Friday, May 24, 2013

Our Nursing Journey...

...I did it! I was able to breastfeed AR for a whole entire year. I'm doing a little happy dance because I'm pretty dang proud of myself. When I was pregnant, my original goal was just to make it the 12 weeks I was home on maternity leave. By the time I went back to work, I couldn't imagine not nursing but I'd heard from my co-workers how hard it was to pump and keep up with it when they returned to work. I set a new goal to make it to 6 months. Once I got back to work and realized I could do it, my new goal was a year and I made it! I can't say how flippin' excited and happy I am!!!

I can't complain though, AR and I have had a pretty easy breastfeeding relationship. She latched on right away at the hospital, the LC squirted colostrum across the room from my boob, AR will take bottle, sippy cup or boob, she doesn't care so long as she gets milk. That's not to say we didn't have a few obstacles but compared to some other stories, ours were minor. We had the situation when I returned to work and she went on a nursing strike and I had my one day of post-partum depression because my baby wouldn't nurse. That's when my mom told me to suck it up, either make it work with breastfeeding or throw in the towel, just stop feeling sorry for myself. I'm so glad we persevered through that. Then I constantly worried about my milk supply when in actuality, I was probably always fine but I just never wanted to dip into my frozen stash.

My husband didn't understand that. He just saw it as breast milk was taking over the deep freeze so let's use it up. In my mind though, if I had to use a bag of frozen then I had failed, I wasn't producing enough milk and this was the one and only thing I could give her from me only. Occasionally, I think this clicked with him but not for too long because the next week, we'd have the same discussion.

Speaking of the frozen stash, not only was I able to breastfeed my own child but I was also able to help out at least 5 other babies including one all the way in Florida when we were on vacay!

There have been pros and cons to breastfeeding. Most of the cons brought on by myself. I really haven't had any social engagements without her this past year. Mainly because if I wasn't at work, I wanted to nurse her, I didn't want to "waste" a bottle of milk when I could just nurse her myself. Not to mention I'd have to take the pump, find some place to pump, store the milk, etc...or rush home before my boobs burst. At the same time though, I feel like we're a lot closer because I take her with me everywhere and I get to spend each morning and most evenings cuddling with my sweet baby. Another con, which there's no way around it, is pumping! It wasn't bad but when I was at work, I'd always be right in the middle of something and have to stop to go pump or schedule meetings around 10a and 2p but I had to do it so there was no way around it. I really don't think I need to list the pros: cost, relationship, etc...not to downplay it but I think I've discussed it before.

I keep saying I'm going to stop at a year but my mind really hasn't grasped that we're coming to a close with this chapter. I have to stop pumping at work because my space will be gone for the summer. Jenelle gave me hope today that I could drop my work pumps and still nurse in the am, pm and weekends. I have a huge freezer supply so I plan to try that and still have some fresh milk for her. I'm just not ready to say we're done. We all know AR will be our only child and when I'm done breastfeeding her, I won't ever get to do it again.

The funny thing is, when I was pregnant, I wasn't all gung-ho about breastfeeding but I guess in the back of my mind, I knew it would work because I never really thought about any other option. I never thought I'd be one to nurse until she's one but we did it; AR and I together with the support of her daddy, our family, co-workers and mommy friends!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

AR's 1st Birthday Party: Friend Style!!!

...on her actual birthday, we had 10 babies over to the house to help celebrate AR's birthday. It was definitely a full house! I can't believe how well ALL the babies meltdowns, hair pulling, biting-they all just played and had a great time.
AR was so sweet. She greeted every baby and mom when they got there. She even crawled into Liz and Megan's laps when they arrived. Baby Eleanor was still sleeping when she got here so AR had to go check on her.
Of course, AR was super excited to see her bestie, Emma, and gave her hugs. 
The living room quickly got crowded so we all headed outside to play on the quilt. 
Eleanor woke up and joined us!
The water table was a huge hit! Luke and Charlotte never left it and Nana let AR climb right into it. 
AR was VERY excited when her babysitter and her daughter stopped by to play.
She got this hot pink chair as a gift which I'm sure she'll use a lot this summer.
My sweet baby girl and me
There were a few dads at the party but they sat out back and chatted while the babies and moms played in the front yard
I had mini cupcakes which Baby Dez loved!
C seemed to be a fan too.
By the end of the party, AR was wore out. Here she is kicking back on Marcy.
Here's the big girl standing and kind of zoning out, she was getting pretty tired.
Nana took AR and Emma on a wagon ride before they left.
AR is so lucky to have so many and such great friends! I'm excited to see all of them grow up with her over the years. Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate with us!

Monday, May 20, 2013

AR's First Birthday Pink Lemonade Celebration!!! sweet AR turned one this past weekend! In January, the Twitter girls insisted that AR had to have a first birthday party so I started hitting up Pinterest for some ideas. I didn't want to do anything traditional or character themed so when I came across one for pink lemonade, I knew it was the winner. We ended up having 2 parties. One on Saturday (her actual birthday) for her friends (10 babies and moms came to celebrate) and one on Sunday for our family.
Since most people would prefer to see pictures over a bunch of words, here's AR's Pink Lemonade Party in pictures (and a few words). I've linked up to the businesses I made purchases from. Enjoy!
I went to Laulie Cakes for the baked goods. For the friend party, I did mini cupcakes so the babies could enjoy and for our family, we did regular sized cupcakes. Since I ordered so much, I got a smash cake for free! Here's the smash cake:
Smash cake with the regular size cupcakes; some had fondant lemon slices
The mini cupcakes
Kitchen set-up
I made the banner in the window
Food table; veggie straws were a hit with all the babies!
For the friends party, we had salsa/chips for the moms, fruit, veggie straws, Cheerios
and a fruit plate. Judging by what was left at the end of the party, I think it's safe to say the food choices were a hit!
We chalked the driveaway (easy, cheap way to decorate)
AR's Daddy made her a lemonade stand (more pics later) which is where we put the party favors
Each of her friends got a "glass of lemonade" which was really a tie-dyed onesie
The note said, "Thanks for making my party so sweet!"
I glued ribbon around the rim of mason jars with a sticker (I found the perfect ones at Michael's). I tie-dyed onesies pink and yellow (we did just plain yellow for the boys), rolled them up in the mason jar, then put a straw in with the note.
We added some balloons for a little more celebration
This was the house ready for the party! We had a water table (far right) which was a HUGE hit with all the kids. My own child crawled into the table...smh! Then I had a quilt in the middle with toys. There's a wagon to the left, mainly for looks but some kids played with the balloons on it.
This is the wagon. Another easy, cheap way to decorate was to write on her chalkboard.
I also had a footprint craft. I printed a glass of lemonade on yellow cardstock then the kids painted their foot pink and put it in the glass to make it look like it was the pink lemonade.
 I also had this shirt made from Hill Girls Designs. She wore it the day of her friends party with a cute denim skirt! 
This was from her 1 year pictures:
I found this shirt at the Carter's outlet. There was also a blue one with lemons on it too-so adorable!
Ta-da! The lemonade stand her daddy made just by showing him a couple pics I found online. 
Here she's sampling the lemons!
So there you have it, a pink lemonade birthday party! It was fun, unique and I loved planning all of it. My husband asked, now what are you going to do for next year? Luckily, I have 365 days to think about that. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments and be sure to leave an email so I can get back to you.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

AR's One Year Photoshoot...

...whew! We survived the First Birthday Party weekend! Mom, Dad and baby, er toddler, are exhausted! I think I took over 300 pictures between both days but I'm too tired to go through them right now so you'll just have to wait awhile for the birthday post. In the meantime, here was my attempt at a "pro" photoshoot...definitely not the quality you get from a real photographer but it'll work!

Okay, so I lied, this was not my attempt a pro one but I had to show you my baby's comparision. I just can't believe how much they change in a year.
May comparison

Here's AR at 2 weeks old in my maternity shirt and a one year old in my maternity shirt:
KB Photos
She looks like a boxing champ!
"Fresh lemonade for sale!"
"Come and get it!"
I think this one is my fave.

This was her getting ready for the big shoot
Tasting a lemon
Sampling for customers

Saturday, May 18, 2013

AR's 12 Month Photoshoot...

...all I can say is thank goodness these monthly shots are over! Warning to all the new mommas out there: these are easy in the beginning but once they get mobile, they are next to impossible! I wish I'd done one the day she was born but I still have plenty of good hospital shots to use for those. So enjoy, this is one thing I'm not going to miss!

These were usually the easiest ones in the white basket:
As you can tell, I think the wicker baskets one were a little painful:
And these days all she wants to do is play with the bear!
Wow! These doesn't even look like the same kid!
May comparison
AR, thanks for putting up with these each month. I'm sure this isn't the only crafty "pain" you'll have to endure throughout your life. #lovemyAR