Baby Sullivan | Week Seven

21 August 2017

Week seven is here. Every week I say it and I will say it again...time is moving quickly. This week feels fresh and new. We are slowly getting into the swing of things and my heart has been so full the past few days. I look at my life and cannot believe I get to be a part of it, honestly. I guess I've just been feeling extra blessed lately, like everything is falling into place and life is pretty darn good lately. Do I still feel a bit of new baby fog? Of course, but overall I feel like we are landing on a good schedule and many good things are coming in the near future.

Sullivan has given us the awesome gift of sleeping through the night for the past few nights. We had one rough night last week and that was it. Other than that, we are getting much longer stretches of time. We feed him one last time around 9pm and he's been sleeping until 4:30 or 5am. How did we get so lucky? I shouldn't say that because I don't want to jinx it. Seriously though, it's crazy. I wake up feeling far more rested than before. I've just been getting up after I feed him in the mornings and I feel like I'm slowly gaining some sanity and clarity for this season. Being able to have quiet time for even just a little while is life giving.

Another milestone this week is that we had to trim the baby fingernails. Every parent knows how utterly terrifying that can be. Luckily, Ryan always seems to do it for me. He's awesome like that. We will keep him around. We are also seeing lots of smiles lately from Sullivan and I still can't seem to capture one in a photograph. He has been awake a lot more during the day and it's been fun to see his little personality start to shine through. 

I've been making it a point to not just aimlessly look at my phone while nursing him and that seems to be working out well for me. Instead, I've been reading. It's refreshing to not have my eyes glued to a phone screen constantly. Half of the stuff on Facebook nowadays stinks and I'd rather fill my mind and heart with something better. I just finished The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You. I just started Mom Enough: The Fearless Mother's Heart and Hope

I returned to work part time last week and it feels good to be back and having some conversations with adults. I hit the ground running and quickly dove into scheduling, finance stuff, payroll, etc. Most of my anxiety has fallen away and I am excited for the season ahead. Also, fall is coming, my very favorite time of the year. 

Week Seven. 

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Baby Sullivan | Week Six

14 August 2017

I almost missed posting this on a Monday as planned, but we have hit six weeks with this little man. He slept through the night again last night and I always feel like I've hit the sleep lottery. An uninterrupted seven hours of sleep is the best gift anyone can give me at this season of my life. 

On Sunday, we finally made it back to church. Since I work for a church, I've been avoiding it the last few weeks just because I knew that I needed to just spend time with my family and not worry about work. Honestly, I've had a lot of anxiety lately about returning to work. I spent a lot of time stupidly wondering if I would be needed upon my return. Going to church on Sunday was a breath of fresh air and I'm thankful that my anxiety has decreased majorly. As of Sunday, I am back to work part time, mostly from home for a few more weeks. It feels good to work my brain again and not just be a milk factory for a cute little dude. It felt good to have adult conversations and make my little lists. 

I turned in the paperwork for Marin to go preschool this evening. We are barreling towards the beginning of the school year at warp speed. I think it will be very good to have her around more kids twice a week. Our involvement as parents is pretty intense because it's a preschool co-op and I'm trying not to become overwhelmed by that. Lots of committees and teach days but Marin will be with a bunch of her friends and the preschool is practically across the street from us. 
I'm looking forward to fall. Sullivan is seriously such an easy baby so far. He eats well, sleeps decently well.  I've been trying to capture a picture of his cute little smile but have yet to get a good photo. He is growing so much every day. As of today, he is 44 days old. Marin is adapting to life with a sibling. I've been using Clicklist through King Soopers and not having to go into a grocery store with two kids has been wonderful. I'm heading back to work and my favorite season of all will soon be upon us. 

Lots of change around here, but I feel like I'm slowly gaining clarity for the season that is upon us. 

Week Six. 

32 Things Before 32

08 August 2017

Every year for the past few years, I've written a list around my birthday. This list consists of many things that I want to accomplish in the new year in front of me. Last year, I didn't do very well on checking items off of my list. I found out I was pregnant in October and many items on the list ended up never being completed. I was a little preoccupied with growing a human. But, now I have begun my 32nd year, Sullivan was born in July and I have created a new, fresh list, just waiting to completed.

Here is my list from last year.....

1. Read 31 books. (I read 20)
3. Get pregnant with #2.
4. Paint the outside of our house.
5. Embrace a side hustle.
6. Play a show.
7. See the ocean.
8. Make a big purchase with cash.  (We roofed our house and paid cash for it!) 
9. Get another tattoo. (Can't get inked when you are pregnant) 
12. Get a deep tissue massage.
13. Redo our basement: paint everything, new flooring, doors, etc. 
14. Finish a song. 
15. Go to a drive-in movie. 
16. Start writing a book. 
17. Thrift more. 
18. Increase our curb appeal.
19. Travel somewhere new. 
20. Build up an emergency fund. (About half way there...) 
21. Meal plan and decrease our grocery budget. 
22. Purge the entire house, every room!
23. Develop a product or new venture.  
24. Get family pictures taken. 
27. Read the Dark Tower Series, Harry Potter Series, and Anne of Green Gables Series. (I made it about half way through two of these series) 
28. Take a class. 
29. Seasonal Fun: pumpkin patch, picking strawberries, the zoo, parades, the fair, etc. 
30. See a show at Red Rocks
31. Splurge on the perfect pair of jeans. 

Here is my list for this new year....

1. Read 32 books. 
2. Learn how to use my pressure cooker & air fryer. 
3. Re-do our basement. 
4. Paint the outside of our home. 
5. Landscape our yard and rebuild back porch. 
6. Replace all interior doors. 
7. Create a plan to become debt free by 2020 (including student loans....) 
8. Rejoin Weight Watchers meetings
9. Get another tattoo
10. Get family photos taken & print some photo books. 
11. Finish writing a song. 
12. Go to the dentist and the doctor for exams. 
13. Get a massage. 
14. Family walks. 
15. Take a family vacation. 
16. Have time away with my hubby. 
17. Embrace a side hustle. 
18. Breastfeed Sullivan for one year. 
19. Reset up the practice space and actually play our music gear. 
20. Design a product. 
21. Go to the drive-in. 
22. Blog consistently and revamp blog layout. 
23. Finish reading the Bible In a Year. 
24. Go to a concert. 
25. 12 date nights. 
26. Take a Barre Method Class
27. Finish the Dark Tower/Harry Potter Series. 
28. Get a facial. 
29. Take one self-portrait a month. 
30. Grow something. 
31. Start a new family tradition. 
32. Start saving money for our 10 year anniversary trip. 

I am ready to dive head first into this new year. I feel like I'm just beginning the journey once more of re-learning how to be myself after having a baby. I'm excited for what this year holds. Hello thirty two. 

Baby Sullivan | Week Five

07 August 2017

Week Five, here we are. We made it through the first month of a newborn and a toddler. We made it through the first month of nights with lots of wake up calls, feeling like I'm just simply a milk machine, and learning how to live our lives with two children. 

Little Sullivan is growing like a weed. He eats like a champ, usually every 3 hours or so at the moment. Some nights we only wake once, some nights we wake twice. We gave him his second bath and he just chills while in the tub. He naps decently well and I have no idea how I'm going to function in reality once he doesn't just eat and sleep all of the time. 

Marin is still adjusting but loves her little brother. She always asks to hold him and kisses his little fuzzy head when I'm nursing. We've had our share of tantrums lately but overall she is adjusting well to being a big sister. As long as I rope her in to help, we seem to be doing well. As I said in the past few weeks, having family take her for extended periods of time to get her out of the house has been a life saver. She has started mimicking me when I nurse with her bunny Bernie and a little nursing pillow. Our kids are always watching us. It's adorable. 

I go back to work from home, part time next week. This is my last week of total freedom and hardly any responsiblities. Part of me is ready to transition back into something that will get my brain working again but the other part of me doesn't want this season to end. Just being able to hang out with our kiddos all day is pretty dang awesome. I don't think I could ever be fully a stay at home mom, but these last few weeks have been very needed for my sanity and to heal from his birth. 

Week Five. 

Baby Sullivan | Week Four

31 July 2017

Today we find ourselves at week four of having Baby Sullivan with us. We are getting into the groove of things and our days are slowly starting resemble some sort of routine with two kids. I am super thankful for all of the family members that have been taking Marin for outings during the day when I feel a little overwhelmed by having two kiddos. It's good for her to get out of the house and go on lots of adventures. It also gives me the time to really spend time with Sullivan with no interruptions.

I am finally off of antibiotics and my c-section incision is finally healing up nicely. I'm driving now. I am vacuuming my house once more. Hallelujah. I have yet to take a nice long soak in a bathtub but I think that will occur sometime in the next week or so. I really miss my baths. 

We had a number of firsts this past week as well. We gave Sully his first official bath. He wasn't totally thrilled but didn't cry at all. Marin was there to help, of course. I am always trying to find ways to have her help me out...grab me a diaper....can you hand me that burp rag....will you pick out his outfit for the day? I know this transition hasn't been the easiest on her so I try to involve her in every way that I can. 

We also had one night where Sullivan slept all night. I fed him around 9:30pm or so and then we put him down. The next thing I know, I hear him on the monitor and look at my clock to only see it say 5:30am! I was shocked. We haven't had a stretch of sleep like that pretty much ever with him. I was very uncomfortable though because I hadn't nursed for an extended period of time, but I was very thankful for some uninterrupted sleep. 

We are planning on going on a date night this week for my birthday and to see the Dark Tower movie. That will be really the first time I've been away from him for an extended period of time. I'm confident he will be in great hands but I need to work on pumping to build up a supply for these type of occasions. I'm also getting my nails done on Wednesday and will be away from him for a bit there. It's all part of the process and I need to have some time to take care of myself. As the quote says, "You can't pour from an empty cup." 

Week Four. 

Baby Sullivan | Week Three

24 July 2017

Here we are at week three. I'm starting to go pretty stir crazy and really need to get out of the house. Due to my infection from my c-section, I haven't been cleared quite yet to drive. I've been homebound for far too long. My goal is to drive to pick up Marin from my parent's house tomorrow evening. It's time. I can't take this much longer! At least we have air conditioning now in our home. 

Sullivan is growing like a weed already. He went in for his 2 week check last week and was close to 10 pounds already. With the way he has been eating, it would not surprise me one bit if he is already at the 10 pound mark. He's still a great eater. He has been giving us longer stretches of sleep every once in a while at night and I am super thankful. 

Daddy has been back to work the past few days. I am very thankful for lots of visitors and grandparents that take Marin for the day every once in awhile. Just being able to focus on Sullivan for a little period of time helps me feel like I have my head above water. It makes having a newborn seem easy. Having a newborn and a toddler, totally different story! Marin has been a great helper for the most part but I know she's going stir crazy most days too. I'm not a fan of the amount of screen time we've had lately but I know this is just a season of transition. Fall is coming, preschool is coming. I will go back to work. This will all change soon. 

At three weeks, Sullivan is eating every three hours during the day. We've had longer stretches of sleep at night. He doesn't hate tummy time and is getting a lot more alert. He's already so strong and is starting to hold his head up. He's still in size one diapers and is wearing 3 month old onesies. 

Week Three. 

Maternity Leave Goals

19 July 2017

I am a creator of lists. I thrive off of them and love being able to feel accomplished. I need this intensely in my life right now. Maternity leave has challenged me already and we are only a few weeks in. I don't do well with not doing much. I like to do things, to accomplish things, to meet my goals head on. I don't like not being able to drive, or really clean, or lift my toddler. Thanks, C-Section. It's been swell so far. But, we are getting there. 

Ryan heads back to work tomorrow and I'm trying to not psych myself out too much. We will get into a routine. We will see the other side of this transition. I will be able to shower someday without a baby bouncer in the bathroom and a toddler out in the hallway with her books. I need to give it time. 

One thing I am sure of though is that I want to soak in this time that I do have. I will probably never have this opportunity again. No work for many weeks and time available to spend with my family. These are priceless times. They will be gone before I know it. SOAK IT ALL IN. 

I want to set a few goals for my leave though. I read somewhere that it's wise to make small goals with low expectations during a season like this. Things will not get accomplished. Sometimes just hanging out with my kids will be more than enough. They need to be fed. They need naps. They need adventures. 

Here are a few things that I have been thinking about lately...

  • Revamp our budget. 
  • Organize our closets. We need to get rid of a lot of clothes that we no longer wear and I would like to not see my maternity pants any longer. 
  • Work on creating a good newborn/preschooler schedule. 
  • Start a workout program, slowly...and follow through. (Once I have been given the ok from my doc.) 
  • Rejoin Weight Watchers and find a meeting that works with our schedule and two children. 
  • Treat yo self (Any Parks & Rec fans out there?) Get my hair done, get a pedicure. 
  • Have a few playdates/coffee dates with other moms and families. Get out of the house!
  • Make date night a priority. 
  • Redesign this blog. It's time for a fresh, new look. 
  • Work on a few, very simple house projects. 
I know some people out there will think that I'm crazy, but this is how I roll. I do love a good list. 

Small goals, low expectations. 

Baby Sullivan | Week Two

17 July 2017

We have survived the first week of newborn life and today marks week two for little Sullivan. I feel like the fog of newborn-ness is wearing off ever so slowly and I'm slowly starting to feel like a human once more. Ever so slowly. 

My healing process has been so different from my birth with Marin. I am definitely not a huge fan of having a c-section. Turns out, I have a little infection and I have been on antibiotics for the past few days. I'm ready to be able to pick up my toddler and vacuum my house. We are slowly getting there but this has been totally different from last time. 

My quiet mornings look quite different now. 
Baby Sullivan is a little champ and I am so thankful for that given the transition from one to two children. Ryan goes back to work on Thursday and I am pretty much trying to slowly figure out how to do life with two kids in tow. It's a totally different ball game. I have a feeling that I will be lucky to get a shower in and eat meals at normal times. Luckily Marin can go to the bathroom pretty much by herself and is fairly independent. We have had some extra tantrums from her lately though and I know she's adjusting to life now just like the rest of us. I keep having to remind myself of that. We are all in transition. We will all be ok. These days are going to pass by so quickly. 

Checking on baby brother
He is eating well and I am super thankful for the fact that he is a good eater. Breastfeeding with Marin was a pretty big struggle for the first month or so. This feels so different from that. We've even had a few longer stretches of sleep at night, only two so far, but I will take what I can get at this point. Any extra sleep I get helps me to not be such a zombie during the day. 

His skin has been freaking out a bit but I feel like it's finally starting to calm down. He's almost lost his umbilical cord and we will give him his first bath soon. He was circumcised a week ago and that is healing up very well.  

Overall, we are all just learning how to do life together as a family of four. I've had to take it slower than I would normally like. Marin is learning how to be big sister and not be the center of attention at all times. We are once again in the learning phase of parenting. We are trying to keep everything resembling some sort of order but sometimes we just need to embrace the chaos. 

I am trying to relax and soak all of my maternity leave in. So much of me still thinks about work and how things are going there. I just need to chill out and focus on where I am. All of this will pass very quickly and I will soon be back to the chaos of work along with two kids. I just keep telling myself...

The days are long but the years are short. 

Soak it in. 

Baby Sullivan. Week two.

Baby Sullivan | Week One

10 July 2017

With Marin, I did weekly posts documenting her first year. I kept it up for all 52 Weeks and I'm pretty proud of myself for that. I love that I can go back and see how much she changed and grew in the course of one year. There's a quote that comes to mind regarding parenthood: the days are long, but the years are short. I want to capture every moment that I can. 

I hope to document Baby Sullivan's first year the same. Granted, with Marin, I lugged around my DSLR camera and shot solely with that. This time around, I'm realizing that I am without my camera most of the time and will be documenting most everything via my phone. I have a preschooler and a newborn now. Mommy doesn't always have the capacity to shoot a photo the old school way. 

Sullivan is a week old as of today. The first few days of his time here on earth were spent at the hospital. Since I had a c-section, we stayed 3 nights this time. His sugar levels were pretty low and they monitored them very closely. A lot of that had to do with the fact that he's a pretty big baby. Every three hours or so, they would prick his adorable little heel and test his sugar levels. Luckily, after the first few days, everything was back where it needed to be and the monitoring ceased. 

We are getting in a great groove with nursing. With Marin, those first few weeks were super hard because her latch wasn't very awesome. Sully has been eating like a champ and I feel like Wonder Woman. I've been pumping like a crazy person as well and I'm already working on a stash for when I return to work. 

We are just taking each day as it comes at this point. We settle more into a routine with every feeding, every diaper change,  every length of time of sleep. He's sleeping in his crib at night and takes other naps in his swing/bouncer. We are learning the difference between day and night. Our nights have honestly not been too bad either. Once I was able to actually sleep on my side instead of awkwardly sleeping on my back practically sitting up, everything seemed to fall into place. A c-section is no joke though. The healing process this time around has been so different. 

I feel like this time around has been a lot easier. The transition has been pretty smooth. Marin is warming up to her little brother for the most part. I can tell that she's dealing with not being the center of attention all of the time though. I'm trying to make sure that she doesn't feel left out. She's been a great helper so far. 

Baby Sullivan...Week One. 

Baby Sullivan | A Birth Story

09 July 2017

My due date with Sullivan was Friday, June 30th. Just like last time with Marin, we blew right past that day and I knew that we would still be waiting for a bit of time before his big arrival. My maternity leave officially started July 1st and I was left to wait and wait and wait. Luckily, I didn't have to wait nearly as long as Marin (you can read her birth story here). With her, we were 10 days overdue and I thought I would be pregnant forever. I was ready for Sullivan's arrival whenever he was ready and willing to enter into this world. I had told Ryan that I thought we would have him Monday. 

And we did. 

Sunday, July 2nd was like most days aside from the fact that this was my first official day off from work. It felt pretty strange to not be getting up at 5am and heading into the walls of church to start the day. I won't walk those halls for a little while and that's still strange to me. It's odd to know that time moves on swiftly without you and you have to be alright with realization. 

Marin and I hung out for the day. Ryan went to work. I remember sitting at the kitchen table with Marin. She was eating her typical dinner that included dinosaur chicken nuggets, of course. She eats VERY SLOWLY most of the time so we were just chilling and talking about Baby Sully. I kept getting this feeling though, this evening it would happen, I would go into labor. My body was telling me to get ready. My mind was going through all of my lists and I couldn't help but wonder if I had packed everything that we would be needing once we got to the hospital. 

At 8:50pm that night my water broke in our kitchen. I had been having a good deal of more intense contractions by that point. Our amazing doula, Tamara, was notified and was sitting at my kitchen table when my water broke. My water breaking was so different than with Marin. It really was like in the movies where you are at the supermarket and the next thing you know you are wondering if you wet yourself as you stand in a puddle. This was only the beginning. 

We labored at home for many hours. I decided to watch the new episodes of the X-files to keep my brain occupied as I recorded contraction times on my phone. We made it four episodes in and then tried to lay down and sleep for a while. The contractions kept waking me up because their intensity was slowly increasing. We decided it was time to head to the hospital. 

We pulled into the hospital at 3am, July 3rd. Checked in, got hooked up to monitor the baby, and continued to labor. 

I soaked in the huge bath tub for a long time, smelling of essential oils, and taking each wave of contractions as they would come. 

Time passed and we found that my contractions were getting slower. They administered Pitocin in an IV to try and jump start the process. I had somehow forgotten the pain from Marin's birth. You go to this place, this deep, guttural place where you have to become a warrior and just face the pain. You must ride the wave of contractions. You must let your body do its thing. I am so incredibly thankful that we had our doula with us again. I truly don't think I would have made it through this point without her. She would help me get through the contractions by pushing on certain pressure points and was a support system that Ryan and I are very thankful for. 

Laboring on the birthing ball. 
I did that for what seemed like an eternity. Then is was time to push. I pushed for quite a while. A contraction would hit and then everyone would yell, "PUSH, PUSH, PUSH!!!!!" I did. I gave it everything I had within me. 

By this point we were about 13 to 14 hours in. The pushing just wasn't working. 

This is very similar to what we went through with Marin but this birth story ends a bit differently than hers. 

At first it was hard for me to accept this because I like to be the strong woman, hear me roar. I birth babies with no meds! But, we decided the best route for Sully was a C-Section. This was not in my birth plan. I didn't want to have one going in to the birth but if it meant that I would be holding my baby boy in my arms and that he was healthy, I was fine with it. 

Laboring with Tamara by our side. 

While I was still in a wave of contractions, they rushed me to OR to administer a spinal. I have never experienced anything like that before. It's the strangest sensation to realize that you cannot feel half of your body, at least completely. My entire upper half was trembling the entire time, my teeth were chattering and I couldn't seem to calm down. Everyone there was so amazing and helpful though. Even though we were in a situation we didn't really want, I knew we would be fine.

They said that the cord had been wrapped around his neck and that I have an anterior lip that was keeping him from coming through the birth canal fully. This is similar to what we faced with Marin but Sully was such a big baby, a c-section was the route to take. 

My hubby would make a good looking doctor. 
I heard his cries for the first time and knew that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. He was here. 

Sullivan James Hollen. Born at 12:30pm on July 3rd. 9 lbs, 8 oz. 21 inches. 

He was a lot bigger than we were fully expecting. He didn't fit newborn diapers from the get go and was in size 1 the day he was born. I had one outfit in the hospital for him that I packed that luckily fit him. He's a tank and I love him. 

Slowly getting more confident. 

Marin is thrilled, excited, and a little sheepish around her little brother but is going to be a great big helper. 

Sully brought Marin a new movie as a Welcome to the World present. 

Our lives will never be the same. 

My heart is full. 

(All Photos By Ryan Hollen)