Baby #2: 21 Weeks

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

baby's size: Pomegranate

how I'm feeling: I feel great during the day. I love feeling our little girl move around and have even felt a few kicks from the outside. At night is a different story though. I have started having some heartburn when I lay down to go to bed, so the Tums now have a permanent place on my nightstand. And my dreams have been getting crazier and crazier; I never feel rested when I wake up in the morning. And unlike most normal pregnant women, my body doesn't wake me up in the middle of the night when I have to go to the bathroom, so I end up in pain in the morning. I remember having the same problem with Cullen. Hopefully I'll start sleeping better soon.

best moment this week: I have had a wonderful week getting to rest at home and spend every day with Cullen. I am going to have a hard time going back to work on Friday.

what I'm looking forward to: Our next ultrasound is in a week to make sure our little girl is growing like she should be.

Our Christmas

Monday, December 29, 2014
This year, the days leading up to Christmas were a little crazy. I had basically all of my shopping left to do at the last minute and I got the tree and decorations up just a few days ago. But Christmas Eve and Christmas day were great! Cullen had them best time and as a result, so did Corey and I.

Christmas Eve, Cullen got to meet Santa. I wish I had captured the look on his face when Santa walked through the door; it was priceless! He kept blinking his eyes in disbelief, frozen in wonder at how such a thing was really happening! He wouldn't sit in Santa's lap, but he did give him a big hug before leaving. 

Christmas morning was absolutely wonderful! Cullen ran downstairs and immediately started playing with his toys. He wanted to open everyone's gifts and wanted to play with each present immediately after it was opened. There is almost nothing more joyful than a child on Christmas morning!

We saw the rest of our family for lunch and dinner gatherings. It was great getting to spend time with everyone, and Cullen had a wonderful time playing with his cousins. I can't wait to enjoy this holiday with two little ones next year!

Baby #2: 20 Weeks

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

baby's size: banana (although our little one is a little smaller than average)

how I'm feeling: After a week of ups and downs, I'm feeling good. I can't believe I am already halfway through this pregnancy! Only twenty more weeks until we meet our little girl!

best moment this week: Finding out we are having a girl! At our anatomy scan, we also found out that she only has a two vessel cord and is measuring about 12 days behind. All of her organs seemed to be developing just as they should be, but her smaller size had our doctor a little concerned.

We went Monday to the maternal fetal medicine doctor for a level II ultrasound. At that appointment, we got to see our little girl again (who is quite the wiggle worm and likes to make the ultrasound techs really work) and we also confirmed that all of her organs are developing perfectly, she is just a little on the small side. The MFM doctor didn't seem concerned that it could be a genetic disorder; it looks like we may just have a smaller little one. We will go back in 2 1/2 weeks to make sure she and the placenta are growing.

what I'm looking forward to: Christmas and another week off with Cullen!

It's a...

Monday, December 22, 2014


We found at our anatomy scan last Thursday that Cullen is going to have a little sister! Corey is a little nervous about having a girl, but we are all thrilled! 

When we got home from the doctor, Cullen and I decorated our Christmas cookies. To celebrate his little sister, we decorated with all things pink. Pink icing, pink sugar, pink sprinkles.

Cullen had an absolute blast decorating (and eating) the cookies. He took bites out of about a dozen cookies before I could decorate them, ate more sprinkles than he put on the cookies, and was covered in pink icing from head to toe. 

But once he got a handle on the piping bags, he decorated a whole patch of cookies all by himself. It was the cutest thing I have ever seen! 

I cannot wait to welcome our little girl in May! I know that Cullen will be a great big brother and I am so excited to see the two of them together.

Baby #2: 19 Weeks

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

baby's size: mango

how I'm feeling: Great!

best moment this week: Feeling movement pretty consistently! I find myself sitting perfectly still at times to catch every movement. It's just as exciting the second time around!

what I'm looking forward to: Our anatomy scan is tomorrow! I can't wait to see out little one!

Baby #2: 18 Weeks

Thursday, December 11, 2014

baby's size: sweet potato

how I'm feeling: Pretty good, aside from crazy pregnancy dreams keeping me from getting a truly restful night's sleep.

best moment this week: Feeling movement for the first time! Nothing consistent or very strong yet, but I have felt flutters a few times over the past week!

what I'm looking forward to: We are only one week away from our anatomy scan! I can't wait to see our little one again!

Baby #2: 17 Weeks

Thursday, December 4, 2014

baby's size: onion (approximately 5.1 inches long!)

how I'm feeling: I am back to being tired all the time, but maybe that has more to do with keeping up with a toddler.

best moment this week: Thanksgiving! It was nice to have a few days off to see family and spend some extra time with Cullen.

what I'm looking forward to: Our anatomy scan is a little over two weeks away! And we are trying to get ready for Christmas. Not much decorating going on at our house, but Christmas shopping has begun and Holiday parties are starting!

Twenty-two Months

Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Technically, Cullen is now closer to 23 months than 22 months, but a late update is better than no update right?

I cannot believe how much fun this little boy is these days. His imagination and sense of humor keep us laughing.

He loves playing with cars and talking on the phone. Almost anything can be turned into a phone; most recently a flashlight. He also loves puzzles and counting. I love the way he skips 4 every time. "1...2...3...5!" And he loves to start races with "Ready, Set, Go."

Cullen is getting to be very bossy. He has on multiple occasions, grabbed both sides of Corey's face, but instead of saying "I wuv you" he demands "Wook at me!" He is very adamendment when he wants you to play with him and demands that you go to where he is and sit right where he is pointing. And when we are in the car, he loudly insists "ready go" until the car starts to move again. This boy is clearly not a fan of rush-hour traffic and has not yet figured out that the world does not run on his schedule.

Despite his bossiness, he is one of the most polite toddlers I have ever seen. Almost every request is accompanied by a "please" and he is very quick to say "thank you" or even "thank you, thank you, thank you" when he is given something or helped. We must have done something right. ;)

He has recently started saying "I love you" without being prompted. He puts his hands on both sides of my face, gets as close as possible, and says "I wuv you!" My heart melts into a puddle every single time.

Baby #2: 16 Weeks

Friday, November 28, 2014

baby's size: avocado

how I'm feeling: Pretty good. I feel like a normal person and aside from my baby bump, I hardly feel pregnant.

best moment this week: It has been a pretty crazy week. We are under contract on a new house and are trying to sell our house. We spent last weekend getting our house ready to put on the market. While those two days were more than exhausting for this pregnant lady, it feels good to be one step closer to moving closer work and church.

what I'm looking forward to: Our anatomy scan is less than three weeks away! I can't wait to see this little one!

Baby #2: 15 Weeks

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

baby's size: navel orange

how I'm feeling: My nausea has decided to come back. I thought since I had made it into the second trimester and the queasiness I had in the first trimester had disappeared that I was in the clear. It turns out my body has other plans. I still haven't actually gotten sick, but nothing sounds good when it's time to eat and I get full really fast. I hope this is gone (or at least eases up for a day) come Thanksgiving.

best moment this week: I had another appointment with the doctor this week. I love hearing that little heartbeat and it was perfect at about 156!

what I'm looking forward to: Thanksgiving, decorating for Christmas, and our anatomy scan is scheduled for a week before Christmas. We have a lot to look forward to through the rest of the year!

Baby #2: 14 Weeks

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

baby's size: lemon

how I'm feeling: Cullen had a cold over the weekend and shared with me. Being pregnant with a cold is not much fun. They last longer and there is not much I can take for it. Hopefully it won't last too much longer, but for now, I'll keep a box of Kleenex in arms reach.

best moment this week: Pregnancy-wise, it was a pretty boring week. But since Cullen was sick on Friday, I got to stay home from work and snuggle with him all day. I hate that he was sick, but snuggles like that are getting more rare, so I take advantage when I can!

what I'm looking forward to: My next appointment is on Monday. I can't wait to hear that little heartbeat again!

Baby #2: 13 Weeks

Thursday, November 6, 2014

baby's size: peach

how I'm feeling: Large! I know I'm not really, but I feel pretty big for only being 13 weeks. I'm already wearing only maternity bottoms; I haven't been able to button my regular pants for over a month. Despite my protruding tummy, I have lost a little weight so far. I did the same with Cullen in the first trimester; I think it has to do with cutting out coffee/soda/tea, drinking a ton of water, and getting full a lot faster. Other than than the acne that I don't remember having the first time around, I feel great! The little bit of queasiness that I had is gone and I'm starting to get some of my energy back.

best moment this week: Finally telling the world!

what I'm looking forward to: The second trimester and more energy!

Halloween 2014

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

This little Strongman had an absolute blast trick-or-treating this year! The grandparents came over to hand out candy so Corey and I could take Cullen door-to-door. Cullen quite literally drug the two of us down the street to get to the next house as quickly as possible. We couldn't get him to say "Trick-or-Treat", but he did wish everyone a Happy Halloween when they gave him candy.  He also tried to give kisses to everyone's dogs. I think Halloween is he perfect holiday for this social little boy!

He requested that each piece of candy be opened as soon as he got it. So he snacked on pretzels and skittles between houses. And once we went to a respectable number of houses, we headed home where Cullen's grandparents sneaked him even more candy, and he helped hand out candy to other neighborhood kids.

I loved watching his face light up every time he was gifted a piece of candy and every time trick-or-treaters showed up at our door. We all had such a great night watching him really experience this holiday!

Twenty-One Months

Friday, October 31, 2014
That's right. Time is flying by faster than I can keep track, and our little boy is already twenty-one months old. Since Cullen has been 21 months old for a couple of weeks now, this update is going to be short and sweet.

No major changes or milestones reached over the past month, but this little boy learns so much every day. They way he communicates with us seems to change constantly. It still takes me by surprise sometimes that he has full conversations complete with whole sentences. 

He loves anything with an engine: planes, helicopters, cars, motorcycles, big trucks, and especially construction equipment. He loves to ride down the road pointing out the different types of vehicles. And his day is made if we pass a construction site.

I think my favorite part about this age is the two sides of having a little boy. One minute he is rough-and-tumble, covered in dirt, and trying to wrestle anyone in site. The next minute he wants to give kisses to everyone and proudly exclaims "I wuv you!"

Our Little Family is Getting a Little Bigger

Wednesday, October 29, 2014
We are excited to announce that Baby M #2 should be arriving in May 2015!

Corey and I are so in love already and can't wait for this new little one to join our family!

Cullen, too,  is already smitten with the idea of a little brother or sister. Well, I don't think he fully grasps the concept of a younger sibling just yet, but he loves looking at the ultrasound pictures of "his baby" and gives the baby kisses all the time! I just know that he will be a wonderful big brother!

Twenty Months

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
It seems like this little boy is more and more grown up every day. His hair keeps getting longer (i think it's finally time for a haircut), he keeps growing out of all of his clothes, he learns more words daily than I can even keep track of, and he constantly keeps us laughing. 

Cullen is into all of the typical boy things: trucks, dirt, bugs, and wrestling. I know for a fact that he would live outside if we would let him. He is on a continuous search for creepy-crawly things. Wrestling with Daddy is a great way to prolong bedtime. And he pointed out every "big truck" on the road this morning.

But he also loves to read, loves giving kisses to everyone, and will even still snuggle on the couch with me on occasion (usually when we are watching Curious George for the 100th time). He is such a sweetheart and I wouldn't have it any other way. He gets so excited when he gets to go play with his friends at church. I love watching as he forms those first relationships and hope they last a lifetime.

He is getting to be so expressive with his communication. Aside from copying literally everything we say, he is starting to really add his own personality to his language. He has mastered the art of conveying his message with his eyes. He wags his finger at you if he is really serious about something. And he knows that adding a "peas" or "tank you" to any request will almost always guarantee a yes. It is nearly impossible not to give into every request when his whole little face smiles in anticipation. We are in trouble with this one.

I wish he would stay this little forever, but I also can't wait to see how he continues to grow and continue to get to know the little boy he is becoming.

Nineteen Months

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
When someone asked last Saturday, I said that Cullen was eighteen months old. It wasn't until about nine the next night that I realized he is actually nineteen months old now. At least it wasn't a major milestone, right? So, now that I have a grip on what day it is and how old my child is, here are a few things about nineteen-month-old Cullen.

At his eighteen month check-up, Cullen was 34 inches tall and weighed over 27 pounds, making him way above average. Most days he eats non-stop all day long. I can't imagine trying to feed him as a teenager. His favorite these days is anything apple. Apple sauce. Apple slices. Apple juice. Apple cinnamon Nutragrain Bar. He may have had all four of those for dinner one night recently. I can't wait to take him apple picking this year! 

I am in a list-making mood today, so here are some of the things Cullen does these days in list form:

  • He likes to work out with me on occasion. His specialties are jumping jacks and squats. 
  • He can blow his nose. No more bulb syringe!
  • He knows to say cheese and smile in front of a camera. I catch him putting my phone up to his face and saying "cheese" all the time! Perhaps I take a few too many pictures.
  • He loves to nap on the couch, completely surrounded by covers. He will not share the blanket with anyone else. And he is not happy if he wants to "nap" and you are in his spot on the couch. He is a grumpy ol' man already...stuck in his ways.
  • He likes to boss Macey around. I can't tell you how many times a day I hear "Come on, Macey.", "hop up", "Move, Macey.", "Walk, Macey."
  • He loves to sing. I love hearing him in the backseat humming along to the radio!
  • He insists that every drink be on a coaster. I laugh every time he puts his sippy cup on the table and then says "no, coaster" as he searches for one. My coffee table loves him.

Cullen is more and more sure of himself every day. Sometimes to a fault. We have been hearing "no" a lot from him recently. But more often it is good. He knows what he likes and what he doesn't like. He can tell us when he needs to blow his nose, when he hurts something and what exactly hurts, and when he needs a diaper change. (Could potty training be in our near future?!)

I think my favorite new expression of Cullen's is "kiss it". He asks me to kiss every single bump, scrape, and mosquito bite. He even asked me to kiss his teeth the other day. He has some new teeth coming in and a mommy's kiss can fix anything, right? We settled for a kiss on the cheek. I'll take any chance I have to kiss those sweet little cheeks!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014
I have started and deleted this post more times than I can count over the past few months. I wanted to share my breastfeeding experience, but I thought does the internet really need another post about breastfeeding? Hasn't that been covered enough already? Then I thought about why I'm blogging in the first place. I want to share my story, our story, to inspire and encourage other moms. So, since everyone's story is unique, I am going to add one more post about breastfeeding to the internet. It may not be ground breaking, but I hope it encourages someone (even if that someone is me sometime in the future.)

Let me start off by saying that I do not think that breastfeeding is the only right way to feed your little one. Everyone's situation is different, so do whatever works for your family. To be honest, I always thought I would go straight to formula. My brothers and I were formula fed (and we turned out just fine), so that seemed like the obvious decision. But Corey was breastfed and suggested that we at least consider the idea. It seemed important to him, so I started researching. I read several books and everything I could find online. After learning everything I could on the topic and discussing it with Corey, I decided to give breastfeeding a shot. Actually, I decided that was absolutely the right thing for our family and was determined to make it happen.

Let me tell you, breastfeeding is hard work! If you are like me, you tend to think something that seems so natural should be pretty easy, right? I mean that is what our bodies are designed to do. That is not always the case though. It wasn't for us, and from what I hear, it isn't for a lot of women. Someone even told me to not even buy a pump before Cullen was born because breastfeeding may not work. I didn't like that attitude; I had my mind set on making this work. I knew that this is what we felt was right for us, so I was determined to do everything in my power to make it work. There were several times in the first few months where we could have switched to formula, and that would have been okay. But I was determined to try everything. It was tough at times, but I think all the hard work and tears were worth it in the end.

This is getting pretty wordy, so here goes. 

When we were in the hospital, most of our time was spent getting Cullen to latch. We tried over and over and over, but he just couldn't do it. So, to at least tell my body it was time to start making milk, the nurses suggested I start pumping. The first few times I pumped I only got a few drops of colostrum, but we gave even those few drops to Cullen. He wasn't getting much from me, and had started to lose a good bit of wait, so we decided to supplement with a little formula. The three days we were in the hospital Cullen's feeding schedule looked like this: Try to get him to latch for about 10 minutes. No luck. Pump for 15 minutes. Feed Cullen with whatever I pumped. Supplement with formula through a curved syringe to get Cullen to practice sucking. Repeat two hours later. We did finally get him to latch occasionally, but he couldn't get any milk out.

Those first few days were exhausting physically and mentally. I cried to Corey, I cried to the nurses, I cried to the lactation consultants. I was frustrated that this natural thing wasn't working, even after all the research and preparations. I am a little bit of a control freak, so not being able to control this was really hard for me. The nurses and lactation consultants assured me that I was doing everything right, getting him to latch correctly, holding him in the right way, and that it would just take time and practice for Cullen to learn his part.

When we left the hospital, we were still working on getting my milk to come in and getting Cullen to latch. Every two or three hours I was nursing Cullen for as long as he would, pumping what he didn't eat, giving whatever I pumped to Cullen and then supplementing with formula (in a bottle at this point, the syringe took too much time). At his first in-office appointment with the pediatrician, the doctor we met with told basically told us that we were ruining any chance we had of getting Cullen to nurse by using a bottle. I cried again, and we have not seen her since. (She was wrong by the way!)

A week after he was born we went back to the hospital to meet with the lactation consultant to discuss our progress and game plan. While there, she checked his latch and did a weighed feeding. At that point, with some work I could get Cullen to latch, but even after nursing for 15 minutes, he was only getting drops (less than I was even able to pump). She suggested I take fenugreek and blessed thistle to increase my supply and continue with everything else to get Cullen fed.

Between pumping and the herbs, my milk finally increased enough to drop the formula. That made me feel a little better. At least if nothing else changed, I could pump for a year and just feed Cullen expressed milk. I have a friend who had to go that route and it worked for them. It is a great solution, but a lot of work!

But I wasn't ready to give up on getting Cullen to nurse just yet. (I can be a little stubborn sometimes!) We went to see the the lactation consultant once more to follow up when Cullen was two weeks old. My milk supply was good, and Cullen would usually latch after some work, but he still couldn't get out any of the milk that was there. We decided the best course of action was to keep pumping and try to get him to latch when we felt up to it. She encouraged me that he would get it eventually, some babies just take a little longer to figure it out.

So that is what we did. Some feedings Cullen just got a bottle and I would pump, other times we nursed for a while and supplemented with expressed milk if he still seemed hungry. We got in a pretty good routine, and while not ideal, things were going well. At about two months, when meeting with the pediatrician, we finally figured out that Cullen had a shallow chin, like my brother and I, which was keeping him from being able to efficiently transfer milk. The doctor assured us that this usually becomes less of a problem as the baby grows. I was encouraged that we still had hope of actually nursing instead of exclusively pumping.

I continued pumping and bottle feeding Cullen, but I tried to get him to nurse whenever we both felt up to it. Then one day, at about three months old, he just got it. All of a sudden, he latched perfectly, ate until he was full, and everyone was happy. No pump needed. From that point forward, I only pumped at work. Nighttime feedings were easier, I didn't have to pack a bottle anytime we left the house, and there were fewer bottle and pump parts to wash.

Looking back, it was only the first three months that we really struggled. But those struggles were enough to make it seem like a lifetime. We started weaning when Cullen was a year old, and he nursed for the last time a little after fourteen months. In the end, the hard work all three of us put into breastfeeding were worth it. After the first few months, nursing was so much easier than making bottles in the middle of the night or when we had to run errands. And I loved the special time with Cullen. 

So, if you are breastfeeding or entertaining the idea of breastfeeding, here are my words of advice:

1. Do your research. Talk to other moms, search the internet, and read a book or two. I strongly recommend The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and These were my go-to resources for nearly every question I had.

2. Don't listen to negative "advice". How you feed your child is your decision. Do what is right for your family. (This applies to formula-feeding mom's as well!) If you let them, the Negative Nelly types can really get under your skin and make you second guess your choices. Don't let them!

3. Find positive and encouraging influences. These may be other moms, your spouse, nurses, or lactation consultants. Find someone you can talk to on a rough day. This helps more than anything else!

4. Most importantly, don't beat yourself up if it is harder than you expect. Or if you end up going a different route. A happy family with a formula-fed baby or exclusively pumping is much better than mom and baby being frustrated all the time. You are a great mom no matter what!

More Water!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014
You have already seen our trip to the aquarium and our family pictures, but I'm back today (a little later than promised) to share about the rest of our family vacation. (Read as "what Cullen did all week".) This was our annual family trip with my Mom's extended family and family friends. They have been going on this vacation for over 45 years. We go the same week and stay in the same houses every year. This year we had over 30 people with us and we all had a blast!

We all love this week so much! It is a chance to relax and spend time with family and friends we rarely get to see. We spent most of the week sitting on the beach, reading, eating, and chatting on the back porch. Our most pressing concern of the week was making sure we remembered to reapply sunscreen. ;)

Saturday afternoon we took out time getting settled, stocking up on food for the week, and saying hello to everyone for the first time since last year. The rest of the week was spent soaking up the sun, building sand castles and jumping waves. Cullen fascinated by the sand and the ocean. 

This kid has no fear and took on the ocean like it was a puddle. If a waved knocked him down he, quite literally, rolled with it and grinned ear to ear. Then he was back up to do it all again. One of my favorite moments from the week was when he was standing in the edge of the surf, he threw his hands up and yelled "more water!" as the waves sank back into the ocean. I think that sums up how he feels about the ocean. 

If he wasn't in the water, he was carrying sand back to the ocean. I can't begin to count how many times he carried handfuls of sand from the beach and threw them into the ocean. Because that's where the sand goes, right?

Cullen's Papa, Daddy, and uncles tried to teach him the art of sand castle building. What ended up happening was he dug holes while they attempted to build a sand castle, then he knocked over said sand castle. And then asked them to build it again. Apparently he is more into demolition. It was great seeing him truly enjoy time with the men in his life. It is easy to see how much he already looks up to them by the way he imitates their every move (burping and finger-pulling included!)

When he did take a break from throwing sand and jumping waves, he chased birds, ran after 20-something-year-old women, ate sand covered goldfish, and took naps under the tent. Cullen took advantage of every minute we had on vacation and made a lifetime of memories in this one week.

One rainy afternoon, when we couldn't play on the beach, Cullen caught his first fish. Mom and I were out shopping when I received this picture of Cullen and his fish. The look on his face is priceless; he is so proud of himself and his fish (rightfully so!) Weeks later he still grins ear to ear and tells you how big his fish was when you ask.

There is not much else that can beat a week at the beach with family and not a care in the world. It was a great trip, and we are already looking forward to next year!

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