#WordlessWednesday with linky: Cole’s Official Baby Photos!

Last month we had up our friend and photographer, Jill from Jill Monique Photography in Barrie, to take Colton’s newborn photos. I know a lot of people prefer to do these right away when the baby is born, but I like the it closer to the 3 month mark. Typically it means you can snag some cute smiling pics that show the baby’s personality. Unfortunately, Cole was showcasing the colic side of his personality that day so we didn’t get too many smiles ;)

Jill was awesome and patient and managed to get some adorable ones, none the less.

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My little man! One of the few smiles we got that day…

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Our family :)

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Sibling Love.

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He’s always so amazed with his Daddy!

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Our little camera ham.

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Love his amazing blue eyes.

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So in love with this photo.

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Love my baby daddy ;)

Wordless Wednesday with linky: 3 month stats!

I’m a few weeks late for getting this photo up, but here are Colton’s 3 month stats from June 22nd.

My handsome little man is growing so fast!

My handsome little man is growing so fast!

This week, I have had my best friend in the whole wide world up to visit. Anyone who reads the blog regularly has met Colleen a few times :) She snapped some wonderful photos of the kids and I on her phone.

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Love his little smiles.

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The loves of my life.

Last night Colleen and I made some gluten free scones. She plopped in front of the stove to watch them bake. I saw an adorable photo opp ;)

Watching delicious scones turn to golden brown. Yum.

Watching delicious scones turn to golden brown. Yum.

Colleen brought with her a pair of beautiful moccasin boots that her uncle had handmade for me. I am in love with them. To check out his amazing native arts and pieces, visit his Bear Den Native Art Etsy store.

handmade moccains, moccain boots,

Handmade moccasin boots. Love them!

 

Choose your own adventure.

10 years ago today, I got on a plane for the very first time, with 28 complete strangers and went to spend a month volunteering in Kenya. I had gone with Leaders Today (aka Me to We) and had the most rewarding and life changing adventure.

I remember coming back and falling very quickly into the rest of my life. I had one year of college left and then onto my career, marriage and a mortgage.

A little over 2 years after our trip, Facebook made it’s way into our world. Several members of our “Kenya Family” hopped online and we created a group just for us. It was a great way to really reconnect and see what everyone was up to.

My Kenya Family. July 2004.

My Kenya Family. July 2004.

I recall looking through the various pictures from other trip members who had gone on to do more trips and working for Free the Children, traveled for themselves, were doing empowered things at college, etc. For a brief moment, I felt a bit of jealousy. They were having so many great adventures. And me? Well I had just gotten married, bought a house and started my career. I was settled. I wasn’t having adventures.

As quickly as that feeling came, it passed again. I had simply chosen a different adventure. I had started the rest of my life committed to my best friend, invested in a home and we became real adults. It was a terrifying but exciting new chapter to start. I was also involved in local volunteer organizations, active in politics and was working towards creating my place in the world.

A few years after that, I started my next adventure. I became a mother.

My strong willed, opinionated mini-me.

My strong willed, opinionated mini-me.

In recent months, I have really started to see just how much she takes after me. Recently she took her first selfie. She asked for the camera to take a picture by herself. I thought she meant of me, so I stood there smiling. Then watched as she turned towards the mirror and took one of herself. I remember thinking, “that really just happened.” It’s was a small and silly thing, but it proved a point. She is learning more from me that I even realized.

This moment of truth hit me and woke me a bit more to something I have been thinking for a while. I want to be an even better example for her and for my newborn son.

My handsome mini man.

My handsome mini man.

This is my job. My adventure.

I may not be traveling the world volunteering my time, but I am raising someone who might. I am raising two pieces of the next empowered generation. I am responsible for two little humans who will enter society with the values they gain in our home.

They see what I do and Lilly is beginning to understand it. She knows Mama is involved with local events (political and volunteer) because I drag her to a good deal of them. She knows Mama runs a website and she loves to look through the pictures of her that I share on here. She is starting to understand that I have a voice and a line of communication to the world outside our home. I want to make sure that she sees me using that voice for good and true change.

This message of defining my role and my stance in the world, is one that I really came to terms with while at BlissDom last fall. Part of what I took away from the conference is a better idea of who I am and what I stand for. As my blog header reads, I am mild naïve and wildly idealistic.

From those words, was born my true tagline; I stand for the innocence of the world.

That is the message I want to pass on today. That even as we grow up and we might feel disconnected from our younger, more philanthropic selves, we can still stand for the things we believe in. We can still have an active role in our cause, even from our settled position in the real world.

That is my hope for the youth of today and my children’s generation coming up behind them. I hope that no matter what life puts in front of them, they can hold onto their innocence. I truly hope they can each remain mildly naïve to the evil in the world and wildly idealistic about the possibilities.

It is your life and your future. Ideally speaking, we can all choose our adventure. 

#WordlessWednesday with linky: Father’s Day 2014!

Happy Father’s Day!

Unfortunately Daddy had to work this year, but we did have some surprises waiting for him when he got home. We used fabric markers to make him a new shirt, appropriately giving him the title of Best. Dad. Ever. Lilly and I also worked on a Father’s Day card/booklet. She answered the same questionnaire that she did last year. Adorable.

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#WordlessWednesday: Baby Toes!

There is nothing better than a good pic full of baby toes!

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#WordlessWednesday with linky: 2 Months old & Kindergarten Orientation!

Last week was certainly a big week. We had Colton’s two month check up and Lilly’s kindergarten orientation. Not gonna lie, there were a couple tears shed at that second one. I have no idea how my baby girl got that big already.

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Such a big girl already!

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Ready for his close up…and maybe for a fight ;)

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My monkeys.

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Two months already!

We received this lovely set of monthly onesies as a gift from Lil’ Bugs. I plan on printing each of these monthly photos to place with the onesies in the keepsake box that they came with. Adorable :)

 

#WordlessWednesday with linky: Cousin Besties!

Our nephew and niece, Owen and Madi, are no strangers to this blog. Specifically Owen, who is only 6 days younger than Lilly and is absolutely her best friend in the world. We only get to see them a few times a year, yet Lilly and Owen are still as close as can be. I love that.

The next generation is little Madi and brand new Cole….neither of whom were really down for having their photo taken with their older siblings…

This was the best shot I got...

This was the best shot I got…

Lilly did snag a hug from Madi

The girls :)

The girls :)

And of course, one from Owen, who was all smiles with her.

Besties!

Besties!

He was even all smiles when she planted one on him.

She adores her cousin! So cute.

She adores her cousin! So cute.

 

Pumping & bottle feeding. Guilt & pride.

My two reasons for being.

My two reasons for being.

When my daughter was 5 weeks old, a doctor told me I had to stop breastfeeding. There is a huge story of a struggle behind that, but the important points are as follows. I’m flat/inverted. I had no idea what that was until she was born. I tore, very, very badly. I nursed through it, as everyone said to. I wound up with the starting of open wound infections on my nipples and had to stop.

I was heartbroken and devastated. In fact, I was depressed for a number of weeks afterwards.

When I started to tear and bleed badly with Colton at a week old, I made the decision to stop nursing and move to exclusively pumping. This was a very emotional choice. My husband came into our room to find me with my head in my hands sobbing. Our newborn baby was laying on the bed in front of me with blood on his chin, hands and sleeper. I was devastated all over again.

The frustrating part is that the actual nursing did not hurt this time around. However, I was incredibly worried about getting another infection and really wanted to be able to continue to provide milk to my baby. The most important part to me is that Cole gets breast milk, one way or another.

While I am very confident that I have made the right decision, it doesn’t come without a downside.

Every time I sit down & hook up the breast pump, I get a surge of emotions. It’s a mix of guilt and pride and can feel instantly overwhelming. No doubt some of this is thanks to the I-just-had-a-baby hormones still running through my body. However I know some of it is because of my circumstances.

I feel guilty for not being able to actually nurse my baby. I feel guilty over being trapped on the bed or couch for 20-30 minutes while my daughter asks me to play or my son lays beside me, wanting to be held. I feel guilt over not keeping up with the house, laundry, cooking, etc, as much as I would like to. I spend a total of approximately 3-4 hours of my day simply pumping with a nagging feeling that I have so much else to be doing.

However, I feel a sense of pride for the fact that I am doing everything I can to ensure that my son has breast milk. It has taken so much perseverance to get to this point. After the tearing appeared on the second breast, I knew I had to go easy and allow healing time. Since I didn’t want to lose any momentum with my milk production, I hand expressed into a bottle for a little over a day. I then moved into pumping with my single pump, 15-20 minutes each side, 8 times per day.

While it has been hard work, I know it is worth it.

We are now nearly at the 8 week mark and I have made some adjustments to make everything more efficient. I rented a hospital grade double pump for one month to increase my production. It is a beast that lives on our coffee table and makes me feel a bit like I belong on my in-laws dairy farm, but it gets the job done incredibly well.

The massive, but amazing milking machine & hands-free bra to make things easier.

The massive, but amazing milking machine & hands-free bra to make things easier.

I also bought a gently used double pump for after I return the rental and accessories to make life a little easier and allow me to pump hands-free. All of this has cut the pumping time down to 15-20 minutes, with a better yield to boot. The hard work has paid off to a point that I am pumping more milk in a day than Cole will eat, meaning we’re getting a nice stock pile in the freezer.

Although I definitely feel like I am winning the battle, it is still not without the sacrifices that every war encounters.

I still feel immense guilt when Lilly asks me to play with her and I have to respond with, “I’m sorry hunny, Mama has to pump.” Or when Cole is fussy and I think it my head, “Please settle little man, so Mama can pump some more milk for you.”

I am aware that due to the extra work of pumping, the image I had for a summer off with my kids will likely be a bit different. The new pump I have is small and mobile, but not quite as handy as actual nursing. It is one more thing to consider every time we plan a day trip, head to the park for a few hours, visit family, etc.

I know this will continue to get easier. As we move more into a consistent schedule and a little more freedom throughout the day. I am also sure that I feel better when I a little less sleep deprived and in a better state to handle my emotions…

In an idea world, breastfeeding would come as easily to everyone has it does to some. The reality is that for many, it is a lot more work to maintain. I count my blessings that I have an independent daughter and a great support system to help encourage me through it. Ideally speaking, I would only feel the pride, and not the guilt. I hope in the future when I look back at this time, that will be the case.

There is one major plus side to bottle feeding. This.

Sexy husband feeding adorable baby = winning combination every single time.

Sexy husband feeding adorable baby = winning combination every single time.

 

#WordlessWednesday with linky: SuperBaby!

Our little man is growing like crazy! He has already expanded into the 3-6 month size range…which meant he now fits his superhero sleepers! I got a visit from BatBaby and SuperBaby this past week!

Too freaking cute!

Too freaking cute!

In other news, my little mini fashionista strikes again. Lilly picked out her black tutu, with heart print leggins, a hoodie and her runners. The effectively means that my 3.5 year old has mastered the girly punk look all by herself ;)

Adorable and full of attitude.

Adorable and full of attitude.

Being still very much in the newborn stage, we haven’t ventured out too much in the past couple of months. However, my grandma celebrating her 90th and my stepdad back in the province for the occasion? That was definitely worth the trip. So this weekend we made a 2.5 hour journey to see the family.

Colton meeting Papa and Gigi for the first time!

Colton meeting Papa and Gigi for the first time!

Lastly, I got spoiled for Mother’s Day with a pair of Steve Madden boots that I have been coveting for about a year. So excited to plan the outfits I will wear with these babies!

Love in the form of combat style boots.

Love in the form of combat style boots.

 

#WordlessWednesday with linky: Lots of Baby!

First off, I’ve missed you all! This newborn business is a tad crazier than I remember, specifically with becoming a mom of two! Sadly  my other baby, the blog, has been severely neglected.

Today I am playing a bit of catch up. Here are some of the great moments I have managed to capture over the past few weeks.

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A photo with Nana before she had to go home.

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The Easter Bunny brought Lilly a Frozen dress!

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Lilly & Cole have matching PJs. Too cute.

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Mama & Cole have matching PJs too :)

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We officially have baby smiles! Best. Thing. Ever.

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Colton’s 1 month stats!

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My babies <3