Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hadleigh 2.5 years old!

Whew! Hadleigh is our little spitfire! Should I be surprised?!

She is cute, loving, fun, controlling, funny, stubborn, and impatient all rolled into one little girl! Are you exhausted just from that one sentence describing her? Yeah, that explains our lives :)

Her Personality is great.  She's starting to become more outgoing.  Very full of energy and seems to be becoming the ring leader when I see her in play with others. (greeaat). She's very thoughtful when she wants to be - but then other times sharing is the worst thing possible.  She has no problem telling you what she wants and how she wants it - and is pretty stubborn, so good luck trying to change her mind or get her to do something else. In addition to that, she lives for control - so she will do anything to control the issue/situation. She's still unsure about new things in the beginning, but once she gains confidence there's no stopping her.  I love that she still likes to cuddle with mommy and daddy every day. I hope that NEVER stops.

She has a love/hate relationship with sleep.  If you’re trying to get her to sleep, she fights it to the bitter end. And it’s bitter. If you’re trying to wake her in the morning, she doesn’t want to get up. She’s got so much energy, but is not a morning person at all. Gets that from her daddy.  She will sleep in her big girl bed, but we still lay with her until she falls asleep.  We also still let her sleep in bed with us – whenever she wants, or whenever it’s easier for us. Bad habit some say, but you know what? We don’t mind and it works for us. Let us be.

Hadleigh goes to school 3 days a week.  And while the morning drop offs can be teary, she has great days.  On March 4, she actually moves up to the 2.5-3.5 year old class, so they’ve been starting to introduce her to the class already.  Some days she even asks to go to the bigger room.  I think she’s ready for sure.  She’s made a few friends that she will talk about at home, so that’s exciting!  They work with her on potty training and she seems to do a lot better for them than for us.  Granted, they work a lot more with her probably too.  We’ve taken a very laid back approach to potty training.  I have tried the cold turkey a few times, and they’ve obviously failed.  She will pee right through the underwear and it doesn’t bother her at all. One day. One joyous day.

The bippy is still in her life somewhat.  The past few days she has done great.  We haven’t even really put together a big “operation no bippy” theme either.  School has always put it away, so she was used to not having it there.  And then she fell asleep one night without it, so we knew it could be done.  Now when she asks for it at night, I don’t go get it.  Now, she still takes Hayden’s when it’s around, but I correct her and give it back.  Hasn’t been a huge struggle {knock on wood}
She talks all.the.time now!  She will still speak jibberish, but for the most part she’s very clear.  Of course we still have those words that Daniel and I know exactly what she is saying, but we will have to translate for other people.  For first time parents who were scared of her not talking enough – she’s making up for it!  She can say the funniest things!  I need to start writing them down more! Put it on my list.

2.5 has definitely had its challenges.  I’m sure they will continue. She is becoming more independent - “no mama, I do it” is a sentence we hear often.  We’ve hit into what people call the “terrible twos” but I like to think of it as her being challenging.  It’s a mixture of independence, sometimes her being tired, stubborn, wants control, not being able to fully express her feelings, and her just being a 2.5 year old! 

We wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. Love my girl!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Lets get Real about Postpartum – Part 2

Lets get Real about Postpartum Part 2
My Breastfeeding Experience
Ready for Part 2?! I’m not an expert on this topic BY FAR.  I actually think other moms would probably get better advice or knowledge from someone who had some struggles along the way with breastfeeding.  Honestly, those moms probably want to slap me and I probably would too if I was them!  To make my case though – I had rough pregnancies both of which ended up on bed rest, so go easy on me. J
When I had Hadleigh, I was back in the delivery room from having the C-section within about 10 minutes.  They gave her right to me to try and get her to latch, which happened immediately.  Yes, I was lucky. My milk had come in by the time I left the hospital, which was 3 days later.  I stayed an extra day due to them giving me magnesium, having panic attacks, and my blood pressure still being elevated.  As I went home, everything still went well.  Occasionally, I struggled with Hadleigh moving her head around so much to try to latch that she got frustrated (and so did i).  But eventually, she would latch and eat, and all was right in the world. 
As a first time mom, it made me anxious worrying about whether or not she was getting enough to eat.  When you nurse, you aren’t controlling how much milk they’re getting, and I like control J  A week after she was born I started pumping.  It was a huge time commitment, but I was ready to take it on.  Daniel was able to help feed her now that I was pumping as well.  I did really well for about a month and a half.  Hadleigh then started having acid reflux problems, so the doctor had her on medicine and told me to mix some formula in with the breast milk.  Looking back, I’m not sure why I didn’t change my diet habits to see if that worked?
I ended up getting lazy about pumping and being depressed didn’t help, so I slowly stopped, which dried my milk supply up.  A week before I went back to work, I tried to get my milk back by pumping. WHOA! So painful to pump when you don’t have anything to pump out! So I went on and sucked up the fact I was done breastfeeding.  I vowed to remember all of this for when we had our second, so I could keep myself on track with nursing.

This time around has been awesome.  I have really enjoyed nursing and I’m still going strong almost 7 months into it.  This time around I was in surgery for almost an hour, so I couldn’t immediately nurse like I did with Hadleigh.  But as soon as they wheeled me into the delivery room, I nursed, and Hayden latched right on.  I was definitely much more relaxed this time and just remembered to “shove my nipple to the roof of her mouth” to make sure there was a good latch each time.  I think once you get past 2-3 months, things are easier.  Strictly nursing and not pumping helped tremendously.  I didn’t worry myself with how much Hayden was getting – I was content in knowing she would let me know if she wasn’t. And she did. 
I had a few battles with sore and cracking nipples (never to the extent of bleeding) but I used Lanolin and pushed through as much as it hurt.  I knew if I didn’t push through the pain, my supply would suffer.  So I did what I had to – pain and all. 
I did start pumping when Hayden was between 6-8 weeks old – just once a day for 2 reasons.  One, I was producing more than Hayden ate, so it gave me relief in the morning, and Two, I was afraid once she got older and started eating 8 ounces (so I thought) that I wouldn’t be able to keep up.
We are at 7 months now and she still only eats 5 ounces out of a bottle twice during the day when I’m at work.  I guess I figured Hadleigh was drinking about 8 ounces of formula by now and that Hayden would drink just as much.  Our doc said that Hayden just likes nursing, so she drinks what she has to in order to get by during the day – but I can’t help but think breast milk is more nutritious than formula? Who knows?
So, I currently have ½ of a freezer full of breast milk J I’m pumping twice a day while at work, and nursing the rest of the time.  I’ll probably think of weaning her around a year, and I didn’t think I’d be upset about it, but I will!  I enjoy it as much as she does!  It’s the time of day we both get with each other alone, she’s still depending on me for something huge – can they stay babies forever? J
Feeding Troubles
When Hayden was 2 weeks (and on my birthday) we had to take her to the Emergency Room cause she was projectile vomiting right after I had fed her.  It was very scary to say the least.  She had thrown up her entire stomach full of milk and then some.  After taking stomach ultrasounds and x-rays, the doctors came to the conclusion it was reflux/dairy problems.  So we started her on Prevacid, but I didn’t see much of a change either way. I decided that I wasn’t going to continue her on it.  She wasn’t vomiting every-time she ate, and if she moved around a lot afterwards it was a guarantee for some throw up.  I did cut back on my dairy intake and I think that did help for a while, but again, I didn’t see this revelation in me changing my diet.  Hayden was also having mucousy stool.  In my gut, I still wasn’t satisfied with the reflux/dairy answer, so I googled. Ha. I don’t medically recommend googling of course, but for questions like this, it’s nice to see what other people have encountered.  If for nothing else, it’s to see that you aren’t alone and crazy.  From my googling, I read that I could be an over-producer of milk – which made total sense to me.  I had to pump once a day to get relief cause Hayden wasn’t nursing enough – even with her nursing every 3 hours.  It’s also called Fore-milk Hind-milk imbalance.  Multiple sites recommended feeding lying down on your side (the side of the breast you’re feeding from).  At that point, it was worth a shot to me.  It worked!  I was amazed what something so simple did!  And still to this day, I feed Hayden lying on my side.  I’m sure she probably has grown out of it a bit as her stomach has matured, and that I’m not producing too much since she drinks more.  But, there’s no sense in switching it up if it’s been working and now it’s the nursing position she’s used to. 
The lesson here is:
Stay persistent and go with your gut.  Mommy knows best! J

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Pinterest also had me interested in making my own laundry detergent.  I would have never thought to do this – or even attempted.  But, you know, Pinterest makes things look super easy and makes you feel like you can accomplish anything! 

The recipe I used can be found here
(step 5 says to pour the "liquid" - FYI mine was NOT liquid)

We were getting low on store-bought detergent, so I went ahead and bought the ingredients to make some.  Pretty simple: Borax, Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, and a bar of Fels Naptha Soap.


Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures through each step.  But you first have to grate the soap into small pieces so it melts easier.  Then add it to a boiling 4 cups of water.

You continually have to stir, which is the only annoying part.  Your hand gets tired people! Once the soap is fully melted into the water, you add your washing soda & borax.  You have to mix that until its fully dissolved, which takes a little bit – and you have to still continually stir.
Then it’s time to transfer to your jars.  I thought I was doing it wrong, cause my mixture was pretty thick, but I just added some warm water to it to get it mixed a little more.  It still is thick, but I’ve googled that it’s normal.

Now, the big test!  We have a front loading machine, so I googled again to make sure it was completely safe for me to use my homemade mix.  It was. 
The first 2 loads I did, there were clumps of detergent being left in the washer.  That sent me back to google, to see how I could avoid this or if I just made a bad batch. I read that you could just add some more hot water to the mixture.  
It worked perfectly!  I'm not sure the exact amount I added - I added until I was happy with the consistency.  The end consistency was close to the thickness of store bought detergent. Even better, by me adding more water, I got so much more which will last longer! woohoo!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

School Valentine's Edition

Pinterest had me getting crafty again…surprise!  Damn that site for always giving me ideas and wanting to do things around the house – it’s never ending, and Daniel might want to secretly (well not even secretly) kill me when I even say the word "Pinterest”. HAJ

Friday, Hadleigh’s school sent home their February calendar and at the bottom read “We will be exchanging Valentine’s with the class” or something along those lines. Great. Less than a week to Valentine’s Day and nothing to show for it.  I mean , I know kids do this, but I guess I didn't realize the 2 year olds did. Shame on me.  I actually love the fact that they do. That’s where Pinterest comes in J Saving the day!

After doing some searching I came across this: 
DIY: Crayon Hearts Tutorial with free printable tag...cute and inexpensive, great for school hand outs!

I loved the idea of 1) it was something the kids would enjoy using and 2) wasn't something sugary. Not that I'm against the sugary treats, but they'll be getting plenty I'm sure!
So Sunday, Hadleigh and I made a trip to the Dollar Store and kroger.  I purchased the crayons and some Valentine's bags from The Dollar Store and I found my mold from Kroger. 

I think this was about $7.

After I unwrapped all of the crayons and broke them into 4 sections each, it was time to fill the mold!  Hadleigh helped out with this step.  Then I baked them at 275degrees in the oven until the crayons were fully melted.  I then placed them in our fridge, so they would harden quicker.

Daniel thought we should add some of the paper Valentine's to the bag, since we loved getting those growing up.  Hadleigh's big into Princesses, so I bought the Disney Princess box.  She helped me decide which princess we should give each of her classmates.

I love how they turned out! Hopefully Hadleigh's class will enjoy them just as much!

{Unfortunately, Hadleigh had to stay home from school today - stomach bug has hit our house, including me.  But the best dad ever dropped Hadleigh's Valentine's off at her school this morning and is going back by there this afternoon to pick Hadleigh's up.  It will cheer her up for sure.}

Monday, February 11, 2013

Creating With the Stars

When I read about "Creating With The Stars" I had to enter!  So here goes nothing!!  I'd love the opportunity to work with any of the DIYers :)  {buuuutttt being a Richmonder - it would be amazing to get the chance to work with Young House Love}

You can read about the contest here:

Creating with the Stars

We've also been working on a DIY bench for Hadleigh's new room.  We finally finished it and I'm so excited about it!  It turned out great!  We had an old coffee table from when we had our apartment and it sat in our attic at our first house.  Thankfully, we never got rid of it!  Here's a picture of it before:

And then after Daniel and I were done sanding it.

Once we were done sanding, we spray painted white primer and then added a white spray paint top coat.  It already looked so much better.  We also added some baskets to put in the cubby holes at the bottom .  To finish it off, Daniel and I made a bench seat so she could sit and read or do whatever she wanted.  Very simple - we bought some fabric, a piece of board cut to the size of table, foam, and some staples - and THIS is what we have!


Lets get Real about Postpartum – Part 1

So, I figured I get a little real about Post-baby.  I feel like no one really tells you, but that might just be because you don’t really listen.  It doesn't sink in until you’ve lived it.  No sense in worrying about it since it’s not (riiggghhht) going to happen to you.  At least you hope not.  I’ve had my fair share of difficulties, but some things have been easy for me. I think it changes with every mom.  And don’t let this freak you out. Having kids FAR outweighs all of this most every day(s).

{I’ve re-read this post over and over and I feel like I’m rambling the entire time.  I can’t figure out how to organize it better and I hesitate on what I say, so I’m just publishing.  I’ve warned you.}
Lets get Real about Postpartum Part 1
Depression & Hormones
Your hormones are raging – crying one minute, laughing the next, all while you have a baby on your chest nursing and trying to stay awake.  That’s pretty much how the first weeks feel like.

My Experience with Hadleigh
I was on bed rest in the hospital, which made me depressed all by itself.  Being in that all white room alone everyday takes a toll on anyone.  So, I was already at a disadvantage mentally.  {The nurses actually told me, most of the women on the floor end up being prescribed anxiety/depression meds} Then I had a normal birth – just not the birth that I had planned and hoped for – I really wanted to avoid the C-Section.  Yes, I know births are never as planned, but it doesn't make it an easier.  I had a doctor who I felt didn't have my best interest/wants at heart, so that left me with a ton of "what ifs?" afterwards. I also was put on tons of medication for the anxiety, the blood pressure, the pain, and the panic attacks I had the night after Hadleigh was born. I swear the first week is still foggy in my mind – because that’s how I felt.  Hadleigh was an awesome baby and I did a damn good job taking care of her, but I was depressed. 
Going into the birth I was down and then the hormones after the birth just added fuel to the fire.  Breastfeeding came so easy to me, but it made me anxious not knowing how much she was getting, so I decided to exclusively pump.  Huge time commitment and being down, I ended up stopping when she was about 2.5 months old.  My best friend has since told me she thought I was crazy (not literally) for no longer nursing so quickly since it came so easy for me and not so easy for her. Body image was horrible, not to mention your body just sits differently after a kid.  On top of that, as a new mom (and even now as a mom of two) it’s still hard for me to get back to/figure out who I am outside of being a mother.
I finally started getting out of the post baby depression around the time I got pregnant with Hayden – that’s a whole 15 months.  Luckily, I was already on some anxiety medicine, I think my depression was somewhat mild because I didn't really think I was, until I wasn't anymore (does that make sense? Just go with it.) Maybe it just took me 15 months to put myself back together?  

My Experience with Hayden
This time around post-baby was WAY different.  I pretty much knew what to expect, so I tried to be prepared.  I upped my anxiety meds a little {with doctors consent} a couple weeks before her birth - I was having anxiety about having anxiety in the hospital, which I knew wasn't good. I went back to my regular dosage a month or so after she was born.  {And for me, the meds work.  They aren't for everyone, but if I wasn't on them I wouldn't be able to manage the daily anxiety I have}  I was on rest this time around, but not in the hospital, so my spirits were up. Hormones still went crazy and I still had the crying fits afterwards, but they went away.
I was very laid back this time with the feeding and didn't beat myself up over it.  I do however have the body image issues, and still figuring out slowly who I am outside of being a mother but that's for another post. 

All-in-all having kids is amazing, but it does take a toll on you emotionally. Your life totally changes, priorities change, you’re super tired, worn down, and you just have to get settled into your new normal.  Whatever that new normal is, and believe me – it will change as soon as you think you got it down!  I guess my purpose for writing is to get it out there and maybe it might help some mothers-to-be or moms who are living it or have lived it.

No story is perfect and no one’s experience is perfect.  I think that is part of the problem – pictures , other blogs, movies – well society in general make child birth / motherhood look like the easiest  thing to go through.  While it is amazing in the fact you have this beautiful being you and your love created, it’s damn hard.  

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Hayden's 1/2 Birthday!

How does time go by so fast?!
Miss Hayden is already 6 months old.  Like her sister and her cousins – we threw a little ½ birthday party for her.  Nothing extravagant, just the immediate family over for dinner and cake.  I just ordered some pizza and picked up a red velvet cake from William’s Bakery.  Everything was delicious and all of the cousins had a good time playing in the play room and the empty kitchen cabinets.

Happiness & Eating
Hayden is really a very happy baby – smiles all the time.  Smiles when she wakes up to right before she goes to sleep.  Mommy, Daddy, and Hadleigh are definitely her favorite people.  She loves her grandparents and aunt/uncles, but when mommy, daddy, or Hadleigh are around – forget it.  I’m still nursing her, but she does get 2 bottles during the day while I’m at work.  I really think she drinks enough just to get by while I’m not there though.  My mom watched her one night and tried to give her a bottle before bed – wanted NO parts of it.  She currently eats cereal once a day and sometimes it’s mixed with some fruit.  And then I feed her a fruit or vegetable at dinner time.  She really likes vegetables a lot more than fruit right now.

She loves her jumper and sitting up.  She likes laying down fine, but fusses sometimes to be sitting up looking around.  She doesn’t want to miss anything!  She’s into everything – very hands-y.  She touches, grabs, swats at anything and everything if you have her in front of you.  Her legs are always moving as well.  She even loves standing up against things (with us helping her of course).  Not sure how much longer until she’s mobile – I have a feeling it’s not too far away.

Sibling Love
She thinks Hadleigh is hilarious – and Hadleigh thinks she’s hilarious.  It’s so fun to watch.  As corny as it sounds, it’s so heart-filling to watch them together. I really hope the love between them lasts and stays forever.

Sleeping & Teething
She goes to sleep just fine, although the last couple of nights she has woken up once or twice.  I’m hoping it’s her teeth.  She just went to the doctor earlier this week and the pediatrician thinks her front two top teeth are going to come in first, which is rare apparently. You can see them bulging through the gums, but nothing has cut through yet.  Only a matter of time!  When she is put to bed she loves: to nurse, have her back rubbed, have her head rubbed, and to be kissed gently on her forehead.  Daddy has it mastered as well J

6 Month Stats:
17 pounds 3 ounces 80%tile
26 ½ inches 90%tile
19 ¼ head circumference 95%tile