Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Cookies

I went back and forth whether I wanted to make Christmas cookies this year because things have been so insane, but then thought to myself things are always busy and we needed to make them. I really loved the recipe we used last year but thought we would try a different one this year.

We used the recipe from Gavin and Co for her grandma's sugar cookies. They were pretty yummy and I know Kinley had a blast decorating them. I am pretty certain she ate more of the decorations than she put on the cookies, but that is what it is all about! At one point she dipped her finger in the frosting and said, "Mommy this is yummy!" Yes honey it is yummy, it is pure sugar. This is probably the only time of year I will let her eat this much sugar. She really isn't a sugar girl so it is perfect.

I thought having the dough sit in the fridge would be a pain in the butt to role out but honestly it was so much better when it was cold. The second it got warm I could not get the shapes off the counter; so cold dough is the way to go. The only suggestion I have is when you are getting ready to roll the dough out put a decent amount of flour on the counter, the roller and and the cookie cutters. It made it so much easier to have everything floured (is that a word).

We had such a great time and it was 100% worth the HUGE mess it made in my kitchen. I am so glad we decided to make cookies, plus it gave Kinley and I some one on one time while Zander was sleeping.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Zander - 8 Months

We are getting closer and closer to his year birthday...how in the world is that possible! Wasn't I just writing his birth story! You can read part 2 here. I thought time went fast with Kinley but I think it is going faster with him. Things are so much busier with two sometimes the days are a blur. I hate it! I want to slow down time. We had a tough time getting any decent 8 month pictures.

Stats: He is somewhere over 17 pounds. He is still in size 2 diapers and wearing 9 and 12 month clothes. The 9 month clothes are getting a little small so I think next month we will transition into 12 months.

Sleep: All over the place!!! Like I said we have been sick and he is cutting teeth so you know what that means...no sleep! It has been tough! He has been going to bed about 6:30-7ish which is challenging on the nights I do not get home until 7. He is still in the zipadeezip and I think really liking it now. Naps are hit or miss at this point. Some naps 20 mins, some 3 hours. I feel like his night sleep is so random too at this point. I was really hoping we could get to something more consistent but it seems things keep happening, sick, teething, new skills developing, you name it. Some day we will sleep again.

Eat: We are in full swing of baby led weaning and he is doing so much better this month with it. He is really starting to eat more foods and actually put them in his mouth, though he does think it is funny to feed the dog. We tried the pouches with him and he LOVES them! I honestly think he is lazy and just enjoys people feeding him. We have had some issues with constipation so I need to find something to give him to help with this transition to more solids. Does anyone have any ideas? He is still breastfeed and getting pumped milk while I am working. I can not wait to be done pumping! My boobs do not respond well and I hate pumping! Kuddos to all you exclusively pumping moms!

Play: This boy is starting to scoot! He is getting his knees under him and then goes backwards, nothing forward yet. He has started to stand more with assistance. I can tell his legs are getting stronger. Kinley has made him belly laugh multiple times and it just melts my heart. I love hearing that sound and watching them interact. The looks he gives her are priceless. He did get a tooth and is working on his second so everything goes in his mouth!

He had his first visit with Santa and didn't seem to mind so much. Kinley on the other hand was not a fan. He celebrated his first Thanksgiving with lots of mashed potatoes and turkey! He also got his upgrade to sit in the carts at Target! Big step I know!

Other Monthly Updates:

Birth Story Part 1
Birth Story Part 2
1 Month
2 Months
3 Months
4 Months
5 Months
6 Months
7 Months

Friday, December 9, 2016

Our Favorite Teether

I recently ran across Smiling Tree Toys and fell in love with their teethers. There are so many options to choose from you can't go wrong. I was so excited when Smiling Tree Toys sent me a "Z" for Zander. If you have a teething baby this is a must have! He loves it too!

Zander has been teething for awhile now but it was kicked into full force a few weeks ago, with his first tooth cutting at the beginning of the week.  I was going to save this teether for his stocking but thought this would be the perfect time for him to use it, plus it gives me a reason to get him another one. He loves it and you can't have too many options when it comes to keeping your baby happy while teething. It is the perfect size for him to hold and shove in his mouth.

I would highly suggest taking advantage of the 15% discount and getting one or two of these for your baby. If you order fast you might even get it before Christmas. Don't forget to check out the other amazing things they have on their website. I am eyeing their name puzzles for the kids. Use code BROOKSIE15 until December 16th for 15% off all teethers! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do! Thanks Smiling Tree Toys!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Our Breastfeeding Journey

Our breastfeeding journey started when I was pregnant with Zander. I was able to breastfeed my first for 18 months, but it was not an easy journey and I had hoped to have things go a little smoother the second time. I had a c section with Kinley and knew as soon as she was born that I wanted things to go different if we ever had more children. Breastfeeding is hard and not as natural as everyone says, it takes a lot of dedication and perseverance. I wanted to educate myself. And let me also say some people just can't breastfeed and that is ok. My choice was to breastfeed my children.

I spent endless hours researching VBACs and how to have a successful VBAC. I knew I did not want another c section and would do every thing possible to make that happen. I wanted to know that if I was not successful I did everything I could to set myself up for success.

I knew I was going to breastfeed Zander but I was unsure how things would go the second time around. I was hoping that if I had a VBAC it would make our breastfeeding journey a little easier than the first time. Having a c section the first time made things a little more challenging looking back.

I am proud to say I had a successful unmedicated VBAC on April 6, 2016. It was the most amazing experience ever. Zander was placed on my chest immediately following his birth and he stayed there for almost an hour. He made his way up to the breast and latched on his own. It was amazing to be so coherent and share the first latch experience with him. I did not have any pain medications so I was fully present and able to soak up every second of our first latch.

I had some pain initially, which is normal, but was so nervous about it being detrimental to our journey; I had excruciating pain with Kinley for about 6 months. I had done a lot of research on tongue ties and lip ties, because looking back that was the reason for all the agonizing pain with my daughter. I was adamant in having the doctors and nurses check for tongue and lip ties. Thankfully my husband is and was an amazing support to me through all of this. It is so important to advocate for what you want and what you think is best for your baby, I truly believe in mother's intuition. Before we left the hospital one of the nurses informed me he did have a little bit of a lip tie but if the pain subsided after a few weeks and he was gaining weight it shouldn't need to be fixed.

I tried to believe in myself and know things would work out. Stressing makes breastfeeding harder so I tried to remain calm and lean on my husband for support. Having a toddler running around also made things a lot more challenging for me. Zander and I could not lay in bed all day while he nursed, my toddler needed attention as well. I was determined to be successful with breastfeeding. That is what I wanted for myself and my baby. I have no judgement for people that want to give formula but I knew that was not for us and breastfeeding my baby was going to be the best for our family.

About 6 weeks in things started to get easier. The engorgement was gone and the majority of the nipple pain was gone. I used a LOT of lanolin in between feedings. I also did not pump at all, which I think really helped.

We have had a few hiccups in the road but nothing major and nothing we haven't been able to work through. I am proud to say we are almost 8 months in and we both couldn't be happier. I pump while I work so he gets breast milk while I am gone and he nurses when I am with him.

One thing that really helped me is to not have high expectations and to go with the flow. I knew I wanted to breastfeed and knew I would do everything I could to succeed, but if it didn't work out that was ok; at least that is what I told myself. Thankfully for us it has worked out. I think it is so important to have a support system and be able to lean on other moms for questions when it comes to feeding your baby. Everyone has a different story and there is so much to learn from everyone. Do what is best for you and your baby and do not get caught up in what other's think. The best supports will support whatever decision you make. We choose to breastfeed.

I wouldn't trade looking into those big blue eyes while we share one of the best experiences ever. I am so thankful to have been able to breastfeed both my babies.

The Honest Company Feeding page is a great resource and supports all ways to feed your child if you need additional information. Check out their Pinterest too, for some other mommy tips.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Happy 3rd Birthday Kinley

Has it really been 3 years!!! People tell you to not blink that time will go so fast and I never understood until you were born. I should've known from the begining what we were getting into with you. 16 hours of intense labor, 5 hours of pushing and an hour of surgery. You were a stubborn one, still are, and you were not coming until I couldn't do anymore after 5 hours of pushing. It was all worth it and I would do it all over again for you. I never knew I could love someone so much instantly. 8 pounds 1 ounce of the most precious face ever.

That date is wrong and it drives me crazy!

You came into this world knowing what you wanted and how things were going to go. Looking back you dictated while in the womb too. I guess that is how things go. You want what you want when you want it and there is no changing that. As challenging as your personality is at times it is one of my favorite traits about you.

These past 3 years have been some of the best, most challenging and rewarding years yet. You have added so much joy and inspiration to mine and your daddy's life and we are so thankful you call us mommy and daddy.

So much has happened this past year and you have taken it all in and soaked up every moment. Shortly before you turned 2 we moved and you had an even more difficult time sleeping after the move. We thought getting you a toddler bed might help but in the end it didn't help at all. You nap in your bed and do fine with it. At night it is a different story and you are sleeping with us. I really do love all of your snuggles but sometimes wish you would sleep in your own bed.

You had your first sleep in a hotel and things went pretty well. We took you up to Great Wolf Lodge for one last family getaway before your brother arrived. We had a blast but it was a little overwhelming to you with so much to do.

You were the sweetest thing while I was pregnant and I was so excited for you to meet him. You were and have been amazing from day one. It is like that connection has been there forever between you two and it melts my heart. I love watching your relationship grow.

You mastered potty training.

I took you to see your first movie in the theater, Finding Dory. It went better than expected and you made it through about half of it.

You had your first trip to Florida and we all had a blast. You were in fish in Aunt Judy's pool and got to hold an alligator with Daddy. You thought it was pretty awesome to feed them hot dogs.

You started pre preschool. You were so excited to start but the first few weeks were really hard. Now it is all you talk about and can't wait for your school days. You have made many friends and have learned so much in such a short amount of time. It amazes me.

Halloween was so much fun this year and you were the cutest Tinkerbell ever.

I can not believe how much you have grown in a year. Your language has exploded and your understanding and articulation amazes me daily. You are the sweetest girl and have the biggest heart. You are some what bossy but usually use your manners so it is cute when you tell someone to do something, for now 😉.

You are very independent and do well playing on your own. You love mommy and daddy to sit and color with you but most times you are happy to do it on your own, or with your brother. Arts and crafts are by far your favorite thing to do, reading books coming in second. You learned how to ride your tricycle and love riding up and down the street. You love helping daddy do things but most of the time it is all about mommy. That is a change this year and I think your brother has a lot to do with that now. If mommy is there daddy can't help you with much. You like to do things on your own and help out with everything. You are the best big sister ever and adore your brother. The joy you guys bring each other makes my heart explode. Watching your two is all I ever wanted.

You are sensitive. You do not like when people are upset and you frequently ask me, "Mom are you happy?" Or if I am upset about something, "Mom why are you sad?" You don't like when your brother cries and you are by his side trying to soothe him instantly. You love your animals just as much. You are definitely a lover in all ways, but boy those tantrums are no joke at times. You tell me you are sad or you are tired, or my favorite, "I had a busy day mom."

Don't stop being you baby girl. Keep reaching for those stars and dream big, there is no stopping your determination and perseverance. I am so lucky you choose me to be your mommy. You have started telling me you love me at random times and it melts my heart. You are the best and I wouldn't changes things for the world. I think your daddy and brother would agree 100%! You are the best thing in the world Kinley Reese and I can't wait to see what the future holds.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Zander - 7 Months

This is a little late but wanted to get it done before he was 8 months. The life of a second child. It is so different and so much harder to find the time to get things done. I feel like these months are just flowing together and they get away from me so fast.

Zander has changed so much this month and has mastered a few skills.

Stats: He didn't have a 7 month dr. visit but he did get his 2nd flu booster so they did weigh him. He had his clothes on but that can't add too much though I know it does add some. He was 16lbs 15oz. He was 15lbs 9oz at his 6 month check up so I am guessing he gained a pound in a month. That is pretty good in my opinion! He is wearing some 6 month clothes and a lot of 9 month clothes and still in size 2 diapers. I was hoping the 9 month clothes were going to get us through the winter but I am thinking that is not going to happen. We are going to need to get some 12 month clothes!

Sleep: I am not even sure how to update on this. I think things are still the same. He has good nights and bad nights. He is usually up twice to eat and up by 6:00am for the day. We have transitioned out of the swaddle to the zipadeezip. It is a little big on him and the transition has been tough but we are still going with it. He is full on rolling all over the place so we had to get rid of the swaddle, even though my husband would swaddle him forever if he could. He still naps and sleeps in his room all night.

Eat: We started to introduce solids this month. He was a little unsure at the beginning and really didn't care much for it. As we got closer to the end of the month he was really liking it. We are following baby led weaning for the most part and not doing purees. He loves yogurt and I do spoon feed him that, but everything else I put on his tray and let him feed himself. He is getting 3-4 4oz bottles while I am at work depending on when he ate last. He has started to blow spit bubbles and loves to blow bubbles while I am nursing him or he is eating his bottle. He thinks it is quite hilarious, me not so much. I still pump at work with the occasional pump at home if I need to make up ounces that I didn't pump while working.

Play: He has taken play to a whole new level this month. He started rolling all over the house. You definitely can not put him in one spot and expect him to stay. He has made his way under the table a handful of times. He has started to sit unassisted and has really gotten good at it this month. He still loves his sister and laughs at her when she plays peek a boo with him. He is still a big fan of his toes and tries to get them in his mouth any chance he gets. He loves swinging at the park or in the backyard and watching the dog run around.

Kinley and him had a great Halloween and they were the cutest Tinkerbell and Peter Pan. He also had his first trip to Colorado and met his cousin Connor for the first time. I wish we were closer to them, it is hard being away from my family. He has really started laughing a lot this month and it is the best sound! I love hearing baby giggles. He is the sweetest boy and I really couldn't image life without him.

Other Monthly Updates: