National Breastfeeding Week

If you’re anything like me, you follow various people on social media who are new moms. young moms, moms of multiples, etc. sharing their tips and tricks to surviving motherhood. That phrase may bother some people “surviving motherhood”, but I’ve been surviving for the last year and a half. I don’t exaggerate when I say I haven’t had a full nights sleep since before Jax was born, but I’m okay with that. I’m fortunate and count my blessings daily that I’m able to be home with Jaxon 90% of the time. But some nights, I am most definitely in survival mode. Some days I drink an entire pot of coffee, causing me to stay up too late (like tonight as I write out this blog at 12:30 am) and when I finally do fall asleep, it’s as if Jaxon’s internal alarm goes off & he’s up for a nursing session, which then causes me to be exhausted the next day. It’s a vicious cycle.

18 months. I have nursed Jax for 18 months. And shared thousands of ounces of breastmilk with so many moms in the Twin Cities. I didn’t realize this journey would be this long, but then, some of the best adventures are full of surprises. We were watching old videos of the baby & Chase said to me tonight the sound of my breast pump will haunt his dreams. I laughed because I didn’t even notice the hushed hum of the pump in the majority of the videos. I’m still amazed at what my body has been able to do for not only Jaxon but so many little babies. I didn’t mind pumping. I know some women who have said they hate washing the pump parts every time and how much room in the freezer the milk takes up, but I loved it all. And while I’ve loved being able to donate and hope to do more in the future, I’m 100% an advocate of #fedisbest.

I have girlfriends who would cry and feel guilty & judged because they weren’t able to product enough milk for their little ones and used formula. In my opinion, some of the most aggressive judgments come from mom’s who breastfeed. Comments like “why would you do formula?!” And “The health benefits of breastmilk vs. formula are no contest.” Well, I think mama’s sanity & mental health are just as important! When I had to pump and feed I felt so judged. Even though baby boy was getting breastmilk, I was taking away the bonding because he was getting it from a bottle! It sometimes feels like as a mom you just can’t win. “Breastfeed, but not for too long”, “Cover up while you nurse”, “Don’t cover while your nurse, and if you ARE covering while you nurse, why are you ashamed of what you’re doing?”, “Pumping and feeding via a bottle isn’t as good as nursing”.. the list goes on and on. And it’s exhausting.

And I just have to say to those who make the assumption that because I choose to cover my son while I nurse because I’m “ashamed”, you couldn’t be more wrong. I’m proud of what my body produces for my son. I’m thankful we are able to still bond in this way. I love that he still needs me right now. But I know how I feel when I see someone’s breast hanging out or how Chase feels uncomfortable when he sees a woman nursing without a cover and I choose to be more discreet. No, not all the time, sometimes I’m that woman with her boob hanging out, but I assess my surroundings and act accordingly.

We’ve actually come to the point in our journey where Jax just nurses daily and I manually pump when I feel it’s necessary. It’s strange going from pumping 50 ounces/day on top of nursing to simply nursing. I’m not going to lie, it’s a little sad. But I have to remind myself that this is all a part of the journey. That being said, as our journey’s coming to an end, I want to quickly share my one of my favorite products as of lately! Primally Pure’s Baby Balm was my go to for the nips when I was pumping all the time plus nursing & needed some relief. But now I use it as my nightly lip balm! And Jax can use it too. It’s so moisturizing, I’m obsessed. If you want to check it out, use code SIMPLYDONE for a nice little discount!

public.jpeg

So I am here to say Happy National Breastfeeding Week. Let’s support & empower one another to be the best mommies we can be to our little ones. Raise them kind. Raise them a wild. Raise them right.

O N E

February 2, 2019 my little Jax man turned O N E! Now I know what you’re thinking, that was over a week ago and you’re just now writing about it? Youuuu betcha! Minnesota has become an icebox. I’m talking temperatures hit -50. And no, that’s not an exaggeration!  So my fingers have just now thawed. Okay, that was an exaggeration, but in all honesty, I haven’t had the time to sit down and think about the celebration!   I spent weeks preparing for this one day. I would say that I got mixed opinions on throwing such a large birthday party. Half the people said, “he’s not going to remember this”, while the other half said, “this is more for you and Chase than anything.”  And they were both right.  Jaxon won’t remember his first birthday party aside from the few and terrible photos I got. (Actually, if it wasn’t for my cousin Chloe, I wouldn’t have any pictures to share with you!)  The week leading up to his first birthday Chase looked at me and said, “I can’t believe we kept him alive for one year!!” What a strange thing to say, right? But let’s think about this... as a first time parent there were many sleepless nights (or in my case 365+ sleepless nights and counting). We were always concerned with how he was sleeping and where he was sleeping and was he nursing enough? And did he get enough out of that bottle? And, “holy crap! He just projectile vomited everywhere! It’s like a scene from the exorcist! Is that normal?!” There were so many nights spent crying, mostly Jaxon, sometimes me... never Chase. So when we stopped and thought about the fact that we’ve kept this tiny human being alive, we did what any first time parents  would do... high fived. And let me just stop here and say that I am so thankful to have Chase as my partner in life & parenthood.  After working 12+ hour days, he comes home and scoops Jaxon up & plays with him till bed time. I’m so thankful. Not because I need “a break”, because I don’t feel that way, but because I love hearing the two of them laughing together and I love seeing them playing with Jax’s trucks. Well, if I’m being really honest, I’m thankful for when Chase gets home because sometimes it is nice to just go to the bathroom by myself with the door closed. 

Now that I’ve gone completely off topic, let’s get back to Jaxon’s first birthday, shall we?

First off, my sister was nice enough to open up their home & hosted for us!  With 60+ people coming, our house just couldn’t host that many!
The theme I chose was: Jaxon's First Woodland Adventure.
The majority of the decorations I bought were from Amazon and Hobby Lobby.  Decorations from Amazon included a balloon arch that we put together, a Woodland Creature “One”  vinyl backdrop, and embroidery wheels that I used to display pictures. I also bought the fox and raccoon cake topper which were adorable and a bag full of woodland creature rings to put on top of the cupcakes for the kids. From Hobby Lobby I purchased the creature masks, little creature tattoos, a few little party favors and some themed napkins. I wasn’t sure what to put in the little favor bags for a one year old’s birthday party, so I kept it really simple! The kids would get to take home a mask, the ring from their cupcake, and a little bag full of bubbles, the tattoo, and a mini bag of Black Forest gummy bears. I also found someone from Amazon who made Jaxon’s little onesie. You can’t quite see it in the photos, but it has a few little creatures on it and it says “Jaxon is One”. I was really happy with the quality of the shirt!
I went back and forth on what to serve such a large group of people, but Chase finally put his foot down after I flip flopped back and forth about 10 times & we decided to cater in BBQ from a local favorite: Q Fanatic. We ordered their BBQ pulled chicken and their BBQ pulled pork and let me tell you they’re always crowd pleasers! Q’s provides garlic butter rolls that are delicious! On top of the yummy BBQ, I asked my mom to make a cherry chicken pasta salad, Chase’s mom to make her famous coleslaw, and provided an Italian pasta salad, fruit salad, and a veggie platter, as well as an assortment of dips from Costco. Again, with such a large group, I decided to make the cupcakes and cake, which was actually really fun… I’m a big fan of the Great British Bake-off. :)
But on top of all of the delicious food & fun decorations, we were so blessed by our friends and family who came out to help us celebrate Jaxon!

Thanks for following along!
Allie

Christmas at the Cabin

Christmas always seems to come and go so fast. It’s my favorite holiday, hands down, so I’m always a little disappointed when it’s over. Chase asked me when we got home from the cabin if this means we’re taking the tree down… I laughed. I’m one of those people who keep it up till after the New Year. BUT, I don’t make him hang lights up outside so I told him he can be thankful for that.

We were able to head up late Saturday to Two Harbors, MN where my parent’s cabin is and it is one of my favorite places. It’s located right on Lake Superior and is so beautiful to wake up to! We got to spend some quality time with them before the rest of the family came up on Christmas Eve.

I’ve realized there are two types of people during the Holidays: those who like to receive & those who like to give. I am the latter. I LOVE giving gifts. Whenever Chase asks me what I want whether it be for Christmas, my birthday or our anniversary, I never have an answer! If I need/want something I usually just get it myself, other than that I’d rather just have quality time. I start my Christmas shopping on Black Friday. In fact, we’ve been doing Black Friday shopping with some of our best friends for probably over 5 years now. It’s become a tradition. And last year, my girlfriend Sara and I were both pregnant, dragging Chase & Mike around. This year, we didn’t do our normal route, but we kept the tradition alive and we were still able to go to a few stores together! (Chase hung out in the car with sleeping Jaxon while I ran into the stores). I always find such good deals on little presents for the nieces and nephews, who lets be honest, are the best to shop for.

With this year being Jaxon’s first Christmas, I wanted to start certain traditions and so did Chase. He got Jaxon the book “The Night Before Christmas” and was so excited to read it to him on Christmas Eve. MY tradition was matching Christmas jammies. I asked Chase if he would wear them if I purchased them which he reluctantly said yes. When I told him I’d ordered them he said he was hoping I forgot. I gave them to him on Christmas Eve and when he saw that they were a onesie with “Bear Cheeks” written on the back he started laughing and said “Nope”. But he was a good sport and wore them the majority of Christmas day! He even let me take pictures of him in them. I think deep down he’s happy I bought them. :) These ones were from Lazy One and I am obsessed. Definitely a tradition I plan on keeping up! I was really happy with the selection from Lazy One as well as how fast they came!

Jaxon’s Christmas Eve outfit (the grey & white chevron onesie) was perfect! It was nice and thick to keep him warm, although it was surprisingly warm for Northern Minnesota. I ordered it from Wind and Whistle along with a few other things I can’t wait to share!

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday season surrounded by those you love! And I hope you all have a Happy New Year!!

MIA

I’ve been pretty MIA lately with the exception of a few milk donation updates. I apologize if you’ve been following the blog & have been waiting for something more exciting to come up. With the Holiday season upon us, I’ve been pretty preoccupied with decorating and figuring out our Christmas plans. I’m so excited for Jaxon to have his first Christmas up at my parents beautiful cabin on Lake Superior. We’ll be gone for a few days so preparing for this is somewhat overwhelming. Not only am I trying to plan out packing, but groceries and meal planning too. Whenever we go up there, I know my mom is more than happy to cook for us, but I love being in the kitchen and would rather cook for them instead! I have some really yummy recipes I can’t wait to share with you guys.

One of my favorites that is a tradition from Chase’s side is sauerkraut balls. I imagine you’re wrinkling your nose right now or holding back a gag.  And to be honest, it took me three years to like them.  They’re like gold around the holidays at his family’s Christmas, but I’ve changed their recipe a little bit (shh!) and introduced them to my family. Now, they’re requested every year! Anyways, I’m getting ahead of myself, I’ll be sharing that recipe soon! It’s an awesome little appetizer that I guarantee no one else will be bringing!

I’d love to hear if any of you have any Holiday traditions! Whether it be where you go every year or a favorite food you make!!  We took Jaxon too meet Santa and it went exactly how we expected!

RenderedImage.JPG

And with that, I will leave you all with this extra cute little bit of Holiday cheer!!

IMG_4139 (1).jpg

It's Baby Time!

I’ve been working on our birth story for quite some time, trying to remember every detail. Looking back, I absolutely love how it all happened. So I will start by saying this… This will not be a short story! :)

It all started Tuesday, January 30th. I woke up at 4 AM convinced I was in labor. I had the most painful contractions & was trying to time them before waking up Chase. Around 5:30, he woke up to find me hovered over the bed, clutching the sheets and crying.  Long story short, he went into work late, around 8 only to have me call him at 11 and tell him we needed to go in and get checked.  I was hopeful this was it. The contractions had been so painful I thought for sure today was the day. Annnd nothing.  We got sent home and were told it wasn’t likely I’d going to have the baby early. I wasn’t showing any signs of labor. We ended up going to Target to finish getting some items on our registry where Chase told me he thought I was faking it. Side note: I just asked him if he remembers saying that and he said, “I don’t remember if I said faking it, I just know you overreact when you get hurt and it doesn’t really hurt THAT bad”.... Dear men: you have no idea. That’s all I’ll say about that. 

Wednesday Chase and I took that morning for ourselves and did the most Minnesotan thing you can do in the winter: we went ice fishing! It was a beautiful, sunny day and so nice to be out just the two of us. Though, I do think that driving around on a bumpy, icy lake was a little rough on my body & baby, BUT! We had fun together, and little did we know it would be our last adventure just us two. 

Which brings us to Thursday, the long part of our story! I had every intention to work up until I had the baby. For all I knew he could come late & I’d be sitting at home bored just waiting! So I figured I would work until he came!  I had a full night at the salon which helped distract from my extremely swollen ankles. This was something I really struggled with during my third trimester.. I mean my ankles were like a Tempur-pedic mattress, you’d push down on them and an imprint would be left in my skin. So attractive... not! But Chase and I would laugh at them every night I got home from work. Two of my coworkers hugged me that night and both joked “Okay, go home and have that baby now!”  
I’d gone to bed around 11 PM and woke up at 12:05 AM to what I can only describe as a “popping” sensation.  It was the strangest thing. I felt like I could hear and feel it all at the same time. But, being so tired I wasn’t sure if it was something I had dreamt or if my water had truly just broken. I said to Chase, “I think my water just broke.”  Of course, he was dead asleep.  Over the next 45 minutes Google became my doctor, which by the way, doctor’s love.  I was searching “how to know if your water really broke” and “what do I do IF my water broke”? Finally, I was convinced it was time to go in due to the sight of a little blood. So here I am, in the bathroom yelling for Chase. Like I said before, he was sound asleep & could probably sleep through an earthquake. I eventually had to call his phone twice to wake him up. Because we were sent home on Tuesday, Chase was sure that my water did NOT break and that I was NOT in labor. We ended up calling the hospital who told us the only way to know for sure was to come in & be tested. It should also be said that while I was on the phone with the hospital, Chase fell back asleep. I remember saying while still on the phone, “We're going to have to go in to know for sure.... Chase.. Chase? Are you seriously asleep again?” The nurse started to laugh on the phone & apologized saying it wasn’t funny. But it was, the poor guy had worked at 13 hour day and taken some tylonel PM. Thankfully I wasn’t in any pain or I think this story would be QUITE different. We finished packing our hospital bag & as we were heading out I said to Chase, "Don't forget the car seat!" to which he responded, "We're coming home... I know it. I'm not going to bring it. IF you are in labor, I'll just come back and get it later." I just laughed and said, "Fine with me, but you'll see! Cause I'm almost positive my water broke!" So off we went to the hospital making a pit stop at the grocery store for snacks and an energy drink for Chase with our hospital bag, but no car seat! 
When we got to the hospital at 1:45 AM, we were put in an exam room where I had the sweetest nurse. And let me say, if you are a L&D nurse, you have a job that I feel very few could have. You are AMAZING and I’m honestly just speechless the kindness and strength shared with Chase and I! Anyways! The nurse asked me if I could feel the contractions, which I couldn’t and she was pretty amazed at. She went to do her initial exam and said afterwards we would test the fluid to see if it was amniotic fluid. About 2 seconds into her exam, my water broke. Being in labor for the first time & not knowing what to expect, I just looked at her and said “Ew, my bad.” She laughed and said, “Yep! Your water broke, you’re going to be admitted!” I looked over at Chase and we just started laughing. I said to him, “Are you going to go get the car seat now?” :) We were admitted at 2:00 AM at 1 centimeter dilated. Now, let’s speed things up here. Again, I was feeling pretty good, no real pain yet. So the next few hours Chase and I just enjoyed our last few moments together. I was too anxious and excited to sleep. By 5 AM, they administered Pitocin and I had a change in nurses. I was a little disappointed to have a new nurse, but let me just say that this new nurse, Lauren, was picked by God to be by my side during the delivery. By 9:30 AM, they had to convince me to get my epidural. I was feeling the contractions at this point, but I thought they should be more painful and I didn’t want to wimp out and get my epidural early. Around 10:00 AM, I got my epidural. I don’t really have anything positive to say about this experience. The anesthesiologist didn’t have the best bed side manner, I had a full fledged panic attack, Chase felt faint during the procedure, BUT it got done! At 1.5 centimeters dilated they told Chase to settle in and  plan on being there all day.  At this point, one of my best friends Jenna arrived to be there with us during the delivery. The epidural was flowing and I finally was able to close my eyes and both Chase and I were able to get some rest. Chase and I always laugh when we think about how Jenna shows up and we both fell asleep. When I woke up around 11:30/11:45 AM Chase and Jenna wanted me to get checked by the nurse. I just wanted to be turned to see the monitor so I could see the contractions as they were happening. They basically had to just get the nurse, because I REALLY did not want to be checked. When she came in, she told me it was go time! I don’t think I had any time to panic or really think about what was going to happen. The set up for the delivery was a production. A beautiful production. Chase always adds in at this point that he’s amazed at the set up and tear down of it all. It happens in mere minutes! So here we go! It was time to push! I remember at one point, my girlfriend looked at me and said, “If you have him in the next five minutes he could be born at 2 PM on 2/2!” Jenna also told Chase to look, he said he was good, but she insisted and just as he did Jax made his entrance. At 2/2/2018 at 2 PM our sweet baby boy came into this world at 6 pounds 14 ounces and 20 inches long. He was perfect in every way.

I couldn’t have done it without Chase, Jenna, and my amazing nurse Lauren. It was the perfect team to help keep me focused and motivated during the whole process!!

 

Jax-o-lantern

Let me start by saying that I am not big on Halloween. Back in college and my early twenties it was fun to get dressed up, but as I get older I care less and less. I’m not big on going to the crowded bars & wearing a costume. It’s more stressful to me than it is fun. But now that we have our little man, I’m going to make more of an effort to participate in this holiday.  

Here in Minnesota around this time of year it’s usually cold, some years it’s even snowed! So our goal was to keep him WARM! Which is hard when he hates having things on his head and feet! The costume we had him wear was the first Halloween costume I wore: a pumpkin. In fact, it was the first costume I wore for my first Halloween. It was so fun having him wear this costume even if he only wore it for about an hour!

FullSizeRender.jpg

My girlfriend Jenna whose so great at planning fun events organized a Trunk or Treat & a hayride with her brother’s trailer. It made for a very special first Halloween for our little Jax-o-lantern!

Now… is it too early to start decorating for Christmas? :)

What on EARTH is a Diaper Kegger?!

Alright friends, I’m about to share with you one of the best decisions we made before baby Jaxon was born! (And yes, I’ve been calling him BABY Jaxon a lot lately, because he has reached a lot of milestones lately from crawling to two teeth popping through and this mama just can’t handle it!) We had a DIAPER KEGGER PARTY! Now, if you or any of your family members are like my amazing, but conservative mama, you may be asking what on earth is that? It’s a long standing tradition for my group of friends. We’ve celebrated many daddy-to-be’s with a diaper keg party & being on the receiving end of it was the best. There are different variations of this, but it’s essentially a baby shower for the dads. You have your guests bring a package of diapers (or wipes) and in exchange they get a cup for the keg. We did an assortment of beer vs the traditional “keg”, which I much preferred! We actually also did our gender reveal with a smoke bomb in the backyard with all of our friends and a lot of family members there. I did a baked potato bar with lots of different toppings from chili to broccoli cheese and the ever tried and true loaded bake potato fixings. You don’t have to do a big food spread if you don’t want to. You can keep it simple with appetizers & snacks, but I’m a big fan of themed parties, prepare for weeks and love to cook, so I wanted something fun! It was such a special night and we honestly have gone to Target ONCE to exchange a box of diapers for a different size. Jaxon is almost 9 months old and I have not purchased wipes or diapers (again, minus the exchange) for him yet!

The two things I would’ve done differently?

  • Ask for gift receipts to be taped to the boxes! I think this would’ve made exchanging the diapers WAY easier and we wouldn’t have had to “pay the difference”!

  • Invite friends to bring wipes! We didn’t specify anything & had a handful of friends bring us an abundance of wipes! It’s honestly crazy to me that we haven’t had to purchase a single package of wipes!

You don’t have to do beer, you can obviously do anything you’d like, but it was honestly such a fun way to celebrate Chase becoming a dad! And we are so thankful to everyone who blessed us with diapers & wipes!

-Allie

Newborn Photos

Our newborn session was in our home with an AMAZING photographer: Sophisticated Grace Photography. April is absolutely amazing. We had so much fun with her and she did such a great job with Jaxon! She captured our sweet baby boy so perfectly! We debated having these photos done in a studio setting, but wanted to have them done right here at home. I get so emotional looking back at these photos. Everyone warned me that the newborn phase would fly by & that I would miss it. And it's 100% true. It flew by and I miss my little peanut newborn!