Thursday, July 13, 2017

Mid-week confessions

Happy Thursday! I wanted to bring back mid-week confessions, but in true form, I'm a tad late on this one. I meant to have this ready by Wednesday, but with summer and the kids and crazy life happenings it just didn't happen. Better late than never, though, right? This is such an easy and fun little way for me to check in on the regular and share some fun little tidbits that have been on my heart and mind lately. So let's get started!

Summertime has me all kinds of cranky. Seriously- I've had the summertime blues or something over here. My kids have been fighting nonstop, it's been hotter than heck, and most days I don't have the energy or patience to take them all in public by myself. We've made it to the water park exactly one time and were zero for three when it comes to the lake. I think we're going to call this "the summer we spent at home" because we're doing a lot of backyard hangs by the kiddie pool and bike rides around the neighborhood in the mornings and evenings. Oh, and don't forget hours glued to the XBOX or watching movies and soaking up the AC in our pajamas, because hey, let's be real. Entertaining four kids- one of whom is a potty-training toddler and another high maintenance baby is a huge undertaking. I'm just high-fiving my husband if they are all alive, fed, and semi-clean at the end of the day.

Winter is here. Not literally, but if you're a Game of Thrones fan you know exactly what I'm talking about. Winter has been coming, and now it's here...the new season starts this Sunday and I can't wait to pick up where we left off. I've been impatiently waiting since they decided to delay the premiere this season (lame) and shorten it to only 7 episodes instead of 10. Next season (the final one) will only be 6 episodes! What the hell, HBO? Why are you doing this to us? We neeeeeeeed more Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen and dragons and white walkers. These need to be like 4 hour episodes. This is the only show that my husband will watch with me and I don't have anything good to watch at the moment, so I'm dying for this to start up again!

I have no clue how to dress myself! Do I shop in the old lady section and give in to elastic waists and tapered legs? Or do I roll into the Junior section with my double stroller and teen and tween in tow? Seriously...someone tell me how to dress for my age because I surely can't figure it out. I tried on this weird jumper thing at Target and it just wasn't good, so I went back to my boring jean cut off shorts and tank top. 

I've been a tad bit obsessed with all things makeup and skincare related lately. My name is Melissa, and I'm a SeneGence junkie...at least I admit it! I had no idea when I signed up to sell LipSense that I'd be also selling an amazing skincare & makeup line too. Anyone who knows me (or my blog) knows that I love all things beauty related and I'm always trying new products and different brands. Not anymore. I literally trashed all of my old stuff and swapped it out for SeneGence- it's that good! Everything is vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, long-wearing, and made in the United States and comes with 100% money back guarantee too, which is amazing! I'm so happy with everything I'm using now and I've seen a huge difference in my skin. Before, it was chalky and oily at the same time (and how does that even happen?) I had way more lines and wrinkles and my skin was just dull and flat and boring. Now it's perfectly moisturized, my lines and wrinkles are less pronounced, and my skin is more radiant and almost glows. I'm definitely going to be sharing some of my favorite products here on the blog. Never before did I think I'd be going makeup free on facebook live to do makeup looks, but that's what I've bee finding myself doing a lot lately.

Which brings me to blogging. Now that I feel a little more balanced with this LipSense/SeneGence venture, I hope to blog a little more regularly again. No promises, but it's just a goal of mine! 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

My struggle to feed baby number 4



When I found out I was expecting baby number four, I knew right away what my feeding plan would be. Like all of my other babies, I was going to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months and I'd continue to nurse well past the 1 year mark. Breastfeeding was something that always came pretty easily to me- something I realize now that I kind of took for granted, and it was actually one of my favorite parts of being a new mom. I loved nursing my babies. I loved the closeness, the bonding, the sweet snuggles, and the convenience of just whipping out a boob and having immediate nourishment at the perfect temperature at any given time. For me, it was a real time and money saver, plus it was a great way to burn off some of that baby weight and not have to deal with buying formula, washing bottles, and all of that. I never thought in a million years that baby four would come along and totally throw my perfect little plan right out the window, but that's exactly what happened, and I was so not prepared. 

Then Josiah was born and everything started off great. As with my previous babies, I had more than enough milk in the beginning. I could pump more than 6 ounces in about 5 minutes flat and I had a nice little stockpile of extra breast milk in the freezer. It wasn't until he was about 3 months old that the stress of having four kids- a 12 year old, an 8 year old, a very needy 2 year old, and a newborn, started to wear on me. I was exhausted. I was the only person who could feed Josiah because, hello...I had the milk. I was angry, resentful, and stressed to the max. Sure, there's always a little adjustment period after adding a new baby to the family, but this was way more than just that. I knew I had some postpartum issues going on and I talked to my doctor. 

I decided to switch to pumping so that my husband and the bigger kids could help feed Josiah and give myself a little break. I had already noticed that my milk wasn't as abundant as it had been in the beginning, but figured maybe my milk supply was finally leveling out. Josiah loved taking a bottle- he had always been an impatient nurser, so the instant gratification of having a bottle gushing milk was exactly what he wanted. I began to pump less and less milk, much to my frustration. I was finding myself taking bags of milk out of the freezer when I'd go to pump and get frustrated because I could only get an ounce or two. That became more and more of a thing, until I realized we'd gone through all of the 40+ bags of milk I'd been stockpiling. Pumping was a nightmare, even though I had a great pump and a routine. I was suddenly hardly able to pump anything, and not having frozen milk in the freezer really stressed me out. My husband suggested buying some formula to supplement, but I told him that would only make my dwindling milk supply even worse. When he suggested just stopping the pumping and switching to formula I looked at him like he'd lost his mind. I can do this! I screamed at him. I wasn't ready to give up- I could do it. I'd breastfed my last baby for 16 months and I had about 3 years of breastfeeding under my belt- I was a pro! I wasn't going to give it up for anything. I'd figure out what the problem was and make it work. I was no quitter and I wasn't going to be defeated.

I tried everything. Drinking tons of water, eating better, and trying to get more rest (which was impossible with a now 4 month old with no real sleep schedule). I tried supplements, special herbal teas, and power pumping. I tried to not stress even more about it, which is easier said than done when you have a crying baby and literally nothing to feed him. I was pumping just a few drops. I felt like I was at war with my body- why, oh why, could I not make any milk for Josiah, when I'd never had this problem with any of my other children? I felt like I was being punished or something. It wasn't until one evening, after a hellish day at home with the kids, after sweating and crying just trying to get a little milk for Josiah, that my husband came home with some formula. He mixed up a 6 ounce bottle, took the baby from me, and fed him, and I felt like a weight had been instantly lifted off of my shoulders. That was the day I quit breastfeeding and 100% switched to formula feeding, and I have absolutely zero regrets about my decision. 

Fast-forward 6 months and I now have a completely healthy and happy 10 month old baby boy who is totally thriving. Those painful, gut-wrenching months are behind me, where I questioned myself as a mother and wondered if I was doing the right thing constantly. Do I miss breastfeeding? Yes. Do I wish I was able to breastfeed my 10 month old? Yes. But sometimes your plan doesn't match up with reality, and for whatever reason, my body just couldn't do it this time around. And you know what? That's OK! 

How I wish I'd known about the Happy Family Infant Feeding Platform, which was made to ensure all families feel supported during their infant feeding journey. New moms and dads need all the help they can get, and this amazing platform would have come in handy for me when I was struggling. Creating a dialogue for infant feeding is crucial, as it's safe to say that millions of other women like me struggle with this as well. Whether your plan is to breastfeed, bottle feed, supplement, or whatever the case may be, it's so reassuring knowing that there are certified specialists and lactation consultants just a click away on their nifty live-chat feature. They are ready and willing to help new parents!

If you're a new parent please take advantage of  Happy Family Infant Feeding Platform! Everyone's parenting journey is going to be different and you're going to have your own struggles and victories, but it's so reassuring knowing the support is there. Even if you're not a new parent, I'm sure you know of one, so do that mom or dad a huge favor and pass this website link along to them. I'm sure they will thank you later! 


A big thank you to Happy Family Brands for sponsoring this post! And thank you to all of my readers for supporting the partners that make this little blog possible.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Slow summers & summer bucket list fun



Summer break is finally officially upon us here in Washington, and my kids couldn't be happier. We're not big on super busy, crazy summer plans. Sure, we like to hit up our local water park, spend a couple of days here & there by the lake, and enjoy the sunshine as much as possible (especially after the long, cold winter we had this year). But with four kids now- one of those being a baby and another a rambunctious toddler, I'm much more into summer days spent in the backyard by the kiddie pool and the occasional family movie day in the air conditioned house. As our family has grown and our lives have become busier, I really do enjoy spending more of our time here at home, as a family, slowing down and not really having to be anywhere. Slow summers are my favorite!

Slow doesn't mean boring! Like I said, we still do plenty of fun stuff, but I definitely don't let my kids run me ragged all day either. Mama still has work to do, too, and I need to maintain my own sanity. Have you ever gone out in public with four kids? My 9 year old daughter decided to make us a summer bucket list as a sort of "goal" for us to remember to do a few of our favorite summer activities, in addition to those laid back, easy summer days at home.

Our list includes things like visiting the water park, going for a hike, and swimming at the lake...these are all things I imagine that we'll do maybe once this summer, if we are lucky. Some of my favorites on her bucket list are riding bikes around the neighborhood, camping out in the backyard, and having a water balloon fight- all totally doable, right? She even included some fun little ones like "swim like a mermaid" (she just got one of those little fin things that go on your feet), and "learn how to do the splits" (because she wants to do cheer leading next school year). Those are also things I'll probably pass on, but I'm totally down for the bike ride and water balloon fight!

 Fruit Shoot is great for all of our summer adventures, whether it be at home in the back yard or at the lake or water park. I prefer these to other juice pouches or boxes because of the resealable cap. The little pop top lid is so much easier than a straw, which frees me up from having to open them and clean up the inevitable mess that comes along with juice pouches. Whatever lets my strong willed toddler claim some more independence is a win in my book! The bottles are nice and durable too- strong enough to withstand my toddler's death grip and being dropped/thrown a million times outside. Fruit Shoot are super portable and convenient to take along on any of our summer adventures and contain no artificial flavors, no high fructose corn syrup, and they don't add any sugar- a huge win in my book. I can let the kids do their thing and feel good about letting them choose a fun drink that they like to re-hydrate with. 

So what are your big summer plans? Do you have any or are you slowing down and going with the flow like my family? Make a summer bucket list and check some of your goals off these next few weeks! And make sure to stock up on Fruit Shoot- my kids #1 favorite drink, no joke! I get ours at our local Fred Meyer store and my kids love every flavor, especially fruit punch. You can find where to buy Fruit Shoot by using the store locator here

Happy summer-ing! 

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