Monday, April 23, 2012

Kennedy is ONE!

Today I had the pleasure of taking pictures of one of Briggs' BFFs, Kennedy. She turned 1 on April 5th, so we wanted to capture some fun outdoor pics of this sweet ONE YEAR OLD. She was a trooper and a very easy photography subject. Love you Kennedy! Enjoy :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Our first trip to the Houston Zoo

Finally, after weeks of SAYING we were going to go, we finally WENT to the zoo! I was so excited to take Briggs to see all the animals, but I have to admit, I was even more excited to see them myself. I can't even remember the last time I went to the Houston Zoo...probably at least 15 years ago. WOW that makes me feel old!

We had a fun time as a family, but man, was it exhausting! Briggs was calm and relaxed the entire time and he loved seeing the animals, but once we got home we were all spent. Daddy bought us a family membership, so I plan on taking Briggs back very often. Maybe even once a week until it gets too hot. Next on our to-do list is to go in the morning so we can see the elephants get their baths, and we also want to feed the giraffes. Being a kid is fun! Can't wait till our next trip... maybe this week! ;)

Elephant butts!
Snack time for the elephants
Bongo Drums
Hangin with the chimps

Daddy's showing me the little monkeys

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Inspired by Avery

I am so unbelievably touched and inspired by the Canahuati Family. I do not know them, but I wish I did. A friend posted a link to their blog on facebook the other night, and I am so glad I clicked on it. They have found a way to make me EVEN MORE grateful for the gift of life, and more specifically, the gift of motherhood. They have a beautiful 5 month old daughter, Avery, who was just diagnosed with SMA. Sadly, she has a very short life expectancy, but her wonderful, devoted parents have set out to make EVERY second count in sweet Avery's life. Their story is truly admirable. I hope that Blake and I can be half the parents that they are being for their precious daughter.

Please take a moment to look at their blog, and help Avery spread the word about SMA. Share this with everyone you know. While it won't save her in this lifetime, she's hoping that her story will bring awareness to the genetic disorder so that we CAN find a cure and eventually save other children who are born with SMA. Here's the link to her blog:

Avery Can

Avery and her parents have compiled a very extensive "Bucket List" of things she wants to accomplish in her short life. Her parents are nothing short of extraordinary and I admire their strength and courage during this difficult time. Their approach to making sure Avery lives the most rewarding life possible is simply amazing! They have inspired me in numerous ways, but perhaps most importantly, they are spreading the message of not taking life for granted. Today I was watching videos on their blog that brought me to tears -- tears of happiness for the joy that they are currently experiencing with their daughter, and tears of sadness for the inevitable pain they will face all too soon. If nothing else, they can surely inspire us all to live every day like it's our last.

In honor of Avery, I am putting together a list of the things I am MOST grateful for in my life. I could go on forever about things I am thankful for, but this list is specifically things that I cannot live without. After this I am going to make sure I spend every day SHOWING my gratitude for these beautiful blessings in my life, and above all else, I am devoting myself to making sure that Briggs laughs everyday, plays like there's no tomorrow, and is smothered by hugs and kisses because he is so unbelievably loved.

ALSO In honor of Avery, Briggs and I danced around the living room like maniacs today! IT WAS A BLAST! We will definitely be doing that more often. I hope that Briggs can meet sweet Avery one of these days. She lives in mommy might have to figure out a way to make that happen :)

Things I am forever grateful for:
  • My loving Husband
  • My BEAUTIFUL, cheerful, playful, giggly, cuddly, smiley, talkative, healthy BABY BOY
  • The ability to undergo Infertility Treatments to achieve my dreams of having children
  • My dedicated parents who selflessly sacrificed many things in life to give their 4 children everything they ever wanted and needed
  • My 3 brothers who beat me up and picked on me all my life
  • All of our loving family - Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, etc.
  • The best Grandparents Briggs could every ask for
  • A job that allows me to live the most fulfilling life possible
  • Friends who I have fun with no matter what we're doing
  • Baby smiles
  • Baby laughs
  • Stinky dog kisses
  • Sunshine
  • Sweating
  • My cozy home
  • Music for dancing
  • Clean drinking water and fresh air
  • The ability to run
  • Naps with my baby
  • Briggs' smile
  • Eskimo kisses
  • Dancing around like a maniac with Briggs in my arms
  • June 13, 2009 - My wedding day
  • June 5, 2011 - The day Briggs was born
I'm sure there are many more things I need to add to this list, but it's a start. I really want to take time  to stop and smell the roses more often, and I also want to do everything in my power to provide Briggs with the most rewarding life possible. From now on my #1 priority is to have FUN everyday!

Hug your babies, kiss your spouses, and tell your family you love them :)   And send all of your extra thoughts and prayers to Avery and her amazing parents. They deserve it.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Breastfeeding - My 10 Month Experience

When I was pregnant I made up my mind that I wanted to breastfeed Briggs. I never really knew if it would work out for me or how long I'd stick with it, but I knew I wanted to do it. I had heard HORROR stories about how awful and difficult breastfeeding was, so I was quite nervous and had little confidence that it would work for me. Despite what I had heard, I made up my mind that I was going to breastfeed and it was going to be EASY for me! I did loads of research and attended the breastfeeding class at my hospital, and by the end  of my pregnancy I was very confident and excited about giving my child the best nourishment he could possibly have. I set an initial goal of breastfeeding Briggs for 6 months.

The power of positive thinking must be real because I ended up having a very easy and rewarding breastfeeding experience from start to finish. In the beginning I was concerned that Briggs wouldn't latch properly since he was born prematurely, but to my surprise he latched like a champ right after I got out of recovery from my C-Section, and it was all smooth sailing from there. I never got sore or cracked nipples (sorry for the TMI but it's relevant in this case), and I was blessed with a great milk supply. One of the best things I learned in my breastfeeding class was that if it hurts, the latch is wrong! I think so many people are so desperate to make it work and they don't take the time to make sure they get the latch right. This is CRUCIAL for a pleasant and rewarding breastfeeding experience, so mommas, do your research and attend a breastfeeding class!

Before long Briggs was 6 months old and had never even had a drop of formula. I was so proud of myself and so happy that I was able to successfully achieve my goal. I quickly realized that I now had a very strong emotional attachment to breastfeeding and I was definitely not ready to give it I continued. I did, however, slowly try to introduce formula so that Briggs could get used to it... THAT was a whole new challenge!!  Turns out I had spoiled him too much with "delicious" breast milk and he wanted nothing to do with that nasty stuff. Can't blame him! After numerous attempts at giving him different brands of formula, I finally found the ONE and only type he would drink -- Similac Organic. Can we say "high-maintenance"!?

In February I started to notice my health deteriorating. I was losing weight rapidly and I was constantly feeling fatigued and exhausted. I knew that 8 months of BFing was starting to take it's toll on me. Everything was literally being sucked out of me. At that point I made the decision to start weaning for the sake of my own health, and for other reasons as well. It wasn't an easy decision, but I knew it was for the best.

I knew weaning wouldn't be easy but I had NO idea what an emotional toll it would take on me. I have to admit, the  process probably would have gone a lot smoother and quicker if I hadn't had so much anxiety over it all. The idea of being done with pumping and nursing was great, but my hormones and emotions were all over the place. I sort of felt like I was cheating Briggs by not giving him breast milk anymore. I know that sounds silly, but it's how I felt.  At this point I had gone several months with nursing Briggs 4 or 5 times a day, so it was quite difficult to start cutting out the feedings and replacing them with a bottle of formula. Weaning was a long, drawn out process for me, but I had to take it slow.

Here we are, April 5, 2012...10 months to the day that Briggs was born and I started breastfeeding. My supply is pretty much gone now and I'm considering myself "weaned" even though I still nurse him for a few minutes in the morning when he wakes up. I guess this whole thing is bittersweet, and that's why I'm writing about it. I want to share my experience in hopes that it encourages other "first-time moms" to give breastfeeding a fair shot. Even though I'm sad to say goodbye to nursing, I'm so thankful that I had so much success with it and that I was able to give my son everything he needed for the first 10 months of his life. In my experience, breastfeeding is absolutely, 100% worth it, for both mom AND baby. There's no way to explain the bond that it creates between you and your baby, but it's one that is undeniable and everlasting. So now I close this chapter with Briggs as he begins to grow into toddler-hood and I look forward to having the same success with nursing all of my future children :)

P.S. A great resource for any and all info on breastfeeding can be found here: Kelly Mom