Monday, September 30, 2013

A Perfect Sunday!

Yesterday we had a super relaxing cozy day. It has been raining like crazy so we've been indoors as much as we can. We took Lilly Belle to Matt's parent's condo yesterday so she could meet Matt's Auntie Sharron. Lilly Belle also had many stories read to her during her awake times. She has really been loving when we read to her. I love it!

This is going to be a big picture post, enjoy :)

Lilly Belle hung out in our room watching us get ready for the day. 

Beautiful girl at Nana & Papa's

Meeting Matt's Auntie Sharron

Stories before nap-time. She just loves listening to us read to her lately. It's the best! 

When we got home Lilly Belle was a little fussy when she woke up. I was out in the living room and Matt had her in our room. I heard him start to read to her so I figured he was holding her (of course)...came in to find this happening lol! 

She was almost laughing while Matt was singing "Ahhh ahhh ahhhh....ahhhhahhhahhhh" (you know, when Ursula takes Ariel's voice). He kept doing it randomly while reading to her and she would have the goofiest grin on her face! Girlfriend cracks me up!

Then the story got real! This is Lilly Belle having deep concern for Ariel (our favorite princess)..well, until she can decide on her own ; )

She has such a fun little personality! She's always smirking at us like she knows how ridiculous we are lol...we love it!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

First Day Back {Working Mama}

{This post is so I can remember my first insane full day away from Lilly Belle}

Saturday was my first full day back to work. Our Fall quarter began at both the Community Center and the studio. So far, our quarter is off to a great start! We even had to have a sub for the studio and those classes went great! I was so pleased. I got many emails saying how much fun the kids had. We have lots of new families this quarter so it's really time to re-build. 

Anyway...where I was going with this is that yesterday was an exhausting day.
Lilly had a rough night and we were up about every 2 hours. She wasn't crying or anything, just eating a ton! So I guess she didn't have a rough night...we did ; ) Then in the morning I had to wake up to an alarm which sucked because I had to wake up when she was still sleeping. I got myself ready and then got Lilly fed and ready. I had a ton of tears and anxiety about this day for a few days leading up to Saturday. I was dreading it like it was the plague. I knew I was going to be away from her from 9-5 and was going to have to have enough milk for her and was going to have to pump all day in between teaching and it was all just really stressing me out and making me super nervous and upset. 
So.....(man I get sidetracked) I got us ready and I was feeding her and knew we had to hurry so I wouldn't be late. Then...BAM...girlfriend spit up all her medicine and everything I had fed her. Literally, everything. It was awful. It got in her hair, it was in her eyes, it was all over her clothes. Everywhere..and I was already pushing being late for the first day. AH. Matt and I quickly got her cleaned up, dressed again and I fed her a tiny bit to "top her off" and we were out. And...I wasn't late. But...I cried the entire way to classes. Like bawling. Matt and Lilly dropped me off and I taught 3 classes at the Community Center 9:00-9:40 (2-3's), 10:00-10:45 (3-5's) & 11:00-11:45 (5-7's). 

I was okay with the morning. My first two classes are a ton of fun! The kids were all adorable (only have one super obnoxious kid in my last class...obnoxious like "I don't care if you don't give me a stamp, they're stupid!" yeah...awesome). I was so glad that part of my day was done so I could see my sweet girl! I called Matt between each class and that was a mistake because one of the times I called, Lilly Belle was screaming in the background. 

So, then we were off to the studio so I could do a birthday party. It was one of my team kids so I was able to feed Lilly while they decorated. That made me so happy! 

Then, Matt took her over to Nana and Papa's while I did the party. That made me feel better because they were right next door. 

Our timing got messed up because Lilly was cluster feeding all day and she ate a pumped milk right before the party ended, so...I had 30 minutes after that party to eat lunch, pump & prep for the next party. Yeah...that barely happened. Ate only my chicken nuggets Matt brought me, pumped only 2 ounces & then had to quick put it away as I saw the next family walking in for their party from 3-5. 

Then....I hosted that party.
By around 4pm I was crashing. I started to feel sick and exhausted. We had to cancel our plans to hang out with our friends Dan & Marianela because I just felt awful. 

Oh Oh and before I forget! We didn't really realize it until we realized it, but Lilly had a babysitter for the first time! Papa! Matt left her with Papa to get me McDonald's and then when he got to me I was so hungry that it didn't click to me that he didn't have Lilly and so I had him helping me for a good 20 minutes and then was like "Oh shit, Matt! LILLY!" We both realized it at the same time so then Matt headed back over :) Papa got to babysit :) 

I made it through the most crazy day. 
When I got home, both Lilly & I were just off. 
It was insane rain and wind outside so we just put our pjs on and cuddled in bed for a while when I got home. She nursed for a whole hour. Not really eating, just wanting to be latched to me. She fell asleep in my arms then. I nursed her in bed too. I love doing that! So cool! 

After that nap, she ate every hour until she finally went down for bed at 10pm. 
We even did bath time around 8pm to get her to sleep some but she was just off. 

Then, girlfriend and I slept until 4am! 10pm-4am! And then again until 8am! Thank you for 10 hours of sleep Miss Belle! 

Sunday, September 22, 2013


My favorite times with Lilly are morning and bath time. 
Last night our sweet girl had a 6 hour stretch of sleep! She has never done that before. She is 7 weeks old today and definitely showing us in so many ways that she is growing so much. 

This morning she has been so happy. I got a ton of smiles out of her and even got a good one on camera! She snuggled with Matt after I fed her and she has not been too thrilled about doing that lately. It was perfect. We had to give her her medicine this morning this morning and she didn't even cry. She's funny with it though, she has learned how to spit, almost like blowing bubbles, to get it out of her mouth. Matt and I try so hard not to laugh. 

We slept until 10:30am with her today. Last night she had 6-hour, 3-hour then 4-hour stretches of sleep! Matt and I are feeling weird today, almost like we had TOO much sleep lol. We both actually had dreams last night. I don't remember the last time that I've had a dream! Matt thinks I'm such a nerd because my dreams all last night were that Toby from Pretty Little Liars was my boyfriend lol! I'm obsessed with that show! Today is the perfect Fall day. Football is on, crockpot meal is in and today my plans are to play with Lilly Belle, clean and craft. Doesn't get better than that. (I may even throw in some Pretty Little Liars...that makes it better yet!). 

I've been working a ton lately (mostly all for the team -- about 6 hours a day just for the team) so it's so nice to have today off to just be with my family. I needed this. I love being a mommy and I love that we are a family of three now. Life is good. Matt's going for a run again today, it will be the 4th day in a row. I'm so proud of him! 

And I will end this post with some fun recent pictures...

Lilly fell asleep in my lap while I was reading her stories. 

 I took Lilly to my 6-week appt and Matt decided to stay home. I asked him before I left if her diaper bag was all packed (I was rushing around trying to get her and I ready and get out the door on time) he said, "Yep, you're good." So... I go to the appointment. I fed her when I arrived and found I had no burp cloth. She had the cutest outfit on to meet Lori. She spit up ALL over it (this was pre-medicine), and then spit up ALL over the nurse who babysat her. I go to the diaper bag to get an extra outfit and this is what Matt had packed...a hoodie. So, we (Lori and I) took a pair of pants that were in the bag and put them under the hoodie so the zipper wouldn't hurt her. She looked like a boy lol. Lori thought it was hilarious, me...not so much. I was embarrassed that I looked so unprepared so, "first time mom". So, I went down to the boutique and bought Lilly this amazing headband :) All better. 

Notice the pants poking out of her hoodie lol.

Super smiley girl after her 13 hours of beauty rest last night! She loves watching football with her daddy. It was the Packer game so even better ; ) 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

On Being a Mommy (6 weeks old)

I have been wanting to write this post for a long time now but never know how to start it. I never know exactly I want to explain what I'm feeling right now, but it is so important to me that I remember this. I want to remember every second of every day right now. I am taking it all in, the good and the bad. The bad isn't even so bad. Lilly Belle is 6 weeks old today. I really needed to write.

Being a mommy is everything I've ever dreamed of and so so much more. 

Being Lilly Belle's mommy is the best thing that has ever happened to me; to us. I've said this before, but I want time to rewind, stand still and move forward all at the same time. I have wanted to be a mommy all my life. I dreamt about what it would be like for so long and now that it's really here and I have a sweet precious baby girl, it is all I want to do. Life is suddenly so different. The way I look at life is suddenly so different. The way I love Matt is suddenly so different. Just everything, different and better. 

One thing that I was expecting and not expecting all at the same time is how much it is hurting me to go back to work. Every time I have to leave our sweet Lillian, I am just crushed to pieces. I know how fast it goes, this precious time of her being this small sweet girl that depends on me so much and loves me so much. There will come a day when I don't get all these amazing cuddles. There will come a day when I can't squeeze her and give her kisses whenever I want. So for now, I soak up every-single-second. Never in my life have I been so in the moment. I know why. It's because my whole life has been leading up to this. I am finally exactly who I want to be and have everything I've ever wanted...and not any part of that is material. 

When Lilly Belle was just 2 days old, I thought I was going to lose her. She choked on her spit up and I just so happened to be peaking into her basket at that very moment. It was in the middle of the night. Her eyes were rolled back into hear head, she was stiff as a board and she was not breathing. It lasted too long. I lost it. From that moment on, I check on her constantly. I stay awake many nights even as she sleeps, just to watch her and know she is okay. The though of her going to her crib in a few months is just too much. I would be perfectly happy with her just moving right on into our room. I knew I loved her more than anything in the world the second I laid eyes on her and had her on my chest. that moment, in those terrifying minutes where I thought I may lose her, I knew exactly how much I loved her; how strong that love was for her. Writing about it now has me tearing up and feeling extremely nervous (as I am not currently holding her, her Nana is). Because of that moment, I like to be the one to be with her always. I like to know that she is okay. I trust Matt, of course, but he didn't see that. He will never know the feeling I felt in those moments. I am incredibly protective of her. When she cries, I like to be the one to soothe her. It makes me anxious when she's crying and I'm not the one soothing her. All I think about always is what would have happened had I not had the instinct to check on her at that very moment...

Now, when she nurses, she has a hard time sometimes and has moments that bring me back to that night. She has a hard time when my milk comes out too fast and she spits up a lot. Lately, it has been coming out of her nose as well and when this happens, she can't breathe and chokes on it. Now, her eyes no longer roll back...she just looks straight into my eyes with her eyes as wide as can be begging me to make it stop...begging me to help her. All I can do is assure her she is going to be okay and hold her close to me. Knowing that this may happen while I'm away and not home is terrifying to me. I would never ever be able to forgive myself if something were to happen. Today she did it when she woke from her nap. She hadn't eaten for two hours so it came out of nowhere. She had good burps and everything. All I can think about is what would happen if she were in her crib or away from us and there was no one there to help her...she would drown and choke on it. I'm terrified. 

I'm going to be honest. I'm hating work. I'm hating my job. I'm having THE hardest time wanting to go teach. Once I get there I'm alright. Not good, but alright because I'm distracted enough. It hurts so much to not be able to be the one to stay home with her. I know now that I am meant to be a stay-at-home mom, but feel so stuck not being able to. I try so hard to look at it in a different light. I remind myself many many times a day why I did/do my job to begin with; for the kids. I resent it now. I hope that it fades and that as time goes by that I will appreciate my time away, but for the time being I am just very very thankful that I own my business and that she can come to work with me. I almost killed Matt the other night as he was at the studio with me and allowed another mom to feed her...from a bottle...with my breast milk. The milk that should have been coming directly from me to her, bonding with her, holding her but instead she was getting it from a stranger. I stood there in the studio trying to hold my tongue and my tears. The tears I held back, my tongue not as much (I suck) and sat down and fed her. He knows now that I'm not comfortable with that and will stand his ground next time instead of caving. It just hurt so much. To be caring for other people's children when my own child was right there with me and I wasn't the one caring for her because I was caring for them and another mom whose child was there was caring for mine. It felt all wrong and backwards. I hated it. 

Unfortunately, with our situation, this is the way it has to be. And...I have to learn to love it again. The reason our program is successful is because of my love for it...lose that and we lose everything. So, in order to take care of and provide for my daughter and family, I have to be the one to not be caring for my daughter. Right now it's just hard to grasp that and be okay with that. 

My days right now are such a blur. A blur of complete happiness and content. My "maternity leave" (that unfortunately was never really a maternity leave) is almost over now and every time I think about that lately, I cry. Lilly eats about every 2-3 hours and each time I feed her is time that is just us. I sing to her, I talk to her and sometimes we are just quiet and I think and take it all in; her smell, her sweet gulping sounds, how small she is and I try to make it all a memory. I am terrible at seeing details. In life, in general, I'm not observant. This leads to my memory not being so great. I remember things as a big picture. That's what scares me. I want to remember everything right now. I want to remember how her sweet little fingers are so chubby towards her hand and skinnier at the ends. I want to remember how round her sweet little ears her hair stands straight up starting from the back of her her eyes are blue like the night, not bright, just deep. I want to remember how when I am feeding her she sometimes will put her sweet little hands on my breast like she is holding on. I want to remember the sound of her hungry cry, knowing that is how she is calling me. Sometimes she cries like that not because she's hungry, but just because she wants me to hold her instead. I love that. She doesn't like her feet being touched but does like her arm being rubbed just like me. I love her sweet grunting noises that to anyone other than those of us close to her may not sound so sweet. 

There are so many moments in each day that I cherish and hold onto as tightly as I can. I know my baby girl won't always be a baby girl, but she will always be my baby girl. My dad once wrote me a song. I'd love for him to send me those lyrics now so I can sing it to her. It all makes so much sense to me now. I have such a new love and appreciation for my own mom, too. I get it. 

Lillian really is the best thing that has ever happened to us. We look at her all the time just in awe over the fact that she is ours and together we made her. 

I could go on and on about this. But, for now...I think that sums it all up. Finally, I got it all out. I am in love with my sweet girl and in love with being a mommy. I am whole and feel so complete. 

My hope always is that she always knows how much I love her and that I do, would and will always do anything and everything for her...She is my whole world. Her and her daddy. I will always take care of them and will always make sure we have what we need. Maybe not always what we want, but definitely what we need. We have each other and right now, that is everything. A huge part of me wants to downsize and just live in a smaller, not as nice apartment, just so I can work less and be with her more. It's so much more important to me. 

These lyrics from my dad's song keep playing in my mind right now and I can hear him singing it to me: "She's my little girl, my precious little girl. With her big bright eyes..and her beautiful smile. As I watch her grow, I see her face just changing oh my little baby girl...."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Our Adventures in Breastfeeding

I have been wanting to write a post about this because currently, my entire life revolves around breastfeeding our sweet girl. Every 2-3 (sometimes 4 now) hours, I feed Lilly Belle. Matt has given her a bottle and I have once too, but always breast milk. So, if I'm not feeding her from my breast, I'm pumping too. So feeding and pumping are a huge part of my everyday, and...I love it! 

I love it so so much! Breastfeeding is one of my favorite parts of being a new mommy. Top 3 for sure. The special time that I get with my sweet girl is irreplaceable. To know that I am providing so much for our daughter and giving her so much of me is so amazing. 

I want to remember my feelings about this and to share our story, because it didn't start out all glitter and rainbows...more like lots of blood and excruciating pain.

The first few times I fed Lillian it was tricky. I needed help from the nurses to figure it all out. How to hold her. How to get her to latch. How to know how often to feed her. How to know if she's eaten enough. It was all so new and obviously something I'd never done before. Thankfully, being around all my past nanny moms (3 of whom I watched breastfeed daily) and my sister-in-law who I saw feed her babies all the time as well, I had somewhat of an idea of what to do. What I didn't realize is that Lillian would have a hard time latching on "the right way". I didn't know there was a "right way". I figured she would just suck on my nipple, milk would come out and bam, she'd be fed. 

Not exactly how it works. Like one of my nurses said, breastfeeding is the most unnatural natural thing we do. For some moms, their babies just do it right to begin with. Big wide open latches. Our sweet Lilly girl sucks her bottom lip in and sucks it in hard. She has a hard time opening her bottom lip wide open to latch completely around. The first day I fed her she only latched onto my nipple, not the whole areola and...she sucked hard! One of the nurses made the comment, "Wow, she's like a magnet!" and she still is. Except thankfully now, we have it figured out. Because she was only sucking on the end of my nipple (which I didn't realize until it was too late that is wrong), she caused my nipples to bleed, have blood blisters, be raw and scab. Disgusting, I know, but...reality. I asked the nurses, "Um...are my nipples supposed to be bleeding?" "Oh no! Ow! Let us help you!" was their response. A lactation consultant came to our room twice to help me but unfortunately each time she came in, Lillian was sleeping and she didn't make me wake her. Totally dumb. We should have waken her up to eat so I could learn. She was no help to me. So, the pain continued. I'm talking excruciating pain. I described it to Matt as blistered sunburn that someone is sucking on...hard...on your nipples. Eek. Then a nurse tried to help. At this point, I had just had a baby and was going on 30 hours with about maybe 2 hours of sleep. She was so intense about it. Lilly Belle was screaming. The nurse held onto my breast, squeezing hard (hamburger hold...which I now do every time no big deal) and forcing Lilly onto me. Like, extreme force. Lilly continued screaming. It was so upsetting. I was crying saying "Please stop! She doesn't like it! Please stop doing that." She did stop and I just held Lilly crying thinking it was hopeless. Time #1 where I felt like giving up...

So, I continued nursing her that way and just dealt with the pain. I told Matt so many times that if that is what it meant to be able to feed her, I would survive and suck it up. 

That lasted a day or two before the pain became so intense at home that I would dread her waking up just because I was scared to feed her. Lilly Belle is an intense baby when she's hungry. When she's hungry, she wants it and she wants it now! Before my milk came in, she would suck SO hard. I did everything I could to ease the pain. I used Lanolin, Medela cooling pads and even cold cabbage leaves in my bra. I was constantly lathering on that lanolin. My mother-in-law even went out and bought me a nipple shield so we could try that. Unfortunately, Lilly hated the shield and just basically bit down on my nipple to try to get the milk to come out. Cue the tears...from me this time. 

I told Matt, "That's it, I can't do this. I'll just pump 100% of the time and we can feed her breast milk from a bottle. At least she's still getting the breast milk." I told him I would try for one-more-day! He encouraged me to keep going and that we would get this. Telling me it was just a moment in time and it would pass, we could do this. Lilly and I. We were a team and we could figure this out! He was such a rock through it all and so incredibly supportive. If it weren't for him, I would have gave up. The thought of missing out on what I have with her now makes me so sad. I am so thankful.

So, Haley came over to visit and helped me a lot teaching me a trick to get Lilly to open wider when she latched. Instantly, pain free breastfeeding. Well, at least less pain than before..I was still raw and bleeding. But, quickly, I healed. Between rubbing breast milk on my wounds (natural healer) and tons of Lanolin, by the next day it was almost gone already. 

The next step was to figure out how to hold her and still be comfortable. Jessica helped me on that one. Telling me it was okay to not have to hold my breast while I fed her. I learned to lean back and be comfortable while feeding her.

Suddenly, I was so in love.

Lilly Belle and I now enjoy so much quality time together while I feed her. We get super cozy. I feed her sitting with my legs criss-cross apple sauce on the couch, leaned back, chilling on my side against the arm of the couch, with a pillow under her sometimes, in bed in the morning cuddled up with Matt, rocking in the glider and even once while laying down in bed and her just laying next to me (still trying to make that one happen again and I have no clue how I did it lol). 

We have had our moments where Lilly goes back to her old ways and I put a stop to it before it would hurt a bit. She usually screams when I take it away from her but it's worth it for us to be comfortable together. I love to hear her sweet little noises while she eats and for her to just look up at me while I talk to her and sing to her. I cannot imagine feeding her with a bottle all the time. I have done it once and it felt so wrong. 

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not against bottle feeding at all for other moms. To each his own. I just know for myself personally, I love breastfeeding and want to do it for as long as I can with her. It's so crazy the things that change once you are a mom yourself. 

I used to think it was so weird to nurse without a cover. 
Now, hate using a cover. Never really do. Only when I'm at the studio by my dance kids and once at Greenlake.

I used to think I'd never nurse her past a year old.
Now, I think I might at bedtime.

It's just so incredible and they're only so small like this for so long.
To have such a bond with her is irreplaceable and something only I can give her. 
I love that already she knows that I'm the one who has her milk. Her life source. 
So far, the only thing she has had is breast milk. No formula yet. I feel really blessed for that, especially considering our rocky start. 

Lillian currently eats every 2-3 or 4 hours and I actually now look forward to her waking up so I can feed her. We figured this one out together. I love being a mommy so much. I love being Lilly Belle's mommy so much! It makes me so incredibly happy that I breastfeed and that it is a gift I can give to her. 

And now some amazing pins I found :) 

Monday, September 9, 2013

5 Years!

5 years ago today...
I met my best friend. 

(Second date, day after our first date, Magic Kingdom, those of you who know...this was the infamous "Backpack Date" lol)

After a few weeks together, Matt took me to Disney's Vero Beach Resort. Amazing getaway! I can't wait to go back someday.

We look so young!! forward 6 months... across the country... engaged!

.....2 1/2 years later....our incredible wedding day!

.........and that brings us to today, 5 years later.........a family of 3!

And still having so much fun together!

I love you, Matt. So so much!
(I know you secretly read my blog...)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bedtime Sweetness

Another post about bedtime because it is my absolute favorite time of the day with our Lilly Belle. We were only doing baths every other night but have switched it to every night because it gets her so calm before bed and I find she sleeps much better. 

Matt took his story telling very seriously this night. He had to, it was The Little Mermaid...

These are the moments I never want to forget.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Photos Lately...

I have taken so many pictures of Lilly Belle!
Here are some fun ones from this past week or two...

Lilly's first time on a ferry!
I fed her in the car and then we hung out.

I am so obsessed with her red hair! I hope it stays!!!

After my mom left I had a hard time so we snuggled on the couch for a while before leaving for the beach house.

One of the first times I didn't have a chance to dry my hair because she kept me too busy. I was beginning to wonder why on earth moms didn't have time to do their hair lol. Oh, now I know...

Clare loves holding "wiwwy". 

Quenton is Lilly's little protector. He is totally smitten with her. If she's not in the room with me he will ask where she is. He likes to check on her and will want to help her when she's crying. He loved holding her. I barely had a chance to hand her to him and he basically just scooped her up from me. It was the cutest thing ever. He's definitely going to watch out for her. I think they will have a special bond growing up and be best buddies. I can tell already. We all can. 

Some football time with Daddy.

Caitlin's still not too sure about Lilly. She held her for maybe a minute before she said, "Okay Auntie Chelsea, do you want to hold her?" Ha. 

The Lanese Girls just hanging out :) 

First time wearing shoes! I'm obsessed.