Monday, July 30, 2012

500 extra calories of the past.

Thinking back to my good ol' days of breastfeeding, where I'd burn an extra 500 calories a day (so they say), really makes me miss breastfeeding. Breastfeeding was the best diet I've ever been on (I did gain back some weight after I stopped pumping as often as I was when Linna was a newborn)! I lost all my baby weight in less than three months. Five-hundred extra calories... that's like an extra meal (or alcoholic beverages, if you so choose... and I did often)! Now that I've put the breast-pump into hibernation (I stopped pumping at a little over 11 months), I'm finding myself having to watch what I eat, and actually having to get my butt off the couch to burn some calories. Booooo! Makes breastfeeding seem not-so-bad, huh?!

Having a non boob-dependent baby, and simply having my boobs back to myself, helps make it easy to leave my breastfeeding days behind me. I look back at it as a fond memory. But those 500 extra calories I'd burn in a day... UGH!

Recently, I joined Lifetime Fitness, because...

A. I'm getting fat (not a pretty sight).
B. They have great group-fitness classes, and an outdoor pool.
C. They have an amazing daycare center.

One of my biggest motivations for going to the gym, is the daycare center. Not only is it a break for me from Linna during the day, but Linna gets to play with other kids. I still wouldn't be comfortable leaving Linna at a daycare all day (it's a personal decision), but she needs to be around other kids. By the time I pick her up after my class is done, she is POOPED OUT from chasing around and playing with all the babies and kids. She takes a great nap when we get home, and I can get stuff done around the house! It's a win-win situation.

Delicious dinner tonight with veggies from our garden.

I'm also trying to make healthier food choices (especially after our indulgent "baby-free" trip to Chicago - lots of food and booze). We have so many delicious veggies growing in our garden, and it's time to start using them! Tonight I made a delicious grilled chicken, with a black bean, corn, tomato and cucumber (from the garden) salsa. I found this Chicken with Tomato and Cucumber Salsa recipe on Pinterest, and just added a little "heartiness" (beans and corn) for AJ. It was so yummy, and Linna loved it too! I'm also making kale chips at least twice a week for snacking. I swear I eat at least two heads of kale every week.

It's little steps like this that make eating better and working out seem not-so-bad! Although breastfeeding is an excellent and "easy" way (all you have to do is sit) to burn those 500 extra calories a day, I think I can still wait a couple years to have another baby:)

Do you have any healthy recipes to share???

Back to normal.

Linna having breakfast this morning.
I missed her little face!

There's nothing more I love than being home and waking up to my smiling baby girl's face! For six days, my husband and I had some much-needed "couple time" in Chicago, while the baby stayed home with her grandparents, aunts, and great-grandparents. We did a lot of FaceTime and phone calls while we were out of town, but nothing beats spending time with Linna!

It actually took a little getting used to, having a baby monitor next to our bed last night. When Linna woke up this morning and started chatting away in her crib, AJ and I both shot up and were so excited to go get her out of her crib:) Six days away from the baby was a great "parent rejuvenation", but we are so happy to be home and back to normal.

Now, we get ready for Linna's first birthday party next weekend, and THEN for our big move to Singapore! AJ, his friends, and his sister Lisa are also running Ragnar the day before we leave for Singapore, so there will be a lot of excitement surrounding that event too. I can't even start planning for Singapore until Linna's birthday is past. I still have a lot of things to get done before her birthday party, and we are so excited to have people that we love at our home to celebrate ONE year of little Linna! Time is flying by way to quickly!

On top of the piles of laundry we accumulated while in Chicago, bedding laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, working, etc., we have so much do do in the next 20 days. We'll be shipping a lot of our belongings to Singapore, so we're not dragging a dozen pieces of luggage AND a baby through the airport. We just found out where we'll be living in Singapore, so that takes a big stress off both my husband and I. We just have no idea what to expect once we get to Singapore, so we'll be doing a good deal of planning and researching over the next few weeks (once Linna's birthday party is done of course)!

If you have any travel advice, packing tips, first birthday tips, etc., that you'd like to share, this mom is all ears!

Saturday, July 28, 2012


On Tuesday, we left Linna at home with her grandparents, so AJ and I could head to Chicago for six days of television appearances, vacation, and a wedding! We're on day five, and we're both really missing our little bug. We know she's in great hands and being absolutely SPOILED by her grandparents, aunts, and great-grandparents, but this is by far the longest we've ever been away from her. I have to admit, I was SO ready to leave Linna for a nice little vacation with my husband. But now, as we get closer to day six without her, I am SO ready to get home to my baby!

I found a little spot to write my name on the
wall at ABC 7 News in Chicago.

We have, however, been enjoying our time in Chicago. I've never been here, so we're taking in as much of the city as we can! I did two television appearances while we've been here (one at the ABC affiliate, and one at the FOX affiliate). AJ has been my "assistant" on this trip (i.e. helping me bring products to the stations, etc.), and he even modeled some Daddy Scrubs in the ABC segment. I thought he looked pretty sexy:) Check out my two segments:

ABC 7 News: Baby Shower Gift Ideas

FOX's "Good Day Chicago": Mommy Problems and Solutions

This is my first trip since we had the baby, where I haven't had to worry about pumping, changing diapers, or being quiet in the hotel room because "the baby is sleeping". For the first few days, I literally didn't know what to do with myself and all the free time, and I actually found myself not really missing Linna very much. My husband and I needed some time together, without the baby. The grandparents are keeping us up-to-date with Linna's daily activities, by texting us photos of her. My dad's Facebook status yesterday said, "I could really get used to being a stay-at-home grandpa!". We even did a little FaceTime with Linna and AJ's mom. I was the crazy mom on the other side of the camera, singing songs to her, telling her to show me "SO BIG", etc. But my husband was right there along side me:) It's funny how parenthood changes a people. I think this trip is giving us both the "rejuvenation" we need, before we move to Singapore for three months, where we won't have the help we have in Minnesota.

Me and the hubs on our way to Joe
and Gabby's rehearsal dinner.

Today, we're watching our friend Joe and Gabby get married! AJ and Joe worked together at Deloitte, and they lived together when AJ and I first started dating. I got to know Gabby when she would come to visit Joe, and the four of us would spend many weekends together. They are such an awesome couple, and we can't wait until they become Mr. & Mrs. Rodemeyer! Time to go have one more day and night of fun as "childless" parents, and then we're back to reality in Minnesota!

My parents send me text messages with photos like this,
showing me all the presents they've bought Linna.
Can someone say, "spoiled baby"???

Monday, July 23, 2012

The winner of a dr. brown's bottle set is...

*** Shannon Zach ***

Our blog follower by the name of Shannon Zach is the winner of a $75 Dr. Brown's bottle set, just for following Minnesota Baby! Congratulations! Please send me an email ( so I can ship you your gift!

Original Blog Post: Do you think it's weird that we warm up Linna's Dr. Brown's bottles in a giant beer mug?! Parenthood makes us do crazy things, I guess. We love Dr. Brown's so much, that we're giving away a set of bottles to one of our blog followers! The gift pack, valued at $75, will be given to a randomly selected Minnesota Baby blog follower on Sunday, July 29th. All you have to do is become a Minnesota Baby blog follower, for your chance to win. Good luck!

What's the weirdest thing you've found yourself doing as a parent???

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Photo shoot for i see me! books.

Last week, Linna and I did a photo shoot in our home, for I See Me! Books, with Twin Cities photographer Teresa Hermes. I See Me! is a personalized children's book company, created by a Minnesota mom. They've been featured on the Today Show, and have become popular among celebrity moms, including Courteney Cox, Brooke Shields and Jessica Alba. We received a personalized fairy tale book for Linna from Papa Saigh's aunt and uncle. I love the stories in these books and the way I See Me! incorporates your child's name into the stories. Our collection of these personalized books for Linna just keeps growing and growing!

I was approached by Maia Haag, the co-founder of I See Me!, about working together on a couple projects. The photo shoot Linna and I did will be featured in some upcoming newsletters and projects with I See Me!, and I couldn't be more excited to work with this amazing mom and entrepreneur, and her fabulous team!

Teresa was able to capture some great shots of Linna and I together, as well as some super cute photos of Linna by herself. The photos of us reading the I See Me! books are some of my favorites!

Take a peak...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

How we got through teething.

"My toofers hurt mama."
Last week, we hit the dreaded teething milestone. Today, Linna has eight teeth (four on the top and four on the bottom)! Linna never really had issues with any of her other teeth popping through, but the new toofers in her mouth REALLY gave her a hard time.  For two or three days and nights, my independent, happy, smiley baby, became a clingy, fussy, runny-nosed, high-temperature nightmare. There were times when her temp would reach 102-degrees, and all she wanted to do was cuddle. Linna was in SO much pain! It killed me to see her like that. After trial and error, we found a few things that worked for Linna. We also learned a few things along the way...
1. Medicine: Target's brand of Infant Ibuprofen and Hyland's Teeth Tablets worked for us. Not only did the ibuprofen help with Linna's pain, but it brought her fever down too. Linna also loved eating the Hyland's Teething Tablets. I'm not sure if it was a combination of both medicines, but they really gave Linna some teething relief.

2. Frozen peas: Linna eats these like candy, even when she's not teething. I think the cold on her teeth helped numb some of her pain.

3. Shophie the Giraffe: One of AJ's guy friends actually told me about this little toy. It's a giraffe made of rubber, that Linna loves to squeak and chew on. The poor thing was covered in drool for three full days!

4. Chew Beads: Any time I have a necklace on, it goes right into Linna's mouth. Chew Beads are necklaces and bracelets made of 100% silicone (similar to bottle nipples and pacifiers), and are safe for Linna to chew on. Again, it's a piece of jewelry that you won't mind having covered in drool.

5. Bring out the bibs: Just when we thought Linna was past her drooling phase, we had to bring out the bibs again. Linna would leave TRAILS of drool all over the house. It's kind of like having a dog. To prevent her from soaking through her tops, we had to put Linna in multiple bibs, multiple times a day.

6. Late nights and early mornings: Not only did I have to rock Linna to sleep for all of her naps and bedtime for three straight days/nights, but Linna had a really tough time going down. There were times that she would SCREAM, and wouldn't let me leave the room. She also started waking up REALLY early (like 6am). For two parents who are used to a baby that sleeps 12 straight hours at night (8pm - 8 am), this was a big change. However, lots of cuddles and early mornings with the three of us in one big bed, helped get us through it. Linna has gone back to her regular sleeping schedule, but I was a little nervous there for awhile!

7. Appetite: Linna's appetite drastically decreased when she was teething. There were days that she barely ate anything, and she wanted her bottle a lot more. I gave her a orange juice/whole yogurt (YoToddler from Stonyfield is our favorite) mixture in a sippy cup too, to make sure she was getting some nutrition. She also ate a lot of Cheerios. I'm sure the crunch felt good on her new toofers!

8. Wine: Duh. For mom, not baby.

If your little one is having a tough time teething, trust me, you'll get through it. Our 11-month-old is back to her normal, happy self, but it did take a lot of patience to get there!

Good luck.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A bittersweet farewell.

Last day using my pump: 7/18/12
This morning, I said my final good-byes to my dear friend... my Hygeia Double Electric Breast Pump. It's been a great year and we have many fond (and not so fond) memories, but it's time to say farewell.
I've been pumping for 11 months and 10 days, and I'm finally ready to call it quits. For many of you, this may sound like a crazy person talking, but I really did become "attached" to my pump. I made a goal of exclusively giving Linna breast milk for one year, but like many things in life, circumstances change. My husband and I leave for Chicago for five days, and we're leaving Linna with our parents. I don't have enough breast milk stored (frozen), and I'm not pumping enough milk to get her to a full year. So to make the transition to whole milk easier for Linna and the grandparents while we're in Chicago, I've decided to stop pumping today, and we've started the transition to whole milk. While she's still getting some breast milk, she started on whole milk last night. So far, so good!

Over the last 11 months of pumping, there have been MANY times that I've wanted to throw in the towel. But knowing the benefits of giving your baby breast milk for a year, I decided to stick with it. My milk supply was like that of a cow in the beginning, and decreased at about five months. I used Zija to get my milk supply back up, but pumping is still a very time-consuming process. My entire life started to revolve around the pump.

Although I am SO happy to pack up the pump and FINALLY have my bubbies back, it's kind of an emotional farewell. In a way, my purpose in life became my ability to provide my baby's nutrition for almost a complete year. Knowing that I was the only person that could give my baby exactly what she needed nutritionally, made pumping a little bit less of a pain. Not having to pump every day, multiple times a day is going to take some getting used to. But this is one less thing I need to worry about on a daily basis.

For the last week, I decreased my pumping frequency to once a day. The first couple days were tough, and sleeping became difficult, as my bubbies were so full of milk. But the last couple days have been easier, and my bubbies are becoming less and less engorged. We'll see how it goes with eliminating pumping all together. If I look like Dolly Parton the next time you see me, you'll know why:)

So, farewell my pump. Thank you for sticking with me over the last 11 months. You never died on me, and you just kept going! I should look at this, not as a farewell, but more like a "see ya later". I'm actually looking forward to bringing you (my pump) out of storage when baby #2 shows his or her lovely face (no, I'm not pregnant). Thanks for being a wonderful companion, each and every day;)

Your friend,

The crazy pumping lady:)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

11 months.

Just one more month until my baby turns one! WAAAAHHHHHHH!!!

Linna is still crawling everywhere and MAN can that little girl move. We've started closing our bedroom and bathroom doors, because she's such an explorer. Our main living area is on one level which made baby-proofing pretty easy. We have one gate to block off the stairs, and we have outlet covers on the outlets. That's about it for baby-proofing. The things we don't want her to get at, we just move up a little higher.

Linna and Auntie Lisa

Linna is pointing at things she recognizes and says, "Geeeee" or "Daaahhh". This weekend, Auntie Lisa came to visit from Brooklyn, and Linna hadn't seen her "in person" in months (we Facetime every week or so). When Lisa was here, I asked Linna, "Where's Auntie Lisa?", and Linna pointed right to her. SUCH a smart kid:) She also points to Papa, babies, and balls.

Eating food in Iowa
Linna loves saying "Papa", "Baba", "Lala", "Dada", and once she gets going, there's no stopping the little blabber-mouth! She pulling herself up on things, and loves doing her "down dog" yoga move. She's actually stood up a few times on her own too, and can stand for a few seconds (I think four seconds is her longest standing time). She points to her tummy, can do "sooooo big", and she's almost able to point out where our noses are. She loves flipping through pages of books and hums to herself while doing so:) Every morning, I turn on TPT so she can watch Super Why, Curious George, and The Cat in the Hat. When she hears the show's songs, she books it over to the TV, or just does a little dance while clapping from her high chair. These shows allow me to get stuff done around the house, while she's occupied. I try to talk to her during the shows too, so she's learning and not just watching.

We've also started giving Linna whole milk, along with breast milk. My husband and I are going to Chicago next week for five days and we're leaving Linna with our parents. I've been weaning myself from pumping and tomorrow I'm completely quitting the pump! Right now, I'm pumping once a day and I pump about five ounces. I don't have enough breast milk stored in the freezer to get Linna to one year on exclusively breast milk, so we're mixing my breast milk with organic whole milk right now, to make the transition easier for Linna and the grandparents while we're in Chicago. She had her first bottle of whole milk last night and didn't seem to notice a difference. That's a HUGE weight lifted off my shoulders. I'm so excited to be breast-pump free while we're in Chicago! Our pediatrician said it was fine to start giving her milk now, as long as we give her a multivitamin too.

Playing in Iowa with her younger girl cousins on the Saigh side.
(Bella, Ally, Tess, Linna, and Ella)

Linna is also pretty much eating anything we give her. She loves all kinds of foods, which makes feeding her pretty easy. I really rely on the squeezy packs, especially when we're outside the house. But if we're at a picnic or something, she loves eating baked beans, pulled pork, fruit, hummus, fish, pickles, etc., and of COURSE Cheerios (I swear the kid could live off Cheerios alone)! I asked our pediatrician about giving Linna peanut butter, and she said it's fine, as long as it's given every once in awhile, and we watch hr closely. We haven't done this yet because I'm SO nervous! We don't have any peanut allergies on either side of our family, so she should be fine. She hasn't add any allergic reactions to any other food she's tried, so our fingers are crossed! Plus, natural peanut butter is such a good source of "good" fat and protein, so I think we'll try it soon.

We spent last weekend in Iowa, celebrating "Christmas in July" with the Saigh family. Not everyone can always make it to Iowa for Christmas every year, so we decided to switch things up a bit and get together this summer! Linna got to play with aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents that she rarely gets to see. She spent HOURS with her little girl cousins on the Saigh side. I loved this because it was like having built-in babysitters. Thank you Ally, Tess, Ella, and Bella for showing Linna such a good time!

Eating corn on the cob for the first time, in Iowa of course.

Linna also cut a few teeth this month, and that was a bit of a challenge. She just wasn't herself and was in SO much pain. My independent baby turned into a cuddly, clingy, yet whiny little baby. As much of a change and frustration time that was for us, it was so nice to spend a few days cuddling with my bug:) She now has four teeth on the bottom, four teeth on the top, with two more sprouting!

I'm so busy planning Linna's birthday party, planning for our trip to Chicago, and our move to Singapore, that I feel like I haven't had time for myself. I did join Lifetime Fitness because they have a great daycare program/center and outdoor pool, so we try to go a few times a week (my goal is to go every day). It's so good for Linna

Playing with her girlfriends at ECFE

We just finished our last ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) class today, and our Baby Gym class wraps up pretty soon too. We both have had such a great time getting to know other moms and babies! It's going to be hard not going to these types of things while we're in Singapore, but I'm hoping to find a class or two while we're there. We'll have a lot of free time on our hands!

There has been so many changes over the last year for our family, and even in the last couple months. Time is absolutely FLYING by, so I try to remember to enjoy every second with Linna, and take as many photos as possible. Only three more weeks until by baby turns ONE! I can't believe how fast she is growing!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Linna's pre-singapore travel appointment.

Waiting "patiently" for the doctor.

This morning, I took Linna to her pediatrician for her travel appointment, to make sure she's all set for our trip to Singapore. It was quick and painless. No shots, but I did have a lot of questions! She can't have any of the recommended vaccinations until after she turns one year, so she will be getting FIVE shots at her one-year pediatrician appointment on August 13th. YIKES!

Our pediatrician also HIGHLY recommended us bringing Linna's car seat on the flight. My husband and I talked about this and had initially decided not to bring it, since it would be one more big thing to carry. But after talking with our pediatrician, we're definitely bringing it. She said the car seat rentals are gross, and since Linna knows that once she's in her car seat, hopefully she'll stay there during the flight. One can hope right?!

She also said that as a pediatrician, she can't recommend us giving Linna Benadryl during the flight, but as a mom, she recommends us giving Linna Benadryl on the flight. So funny! She has taken her children on trans-Atlantic flights, and having experienced her baby crying during an entire flight, she now gives her kids Benadryl during long flights. However, she did tell us to test it out before the actual flight because 10% of kids become hyper after receiving Benadryl, instead of the "sleepy" effect it's supposed to have. We will be bringing Benadryl. I love how she gives us the doctor-recommended advice, as well as "mom" advice:)

Linna also got on the scale and she is 20.2 lbs at 11 months. BIG girl!

My husband and I also need to get a few vaccines before we leave for Singapore. As a person who is deathly afraid of needles, this should be a treat. However, after being stuck with needles AND an epidural during Linna's birth, I think I can do it.

Any other travel tips you'd like to share???

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Spoiled milk.

Mama and Linna at a pit-stop on
the way to Iowa.
As of this coming Wednesday, this mama is giving up on the pump (breast pump that is). I'm not sure if I'll have enough breast milk to get Linna to one year, but oh well:) Cow's milk may need to start a few days shy of the little bug turning one year, and here's why...

This weekend we were in Iowa, and I brought one frozen bag of breast milk (about 8 oz.), along with about 12 oz. of pumped breast milk in bottles. On Friday night, I was getting ready to feed Linna her bed-time bottle, and she wouldn't drink it. So of course, I tasted it (so gross, right?!). The milk had an awful taste (kind of like how baby spit-up smells). My mother-in-law said she thought the milk "stunk". I was so bummed. A. because I gave my 11-month-old spoiled milk, and B. because I had to throw away 8 oz. of breast milk.

I didn't think I was going to have enough breast milk to make it through the weekend. And since I don't want Linna to have to go from breast milk, to formula, to regular whole milk (too many transitions too quickly), I started getting myself "ready" for Linna's transition to whole milk. I definitely don't produce enough milk right now to feed her breast milk until a year (I'm only pumping once a day because I'm weaning myself off the pump). For me, Linna starting on whole milk is just another step toward toddler-hood. She's not an infant anymore, and for me it's a very emotional transition. I love watching Linna get bigger and bigger, and smarter and smarter every day! But part part of me wants to keep her little forever.

Never in a million years would I have ever imagined I'd get upset of a bag of frozen breast milk going bad. I guess that's what motherhood does to a person. Hopefully Linna likes cow's milk, because starting Wednesday, I'm done pumping!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Teething is a b*tch.

For 11 blissful months, we have been "those parents" who haven't had to deal with terrible teething symptoms. Well, yesterday we received a visit from the "karma police", and we finally got a taste of the hell that teething brings.

I always feel guilty when I blog about our good little sleeper, happy baby, etc. We really have been blessed with a "perfect" baby. However, for any of you who have wanted to punch me in the face when I blog about how "great" we have it with Linna, rest assure that we have had 24 hours of teething hell in the Saigh household.

Mom & Dad's bed has turned into Linna's bed.

Linna started getting really whiney a few days ago, and her drooling has become a continuous "wet shirt" issue. Anything she can put in her mouth, she's chewing on it (buttons on her tops, spoons during meal time, pacifiers, etc.). But yesterday, when Linna woke up from her morning nap, the "teething monster" reared its ugly head!

Linna woke up from a nap yesterday after just an hour, and she was SO upset... to the point of almost making herself puke. She was super warm, so I took her temp. It was 102-degrees. Her little nose was running, she was clingy, and she was almost shaking because she was so upset. I gave her some Infant Ibuprofen (the Target brand) and we just rocked in the glider in her room. All she wanted to do was whine and cuddle. It was heartbreaking:(

Linna's pacifier (AKA "Wa") has become her
constant comforting companion.
This morning, Linna woke up at 6 a.m., in the exact same painful shape she was in when she woke up from her nap yesterday. Linna is normally an excellent sleeper (taking two 1 1/2-hour naps a day, and sleeping 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.), so for her to wake up at 6 a.m. was quite a shocker. I gave her Ibuprofen before she went to bed, but I'm sure it just wore off. After I gave her some more Ibuprofen this morning at 6 a.m., I brought her in bed with us and we cuddled. This time, she didn't have a temp, but again, she was really warm. She fell asleep in her diaper after 20 minutes or so of rocking with mama. Thank goodness Auntie Lisa was here, because after Linna woke up again around 7 a.m., Lisa took her in the living room to eat Cheerios and watch cartoons. Linna seemed to like this:)

I'm loving all the cuddles, because Linna is normally a very independent, on-the-go 11-month-old. However, 24 hours of complete cling-on activity, accompanied by persistent whining, can really run its toll. Just thinking about how much pain my baby is in really breaks my heart, and I wish I could just take it all away for her.

Although this teething phase has been an absolute b*tch to deal with, I know that one day Linna will completely out-grow her desire for mommy cuddles, so I'm taking advantage of the situation. Teething is nothing a cocktail or two can't fix... for mommy, of course:)

Linna passed out on Papa this morning, after her
6 a.m. "I hate my teeth" whining session in our bed.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Girls day out (valleyfair ticket giveaway).

Kelly, Stacy, Me, Sara, and Brittany (from left to right)

Last weekend, me and four of my high school girlfriends left the husbands and kiddos at home, and enjoyed a girls' day at Valleyfair! I hadn't been to Valleyfair since high school, so it was nice to enjoy a hot Minnesota summer day at Valleyfair's Soak City, as well as on some pretty scary rides!

We're the crazy girls on the left.

Our friend Stacy (a mom of two boys) is the adventurous one, so she took us on some thrill rides, like the Renegade and Xtreme Swing. Brittany (new mom to Baby Emerson) decided not to ride the Xtreme Swing, but she took some good pictures of the ones that did ride. Since it was like 90-degrees, we spent the rest of the day at Soak City. We floated down the Lazy River about 10 times, and tackled some water slides too. SUCH a fun day with the girls!

Love our faces on the Xtreme Swing

In case any of you are in desperate need of a date-night (or date-day) with your loved one, I have a couple extra tickets to giveaway! All you have to do is become a follower of this blog for your chance to win! One of our blog followers will be randomly selected on Thursday, July 12th, and will receive 2 tickets to Valleyfair (Must be used during their summer 2012 season). Good luck!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Quitting pumping.

Linna is 11 months old today, which means I am one month closer to Linna getting to drink cow's milk. So today, I've decided that I am going to decrease the amount of times I pump in a day. I'm SO close to having my bubbies all to myself again!

I thought I'd be a little emotional about this decision, but I'm actually really excited. I've exclusively fed Linna breast milk (by pumping and bottle feeding) for 11 months! She hasn't had to have formula, which was a goal of mine from the day she was born. There have been so many times I've wanted to throw in the towel and just quit pumping. A mom has her vices (having a cocktail or four, etc.), and when you really have to take care of yourself while you're breastfeeding, it's tough. But knowing that breast milk is the best thing for my baby (and it's FREE), made the past 11 months of pumping worth it.

When Linna was a newborn, I was pumping every three hours, and I was able to store/freeze a LOT of milk. When she was about five months old, I started getting lazy, only pumping three to five times a day... sometimes less. My milk supply drastically decreased and I had to start drinking a supplement called Zija to bring my supply back. Since I'm nearing the end of my year committment to breast feeding, I stopped taking Zija and I'm just letting my body produce whatever amount of milk it can produce on its own. Lately I've been pumping four to five times a day and I get about 12 ounces of milk.

I'm simply tired of being tied to the pump. I want to be able to do things without wondering when and where I'm going to pump next. I've pumped behind the wheel of my vehicle, in bathrooms, etc. So today, I've decided to pump only when I want to. If I want to pump once a day... so be it. If I want to pump six times a day... great! Between the amount of milk I'm currently pumping and the milk I have frozen, I'll have enough to get Linna to a year on exclusively breast milk. She's also drinking water, orange juice, and smoothies (yogurt, OJ, and ice) out of her sippy cup. Linna gets about 4 oz. of breast milk from her bottle in the morning after breakfast, and an 8 oz. bottle before bed. We just recently "eliminated" her afternoon bottle, in hopes of getting her off the bottle by one year!

My husband and I are going to Chicago at the end of July for five days (leaving the baby with my parents and in-laws), and I want to be comfortable pumping once a day if I decide to. My husband and I want to be able to enjoy the city, and not have to worry about getting back to the hotel so I can pump. I plan to be completely done pumping by Linna's first birthday.

So that's that. I'm no longer "tied" to my pump. Decision like this are something every mom needs to figure out for herself. I feel so proud of myself to have made it this far, and I know that this is the right decision for me and my baby!

First fourth of july.

Last year on the 4th of July, I was SUPER pregnant. This year, it was so fun to celebrate one of my favorite holidays with our baby girl!

Almost every year, we celebrate the 4th of July at my family's cabin in Hawick, MN. We used to go into Downtown Spicer to watch the fireworks, but traffic is so bad on the way there and back. So this year, we stayed at the cabin and watched fireworks over the lake. The bugs were so bad, we didn't go out on the boat and I decided to go in early. I think I saw a firework or two.

So interested in her first sparkler.

Since Linna is still little, she can't stay up late to watch the fireworks. So we lit sparklers for her instead. She thought they were pretty cool, especially when we sang "You're a Grand Ol' Flag" when playing with the sparklers.

Linna and her pink toes, painted by Cousin Maris.

MAN was it hot outside all week at the cabin! Temps hit 100-degrees! Thank goodness we're on the lake. Linna LOVED playing in the water and she even got to swim out in the middle of the lake when Uncle Jon took us on a boat ride. Linna would have swam all day if we would have let her, and she probably would have just napped in her little floater. The baby floater we have at the cabin is the same floater me and all of my cousins used as babies!

Linna also had her toes painted for the first time by Cousin Maris. Hot pink of course:) Linna showed off her "where's your tummy?" skills, as well as her down-dog yoga moves. Thanks to Auntie Lisa for getting Linna her adorable 4th of July dress. WE obviously had to set up a 4th of July photo shoot in the dress outside... American flag backdrop and all;)

My favorite memory from this week was our impromptu family cuddle session. AJ was laying with Linna in our bed, and was hummimg her songs (she loves this). Linna was drinking her bottle and just started cracking up. We have no idea what was so funny, but my husband and little bug melted my heart with their adoreable-ness:) Mama has to jump in on the cuddle session too!

Hope you all had a fabulous 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Healthy snack for parents and little ones.

Some people are self-proclaimed cookie monsters. My husband and I are self-proclaimed chip monsters. If there's a bag of chips in our house, it's gone in a day. We both love the crunchy, salty satisfaction of eating chips, but we don't want Linna learning that eating chips is a regular snack option. Plus, chips make you fat. But they're soooo good, right?!

Washed rainbow kale and regular kale, ready to be baked.

I was telling some of my girlfriends about potato chip obsession, and my friend Kelly (a former vegetarian) asked if we'd ever tried kale chips. I had never even heard of this idea, but I made them, and the recipe is super easy and very healthy.

Baked Kale Chips from Smitten Kitchen:

1 bunch of kale
1 TBSP olive oil
Sea salt to taste

Directions: Pre-heat the oven to 300-degrees. Wash and dry the kale, and remove the center ribs. Break the kale leaves apart, put them in a bowl, and toss them in the olive oil and sea salt. Arrange the leaves on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, or until crispy.

Baked kale chips. Sooooo yummy!

I gave one to Linna and she looked at it, then broke it apart with her little fingers. I think she thinks they are leaves from a tree. Funny, because if we're outside and she finds an actual leaf, she'll eat it. She hasn't mastered the skill of actually eating the kale chips. But she can make one heck of a mess with them!

AJ and I both give this easy recipe two thumbs up! I don't think I've ever tried cooking or using kale in a recipe, but this one is a keeper! Does your child eat kale chips? If you have any other healthy recipes that works for your kids, we'd love to hear about them!

Monday, July 2, 2012

First bath poop.

Linna's first bath tub poop.

Every baby does it. This mom just happened to take a picture of it.

Tonight during bath time, Linna decided to take a pretty good size poop in the tub. I knew it was coming. She grunted for a couple minutes and I just let her do her thing. What better place for her to do a number two than in the tub?! Well, I'm sure the toilet would have been the best option, but at least I didn't waste a diaper!

Yes, I hosed her down after I took the picture.

Hopefully, she'll thank me one day for this photo.