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, 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Behind the Stripes

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Or, for some of us... it sort of is Monday. :) But hey... look at that... our 100th post! I hope I deliver on a good one! ;) 

As I posted briefly last night, we had a busy weekend. What I didn't mention was that we came back to some awesome head colds for Baby C and me. Not fun at all. My poor little man has been grumpy and fussy and just absolutely exhausted all day, but he just wants to play and doesn't understand what's going on! I feel so bad for the little guy. This is the second time he's ever been actually sick, so it's definitely a little bit foreign for all of us. The last time he was sick was also a cold, but he was still just a floppy little newborn who couldn't move or "talk" back. Haha. Anyway... our weekend was busy, but fun! We went to a family member's Wedding out of town and it was absolutely beautiful! It was an evening Wedding, and even though it started at bedtime, C did a really good job, but didn't quite make it to the actual party. He made it through dinner, but that put us back at our hotel at about 8:30-9:00, so I was pretty proud that he never really melted down. He didn't sleep that great that night, though. More because it was a strange place than anything else, but he just wanted to snuggle his Daddy. He really didn't want anything to do with me all night! I mean, sure, I was "allowed" to nurse him, but that was it, Momma! After that, if I tried to cuddle him to sleep, he just pushed my face away and screamed for "Daddaaaa!!!!". MH was a trooper and rolled with it. Despite C's uncanny ability to take up a queen sized bed almost completely by himself, MH did hang in there and it resulted in a sleeping C. (That's right... a queen bed. On vacation or if staying in a hotel, MH and I enjoy our own queen beds. Call us weird, but we're just not snugglers. Haha.)

Sunday, we awoke for breakfast with Mia and Poppo (MH's parents) and then headed to the Zoo, which was a lot of fun! It was a really big Zoo, so C was definitely not awake for all of it, but MH and I enjoyed it, even though we did end up needing to skip out of our group and rush through to the end so we could get on the road. On our way home, we stopped off and visited my parents briefly and C got to see his Auntie D and his 3 cousins. It was nice to see a lot of family this weekend, but there is simply no place like home!

Alright, well, last week I said that I would be posting about the caregiver's side of EDS. It's something that I think people forget about a lot in any situation involving an illness. Sure, it's hard on the sick person, but what about the person who is caring for them? What about their husband/wife/significant other - or in some cases, parent? The disease, condition or illness can be just as hard as the caregiver and any family as it is on the person who is struggling. Especially because they can't possibly understand exactly how we feel, and we can't possibly communicate or share (and would never want to share) exactly how it feels. Can you imagine how difficult this makes it to care for someone?

In our situation, we have two monsters. Sometimes they go together, and others, they attack individually. I have POTS and EDS. 

MH is someone who really does try to understand. But I don't always make it easy on him. I am a dramatic person. Probably anyone who knows me would tell you this. So, sometimes when I am in serious pain, I joke or say something dramatic to make light of the situation. Even when I simply stub my toe (which usually results in a dislocated toe), I respond dramatically... I mean, I definitely go overboard. It's a defense mechanism to make a frustrating or difficult situation feel a little bit lighter. But this makes it hard on MH, who already worries about me constantly. I never truly realized how much. But especially in this last year, he has been worried about me and constantly thought about my EDS and my POTS. 

Before finding out that I was pregnant, I was officially diagnosed with POTS, but still awaiting my official, confirmed diagnosis for EDS. Once finding out I was pregnant, a whole can of worms opened: this was going to be a high risk and possibly very complicated and painful pregnancy for me. MH immediately jumped to "what if it comes down to a choice between Ashley and the baby?". And I can't blame him. So, we had this conversation... several times. We never agreed. We both always would have chosen opposite things. He would have chosen to save me. I said save the baby. There was also the possibility of preterm labor. This meant that I would possibly have to end up on bed rest for a portion of my pregnancy, forcing me our of work. To me, this was just frustrating; to MH it was a matter of figuring out how to compensate for my wages so that he could provide for his family, no matter what. 

Over the course of dealing with the increasing symptoms and eventual diagnoses of my conditions, MH and I have argued. We have argued on and off about his ability to understand and empathize. I have asked far too much of him on occasion. He sincerely can not understand how I feel when I tell him I'm feeling a certain way. This is so frustrating for him! The last argument we got in was about my tendency to be dramatic. He doesn't always know if I'm being serious or if I'm just trying to make light of a situation. So, most recently, when I dislocated my shoulder and tried joking around and playing tough, he thought I was fine and just needed to relax and get over it. He had no idea how badly damaged my shoulder really was or how much pain I truly was in. Finding out all of these answers, he felt so terribly for telling me to wait to see the doctor or go to the hospital for help! He felt so guilty! He still does. But this isn't his fault. I told him that I would have waited anyway. I can handle it. But the problem is that he doesn't think I should have to. Worst of all, he wishes he could fix things for me, and knowing that he can't is frustrating beyond a level that I could ever possibly understand. Because even when I feel "fine", MH doesn't know when I might suddenly not be. And when I'm not, there's that possibility that I won't be able to care for things around the house. And in those cases, how could I possibly care for myself or his son? I always truck through, because I do like to believe that I am strong. But again, MH would rather fix it all for me. He constantly has to worry about how I'm going to be feeling on any given day. He recently told me (something which I never realized) that he can tell when I'm feeling better, because of how I clean or accomplish tasks: did I take shortcuts or did I pay attention to details? I never even realized this about myself. But it's true... when I am having a pain day or a POTSy day, I definitely don't do the details, such as cleaning things off of the dining room table, or dusting all of the living room furniture and cleaning the glass. I take short cuts, so that it's clean enough. 

MH also constantly thinks about things like surgery and doctor visits... how will we pay for whatever insurance doesn't cover? How will I be able to take care of C and how will he be able to take care of both of us? He thinks about how I might get better or worse over time.

 I am a constant source of stress and worry for him... and now he has a son to consider as well. He worked SO hard so that he could have a job that allows me to stay home with baby C - which is something I have always wanted - but also so that I can not have to work. Working before pregnancy was challenging sometimes. Working during pregnancy was sometimes excruciating. Now? Working a regular job really isn't as easy as it sounds. Even part-time. A lot of jobs require that you be able to stand for a certain amount of time, and/or be able to lift a certain amount of weight. I find it hard to stand longer than 5 minutes without needing to "un-straighten/un-stuck" my spine, or feeling like I might collapse; I can lift heavy items, sure, but probably not without slipping a joint or dislocating something. I know that MH sometimes feels like he needs to baby sit me in order to make sure that I don't over-do it. I can only imagine how stressful this might be on him, especially when he can't just be home to follow up. I try my best to do what I can to help reduce his stress, but the fact of the matter is that just like he can't understand my pain or how I feel, I can't possibly understand his stress or how he feels. 

Still... MH takes care of me however he can. He works hard all the time. It's what makes me want to work hard at home. But sometimes, I simply can't; others, I do anyway. And he pays for it. Sometimes I wish that I could take this burden away from him and just be... better. But I can't. And he doesn't seem to mind. But I know that it's still a source of constant stress and, at times, sleepless nights. All I can do is be thankful to my "caregiver". He's also my best friend and true love and I'm so lucky to have him. I know he didn't sign up for all of this. I received all of my diagnoses after we had been together for quite a while already. He had no idea what he was getting into, and in all fairness, I never could have even guessed to warn him. I never knew all of this was coming. But my version of "normal" turned out not to be so "normal" after all. 

Alright, well that's all for today. I hope that's not all too jumbled. I'm just absolutely worn from this yuck that I've got and I'm actually about to put myself in bed. I hope you all have a lovely evening and a beautiful week! But I want to know what you did for the long weekend? How did you celebrate Columbus Day? Did you and your kiddos have Monday off? Share the fun! 

Zebra love and hugs,

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

All you need is love...

Hey y'all Shannon here sorry it's been a while since my last post life has been Crazy (with a capital C!) I have been running around with a chicken like my head cut off lately :) My daddy very recently had a heart attack and had to have a quadruple bypass and is healing and on the long road to recovery. I, being hugely prego with two littles in tow, am unable to travel up there to see him so you can imagine I have been quite a distracted woman lately. But he is doing better and I am encouraged to hear about his progress and positive updates! My family has received such an outpouring of love and kindness from so many people I just want to say thank you. Thank you for your prayers, kind words, to the friends and family who have been there with my mama and brothers, and a special thank you to the nurses and doctors that have been amazing and so kind while helping him through this!

Here on our little homefront we are still trying to prepare our home and our family for our soon to be here Baby M. We are officially 30 weeks along today!! Can you believe how fast the time flies?!? Anyhow I recently realized that most of my baby stuff from when the boys were babies has since gone on to other families so I have been bargain hunting and finding some pretty good deals and it makes me laugh as I think of how with our first Baby we wanted the latest and greatest baby gear and how much stuff we bought and were given for our first son and now, about to have my third son, I am happy to craigslist certain items and am definitely not turning away any hand me downs! I have done this a few times now and have learned a few valuable mommy lessons and what works best for our family. I have come up with my personal Top 10 must haves for baby:

1. A durable adjustable pack n play!
I had the same pack n play for both of my first two babies and it was invaluable!! We used it all the time!! It was able to be raised and lowered so the first approx 3-4 months we used it as a portable bassinet and it migrated from the living room to our bedroom quite frequently and when my second baby came it was yet again irreplaceable and helped to corral my rowdy toddler when daddy was deployed and mommy had her hands full with the new baby! :) our pack n play was also amazing when we traveled it was a Godsend in several hotels and relatives houses and I used it in our back yard when Big M was old enough to walk around I would put Middle M in his pack n play with some fun baby toys so mommy could run and chase Big M toddling around and then even when my boys outgrew the beloved pack n play we used it as a stuffed animal corral for a bit. Our old pack n play has since been passed on to another family but you can bet that for our new Baby M it is the first thing on my list!!

2. Must have some sort of baby sling/baby carrier!!
in my personal experience there is nothing that calms a fussy baby more than snuggling them right close to mama and sometimes being a mama of more than one you dont always have a free minute to just sit and snuggle baby close (especially while the oldest is busily rearranging your pantry and devouring a brand new box of nilla wafers *true story*) so being able to slip baby into a nice secure sling or carrier is perfect you and baby get nice close snuggles and you can at the same time chase big brother out of the pilfered cookies! Win win! I have several lg scarves that I have used as a very comfortable baby sling in a pinch and even on a few plane trips. I love being able to snuggle my sweet baby on the go! Baby carrier/sling is a definite MUST HAVE!

3. Travel system! Car seat and stroller combo pack! First of all we know you need a car seat to take baby home from the hospital but trust me when I say there is nothing more convenient than taking that carseat out and attaching it to your easy fold out stroller when baby is still sleepin and you have errands to run or a doctors appointment to get to and dont want to wake baby! Also as baby grows into toddler that same stroller is usable without the car seat so it grows with baby! I am all about multi purpose and adjustable when it comes to baby supplies! To me it makes sense to use something as long as you can and get the most for your hard earned money! So my #3 must have is a sturdy travel system!

4. Lg. Diaper Bag with comfortable handle!!
Inevitably as a mommy you start carrying a mini nursery in your bag (especially if you have multiple kiddos) so my advice is to shop around ladies sure walmart has that sweet insulated polkadot diaper bag with extra pockets BUT have you seen how small those puppies are inside?!!? Seriously not cool, even more so when you are toting around baby wipes, diapers, bottles, favorite blankie, little toys, and possibly snacks and distractions for other siblings! And no one wants to try and juggle a purse AND a diaper bag all while carrying your precious baby! So I learned early that my diaper bag has to carry a small selection of mommys treasures as well so lack of space is a serious no go! Look around find a lg bag that has comfy straps for your weary shoulders and sinve you are going to be carrying this bag everyday for a long while invest in something that suits you. My theory is if its something you enjoy carrying you will forget it less ;) I am still on the hunt for my new diaper bag but the good news is there are some good options out there! So find you a good size comfy diaper bag that suits you!

5. Boppy Pillow!!
This soft horseshoe shaped pillow is a treasure for any mama it is such a simple invention but it is beyond incredible!! I used mine to help keep baby supported and snuggly in the pack and play I used it to help support baby while breastfeeding and then as baby gets older and starts sitting it assists them like a mini lounge chair. I also used it when I wanted some at home pictures I covered it with a blankie and posed baby laying down but propped up ever so slightly to get those big baby blues on camera :) Boppy pillows are fantastic and extremely useful and I loved having it for my other babies and used it all the time!

6.  Receiving blankets!! These are perfect for swaddling baby, for wiping up messes, for throwing over your shoulder as a burp cloth, shade for the stroller or in your car, and using as a nursing cover, using as a make shift bib, for throwing down on those disgusting public bathroom changing tables, or even in a pinch fold and wrap it into a makeshift cloth diaper (when you realize you forgot to refill your diaper bag and are on an outing and left your wallet at home because sometimes that sleep deprivation catches up to you ;)  but receiving blankets are essential and can be so multipurpose and oh so perfect!!

7.  Beauxdreau's butt cream! This is a real thing and it was my cure all for diaper rash and heat rash on little bums and legs found this gem when we lived back in Louisiana and it worked so amazing I will never go back to another diaper cream!

8. Baby bedtime bath wash with lavendar not only is it gentle and get your baby squeaky clean but the lavendar is very soothing and really does help baby sleep in my experience!

9. Lanolin and mini ice packs!!
This one is more for mama... but breastfeeding isnt always easy and as my fellow mommy bloggers can relate,  sorry but but the truth is dry, cracked nips happen (I know TMI but its true) and lanolin is the only thing that made breastfeeding bearable for me after the first week or so (I had double mastitis with both my boys and it was crazy painful and then my supply just dried right up)  but lanolin is amazing and those mini ice packs you can find at walmart or the dollar store that look like little animals or characters (you know the kid booboo cold paks)  are absolutely perfect to soothe sore aching boobies all you do is slip that bad boy in your nursing bra or a comfy sports bra with a lanolin greased nursing pad and just enjoy the cooling relief! Trust me its fantastic!!

10. And the number 10 must have on Shannon's list of must haves... Love!
♥Love♥ is the most important thing you can give to your baby! It's not easy getting up for late night/early morning feedings, sleepless nights are hard especially when you have to get up and try to function the next day! It is hard to give all of your energy to caring for your baby and taking care of the rest of your family when you are absolutely exhausted but if you lead with love you will find it becomes easier to be mommy and more enjoyable to give of yourself for your family. Babies cry and toddlers whine and there will always be a to do list a mile long but the love in your heart for your baby will overcome the hard times and remind you that when you are sacrificing sleep to feed your precious little one you are investing into a tiny person the tiny person that God has blessed you with!

My favorite verse of all time as I have said before is Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" When I get frustrated I try to remind myself that even if I feel all alone or am up in the wee hours by myself soothing a crying baby I am NEVER alone and I remember how truly blessed I am to have a savior who loves me and cares for me every moment of every day just as I love and care for my baby every moment of every day! Love your baby, love your husband, love your kiddos show your family your love and they won't see the unfinished to do list, the times you fail and say things you shouldn't, or when you are feeling worn out and just done all they will see is that you love them and you care about them so much that you are willing to give all of your energy and your whole heart to them because you love them so!!

I am sure there are things we could add to this must haves list but these are my must haves when it comes to baby there are so many things you can get, so much stuff you can fill your house with but I believe the more simplified your wants and needs list is the less stressed you will be and more able you are to be the best mama you can be! Don't stress over the nursery luxury items women back in the day did not have the latest techno baby gadget they did the best they could with what they had and lavished their sweet babies with love! Our parents didn't have some of the baby latest and greatests available to us now and guess what we still survived. What's important is that you find what works for you but remember that your love is what really takes care of your baby not the gadgets!! I absolutely cannot wait to hold and snuggle my precious Baby M and breathe in his fresh baby sweetness! I know there will be late nights and some sleepless nights but I know that God is always faithful He will never give me more than I can handle and He is always with me! I also know that I love my family more than life itself and every little kick I feel throughout the day is a precious reminder of the sweet baby boy that I will be holding in a few more weeks!! I can't wait!!! I am so excited I can barely contain myself!! I love yall and hope that you have a wonderful day and that you hug your sweet families close!

Great big hugs and super excited about baby loves from my crazy house to yours... Shannon :) Sorry, I

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Stripe

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope I find you all very well and deeply enjoying fall weather and prepping for Holidays! For my Canadian friends... I hope your Thanksgiving preparations are going well and that you all have wonderful holidays this week! 

This week I'm going to talk a little bit more about my EDS. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. I've talked about it before, and have given a brief overview about what exactly it is, but I'll give another brief explanation before I move on, just in case anyone missed it or was confused before. I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, type III. This is the hyper-mobile type, which means I'm very... "bendy". My ligaments are very, very loose, resulting in instability in my joints, which causes frequent subluxations (slipping of the joint) and dislocations. 
*This is a VERY brief description

If you remember, about a month and a half ago, I talked about dislocating my shoulder. All I had done was wake up that morning, roll over and reach my right arm across my body to scratch my left arm... POP! Everything went hot and numb and the pain, though familiar, was gradually increasing and intense. And then I stood up. I shouldn't have stood up, but I had to get C out of his crib. I walked in front of my mirror and my shoulder was slumping and I realized I couldn't really move my arm and it was pretty much completely numb. Long story short, I ended up in the ER after getting my shoulder back in and feeling it slip back out. Because of the ER doctor, I did end up seeing my Primary Care Physician (PCP) and seeking a referral to an Orthopedist. My PCP confirmed that my shoulder seemed pretty damaged and she could see some "nasty, extra movement... even more than normal for you". 

So... last week, I finally got to see an Ortho. And!!!! I love her! She has not only heard of EDS, she is actually knowledgeable on the subject. I can tell you (and my EDS friends can confirm) for a fact that finding a doctor who is actually knowledgeable about EDS, as well compassionate toward the patient is so incredibly rare, we expect to need to show up to appointments with definitions, ready to provide a demonstration and still walk away feeling dissatisfied. In fact, the last time I met a doctor who had heard of EDS, was when I dislocated my left shoulder last year. This one was a much more "normal" EDS dislocation. (I will explain later.) This doctor told me that I seemed to have gotten my shoulder back in and should be fine, but how was my pain? I told him that my pain was awful. I had just dislocated and reduced my shoulder all on my own! He said "well, if you really do have EDS, you would be used to this kind of pain. Take some tylenol when you get home." I was floored. I felt like a crazy hypochondriac and as though I was just being pathetic. But no... I really was in pain. I detested that doctor for what he did to my confidence level, so when I met my Ortho last week, I was on cloud nine! My usual "test" to see if a doctor knows anything about EDS is as follows...

Doc: "What's going on today?"
Me: "Well, I have EDS. Do you know what that is?"
Doc: "No. I don't think so. Tell me about it. What does EDS stand for?" (typical response)
Me: "Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome." And then I go on to explain what it is and how it impacts my life, to which I have gotten my share of non-believing looks and doubtful glances. This is when I know that I have just wasted my time. 

But my ortho... this is what SHE said...

Ortho: "So, you hurt your shoulder? How did you injure it?"
Me: "Well, I have EDS. Do you know what that is?"
Ortho: "I don't... wait... you mean Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?"
Me: "Yes!"
Ortho: "Okay... what type are you?" 
Me: "III... Hyper-mobile."

I tell you, I could have kissed her in that moment! Although my PCP did not know what EDS was when I first saw her, I called ahead to warn her about my POTS and EDS, and when I showed up for my first appointment, she walked into the room with books and all kinds of research. I knew I'd be keeping her forever. :) But this Ortho... she is just awesome. I have never talked face to face with any health care professionals, or really anyone at all, who I didn't have to stop talking to every few seconds to offer an explanation or definition. 

 So, anyway... the Ortho did an exam and tested my mobility and range of motion for different types of potential damage. Before I could even finish the test - and in fact, I couldn't - she said that I gave her a positive for labrum damage. The labrum is the cartilage that is inside of the shoulder joint itself. She suspects that I tore my labrum when my shoulder dislocated. However, she did say that in examining my shoulder blade movement, both were bad, but my left was still worse. What's so bizarre about my situation this time around, is that my right shoulder is acting abnormally both for having suffered a dislocation, but also for an EDSer who has just had a dislocation. In a non-EDSer who has suffered a dislocation, the "typical" additional injury that is expected, is to the major ligament in the shoulder; in an EDSer, additional injury is actually not expected in any typical case, mostly because everything is so "stretchy" and usually allows for everything to move back into place without much fight. But this time, I sincerely did have a much harder time getting my shoulder back in. I never had dislocated my right shoulder before, so I'm not sure if this has anything to do with that, although I have had it slip several times in my life. So, the next step for me is to head back to physical therapy (I'm great with it since I get to keep my old physical therapist!), and then to an MRI. After we've gotten a better look at my labrum, we will be able to tell for sure if there is a tear or not. If it's torn, it would most certainly be a surgical issue. However, if it's not, it could or could not be a surgical issue and my Ortho is open to seeing what my PT has to say about what could be done for me as well as how much could be done for me in physical therapy. So, I'm a bit anxious to get this all figured out so I can start to feel better. At this point, I'm just frustrated. It's so hard to lift things, and having baby C by myself is a challenge. Though, at this point I am a little thankful that he's such a peanut! ;)

Speaking of Baby C... He had a check up today... a bit late, but that's just how it goes sometimes! So, even though he's 10 months old this week, it was still his 9 month well-baby check up. Like I said, he's a peanut! But he is growing consistently! He's currently a whopping 16lbs, 7oz and 27 inches long with a 17 inch head! Kid's got a melon on those shoulders. hehe! He also got the first half of his first flu shot. We have to take him back next month to get the second half. I also got the shot today, and it always makes me sleepy! Poor C had a rough afternoon. Yesterday, he cut a new tooth, today he's constipated, AND he got a shot! Poor buddy! He handled the shot well, though. He just got mad for a few seconds and then he was fine. But he was pretty grumpy all afternoon and I can't blame him. I just feel bad, because this time, he is constipated enough that we're going to need to do a suppository. I feel badly for him and for myself. 

Well, that's all I have the energy for today! Next week I want to talk to you all about the other side of EDS: The caregiver's (for lack of a better term) story. 

I hope you all have a beautiful evening and a wonderful Tuesday! 

Zebra love and hugs,
Ashley :)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Such Sweet Memories

Happy Monday and happy Fall, everyone! 

I hope I have found you all doing well and enjoying some cooler weather. I know we have been enjoying cooler temperatures. Over the weekend, we even had some snow flurries! They didn't stick at all, but we did have an overnight freeze of sorts. 

We have this big, beautiful tree in the front yard that froze, as did our bushes and grass! The leaves basically looked like they were glazed over, and were encased in ice. It was really cool! 

Anyway, as the seasons change, so do things in our lives. As we come into fall time, we come into new stages in C's development, and therefore, new stages in our lives. First, let me share on the sleeping front:

C's sleeping has really improved. Despite the fact that he was up a little bit extra last night, for the past week, he has only been waking three times a night to nurse, which is a huge improvement! My goal is to cut down by at least one more, but I'm not gonna push him if he really needs all three of those nursing sessions. Unfortunately, however, he recently discovered that standing in his crib and playing is much more exciting than sleeping. So, that has been a bit of a battle. I have to leave him while he stands and whines, but as soon as he starts screaming, I can go in, lay him down with his "snack" bottle and he is usually good again. But who knows? That could all change at any moment. In any case, this is much easier than battling him screaming and just not wanting to sleep or waking up every 2 hours! Yes, this I can handle. :) 

I have shared that C is becoming much more mobile, and it seems like every day he gets braver and braver. However, he isn't necessarily becoming more coordinated in conjunction with his bravery. I keep telling him that we can continue to baby-proof, but I am not able to remove the walls, so he really just needs to be more aware of his head. This kid is not easily harmed. Seriously... he doesn't cry easily when he bumps his head or falls down. It takes a good smack to get him upset, and typically he just gets more angry than anything. Anyway, as you can imagine from my implications, he is really pulling up on just about any- and everything and really walking along and between furniture. I expect him to surprise us and just take off any day now. And I am not ready at all! Haha! It's all just going way too fast. 

As fall sets in deeper and deeper, I reminisce on where I was this time last year: huge and pregnant. I keep thinking about how all my life, until last year, I dreaded fall and spring. They seemed and felt like useless seasons to me; just annoying transition seasons, until we could get to the fun ones. But last year, I could not wait for the cool-down! I had been blazing hot and sweaty all summer and according to MH, I was radiating heat as his "little human incubator" or "hot brick". Yeah... I agree. It was ridiculous how hot I was my entire pregnancy! Well into October, I insisted that the AC unit be left in our bedroom window. But it wasn't just the cooler temps. I knew that once fall time hit, I didn't have much longer until my little man would be in my arms. So, as I said, I have been reminiscing a lot lately. I've been looking at old pictures... a lot of them, which were never shared with others. Mostly pictures of immediately after C was born. Sadly, I only have a few of Baby C and me right after he was born. I definitely wish I had more, because we plan on having C as an only child, so that was "it" for me. Not that I have regrets... just a few wishes. ;) 

My little man was SUCH a peanut! He still is, sure, but compared to then... he has grown into quite the little boy! :) 

Anyway, as we head into fall, there is so much on the horizon! C will be turning one on 12/12, 7 days later MH and I will celebrate our third Wedding Anniversary on 12/19 and then 6 days later, Christmas! Although C was here for his first Christmas last year, he wasn't quite aware, so I am excited for this year and he'll be all prepped and practiced at unwrapping presents thanks to his birthday! I'm so excited, but also sort of in shock that his birthday is so close. I'm so proud of my little man and all that he has accomplished in his almost 10 months of life. I know he has so much more to learn and give in this world. I can't wait to watch him more and more! 

Well, that's all from me for this Monday post. Sorry it's mostly just me reminiscing and blabbing about C, but he is the center of my world! :) And sorry there are so many pictures, but trust me when I say that I held back. LOL! 

Zebra Hugs and Love,


P.S. Here is what size I was this time last year:

Monday, September 23, 2013

And She Never Peeled Potatoes Again...

Happy Monday, everyone! This is going to be short and sweet, since typing is a bit painful. 

Allow me to jump right in by sharing a short story:

There once was a very clumsy girl. This clumsy girl had a husband and a son whom she loved very much, and they loved her too. She wasn't much of a cook, but her intentions were pure, as she made home made mashed potatoes one day. She was in a hurry, as a party would be starting soon, so she grabbed the peeler and got to work. She peeled those potatoes and quickly as she could so that they could go in the pot as soon as could be. But the quicker she peeled, the clumsier she became, until there was a sudden, sharp, stinging pain on one finger tip. She looked down and alas, a chunk of her finger tip was gone. And that was the last day she ever used a potato peeler. 

Haha... yes. I "peeled" off a good, deep chunk of my middle finger tip, which is used in a lot of typing, so, as I said, this will be short. 

This last week has been really focused on working out C's sleeping habits, as well as MH's and my habits relating to C's sleep. We have a really good new routine down, and it seems to get him calm enough to go right down. The biggest hurdle has been getting him to stay asleep, or, I guess more accurately, to put himself back down calmly when he does wake. As a huge Scentsy fan, I have a warmer [literally] in every room of my house. This includes C's room. Typically, I leave it on at night because it does help to see when I need to go in there and help him out in any way. But this weekend, I realized that it really is quite bright and would bug me if I woke up and the warmer in my own room was on. So, we have gone to pitch black in his room and I'm hoping that does help. Saturday was really quite miserable, as he had a very tough time Friday night. But he is making progress. I just have to remember that. He did have a few nights in a row that he only woke up twice. Saturday night was also a bit rough, but again, I remind myself to take a step back and really look at the night in detail, not just as a whole. What actually did change, despite the things that might appear to have stayed the same? Even those small changes are progress and that keeps me encouraged. I am continuing to read The No-Cry Sleep Solution and it is full of so many helpful hints and great tips, as well as some awesome encouragement in between! 

I wish I had something more interesting to post about, but this has really been our focus lately. 

I continue to receive small comments here and there, but just remind myself that I am making the right decisions for my family; that MH and I are raising our son how it works for us and that makes it right. People say "there is no right or wrong way" when it comes to parenting. But I disagree... there is a right way: your way; the way that you choose for your family, because it works for YOU. That is all that matters. 

Okay, well, that's all my poor middle finger tip can muster for now, so I will be back next week... hopefully with a much more favorable finger tip. :) Have a lovely evening and a beautiful Tuesday! 

Zebra hugs and love,

Sunday, September 22, 2013

They Told Me My Life Was Over

Hey all. Kailly and N here. It's been a while since I posted. Two weeks ago, a dear family member passed away unexpectedly. And, last week, N was in the hospital with the worst tummy bug I have ever seen. Poor girl. It came on so quickly, and she couldn't stop vomiting. She couldn't even keep pedialyte down, so we headed to the ER. All is well now. She and I have both had the virus and we're both doing well.

Any who, not sure what to blog on. My heart has been other places lately, and besides reading the girls posts, I have not even thought about the blog lately.

I guess I'll post about my biggest Mommy pet peeve.

I absolutely cannot stand when people say "well, once this happens, your life is over." Or, "oh, now that she is doing that, prepare for the worst."

Really, people? Maybe with most people, that is the case. I have even heard from another mom, that once her daughter started crawling her life was over.

Maybe I am different. When N first started sitting up on her own, I never thought life was over. When she started to crawl, I was so excited. It was a whole new adventure!

Then, when she started talking rather early, everyone said "life was truly over." Personally, the best time to me is when she talks. I love hearing her voice. I love hearing her say new words as she discovers the world. I love that she communicates so well for her age, and I soak it in!

When she was teething, everyone said welcome to the life of being bitten and sleepless nights. While she has had one or two nights that she hasn't slept well from teething, I think those are when we make the best memories. Those are the nights that she just wants to lie on mommy's chest, and I treasure every second of snuggles as I know one day (sooner than later), my princess won't want to snuggle anymore! And, with the biting, she tried a couple of times when she was angry (angry when I was buckling her in her car seat and she wanted to do it by herself!), and quickly learned that biting is not allowed as it hurts mommy. She hasn't tried since.

And, don't even get me started on walking, or "terrible twos."

If you think every stage as a parent is going to be awful, then it will be. That is what happens when you only look at the negative aspects of being a parent. But, if you look at things positively, and enjoy all the new stages and growth your baby is doing, you will enjoy everything! At least, that is how I try to do things! I am really enjoying watching her learn, grow, and develop into a little lady every day!

Any who, on to more happiness! N is doing so wonderful. She keeps playing peek a boo with me behind the laptop, and then running off laughing. She is such a doll. She is talking a ton! I feel like she has just blossomed into the sweetest little toddler lately!

Here is N from her birthday cake smash pictures. Taken by Shannon Coker Photography! I wanted to add one with her face but her outfit has her name on it. But, this is one of my favorite pictures! A little throwback photo!

I started Christmas shopping the other day as well! Never too early! And, the big Just Between Friends sale is coming up next week, so I'll have a haul post for ya'll after!

Hopefully I will be back on track with the blog soon. Have a good first day of Autumn!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wacky Wednesdays... or Thursdays or.... what year is it again??

Hey yall Shannon (mostly) here. Hope yall are walkin' on sunshine and having a great Wednesday... or Thursday ... or whatever day it might be ... my brain doesn't like functioning lately so my internal calendar is like 5 hours and a day behind... (literally I drafted this blog post last week) but anyway this is going to be one of those random all over the place posts otherwise known as a day in the life post...

I am absolutely, positively convinced that all mamas eventually develop some sort of attention deficit disorder somewhere along the line also known as having children. And it's no wonder we go a little bonkers sometimes...

This was my last week (yester)day...

make coffee nope make breakfast ok get dressed nope get kiddos dressed forget im still in pjs start on dishes break up dueling brothers... realize i have zero clean maternity pants clean so decide I am sure not in a dress mood and toss on my polkadot laundry day leggings finish getting dressed switch over laundry come back to finish dishes realize I wanted coffee...  start to tidy living room... emergency potty break for boys ok done finish tidying living room ... realize I have yet to eat. Eat brunch feed kiddos. Vacuum. Go back to dishes. Emergency potty break for mommy. (Ahh the joys of preggo bladder) get a call from Hubbers "be home late babe, don't forget we have company tonight". Of course I forgot I cant even remember my dag burn coffee that is still as I type sits waiting to be remembered?! Tidy front room. Lunch. Restart forgotten laundry and attempt to find my sanity that has been on vacation somewhere apparently... prepare glazed salmon and herbed rice for dinner guests realize I am wearing black and covered in dog hair do a quick change into presentable clothes. Guests arrive and Hubbers was still not home yet so my gal pal and I took the boys to the park after a mini rainstorm and let them go puddle jumpin to their hearts content. Caught a woman looking at me like I was a crazy person and maybe I am but 1. We live in a desert climate currently and the boys rarely get to experience the joy of puddles. 2. They are MY kiddos not hers. 3. They only get to be little kids once in their life and I plan on making as many amazing and fun memories together as we can especially the messy, mud puddle jumpin kind :) had a short very soggy walk back home.  dinner is served good visit with great company! Bedtime! And that was our day :) and it was wonderful!

I thought just for fun I would post a little preggo survey that I found online... so enjoy

How far along? 27 weeks 1 day

Maternity clothes? recently I have outgrown my last pair of maternity jeans so its either basketball shorts, pj pants, or leggings these days.  I wish i could live in yoga pants!

Weight gain: definitely who doesnt gain weight while preggers??

Stretch marks: yep sure do have them surprisingly not as noticable as when I had Big M

Sleep: Sleep is pretty good, Baby M just decides that 2am-5am is like fight night or somethin

Best moment this week: listening to Middle M talk to my belly and telling Baby M that "he is his big brudder"

Miss Anything? SUSHI!!!!! I have been craving some tasty sashimi since I found out I was preggers!

Movement: oh yes! I love every precious thump and belly surfin moment!

Food cravings: salad and fresh vegetables mostly, chocolate too but thats normal for me haha

Anything making you queasy or sick: certain smells get me bad. Gasoline is not a pleasant smell ever but especially unpleasant while using a k9 unit worthy prego nose And if someone is smoking within a 7 mile radius I know about it and it makes me nauseous!

Gender: BABY BOY!!!

Labor Signs: he recently dropped lower annd is no longer using my ribs as a jungle gym. And a few braxton hicks contractions here and there

Symptoms: heartburn, backaches, and my hips being on fire basically.

Belly Button in or out? Most definitely sporting a half outie these days haha

Wedding rings on or off? Wedding ring still on but my family ring that my sweet Hubbers designed that I wear on my right hand is too tight and had to be stored away.

Happy or Moody most of the time: mood swings like this: happy, anxious, happy, ready to tear off someone's face off amd back to happy and tired

Looking forward to: Getting our nursery squared away and shopping for the cutest little onesies and fuzzy jammies again!

Well everyone I hope yall have an awesome weekend sorry this post was delayed again. Have a fantastic weekend with your loved ones and dont forget to stop and take a moment to make a goofy fun memory like puddle jumpin :)

Hugs and smiles and always polkadot love from our house to yours... Shannon :)