Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 a Year in Review

This has been a tradition for the past couple of years. One of my favorite blog posts to write. See previous years: 2013 2014
What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
I became a mom of 2 (making me a mommy of 2 under 2 for a few months), had an out of hospital birth, started my education and journey towards being a Birth Doula
Did you keep your new years’ resolutions? Will you make more in 2016?
I didn't make any, I usually make some version of a goal list on my birthday which is just 4 days after new years. I completed many of the 101 goals I set for myself on my birthday last year.
This year John and I have set some financial resolutions: 
  • To increase our savings account for building our house (we have a specific goal, I'm just not sharing it here for the world to see :) )
  • To eliminate (again...) some of our unsecured debt (medical, credit card). 
I have personally set goals of: 
  • Running a mile without stopping (one of my goals on my 101 list)
  • To improve my language (I don't curse much but I don't want Cora and Ada picking up and saying words like "shut up" "stupid" etc.)
  • I'm giving up cokes entirely (wahhhh!)
  • Cutting back on the paper products we are using in the house and to start recycling again.  
  • To be intentional with the girls. We're planning to do a homeschool preschool program next fall, so I need to start planning that out and getting prepared. We'd like to start having a family devotional together with the girls too.
For my business and blog:
  • Have 4 doula clients by year end
  • To blog more. I haven't decided exactly how to measure this but I wish I had spent more time blogging this year. Mommy of 2 and Doula training has created a bit of a blogging time challenge.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes - me! My good friend Angela had her second and my oldest friend Kimmi had her first! 

Did anyone close to you die?
We lost my Great Uncle Junior recently. He was a WWII Veteran, a wonderful man and he leaves behind a large and loving family. (Uncle Junior in the middle on the left)

          What countries did you visit?
We stayed right in the good ol USA this year. After traveling quite a bit last year, we didn't even leave the state this year. We have a cruise planned for April, hopefully Ada will figure out the bottle/sippy cup so we can actually go! 

What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
I look forward to having another vegetable garden! My current contract with the Children's Day out I'm teaching at ends in late May and I'm really looking forward to re-establishing a stay-at-home mom routine. I'll be working full time for my own business but I'm so excited that this job is flexible to my schedule! 

What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory?
July 22, 2015 - Ada Mayme's birth!

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I have survived parenting 2 kiddos for 5 months so far. This has by far been the biggest challenge of my life! I'm proud of my work in becoming a Doula and making the leap of faith in going into business for myself! 

What was your biggest failure?
It has really been a good year. Very mellow but lots of changes with pregnancy, birth, parenting two while balancing a new job and school. 
The only thing I look back on and am disappointed with is early in pregnancy while I struggled emotionally I wish I had been more compassionate and loving with Cora. While I really wish I handled that all better, I don't know what I could have done differently, maybe identify the depression sooner? Not really a failure but a remorse. I wish I savored the time with one child and the ease of life in general that goes with that.... Again, not a failure but a life lesson I suppose.

Did you suffer illness or injury in the year?
Right after writing this last year both Cora and I got sick, for almost a whole month! What I thought was a cold with sniffles turned into a full blown lay in bed for days illness. I still look back and cringe. It was awful and I got a great big dose of how hard it is to parent while being sick yourself and the cherry on top was how sick she was too so she was extra clingy and needy when I wanted to be left alone the most. Looking back, that was also the beginning of my perinatal depression which lasted into the spring (about the time I finally got Cora weaned). 

Cora had a Febrile Seizure this past spring. It was really scary but she has had fevers since and has not had another seizure so hopefully she is in the 70 % that doesn't have a second seizure. 

This past October Cora was diagnosed with Juvenile Rhumatoid (or Idiopathic) Arthritis. We're still  wrapping our heads around what this diagnosis will mean for her. As of now it is localized to her right knee. (I've been meaning to get around to blogging about this, maybe I'll actually get it out of my drafts folder and published soon)
What was the best thing you bought?
My daughter! So, I didn't really purchase her but her birth was sure plenty expensive! It is all paid off though so there's that! 

We got an iPad and I love it! I didn't think it would be all that great, I had used a Galaxy Tab for a while in the past and didn't love it and assumed the iPad would be the same. I was wrong, it is wonderful! It's officially a business purchase and will be an essential part of my mobile office and since my personal laptop has seen better days (aka a particular toddler seriously screwed it up) I needed it for studying etc. 

Whose behavior merited celebration?
 I'm proud of how Cora has transitioned to being a big sister. There have been little things here and there that tell me she doesn't love always having to share her mommy's time but her behavior over all has been stellar!
Where did most of your money go?
Medical debt, Pregnancy/Delivery, School, Stuff for Cora & Ada.  

What did you get really excited about?
Ada's birth!
Joshua came home for almost 2 weeks after over a year in Japan!  

What song will always remind you of 2015?
I'm not really up to date on music, or really anything pop culture. I can now sing several of the songs for Little Einsteins and hear the Barney song in my sleep.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? 

Thinner or fatter?
Probably fatter. Breastfeeding hasn't been the miraculous diet it was when I fed Cora.  

Richer or poorer?
Definitely poorer, but very richly blessed!

What do you wish you’d done more of?
I come back to this every year. I miss my friends and wish to be more intentional with seeing them. This has been particularly hard and I haven't seen much of any friends since the end of my pregnancy and then before I was really getting out again I took a new job. You wouldn't think working 2-3 days a week would take up all your time but it does pretty much drain my free time. I've really learned that it's crucial to put things on the calendar! John and I weren't really spontaneous or good at doing last minute things before but now that we have children this is even more the case. 

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Watching TV. It is my biggest time suck and I find that I'm so much more productive when the television is off but I like the "company" and it helps keep me sane without adults to talk to. 

How will you be spending Christmas?
We really worked on establishing family Christmas traditions this year. Christmas Eve we went over to my Dads house and I did some baking (in a toaster and roaster oven because his oven went out the week before...) and food prep. We had a late lunch of finger foods and then went to church for Christmas Eve Services (those were quite memorable as our church as under a bomb threat). We went back to Dads for our traditional dinner of Chicken Noodle Soup and Cornbread. We opened our stockings that we all stuffed for each other (a new tradition so the responsibility didn't all fall to me, yay!) and opened our gifts from the name exchange we did before Thanksgiving. The girls got their gifts from My family & pajamas from John & me.

Christmas Day we got up and the girls got their gifts and stockings from Santa and their Want, Need, Wear, Read gifts from us. After playing some we loaded the girls up with some of their new toys and headed to my Aunt & Uncles house for the day.

The Day after Christmas we went to John's mom & step-fathers apartment to celebrate with them. 

Did you fall in love in 2014?
With my new beautiful daughter!

How many one-night stands?
I looked back to last year to see how I answered it then (no, no adultery here...)
So to quote last year, the same answer applies this year "bahaha... no" 

Who were your best friends?
Angela, Lauren, Kimmi, Kim & Tiffany
What thing did you do that was meaningful to others?
I hope that I am able to do many day to day things that are helpful and meaningful for others. Things that come to mind, co-hosted a baby sprinkle for my friend Angela, a baby shower for Kimmi, I gifted a couple of meals for families with new babies.

What were your favorite TV shows?
Well, we haven't had TV service since May 2014 so I haven't watched much network television. I have watched lots of Netflix and Amazon Prime and Hulu though. Some of the shows I've binge watched through our streaming services - the Walking Dead, Weeds, the West Wing, Jane the Virgin, Blacklist, Fixer Upper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmit, Chasing Life (so sad this was cancelled!!), Girlfriends Guide to Divorce, Game of Thrones and probably my favorite from the year, Bloodline.  I've been hit or miss on trying to keep up with streaming some of my favorite network television shows by streaming after they're released, Greys Anatomy, Scandal, The Good Wife, How to Get Away with Murder, Brooklyn 99, Madam Secretary.
Ugh... Refer to the wish I had done less of point...

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nope. It's been a mellow, drama free year! I have some people getting on my nerves, getting some distance will be key but hate is too strong a word for that mess.

What was the best book you read in 2014?
In the spring when I was an insomniac I read the whole Sookie Stackhouse series (what True Blood is based on). After that I started reading for my Doula training. I've really enjoyed The Birth Book by Dr & Mrs. Sears but that's not terribly exciting for a non birth junky. So also births bit more mainstream would be Cut, Stapled and Mended by R. Rosewood and Probably my favorite, Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
Well, not a particular song but I discovered that I can stream Pandora on our TV. Streaming their Praise & Worship station really helps to keep us happier and less crazy during the evenings surrounding the girls witching hours. 

What did you want and get?
To start Doula training! 

What did you want but did not get?
I have a long list of stuff. Honestly many of them are actual needs. I need to replace most of my shoes. I cleaned out my wardrobe (most of it was worn out anyway) so I need new clothes. The list goes on & on like that but as far as significant things, I can't think of anything.  

What were your favorite films this year?
I can't even remember the last time I went to see a movie...

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
My 26th birthday was pretty blah last year. We were all sick. I finally hauled my sick self off the couch at my dads house and dressed in time for dinner at Chuys. It was just John, Cora, John's cousin Drew & myself that went. 

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If we could get more work done on our house. It has a never ending list of things needing to be done and I really really miss entertaining and having friends over. After an overhaul of the bathroom I think we're going to suck it up and call it "good enough" and start having friends over again. Did I mention I miss entertaining?

What kept you sane?
Who says I'm sane?? 
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Celebrity, none really. I go all fan girl and get excited about meeting Doulas and various Birth Workers that are long established and a "big deal" in the birth community both locally and nationally. I've had the pleasure of meeting and corresponding with some ladies who write big deal blogs in the natural birth community and are very influential in the organization I'm certifying through. 

What political issue stirred you the most?
The first thing that comes to mind is the attacks on Paris. I'm just not convinced we are doing enough to stop ISIS but I'm not sure why the answer is. I'm very concerned that America will be the target of another big attack soon. I pray continuously for the world my daughters will be living in as they get older. 
I have been really excited by Ben Carsons campaign for President. My Political Science brain and skepticism kick into play and I'm just not sure he can win, but he has my support! I think it's really cool that he is truly a statesman, a regular person who has made a real go at running for the highest office in our country. Don't get me started on all the ways I dislike Trump & feel like his campaign is hurting the Republican Party. 
I hope to get re-involved with our local Republican Party this spring with the primary elections. 
Who do you miss?
I miss my friends. A lot!
I really miss Joshua being home! I never knew how much I appreciated having him around all the time until he was off doing the Marine thing.  
I miss Jacob & Stephanie and really hope they move closer asap! 

I have missed my mom so, so, so much this year. While transitioning to a mom of 2, dealing with crazy crap with our house and working towards a JRA diagnosis for Cora (read: a sick and hurting 2 year old while I had a newborn needing lots of attention) I missed her more than I ever have before. More than I did on my Wedding Day, more than I did having Cora and becoming a mom for the first time. I grieved for her all over again. Grieving for the loss of having her here with me now. I would never wish her back from her Eternal home with our Father but I am sure sad without her. 

Who are the best new persons you met this year?
I really like my co-workers! I love working in a Christian environment with these Christian ladies. Several of them go to church with us so that's really nice that there are more familiar faces at Church. My boss, Angie, is a real gem. She's so sweet and understanding. She really puts her employees first and has such a heart for God.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
Don't plan a vacation while pregnant with a baby and you don't know for sure that they'll take a bottle.
Okay for real though, God has a plan for us. Sometimes the plan is a temporary stop-gap to get you to His ultimate plan and it's okay to have things for the here and now. Not everything has to be forever (jobs, plans, houses etc.)
I also learned to follow my mommy gut and trust my instincts. It would have been really easy to just accept Cora's limp as a part of life, just a weird quirk or injury that would go away. I'm so glad we stuck to our guns and got her to the specialists to get an accurate diagnosis.
Quote that sums up the year:
I just asked John what my response for this should be. He said "be fruitful and multiply". I say that's certainly not a quote for 2016 ;) 
Commit your way to the Lord: trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. 
- Psalm 37:5-6

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Life Lately and Thanksgiving

Recently, life has been pretty focused around the fact that my brother is home from Japan for a couple of weeks! 

Last Sunday night I could not get Cora to sleep, no matter what we did. So after about 2 hours of trying, for the first time in my parenting career I resorted to driving around for an hour.

The next morning we got up very early and met my Dad at McDonalds where John took his car on to work because we couldn't find the keys to John's car (found them later in the diaper bag, whoops!). Then Dad, the girls and I went on to the airport to pick up Josh!

A photo posted by Rebekah (@bekah.jane) on

Tuesday was a pretty typical day. Ada had her 4 month well visit with the Pediatrician and I found out I'm going to need to go dairy free. :( :( :( this isn't exactly going well but more on that later.
After the doctor, John and I were going to get a bit of Christmas shopping done but got a call that Cora was running a fever at Grandpa's house. After her febrile seizure in the spring we take even low grade fevers seriously so we rushed home.
(and I have no pics of the day)

Wednesday was the delightful day of food prep! 
For the first time I made my mom's chocolate pie's (with my Dad's help) and they turned out great!!

A photo posted by Rebekah (@bekah.jane) on

Thanksgiving Day we went to my Aunt and Uncle's house and spent the day with their family. It was a great day and I have very few photos to document it. :)

The weekend has been much of the same. Sunday was the last day that we will all be together as a family for at least a year and we did take a picture to document it but of course I don't have it to share so that will have to wait for another day.

I hope you had a fantastic and blessed Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 30, 2015

The day Ada rolled over and I got my hair cut.

Last Saturday was your average run of the mill day around the house but of course being a day with lots of projects there were plenty of opportunities for disasters and we didn't make it without incident.

Let me preface the telling of the day's events with our goals & game plan. We needed to get a couple of projects done, the house tidied (all the junk picked up) and then actually clean before guests next week. I had a hair appointment at 10:30 and John was going to leave at 3:30 to drive 2 hours to have dinner with a friend who is in Texas from Boston. 

The girls woke us up at 7:30. We hung out in bed for about 30 minutes playing and giggling as John tickled Cora and she made faces so Ada would laugh. We got up and started breakfast, getting girls diapers changed and dressed and me getting ready to leave at 10:00 for my hair appointment. John dove right in on project #1, repairing the toilet so it would flush without having to take the lid off and manually flushing it (so now one of our 2 toilets is fully operational...always something with this house). I nursed Ada one last time & out the door I went. 

While getting my hair cut John kept both girls alive (his first time to keep them both by himself!) and got most of the dining room cleaned up. Oh, and Ada rolled over for the first time and I missed it. We had talked about him not putting her down to do belly time because she was close to rolling and I wanted to see it but he needed to set her down for a minute and she immediately rolled like she'd been doing it her whole life (1 day before turning 4 months old). John was going to restage it and video so I wouldn't feel like I had missed it but the only video John got was of the 3rd roll that was actually Cora shoving Ada over #rollsissyroll #nicetrydad

I get home and we need to move a sectional, like 4 huge chairs and many other pieces of furniture out of the shipping container storage to get to a spare washing machine because mine is broken and I've given up on successfully repairing it. As we start this project I am getting Cora lunch and discover the refrigerator has died. I call my Dad and brother Robert to get them started on that disaster.

I get Ada down for a nap, bundle Cora up so she can play outside and join John in the storage project. As we do this Cora was in the way when a big gust of wind blew the storage door shut throwing a headboard onto Cora knocking her onto the ground. I saw it from afar and it was like one of those slow motion horror movie scenes! God was watching out for us because it hit her between the slats of the headboard and she landed on the soft ground rather than into one of the many pieces of furniture sitting just behind where she landed. 

We recovered from that scare, get the washer inside, all the furniture back in storage plus some stuff from inside that needed to be stored and go back inside. I put a very tired Cora at the table to eat a snack and move frozen now thawing food to the deep freeze as John hooks up the Washer

Well, as he hooked up the hoses he started the water before getting them tight. Love you dear, but definitely going to require pliers not jut hand tightening. So I pulled the stove out (our washer/dryer are in the kitchen) to clean up the water flood to discover that the reason our dishwasher won't work is the plug isn't plugged in. Indeed the dishwasher I had declared dead and borrowed a countertop dishwasher from my brother in Tyler after hand washing our dishes for the past year....

Anyway I am good and mad now at the water mess I'm mopping up and as I rant about it and asking John whether or not he got the drain hooked up properly (basically yelling because the dryer has a bearing going out so it's super loud so I have to shout to be heard) I glance into the dining room where Ada is in her highchair chewing on a toy and Cora is eating veggie straws and there is a BAG OF VEGGIE STRAWS ON FIRE in the middle of my dining room table on top of a lace table cloth!!!!!!!!!! I yell "fire", John calmly walks over and puts out the fire as if he puts out flaming bags of chips on a regular basis and puts out the candle he had lit on the table (yeah, not the greatest move....) all while I'm still trying to climb out from behind the stove over the counter. 

After the fire debacle, we run a load of laundry, John leaves, I put both girls down for a nap and proceed to clean house. Later today my Dad and brother will bring the refrigerator from their garage to use until we can fix ours (or the more likely option of getting rid of ours and just using their garage fridge). 

I'm not sure if I'm running a household or a zoo/3-ring circus.
Oh, and did I mention I love my new haircut?! 

A photo posted by Rebekah (@bekah.jane) on

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Guys Behind the Blog {November Edition}

Linking up with Betsy at Heavens to Betsy for her series, Guy Behind the Blog. I picked a great month to jump in since John is a huge sports fan! 

1. What sports did you participate in as a child? What sports did you watch growing up?
As a little kid, Baseball and Basketball. In high school I played Baseball, Basketball, Football and Golf.
Everything but soccer :)

2. If you could line up your ideal Super Bowl, who would be facing off, where would they play and who would you pick to win?
My ideal Super Bowl would be Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers. They would play in Santa Clara California in SB 50. I would root for my Panthers, but wouldn't mind seeing Peyton Manning winning and going out on top.

3. Do you prefer the summer or winter Olympics? If you could participate in one Olympic sport, what would it be?
Summer. Curling! (and then he laughed out loud...) oh, no actually Golf because it is now a Summer Olympic Sport in 2016.

4. What is your favorite food to eat at a sports party (ex: World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, etc.)?
Wings with boatloads of Ranch!!!

5. Who is your all time favorite athlete and why?
Gah. Tough Question. I grew up a big fan of Ken Griffey Jr. because he was just a cool dude.  But, as I have gotten older it is probably Phil Mickelson because I'm a left-handed golfer and he is the greatest lefty of all-time.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cora Lizzy - 2 years old!

Our sweet Coralie turned two on the 21st. I though it would be fun to document some of her fun, 2 year old self things.

- she loves to drink from water bottles, really whatever she sees us drinking from. I wouldn't recommend sharing with her though, the level of disgusting backwash is amazing!

- this time Last year she was mostly weaned from pacifiers but then she found one in a toy box. When Daddy is around she only gets them to sleep. With me, I'm not up to having that fight so she uses them at will. 

- she picks through her pacifiers and picks her favorite. She'll put the preferred paci in her mouth as she hands off her cast off to me.

- she doesn't like being in the littlest bit of a dirty diaper. She isn't verbal enough to potty train yet but she'll pat her dirty diaper and say "uhhhh, uhhhh" to us. For my Dad, she climbs up into his lap and sticks her hiney in his face!

- she is your average 2 year old with getting into stuff! Just this morning she used a case of water bottles as a step stool to pull leftover cupcakes off the counter & help herself to some for breakfast. 

- she loves music! She dances to some songs, but not all. She has one awesome head bob down! Her favorite is The theme song to Fresh Prince and will shake her car seat like crazy when she hears it!

- Barney is her favorite show! She has learned to navigate to it with our Fire Stick remote in Amazon Prime and Netflix! 

- Tex-Mex is still her favorite food! She's just like her mommy & the way to her heart is through yummy & spicy food! This kid eats chips and salsa like a pro!

- Dolly is her favorite toy and she plays so sweetly with her! 

We kept birthday celebrations simple this year. On her birthday we celebrated with pizza at CiCi's (one of her favorites) and cake and gifts at my Dad's house.

Her birthday cake, far from perfect, is actually a bit of a story in it's self. 
I came across the cake pan in my Dad's attic. My mom made dozens of birthday cakes for us in this Barney pan growing up. I loved sharing this memory with her!

Then over the weekend we visited with John's family and had a small celebration with them.
Coralie's Chipaw made several of her favorite foods: chicken nuggets, tator tots, chips and queso, beans for dinner. We had pie for dessert because John and I were rather tired of cake after she had cupcakes at school and cake for her birthday. It was a week full of sweets! 


Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween Costumes 2015

This year I really tried to keep the girls Halloween costumes simple and easy for my sanity's sake.
Over the summer I was rummaging through a box of clothes my mom had saved from my brothers and I when I came across the costume I wore as an almost 2 year old. I was so excited to find that it is still in great shape! The elastic was still good & amazingly it wasn't faded  etc for being ahem about 24 years old! Icing on the cake was that it fit Cora!


We honestly weren't going to mess with dressing Ada up at all, we had a cute onesie & I figured I'd call that good enough. A friend offered to make her a crocheted wig so she could be Cora's dolly to "nurse back to health" & I couldn't resist the cuteness! 

I'm already brain storming sibling costumes for the girls to wear next year!

 photo Halloween Costume LinkUp_zpsyub1tcy4.jpg

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ada Mayme - 3 Months

Ada is healthy as a horse! She had a bit of allergies or maybe a slight cold through weeks 9 and 10 but she's doing great now. Looks like she has psoriasis just like Mommy and Cora, the allergies really made it flare up behind her ears.

Last time we had her at the doctor, she weighed in at about 15 lbs! She was 90% for all her measurements! She is a big girl!!

Thankfully, no actual teething so far, but she's very drooly. I remember Cora having that stage of all the drool too but this seems worse. As soon as I locate Cora's Amber Teething necklace I will put it on Ada to see if that will help some with it.

"Ada-May" seems to be the only consistent one.

Well, she kind of runs the gammot here. She can still fit in a very few of her 0-3 month outfits and a fair bit of her 3 month stuff but shes definitely moving into her 3-6 month clothes. She got to this size a lot quicker than I expected her too and we're probably going to have to do some shopping soon!

I jammed her in size one for as long as I could to finish out the open packages but we have officially moved her into size 2. I'm ready to put her in cloth, and she should officially start fitting into them. I need to spend some dedicated time repairing some of the diapers we have with loose elastic to have plenty of them. Since I'm the one that changes her diapers at Mothers Day Out (where I work) I am probably going to start having her in cloth there to save money and only do disposables for longer outings that I just don't want to deal with cloth.

She's nursing like a champ! Her latch isn't and never is particularly deep but she's clearly just fine & growing great. What isn't so fantastic is that we cannot get her to take a bottle. We've tried 4 different types and I just broke down and bought the highly recommended Medela Calma nipples that are supposed to be "Just like the breast" (and are almost $20/bottle!!!!) and she's rejecting those too. She also refuses pacifiers. :( We're continuing to work with her on the bottles because as of now I can't leave her at all (we tried and epically failed).

She sleeps so well! I'm so grateful! She is very particular about her 8:00 bedtime, is pretty fussy from 6:30 until she goes down for the night. She'll wake and nurse about Midnight (I'm still awake dealing with the house/school work etc) then she'll wake one more time some nights (I'm not sure what time exactly, between 2 & 4 am) but she will occasionally make it from midnight until about 6:30 am!

She's beginning to be awake more during the days, but I don't keep up with her sleeping/wake times exactly.

Fun things we did
Dinner with the whole family when Aunt M and Uncle B were in town visiting. We went to Yesterland Farms in Canton the first weekend in October to spend some family time with her Uncle Jacob and Aunt Stephanie. UNT Homecoming tailgating. Pumpkin patch trip with MDO (that there are no pictures of because she slept through the entire thing in her Ergo carrier). She's also tagged along with Mommy for a girls night at Auntie Lauren's house and for a Murder Mystery Dinner at Ms. Angela's house.

Her swing! It's about to be quite the issue that she has nearly outgrown all the swings! She likes hanging out in her highchair, it gives her head good support and she can see what we're all doing. She does enjoy her bumbo seat but doesn't have enough head strength to last very long. She's started enjoying her pink seahorse rattle and monkey lovey toy. She loves her big Sissy! She smiles and coos at her when Cora "plays" with her. She still loves being swaddled!

The carseat, riding in the car. This is getting a little better. We're about 50/50 on whether or not she'll have an epic meltdown on a trip to "town" for everyday errands. This is a huge improvement but we still have a long ways to go. My right arm muscles are literally stronger than left because I'll reach back and rock her carseat as I drive down the street trying to calm her. We're getting a convertible car seat to see if that will help matters some. Not a big fan of tummy time but she's getting better about that, no signs of rolling over yet.

What's New?
We're moving out of the infant stage and into baby. This is making mommys life a little easier! These 3 months have flown by!

Mommy & Postpartum 
I'm doing pretty well physically. I just went clothes shopping since it seems my weight loss after baby has plateaued. It's so nice to own clothes that fit, even if they aren't the size I'd like them to be.
Emotionally I'm doing pretty well. I'm very tired. She's sleeping well but being in training as a Doula and working to start that business from the ground up is very time consuming. When Ada is a bit older I'm going to have to work out some "office hours" a couple of days a week to do things but right now my "office hours" and study time is from about 10:00 pm until I can't stay awake any longer, usually between Midnight and 2:00 am. That on top of working 2 - 3 days a week, it just seems like I can't keep up.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Under Construction...

... Bear with me as I make some changes. I've been brainstorming and working on adjustments for the better part of a year but beyond taking my old template down, that's all I've accomplished. So, piece by piece I hope to have a new look up and going here soon.

You've probably noticed that I've already changed the name! Living & Learning was really never more than a placeholder. I couldn't think of a name but really wanted to start blogging so I just made-do with the first thing I could think of. Chronicles from the Peanut Gallery is a throw back to my childhood. As a kid my mom would refer to my brothers and I as the "Peanut Gallery". It usually went something like "I don't need to hear from the peanut gallery" or she'd be on the phone with my Dad and we would be chiming in the back ground with our thoughts on whatever we were hearing in the conversation and she'd say "I'm sure you hear the Peanut Gallery".

I still want my blog to follow the same style - kind of whatever strikes my fancy. I really hope that I can carve more time out to spend dedicated to blogging.

Thank you for reading and having patience with me while I get these changes made. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Ada May - 3 & 4 Weeks Old

3 weeks on left, 4 weeks on right
Her belly button thing fell off in her 3rd week (2 & 1/2 weeks old) but it wasn't ready to. I guess it got snagged as I was putting her in the ring sling during a pterodactyl crying fit. We kept it clean & treated the icky with alcohol. I called her pediatrician about it concerned by its color and lack of healing 3 days after it came off on the day she turned 3 weeks old. They said to give it a week from when it came off & they were right (of course), at a week from coming off, almost 4 weeks old it was mostly healed & was totally healed up by 4.5 weeks old.

She definitely growing (see clothing...) in her 5th week (1 month 1 day) I had John weigh her on the bathroom scales & according to them she is 10 lbs exactly. I think that's pretty accurate, she's getting some cute little fat rolls ;) 

She doesn't look like a turtle as she roots around anymore so that name is gone. Her crying seems less and less as I'm recognizing her needs and likes/dislikes better so we haven't used her infamous pterodactyl name as often. Ada May seems to be the one sticking around!

We've started packing away the newborn things, except Target's brand which runs big. Honestly 0-3 is a little big on her but the NB was certainly too small (4 weeks).

At 4 weeks old she was blowing out of her diapers every poop. It was crazy messy & I was super frustrated (got to change perfectly clean sheets on our bed and clean & disinfect the couch all in one day!). On a whim I stuck her in a size 1 to see if they fit & they do! No more blowouts since. We are finishing up the last of the newborn size when I'm expecting only a wet diaper because with 2 in diapers right now I'm not going to waste a single one!! (Looking forward to Cora in cloth again soon, but that's just the one more thing that pushes my delicate balancing act of motherhood over right now, so disposable it is!)

Coming into the 3rd week I healed up & nursing finally got easy. Some residual soreness in the 3rd week as I healed but no new pain. At 4 weeks I still have to encourage a good latch for her, she doesn't willingly open wide but I'm not sore at all.

At 3 weeks she's doing better in bassinet. In her 4th week, she'll sleep there all night (between feelings of course, we're not sleeping through the night yet...) she's learned a frustrating trick though. She's swaddled up tight (my "burrito baby") and I keep a rolled up receiving blanket behind her to tilt her one way or the other so if she spits up she won't choke. Somehow she wiggles and squirms until she's flat on her back. No clue how she's doing this but it makes me nervous (woke up to her struggling with spit up & had to suction it out a few nights ago). At 3 weeks I started noticing that she fusses to be swaddled up for the night & goes to sleep earlier, about 10:30 - 11:00 each night. In her 4th week that was more like 9:30. She is waking for her first middle of the night feed about 12:45 am. Then again at 4ish and again at 6. If she seems to be gassy at all I'm giving her gas drops when I put her down for the night & that seems to help sleep go better.

Being swaddled, cuddles with Mommy, music, her swing, being carried in the ring sling.

Car rides, being still in the car, not being held, pacifiers.

What's New?
We had introduced the soothies paci in week 2. Well turns out she pretty much hates every paci. I still try giving it to her out of desperation but I always end up letting her suckle to pacify. 
She is doing great with head control & can lift it up and look around for short spurts of time. Now that her belly button is finally healed up, we will start regular sessions of tummy time. Her hair is looking more and more red! So far she doesn't seem to be loosing it, so fingers crossed it stays around!! 

Mommy & Postpartum
I am doing great. I actually have hit the ground running with my Doula business, have officially started that training & have gotten a new part time job! It was a very busy week 3 & 4! I will be keeping infants at a Mother's Day out program at a church in Denton 2 days a week. Cora & Ada get to go with me (free of charge - what a blessing!!) and this is certainly helping us out financially. I am sad that I won't be in my mom's Bible study this year - those ladies were my village last year! But I can't not do this, getting the job is a total God thing, a story for another day. 

Mommy & Daddy
We're working on getting back on track with house projects and such. Nothing major is going on yet but hopefully with cooler weather we will get some items marked off our list! We are enjoying the sweet time we have as a family of 4 and can't imagine life without Miss Ada Mayme in it!!!

Big Sister
Let me first say that Cora is a good big sis!! She loves Ada, gives her kisses, likes holding her and helping me however she can. This is still a huge adjustment for her and the new normal for her hasn't been established yet. She still isn't particularly fond of my attention being divided and as much as I try to give Cora special attention Ada needs a lot of my time and she *needs* it since we nurse & she physically needs me. Cora is having trouble remembering our rules about hitting and biting. Fortunately it's just me she's acting out on & it's only when I'm nursing Ada. We've introduced timeouts to her & she seems to get that it means she's in trouble. She's also not feeling well - she has developed an issue with her knee (more on that later) & is in pain and then she picked up a tummy bug while we were at the doctors office checking on the knee. This was her first tummy bug & it broke my heart seeing her sick & helpless like that. I also have a whole new level of love and awe for my mom after having cleaned up the epic mess that was & I can mark "being puked on" off the mommy list of been-there-done-that. 

Playdate with Angela's girls

Looking Forward to
Fall!! We're so ready to take the girls outside & not melt. Poor Cora loves playing outside and has only gotten to a handful of times since Ada was born, primarily because it's so stinking hot! 
I'm loving my tiny baby snuggles but with starting a new job, school, trying to get my doula business in gear so I can hopefully do that full time a year from now - I'm looking forward to us finding the new normal for our family of 4! I finally feel like I've got my bearings & am at least treading water as a mom of 2, some days are better than others I will admit, but I've even gotten brave enough to run some errands with both girls & just me! 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Ada May - 2 Weeks Old

Ada is very healthy. She seems to be a bit gassy, but not as bad as I recall Cora being. We've started using some gas drops for her and that seems to help quite a bit.

At her 2 week appointment (which was actually at 2 weeks + 1 day) she was recorded to be at 8 lbs 8 ounces (65%) which is above her birth weight of 8 lbs 1 oz! Height was 21 inches (20 3/4 inches at newborn exam with Pediatrician) and 37 cm for her head (94%). At her 2 week appointment her umbilical stump was still attached but beginning to separate (recording for my knowledge because I never can remember when other new moms ask... it's such a sleep deprived time of life!)

As long as we're satisfied with how she is doing, we won't take her back to the Pediatrician until 2 months old. :)

"Squeekers" "Turtle" "Ada May" and most recently "pterodactyl" for the screeching sound she makes when she gets really worked up over something ;)

She's still in Newborn but has outgrown her Gerber brand NB size clothes. We actually ended up borrowing some NB clothes from a friend to get by until the next size.

NB sized diapers

She's nursing well! It's still occasionally painful but that is improving. She's latching better, for which I'm very grateful. Her eating pattern is slowly moving away from the newborn phase of constantly eating if awake to more of a 3 hour schedule.

*knock on wood* she really sleeps pretty well. I figured out that we have to use the velcro swaddles (many thanks to Angela for allowing us to borrow more of these too - yay for not needing to wash laundry every 2 days just to get the good swaddles clean!) to keep her tightly wrapped at night. As long as she is tightly wrapped, she'll sleep good 4 hour chunks of time! Right now she goes to sleep after a dream feed at midnight and stays asleep until 3 or 4 in the morning and wakes for another feed at 6 or 7 in the morning. If she is gassy though she squirms and squeeks and isn't comfortable in her bassinett and keeps me awake.

Fun things we did
Wednesday Newborn Photos

Thursday Daddy returned to work - Mommy survived with the rescue of Grandpa! That night John's Aunt & Uncle came to town and we all went out for dinner (and Mommy learned that eating out with 2 kids under 2 is stressful!)

Friday Mommy survived another day all by herself with the girls! With John's family still in town we went to his cousin's softball game and then out to Denny's for dessert afterwards (a less stressful time, restaurant choice is important!)

Saturday Jacob & Stephanie came to town to meet Miss Ada May. We spent the day at my Dad's house
Sunday Ada's first time at church! Lunch with the family at Grandpa's house!

Monday Ada joined Mommy on our first outting together alone to the Denton County Birth Network Meeting while Cora played with Daddy at home.

Tuesday Playdate with Miss Angela and her girls!

Her swing, being held by mommy (& seems to sense me leaving the room).

She is a bit fussier than we recall Cora being and isn't as easy to soothe. We gave in and started trying pacifiers. She really dislikes the paci we gave Cora so we have tried the soothies by Avent and while she isn't great at taking a paci, this is the one she prefers (that we've tried... I'm sure there's one out there she'd take but I don't love the idea of her being hooked to a pacifier like Cora is so I'm not busting my rump to find the perfect match.). I find it interesting that the soothies don't seem to affect her suck etc because they were the nail in the coffin for Cora's proper latch that led to breast shields.

Car rides, being still at any time, being held by anyone other than mommy (she tolerates Daddy, Cora and Grandpa but not a whole lot), bouncer (on both bounce or vibrate feature).

Mommy & Postpartum
I feel great! I have to remind myself that I just had a baby and I need to take care of myself and rest. This postpartum has been much easier than my last!

What's new?
We had given her a pacifier once with the newborn pictures & she took it fine. It was the same brand paci we used & found to work well with Cora (and didn't create latch issues). Well this week she's decided that those pacifiers gag her & won't take it (of course I'm desperate by the time I'm offering the paci, so that's frustrating) so, we've introduced soothies which she loves & I find highly ironic since they're the style of pacifier that caused all of Coras latch issues.

Big Sister
Cora is still doing great as a big sis! It was a surprise to her that Ada keeps coming home with us after we take her out of the house. She waves "bye" to her whenever we leave somewhere. She seems to feel the lack of undivided attention, when I'm giving Ada most of my attention by nursing Her or changing her etc- basically the all day, everyday sundries of tasks with a newborn Cora acts out a bit. Thursday she closed herself into our room where she can't open the door to get out. She knew good & well what she was doing since she was crying that she was closed off from me before she even got the door closed. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Girl Mom

I am guest posting on Beth's blog about being a mom to girls! 
(I've got some photos of my girls I haven't managed to share here yet in the post!) 

Hop on over and check it out!

Happy Birthday Momma!

In honor of my mom's 4th birthday in Heaven my experience mothering without my momma.

Two years ago, as I was anticipating Coralie Elizabeth's arrival I was so nervous to enter the world of motherhood because I didn't have my own Momma. Everyone I knew about my age had their mom & as they birthed their own babies their Mommas were there helping so much in those early weeks. I couldn't imagine going through this drastic, life-changing transition without her. I had never imagined growing up, that as I welcomed my first child, my mother would only be present in Spirit and Namesake.  

In those first few weeks and months, I felt closer to Mom than I had since our Father called her Home. I realized that part of her was in me, more than just her DNA - all those years of observing her raising my baby brothers and I had become a part of me, just as ingrained as my genetics. I saw her in the faces I would make at my own baby, the little songs I'd hum through the mundane tasks of diaper changes and endless laundry. These chores I found myself not minding because it is all just a part of caring for this little Blessing. I also realized, As much as I missed Mom and wanted her here, she had taught me what I needed to know and I stood on my own two feet and owned motherhood (...most days haha)!

I think that it's really easy to get wrapped up in our day-to-day lives and to forget the big picture. Now that Cora is older, noisier and messier, it's easier to forget that she's a little sponge! When she makes a mess or does something very child-like (but still quite aggravating) it is so easy to get frustrated. I know that every mom has been there, you don't want to be mad but you are because now you have one more mess to clean up! On days like this I try really hard to remember that how I react reflects on my daughters more than just today... I'm raising future mothers! I see so much of my mother in me (more and more each day!) and one day, Lord willing, I will watch my daughters as they raise their daughters and sons and I'm sure I will see myself in them and their parenting. I pray that the reflections of myself are positive and what I want to see when I look in the mirror of time. 

Our baby girls are influenced by their surroundings at such an early age. Cora who is barely talking is already practicing her Momma skills with her baby doll (and occasionally sissy when Mommy doesn't stop her less-than-gentle comforting techniques quickly enough!). This last December we gifted Cora "Dolly" at Christmas. We thought it would be a fun toy since we were about 2 months along with Ada. Little 14 month old Cora had no idea I was pregnant, hadn't ever seen me with another baby (much less an infant) but she instinctively knew how to sweetly rock Dolly and put her in the car seat carrier! She cared for her "baby" the way I cared for her. Dolly is still her favorite toy, while I swaddle Ada, Cora tightly wraps Dolly in receiving blankets. Just about everything I do in taking care of Ada is mirrored by Cora. It is so sweet to watch and such a conviction that her little feet are following in my footsteps! 

Becoming a mother of two connects me to my own Mom in such a new way. More than once I've mentioned to my Dad or a brother about "how did Mom keep her sanity?!". I look back on some of what must have been the days she spent in the trenches of motherhood with much more guilt for what we put her through, but also an abundance of grace and compassion for some of her reactions. If my babies do what we did, oh goodness - if I only have half the graciousness my mother did I will consider it a success!

The other night my husband and I took the girls for a walk. As we walked an area my own mother walked many times, it struck me how much she would have loved being a Grandma to my baby girls. Tell your daughters you love them! Remember that your words and actions are molding future Mommas. The days are long, but oh how short these years are! 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Ada May - Week 1

At One Week Old:
Looking at the two girls together makes me appreciate the stage they are both in and realize how quickly things are going to change. It seems like yesterday that Cora was this small and now she is so grown up and I know that I will blink and Cora will be starting school and Ada will be as big as Cora! I am so blessed and thank God for the gift of these beautiful girls! 

- Ada is really strong! She can break out of just about every swaddle I put her in but she doesn't sleep long periods of time without being swaddled. (The Perinatologist noted that she had really defined thigh muscles at 20-something weeks from the sono, that was quite accurate! She has really strong little legs!)
- Has great head control for a newborn, she's already trying to look around and will bang her head against my chest when I'm wearing her because she thinks she can hold it up. 
- She has lots of hiccups! She had hiccups about once a day in utero and seems to be following that trend now!
- I noticed very early on that Ada is a little cross-eyed. We've talked to our pediatrician about it, it's very common. It's a muscular issue and if it hasn't taken care of it'self by 4 months we will refer out to an optomotrist. Honestly it's already better than it was as she is opening her eyes and having longer periods of alertness, so hopefully it will clear up on it's own!
- She also has what appears to be a slightly herneated belly button. It's really minor and Pedi says that a lot of times they also clear up on their own. If it isn't by school age we'll look into getting it repaired. 

Squeekers (for the little noises she makes), Turtle (for the way she cranes her neck when rooting to nurse), Ada May.

She is clearly smaller than Cora. She is in Newborn clothes and probably will be longer than Cora was. We are actually considering purchasing more NB size. It's been fun putting her in things that Cora wore and remembering how small she was (but never this small...).

Newborn size disposables. When she's a little bigger we'll start using cloth with her but I don't own newborn sized cloth diapers.

Nursing isn't going fantastic... she just isn't latching well. I gave it one week then tried introducing shields which worked wonders for Cora. This time however, it just made the pain worse! Things are getting better but we still have some challenges to work through.

She will sleep one 3 hour stretch at night and a good 3 hour stretch in the middle of the day (usually from about noon to 3). Right now I dream feed her about midnight and then put her in the bassinet and we go to sleep. She wakes up between 1 and 2 usually, will have a quick nursing session and go back down (but won't stay asleep more than 10 minutes or so if in her bassinet) until 5 or 6 in the morning, nurse again and then again at 7 am.

She does not like her bassinet at all! I can't get her to sleep in it more than about an hour at a time. Her co-sleeper turned out to be a great purchase on a whim at last seasons consignment sales!

Our little Socialite
Miss Ada May's first week has been a busy one!

Thursday morning when she was just hours old we loaded up and went to my Dad's house. We didn't get to do an herbal bath at the birth center due to some complications after she came and I really wanted a bath (didn't feel up to standing in the shower) so we went to his house to use the bathtub (we don't have one). (I'll post about the birth story and associated complications soon)

Friday at 2 days old I had to follow up with the Midwives but life was super crazy because apparently all the babies decided they wanted to come so we also needed to get Ada's PKU through the hospital because the Midwives were so busy catching babies they couldn't see us. So we got our poor babies heel pricked and I saw a Nurse Practitioner after my appointment was rescheduled twice to make sure I was doing better from those complications.

Saturday my family gathered at my Dad's house to meet Miss Ada. This included my Great Aunt who she is named after!

Sunday we loaded up and went to see John's Mom & Step-Dad for them to meet Ada.

Monday we took Ada back to the Birth Center for her checkup that couldn't be done on Friday and that evening Sarah, our Doula, came for our postpartum visit. On the same scales she was weighed on at birth she was recorded at 7 lbs and 11 ounces (down from 8 lbs 1 oz).

Tuesday we took Ada to the Pediatrician for their version of the newborn check. They recorded her at being 7 lbs 13 ounces.

Wednesday we left Cora with my Dad while John & I took Ada to get  newborn pictures. John and I agree that we were more relaxed during the session than we had been since Ada arrived. I hadn't ever been to a photo shoot quite like that before, it was very calming!

By the time Thursday rolled around (1 week, 1 day) and John returned to work, it was the first day that we were just at home!

- She loves her swing. It is the only place I can get her to sleep other than my arms! Hates her bouncer on both the bounce and vibrate feature.

- Ada is quite the Momma's girl. She will cuddle and sleep with John some, but I think she likes being close to her food source!
-  I'm betting she is going to be a thumb sucker! She likes to suckle her hands.

Being gassy. Poor kid is pretty gassy. I'm probably going to have to start an elimination diet to figure out what is causing this. Cora was gassy too and I never figured out what was causing it, she just eventually outgrew it.

What's new?
Well, everything... but new during this first week is burping. For the first couple of days she wouldn't burp with her feedings. In fact she was really pretty ticked off when I'd try to burp her. We checked with our Doula and some babies don't need to burp in the early days because they're not really taking in much air. If I had bothered to read the discharge information that the Birth Center had given me in the first couple of days I would have found this same helpful info! Well now she is requiring a burping but is difficult about it. John is far more successful burping her than I am (which is opposite of how it was with Cora!) and he manages it by supporting her back and head and bouncing her off his belly. Sounds strange but works!

Mommy & Postpartum This postpartum compared to Cora has been much easier! There have been some unique challenges since we now have two babies but physically it's been a walk in the park in comparison. Part of this I believe is that I knew better what to expect, but there is no doubt that I'm also significantly less sore than last time.

Big Sister
Cora is doing really well with the transition to being a big sister! We were worried about how this would go and have been expecting some regression but have no idea where that regression might take shape. So far there hasn't been one! If she wants our attention (or even if she's across the room independently playing but wants us to look?) she has taken to screeching. Like banshee screech! I'm not sure how to teach her not to do this, so I calmly explain that we use our inside voices and tap her mouth - hopefully this will take care of itself.
She really seems to understand that "sissy" was in my belly and now is here. The night she came, when we picked Cora up at my Dad's house she pointed and said "sis". She has stopped giving my belly kisses (as she would do unprompted several times a day before) or lifting my shirt to pat my belly. The first night she had a crying fit, but honestly it was more of an "I'm overly exhausted" fit