Welcome!

Welcome to a piece of our sweet journey of life. This blog is about our family life-- my husband, my type 1 diabetic kindergartner, my spunky pre-schooler, my newborn baby girl, and myself! Enjoy!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Am I crazy?

I started this post last Saturday, and finished it today... for obvious reasons. 

***

This Friday, after I get off of work, my dad gets off of work, and my mom gets off of work, we are traveling up to Maryland. Aaron doesn't have any days off of work left, so he's unable to go with us. I'm super sad about that, but I know that this will push me out of my comfort zone and will make memories with my kids.

Am I crazy?

The purpose of the trip is to visit my dad's mom who lives in Maryland. We will be gone from Friday till Wednesday. For this trip, which is 12 hours, we normally do not leave at night. We normally leave in the morning. But in an effort to split up the trip over two days, we are going to leave on Friday night and drive as far as we can before stopping at a hotel. Then we will continue our journey on Saturday, and we'll make a little stop in Virginia to visit some family friends. Then we'll continue the rest of the way up to Maryland, and arrive by the afternoon or evening. Sometime on Tuesday, we will begin heading home, and will adopt the same plan of driving as far as we can and then stopping at a hotel. Then we'll finish up our journey on Wednesday, and the very next day is Thanksgiving! 

It's overwhelming to think I'm packing for myself and 3 kids, but I've already started making my list and I can't pack ahead of time by too many days anyhow. So I have my list ready and I'll begin really getting things into the suitcases on Wednesday and Thursday. 

I bought a couple things over the last couple days to make the trip easier. Last year in May, we bought a portable DVD player for the kids to use on our way down to the beach cottage, which is a five-hour drive. We also used a portable DVD player in February when my mom and I took the boys down to Florida to see her parents, which is a six-hour drive. So, this time we're going to be in the van and the boys will be separated in the van. Michael sits on the third row and Noah sits in the second row. So they couldn't really easily share the portable DVD player this time. I went ahead and bought another one on Amazon, the exact same one so that nobody can fight about it. I also bought some padded kids headphones, so that the boys can listen to their own movies and the grown-ups don't have to hear the movies. We'll see how all this goes. I've adopted the mentality of "go with the flow" and understand that my expectations need to be low in order for them to be met. 

I also bought Fisher-Price Rock and play bassinet. I had never heard of this before, but I was looking at the Moses baskets on Amazon in an effort to find somewhere that Avery could sleep that was a portable enough to take into a hotel and also into my grandma's house. So I kept reading mixed reviews on the Moses baskets and I wasn't convinced that they were actually safe. I like to have Avery sleep with the angel care Monitor and that can only work on a flat surface. So I didn't want to take just her regular Rock and play because that has a plastic backing that's curved and it's not a flat surface, so the angelcare won't work with that. As I'm reading reviews for the Moses basket and other mesh sleepers, I read a review by parent who said that they just returned everything and bought the Fisher-Price Rock and play bassinet. So I looked it up, and it is fantastic. It lays flat and it can also be folded up flat for easy travel. I can put it up and get it down very quickly, and I will definitely be able to use the angelcare monitor with this. I am very very happy with this purchase.


***
So here we are on Friday morning and it's today! I pretty much accomplished all of the packing, and I'll be loading things into the van over my lunch break and as soon as I'm done with work. It is definitely overwhelming, but I feel pretty much at peace about it. I'm looking forward to the trip, and the family time that will come with it. I will miss Aaron like crazy, and I know he feels the same. I'm glad that I'll have my parents with me, because I don't really like being a single parent and I'm so glad that I never have to be a single parent here at home. However, trying to pack things for a Type 1 Diabetic, and a spunky three-year-old, and a newborn is pretty crazy. But I think we'll manage, and I'm looking forward to all the conversations that I'll get to have with my parents on the way. And the boys will each have their DVD player and their headphones, so I think it'll all work out. 


And I'll be sure to let you know how it goes! 

Until next time, 
Love, Reba


Friday, November 10, 2017

Post Natal Workouts

I've been trying to be consistent with my postnatal workouts. I still do the Leslie Sanstone walking DVDs about twice a week or more. I like to do those DVDs because I know that I can do it. I don't get intimidated by them as much as I get intimidated by the P90X3 workouts, which I've done in the past. When I was in my postnatal time after Noah I did the P90X3 workouts and I lost a super amount of weight. I also lost all of my breastmilk supply. So I learned my lesson not to go overboard in the exercise department while I am nursing.

This time I decided to just stick with the walking DVDs and also to do the postnatal boot camp from Lindsay Brin's Moms Into Fitness program. I like the Moms Into Fitness brand because it's obviously geared towards moms, and Lindsay understands the mom body and how moms are looking to get rid of the extra pooch around the midsection.

There's lots of different programs I could choose with the postnatal boot camp, but I'm working on the 12-week program right now. I could choose to just mix and match, or just do random intervals, or do the quick 10-minute workouts. I'm choosing to go through her 12-week program for better consistency. I'm on week 2 of doing the specific exercises she has put together for that part of the program. I'm hoping that by doing the 12 week program, it serves as a motivational tool for myself because I'll have a clear deadline.

Aaron has also gotten into the walking DVDs with me which is really cool. He has had knee problems in the past and he admitted the other week that his knee has really been bothering him lately. So he doesn't feel like it's the most responsible decision to do the P90X3 workouts right now because they're really intense. Doing a super intense workout like that would only serve to re-injure his knee. Since he does not have any days off of work left to take this year, we have to wait until the new year for him to have knee surgery. So until it's January, we have to kind of take it easy on the exercise for him, and the walking DVDs are a good alternative. We always pick the four-mile or five-mile option. And while we're walking we chat with each other, so it's really fun.  

During my postpartum time with Noah, which was really when we started to get into exercising consistently for the first time, we did the whole P90X3 workouts together every single night. So since we can't do that this time around because of his knee and because of my fear of losing my breastmilk supply, it's been fun to get back into a workout routine of any kind with him again. So if it means that it has to be the walking DVDs this time instead of P90X3, that's okay with me. 

I've kind of plateaued on my weight loss. I weigh less now than I did when I got pregnant with Avery, but it's still about 15 to 20 lbs heavier than I was when I got pregnant with Michael and Noah. I'm trying to remind myself that Avery is only two and a half months old, so I still have plenty of time to lose that extra weight. With Michael, it took me about a solid 9 months after he was born to get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. With Noah it took less time than that, but again, I was working out really intensely and lost my supply because of it. I've heard from other moms that their body hangs onto the last like 10 to 15 lbs while they're nursing. And after they wean their babies, those pounds just come right off. So it's almost like the body's way of guaranteeing that you're not going to starve yourself while you're trying to breastfeed your baby. So I don't know if that's what my body is doing because it didn't do that before. I'm just trying to remind myself that it took 9 months after Michael was born to get back down to my original weight, so I'm anticipating this time that it might take 9 months.

I'm also not doing the absolute best job that I could be doing with my nutrition. I've been pretty darn good about it, but I need to ramp up my self-control. If I make cookies, which is semi rare now, I will eat some of the cookie dough and then I will eat several cookies after they are baked. 


I also had a lapse in judgement recently when I bought Reese's pumpkins during the Halloween candy sales in stores. So now that those are removed from my pantry, I obviously won't struggle with craving them. I think if I did a better job of making sure I was eating only whole foods, I would see a difference in my weight. And it's not so much about a number that I'm looking to get back to; it's more about how I feel in my clothes. I want to be able to fit into all of my clothes comfortably. So although I am back in my pre-pregnancy jeans, I would like them to fit just a little bit looser, and I don't want to have tummy pudge hanging over the top of them. I would like to be able to choose jeans as my bottoms for the day, because right now I'm choosing to wear pajama pants or sweatpants as my bottoms if I'm going to be home during the day. And this is only because the pajama pants and the sweatpants are more comfortable to wear. I want to get back to a point where jeans are comfortable to wear.

I'm also making sure that I'm drinking a whole lot of water during the day. This helps aid my breastmilk supply, and it also helps keep me full. So unless I treat myself to a coffee from Starbucks, I'm not drinking any carbs. I'll drink water, my fenugreek tea, my Mother's Milk tea, and plain black coffee. 

Hopefully I'll be able to have a post in a couple months where I can say that I'm no longer on this plateau. These posts help motivate me to keep working towards the change that I want to see.

Until Next Time,
Much Love, Reba



Thursday, November 9, 2017

Comotomo

I was a loyal Dr. Brown's bottle user since Michael was born. A co-worker of mine who had a baby in March of 2012 was telling me how his daughter used the Dr. Brown's bottles, so that's what I put on my baby registry for Michael who was born in August of 2012. Michael took the Dr. Brown's bottles like a champ and actually wouldn't take any other kind of bottle even though I had some tommee tippee Closer To Nature bottles. My husband and I actually had a bet one night that I would keep feeding Michael with a bottle until his latch broke. And with a Dr. Brown's bottle, his latch did not break. I bought Dr. Brown's bottles from consignment sales; of course I had to buy new nipples every time. I accumulated so many Dr. Brown's bottles over a year. 

When Noah was born I breastfed him just like I had breastfed Michael. But around four months, Noah became allergic to the milk proteins in my breast milk so I had to switch him to formula. So he was a pretty expert bottle drinker since he had to drink bottles all of the time. He took Dr. Brown's bottles no problem but he also did really well with the tommee tippee bottles. I preferred using the tommee tippee bottles because all I had to wash was a bottle, a collar, and a nipple whereas with the Dr. Brown's bottles there was a bottle, a nipple, a nipple collar, a valve, and a stem. That's a lot of bottle pieces to wash every single day!

I'm still a proponent of Dr. Brown's bottles and I recommended them to my sister-in-law. I sold a few of my Dr. Brown's bottles at a consignment sale before we were ever planning to have a third baby on our own. So once we did find out we were pregnant, I was afraid that I wouldn't have enough bottles, so I went out and bought a whole bunch more Dr. Brown's bottles and new nipples to go with them. Then I found a stash of Dr. Brown's bottles that I actually hadn't sold. So needless to say, I was up the wazoo with Dr. Brown's bottles.

Avery really took a Dr. Brown's bottle fine for the first month and a half of her life. Then she started not taking them so well. She would actually gag as soon as the nipple touched her lips which was weird. I thought it was just when I was trying to feed her a bottle because I assumed she wanted to nurse instead. But my mother-in-law mentioned that she was having the same issue with Avery at her house during the day while I was at work. So I figured it was time to try something different.

Someone had given us a gift card to Babies R Us when Avery was born. That's not really a store that I shop at a lot because we don't have one in our town. But I had read reviews on the Comotomo bottle and knew that I couldn't get those at Target. I had read reviews a couple years ago from Jessica Garvin of Garvinandco.com. Then most recently I have seen my favorite mom of multiples to follow on Instagram, whimsic_al, use the Comotomo bottles with her triplet baby girls. And her babies are 9 months old now, but they were holding their own bottles around the time they were like 6 months old. Noah did not start holding his own bottle until he was around 8 months old and Michael was well over 9 months old before he was ever holding his own bottle.

Then whimsic_al made an instastory about how one of her triplet baby girls had really bad reflux and they were trying to find a bottle that wouldn't cost so much reflux. So they tried out the Comotomo bottles because there are two little air vents in the nipple itself. And the bottle is made of silicone, and the nipple is very wide to mimic the shape of a breast. And whimsic_al said that as soon as this baby tried the Comotomo bottles, the reflux stopped. Avery had been having a little bit of an issue with reflux, so I was super anxious to give this bottle a try.


So I searched on the Babies R Us site and I bought a pack of the 5 ounce bottles and the 9 ounce bottles. So we tried out a 5-ounce bottle when it came and it was a game changer. Avery took the bottle no problem. She did not have spit up after she was done. She only had one tiny burp as opposed to pretty huge burps before. I really liked how the bottle is called "breastfeeding in a bottle" because the bottle itself kind of feels soft like a breast and the nipple shape is supposed to mimic the shape of a breast. So it's really good for babies who go back and forth between the breast and the bottle. I also appreciated the fact that it's three pieces just like the tommee tippee bottles. It's a bottle, a collar, and a nipple. 






The 5 ounce bottles come with the size 1 nipples, and the 9 oz bottles come with a size 2 nipples. You can buy the size 3 nipples and the Y cut nipples separately. The bottles are kind of expensive because you only get two in a pack and I think I paid about $20 for the five ounce bottles and $25 for the 9 ounce bottles. So once we knew that this was the bottle for Avery because of how well she did with it, I knew that I wanted to buy some size 1 nipples to go with a 9 oz bottles until she's old enough to take the size 2 nipples. So I got on Amazon! The bottles are easily found there, and they're pretty much the same price as on Babies R Us. They might even be a little bit cheaper on Amazon. So I ordered two size 1 nipples. They came two in a pack. They arrived and fit perfectly. So now we're using the five ounce bottles and the 9 oz bottles with size 1 nipples until she's big enough to take the size 2 nipples. 

She still pretty much exclusively nurses when she's with me, so I don't really get the chance to give her a bottle very much. But it's nice to know that we have these bottles here in case I ever did need to give her a bottle or when it's Aaron's turn to give her a bottle. It's really just a relief to know that my baby will take a bottle without gagging. I definitely recommend these bottles and I plan to keep using them as long as they hold up. I'm also hoping that she will be able to hold her own bottle sooner than either of the boys did.

Thanks for reading to the end of this very long random post about bottles!

Until Next Time,
Much Love, Reba



Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Dear My Little Kiddles

I wrote these letters to my little ones over the course of the last couple days.  Michael is 5, Noah is 3, and Avery is 2.5 months. 

***

Dear Michael, 
I am currently watching you and your brother play in the living room. You are wearing a PAW Patrol baseball hat  and you are holding a pretend guitar and a pretend dustbuster in your hands. You are pretending that you are a member of the Ghostbusters. You are always able to come up with such imaginative play and it warms my heart.

I had to take a break from writing for a while so I'm actually continuing this the very next day. It is 9:30 in the morning on Monday and I just placed a call to the school nurse to have you come down to the nurse's station to get your blood sugar checked and to have insulin administered. I absolutely hate the fact that I have to have you called out of class in order to go to the nurse's office. I hate that you miss out on class time and that you feel different as you have to leave the class in front of all your friends. I'm really praying hard for a cure, bud. I just want to let you know that I am so proud of how you've handled this. When I think back to around the time that you got diagnosed I could just kick myself. Looking back, the signs are so evident but I missed so many of them. It wouldn't change the fact that you would be diagnosed but it would change how soon I reacted. I love you so deeply and I want you to really understand that. We're in a good place in our lives right now, but I do feel like I missed out on some of the toddler times that you had because I was so afraid. I know I still took lots of pictures of you and videos of you. I'm going to round those up so that I can look at them now that my mind is more clear.

You're such a good big brother to Noah and Avery. You and Noah play so hard together everyday. You really are best friends. In the mornings when Avery is awake you come over to me and want to make sure that she can see you. You come up with little nicknames for her and are really good when you hold her and are always trying to make her smile. I'm really proud of the boy that you are.

So I called the nurse and they did pull you out of class to give you insulin today. I checked back later on because I can see all your blood glucose numbers on my phone, and you are safely in a good range. So outcomes like that make me think like I am making the best decision but I still hate that it has to take you out of class.

I look back on some pictures of you when you were two and you are so cute! I can't believe how fast you're growing but I can say that you are so special and so sweet and you're still a cutie! I love you so much and I want you to always look back on your time at home growing up as a happy time, where all of your imaginative play and your creative ideas were encouraged. You are so smart and you are excelling in class and that makes me think like I did the right thing to go ahead and put you in kindergarten even though you were 4 for the first three weeks of the school year. I love you so much Michael William. You make me so proud. 


Love, Mommy

***

Dear Noah, 
Today was fall time change. You were up at 4:30. You have always been my early riser. You are completely obsessed with garbage trucks, vacuums, fans, and Sonic Underground the show. You have randomly found a small plastic toy and are pretending that it is the chomper of a garbage truck. Although your brother is pretending to be part of the Ghostbusters you have found a way to incorporate your garbage truck into his pretend play. I am so glad for your closeness and age with him; you truly are best friends.

Had to pause for a while so I'm actually continuing your letter at 12:15 on the following day. Sometimes it's hard for me to remember that you're just three. You're such a cute 3 year-old! I think you could probably survive on lemonade and fruit snacks if I would let you. One of your favorite things to do these days is to have YouTube turned on the TV and watch videos of garbage trucks going around different neighborhoods picking up garbage. It's so funny the things that God has given us to be interested in.

Your vocabulary and your grasp of grammar is so astounding to me. And this is why it's hard for me to remember that you're only 3 years old. I can have pretty lengthy conversations with you and you respond completely appropriately and in a way that baffles me on your grasp of words. I think that you will absolutely excel in school, and I know that you're excited to go to school. But I think right now if you were in school, you would be pretty disappointed that you didn't get to watch YouTube videos of garbage trucks and play with toy garbage trucks all day.

I think you're excited to be at Grandma Chips house during the day with Avery, especially since you're the only one who gets to pick the shows. You are turning out to be such a fantastic big brother and I am so proud of you. You will get right next to Avery whether she is in the Rock and play or in her bouncy seat. You will come up with different nicknames for her like Mrs. Cute and you will talk to her in baby talk which is pretty sweet. When she wakes up in the morning, you will come right over to her as I hold her and you will say "Hi wakey wake!" Your goal is to get her to smile, and you succeed at this a lot of the time.

It's hard for me to imagine that you are exiting the toddler stage and entering the boy stage. It's a 50-50 ordeal as a mom as I watch you grow up. I hate to see the days go when you were a little boy watching Elmo's World and looking at me and saying "Elmo, Mama, Elmo." Or literally shaking with excitement when I would open up the hall closet door for you to see the vacuum cleaner. And now you are a very tall little boy who loves to play with garbage trucks and loves to point out fans in any store and in any book. Your daddy and I imagine that you will be an eccentric millionaire someday who drives around a fire truck and a garbage truck as his everyday vehicles.

I love you so much my sweet and quirky Noah boy. 


Love, Mommy.

***

Dear Avery, 
I am currently watching you play in your rock and play. This really means that I'm holding a toy in front of your face and you are partly smiling and partly frowning at the toy. You will be 3 months old on the 20th of this month and I just can't believe how fast time is going. You are currently in your second outfit of the day. I saved a few summer outfits for you that were just so cute. People bought them for the 3-month size even though you will not be 3 months until November 20th. Since we've had unseasonably warm weather I have chosen to put you in those outfits today. The first one was a pretty watercolor-flowers sleeveless little bubble suit and it was so adorable. You were sitting in your bouncy seat when you decided that you needed to poop. Needless to say that outfit is now in the washing machine and so is the bouncy seat cover. The second outfit of today is a pink polka dot bubble suit with a seahorse on the side.

I had to pause for a bit while writing your letter, so I am actually finishing your letter the following day at 1:45 in the afternoon. Today you were in another bubble suit because, although it is November, it is going to be 80 degrees today. Today's bubble suit is red with black hearts acting as polka dots, with a Frenchie Bulldog covering the heart. And, needless to say, you look absolutely adorable.

Someone gave us a gift card to Babies R Us when you were born. There's not a whole lot of things I buy from Babies R Us, so I had to search their site one day to find something to use the gift card on. I had just read a review on the comotomo bottles, and I knew that they were sold at Babies R Us. So I decided to put some of those in the cart, and I had a few dollars left over so I went searching for some random item to throw into the cart in order to use up all the gift card. I found these little knotted hair bands so I bought them. It was a three-pack of a mint solid colored headband, a coral solid colored headband, and a white headband that has little triangles of mint, coral, and gray. I was so excited when these arrived in the mail. I dressed you in a mint colored footie pajama that I actually wore when I was a baby, and I put the white headband with mint, coral, and grey accents on it on your head. And your head is actually still a little bit too small to wear the headbands. I'm actually really careful when I put headbands on you, because I don't want you to pull them over your face when you sleep. So when you do wear a headband, I make sure to watch you very carefully. I put the headband on you,and we went to church, but I ended up taking off the headband because it was actually really too big for you and kept falling down into your face. But these sure will be cute when they do fit!

I had to take another little break so I'm actually finishing your letter around 8 at night on Monday. You are laying on the couch beside me and we are watching The Office together. I think you really enjoy it.  :) You're so sweet and so cute and you coo now which is so adorable. I love you so so much. I tell you that you're beautiful every day and I want you to always believe it. I love you. 


Love, Mommy

***

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tidbit Tuesday

If you want to order an iced coffee at Starbucks, just order your regular coffee as hot, and then order a cup of ice. You can then pour your hot coffee over the ice and you'll get your iced coffee. The benefit of this is that there's pretty much two full iced coffee servings in one regular cup of hot coffee. So you're basically giving yourself two ice coffees when you pay for one hot coffee and pour it over ice yourself.  I hardly ever order iced coffees, but I saw a girl in my Bible study do this last January at Starbucks.  So I tried it out yesterday and it was great!  The barista gave me a grande size cup filled with ice and a lid, and even asked if I wanted a straw.  Score!

If there's ever a wasp or a bee or yellow jacket in your house and it's either too scary for you to catch or too high up on a wall or ceiling, you can take your vacuum cleaner hose and suck it up in the hose. I've actually done this a few times, and it's been pretty successful. In college my roommate and I were terrified to kill a wasp, so we sucked it up in our vacuum hose and as soon as we sucked it up in the hose, we also sucked up some flour to guarantee that the wasp would to stay down the hose. I don't think sucking up flour is necessary but it made us feel better.

You can probably conclude that I have done both of these things yesterday. And you'd be right.

My drink of choice is the Salted Caramel Mocha. Usually I drink it hot, but felt like having it over ice as a treat to  myself for getting through my dentist appointment (more on that later). 

And as I was washing pump parts, I saw this weird flying bug (not a wasp but similar) on my kitchen window and I quickly grabbed the vacuum. Worked like a charm and I was able to return to singing Lady Gaga's "Million Reasons" as I rinsed the pump parts. :)

Until Next Time,
Much Love, Reba


Saturday, November 4, 2017

Reasons

Almost 6 years ago I started this blog for me. And I used to be able to write about whatever I was thinking. But now there's so much pressure from other forms of social media that it's hard for me to even sit down and write. I really really love to write and I want to get back to the place where this blog is a form of release. I want to be able to get back to the place where this blog is a retreat and a refuge for myself.
I can come up with all kinds of excuses as to why I'm not keeping up with the Blog better. The major reason is that I am a mom and I'm a full-time working mom at that. I'm pretty much hitting my groove with having 3 kids and I know that that's going to change over time too, but that doesn't have to be a reason to stop me from writing.
I guess I get so caught up in trying to be like everybody else that it intimidates me from just sitting down at the keyboard and typing. I don't have to include photos with each of my posts, but it has taken me a while to remember that.
And I think these days I'm so busy that I don't have time for what I really enjoy doing. I really try hard not to think of all the roles that I play and the hats that I wear. Because in doing so I would be way overwhelmed. If I don't stop to think about it then I'm able to press on.
And I am taking one class right now for grad school and it's actually turning out to be a lot easier and a lot more fun than I thought it would be. In fact this term is supposed to be 8 weeks but the teacher has created her lesson plan to be 6 weeks. So actually I could finish at the end of November and have the entire month of December with no school. And she's actually already posted all of the assignments and the links to the tests so we can take the tests, so I can actually finish really early if I wanted to. And even though this class has turned out to be easy and even though I'm trying really hard to get ahead of the game so that I can have more time to do the things I like to do like blogging, I still get a little bit overwhelmed. I know that blogging is a release for me and a treat but I can't in good conscience write when there are other things that I need to be doing. It used to be that my work was super easy and I would be able to write out a pretty good size blog post during the day. However these days it takes me my full shift to get my production quota done and that's appropriate. So I'm not actually able to use my breaks or my lunch time for writing a blog post because I'm actually either pumping or using my breaks for just some still time, some time when I can just be still. So all measures of my free time kind of just goes into getting ahead in school so that I can take a really nice long break from school.
And Avery is at the point where she really wants to be held a lot and I end up holding her pretty much from the time I get dinner fixed until it's time for us to go to bed, so I don't really have a whole lot of time when I feel like I can set her down in order to write out a blog post. Because at the end of the day I'm going to remember holding my baby, but I would also remember if I continually set my baby down so that I could type. Since she's my last baby I'm really trying to soak up all of the stages that she's in. And being given this third baby I feel more in tune with being a mom and it makes me want to be a better mom to all of my kids. So I'm trying to make sure that when they are around I am focusing on them. I have such great parents, and I want to be like them so very much. I remember getting in trouble occasionally while growing up as any kid would do, but I remember the fun things of life so much more. I want my kids to look back on their childhood as one filled with joy and present parents. I'm trying to be more conscious of how much time I spend on my phone when my kids are in the room, and trying to make sure they know that they are so loved.
I'm hoping that if I get ahead enough in school and finish all my assignments by the third week of November, that I'll be able to have all of December and the first part of January with ample free time to really get going on the blog again. So with this post I am granting myself to freedom and permission to write without having to hit a certain length and without having to always include pictures. Because no matter how hard I try, I will not have a thousand followers on Instagram nor do I really think I want to. And no matter how hard I try, I will not have a Blog where sponsors are coming to me and asking me to promote their products and sending me free stuff in the mail. And that's okay.
I am a self-proclaimed introvert who has the capability of being an extrovert when I get to know somebody. And I have the capability to really let things over stress me. So what I am trying to do in life now is to be more flexible, and to really not dwell on things. I'm trying to devote energy to really believing that it'll be okay. There is a lot of stress in my life and it's stress that I can't get rid of. So because that stress is pretty much a permanent resident in my life, I know that I need to find ways to eliminate other stress. I know that I need to find ways to be okay with how things end up happening. I'm learning that I can control the way I react to things. And I know that sounds so elementary but it's not something that I have been doing.
I am really good at holding onto stuff that I should not hold onto. I am really good at being stubborn. But stubbornness and grudge-holding doesn't help lead a healthy life. So what I am trying to do now is to create a positive environment and that means letting things go and also changing how I react to things. I'll write more later on what stressful things I could be focusing on but instead I'm choosing to be positive about. I think this is a good place to end this post. Be on the lookout for more posts since I have now given myself permission to just write and not worry about what other people think.

Until next time,
Much love, Reba.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

First Couple Days Back at Work

I returned to work at the beginning of this month.  At times, when I'm on maternity leave, it seems to creep by and I would have days of wishing for more adult interaction.  Then at the end of maternity leave, it always seems to have flown by so fast and I'm wishing for it back.

Although I started back to work at the beginning of October, I did not have to actually pump at work until the third week of October-- last Wednesday to be precise.  The first two weeks of October, I just went into the office to do laptop updates and then I went back home to finish my workday.  Well, last Wednesday I actually had to spend a day in the office and pump.  

Prior to going on maternity leave, I alerted my bosses and HR that I would need a place to pump.  They assured me they would have a place ready.  You see where I'm going with this don't you?  During the second week of October, I asked my boss where this pumping place was (I've pumped in a couple different rooms in the past, so I wasn't sure where they'd put me this time).  He told me where the room was (and it was a room I had used in the past).  He said there was a nice comfy chair in there.  Leather, as it were (and as if I care). 

I didn't blindly accept the fact that the room was ready.  I've learned enough to have my doubts and be prepared.  I even made sure my pump had batteries just in case the outlets that previously were available in this room were covered up or something. 

So, on Wednesday about an hour before I have to pump, I attempt to check out the room.  The door was locked.  I was happy about this actually because in the past, I was given a key to hold onto.  No one mentioned a key this time, but I assumed maybe one of my bosses was holding onto it until I asked.  So I went over to where my bosses sit and asked one of them about the room.  He had a key to it, and although he wasn't going to give me his key, he said he'd unlock the door.  On our way over to the room, another employee needed my help with something, so I paused to help them and my boss continued over to unlock the door of the room.  Once I got over there, he had his hands in his pockets and a grimace on his face.  "You might want to look inside" he said.  

I opened the door and found this. 



My breath caught a little bit in my throat, but I walked inside the room and found an outlet and tried to imagine myself pumping in there and wondering where I would put my pump and how would I keep it from getting dusty.  Then I decided "no way. I'm not doing this."  I took out my phone and snapped the above picture and said "They wanna play like this?  Okay."

I called HR and asked them if they had seen the room.  They said they had not.  I told them I had picture proof and that the room was dusty and dirty.  They said they'd get right on it. 

A few minutes later, an HR member came to my desk and apologized for the condition of the room.  Apparently, there's been some remodeling at night and the crews have been storing computers, tools, and paint in the room unbeknownst to HR.  

So HR assured me that the items would be removed and that the room would go on the cleaning schedule for the night cleaning crew.  

For that day in the office though, they'd have to find somewhere else for me to pump.  They had less than an hour to find a place. 

They offered up a vacant office upstairs.  Then they had to recant that offer since there were confidential files in the office still.  And, no, I would never have even thought about looking at the files, but I understand that protocol is protocol. 

So they found another vacant office.  And that's where I went.  It was along the side of a major conference room where all the bosses have meetings each day, so I made sure to time myself so that I didn't exceed the break times allotted to me to pump.  I also pumped while hoping no one would enter the room since it did not have a lock. 

Needless to say, my first pumping stash was minimal that day. This was okay though because I brought 4 bottles, but ended up with only 3 lids.  So I just poured my first stash into the same bottle. My next stash was much improved but I was still nervous about the door not having a lock. 

Hopefully this week will be better.  I have to go into the office on Friday for mandatory "team building exercise" so I will choose to make that day my "in office day."  

Was I surprised by my office's pumping room?  No.  Because I've learned my lesson in the past to expect disappointment in this company.  

And I am still currently looking for other employment, but pumping sure does create a snag there.  And since I'm not sure if any place would be any better than how I have it now, I might as well try to stay content with my current job and pumping situation. 

Ps, I totally feel like a pack mule when I come to work.  Lunch bag, purse, pump, pump bag with supplies (spare parts, paper towels, etc), laptop bag.



Until Next Time, 
Much love, Reba


Friday, October 20, 2017

Avery: 2 Months

Today, Avery turns two months old!  Time is totally flying and I need to be better about savoring all of these moments because they truly do pass by too quickly.

At Avery's one month appointment, she weighed 9.5lbs, still 21 inches.  She was in the 30th percentile for height and head circumference, and just under the 50th percentile for weight.  The nurse said Avery had the smallest feet of any non-preemie one month old she had seen!  Avery didn't get any shots at that appointment, but she did get the second of two newborn screening heel sticks where they have to fill in 4 circles the size of a quarter with blood.  That's worse than a shot in my opinion.  Avery's two month check up is on the 30th of this month and she will have vaccinations at that appointment. 

Tiny Rant:
Although Avery didn't get any shots at her one month check up, we heard enough screaming from much older kids in every room around us to suffice.  Since I have a son who has to get multiple items injected into him during any given week and a minimum of 6 finger pricks every single day, I am not sympathetic at all to kids who scream during their vaccinations or finger pricks.  I know I should be more sensitive because I know it still hurts them, but I wish everyone could take some extra doses of perspective.  Side note: both of my boys cried during their flu shots this year, and Michael threw a fit during his 5-year check up in August (I was not with him during that visit, Aaron was).  So, I'm not saying my kids are above any other kid.  I'm just saying I personally do not feel sorry for any kid who gets yearly finger pricks or vaccinations because my own son has to get these everyday and I wish he didn't have to.  Okay. Rant over.  Back to Avery's two month update. :)


Clothing: Avery is comfortably in 0-3 month clothing.  She is tall, so I don't really put her in footie pajamas unless they have a bit of stretch to them.  In our state, it's just now starting to get cold, so she's mainly just been wearing a short sleeve onesie until this week when I put her in long sleeve onesies (and a pair of 3 month pants since I don't have any 0-3 month pants for her).  Tonight it the consignment sale shopping night and I will take inventory of her clothes and buy her a few things if necessary.  

Diapers: She's wearing size 1 diapers.    

Sleeping: Avery sleeps great.  She takes good naps during the day and she sleeps for one long stretch at night before waking once or twice afterwards.  She liked to kick her legs out of her Velcro swaddle blanket and would have a fit trying to do this in the middle of the night, so my mom suggested putting her in a sleep sack.  I tried it out last night, and there were no fits from Avery!  But I am totally sad.  I bought 4 swaddle blankets at the consignment sale in the spring for her.  One wasn't long enough.  One I gave to my mother in law to keep at her house. One we use every single night.  And one was the next size up.  So to think that my baby is already outgrowing the need/want for a swaddle makes me sad!  She's only 2 months old!

Feeding: Avery can go 3-4 hours during the daytime between feeds.  She's an efficient feeder, but not all the time.  She quickly falls asleep while nursing and I have to work to wake her back up so she can finish eating.  Sometimes, this fails and I have to finish the feeding by pumping so that I'm not messing up the supply-and-demand of breastfeeding.  I was off of work yesterday and Avery had a bit of a cold so she wasn't eating as much or as often.  So I'd pump at the 3 hour mark and then when she was hungry, I'd try to give her a bottle but she just wasn't having it.She doesn't mind bottles if someone else is feeding her but if it's me, she wants to nurse.  I guess it's building up my supply by pumping then nursing, so that's okay.

Tummy Time:  She still has great head control.  The nurse was impressed with that at her 1 month check up.  Avery can prop herself up on her forearms and look all around (albeit a bit wobbly).  

Poop:  Avery is a once to twice a week pooper.  The pediatrician sees no problem with this.  It's taking me a while to get used to though.  Avery gets super gassy on the days leading up to a poop and I know she's uncomfortable.  We give her Gripe Water or gas drops to help with this.  But I always feel better when she poops because I know she's more settled and relaxed.  

Habit:  Avery has to see me if she's awake and at home.  I don't think she does this at my mother in law's house during the work days, but I've certainly found it to be true at home.  She can be content in her Rock and Play or bouncy seat or swing, but I have to be in her line of sight.  Otherwise, she fusses.  Mostly this happens right before she naps, so it's probably her way of showing tiredness.  

We are smitten with her!  Both boys love her to pieces!  I can't imagine our lives without her in them.






















Until Next Time, 
Much Love, Reba



Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Little Update

I forgot how intense the cravings could be during post partum!  I have a bigger sweet tooth now than I did during pregnancy and beforehand.  If I could bake cookies every day, I would.  I try to trick myself into satisfying my sweet tooth by eating a couple strawberries or even carrots with peanut butter, but it doesn’t always work. 

On Sunday, Aaron attended the Talladega Nascar race, and the boys and Avery and I were on our own at home. We attended church (I got off easy from my week to do children’s church since there were no children besides Michael, and he decided to stay in the nursery with my mom, Noah, Avery, my mother in law and my 9-month-old niece). 

After church, my mom came over to watch the boys and Avery while I took a whole bunch of winter clothes to the local consignment sale drop off day.  The sale starts this upcoming weekend, but all consignors had to bring their items ahead of time to have them looked over by the staff to make sure they were quality items.  My mom, mother in law, and I will shop on Friday night during consignor night (I got two guest passes), before the sale opens to the public on Saturday.

When I got back home, I found that the boys had stayed in their room but never actually went to sleep.  So guess what? I told them they were going to definitely have to sleep, and I was able to get a little nap on the couch.  The boys slept for two hours and when they woke up, it was dinner time.  They were content with leftovers (praise hands!!!) and afterwards, they played on the deck while I made cookies.  I didn’t have any brown sugar, so the cookies were made with only white sugar.  So, I accidentally made sugar cookies with chocolate chips.  The boys liked them.  We turned on a movie through an Amazon app and they ate cookies for their bedtime snack. 

By this time, the race was over, but Aaron was stuck in major traffic.  He doesn’t usually get stuck in traffic when he attends the races, but he and his buddies parked somewhere else this time.  So, it took him two hours to get out of the parking lot, and then it took him an hour and a half to get home.  Although Michael fell asleep within 10 minutes of going to bed, guess who was up at 9:00 when Aaron got home? Yes. Noah.  My night owl and also my early riser.  He was up on Monday morning at 5:40.





Tonight, Michael is participating in the Kindergarten performance in school.  Kindergarteners are performing Halloween songs during the APT meeting.  The sign-up sheet was sent home in August asking if kids wanted to participate.  I was sure Michael didn’t want to do it, but Aaron said we should ask him to be sure.  To my surprise, he wanted to do it!  I’ve heard bits and pieces of one of the songs over the last several weeks, and he seems really into it!  I’m super excited to be attending this very first of hopefully many school performances. He has to wear a costume, so he’s going to be Mario. 




Noah’s had a bit of regression since Avery’s arrival.  He’s getting some molars right now which is definitely contributing to his fussy spells.  He gets flustered if he’s in the midst of saying something and then forgets what he was going to say.  And I think this is just him being three, but he is struggling with the internal debates of asking for something and then not wanting it.  Then if you start walking away to put it back, he screams for you to come back to him.  Then he screams if you get close to him.  So… that wears me out.  But I know it’s a phase and I know it will pass.  He makes up for all of it when he is sweet because he is really sweet.  I just wish I had that Noah around all the time.  It’s a guessing game in a way, to know how he’s going to act when he wakes up… or anytime I randomly look at him… or if he loses a toy… etc. 

He’s so cute though because he likes certain things and is very loyal to those items.  At the moment, he’s very much into garbage trucks and school busses.  He has a few garbage truck toys and a few school bus toys.  On Mondays, we wave to the garbage man.  And every school day, we wave to my dad’s bus as it drives by, and sometimes we’re able to wave to the second bus that drives into our neighborhood.  My mother in law has taken a couple pictures of garbage trucks as she’s seen them and we’ve printed them out for him.  So, occasionally, a picture of a garbage truck will be his toy of choice that he carries around.  For example, at the DMV when I was changing a license plate for the van.  He carried around his garbage truck picture and showed everyone in line who would pay attention.





Avery is super great. She has been a great night eater the last few nights and this is awesome for me so that I can nurse her and then go right back to bed.  For a long time, I’d attempt to wake her up, she wouldn’t wake, I’d pump, she’d wake up during pumping or about an hour after I lay back down.  So, I’m really happy when she’s able to nurse in the middle of the night.










Yesterday our weather was finally cool enough for me to put a long sleeve onesie on her and she was adorable!  She’s doing really well at my mother in law’s during the day.  Noah is also totally fine with having her there since he still gets to pick the shows all day long.

Michael is finally enjoying school.  He’s made a good buddy and they pretend play Mario or Pok√©mon each day at PE.  Last week was fire safety week and he got to look around a real fire truck.  He came off the bus with a plastic fire helmet on and was too cute for words!  He shared with his brother and then they played “at the firehouse” (ie, our living room) for the rest of the afternoon.  I’m really happy for their closeness in age and that they are best friends.  Sometimes they’re worst enemies and say “I’m never playing with him again” and I just say “Ok” because I know that in less than 20 minutes, they’ll play together again.  And it never fails.






I’ve been trying to get back into a workout routine.  Aaron and I worked out together right after Noah was born and we were super consistent and it was FANTASTIC!  Baby weight came off super fast (but my supply tanked, so now I know better).  This time, I’m trying to be more sensitive to my post partum body and not do too much too soon. Aaron and I worked out one day last week, but I need to get us both back into a more steady routine (and I’ll just modify the movements so I don’t hinder my supply). I’m continuing with my walking DVDs and try to take a picture every time that I walk because most often, I am either holding Avery or wearing her in the baby carrier.  I have a post partum DVD that I did the other night and I had to put Avery in her bouncy seat and then use my hand or foot to make the seat bounce as I did the movements.   








I’m glad to see some fall weather, and I’m hoping it sticks around!  I’m also glad the consignment sale is this weekend because I need to buy pants for Michael since he only has two pairs that fit, and I’m washing one pair each day to get him through this week.

Thanks for reading!

I’ll update some more later this week about the performance tonight!

Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba