Wednesday, July 31, 2013

To insanity and beyond... or something like that...

Well hi and hello there! :) Shannon here remembering late once again it is my turn to post on le mommy blog. So here I am bear with me as I am struggling with mommy brain AND baby brain for those of you unfamiliar with these terms they are mental conditions that affect women when they are pregnant and/or after they have children causing limited brain function that results in forgetting what you were saying mid sentence and walking into a room and having NO clue why you went in there in the first place... so once again.... umm... where was I... why am I at the computer again?? .... oh yea! ... please bear with my lack of brain haha.  

  Well we are home again and settling back into our routine and busy making preparations for Baby M's arrival!!  My MnM's got bunk beds and moved into the same room to make way for the nursery coming soon :) They LOVE their new beds and think it is the coolest thing ever! I do foresee a few bunk bumps and bruises especially as my boys will ALWAYS be boys and find some way to turn any type of furniture into a way to propel themselves through the air and crashing into various objects. "They fly through the air with the greatest of ease *CRASH*BANG*KABOOM* those daring young men on the flying (bunk bed) trapeeze" Typically though not too much damage to report. No blood no foul eh? But inevitably bunk beds will bring with them a whole new level of daredevil and circus-esque feats of danger but oh the stories I will get to share with them later on ;) haha ...
 Other baby preparations include starting to baby proof and washing baby blankies and a few very cute onesies to store away until Baby M is born. We still do not know if Baby is a boy or girl yet but we are about a week and a half away from our ultrasound where we get to find out! Trust me there WILL be a special bumpdate post to announce team pink or team blue and I can't wait!!

Speaking of bumpdates... We are 20 weeks preggo today!! This means we are officially halfway to insanity and beyond... at least I think that's how it goes anyway. I am incredibly excited and I have definitely been feeling some good little kicks from Baby lately! That's one of my most favorite parts of pregnancy is feeling those very first little movements where baby says, "Hi mama I'm for sure growin' in here. *kick* Just gettin' cozy ugh this umbilical cord keeps getting in my way when I cartwheel... hey mom *kick*tug on the cord* WOMB SERVICE please?" :)
But anyhow I am just so excited!! I keep telling Hubbers that I can't wait to see how our MnMs react to the new baby! I am excited and anxious to bring the 'baby dynamic' back into our family again. It will be interesting transitioning from my more and more independent boys to a completely dependent infant again. I am just so unbelievably excited and can't wait to see how our family adapts and grows and I know that soon after we have Baby M it will be hard to ever imagine how our lives were without him or her! I can't wait until our routine changes but for now back to trying to return to our normal lives home from vacation :)

 Getting back into our routine includes me attempting to tackle my daily tasks and to do list. Somehow though carrying a small cantaloupe sized baby makes laudry, dishes, and vacuuming far more difficult lately but as we all know laundry waits for no mom! Also getting back into my routine means getting full force back into my Scentsy business and though I did take my Scentsy inventory with me and make sales on vacation I am now back at my "home office" and absolutely ready to fill the rest of my calendar up with new parties, events, and fundraisers so please do let me know if you are interested! :) Also EXCITING news Scentsy has now expanded to Mexico and Australia so if you are in these areas or know anyone in these countries looking for an independent Scentsy Consultant or looking for an opportunity to start their own business please check out my website or pass it along to your friends and family (pretty please with sugar on top :)  thanks so much! I just LOVE Scentsy and just can't believe just how much being part of Scentsy has blessed my life so far!

I just love my crazy, messy, busy life!! Every single day my MnMs surprise me with sweet things they say and hysterical situations that make me just shake my head and laugh. I love when they act too cool to do something they think is too 'little' for them because they remind me that they are big boys now but I also smile to myself when they are havin' a rough moment and they just need a snuggle from mama ;) I love being a mama! I love being a wife! I love being a part of the Scentsy Family, a company that I really believe in and makes me feel valued and important! I love feeling Baby M's kicks and I can't wait to meet Baby! I love how busy my days are and how crazy life gets but overall I just love how incredibly blessed my life is and I thank God for each and every blessing in my life! I just can't wait to see what 'insanity' tomorrow brings!

Well y'all I am oober sleepy and if I stay up much longer I will turn into a preggo pumpkin. Cinderella had til midnight but my body says 9:30-10:30pm Tops! So off to bed I go but I do hope each of you had a fantastic today and that you will have an even better tomorrow!! 

Wishing you sweet dreams and beautiful mornings...
Snuggles, hugs and polkadot love in the midst of my crazy
... Shannon :)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Home again home again...

Hey y'all! This Shannon and the MnMs reporting live from our polkadot HQ! We arrived home safely and are attempting to get back into our usual everyday routine but after being surrounded by super helpful aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and ggparents this mama is feeling a bit lonesome and stretched a little thin. See while we were on vacation I had several extra hands that were willing to help control the chaos and now that we are home again and it's just me with the MnMs during the day I miss those oh so wonderful helping hands and extra pairs of running shoes to help keep up with my super active boys! Whew! I guess I just got a little spoiled being able to sit and put my feet up for a bit now it's back to the reality of laundry and dishes and vacuuming and other day to day tasks haha back to real life where grocery shopping happens and the fridge doesn't magically replenish itself (because someone else did the shopping) and dishes in the sink don't just disappear because helpful cousins and aunts and grandmas have already done them ... Haha it was truly delightful to just relax and not have to really do anything except enjoy the wonderful time with family and watch my littles get spoiled with attention and hugs and kisses! :) and now we are back to our own home base with plenty to do and less hands to accomplish it all ;) and yet we press on :) life continues after vacation and though I'm still basking in the tan afterglow of the California trips to the beach and much enjoyed visits with family we are home again and my to do list didn't shrink while we were gone haha :) so hi ho hi ho it's off to work I go :) we have so many exciting projects in the works to prepare for our coming soon newest addition!! :) and with that said .....

We are officially 19 weeks and a day and super excited to find out if our Baby #3 is team pink or team blue! Our ultrasound keeps getting rescheduled later and later (ahh the joys of a crowded military hospital) but such is life and anticipation is half the fun so we just get to be excited a bit longer ;) our little MnMs have been sharing our excitement in their own ways too Little M has been talking to my belly and asking baby to come out to play and giving baby hugs and kisses. And Big M is all too excited and proud to announce that he is the BIG brother and actually Hubbers walked in on the cutest little discussion between the MnMs he said it went somethin like this... Big M: I the BIG brother! Little M: I a big brudder too now. Big M: no, you're small... You're the little brother cuz you're just. you're tiny... Little M: (more indignant) I a big brudder too now!! Big M: yea well you're the LITTLE big brother! (How stinkin' adorable is that?!?) we are all super excited for our littlest one to join us! My sweet Hubbers introduced himself to baby last night and asked baby to "thump once if you are a boy and thump twice if you are a girl"... We got several little thumps so I think somehow we got a little lost in translation haha :) can't wait to get to see our little one and officially meet baby M! :) 

So excited now it's off to fold some laundry and finish up my daily to do list :) which includes lunch for the munchkins and hopefully a nice rest time for everyone!! Well I'm off to whistle while I work. Hope y'all have a wonderful day whether you are vacationing or whistling while you work too :) 

Wishing you clean kitchens and mountains of folded laundry. Great big preggo hugs, smiles, and polkadot loves from me to you!! 
Shannon :) 


Happy Monday, everyone! 
Ashley Here! 
I hope you all had a fantastic weekend and a good first day of your week. :) 

This weekend, MH and I got to take baby C to the parade in town. I had taken him on Friday with a friend, but we went again on Saturday, since Friday was a little shorter and had a few different things to see. We had a lot of fun and baby C loved the horses! He also really enjoyed the high school marching band and got really excited and even laughed when the drum line passed in front of us. No surprise there, since MH is a drummer. Still, before all the fun could happen, we had to wait. The parade passed down the street that intersects with ours, just two houses down, as well as the one another block down. Still, we wanted to get a good spot, and preferred to find one in the shade if possible. So, we left the house early and went to the street down the block and walked around a bit until we found a good, shaded spot. But that didn't take as long as we'd thought. So, for another 30 minutes, we just stood and waited. Finally, the canon fired, signaling the start of the parade, but no one came immediately, since we were in the middle-ish of the first street that they would all be passing down. Being 7 months old, missing his nap, and simply done being patient, C turned to MH and I after the canon fired (and he jumped), looked at us very sweetly and said, "buh-bye". Haha! He was very done with the waiting. But once people and cars and horses began to pass, he was happy once again. Like I said, he loved the horses and the marching band. But he also really enjoyed the tractors! 

Baby C and me waiting for the festivities to begin! :)

Anyway, it was a good weekend overall. MH did work from home for a good portion of it, but I must confess that I don't mind it so much. It's nicer to at least have him in the house and around, even if he has to work; as opposed to him being gone so much. 

Last week, I started something kinda crazy. A sort of research and experiment all combined. I'm beginning a my journey into a greener, healthier, more organic lifestyle. Although MH and I have not begun our "juicing journey" yet, I have started my research and quest for GMO-free grocery brands. If you don't know what a GMO is, it stands for genetically modified organism, and they are in most, if not all of the foods that you eat, the bags of food that you feed your pets, and even the formula and/or baby food you are giving to your child. They are not good for us. Then why would the FDA let these foods on to our shelves?, you ask. Well, it's as simple as this: the FDA is self-regulated. Why would they want to make more work for themselves? Sure, there is more that goes into it than that, but I personally find that to be scary enough. 

For more information on GMOs and their dangers to our diets as well as our local communities, check out This is a blog that I have sort of started on the side, as I embrace the "green girl" inside of me. :) I also provide a shopping guide to attempting to establish a GMO-free diet. There are two separate resources; each of which breaks your shopping list down into categories, such as chicken and fish, meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables, baby, pets, and more! 

Something else that I have started to research is safe cosmetics. I have been doing research on and off for a good couple of months, and you would not believe what we are putting into our bodies through our pores, hair, eyes, and more! I won't go into it all here, but I will be posting about my findings this week on I just wanted to share, because this has become a huge part of my life.   

So many things about me have changed since becoming a mommy, and I think I'm most shocked to find that I'm so much more concerned about leaving behind a beautiful world for my child and grandchild(ren). I have been overcome by this great desire to reduce our family's paper waste; to shield my son from harmful chemicals; to spare my child a diet full of preservatives, sugars and junk. The list goes on! Sure, people think I'm weird and I've been called a hippie, but I honestly find that to be a compliment. I love the idea of being viewed as a peace-loving, tree-hugging, world-sparing "hippie". However, I like how my sister put it to me: "You're not even a hippie. You just care about what you put into your body and what you take from this world." She is so right. Sure, it's going to be a lot more work. Heck, it's even going to cost a little more to live an organic life. But it is so worth it to me. I can at least live my life knowing that I'm doing my part to keep this world a little more beautiful, and to keep my body a little healthier and my life a little longer... all for my son. I would do anything for that kid! Well, this post isn't going to be too long but I hope you enjoyed it anyway. And I hope you have a fantastic evening! 

Zebra hugs and love...
Ashley :)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

My first 9-1-1 experience

Hey all. Kailly here. I probably should've kept a few more weeks on my blog leave, as it has been crazy busy around here lately. But, I am happy to be posting today. I figured we all love to hear about scary stories that happen to others, so here is mine.

I had to call 911, for N. And, I was terrified.

It was a Tuesday afternoon. N turned one exactly one week prior. We were playing in the living room since we had just finished lunch. N has a playroom in our front room, but she also has a ton of toys in our living room. Most of our days are spent going between the two rooms, or out running errands or on playdates!

Any way, I sat in our recliner for a moment to take a drink. When I turned back, N was reaching up for me. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I lifted her from the ground, with sound effects and she smiled so large. I ALWAYS look in N's mouth when she smiles. I have always been deathly afraid of her choking. Didn't see anything. She was being silly and then wanted to snuggle.

Suddenly, I notice she was chewing on something. Now, she is teething, so she sometimes seems to chew and there is nothing there. I instantly force her mouth open and reach my fingers in. I couldn't find anything. I keep looking. Then, she swallowed. And, screamed bloody murder. Seriously, I have never ever heard anyone, adults included, scream like she screamed. She sounded like her insides were being torn open. I was calling my husband before she started choking to tell him I was losing my mind. He answered the phone as soon as the screaming started. I said "I have to go. Something is wrong. Calling 9-1-1." Click. He later said that was the scariest moment of his life and just started praying. We were a 1 car family at the time, and he didn't have a way to get to me. So he just prayed his heart out.

I call 9-1-1. The woman answers asking my address and emergency. I give it to her, and she tells me she needs to transfer me. By now, N is limp in my arms and blue. She wasn't very responsive. I tell the woman " Don't you F-ing transfer me. She's choking. Help." Soon after another guy answers. He asks what I am doing to help her and I tell him. I had her in my arms, on her tummy, patting her back hard, and clearing her mouth out. He asks if she is breathing. I say "barely." He then says let's start CPR. At that moment she starts coughing and puking. Throwing up a ton of spit, bubbles, lunch, icky stuff. And then she just starts sobbing in between her dry heaves. He said to me "Thank God she is breathing. Let her cry, throw up, anything she wants." So, I did. Within minutes firefighters, paramedics, and police were coming in. They all wore different color gloves to try and keep N at ease. They were so sweet to us. They checked her vitals and said whatever it was would pass in a couple of days. They asked if we wanted to go to the hospital. I asked their opinion, and the main guy said he wouldn't. He said she was breathing well, and her color was getting better by the minute so we could stay home and rest.

I had no idea what she choked on at the time. That was my biggest fear. I was on the phone with my friend J about an hour later, crying and so upset and in shock. By now, my princess was asleep in my arms. While I was talking to her, it hit me. I bet it was confetti.

You see, right after N's first birthday, we hosted a bachelorette party in our home. One of the girls brought the little metal confetti, you know the ones I'm talking about, right? The little metal colored stars in gold, blue, green and red. Oh, and the other ones that look like ~. I asked her not to put them out, but she chose to anyway, without me knowing until afterwards. My reasoning? We had two babies at the shower. N, and a 10 month old little boy.

Any way, days passed and vacuums ran. But, somehow I missed a piece of confetti. I knew at that moment that is what it was. The sharp sides scraping her throat hurt her so badly, and then it turned and blocked her airway. Two days later, I found out I was right. A blue confetti star. I felt betrayed in my own home. And, angry. But, I've let it go. Overall, the only thing that matters  is that N is okay. I took her into her pediatrician right after she choked. She said her throat was cut a bit but she came out very well.

So, thought I would share. That was by far the scariest day in my life. Twice while blogging, I've had to stop to wipe my tears. And, more than once I've started shaking feeling like I was going to throw up. But, I thank God every single day for letting me keep her with me, and for protecting her. I am so thankful for my little girl each and every day. And, even more so now, since that scary day a little over a month ago.

See you next week.


Monday, July 22, 2013

My turn Monday Update

Hello, everyone and happy Monday! Sorry you didn't hear from me last week. As I mentioned to you all on Monday evening, I had a very upset baby boy who cut his second tooth. Tuesday didn't prove to be much easier. 

We're doing better though. The weekend was a little difficult. If you remember, I mentioned that MH and I were going to be playing a gig with the band that we're in. Well, we played Friday night, and it went well, but no one showed up. There are several details, but basically, we won't be playing at that particular bar again. We'll be happier to stick to other venues. 

Anyway, it was our first night away from baby C and it was so hard for me to let him go. The report is that he did well, but he just wanted to be with MH and I all the next day. He was not interested in napping, which was even harder on him, since he just didn't sleep as much as he normally does. He was just fussing and fighting all day and wanted to nurse and nurse and nurse. I, of course, let him. But I was exhausted too! It's not as though I slept long and deeply, just because I didn't have a baby to get up with. MH and got home around 2:15/2:30, and finally got to bed around 3:00. So, we slept until about 8:30. Still not a whole lot of sleep there. I probably didn't fall asleep until about 4:00. It was so weird not having my baby boy here! Still... it was nice to get out for a night and have a good time with my husband and some friends! 

This is going to be a short post, and I hope you'll forgive me. I have a post I'm really wanting to write, but I want to be sure and do my research first. In the meantime, this next week, MH and I are going to start "juicing". I recently completed a 30 day ab challenge. I've been following up with a daily exercise and fitness app on my phone so I can maintain the progress I've made. I can truly say that I'm in the best shape I have ever been in and MH agrees! He says that I was tiny when we met, but I've never looked better! It's so nice to hear, having a 7 month old. So I'm working to move MH and I to a healthier overall lifestyle. The workouts and exercises don't mean a whole lot if I don't maintain a healthy diet. This is all stuff that I want to pass down to baby C. I don't want him to grow up in a house full of junk food. I didn't. But when I moved out on my own, I realized that I could eat how ever I wanted to! I didn't appreciate the healthy way of living and eating that my mom and dad had introduced us to at a young age. Now, as a mom, I want to ensure that both MH and I will be around for a long time and that C will grow up strong and healthy. One of my biggest fears as a mom is that he could end up being obese. So... healthy, pure juices will be introduced to our diet next week, once I have finally picked up the juicer and all of the recipes and ingredients! Because MH and I are not the same body types, we will not necessarily be juicing with the same recipes. There are SO many out there! There are recipes for weight loss, heart health, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, immunity boosts, and oh, so much more! I hope to chronicle our journey and results here with all of you! 

Quick update on Baby C: As I already mentioned, he cut his second tooth! Mommy and Daddy both have felt a molar working its way up and down! Can't even believe that! He's also working on his two upper front teeth. He is scooting and scooting around and trying to crawl, but not quite figuring out the arms and the legs at the same time. He's great at digging his toes into the carpet and scooting himself with his arms. Or he'll lay his face flat on the floor, stick his butt straight in the air and push himself with his legs, while his arms are down by his sides. Haha! He cracks me up! 

Well, that's all from me for this Monday evening! I hope you have a fabulous week! 

Zebra hugs and love, 

Ashley :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Vacation News!

Hey y'all Shannon here checkin in right quick before I head off to bed :) 

We are vacationing in sunny California Big M and Little M are just lovin' spending time with grandma and the ggparents and we are all enjoying the time with our sweet family! :) 

Vacation update: we went up and spent the day at Carpenteria had a wonderful time splashing and playing in the ocean together. My boys favorite game was to run and chase the waves out and then run when they came back in... They had so much fun!! Little M and I decided to beach comb for a bit and we searched for buried treasure which looked an awful lot like broken seashells and striped ocean rocks ;) but we had a TON of fun on our little treasure hunt! Big M and I played in the sand a bit and snacked a lot on our little beach picnic :) Hubbers even got in on the fun and tried his hand (and feet) at surfing :) we all had a blast at our day at the beach! 

Today the Ggparents took us to a fun local cafe run by retired firefighters the boys got to ride in Ggpa's fancy old truck and thought that was all that and a bag of potato chips!! it was delightful and the food was super delicious!! We all had a great time visiting over breakfast and our MnMs even got to try on some old fire helmets and gear :) 

After breakfast Hubbers and I loaded up our MnMs and headed down to Sea World in San Diego! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! Had a momentary heart attack moment when we found ourselves separated from our Little M but by the Grace of God we were happily reunited and this hysterical mama can rest easy tonight! But after our little incident we still managed to see another show and enjoy the rest of our Sea World adventure! The boys favorite exhibit was the shark encounter and the penguins! We saw turtles, and sea lions, whales exotic birds, dolphins, and lots of tourists one group that wanted to take a group picture with a giant bottle of milk (go figure huh) but anyhow we had a wonderfully amazing time together enjoying sea world as a family!

A few things I've learned here in California so far 1. A day at the beach is less relaxing when you are preggo and chasing/splashing/beachcombing two smallish boys! 2. It would seem that almost all of the Californian turn signals are broken! Good grief. 3. Sea world is huge and when you are doin the prego waddle through up and down hill all day it is exhausting work! Still managed to have an absolutely wonderful day!!! 

Had so much fun and very much enjoying our special family vacay!! :) we are 18 weeks and a day sorry bumpdate pics to come soon camera is on the fritz! But anyhow as ever polka dot hugs and love to you ... Shannon :) 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Vacation all I ever wanted!!

Hello lovelies! We are in our home state of Colorado visiting with my folks the kiddos are havin' a blast soaking up all the grandma grandpa time they can!! :) and I am not complaining about having extra helping hands when it comes to our fearless MnMs  ;) we have a limited amount of leave time so we always try to squeeze as much fun into the time we have so we've been on fun overload lately when we first got in my sweet mama was trying to over feed everyone we all tease her because its like the minute we step foot in her house she offers us food and a warm blanket she is our most favorite flight attendant while we are on vacation! ;) haha but we have been playing dinosaurs and cars with the littles we got to have a Monopoly game night the other day after the kiddos went to bed and we got to have poker night Texas Hold 'em is a favorite :) (only using play chips no real bets lol) we got to see some of our local friends and spend some time playing at a splash park and then we got to meet up with my old high school friend and previous guest poster Mallory and her sweet littles had some lunch and then let the kiddos play their little hearts out and yesterday afternoon we took the MnMs and my youngest brother to see Despicable Me 2 in 3D!! We had a blast!!! :) they loved their glasses and got all excited when the lights turned off. We did have a few hiccups where the boys wanted to wander a bit but they did overall really well sitting through the movie :) good job kiddos mama is proud! Today I have a few meetings/visits scheduled with dear friends and some awesome Scentsy customers (I brought my inventory and samplers with me on our vacation have Scentsy will travel) :) tonight I'm planning on making some yummy supper and we are hopin to do another game night but we shall see how the boys feel about that ;) I just love that we get a chance to see family and friends!! I love my family and my pals! And ps to my local friends know that if we don't get a chance to see y'all this go round we will be back up for baby #3's baby shower ;) see you then! Until my next post update love y'all and thanks for sharing our vacay with us :) 

Well y'all that does it for me for a bit but I hope y'all are havin a great sunshine-y summer and that you are having a great time making family memories (we sure are!!) love y'all much! 

Sending y'all some extra summer sunshine smiles and polkadot prego hugs and love ...  Shannon :)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Music, Mind Riot, and Me

Hello, everyone! 
I hope you all had a spectacular weekend and a fantastic 4th of July, celebrating with friends and family! MH and I got to spend the day with some family from out of town and it was an absolute blast! Baby C got to play with his cousins (3 yrs. old and 2 months old) on his Mia's (MH's mom) side ofthe family. All in all, the day was a success. Baby C did great the whole day and enjoyed being outside! Our Vampire Baby (we call him this since he is a winter baby) even got some sun!

Tonight, I want to share with you all one of my favorite past times: Anything involving music.

Music has been a very major part of my life for as long as I can remember. I can't imagine my life without music! I started to sing in my first choir at church when I was 5 or 6 years old and continued to sing in church groups all the way through high school. When I was 9, I started playing my main instrument : french horn. I also grew up around piano, a dad who sang and played guitar and saxophone, a mom who sang and played clarinet in school, an older sister who also sang and played alto and bass sax,  and a younger sister who also sang, tried violin, but mainly played flute. In my own life, I have also played guitar, oboe, piano, flute, alto sax, mellophone, and several others that I simply tried for fun! But I remember my earliest influence of music was from my Grandma - my mom's mom. She played piano and even gave lessons, so any time we were at her house when I was little, I always tried to find a reason to play her piano. And she encouraged it! I remember that until we could memorize the keys ourselves, she had a little key chart that she would put in front of our fingers. Once I could play without it, I remember feeling so accomplished! I still love piano, and it is still one instrument that I wish I had put more time and effort into. 

After piano, I was in Elementary school, when I was suddenly going to be allowed to start band - real band as opposed to music class with a recorder - and of course, I wanted to be like all the other girls in my grade and play flute. However, the school didn't have loaners for more than a certain number of students, and my parents weren't going to shell out that kind of money for a 9-year-old, who likely wouldn't sick with it! So, I just sort of had to choose from what instruments the school had left to loan. There was a tuba, a trombone, and a french horn. Being far too small for either the tuba or trombone, and just barely big enough to hold the french horn... I chose the horn. For a long time, I had to strap my horn to a mini dolly-cart and wheel it to and from school, because even though I could pick it up, I couldn't lift it high enough to keep it from dragging on the ground. I felt like such a huge nerd. I resented my parents for not buying me the skinny little sweet flute and forcing me to choose from such large, burly instruments. But I came to fall in love with the rich, golden, round sound of the french horn and even competed in Solo and Ensemble competitions and continued to play all the way through high school. In College, I picked up the mellophone (the marching band "sister" to the french horn) and fell in love with it too. It was in middle school, when I switched districts and was a year and a half ahead of everyone, that I chose to double up and also playa oboe in band. That was also the time that I started to play around with other instruments, and showed interest in my older sister's sax. 

Now band was all well and good, but my biggest passion was singing. I used to wander around the house singing sometimes, rather than actually speaking. I made up songs of my own constantly and was involved in singing in any way that I possibly could be, as soon as I was allowed. This started in church in the kid's choir. When I was older, I sang in the bands for youth groups and in school, I took choir from 5th grade all the way through high school, also competing along the way, as well as participating in honor choirs and the Colorado Springs Chorale. I entered College with a vocal scholarship, declaring a Vocal Performance Major. 

I still sing all the time. All through my pregnancy, I sang to baby C in my belly. I sang him show tunes, country music, Disney sound tracks, Celtic Woman, Dave Matthews, Ingrid Michelson, Lady Gaga... any and everything that came on the radio or my Pandora stations, I sang to him. And that is how I still am. In fact, I rarely sing actual lullabies for C. His favorites are "Eet" by Regina Spektor, "Sweet Child" by Guns 'N' Roses, the acoustic version of "Hey Ya" by Outkast, as performed by Obediah Parker, and "Some Nights" by Fun!. Music is a very important part of my life! Fortunately, it is also a very important part of MH's life, and he also sings, masters the guitar, and commands a drum set! Together, MH and I play in a band called Mind Riot. We've been a part of it for a few years now and it is such a wonderful outlet of that part of ourselves. (We do have Friday night music nights before bedtime with Baby C, though.) With Mind Riot, we have had the opportunity to play several gigs in bars around our community and it has been a blast! In fact, I continued singing while I was pregnant with Baby C and continued until I was 6 months along. He used to kick and kick the most whenever we would perform a bass-heavy song and he still loves music like that. He most commonly falls asleep to Fun! in the car or any type of dub step. Haha! I love that kid! Each day when I am doing dishes or working in the kitchen, I stick him in his high chair and we rock out to some Disney sound tracks and show tunes. 

Anyway... back to our band, Mind Riot. These last few weeks, we have been meeting to practice for a sort of "come back" gig which is next weekend. It'll be our first gig since I stopped performing with the band and we got a new, awesome freakin' guitar player! I am so excited but so nervous! So much has changed for me. Pregnancy really changed my voice and my range, so it has been a serious challenge for me lately. And this has made me uncomfortable. I haven't really struggled with much since starting with Mind Riot, so it is frustrating for me to have a hard time or to say that I really can't do a song. I'm re-learning my voice in a sense. Still, I am very excited! But I am also scared because it will be my first time leaving baby C overnight, and I'm just not ready... though I don't know when I would really be ready. But now I have so much to think about. Having time and the ability to practice is hard enough. I have to figure out how long we'll be practicing, make sure C will have enough bottles and be sure to make time to pump while I'm at practice. Now, I have the challenge of making sure that C has enough milk for bottles overnight, trust that someone other than me will wake up with him to feed him, find time and a place during the gig to pump, and make sure that I can save enough milk for him, while I'm using his stash for the practices leading up to the gig itself. I simply don't pump a whole bottle's worth at once when I'm away from C. So it usually takes me two pumping sessions to make up a whole meal for him. This is by biggest source of anxiety. But when I am at practice, I have such a great time being with my friends and other grown-ups and singing again! And I know that when we are playing our gig, I will have such a blast! 

More than just a source of fun, Mind Riot has been a great source of musical challenge for me. Yes, we are mainly a cover band, but this actually tends to present more of a challenge than if we only did our own originals. If we were writing all of our own songs, I might get into a groove of comfort and make sure that I'm not too challenged, vocally. But covering a song that already exists with its own challenges, pushes me out of my comfort zone. More than that, I have been exposed to performing styles of music that I had never even considered for myself! I have been pushed to question my motives and emotion behind performing a certain song. In College, though I would have the opportunity to select solos that evoked emotion and I felt a connection to, I was constantly much more focused on the technicality of the piece. Now, with Mind Riot, MH is constantly reminding me to make technicality secondary. This is very difficult for me sometimes! But it has been so good for me! It is refreshing for my voice, rejuvenating for my soul, and freeing for my mind! 

Alright, well, thanks for hanging in for all of that. I could honestly go on and on about the role that music plays in my life. But I won't. ;) 

For now, I hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday! 
Zebra love and Hugs,

Friday, July 5, 2013

What Mommyhood has taught me.

Hey all. Kailly here! Long time no chat! Wanted to give an update while I have some time.
First, and most importantly, N just turned ONE! Seriously, one. I can't believe my baby girl is one. How the french toast did this year pass so quickly? A year ago I was holding my darling 7 lb 5 oz baby and now I have a quick moving, belly laughing, 21 pound princess! Holy smokes!

So... what have I learned in my first year as a Momma?
Well, I can tell you one thing about mommyhood! I was born to be a Mom to N. She is the light of my life. She takes my breath away on a daily basis and I catch myself staring at her in awe every few minutes. I never ever thought I would be a Mommy to the most beautiful, sweet, compassionate, loving, extremely intelligent little girl. God really blessed me.
We made it through a year of breastfeeding as well! Well, 3 months of nursing and nearly 10 of exclusively pumping. Oh my word, that is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Seriously.
I have learned that I can't always do things to please others. I need to do things for my family and myself, not for others. That's a hard one for me. I have always been a bit of a pushover, and I get walked on easily, but I really am starting to push back and do things for me and my family first, instead of what everyone else wants me to do.

I have truly found who my true friends are, and I am still learning. As soon as I got pregnant, some fled. Now that I have a one year old, my friend group has become smaller and smaller. But, I have made some new friends near where I live that truly keep my sanity! As a mom, you have to make friends close by! It truly will make things easier.

People that do not have children will not understand most things. They won't get why you can't go out for a late dinner, even though you need to put your baby to bed. They don't understand that sometimes you will need to cancel plans because your babysitter called and cancelled. They don't understand why they saw you tons before you had a baby and don't see you now. The same for phone calls and texts. The once immediately answered text may go hours before I get a chance to write back. Such is life.

My body will never be what it was when I was in High School. But, I am proud of my body! I weigh less now than I did before pregnancy, and wear smaller jeans, but I have more curves. I love my body. I love that I carried a baby! And, I loved my pregnant body so much; but, I do love the body I have now! I always see that FB post about tiger stripes (stretch marks) and it always makes me smile. I didn't get stretch marks when I was pregnant, but I do understand the message and I appreciate it!

Being a Mom is flipping hard! Way harder than I thought! My daughter is so awesome, and laid back, but there are days that I sit down for the first time after 4 or 5 hours and realize I am exhausted. There are days my husband and I bicker because we both have different parenting styles. Half the time, the bickering isn't even worth it. We don't mean to, but sometimes you just can't help it! You know?

I will say though I wouldn't change anything. I love N more than life itself. She is my sunshine. She makes me laugh so many times each and every day! I beam with pride around her and will never lose that happiness. She is such a blessing. I love that I am home with her each and every day. 24/7 she is the center of my attention. I could sit here and brag about her forever but I won't!

The last couple of months have been so busy for us! With N's birthday party, and N's Godparents getting married, we have been jampacked for 8 or 9 weeks now! All three of us were in the wedding and we had so much fun! N walked down the aisle with me, and all three of us danced down the aisle after the ceremony. We are so happy for her Godparents!!!

I have been SO blessed. Not only with the wedding stuff, or the birthday party, but just in life, with N and my family!

                                                          Here is N and I at the wedding.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Very Belated Bumpdate!

Hey y'all Shannon here. Sorry I've been pretty much MIA lately. Raising toddlers and growing a baby at the same time is for sure a full time job!! :) but speaking of growing a baby ...

 BUMPDATE!!! We are 16 weeks along today and both growing and healthy :) I have been feeling little thumps and flutters the best way to explain it is it feels like a little cricket scurrying across the inside of my belly :) it's so amazing to feel the movements of our unborn child!  I have always loved that the most when I am preggers! The feeling of carrying another life inside of me is the most amazing experience! Knowing that we are being blessed with another precious baby my heart is full to bursting I am so excited to find out whether we are staying team blue or adding a little pink to our little family!! We will be making that announcement at the end of this month :) and I can't wait! 

 We have been very busy these days getting ready to travel to see family we are all super excited to get out of the desert for awhile!!! I feel so incredibly blessed that we are able to travel and that in our travels the Just ASK team will be reunited for a bit :) I just love my wonderful friends and I'm SO excited to see my partners in crime! Ashley and Kailly I cannot wait to see yall!!! And i just cant wait to give princess N and little Mr C great big hugs!  

I am so excited for our upcoming family vacation and I hope to keep posting short vacay updates for y'all but if I don't get a chance to post much please forgive my absence again :) love y'all and hope y'all are having a fandibulously amazing summer and have a Happy Independence Day America!! God bless the USA! I hope y'all have a wonderful day with your friends and family and remember the soldiers and families that aren't able to be together right now. To my sweet friends that are in the middle of a deployment right now and for you friends that have soldiers that are deploying soon I will be praying for you and your soldiers they are the reason we can continue to celebrate our Independence Day! The land of the free BECAUSE of the brave!! God bless you all and goodnight! 

Our little MnMs checking out one of the tanks on post in front of the museum. :) 

Red, white, and blue hugs and polkadot preggo love... Shannon :) 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Bananas, carrots and peaches, oh my!

Happy Monday, everyone! Ashley comin' at ya this rainy Colorado evening, feeling so relieved that we are getting some really good moisture, what with all the fires my beautiful state has seen already this Summer. You may or may not have heard about the big Black Forest fire that burned more than 500 homes and claimed 2 lives, as well as those of countless animals. It was absolutely devastating after the city experienced the Waldo Canyon fire last Summer which destroyed more than 400 homes. At the same time as the Black Forest fire, several others were burning across the state, including one at the Royal Gorge. Then just before they could get the Black Forest fire contained, A fire started down near my home, which has spread and now branched off into two more fires. It breaks my heart to see my beautiful home state burning, and I know several other states are being hit hard, as Canadians are being flooded. It's just a sad, sad Summer around the continent! In any case, here in Colorado, the rain is much appreciated. 

I want to take a moment, though and offer so much appreciation to the first responders in all of these tragic incidents! This morning I woke up to find the news that 19 firefighters were killed in Arizona as they fought a blaze that caught up. This crew of individuals was the first in to try and gain some kind of containment. Let us all offer up gratitude to these heroes for their valiant efforts; and let's all send up thoughts, prayers, what have you for each of their families in the wake of this tragedy. 

Now, I'm sorry to switch the topic so suddenly, but I want to talk to you all about our adventures in solid foods with Baby C! I am so excited about it and I want to share with you this trending new method and the benefits behind it, as well as some research as to why it could be a good idea for you. Now, please note that I understand that this could be a bit controversial as parents will be defensive of their choices in raising their children. Understand that I am not saying that you are wrong if you choose to use a different method, I am just sharing what has worked for our family, because I am excited about it! Also understand that I am not an expert, but rather just another mom who probably reads too much and researches everything before coming to a final decision about making any changes in baby's life. ;) So if you'll humor me tonight, I hope you'll come away with some good ideas for your own family! 

The method that we are using to introduce solids to Baby C is called Baby-led Weaning, or BLW. Now I recently learned that the US is one of the only countries to use the word "wean" to mean "to take away". In this case, it simply refers to "an introduction". It is advised that you wait until 6 months of age to begin BLW or introducing solids (other than cereal) because baby has a porous gut. This can cause baby some great difficulty in digesting new foods and can cause severe constipation, espeically if baby has been exclusively breast fed. Formula fed babies may experience constipation at a much younger age, because of the un-changing fat content and heaviness of formula, as opposed to that of breast milk. The BLW approach actually skips cereal all together. It is thought that the introducion of cereal isn't sincerely necessary for baby. And the tradition of adding it to baby's bottle in hopes that he/she will sleep longer is now actually advised against by some doctors, including my own. It is thought that the benefit of longer sleep as a result of adding cereal to the bottle or diet, is actually mere coincidence. 

(Following excerpt from

This idea has only been solidified for me with Baby C. Since he has started solids, you would imagine that he would sleep longer, if the "cereal in the bottle" trick were to hold true. However, it doesnt matter what I do... I could nurse C right before bed and directly after having solids at dinner time... he still wakes up for his feedings. By the time I have reached my "wits end" (which I imagine is the time that parents want to add cereal to the  bottle), C surprises me with a night of almost uninterrupted sleep. And that's because this is just his next new pattern. He is constantly growing and changing, so I must adapt. Cereal is also said to be a lot of heavy and empty calories. So, on top of throwing off baby's "I'm full" instinct, this said to me that he would be getting empty carbs and calories, as opposed to the full, healthy nutrients in my breast milk. 
*Again... this is what we decided was right for us based on the information we read and received from our doctor. 

Now, if you are interested in trying BLW, it is again advised that you wait until baby is at least 6 months of age. However, this is not only because of a porous gut. 

"They should be able to sit up unassisted, have lost the tongue thrust reflex and should be able to grasp and hold onto foods."

If baby is not able to sit up or grasp and hold onto foods, the whole point of BLW will be ruined in a sense. This is because with BLW, you will not be spoon-feeding your baby. I did start out offering mashed bananas to my son with a spoon before I was turned on to BLW and did my fill of research on the topic. But the whole time, Baby C wanted to do it himself! So with BLW, you allow your baby to finger feed himself. Sure enough, I can leave Baby C with some cut up pieces of peaches, carrots - whatever it may be - on his tray in his high chair and he will experiment. He will practice that raking motion of trying to grab things and he'll even have success using just his thumb and forefinger to grab some chunks - all as he should be at his age. I do tend to start him off by sticking a chunk or two in  his mouth, while signing for him that it's time to "eat". And I'll also walk by and encourage him and ask him if he would like "more" (while signing "more"). He responds well and is now able to land fistfulls in his mouth more often than not. I'm sure that as some of you are reading, you're surprised that I would just leave Baby C to "fend for himself". I assure you, I am not so naive as to not be worried that he could choke. But I set us both up for success. I cut his foods into teeny tiny little chunks and make sure that they are very soft and easily "gummable". For things like apples, carrots and potatoes, they are peeled and boiled before being cut, cooled and served to my little man. My own softness rule of thumb is that the food chunk should be easily smushed by me pressing down my forefinger with little force. Still, even if all of the chunks don't end up being this soft, I make sure that they are small enough that if C couldn't "gum" it up or get at it with his new tooth (note how proud I am of his new tooth! hehe!), he could safely swallow it whole if need be. 

BLW is all about baby experimenting and learning to be independent. It gives him the opportunity to say how much he wants and then we sign together when he is "all done". 

Another important piece of introducing table foods, is the three day rule. It is advised that you wait three days in between introducing a new food, just to be sure that there is not a food allergy. This is most important if there is a family history of any kind of food allergies. Not all families may need to be super strict with this rule, and that's completely fine. Again, every family is different. Just as you may not choose to practice BLW, I will not practice BLW like the next family. We will all do things differently, as we see fit for our own children. I'm not right for doing it one way, and you're not wrong for doing it another. 

Now, just as there is a guideline/rule about waiting 3 days in between introducing new foods, there are several opinions for what ages are appropriate to introduce foods of each food group. Because most suggestions are terribly similar with a few very slight differences, we have employed the following chart to use with Baby C. 

If you gave that a quick gander, you might have noticed that there were foods listed that are advised for ages 4-6 months. "But, Ashley, you said you're supposed to wait until 6 months at least!" Well, that's right. However, it is advised that if you are introducing solids much earlier than 6 months, that you home-make pureesd for baby. 

Now, I must interject here for a second, because I think this is something important to understand: You know your baby best. When Baby C hit 3 months, I began to panic. "Gasp! When should I start him on solids!? He doesn't seem ready! Do I have to!?" No... I didn't have to. And I learned from talking with a lot of other "crunchy" moms, as well as our family doctor, that C would tell me when he was ready. And he really did! I could tell the difference between him grabbing at something to put in his mouth, because he was being oral, and him wanting to put something in his mouth, because he was ready to actually consume it and experiment and taste it and do what mommy and daddy were doing. Bottom line: trust your mommy and daddy instincts! And when you feel uncertain, consult your family doctor or pediatrician. That's what they are there for! 

Well... that's all I have for you tonight, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening and that you  have a spectacular Tuesday! 

For more information on Baby Led Weaning, visit:

Zebra love and hugs for now! 

Ashley :)