Tuesday, October 30, 2018

James Brody: Two Months Old

Another month has flown by with this sweet boy! I did monthly updates with Chloe and I want to make sure I do them for Brody as well for a couple of reasons. First of all, I want to look back and have a way to remember everything about his first year of life! It's such a blur some days, so this is a way for me to look back and remember the joy that he brings to our lives. I also don't want to shift into second child syndrome and not document and take the time to remember the little things. {Totally not a jab at moms who don't do everything for the second baby! I'm guilty too. I just don't want to for this aspect!

That being said, let's look back on Brody's second month of life!

First real smile
First you get the gas or sleepy grins, then you get the full on smiles that completely melt your heart. I live for these y'all! Seeing him smile makes me so happy. I also love to hear Chloe ask, "Why is he smiling at me?" Then I tell her it's because he loves her, and she tells me how much she loves him too.

First snuggle in the ring sling
Those that know me know how much I love wearing my babies. I didn't have a ring sling with Chloe and I'm now a big believer in them! It's so easy to get baby in and out once you figure out how to work the contraption. It's also very easy to breastfeed in!
Fun fact: Moby will video chat with you to help you figure out how to configure and wear your baby safely. After posting on Instagram that I figured it out, Moby sent me a message to let me know about the video chat feature. I thought that was really neat and awesome customer service!

First birthday celebration
I'm a lucky momma because the first birthday he got to celebrate was mine! What are the odds since there are so many people in our family? It was pretty low key with our family, but it involved fajitas and ice cream cake. Winning.

First time to meet Uncle Ben
My brother lives in Dallas and hadn't had the opportunity to make it down to meet Brody. We actually didn't think he'd be here until Thanksgiving, but a Houston interview brought him down here and he decided to stay for the weekend! I'm so thankful that he was able to come and bond with his first nephew. We love you Benny!

First cold
Yes you read that right. At only 5 weeks old, my precious baby caught his first cold. I felt like a horrible mom since my newborn got sick! Our doctor was wonderful and let me know that it is normal with second + children because the older kids are bringing more germs into the house. After Brody had it, Chloe caught it and finally it made it's way to me. I'm happy to report that we're all healthy now.

First pool day
Up until recently it was too hot, too rainy or too buggy for us to be outside for long periods of time. After the first cool front that rolled in early October, we were able to spend more time outside. We even managed to get a sunny, warm day that wasn't too hot or too humid, so the whole family was outside for a fun pool day and BBQ. Brody dipped his feet in the water and he wasn't too sure about it. I think he'll love it by next summer!

First time to roll over {belly to back}
Our little guy loves to roll over. Tummy time is a joke these days since he only does it when he wants to. At just 5 weeks old, he rolled over for the first time! I was shocked since he kept doing it over and over again. I wasn't sure if it was a fluke at first. Then he started doing it every time I put him down on his play mat for tummy time! Silly boy.

Brody loves...

  • his big sister. She makes him smile every day!
  • morning coffee convos with mom. After his morning milk, he loves to lay on the couch so he can kick and smile and try to talk to me. It's quite possibly my favorite time of the day.
  • bath time. He loves it! It's very soothing for him...until he has to get out!
  • breastfeeding. Another boobie baby, what can I say? I'm glad that my children have breastfed so well!
  • pacing around the house with dad. This usually happens in the evenings when nothing else soothes him. It doesn't happen every night, but on fussy nights, it's his daddy that makes him feel the best.
  • staring at mobiles, fans and blinds. Still a fan fave.
  • sleeping through the night. Thank you Jesus! We've gone a full week and a half with him sleeping from about 10pm to 5 or 6am. It's life changing.
  • going to girls' nights with mom. He has been in regular attendance to my dinners out with lady friends. I think he likes being the only guy there. Everyone gives him all the love and attention!

Brody dislikes...
  • diaper changes.
  • getting dressed or changing cloths.
  • drying off after bath time.
  • waiting to eat when he's decided that he's hungry right now.
Pretty much the same as last month. He's such an easy going baby. He rarely cries or screams.

At his 2 month pediatrician appointment we found out that he is 12lbs 13oz and 24 inches long. Much bigger than Chloe at this age!

My sweet Brody Boy,

Another month with you in the books and it feels like you were meant for us more and more. God truly knows what he's doing when he creates life and adds to a family! You are exactly what we needed and felt like we were missing.

You are the best baby I could have asked for. You love to cuddle your momma during the day and sleep at night! For the most part, you are incredibly chill and laid back like your daddy. This is pretty great since you're the second child, so you're constantly being toted around to big sisters activities. We spend quite a bit of time in the car and you don't care 95% of the time. It makes me feel a lot better about all of the business of our lives! Thank goodness for carriers and babywearing or you would spend a lot of time in your car seat. We love to be close, so wearing you is the best when we're out and about.

Having a son is a dream come true. A dream I didn't even know that I was dreaming until you were born. The bond we share is so deep and beautiful that I can't explain it. I love you and your sister equally, but differently. As I watch you grow, learn and become more aware, my love for you grows greater. It's cheesy, but I really do love you more every day. I thank God every day for giving you to your daddy and me. You belong here sweet boy. I can't wait to see what adventures and first this next month gives us. No matter what, I know it will be great!

I love you without wax,

Just for fun, look at the difference a month makes!

Friday, October 26, 2018

2 Months Postpartum + Breastfeeding Journey

Oh hey! It's been a minute since I've blogged. (Remember you can keep up with us on Instagram or Facebook.) I did the same thing after having Chloe. I told myself that I'd have more time to blog, but let's be honest, that's not the case. Now I have two little crazies running around! And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Today I wanted to touch based on how I'm doing about 2 months into the 4th trimester mentally, physically and emotionally as well as how my breastfeeding journey is going.

Mental Health
Mentally I feel like I've got this! Up until this week, I've had JP at home with me during his paternity leave. Having him home helped me mentally because I had him here helping with everything. He is the true definition of a partner. He obviously can't breastfeed Brody, but he made up for that in diaper changes and getting up with him in the early hours so I could sleep. It also helped me mentally because I always had an adult to have conversation with! It sounds silly, but being around small children without regular adult conversation throughout the day can really get to you. Now that he's gone, I have plans to keep this up. My sister is due any day now and will have the next couple of months off. I plan to help her as much as possible plus I always have my mom and aunt close by whenever I need them!

Physical Health
Nutrition and Weight Loss
I feel great! I'm slowly losing the baby weight, but I've hit a plateau. I'm still down 20-22 lbs with a little less than 15 lbs until I'm back at my pre-pregnancy weight. I'm perfectly okay with this since I'm breastfeeding and keeping this little boy fed and happy is one of the most important things in my life right now. I was indulging my sweet tooth quite a bit in the early weeks, but I've been making better choices since the beginning of the month. Don't get me wrong, I believe in balance! I love dessert and still have a little something every day, but I'm not snacking on cookies or having cake for breakfast anymore. Participating in Rachel Hollis' Last 90 Days challenge has helped me to curb my sweet tooth, drink more water and focus on myself.

As far as fitness goes, I'm back at it. I've started running and I've gotten up to 4 miles without stopping. That being said, I'm officially in half marathon training mode! I plan to ramp up my mileage every weekend by 1 mile, so that means I'm tackling 5 miles on Saturday! The cooler weather definitely helps with motivation. Aside from my weekend runs, I'm also trying to fit in 2 weekday runs or run/walks. I'm still aware that I'm not quite what I once was and giving myself grace. Some days will not be all out runs and I'm okay with that!

I'm also participating in a BeachBody boot camp to work on strength and agility while I train for my races. Since I'm not going back to work, I wanted something to help me with strength and cross training. I'll miss teaching my classes, but I know I'll get back to it one day. I'm definitely making sure not to overdo it and to keep my calories up for breastfeeding purposes. I've learned to listen to my body over the last couple of years and it's paying off!

Emotional Health
While I struggled a little bit the first few weeks after Brody was born, it wasn't severe. More than anything it was postpartum hormones taking over my body and mind. I was very emotional about mine and Chloe's relationship and the thought of being a good enough mom for both of my babies. It had been Chloe and I against the world for so long, and just before Brody arrived we were struggling. She was incredibly emotional and always clinging to her daddy, telling me that she didn't love me anymore and just didn't want to have much to do with me. This continued until a few weeks after Brody was born. Now she's back to being my girl with a little deeper bond with her daddy. I'm okay with that! She's still a little fussy, but she is 3 after all. She's become the best helper and just loves her little brother. As for being a good enough mom for both of them, I like to think I'm doing good on that front. I love and adore these children more than I could ever imagine, and I'm starting to get the hang of dividing my time and focusing on the most important things.

These days I'm less emotional. I'm crying less and laughing more. My hormones have definitely leveled out and I'm feeling like myself again! I'm still trying to get the hang of getting places with two kids and shopping with two kids and getting two kids ready for the day, but the more I do it, the less stressful it will seem.

My breastfeeding journey with Brody has been a breeze! He is a very laid back baby and makes me look good at this whole mom-ing thing. From hour one he had an amazing latch and he loved the boob. That very first feed felt a little awkward for me. It was like I barely knew what I was doing even though I nursed Chloe for 18 months. I think the rush of adrenaline and all the post birth feel good hormones had me a little shaky and out of sorts. Thank goodness for my mom though! She pretty much got him latched and ready to go before we had thought to take our first family picture.

Look at that little guy going to town! Yay for colostrum! I mention that the first feed felt off and awkward just to let all the moms out there know that it's okay if it feels weird at first. Whether its your first baby or fifth, each baby is different and there is usually a gap in breastfeeding time. Don't feel bad if it feels off at first because you'll get the hang of it. In fact, by the time his next feeding rolled around, it was as if we had been doing it forever. I knew how to hold him, how to get comfortable and what to do! I'm glad for that because by then everyone had left the hospital since it was nearing midnight!

Our postpartum time in the hospital was a breeze and I didn't need any help for the lactation consultants on staff. Once we got home, we kept on going strong. My milk came in around day 3-4 and was painful, but manageable. One thing I did notice is that his upper lip was a little tight and didn't always flip out the way it should. It occasionally caused some tenderness on my nipple while he was nursing. It turns out he has a slight lip tie, but it isn't that bad and he still has some flexibility and movement. That being said, he doesn't need to have it reversed, but about every other feed, I have to flip his upper lip manually. Since we've been going at it for almost two months now, I can feel when his lip is tucked in.

We introduced the pacifier around 3 weeks to see if he liked it and to give my nipples a break. Good news, he loves it unlike his sister who used me for a paci! I also started pumping in the morning around 3 weeks. It's recommended to wait a few weeks before pumping so you don't mess with your supply regulation. Usually 6 weeks is what people are told, but since I have an over supply, my mom suggested I do it in the morning after his feed to relieve the pressure and to avoid clogged ducts. It's definitely helped immensely.

Speaking of pumping, let's talk pumps. I'm usually a really big fan of my Medela Hand Pump and the Haaka, but I was recently introduced to a pump that has been a game changer for me. Take a look at the Motif Duo Double Electric Pump.

I received this pump from Aeroflow Breast Pumps. {Which I highly recommend you use to get your free or discounted pump through insurance! It's so easy and they do all of the middle man work for you. It was so much easier to get my pump this time around!} Since I'm not going back to work this time, I didn't really need a big electric pump. This time around I needed something small and battery operated to take on the go! Now that I'm a mom of two, I'm constantly going places. Pretty much I'm Chloe's chauffeur. Since this pump has a rechargeable battery, I can take it around with me to pump if needed. For example, if I know that we'll be constantly going all day, I can pump in the car. With a good pumping bra, I can do it while driving! Just set it up before you leave and turn it off when you get where you're going. Long car trip? Pump on the go and feed at the next pit stop! And that's just one way you can use it on the go!

Since it's football season, this is where I've used it the most! My mother-in-love is a saint and offers to watch my kiddos so that JP and I can go to the Aggie football games while we're in town. This pump allows me to pump easily while I'm at the game! It gets better. Since it's battery operated, I don't need a plug so I can pump in my seat. IN MY SEAT! I don't have to leave the game and hole up in the bathroom to pump when I'm away from my baby.

For this game, I just doubled up my shirts with a nursing cami underneath my tank top. It allowed full coverage without the need for a cover! Seriously a life saver since it was in the mid-90's even at 6:30pm. This pump has been a game changer for me and I highly recommend it for busy moms that probably don't have to pump that often! It would also be great for working moms to have as a second pump. Keep the bigger one at work and this one in the car. Just a thought!

Now that we're two months into this two kid thing, I'm starting to get the hang of it. That probably means that some big change is going to come and shake things up right? As for now, I'm just going to soak up these little ones as we enter the holiday season!

What were your biggest postpartum struggles?
Do you have a good breastpump or breastfeeding must have?

Thursday, October 18, 2018

How to Get Back Into Running

Over the past 9 years, I have found a true love and passion for running. I ran my first half marathon while in my last semester of college in November 2009. Something about the way I felt during the race and the high I felt as I crossed the finish line had me completely hooked. I continued running and by the end of 2011, I completed 6 half marathons. In 2014, I finished my first full marathon. Today I have countless 5Ks and 10Ks, 24 half marathons, 2 30Ks and 2 full marathons under my belt. Since having children, I've definitely reeled in the number of races I do each year, and I stick to shorter distances mostly with a half marathon or two a year. Having children means taking running breaks and getting back into running shape again after having a baby. I've done it once and I'm in the process of getting back on my running game now! I thought I would share what works for me and let you in on my secrets. (Okay they aren't really secrets, but I'll let you in anyway.)

one. Start slow
I've said this before and I'll say it again and again, listen to your body and start slow. Jumping back into things and expecting too much of yourself before you're ready is a recipe for disaster. You're bound to be slower and will need to take more walk breaks, but that's okay! Give yourself grace and know that with dedication and determination, you'll be back at it in time.

two. Begin with run walk intervals
Assuming you already have some walking mile under your belt, when you're ready to introduce running again, start with intervals. I started with more walking than running and worked up to the opposite. For example, walk 0.25 miles then run 0.1 miles and continue that pattern for the duration of your run/walk. Or if you prefer time walk for 3 minutes, run for 1 minute. This is where I started once I was able to do more than just walking after having my baby. 

three. Gradually increase your running interval
Check out the charts below to see different ways that you can gradually increase your running distance or time. These are just two simple examples on how to start easy and work your way back into running. You can edit these so many different ways. If you have any questions on how to modify these to fit your needs, don't hesitate to reach out!

Intervals by Distance

Intervals by Time

The idea is that with each run, you increase your run time. After a few runs, you decrease your walk time. Eventually this will get you to non-stop running. If you prefer interval running, I highly recommend looking into the Galloway Method. You can learn more here to start figuring out what walk/run ratio is ideal for you!

four. Find your ideal training plan
Speaking of Galloway, finding a training plan that fits your needs will help you get back to running. Or maybe you're just starting? There are plans for every type of runner. Here are just a few that I'm familiar with:
If you're interested in a customized training plan, I'd be happy to work with you! I've trained several runners for all distances from 5K to full marathons. {Just shoot me an e-mail: acgougler@gmail.com}

five. Keep up the habit
Creating healthy habits is super important! Keep a schedule for your runs and don't break it. It will take a little while for running to seem natural and a part of your schedule again, so be sure to stick to it. If you need a little motivation, find a race to sign up for! Even a 5K on the calendar will give you a reason to hit the pavement.

six. Forget the past
Don't compare where you are now to where your were before. You will be slower and your form may be off, but that's okay. You'll get to your goal by finding a plan and keeping the habit! It's easy to get down on yourself for not being good enough or not being your best. Just remember that if you want to get back to your running best then you will. It just will take a little hard work and determination.

The biggest thing to remember is that it takes time to get back into running. Hal Higdon says, "Expect to spend at least two days getting back in shape for every day lost." If you've been gone for a few months, it's going to take twice as long to get back in the game. If you didn't run throughout your entire pregnancy, it could take a year and a half to get to where you want to be, especially since you're also dealing with healing time postpartum. No matter what just know that you CAN do it. Set your mind to it and you'll find your new happy pace.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Friday Five as a Family of Four

Oh man what a week! Since today is Friday, it marks the end of 7 weeks with my amazing husband at home with us. Next week is his final week of paternity leave and that's when the real fun begins. My life is about to get a lot crazier and busier, but that's what this mom life is all about!

I'm quite behind on getting my posts up and scheduled, so today I'm just Friday Fiving it...and a little late I might add. Just five fun moments from this past week. No products, no amazing photography, nothing special. Just us.

one. Aggie football weekends

It's football season, so of course we're in College Station whenever the Aggies are playing at home! Since my in laws live there, we get to spend the weekend with them and go to the game. My mother-in-love is pretty much the greatest and watches the kids so that I can go to the game, thus making game night, date night! I love all of the time that I've been able to spend with this man while he's been on leave!

two. Benny came home!

My brother Ben lives up in Dallas and we don't get to see him as often as we'd like, so it was quite the surprise when he showed up in Sugar Land this weekend! He had an interview in Houston on Thursday, so he ended up working from my parents home on Friday and spending the weekend here. We were in College Station, so we made sure to head to my parents' on Sunday morning to spend a few hours with Ben. He got to meet Brody for the first time and it was wonderful spending time with him and catching up. When we see him next at Thanksgiving, Brody will be so much bigger and he'll have another nephew to meet!

three. Sweet baby faces

Since Chloe won't let me take pictures of her, I feel like I'm only taking pictures of Brody! I promise I love both of my kiddos equally, but this guy is workin' it for the camera. I'm also obsessed with sweet baby faces. This 'ooooohhhhh' face is one of my personal favorites that I try to capture every chance I get. They only do it for the first couple of months!

four. I'm running again!

I've been working back into running over the last couple of weeks and on Tuesday, I managed to run 3 miles without stopping or peeing on myself. Any woman that has had a baby (especially if it was a vaginal delivery), understands that this is an awesome feat! I'm working on putting together a postpartum running plan for women looking to get back into running post baby! And let's be real, it can be anytime post baby, not necessarily right away.

five. Sibling snuggles

I mentioned on Monday in my update post that Chloe has really warmed up to Brody and is always wanting to hold and snuggle him. Well, little miss "I don't want my picture" asked me to take this picture yesterday!!! I couldn't get her to look at the camera, but I did capture this sweet moment that I can't stop looking at. Watching them grow up together is going to be the absolute best!

I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend! We have quite the busy schedule with lots of people to see and places to be.

What is one of your favorite moments from this week? I love that not every week has to have a monumental moment that becomes your favorite. Sometimes it's just the way your baby looks at you or the way your children interact. It's the little things y'all!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Brody's Newborn Photos

I don't have a lot of words for y'all today. Just a little update and a lot of pictures!

Today my baby boy is 6 weeks old! It's hard to believe that time is going so fast. I knew that it would, but it's still shocking nonetheless. Life with this little boy has been amazing. He is the perfect addition to our family; he fits in like the piece we knew was missing.

His sister is absolutely smitten with him! She is constantly trying to help out with her little brother. Her favorite ways to help are covering him up with all the blankets, giving him his paci then promptly pulling it out of his mouth, laying on the floor with him for tummy time and always trying to make him smile. The way they interact already makes my heart explode. I can't wait to watch their relationship grow as they age and become closer!

Daddy is doing wonderful! JP has 2 more weeks left of his 8 week paternity leave. His help around the house and driving Chloe to all of her activities has been the greatest blessing. It'll definitely be an adjustment once he goes back to the real world! He's loved having this time to bond with Brody and just adjust to our new family dynamic. We've taken advantage of this time to spend lots of time together as a family going on weekend trips to College Station, family lunch dates and getting lots of projects done around the house.

I'm really feeling like myself again. I think this postpartum experience has been fairly easy for me. Emotionally, I'm in a great place and physically, I'm already back at it! I've slowly started back into my postpartum fitness routine with easy workouts, lots of walks and easing back into running. Breastfeeding is just as wonderful for us as it was with Chloe, and I'll be sure to share more about my breastfeeding journey when the time is right. Bonding with this little boy has been as easy as breathing because he has stolen my heart! Having a son is the most beautiful blessing. I love both of my children equally, but I love them differently! I'm the luckiest mommy because God chose me to be theirs.

Now, let's just look at these gorgeous pictures taken by Kellianne Barron Photography when Brody was just 13 days old! I promise I narrowed them down to my favorites. Kellianne was so wonderful to work with and then she sent me so many pictures, it was hard to choose!

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