Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mama said there'd be days likes this....

I realize it's Halloween, but we are having one shitty spooky week.  So like usual, here's the bullet list. 


> Ashlynn woke up every two hours Monday night.  Thankfully, each time she was easily consoled just being in my arms rocking and I could hear she was getting stuffy.  By morning she was up at 6 and not going to go back to bed.  We started our day and her little nose became a faucet. 

I attempted a few naps, she wasn't taking any of them really, but I was just hoping she'd get some rest to make up for the night.  Whiny day overall and was in bed by 6:15.  Of course she was up about 90 minutes later, and again multiple times through the night, but she can't breathe and probably feels like crap.  I don't blame her. 


>  While hoping she would nap on Tuesday, I was once again dealing with our insane dogs (driven crazy by my pregnancy).  I was trying to keep them quiet and stop them from barking at me (seriously), so I decided to go clean out my car since we need to add the second carseat this weekend. Of course, Baxter barked the whole time, so I took our 20 foot lead and tied it to a tree out back.  I took him out and on the way fell through our patio steps.  Again, seriously. Can't make this stuff up.


The previous owners DIY'd the patio, who knows how many years ago.  The steps are made of a combination of cinderblock and railroad ties. Somehow the cinderblock step collapsed in and I fell down the whole way up to my knee.  Thankfully, I didn't break or sprain or anything or worse fall down the steps on my belly.  But really?!



>  Tuesday night fared about the same and same with Wednesday.  After a cranky morning, I finally got an okay nap out of her and she was peach for the rest of the afternoon.  Until 5pm.  Then it was meltdown city.  Wouldn't eat, wouldn't do anything, so I threw her in fresh jammies and stuck her in bed.  At 5:30.  With no dinner (not for lack of trying).  She passed out within 5 minutes. 


>  Highlight of Wednesday was when our new range was delivered.  We ordered it from Home Depot during their Columbus Day Sale.  The previous range was so filthy that it was impossible to clean, it was original stainless (the kind that fingerprints immediately) and the whole stove top was cast iron so everything got caked on.   On top of that, the burners didn't cook evenly with only having power to boil water in less than ten minutes and on occasion would blow up while trying to ignite.   So yeah, it was overdue.   We had a GE at our last house that we loved, so we decided to go with that brand again.  We got the GE Adora and so far it's a million years better.   

Although, don't expect too many new recipes coming your way.  Motivation to cook has dwindled to zero.  


> Update:  Since starting this post 2 hours ago, I've been upstairs to hold my baby 4x.  THAT is the highlight of Wednesday.  Cuddles are far and few between.  I get some prolonged hugs once and while that make me melt, but just wanting me to come hold her (not at 2am) never happens.  Loved it.   Just hope it ends so we both can get a full night's rest, we need it!


>  Lastly, yes, today is Halloween.  We have plans to do some minimal trick or treating (basically just showing off to our favorite neighbors) and then back to hand out candy so we don't get egged.  Bonus, temps are supposed to hit 70 so no crazy bundling up!

Hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween!  Can't wait to see the recaps and instagrams of all the cuties in their costumes!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

[Girl Moms] On Wednesdays We Wear Pink... and feathers on Halloween


Hey guys!! I’m Melissa Montgomery, owner and designer of Georgia & Jane, a handmade accessory shop! Even though I’m not an official blogger, Erinn trusted me enough to take over for the day. So, let’s talk all things Halloween!

When I was young, my mom always made my Halloween costumes. As with so many of the things she did for me,  it is really important to me to continue tradition for my little girl, Savannah.

Last year for her first Halloween costume, I took inspiration from the popular tribal trend.


I attached brown suede fringe from Hobby Lobby around the arms of a onesie. This tutorial helped in making the tutu. I used a pack of feathers from JoAnn Fabrics to make her headband and to jazz up her tutu. Cute moccs from Gap (purchased last year) tied everything together.

I’m guessing that next year when Savannah is two and a half, she will start to have an opinion about her costume. Just in case this truly is my last year of having control, I wanted to make her look…well…completely ridiculous and over-the-top. Insert: mass amounts of feathers. Wish us luck on Thursday, because the test run didn’t go too well…


I used one white and two blue feather boas from JoAnn Fabrics and basically just smothered a blue shirt in hot glue to make them stay. Actually, I tried sewing at first. Key word: tried. Let’s just say I won’t be joining Erinn in whipping up any teepees anytime soon.

The gold tights for her little bird legs are from We Love Colors. For the headpiece, I took an alligator clip and attached a rectangle of blue felt to make a base. I then glued a leftover piece of a blue boa to the back of the base, glued two felt eyes, and attached a beak. The beak was made using a rectangle of gold felt. I folded the corners in to make a triangle at the end, and pinched the other end to form a beak shape.  And don't mind the bird feet, the test run proved those to be awful.  I'm sure I'll come up with solution by Thursday! 


As for Halloween d├ęcor, I kept my mantle simple but spooky. I framed one of J&Paper’s chalkboard prints and surrounded it with an antique-looking gold frame from HobLob. I also added a vase of stark branches for some height and a black feather wreath from Pier One.


My absolute favorite part, though, is the bat garland! If you’d prefer to buy one, this etsy listing will do the trick! Or, if you’re like me and think, “How can I make that?” whenever you see something crafty, follow these instructions: Google “bat clip art” and find a plain outline that you like, then print it out in the size you prefer. Trace the bat on black card stock and cut.  Finally, attach the bats to twine by threading or using hot glue, which is what I used…because I hot glue everything in life. It’s the women’s version of duct tape, is it not?


As for Halloween baby fashion…it’s all about the headbands, duh! Instead of spending a bunch of money on holiday outfits that Savannah would probably only wear once or twice, I usually just dress her in simple clothes with a festive headband. (Dear husband: Does this make me “frugal” at all? Are you impressed?)


Although my Halloween headbands are no longer available, it’s never too early to start shopping for Christmas! ;-)



Erinn, thank you for allowing me to act like a blogger for the day on your awesome blog! I hope you all enjoy a fun Halloween! Now let’s just hope the Montgomery house is stocked with enough candy for the big day. Last year I ran out by 6:00 p.m. and seriously contemplated passing out Lean Cuisines and rolls of toilet paper.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Weekend "Wrap Up"

You know I love a good pun... and this weekend I was "wrapped up" in my new favorite cardigan, the Come On Over cardigan from In Bloom Boutique.



After teaming up for last month's giveaway with In Bloom Boutique, I had mentioned to owner Kelly that I would love to know when the Come On Over Cardigan came back in stock in my size (small) because I was obsessed with it.  Instead she generously sent it over to me to try out when it did!




It's seriously the perfect Fall sweater - not too heavy, not too thin (ie. keeps you warm, but thin enough to cover with a coat come even cooler temps) and perfect for a super prego like myself.  Nothing like a drapey cardigan to dress up the bump.  Obviously, after last month's review,  you know I got a thing for open cardigans to accomodate this basketball sized belly!


If you love this cardigan as much as I do, or any of the other cute offerings from In Bloom Boutique, shop now and save 10% with code STRAWBERRY10!



Happy shopping, hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Five

I used to a do a Five and Five occassionally on Fridays, but not limited to them.  I know the Five on Friday link up is huge and finally decided this week I'd join!  So many random things to touch on, I thought this would be the perfect way....




1.  We had Ashlynn's 18 month check up on Wednesday.  31" tall and 22lbs 4 oz, still our little shortcake.   She officially hates check ups.  I mean she hasn't been a fan the last few visits, but as soon as I put her on the scale (which she wouldn't sit, she stood) her little lip started quivering and it didn't stop until we left.  I honestly think she's now scarred by crinkle paper because whenever she comes to my OB appts she gets very serious when I sit on the table.

Outside of not wanting to be looked at and hating shots, she's meeting all her milestones and one healthy (and usually happy) baby toddler.


2.  Speaking of OB appointments.  I had two check ups this week.  The first was on Monday at MFM to check out baby.  At my 32 week appointment the baby was measuring behind.  I wasn't too concerned since Ashlynn measured behind around that point too and caught up.  The doctor didn't seem alarmed, but thought why not check - an extra sneak peek for me, sure!

Turns out Kenley is measuring a bit above average.  They estimated she weighs around 4lb 14oz, doctor said her heart looked 'textbook', and she's still a "she"!

I had my 34 week appointment yesterday and all was well there.  Still measuring behind, but growing properly by weeks, most likely due to being a shortcake myself (I'm only 5'2").  Here's to hoping I make it to my 36 week!


3. This was going to get it's own post, and probably still will, but let's briefly chat Christmas.  Last Christmas was a bit of a let down for Ashlynn's first.  We had just moved out of our house 4 days prior and were living with my in-laws until the end of January when we closed on this home.  I did manage to put up our little 4' tree and hang stockings on their mantle, but it wasn't what many imagine for their child's first Christmas.  That also brings me quickly to facts that I'm married to Scrooge and also, will 8 month old Ashlynn really remember her first Christmas?

Anyway, I got over it, especially since I'm not the Christmas enthusiast who starts playing Christmas music on November 1st.  I've always been strictly no tree or decor until Black Friday (that was our family's tradition growing up instead of shopping) and I love Thanksgiving way too much than to give it the brush off.

All that said, I'm ITCHING to get the house decorated for Christmas!  I went totally half assed for "Fall-oween" just putting out some pumpkins, pinecones, and changed our mantel's chalkboard art.   I want this First Christmas in our new home to be memorable for all of us - Husband, me, Ashlynn, and little baby Kenley too.  Ashlynn will definitely have more fun participating this year and really taking in the decor and wonder of the season.


I know so many stores have great decorations, but I'm sucker for Crate & Barrel.  Year after year, I hit them up post season to get clearance goodies and they just always hit the spot.  When I got the catalog this week I squealed.  I'm trying to rationalize these stocking holders, but pretty sure the Husband would die if I spent $80 on wood and wire.




4.  Ok.  While all the above is truth, if I'm being even more honest, for Kenley's newborn photos I'm planning a family holiday shoot.  So yes, I want the house decorated prior to her arrival so I don't have to worry about that afterwards.

Sisters photographed by the lights of the tree?  Family on the hearth with stockings and garland hanging behind us? Yes, please!  



5.  Nursery progress.  I finally finished my teepee orders and have been able to work on getting Kenley's room together.  Still holding out to see which comes first, baby or a completed nursery, but I'll definitely be sharing some DIY tutes and a reveal soon!



Have a great weekend, Friends!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

[#2] Countdown is on!

Tomorrow I'll be 34 weeks, which puts me 9 days away from when I would have given birth to Ashlynn.  I know this has no bearing on when I'll give birth to Kenley, but of course it's always in the back of my head.  It's a totally overwhelming thought as I don't feel 'prepared' for baby at all, but of course, in other ways, wanted her here yesterday.


I've gotten a lot of questions on previous posts, instagram, and emails, and thought I'd run through some of them here on one centralized post on this pregnancy, baby plans, and baby in general.  Also, a few other things I've thought about recently on my own, but haven't shared yet.




"What are your labor plans?"

This wasn't actually asked, but something I've thought of... barely.  Before Ashlynn, I had plans to attempt a med-free natural birth in a hospital setting.  I read the Hypnobirthing book and took a class (the weekend before she came!).  While it was my preference to avoid labor induction and pain management drugs, I was never hell bent on not having them if needed and recommended by my doctor.  When my water broke at 35 weeks, all bets were off.  I was so afraid of why I went into pre-term labor all I wanted was my baby delivered safely.

Possibly, since my labor wasn't horrific, I'm not stressing too much about this time.  I think it's also that I feel I have zero control over the situation - water breaking, early labor and hours of contractions, or a fast delivery, etc. That due to that, I'll just take the day as it comes.  If the situation allows me to have "med-free" birth, great.  If not, then we'll take our options as they come.  All that matters is that Kenley arrives safely.




"Are you buying another crib?"

Yes.  The Husband was against this in the beginning thinking having two cribs was ridiculous, however I don't think Ashlynn is at an age where we are quite ready to transition to a "big girl" bed.  Even though the baby will stay in our room 6-12 weeks (hoping the former, but up to the latter depending on her needs), I still don't think we'll be ready to have Ashlynn to have "free reign" of her room at night.

Also, her crib did come with a toddler rail and her mattress is dual sided.  I thought it made more sense to buy a second crib and mattress for Kenley than the more expensive option of  a "big girl" set for Ashlynn and a twin mattress - that wouldn't be waterproof.  Since I don't anticipate potty training until we settle as a family of four, a ruined mattress would be money in the toilet.   Especially since we still deal with night leaks at times and who knows what potty training will bring.

When Ashlynn is 3ish we'll redo her room to a "big girl" room with new furniture, decor, bedding, etc. and let her express her own wishes on what she wants in her room.




"Are you having a Sprinkle for Baby K?"

Not that I'm aware of.  While it has been common for my friends to throw sprinkles for each other, almost everyone's second baby has been the opposite sex, which makes more sense.  Having another girl, so close in age to my first, we really don't need much.



(I want my pink shirt back!)

"Are you using hand me downs or have you bought a lot of new items?"

Combination, but mostly hand-me-downs.  We have all the gear - infant carrier car seat, pack n play, rock n play, bouncer, jumperoos, Ergo/Moby, bumbo, and boppy.  We also have plenty of swaddles (though I need to find a good stain remover!), sleep sacks, and actually a bunch of bottles we never used with Ashlynn!  We were also given a dual umbrella stroller from a friend who no longer needed it, and are planning to borrow an extra bouncer from another.  We'll eventually purchase a BOB dualie, but probably not until spring when I'd actually use it.

Clothing of course will be passed down, although their newborn/0-3m sizes are off in seasons (Ashlynn started wearing NB in May (she was in preemie at birth), and 0-3 over the summer.  This baby will likely be in 0-3 from December-February ish.  So outside of not using sundresses and short sleeve onesies and rompers, we should be good going forward.

Lastly, we obviously bought new things for the nursery - furniture, bedding, and decor.  I'll also need to get new things like fresh pacifiers, bottle nipples, pump parts, and of course good old diapers.   I'm sure I'll think of things after the fact that mommy brain has forgotten about  (but I haven't forgotten about my mommy needs - oh boy! fun, fun, can't wait!)




"Where is your chair from?"

I'll do a whole post with the nursery reveal with item sourcing, so if you've asked about something else, it'll be there, but I wanted to focus on the nursery chair since it's similar to the crib situation.  Just opposite.

Unlike having two cribs in the house, we did not want two gliders/nursery chairs.  Ashlynn's chair is a Best Chair that rocks, swivels, and reclines - just wish it washed the dishes! While it wasn't PBKids or Serena & Lily expensive (I think in $600 ballpark), it was still pricy enough that we didn't want to buy another.  Nor do we want to be stuck with two "nursery" type chairs after the babies are grown.

After thinking that I didn't even start rocking Ashlynn until about 4 months when we starting getting consistent with a nightly routine, I figured I didn't need a chair that rocked.  I nursed Ashlynn on the couch, on my bed, etc, never with an issue.  We really didn't rely on "rocking" until probably closer to a year when I would cuddle and rock in the night when trying to wean from night feedings.   We bought an affordable Ikea chair (that was on Family Member Sale!!) that we can use in Kenley's room for now for a place to sit, and figure when we don't need to rock Ashlynn we can swap the chairs.  We still use her chair daily for story time and rocking while we sing before bed and during her night wakings (teething or nightmare episodes).  I figure by the time we switch to a toddler bed and teething comes to an end, a stationary chair will do just fine and the rocker can go to Kenley.  Plus, the Ikea chair can be easily recovered to go in any other room or sold for good resale on Craigslist.



"What's different this time around?"

Everything and nothing.  Of course that's not true at all, but as any first time mom can attest, things change.  You swore you'd do this or that and your big "plans" fall by the wayside to doing what you felt was best in the moment.

I plan on transitioning Kenley to her crib sooner (we'll see).  I plan on using bottles more often - this will be necessary having a toddler to tend to.  If I'm cooking dinner or tending to Ashlynn, Daddy can give a bottle.  This means I'll be pumping more (cry!) - that is if breastfeeding even goes smoothly this time around - we had our battles with the first bout.  We won't be cloth diapering Kenley like we did Ashlynn her first 8 months.  I actually sold a lot of the diapers and have a few left (girl colors) if anyone is interested.

I was pretty obsessed with label reading and natural products before having Ashlynn, knowing the best and most earth friendly formulas thanks to stalking safemama.com.  While I still buy mainly organic and natural products (Honest Company, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Burt Bees, Yes to Carrots, California Baby, etc) - and do for myself as well, there are things I'm not as crazy about.  If a natural diaper ointment isn't working, I'll happily breaking out the A&D to clear it up than prolonging a rash because I want the coconut oil to kick in.   Same with food.  We mainly eat clean and organic as a household, but sure, Ashlynn gets her fair share of goldfish and treats when we are out.  I'm not going to be the mom who refuses to let her eat a cupcake or slice of pizza.  It's just all balance.  Kenley will be getting probably even more "balance" than Ashlynn as I imagine it becomes easier to "let go" as a second time mom.




"Are you prepared?"

Well this is pretty broad question.

Prepared in terms of "stuff".  Yes.  We have "stuff".  Is it prepared?  No.  We need to dig the car seat and baby corralling items out of the basement and give them a good wash.  Hopefully this weekend.

HAVE I prepared??

Going back to the labor question, no.  I haven't looked at a birthing book, nor really done anything to prep my body.  I did pre-natal yoga with Ashlynn and if you count lifting her and picking up toys working out (...and I do now-a-days) then, yes, yes I am working out.  In seriousness though, I was walking the neighborhood up until about 28 weeks when that would trigger Braxton Hicks episodes so I stopped.

... and finally mentally prepared?

I think as much as one can be.  We are so excited to welcome this baby to our family, watch her grow the way we have with Ashlynn, and also watch Ashlynn be a big sister.  I can't wait to watch the bond between them grow and as Blair wrote on a WWWP post, I'm excited (and nervous) to tackle the responsibility of letting that relationship flourish to its potential and create two life long friends who will stand beside each other on their wedding days and find comfort and joy with their lives' ups and downs.


And maybe even braid each other's hair.


And probably play some mean tricks on good ol' mom.



I can't wait.   Kenley, we already love you so much!



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

[Girl Moms] On Wednesdays We Wear Pink... to football practice (and Red and Black to games!)


Hi there! I’m Rachel from Midwestern & Married and I am super excited to talk about being a girl mom today. I am a born-and-raised California girl adjusting to a new(ish) life as a Midwesterner and my life revolves around my husband (Joe) and my 17-month-old daughter (Emma).

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When Joe and I first found out we were having a baby, we both felt like it was going to be a boy. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that my husband is a college football coach, which means that our life revolves around football. It is a 24/7/365 commitment. And a baby boy would have fit so seamlessly into our lifestyle. I mean boys and football go hand-in-hand, right?

rmcY3p6Qi1DhnSYe1hHlp_uartKqzt2UJQpAm5vLf9oEmma's very first game

When we had our ultrasound appointment and found out we were having a little girl, we were both shocked (and ecstatic)! My mind immediately began thinking about the fashion possibilities that were now available to us. While boy fashion has come a long way in the past few years, it doesn't have a thing on girl fashion…let’s be real, here!

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Then I started thinking about football season. In our house, we I go all out for football games, so being decorated in fun and festive threads on Saturdays is a must! And babies are no exception.

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Since so much of our life is centered around such a male-dominated industry, fashion is a really fun way to celebrate our lifestyle while still being girly. Finding new clothes and accessories for Emma has been so freaking fun and I hope that it's something we can continue to bond over each football season.

2013-08-30 07.05.42-1Touchdown!!!

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Even though he would never admit it, I think Joe secretly enjoys Emma's Saturday fashion shows too.  Seeing this big, tough guy with his tiny little girl after practices and games is just about as heart-melting as you can get!

2013-10-04 16.06.55Checking over dad's game plan

While I used to worry about how a little girl would fit into this crazy, football dominated world of ours, Emma has quickly proven me wrong in every way. She reps her black and red every Saturday just like any other NIU fan (Go Huskies!!!) and I only hope her love for the game continues to grow right along with her.

whistleSomeone taught Emma how to blow a whistle (Spoiler alert: it wasn't me).

Thank you so much to Erinn for hosting us today. I absolutely adore this series and I can't wait to see more!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pumpkin Picking

We finally made it to the Pumpkin Patch!


While there are a lot of local farms and farm stands nearby that sell tons of pumpkins, we like to travel a further bit away to a true pumpkin patch.  I guess it's not a "true" patch since you aren't cutting them from the vine, but its a big farm and they litter the path with lots of pumpkins to go hunting through.   There are tractor rides out to the field or you can just walk out and pull a wagon if you like, as well as a corn stalk maze, animals to pet and feed, and lots of farm fresh produce for sale.  Oh, and there is a creamery on site, which is probably the only reason we travel to this farm every year.  The husband gets promise of a milkshake for his efforts!

We had originally planned to go Saturday, but Ashlynn slept in and then our morning was off schedule and we were itching to tackle the to-do list (lame).  So we thought we'd just go Sunday and hope it was less crowded with the absence of the church crowd. 

We got there 5 minutes before they officially opened and wandered around looking at the animals (ducks in the pond, cows, goats, and pigs) and pumpkin displays.  The sad thing was it was so cold!  I'm glad I packed Ashlynn's beanie last minute because she definitely needed it.  I'm also glad the Husband talked me out of letting her wear her new Uggs, because it was a bit muddy even though we haven't had rain in a few days.  When other people started to arrive we trekked out to the patch and let A find her pumpkin.  Of course, she likes to hold hands... at all times.  So we had to help guide her a bit.

Either way.  Enjoy photo overload from our cold family morning!



















And because I can't resist... from last year. 


mind. blown. 




Do you hit the pumpkin patch every year?  Buy them at the grocery store?  Steal them from your neighbor's porch?... kidding.