Cohen’s Nine Month Update

As of today, I have a 9 month old. Seriously, time has never flown so fast as these past 9 months. Don’t get me wrong, some days are longggg and bedtime feels like it’s never going to come, but the weeks and months seem to be flying by at a scary fast pace and now I’m already making plans for Cohen’s one year birthday (which happens to be on Thanksgiving). Last time I wrote about Cohen he was 4 months old and just learning to roll and belly laugh – looking at him now is like looking at a whole different baby!

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Let me tell you about my sweet boy…

He is HAPPY. Like seriously, he will just sit and laugh and giggle for no reason at all. My favorite is when he just starts hysterically laughing in his carseat. It is so contagious! Peek-a-boo is his favorite and the more ridiculously you say the word, the bigger belly laugh you will get. And when he sees his dad walk in after getting home from work, he crawls at super speed over to greet him, laughing and giggling the whole way. And that brings me to my next point…

He is FAST! Cohen did the worm crawl for months and we started to wonder if he would ever figure out to use his arms, but boy did he learn. He just woke up one day about 2 weeks ago and knew how to crawl. Not only that but overnight he also learned to pull himself up, climb stairs, and open cabinets. I kid you not – OVERNIGHT! And now, Cohen could be a competitive crawler, I swear. He doesn’t just meander anywhere; everything has to be super speed! With that said, his dad and I keep telling him to take his time learning to walk because we can barely keep up with him at a crawling pace, lol!

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He is HANGRY. Hungry + Angry. No joke. This kid could eat and eat and eat. He’s always been a big eater but now that he realizes what food is and can recognize it, the hangriness has reached an all time high. His average bottle is 8oz which he downs several times a day, on top of 2-3 big jars of solids, and handfuls of puffs (his most recent major obsession). When his bottle or food jar is empty, you literally have to hide it as fast as possible because he goes into meltdown mode when he realizes it’s gone. And recently, if he sees anyone eating ANYthing, he drops whatever he is doing and tries to go take their food. If he’s not eating, nobody’s eating…

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He’s also an amazing sleeper (which is in large part due to the fact that he NEVER stops moving when he’s awake, lol!). He goes to bed at 6:30pm and sleeps until 6:45am. EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT! He went from only sleeping (on me) for 1-2 hrs at a time, to sleeping 12 hrs in his crib with no fuss going down, thanks to some very diligent sleep training. Naps are hit or miss but nighttime sleep is totally wonderful! His sleep wasn’t even disrupted by his first round of teething – Hallelujah!

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Which brings me to teeth… he has TWO! He’s a little late to the teething party but a few weeks ago he finally got his two bottom teeth and, oh my, they look so cute. He had some really rough days when those teeth popped through so that’s got me dreading the future rounds of new teeth coming our way.

Hmm, what else can I tell you?

He LOVES dogs and enjoys chasing ours around the house (much to their dismay). He’s not really into reading, unless you count viciously chewing on books, but absolutely loves music! When he hears a song he likes, his entire face lights up and he will start to shake his body and dance along. That MELTS me! He loves bath time and anything involving water. He’s become quite the escape artist during diaper changes and you can often find his naked butt cruising down the hallway while we chase after him, lol! He loves being outside and especially loves grass, dirt, and swinging in his porch swing.

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To conclude, I will continue to say what I’ve said since the day he was born – this mom business is HARD work! But it’s so rewarding and so fun to watch him grow. We really love this phase he’s in right now because you can see the wheels turning constantly in his head as he figures out new things each day.

Happy 9 month birthday, baby boy. You are curious, and brave, and you bring joy to everyone you see. I love you more than I ever dreamed possible and I am so proud of everything you do!

The Honest Truth (A Review of the 21-day Sugar Detox)

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The Back Story (aka “What I Never Wanted You To Know”)

Several months ago a Facebook post caught my eye about a sugar detox. I brushed past it thinking “Oh gosh, that sounds horrible” and continued along my merry way… and by merry, I mean a not-so-merry, horribly destructive food path. Only the people in my very inner circle knew how bad my eating habits actually were, and even they didn’t know the extent of it as I hid it from everyone, sometimes even my husband.

My whole life I’ve been drawn to junk food, going from one snack to the next… An entire bag of hot cheetos? Oh yes! Follow it up with a pretzel with nacho cheese? Bring it on! What should I wash it down with? A coke? How about two! That may sound dramatic but that’s just a tiny glimpse into the way I have always eaten.

Once I had a baby, things got so much worse. My husband left on a trip for 5 weeks leaving me with a newborn and so my sleep-deprived, unmotivated, sugar-bound self would literally eat two meals of fast food EVERY. Single. Day. Wow. I never thought I would admit that to myself or anyone else, but there it is. Fast food was convenient, always sounded tasty, and was an easy excuse for me to get out of the house for a quick drive with a newborn. But the more I ate it, the more I craved it. It consumed me. I was drinking 3 to 4 cokes per day and dragging my sluggish body from point A to point B, thinking well I guess I better get some more caffeine.

All this to say, I hit ROCK BOTTOM. After a baby, my body was not “bouncing back” like I thought it would and I was stuck at 3 months post-partum looking the same as I did at 20 weeks pregnant. I hid the weight under baggy shirts and maternity tops and smiled as people told me how “great” I looked, but secretly I cringed when my husband hugged my waistline, and I cried looking at my closet full of clothes I’d surely never wear again.

I’ve always said to myself that I would never let my kids eat this way, but recently had started to worry… because how could I teach them to eat well when I didn’t even know how to myself? I had to do something drastic; something harsh, completely 180 degrees, a cold-turkey stop to my food life as I knew it. And then I remembered the book cover I had seen floating around Facebook, The 21-Day Sugar Detox. I started reading reviews, messaging friends who had done it, and scouring the web for info and resources. It was my answer! I roped in my best friend Tori (my husband also participated when he wasn’t flying) and we jumped in head first. I thought “I can do anything for just 21 days right?!” Our meal plan followed a strict Paleo diet, in addition to no sugar, gluten, or wheat. We also decided to pair our food challenge with at least 20 minutes of exercise per day.

Week 1: Let’s Do This

Tori and I prepped for the first week by doing super detailed meal planning and grocery lists. We went to Whole Foods to stock our “new” pantry, and must’ve looked like toddlers lost at an amusement park… “Excuse me Mr. Whole Foods Employee, where can I find coconut aminos and what the heck are they?” For anyone watching us, it was probably quite entertaining. At home I dove into the book of recipes and started prepping my meals, knowing that cooking from scratch for every meal with a 3-month old would be near impossible.

Over the course of the first week, I was honestly SHOCKED at how good the food was and how little time went into preparing it once grocery shopping was out of the way. I’ve never been a cook or enjoyed cooking in the slightest, but these meals were SO tasty that I started to get excited about making them. Each night we were blown away as the meals kept getting better and better. I usually hate leftovers but found myself looking forward to lunchtime just so I could eat some more of what we had for dinner the night before. And overall I saved way more time by cooking at home than if I had loaded up the baby to go drive through somewhere. All of my stereotypes about clean eating (takes too much time, costs too much, doesn’t taste good, etc) were completely blown away during just week one.

On the fitness front, I found that with a baby, a traveling husband, and working from home, the only possible time to squeeze in my workout was 9pm after the baby went to sleep. I had bought Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred and committed myself to doing it every night as the workouts were only 20 minutes long. All I can say is whoa… She kicked my booty!

Week 2: I’m Hangry

As the shiny newness and excitement of the first week wore off, the detox started to really become a challenge. Week two was rough! My cravings were coming at me in full swing, and I found myself wanting to eat things that I normally didn’t even crave. I powered through though and didn’t even cheat once, even though I thought about it many times a day. I baked every single “non-sweet treat” in the detox book and finally found a way to beat my sweet cravings with the Apple Crumble (cue the angels singing!). I started scouring Pinterest to find new recipes so that I wouldn’t get bored of my limited food options.

I continued working out, missing a day or two, but still getting my workout done at least 5 times a week, and I started already noticing a difference! I couldn’t remember the last time I could feel my abs under a layer of baby belly or after-baby-squish, but there they were making a comeback!! Seeing results in the mirror was all the motivation I needed to power on.

Week 3: Finishing Strong

The third week is when things really started to change for me. My new way of eating was quickly becoming a habit and I could easily drive past any fast food joint without needing to “just get a quick snack”. In fact, I noticed myself not even wanting or needing to snack much at all. My taste buds had also completely started to change and a handful of carrots, a green apple, or a lemon now tasted sweet. What?! Even coffee was no longer bitter to me. I was blown away. It sounds crazy. It IS crazy!

More than anything, my energy levels were THROUGH THE ROOF! I have never in my life felt energy like that surging through my body, and it felt amazing. It was as if my body was thanking me for finally giving it the fuel it needed to run on :) I found myself looking forward to going to the grocery store (also a lifetime first for me) and going around just reading food labels, which the book also taught me how to do. I was so surprised while reading labels by just how much crap I used to put into my body – even things that I thought were healthy for me.

My Results & Final Thoughts

I went into this thinking that maybe I’d learn a few new recipes and learn how to cut back on my sugar, but what I ended up coming out with was a whole new way of life. I’m not joking when I say that my life has been totally changed by these 21 days. The way I look at food is completely different. It’s so exciting! I feel confident that I can give my family the healthy meals they need and give my own body the nutrition it deserves. It’s very empowering!

Although, I don’t plan to continue eating quite as strictly as the detox required, going forward I do intend to continue eating sugar-free and gluten-free in every way that I can. I feel too good to go back to how I was eating before! My sugar stronghold has been broken and I plan to keep it that way :)

And while the main goal of this detox was to change my food habits, I did see some INCREDIBLE weight and fitness results as well. In just 3 weeks, I lost 4 inches off my waist, 1.5 inches off my hips, and 6lbs!!! Tori had amazing results too losing 5 inches off her hips – Whoa! Dedication and hard work totally pay off.

In case I haven’t made my point yet, I think everyone should do this detox. It’s just 21 days! And you never know, it might just change your whole life.

Cohen’s Four Month Update

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Do I really have a 4 month old already?! Wow, time is just going way too fast for my liking. My newborn has now become a little man with a personality all his own!

Last time I wrote, things were ROUGH! I look back on the first 6 weeks of his life and everything is a blur of complete chaos and lack of sleep. Literally the week after I wrote that post, everything shifted and got so much better and more enjoyable almost instantly. He started sleeping through the night, thanks to Babywise, a good swaddle (which we’ve now ditched – yay!), and a white noise machine. He also began smiling non-stop! I kept thinking, who’s baby is this? Where’s my fussy, won’t-sleep-more-than-an-hour-ever baby? He flipped on a dime!

And now at four months I can’t believe how much FUN he is. We’re past the sleep deprived newborn phase and get to watch him learn and grow and laugh and play. It’s the best! Every week he seems to be learning something new and fun. Every time he learns something new he gets this proud look on his face that makes me melt into a puddle :) Today he learned to mimic people, last week he learned to roll over both ways, the week before that he learned to laugh… He can now hold his head up strong and bear his weight standing on his feet (with assistance of course). He’s a little roly poly and any time I lay him down he just rolls and rolls. At his 4 month appt last week he weighed 15lbs and is in the 50th percentile for both height and weight. Everything looked great except for a case of baby eczema, which we are now treating and it is so much better. He is seriously though just the happiest baby and gives huge smiles to everyone he meets.

If you haven’t already figured it out, this little boy has stolen my heart. I will never be the same. And it just keeps getting better!!

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The Story of Baby Cohen (Birth to 6 Weeks)

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My sweet baby boy was born 6 weeks ago and between the whirlwind of life with a newborn, paired with the craziness of the holiday season, this is quite literally the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write. This post will surely be record setting in length and will probably be completed over the span of several nap times, haha! Alrighty, where to start… Let’s go all the way back to November and start from the beginning!

The Birth

After 2 months of bed rest and thinking I would deliver preterm, I was so surprised when I reached full term and was still pregnant. At my 37 week check up, I was SHOCKED (and so was my dr) to hear that I was already 5cm dilated, baby was dropped into position, and I was 100% effaced… Basically I was in labor without strong enough contractions! The dr said to expect baby any time – any MINUTE really – and couldn’t believe that I was already so far progressed with my first baby. I thought for sure that I would deliver right away, but fast forward 2 more weeks (2 VERY uncomfortable, miserable, puffy weeks) and I was right back in her office for my 39 week check, and still very pregnant.

Having spent the few days prior trying every “natural” way to get my labor going, I confessed my agony to the dr and asked if there was any way to get things to progress. (Because the baby was so very low for so long, I was in excruciating pelvic and back pain and, no exaggeration, had a hard time even walking from the pain.) After checking, I was told that I was now over 6cm dilated and the baby was at a +1 station – whoa! Even though I wasn’t having painful contractions, the dr said that I could go check into L&D whenever I was ready. She also let me know that once active labor started it was going to be FAST & FURIOUS so to get to the hospital asap! Well, it was the day before Thanksgiving and every freeway was in a gridlock so instead of risking going home and not making it back to the hospital in time, I decided it was probably best to go check in to the hospital. Here’s the last picture I took while pregnant (39 weeks)…

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After checking in and finding out that they were going to keep us there, we got really excited about the reality that we would soon be meeting our baby boy! My contractions were coming steady at 2-3 minutes apart but they still were not very painful and after a few hours, and several laps around the hospital floor, we realized that nothing was progressing. After some deliberation, I agreed for them to go ahead and break my water. Within a minute of my water breaking I suddenly felt pain like I never even knew existed; my water must have been seriously cushioning my contraction pain. Wow, when they say “you’ll know” when you’re having a real contraction they aren’t lying! After a few contractions I started to have the most intense back labor (it felt like the baby was pushing off my spine) so I got up and tried doing some of the techniques on the birth ball, but nothing offered any relief. (I was planning a natural birth and wasn’t on any pain meds so I was allowed to move around, use the ball, use the tub, etc however I wanted to try to manage the pain.) The contractions were coming every minute or less at that point and were so intense I couldn’t do anything more than scream and cry. The entire birthing floor could hear my wailing. I didn’t even know pain like that existed, nor did I know I could possibly scream that loud.

I do want to pause the story for a second just to talk about my sweet husband. He was such an incredible coach through my contractions, doing whatever he possibly could to help me, and reminding me that it would be over so soon. Jake, the guy who has a horrible fear of needles and passes out at the sight of blood, stood by me through everything and never wavered. He kept telling me to “think of the little socks”, referring to the tiny socks that Cohen would wear coming home, and that helped me keep perspective on why I was going through the pain. Okay now back to the story…

At that point I decided I could no longer handle a natural birth and started begging for an epidural. They had me climb back on the bed to check my progression and found that I was fully dilated and it was time to push (aka no chance of an epidural). After finding out that I couldn’t have the drugs I became super irate, demanding they had to give me SOMETHING (lol!). To distract me, one of the nurses started putting a fake IV in my hand telling me drugs were on the way. By the time I figured out she wasn’t actually going to give me meds, it was time to focus on pushing the baby out. She was so smart in tricking me through the horrible transition! Next I pushed for 24 minutes and out came my baby boy! The pushing was exhausting and excruciating, and I don’t think I even opened my eyes once that whole time. It was just a mixture of focus and unbearable pain and I just listened to the voices of everyone coaching me, while screaming like a crazy person of course. What was so incredible was how as soon as he came out, I no longer felt pain… Just so much joy holding him in my arms! Such instant relief! I held him skin to skin for a long time, studying the little face I had dreamed about for so long. He was perfect! 8lbs 6oz of beautiful, healthy baby boy. It was so incredible that only an hour and a half after my first “real” contraction, he was in my arms! And even better, seeing him in the big arms of my husband made my heart melt. Jake was so happy to meet his little mini-me.

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After a good night’s sleep (and a long hot shower), I celebrated Thanksgiving in the hospital room with my brand new family of 3. It was so surreal – I have no words to describe how I felt those first 24 hours with Cohen. Indescribable LOVE and JOY!

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We spent just one night in the hospital and then headed home with our little guy on Thanksgiving night. It felt crazy to be driving him home. Jake and I had no idea what we were doing and couldn’t believe he was solely in our care now – eek! I’ve never seen Jake drive more careful or be more nervous as he was on our drive home from the hospital :)

Weeks 1 & 2

The first two weeks having Cohen home were INCREDIBLE. Honestly, I’ve never felt such a high like that in my life. It didn’t matter that I was barely sleeping or that I was recovering with a ridiculous amount of stitches, I was so immensely filled with a joy that I have never felt. We had lots of family in town that first week and they helped with all the housework, meals, etc so I got to spend lots of quality time getting to know my son. It was perfect.

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At 4 days old, we had his newborn checkup and it went really well. He had lost weight down to 7lbs 11oz (which we were told was within normal range) and the pediatrician commented that he had really great neck and leg strength. Is it weird that those comments made me feel proud? Motherhood is the strangest love… I mean, I even feel proud when he does a good burp, haha!

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At 10 days old, we had Caroline from Kipper Photography come to our house for Cohen’s newborn photoshoot. We wanted a casual, lifestyle shoot with nothing too posey or fake, and we think they turned out totally perfect! Here’s a look at a few of our favorites…

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At 2 weeks old, Cohen had another checkup and had gained back all of his birth weight and got a full, healthy report! So very thankful for the blessing of a healthy baby.

Week 3

The third week is when reality of newborn life started to kick in. Cohen went from sleeping 4 hour night stretches to sleeping no more than an hour (mayyyybe two) at a time. He was going through a growth spurt and just needed to eat constantly, which meant major sleep deprivation for me, and anytime I set Cohen down he would immediately start screaming. Jake also left on an 8-day trip during this week that left me home alone fending for myself with a baby for the first time. It was this week that made me long for the “old days” of sleeping in, cruising the aisles of Target alone, sitting and reading in a coffee shop, ah… This new mommy life is a 180 degree transition from the “selfish life” with no babies. I definitely went into survival mode during this first week on my own. Cohen and I got to know each other very well, and I don’t think I ever changed out of my pjs :)

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Week 4

Week four brought us Christmas, and with that, TONS of family members at our house. It was a wonderful break for this mommy! I would feed Cohen and then simply pass him off to one of the many grandparents, aunts, etc that were dying to hold him. The grandparents even took over diaper duty too – yeah! My mom took some of the night shifts with Cohen and I finally started to get caught up on sleep. We had an awesome Christmas filled with games, movies, presents, shopping, and sooo much food :)

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And in the blink of an eye, Cohen was already 1 month old, and weighing in at 10lbs! Right around the 1 month mark Cohen really started becoming more active and enjoying staring at his mobile and other toys. He also discovered his hands and started to grab at everything!
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Week 5

At the beginning of the fifth week, we took advantage of having the grandparents still here and Jake and I went on our first official date night. We went to a super cute, fancy Italian restaurant and enjoyed a baby-free night out (although we probably talked about Cohen 75% of the time, haha!)

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As sad as it was for the parents and visitors to all head home, I went into week 5 determined to “figure out” life with a newborn. While I realize he is too young for any REAL sleep training, I started getting him into an eat, play, sleep routine on roughly a 3.5hr rotation. He fell into this loose schedule wonderfully and it quickly started to pay off with us getting a little more sleep and having our life be slightly more predictable. We even took a full day trip into the city and it went so well! Week 5 was awesome :)

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Week 6

And that brings us to this past week – week six – or what I will probably always remember as (excuse my french, but…) the “growth spurt from hell”. Oh yes, JUST when I thought we had this awesome little routine going, everything flipped. Apparently the 6 week growth spurt is very common and expected, but yikes, it was a rough one. Cohen needed to eat every hour or two, day AND night! And not just snack feedings but full on meals. It sounds crazy but I could actually see him getting bigger and outgrowing his clothes on a daily basis, and within a week he went from fitting perfectly in newborn onesies to BARELY fitting in 3 month clothes. No exaggeration.

And of course, during this 2nd major growth spurt of his, Jake got put on another trip, leaving me to fend for myself during those rough sleepless days and nights. I didn’t know it was physically possible for a person to be so completely sleep deprived and still function. This last week I was an absolute zombie. My phrase that I constantly said to Cohen as he screamed and then ate, screamed and then ate (repeat) was “Good thing you’re cute, little guy!”

I also had my 6 week post postpartum check last week, and while it went very well (all healed up and got the green light for exercise – yeah!), I also learned that both Cohen and I had an infection of thrush. It actually eased my mind to find this out because I had been thinking that it was normal for breastfeeding to be that painful, when actually it’s not supposed to be and I just needed antibiotics. The infection was also probably partly responsible for Cohen’s extreme 6 week fussiness. Anyways, we both got our meds, are on the way to recovery now, and praying that it doesn’t come back (as I’ve heard thrush can be a viscous cycle).

I’m surprised that I even have ANY pictures to show for week 6. I suppose it’s fitting that the only pics I have he is either completely milk drunk, screaming, or I look totally exhausted…

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But thankfully growth spurts and infections don’t last forever, and just as quickly as it all came on, it was suddenly gone as of last night and we are now getting back to our normal routine. Well, for now at least. One of the biggest things I’ve learned so far about being a mom is that just when you think you’re figuring things out, everything changes! And faster than I ever imagined I’ve watched my little tiny newborn turn into a 12+ lb, almost 7 week old infant. Say what?! People aren’t kidding when they say it flies by.

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More than anything I’ve realized that I’ve never given moms enough credit for how hard they work. I had NO idea! It’s incredible how such a small little human can turn your world completely upside down. It really is a labor of love though and every time my sweet little guy looks up at me and smiles I melt into a million pieces. Having him may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but he is hands-down the greatest thing I’ve ever done!

Welcome to the world Baby Cohen. It’s been amazing to get to know you and I can’t wait to continue to watch you grow. You are your mama and daddy’s biggest blessing and joy!

Maternity Photo Session at Wright Park

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Even though I’ve been stuck in bed for the past month, I got permission to sneak out for a quick “mini” maternity shoot 2 weeks ago and am so glad I was able to! It was so important to me to have some photos to document this special time in our lives as we await our first baby.

Since this is my first time experiencing a true Pacific Northwest fall season of gorgeous colors (California gets very little color change in most parts), I thought it would be so fun to use the beautiful leaves and colors as the backdrop for our photos. The morning of our shoot was incredibly foggy and  cold so I was a bit unsure about how the photos would turn out, but our photographer, Carolyn Kipper, was AMAZING! She recommended Wright Park in downtown Tacoma for the setting which was absolutely perfect, and she guided us through the photoshoot capturing some very sweet and genuine moments between my hubby and I. We are so excited to have her as the photographer for our newborn shoot too in just a few weeks :)

Here are a few of our favorites from the maternity shoot!

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