Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

We spent the whole day prepping for my family's New Year's Eve party. We are taking some bacon-wrapped dates, a double batch of our venison chili, and some Paleo red velvet cupcakes with coconut honey frosting. Yum!

Ayden still has a crazy, runny nose and a cough but his temperature feels back to normal to me. David got me this awesome book for Christmas:


And under herbal cold remedies it recommended ecanasia and goldenseal for immune boosting properties. For children under 2 years the recommended dosage is 2-3 drops dissolved in 1/4 cup of water, breast milk, or other form of liquid.

Daddy found it at Whole Foods!
I warmed up some chicken broth and David sat with Ayden and encouraged him to drink it all. Coincidence or not, Ayden got some pep in his step and gave us a good couple of hours of independent play while David and I made all of our food.

Ayden likes to "help" us cook now.
We just arrived at my parents' house and since festivities will go until the wee hours of tomorrow morning I'll be giving you the recap of Ayden's first New Year in tomorrow's post.

I will leave you with a baby belly flashback from last year.

Don't worry, it was sparkling cider :)
2012 brought us so many wonderful things but I think it is safe to say that becoming parents was, hands down, our absolute favorite. Here's to the start of a new year!! We are so excited to find out what is in store.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Date Night

I am so glad that, despite his nasty cold, Ayden had a great night last night! I propped him up with the Boppy Pillow all night and I think that helped him breathe more clearly. I woke today feeling more rested than I have in a while and I'm sure that can only help both of us fight whatever germs have invaded us.

David made us a delicious breakfast and then we got ready for our first paying, non-family photo shoot!

David's parents came to play with Ayden and he did great the whole time we were away.  He was down for his morning nap when we left and back down for his afternoon nap when we returned.  The best part?  He saved his daily poopy diaper for them so we did not have to change one today, haha.  No, the best part was that he got to have fun and bond with his grandparents who love him very much. You don't need much else in your life when you are surrounded by love and our boy has plenty of that!

David and I have been wanting to go to the movies and since we used our available free baby sitters during our photo shoot today, we just took Ayden with us.

During previews
(Look at my new hairs!  Grow baby hairs, grow!!)
He may not sleep all night long on his own but he sure will fall asleep anywhere we are and this enables us to enjoy a lot of things that the parents of young children typically have to miss out on.  If we are at a holiday party or friends house, or a movie, we just change him into his nighttime diaper and PJs and he parties with us until he's sleepy and then goes to sleep.

He is even getting to where he does not need to be nursed to sleep.  The past few nights he has taken his fill of milk and then just snuggled in while he fell asleep and then tonight David was holding him during the movie and I gently tickled his hair and stroked his face and he fell right to sleep.  We were able to have our date night with our baby there, not too shabby.

Headed home.
We try not to do it too often.  Ayden didn't cry or fuss a single time so it couldn't have been too bad for him but we still think that routine, predictability and comfort are important for bed time.  We are just happy that we ended up with a baby who can go with the flow when we need him to so that we can still have a little fun now and again.  It is about the family unit after all, not just our baby.

As for a cold update, Ayden still has a horribly runny nose that he HATES for us to wipe and developed a cough today.  He also still feels a little warm to me though the thermometer is reading that his temp is normal.  His appetite seemed back up at dinner tonight, though, and David's mom said he drank a lot of water while we were away so we are monitoring him and trusting that his body knows what to do!  I had a horrible coughing fit this morning but it must have done its job because I've been better ever since with just a small cough here and there.  I think we are both on the mend.

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve and we have a party to prepare for!  Always love bringing in the New Year with family and friends.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Misery Loves Company

Ayden and I have both come down with colds and it is miserable to say the least. It is Ayden's first experience with a runny/stuffy nose so that made sleeping awful for all of us last night. He also didn't want to nurse because he couldn't breath while latched on so I leaked all over the bed by morning and thought I was going to have to get up and pump.  I propped him up on my pillow while he slept which helped clear his nose enough to eventually nurse. He was understandably cranky, clingy and fussy all day which wore on me by the end of it because I was feeling sluggish and yucky all day from lack of sleep and my own cold.

David hung out with Ayden while I took a long, hot, steamy shower this morning. It felt good to have a little peace and the steam made my chest feel better. I joined Ayden for his morning nap while David went to a CrossFit workout and we slept for 2 hours! That definitely helped too.

We woke up to a beautiful blanket of snow and after lunch we decided to get bundled up and enjoy some fresh air while letting Ayden experience the white stuff for the first time.

Ready to go!
We had fun, Ayden liked it and I know that he would have loved it even more if he were feeling 100%. We took off one of his mittens and let him feel how cold it was and he laughed while he crushed it in his hand.

David pushed him around in a storage container which is actually better than a sled for a baby this age because you don't have to worry about them falling out. They built a tiny snowman that Ayden liked to knock down, just like his blocks and Ayden thought it was hilarious when David threw snowballs at my car.
As for the rest of the day, David enjoyed the UK vs. U of L basketball game while I put together a new shelving unit that has replaced the Pack 'N Play.  I plan to start some Montessori inspired play with Ayden and wanted to start a little "home school" zone.  We didn't use the Pack 'N Play much anymore so we decided that spot would be perfect.

More proof that our baby is growing up!

We are really pleased with how it really cleaned up that corner of our living room and feel that it gives Ayden even more equality in the space.  It is his home too after all, he deserves to have a nice place for his things as opposed to them being thrown into baskets in the corner.

Ayden didn't eat much today and we finally got him bathed and in bed by around 9 pm.  It was a long day and I have to admit, I'm not looking forward to tonight.  My being sick too really made caring for a sick, fussy Ayden pretty miserable today.  My patience and tolerance was definitely not where I usually like for it to be which bummed me out. I am so glad David was home to help out and glad to know that tomorrow is a new day!


Friday, December 28, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Ever since I set up my window command center, my plan for Fridays has been to get to the grocery and clean up the house for the weekend. What usually ends up happening is that time gets away from me and before I know it it's Friday again. I meal plan and make my grocery list during Ayden's morning nap, we have lunch when he wakes up and then we don't get out of the house until after 1:00 pm or later.

Out and about and staying warm!
That doesn't leave too much time for putting all the groceries away, cleaning up, getting dinner started and Ayden down for his afternoon nap by the time David gets home. David has always been a good sport about it and jumps in wherever I left off but I'd love for us to be able to just relax when he comes home on Fridays. Today we were out and about by 10 am, ran a few errands, including the grocery, and were home by 1. That left plenty of time to do everything above plus vacuuming and straightening up the downstairs. On a perfect Friday I would have thrown a load of laundry in there and also straighten the upstairs but who said anyone is perfect. Ayden still isn't feeling 100% and now I am coming down with a chest cold so I am proud of what I did accomplish today with all thins considered.

Morning nap on the go.
With the New Year upon us and with it a chance to start anew, I have been thinking a lot about some changes that I want to make in 2013.

1) I want to make monthly personal, family, and household goals and actually complete them. All year. The key to following through with this type of goal is accountability so I'll probably use this blog for that. At the beginning of each month I plan devote posts to the goals for the month and then recap posts at the end.  We tend to have items on our To Do lists that we put off over and over again and I am hoping that this resolution will help us actually get them done!  The funny part is that these tasks are relatively easy and things that would be pretty quick to take care of once we get them started.

2) I NEED to make exercise a part of my life again. I used to exercise regularly but have given myself a break this year and I sure do feel it. My muscles are tighter than they've ever been, I've lost a lot of muscle tone and I don't have cardiovascular stamina. Being active is part of our "preventative medicine" lifestyle so I need to make it a priority again.

3) Last but not least, I want to become more efficient with my time. I tend to "piddle" as my mom used to say.  It just comes with the type of person that I am.  I am typically laid back, easy going and low stress.  Along with those qualities comes a working pace that would rival a snail's.  I rarely think to look at a clock and since I have a tendency to make lofty To Do lists, I feel disappointed a lot.  I still use some of FlyLady's tactics and my favorite is racing against a timer.  I plan to start wearing my sport watch and racing it daily during household tasks.  I am hoping that after a month or so of doing that, I will have formed new habits of moving a little quicker and really getting some To Do's taken care of. I tried to live by this today and I really felt better about myself by the end of the day. I feel like making this change would solve a lot of the "time always gets away from me" problems.  The time is there I just use twice as much as I really need to.

I don't want to overwhelm myself with too many and I think in reality even what is listed above will be a lot to take on but I have you guys to hold me to it!

What are your New Year's resolutions?  It will be here before we know it so give it some thought and share them in the comments!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mastitis, Round 3. UGH!

I noticed a random plugged duct yesterday, some crazy soreness last night and by this morning I could tell I was getting ready to endure my THIRD bought with mastitis. Luckily Ayden was feeling better today so I didn't have to deal with both of us being out of sorts for the day. I took Lecithin and my immune boosting supplements (garlic an grape seed extract) first thing. I should have stayed home to get lots of fluid and rest but I had big plans today!

My mom rode with my sister and joined us for story time, then we all had lunch (during which Ayden napped).

Then my mom came with me and we braved our local flea mall. I was looking for a large cast iron pan (with no luck) and more picture frames (with luck!) and Mom came away with an antique apparatus that helps you get your boots off without bending over and a cool pie serving thingie. We spent about two hours meandering up and down the overwhelming amounts of booths and Ayden was a trooper, saying hi to everyone we passed. My mom caught a man sifting through my coat that was in the child seat in our cart, probably looking for an open purse but luckily David got me one of these for Christmas:

A little pouch for my Ergo!

So my little clutch was tucked safely into the Ergo. Oh man, I haven't mentioned it on the blog but November was a hard month on us financially. We knew that with my decision to be a stay at home mom, we'd have some tough times but we feel it has been completely worth it. Watching Little Miss helped a lot so now that I don't bring in that extra money I am going to have to find some other ways and have some options in the works.

Instead of debt, though, the holidays actually brought us enough "free" extra cash to get our heads above water again. David won a $500 American Express gift card at his work Christmas party, we discovered that we had some points through our bank that were going to expire and decided to get $200 in Shell gas cards, we got a $100 gift card to Whole Foods from David's brother and a $25 gift card to Kroger as a staff gift at the studio Christmas party, as well as some mall gift cards for new clothes. Shew, just when we needed it we got a break but if I hadn't been cautious with my purse it would have all been gone in an instant. We are so fortunate to have generous family and good luck with winning prizes!

We finally made our way out of the Flea mall and made it home. Ayden fell asleep on the way home, woke up when I got him out of the car, then fell back to sleep when I nursed him. So far his nap is going on an hour and a half but he always sleeps better when we snuggle. I may have dozed a little too :).

Never gets old...
As for my mastitis, I think the Ergo hip hold puts pressure on one of my milk ducts. I wore Ayden in it for a long time while getting ready for our Christmas dinner guests and I'm pretty sure that is what lead up to a plugged duct that made its way to mastitis. I am going to take some more supplements, eat some more Christmas leftovers and call it a night. I am glad that I seem to have caught this one early.

I am hoping to feel better tomorrow!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mama Knows Her Baby

Last night was rough! Ayden woke up with a fever this morning and in hindsight I knew it was coming. Ayden was fussy yesterday and when I'd hold him I kept thinking he felt warm. Every time we took his temp, though, it would read somewhere around 98* which is normal. We chocked it up to the over-stimulating hustle and bustle of the holidays along with teething.

The beauty of this is that as Ayden's mommy, I could sense his impending fever before the thermometer did. The sad part is that I didn't trust my gut and instead relied on the thermometer to guide me. My lesson learned? If I keep wanting to check his temp, he's probably going to end up with a fever at some point...

Poor, feverish baby :(
The house had plenty to do after all of yesterday's festivities but it all just had to wait because my little boy needed mommy snuggles today. His fever didn't go above 100.1* and they say 100.4 is when it turns into a *real* fever but it's making him feel pretty crumby just the same. He took 4 naps today and boy, was he fussy. Right after a nap he'd feel rejuvenated and play for a bit but after about a half an hour or so he'd be fussy and clingy again.

New books between naps.  We stayed in our PJs today.
He also had a bit of a clear runny nose and a little cough. We believe in letting fevers 102* or below run their course for at least 24 hours so we took a wait and see approach and by the end of the day, tooth #7 had made its appearance. I am just so glad all of this waited until after Christmas to hit full force and glad that it is the middle of the week so we would have been able to get to the doctor tomorrow if we had needed to.

Here is a clip of him trying to be himself despite feeling crumby, clapping and crying at the same time:

Our little man still wasn't himself by bedtime so we aren't sure if the 8th tooth is following right behind or not. He has gotten all of his other teeth in pairs within 2 days of each other so we might have another day or two of this discomfort to endure. I guess this experience has taught us that his teething necklace really did make a difference. I had gotten lazy about keeping it on him and this teething experience has been the worst by far! Needless to say, it is back on and I will be much better about keeping it on! I'm just glad that our Christmas Day wasn't like today! I've got our homeopathic teething gel/tablets at the ready for what will probably be a long night...


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Baby's First Christmas!

Here is a sweet clip that we took on Christmas morning last year:

Fast forward to today and what a fun day we had! Santa came to our house, we started new traditions and got to experience the magic of Christmas through our child.  No words can express how amazing it was and it will only get better with time! Ayden didn't really get the whole gift thing (he'd tear off a piece of paper or pull out some tissue paper then move on) but he loved all the lights and ornaments and playing with the toys afterward. The best way to share our day is through pictures. Enjoy!

It was a teething, short nap kind of day but overall it was wonderful. We hosted Christmas dinner at our house and used a delicious honey-citrus ham recipe that everyone loved. We also made a pomegranate bacon salad, my sister brought roasted Brussels sprouts with a maple-balsamic glaze, my mom brought hash brown casserole for those who wanted it and David's parents brought dessert. It was quite the spread and we loved having everyone in our home to celebrate Ayden's first Christmas. Now we have New Year's to look forward to and then a very special birthday!!!

We hope everyone had a very magical day and hope your holidays have been wonderful!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve!

Ayden slept like a rockstar last night (for him anyway)! We put him to bed in his crib around 9 and he didn't wake until almost 12:00. When he's alone in his crib he usually needs my help falling back to sleep every 45 - 60 minutes. Once we are all in bed together for the night it's better, he just finds the sleeping long stretches alone thing kinda tricky. We'll get a two hour chunk every now and then but 3 hours is a new record! A sleep update is a whole different post all on it's own but the older he gets the better it gets. He is totally growing into sleeping just like Dr. Sears told me he would. :)

I am just so excited to be a mommy for Christmas! I got all of our wrapping done last night because I really wanted to enjoy the whole evening without having to stay up until the wee hours of the morning and spending Christmas morning feeling like I'd been hit by a truck. I heard that the Elves finished wrapping Ayden's presents last night too so they are ready to be delivered tonight!

Our Christmas Eve tradition is to have dinner at my parents house. We've had the exact same Christmas Eve dinner every year that we've all been home for the past 22 years: apricot glazed cornish game hens, peas &mushrooms, salad, cranberry relish, wild rice and rolls. Obviously we passed on the grains this year but still filled our plates with yummy meat and veggies. Ayden was a huge fan of the game hens, he ate every bite (that wasn't thrown on the floor...).

After dinner, my dad always reads The Night Before Christmas to the kids.

As you can tell, Ayden was SOO into it...  Maybe next year?
His shirt says I'm on Santa's naughty NICE list! :)
We made sure to get some family pictures in front of the Christmas tree and had a small gift exchange. David's parents were there and in their family it is tradition for the children to open one gift on Christmas Eve so they brought a gift for Ayden and my sister's 2 kids. Ayden gave his grandmothers each an ornament signifying his first Christmas and I gave my boys (and myself) Christmas PJs. When Ayden gets a little older we'll also include some sort of game, book or other sort of activity that we can all do together that night.

As for this year, we changed him into his new Chrismas PJs before we left my parents' house and he fell asleep on the way home. Now he's tucked into his crib and David and I are going to get the house ready for Santa's arrival and do a few things to get ready for tomorrow. We are hosting Christmas dinner and I want to get the house as ready as possible tonight so we can take it easy tomorrow.

Ready for Santa!

We got new Christmas PJs too!!
Yay for old traditions, new traditions and for Ayden's first Christmas. I have to admit, I am going to be a little sad when it is all over but I know it will just get more fun every year!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Day With My Boys

Today was super low key and wonderful. We slept in together until about 8:30, David cooked us an awesome breakfast (eggs, sausage and green smoothie anyone?), we got some housework done, did the post production on the photos we took yesterday, ran a couple of errands, wrapped some presents and then it was dinner time before we knew it. The day flew by but it was productive and fun and we are ready for The Christmas festivities to commence! Oh how I love this time of year!

I didn't take any pictures today but I did get a fun clip of my boys playing. David was teaching Ayden how to jump and he was loving it!

Those giggles are such beautiful music to my ears!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Winter "Break" Has Begun

When I was a teacher, winter break was something I always looked forward to.  Along with summer break, spring break and any other snow day or random day off we might have had.  I just loved that I never had to stop being a kid during those times.  These days I look forward to these times for a different reason.  David is home more!!  He has Monday and Tuesday off this week, and also the Monday and Tuesday off after New Year's.  YAY for tons of family time!!

We kicked this four day weekend off with a CrossFit workout.  I went as a guest with David and we tried Ayden in their childcare room.  After about 15 minutes the teacher brought a tear streaked little boy out to us.  Since it was my first time there, David walked around and played with Ayden while I got a great work out in.  He took him back to the childcare room for the last 15 minutes of the workout and he did better that time.  He just needs to get to know the place and people as well as make the connection that we always come back.  He just needs a little time and patience and he'll get it, we are in no hurry.

After our workout, David played with Ayden while I got a little cleaning done.  It felt so good to not have to clean in circles.  When I got done I looked up and everything was actually clean.  Well... clean might be an over exaggeration these days, but at least there weren't any new messes to tend to.

Next on the agenda was a basketball game at our alma mater!

We lost the hat and shoes before we even left the house.
He's not quite sturdy enough to manage real sneakers but they sure were cute!
Ayden has been to a couple of baseball games but it was his first basketball game.  He was SO cute!  He was pointing all over the place with both hands (middle fingers, of course) and showing us everything, saying, "a-doo, a-doo" with so much excitement.  It was so cute!

The picture on the right was snapped just as he reacted to an air horn.
I couldn't have captured that face on purpose if I had tried.  Priceless!
He also kept clapping when everyone else did like he knew exactly why everyone was so excited.  He loved all of it for about 15 minutes and then he got a bit squirmy.  We just passed him back and forth between us, looked at a book with him, nursed him, etc. to keep him busy.  It was so fun seeing him experience the sights and sounds that it was totally worth dealing with a squirmy toddler who wanted to explore the place.

Last, but not least, we did a little photo shoot for our friends Whit and Kellen!

So fun!
We had venison chili afterward and played a hilarious game that was like a grown up version of Apples to Apples (what was it called Whit?) that had us all in stitches.

It was a great way to start off the weekend and I can't wait to have 3 whole more days with both of my boys!


Friday, December 21, 2012

11 Months Old!

11 months old!
10 months, 9 months, 8 months, 7 months, 6 months,
5 months4 months, 3 months, 2 months, 1 month

Well, the countdown has officially begun. One month until our sweet baby has been with us for a whole year. In the past 11 months he has changed who we are to our cores. We have mustered more patience, loved more deeply and experienced more happiness and delight than we ever thought possible.

Outtakes :)
I let the housework go today and really lived in all of the wonderful, tiny moments that occurred throughout our day together. That's what being a stay-at-home mom is really about, right? The house was a mess when David got home but Ayden was a happy little boy and I had no regrets.

I used to refer to my milestone app to help me know what to look forward to or what to work on next with Ayden but over the past couple months it hasn't even crossed my mind until it was time to write these monthly posts. He is learning more and more everyday and we are so proud. Here are the 11 and 12 month milestone lists:

Does everything on this list!
(except he does not fear loud noises...)

He signs, "All done" for no.

He is also doing everything on the 12 month list!
Ayden has been walking for weeks now but still needed to pull up on something to stand up. Over the past couple of days he has mastered standing on his own. The progression was hilarious. It started with a downward dog yoga type pose, which he always giggles during. I suppose the world was funny from upside down. Once he figured out that his knees needed to bend in order to gain proper leverage, he'd get stuck in a squat. Finally he found the momentum necessary and started shooting up from the squat, usually on the second or third try, like an Olympic weight lifter doing the Clean and Jerk. He has been so persistent and is just as proud of his efforts as we are.  Here are a few clips of him from today, including his Clean and Jerk moves:

He is a busy, busy boy and is always into everything all the time. He moves from one room to the next making trails of evidence of his exploration adventures behind him. As a teacher, I always said, "If they aren't making a mess they aren't learning" so I guess I had it coming. As much as his messes add to my day, I am glad he is taking a hands on approach to exploring the world because I really do believe there is no better way to learn.

As busy as he is, he is snuggly and affectionate too. He doesn't give a whole lot of hugs yet but he does love being held/worn and requests it regularly. He likes backing up into our laps for reading books and still gives affectionate head-butts when we are playing. He is snuggly all night and our mornings are just the best. He'll lay back on me and point out things in the room, telling me all about them in his sleepy babbles and loves listening for the morning trains.

He has added "pa" for my dad, Papaw, "tweet tweet" for bird, "choo choo" for train and "ba" for bath (same as ball) to his collection of "words" that be says. He also says hi and bye while giving a huge smile and wave to everyone we see when we are out and about. He brightens the days of so many people and I hope that is a quality that stays with him for his whole life.

Current likes: being outside, climbing stairs, going down anything backwards, "blowing" out candles (whether they are lit or not) finding pictures of dogs in the most random places in public and saying, "Bow-wow!" over and over until we acknowledge that we see it too. He still loves baths and is doing better with diaper/clothing changes as long as we give him a heads up for every step of the process. He LOVES when his daddy gets home in the evenings, emptying out the kitchen cabinets, grabbing Polly's tail, digging in Mavericks's food container (we had to lock it because he may have eaten a piece) and reading books. He likes to collect measuring spoons and rubber spatulas out of the dishwasher and carry them around everywhere. He dances when he hears music and enjoys either feeding us or throwing all of the food from his booster tray on the floor for Polly. Chicken, olives, avocado, clementines, brussels sprouts, grapes, any dried fruit and apple sauce are his favorite foods at the moment.

Current dislikes: having his face cleaned after meals (even with warnings, songs, games, etc. he hates it!), when we keep him from climbing on the dishwasher door, being put into his carseat without warning (if we warn him and give it a moment to sink in he's fine), unexpected diaper/clothing changes, waking too early from his afternoon naps and when we say, "the end" after reading a favorite book.

I love that I am having trouble listing dislikes. He still has his moments but as of right now he is such a happy little guy most of the time. I seriously could ramble on all day long about this kid. Each day gets better and better and he is becoming a little boy right before our eyes.

Happy 11 months, Ayden!

~ Sarah

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Team Work

Today was a busy but day! We went to story time and then ran errands in the rain and Ayden was a super trooper! Where's the snow, December?!?

What I want to focus on today is my partner in crime and love of my life.

This man is amazing! I'm not sure what in the world I'd do without him. Before Ayden was born our routine usually consisted of him chilling on the couch while I made dinner during the week and both of us tackling household to do's on the weekends. David would take care of the outside chores (mowing, trash, garage, cars, etc) and I'd take care of the inside (dishes, laundry, groceries, etc). This arrangement worked well for us but things have changed a lot since Ayden's arrival.

During the first month or so when Ayden was nursing so much and I was a hormonal, exhausted mess, David really stepped up and took care of business. He went to work, went to the grocery, did all the cooking, ran the vacuum regularly (without being asked sometimes!) and also was a hands on dad. Since we knew I'd be a stay-at-home mom our original agreement was that I would handle 100% of the night time parenting but he even ended up compromising there when we decided to start co-sleeping. Now, almost a year into this new adventure, David goes above and beyond any agreement we had originally made pre-baby.

As if he wasn't already doing more than I, as his homemaker wife, ever intended for him to have to do, since Thanksgiving he kicked it up yet another notch and has adopted the mentality that we are both working full time during the day and by the time he gets home we are equal. If I'm busy with Ayden or with a household task, he finds something to do. We are either both busy or both resting. Everything needs to get done and it really doesn't matter who does what as long as we are both working for the joint cause. We have now fallen into a wonderful routine in the evenings where one of us works on dinner while the other plays with Ayden, or if Ayden is in the mood to play by himself we'll cook together. After dinner David starts kitchen clean up while I supervise bath time. After bath time David joins us for books and snuggles, then I nurse Ayden to sleep/write my blog posts while David finishes up the kitchen and whatever else needs to be done. With this arrangement, both of us equally contributing, we are now able to relax together for a baby-free hour or two at the end of the day and it is wonderful.

I guess "they" really mean it when they say it takes the entire first year to really adjust and figure out your new roles and routines. Things have evolved slowly over time and with a lot of communication and compromise we have finally found a system that works for us. We can finally say that we are settled and that things are getting "easier."

I feel so lucky to have a spouse who is observant and willing to take initiative around the house. We have been together since we were teenagers, have witnessed each other grow up and I am so proud of the man my husband has become. He is a sweet, romantic husband, a loving, hands on father and he does everything he can to help take care of this little family of ours. Ayden has a wonderful role model in David and if he even becomes half the man his daddy is he will make some lady very lucky someday.

Any lady would be lucky to have this cuteness!
(I know from experience.)
"They" also say that parenthood is the most challenging yet most rewarding role you will ever take on and that is no joke. We have had many ups and downs over the past 11 months. We've had many arguments, usually on the days we are the most sleep-deprived, and many times when we've had to remind each other that we are on the same side. What is important is that we have really been in this together. I am proud to say that I am the mother I have always wanted to be and I have David, with his constant love and support, to thank for that. I could never begin to express my gratitude and love for my sweet husband. He is my #1 and makes my life complete.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Big Boy Stuff

As sentimental as I can get over this past year and my baby becoming not so baby like, I am just as excited about what his second year will bring.

Pinterest is usually my nursing pass time these days and lately I've found myself browsing and pinning all of the fun you can have with toddlers. The pre-school teacher in me is getting really excited about the prospects of art projects, felt boards, sensory activities, puzzles, etc. Our attic is filled to the brim with theme tubs and all sorts of fun, hand-made (and educational) activities. As I made each and every one for my students I always thought to myself, "I can use this for my own kids someday." As Ayden grows we get closer to him using all of that special stuff that I've tucked away for safe keeping. I am looking forward to pulling it out and being reminded of my sweet students and helping Ayden learn the same lessons that I taught them.

He is already showing some interest in drawing and loves exploring textures, songs/finger plays and, of course, reading books. I am planning on using the Montessori method for a lot of his home pre-schooling so I have been looking in to details pertaining to that as well. I really love the minimalistic approach and think it will jive well with our lifestyle.  I imagine that we will start slowly introducing things after his birthday in January. It is so hard to believe that we have a toddler but it is also very exciting!

I feel the need to add that the events in CT last Friday have really weighed heavily on my thoughts and I know I am not alone. As a once teacher turned new(ish) mother. I can put myself in a lot of the shoes from the tragedy and my heart has been so broken over all of it. Is it possible for us to continue to keep this, "hold your babies tighter" mentality forever? Can we challenge ourselves as parents to truly cherish every moment with our little ones as if it is possibly our last. I have to admit that the sadness of it all it took me to places where I imagined what it might be like to lose Ayden. I know there is no way to even fathom the loss of a child without having been through it but all I could think was, if it ever did happen, I wouldn't want any regrets. I would want our last interaction to have been filled with love, patience and understanding. As a family, we don't believe in living our lives or making choices out of the fear of what *could* happen; but at the same time if something bad were to happen, we want to have lived to the fullest and with as much love around us as possible. Tonight as Ayden threw piece after piece of his dinner onto the floor instead of eating it (a new habit that makes me want to pull my hair out), I reminded myself that "he is happy, healthy and thriving." Then I stuck a smile on my face and repeated for the um-teenth time, "keep it on your tray or eat it" in the sweetest voice that I could muster. In the grand scheme of things, food on our kitchen floor is no big deal and with time, patience and consistency Ayden will learn not to throw it on the floor anymore.  We just have to remind ourselves that with what is going on in the world today, it's all small stuff.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Paleo Chocolate Cake Win!

I have to admit, I had my doubts. Paleo is a super healthy lifestyle and cake doesn't really fit that bill. Could a Paleo cake really be good??

I made my first practice cake last night and it was delicious!! David and I scarfed down our "test" pieces last night because we hadn't had anything that sweet, moist and chocolatey in a long time. Well, I scarfed mine down while David slowly savored his.

The only sweetener was 100% pure maple syrup and it was just as satisfying for my sweet tooth as any conventional sweet treat would have been. Who says anyone on the Paleo diet is deprived?!? You just have to be willing to become very good friends with Google and be brave enough to give it all a chance.

We used the chocolate bacon ganache frosting recipe and, while it tasted heavenly, it wasn't the best spreading consistency and the finished product wasn't super pretty either. I think I'll make another next week and give the honey coconut frosting a try. My online buddy and Paleo pal, Jenney, said the honey coconut frosting was a hit when she used this cake recipe recently so maybe we'll like that better.

Now that we've found a great cake recipe I feel so relieved. I had no idea how much making our little boy an actual GOOD cake on his birthday meant to me. I am so glad we can continue with tradition yet still only put awesome, high quality fuel in his little body. We are in no rush to introduce him to the beast that is sugar addiction and this cake will be more than a perfect compromise!

I am so excited that the world of baking has opened back up for me. I even have a couple of sweet treats planned for Christmas and New Years. Now that we are eating eggs again we will no longer be on the sidelines during dessert time at a party and this makes my sweet tooth very happy!

Now I shall leave you with a cute clip of Ayden from today. Lets just say that I have a feeling we'll be fishing valuables out of the toilet and trash in our near future...


Monday, December 17, 2012

My Breastfeeding Essentials

We had a boring low key day at home today so I thought i'd put together another list for you!

Ayden hanging out with his furry buddy.
I always knew I would breastfeed. I come from a family of breastfeeders and for us it has always just been what you do. I knew I'd do it, knew I'd love it and I am so very glad that it all worked out the way I wanted it to! It hasn't been 100% smooth sailing. I've had mastitis twice, milk blisters, bites and more than my fair share of plugged ducts but I always adopted the attitude of, "It just comes with the territory. It is all temporary and once I make it through, we'll still be breastfeeding." I also often thought, "What would a cavewoman have done?" And that helped keep things in perspective. My goal was to breastfeed for at least a year and Ayden is still going strong so I have no doubt we'll make it. After that, it is up to him but since we do not plan on giving him cow's milk, I am hoping he'll continue for another year.

I suppose all you really NEED for breastfeeding is your milk-filled breasts and a baby but here is a detailed list of my top 10 breastfeeding "essentials":

1) Support. I honestly believe that support is the key to being successful at breastfeeding, or anything for that matter. Between my mom, sisters, midwife and David, I was surrounded by encouraging people who all believed it was the right thing to do. I never ended up having a moment when I wanted to quit but if I did I know I'd have encouragement to push through coming from all directions. It is not easy and you'll need someone who understands that will listen to you vent, validate your feelings, then encourage you to continue.

2) Comfortable nursing bra. I LOVE the Bravado Allure Nursing Bra.

This is an underwire bra designed specifically for nursing. You have to be careful because under wires can cause plugged ducts, but I personally felt so self conscious with the mediocre support of standard nursing bras. I am slightly larger chested and really enjoy the support and shape that an underwire can provide and this bra fit the bill! The underwire is bigger, avoiding any milk-producing tissue and, though I am prone to plugged ducts, this bra has never caused one. The only con is that they are pricey so I only have one. That being said, it has held up nicely so it shows that you are paying for quality. I'll buy another with our next baby and then I'll have two! I should also add that all Bravado products have great reputations.

3) Reusable breast pads. Just like with diapers, disposable breast pads can really add up. My advice is to invest in some high quality reusable breast pads. My favorite have been my Bamboobies.

 Since they contain hemp, they are MUCH thinner yet more absorbent than standard reusable pads. They are a bit pricey but with how discreet they are it is worth it. Even with their price tag you could purchase 2 sets and still save a ton of money that would be thrown in the trash with disposables. Disposable breast pads are also filled with chemicals that aren't the best thing to put in your baby's mouth or to put against your sensitive breast tissue. Who knows what all might cause breast cancer down the road...

3) Nursing Pillows - plural. I have both a Boppy

and the My Brest Friend.

I found that My Brest Friend has ended up being my favorite for nursing. It clips on so I could walk around and nurse, has built in lumbar support, has a pocket where I always kept a couple of burp cloths or my cell phone, and is overall more structured than the Boppy. I still liked having both. I kept My Brest Friend in the nursery where I did most of my nursing and kept the Boppy downstairs where David could use it for holding Ayden. Though the My Brest Friend was my favorite of the two, I actually preferred the Boppy for night feedings in bed because I could just slip it right into place. The one time I attempted to use My Brest Friend pillow in bed in the wee hours I bopped David in the head while trying to get it buckled around my waist. Like I said, I would recommend having both because they are both great for different reasons.

4) Breast pump with hands free bustier. This one is pretty self explanatory. I originally thought I'd pump a lot so that I could donate milk. If you know you'll be pumping a lot it is important to invest in a high quality breast pump. I have the Madela Pump In Style Advanced with the shoulder bag and it has been perfect.


 I actually purchased it used at a consignment event when I was pregnant and just got new tubing, flanges and bottles. I didn't end up pumping as much as I thought I would because I kind of hate it but I have still gotten good use out of it and don't regret having it. The hands free bustier is nice because it allows you to multi task or tend to your baby while pumping. You can totally make one yourself out of an old sports bra or shelf bra tank. I also have the Madela manual pump and it has come in handy when I need to pump a little off without hooking up and strapping on the big electric pump.

5) Milkies Milk Saver.

This came in SUPER handy for me because I suffered from extreme over supply for the first 3 or 4 months. Not only did it catch what dripped out of the other side during feedings (don't let a breast pad soak up that liquid gold!) but it also really helped anytime I was uncomfortable and had to hand express a bit. A manual pump would come in handy here too but I didn't get mine until later.

6) Lanolin Cream or any kind of nipple relieving ointment. Your nipples get SORE at first. If they crack or bleed it is a latch problem that lanolin won't fix but even if your baby has a perfect latch you will be sore for the first week or so while that sensitive skin toughens up and adjusts to its new expectations. Slather plenty of lanolin, olive oil, coconut oil, etc. before and after every feeding and it will help a lot! I used both Lansinoh and Madela brands and found I preferred Madela's formula. For me, tt was softer and much easier to get out of the tube and spread. Have a few tubes and keep them at every nursing station and in the diaper bag.

7) Lecithin. If you have an over supply or are prone to plugged ducts, this natural supplement will be a life saver! It is what helped me battle mastitis without antibiotics (twice!) and has helped me clear numerous plunged ducts. Definity worth having on hand

8) Block Feeding. This is when you feed on one side for as many times as your baby wants to nurse for a set amount of time. For example, if you choose 4 hour blocks, no matter how many times your baby wants to nurse within that four hours you feed from the same side every time. Once the 4 hours is up you switch. I did this until my milk regulated which wasn't until Ayden was between 4 and 5 months old. Since I had a crazy over supply, it caused a terrible hind milk/fore milk imbalance for Ayden. His poop was green, his belly was rumbly and his mood was terribly fussy for weeks. Block feeding + reclined nursing was our saving grace! I wished I had known about it sooner!

9) Undercover Mama Tanks.

These tanks are wonderful! They turn any nursing bra into a tank. I have two and wish I had a few more. I cannot convey how much I love these tanks. I don't like "nursing" tops and with these tanks I was able to turn my pre-pregnancy wardrobe into my nursing wardrobe without having double clasps or having my back/belly hang out while I nurse. I just pull up my top shirt, undo the ONE clip from my bra and nurse away. I saw a tutorial on how to make one yourself but honestly, with the money you'll save by not having to purchase a THIRD wardrobe (pre-pregnancy, pregnancy AND nursing? No thank you!) spend your precious free time doing something else and just buy a couple of these.

10) Entertainment. You will spend HOURS nursing. Especially in the early, newborn days. I would always go through my checklist before settling in to nurse. Support pillow, water (nursing makes you THIRSTY!), burp cloth and iPhone.


I used my phone to keep track of feedings and keep my mind occupied while I nursed. It helped turn each nursing session into "me time" and I really enjoyed HAVING to sit down every 2-3 hours to cuddle my baby and watch some YouTube or browse Facebook. Not too shabby if you ask me! Now I tend to put my phone aside more often so I can focus on Ayden and cherish our nursing sessions because 1) who knows how much longer he'll nurse and 2) he is super efficient these days and a full nursing session can take as little as 10 minutes.

Breastfeeding essential *BONUS!*: is the BEST breastfeeding resource out there. Use it!!

Any favorites I didn't mention? Please share below. Happy breastfeeding!!