Three 31


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Finish This #16

It’s Week 16 of Finish This! If you’re new here, welcome. This link-up is hosted by LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and I.  If you’ve joined us before, thanks for returning and be sure you add your post to the link-up. If you don’t have a blog, don’t fret. Answer the prompts in a comment. Next week’s prompts are at the bottom of this post.

FinishThis--SMALL

1. My favorite makeup item is …
BB cream. I currently use L’Oreal Magic Skin BB Cream in light/medium and it works great for coverage and sunscreen. It has a white beady texture that goes on smooth and blends to match my skin tone. I’ve tried several CC creams but haven’t found one I like. Do you use CC cream? If so, what brand do you like best? I wear minimal makeup but I need some coverage for my unevenness and blemishes. I wear sunscreen every day, whether I put on makeup or not.

2. The best book I’ve ever read was ____ because …
The Organic God by Margaret Feinberg because it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. My aunt gave me a copy of the book after she read it with a book club knowing it was something I’d enjoy. I loved it so much that I sent Margaret an email through her website, never imagining I’d get a reply, thanking her for writing such a beautiful piece of literature. Eight years later, I’ve read every book Margaret has written, listened to her speak at multiple conferences and Christian events, and blessed to call her my friend, mentor, and confidant. Any time she travels to the Dallas or Fort Worth area, she always calls and invites me to whatever event, seminar, TV appearance, or conference she is speaking at. I’m also a big fan of her super-tall husband, Leif, and super-pup, Hershey.

3. My favorite TV show is …
Wheel of Fortune, hands down. I’ve watched it, as well as NBC Nightly News since I was a young child. I can remember watching the local and national news while playing in my play pen and Mom cooking dinner. During dinner, we’d watch Wheel of Fortune and try to guess the puzzle before the contestants. I still yell out the puzzle answer to this day! And I still watch the local and national news while I cook supper. Hold habits are hard to break … and some I don’t want to go away.

4. The most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done is …
gone to Port-au-Prince, Haiti not once, but twice for mission trips. I was scheduled to go on a third trip last October but I was seven months pregnant! Serving and volunteering are at the core of my soul and it warms my heart to be a part of something much larger than I. Going on mission trips, whether it’s to Haiti or Oklahoma, is more of a blessing to me than I am a blessing to others. I have learned what it means to have a servants’ heart and to live simply and without excess. I am beyond blessed and truly believe to whom much is given, much is required.

5. I prefer DOGS/CATS because …
I really don’t have a preference. I was raised with dogs and cats, both inside and outside, and love them both. I want a Basset Hound one of these days and wouldn’t mind a cat either. One of the many things I love about going ‘home’ to Kentucky is spending time with all my parents’ pets. They have three cats (Miss Fit, Janie, and Ervin) and five dogs (Tess, Case, Ben, Cracker, and Speck). In a few weeks, they’ll have a red heeler puppy.

6. I met my significant other …
online before it was cool or popular. We started chatting (instant messaging and emailing) in July 2002, I heard his voice when he called me on my birthday (December), and we met face-to-face in February 2003 when he flew to Louisville, Kentucky for the weekend. He came back to Kentucky in May to meet my parents and I went to Texas in July to celebrate his birthday and meet his family. In August, I accepted a full-ride scholarship to Lamar University in Beaumont to play collegiate golf and we were finally living in the same state, albeit four hours and 300 miles apart. In 2004, I transferred to TAMU-Commerce and for the first time in our long-distance relationship, we lived less than 30 minutes apart. We still only saw each other on the weekends, but it was amazing to be that close after being so far apart for so long. I graduated in May 2006, we moved to Fort Worth in October, got married in March 2007 and bought our home in September. In December 2013, we welcomed our sweet boy, Kamden. Online relationships are not for the faint of heart and neither are long-distance ones. They take an incredible amount of dedication and commitment, not to mention patience and maturity.

Now it’s your turn. Answer these prompts in a post on your own blog or, if you do not have a blog, simply add your responses in a comment. Join us next Wednesday for another round of Finish This where we’ll answer the prompts below!

Prompts for WEEK 17 (April 30) are:
My last growing pain was…
I grow and nurture…
The guilt-free snack I enjoy most…
The best reason to stay up all night…
If I were stranded on a desert island, I’d…


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Bunny Business. { Kamden’s FOUR MONTH update }

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GROWING // We stepped on the scale and Kamden’s surpassed the 17-pound mark. We estimate him to be 25 inches long. He’s definitely a chunk!

EATING // Pumping, feeding with a bottle, and storing surplus milk is still going really well. Kamden’s eating six ounces of breast milk by bottle every three to four hours and we’ve established a pretty consistent schedule. Depending on the day, our activities, and how well he naps and plays, Kamden eats five times a day. I pump at least six times a day — that’s once for every bottle Kamden eats and once at night, around 3:00am.

WEARING // I keep having to reorganize Kamden’s wardrobe because he’s growing out of his clothes so quickly. The few 12-month pieces he has are quite snug. Last week, Kamden and I went to Old Navy and I got him two short-sleeve onesies, both 18-24 months, and two sets of pajamas (shorts and t-shirt) size 2T. No, that’s not a typo. My four-month-old child is sleeping in size 2T pajamas! They’re obviously roomy, but he seems comfy and he’ll definitely grow into them. Kamden still wears 24-month socks, but he’s never worn a pair of shoes. My baby doesn’t have shoes, does that make me a bad mom?! He’s still wearing size 2 diapers, but I anticipate our next bulk diaper purchase will be size 3. So far, we’ve been really pleased with Pampers Swaddlers. This is going to gross out my Aunt Kathy, but Kamden had it first official ‘blow out’ dirty diaper. I had to clean both legs, his back, and his belly button. :)

DOING //  Kamden is a very happy, content baby. His toothless grin melts our hearts when he recognizes our face and voice. When Husband gets home from work, Kamden becomes really vocal, interactive, and makes lots of noise. While we eat dinner, Kamden sits in his bouncer/lounger chair and jibber-jabbers. He’s started making humming noises, so we hum back and he continues the conversation. It’s quite hilarious and he’s getting louder every day. I would give anything in the world to know what he’s thinking or trying to say, especially when he’s got the most serious expression on his face!

While I’m fixing supper, he’s either in the bouncer chair on the floor or in his baby seat on top of the dining room table watching me cook. Nine times out of ten, my ‘Sous Chef’ falls asleep!

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We drove to Husband’s parent’s house the last Saturday in March and enjoyed some family time. Kamden met two great aunts and an uncle too. He did fine on the road trip, slept the entire way, but got really upset before his second feeding. He was so upset that I think he cried a legitimate tear for the first time and it broke my heart. It was out of character for him but I think he might have been overwhelmed by the new scenery, new faces, and being hungry. He cheered up by lunch and we enjoyed the rest of the day.

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His hand and eye coordination is improving and he’s beginning to reach for things in front of and above him. If he is sucking on the WubbaNub pacifier and it falls out, he’ll grab the red dog and put the pacifier back in his mouth. Kamden’s strength is increasing daily. Even though he’s still not a fan of tummy time, he can support his head for longer periods of time and getting better at sitting up while in the Exersaucer and baby seat too. When he’s lying on his back, he can pull himself up to the sitting position by holding on to my hands.

Kamden’s personality is developing and there are definite traits of both Mommy and Daddy. Like me, he’s a very sociable baby but when he’s had enough interaction he wants to be left alone, like Daddy. He’s becoming more content being left alone to explore his surroundings or play with plush toys as long as he can see someone. I’m getting better at distinguishing his body language and knowing when he’s tired, hungry, bored, or overwhelmed too. His easygoing personality is a blessing!

Out of the blue, Kamden started sleeping with his arm across his forehead. When he’s really exhausted, though, both arms are straight out to his sides. I wish he’d keep his hands under the blanket because they’re cold as ice in the mornings!

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BAD HABIT // Kamden has discovered his hands and fingers, which is a big developmental accomplishment, but he has a terrible habit of sticking his index and middle fingers in his mouth or down his throat and gags himself. His eyes get red and he has a look of concern on his face before busting out in a mile-wide smile. I tell him not to do it, but he does and grins. I have a feeling we are at the beginning of an early teething stage because he’s constantly drooling, sucking on a pacifier or his fingers, and he loves things in his mouth. We’re trying to curb the gagging habit with teething toys and Sophie the Giraffe but he prefers his fingers. The little stink!

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LOVING // Morning back scratches. Blowing spit bubbles. Smiling and laughing. Stretching after a long nap. Daddy’s funny motor noises. Chewing on Sophie the Giraffe. Hanging out with Miss Pam, the child care center director at the fitness center. Looking at picture books and listening to Mommy read. Walking at the city park. Grabbing his rattle ball. Looking at himself in the mirror. Chin and belly tickles. Sitting in Daddy’s truck.

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LOATHING // Bright lights. Tummy time. Being left alone longer than 10-15 minutes or where he cannot see people. The ‘witching hour’ between 7:30 and 8:30pm can be difficult, especially if he missed or skipped his usual nap. Some nights are better than others but we try to play and keep him occupied as best we can. If we’re lucky, Kamden will snooze 10-15 minutes before it’s time for his bath and last feeding of the day. One particular evening, he had played until he was just tuckered out and no amount of distractions or walking outside could soothe the boy like Mommy’s chest.

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NICKNAMES // Butterball, Mister Drool, Rolly-Polly, and Little Big Man

SPECIAL MILESTONES
March 31 — Husband and I celebrated seven years of wedded bliss with a BBQ dinner. Kamden slept through our dinner.

April 10 — I had a doctor’s appointment and left Kamden with Grandma Haideh, the mother of a friend. She was so excited to finally meet him and get her baby fix!

April 11 — I played in a golf tournament and Kamden had a boys’ day at home with Husband! They both survived, but were VERY happy to see me that evening!

April 12 — Kamden’s first night in his crib instead of the Pack N Play

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April 17 — My parents and paternal grandmother arrived in Texas and it was the first time Kamden met one of his great-grandmothers. Needless to say, Neenie is very smitten with him! I think she kissed every square inch of his little body the first hour she was here. Of course, Kamden is smitten with anyone who will feed him!

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April 19 — Kamden’s officially four months old

April 20 — Kamden was baptized on Easter Sunday

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Dear Kamden,
You’re amazing and wonderful and getting stronger and smarter every day. And every day I am more thankful to be your mama and call you my son. I realize the blessing you are to Daddy and I and how easy you’re making our lives with your simplistic schedule and expectations. If you’re fed, dry, and rested, you are content. If you are hungry, dirty, or sleepy, you fuss. Mommy’s got you figured out! You’re discovering new things constantly. Just recently, while laying on the changing table, you reached up and touched your toes. Mommy was quite impressed considering the size of your belly! This month was full of new adventures and milestones. You even got to meet some new family members and they are head-over-heels in love with you. Easter was especially memorable because you were baptized. Not only are Mommy and Daddy committed to raising you in a loving home, but we promise to raise you with intentional Christian education and formation in church and at home. We will nurture you in Christ’s love so you can profess your own faith one day and lead a worthy Christian life. You are so blessed to be part of a church that has adored you since Mommy announced her pregnancy. You are very loved indeed!

Love,
Mom


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Finish This #15

It’s Week 15 of Finish This! If you’re new here, welcome. This link-up is hosted by LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and I.  If you’ve joined us before, thanks for returning and be sure you add your post to the link-up. If you don’t have a blog, just answer the prompts in a comment. Next week’s prompts are at the bottom of this post.

FinishThis--SMALL

1. My favorite vacation spot is …
any spot at all! Here’s the thing about vacations: I love to travel and would go anywhere, anytime. Husband, on the other hand, hates to travel, didn’t travel much as a kid, and thinks vacations should be spent at home working on fence, cutting hay, or hauling cattle to the sale barn. Personally, I think that idea is ridiculous and the exact OPPOSITE of a vacation! To me, vacations are about rest and relaxation, a few new experiences or adventures, eating out, and spending money … things my Husband hates! As much as our view on vacation differs, Husband is happy at home while I explore and have fun. My favorite vacations include countless trips to Orlando, Florida and Disney World with my mom as a kid; weeks in the  Outer Banks of North Carolina with 14 crazy family members; two mission trips to Haiti; a mission trip in Appalachia Kentucky with my mom and a group from my church; and the ultimate Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I’d be a fool if I didn’t include annual trips to Kentucky to work in the garden, play on the farm, and shoot loud guns at the range.

2. If I won a million dollars I would …
give Uncle Sam his portion, because that’s the law and I’m scared to death of taxes, pay the balance of our mortgage, set aside a chunk for Kamden’s college expenses, and send the rest to our financial planner. I’d say go on a fabulous vacation with my husband, considering we never had a honeymoon, but the chances of that happening are as likely as me actually winning this million dollars!

3. If I could go on a date with ONE celebrity, it would be …
His Holiness Pope Francis. I’m not Catholic, but this guy intrigues me. He’s so humble, gentle, and approachable. Besides the typical handshaking and baby-holding, His Holiness takes selfies and has a Twitter account. He’s a Jesuit, meaning he took a vow of poverty and lives without excess. He has access to the world’s best, yet he chooses to live simply.  He prefers his bicycle to the Pope-mobile. He purposefully chose his Papal name to honor Saint Francis of Assisi, a man who selflessly served others. Oh, and this ‘date’ is meant to happen because Pope Francis and I share the same birthday, December 17!

4. If I found a genie in a bottle, my three wishes would be …
Every human felt the kind of love I have for Kamden. My cup runneth over I love him so!
Husband enjoyed traveling and going on vacation.
My house cleaned itself.

5. My favorite clothing item is …
a supportive bra. Without it, I’d be a hotter mess than I already am. I also love extra long tank tops and mismatched no-show socks.

CHALLENGE THIS WEEK … invite a blogger friend to join the fun *AND* leave a comment on at least four (4) other blogs.

Now it’s your turn. Answer these prompts in a post on your own blog or, if you do not have a blog, simply add your responses in a comment. Join us next Wednesday for another round of Finish This where we’ll answer the prompts below!

Prompts for WEEK 16 (April 23) are:
My favorite makeup item is ..
The best book I’ve ever read was ____ because …
My favorite TV show is …
The most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done is …
I prefer DOGS/CATS because …
I met my significant other …


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Our Daily Regimen

Several weeks ago, I was asked to play in a four-person golf scramble for a youth camp fundraiser. I’ve played in the tournament before, and I’m certainly no stranger to a golf course, but my life situation is drastically different now that I am Kamden’s momma. Husband and I talked about the possibility of me playing, we checked his work schedule and, as luck would have it, the event was on a scheduled-off Friday so he would be home with Kamden. I made a semi-commitment to play and let the other three men I’d be playing with know my intentions were tentative until closer to the event. It’s not that I was afraid of being away from Kamden, or leaving my husband and son together for an entire day, but a lot of worries were in the back of my mind: What if Kamden was extra fussy? What if Kamden didn’t follow his usual routine and nap schedule? What if Husband got frustrated? What if ….?

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The golf tournament was last Friday, my team and I shot a very respectable nine-under par (63), and I had a blast. I got to visit with folks I don’t see very often, spent the day outside in the sunshine, and played better than I expected. Husband called a couple of times to reassure me he and Kamden were fine and that eased my mind. I didn’t stick around for the awards ceremony (we didn’t place, anyhow) because I missed my two favorite men. Needless to say, they were both VERY glad to see me! Kamden did well, according to Husband, but he was fussy right after I left and didn’t sleep as long as he normally does. Husband concluded that Kamden had some separation anxiety. At the end of the day, Husband and I were both exhausted, but it was nice to hear his praises for doing what I do on a daily basis.

Before I left for the golf tournament, I made sure all the necessities were within arm’s reach, or at least in the fridge, and accessible for Husband throughout the day. Days prior, I even kept a journal of Kamden’s daytime schedule so Husband would have an idea of how things should go. Before tossing the notes, I thought sharing it here might be helpful for others with an infant. Obviously, not every day is exactly like the one before but Kamden has done extremely well creating his own routine and patterns.

A TYPICAL DAY FOR MOMMY & KAMDEN

2:30am // I set the alarm on my cell phone before going to bed, but my body does a fine job of waking me up when it’s time to pump! Before I sit down on the couch, I get my water bottle (holds 20 ounces) and a snack. Sometimes it’s a lactation cookie, sometimes it’s a granola bar, and other times it’s a cup of yogurt. This pumping session typically yields 7-9ozs from each side. I pour the expressed milk into a quart-size Mason jar with lid, refill my water bottle, place both in the fridge, and return to bed (unless I’m distracted by Twitter or Pinterest, then I might be up for an hour or two!) Before going back to bed, I get a bottle from the fridge and sit it out on the counter for Kamden’s first feeding of the day.

7:30am // Either the alarm or my breasts wake me for another pump session. Before pumping, I put the bottle of milk I set out earlier in the bathroom sink filled with really warm water. I pump for 20-25 minutes, empty the milk into the Mason jar, and eat breakfast before Kamden gets up. I keep a close eye on the monitor and watch for signs of him stirring while eating a bowl of oatmeal made with soy milk and dried fruit. I also try to drink another full bottle of water (20 ounces).

8:30am // Kamden starts stirring, which usually consists of turning his head from side to side, stretching his arms and legs, and farting. Yes, I’m the mature parent who laughs every time their kid expels gas from his rear. On the weekends, Kamden will lay quietly awake in his crib, about 15 minutes or so, before getting vocal about wanting some human interaction. During the week, however, when Husband is getting ready for work and we’re in the kitchen talking, Kamden will signal he’s ready to get up early. Every morning, I stand beside his crib and rub his arms, belly, and legs while he stretches, grunts, farts, and welcomes a new day. I watch his eyes adjust to the soft light coming from the lamp on his changing table and maybe a peak of sunshine through the window curtain.

9:00am // After a diaper change, Kamden gets his first bottle (six ounces of breast milk) of the day. We sit in my recliner and watch the morning news.

9:45am // Kamden goes in his bouncer chair and into the bathroom with me so I can wash my face, brush my teeth, put my contacts in, and change clothes. Then I change his diaper and clothes. During the week, this is the time I put Kamden in the car seat and we go to the gym. On the weekends, he chills out with Daddy and the two of them watch old-school cartoons like Tom & Jerry or Looney Tunes.

10:00am – 11:30am // I renewed my gym membership on April 1 and go every week day. The child care center is very convenient and Miss Pam, an employee of the facility, is wonderful. She has 11 grandchildren! I prefer to work out in the mornings because of Kamden’s schedule, plus there are few to no children in the center. It’s not that I don’t like the other children being there, but Kamden’s small and everybody wants to check him out, touch him, and that’s not my favorite thing. The center is surrounded by glass windows so I can keep an eye on him while I’m on the cardio machines. If we aren’t at the gym, I’ll use this time to run errands, go to the grocery, or we stay home for a lazy, relaxing day. During play time, I keep the TV off or play really soft music. We’ll sit on the floor for tummy and back time. There is a foam mattress topper for extra padding on the living room rug where Kamden’s activity center is located. He’s still not a big fan of tummy time, but he loves laying on his back and grabbing the rattle ball or Peanut, a stuffed elephant with rings and textured fabrics. I’ll also sit him in my lap and we’ll read a book … well, I read the book and he looks at the pages! Husband assembled the ExerSaucer a couple of weeks ago and Kamden will stand in that for 15-20 minutes at a time. When he’s had enough play time and stimulation, he’ll begin to get fussy. On Sundays, we leave the house for church at 10:45 and he may or may not be fed during the worship service. He’s a really great, well-behaved child during church. The few times I’ve had to leave the sanctuary, it was to change a dirty diaper and not because he was throwing a fit. I don’t want to be THAT mom with THAT kid, you know?!

12:00pm // It’s time for Kamden’s second bottle. Even though I prefer routines, and we have a pretty consistent one going, I let Kamden dictate when he’s ready to eat. Some days, he doesn’t make it to noon before he wants another bottle. I don’t make him wait for a feeding if he is getting upset. After all, he goes 10-12 hours without eating at night and I know he’s really hungry in the mornings. As long as he sleeps through the night, I’m happy to feed him during the day!

12:30pm // Kamden goes back in his bouncer chair so I can pump and eat lunch. If I need to unload the dishwasher or prep something for supper, I’ll put him in the kitchen where he can watch me. This is about the time he begins to get fussy because he’s tired and ready for his afternoon nap.

1:00pm – 3:00pm // Kamden is ready for his afternoon nap. It took a little practice, but this has become a much easier, smoother transition than it used to be. I lay him down in his crib, with a pacifier, turn off the lamp, and walk out of the room. Once he’s asleep, I make sure the pacifier is out of his way, adjust the blanket, and close his bedroom door. While he naps, I eat or pump (if I didn’t get to earlier), fold and put away laundry, prep for supper, work on blog posts, or snooze on the couch. I don’t always do that last one though! Kamden is a very happy baby, but he is much more content in the evenings when he’s had some rest during the day. Since Husband only gets to spend time with him in the evenings, I make sure Kamden’s had a nap so their time together is as pleasant as possible. It doesn’t always work out, but I try.

3:00pm // If Kamden isn’t awake by 3:15 or 3:30, I get him up for a diaper change and give him another bottle. We cuddle in the recliner, but lately he’s more interested in sitting up and looking around than cuddling with Mom. Boooooo!

4:00pm – 6:00pm // If we’re being lazy or Kamden is in a cuddling mood, we’ll stay in the recliner or on the couch and watch TV. If I need to pump, I do. Depending on what I’ve planned for supper, I’ll put Kamden in his bouncer chair and sit him in the kitchen where he can watch me cook. This has become an almost daily routine. I look forward to the days he’s big enough to help me in the kitchen. I want him to enjoy cooking and learn to prepare meals. I intentionally make noise, sometimes I’ll even drop a spoon so he’ll get accustomed to the chatter. He isn’t phased by much and the noise doesn’t bother him. Sometimes I’ll look over and catch my ‘Sous Chef’ snoozing! When I’ve finished cooking, and the weather is nice, we’ll go outside. We walk around the house, by Daddy’s big truck and horse trailers, and say hello to Blue if he’s near the barn. Occasionally, we’ll drive to the city park and walk around lake. Kamden is super-cool kid wearing his shades! Of course, the sunglasses provide the perfect cover for him to sneak another few minutes of sleep too. How come he gets to sleep while Mommy does the hard work of pushing his chubby butt in the stroller?!?!

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6:00pm // Time for another feeding and I set out Kamden’s next bottle and the Mason jars filled with breast milk so they’ll begin to reach room temperature. Husband usually gets home between 6:00 and 6:30, so it works perfectly for he and Kamden to spend quality time together. Kamden has had a diaper change and bottle by the time Daddy gets home and is ready to play and ‘tell’ him all about his day. It’s like Husband turns on Kamden’s jibberish switch because the kid goes wild. He has so much to say, but doesn’t know how to say it, so he jibber-jabbers and squeals with delight! It’s truly the cutest, most hilarious thing in the world. Kamden is getting better at sitting in his bouncer seat while Husband and I eat dinner. We always watch the evening news and Wheel of Fortune. After supper, Husband and Kamden play while I clean the kitchen, pump, or do some other chore. I don’t want you to think I do laundry or housework everyday, because I don’t and our house isn’t perfect. There have been days, once Husband is home and playing with Kamden, I’ve fallen asleep with the pump attached to my boobs. I wish I were kidding!

7:30 – 8:30pm // This can be a trying hour. It’s too early to bathe and feed Kamden, but he’s beginning to show signs of tiredness. We distract him by placing him on the activity mat and play with the rattle ball, Peanut the Elephant, or teething/chewing toys. Nine times out of ten, Kamden will play, fuss, then get real still and snooze 15-20 minutes, which is fine with me considering his sleep habits through the night. This short nap also recharges his energy reserves for bath time.

8:30pm // This is probably my favorite part of the day, except for Kamden’s smiles in the mornings. He LOVES bath time. While Daddy undresses him, I gather his jammies and get his bubble bath ready in our master bathroom tub. As soon as I slide him into the warm water, he gets the most ridiculous foul look on his face, then busts out in a grin as he kicks, squirms, and splashes water all over the place. He plays in the tub 15-20 minutes, or until the water is too cool. Daddy holds him while I use the hand-wand to rinse him off. Wrapped in a towel, I lay him on our bed for his nightly massage. I rub lotion all over his body and massage his arms, legs, and feet before diapering and dressing him. While I’m dressing Kamden, Husband is warming the bottle, collecting a spit/drool towel and pacifier, and turning on the video monitor and closet light in Kamden’s bedroom. We have followed this bedtime routine since Kamden was just a few days old. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

9:00pm // Kamden is bathed, massaged, moisturized, dressed in pajamas, and very ready for his last bottle of the day. We cuddle in the glider chair in his bedroom while I feed him. It usually takes 20 minutes for him to finish the bottle before he relaxes in my arms and drifts to sleep. I savor these precious moments, kiss his cheeks, and gently lay him in his crib. I make sure he has a pacifier then leave the room, leaving the door slightly ajar. Husband and I watch the monitor’s screen and make sure he is comfortable and quiet. If he is extremely tired, he may fuss for a few minutes but he’s really good about laying still and drifting off to sleep almost immediately.

9:30pm // Once I know Kamden is asleep, I shut his door and pump before washing and rinsing the bottles we used during the day. I run hot water over the Mason jars filled with breast milk and make sure the cream and water that have separated are mixed before filling the cleaned bottles for the next day. If I have eaten oatmeal for breakfast and drank plenty of water throughout the day, I pump about 50 ounces of breast milk in a single day. This is enough to fill six bottles and two freezer bags with six ounces of milk, plus a couple of ounces left over.

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10:00pm // Time for me to take a shower and get ready for bed. Some nights I stay up later than I should to watch TV or work on blog posts but, even though I’m tired, it’s nice to unwind in the peace and quiet.

11:00pm // No matter how much I want to scroll through Pinterest or Instagram or edit blog posts, I’m in bed by 11:00 so I can get some sleep before getting up in the middle of the night to pump again! I guess you could say by this time, my day is officially over. I keep my cell phone on vibrate and set the alarm, plug-in the baby monitor and sit it beside my pillow or on the bedside table and it’s light out. Goodnight!

So there you have it, a typical day for Kamden and I at home, running errands, going to the gym, cooking supper, doing chores, or being lazy!


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Finish This #14

It’s Week 14 of Finish This! If you’re new here, welcome. This link-up is hosted by LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and I.  If you’ve joined us before, thanks for returning and be sure you add your post to the link-up. If you don’t have a blog, don’t fret. Answer the prompts in a comment. Next week’s prompts are at the bottom of this post.

FinishThis--SMALL

1. On Saturday morning, I usually
get an hour of “me time” by going to the gym for water aerobics. I still get up early (2:30 and 7:30am) to pump, eat breakfast, and make sure Kamden’s first bottle is warm and ready. Husband and Kamden have some ‘boy time’ while I’m gone. I really enjoy water aerobics, but the class is only offered at 9:00am and that’s about the same time Kamden wakes up every morning.

2. I feel beautiful when
Husband is pawing at me. He’s not the most affectionate, lovey-dovey person on the planet, and he’s certainly not vocal about his feelings, but when he expresses his love to me I know it.

3. I wake up every morning
because the increasing pressure in my breasts signal it’s time to pump *OR* my cell phone’s alarm buzzes signaling it’s time to pump *OR* Kamden stirs signaling it’s time for his first bottle of the day. Basically, I’m at the mercy of my boobs and a three-month-old but it’s totally worth it!!!!

4. A happy home
is filled with love, Jesus, fridge art, and dust bunnies in the corner. Oh wait, that last part might just be in my house. If I don’t vacuum soon, I’m going to collect rent from the family of dust bunnies making their home in the corner of our living room.

5. When I have down time, I
am attached to the breast pump, writing blog posts, washing dishes, folding laundry, or, as a really nice treat, I’m taking a hot shower or taking a nap. Last Saturday, Husband and Kamden had a ‘boys only’ morning while I went to the gym, got my hair cut, zipped through the grocery in do-dah fashion, and took a nap later that afternoon. Talk about a glorious day!

Now it’s your turn. Answer these prompts in a post on your own blog or, if you do not have a blog, simply add your responses in a comment. Join us next Wednesday for another round of Finish This where we’ll answer the prompts below!

Prompts for WEEK 15 (April 16) are:
My favorite vacation spot is …
If I won a million dollars I would …
If I could go on a date with ONE celebrity, it would be …
If I found a genie in a bottle, my three wishes would be …
My favorite clothing item is …


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Ain’t nothing in the whole wide world like a Southern girl.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Bourbon & Boots.
I received this product in exchange for an honest review.
All opinions are my own.

If you were born and raised in the South, you’ll understand this post. If you were born elsewhere, bless your heart.

If being Southern is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

In my home, there’s always room for one more and sweet tea. Cornbread and chicken are fried in an iron skillet. I say ‘yes ma’am’ and ‘no sir.’ I prefer dirt roads to paved ones. I believe Sundays are for church, an afternoon nap, and a home cooked family dinner. Front porches are for sitting a spell and, I believe, pearls go with everything!

I received my first freshwater pearl necklace when I was 11 years old. When I turned 16, I received pearl earrings and a matching ring. When Husband and I got married, I borrowed my grandmother’s pearl bracelet and my friend’s horseshoe pendent necklace. Ever since, I’ve wanted a necklace that combines these two Southern traditions into a single piece. To me, the horseshoe is more than a lucky charm hanging above an entryway to ‘catch’ the good stuff. It represents Kentucky, where I’m from, and the fastest two minutes in sports: The Kentucky Derby. A horseshoe is also meaningful because Husband and I are horse owners. When we met, Husband was an avid team roper and had three horses: Curtis, Seven, and Hillbilly. Now, we have one horse, a white one, and his name is Blue.

Thanks to the fine folks at Bourbon & Boots, I have the necklace I’ve always wanted. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, most days I don’t wear my wedding ring or diamond solitaire earrings, but I am in LOVE with this necklace made by Bluegrass Designs in Lexington, Kentucky. It combines two of my favorite things, a horseshoe and pearl, onto a simple, sterling silver chain.

BandB.necklace1

Whether you’re looking for a unique gift or want to show pride for your beloved state, you are sure to find something you love (and love to give) at Bourbon & Boots. You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. In between your online shopping excursions, be sure to read their various articles, regional recipes, and travel recommendations to some of the most unique Southern places on the map. And, if you’re visiting Little Rock, Arkansas, you’re likely to find the gang out and about. Stop and introduce yourself, they love meeting new people and building relationships with folks who appreciate the finer Southern things in life!

Now for some virtual shopping, visit Bourbon & Boots then tell me about your favorite item(s) in a comment below! Maybe, if you’re like me, you like the ‘Mama Tried’ baby onesie. Or the Kentucky Game Day earrings. Or the ‘Whiskey Girl’ fleece sweatshirt. Or the Rouge & Whimsy Mint Tote Bag. Or a ‘Home’ state t-shirt. Or an SEC charm bracelet. I bet you can’t choose just one! =)

As a special treat to my blog readers, Bourbon & Boots is offering a 5% discount off any item! To redeem this amazing deal, simply enter the coupon code blognicolenkevin14 at checkout. HAPPY SHOPPING!


12 Comments

Finish This #13

It’s Week 13 of Finish This! If you’re new here, welcome. This link-up is hosted by LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and I.  If you’ve joined us before, thanks for returning and be sure you add your post to the link-up. If you don’t have a blog, don’t fret. Answer the prompts in a comment. Next week’s prompts are at the bottom of this post.

FinishThis--SMALL

1. I don’t get enough
water, but I’m working hard, every single day, to remedy this. As a breastfeeding/pumping mama, my milk supply depends on my water intake. I keep a 20-oz water bottle with me at all times and refill it throughout the day. When I drink adequate amounts of water, my supply is great. However, when I don’t, my supply drops significantly. Last Saturday, when we went to Husband’s parent’s house for the day, I got distracted by the hustle-and-bustle of a long road trip and visiting with family that I didn’t drink enough water or pump as I normally do either. As a result, my supply plummeted. I was 12 ounces below normal for the day. Fortunately, I’ve built up quite the ‘stash’ in the freezer. A typical day yields 48 ounces, enough to fill six 6oz bottles and two 6oz bags to put in the freezer.

milksupply

2. My favorite indulgence
is eating at Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen. The manager and chef always – ALWAYS – take great care in preparing my meal with great attention to my milk allergy. It’s also a treat to eat here when my mom and aunts are in town. In fact, when they were visiting last month, we ate at Pappadeaux’s FIVE times in two weeks. Does that classify as an addiction?!

3. I made a major change in my life when
I was pregnant. If you’ve been around these blog parts for a while, you’ve read my pregnancy posts about how we found out I was pregnant, how we announced to our families we were expecting, and Kamden’s birth story. It’s been quite the year, to say the least! Yesterday, April 1, I renewed my gym membership and began the #1800minutechallange, committing to 30 minutes of exercise every day for 60 days (during the months of April and May).

4. You should read
Room by Emma Donoghue. It’s the kind of book that you can’t put down but it stays with you long after you’ve finished reading it. I don’t want to give anything away, because it’s truly a book every person should read. To five-year-old Jack, Room is his entire world. In light of recent news stories, Room takes on the realities of the unseen lives some people lead and proves, once again, that you cannot judge a book by its cover! Go, right now, and READ THIS BOOK.

5. ____ is my secret ingredient in

Hellman’s mayonnaise is my secret ingredient in cornbread. I think my cornbread is the best. It’s a tiny bit sweet, a tiny bit spicy, crispy on the edges, and soft and chewy on the inside. It will melt in your mouth.

To make the best cornbread, an iron skillet is a must. If you don’t have an iron skillet, get one. I have my great-grandmother’s iron skillet and several from Le Creuset. If you need an iron skillet, go to Le Creuset and tell them I sent you. Thanks to Husband’s generosity, I’m a VIP customer.

He doesn’t want to hear this, but Le Creuset just came out with a new ‘matte’ collection and I’m in love. Don’t you think I need some new cookware?!

lp_matte-shop_header

The answer is yes. Now, back to the cornbread recipe …

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and place your iron skillet inside while you prepare the batter. I start with a boxed mix (Jif) and add one egg, about a 1/4 cup of milk, two ‘heaping’ tablespoons of Hellman’s mayonnaise, a tablespoon (or two) of my parent’s homemade corn relish and pepper relish, a teaspoon of freshly chopped jalapeno, and a pinch of salt. Stir until just combined then LET IT REST. Don’t touch it, don’t stir it, just leave it alone! Preheat the oven at least 30 minutes to allow the iron skillet to get SCREAMING HOT. Carefully remove skillet and add a teaspoon of vegetable or canola oil to the bottom, then slowly pour the batter into skillet. It makes the most amazing sizzle sound!

**REDUCE OVEN TEMP TO 350**

Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Let it rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Now it’s your turn. Answer these prompts in a post on your own blog or, if you do not have a blog, simply add your responses in a comment. Join us next Wednesday for another round of Finish This where we’ll answer the prompts below!

Prompts for WEEK #14 (April 9) are:
On Saturday morning, I usually
I feel beautiful when
I wake up every morning
A happy home
When I have down time, I

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