Tuesday, March 31, 2015

How to: Store Strawberries

Growing up in Northern California fresh, delicious just picked from the plant that day was so easy to come by.  Especially this time of year.  You would be hard pressed to not find a corner stand of fresh produce on your daily travels around town.  But my favorite, my absolute favorite, were the strawberries.  I would drive 20 minutes out of my way to my favorite little stand in Morgan Hill.

I remember even when I was really little we would go to the same stand every year.  I remember going with my parents and loading up with a case or two of the delicious red berries to take home to snack on or have a yummy dessert of strawberry shortcake. We would get home and my sister and I could hardly wait for them to get rinsed so we could start picking out the biggest juiciest sweetest strawberry to eat first.

Flash forward to 20 something years later and not much has changed with the exception of where we live. Oh!  And the lack of strawberry stands on every other corner.  But the love of them is still there.  And now Zach has caught the berry fever too.  But in Arizona berries aren't always the greatest and on that great of a sale.  But this last week our local grocery store had them on sale for .87/lbs.  Needless to say that I stocked up!  But keeping berries fresh for an extended amount of time can sometimes be tricky.  But not anymore my friend.... not any more!

Here is what you do.

Step 1:  Mix a solution of 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water.  You can use either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.  Personally I prefer apple cider simply because the smell of it is more tolerable to me while working with it.  You won't taste it at all so at the end of the day it just simply comes down to preference.  I used 1 cup measurements.  So 1 cup vinegar to 10 cups water.  You could also just put the water in your sink but I chose to use the bowl to my salad spinner.

Step 2:  Put the berries in the mixture.  Gently stir the berries around to get them all covered in the solution. You are going to want to leave them in there for 10 minutes.  Stirring them every couple minutes or so.

Step 3:  Rinse with cold water.  You are just going to want to rinse that solution off to remove any vinegar that is on the berries. I like to rinse them in a colander, again I just used the strainer from the salad spinner, and let them sit in the sink for a minute to kind of air dry.

Step 4:  Dry the berries.  For a sturdy berry like the strawberries or even blueberries you can use the salad spinner as I did but for blackberries you will want to just gentle pat them dry with a towel.

Step 5:  Line whatever container you are going to store your berries in with either a paper towel or a napkin.  If you are going to use tupper ware of some sort you are going to want to leave the lid slightly opened to allow air flow.  The condensation that will build up with a fully closed lid will spoil your berried and after all this you do not want that to happen. I prefer to clean the containers they come in in the same solution that I used for the berries.

And that is it.  You are done and ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor! Ha!  Doing this will extend the fridge life of your berries from a few day to a couple weeks usually. Now that they are fully washed I am comfortable with letting Zach grab a few to snack on without assistance.  He often times decides he needs a snack when I am feeding Ashley during the day so this is a great option for him.

We are also starting to grow our own strawberries as a part of our veggie/fruit garden and Zach has already enjoyed two strawberries from our plants.  Since this is their first year they both have been very small and slightly tart but the kid loves them!

Now if you excuse me I am off to eat some more berries.... or maybe I will try to make some strawberry fruit leather.  Hmmm.... now there is an idea!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Zach is 3... and a half!

After Zach turned one I sort of fell of the updates band wagon.  I had the best of intentions on writing a 2 year old update and then writing a 3 year old update and well… he is now 3 and a half and neither of those posts have been written yet.  Since I can’t go back in time and fix my mistakes I will just have to start over now and try better from now on. And honestly I have struggled to find the right words to sum up a whole year of his precious little life.

At three Zach is 35 pounds (75th percentile) and 38 ½ inches tall (75th percentile). He is wearing mostly 3T and some 4T clothing and his shoe size is toddler 11!  He is more than HALF my height and base of his 2 year stats our pediatrician said he would be at least 6 feet tall by the time he was 18! 

Zach is the most loving little boy I have ever seen.  He still cuddles us all the time and gives hugs and kisses aplenty without having to be asked.  He has such a sensitive old soul.  He is wise beyond his years and so inquisitive about everything around him.  When you look at him you can see the wheels turning as he tries to figure something out.  If someone is crying he wants to make it all better for them, much like his momma, and lift their pain away. 

Zach's imagination is something to marvel, I was worried about what would happen once you were home with me full time and not surrounded by kids your age at daycare but I have to say the transition was seamless and you have learned and grown so much more since being home with me. You wake up in the morning ready to take on the day, ready to play on whatever adventure you dreamed up for the day!  Sometimes you come into mommy and daddy’s room and you’re a pirate and other times you come in and you are a “Maker” and want to know what we would like for breakfast.  Even more your love of reading makes me so proud.  When we are upstairs I often times will find you in your room looking and reading your books based off the pictures you see and most of the time you aren’t too far off from the context of the book itself.

You love to play with your toys and to have your friends over to share.  Sometimes you tell me “Mommy, I am going to play with my very best friend tomorrow ok?” or “My very best friends will like this toy”

You have also grown in faith over this last year.  When we started going to church regularly it took a little bit for you to warm up to being left in the children’s ministry but now you ask to go.  Usually on Monday’s you announce “We going to church on Saturday and I will pray and sing with Aunt Kristie and Miss Linda.” At night when we are putting you down you ask to pray by simply saying “I want to so Dear Lord” I love to watch you grow in your walk with Christ and I can’t wait to see where that path takes you.

You are adventurous and have no fear of the unknown.  This makes me very nervous as I always have to have everything planned out with several back up plans and different outcomes already in my mind.  But this also amazes me because it is a trait you get from your dad and you two will accomplish so much in your lives because you aren’t held back by what if’s or maybe I shouldn’t until I…

You have the best sense of humor and can make a room full of people laugh just by making a silly face or saying something silly that you have come up with.  Just the other day at a party you had everyone cracking up with your antics and it is so great to see you coming out of your shell.  You often times still take a little bit to warm up but once you do all bets are off and you are all about having fun.

You have started to show interest in sports and are currently enrolled in T-Ball skills and will be doing soccer next.  You are fast kid!  The first day of T-Ball when the coach had everyone running around you started off in the back and were at the front running with the coach before the rest of the kids knew what was happening. Someone saw you running recently and had said that they had coached various sports for various ages for 20+ years and that you were one of the fastest runners he had ever seen.  That you took 3 steps to every 1 step the other kids took.  You are quick on your feet and that you were made for sports!  Of course your daddy and I beamed with pride because how could we not you are amazing!  Between Papa Ware and your Dad baseball and soccer is in your blood kid and already you are so talented!

Your vocabulary astounds me, you will be having a conversation with us and say a word we had no idea you knew and you will use it in the right context. You are also never satisfied with simple answers; you want to know the most in depth explanation there is to all your questions and will continue to ask why until you get them. I love this about you, your thirst for knowledge is strong and I hope it always is because that too will take you far in this life my baby love.  You can accomplish anything you put your mind too with a thirst for knowledge and willpower to do so.  And those things my sweet son you have in heaps so don’t ever lose that.

To see you as a big brother is a great gift for your daddy and I.  Even before sister was born you just wanted to take care of mommy and to talk to your sister.  When we went to the hospital to have her you were so excited and then to see your face light up the first time you met her melted my heart right onto the floor.  I had been so nervous of how you would react once we were all home and once again Zach you have surprised me with what you are capable of. You have fallen into the role of big brother with such ease.  You want to help us with sister all the time; you want to soothe her cries right along with us.  You mix her bottles and bring us her diapers. You read her stories and bring her soft toys.  When we are in the car and she starts to get upset you talk to her about what you see around you and say “it’s okay sister.  We are almost there and then we will get you out or you can have some milky.  Ok sister; don’t cry it will be ok.” The love that is growing between the two of you is so much fun for your dad and I to watch.  You two will truly be the best of friends for life and that is something you should always cherish.

Your love of animals is so endearing.  When ever you see an animal you get so excited you favorites are dogs and horses.  We recently went to the zoo and you couldn't contain your excitement at seeing all the different animals. You told me afterwards your favorites were the giraffe's, lions & zebra's.  You have also started talking a lot about wanting a dog.  You have informed me several times that your dog will be orange, his name is "just dog" and he will sleep in your bed at night. We shall see my son...we.shall.see.

You are currently potty training and have done a great job so far.  You have only had a few accidents and have tried so hard to not have any more.  I am so glad we waited until you were ready instead of forcing you like many had told us too.

Zach, your daddy and I love you so much.  You are our first born, our son, our Prince!  You will always be my prince.  When I lay my head to rest at night I thank God that he gave me you that when we knew you were coming and God gave me a boy first to teach me a love that I had never known. Even on the hard days when you are throwing tantrums or get mad about whatever has you upset I am so grateful for you and the joy that you have brought into our lives.  I can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us.  You can do or be anything you want my son and we will be there to help you along the way.  We will catch you when you fall and stand beside you when you succeed.  I love you to the moon and back my sweet boy and I always will.

Ashley - 3 Months

These months just continue to go faster and faster.  I find it hard to believe that just three months ago I was at the hospital giving birth to my baby girl.  My final baby at that. 

Ashley is the happiest baby.  This princess of ours wakes up with the biggest smile on her face and we are hard pressed to see her not smiling during her waking hours. She giggles all the time and is just over all happy the majority of the time. She even smiles in her sleep most of the time.  I hope that never fades.But she also senses the camera and it is rather tricky to catch her sparkling smile on "film". Ha!

She loves to watch her brother play and you can just see those wheels turning on how she can join in on the fun.  Zach is becoming more involved with her now that she is awake more often during the day.  He loves to bring her toys and show her how they work.  She will tolerate the bumbo the most when brother is playing with her.  Even when she is sleeping in the main living areas Zach is often found right next to her holding her hand or her foot.  It really is the sweetest things as a parent to see the bond your children grow at this age.

Her angel kisses on her eyelids and for head have started to fade.  I don’t remember when Zach’s fully faded but they did.  It is so funny to me that both Zach and Ashley have them in the same exact spots.  And they both have birth marks on the back of their necks in the same spot as me.

Size – Weight: 12 lbs 6 oz (25%) Height: 24 in (50%)

Ashley Can (Milestones) – Laughs and smiles often.  Coos back to us when we talk to her. She holds her head up steady for long periods of time. She recognizes our face and scent.  She also turns her head to our voices when we aren’t directly in front of her. Does mini pushes ups especially when she wants to see what Zach is doing and she is lying down. Rolls over, she has done both front to back and back to front but is stingy with how often she does it. She is scooting in circles on her play mat, mostly when she is mad.  She can bring her hands together occasionally and has batted at a few toys but again nothing consistent.

Sleep – Ashley is such a great sleeper.  She goes to bed between 7 & 7:30 pm and wakes at 6 – 6:30 am to eat.  She has a pattern of eat, play, sleep.  She plays for about 1 -2 hours in the morning and then sleeps for about 4 hours.  Then in the afternoon she is awake for about 2-3 hours then sleeps 2-3 hours before waking again. She likes to be just laid down to get comfortable to sleep vs. being rocked like we did with Zach.

Feeding – Ashley eats 6 oz each feeding and is eating every 5-6 hours except at night. But she usually eats 3-4 times a day.

Loves – Books, playing with brother, sitting up, looking around, baths, being outside, cuddle time with brother, daddy and me.

Doesn’t care for – Her car seat or being in the car unless already asleep!  I seriously don’t really like driving with her right now because she is just miserable.  Waiting for food, she goes from happy to HANGRY in 2 seconds.

Wearing – Clothes – She is wearing mostly 3 months but starting to wear some 6 months. Diapers – Up until this last weekend she was in size 1 diapers but has now transitioned to size 2 after 1 to many leaks.

Ashley each time you do something new our hearts swell with pride.  We know that these are all our last “first” so we savor them so.  You bring so much joy and happiness to our home that we all seem to smile more just for having you here.  You are the puzzle piece that fits perfectly into ours to complete our little family.  While I wish time would ease up a little I can’t wait to see what you do next.  I imagine you will keep us on our toes as you seem to want to do things much sooner than your brother.  But that makes you both special, both unique.  You keep on marching to the beat of your own drum baby girl.  We will all be here to cheer you on every step of the way.  I love you my sweet Ash-pea more and more every day.   

Until next month…

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


I have been struggling lately with things emotionally speaking.  I often find it difficult for me to find the words to describe what it is that I am feeling so I apologize if this seems to make no sense I just need to get it out.  I think things over and over in my mind until I can hopefully make sense of them.  Occasionally this causes me to end up more confused or even feeling lost.

Every since I was younger all I could dream of for my adult life was to be married with children and to be home taking care of said children and husband.  I worked for the first three years of Zach’s life and I hated every.single.minute of it.  Seriously loathed leaving him with someone who couldn’t possibly do as good of a job as I could taking care of him and going to an office where people were fake, hostile and often times mean.  This isn’t to say that I didn’t make a couple friendships along the way and I cherish those immensely. With that said when I found out the place I was working at was closing and I would be laid off I was hard pressed to feel upset about that.  I counted down the days until my end date.  Then I got pregnant. I was like SAAAWWEEETTT!!!  CJ and I had always talked about me staying home once we had our second child.  So this ideally was perfect timing. 

I had six glorious months at home just Zach and me.  We bonded like never before.  I got to wake up with him and not have to rush out the door and leave him somewhere where I didn’t want him to be.  We did fun outings, played with toys, went to the park and just had a great time.

Then Ashley was born and the first couple weeks were rough as they normally are with a newborn in the house.  I struggled withnursing, and then struggled to find the right formula for Ashley.  Once we got that in place everything sort of came together. I was feeling great energy wise and thought we had this two kid thing down.

Considering all things parenting my two kids is the ONE thing I feel I am doing right.  Oh, did I mention that I tried starting a small business while I was still pregnant?!?  Well I did… it is slow starting but I have faith that it could be something good if not great. But, I have been applying for jobs.  The hospital bills for our delivery are more than we thought they would be.  I really…really don’t want to go back into the work force. The thought of it alone gives me great anxiety.  I really don’t want to leave my beautiful babies in someone else’s care while I go off to work.  I am hoping I can find something I can do from home so I don’t have to leave them elsewhere because honestly the cost of daycare for two kids is more than our mortgage!  Seriously, at least $1400 a month!

It was at Ashley’s 2 month mark or maybe a week before I started to feel off. We went out to dinner with a “friend”.  She is actually Zach’s old sitter.  And while at dinner we were talking about my delivery, my inability to breastfeed this time and the fact that CJ and I decided to not cloth diaper this time.  This “friend’s” reaction… to clap and say “It is so nice to see you knocked down a few notches!”  This CRUSHED me as I don’t feel like I hold myself up higher than anyone.  In fact it is quite the opposite.  I have struggled with sever self esteem issues for a very long time, longer than I care to admit.

I have dealt with comments from those closest to me in regards to my weight, my intelligence and the quality of person that I am.  I have often been made to feel guilty in regards to things that are two way streets but all the responsibility is placed on me. Please don’t take this as my playing the role of the martyr as that is not what this is about.  This is about me figuring out why I feel the way I do and finding a way to move past these feelings.

I feel as though I am not enough, enough of a friend to those I call friends.  I don’t feel as though I am enough of a daughter to my parents or a sister to my sister, or a niece, or an aunt, or even a cousin.  I feel as though I am not enough intellectually when it comes to being knowledgeable about… well… anything quite frankly.  I feel as though people just tolerate me because they love my husband and my children and I just happen to be a part of the package.

This is a hard thing to admit.  These are feelings I feel every single day of my life. It is a lonely way of living because no one really ever understands why you feel the way you do.  I wouldn’t describe myself as depressed but just feeling alone. My solace is my husband and the two beautiful children we made. That God blessed us with.

I am at a place where I CANNOT feel this way anymore.  It is imperative that I find a way to NOT feel like this anymore. Because I am enough.  I am enough for myself, I have to be in order to be enough for those that mean the most too me.  But how do I change what feels like a lifetime of negative thinking?  I don’t know.  How to I stop feeling guilty?  I don’t know.  How Do I communicate to people how their words and their actions affect me? I.Don’t.Know.

This isn’t something I can just will to happen… or is it?  Can I just decide to not feel like this?  Can I learn to just let peoples harsh words run of my back? I am not sure it is that easy.

So, before you judge someone because it seems like life is perfect by what we post on social media, or we never seem to be upset or stressed, or we don’t always say things in the most eloquent way please stop and think.  Is something deeper going on?  As I personally have had a very long time to perfect the art of pretending everything is ok when I am falling apart on the inside.

Whenever you feel like you have the world’s biggest problem remember someone somewhere is always going through their own struggles, their own demons, and their own misfortune.  We just don’t always where it on our sleeve.  But I do, that is why I hide. I post the happy things so I don’t have to think about the bad.  I don’t call because I don’t want you to hear in my voice but I so badly want to talk about it.  I don’t know how to put it into words so I just don’t.  I deal with it internally until I go to bed then I break down in front of my husband when I feel as though the load is too much for me to bear.  And he just holds me and lets me cry.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ashley - 2 Months

Today my little Ash-pea turns 2 months!  This is unreal to me as I feel that time is going by even faster this time around.  I try to write things down as they happen because they days blur together and I find I am more forgetful than ever before too.  Ashley has been such a blessing, the perfect fit to our little family.  I love having a son and a daughter I feel like I am experiencing Motherhood as a first time mom trying to adjust from what I “know” to what Ashley is teaching me.

These last couple of Ashley has been fussy during the late afternoon early evening.  We have been trying to figure out what could be going on.  At first we thought it was gas pains, so we gave her gas drops (Gripe Water).  That helped but she was still fussy.  We upped her ounces on her formula and that helped but she is still fussy.  So the other night I took her upstairs and rocked her and laid her down and she was out!  I think she is just over tired and over the loud noise that daddy and brother produce when they play and wants peace and quiet and sleep. Who knows! I wish she could just tell us what was wrong so it wasn’t such a guessing game.  It breaks my heart when my babies cry.  I get crazy anxiety when they are upset I just have this deep primal need to make it all better.

Her little personality is starting to blossom and she is just such a happy giggly baby the majority of the time.  Her eyes are definitely going to stay blue but they might be a dark blue then Zach’s and her hair is getting lighter as well.  I really want to pull out one of Zach’s baby outfits to put her in and see if people can tell the difference in pictures because they are total twinsies as babies.  

Size – I will fill in her weight & height once we have her doctor’s appointment next week. I am contemplating buying a scale to weight her myself at home in between well checks.

Ashley Can (Milestones) – Ashley has become very vocal this last month.  She gurgles, coos and holds “conversations” with us on a regular basis. She follows objects very well, the other day Zach was playing with a balloon and she was fascinated with watching him. She smiles at us and laughs and giggled most of the time when she is awake.   She can hold her head steady at a 45 degree angle and has started to occasionally bear some weight on her legs.  This is for very short periods of time but she likes it when we hold her in a standing positions and she can look around at her surroundings.  During tummy time she is starting to do the mini push-up move.

Feeding – In the last week or two Ashley has made it clear that she is unhappy with the measly 4 ounces we have been offering her. Ha!  One day last week after she finished eating 4oz I took the bottle out of her mouth and she instantly started screaming tell me she wasn’t done yet.  So she is now eating 6 ounce bottles every 5-6 hours.  I think this has been part of her fussiness lately she just wanted more to eat.

Sleep – She is doing great at night.  Typically she goes down for the night between 8 pm & 9 pm and sleeps until 4 am – 5 am.  So 8 hour stretches and has a bottle and then sleeps until she hears brother get up between 7 am & 8 am.  Once I get her settled she will sleep until her next feeding time.  Since she is going longer between feedings she has more time awake during the day.  She usually sleeps 3-4 hours out of the 5-6 hours between feedings.  But sometimes she will stay up nearly the whole time. She is also still sleeping on her stomach and does exceptionally well doing so.  She also is amazing as putting herself to sleep. We typically lay her down awake and she will grunt and coo until she finds the right spot then she is out for the count. 

Loves – Baths, this is her time to unwind and relax.  She just sits in her tub and coos and gurgles the whole time. She loves to cuddle with us all but especially daddy.  She just wiggles herself to her comfy spot and knocks out with daddy for as long as he will sit still.  She loves with I wrap her in the Moby or the wear her in the Ergo.   She loves Church!  She nestles on down in the Moby wrap and sleeps through the whole thing even the music.  She was the same way when I was pregnant with her.  She would be moving around like crazy but as soon as the music would start in church she would calm down and fall asleep. She loves her brother and all is silliness, she laughs and smiles at him the most.  It is so fun to watch.  She like tummy time most of the time. Overall she is a pretty happy baby.

Doesn’t care for – Wet diapers; this is a no go for little miss, the second she feels even a little bit wet she is one grumpy Gus until we change her. She doesn’t like the room to be too bright when she is sleeping, such a diva! If she isn’t ready to sleep when we are going somewhere she tends to not care for her car seat until she relaxes and is falling asleep.  That makes trips in the car stressful for me sometimes.

Wearing – Clothes – 3 months Diapers – Size 1

My sweet Ash-pea, I love you more than words could ever say.  The love a mother has for her children is unlike any other love in the world.  I pray that one day you get to experience this love as it is overwhelmingly wonderful. As your brother says “I love you all the way to the moon and back to your heart sissy!” You bring a huge sense of joy to our home and you where meant to be her with us.  God knew we needed you and sent you at just the right time.

The little noises you make while you sleep and the smiles you give us just captured our hearts.  You already have daddy wrapped around that little finger of yours and we wouldn’t have it any other way.  As much as I don’t want time to fly by I can say that I look forward to watching you grow and blossom into a beautiful little lady.

Until next month…

Friday, January 30, 2015

Ashley - 1 Month

Ashley turned 1 month this last weekend.  I was in denial all week that it was coming; I couldn’t believe how fast this first month went by.  It also terrifies me to think of how fast the rest of time will go if this month seems to be just a blurb.  But none the less this weekend came and went and Ashley his one month.

She is just such a joy to have and we are all settling in nicely into life as a family of four but more on that later.  Let’s get to the good stuff shall we.

Size: Weight – 10 lbs 11 oz Length (75th percentile) – 23 inches (90th percentile)

Ashley Can (milestones) – Smile, lifts and holds up her head for short periods of time, loves to look at our faces.  She follows us with her eyes.  She smiles and has giggled a few times in her sleep. When awake she has started to coo and ahh when looking around and at our faces. She has rolled over from her belly to her back a handful of times and has gone from back to tummy a couple of times. Tracks sound (I.e. brother running around like a crazy 3 year old boy) and daddy & mommy’s voices.

Sleep – During the day has long periods of time that she is awake.  She normally will eat have a diaper change and just lay awake checking things out for an hour or two then sleeps two to three hours depending.  At night she is a little rock star as sleep.  She takes her last bottle between 8 pm & 9 pm and then sleeps until 4 am or 5 am.  The first couple weeks were rough as she would want to be awake for long periods of time all.the.time.  So I was very happy that she settled down into a nice schedule fairly quickly.  I have also done something that I probably should have done with Zach.  We lay her down when she is still awake but sleepy and she soothes herself to sleep. She makes the funniest noises when she is trying to get comfortable and to fall asleep.  She normally only cries when she wants her binky.  We haven’t had to let her cry it out at all which has been AMAZING because I cannot handle it when my babies cry.  I get crazy anxiety.

Feeding – With the exception of her long stretch at night she eats every 3 – 4 hours and drinks 4 ounces each feeding.  A couple of times she seemed like she was still hungry so we made an additional 2 ounces but she only drank one more ounce and those are few and far between.

Loves – Cuddling with mommy, daddy & brother, hanging out in the Ergo & Moby, her swing occasionally.  She loves her baths like wow, she will be squirming and kicking then we put her in the water and it is like she is saying “Ahhhhhh”.  I totally get it mommy like her baths too. Stretching, kicking and moving her arms.  Watching brother play and story/pray time.  Sleeping on her tummy. Church, I put her in the Moby and she falls asleep and stays that way throughout the whole service.

Doesn't care for – sleeping on her back (she tried to roll to her tummy). Being in her car seat if she doesn't have to be.

Wearing – Clothes -  0-3 months Diapers – size 1

We had a delayed Christmas since we were in the hospital for the Holiday’s so this year Christmas felt very drawn.  We had celebrated with my family before she was born so we just had our little Christmas and then our celebrations with CJ’s side of the family. 

Ashley, you have completed our family in the most perfect way.  We feel as if you have always been a part of our home and it is amazing to finally have you here. You look just like your brother and dad.  Your blue eyes amaze me and I love that your hair is getting lighter to more of a blonde color then my color.  I can tell already that, like your brother, you have a lot of my personality in you.  To me you are the most perfect combination of your dad and I. We love you more than words could say and I can’t wait to watch you grow… just don’t grow to fast ok.  I love you my Ash-pea!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Breastfeeding vs Formula Feeding

This is sometimes a hot topic in the mommy world.  Let’s face it this has been the leader in the “Mommy Wars” for a very long time. “Breast is Best” and all that jazz.  With Zach I even was known to say several times that my breast milk was liquid gold and I still truly believe that. 

I breast fed Zach for nearly 10 months.  I would have gone at least a year but life happens and I was just happy that I was able to do it for as long as I did and the reason I stopped… Well let’s just say that my priorities shifted when we had a family tragedy.

While I was pregnant with Ashley I was looking forward to nursing her.  To experience all of the joys of nursing again, except for pumping, that shit is crazy boring and being tied to a pump sucked for me!  I was looking forward to not having to pump nearly as much as I did with Zach with me being home full time.

Since Ashley was 10 pounds the nurses were concerned about her sugar levels so they were going to have to check them at least three times to make sure her body was processing everything as it should.  Once they got her cleaned up and I was taken care of I nursed her.  Little miss nursed for a whole hour with doing thirty minutes on each side.  I was ecstatic because Zach always ate really fast and for very short periods of time. They checked her levels for the first time and everything was fine.

During our hospital stay we dealt with her being jaundice. She was in the high/high intermediate risk range and we were held for an additional day because her bilirubin levels were not coming down as they should.  After the first blood draw we started supplementing with formula, just as we had with Zach, except Ashley sucked down the bottle.

I also started having some sever discomfort and checked and saw that I was cracked and bleeding.  NOT GOOD!  That told me that she wasn’t latching on right so we tried to adjust but it was just so uncomfortable and at one point Ashley spit up blood after she had nursed.  There is nothing scarier then you brand new tiny baby spitting up blood when everything had checked out ok for her.  We got that under control and thought that we were headed on the right path because she didn’t even lose the 10% most newborns do.

My milk came in but nowhere near how it did with Zach but I didn’t think much of it at first. I had decided to pump a couple times because she hadn’t eaten on both side and we were still supplementing so my thoughts were to give her a bottle of my milk instead of a bottle of formula after she nursed.  Well… that is when I knew.  I wasn’t going to be able to nurse my daughter and my heart shattered into a million pieces.

You see I had nursed Ashley for an hour and then gave her three ounces of my pumped milk and a whole twenty minutes after she had eaten she was SCREAMING and crying like she was still hungry.  My milk wasn’t enough for my darling girl she needed more then I could provide for her.  I called my sister and will be forever grateful for all the help and advice she gave me on how to formula feed. She told me how much to start off with, she told me how to tell when she would need more, she reassured me that she could go longer between feedings, that it would help with the jaundice and she told me something that has stuck with me for this first month and will forever be with me.  I did NOT fail; I did what is best for my daughter that I would still bond with her. 

So just like that.  Five days after I giving birth my breast feeding journey came to an end.
I was worried that I wouldn’t bond with her like I did with Zach but you know.  I was SO wrong.  I still hold her and stair into her beautiful eyes and wonder what she will be when she grows up or think of all the things we want to do together as a family. I still cuddle her after each feeding and rub her sweet back for as long as I want.  She still lays her head on my chest and sighs in full contentment as she listens to my heartbeat and falls fast asleep.  All those things I worried I would miss switching to formula have all been proven to me that I worried for nothing.

I do still have moments where I get sad that I could not nurse this time.  I have countless pictures of me nursing Zach and with Ashley I have one.  Just one.  But I will cherish that one picture for as long as I live.

As a mom who has done both breastfed and formula fed I feel like the whole one is better than the other is a bunch of CRAP! I never have and never will understand why people feel the need to judge a mom based on how or what she is feeding her baby.  We all make decisions based on what we feel or what actually is best for our children and at the end of the day that is all that matters. And maybe part of me hasn't talked about this yet because, well, I don't want to be judged.  Believe me I have had a hard enough time making peace with this that I do not need people telling me I didn't try hard enough. Because I did and I know that now. 
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