Push present: Diamond Band

In the south we like to do something called a “push present”. Basically it is where, in exchange for birthing a baby, mom gets something she wants from dad. Honestly, sounds pretty fair to me. If you’ve never heard of this don’t fret – you can tell your husband later and demand recompense 🙂

Anywho, years ago before Dave and I were even married, I read an article on Pinterest where this woman got a diamond band each time she had a child (thank god she only had 3 and not 7) and stacked them with her engagement ring. The idea was that when her kids were old enough to get married she would give them “their” ring to use in an engagement ring or a wedding band so that they each had their own and didn’t have to fight over her engagement ring. I loved the idea, so when David and I got married I told him I didn’t want a wedding band I only wanted an engagement ring, but that he would pay for it down the road. LOL

When Kensington was born I got my first band – a beautiful platinum infinity band with diamonds (convenient that Kensington’s birth stone was a diamond). I loved the way it looked with my engagement ring and figured even if platinum or infinity bands are out of style when she gets married she can always use the diamonds.

With Everett’s birth this year I wanted something to compliment my existing rings but be slightly different. His is a beautiful band with 7 round diamonds. I absolutely love it.

What were some of your push presents?

XOXO

Kendall

Baby Bedtime

IS there anything worse than the first few weeks with a baby who won’t sleep? For both of our kids swaddling was the secret to a calm baby and we relied heavily on sleep sacks (since in class swaddling a doll with a muslin cloth was really easy but a squirming baby in real life was dang near impossible). Recently I’ve discovered my new favorite baby product: Swado Swaddles. They sent mean to try and they are amazing!

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These swaddles are super soft and come in tons of patterns, but thats not why I like them so much. Instead of velcro like other swaddle companies (which are not just loud but also really jarring when you open them twisting around the baby) they have…I don’t even know what to call it – Magic fabric? It seriously sticks together even though I can’t explain why and comes apart way easier than velcro but is just as strong when it’s on the baby.  I can’t recommend it enough.

I do not receive any compensation for product purchased but I really love it! Highly recommend.

XOXO

Kendall

First Month with Baby

Everett is officially One Month Old today. I seriously cannot even believe it. Recovery this time has been so much easier! I’m already cleared for exercise (3 weeks earlier than with Kensington) and totally feel like myself. It’s a miracle. What’s even crazier is how similar and yet different they are. We had Everett’s Newborn pictures done and this about sums it up:

Where Kenzie was super independent, slept great right off the bat, and was just hanging out (get it? get it? Pun Intended) Everett loves being held, wants constant attention, isn’t a bad sleeper but struggles a bit more than Kensington. We had our amazing photographer (if you’re in Dallas she’s amazing – see her website HERE) recreate this favorite from Kenzie’s shoot with a “boy” spin so that we could have some parallelism with their shoots. Both my beautiful woodland babies. LOL.

We wanted his pictures to be outdoorsy and have lots of earth tones like his nursery (see Nursery blog post HERE). As per usual she did an AMAZING job and totally hit it out of the park.

I swear she is the baby whisperer to make our grumpy old man baby look so peaceful lol. Over the last month we’ve really gotten familiar with his “SOMONE BETTER PICK ME UP RIGHT NOW” cry, finally gotten to see his beautiful eyes (he didn’t open them for days after birth, They’re Navy like Kenzie’s was so I anticipate them changing), and been able to see what a newborn with crazy intense head strength is capable of – caution when holding: he will flip out of your arms with his crazy old man baby strength. #Fact

My photographer also had this incredible idea of doing a vampire setting for one of his pictures. David and I used to camp ALL THE TIME when we first started dating and really bonded over our love of the outdoors. TBH I think it was that ability to travel and love of camping/being outside that really solidified our relationship so of course we jumped at the chance. It’s the cutest thing ever:

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Then because Dave is such a sports guy, and played baseball for years (even was able to walk on in college), we made sure to get an ADORABLE baseball picture of our little boy.

I know everyone says having daughters is more fun because you can dress them up and put them in bows etc. but I am unbelievably excited for sports with this little guy. I’m gonna be that mom who knows all the players stats and goes to every practice. Sorry in advanced.

Then Last, but certainly not least, we took some family pictures. Ugh. They are the best. Seriously.

Are they not the cutest siblings ever? Seriously…

Me just loving on our newest addition. He’s so squishy and I love him.

Dave just looking like a model…like always. And trying to brainwash Everett into being an Aggie and getting a corporate job. I don’t think he’s having it though LOL

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And the worlds best family photo (but I’m biased LOL) Laura was amazing and brought Kensington’s face in from another picture, smoothed out wrinkles in our clothes and made the lighting perfect. I can’t believe it. I’m glad I like it since I ordered a huge canvas for our house. God help us LOL.

Ultimately having two kids under one is…a lot. It think it would be slightly easier if Kensington could walk, but ultimately its not as terrible as everyone warned us (maybe I can thank them for setting bad expectations so I could be pleasantly surprised). It’s definitely more challenging if one of us wants to go do something and the other person ends up 2 on 1 but its still a beautiful suffering. LOL.

XOXO

Kendall

Dating your Spouse

With everything going on at home (Kensington being 1 and unable to walk, Everett being 2 weeks old and unable to do anything, breastfeeding, and general life) its hard to carve out time for David and I. I’m a huge believer in continuing to date your spouse after marriage/children and we both try really hard to assure the other person that they come first. Before Everett – we always do a date right after work before we pick up the kids on Wednesdays, Dinner out at a restaurant on Fridays, and once a month leave the kids at “Parents night out” and go spend some time jut the two of us. 

With two super young kids this becomes a little more complicated because honestly we need 2 babysitters. I wouldn’t wish bottle feeding & regular feeding & two sets of diapers & crying kids who cant get places on any one person. This means all the things we did before are still possible, but with us both being home on leave and the kids not being in daycare we need another plan of attack. Bring on the dual babysitters. 

I’ve seen so many couples grow apart after they have children either because they don’t spend any time together or remember to thank one another for all they do or even just kiss in passing. David and I try really hard to make sure we make time and I highly recommend it. Plus, its pretty therapeutic to get some time away from the kids and spend with another adult. Really.

My advice for all first time parents (and even 8th time parents) is not to forget this. Your spouse is the person you CHOSE to spend forever with. In a perfect world your children will grow up, leave the nest, and your spouse will still be there. Annoying you by not closing the cabinets and leaving their shoes around the house. Don’t you want to still like them? To still know who they are? So take the time, go on some dates, and stay in love (and lust). Yeah. So here are some date ideas Dave and I are going to do this summer:

  • Country Dancing
  • Truck yard (a restaurant in dallas with live music and a bunch of food trucks)
  • Escape Room
  • Rangers Baseball Game
  • Cooking class (with wine…lots and lots of wine)
  • Korean Spa
  • Ra Sushi (they make an AMAZING mango martini and it’s all I want in life right now)

Feel free to steal our ideas 🙂

XOXO

Kendall

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Household Chores

Being a mom is tough. Being a stay at home mom is INCREDIBLY tough. Being a working mom is INCREDIBLY tough. But in totally different ways. I don’t think one is better than the other (although I think one is better FOR ME than the other) but I have immense respect for women who chose either role.

That being said – the “women’s role” to do household chores usually extends to both sets of moms. The way I handle it is VASTLY different if I am home all day vs. if I am working all day. So I’m sharing some of my favorite chores, least favorite chores, and tips for “balancing” all the craziness we do.

My “favorite” chores (is there really such a thing? more like these are the least sucky) are making the bed, tidying up, cooking, and dishes.

My least favorite chores are laundry (my husband is really helpful and does laundry sometimes if I’m super busy or he has extra time at home) and cleaning the oven. I hate the oven. It’s the worst. And the microwave. It sucks too.

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When i’m home I spend probably 1-2 hours a day cleaning. I do dishes every day, I do laundry every day, I tidy up at the end of the day, etc. but when I work all day I am not as “household productive”. You would think being not at home would make it less taxing to do household chores but after work time just seems so precious. I still usually cook because I enjoy it, but I do dishes 1-2 times per week and laundry on Sundays. And I have a cleaner who cleans the house. It’s the best money I spend all month because I don’t have to do it on Saturdays.

For the moms out there feeling totally overwhelmed let me share a few tidbits (not intended to be preachy – more helpful):

  • You are not alone. Everyone struggles to balance it all, And sometimes you just flat out can’t which leads me to…
  • OUTSOURCE. When you can afford it and the trade off seems worth it: hire that cleaner, or laundry helper, or babysitter, or food service, or whatever. You don’t have to do it alone. And what you can’t outsource but still need help with…
  • ASK YOUR HUSBAND. He survived without you. He probably did his own laundry and dishes too. Ask and you shall receive ladies. *Note: I know not all husbands will help. Mine is pretty amazing and never complains when I ask him to do something (at least not where I can hear him). But you might as well try – it’s better to ask and voice your frustration/need before it becomes a problem. Trust me.
  • If none of these work, and its not high priority, do it tomorrow. Your kids are only so little so long. Don’t waste the time. Sit on the couch for an hour, hold them/read to them/whatever and enjoy it every once in a while. The house will not burn down I promise.

Hopefully that wasn’t too soapbox-y. I feel like I’ve learned so much in the last year having Kenz, and then 2, and working my marriage and job into the mix. If I can help one reader find a little more tranquility then it was worth it.

XOXO

Kendall

Kensington’s First Year Pictures

We love our photographer! Anyone in the Dallas area with young kids: ModlPhotography is AMAZING! She did Kensington’s newborn pictures and we’ve been back every 6 months since LOL When Kenz turned one we wanted to memorialize it with a cake smash and some family photos and per usual she didn’t disappoint.

In honor of her “Alice in One-derland” birthday party we did some blue and white pictures. She was so cute!!! Laura said she’d never had a kid turn and ride the chair like a pony…thats my kid. haha.

We wanted to get some family pictures (and make it look like she loved her brother before he was even here LOL). Not to mention, she wanted me to model this FABULOUS dress and I jumped at the chance.

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She set up this beautiful cake smash set…which Kenzie quickly destroyed.

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She looked so blissfully happy though – it was TOTALLY worth the sugar crash that happened two hours later.

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At the end we got this adorable milk bath picture with these super pretty flowers. She still has icing on her face but *shrug* who cares?

XOXO

Kendall

Whats In My Cart Wednesday – Newborn Essentials

For this week’s edition of What’s in my cart Wednesday – I’m talking about our favorite “Newborn Essentials” for Everett. These are the things we’ve used the most in his first 2 weeks. I’m hoping that any first time moms out there or moms with difficult babies find this list helpful:

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BUMBO – So Everett is too little for this right now but we used this EVERY DAY with Kenzie as soon s she could sit up and still use it every morning while I make breakfast. It’s on our kitchen island so she feels involved and frees me up to do dishes, cook, feed her, get snacks, and generally have my hands free. SUPER Recommend.

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Wubbanub – We love these Pacifiers and having the animal on the end make them so much easier to find. We have 4 between our two kids and love them.

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Diaper Backpack – I’ve talked about this bag before but it is so well designed! Areas for clothes/bibs/toys, snacks, diapers & wipes, bottles, Mama’s stuff, and it’s so easy to see into. We really love it and the backpack keeps my hands and hips free for kiddos.

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Rocker – We love this vibrating rocker for the kids – it helps them nap when needed and keeps them contained during dinner when they are too small for a high chair but you want them near the table. It also has adjustable heights so it can be low to the ground or all the way up with the chairs at the table.

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SleepSacks – A lot of hospitals use them now so you’re probably pretty familiar but its basically a dummy proof swaddle. Swaddling a doll is easy – a moving squirming baby? Not so much so we love these for nighttime. Plus we always feel our kids sleep better in them. You can do hands in or out depending on your kids preference (kenz only wanted hands in but E HATES his hands being bound and wants them out).

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Breast Pump – I think this brand is the best. I used it with Kenzie and Everett. For me I choose to pump so Dad can help with feedings and night time events, plus it gives me more freedom to go do things during the day. Totally personal preference but I love this one.

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Dock-a-tot – They’re expensive. Sorry bout ya. But seriously the best. Our kids slept SO well in them, its easier to move them around while they’re sleeping (for example if we’re relocating form bedroom to couch we pick it up with them in it and they can stay asleep), and I don’t have to worry about them rolling over. Gave me peace of mind and helped them relax during the night.

XOXO

Kendall

Shop the full list HERE

Taking time for yourself post-baby

With two kids under 13 months (yeah…we’re gluttons for punishment) it’s easy to get wrapped up in the kids, and keeping the house clean, and feeding everyone and all of the other Mom to-dos that come with a full house. A friend of ours says you’re not really a parent until you are on one-to-one coverage or higher and man do I agree. Having two kids is a totally different playing field than one, and we are adjusting as fast as we can. But that being said – it is SO important to take a little “me-time” to do what you love and relax.

For me, I have a few guilty pleasures that are my non-negotiables. These can be different for everyone but for me they’re:

  • Coffee – I have to have an iced Macchiato every day. Otherwise I’ll get a headache or fall asleep like a narcoleptic or just be generally cranky. Don’t come between this mama and her coffee. Thanks to my Mother’s Day gift I no longer have to run to Starbucks for coffee. My husband spoiled me with THIS amazing espresso machine and now I make my lattes at home.
  • Working out – this is my stress reliever. If I don’t workout my anxiety runs rampant and I become super tightly wound. I need the release.
  • Reading – even if it’s only 30 min a day (or right now 15 min every 3 hours when I pump) I like getting lost in a good book. I don’t really watch TV so reading cheesy teenage paranormal books is my equivalent of trash TV.
  • A good night’s sleep – not really super possible with a newborn but to the extent that I can sleep, I will. I am as close to a narcoleptic as you can be without actually falling asleep random places. I LOVE SLEEP.

I’m recommending that all Mamas out there take some time for your guilty pleasures. Carve out some time (min usually is during nap time) to workout, or read, or take a nap, but in general spend it doing something that RELAXES and resets you. NO! Dishes & laundry don’t count – I abhor an untidy house and compulsively clean but don’t waste your hour doing that. Take the time for yourself, and maybe assign a household chore or two to your husband to help. Or ask him to watch the kids for a hour so you can rest. Or take them to an hourly daycare for an hour or two a day. It’s OKAY!!!! Ask for help and don’t let your needs fall to the wayside in favor of everyone else. You’re a member of the family too and when Mama is happy: Everyone is happy.

Having kids requires comfy pajamas – that’s pretty much all I wear day & night unless I’m planning on leaving the house so here are 4 of my favorite pairs including the one I am wearing in the cover pic.

 

PJ1 – LINK

PJ2 (what I’m wearing in pink stripe) – LINK

PJ3 – LINK

PJ4 – LINK

XOXO

Kendall

It’s My Birthday – Friday 5

Today is my birthday – YAY – and I’m celebrating by spending the day at home with the kids, eating cinnamon rolls (shocking I know), and getting dinner with some friends. I figured I would do a special “birthday” edition of my five facts and talk about some of my favorite birthday memories.

  1. 3 years ago my wonderful husband and friends took me to Harry Potter world. I’m the BIGGEST Harry Potter fan and was totally overwhelmed/overexcited/jazzed the whole time. I got to get my wand in Ollivanders, the goblins at Gringotts, and ride a virtual broom. Probably the best birthday ever.
  2. 6 years ago my husband rented a limo and took me and a bunch of our friends bar hopping in uptown. It was our first “big” birthday celebration together and we had such a great time.
  3. 4 years ago we went to Pete’s Piano bar…I’d never been and OMG we had so much fun. We sang (off-key) and drank far too much. What happens in pete’s…stays at pete’s.
  4. My 5th grade birthday party – super throwback but you can’t imagine how cool it was. My mom was always throwing AMAZING parties for us on birthdays, halloween, valentines day, you name it. And when I was graduating 5th grade (my birthday obvi falls at the end of the school year), we rented out the giant club house in our neighborhood, had a DJ, invited all of my friends, I got fire engine red hair extensions, and felt like the coolest kid in the world.
  5. Both of my birthdays with my children. They were each born within one month of me so the last 2 years I’ve gotten to celebrate with a newborn. Having children is such a blessing and I’m so glad to share it with them.

These are some of my fondest birthday memories (although I’m sure I could think of a dozen others from my adolescence). How do you all celebrate your special days?

XOXO

Kendall

Health, Fitness, and Labor/Delivery

I’ve posted a lot before about Pre & Post Natal Fitness, but I haven’t really talked about the Labor/Delivery benefits for mom & for baby. Of course it’s good for your cardiovascular health and maintaining a good weight, but there’s so much more to it than that. Core work – even just stabilization – prepares your baby for contractions. As the core pulls towards the spine it hugs the baby in the womb (like a hug) and pushes them towards the birth canal. It can help get the baby in the right position for delivery as well as get them use the the idea of your core contracting and pressing against them. It also can help prevent Diastasis Recti by pulling your core to the center, avoiding twisting, and doing safe movements that strengthen your center column.

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Some of my favorite pregnancy core moves include: Elevated or Reverse Plank, Bird Dogs, Side plank, Side breaths (laying on elbow and then super tightly compress each section of your core using your breath), and beast (bent knee plank). With Everett my delivery was 7 pushes. 7. I know – crazy. Part of it was the second kid is easier and the other part was just core strength and how low he had dropped.

Upper body workouts prepare you for…your baby & carrier! Sounds like a joke but those things get HEAVY quick. The better in shape your upper body is the more you can lift baby up, hold them in the right position to breast feed, carry them to the car, etc. Upper body is also something that is easy to do after baby. During your 4-8 week recovery period you can do light upper body work to stay active.

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Cardio workouts are so important! So many women avoid high intensity or cardiovascular workouts out of fear but its so good for you! It prevents swelling and potential blood clots, it keeps your weight at a healthy level, it improves you & babies blood circulation, improves your cardiovascular/heart health, and its a great stress reliever. Labor is hard/exhausting/tiring and the better in shape you are, the better you can regulate your breathing, and the stronger your heart the better. Do what you can, consult a doctor, but for me cardio was a really integral part of my prenatal regimen.

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Last but not least – stretching. You have to be REALLY careful stretching while pregnant. Avoiding twisting deeply, listen to your body and don’t push it too far, and listen to your hips. That being said, you have more relaxin in your body during pregnancy that makes your muscles and joints a bit more flexible so they can rotate and turn to open for delivery. Stretching can help avoid tightness and cramping as well as give you some “mommy time” to relax. Don’t compress the belly or move in any way uncomfortable but take some time to work them muscles and joints.

XOXO

Kendall

Shop my look HERE

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