Happy 4th Birthday Harry!

This year Jeremy wanted to go all out, since it is very possible that we will move before he turns 5. So we threw the goofy little thing a party at The Little Gym, and he absolutely loved it. 


He adored the balloons, the turtle cake he kept asking for, and ran around like a wild man. My favorite part though has to be how much he loved everyone singing to him. He sat there so patiently waiting to blow out his candles. 

Being a kid who cried every time someone sang "Happy Birthday" I really like living through him on this. 


3 was a fun age, granted it was full of a terribly independent child who wants to have his way. But he is incredibly sweet and loving. 

We even started making headway on potty training this fall. 

His favorite things at the moment are slime, Legos, play food, and playdoh. He loves to read and is obsessed with The Gruffalo series and We're Going on a Bear Hunt. At night Harry makes his Daddy play "bear hunt" with him. Some nights he still works in his game of "Big Bad Wolf." 


His favorite foods are definitely pizza and ice cream. 

But I can get him to eat a snack plate with apples and cheese, he will also eat rice and gravy, grilled cheese, green beans, and basically whatever his beloved Mrs. Tammy makes him. 

This boy has a delicate little heart and it makes fussing at him so hard. For instance, I (in the nicest voice ever) got onto him for pouring water out of the tub and told him not to do it again. His eyes immediately welled up with tears and said "I sorry Mama." 


 Really though, he is a funny, spirited kid. He has boundless energy and as long as he's well fed he is happy and outgoing.

After telling everyone at his party "thank you for coming" he continued it and then told everyone at church the next day.

But what more can you ask for, a naturally sweet child. There can't be more than that.

Your Labor Bag Essentials for Beating Discomfort

For anyone who’s had a baby, it’s a well known fact that it isn’t a walk in the park. 
Laboring naturally for as long as possible was a biggie for me.
I had to be induced for high blood pressure and my little ornery child was posterior. All the more fun for labor.
Luckily I had read up about comfort techniques and talked to a few veteran mamas about ways to decrease labor discomfort. 


I’m sharing all my favorite products for that lovely labor and delivery room, over on the Lafayette Mom’s Blog. I’d so love for you to head over there and read what I pack, how it's helped me out, and why you need it too (and I'd love it if you left a comment) .

Tis the Season, to Scale Back

With a large extended family and heck, even a not so large family on my side, the holidays can get expensive quickly. 
That doesn’t appeal to me at all, and in fact, I’ve found it taints my view or the holiday in general. As soon as I start having to buy for every Tom, Dick, and Harry, I get real sour. I don’t mind spending time with extended family, but when I start to feel that what we could do for our own children is stretched thin because Uncle Bob’s cousin’s sister’s kid wants a gift … nope. My attitude for Christmas shifts from joyfully reading the Christmas story and celebrating Jesus as a family to just a flat our Grinch. 


I'm a bit late sharing this post, but it applies to all year for us. Not just Christmas. To read more about how we keep gifts to the essentials and not go bananas, head over to the Lafayette Moms Blog. (I'd love it if you also left a comment.) Hint. I incorporated that 4 gifts rule... and for V-Day and Easter it's even less stuff. (for Valentines I will give a small candy and Easter is a basket with just a few fun things.) 

Meal Planning Monday

New resolution... cook one thing a week that is remotely fun and not just basic meat and veg. 

This week I picked, it's the best Poppyseed Chicken on earth. 


Monday | Leftover Prime Rib from V-Day (Ina Garten is the best recipe on earth)

Tuesday | Asian Beef and Stir-fry Veggies

Wednesday | Chicken, Potatoes, Broccoli

Thursday | Grilled Chicken, Birdseye Alfredo Veggie Pasta and Green Beans

Friday | Beef, Asparagus, Potatoes

Saturday | Eating out

Sunday | I'm on my own so there's a hot chance I'm driving to Chicken Salad Chick for my birthday... alone. And yes I'm salty about this. (my birthday is Monday and who has time to celebrate during the week.)

Breakfast | My favorite smoothie. 

Lunch | Rotisserie Chicken, Roasted Broccoli, Bird's Eye Steamable Veggie Pasta

Snacks | Atkin's Peanut Butter Cup (for low carb days)

Things I Bought and Liked || January

I'm constantly trying new products, so I decided... why not share them. So here ya go, round one is basically everything from November through January!



The Ordinary Buffet | If you're looking for a serum from The Ordinary and don't know what to do, this is the one to choose. It's exactly what it says, a buffet. It a touch of all the good stuff they have. This is another I've reordered about 3 times over the years. But pay attention to their website, I got them half off over Black Friday this year.

Teddie Organics Rose Hip Oil | I've used this day and night for a year. I love it. I put this under my moisturizer and can tell a major difference in how dry my skin is when I don't use it.

Dr. Pedicure Foot Exfoliation Peeling Mask | It works, but not as well as the Korean Baby Foot I found a few years ago that wasn't even in English. It peeled the skin off, but it could have done more.

Amazon Essentials Electric Kettle | We use this multiple times a day after ditching our coffee pot. I (as the every loving Anglophile) wanted to go a more European route with my tea and coffee since my tea kettle is 10 years old and needed replacing. This did the trick. It heats up water in under a minute, I swear.

Turkish Delight | I bought this for my class when we were reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe... it is insanely yummy.

YETI Rambler 14oz | I would be exaggerating if I said I used this less than every single day. I make my coffee at 6am and it's the prefect temperature when I sit down at my desk to take roll at 8am. This mug has saved me from cold coffee since November 1.

Garden of Life Sport Protein Powder Chocolate | I abandoned my beloved Paleo protein powder for this one. There's nothing funky in it and the big bonus is that it contains pre/probiotics and BCAAs.

Nalgene Kids Grip-and-Gulp | We were having an issue with Harrison chewing on the spout of his Contigo cups, this cup solved that. The Nalgene is a hard spout so he can't gnaw it off. I know he should probably use a regular cup at some point, but I don't even use one.

George Foreman 4 Serving Removable Plate Grill | This is my lifesaving dinner purchase! I can get dinner done in under 30 minutes and then pop off the plates and toss them in the dishwasher and that makes this mother of two small people with a full time job very happy.

Amazon Basics Packing Cubes | I've been needing a better packing option. With Elliot new to the clan he is taking over a whole seat we once used to hold the 3 drawer thing for camping clothing. My new goal is to get us all in one bag and this is the way... the previous way being gallon baggies. But that way costs more in the long run. I got myself and the kids in a duffel bag at Christmas this way.

R+Co Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste | A hair dresser use this on me at LAFMB Moms Night Out and I was impressed. It's somewhere between a texture paste and dry shampoo, but I wouldn't recommend it on day two. It's something to be used on day one when you're styling and just makes your style last longer and appear less dirty the next day. This is great for flat or fine hair.

Amazon Essentials Packable Puffer Jacket | I'm kind of shocked at how great this jacket is. I've now worn in it pretty chilly Louisiana conditions (it got down to the 30s once lol) and it blocks the cold and wind very well!

Ulgoo Weekend Duffle Bag | Large, waterproof, seems made well enough, it was everything I was looking for.


Another Whole30

I love a good food detox and Whole30 is one of my favorite ways to do a good reset. 
I’ve followed Melissa Hartwig since about 2011 and have done a few Whole30s, a few Whole15s, even a Whole Week. It just depended on what I needed at that time. After having my first child, I was having a few issues myself plus a cranky baby. My immediate solution was to complete a Whole30 and SHOCKER … I suddenly had a less cranky baby and several postpartum issues cleared up.


I recently shared all about my beloved Whole30, over on the Lafayette Mom’s Blog. I’d so love for you to head over there and read all about my favorite recipes for surviving and thriving on a strict 30 days of clean eating (and I'd love it if you left a comment) .

Currently.

I use to do these every month and somehow forgot about them. Then I saw a blogger friend post hers and had to jump back onto the wagon. There's nothing more fun for a blogger than an old school link up.

To join the link head on over to in residence



ANTICIPATING | I'm seriously looking forward to our camping trips this year. In April we are headed to Austin to camp at McKinny Falls State Park. This is in essence our 10th anniversary trip, but with kids in tow. Send me all your food recs, I'm hoping to hit up a BBQ, Mexican, and then of course Voodoo Doughnuts. Maybe even a coffee shop in there too. We've only got two full days so only one of them will be in town, and we will be as fat as cows by the evening.

GOING | To the grocery store? Yeah we aren't doing all that much between now and Easter.

MAKING | I made Euna Mae's Poppy Seed Chicken this week, it's a fam favorite. This is one of those for the recipe box.

WATCHING | Victoria on PBS. It's my favorite period drama since Downton ended, gotta love Masterpiece. Hint... since we cancelled cable and I'm just not down with paying $60 for a PBS subscription for the year for one show... you can pay per month (like 5 bucks) on Amazon Prime for a subscription to Masterpiece.

WEARING | Old Navy Compression Leggings. Nothing, I repeat nothing, has come between me and this legging. Seriously. I've tried others and nothing compares. I even sported their maternity version all though pregnancy. They're soft, they hold everything on earth in, and they are thick as can be.

Baby Essentials - Second Kid Edition

This is something that I think is an ever evolving list for most mothers.

New baby items come out, you see what would make life easier, you get them. At the same time you are getting rid of baby items as well. (I'll make a list of what we got rid of when we moved at the bottom of the post.)



What I've got below is a list of the items I added to our arsenal of baby things this time, as well as the oldie but goodies we are still using from the days of baby Harry.

2nd Baby Essentials


KeaBabies Infinity Nursing Cover | With Harrison I used the free cover you could order and only pay shipping. He spent all his free time pushing it out of the way. This time I found a much cheaper version of the Milk Maid infinity nursing cover and car seat canopy and am in love. It's made nursing in public much more comfortable and it's insanely soft. Seriously, I nurse in Sunday School, a mixed gender class, every single week. I even nursed while eating lunch with friends last weekend. At no point was I worried Elliot would kick free.

Moby Wrap | I've gone back and forth with this one. Initially I was using it in place of my Baby Bjorn. I quickly found out that I'm not a soft carrier gal in public. They're just too hard to get back on. Instead what I've started doing is wearing Elliot in the evenings (at that time they need a nap and won't lay down) while I cook so he can cat nap before bath time. He will nap much better in this than in the Bjorn because it's much more cozy and snug. I think he rattles around too much with my cooking to sleep in the Bjorn, honestly.

Taking Cara Babies Sleep Courses | I followed Baby Wise with Harrison and was stressed. I had a schedule but felt I was missing some magic key. Then I read Moms on Call with Elliot. Before maternity leave was over I knew I was still missing something. Somehow I came across TCB and bought her course. Y'all she gave the actual advice I was looking for. I can schedule. Schedules are easy. In fact, the Moms on Call app is great for a schedule. But tips to get a baby to sleep, soothe himself, and get through a fussy period... that's what I need and Cara gave me that information.



RHOM Travel Sound Machine | Cara from Taking Cara Babies gave this advice and I think I could have saved a lot of car crying with Harry if I had it... get a travel sound machine. This particular one charges and I'm not wasting money on batteries. I only have to pop this into his car seat, cover him with the car seat cover, "car swaddle" and he's sound asleep.

Haaka Manual Breast Pump | This is a great way to 1) gather what would be lost into a breast pad during letdown and 2) increase your supply. It puts just enough pressure on you that your body wants to make more milk. I use it a few times a week depending on my supply and generally get between 1-2 ounces.

Mam Anti-Colic Bottles | I was shocked at how easy the baby took a bottle this time. I don't know if it is these or luck of the draw, but he took to them like a champ the very first time.

Lavender Castile Soap | Hello sensitive skin baby. He is a crusty little thing and I moved to using castile soap with him to have something less harsh. Plus it's much cheaper than items like Noodle & Boo or Tubby Todd that are usually recommended. Also... less ingredients and better EWG rating.

Silicone Loofah | This loofah is life. I got one for the kids bathroom as well as ours and love it. This is a much more hygienic option to the usual mesh loofah.

Probiotic Drops | I started the colic fight much earlier with baby number two. There was no way I was going to deal with the newborn gas any longer than I had to. On top of gas drop and my beloved Dupois Colic Remedy, I started giving Elliot these at bedtime and the irritated baby tummy really subsided.

LaVie Lactation Massager | This. Mamas THIS is makes pumping so much more fulfilling, rewarding, better output, heck I don't know the word. With Harry I did hand massage while pumping to try and hit those ducts that had more milk but weren't releasing easily with just the pump. Using this massager has honestly caused me to have 1-2 days worth of pumped milk stashed into the freezer every week. I just keep it on the constant high vibrate and move it around my boobs while I pump, when I find a duct that has more I just leave it there a bit with a bit more pressure.


Oldies But Goodies:


Puj Tub | We use this for baths up until 5 months. After that I'm moving Elliot to THIS bath seat so I can still bath both kids at the same time.

Ergo Original Baby Carrier | Nothing beast a structured carrier that distributes the weight to your hips.

Baby Bjorn | Honestly I thought I wouldn't use it this time. I really thought I'd use the Moby and then go to the Ergo... nope. Turns out this is easier in public than the Moby.



Rock n' Play Sleeper | The devil of infant products itself. This will cause an amazing newborn sleeper until the day come that you must wean the baby into an actual bed. Then all hell breaks loose. I'll try to remember next time to not sleep in this again.

DOHM Sound Machine | I've bought cheaper versions. Don't buy cheaper versions, they just break easily. I now own two, one in each room. When the kids are in the same room my plan in to place the second machine between their beds to cut the noise they each make and hopefully not disturb each other.

Ikea Antilop High Chair | Cheap, easy to clean, you just can't beat it. I've bought this as baby gifts for friends. Seriously, don't waste your money on a traditional high chair. If you're doing Baby Led Weaning, this is a dream at clean up.

Graco Jogger/Travel System | This is a great singleton jogger, it move smoothly and is priced well. We are now using it with number two until he is big enough for the Britax double stroller (because .

Honest Company Nipple Balm | I try to avoid lanolin and this balm ticks all the boxes for me. I just can't wrap my head around putting something on me that would end up in the baby's mouth and isn't really food safe. The HC Nipple Balm is organic and doesn't have any funky ingredients, plus it really speeds up the healing process.

Honest Company All Purpose Balm | Previously Healing Balm, this is the nipple balm on crack. I can put this on any scratch and it heals much faster. It even helps with little baby eczema patches.

Dupois Colic Remedy | Everyone swore this was the holy grail of baby gas solutions, and after two newborns I can tell you it is. And worth every penny of that $30 bottle. In fact this reminded me that I needed more and placed a order for it just now. I give 1/2 tsp of this after his last feed at bedtime and it's a world of difference in how well we does... the alternative being fighting baby gas all night.

Bright Stars Activity Gym | This is something I don't spend much on (or hey grandma has bought one for Christmas). I'd love something that has a really pretty look, but whatever. It gets the job done and doesn't need to be ultra nice. Especially since the dog and big brother mess with it... and the dog messed with Harrison's as well. Honestly the dog also messed with Joshua's (my sister's son) 10 years ago) You just can't win with our dogs.


Items we ditched:


Bouncer Seat - I am going to sit him up in the Ikea High Chair in the kitchen with us. I've even used the Rock n' Play in the kitchen while I'm cleaning to entertain him.

Baby Activity Center - bulky, massive, no room for it. He has a brother to entertain him and I might buy a door bouncer eventually. Our sitter has one of these so he can play in that there.

Bumbo - it was borrowed but I'm good without it.




Life Lately

It's been a fun week. Mainly because Mardi Gras here is the same, if not more party involved than Christmas. 

This past week the Laffy Moms Blog ladies got together for a King Cake party. If you haven't had one might I suggest you do it. My favorites were Keller's (always, they are the most traditional cake texture), Pouparts (traditional French King Cake was really good), and surprisingly the Great Harvest Bread Co (their Turtle fill was amazing, they are more of the cinnamon roll dough bread). 


The aftermath... I'm not diabetic. 


Every month I pull up Harrison's monthly photo when I take Elliot's, and every month they look less and less alike. Harry is clearly Jeremy's head shape on me with some combo of our eye shape. Elliot is straight up Jeremy from top to bottom with my head shape as a baby. I was changing the little sucker today and noticed just now much his fat baby body looks like the photos of fat baby Jeremy.

Both kids though, very unfortunate head shapes. Sadly rocking a bald head in adulthood won't be in their future.


Ignore the fact that I look like an exhausted train wreck with my greasy bun, but we had a good laugh this week when my teacher friend in the class next door and I showed up in the exact same outfit. Minus shoes. Mine is a touch more wrinkled though, blame breastfeeding before work. 


I'm only going to say this 100 more times this year, but the LaVie has been a lifesaver for pumping. As it stands today (Thursday) I only need about an ounce to get the rest of the bottles Elliot needs for the week. And I still have to pump 4 more times. During the work day, when sleep hasn't been an issue, I am managing to pump 3 bottles from 2 pump sessions. 

If you've ever breastfed before you realize how major this is. Nothing gets a nursing mama excited like an abundance of milk. 

But I'll carry on about that more in my baby essentials post next week. 


Elliot - 3 Months Old

Who finally got their child's monthly photo taken? This mama! 

Never mind that he's propped up in a Mamaroo because flat laying 3 month olds don't photograph well. 


Elliot's Current Stats:
❊ Age – 3 months old
❊ Weight & Height – I'll update after his next appointment!  
❊ Eat – He eats well and clearly well enough that he will nap and sleep at night. However I am thinking about starting to pump during the day, when I normally pump at work.I find he makes my supply drop on the weekends. I never would have done that with Harrison... but I really want to keep my supply as high as it's been without having to down supplements. 
❊ Sleep – He started trying to push his night feeding back to 4am instead of 3am. Actually (as I type this) last night I woke him up at 4:14am. It doesn't bother me that he is waking up once at night simply because I'd rather nurse then than pump. Now, he's been in the Rock n' Play, we had a minor stint in the bassinet that was interrupted by a Wonder Week Leap, but as soon as the leap is over it's back to the bassinet. I'm wanting to make a baby nest and wean him from the RNP that way.


❊ Recent Milestones – Elliot has started blowing bubbles and making more sounds when he coos. He also holds his head up just a bit higher when he does tummy time. He is also Curious George, a friend called him this a few weeks ago and it has become quite evident that he is into seeing what everyone is doing. The silly little thing will go out of his way to make eye contact with you and then smile and giggle his heart out once you talk to him. He's a flirt. 
❊ Special Moments – I heard cackling the other day while Elliot was in the swing, he was laughing at Harrison who was talking to him through some voice changer toy he got for Christmas. Harrison also spends a lot of time saying "how cute" Elliot is. Poor child will be called Baby Elliot most of his life.


❊ Mama’s Experience – This was a great month minus the WW Leap. He cried a bit more and was harder to comfort... but that was considered a good day for Harrison. If I can just get him weaned from the RNP I'll be a happy woman. He can't very well go to college in this thing. Lucky for me he gets practice sleeping flat at the sitter.
❊ Comparison – Well things have surely changed... they don't look anything alike. 



Convincing Myself to Be a Happy, Confident, Present Mama

As a first time mom, my labor and delivery was great … and then we got home. 
I sobbed the entire first night. 
From then on, I wouldn’t get into photos because I didn’t like my new body. I panicked at every cry. I was once so sleep deprived that I thought I lost the baby in the bed; he was safe asleep in his bed all along. I created an oversupply with my breastmilk that caused my baby to projectile vomit every time I nursed, simply because everyone on the planet seemed to think they had a low supply. So I did what they did. 

I’m sharing how I have become a more happy, present, and confident mother this time around, over on the Lafayette Mom’s Blog. I’d so love for you to head over there and read all about how I've worked to change my thought process in motherhood (and I'd love it if you left a comment) .

7 Tips for Surviving the 7 Year Itch

Recently, we (my husband and I) have really started to appreciate just how much easier marriage is now versus when we were first married (10 years ago). After a recent conversation, it became quite clear that this is only because a few things have been ticked off the checklist that make all marriages just a tad easier. 




Today I shared about a conversation I recently had with my husband about marriage, over on the Lafayette Moms Blog. I’d so love for you to head over there and read all about my tips for surviving the itch to ditch marriage and how to have a healthy relationship (and I'd love it if you left a comment) 

Meal Planning Monday

New resolution... cook one thing a week that is remotely fun and not just basic meat and veg. 

This week I picked, it's the best Poppyseed Chicken on earth. 


Monday | Creamy Chicken with Mushrooms and Spinach served with Broccoli

Tuesday | leftovers

Wednesday | Breakfast - Sausage Gravy, Potatoes O'brien, Eggs, and Biscuits

Thursday | Grilled Chicken, Birdseye Alfredo Veggie Pasta and Green Beans

Friday | Beef Stir-fry

Saturday | Poppyseed Chicken with Rice

Sunday | Slow Cooker Jambalaya (from Omaha Steaks - that I haven't gotten to)

Breakfast | My favorite smoothie. 

Lunch | Trader Joe's Turkey Meatballs, Wild Rice with Kerrygold Butter, and Green Beans

Snacks | Nuts & Cheese/Avocado Pudding/or Banana Smoothie (depends on my macros for the day)

Banana Smoothie:
1 cup almond milk
1 1/2 frozen bananas
2 dates
tons of cinnamon
1 tbsp almond butter
ice

Winter Gardening in the Deep South

Y’all, Zone 9 might be my least favorite zone of all. 
When I think of gardening, my absolute dream is something around Tennessee or slightly farther north. I just imagine all the goodies Amish women plant throughout the year. I also tend to fantasize about winter gardens simply because the upkeep is much lower than your summer garden. 
Summer gardens tend to equal pest control, bugs galore, constantly weeding, and never enough water in Zone 9. 
Hence my love for winter gardening in our planting zone. 



I recently shared my favorite things about winter gardening in South Louisiana, over on the Lafayette Mom’s Blog. I’d so love for you to head over there and read all about what veggies I plant this time of year and why winter is the best in Zone 9 (and I'd love it if you left a comment) .