spring!

It’s may 1st, and while the ability for it to snow it still very much so possible, I’m calling winter over now. I’ve officially moved into my summer hours for NP school, meaning I am in my last semester. Whoofta. While I am done with actual university classes, I still have about 10 things on my check off list to do before I can be a certified, NP in SD. One thing at a time. Next on the list? Finish and defend my project on Childhood BMI Screening and pass my oral exams. No biggie (insert eye rolling sarcasm here).

our first tulip just bloomed

our first tulip just bloomed

Our Easter was wonderful, with beautiful weather, and great company. My sister-in-law came to visit, we basked in the sunlight, grilled with friends, attended sunrise service at Mt.Rushmore, and generally had a wonderful weekend. It’s the happy place I will be calling upon in the next few months as my life gets hectic.

enjoying the nice weather

enjoying the nice weather

watching daddy do yardwork

watching daddy do yardwork

Easter at Mt.Rushmore

Easter at Mt.Rushmore

strollin' on Easter

strollin’ on Easter

strollin' on Easter

strollin’ on Easter

Jackson is growing like a dandelion. Bright, cute, and almost everywhere. He hasn’t quite figured out the crawling, despite my husband’s encouragement, but I foresee it soon. On Easter he cut his second tooth (only bummer out the weekend, because he was extra clingy and grumpy on Sunday). He is my little ray of sunshine. He sleeps for 7 hours straight at night, so we still hang out once per night around 3 am. Most of the time he goes straight back to sleep, but on the unlucky occasion he cries for an hour straight before he’s back to sleep. I can’t explain why really, so Jesse and I feel helpless. We’ve tried things to help, but mostly they just encourage his awakeness, so we’ve found the best was to deal is to CIO. I wish our video monitor had a mute button for those occasions… he’s just on the other side of our wall and I can hear him just fine without the amplification of the monitor. Any suggestions to better these situations are welcome!

dang teeth

dang teeth

first pickle. he actually loved it, after the initial shock :)

first pickle. he actually loved it, after the initial shock 🙂

getting to the toys by himself.

getting to the toys by himself.

helping Gamma with the bottle calf

helping Gamma with the bottle calf

every day life <3

every day life ❤

He’ll be 8 months old next week. I have mixed feelings about this. We’re turning a corner of independence for our son. He will literally soon be able to determine his own path. I know this is the way God intended, but it makes my momma heart sad to know that every day he will crawl a little further away from needing me.

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growin’ boy

as a breastfeeding mommy, I worry sometimes if Jackson is getting an adequate amount of milk with each feeding. I think that’s a common worry. I know when I pump, I get about 5-6 oz per breast, so when he has the patience to eat until a boobie is empty, he should be getting a decent amount. Hopefully. He pees plenty, poops semi-regularly (ooooh doggie does he get pissy if he needs to poop and it’s been a few days). AND, I may kick myself for saying this, but it seems the spitting-up of entire feedings has slowed down somewhat. He’s gaining weight, that’s all I can ask for. OH, and we’ve done some 5 and 6 hour stretches of sleep this week. A-MAZ-ING!

His brain is what seems to be doing the most growing lately. He rolled from tummy to back twice this week. He’s suddenly much more interested in the world around him, crabbing at me unless he’s held looking out. He seems to be grabbing at things more purposefully. It’s so fun and amazing to watch, both as a proud mommy and a nurse that understands childhood development a little bit.  I just love knowing he’s growing new neurons every day!

SO, here are a few recent pics of our cute little man:

bathtime

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joining the bandwagon

I got NINE hour of sleep last night, albeit segmented, but still. AHH! I feel so much more motivated today!

the stuff we’ve come to appreciate after Jackson’s birth:

(sorry becky, caren, felicia, summer and belle… i’m a copy kitty)

For Jackson:

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the natursutten paci

natursutten pacifiers

everyone comments on his “huge” pacifier. it’s a natursutten paci, and he loves it – the big nob on the end makes it easy for him to keep it in his mouth. I agree, it’s not pretty to look at and takes over his face, but I’ve tried to switch him to something else, and he won’t.

the booginhead pacigrip

we have one of these on almost every paci, and it is so convenient to hook it to his clothes. the only time I don’t like to use it is when he’s sleeping on his back, as I worry he’ll choke himself somehow, even though that would be pretty far fetched.

booginhead paci holder

booginhead paci holder

the tommee tippee bibs

they have extra “dribble catcher” fabric. we use bibs about 90% of the time. these are soft, match everything, and keep some of the spit up away from his little neck. we also love the ones from gerber and carters.

tommee tippee bib

tommee tippee bib

the aden & anais burpy bibs

these are awesome for the diaper bag because they double as burp cloths and bibs. I like them for bibs when I’m traveling across the state with Jackson because they are big, like a cape, and protect him, his clothes and the car seat. plus they’re soft and absorbent.

burpy bibs

burpy bibs

baby kisses baby socks

baby kisses socks

baby kisses socks

these are the only socks I found that would stay on Jackson’s little feet when we brought him home. And while these are plain, they also come in all sort of fun colors and patterns.

grapeseed oil 

grape seed oil

grape seed oil

I used this through my pregnancy and loved it. Now I use it on Jackson’s scalp for his cradle cap. Works like a charm.

gripe water

mommy's bliss gripe water

mommy’s bliss gripe water

this stuff is great at settling an upset tummy, and for a spitty guy like Jackson, we love it, and so does he. When he definitely has an upset tum-tum, a dropper full of this settles him right down.

Infantino Twist & Fold Gym

infantino twist and fold gym

infantino twist and fold gym

 

This thing is obviously the toy of the year – it seems like everyone has the exact same one, and it’s easy to see why. Jackson loves to lay under it and stare at the toys or himself (for about 10 minutes tops, then he’s bored again). It comes with a little bolster that is great for tummy time. AND out cat loves it too.

The Turtlemeter

turtle thermometer

turtle thermometer

This bathtime thermometer floats in the water, is easy to read, is inexpensive, and is pretty cute. We use it for every bath, and upon someone else’s suggestion, I used it in the tub when I was pregnant to make sure my bath water wasn’t too hot.

Lamaze Baby Toys

lamaze toys

lamaze toys

These toys are bright, cute, and eye-catching for baby. Plus they all have a clippy-thingy so they can be hooked to his playmat or the car seat.

Sooth & Glow Seahorse

sooth & glow sea horse

sooth & glow sea horse

We take this thing on every over night trip. We’ve used it almost every night since Jackson was born. He loves this thing, it gives off a soft glow, and the music is tolerable.  The other night it died. I got up in the middle of the night to find a tiny screwdriver to remove the tiny screws to change the batteries. It is that important to us.

The VTech Sooth & Surprise

v tech sooth and surprise

v tech sooth and surprise

THIS THING IS THE BEST RIGHT NOW. Jackson is in love with this thing, it sits by his changing table and he loves the music, lights, and moving stuff in it. My bestie gave this to us after her girls used it and loved it. It is priceless to us right now. The best part? It automatically turns on when it hears the baby cry. Smart toy.

BOOKS:

our favorite books

our favorite books

 

Jackson loves to read and stare at books. I especially love the Eric Carle books, the Nancy Tillman books (they make me cry), and the bright Pantone Color book. We have most in book form and downloaded on the kindle so I don’t have to carry them in the diaper bag and risk losing them. I love books and hope to pass that love on to my children.

 

for breastfeeding:

the arden dairy fairy bra

MUST HAVE for a pumping mother. I wear them on days when I need to pump away from home.  They are awesome, all-in-one, nursing bras that enable me to eat my lunch and pump Jackson’s at the same time!

arden dairy fairy bra

arden dairy fairy bra

and for at home I love the leading lady bras… soft, comfy, and mine have soft cups in them to hide breast pads.

leading lady bra

leading lady bra

a friend gave me a nursing tank as a baby gift, it was a Gilligan O’Malley nursing tank. LOVE. It has thicker, soft straps, washes well, and is long enough to cover everything. I ordered 3 more from Target.

gilligan o'malley tanks

gilligan o’malley tanks

and my favorite breast pads are by far the bamboobies. they are soft, absorbent, and non-leaky.  I really like the over-night ones. and BONUS, if you write a review for them, they send you a free set. FREE!!

bamboobies

bamboobies

for everything else breastfeeding… I have a Medela double pump, but beyond that, I like the Lanisoh stuff better – the gel pads, the disposable nursing pads, the breastmilk storage bags… oh, and we use lifefactory glass bottles. they rock.

of course, I wasn’t paid to endorse any of these products, they are just the ones we like 🙂

jackson’s nursery

Jesse finally put together the bookshelf in Jackson’s nursery, so I feel like it’s pretty much complete. It’s bright, colorful, and fun. I don’t have a great camera, and I took these in the evening, so there’s no natural light to steal, but you’ll get the jist.

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my favorite giraffe in his room.

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I had these made with jpg files I created, which is hilarious, because I am NOT a graphic designer of any sort of the word. but I was proud of how they turned out.

I love books, I hope Jackson does, too. I also love giraffes, but I have a feeling he may not share that sentiment.

I love books, I hope Jackson does, too. I also love giraffes, but I have a feeling he may not share that sentiment.

bad pic, but this is the glider I recovered, and the dresser I painted.

bad pic, but this is the glider I recovered, and the dresser I painted.

again.

again.

Jackson and Daddy watching me work my photography skills. haha

Jackson and Daddy watching me work my photography skills. haha

I’m proud of this room mostly because it’s full of personal touches from me. I made the mobile and the crib rail bumpers, the crib skirt and the toy box liner, designed the pics on the wall, recovered the chair, repainted the dresser, painted the room… all for my little man.

oh, I forgot my friend took these when she did JackMack’s newborn photos… much better pictures 🙂

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2 weeks away from home

I went “back east” a couple weeks ago and stayed for 2 weeks for school. I’d had this planned out for months… it was such a good plan in my mind. I’d have a new baby and could take him home and he could bond with his family that lives so far away while I did my specialty rotations for school. And on the weekend in between, Jesse would travel back east, too, and we would have Jackson baptized. Brilliant. um, or not…

Yes, Jackson got amazing quality bonding time with almost all of his family. THAT I do not regret.

proud, proud grandpa rog... no pics of gamma mary, as she was usually behind the camera.

proud, proud grandpa rog… no pics of gamma mary, as she was usually behind the camera.

tv time with papa steve

tv time with papa steve

great grandma #1 (she's 85)

great grandma #1 (she’s 85)

great grandma #2 (she's 84)

great grandma #2 (she’s 84)

And the baptism went well. I was so happy to have him baptized by our favorite priest in the church where we were married. Before I went back east I kinda forgot I would need a cake and food for all these people, but ended up ordering what I needed when I got there, and it was great.

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if you know us, you are totally un-surprised that Jackson has 4 Godparents instead of the standard 2.

if you know us, you are totally un-surprised that Jackson has 4 Godparents instead of the standard 2.
Jackson loved having the warm water pour on his little head.

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BUT… for me? The 2 week stent of having my newborn away from our home and my husband was very stressful.  It made my anxiety boil at times. I was attempting to get (any) sleep at night, be professional and intelligent during the day, shuffle my baby hither and skither with all of his necessary stuff, deal with my mother in law giving me attitude about the amount of time she was getting with the baby (augh…), pumping enough to feed the baby during the day, as well as plan a baptism that 30+ people were planning on attending. Oh, and go to class somewhere in there and get my homework done. PLUS graciously attend a baby shower my in-laws threw us.

{ and just for fun… I got a migraine on the second Monday there. Tell ya what… single mothers are a wonderment to me. How does one get sick with a newborn and no help?? It is beyond me. I had LOTS of help, GREAT help. THANK GOD. }

getting home to my husband was so relieving.  for all of us.

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Here’s the good thing: Jackson did great. He was happy. Thriving. He didn’t know momma was nutty. So it was all good.

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Happy Halloween!

the first month

Like I said last night, I cannot believe this little man is a month old. Actually, I take that back… considering how much we’ve done and been through, I can believe it… in fact, he should be about 4 months old based on life experiences. That’s what he gets for being born into a busy, busy family.

our birth announcements... my mom took this picture when he was about 5 days old.

our birth announcements from tinyprints.com… my mom took this picture when he was about 5 days old.

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in the last month we’ve gotten to know the little man that was busy growing inside of me for the previous 40 weeks.

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we’ve learned that he is impatient, strong willed, and serious.

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but that he will melt into your arms when his tummy’s full. and he could care less if his diaper is dirty.

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we love daddy snuggles

we’ve learned that bath times are wonderful until we are out of the water… then they suck.

first real bath

first real bath

 

we’ve endured momma in the hospital. two 800 mile round-trips back east. a blizzard with a power outage. sending momma back to school. and he’s still a happy guy, I think.

 

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ready for our 1 month check-up… 9 pounds, 13 ounces!

first tummy time

first tummy time

put our uggs on for the snowstorm :)

put our uggs on for the snowstorm 🙂

 

we love staring at books. and ripping the paci out of our own mouth.

we love staring at books. and ripping the paci out of our own mouth.

moby time with momma

moby time with momma

 

 

the simple. and the complicated.

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loving my son is simple. it’s easy and as natural as breathing, as involuntary as my heart beating.

but I’m not sure I’m enough.

I had to start clinicals this week. I had to leave my baby with his nanny, who loves him, but who is not me. I’m am ridiculously jealous of her. I keep telling myself to forge on, finish, and make the McMillan household a more financially stable place to live. I will not quit school. I will not give up. But I just wish… it wasn’t so complicated. I wish my 12 weeks of maternity leave from my job that actually pays me, could also be a leave from school, for which I pay. I wish I could spend every hour of every day with Jackson. My Wookie.  (I know, if I actually had to spend every hour of every day with him, I’d beg for a little break – wanting what we can’t have is tough).

I pray a lot. For strength. Courage. Compassion on myself.  I am so hard on me. I feel like a not-as-good mommy. I am tired, but I am trying.

Even though breastfeeding isn’t easy – it’s time consuming and it’s 100% dependent on me – I am considering myself more and more lucky that I can do it, and do it abundantly despite stress, sickness, and fairly extreme weight loss.  I will give him that gift. I cannot be with him every hour of every day, but I can nourish him when I am away. I am trying.

And, I am getting better at letting my husband help, he is getting better at helping. It’s a mommy thing, I think, to feel we know best, but I am trying.

One of my best friends sent me a link to a blog post about taking care of yourself as a new momma. Please, if you are a new momma, read it. I printed it off, folded it up, put it in my photo album in my pumping bag, and have it at my disposal whenever I need to remind myself that I am trying, and I am doing ok.

but on a much better, more beautiful note, these are Jackson’s newborn pictures… most handsome baby ever, of course. No trying necessary 🙂

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3 weeks

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2am. And I’m busy admiring your toes. And the little milk-filled clef in your chin. You just somehow managed to drink, burp, and spit up about 3 ounces of breast milk on yourself. And me. And then fall blissfully asleep, wet sleeper and all. Miraculous. And now, basking in the blue light from the TV, I just want to stare at you. And sleep. Simultaneously.

You have been with us for 3 weeks now, and it’s been a beautiful privilege getting to know you. I am ever amazed by how you’ve filled out those newborn wrinkles already. You’re pushing 10 pounds, based on the exact science of momma weighing herself holding you, then re-weighing without holding you and subtracting the difference. We’ve learned your likes, your loves, your little chatty noises. You’ve taught us devotion in a way unknown to anyone but brand new parents. We love you Jackson. Wooky. Bubba, bubbles, monk, momma’s man. You respond to all of these names. (i hope I am not contributing to a future personality disorder). See ya in a couple hours and we’ll do this all over again.
~ mommy

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jackson’s birth photos

My photographer friend gave me the CD with the birth photos on Monday when she did newborn photos for us, too. I waited to look at them until I had the time to truly look at them. And cry over them.

Cry, I did. And I probably will every time. They are magical. Priceless.

And, while very, very personal, I also wanted to share with you, my blog world. So, I made a video.

Enjoy.

ps… worry not, there aren’t any va-jay-jay shots.

a birth story.

I want this whole post to be right, to accurately portray our birth story. Jackson’s birth story. Monday I was having plenty of contractions. Some “painful,” some just annoying, and hence I was annoyed. So I cleaned. I walked. I … Continue reading