Nov 30, 2014

November's Favorite Link Up and an Amazon Giveaway

living room

 

First, I just have to ask... What do you think of the new look? This is my first post since my blog got a little face lift! The amazing Audrey Brewer spruced it up while I was on vacation last week. I'm in love! If you need design work, check out Audrey here.

 

I'm back from vacation and eager to jump into blogging again. I can't wait to share about the beach, Disney, the manatees, and taking three kids under two on an airplane. Boy do I ever have blog content! But, before I jump into vacation recaps, it's that time of the month to share THIS MONTH'S FAVORITE POST. Between a week off to finish graduate school and a week off for vacation, November was a light blogging month. And somehow it's already December! I'm not sure how!







Looking for Hosts Want to host this link-up with us? We have one-time spots available and regular host spots as well! Just send Ashley an email at ashley@hellonatureblog.com for more details!

 

 

 



This Month's Hosts Ashley from Hello Nature, Lexy from Crazy Cass Life, Nicole from a la Maxfield, and Kerry from Glory in the Valley



My favorite post from November: Despite having less posts than usual to choose from, I had a hard time choosing just one favorite this month. I really have two favorites! I loved writing out my bucket list at the beginning of the month and I'm looking forward to adding onto that post. But, I'm linking up with a day in my life. An hour by hour look into a pretty typical kind of day in my world as a mama to three under two.

 

 

Now link up your post + enter to win the gift card below!



An InLinkz Link-up

November's Favorite Post Link-Up Giveaway

 

Nov 20, 2014

Poor Baby J - not so well check follow up

Two weeks ago, I posted asking for prayers for JMac after his not so well-check. The pediatrician was concerned because he fell off his growth chart (He's small, but being small isn't the issue. The concern is that he is no longer on his curve.) and believed the cause of the slow growth was because he was losing so many calories to reflux. We changed his medications and scheduled a follow up appointment for two weeks later.

Yes I'm reusing the picture. But it's just so gosh darn cute!
 

Things get worse. The boy stopped sleeping. Like completely stopped napping and struggled at night. The painful back arching got worse. A lot worse. His reactions to soy have gotten worse. The projectile spit up did slow down. But the constant spit up dribble continued.

At his age, 16 hours of sleep would be normal. Hmph.
 

At the one week mark I had a phone consultation with our pediatrician and she said that we are running out of options and ist's time to try a few "last ditch" things. Her suggestion was to add calories and thicken my breastmilk by adding oatmeal. The benefits or extra calories and of breastmilk. Win! So I pumped. But JMac equates having a bottle in his vicinity to torture. He puts pacifiers in the same category. Anything silicone or plastic near his mouth enrages him. Casey tried to give him a bottle. No luck. I tried. No luck. Our nanny tried. No luck. My MIL tried. No luck. My mom tried. No luck. Point taken Jiminy Cricket. No bottles for you. We tried a sippy cup. No luck. We tried a straw cup. No luck. The pediatricians last ditch effort wasn't a success. (Could someone make a bottle nipple out of A&A muslin? He likes sucking on that!)

Angry baby. Confession: he's not angry about a bottle in this picture. But it's cute. And I needed an angry baby photo here. He's angry I put him down to change his diaper.



I went to the follow up appointment with the pediatrician on Tuesday hopeful she would have a few new ideas for us. We weighed JMac and he gained weight! But not enough. She expected a minimum of 20g per day. She wanted even more than that for him to catch up. He gained 17g a day. He maintained the percentile curve, which is good, but she wasn't impressed with his progress.

Off to the Pediatric GI.

He was also concerned by the growth chart, but said overall JMac looks healthy and looks happy which encourages him. He gave us a few things to try.

  1. He wants me to nurse. He said if JMac would take a bottle things might be different, but since he won't, don't force it. All that screaming burns a lot of calories! This is consistent with the information he gave us when we saw him for the twins. He is a bit of a strong breastfeeding pusher so hearing him say that if J would take a bottle things might be different is actually a bit sobering.
  2. He wants me to cut soy in addition to remaining dairy free (no surprise**) but said I should only cut the soy I can handle. His concern is going completely soy free will make nursing too hard and I'll stop (see point 1). Since the soy seems to be an intolerance not an allergy, continued exposure isn't going to be life threatening or affect his likelihood of outgrowing it. So I need to cut soy sauce, soy milk, soy cheese, etc. but I'm not going to pay attention to baked in soy and I'm not going to stress about soy when we eat out. We'll have to reevaluate soy in a few months when JMac starts eating foods himself, but for now major soy is out and minor soy gets a pass. This seems doable.
  3. JMac gets to try cereal on a spoon since he's a big little boy. We didn't do cereal for the twins so this is just further proof that every kid is different and as moms we do what we have to do!
  4. He increased (by 60%!) little man's medicine dosage. Hopefully this helps with the spit up.
  5. He encouraged me to continue letting JMac sleep in the swing. He said with reflux this severe you accept sleep wherever it happens and don't worry about sleep training or weaning him from the motion. It's what we've been doing but it feels good to have it confirmed.
  6. He said that if JMac is having trouble sleeping we might try Tylenol. Reflux is painful and Tylenol may or may not help. He encouraged some trial and error (although warned of the dangers of using Tylenol too frequently and talked a lot about balance).
  7. He encouraged me to weigh him at home and track his growth. If we notice anything concerning come in. If we can't get a home scale, we will need to go to the pediatricians office for weight checks with a nurse (and call him if we see anything concerning). Getting to the doctor with all three kids is a...challenge. So, I reached out to a sweet friend who had offered to let us borrow their home scale and hope to get that from her to use for a bit.





It feels good to have a plan. Even if the plan is basically "wait and see." While he have some steps of things to try, the big take away was "stay the course" and let's hope he outgrows the reflux and starts keeping enough calories down.


James wasn't impressed.
 

 

 

** I have been suspecting this for a while and have basically already done this. We "tested" the theory and had Chinese takeout on Tuesday night and on Wednesday it was clear that soy sauce wasn't my friend.




 

Nov 19, 2014

A Day in the Life of a SAHM of Three Under Two



I shuffle to the twins room and use my mama ninja skills to extract crying Tripp without waking Davy. One crying toddler at midnight I can handle, but two isn't happening. Ninja skills are key. Tripp and I snuggle, get a bit of milk, check his diaper, and then he's back into the crib. It's 12:45AM and I crawl back into bed. All three boys are sleeping for the first time and I can finally sleep.


Three kids sleeping!
But only for a few hours. At 4:26 I wake up to hear more crying. This time it's the baby. At four months, JMac still wakes up multiple times a night. And he wakes up STARVING. I have no idea how this boy is underweight. He eats. A lot. I grab Jiminy and sit in the glider to nurse him. While I'm nursing I check my email and scroll through Facebook. I'll do the lovey-dovey stare into his eyes thing when I'm not so tired! I finally get him back to sleep at 5:07 and I once again crawl back in bed

My view at 6:47
My alarm goes off at 6. From 6 until 7ish I get "my time." All three kids are still asleep (normally) so I make my cup of tea and sit in the sunroom to do my morning devotional and spend time with God. This morning it's really stinkin cold in my house so I bring my tea back to bed. I pray. I check Facebook. I write a blog post. At 6:57 I hit publish on today's blog post (a spur of the moment deviation from the post I had planned and the inspiration for today's post).

Relaxing hot tea in bed!
 

I let the dog out. And then start laundry.

All three kids are still asleep so I decide to take advantage of JMacs big sleep (wooohoooo!!) and jump in the shower. I need to go out in public today and I haven't washed my hair since Friday. It's a good call. After my shower I see my favorite morning read is in my inbox so I catch up on world news with The Skimm. (If you don't subscribe to a The Skimm, you really should. Quick, condensed, interesting world news right to your inbox with links to the full articles if you have time to delve deeper.)

At 7:40, the boys are starting to stir. My makeup is done but my hair is still wet. Oh well! At least I brushed my teeth already. Off to the kitchen to prep breakfast. Afterwards, the boys are happily singing and playing in their cribs so I decide I'll attempt to blow dry my hair. I forgot to turn off the space heater before starting the blow dryer though. Fuse blown. At 8:13 I give up and go get the boys out of bed. Wet natural hair is the look today.

Makeup on. Teeth brushed. Wet hair. Calling it a win.



Happy boy when I walk in the room!



It takes 30 minutes to get the twins in clean diapers and dressed. They aren't wearing the cute outfits I picked out because the choo choo shirt was visible. Which means We. Must. Wear. It.

Choochoo shirt. Hat. And a big yawn.



The boys play for just a few minutes while herd them into high chairs. By 9:15 they are both seated and eating. Their combined breakfast today: over 18oz of milk, three full size bagels with Daiya "cream cheese", two bananas, four sausage patties, four pieces of cinnamon French Toast, and dried coconut. I don't get to sit and eat. Just as the twins are settling in, James wakes up.




At 9:20 I get JMac cleaned up, dressed, and he nurses for just a few minutes. Apparently it was a snack. I let the twins go play for just a few minutes so I can pack the diaper bag. A few minutes is all it takes to wreck the living room.

I don't even consider this messy anymore.



At 9:40 I start loading the car. I get the twins buckled in and happily listening to their music and realize they aren't wearing jackets. And it's cold. Whatever. They aren't complaining. Coats go into the trunk so I can use them later if I need to.

The car. It takes 15 minutes to get them all like this!



10:00AM Co-op Babysitting!! JMac has a pediatrician appointment today to check on his weight so I drop the twins off at a friends house. Three under two at the doctor is a...challenge. And childcare is crazy expensive ($15 an hour is a really reasonable rate for a daytime sitter around here!) so neighborhood mamas have a co-op to watch each other's kids. I haven't taken advantage of this very often but today I need it!

We have to keep a hand touching the car while I unload brother.


JMac in the waiting room.



JMac and I get to the doctor at 10:20 and we wait. And wait. And take a picture. The weight check shows he has gained weight over the last two weeks. But not as much as they would like to see. We are being sent to a specialist. JMac enjoyed the doctors appointment. He spent the whole time eating his toes.

At 11:30, we picked up the toddlers. I gave them lunch in the car (they each got a banana, a larabar, lunch meat, dried mango, and water) while I nursed James and then we headed to Target.

All three boys squeezed into a single cart before the cart transfer.



I drove around Target looking for the perfect parking spot. This isn't a spot near the door. It's a spot near a double cart! I find my spot and park in time to see the cart attendant pushing my double cart inside. Fail. Well, maybe not a huge fail. Kids are asleep. A dreaded car nap. It's 12:04.

I don't WANT a car nap today so I only let them sleep for 30 minutes but I know even this might mean they don't take a real nap today. And it certainly means they aren't going down at 1:00 like usual. So, instead of rushing into Target to get diapers and wipes (because my Honest box shipped late. Again!) we leisurely go through the store and pick up a few extra things. This leisurely stroll lasts a few minutes before all three kids are screaming. The toddlers saw "mick-mick" (mickey) and are shouting bye bye mick kick as mean mama pushes the cart away from the baby department. I've almost finished my whole pre-vacation Target list and if they will calm down I won't have to come back to Target again this week. So I pull the Annie's Bunnies out of the diaper bag. They buy me five minutes and then screaming again. I apologize to everyone we walk near and finish shopping with that fun chorus.

We leave Target at 1:50. So close to happy hour!! We run by Sonic for a Happy Hour drink on the way home. I pick up popcorn chicken and tater tots to give the toddlers for dinner since Casey is out of town and it's solo bedtime night two.

As soon as we get home the fussy toddlers get a snack and go into cribs. I feed JMac. Then I tackle the dirty breakfast table. And more laundry. And pick up the toys in the living room.

Sticky breakfast table.
Laundry to fold.
Laundry that may never be put away.
My sister calls at 2:40 and we chat for a few minutes about details for our upcoming family trip to Florida and family photos. Oh these photos. Why didn't we stick to the easy everyone wear white? Light blue isn't in style this year and it's hard to find!

Highlight of my day: a text from Casey that he's coming home from NOLA early! He's about to get on a plane and he'll be home by 5:30!!!

At 3:45 I was about to get the no nap toddlers up when my doorbell rang. A sweet friend stopped by to chat after getting the horrible news she needs back surgery. We visit for a bit and it was nice catching up! After she leaves I get the toddlers up at 4:15ish.

They helped get out diapers. Read: I now have diapers all over the floor.
And then we played.
Naked baby wants held.
And took a selfie.
At 4:45 another friend drops by with her high school daughter. I show them where dog food is and introduce them to little miss Rory so they can watch her next week.

 

After they leave, I turn on mick mick while I nurse James. He nurses FOREVER and then falls asleep in my arms. It's only his second nap of the day (he never fell asleep in the car and screamed through nap time) so I delay dinner to let him sleep.

Casey gets home at 6 and we feed the kids. I feel bad that I don't have an adult dinner planned. I wasn't expecting him home! At 7 the toddlers go to bed. Casey and I both get them changed, in jammies, in sleep suits, and in cribs. They're exhausted and don't fight much.

I go into the nursery to get JMac ready for bed. He doesn't normally go down until 8 (or later. Although 11:30 last night was unusually late!) but he seems really tired. I nurse him and out him in the swing to sleep. His reflux is still too bad to sleep flat in a crib and he has outgrown the RockNPlay so little man sleeps in the mamaRoo now. He goes right down and at 7:30 all three kids are asleep! I think this is the earliest we've had all the boys down. Ever!

Casey and I order Chinese and while we wait for it, I try on a few shirts for him to decide which are getting returned and which is my light blue shirt for family photos. Casey doesn't like his light blue shirt so tomorrow I'll have to try and find him something.

We eat dinner at 8 while watching the new Katherine Heigl show on TV (State of Affairs maybe?). It's okay. We'll probably try watching it again.

My view at 9:30
I do a bit more laundry and at 9:15 we fall exhausted into bed. Casey is snoring (loudly!) by 9:16. I stay up a bit and watch NCIS in bed. But after a few sleepless nights for JMac, we need to sleep when he sleeps!

At 1:25 the whole house is awake. Luckily Casey is home so he can deal with the toddlers while I feed the baby. It's a new day!

 

 

Nov 18, 2014

As a SAHM

The mommy resentment. It isn't a new topic. Everyone talks about the mommy wars. The conflict between work outside the home moms and stay at home moms is ongoing. And I think some of it is because of these idealistic ideas of what the other side is like. I never planned to address this topic here at Crazy Cass Life because I really feel it is overdone. What new can I add?

But, this morning I'm feeling passionate! A mom posted in my mamas group this morning "If I was a stay at home mom I would...(fill in the blank)" Some of the answers were workout more, grocery shop during the week, be happy, bake more, do crafts, etc. It seems many moms who work outside the home have a very idealistic view of what a SAHM does all day! I wrote a quick response on the FaceBook post, but now I am attempting to work through all my thoughts.

 

I have to admit, as a SAHM I sometimes fantasize about lunches out during the work day and having the chance to wear pretty, high-heeled shoes. I think how great it would be to run by the grocery store on my way home from work before I picked up the kids and pick up a few things without crying helpers. I think of going to the potty without an audience. I think of adult conversation around the water cooler at work. And clearly I think of the extra money we would have as a family! On the flip side, I know that work outside the home moms (I refuse to use the term working mom because we are ALL working moms!), or WOHMs, wish they could be present for all of the moments. They hate that someone else is kissing the skinned knees better. They want to be the one snuggling and playing with their babies.

Moms (both SAHM and WOHM) are up all night caring for babies. We keep our houses running. We prep dinner. We feed breakfast. We make lunches. We do the laundry. And all of this is on top of caring for little ones. Life isn't easy on either side! It’s rewarding. It's thankless. It’s wonderful. It's demanding. It's fulfilling. It's irritating. It’s revitalizing. It's exhausting. It’s fun. It's monotonous. It's challenging. mind-numbing. It’s all of these things, all the time. (Literally. ALL. THE. TIME.)

Being a SAHM is all I know. Every day I keep all four of us alive and no one burns the house down. Or at least they haven't yet. As a mama at home with three littles I get to see every milestone and kiss every boo boo. I get to hold my sons hand in the parking lot and steal hugs before nap time. I also get touched all day long and by 5:00 I am counting down the minutes until my husband walks in the door (and silently cursing him when he texts that he's "stopping at the store real quick" because we are hanging on by a thread at home!).The good days are oh so very good. But the bad days you can find me hiding under the dining room table. Or looking up flight schedules to...anywhere.

I don't know what the future holds for my career and whether I will remain a SAHM or put my new PhD to use. I do know that I will forever be a mom. Right now, I am fulfilling God's calling for me. I am devoting my every breath to raising Godly men. I live my life so that my boys can follow Christ. As Susanna Wesley (mother of Charles and John Wesley) said,

"I am content to fill [just] a little space for God to be glorified… No one can, without renouncing the world, in the most literal sense, observe my method; and there are few, if any, that would entirely devote above twenty years of the prime of life in hopes to save the souls of their children, which they think may be saved without so much ado; for that was my principal intention, however unskillfully and unsuccessfully managed."

 

This is my life. However unsuccessfully managed! This is the life of every Mom. We give everything we have to raise our kids. I think it is easy to see the heartbreak a WOHM deals with everyday when they drop their kids off with someone else. The WOHM gives everything. Perhaps it isn't as easy to see everything a SAHM does in a typical day. Maybe the struggles we have inside our own homes need shared. So I'm inviting you into my world today!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 -- just an average Tuesday and I will document it all. Every wake up. Every tantrum. Every laugh. The first Day in the Life post is getting documented as you read folks!

 

 

Nov 17, 2014

My Mom's Wedding

This is the post I should have written last Monday. About last weekend. Not the one we just had (which also deserves a post) but the one before that. I have a lot of posts built up from the last week and a half, but I haven't been getting enough sleep to blog. Between the final stretch of dissertation work and JMacs opinions on sleeping, life has gotten in the way.

But no matter how busy I am, I can't not share all about my mom's wedding weekend!! My dad passed away eleven years ago and it was such a blessing to see my mom no longer alone and SO happy.

I'm warning you now. It's a long post. But the video about halfway through makes the whole thing worth your while. Promise! 

Dewey Howell and Marion Miller
Seriously, so happy!




The weekend started a bit rough for the Cass family. Friday afternoon, Davy got into the diaper cream. And decorated the little man suits. He didn't get the memo that only the bride wears white to a wedding.

Thank goodness for same day dry cleaning!




Saturday, both families met for the first time. It was great meeting Dewey's kids and grand kids. And with all of them plus all of us, my sister's house was a zoo! My mom has three kids and eight grandkids. Dewey has two kids and six grandkids. For the math challenged, a full family photo has 26 people in it! No one had a camera out for dinner on Saturday, but here we all are at the wedding on Sunday.

The first three rows are the "immediate family" and the fourth row folks are the amazing family who came to town to celebrate.


So technically, I now have step siblings and step nieces and step newphews. But at 29 those words seem weird. Luckily, the people weren't weird and Dewey's family seems very normal and very nice! They all live out of state so I'm not sure how frequently we will see them, but they seemed like really great people.




James was a little stinker Saturday night and after a whole three hours of sleep (and not even three continuous hours!) we were ready for the wedding Sunday afternoon. It was a beautiful, family-focused ceremony. And that's enough words so get ready for photo overload!



I fail as family organizer and didn't get any family pictures! Luckily Casey's mom snapped a few. Love this picture of Casey with his oldest boys.
Swoon.
In the pews.
Tripp posing with the flowers.  And his "na-nee" because we wouldn't want to celebrate a wedding without that!

I mean seriously. How perfect is this.
Megan and Davy




Enough cute shots of my kids.  Lets see the wedding!


Megan played the intro song on the piano while McKinley and Maddie were flower girls.


 

 

Courtney sang a beautiful song.


Grace did a great job leading everyone in prayer.

And then the four oldest grand kids did the Bible reading.


The choir sang.



Reminiscent of when the choir sang at my wedding 8 years ago!


Okay sorry back to my mom's wedding.  We're getting to my favorite part.  The ring bearers.  Dewey's two youngest grandsons joined Tripp and Davy as the cutest ring bearers ever.  No one trusted T&D with the actual rings (I mean really! Why wouldn't you trust those sweet faces!) so the older boys carried the rings and the tots brought my mom flowers. Let the cute ensue.
Everything seems so calm and orderly...
 
 
 
 
 
video
 
 
 
 














Then rings, vows, first kiss. The typical mushy gushy wedding stuff.
It's my mom. I don't have to show the real kiss!  Check out the full gallery for that part.

 
 

Then to continue the whole family theme, they forced all of us on stage to sing the final song. 
We all protested. But it was their wedding day. So we all sang.


A few more photos.  Because clearly this post doesn't have enough....
All the grandkids.

Davy stole poor Maddie's hair bow! Stinker!

The Miller portion of the zoo.
 

Then the reception. And cake. And music. And dancing? Yep dancing. To see all the great photos of the reception and the rest of the wedding day, go here.

Pretty much it was a great day.

 

Welcome to the family Dewey!