Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

First Meal - 4 Months

Trying rice cereal for the first time

19 weeks postpartum

We received clearance on Monday from Jackson's pediatrician that he was ready for solids. We tried Tuesday night to feed him for the first time. As you can see from the pictures below. It didn't go so hot.
The very first time we tried feeding him on Tuesday night. Didn't go so hot.

We didn't have much luck the rest of the week because we discovered Jackson goes into major meltdown mode by 7:30. So we need to re-work a new plan. Karl wanted to be part of the first real meal and sometimes he doesn't get home until after 7:00 from work, so it's a bit hard for me to balance everything. This also makes me really nervous flying with him next week since we don't take off until 9:30. I pray for no big meltdowns!

Last night we tried rice cereal mixed with my breast milk again. Karl didn't get home until after 7 so I tried to get everything ready before the meltdown came. Just as we were feeding Jackson, the meltdown started. But he did get a couple bites in. YAY! I consider this a success for the first time. We'll see how tonight goes for feeding number two!

Second time eating!


And the video :) -

Friday, August 24, 2012

Four Month Check-Up

Jackson had his four month visit!!
Big news: Jackson is ready for solids!!

Weight: 13lbs 15.75 ounces (darn near 14 pounds!)
Height: 25 inches
Head: 16.25

We got Jackson a Round-a-Bout and he's diggin it!

Jackson is right on track with his size, though a little skinny...which is OK!!! (And still normal!) So crazy how every baby is SO different.

Doctor saw action Jackson in full effect. Took one look at us and said..."Whoa, this baby is going to be crawling soon!!"

We've kind of been thinking the same thing as we see him move around and push himself up full force.

Jackson practically spun himself all away around on the table once the pediatrician put Jackson on his belly. She saw how much he moves and right away asked about sleeping patterns. I said he was doing great (sleeping 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. or 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.) and then the past two weeks he's been getting up one to three times during the night. AND he's also getting 5 ounces per feeding while at home care. That's a lot of milk for a four month old! Especially one who downs it in less than five minutes and from time to time will scream after for more.

What gives!?!?!

The pediatrician said Jackson is burning through calories like crazy. He is always on the go. Always. Even in his sleep.

So we're going to try introduce solids!! Starting with Earth Best's rice cereal.

I found a book (I know, I know...I said I was done with books, but this one is more of a recipe book for babies and a guide for me because I have no idea when to feed Jackson and how much, etc.) that will help me give him the BEST foods out there. It's called Super Baby Food. I'm going to try making all his foods (except the rice cereal). I don't have time to get the brewer's yeast, add iron and all that other stuff with working full time. I'm still trying to figure out when to cook for myself and Karl. I also hear rice cereal can constipate so I plan on doing some oatmeal too. This should help keep Jackson feeling full.

The pediatrician also said to continue to pay attention to Jackson. Maybe he needs a little cereal at lunch too. We also are having Jenna (our home care) gauge his hunger. If she needs to, she'll try going up to 5.5 - 6 ounces a feeding too. AND you know what that means... More pumping. Baaaahahahaa!  Sigh. We'll see what happens here because that extra pump is a LOT of work. But I don't want our little guy starving either.

Plan is to introduce the cereal for two weeks and add a little something after, only feeding him one new thing every few days (to rule out any allergies). We tried on Tuesday but that was a NO GO. We shouldn't have even tried because he was in a middle of a 7:30 meltdown. Lesson learned.

Jackson handled his shots as well as he could. Daddy came to the rescue and made him feel all better. I do not like the whole shot part. Ugh! He got his Diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis, Inactivated polio virus, H. influenza Type b, Pneumococcal conjugate and Rotavirus today. Two shots and a drink. Poor Jackson. He came down with a slight fever again (100.4) and was a little off for two days (just like how his mom gets when any form of medicine or foreign substance is introduced in the body).

Now... Back to trying to figure out a new schedule with the solid foods. Right now I feed Jackson around 5-6 p.m. after getting home from work and again at 8-9 p.m. However, this week he showed us by screaming his brains out that he is CRASHING big time by 7:30. So I'm thinking I should feed him solids when I get home from work and then give him a night time guzzle around 7:15 so he's in bed before 8. Does this make sense?? What do other people do? Suggestions please!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mom Mistake #1 - Four Months

18 weeks postpartum

Mom Mistake #1

Read tags on anything unusual you put in the washer/dryer. OK...I admit it. I read the tag but didn't really read it close enough. Maybe have someone else who has more sleep under their belt read the directions. Oopsy.

Lesson learned: NO stuffed animals in the dryer....

2012 London Olympics Lion after a "Brazilian blow-out" in the dryer....

Lion before his "blow out"

What have you learned NOT TO DO so far?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

4 Months Old

Jackson is 4 months old this week!!!
18 weeks (posting a week late)

Jackson at 4 months old
So crazy how fast time flies. We are enjoying our little boy so much! He is SUCH a joy to be around. It was nearly impossible for me to get a good shot of Jackson holding his sign up. He is a mover and shaker right now and I know it's only going to get crazier!

Weekly Milestones for Jackson:

We heard Jackson laugh for the first time. Karl and I were headed for a walk and the stroller wouldn't fit between both cars in the garage. Karl accidentally let "this is horse sh*t" slip from his mouth and Jackson totally busted out laughing. That was so fun to hear. It put both of us in a great mood. The next time he laughed was when Karl wrapped Jackson up like a ninja. I had the camera all ready to video tape and then just as THE BEST giggle came out, the media card was full. Go figure. But it was THE BEST SOUND ever!!!!

Jackson is rolling around and moving like nobody's business. We set him on his back in the crib and he'll flip over on his belly. He LOVES sleeping on his belly with his butt in the air. When I hear him cry out during the night, I'll run in and check on him and he either has a leg through the railing of his crib or his head shoved up against the railings. Poor thing! He moves so much.


He is also scratching the surface of things with his hands - his jungle gym mat, the bed spread in his crib, his clothes. It's fun to watch.
Cutest lil' guy in dad's hat!

He went from 4.5 ounces a feeding at homecare to 5 ounces. He is a growing boy!!! Of course I freaked a little bit about pumping enough at work but it seems I’m keeping steady at 17-20 ounces a day. As long as I’m pumping more than he's eating, I should be fine. We're going to ask the doctor if we should introduce a little rice cereal to help keep him satisfied longer. He's moving so much - I'm sure he's burning through calories like nobody's business.
He loves chewing on his three fingers. And I'm always checking for my hair wrapped around them since it seems to be falling out a lot.
Yummy fingers

He's playing a ton with his toys and studying them and sticking them in his mouth. Every week he seems to discover more about the world around him. I love that.  Uncle Mike went to the 2012 London Olympics and brought Jackson back a fun toy! Jackson likes it a lot. Mom might have destroyed the hair when she accidentally put it in the dryer... that picture to come later.
Uncle Mike brought back a souvenir from the 2012 London Olympics

I brought him in the bathroom with me to wash my hands and he caught himself in the mirror and smiled so big. It was the cutest thing ever.
Drunk on milk!

Karl gave Jackson a bottle when I was at volleyball and he wanted to help Karl hold it. Love this.
Father and son bonding!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Top Baby Items We're Still Using Four Months In - Month 4

week 17 postpartum

(at Four Months)

I wanted to write a quick recap of the baby items we're still using on a regular basis for those out there registering or contemplating what items they *really* need, and this is also for myself when we have another baby:) I wanted to also compare it to my other post a couple months ago and see if there were any big changes.

1. Chicco Keyfit 30
I can't say enough good things about this car seat. It's so easy to take in and out of the car - one quick snap. It's so simple to buckle Jackson in and out. And it's easy to adjust. I LOVE this car seat and would recommend it over and over again.

2. BOB Stroller (and the Chicco adapter)
I'll admit it - I was kind of scared of strollers. The two we received for our shower sat open in the middle of our living room for months because Karl was trying to "remind" me in the nicest way possible that I would have to teach myself how to fold them up. Or else! So they sat. And sat.

Now... well, I'm trying to go on as many walks as I can fit in. The BOB stroller has been so easy to fold up and throw in my trunk too when we travel. All I have to do is snap in the Chicco adapter (this can stay in when I fold up too) and click in the car seat! What was I so scared of?

3. Bottles
I heard stories of babies NOT taking well to the bottle once they start daycare and being very particular about which bottle they like. Thankfully Jackson has taken to pretty much any bottle, but still manages to guzzle down his meal in under 8 minutes. When I went to the Shakopee Baby Fair in June, I took home two free Similac bottles. I like these a lot - maybe because they were free, but I think they look cool too. They are really easy to clean and hold as well. I also received a coupon for more, and since Jackson is now eating 5 oz each time at home care, I needed to get the bigger bottles.

Secondly, I use the Medela bottles that came with my pump during the week. I pump into the bottles because the numbers are more exact then the Medela bags ever were and they are easy to transport in the black cooler bag.

4. Breast milk bags
I still need bags for my milk when I get home. I dump my milk for the day in Lansinoh bags and stick in the freezer. They are bigger and I feel like I can write more information on them. For some reason I feel more organized using these bags. Weird, I know. They just seem to store nicer too.

5. Breast pump and parts and hands-free bra
I use my Medela pump ALL the time with my hands-free bra - three times a day at work and usually on Wednesday nights when I go play volleyball. I bought extra parts so I wouldn't have to clean as much. I have no idea how women breastfed back in the day with a hand pump. Though it was $250, it was WAY worth it.

6. Fisher Price Rainforest Melodies & Lights Deluxe Gym
We use this Deluxe Gym ALL the time. Jackson is now moving and rolling all over the place in it and swatting at the toys, reaching for them, pulling at them. He gets so excited in this thing and kicks and wiggles like crazy. Now he smiles and giggles.

7. Gerber Diapers (for burp cloths)
We received a lot of cute burp cloths during our showers. With such a drooly kid who spits up a lot, we can never have enough. However, we learned quickly which burp cloths absorb the most. A lot of them would just deflect the spit up so it'd hit the floor, or trickle onto us. We LOVE using the Gerber diapers as burp cloths, but they have to be the super thin material. I think it's called birdseye. These absorb the best for us. Also...Jackson LOVES these - he thinks of them as a blanket. He's always snuggling with them. It's cute.

8. Crib and changing station
We were going to register for a cheap(er) crib at Target...until my mom found one at The Baby Depot. I liked it a lot and then discovered Babies R Us sold it too. We ended up buying it. We didn't use it for three whole months but I love that the changing station is hooked to the crib. We've been using this since day one. Every time Jackson needs a changing, we bring him to the crib. I also like it because it has straps. Jackson is rolling everywhere and we make sure to buckle him in.

Jackson slept so great in the crib his first night. Now, he'll wake up crying because his arms will poke through the railings or his legs. Or his head will be smashed against them. I hate that!!! He is moving like a trooper. Thinking this little guy will be crawling soon.

9. Mobile (over crib)
The Fisher Price Discover n' Grow mobile we got isn't anything crazy fancy but Jackson LOVES it. He will stare at it and fall asleep. I love the soft music it plays.

10. Video monitor
I wasn't sure how much we'd be using this since Jackson slept in our bedroom the first three months. Now, we use it all the time when we put him down for the night or for naps. His nursery is literally maybe ten steps from our room and I'm pretty sure I can hear him the minute he whines, monitor or not, but the monitor helps ease my anxiety. Jackson's a belly sleeper and that makes me a little nervous. The noises he makes do wake me up some nights because of the monitor, but I'll move it to the floor in the wee hours of the night. I can't help but get curious how he's laying throughout the night and will peek every now and then. This kid is a mover and shaker.

11. Aden and Anais Swaddlers
We stopped swaddling Jackson at night two weeks after we moved him into his crib. He seemed to get annoyed with having his arms tucked in. We continued to swaddle his bottom half and freed his arms. Now he just sleeps in his jammies, but I like these swaddlers for blankets and for a thinner cover over his car seat if we go on walks so I can shield him from the sun! It's still pretty warm out right now and I feel like he can get air through these blankets...and they make for great emergency burp cloths.

12. Crunchy books and Goodnight Moon
Jackson loves the noises from his crunchy books and will play with these for awhile. Every single night we read Goodnight Moon to him. It's part of the night routine. And it seems to be working!

13. Hand toys, rattlers, things to suck on
I finally busted out Jackson's toys a week after his 3 month birthday and would set them around his jungle gym mat. Now, he's rolling over to pick them up. He's sticking them in his mouth. He's chewing on them. He's throwing them around. He's staring at them. Fun to watch!

14. Fave Diapers
Pampers and Costco brand are our faves right now. We tried a generic brand from CUB - no way - total leak central (poop everywhere) and Huggies seemed to fail us for some reason (pee shot through the side). I've also learned to tuck the lil guy in so there's no more accidents - seems like he has a history of peeing out the side of his shirt. We're also not going through the diapers as much. I'm not spastic if there's a blue pee line anymore - I don't change immediately.

15. Munchkin Arm and Hamer Diaper Pail
Still using this diaper pail to toss our diapers in and seems to work great! No smells. And we only have to take the bags out and down to the garage once a week now that Jackson is at home care during the week.

16. My brestfriend
I still use this all the time. I love love love it. I think it makes feeding time comfortable for the both of us.

17. Vitamin D drops
Since I'm b-feeding, I was told to give Jackson 1ML of Vitamin D every day. So I have been.

18. Easy/accessible clothes
You learn fast that cute clothes aren't so cute if they mean reaching the diaper will take longer than two minutes. I also discovered pajamas with millions of buttons down the front with booties are driving me crazy. At 3:00 a.m. when Jackson is crying in his sleep as I try to change him, all the while trying to flip over, getting his legs and feet back in the booties and then snapping a million buttons becomes really frustrating!!! I love onsies that have three snaps at the bottom. Bam. Done.

19. Whale bathtub
We give Jackson a bath every other night or every third night. We use his whale tub in the guest tub and it seems to work great. Jackson LOVES splashing around in it. I can't wait to take him swimming.

20. Baby Bjorn
I will admit...I don't use this (I need to learn) but Karl does a LOT and our homecare uses this every day as well. HE LOVES THIS!!!!!!!! I need to get it down so I can start bringing him to the grocery store in it. He loves being able to look around and explore the world.

What are you using over and over again?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Weekend at the Cabin and other Milestones - Month 3

16 weeks postpartum

Now that I'm back at work, I can't even believe or explain how fast the weeks fly by - the weekends go even faster. I totally despise this. I love our weekends and I want to spend them together as much as I can. I don't know what to do to slow them down. I'm trying to soak up every second, but it's pretty crazy!!
Jackson's first boat ride on Trade Lake (in Wisconsin)!

Karl and I planned to take Jackson to his parent's lake cabin on Saturday. We didn't go Friday night like we normally would when it was just us because I needed to get laundry done and clean up some of the house since I only get the weekends to do this. And I like coming home from a weekend away knowing I don't have a list of things to do before Monday comes - most of the times I'm so tuckered out that it's hard to get motivated to do a bunch of stuff to get caught up. Grocery shopping might have to wait this week...
Backyard of the Koester cabin

We *think* Jackson slept the first half of the trip since he didn't get a morning nap in, but we can't be so sure. He's always been pretty good and content in his car seat and since we can't really see him... So I sat with him the second half after we stopped into Winehaven winery. Yum! He was up the rest of the way and started fussing...and didn't go down until 9:30 at night. Yeah. Long long day for mom.

What a spectacular couple weather days though! FINALLY!!! So nice to have a "dryer" cooler summer weekend. Jackson had his very first boat ride and we're pretty sure he liked it. He didn't go down for a whole lot of naps on Saturday so he was a little fussy in the boat, but overall we're pretty sure he's going to be an outdoorsy kind of guy! He loves his fresh air. Grandpa Jim and Grandma Judy took Jackson back inside the cabin so dad and mom could have a little fun boat ride around the lake.
Getting ready for first boat ride!
Mom and Jackson loving the fresh air

The Oranges! Grandma Judy and Jackson

Jackson loves Kacey!

I was able to get up and go for a run/walk and enjoy a little "me time" while Gpa Jim watched cartoons with Jackson. I like being able to find time to get exercise in. I need it!! I SO need it! I will say going into my third full week back to work, I can fit into most of my clothes again. Yay! I don't know what happened because the scale hasn't budged much. One day I couldn't get my pants over my thighs, the next day they are slipping back on - not perfectly by any means but we're back in business. One day at a time.
Couldn't get enough of the TV

Milestones for the week
Jackson is rolling over and sleeping on his belly at night. I was nervous about this with all the fears of SIDS out there and putting baby on his/her back, but was told if I put him on his back and he can get himself onto his belly, he can flip back.
Our little belly sleeper
Loves being on his side

He pursues his lips a lot and tries to makes noises, like a motor boat or tries really hard to get words out. I love when I say "coo" and he says it back! We just stare at each other and go back and forth chatting.

He continues to put more toys in his mouth and holds on to the toys better and better each week. He loves sucking on his fingers! I'll take this over the Nuk!
I love putting things in my mouth!

He loves to explore the world around him and take in as much as he can. I think this is why he loves the Baby Bjorn. He'll fall asleep in it too.

He still favors looking to the left but he looks around a lot more in both directions. Hoping the pediatrician notices this when we bring him in for his four month checkup this month. Not looking forward to more shots.

Our homecare says Jackson LOVES listening to her kids sing and play. He's all smiles and can't get enough of them. I LOVE hearing stuff like this!!!! I can tell he loves being with her just by the smiles he gives her. Ahhh, I can breathe!