. . . for Lauren and Lauren: March 2015

March 30, 2015

Easter egg hunt chaos

scarf and tee: target   jeans: old navy  boots: justfab

This weekend we went to an Easter egg hunt and it was one of the shortest, funniest thing I've watched.  50 toddlers in a roped off square with tons of Easter eggs laid all over the ground.  Most of them had no idea what to do.  Addi saw one open egg and went straight for it and wanted to eat the candy that second.  

Attractive right? :)  She had no desire to do anything but unwrap all the candy and eat as much as she could before we left.  She may look more like Chris but she's certainly inherited my sweet tooth. Great quality to pass on, I know.

It was so much fun! I thought her first holidays were the most exciting, but now that she's older and we get to do fun things like this I'm loving it even more!

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March 29, 2015

My breastfeeding journey

Last week I shared about my breastfeeding journey on Julie's blog, girl in the red shoes.  I've loved reading all of her breastfeeding diaries since Addilyn has been born.  It's amazing to me what a wide range of stories there are and that every mom and baby are so different.  What works for one pair won't work for another.  That is a good reminder to me that we just have to keep doing what is best for us, not just in breastfeeding. Having a community of moms can be so wonderful when you stop comparing yourself to everyone else, and just appreciate everyone's stories. It's also a blessing to find someone who can offer you advice, relate to your story and share in your experience.  

I was a little hesitant to share my story as breastfeeding feels like such a personal and emotional experience to me.  One that I did not expect to be a huge part of motherhood for me this long.  But as I said above, I've loved reading other's stories and I think there are lessons in sharing your own too. Here's what I wrote on her blog. . . . 

Hi there!  I'm Katie and I blog at for Lauren and Lauren, and am mom to 20 month old Addilyn.  I'm excited to share on Julie's blog, as I have loved reading everyone's stories.  It's wonderful when you can find someone who can relate to you, especially when it comes to such a personal and emotional thing as motherhood.  But it's also amazing to see how every mom and baby are so different, yet we're all doing what is best for our babies and families.  

Before Addilyn was born I honestly didn't have a whole lot of set plans on how I would parent. I knew we'd love our baby like crazy and do our best to teach her the important things like to love God and love others, but I honestly didn't know how we'd handle all the other things.  Like how our routines would work, how sleep would (or wouldn't!) happen, or when I'd be ready to leave her for long periods of time.  I did, however plan on breastfeeding, although I knew very little what to expect or how long I would do it.  

My labor was really rough, and I had always imagined the doctor putting Addilyn on my chest right away, then nursing her soon after.  After a crazy long labor, she came out and wasn't breathing, so within minutes the room was filled with extra doctors and I didn't get to see her for the first 30 minutes.  Thankfully after that she was put on my chest and latched on right away.  I still think it is so amazing that babies know exactly what to do.  I felt incredibly out of it after she was born and it all just felt like such a blur.  I think my labor was a little traumatizing to me and I just felt so exhausted and overwhelmed.  I so badly wish I could go back to those first moments with her.  

The next morning Addilyn tested positive for jaundice and she was put under the lights in the NICU.  I was devastated.  Looking back I know there are so many worse things that could happen, but I felt so sad that I couldn't hold her and that we couldn't go home right away.  I was allowed to take her out to nurse, but my milk wasn't coming in and she seemed hungry and frustrated and it was so far from easy and relaxing.  Because of her jaundice they wanted her drinking to flush out her system so they wanted to give her formula.  I was so worried that if they did she wouldn't want to nurse and we wouldn't have that bonding, especially since she was under the lights most of the time.  The lactation consultants at the hospital were amazing.  They put a little tube into the formula bottle then put the other end near my nipple so Addilyn thought she was nursing, but was getting formula.  They only had to do this a few times until the next day when my milk finally came in.  Of course while I was yet again crying to the lactation consultant that I was worried something was wrong.  Pregnancy and post pregnancy hormones are crazy, right?! So many tears. 

Addilyn had to stay two extra nights in the hospital and we had to go home without her, which was so hard,  Again, I know moms have to go through so much worse and I'm grateful our time there was so short.  But it was hard to drive home without her.  I had no idea how painful the first stages of nursing would be.  The first few nights (especially the ones when she was in the NICU) I was incredibly uncomfortable.  I pumped a handful of times and had a ton of milk right away.  Which was great because they were able to give her bottles overnight, and I started with extra milk.  Quickly I learned that if anything I had an oversupply of milk.  I always felt "full" and had no problem pumping 4 ounces in between feedings.  I didn't pump all too often as I was staying home with Addilyn and if I left I did right after nursing her.  She would take a bottle, but never the whole thing and sometimes she wouldn't drink it at all.  We weren't super consistent with giving them to her and it really was hit or miss if she would take it.

I honestly can't remember the first few weeks in terms of nursing, except that you do it all the time.   I'd sit on the couch for hours and I look back and feel so thankful for all those hours.  I had an awful recovery and I don't know how I would have managed taking care of other kids or other responsibilities.  It wasn't until three months that I started thinking more about a schedule in terms of feeding.  Before that I'd nurse when she'd cry, nurse her to sleep,and hold her for all of her naps. After the first month and a half of very little sleep, Addilyn would usually only wake up once around two or three, eat and sleep till early morning, nurse again and sleep another hour or so.  I felt so lucky.  She seemed like a great eater, was gaining weight great and nursing was pretty easy.  Still time consuming, but I was home with her all the time and it felt easy.  Again, I wish I could go back to that time for even just a day.  I miss her tiny newborn self and those hours of laying together.  

Around three months I started working on a more eat, play, sleep schedule to help with her napping on her own.  Especially after we hit the dreaded four month sleep regression.  She went from waking up once to waking up every hour to hour and a half.  I felt so tired and didn't want to let her cry so I would just nurse her every time.  It was exhausting.  Looking back I don't even know how hard I tried to do something other than nurse her when she woke up.  It felt like the easiest and quickest solution for us both to get back to sleep! Finally around six months I felt like I was barely sleeping and we dealt with some tears from both of us, and went down to two feedings a night which sadly felt heavenly! 

Around nine months Addilyn, who had been in the 90th percentile for height and weight until this point, dropped to the 40th and then to the 20th at her next appointment.  She wasn't too interested in baby food and I felt like I was constantly pushing her to nurse or eat so that she'd gain weight.  She was always an active baby and got easily distracted.  She was still waking up twice at night and although still anxiously awaiting full nights of sleep, I felt like at least she was getting in extra calories.  Our pediatrician had us go through a ton of scary tests, that looking back seem so unnecessary, but she had us worried something was wrong as to why she wasn't gaining weight.  She suggested once or twice trying formula, but I was so sure that I had an oversupply of milk and felt like that wasn't the issue.  

Long story short, we determined Addilyn most likely has had acid reflux her whole life. We ended up switching pediatricians as I felt like this is something she should have caught early on, and could have spared us from a lot of stress and a whole lot of money for the tests we went through.  Again, looking back I feel like there were plenty of signs, but I had no idea as a first time mom.  She spit up all the time, slept way better prompt up, was a pretty awful sleeper most of her life and wasn't gaining weight.  I know so many of those are common newborn and baby symptoms so I had no idea.  But within a month of being put on medicine she gained over a pound and a half and we were so relieved. 

Before Addilyn was born I assumed I would nurse her until a year and then quit sometime around there.  I did not expect it to be a battle or to have mixed feelings about it.  It's ironic to me because when Addilyn was a baby she was never a comfort nurser.  I tried to nurse her when she would get her shots or would be crying for something else and it would make her more upset.  But as she passed 14 months, nursing became a huge source of comfort.  She went from never initiating nursing to asking and saying "nurse" all the time.  We were nursing when she woke up, before bedtime, twice during the night and then a few times during the day.  

Around 17 months I felt exhausted from nursing her twice a night and was ready to be done and ready to get a full night's sleep!  I started to feel frustrated with nursing as it felt like her only source to sleep during the night and I thought in order to cut that out, we'd have to be done altogether.  I was dreading cutting out those feedings and was sure it would be hours of tears, as we've already had our share of bedtime and sleep battles with plenty of tears.  I was relieved that after a few weeks she finally started sleeping through the night. With not too many tears and a whole lot of singing and rocking, she stopped asking to nurse when she woke up at night. A few weeks later she stopped waking up during the night, and now most nights now she sleeps all night and I can't tell you how happy it makes me.  

I thought night weaning would be the hardest and the others would eventually fade out, but here I am, still nursing my 20 month old morning, night and usually one or two times during the day.  And if it were up to her I'd probably be nursing many more times a day.  I feel ready to be done, yet the thought of being done makes me sad too.  We struggled with infertility for a few years before we were given Addilyn and I don't know if I'll ever get to breastfeed a baby again.  I think the idea of her being done makes me sad that this stage is over.  Yet I am so ready to completely have my body back and the freedom that comes with that.  It's crazy to me how many emotions have come with breastfeeding.  

I don't know how we'll approach weaning.  She does completely fine when I'm not around or when my husband puts her to bed, but will cry and say "mama, nurse please?" (which just about breaks my heart at the thought of saying no) if I try to not nurse her before we read our stories and she goes to bed.  I would love it if it would just happen on it's own, but right now she doesn't show any signs of weaning.  I don't want it to be too hard on either of us, so right now I'm just waiting it out until I have a better plan, and enjoying the extra months of bonding time I have with her.  If you've been through the weaning process with a 20 month old or close to it please share!

If I've learned one thing about motherhood it's that you have no idea what it's going to be like until you experience.  You can't imagine how much love you'll have for your baby, and you have no idea how you'll navigate each stage, breastfeeding being one of them.  And that every mom and every baby is different and you just do what is best for you and your baby.  I get nervous thinking about how hard weaning will be on Addilyn, but I know I need to do what is best for me too, and that we'll work through it together whenever that time comes.  And with getting through hard things, better things come.  And with letting go and moving past wonderful stages, there are more wonderful stages to look forward too.  

Thanks for sticking with me and reading my lengthy post!  Check out a ton of other sweet mamas and their stories here!

March 25, 2015

I couldn't live without . . . . Instagram

Wednesday morning coffee and cake pops with friends

I love Instagram.  Probably too much, and I actually could use a little less time on my phone.  But I love being able to look back at pictures of our days and follow friends and shops and could waste way too much time on there!  Here's a few favorites lately . . . 

Swinging at the park before we got hit with more snow and cold. 
Spring come back and stay!!

A sick Addilyn last week.  I love her eyelashes in this picture 
and appreciated a nap on me which hasn't happened in so long! 

I had the same outfit for Addilyn in two different sizes and was so happy
when the second one fit! I can't believe how fast time goes!
Two months verses twenty months. 

Last weekend's craft project.  A saw a necklace on another blogger 
last week and decided I could make my own much cheaper! 
Can't wait to share this next week!

Addilyn's outfit at our family's St. Patrick's day party. 

Riding bikes with Grandma.  I can't handle how big she looks in this one!

Follow me on instagram here if you don't already! Excited to see what you can't live without this week.  Link up below and grab the button from my sidebar if you'd like!

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March 24, 2015

Our Easter craft that made us both cry

easter decorations

I saw this tutorial for salt dough eggs and thought we'd be brave and attempt this.  Turns out I shouldn't have been so brave.  At one point Addilyn and I were both in tears.  

So if your kid is older than 20 months, or if they know the difference between ornaments and paint verses cookies and frosting you're good.  

Thankfully they still turned out cute and make for a good Easter decoration.  And I promise she is wearing a diaper.  

We followed the directions in the tutorial (here).  I used a measuring cup for the shapes and just pinched the top in a little to make the egg shape.  

Christmas pjs forever

I didn't spray paint them but just used acrylic paint. Letting Addi do whatever she'd like to her few, except eat them, cue her tears.  (Okay and mine too because why don't toddlers listen and throw things everywhere and projects turn out how you want? I better man up in this whole parenting thing. It was a bad day already.) 

I just used a paintbrush and white paint to make the designs although I'm sure a white sharpie would've made them a little cuter. 

It's all fun and games until you decide to eat the ornament and paint a hundred times.  Then get mad that it tastes like paint and not a cookie.  

egg ornaments
ornament tree

If you want to know a project that didn't make me cry, here's my Easter egg garland.  I had no idea that Easter eggs already have little holes in the top and bottom so this was super easy.  It even kept Addilyn entertained for a solid three minutes.  Two dollar bag of plastic eggs, strung through a string.

easter egg garland
easter egg garland

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March 23, 2015

Small goals

tunic: c/o sheinside   vest: old navy  flats: target

I've written plenty of goals before.  Goals for a year.  Goals for a season.  And I like making them, love having lists and things to work on.  But they tend to get lost so fast or seem too big and I lose the drive to live them out.  

So I'm trying something new (to me) and making three little goals for this week.Make an appointment to get my hair colored should clearly be at the top on the list, but instead this week I want to:

1.  Drink more water.  

2.  Text Chris three random times this week telling him how much I love him or how proud I am of him. 

3.  Spend two nights this week reading a book rather than watching an episode of Friends on my ipad right before I go to bed.  

4.  Start switching out my summer and winter clothes. 

I'm tempted to write more, but that's enough for me!  Are you a goal writer? Long term? How do you stick with them?

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March 22, 2015

Help me decide . . . .

pants: c/o  sheinside   tee: be still clothing company     shoes: target 

I love these pants and wore them the other day as "real" pants.  Clearly still in tennis shoes and a t-shirt, but not as a workout outfit.  I've seen lots of cute pins wearing jogger pants with heels as a dressy outfit.  But I'm not sure I could do it.  

So jogger pants as dress up or pretend workout pants?

I want to get some rainboots for Addilyn, since she loves being outside but Spring is so muddy.  I found these two pairs on Amazon and both are under $20, but I'd hate for them to be so cheap that her feet still get soaked, when I could spend $20 more and get cute, quality Toms rainboots.

But $40 on a pair of baby shoes? I don't think I can do it!  So cheap ones or expensive one? 

I've started changing the wall in Addilyn's room.  I took down the tree decal and put up polka dot vinyls, but ran out three fourths of the way.  I love how it looks and just got the other ones so I need to finish.  I also wanted to add a picture or two to her wall and love these wall arts from minted but can't decide which one to get.  

I LOVE both of them and love that you can pick so many different photos, yet I know I'll have a hard time narrowing it down to 30! You can pick what kind of frame you'd want and I love the distressed cottage white frame.  

I also want one of these prints! I love the letter one and would use one of Addilyn's one year pictures, but also love the first year print and would use the monthly picture photos we took.  

So heart shaped or love you to the moon photo collage?  And letter A or first year print? 

 Thanks for your opinions! Hope you all had a nice weekend!

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March 19, 2015

Spring into Carters

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carter’s. I received a complimentary gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for my participation.”  #SpringIntoCarters

A toddler in yoga pants? I'm pretty sure that's one of the cutest things ever.  I was so excited to put this outfit on Addilyn, and she was so excited to put on "running shoes" like mama.  She was giggling and making the cutest sounds the first time we put on these shoes and couldn't wait to run in them. And that squatting picture? That's what Addi does when you tell her to work out.  Apparently I look like that when I do my workout videos.  

This outfit is super comfy and perfect for her to run around outside in this Spring.  The fact that it's so stinkin' adorable makes it even better.  I recently went to Carter's and got a ton of clothes for Addilyn, and I wish every one of them came in my size. 

We've been so lucky to get a large amount of hand me downs from Chris' cousins and a lot of them are Carter's or Osh'gosh brand.  Many of the clothes have gone through two cousins and Addilyn and are still in great condition.  So I was excited to add some more Carter's clothes to her wardrobe!  There are so many cute, bright Spring outfits and I had a hard time narrowing it down to these. 

Carter's always has awesome deals and coupons on top of it.  I got all these clothes and a pair of shoes for under $100.  Three dresses/tunics, a button up shirt, pair of pants, two shirts, yoga pants, a jacket and pair of sneakers!  

Carter's has a lot of Doorbuster sales that include $6 and $8 tees and shorts that are perfect for Spring. Plus a lot of clearance items, like the $4 peplum tee above that I got for Addilyn.  With their Doorbuster sales, clearance and coupons I didn't pay close to full price for anything I got.  

I've wanted a chambray shirt for Addilyn forever and am so glad I finally found one!  Plus is was only $12 and I know she'll get a ton of wear out of it and will match all her printed leggings and bottoms.   (Those shoes are Carter's shoes we've had since she was a baby and they finally fit her!)

And I want this jacket in my size please!  Cute, thick and warm and perfect for cooler spring days that will hopefully be our weather next week.  And here are a few other outfits that I can't wait to put on Addilyn.  

 Now I need to pick out an outfit for Addilyn to wear on Easter!  They are so many cute boy and girl outfits, and coordinating ones for siblings, with lots of accessories to match! And if you're thinking ahead and getting ready for summer check out their swim shop for cute suits, tees and tanks, hats, water shoes and flip flops.  I can't even wait for Addilyn to be running on the beach this summer!  Right now you can use the coupon below for 25% off your purchase of $40 or more.  And there are always great coupons online too!