Baby #2, Bumpdates, Pregnancy

Bumpdate – 31 weeks

I had an appointment with my midwife earlier this week so I thought I’d do a little update! Especially since there really aren’t many more of these I’ll be able to do before she’s here. 😱

I’m technically closer to 32 weeks now but the pictures and the appointment were at 31 weeks so that’s what I’m going with for this post. 🙂

Overall, things are still looking great! I passed my glucose screening with no problems this time around (last time I had to go in for the dreaded three hour test), my blood pressure is still good, and little miss has a strong heartbeat (around 140 bpm). She was head down at this last appointment but my midwife mentioned she’s still got some room in there, so it’s possible she’ll flip back and forth a few more times before she settles on a position for birth.

I’m up to about 10 pounds gained total so far, which is better than it was but still not great. They were hoping I’d gain 25-35 by the end but I just don’t see that happening. My belly is also still measuring small (about two and a half weeks behind). Even though the baby looked great at our last ultrasound they want to keep a close eye on my growth to make sure she’s still on an upward curve. It could just be that she’s a small baby (or in a weird position) but if, in two weeks, she’s still falling behind they will probably want to do an ultrasound to make sure she’s okay. From there they might find that everything is perfect, or they might suggest I get induced after I hit full-term at 37 weeks. Some babies just do better on the outside once they’re past 37 weeks. I’m really hoping and praying I can avoid an induction, though, because I want to do this 100% naturally again. And because an induction would mean I’d probably have to switch over to the doctor side of the office rather than stick with the midwives I know and love. But of course my little girl’s health is the most important thing and I’ll do what I need to do to make sure she’s safe and getting everything she needs.

I’ll keep my blog updated as we find out more! Now onto the bumpdate… How far along: 31 weeks
How big is baby: About the size of romaine lettuce. She’s approximately 18 inches long and should weigh a little over 3 lbs.
Movement: Some of her kicks and stretches are kind of painful now! Especially when she’s laying horizontally in my stomach and she decides to stretch completely out. You can actually see my belly get shoved outwards in either direction. And she’s usually so close to the front of my belly that sometimes you can see her little elbow or knee poking out throughout the day, and sometimes you can even grab it! I’ll never get used to that haha. Most of her kicks are on the right side of my belly, which is exactly how it was with her big brother. 🙂
Major symptoms: Symptoms have been relatively mild, I would say. I’m definitely more tired than usual and I get out of breath so easily, but aside from that it’s actually been even more mild than my pregnancy with Jameson. Braxton Hicks contractions have been picking up a bit but that’s really more annoying than uncomfortable.
Best moments this week: Last weekend was my best friend’s wedding! I loved that I could be involved in everything and I loved seeing her in total bliss that whole day. I was pretty wiped out by the end of it all (we had the bachelorette party on Thursday, the rehearsal and dinner on Friday, and then the wedding itself on Saturday) but it was SO worth it! I wouldn’t change a thing about any of it.
Looking forward to: Tomorrow is officially September which means I’ll be able to say, “Next month I’m having a baby!” Plus September means my first baby will be turning two, and I can’t wait to celebrate him with all his favorite things. 🙂

At home, Baby #2, Bumpdates

Bumpdate – 29 weeks

Third trimester already! We're almost there! This pregnancy has been flying by and simultaneously dragging on. It makes no sense but that's how it's been. Some days I'm like "OH MY GOSH SHE'LL BE HERE IN 11 WEEKS" and then other times I'm like "oh my gosh, I can't believe how much longer I have to go." It's equal parts exciting and frustrating.

Anyway, we had our midwife appointment and final ultrasound this morning! Once again we got a great report, praise God. Little miss is growing right on track (48th percentile), her heartbeat was strong (134 bpm), and the ultrasound showed that everything about her is perfect, which we already knew. 🙂 She's still breech right now (about half of babies are breech at this point) but she should flip by the time we hit 34 weeks.

I was a liiiitle bummed about the ultrasound today because we could barely see her face at all. She was pretty much folded in half so her feet were covering her face and what wasn't covered by her feet was covered by her arm flung right across her eyes. No matter what we did she would not move, which was not surprising to me at all. She's never cared much about being poked or prodded. She just does her own sassy thing. The ultrasound tech couldn't really show her to us in 3D (which is what I was most excited for) so we only have a few profile shots. I was so looking forward to seeing what she'll look like when she's born because I was hoping it would help us finally settle on a name, but it looks like we're waiting 11 more weeks to figure that out. Oh well, babies rarely follow the rules anyway. 🙂 I should be used to it by now!

As for my health, things look mostly good too. My blood pressure was perfect and I did the 1 hour glucose test while we were there (we'll have the results of that on Monday hopefully). My weight gain is still a bit of a problem, though. I was so sure things were looking up but I only gained a little over a pound since my last appointment four weeks ago. That makes about 8 pounds total this pregnancy, which wouldn't be a huge problem except that my daughter makes up about three pounds of that and the placenta/fluid/uterus is another part of it. My belly is only measuring at 26 weeks right now, even though the baby is right on track. My midwife straight up told me to start eating ice cream every night haha. Not so much for the baby right now (she's doing fine), but more so that I can get some fat storage in place for breastfeeding after she's born. I'm not sure why this is so hard for me this time around but I'm going to try my best to eat more protein and healthy fats and hopefully get the ball rolling these last few weeks.

Phew! That was a long introduction! Let's get into the actual bumpdate. 😂

How far along: almost 29 weeks
How big is baby: About the size of a pineapple. She’s approximately 17 inches long and weighs around 2 lbs, 10 oz (according to our ultrasound today).
Movement: From what I can tell, she's a pretty routine type of baby. There are certain times a day where I can almost guarantee she'll be awake and moving around. She has an active time in the morning, another right around 1pm, and another around 10pm. Of course she moves around at other times throughout the day too, but those are her most active times. She also loves music and will usually start kicking whenever something comes on loud enough, or when I sing. In fact that might be why she's always awake around 1pm…that's when I read and sing to Jameson before his nap. I often wonder how many of the songs and the books we read will be familiar to her after she's born. 🙂 Her hiccups are picking up a bit too; she usually gets them a few times a day and they last at least five minutes or longer.
Major symptoms: Typical third-trimester symptoms happening over here. I pretty much always feel like I have to pee (and sometimes she reminds me with a swift kick to the bladder), I have lower back pain here and there, and the shortness of breath comes and goes (although it's actually subsided a bit since my last bumpdate, possibly because she's changed positions). It's getting harder to stay comfortable all night between the peeing and the big ol' belly and the sporadic shifts in my body temperature. I've also been dealing with some common cold stuff which isn't directly related to pregnancy, but kind of is because I never get sick. This is the second time this pregnancy I've had a really horrible cold so I'm almost positive it's because my immune system is lower in general right now. Still getting Braxton Hicks contractions every day too, which I'm all for because the more practice my body gets now the easier labor will be (right? hopefullyyy).
Best moments this week: Definitely getting to see our girl at the ultrasound. Even though we weren't able to see much of her face we did get to see her little lips making kissy faces and watched her stick her tongue out a few times (so adorable!). Her mannerisms were so much like a newborn's already and it was really sweet to see.
Cravings: I'm just not a craving type of person I guess. I should probably just take this category off haha.
Looking forward to: Umm cooler weather? It's been so hot in AZ and I'm so ready for fall, especially because that means it's baby season. 😀

Life with Jameson, Personal Writing

Our breastfeeding journey

i-192If you haven’t guessed from the title, surprise! I want to spend a little time talking about the experience I had breastfeeding my first baby. 🙂 This will probably be a longer post so skip it if you like. It’s really mostly for myself, to reflect on so many things that have been tumbling around in my brain and to write them all out so I don’t forget.

Jameson is almost 23 months now and I can finally say that he’s officially weaned. This might seem – to some people – like a really long time to nurse a baby, but I hope as I dive a little bit deeper into our story that it’ll encourage and inspire you to find what works best for you and your baby, and to do that thing confidently no matter what sort of pressure is telling you to change.

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetLet me just start by saying that I went into breastfeeding without many expectations. I had done my research prior to giving birth and I knew (for many reasons) that breastfeeding was what I wanted above all else. But I wasn’t dead-set on any aspect of it. I figured we’d try it out, see what was working, and change things up as we went along. Sort of just learn on the job. I wasn’t opposed to pumping or supplementing with formula (although I was hoping to avoid that) or even giving it up if it wasn’t working for whatever reason. But I really, really wanted it to work and I think that was the most important thing.

When Jameson was first born, breastfeeding was by far the most difficult part about motherhood for me. The sleepless nights, the postpartum recovery, the total shift in all of your priorities…I could handle all that just fine (haha, okay not completely fine). But breastfeeding was hard. It’s a huge new skill that you and your baby both have to learn, and I unfortunately didn’t get a whole lot of direction while in the hospital. The nurses showed me a few different positions and made sure I was staying on schedule but beyond that I had to figure it out on my own.IMG_3886The first night home was incredibly stressful for me. I remember sitting in the rocking chair in Jameson’s nursery, both of us crying, because he wouldn’t latch on and when he did…it hurt so terribly. I called a few different breastfeeding help lines that week (Le Leche League was the most helpful) and had my mom come over to try and show me what I was doing wrong. But honestly it was a lot of trial and error, and mostly error.

When Jameson was about a week old I broke down and admitted I needed more help than just looking up YouTube videos and trying to explain things over the phone. I was cracked, sore, and engorged on top of everything. I cried every time it was time to nurse, and with Jameson being so young that was every 2-3 hours. There was no time in between feedings for me to heal so I just kept getting worse and worse. I so badly wanted to feel that sweet connection with him and to bond over something just the two of us would share, but instead I was dreading each painful session.

That week I found a breastfeeding support group through the hospital I had given birth at and saw that it was led by a certified lactation consultant. Alex was still off from work so he came with us (bless him) and we stayed after the meeting to talk with the consultant. She immediately saw what I was doing wrong and helped me switch up the position until I felt absolutely no pain. I was shocked! Even though I was so sore and definitely not healed yet, it didn’t hurt to feed my son. I wanted to make that consultant my best friend. She singlehandedly saved our breastfeeding journey.

IMG_4682Instead of dreading every feeding, I started getting so excited when Jameson would get hungry. I was so eager to practice the new position and bond with him in a way I hadn’t been able to before. The more we practiced the better we both got and soon I was all the way healed and Jameson was nursing like a pro. Oh such sweet relief! Before long I was even comfortable nursing in public.

I think what I loved most about our new-found skill was the fact that I was the only one who could provide this for Jameson. I never pumped our entire journey because I loved having it just for ourselves. Sometimes it was draining (literally, ha!) but it was also the best decision I made for us. Besides being so so good for him nutritionally, I could use breastfeeding as an excuse to get some alone time with my him, or use it to comfort him, or use it to help him get to sleep. I used it for all these things and more, and I loved every minute of it. I can’t remember a single moment where I felt annoyed when he wanted to nurse. I really, truly loved it.

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Months went by and we got into a routine. I started him on solids just for fun around 7 months but breastfeeding was his primary source of nutrition until he was at least one. I nursed him to sleep for pretty much every nap and every bedtime, something I was warned again and again not to do because he would he would “become dependent on it.” I didn’t listen and did it anyway. He preferred it that way, I preferred it that way, and it was just working well for us. And looking back now, I don’t regret it one single bit. Those quiet moments in Jameson’s dark nursery, me nursing him in the rocking chair as he drifted off to sleep every night, I will treasure those moments forever. They’re some of my very favorites.

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Once he turned one I started feeling the pressure to wean him. People look at you funny when you’re nursing a toddler and I was being asked a lot, “Are you still breastfeeding?” I began questioning myself, too. I had always wanted to make it to the year mark but it had come and gone and we were still trucking along. The more I thought about weaning the more panicked I got and that’s how I knew my answer. We weren’t ready to quit. I still loved nursing and Jameson loved it too so there really wasn’t a reason to stop.

I think when it’s your first baby you just try so hard to “do the right thing.” You research a ton, you listen to your friends’ opinions, you try your best to do everything in the socially acceptable timeframe. Sleep train at this age, start solids at that age, stop nursing at this age. But it’s not so cut and dry. I wish I could go back and tell myself it was going to work out in its own time. That Jameson would be fine if I nursed him to sleep every night or if we started solids later than everyone was telling me to or if we kept breastfeeding until he was almost two. I wish I could tell myself to enjoy his babyhood just a bit more and not worry so darn much.

IMG_8778Over the next year the more regular food Jameson ate, the less we nursed. It was sort of a natural progression. Towards the end he was only nursing twice a day, once before his nap and once before bed. Sometimes he’d want to nurse a third time randomly during the day and I pretty much always let him. I knew this part of our relationship was coming to a close and I wanted to enjoy it as much as possible. By this point I had decided not to let the opinions of others rob me of the joy I had in breastfeeding my baby.

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Then when Jameson was around 17 months old, I got pregnant. This didn’t change much at first and I was fine with the thought of breastfeeding through pregnancy and possibly tandem nursing after the baby was born. But then I started to see things that needed to be changed. I knew once I had a newborn around, I wouldn’t be able to spend 15 minutes nursing Jameson to sleep for every nap and every bedtime. We needed some new habits and we needed them formed before the baby arrived. So I got to work.

I didn’t cut him off completely from breastfeeding, but I did start training him to get to sleep on his own. Honestly this was what I was most afraid of because, like I said, I had been warned so many times that this would be a difficult habit to break. But by this point Jameson was ready. It was maybe three days of him crying to nurse while I rocked him like usual. I stayed strong and within a week I could put him down in his crib after a book and a song and he’d go to sleep on his own without complaint. What had I been so afraid of?! Truth be told, the transition was harder for me than it was for him. I cried a lot, wishing I could still nurse him to sleep like we always had. I missed him so much. But I knew it wouldn’t be practical when the new baby came, and the best thing I could do for my son was to give him the tools he needed to get to sleep on his own.

IMG_0100I let him nurse whenever he wanted during the day while I was sleep training him so that he could recharge and we could reconnect. And a couple of months later he naturally stopped asking to nurse. I could tell my milk supply was going away but he didn’t seem to mind much. I had been preparing myself for this big, emotional end to our breastfeeding journey but it was much simpler than that. We just sort of blended right into a new type of relationship. He would ask to nurse a few times a week, and then once a week, and then not at all.

I’m so happy it went the way it did because I couldn’t stand the thought of choosing to have “one last nursing session” and knowing it was our last time. Jameson weaned himself so I don’t remember our last time nursing. I think it was easier for me that way. I don’t need to remember our last time anyway; I have 22 wonderful months of memories before that.

Processed with Snapseed. Processed with VSCO with s2 presetNow, at almost 23 months, he’s my big boy. There are still some times where he’ll randomly ask for “mommy milk” but it’s usually when he’s tired or grumpy and he gets distracted before I can even say no. I’m interested to see how things go when the new baby is here in a few months, to see if he gets jealous of her nursing or wants to try it again for himself.

I’m really excited to start a whole new breastfeeding journey with my second baby. There are a lot of things I hope are similar, and some I hope are not. I hope I’ve learned enough to let things go and watch them unfold naturally. I hope I’ve learned to stop caring so much about what other people think of the choices I make for my kids. And I really hope I’ve learned to slow down and enjoy my babies while they’re still babies, because they won’t be this little for long.

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Baby #2, Bumpdates, Pregnancy

Bumpdate – 25 weeks

image1It’s been a quiet month over here, but I’m jumping back on for another pregnancy update! I’ve missed blogging and I really do want to keep track of certain things for the future, it’s just hard to find the time. I think this is only my second bumpdate of the entire pregnancy, actually. With Jameson I was already at like 20 of these! Oh well, second pregnancies, right?

We’re at 25 weeks now and I had a check up with my midwife just a few days ago. In general everything is looking great! Baby girl’s heartbeat was strong, my blood pressure is good, and my weight gain is decent. I don’t own a scale so I never know how much I weigh, but my midwife told me I’ve gained 6 pounds so far. It’s less than she’d like (she told me I need to try and gain at least 19 more pounds within the next few months) but she’s not concerned yet because I’m doing everything right and everything else seems healthy. I had no problem gaining weight with Jameson so I’m not sure why it’s different this time but it probably has something to do with the fact that I’m chasing a toddler around now. 😉 Plus I’ve been exercising regularly and trying to choose healthier foods, something I wasn’t too great at with my last pregnancy.

Anyway, let’s jump into the rest of this bumpdate!

image2 (1)How far along: 25 weeks
How big is baby: About the size of a Napa Cabbage. She’s around 13 inches long and weighs about a pound and a half.
Movement: I’ve been feeling her more and more every day! Not everything is a giant kick, but I can feel it all anyway because of how big she’s gotten. She sometimes gets the hiccups (pretty rarely, though) and she’s a lot less feisty than Jameson was in there. Most of the movement happens when I lay down, and especially at night. We love watching my belly change shapes as she wiggles around and Alex gets to feel her pretty much every day. I love this point in pregnancy!
Major symptoms: Symptoms are starting to pick up a bit. I’m having a lot more lower back pain than I had with Jameson and I get out of breath so easily. Like standing up sometimes makes me winded haha. Sometimes I even have trouble catching my breath when I’m just sitting around! I still get Braxton Hicks contractions daily, although surprisingly not as often as I had with Jameson. And we’re to the point now where my feet start hurting if I stand for too long during the day. Oh and the last major symptom is a weird one, especially this early in the pregnancy. I’m definitely heading right into the nesting phase and it’s driving me (and Alex) crazy. I’m a huge type-A organizational planner anyway but this is over the top. Last night I spent THREE HOURS researching and writing out everything from my plans for her nursery to my labor and delivery outfits to freezer meal prep to every last thing we need to buy for her still. We have months to go on this pregnancy but my brain literally would not slow down until I had a plan for absolutely everything I could think of. It was making me so panicked and out of control but I couldn’t do anything to stop it or distract myself until I powered through and mapped it all out. I knew exactly how ridiculous I was being but I swear there was no stopping it! Hopefully it gets better as I make progress on my to-do lists because I don’t think I can take many more nights like that haha. 
Best moments this week: Getting to spend time with the two kids I used to work with, dressing up like cows with my sisters and my niece and nephew to get free Chick-Fil-A, setting up our new double stroller (!!!), buying our first few things specifically for this baby girl, and definitely hearing my daughter’s heartbeat at my appointment. 🙂
Cravings: Still nothing much. Cravings aren’t really something I seem to get. I kind of want to get at least one though, ya know? Like one really random, undeniable craving. 
Looking forward to: Starting to get my daughter’s nursery ready! I have it all planned out in my mind, we just need to start actually working on it. Also looking forward to my next appointment in 4 weeks where we’ll have our final ultrasound! I don’t think we opted for this ultrasound with Jameson so it’ll be really fun to see her at almost 29 weeks. She’ll look pretty much exactly how she’ll be when she’s born! 

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That’s all for now! I’ll probably be be back in a few weeks after our ultrasound with some pictures of this sweet girl and another pregnancy update. 😊

Baby #2, Pregnancy

Pregnancy reveal!

I recently shared about the family photoshoot we had done last month when my grandma came for a visit (which you can see here) but I conveniently left out a few choice pictures. 😉 Alex and I announced our pregnancy to my family right smack in the middle of it!

One thing I regretted a bit about how we announced my pregnancy with Jameson was that we didn’t capture any of the reactions of our family members. So this time I wanted to change that. And the timing couldn’t have been better! We found out we were expecting when I was about four weeks along and three weeks later was our family photo session with our photographer friend, Erin of Graced by Light Photography. So Alex and I decided to wait until then to announce our news (much easier said than done!).

A day or two before the shoot I messaged Erin and asked if she could help me out with the reveal. She was SO excited and so eager to make it perfect for us! We decided to do it midway through the session so that everyone would be comfortable and having fun. As we walked from one location to another I whispered to Erin that I was going to do it as soon as she was ready. She set us up at the new location, took a few test shots, gave me the secret signal we had set up (really just a thumbs up haha), and then right before the next shot I stepped forward and shouted, “Hold on!!! Before we take this next picture there’s something I want to say… We’re having another baby!!!” And Erin immediately started snapping away. Just look at these reactions! Totally worth keeping the secret. 🙂

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I’m so thrilled with how the pictures came out! They’re even better than I imagined. Many, many thanks to Erin for capturing these priceless moments for us to keep forever! ❤

Baby #2, Pregnancy

Our second baby story

IMG_2465IMG_2461WOOOOOOHOOOOOO!!!! I can finally announce it loud and proud! We’re expecting Babeski #2! Is this for real?! I still feel like I’m in a state of shock, but the best kind of shock there can be. We’re having another baby. We’re having another baby! I am so dang excited!!!!

We told our families when I was about 7 weeks pregnant, but we’ve known since I was around 4 weeks. It was HARD keeping the secret, especially from my sister aka my bff aka the person I tell everything to… but I knew we were getting family pictures taken the next month and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to surprise everyone at the same time AND capture all their reactions! It just seemed too perfect a coincidence to not take advantage of. So we waited. 😊 And it was SO worth it!!! I’ll be making a separate post about the photoshoot reveal very soon, so stay tuned!

Anyway, now that I’m in the second trimester (a little over 13 weeks to be exact) we felt comfortable announcing our beautiful little blessing! And today I’m sharing a bit about our second baby story with all of you. 😊

The journey to pregnancy has been completely different this time around. With Jameson it took us a little while to get pregnant (you can read more about that story here). There was a lot of frustration, a lot of tears, a lot of negative pregnancy tests. I was assuming the next time would be exactly the same, if not even harder. But oh man, did God bless us with this child.

For a while there I was really really really content with our family life as it was. Just Alex, Jameson, and me. (And Charlie.) I wasn’t ready for another baby and I couldn’t really picture a time in the future where I’d be in the same place I was before Jameson…that place of wanting a baby so badly that it just consumed me from the inside out. There were times, sure, when I’d catch a brief stint of baby fever but it would be gone several minutes later. I was just really thankful for the happy little life we had, just the three of us.

But at the same time, I knew I wanted our kids to be close in age. Two and a half years or maybe three at the most was our ideal age difference. But since it took us so long to have Jameson I was worried it would be a much bigger gap. I was expecting ovulation tests and checking my basal body temperature every morning and trying for months on end like we had to do with Jameson.

So you can imagine my surprise when, based on pretty much NO evidence at all (zero symptoms, barely even late, we weren’t even “officially trying” yet), I took a pregnancy test on February 20th and…it was positive. I wouldn’t have even taken the test at all if it wasn’t for the fact that I happened to have some cheap tests in the cabinet just waiting to expire. I pretty much just took it to prove to myself that I wasn’t pregnant. I actually remember leaving the test in the bathroom for the three minutes and walking away saying to myself aloud, “You’re not pregnant. There’s no way you’re pregnant.” I walked back in a few minutes later and the two pink lines were right there. No denying it, I AM pregnant. 😊

So after I practiced some deep breathing and my head stopped spinning and Jameson stopped freaking out because I was being super weird and sitting on the bathroom floor saying, “Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Okay this is happening. Oh my gosh.” I got Jameson into the wagon and we went on a walk so I could clear my head a bit. I was SO excited and so in love already but also just plain confused because, like I said, we hadn’t spent months trying and we hadn’t been planning everything out like we had with Jameson. I wasn’t expecting this for at least another six months or so, probably even longer.

But even as all the questions and half-formulated plans flooded my brain (are the kids going to share a room? Should I go to the same midwifes as last time? What am I going to do about my best friend’s wedding in August, for which I am a bridesmaid and for which I will now apparently be almost 7 months pregnant?!)…I was also oddly at total peace, which I can only say is the grace of God. He knows my heart and my needs better than I know them myself. He knew I’d never get to the place of being ready to officially start “trying” for a baby again. Is anyone ever entirely ready to give up their special time with their firstborn? I didn’t know if I’d ever be. He also knew how scared I was to start that difficult process all over again, all the disappointment and the planning and the stress. So he just said, “This is your perfect time. You’re doing this now.” And here we are again. I’m reminded once more, but in a totally different way than with Jameson, that I’m really not the one in control. And for that, I am SO thankful.

Half an hour after I took the test, Alex got home from work and I told him the news in a totally non-cute way. Basically I was just like, “Hey, so I have to tell you something. I’m pregnant.” And he immediately grabbed me in a hug and then we just looked at each other, slightly confused but so so excited. He asked how I was doing because he knew I’d probably be freaking out and then he grabbed Jameson and added him to our family hug, our first one with all four of us.

One thing I’ve learned from all of this is that we really don’t know when we’re ready for things. We might think we know, but that’s usually not the case. With Jameson, I thought I was ready for such a long time and I wasn’t. God had better plans. With this baby I really thought I wasn’t ready at all. Again, God had better plans. 😊 We are given what we need when we need it, whether we agree with the timing or not. We can be wise and thoughtful with our actions, sure, but ultimately the Lord is the one who directs our steps. To me that is an incredible blessing and a huge weight off my shoulders. I don’t have to know or plan everything.

Praise God for his goodness! We are so thankful for this second precious life He’s given us. What great love the Father has lavished on us!

See you in six months, little one. ❤

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Holidays & Special Events, Out & About

Family Pictures // March 2017

Last month my grandma came for a visit from Pennsylvania. She comes out every couple of years and this year my parents wanted to do something extra special. So they hired a photographer friend (Erin Tandler of Graced by Light Photography) for a family session. And what a beautiful job she did!

We went out to Lost Dutchman State Park right around sunset; it was pure magic! The scenery was gorgeous, the weather was lovely, and the light was just perfect. Today I wanted to share some of my favorites from the shoot. 🙂

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Mom & her girls

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“Have you seen a program called ‘Naked and Afraid?'” – Grandma as this picture was taken

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Four generations of girls.

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Muth family inside joke hahaha.

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Jameson Monthly

18 Months of Jameson


I’m a little late with this post (sheesh, it’s hard work keeping up with this kid) but I can’t believe we have a one and a half year old! Jameson is really coming into his own now, and we see bits of each of us in his looks and personality…plus a whole lot that is all Jameson. 🙂 He is extra sweet, so kind and thoughtful, very silly, adventurous, brave, and smart, and very much a rule-follower (which I personally thank the good Lord for). He’s always looking for ways to make me proud or get me to smile and we have way more good days than we ever do hard days. Jameson is all we could have ever asked for and more.

Here’s where we stand at 18 months!

Weight & Length: At his checkup last week he weighed in at 23 lbs, 1 oz (which is exactly two pounds bigger than he was at 15 months. Slow and steady with this little guy!). This puts him in only the 34th percentile for weight, even though he seems big. He’s actually quite the little peanut. He’s 2 ft, 7.25 inches tall which is only a quarter of an inch taller than his 15 month appointment, keeping him all the way down in the 14th percentile. His pediatrician isn’t worried at all though, as both my husband and I were small kids. Jameson will likely hit his growth spurt later than most, but then he will shoot up to around 6 feet or a bit taller, just like his daddy. I just hope he doesn’t mind too much about being small for awhile. I know how frustrating it can be for a kid to always be the smallest.

Clothing: He’s in 18 month stuff now, or 18 month-2T if the sizing runs small. I just got him some new stuff for the summer since it’s already warming up over here and it’s all sooo cute! (Thank you, Gymboree.) He still needs a couple more things but then he should be set until the fall!


Hair & Eyes: He’s always getting compliments on both of these things. I would probably call his hair strawberry blonde, although sometimes it’s more strawberry and sometimes it’s more blonde. My sister just gave him his third haircut and ohhhh he just looks so handsome and grown up! He loves to comb his own hair (aka mess it up after I’ve already combed it) and even though the banana curls are gone, his hair still has an adorable wave to it on the top where it’s longer. His eyes are a dark hazel with the looongest lashes.

Sleep: This is pretty much all good, or all bad haha. He goes through phases where he’s waking up several times a night, every single night, and crying until we go in and sit down next to him (he doesn’t need or want to be held, he literally just wants someone in there with him). And then he goes through phases (like right now) where he sleeps perfectly peacefully through the entire night with no wakings at all. I think he’s just very sensitive to certain things, like teething and growth spurts, and his sleep just reflects that something bigger is going on with him. He still naps once a day, sometimes for a couple of hours but usually more like an hour and 20 minutes at the most.


Eating: Homeboy is so picky, but because he aims to please us we’re able to get him to at least try different things. Although even when he likes a certain food he sometimes still refuses to eat it for reasons I have no idea about. But we’re pretty consistent with him and he has to eat enough or try a bite of a new food before he’s allowed to get up. His favorite things to eat are all types of fruits, Pirate’s Booty (his absolute favorite snack), Mac ‘n Cheese, french fries, pasta, French Toast, pizza, smoothies, scrambled eggs, and desserts of course. He hates most meat (except chicken nuggets, but are those really meat?) and won’t go near most vegetables unless I disguise them or hide them in smoothies.


Milestones: He’s got 12 teeth now (his four molars are in) with his incisors breaking through just last week. He runs literally all the time, can jump a little bit (doesn’t get very high haha), loves doing all things by himself, tries his best with his t-ball set, and is learning so much so fast. He copies almost everything Alex or I do and he especially LOVES to copy his cousin Madelyn, which is sometimes great and sometimes causes trouble haha.


Communication: I just realized how big of a leap he’s made in this area since 15 months! Last time I wrote an update he had about 10 spoken words and 10 signs, and now I just counted and he’s up to 65 spoken words, tons of animal sounds, and he still signs 5 words. And he’s learning a new word almost every single day. He’s started combining two words together (“Uh-oh, Mama” or “up please” or my personal favorite “my do”) and once or twice I’ve actually heard three words in a row (“oh, my wawa!”). Most often, though, he speaks in strings of gibberish with random real words thrown in there. I really think he’s learned so much from how much we read, and he loves to recite books he’s memorized along with me (our current favorite being “Breakfast by Molly”). He’s also gotten really good at relaying stories to us about events that have happened. He has a great memory! For example, if he falls down and gets a little owie he’ll take my hand, lead me back to where he got hurt, look me in the eye and explain an entire story in gibberish while pointing and telling me about his owie. It’s amazing how much he can explain and get you to understand even without saying very many real words. We’re currently working on some colors (he can point to a few correctly but still has yet to say them) and some shapes too. He knows the letter A as well but that’s the only one haha.


Loves: Copying his cousin Madelyn, loving on his baby cousin Benji, watering the garden/playing with the hose, dancing, Curious George and Thomas the Train, swings, playing with both sets of grandparents, bubbles, all things outside (he’s constantly shouting “back? back?” because he wants to go in the backyard), chasing Charlie, and anything that allows him to get his little body moving!


Hates: When he can’t get something to work on his own, sitting still (church is especially a challenge right now), any food he deems unworthy, and long car rides (kind of goes with the sitting still thing).


Things I want to remember: Watching your daddy show you how to hit a baseball, the way you tell us you want a snack or a bite of something (loud slurping noise), the way you yell “Mama?! Mama?!” when you need to find me as soon as possible, your gibberish stories that have perfect intonation and facial expressions to go along, how you always say “oh no!” when things go wrong, how you say “I dunno” when you’re not sure of the answer, how gentle and sweet you are with your cousin Benji, how you say Chuck (“duck”) and Madelyn (“danna”) and Uncle Colby (“CoCo”), the way you wake me up every morning by kissing my cheek multiple times, your little slide to the side dance, the way you say belly button (“bucket”), how Charlie sleeps under your crib for every one of your naps because he doesn’t want to leave you, your happy kicky legs when Daddy pops up next to your window in the car and surprises you, how you squint one eye shut while we pray and say “amen” at the end, how you randomly wave and say hi to us throughout the day, and the giant proud smile you get on your face after you do something cool or help me with a chore. Oh there are so many more things I could list! Eighteen months is so much fun.

We love you so much, Jameson! You are the very best part of every day. ❤

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Holidays & Special Events, Recipes

A sweet treat for your valentine 


Valentine’s Day is over and gone, but these little treats can be made all year long! (If you end an argument with a rhyme, it’s convincing all the time. I learned that from “How I Met Your Mother.”)

Anywho! I brought these mini heart-shaped pies to a ladies Valentine’s event for my church and the girls all flipped for them! They were gone almost right away. I had to make another batch later that week so I’d have more to share with my family. Wrap them up in a cute little bag, tie it with a string, and you’ve got the perfect Valentine’s gift!

With a sweet jam center, golden flaky crust, and the cutest little heart shape, these babies are sure to make all your friends and family smile. Or, you know, make you smile as you eat an entire batch on your own. (I definitely didn’t do that. Or did I…….)

The best part is… they’re so super easy to make!!! I am no baker extraordinaire but I pulled these off, no problem. I promise you can too! (And let me know if you do, I would love to hear how much you love them too! Look at that, more rhyming.)

Mini Heart Pies

Prep time: 15 minutes

Bake time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  1. One box of pie crusts (or homemade if you’re fancy. I’m not.)
  2. Your favorite jam. (I used the Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserve for one batch and the Bonne Maman Peach/Mango Preserve for the other batch.)
  3. Egg wash & a sprinkle of sugar
  4. Heart shaped cookie cutter

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Roll out your dough and cut out the hearts. (One pie crust yielded 10 total mini pies for me.)
  3. Place a small amount of jam in the center of half of the hearts.
  4. Gently brush a little bit of the egg wash (1 egg beaten with a little water) around the edges of the jam. This will help the two crusts seal together.
  5. Use the remaining hearts as the top crust. Place each one directly on top of the jam hearts and crimp the edges with a fork.
  6. Brush more of the egg wash on top of each mini pie. Add a sprinkle of sugar on top.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy! 😊❤🍓

** Credit for the idea goes to Kristen Mittler (@oldjoy on Instagram) who shared a similar treat on her profile.**

Aaaand this post wouldn’t be complete without a few personal photos from our Valentine’s Day!

Hope you all had a lovely love day! xo.

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Holidays & Special Events, Life with Jameson

The best Christmas.


I LOVE the holiday season. Some years are better than others, but this one really blew every other year that I can remember out of the water. For real, this has been my favorite Christmas.

A lot of different things played into it to make it extra wonderful… the fact that Jameson was old enough to open his own gifts and get excited about them. Spending the morning reading the Christmas story from our Bibles on my parents’ bed like always. Having a delicious dinner with my parents and Alex’s parents all together. Christmas being on a Sunday which let us celebrate with our church family at night. Getting blessed out the wazoo with such generosity from friends and family. Going to see Alex’s brother and our sister-in-law up in Prescott the Friday before Christmas. Spending Christmas Eve with my grandma and tons more family.


It was all so so good. But I think my very favorite part was when I gave my parents their gift. A few months ago I decided to get all my parents’ home videos digitized as their present for Christmas. They had been sitting in the garage for over twelve years (since we moved to Arizona) and even longer before that at our house in New York. The video camera that was used to record them broke a loooong time ago, so we hadn’t been able to see any of our memories for closer to fifteen years, probably over twenty years for some of the oldest videos.

So when my parents went out of town for a few days last month, I stole all the tapes and sent them off to Legacy Box to be converted into DVDs. They JUST made it back in time (two days before Christmas) and I was so so SO happy with the results. All of our childhood memories were right there in front of me, videos I had never seen before and videos I had forgotten all about. Hours of footage from all our best moments and tons of ordinary moments too (which actually turned out to be my favorites). Videos of me and my sister playing together in our backyard with our old family dogs. Videos of each of our newborn days. Videos of our birthdays and school plays and tap recitals and baton performances and snow days. Videos of inside jokes we quote all the time but haven’t been able to see in years. It was all there.

Needless to say, I cried like a baby watching it all through. And I was literally giddy with excitement to give it to my parents on Christmas morning.

It was the last present under the tree and I handed it to my dad while my youngest sister recorded on my phone. His reaction was the best thing ever and I’m so glad we caught it on video! He and my mom were absolutely shocked and thrilled. Oh it just made me so very happy!


They asked to watch the videos right away so we popped one in and all our memories came to life as if no time had passed at all. I’m still blown away by the care and thoughtfulness my parents used as they filmed our lives. Each clip was so obviously done with intention and with the knowledge that our childhood days would be fleeting. You can hear my dad saying multiple times in the videos, “We’ll watch this in twenty years and laugh!” Or “Maybe someday God will bless you with a baby and then you’ll know how I feel right now.” They knew time would slip by so quickly, and it did.

So this next year I’m making it a point to record more everyday moments with Jameson. Not just ten second clips for  Snapchat or a quick video of something cute he’s doing for Facebook. I want videos of our life just as it was and just for our family, because if I learned anything this Christmas it’s that the time God gives us with our children is so precious. Not every moment is “extraordinary,” but those aren’t always our best moments or memories anyway.


I hope your holiday season has been oh so very merry!

Love, the Iwanski’s

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