Friday, February 28, 2014

[Baby #2] Kenley Drew - 3 Month Update




Stats:
No official stats, her 4 month appointment will be meshed with Ashlynn's 2 year check up in April.


She's in 3-6m clothing and size 2 diapers. Teeny feet are still size 1 or the smallest option. 


Sleep:
Meh.  While it's definitely not bad, it could be much better.  I think I handle it pretty well and may have a skewed perception of what's "good".  The biggest issue is that she's chronically congested.  So many nights I hear her having trouble breathing and basically choking on mucus as she tries to breathe deeply.  Usually I get her up, give her saline drops if necessary, and then let her sleep in the rock n play so she's reclined and not laying flat.  It does seem to really help, but I try really hard not to create a habit.  


She also seems to crave closeness.  After a feeding and put her back down, she'll kick and fuss until I pick her back up and snuggle.  Usually this leads to co-sleeping, but she settles as soon as my breath and touch are near by.  I have to say the feeling is mutual.  I love hearing her breathe during the night and it's probably one of the reasons I've been procrastinating her move to her room.  This also occurs during the day, where she just seems she wants to be held close.  I can't blame her, I enjoy the snuggles too.


We've also stopped swaddling.  It was fairly gradual as I would go one night without, and then regret that I was up every two hours or so.  However at this point, I don't think we'll be returning.  You seem to have gotten used to your sleep sack and it keeps you super warm and cozy.


Social:
Little Miss accompanied me to my girlfriend's baby shower and got to meet some of my friends.  She also tagged along to my hair cut, my first visit back since I got chopped last January when I turned 30.  That would be last January.  As in 2013.


Diet:
Mama's milk.  Finally taking a bottle the few times I'm able to pump in advance to give to her.  Definitely not her preference, but doing much better with it.  




Her outtake, not to be confused with output, has lessened a bit too. I mean, she still spits up fairly frequently, but I can't really remember the last full out baby vom episode - thank goodness.


Skills

You found your fingers.  Since you never were into taking a paci, and I didn't push it too hard since I'm dreading the day we force Ashlynn to give hers up, I've been waiting for you to learn to self sooth with your thumb.  After all, I was thumbsucker for 10 years or so.  You always had trouble getting your thumb out and instead sucking on your knuckles. Until a few weeks ago, where you just found that your fingers felt right.  Sometimes its your first and middle, others your middle and ring. Either way, when you start fussing because you are tired, you find your hands and a few minutes of little cries later you're out like a light.



So close to rolling, but not quite yet.

Even closer to laughing when tickled.  Makes the funniest little grunt with the biggest smile.

We also started using the Bumbo.  Not for long periods, but her head control is definitely pretty good.  Seemingly, even stronger is her core. Our days are numbered with the bouncer and swing as she's starting to do mini-crunches when being placed in them.  Always trying to sit up.


The Superficial

Let's talk about.  Baby pattern baldness.



She's pretty much lost the majority of her hair on the sides and stripe around the back.  Her little mullet is going strong and still nice and thick up top.  That hair, however, is hiding cradle cap... which again, I still cannot say and say cradle crap, which it should be named.  Because it is.

Last month you had it a bit in your eyebrows, but that's long gone and her skin is looking pretty flawless. Her stork bite is even fading.

She sucks on her bottom lip, and not solely as a cue for a meal and her expressions are just adorable.






Milestones:

Found her hands
Blows bubbles/raspberries
Napped in crib, twice. (need to work on this)





Thursday, February 27, 2014

Giveaways Galore and Dette Cakes

Today is the last day to enter the ZoZu Baby Giveaway!

It's also the last giveaway for headbands and bows you'll be seeing for awhile, but don't worry girl moms, I'm planning a mega bow giveaway in the future, but I think we all need some giveaway diversity around here.  So with that said, I lined up a few of my favorite shops from Kenley's nursery and will be having some great giveaways this March!  Get excited, because I am :)


While there isn't a single thing I think I'd change about Kenley's room, I'm itching to update Ashlynn's. I'm trying to hold out until we switch her crib to a toddler bed to make sure her new bedding and new decor mesh, but I'm already getting all sorts of ideas.



If you are looking to update your little one's room, play space, or even for unique and rustic pieces for your home, you have to check out Dette Cakes etsy shop.  I have always been a big supporter of small handmade businesses, there is just something so special about getting a custom item hand made for you than buying something from a factory off a shelf.


Mike and Kelly are a husband and wife team making one of kind palette letters and art.  Initials, names, ampersands, and geometric arrowheads.  I love the options that can be made with these letters from names in the nursery to wash room pieces.



And naturally, Kelly makes some adorable bows too!


Right now, Dette Cakes would like to offer Strawberry Swing and Other Things readers 10% Off with coupon code DetteCakes.  

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bottle It Up - Part 2

Just  few days over a year ago, I wrote a post titled Bottle It Up.


I shared how I was so smitten with my 10 month old baby.  That I couldn't imagine life getting better and that while I knew it would (and it has), I wanted to bottle that moment up forever.


I also mentioned, and I quote:

"When thinking of adding another child, all I can imagine is wishing away the lack of head of control, fussiness, poor sleeping, constant eating, super drooling, and let's face it, general being a blob of human form.  Which I know won't be true when it happens, but at this moment, all I want is my 10 month old forever. "


Instead, the other night while nursing Kenley back to sleep, I found myself holding her long after she stopped.  I felt her long, now chubby, legs hanging off the side of my lap.  This baby already seems so big I can barely fathom that she was once tiny enough to be in my belly.



She's generally pretty awake these days.  Of course, she'll have a day here or there where she seems to sleep through to catch up, but she's usually watching the chaotic life circling around her.

She smiles from her head down to her toes, you just feel her smile beaming from deep inside.  She gives Tyra Banks a run for her money with her "smize".  Irish Eyes.  It melts me in a way I can't explain other than my heart exploding, and then exploding two seconds later when she does it again.

She's trying so hard to roll on her mat always swatting the toys that hang, or grabbing the rings.  While impressive and cute, I love even more when she grabs for my hand or finger, especially while snuggling, and her grip pulsates.  As if she's sending a code for her love to me in morse code.

Similarly, I love that she holds her hands.  More times than not, you can catch her sleeping with hers gently folded together, so little and delicate.


As a second time mom, I know what I have to look forward to, I don't doubt that my love will continue to grow, but I am occasionally surprised at how big it started.


When Ashlynn was born, I was so aware to enjoy every minute and I did.  I was afraid I wouldn't have the time to take in all the little details when a second child came along, already having a first child to split the focus on.  However, knowing Kenley is our last, I've been just as vigilant to mentally notate every detail I can think of.  I don't want to forget the way she sucks her bottom lip, she scrunches her nose when she smiles, how tiny her feet are, or she rests her head on my shoulder.



I can't wait to watch her grow as I know she's going to be full of personality, loving, and happy.  She already has been since the day we met her.  I'll miss how tiny it began, but just like any beautiful flower, she's destined to bloom.


And it's going too fast.




Tuesday, February 25, 2014

[Child Style] Prepped for Patty's

If you've been following me for years, you know I'm big on St. Patrick's Day.  For some reason, and not solely for the green beer, I have always loved the holiday.  As a kid, my mom always made us corned beef and cabbage, and I remember picking out my perfect green outfit weeks in advance.  I still have the tendency to think "this is great for St. Pat's!" when buying an emerald green shirt.  Sure, there wasn't surprise presents under a tree or wishes to make while blowing candles, but maybe because I'm 25% Irish (but have a name that sounds way more), I just always looked forward to March 17th.

Because of this, I have a tendency to stock pile green for the girls.  I've never been big on the "My 1st -insert holiday here-" shirts, because I always wait until the week or day of for them to wear it and then retire it, and I'm cheap.  I'd rather spend the money on something that can be worn over and over, not just once.

Either way, here are some the outfits I have ready for the little girlfriends to start rocking t hese next few weeks.



Right: Onesie | Knit Pant | Shoes (old - Target) | Headband


Left:  Onesie - (old - Gap) | Pants - similar | Shoes (old - Target) | Headband
Right:  Top - similar | Pants - similar | Shoes (old - Target) | Headband

Left:  Top | Jeans | Moccs | Headband
Right:  Top (Gap - no longer available) | Jeans | Moccs | Clip


Ashlynn is already schooling her little sis on all things St. Patrick's Day!




When Irish Eyes Are Smiling!



Monday, February 24, 2014

Babies Helping Babies - Every Little Bottom Initiative

When we were recently asked to take part in the Huggies Challenge, and spread the word about Huggies® Every Little Bottom initiative, I knew I had to join in!

After becoming a cloth diaper drop out, we started using an expensive "eco-friendly"disposable diaper but we experienced a lot of leaks.  You may remember it was Huggies that solved our night time leak issue we were experiencing last Fall.



Now that we tried out Huggies Snug & Dry, with SureFit leak lock protection, we haven't experienced a leak yet.



Ashlynn loves getting to wear a diaper with Mickey Mouse, as opposed to the plain brown diapers I previously insisted upon despite ending up with the occasional pair of wet pants.  And naturally, the first thing she noticed when we were bringing in the groceries was the tiny Mickey Mouse on the box.



Moth to a flame!



One thing Huggies is doing that I really stand behind is their Every Little Bottom initiative.  Since 2010,  Huggies has partnered with local and national organizations to build awareness for babies in need.  Additionally, they have donated over 60 million diapers to date!

You can learn about the Every Little Bottom by visiting the Huggies® Challenge website.  While there are many reasons for children to be in need of diapers, I am reminded of Hurricane Sandy and the damage it caused to my hometown at the Jersey Shore.  And although we were safely unaffected here outside of Philadelphia, I immediately gathered supplies from families in our neighborhood to donate back home to the makeshift shelters that were helping residents.  Amongst the piles of clothing and non-perishable food items, I urged all the moms to donate diapers, wipes, and formula as babies were in need, many families were without power and living in temporary housing without being able to access these necessities from their damaged homes.



However, it shouldn't have to take a natural disaster or holiday season for us to be reminded to donate to those in need.  There are families in every community who are struggling to provide for their babies.  I was inspired by this initiative to go through our pantry and linen closet and donate not only some non-perishable foods, but baby formula, pedialyte, food pouches, and after that we swung by the store to grab Huggies diapers and wipes!






I made sure Ashlynn got in on our philanthropic efforts and let her have some fun filling the bag with some of our donations. Already training for her future as a sorority legacy (oh boy!).  She even put her Huggies Snug & Dry diapers to the test trying to carry it to the car!




If you are feeling inspired, visit the Huggies Challenge website and take the Huggies® Challenge!  For every new challenge completed, Huggies Every Little Bottom will donate diapers to a baby in need.  There are new arcade style challenges offered each month, putting Huggies Snug & Dry diapers to the test - heavy lifting not required!  

Also, you can win Huggies Rewards Points which can be used towards free diapers and free samples.  Two lucky Testers will win Huggies Diapers & Wipes for an entire year! Drawings for these prizes will take place on May 12th and August 25th.

From raising neighborhood or company donations to just playing some online games, it does not matter how big or small your effort is, just that we be reminded to give back and help those around us!

*****

Many thanks to Huggies for sponsoring this post and allowing us to take the Huggies Challenge!   As always, all opinions expressed are solely my own.  Additionally, I only partner with or promote products or companies that I love, already use, or would purchase myself. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

[Giveaway] ZuZo Baby!

Back again, with another giveaway! Yes, another bow giveaway, but I just can't say no to when it comes to supporting other mamas!



ZoZu Baby is an Etsy Shop that strives in supporting other Etsy shops.  Owner Sandy, purchases almost all her materials from other shops and thus, supporting other small business owners just like herself!


Sandy makes a variety of bow styles, too! Felt, fabric, chiffon rosettes, and even lace appliques - she's got it all!

Enter to win below, Happy Weekend!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 20, 2014

[Review] Bumbo Booster Seat


Last week when I linked up for the Little Things, I promised that I would share more about Ashlynn's booster seat and how it's been having her at the table.



First things first,  we love our highchair.  We have a Keekaroo Height Right high chair in walnut, which matches our kitchen table perfect.  I love the ability of the modern wooden high chairs to not stick out so much like a sore thumb in a kitchen and also the smaller footprint most of them have compared to their large plastic counterparts.

The chair is super easy to wipe clean and there is no fabric to be stained or seams to catch crumbs for eternity.  However, I've raved about our chair before (check out the link for our all tried and true baby products!),  and this post is about our transition away from it.

Ashlynn still fits in it fine, but I thought now that she's approaching two, it'd be a good skill for her start sitting at the table and learning a few more table manners.  First one being, how to sit in a regular chair and not fall out.  She's been known to fall off chairs, like lean to the side and BOOM, there goes the toddler.  Luckily the 2 or 3 times this happened I've been right there to catch her, but it usually brings on some startled "Ks" from her (I say 'it's okay' and she replies back 'k' ::sniff sniff::)  So I thought the practice at a booster seat would help her if ever sitting on a chair somewhere else, like a grandparent's, school, or friend's house for a playdate.

I'm also hoping she'll learn more by modeling us at the dinner table.  Not picking up her plate, placing utensils and cups down gently without knocking other things over.  She's pretty good at her high chair, but this is all about developing her "big girl" skills.

When I decided to start looking for booster seats I knew I wanted one that would allow to eat at the actual table, not a Space Saver or something that is attached to the chair, but has it's own tray.

I tried pulling up her highchair without the tray to the table, but the seat is too high for her legs to slide under.  Keekaroo does make another cushion for the chair to be used as a booster, but even when she sat flat on the wood without a cushion the space between table and legs was too tight to be pushed under.  I then looked into their separate booster seat, yet was a bit turned off by its price.  I also took our current cushion and placed it on our chairs and it still raised her too high for her legs to slide under comfortably so I knew their booster version would be out of the running.

Apparently we have the strangest table ever, but I'm so glad I realized this before just purchasing something without thought.  I measured how high of a seat we'd need for leg clearance and casually started my search for options.





When Bumbo offered to send Ashlynn a booster seat, I was so excited!  It was the one seat I had found that met so many of our needs.
  • A seamless foam base that's easy to clean 
  • A three point lap harness to keep her strapped in and not falling out
  • Straps to attach the booster to the chair - again to keep her safe (it's amazing how many don't have this!)
  • Lightweight and mobile - total travel friendly for vacations or trips to relatives and friends
  • Affordable - at $39.99 it isn't going to break the bank and can be found at Target, Walmart, BuyBuyBaby, and of course, Amazon.



And best of all there is clearance for her legs to go under the table.  I also like that the booster gives her room to grow.


It's not sitting her so high up at the table, that'll we'll need to buy a lower option in a year.  Instead, right now we are just using both.  We still use the high chair for cereal or yogurt, foods that will drip and spill easier, and then keep her at the table for more finger foods or foods she can easily pick up on her fork like macaroni and cheese.  Hopefully as she gets a few more inches and finesse in her utensil work, we'll store the high chair for a few months before Kenley needs it.

Having her at the table is great.  Even though she was basically sitting with us in her highchair, she now really feels part of the family and of course she loves calling it the big gurl chair ;)


My big girl.


*****

Bumbo was kind enough to provide the booster seat 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 Bumbo USA?


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

[Shortcakes] 22 Months



This last month really flew by, like faster than ever it seems.  I hope that's an isolated incident! Either way, Ashlynn is 22 Months.




Says:
My favorite is that she reciprocates her I Love Yous, usually a "Wuv" but sometimes a "I wuv!"  

She's got counting down, though she seems to repeat numbers (usually 2 and 6) when counting with me.  When we drive in the car, she'll sometimes just count on her own and she'll do it right.  It's like her little brain is practicing, so cute. 

She's definitely adding new words to her vocabulary, like asking if daddy is "shovel?" every time he goes outside.  She also has a few words that strangers would gasp at.... shirt, fork, and beach. We'll just leave their phonetical sound out for now.

Still working on stringing words together, caught her once repeating her Baby Alive doll saying "more, please" yet when I ask her to say it she'll just give me "more" or "please".  

My favorite word is mailman "mawman" and dad's is some "shum".   If you are eating something, she's going to want "shum".


Stats:
That one freaking tooth!  It finally started cutting through on Monday.  Hallelujah!  


bow | shirt | jeans - gap, no longer available | moccs


Loves:

We have a new favorite show, not that Mickey has fallen in placement, but she LOVES Little Einsteins, or what we call "pat pat".  She gets so excited when it's time to power rocket up and jumps ahead from patting to raising her arms and shouting "LAST!"  (for blast off).  She always is constantly turning around making she we are pat-patting too. 

Last month, she was digging the whole dump the acorns and put them back in the glass game, now she's into dumping the Leprechaun gold coins and putting them back in the green solo cups.  Again, she'll do this over and over forever, I try to make into a counting game.  I think we need a piggy bank!


She still loving her tea parties, though we usually drink coffee and cocoa and she's totally digging her bathtub tea set too.  In fact, it usually comes out of the tub, bubbles still attached and back to her bedroom.  She also loves the Mr. Potato Head she got for Valentine's day.  Score one for the classic toys!

Her sister, seriously just loves Sissy to pieces!


Hates:
Going to bed alone, obviously.



Sleeps:
We'll I pretty recapped the majority of the month in last week's 2U2 post.


The update.... turns out she is in fact scared to be alone.  So now dad is back to doing the usual routine, bath, jammies, books, and when it's time for light's out he asks her what color she wants the stars to be and gets her in the crib.  He'll say good night and she'll ask where I am and I'm sitting in our bedroom with the door open either cuddling K, catching up on my laptop, or watching tv - usually multitasking all three.   I'll repeatedly assure her that "Mommy is here, it's time for bed".  She stand up occasionally, but that has started to taper off.  Now she'll just be laying down, settling for the night, and randomly shouting "mama?" just to make sure I'm still around.  Once she's asleep, I head downstairs.  Usually takes her 20minutes, which is pretty standard for prior to all this nonsense how long it might take her to fall asleep on her own.

Naps were great and not affected until a week ago when we started this.  So now I do almost the same thing.  Turn on her music, her stars, and say have a good nap.  I leave the door open and if she protests I just tell her I'm taking a shower or going to get Sissy.  She's usually cool with it and doesn't even mind seeing me walk around.

When she wakes in the middle of the night (which has becoming less and less) all I have to do is go in, ask what color she wants the stars, turn them back on, and ask her to lay down.  I'll get her bunny, blank, bink... cat and erin bear (yes the list is growing by the week), and tuck her back in.

In the morning, she's been waking a lot when dad heads out for work.  Little sis has been having rough nights so I'm usually looking to score a bit more time in bed.  I'll just shout out "not morning yet, mommy is sleeping, time for sleep" or something like that and she'll either lay down or chill until I decide to go her.  Amazing. 

So while not perfect, totally doable!


Eats:
Cereal.  Bowls of cereal.  Granted, the second and third helpings I give her are usually pretty small so not much is wasted when she quits, but girlfriend loves the stuff.  Favorites are Kashi Cinnamon Harvest, Honey Sunshine, and Cinnamon Oat cereal.  Probably late to the game, but definitely not the cardboard twigs of yesteryear.  Of course, she loved when we gave her some Peanut Butter Cap't Crunch, but were trying to stick to the healthy stuff.


She was fairly picky this month at dinner.  She'd eat a good breakfast and decent lunch, but usually wasn't into dinner.  I think part of it was related to whatever was causing the sleep disturbance, maybe.  She's been better than last few nights, but she's also liked the dinner more.  I mean tuna casserole with gruyere vs pasta and ground turkey meat sauce, of course she's going with the cheesy noodles.  If you are what you eat, she'd be cheese. 

She also had some cocoa for the first time, loved it!


Does:

First Haircut and another tooth are the big 'milestone'/baby book markers for the month.



Two months out from turning two!  I'm finally starting to plan her birthday party, can't wait to share some of my ideas!  Although, might not be very surprising considering her favorite things ;)