Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Insta Snapshot

Thanks to Statigram for putting together this video of my top liked Instagrams this year. Not surprising they are all of Ford! I can't tell you how many times I've watched it and still get a frog in my throat. Maybe it's the music? Also, the picture of Jon meeting him for the first time... chills.

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Follow me on Instagram here!

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Under the weather

Man our little family just can't catch a break! Ford has basically had a cold since Halloween that has recently developed into Bronchilitis (luckily he's flu, RSV, and pertussis negative) and as much as I thought I wouldn't get sick, wrong-o. We took a family trip to Urgent Care Saturday morning and all got tested for flu, strep, and Jon even got chest X rays. We left with 5 prescriptions and hopes of feeling better. I have a double ear infection and swollen throat and bad sinuses but the boys seem to be on the ups! We've quarantined ourselves inside and Jon has been doing a great job of being Mr. Mom (seriously, I am so blessed by my husband!). I get sick about once a year but when I do, it is BAD. 

I can't wait to fill you guys in on Ford's first Christmas and take a look at 2013 in review but as for now, I am back to bed blowing my nose for the 500th time and thanking God for a super happy baby and helpful spouse.

Ernie has also projectile vomitted twice this weekend... I am pretty good with dealing with poo and yucky things but OMG... it was bad. He is so sweet and hasn't left my side.






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Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Magic Sleepsuit.... it's really magic y'all

All it took was reading this post once and I had a sleep suit of my own on order. We had successfully eliminated the swaddle for Ford but he was still in the bassinet or Rock and Play which made him feel safe and secure. I was absolutely dreading the transition to his crib and after 3 nights of chaos (read my vulnerable mommy post here), it was time to bust out the sleep suit. If you aren't familiar, Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit is just that, magic. It is basically a marshmallow suit that makes baby feel secure and help the transition out of the swaddle. Seeing how well it helped Ford's baby friend Christian, I wanted to give it a shot and am so glad I did. 

The night before we used the suit, it took Ford 3 hours to go to sleep... yes you read that right, 3 hours. Shushing, patting, nursing, singing, rocking, he wasn't gonna have it. The next night we zipped up our little Michelin man and he slept 10 hours straight. Zing!


Ford is currently wearing the 3-6 month size and growing out of it quickly. We have the 6-9 month size suit should be here tomorrow! The tricky part is knowing when to stop using it. Ford is now rolling from tummy to back and will soon be rolling from back to tummy so the worry wart in me doesn't want to risk it but then again when you see the suit, it looks nearly impossible for baby to roll in it.  Weaning from the suit... TBA...

The sleepsuit is designed for back sleeping and eliminates the need for blankets in the crib (SIDS risk). You'd think my sweaty baby would bake in it but the lightweight cotton material keeps him cool. On warm nights I put him in a onesie and socks and cool nights a cotton sleeper. Now that he's getting stronger and stronger he can bend his hands in the suit to suck on his fingers (the stinker doesn't take a paci so I'll take any form of self soothing!). 

If you're a mama who lays awake at night stressing about the swaddle transition (or Rock and Play transition in our case), I highly recommend trying out the sleep suit. It was life changing for us and could be for you too!



Moms, what are your sleep training/transition tips and tricks? Any moms have a non paci baby? Would love your input!

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It's about Jesus

A few weeks ago at my MOPS meeting, other ladies got up and shared their Christmas traditions and how we can focus the holiday on the true purpose... Jesus. I loved hearing how families incorporated Christ's birth into the commercialized holiday where it often gets overlooked by the new xBox system, getting your cards out on time, and divvying up your day between your family/in laws/grandparents/etc. It was encouraging but if I am totally honest it was overwhelming. I guess since Ford is so young I haven't thought too much about how and what traditions we will have for Christmas but then it hit me. Traditions start now! My 4 month old won't remember us reading the Christmas story out of the gospels to him or singing Christmas songs at church but adding these rhythms in our family is incredibly important. 

I just keep thinking about Mary. Unmarried, 10 years younger than me, and giving birth without an epidural in a cold and lonely stable. I look at my sweet baby boy and dream of all the things he will accomplish in life. I can't wait to see him out on the soccer field, basketball court, or kicking around in the pool. I get excited thinking about him showing off his report cards and proud of his hard work. And one day graduating from college, becoming a man, and having a family of his own. And to think...Mary held baby Jesus just as I hold Ford, but his future held so much more. His future is our future. At times I idolize Ford and he is the center of my world, but Mary was holding the world in her hands. King Jesus, taking on human flesh as a sweet newborn baby. Can you imagine what that must feel like?

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.

-Mark Lowry

Often I forget this precious story of our Lord but motherhood has given me a whole new perspective on Christmas. Yes I fall victim to TV commercials reminding me that Toys R Us is open for 78 hours straight until Christmas or stressing out because we still haven't watched all the holiday movies on our DVR. It is about Jesus. 

It is easy to feel warm and fuzzy and think that Christmas is about giving and family and togetherness. Don't get me wrong, those are wonderful additions but we wouldn't have those things if it weren't for Christ's divine birth over 2,000 years ago. I want my son to know that. You better believe Jon and I are pumped to do Elf on The Shelf in the next few years and help Ford leave cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer but we want him to celebrate Jesus. 

It's a big job we have as parents, to be influential and nurturing. From what I hear, children are sponges and it is up to us to teach them the true purpose of Christmas. I want Ford's heart to be on fire every December 25th. Joy to the world friends, our Lord has come!

How do you celebrate the birth of our King on Christmas? (not just a question for moms and dads)

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Grace for mamas

I was thrilled and humbled to write a post for What To Expect giving the short story on Ford's birth and talking about my expectations and emotions around the experience. Earlier this week it was featured on AOL and I got lots of texts, emails, and tweets congratulating me but also apologizing for the comments some readers left. I hadn't ever thought to read them but I spent some time going through them and all I have to say is... grace!!

I am not hurt or offended by some of the comments but more in shock and saddened that women (and men!) view labor and birth as a competitive sport (took that from one of the comments!). At the mere mention of induction, people all the sudden become medical professionals, get on their soap boxes, and rip apart people who didn't have the ideal birth story. Would I have preferred an easy, pain free, vaginal birth... probably.... but that was NOT my story. From the beginning of time the Lord knew my body would hit 41 weeks and have yet to show signs of labor. He knew pitocin would do nothing to progress me and that my blood levels wouldn't allow for an epidural. He knew I would endure pain but come out on the other side praising His name. And I love that! I love that I have an unconventional story to tell. Looking back on life, things have gone pretty good. I broke my back 10 years ago and that's a fun story to tell but other than that, this was my Jesus is real experience. God formed Ford in my womb, God created pitocin, God formed the hands of my wonderful doctor that somehow pulled a 9lb baby out of a tiny incision. 

A huge part of me wanted to retaliate with harsh words but honestly what would that do? I did respond to some of the comments but in a way that I hope shows my strength and kind heart. I know everything happens for a divine reason and I won't be ashamed to share it. Now I don't need anyone to feel sorry for me or shower me with praise, what I need is grace. If you push a baby out your lady parts in your bathtub with a midwife or party it up with the nurses while clicking your little epidural...you are a woman who has done an amazing thing. A planned C section or an emergency one...your body is incredible. Blindly making judgment on such a precious event in someone's life isn't doing anything but harden your heart. 

Thank you to everyone who did leave little notes and comments that built me up... we are in this together. As women (and parents and humans) we should want nothing but to love each other despite differences in sex, race, religion, birth story.... and respect those differences. Don't be afraid to tell me your awesome birth story, girl you rock!! And please email me if you need a shoulder to cry on because your ideal birth ended in a C section, I'll cry with you. 

Grace like rain, friends.

*To clear anything up, lots of comments were made about my choice to induce and ending in a C section. In the state of Texas it is illegal to carry a baby past 42 weeks under doctor's care and y'all saw my belly...there wasn't anywhere else for my 9lb baby to go. Going too much past term brings risks of placenta calcification and loss of amniotic fluid and I would much rather have ended in a C section than risk my son's health. And as far as induction goes... my body did not respond to Pitocin like it should have. I went in at a 4 and was on the highest dose of Pitocin (without an epidural) and 8 hours later was still at a 4. 

P.S. someone commented that they saw me out in town when I was pregnant and assumed I was about to have triplets!! LOL!

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Crispix Mix

Oh man does this recipe remind me of my childhood. My mom would always make a huge batch of Crispix mix around the holidays and we'd sneak handfuls while she was making it. I also remember eating just the Crispix and picking out the peanuts...must be a kid thing? Now that I'm the grown up, this is the perfect treat to make for neighbors and friends and munch on at home. It's not only a Christmas treat but could be made year round! I had my mom come help me with my first batch since there are some involved steps but I think I got the hang of it. This stuff is so addictive y'all.


Ingredients
1 box Crispix cereal
1-1.5 cups dry roasted peanuts
1/2 cup Karo light corn syrup
2 cups brown sugar
2 sticks butter
1/2 tsp baking soda

Supplies
Giant bowl (if you don't have a giant bowl, try to find your two biggest mixing bowls)
Wax paper
2 brown paper bags
Rubber spatulas

1. Melt Karo, brown sugar, and butter in a pot over medium heat. Stir until it boils and let boil 30 seconds. My mom says the key to making the caramel sauce is stirring so keep a close eye on it. 
2. Remove from heat and add baking soda, the caramel will lighten up in color and become a lot thicker
3. Pour your Crispix cereal and peanuts into your giant bowl or split among 2 bowls
4. Pour the caramel mixture over the cereal/peanut mixture and use the rubber spatulas to coat the cereal. Pretend like you are tossing a salad and get each piece coated real good.
5. Put the coated cereal in a brown paper bag and fold the top over
6. Lay the other brown paper bag in your microwave to protect the bottom
7. Put the cereal bag into the microwave and microwave for 4 minutes, stopping every 1 minute to shake the bag and mix the cereal up
8. Spread the mixture out on a flat surface lined with wax paper and let sit and cool for an hour
9. Using a spoon or spatula or even your hands, break up the pieces
10. ENJOY!!!!!





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Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Card 2013










Photos via Jennifer Stamps Photography

The day of our family pictures happened to be the start of some serious winter weather here in Texas. I was so bummed that we wouldn't get our beautiful lake side pictures but boy did Jennifer Stamps pull through. She truly captured our silly little boys personality and we will treasure these pictures from our very first Christmas as a family of 3... well 4 including Mr. Ernie. 

The Hart family wishes you an incredible, family and love filled, warm and toasty holiday season!

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Baby's [future] best friend

I've had a few people reach out to me asking how we prepared Ernie for Ford's arrival and to be honest, we didn't really do anything. Ernie totally knew I was pregnant from the beginning and was very protective of me which is annoying but also kinda cute. He thoroughly enjoyed cuddling on top of my giant belly and slept right by my side every night. He was curious when we set up baby gear and wanted to lay on every single piece of baby clothing but other than that... we didn't really do much. I know some people go to extreme measures to prepare their dogs for baby but I wasn't about to carry around a baby doll for him to get used to it. Tough luck Ernie, this baby is here to stay!

Coming home from the hospital was a bit of a blur so we forgot to get the boys initial meeting on camera but Ernie was very interested in Ford for about 2 seconds, gave him a few licks, and was ready to play ball. 


We've made it a point to make sure Ernie still feels loved in our family and it seems as if Ernie is as happy as can be if someone is throwing a ball for him. I quickly learned to maneuver hands free nursing so I could get in some QT with Ernie. We also continue to let him sleep in bed with us which I think makes him feel special. Now that Ford is in his own room, we get to play and cuddle with Ernie after he goes to sleep. 

About once or twice a day Ernie will come over to Ford while he's on the ground and give him a face full of licks which I let him do but cut him off after a few seconds. I don't want him to be afraid of Ford or think interacting with Ford is "bad" (similarly when you tell kids "no", they just want to do it more). We say, "that's very nice Ernie but no more kisses". A couple of times I've caught Ernie camped out by Ford almost as if he is protecting him. Even though he doesn't seem to care too much about Ford, he definitely knows he's a part of the pack.



Ernie I think it'll be a few more months til Ford can throw that for you!

In the past week Ford has started to notice Ernie! He will follow him around the room and even turn his head or body to watch him. I am trying to use Ernie's name when Ford watches him so Ford can start understanding who he is. I don't think it will be long before Ford really starts getting a kick out of Ernie and they become best buds! I see how much my 14 month old niece loves her dog and I know Ford will be the same way. I can't wait to watch both of my boys bond and grow up together, nothing like the relationship between a boy and his dog. Oh and added bonus, tons of research shows that babies who grow up with dogs are less likely to develop colds and ear infections as infants (article here). 

So I guess this post really doesn't answer the question on how to prepare your dogs for baby but really just give you a glimpse into our home and the dynamic between Ernie and Ford. Ernie has never shown aggression towards Ford and is still his crazy, stubborn, wild party of 1 self. One way we have seen Ernie act out (besides going absolutely nuts when people knock on the door) is stealing random baby items. He won't chew things up and is really good when we say "This is Ford's toy", but we've gotten home from being gone and found pacifiers, onesies, and even my breast pads in random parts of the house. The culprit... Ernie!



Did you prepare your dogs for bringing a baby home?



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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ford 4 months

This month has been a little crazy I'll tell ya. Between everyone in our family battling sickness and transitioning Ford into his crib upstairs, it's been hard emotionally and physically but I couldn't be more in love with my son. The hard times remind me of the grace I'm given by my heavenly Father and the easy times remind me of how blessed I am to be a mother. We are at such a fun stage with our smiley little boy, it's hard to imagine how things can get more "fun"! I feel like Ford is really starting to get a big personality and it's fun to get to know him as a little person rather than a squishy baby who sleeps all the time (okay who am I kidding, Ford has never been a baby who sleeps all the time). I remember when we found out we were pregnant after Thanksgiving last year, we got giddy excited thinking about having a baby at Christmas. And here we are! I look at Ford and think, man, he looks like a little boy. Four months old and time is flying.

So I realized his hair looks really red in these pictures and I think it was the angle of the sun coming through the windows because he has really dark hair like Jon.







Weight: 16lb 11oz (80th percentile)

Height: 24.5 inches (40th percentile)

Head circumference: 44.4cm (95th percentile)

Doctor appointment: we just got back from Ford's 4 month appointment and he was a champ! They were running behind so he got lots of playtime on the table and loved crinkling the paper in his hands. We did some tummy time and he rolled over on his own! He had 3 shots...1 oral and 1 in each leg. He screamed and turned bright red but I nursed him immediately and was fine. He is currently sleeping and we plan on having a cuddly afternoon. He checked out perfectly! His head is round, ears looked good, and gave the doctor and nurses lots of smiles.

My mini me!

 
Nicknames: Mister, silly boy, milkie, milka

Eating: this boy doesn't miss a meal! Nurses about every 3 hour during the day and once in the early morning (about 10-15 minutes). We thought he had gotten over his bottle strike after taking a break and trying different nipples but he is back to being difficult. We are trying to do 1-2 bottles a day of pumped milk and using Tommee Tippee bottles and that's definitely a battle. He just chews on the nipple and eventually gets pissed that he's not eating so it is quite the charade. We're not giving up though! Our doctor told us to wait until 6 months for solids because of all the food allergies these days but that if Ford starts waking up more often to eat or is super interested in our food, we could go ahead and start oatmeal. 

Sleeping (night): this past month has been very trying on his in the sleep department. A nasty month long cold and crib training gave us some of the most difficult nights we've ever had but Ford is officially sleeping upstairs in his crib and pretty much sleeping through the night. He goes down at 8pm and will wake up anywhere between 430a-6a for a 10-15 minute glug glug nurse then go back to bed usually until about 7:30-830am.
 
Sleeping (naps): Ford is getting a LOT better at naps. The past few weeks he's gone down for a nap consistently from 9:30a-11a and then either 1 long afternoon nap or 2 short ones depending on if we are home or out and about. He is a great napper in his carseat which makes running around easy but I am trying to be better about putting him down in his crib

Diapers: cloth diapering and loving it! Read my post about our cloth routine here
Clothing: like both of his parents, Ford has a funny body to fit. He has the cutest skinny jeans that are 3-6 months that barely fit his waist and are incredibly long! He's wearing 6 month jammies and mostly 6 month outfits. 

Social: such a social boy and little flirt! Ford is so talkative, screaming, shrieking, babbling, laughing, cooing. It's pretty normal for people to come over to us at the grocery store or errands because he is so talkative. He definitely recognizes mommy and daddy and is so easy to make smile. He also has started to recognize Ernie the past few days and just stares at him and follows him. 

New this month: I wouldn't say Ford is rolling over yet but he has done it a few times on his own the past couple of weeks and lots assisted!

Likes: Sophie the giraffe (big one and teether), TV, walks outside or being outside in general, bath time, being tickled

Dislikes: being in the car awake, Nose Frida, being hungry, having poop in his pants

Mama: I had my annual doctor appointment yesterday and told my doctor I finally feel like myself physically. I can do an ab workout without weird tingles or pain and the only time I am reminded of my C section is during sneezes or when Ford jumps on my incision. I feel like we have a routine (not to be confused with schedule which we very much do not have) and have a fun filled week with playdates, lunches, errands, and lots of playtime at home.I am definitely practicing grace during the long nights of sickness and crib training but it is so worth it! I love this little boy and it sure is fun being Ford's mommy. 

Daddy: Jon is really enjoying this stage of Ford's life...they play "this little piggy" and read books together every night before bed. I love watching Ford belly laugh with his dad! Jon has also watched Ford a few times this month to let me have a break or girls day, that's been so nice! Jon surprised me with a new (used) mommy car last week, I had no idea! My small SUV was very high mileage and things were breaking left and right (note... you can get locked INSIDE of your car). I am now the proud owner of a Lincoln MKT and loving all the cool safety features. We are going to tag along on a business trip with Jon next week and looking forward to that!

Fun things we did: stayed inside for 3 days straight 3 separate times... does that count as fun!? It's been a weird month with Ford having a cold and then this crazy weather we are having. BUT... Ford did celebrate his first Thanksgiving, meet Santa (and loved him), and was dedicated to Christ and our church. Oh and he got his first "hair cut"! My girlfriend Morgan snipped his little mowhawk rat tail thingy so I guess you could say that was his first hair cut? Ford has definitely gone through lots of hair stages (I was just looking at his newborn pictures and he had SO much hair....that's not the case these days). 


What we're looking forward to: we are very excited to celebrate Ford's first Christmas surrounded by family. I know Santa Mimi has lots of fun gifts for our little man! Ford's Aunt Tomi graduates from Texas A&M on Friday and we are looking forward to celebrating her big accomplishment this weekend!

Comparisons:


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Not your mama's lasagna

This week is the week for Italian recipes! Head on over to my reviews blog for not your average (and the most delicious you will ever taste!) lasagna recipe. 



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Monday, December 9, 2013

Baked Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan has got to be one of the most delicious Italian dishes ever. Jon loves it because it's a sure way to get protein when you are up to your eyeballs in carbs and dairy but often times it's fried and unhealthy. I was excited to find this "skinny" recipe that was delicious and incredibly easy!

Ingredients
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (raw)
3/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrums
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp butter, melted
3/4 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
Marinara sauce

1. Combine the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in a shallow dish
2. Coat each chicken breast with the melted butter then dip into the bread crumbs covering both sides of the breast
3. Place into a prepared baking dish lined with foil
4. Bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes
5. Remove the baking dish, top evenly with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese and bake for an additional 5 minutes
6. Serve over your favorite pasta!




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