6 Month Update

H6months

Height: 30 inches (100th %)
Weight: 22 lbs 15 oz (100th %)
Head: 47.5 cm (100th %)
Wearing: 12m – 18m

This past week has been rough for me. It blows my mind that half of an entire year has already passed since Zach and I first laid eyes on Harrison. I still remember laughing through the final push (I know, everyone in the room thought I was coo-coo banana pants too) and the feeling of utter joy and happiness as my midwife handed H to me and I put him to my chest. I still get really teary when I think about it, and most days it feels like it only happened yesterday.

There was so much more I wanted to do for him in his first 6 months of life, and so much more I wanted to document and so many more crafts I wanted to complete, but it didn’t happen. Instead, I can honestly say I’ve thrown the schedule out and done my best to just live in the moment with my little H. While that does mean I have honestly gotten none of the Pinterest projects done, his nursery is still missing a few things, most days I eat breakfast at noon and he’s still not sleeping by himself during the day, I’m enjoying every little bit (except the post-shots hours… those suck).

Our six month check up was great (except for aforementioned shots of course)! Our pediatrician told me H is the biggest baby that’s come through his practice, and is pretty amazed it’s all just breast milk which makes me feel so amazing about what my body is doing for him. While H is super off the charts in weight, the pedi assured me that there are no such things as overweight or obese babies, especially when nursing on command, and that it’s totally ok that he’s not rolling yet. Apparently when you weigh as much as an “average” 1.5 year old but only have the developmental abilities of a 6 month old, moving all that mass can be pretty hard work! He also gave us the OK to start solids, so I’m officially on the hunt for a high chair and we’ll begin our baby led weaning (BLW) journey this week! While we’ll be skipping the rice cereal, we’ll probably do a mix of BLW and purees and see what works best for us.

It is incredible to me how much he has changed and learned this last month! He is constantly babbling and talking – especially to his Sophie and Max the Raccoon, and has the greatest facial expressions. My favorite is the look he sometimes gives me when I try to make crazy noises so he’ll smile for me – he raises one eyebrow and the dimple in his chin becomes super pronounced and I can just tell in his mind he’s thinking “what in the heck is this woman doing?!”.

A few happenings from this month:

  • H experienced his first 4th of July.
  • He is mostly sitting up unassisted! However once he catches sight of his feet, its usually game over and he folds over and rolls on his side to suck on his toes and play with them.
  • He waved goodbye to my mom and dad the other night! I totally missed it (sob), but Zach and my parents swear it was real.
  • He wraps his arms around my neck when I’m holding him.
  • He reaches out for me when I go to pick him up! Best feeling in the world!
  • His most used phrase lately is “mama mama mama mmmmama”. He’s also stringing together tons of vowels and several consonants.
  • He has started to become a little bashful when he talks to pretty ladies – so cute. He’ll smile, then tilt his head down, smile some more and then burrow his head into my shoulder and look back to see if the other person is still there.
  • H went swimming for the first time! He wasn’t so sure about the chilly water, but he promptly passed out at 6:14pm and slept until 6:30 the next morning, so mama loved that.
  • H has had banana twice, cucumber once and cantaloupe once and loved them all! (He’s all about gnawing on anything he can grab off my plate – including apple slices, carrots, avocado and hummus so technically he’s had those as well.)
  • He turns towards us when we say his name.
  • He loves playing airplane and peekaboo.
  • He turns himself around in a circle while on his back! Often when we go into his room in the mornings, he’s turned 180*.
  • He definitely recognizes Zach, me, my mom and dad.
  • He has started to interact and play more with other babies.
  • He still loves standing and would much rather be vertical than horizontal.
  • H and I have made it to 6 months of exclusively breastfeeding! I am so incredibly proud of myself and my body and love that we have met my first breastfeeding goal!
  • A personal something related to meeting our nursing goal – I have donated 923 ounces of breast milk to local moms in need because of my oversupply since May of this year. I feel so fortunate to have the ability to breastfeed and that our journey has been generally pretty easy, and instead of complaining about my oversupply I decided to take advantage and share what I have. I hope to continue donating as long as possible and am in the process of getting certified to donate to a local NICU to help more families and their babes in a stressful situation.

 

June 16 – 22

June 23 – 29

June 30 – July 6

July 7 – 14

There have been so many moments this past month that I hope to always remember. One that stands out in particular – Zach and I were cooking dinner after he had gotten home from work, and had the Ray Lamontagne Pandora station on, and H was playing on a mat we made up for him and was babbling away to his chimpanzee Elway and moving in circles. It felt so perfect, like this is what being a family was all about: Zach was helping H stand up and we were all dancing around in the kitchen together, being silly and totally absorbed in the moment. There were giggles and I just kept looking around at these two perfect people thinking how lucky I was. It had been a really long and rough day with no naps from H, and I was feeling a little like an incompetent and subpar mom, and that hour and a half completely refreshed my soul.

This has been the hardest and most wonderful 6 months, full of ups and downs and I can’t wait to see what the next 6 will bring!

Feature Friday: The Vintage Honey Shop

iusb_760x100.11540669_k5yc

As anyone who’s following my Instagram knows, I have become hugely obsessed with the fantastic teething / nursing necklaces from The Vintage Honey Shop. I was fortunate enough to be selected as a Brand Ambassador and haven’t looked back since! H is such a busy nurser around – constantly is flailing his arms and legs, and has been so distracted lately now that he’s so aware of his surroundings. It’s so bad sometimes that my husband can’t be in the room or else H gets too worked up, so we’ve resorted to a lot of nursing sessions in my bedroom with the shades drawn and the noise machine on. Not only are his arms flailing, but his sharp nails always managed to graze my chest or cheeks just right to give me little scratches and bruises from pinching.

Enter: The Vintage Honey Shop‘s Nursing Necklaces.

Jen and Melissa, co-creators of The Vintage Honey Shop, met in their church youth group in Ohio and eventually ended up marrying brothers and went from best friends to sisters in law. In January of 2011 they decided to open up an Etsy shop as a creative outlet; they were always making crafty little things for their friends and were constantly being encouraged to sell them so they decided to take the plunge. They love being not only family, but also best friends and business partners! They have turned their little shop into a successful SAHM business that frequently burns the midnight oil and I got the chance to interview them to find out a little more about the lovely ladies behind TVHS!

aboutusrounded

How did you two decide on “The Vintage Honey Shop” for your shop name?
After we decided to open up shop, we knew we needed a name. Since we didn’t want a name that would lock us into selling a certain product, we wanted a name that would be a good fit, regardless of what we sold. But it was hard, especially when a lot of great names are taken already! We were texting back and forth one day while we were both cooking dinner for our families and somehow ended up on the following train of thought, “What if we named our shop after our favorite color… like yellow… but more of a vintage honey yellow… Oh! And what if we used a vintage looking bee as our logo?” And the rest is history!

What was your first official product?
When we first opened, we made paper & fabric crafts: notebooks, flower pins, burp cloths, a bunch of things! It’s cool to look back at all of the “failed” products and see where God has brought us to now! (For a look back at some of their previous products, click here!)

What is your favorite product?
Our necklaces of course! What is your favorite print you’ve ever made a necklace with? Honestly, we love them all! We joke that they’re like our children and we just can’t pick one favorite. The reason why we have such a selection is because we can’t stop buying cute fabric and we can’t retire our old ones because we love them too much! We are like fabric hoarders!

IMG_8898

What makes TVHS different from others who also make teething or nursing necklaces?
We believe in quality. We only use the best, highest quality materials on the market. Our customers let their babies chew on our necklaces, so we only use premium materials. It does cost us almost twice as much to buy better quality, but as mothers ourselves, we wouldn’t have it any other way! We are also extremely picky – we inspect every necklace at least three times before it goes out to its new home. We put pride and love into each and every one of our home made necklaces!

What are your goals for TVHS?
To rule the world! Just kidding :) While we have already expanded, want to always remain mama handmade and to be able to train and hire local Nashville stay at home mamas to help make our products instead of sending them off to be manufactured by a factory. We currently have three assistants to help us out: two seamstresses and one shipping assistant. Each of them are dear friends who are passionate about TVHS and who are also mothers. We would love to be known for our quality and integrity. Being able to hire them has helped us out tremendously because we were not able to keep up with the high deman while also still being able to spend time with our children. It has also been a blessing to their families – when someone buys a necklace from our shop, they are directly impacting real, every day mamas!
We would also like to be able to sell our nursing scarves all the time. Right now, we can only sell them in collections a few times a year, but as our business grows we hope to be able to add more of them into our shop!

What has been the most challenging part of starting a business?
Balance!  We have really busy lives.  Mel volunteers at her kids school 1-2x a week, her husband is a law school student & she works weekends as a critical care RN.  Jen homeschools her three boys, volunteers at her church & spends time helping two of her sons who have special needs (autism & language delay).  Between our schedules & our business, it has been hard to find balance.  Hiring help has been our saving grace.  We can spend time doing our favorite parts of the business & be able to devote time to our famlies!

With that said, if you could do it all over again, would you?
Absolutely! It has been such a blessing to our families and has really made us proud of ourselves to have started a business on our own!

What has been the most rewarding part of opening up your own shop?
The love and support of our shop! It blesses us to tears when we get positive reviews or fan photos! We have put so much into our shop that it is very, very personal to us. We absolutely love our shop – more than we ever imagined!

What advice would you give to others who are just starting out?
Make sure you love what you make – if you’re passionate about it, then others will be too! Find your target customers and if your initial product fails, then don’t give up, just keep trying until you find one that takes off!

- Jennifer & Melissa

Vintage Honey Shop-jpegs-0137

I have nothing but great things to say about TVHS! I have to say that before I became a breastfeeding mama, I had seen some nursing necklaces and was kind of turned off by the idea and just didn’t get why they were necessary. They looked weird and heavy, and were not cute at all. However, once I started looking like I had gotten into a fight with my cat, I knew I needed a solution and after a lot of time on Pinterest and Instagram trying to find a solution to my crazy nurser, I was happy to stumble upon and fall in love with The Vintage Honey Shop.

I have both the teething and teething ring styles of their nursing necklaces and H and I love them both. Not only are they super cute, but they’re incredibly functional as well. I love that I can also tie the necklaces myself with the adjustable ribbons, depending on how high or low I want it to be. While I’m wearing H around, I typically tie it up a little higher so he has something to play with while I peruse Target, and while we’re at home or nursing I usually make the necklace a little longer so H can grab on to it a little easier.

There have been a few times where I’ve forgotten to put on my necklace at home or forgotten to wear one out with H, and there is such a big difference in how he nurses. With the necklace, he goes from a crazy tornado to a much tamer little beast: his legs stop flailing and he doesn’t try to grab and pinch my nose, cheeks, lips, glasses, hair, etc. It has been a godsend to my poor body! As a huge bonus, it seems like when he has something to focus on, H is a much less distracted nurser and will actually sit still for me for longer than a minute and a half to breastfeed (which is pretty miraculous these days).

Not breastfeeding? You’ll still love these necklaces for your teething babe! H has been showing all the classic symptoms of teething for about a week and does not want to be put down at all, which has resulted in a lot of baby wearing! THVS’s necklaces are great to wear while wearing your baby because they have something to hold and chew on that isn’t your hair or shoulder or hand. Additionally, the necklaces provide your babe with visual and tactile stimulation! As their tagline says, “Mama wears ‘em, baby chomps ‘em“!

You can tell that Jen and Melissa take such pride in their products and they pay attention to every little detail – including the packaging!

Want more The Vintage Honey Shop? Check out their Etsy shop // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Blog // Pinterest

Truthful Tuesdays

20140621-003907-2347913.jpg

1. I am terrible at sleep training. I know it works really well for some people, but I just can’t right now. I sit there in tears if I have to listen to H cry, and it’s too stressful.
2. Teething + nursing = not a good combination. At all. It feels like there are electric currents running through my body when he bites me.
3. I may sometimes complain to my hubby that I have no “me” time anymore, hence the failed attempt at sleep training, but I secretly kind of love that H needs me so much and sleeps so much better and longer if I cuddle him.
4. I judge myself as a mom based on milestones that H hits, and when.
5. When he hits milestones later than other babies his age I feel like it’s something I’m doing wrong.
6. I’m pretty sure the reason H won’t roll is because I never put him down and am always holding him and I pick him up the second he starts fussing.
7. I’m averaging 3-4 hours of sleep a night while H averages 10 – how does that work?
8. I seriously hate the question “so what do you do all day?” when people find out I’m a stay home mom.
9. I’m craving an adventure.
10. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything right now, even with all the stressors and craziness.

20140708-080059-28859269.jpg
My sweet, happy boy 💙

July 4th Recap

IMG_9040

07.04.2014

Happy first Independence Day, sweet mister H!

We had quite the three day mini vacation weekend up at my parents cabin – lots of family time, sun, and relaxation.

H was a trooper and I can’t believe how well he did with the fireworks. We had a bit of a lapse in judgement and attempted to keep him up past his 6:30 bedtime so he could watch the fireworks, but he promptly reminded us that was a poor idea and was asleep by 7:15. Also, he’s definitely his father’s child as he slept through the entire fireworks show, even though it sounded like they were being set off right outside our house (I may have given him a fist bump the next morning).

I’m hoping that next year he’ll be able to stay up to watch the fireworks show, go swimming, picnic, and enjoy more of the parade. I have such fond memories of the 4th in DC when I was little and I can’t wait to start a few traditions with H!

IMG_0089

You know he’s my son, so H rocked two outfits for the 4th. This one with his “Ahoy Ladies” tee and “Born in the USA” Freshly Picked moccs was definitely my fave. Also, how in the heck is my 5.5 month old wearing twelve to eighteen month clothing…?

IMG_0078

Happy belated 4th from our family to yours! (Can you tell it was past H’s bedtime?)

Happy 5 Months

h5months

 

Height: about 28 inches
Weight: 20lbs 4.5oz
Head Circumference: about 46 centimeters
Wearing: 9-12 month clothing

This past month has flown by. Our “little” H is growing more of a personality each day, its incredible to watch. He is so interactive these days and loves dancing around to music with us all day long. I can tell that he is starting to become more independent as well – he doesn’t always want to cuddle while he’s awake and read like we used to, but rather lay on his own and grab at toys and try to shove everything in his mouth. I do still get my cuddle time for naps though, so I’m soaking it all in!

A few events from this past month:

  • I took H to the East coast with me on his first (two) plane ride(s) so he could get a chance to meet some of my family! Rather than fly back, however, we decided to prolong the torture and drive across the country from Virginia to Idaho. All joking aside, it was a great trip. We stopped at the first Rest Area after each state line to document the trip (minus Illinois) with selfies of my mom, H and I, and I can’t wait to get them all in an album. While on the trip we visited my grandparents, a few aunts and uncles, some family friends, my old high school principal and old neighbors. It was so fun to see everyone love on H and he very well may be one of the most well traveled babies this side of the hemisphere.
  • Naps without mom are still a struggle, but we’re getting amazing night time sleeps so I’m not pushing the issue. H averages 10-11 hours a night and I’m pretty sure we’re the luckiest parents on the planet for that.
  • He has become SO cuddly! Now that he has more control over his arms, H will just wrap his little arms around my shoulders and neck and put his head on my shoulder and nuzzle. I’m pretty sure my heart grows every time this happens.
  • While on our big trip back East, H ate some of his great grandpa’s famous kroppkakor and some bananas – he was a huge fan of both! We haven’t continued the journey of solids yet now that were home, however, so we’re back to strictly nursing.
  • All H wants to do is stand up (assisted of course)!
  • Tummy time is finally not a huge fail. We’re not lasting a very long time, but it’s getting easier!
  • H rolled from back to belly! Once it was during one of his naps (the only one during the trip I wasn’t there for of course), and another time it was during one of our outings with mommy friends where he was watching the older babes roll and move around. I can tell he’s so close, but he’s still just trying to figure out how to get his head to follow his lower half.
  • Hes also gotten really into sitting. Granted, most of the time he either falls to the side or face plants after folding over like a discarded lawn chair, but when he does sit for longer than five seconds he’s pretty happy about it.
  • He loves to blow raspberries and have whole conversations in spit bubbles – it’s adorable.
  • We’re getting lots of “mmmm” “Pfff” “aaaah” “oooh” noises. I could swear I’ve heard “mama”, but I know it was accidental and probably more me imagining it rather than an actual occurrence. He also has started making panting – monkey type “ooh ooh ooh oooh”  noises that are hilarious.
  • Along with the few consonants and vowel noises, H has decided that high pitched (I’m talking sonic level) screeches are his favorite way to communicate.
  • He is SO aware of his surroundings and is so interactive. He loves to grab my cheeks and pull my face close into his and give me a big smile - heart.melted.
  • Paper is probably his favorite toy right now – especially the sunday paper.
  • No teeth yet but he has all the signs: drooling Niagara Falls style, chewing on anything and everything, extra fussy, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we get one here soon.

May 16 – 24:

May 25 – 31:

June 1 – 7:

June 8 – 14:

Friday Favorites: Pumping

Friday Favorites: Pumping
It’s midnight, and everyone in my house is asleep except for me. I’m up, doing what I do every night around this time – pumping. I have got to give Exclusively Pumping moms a huge high five / round of applause / pat on the back, I don’t know how you do it!
Even though I’m exclusively breastfeeding H, I still pump 1 – 2 times per day. I usually pump at least once in the morning and at night, a few hours after H has gone down for the day. I’m still dealing with an oversupply at almost 5 months, but have decided to take advantage of this so that I can continue donating breast milk to little babes and mamas in need. Right now in my deep freezer, I have well over 1,000 ounces of frozen milk, and that’s after donating hundreds. Now that I feel more secure in mine and H’s nursing relationship, it’s easier to donate and not worry about my supply suddenly tanking. The following is a list of a few of my favorite things I’ve discovered through my J14 BFF mamas and others that make my pumping life easier!
  1. Lasinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy – around $13 on Amazon (can also be found at Target). These can be used hot or cold to help with clogged ducts, mastitis, or engorgement, and also help encourage let down faster while pumping, which means less time attached to the milk machine! These puppies go with me on every trip and definitely make a difference in my output and comfort while pumping. While I typically use them hot during pumping, they’re also great cold for when your milk first comes in and you’re dealing with engorgement. I heat them in the microwave according to the package directions, stick them in my hands free bra, and voila!
  2. Simple Wishes Hands Free Pumping Bra – $30 (use code: MILK to save $9 and get free US Shipping!) I also purchased the 2″ Center Panel because of my chest size and its awesome. I thought a hands free bra for pumping was ridiculous, but after the first week of pumping and trying to hold the shields on myself while caring for a month old babe, I decided to give in and have never looked back! While I don’t look as glamorous as the women on the packaging do while wearing it, I am able to fold laundry, respond to emails, play with H, read, eat, etc while pumping, which makes it much more bearable when you’re feeling like a sedentary cow for 20+ minutes.
  3. Up&Up 100ct Milk Storage Bags – about $16 at Target.com, but they are cheaper in store and you can use your RedCard to save an additional 5%, plus check your Cartwheel App. There are always extra savings to be found on Target’s Up&Up brand, so I can usually pick these up for around $10-12, which is a great deal. I’ve also used the Nuk, Medela and Lasinoh bags, but these Target ones are the cheapest and my favorite so far! In second place are Lansinoh, and Nuk’s are dead last – I can never seem to get all of the air bubbles out no matter what and they don’t seem to lay as flat.
  4. Boon Grass Countertop Bottle Drying Rack – about $13 at Amazon, $15 at Nordstrom, $16 at Target. This was something else I initially thought was a silly purchase. I was going to be BFing H, so I didn’t think we needed a bottle drying rack but again after a week or so I realized I needed something more than a dishtowel to dry all of my pump parts on to make sure they were drying properly. Plus, once your babe starts solids, you can use this to dry spoons, bowls, etc – it’s super versatile (not to mention ridiculously cute and very modern) and you’d be surprised how many things you can fit on it’s surface! This is #1 in baby bottle feeding accessories on Amazon, need I say more?
  5. Sit Back Breast Pump Shields from Pumpin’ Pals – $30 for a set of 3 assorted sizes. (Use code: MILK to save $6). Don’t think, just click “order” – your back will thank you! Thanks to these puppies I don’t have to lean forward to prevent milk from spilling. I’m able to sit back and relax (once again making the pumping more bearable) and with the angle of the Pumpin Pals shields every single precious drop is collected. Did you know that the “standard” size flange that you get with your pump fits such a small percentage of women – a fact not only my lactation consultant confirmed, but also the women I spoke to from the medical company… how does that make any sense? The biggest pro for me with ordering this is that you receive three pairs of different sized shields with the package, ensuring you get the perfect fit – fist bumps to Pumpin Pals for that smart idea. A proper fit will make all the difference, I know it did for me! You can either twist the PPs into your existing flanges, or replace them with these. Lactation consultants stress the importance of a good latch while nursing, and as an added bonus these shields emulate a proper latch which allows for less irritation and restrictions:

super_shields_compare

MjAxMy0yZDFkY2MxMGM3NWIxMzJh
A few random tips:

  • I use the “let down” button several times during my 20+ minute sessions – whenever I feel like my milk flow is slowing down.
  • Massage your breasts! It’s amazing how much more output I have when I massage, not to mention it also helps elicit a let down. So squeeze, compress, massage those tatas!
  • I would advise against turning the “volume” on your pump all the way up – the suction is much stronger and faster than what your babe would do if nursing, and you can actually end up giving yourself a plugged duct, blood blister,
  • Olive oil is a great option to prevent chafing while pumping, natural and antibiotic!
  • When using the Lansinoh heating pads, put them on inside your bra at least five minutes before you start pumping.
  • I chug a glass of water about 10 – 15 minutes before I pump and another while I’m pumping – this seems to give me a few extra ounces.
  • Make sure you have the correct size flanges!
  • These Medela quick clean steam bags are a great time saver (and help relieve some of the crazy amount of hand washing you’ll be doing as a pumping mama).
  • Pump for 5 minutes after your milk flow stops to ensure you’re empty. As my LC once told me – “your breasts are like an ice maker – if you only remove a few ice cubes from the ice maker in your freezer, the ice maker will work slowly to refill itself, however if you completely empty it, it will work over time to replenish itself”. This is SO true for breastmilk as well. Also, emptying your breasts helps prevent clogged ducts and mastitis – not fun things to go through at all.
  • Let your pump run with the tubing attached after removing the connectors to clear out any condensation that may have collected. This will help prevent molding – no bueno.
Check out the Happy Home Fairy and Bella Bama for great tips geared towards Exclusive Pumpers as well!
c/o exclusivepumpers.com

c/o exclusivepumpers.com

Gillette® Venus® Snap with Embrace review

20140606-182218-66138168.jpg

I was really excited when I heard I had been selected to be one of the product testers for this Gillette Venus Snap razor.
I have been on an air & road trip across the country for the past two and a half weeks so it was perfect timing. I had to make sure I brought everything I’d need for the hot and humid weather out East and be able to fit it all in one suitcase (since airlines are ridiculous now and charge you extra fees for wanting to not wear the same change of clothes wherever you’re going).
This Snap razor was perfect – I didn’t need soap or shaving cream, all I needed to do was throw the mini razor (and accompanying mini carrying case) in my toiletry bag and I was good to go.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m sometimes a cheapo when it comes to shopping for toiletries. I’m pretty low maintenance so I usually go for the store brand / off brand / whatever is on sale and cheap brand and sometimes it backfires.
This Venus razor was awesome and way outperformed the Up&Up target brand razor I was previously using.
Because the soap is built in, you get a very smooth run, and gave me an incredibly close shave. My knees are usually my trouble spot (and if I’m honest, a lot of times I just give up and skip over them – yikes!) but with the flexible head on this razor, it was much easier to navigate over them without sacrificing the quality of the shave. Another pro is that it comes with a little carrying case, which prevents the razor from ruining whatever bag it’s put in, while also keeping the blades from dulling.

The only negative I have encountered so far is that the razor is kind of awkward to hold because of the short handle. However, the handle is supposed to be short so that it’s a more convenient size and can slip into any bag, so it’s kind of a give and take. They did try to combat the awkward hold with a grippy area so the handle at least won’t slip out of your grip, which is great.

Overall, this is a great razor! I’m definitely going to be switching to Venus in general, but now I also have an option for the many trips we have planned for the rest of the year. The Gillette Venus Snap razor not only does what it claims to do, leaving you with a silky smooth finish, but it also gives you a super cute product that you won’t be embarrassed to tote around.

20140606-192553-69953064.jpg
The necessities for mama & babe.

Disclaimer: I received this product for testing purposes, complimentary from Influenster.
If you’d like an invite to join the Influenster program, let me know!