Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Two Under Two'sday - Last Chance

Well, in three days I will no longer have two under two.  Just, you know, one who is two and one who's still an infant.  Jury's still out if that means things are magically easier... my guess is no.

No specific focus this week.  In the last 19 weeks (sidenote:  It's funny to me that the girls are 19 months apart in age and apparently had 19 weeks together until Ashlynn turned two), I've managed to juggle nursing and toddler meals - which always seem to happen simultaneously, getting to the store - and filling the cart when it's already filled with children, and of course sleep.  Although, I'm still juggling that last one.

It's hard to compare what having a toddler and baby is like to a pre-schooler or kid and baby.  I'm sure they all bring their fair share of difficulties, especially with scheduling and running an older child to from activities with a possible fussy or hungry baby in tow.  As much as I think being on lock down this cruel winter, I'm glad I had the time to adjust with nowhere else to be or things to do.

Did Ashlynn get more tv than I'd like on those long cold snowed in days so I could feed a baby without being climbed on, or make dinner or shower? Sure.  Did I have two kids melting down at the same time and want to plug my ears and shout "I can't hear you! Lalalalalala"? Of course.  But it's so easy to let the hard times slip from your memory and only catalog the sweet moments.

With Ashlynn, I'm convinced she's one of the sweetest sisters around.  I know this might change a bit when Kenley gets mobile and starts taking Ashlynn's toys, but for now the love shared between them is nothing short of this mama being melted into puddle of gratitude.  We have two happy and healthy girls, could not feel luckier, and can't wait to watch them grow and them develop a bond that will last their lifetime.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

[Giveaway] Freshly Picked!

Hey guys.... it's Ashlynn's Birthday week!

So in addition to breakfast foods, playground trips, and practicing the birthday song, we are giving away a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins.

We are huge Freshly Picked fans (and that 'we' really is plural including both Ashlynn and my husband).  Ashlynn loves requesting to wear her gold shoes (platinum) and purple shoes (radiant orchid), they slip on easier than any other pair or shoes we own and of course, stay on her feet - the biggest wins in my husband and my book.  Though, it doesn't hurt we get compliment from strangers every time she wears them.  I'm chomping at the bit for Kenley's feet to grow a smidge more so she can wear her blush moccs I picked up on Black Friday (the day I went into labor!).

We were lucky enough to receive the gorgeous radiant orchid color for our review in conjunction with this giveaway.  Like our platinum pair, they are so soft, quality made, and best of all toddler approved - Ashlynn flipped over the purple color, her favorite, and put them on immediately.  No exaggerations. 

While I'll admit, they aren't the cheapest footwear option out there, I think they are definitely worth the price.  Our platinum pair has lasted a solid six months now and still fit, when we decide to retire them, they'll still be in great condition for Kenley to grow into.  I love that we can rock them with dresses or play clothes, so it beats buying multiple pairs for different occasions that she'd grow out of faster.  For us, the cost has been offset by all the use we've gotten (price per wear if you will).

Lastly, you know I love supporting other mama businesses and not only is Susan the queen of making an idea, hobby, and passion, a true business model, but she is good people.  Always helping others trying to grow their businesses and, along with her team, genuinely as sweet as they come.  I'm a sucker for customer service and businesses with heart.

Happy Monday, friends!  Enter below and good luck!

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Friday, April 11, 2014

[5 and 5] Friday!

Somehow this week was simultaneously long as hell, but seemed to fly by... does that even make sense to anyone else?  Like one of those weeks where I wake up every day thinking it's Friday, and it's not, but then our days are so jammed packed that looking back it seems like it flew... no?  Well alright, on the list....

On Wednesday, I saw this cute tutorial on Small Fry, went upstairs, and whipped one up with some fabric scraps before Ashlynn was up from her nap.  I was procrastinating what I was going to give her to use to collect eggs at this weekend's community Easter Egg Hunt. I don't want to use her actual Easter Basket, since you know, Pottery Barn Kids isn't exactly cheap and toddlers are small tornados.

I was super close to spray painting her Target Dollar Spot Halloween bucket, or you know planning on doing that, but just leaving as is.  So this worked out great!  Giving myself a D for craftmanship, but it looks okay from afar and will get the job done.  Next year, I'll make nicer ones for both the girls. Challenge accepted!
In Bloom Boutique was kind enough to send me their ever popular Piko top last month.  I reviewed some amazing open cardigans during my pregnancy (here and here) and Kelly previously suggested the Piko.  It would have definitely accommodated my growing bump, but I feared it'd be shapeless and make me look like I was in a tent.  I think I was wrong.

Bump or no bump, this is hands down my favorite shirt.  I've been waiting for it to come back in stock in my size in white, but decided to just order navy instead while I wait.  I wear this with leggings while running errands or chasing Ashlynn on the playground, with jeans and a spring infinity scarf to birthday parties (above), and since it was actually in the high 60s this week I wore it with my beloved denim shorts.  It's perfect for nursing since it's loose and can act as it's own cover, no joke.  And the bamboo spandex material is so soft and washes great (I know, I deal with spit up remember).  Functional for moms, but fun for all.

Go grab one, and use code STRAWBERRY15 for 15% off your purchase! And as always, free shipping.

Party Fun.  And yeah, I don't have much else other than what you already saw... oops.

The winner of the Sugarplum Labe Boutique legging giveaway is ...  Erin Paulter Rowley!

Happy Weekend!


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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Better Late Than Never!

I realized I never did a comprehensive look back at my second pregnancy.  I mean why take all those weekly photos if you aren't going to make a giant collage to compare your growing bump... with hoards of internet strangers who probably could not care less, but you guys are my friends, right?!

Anyway, I'm a bit too far removed (um, over 4 months) from my pregnancy to recap the last month.  I remember being extremely uncomfortable, loads of heart burn that would keep me awake at night, and just in a lot of pain trying to keep up with an active toddler on the daily.   I remember wanting to meet her so badly after we past Ashlynn's 35week birth, and she made me wait 4 more weeks!

Of course, it was all worth it.... just look at the little bundle of cute we have now!

Love this little biscuit!

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

[Review] JJ Cole Agility Carrier


 One of the first things I'd suggest to a mom adding to her flock.  I love it.

I really didn't get a chance to wear Ashlynn as much as I would have liked or thought I would.  We received a Moby wrap at our baby shower - that I had registered.  I started wearing Ashlynn about 1 month of age when she was nearing 8lbs.  This was around late May.  I youtube'd instructions on how to wear the 20 yards of fabric, exaggerating, but once it was summer it was really hot.  I'd be sweaty, she'd be sweaty and we'd be wrapped sweaty bodies smushed together with heavy fabric tied tight.  

I didn't end up using it much and once it was Fall we purchased an Ergo Sport.  I really loved how quick and easy it was to put on and it was perfect for trips to the pumpkin patch and all the house hunting we were doing at the time. 

When Kenley was born I dug out the Moby, but was a little less than excited to use it.  Even with it being Winter and fear of us overheating gone, it just always seemed like a pain to wrap around in a pinch when wanting to get her in fast while she was crying and also needing to tend to her sister. 

JJ Cole offered to send their Agility carrier and I was pretty excited to try it out.  It comes in two pieces, the first being the crisscross front fabric that goes on just like a shirt.  No need for wrapping around your waist, over your shoulders, and stuffing four feet of fabric around you making sure things are tight and lined up.  Just throw it on like a shirt, and stuff that baby inside! You can follow the official instructions here.  Once the baby is seated properly with fabric supporting their bottom and covering their back and shoulders, you just wrap the second piece of fabric around their back and tush and tie in front for some extra support and safety.  

I can get Kenley situated in about 20 seconds or less, using the other fabric wrap it's closer to a minute.  It doesn't seem like that's a long time, but when you have a crying newborn or infant who just wants to be held it makes a huge difference.

I still love our Ergo carrier, but we don't have a newborn insert so I wasn't able to use it with Kenley when she first arrived and I needed to be wearing her most.  I also prefer to have a wrap style when in the house since the backpack style straps are bit bulky.    

Overall it's been a great product for us and our needs.  It's lightweight, quick to put on, easy to travel with (I usually keep it in my diaper bag in case I need to wear her while out at the park, visiting friends, or needing to use the stroller for Ashlynn), and of course it's washable cotton. 

The only drawback is that it comes in sizes, Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large.  Since my husband and I would most likely need different sizes, only I am able to use it.  It's not a problem for us since he doesn't typically wear the kids in the kangaroo style holds and, if wearing at all - which is pretty much never, he likes being able to wear Ashlynn on his back with the Ergo. This maybe an issue for other families if they'd like to both use the product and aren't the same size. 

Otherwise, five stars from us!  I've been wearing Kenley since we received it back in January.  It's saved more dinner time melt downs than I count - from both kids!  It has let me play, bake, and color with Ashlynn, while keeping Kenley close and content. It even helps me handle two kids at the park since Ashlynn is all over the place and I don't want to be chasing her around with the stroller. 

Any tips to share how you handle two or more at once??


JJ Cole was kind enough to provide the Agility carrier for my review, but all opinions expressed are solely my own.  All other products mentioned were purchased with my own money and their brands are unaware of this review.  

If you'd like to learn more about my sponsorship policies and opportunities, please click here!

Interested in learning more about products by JJ Cole?

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Two Under Two'sday - Week 18

I guess it's time to revisit the "schedule".  Now that Kenley is 4 months old, she really should be on a better schedule than she is, but I'm planning on working on that this month.

She's finally starting the night back in her crib and she's taking a pacifier (sometimes).  Being a human one can stop, which means, I hope she'll start sleeping in longer stretches.  I know it'll be a slow transition, but I'm hoping for longer stretches of sleep because 2-3hours tops isn't cutting it.

Ashlynn started waking earlier and insisting on getting on before her clock turned yellow.  Because I feel like if I go in and allow her to get up (and turn it yellow myself) it defeats the purpose of teaching her to wait.  So I rolled wake up time back from 7am to 630am and she's been doing great.  Some days she's completely passed out until then, others she'll stay in bed until it turns.   I'm hoping to add 5 minutes to it every few days to get back to 7am.

Once she's up, I let her come get into our bed.  The Husband has been waking up early in the mornings to study for a professional certification exam and I try to keep everyone upstairs so he gets a good two hours in before getting ready for work.  I let Ashlynn play some games on the kindle and I usually get Kenley changed and nurse again before all heading downstairs for breakfast.  Kenley gets plopped in the jumperoo and Ashlynn runs around as I whip up breakfast.  After we play for a bit, then head upstairs to get dressed (and myself showered), and Kenley topped off, before heading out for our morning fun.

This usually is either heading to a local library for story time or music class, grocery or target shopping, or meeting a friend for a play date.  We are usually back some time between 11-11:30am for snack.  Kenley typically falls asleep while we are out or at least in the car.  She's normally ready for her lunch after I get Ashlynn down for a nap around noon.

Sometimes she's up to play other times she'll fall asleep on me.  This is my only chance for free time, even after Ashlynn's asleep for the night, I'm up with Kenley until she goes to bed.  I usually try to eat lunch, do any chores or tasks that need to get done, and then sit my ass on the couch, read some blogs, or prep my own posts.

Before I know it, Ashlynn is up.  I get her changed and bring her down for lunch.  Lately, we've been heading to the playground, doctor appointments, or accomplishing other random errands in the afternoon.  Usually gone from 3-4pm, I once again top Kenley off before we go and she naps again while we are out.  Once we are home, I decide what's for dinner.  We play in the playroom and I start prepping.  I usually let Ashlynn watch a show while I'm getting things ready or just waiting.  She also gets one when I'm showering and getting ready for the day.  We eat dinner and I try to stretch it as long as I can until dad gets home, but we are usually done before.  After I clean up and we turn on the 'mick' (music) and dance around until dad gets home.  Tutus and Britney Spears included.

Dad is home, Ashlynn gets a bath and ready for bed.  Kenley usually gets her baths in the morning when I can occupy Ashlynn with tub toys on the bathroom floor.  Her baths are super quick, I can't wait for the day we can do them together.

After A's in bed, K usually has a second wind.  She had her last feed sometime between dinner and the dance party and just wants to play.  She'll nurse again between 8-9 and be out until midnight or so.

I'm trying really hard to get out more (obviously).  While I may seem so positive and like a "supermom" as some of you have so kindly commented, I feel far far from it.  Truth be told, this winter has been a perfect storm of stress.  My anxiety returned like whoa and panic attacks with it.  A combination of the worst winter in history (read: major cabin fever), sleepless nights, adjusting to a pill that I've already decided to switch, and possibly some form of seasonal or postpartum depression has made me a person I wasn't overly fond of.  Cut off from friends, physically burnt between lack of sleep and frequent headaches, I give so much to my girls I have very little left for my husband and even less, none, for myself.   Since having realized all this, I already feel ten times better.  Anxiety is receding, I'm enjoying "mommy time" while at play dates (they might just be more for me than for Ashlynnn), and Spring hasn't quite sprung, but it's heading in the right direction and it's amazing how healing some fresh air and movement can be.

Thank you all for being so kind and allowing me to feel like my little space here it a safe space to share the things that make me human.  I hope if any one relates to these feelings, aside from our mutual loathing of all things Winter, please know that you know you aren't alone.  Being a mama is tough stuff, and finding the balance of being yourself isn't the easiest task placed upon us, when we have so many other things hanging on those scales. Please never be scared to speak up, talk to a friend, your partner, or even someone who inspires you.

I was inspired to share this by reading Alison's rollercoaster story.  While I was already taking action in finding ways to climb out of my rut, it was so reassuring to know that these feelings weren't abnormal. And while Alison didn't share her story to make her "real", I am.  Blogging is funny thing, where most of us only showcase our ups and downplay (or completely omit) our downs.  Life is a rollercoaster, and it's just more fun when ride it with friends, the ups and downs.  Thanks for joining our ride.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

[Giveaway] Sugarplum Lane Boutique

In honor of Ashlynn's 2nd Birthday, we have two more BIG giveaways coming your way this week and next.  Naturally, some of Ashlynn's favorite things!

First up, we've teamed up once again with Sugarplum Lane Boutique to giveaway the winner's choice pair of leggings!

Owner Kelly has added so much to her shop since our last partnering, it's almost hard to decide which are our favorite items.  In addition to her standard cuffed (organic) leggings, she has plenty of burp cloths and bibs - one of my favorite gifts for new babies, and has even added shorts, headbands, and swaddle blankets. 

We are so obsessed with the gold 'poke da' leggings, headband, and burp cloth Kelly sent us to check out.  We've had four pairs of Sugarplum Lane leggings now, and I have to say, Kelly's craftsmanship just keeps on getting better and better.  The fabric is so thick and durable and the metallic glitter dots are adorable and completely toddler approved.  I've already received a few compliments on the burp cloth when out and about, that now it's the one I always grab when stuffing my bag before we leave.   

We can't wait to see who wins the giveaway and which adorable style you choose!

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Five

1. Busy bees.  We've been out and about every day this week, storytimes (plural), trips to the playground (also plural), play dates, doctor appointmets, errands... you name it.  Every time we get back to the car, Ashlynn just repeats "Fun!" while I buckle her in.  Mom FTW.

2. Congrats to Emily Janning you won the Urban Walls giveaway!

3. Congrats to Andrea (andrea93) you won the Boon giveaway!

I'll be in contact with both winners shortly.

4.  She loves the slides.


5.  And I'm no longer allowed to call the shots at story time.  Sissy and I get read to instead, works for me!


Have a great and safe weekend!
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

[Baby #2] Kenley Drew - 4 Month Update

Kenley turned 4 months old on Sunday.  Time is going at warp speed!

Weight: 14lb 5oz (49%)
Height: 24" (22%) 
Head:  15.75" (29%)

She's in 3-6m clothing and size 2 diapers. Tops and bodysuits fit just about perfect, so I'm assuming by the end of the month they'll be getting snug.  Pants seem to be long still, so she'll be able to wear them a bit longer, good stuff because most of A's 6-12m hand-me-downs are fall/winter season.

And for comparison sake, these girls are almost two peas in a pod.  Ashlynn was 14lb 6oz, 23", and 15.75" at her 4 month check up.  Virtually the same minus that inch in length, but we'll chalk that up to the fact she was born a month early and she's still lacking in height. Funny, because Kenley seems like a bigger baby, but she really isn't.

I can't even remember the beginning of the month.  I want to say it was pretty decent and that she was starting in her crib a few nights and after her first wake usually coming to our room because she wouldn't settle quickly enough once fed and put back down.

Mid-month was a mess.  I felt like the 4 month sleep regression hit early.  I noticed she was fairly distracted in nursing during the day and up every two hours or so at night to catch up.  I ended up keeping her in our room again because it was just too much to deal with feeding in her room and trying to get to settle back to sleep before the next wake up.

A few days later I came down with a cold, most likely from the lack of sleep (this was around St. Pat's) Almost everyone else seemed to stay healthy, but because I was itching so bad for extra sleep she'd stay in room and end up co-sleeping halfway through the night.  She finally was getting more rest next to me, and so was I.  Then everyone got hit with the sniffles and we were back to dealing with infant wake ups and toddler wake ups, rough stuff when they seem to alternate their times to cry out and your up the whole night.  Finally everyone is on the mend,  I'm back to starting K in the crib, even if it's only from 9-12am.  She seems to wake around 1130-12, 3ish, and 530-6am.  Clearly, not ideal, but seems bearable for now.  Hopefully, we can work through the crib transition this month.

Much more social month now that the weather is slooooowly getting better.  Was still an awful March, but at least we had a few warmer days mixed between the return of snow and cold.

We had a handful of birthday parties and long road trips to accompany them.  She's already like her sister, and pretty much hates the car.  Both trips she slept the ride up no issue, but both times home woke early and CRIED.  The first trip we had to stop and it took a good 15minutes to calm her and the second I was able to get her settle after a solid 25 minutes of SHHH SHHH SHHH in her ear.   I should stock the car with EOS.

Mama's milk.  

Had a small milk supply scare after my appointment with a retina specialist.  I had to have my eyes dilated which I've been able to avoid at my annual eye appointments since I've been pregnant or nursing since 2010 (seriously).   I called the eye doctor, pediatrician, and my OB all without real knowledge of the safety of the drops and breastfeeding.  They always skipped doing it when I was pregnant or nursing, so I assumed there was some risk involved.  The OB said it wasn't classified with any results, so that I'd probably be fine with a pump and dump of the session after receiving them and then returning to regular feedings, if I even wanted to do that.  Which I did.  However, when I got home from the appointment and went to pump, NOTHING came out.  Like seriously, maybe a few drops.  It had been almost 4 hours from her last feeding too.  I freaked out.


I should note, the last pumping session I had the week before, I filled a 4 oz bottle.  From one side.  And not like, got 4 oz, but actually filled the whole bottle. 

I tried again a few hours later and got about 2oz and then said, back to nursing to see if she's at least getting satisfied, which she seems to be (and we know now she is).  I think my pump is just biting the dust. Mixed feelings over that.... good riddane, but not really into the idea of getting another.

Girl is on point by development standards.  Grasps objects and lets them go. Rolling over (only 3x so far, from belly to back, but trying damn hard at back to belly).

Trying to stand, and actually jumping - fairly aggressively - in her jumperoo.  Tracking me around the room and knows the difference between Mom, Dad, and Big Sis (favorite being mama.. she's got the milk).  Giggling and cooing.

The only thing she needs work on is napping and sleeping in the crib, but that's more my problem and less hers.  I'm so proud of her and couldn't be happier for being blessed with such a happy and healthy baby.

She also started sucking her thumb, but prefers fingers and even grabs her feet. She loves being read to, especially Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb which was one of Ashlynn's first favorites too, and CRACKS up over Patty Cake, like loves it.

Once again, each month things get better.  Just try to savior it, even the less than awesome stuff.

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