Christmas 2016

Not gonna lie…Christmas is exhausting.  It’s like a giant shit show of presents, sugar, whining, giant toys, food, and no sleep. On Christmas Eve Eve I’m all ‘YAY CHRISTMAS SO FUN!’ …then by mid-afternoon of Christmas Day I’m done. Just tired of  parenting and being off schedule and sleeping in the same room as my kids.


Nevertheless we are fortunate to finally live within driving distance of my family and for that I am grateful.  Being with family over the Holidays is usually worth the exhaustion in the end. For all the hard and frustrating times we have while traveling with the kids, the fun moments tend to make it worth it.

We had “Santa” come on Wednesday night since we planned to leave Friday and didn’t want to drag all the crap up to Nebraska. Plus this gave the kids a full day to play with their new fun stuff while they were home on Thursday (aka made my day easier).


Then on Friday morning we opened the rest of our family gifts before hitting the road. Lance got Jack this giant Thomas track jump thing (without telling me) and it currently takes up half the basement…so that’s fun. I have strong feelings about toys that can not be easily stored away. Probably why Lance “forgot” to mention it. 



The trip up to Fremont was pretty uneventful (minus the dude with a gun on I29 causing it to shut down for a while delaying our leave time a bit) but confirmed the need for a van.  I can’t stand having to constantly turn around and pick up crap, give Allison her paci, get food for Jack, etc…drives me bonkers!!  I need SPACE!  and sliding doors!  and cup holders!

We went to my Dad’s house for lunch on Christmas Eve, and then spent the rest of the time at my Mom’s house with her 20 trees. Christmas decorations have never been lacking in her house.




The kids were overtired crank-fests by 5pm so we skipped church and Christmas light viewing and let them open gifts before the adults (we do Christmas Eve gift opening) so we could get them to bed before the meltdowns began.

Then we opened our gifts, drank wine, and played a million rounds of Catch Phrase.

We had a delicious dinner at my Aunt and Uncles house in Omaha on Christmas Day and played the game of logos…or something…I don’t know I spent most of the game time trying to get Allison to nap. The few minutes I played I was terrible…brands are apparently not my thing.


At least Allison rocked her buffalo check headband from the Splendid Bow Shop!

We had planned to stay one final night at my Mom’s before heading back, but after spending two hours trying to get the kids to sleep we surrendered and threw them and all the crap in the Rav and headed back to KC. They slept the entire way (thank god) and we got to listen to the Chiefs win…so not a total waste!

All in all it was a great Christmas. Holidays with kids are fun but also a ton of work…you don’t get to relax really…it’s nonstop parenting.  The holiday hangover hasn’t been too bad now that we are back to work/daycare and on schedule.  Of course we have a 4-day weekend coming up for New Years so wish me luck!

Or send wine.

Allison at 1 Year

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My little girl is one.  It happened so fast….before we know it she’ll be a walking running, talking, sassy 3yr old.  As much I want to put into words all the thoughts and emotions I have about this…given the current status of her baby book there’s a good chance that won’t happen until she’s 2.  So for now…5 quick things that I don’t want to forget about Allison right now!

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ONE:  I’m calling her having her first official “word” and it is “uh-oh”.  She mostly says it when she drops her paci and or sippy cup.  It’s the cutest thing in the world.  I’m not even sure when or where she picked it up but she seems to understand what it means…as far as her beloved paci is concerned.  She also points and mutters “keeeee” when she sees one of our cats.  I’m not sure what she loves more…her paci or the cats.  Or her new pink cozy coup…

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Dad wins best birthday gift this year.

TWO:  She is now taking a hand full of steps by herself.  She can go from sitting on the floor to standing/crouching/bending over and taking a few steps all without holding onto something.  She has not been too into push toys which is completely different than her older brother.  That kid pushed ANYTHING and everything around the house for months before and after he learned how to walk…oh wait he still does.  Sometimes she doesn’t seem to care and will just crawl where she wants to go.  Other times she is determined as ever and will get this cute grin on her face as she tries to take some independent steps.  I just love this initial walking stage…when they are just toddling about and look like mini drunks.  Pre-hitting their head on everything and falling all over.

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THREE:  Girl loves the wagon.  If we’re outside and she catches the tiniest glimpse of that sucker in the garage all bets are off.  She could happily sit and get pulled around in that thing all day long.

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When we go for walks she will just sit back and put her arms out and hold onto each side like she’s just taking it all in….enjoying the ride.  I just roll my eyes and then die from cuteness.

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FOUR:  She finally has teeth!  Compared to her teething maniac brother who had a full set by 18mo…she is way behind.  Or just on normal teething time.  She has her two front bottom teeth and 3 1/2 top teeth (last I checked).  I also believe those suckers are the current reason for her sleep issues.

She still wakes up 1-3 times at night and fusses…most of the time she puts herself right back to sleep once she locates her paci.  However lately she has just been sitting up and crying until one of us goes down, retrieves her paci off the floor, and then lays her back down in the crib.  It’s usually quick and painless so I’m not too torn up about it…except when she does it multiple times from the hours of 4-6am.  She loves to wake up and party whine by 5:30 and it is THE WORST.  UGH.  Sleep is for the weak right?!  I’m just holding out hope that one day she will sleep through the night and both her and her brother will stay in bed till 6:30am.  Oh the dreams I dream…

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FIVE:  I’m staring to notice little “girly” things about her.  It is so crazy to watch how she is different from her brother.  My mom got her a little baby doll for her birthday and she was instantly taken by it.  She loves to point at the baby’s eyes and hold it in her arms.  It has to sit with her in the cozy coup at all times.

She also loves to try and put headbands in her hair.  I stopped putting them on her for a long time because she would just rip them out…but now she will reach for them and try to put them on.  Then when I do she will smile and touch it lightly with her fingers.  It’s so funny to me!

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Overall she is a pretty sweet little girl.  She puts up with her obnoxious older brother constantly taking toys from her (although she is starting to fight back) and will sometimes lay her little head on your shoulder if she feels like cuddling.

I know everyone says this…but it’s true….we are so lucky to have her in our lives.  She brings so much joy and happiness to our little familiy (except at 5am of course) and I feel lucky to be her Mom.  Until she hits puberty anyways.

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*linking up with these ladies!

 

Friday Hodgepodge

Five hodgepodge-ish things this Friday…

ONE:   Today marks the beginning of the Avey Month-O-Birthdays…starting with my main man Lance turning 35 today!

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Next up is Allison (see more on that below), then Jack, and then me at the end of October.  It’s not like we planned it this way (exactly)…it’s just how nature intended.  Clearly God wants me to earn any sort of birthday fun I have by first stressing out over everyone else’s birthdays.  Think of how cool it will be when we can take joint bday trips…I mean that will happen right?  Without the kids also insisting on gifts?!  right…????  Or I’ll just take MYSELF on a trip after surviving birthday-maggedon…

TWO:    Allison turns ONE ON MONDAY.  WHAT?!  HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?!  Not to sound all cliche but seriously this year went by really fast.  I still call her my “sweet baby” and I might be calling her my baby till she’s 35…who knows.  We had her one year pictures taken on Monday and Becca already gave me a little sneak peek (below) and I’m dying!  Allison was so much better than her brother that we actually got some pics of JUST HER!   I feel like she deserves her own post detailing all the ONE-year things…so maybe I’ll get around to that next week after my hormones calm the f down…

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THREE:  Speaking of hormones…I got my period this week for the first time since pre-Allison.  I felt like a 13yr old girl again scrambling around looking for tampons (who are we kidding I was scared of tampons till I was like 17)…only to remember DUH I was pregnant when we moved so obviously I didn’t have any.  As I was texting my friend about it (obviously) it reminded me how much I miss our girls nights where we would discuss such lovely things…basically like this video (LOVE these moms…they’re from Nebraska too so woot woot!)

“I get pre-pre-menstrual, then pre-menstrual, then I’m menstrual, then I’m post menstrual…then I get real horny for 2 days…whaaaattt”  <—– yep thats me.

 

FOUR:  Along with all the birthdays we’re having a lot of visitors this month starting with my little sister and her boyfriend this weekend.  While I love having visitors and extra helping hands…I also know that my kids wake up ass early (making staying up late extra painful) and Jack is always a little nuts unbearable on little sleep and more than normal attention.  So I really hope I make it through this month without any family members disowning me and/or the neighbors calling CPS on me.  Yay!

FIVE:  Now that Allison is basically one and I’m done with the breastfeeding biz…I feel like it’s time to get serious about working out again.  I’ve been running here and there…some weeks I do well and others not so well due to lack of sleep from a teething baby.  Thanks to KCMB I got to try both yoga and barre for the first time this past month.  I realize I’m super late to the yoga train but it’s true…I had never taken an actual yoga class up until this point.

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I really enjoyed both…barre is definitely more up my ally with the resistance/muscle training.  Unfortunately the studio is like a 30min drive for me so I can’t justify the cost/time it would be to do it consistently enough.  Brittany is also tempting me with her challenge groups through beachbody…which I’m also a huge fan of after doing Insanity and T25…so we’ll see 😉  This month is all about survival so it will probably be another month before I get too serious!

*BONUS*:  Um I just have to say that football season is starting out AWESOME this year…both the Huskers and Vikings are undefeated so far…what?!  Oh and the Utes!  I definitely didn’t see that coming…nor do I know how long it will last so better revel in it now while we can!

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6 Months with Allison

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I remember counting down till each monthly milestone with Jack, waiting for his personality to come out and his crankiness to subside.  I also remember when I swore off the newborn phase and fell in love with the 6month age.  Things really started to change around then for Jack…he was happier and sleeping better at night (after lots of sleep training) and for me as a Mom I slowly started to get into the groove of motherhood.

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Now that I’m a seasoned mother (Ha!) each milestone with Allison has been anticipated in a different way.  Since I somewhat know what to expect on the development front, my anticipation and excitement is more about how Allison’s personality will shine through and what skills she will master first.  The other notable difference this time around is how FAST the time seems to pass.  I feel like each monthly mark hits before I even get comfortable with her being the previous month’s age.  For once I find myself wishing for time to SLOW DOWN.  30yr old “New Mom Steph” would want to punch me.

Still, the 6month mark was one Lance and I both couldn’t wait to get to.  I think other parents share the same feeling.  It’s a sweet spot in the ever changing, ever challenging, first year of life.  Personalities come out, sleep stretches increase, first teeth, first solids, first laughs, sitting up and holding toys…and the holy grail of it all…they are still IMMOBILE!!  (Well unless you have a roller…neither of my kids seem to fancy rolling around outside of their crib)

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In a nutshell…Allison is just a happy baby.  Sure she has her phases but don’t we all?  She greets us everyday with smiles that melt our hearts.  The daycare ladies comment daily about how cute and sweet she is and how much they love having her there. (I’m sure they say that to all the Moms though right?!)

At 3 months Allison discovered her hands…and by 5 months she decided grabbing things was her jam.  Miss “Grabby Hands” we call her.  Nothing is safe from her grasp and she will do almost anything to reach whatever she has her eye on.  Which usually involves several nose dives into the floor.  But girl don’t care…she wants what she wants.  I can’t argue with that.

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Her sleep has had it’s up and downs.  While she tends to be a good sleeper for the most part, we had our stretches of playing “paci police” every hour throughout the night as well.  Some nights she cries a little before falling asleep…and other nights she falls asleep as I rock her a little longer than I should.  Some days she takes 30min cat naps, and some days she’ll rock a 3hr nap out of nowhere.  We haven’t done any strict sleep training…I think having been through it all has allowed me to chill the F out in the sleep department. But mostly I’m just grateful for any amount of sleep I can get.

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We are holding steady in the breastfeeding department.  Once again I’ll play the “2nd time around” card here…but with Jack I stressed about pumping and struggled to make as much as he wanted to eat.  With Allison I was much more prepared for the whole pumping during work thing and have been able to maintain her needs…it also helps that I work from home so I really have no restrictions on when/where I can pump.

However that doesn’t take away from the extreme commitment that pumping/breastfeeding requires…man.  So yes…I recently bought some formula that says it’s for the “breastfeeding Mom who chooses to introduce formula” or as I see it…FREEDOM!!!  We haven’t given it to her yet but hopefully she takes it.  I cut out one of my daily pump sessions which has been great for me…but my supply has taken a hit for sure.  I’d like to continue breastfeeding her up until her 1st birthday like I did with Jack…but I see no shame in giving her formula here and there if it allows me a few hours away from her and/or the pump.  My hormones have been going crazy lately as well thanks to the recent changes…but that’s for another blog post I suppose.

She now eats solids too.  Once again…not nearly the stress fest that I made it out to be with Jack.  I should probably get my act together and make her some homemade food but whatever…pouches from Target don’t seem to be killing her.  Thanks to daycare she actually eats it consistently too.

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So many feelings about this sweet little girl…I had no idea how much we needed her in our lives.  Having our first child turned our world upside down… and now adding Allison has flipped it right side up.  She “completes us” in the most corny Jerry Maguire way possible.  Jack loves her and is so sweet to her…and Allison adores her big brother like no other.  He can make her laugh like no one else.  There’s a strong relationship budding…I know it will get rocky and frustrating and hard…but right now it’s just perfect.

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So yep 6months…I think you win.  You’ll always be a favorite.

Now if only we could freeze time and stay here a little longer.

Allison’s Nursery

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*photo by Allison Corrin Photography

Allison recently turned 6 months old (what?!) and so I figured it was about time I took some pics of her nursery.  Unlike with Jack, we knew what we were having this time around…and I will admit I loved going with more feminine touches after doing the neutral thing for Jack’s room.  I was really drawn to the light and airy blush/cream/mint/gold nurseries on pinterest and the arrow/tribal trend so that is what I went for.  I purchased this fabric from Spoonflower to make the changing pad cover and just went from there.

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*view from the door coming into the room

 

If you have been following for awhile than you know I have a deep love for the color gray and painted almost all the walls in our first home some shade of gray.  So shocker…I went with gray walls here as well.  The only difference is I went with a much warmer gray color as opposed to the cooler grays from our last home.  The trim unfortunately has all been painted a cream color…ugh…if only there was an “undo” button for that.  So I felt the warmer color was needed to offset the cream trim and brown carpet.

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*Allison approves of the brown carpet…mom not so much.

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All of the furniture is just recycled from Jack’s nursery.  We bought Jack a twin size “big boy bed” and matching dresser so we could keep all the white stuff for the nursery.  I wanted to do the embroidery hoops above the crib again but instead of using fabric as I did for Jack’s room, I wrapped yarn around the inner loop to give it a more “tribal” feel.  I struggled to find the perfect mint color yarn at the time….still hoping to switch it out if I ever come across some.  IMG_9466 (3)

After seeing several pics of the Hemnes dresser with gold knobs I knew I had to do the same and just spray painted over the original knobs.  I also went with a gallery wall above the dresser again and  I LOVE how it turned out.  I started with the coral Kansas state print and then just picked things up here and there as I came across them.  I also did the hospital pic with id band just like I made for Jack in the ikea box frame.  I spray painted Allison’s frame gold to tie in with the other gold accents throughout her room.  I found this little arrow at a local craft event and spray painted it gold and threw on some gold hooks and voila…a little headband holder!

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It felt a little funny buying all these “kansas” things for her room after just moving here but since it would be her birthplace I really wanted to encompass that.  I hope these prints remain a part of her room as she grows and gets to know this city as her home.

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I picked up this cute basic white shelf at Ikea and obviously the brackets needed to be gold…I got a little spray paint happy.  The nail thread arrow is by a local artist and goes with the various other arrows throughout the room.

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I found the glass jar at Ikea and decided it was the perfect spot to keep her knot headbands since they are a little too large for the arrow headband holder above her dresser.  The frame and little wood print were Hobby Lobby finds (the same day I went into labor) and her little baby book is via Lucy Darling Shop.

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*photo by Allison Corrin photography

 

IMG_9282*Allison says “Get Outta here” in her best Cribs voice. 

Sources:

Paint Color: Sherwin Williams ‘Anew Gray’

Paint via Lowes:  HGTV Sherwin Williams (I was super impressed with this paint!  Like I almost always have to do a second coat or fill in patches but nope…the coverage was outstanding.  I used the Ovation line for this project and it was just as good as the Showcase version which I used in Jack’s room)

Dresser, Side Table: Both are Ikea Hemnes

Crib:  Target, Graco Lauren

Rocker:  Buy Buy Baby (forget the brand…sorry!)

Poof:  Land of Nod in Mint

Crib Sheet:  Target

Curtain:  Target

Clock: found at local Kirklands

Kansas state print: Armada Supply Co on Etsy

Kansas City print: by Tammy Smith found locally

Circle Mirrors and various frames found at local Home Goods

Large wall arrow with hooks:  Target

From 1 to 2

Allison recently crossed the 3 month mark and along with the craziness of the holidays I returned to work and she began daycare.  I’m still trying to get over the fact that my maternity leave has ended and Allison is no longer a “newborn”.

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It’s true what they say…the jump from one kid to two is surprisingly smooth compared to the world changing smack in the face that having a first baby is.  I spent a lot of this pregnancy worrying about how I would handle the newborn days with a very active and strong willed toddler.  I worried I would fall into an anxiety ridden pit much like I did with Jack where I felt like I was drowning most days and on the edge of losing it.  I kept waiting for it to hit…and it never did…at least not yet.

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I’m feeling more joy this time around and really trying to revel in the little moments which wasn’t something I was able to do with Jack.  Blame gender.  Blame colic.  Blame first-time Mom anxiety.  Whatever it is…this time around things have been so different.  I’m as shocked as anyone.  Allison is so different than her brother was.  She is much more calm and relaxed and almost always greets me with a smile.  She went through her witching phase just like any other baby but calming her down was SO much easier.  Some days I would laugh at how easy it was to get her to stop crying…while other days she would rival her brother’s past and I would feel the anxiety and anger start creeping on.  (I will say the Solly Wrap was and remains a LIFESAVER…girl loves being worn…almost as much as I love wearing her)  But on the whole this girl is shaping up to be much more like her Dad than her Mom…praise Jesus.

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I feel like I’m finally understanding what all these other bloggers were talking about when they said to “soak up the newborn cuddles” and all that wishy washy crap I threw aside when I had a cranky, screaming, non-sleeping baby.  Turns out having a baby that actually SLEEPS is a game changer.  Until recently Allison slept like a champ.  She’s older now and we’ve transitioned her into her crib so the night wake ups are not surprising.  Although waking up multiple times at night NEVER gets easier…it  helps to have gone through it all before.  I know it won’t always be like this and things change so fast it’s not worth googling for hours over.  Sticking it out and surviving is my go-to method these days.

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I remember a friend telling me before I even got pregnant with Allison that going from one child to two was harder on her marriage.  Now instead of tag teaming one child you have to play man-on-man defense (as Lance would say).  Gone are the days of trading off duties so one parent gets a break.  They’re replaced with days of dividing and conquering playtime, tummy time, potty training, time-outs, feedings, blowouts, and everything else that comes with the mixture of a 3 month old and a 3yr old.

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So yes I would have to agree with my friend…having two children definitely adds more stress to a marriage and you can’t waste time on tiny squabbles about who changed the last diaper or didn’t put their dish in the dishwasher.  I think we’re both learning how important it is to connect every day whether it’s an inside joke about one of the kids, or just a quick chat about our day while trying to get dinner on the table.

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We’re still trying to navigate this two kid thing and figure out what works and what doesn’t…unsure if we’ll ever really figure it out completely.  We’ve learned that sometimes a beer and the ipad can bring a sense of calm long enough to enjoy each other before the next storm begins.  I think you learn to go with the flow a lot more with two kids…attempt to take things in stride.  You also learn to celebrate small victories and do a happy dance around the living room when both kids are magically napping on their own in their rooms on a Saturday (this happened ONCE!!).

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So yeah…two kids isn’t so bad.  I mean if you think about it we’ve already made the mental leap of “OMG we have a child!” so now it’s just a matter of another addition to that already crazy world…two little humans to keep alive.  I also know we’re in a pretty sweet spot right now in terms of age…Allison isn’t yet mobile and Jack is just old enough to do a lot of things independently.  Granted he doesn’t actually do these things when we ask or need him to without lots of arguing and crying…threenager like whoa.  I’m doing my best to not dread what I know is coming with Allison (like teeth…TEETH…i’m sweating just thinking about it) and trying to just truly ENJOY the baby coos and silly way she kicks and bops her head about.

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After all this will likely (god willing!) be our last baby.  At this point our family really does feel complete and I’m so lucky to call both of these little crazies mine.  Let’s just hope it stays that way.

*All photos by the wonderful Allison Corrin photography