Saturday, July 30, 2011

Another year {flashbacks on marriage}

We are celebrating 6 years of marriage today! Whoa.

I remember that first year of married life so so SO well.

Every. little. detail.....

Well, the wedding was a blur to be honest--thank goodness for pictures! But the moment we left for our honeymoon to the Riviera Maya, we soaked up every teeny tiny moment together.

He's all mine ladies....

We giggled every time we referred to the other as "husband" or "wife". And we couldn't wait to tell people we had just gotten hitched. With each week that passed we neared another month and it felt like FOREVER to get to 6 months. "Wow! We've been married for 6 months! Doesn't our wedding seem like SOOO long ago!" Oh my past little much faster it would get. 

Our tiny one-bedroom apartment was barely furnished, but we loved it. We couldn't wait to invite our other newly-married friends over for cards, movies and double dates.

Cathi & Justin. Aaron & Allison
These are some of our long-time "newlywed" friends from college (they're not as crazy as they look...ok maybe just a 'lil crazy). We all got married within just a couple months of each other and now all 3 couples have 2 kids each (just months apart as well). They also stood up in our wedding. LOVE these guys. And this is by far my favorite pic of them.
 Ok, back to us...

I would spend all day thinking of how I wanted to set the table and what new recipe I would try for when my hunky man came home from work. We would go for long bike rides with no destination in mind....take as long as we I wanted wondering the malls....spend Sunday afternoons hid away in our bedroom....

Ahhhh that first year. There's just nothing like it. I truly remember thinking to myself, "this is everything I thought it would be!".


And although those days are gone (in some ways).....although we are busy with work, blessed with children (who add to the busyness)...although we find little time for dates and disagree on occasion....although we fight over the blankets and sleep on opposite sides of the bed sometimes....

...We celebrate 6 years gone by...we celebrate the depth of our conversations and late night talks...we celebrate our triumph over tough times and being there for each other when we need it most....we celebrate commitment and choosing to love even when we don't feel like it.....we celebrate marriage because not many do anymore.

Happy 6 years my love! I pray the next 6 will be even sweeter.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Pardon me...

...while I switch things up a bit.

I'm in the process of changing the style of this here blog. I'm an amateur mind you, so don't get too excited. Just a few font changes here and there, a few color and background tweaks and hopefully a more updated header pic (since we have a new member to the family who is almost 5 months old already!). Although I simply LOVE the feet pic {taken by the talented Tammi Dryden btw} and it's nearly impossible to re-create something that special a second time. Or maybe I'll do a collage of some kind...I dunno. But, mostly I wanted a W I D E R layout so my posts look less like a never-ending novel and make it easier on the eyes to read. Even though I know you read every post all the way to the end, right? Psshhhh. Yeah right. More like speed scanning--that's what I do most of the time (secret's out!). That's why I use lots of lists and bold letters--so you have an excuse to scan and get the gist (or is it 'jist'....they both look wrong but I really wanted to use the word. Oh well).

Gotta run!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nursing {personal pro's and con's}

Today's topic? Nursing.

Controversial? ummm YES.

Like SO many child-rearing topics, nursing is one of those things mothers spend a lot of time discussing. Whether you are nursing or bottle feeding or both, it's a hot topic. Here's a few sub-topics to get you all fired up about...
  • Nursing in public--it's legal but is it appropriate? And to what extent?
  • How often should you nurse?--is it simply a matter of supply and demand or should you stick to scheduled feedings?
  • How do you increase milk supply if your baby isn't getting enough? (Don't get me started on how much I've read up on this one and how many crazy ideas are out there...) 
  • Should you nurse your baby to sleep? Or keep them awake after a feeding?
  • If your baby cries after the bottle is empty does it mean he/she is still hungry? Or does your baby not know he/she is full and is crying out of frustration more than hunger?
  • If nursing is easy for you: to what age should you nurse your baby?
  • If nursing is a hard for you: how long do you struggle with it and when is it ok to "throw in the towel"?
  • When and how do you start to wean your baby? (Which I'm currently starting to do with Mason for many reasons. Keep reading to find out...)
**As far as all that (above) is what is best for you, your family, and your way of life. When it comes to nursing, there are no black and white answers. Every baby is different and every mom is different. You should not feel forced into a corner by one person's experience. Learn what you can from others and apply it if needed.
That's my opinion.** 

So, here's my perspective in a list ('cuz I like lists...and 'cuz I like looking back a year from now to remember where I was at...and mostly 'cuz I'm not good at writing in paragraphs and have terrible grammar).

PRO'S--short and sweet:
  1. It's FREE. Formula is expensive. Period.
  2. It's better for baby (from a nutritional stand-point)
  3. Prevents baby from getting sick (due to the antibodies you give through your milk)
  4. It's great bonding for mama and baby
  5. It teaches patience and persistence (can also be a con)--which I always need to practice.

CON'S--this is where it gets more personal and "wordy":
  1. It's hard to nurse baby #2 when baby #1 doesn't understand the importance of feedings and wants you to play with her instead of nurse her baby brother. Multiply this scenario by 6 feedings a day and it starts to get old. Fast.
  2. I DON'T LIKE NURSING IN PUBLIC. I wish I did. I don't mind when other people do but I'm not graceful at it. My babies are loud and messy eaters and therefore draw attention, not to mention the clumsy "shield" I have to use and cannot go an.y.where without it. And depending on the circumstance....what do you do if baby #1 starts acting up in public while you are nursing baby #2?? You have to bring a babysitter along if you go anywhere. Overall, me no likey. 
  3. I'm one of about 7% of ladies who start their menstral cycle immediately following the 6 week after-birth. Yes, with both babies. Yes, even though I am nursing. I get my period once a month. Horray. After Kensie was born I was shocked but just went on with nursing like I thought I was supposed to. She ended up losing weight between 5 and 6 months old and I eventually switched to formula and was done nursing. I honestly have met NO ONE in real life who shares this experience. It wasn't until I came across this blog that I stopped thinking I was a complete freak-of-nature. In short, having my period affects the taste and supply of my milk--causing a fussier, night-waking baby during that dreaded week once a month. This time around (after Mason) I knew what I was getting into so I pumped A TON in the beginning and had a freezer stocked full of "emergency milk". I also started taking "the pill" this time around which eliminated my actual period but I still seem to have a drop in supply once a month. Booo!
  4. I can't keep up with his growth spurts as a result of point #3. He is such a good sleeper if he gets enough to eat. So an extra bottle at night has really helped with the night-wakings. But, I currently have less than a week's worth of "emergency milk" left!

Now that I'm looking at my list it's no wonder that after ALL that I have indeed decided to start weaning my dear Mason. It is time. And I will be doing it much slower this round. I went cold turkey with Kensie and I was miserable for 3 straight days. So, this time I am substituting one nursing session with a bottle usually around his 3pm feeding. Then we'll move to 2 and so on. I'm looking to be done by the time he is 6 months old.

And that's my take on nursing! If you actually made it to the bottom I'm impressed...not always a fun topic but I like to keep things interesting!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I could watch this girl all day. Oh wait, I do.

Just being herself. Weird. Silly. Creative. Full of energy...

Kids just make me laugh sometimes.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Musical Cribs

We are on our third crib for miss Kensie.
Yes, third.

Here's the FIRST crib:

Ahhh, the nursery in the beginning stage. Blank walls. New crib (minus the mattress at this point in the pic). No curtains yet. Fresh new rug on our newly refinished wood floors. Anxiously waiting to meet our first baby girl. 

And then she came and filled this crib full of sweetness....

{I can't believe how little she is here!}

I love this crib.
We found it on craigslist (if I had a dime for every time I said that...) and it has everything we wanted in a high-quality crib but (again) for a THIRD of the price. SCORE. Big time. As in, "we-got-a-4-piece-Pottery-Barn-nursery-furniture-set" kind of score. Yeah.
I love this crib.


9 months past by...
and I was pregnant again.

Excited. Thrilled.

But, we needed a second crib. So, we moved the (above) crib into the "new nursery" (which now belongs to Mason) and my thoughtful friend Jessica offered to loan us the SECOND crib...

A perfect fit and exactly my taste.
That makes one crib for Kensie and one crib for Mason.
Problem solved!

Jessica was pregnant again.
Her third girl.
{Jess is one of those cute Moms you could totally picture with 3 adorable girls. Go check out her blog here to see what I mean. Adorable right? I told you.}
Anyway, she is due in September--right around Kensie's second birthday.
You do the math.

I wasn't ready to force Kensie out of the crib to a big girl bed yet, so we had to think of something quick!

We figured it was worth investing in a second crib so, back to craigslist we went and found her THIRD crib...

A convertible crib that will go from crib to toddler bed to full size headboard.

And in case you were wondering....cribs DON'T FIT THROUGH DOORWAYS. That means disassemble, reassemble, disassemble, reassemble....etc. We are now professional crib-setter-uppers to say the least.
But, I think we are DONE with the musical crib game. Whew!
For a while anyway....

Monday, July 18, 2011


I feel like I am on a video marathon here by sharing one in every post lately {my apologies to those of you hoping for something other than "life with kids" kind of posts--it's such a BIG part of my life}. But, there's something about watching toddlers grow and learn that just beckons me to pull out the camera, ya know?

Kensie spends a lot of time doing puzzles. After she hops down from breakfast at the counter, she wanders over to her kid table and becomes enthralled in some kind of puzzle. Sometimes she will do them by herself. But, usually she wants me to sit with her and cheer her on to finish one.

I see her determination to finish and her satisfaction once it's done.

Such simple accomplishments make me swell with pride.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pockets and Shews

This girl loves two things right now....

Pockets on shorts.
Pockets on dresses.
Pockets on other people's shorts and shirts.
Pockets, pockets, pockets.
And her hands must be in them at ALL times.
It's all fun and games until the day she runs with her hands in her pockets and trips and falls and...well, you know what would happen next...

She also loves "shews" as she calls them.
Her shoes.
Daddy's shoes.
Mommy's shoes.
Mason's shoes.
Everyone must wear their shoes at ALL times.
She frequently brings me various pairs of shoes and informs me who they belong to.
And like any good mom would, I play along.
For now.

Monday, July 11, 2011

My favorite things

{1} Kensie's Crocs

She can put them on herself. They go with every outfit. She can wear them to church, to play, and run through the sprinklers. I scrub them with dish soap and a brush and they look like NEW. Found them on Amazon--they have tons of different colors.

{2} Certain Dri

I have a sweating problem. Bad. Embarrassingly bad. So bad, in fact, I probably could get a prescription for it. Just ask any former teammate of mine and they will tell you my uniform was always a darker shade than the rest of the team. No lie. But then I found this stuff and it works like a charm--at least for the under arm area. And you can buy it right at the grocery store! I make sure to NEVER run out. Let's hope they make it forever!

{3} Dirt Devil

Small enough to fit in a tiny closet. Light-weight enough for Kensie to use. Powerful enough to pick up just about anything on the wood and tile floors. Cheap enough to fit in your budget. LOVE.

{4} Aveda glossing straightener

I use a pea-size amount of this product so it lasts a loooong time. I run it through my hair as soon as I get out of the shower. It smells amazing and keeps the frizz down as I'm blow-drying my hair. It's a little pricey but SO worth it.

{5} Cougar Chariot {double}

I could go ON and ON about this one. Basically it's a double jogger stroller on steroids {the one shown is a single so ours is a bit wider}--can be a four wheel stroller OR a jogger stroller OR converts to a bike trailer in a pinch. Ours came with extra storage on the top and back making it easy to pack everything you need for a long outing. It pushes with incredible ease and turns on a dime! I cannot say enough about it. Thankfully we found one on craigslist for half the price!

{6} Hamilton Beach Brew Station coffee maker

This was one of those Christmas gifts {from my thoughtful hubby} that you never asked for but your gift-giver hit the nail right on the head! I especially love that it self-dispenses. No clumsy coffee pot to take in and out. Just put your cup under the dispenser and push. Mess-free and great for company!

{7} King-size bed

We love to cuddle. But when it comes down to actually sleeping, we need to stretch our 6'0" and 6'3" bodies way-the-heck out. We tell every newlywed we know to get one of these. Even though you think you will want to sleep right next to each other your whole us. This bed will make you love each other even MORE. Speaking of sleep.....

{8} Sleep Mate sound machine

Now that I have "mom ears" (you mommies know what I'm talking about)...I'm not a very sound sleeper anymore. This machine saved my life. And it easily packs in our bags to take on vacation!

{9} Mary Kay mineral powder

All my skin care products are MK but this is the one I love the most. And it lasts for.e.ver. All over coverage that doesn't weigh your skin down.

{10} Watching these two

'Cuz the list wouldn't be complete without them.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

4 months!

And the next two pics sum up how the day went...

Kensie insisted on being in the picture and then refused to smile or look at me. Little stinker.
It seems like when we try to take it easy in the mornings and don't go anywhere, she turns into a 13 year old with an attitude. Follows me around to the bathroom, to get a drink, to do the laundry.

Mr. Mason {however} is just as happy as ever. As long as he is fed enough--still working on a post about that whole issue lately. Let's just say, I'm SO ready to be done nursing. And I'm ready for my little sleeper to come back for good.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Backyard decisions...

First of weed? Or not to weed?

 (looking out the living room window into the backyard)

I choose "not to" and it's not pretty.


Ok, now onto something a bit more fun to discuss...

Here's a shot of our backyard {looking out the same window}:

 Love the grass and shady trees. Don't love the view of the house behind us.

Here's the problem:
I want privacy and a safe place for our kids to play without running into someone else's yard {never mind the busy street behind us too}. We live on a cul-de-sac so the front yard is where we spend most of our time. But, the backyard is not so enticing.

Greg doesn't like the "look" of fences. He understands the need for safety if we ever want to play in the backyard but, cannot get past the "look" of a fence. Mind you, he grew up in farm country with TONS of room. I get that.

So, here's some ideas we've discussed:

A white picket fence...
(simple version using my paint program)

A row of bushes...

Or a tall privacy fence {with bushes in front}...

What do you think? Opinions? Would love to hear other ideas as well!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

3 days over the 4th

The Fourth of July was on a Monday this year and as a result Greg had three full days off....amazing right?!
I know.

Remember how my hubby loves to work under pressure?
And how he thrives on conquering tough challenges??
Especially in a short amount of time...

Well, he wanted to make the most of it by squeezing in as much as possible. And I'm not complaining cuz we got a LOT done and had a ton of fun!

{Day 1}
Greg spent most of the day putting up the rest of the trim on all the doors and closets in each bedroom...

(sorry forgot to take pics!)

...while I spent the morning with Kensie downtown at farmer's market enjoying some much needed one-on-one girl time. She's been a little clingy lately (those bad-boy molars are putting a number on this little girl) and she desperately needs some extra attention these days.

{Day 2}

Let's start off by saying the night before Mason woke up at 1:30, 3:30 and 6:00am. SO FRUSTRATING. I'm thinking it's a growth spurt. And I think my milk supply is dropping. This was around the same time that Kensie showed similar signs and by 5 months old I made the decision to ween her. So, more on that later...but, nothing like starting a day off with ZERO sleep.

We packed up the car with everything imaginable for a day on the lake with 2 adults, 1 toddler, and 1 baby.
Kinda stressed me out.
But, we made it.
We remembered everything.
And boy, was Kensie in for a treat...

I call this her "mini fridge swimsuit"....and I was surprised she didn't mind how bulky it was.

probably cuz she was so busy doing this...

We stayed out there until 7pm.
Kensie loved every minute.

Drove 45 minutes home, threw the kids in the bath, and threw them in bed (ok, we "placed them" but, that's what the bedtime routine feels like sometimes...just get them in bed!!).

{Day 3}

This time Mason awoke at 4:30 and 7:30am. Still not his normal 8-10 hour slumber but, better than the night before...

More packing (this time forgetting Kensie's swimsuit--and turning around to run home 5 minutes into the trip.) Coulda been worse right?

We scored the same sweet spot by the water as the day before.

And let Kensie loose...

After seeing her show "no fear" on the water, we decided to see how she would do on the boat...

Ummm she LOVED it. We sat in the front of the boat and she immediately started bouncing on my lap with excitement. We even did a loop around the lake going pretty fast (fast enough to pull a skier behind) and she kept saying "weeeee!....Whoa!....weeeee!!". When we pulled up to the shore I asked if she wanted to get off. In her sweet soft voice, "nooooo" (while shaking her head).
I think we have a little fishie on our hands!

We left the lake around 6pm and drove up to visit my Mom for dinner and fireworks in her backyard. Literally. It was a great set-up. Kensie slept in the house while we sat outside and watched the show.

We pulled into our driveway just after midnight. Exhausted. Dirty. Smelling of sunscreen and bug spray.


The downside for both days on the lake:
Kensie didn't nap at ALL for 2 days straight.
I don't like nursing in public but, we made it work.
My hate for mosquitoes > My hate for the snow.
Must. Get. A. Bigger. Car.
Too much sun + ZERO sleep = headaches.

The upsides:
Kensie was happy (despite no naps, a runny nose, and teething).
She sure is making up for it by napping super hard today!
Such a great chance to spend time as a family.
Mason did great eating and sleeping in a different environment (except at night).
I love my husband in board shorts.

Happy Independence Day!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Resolution Check-in

Raise your hand if you are really good at setting goals but not so good at following through.

Both hands raised over here!

{Although I'm giving myself credit by even having the courage to do an update}

Ok, here we go...

The closest pic I had to January 1, 2011
'cuz what's a post without a picture?

If you want to read the original New Year's post go HERE.

Sounds good right?

Well, here's the reality of where I'm at 6 months later
{report card style}:


Save more $$$

Get back into shape

Let go a bit

Love my husband more

Teacher's notes: 
Shannon has transitioned well from 1 to 2 kids and exhibited some {relative word} patience ie: when her toddler throws a fit while her son has a blow-out...she get's frustrated but doesn't let it stop her from staying calm and loving her kids through it.

When it comes to saving more $$$, we recommend Shannon goes to summer school. She has good intentions but, she's had one too many detentions for over-spending at the grocery store and cheats by going through the drive-through for dinner too many times. If she wants to ever get a new car, something must change.

There is great motivation by Shannon to get back into shape, and we are proud to see her making time for a quick work-out on a consistent basis. Her motivation comes from wanting to feel in shape, not just look it. This is a much better outlook than years past. While she has not yet signed up for a 5k, there are plans to find one soon!

It is still extremely difficult for Shannon to let go. Again, we see her wanting to let go of her control-like tendencies. But, it is so much easier for her to do it herself (or so she thinks). This is an area that still needs a lot of work.

Considering the circumstances, Shannon is doing an adequate job of loving her husband. There are times where she is able to encourage Greg through a text or written note. And there are ways she has taken initiative to do things that make him proud ie: cleaning the floors. But, this too, needs work. Shannon needs to show that she will go above and beyond her usual {comfortable} ways of loving her husband.


Did you make any resolutions? If so, how are they going so far?