Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Being a mom is sexy, too

Since becoming a mother, I have seen countless articles, photos, and even friends' posts about how sexy guys are as dads. Good dads, to be fair - the ones that braid hair and baby wear and vacuum up ground in Cheerios. The ones that play catch in the yard after working hard all day to provide for their family. The ones who get up in the middle of those first few nights with a newborn to change diapers. I get it, it's hot. My husband is one of those dads and I couldn't love him more for it. 

But where's the love for moms?! Where's the article that goes viral in support of the mom bod? Where's the praise for the strong biceps from carrying a toddler on one hip and an infant on the other, or $200 worth of groceries in one trip, or that damn 20lb baby car seat? Where's the Instagram post gushing over a mom's toned calves from chasing her three year old on the playground, or pushing a full Target cart at Olympic speeds, or running up and down the stairs 16 times every morning because WHERE ARE YOUR F-ING SHOES?!

Sure, our breasts aren't as perky as they were in college, but is that any less attractive that a poochy "dad gut"? Isn't it beautiful that we sometimes skip the gym in favor of giving baths, pouring cereal, and volunteering at the school? Seriously, where's the love for all these beautiful moms??? I'm not talking about what goes on within my home - my husband rarely, maybe never, let's a day go by without telling me in some way that he thinks I'm beautiful. But you know who posts articles & blogs about loving their post partum bodies and praising the late nights, early mornings, and day-in/day-out beauty in what moms are doing? Other moms. We have to keep validating ourselves, that we are still beautiful. A different kind of sexy, but sexy nonetheless. I'm waiting for the day when a blog post about the "mom bod" [written by a man, or better yet, a young childless woman!] spreads like wildfire in my newsfeed. But until that day comes, let me say it for you - you are sexy. You are sexier than the extra skin on your belly or the messy bun you've perfected on day three of not washing your hair. You are hot regardless of how many times you've been to the gym this week. Being a mom, a good mom, is beautiful. YOU. ARE. BEAUTIFUL. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Winston Dare is Nine Months

Winston's 9th monthday was spent driving back from Virginia. I feel like we do that a lot these days! He was a trooper as we drove from Raleigh to New Jersey to Virginia and back to Raleigh. If I'm counting correctly, he's been to eight states so far with at least one more coming soon (NC // VA // MD // NJ // NY // PA // SC // FL). 

Sleeping: I'm relatively sure this child will never consistently STTN. Most nights he sleeps 7pm-5am and then cries until I give up and nurse him. He's been starting his day much too early for my liking, and subsequently so has his sister. Still taking 3 naps some days but occasionally just two. He's a chronic car Napper!

Eating: big fan of waffles & pancakes, fruit, frozen fruits // veggies. Chicken, refried beans, all sorts of baby snacks // pouches. Scrambled eggs, too. Nursing is still going well, although he is ... Ahem, exploring with his new teeth. 

Activity: he's starting to stand by himself a little more and gets so excited that he even tried to take a step once or twice today. No balance, though, bless his heart. He likes the walking toy and often falls to his knees but bounces back up without missing a beat. He loves waving and dancing! He also is notorious for pulling the outlet protectors out of the wall, so let's hope that means he's going to be an electrical engineer. 

Clothing: still hanging tough with 12 months and hopefully will for a little while because he has a ton. I'm rarely putting him in onesies these days because he has so many cute "dressier" things. He is so long in the torso than one piece outfits are challenging, which is unfortunate because I love shorts rompers. Shorts & Pants can still be anywhere from 6m - 12m. 

Firsts: [second] tooth popped through this past weekend; first trip to NY / NJ; first zoo [the Bronx]; met his cousin Lou for the first time [she was 3w]; he per a baby chick at NC State Farm days: first Easter  [I put graham cracker goldfish in his eggs]; first long car trip - from NC to NJ. He had his "even Steven" day and has officially been "out" longer than he was "in". He also got to really play at Marbles for the first time!

Measurements: At his 9m appointment, he was 40th % height and weight and 90% head, ha!! Must give the perception he's bigger than he is, because people make comments about his size all the time. He's at 20lb 6oz and I feel every bit of it lugging him around. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

8 months

: well, we (I) finally got desperate enough to do full-on CIO. The inconsistencies in his night time sleep were maddening. Had a few rough nights but he's mostly doing 7/7:30-6 now. Transitioning down to two naps so I'm sure that's not helping but thankfully it means a longer morning nap usually. He's a belly sleeper and snuggles into the corner of the crib most nights. Sleeps with a crocheted blanket, paci and lovie (a tiger from aunt Kiki most nights). 

Eating: he is really getting into food now and it's fun to watch. Loves blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, chicken, bananas, and all carbs. Scrambled eggs with ham, pancakes, sausage are all hits. Still doing limited dairy for me and none for him. 

Activity: pulling up on everything (especially unstable items), crawling fast and starting to get brave enough to stand on his own for a couple seconds. Gives kisses and babbles / shrieks all the time. Laughs a lot, particularly at London. Such a happy dude! Seriously, he still falls asleep in my arms sometimes, loves to snuggle and smile and laugh, loves to be held. He's a trooper in the car now, and still does ok in the ergo carrier. However he does a violent arching / propelling himself backwards if he's unhappy with whatever you're forcing him to do. The kid has a strong will! 

Clothing: mostly 12m. We were give  a ton of 12-18 month stuff in exchange for some of London's old clothes, and much of it still has the tags on! Needless to say I won't be buying anything for awhile. 

Firsts: crawling, standing, first tooth. First st Patricks day (and parade !). Tons of new foods. Met his great papa and ann-ann from Florida!! 

Measurements: pushing 20 lbs and long as all get out. Short legs though, who is this child?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Winston: Seven Months

My little dude has been seven months for awhile now; not sure why this one took me so long to write. However I think the only answer that would've changed, depending on when I wrote it, is sleep. Ohhhh sleep. Some day! Let's start there, shall we?

Sleep: he's pretty consistently taking three naps per day, about 30 minutes each. The first is around 8:30-9am depending on wake up time, and may last a little longer than 30 minutes. This first nap is often taken in the car because of London's schedule with preschool, etc. The last nap is around 3:30-4pm and I don't see him dropping that any time soon; he's normally quite cranky by 6:00 or so. We try to get him in bed by 6:30/7pm. Out of desperation for some consistent sleep, I was recommended the Controlled Crying Technique by a friend (link: ). We tried it about two weeks ago, had two tough nights, and then he went straight through to 6am the third night. PTL, am I right?? That happened for a few nights, but now we are back to being all over the map. He has a virus so I'm trying to be patient but also consistent. Like I said, some day we will sleep!

Eating: he loves carbs! Will grab biscuits, rolls & crackers out of our hands, and lights up when I bring out the jar of puffs. He likes canned pears, frozen peas, smoothies (I've let him try a few little sips of mine), water from a sippy cup or straw (dropped into his mouth) and banana. He also likes blueberries and grilled chicken, and frozen peach slices in the mesh feeder.  We are starting to reintroduce dairy into my diet and praying it goes well!! Hoping to test at his 9m appt in April. Nursing probably 5-6 times a day (when he wakes up from naps, before bed, around 6am and sometimes when he wakes up at 7ish). I am still struggling with whether I should have his tongue re clipped, as I have been having a lot of nipple pain and some bleeding again - I just don't know if it's worth putting him through that. Would love input from anyone who has been through it!

Activity: he started crawling last week and pulling up shortly before that - uh. No thanks kid. I love the sitting-but-not-yet-mobile phase, and it was so short for him :( now London & I are experiencing the joys of having to keep things off the floor, as I've already caught him eating paper and chewing on a marker (with the cap on, but still). He still likes his jumperoo and the new ( to us ) activity table I got for $5 but he really wants something sturdy he can pull up on (and mom & dad would prefer it be something safer than the coffee table). Getting him dressed is impossible because he's trying to pull up the whole time! He can go from laying down to sitting but thankfully doesn't do it in the crib very often. He is constantly trying to stand up in the bathtub, so we've switched to using the bumbo to keep him somewhat immobilized. 

Clothing: 12 months one-piece outfits but pants he still needs 9 months. I've been shopping for his Easter outfit and having a tough time finding dressy stuff in his size that won't clash with London's pink & green dress. We were so blessed with hand me down clothes from our friends Josh & Carla, so when I unpacked his 9-12 month clothes I was completely blown away by how much he has - what a blessing!! And of course he's wearing a ton of bibdanas I've made him :)

Firsts: crawling, pulling up, laying to sitting. First taste of meat: lamb, chicken; and pasta: spaghetti from amedeos! First ear infection :( he ran a fever of 103 and scared me a bit. We are OFF reflux medicine, hooray!! But the augmentin for the ear infection destroyed his tummy. He & London were making each other laugh incessantly in the car recently, and I cried tears of joy. I have been waiting for the day they could truly play / interact together and it was so awesome to experience the joy from both of them. First valentines day: He attended his first baby shower for cousin Lou, visited Fredericksburg VA to stay with our cousins Dylan & Christina (and Madison and Jacob) and ikea :) we said farewell to uncle Tyler as he left for his first deployment with the USMC. He's not talking much but he likes to yell as loud as he can to make sure everyone knows he's there. Oh, and he got to "play" in the snow for the first time - not a fan! He also gets to ride in the shopping cart and sit in high chairs at restaurants, very exciting. 

Measurements: he weighed 19'8 at his most recent sick visit. No idea on length, but just assume "huge". He's as big as a 15mo we played with recently. 

He's honestly the happiest sweetest kid. So snuggly and loving and smiley. We still  take him into church and he does awesome through the service. And still no teeth, thank you Jesus!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tomato & Basil Chicken Pasta

It's been awhile since I blogged a recipe. Mainly because, with two young kids and a dairy-free diet, my evenings normally consist of "oh shit, it's 5:00, I have nothing thawed. Bean burritos it is!" This digs is nothing fancy, but it was delicious, toddler approved and includes a bunch of ingredients I almost-always have on hand. 

2 thawed chicken breasts
1 large tomato, chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 box pasta of your choosing (I used penne, because I let London pick)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp non-dairy butter
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried basil
Salt & pepper

In a medium frying pan, heat olive oil on medium-low heat
While oil is heating, begin boiling a salted pit of water for pasta; once boiling, cook pasta according to directions on box
Season chicken breasts with salt & pepper
Cook in heated olive oil until browned on each side
Add tomato, basil, garlic, & butter to frying pan and stir gently until butter is melted
Remove chicken breasts from pan and cut into large slices
Mix sauce with pasta & serve, too with sliced chicken 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Happy Half Birthday, Winston Dare!

On Tuesday, London and I sang Happy Birthday to Baby Winston and she's been talking about his half birthday ever since. So adorable! I can't even believe he's been here a half year, fastest six months of my life. But what a joy he is!

Sleep: the dude is lucky I waited until 6m and 4d to write this update because our sleep has dramatically turned around the past few days and oh! how I'm hoping it sticks. I got a bit of a wake-up call (pun intended) at the pediatrician's office on Wednesday, came home fully committed to letting him work it out on his own, and then he slept straight though until 4:30am! I told her our struggles with him rolling onto his belly and freaking out, and she suggested it was due to the sleep sack that he was having such a hard time getting back over. So we did two pairs of footie pajamas instead of the wearable blanket (his room is still the coldest in the house) and bam! it's like night and day (ok, I'll stop with the puns). He puts himself to sleep for naps (still 4x at 30min each, though the first one is getting a little longer!) and bedtime, which is huge. He eats between 4-5am then goes back to sleep, sometimes needing a paci replaced around 6:30. I've been letting him nap with a crocheted blanket and only mildly freaking our about it ;) and he gets a lovie at bed and nap. 

Eating: we introduced avocado on Tuesday evening. He doesn't love it, if we are being honest, but it took London nearly 2m to really "take" to solids so I'm just giving it time. I also gave him a green pea, which he gagged on but apparently swallowed whole (ask me how I know that...). However he's been trying to grab  rolls and muffins out of our hands, haha! Soon enough my darling. Nursing is going well, he nurses probably 7x a day but is no longer nursing to sleep at all on a regular day - so huge!! I'm feeling very proud of us. 

Activity: we are starting to really get the hang of sitting! Probably my favorite milestone. He rolls all over the place, scoots on his back and his belly, and uses a combination of those moves to propel himself around the room, crib, etc. Mama is not a fan of mobility, just sayin. He's just started to get his knees up under him. No words or real sounds yet but he squeals and shrieks constantly, sucks in his bottom lip, and moves his mouth while we talk. He gives open mouth kisses while grabbing my face and just looooves his big sister. He also really loves his jumperoo / exersaucer thing and goes wild jumping. 

Clothing: 6mo onesies are packed away and I actually just got rid of a huge tub of the clothes he's outgrown :( baby boy Cox will look dashing in all of Win's hand-me-downs, though! 9m stuff for the most part, still holding onto 6m pants though. My mom bought him the most amazing one-piece suit thing for my Grandpa's funeral - so handsome. Also, he's wearing shoes and clothes that London wore when she was already walking ... Uh, what?!

Firsts: yet another funeral :( my grandfather, who he got to meet once in November. And what a sweet sweet blessing that was! Related, first limo ride (which he did amazing on) and first snow (relatively unimpressed). First Christmas!!! First New Year's Eve / Day / Daddy's Birthday. First NC State basketball game (they lost). First time meeting 2nd cousins Madison & Jacob (my cousin Dylan's children). Half birthday. First food(s). First time sleeping with a blanket. 

Measurements: 17lbs 11oz and 54% for weight, 27.75 in and 84% height, 17.75in and 84% head. The dude is so big and strong!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Winston is five months

WOO, this past month was a doozy y'all. The day Win turned 4m, we left for Mexico, were home for two days before heading up to VA and then down to FL after just 3 days at home. My poor baby was a trooper (they both were!) but I can't over exaggerate how much I was looking forward to being home the whole month of December. And, with that stability, the hopes of getting my boy's sleep back on track were certainly fueling that excitement. So what's hs up to at five months (and 4d)?

Sleep: shew, he's a mess. Therefore we are all a mess. He started rolling back to belly a few weeks ago, which meant we had to stop swaddling. DISASTER CITY, POPULATION: 4 EXHAUSTED ECKERSONS. Lordy, he was startling himself awake every 30 minutes for the better part of the night. After 4 nights, I said eff this noise and borrowed Merlin's Magic Sleep Suit and it made a huge difference (thanks Sally !!). That, combined with the fact that we finally found a paci he'll take, made for the best nights we'd had in awhile. However, as the weeks have gone on, he's become more and more dependent on us coming in to replace the paci and give him his lovie back. Not for every sleep cycle, but some nights it feels darn close to that. The good news is that he's able to put himself to sleep for naps and has even done it at bedtime a handful of times, so I know he's capable of putting himself back to sleep too (at least in theory) and I'm hoping he'll figure it out soon. 

Eating: he eats once most nights around 4am, and normally throughout the day upon waking up from naps (he's still taking 4x 30min naps most days). Weight gain is great, despite apparent re attachment of his tongue and lip tie (which has caused some pain for me but doesn't seem to be doing him much harm). I am doing a mild dairy elimination (again?!?!) to see if we can get to the bottom (pun intended) of the blood in his stools. We haven't started solids yet, despite a recommendation from our Ped to introduce rice cereal - I just don't feel like he's ready. 

Activity: in addition to rolling both ways, he scoots all over if he's on the floor or in his crib. He's trying to sit up and can go a minute or so before needing to use his hands or toppling into in the boppy pillow. He's starting to show a preference for certain toys, and loves rattling things and crinkly paper. Car rides are getting slightly more tolerable, as long as we time it correctly. 

Clothing: he's wearing some 9 and even 12 month pieces, though mostly 6m stuff. I love seeing him in London's Christmas onesies, although they barely fit him (and he's nearly a month younger than her when she wore them!). We've recently gotten a couple of adorable monogrammed pieces as gifts, which of course I love. And I went through all his "future clothes" bins this weekend - the dude is stocked until he's 2, I think!! We are so blessed with handmedowns (thanks Carla!!). He's still in size 2 diapers but only because I'm stubborn and want to use them up - we might skip 3s altogether for overnight, they're really way too small but I only have a few left!

Firsts: he went on his first carousel ride, train ride, and met Santa for the first time at the pullen park holiday express. Such a fun night with our little family and some dear friends. 

Weight: he's 16'9" (or he was, a week ago) and 50th % for weight, YAY!!! Despite throwing up SO much still, and all of the latch / tie issues, he's still gaining on a great curve so I am incredibly thankful for that blessing. His most recent height report was 82% I think. Still definitely charting tall & lean but he's filling out and couldn't be cuter.