Sunday, May 31, 2015

Our Newborn Lifestyle Shoot

These photos!  I love how our new family was captured!  I seriously can't get enough!  Seeing my two baby boys together.  Conor cradling a baby again.  My arms full.  And me being a nursing mother again.  There was a lot of nursing!  Liam nursed through more than half of his newborn shoot, and Finn followed suit!  Good thing I'm obsessed with nursing photos!  Here are far too many of my favorites!

And while this was already a ridiculous over share, you may even see a few more pop up on Instagram.  I just can't help myself!  But of course, I saved a couple special ones for the birth announcement!  I'm hoping to get those mailed by the end of the week; we'll see how efficient I am!

And thank you thank you thank you to Kali Poulsen Photography!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Finn Ryan's Birth Story

I have been on such a high since Finn's birth! I want to remember every little detail and have been so eager to write it down.  But at the same time, I feel like I'm still processing it all... all the feels!  I'm going to try and capture this incredible day to the best of my postpartum, hormonal abilities!  There will be lots of details, including surely a bit of TMI for some.  But if you love a good birth story, then settle in!  Here is how our little Finn Ryan came into the world.

Saturday May 2nd, my due date, came & passed with absolutely no signs of labor.  I was fine with this and ready to trust my body, my baby, and that they both would be in perfect harmony.  On Sunday I lost my mucus plug and was hopeful that labor was not too far off.  That night I started to have contractions.  Having already had one baby, I knew the familiar feeling and was instantly excited! However, they were relatively mild & infrequent.  By Monday morning they had stopped completely.  I knew that I needed to stay relaxed and continue to be patient, so I went about my normal routine and headed to forest school with Liam.  This day we were exploring a big new park with friends.  I was hopeful that all the walking might trigger my contractions to start up again, but they didn't. After a couple hours exploring the park, we ventured back home to wait and see what the rest of the day might bring.

That afternoon I decided to treat myself to an induction or "labor stimulation" massage at my local prenatal massage place.  Even if it didn't work, I needed something to help me relax and get refocused on the upcoming birth.  Lucky for me, contractions started up again on Monday night.  More intense & more frequent than the night before, but still by no means active labor.  I woke up feeling quite defeated.  It was appearing to me that I was bound to experience another long prodromal labor, and the whole process was starting to feel just like how Liam's birth began.  I spent some time chatting with my doula (Jessica) who assured me this was not and will not be like Liam's birth.  This time I was far more prepared; I was more knowledgable of what prodromal labor was and knew enough to relax and wait it out.  One thing she said which really stuck with me was that "Liam prepared [me] for this birth." She said to have Conor remind me of this through the day and to spend time with Liam to make me feel that support and preparedness for what lie ahead.  Such powerful words at just the right moment!  It brought on some tears and helped me to recenter myself.

While things were still moving along slowly, it became more and more apparent to us that I would probably be having a baby sometime that day, Tuesday, on Cinco de Mayo!  It was interesting to me that it would be the exact same gestation at which Liam was born (3 days past my official due date). Liam was curious about what was happening each time I had a contraction. He was having a hard time not being able to snuggle me constantly, so my mom took him to the library for a little adventure while I focused on my labor.  At 10am my contractions were about 8 minutes apart & moderate in pain level.  Conor & I walked around our neighborhood a bit, and then cozied up on the couch to watch an episode of Mad Men.  I relaxed by showering & curling my hair (had to take care of the important things, obviously).  Still, things were not really progressing all that quickly. It was hard to stay optimistic about this birth with the memory of a long and difficult labor with Liam still so vivid in my mind.

Around noon, my mom returned home with Liam and we all had a lite lunch together.  At this point, things seemed to change in an instant.  I could barely finish my granola before needing to go lie down.  I was no longer able to handle contractions as calmly & gracefully as I felt I could before.  The intensity was increasing, but not so much the frequency, so we continued to wait and see how things would progress.  After lunch, Liam went down for a nap, and I crawled into bed myself.  Conor finished up some work emails as I tried to mentally prepare myself for what I thought would surely be hours & hours of labor to come.  At 2:15pm, I sent out a message to all my friends from my blessingway to light their candles.  This was the last text I sent; active labor had officially begun!  Conor then pulled out my envelope of birth affirmations (my favorites are italicized throughout this post) to help give me things to focus on.  In between contractions, he would read an affirmation to me and then have me repeat it back.  This was incredibly motivating, supportive, & such a bonding experience for us during this special time.  

When Liam woke up from his nap, my mom & Conor were hoping he would get to spend some time with me, but I knew that I couldn't handle it.  I wasn't able to be present & be his mom like I normally am.  It was a tough feeling to wrap my head around, especially with my thoughts so focused elsewhere.  I asked my mom to keep Liam out of the bedroom and instead take him on another adventure.  They headed off to Jamba Juice, and I relaxed a bit knowing that he would perfectly happy having a little date with his Nana! 

Note:  I was in my own little world during active labor, so some of the details I simply don't remember.  The actual timeline itself is pretty fuzzy for me.  Conor has helped to fill in the gaps a bit, along with various phone calls & texts to help out with the timeline.
Conor was in constant contact with Jessica, updating her on my progress.  She suggested he get me into the bath to see if my contractions would stay consistent or not.  Around 3:30 that afternoon I was in our tub which really helped relieve some of the more uncomfortable pressure that I was feeling.  Conor was tracking my contractions but not sharing those stats with me, as he and Jessica just wanted me to focus on my body and what it was telling me.  While in the tub (around 3:30-4pm), Conor's notes showed that my contractions were roughly 4 minutes apart and lasting well over a minute.  He asked if I wanted Jessica to come, to which I quickly replied yes!  I was immediately anxious for her to arrive and bring the extra support & guidance that Conor and I wanted to help us welcome Finn. Conor made the call, and Jessica started heading our way! While still in the tub, I started to be somewhat vocal through my contractions; trying to keep focused on low tones & a calm body.  I would slowly say "low", or "down", or "out" with each & every contraction. This was a technique Jessica had shared with me to keep my body relaxed and from tensing up with the pain and pressure.  I was completely surprised at how vocal I was, since it wasn't something I had expected prior to this birth.
I see myself handing everything beautifully.

Around 4pm I got out of the tub, but immediately had a contraction from all that movement and collapsed right onto our bed.  When the contractions had started to really come on strong earlier, I would move to my hands & knees and Conor would apply counter pressure to my hips to help me through them.  However, in bed after the bath, his weight on the mattress seemed to make me so uncomfortable.  I needed his help, but couldn't handle him being in the bed so I kept asking him to stop and leave me alone. This was really not easy for Conor.  He immediately knew he had to get me out of bed to where he could support me again.  Here and there I was starting to have a contraction so intense that it made me feel out of control of my body.  Those were the hardest.  Conor felt helpless, so he kept encouraging me to get up and find a new position.  He was also encouraging me to get dressed, knowing at some point soon, perhaps very soon, we would be headed to the hospital.  I was adamant about not putting on clothes or moving.  Conor insisted, sensing that I was in another place at the moment, and somehow managed to throw a bralette and black sundress over my head, and eventually helped me step out of bed.  Again, the movements triggered another strong contraction and I dropped down to my hands and knees on the bedroom floor.

The power & strength of my contractions cannot be stronger than me, because it is me.

I continued my labor on all fours, as this seemed to be the most comfortable position.  Conor would give me a hip squeeze during a contraction, and I would lay down on my side, trying to rest in-between.  I was waiting for Jessica and hoping she would be arriving soon... Unfortunately, things really started escalating about the same time rush hour does through SLC and that meant traffic for Jessica on her drive to our house.  I started feeling like I really needed to use the bathroom, but I couldn't even imagine trying to get myself there.  The next two contractions my body just naturally started pushing, and I became even more vocal in the process.  I quickly realized that the "feeling" of needing to "go" that I had was actually the baby, and my body telling me it was time.  And....  I.  Was.  Pushing!  At home!
There goes all fear I hold about giving birth.  The birth will be perfect.
There goes all fear I hold about healing.  I will heal beautifully.
There goes all fear I hold about not being a good mother.   I will be enough.

Two more contractions and my water broke around 4:20pm (about 2.5 hours into active labor). This was quite a surprise to Conor and I!  We both heard a pretty loud *pop* right as a contraction was ramping up, & I felt like a big ball had just shot out!  Conor informed me that my water had just broke...  to which I rather humorously thought & said "Yeah... I know it did!" At this point, I couldn't even fathom getting in a car and driving to the hospital.  In my mind, I was not thinking beyond that current moment, then that very next moment, etc.  The hospital wasn't even on my radar.  I suddenly felt totally fine with an unassisted home birth, if that's what needed to happen.  However Conor, knowing that I was seriously pushing, immediately started scrambling to get all of our things together. We both expected that we would have had plenty of time during labor to gather our bags and the last few items we wanted with us at the hospital: those clothes we left out of our go-bags in case we wanted them before the hospital, some snacks from home to fuel me through the labor, those motivational items we wanted in our delivery room to help us through the tough and more emotional moments, all the little "last minute" things we were sure we would have time to pull together... But it was just the two of us, alone in the house, and I had progressed so quickly that he had no time to even leave my side.  My contractions were now coming so fast with absolutely no relief in between. I needed him there with me when they came on, and if he wasn't close I called to him to let him know to come back.  Just before 5:30pm, Jessica was only 5 minutes away, and I wasn't holding back; I was pushing with every single contraction.  Conor kept trying to tell me that "we are not pushing at home" and to breathe the baby down instead, but that was nearly impossible. I was in laborland and just letting my body birth the way that it needed to.

I am calm.  I am safe.  I am relaxed.

As we both anxiously waited for Jessica to arrive and assess our escalating situation, Conor kept trying to encourage me up off the floor so we could make some progress towards the car.  After protesting through numerous contractions, I finally just got up and made it to our kitchen counter.  My legs were weak and knees were shaking uncontrollably, later learning this was an effect of all the adrenaline pulsing through my body.  This was by far one of the crazier feelings I had through this whole labor experience!  Conor even held my knees stable a couple of times, seeing that I was struggling with that lack of control.  Jessica arrived at 5:25pm and immediately noticed how hard I was pushing. "Oh yeah... she's pushing!" she confirmed to Conor as she walked, right while I was in the middle of a tough contraction.  She quickly peeked under my dress and noticed that I was already bulging.  Baby was coming.  I remember her kissing my shoulder (or maybe cheek, or maybe both) and giving me the assurance that I needed.  I was ready.  My body was ready.  Finn was ready.  My team was ready.  It was finally time!  I really didn't want to get in the car (I was worried I would literally be sitting on Finn's head, which in some way, I guess I was), but I knew that going to our hospital would still be best as that was what we had planned and prepared for all along.

I made a baby that is the perfect size for my body.

Everything began to happen even more quickly; Conor barely had time to let anyone in our families know that we were headed for the hospital.  He tried to make a few very quick calls during the drive, but I would quickly cut him off, not wanting anyone to hear me "roar" in the background!  He did also very briefly get in touch with my mom, since initially my hope was that she would be able to drop Liam off with the neighbors or a friend and join us for the birth.  Conor had let her know when my water broke, but she didn't make it back to the house before we left for the hospital.  So instead of being another birth support for me, my mom continued her so very important role as Nana and stayed back with Liam.  While I wish this had gone a bit differently, it wasn't even on my mind during any portion of this active labor, and I am sure that was probably for the best!

I am strong enough. I am enough.

We had about a 12 minute drive to the hospital that was absolutely miserable; I don't think I opened my eyes the entire time.  I kept pushing with each contraction, even through Conor's constant coaching me to breathe.  During the drive, he updated me on where we were, and how many more stoplights, left turns, or right turns before we would arrive.  Jessica was following closely behind in her car and called the hospital for us to let them know we were coming in hot!  We pulled in right up front (about 5:50pm), and I had a contraction the second I got out of the car.  I was loud, and I didn't care one bit.  We told a nurse who greeted us in passing near the front doors that I did not want a wheelchair (still didn't want to sit on Finn's head). Later, Conor and Jessica said she gave us a bit of a "is she for real?!" look; probably thinking there was no way I would choose to walk in that state over getting wheeled to my room.  I had contraction after contraction while slowly shuffling my way to the delivery room.  My delivery nurses were already in there when I arrived, followed shortly thereafter by my midwife; all staff was quickly in place and ready for delivery.

As I climbed into the bed, the nurses said they wanted to get the baby's heart rate as well as do a cervical check to "see how dilated you are".  Well, they took one quick look and Finn's head was already presenting; no cervical check needed!  It still seems incredible to me to have made it through my entire pregnancy & labor with absolutely no cervical checks.  My body knew what it was doing, and I was trusting it every step of the way.  Everything felt so natural; exactly what I wanted.  Initially, I had hoped for a water birth, but we knew the tub took about 45 minutes to fill up and given how quickly things progressed for me, this was obviously not going to be an option.  This wasn't on our minds at all though as we knew how close we were to meeting Finn. At this point, my legs felt so weak and shaky that I laid back in the hospital bed instead of opting for a birthing stool or birthing bar.  My midwife was quite present yet very hands the perfect midwife!  She simply stayed close, monitored me and Finn's head through each contraction, and told me that I should push when I felt like he and I were ready to. 
I deserve this wonderful birth.

At this point, I was starting to get some relief between contractions again, which was much needed for the pushing that ensued.  The pushing at the hospital was immediately different than all the pushing before we arrived.  Initially I was just pushing because my body felt the urge; later I was pushing to actually birth my baby.  It was just different mentally and physically for me.  Much harder pushing for a much stronger purpose!  But the feeling was absolutely incredible.  This was part of the experience that I really missed with Liam's birth given the exhaustion, epidural, and just the sheer pace and irregularity of the whole experience.  This time I was in control; I knew my body was going to own this! Quite the amazing contrast the more I reflect on it.

I asked for a mirror and would try to peek at Finn's head now & then, but I mostly kept my eyes closed through this time.  About 20 minutes after arriving at the hospital, my midwife told me that I could probably have Finn out with the next couple of pushes if I wanted.  That was the extra motivation I needed!  She then told me to try and be quiet and do the next few pushes with no sound. Instead of my roar, I put all of my energy into the push.  Finn's head had been making good progress with each push, but between each contraction he would "retreat" back as my body relaxed. It was so depressing when this happened.  I would cry out "No Finn!  Don't go back in!"  Then after one contraction, my midwife excitedly told me that Finn's head was staying out to which I replied   "That's because I am holding him there!".  I knew Finn was just moments away from being placed on my chest!   Conor encouragingly told me "Let's go mama-bear!" remembering this as a motivating description of myself that I shared with him in the weeks leading up to the birth.  A few strong pushes later at 6:16pm (after only 4 hours of active labor!), Conor himself, with a little help from the midwife, guided our sweet Finn Ryan out into his hands and into the world!  He was here!!!  Everyone in the room instantly commented on how BIG he was as Conor brought him right up to me on my chest.

Finn Ryan Keenan
9 lbs 10 oz
22 inches

The feeling was truly amazing.  The whole experience was.  Finn was finally in my arms and crying his little heart out!  I loved him so much already.  I felt that wave of hormones hit me!  I was on an absolute high!  And this may sound self absorbed, but I felt beautiful! Looking back at those few pictures from that first moment with Finn, I can just see how much I was glowing with pride.  This was exactly what I wanted.  All of it.  It all went so perfectly!  As I was taking in all the sights, smells, & touches of my newborn, my midwife told me that I didn't need any "repairs"!  Seriously?!  I just birthed this big baby boy and didn't have any tearing?!  Conor and I both were amazed and recognized that the patience that our whole team had in letting Finn finally come out when he and my body wanted him to was likely the reason for such a great outcome. Especially with us fully expecting at least some damage after nearly the opposite with Liam.  I kept telling myself that my body made the most perfect sized baby for me.  I knew in that instant that my body, just like so many other mothers around the world, was a capable & incredible thing!  Finn's birth was empowering; I had never felt stronger.  It was also very much the healing experience that I had been waiting so long for.  With Liam I had felt cheated out of what I knew I had wanted... this time I was able to let my body do what it was truly meant to do and how it was meant to do it.  It was natural, amazing, & wonderful!  I was so full of pride and awe.

One thing I feel that is still a bit understated from my and Finn's story is the insurmountable amount of support that I received from Conor, Jessica, & my mom.  I never could have made it through this journey without them.  Conor was such a dedicated & strong birth partner.  I felt so fortunate to have him by my side every step of the way.  I love how much he understood me & supported me in my desire for a natural birth.  And while Jessica may have only been physically with us for less than an hour of my very fast labor, she was still a crucial part of my support team.  She instilled in me all of the confidence and wisdom I needed going into the birth.  She calmly talked me down when I was getting frustrated in the early stages.  She was a constant for me.  I had so much trust in her!  She prepared me for the experience long before labor even began.  It was a special moment to have her too next to me right when our new baby boy arrived and the time thereafter.  That moment bonded us together far more than you could ever imagine.  Four months ago she was just a stranger; now she is family.  Lately, I have been jealous of all the new pregnant women who get to start their journey with her!  And my sweet mom...  She was there in those early stages.  She was the perfect sounding board for some of my fears.  She was the warm hand on my back & the comfort that only your mother can provide.  But mostly importantly she took care of my first little boy, my Liam.  I never would have been able to focus completely on Finn, had she not been the one to be there keeping Liam safe for us.  I have full & complete trust in her and that was so enabling in all those critical moments!  She loves him as fiercely as any grandmother can, and she cares for him just as I do as his mother.  My mom was there for every need that our family had that afternoon and for that I am so very grateful!

So that is how we met our perfect Finn Ryan Keenan!  There is so much more to share about my natural birth experience, doula experience, recovery, & big brother's first meeting of Finn, but I will end here and save those moments for later posts. I am sure I could write about this forever & forever.  Conor & I can't stop talking about it with each other.  I'm always eager to share my story with anyone who cares to listen. Perhaps, as before, there will be a few out there who will find some inspiration in my experiences that will help them in their own journey. I can only hope that these words will help to motivate and empower in that way, even if just a little.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

First Day with Two

Today, with Finn being exactly three weeks old, I had my first solo day taking care of both boys. I had been somewhat excited & nervous about this for the past week. It was something that seemed so daunting beforehand, yet when today arrived I was ready! It's amazing how quickly a "new normal" develops. Being a new family of four has been exhausting but relatively easy at the same time. It feels like it was always meant to be this way!

Conor woke me up just before leaving for work at 7am. Finn & I had a short snuggle & nursing session on the couch before big brother sleepily walked downstairs to join us. Liam wanted to watch a show, which I reluctantly gave in to. For the most part, Liam has had no screen time since he was born. We watch the occasional holiday movie or live sports game, but typically no TV or iPad for him. This is something that has always been important to me. However, I don't want it to become something that is so off limits that he will only want it more & more. So slowly we have been having just a bit of screen time. Today he wanted to watch trains, so I found an episode of Chuggington On Demand. That 20 minute show gave me just enough time to finish feeding Finn as well as get myself ready for the day (hair & makeup included)!

Then it was time for breakfast where Liam had an epic meltdown over the last two homemade cinnamon rolls from Nana. Apparently Liam did not want me to eat one. We quickly made it through those tears, and I was hopeful that we still had a happy day ahead of us. Then came another meltdown (mellower than the first, but a meltdown nonetheless) upon the discovery that I had thrown out all the play-doh because it was old & dry. While I did this over a week ago, he of course chose my first day of solo parenting to notice. Promises were made to go pick out some new play-doh, so again tears were wiped and we moved on! 

Finn had a pretty calm morning (he's almost always calm, thank goodness), so I easily got Liam dressed (between reading multiple books) and a bag packed... diapers, snacks, extra clothes for both, blankets, a carrier, etc. Note to self: start packing a bag the night before! We were all loaded up and in the car with big smiles by 9:30am, and it only took the help of three skittles, ha! Today I met some friends at our favorite truck park for a playdate. Liam was able to get the crazies out while I got some much needed mom time with the other women! It was nice to have the extra eyes on Liam as well as the extra hands for when I was taking Finn in & out of the wrap or loading him in the car. Our first outing alone was pretty much a breeze. Per usual Finn slept almost the whole time, only waking twice to nurse! 

Finn fell asleep on the ride home, which made lunchtime & nap time with Liam easy as well. I was able to go about my normal routine with Liam (two books in bed beforehand and then I lay with him 'til he falls asleep) which helps our day go more smoothly. Plus, I love being able to keep some things the same for Liam, and our nap time snuggles are a big one! Miraculously, at 1pm both boys were sleeping!!! I managed to clean up a bit, do some laundry, and finally (FINALLY) sit down at my 
computer to catch up on emails and do a bit of blogging! This is my outlet, and I have missed it! 

My afternoon was a long one since Conor had to work late. When the boys woke up, I felt like I had an entire day still ahead of me, but we managed. There was lots of nursing while reading book after book to Liam. It's the perfect way for me to meet both of my boys needs at the same time. Plus, I love all the snuggles! Later, I was feeling brave and decided to hit the grocery store with both in tow. I picked up the fixin's for dinner as well as ingredients for some homemade banana bread. I thought that would be the perfect activity to get us through the rainy afternoon. Our trip was a success, which was pleasantly surprising! Liam & I baked while Finn slept, with only one brief break for a quick nursing session! The rain eventually subsided just before the witching hour was due to begin. Liam was able to ride his bike around with the neighbors while Finn & I watched from the comfort of the porch. It was the perfect way to welcome home Conor from a long day at work. We were both exhausted at only 7am, so instead of cooking dinner we opted for some take out burritos. Quick & easy! Conor handled bath time for Liam, while I finally snuck in a shower. I nursed Finn to sleep at 9pm and then laid down with Liam who was out by 9:30pm. Immediately following, the wine was poured! Unfortunately, I didn't take a single picture today. It's not that the day wasn't worth documenting, but I never had a moment to snap that perfect shot. The one that would capture this milestone. Instead I lived in the moment. Every one of them.

And tomorrow we get to do it all over again.
I hope each day that follows is as wonderful as the one before.
I know I have some challenges that will surely be ahead of me, but for now...
life with two is simply wonderful!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Paternity Leave

Tonight our family is wrapping up the last day of Conor's paternity leave.  He told me that the last two weeks have been the best of his life (how sweet is that?!), and I couldn't agree more!  Being able to have him home with us as we adjust to life with the newest member has been incredible.  Not only has our love grown even stronger, but he has bonded with Liam more than ever before!

While I spent the first week resting & baby snuggling, Conor had the opportunity to do all the fun things that Liam & I typically fill our weeks with!  There was a trip to the zoo (complete with far more treats than Mom ever gets).  A morning at the truck park (with another father & son...a man-date if you will).  A swimming adventure (again too many treats afterward).  A crazy day at Liam's favorite "jump around place" (where Conor played just as hard as Liam... I tend to sit back, relax, & simply watch).  Puddle jumping on the rainy days & sandbox digging on the sunny ones!  Those two were busy, busy, busy!  And that doesn't even include all the adventures we took as a family during the second week!

I, myself, was pretty spoiled too!  I woke up to a gourmet breakfast almost every day!  Lemon poppyseed pancakes.  Eggs benedict.  Crepes.  Eggs & bacon croissant sandwiches.  Omelets.  I don't know how I will adjust back to a morning of some simple granola & yogurt.  He nailed breakfast and took care of all the rest of our meals too; clean up included!  And just when I thought he couldn't get any more amazing, he even would manage to bathe both the boys while I relaxed in the tub with some candles & wine!

This post turned into a little bit of a brag session, but Conor honestly deserves it!  He works so hard to provide for our family and allow us to live the lifestyle that we want.  He's also one of thee most hands on dads that I know!  I'm so proud to call him mine!  The boys (love saying that!) & I are so sad about sending him back to work tomorrow, but luckily we have a huge summer vacation not too far off!  I can't wait for that big getaway!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Oh Hey, Friday

We are still in newborn heaven over here!  This weekend we are having another lifestyle photo shoot done now that Finn has joined the family, so I'm excited for those.  It's supposed to be super rainy, so I see plenty of snuggles on the couch happening.  Even with the bad weather, the waterpark close to our house opens this weekend!  Conor & Liam may sneak off and brave the rain for a few water slides.  And then my mom arrives Sunday afternoon to help me through next week while Conor heads back to work.  Exciting things ahead!  Here's my (sometimes) weekly five...   As always, thanks to Karli for hosting.

Erin posted about these bandies the other day, and I couldn't scoop up a set for myself fast enough!  I seriously hate bibs, especially drool bibs.  But I also hate drool & wet clothes.  The bandies are adorable and quite stylish!  I'm actually looking forward to the day that I get to snap one of these of cute little Finn!

I have been eyeing this floral chiffon maxi dress!  It's perfectly beautiful for spring & summer.  Casual but could also be worn to baby showers or bridal showers.  The only thing keeping me from the purchase is that this dress is strapless... Probably not nursing friendly.  I still may give it a try though!

How delicious does this strawberry rhubarb jam look?!  I haven't stopped thinking about it ever since I saw a pin for it.  Might be making some jam with my mom this week, especially since she is an expert jammer!

So some of you may laugh at me, but I had been using iPhoto to edit my photos for the past year or so.  I liked how easy & intuitive it was.  I really only crop, brighten, or sharpen my images...very little editing, so I don't need any crazy programs.  Anyways, after the most recent update on my computer iPhoto is gone!!!  I don't like change, so I'm being very stubborn about figuring out how to edit my photos now.  So everyone, please tell me what you use for editing.  I'm looking for easy, inexpensive options!

Because I can't resist sharing at least one photo of my boys together...

TGIF friends!
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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Out & About

At just barely over a week postpartum, the Keenans had their first family of four outing (other than to the pediatrician of course)!  I was itching for some fresh air, and since I have had one of the fastest & easiest recoveries, today was the perfect day to start settling back into our normal routine!  

We didn't go too crazy, but instead opted for a calm morning at the farm close to our house.  Right now there are all sorts of baby cows & goats that Liam just loves to watch.  He mostly loves it when they have "nini" (nurse)!  Plus there are always tractors at work, geese to chase, & his most favorite part: the wagon ride!

I was hopeful that Finn would sleep in the wrap for the majority of our time there, but I still wasn't sure exactly what to expect.  It was surreal just strapping both boys into their carseats; being a family of four in the car...  As if this is how it was meant to be all along!  Everything went smoothly, almost too smooth.  Let's hope this keeps up when it's just me trying to get the boys out of the house each day!  

Finn did in fact sleep in my solly baby wrap the entire 2 hours we were there!  However, Liam told me to make sure that Finn's eyes weren't covered up so that he could see all the animals!!!  He just keeps melting my heart each day.  Before we left, Liam played on the playground while I nursed Finn.  I feel like a breastfeeding expert after my 2+ years with Liam, so nursing in public is just no big deal.  The morning felt natural & perfect and fulfilled all my hopes & expectations of what our first outing would be like!

I simply cannot wait for all the adventures we have ahead of us!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

How perfect that my first post back is a recap of my Mother (of two) Day!  It was obviously a special one that I will always remember.  It was mostly full of baby & toddler snuggles, my arms always full!  I find myself saying that all the time right now, but it's a thought that I keep coming back to.  My heart swells with joy when I see Conor holding both our boys, and I am most content when I have them to myself as well.  There is no room for a book nor an iPhone.  My arms are simply full of what matters most, and I could stay like that forever!

The gifts actually began the night before, when Liam decided to sleep in his own bed until 5am!!!  That rarely ever happens.  It was nice to have Finn snuggled up with me and not worry about waking Liam during diaper changes and night feedings.  When Liam woke, he snuggled right up in my open arm, and we all slept in 'til 8am.  It was lovely.  Waking up as a family of four together is simply the best.  Our mornings are full of snuggles before anyone decides to make it out of bed!
Conor & Liam eventually snuck out to get the fixin's for brunch while I soaked up some solo baby time.  Those moments where I can focus on only my new baby are treasured.  My slow start to the day was glorious, and made even better when I was greeted with flowers, a card (a mama bear with her arms full of cubs, just the sweetest), maple bars, & an eggs benedict brunch!  Conor is a bit of an eggs benedict master chef, so it was quite the culinary experience!  And we toasted with gin fizzes!  Welcome back Sunday morning cocktails!!!

The rest of the morning Liam spent in his sandbox while I nursed Finn and practically stared at him for hours!  Then I spent some time with just Liam reading books and putting him down for a nap.  In some perfect universe, Finn has been consistently (as consistent as a 5 day old baby can be) napping at the exact time Liam goes down for his, so yay for both babies napping at the same time in the first week!  Let's hope this keeps up!
Our afternoon was spent enjoying the sunshine with the neighbors.  Liam was in & out of our kiddie pool even though the temperatures felt far too cold for that kind of fun!  I also insisted upon a mini photoshoot to capture this Mother's Day.  That all allusive perfect picture where everyone is smiling & happy!  We barbecued, we showed off Finn, & had a crazy dance party during dinner!  Liam was exhausted come bedtime which is always the goal!  After I put my big, little one to sleep Conor drew me a bath complete with candles & a hard apple cider.

It was exactly the kind of day that I wanted!
While I wish I also could have been celebrating with my own sweet mother, 
she will be back in one week!  
I'm sure we will be celebrating motherhood together all week long!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

He's Here!!!

Finn Ryan Keenan joined the fiesta
on May 5th, 2015 at 6:16 pm.
Strong boy weighed in at 9lb 10oz and 22 in long.
I simply cannot wait to write down his birth story and share it!  
I had the most perfect flawless natural birth that I wanted!  
Currently, my arms are always full with two my sweet boys in the best possible way!

Thanks to all for the many sweet congratulations via Instagram.  
Our entire family feels so loved!

Monday, May 4, 2015

40 Weeks (Bump #2)

Well my due date came & went on Saturday.  I'm actually being quite patient and waiting until my body & my baby are ready!  I received many sweet calls & texts on my due date with words of support that were much appreciated.  I think it's actually a bit fun to hit your actual due date and celebrate making it "all the way."  Now, we wait...

Total Weight Gain: 40 lbs.  Bring on the water retention!

Stretch Marks: Still none.  Looks like I have made it through a second pregnancy mark free!

Wedding Rings On/Off:  While I am starting to swell up in my hands & feet just the teeniest bit, my ring is able to stay on.

Belly Button: Top half out!

Symptoms: Little pains here or there, but feeling surprisingly great for full term!

Labor Signs: Some cramping on & off for the past week, but otherwise absolutely no sign that labor is starting anytime soon.  My mom is scheduled to leave Thursday, so hopefully he arrives before then!  I do not see myself having to write a 41 week post...

Food Cravings/Aversions:  Sweets & fruit!  My mom made a huckleberry pie (my favorite) as a bit of a "birthday cake" celebration on my due date.  It was amazing!  She also brought all the same homemade goodies she did when I went into labor with Liam.  Raspberry jam, snickerdoodles, & ginger snaps!

Staying Active?  Still keeping up with the little guy and takes walks here & there, but I am slowing down for sure.

Cries: Not a single one!

Liam's Thoughts:  Conor & I had a date night while Liam stayed home with my mom.  He thought this was when we were having the baby.  It amazes me how much he really understands, and he definitely knows that it is any day now.  Can't wait until little L is officially a big brother!

Looking Forward To:  Baby boy's arrival!  Seriously could be any minute or day!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Oh Hey, Friday

Happy May Day!  I'm just one day shy of my due date, eek!  My mom arrived yesterday, so we are all now patiently waiting for baby.  I think he may have "dropped" yesterday, but it's hard to tell since I carry pretty low in general.  Perhaps he will make his debut this weekend!  Here's my (sometimes) weekly five...   As always, thanks to Karli for hosting.

Since I will be out of my maternity clothes any day now, I decided I need to do a bit of shopping...  I've heard awesome things about this maxi dress, and even better it's on sale right now.  I'm ordered it in taupe/navy as well as blush because I just couldn't decide.  The plan is to return one, we'll see if that actually happens!

I finally decided on a coming home outfit for Finn!  I knew I wanted something practical & comfy, but also a little bit special.  KicKee Pants is one of my absolute favorite baby brands because their clothing is incredibly soft!  But it's also a bit pricey, so I save it for splurges.  I can't wait to put Finn in this alligator romper!

Liam has been wanting a Cement Mixer for awhile now, so we decided to buy him one as a gift from Finn!  If you are a boy mom, and you don't know about Bruder trucks, get yourself acquainted!  They are amazing; very functional but also durable.  Again, they are on the pricey side but so worth it.  A couple of Liam's friends have the Garbage Truck which they are all obsessed with.  We may be adding that to the birthday wish list!

You know I love mixing up my desktop wallpaper, so here is my pick for May.

More babies from the boom were born recently!  A huge congrats to Amanda, Brittany, & Elise!  All the pictures of such sweet newborns have me getting just a bit more anxious for Finn's arrival!

TGIF friends!
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