Wednesday, April 19, 2017

{What It's Really Like To Co-Parent}

What's co-parenting really like?
It's hard, but not always and not necessarily for the reasons you may think. At first it's hard to adjust. It's hard to share. It's hard to face the guilt. It's hard to walk past a bedroom full of toys with no kiddo to play with them. It's hard not to take it personal when your son colors every picture for his daddy. It's hard to match schedules. It's hard to watch your family and friends pick sides, and sometimes even judge you (it's true, it happens. Especially when they think they know your story). It's hard to be out at an event and have everyone ask you where your child is. It's hard when everyone asks if your child will be at mom's house or dad's house this weekend. It's hard to miss your kiddo, oh so very hard. But it doesn't have to stay that way. 
Co-parenting has to be two people who love their child more than anything else and are willing to put their child's happiness above anything else, 100% of the time. And sometimes it means three or four people loving that child and putting their well-being first. Your (new/future) significant others play an important role in the co-parenting lifestyle. They too must be on board to co-exist, co-parent and love your child unconditionally. It's not always a picnic. You don't always agree on things, you don't always want to share your child, but what you want isn't what's important (is it ever anymore after having children?), it's about what your child wants, and that involves both parents.
Co-parenting does mean split schedules and shared holidays (e.g, I didn't have Henry for Easter), but it doesn't have to mean resentment over those missed holidays. Compromise. Compromise. Compromise. It's easy to be selfish, but co-parenting is give and take. You don't always have to follow the parenting agreement if you can learn to look at things positively and be creative. Lucky for us, a lot of times our events land on different days, so we compromise and approach almost every holiday individually as they come. We can't make it perfect all of the time, but most of the time it works out to benefit everyone and Henry gets double the fun. If you're rolling your eyes, glass half full, people!
Co-parenting also takes TONS of communication.
Daycare? "Hey it's cooking day at school tomorrow. I picked up some croissants, can you send them with H tomorrow?"
Sports? "Mind if I sign Henry up for soccer?"
Brushing teeth? "Are we both making sure he's keeping up on his hygiene?"
Sickness? "Hey H is sick, can you take him to the doc tomorrow?"
When two adults communicate and put their child's well-being first, it (hopefully) isn't as hard on the child and good things can come from it.
Good things like a huge smile on your baby's face whether he's going to mom's house or dad's house. Texts with pictures sharing those missed holiday moments, or just everyday moments. Things like FaceTime calls when one parent is out of town or just missing their little one a bit too much. Memories for your child that involve starting a sport for the first time and having everyone there (new baby sisters and all) to support him and to cheer him on.
It will always be hard to share your child. I imagine that never gets easier. I often think about what it will be like to "share" him on his wedding day and when he has a family of his own. It breaks my heart a little to think about that, I have to be honest, but I know it doesn't have to be any harder than it already is. I hope and pray that in some way it becomes more of a blessing than a curse. I hope it means more people to love him and more excuses to celebrate.
But, the main thing I know, is that it takes two people. Noting can be one-sided. It takes all hands on deck and everyone putting the child's happiness first. That's how we maintain a happy and healthy co-parenting lifestyle. It took time to adjust and get to where we are, but we've always put Henry first and I truly believe that that's the sole reason why Henry has remained poised, resilient and joyful.
He'll never know how much I truly miss him while he's away, and maybe he shouldn't. I can only do my best to make every moment that he's at home something that brings him joy, gratitude and everlasting memories.
To my momma's who know what it's like, don't be so hard on yourselves. Love yourself and love your babies. And if you're new to it, it gets easier. Find you a good support system and prevail!
The sun will rise again.
Melissa Loren


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

{Two Months of Luce}

For starters I feel like I should pronounce Luce's name, loo-see. I know it's an untraditional way to spell the very traditional name, Lucy, but she's named after my mother and that's how hers is spelled. Seemed like a waste to name her after her and spell it differently. I still get frequent questions about her name and mispronunciation, which I expected because my mom always has. :-p I like that it's different though and she's named after one of the best, so it's worth it. 

Now, onto Luce at 2 months! 

First, homegirl is 11 pounds and 13 ounces!!! Hers a good eater lol. She's also 23 inches long, putting her in the 73rd percentile for her age! She's a big, healthy girl!

The smiles have been poppin'! They're becoming more and more frequent. She smiles so big and it puts an instant smile on my face. I can't help but be happy around her. Her smile literally lights up my life. Cheeeeese.

Little mama loves a warm bath. She's really starting to kick and giggle while she's in there. 

Sheeeee's a talker. This girl already loves the sound of her own voice. She loves when you get up close to her face and chat with her, and if you're far from her she'll make sure you're still listening to her. She's been practicing her squeals and seeing how loud she can get. It's actually super cute, not the annoying kind ;). 

She's already outgrowing 0-3 month clothes, so we're going to be in 3 month clothes a month early. She's so chunky and getting longer too. 

Hopefully her chunkiness isn't a reflection of my diet, because I've been trying to eat healthier. At this point it seems as though we will exclusively breastfeed for a while. Girlfriend refuses to take a bottle. She doesn't care if it's formula or mama's milk, she doesn't want anything to do with it. She only wants mama. 

She likes to be swaddled and nursed to sleep. 

Which is the opposite during the day, she's already outgrowing the stage where she falls asleep at the breast during every feed. Which I'm actually kind of sad about.

Knowing that she is my last baby it definitely makes me cherish the little things and makes me sad to watch her outgrow newborn habits so quickly. 

It's weird to think about where I was as a mother at this point with Henry and where I am now with Luce. The first time around is Plus sis seems to be a little bit easier to figure out and is really pretty happy most of the time.

You guys, I have bonded with this girl in ways that I never could've imagined. Maybe it's the stricter breastfeeding relationship? Or the co-sleeping? Or maybe I did have a little postpartum depression with Henry? OR maybe the first time around is just significantly harder. Either way, I've gathered my bearings sooner with my sophomore babe and I can't help but swoon over her. It's incredible. I am undoubtedly thankful for these babies of mine! 

Side note: the number of shows I've started and completed on Netflix in her first 2 months of life is slightly embarrassing. Pretty Little Liars. Gossip Girl. 13 Reasons Why. One Tree Hill. Why had I never seen any of these?! I won't lie I am OBSESSED with Gossip Girl (wish it was still on) and I am definitely addicted to Pretty Little Liars. I consider myself a Liar Lover and can't wait for the beginning of the end tonight! Pathetic, I know lol.

Finally, some of my favorite photos of what Miss Luce Colette wears!
Melissa Loren


Monday, April 17, 2017

{Easter Weekend}

We took it easy this weekend. We didn't actually have H, he got to enjoy a weekend down at the lake this year. So without bubba, and sis being so young, we didn't do church or an egg hunt this year. Instead the three of us went on a lovely nature hike. Well, it was lovely until we went too far and almost got lost and then had to walk the road a mile back to the car (after hiking several miles lol). Not to mention sis only wanted to nurse, so I literally cradled her and nursed her for half the hike. She finally fell asleep and I was able to put her back in the Moby, thank goodness lol. She's too chunky to carry the entire way! 
I was glad we got a good hike in though. Cardio was my workout for the day and I'd say I definitely got it in! I snapped a few pictures along the way (the few of H are older), but other than that we were pretty boring this weekend. ;) Next year will be all the fun with a wild Henry and a walking Luce!
Melissa Loren

Friday, April 14, 2017

{That Spring Time Feeling}

You know those days you have as a mom (or even not as a mom) where you think you just can't take anymore? You're sleep deprived. The kids had opposite nap schedules. You had to make a miracle of your workout. You barely had time to eat, etc. We all know those days, right? That was my Wednesday. I was so exhausted, I needed to shower and the kids just wouldn't cooperate. There's that saying that God never gives you more than you can handle though, and they also say that somehow your babies know when you can't handle anymore and they give you a little reprieve. Which is where Thursday comes in. The weather was GORGEOUS. I promised myself I would leave this house, grab a coffee and not worry about nap schedules or getting ready and I'm SO VERY GLAD that I did! I took the kids to the park and Henry had a blast. We were alone at the park, but he still had so much fun shooting bad guys and smashing bugs (he's all boy!). Sis slept the entire time in the stroller and since we had the park to ourselves, I felt inclined to squeeze in my workout. I put Pandora on and got to work. I had to improvise and push the stroller here and there and shoot bad guys with Henry, but that made the time fly and made the workout more enjoyable. I am convinced that coffee, 70 degree weather and a good workout can fix anything. Yesterday was beautiful and it lifted my spirits tenfold. Days like yesterday are so good for my soul. They make me a better mother. A more patient and kind, attentive mother. It will be a goal of mine this summer to enjoy the beautiful outdoors as much as possible. No getting sucked into the monotony of motherhood or being too lazy and making excuses. I'm determined to focus on being positive and healthy! Now if these rainy days can just go away, although I know we need it!
 Speaking of being healthy, I'm starting my challenge and a challenge group soon! I'd love for anyone to join us. Even if you're not interested in a full challenge, I love several of the products and highly recommend them-Spark, Catalyst, Clear Mood, Probiotics, Protein Shakes. If you haven't tried them or it's been a while, contact me!
Melissa Loren

Thursday, April 13, 2017

{Easter Goodies}

I'd like to pretend like I'm one of those super creative moms and I made things for my kids and ordered cutesie outfits off of those boutique Instagram shops, but the truth is, I'm a Target mom. All good things come from Target. Plus, I've become the ultimate procrastinator. Somehow I wasn't this year, but usually I'm throwing things together last minute so there's no time for making things and ordering online. I suppose I could've chosen healthier or educational options, but what's the fun in that? So both of the babes got their summer suits and just a few extra goodies. Henry got toys and candy because those are his favorite things right now. Miss Luce got her second "friend," you know, the TY beanie boos that H collects. We're starting her young. ;-p She needed some new bows and head wraps too, of course! H also had to have this biggest, most gaudy, most expensive Easter basket lol. His Star Wars obsession is too much. I didn't want to overdo it because these kids have too much as it is. So here are our simple Easter baskets for the kids this year...
Melissa Loren

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

{Round Two}

Well, I've finally gotten the all clear from my doctor. I had my 6 week postpartum checkup and she's released me to workout and start living again! Six weeks may seem a little rushed for some, but I'm ready for some routine and normalcy. I need one thing to be for me and to have a positive impact on me mentally. Getting some exercise and my body back to normal will be good for me. I'm not aiming for perfect, or anywhere near it, I just don't want to let it get away from me. Plus, with breastfeeding, there can't be anything wrong with eating as healthy as possible, right?! While I've mentioned breastfeeding, some people have shared their concerns about milk supply while working out. While everyone is different, my OB says it all has to do with hydration. As long as I stay hydrated and eat well I'll be fine. Since I actually started this post a couple of weeks ago, I can say that I've started my "diet" and workouts with what seems to be a peak in my supply-ha. I'm working with a high(er) fat meal plan to keep my supply up and healthy and I'm more than diligent about making sure I drink at least a gallon of water a day. I can also say that working out and eating well (almost) 8 weeks postpartum is no picnic. I was down and out with strep so I have a residual cough from that, plus sis still rolls over to latch on and nurse as she pleases all throughout the night, *and* my body is just still recovering from the literal labor and all of the junk I put it through. I was probably the healthiest I've ever been when I got pregnant and I let it all go to waste. A year off can really kill your body. Which is exactly why I'm so ready to get back to where I was. I know it won't be as easy this time around. In fact I just had to squeeze my workout in during Luce's morning nap and I had to hope and pray she didn't wake up during it. Meanwhile I had Henry running around playing super heroes and asking me to be Hulk Smash. All while I'm using two 2 pound natural peanut butter containers for weights because for now I can only workout at home and I have zero equipment lol. Sis still won't take a bottle, so the chance to sneak out to a gym is a ways off. If that isn't commitment, I don't know what is!
I'm definitely my own motivation, I was proud of how far I made it on my own last year (making your own meals and workouts and seeing progress isn't easy!), but I won't lie, I have a little extra momma inspiration this year. Jessie James Decker is #momgoals for me. Not to mention all of the other mommas I'm surrounded by that are just killing it. Chyleina, Tiffani, Dani, Kelly, Kristin, I see you all. Keep it up! 
Of course I'll be adding a few of my AdvoCare products again (I know, roll your eyes, but the products really did help me and keep me motivated. I wouldn't advocate something I didn't believe in!). If you're new to the products or it has been a while since you've used them go ahead and reach out to me. And if you have zero interest just keep me in mind when other people talk about AdvoCare. I want to be your girl when it comes to products, the one that comes to mind when it is mentioned. Referrals are a huge help and greatly appreciated! I linked my site in pink and on the sidebar if you want to check anything out. :-*
I'm not posting any before pics (yet), I'm still a little embarrassed by them. I'm a proud momma with stretch marks and a belly that held two beautiful babies, but the hormones are still flowing. ;) I'm still a little sensitive, so I'll wait until I've made some progress before showing those photos!
Summer is coming, who else is all in for getting healthy and fit?!
Join me!
Melissa Loren

Thursday, April 6, 2017

{Update: Lingual Frenectomy}

It has been crazy quiet around here, but sickness has rocked our house. Henry has consistently been unwell since starting daycare back in September. Between croup and allergies, I just can't keep up. I blame sick kids being sent to school by their parents, but he's weak immune system is partially to blame. I can remember always being sick and having a persistent cough along with it when I was young. It was miserable, so I feel for my son. And I'm not surprised that whatever he has developed into strep for me. I tried to ride it out, but I was afraid sis would catch whatever I had, so I headed to urgent care. Luckily she can't catch strep and since I'm breastfeeding my antibodies should help keep her well. I'm on the road to recovery and Henry is almost well again. Everyone pray that Sean doesn't get it, we don't need to pass things back and forth!!!
Anyway, onto the point of my post. I had mentioned Luce's tongue tie and how difficult it was making our breastfeeding relationship. I have a tongue tie and I was lucky enough to pass the wonderful gene onto both of my children (sarcasm). Henry's wasn't as harsh or tight as Luce's so we were able to push through the pain, but it was becoming obvious that Luce wasn't tolerating the tie as well as he had. She was gaining weight just fine which was a huge blessing, but she still wasn't transferring the milk properly. She wasn't able to move her tongue enough to dictate what she did with the milk. Half of my milk was leaking down my breast or falling back out of her mouth. Our saving grace was that she nursed so frequently that she was still able to gain weight like a little oinker, but the tie also kept her from bottle feeding or taking a paci. Not to mention the horrendous pain I was in. I was so ready to give up, but since she wouldn't take a bottle that wasn't really an option.
Several friends had suggested that I go ahead and have her tie cut. I was worried and scared for the pain it would cause her, but they assured me that it was a quick procedure and that they were able to nurse immediately following.
I slept on it for a few nights and discussed it with her pediatrician. Her pediatrician backed it right away and said that Luce would be just fine.
I couldn't bear the pain anymore and I was a mess over the amount of milk that was being lost on transfer, so I knew I had to go ahead with it. I called Children's Mercy and scheduled her appointment. 
Depending on where you go they will either cut it with scissors or with a laser. I'll admit a laser sounded a lot less invasive, but Children's didn't offer that method. They don't put them under or numb them or anything. Which was actually kind of a relief to me. They swaddled her and used a tool to widen her mouth and cut the tie. It took all of thirty seconds. She cried, but mostly because she didn't want to be swaddled or held down. I cried, it was a bit like watching your child get shots for the first time. She nursed immediately like they said and she didn't show any signs of pain. The next couple of days she would fuss a bit while trying to latch and I thought I had made a mistake because there didn't seem to be any improvement. It also almost seemed like I was in more pain as she learned to adjust to her new freedom. However, by the third day it was perfection and has been since. We're not losing any milk, she's feeding less because she's getting more milk and I feel zero pain. Wins all around. Honestly though, she's still on the fence about the bottle and a paci, BUT we don't really have any need for a paci and I'm totally cool with nursing her exclusively. H started taking water from a sippy cup around four months, so hopefully we can try and introduce that to her? We'll see. They're all different and I don't want to put pressure on her or myself! 
I don't regret my decision and I'd do it all over again. 
Thank you to everyone who sent their advice and words of encouragement. You guys are seriously the best!
Melissa Loren

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