Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Exclusively Pumping Update.

I am still pumping on folks.

I'm not going to lie, it sucks (literally). I pump 4 times a day, and have to take the time out of my schedule to do so. But I have to say, I have a great supply. I can't argue that. I've donated thousands of ounces to mamas in need, and it's perfect.

Monday, July 21, 2014


I've fallen in love with babywearing.

I wasn't a huge fan of the Moby, which is what I first used when Natalie was born. She wasn't a big fan either - she doesn't like to be confined.

But then I discovered Tulas. I learned about them from a friend, and then a baby blog I read, and then facebook. They're basically awesome. It's a SSC (soft structured carrier), so it has a buckle and forms to Natalie. It's like wearing her as a backpack (or front pack). I bought one with my birthday money, and it might be the best thing I've bought yet. It's so comfortable, and Natalie loves it - she can see what's going on, she's held, she can sleep there, and she can play with my necklace.
 (back carry)

We took it to Denver with us, and seriously only used the stroller once.  She was in the Tula the rest of the time. I almost feel guilty, because we have a ridiculously awesome (and expensive) stroller. But I know that Natalie will ride in the stroller when she's older, and right now is prime time for tula-ing. It was perfect in the airport (TSA can't force you to remove the baby, so I didn't get a pat down or xray or anything - just a hand swab), and I swear this thing has sleepy dust - PERFECT for a first flight.
(front carry - Mt. Evans summit at over 14,000 ft!)

Plus, I have the Eiko Quilt, which is ADORABLE. I'd love to eventually upgrade to a half wrap conversion, but they're expensive. Totally worth it, I hear, but expensive nonetheless. Maybe I'll start saving now. :) It turns out there's a whole world of Tula crazy moms, which blows my mind. But I'm thinking I might have to order a cute hood or other accessories for my Tula.
(stock photo of my carrier)

I don't foresee us stopping anytime soon - it's just easy. Maybe when bits is walking. The standard Tula has a weight limit of 45 lb (and there's a size above it!). But for now, we're loving babywearing. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Natalie - Month Six.


You are growing up too fast! I realize I'll be saying this for the rest of my life, but geez. This month was just as busy as all the previous - it's a good thing you're so easy going. Six months is a pretty big number - you're 1/2 a year old. It's amazing that you've been here this long, and yet, not long at all. 

You've started sitting up, and can even stand for a few seconds without help now. Necklaces and glasses and hair have been discovered. Pulling and tinkering with them? It's your favorite. I have a necklace with 4 charms, and you separate them out and inspect each one of them. Daddy loses his glasses to your sneaky little hands at least once a day - you always come in for kisses, and leave with glasses. You can roll both ways now, but generally don't. You just don't seem to care. You also love paper and plastic bags. You shake them around and make all sorts of noise with them! 

We've started with solids too! You've had avocado, asparagus, and strawberries in real food, and carrots and pears/cherries in purée form. Breast milk is still your main form of nutrition, and yes, mama is still pumping on. 

You had your first trip to the zoo (the waterfalls were your favorite), and we went to Aunt Katie's wedding this month. You were very excited to welcome uncle Nick into the family! At the Fourth of July, you giggled right through even the biggest booms. Adorable doesn't even begin to describe it! 

That's it for the half year mark kiddo - I still can't believe we're here. It's amazing having you in our life. Simply amazing. 


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Natalie's Baptism

Over Memorial Day weekend, Natalie was baptized. 

The Catholic Church does the whole baptism thing a bit differently - some religions say that baptism is all about accepting Christ into your life and recognizing that you're a Christian. For us, though, that's Confirmation (and it's done around 8th grade - or later). For us, baptism is more for the parents. Yes, it's the "washing away" of original sin, but it's so the parents and godparents can raise their child in the Catholic church and as a follower of Christ. 

Sean and I are pretty lax Catholics, but we still believe in God and all that jazz. And honestly? It's way easier if Natalie gets baptized now. What's the worst that happens? She grows up an atheist or agnostic? Pretty sure a sprinkling of water and oil isn't going to scar her for life (and she didn't burst into flames...)


My brother is Natalie's godfather, and Sean's sister is her godmother. Both were pretty excited, and it was AWESOME to get the whole family out here to KC. 

Here are some photos from the day!



Monday, July 7, 2014

Natalie - Month Five.

(yeah, this one is a little late...)

Little bits,

You've hit 5 months! I really love this stage - it's wonderful. You've learned to roll over (just tummy to back), and still look a little frightened each time. It's not a regular thing though. You're also learning to sit up! I can't wait for that.

You were baptized this month. We had it at St. Elizabeth's, where we're parishoners (albeit bad ones). Kevin and Katie are your godparents, and we had all of the family out to celebrate. It was a great time! 

You've been to 6 weddings this year, and you've been great at all of them. Our nights out have become shorter, due to your bedtime being around 7:30 pm, but that's fine with us. You sit quietly each time through the ceremony, and dance away with us throughout the night!

Your first plane ride happened this month, and you couldn't have been more perfect. You rode in the Tula, and fell asleep during take off and landing - both flights! I couldn't believe it. I had toys and a bottle ready to go, but none of it was necessary. You continue to amaze me with your easy going nature baby girl.

Your favorite toy right now is the saucer. Grandma Byrne got it for you, and you love it. You also really dig the bumbo that Grandma Sue got - you can sit and watch while I cook dinner or prep bottles for you.

You've discovered so much this month. You've started blowing bubbles regularly and making other noises with your mouth. You can give high fives too! You've been playing with your hands and discovering those as well. And if we lay you down? Your feet are in the air (or your mouth)!

Over the next month we're going to one more wedding, the 4th of July, and starting you on solid foods! It'll be a big month for sure!

Love you lots baby girl,


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Traveling with a baby...

This week marked Natalie's first vacation. We had a wedding to go to in Denver, and due to scheduling, we had to fly out there. I was terrified. There are adults that don't do well in airplanes - was my sweet baby going to be a terror? Turns out, I didn't have to worry. It was easy! 

I read a lot of tips, and I'm super glad I did. 

1. We baby wore. We've been practicing wearing Natalie for periods if time for the last 2 months. Bonus? You can't be patted down and they can't force you to remove baby at the airport. But they WILL test your hands. No big. 

2. Research the rules. Breast milk/formula is considered a medical liquid, so we were able to take as much as we needed. They ran ours through a scanner, but didn't open the milk.  Also - pumps are medical devices. They have to allow those too. 

3. Plan for nap time. Sean and I are go go go people. Always have been. But Natalie needs her naps. We planned to be in the car for a while (like, taking a 2 hour drive up the mountain) or being at the hotel during her nap times. Because without a nap, girl goes from happy to monster in 2.5 seconds. 

4. Make the environment more like home. We brought a crib sheet and her blanket, as well as her sound machine. We use an app on an iPod at home, so it was easy to bring that along (I also downloaded it to my phone just in case). 

5. Fly in the morning. Mornings are the easiest time for bits. She's happy, smiley, and wonderful. So we booked a 6:30 am flight. That's actually still in her "bedtime" window, and guess who slept through the flight? Our girl. Perfect. 

All in all, it was a pretty successful trip. I was a bit disappointed that we didn't get to do everything we wanted, but we were there for a wedding - not a vacation. Besides, it just means we have to go back to gorgeous Denver again! 

14,280 ft up - the top of Mt Evans! 

Friday, May 30, 2014


I found this poem today - I love it. I think it's perfect in its wording. 

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

on marriage - kahlil gibran

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Natalie - Month Four

Age: 4 months 
Weight: 12 lb, 1 oz
Height: 24 inches
Clothes: 3-6 months 


You are 4 months old girl! You are a giggling, happy, hilarious baby. Most of the time anyway. 

You love when we play with your legs, from "run piggies" to "toes to the nose". You giggle like crazy when we lift you in the air, when we dance with you, and when we bounce you on our laps. Your smile is infectious and huge. You talk like crazy to us, and include some screams as well. Because, well, you must be heard. 

You recognize your grandmas on FaceTime too. You know the sound of the camera ringing, and look straight towards it, waiting for one of them to answer. 

Bedtime is strict, set by you of course. If you miss bedtime by more than a half hour, and if it's not in your bed, it's awful to get you down. Like, screaming bloody murder. Hopefully we can get you to be more flexible, because it makes game night hard (or impossible). We've actually had to leave because you wouldn't calm down. And when you get mad, you scream until your face is as red as a tomato. And tears! Oh baby girl you cry real tears now. I think we'll see plenty more as your stubborn Irish personality developes. ;)

Over the next month we have tons of weddings to go to and your first plane ride! 

Lots of love, 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

9 years.

Today, Sean and I have been together for 9 wonderful years.

It's crazy to me. Absolutely crazy how we've changed, grown, and become closer.

Milestones over these last 9 years?

240,000 miles driven
12 moves
10 states travelled to
4 countries visited
2 pets
2 Bachelor degrees
1 Juris Doctorate
1 house
1 baby

Here's to many more!!!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Breastfed or not?

How in the world do I answer this question?

My daughter gets breast milk every time she eats.

She has never nursed.

She only knows how to drink from a bottle.

I can't tell you the amount of articles I read that nursing is best and breastfeeding is only natural. It drives me crazy. You know what happened to babies that couldn't breastfeed? They died. Yeah. How about keeping my kid alive is best? Some babies can't nurse (Natalie included - she has a ridiculously small mouth - she'll need a jaw expander by the time she's 8 or 9). Some babies are breastmilk intolerant (did you know you could be allergic to what you're supposed to drink?). Some babies are allergic to things like supplemental iron or vitamin D - things that their mothers could be required to take. Some moms have to take medication that babies can't have.

Guess what?

It. Doesn't. Matter.

Is your baby eating? Is it growing and thriving?

Then it doesn't matter what you feed your baby.

For now, I say Natalie is breastfed. She may not take the breast itself, but everything she eats is from it. I still feel a little guilty lying about it. Often, I explain why I exclusively pump. I think it's a world that not too many mamas know exists, and support in a pumping world is definitely needed.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Natalie - Month Three.

Age: 3 months
Weight: 11 lbs 8 oz
Height: unknown (they didn't measure!)
Clothes: 0-3 months.

Dear Natalie,

You are 3 months old! As the "4th trimester" closes, it is so exciting to see your personality emerge. You are a smiley happy baby, that's for sure. You give the biggest smiles and have officially started giggling. You're so happy in the mornings and when I pick you up from day care. I love that sweet little grin! 

You're also camera shy. As soon as I bring the camera up to take a picture, you deadpan. It's hilariously frustrating, because your grandmas would love to see more smiles! 

You started sleeping through the night last week. We put you down around 7:30, and daddy says you wake up around 6 am (I'm already gone for work). You always go down awake too - unless you're not feeling well. And heaven forbid we try to cuddle you to sleep - not having it. You'll sleep spread out in your crib, in the car seat, or in the Tula. But not in our arms. You love the crib too - the sleep you get is so much sounder than you ever got in our room. Any siblings you have will probably just start in the crib to begin with! 

Speaking of...we're battling our first family cold. Poor girl - you're so stuffy. You can't breathe well through your nose, so we have to use the "booger sucker" every time you need to eat. Which ticks you off to no end. I'm hoping yours is almost past. 

You still love to stand. Also, suck your little fingers. They're in your mouth every morning. You have a wubanub that you like, but I think it's all for the stuffed animal part - you're not very interested in the paci part. Daycare is going well too. Donisha is your teacher, and you give her the biggest grins when you see her. Sierra is the other little girl in your room, and you two are only 5 days apart. Tummy time is apparently spent with you two looking at each other and cooing.

You've finally started loving the Tula. We're going on walks with Bowser every (well most) evening. We started so that you would get used to the thing since we'll be hiking in Denver in June, but we all like it so it's continuing! It's definitely good for us to be out and about. You're also finally out of your newborn cloth diapers. We're using the Best Bottoms system, and it works really well for us so far. I'm a huge fan (and it only cost about $200!!).

Friday, March 28, 2014


Life has been SO busy lately.

Sean and I are both back at work, which means Natalie is at daycare. I really like them - there's 2 other babies in her room, but they're like 7 months. Her teacher is super sweet and tells me everything little bit did during the day, which I love. I love being back at work - I feel like a normal human being again. I am not the stay at home mom type - I'm just not. I love my job, which definitely is part of it.

It's also really nice to have both our incomes again too.

Spring is slowly coming. Very slowly. We've been going to the park and being outside more. And maybe raking the leaves. From last fall. It's a bit of a home ownership fail.

Natalie is officially sleeping in her crib. Most nights. And if she doesn't, it's because we accidently fall asleep in our bed with her XD We tend to do "wind down and cuddle" time in our bedroom, and, well, sometimes we wind down too much. But she actually prefers her crib which is awesome!

We made a list this week of house project "to dos". It has everything from painting interior doors to redoing kitchen counters to new windows. We basially want to divide it all up based on time commitment and price. This way, we can save for the big things and conquer the little ones.

But that's it for now!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Natalie - Month Two

Age: 2 months 
Weight: 10 lbs, 14 oz
Height: 22 1/2 inches
Clothes: 0-3 months


Little girl, I cannot believe that you are two months old already! You are growing and changing before our eyes, and it's wonderful. 

I just went back to work. I took an extra two weeks so I could be with you until the 2 month mark, and I feel like you changed so much in those two weeks - I would have been so sad to miss it! You're staying home with daddy for one more week, then off to day care. 

You've really started recognizing us. You're eyes light up when I get home, and when we walk away they follow. You've started giving massive grins - and dimples are starting to show! You have also started to "kiss" us. Which is the traditional open mouth fish attack, but is so sweet. 

Standing is your favorite thing - you love to look around and take everything in. 

You're sleeping pretty well too - just one middle of the night wake up around 2 or 3. And occasionally 4, which is the time I wake up for work. You're still in our room, but that's mostly pure laziness on our part. It's so easy to just scoop you up in the middle of the night! We'll have to switch to the crib soon though, cause in pretty sure the cat is trying to wake you up at night. 

You love naked time and bath time. You're also super jealous whenever we eat food in front of you. You stare and get really excited, then pout when it doesn't come to you. 

I'm so excited for warm weather to be here so we can take you outside more. The first road trip to St. Peters happened this month - you were passed around like crazy! Mamas friends came to visit too - you were great at hamming it up. There are many more trips and visits in your future though, so get used to it! 

Love you to pieces, 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tales of an Exclusive Pumper: How I Store Milk

Exclusively pumping since day 1 has two huge benefits: I have an awesome supply, and I have an awesome stash (frozen, stored milk).


In any case, everyone stores their milk differently. It just depends on what works best for the family. I have roughly 2 days of milk in the fridge most times. It's easier for Sean, because he can just grab some and go. I store it in glass jars (okay, they're cleaned Ragu jars), and try my best to keep one day in a jar - Sean is horrible with messing up the jars, but I try to combat it the best way possible. 

(Fresh milk after morning wake up)

Every 2 days or so, I freeze milk. Natalie drinks jarred milk for her morning wake up, so when I pump, it's extra for later in the day. I put that aside and freeze any milk besides that in the fridge. I measure my milk out into 3 oz portions and THEN I pour them in the bag - because it's impossible to use said bag to accurately measure. The Up & Up Target brand are my go-tos, and I stock up with Cartwheel coupons. :) I make sure to date it too. 

Because I have a pretty awesome supply, I usually freeze 9-15 oz per day. I put these little bags directly into my regular freezer - they're frozen flat to make the best use of space. 
(Just frozen bag)
Every week or so, I go through and double bag my milk. I put roughly 18 bags in a gallon sized Ziploc and write the dates on the outside. That bag then gets moved to the deep freezer. Milk in a deep freezer can last up to a year, and I'd like to give Natalie breastmilk as long as possible. She'll get frozen milk each day when she starts daycare, and I'll freeze more fresh. 
(What my freezer looks like: top left - milk freezing flat, bottom left - large ziploc of frozen bags, right - loose bags waiting to be ziploced)

Milk supply is established by 12 weeks, so it's super important I get as much as possible these first few weeks. I'm also terrified that my supply is going to drop when I go back to work, even though I'll probably be pumping more (I only pump 4 times a day right now). Even though I think it would be awesome to nurse, this way works so well for us. It's fairly simple, and I love those 20 minutes of free time that I get periodically throughout the day - it forces me to sit back and relax.