Showing posts with label Moms And Babies Feature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Moms And Babies Feature. Show all posts

Moms And Babies - Jenna



This week I'm featuring Jenna from Bellies And Babies!  I found Jenna's blog a year or two ago, and it's been so fun to follow along through her pregnancy and the birth of her second baby! Her family is adorable - read on to learn more!

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Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi everyone! My name is Jenna. I'm a 20-something SAHM. I'm married to my husband, Ryan, and we'll be celebrating our 5-year anniversary on New Year's Eve! This past March he got out of the Army after 8 years of service and we moved from North Carolina back home to California. I love to cook and bake, try crafty things that I find on Pinterest, drink Starbucks (I worked there for 5 years!), and watch guilty-pleasure TV shows... Kardashians anyone? 







What are your kid's names and how old are they?

My kids are Jax and Lexi. Jax is 3.5 years old and Lexi just turned 4 months old. She was born on the Fourth of July!


If you had to choose three words to describe your kid's personalities, what would they be?

For Jax- goofy, smart, and loving.
For Lexi- happy, content, and determined. 



 Give us an idea of what a typical day looks like for you, and how has adding a second child to your family changed your previous routine? 

Here is what an average day looks like around our house...
6/630am: Both kids wake up. I nurse Lexi in bed while Ryan takes Jax downstairs. He gets a cup of milk and a piece of fruit while watching a TV show.  
7am: I come downstairs, have some coffee and make breakfast.
730am-9am: pick up kitchen, take a shower and get myself and the kids ready for the day. Jax plays with his toys and sometimes plays games on my iPad.
9am-12pm: Jax goes to preschool on Tuesdays/Thursdays. The other days we run errands, go to the park or have play dates with friends. I nurse Lexi around 10 and she takes a nap sometime during the morning.
12pm: Lunch and playtime
1pm-3pm: I nurse Lexi then it's naptime for both kids. We are still working on getting Lexi to nap in her crib. She is usually in there for about 30-60 minutes, then I end up holding her for awhile while she sleeps a little longer. 
3pm: wake up from naps, play or do crafts, sometimes Jax watches TV during this time
4pm: nurse Lexi
5pm: make dinner
6pm-7pm: eat dinner, clean up kitchen, play
7pm-8pm: baths (every other night), pick up playroom, read books and Bible, Jax in bed
8/830pm: nurse Lexi and put her to bed
8pm-10pm: Ryan and I watch TV shows, I blog, Ryan works on his MBA homework
1030pm: We go to bed and do it all over again the next day. Lexi wakes up once at night, sometime between 3-5, then goes back to sleep until morning.

Adding her to our schedule really hasn't changed much. The biggest difference has been the breaks I have to take to nurse her. But besides that, she just tags along with everything we do!
Have you noticed any similarities between your older child and your new baby?  Differences? 
 The similarities I've noticed so far are that they are both early risers, they both love to snuggle, and they both have pathetic little frowny faces when they're sad.

There are quite a few differences that I've noticed. Jax was a very serious baby and it was so hard to get him to smile or giggle. Lexi is much happier and more smiley. She is also much more mobile. Jax took forever to hit his physical milestones. Lexi seems to be much faster. I'm very curious to see how Lexi does with solid food. Jax has never been a very good eater and I'm hoping that Lexi will be much different!



How has your older child reacted to having a new little sister, and what has been your favorite moment between them so far? 
 Jax has been the best big brother. We never intended for our kids to be 3 years apart, but God had different plans and I am so glad he did. We haven't had hardly any jealousy issues or behavioral problems with Jax since Lexi was born. He is always getting her mimi (binky) for her, singing her songs or making faces at her when she is sad. My favorite thing recently has been how much he wants to hold her. She's bigger now and easier to hold so he loves just sitting on the couch, holding her in his lap. 

What's your favorite part about being a mom?

 My favorite thing about being a mom is the fact that I have these little lives that I am in charge of. That may sound weird, but they rely on me (and Ryan) for all of their physical and emotional needs and I love it. They will be become the people who we train them to be. It can be so overwhelming at times, but it is all so worth it






Do you have any tips on losing the baby weight and/or keeping up with your appearance after having a baby? 

I, unfortunately, am not one of those girls who loses all my baby weight because I'm breastfeeding. It was like that with Jax and has been the same with Lexi. I lose the first 15ish pounds relatively easily, but the last 10-15 are much harder to get rid of. It takes work on my part, which is hard because I love food! I'm still working on losing the rest of my baby weight from Lexi.

However, I am determined to keep up my appearance. It's something I did after I had Jax and I've made sure to do it after I had Lexi too. I try hard each day to take a shower, put on some makeup and put on non-PJ clothes. There are definitely days where we are lazy and it doesn't happen, but they are rare. Babies can be so draining, so it's extra important to put that little bit of time into your appearance each day to make yourself feel good. Plus, your husband will appreciate you that much more!

What have you and your husband done since your kids' arrivals to keep your relationship strong? 
 I have to say that we haven't been very good at this over the past few years. I exclusively nursed Jax for the first year. He never took a bottle (mostly because I don't get any milk from pumping and I didn't want to give him formula). We also lived across the country from our families, so we didn't get a chance to get away very often. We currently have a date night once a week and I am loving it. Jax goes to AWANA each Wednesday night so we use that time to go to Starbucks, get some coffee and chat. It's been so great for our relationship. 
Any advice or words of wisdom to those of us who are getting ready to go from one kiddo to two?
The biggest advice I have is to just go with the flow and know that it won't be like this for long. It takes time to figure out a schedule and a flow for how your days will work. Try to be flexible and not get too overwhelmed. The only way you will learn how to go grocery shopping with two kids is to do it. Yes, there might be times where it doesn't go smoothly, but you will get the hang of it. Just take things one day at a time and before you know it, things will be easy and you won't remember those stressful newborn days. Overall, we had a very smooth transition from 1 to 2 and I am so thankful!


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Thanks Jenna!  Be sure to stop by Jenna's blog to read more and say hello!

And that wraps up the Moms and Babies features for a little while, since I'm going to be gearing up to add another little one to our family the next couple months!  Thanks Ladies for participating, and I hope you all enjoyed getting to know some other moms!


Moms And Babies - Caitlynne



This week for Moms and Babies I'm featuring Caitlynne from Love At First Sight! I found Caitlynne's blog earlier this year, when she won my summer giveaway! And I'm so glad I did, because we ended up having so much in common - she has an adorable little guy about Wyatt's age, and also has another one on the way! Read on to learn more about her.

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Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a 27-year-old stay-at-home-mom.  I have a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and had a "big girl" job for about a week before I found out I was pregnant with Paxton, but staying home is definitely my dream job.  I have been married to my amazing husband and high school sweetheart for almost four years now.  We just bought our first house together which just happens to be the house we brought Paxton home from the hospital to!



What is/are your baby's name and how old is he?
 
Paxton Mark is 19 months old, and we are 15 weeks along with Baby #2!!


Give us an idea of what a typical day looks like for you.
 

Paxton has always been a pretty serious sleeper, he usually starts talking around 9:15 or 9:30 in the morning.  I get him up and rock him for a few seconds while he drinks some milk.  He is usually ready to get down and play as soon as I sit down with him.  He plays for a half hour and we have breakfast together sometime before 10:00.  He has a banana every single day and usually a waffle with strawberry jelly or yogurt.

After breakfast, I get him ready and we run errands if we need to, or just play.  This is usually when we go outside for the first time.

At noon he eats lunch (usually PB&J or a turkey sandwich with mandarin oranges), and then goes down for his nap.  He usually plays and talks in bed for a little while and ends up sleeping from 1:00 to 3:30 most days.  I use that time to pick up the house, blog, and sometimes read or watch TV.

He wakes up ready for a snack and we read books and play together until about 5:30.  Most days at that time, he begs to go outside again so we play outside until Daddy comes home from work at 6:00.

We have dinner together, and then go on a family walk or just play together until 8:00 when we start bath time.  Paxton goes down at 8:45 or 9:00, and then Jared and I get to spend some quality time together.


If you had to choose three words to describe your baby's personality, what would they be?
 


Active, happy, and persistent.


What's your favorite part about being a mom?


The love!  Paxton is such a momma's boy right now and I am loving it.  I love how he holds his chubby arms up to sit in my lap and be read to, I love the sweet snuggles before bed, I love watching how much Jared loves him.  I like learning his likes and dislikes and knowing what his babbling means.  I love this age, where Jared and I are his favorite people in the entire world and all he wants to do is play with us and make us laugh.




Do you have any tips on losing the baby weight and/or keeping up with your appearance after baby?
 


This is definitely something I could have improved on. I gained a ton in my pregnancy with Paxton and while I lost a lot of it pretty quickly with breastfeeding and cutting out Cokes, I still kept plenty.  We started trying to work in family walks in the evenings and I was doing Couch to 5K for several weeks, but I never lost all of it.  With this pregnancy, I am watching what I eat and drink a lot more carefully so I have less to lose when it's over!

As far as keeping up my appearance, I put on makeup every day and try to wear something besides yoga pants and t-shirts sometimes...I am not as good at this as I could be!


What have you and your husband done since your baby's arrival to keep your relationship strong?
 


Our moms both live less than five miles from us, and Paxton is their only grandchild, so they are eager to watch him for us.  Because of this, we have been able to go on dates at least once a month since he was about three months old. We both agreed before he was born that we wanted to make sure to put our marriage first and keep it strong.  It is something that has been a little harder for me, since I hate leaving him.  We did just go on our first trip away from Paxton in September.  We went to Chicago for five days.  I missed him a lot, but it was really nice to just spend that time together without anyone else interrupting.

We also spend the two hours between Paxton's bedtime and ours together, watching shows or just talking.  It is one of my favorite parts of the day.

I think the biggest thing that helps keep our relationship strong is that we are both really family-oriented people.  Our favorite thing to do has always been to just hang out as a family, and Paxton only adds to that!


Are there any must-have products that you would recommend to other moms?
 


I hate to imagine what the newborn days would have been like without an infant swing and a play mat.  We love the Aden and Anais blankets, Paxton still carries his all over the house.  One of my favorite products were the Nuby sippy cups that came with bottle nipples and sippy cup lids.  When Paxton was about eight months old, we switched him to those cups with the bottle nipple so he got used to the shape and the handles and the self-feeding aspects of the sippy cup, and then just eventually changed the bottle nipple to the sippy cup lid.  It was such an easy transition. 


What has been your favorite moment or outing as a family so far?


 I asked Jared this question too and we both came up with the same answer: our lake trip this summer, which was our first time to take Paxton out on the boat.  Jared's dad has a lake house and a boat about two hours away, so we've spend a lot of time there with his family and alone. Last summer, Paxton was too little to go on the boat, so we would just stay at the lake house.  This year, we got him a life jacket and decided we would take him out.  We went down (just the three of us) right after Memorial Day when it was still pretty cool.  We had a fun weekend away with tons of family time and the kiddie pool, but the best part was getting him out on the boat for the first time and watching his face light up.  It was exactly like we imagined it!


Any advice for first-time mothers?


You're the best person for this job.  You are that baby's mom for a reason.  People will give you advice, you will see things online, read things in books, and even hear things from your pediatrician, but YOU are the expert on your baby.  If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.  Your friends will do things differently than you do and sometimes it will seem like they're doing a better job, but that's not the case.  What they are doing is right for their child and what you are doing is perfect for yours.  You will make mistakes and make the wrong choice sometimes, but you are the perfect mom for your baby.





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Thanks Caitlynne! Check out Caitlynne's blog to read more about her sweet family!



Moms And Babies - Lauren and Elyse


This week I'm featuring my blog friend Lauren from The Lucky Layman's! Lauren is another old-time blog friend of mine - I've been following her blog for years, and I loved reading about her pregnancy and now about her adorable baby girl! She has some good advice to share, so read on!

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Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi! I'm Lauren, a 29 year old momma who works part time for our family insurance agency and stays at home part time with our baby girl.  I've been married to my husband Nick for 5 years and since about a year ago, we aren't only husband and wife but coworkers as he came to work for my dad as well. I love deep friendships, trying to be crafty, baking, and spending time with the incredible amount of family we have surrounding us.  



What is/are your baby's name{s} and how old is/are he/she?


My daughter's name is Elyse Ann.  She was born on December 13, 2011...after almost 24 hours of labor.  But she was so worth it!!!


Give us an idea of what a typical day looks like for you.

Our weeks get a little crazy since I work from 8:30-5 on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday...but Wednesday and Thursday are by far my favorite days since I get to stay home with Elyse.  

6:30:  My day begins when Elyse wakes up, or when we go get her from bed.  She nurses and then plays on our bedroom floor while we both get ready for the day.  I try to go ahead and shower/get ready before Nick leaves for work so I can take my shower without worrying about what she's getting in to. 

7:30-8:00:  We have breakfast together, she normally eats oatmeal or Greek yogurt and some sort of fruit.

8:00-9:00: We play in the living room floor, watch a little bit of Disney Junior, or she has some independent play time while I do a few things around the house.  

9:00-10:30ish:  Naptime and time for Momma to get a few things done...laundry, dishes, making baby food, prepping dinner, blogging, reading, etc.  

10:30:  Elyse wakes up, has a snack and more playtime. 

11:00:  Elyse nurses, we have playtime...this is also when we run errands if I have anywhere to go.  

12:15:  Lunch for Momma and Elyse--she usually eats a veggie, some fruit, and a little bit of meat depending on what I have for lunch that day.  

12:15-1:00:  Playtime, reading, watching momma work around the house, etc.  

1:00-2:30ish:  Naptime, and many times this is also naptime for momma!  If I get everything else done earlier in the day then I allow myself 45 min-1 hour for a snooze or at least total relaxation in front of the tv or with a book.    

3:00:  Elyse nurses and it's time for afternoon playtime!

3:15-5:15:  We play some more in the floor, go for a walk, get dinner ready for daddy, etc.  

5:30-6:00:  Dinner as a family...Elyse has pretty much the same thing as she did for lunch-veggies, fruits, and some meat from our plates if it's appropriate.  

6:00-6:45:  Family play time--we'll go on a walk around our neighborhood, run a quick errand, or play outside in the backyard with Bogey, our yellow lab.  

6:45:  Bedtime routine starts---bath, bottle of expressed milk, bed.  

7: 15-7:30:  Out for the night, and then it starts all over again!  


If you had to choose three words to describe your baby's personality{s}, what would they be?


Happy, Smiley, Independent--yes, already!

What's your favorite part about being a mom?


There's so much I love, but I would say right now it's during those days when we're at home together with just the two of us, playing in the floor, and she looks over at me as if to say:  "you're my momma and I love you so much!"  I love to watch her learn and develop on her own...so often I'll just sit in the floor and supervise as she moves from toy to toy or book to book just examining all the little details and learning for herself. 




Do you have any tips on losing the baby weight and/or keeping up with your appearance after baby?


I did an entire post on this a month or so ago, but I would say that the biggest thing is to just give yourself some time.  I breastfeed Elyse which has helped tremendously, but I've also had to work hard to lose that last little bit of baby weight.  I try to eat fairly healthy snacks when I'm home, I've practically completely given up pop, I go to Zumba 2x a week, and I try to go for a walk with Elyse either by myself during the day or as a whole family after Nick gets home from work.  Just moving in simple ways can make a huge difference!  

As far as appearance goes...One of the mom's (mother of 3, with one on the way) on a blog I read, said that she always makes herself put on jeans and get ready each day.  I don't always follow the jeans rule, but I always put on makeup and while my hair might get put in a ponytail, it's still a cute one.  Getting ready for the day makes me feel so much more productive from the beginning and since I already have all that done before Hubby leaves for work then it leaves me more time to get things accomplished or just play with Elyse. 
 


What have you and your husband done since your baby's arrival{s} to keep your relationship strong?

We actually went out on our first, no-baby date just ONE month after Elyse was born.  My parents might have had to push me out of my house, but I'm so glad they did it!  We really try to spend quality time together and go on a date 1-2x per month, if not more.  With both sets of grandparents only about a 15-20 minute drive away, we have no excuse not to spend quality time alone together.  Those date nights are so important to remember who you were as a couple before baby arrived and while it might sound crazy, many times we have a fairly strict "no-Elyse talk" rule...meaning that for the most part we talk about things other than Elyse for the entire night.  This might be a serious conversation or a fun conversation, but whatever it is Elyse isn't dominating our thoughts for just a few hours.  Also, with Elyse being in bed so early in the evening we try to take advantage of that quiet time together and we either watch a movie, sit outside on the deck around the firepit, or just watch television together as we end each evening.  


 
Are there any must-have products that you would recommend to other moms?



*Halo Sleep-Sacks were a life-saver for us.  We probably swaddled Elyse a little bit too long, but she was sleeping quite well so we didn't want to mess with anything. 
 
*A good breast pump:  If you're a nursing momma, having a pump and teaching your baby to take a bottle is so freeing.  Elyse has never had formula, but takes at least 1 bottle a day and many times (especially when I'm working) she has bottles for 3 of her 4 feedings.  Being able to pump has given us so much freedom to go places and do things that we might not have been able to do (or things that would have definitely been more difficult) if Elyse wouldn't take a bottle.  Thankfully I'm a cow and have a ridiculous amount of frozen milk in our freezer...this certainly helps out when we're in a pinch!  


*One Sleep Theory:  There are so many books and studies out there about scheduling and sleep training a baby that it's hard to know where to begin.  You'll eventually find one that works for you (I'm a big fan of Moms on Call and I didn't find that until she was 9 months old), but just try one at a time.  If you jumble them all together then you'll never be able to figure out what to try next or what isn't working.  Give your baby some time, they'll tell you exactly what they need if you just listen to them.  




What has been your favorite moment or outing as a family so far?


*There are so many...but I would definitely have to say our trip to Destin, FL.  I was definitely nervous about how things would go, but was oh so pleasantly surprised with how well Elyse did with such a long drive.  It definitely makes me more excited for future family vacations. 
 
Any advice for first-time mothers?

#1:  Do not Google anything...ever...especially in those first few, hormone filled weeks.  Regardless of what you type, Googling will tell you that your baby has some sort of terrible illness and should be rushed to the ER...and obviously this is not good for a new momma's mental health.  Find someone that you can trust and for all those times you are tempted to Google...call or text them instead.  

#2:  Let your husband make some decisions...and maybe some mistakes.  Being Elyse's mom, I'm with her a whole lot more during the day, but Nick is just as important as I am.  Sometimes I don't do a very good job of allowing him to make decisions or do things on his own without telling him exactly how I think he should do something...and pretty much every time his way hasn't been bad, just different from how I usually do things.  Give your husband the confidence to be a good dad and participate in every part of raising your baby.  

#3:  Know that chances are good that what worked for your friend won't work for you.  Sure, that advice is a good place to start...but even good advice will most likely need tweaking to take into account your precious little unique bundle of joy.  No baby is the exact same as the next one...so don't try and make them that way.  

#4:  Recognize that tomorrow will be different.  Notice that I didn't say that tomorrow would be better, but tomorrow will certainly be different.  You are going to have some rough days, and while the next day might even be a little bit worse....you can pretty much count on the fact that it's going to be different from the day before. 


#5:  Cherish every moment.  We're already planning Elyse's first birthday party and it seems like just a few days ago that I was being told that I had to have a c-section for her to make her arrival.  Those hard days a so fleeting, but so are the good ones...and it's the good ones that I hold on to and the ones that make me tear up when I think about how fast she's growing.  




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Thanks Lauren, I love those last tips you had to share! Be sure to stop by Lauren's blog to get to know her better and say hello!

Moms And Babies - Kara With 2


This week for Moms and Babies I'm featuring one of my oldest blog friends (as in, I've known her for a long time), Kara from Just 1 Step!  Kara is always such an encouragement to me, and I am excited to feature her again! If you'll remember, Kara actually did the very first Moms and Babies feature for me, but since then she's had another baby and I thought it would be interesting to hear how things have changed with adding another member to her family.  I loved reading about her experience as a new mom of two, and I'm sure you will as well!

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Tell us a little about yourself.

I'm 29 years old, mother to two sons, and wife to my awesome husband Dave who I've been married to for almost 4 1/2 years.  We live in the Triangle area of North Carolina.  I'm a follower of Jesus (as is my husband) and we are doing our best to raise our children to love the Lord.  Right now I'm on maternity leave, planning to return to work as a biostatistician 4 days per week on November 19th.  Sometime in the next year (hopefully sooner than later) I plan to reduce my hours to 2 days per week so I can be home with my sons more.  (I'm sooooooo excited about this!)  You can check out my blog at www.just1step.com or you can follow me on Instagram @karasnoke.

What are your kids' names and how old are they?

We have two boys: Krewson (Krew) who is 2 1/2 years and Greyden (Grey) who is about 3 months.


Give us an idea of what a typical day looks like for you, and how has adding a second child to your family changed your previous routine?

To be honest, every day is completely different and I can't say that I have any schedule on any day.  I am a lot more relaxed about feeding and napping schedules with Greyden than I was with Krew, which I think is helpful given our busy lifestyle.  (We do a lot of traveling.)  With Krew I very much tried to follow the babywise schedule, but with Grey I just feed him when he seems hungry and I let him sleep when he seems tired (although if he sleeps too much during the day I will wake him up so he'll sleep that night).  Krew usually naps for a few hours in the afternoon, but that doesn't necessarily mean we have to be home during that time.  I've taught him to lay down on the floor in a sleeping bag at other people's houses, and he'll still usually take a full nap (huge blessing!).  So some days we stay home, some days we run errands, some days we visit friends, some days Grey naps all morning and not in the afternoon, sometimes both boys take long naps in the afternoon...it's all up in the air.  Given that information, adding a second child hasn't changed our previous routine much.  I'd say the biggest difference is that there is a lot more crying and a lot more work to do.  I can't take care of two kids at once in most situations, so there are many times when Greyden cries while I attend to Krew, or Krew whines and pouts while I attend to Grey.  There are now two kids to feed, two kids to bathe, two kids to dress, two kids who need stuff in the diaper bag, two kids to put down for naps, two kids to spend one-on-one time with, two kids to put in the car, two kids to take into the store... (I don't know how you moms of more than two do it!).  So it's a lot more work.  But of course so worth it. :)

What's your favorite part about being a mom?

Those moments when they lay their heads against me, snuggled in my arms, and I am filled with such incredible love and awe that God blessed me with these two souls to raise.

Have you noticed any similarities between your older child and your new baby?  Differences?

When they were first born, I thought they looked quite similar, but now they look very different from one another.  They were similar sizes at birth and both became quite high on the percentile charts rather quickly afterwards.  Krewson tapered off and is now pretty low on the height percentile, and I'm curious to see what Grey will do.  He's still pretty long as of now, but so was Krew at 3 months.  Similarities Greyden has to his bigger brother as an infant are the following:  he spits up a TON, he HATES tummy time, he gained a lot of weight and slept through the night fairly quickly, he's pretty easy-mannered, he likes the swing, and he loves mobiles.  That's all I can come up with given that he's only three months old and it's hard to remember what Krew was like at 3 months (sad but true).


How has your older child reacted to having a new little brother, and what has been your favorite moment between them so far?

At first things were rough.  Krewson was NOT happy about his new brother and took it all out on me.  He started acting like he hated me.  He didn't want to be around me, wouldn't let me hold him, hug him, or play with him, would say to me "Go away!!" and push on me, etc.  It absolutely broke my heart, and given that I was already a hormonal mess, I shed a ton of tears.  Fortunately it only lasted maybe a week, and then he came around and started treating me normally again.  He still isn't overly fond of Greyden, and typically just ignores him.  But there are occasional moments where he'll show an interest in his little brother, and I cherish those times because they are few and far between.  My favorite moment so far is one that has occurred a couple times, and it's when Grey is crying and Krew starts singing him a song.  It's so precious, and typically the song is "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".  Melts my heart.


Are there any must-have products that you would recommend to other moms?

For a newborn/infant: Swaddle cloths (the velcro kind), Aquafor, gas drops, Breast Friend (I like this much better than my Boppy), Boppy Noggin Nest Head Support pillow (to prevent and correct flat spots), noise maker, TONS of burp cloths if you have a spitty kid like I do, Similac Baby Journal app for those first few weeks with a newborn, nipple shield and Medela lanolin if breast feeding, breast pump, breathable bumper (although they're not recommended by the AAP), aden + anais swaddle cloths (for use as blankets), aden + anais burpy bibs.  (Sorry, I guess that was a long list. :) ) 



What has been your favorite moment or outing as a family so far?

I really love taking the kids to Dave's ultimate frisbee tournaments and cheering him on.  (As you're reading this, we will actually be at his nationals tournament in Sarasota, FL!) There was also one day when we took the two kids on a walk to the playground in the double stroller, and the dogs went along, and it was so fun just to be out and about as a family, relaxing and enjoying ourselves.  I cherish simple moments like those.


Any advice or words of wisdom to those of us who are getting ready to go from one kiddo to two?

It seems incredibly overwhelming at first, but you will get the hang of it.  Just take it slowly.  First learn to be home with both kids, then try taking them both on a walk.  Then maybe venture to a friend's house, then a restaurant, then a store.  Bit by bit, you will learn new methods and routines for handling both kids.  At first just the thought of being home alone with both of them terrified me, but then two months later I was taking them both on a 12-hour road trip by myself.  It was just a matter of learning new tricks.  (And developing some extra arm strength - there have definitely been times when I've had the baby carseat in one arm and my toddler and diaper bag in the other.  Crazy but true.)  And don't be afraid to let the baby cry and fuss a little.  If he's fed and warm and safe, he's going to be fine if you need to let him cry a little while you attend to your other child or take care of other household issues.  It's hard to listen to, but I promise that he will not suffer long-term for it, and it will let your other child know that he is still important, too.  It will also help keep you sane, because it's nearly impossible to hold an infant all day and get anything else done.  And when you've got two kids, you need to get stuff done. :)

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Thanks so much Kara, lots of good advice!  Don't forget to check out Kara's blog to read more about her sweet family!




Moms And Babies - Marley

This week I'm featuring my blog friend, Marley!  Marley has an adorable little boy just a few months younger than Wyatt, and I love reading all about her life and family on her blog, The Evans.  Read on to get to know her better!
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Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a Mississippi who has lived everywhere (or at least it feels that way!).  I just moved back down south from Burlington, Vermont, where I was working on my masters in Classics (Greek and Latin).  I now teach middle school Latin and Bible in Baton Rouge.  I met my husband my sophmore year of college, and we've been married 5 years.  I love to reading, Parks and Recreation, laughing, Christmas, Gap, and Route 44 Diet Dr. Peppers with vanilla added.

What is/are your baby's name{s} and how old is he?
Jack Nolan Evans is 15 months old.

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Give us an idea of what a typical day looks like for you.

I am a teacher, so mornings are kind of crazy!  I try to have his diapers and food packed the night before to make things easier.
I get up at 6 a.m. to shower and get ready.  Jack usually wakes up about 6:45 (or we wake him up by then).  My husband changes him and gets him dressed and he drinks his morning milk.  We head out the door by 7 or 7:05.
Jack gets dropped off at daycare (which is at my school--what a blessing!) by 7:30.  He loves it there, which makes it easier.
He eats breakfast, two snacks, and lunch.  He takes an afternoon nap.  I have off periods after lunch, so I usually visit the daycare and see Jack (if he's awake).  
I finish classes by 3:30 and we head home about 3:45.
When we get home, we play in Jack's room and read books until Bech gets home.  
Jack eats dinner about 6, we give him a bath, and then bedtime is 7 or 7:15.
Thankfully, he's a great sleeper, so we usually don't hear a peep until the next morning.  Then we get up and do it all again!

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If you had to choose three words to describe your baby's personality, what would they be?

Happy, goofy, and stubborn.

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What's your favorite part about being a mom?

I just love spending time with Jack.  He is absolutely hilarious.  He loves to laugh and he keeps us laughing.  He has lately become a huge cuddlier, which I am loving.  
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Do you have any tips on losing the baby weight and/or keeping up with your appearance after baby?

I breastfed Jack until he was a year old, and that helped a LOT!  I know that not everyone wants to/is able to do that, but if you can, it's great!  I also started weight watchers when Jack was 9 months old.  I had used it once before and really liked it.  I was actually at my pre baby weight at that point, but I wanted to be at my pre marriage weight!  Doing weight watchers and still breastfeeding made the weight come off so quickly!
When it was warm enough this past spring (in Vermont, that takes a while), I also walked a bunch with Jack.  It was great to get him outside after the cold winter, and great for me to be walking!

What have you and your husband done since your baby's arrival to keep your relationship strong?
We are not great at this, but we are getting better.  We do spend time together at night after Jack is in bed, but we don't go out for dates a lot.  But our new neighbors have a son a day younger than Jack, so we have been swapping babysitting.  So we are finally going out for some dates!


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Are there any must-have products that you would recommend to other moms?
Aden+Anais swaddle blankets are the best!  Swaddling helped Jack sleep so well, but he was really good at breaking out of most swaddles.  But we were able to wrap him up super tightly in the Aden+Anais blankets.

Other than that, most products I love are mostly just personal or aesthetic preferences.  But we used Dr. Brown's glass bottles (I love how vintagey they feel, plus no BPA's), Earth's Best organic baby food, Mam pacifiers, Bumgenius and Fuzzibunz cloth diapers, and Rockin' Green detergent (still using the last 4).  We were big fans of our Baby bjorn sitter and the little lamb swing when he was little.  We LOVE our Britax car seat.

But like I said, a lot of these are my preferences!  I would hold out on purchasing a lot of baby gear until you really know what kind of mom you are going to be or what you really need.  

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What has been your favorite moment or outing as a family so far?

Jack's baptism has been my favorite moment.  I know infant baptism is definitely not agreed upon or practiced by all denominations.  But we are Presbyterian and believe in infant baptism as a sign of the covenant.  We don't believe that Jack is now a Christian, but we have committed to "strive, by all the means of God’s appointment, to bring him up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."  It is really similar to a dedication in other churches.  It was just so special and humbling to take on the responsibility of raising a child who will hopefully and prayerfully love Christ.

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Any advice for first-time mothers?

This piece of advice actually comes from our pediatrician.  He told us at our one week appointment that we would be the experts on Jack.  We have been given so much advice--and a lot of it has been totally the opposite!  One mom will tell you a method that you have to do, and another mom will tell you the total opposite.  Just today someone called Babywise "evil" on facebook, and I love Babywise and think it works great.
You are your babies mom and you need to figure out what works best for you and what works best for your baby.  And you'll be great at it!

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Thanks Marley, and I love that advice from your pediatrician - so true!  Be sure to stop by Marley's blog and say hello!
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Moms And Babies - Emily



This week I'm featuring Emily from They Call Me Mama!  I found Emily's blog a few months ago, before her little girl was born, and I've loved reading about her family's story.  Her son also has the best first name (not that I'm biased or anything)!  Read on to learn more about her!

 

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I am super excited to be a guest blogger today! I have been blogging for about 4 years and I love it. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into when I started. Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed about posting but then I think about how much I love having so much of our lives documented and don't feel so much pressure. I have recently had most of my blog printed into books. It's rewarding and something so special to me. I hope my children look back someday and enjoy reading them! 


Tell us a little about yourself.



My name is Emily. Mark and I have been married almost 5 years. We have 3 children. Two here on Earth and one in Heaven.  Wyatt is 2 (We lost his idential twin brother Ryder.) and Sloane is almost 5 months. I am blessed to be able to stay at home with them everyday! I love it!!! Before I had children I was an elementary teacher. Teaching is such a passion of mine...who knows...maybe someday I will teach again. ;) Mark and I own a small business. It keeps us busy and really helped while he was in school. Mark recently graduated Chiropractic School...So proud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;) I am a Christian mom and wife who enjoys taking pictures, creating digital scrapbooks, cleaning (I know, weird right?!?!), spending time with family, and doing a little amature decorating. I LOVE Diet Coke way to much and sometimes really have to focus on not "sweating the small stuff" in life. Mark and I have been through a lot together in our few years of marriage, things some will never have to go through. It has only made a closer and our relationship with Christ deeper. 



What are your babies names and how old are they?


 

We have 2 children. Wyatt Mark turned 2 in May...


 

and Sloane Michelle was born in March. She will be 7 months this month...


 


Give us an idea of what a typical day looks like for you.



-6am-7am wake up

-feed Sloane, unload dishwasher, move laundry, brush my teeth, let out dogs, etc.

-7:30-8:30 Wyatt wakes up, get breakfast for Wyatt, make beds

-9:00-9:30 feed Sloane, get her down for morning nap

-9:30-? complete household chores, check e-mail (personal and business), sit with Wyatt and watch a little morning tv

-11:30 We usually get out of the house before 11:30 but at the latest 11:30, we run errands, get a diet coke ;), 

-12noon, lunch time for all

-1pm nap time for Wyatt and Sloane, read him a few books, try to get her asleep *this nap for her is tricky and not consistent* 

-1pm-3:30, I run around like a chicken with my head cut off, I start preparing dinner, move laundry, clean up toys, etc.

-3:30 usually everyone is getting up from naps, we eat a snack, feed Sloane, I have tried to do something fun inside since it's been super hot outside (example: stamps, inside dino dig, bake cookies, paint/color, build a train track) 

-5pm- 7pm begin/start and finish dinner, it all depends on the day and when Mark gets home when all this happens

-7pm Mark or I clean up kitchen, get the kids ready for bed, Sloane's bedtime bottle and she goes to bed

-8pm One of us lay down with Wyatt and read to him

-8-10pm Mark and I watch tv, read, work on computer, etc

-10pm BEDTIME! ;) 

wake up and do it all over again.....



If you had to choose three words to describe your babies' personalities, what would they be?


Wyatt- lovableall BOY, determined.


Sloane-precious, petite, whiny (Just being honest here...I wanted to put drama queen but it's 2 words, LOL.)



What's your favorite part about being a mom?


Being loved by someone so innocent-
 


Do you have any tips on losing the baby weight and/or keeping up with your appearance after baby?

 Nurse, nurse, nurse....I am a firm believer in nursing helping drop the lbs! ;) Also I think just trying to eat healthy, drinking LOTS of water, and taking an evening walk with the kids also helps a lot! 


What have you and your husband done since your babies' arrivals to keep your relationship strong?

 This is a tough one. The birth of the twins was such an emotional time. I believe death either brings people closer together or RIPS them apart. Ryder's death has created a bond between Mark and I that goes deeper than I can even describe. To help keep our relationship strong as husband and wife we have continued to take time to be together without children. We knew before Wyatt was born we had a goal for our home to remain "Christ-centered" not "kid-centered." We didn't want our children running the show. We have also taken a few overnight stays without children and allowed them to spend the night at the g-parents. This is just healthy for all decision.  Don't get me wrong it was SUPER hard the first time and we always miss them like crazy but it's so needed. There are so many biblical things we have strived to reach/maintain to keep our relationship as husband and wife strong. Sometimes when I get upset, miss my kids, or don't want to leave them...I just remind myself of the example we are setting. It is SO important for children to grown up watching their parents taking time to be together. It is also getting tougher as Wyatt can talk but it's also given us an even better chance to explain how the Lord wants a mommy and daddy relationship to be...he is sad when we leave but after all....we want to maintain a Christ centered home NOT a kid centered one. ;) 

 

Are there any must-have products that you would recommend to other mom's?


This is such a good question. It's funny what a first time mom THINKS is a NEED and when the second comes around what you know you can do without and what was great! I have changed quite a few things since Wyatt but it's because I have become more knowledgeable/done my research about stuff. I believe the ol'saying "you get what you pay for" is true when it comes to most baby items! With that being said we have saved and shopped around for many of the items we have. We didn't get them all at one time and actually have made many sacrificing in other areas so we our children can have the items they do.-Ok, I am done justifying and getting off my soapbox.- Back to those "must-have" items...I am limiting it to my top 5...in no certain order...


A double stroller... WE LOVE our Britax B-ready...(this is a picture off google, not my children, ha) 

Video Monitor-this was something we didn't think we needed since we don't have a very big house. All the bedrooms are on the same level and close together. We later decided this was a good idea. We have had 3 different ones but these are by far the best (Summer Infant Sleek and Secure video monitor)...

Cloth diapers-I didn't think I would ever be saying this but I LOVE THEM! It's really not hard to do and saves so much $$$. They cost a bit up front but way worth it in the end. I will say it's not something you can't halfway do, you will end up spending more money if you do that. ;) 

A practical highchair-This our most recent purchase. With Wyatt we had a Graco highchair that folder up but we always just pushed it in a corner. Sloane was in need of one and Wyatt was still needing some sort of child seat, he wasn't ready for a regular chair yet. There was an amazing sale so we were able to get the STOKKE Tripp Trapp chair. It grows with your child and can even be used by adults up to 300 lbs. It was a great investment...

 

breast pump-I couldn't do it without this. Wyatt was breast fed until he went to whole milk and table food. I plan to do the same for Sloane. It is the best for your child...it's a sacrifice and not easy to do let alone do until they are one. We are a VERY bust family and always on the go. It would be easier to be able to mix up some formula but not something we want for our children. I have a stock pile and a pump has made this a bit easier...

 


What has been your favorite moment or outing as a family so far?


Hmmm...that's a tough one....We spend lots of time with our families and that's always a great time. We also went to Disney World when Wyatt was 11 months old. We had a great time there too! I love evenings at home as a family. Dinner, dishes, tv watching, a little make believe with Wyatt, snuggles from Sloane...just family time. If I had to pick a specific moment maybe Wyatt's 1st b-day...when everyone was singing to him, we blew out the candle, and he ate the cake. It was special. His first year of life was a very emotional time for us as family. We I went all out for his party. It was a GREAT time!! It was all worth it...so fun being surrounded by family and friends for a special boy. ;) 


 
Any advice for first-time mothers?


Take time to just sit and stare at your baby. Hold your baby. Rock your baby. Every thing else you think HAS TO GET DONE really CAN WAIT. It sounds so cliche but you will blink and you won't have a baby anymore so just enjoy it while you can. They are only that little for a small amount of time. 

 

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Thanks Emily! Check out Emily's blog to read more about her sweet family!


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