Multiply and Reduce.

I feel so blessed in life right now. God IS good. Don’t get me wrong, I have days that are plenty hard, but what an overwhelming joy it is to just be, and exist, in this world with two beautiful children. 

With more children comes more STUFF. I feel like our house is jam packed full of STUFF! Part of that is my fault. I like to keep everything, and everything has special meaning to me. “Oh, that little sticker Harper gave me, well I might want to scrapbook book it so I can remember these days. That box this toy came in, I might need it again sometime. That picture frame, I might use it, eventually.” No, no! Some things are worth saving, but we have entirely too much. It feel SO good to purge and get rid of it, lately. Anytime I put something else it the garage sale or give away box, it makes me feel good, and like I’m one step closer to a clean house. The last few weeks, I’ve spent all the time cleaning. And yet somehow my house still isn’t clean? But it’s getting there! At the end of the day, I can put up a few things, and it’s overall clean. We are in the process of making my “craft room” the kids playroom, so they can have a space for ALL the toys. I’d rather sacrifice my space, than the whole rest of the house, for the toy storage. Besides, their bedroom is full enough as it is. This comes with a compromise, as I’ve decided to turn the “dining room” into my office. Instead of being a crazy chaotic craft room, I just want a nice, professional, set-up. Looking forward to seeing that come to life, and it’s my inspiration to get rid of more junk. 

We have been so blessed, however, in which we’ve accumulated everything. I didn’t even have a shower for Max, and yet we have everything we need and more. Harper gets a new toy or something, it literally seems like every day. I counted once and it was like 15 days in a row that she got something new. This is good and bad. Good because it just means she has that many people that love her. The love pours out from our family, and it’s a token of appreciation/love to get a gift or treat. They want to spoil her and treat her, as do we, the parents. Between four sets of great-grandparents alone, she gets lots of goodies. Then the grandparents, great-aunts and uncles, aunts and uncles, mom and dad, friends… let’s just say I appreciate it all!! I love to get her stuff myself. Kyle and I are both very guilty of it, too. It’s hard not to, because I know at the time, whatever it is, will make her smile, and that’s worth everything. BUT, some of it’s gotta go! Luckily, many of her toys are unisex and can be used again by little brother. The clothes I plan to use again someday for another baby. The bad part is getting rid of stuff, because like I said, it means something to me. Every little thing, and I don’t know where to start with her stuff. (Maybe that’s why she’s getting a whole room to store her toys.) The bad part is, maybe not right now when she’s two, but later on.. I don’t want her to feel entitled to something new every time she sees someone, or we’re out at the store. To expect it. To think she needs it to feel happy. I mean, an important lesson in life is to have what you love, but also to love what you have. To appreciate what you have, and not necessarily need more. To appreciate the new toy you just got, instead of throwing it down the next day for another new toy. To take care of the things you have, instead of knowing you can just get a new one. To truly appreciate nice gifts, from the person who gave it, to show gratitude. And to have time to appreciate it instead of always having the next new thing. To not feel bad and heartbroken, when we say no to something. To not see a toy in a magazine or on TV and automatically think you need or want it, and then to expect it to be bought for you. To let your hard work pay off, and work toward buying something yourself, and know that feeling. And the main one- to know it’s better to give than to receive. Oh it’s so hard, it really is, because this is setting her up for a lifetime of entitlement, if we keep on. She means the world to us, and we want to spoil her. She deserves whatever she wants, in our opinion. But there’s a line to be drawn, and limits to be made. I want a genuinely appreciative and gracious child, not a spoiled brat. I hope we figure it out sooner than later. We definitely realized at Christmas time how overboard we went there. And what a silly, but “good”, first world problem to have. Some children don’t have shoes to wear, or sheets on their bed to sleep in, or even a bed. And I’m complaining because she has too many toys. But that’s the point I think, ultimately. Our money could be going toward things much greater than a new set of stickers or a new hello kitty. It makes me sick to know she has so much, and other kids so little. I’m working on that. I’m praying for God to direct me to be strong enough to have self-control in purchases, confident enough to stand up for this belief among others, the ability to get rid and give to those in need, possibly setting up an organization in the future to pay-it-forward with our unneeded things to those who do. That would be ideal.

Until then, stay tuned. I know from my own experience how it is to be spoiled, and can see others in even worse cases, so I can speak on it. We all have good intentions, but they sometimes lead to bad outcomes. Besides becoming a brat, just being a packrat, for example. I can look around at all the clutter I’ve lived with for 24 years and know that a more simplified lifestyle is to be desired. Simplifying our life has become a great task ahead, but it’s already paying off. I haven’t had much more “extra” time without TV, but I’ve had some, and it’s nice. I will have more time to spend on doing the things I want to do, instead of cleaning up so much, with less stuff. That I’m looking forward to. 

Harper Girl

For some reason it seems as most people’s preconceptions of stay-at-home-moms (SAHM-gotta get everyone up to date on the internet lingo) is that they have tons of times and opportunities to nap…or blog for that matter. Well, nope, I have time for neither. At least I know I never want to be a blogger as my profession because it would never get done. The RARE occasion that BOTH children are napping at the same time, will give me an hour if I’m lucky, and then I need to jump straight in to housework. I spent yesterday cleaning, and a good bit of the morning attempting to as well, so I finally am able to sit down (guilt-free) for a few. This is usually the time I brew my second cup of coffee. I am happier and more focused that way.. it’s like my reward for making it to 3:00.

Harper wasn’t mentioned much on my last couple of posts, because I felt she needed her own post. We are almost at 2.5 years old.. and she’s just awesome! We always think that, but I think Kyle would also agree, this is a super fun age. Her personality completely shines through, and it’s interesting to see and hear all that she has to say throughout the day. I’d say she is pretty demanding and high maintenance; she knows what she wants, and wants you to understand her. She will always make sure you understand the harperism she’s trying to communicate, but she also can speak well for a 2.5 year old. She remembers everything you say, too! I always wish I had written funny things down throughout the day, but then usually forget to. I just love our conversations, and how girly girl she is. Like the other day, I made a big deal saying, “On Wednesdays we wear pink!” And then it was Monday and she said, “On Mondays we wear pink!” No..that’s Wednesday. “Well I have on a pink shirt today too!” Or today I asked her if she wanted to go to BabiesRUs, and she said “Yes! What can we get Max? We can get him a pink cradle!” She usually tells Kyle, “Put Max down! Put him in the cradle or hand him to Mommy. Let’s play in my room.”

Some of her favorite activities:
Playing with stuffed animals. And you have to play too! She always says, “this is Harper, this is Daddy, this is Mommy, etc, etc” or “I’ll be bunny, you be Penelope, Max can be the frog.” She personifies every animal, everywhere.
Helping out. I introduced her to cooking, so now anytime I’m in the kitchen, she has to get her step stool, and have a spoon to stir something. She helps me empty the dishwasher, fold clothes, make the bed, put shoes away, water the plants, feed the animals.
Eating. What can I say? Girl loves to eat. Her array at lunch time includes: yogurt, hummus, crackers, cheese, plain bread, applesauce, berries, bananas, leaves and ranch, noodles, chips and guacamole. She wants options.
Playing with Max. She’s not big on wanting to change diapers, but she loves to check on baby brother, make sure his toys are where he can see them, make sure his blanket is flat over him..not bunched up, overseeing bath time, attempting to feed a bottle, helping me pump a bottle (lol), picking out his clothes, and singing songs
Playing with Daddy. Everyone knows she’s a daddy’s girl. If he’s around, she is all about him. He only lets her do what she wants to do, so she’s extra whiney around him. They have lots of fun together though..wrapped around that little finger.
Tea parties. Play dough. Coloring. Stickers. Sandbox. Water table. Being outside.

We have eliminated cable, like I’ve mentioned, but went a step further and took the TV out of the living room recently. Crazy, right?! And yet I still don’t have any extra time. We did it because I rearranged until we get a new sofa, so it’s probably just a short term thing, but I’m not minding it. It took her a few weeks to even notice it wasn’t there. She and Kyle watch her shows upstairs some nights.

Potty training! We are in week two of official panty-wearing-all-day potty training. Everyone says it’s that easy.. they have no choice but to use the potty once you make the switch. We feel she’s definitely smart enough, though she never has made the connection to tell us before she has to go (which is a sign of being ready.) I’ve been putting it off for that reason, and because it means staying at home vs doing errands, and of course cleaning up pee! But we finally were ready to take the plunge..I would like to quit buying pull-ups. First week was like a trial, with setting the timer often. One day I think we had 5 accidents somehow in one hour. Then I wised up and got a sticker chart…that’s going pretty well. It’s more of an accomplishment for ME, if I can get the row filled up for the day, I’m more excited about it, haha! One day she said, “My panties are wet; I want a pull-up.” Then sometimes she cries if I say she needs to put on a pull up (bed time or car ride) because she wants to wear panties. After two weeks, I’d say she would go back to pull-ups no problem if she had the choice! It’s a lot of work for both her and I..she doesn’t like taking breaks from playing and I can’t get much else done, since it requires constant supervision. But we’re going to keep pushing through. Some days she doesn’t have any accidents, and like today, a big one. My floors are getting mopped extra good!

What else? I guess we just love the fact that she’s becoming more independent. Kyle never liked the thought of leaving her somewhere (like Sunday school), when she was too young to understand where and why she is there, and that we would be back soon. Now, she understands, wants to go, has a good time with her ‘friends,’ and can tell us what she did while she was there. She can tell us if she’s hungry, sick, or hurt. And she finally understands about nap time! It’s taken long enough… I posted on Facebook, but I was almost in happy tears the other day for the first time ever where she went by herself and laid down on purpose to take a nap. It was awesome! (Another story when Kyle is home) but naps have come a long way.

Harper will be starting Mother’s Day Out this fall, two days a week, a few hours a day. I just want to see her in a social atmosphere. She loves other children, and I think a routine, with age-appropriate activities will be so fun for her. They work on potty training, if we’re not fully there yet. My big concern was about the nap time, but they say some children just have “quiet time” instead. I’m curious to see how that goes. We have to be there at 8:30 am, yes AM :-O, so our bed time will have to change big time! I think an earlier shift in our day will be a positive thing.

That’s about it! Harper is a great, caring, sweet big sister and we are excited for the rest of the year, and some fun in the sun.

24 years, wiser.

Wow. I can truly say today has been the BEST birthday I have ever had. In fact honestly, as silly as it may be, I usually end up in tears on my birthday because it’s not up to my expectations and I feel disappointed. Today was perfect in all its simplicity. I shopped, had lunch, and shopped some more. I came home and got the kids inside. We didn’t have dinner plans, but threw together something when Kyle got home, and then went for a walk. I was exhausted by that point, so rested and kinda fell asleep rocking Max to sleep. I would have gone to bed then, but I had to finish a frame order for Kyle to take to work tomorrow, so I woke myself back up, coffee-assissted, and now here I am! Caffeinated, as I revel in the last 20 minutes of my birthday, I am trying to gather my thoughts as to what I’d like to say.

I consider my birthday to be a “renewal,” my own personal New Year. So tax day for me is my New Year’s Eve, and I was brainstorming how I’d like this new year to be, and how to better myself, of course. I love the opportunity for an official fresh start. This year, I’m not putting so much pressure on my expectations, so I think that’s why today has been better for me. That, and these gorgeous children which completely brighten up every one of my days. Anyway, I’ve decided to combine this post with another draft I wrote up a while ago. Seems fitting. So, it’s kind of random and all over the place, but will tie in at the end. 10269527_10201680970375099_4436837091516163833_n

Being a stay-at-home mom, I find myself thinking about what job I would be doing if I was working, or what job I will do in the future when the kids are school-aged. I never knew what I wanted to be, because I wanted to be everything. And still do really. I could see myself in a lot of different fields: teacher, professor, full-time crafter/blogger, realtor, wedding planner, interior decorator, boutique owner, or even contractor or engineer. Then there’s others that are also ideal, yet I know I don’t have the expertise for: photographer, chef, personal trainer, etc. I don’t know what I will do eventually. I’m pretty content with my mother role right now, and couldn’t imagine not being around my kids all the time. It’s something I don’t have to try very hard to be good at, unlike the rest. But I was thinking.. what if I had been more career-focused? How would that have changed my college career? It definitely would have. I absolutely loved my major, but perhaps I would have been more ambitious, as far as internships and job opportunities during those years. Maybe getting a double-major. How would being career-focused have changed my feelings on finding out I was pregnant the day before graduation? Well, I probably would have taken more preventative measures if that was the case.

Then I thought.. what is my focus? I realize I was and still am “experience-focused.” Not sure if it’s a real thing or something I just made up, but I live for experiences. College was more of a right of passage and an adventure, to me, rather than just learning skills for a future job. I wanted to soak it all up: joining a sorority, the night life, being independent, sitting in the library coffee shop studying for tests. I loved just doing those things. I was disappointed in myself for a long time, knowing I missed out on the “dorm life” experience, because I originally wanted to avoid it and skip right to an apartment. Being experience-focused is where my large passion of traveling comes in. That’s all I wanted to do, and still do, experience new places and new cultures. Take pictures of everything so I never forget. That’s why milestones and such are so important to me, I suppose. I have boxes and boxes of memorabilia from “experiences.” This just sounds like a sentimental person.. but it consumes me at times.  I feel like I have to document and photograph everything, and yet I find myself constantly disappointed, if I don’t get a good picture, or if the experience doesn’t live up to my expectations. Hence the birthday disappointments! I stress myself out way too much over these things. Like the fact we didn’t get good pictures of Harper’s first beach trip. Well, she didn’t like being in the sand or the ocean, go figure! But I’m learning there are plenty more opportunities for cute pictures and memory making anyway. I guess Kyle and I would also consider ourselves “family-focused” and I would say he is often “video game-focused!” Have you thought deeply about what really drives you? Success and achievement, money, fame and notoriety, other material objects? Sadly, some people I know are focused on things of the past, and constantly dwell on negative problems in their life.

I wouldn’t say it’s a bad thing to be driven by having good life experiences, but it led to my next question. How would life be if I was solely Christ-focused? Or, if I at least put that above all else. College would have certainly been different. I would have had a different outlook, and may have spent more time with likeminded Christians and gone to church more. My relationships would be different. I don’t know many couples who truly put God first, over their boyfriends, husbands, or even children…whose relationship and love for God is even more than the one with their spouse or kids. Ideally it is. We can all say it is, or not, and admit how we struggle with that. I love Jesus so much and am very thankful for Him, God’s grace, and our salvation. However, I definitely don’t spend near as much time with Him, as I do thinking about my family, the chores for today, what’s for dinner..everyday life. Does my life completely revolve around Jesus? No, not like it should. Some people may never think about it, and some people may not want to focus on Christ, obviously nonbelievers fall into this category, but it’s a lot of work! I mean, I didn’t go to a Christian college or have the desire to work in the ministry field. Does that mean I can’t be Christ-focused? When I am reading a magazine or watching HGTV (or the Bachelor), am I doing something wrong for not spending that time reading the Bible? Clearly no, not everyone is made for ministry, and we are all entitled to some free time. Where do ordinary people draw the line? Is there a certain amount of time required to be spent in the Word, to be considered Christ-focused? How do I know if I am doing enough? Truth is, people work their whole life attempting to live a life in Christ. It’s a daily choice, and not always an easy one. It’s not always easy having faith, when you’re experiencing trials. It can be a challenge to stand apart from the norm, and avoid certain temptations. It’s hard work setting aside time everyday, when we have so much else going on.

That’s what I originally wrote. Since then, Kyle’s kind of challenged me to come up with what I personally believe in. In discussions, we are working on what our beliefs are as a family, just about everything- religion, faith, church, spirituality, holidays, etc., and especially what we plan to raise our family with and teach our children. Harper’s at that age where she’s beginning to pick up on things, so it’s important to know how we’re going to teach her and the answers to certain questions. Further, our small group challenge is to each bring one person to God this year. I know I will be much more successful sharing the gospel if I know exactly what I believe, rather than floating by on auto-pilot it seems. You may think how can I be Christ-focused and not even know your beliefs. I know that much. I know to be Christ-focused, to me, means to make the choice daily to live your life like Jesus. Remember those “WWJD” bracelets? Kinda wish I still had one. Just to love! To be nice to people, to be a servant, to pray, worship and honor God with everything you do. The technical things are what I want to figure out for myself.

Fast-forward to today, and I have set my “new year’s revolutions.” Resolutions being goals and good intentions that often get forgotten about in a few weeks, revolutions being marked changes. (Google ‘resolutions versus revolutions’ for some inspiring messages, or recall a sermon taught by many preachers at the first of the year). To tie all this in together, I want to live a Christ-centered life, starting today in my new year. To put the most focus on that. I want to know the answer to my question: what would life be like if God was #1? I want to know the answer to the questions: what do you believe in and why? So that I can confidently share that with others, and my kids. My challenge this year is to read the Bible, since I’ve yet to do that in its entirety. I started a plan for the New Testament first, since I never make it that far. It’s a choice. Effort-needed, but a daily choice that I know will ensure me the best year yet. These choices will in turn help me with my other goals of eating healthier and becoming more active.

Finally, my last goal is to be great at something. I’m writing all this to hold myself accountable. I love my grandmother’s expression “jack of all trades, master of none” because I feel like it totally describes me. “Oh but Hannah you’re such a great mom or artsy-craftsy person.” That’s fine, I’m good at plenty of stuff I guess, but I just want a personal passion/hobby that I feel confident and great at. I wouldn’t still be searching for it, if I had already found it. Whether it’s a new crafty thing I actually enjoy and consider a high quality product, or more writing, or something completely new.. that’s my goal! I wish it could be the guitar, so Kyle and I could start our own little band (kidding) but sadly I don’t think this is the year for that. :-P

Thank you all once again for reading my ramblings. If I’m going to ‘seize the day’ again tomorrow, I better get some sleep. XO

Max – 7, 8, 9, and 10 weeks!

 

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Well I think an update is warranted, especially after yesterday. We had our 2 month check up (a little late, as he’s 10 weeks today.) Little man is perfect! Weighing in at 15 pounds, he’s full of cute little rolls. He is 92% weight, 80% height. Harper also started out in the higher percentiles at first, averaged out around 6 months, and then was in the lower. But, she didn’t weigh what he does until at least 5 months. Thus, I don’t carry Max into places in the carseat very often. I use the stroller or the Ergo. Our double stroller is so heavy that I only save it for special occasions when I know they both need to ride. Our biggest feat lately is Max sleeping through the night. It is ah-mazing! I know I’m very lucky, but I give all the credit to the Halo SleepSack. He was sleeping for several hours at a time in the Rock N Play, so I decided to try to crib. Also Harper’s been back in our bed, and he can’t be also, so I knew crib would be best. He would sleep in there like 3 hours at a time, or less. I thought to try swaddling. We didn’t with Harper, but I know lots of parents who use this method. Magic, for us! The SleepSack was actually a complimentary one we received at the hospital, which velcros around baby and their arms so they are snug. So I gave it a try, and he slept through the night! Ever since, for a few weeks now, we have used it. I love knowing when I put him to bed at around 8, he’s not going to wake up until at least 5 am usually. I can get stuff done, have a glass of wine, or sleep! Last night he slept 9 hours. I just wish there was a way to reward babies, because Max would get ALL the stickers!  At his doctor’s appointment, he just smiled and cooed, even at Dr. Mishu. And so far, so good, on his shot reactions. He seems to be feeling just fine, maybe sleeping a bit more than normal.

Other news: As you can see in the pictures, time is still flying, and he’s just getting more handsome. We got the “Baby Crack” Piano Mat after hearing rants and raves over it, and sure enough, Max loves it. It keeps him entertained for quite a while sometimes. He spends more time in his swing lately, than the RnP, but is napping less during the day overall. He gets bored easy, but always smiles again when I (or most anyone) talks close to his face. He loves riding in the Ergo, and always goes right to sleep in it. I use this for grocery shopping, and push Harper in the cart. He prefers this over the stroller, usually. Breastfeeding is still going well. I feel much more comfortable this time around. No trouble latching or anything, and figured out how to use the covers, so I’ve even nursed in public (NIP.) Mainly at our small group, and around family, but I consider that public since it’s not shut behind closed doors alone, also at Harper’s preschool gymnastics class, where it’s mostly SAHMs doing the same. I just feel great that I have enough confidence to do that and not have to be left out of conversations anymore. Hopefully one day breastfeeding won’t be such a shock to the general public, where girls in skimpy bikinis seem to be more accepted. Biggest challenge will be getting him to take a bottle. I’m late to work on that, so he rejects it. I want to try fresh pumped milk soon to see if that works, and I have two different bottles to try. That would allow me to leave him for a couple hours and do errands, need be. Or maybe a date night eventually?! ;)

Anyway, April is a fun month for us. Besides being spring and the weather warming up, there’s Kyle and my birthday, and Easter. Kyle took off two days last week, and we enjoyed a day relaxing at home, and then a day out shopping at Opry Mills. We didn’t get to do much shopping, but we did get a peaceful lunch at Chuys! Kyle and I love to eat there, and haven’t been in quite a long time. The kids stayed asleep in the stroller while we had our Baja Shrimp Tacos..mmm! Then Harper woke up, and had a quesadilla. After a trip to Build-a-Bear and Carter’s, they were ready to go. Guess I’ll have to make a solo trip to get any REAL shopping done! ;) The kids and I got Kyle a guitar for his birthday. He’s been wishing for one for like two years now, so he was excited and has been practicing and teaching himself every day since. I have a nice day planned for my birthday, going to eat with my Dad and Grandmother, then maybe some more shopping.

6 Weeks on the Outside

Our mind is blown with how fast our little man has grown! Though it seems he’s been here way longer, these six weeks have flown by. Max weighs 13.1 pounds, up about 4.5 since he was born. This means he only fits in a few of his 3 month clothes, most of the sleepers still, and I will be washing 3-6 month clothes for him this week. He’s already wearing 6m pants to fit around that belly! I love his little rolls, much different than Harper, as she never had any. That or hair, which you can see he still has. 

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Max mostly sleeps in the rock ‘n play, beside our bed, and wherever I put it throughout the day. He sleeps about 4 hours, then 2, then more 2-3 more if I let him and we all sleep in. I suppose I’m used to it or have still just been getting enough sleep, because I’m no more tired than usual. He loves bath time, and riding in the Ergo carrier. Also, if he’s in the carseat, he will sleep the whole time for hours. Wherever we’re at, he’s always asleep in the carseat and I have to wake him up to show him off.

These last couple of weeks have been good. Kyle and I decided to simplify our lives a little by getting rid of cable. It was a mutual decision, brought on by our annoyance and awful customer service of Comcast. Since we have Netflix, and don’t watch much TV any way, it was an easy choice, that saves us $100/month. We still get high speed internet, and local channels, so we watch that some. The Bachelor is safe! (Although can we not talk about how horrible of a season it was.) Then, I further decided Harper doesn’t need to be watching much TV anyway, so I try to keep it off all throughout the day, when it’s just us here. That has been great! It’s much more time consuming for me, to keep her entertained, but that’s what I’m here for! She’s been doing more make-believe, reading, playing outside, etc. And best part, she doesn’t really miss it! She doesn’t ask during the day, and only occasionally, which is what we want. I’ve definitely had to keep reminding Kyle and explaining to him how excessive TV and iPhone games can be detrimental to little one’s brain development, attention span, and all that. Nap time.. still going strong! I’m one happy mama.

All this, and the little attempts I make to keep the house clean, plus weekly errands, doesn’t leave much extra time for anything else. I’ve yet to go in my craft room to work on anything in there. But…I did start working out! 6 weeks means I’m 6 weeks postpartum and can add much needed exercise to my life. It will be a big challenge, but I hope to be able to complete the p90x3 program, which is the 30 minute version. It would mean a lot to me to actually stick to, and finish, a program, so that’s the goal I’ve set for myself. The first 30 days will end on my birthday, so I’m anxious to see some good results. It’s hard on one’s emotions, pride, and self-esteem to go through motherhood and two child births, and then look like I currently do, in a bikini. I’ve also decided to give up sweets and desserts this first month, so I’m looking forward to both challenges. I’d like to be back to pre-pregnancy weight as soon as possible, and to start doing something I haven’t done in years, and barely at all- weight training. I’m motivated now more than ever. 

So, that’s our world. Just loving on our little bundle and our growing 2 year old. Today reminded me that I also need to be taking pictures of her! She doesn’t always cooperate with the camera, but she’s having milestones now too. And, extra bonus of less TV and more play, she’s definitely been more positive toward me lately and that makes my heart smile so much! It’s okay to be daddy’s girl, as long as she’s mommy’s girl too! ;) We have spent a few days lately with Rachel and Malichai, as they are preparing to move to Las Vegas. Sad day, but excited for her new journey, and hopeful that it’s everything she wants it to be. They are leaving Wednesday, so one more day to get things packed.. we may go help again, and score some more goodies that she won’t be taking with her.

It’s finally ALMOST spring ya’ll!! No more cold weather after today, hopefully. Here are his 5 week pics too!

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Mommy Magic

Kinda feeling like supermom at the moment, as far as nap time goes! All four days alone, the kids have successfully napped simultaneously, and early in the day. And I was worried! Gives me a little peace and quiet :)Image
Day 2: they both fell asleep on me, on the couch. I was able to wiggle out, luckily!

Our first week solo has been going well. I even got out of the house Wednesday to visit my grandmother, and then Harper started gymnastics that evening. It was also in Hendersonville, so Kyle met us there. This is her first time taking a class of some sort, so Harper and I both were really excited. I was totally the slightly obnoxious  proud gym mom, coaching  watching from the sidelines, cheering her on at every station. And of course capturing it all via iPhone, while little brother slept the whole time.

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We had a slight meltdown during the middle of class, where she decided she would rather walk away and go play in the “playroom” she saw upon entering, that had a few doctor’s office type toys in it. She ran out and I followed behind her, trying her coax her back to finish the class. It was time for the big trampoline, and she was timid. My gym mom dreams were quickly fading away, as I realized we wouldn’t be back if she quit right now. Lol, so we got her back participating, and she finally wanted to do the big trampoline. The teacher held her hands and they bounced all the way to the end, and then I heard: “That was fun!” Yay! Mission accomplished, and we are going back next week. :D

Thursday, I attempted to venture out to the grocery. I promised Harper a kid buggy that she could push herself and help me fit in everything we needed. I saw them at one of the Kroger’s I was at recently, and I thought it was Goodlettsville. She fell asleep as soon as we got in the car, so I decided to do some errands. Drove though the bank, treated myself to Starbucks, and then got to Kroger. Ended up sitting there for a whole hour in the parking lot, because she never wanted to wake up and I knew she needed a good nap anyway. You may think that’s crazy but trying to shop + extremely whiney sleepy toddler + newborn =/= a good time. She finally woke up, and we went inside to low and behold, not find a kid buggy. I tried the little cars they ride in, but Max’s carrier barely fit in the cart, and then no room at all for groceries. I said come on, let’s go try Publix. The things I do for that girl! Then, surprise surprise no kid buggies there either, but they at least had bigger kid-friendly carts that we chose, as well as complimentary pink balloons. I guess the customer service makes up for the over-priced groceries. Anyway, we survived and learned grocery shopping isn’t for the weak! We may continue our search for kid buggies next week.

Now it’s Friday! What could be better. Hope everyone has a great weekend springing forward ;)

MAXaroni- 1 month down

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Yay I kept a newborn baby alive for a whole month! Time is flying!! I knew it would. Our little man has already been here for a month, and is growing like a weed. Coincidentally since February is a short month, also 4 weeks today. So I don’t have to choose between the 4 week and 1 month pictures..makes it easy. He has been great. Nothing really new to report, other than our 3 week check up. Max was weighing in at 10 lb, 10 ounces. He’s in the 75th percentile for both height and weight. So was Harper at first, so I still don’t think it really determines anything. However, we have a quick growing boy right now! I’ve started stocking up on 6 month clothes because only 1.5 lbs to go before he’ll be in that size. Goodness! Though I already miss my little “tiny” newborn, I’m so excited for the next couple of months. I’ve got a couple grins from him, and we will keep seeing more of that. And can we say….SPRING! 2 weeks away, people. I love love spring and Easter and hope the weather warms up to go along with it. We have our birthdays to also look forward to next month, and then comes all the other new babies! :)

Speaking of spring, today’s Max’s second snow day. For some reason.. I’m not adamant about getting pictures of him in it, because it’s ehm.. super cold! Maybe I will later. In honor of that.. here’s a picture of both of the kids’ first snow days, when they were each about 3 days old. Is that the same kid?!

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It was supposed to be my first day solo with two kids, but we got to keep Kyle one more day! I know he and I both are looking forward to him going back, though we will miss him getting to stay home as well. Naptime with Harper will continue to be a struggle I assume..interested to see how she does with ME in charge again! Maybe it will go better… Fortunately she loves her new baby brother! It took her a few weeks to get used to him, but she always wants to help out and check on him. She’s even reminded me to change his diaper ;)

This next picture I wanted to include, to show off his pretty skin, no baby acne here. He’s perfect! And still only wakes up about 2 times per night, so we are all happy. Gas troubles sometimes can be the stressful thing. I gave him a paci (wubbanub) for the first time today, and he liked it. We don’t want him to be reliant on those, but if it helps him self-soothe, hey I’m open to try! And then his giraffe pic, looking too big and mature!

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Week 3

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1 day v 21 days (not much change in these!)

Three weeks have come and gone, and I have a super special milestone to report.
Harper is showing more interest in her bubba! And me, for that matter. This makes my heart smile! She’s been a total Daddy’s girl lately, and not wanting much to do with me when he’s around. She always likes Max, but still from afar. The last two nights she has been extra loving, wanted to sit with me on the couch, and asked to hold him. Yay!! The start of sibling love, indeed.

We had a challenging few days with her. Though Daddy’s been around to give her plenty of attention, it’s definitely a big transition for everyone, and I am glad she is finally getting adjusted.  She’s full-time in her own bed, so that’s a change. And we have began implementing an actual bedtime routine as well. Still working on the naps being “regular,” but to Kyle’s amazement, we are making progress there too. She’s starting to become okay with the process of going to sleep. I think once he goes back to work next week, we will get in an even better flow, schedule wise. The rough days were when our schedule was completely off, and she would nap late, or not nap at all, causing her to be grumpy and extra whiney. Harper? No way! ;) I felt bad for Kyle at times because she is literally 24/7. Clinging to him all day. Then bedtime would take hours some nights, and she’d wake up in the night and he’d be back in there, and wake up early too. Oh well, that’s what he signed up for! He says if that’s the worst thing we have to face as parents right now, he’ll take it! Everything else has been pretty great. Four whole weeks of him being off spending time with us is awesome, and we will be sad when he goes back.
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Now for Max-

Big boy! Doctor said she expected him to gain two pounds next time we go back, and she’s right on the money. He is already at 11 pounds! Thriving. I love it, means I’m doing something right. Can’t imagine what the 3 and 6 week growth spurts will be like, if we haven’t had one yet. His check-up is Friday, and I’m guessing he may get a couple shots. :( Already size 1 diapers.

This week, we’ve visited with all four sets of the great-grandparents, he and I went to Wal-Mart, and today to Kohls and scored several cute outfits (for him) on-sale! I figure I’m not sure how much longer he will be able to even fit in the 0-3 month stuff, so I’m buying 6 months, to be prepared!

He still sleeps A LOT. He’s awake more, but naps for hours at time throughout the day. At night, he usually wakes up twice to nurse, like 1:00am and 4:00am, then 7:00am and we get up.. or not and sleep in! That’s been nice. I’ve learned cabbage beef soup is a no-no for me to eat. That night he was up crying with gas pains, no fun.

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Still has to sit propped up and slouched. But look at those big feet and belly!

He’s a pretty special little fella. Next week I’ll have to find some motivation to be productive, but right now I’m just gonna stay on the couch and cuddle my loves. Image
(Repeat pics from FB, but I like them here too.)

XO

Max is 2 weeks old!

Max is two weeks old! Sure seems like he’s been around a lot longer.
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Here are some stats:

Birth weight: 8lb, 10oz
1 week: 9lb, 5oz
2 weeks: 9lb, 15oz
Big boy! Though he seems tiny to us. I guess he’s getting enough to eat. In size 1 diapers, and 3 month clothes.

First trip to the pediatrician- Harper was glad it wasn’t her!
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He eats and sleeps all the time. Starting to cry more; sometimes has gas and tummy aches. Anticipating the “3 week growth spurt” soon, and will be thankful Kyle is still off work then! He plans on taking the rest of this week, and next. Nighttime hasn’t been too bad yet, Harper is the one right now crying in the night.

Harper still keeps her distance for the most part. When daddy is holding him and she wants to play she says “Hand him to mommy!” When she’s in the mood, she will check on him, bring him a toy, sing, or give kisses. Cooper loves to smell him any chance he gets.

Max loves: being held, sitting in the rock n play, staring at the high contrast pictures behind the couch, laying in the crib but not the cradle

Nicknames: big guy/man and Sir Maxwell (Kyle’s), catbaby (Harper’s), little buddy, squishy, bubba, Maxy

Milestones: Max has a belly button as of yesterday! First official bath will be today. He finds them relaxing, and sleeps very good once he’s dry and dressed. His hair gets curly, dries wavy/straight.
First holiday was Valentine’s day. We didn’t really do anything to celebrate but make daddy a craft..and cuddle a lot!
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His first public outing was this Saturday, at Uncle Roge and Aunt Stephanie’s gender reveal party. Max is getting a cousin! Another little guy to join the family, and they will be five months apart. There was about 50 people at the party, and we had lots of fun. I wore Max in the Ergo, and he slept the whole time. Harper had a great time playing with other kids her age, and still talks about them everyday. Image

Newborns make funny expressions! Experimenting with different photo ops.
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And weight loss to date: about 25 pounds. It fluctuates a lot, but 15 more to go! Hoping it will mostly continue to drop off before my 6 week postpartum appointment. Then I will be cleared for exercise. Really looking forward to it, and starting to eat better. I’m good throughout the day, but then at night I want to eat everything in sight! Good thing I burn about 500 calories daily, just breastfeeding ;)
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Have a great day everyone! Spring is finally coming. We are going for a walk.

Birth story- the follow up!

It’s now been over week since we’ve been home from the hospital, and Max is 11 days old. Next time I write will be all about him, but I wanted to do a follow-up postpartum post, for those interested in my well being ;) and reflections on my labor process. Also, I’m using this blog as basically a journal for myself, to be able to look back on these moments and remember the special details of the most wonderful time of our lives, so this is an important post to me. Last Valentine’s day was a day after I found out about our miscarriage, so it was a pretty gloomy day. This Valentine’s day, Kyle and I haven’t even gotten out the house to get each other anything to celebrate, yet I couldn’t feel more happy or blessed to be at home with him and our two wonderfully amazing and beautiful children.

Starting where I left off, the night Max was born Kyle and I experienced a whole spectrum of feelings: from me being at the most vulnerable position I’ve even been in, an adrenaline rush, helplessness, and exhaustion, to extreme happiness and relief that our baby was here, amazement at the process we just went through and how perfect he was, and many others. We were overjoyed yet shaken up. Honestly we were both a little traumatized afterwards. My first question to moms who went natural was always: “Would you do it again?” Everyone answered yes. My answer that night was “Hell no!” so I was worried of being left with a negative memory instead of my ideal wonderful, peaceful, natural birth experience I had desired. That night, I got cramps from nursing, and cringed with fear every time, thinking it would bring on another awful contraction. I looked over at my once favorite cup that I drank out of during labor, and cringed at the memory, vowing I never wanted to see it again.

We got a little rest that night, finally at 3 am, once little man was bathed, swaddled and asleep. And within the next few days, the “traumatic” memories had began to melt away, as we fell more in love with our son. Though it seemed like 10 hours, we were at the hospital only 2 1/2 hours before Max arrived. That’s exactly how I wanted it to be. We may have not been fully prepared for that last hour of superintenseandextremecrazypressure contractions, but I did it! I felt bad knowing I had asked for the epidural, but learned that’s part of it: a mental breakdown, a test. It was baby and God’s plan for me to do it the way I wanted, and fate came in with perfect timing to allow that. When it was finally time to push, that’s what the whole thing is about. It was the greatest, most rewarding feeling ever. I’ll never forget it and that moment, literally feeling your baby exit your body and enter the world. It was awesome, and to know that’s what I accomplished.

I’ve seen childbirth be compared to running a marathon. A long and hard process, with a great reward at the end. It takes endurance and mental toughness, especially the last 6.2 miles in a marathon and the transition period of labor, when you think you’ve hit a wall. Even I, someone who never ran a day in her life, trained for and made it successfully through a half- a 13.1 mile race. It was empowering! Lots of people can run that race, if you set your mind to it and want it. But I knew someday, I would want bigger goals, and a bigger medal. I know I am just as capable of doing the FULL marathon, as long as I have the time and make the effort to train for it. Phew, 26.2 miles seems like a long way to go, though it’s the training that’s the hardest part. Natural labor was fuel to the fire. Now that I’ve pushed myself through the hardest thing there is, I know I can run a marathon, or anything else I choose to pursue. I had one chance to accomplish the huge goal I set for myself, (if and until I had more kids) and I did it! Two and a half hours later, I got my medal, and the biggest reward- my baby. THAT is what I look back on and think about now. Thousands, well I guess billions of women over time, have done the same thing. A natural and beautiful way to bring a baby into the world, and I am a part of that.

People ask, why? Why would you want to go through pain if you don’t have to? Technology is there, enabling you to feel nothing and enjoy the birth experience painlessly. That’s what I was asking myself at the end, too. Why am I doing this when I was relaxing, playing Words with Friends, right before it was time for Harper to be born? I was sleeping, hanging out, feeling good, and pushed with ease. It was also an awesome, happy birth experience. Kyle didn’t understand, if it went so smoothly, why mess it up? But why run a marathon? Why put the strain on your body and crazily run 26.2 miles? What’s wrong with 5 miles or even 13? The medal, the honor, the pride, the journey, the test, the experience, the empowerment. You still get the greatest gift either way- going all natural, being induced, having an epidural, a planned or emergency c-section. The most important thing is having a healthy baby, and I applaud everyone who’s been through any kind of childbirth, because they all have difficulties, and that’s just the start of how hard it is to raise a child.

There were also other reasons why I wanted to go natural. Just the thought of the baby and God choosing when he wanted to be born is cool. I was in such a hurry with Harper, anxiously wanting to meet her, that I would have been induced the moment the doctor said I could. I wanted to experience what it was like for my water to break, or strong enough contractions to head to the hospital. For Max to choose his own birthday. I definitely did not want to be induced, and if I was, it would have made natural birth more challenging. A documentary: The Business of Being Born, sheds light on the fact that having babies is a business for hospitals in the US. They want you in and out, as quick as possible, to make more money. Pitocin, the induction drug, helps with this, and it’s administered to the majority of women giving birth in America. The movie touched on the fact that epidurals have led to an American culture shift, for the “easy way,” thus disabling women to feel confidence in their own child birthing abilities. The media and tv shows portray childbirth as something torturous, scary, and painful, with women just screaming in pain. It doesn’t always have to be like that, and I wanted to see for myself and do it the way women have for years before now. And for health reasons: it’s obviously better for the baby to not have unnecessary pain medications pass through their system, and they are born more alert. Pitocin causes unnatural, stronger contractions that can be hard on the baby, and also raises the stakes for having to get a c-section. I’ve seen so many moms recently with that fate, because they were induced early and their bodies not ready for it. Further, the ability to move around freely: I didn’t want an IV, needle in my back, a catheter, or to be bed-ridden! I hated that I couldn’t feel my toes last time, along with the uncontrollable shaking. And finally, I desired a faster recovery. I was able to get up from bed much sooner this time. I had less ripping because I could feel how hard I was pushing. Overall, the recovery, which I didn’t know what to expect in comparison, has been awesome! I had a couple pain meds in the hospital, mainly for cramping, and have needed nothing else since. It’s been a very quick recovery, which I am thankful for, and credit the natural labor along with it being my second child. (I feel like I just wrote a college essay.)

Looking back now, I have a different opinion than the night right after. It’s been an experience that brought my husband and I closer together, because if he can see me through that, I feel comfortable with anything. He also learned what to expect for next time! ;) Wait, what? Although I wouldn’t change this one, I still don’t know if I would do it again. Only time will tell, several years from now. I love that both of my children have completely different, but equally special birth stories.

Now let’s talk postpartum. During the last several weeks of pregnancy, my anxiety levels were way heightened. I’m sure it’s normal for pregnant women– the nerves of first time moms, or even second or third time moms, adding another person to their family. I felt like a crazy person, and Kyle thought I was a crazy person. This whole pregnancy wasn’t the easiest to go through, mentally. After a loss, and then the down’s syndrome scare, changing doctors, and the home life of a busy Etsy shop, demanding toddler and dog, taking care of my grandmother, attempting to keep up with household chores, and maintaining a romantic relationship with my husband, without getting any alone time and staying busy with routine. It was a lot of work! And yet, many women do all of that, along with full-time jobs. I couldn’t imagine! Luckily, I do get to stay home, so I had some downtime. Everything was perfect and easy health wise for me and baby, so that’s a blessing. However, toward the end, being pregnant was naturally wearing on me. It’s hard when you’re so big anyway, don’t have the energy to do what you used to, and can’t even reach down to tie your shoes!

My anxiety included: my new and unwelcomed stretch marks ALL over my stomach, feeling huge and not at all sexy, getting my notorious to-do list finished, trying to get Kyle to help with said to-do list and get on board with natural birth, getting mad when he didn’t understand the point of doing such things, that Harper (already extremely Daddy’s girl) wouldn’t like me anymore when the baby came, that she wouldn’t like the baby, that we would not get to video tape her meeting Max, that he would be born with a deformity, health issue or something, that I wasn’t practicing Hypnobabies enough, if I could handle natural labor and how that would go, if I could possibly love another baby like I did Harper, that my boobs would be so sore for weeks, that the nursery would never get finished, how we would handle bedtime for two, how we would have time to be a couple, how we can afford everything, on and on. Mostly normal stuff, but I was really concerned about getting baby blues or postpartum depression (PPD). “Baby blues” is a normal occurrence among new moms, due to all the change in hormones, and includes anxiety, crying spells and mood swings. PPD involves a more severe, long-lasting depression. I even cried at the hospital the morning we were supposed to leave, because Kyle was rushing me and I wasn’t ready yet.

I said all of that because I just want to brag on my baby. I feel almost bad to say it, because so many women struggle with newborns, especially with lack of sleep and breastfeeding challenges. But, we are happier than ever and doing wonderful. Max is the easiest baby. He sleeps all day, eats often when he is awake, and sleeps most of the night. He barely cries. He’s healthy, and gained not only back to his birth weight, but a whole pound extra. Breastfeeding is obviously going well. Way easier than last time around, now that I’m experienced I guess. I have less engorgement, way less soreness. It’s funny at the hospital, the lactation consultation said I was doing the “advanced hold,” not the one for beginners. But Max has definitely caught on, and I even feel confident to nurse in public or around people in general, with a cover. I get more sleep now, than I did before he was born. It helps that Kyle has been off for two weeks, and still has two more weeks off. How awesome and is that. But, Max and I have been sleeping in until 8:30, while Kyle gets up between 6-7:30 with Harper. Added bonus: he’s super cute too! And cuddly. I could just do sit on the couch all day and hold him. I know it won’t always be this easy. The doctor said expect him to eat even more around 3 weeks, and be awake more. We are trying to establish a routine with Harper, while Kyle is home, to make it easier for everyone. She fights naps and bedtime with a passion. Her adjusting has definitely been the hardest part of it all. And whether we had a baby or not, it was going to be this way because she just turned two and it going through changes, becoming more independent yet also more whiney.

At home, with all the anxiety, I also felt alone at times. Going through my birth preparations myself, and then the fact that anytime Kyle is home, Harper only wants him, and Cooper is the same way. It hurt my feelings some. Well now, I have my own little buddy! He needs me, and I need him. A new meaning for life. This is definitely why I am on Earth- to be a mom and live and spread God’s glory through my children. Over the past couple of weeks, I have felt SO full of love. It’s overwhelming and wonderful. I tried to cherish every last “only child” moment with Harper over the past few months, held her close, and now I’m so excited to begin life with two. She doesn’t show much interest in him yet, but I know they will  become best of friends (sometimes), and we’re looking forward to making many exciting family memories.

Thanks for reading my novels :) In a few hours, I will find out whether I’m getting a new niece or nephew this summer. Also getting a new niece in May, and everyone else I know is having boys. So excited about all the babies!!!!