Sunday, September 27, 2015

9-10 months postpartum

Technically I'm almost 10 and half months postpartum! Which is both wild and believable at the same time. I wanted to update for last month but for some reason both months blurred together and suddenly I realized, 'Keila you need to write about this before it's been a year!' So here is my latest update it's going to be a longer one because I have lots to say, hehe!


Physical

I have to say that out of all of my postpartum experience, months 9-10 have been really great for me physically. I have energy, and have really felt like my old self! The only marked difference is that I still have a bit of a pooch and I'd like to say that I do 100 crunches a day to tighten my core... but I don't. These days the extent of my core tightening is when I'm picking up both Gabriel and Cristian about 100 times a day! It really is a work-out.  B keeps telling me that I've never been so toned before! Not sure if he's just wanting some extra brownie points or if it's really true ;) I'll take it! Add to that running around with them at the park and adventuring everywhere else and I'm feeling really well. I was looking back at the archives and found this piece of how everything was at about 4 months postpartum. And wow how things change. I keep reminding myself that although it doesn't get easier we do get stronger and learn how to balance more as times goes on. I wish I could've told myself that but I guess it's a part of the learning.

Breastfeeding

This is really hard for me to write because I'm still processing everything. But my milk supply is at an all-time low. In part, because Cristian is sleeping through the night (about 8/10 nights). And his nursing has decreased to about twice a day. It's amazing to me how different the boys are and I know it really shouldn't be a surprise! I think it's also a reminder of how I should never compare or set -up similar expectations for the boys as a mother. They are both so unique and their needs from me are also different. Although Gabriel nursed until about 14 months it looks like these might be the last few weeks for Cristian. I loved being able to breastfeed him for this long and I am so proud of myself that I stuck with it! I think right now it's realizing that he won't need me in this way anymore and that time slips away from us. He'll soon be walking around too and I'll have to find different ways to bond with him. Which is okay but it will be different. And that is something that is both heartbreaking and amazing that we have reached this point in our relationship!


Spiritual/Emotional

These months have been really busy for us. More so because B had his really tough rotation in the MICU in August. I vented a lot about it on my Snap Chat (Mommy in MKE) haha! But honestly, that really helped! The reasons why I share this aspect of our lives (as hard as they are for me to share) is because they are our reality and I hope that it helps any other person who is experiencing similar circumstances. I empathize with all of you because it is hard. Having a significant other that works a lot and on good months is only able to see the boys about 2 hours a day (at most) is challenging. This takes a lot out of both of us because we have to be purposeful with our time and that is easier said than done.

I would be remiss to not share the 'ups' as well as the 'downs' because that's a part of life. But the crux of all of this is that even though it's tough we are able to connect as a family in ways that we never thought possible. I am a strong believer in that our challenges are what make us stronger, more empathetic, and kinder people. I'm not saying that you cannot be these things if you don't have struggles but in my experience the pruning in my life has helped me look at the world differently. Suffice it to say even though these past few months have stretched me in every which way spiritually/emotionally (and I've cried ugly cries) I wouldn't change a thing. Now I can look back and say we made it through, and you know what? We'll get through the next humps too.

Socially

You guys, as I write this I'm sitting down at a local coffee shop sans the boys. I know it is shocking! But in recent weeks I've decided to take my own advice to heart and make time for myself. I spoke to B a few weeks ago how perhaps we could budget a babysitter a few hours a week. It's been tough being so far away from family and if we were closer I know that they wouldn't hesitate to spend time with the boys for a few hours a week. But that's just not possible. I was chatting with my friend the other day (who is also away from family) and we talked about how because we are where we are we need to build our won community, our own village. Motherhood is a gift filled with so much goodness and learning that we cannot do it alone. 

I made the really hard decision to hire a babysitter to stay home with the boys while I blog, shower (I do now haha but you know #noprivacy) or do whatever I've been wanting to do (and haven't been able to) for the past couple of years for a few hours a week. Although I have been able to squeeze some of this stuff (blogging in particular) while the boys nap, at night when they sleep or when B can stay home with the boys it has taken a toll on me. I keep reading and being told that in order to be there fully for my children I have to put myself first. That sounds crazy, right?! How can I put myself over my own children?! And here's the irony in all of this, I preach about this all.the.time. But I never take my own advice.  

I love the analogy of the oxygen masks on planes. If you've flown you've likely heard the safety run-through where the flight attendant always says, "Please put your mask on first before you help another with theirs." This is because you will need the oxygen to breathe and stay alive before you help another. So it is with motherhood. We need to take care of ourselves, meet our needs, before we meet everyone else's. It has taken me year's to get to this point, but I am very happy (as I sit here breathing deeply) that I took this step. If you haven' taken this step, and have been feeling like you need more time for you consider this your push to ask for help. You are not a martyr, you're a mother and you need to take care of you.

Here's to taking the necessary steps to help ourselves!








Thursday, September 24, 2015

momma's night out with Elm Grove Art

I hope you are all enjoying your week! I figured since it's throwback Thursday it'd be a great time to recap our Momma's Night out at Elm Grove Art this past weekend. Elm Grove Art is a paint/craft/event studio owned by Katy Oberst and Danielle Heckenkamp. There's so much fun stuff happening here that I couldn't get enough pictures of this creative space. The entire studio is covered in art and it inspires both fun and creativity. I loved being able to be a part of such a wonderful event and I cannot wait until we plan the next momma's night out (we're looking at November)! 


I want to start off by saying that when I was asked to join the event and share about motherhood I immediately thought, what in the world could I possibly contribute? Most of the time I'm late or struggling to find balance with this little blog and all things motherhood. But then I was reminded that as mother's we are all in the same boat. And perhaps that's what I could share that we are not alone in this! So I agreed along with the amazing Amber Storm of Milwaukee by Storm to chat with all of the mother's that would be joining us. 


I have a mix of my cell phone pictures and camera (please excuse the quality on some of these :)). It was so wonderful being able to meet an amazing group of local momma's. Sometime's in the thick of motherhood it seems as if we are all alone. And although having online (Instagram/Facebook) mom relationships are good, having in-person connections are soooo valuable. 


Selfie's for the win! It was so great to finally meet this super talented and gorgeous momma, Ellia from Green Bean Baby and chat it up about Milwaukee and the needs among mother's in our city. Stay-tuned because there are some exciting volunteer events that are underway in hopes to connect our community together!


                                                                                     

And how cute is this candy bar?! It's also complimentary with any paint event. It's also nice to be able to share a cocktail or two! And don't worry if you're not the spirits type, they have non-alcoholic beverages as well.










               

I just love how Katy and Danielle have set-up this space! I wasn't able to snap any pictures during our group chat but it was a great bonding experience among all of us! And being able to share hilarious stories along with, "been there!" and other encouraging words really made the night for me.





We wrapped up the evening with some chocolates that were provided complimentary of Sendix grocery stores. And snapped a few pics of the group!


If you weren't able to make this last momma's night out I hope you're able to make the next! Katy and Danielle would also like to make it a recurring theme at their lovely studio and I think that is going to be a great way to help local momma's stay connected and have a little fun sans our kiddos!

Wishing you a great rest of your week! 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Pink Blush

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! This weekend was just what this momma needed. I'll be sharing more about it in a different post later this week but I will say that it was great to have a momma's night out! Today I've teamed up with Shop Pink Blush to share a fun look for Fall. Pink Blush Boutique is a women's online boutique full of gorgeous items that are both trendy and affordable


The items that I styled today are perfect for layering during the cooler months. I love this olive green utility jacket that  can be switched up by wearing it with a dress and tights. Pink Blush has a huge variety of cute dresses for women and I may or may not want a few of them! It's a wonderful trendy boutique online that I now have bookmarked! 



And how gorgeous is this flowy beige boho tunic?! It's semi shear so I wore a tank underneath and it would work perfectly with leggings also.


I went with the cognac booties from Target, that are oh so comfy! And my Lily Jade bag is always with me!


Also, I resurrected my Mac Rebel lipstick (insert little monkey emoji covering its eyes here hehe!) I love this color but I'm always afraid it's a bit too bold. But I decided that it's really the perfect shade for Fall and it's sooo creamy! Why let a perfectly good lipstick go to waste?!


These Pink Blush jeans are so very comfortable and have some stretch to them. I love that they are made of a thicker jean material and the quality is really great! 


Also, I may have gone a little picture crazy but I felt so fabulous in these beautiful items of clothing!













Olive utility jacket : C/O Shop Pink Blush | Beige Boho Top : C/O Shop Pink Blush | Dark Wash Navy denim : C/O Shop Pink Blush | Cognac Booties : Target | Lily Jade Bag | C/O Lily Jade Co

And now for the fun part! I'm giving away a $50 gift card to one of my reader's! It'll be the perfect way to add a little Fall love to your wardrobe! Enter below! Winner will be announced and contacted via email on Friday. Good Luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wishing you an amazing Monday!

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Monday, September 14, 2015

yoxobot review

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Ours was so good and we were able to explore some different areas of Milwaukee! But more about that in a different post. Today I'll be reviewing a toy but really Gabriel reviewed it since he's been playing with it for the past few days! 


It was rainy and chilly this past week which was the perfect time for some creative indoor activities. I already received the Yoxo robot so we went to work. The Yoxo robot is geared for older than 3 year olds but I knew I would be helping Gabriel build it and watching for small parts. He isn't in the chewing phase anymore, however, Cristian is! I had to hide a few things from him a couple of times. What is it about the toys they can't play with that they want most?! But Gabriel had a lot of fun helping push the parts together and he'd ask questions like, "Robot arm?" so I'd be sure to tell him what parts of the robot we were making.


Also, is anyone else's two year old obsessed with robots?! Gabriel is in a robot kick and it's been robot everything. So I was looking forward to review the Yoxo robot. I had never heard of these toys but I immediately googled it. I was excited to learn that all of the material is made of recycled cardboard and they have a ton of other toys for creative play. I thought that was a great change from a lot of the non-recyclable plastic toys we have. It also got me thinking about our footprint in terms of toys we have and waste. I know all of this from a toy!


I'm happy to report that Gabriel loves his new robot! And you can build three other items with the kit too. I'm also surprised with how sturdy it is! Gabriel has thrown it around a few times and it managed to stay connected. All in all it's a neat new creative toy and it's a definite bonus that it doesn't create more waste once you are done with it! Here is also a fun episode via the The Happi house blog that helps with getting ready for school and tackling homework (kind of glad we don't have to deal with that yet ;)


Wishing you a great rest of your week and Happy Monday! 

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Friday, September 11, 2015

mild and modified sleep training

As with any new regimen you start with your little please consult your Pediatrician or family doctor. I'm not an expert. I am a mother who has found a method that has worked for us! And before you continue to read please do so with an open mind because not everyone does things the same way. These opinions are my own and I am in no way shaming any parent who chooses to do it differently. This is what has worked for us. It doesn't mean that it's the perfect way it's our way. And I really hope that it's helpful for those of you that want a different method. I'm wishing you all a restful and full nights sleep!


I didn't realize how much I needed sleep until I became a mother! It is so crazy what sleep deprivation does to me. It's as if I'm working at about a 50% level at all times and that can be so exhausting. Recently I had to begin taking proactive steps at getting Cristian to sleep through the night. Cristian's personality is a lot more mellow than Gabriel. He has always fallen asleep more easily and just about everywhere (ig. carseat, carrier, stroller). He is also a breeze to transfer! He actually stays asleep when I move him from my carrier to his car seat or vice versa. Which was unheard of with G. As a newborn he also slept about 5 hour stretches. That was amazing because Gabriel was just as active as ever! While on the other end of the spectrum Gabriel at this age needed to be held, and rocked to sleep. They have two very different personalities! However, in more recent months he was beginning to wake up between 2-5 times every night and I needed to make some changes.






I don't like to group my self into a specific type of parenting style especially when it comes to sleeping. Rather I pick and choose different aspects that work for us. When both boys were newborns I decided that they would first sleep in a co-sleeper next to our bed. I wasn't opposed to having them sleep in our room. I also waited for them to be ready to move into their own beds/cribs (more about that later). Since I breastfeed this was the easiest option for me and I felt that it was the safest way to  co-sleep and bedshare. Although I would end up nursing Cristian in bed with me it was great to have the co-sleeper next to us so that I could lay him back when I was finished.


The hardest part for me about "sleep-training" (and I use that term lightly because it's so very much modified) is waiting until they are ready. Both B and I are of the thought that we cannot put an age/number to when our kids will sleep through the night because they are so different! Gabriel as a 6 month old was so different from Cristian as a 6 month old. I strongly believe that Gabriel has such good sleeping habits now because we waited. Even though those 14 months were tough and I had a very sporadic sleep schedule I am glad I didn't push sleep training until I knew he could handle it.







You're probably wondering well how in the world do I know if my little is ready? Here are couple of things we look for:

They are no longer nursing/eating at night. This is probably the most important for me. Since I breastfeed I am in demand a lot of the time. Now that C is older he's created his own schedule for nursing and he does it about every 4 hours. He is also eating now but his main food source is my breast milk. I knew that both boys no longer needed to nurse at night once they were only using me to suckle. Both boys did this at different ages. I look for whether or not they are swallowing and nursing for more than just a few seconds/minutes.You will know! Cristian started doing this recently and that's how I knew it was time to start our sleep training method.

They are sleeping in their own bed. This one may not apply to some of you because perhaps your little has been in their crib for a while now. However, this is an important step because if your little is still in a co-sleeper or co-sleeping with you they will not learn how to sleep on their own. Basically, you are their sleeping buddy. I know because this has happened with both boys! It's so easy to nurse them in bed and plop them down right next to you to get an extra few hours of sleep. However, it affects everyone in bed and that's why I had to stop and get on the sleep train! See what I did there?! ;) I didn't mind this set-up for a while but once he seemed to have outgrown his co-sleeper it was time to transition him into his crib. I then waited a couple of weeks so that he could become accustomed to his new space. After that time we began.

ALL of these transitions were really hard for me. I was worried about the boys feeling lonely. Worried about them feeling like I was ignoring them. Worried about a number of other things and a lot of them I could do nothing about. However, with all of my concerns in mind we designed a different way to encourage the boys to sleep through the night (and wasn't going to tear this momma's  heart apart!)

These are the steps we take:

We create a night routine. The boys routine consists of dinner, short period of reading, playtime and then we clean up toys. After tidying up we brush teeth and then it's bath time. After bath time, it's lotion/massage, then we brush hair. It's gotten to the point where if I miss a step Gabriel reminds us! Finally it's bed time. We make sure there's no loud music, no screen time, most lights are off and it's a cozy relaxing environment. 

I nurse Cristian. Since Cristian's nursing session are a lot more spaced now  I make sure to 'top him off' right before bed. The boys share a room and I sit on the rocker in their room and nurse him there. Meanwhile Gabriel is usually outside with B saying their goodnights. At this point I make sure diapers are nice and dry, and he has a night diaper on. 

I lay Cristian down in his crib. C will usually be sleepy and at first he was very surprised that I didn't wait for him to fall asleep completely. The trick is to lay them in bed right before they fall asleep. We wanted to make sure that he was able to fall asleep without having me rock or nurse him to sleep. The reason is because when he woke up throughout the night (about 3-5 times) he  would only suckle and would want me to rock or walk him to sleep again. Other times as soon as I would lay him down  he would wake up and cry then would want to sleep on me. I would quit all together and nurse him to sleep! As you could imagine this was so exhausting for me. And C didn't know any other way. 

Once I lay him down I start rubbing his back. This is the tough part because your little will have probably woken completely up right now and is all like what the heck, 'pick me up'! Don't. I usually kneel next to the crib and stick my arm through the boards and rub their back that way. I may make a shooshing sound too. Whatever works for you. They may be crying a lot now and if not: that's awesome! I rub their back until they begin to calm down. Or you'll notice that their cry is not a high pitch. It'll start to even out. This entire process may take 5- 20 minutes. Every baby is different. It took Cristian less than 5 minutes and it took Gabriel about 20. They may not stop crying all together but once you feel right, leave the room. 

This is HARD! 

I time myself between 2-3 minutes then I go back in. I begin the rubbing, kneeling, shooshing process all over again. Again, they may still be crying or they may begin to calm down. I leave as soon as he begins to calm down or is calm. I want to make sure that he knows that I will not pick him up. I do not leave the room for more than 5 minutes. I go in frequently and that is the key for me. I do not want his cries to escalate nor do I want him to become so upset that he falls asleep because he's exhausted from crying. I want him to know that I am there, rubbing his back, in the room but that I will not be picking him up. 

And Repeat...
I continue this process for as long as it takes for him to fall alseep. It helps to have your phone on you so that you know how long you are out of the room. Sometimes it seems like forever when they cry but then it's only been a minute. If he is so upset even before the 5 minutes are up I would go in sooner. What I never do is pick him up.

This process took about an hour and 30 minutes with Gabriel. While with Cristian it took 25 minutes. Needless to say it was much harder with Gabriel. After I went through this process C slept through the night that first night! He woke up around 5 am I picked him up to nurse then I laid him down and he slept until 8 am. It was awesome. I repeat this process every night until I can lay him down without having to rub his back to sleep. We are almost to that point! He has slept through the night for the past week and I have woken up in the middle of the night still in shock. If he were to wake up at any time throughout the night I will offer to nurse. If he doesn't want to nurse I will rub his back and if I need to begin the process I will.

It took about a week for us to get to the point where once I laid Gabriel down he fell asleep. It's amazing that after we implemented this process he would say, 'bye' and fall asleep right away. He knew that it was time for bed. And now it's beginning to be the same with Cristian.


I hope this helps those of you who want a more mild version of sleep training. And as always if you have any questions leave me a comment and I'll try to answer asap!

Buenas Noches! 

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Friday, September 04, 2015

Lily Jade


I am so excited about today's post because I'm sharing more about my Lily Jade Diaper bag! I've owned this bag for the past few weeks and I cannot say enough how much it has simplified my going-out routine with the boys.


This bag is so well-crafted and sturdy that after several weeks it has passed through the "Keila" test! B coined that phrase after I wasted through 3 really good baby bags... It isn't that I don't take care of them (because I do!) but I carry so many different items for me and the boys that they end up giving up on me!


So you can imagine how excited I was when I opened up this bag and saw how large (and organized) it was. I was ecstatic! Not only does it have several pockets on the inside but it has a removable insert (baby-bag organizer) with 20 extra pockets. The best part is that it isn't super heavy either.This bag knows how to deal with my crazy! And it can be worn three different ways but right now I'm obsessed with wearing it as a backpack.


It is so cute as well and no one ever guesses it's a baby bag. That's the beauty of it because I know I'll use it well after the boys no longer need diaper changes. It is that timeless.


Oh and little C made an appearance because he got all dressed up to go out with Mami! You guys, I can't get over how big he's getting! When I was editing these pics I couldn't believe that's my Cristian... he looks like a little man! 


He's got me wrapped around his finger alright!


That face!


If you've been looking for a chic, sturdy, practical diaper bag that will be with you for years to come this is it! I recommend this product 100%!


Lily Jade 'Elizabeth' baby bag;courtesy of Lily Jade as brand ambassador | Burgundy jumpsuit: Loft| Sunglasses |Loft


Happy Friday and wishing you an amazing weekend! 


Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Boener Botanical Gardens & Home T

We went to the Boener Botanical Gardens this week, and I think I found my new favorite spot in Milwaukee! I would always drive past the sign on the highway and think about how I needed to visit some day. But something would always come up and bam 4 years later I still hadn't visited. Flash forward to Tuesday and my friend Megan from Matt and Megan Expecting invited us to go with her and her little sweetie! I said, yes and we headed out.



I don't think anything could have prepared me for what I saw. This place is simply magical.


And what's more surprising is that even though it was the first Tuesday of the month (which meant free admittance for Milwaukee County residents), it was pretty much empty! The major humidity may have been a factor hehe! But it was still surprising to have the whole place pretty much to ourselves. 


Gabriel and Callum were running, chatting, laughing and we couldn't get enough of their cute toddler antics! There are multiple coy ponds and gardens that they could run in and out of. My favorite was hearing Gabriel say, "Hey fishy! How are you?!" I mean, seriously this momma's heart was melting! 



The boys were so happy oohing and ahhing over the rocks, flowers, touching the different herbs, smelling the parsley, and trying to rip out the swiss chard (well Gabriel may or may not have run off with one, but in his defense it was right on the brink of falling off ...) Cristian was happy snuggling up against me in the carrier, but I can't wait till he can run around this place too! 



And I don't think we could've picked a better day for Gabriel to wear his Home T! The entire time we were there I kept thinking, how lucky we are to have a place like this locally. Milwaukee, Wisconsin is beautiful! And how awesome is that they donate a minimum 10% of their profits to Multiple Sclerosis research. It's so awesome when brands are intentional about making a difference in our communities! You can shop for yours here


If you haven't been yet I hope you do soon! You can see the gardens till October! I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week and Happy September! 

Gabriel's shirt courtesy of The Home T.