August 30, 2013

5 on Friday


Happy Friday everyone! And yay for a long weekend!
I'm linking up with The Good Life Blog, Carolina Charm, A. Liz Adventures, and Hello Happiness for 5 on Friday....and you should too! 

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{one} I can't believe Hudson will be one next week! We are having his party this weekend and I can't wait! P.S...Those chubby thighs just kill me. I just want to bottle him up and keep him forever.


{two} Carters has everything 50% off right now! I picked up these lion jammies for Hudson and was SO sad that I couldn't find the moose and bear pair in his size (well, in the size he'll need in a few months). They are beyond adorable! If anyone finds them in size 18 or 24 months I'm sure he wouldn't mind getting new jammies for his birthday!

{three} My mom came over and put together my shoe cabinet from Ikea....and I LOVE it! It's so nice to have somewhere to keep all of our shoes out of sight and out of little hands that love to play with and eat shoe laces!

{four}  Diet? What diet? OMG get in my belly now! Recipe here.

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{five} And I hope you aren't sick of me talking about the Kid Tested, Mom Approved link up! Just a reminder that it starts next week Tuesday! Details can be found here.


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August 29, 2013

A Good Day

When you are a mom of a young child, some days are hard. But most days are awesome. Yesterday was one of those awesome days. I work from home on Wednesdays, so automatically I love that day of the week. Hudson was especially good and took a great morning nap so I was able to get a ton of work done....which helped me not feel so guilty for taking a long lunch and meeting up with one of my favorite bloggers, and now real life friend, Natasha from Schue Love!

 I've been reading Natasha's blog for forever so it was SO nice to finally meet her and her cute family! And she is just as lovely and sweet in person as she is on her blog.

 Ethan and Hudson had fun playing with each other and "talking" during lunch but wanted nothing to do with each other once we got them outside. So much for our photo shoot!

And then Hudson did this. Classy.


Ethan was such a sweetheart and looks so much like both his mommy and his daddy! I wish they lived closer so that the boys could play together...and so that Natasha and I could hang out together too! Even though it was our first time meeting in real life, it was totally just like catching up with an old friend. I'm so thankful for the friends I have made through blogging!

Now....who else wants to come visit me in Michigan????

After lunch and a nap Hudson and I headed to the Target toy aisle to burn a little energy. It was super hot and humid yesterday so we needed a fun indoor activity. And what is more fun than a trip to Target?

Hudson went crazy over the toys but ultimately insisted on getting a stuffed winnie the pooh bear. He would not put it down. You can see him reaching for it in this photo. So I bought it. He has me wrapped around his little finger.

Today I also want to introduce you to one of my sponsors, Elizabeth from Sunshine Ink Studio! Her shop is on Etsy...which is totally one of my favorite online places to shop for unique gifts!

Hi!  I'm Elizabeth, designer and owner behind Sunshine Ink Studio, an adorable Etsy shop full of printable party goods, monograms, and more!  You may also know me from my personal blog, A Wedding Story.  I opened up shop almost a year ago and have been blown away by how amazing the Etsy community is.  My background is in studio art, mainly interior architecture, but graphic design is a real passion of mine.  I'm humbled to do what I love while being able to stay home with my precious almost two year old daughter.  I adore creating custom parties, logos, gifting printables, and more!  I've been featured on Kara's Party Ideas, Apartment Therapy, and The Hostess With The Mostess blog.  

Where did the name Sunshine Ink Studio come from?  When my daughter was a baby I would try to soothe her colicky fussiness by singing "You Are My Sunshine" repeatedly.  And the name stuck!

Be sure to check out her Etsy shop here.


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August 28, 2013

The Breastfeeding Diaries: Hannah from Charles and BunBun

Hello dear friends and fellow women!What a privilege it is to be a part of this series!  I'm Hannah, the BunBun half of Charles and BunBun and momma to the wee Kathryn (our first!).  Reading all of these contributions has been such a joy and I'm thrilled to finally be adding our breastfeeding story to the diaries.  Enjoy!

My husband Ben and I are both adopted (read: formula fed) children, so breastfeeding was not a part of our upbringing.  Our forever mothers were unfortunately touched with cancer during their lives and therefore unable to carry their own children; hence, I did not take the decision of breastfeeding for our first child lightly.  I fully understand that the ability to breastfeed is a gift not offered to all women.  Before Kathryn Alexandra was born and before we knew if she would be our son or our daughter I made the commitment to breastfed her.

Krystal Mullenberg Photography
Once the wee Kate arrived she was immediately placed on my chest.  After a few minutes she wiggled over to my left breast and latched--on her own!  It was only a few inches, maybe four, but I was so proud my heart nearly burst.  Her latch seemed to be good so we let her be, occasionally switching her from one side to the other.  She spent the first three hours of her life right there until finally she seemed ready to allow us to weigh and measure her.

Now for the sake of total disclosure, I find it kind of amusing now when I reflect on that day that she chose the left-side.  I had a sizable lump removed from my left-breast when I was a teen which resulted in my left side containing about half as much tissue as the right.  Kate soon developed a preference for my more curvy right side, but ultimately would still eagerly accept either if offered. Over time though, it became very clear that my left side was producing exponentially less than my right.

Upon returning home, everything seemed to fall into place.  No bleeding, no cracking, very little leaking and plenty of milk.  Kathryn nursed on demand and grew at a healthy rate.  I was pleasantly surprised by how beautifully everything was going.  In short, life was good!  Until it wasn't...

when maternity leave ended.

You see, I'm a nursing home administrator and although you'd think finding time to pump would be easy when you're the boss... it isn't.  Because your staff depend on you... the people who live in your building depend on you... and then, oh yeah, in the midst of all that you have a baby who--you guessed it--is dependent on you.


I was heartbroken.  I never seemed to have enough for her.  Even though I responded well to my pump, we were barely skating by on the milk I found time to express and the tiny freezer stash I had accumulated during leave was quickly depleted.  I frequently spent my commute in tears.

Confession:  Kathryn has not been exclusively breastfed.

WHAT?!  I HAVEN'T BEEN EXCLUSIVELY BREASTFED?!? Life and Style Photography
(seeing that in words is almost euphorically liberating because it means I've admitted that to someone beyond my baby and my immediate family)

Fact:  Kathryn is ten-months now and still being breastfed.

Let me explain.

As an administrator I've learned that sometimes I have to make compromises I don't want to make to get a semi-favorable result that I can live with long-term.  On our breastfeeding journey I've made two major compromises:

  1. Kathryn was exclusively breastfed until her fifth month at which point we begged, borrowed, and stole our way to month six.  We begged for frozen milk from a friend with oversupply and then borrowed/stole the rest of the time with two canisters of organic, non-GMO, soy-free formula.
  2. We sacked our plans for exclusive baby-led weaning at month six and went to a combination plan of baby-led weaning, plus purees.  I knew if I wanted to kick the formula out of the routine again, wee Kate would need more sustenance than I was able to provide with my whenever-I-can-find-a-moment-which-ends-up-being-never pumping routine.
So here are the take aways...
  • Yes, you can use formula to supplement and then return to breastfeeding.  The introduction of formula doesn't have to be the be-all-end-all.  If you're diligent about your supply and get the help you need (herbal supplements, rest, increased water consumption, a handmade sign for your office door that says, "Mom Time" and directs your employees to kindly not bother you and come back later) you can return to breastfeeding.
  • Yes, you can breastfeed a baby off almost exclusively one breast.  Even when my milk supply was high and Kathryn had not advanced to solid food I was getting 85% of her volume off my right side.
  • In my case, a commitment to breastfeeding has also meant a commitment to co-sleeping.  Because I'm oftentimes unable to pump during the work day, baby Kathryn reverse cycled and began taking in most of her milk in the evening/night hours.  Co-sleeping has supported that relationship with the least amount of impact on either of us.  Luckily, Kate is a peaceful co-sleeper and we spend our evenings snuggling and slumbering together.
  • Reading all these wonderful contributions to the diaries makes it clear that we're all just doing the best we can... and when we all start being as kind and compassionate with ourselves as we are with our babes... we will all be a heck of a lot better off.. breast milk or not!
Lots of love from one formula fed mom and one breastfed baby!!!

Be sure to catch up with the rest of the breastfeeding diaries at the top of my navigation bar. And guess who is up next week? Yours truly! Next week will mark my one year anniversary of breastfeeding! I think it's time I shared a little update, don't you? Be sure to come back next week. And if you would like your breastfeeding story featured please email me at thegirlintheredshoes @ gmail



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August 27, 2013

Good Grief.....and link up party details!

Last night was killer. Someone fell asleep in the car on the way home from daycare and woke up on the wrong side of the bed carset. That someone was not me. It was Hudson. Talk about CRANKY. As in, we haven't heard those kind of screams since, well, I can't even remember. Isn't it too early for him to start throwing tantrums? Lordy that boy was upset. For no reason. So we did what any sane parent would do. We put that boy to bed. But he was NOT HAVING it.

That would be a boy standing up in his crib mid-scream. I watched him flail his arms, kick his legs, shake the crib rail, yell, and pout for almost an hour. So yeah. That was a fun night.  

Isn't my life glamorous?

In much more exciting news, it's almost September...which means that the Kid Tested, Mom Approved link up party starts next week!!! Are you as excited as I am?
Below is a button with code for you to include in your post. The day that theme goes live you'll be able to submit your link on any of the party host's blogs.
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Here's a reminder of the schedule for each day:

Hello Erin on September 3rd for The Style File: Dressing our kids is one of the perks of being a mom! Where are your favorite places to shop for your little one? What items have you found that are stylish yet still hold up to lots of play time?

Strawberry Swing & Other Things on September 5th for Mommy and Me Craft: Have you been able to make a special craft or work on a project with your little one? We want to know all about it!

Meet the Sullivans on September 10th for Family Friendly Food: We all know kiddos can be picky eaters! But of course we want them to eat healthy, yummy foods. What is your favorite kid-friendly go-to meal?

Dear Owen on September 12th for Making Memories: Time with our little ones goes by so quickly! How do you make it memorable? How do you capture those memories? Share with us your best ideas for making and preserving memories with your kids.

The Girl in the Red Shoes on September 17th for Tried and True Toys: Let's face it, kids love toys...and so do moms! We all have a ton of them, but what toys are your kid's favorites?

Sunflower State of Mind on September 19th for Go-To Gear: Having a baby means your life can get taken over by stuff! What gear is on your must-have list?

Want to link up with us? We sure hope so!


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August 26, 2013

Taking your blog to the next level

 I'm no blogging expert....but I have fallen in love with the blogging community. Blogging to me isn't about making money or gaining a million followers. It's about connecting with people, supporting one another, learning something new, and meeting friends from all across the country. 

A few things have helped me grow my little blog. 

1. Commenting. This is the easiest thing you can do to grow your blog. And it's free! When you comment on someone's blog, they notice you. The more you comment, the more traffic you'll see. And I'm not talking about the "awesome post! come follow me!" type of comments. I'm talking about the sincere, I actually read your post, kind of comments. 

2. Advertising. I've advertised with larger blogs and medium size blogs and it has been fantastic! I think advertising with medium sized blogs, like mine, is the most fun....because you really get to know the blogger and their followers. Also, it's a crazy good deal. If you look at the cost per page view, medium size blog advertising is a great bang for your buck. If you are going to advertise with a large blog, pick one that has similar followers to yours and followers that are loyal. I've had great success advertising with I Wore Yoga Pants to Work (check out my guest post here), Living in Yellow (I'm giving away a free large ad on my blog here) and Crowley Party

3. Have a blog mentor. A blog mentor can help you grow your blog, give you great advice, and encourage you! Alycia from Crowley Party has helped me grow my blog and has recently written a fabulous e-book called Blogging at the Next Level. Her book is a fun and easy read and is FULL of valuable information and tips to grow and improve your blog. I highly recommend purchasing a copy!

Check out Alycia's intro below. She has also generously offered to give one of my readers a free copy of her book....check it out!

BLOGGING AT THE NEXT LEVEL
CREATE a community, GAIN a following, and make some MONEY along the way.
Take your blog to the next level through this eBook! I started out with a personal blog about my life and over the years have created a community online that has resulted in a variety of different opportunities to meet and work with some great people and brands. In this eBook I candidly share everything I have learned along the way.
The most common e-mail I receive is “How do I get more readers for my blog?” Or “How do I get more followers?” Most bloggers want to take their blog to that next level, and they want to know how.
I am going to share with you how I personally took my blog to that next level. That level where you can work with other bloggers, brands, and make money. And I am going to share with you how you can really create a “brand” for yourself.

What you can expect to find in this eBook...
 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

DEFINE YOUR SUCCESS………………………………………….. 1 
What, Why and “IT”! 
LOOKS MATTER..………………………………………………….. 6 
What makes a good blog design? 
QUALITY IMAGES………………………………………………... 10 
Quick tips for great photography 
TREAT IT LIKE A BUISNESS……………………………………. 13 
Want to make money off of your blog? 
GETTING TRAFFIC……………………………………………….. 15 
People are not just going to FIND you 
SOCIAL NETWORKING………………………………………….. 18 
Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, & Facebook 
NETWORK………………………………………………………….. 19 
Giveaways, Guest posts, Link ups, Sponsors & Affiliates 
NIFTY SERVICES………………………………………………….. 25 
Some things you should know about if you don’t 
EXTRA TIPS AND TRICKS……………………………………..… 27 
When it comes to blogging… 

This 30 page eBook is chalk full of valuable insight and information regarding taking your blog to the next level that I wish I had when I was first blogging. For only $5.00 you can get all this information, which is cheaper then buying ad space on someone's blog, and it will be beneficial to your growth! 

Purchase of this eBook will also get you a free copy of any additional materials I write as well as the ability to correspond with me regarding any specific questions you have about blogging from these materials.

Enter below!





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