Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sammy's First Birthday Party

We had a blast at Sammy's first birthday party. We love to entertain, so it was really fun to have our friends and family together again in our home.  With having a baby who sleeps really lightly, having a lot of company has been on pause for a while.  I think now we are back in the swing of things!!

I was a pinning feign and found some really cute ideas for a puppy (Bailey) themed birthday party.  I ordered a printable party package for $25 and spent more than I wanted to printing everything off at office depot.  I then went to work cutting and adding ribbons (my furry helpers favorite part)

There were a few late nights, but it was nice to throw Sammy a really cute first birthday party.  Most importantly, the man of honor, Sammy had a blast mingling and eating.  He absolutely did not enjoy having people sing to him or eating cake.

Enjoy the pictures and if you were there, thanks for coming and I hope you had a great time. 

 A picture for each month
DIY Tissue Pom Poms
We had lots of food!  Veggie and Reg Chili bar with hot dogs, Corn Bread, tortilla chips, guacamole.  Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, Veggies and Dip and my friend Kim surprised us with her famous pulled pork and mac and cheese.

This is pretty much how we roll trying to keep this guy contained now that he can move on his own. 
 Smash Cake from Wegmans, I made the banner using craft tape

 I made his tie using this tutorial.  he wasn't pleased with the tie, the hat, or the signing of happy birthday.  Hopefully he has a lot more years to get used to it!

Why wait until two to state your opinion in a wild way?

 Sammy was blessed with lots of presents! 
 He loved the paper, munch munch.
Sammy enjoying the present from his mommy and daddy.  His little furry friend likes it too!

 Party favors: Bubbles, Play Doh, Cup, Curly Straw, Candy and Stickers

It's Fall Y'all!

I know, I know, I'm a little late on this one!  I originally started this post on Sept 17.  I'm just now getting around to uploading pictures on Nov 25th!  I've got some serious ADD, story of my life.

I don't know why, but I've been dying to say Y'all all of a sudden.  What better way to segway Y'all than with Fall! I'm not from the South, so that doesn't exactly roll off people's tongues here in DC.

I was able to make excellent use of naptime the other day and put out the fall stuff.  It seems like this year, the release of my all time favorite drink, the pumpkin spice latte, ushered in the perfect fall weather.  I couldn't wait to get my hands on some of Paul's fall yankee candles and see all our pretty pumpkins around the house.  Most of the pumpkins my mom bought at the christmas tree shops several years ago.  The rest of the decor is either from target, or yankee candle.

Enjoy! Don't worry, I'll be posting pictures of our halls all decked hopefully before the Mayans come.


Living Room/Dining Room

Family Room

Monday, November 19, 2012

A free treat from treat cards!

Y'all know I love me some free.99 and I love to share it even more. This is how I was given the nickname coupon queen at work. I was also given the nickname el cheapo, but I digress.  

When I posted the winner of the tiny prints giveaway, my only regret was that I wasn't able to give something to everyone who entered. Fortunately tiny prints contacted me a few days ago with an offer from an affiliate brand for all of my readers to enjoy a free greeting card.  The offer is good only today Monday 11/19 & Tuesday 11/20 using code TREATBLOGR at checkout.

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday!

If you are a close friend of mine, you are probably surprised (or you should consider the event extra special) when you receive a store bought non generic card from me.  The majority of the time, when I give a card with a gift it is a box card or a cheapo .50 cent or $1 card.  There are several reasons for this.  First I hate spending money on a card, when I could spend it on a gift.  Hello, $5 Starbucks card or $5 birthday card.  Easy choice, enough said.  Secondly and more surprising is I can never choose a card when I actually find the free time to go to the store to choose one and I hate standing there aganozing over which one to pick. So needless to say, a free card just in time for the holidays is right up my alley.  I can have the computer narrow down my selection from the comfort of my own home and it's free!


Have a safe and happy thanksgiving everyone!  I know each of us has much to be thankful for.

Once I get my lazy butt moving I'll get around to posting about Sammy's first birthday party. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Making it to 100 percent! Nursing for a year

I'm so excited and feel very blessed to say Sammy and I made it to his first birthday without a drop of formula!  This was my goal and it is really awesome to have been able to fulfill 100% of it.  We've been very fortunate to not have had many bumps in our breastfeeding journey all of which made this awesome and exciting milestone possible and even more special.  I know there a lot of women who want to nurse and aren't able to make it this far for various reasons.  We were fortunate to not have any early hurdles to overcome which can including having a preemie or a baby in the NICU, a rough start from having a csec, not getting the opportunity to pump at work, etc or sadly because they are ill informed.  Because of that I know this milestone truly marks again something that so many people take for granted, a healthy baby!  That is the best blessing of all.
When I was pregnant, breastfeeding was something I wanted to do because it saved money and was good for Sammy's health.  It didn't dawn on me, the amazing connection we would have through nursing.  Nursing has been a major way I've gotten to know Sammy and myself as a mother over the last year.  I think there is something about sitting still somewhere between 6-10 times a day for a good 10-20 minutes at a time that will do that to a mother and her baby.  There are so many memories that I've accumulated through this time and while so many days have grouped together over the last year, many of my fondest non singular memories are from nursing.  Some are of holding him in the wee hours of the night, or of him stopping racing around a room to climb into my nap kicking his feet contentedly against me and of just being able to gaze into each others eyes in such a calm, peaceful and natural moment.  

Even Bailey loved this special time!
Looking back over the year, one thing I've really loved is watching Sammy's personality and mental/physical development take shape while nursing.  There are so many times when you look at your baby and think, "WOW, you are bigger, or how could your hair have grown that much overnight", or wow, you are REALLY intrigued by those stripes on my shirt, or wait a second, were you really just able to move your body like that?!

Sammy pretty much won my heart when we were in the hospital and he was nursing for the first few times.  After he was done nursing, he would pick up his tiny little head, just far enough that he could settle in on top of my chest and take a snooze.  It cracked me up.  I was amazed at his strength to be able to do such a profound movement with his neck at such a young age and felt so blessed to have this sweet little person snuggled so close to me.  He did this almost every time for the first three months, I so wish I could remember the last time he plopped his sleepy head down on me in one swift motion like that.  On a side note, I will add that I'm not trying to sugar coat how hard the first 2-3 weeks were.  It was painful and tiring to say the least.  I think many women fold in the towel around this time, but it is worth it to continue past the pain of engorgement, getting used to a baby latching and just the sheer exhaustion of being a milk maid.

The next several months was definitely an adjustment for me nursing Sammy.  He was SO distracted!  Babies seriously wake up and don't miss a beat around 4 months.  Everything had him turning his head to look.  I swear a pin could drop and he would crane his neck to figure out where it was, what it was, etc.  It was cute for a minute but quickly became frustrating.  It was so hard to feed him that Sammy did lose a bit in his weight percentile.  I really wasn't sure how to feed him!  I ended up feeding him in a dimly light room for a while, sometimes when he was tired in his nursery before and after his naps.

In April, when Sammy was around 5 months, I ended up with a terrible 24 hr stomach bug.  I completely lost my milk supply.  I was crushed.  Sammy had really never taken bottles and I felt terrible that all of a sudden I couldn't provide for him.  I drank water, water, water, water and ate, ate and ate some more.  I drank beer, mother's milk tea and somehow managed to get my supply back in a few days to a week.  I was determined that this would not be the end of our journey.  Since he was so resistant towards bottles, we had to just go along with a supply and demand relationship until my supply came back.  One good thing that came out of the ordeal was that my over supply which was always causing Sammy to spit up, finally stabilized to meet exactly his needs.  Perseverance and prayer never fail.

As Sammy moved into the second half of his first year, nursing him became so silly and funny.  He was starting to show me just how much he also loved nursing.  Most weekend mornings Paul takes Sammy so I can sleep in and rest (yes, I'm a very lucky woman).  When Sammy sees me after hanging out with Paul for a while, he's giddy with excitement.  He races over to me, tugs at my shirt and plops himself down to top off the tank.  Somedays, he can't wait for me to switch sides and flops over so fast I'm glad I have my hands to the side in time to catch him before he falls over or gives himself whip lash.

Somewhere in the midst of Sammy loving to nurse so much, when he was nine months he abruptly didn't want to nurse.  He was inconsolable, I was so lost and I realized that we do really need to appreciate and enjoy each moment.  Babies really do grow up in a blink of an eye.  How will I ever  know when it will be the last time he does something.  At that moment I would have been happy to get woken up at 2 am to nurse Sammy.  Until his bout with Roseola, I had started to become very frustrated that I was the only invited guest in his room in the middle of the night.
I guessing that around 9 months is a totally normal time frame for many nursing mothers, myself included to really want to not feel so tethered to their babies.  Being able to go away for a weekend with your spouse, sleeping a full night, spending a day alone doing absolutely nothing...

After experiencing Sammy's nursing strike, I stopped taking for granted the solace of this time period in our lives together as mother and son.  Sammy is rambunctious and inquisitive little man.  The time when he settles in to nurse is truly the only time that I'm really just able to hold him and love him.  It's like a fresh breath of young babyhood amidst the race of toddlerhood.  Praise God his nursing strike ended within three days.  I no longer take this time for granted and cherish it as a period of time in our lives which is fleeting and special.  A beachy vacation alone with Paul, can wait a little while longer.  That is why I'm very happy to let Sammy self wean.  I've always been pro on demand feeding and Sammy crossing the 12 month mark isn't going to change that pattern for us.  I wouldn't even know how to go about weaning him at this point and quite honestly, I see no reason not to follow his lead.  I haven't been able to find an answer to why the AAP and WHO differ in opinion as to when babies can be weaned.  The AAP says at least 12 months, while the WHO says at least 24 mo.  Either way, I have no desire to rush Sammy through a transition for something he has done every single day since the first few minutes of his life.

I hope you enjoyed a reading about our years journey through nursing!
Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Day in the Life: Sammy Edition, almost 12 months

I posted this a few weeks ago as a guest blogger for Ashley over at the domestic wannabe.  In case you missed it, here is the post!

I'm a stay at home mom to a beautiful and courageous 1 year old son, Sammy.  If you'd asked me a year ago if I thought I'd be a SAHM, the thought would have been foreign to me.  Somehow the second I laid eyes on my son, years of thinking I'd be a working mom vanished from me.

Today is Saturday October 7, 2012 and my baby Sammy is about to turn 1 in 4 days!!!  I can't believe it.  Time has flown by too fast and I've fortunately spent the last year trying to relish each and every day I've been Sammy's Mom.

I would have chosen a weekday, but I kept forgetting to take pictures throughout the day, so I had to choose today as I was running out of time to get this post over to Ashley!  Se la vie!

Sammy slept really well last night, only waking once almost 10 hours after he went to bed.  It was 4:52 am and I took my tatas over to see Mr. Sammy who nursed for a bit and went right back to sleep.  I was back in bed by 5:15.  After getting my husband to stop snoring in my ear, I finally was back in lala land.

7:00 am on the dot and Sammy is up!  Why is it that baby's don't need alarm clocks?  This kid has a wicked circadian rhythm.  I force Paul out of bed to get in the shower while I nurse him and change him into a fresh diaper.

7:20: Sammy is ready to play!  Fortunately, Daddy is just stepping out of the shower and I hand him over and hop back into bed for a few minutes!  Paul has to work today, but I can normally squeeze in at least 20 minutes to myself in the mornings while he gets ready and spends some Daddy Sammy time together downstairs.

8:00 I'm being summoned as Paul has to leave, so I drag myself downstairs and give Sammy some breakfast.  I give him some cheerios, fresh peach, a little piece of a banana and some of my cinnamon raison toast with cream cheese and fresh pumpkin butter from our visit to the pumpkin patch.

8:30, We are done with breakfast and I straighten up and we head downstairs for some play time.  Sammy helps me fold up some laundry and I start chasing him around and making sure he doesn't kill himself. This child is into EVERYTHING.  My husband was putting the suitcases away on vacation and Sammy crawled right in.  Then he stayed there for 45 minutes!  It was a miracle.  So now, we have a suitcase in our family room.  It's a non torture containment device.  Seriously, it's screaming 1 way to entertain your infant with a household item pin on pinterest.

9:45: I can see Sammy is starting to wain and I take him upstairs and start our naptime routine of getting into his sleepsack and reading to him.  He also is getting over a bit of a cold so I clear out his nose with the best invention ever: A snotsucker.  Yes, worst name ever for the best baby tool ever.

10:00: I nurse Sammy

10:25: He FINALLY goes to sleep and I relax with my google reader, facebook, texting some friends back all in the cozy of my bed.  I've gotten into the habit of making sure I take time for myself during his first nap.  Sometimes I even take a quick nap.  I call it putting oxygen on myself first.  Sammy spent many, many months not napping or sleeping well at night, the exhaustion I felt was so overwhelming I really needed to rest myself in order to ensure I was going to be capable of being a good Mom for the rest of the day.

11:15: I hop in the shower, video monitor close by.  I want to get myself ready for the day since we have plans to go to a fun ocktoberfest.  I love Fall in the dc area.  Not only is the weather perfect, the leaves are gorgeous and there is always something fun to do on the weekends.

11:50: Sammy is up and ready for me to come get him.  He isn't one to wait patiently in his crib so I try to get him before he goes nuts. I nurse him for a few minutes and then go to change him.  I don't get a new diaper on in time and while I am holding him, he decides to pee more than he ever has on me.  Seriously, I felt like I was the one who peed myself.  Fortunately, I absorb all the pee and none of it gets on the bed.  Unfortunately, this means me being ready to go when he woke up, was a complete waste of time as now I have to find a new outfit to wear.  At least Sammy looks cute!

12:20 pm:  We head downstairs and I get lunch ready.  We are having left over turkey meatballs with broccoli and cheese and spaghetti squash cooked in EVO, garlic, basil and lemon juice.  It is gorgeous out and I decide since the days of warm weather are fleeting, we are going to eat al fresco out on the deck.
1:00 We are done with lunch and I clean up the kitchen.  We bought these terrible baby proof locks which when tugged to hard break off.  Paul and I broke a couple, before we realized we had installed them and now Sammy with his herculean efforts to get into things he isn't supposed to broke more.  Finally, I gave up and made one of the lower drawers a busy box for him.  I left a bunch of the tupperware in there and added a bunch of other things like buckles, teething things, toys, ribbons to keep him busy while I'm cleaning up or making dinner.  Genius Idea if I don't say so myself!

1:20: He is still busy in his busy box and the kitchen is nice and clean.  I mentally took a picture for you guys but unfortunately forgot to actually do it! 

1:30: Daddy is home! Paul works as a branch manager for a bank and sometimes works on Saturdays.  He gets a day off during the week if he does, which is also nice.  Last week he took of Wednesday and we had a totally fun day as a family.  Paul also surprised me by taking the reins and painting our kitchen!  I've got a great hubby! Paul takes Sammy and goes to change with him and play.  Sammy loves when Daddy comes home.  It's so cute.  He and Bailey race to the door when they hear the garage door.  Bailey was exceptionally excited today and race up and down the hallway with his bone.  Sammy was looking at him like he had gone mad.

I use this time to finish the laundry from earlier.  We've been using BG 4.0s with snaps for about 6 months now and while I was soooo anxious about using CDs, they have been amazing and such a money saver for our family. 

2:00: I go upstairs to see what's going on since we were supposed to leave right when Paul got home.  Instead I see Sammy sitting on the couch watching football while Paul sits at the kitchen island eating!  I cease to be amazed by what Paul comes up with during Sammy and Daddy time.  If I didn't relish my breaks, I would probably have more to say about it.  Trust me, if I had the intuition to bring my phone with me I would have had a picture to show you all.  It was a pretty classic are you kidding me right now scenario.

2:15: It's gotten too late to go all the way to the Octoberfest, so we decide to go for a walk up to an awesome shopping center near our house called Fairfax Corner.  They are having an art festival today so it will be another fun free fall day with the fam.  Paul decided it was a good time to pump the tires on the stroller and so it was also a good time to snap some photos.  The leaves are just starting to turn now and the weather is beautiful.  We run into some friends and chat for a minute as we go looking through all the local artists.

3:20: We are back home and we let Sammy play for a little bit.  He hates being strapped in the stroller now and if I don't give him some time to burn off energy after it's built up during a walk I'll never get him down for a nap.  I have no clue if this is just a boy toddler, or if he has ADD, but seriously he has SO much energy!

3:45: Paul takes him upstairs for his naptime routine and I head up in a few minutes to nurse him and put him down.

4:10: Sammy is sleeping!!  No fuss, just a bunch of babbling for 10 minutes until he is finally out.  Paul is working on Sammy's first year photo book for his birthday party next weekend.  Sweet Home Alabama is on so we watch that together and then I steal the computer so I can type up our day so far!

I open the mail and I see that Sammy's birthday shirt came in from etsy.  So excited!!

5:25: Sammy's up!  I go to get him, nurse him for a few minutes and then bring him downstairs for dinner time!  We are trying something new from Trader Joes: Butternut Squash Risotto.  It was really easy to make and also really good! 

6:00: Play time!  We all go downstairs and play around for a little bit.  Super exciting, Sammy walked long enough to catch it on video!  He took his first steps on 8/24, but I don't think he realized it.  On 9/23 he took a bunch in earnest and then today was REALLY doing it!  So exciting!

6:45: Bedtime is usually Daddy and Sammy time, so Daddy goes up to read a few books and give Sammy a bath

7:00 Bath Time! 

7:15:  Daddy hands me a sleepy, squeky clean baby.  I soak up his freshly bathed smell and nurse him.

7:30: Sammy is in Bed!!  Sleeping babies are the best, seriously.

7:45: Grandma just came over so we can go on a date!!  We are buying a new dishwasher and going out for dinner.  Yay!!

8:15: We head out for Lowes and a good spanish restaurant called Alto Plaza.  It has great food, always has coupons and has the most wonderful atmosphere.  Also very important, they always have $5 margaritas!

11:00 We get home and are so thankful for my mom having given us some time to ourselves as a couple.  What a special treat!

11:30 Bedtime for mommy and Daddy!

I love this section of Ashley's post.  I found them really helpful when I was pregnant.

-What is the most surprising thing to you about being a mom?
How naturally mothering came to me.  I am the youngest of six, so I have never been around babies.  Sammy's diaper was the first I ever changed.  I had no idea how much I would love my baby and how easy that makes it to mother, even when it is one of those days that become so long.

-What advice would you give to new or soon-to-be mamas?
Relax and don't sweat the small stuff.  All that matters is that you have your arms and your heart open wide for your baby.

- What are your top three baby products?
Halo Sleep Sacks:  I love these for the peace of mind that they provide.  I know Sammy is nice and warm and isn't tangled in a blanket.  I was terribly paranoid about SIDS and these provided me decent peace of mind.

Boppy Pillow: I've used this every single day since Sammy was born.  If you are planning on nursing, this gives baby a nice place to side lay and gives your arms a break.  Now that Sammy is older it is easier to nurse him without the pillow, but before he could sit up, it just really killed my back without it.

Motorola video monitor: This has also given me great peace of mind.  It is great to see if I need to go in there, or if he is just crying to readjust himself.  The screen is big, it has a great talk back feature if you ever need to wake up your baby, plays lullabies and has a thermometer.