A Busy, Blessed Weekend

How about a little weekend recap? There are some weekends that we don't do a single thing and then there are others that are just busy, busy! This was one of the latter! :)


We headed out the door bright and early to tour a nearby preschool for Emerson. I had originally planned on waiting until the fall but we haven't been getting out as much since Adelyn was born and she's getting a little stir-crazy at home. As much as I'd like to teach her myself, I think she will benefit from a structured environment even more. She'll be going two mornings a week starting in two weeks.  It's a Christian preschool and they are NAEYC accredited, which is a must for me because I know how rigorous the accreditation process is.
During the visit her teacher let her sit down and make a ladybug craft. She was so excited and couldn't wait to show it off when we got home. I'm going to miss her during those mornings but I know she is going to love every second of it. I'm sure Adelyn and I will enjoy some one one time as well.
  Since we were all dressed and looking decent, we decided a few selfies were in order. :)

Later that afternoon we went to swim with E's friend Kinsley. The girls ended up spending most of the time playing in the mud. 
They did finally run through the sprinkler a few times, though.They're both becoming little California girls.


Emerson is obsessed with hammocks so Jesse hung this one up between the stairs and the door. Emerson calls it her nest and we hung out in it for a while.

That afternoon we had a birthday party to attend so we headed to Target to pick out a gift.  I usually make Emerson ride in the basket but we had plenty of time so I let her walk around. She spent some time arranging the car air fresheners and smelling candles. 

The birthday party was in our friend's beautiful backyard so Emerson had a blast running around and playing. When I looked back at the pictures from the day I just couldn't believe how big she looks. When did my baby girl get so big?

After the birthday party it was time for another selfie- this time Daddy was included but Adelyn was sleeping and missed the fun.
We ordered pizza that night and E went to bed early since she missed her nap.

E has been telling me that her Sunday school teacher told her to bring her Bible to church so she was adamant about bringing it this week. She was so proud carrying it in.
And Adelyn was happy to be there too, I promise!

After church we stopped by Walgreen so I could grab a few things. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Easter bunny was there and they were offering free pictures. Of course I had to go get the kiddos and bring them in.

We attended a housewarming party for some friends from our community group. It was lovely but this was the only picture I got:

The highlight of our weekend was a church event called As Yourself. The intent behind it was for us to get out and bless others as we have been blessed. We all donated money anonymously and then split it up among our groups. We were told to go out into the community and find a way to bless someone. We ended up going to Target and buying gift cards. Jesse and I headed over to the baby aisle and found two different couples to give them to. The girl that I approached seemed shocked and got teary-eyed. When she asked me for a hug, I wanted to cry too. It was a really neat experience and I hope we get to do it again soon! We are SO blessed to be part of such an amazing church. 
(Photo credit to my friend, Jamie. I hope you don't mind that I borrowed this. I think it's such an awesome representation of our church community!)

As you can probably guess, we were all pretty worn out by the time we got home. It was a busy, but very blessed weekend. With just one more to go until Jesse has surgery and is back on crutches, we are trying to make the most of every second. 

I hope your weekend was blessed as well!!


So Much/ Not So Much

Happy Thursday, Friends! Right now BOTH of my children are sleeping. Can I get an amen for dual naps!?! ;) Since I have a minute, I thought I'd pop in and do a fun little post about what I'm loving SO much and what I'm not too thrilled about (not so much.) Shall we begin?

I'm loving SO much:

-This precious baby girl. All you have to do is look at her and she will flash the biggest grin. Seriously. I can't get enough of her.

And my big girl, too. She has grown up SO much over the last few months. Her smile lights up the room and she has the funniest personality. 

-I bought new curtains for our living room and I think they make a big difference. I have some other changes I want to make and then I'll share pictures. I wish I had unlimited funds to buy whatever I want but we're still going strong with sticking to our budget so I guess I'll just have to do a little bit at a time. :)

-T25. I love that it's only 25 minutes and that it shows a countdown for each move. You can do anything for 25 minutes, right?

-Suits is back on. We watch quite a few shows but Suits is definitely one of my favorites.

-All of the yummy food we've been making. I mentioned that we have started eating clean and cutting out processed food. It's quite a bit more work but we have really enjoyed it. You can check out some of the recipes tried on my Pinterest board.  I'll also be doing that post I promised soon.

-Coffee. Enough said. :)

Not So Much:

-Jesse had a root canal last Friday and now it's abscessed. He is in extreme pain and nothing they have done is helping. Poor guy just can't win! :(

-He also has an appointment today to find out when his next surgery will be. I can't tell y'all how much we are dreading it. He has just finally gotten to where he can walk around without pain and this will be a big setback. Prayers are definitely appreciated!

-My mom will be having a full knee replacement next month. I hate that I can't be there to help her out. If you have a moment, I'd appreciate prayers for her too!

-Emerson's stubborn streak. Oh, how I love that girl but she is surely giving me a few new grey hairs every day. I know that her feisty spirit will lead her to do great things in the future but it sure can test my patience now.

-My skin. It has seriously gone crazy this week and I look like a teenager just hitting puberty. I'm sure it's probably hormonal but it's driving me crazy and makeup can only do so much.

-Time. It's flying by way, way too quickly. I pray that I when look back on these years I'll know that I spent it wisely because it's something you just can't get back.


Our Weekend Scene

We had a fun weekend and I actually took quite a few pictures so it needs to be documented. :)

On Saturday morning we took Emerson to the butterfly festival at a local garden. They just opened a new butterfly pavilion so they had this festival to celebrate. It was super crowded so we didn't even get to the see the butterflies, but E enjoyed it anyway. 

Adelyn slept in the Boba wrap the whole time. I'm telling you, that thing is a lifesaver!
The farmer's market was right next door to the garden so we walked around there for a bit. It was fun trying out all of the samples and we even bought a few things. It wasn't a very big one but we still enjoyed it.

On Saturday night we went on a date night!! I finally bit the bullet and found a babysitter. She came highly recommended and is a fully time nanny so I felt really good about it. I even left Adelyn. I wasn't sure I was going to but I knew it would be harder to relax if we didn't. We just went to dinner so it wasn't a huge deal, but it was so nice and SO needed. Emerson loved the babysitter so we will definitely have her come again.

Sunday was a fun day at home. Sweet pea tried the Bumbo for the first time and loved it. I may have cried a little bit. I just don't understand how she's already big enough for it! 

The rest of the day was spent in the pool. Emerson had a few of her little friends over and she was outside for about 6 hours. She had so much fun.

After swimming and playing all day, she was worn out. We finished the evening with some barbecue and the new Tinkerbell movie.

Oh, and some bathroom selfies. :)


Body After Baby: 11 Weeks

I totally intended to post at least bi-weekly about my quest to get my body back after baby #2.  It's hard to believe that my last post was 9 weeks ago when I was just two weeks postpartum. I guess it's about time for a little update.

For about 4 weeks after my last update I did not lose a single pound. I continued to exercise but I was starving all of the time and pretty much ate whatever I wanted. I did notice that some of my clothes were getting looser but I definitely wasn't making the progress I had hoped. At the 6 week mark I decided to take a break from the scale. It sounds completely silly but weighing myself every day and seeing no change was really upsetting me. I vowed to stay off the scale for 4 whole weeks. During that time I continued to work out between 4 and 6 days a week. I did Ripped in 30 and completed The Daily HIIT's Catching Fire 30 Day Challenge. When I finally stepped on the scale after 4 weeks, I was super excited to see that I had lost 6 pounds!! Since then I've made a commitment to myself to only weigh once a week. There are so many other ways to measure progress and there is no since in letting a number ruin my day. But, because we all love numbers- here are what mine look like as of now.

Total Weight Gained: 32 lbs

Weight Loss:
2 Weeks PP: -16 lbs total
6 Weeks PP: -17 lbs total
11 Weeks PP: -23 lbs total

Weight To Go: 9 lbs

And here are some comparison pics. They are not the best quality but at least they show some progress.

As you can, the weight is definitely not just falling off because of breastfeeding. I know that's the case for some moms, but it's not for me. I've been working out consistently for almost 9 weeks now and the weight is very slowly creeping off. I still have a long, long way to go but I am proud of the progress I've made so far.  I just can't wait to fit back into my jeans. :)

I've been part of fitness group for mom's on Facebook that has been incredibly encouraging. We've completed weekly challenges and we submit stats and pictures every 4 weeks. Most of the ladies have lost quite a bit of weight and I think every one is well on their way to reaching their goal. Our last round ends in about 3 weeks and I can't wait to see everyone's progress.

I've also been part of an awesome instagram group: #stopandgivemethirty. I was posting my workouts daily but I haven't been keeping up with that.  I just joined in another group- the #1800minute challenge. For this one the challenge is to complete 1800 minutes of exercise between now and the end of May. It's fun being part of these little groups and seeing what everyone else is doing. I'll also say that there are some days that I just don't feel like working out and then I'll see someone's workout posted and it gets me motivated to get mine done.

Overall I think the biggest change I have made and the one that has made the most difference is my diet. On March 24th I decided to do a little week long clean eating challenge. It has been a total game changer and I feel amazing! I'm devoting an entire post to that, so be on the lookout! 

So that's basically a catch up from the last 9 weeks of my fitness journey. Today is my final day of Ripped in 30. I'm so happy I stuck with it the entire 4 weeks. It can be hard to do the same workouts over and over but I think it was worth it. I do wish I had done measurements before I started because I feel like I may have lost some inches and here and there and I definitely feel much stronger.

I'm really looking forward to Monday and a brand new workout challenge. My friend and I are starting Focus T25. It seems like a  lot of people love it so I can't wait to try it. I am a bit concerned about the fact that there is no real strength training the first 5 weeks so we may try to incorporate some strength workouts in there too. I'm hoping to see some awesome progress! My goal is to start doing weekly health/fitness posts each Friday. It's fun to recap the week and it motivates me to get my workouts in.

So that's where I am in my journey to lose the baby weight. It's hard to be patient in this area but I constantly remind myself that it took a while to put the weight on and it will take just as long to take it off. A little hard work never hurt anyone, right?


Reluctantly, Exclusively Pumping

From the time I found out I was pregnant, I looked forward to breastfeeding the new baby. Although it started out rocky with Emerson, when we were done at 14 months I felt like it was one of the coolest things I had ever done. During my pregnancy I never even considered the idea that breastfeeding just might not work out. I even took the time to make some adorable nursing covers because I just knew I would be nursing while we were out and about. Unfortunately, it hasn't gone quite the way I envisioned. I want to share our story not only because it has been such a huge part of our lives for the last 11 weeks but also so that maybe someone else going through something similar can find encouragement. So, here is our breastfeeding story as of now. I do hope that it may change but for now, it is what it is.

Right after A was born she latched right on. The following day she seemed to be having issues latching so the lactation consultant came to our room and tried to help. After several failed attempts she offered to bring me the pump. She taught me how to do finger feeding with a syringe. She said to do it for a few days and that Adelyn would most likely catch on. She also gave me a nipple shield to use when attempting to nurse. Luckily I had really good production right from the start. At this point I wasn't worried at all. It took Emerson a good two weeks to latch effectively and I figured it would be similar with Adelyn.

Once we were home I continued pumping and trying to feed Adelyn. After 3 days of finger feeding we decided to switch to the bottle. Using the syringe and the tube was just so time consuming. Sometimes she refused but most of the time our biggest issue was that she was just now swallowing the milk. She would nurse forever but she was just letting the milk pour out of the side of her mouth. We would both end up soaked and she would still be starving after a 45 minute nursing session. I became increasingly frustrated! I remember several times where Adelyn and I would both be crying by the time it was said and done.

After several weeks of this I decided I needed help from a lactation consultant. The hospital had a free support group but I really felt like one on one help would be more beneficial and I didn't feel like dragging Emerson and Adelyn back to the hospital. I found a private LC and she came to our house that very evening. She showed me a few different positions and gave me a different nipple shield to try. I was shocked when we were able to get Adelyn to latch and she transferred over 1.5 ounces. I really felt like we had turned a corner! That evening she also noticed what she felt like was an upper lip tie and posterior tongue tie. She recommended that I take Adelyn to a pediatric dentist to have it evaluated.

The next day I felt like we were back at square one. Although A would latch, she was not swallowing any milk like she had done before. I decided to set up an appointment with the dentist.

On February 13th (A was 4 weeks old) I took her for the consultation. The dentist confirmed that she had a Class IV Upper Lip Tie (the most severe) and a Class II posterior tongue tie. Both of these can interfere with breastfeeding and pose dental and speech problems down the road so we decided to have them removed. The dentist used a laser and the whole procedure was done in less than 10 minutes. I prayed that this would be the answer to our problems.  The next day Adelyn nursed with a nipple shield like a champ. I was more than elated.

Unfortunately that was pretty much the last time. From that point on she pretty much refused to nurse in any way.  I'm talking screaming, arching her back, and turning her head if I even put her in a nursing position. We did the stretches and sucking exercises that were recommended but she seemed to have developed an aversion and nothing helped. I took her back to the lc who recommended that we consider taking her to a chiropractor. Jesse was really skeptical about it but I decided it might be worth a try.

The whole chiropractor thing could be a post in itself so let me just keep it short and sweet. The chiropractor did a consult and said A had all of these issues that would require 48 visits over 6 months. Obviously our insurance does not cover this and $2,000 for newborn chiropractic care just wasn't an option. She did have two adjustments and it did seem to relax her but I saw no change in the breastfeeding issues. Overall I liked the chiropractor but I felt like it was pretty insane that a newborn would need 6 months worth of treatments. I've done quite a bit of research and many women say that chiro treatment helped but I just couldn't justify the expense. I also knew there was no way we would be able to go to the chiro three days a week. It was just crazy.

From that point on, I researched like crazy. I found every article I could about the reluctant breastfeeding and I tried it all. My lactation consultant told us to just keep trying and she might eventually get it. At first I tried at just about every feeding. Most of them ended in tears. I can't quite explain what it's like, but I will say a failed nursing session could bring my mood way down in a matter of minutes. Eventually I started trying just a few times a day. instead of every feeding We've had probably a total of 4 times since then that she actually latched but she has never had a full feeding.

During some of those early weeks my emotions were all over the place. I didn't want to give up hope but I also couldn't bear the thought of containing to pump around the clock. I was pumping 7 times a day and I literally felt like I was constantly hooked up to that dumb pump. I couldn't hold Adelyn when she was crying and I couldn't always help Emerson when she needed me. I also couldn't be away from the house more than a couple of hours.There were days where I literally dreaded my next pumping session and I couldn't imagine going on like that for another day. I also hated the middle of the night pumping sessions. I would feed and change A and then pump. What should have been a 20 minute process usually turned into more than an hour. It was wearing on my emotionally and physically but I decided to keep going. I set a goal for myself to continue pumping for at least three months.  

Somewhere along the way, things got easier. Pumping just became part of my routine. I figured out ways to make it a little bit more manageable and I was able to drop down to 6 pumps a day instead of 7. This week I'm experimenting with pumping just 5 times a day and I no longer pump in the middle of the night. I get up at 5 am every day for my first pump and then spread them out throughout the day. Most of the time I pump for 20-30 minutes which means I'm spending about two hours a day hooked up to that thing. It's not ideal but for now it's just part of life. I'm also blessed with a great supply and for that I am extremely thankful. We even had to buy a deep freeze to store all of the extra- I think I have around 1350 ounces in there now.
One of the hardest parts about pumping is that it is twice the work. It takes away the convenience of breastfeeding because everything takes twice as long. Washing bottles and pump parts is a never ending task and it's hard being tied down to one spot a total of two hours a day.

Some people may wonder why I continue to do this. It's definitely not convenient and it's not the easiest thing in the world but for me it just seems to be the only option right now. I am still holding out hope that Adelyn will eventually latch and until there is no hope for that I just can't quit. The whole process is kind of a one step forward, two steps back kind of thing. Some days she will show interest and even try to latch and then the very next feeding she will be right back to screaming if I even think about trying. Luckily I don't get upset about it anymore. I am in a much better place about it than I was just 3 or 4 weeks ago. I have come to accept our situation and have promised to make the best of it, even if it's not what I envisioned. If you would have asked me during my pregnancy or even after A was born if I would be an exclusive pumper the answer would have been NO! I would have never, ever pictured that this is where we would be at 11 weeks. But, like many others have said, the most important thing is that Adelyn is being fed and she is healthy and thriving. I really can't ask for more than that.

So, that's our story. Like I said before, I pray that I can eventually change the ending so that this is a breastfeeding story and not a pumping story. However if I can't, I know I will be okay with it. We have done everything possible and I have given it my all. What more can you do? 

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