretch marks that have plagued me for years have actually faded. Skin that has been droopy and deflated since Fitz was born has started tightening. I even tried a wrap on my husband and after only one treatment, we both noticed a difference on him (generally 4 wraps are considered a treatment and 1 is a treat, but many people see results after just 1 wrap).

I’m selling a product line that I believe in (we’ve got more than just wraps, after all) and with items that can’t be found anywhere else and at an affordable price point. I’m building a business that I can grow and be proud of. And I’m becoming part of a team again. For so long I’ve worked and parented in a black hole and it’s amazing to be branching out and having so many people to bounce ideas of off and pull strength from and be inspired by. And I AM inspired. I’m inspired and driven and reinvigorated.

I’ll be speaking more about my business periodically, because I’m so proud of what I’m starting. But right now, I just wanted to write this to bring everyone up to speed on my life. And to let you all know that if anyone is interested in trying some It Works! products, please contact me at jessica {at} (or you can use the email in my header…or any other random email you might have for me if we’ve communicated before. I have a lot of emails…) and we can set up a time to discuss everything further. Additionally, if you’re looking for the right opportunity the way I was — the chance to make your own hours, work from home, make that extra money to help fill the gap every month — then please let’s talk further. This isn’t a gimmick, this isn’t a scam, and I’m happy to have an honest and straighforward conversation with anyone. I’m also not here to give you the hard sell. I’m just here to offer options.

You can visit my site at to take a look at all our product offerings or email me and we can set up a time to gchat or have a phone call about any questions you might have.

I’m in a good place right now. I feel good things coming my way. I hope this post gives some of you sharing my struggle the same positive feelings and hope for the future that I’m feeling.

Last night, I had a meeting for a potential job opportunity (one I’ll be ruminating on for a while yet). I flew out the door after throwing down some dinner for the kids and as I was leaving, Mac was begging for yogurt and Fitz was sobbing for me. It was hectic and rushed and I left feeling awful.

I didn’t get home until after my husband put the kids to bed but when I walked in the door, I wasn’t greeted with silence. Instead there were heart melting Fitz sobs coming from their bedroom. I rushed to the room, ready to give my husband a break and see if I could put an end to the bedtime insanity.

When I walked in their room, Fitz immediately stopped crying and quietly hugged me tighter than he ever has. Meanwhile, Mac lept out of bed cheering, “you came back!!!” He squeezed me tight and proclaimed that he missed me a “really lot” and I stood there feeling like a million bucks.

It’s those little moments — those small victories — that absolutely make parenthood worth it.

There is nothing Mac loves more than a good snuggle session. He really is the snuggliest little kid who ever lived. And I love it. But every night his love of snuggles causes a battle. Every night he asks me to snuggle in his bed and every night I say no. Mostly because he and Fitz go down at the same time and Fitz would lose his damn mind if I was snuggling in Mac’s bed without him. Every night Mac gets upset that I won’t stay and every night I get upset that he’s upset about something so stupid (especially since we almost always snuggle before bed anyway). Some nights, I sneak back in after Fitz is asleep and snuggle with Mac but more often than not, we just call a truce.

Tonight, though, Fitz was exhausted after not napping this afternoon and so he went to bed early. When I put Mac to bed, he once again asked if I would snuggle with him and I could see he was gearing up for battle in anticipation of my ‘no’. But then I said yes. And he absolutely lit up. He was more excited about that snuggle than he has been about anything in a long time.

That’s all it took to make him completely happy. Completely and ecstatically happy. And let that be a reminder to myself to say yes a little more often. 5 minutes out of my life is nothing to bring him that kind of joy.

On Wednesday, a former high school classmate of mine came over to demonstrate an It Works! Body Wrap on me (I’ll be discussing that more next week). For her purposes and mine, she took before and after pictures of me so we could see that the wrap actually works (for the record, it does).

My stomach is my shame spot. It always has been, but even more so since having kids. It’s gross, it’s saggy, it’s flabby, it’s scarred to hell with stretch marks, and it’s maybe the whitest surface on this whole damn earth. NO ONE sees my stomach. Once, shortly after Mac was born, I showed it to one of my best friends so that she could fully understand the horrors of childbirth, but other than that, NO ONE sees my stomach. No, not even my husband, ESPECIALLY not my husband,

Having to lift up my shirt for a girl I haven’t seen in 14 years was fear inducing, I mean, the old high school friends in Facebook are the ones you want to impress, right? But I had to try out this wrap and so I sucked it up, lifted my shirt, let her take some pictures, and put the wrap on.

After 45 minutes, we took the wrap off and once again took pictures. When we looked at them to see if I noticed any before and after differences (I did), I finally saw my stomach for what it really was. What it really is. It’s a stomach. A totally normal, unimpressive, but hardly horror-movie-levels-of-grotesqueness stomach.

I’ve never suffered from an eating disorder. It wasn’t until my late teens that I even thought much about what my body looked like beyond my big boobs. So body dysmorphia has never really been an issue for me. But since having kids, my self esteem about my body has plummeted. And after looking at those pictures my friend took of my stomach, I see now that I actually have been dealing with some body dysmorphia. That I’ve built my stomach into this swamp monster of hideousness when in reality, it’s just a totally normal stomach. Could it be flatter? More toned? Slathered with some self tanner? Of course. Am I proud of my stomach? No. But now at least I’ve seen that it shouldn’t be such a source of shame for me. Now at least I’ve opened my eyes to what other people see when they look at me.

I’m embarrassed that I’ve spent so many years being so ashamed of something I completely created in my head. But now I get to work on correcting that picture I have of myself in my head to make it more accurately reflect reality. And thus, even if that body wrap was totally ineffective, it was still worth it for the perspective I’ve gained on myself.

THERE’S FRIED LOBSTER ON A STICK?!?! We weren’t planning to go to the fair until labor day weekend. I may need move that date up because that’s how excited I am at the prospect of fried lobster on a stick.