Saturday, March 31, 2012

Celebrating an amazing new mom.

Brittany with Baby Linna.

This past weekend, I was so happy to throw a baby shower for one of my very good friends Brittany (AKA "Auntie Brittany" according to Baby Linna). Brittany was pregnant with her first baby, and early into her pregnancy she found out that she had Ovarian Cancer. She had to go through chemotherapy while pregnant, lost all of her hair, and her baby was born two months early at 31 weeks. Baby Emerson was born on March 19th via emergency c-section (the doctor got the baby out in just 30 seconds). Emerson is absolutely perfect, beautiful, already breathing and eating on her own! She is strong and feisty, just like her mama. Brittany has been blogging about her entire journey and Baby Emerson's progress on her blog, To Be Created.

Baby shower invitations from
I wanted Brittany's baby shower to be special, because she's been dealing with so much. But I also knew she'd be tired, because hey, she's a new mom:) Since Baby Emerson came early (a week before the shower), we didn't know if we were going to postpose, cancel, or actually have the shower on time. In true Brittany fashion, she said she really wanted the shower to happen and that she'd be there!

I had Brittany's invitations made through I did a "princess" theme, because Brittany was a Hopkins Raspberry Festival Princess (our hometown festival) back in 2001. The invitations were pink, pretty, and super cute! It was so easy to just go online, order them, and have them addressed for me:)

For the food, I used Pinterest for almost everything (what a lifesaver)! I made mini pancakes with strawberries and syrup on skewers, rainbow fruit kabobs, mini frittatas, fruity pebble bars, and a potato bake from a family recipe. It was simple brunch food, and I must say it was very yummy.

Mini pancakes.

Mini frittatas.
I'm not much of a baby shower games person, and I thought Brittany would be worn out from the busy week prior (having a baby and all), so I did the regular "guess how many candies are in the bottle" game, and a fun "who knows Emerson best" contest between the grandmas and godmother. Godmother Kelly won!

Brittany's Mother-in-law Sue, Brittany, and
Brittany's Mom Gayle.
All in all, the shower was a success and Brittany received so many wonderful gifts for Baby Emerson. Brittany looked absolutely beautiful, sporting her wig that seriously looks like her real hair:) We are all so excited for Baby Emerson to continue to grow and come home to be with her mama and papa!

Congratulations Brittany and Max!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Win a Blooming Bath.

Baby Linna on her Blooming Bath.

And the winner is... Blog follower "Minnesota Girl"! Congratulations, you've won a Blooming Bath! Message me with your address so I can ship it to you. Thanks everyone for following Minnesota Baby. Stay tuned for more giveaways!

We're giving away one of Baby Linna's favorite bath products to one of you! The Blooming Bath is a bath cushion that we've used in the sink and the tub for bath time. It's shaped like a flower and fits right in the sink to protect your baby from slipping all around. We're now using it in the bath as a cushion for Baby Linna to sit or lay on.

Today only, you can get 20% off your Blooming Bath order by using the online promo code thankyou20. OR, you can WIN a Blooming Bath by simply following this blog! One winner will be selected at random to win a Blooming Bath by the end of today!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Swimming lessons.

Linna, 7 months-old, ready for swimming lessons.
Today, Linna started swimming lessons at FOSS Swim School in Chanhassen! For those of you who are thinking, "why on earth does a 7-month-old need swimming lessons?"... Let me tell you. My family has a cabin near New London, MN, which is right on a lake, and the last thing we need this summer is to have a child who is afraid of the water. All of my cousins, brother, and sister grew up in the water and I want Linna to have the same upbringing. Plus, summers in Minnesota are much more enjoyable when you have a laughing baby playing in the water, rather than a screaming, terrified baby. Am I right?!

Linna loves bath time, so I knew she would just THRIVE at swim school. The water temperature at FOSS is 90-degrees, so it's just like a bathtub. Plus, it's warm outside the pool too, so you don't freeze when you get out. The staff and instructors are so welcoming, and they really make you want to be there. Linna is in the Backfloat Baby class, and we have one instructor (Miss Lorrie) and there are two other kids in our class (a six-month-old and a two-year-old). I immediately realized that we had made the right decision putting Linna in this class because the two-year-old in our class, who has never had a swim lesson, was petrified of the water. Linna and the six-month-old were doing light face submersion with smiles on their faces, while the two-year-old wanted nothing to do with it.

Our class is a half-hour long and I'm in the pool the entire time with Linna. They instructor sings songs while we splash the kids with water, dip their ears and mouths in the water, and they teach the kids that the water is fun... not scary. One of the things I love is that at this early age, they teach the kids how to WANT to get into the water from the pool wall, but swim right back to the wall for safety. I know Linna doesn't actually get this concept yet, but it's never too early to start water safety techniques.

***Sorry the above video is so blurry***

When we signed up for this class, the description mentioned that the babies would be "submerged". As a new mom, this freaked me out, but had me excited at the same time. I thought the submersion would be a little scary and something we worked up to, but nope. Today, on the first day, Linna got a taste of a light face submersion. The instructor holds the baby, counts to three, and then dips the baby's face in the water while swimming the baby to mom or dad. The baby doesn't completely go under water, but by putting their face in the water, they naturally close their mouth and hold their breath. It's kind of cool and it was so cute to see the excitement on the other parents' faces! The submersion is completely up to the parent(s), and you can do the submersion at the child's own comfort-level. Linna did the face submersion three times!

By the end of the class, Linna was pretty wiped out, so we showered up, had a bottle and she was OUT! She slept for two hours this morning, and then this afternoon for another hour and a half.

In case you're wondering, FOSS Swim School (at least the one in Chanhassen) isn't a bunch of "nose-in-the-air" stay-at-home moms bringing their kid's to swim class. In my class, there was one working mom with her son, and a dad with his daughter. There was another class going on at the other end of the pool for older kids, and there were a few working moms sitting in the chairs on the side of the pool with their laptops, while their older kids enjoyed their lessons. Since the daytime classes are only a half-hour or so, working parents are able to take off from work for an hour so they can be at their kid's lessons, which I think is wonderful. FOSS also offers classes on weeknights and weekends.

We are so excited for class next week!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

7 months.

This is my favorite age so far! Baby Linna is growing up so fast. She's not only sitting up by herself, but her Papa discovered that she can sit on a stool (AKA a wipe box) for two minutes all by herself! She's not crawling yet, but she can scoot backwards and gets her little tush in the air.

Feeding herself
We've discovered that Linna is not a fan of the vacuum, or the sound of packing tape being removed from the roll. She gets scared and cries. If I need to vacuum, I get to hold her while doing so... what a workout! Linna is a great eater and we've actually started adding spices to her foods. She LOVES cinnamon, and has tried everything from ginger to rosemary. She isn't a fan of apples though... so weird! Next month, we get to introduce meats and maybe even some eggs. She loves Cheerios and has mastered the skill of picking them up with her pointer finger and thumb. The girl could live off "puffs" and Cheerios! She loves to feed herself and can't get enough of the Plum Organic foods that come in the squeeze pouches (her fav is spinach, mango, pear). She sucks the food right out of the pouch! She's even a fan of the Gerber Graduates food pouches:)

Outside on a 70-degree day in March
Daylight Savings proved to be a challenge for us, as Linna couldn't figure out why we were putting her to bed when it was still light out. Thank goodness for last night's thunderstorm, because she went to bed at her normal bedtime (6:45-ish), and didn't wake up until 7:30am. We're hoping this continues because we have such a good sleeper and we don't want that to change. We're a little spoiled:) Currently, Linna takes a long nap in the morning (about 2 hours), and then she'll take a catnap or two in the afternoon, or an hour-or-so nap around 3pm.

We watched my brother's dog Zoey this past weekend, and Linna is in LOVE with her. She woke up Monday morning and was looking all over for her, but Zoey had already gone home! There's video of Linna and Zoey at the bottom of this post.

Linna also experienced her fist baby brawl at playgroup last week. It was a beautiful day so all of the moms in our playgroup were trying to get the babes together for a group photo. Two of the older kids were on bikes/push-toys, and during the photo one of the kids hit Linna on the head, and seconds after, another kid fell off his bike and braced his fall on Baby Linna:( She was so upset and confused, but at least she got a chance to learn how to be tough:) Of course, the kids were all crabby because it was WAY passed nap time!
Taken right before the "baby brawl"

Swimming for the first time with Papa
Linna has two teeth on the bottom, and she loves showing them off with her ear-to-ear smile! I can't get enough of how happy she is to see us in the morning or when she gets up from a nap. She doesn't cry, she just waits patiently in her crib... thank goodness for our video monitor! We've also moved passed carrying Linna in her car seat, as she weighs almost 20 lbs. When we grocery shop, we put her in the cart, and leave the car seat in the car. Next month, Linna will be ready for her convertible car seat because her little feet almost hang over the edge of the infant car seat. She's such a big girl!

Linna also went swimming for the first time at a hotel in Worthington, while we stayed there for my Grandma's funeral. She LOVES the water. We start swimming lessons at FOSS in Chanhassen tomorrow, so that will be a fun adventure!

I'm very thankful that I get to stay home with our little bug! I can't imagine missing all of her milestones, because she literally does something new every day. We're looking forward to the months to come!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fist-pumping baby or self-soother?!

Recently, Baby Linna has introduced us to her new bed-time/nap-time ritual. But we're not sure if she's fist-pumping, or if this is a self-soothing technique. We first caught her doing her "hitting" on her video monitor, but now she does it right in front of our faces! Maybe she's telling us she wants to go to the Jersey Shore this summer:) Does your child do this? What's the deal?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Blog giveaway.

UPDATE: And the winner is... KJGrunloh (sorry I don't know your real name)! You're the winner of an Egyptian Magic All-Purpose Skin Cream! Email me your address so I can ship it to you. Everyone else, get ready for another giveaway really soon:)

March 10th: To cheer up this rainy Monday morning, we're giving away one of Madonna's favorite beauty products to one of our blog followers! Madonna is a mom of four, and says she never leaves home without her Egyptian Magic All-Purpose Skin Cream. I use this product every night on my face and it not only hydrates my dry winter skin, but you can use it on eczema and other skin problems too. My husband uses it as well:)

All you have to do is be a follower of this blog, and you're automatically entered to win a 4 oz. jar of Egyptian Magic Skin Cream, valued at almost $40. Good luck! The winner will be randomly selected and announced on Tuesday.

I featured this product in a "Celebrity Favorites" TV segment on KARE 11 a few months ago, and you can watch that video by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

How this mama got her breast milk supply back.

After weeks and weeks of trying desperately to get my breast milk supply back, I am so happy to share with everyone the product that FINALLY gave me the results I was looking for! About a month or so ago, I was at dinner with my girlfriends and I almost had a meltdown explaining to them how my breast milk supply had SIGNIFICANTLY decreased, and about all of the things I was trying to do to get it to come back. A day later, my friend Kelly emailed me to tell me about her friend having the same issue. Kelly told me that one of her girlfriends had the same issue, tried a product called Zija, and it doubled her milk supply! I had never heard about Zija before, but after weeks of trying everything from pumping more frequently to Mother's Milk Tea, I decided to give Zija a try. After doing my research, I found that Zija is made with Moringa, which is the most nutrient-rich botanical plant yet discovered.

Since Linna's birth, I have been exclusively breastfeeding her by pumping and bottle feeding. I went from pumping 36+ ounces of breast milk a day (which was more than enough to start freezing my milk in case of an "emergency"), to around 10-12 ounces of milk each day when Linna was about five months. There were even pumping sessions where I wouldn't even produce an ounce of milk. I was devastated (literally cried), because I had a goal of exclusively breastfeeding my daughter for at least one year.

I used the Zija Smart Mix for five days, and was getting more and more impatient because I was still not seeing results. But after using it for one week, my milk literally started pouring in! I kept at it, and today my milk supply has more than doubled! Linna is almost seven months, and I haven't yet had to give her formula, and I'm even back to freezing my excess breast milk! By using Zija, I am fully confident that I will make it a year exclusively breastfeeding my daughter!

I do want to make it clear that before I tried Zija, I called my peditrician and it wasn't one of the products they recommended, but local hospitals said to give it a try (in other words, it wouldn't hurt me or my baby). I also want to be clear that there is nothing "wrong" with baby formula, and if you feel that route is right for you, then go for it. However, I have a goal of exclusively feeding my daughter breast milk for one year, and now I feel that that by using Zija, I can actually do it!