Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The End.

Hi everyone. We have made the decision to shut the blog down. It may be permanent, it may not be. Right now we are all in busy places and want to focus on our families right now. Thanks for sticking with us for almost a year.  We are thankful for all of you. Maybe we will see you soon! If you'd like to follow Ashley and Shannon on their personal blog's their sites are (Shannon)  and (Ashley).

Ashley, Shannon,  and Kailly

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Baby Products- Must Haves, Leave Its, and Wish We Had It. By Kailly for N

Hey ya'll. Long time no chat. Kailly here.

I know we don't normally post on Sundays, but things have been crazy and this is the only chance I have lately. Today is my birthday, too, so I thought we could make an exception! I'm 25 years young. Phew. First time typing that, and I only had a small cringe! I feel so old lately. Haha.

Before I get started, I thought I would give a little update. N is wonderful. She is 17 months old, and my sweet sunshine. She loves to talk, dance, and be silly. She is forming sentences more and more often, though some days she doesn't say much. Other days, she talks non stop! She has beautiful curly blonde hair, and the most incredible blueish greyish eyes. She melts me. I could talk about her non stop, but I won't for today! Though, this blog is kind of about her today.

I decided to blog about what we loved from the time Natalie was born, until now; what we could've lived without; and, what I wish we would've had.

Our first love was our travel system. I could not have made it the first seven months (we transferred her to a rear facing convertible car seat that she is still in today) without our travel system. There is nothing better than taking a sleeping baby out of the car in an infant seat and clicking it right into the stroller. She didn't wake, and I could get things done! It was a life saver!

On my leave it list was a Boppy pillow. Honestly, it didn't provide the support for nursing that I wanted. I felt N rolled forward into my chest too much. After a while I stopped using it completely and would either hold her or use a regular pillow. However, we had a travel boppy that zipped up and had a strap on it, that I loved! It was great to hold her on in restaurants and while we were out and about!

My wish list for our next baby would be a My Breast Friend pillow. They look amazing!

Another on my leave it list was a pack n play. I know tons of people love theirs. Ours is in the basement, in storage. We used the infant bed part for a while when she was born, as well as the changing area, but, once N started throwing up in her sleep, we stopped. After a few months of it just taking up space, we folded it up and put it away.

We did use a Fisher Price Rock n Play sleeper for her. It was amazing! She slept wonderfully in it, and I could easily carry it around the house. Plus, it kept her propped up which helped her reflux!

I think with our next baby we will get a bassinet. I would love one with a moses type basket on top that we can bring around the house with us, too!

Our Bumbo was also on my leave it list. We rarely ever used it. And, when we did I felt the tray was a pain to get on, and I felt her chubby little thighs were always getting stuck. It is also in storage already, though I'm pretty sure we will sell it, and not save it for our next baby.

Sophie the teething giraffe was always on my love it list, until a few months ago. It quickly went to my leave it list. N loved Sophie. I told tons of people Sophie was a life saver. But, the indestructible giraffe is not so indestructible. N only had four teeth at the time and bit a hole right through it. I could tell she was chewing on something, and pulled the rubber out of her mouth. I looked for a phone number to call the company and there was nothing. I sent four emails and still haven't been contacted. I will say, we bought the Target brand Elephant, and it has worked much better.

Books are on our love it list! N LOVES books. All books. She looks at them constantly. We love books!

Another love are wood puzzles! She loves them. She loves the colors and I love how durable they are! She received one for her birthday and we play with it every single day! L and I got her 10 more for Christmas from the JBF sale!

We also love most toys. I can't complain about too many toys! She loves toys that make noise and light up, and I do too! haha.

I'll wrap this up. But, I'll leave you all with one more love it. We love disposable placemats! I know there are some rubber ones, but N pulls those right off. With disposable ones, they stick to the table and I know N is eating off a germ free surface. I see tons of tables washed with the same cloth, and I don't want N tasting any cleaning products or eating off of a dirty table. I know, I'm a slight germaphobe. But, they are wonderful for clean up as well, and they always have cute designs and N loves to learn from them too!

Alright, wrapping up for the night. Everyone have a blessed week, and a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and/or friends.

Here is my sweet princess a few weeks ago with her first ponytail! And, we are parked in our garage, which is why she isn't buckled up yet!

Love ya'll,

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Aim for the Cheerio!

Holy cow! Is it Tuesday already!? Well... I'm getting closer to posting on my day again. lol Sorry about that. I hope you are all doing well! 

We're just gearing up for the holidays and Baby C's first Birthday! It is seriously blowing my mind that he is almost a year old! But I am absolutely loving watching him learn and grow and change. It's just incredible! He is such a beautiful little person. :) Today, I am finishing invitations for C's birthday party and then working on some "window shopping" online. Hehe. My little man is wowing me every day, and yesterday was a huge one! He went poopy on the potty! He has always hated having a dirty diaper, but more so recently, he gets very distraught when he has a #2 mess going on. So, he has started coming up to me and sort of grunting and whining when he has to poo, so that I know and can get it off of him as quickly as possible! So, yesterday morning, when he came up to me, I quickly stripped him of his pants and diaper and ran with him to the toilet! He was so proud and happy and said "I did it!" when he was done! I think he was also relieved that he had a poo without a mess all over his bum! He had started doing this dirty diaper dance, where he would shake his butt back and forth and side to side, like he was trying to get away from it! Haha! So, yesterday, it was a proud moment when he didn't need to do the dance! He even came up to me a second time and went on the potty again! 

This morning, we got two pees on the potty (when he's older, I've been advised to have him stand or sit backwards and aim for cheerios! lol), which is excellent and once again he said "I did it!" and was so proud and happy, especially when mommy cheered for him and gave him a piece of "cookie" (small piece of graham cracker). Hopefully we can keep this going. He sure seems interested! I figured that if he freaked out, panicked, or reacted negatively in any way, he probably wasn't ready and I needed to just leave it be. But he seems at the very least, interested. I know it's going to just take time to tell for sure though! He may, very well decide that he is curious right now, but not actually ready to take that leap and that is totally okay with me. I'm not giving him a date on a calendar. Of course, as a mommy who doesn't view diaper changing as the most thrilling of hobbies, I do have my hopes for when he might be potty trained all the way, but I'm aware that he may have his own ideas on the subject all together! I'm just ready to follow his lead! So, I guess we can say DAY 1 was a success with poops, and we're on to DAY 2. We shall see...

Alright... moving on... 

Baby C, as I said, is almost one! So, for his 11th month, MH and I took C to his grandparents' house and did some super cute pictures of him. His great-poppa had this awesome pedal car growing up and it has been kept in great condition, though I learned that it was played with so much, that great-poppa's dad had to re-weld parts of it back together several times through the years! So, here are a few of the favorites:

At 11 months old, Baby C is almost walking, standing (when he feels like it), eating anything he can (he is a little piggie peanut!), talking up a storm saying things like "mama", "my mommy", "dadda", "kitty", "monday" (?), "I did it!", and oh, so much more! He signs "all done" and his own version of "more please". He has 5, working on 6 teeth and is just constantly changing and growing! He keeps getting more and more of that red, curly hair and I just love it! I love my little blue-eyed redhead! I hope his hair never changes! 

Alright, well, that's pretty much it from us for right now! I did start decorating for Christmas last week. I just couldn't wait anymore! I am simply too excited for our Christmas with Baby C! Yes, he was here last year, but he was only 2 weeks old and it just didn't really feel like Christmas. I was still so exhausted and miserable... it just did not feel like the holidays. This year, though, I am SO excited to wake up with him before the sun is up and unwrap his Christmas presents, and snuggle with him on the couch, holding a mug of hot cocoa and watching a Christmas movie! Or perhaps I'll be snuggling with my kitty and puppy while C and Daddy play with all the new toys. Haha! I don't care! I just can't wait to start our own new traditions with our little family. 

What are some Christmas traditions that your family has? Are the traditions you celebrate now/with your children, different than what you did growing up? 

Have a beautiful day everyone! 

Love and Zebra hugs,

Ashley :) 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why I hate those Luv's commercials...

We've all seen them... Those commercials that show, in one scene an uptight mom and/or dad with their first child... Overbearing, too structured, over-preparing, and all together "stuffy". Suddenly... In the next scene where they have had their second child, they have made a 180. They are laid-back, messy, aren't trying so hard, and even their hair and clothes are completely different. This bothers me...

Why? Allow me to explain... 

These commercials state that "by their second kid, every parent is an expert". To me, this implies that parents make so many mistakes with their first child, they have to have a second, so they can get it right. Guess what? I never plan on having more children. That's right... Never. Not ever. Don't want another. Period. So hearing these implications, whether from a silly diaper commercial, or straight from someone's mouth, is hurtful. More than that, it kinda pisses me off. I wouldn't change a single thing that we have done with Baby C. Not because I am so perfect, but because each thing we have done, has lead to a learning experience. Yes... Everything is new and exciting and we have no prior experience as parents. But that doesn't make us dunces. We have this thing called instinct. 

Now... On second time parents being "experts"... 

Sure, if I had a second child, I would kinda know what's coming. But do you know what I have heard from EVERY SINGLE one of my friends or family members with multiple children? "Oh my gosh... I knew that I would be tired again, and I remembered that these newborn days were rough, but I just did not remember how hard it was or how tired I would be!". And why is that? Well... Because every child is different. And every time you add to your family, it's new again. When you have a second child, you are only and expert on one. When you have a third, you're an expert on two. I think you get the picture. But I, with my only child, am also an expert. I am an expert on 10-month-olds. C just turned 11 months, so I don't know what this 11th month holds. And I don't know how to advise a mom on what to do with a toddler who won't eat his peas. But I have several ideas on how to advise a mom with a newborn to 10 month-old. I'm an expert on that; better yet, I'm an expert on my child. Plain and simple, I am. 

Okay... Let's move on to the whole "you'll probably do things differently if/when you have another" thing...

My answer is... I'm not having one!!!!! Lol Seriously, though... 

If I ever did miraculously end up having another child, I'm sure I would do some things differently - especially if I had a girl - but that's because another child would be a completely different person! I would, in no way, expect any other child to be anything like Baby C... He is the only Baby C in this world. Might I be more prepared for certain things, such as teething or supply issues? Sure. However, on the grand scheme of things, I have zero regrets; I would do absolutely everything the same way. 

I would still breastfeed, cloth diaper, and baby wear. I would not do rice cereal - or cereal of any kind for that matter (whether or not I was working) - and I would still do baby-led weaning and let my child feed him - or herself. These are decisions my husband and I made based on research and our own personal convictions. Probably the only thing I would change with a second child, would be allowing myself to not be embarrassed about nursing my child in public without a cover. That's right. I would NOT use a cover. Trying to nurse an incredibly sweaty, hungry baby, while he tries to remove this thing that is covering his face while he eats, because he loves to see his mommy's face, is very difficult and hot and sweaty. And don't even go there about the exposed breast or nursing in public period... I will feed my child in the bathroom, or changing room, or car, when you eat YOUR meals in those places. So just don't start, and we can all remain friends. ;) 

All of that said, allow me to share some parenting dos and don'ts with you: 

DON'T : let people's opinions, judgments or input cloud what you feel about yourself as a parent, how you feel about your child, or what you believe is the right thing for YOUR family.

DO: Whatever the h@&! your instincts tell you is right. 

In the meantime, if you want my opinion or advice, I am more than happy to share what I have learned as one of the experts on Baby C! (Expert alongside his daddy, of course.) 

Parenting is the one job in the world that has maintained the status as "hardest job in the world" for all of forever. But there are still things that make it harder on some levels, as time goes on. One of those things is information. It is everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. And it is incredibly easy to access! But it doesn't mean that all information is equal. Some of it is B.S., some of it is useful, a lot of it is probably outdated, and most of it is completely useless when it comes to parenting. Yes, MH and I did research and read about things such as cloth diapering, breast feeding, rice cereal, baby-led weaning, and sleep. And some of the info we found was really helpful; some of it was completely useless; and some of it was just a tad bit strange. Other stuff, we have read and said to ourselves, "really!?! You made me buy a whole book just so you could tell me what I already know!? It's so obvious... Who doesn't know that!?". Some research or "research" has come to us via other family members or friends. And that's always such a sweet gesture, because you know they just want to help... Sometimes you get a whole article, sometimes you get a vague quoting of information. But you know what? Research is great and all, but there is zero research that is a "blanket" over any baby or that "applies to all". I can't tell you how many times I've heard things or read things about sleep, in particular, and thought to myself "ha! If only this researcher could meet Baby C!", or "what!? Hahaha! I don't even do that!? How could I possibly expect my baby to do it!?". And I admit that I have to catch myself as well. I am adamantly against cereal... No matter how people insist that Baby C would be a better sleeper or that I would have used it if I had worked more, because I would have needed the sleep. [I can explain my reasons to you if you ask, but this isn't about that.] However, just because we made the decision not to use any cereal for our child (or any unicorn-level-magically-potential-children), that doesn't mean it's the right decision for everyone. I will still speak out about what I believe to be right, but I won't push it on anyone, or tell them that they are wrong for thinking differently. No, I may not agree with a parent's choice to use cereal, in particular, but if it works for them, what business is it of mine? I am not a part of that family. So why would I imply to them that they will "get it right next time" by doing what I think is right, or simply because they might actually "know what they're doing", finally? All that this does - and I know from personal experience - is discourage, dishearten frustrate, and make parents feel as though they are doing absolutely everything wrong, simply because they don't have herds of children. And really... I'm sure that even the Duggars don't feel like experts 24/7! 

In the end, I call B.S. even on those experts who truly are experts. Sure, they have great ideas on what could possibly work for a good majority of issues with a good majority of children. But sincerely, you are the true expert on your child right now. Not later. Not the next one. Not the one after that. This one. As well as the next one, or the ones after that. You are mother; you are father; you are expert. 

Much love and Zebra hugs from me to you! 

- Ashley 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The adventures of the MnMs and BabyBrain (aka mama)

Hey yall Shannon here. Hope you are all doing well we are still busy makin  preparations for Baby M! I laughed at myself the other day when I pulled out a small load of baby clothes that I was sanitizing and getting ready to pack in our official hospital bag! *gasp* (are we really that close already??!) But anyhow I just wanted to share a few funny stories and a quick bumpdate with y'all so here goes...

Miniature mishaps!
I was pulling these tiny onesies out of the drier and for a brief moment had a heart attack that somehow I had shrunk an entire load of Big M and Middle Ms clothes! Of course it dawned on me that in fact I was washing baby clothes and then I felt like a real ding-a-ling sitting on the floor in front of my dryer laughing at myself for "shrinking" everything... anyone else have mini panic attacks for no reason??

No shoes, and busy mama fashion tips!
Another funny baby brain story: today I had some grocery shoppin to do and was so focused getting the MnMs ready I plum forgot to put on shoes now this could be due to the fact that I was already wearing socks to keep my feet warm or due to the fact I have to actually bend halfway over just to see my feet but at any rate I made it all the way to the stop light down the road from my house before I realized anything was different oy! So I turned around and got my shoes and realized I had forgotten my debit card on the counter so scooped that up put my shoes on and cursed my lack of brain and then headed to the store where a sweet gal asked if I knew my shirt was on inside out... I shrugged and smiled oh that, well, I am just tryin a new look I call it frazzled mommy chic :) she giggled and commented how cute my boys were and walked on shaking her head chuckling to herself. The score stands Me: ZERO    Baby brain: FOUR...TY FIVE MILLION! Oh well such is pregnant life :) Anybody else have any fun baby brain stories?? please tell me I'm not alone here... haha

I don't want yall to think everything is alwayssunshine and sparkly rainbows at my house I am a real mama and I have back aches and sometimes my hips feel like they might snap off but even though my whole day wasn't a cakewalk (at one point I was on all fours scrubbing puke out of my carpet sobbing trying not to toss my own cookies) I enjoyed my day as a frazzled mama it's the best part of my life being able to love and care for my littles and snuggle them to bits and I tell ya when you focus on the positive bits of your day life looks a whole lot brighter :) try it sometime if you have a frustrating moment take a minut minute to mentally connect the positive moments of your day like a dot to dot puzzle and smile as you color over the negative frustrations of your day with positive little polka dots ;)

We are officially 35 weeks today I can't even believe it in 5 weeks or less and our littlest little will be here!!! I couldn't even walk through the baby aisle without tearing up (thank you very much hormomes) and I was just thinking about how life was when we first had our littles about bringing home baby and how our whole lives changed when we had our babies and now after some time has passed and we have our growing ever more independent big boys how different our lives will be bringing home Baby M! I can't even express how much joy fills my heart imagining what his sweet little face will look like and how amazing it will be to introduce him to our MnMs!! Ach! Tears again... well I am just so  absolutely overwhelmed with joy in my  heart it is leaking out in happy tears on my face... I will sign off for now but yall are wonderful and we here on the JustASK mam team appreciate your patience with all of our update lapses and I wish I could hug each of you and tell you how fabulous I think you are hope that whatever you are up to wherever you are you have joy and are smiling :) we love yall!

Happy tears and ginormous pregnant hugs with a side of polka dot love from my baby brain to y'all ... Shannon :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Quick Bumpdate

Well hey yall Shannon here...  sorry its been awhile we have been super busy making preparations for our sweet Baby M! I hope everyone is doing well I thought I would just pop on here to share a quick Bumpdate with yall. So here it is we are officially 34 weeks according to the doctor (though I am pretty convinced they are off by a few weeks) I have been having contractions off and on throughout the past couple weeks and last weekend I started having early labor pains so I went in to get checked and no real dialation to speak of but we are about 25% effaced so that's some progress :)

I am just so ready to be holding my littlest little but I want him to be ready to meet us too so stay in there long as you have to and grow strong and healthy we will be ready to meet you when you decide to come out! :) I am so excited lately I have been going a little overboard with the nesting instincts but I am just so ready. We chose to do a small nursery corner in our bedroom rather than devote an entire room to a nursery that really wont even be used much for the first few months so I have been trying to make extra room for Baby M and making his little corner nursery special for him. I have another appointment tomorrow so maybe we will have another Bumpdate then too but for now just washing baby clothes and making a special place for Baby M in our home and our hearts! It's hard to believe that just next month (if not sooner) we will be holding our brand new littlest little! Can't wait! Well all this prego mama is about toast for the evening so signing off for now.

(--Enjoy the pics our Halloween fun was mostly homemade DIY costumes isn't that the cutest little crime fighting duo Batman and Robin?? I was a huge prego pumpkin waddling about the neighborhood but we had so much fun!!--)  goodnight all :)

Tuckered out and ready for bed sending you extra hugs and belated polkadot prego love from my living room to yours.     Shannon :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

"Cavemen" in a Modern World

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend! Also... I suck. Last Monday I had said that I would post on Tuesday instead, but I never did and before I knew it the week had gotten away from me. It appears as though my fellow bloggers have forgotten as well, because it's been a while since we've all heard from them. Hopefully they'll both be able to get back to it soon! 

Anyway... these last weeks have been just full of me chasing around after my almost-toddler. Haha! Baby C is getting quick! He isn't walking yet (thank blob), but trust me, he's quick! We've had to put baby gates up to keep him corralled in a sense. It has been good for keeping him away from the kitty's litter boxes and the dog and cat dishes, but it has been horrible for my hips! I'm not tall by any means, so stepping over a baby gate that comes up to my hip bones is quite challenging as I have to first stand on my tip-toes. I have yet to find a way to step over each gate without grinding my hip in my socket or causing something to pop... painfully. Oh, well... I'll live. And as I get used to life with the baby gates around, I have learned to adapt and live mainly out of one room for a majority of the day, so that I don't have to step over them too frequently. 

Well, I posted on our Facebook page last week, that I would be talking a little bit about how we have changed our eating habits as a family, and I have to tell you that after almost 2 weeks eating the way we have, the difference in my body and how I feel is incredible! MH agrees... he has even lost about 15 pounds in just under 2 weeks! It's been amazing! But it's nothing super special that we've done. We've simply started ourselves on a paleo diet. For those of you who have never heard of this, paleo is short for paleolithic; meaning a caveman-like diet... going back to more natural eating and relying more on local resources of fresh foods. I'm sure that there is a lot to this diet that I don't know about quite yet, but I'll break down the basics of what I do know for you. 

The paleo diet excludes:
-Processed foods and sugars

It INcludes:
-Lean Meats
-Nuts & Seeds
-Healthy Fats

Of the reading that I've done about the paleo diet, it is said that eating this type of a diet, is good for many things: weight loss, balancing metabolism, breaking addiction to unhealthy carbs, reducing pain from autoimmune disorders (such as EDS), reducing or stabilizing blood pressure and cholesterol, and some studies have shown that it may even reverse signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes! To me, this was enough motivation to at least try the diet. I'll admit that it hasn't been easy, because we are really having to break old habits and re-train ourselves to eat a way that we never have before, but it's definitely a work in progress. All-in-all, I'm very happy with the change we've made. We've actually been cooking a lot more, and we are using more and more fresh ingredients and spices and have found that we not only feel better, but our food tastes better! It's going to be a long journey to adjusting 100%, but we're in this as a family! That's right... even Baby C is eating what we are. I don't see why not! 

Alright, well, I know that this is a bit of a short post, but I'm exhausted. Our poor little guy is working on two teeth at the same time, so his ears are bugging him and he is just miserable over all. As of today, his daddy and I are worried that he may actually be getting sick. I'm crossing my fingers that it's all just from his teeth and that it will pass quickly! I hope you all have a wonderful week!

If anyone would like to ask any questions about healthy eating or the paleo diet, specifically, feel free to post your questions here or on Facebook, or send us an email or a private message on Facebook! As always, we would love to hear from you about anything! If anyone would like to simply share their experience or story of dieting/healthy eating habits/changes, please feel free to share! 

Zebra hugs and love,