Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dear Preston: Year One



Preston,

You are one.  I never thought I could love someone as much as I did your brother, and then you came and rocked my world with your light.  You have a gentle loving smile that reminds me so much of my dad.  I am blessed beyond measure with your perfect temperament.  I have yet to feel frustrated by you.  There is something extraordinary about your calmness and I cannot wait to see how this natural gift serves you in life.   Your easygoing nature has been the perfect compliment to your brother, and your dad and I could not love you more.  I adore your smile and your zest for life.  You cannot wait to keep up with your brother, and despite my reservations you already love to rough house with him.  I'm always so scared you will get hurt and then you emerge from under his pig pile with a smile ready for more.  Your fun loving side is only matched by your serene demeanor.  

In your first week of life you had attended church, been to my mommy group, dropped your brother off at school, and been my sidekick anywhere I went.  You hit the ground running with me and we haven't stopped since.  Now that you are ready to start running I can only imagine you will take off and not look back.  I hope you know I will always be standing there behind you cheering you on and shooting you a wink if you decide to look back.


Around three months we started going to the library while your brother was in school for the morning.  You loved looking at the other kids, singing the songs, and listening to stories.  You have a magnetic personality, people are drawn to you, and you always make their day by being happy to see them.  It is a gift not many have and I pray it stays with you, but something tells me it will.  Lately you have been showing signs of a temper, which has me feeling oddly proud.  You are a force to be reckoned with, and will not be pushed around.  A couple weeks ago while I made breakfast you found a stray fishing lure and hooked yourself with it.  While that is a story for another time, you shocked me with how high your pain tolerance is and I have more gray hair than ever. 


Your first word was "mumma" and I did a major celebratory dance inside that I could claim that!  You say "dada" a lot now too which has him pretty smitten.  I watch your dad look at you with so much pride in his eyes it makes me love him even more.  The way you look at him and crawl to the door to greet him is the sweetest thing, and I'm sure after a long day at work away from you that it is exactly what he needs.  That's the thing about you, while you need us, we are getting so much more from you.

I hope you can feel my love and prayers being poured into you every day.  The lord has trusted me with you and I can think of no greater calling than to raise you.  I know you are going to continue to bless our little family, and show us all the ways you will make us better.  You'll forever be this baby to me.  A husky little baby, ready to run, crazy for a hug, explorer of your world, and a sucker for a good nap.  

So incase you don't already know - you are so loved, treasured, and adored.  We could never repay you for the happiness you have brought our whole family, so I'm sure you will work on figuring out how to even the score as you inch towards two!  We love your Preston Frederick and can't wait to see how far you go in your next year!

All my love,

Mommy

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Preston: The Birth Story


I am not a huge fan of birth stories.  Some people love them, I don't happen to be one of those people but I never want to forget that day.  So for the sake of my memory and anyone who loves a birth story here we go!

5:30AM I wake up soaked.  I am not totally sure if I peed my pants (gross but possible), if my toddler peed on me in his sleep (also gross, also possible) or if my water broke but I know I need to get up.  As soon as my feet hit the floor so does some more water.  I jump in the shower knowing we just spent our last night as a family of three.  I let Nick sleep and text my doctor.  As I finish getting ready Leavitt wakes up and I get him breakfast and ready for school.   

8:30AM I drop Leavitt off at school.  He's crying.  I start crying.  Pissed we are sharing our last moment together in this little school kitchen crying in front of what feel like strangers.  The teachers suggest my tears are making it worse, so I tell them I will be having the baby today, which for some reason is really difficult to verbalize.  It was so hard to have to say bye to him as the baby there.  I kept telling him his grandfather would get him from school and he could come see me later.  

9:00AM I get to my doctors office who confirms my water broke.  He seems to think I did a good job breaking it as he shows me on an ultrasound what looks like my baby kissing the placenta.  He sends me over to the hospital.  I start to let my mind calm down knowing all these visits to this office were all in preparation for today and I need to just let everyone do their job when I get to the hospital.  I call my husband who is at work, and I head home to finish packing. 

10:20AM  we check into the hospital.  I start to feel super calm.  I chat with the registration girl about how different the hospital is since I got done working there.  The first of a dozen people who will recognize me, making me nervous I will have to be vulnerable around people I know.  


Our last picture together before we became parents for the second time.

In the afternoon we had visitors bringing Nick food, checking to see how long before we have this little guy.  I relaxed most of the afternoon.  Checking in with my father-in-law who had picked up Leavitt from school for us.  I brought a travel oil diffuser, calming music, and prayed to keep things into perspective.  Sitting around makes my mind wander.  I started thinking about the last time we were all up there together welcoming one little one into the family and saying goodbye to another.  It was so important to keep my mind positive so I refocused myself on little Preston and how lucky I am to be his mom.  

At about 4:30PM I got my first epidural... that had to be taken out and replaced.  Then the second epidural was only working from the knee down.  By the time it started working where I needed it to I could feel literally nothing and was kind of excited to be pain free for the first time.  

6:00PM.  A quick chat with my doctor and he was heading home, he told Nick and my mom that it would be another 6-12 hours.  I knew that couldn't be.  I just knew he would be here sooner than that.  But I trusted my doctor so I tried to get some rest.

Around 8:00PM My mom went for a walk but when they checked on me while she was gone I had progressed enough that they needed to call my doctor back.  I finally put the gun to Nick's head to pick a name for the baby.  We had agreed on Preston months ago but needed a middle name.  Nick suggested we use Frederick, my Dad's first name, who passed when I was 6 months pregnant.  It also happens to be Nick's great grandfather's first name.  I laid there for a few moments as they wrote his name on the board thinking about all the ways I hope Preston is able to be like my Dad even though they will never meet here on earth.  My Dad loved life and having fun, thinking about him gave me a good smile and I really knew everything would be OK.

At 9:10PM my doctor was getting ready to let me push soon, and my sister showed up.  
After two contractions of pushing the doctor asked me who was cutting the cord.  Nick said he was all set to stay up by my head.  So I said I wanted to do it.  Then the doctor tells me ok, he will be here soon.  

9:35PM he was born.  So peaceful.  No crying, just staring at me.  The most perfect coloring, precious pouty lips, and dark hair like his mama.  The nurse begged him cry, shaking him on my chest with a towel to irritate him into a cry.  My mom and sister told me after that made them nervous.  I wasn't nervous at all though.  The way he looked at me, his perfect color, and his rooting around in the first few minutes I knew he was fine.  After a minute of bonding the doctor hands me the cord and a pair of scissors with Preston still on my chest I cut the cord.  My doctor then jokes I'm his new hero, I am pretty sure I laughed at that... he's an old army doc after all.  


Our first picture together just moments after he was born. 

There it is folks, the nitty gritty details of meeting Preston for the first time.  It was a great experience and I would do it all again tomorrow if I could.  The mix of hormones, adrenaline, fear, love, the whole darn circus of emotions somehow always make me feel so at peace.  Never have I felt greater purpose for my life than in the moments leading up to and after giving birth.  I will always feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to have had this experience, and it having been a good one.  So many people can't say that and I don't take it for granted that I can. 



Monday, August 7, 2017

Baby Steps




We are on the downhill to Preston's first birthday and my mama heart is in complete and total denial.  It's as true as it is cliche that they grow up so fast.  One day last week I was able to set him anywhere, the next he was opening doors and pulling himself up on everything while hauling things out of the baskets or drawers.  We are on the move folks!  The first birthday means a few big things.  We survived a year of being a family of four.  Our newborn, turned infant, is almost a toddler who will be walking.  Is it just me or is it a little cruel that they turn one and walk around the same time? Oh my Heart!


Ever the shoe addict and overly sentimental mama, I had to find the perfect pair of shoes for those first steps to be taken in.  Never one to value function over style I settled on these Cactus moccasins from Freshly Picked.  They are the sweetest little moccasins, and as stylish as they are functional so he adores them too!  The elastic opening means easy on and off for mama, and they stay on all day.  The soft leather bottoms are my absolute favorite part.  He can easily feel the floor making it easier to learn to walk for him, and once those little feet are on  the move his footprint will be worn into the bottom for me to keep forever.  I cannot explain the feeling I had when I was going through Leavitt's old shoes to use for Preston when I stumbled on the moccasins Leavitt walked in for the first time.  Seeing his little footprint worn into the sole felt so bittersweet but they are a treasure I will forever keep.


I can't lie it stings a little that he is pushing for independence lately.  I have traveled this road once before with his big brother only this time I know what to expect.  Less concerned with meeting the milestones, and more concerned with burning them into my memory.  I have watched these boys bond with each other, Preston just adores his big brother.  So I know he is trying his hardest to get those feet under him and take off.  When he does I will be there cheering him on, dying a little inside, and when he's on to his next pair of shoes I will have these moccasins with his footprints worn into them to remind me of these days I'm desperate to live over and over again.  


To help celebrate Preston's first birthday Freshly Picked & I are giving a pair away to one lucky reader!  The giveaway is being hosted on my Facebook page to enter head over there to enter!


Bringing up Leavitt is a Freshly Picked partner and I was provided with a pair of moccasins for this post.  All opinions are and always will be my own!


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Mommy Needs A Drink


I love summer don't get me wrong, but holy heck is it hot.  Not just that but our social calendars are all packed, and mommy attends every one's obligations.  Trying to make everyone happy and involved is killing me!  When I get a hot second with my gal pals, or the end of the day when the babies are all sleeping, mommy wants a cocktail.  



If you've ever grabbed a drink with me you probably know my drink of choice is raspberry (or blueberry for summer) vodka with sprite zero... my friends and family have dubbed it "The Samantha" and they are all on the bandwagon.   Many of you also know I am trying to be a little healthier so I decided to ditch the diet soda in an attempt to do that while also being able to indulge in an evening lifter.  


If I have to be healthier I might as well make it fun, so to jazz things up I  grabbed some coconut vodka and watermelon lemonade seltzer.  I then tossed in some frozen watermelon and fresh mint leaves I have kicking around for infusing water to stay hydrated throughout the day.  Guys, it is literally so good!  Smells like vacation, tastes like vacation, and is super low cal - 133 calories per 1.5 oz serving of vodka and the seltzer is zero calories.   I've been serving these up to my ladies and they are a major hit!  You could even use a drink dispenser for a party,  I might just have a party just to serve them up!

Mix up a batch of these, by eyeballing the ingredients because ain't no body got time to measure things, or do extra dishes!

Shopping List:
Pinnacle Coconut vodka
Polar Watermelon Lemonade seltzer
Frozen watermelon
Fresh mint leaves
Over Ice

Enjoy!

Thanks to Cassandra from and there's this for taking these pictures and sipping cocktails with me! 


Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Perfect Watermelon Snack

I love how effortless meals are in the summer.  I don't mind the drive by snacks and meals on their way in and out of the pool, or the fact that we live on fruit and cheese as a real meal when it's hot out.  We have a very short window of warm weather and I try to keep myself out of the kitchen as much as possible.  Somewhere along the way I decided summer was a guilt free mom season and we were meant only to enjoy it.

In my guilt free haze I sometimes end up in a snack slump.  We have the same basic on-the-go crap on hand every day... cheese, goldfish, gummies, pirates booty, you know healthy stuff (insert eye roll).  Leavitt and I recently had a little time on our hands while Preston took a nap and decided to get our creative on in the kitchen.  We cut up some watermelon, half to eat, half to create something with.  I decided to scour the pantry, we happened to have some white chocolate melts in there and fruit dipped in chocolate is basically a love language in our house.  I let Leavitt help me pick our toppings.  I wanted shredded coconut, and he opted for raisins.  


I melted the chocolate according to the directions on the package and let it cool enough to thicken.  Dipped small/medium sized watermelon wedges in the chocolate and tossed some coconut and raisins on there.  We slid them into the freezer for a couple hours and enjoyed them outside when the baby got up from his nap!


I have honestly missed being in the kitchen with my not so little man.  He has become such a great fisherman this year, and while I am so happy for him I miss these moments in the kitchen just us.  He asked me the other day if we could try again and put some cheese on there, when I said no (frozen cheese?!) he said he wanted to try Cheetos.  So stay tuned we may conjure up some more epic concoctions!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Catching Up

I just love all the messages you guys sent on my post The Fitting Room Diaries, seriously some of the sweetest messages.  I did end up hiring a trainer and going back to the gym I went to after having Leavitt, and while it is much less glam feeling, I suppose that is what I need for now.  A humbling experience, in a good way.  I'm older than I was, busier, and actually much happier now than I was back then making the work a little harder.  I just hope my trainer has thick skin and can handle my eye-rolling and sass.

Other than my new torture routine, I have been neck deep in the summer.  I took a weekend away to surprise a lovely gal pal at a bachelorette weekend her bridesmaids had planned.  Being a friend to ladies without kids, I think its super important to give the relationship that attention because they hang in there with me when I say "what were we talking about" 100 times during lunch when my brain is just scattered and trying to keep up with kids and conversation.  It was lovely, and I missed my babies dearly.  They were in capable and loving hands with our parents making it that much easier to relax.


We have been fishing like crazy so that my oldest can get his fix.  He loves fishing and is so good at it.  I feel kind of bad he's stuck with me all day while his dad works and he would much rather be tossing lines than hanging out with the mommy and me crowd.  Where are the redneck kids camps at?!  That being said we have had so many fun play dates this summer and I am really loving all this unstructured down time with the kids.


We spent Independence Day with my husband's family.  Eating lobster, fishing, and catching up.  We really needed some down time after the holiday, and have spent some much needed time hanging out at home, and at the pool.  Preston is so rambunctious and eager to keep up with his big brother.  When we got home from camp after the holiday, I had to lower his crib mattress down again, when I heard him fussing (totally not his character), I found him with his diaper off.  This was the first time he showed me his spunky spiteful side - I loved it.


I'm working on some new posts for you all.  Including a super cheap patio update.  We have lived here for almost four years and still have no deck furniture.  That will change in the up coming weeks and I did it on the cheap.  With kids, dogs, food, and Maine's weather I didn't want to spend a fortune for usable outdoor stuff.  So stay tuned for that!  I hope you all are enjoying your summer and really soaking in these warm summer days.  I am going to miss the smell of warm baby hair lathered in sunscreen when these kids head back off to school!



Monday, June 5, 2017

Weekend Recap & Nuby On-the-go




We are home from another weekend at camp and I am already feeling the aftershock at home.  The amount of stuff we lug down and back every weekend makes my head spin.  This weekend was the first real weekend of camp so it was nice to be able to hang with the boys and watch Leavitt really come into his own as a fisherman!  He can cast his line all the way to the neighbors dock, and caught more fish than I can count.  That being said it's really all he wants to do which is hard on poor Preston who is less than comfortable in that bulky lifejacket.  He will get used to it I am sure, and he loved the boat.  


The hardest part of being at the lake is feeding the kiddos.  Leavitt will fish a solid eight hours every day if he can, he hates to come in off the dock to eat, while his adult caretakers are starving so he must be famished!  My husband asked about getting him some meal replacement shakes for him so we know he's getting enough good stuff when we are on-the-go or he is busy with activities.  I snagged a few and his favorite water canteen from Nuby and he kept it with him all day.  I don't love the idea of replacing meals for kids or letting him skip them, so we still put up the good fight over meals but I felt better when he walked away after meals knowing he had gotten plenty of nutrients and hydration throughout the day. He is in love with the bear print especially at camp and the free flowing straw, and I love that the transparent base lets me see how much he has consumed.  I also love the flip top to keep the straw clean.  I tell you these boys are going to keep me on my toes! 

If you have a teething baby this is a game changing must have for introducing solids and relieving the  pain from teething.  You can get a one pack here and a two pack here.  


The NEW Nuby Thirsty Kids Active water canteens is coming soon to Babies R’ Us stores! Can’t wait shop the Nuby Thirsty Kids Reflex water canteens in store at Target or onlinehttp://bit.ly/2rEeprm.   How cute are all those prints the canteens come in?  Leavitt loved the bears, I really love the gray ones, which are your favorites?  


Because we love you we are going to give one of you a chance to win a Nuby Thirsty Kids Active water canteen.  Find us on Facebook to enter! 

Bringing up Leavitt is a Nuby parent blogger and was given products in exchange for reviews.  All opinions are and always will be my own.