Saturday, February 27, 2016

L | five months!

My goodness. L turned f i v e months on Friday! It’s so crazy bittersweet to watch your baby grow.

This has definitely been the “most fun” (for lack of better words) month. L is constantly finding things to smile and laugh at. It’s definitely a 180 from her colicky days. Obviously she still has her mad-at-the-world-days, but most days she’s a sweet and happy girl.
She loves to play and move around all the time. She is always “talking", literally always. Her personality is definitely starting to show more and more. She is just so much fun!

Weight: 11 pounds 8 ounces. She went through a h u g e growth spurt this month. She gained over a pound in two weeks! Her 0-3 month clothes were baggy on her at the beginning of the month, and now they are almost too tight!

Height: I’m actually not sure on this since it’s been a while since our last appointment.

Wears: 3 month clothes, almost 3-6. Size 1 diapers.

Teeth: Still working on that stubborn tooth.

Loves: L still loves to be worn by K or I. She is definitely a “hold me” baby. She loves toys, especially ones that crinkle. She finds them so much fun to play with + to stick in her mouth. She’s slowly starting to love her ExerSaucer. She used to hate it but now is fascinated by it. L absolutely loves to watch the TV (no shame in admitting that, haha). It doesn’t matter what we are watching, she wants to watch, too. She does like to watch a little bit of cartoons in the morning while mommy eats breakfast. She still loves baths; she’s definitely going to be a water baby. She loves to stand. She also loves to talk, squeal, laugh, scream- basically do any sound that she can get out of her little mouth.

Hates: Sitting. I’m not sure if it hurts her belly (acid reflux) or if it’s just her personality, but she would much rather stand than sit. She still hates naps, but we are getting better at them. She hates the sun being in her eyes, but her eyes are so blue that that doesn’t surprise me. L also hates when I leave the room and don’t take her with. She still hates tummy time but is getting a bit better at staying on her belly before she either starts crying or rolls over.

Is able to: She rolled belly to back last month, + she’s one good shove from going back to belly. She has definitely learned how to use her hands. She grabs, pulls, and rubs everything she can get her hands on. She is always grabbing her toys, and pulling her paci out of her mouth. She can stand super well (with assistance of course). Part of me feels like she’s going to try and walk before she tries to crawl. When she does sit, she can sit for 5-10 seconds before falling over!

L went/is going through her four month sleep regression still. It’s f i n a l l y y y y y starting to get better after a month and a half. 

L is soo curious. Of e v e r y t h i n g. It’s super cute until it’s naptime/bedtime. ;)

She is also becoming a huge momma’s girl. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m with her all day every day or what, but she cannot stand being held by anyone other than me for a few minutes. She’s usually good with K, but if she’s crying or upset, she wants mom. But I don’t mind it at all. #heartemojis

I cannot believe that we almost have a half-year old, but it has been the best months of our lives. Time goes so quick, but I also love seeing her grow in every way in each new day.

{I am absolutely, unmistakably, positively smitten with you.}

xoxo, Brandi

Friday, February 26, 2016

loving your {mom bod}

Mom bod in a short and simple statement means: the way a woman’s body looks after she becomes a mom.

But the reality of a mom bod is more much complex than one short and simple statement, isn’t it?

It’s no secret that pregnancy does crazy things to your body, things you had no idea were possible until you went through it. Your bones widen, you gain weight in places you didn’t know existed, you stretch enough to wonder if you’re suddenly elastic- heck, your feet can even grow bigger! After all, you are growing an entire new little person inside of you.

So yeah, your body is going to look different after pregnancy and giving birth.

But why is that a bad thing?

// You gained weight in order to sustain a life inside of you.
// You gained weight in order to make milk to sustain a life outside of you.
// There are stretch marks on your belly because each day your baby grew inside of your belly, it stretched to hold your baby. They are not marks of ugliness; they are marks of beauty.
// There are stretch marks on your boobs because your milk came in suddenly to sustain your baby.
// Your hips widened to be able to push a beautiful baby out of your body.
// You have a scar on your belly because you endured a cesarean to birth your beautiful baby.
// You belly doesn’t quite look the same because it carried your baby.
// Your pre pregnancy clothes might not fit right anymore because your entire body changed when it carried your baby.

+ that is okay.

Having a mom bod is not a bad thing, it’s a beautiful thing.

Embrace that mom bod mommas. That body gave your a lot more than stretch marks, it gave you your baby.

+ I think that that’s pretty darn great.

{For You created me inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. -Psalm 139:13-14.}

xoxo, Brandi

This post was written for The Vintage Honey Shop. You can find this post on their page here.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

little eats | homemade taco seasoning | dairy free

Did you know that store bought taco seasoning has dairy in it?

I didn't either until I looked at the label the other day before making tacos + had to hurry + throw some seasoning together for dinner.

Good thing about being dairy free: getting to try new yummy things. Bad thing about being dairy free: see above.

So in my hurried "throw something together that tastes somewhat like taco seasoning", my hubs + I created some of the yummiest (is that a word?) taco seasoning ever.


You can add more or less of the ingredients depending on your taste.


If you like your taco seasoning less spicy, I would add a little less chili powder + red pepper flakes. Vice versa for those of you that like it spicy.


Add all the ingredients in an airtight container.


Use as much or as little as you need, depending on how many servings you are cooking.


That's it! Best taco seasoning ever, dairy free, + you know exactly what went in it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (little more if you want it spicier, little less if you want it less spicy)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crush red pepper flakes (little more if you want it spicier, little less if you want it less spicy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or regular salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together. Stir and store in an air tight container. Use as needed depending on taste and servings made.

xoxo, Brandi

Monday, February 22, 2016

two lines | one year ago

Today is a special day, as one year ago today, we found out we were pregnant with our sweet little baby.

Cue all the feels.

I remember that day so vividly. Part of me feels like it’s been years since that day, and the other part of me feels like it was yesterday.

K literally had to talk me into, okay make me, take a pregnancy test. After months and months of trying, I didn’t want to see another negative. So I flat out refused to take one, even though K insisted every day that I didn’t get my period.

By the time K finally made me take one, I hadn’t had a period for 50 days (okay maybe I should have tested sooner, haha). But after struggling with PCOS for so long, I figured it was just another month of a screwy period.

K insisted so much that Sunday morning after I woke up with incredibly sore boobs and mild nausea, I grabbed a pregnancy test and ran to the bathroom and peed on the stick.

I didn’t want to watch it because I didn’t want to watch that one single line pop up, so I turned the other way while K watched it.

About .028456 seconds later (I may be exaggerating a bit, but it was seriously so quick), I heard K say, “It has two lines.”

There are no words to describe the rush of emotions that I felt as he said those words. I grabbed the test and screamed, and then started crying because I just couldn’t believe it. 

Then of course I proceeded to take 5 billion more tests just to make sure. And then I checked them about 12 times each to make sure they all said positive.

I went to the doctor that week to confirm the pregnancy with an ultrasound, where we saw our tiny, tiny little baby with a heart beat of 120 bpm.

The day I found out I was pregnant was so magical. I thanked God more times that I could count, and prayed so much that this would be a healthy pregnancy. I was flooded with emotions- love, happiness, shock, fear. There isn’t one word to describe how I felt.

But I was so incredibly in love already. + I’m still so incredibly in love with our beautiful, (almost) five month old baby girl.

My oh my how one year changes things.

{Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. -Psalm 106:1.}

xoxo, Brandi

Saturday, February 20, 2016

ten tips | cutting dairy out of your diet while breastfeeding

A couple days ago I posted about why I had to cut dairy out of my diet. I said it in that post + I'll say it in this one: it's hard.

But, you do what you gotta do, right?

Right.

So in my previous post I talked about why more than I talked about how. The how is much more complicated than the why. ;)



Ten tips for cutting diary out of your diet while breastfeeding:

one | Cut it out cold turkey. I know, this sounds so awful. But you are just prolonging the process if you do it one by one. Most likely if your little babe is bothered by cheese, he/she is going to be bothered by milk and ice cream. Cut it all out now + save yourself some heart ache.

two | Don't cheat. This is so much easier said than done. Did you know that it takes 4-6 weeks for any and all dairy to leave your system / your milk? You cheat one day, you have to start all over. + that's a bummer so just don't do it.

{side note: while it does take 4-6 weeks to leave your system, you can see a difference in your little babe as quick as the next day.}

three | ^^^ A side note to my side note. Wait at least two weeks before you "give up". While it may take overnight in some babies to notice a difference, it can take up to six weeks, depending on how sensitive your little babe is to it. Give it some time before you start eating it again.

four | Check every. single. label. Like, every one. Did you know that there's dairy in taco seasoning? I didn't either ( + who would have thought?) until I checked the label. There's dairy in way more things than you would think, so always double check + don't assume.

five | Know your dairy names. I don't mean names such as milk, cheese, ice cream, sour cream, etc. I mean other names for dairy in ingredients lists like whey, casein, lactose, etc. You can find a complete list here. Most of the time you can just look at the bottom of the ingredients list that says "Contains: ...". That's where they list the most important allergy foods that are contained in the product. Usually if milk is contained, it will say "Milk" or "Milk Ingredients". But again, always double check.

six | Find dairy free snacks that you love (+ stock your house full of them). After cutting dairy out of my diet, I found that I love Larabars. I'm still planning on eating these even when I'm able to have dairy again. They are simple, pure, and delicious. Once you find dairy free snacks and food that you love, it'll be much easier.

seven | Plan your meals. Every week I sit down and plan (dairy free) meals for the week. That way, I'm not running around at seven pm on Wednesday trying to find something dairy free to make, and then end up making something with dairy in it with a last resort. Plan plan plan.

{side note: I'm always trying to add more dairy free recipes to my blog. Check back often for dairy free snacks, meals, and ingredients!}

eight | If you eat out for one reason or another, check the allergen menu before you go. There is SO MUCH dairy in fast food/restaurant food. Most of the time, even if you order it with no cheese, there's usually still some sort of dairy in it. I always check this site before I go anywhere to eat. It has both fast food and restaurants. It also has a ton of information about going dairy free that I found extremely helpful.

nine | Remember that it's only temporary. Eventually, you will be done breastfeeding. You will soon be able to eat dairy again! + in some cases, once the baby starts eating solids, you can start to reintroduce dairy into your diet. If you do this, make sure you keep track of what you are eating when so if little babe has a reaction, you will know why.

ten | Remember that it's WORTH IT. So worth it. You are one, saving a ton of money by not having to switch to dairy free formula. + two (+ most importantly) you are helping your baby. Instead of putting your little babe on 10 different medicines and/or formula to help with reflux, you alone are helping him/her by cutting dairy out of your diet.

If you have decided to cut dairy out of your diet while breastfeeding, you are seriously A BOSS + I applaud you! It's hard work, and you are wonder woman for making and sticking to the dairy free decision. Remember- you CAN do it. It WILL get hard but you WILL get through it! You are helping your little babe in more ways that one, so give yourself a little huge pat on the back!

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to comment below + I will get back to you!

{I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. - Philippians 4:13.}

xoxo, Brandi

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

dairy free while breastfeeding

{Before I start, please remember that my journey does not replace medical advice. If you have any concerns about your little babe, please contact your pediatrician.}




I've had a ton of people ask me about why I went dairy free while breastfeeding, along with how in the world I did it.

It's hard. When you go dairy free, you have to be extremely diligent. Dairy is in way more than people think. It's not just your basic cheese, cream, milk, yogurt, etc. It's in bread, chicken nuggets, processed food, breaded food, granola bars- it's even in taco seasoning. Yes, you heard me right. TACO SEASONING. I could make a list of about 2956 things that have dairy in it.

+ as if I didn't want to test myself even more, I had to cut out chocolate, spicy food, and caffeine.

What.

I know, I know. But I did it for a good reason, I promise.

L is not allergic to milk protein or soy. She is not lactose intolerant, nor does she have any symptom of any allergy. But- she does have severe acid reflux. And when I mean severe, I mean it put her in the hospital because the acid blocked off her airways (more on that later).

When we were in the hospital, they had to put her on some crazy expensive and fancy formula for a few days. Breastmilk is so thin that the second it touched her belly, it came right back up. I knew she needed it for her health, but it killed me thinking of her not getting my milk (oh, + I 110% support formula feeding. Totally not my case here. I just wanted her to have my milk. End of story.). We had to keep her on that formula until the medicine kicked in and worked for about a week, after which I could breastfeed her.

After that week, I breastfed L for the for time, and it really didn't go so well. She screamed after feedings, and she was spitting up so much that I was worried she wasn't getting any at all. I had talked to the pediatrician, and he kept saying that it wasn't necessary to cut anything out of my diet, other than caffeine. So for another week, I cut out caffeine and listened to L scream all day every day.

The following week, I went to my breastfeeding mom's group and told them everything that was going on. One of our lactation consultants (they are seriously angels) immediately said, you need to cut out dairy. She said that even if they aren't allergic to it, little babe's with acid reflux usually benefit from mom's cutting dairy out because it can trigger and/or aggravate reflux. L was crying so much at that point, I would try anything to help her. So, that day mid November, I cut out all dairy.

After about a week, I noticed that L went from spitting up almost all of her milk, to only a few drops. Then after two weeks, I noticed that she stopped spitting up completely, other than the occasional normal baby spit up. 

I made sure to examine my diet extremely carefully. I noticed that on the days I had chocolate or spicy food, it would aggravate her reflux, so I ended up cutting those out, too.

I have had so many people say to me, "Why don't you just give her soy formula?"

Because breastfeeding is extremely important to me. L and I struggled through so many obstacles (more on that later) to get to the point of being able to breastfeed exclusively, and I didn't want to give it up. 

"Well, this little bit of dairy won't hurt."

It will, actually. I have accidentally eaten something that contained dairy a couple times, and trust me, it hurt.

"What do you even eat?"

What I can. I did extensive research, and I check EVERY label before I eat something. If there's even a remote chance that there's dairy in it, I don't eat it.
It's extremely hard some days. Okay, more than some days. I have to plan ahead for every meal and snack. We rarely eat out because it's just too hard to figure out what has dairy in it and what doesn't. 

But- it definitely has gotten easier over time. It becomes second hand nature to double check ingredients and to know what does and doesn't have dairy without looking. It has also become easier finding things that I love that are dairy free- like almond milk ice cream and Larabars!

+ while it made be hard, it is so worth it. I love knowing that by me cutting foods out of my diet, I'm helping her. Instead of using 10 different medicines, I cut a trigger out of my diet. (side note- we do still have to use medicine for the time being due to the severity of the reflux. But we only have to use one instead of multiple!) + it's soooo much cheaper. SO much. That's definitely a huge bonus in my book!

If you have to cut dairy out of your diet, just remember, YOU CAN DO IT. You are stronger than those cheese cravings! ;) And remember- it's only temporary. Most mom's are able to start introducing diary back into their diet when baby starts solids.

Read here about tips to cutting dairy out of your diet.

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to comment below and I'll make sure to get back to you! I'll also be posting a post about tips to cutting out dairy. Stay tuned!

xoxo, Brandi

Friday, February 12, 2016

this too shall pass

I'm going to share a post with you that I read on Facebook this morning, but be warned, mommas: you might want to grab some tissues.


the last time

From the moment you hold your baby in your arms, you will never be the same.
You might long for the person you were before, when you had freedom and time, and nothing in particular to worry about.

You will know tiredness like you never knew it before, and days will run into days that are exactly the same: full of feedings and burping, nappy changes and crying, whining and fighting, naps or lack of naps. It might seem like a never-ending cycle.

But don't forget- there is a last time for everything. There will come a time when you feed your baby for the very last time. They will fall asleep on you after a long day, and it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.

One day you will carry them on your hip, then set them down, and never pick them up that way again. You will scrub their hair in the bath one night, and from that day on they will want to bathe alone.

They will hold your hand to cross the road, then never reach for it again. They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles, and it will be the last night you ever wake to this.

One afternoon you will sing "the wheels on the bus", and do all the action, then never sing that song again. They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate, the next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.

You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face. They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time.

The thing is, you won't even know it's the last time until there are no more times. And even then, it will take you a while to realize.

So while you are living in these times, remember there are only so many of them, and when they are gone, you will yearn for just one more day of them.
For one last time.

| author unknown, artist - lauri blank, post and photo from Facebook |


I definitely wasn't kidding about the tissues.

This post didn't make me cry- it made me bawl. I sat and thought about how much I actually missed the newborn stage. Maybe not running off of two hours of sleep in seven days, or feeling completely overwhelmed, or how sore I felt during my postpartum days.
But I miss the sweet cuddles all day long- the cuddles on my chest where my baby slept so soundly all the time. I miss my tiny, tiny, tiny baby that felt so small in my arms. I miss how sweet and new that little face looked, the tiny hands that grasped mine. The tiny little whimpers that were her cries. I even miss the day she was born, holding her and seeing her for the first time.

I sat on my phone and looked at newborn pictures while my baby napped in her crib. I felt the tears fall down my face, because I wished I could just go back for one day and feel those soft and sweet cuddles and breathe it all in for just one more day. I cherished every moment, but I just wanted to cherish one more time.

As I heard my baby wake from her nap, I walked into her room as I wiped my tears away. I leaned over her crib, and the moment she saw my face, she squealed with delight with the biggest smile on her face. I picked her up and she snuggled her face onto my shoulder as if she were giving me a hug.

I felt more tears fall down my face, but this time it wasn't because I missed her tiny newborn self: it was because even though she's not a newborn anymore, she amazes me every day and makes me feel more love that I ever thought possible. While I miss her sleeping on my chest, I have these squeals to look forward to now. Just like when she gets older by another month or year, I have something new to look forward to.

It's bittersweet to watch your baby grow. I try so hard not to dwell on what I miss. I cherished it when I could, just like I will cherish today. I am so blessed and grateful that I have a healthy, growing baby. I don't want to waste a day wishing I could go back when my baby is so excitedly moving forward. It's okay to miss those days- but it's also okay to look forward to the things ahead.

I will take just one more second every day to breathe in right now- how she holds my hand, how she snuggles into my shoulder when she's tired, how she squeals when she sees me. I will give her one extra snuggle while I still can.

During your hard days, remember that this too shall pass. During your easy days, remember that this too shall pass. Cherish every single moment, good and bad. Cherish every single day, good and bad.
Take just one more moment today to cherish what might be gone tomorrow. 

{I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. - 1 Samuel 1:27.}

xoxo, Brandi

Monday, February 8, 2016

little eats | energy bites

I have the hardest time finding snacks that are 1) easy for me to just grab and eat while carrying a baby, 2) that are dairy free (I'll be writing a blog post about why I went dairy free, stay tuned!), and 3) that taste good.
A lot of the time I have to make my own special snacks, which is where these bites came about.

They are super simple to make with yummy (and good for you) ingredients, and if you are a breastfeeding momma, these are great for your milk supply and your energy level! You can see more recipes for breastfeeding here.


{Note: these are made as a dairy free version, but it is extremely easy to change it to a normal recipe with no special adaptations.}


My favorite oats to use in any oat recipe is Quaker Oats Old Fashioned. They are delish and you get a huge canister for a cheap price.


Mix in your oats with your coconut and stir together.


Add those chocolate chips!
(PS- these are diary free chocolate chips. You can use absolutely any chocolate chips that you want!)

Add in your flax seed and mix together.


Mix in your peanut butter and honey. I recommend softening the peanut butter a few seconds in the microwave because it's easier to stir together.


Add your vanilla and stir everything together. It was easier to use my hands to do this, but you could use a spoon if you wanted!

Refrigerate for at least a half hour to an hour.


Take the mix out of the fridge. Roll into whatever size balls you want. I rolled mine into bite size balls so I could just grab them and pop them in my mouth.

Put them in an air tight container and put them in the fridge. Eat them as needed! ;)

Full recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry (old fashioned) oats
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, any flavor
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Directions:
  1. Add oats and coconut flakes to large mixing bowl. Mix together.
  2. Add flax seed and chocolate chips. Mix together.
  3. Add softened peanut  butter, honey, and vanilla. Mix together.
  4. Chill in fridge for 30-60 minutes.
  5. Roll into preferred sized bites.
  6. Keep in air tight container in fridge.
  7. Enjoy as needed!

xoxo, Brandi



Friday, February 5, 2016

L | four months!

Wait, you mean to tell me that I have a four month old?! Whoever is telling my baby that she's allowed to grow up: stop it. ;)

A look into what's new this month:

Weight: 10 pounds 4 ounces.

Wears: 0-3 and 3 month clothes, and size 1 diapers.

Teeth: Almost 1! She has one that looks like it's just about to pop through.

Loves: She still loves the same thing as last month, + she loves to stand, and she stomps her feet and
"walks" when we stand her up. She loves to grab at e v e r y t h i n g, and she's constantly pulling her pacifier out of her mouth to look at it, and then getting mad that it's not in her mouth anymore. She loves to move all around. She loves to put her fist (like the entire thing) in her mouth. Her favorite toy is her Carter's pink and tan monkey, that we named "Miss Bananas". Her favorite game is to sit in her bouncer and play "rocket ship" (basically we just pick up her bouncer and walk around the house making rocket ship noises. It makes her laugh so we go with it.) She loves to play and loves to smile and laugh, and she's doing it all the time these days. :)

Dislikes: She still hates everything from last month, + she hates sitting still. She constantly wants to be on the move, which I'm sure will be a blast when she's mobile. ;) She's starting to not like headbands, much to my disappointment. Oh well, she's still adorable without them.

Is able to: Roll from her tummy to her back, and she's super close to back to tummy. L absolutely hates being on her belly, so as soon as we put her down for tummy time, she says "nope" and rolls straight to her back. When she's close to rolling from her back to her belly, she remembers she doesn't like her belly, so she rolls back the other way. She is also able to "sit". We hold her and she will sit up...until she wants to stand back up.

You can read about L's previous monthly updates here: three months + two months.


{Precious one, so small, so sweet, dancing in on angel's feet. Straight from heaven's brightest star, what a miracle you truly are.}

xoxo, Brandi