Kensie Lou’s 6 month update

It seriously doesn’t seem like it’s been SIX MONTHS since my baby girl came into this world… Half a year? What? I can’t even process this right now.

But I’m going to have to. Six months ago I was carrying around this tiny 7 lb 11 oz newborn and I felt the whole world stood still that first week. But then it jumped into fast forward mode. Everyone told me “time goes so fast” but boy did I not understand how fast it could go.

Anyways.

My baby girl is six months! She can sit up unassisted, get up on all fours, sit in her high chair, and is finally beginning to eat some foods (see banana down below). She laughs at everything, but especially our dog Marvel and when playing peekaboo. She grabs necklaces, cell phones, noses, and pulls hair like she’s been doing it for years. But she has grown so much in these past few months and I am so excited to be entering this new and very active stage of her life.

Five things we’ve learned about parenting

Formula is not an enemy.  I knew I wanted to breastfeed the minute I found out I was pregnant, but I never wanted to put the pressure on myself to be afraid of formula. I always told myself “hey, give it your best shot and if it doesn’t work, that’s okay.” I mean, I was a formula baby and I’m pretty damn awesome… but then after I had Kensie I fell in love with breastfeeding. I loved all of it. And the idea of ending it or even supplementing broke my heart. Not because I didn’t want Kensie to have formula, but because I didn’t want our time to be over. So when her weight was low at her four month check up and so was my supply, I had probably one of my biggest meltdowns since becoming a mother. I put a lot of pressure on myself to get my supply as up as possible. I saw a lactation consultant, I pumped after every feeding, I took endless amounts of Fenugreek and ate all the oatmeal… I stressed so much because I didn’t want to lose that bond yet. But none of it worked. My supply just wouldn’t come back up.

You have to let go of the “Mom guilt.” So when Kensie had her first bottle of formula, I took a deep breath in and exhaled any ounce of “Mom guilt” I had.  Supplementing with formula was what she and I needed. She needed more calories and I needed to stress less about if she was eating enough. And that’s okay because our journey as mother and daughter is just that… OUR journey. Letting go of that guilt made me enjoy our journey just as much as before.  Kensington looks at me the same way when I feed her, no matter if it is from breast or bottle; she’s just happy to be fed and I’m happy to provide for her.

We’re using up our freezer stash now, and that’s a wrap for us on breastfeeding. I’m proud that we made it six months and I won’t let anyone make me feel otherwise.

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Cribs are friends. Within the past few weeks, we’ve put Kensington to bed in her own room in her crib. It was so hard for me because she’s been just an arm’s length away from me since she was born. But Dylan convinced me it was time and honestly, she sleeps so much better now. Before we moved her, she was still getting up at least once a night but now she sleeps at least 10 hours. (Please, dear Lord don’t let me jinx that…) Plus she can roll all round, get comfy, and has much more space than she did in her bassinet. It was a hard first night, but I think we’re all sleeping better since we did it.

Being a working mom isn’t so bad. In case you haven’t heard, I got a new job! I’m working as a copywriter for a web design company and so far it’s been such a great experience. And even though it’s only three days a week… I still was SO worried about how I would feel leaving Kensie. But I find that I really enjoy that time challenging my brain and doing something other than taking pictures of my baby’s beautiful smile. Don’t get me wrong, I miss her a TON when I’m there, but I know it’s going to be a good, healthy thing for us both, even if it does mean being apart on some days.

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Babies eating food for the first time is SCARY. Kensington’s first food was a mushy, pureed banana and she spat out most of it. But, she did swallow a few little bits and of course gagged like crazy. (It must be so weird eating for the first time…) It scared the heck out of me and I know it’s totally normal but if I said I wasn’t scared then I’d be lying. We plan on doing a combination of Baby Led Weaning and normal baby food. We shall see how it goes… For some reason I had this glorified idea that giving baby food for the first time was going to be fun, but man is it messy, nerve-wracking, and kinda gross. Hopefully my outlook on it will change as time goes on!

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Five things Kensington loves.

Peekaboo. A somewhat new love of hers, but boy does she laugh when you yell “Peekaboo!” She especially loves playing with her GyGy.  She gets this big smile on her face and you can really feel how much she loves it. Plus it’s probably the first “game” we’ve gotten to play with her… She’s seriously growing up too fast.

Being tossed in the air. I think we’ve got a thrill lover on our hands because every time we toss her up she laughs SO much. Even if she’s in the middle of crying and you toss her into the air, she laughs instantly. It’s such a fun way to cheer her up when she’s fussy or just make her laugh because I want to. You can really tell she’s having the time of her life when she’s up there, especially when her daddy tosses her.

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Marvel. Well, really just dogs in general. She LOVES to watch dogs, and majority of them will make her smile if not laugh. But Marvel knows exactly what to do to get a giggle out of that baby. He’ll pick up one of his toys and shake it to no end and Kensie will laugh so hard that she snorts (which is THE CUTEST). Of course, Marvel loves her and likes to give her kisses and tries to share his toys with her. And even though, as I told you guys earlier, Kensie’s in the stage of pulling hair, Marvel doesn’t ever do anything when she pulls his hair.  Except look at me with the saddest eyes ever. But hey, what are big brothers for?

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Teething toys. I don’t know that Kensington is actually teething or not (there’s no signs of teeth just yet!), but she does love to chew on her teething toys. We have a set of baby keys that are her favorite. They have some rough edges that she chews on constantly. Although really at this point anything is a teething toy because it always ends up in her mouth (oh the struggle).

Teeter-Tottering.  Kensington has become obsessed with getting up on all fours and rocking back and forth. A few times she’s pulled a little knee in front of the other (nooooo crawling yet!) but for the most part she loves rocking back and forth and bouncing some. I hate to say it, but I don’t think she’ll be doing this for too much longer… I’m sure she’s going to be crawling before we know it. So bittersweet.  

Five of our favorite moments with Kensie. 

First time sitting up unassisted. And now she’s quite the pro! I love being able to sit her down anywhere and have her be happy. She was just a week or so past four months old when she did it for the first time. She was just so over laying down like a newborn (even though I miss that…) and now that she can do it on her own, she’s a much happier baby! She’ll still take a good nose dive every now and then but for the most part, she’s got it covered. She’ll sit and bounce herself silly. I love it.

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First Easter. Easter was such a wonderful time with Kensington. We got to visit with both sides of our family and we got to fill her first Easter basket with all the best things (except candy…). She had a bathing suit, some sunglasses, a book, a stuffed animal, and of course some hair bows! It was so much fun to build. 🙂 She even got a big ole bunny from her GyGy and she loves it.

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First Mother’s Day. Mother’s day has been a hard day for me ever since my mother passed in 2014, but this year Kensington made it extra sweet. Dylan got me an adorable necklace and a t-shirt from one of my favorite shops and we spent the day with family. We even did a little crafting for Kensie’s GyGy who we weren’t able to see on actual Mother’s Day. And let me tell you… crafting with a five month old is HARD. But we got something together somehow and GyGy has it on her fridge now. 🙂

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First Memorial Day. So because Dylan works retail, he had to work all Memorial Day weekend… but we did still have a good time around his work schedule. Our nephew, Finley, had a fourth birthday party and we had a game night with my siblings. On Memorial Day, Kensie and I went down to the lake with our friends and Kensie had her first coating of sunblock and her first experience with sand. She wasn’t the biggest fan of the water but she didn’t hate it. So I’ll take it!

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First time at the pool. And since Dylan wasn’t able to hang with us at the lake, we made the following day a pool day so that he could spend some time with Kensington in the water. She was adorable in her little suit and sunglasses. But she did hate the pool water very much (it was much much colder than the lake). It was fun to have our whole little family together for our first pool day! I’m sure we will have many more as the summer progresses.

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And that’s it! Our sweet girl is six months and I’m sure we will be planning her first birthday before we know it (just kidding, y’all know I’ve already started planning that hehe). She is everything we could ever dream of and more.

Happy half birthday sweet baby girl. We can’t wait to watch you grow more… but slow down! Xoxo.
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Kensie Lou Update: 2 Months

How on earth is my baby girl TWO MONTHS old now? It seems like just yesterday she made her arrival, and now she’s a smiling, head-lifting, adorable two-month old. Time really does run faster when you have a kid.

I wanted to start keeping an update (I’m thinking every 2 months) on not only Kensington’s milestones, but also on our experience as new parents. And even though it has only been a few months, we have learned, experienced, and laughed about so much already. The late nights, early mornings, and serious exhaustion is enough to drive anyone crazy but I want to remember as much of these days as possible.

So our sweet girl currently weighs 9 lbs 13 oz and is 22 & 1/4 inches long.  She loves smiling at us, can hold her head up SO well, and is super close to rolling from her tummy to her back. She is still nursing like a pro and eats every 3 hours, except at night where she’ll go much longer stretches.  Right now, Kensington gets up about once a night. We put her down about 9 PM and she’ll wake up usually around 4 AM to nurse and then goes right back down and sleeps until about 8 AM. She’s been doing this for the past 4 weeks so hopefully she doesn’t regress anytime soon!  She’s been in cloth diapers for over a month now. We’ve really enjoyed that process so far (more to come later) and my gosh, they’re so stinking cute! She’s currently wearing size 3 month clothes, but I can still squeeze her little legs into some newborn leggings. She’s got the craziest hair that we cannot tame, and she doesn’t seem to mind the obnoxiously large bows I keep putting on her.  She’s been an easy going, adorable, perfect little babe so far. We absolutely love watching her grow!

 

Five things we’ve learned about parenting:

Breastfeeding is HARD:  It’s painful, frustrating, and resentful, especially those first few weeks. I had a very painful let down those first few weeks, where my whole body would ache. My nipples were raw, my breasts ached, and Kensington was nursing for about 20 minutes every 2 hours. I was exhausted and so was Dylan (who was a champ and got up with me every single time). But after those first, very long 10 days or so, it got a little easier and less painful. And now I absolutely love nursing our baby girl.  I am so amazed with my body each and every time I put her into a little milk coma and every single second of struggle I experienced those first few weeks were so worth it.

To thank our own parents: At one point in your life you were completely helpless.  You couldn’t do anything and somebody helped you do everything.  Kensington relies on us for everything–to feed her, to monitor her health, to bathe her, to comfort her, to love her–and at one point Dylan and I both relied on our parents for everything. I think we’ve both really gained a ton of appreciation for our own parents now that we have our own child to care for.

Routines are everything: Really though, our only routine right now is bedtime, but we’re sticklers for it: bath, nurse, swaddle, paci, sleep sheep, lights off. And for the most part, Kensington goes right down and stays down. We’ve been very blessed to have a really great sleeping baby (though she still has time to flip on us) but I really do think our routine helps her understand nighttime versus daytime.

Parenting is a lot of trial and error: We definitely have our days where we shuffle through a whole list of things to try to calm Kensie. Try the swing. Try bouncing her. Try gripe water.  Some things work for her and some things don’t. Now that she’s 2 months old, we definitely have good tricks up our sleeves for what works to calm her down and what doesn’t, but a lot of that first month was just trying anything and everything to help her.

We are so unbelievably satisfied by the weirdest things: I never thought that having a tiny human burp in my face would be so fulfilling. Nor did I think having a gassy baby finally pass the gas (even if it’s right on me) make me so happy.  I’ve never laughed so hard when she’s peed on Dylan, or pooped on the bed, or licked my arm.  There’s nothing this baby can do to me that won’t make me the happiest momma in this world. It’s seriously the best thing ever.

Five of our favorite moments with Kensington:

Our first family photo session: Our favorite photographer ever, Molly Scott Photo, took Kensington’s newborn photos and did lifestyle family photos with us as well.  I cannot be more thankful to have these photos of our little family, especially because they were taken in Kensington’s nursery.  I spent so much time putting her room together (read all about it here) and to have our first family pictures taken in her nursery makes my heart so happy.

The Holidays: Kensington was born into the busiest month of all, but we didn’t let that keep us from having a great holiday season. We spent Christmas in Richmond because Dylan had to work the day after, and we spent the New Year in Virginia Beach. And even though Kensington couldn’t have slept more through these holidays, I’m grateful to have been able to have her with us this past Christmas and New Year.  Also, how cute is our nephew, Finley, is one of our family pictures?

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First time being fed from a bottle:  We waited until three weeks to introduce Kensington to a bottle, and she did awesome with it. We try to give her a bottle of breast milk a day so that she won’t become a little nipple snob, and she does fight us at times, but usually she sucks it right down. I loved seeing Dylan feed his daughter for the first time; it was such a special moment for him.

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First Reactive smile:  Now this is not a picture of her first reactive smile because when it happened all I could do was stare and smile and cry because it was THAT amazing. But finally I caught it on camera for us to stare and smile and cry over years from now. Baby smiles are greater than life.

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January Snow:  Dylan and I both love winter time and snow, so we had a blast bundling Kensington up and carrying her out into the mini-blizzard for a whopping 5 minutes. She really couldn’t have cared less, but her huge snowsuit made it all worth it. She looked so funny! I can’t wait until next year’s snow when she can play in it with us.

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*Bonus: First trip to the beach: So this is a bonus because I’m not really counting it as her first time to the beach since she didn’t even get out of the stroller, but she loved strolling up and down the boardwalk with us and her grandparents. She was bug-eyed the whole time taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells. This summer when it’s warmer we’ll have her real first trip. Hopefully she likes the sand and water!

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Five things Kensington loves:

Good Mornings: This baby girl is her happiest right after she nurses in the morning. She gives us big, gummy smiles and it’s the best way to start our days.  I caught the adorableness on video; click here to watch it.  She might be an early bird like me and not a night owl like her dad. Time will tell!

Stretching:  Goodness, when this baby stretches my heart explodes into a million pieces. She just looks so cute, sweet, and like a real little human.  AND she does it after every single nap. Both of those arms go up and she does her full body stretch.

Bath time: So these next few pictures are going to be a bit misleading because for some reason, Kensie was NOT a fan of her first bath. However, ever since, she has done really well. She doesn’t ever cry and in fact lately it appears as if she might be starting to enjoy bath time, especially having water poured on her big belly.  Hopefully this will continue!

Car rides:   Whenever Kensington is in the car, she is a sleeping beauty.  She sleeps through our shopping trips, date nights (really our one date night … let’s be honest we can’t afford to eat out right now), and Target runs because the car puts her to sleep before we even get to our destination.  She hasn’t been a super fussy baby (yet) but it’s nice to know that if she ever is we can just pop her in the back seat and go for a little drive.

Our dog:  I spent a lot of time worrying about how Marvel was going to react to Kensington while I was pregnant, but he has really surprised me.  He gives Kensie just the right amount of attention: a little kiss here and there, but then gives her space. Kensington loves to have her hand rubbed on his fur, and she definitely likes watching his tail wag! We’ll see how Marvel is doing when Kensie is mobile and playing with more toys…

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Well, now that the first two months have flown by… I’m sure tomorrow I’ll be working on her four month update (or at least it feels like I’ll be doing it tomorrow). As much as we’re loving watching our Kensington grow, it’s still always going to be too fast.

Kensington’s birth story

Dylan and I were so excited and so anxious as Kensington’s due date came as fast as it did. Each day prior, Dylan would come home from work and say, “So, how are you feeling?” and though I was having contractions on and off throughout those last few days carrying her, nothing was regulated or very strong. But on her actual due date, December 11th, things started to really take off.

I was having contractions all day but I wasn’t timing them because each time I would, they would go away. I decided that I wasn’t going to stress over every single contraction until I could tell that they were regular without a timer. So I went about my typical Sunday routine which included going to my dad’s house for dinner. I rode with my brother and his girlfriend and basically had mild contractions throughout the entire afternoon/evening. I still didn’t track anything, but knew I should start when I had 5-6 contractions on the 25 minute drive home. By 9 PM, my contractions were 5 minutes apart but weren’t strong enough to send me to the hospital, so though Dylan and I were super excited that it might be time, all we could do was wait.

So to help us wait, Dylan and I turned on a movie and I ended up falling asleep at about 11 PM and slept until 1 AM. At that point, my contraction’s strength had increased significantly. But, I still wasn’t sure that they were real labor contractions and tried to go back to sleep. I was awake until about 2:30 AM when I began to pace around the bedroom. I decided I should probably call our doctor, so I left Dylan sleeping in bed and snuck downstairs to call. She told me to head to the hospital, and for some reason I burst into tears. I was so terrified of going to the hospital and being sent home for false labor. And I was also terrified of going to the hospital and being admitted for real labor.

I went back upstairs (sobbing, btw) to wake up Dylan and tell him that we needed to go to the hospital. He was so sweet and just let me cry my nervous tears out while helping me gain my confidence back with hugs and back rubs as we got our bags ready. Thankfully, I got myself together as we made it to the hospital at about 3:30 AM. They checked me and I was about 3 cm dilated and 100% effaced. It was official! They were going to keep me and we were going to have our baby! I started walking the halls to get my contractions closer together and we called our families to tell them the exciting news.

My sister, Angie, arrived at about 5:30 AM and she walked the halls with Dylan and I until about 8 AM when we went back to the room to meet our new nurse, Cayla. We all fell in love with her immediately! She understood our humor and enjoyed the incredibly inappropriate music we kept playing and made the whole atmosphere so light and fun.  She got me bouncing on a birth ball and I bounced until 9 AM when my doctor checked and said I had made it to 7 cm! I continued to bounce on my birth ball until about 11 AM when I decided I was ready for an epidural.

However, the epidural began to slow down my labor, and by 12 PM I was only 8 cm and my doctor decided to break my water. By 2:30 PM, my contractions hadn’t increased like they should’ve and they gave me a few mL of pitocin. As we waited, Angie decided to rewrite our delivery board with some gorgeous calligraphy and she became all the talk at the nurse’s station. She has a serious talent, doesn’t she? We also took turns napping… Well at least Dylan and I did. Angie stayed up the whole time and got some pretty awesome pictures of Dylan sleeping.

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We “labored down” until about 5:30 PM when Cayla came in to tell us we were ready to push! Cayla grabbed a leg, and so did Dylan. After one push session, Dylan decided he was going to hang out by my head instead of holding a leg (he gets lightheaded very easily … he can’t even get blood drawn without almost passing out, so I didn’t expect him to be holding a leg for too long) and Angie stepped in to hold my leg for me. I liked having Dylan by my head because he kept running his hands through my hair which was pretty relaxing. And I’m thankful he didn’t pass out because I might have kicked him out if he did. O:) Just kidding!

So we kept pushing–and let me tell you, that is hard work! Even though I had an epidural and couldn’t feel too much below my waist, I was still exhausted after each round of pushes. My epidural had definitely worn off some by the time we were pushing and I kept myself from clicking the “happy button” so that my dosage stayed low. It was nice because I could feel my contractions and I could move my legs a bit, but I wasn’t in any pain at all.  I think this made me much more efficient at pushing, and I liked feeling like I had at least some control of my lower half without feeling all the aches and pains of natural birth.

After about an hour and 20 minutes of pushing, Kensington arrived! She had the cord wrapped around her neck, but thankfully it didn’t cause any complications. They tossed her on my chest and she let out the sweetest little cry I’ve ever heard. Of course I cried too, as did Dylan. Angie cut the cord (since Dylan would’ve passed out) and it made me so happy to see how excited she was to do it. Then we all soaked up every single minute of “Magic Hour” as we could. It was just me, Kensie, her father, and her aunt, all there to welcome her into the world. I had so many feelings all at once: amazement, relief, anxiousness, and excitement. Nothing felt better than her soft baby skin on my chest and to finally see her face and those big blue eyes for the first time–the face I had been dreaming about for so long. We had our first nursing session and she latched beautifully somehow. Afterwards, I passed her to Dylan and as he held her for the first time his face lit up with all those same feelings I was having. I could tell he was head over heels for her immediately.

I wouldn’t change a single thing about our first moments with her. Our little family growing from two to three was so magical. I will cherish it forever.

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Kensington Louise was born 12/12/2016 at 6:50 PM and weighed 7 lbs 11 oz and was 21 inches long. She was born on her Grandma’s birthday, and her GyGy was so excited to share her day with little Kensie!  We had our family back into the delivery room at about 8:30 PM so they could meet her. It meant so much to have so much family as eager as they were to meet our sweet girl, and it definitely feels so great to know how loved Kensington already is.

We had so many visitors come by the hospital and I think we went a full week with visitors stopping by our house each and every day. We were so overjoyed with all the excitement for Kensie Lou’s arrival, and I am so thankful for every single person who congratulated us, visited us, and gifted us with all the love in the world. We seriously can’t say thank you enough!

Kensington, thanks for not making us wait too long. We are totally smitten with you and cannot wait to watch you grow (slowly, I hope!). We love you more than we could’ve ever imagined and I promise we won’t ever let you forget it. Welcome to our family baby K.

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Bonus picture! The view from our hospital room was amazing. The hospital goes all out for Christmas and to fall asleep with this view for two nights was absolutely perfect for our little December baby. Also, note Kensington’s Christmas hat the hospital gave us! Some volunteers made it, and gosh it is so cute! Definitely something we’ll be saving.

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A letter to my unborn daughter

My dearest Kensington,

Well, today’s your due date, and here we are still anxiously anticipating your arrival. Everyone is telling me to savor this time and not to rush you out, and I’m doing all I can to do just that. But I’m so overly excited to meet you Kensie Lou. And I’ll be honest, I’m equally terrified. I love that I can so easily protect you right now … but soon you won’t be tucked away safe inside me anymore. And that’s what scares me.

But as terrified as I am, I am equally excited for your debut. I can’t wait to see who you become, who you take after, and what you will conquer.  If you will have crystal blue eyes with little craters in them like your father’s or dark blue eyes with light specs like mine. If you will laugh like either of us … or if you will come out bearing your own eyes, your own laugh, and leave us all in wonder.

When we first found out about you, I was amazed at how you were equally a part of each of us. Half me, half him. It was as if the love between your father and I grew so strong that it needed it’s own identity–it’s own place in this world. And that’s you, baby Kensington. You are the love that we carry between us that we couldn’t keep for ourselves anymore. You are both of our hearts combined into one.

I can’t wait to watch you grow and I can’t wait to savor as much time with you as I can. I often fast forward to your future as our daughter. I picture mommy and you dates and father-daughter dances. I picture conversations with you about anything and everything and helping you with your homework. But what I’m most excited for is just a few days away: seeing your face for the first time, hearing your cry, and feeling your skin on mine … the body that my body created … the one I’ve felt kicking and twisting in mine for months. I am so excited to see your father’s face when he holds you for the first time. And even though it will be bittersweet for both of us to know that our first pregnancy is over, we know that the real adventure will be just beginning.

We have dreamed about you ever since our very first date. We talked about how we both wanted a family, and you, sweet Kensie, are our first step. I hope you never forget how truly wanted, loved, and important you are. My biggest hope for you is that you live your life fearlessly and that you never question yourself or your place in this world.

I love you (as I tell you often), and your father loves you (as he tells you with raspberries on my belly), and we cannot wait to meet you in just a few short days.

But don’t make us wait too long baby girl!

Love you always,

Mom

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2nd Annual Christmas Tree Chopping Adventure

My family started a new tradition last year where we all get together and cut down the Christmas tree for Dad’s house.  All 10 of us (including the babies) have to agree on the tree and then we take it back to Dad’s and decorate it as a group. It was especially fun this year, because Dylan was able to come! He had to miss out on last year’s trip because of work, but I was happy to have everyone together for this year’s adventure.

Both years we have gone to Claybrook Tree Farm in Louisa, Virginia. They always have excellent service and even take you on a little hayride out to the tree fields. After we made our tree selection and chopped down the biggest, fattest tree we could find, we rode back to the entrance and all shared hot cinnamon donuts. It’s such a great tradition that I find myself looking forward to each year now and I can’t wait to watch Finn, River, and Kensington (who should be there next year!) all grow up with this tradition.

Here are some pictures!

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And here are a few bonus pictures! Dylan and I spent the weekend trying to be as festive as possible, especially since our baby girl is due almost any day now and we don’t want to miss out on the holiday celebrations! So Saturday night we went to our friend Morganne’s Christmas party and had such a great time. Their whole group went out on a Christmas bar crawl afterwards, but Dylan and I skipped that (definitely a little too pregnant for the bar scene right now). But I was sad that the night was over so soon, so Dylan took me to see some Christmas lights. There are so many houses near us that go ALL out for Christmas! It was a fun way to end our evening. Don’t worry, we were still in bed before midnight. O:)

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Kensington’s Pink & Gold Nursery

Ever since my best friend, Katie, started planning Kensington’s baby shower, I knew I needed to come up with a “theme” for Kensie’s nursery. I was definitely intimidated. I didn’t want to feel limited to a theme and also couldn’t find one that I liked enough to commit to. So Katie suggested a color scheme and that’s what I ran with! A simple “Pink & Gold” color scheme stole my heart and Katie saw my vision just as well as I did.

Katie decorated our baby shower with frames and decorative pictures that we could also use in the nursery, which is a PRO baby shower hostess move.  🙂 It definitely made my vision come to life. I’m so happy to share this nursery with everybody! Gosh does this make me want my baby here already. Kensie Lou’s nursery is so perfect and exactly what I pictured. I hope you guys enjoy seeing it!

The Crib:

Dylan’s wonderful parents gave us our crib as a baby shower gift. It’s absolutely perfect! I love the changing table attachment and the extra storage is always a plus. I picked out pink sheets that have tiny, white arrows on them. I cried when they came in because they are just too adorable (and because hormones…). My sister made the canvas that beautifully displays her name. Kensington is a little long to spell out in individual letters and I really wanted to include her middle name into the display. So this canvas is just perfect. My sister also made her crib skirt, which is a ribbon banner. It fits perfectly under her bed and it has all the best shades of pink & gold!

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The Changing Corner:

Next is the changing area! We have two drawers of disposable diapers (we weren’t able to invest in newborn cloth diapers and so she probably won’t fit into the one size diapers until she is about a month old or so…) and then three drawers of one-sized, fully stuffed cloth diapers with all the best prints. We are so excited to give cloth diapers a try and I hope she can fit into them shortly after her birth! We also have a clothes hamper with a huge pink swan on it. I particularly like this hamper because it is very light and the top turns into handles which makes it easier to take to and from the washer. Katie and her family gave it to us! Then of course we have a simple diaper pail with a reusable bright pink liner. No point in disposable liners if you’re going to wash it all anyways!

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The Dresser and decorative wall:

This is one of my favorite parts of her nursery because it has been a vision in my head for so long, and to have it complete just feels amazing. I wanted a collage of pictures above her dresser and I love that this is the first thing you see when you walk into her nursery. Again, Katie got us all of the frames, and then Dylan and I picked out the gold antlers. I love that it’s simple, but adorable, and that we can change out her ultrasound picture in the future as she grows. For now, it’s a wonderful reminder of where it all began. I’ll never forget seeing her little face for the first time on these ultrasounds and I can’t wait until she’s here to see her sweet face in person.

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The Rocking Corner: 

This corner is very special to me because it almost didn’t exist. Dylan and I have been going through a financial rough patch for quite some time, so when we were nailing down exactly what we needed for Kensington, a glider/rocker was almost cut from our list. Thankfully, we were able to find one for a low price, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have it to rock sweet Kensie to sleep.

The little fox is Kensie’s first stuffed animal! And man oh man am I obsessed with it. When I first saw it in the store, I carried it around like a baby and very much contemplated keeping it for myself (hehe). It is just so, so, so soft! But I love that Kensington will have it as she grows and I hope she loves it as much as I do (and as much as Marvel does … keeping him away from it is our new struggle).

The pink blanket is probably what makes this corner the most special part of her nursery. Before my mother passed, she made all of her future grandkids blankets. She made me four blankets (which is weird, because it is exactly how many children Dylan and I have always talked about having, but there’s no way she would’ve known that…) and this is the one I picked out for Kensington. My mom even signed it “Grammie Pam,” and her handwriting on the blanket is such a sweet addition. It has been very hard not having her here throughout my first pregnancy, and I know it will only be harder to not have her here as Kensie grows. But this blanket will serve as a way for me to incorporate my mother into Kensie’s daily life, even though she isn’t here physically. I want all of my children to know who my mother and their Grammie was, and I’m so thankful that they will have a small gift from her to keep forever.

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The Reading corner:

Another favorite part of her nursery (OK fine, it’s all my favorite… I’m just obsessed) is her reading corner. I knew I wanted a book shelf of some kind, but to be honest we don’t have the money for one right now and I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted her to have anyways. So I found these IKEA Spice Racks off amazon and they work perfectly! I’m sure we will run out of room soon, as books are very important for me as a mother (I have a MA in English Literature for goodness sakes), but for now they are perfect! I vision a little toddler chair going underneath it when she’s older so that she can pick herself out a book and sit down with it. My siblings and I were always read to as children, and I very much want to incorporate reading into my children’s life as well.

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The Organization of it all: 

I thought I would post a little bit about how I organized it all, especially Kensington’s clothes. I hung up her nice dresses and jackets/layer-able items (i.e., vests, cardigans, etc.) and then folded the rest (i.e., onesies, PJs, shirts, leggings, jeans, etc.). Both her closet and dresser are organized by size. Her drawers go from newborn clothes on top, to 3 months in the middle, to six months on the bottom. As she outgrows her clothes, we will take those clothes out of the dresser drawers and move up the clothes in the next size. So all of the clothes that are her current size will always be at the top. Then we can begin storing her clothes that are too small right away in storing bins for the next baby. I’m hoping this will keep things organized and not chaotic.

She does have two smaller drawers at the top of her dresser that we stored some of her other clothes items in. One of the drawers has all of her bibs in it (which I’m sure we will move downstairs once she’s eating solids) and the other has socks, hats, and bows in. We hung all of her headbands on the antlers above the dresser. All of the guests at our baby shower made her the headbands, and we are so thankful to have so many for her (because let’s be honest, baby headbands are the cutest).

We do have another set of drawers in her closet that are storing extra blankets, towels, and washcloths. Sorry they aren’t pictured!  😦

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And that’s about it! It feels so good to be fully nested and ready for our sweet Kensington. Now it’s just a waiting game… I’m 38 weeks and 4 days today, so only about a week and a half until she is due. We’re equally eager, excited, terrified, and ready for her to come! Can’t wait to share her birth story with you guys as soon as she decides she’s ready.  🙂

 

Being “Frank”ful 2016

This time of year, I always try and reflect on what is going right in our lives. Being pregnant definitely has my hormones pointing out all the things going wrong (and honestly I cry about the things going really perfect too… oh, hormones) and I’d really like to sit down and write out what we’re thankful for. We did a few posts last year on being “Frankful” and I wanted to do it again since we really do have so much to be truly grateful for.

So here’s our list… There’s 24 because Thanksgiving is on November 24th. 🙂

We are thankful for:

  1. Being pregnant. Now while Kensington was very much a surprise, we are still so eternally thankful that we get to be her parents. Starting a family was always something Dylan and I dreamed of, and we are so thankful to be given such a sweet gift as a daughter.
  2. Our family. There’s nothing that makes us happier than a traditional Sunday dinner with my family or a trip to Virginia Beach to see Dylan’s. We love spending time with our nephews, siblings, and parents. I knew from our first date that Dylan was a family man and I have always loved that we both put family first. I’m so happy we both love each other’s family as much as we do and I couldn’t be more excited for Kensie Lou to become a part of the family.
  3. Great parents.  From Dylan’s parents who housed us for a year to my dad who does so much for us, we couldn’t be happier to have great parents to look up to. And we absolutely cannot wait to see them all with baby K! Poppy and Gygy and Papa. The perfect grandparents for her.
  4. How often we were “showered” this year. Seriously, this one. To our family and friends who had to put up with the bridal showers, wedding, AND baby shower all in one year–thank you so much. We definitely had a HUGE year and we couldn’t be more thankful for everyone who celebrate our marriage and our daughter with us. We hope 2017 is less eventful for us and that we can return the favor to all of our friends and family. 🙂
  5. Our little house together.  We just recently moved right down the street into a townhouse that has a lot more space. We loved our little two bedroom apartment, but had some issues with it and ultimately had to do the move (even though I was 35 weeks pregnant and not much help at all). We are just about unpacked and are so excited to be settling into the home that we will bring our daughter home to.
  6. Having jobs. Though this has been the hardest financial year of our lives, we are still both very grateful to have the jobs that we do have. It takes everything I have to be hopeful in 2017 being a better financial year than 2016, but the first step is having jobs! And we are thankful we have what we do have.
  7. Creating a budget and sticking to it. So while we’re on the conversation of finances, we worked very hard this year to not overspend. We created a menu every week, didn’t eat out unless it was for a special occasion, turned our kitchen into a paperless kitchen, and kept each other on track when the other wanted to crack. This took a lot of discipline and not only am I proud of us, I’m also thankful we actually had the strength to do it.
  8. Agreeing on the thermostat. This might seem silly, but it’s 100% real. I could never be more thankful thank Dylan likes the house as cool as I do. We both love cold weather and bundling up underneath the covers and I’m not sure what we would do if one of us liked the heat. Hopefully this will save us some money this winter. 🙂
  9. Trying new things together. This one is broad in a good way. We’ve tried so many new things this year–from cloth napkins, to Top Golf, to new recipes, to hiking, to cloth diapering our child–and I’m glad that we are supportive and adventurous enough to do all these new things together.
  10. All our nephews and nieces! There’s nothing better than having cousins and I’m so glad Kensington will be able to grow up with all the best cousins around her. And with all of our family and friends that are also pregnant, we can’t wait for her cousin crowd to grow even more.
  11. Books. Since we just moved, I am reminded of how many books we have and how we both cling to them so much. We definitely got rid of a few this move, but it does make me secretly so happy to see boxes full of our favorite books each time we move.
  12. Hand-me-downs. We could never say thank you enough to my sister and her husband who have given us so much hand-me-down baby stuff! We don’t know how we could have ever gotten it all without them, and Kensington is already so lucky to have her Aunt Angie and Uncle Nathan. (Or Uncle Naboy? hehe)
  13. All the pups in our life! From our very spoiled pup, Marvel, to our sweet girl, Ellie, and even to my brother and his girlfriend’s new pup, Abby–we can’t get enough dog love in our lives!  Nothing is more fun than taking a visit out to Dylan’s parent’s place and seeing all five pups back in action. It’s wild and perfect!
  14. Food Network. Yes, this is a little sad, but not only do we love so many of their shows, we also get a lot of meal ideas from them. So it’s definitely something to be grateful for. 🙂
  15. The Office. While we’re on the subject of TV, we can’t stop watching this show. Again. It’s a problem.
  16. Essential oils. We don’t do too much with our oils except use them in a diffuser, but we do that almost every night. We love just a simple Lavender oil and it’s perfect to relax with before bed.
  17. Our cast iron skillet. Now this is Dylan’s domain, but my oh my does it make things taste SO good! If you don’t have one, go get one. They’re amazing. We use it for meat, potatoes, veggies, tacos… the list goes on and on. You can even bake in them!
  18. Carter’s Mountain Orchard. We love this place. Not only is it gorgeous, but it’s especially fun and worthwhile to pick your own apples. We went twice this year (well, three times… sore subject) and made our first homemade apple pie together. It was simple and delicious and we owe it all to the orchard. 🙂
  19. Pinterest. There are just so many great ideas on Pinterest, from recipes to decorating ideas to adorable baby outfits. It’s such a great tool to not only find great ideas but also share your own ideas. It’s been such an essential tool for budgeting, my blogging, and even just nursery ideas for Kensie.
  20. Our Doctor. She’s been so great for us so far and she’s helped us with all of our questions about pregnancy. Hopefully we have as smooth of a birth with her as we have had with all of our other visits. Fingers crossed!
  21. How cute cloth diapers are. Let’s be honest, cloth diapering is going to be dirty, dirty work. BUT I’m so thankful that the diapers are as cute as they are. I can’t wait to see little Kensington in them and I hope it will make the dirty job a little easier.
  22. Baby clothes. Oh my gosh do I just tear up folding all of Kensie Lou’s onesies, dresses, leggings, hats, socks, shirts, PJs… It’s all just so tiny and so adorable. I can’t wait until she’s here and wearing all the beautiful clothes people have given to her.
  23. Each other.  After all these years we are definitely still smitten with each other and I hope it never goes away. We’ve always been each other’s best friend and there’s nothing we love more than spending time together. I don’t know what I’d do without Dylan and I couldn’t be more thankful for the love, respect, and happiness we give to each other.
  24. 2016. It seriously has been the best year of our lives thus far, and as long as everything goes smoothly with Kensington’s arrival, it is only going to get better. We’ve had some huge events happen–from our wedding to becoming pregnant–and I know that when we look back on this year we will only smile over and over again at all of the memories. I hope 2017 can live up to it!

And that’s a wrap! It always feels so good to see all of the things we are thankful for written out and I’m excited to look back on these in a few years and feel even more grateful.

We hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! xoxo.

Halloween 2016

Our Halloween was probably one of our most fun Halloweens we’ve ever spent together. Usually, one of us (or both of us) has to work, but we were able to get the whole weekend off together!  We spent the weekend with friends, family, and three of the most adorable babies we know. Saturday night we dressed up as Tom Hanks and Wilson from “Castaway” which was perfect with my pregnant belly. We went to Kelly and Tyler’s Halloween party and then met up with Katie and Kyle in the Fan. Monday, actual Halloween, we spent most of the day relaxing and then went trick or treating with my sister and her two boys, as well as my friend Ashley and her daughter Halle. My dad took the job of holding on to River (who is only 7 months old) and filling up his bucket with all the best candy!  But seriously, he did “bargain” a few times to get the good stuff… And we all took turns eating it! River was an adorable Lion, Halle was Ariel, and Finley was Mickey Mouse. All three as adorable as can be!

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We were all exhausted by the end of the weekend! Hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween. 🙂

Our Baby Shower

A little late to update our blog (per usual), but our good friends Katie and Kyle threw us a beautiful Baby Shower on October 9th, exactly 6 months after our wedding day. Even though the wind was kicking (just like at our wedding… I’m not sure why all of our events are on such windy days… sorry guys!) and it was the first “coldish” day of the year, every single thing about the day was absolutely to die for. I couldn’t have pictured it to be better in any way. Katie spoiled us with hot cider, hot chocolate, baby “Franks” in a blanket, popcorn, cupcakes, delicious cheese dip and chips, and way too many gifts to spoil our Kensington with. We couldn’t have been showered any better and we are so grateful to each and every person who came out to celebrate with us.

Here are a few pictures! So many more were taken, but these are a few of the “highlights.”

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As you can see, I couldn’t wipe that cheesy smile off of my face all day. It was absolutely perfect. We can’t wait to meet you Kensington!

July Favorites!

How is it already August? This year is flying by and we have had so many exciting things happening for us that I want to do nothing more than savor every minute of it. So, that’s exactly what I am going to do! This post is going to be all about what our favorite things in July have been as well as some fun things that we’ve gotten to do!

Pokemon Go. We, and both of our families, have been all over this game. Dylan takes his very seriously, whereas I am a much more relaxed player. Well, really I run out of Pokeballs regularly, so that’s probably why I am not as strong of a player as Dylan (and also because I didn’t really play it growing up, and Dylan STILL has like every single card ever made). Either way, it has been such a fun way for us to spend time with each other and our families. In fact, once this month we went to Mt. Trashmore with Dylan’s family to do nothing but catch Pokemon. It was awesome.

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Pool days. So we aren’t going to be able to take a big vacation this year (saving our PTO for when Kensington makes her arrival) but we have supplemented with multiple trips to the pool! Dylan and I have two pools are our complex, and we’ve even made it over to my brother’s girlfriend’s pool. It’s been really fun spending a day here or there with our families that feel like we’re away in paradise. Pool days are so relaxing, and since we aren’t getting a vacation this year, we need all the relaxing days we can get!

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Big Brother. After living last summer with Dylan’s family, I became as obsessed with it as they are! It is such an intense show. I’ve loved watching this season. Dylan and I watch it every week together and it’s definitely something we look forward to together. If you watch it… I love Paulie and Dylan loves Nicole. Those are our favorites. And James and Natalie… I mean how cute are they??? 🙂

Pregnancy Apps. Yes, this is both of us. My heart just about melted when Dylan downloaded a pregnancy app on his own… and then I got a little annoyed when I actually liked his more than the one I was using! So we’ve both been using Ovia and love it. They compare baby’s size to more than just fruits and vegetables (even though some of their vegetables are kind of strange…) like bakery items, fun and games, and “weird but cute animals.” Dylan loves the fun and games category. This week (21 weeks) Kensington is the size of a baby Bok Choy or a Baseball hat… which seems very large to me.

Pinterest. Okay, so this is my favorite thing, not Dylan’s, but I’ve been Pinteresting like crazy for SO much baby stuff. From how to cloth diaper, to finding cute nursery items, to adorable outfits that I will never be able to afford… It has been awesome. Also, Pinterest has really been a big help in finding easy, affordable new recipes to try, as well as saving ideas. I love reading other families’ experiences with budgets and I love being able to find so many blogs on Pinterest.

Brunch. Even though we only ate out for brunch once this month on a  double date with Morganne and Matt (and my gosh was it delicious! Those homemade biscuits at Lunch & Supper were to die for…), we ate breakfast foods probably multiple times a week this month. Dylan has been perfecting his hash browns and they have been turning out so good. I personally think his are better than any restaurants I’ve ever had and there have been multiple times where he will make us both a second round because we’ve enjoyed them so much. His cooking specialty is definitely breakfast and I’m not complaining!

Family Reunions. This past weekend was spent with a ton of Dylan’s family and we had such a blast! The Frank Family Reunion 2016 was awesome, and even though it rained the whole time, we all kept smiles on our faces and didn’t let it ruin our fun. The music, food, and card games really made the event extra special. We’re so thankful for all of those who worked so hard to put it together! We really enjoyed it, and can’t wait for 2018. Even though we will probably be chasing around a toddler by that point!

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