Life Lately, Vol. 4

In an effort to blog more often, a random update is in order.

-Nate: has been working quite a bit of overtime lately, because he is teaching this semester in addition to working at hockey games, and he is just plain slammed at the clinic. It's a good kind of busy and won't last forever, plus he really loves his job and all of the 'extra' commitments it's requiring at the moment.

Also, I hurt my back last week and he fixed me right up like the top notch Physical Therapist that he is. I really appreciate his Sports Medicine mind for moments like last week---it really sucks to be injured and it seriously feels amazing to be well. Being on the other side of the patient-caregiver spectrum just solidifies my love for our profession. But I'll happily stick to treating my geriatric population instead of Nate's athletic population. And I'll keep my own personal PT around for future issues, until I'm actually geriatric--then I can treat myself no problem.


-Me: besides my wonky back (has never happened before and I hope it never happens again!), I'm feeling like the extra solo parenting hours are not quite as jarring as they were in the past few months. Maybe we are just falling into a nice routine overall, or I'm getting used to doing four out of five weekday dinners alone and my fair share of bedtimes without my teammate, too. Whatever the reason, life with three is feeling more balanced and less chaotic, even when I'm totally outnumbered by my children. And forget what I said about not drinking during the week. That was ridiculous and unnecessary, silly Julia. Cheers!

Long week = picnic pizza party AND a movie. Yes.
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Me and my boo.

Also, knowing that we are leaving for a four night trip to HOT AND SUNNY MEXICO in sixteen days does wonders for my mental state. Yes. Fist pump. Yes. Nate and I are going on a beach vacation with our friends Erin and Ben. No kids. (insert numerous emoticons here). All four grandparents will be here to spoil the children rotten and I will certainly miss their little faces, but oh----to have zero responsibilities, endless/uninterrupted sleep, and no need to wear a winter coat+boots+hats+other stupid cold weather gear? Glory glory alleluia. I just cannot even fathom and to say we are excited for this trip is the biggest understatement of the year.

Selfie to commerate the moment that my daughter confirmed I'm turning into my mother. 'You look like GoGo today, mommy. You have that hair bow (?) and that necklace (??). You look like her now.' Okay then!
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-Truman: our boy turns FIVE on Sunday and it's causing me to feel all of the feels. We've been parents for five years. Five years ago I was super pregnant with Truman and didn't know this special little being that is such a bit part of our lives now. How is this possible? It seems like yesterday and also a different lifetime when baby Truman entered the world.


Truman is incredibly helpful and happy and seriously such a joy. We butt heads 1% as often as I do with his sister and watching him enter the 'golden years' of being a bigger kid makes me excited for the day when all of our children are ages 5-9. Well, at least until the teenage years hit, then I don't know if the years will seem quite so golden. Anyway, Truman isn't perfect, obviously but he's certainly one laid back, fun, relatively easy little dude.

He had the best parent teacher conference full of gems like, 'He is just a great kid and will do something big someday.' We love our first born so much, and I'm having fun planning his birthday party--our first time doing a drop and go 'kids only' party. Eight five years olds can't be TOO wild, right? Truman requested Angry Birds cookies so I'm gearing myself up to attempt these royal icing beauties. Wish me luck!


Seriously, the best big brother ever.

Building up his 'ceps by practicing holding little brother alone.

Oh, and speaking of cookies, I saw this pin on Pinterest and have deemed this recipe my newest favorite of all chocolate chip cookies. It's worth the hype, my friends.

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-Cecelia: I'm *finally* starting to work on Cecelia's second year album (as in 13 months through 24 months...super behind, obvi) and can't help but smile when I read back all of my old blog posts about our girl. She's still our little firecracker, but it seems like her emotional meltdowns have come down a notch from where she was even just six months ago. Or again, maybe I don't get quite as flustered when she is hysterical over not being able to properly fix her baby doll's diaper, or when she screams at the top of her lungs for what seems to be a half of an hour because I told her 'no' to candy for breakfast. Our biggest struggle is still getting her to use her words instead of melting into a puddle of tears when she is frustrated. Some days are better than others, but overall she has just become so freaking hilarious and entertaining. I mean, she may or may not sing the chorus to Outkast's 'Ms. Jackson' in the most adorable, high pitched baby voice ever. Let's just say we have been rediscovering some of mommy's favorite college songs together.

Best day of her life: pajama day at Lori's, Valentine's Day party at Lori's, and a new heart necklace from Lori. And still getting suckers occasionally for potty training. #winning
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Wearing my 1980's Breckenridge dress and very into posing for the camera.
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So this is a new thing, too. 'Playing baby' just entered a new dimension as she demands that I cart her around in the carrier. No wonder I hurt my back, huh?
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Truman took this one. Thanks, T!

She and I went for a run yesterday and it was a mere 14 degrees outside. We wore about 87 layers of clothing combined and I had to ask her to get out and walk during a part of our adventure, when we were on a little forest trail by a river and the BOB did not fit through the trees as well as I had hoped. It was a highlight of the day for some reason, probably because the bonding moments between me and my girl don't happen nearly enough---but they are really good for both of us when we make it a point to have our mother-daughter time. The entire point of the run, aside from busting up some of the cabin fever in the fresh air, was for us to find CC's beloved ducks. Well, the ducks are smarter than us and were hiding from the cold but me and my girl still had a fun time outside together. And then we got Starbucks randomly because we both had to use a bathroom, so obviously it was declared a win all around.

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Hmm, we might resemble each other sometimes.
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Best big sister...even when we are all a little bit frightened of our Cecelia.

-Porter: we are sleep training baby boy and it's going better than expected. My friend Hannah sent me a summary of what an actual sleep nurse told them to do for their youngest babe. I'd describe it as a structured plan that does include some crying but we aren't following it as closely as we probably should. Nap training came first and we are always laying him down awake now, sticking to two naps at roughly 8:30 and 12:30. And apparently he really likes this schedule because he will take a morning naps that lasts about 30-45 minutes, then a KILLER afternoon nap that can be three freaking hour or longer. Insane, right?

Night times are still hit or miss but we haven't caved and given him a bottle in the past three nights. This is huge, people. (Here is where I will justify our lack of feeding to myself by saying that he is consuming SO much formula and also table food during the day that he truly does not need to eat more at night at seven months old. If he was nursing I don't think I could be quite as convinced of this.) Some of the nights he has slept straight through for eleven hours without a peep. Some of the nights he will wake up and fuss a bit, but nothing that warrants even a check in by us because he falls back to sleep within five minutes. Those are not the norm just yet.

The past two nights he has woken up and expected a bottle. Saturday night he was up for a total of 50 minutes and needed one check by Nate after 10 minutes---which ended up making him even more mad than if we just left him alone, watching him on the monitor instead. But after those 50 minutes of wakefulness, he did sleep until 7 am the next morning. Last night Porter was up for almost two freaking hours total, happily talking, then fussing, occasionally crying a bit, playing with his sleep sac, squealing, etc. Again, I'd watch him like crazy through the monitor to make sure he wasn't smashing his head into the crib or something painful, and I did send Nate in there one time. I freaking love when babies are curled up sleeping, all angelic and perfect-looking.

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Nate has no issue whatsoever sleeping through Porter's fussing, and he is much more level-headed about sleep training in general (i.e. he doesn't believe that we will scare the boy for life by letting him fuss, and he tends to think that Porter will still love me in the morning if I don't give him a bottle). Dads are good for rational thinking, no? I mostly just lay there and stare at the monitor the entire time he is awake, feeling somewhat guilty for not feeding him but grateful that he isn't totally freaking out. Pretty sure Cecelia totally owned us with 'sleep training' and I don't think we even gave it a half-hearted effort with Truman.

Anyway, Porter seems to be learning the way of sleep and it's pretty amazing. Keep up the good work, buddy!

Another Truman image. He really does love my big camera as much as I love Porter's smooshy cheeks.

In this same vein, the other day at Target I had disposable diapers, formula, and store-bought baby food in my cart and I had to chuckle at myself. What in the world would the Julia of 2010 think about this new found path my parenting? It's one that is decidedly less 'crunchy' and includes more disposables than cloth (although yes, we still use CDs, too), one that includes formula for a baby that wouldn't nurse past 6 months, and one that includes store-bought purees instead of only homemade stuff? It mostly boils down to convenience and the fact that as our third baby, Porter is probably getting a different version of me as a mom than Truman did at seven months. AND THAT IS OKAY, as I've always been a middle-of-the-road type of mom and a big fan of going with what works, being flexible, and not judging others who choose differently for their kids. And every kid is so different, blah blah blah.

But I might have been surprised to know that someday I'd have a cart full of fairly expensive baby essentials. It used to be so important to me to save money with cloth and breast milk and homemade baby food. Now it's important for me to remain sane within the chaos while creating more time in each day, somehow. And sleep is more important than it was before but I don't think I can buy that in a store. I didn't see 'unbroken sleep' on the Target shelves, at least.

Ah, the metamorphosis of motherhood choices with subsequent children. Such an interesting topic and one that probably deserves more attention than just this haphazard paragraph. But yeah, my Target cart was a light bulb moment that proves things have changed over time. And change is good. This little nugget is teaching me so much each day, like how babies taking sink baths will always be perfection. Add in sock lines and a chin dimple? I'm a goner.

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Back to Porter for a second: he's sleep training but also he got his first tooth, he's sitting up a lot better, and he's still basically the most delicious, perfect, ovary-punching baby ever. I don't know what we did before he came along with his big ears and big blue eyes and new-found hair on the top of his giant head. ZOMG he is just the best. And as I said on Facebook, 'I will not have favorites, I will not have favorites, I will not have favorites.' But dang it, Porter, stop being such a sweet baby that doesn't talk back or require discipline! No don't, just kidding. I can handle your baby-sweetness, promise.


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So yeah, these three rock my world. So much personality packed into those little/big bodies.

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That's our life lately. Totally riveting, I know.

Giveaway | Noonday Collection

When Melissa from Noonday contacted me about a possible review and giveaway, I went to their website to see what kind of company Noonday was. I hadn't heard of them before but when their site opened up, I immediately recognized Kelle Hampton in one of the rotating pictures. Next I read through Noonday's story and mission, and finally peeked at the jewelry. But this time I was totally sold;)

If you haven't heard of Noonday, like I hadn't, let me talk them up for a second. Their purpose says that "Together we are building a flourishing world where children are cherished, we are connected, women are empowered, and people have jobs". All of the jewelry is handmade by over 2000 artisans from ten different developing countries. They use items like recycled artillery pieces from Ethiopia,  metalwork in Peru, Water Buffalo Horn in Vietnam, and Tagua seeds in Ecuador. Noonday reps travel the world to find these artisan entrepreneurs who are passionate about creating opportunity in their communities.  They believe in the dignity and design of their work, creating dignified jobs as a powerful way to alleviate poverty. So basically, the jewelry is beautiful, handmade, and is a part of a great cause. 

Noonday Collection's first trunk show was hosted by founder, Jessica Honegger, in her home as a means to raise money to adopt her son and third child from Rwanda. The style and purpose of the products drew an overwhelming response, and the business quickly grew beyond a fundraiser. Thanks to Noonday sales, Jessica and her hubby brought home their son Jack in October of 2011 and orphan care and prevention remain a core value.

Melissa said I could use this image which is a good representation of what Noonday is all about (click to see larger version):


This company is quite different than the rest, no? 

Here is where you can check them out, make a purchase, host a trunk show or become an Ambassador. Noonday's Spring line launches today, so have fun shopping!

But what do I think of the product itself? I picked the Clustered Charm Necklace after browsing every single long necklace on the site. I have been looking for something long and sort of 'fun' to wear with simple tops and this necklace totally fits the bill. 


I don't own much yellow gold jewelry which makes this even more unique for my own collection, and I am in love with the pretty charms. It feels kind of eclectic and like I'm a cool mom when I'm wearing it;)


I think it will pair well with many of my tops and I'll probably just wear my trusty stud earrings with this piece. It has a lot going on and can speak for itself in a simple outfit, and I already know that Porter wants to eat this necklace whole (will have to distract him with another sparkly object, I guess).


The necklace feels substantial and expensive without being too heavy and it's just the right length for me. I really do love it!

Now for the giveaway portion of this post. Melissa is offering a $50 voucher to go towards the item of your choice on Noonday's site. Just enter the Rafflecopter drawing below from now until Tuesday, February 24th. I will email the winner directly at that point and you'll see her name on the widget once the drawing is complete.

Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Porter | Seven Months

Wait, didn't I just write Porter's six month post last week? No? He is now seven months which is sort of incredible, right?



What to say about Porter-P in this update....he's ridiculously happy and content and just THE BEST baby in the entire world. The end.

Just kidding, I can manage to type out a few more details about this kid in the name of memory preservation. Also because I have a lot of pictures of Sir Handsome that need to grace the blog, and I truly die over him daily.



So, this past month brought two bouts with winter sicknesses to my sweet baby. The first time around it was a cold that kind of progressed into weird wheezing/breathing and one day of a fever. The doctor said it was 'just a virus' and to watch and wait, and sure enough---Porter eventually kicked that bug on his own. He had a full week of normalcy and then he and CC and I all caught another cold so the snots were back with authority. No odd breathing noises this time though, thank goodness, but enough boogers to last a season of three kids in a Wisconsin winter. (A lot of boogers).

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But besides worrying his mama about becoming even sicker, those two colds also screwed up our already wavering sleep issues around here. Actually Porter *did* boast eleven consecutive hours of sleep on two separate occasions this month, plus he had a handful of stretches that lasted until 4 or 5 am as a 'one and only' wake up. I suppose his usual is still waking once a night but in the past week he's decided that he requires two six ounce bottles in the middle of the night. I mean, NO. No, Porter, you do not need to drink so frequently, right? It seems like his internal hunger meter is set to go off around 12:30 am and again at 4 or 5 am because he's almost always squawking at those two times. Last night I attempted to change his (soaking wet) diaper before giving him the bottle at 4 am and you would have thought I was torturing the poor kid with his protests. Literally this boy cannot wait to chug his bottles and gathering the patience for me to proceed with the diaper change was apparently quite painful for him. His cries even woke Nate which is saying a LOT.

Heaven help me with this new face.

Growing some lashes.

I am serious this time, we really need to dig deep and become a sleep training family ASAP. Or more accurately, I need to toughen up and refuse to feed him at night. I have tried to simply go in there, make sure he isn't stuck against the crib or hasn't pooped himself awake, without actually feeding him. Sometimes this works but almost always he is still awake and ticked off for at least an hour at a time. It's hard to convince myself to refuse him a bottle when I know that will get him to sleep again within 10 minutes. But duh, I could totally be bold and politely tell him that he needs to return to his slumber without eating. I can only imagine the response. (Cringing).

See? This face.

Easy there, buddy.

Oh, sleep. Oh, the mecca of STTN. I still think it's the least he can do for me since he weaned earlier than my liking, and I know he is old enough to sleep through the night without eating. But oh, when my happy baby is upset it just kills me and I want to fix it immediately (i.e. place the bottle in his mouth and observe the happiness take hold). I'm not sure I have hit rock bottom with exhaustion just yet, as I *know* what rock bottom feels like after the previous two children, but I really really really want to start sleeping more than 4 hour stretches. Without getting into a giant debate, did any of you sleep train your children with fantastic success and little emotional trauma? I've always been a 'ride the wave of sleeplessness' mom but I'm teetering on the edge of change. Do you hear that, Porter? Stop laughing. I'm serious.



Oh, and naps are also not so wonderful. I vividly remember one day last week when he napped twice, around 9 am and 1 pm, both times for at least 1.5 hours. And it was beautiful but not our norm. At Lori's he naps once for over 3 hours (what?!?!?!) but at home he frequently prefers 30 minute intervals scattered throughout the day. He actually is getting better about soothing himself back to bed both at night and for naps, which is why I'm kind of surprised he hasn't agreed to STTN consistently. Most of the time I can lay him down drowsy but awake after just a few snuggles in the rocker and he might talk a bit, but falls asleep on his own. Let's just focus on this big accomplishment and hope that the self-soothing improves even more this month.

The ears. I cannot.


The other heavy hitter of baby updates: eating. Well obviously Porter has no shame in his formula bottle game, still taking 6 ounces every three hours during the day (and every 4-5 at night, yawn). And initially he loved purees and would consume 4 ounces at a time, but after that first cold he pretty much despises anything by spoon. Porter will cry if I try to feed him purees but yet he will eat them just fine for Lori. Huh. I've tried all sorts of foods in the liquid form and nope, not his thing for me. But he does love finger foods like avocado, baked sweet potatoes, and bananas. Mostly he will just smash them up and shove a few morsels into his mouth but he does get pretty angry when he drops this finger food, so the mesh teether is usually better. He's also tried gnawing on green beans, frozen blueberries, pear slices, a whole wheat bagel (loved it, somehow downed three halves in one sitting), french bread, and his newest love is my favorite deli turkey meat. Porter also loves his Baby Mum Mum crackers and when in doubt I can always let him gum those down for a snack. I suppose his love for finger foods means he's moving towards the Baby Led Weaning movement and even if he only ingests a few bits of the food, I should be happy to plunk down a bunch of options and let him go to town. Which is fine, yes, but he also gets really angry when he can't man handle his own food---heaven forbid I help him eat! Also it's just so messy. So.Freaking.Messy. How did I forget this about feeding a baby?


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Anyway, he is eating solids and although he doesn't have a single tooth yet (?!?!?!?! HOW?!?!?!) he somehow manages to do pretty well with non-purees. I'll just keep trying different options, and our Pediatrician just advises us to avoid eggs, honey, shellfish, and peanut butter for the first year. Everything else is up for grabs, I suppose. I'm hoping if he starts to tank up on food he won't be so obsessed with middle-of-the-night-bottles. We shall see.

So yeah, no teeth yet although I swear the bottom two are *right*there*. I bet he pops both at once, and VERY SOON, mark my words. His siblings both had their first teeth by now, so Porter is a dental slacker;)

Another aspect where Porter is lacking compared to his siblings (although I shouldn't compare but can't help it): motor skills. P-man will sit unsupported but still leans over into more of a tripod sit, and he doesn't last too long in that position either. He also doesn't care to stand up in our laps although he can bear weight in the jumparoo for a solid stretch of time without issue. I noted in Truman and Cecelia's updates that both liked to stand up with assistance. Not so much for our last baby, and I'm certainly not leaving him to sit up alone just yet---even with the Boppy behind him he will probably face plant or smoke his head after a few minutes.



Porter is finally rolling though (again, what a slow poke!), preferring to go from back to tummy towards his left. He can also go to his right but doesn't seem to show us that skill as often. He will roll from tummy to back, but sometimes it seems like he gets mad when he's 'stuck' on his tummy and he can't remember how to free himself. Silly baby boy, I know you can do it! He's doing the Superman with all arms and legs pulling off the floor when on his tummy and it seems like he's considering pushing into all fours. 'Considering' being the operative word. Porter is scooting and spinning and it's anyone's guess what kind of position he'll discover when we walk out of the room. But it seems like he might not actually crawl for a REALLY long time, and I think he will be our latest walker by far. If my memory serves me Truman walked around 14 months and CC was just after a year, so I'm guessing Porter could be closer to 16 months. But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, right?



The Pediatrician wasn't concerned with Porter being so slow to move since he is definitely not 'low tone' and *has* the abilities....he just isn't too interested in mobility yet, which drives his Physical Therapist parents a little bonkers. We won't call him 'lazy' but just 'content.' And yet, I'm not in too much of a hurry to have him enter the extremely mobile phase, either. Plus, he is my last baby and therefore I probably hold him a lot more than I 'should'. But the baby snuggles are absolutely worth it, my friends!



One of Porter's favorite things in life is to stick his feet in the air, gnaw on his socks a bit, then he'll realize that THERE ARE SOCKS ON MY FEET, so he will pull each of them off with authority. Then he'll continue to eat the socks until they are soaking wet and truly disgusting. Not sure why socks are so tasty at this age but I found a picture of Truman chewing on a sock so maybe it's genetic. Again, Porter prefers chunky finger foods instead of purees, and I bet he wishes socks had more nutritional value.

'Just practicing my rolling....oh wait....scrumptious socks.'

Vocally Porter is super loud and he goes through phases with his babbles, moving from Da-Da-Da to Ma-Ma-Ma and Ba-Ba-Ba like it's nothing. Recently he has learned how to do this really throaty, raspy squeal that sounds like an old man smoker. Truly hilarious. He will still scream and squeak and tell us about his feelings even if we aren't listening. But my favorite sound he makes is his friggin adorable laugh. Ah, the best.

Porter really is incredibly happy, too. He honestly only cries if he is hungry or tired and he'll still flash you his gummy smile if you make eye-contact---after he inspects you and sizes you up as being trust worthy or totally sketchy. He's starting to show a little preference for me, though, which I obviously don't hate too much. Especially in the evenings when the day seems to be about two hours too long for our boy, Porter just wants mommy to hold or wear him. Evenings are also the time when he cannot be bothered with food at all and it seem like he just needs to go to bed at 4:00 some days. I feel you, buddy!!



The baby of the family is madly in love with his big brother and sister. If he hears their voices he will perk up and hunt for them, will lock eyes with them and then he will either smile or chuckle to himself. Seriously, one of the best things in my life as a mom is watching my children interact and I'm constantly blown away by how loving Truman and Cecelia both are with Porter. OH, and Henry, too---Porter also loves Henry. Mostly I think he feels lucky to be a part of such a wild and fun (?) family. He doesn't seem to mind the noise and chaos and all that comes with a house with three small children inside. I think he'll fit in just fine around here.








Superficially, Porter is simply the cutest, most edible baby I've ever encountered (biased, yes). I mean first you have his gigantic Dumbo ears, then you add in his baldish head, big blue eyes, and sweet little dimpled chin? Can't handle it all combined. He is growing more hair lately though and a few have claimed it's reddish like his sister's. I kind of can't believe we have another blue eyed baby---how does one brown eyed and another hazel eyed parent created two out of three blue eyed kids? Genetics are so freaking cool. Also cool? The fact that all three kids look pretty much like clones sometimes. Definitely related!

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And finally, things I learned from reading posts about the siblings: I could probably dig out the 12 month clothes for Porter since his siblings were both wearing The Big Dogs by now. Porter weighed 17lbs 10oz at 6 months, Truman was over 19 pounds, CC was 15-ish, and all three are about the same height at 27-28". I suppose his nine month outfits have gotten a bit snug but I just keep stretching the snaps on onesies in denial. I think Porter isn't sitting up as well as his siblings did, but all three were slow rollers and just getting to be mobile. They all sort of suck at sleeping at this point but at least T and C had nursing as an excuse. Also, Porter is the only one who hates purees as the others were downing the thin stuff twice daily. Summary: every baby is different but similar, too. So fun to compare. {Truman at 7 months and Cecelia at 7 months}



Sweet Porter, we all go nuts over you, buddy. I am so thankful to be your mommy, to have the privilege of watching you grow up, to call you mine. You are simply the best.

Bring on month eight!


Gimme that sucker, yo.


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