Kennedy's 14 Month Check In

It has been a GREAT month!  Kennedy is growing like a weed, learning so many new things.  We JUST got back (literally) from our awesome family vacation to the Outer Banks (more to come, along with pictures, on that later!), but we had an incredible time.  Kennedy loved the beach, as did Lucy.  We got to spend time with Gam Gam, Pappy and Uncle Mike.  It was just a fabulous week.  Kennedy is rocking this toddler thing and never ceases to amaze me.


How Big Is Baby?
  • Kennedy is 20, maybe 21 pounds now.
  • Before we left for vacation, we retired all of her summer outfits, except the ones we brought with us.  Those will {{sniffle}} be retired when we get home.  Her fall/winter clothes are 18 months- 2T and I'm sure she will fit into them easily when we get home.
  • Size 4 shoes for now, but her boots are a size 5. 
  • Full time cloth diapering. Size smalls and one size- fully extended on the rise and out 2-3 snaps at the waist.  We did switch to size 3 disposables for the trip, mostly because we had a case to get rid of and weren't completely sure about the laundry situation in our rental house.  I'm glad we brought disposables because we had some issues with the washing machine mid-way through the week.  We are, however, VERY happy to be back in cloth tonight.  :)

Development & Milestones
  • Running all over the place.  This girl doesn't slow down for ANYTHING.
  • We went into the ocean and a swimming pool for the first time this past week.  She was a little unsure (and the pool was very cold) but she did really well.
  • She ate really well with utensils this month.  Her coordination is much better and she only dumps her bowl when she is finished and we aren't paying attention.
  • Her language is incredible.  She signs so much!  Let's see... dog (of course), milk (OF COURSE, lol), all done, please, bird (her new favorite), eat, water and I'm sure I'm forgetting some.  She is really curious and seems to enjoy learning new signs.  I think we might actually be at the beginning of the 15 month language explosion.
  • The tooth count is still at 8... still no molars
  • She did surprisingly well through the 6 hour car rides x4.  It is about 12 hours total from home to Nags Head, but we split the trip in half on the way down and back.  She hung out in the back seat with Lucy watching Despicable Me and staring out the window.  We had a few melt downs around hour 5 on all 4 legs, but otherwise she was an angel.  I couldn't believe it!

  • Nursing continues to go well for us.  I can tell she is starting to cut back (and I am encouraging) to a few times a day, but the nursing sessions last a little longer than they used to.  Either way, I still love these quiet moments with her.
  • Pumping is just about done.  I didn't even bring my big pump with us on vacation.  I did bring a small manual pump to use in case Kevin and I went out on a date night and I used it twice, but otherwise no pumping at all this week, which was nice!  I am planning to really work on cutting back/cutting out pumping sessions completely when we get back.  I don't plan to stop nursing, but this will help (hopefully) to start my cycle again so we can try for baby #2.  Here's to hoping!
  • I was able to donate 8 (YES 8!!!!) gallons of breast milk to the National Milk Bank.  I am so proud of myself and my boobies!!  :)  Read more about it here
  • BLW is pretty much finished, dare I say?  There isn't a thing this girl will not eat.  This week she tried shrimp, crab and even some hot salsa.  She eats anything and everything.  We are so proud!


  • Sleep has been excellent!  While on vacation, she kept a great routine, falling asleep round 9 and waking up around 7 or 8.  Part of me was like "aaah!  Wake up at 7??  On vacation??" but at the same time, we were able to see so much and spend so much time outside because we woke up so early.  And honestly, by 9pm, I was ready for bed, lol!
  • Naps were pretty good.  She takes one nap a day now and it usually lasts anywhere from 2-3 hours.  She is pretty cranky when it is nap time, but always wakes up in a great mood!

Mommy & Daddy Check In
  • Another wonderful month for us.  Kevin's job is going really well and I was just offered a position in our emergency room as an RN.  I have always wanted to work in an ER and am thrilled about this new opportunity.  I'm not sure when I will be starting, but I am very excited!  Health and weight-wise, things are status quo.  We were able to enjoy lots of fun cardio this week with hiking and swimming, a welcome change from running running running earlier in the month.  Lol.

Any appointments, visitors or outings? Anything else new?
  • Our major event this month was our vacation.  Otherwise, not a whole lot.  :)
  • Cloth diapering is still going great!!

Product Rave:
  • I LOVE my new necklace from BouBeads.  It is just beautiful and Kennedy loves to play with it.  It is designed from natural, baby-friendly materials so she can play/chew on it safely while she is nursing or while I am carrying her in her wrap.  It keeps her curious little fingers occupied and (more importantly) out of mommy's hair!

Any upcoming developments, milestones? What's next?
  • Next appointment will be 15 months on October 30.



I knew it wouldn't be easy.  I knew there would be lots of tears and sleepless nights, some missed memories and milestones and more than a few lessons learned... motherhood is a journey.

And being a working mom is really really hard.

Being a mom who works overnight is just plain crazy.

I have enough seniority to work a regular 8 hour day shift, or a 12 hour day shift... but I chose to work a 12 hour overnight shift for a few reasons... better money, less time around the boss, more time to study and most importantly... more time with my little girl.

This sounds like a great idea in theory, but in reailty, it just doesn't seem to be working out quite like I had planned.

Truth be told, lately, I feel like I am failing... or coming dangerously close to doing so.

When I come home from work, all I can think about is sleep.  I try to nap when Kennedy naps, but it is never enough.  When she wakes up from her nap, she is so happy to see me and excited to play with me and I am just... exhausted.  I spend my days just wishing the time away until her next nap.  I put a movie on the iPad, hand her a few toys and try to close my eyes.  "Just five more minutes" is my mantra as I beg her to sleep, to be still or at least to be quiet while I try to sleep just a little bit more.  I drag myself down the stairs and heat up a cup of coffee, often reheat it 4 or 5 times before I actually manage to drink it.  Most days I doubt a coffee IV would even be able to perk me up after a short 2 hours of sleep.

The days are flying by in a sleepy haze and I find myself wondering...

Is it worth it?

I mean, I really have no choice but to work and I have come to terms with that.  But my schedule.  This crazy 12 hour overnight schedule... is it really working for us?  True, I technically get to enjoy more days off... but in a matter of quality vs quantity I'm torn.  Do the extra days off really count if I can barely stay awake enough to actually enjoy them?

I don't want to wish away the days of my daughter's childhood.  They are already flying by way too fast as it is.  I want to enjoy every single sleep deprived moment... but that is easier said than done when you are chugging along in zombie mode with 7 hours of sleep over 3 days. 

I'm not complaining.  I'm really not.  I'm questioning my decision.  Did I make the right choice?  Am I doing ok?  Am I failing her?  How can I possibly make this work?  (Overnight mamas feel free to help me out here!)  CAN I really do this?  Heck, can I even make it through today?

In my sleepy stupor, I hear her tossing books around her nursery while I curl up on the recliner chair and struggle to keep my eyes open.  I hear the Evil Puppy toy sing in between moments of dozing off.  I wonder if she would be better off, be happier if I worked days and she spent her days at day care like other children with working mommies and daddies.  Would she learn more?  Play more?

Then she climbs up on the recliner chair with me, curls up on my lap and just sits.  Quietly.  I kiss her forehead and she gives me the biggest smile.... and I know that I am doing the right thing.  I can sleep later, when she grows up, but right now... whether I am awake or barely hanging on by an undercaffienated thread... I am here with her.  And that is what matters.

God I love this kid.


Never Forget

12 years ago today I was headed to school in Tampa (my one semester stint at the University of South Florida)... the radio station that I listened to during my commute was famous for pranks and practical jokes.  As I listened to reports of the planes crashing into the towers, I couldn't help but think what a screwed up prank this was.  I thought the DJ sounded more serious than usual, but I just couldn't wrap my head around the idea that it could possibly be real.  It was a sick joke.  It had to be a sick joke.  Something so awful would never happen here- in the US.  It just couldn't.  Could it?

I got to school and saw students and teachers huddled around TVs with looks of shock, disbelief and well... shock.  Some looked scared, some were crying openly, some were just so stunned they didn't know what to do.  I got word that classes were cancelled and headed back to Orlando.  I actually ended up going in to work that day (I was a lifeguard at Disney at the time) since they were placed on high alert and needed extra hands.  After work, I went to my friend's apartment where we sat, glued to the TV, listening to the live reports and rescue efforts and watching the list of names scroll through.  I sobbed for hours.

So many names


Two thousand nine hundred and ninety six of my American brothers and sisters.  

The pictures and videos of the scenes in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania took my breath away.  The "Missing" posters with pictures of babies.  BABIES.  were almost too much.  Imagining those families still clinging to a shred of hope was just awful.  The stories of heroism made me proud and the miraculous recoveries gave me hope.  But the devastation, the tragedy, the heartbreak was just so overwhelming.

How could this happen?  WHY did this happen?

Even now, 12 years and 2 wars later, we still have many questions.  Questions that we will likely never have answers to.

We learn more every day and we live a new normal now.  Few aspects of our lives are left unaffected by the tragedy that occurred 12 years ago today.  Even now, at times, it is difficult to remember what it was like before 9/11.  Sadly, our children will never know a world without terrorism at the forefront.  But hopefully they will never have to experience the same fear and heart break that we collectively shared on that day either.

Today, we pause to mourn, remember and reflect.  Today, I will be reading through this long list of names and I will pray for them, pray for their families.  I will mourn for them and cry for them.  I encourage you to look at this list.  The sheer size alone is pretty powerful and so very sad.

Read their names, speak their names, do something kind today in their honor.  Most of all, ensure that they are not forgotten.


I Think I Can!

Ever since I moved up to NY, I have been interested in canning.  My (southern) family was never big on it, oddly enough... but it is a way of life up here.  With the amount of delicious fruits and veggies Kevin and I buy at the farmer's market, it seems silly not to try to preserve what we can to enjoy over the winter.  For some reason though, canning has always sort of intimidated me.  I'm just really afraid of screwing it up and wasting all of the yummy food.  Tonight, I decided to finally give it a go.

A coworker of mine brought in some delicious pickled beets a few weeks ago and I went crazy over them!  So, last Saturday I grabbed a huge bag full of fresh beets from the market.  I begged my coworker for her secret and decided to put my skills to the test.  As I type this, my canning project is sitting on the kitchen counter with strict instructions to be left alone for at least 24 hours... so the jury is still out on whether or not I actually made and canned something that is edible.  But... in the hopes that they turned out as delicious as my coworker's, I will go ahead and post the recipe.

Pickled Beets...  You will need:
  • Fresh beets (I used about 1/2 a grocery bag full)
  • 1 sweet/Vidalia onion 
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2 cups White Vinegar
  • 2 cups Water
  • Allspice berries or ground Allspice
  • Whole Cloves
  • 6 canning jars, lids and rings
This yielded 5 cans (pint size, I think?)... but definitely would have made 6 if I hadn't been umm... "quality control testing" the fresh beets while I was skinning them.  :/

Boil beets, whole, for about 10 minutes.  Then skin should easily peel off and they should be softened slightly.  Slice into 1/4 inch thick slices (or whichever size/shape you prefer... smaller ones can be left whole even)

While they are boiling, slice a sweet Vidalia onion into thin slices.

Also, while the beets are boiling, run your cans, lids and rings through the dishwasher (no soap!) on the highest heat setting.  Your jars should be hot when filling them.

In another pot, bring the following to a rolling boil:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp Allspice or 10-12 Allspice berries (I used whole berries)
Place 2-3 whole cloves in the bottom of each canning jar.  Then layer the beets and onions.

Slowly pour the hot pickling liquid over beets and slide a butter knife around the outside to make sure there are no air bubbles.

Place lid/ring on VERY tight.

Arrange sealed jars in a large stock pot.  And fill with water until the lids are covered.  Bring water up to a rolling boil for 10-12 minutes.  (The jars will rattle around and you will swear they are going to explode, but somehow... it's fine.  I don't get it!?)

Remove the jars and set them on a towel.  Once you have them on the countertop... DO NOT touch them.  At all.  Period.  For 24 hours.

That's it!

It really wasn't as complicated as I thought it would be.

Here's to hoping they are super yummy!!



My FB status today read:

THIS is what 700-800 ounces of liquid gold looks like on it's way to the National Milk Bank.

I am very blessed and fortunate to have had a very easy time with breastfeeding.  We have never had a problem latching or nursing and I have always had not only enough milk to support my growing baby girl, but I have been able to build a pretty sizable stash of extra milk in my freezer.  Actually, I was able to look into donating some of it.  And by some of it... I mean about 7 gallons of it.  Wowza!  I must say, I'm pretty proud of myself and my body.  What an awesome gift!

After several weeks of screenings, questionnaires and tests, I made my first donation to the National Milk Bank.  The Milk Bank will use the milk to create life-saving feeding supplies for NICU babies.  I am blessed and honored to be able to be a part of something so wonderful.  I plan to continue to pump and donate as much as I can.  Cheers!