Monday, November 26, 2012

Momma & Daddy's Night Out


These few pictures will get it's own post.

One of my super sweet and amazing friends from college got married!  I was so stoked when I saw on Facebook that she had gotten engaged.  As soon as she let me know the date of her wedding, I instantly called my mom and asked her if she would be willing to come down for the weekend.  Of course she said yes.

I was a little excited and anxious about her upcoming wedding.  Tim and I have left Ryan with his mom about 2 or 3 times tops.  We went to the movies a few times.  But we have not gone out without Ryan since I got pregnant with Jake (other than when I gave birth to Jake.)  Not only we were leaving the kids for the day, but the wedding was in Phoenix, two hours away.  We would leave the kids over night. 

The day of the wedding we woke up bright and early to make it into town for the 10:00 wedding.  Tim and I actually got dressed up for the first time in quite a while.  He looked pretty handsome :)

After the wedding, the bridal couple had a lunch at a nearby hotel. Tim & I ate Indian food for the first time.  I was pretty impressed with myself for trying it, considering I don't each much variety of food.  We went out for Oregano's pizza afterwards.  The wedding reception didn't start until 7:00 that night.  We got a hotel right down the street from the hotel where the reception was.  We checked into the hotel, took naps and watched the marathon of Pawn Stars.

We showed up at the reception a little after 7.  The reception was gorgeous.  Purvi looked amazing.  It was probably the best reception I had ever been too.  It was put together so well.  I loved all the saris (the beautiful Indian dresses) the women were wearing.  I kept telling Tim I wanted to get one.  Purvi was sweet enough to give me an indian bracelet at the reception as well.  I have been wearing it ever since.

Tim and I spent hours dancing.  I even had my first beer in over 3 years.  It was so so nice to spend some quality time with my husband.  When we got back to the hotel- Pawn Stars was still on so we watched a few more episodes.  I used to watch so much junk TV but Tim has got me into his Discovery Channel and History Channel TV shows.

The next morning I woke up at 9:22!  I forgot what it's like to sleep in and not wake up to a baby calling for me.  We went to get breakfast in the hotel lobby and spent a few hours just laying in bed watching Gold Rush.  My new guilty pleasure.

We wanted to walk around downtown Phoenix after check out so we did just that.  It felt pretty weird holding hands walking downtown without holding babies.  We even looked in the back seat a few times and kept saying how weird it was that there wasn't a carseat in the back seat.

We saw this wall in Mesa.. I had to go and touch the wall because it was so 3D it looked real.  But nope, it was flat.

Our first getaway without the babies was a success.  We missed them and were happy to be home, but we were also happy to spend time with each other... It only took almost 2.5 years. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The End of Our Journey

Before your baby is born you have so many hopes and dreams about them and their future.  One thing that I wanted to do for my babies, was nurse them.  Nursing my children was what was best for us.  I will admit, when I see newborn babies with bottles, I always wonder why they aren't being nursed.  What was the mother's journey with her newborn baby?  Is she unable to nurse?  Did she not like nursing?  Does she not produce enough milk?  Did she even try?  Behind every mother and her child, is a nursing journey.  Sometimes that journey lasts days, sometimes years, and sometimes not at all.

The first time I nursed Ryan,  was right after he was born, right in the delivery room.  He latched on perfectly.  Nursing was something that worked for him, it worked for me, and it worked for us.  

 I did not want to feed my baby formula.  I refused to feed him formula.  I nursed in public, I nursed him in my car, I nursed him at other peoples' houses in different bedrooms, I nursed him on an airplane.  With nursing, also comes pumping.  I am a mom, but I am also a teacher.  I would pump 3 times everyday while I worked.  I pumped at lunch, at specials, and at recess.  Pumping is definitely not nursing.

When I took Ryan to the doctor at 4 months old he was 12lbs 4oz.  When I took him 2 months later at 6 months he was 12lbs 8oz.  My baby had gained 4 oz.  Why did he only gain 4 oz.  The doctor was worried and momma and daddy freaked out.  The doctor suggested that I start feeding Ryan bottles after I nursed him to make sure that he was eating enough.  I had plenty of milk frozen, so this was doable.  I would feed him bottles after every time I nursed.  Sometimes he would eat 1oz, sometimes 2 and sometimes he would eat the whole bottle.  Do you know what the doctor told me?  He told me that Ryan was starving.  He told me that babies do a pretty good job at hiding it, but that my baby needed to eat more.  Hearing someone tell me that my child was starving, was probably one of the worst things I have ever heard before.  I came home from the doctor's office crying to Tim.  I had to take Ryan in for weekly check ups for about 6 weeks.  He was slowly starting to gain weight.  

At about 8 months old, I had run out of frozen breast milk.  The doctor had given me a can of formula.  I did not want to open up that can. I pumped more and more, but it just wasn't working.  One early February morning before I left for work, I opened up that can with tears in my eyes as I fed Ryan formula for the first time.

My milk supply was pretty low.  I kept pumping, taking Fenugreek, drinking more water, but nothing really was working.  After a realization that all I was doing was stressing myself out and feeling guilty..I decided it was time to quit pumping, to quit nursing, and fully give in to formula.  I nursed and pumped with Ryan up until a few days before he turned 10 months old. 

You know what I hated?  I hated that people would say.. "Oh you just aren't nursing enough." or "You need to pump more."  No, that wasn't it. I was nursing.  I was pumping all day at work, I pumped all day at home.  I set my alarm on my phone to wake up every two hours so I could pump in the middle of the night.  

It took me a while to realize it, but formula isn't that bad.  Again, you do what's best for your baby.  Ryan needed formula.  I did all that I could to feed him, and when it wasn't working anymore, I had to quit. After the first few days of formula, it really wasn't so bad anymore.  I was still able to hold and snuggle my baby while he ate.  

When I got pregnant with Jakey, I was really hoping that I would be able to make it to a year old.  That was my goal.  

Jake was solely breast fed for the first 7 months.  Around that time, I didn't have enough milk saved up to last him while I was at work.  He would get about 1 formula bottle per day.  After the first month it was about 2 a day. At 9 months old, it was about half formula/ half breast milk. 

Recently, I wasn't making hardly any milk at work.. only about 2oz per day.  After I nurse him at home, I supplement with formula and he always drinks a full 5oz. This time around was different, I didn't try harder.  I didn't stress about it.  I didn't set my alarm in the middle of the night.  I accepted the fact that I was no longer able to provide milk for my baby.  I stocked up on cans of formula.  As I watched the presidential election on the news, I decided it was time.  I held Jakey and nursed him one last time.  That night I washed my breast pump parts and put them away.

I did what was best for Jake.  10 months and 1 week.

I think moms out there need to know that formula is okay for your baby.  Even if I was full of milk, I would still stop at a year old.  There comes a time when nursing is no longer beneficial to your child.  Yes, breast feeding is a great bond between a mother and a child.  However, so is playing puzzles and going for walks.  

Before you judge a mother who has an infant who is formula fed, try to image what the mother's nursing journey was.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

From Baby to Toddler

This weekend was kind of a big deal in our home!  Every time I looked at my babies, I just couldn't believe how big they were.  

Since Jake turned 10 months old, I decided it's time to introduce the sippy cup.  Here Jake is with his very first sippy cup.  He actually could not suck out of these but he sure did try.  I ended up giving him a hard plastic Playtex sippy.  He was able to drink from the cup, however they are designed for ages 12m+ and the flow was too fast so some of his milk ended up on his jammies.  I guess the search for a perfect sippy for Jake is now beginning.  My goal is to have him completely weaned off of a bottle by the end of the month (11 months old.)  Wish us luck!  Ryan was weaned completely off by the time he was 11.5 months.

After I wrote Jake's 10 month blog, I realized that I need to start letting him feed himself more often and start giving him table foods.  I need to get over my paranoia with table foods and just let him explore on his own.  I can't feed him baby food forever.  I usually feed him dinner in the Bumbo and sit on the floor with him and feed him.  I finally set up Ryan's booster seat at the table.  Okay, I guess Daddy did it.  I just watched.  Now, Jake get's to eat dinner from the high chair.

Here's Jakey exploring with eggs for the first time.  Most of the eggs ended up on the seat of the high chair and Ryan grabbed his little chair and scooted it over and stood on it to feed himself.

This is Ryan saying "cheeee."  This is his first dinner at the kitchen table.  He is such a big boy.  I put off the booster seat for too long.  It was a little bittersweet watching Ryan eat dinner across the table from me.  He can even climb into his chair by himself, and we have a high table.

When Ryan was around 9/10 months old he started pulling out all of his toys and books off of his book shelf.  Jake is more laid back and I was just thinking about how he hasn't started causing much trouble or messes yet.  & then what does he do?  He pulled out Ryan's little green basket and pulled out all the toys.  Here comes Trouble!

My babies eating snack together, I couldn't stop staring at them while they were sitting next to each other trying to steal the other ones snack.  When did they get so big?!!

Today was so much fun at work!  We called it "President's Day."  Each of the kids were assigned a president to research.  We started our day writing a mini reports about their assigned president. They then shared their research projects.  Most kids turned in a poster and a few of them turned in boxes with objects they had to talk about.  While the projects were being presented, the kids had a list of the presidents and they had to write one interesting fact they learned about each of the presidents.

When reports were shared, we read a Scholastic News telling us a few things about each of the  presidential candidates and how the voting process works.  We then read "Duck For President."  The kids wrote in their writing journals about what they would do if they were elected president.  As they were writing in their journals, I called each person up to our "Polling Place" so they could fill out a "ballot."  (A desk with two file folders on it, with 26 pieces of paper with each of the candidates' names.)  After they filled out their ballots they folded them and put them into an empty tissue box and picked out a sticker.  :)  They are so cute.  I love being able to share history with my kids at work.

Their optional homework is to fill our a chart of the US showing the electoral votes and coloring each state either red or blue.

&& Tim & the babies stopped by momma's work to give hugs!

Happy Election Day!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Show & Tell; Careers

1. Tell us what you studied in college. Is your job now related to what you studied?

When I first went to U of A, my major was classified as "pre-nursing."  I wanted to be a pediatric nurse and then go on to pediatrics.  Well, after two years, I didn't like it anymore.  The classes weren't fun, they weren't interesting, I didn't enjoy what I was doing or what I was learning.  After an elective class, "Literacy Tutoring," I had to volunteer in a classroom for 1-2 hours a week.  Well, I volunteered in a K/1 combo class.  I swear as I walked into the classroom for the first time, I found my calling.  I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  After completing my second year I met with an advisor and switched my major over to Elementary Education.  I loved my classes, I loved the volunteer hours.  What I was learning didn't seem like so much work anymore, I WANTED to learn and I wanted to go to class.

I got offered a job teaching second grade right around the time I was graduating.  I am now in my 5th year teaching second grade.   Yes, my career is what I studied in college.

2. Tell us what your everyday job looks like.

I can tell you what I am doing/teaching every minute of everyday.  I teach math, reading, language arts, science, social studies, and writing to 26 second graders.  I grade papers and write lesson plans.  I see lots of smiles and laughs.  I get recess everyday and lots of time off.  Basically, I have the best job in the world :)

3. Do you have a picture of you at work? Show us.

I'm not sure.  Let me search around, I'm sure I can find something.

That took me a little while.  The date is written on the board, Oct 2007.  This was me during my methods semester.  The following semester was student teaching.  This is the same I student taught in.  They were first graders who are now 6th graders.  This is not my classroom.  I have a ton of pictures of my kids, but none of me actually teaching or in them.

4. In 10 years, what do you see yourself doing? Same thing? More? Tell us.

I love my job and I love what I do.  I see myself teaching in 10 years and even 20 years.  In fact, I have to teach until I'm 60 to get good retirement benefits.  That's 32 more years!  haha.  I don't plan on ever going into administration.

5. Tell us what you have learned, and what {if any} recommendations you may have for those looking to go into the field you are in.

I have learned so much.  I don't think teaching is for everybody, and I know that most people wouldn't be able to do what I do every day.  I find joy in what I do.  I think people who teach have big hearts.  One thing I have definitely learned is patience.  Teaching 26 7/8 year olds takes a lot of patience and flexibility.  If anyone is truly passionate about teaching, I say go for it.  Kids need great teachers and people they can look up to.

Friday, November 2, 2012

JTR- 10 Months!

Jake is now 10 months old.  10 months.  That means in 2 months my baby will be a year old.  I thought life with Ryan flew by.. Life with Jakey is 10 times faster.
We have done some fun things during your 10th month of life.  We played a lot.  I held you even more than we played.  You want to be held all the time.  Daddy says that I don't even notice I'm holding you half the time and that you're now just a part of my body.  Which is true.  I am such a pro at doing everything with one hand... cook dinner, vacuum, sweep and mop.
You are a speedy crawler.  Especially when I leave the room.  Even if you don't see me walk out, you have this 6th sense and can crawl into the room I am in.
You reach your little arms at me when I come home from work or when I'm standing in front of you.  You're starting to eat more.  You like to feed yourself, but you're still getting the hang of finger foods.  You usually just feed yourself puffs or little crunchies.  I've given you rice, macaroni noodles, and little pieces of bread.  Just like Ryan, I am paranoid to feed your table foods.. but I am getting better.  I'm trying to let you have little tastes of what I am eating.
Sometimes I can't believe that just a few months ago you were such a grumpy baby.  You have grown into the sweetest most laid back little guy.  Your personality is starting to shine through.  You are much more reserved and serious that Ryan.  Ryan was always babbling and giggling.  You're more quiet.  You are an observer.  You sit back and just watch everything that is going on around you.
You don't talk too much.  Sometimes you let our a loud, wild squeal.  When you do, you always smile and the same sound comes out of Ryan's mouth right after you finish.

Speaking of Ryan, he is absolutely crazy about you.  He loves you so much.  When you guys are in different rooms, he's always looking for you.  Most of the times, "Jakey" is the first word out of his mouth in the mornings.
Ryan loves to feed you with a spoon when he seems momma feeding you.  I hope you guys will always be the best of friends.

As each month passes, more memories are made and I love you more and more with each passing day.  I could never picture our family without you.  You give the best hugs and have the sweetest smile.  We are so blessed to have you.

Here is your big brother, Ryan, when he was 10 months old (4.16.11.)  Momma got pregnant with you the day Ryan turned 10 months!

Both you & Ryan bring so much meaning, so much love, and so much happiness into Momma & Daddy's life.  We love you both so much.
Happy 10 months, Jake Tyler!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Just like every other holiday, I completely over do it with the activities.  This Halloween was no exception.  Thanks to the lovely lady at Arizona Families, there was a ton of stuff going on for Halloween.

Every time Elyse comes to visit, she always talks about how she wishes she could come out to visit us for Halloween.  I've always thought she was a little silly.  Halloween?  It's not even that great of a holiday!  But I guess I thought those things before I had kids.  With every Halloween activity we did, I kept wishing our baby girl was here with us.  I have been counting down the days for Halloween & it came... & went.  Now there is 364 more days until it comes again.

I knew I wanted the boys to be football players this year.  I searched online for football jerserys.  I looked on Etsy.  I didn't like anything.  I don't like the real football jerseys.. I wanted a baby style jersey.  I searched pinterest and I clicked on the first toddler football DIY costume that popped up and I was in love!  I had immediately sent my mom an email and called her on the phone to tell her to check out the pictures.

Tim & I searched for the perfect shirt.  No store had plain pocket t-shirts.  I was feeling discouraged when I decided to check the clearance rack at the Children's Place and what did I find?  A plain red pocket tee in a 6-9m on clearance for $1.99... and what do you know, Ryan has the same exact shirt hanging in his closet in a 24m!  It was meant to be!  Again, I called my mom so excited that I had found something.  We found the leggings at Old Navy.

You add the pocket tees with the leggings, some iron on letters, scissors, batting, bias tape, eyeliner, and one crafty Grandma & you get two super adorable little football players.

My mom over nighted these costumes the day she finished them and I was so excited to rip open the package.  I fell in love with them right as I took them out of the FedEx bag.  I had to dress up my boys and just stare at how cute they were.  They were definitely going to be the cutest little trick or treaters this year.  :)

Friday night, I had to work the school carnival at work.  Tim came along with the boys where Ryan ran around like a mad man and Jakey spent the evening snuggling daddy.

The next night we went Trunk or Treating and played some games.  Ryan LOVED the games, I think I liked watching him even more.

On Sunday afternoon a church was putting on a Harvest Festival at a junior high school.  We all had so much fun.  There was tons to do and lots to eat.  Hotdogs, cotton candy, popcorn, snocones- We ate it all!


Ryan played the games.  He walks up to everything and just puts the pieces where they go.

It took him a little while, but he finally went into the jumping castle... Daddy had to go in with Ryan.
The boys got their first face paintings, little footballs.  They didn't last long because they kept rubbing them off so I took them off once we got home.

That night, you guessed it, we went to another carnival right down the street.  There was a ton of little kid games.  Ryan played games for 2 hours.  More free food, this town has so much free food on holidays!  Nachos, popcorn, and chili dogs!

After Sunday night, the kids had definitely gotten use out of their costumes.  At this point I had dressed them in them 4 times to go do Halloween events.

On Hallween night we went Trick or Treating in our new neighborhood.  Our last neighborhood didn't really have trick or treaters, but this one had a bunch of houses passing out candy.  Jakey got pushed around in his buggy and Ryan was able to walk all by himself.  After about an hour, Ryan was getting pretty cranky.  This kid does not nap anymore!  He's napped one time in the past two weeks.  He sits in his crib and plays or crys.. which makes for a very grumpy two year old in the evening.

The kids got a ton of candy, momma got a ton of pictures, everyone commented on how cute they were and how much they loved their costumes, and we have more sweet memories to add to our book of life :)

Happy Halloween!

Show & Tell; How I Met Your Father

[ I had originally started this post on Monday, but got busy and never finished it until Thursday morning!]
1. Tell us about how and when you met your love and what attracted you most to him.

Once upon a time I had a different blog online- I wrote in there from about 2002-2010.  So, while there are lots of things I'd like to forget, I like going back reading about the things I wrote about when I first met Tim.  I'm going to cut this from my other online journal, I wrote this in March 2007.  Okay okay, it's a teeny tiny bit edited since this blog is public!

"There is also Tim. It's weird how everything always works itself out. Once I finally feel that things couldn't possibly get any better- they always do. God amazes me. Tim amazes me. I met him @ the mall where we both used to work. He works for an indiret company for Verizon Wireless called Digitell & I worked @ the OJ/DQ in the mall. The weird thing is that he has worked in the mall for the past year. I worked there from Dec 2003-June 2006 & from Nov 2006-March 2007. & I barely met him in the beginning of February. I'll tell my story.

One day, I took out the trash & when I came back to work the door was locked. So I went to the front of the store to have someone let me in. Tim & this other guy are standing there. Ofcourse, I talk to everyone so I'm talking to them. I always talk to people who work in the mall. The other guy works @ Qwest- I'm telling "qwest guy" how we always call everyone by where they work.. For instance "qwest guy, forever 21 girl, pretzel boy, etc." So the Qwest guy is like "fine- You're Orange Julius girl." & We're all just being stupid. So I turn to "Verizon guy" and ask him what his name is. He says Tim. But in my opinion, he says it with this little accent so it sounds like "TEM"- so me & qwest guy are making fun of "Tem." Sounds dumb- but people who work in the mall get bored @ work.

Tem keeps coming back to my work- We have $1 mall employee sodas so everyone who works in the mall always come by to get them. One time Tem came over & I was telling him how my cell phone battery sucks & I want to get a new phone. He tells me to come to his kiosk when I can. So I go over there- he looks @ my phone and gives me a cell phone battery. Then I give him my phone information so he can look up to see when I'm eligible for an upgrade. (Not until May 18!) I leave & go back to work. Like 20 minutes later I get a text that says -"Hey this is Tem, do you mind if I keep this number?" Which is totally cheesy but I said he can keep it as long as he uses it. & we keep texting that day... Which is February 7th.

We worked that whole weekend together & he comes by my work & I go by his. On Sunday, I invite him out to CowPony w/ me, Kim, & Kayla. He comes and he looks totally hott. He played pool w/ Kayla. I don't play pool.  [Deleted stuff here :) ]

That Monday we worked together. He asked me to go to Dinner w/ him on Tuesday. It was pretty much my first date. He asked me out, We got dressed up (a little), he picked me up at my house, we ate dinner @ Fridays---which is totally not my favorite anymore THEY GOT RID OF THE FRENCH DIP SANDWICH---, we talked a lot, he paid. We did the whole "getting to know eachother" thing.

The day after our first date was Valentine's day. He called me & told me to go in the hallway, he usually does this at work so he can give me a kiss. So I went in the hallway & he had a small bouquet of pink and red carnations w/ a card that said "REBECCA I'M GLAD WE MET! HAPPY VALENTINES DAY! TEM" Which was the cutest thing ever. When we were @ CowPony there was a guy selling roses & I told Tim that the guy needed to sell carnations instead. & He bought me carnations after me only saying something about carnations once. & We have pretty much hung out everyday since. "
..... & the rest is history.

2. Show us the very first {or one of the first} pictures you guys ever took together. {Feel free to show us more than one}

This is a cell phone picture taken the first night we hung out.  This was 5 days after we first met.

3. Tell us some of your favorite memories that you two had together.
We have some pretty obvious favorite memories; getting engaged, meeting my daughter, getting married, honey, and having the boys..

A memory that sticks out in my head.. When Tim & I had been dating for about a month, he had to move to Prescott for his job.  He usually came down to Tucson every weekend to hang out with me.  One Wednesday evening, I was sitting in my bedroom and Tim text me a picture of my car sitting in my driveway.  I called him back and he was sitting in front of my house.  He had driven down to Tucson for the night to take me to the movies and left in the morning.

I love the day after we got engaged.  We went out to breakfast at Denny's and we were telling everyone that we had just gotten engaged.  After Tim dropped me back off at my house on Monday morning (he had to drive back to Prescott.)  There were flowers in my bedroom and he had left little notes all over my bedroom.  I still have all those little notes too!

The day we got married was pretty special too.  My favorite part of that whole day was after we were pronounced husband and wife and we walked back down the aisle.  When we got to the end I was practically bouncing up and down and said "We're Married!!" (first thing I said to him after we got married.)

My 26th birthday was pretty memorable.  It was our first time at Apple Annies, Ryan was only 4 months old.  I had already written about that in here.

I'll stop there.

4. Tell us your favorite qualities about this man, what makes him "the one."

The first thing that attracted me to Tim was obviously the way he looked.  I can still look at him and think he is gorgeous.  I also liked his sense of humor.. he could always (& still can) make me laugh.  He's hard working, he's loyal, and he's an amazing dad.  My heart melts every night as I watch him play with Ryan and Jake.  I never have to ask him to watch or play with the kids, he does it anyways.

5. Tell us what your "date nights" typically look like.

Our date nights begin after the babies are in bed.. We get out some popcorn and sit on the couch watching Netflix! hahaha.