Monday, July 28

Thompson Life Update.

We're officially residing in Cincinnati, OH. This last month has been a whirlwind, for lack of a better descriptor. We moved across country, unloaded, went to Young Life camp, unpacked, went to Phoenix, AZ, unpacked, Jeff started his new job, had visitors from Hilton Head... and now here we are.

All the while I've been maintaining my Etsy Shop, Our Baby Thompson Love, AND officially become a stay at home mom. It's been so crazy and we're ready to start fresh as a family of three and "relearn" how to live in Cincinnati.

We are temporarily living in Jeff's grandpa's house for FREE, so we can't complain at all. But we are beginning to explore different areas within the city and decide where we want to buy our first home. We are both excited about this, and are hoping to find a house that needs some substantial renovations/updates. I'm sure that seems crazy, but there will never be another time that we are living for free with no strings attached, allowing us an unlimited timeline and extra resources to renovate and make a house our first home! I cannot even begin to describe how eager I am to start this process, but I am also practicing patience and know it will be in God's timing. Our plan is that our house hunt will officially begin in early November, and realistically will continue well into the spring.

In other news, I'm training for a marathon. Perfect timing, right? It's been going well so far, although it's hard to carve out the time, we {Jeff and I} are making it a priority and he's supporting me as much as he can. He is also LOVING the time he's getting with Sullivan one-on-one while I go running, especially since he's adjusting to only seeing her for 2 hours a day, before bedtime {and weekends of course}.

I have lots of projects in the working: painting a lot of furniture, reupholstering our new Craigslist dining room chairs, some general decorating, and my favorite- planning for Sullivan's FIRST birthday party. I don't want to start a habit of doing over the top parties EVERY year, but how could we not for her very first?

Here's a couple pictures from the past month or so:

Thursday, May 15

My Breastfeeding Experience {and Pumping}.

Breastfeeding and pumping seems so simple, but it's really so complicated, mostly because every experience is different. I feel like I still have questions about it and I'm 6 months into it. I want to share my experience with the hope that someone can relate!

The first days... 
Sullivan was immediately an "aggressive" feeder, as the nurses told me. We never had a problem with her latching, which I am so thankful for. The problem we initially had was it didn't seem like colostrum was enough for her. The lactation specialist at the hospital said she would be fine, but when we got home she just didn't seem satisfied at all after feeding. She just seemed really hungry and would cry and couldn't settle down/fall asleep. I was sent home with some individual "bottles" of formula {just in case}, so finally after a day or so I caved and let Jeff feed her a 1oz of a 2oz bottle. I cried the whole time and had to leave the room because I felt like a failure that I wasn't "enough" for her. I also feel so lucky that I was never sore, or dealt with cracked or bleeding nipples.

I kept waiting for my milk to come in {which I guess the average is 3 days}, mine took a week {7 whole days}! It was so exciting when it finally happened, but I was so worried and stressed that entire week that I wasn't going to be able to breastfeed. One of our older friends down here told us an old school trick, and had Jeff buy me a dark beer. So I'm sitting in my rocking chair, nursing Sullivan, and drinking a Guinness. About an hour or two later MY MILK CAME IN! We were so excited! From that point on it's pretty much been smooth sailing, but I regret how stressed I was the first week of her life, and feel like I really missed out on just loving her and getting to know her.

I have also never experienced too much pain or that full feeling, except for when Sullivan started sleeping for 8 hours straight. I have always done a dream feed {feed her while she's still kind of sleeping} at 10:30PM then she sleeps until 7AM. The first few times she started sleeping for that large chunk I woke up in pain and had to instantly feed her or pump. After a week or so this eased up and my body adjusted to the new schedule.

Pumping has been OK. From the start I could never pump more than 2oz {TOTAL, from both sides}. Everything I've read and the lactation specialist at the hospital all say that I'm the norm, but every person {really, every person} that I've talked to/know can pump gallons. It's been frustrating, but we've managed. She only needs a few bottles a week, but I just couldn't get ahead. I have two friends who have "donated" their milk for Sullivan. I don't know how people feel about that, I guess it's a little weird, but I'm so thankful! I had my wisdom teeth out, and couldn't nurse for 24 hours... my supply would have never lasted for all that milk, but fortunately I had my friends' as back up!

I have tried every size flange {the funnel part of the pump} because we thought maybe that was the issue, but I kept getting the same results.

In the beginning I never tried super hard to live on the pump, I was overwhelmed enough with how often and long she was nursing for, to then sit and spend another 15 minutes on the pump. I'm assuming if I would have been really disciplined with pumping in-between feedings that would have made the difference. It's definitely made things a little complicated. For example, our doctor recently said to give her MiraLAX, for constipation, by mixed in her milk once a day. That's an issue because I don't pump enough milk for a full feeding {or enough liquid to mix the MiraLAX with}, so I'm not sure what to do.

Other than needing more milk for convenience and so that I can leave her more, it's really easy to just let her nurse. She's super quick and efficient these days and there is no mess or clean up involved!

I hope this helps SOMEONE. Let me know if you have specific questions, I'd be happy to share more details and info. OH, and I've mentioned this before but I found a breastfeeding support group with a lactation specialist who is there every week- that was beyond helpful {for random questions/concerns those first 3 months}, not to mention she gives free products/pump accessories. I highly recommend it! 

Life Update

We've been busy! My mom came to visit, Jeff went to LA, we spent a day in Charleston with my mom {they overlapped each other one day}, Sullivan turned 6 months old, we spent the weekend at another Young Life camp, had Sullivan's 6 month pictures taken, celebrated my first official Mother's Day, and Jeff and I have been on this "21 Day Fix" with daily workouts and a meal plan to follow.
I won't go into depth about anything. What I will say is that WE MOVE IN 40 days!!!!! Whaaaaaat?
My mom came to visiting while Jeff was away in LA. She hadn't seen Sullie since Christmas. 
The baby rocking chair. Had to snap another picture in it!
Charleston day. 
Happiest girl. 
SIX MONTHS! Can't believe it. 
Young Life Family Camp Weekend @ Carolina Point
My mothers day present was her 6 month photo shoot!
Pretty Mother's Day flowers. 
My favorite thing right now, during out cleanse. 

Friday, April 18

Stay Home or Work.

As we are preparing to move back to Ohio {which I guess this is my official announcement, ha}, we are also faced with the BIG decision of whether or not I will work. I have so many mixed feelings about this. I have been VERY lucky that the past two years I've been able to work privately for a family {but still within a school setting}. I am a "private" intervention specialist at a preparatory school {and I coach cheerleading which took about 15-20 hours a week}.  I LOVE what I'm doing, but it's not technically a "real" job. I'm not paid by the school, I don't have benefits, no classroom or personal space. The school has really embraced my position and have treated me as if I'm a "real" teacher. They've even sent multiple families my way, to see if I'd be willing to take on another student.

Since having Sullivan I work 3 days a week {4 hours a day}. We don't pay for child care, because we have a wonderful friend who watches baby once a week. We have some other great women who are willing to occasionally watch her, and then Jeff keeps her one or two days. It has been such a blessing to have help when family isn't near by.

So the reasons we are even considering the idea of me working are strictly financial and planning for the future. I should mention that we want to have at least three kids, but REALLY want four. Plus we would love to adopt {at least one child}. If I could work for the next 3 years or so, it would really help us to "get ahead" and really prepare for our future goals and children. We definitely DON'T want me to work when we have multiple children, and in 3 years or so Jeff will be more established in his new career. So working for a few years when we only have one or two kids might be really helpful.

I wasn't even considering job searching or the idea of working until I had SEVERAL {possible} opportunities come my way. One of the jobs offers more flexibility {while still being full time} than a teaching career would. I can't bare the thought of Sullivan spending 40 hours a week with anyone else. Best case scenario, I would get off work by 4, by the time we got home and settled it'd probably be 5, and her bedtime routine starts at 7:15. That's MAYBE 20 hours with her Monday-Friday.

I know myself and I know that I will struggle with feelings of jealousy and bitterness towards whoever got the gift of spending so much time with her everyday. I would pick her up and THEY would be the one telling ME what her schedule is, what she liked, etc. I don't think I could handle it.

I may be wrong, I have NO prior experience in this area! ha. So if ANY has some insight PLEASE share. Right now I am leaning towards wanting to work {again temporarily, like three years}.

Hello... who WOULDN'T want to spend all day with this girl. {These are two moments I would have missed had I been at work}. 

Wednesday, April 16

Baby Food Making Essentials.

1. Mumi & Bubi Trays: These trays are awesome. They were an investment, but the company compares the purchase of the trays to a week of purchasing store bought baby food. The main things I wanted when looking for trays to freeze our baby food was that they were BPA free, had lids, wouldn't take up A LOT of space, and each "cube" size was 1 oz... VIOLA, these are perfect. This kit comes with two trays and two lids. When stacked they are 3in tall. Each tray holds 21oz. of baby food {thats 42oz total}. I really like these. Now, ice cube trays are another option, but I decided against it for various reasons. Plus these have a 1 year warranty, always an added bonus.

2. Food Processor: We had this 4 cup food processor for 3.5 years now, and I've used it once! So I was super excited to bust this bad boy out. Now these are sold in ALL kinds of cute colors {I'm kind of bummed I missed that boat}. You could use ANY blender or food processor you already have. Personally, I am not into the "baby bullet" type stuff, I feel like it's just extra expenses and kind of gimmicky.

3. Boon Squirt Spoon: This isn't to help MAKE food, but just another fun AND helpful product to add to feeding time. You put the food in the squeeze handle, and then you do just that... squeeze. It dispenses {squirts} food into the spoon. It also comes with a cute little cover for the spoon. This will be great for on the go feeding because it eliminates the need for a bowl! And check out the cute colors.

4. mOmma Straw Cup: Another straw cup, and it's SUPER cute {always a motivator for me}. The Playtex training cups I bought are fine, but you have to suck really hard on the straw to get a drink {Sullivan still hasn't learned}. This cup is much easier to drink from. Plus it has the two handles so it's great for her to hold and control, and of course it's spill proof.

5. Organic Frozen/Fresh Produce: There are MANY reasons why I am choosing to only give Sullivan organic foods. I will mostly be using organic frozen veggies and fruit, because studies have shown frozen produce is equally as good as fresh produce {in some cases BETTER, whaaaat?} I have to sites listed below, and both have great information specifically about baby food. Both sites {and many more} 100% agree that organic is the BEST for babies. If "regular" produce is used it has chemicals and pesticides from the growing processes. Organic removes all that.

How I decided to make our baby food: 
1. The other day I went to the baby isle at the grocery, I looked at baby foods and read the ingredient list. It was WILD all the crap that was listed! I have bought some store bought baby foods and under ingredients all it should say {all I want it to say} is ORGANIC PEAS or ORGANIC WHATEVER. nothing else should be listed/is necessary. When you make your own baby food... you know EXACTLY what's in it.
3. Fresh {no idea how long store-bought baby food has been sitting on the shelves/manufacturers}
2. Money saver {one jar or pouch of organic baby food at my grocery is $1.39 for 3.5oz, I made 14oz for $2.89}
3. Better for the environment {no jars/pouches}
4. NO waste {when you open a jar/pouch of baby food, it has to be thrown out within 48 hours, with homemade you can prepare a little at a time}

1. Time {which really is minimal}
2. Learning/researching how to prepare {I get nervous I'm doing it wrong, causing added stress}
3. Less convenient than grabbing a jar {duh}

Making baby food really is THIS simple. It took me less than 20 minutes to make 42oz. of baby food and only $6 {for three different kinds- I will post specific pictures and "recipes" later}. 
To start I researched as much as I could about what foods to start with. An interesting mindset to have when starting solids is that our goal of giving foods/solids isn't to supplement or stop babies from nursing or taking formula, it's to introduce babies to AS MANY different foods as possible before their first birthday {check out this video, my pediatrician recommended this site, and it's all research based and a doctor's perspective}. I personally decided to start with veggies. Babies don't have preference at this point, every taste is a new experience, and they can't possibly know what they do and don't like BUT introducing fruits first {because of the natural sugars and sweetness} could make babies prefer fruits to veggies {just a thought}. I read On Becoming Baby Wise: Book II and did A LOT of research on Wholesome Baby Food and Dr.

If you have any questions, advice, or fun recipes please share!

Monday, April 7

Starting Cereal Essentials.

We started giving Sullivan baby cereal Thursday, it's been so fun... but also ANOTHER learning curve in the world of baby raising. I felt like she was ready, she started waking some at night and she's become super interested in watching US eating.

1. Wakey Wakey Baby Cereal- The brand is Ella's Kitchen from Target. I get really great coupons from Target, because I joined their "baby club". The one I used was $3 off a purchase of $10 of Ella's Kitchen products. It's all organic and natural, plus reasonably priced. It got good reviews from other moms as well. I tasted it and it's actually pretty good.

2. Munchkin White Hot Spoons: I don't really care about the "safety" feature, I just thought they were good colors and simple. The rubber tips are nice, and not super curved, so it's easy to get the food out. I wasn't a huge fan of the bright, plastic utensils. Plus they are pretty cheap. Dishwasher safe.

3. Aden + Anais Burp Bib: I love all their products. I bought these and have been using as burp cloths since Sullivan was born. You can drape them around babies neck and there's a snap in the back to secure and it becomes a bib! I'm all about minimizing, so I love the dual purpose. And boy is a bib necessary, she gets super messy... something I'm going to need to cope with as we venture into eating solids.
4.  PBK Gingham Bowls: So cute. They have grips on the bottom so the bowls won't slide around. They are BPA free, and the perfect kid size. Dishwasher safe, but NOT recommended for the microwave, which is a slight down side. They are perfect for now though.

5. Playtex Training Cups: We aren't really using these much but just putting a little water and letting Sullivan play around with it. I read that 2 oz. of water a day is OK for babies. I also read that straw cups are better than sippy/tilt cups. Apparently straw cups are easier to learn, it eliminates the "tipping" step. With a sippy cup you have to hold, tilt, suck, and swallow. With a straw cup you just have to hold, suck, and swallow {no tilt/tipping}. It made good sense to me. I also read that you want to introduce a cup by 8 months old.

The weird thing has been her poop frequency has drastically decreased, and the consistency has also changed. I know rice cereals can cause constipation, and the cereal we have has both brown rice and whole grains. She's only pooped TWICE in 4 days, which before she was going FOUR times a day. I've stopped giving it to her twice a day, and am trying just in mornings. I'm nervous because its hard to diagnose a baby being constipated, because some can go 8-10 days without, and that's considered normal. It's so confusing to me! I don't know if I should stop completely and try again in a few weeks {when she's the recommended 6 months}.

If anyone has any advice or feedback by all means, share your experience!

I have some more fun products I've ordered/found for food making and feeding, and am excited to use them and post!

Saturday, April 5

Easter Preparations.

My newest craft and holiday garland for Easter! The glitter "Happy Easter" garland is from Pottery Barn Kids, found here. The patterned bunny garland is inspired from this, that is now sold out. When I saw it I REEEALLY wanted it, but I also could NOT spend $50 total on Easter garland. It looked simple enough, so I made it!

Supplies: cute spring paper, twine, cotton balls, needle, glue, and scissors.

The hardest part was making a stencil of the bunny. I traced them onto the paper and cut out. I used 10 bunnies (2 of each pattern). I measured the twine, and decided how spaced out the bunnies needed to be. I used the needle and went through the front of one ear, and up the back of the next, then add a knot to secure. At the end I took one cotton ball and pulled apart and fluffed up, to make the cute little cotton tail. A dot of hot glue for the tail and your done. And it literally cost less than $1, compared to the $26 price tag at PBK. And maybe 30 minutes of my life.