Thursday, May 29

Callie Marie - 2 YEARS!!!

Two years... Seriously?  I can't believe I'm old enough to be a mommy, let alone a mommy to a little girl! Callie, you are no longer mommy's little baby... You're officially a toddler and sometimes I have to pinch myself to be reminded that you're actually mine!  

Weight: 23 pounds 6 ounces
Height: 33.5 inches
Head circumference: 47.5 cm
Percentile: 43 % in height, 11% in weight and 51% for head circumference.  You are just like mommy was growing up.  Tall and thin! 
Eating schedule:  You have become the pickiest little eater.  Long gone are the days when you ate everything we put in front of you... Now we are lucky if we can get you to eat three balanced meals.  Mostly you're a fan of crackers and cheese.  We actually have to limit the amount of cheese you get in your diet to keep you from getting backed up.  You LOVE breakfast and are asking to eat before you even get out of your room in the mornings.  "EATY?!"  "Bars" (nutragrain bars) are your preferred breakfast.  You eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Rarely do we give you snacks as an attempt to get you to eat more during meal time. :)
Sleep:  We couldn't ask for a better sleeper.  Bath time starts at 7:00 and by 7:30 you're in bed.  No matter what time you go to bed you'll always wake up around 7 or 7:30 in the morning.  You still sleep in a crib because you've never tried busting out!  Once your brother is sleeping through the night you'll be upgraded to a toddler bed. 
Favorite things:You have these little Mickey Mouse Clubhouse figures that you're simply obsessed with.  Anything little that you can fit into cups, buckets, baskets or Daddy's hands is your favorite thing.  You love reading books, especially Brown Bear and your Bible (you always try to find the picture of Moses in the basket and say "baby!").  You are our little dancer girl, seriously any time you hear music your little knees start bouncing and your elbows wave around in the air.  It's simply adorable watching you dance!  Playing baby with your many baby dolls is also a favorite pass time - you're a great little momma (and big sister!).  Other favorites are the "wee" (slide), playing outside, baths, craisins, your kitchen and anything that has to do with spending time with your family. 
Milestones: Praise the Lord almighty, you are potty trained!  At 23 months you decided it was time.  We did the 3 day potty training technique and by day two you had it down!  We couldn't be more proud of you.  You still have accidents now and then (and I swear each time I'm gonna lose my mind) but for the most part you've got it completely down!  Your vocabulary is through the roof and you talk NONSTOP... unless we try to get you to show off in front of other people - then you get uber shy and don't say a single word.  Thanks a lot for that, kid. :)  Here are a few of our favorite things you say:
  • You call going potty "Shoo-Shoo"
  • When you ask to eat you still sign "eat" and say "EATY!"
  • You call Riley "Kiki" and love yelling at Charlie "CHAR-CHAR!"
  • You call the slide and swings a "wee"
  • "I got-chew!"  Something Mommy says to brother when he's crying that you now say when we hold you over the potty or when you're playing with babies. 
  • "Hold you?"  or "I carry you!" is how you ask to be held or carried.  
  • You call daddy's boots "boops"  
  • Boobies are "Boo-Boos" and you enjoy pointing them out any time you can... 
  • You call your crib a "ni-night"
  • Jesus Loves Me is your favorite bed time song, but if we try to sing it at any other time you throw your hand up and say, "NO NO NO!"  
  • Family names that you've changed are "Kinsey" (Kinsley), "Hime" (Aunt Jamie), "Melame" (Aunt Melanie)
  • Watermelon - "Water-melame" - see above for Melanie :)
  • When we gave you new sheets for your bed I asked if you liked them and now every time you see them you say, "I LIKE IT!"
 Clothing/Diaper size: You wear 18 month pants/skirts/shorts and a 2T for shirts and dresses.  Thank goodness you're no longer in diapers, but you finished in size 3.  Now you wear big girl panties in size 2T.  

Callie-Girl we are so proud to call you daughter and love you more as each day passes.  Though we have moments of frustrations - terrible twos are on their way - just a simple hug or "I love you" from you makes it all disappear.  You've really grown into an incredible big sister and had no issues when Kellan joined our family.  Your heart for others and ability to show empathy is incredible for your age, you always give hugs when someone is hurt and try to make them feel better with lots of kisses and hugs.  It has been our absolute pleasure watching you turn into a little girl and we cannot wait to see what this next year has in store!  Thank you for being such a wonderful daughter and sister, we love you to pieces - more than you'll ever know!!  

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Kellan 2 Months

This is a little late... But better late than never, right? :)
Sweet boy, you have changed our lives in a way I never could have expected!  Two months have flown by right before our eyes and it's almost unbelievable how much you've grown.  God has truly blessed us with so many answered prayers and we couldn't be more thankful.  

Weight: 9 lbs 8 oz I think all of your weight gain was in your cheeks, little man!
Height: 20.5 inches
Head circumference: 36.5 cm
Percentile: 1st in all 3 categories 
Eating schedule:  This month you slowed down on your feedings and we've been struggling with some pretty severe reflux.  You eat every 3 hours (sometimes less than that) for 10-15 minutes.  The biggest challenge has been getting you to keep your milk in your tummy and not all over Mommy and the couch! 
Sleep:  You still sleep most of the day, but are starting to have some really alert moments, even a few smiles!  Night time is no fun yet, you wake up twice to eat and sometimes getting you back to sleep is quite a chore!
Favorite things: Your smiles absolutely melt my heart!  I absolutely adore your baby blue eyes and snuggles.  You love hearing mommy's voice and try to find it no matter who's holding you.  So far you're different from sister, she loved the swing and bath time and you don't really care for either.  You're a serious little dude and snore when you're trying to fall asleep or are waking up. :)
Milestones: You are growing like a champ!  You also had your first medical issue when your tear duct got clogged giving you pink eye.  Poor baby, but it went away really quickly and didn't seem to bother you too much!
Clothing/Diaper size: Newborn and 0-3 months.  Size 1 diapers.

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Wednesday, May 28

Baby Boy's Woodlands Nursery

When we found out our second baby was a boy I was at a complete loss at how to decorate the nursery.  Before getting pregnant I had this idea of making a vintage baseball nursery for him, but the more I searched for ideas and decorations I liked, the more I realized it wasn't really fitting with what I wanted.  As I browsed through hundreds and thousands of Pinterest pictures I came across the photo of a deer and it hit me... Woodlands!  Josh is a hunter and living in Texas we spend a lot of time outdoors.  As much as we love baseball and sports, I knew this little boy would love nature just as much as we do and just like that, the decision was made. 

I wanted to stay away from the "baby" woodlands themes that are out there.  I wasn't really feeling the theme-y nurseries and just wanted it to be something that would grow with him, kind of like we did with Callie's room. We found this gorgeous steel blue paint color and I fell in love!  We knew that there had to be trees somewhere in the room, and with Callie we just painted one, but when I saw these Sissy Little tree vinals on Zulily I HAD to have them!  They went on so easily and I absolutely adore the way they look against the paint color. From there we found some simple, white furniture and everything else just fell into place! 

The deer paintings above his crib were actually made my a friend of my mother-in-law.  I found something very similar on Pinterest but they cost more than I was willing to spend.  She did such an incredible job recreating them, I was blown away!! 

Josh got his woodwork on and covered a small wall in the room with wood to add to the overall outdoorsy feel and I am obsessed with the final product!  We still have to add white trim and some shelves/pictures but when your baby comes 7 weeks early it's a little difficult to have the nursery finished in time!  The wall was super simple, just cut these boards from Lowes to size, nail them to the wall and then stain! 

This absolutely adorable owl pillow was inspired by another Pinterest find.  Again, I couldn't bare to spend that much money on something I knew I could make for less.  This pillow sells on Etsy for over $40 and I was able to make it for less than $15!  It really completes the room, don't you think?  Then I added a chevron crocheted blanket to the chair, thank you 9 weeks of bed rest for the time to make such goodies! 

Right now his shelves are still just holding random items from his baby shower and other crochet projects from bed rest, but eventually they'll have pictures and books on them. :)  Eventually...

As a baby boy born in Texas we had to get him his first gun... granted it doesn't work and is hung high over the closet doors, but I love how it goes with the hunting/woodlands theme!

I need to get pictures of his curtains and the finished wood wall, but haven't found the time to do so.  Maybe I'll attempt to do that this weekend and add them here for you, too!  Until then you can find links to most of the items that were purchased or used as inspiration for DIY projects in the nursery below.  And if you'd like you can follow me on Pinterest to see more inspirations that didn't make it into the final product. :)

Deer paintings - Etsy (inspiration)
Owl Pillow - Etsy (inspiration)
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Monday, May 19

White Board Pregnancy Tracker

This pregnancy was so much fun to document!  With Callie we took monthly photos but they were pretty boring and looking back I have no way to tell which picture was what week because we didn't use anything to mark them.  This time around I wanted to do something bright and fun, something that would benefit from some of my creativity.  I've seen some incredible chalkboard updates via Pinterest and Google searches, but I felt like they were becoming a little overdone and after playing with monthly updates for Callie on a chalkboard I found out it could be incredibly time consuming and messy!

That led me to whiteboards!  I teach kindergarten and spend a lot of time writing on them.  They're SUPER easy to decorate and I love the fact that there are so many marker color options out there.  I made my board by using a thrift store frame, covering it with turquoise spray paint and nailing a white board - cut to size from Lowes - to the back.  It was SO simple and the finished product was exactly what I had in mind.  Bonus? It cost less than $15.00 to make!  

Each week I was able to create a brand new, unique design to document pregnancy milestones in less than 30 minutes.  Erasing mistakes was a breeze, too!  When Kellan came along early (33 weeks) we decided to keep the whiteboard in use for his monthly updates.  I had so much fun creating this birth announcement, too! 

I really love how they all turned out and had a blast decorating and getting to be creative.  Only God knows if there will be more children in our future, but if there are I can't wait to figure out a new way to track that pregnancy!  Thanks for reading and as always, feel free to send me any questions or comments!  
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Saturday, May 17

Tips For Exclusively Nursing AND Pumping

Last night was a very sad night in our household.  The indoor freezer and the garage deep freeze finally ran out of storage space.  With Callie we learned the hard way when we had to throw away close to 1,000 oz of milk after it expired.  This time around we decided to donate excess milk to a milk bank that benefits premature babies; a cause very close to my heart. (Click here for more information on Milkin' Mamas)  Little did I know, the application process is quite lengthy and has taken much more time than I had expected.  Because of that we are now having to toss milk out due to lack of space.  I'm trying not to feel TOO bad about it though because it's the milk that was pumped right after Kellan's birth and it has trace amounts of pain medication in it.  Anyway, I posted  this picture to my Facebook and Instagram and had a few people ask how I built my milk supply.  Here's what worked for me (both times).  My mother was never able to breastfeed so naturally with my first I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to either.  Little did I know I would soon become a dairy cow! Kellan is just now 8 weeks old, exclusively breastfed and I've pumped around 2,000 ounces total. 

For those of you who don't know, both of my babies were born premature.  My body isn't able to hold pregnancy to term because of an irritable uterus.  Because of that, both were taken from me immediately after they were born.  It's nearly impossible to feel like a mommy when your newborn isn't around for you to hold.  I instantly asked the nurses what I could do and they all had the same answer; start pumping!  Before getting into details it is important to note two very important things;

1. My first tip for making plenty of milk is DRINK, DRINK, DRINK!!!  You need a TON of water in your body to hydrate you enough to make milk.  I'm talking way over the daily suggested amount.  I have a water bottle from the hospital that holds 28 oz and I try to drink 5-6 of these a day on top of other liquids.  When I first started to pump I would get insanely thirsty, but as your body gets used to it you stop feeling the need to gulp it down.  You have to always be aware of how much you've taken in and never go anywhere without your water... Other liquids are good, too, but  nothing will replace water! 

2. Right after water intake is definitely eating.  I thought my appetite was huge during the first few weeks of pregnancy but it is NOTHING compared to the raging hunger pains after delivery.  On many occasions I told my husband that I could eat a cow if he brought me one.  You are using up precious calories to make milk and if they aren't replaced, or you aren't eating enough, your body won't be able to produce enough milk.  Think of it as supply and demand.  I really don't "watch" what I eat... If it sounds good to me, I eat it.  With Kellan I crave a lot of protein; peanuts, peanut butter, eggs, chicken, etc... So that is what I eat.  I truly believe that your body tells you what it needs if you truly listen to it.  Sometimes my body tells me to eat copious amounts of ice cream and Oreos... I think that's just because I'm a woman though. :)

Ok, back to how I built my supply!  Because my babies weren't there for me to nurse right away the pump had to do.  I was determined not to use formula, especially because they were born prematurely and I knew breast milk would be the best thing for them.  I set alarms in my phone and followed a pumping schedule to the minute... Every 3 hours I would use a hospital grade double electric breast pump (Ameda in both cases).  Each pumping session would last at least 15 minutes.  The hardest part of the first week is forcing yourself to continue pumping even when nothing is coming out.  I will be honest with you, it's painful.  Especially if you've never done it before.  Your nipples can and probably will bleed, your toes will curl with the pain but I promise, it gets so much better... just keep on pushing through it!  At first you'll only get a couple of mL's, if that.  DO NOT throw this stuff away, it is filled with really great nutrients your baby needs.

This was my first pumping session, four hours after Kellan was born.  I was able to get about 11 mL 

About 3 days in your milk will change from thick and yellow to thinner and lighter in color.  Every day you should be able to see an increase in what you're expressing.  

One of the most difficult things is making sure you continue pumping every 3 hours, even through the night.  Again, it is supply and demand.  If your body thinks it needs to make more it probably will, as long as you stay hydrated and eat plenty of calories.  Most mommas are immediately concerned with losing weight and therefore limit what they eat.  DO NOT DO THIS!!!!  Nursing will naturally help you lose weight.  If you are hungry, eat!  Eat until you aren't hungry.  If you are hungry an hour after finishing a meal, get a healthy snack of trail mix to help amp up the calories you're getting.  Listen to your body!

Once my kiddos were able to start nursing I would let them nurse from one side for as long as they could manage.  Keep in mind, I had premies so they weren't able to stay awake for an entire feed right away.  After they finished nursing I would grab the pump and get excess milk out.  By this time the engorgement was painful if I didn't express the left over milk.  Most exclusively nursing mothers don't do this, and eventually your body realizes you don't need that much milk and production slows to only what the baby is eating during nursing sessions. 

Now that my sweet boy is two months old he is on a schedule.  I highly recommend keeping your little one on as strict of a schedule as you can both manage.  It really does help keep sanity when you're pumping AND nursing.   To cut down on time, I nurse and pump simultaneously.  While Kellan nurses from one side, I pump the other.  After about a week of pumping for 15 minutes each time, the lengths of each session went down drastically.  I am now able to pump for an average of 5 minutes resulting in an average of 5 oz per session.  The first five minutes of each nursing/pumping session is a little bit of a juggling act, but after a while you get the hang of it and are then able to enjoy the rest of your time focusing on your little one. 

 The trick is to alternate sides as you go which can get really confusing when you're running on fumes and very little sleep.  My secret is keeping track on my phone.  There is an app called KidFolio Pro that is meant to track anything from immunizations to diapers and feedings.  The thing I love about this app is that it tracks both feedings AND pumping sessions and you can time them together.  It really helps keep me sane when I can barely keep my eyes open long enough to get him latched, let alone remember what side he nursed from last.  Here's a screenshot from the app that shows you how each session alternates sides.

 I am also able to track how many ounces of milk are going into the freezer for later.  On average I am now able to store just over 200 ounces per week. 

I plan on returning to work in the fall which is when all of this will come in handy!  Bonus is, even if I stop nursing at 1 year like I did with Callie, there will still be breast milk for Kellan to have in his cereal/food and bottles. 

I realize this is a lot of information but really it is simple!

  • Drink TONS of water
  • Eat what your body is craving
  • Pump every 3 hours (both sides )for 15- 20 minutes for the first few days after delivery
  • Once milk is established; nurse from one side while pumping the other, alternating sides at each session
 At two months we now have over 2,000 ounces stored for the future and I'm also able to donate excess milk to premature babies!  
Here is a picture of Kellan at 1 month and 2 months... As you can see, he is not hurting at all with this system.  He gained more than 3 lbs and 2 inches in just one month!  Thank you Lord!!
I really hope this post is able to help some of you with building your milk supply.  It can be so difficult to keep up at times, but once you get the hang of it, it's really not that bad.  The end result is SO worth all of the time/effort it takes to upkeep.  Feel free to email me with any questions/concerns/comments you may have!  I am by no means an expert, but hopefully this is helpful to you!  Thanks for taking the time to read this overly lengthy post and good luck!! 

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