November 28, 2013

Give Thanks

 photo IMG_3583copy.jpgSo thankful for my two boys. Today and every day.
Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!




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November 27, 2013

The Breastfeeding Diaries: Christina from This Woman Cooks

My name is Christina and I'm a stay-at-home mom to a beautiful little girl. I'm also the blogger behind This Woman Cooks!, where you can find recipes, tidbits about being a stay-at-home mom, and lots of pictures of my daughter.

I knew I wanted to breastfeed from the moment I found out I was pregnant. I didn't know very much about breastfeeding, except for all the reasons to breastfeed: breastmilk is easily digested, protection against allergies and sickness, a decreased risk of certain cancers for myself, as well as an easy way to lose all that baby weight. Sounds like a win win for both of us! I wanted to learn more about breastfeeding so I prepared myself in every way possible, with the exception of actually breastfeeding. ;) I read books, attended a class, and dropped in on a breastfeeding group to listen and ask questions. I had irrational fears about breastfeeding; I was worried that I wasn't going to make enough milk (like my mom, who only breastfed me for six weeks), that it wouldn't come naturally to me, or that I'd have to supplement.

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Luckily, I had a pretty easy delivery. After 45 minutes of pushing, I got to hold my daughter for the first time. I held her to my chest as my husband and I gazed into her eyes. That's right, her milky gray eyes were open right away; she was ready to see the world and ready to meet her parents. We tried breastfeeding after a while with my labor nurse. She wasn't very helpful, a bit impatient, and I tried not to get frustrated when Adeline didn't get any milk. The nurse said not to worry and that we'd try again later.

I had a different nurse in the evening who was absolutely amazing. She called in a lactation consultant to show me how to hold Adeline and latch her to my breast. Success, Adeline got her first taste of breastmilk! However, she didn't eat very much. We had a long way to go; breastfeeding takes time, and above all, practice. I was advised to offer her my breast throughout the night to encourage her to eat more. Our nurse came to check on us often and I was so happy to have her support. The next day we were discharged and I was slightly nervous and terrified that I was going to forget everything that I had learned.

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The first six weeks of life as a mom are a blur. Adeline slept most of the day and ate every two hours at night. I wasn't enjoying breastfeeding. Adeline nursed so frequently at night that I was severely sleep deprived. I was determined to establish breastfeeding before trying to pump and give her a bottle. I was also constantly worried that she wasn't getting enough milk and would get furious with my husband whenever he'd say she was hungry. It felt like all I was doing was feeding her. Those pregnancy hormones are no joke and combined with sleep deprivation, I was a wreck.

After a few weeks, it seemed like every time I tried to latch Adeline, she'd cry these high-pitched shrieks. I knew something wasn't right. Was she not getting enough milk? Was there something wrong with my milk? Was it something I was eating? I started to notice her dirty diapers were an odd green color, which is a sign of getting too much foremilk. I did some research and found out that she wasn't getting the fattier, more filling hindmilk. I had no idea there was even a a difference! I called a lactation hotline for help and was told that I probably had a really strong let down. I was told to offer Adeline only one breast for every two feedings and then switch to the other. After about a week, feedings were going much smoother and Adeline seemed happier. We fell into a routine soon after that and life started to get easier. Breastfeeding was a breeze; finally, it became so natural to me.

 photo 388146_10151167085481350_444887330_n.jpgI started pumping twice a day so that my husband could feed her in the middle of the night and I could get more sleep. He was so supportive and understanding, helping me in any way that he could. I couldn't have survived without him. When he went back to work (he was in medical school at the time and had a month off, thank goodness), I only pumped if I was going out with Adeline and left him with a bottle. Otherwise, it was all me. I liked it this way because I hated pumping- the washing bottles and all the parts after every use was not for me.

I'm so happy I made it to my goal- one year. Adeline was weaned two weeks after her first birthday. If I can give you any piece of advice, it's that breastfeeding takes time. Everything gets easier once you fall into a rhythm and you know when and how to feed your baby. Everyone is different and what may work for others may not work for you. Try out different positions, different settings, and above all else, find someone to talk to about breastfeeding. I was lucky to have my husband, a great pediatrician, a 24 hour lactation hot line, and family members who were very supportive.

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Thank you for having me Julie! I hope you've enjoyed reading my story.

Be sure to catch up with the rest of The Breastfeeding Diaries at the top of my navigation bar!



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November 26, 2013

My Favorite Green Smoothie

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and FruitsMax but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #fruitsmax  http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO photo IMG_3613copy.jpg
Now that Hudson is eating big people food, it has really opened my eyes to the types of food we keep in our house. I want Hudson to grow up with a healthy view of food and learn how to make wise choices. Everyone who has a toddler can attest to how picky they can be....so I need to get creative when it comes to making sure he eats lots of healthy fruits and veggies. 

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Enter my secret weapon: The green smoothie. I make one of these bad boys every single day. Each time I make one it's a little different, but usually I stick to our tried and true favorites: a little bit of crushed ice, a handful of frozen strawberries, one banana, 1/2 cup yogurt, a splash of juice, and a huge handful of spinach. Yep, I said spinach. I promise you that you can't even taste it's in there.

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Hudson gets SO excited when he hears the blender start. He knows some yummy goodness is coming his way!

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Blend everything for about 30 seconds and you're all set! 

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It may look gross, but it's really yummy! I crave these every morning! 

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The best part is that Hudson LOVES his green smoothie. Here he is playing with mine but he usually has his own sippy straw cup filled with smoothie. 

Another small change to my diet has been taking FruitsMax. I try to eat enough fruit and veggies every day but life with a toddler can be very busy...which means sometimes it doesn't happen. Taking FruitsMax every day makes living a healthy lifestyle a little easier. FruitsMax is basically a small pill made only from fresh fruits. It has a combination of 21 fruits, probiotics,12 essential vitamins, 11 minerals, hundreds of nutrients and a good dose of antioxidants. FruitsMax helps boost your immune system, promotes digestive health and basically has helped me feel healthier, which I love. More information about FruitsMax can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram
Want to try FruitsMax? They are generously giving the first bottle to customers FREE. All you have to do is pay for shipping and handling. If you sign up for their monthly newsletter you will also get an additional 15% off. No promo code required!

I love taking small, easy steps towards improving our health. What are you doing to make sure your family eats their fruits and veggies? 

(Please note that Hudson does not take FruitsMax. My opinion of the product is based on my experience only, not my family's. Please consult your pediatrician before giving your child any type of supplement.)




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November 25, 2013

Tiny Reindeer

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Our little reindeer met a a few of Santa's reindeer this weekend! Hudson was OBSESSED with them and wanted to climb in to the cage and play!

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These reindeer were super sweet and put up with a lot of kids petting their noses.

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Meet Blitzen.

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My husband and I really wanted to take them both home. And apparently reindeer are herding animals (who knew?) and do best in pairs or a pack. So Santa, I'd like two reindeer please!

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Our best attempt at a photo. It was sort of crowded.  The reindeer owner guys have like 15 reindeer at their farm and it's not too far from us.....so we might just hop on over for a real visit after Thanksgiving.

 Hudson could have watched them all day. This boy loves animals just like his mama.

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We were going to pick up our Christmas tree but someone had an epic meltdown when we had to leave our reindeer friends! Hopefully we will see them again soon!




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November 23, 2013

Minted Holiday Cards

 I think one of my favorite things about the holidays is receiving cards from family and friends! Have you had a chance to pick out a holiday card yet? If you have, I'm jealous that you are so on top of your game. If you haven't, like me, then you are in luck! Minted has some gorgeous cards this year....I'm having trouble picking out a favorite!

Minted crowd-sources design and art from all independent artists across the world....which means that they can offer a wide variety of super fun and unique designs to choose from!

Here are a few of my holiday card favorites! Help me pick!
 Since I live across the country from the majority of my family and friends, this card makes me smile. Such a cute idea!

You can also make a card that doubles as an ornament! Genius idea! You can find these here or here.

 I love the different design elements that Minted offers...I chose a scalloped edge for this one!

 I love this classic design.

Merry and Bright are prefect words to describe this card.

This holiday mini book makes my heart skip a beat and is a great way to catch up your family and friends with what is new in your life this year! LOVE!

I hope this helps you narrow it down....I'm seriously in love with so many designs by Minted!

*This post was sponsored by Minted but my love for cute holiday cards is all my own.


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