Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top 15 of 2015

Looking through Christmas pictures got me in a picture-y mood. You know I love me a good picture. So as a way of saying goodbye to a wonderful year, I wanted to share my favorite fifteen picture of 2015. Hold onto your socks cause there were some great ones.

Squeaks turned one and we found out we were expecting!
Squeaks playing outside this summer. The picture I used to tell Josh we were having a boy!
We finalized Squeaks adoption. Squeaks cuddling her favorite stuffed animals in her crib.
Squeaks' sticker obsession reached new heights. Even found one under my growing belly. Cuddling both my babies at once.
Beautiful girl. One of my favorite pictures of Squeaks. Our family of four before Little Dude arrived.
Ready to pop! He's here and perfect!
Our first family picture together. Squeaks loves her brother.
Our happy boy. Excited to see what the new year brings!

Low Key Christmas

I'm a mother of two small children. New Years Eve shenanigans for me consist of bath times, and rocking the littles to sleep. Party on. I currently have Little Dude wrapped in one arm and decided to use my one free arm to write a very late Christmas post.

As the title states, it was a relaxed Christmas. I don't think we traveled more than ten miles from home as both our parents live pretty close to us. Christmas Eve was celebrated at Josh's parent's house. We ate great food (my mom's albondigas soup. Yum!) and played our traditional white elephant game. Josh's sister was the lucky recipient of my gift. My stockpile of nipple cream. People kept giving it to me while I was pregnant, apparently anticipating sore nipples from breastfeeding, but I never needed it. Gotta share the wealth. 

Christmas morning we spent at home. Squeaks enjoyed ripping gifts opened, but enjoyed throwing all the paper away afterward even more as she happily sang "clean up, clean up, clean up." This kid... After enjoying a bacon and eggs breakfast, and reading the Christmas story from Luke, we headed back to the in-laws house to exchange gifts with them. Squeaks favorite gift was a Sit and Spin, and Little Dude watched the wrapping paper carnage happily from Nana's lap. Next, we were off down the road to my parents house where we spent the majority of the day. Squeaks loved her new toy kitchen and train set, and my moms talented crafting skills showed through in many gifts this year. She really out did herself. Later that night we all came back to our house and had our annual screening of Christmas Story. A happy ending to a happy day.

I love the way our family celebrates. Memorable, relaxed, and always remembering why we get to celebrate in the first place. God is good.

And now, my favorite part, pictures.
From left to right, top to bottom: Squeaks picking gifts from under our tree. My parents in their popper hats and "pugly" Christmas sweaters. Squeaks on Papa's lap during Christmas Eve service at church. Squeaks opening gifts with daddy Christmas morning. Josh's sister with her nipple cream selection. Little Dude with great grandma Nan Sue. Squeaks enjoying pancakes with Papa Christmas morning. Squeaks saying "cheese" on Christmas Eve. Squeaks on her Sit and Spin. Little Dude relaxing on my parent's floor on Christmas Day. Me, my, brother, and Little Dude. My mom talking to Little Dude.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Three Months

Little Dude is three months old as of last Sunday! Yes, they grow fast, and the second one grows twice as fast. At least that's what it feels like. Getting monthly pictures with him is more difficult that it was with Squeaks. First off, I could take my time picking her outfit for the picture, and take as many pictures as she would let me. I could even wait for the time of day when the light in my living room is best for picture taking. Now that I have two of them, I find time to do his monthly picture whenever I can, he wears whatever he has on, and Squeaks crawls all over the both of us between shots. It's fantastic and hilarious chaos. I refuse to let his keepsakes suffer just cause he came second though. I've documented so much of Squeaks' life and I want him to have the same benefits of those memories. So here we go. Little Dude's three month picture, and a few fun ones with big sister.
He kept falling over, and she refused to wear pants. Lol! Kids.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

My Postpartum World: Breastfeeding

Little Dude is just under three months old now and I feel like things are starting to even out finally.
Postpartum was difficult in many ways (although, obviously totally worth it), and we still have a ways to go.

The day after LD was born we were sitting in our hospital room listening to the doctor's final instructions. I remember her saying "It took nine months to grow the kid and it'll take about that long for you to feel fully normal again too." I thought "Yikes!", no one had ever told me it would take that long. At this point, three months in, I think she was right. There are so many aspects of the postpartum experience that either we just don't talk about, nobody told me, or are just part of our individual family life.

The physical hurdles are obviously a part of postpartum. Pinterest is loaded with tips and tricks to "help you survive" (I might have even pinned some). It's not as dramatic as all that but it has definitely been a challenge for me. I won't share every detail because some are quite private but a few I'll give details on for the sake of sharing knowledge. 

Firstly, I'd like to apologize to any mother I've ever judged for having a "difficult breastfeeding experience". In times past I would think "Difficult?! Come on, suck it up, stick the kid on your boob and grit your teeth through the pain. It's what's best for your child." I know, soooo compassionate. Now I know the pain involved in early breastfeeding isn't the only difficult part. In fact I struggled so much our first night home, I ended up calling my friend Kristi (an L&D nurse) at about 5am and asking her to come help me because Little Dude WOULD NOT stay latched on. He screamed bloody murder for hours, squirming, and wiggling, taking only a few gulps before pulling off. My beautiful friend rushed to my rescue (as she has done before) and showed me a few different positions that helped immensely. Football hold has been a favorite lately. Finding a comfortable way to latch him on my right side has been challenging because of my hand too. That's an issue I kinda saw coming though. Just like with every two-handed skill I need to learn, it just takes time.

Our breastfeeding trials didn't completely end right there, but things sure got easier as far as latching went. Then I discovered I had an unusually aggressive let down. LD would be chugging away and then he'd suddenly start choking and coughing. It wasn't till I started pumping again (donating milk to another adoptive momma) that I noticed how fast my milk came out when it let down. At least 15-20 strong streams! Poor kid was getting sprayed in the back of the throat! At first I thought about switching him to bottles (only one stream instead of a dozen) and pumping exclusively, but after some research and thought, I decided it wasn't the right choice for us and I really wanted the connection and bonding that breastfeeding offers. Thankfully I noticed that my right side isn't nearly as strong as my left, so if I haven't felt a let down prior to feeding, I start him off on the right boob. Feeding in a reclined position also helps sometimes too, so the milk has to travel up stream a little. Little Dude also seems to be getting use to it as he grows too.

Squeaks has shown interest in brothers meal time too. She'll watch and ask inquisitively "Shoopie?" which is Squeaks-speak for smoothie (she gets one with breakfast every morning). We'll answer and say "Yep, brother is drinking his shoopie." Haha! I've even caught her trying to breastfeed her favorite stuffed animals. She's such a sweet little momma.

To be continued. Next up, COLIC!

As you can see from those beautiful chubby cheeks, he's definitely getting enough to eat.
Squeaks breastfeeding Ebola Bear (so named due to his disease like spots) boppy pillow and all.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Yep, just now getting to my Thanksgiving post. But wouldn't-ya-know-it, it's because of all the things I'm thankful for that it's taken me this long. Kids, family, a life full of love and God's grace. 

We spent Thanksgiving day at my in-laws house. My parents and brother joined us there. We did our traditional go around the table to say what we're thankful for (took some time since there were about 20 of us). It's always lovely to experience the level of gratitude in our family because we truly are blessed and have so much to be grateful for. 

Squeaks chewed down this year. She was totally into the food and even got seconds of some things. She always has the best time at family gatherings. The amount of attention she gets is mind blowing. When we arrive she's taken from my arms (very willingly) by one family member or another and I generally hear very little from her the rest of the day because she's off playing. She sleeps very well after family events. Little dude wasn't as thrilled to be passed around as Squeaks is. He went to about three people before he passed out in Aunt Patty's arms and then spent the rest of our stay in his wrap on my chest asleep. He'll enjoy it more next year.

All together a wonderful day!
Squeaks enjoying her Thanksgiving meal, Little Dude asleep in his wrap, and our dads carving the turkeys.

Squeaks coloring and enjoying the fire pit with Aunt Jamie and cousin Jessie. The back patio of my in-laws house has been the scene of many happy family events and fits our large family Thanksgiving table well.
The only photo I got of Squeaks' Thanksgiving dress, a gift from my mom. Little Dude and I enjoyed the warm fire pit while everyone played LCR.

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