Apr 17, 2015

Madilyn Rose (two months)

As I type this, Madilyn is gabbing away with the little toy duck hanging from her play mat; I'm sure they're having a grand conversation. She's wearing a hand-me-down outfit from Julia, and has two band aids stuck to her chunky little thighs, but thankfully she's acting like the round of shots she got earlier at her well-baby check-up are a thing of the past.

Two months. I know I usually say that time flew by, but this month actually seemed to go slower than normal. Maybe it's because it's the first time we finally started getting ourselves into an actual routine and schedule, or because it was the first time I've been alone with both girls for any significant time. My husband is away—for work, of course—so I've been solo-parenting it up over here. I've only had two break downs in a week...not too bad, if you ask me, for spending almost 24/7 with two under two.

I feel like I've bonded more with Maddie in the past month than I did during my entire pregnancy or even during her first month of life. She's pretty darn adorable, and I've been trying to soak in them moments as best I can. It's a double-edged sword knowing and being excited for how fast she'll grow, but also wanting to keep her little for a little longer.


Dear Miss Maddie,
I've gotta be honest: last month was a little bit of a blur. A whole lot happened and I'm just now coming out of the haze. Go figure that just when I'm feeling sane again, your Papa has to leave for work. We miss him terribly (especially at night), but we're somehow doing okay. You and your sister are fed every day and mostly clothed, so I call that a win in my book.

You've started chatting with everyone you see, and it's the most adorable sound. You also smile a lot and let your little left dimple shine through—also adorable in case you were wondering. Basically, we should've had "Adorable" be your middle name. I've been wearing you a lot, and at first you weren't too sure about being all wrapped up, but now I think you love it; you get extremely sad when I take you out, not that I can blame you.

As much as I like this newborn stage, I'm excited to see you grow up. After seeing your sister at each stage, it makes me happy to know that I'll get to experience it all over again with you. Speaking of growing up—you're a full pound and a half bigger than she was at this age. You love eating and are super efficient at it, which is the complete opposite as your sister, so this is a new experience for me!

Love you, munchkin!
Mama


Dear Maddie Roo,

So, this letter is going to be a 'lil awkward. See, I’m not actually at home at the moment. I’m waaaaaaaaaaay far away in a place called Arizona (or "Sedonohnnah" as your sister calls it). Thankfully I won’t be gone for too long, but I’ve missed your cuteness. Every time I Facetime with you and your mama and your big sis, I hear you blabbling to yourself (I assume it’s to you since none of us understand you). It’s actually a 'lil cray-cray how much noise you make, I don’t even think your sis makes that much noise now.


Other than that, you’ve been a pretty awesome kid so far: you’re happy, you don’t poop on me, and your dramatic outbursts aren’t toooooooooooooo bad. Mostly. I mean, every time you get upset your skin turns beet red and you look like you might actually pop, but you calm down pretty fast. So that’s the good and the bad. As for the weird? Besides your full-up conversation mode, you fall asleep in random places. I really don’t mean to complain, but it’s kinda odd when you’re playing on your tummy mat with your sister one moment, and the next moment I hear you snoring and passed out. I suppose it’s okay as long as you stay asleep at night for your mama.  


Keeping being a good 'lil Roo and I’ll see you soon!

Love,

Your Papa


Nicknames:
Maddie Roo, Mads, Sister Maddie, Little Bug

Likes:
You love your sister's birthday balloon (that's still hanging around). You smile at it and love watching it move. You also love when people talk to you—you break out into grins and start chatting away! You also like it when diaper changes are completely over.

Dislikes:
Diaper changes, waking up and needing a diaper change, the middle of a diaper change. Your not a huge fan of getting into a car seat, but that's getting a little better.

Milestones:
You definitely track us when we move and you respond when people talk to you. You're holding your head up much better, but it's still a little on the floppy side. You aren't clutching your hands anymore, and you're starting to grasp objects. You're also tolerating tummy time!

Weight/Height: 11lb, 12oz and 23.75". Your sister was barely 11lb, 9oz when she was 4 months old, so you're surpassing her in the weight department. Don't worry—your emerging rolls are deliciously perfect.

Clothing Size:
0-3 month, no more newborn, which makes me sad. You're also very close to moving out of size 1 diapers. We could probably put you in 2's now, but I want to use up all of the 1's that we have first. 

Sleep:
Sleep isn't horrible, but you're by no means sleeping through the night. Some nights you'll sleep for 5 hours and other nights you're up every 2 or 3 hours. Mama's sleepy.

Random Tidbits: 
How are Mama and Papa doing? Your Papa has been away for work during most of this month, so Mama's been pulling double duty most days. Thankfully, you're a delightful baby and with the exception of diaper changes, you're pretty mellow. I've been working on getting you on a schedule, so that helped with my sanity this month.


Apr 15, 2015

The Time I Accidentally Attended a Breastfeeding Support Group

Alternate title: 
The Time I Accidentally Attended a Breastfeeding Support Group 
(And why I Don't Think I'll go Back)

So there I was, enjoying a cup of coffee at a local cafe. I was fresh out of a well-baby check for my two-month old (an appointment where my newborn screamed her little head off after getting her first round of vaccines), and was "wearing" my little one, when someone came up to me from the room next door.

She noticed I was wearing Madilyn and wanted to see if I cloth diapered her. I told her that I didn't, but she handed me an invitation to a cloth diapering event. "That's cool," I thought, and already decided in my mind that I wouldn't be attending (not because we don't cloth diapers, but because it was in the next town over and I just didn't feel like it). I put the invitation in my purse and then she lingered around for a second too long. I could tell she had more to say, so I looked up at her. She asked me if I breastfed by chance. "By chance, I do!" I told her, and that's when she invited me into a meeting currently going on—it was a La Leche League Breastfeeding Support Group. My ears perked up, because I'd actually been curious about attending one for awhile, but never got around to it.

The meeting was almost over, but she said it was okay if I popped in. So with my baby strapped to my chest, I packed up my things and went into my first breastfeeding support group.


At first, things were cool. I introduced myself and shared a quick version of my breastfeeding history, and felt welcomed. I looked around and quickly realized it was a somewhat diverse group. There was someone asking about mastitis, another lady was nursing her newborn with a boppy, there were several women openly breastfeeding their little ones of all ages, and a few women wore their babies in cool carriers that I can't afford quite yet. I felt welcomed...like these could be my people.

The hot topic of the meeting was about wearing a cover while breastfeeding in public. I personally don't wear one (you can read about that here), but if others do, that's cool. I was excited to hear what other women had to say about that topic since I know levels of comfort vary. It was positive at first and people offered suggestions on what to say if someone suggested you cover up while breastfeeding in public. But then the conversation got awkward.

Someone said (I kid you not, and I'm sorry for even writing this "out loud") that she was at a pediatrician's office and was breastfeeding her daughter in the lobby when someone sitting across from her (who was bottle feeding her child) asked her to cover up. Now, I get it; I'd be slightly annoyed if someone asked me to cover up, too, but what she said next was uncalled for, completely inappropriate, and utterly distasteful. The breastfeeding mom told this other women: "Well, I'm more offended that you're putting a [insert type of sex toy here] in your child's mouth." Excuse me? Say what again? I didn't even have time to get over the shock of what I just heard when the actual leader of the meeting said, "Yeah, I'm way more offended by bottle feeders than I am with seeing someone's breast from breastfeeding in public."

What just happened? Was that real life? I was in total shock!!!

First of all, how dare anyone equate a bottle to a sex toy? That's completely and extremely irrational. Second, not that it matters in the slightest, but you don't know that mom's story or reason for not breastfeeding at all—it's not anyone's place to judge her. You don't know that it's not breast milk in the bottle. The baby may be adopted, or the mom may have tried and tried and tried her absolute hardest to breastfeed and just couldn't. Or, you know what? She may not have wanted to even bother with breastfeeding, and that's okay, because she's the parent of her child and she's the one making her own parenting decisions. Third, for it being a "support" group, that was the absolute least supportive thing I've probably ever heard. There were first-time moms there who may have been struggling—who were struggling from the conversation I heard when I walked in. Now if they ever contemplate or need to stop breastfeeding, there's a really good chance they'll feel even more guilty, and trust me, there is nothing like the guilt you feel as a mom when you don't think you can provide the "most natural thing on earth" for your child. Been there, done that.

Moms: feed your baby however you want. Yes, scientifically speaking, breast is best, but you know what? It's not the only way. Before I had my second baby I was mentally prepared to give up on breastfeeding. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to handle going through what I did with my first, and for my sanity, we even had formula on hand just in case. And on top of feeding your baby however you want, please surround yourself with uplifting people who are positive and support your decision. There are too many things we'll feel guilty for in our parenting season, and the trip down guilt lane shouldn't start here.

I was honestly extremely ashamed to be a breastfeeding mom in that moment. There's this whole "normalize breastfeeding" movement happening nowadays, but it can't happen with the I'm-better-than-you stigma that some women have. Yeah, I'd be slightly upset if someone asked me to cover up, but there are a million and one other responses instead of what she said. And to be offended by bottle feeders? No way, jose. Without the bottle and formula, so many of us wouldn't be here today.

Whew. So. That's my story about how I accidentally attended my first (and last) breastfeeding support group. I just really hope I went to a fluke of a meeting and that there are other groups out there that are actually helpful, considerate of their members, and more uplifting than the one I attended. And if you bottle feed your child and have ever felt put down by a breastfeeding mama, I'm so sorry for your experience; not all of us think formula is the end of the world!

Apr 13, 2015

Madilyn Rose {newborn photos}

Nine days after Madilyn was born, she had a little photo shoot and totally got the star treatment. I'll hold these photos near and dear to my heart (and in her baby book and on our walls) for years to come. You probably won't be able to tell from the photos, but this day will probably always be etched in my mind, because it's also the day she was taken to the hospital by ambulance and then diagnosed with RSV.

I love that these were taken in our home by Bonnie Iris Photography, and are a little mixture of lifestyle and the squishy posed newborn pictures we all know and love. Bonnie was ever-so patient, especially while getting peed on (by Maddie, of course)!

Obviously this post will be picture heavy, but I'm starting with my favorite photo. I'm blowing it up, printing it on a canvas, and putting it on a wall in our living room so I can look at it every single day; I LOVE it.



I've gotta say: purple might just be her color!



 Be still, my heart!




I had to share this pose below even though I blurred out our name. It was too cute not to share!




Madilyn was a gem during the shoot and slept the whole time, which is just what you want to get those adorable newborn poses. Bonnie Iris Photography was fantastic to work with. She literally brought a studio to our house! I'm glad we invested in getting photos taken of her and of us when she was still itty bitty!

And because I know people will ask, here are links for her "outfits":
Aviator hat (comes in toddler and adult sizes, too): ByKarenJ
ABU hat and name tape: Kasey's Creations
ABU ruffle diaper cover and headband: Ruffled & Punk (looks like they're "on a break")



Apr 9, 2015

Goals Update: January—March

We're knee deep in the fourth month of the year, so it's time for a little progress check on my to-do list from way back when—January 2, to be exact.

Just to recap, these were my goals (click the link above for a more detailed explanation):
  1. Project 365
  2. Lose the Baby Weight
  3. Read 10 Books
  4. Make a Cleaning Schedule
  5. Intentionally Make Time for Myself
  6. Spend More Time With My Husband
  7. Read My Devotional 
  8. Keep up With The Blog

1. Project 365

I started out well and made it about three months...right around the time that the sleepy newborn phase kicked in. I've been taking a picture almost every day, just not posting them as often. Luckily, I tagged all of my pictures with a hashtag (365Jess), so I can always add it to some pictures later...you know, when I have some free time.

2. Lose the Baby Weight

I just got the go-ahead from my doctor to start working out again. So, I'm searching for a good FitBit deal (I'm thinking Kohl's with their 30% off coupon once I get one in the mail), and I need to take the leap and sign up for Weight Watchers. I like that they include a nursing option to help ditch the weight. Also, once Maddie gets her two-month shots, I'm going to sign up with a gym in town. I don't want to take her and leave her in the hands of strangers in a germ-infested area until she's been at least vaccinated once. I'm seriously itching for some Zumba.

3. Read 10 Books

Yeah, I've been rocking this particular goal! I'm up to nine books finished—BAM! This was the one goal that I just knew I wouldn't be able to complete...go figure. I love having the Kindle app on my phone, because I can read while I nurse Maddie. I also have a Kindle Paperwhite, which is fantastic, but it's just a little large to deal with when I have a baby on my boob. It's wonderful for traveling, though, or reading right before I got to bed. I started a hard copy of Desperate: Hope for the Mother Who Needs to Breathe (which inspired this post), but these are on my list for books to read next: The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos (she's one of my all-time favorite authors, so I can't wait to dive into this book!) and All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (this has been highly recommended and I already own it, so I just need to read it).

4. Make a Cleaning Schedule

I still have a cleaning lady coming every 2-3 weeks—best thing ever, I tell ya—and every Tuesday afternoon, Julia and I pick up trash around the house for trash day the next day. She also helps me unload the dishwasher. I've been sweeping different parts of the house on random days (because my dog sheds an extraordinary amount in the summer and if I don't, well...gross). I'd love to have a set day for laundry, but right now I'm doing a load every other day. Toddlers and newborns are messy, man! I'll work on this goal over the next four months, but I feel like we're in a decent groove, and the messiness of the house is more liveable than annoying, which is always a nice thing.

5. Intentionally Make Time for Myself

I think I'm doing a decent job here...much better than the first time I had a baby. I actually have someone coming over to play with Julia a couple mornings a week through the summer. I also still take her to a Mom's Morning Out program so she can play with other kids, and then I can run errands or write or do whatever during that time. She has SO much energy in the mornings, which is when I'm most creative and want my me time. When my husband is in town he's also really good at making me take a bath a few times a week since he knows I love it. Going to the gym will also be my me time.

6. Spend More Time with my Husband

Oh, this one is ironic seeing as how he's TDY for the rest of the month. I think we're doing a decent job at this, but it could be better. When he comes home I'm going to try really hard to be more intentional about closing my laptop at night. That's hard to do since a laptop is super handy to use at night. This is definitely one I need to work on.

7. Read My Devotional

I was doing really well at this one, too, until the baby arrived. My Jesus Calling book has it's bookmark placed at February 12. I need to dive back into it, especially now that things are falling into a normal routine.

8. Keep up with the Blog

Check! I honestly didn't think I'd keep it up this well after having a second child. Granted, comments are waaaaay down (comment, people!!), but overall, I'm happy I've kept it afloat. It goes back to my me time. This is one of my happy places! I'm actually going to officially open sponsorships back up in a few weeks, but I'm still tweaking a few things. Several people have bought ads in the past month, so I think it's time to get back into the swing of things as far as that goes.

All in all, I'm actually somewhat impressed with myself. I'm glad I started with things that were somewhat attainable and not too far out there. I didn't make any goals that were too specific (like, "I want to lose X number of pounds"), instead they're all things I can work on at my own speed.
Did you make goals at the beginning of the year? How are they holding up?