Friday, December 20, 2013

Time flies

Since I've moved over to Bloglovin' for reading blogs, posting on my own tends to slip my mind! Since my last post was Munchkin's birthday, it's only fitting to start this one off about Lil' Man's birthday!
We officially have a two year old and he's amazing. In a way, it feels like he's "finally" two, since he's seemed like a two year old for so long already. He's huge and so smart, he's always seemed older than he is. His official birthday stats from the doctor are 33.9 pounds, 35.8" tall, and a 90th percentile head circumference. They were quite impressed by his strength (shown when fighting being laid down to be measured) and they never even addressed any of the development milestone questionnaire (which generally means he's meeting or exceeding everything, they really only bring it up if they're behind--and I had to mark "yes" on everything except for one that I marked "sometimes" because it's not something that we do often!). He talks SO well and is always making sure you know what he wants! No random pointing and grunting for him.
Another huge milestone moment: He is about 90% potty trained!! He started off and on a while ago, and we just sit back and let him lead. Then a few weeks ago, he just wanted to go in the potty. So I went with it and he is now in big boy undies when awake, diapers are only for sleeping times, and really, he's had a few naps in undies and more than a few that the diaper was still dry when he got up. I never thought he'd be in undies before two, and we were a little over a week away from his birthday when we just went with it! Thankfully he's not afraid of toilets, so we don't have to worry about it when we're out! As crazy as it may sound, I'm actually a little sad to be thinking of all the details to sell our diapers, but that will be happening for the majority of our stash soon.
He had such a blast on his birthday, he was SO excited to see his presents "Pwesents?!?! For me?! My pwesents!" and proudly answering "TWO!" when asked how old he is now.
We've also now taken the front rail off of his crib to make it a toddler bed and while he doesn't stay in it for more than a few hours, it's still nicer to have him come climb in with us than to have to go get him! He's getting better and I doubt we'll be cosleeping when he goes to college.
Another huge milestone that 12/17/13 brought: We have reached my breastfeeding goal. I am SO proud to have been able to nurse him for 2 years and meet the recommendations. We're on the downward slope now, but I will let him lead this too, for the most part. I do distract and redirect sometimes. We're pretty much at before sleeping times and then a few times in the night--which honestly is more from my lack of willingness to actually get up to rock him back to sleep than anything else--and then the last "night" bit right before we get up.
There's been other stuff here and there, but nothing worth blogging about this far after the fact! I'm wanting to make sure I blog more regularly, but we'll see how that works out!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Happy Birthday, Munchkin!

This past Wednesday, Munchkin celebrated her fourth birthday! I cannot believe how fast the time has flown. It's mind-blowing to think that it was already four years ago that we were kicking deployment's booty and bringing home our little girl for the first time. So much has changed, we've moved twice, had another baby, Mark's had wildly different duties with varying times away from the family, but it's all just come together as our life. She's already talking about her next birthday when she turns five...oh, honey child, let's not think of that just yet! Let me enjoy you being four. So independent, yet still loves cuddles. So smart and eager to keep learning new things. So in love with dance (even if this year proves to have some growing pains as she gets pushed higher and held to higher expectations to become a better person and dancer).
We celebrated last Saturday as a family because Mark had to miss her actual birthday for a training event, but it was great just the same. She helped me make her cake, which was a "rainbow" cake that she requested. We used neon blue, green, and purple to color white cake and swirled it together, and it came out pretty decently. She opened her presents from us and Grandma & Grandpa--and loved it all. (She got more presents in the mail on Monday, and a friend dropped off another on Thursday!) She declared it "The best birthday ever!", so I think she was pleased.
We have the Red Robin Royalty Reward card, and both Munchkin and Lil Man are in the Kid's Club, so the week before her birthday, I got an email with a coupon for a free kid's meal as a birthday gift for her. Red Robin is her FAVORITE (I think the balloons have a lot to do with that), so on Wednesday, we went there for late lunch/early dinner and had a good time. I made sure that our server knew it was her birthday, but asked them to please not sing to her because she would cry--she even cried when Mark tried to sing Happy Birthday at home!--and he was very sweet about it. He brought her the birthday ice cream and quietly told her Happy Birthday, but that was it. She clapped and laughed as they sang to another person a couple tables away from us though...silly girl! Her balloon popped as I was putting Lil Man in the car, so we went back in and they were more than happy to give her a new one, which made her day.
More and more, I see her turning into a girl, leaving her toddler self behind. She's not a baby anymore, but she's always MY baby. Her long golden hair, which she refuses to get cut, makes her look even more grown up--it's past her little booty now, I have to make sure it doesn't get tucked into her pants or skirts!--and people comment on it ALL the time. I'm so glad to be her Mommy and I can't wait to see what this year holds for us.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Classics survive for a reason

When we first started cloth diapering (when Munchkin was between 5 & 6 months old), we went for a pretty pricey WAHM diaper that was an All-In-Two system. The inners and inserts were bamboo--and we're still using most of those inserts now as boosters for nighttime. The outer parts...well, nobody told me that the sanitize cycle on my washer would be too harsh for regular use. I found that out after our stash of 16 diapers (which, now, seems tiny!) delaminated after about a year. I was really wary of any other system, with the exception of pockets. I didn't even like the idea of All-In-Ones! I'd learned my lesson and wanted to treat anything with PUL very nicely so it would last. Munchkin spent about a year in disposable diapers again, because I didn't want to buy ANOTHER stash of cloth.
Then it was time to figure out what we wanted to do for Lil Man. I wanted him in cloth for a myriad of reasons, with cost being a huge contributing factor. I began building his stash early, keeping costs down by buying from baby steals and finding the majority from another mama who didn't need as many anymore. Pretty much almost all of Lil Man's diapers are pockets, and I got snaps whenever I could. We don't use any of the velcro diapers we have anymore because the velcro is shot and Lil Man is way too adept at taking them off (he's even gotten a snap one open)!
A few of the diapers we have are sized, and he's pretty much grown out of them now, so a couple months ago we headed to Wasilla to go to Arctic Baby Bottoms...aka, cloth diaper heaven. Mark actually is the one who suggested we go....don't be too surprised, he's the one who suggested cloth diapering Munchkin in the first place! I knew I didn't want to buy anything TOO expensive because I'm *hoping* that we won't be in them TOO much longer (I'm hoping and praying about a year more) and I just really hate spending money when I can help it. I'd been looking into prefolds and covers...and convinced Mark to let me get them. We got 6 Osocozy unbleached diapers and 3 Thirsties covers. I prepped them that night and started the next day. We had a couple Snappi's from a couple different giveaways/goody bags, so we were set. I fell.in.love. Seriously! I had some gift card money on Amazon that'd I'd saved and earned more from Crowdtap, so I ordered another 6 diapers and one more cover. These things are amazingly absorbent. The one downside is that I forget to change as often as I should because they DO.NOT.LEAK! We even had one last overnight. I just have to be more mindful of the time and make sure I change him before he asks. I am going to have to sew some extender tabs on the diapers because we bought the premium size--rated for 15-30lbs, and Lil Man is currently 31lbs. They just don't quite reach around the waist as well as they could, but I found a handy tutorial to take care of that.
I thought to take some pictures when the new diapers came to show the difference between unprepped and prepped (oh, the shrinkage...but oh how soft they get!!!)--and a cutie Lil Man excited for mail!

He was so excited!! 

Prepped vs. Unprepped

They look so huge out of the package...

...and the shrinkage...mainly in length, but a little in width too.
These are now my absolute favorite go-to diapers. Mark loves them too....because I change them. He hasn't quite mastered how to get these on a wiggly Lil Man, but he's trying. I can only imagine how fancy these seemed to the mamas who were used to using flat diapers, and now these are considered "old-school". I prefer to think of them as the classics now (I'm not quite up to trying to fold flats!), and they have definitely survived for a reason, even with all the cool new diapers out there!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My take on breastfeeding advice


World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center

Welcome to the World Breastfeeding 2013 Blog Carnival cohosted by NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center!

This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.

***



As NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center's blog carnival for World Breastfeeding Week wraps up, it's a chance to share any breastfeeding tips and tricks we've learned along the way. I'll talk to the mom's first and have a little bit to say to dad's in a minute.
New moms...please don't be afraid to keep asking for help. It really shouldn't hurt--it will be uncomfortable, but flat out pain isn't good. I cried every feeding for the first 6 weeks of Munchkin's life because of a shallow latch. She grew a little and was able to get a good latch and we were golden from then on out...but six weeks is way too long to have a problem. I technically understood the problem and the solution...but nobody was ever able to get me to understand how to apply it. Remember you're both learning something new, and while it is natural, it doesn't mean that it's instantaneous knowledge. Also, remember that each nursling is different, so don't expect every journey to look the same!
There will be times, especially if you have more than one child, that you will be absolutely and completely touched out. You won't want to have another human being be near you for absolutely any reason what so ever. That's ok. Try to stay calm (it's hard!!) and gently take time for yourself.
As you progress through your baby's nursing career, they will find increasingly interesting positions to nurse in. You'll have fingers in your hair, your nose, your mouth, your ears, hopefully not your eyes (but they'll try!), toes in your face...I've seen some crazy stuff, but as long as you can try to maintain a sense of humor, it'll pass. Lil Man is having to learn his nursing manners all over again because he LOVES to put his fingers in my mouth and flail his arm up and down. The only time he's a calm nursling right now is when he's that perfect amount of tired. And that's ok.
Oh, and one last thing before I get started on my advice to the dads...remember him? Yeah, he's new to this too and probably completely lost. Try to give him a break, ok? He's doing the best he can.

Alright, new daddies. Welcome to a crazy adventure. Oh goodness, you've just been through a lot and your wife is hogging the baby and ignoring you. Well, at least it seems that way, huh? With newborn's tummies being the size of a marble and breastmilk being so easily digested, they need to eat often. I promise that some of that time, Mom is really wishing you had a pair of lactating breasts too. Please, please, PLEASE, don't offer formula as an alternative if she really has her heart set on breastfeeding. Even if it comes from the nicest, truest place of you..don't. It will NOT come across as supportive and she's likely to get upset and angry. So right now, the best way to help your baby, is to help your wife. Make sure she stays hydrated--breastfeeding takes a lot of water and it's easy to forget to drink enough. Help her get comfortable, childbirth is hard! The kicker...remember that she DOES love you. It may not look like it, but she thinks you're amazing. It's a big adjustment for everyone. As the baby gets older you'll be able to do more than just change diapers. Another thing that is so important: be her protector. Even in the hospital. If the nurses and doctors try to push something that you as parents aren't ok with, that's your time to step in. If somebody gives her a hard time about nursing, you stand up for her. Encourage her, show her that you are proud of her. Oh, and be prepared to have the baby try to latch onto you. Munchkin loved to latch onto Daddy's nose as a newborn...he quickly learned to not let her face near his bare chest.

Nursing is such a short time in a child's life, my biggest "tip" is to try to enjoy it as much as you can. Celebrate every milestone, every achievement, cherish every stage. They're all amazing and you can't go back in time!


***

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center Visit NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center for more breastfeeding resources and WBW Carnival details!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Below are a list of links for today's participants; you can find a complete list of links (updated throughout the week) at our main carnival page:

(This list will be updated by afternoon August 3 with all the carnival links.)

  • Breastfeeding and NIP: A Primer — Rachel Rainbolt of Sage Parenting, featured today at NursingFreedom.org, uses her informative and candid voice to share with you everything you need to know to breastfeed successfully in public, from the practical how-to's to handling the social stigma.
  • Lactivist Ryan Gosling — Breastfeeding mamas, the time is long overdue for a Lactivist Ryan Gosling. Fortunately, Dionna of Code Name: Mama has created some for your viewing pleasure.
  • In Defense of Formula — Amy of Mom2Mom KMC, guest blogging for Breastfeeding in Combat Boots, asserts that formula is a medical tool rather than a food. She examines how this perspective supports breastfeeding as normal and eliminates the negative tensions between breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding mothers.
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks — Throughout her breastfeeding journey (since March 2009), Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy has shared countless tips and tricks on the topic of breastfeeding.
  • Nursing in the Wild — Meredith at Thank You Ma'am posts about how seeing other moms nurse can make all of us more comfortable with nursing in public.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding — Sara Stepford of The Stepford Sisters confronts the social stigma vs. the reality of breastfeeding and opens up about the steps she takes to make herself and others more comfortable with the process.
  • Breastfeeding Alrik at two years old — This is where Lauren at Hobo Mama and her second-born are at in their nursing relationship, two years in.
  • Perfectly Normal — Stephanie from Urban Hippie writes about the way she and her family have done their part to try and normalize breastfeeding in a society that doesn't get to see breastfeeding as often as they should.
  • Diagnosis: Excess Lipase — Learn about excess lipase and how to test if your expressed milk has it. That Mama Gretchen shares her own experience.
  • Redefining Normal — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy reflects on how we can normalize breastfeeding in our society.
  • Nursing Openly and Honestly — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work feels that the most socially responsible thing she can do as a mother is to nurse and nurture her children openly, honestly, and with pride.
  • Wet-nursing, Cross-nursing and Milk-sharing: Outdated? — Jamie Grumet of I Am Not the Babysitter shares a response to the Wendy Williams quote about milk sharing being akin to slavery, by giving a brief history of the wet nurse.
  • Tackling Mastitis with an Older Nursling — Much of the advice available for supporting recovery from mastitis seems to be aimed at mamas with younger nurslings. Juliet of Twisting Vines, posting at Natural Parents Network shares tips for dealing with mastitis while breastfeeding a toddler.
  • Milk in the eye — Gena from Nutrition Basics discusses how breastmilk cured her 3 year old's case of pink eye.
  • Boobie Biter — Rachel Rainbolt at Sage Parenting offers guidance on how to survive and thrive a boobie biter with your breastfeeding relationship intact.
  • My take on breastfeeding advice — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy shares her insights on nursing for both new moms and new dads.
  • My Top Five Breastfeeding Tips for Delivery Day: Think "A-B-C-D-E"Mothernova shares how her continued success at breastfeeding with her second child rests on a foundation of five key things she did to prepare for baby's arrival, along with things she did when she and baby first met. Easily enough, these tips can be categorized as "A-B-C-D-E": Access to lactation consultant, Baby-friendly hospital, Communicate your plan to breastfeed exclusively, Demand, and Expect to room in.
  • Breastfeeding Buddies: Twin Brothers Nurse while Living in the NICU — Twintrospectives at How Do You Do It? shares her 5 tips for learning to breastfeed multiples while in the NICU.
  • Breastfeeding on a Dairy-Free Diet: Our Journey and Our Tips — Finding herself nursing a baby with food allergies, Jenny at Spinning Jenny embarked upon a dairy-free journey with her son for eight months. Here she relates her reasons for making the decision to give up dairy in her diet, why it was worth it, and tips for moms on the same path.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding in my Home — Shannah at The Touch of Life shares how she plans to help keep breastfeeding normal for her own children, even when her breastfeeding years are over.
  • A Year With My Nursling — The more you see and hear, the more normal it becomes, so That Mama Gretchen is sharing her heart on the last year of breastfeeding - the ups and downs, but mostly the joy of her priceless relationship with her son.
  • From Covered to Confident — Krystyna at Sweet Pea Births shares her personal NIP evolution: she started by covering up from neck to ankle while nursing in public. Eight years later, she has gained confidence and the ability to nurse without stressing about flashing a little skin. She shares her views on normalizing breastfeeding - what influenced her and how she hopes to help others.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding for Older Kids — Sadia at How Do You Do It? hopes that openly discussing breastfeeding with her (now weaned) daughters will help her children feel comfortable with breastfeeding and their bodies in general as they grow.
  • Nursing in Public — Listen up, mammas. Those other people around . . . they don’t matter. It’s not about them. It’s about you and that beautiful baby. Nurse on, says The Swaddled Sprout!
  • How to Nurse a Teenager — Sarah at The Touch of Life declares: the purpose is to help normalize breastfeeding a toddler.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Redefining Normal


World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center

Welcome to the World Breastfeeding 2013 Blog Carnival cohosted by NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center!

This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.

***



Continuing in NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center's blog carnival for World Breastfeeding Week, I'm back to talk about normalizing breastfeeding. Being the baby of the family, I didn't get to see my mom nursing another baby, and I was young enough when my cousins were born that I don't remember if they nursed or not...so I have no real memories of nursing, but even so, it was normal for me. It was what I expected of myself when I had children.
How I normalize breastfeeding is pretty simple. I treat it as normal. When Munchkin was younger, I used a cover...but it wasn't too long before that made MORE of a scene, so we ditched it. I still carry it in the diaper bag as an impromptu blanket...last time it was used to sit in the seat of a shopping cart that had a little bit of rain in it so Munchkin's bum would stay dry, so it's come in handy! I used the cover for Lil Man when he was as teeny tiny as he was (which wasn't very teeny tiny!) but ditched it even sooner than I had with Munchkin. I've become very adept at latching without showing much skin. Munchkin tells me about how she'll feed her babies with her boobs someday, and even nurses her dolls and stuffed animals. I think the biggest part of nursing in public to help normalize it is to not make a show of it.
People throw around "discretion", and honestly, I think every nursing mother uses her own discretion. I don't know any nursing mom that wants to do anything other than feed her hungry child when she is nursing in public. I know I can't speak for every nursing mother in the world, but at least for me, I don't want my boobs on display. I'm not ripping my entire shirt off and baring my entire chest to the world to feed my baby. I'm a big fan of the t-shirt/tank combo (especially if that tank is an Undercover Mama tank..even easier!) so that everything can stay covered while still allowing Lil Man what he needs!
One of the big challenges I see to normalizing breastfeeding, especially in public is that some people are way too invested in what others are doing. I think that if you're offended by seeing someone breastfeed, you're looking too long. If you aren't part of the nursing dyad, then you're free to move on. No time to be offended!
Now, I have no experience with negative attitudes from strangers, I've never been asked to move, stop, or leave somewhere. I've never had someone say something rude, and if anyone has ever given me the stink-eye over it, I never noticed--I was too invested in my situation to worry about others around me. That, to me, is a step. At least in my area, breastfeeding is becoming normal. We're making progress. So for every nursing mother out there, just keep going. You don't have to stage a nurse-in to normalize breastfeeding. Just go about your daily lives, nurse when you need to, wherever you are. I think that if you go into this with a polite attitude, people will be more inclined to be polite back (hopefully by either saying something encouraging or ignoring it all together). If you have a defensive attitude, then you're more likely to catch some resistance.
I see a thousand tiny steps making a huge change in our culture. A persistence to the cause rather than a huge campaign all at once. If we help shape our children's view of breastfeeding as normal and they grow up expecting that, seeing that, understanding that, then that is what they will live. That is when we will truly see the change.



***

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center Visit NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center for more breastfeeding resources and WBW Carnival details!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Below are a list of links for today's participants; you can find a complete list of links (updated throughout the week) at our main carnival page:

(This list will be updated by afternoon August 3 with all the carnival links.)

  • Breastfeeding and NIP: A Primer — Rachel Rainbolt of Sage Parenting, featured today at NursingFreedom.org, uses her informative and candid voice to share with you everything you need to know to breastfeed successfully in public, from the practical how-to's to handling the social stigma.
  • Lactivist Ryan Gosling — Breastfeeding mamas, the time is long overdue for a Lactivist Ryan Gosling. Fortunately, Dionna of Code Name: Mama has created some for your viewing pleasure.
  • In Defense of Formula — Amy of Mom2Mom KMC, guest blogging for Breastfeeding in Combat Boots, asserts that formula is a medical tool rather than a food. She examines how this perspective supports breastfeeding as normal and eliminates the negative tensions between breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding mothers.
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks — Throughout her breastfeeding journey (since March 2009), Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy has shared countless tips and tricks on the topic of breastfeeding.
  • Nursing in the Wild — Meredith at Thank You Ma'am posts about how seeing other moms nurse can make all of us more comfortable with nursing in public.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding — Sara Stepford of The Stepford Sisters confronts the social stigma vs. the reality of breastfeeding and opens up about the steps she takes to make herself and others more comfortable with the process.
  • Breastfeeding Alrik at two years old — This is where Lauren at Hobo Mama and her second-born are at in their nursing relationship, two years in.
  • Perfectly Normal — Stephanie from Urban Hippie writes about the way she and her family have done their part to try and normalize breastfeeding in a society that doesn't get to see breastfeeding as often as they should.
  • Diagnosis: Excess Lipase — Learn about excess lipase and how to test if your expressed milk has it. That Mama Gretchen shares her own experience.
  • Redefining Normal — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy reflects on how we can normalize breastfeeding in our society.
  • Nursing Openly and Honestly — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work feels that the most socially responsible thing she can do as a mother is to nurse and nurture her children openly, honestly, and with pride.
  • Wet-nursing, Cross-nursing and Milk-sharing: Outdated? — Jamie Grumet of I Am Not the Babysitter shares a response to the Wendy Williams quote about milk sharing being akin to slavery, by giving a brief history of the wet nurse.
  • Tackling Mastitis with an Older Nursling — Much of the advice available for supporting recovery from mastitis seems to be aimed at mamas with younger nurslings. Juliet of Twisting Vines, posting at Natural Parents Network shares tips for dealing with mastitis while breastfeeding a toddler.
  • Milk in the eye — Gena from Nutrition Basics discusses how breastmilk cured her 3 year old's case of pink eye.
  • Boobie Biter — Rachel Rainbolt at Sage Parenting offers guidance on how to survive and thrive a boobie biter with your breastfeeding relationship intact.
  • My take on breastfeeding advice — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy shares her insights on nursing for both new moms and new dads.
  • My Top Five Breastfeeding Tips for Delivery Day: Think "A-B-C-D-E"Mothernova shares how her continued success at breastfeeding with her second child rests on a foundation of five key things she did to prepare for baby's arrival, along with things she did when she and baby first met. Easily enough, these tips can be categorized as "A-B-C-D-E": Access to lactation consultant, Baby-friendly hospital, Communicate your plan to breastfeed exclusively, Demand, and Expect to room in.
  • Breastfeeding Buddies: Twin Brothers Nurse while Living in the NICU — Twintrospectives at How Do You Do It? shares her 5 tips for learning to breastfeed multiples while in the NICU.
  • Breastfeeding on a Dairy-Free Diet: Our Journey and Our Tips — Finding herself nursing a baby with food allergies, Jenny at Spinning Jenny embarked upon a dairy-free journey with her son for eight months. Here she relates her reasons for making the decision to give up dairy in her diet, why it was worth it, and tips for moms on the same path.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding in my Home — Shannah at The Touch of Life shares how she plans to help keep breastfeeding normal for her own children, even when her breastfeeding years are over.
  • A Year With My Nursling — The more you see and hear, the more normal it becomes, so That Mama Gretchen is sharing her heart on the last year of breastfeeding - the ups and downs, but mostly the joy of her priceless relationship with her son.
  • From Covered to Confident — Krystyna at Sweet Pea Births shares her personal NIP evolution: she started by covering up from neck to ankle while nursing in public. Eight years later, she has gained confidence and the ability to nurse without stressing about flashing a little skin. She shares her views on normalizing breastfeeding - what influenced her and how she hopes to help others.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding for Older Kids — Sadia at How Do You Do It? hopes that openly discussing breastfeeding with her (now weaned) daughters will help her children feel comfortable with breastfeeding and their bodies in general as they grow.
  • Nursing in Public — Listen up, mammas. Those other people around . . . they don’t matter. It’s not about them. It’s about you and that beautiful baby. Nurse on, says The Swaddled Sprout!
  • How to Nurse a Teenager — Sarah at The Touch of Life declares: the purpose is to help normalize breastfeeding a toddler.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Stubbornness and Support: My Breastfeeding Journey


World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center

Welcome to the World Breastfeeding 2013 Blog Carnival cohosted by NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center!

This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.

***



Today kicks off World Breastfeeding Week and to celebrate, NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center are hosting a blog carnival! This year's theme is Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers, so the posts this week will be revolving around that theme.

My breastfeeding journey really began even before I had Munchkin! My mom breastfed both my sister and I, my sister breastfed both of her kids (and she was a teacher!! I never realized what a pumping commitment that was until I had my own kiddos, so super yay for her!!), and I just expected I'd breastfeed my own kids. Formula wasn't an option to me unless my boobs didn't work. As in no milk production. Honestly, I really think this is where my success began. I expected to breastfeed. I didn't expect to "try", I just expected to do it.
Fast forward to my pregnancy with Munchkin. I started doing my own research on breastfeeding, reading my copy of "What to Expect When You're Expecting" like a good first time mama, scouring the internet--I really didn't have much else to do, my hours at work had been cut to just about nil, Mark was deployed in Afghanistan, and I didn't "go out" really--looking for anything I could read. I'm glad that I was self-prepared, because I don't really recall my doctors ever asking me how I was planning on feeding Munchkin until I was in the delivery room with her and the L&D nurse had to put it into the computer. Please remember that all of my medical care was provided at a military hospital, so from my understanding, it is incredibly different than a private or even public hospital.
My hospital didn't offer a birth class and I had to go into L&D on my own to "tour" and find out what I needed to do on D-Day, so I paid for a birth class at the hospital in town. Boy, am I glad I did!! The lady that taught that class was amazing. She came from a family of lactation consultants and I believe was working on her own training. She really helped me out since I was there by myself...kinda awkward in the whole group of couples, but hey, when my hubby's half way around the world fighting a war, it's what happens. She became my go-to info source.
When Munchkin was born, I wanted to nurse her right away, but hadn't the slightest idea of how to actually accomplish that. So one of my L&D nurses came in and groped my breast, held it at an awkward angle, put Munchkin in one hand and attempted to latch her. She scolded me if I tried to hold Munchkin any other way than what she had initially shown me and was generally unhelpful. Poor Munchkin's head was smaller than my boob, so it was interesting trying to position everything. I had Mark go home and bring my boppy pillow to the hospital, which helped a bit. I kept asking for a lactation consultant and was sent nurses that were "lactation counselors" (hindsight...they were just the nurses in the unit) that were completely unhelpful. It HURT. Badly. I was bleeding and scabbed...it was awful. They kept telling me the same thing over and over, I UNDERSTOOD the information, but I couldn't get it in practice. She had a shallow latch that was not very effective. Still I pushed through. I'm incredibly stubborn when I want to be, and this was a case of wanting to be.
We were released from the hospital on a Sunday morning (she was born on a Friday morning),  with instructions to come back the next day for a weight check. I nursed her as often as I could stand it, pretty much crying every time. It was in these early days I learned to read while nursing, as I was shut away in my bedroom for hours at a time it seemed! At the weight check I asked the nurse again if she could help me with nursing. I knew it wasn't supposed to be so painful, yet she watched us nurse and said we were doing it perfect.
Mark, trying to be helpful, suggested we just give her formula. Looking back, I truly see it coming from a place of support, hating to see his wife in pain, wanting me to be able to take a break and relax....but then, it felt like a slap across the face. It felt like him saying "You're not good enough." He had NO experience with breastfeeding as everyone in his family used formula, so he really didn't know what to do. He had to go back to Afghanistan when Munchkin was only 9 days old, so from then until about 5 months, we were on our own. I resolved to get it working right. Her pediatricians were always pushing formula, stating she was too little, but my sweet birth class teacher/new breastfeeding mentor was there telling me she was fine and that I didn't have to use formula if I didn't want to. Every Saturday she led a Mom & Baby group at the hospital where I'd taken the birth class and they had a baby scale. So every week, we would go and socialize and I would weigh her. I could see her gaining appropriately, so even when her doctors were concerned about her low percentile, I knew that she was growing like she needed to.
I wish that I had been able to see a Lactation Consultant, but I had no idea where to look, and honestly, even if I had, I wouldn't have been able to afford one since TRICARE wouldn't have covered it. It took about 6 weeks before I was comfortable while nursing. She grew a little, we both learned a lot, and everything clicked. After that, we breastfeed whenever she was hungry, wherever we were! I freaked out some WalMart employees, but never had anyone say anything negative to me. We were pressured into starting solids at 4 months, I held off until 5 so that Mark was home for it and that started our weaning process. My original goal was 12 months, so that was the timeline we were using. Then as it got closer, the more I learned and realized I wanted to aim for 24 months. By shortly after her first birthday, we'd already gone so far on our weaning journey that we were down to naps and bedtime with an occasional daytime session here and there. I discovered that I was pregnant with Lil Man in April 2011 and started reading up on nursing during pregnancy. It turned out that I didn't need to worry too much, as she ended up weaning herself (by stopping asking) in June 2011, at 20 months old. So I had a bit of a break before starting again in December!
Lil Man's nursing experience has been quite different. He was 10lbs at birth and they required me to give him formula (they threatened CPS if I didn't comply), but he wouldn't drink a significant amount (I applauded his smart choice at only hours old!) and instead of worrying about that, I spent my energy getting him to nurse. He took to it well, and while I was sore the first bit, it was nothing like I'd experienced with Munchkin. I knew going into it this time that I wanted to aim for 24 months with no soilds before 6 months, much to my doctor's annoyance for not following her schedule. Lil Man gave us no issues on weight gain, he's now 19 months old weighing 31lbs. He's built like a tank and looks like there should only be one year between him and his sister rather than two. He nurses well--and still fairly often, somedays I have to remind him he's not a newborn! We've practiced baby-led weaning with him, so he feeds himself very well too! I haven't sought out any breastfeeding support groups with him because we really haven't run into any issues that I didn't experience with Munchkin or know how to get through. I don't know what our true weaning story will look like, I really plan on letting him take the lead. I'll probably start being a little more pro-active in the process after his 2nd birthday, but we'll see.
Community support played a much bigger role in my experience with Munchkin, although I wish I'd known about more of it--I didn't even know about our local La Leche League until a couple weeks ago! I think that if I'd needed it with Lil Man, I would've been able to find it since I was more comfortable taking the initiative rather than asking the doctors and nurses at our hospital. The one warm-fuzzy I've gotten from our hospital came this past week from an ER doc--Lil Man overdosed on Benadryl and had to be on monitors to check for arrhythmia. Nursing was the only way to get him to calm down to take a nap, and once he'd finally fallen asleep, the doc came back to our room to make sure we didn't need anything and asked if he'd fallen asleep easily. I explained that I nursed him and he congratulated me and told me his wife nursed their second until almost 3. He was the first doctor in that hospital that hadn't given me a weird look for continuing to nurse past 12 months. So even though I don't really feel like I need any constant support because I'm confident in my decision to continue nursing, that little boost made me feel so great about it.


***

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center Visit NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center for more breastfeeding resources and WBW Carnival details!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Below are a list of links for today's participants; you can find a complete list of links (updated throughout the week) at our main carnival page:

(This list will be updated by afternoon August 1 with all the carnival links.)

  • If You're Worried About Your Kid Seeing Me Breastfeeding, You're Doing It Wrong — Dionna at Code Name: Mama is living the breastfeeding-as-a-cultural-norm dream. She has first-hand experience that kids, teens & adults who see breastfeeding accept breastfeeding.
  • Supporting Breastfeeding Online — Wendy at Breastfeeding Utah reaches out to birth and breastfeeding support professionals who are interested in knowing more about supporting their clients online.
  • Breast Friends — Mama Bree, guest posting at San Diego Breastfeeding Center, shares a baby's journey to blissful breastfeeding with a little help.
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - Online Breastfeeding Support — Other than buying and reading up on books, Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy finds that it is useful to read up on other mums’ breastfeeding experiences and how they deal with their obstacles.
  • It Takes a Village... — Meredith at Thank You Ma'am talks about the support she got from her family, especially from her own mom, who is a lactation consultant.
  • Community Support — Ashley at ModerationMama tells about her supportive community surrounding her breastfeeding journey, and she talks about the importance of the breastfeeding class she took while still pregnant.
  • Finding a Nanny to Be Part of My Village — Before returning to work, Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen, posting at Natural Parents Network, needed to find a trusted caregiver for her daughter. Someone who supported her parenting goals and was ready to become part of a family.
  • A Nursey Love Letter — When asked about her nursing support group, KassK of Get Born Tribe surprised herself with the answer: her husband!
  • We are mammals. — To be a mammal . . . what does that mean? Practicing Mammal educates us.
  • Building a Solid Foundation for a Successful Breastfeeding Journey — Tia at Tia's Sweeps Go 'Round shares how she built a strong support network to help her successfully breastfeed her newborn daughter.
  • Stubbornness and Support: My Breastfeeding Journey — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy shares her breastfeeding journey, from unhelpful nurses to a gentle guide, and her sheer stubbornness.
  • Looking online for breastfeeding support — The author at "Just" A Mom has found many ways to use the internet to support her mothering and breastfeeding journey, and she has learned how to keep her online experiences positive.
  • The Village that didn't feed — Nona's Nipples at The Touch of Life explains how our communities influence our choices. She explains how she came to breastfeed and how it was taken away.
  • Nursing By Example — Krystyna at Sweet Pea Births decided to nurse through a pregnancy and to try tandem nursing thanks to the support from her La Leche League leader and another mother in her community. Read about the resources that were helpful and the lessons she learned on her journey into tandem nursing.
  • A Burden Shared: How my IBCLC Lightened my Load — My IBCLC rocks!! smscott at In All Things...One Step at a Time's journey would not be possible without a huge contribution of time and energy from her IBCLC. Her difficult times were measured in weeks and months instead of moments.
  • Fathers Need Breastfeeding Support Too — Destany at They Are All of Me recalls that the biggest detriment to her breastfeeding success was her husband's strong disapproval.
  • Breastfeeding Support Over the Years — Valerie at Momma in Progress discusses the range of support she received over her seven-year breastfeeding journey.
  • Uncharted Territory: Breastfeeding — Michelle at Oh, The Simple Joys describes her change of heart regarding breastfeeding and the kind souls who helped along the way. From thinking formula was the norm to extended ecological breastfeeding, this is her story. Her story also includes breastfeeding after a hospital birth, dealing with inverted nipples, and the lactation consultant who helped to name her daughter.
  • Online Breastfeeding Support: Finding Success, Acceptance and Friendships — Author and CLEC Lara Audelo of Virtual Breastfeeding Culture shares how online breastfeeding support changed her entire life, and why so many mothers are drawn to it, rely upon it, and place such value on their virtual mother-to-mother connections.
  • Staying Connected---Online Breastfeeding Support for AD Military MomsBreastfeeding in Combat Boots shares how important online support is to the success of breastfeeding for mothers serving in the military.
  • Breastfeeding and Community — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work discusses ways in which community affects breastfeeding dyads and makes suggestions for accepting and supporting nursing as normal and necessary.
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - Community Support — Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy has been breastfeeding NON-STOP since 4th March 2009, the day her first child Benjamin was born. Jenny shares who has been in her community of breastfeeding supporters.
  • Oversupply as a Blessing in Disguise: Milk Sharing and Wet Nursing — Tooele Birth and Breastfeeding, guest posting at Code Name: Mama, tells how she ended up donating breastmilk and wet nursing several babies. She shares the benefits from both a recipient and a donor.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Color Run!!

Another late to the party post!
June 15, 2013, Anchorage gets doused in color for the first time as The Color Run marks the biggest running event in the state of Alaska with 15,000 registrants! Mom and I were 2 of those crazies! It was super fun, even if we had to get up at 5am! I really kinda wish that I'd worked more on running, but as it was, I walked most of it, pretty quickly, I might add, and did run a tiny bit at the end! I will definitely be doing a color running event again, depends on who comes where when as far as which one specifically! This was well organized and ran smoothly, especially for having so many people!


Pre-race milling around (kinda blurry because my phone was already in it's ziplock baggie!)

I used my son. Families with strollers got into the limited on-site parking, as opposed to having to park and walk or be shuttled. He had fun. His favorite? He got a balloon.

Pre-race "why are you doing this to me, Mommy?!?"

Mr. Grumpy didn't really want to be up this early!
Lil Man was much more interested in his balloon than looking at the camera, but here's our "before"!

Color Zone 1! They were all really careful not to get the powder into Lil Man's face, but they did get up close to him to make sure he got in on the color action too!

Mom going through Color Zone 1 right behind us! (She had fun, I promise!)
And the after...Lil Man was out like a light bulb about halfway into it! 

Family photos!

I've had this sitting in draft to remind me to post for over a month now...we've been busy!!
At the end of May, my parents, MG & Granddaddy came up to visit us for a few weeks. One of the first things we decided when they started planning their trip was that we needed to get some family pictures done. I started looking around for photographers, as we still hadn't really found one that we loved since Honeybee Photography (who did my maternity session, Munchkin's newborn/family session, and a couple fun sessions) moved due to her hubby being in the Air Force. I was reminded that our old neighbor's sister had moved up here and owns a photography business. I got lucky that she was running a Groupon that made her affordable for us (which reminds me, I need to email her our choices for the prints included in that....).
Her name is Christina, and she runs Nonchalant View Photography, and she is simply amazing. As soon as we were done with our session, I knew the images were going to be fantastic, and I was already trying to plan when we could do another session with her! She gave us enough direction that we felt like she had a plan, but she let us be enough that we came through the images. Our poses didn't look staged, the smiles were natural (well, except for one of Mark's, but he hardly smiles for cameras anyway!), there was lots of conversation and laughter from everyone. She took the time to get the kids to warm up, even though one of my favorites of Lil Man is him giving his classic grumpy face--truly capturing his little personality! I honestly cannot recommend her enough. If you're ever in the Anchorage area and want to get some amazing pictures to capture the time here, get ahold of her!

These are just the sneak peek set she emailed me, but they give a great idea. It's really hard to choose which ones we want from the full gallery because they're all so amazing.
© Nonchalant View Photography

© Nonchalant View Photography

© Nonchalant View Photography

© Nonchalant View Photography
 Oh..and Lil Man's shirt...is a size 3T. Not even 18 months at this point and he could wear a 3T shirt. It is a tiny bit big, but nothing crazy. He'll have it for a while! The crazy story behind the wardrobe: Mom and I were discussing what we were going to wear so she would make sure she packed accordingly. We were sending pictures back and forth, trying to match up stuff, because we didn't want to buy anything new if we could help it. We knew the kids would need something new because Lil Man didn't have any summer clothes and Munchkin didn't have anything really photo-appropriate (no plain shirts). I was looking on Old Navy's website on my iPad as we were chatting and found the shirt for Lil Man. It was on clearance. They have a handy in-store finder tool, but of course it wasn't at either of the Anchorage locations. They did say they had limited selection at the store near Mom, of course.
She said she needed to run errands anyway, so she heads to the store. The smallest size they have is 3T. She compares it to a 24 mo size and finds it's not THAT much bigger and it should work. I'd found some tops for Munchkin for her to look at and see if they worked, and we settled on what we now call 'the candy corn shirt'. Then she goes for the leggings. Now she's on a roll and finds shirts for the guys, asking me if Mark will wear peach. I tell her he can wear it for the pictures at the very least! Then she finds shirts for us.
So much for not buying anything!! We all ended up with new stuff, but I honestly felt the most put together of any family photo session we've ever had. We weren't too matchy-matchy, but we all went together and complimented each other. (Thank you, pinterest, for the photo wardrobe pins we found!) It didn't hurt that the scenery was gorgeous as well, we got lucky that everything turned green right before our session!!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Goodbye Google Reader

I'm not happy with google reader going away, but it's been obvious that they've been neglecting it lately! So I've discovered bloglovin'. I'm adding a button on the side to follow me that way!
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Saturday, May 11, 2013

So far, so good!

Remember the princess chart? Well Munchkin hit her first goal today! (And honestly, she probably should have hit it a couple days ago, but I spaced some days...whoops!!) We're still working out the kinks, but so far, so good! I'd read that some moms were doling out stickers the morning after, so that bedtime behavior could be factored in, but that seems to be part of my problem forgetting to give out stickers. We do struggle with bedtime, especially now that it's getting to be summer and the sun is up all night long (or at least will be soon!! Thank goodness, I love the midnight sun!). The "the sun is up so I don't have to go to bed" is a big one. She is getting better at regulating her behavior when she gets reminded that it will cost a princess if she continues.
Checking out the full line                                     

Proud that she's done it! (No, she didn't lose Merida and Ariel today....Merida got lost a few days ago and I keep forgetting to put her back and Lil Man has taken Ariel on an adventure...I hope I find her tomorrow!!)
                                     

We couldn't have had better timing either. We were at Target tonight looking for something completely unrelated (of course, that's always what happens at Target!) and I happened to see a doll on an end cap. Munchkin has wanted an Ariel doll for ages now....but as a mermaid, not a girl. Those are HARD to find!! We've been searching and finally Target has one! Her tail changes color with cold water, which is always awesome and it was a great price! Super score! 
I'm hoping that as she's seen the reward, and already set her next goal (getting her nails painted), that it will motivate her more to keep up the good behavior!

So excited for her new Ariel doll!! 
                                    
  

Time Flies

Munchkin's last dance class of this term was this morning. Friday and Saturday are rehearsals at the theater and Sunday is her very first recital!!! She is so excited, and I won't lie, so am I! I can't wait to give her her first bouquet of flowers when she's done! I don't care if she doesn't dance a single step on stage, she has done so well in class and has grown and learned so much since September.
We asked her teacher this morning how many girls have perfect attendance and the answer is Munchkin. The only classes she's "missed" are ones that were canceled. I'm so proud of her. Even on mornings when it would have been easier to stay home, we got to class and she had a blast. (Most days...she had a few classes that involved a lot of tears...)
We've signed her up for the summer term and she has the same teacher, who she loves, so I'm excited to see how she grows over the summer!! I'll have a recital update probably 5/20, as we won't get home from her recital til late on 5/19. Whenever we get her pictures, I'll share those as well...they're definitely a memory, even if she's not posing well in them!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Happy MilSpouse Appreciation Day!!

To all my fellow MilSpouses, happy appreciation day! You do so much for your families and often it's all behind the scenes stuff that doesn't get noticed (of course, unless it doesn't get done!). Thanks to President Ronald Reagan who first recognized the spouse behind the soldier and made the Friday before Mother's Day officially Military Spouse Appreciation Day!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

USS Anchorage

The Navy has a new ship. The USS Anchorage visited the Port of Alaska this week for commissioning. They had public tours on Thursday and Friday, with the commissioning ceremony this morning. That was invite-only, and given the weather, I was glad that Mark isn't important enough to have needed to be there. We've had GORGEOUS weather lately, the snow is melting, things are thawing...and then today happens. Snow & rain. Texas snow. Joy. Munchkin was excited because she loves snow, but she's also getting excited for summer to, for all of the fun things we get to do outside!

Ok, so we've gotten off track. USS Anchorage. Thursday Mark had the day off because of staff duty on Wednesday. Two hours of sleep and we go to the mall to get to the shuttle....insanely long lines. He asks if we can go Friday instead. He's tired, grumpy, and HATES to wait in lines. He knows I don't want to deal with him dealing with being grumpy, so we decide to wait. Munchkin is sad, but gets over it. So we go again on Friday. We see a bit of a line, thinking "oh, that's not too bad..." until we turn a corner. We never found the end of the line. Munchkin had to go potty, and as we were coming out of the hallway from the bathrooms, there was a mall employee talking about the line. 30 minutes before we got there, the line was at 460 people. It had only grown. They were expecting that it was 500-600 people in line at that time. Needless to say, we didn't wait in line. When we left, about 15-20 minutes after we got there, there was a sign at the doors saying that all tours were full. Even if we had found the end of the line, I don't think we would have made it. For the record, the last tour left at 7:45pm. We were at the mall at 5:30.

I'm super bummed that we didn't get to go, but they have posted a virtual tour online! You can check it out here. I'll be letting Munchkin watch it this next week whenever she wants to, she was so disappointed that she didn't get to visit the boat!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Easin' into 5k!

Remember I told you that I've lost my mind and am attempting to run? Well, I've made it further into the Ease into 5k program than ever before! (It used to be Couch to 5k...and I only tried it once...but still!) Tomorrow is Week 4, Day 1. I had to miss last Wednesday (W3D2) because Munchkin had a random fever, so yesterday was W3D3. I'm off schedule now, but I'll figure out how to fix that so Week 5 can start on Monday. I have to run for 4 minutes at a time tomorrow!! That's CRAZY talk! Ok, so I've been doing fairly well, but 3 minutes felt like an eternity. I'm not quite to the pace I want (10min/mi) although yesterday's final run (1:30) was there. I don't know if I can keep it up though, so I'm going to continue to work up to it. I highly anticipate walking a majority of the color run, but I want to know that I can run and will continue to keep it in my routine at the gym.
I need to seriously sit down with music and develop a better playlist, because while what I have is ok, it's not great and there are songs that I KNOW I do better with because of their tempo. I'm a band nerd through and through, 4 years of marching band beat it into me enough that you move with the music. No slower, no faster--although half- and double-times were thrown in on occasion--but that's just not gonna cut it with running! I've also been working with a rhythmic breathing cycle, you can read more about that here, so it would be even more helpful to have better music. Any favorites? Lemme know!
I'm doing much better than I thought I would and haven't collapsed from exhaustion yet! Yesterday was the closest I've ever come to falling asleep at the end of yoga though, I ran before class and then yoga wasn't skimpy! At least it was exhaustion well earned!

Monday, April 22, 2013

"Be a princess..."


The chart! Forgive my horrible art skills...

I have a feeling that "Be a princess..." is going to be coming out of my mouth a lot for a while! I found this behavioral chart on Pinterest and immediately thought it was a good idea for Munchkin. I showed it to Mark and he agreed. We've been using weekly charts for specific goals and it's worked out pretty well, but I like that this encompasses ALL behavior, not just certain chores we're working on in a particular week. Munchkin is all about the Disney Princesses right now, so I took that idea and ran with it. Instead of "character coins", we have princesses. I found images online to print out and just cut around them, rather than making a circle. Each princess has her own pocket that I decorated for them (also throwing in a chance to work on matching!)--and it helps me remember who's supposed to be there if somebody goes missing!
I also tweaked the left-hand side a bit. On the original, she let the kiddos decorate, color, put pictures of favorite things, which is a great idea, but since we're going with "Be a princess...", I thought I'd write down some things that a princess is and does as reminders. Of course Munchkin can't read, but I'll remind her of them all the same! I did leave room for us to add things if we come up with more later too. I also ended up making 14 boxes instead of 10, 'cause I kinda got caught up in watching Harry Potter while making it and made too many. Still, that's a nice even two weeks if she gets a sticker every day, so I think it's ok.
Even in just the couple hours that it's been up, I've reminded her a couple times to "Be a princess..." and she corrected her behavior so she didn't have to give me a princess! So far, so good. I'm excited to see how this works for our family and of course will update after we've used it a bit.
Self laminating sheets...amazing things! I used this to make the princesses sturdy!

Munchkin with her chart. She was happy to put the princesses in their pockets!



Makeover??

So I did something I've never done before....entered in a makeover contest. It's on Facebook, the top 3 with the most "likes" get put in a drawing, so it's not complete popularity. If you have a moment and want to vote, go here. The photographer has been published in quite a few fashion magazines, including Vouge Italia, so I can't even imagine what amazingness would come from her, and while I have had a haircut from the stylist (the best cut EVER), I could definitely benefit from the rest of her genius as well!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

ON Basic Love

My tees!

You may remember that I was selected to be a member of the Old Navy Style Council again through Crowdtap. This time the sample & share was for their Perfect Tees. I was super excited--free clothes are always welcome!! I already know that I love these tees, they're comfy, hold their shape, wash well, and for this momma, perfect. I love that the shirts are plain, because ever since becoming pregnant with Munchkin, I've stopped wearing shirts with "stuff" on them, with the exception of my hoodie sweatshirts. Even those have gone into rare rotation now since they're way too big. I was a little disappointed in the actual store presentation and selection, but since they're plain tees, they got pushed aside for all the new spring/summer styles. I also had Super Cash to spend from my previous trip, so it became a Mommy-Munchkin date and we had a blast. Of course Munchkin ended up with the majority of the items, and some completely frivolous things (like a glittery soccer ball...but she made a compelling argument: "My ball got popped. I don't have a ball anymore. I need a new ball." So she got the ball.) but since it was a special treat, I think it was warranted. (Mark did call me a pushover, but everyone knows that's more him than me any day!) We loved shopping and since their clearance was on extra 30% off, I had my phone out doing calculations all over the store! I got some AMAZING deals.
Munchkin showing off in front of the shirt display.

Most of our loot....notice it's almost all Munchkins. I did get a few more things not pictured, as did she!!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Liebster Award



Amy Kay at My Beautiful, Crazy, Amazing Life nominated me for The Liebster Award! I feel like a "grown-up" blogger now! The Liebster Award is a great way of discovering new blogs and showing love to the bloggers behind them! The criteria is simple...I have to answer 11 questions about myself and share 11 facts about myself. 

Here are the questions Amy Kay came up with for her nominees:
1. What is one habit you have that you wish you could break?
Oh gosh, that would have to be the habit of procrastination. I am the queen of putting things off until later. I hate it and I'm constantly trying to break it!!

2. What is one thing that you are obsessed with and can't get enough of?
Currently that would be knitting and crocheting. I've just recently taught myself to crochet using some YouTube videos, and I've been knitting for a few months now. I'm always looking at Ravelry to see what I can make with what I have, and then making a huge list for when JoAnn's has a great yarn sale!

3. If you had one day to yourself to do anything you wanted to, and had unlimited funds to do so, what would you do?
Two words: shopping.spree. Seriously, my wardrobe needs it (check out my last post if you're wondering why) Shopping without children and without worrying about how much things cost? Yes please. If Stacy and Clinton want to come to Alaska for a "What Not To Wear" ambush, I can act surprised and mad that you want to throw away everything I own! 

4. Do you have a favorite hobby, if so what is it?
See question 2. I tend to only have one hobby at a time, so right know it's the yarn!!

5. What word would you use to describe your personal style?
Mom. or Gym. I'm either in jeans and a tshirt or gym clothes. And right now? I'm ok with that. 

6. What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Determined. Stubborn. Silly.

7. What is your favorite memory?
This is a hard one!! I could go with the typical answers of "the births of my children"...but there were some definite NOT favorite parts to those (and no, it wasn't the labor and delivery part!) I could say "my wedding day", but my favorite part of that day was the fact that we were married, not necessarily the wedding itself. Although part of the reception was pretty entertaining. 
My final answer is: Family weekend of Mark's OSUT training. To Army families that did BCT and AIT, this is the equivalent of BCT graduation, just minus the actual graduation part. And yes, this weekend even trumps his OSUT graduation. Why? The answer is simple. I had him all to myself. I drove from Terre Haute, IN to Fort Knox, KY, which was a gorgeous drive, picked Mark up from his unit (and I walked in front of him twice...I didn't recognize him!!), and we spent an amazing weekend together! We went to the Louisville Zoo, had an old guy buy our breakfast with $100 bill at Cracker Barrel--and he left before we could say thank you, presumably because he didn't want us to turn down his offer!--and just generally had a great time. That weekend was all too short, but a fabulous time!

8. What celebrity would you like to meet one day?
Right now? Jessica of "The Leaky Boob". Seriously. She's an amazing parenting role model and an even more amazing advocate for so many. 

9. What is the best dish you can cook or bake?
Nothing seems to come to mind. Cooking is NOT my strong suit and you will never hear/see me list it as a hobby. I cook because we have to eat to survive. What I cook hasn't made us sick yet...so I'm doing something right, but that's about as much as I can claim! Baking is a little easier for me to handle, but even then, most of the time it's a box mix,  especially now that I've got the two kiddos running around! If I had to give a solid answer, I think I'll go with pancakes! I still haven't  found the perfect recipe (that doesn't use Bisquick), but I think my next experiment will be with "making" buttermilk with regular milk and lemon juice or vinegar. 

10. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
After the harsh winters of Alaska, anywhere tropical sounds amazing. 

11. What is your favorite thing to snack on?
Lately my go-to snack has been Kashi granola bars "Toasted honey grain" is the flavor, I think. My only complaint is that they're too crumbly! 

1. My favorite color is purple. Hasn't always been, but it's been the favorite for a few years now!
2.  <---- but="" couldn="" favorite="" i="" my="" number="" p="" t="" tell="" why="" you="">
3. Following in that line, since 2nd grade (when we learned about even and odd), I've associated even numbers with left and soft, odd with right and hard. Again, dunno why!
4. I am way too knowledgable of the Disney Jr. line-up and theme songs. 
5. Bed-sharing has saved my sanity. Well, what's left of it anyway!
6. I love my minivan, even though I swore I'd "never be a minivan mom...give me a SUV any day"....wow, there's that "never say never" thing!
7. I smile every time I walk down the "Baby" aisle at the commissary. Formula, diapers, wipes, jarred food...nope, we don't need it!! I've remarked more times than I can count "I'm glad we're not having to pay for that stuff!
8. I have the strangest things to be OCD about. DVD storage, laundry routines, toy storage...none of them super useful, but thankfully none get in the way of daily life!
9. I use the excuse of having small children to act like a small child. Case in point: I downloaded the Disney Fairies Fashion app on my iPad and enjoy it more than Munchkin does!
10. I love Harry Potter AND Twilight! *GASP* I know, it's crazy, but I don't understand how people can compare them. (Granted, I think one is true genius and one is brainless mind candy...but hey, I still love them both for their own reasons!)
11. I'm absolutely terrified of boats. Although it is getting easier for me to deal with, the idea is still a scary one. Especially when that idea is a cruise vacation. EEK! Maybe someday...

My nominees:

My questions for my nominees:
1. What's your favorite book?
2. If you could hop a plane--right now, all expenses paid--where would you go?
3. Of all the places you've lived, where was your favorite?
4. What's your favorite compliment someone has ever given you?
5. Who is your favorite fictional character?
6. What's your "perfect date"?
7. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
8. Where has been your favorite place to visit on vacation?
9. What does your ideal vacation look like?
10. What's your favorite drink?
11. What was your favorite toy growing up?

Here are the rules
1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award Presenter on your blog and link back to their blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees.
3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they've been chosen.
4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog.

{So the original instructions I got were to nominate 11 blogs...but this has now been sitting in draft for a few weeks, due to my lack of time to blog-surf...and I found one that had just 5...so I went with that!}