crippling fear

They say having a kid changes the way you see/handles things in your life, and boy, does it ever.

This morning, I woke up around 3:30 to the sound of some powerful winds. By 4:15, my phone was beeping with text alerts from the local newspaper/national weather service regarding tornado warnings in our county.

Pre-Cooper, I would have rolled over and gone back to sleep, which is what I attempted to do. But then it got windier. And windier. So I woke up the husband, as I was absolutely terrified. I mean, I couldn't even bring myself to get out of bed to see what it looked like.

He got up and said not to worry. He took my phone away so I'd stop reading all the darn updates {we live on the border of two counties, so I was receiving texts for both.}

I got emotional. I told him we needed to grab our baby and run to the basement NOW. With a mattress. And water. And a year's supply of food. He disagreed. I was about to take Coop and go myself, but when I checked on him and he was sleeping so peacefully I couldn't bring myself to wake him up.

After a couple hours, everything died down enough for me to get a little sleep. After I woke up, I almost had myself convinced I was a lunatic and it wasn't as bad at the thoughts that had been crossing my mind.

About a half hour later, while pumping, I turned the TV on to the local news station. This is the video of the scenes they were showing.

Immediately, I burst into tears. That could have been us. My husband, our baby and myself could have been trapped under all that. Never mind that this was in another state and about an hour away, it scared the living heck out of me.

Hubby and Coop both saw I was a hormonal mess and tried to comfort me. I mean, my three-month old is on the ground shrieking and cooing trying to make me smile while I'm losing it. What is wrong with me?

Nothing, I've decided. I'm a mom now who loves her baby and doesn't want anythng to harm him or any of us. While I used to sit on the front porch as a sotrm appraoched, or at least in front of the window, now my priorites are keeping my little family safe.

And it's not just thunderstorms/tornado watches. I freak out if Cooper is in the car with me and I see someone swerving. No way I speed with him in there. I think all other drivers on the road are idiots {which may be true in Southeast Missouri ...}

I guess you could just say I only want the best for this little guy ...

The storms are expected to continue through the day. Hubby drives a box truck for work and high winds can make those things topple over since they are tall, but without a lot of weight at the top. I told him if it gets super windy, he better pull over. And if he's in the middle of nowhere, he pulls over on the side of the road and crawls into the ditch.

Yeah, I think he's working on a Xanax perscription for me right now.

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Cooper's birth announcement/our holiday card

So, I realized I never shared Cooper's birth announcement/our holiday card. Then again, I didn't get them sent out until mid-January, so I'm cutting myself a little slack :)

Front inspired by one my cousin, Ashton, found on Pinterest. Ashton works at a printing company and actually designed the card for us, I just provided the photos and text. I wish I could afford to mail one to all of you!

last name blurred to protect our privacy ...

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weekend wrap-up/menu monday

Happy Monday! Hope you all had a great weekend. Ours was OK.

Friday night we were pretty lazy and just watched TV.

Oh, and I'm happy to report that Mr. Cooper {apparently} just needed his swaddle to sleep through the night. He did about nine hours every night since I gave it back.

On {Saturday} we had a big day planned. After breakfast and morning nap, we headed up to the big city of Cape Girardeau for some shopping. We hit up a home improvement-type store to get some ideas for our bathrooms, kitchen, tile, etc. The only project in our near future is the basement, but we've never been in this store, so we thought it would be fun to check it out. We also hit up Hob Lob for a few things for a project in Cooper's room.

After that, we went to visit our friends Josh & Liz and have lunch with them. Little man was an angel and I'd say a great baby salesman. Seriously - if any of you ladies need help convincing your man the time is right, have us for a visit! He cooed, smiled, entertained himself while we were eating and was just perfect!

Sweet little angel - 2.25.12

love him SO much!
We also hit up the mall so I could use some of my store birthday coupons. At VS, I bought a racerback yoga tank as well as some yoga crop pants. Maybe having cute clothes will encourage me to begin working out again? And at Penney's, I bought a khaki trench coat that I think will be perfect for spring!

We also hit up Tar-jay and Kohls. Kohls is having AMAZING clearance right now, by the way. I actually stayed out of my department and just picked up a few things I'm hoping will fit Coop next winter.

Once we got home, we had to run over and feed J's brother's horses as they were out of town. Hubby isn't too familiar with these horses, so Coo pand I went with just in case. We also picked up some supper at a little diner on the way home. I ordered a yummy chef salad, and it looked delish - until I took a bite and realized they put onions in although I requested they didn't. BOOOOOOO! I still ate most of it, picking around the yuckiness, although I probably shouldn't have

Because ... I didn't sleep well at all that night and on {Sunday} woke up with a horrible stomachache, headache, etc.. I mean, I got up to feed Coop then went back to bed until 11 a.m., when I got up, forced myself to eat some cereal, then fed Coop again and went back to bed. Around 3 p.m. I finally felt good enough to do some housework. I'm pretty convinced it's that the onions did a number on my system, which reminds me why I don't like to eat them.

I slept much better last night {like a three-month baby} and am glad that today is so beautiful!

On to the menu plan. Ugh. I feel like I am in a MAJOR cooking rut right now. If you have any favorite, easy recipes you think I should try, please leave them in the comments!

Sunday: Leftover pork chops, cheesy potatoes, mac & cheese. Brownie sundae for dessert!
Monday: Lasagna, salad
Tuesday: BBQ sandwiches, fries, mac & cheese
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: OMG chicken {recipe from Pinterest}, mashed potatoes, green beans
Friday: Tunafish sandwiches, tomato soup
Saturday: Leftovers.

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Hodge podge

  • It was absolutely beautiful yesterday and the temperatures hit the 70s! I even took a photo for documentation purposes, especially since the high today is 46. WTF? 

    Don't judge that we still haven't pulled the protective film off :)
  • Since it was so nice, we grilled last night. It was so good. One of my favorite things about warm weather :)
  • I also decided to bring the big camera outside for a little photoshoot. I tried to upload some of my favorites but the computer is being dumb. So next week ...
  • I'm super happy today because I finally got a full night's sleep :) You don't realize how great that is until your kid wakes up at 3 a.m. THREE NIGHTS IN A ROW. Our boy apparently really likes his swaddle so we're buying a new swaddle sack this weekend.
  • We've decided to refinance our home loan. When we bought the house about 2.5 years ago, we locked in 5.375, which was excellent. Well, now we could get 3.875 - which would mean saving about $75 a month. It's costing us around $2,000 in closing costs, but we'll have recouped that in two years. Plus, we already round up our payment to about $25 extra a month, so if we kept paying that, it would mean paying the house off in probably 20 or so years ...
  • Next month hubby pays off his truck :) Very excited about that.
  • What the heck is going on with gas prices? I can't even tell you how much they have spiked recently. I feel like I should fill up every day because it's so crazy.
  • We are loving the CMT shows "Bayou Billionaires" and "My Big Redneck Vacation." Totally wish we could get some of that 'mailbox money.'
  • Speaking of TV, I forgot that I have to reset Survivor every season. So we missed the season premiere last week, but I don't think we missed too much.  
  • I really hate how confusing Walmart is. I was looking for baby Vicks. In the baby section with diapers, etc. they had regular ... which is bad for babies. So I look in baby needs in hygiene ... not there either. Finally I found it in the pharmacy section. GRRRR!
  • My drivers license expired a few weeks ago. On my birthday, of course. I was actually still using the one since I turned 21, with my maiden name, because I loved the picture and wasn't ready to give it up. Sad, I know. Well, I actually ended up with another decent picture and hubby said he thinks it's better than the last one. He says taking ID photos must be my thing, haha. 
  • We're going shopping this weekend, mostly to use up the free coupons I got for my birthday. Yay! We're also going to some friends' house for lunch and I volunteered to bring dessert. I don't remember the last time I baked something yummy.
  • I am STARVING right now. No one would frown on me for having lunch around 11 a.m., right?

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Cooper: 3 months!

Hard as it is to believe, our little man is already a quarter of a year old today. He's in disbelief as I'm sitting in the corner with a box of Kleenex.

This has been such a fun month - probably my favorite so far! He is just becoming a real person and I love seeing that character shine through.

Cooper loves to "talk" to us. His favorite is "a goo goo goo" which I think means "I love you" because his face lights up every time I say this to him. He has a beautiful smile and truly smiles with his whole face - I can just be looking at his eyes and know that he's smiling.

Little Mister now loves his play mat. The other night, he lay there for about an hour, batting at Mr. Frog and the giraffe. He likes batting at the snimals in the gym over his Pack & Play as well, but prefers the mat because he can look around while playing there. Sometimes, he wears himself out and just takes a nap on the mat!

He still loves his swing, but we aren't using it every day like we used to.

And man, the boy is growing! I did the ever-so-official weighing me and him then just myself, and it looks like he is 15.2 lbs. That's about 3 pounds in one month! It's crazy that it took him two months to gain 2.5 lbs., but only one to gain 3! Not really sure on his length, we may try to figure that this weekend :)

A few weeks ago, his sitter noticed the bottles weren't really satisfying him, so we upped him from 5 to 6 ounces per bottle. For the most part, he has been eating around 6-6:30 a.m. (sometimes I have to wake him!), 10 a.m., 2 p.m., 5:45 p.m. and 9 p.m. He nurses  except for the 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. sessions, when he has pumped milk, and we give him an additional 2-3 ounces of pumped "daddy" milk in a bottle at bedtime to really fill him up.

Last weekend, I took away the swaddle but I think it's going back for another month. He did so well Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, but the past three he's been waking up around 3 a.m. just whimpering, so he gets a paci, and I've been having to get up to feed him anywhere from 3:30-5 a.m. the past few days. This mama isn't used to that! A lot of what we've read indicates 4 months is about the right time to take away the swaddle, so we're going to buy a bigger swaddle sack for him this weekend and hope that helps. This mama needs her sleep again!

Poor little thing is losing his hair and it's growing back a bit lighter. I glanced at a photo in my digital frame at work the other day and realized just how different it is and just about cried. He had such beautiful hair as a newborn ....

He's definitely discovering new things about himself and that he can control body parts like his tongue and arms. Or this morning, trying to eat his feet.

One of his favorite things to do is "stand" (with our help, of course) and show how strong he is. Still no rolling over, but he does roll to his side quite a bit. And it doesn't help that we don't put him down for tummy time too much at home - it's easier for babes to roll from tummy to back than back to tummy.

He loves the TV also - I think it's something with the contrasting colors? He loves nothing more than to be in his daddy's nook watching our shows with us every night.

This month, he's experienced his first earthquake, Super Bowl, Mizzou/kU game and Valentines Day.

He is such a ham and still seems to really enjoy daycare - and it doesn't hurt that all the kids love him too. His sitter said he'll often just sit to the side and laugh at the other kids - and boy, his laugh is adorable, too! One of the little girls just loves him and asked to be picked up so she can see him every morning - precious!

Life is so much sweeter with this little guy. He is such a happy, precious little baby. I hate leaving him every day and still rush home to see him. He definitely keeps us on our toes and makes our house so much more filled with love.

Happy three months, love bug! We love you more than you'll ever know!

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What I'm Loving

Link up with Jamie :)

{1} I'm LOVING my little guy's new BFF. By the way, Truman is the mascot at Mizzou, my alma matter, and one of my former professors sent this stuffed animals (already wearing a mortarboard and carrying a diploma) saying Cooper must follow in mama's footsteps :)

{2} I'm LOVING that it's a sunny, beautiful day. It's February and temps are in the 60s? Yes, please.

{3} I'm LOVING that we're going shopping and spending time with some good friends this weekend.

{4} I'm LOVING that the week is {almost} halfway over. I'm tired!

{5} I'm LOVING these recent pins

{6} I'm LOVING Tuesday lunches with one of my best friends. It's nice having one day set aside every week to visit.

{7} I'm LOVING my amazing husband :)

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shake, rattle and roll

So, we had a little excitement in southeast Missouri this morning - a 4.0 earthquake.

The epicenter was within 10 miles of my house! It rattled so much, I actually thought for a minute the house was ripping in two.

Image from the USGS website
 You know how people always say babies can sense things like earthquakes? I TOTALLY believe it now. Mr. Cooper has been doing a great job of sleeping through the night and I don't even remember the last time he woke up before 5 a.m. But around 3:15, I heard him sorta whimpering, so after a few minutes, I got his pacifier, figuring that would help soothe him back to sleep. About 10 minutes later, he was whining again, so I fed him. No more than 10 minutes after I got back to bed {at 3:58 a.m. to be exact} the earthquake hit. Coincidence?

Oddly enough, he didn't make a peep and when I checked on him, he was sound asleep.

Of course, when I logged onto Facebook this morning I saw there was a huge party on there at 4 a.m. Ha! Don't you love how the first thing we do is update our Facebook after something like that?

And this is the image circulating this morning, which simply cracks me up.

All in all, I'm glad that we're safe and there is no damage. And I'm considering shelling out the big bucks to add earthquake insurance to my home.

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miscellany monday

Hi again :)

Let's not talk about how long its taken me to get this up. Blogger is ca-razy today!
  • Our weekend was ah-mazing. I pretty much chnaged from one pair of pajamas/lounge pants to another the entire time. To me, that is heaven.
  • We did rent a couple of movies on Friday night. I got Bridesmaids and Killer Elite. I had heard great things about Bridesmaids but was disappointed - it was so uninteresting to me, I fell asleep. Hubby did enjoy his movie - obvs, since it has Jason Statham.
  • I'm so jealous I'm not off work today. We get a lot of holidays, but NOTHING is planned off in February or August, so it stinks.
  • This morning, my babysitter told me she thinks she has bronchitis. My kneejerk reaction was to just grab my baby and walk out the door, but that wasn't exactly feasible. I do plan to leave the office shortly after noon and work from home, then have my mom watch him tomorrow because I don't want him to be exposed. Is that crazy?
  • I just realized I've hit 50 followers! I may have to do a giveaway soon :)
  • I'm trying really hard to eat more fruits and veggies, but it's tough. I mean, cookies and chips sound so much better.
  • I totally fell off the Fab Ab Feburary train. Blaming it on my birthday. I got behind, did some doubles to try and catch up, been busy, blah blah blah. Now I'm a full week behind. Maybe I'll start it back up tonight? Or March 1?
  • I did a bit of extra work with my freelance job this month and was excited to have the "extra" money. Then I got my vehicle insurance bill and it hit me that the billing is different now since my parents transferred the title for my old car. So much for money in savings.
  • Hubby and I spent a good two hours yesterday organizing the hospital bills, EOBs, etc. from my maternity care/Cooper's birth. I think it's all in line now. I did somehow pay $76 (over the phone) but can't find the bill for it. I'm calling today.
  • Speaking of bills, I got an almost $2K EOB from the doctors office and best not ever get the bill. Long story short: I intended to get Mirena but the nurse pracitioner who saw me for my postpartum appt. couldn't get it placed. She figured it was a polyp or something, so had me come back the next day to see the actual doctor. They thought they had it placed, but failed TWICE. I have a retroverted uterus. Anyhow, they told me I wouldn't be charged, but it appears they turned it into my insurance ... and then my insurance denied coverage b/c she is apparently not in my network. If I get a bill, I will raise all kinds of hell.
  • We did a lot of talking about money, the budget, etc. over the weekend. Basically, we decided to be very aggressive this year to get a lot paid off so we can begin working toward other projects {ie a horse barn.} I'm excited, as it means we shouldn't have any debt other than our house and my care by Jan. 1, but nervous about not having a lot of flexible money, funds for vacation, etc.
  • I hate grocery shopping at Walmart. I try to only go once a month.
  • I feel like I am in a cooking rut. Here's the tentative menu:
    • Sunday: Hamburgers and fries
    • Monday: BBQ meatballs, cheesy potatoes, green beans
    • Tuesday: Pork chops in gravy, mashed potatoes, slaw
    • Wednesday: Salmon patties, fried potatoes, noodles in tomato juice
    • Thursday: Leftovers
    • Friday: Grilled cheese and tomato soup
    • Saturday: Out. I'm hoping for either Olive Garden or a hibachi grill
  • Happy Monday! What random things are going on in your life?

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Make my Monday #1

Mommy’s Sippy Cup

I'm participating in a new linkup today! But don't worry, I'll be back with a miscellany monday soon ... especially since I didn't have time for my randoms post on Friday.

My blog buddy Kelly is teaming up with Jess for this new linkup, and I love the questions for this week.

In one word, describe ...

your life: FULL! I have a fabulous little family, job, etc. and can't want for anything more.

your love: EVERYTHING. When I love someone, I give them my everything and love them deeply, regardless of anything else.

your body: AMAZING. Not in the supermodel body way {believe me, I am definitely still recovering from having a baby} but in the way that it did allow the growth and development of a healthy baby and now makes the food to feed the babe. It's really cool if you just sit back and think about it.

your cooking: EASY. I love to cook but don't have a lot of time, so I live for meals that are quick and easy to throw together, especially Crock Pot ones :)

your career: GRATIFYING. I'm working to bring higher education and workforce training closer to home.

your hobby: NONEXISTANT. I'm not crafty, and I barely have time to shower daily, so no time for hobbies.

your style: CLASSIC. I like to wear basic pieces with pops of color/trendiness. Same when it comes to expensive jewelry and home decor.

your blog: DIARY. It's random with all sorts of bits and pieces from my life.

your home: RELAXED. I've finally given in to realize that I need to worry less about cleaning up the mess and more about making memories. One day, all I will have to do is clean, and that will be sadz.

This was fun ... you should join in :)

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Guest Post: Underrated and unique vacation destinations {for families!}

Since we have a little one now, it's definitely going to change how and where we vacation! We do LOVE the beach though, so it's important to us that we find a family-friendly destination.

Meet Christina Johnson. She works remotely for Elliman Prudential in the New York City Apartments and Rentals market.  She is using her journalism major to combine what she loves most, writing and her career. Her specialties include home decor design and DIY home improvement projects.

When Christina approached me about doing a guest post on the blog, it didn't take me long to say yes! Obviously finding a family-friendly vacation destination is important now. Not only that, I can totally relate to wanting to use your journalism degree although your career is not in the field. Her article definitely gives me some ideas - and I hope you get them, too!\

Oh, and if you have any great locations to add to this list, please let me know!

Long lines at tourist attractions, overbooked hotels, and a lack of family-friendly activities can make vacationing at some of the really popular places less fun than it should be. But there are a number of places that you can vacation that don't get quite the amount of busy tourist activity as some of the more popular places. Located in the United States and around the world, these cities offer more than just hotels, movie theaters, and restaurants. They offer a wide variety of activities that adults and children can appreciate.

Amelia Island in Florida is not as well known as areas such as Orlando, Miami, or Key West, but that does not mean it has nothing to offer vacationers. Visitors can have a short stay at a bed and breakfast, hotel, or resort. They can also have an extended stay at a rental condo or house, or go camping in one of the local campsites. Beaches offer opportunities for swimming, horseback riding, hiking, or collecting seashells. Companies such as EoMotion Segway Tours provide off-road adventures on segways through Fort George Island State Park. Visitors can also take Segway, bicycle, or kayak tours through the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort Nature Center. Guided tours showcase birds, turtles, crabs, night creatures, and plant life.

While Houston, Texas is one of the largest cities in the country, it is not always considered a hot spot for vacationers. But it offers a wide variety of activities for families. The Galleria shopping mall has luxury stores, restaurants, cafes, an arcade, and a year-round ice skating rink. NASA and Space Center Houston have tours and interactive exhibits for adults and children. Visitors can see hundreds of animals at the Houston Zoo or have an educational and fun experience at the Houston Museum of Science and History. The Houston Children's Museum was created specifically for children, with interactive exhibits, guest speakers, art classes, and film events. For visitors arriving in the city during certain times of the year, there are large events to attend such as the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the National Dog Show.

For those families that wish to travel on an international scale, there are cities throughout Europe that have activities both parents and children will enjoy. Munich, Germany is home to amusement parks, marionette theaters, museums, and castles. Beer halls are often kid-friendly, offering special menus especially for the under age set. The Munich Toy Museum has a wide collection of historical toys from both Europe and America, including dolls, plush bears, and trains. Tierpark Hellabrun, the Munich Zoo, cover almost 90 acres and includes over 5,000 animal inhabitants situated in simulated natural habitats. There are also pony and camel rides, a petting zoo, and a seasonal penguin parade.

Also home to castles and other historic activities, Edingburgh, Scotland is home to gardens, museums, and countryside day trips. Tours can be taken through Edingburgh Castle, one of the most iconic fortresses in the country. Day trips can be taken through guided tour groups to areas such as Loch Ness, home of the fabled Loch Ness Monster. Families can also explorer the Museum of Childhood, a multi-level exhibition with collections of toys, clothing, games, craft items, and other objects that showcase the many aspects of childhood.

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What I'm Loving

Link up with Jamie!

{1} I'm loving that we all had a great Valentines yesterday! Hubby got very sweet cards for Cooper and myself, and I bought hubby a big can of Honey Roasted Peanuts and wrote on the envelope to his card that I'm "nuts" about him! Ha!
Mr. Cooper also had a haul. He got books from mommy & daddy and said he would share his candy treats from his daycare friends with us :) His sitter bought him a new toy to strap onto his carseat (which he LOVES) and he also got a couple of little rubber duckies. He told me he can't wait for bathtime tonight!

{3} I'm loving that I work for a school and since there was slightly inclement weather on Monday, we got off work at 3 and also didn't go in until 10 a.m. Tuesday.

{4} I'm also loving that in one month, we will be on spring break :) I am having a yard sale with my mom.

{5} I'm loving how cute this little baseball player is :) When Coop was given this outfit a few weeks ago, the temps were in the 60s and I was afraid he wouldn't get to wear it :( I HATE cold weather, so it's saying a lot that I was hoping it would get cold enough for him to wear a few times.

{6} I'm loving Red Stamp. It's a free iPhone app where you can make postcards. Then you deliver electronically, or you can even have them printed and sent. I made one for hubby and my parents yesterday :)


 {7} I'm loving this photo I saw on facebook. Hubby loved it as well :)

{8} I'm loving that I get to go to lunch with my mama today :)

{9} I'm loving that baby Coop has such great grandparents who can't stand to go more than a couple weeks without seeing him :) So thankful that we live closeby - my niece lives six hours away and I know it kills them to not see her very often.

{10} I'm loving my sweet, sweet husband who is my Valentine EVERY day :)

What are you loving today?

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my love, my valentine

This is a little different from the other Valentines survey that's been floating around :) I wish I could remember who to give credit for it to, but I have had it saved in my drafts for so long I don't remember.

Happy day of love! This little guy blows you all kisses!

♥ What are your middle names?
Michelle Kathryn
J**** Daniel

♥ How long have you been together?
Eight years

♥ How long did you know each other before you started dating?
It was sorta immediate. I mean, we didn't call ourselves boyfriend/girlfriend from the start, but I was in college four hours away and neither of us felt comfortable with seeing anyone else after we met.

♥ Who asked whom out?
He asked me :) We met through mutual friends one night, and then next he asked if I wanted to come over and watch a movie - although it wasn't just us at the time!

♥ How old are each of you?
27 & 36

♥ Whose siblings do/did you see the most?
His. But we don't see many people at all these days!
 ♥ Do you have any children together?
Yup! Our little love bug, Cooper Michael, pictured above :) And of course, Hank Dog and our three horses.

♥ What about pets?
Whoops, should have scrolled down!
Hank - chocolate lab. 11 years old.
Doc, Scarlett and Jax - horses.

♥ Did you go to the same school?
 ♥ Are you from the same home town?
No, but the same area. Sort of. His family moved A LOT when he was a kid.

♥ Who is the smartest?
Depends on what you are talking about. He definitely has more common sense/applied knowledge, but I'm more book smart - I have the college degree and am good at spelling, grammar, etc.

♥ Who is more sensitive?

♥ Where do you eat out most as a couple?
Um ... we get Burger King most often. Other than that, probably Buffalo Wild Wings? We don't go out to eat much and we like to change it up.

♥ Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
San Juan, Puerto Rico
 ♥ Who has the craziest exes?
Definitely hubby. I could *really* go into it here but I won't. It's the day of love, after all :)

♥ Who has the worst temper?
Him. He's such a perfectionist and gets so upset when things don't go right.

♥ Who does the cooking?
Mostly me, but hubby grills and ALWAYS makes the pancakes. And helps with some other foods.

♥ Who is more social?
We both are. I typically am more of a planner who always needs something going on, but he will stay out later. And when we go to Walmart he knows at least twice as many people as I do.

♥ Who is the neat-freak?
Neither of us
 ♥ Who is more stubborn?
I'd say it's pretty even
 ♥ Who hogs the bed?
We both do in a way! Lately I think he does ... we swapped sides of the bed when I was preggo and he's still used to kicking his leg out on the side - which is now toward me!
 ♥ Who wakes up earlier?
I do, unless Cooper sleeps in :) Before he was born, hubby didn't wake me up until he was out of the shower.

♥ Where was your first date?
Out to the Mexican restaurant

♥ Who has the bigger family?
He does - youngest of five kids and a big extended family. But he isn't too close to his extended family, while I am.

♥ Do you get flowers often?
Naw and that's OK. They just die. I'd rather have the cheap Aldi or Walmart bouquet.
 ♥ How do you spend the holidays?
Mostly split between our families.
 ♥ Who is more jealous?
Used to we both were, but I'd say it's not an issue anymore.

♥ How long did it take to get serious?
Mmm I don't know. He was my first great love. I'd say it didn't take long, but we were in a long distance relationship for a 3.5 years and he has a psycho ex, so that is why it took five years to become engaged.

♥ Who eats more?
Typically hubby, but since I am BFing I can match him these days!

♥ Who does/did the laundry?
Mostly me, but we both fold/put away.

♥ Who’s better with the computer?

♥ Who drives when you are together?
Him 99% of the time

Happy Valentine's Day! I got hubby a goofy little gift and we bought a few books for Cooper. Tonight we're eating leftover chili and cuddling in front of the TV with our littlest Valentine - what are your plans?


Nice to meet ya!

I've had a few new followers/commenters lately so I thought it was time for an "About Me" post. Also, if you're visiting from Kelly's Korner or Neely's blog, welcome!

I'm Michelle. I'm a wife and a mama :)

Cooper Michael blessed our lives with his arrival on 11.23.11. He was a big boy, weighing 9 lbs. 13 ounces.

 We love him to pieces...

Those boys are pretty much my life :)

In 2007, I graduated from the University of Missouri (GO TIGERS!) with a degree in journalism, with an emphasis in newspapers. Since I met my hubby while on a school break, I returned to Southeast Missouri, where I grew up, and worked at the local newspaper for four years. Last summer, I was offered a job in the Office of Development at community college, which I accepted.

Being a working mom is hard. Almost every morning, I want to cry when I leave Coop at the sitters. But right now, hubby and I know that me working is what can give our little nugget the best possible life. I mean, how else are we going to pay for him to go to medical school and have all the training he needs to be a professional baseball player? For the St. Louis Cardinals, of course.

Blogging is one of the few escapes I have now days. It's where I can say what I want and just get things off my chest. I still love to write but don't get that so much in my new job. Most importantly, it's a way to document our lives. Coop's baby book is kinda sad, but I know that I have TONS of information about him on here.

Although it's not the reason I began blogging, I do love the friendships I've made along the way, too. I LOVE connecting with all these smart, talented women. They sure have opened my eyes to lots of other ideas, etc. While I was pregnant, the advice I got was invaluable, and now I'm just another mama and blogger trying to pay it forward.

Although I talk about my little angel quite a bit, I do have a few other interests in my life. Specifically cooking and renovating/decorating our home. Pinterest. And I love saving money.

So ... tell me more about you!

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This & That

  • So, I had a 7 a.m. meeting today and it was a 45 minute drive. Which means getting up at 5. Ugh. Luckily I have a great sitter. Although hubby commented (and it's true) I need to stop taking jobs where I have to get up so early, even if it is only one day a month.
  • Wanna know what I really hate? I mean, absolutely can't stand ... people who drive the wrong way through the Walmart parking lot. The arrows point to a specific direction for a reason!
  • It's spitting snow today. And supposed to REALLY snow on Sunday night/Monday morning. I'm really hoping for a snow day ... I need a day off work!
  • I wish there weren't a Valentine's day. Hubby and I never do much for the holiday ... I honestly think it's designed to just make people feel bad, even if they are in a relationship! And then yesterday, the sitter sent home a list with all the kids names and info for their party. Ugh. What in the heck is my two-month-old supposed to do besides sit to the side and laugh at all the crazy kids? And unfortunately Coop has the least creative mom in the entire planet, so it looks like he'll be sharing cards with suckers, unless one of you have a fabulous idea?
  • Poor Coop is still so snotty :( We suction him twice a day and the sitter usually does it twice also. And I run a humidifier at night. This morning, the poor boo choked a bit twice while I was feeding him and he also spit up all over his outfit. Me no likey.
  • Hubby and I got our taxes submitted yesterday. Blech. No, we don't owe money, but we didn't get back as much as we thought we would. We decided that we shouldn't have gotten married and would have gotten about double the refund. It's just frustrating to see all these single parents get back double to triple what we did. {Later added: Not that being a single parent is bad, but we live in a town where we see people work the system who can tell you that you max out with four kids, all with different dads. Seriously?}
  • I did inform hubby that we will be buying/renting Breaking Dawn tomorrow. Due to its release date, we never made it to the theatre to see it.
  • I refuse to swap over to timeline on facebook. It confuses me.
  • This morning someone showed me a new type of otterbox/iPhone case that also serves as a charger and doubles the battery life. I must look into that.
  • My mom is too sweet! She and my dad were in town to visit the accoutant the other day, so they dropped by my office with a small birthday cake she'd made (although I told her not to) as well as some dumplings and slaw - two of my favorites. Don't be too jealous :)
  • I admitted to hubs last night that I already have baby fever. Actually more like preggo fever. I'm not sure if it's from so many people I know in real life and through social media are preggo or what, but I so want a cute little bump again. But trust me, I'm we're not planning on that for a couple more years. Ideally, we'd like an early summer baby and I feel best about having 2.5-3 years age difference. I seriously don't think I could handle two in diapers at the same time.
  • I didn't do fab ab February on Tuesday and have been a big slacker since. I think I'll get on track and double up this weekend.
  • I am so ready for the new seasons of Survivor and the Amazing Race.
  • All I wanna do this weekend is clean out my car, clean the house, do laundry, and cuddle under the covers with chili watching movies. Actually I don't want to do the cleaning and laundry, but I have to so I may as well tell myself I want to.
  • Happy weekend. Keep those fingers crossed for a Monday snow day :)

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Me as a Mom: Breastfeeding

This wraps up the list of posts I planned to write, so far, about my mommy experience. If you have any questions about anything else, just let me know and I'll address it! I do plan to do a post of all my favorite products every three months or so :)

So I figured it was about time to go ahead and dedicate a post to breastfeeding. Cooper is 11 weeks old and still exclusively breastfed :)

For us, it works. I realize that for others, it may not - and I definitely don't judge people one way or another. But I feel very blessed I can breastfeed, despite my feelings on it pre-baby.

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I'd hoped (while still pregnant) that something would come up and I would be unable to continue breastfeeding. Honestly, I didn't see myself going much past two months. Around one month, I figured I would aim to do it for six months. Now, I'm thinking that it would be awesome to go a full year. And I constantly freak out about supply issues, although I haven't had to dip into my freezer supply yet, and typically freeze at least one five-ounce bag a week. It's not a lot, but it helps keep me sane

Honestly, I wouldn't have even breastfed in the first place if it weren't for hubby's urging. We were both formula babies and turned out yet fine. I didn't want to be attached to my kid at all times. It just plain grossed me out. In the beginning, it hurt.

But I'm a good wifey and promised hubby I would try. Right on, I LOVED the bond/connection I had with Cooper. I still get a great feeling when someone else is holding him and he's hungry because only I can calm him in that way. It's actually kind of a mischevious feeling, haha.

I had Cooper on a Wednesday and we came home on Friday. We didn't seem to have any issues in the hospital. There, they gave me some soothies and had me begin wearing them early on (mamas, you must get these! They are expensive if you buy them, but worth it!). He was a very good, efficient nurser and really only went every four or so hours. I was a bit concerned about this because "they" say babies should eat eight to 12 times a day, but the doctors said he was gaining just fine, so keep doing what we were doing.

As luck would have it, my milk came in on Saturday, our first day without the help of nurses. Holy crap, that was bad. I had no idea what to do. Of course, that's also when my n*pples began to hurt. Seriously, every time Cooper latched on, it felt like a million or so needles were being stuck. The cream didn't even seem to work (later on, it did - and I quit using it between two and three weeks.)

Our hospital really encourages breastfeeding. A lactation consultant visited with us both days in the hospital, and actually sent me home with a pad full of pads, more soothies, etc. (Tip on the soothies - have two sets to alternate and keep one in the fridge!) Anyhow, the LCs have a cell phone they encourage you to call at any time. So I call, in tears. And end up getting the voicemail. I was in so much pain, so frustrated and so hormonal, I was about to begin pumping only.

While I waiting for her to call back, I pulled out the pump and got busy. Only to realize later I should have sterilized everything first so I had to pour about 8 ounces down the drain. Yeah, that was bad.

Once the LC called back, she gave me awesome advice. She encouraged me to wait another week and promised it would get better soon - probably in just a few days. She also told me that if I only pumped, I would in no way be able to produce enough and would have to start supplementing soon.

So that's what I did - toughed it out. And it did get better. Soon, the only issue was the cluster feeding in the evening, but that went away around four weeks. It was tough though - I would feed and burp, and in no time he wanted to eat again. No matter what time I went to take a bath, he'd decide he was starving and wanted to eat RIGHT NOW.

I also pumped A LOT during those first couple weeks, figuring it would never hurt to have extra in the freezer.

We introduced a bottle when Cooper was just over one month old. I was nervous but he did GREAT and has no problems swapping between boob and bottle. Until I went back to work, he just had a bottle of pumped milk at bedtime every night, which was a great way to make sure he was getting enough to eat and getting him used to the bottle.
By about four weeks, my supply leveled off a bit. Then the week before I went back to work, I realized I needed to make sure I would continue to make enough, since it seemed Coop was a pretty big eater - right now, people are shocked I'm able to keep up with him when they hear how much he takes in a bottle.
I did some research (and my LC later confirmed this was the best process) to see what I should do. Basically, it recommended pumping after EVERY feeding, even if it was only an ounce or less. Breastfeeding is such a supply and demand thing, and by emptying, you tell your body you are out and to make more.

So here's our loose schedule:
Morning - nurse (typically 6:30 a.m., but whenever he woke. Sometimes twice if he woke in middle of nice.) Pump after feeding.
Pump 3 times while at work. Usually 9:30, noon and 2:30. Up to this week, he would typically finish three 5 oz. bottles while at the sitters - around 9:30-10 a.m.; 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Luckily, I seem to produce 4 to 5 ounces at each feeding so I can keep up. This week, however, we bumped him up to 6 ounce bottles because he was getting fussy about a half hour later. I'm taking three 6 ounce bottles but it seems he is only finishing two and then maybe another 3 ounces as a snack.
Nurse at home (usually around 6-7 p.m.)
Nurse for bedtime feeding - typically 9 - 10 p.m., as we wait three hours between this feeding. For the past couple weeks, I've been empty but he's still been hungry, so I've also been giving him 2-3 ounces from a bottle which seems to do the trick - he's full and happy and sleeps eight to nine hours.

Weekends are a bit different, as Coop seems to like to eat more often when he's around me. It's often every 2-3 hours.

When we began adding the bottle of pumped milk in addition to nursing at bedtime, it seemed Cooper was consuming more than I was pumping most days. So I began taking Fenugreek (two pills three times a day) and that has really helped. I'd say that now I'm pumping an extra 4 to 5 oz. per day now. I know I could have gotten up around 2 a.m. to pump as well and I would if I had to, but it's hard to get up just to pump when your baby is sleeping through the night. And now, I think I pump as much after he eats in the morning as I would in another session anyhow.

Breastfeeding definitely isn't all sunshine and daisies though. I constantly worry whether he is getting enough, whether I am eating healthy, if something I eat will upset his tummy, etc. I felt horrible at his two week checkup when he was still 2 ounces below birth weight. The doctor tried to reassure me, but still... Even now, that I see he is growing, I'm still concerned. We know a baby born two days after Coop who weighed about two lbs. less who is now 1 lb. more! But, this other child is a formula baby and I'm told they gain faster. So I'm trying to let it go and be more confident.

In terms of food, I actually eat pretty much whatever I want, but still stay away from fish that may contain mercury. I down at least four bottles of water daily. I do drink alcohol, but only about one drink every three hours. A blog friend sent me an article and I have the link somewhere, if anyone is interested, that backs up why this is OK.

But there are so many plusses. I mean, first off, you don't have to worry about contamination. Next off, it's great for postpartum weight loss - I totally credit breastfeeding for me losing all the baby weight in 1.5 weeks and being back in my regular jeans in two weeks. It's easy too - I know how much I hate washing those damn bottles and all their parts every night (we use Dr. Browns) so I'd really hate doing more - not to mention how, if he does need a middle-of-the-night feeding, I can have him fed in less time than it would take to heat a bottle. (Thanks for bringing me to reality on this, Ashley.)

And, uh, what about the fact that it's FREE? So happy we aren't spending 100 bucks a month just on formula. Most of all I know, without a doubt, that it's the best thing for my son and formulated to his needs - it really is amazing that our bodies can not only make milk, but how it changes over time.

I've been working on this post for awhile. I will indicate that last week, I believe I had a clogged duct. Once again, our LC came to the rescue and simply ordered me to pump more often (if possible) so I could keep things moving.

Oh, did I mention how GREAT my employer is when it comes to breastfeeding? Luckily, I am in an office with no windows, so I can simply close the door. And, I have a fridge in my office. But our employee handbook states that nursing mothers will not only be given the time to pump, without penalty, but also the space to do so if they don't have office space like mine. My LC says to consider myself very fortunate for this.

I always wanted to know what others used, so here's my rundown:
  • Nursing bras. I bought two sleep bras and one "real" one that was kinda stretchy before he arrived. About a week before I went back to work, I bought two more. All from JC Penney and I like all of them.
  • 2 nursing camis - one black, one white, and I'm constantly febreezing them :) I LOVE these. But now that I'm a bit more experienced, I can do the regular camis with a nursing bra beneath.
  • I have a Medela double electric breast pump. Our LCs recommend these most. I can't find a link to my specific model because I actually ordered it through our local health department's WIC office. Here, those in a lower income class can "rent" pumps for however long they need and simply have to repay the deposit. Well we made too much money to qualify, but they said they would order me a pump and I would just have to pay the cost! Mine is similar to the Medela Pump In Style Advanced, it just has the cooler in the big bag and is khaki, not black. And I paid less than half of what the similar pump cost at Target! I will note that other pharmacies in our area rent pumps and while they are the commercial-grade ones, it would have cost me as much to rent one for 12 weeks as I paid for mine. And I would have had to buy new tubing, etc. So I'm already ahead :)
  • Medela pump and save bags. I was one of those who thought if I had a Medela pump, everything should be! So far, I like these, although I have heard complaints. I think before I buy more, I'm going to thaw a couple bags to make sure they do OK. If not, I've heard great things about Lansinoh and Honeysuckle-brand bags.
  • N*pple cream. The hospital gave me samples of Lansinoh and Medela and I preferred the Medela.
  • Nursing pads. I got several samples. Guess what? I didn't like the Medela. I prefer the Lansinoh. They stick in place and stay much smoother. Although nowdays I don't really leak so I don't wear them anymore. I looked into getting washable, reusable pads, but a friend advised me against that, as they have been linked to thrush.
I'm hoping that Cooper and I can continue down this road and hit that one year mark. Although I have to admit, I'm a bit terrified of how things will feel once teeth come in :)

If you have any questions, PLEASE feel free to email me. I'm pretty sure I am the most understanding when it comes to concerns considering I never saw myself on this path.

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