Friday, July 25, 2014

Five On Friday: Pre-Vacay Edition


Finally, FI-NA-LLY, we are headed to the beach for our annual family vacation tomorrow!! We're headed to Edisto, to be exact, and with my awesome "in-laws" to be even exact-er. As in, eight adults, eight children, one house, and seven days o' fun in the sun! If you follow me on IG, again, I apologize for the photo collage overload coming every day next week. 

Anywho, that being said, here's a quick "Five On Friday" so I can finish packing and hit up the liquor and grocery stores. ;) 

My precious baby boy is exactly 3 MONTHS OLD today! Ahhh!!! How did that happen? Based on my own measurements, Harrison now weighs 13 pounds, 14 ounces and is approximately 24.5 inches long. His 12-week growth spurt has thrown us for a loop over the last week and a half, with his sleep being all over the place. Although he typically still wakes once at night to eat, he has had several rough nights the last 10 days or so where he has been up anywhere from 2 to 4 times to feed that tummy. BUT. He has given me one good belly laugh so far, which was the best sound in the whole world. and totally makes up for those sleepless nights. Here's a bit more info about our sweet 1/4-of-a-year-old baby boy: 

P.S. Not sure why the lighting in this photo makes the seat of his glider look brown. It's not, I promise!

The kids and I had a blast last weekend when we visited my parents, aka Bammy and Digby, while my hub was out of town. The highlight was definitely Saturday morning, when we spent over three hours traipsing all over Riverbanks Zoo. All three kiddos were awesome the whole morning! They loved it! And so did us grown-ups! 

This week, both Banks and Raleigh had fun camps to attend! As was documented in my last post, Raleigh spent the first part of the week at a Princess Dance Camp. Harrison and I loved going each day and watching her through window with all the other proud mommas. One day, her Daddy even came to watch and surprised her with flowers. My heart just melted that very instant. 

And Banks had a great time at his half-day, week-long neighborhood camp. Just like the camp he attended last month, the camp had different themes for each day, such as carnival day and insect day, and he got to play tennis and soccer, swim, do arts and crafts, etc. He had a blast all week, and it was perfect timing because I was able to get some pre-beach prep stuff done while he was camping-it-up. 

On Monday night, my hub and I had a double date night with two of our closest friends. We started the night by eating dinner at a delicious, local cafe (Flipside Cafe for all you Mill-ians, which uses only locally grown products and was sooooo good!) and ended the night with, what else, a trip to Carowinds. Oh man. It was awesome! Just like last year, when my hub and I concluded our 9-year wedding anniversary celebration with a little Carowinds action, we had the BEST time! Because we went at night, the temps were cool, the lines were nonexistent, and we hit every major roller-coaster over and over and over. Seriously. So fun!

Did I mention we're headed to the beach tomorrow?!? Hip, hip hooray!!! Oh, and also, my baby sister is due with her baby girl the day we come back from the beach. I'm reeeeeeeally hope little Skylar will decide to make her debut a few days early so that I can just hop in the car and drive on over to Charleston to meet her on her birthday. Fingers crossed!! 

And with that, I'm off to finish packing. I'll be taking a blog break next week as I soak in time my family, but I'll be back soon after with a full beach recap. I'm sure you'll be waiting on the edge of your seat for that--ha! See you soon!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tiny Dancer

"I'm so excited!!!" she squeals, as her pink hairbow is clipped in front of her tiny, curly blond ponytail, with wisps of baby hair framing her delicate features while the faintest speck of a freckle kisses her right cheek.

She's already dressed in her Capezio ballet shoes and tights and pale pink leotard, the one with the attached tulle tutu. 

The world stops around us as I stare at my little girl. My only daughter, this slender yet strong beauty, who prances when she runs and, often, tip toes when she walks. I take a mental snapshot of this moment. Of me, her momma, standing behind my precious girl as she gazes at her reflection, giddy over the ballerina that stares back in return. 

I soak it all in, this moment, this child, this experience, this life. 

And then, she floats through the house in search of her daddy to show off her "ballerina dress." He can't help but scoop her up and kiss her soft, smooth cheeks over and over, as he gazes at her with pride. He has told me again and again how happy he is to have but one daughter: He just can't imagine loving another little girl as much as he does our one and only. 

I memorize the feeling of her hand in mine as we walk through the house and out to the car, ready to attend, what will undoubtedly be, her first of many dance classes. 

We pull up to the dance studio, and I can see that she is getting nervous. She casts down her gaze and tightens her grip around my hand as we walk inside and meet her teachers. Her eyes start to well with tears, but she pushes them back as I reassure her that I'll be there the entire time. That my eyes won't leave her for a moment. That I'll watch her every move from the window outside the classroom. She feels braver now and follows her teachers through the door into the brightly lit studio, standing alongside other nervous but excited ballerinas.  

The class goes by quickly. She wears the rhinestone-encrusted crown she is given for the duration of the class, gently re-adjusting it as she dances and twirls and tiptoes and leaps, shyly at first but more confidently by the end.

As the door swings open, she is first in line to run out, and her face lights up when she sees me, proudly showing the treat she's been given, smiling sweetly as she talks about her first dance class. 

The morning, the conversations, the images, the emotions, the experiences. None things I will ever forget.

My tiny dancer. My dream come true. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Five On Friday: Solo Momma Edition

The good news: It's Friday again! 

The bad news: My hub is currently en route to Texas for a few meetings followed by some bachelor party shenanigans. 

But. Still. 

It's Friday! So. Off we go for this week's "Five On Friday." 

Over the last week, I started a new, online Bible study series on mothering. It's called "Am I Messing Up My Kids?." My sweet friend Kristen turned me on to it, and after a quick perusal of it's description, I immediately contacted the awesome women in my LifeGroup to let them know all about it. Our LifeGroup is taking a summer break this month and next, and this is the perfect series to keep me connected and learning and growing in an area where I need a lot of connection and learning and growth: mothering! If you're interested, it's not too late to join! The only cost is that of the book. I've heard you can get it for $3 via your Kindle, but I went with the old faithful hard-back version so that I can write all over it. :) And even though my book hasn't arrived yet, the leaders of the session have the first five chapters (which are short, quick, fun, easy reads!) available online. And honestly? Less than a week in, it is AWESOME so far. In addition to the book, there are online discussions and videos, too, yet the women running it understand that mothering during the summer can be very busy and time-consuming, whether you are a working momma or a stay-at-home momma; so, it's more of a "do what you can when you can" kind of mentality. In case you can't tell, I highly recommend it! And no, I get absolutely no compensation for this recommendation. I just think it's going to be amazing and wonder if you could benefit from it, too!

Every since I got the "all clear" from my ob/gyn, I've been working hard to try and get back in shape and tone things back up as a postpartum momma of three. That being said, I cut myself some slack, too. Knowing Harrison is our last baby, I am really trying to soak up every precious moment, not only with him, but with Banks and Raleigh, too. It's like, all of a sudden, I've realized more than ever before how invaluable these young childhood moments are. So. I squeeze in workouts when I can and include my kiddos in them whenever possible. I am trying to work out at least 4 or 5 days a week. Sometimes this involves solo runs around the neighborhood, while other times it entails pushing a double stroller with two little bodies in it while a third slightly bigger kiddo walks alongside me. Sometimes it's a free weight session during naptime, while others it's a date with my favorite 20-minute Jillian Michaels DVD while one of my littles giggles and does it next to me. Last weekend, though, one of my awesome girlfriends and I had a blast with two new, fun workouts: a boot camp offered in our neighborhood bright and early Saturday morning and a hip hop workout class offered at a local rec center Sunday afternoon. I don't know which one I enjoyed more! Both worked my hiney off. And I'll definitely be a regular at both from here on out!

Whelp. I took Harrison back to the GI specialist for a check-up yesterday. Luckily, my hub was home after being out-of-town the two days/nights prior; so, I was able to leave Banks and Raleigh at home and in the company of Frozen while I took Harrison to his appointment. The verdict? The doc was very pleased with Harrison's weight gain and significant reduction in irritability (praise The Lord!). We decided we will stop the reflux meds in about three weeks and see how he responds. Then, I will slowly add dairy back into my diet when he is about 4 months old. As long as he tolerates these modifications, we'll be good to go. Otherwise, I'll go dairy- and soy-free for another 6 months and then we'll try again. Prayers that things continue to go well over the next couple months are very appreciated! And as my good friend, Emily pointed out after I posted this pic on Instagram, Harrison and I are both ready to give the middle finger to the dairy- and soy-free diet! Ha!

Yes, our summer fun continues here in the Mill. This week, we had a fun playdate at a splash pad/playground in the Charlotte area. 

We also spent some time at home doing things like making a homemade bird feeder (one of the annual items we check off our "Summer Bucket List"), working on puzzles, making mud castles, bustin' out of swaddles, and rockin' some tummy time. Oh, and I managed to sneak out for a little Bunco last night, too! Woot! Woot! All in all? An awesome week!

As I mentioned, my hub is on the other side of the country this weekend. So. I decided to load up the kiddos and head to Columbia to visit my parents and pack in a few more fun summer activities. As long as the weather cooperates, you'll find my IG account full of pics from our planned adventures. Sorry in advance, :) but it should be fun, fun, fun for my little travel companions. I may even get to squeeze in a visit with a couple of high school girlfriends and their new babies. Yeehaw!

And with that, it's time to load up and head out. Whew! Y'all come back now, ya hear? 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dear Momma in Target

I see.

I see the beads of sweat running across your forehead as you push the giant cart, which houses the wiggly bodies of your three babes, through the aisles, as you scan and search for sensitive baby wipes while trying not to knock down the display of sunless tanner. 

I see you offer snack after snack to your two older children, attempting to appease them while you rush through the store in search of all the necessities you came for. Long gone are the days of leisurely browsing for the latest holiday decor or deal-of-the-decade maxi dress. You are on a mission, and you move stealthily and swiftly past the newest trendy necklace as your eyes land on the highly coveted hand sanitizer. 

I see you replace the paci, over and over, for your baby, who fusses with fatigue while fighting off a much-needed nap. 

I see your children dressed in adorable summer attire, with freshly cut and styled hair, while you wear workout clothes, old running shoes, a messy ponytail, and day-old mascara. 

I hear.

I hear you saying again and again "Not this time," "You have plenty of toys," and "We don't need that" as request after request is made as you enter each new aisle. 

I hear you shushing your babe, quietly reminding him over and over that it's nap time while doing your best to calmly insist upon this fact.

I hear you pulling out snack wrappers and sippy cups and diapers and wipes and burp cloths and keys and baby toys and changing pads as you search your endless diaper bag for the shopping list you very quickly wrote out at a stoplight on the way to the store. 

I hear you kindly saying, "Hello!" and offering a warm smile to another momma, pushing her first and only baby in a store cart while appearing dazed and a little lost. 

I know.

I know you are hoping and praying and crossing your fingers you can get in and out of this shopping experience without a tantrum or breastfeeding break or argument or tears, and maybe, just possibly, actually finding everything on your shopping list. 

I know you worry you are inconveniencing others, as you push the train-sized cart through the aisles, taking up every inch of space; as you steal precious cashier time while searching for your Cartwheel app on your app-filled phone and try, for the love of God, to remember your password; as you hurry to load all bags and children into your SUV with lightning speed in order to give up your primo parking spot for the car awaiting with his blinker impatiently urging you on. 

I know you question whether this trip to the store was worth it: the frustration of balancing the wants and needs of your children simultaneously while also crossing each item off your list, all the while in the company of happy-go-lucky customers who shop with ease and remark a little too often, "My! You have your hands full!"

But also?

I see.

I see the adoration you have in your eyes for your children. They are your world, your life, and that is immediately evident to anyone who glances at you for even the slightest of moments.

I hear.

I hear your son spontaneously tell you, while standing in the checkout aisle, that you're the best mom in the whole world. In his eyes, you are. And that's the best compliment you will ever receive.

I know.

I know that the things in your cart are things your children need--diapers and wipes and sunscreen and alphabet books and tear-free shampoo and princess bandaids. Your job is to protect them and teach them and love them with all your heart. The contents of your cart are evidence that you take this job seriously (And I also notice that you snuck in a little surprise for them. Because you are a Momma, and you undoubtedly love seeing their faces light up when they are praised and rewarded for even the smallest of accomplishments).

To them, Momma in Target, you are their world. And don't ever forget to see, hear, and know that. 

With love,

Yourself (aka The Momma in Target)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Five On Friday: Solo Kiddo Edition

Howdy y'all! It's Friday again (yahoo!) which means I'm back with another Five On Friday update. I love these posts, mainly because I'll be able to look back at the end of the year and see what was going on with our Party o' Five each week. Anywho, here are my five random updates from this week:

Oh y'all. Y'all. Y'all. Y'all. When I heard those fateful words, "It's a girl!" three years ago, my heart nearly burst from excitement over all the sweet things I'd be able to do with my daughter over her lifetime. Immediately, I envisioned my little girl on a stage, in the puffiest of tutus and the tiniest of ballet shoes plie-ing and arabesque-ing to her heart's content. You see, I grew up dancing. I started with ballet in preschool and quickly added tap, jazz, lyrical, and hip-hop to my resume, dancing with a nationally reknowned company throughout my childhood and eventually dancing as a Clemson Rally Cat during my college years. Dancing is in my blood. And I was hoping my little girl would love it as much as I did. Well. Fast forward to this week. When I surprised Raleigh by telling her that she'd be participating in a dance camp in a couple weeks and that we needed to buy her her first ballet shoes and leotards. So. This happened. 


And then we got home. She asked if she could try on her new ballet shoes with her new tights and her new leotard. I couldn't get her dressed quickly enough--we were both so excited! I didn't let her see herself until she was completely dressed. Then, I snapped this picture when she saw herself in the mirror for the first time. A real ballerina. 

 And then? Then I started crying. Dream. Come. True.

We continue to fill our summer days and evenings with trips to the pool, visits to the awesome local Snow Cone place, family walks, and lots of outdoor play (that is, when it's not 95+ degrees). Luckily, my sweet Harrison is now proving to be pretty go-with-the-flow and is always ready to roll with wherever our day takes us. And, with just a few plans on our calendar this week and next, it's been really fun and new to wake up and simply ask all invovled parties, "So. Whatcha wanna do today?" and then see where the day takes us. Lovin' it. 

Yesterday, the day took us to a Charlotte area children's museum, Discovery Place Kids, with some good friends. Specifically, there were three of us mommas, each with three of our own kiddos, all ages 5 and under. Whew! But. Honestly? It went great! It's always easier to be out and about and having fun and keeping everyone contained when there are mommas working in unison. So. That we did! And my sweet Harrison was a trooper, taking in the sights from the comfort of the Bjorn, where he also napped before breaking for a quick nursing session and then it was back in the Bjorn for more sight-seeing. I think it's safe to say we all had a ball!

My hub was supposed to be in Cali for two nights/three days this week. But. Then Delta screwed things up with a mechanical error, and he was forced to go to Detroit and back in the morning and was home by lunchtime. Although it's frustrating for him that he had to cancel his trip and miss meetings, I'm always happy to have him home in the evenings. And we took full advantage. The first night, the kiddos and I took him to our favorite local SnoBall place. Yum and fun!

The second night we introduced our kiddos to a little something called beer juice pong. I give my hub all the credit for this idea. Needless to say, it was a BLAST! So hilarious to see our competitive little ones (NO idea where they get that from) throwing that pong ball like nobody's business and then celebrating like crazy when they sunk their shots. And Raleigh was freakishly good. Maybe that's why she and her daddy beat Banks and me 2 game to 0. We demand a rematch!

Banks and Raleigh are headed to Aiken for the weekend for a visit with their Nana and Pop and three of their cousins. They are SO excited! And I am so excited for them! I am also really looking forward to logging a little one-on-one time with my littlest guy as well as my hub. I am a BIG advocate of parents maintaining their own social lives, thus allowing their kiddos the experience of knowing that everything is still a-okay when they are away from their parents for a short bit. So. I think the weekend will be good for all parties involved! Although I will be very ready to see their smiling faces on Sunday, I am looking forward to some solo time with my littlest guy (and biggest guy!) over the next couple days.

I hope you have something fun to look forward to this weekend, too! Have a good one!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Differential Diagnosis and Treatment: Newborn Irritability

I have had so many people contact me privately who recently welcomed new blessings into this world (Mazel Tov!) to ask questions about newborn irritability/gas/discomfort/fussiness and how we came to our diagnosis, treatment, and, as a result, MUCH happier and healthier newborn. Because I know there are so many out there who just had a baby, are pregnant, or know someone who is pregnant, I wanted to share the information I gathered along my journey to help my Harrison during his first couple months of life, hoping this will help another Momma out there. Please feel free to share this with anyone you think may benefit from the following information. 

First things first. 

Differential Diagnosis.

What makes things tricky is that any or all of the following can affect a newborn: 

Normal Infant Irritability. It is normal for babies to cry. It's how they communicate their needs to us. It's their way of sharing that they are tired, uncomfortable, hot/cold, hungry, gassy, in need of a new diaper, or, possibly, in pain. It's when this irritability becomes excessive, or is coupled with other symptoms, that suggests something else may be going on. 

Colic. Unfortunately, I think many a pediatrician are too quick to throw this term around without ruling out other potential causes of newborn irritability. From my research, colic is a "predictable period of significant distress in an otherwise well-fed, healthy baby. Babies with colic often cry more than three hours a day, three days a week for three weeks or longer" (source). For many newborns, this period is in the evening hours. Again, this is tricky though, because the evening hours are also commonly known as the "witching hour," when most babies become a little fussier. 

Reflux. It is normal for all babies to spit up. It is also normal for all babies to become upset over gas pains. Babies' digestive systems are not fully developed when they are born; so, some gastroesophageal reflux is normal. However, this can become problematic for some infants. Some babies exhibit projective vomiting (think the scene from Exorcism) while others have the "silent" type, where contents from the stomach come up but are swallowed again. Other symptoms of reflux include back arching and body writhing before or after feedings and choking episodes. 

Foremilk/Hindmilk Imbalance. The content of breastmilk is made up of foremilk (i.e., the thinner, lower fat, high lactose milk) and the hindmilk (i.e., the thicker, higher fat, lower lactose milk). If a breastfeeding mother has an oversupply, her baby may fill up on foremilk and then have trouble digesting the increased content of lactose in the absence of the fattier foremilk. As a result, gassiness, discomfort, and green, watery stools occur. Over time, there may be blood in the stools as well due to irritation of the intestinal walls called by the excessive lactose (source). One way to help to clarify if this is an issue, besides looking at the color/content of stools, is to become aware of what the content of your pumped breastmilk bottles look like. The thinner foremilk is more transparent while the fatty hindmilk is much thicker. If your bottles are mostly of the thin, foremilk variety, this may be the issue. 

Protein allergy. Some babies have a sensitivity to proteins that come in the form of dairy from specific cow's milk antibodies. This sensitivity can cause colic-like symptoms as well as "eczema, wheezing, vomiting, diarrhea (including bloody diarrhea), constipation, hives, and/or a stuffy, itchy nose" (source). Also, about 50% of these babies also display an allergy to soy. There is a stool test that a doctor can quickly perform to determine if there is blood, even of the microscopic variety, in the stool. 


So. Now that the potential problems have been identified, let me highlight what I've learned about treatment for each. 


Normal Infant Irritability. If you haven't already, stop what you're doing and order "The Happiest Baby On The Block" DVD. It is 45 minutes long, and I very strongly recommend you buy it and watch it with your spouse. You will learn the 5 S's that are key to helping you survive those rough days and nights when your unhappy, but seemingly healthy, little one just.won't.stop.crying. I promise you, you will thank me a hundred times over. It'll be the best $15 you've ever spent. 

Colic. If all of the aforementioned conditions have been ruled out (as well as any others I may have left off the list), your baby may, indeed, have colic. Although there is not tried and true treatment, I've been told that probiotics help. And actually, the same probiotics are recommended for babies with reflux; so, you could be killing two birds with one stone. The specific probiotic that came highly recommended by both my pediatrician and GI specialist is by Gerber and it's called Soothe. Baby is given it once a day (5 drops either applied directly to the breastfeeding momma's nipple or in a bottle). It is expensive ($23 for a 0.17 ounce bottle). But. I was told to buy one bottle, use it in its entirety, and that should be all we'd need. 

Also, for those whose babies truly have colic, I've been told mental health breaks are KEY to maintaining sanity. Have your spouse watch your baby for even 20-30 minutes while you get out of the house, go for a walk, have a glass of wine, take a nice, long shower, etc. And know that this too shall pass. 

Reflux. There are prescribed medications used to treat reflux. Most pediatricians start out with Zantac. For some babies, this is all they will need. Most babies will show symptom relief within a day or two. However, some babies' symptoms may improve for a week and then spike again. In this case, a different medication, such as Prevacid, may be prescribed. Unfortunately, it can take a full week for symptoms to really show any improvement with this medication. For the record, these medications act differently: one neutralizes stomach acid. One reduces stomach acid production. 

Gripe Water (I like Mommy's Bliss) and gas drops (I like Little Remedies) are also helpful. Additionally, the same probiotic I mentioned above (Gerber Soothe) is recommended. It is also recommended that babies with reflux are kept in an upright position for 20 minutes after eating. This is when things like the Fisher-Price Rock 'N Play sleeper or a bouncer chair or other similar piece of baby equipment is helpful for napping as well as sleeping at night. 

Foremilk/Hindmilk Imbalance. To treat this imbalance, block feeding is recommended. This means nursing from only one side for all feedings for a certain block of time (e.g., 3+ hours), which will allow baby access to both the foremilk and hindmilk. 

Protein allergy. If your baby is diagnosed with a protein allergy, the breastfeeding momma will have to make some serious dietary changes in order to remove that protein from her system, and thus from her breastmilk. Specifically, a dairy- and soy-free diet will be necessary should she want to continue down the breastfeeding path (which is highly recommended, by the way. For those who are formula feeding, it is important to know that most formulas contain either dairy or soy. There are just a few that are specially made without these components, and I've been told that they are expensive and not exactly tasty for baby). Unfortunately, soy is in many, many products. Fortunately, there are a number of awesome blogs and websites with great recipes for everything from appetizers and snacks to entrees and desserts. It should also be noted that it takes approximately two weeks for dairy/soy to be eliminated from the momma's body; so, don't expect positive changes over night. Further, most mommas are encouraged to stick with this diet for 3-4 months and then slowly reintroduce dairy/soy back into the diet to see how baby reacts. 


So. There you have it. A murky, complicated, overlapping picture of what may or may not be going on with an irritable babe. 

In case anyone's interested, here's what transpired with my Harrison:

Around 3-4 weeks old, Harrison started exhibiting significant irritability and fussiness. Although he did not have any projectile vomiting, he did spit up quite a bit and often seemed to have intense stomach and gas pains, as he would be happy and content and then would suddenly start screaming out of nowhere,  shooting his legs out and writhing in pain. I could often hear his stomach gurgling, and he had a few choking episodes at times. He also appeared to have some eczema and had red, itchy eyes on occasion. We tried gripe water and gas drops which helped to a small degree but was nowhere close to treating the underlying issue. My poor, precious little buddy was just in so much pain, and I felt absolutely helpless as to how to help him. 

We saw our pediatrician, who prescribed Zantac based on my symptom description. This worked great for about 4 days and then seemed to stop working completely. Harrison was then started on Prevacid and given a referral to see a GI specialist at a children's hospital. During that appointment, they did a stool test and determined that he had both mucus and microscopic blood in his stool, both signs of a protein allergy. It was recommended that he continue the Prevacid and start a probiotic. In addition, I was to start a dairy- and soy-free diet to eliminate the protein from my breastmilk. 

Today, we are almost 4 weeks out from the official diagnoses and treatment of reflux and protein allergy. And let me tell you, my Harrison is just the happiest little buddy these days. He is a different baby. Now. Whether it's the dietary changes, the reflux medication, the probiotic, or the normal maturation of his infant digestive system that is the cause for such amazing change, I'll never know. But. I do know that whatever it was/is, it has made all the difference for my sweet boy. 

Also of note, interestingly, Banks also had reflux as a baby but of the projective vomiting type. He was prescribed Zantac, which he tolerated well and was weaned off of by 6 months without any further problem. He never showed any signs of a protein allergy nor did Raleigh, who never had any issues with reflux either. She had a blocked tear duct and has anisocoria, but that's another story for another day. :) 


I really, really hope that helps! Trust me. I know firsthand how hard it is. There is nothing worse than seeing your baby in pain. But. You can get through it. You will have a healthy, happy baby one day, hopefully sooner rather than later. It just takes a little investigation and a little momma persistence. Oh, and wine. Let's not forget the wine. 

Hang in there, momma! And please feel free to contact me if you have further questions! We mommas gotta stick together. :) 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Enjoying The Small Things, Part Deux

All three of my babies are napping right now (Yes. All three. I love when that happens!). So. I'm taking a little time to focus on what I'm enjoying these days. 

Recently, I've been enjoying...

...Having two sets of amazing grandparents who my kiddos just adore. And I do, too. 

...The conversations I get to have with my sweet baby boy, who just loves to smile and talk with his Momma.

...Getting to spend time with the best of friends, including those I've known for 15 years... 

...And those I've known for 2. 

...Patriotic breakfasts to kick off celebrating the greatest country in the world.

...Vintage dresses gifted to my girl by her great, great aunt that finally fit. 

...Getting my running shoes, Jillian Michaels DVDs, and rap music playlist up and going again.  

...Squishy baby cheeks. 'Nuff said. 

...Friday Family Happy Hours. Always my favorite part of any week. 

...Any and all time spent with family, especially of the pregnant sister variety.

...Pushing back bedtimes to make special memories with my oldest. 

...The tiniest of ballet slippers, an absolute dream come true.

...Stroller fans to make even the hottest of days more bearable for those who may be stroller-bound. 

...Life, in general. Some days may feel long, some days may be hard, but I am thoroughly enjoying this life I've been given.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Five On Friday: Fourth of July Edition

Happy 4th of July to all of my (American) family and friends! Just a quick "Five On Friday" post for today so I can go get the par-tay started with my people. 

Ugggggghhhh!!! Our upstairs air conditioning unit broke earlier this week, which will require replacement of the ENTIRE system (aka mucho, mucho moolah). Being the glass-is-half-full kind of Momma that I am, I chose to focus on the positives from the situation: (1) Since all the kiddos' bedrooms are upstairs, Banks and Raleigh got to have a super fun pallet sleepover in the den downstairs. They loved it and may or may not have been dancing together and laughing hysterically at 10:00 pm that night [aka WAY past their bedtimes!], (2) I got to look over and see Harrison's sweet face in the middle of the night, since he was camped out in our room, (3) To get out of the sweltering upstairs heat, I took the kiddos to Target. And who doesn't love that?!, (4) It was the perfect excuse for an ice cold beer...or two...

A tired but happy momma, a passed out baby in the Bjorn, and two delirious kiddos, walking the Target aisles.

Despite the AC shenanigans, we had a fun time this week, including a poolside playdate with some very sweet friends as well as a special "Preschool Playdate" for Banks and his same-aged neighborhood buddies, hosted by the activities director just for the neighborhood kiddos. Man, I love summertime 'round these parts! My hub also had Daddy Dates with both Banks and Raleigh this week, which just melted my heart. First, he took Banks on an hour-long nature walk through the woods, where they found the perfect walking sticks, followed deer tracks, observed rabbits crossing the path, and asked/answered approximately 8,963 questions. :) He then took Raleigh to buy her most favorite thing on the planet: new shoes. He let her pick out the pair of her choice, and she selected pink Sperrys, which she proudly wore for two days straight--morning, noon, and night. :) 

For the first time in 8 weeks, my hub did not have ANY overnight trips this week. None. Zip. Zilch. Zero. It was SO nice to have him home each night! Oh, and we snuck away for a 10-year anniversary dinner at the start of the week, heading to our favorite Charlotte restaurant (Cowfish--so, so good!) while all three kiddos stayed home with two sitters. Yep. You read that right. Two sitters. Given that Harrison is just two months old and not yet on a regular schedule, I asked that our sitter bring a friend so that one could focus on him and one could focus on the other two. It worked out great! And fun was had by all!

Harrison had a great week! He is doing so, so, so much better these days! He just loves to smile and talk and watch his mobile and do tummy time and snuggle. Although he is not always the best napper, with most naps lasting about 20 minutes each, he will usually give me at least one good nap, lasting an hour or two. He is also getting closer to sleeping through the night, giving us 6 to 7 hour stretches most nights before waking for a quick nursing session or pumped bottle and then going back to sleep for another 3 or 4 hours. At the time I wrote this, this was the case. But then on Wednesday night, he slept from 8:00 pm to 5:30 am, nursed, and then went back to sleep for 2 more hours. Yeehaw! Here's hoping he keeps it up! I just adore this little boy with all my heart. 

We have big plans for today, with my parents and "in laws" all coming to town for the weekend to help celebrate the 4th! My neighborhood hosts an AWESOME pool party, complete with adult and kiddie beverages, adult and kiddie games, music, food, swimming, socializing, and celebrating. After the pool shindig, there's an after party, too, which will include a live band, craft beer, a couple food trucks, and a full fireworks show. Have I mentioned I love my neighborhood? Have I mentioned I am ALWAYS recruiting family and friends to come visit (or even better, move to) Fort Mill? Ha! Needless to say, I can't wait for all the fun going down in just a few hours as well as the rest of the weekend, which will be spent soaking up time with our parents and getting in lots of playtime with my three favorite kiddos.

And with that, it's off to the pool par-tay for this crew. Here's wishing you a Happy 4th and a weekend full of fun with family, friends, and fireworks. Cheers!