Friday, June 28, 2013

[Five and Five] Let's Be Friends!


Happy Friday, Friends!  Here's my pseudo Five and Five/Friday Five post... I should really just conform and switch my titles over, but I kind of like the freedom to posting five things whenever the mood strikes!





In case you forgot, we are days away from the end of everyone's beloved Google Reader.  I made the switch months back to BlogLovin' and have to say, I'm a big fan.  Dare I say, I like it better - especially it's mobile app and how it updates and keeps all the unread posts gathered at the top, something I never was able to get it to do with the app I used for Google Reader.

Anyway, if you are looking to make the switch, please head over and follow me (and Ashlynn) with BlogLovin' or Feedly, which seems to be another popular choice for getting your blog fixes!


Follow on Bloglovin


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Also, please feel free to keep on voting for Ashlynn's Little Room through Sunday!



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Speaking of nurseries, I'm finalizing my mood boards for my nursery ideas... and getting super excited about it in the process!  I really haven't thought too much about it, so they are definitely loose starting points, but I can't wait to share them next week!

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We've got six hours of slated car travel tomorrow - please say a prayer for our child who hates the car with a fiery passion.  Three hours up and back for a friend's 1st birthday party... we'd also appreciate a day without a passing tortential downpour/thunderstorm, which would definitely make the trip less fun.  And let's be honest, this is the mid-Atlantic, not Florida. 

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Another month has passed where I'm falling behind on my sewing challenge (12 projects in 12 months)  I've only made 4 projects so far, so I have some catching up to do!  I did get a start on Ashlynn's teepee, but then ran into a problem (more like I messed up) and decided to start over.  I have a few other projects lined up, so hopefully this month I can catch up!


  
And again, don't forget to vote, thanks lovers!  Happy Weekend!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

[Bumpdate] 4th Month

Well folks, today I'm capping off my 4th month of pregnancy - or at least that's what the internet tells me.  I can't believe I'll be 5 months tomorrow (17 weeks), feels way too early!  However, I guess it makes sense as the half way point is quickly approach - and so is our anatomy scan!  I can't wait to hopefully see a healthy baby and of course find out who's in there!  We won't be playing team green!

How far along? 16 Weeks (technically 16 weeks 6 days)

Total weight gain/loss: As of my appointment last Friday, I was up 3 pounds total.  This baffles me. 


Maternity clothes? Not really.  Still wearing my normal shorts and have been fitting in my old white AG jeans the few times I've worn them.  I have started wearing my beloved Gap Body Maternity Tanks because they are long and stretchy and I'm not constantly tugging at them like my other camis.

Stretch marks? Nope.  I started using my Mama Bee Belly Butter, but hoping genetics keep me from getting any this round like they most likely did my last.

Symptoms: Still absolutely exhausted most days, but I'm really thinking this is largely due to our crappy old mattress.  We just ordered a new one last night and it should be here by July 5th, it's in production - fancy!  I haven't been peeing as much at night and Ashlynn has been sleeping through, recently, so I think the tossing and turning and back aches are more due to the bed than carrying her around, though I'm sure it doesn't help. 


Sleep: Been better the last week, but overall I still wake 1-2x a night for a combination of peeing or getting the paci for Ashlynn. Also still sleeping on my belly if I want, which i do... a lot. 

Miss Anything? Nothing off the top of my head.  I started drinking a combination of either decaf or half caf coffee, occasionally regular if needed.  I also have bought some pasteurized soft cheeses (feta and goat), which is something I didn't do last pregnancy, even though it's clearly fine. Really nothing else "off limits" that I miss at this point.

Movement: Very little.  Super infrequent, but I do feel it here and there. 


Food cravings:  Nothing crazy, but I'm still eating all. the. time.  Cravings do switch between salty and sweet.  I'm a big baked goods lover, so lots of muffins and now donuts (which I usually pass right over) have now become staples.  I also have been loving salty Greek salads (hence the feta) and nachos with cheese, salsa, and greek yogurt.  And ice cream, water ice, or iced coffee... it's been so hot and humid, I just want something cool and tasty!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really.  Unless I eat too much junk or crap food. 


Have you started to show yet: YES!  I guess I need to wait until I take a picture tomorrow, but I swear I'm like double the size than the 16 week picture above.  I feel like I popped and it's super noticeable.  The woman doing my pedicure blatantly asked me how far along I was... gotta love cultural differences!  Thankfully I am pregnant!


Baby is a: Find out on July 19!

Belly Button in or out? In, but already looking different.


Wedding rings on or off? On. 

Happy or Moody most of the time: Definitely still having mood swings... I blame my sleep (and the mattress - hence the rush on the new one... and okay a great 4th of July deal!)

Looking forward to:  Getting a clean bill of health, seeing all 10 fingers and 10 toes, 4 chambers of the heart, brain, arteries, lungs, etc.  All the fun things they go over during the scan.  We still need to figure out how we will reveal the sex!  Also looking forward to beginning the nursery design process!




**for some #Throwback Thursday, check out my 4th month with Ashlynn**

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Last Time... I Promise!



Last week Ashlynn's room was selected as a Project of the Month over at Project Nursery!  And we are ecstatic!  Once again, she has some stiff competition (her last room was up against some gorgeous entries like Owen's Room!), but I'm hoping since this room is even better than her last, and I have the greatest bunch of readers ever, we can win!




You can vote directly at the page by selecting Ashlynn's Little Room at the bottom and you can vote once a day until June 30th, if you so choose!




Thank you all so much for the support!



** and this is the last time I'll ask for support for Ashlynn's room, hang tight for some nursery plans for baby #2 **

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Our Breastfeeding Journey

Here's the story of our breastfeeding journey.  It's a bit of a bear as we had many bumps along the way to what ultimately became the most rewarding experience I ever had.  Literal blood, sweat, and tears, I never worked so hard at something and I'm so proud of our experience.


Before Baby:



I knew I wanted to try my hardest at breastfeeding, though I definitely wasn't in a "I HAVE TO" mind frame.  I've had a lot of friends face struggles with their supply, baby not latching, doctors pushing formula and it just not working out.  I didn't want to place the pressure on myself to feel like a failure if I wasn't able to to produce milk or help my baby healthily gain weight.

Also, I was only breastfed for 3 weeks  before being switched to formula.  I had severe reflux and had to be hospitalized because I was losing weight, the only thing I was successfully able to keep down was soy formula.   And as the old adage goes -  I turned out fine!  I don't have any allergies or asthma, I graduated high school and college with high honors, and never had rare or recurrent illnesses - all things the anti-formula pushers try to scare you into believing will automatically happen if your child sips anything other than breast milk.

So while my goal was to breastfeed for a year, I never wanted to place pressure on myself to make that the only option.   I just wanted a healthy baby who was thriving, on whatever form of nutrition it might have come from.


Baby's [unexpected] Arrival:


Ashlynn surprised us when she was born at 35 weeks gestation.  At this point, we had just finished our birth class the week prior and I hadn't even read up about breastfeeding.  I was planning to get to that in my final month so it'd be fresh in my mind.  Plus, I had heard fabulous things about the lactation consultants at our hospital, so I was hoping on getting more hands on learning as we went. 



When Ashlynn arrived and was placed on my chest (read the birth story here and here), she was given the chance to nurse.  She started rooting immediately and eventually found a latch.  Looking back, I'm not sure if she was truly latched or even getting anything at all, but after a small bit of time, the nurses gave her to her daddy to supplement with formula.  We were barely asked if this was okay, but since she was preterm and only 5 pounds, it was essential we do what we could to keep her weight and sugar levels up to keep her from visiting the NICU. 



So our routine began at the hospital, every 3 hours I would start the process of letting Ashlynn attempt to nurse for 20-30minutes, then let the husband feed her the colostrum I pumped from a syringe, then an ounce of formula, while I pumped again (both sides for 15 minutes).  After our two day stay, we took this routine home. 

My milk came in overnight our first night back, and it came in like tsunami from all that pumping!  This set me up for a very uncomfortable start.  We attempted to nurse, switch off, I'd pump and Pete feed. Finally I was pumping more than enough milk to completely fill bottles.  We started our freezer stash all while keeping her fed with the two ounces or so she was taking at the time.  She started gaining weight and things we going well, all aside from the actual nursing part.  

Painful and pretty sure she wasn't getting much nutrition from the source, she constantly was falling asleep at the breast.  We would tickle her feet, strip her down, you name it, she would just snooze.  I was getting defeated by the hospital grade pump (I hadn't yet purchased my own since I was waiting for my registry completion discount and she arrived before it did!).  I felt like a dairy cow.  We also found out after Ashlynn's first doctor appointment that she had jaundice - which is known for making breastfeeding even harder.  We had a bili-blanket delivered and trying to feed a glow worm baby who was literally plugged into the wall, was awful.



About a week to 10 days in, I called a lactation consultant to work on our latch.  At the time of our appointment (maybe around 2-3 weeks), we were having decent feedings on the right side, but the left side was just awkward and very painful.  She gave me a nipple shield and that really helped things along.  After a few weeks, we were able to drop it with out a problem and the left side feedings became as smooth as the right.


Over time our feeding schedule of 20 minutes one side, 20 minutes the other, bottle of pumped milk, and 15 minute pumping session and clean up (roughly 90 minutes) and then starting the process again 90 minutes was killing me.  I needed to stop pumping.  It seemed I was producing more than our tiny little baby would ever consume, yet no guide (kellymom.com or the Le Leche League books) or professional, really had an answer for our situation - preterm baby with a mom who's been pumping from the start, a no-no in their world.  I felt so confused where to start and how to go about transitioning out of our routine without causing harm to my supply or her needs.


Progress:



Around 6 weeks hit our stride.  I would feed on one side, since she was getting a full meal there, and pump the other.  Slowly I cut the pump time down and got ourselves to just feeding one side every 2-3 hours (on her cues).  Sure I was a bit lopsided, but I was also back to being very small. I'm a B in denial, so it really wasn't noticeable at all until feeding time.  I honestly have no idea where the milk came from.  Finally, I had weaned out pumping by about 2 months.


It was also at this time I noticed Ashlynn's reflux (and severe projectile vomit episodes and diaper rash), might be related to dairy consumption.  I decided to cut out obvious dairy (milk, cheese, ice cream) and see what happened.  I noticed less vomiting, but we were still battling the rash.  I think after two weeks, I added it back, and back came the reflux.  This was around July 4th and I knew we had to cut dairy for good and I scheduled an appointment to see a GI specialist.  To keep this already long post from becoming even longer, I'll post a separate MSPI post to cap off that journey since I've chatted about it a few times, but never how we ended.


Wait, what about the milk stash?
You may remember, we filled our freezer - fast.  Literally, we couldn't have bought ice cream if I wanted to eat dairy because there was no where to store it.  However, since all this milk was pumped while I was still eating dairy, it now became of zero use to us.  Afraid of a power outage and it all spoiling, or just expiring before we'd ever get to it - if we ever could, I signed up with The National Milk Bank and donated it... all 373 ounces.   That's 2.9 gallons of milk pumped in less than 2 months all while still feeding a newborn (and you wonder why I felt like a dairy cow!)



Bottle Battle
Since we no longer had stored milk, and I no longer was pumping because I was trying to keep my supply regulated to Ashlynn's demand, we stopped using bottles.  We had been using bottles from the moment she was born, and while I never expected to quit using them completely, I did want to limit them as much as possible when trying to get her to nurse during that week 3 to week 6 time frame.  I was afraid she might not nurse if she knew she'd be getting a bottle after and not have to work as hard. Once she finally was making strides nursing, it became so easy.  We could feed anytime, anywhere.  No clean up or prep or defrosting or sanitizing needed.

Also, once my supply was regulated to her demand, I could no longer pump a full bottle in 15 minutes time.  I would get an ounce, may two if I was lucky.  It would take me 4 nights of an added pumping session to get one bottle prepared for the weekend.  I did this when we had events like showers or doctors appointments and might need to have a bottle ready to go. However, after our GI follow up at 5 months, she never had a bottle again.  This also means, yes, I never left her side long enough to miss a feeding.

Go ahead, judge the insanity of that one.  However, it worked for me and worked for our family.  This made me extremely grateful to be a stay at home mom and have this opportunity.


The Reward


Being the one that could feed the baby, while a huge commitment, was so rewarding on so many levels.  This meant, no help in the middle of the night, no help so I could get my hair or nails done,  leave for a girls night out, etc.  It also left my husband out of the feeding portion of her needs for few months, which did suck. However, he was still able to bathe, snuggle, rock, change, and nap with her like the best of them.  And he was so supportive.  He saw how hard I worked those first 6 weeks trying to get her to latch and nurse and break the bottle and pumping cycle that was breaking me down.   He was a great cheerleader (who I think secretly was enjoying the sleep) and supported my decisions and ultimately wanted what was best for us, and that was the ease of nursing.

Back to the bond, being the one she needed created such a deep bond between us, still to this day if she falls down or is crying, she wants her mommy.  I never minded the middle of the night feedings, so long as she would actually feed and go back to sleep, which she did through most of her babydom.  The teething didn't really start until she pushed one year, so we never had an issue with biting - thank goodness!  I am so proud we made it as long as we did and so glad it became easy as pie after the rocky start.  There were times I wasn't sure how long it'd last, like in the early days when she couldn't nurse from the left, or the dairy intolerance, but I'm so proud I stuck through the difficulties and tried to give her what was best for her and keep our bond and snuggle time alive.


Weaning
I planned to wean Ashlynn sometime after the one year mark.  I was hoping to transition to milk and replace our feedings with sippies of milk and letting it take it's course at her time.  I didn't want to be nursing at 18 months, but if it two 2 or 3 to completely drop a final feeding, I'd be okay with that.


But life is what happens, when your busy making other plans...  in our case, pregnancy.  When I called my OB to set up my first appointment I asked about weaning and what they recommended, they said as soon as I could since my body was using resources to both create and sustain this developing life as well as produce my milk.  I also asked her pediatrician since she was a few weeks shy of 12 months and I wanted to know if I could supplement our dropped feedings with milk instead of using formula for 2-3 weeks then transitioning.  They were all for it and didn't place pressure on me to rush, but did agree I was probably feeling exhausted due to doing both.

As I mentioned in her weekly updates, we took exactly a month to fully wean.  We found out we were expecting on April 5th and her last nursing session was before bed on Cinco de Mayo!  Fiesta!  We started with 4 feedings and basically dropped one each week.  I was slow dropping from 3 to 2 because of her birthday week.  I didn't want to disrupt her and throw her off schedule when we had visiting family and a party to throw.  Once that was over she dropped so easily from 3 to 2, I waited one week and dropped to one.  I noticed she really didn't even notice so two days later I just stopped and never looked back.  She never seemed to care, although we did need to work out some new bedtime routines.


Other bits

I did come down with some sort of a mastitis/clogged ducts twice.  Each time I woke up with a fever, chills, and an incredibly sore boob. I would pump and use heat compresses and nurse as much as I could and within a few hours my fever and chills would have subsided.  So I never needed a prescription for antibiotics, so it might have just been a clogged duct, that started with mastitis like symptoms.  Still not sure, but it was NOT fun!


As I said, Ashlynn was a late teether, so I never had to deal with biting.


Ashlynn gained weight in line with the breast fed babies growth chart.  She gained very quickly early on and around 6 months seemed to level out.  Actually, I'd have to check the baby book, but I think she gained 11 pounds in her first 6 months and less than an additional 3 in her second 6 months.  (seriously, look at her chunk - those arms!)

Due to my oversupply created by pumping, we also battled a forceful letdown that made nursing very difficult in the beginning.   I found expresses some milk before her feedings really helpful in getting a better latch and less choking and swallowed air.



In the end, while I still maintain nursing was harder than labor, I'm so glad we all persevered and were able to make it as long as we did.  I'm already getting anxiety over what baby #2 will bring in that department - will he/she be a natural and no immediate pumping required and let my supply develop naturally?  Will I have another oversupply or will I have an under supply and have to venture into new things like Mother's Milk Tea and Fenugreek?  Will we have latch issues?  When will I pump since this time around I want the option of bottle feeding and having daddy and other family members more involved.  Will we have issues with baby taking a bottle or quitting the bottle?  Things we never had to deal with, with Ashlynn.  I know I'm way ahead of myself and I'm hoping that things go as smoothly as possible and will cross whatever hurdles we meet when we get there.

So with that, I end our nursing journey.  If you made it this far, go treat yourself to some ice cream!


Monday, June 24, 2013

Weekend Fun

Oh boy, it's not even 10am Monday morning and I already feel l need a do-over on the day... Mondays, gotta hate them.  However weekends, they are fantastic.



Ours started Friday afternoon, when the Husband came home from work early (to continue to work from home) and be here during Ashlynn's nap while I had my 16 week check up at the doctors.  All is well and this morning I went in to finish my bloodwork for my sequential screening (and totally got stabbed by the needle, no fun, definitely going to leave a mark).  I'll catch up on the 4th Month this week as I'll be starting Month 5 on Friday (time is flying!).

Saturday we woke up early and had blueberry pancakes and played for a bit.  After a nap we headed to our second swim lesson and Ashlynn was even more comfortable then last week, despite the colder water, what gives YMCA?  She still isn't crazy about floating on her back, but had lots of fun splashing around and did great holding on to my shoulders and kicking her legs (with help).  She also looked super cute in her little suit she got from her little boyfriend Ethan for her birthday.



After that we came home, crushed some lunch and got in the bath to get off all the chlorine and leftover veggie lasagna.  Then it was time for a nap... a three hour nap!  Mommy got some time to lay out, shower, nap, and watch a bit of a movie the Husband.  We decided to head out for dinner.  Sounds odd, but there is a "pub" inside our grocery store, they serve wine and beer (not that I indulged) and the food is really good, and priced right (aka cheap!).  It's perfect place to take a toddler since it's not quiet or overly crowded.  Ashlynn shared some zucchini fries with us and naan pizza with her dad, I had a crab cake and side salad.  After, we walked over to the other side of the outdoor mall for some ice cream, this time we let Ashlynn try chocolate.  Like her mom, she loved it!

We came back and walked the dogs and then she was ready for bed.  She slept from 7:15pm Saturday until about 7:45am Sunday!!  She did wake up once around 9 crying, I think a nightmare, just wanted a hug and went right back done, and then again around 3:45 for her paci.  Either way, I don't think we've stayed in bed that late since before she was born.  This of course set her up for a one nap day... she went down around 9:45 and slept until 12:45!  And then was of course ready to crash by 7.

Unfortunately, the sleep didn't repeat she was back up at 5:30am this morning, but apparently we may be consolidating to 1 nap.  She fought going down until about 9:45 so I have no idea what's in store for us today.   Oh, and she finally cut the left front tooth... I think we are midst of working on the right!

Other fun weekend happenings, included me getting out - ALONE - for a pedicure and target run and we all checked out a mattress shop because ours needs to go, like now.  It's probably 10 years old and regardless of being pregnant, sleep is awful.  It's hard to wake up in a good mood when your sleep isn't sound, or comfortable.  Hopefully we'll have a new mattress in a few weeks!

Friday, June 21, 2013

[Recipe Share] Veggie Lasagna




Veggie lasagna is a total staple in our house.  We had to go months without it when I went dairy free for Ashlynn's MSPI, but she's back on dairy and so am I!  It's definitely one of her favorite meals, she eats portions as big as ours, and it's a great way to get tons of veggies in her.



I started making a variation of this recipe after using one I found in a sorority cookbook a few years ago.  I'm not really one who follows recipes exactly, unless baking of course, so I'm sure if I were to look that recipe up this would now be really different.   Actually, it's usually different each time I make it since I usually just grab whatever veggies need to go.

I make it A LOT with eggplant, although I didn't this time.  If you'd like to try it with eggplant, I pare the eggplant and slice it in 1/2" pieces then cube it up and saute with the rest of the veggies I'm using.



For last night's recipe, here's what I used...

1/2 large onion - chopped
1 green pepper - chopped
1 yellow squash - sliced in halves
handful button mushrooms - sliced
1 package frozen spinach (thawed)
2 TBSP minced garlic
EVOO
6-8 lasagna noodles (I use ready to bake)
15oz container of ricotta cheese (organic)
shredded mozzarella (organic)
marinara sauce 


Directions:

1. Heat two swirls of EVOO in a stock pot.  Add garlic and onion.  I usually chop the rest of my veggies while the garlic and onion get a head start sautéing.



2.  Add fresh veggies to pot and stir.  Drain thawed spinach, removing as much water as you can.



3.  Once veggies are softened, turn off burner and add spinach and ricotta cheese. Mix.



4.  In baking dish (8x8 for ready to bake noodles, 9x11 for cooked noodles) spread thin coating of sauce to bottom of pan.  Layer first two noodles.  Add veggie ricotta mixture and top with thin layer of sauce, making sure noodles are fully covered so they will cook (if using ready to bake).  Add next layer of noodles and repeat process until out of ricotta mixture or baking dish is full.



5.  Top final layer of mixture with two noodles and cover completely in sauce, top with mozzarella cheese to your liking.



** I love prepping this dish during Ashlynn's nap and covering with foil and throwing it in fridge until we are ready to eat**

6.  Preheat oven to 350.  Bake for 30 minutes and let cool for 5 min.   Enjoy!





You can really use any veggie combination you like, I typically use eggplant, zucchini, spinach, onion, and usually add in whatever else I have on hand.  You could easily use kale, red pepper, sundried tomatos, or even add beans.  I believe the original recipe used a teaspoon or two of italian seasoning, but depending on your sauce you might already be getting enough flavor.





ENJOY!!




Wednesday, June 19, 2013

14 Months



Yesterday Ashlynn turned 14 months!  Here's how things are going lately...



Says:
Mama, Dada, Doggie, Hi - (mostly "Hi Dog-gie"), Duck (Dut), Ball (Bah), Bunny (Bun Bun), Belly/Belly Button (Buh or Bah Buh), Banana (Nah Nah), Baby (Bay Bah), Meow.  She can also sign "more" and is working on "please"... almost has it!



Loves:
Running around like a mad woman. Wearing shoes... and trying to eat them when taking them off. Dogs, ours and everyone else's   Finding the kittens on every page of Goodnight Moon.  Her Bunny.  Putting her dirty meal hands in her hair.  Putting things in buckets and trying to put lids on things.  Babbling... and yelling.  Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Getting the mail. Ripping out clips, bows, and headbands from her hair.  Laughing at me in my sunglasses.  Going for stroller rides, especially our family walks with the dogs and her milk after dinner.  Clapping her hands to If You're Happy and Know It.  Swimming and splashing in water of any kind... her water table, clean up after finger paints, the dog bowl - ugh!

Oh and her giant red bouncy ball.  $2 and favorite toy in the house. 


Hates:
Bedtime, sometimes.  Sometimes she'll go down no problem, other nights are a bear.  Not a fan of diaper changes and car rides... same ol' same ol'. 




Sleeps:
Aside from not always going to bed easily, she typically sleeps through the night no problem.  Wakes up early... between 5:30-6:30am, goes down between 7-7:30pm, and naps like a boss.  Morning nap from 8:30-10am (give or take) and afternoon nap 1:30-3:30.


Eats:
Like her daddy... almost everything and anything.  Girlfriend loves asparagus frittata, veggie lasagna, chicken of any kind, salmon and tilapia, noodles, mac, eggs, hummus, berries, beans, pancakes, french toast, you name it.  Also uses her spoon and fork with pretty decent aim.




Wears:
I feel like we regressed. She wears 12-18 shirts, but mostly 6-12 everything else.  She's starting to really thin out always running around, she's actually developing ankles, and her 12-18 shorts just fall right off her.  12-18 dresses fit, but the arm holes are large and 6-12 fit better.  Hell, she still wears a few 0-3 Baby Gap dresses as tunics.


Goes:
On play-dates, out to eat like a pro, to the Apple store for mommy to deal with her Mac problems 3x in one week. Out for ice cream and water ice (both her first time).



Does:
The Hot Dog Dance, climbs up and down the stairs like a ninja, loves to play on the step into the family room, and going through the dog toy bin holding up each toy saying "Dog".  Stands up in the bathtub all the time... I've still been using the baby tub (she fits and it saves water), but I think it's time to graduate to using the tub like a big girl, she's constantly trying to get up to grab toys, shampoo, the whale on the faucet.   She brushes her two little bottom teeth like a pro and thinks it's fun - I hope that lasts through rest of her never-ending teething. 


This kid is such a riot and total joy.  They way she shouts "Da!" and waves when her daddy walks in the door melts my heart.  They way she plays hide and seek (behind my back) cracks me up.  The way she wrestles and wants to join in when the dogs are playing with each other... well usually it makes me nervous she'll get knocked over, but her fearlessness and will to join in the fun because they're her best friends makes me happy.  Getting to spend every day with this kid is the best gift I could ever receive.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Honest Truth: The Emotions of Two


The ride I've been taken on being pregnant again is much different from my pregnancies prior to having a child.  Of course there are the physical differences, mainly that I feel less pregnant in terms of sickness and other symptoms and of course look more pregnant in terms of my belly popping much earlier.  

But being completely honest, it's the emotional roller coaster ride that is crazy.  For as long as I can remember, I always wanted two or three children - big house, white picket fence, and of course a SUV - no minivans for this momma!  The Husband is happily fulfilled with two kiddos and no more, so we will god-willing have our completed family by the end of the year, and that makes my heart swell.  Even though my brother and I aren't super tight, I loved having a brother growing up and think having a sibling is important for a child.  For the good times and of course the bad times too... 

When we first found out we were expecting, we were thrilled with what a surprise it was.  As I mentioned before, it wasn't unplanned, but it was a surprise.  Especially since bringing Ashlynn into our lives was quite the medical adventure. We felt so lucky that we were getting to be that story that people always throw out there, "Oh well, so and so had so much trouble, and then their next came with ease"... we were getting to be "so and so" and I felt like I had to pinch myself daily and that it possibly couldn't be this easy and it wouldn't last (ah, the mentally of a loss momma... the fear never leaves you). 

As the weeks ticked on, and my days continued to revolve around Ashlynn, I started thinking more about her then this life quickly developing.  It may have been a way to compartmentalize my anxieties and not allow myself to get attached, but my life revolves around this child who wakes me up in the mornings, rubs her sticky hands all over my shirt, gives open mouth kisses, and random hugs out of the blue.  I started thinking about how her life would change and while all these changes will come when she is too young to ever remember this life we have before four, I still can't help but worry.


How will she handle being watched when I'm in labor and go to the hospital... without her. For two days, and hopefully not more.  How will she feel when I'm feeding the newborn and she wants to sit in my lap and read a book.  Or when its time for bed... or bath... or breakfast, or anything that she's used to and it's being interrupted by a crying sibling.   Will she be mad at us... more specifically, mad at me?  Will she still know that I love her more than anything and that she's not being replaced?

Of course, at the same time I realize she will quickly adjust to the new life in our house and learn that she can't monopolize our attention 24/7 and of course, that's a lesson we want her to learn.  We want her to learn while she is our world, the world does not revolve around here. 


As the weeks continue to further pass, I'm finding these worries starting to fade away.  I know the adjustment period will go quickly in the scheme of things and in the end it'll all be worth it and all work itself out. I'll figure out who to put in the car first and who gets fed, or changed, or tended to when crying during the night.  It won't be rocket science and life will go on without anyone needing therapy... that's what the teenage years are for!

Lastly, I always hear the statement... "your love doesn't divide with two children, your heart doubles".  It's a statement at this point, I still can't wrap my head around.  I know I will understand when that day comes and I look forward to it

...more so every day.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Weekend Recap - Father's Day Edition!

We had a great pseudo-long weekend.  The Husband was able to take off Friday from work, but unfortunately it wasn't to hang with us, it was to go to the US Open :: cue jealousy::  He got a ticket last minute from a friend and headed over (it was held local to us this year).  They lucked out with the weather since Thursday had some major rain storms come through and suspended play for a bit.  A and I watched from home.  The Husband and I celebrated our first anniversary by going to the US Open in 2010 in Pebble Beach, it was definitely a trip to remember - even if we weren't allowed to bring cameras!



On Saturday, we tackled some major yard work while A tried to nap.  She never went down for her morning since she randomly decided to sleep until 7am.  Unheard of for her, damn dog still woke me up at 5:30... so annoying!


old navy suit (last year, similar and another) | toms | snack trap

Afterwards we headed over to the Y for our first swim lesson!  Ashlynn did great and only had a few scared moments when being flipped to her belly or to her back, but quickly relaxed once she realized I wasn't dropping her or letting go.   She had a lot of fun and we are excited to go back next week.



For Father's Day we started with some fun family playtime and then actually had a successful morning nap. Then we went to our favorite brunch spot to celebrate.  We started the tradition of heading to White Dog for brunch last Father's Day and now have spent my birthday and Mother's Day there as well.  It's just so good!  Ashlynn was so well behaved, eating her eggs and pointing out all the doggies in the decor.  She really makes it easy to go out.


Afterwards we came home for some naps (and golf) and then headed over to Nanny and Pop Pop's for their Father's Day BBQ.  The weather turned on us and started to rain, but we still enjoyed our time chasing bouncy balls, playing with Minnie Mouse and showing everyone how we climb the stairs and run around like a mad woman... and by we, I mean Ashlynn.  Obv.


Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and Father's Day celebrating the great dad's in their lives!


Friday, June 14, 2013

[BIMO] 90s Child

While most of the time I'm living under a shopping rock and really only following trends that fit those 35" and under, I have noticed the huge 90s revival in fashion making a comeback... and as a child of 80s who grew up in the 90s (I started first grade in '89 and graduated high school in '01) I'm loving the throw back.

I could probably do without the return of Spice Girl and Britney Spears stacked platform sneakers and shiny plastic pleather pants, not that I've seen them yet, but the grungy Doc Martin inspired boots, cropped tops, skater dresses, floral prints, are all happily welcome in this turn of style nostalgia.  Anyone else running to their Netflix queue to add some Empire Records, My So Called Life, Clueless.... Cruel Intentions, She's All That, Saved by the Bell, Save the Last Dance, okay I definitely have a 90s teen movie and tv obsession!



Since I'm usually shopping for Ashlynn, and not typically myself these days (especially now that I'm heading back into maternity land), I thought I'd post some of favorite child finds and the 90s inspired Mommy Outfits.





What's your favorite 90s trend?  Are you more into the neon and cut outs of the 80s?  Bohemian looks of the 70s?  Spill it!





Thursday, June 13, 2013

[Recipe Share] Dirt Pudding



If you never got to dig in a sand bucket of 'dirt and worms' as a kid, I'm sending you a big comforting hug, and insist you go make yourself an indulgent batch now!  Sure, dirt pudding is no classy mini personalized summer berry tarts or grown up chianti flavored cupcakes, but it's family friendly, fun, and freaking delicious!

There are about 100 different variations on how to make this.  I reduced the amount of powdered sugar and used 1/3 fat cream cheese and omitted the butter that a lot of recipes include.  I also used two different puddings, when most make it easy and just use one (2 boxes) - which reduces clean up.


Ingredients
1 8oz package cream cheese (softened)
1 small box vanilla pudding
1 small box chocolate pudding
3 C milk (separated)
1 package oreos
1 container Cool Whip (thawed)
1/2 cup powdered sugar


Directions:
  • Get out the food processor and puree those oreos.  I used about a sleeve (1/3) for each layer, so it might be easier to do them in batches as you go depending on the size of your food processor.
  • Prepare pudding as directed, however instead of 2 C cold milk in each batch, I used 1 1/2C to keep it dense since it becomes part of a mixture.  Refrigerate for at least 5 minutes or until set.
  • Mix together cream cheese, cool whip, and powdered sugar.  When pudding is set, divide cream cheese mixture in half and mix each with pudding until blended.  
  • Layer each pudding mixture between crumbled oreos and top with finely ground oreos and gummy worms.  Refrigerate for an hour or two before serving



This is also the base for a great pudding trifle if you need a fun dessert for a potluck or family party.  You can add food coloring to make it holiday appropriate (add red and blue to divided vanilla pudding for Fourth of July) or use chopped snickers bars, Nilla wafers, or even fresh berries for the cookie layers.  It's so easy to get creative and it's sure to please everyone young and old!