Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

This week's post is about things I would like to do (do more of and/or do better)! I can't say that these are truly my top 10 of all time, but they are the first things that came into my mind so I figured they were important and noteworthy.

{Top} Ten Things I'd Like to Do 

10. Build something!
I'm thinking pergola/shade structure/tree house/shelves/bench/table. I would love to be able to build a beautiful pergola/shade structure (like this one) in our backyard this summer so that we could spend more time outside enjoying the beautiful Colorado days and evenings. 

9. Sew more things (without help)! 
I've sewn a few things - mostly with help from my mom. I don't think I've sewn anything on my own and in a straight line since I was in 8th grade. But, I would love to be able to sew, on my own. For example: these beautiful potholders would be so fun to make and for a huge step up the sewing later, this amazing pillow!!!


8. Get more chickens! 
I love chickens and I would love to have an even bigger flock! While our small family doesn't really need more eggs I wouldn't mind having a large flock with plenty of extra eggs to share, sell, make awesome food with!

7. Hike a 14er! 
With more than fifty 14ers in Colorado it shouldn't be too hard to accomplish this one! Heck, there are even three that you can conquer in one day/hike if you set yourself up for success! I mean look at this view from the top of Mt. Evans just a short distance from our house. 

6. Do more crafts and crafty things
Thanks to pinterest I have been inspired seeing all the craftiness that is available on there and in the past year or so I have followed through with several different crafty/diy projects including cowboy cookie thank yous, lemon sugar body scrub, and a kusudama flowers. However, once the project is complete I tend to not keep up with the level of craftiness until another occasion arises. I guess I feel a need to craft/diy for the sake of it and not for a specific reason.

5. Complete something that seems too hard to do
I was really thinking of something like a triathlon, a run/race, a primal challenge, committing to crossfit for a month, perfecting a yoga pose that I can't even imagine getting into at this point or something else crazy. Anything having to do with health and/or fitness apparently seems too hard for me to do. Haha.

4.Travel out of the country for a reason other than the World Cup
I love travelling for the World Cup! It is an amazing way to see the world, including places that you may never visit otherwise. It is always an incredible atmosphere and wherever you are at, the country and the people are generally at their best since they are very much in the public eye. While this is wonderful, it would also be great to travel outside of the U.S. just because. Fiji, Australia, Patagonia, Thailand and the Galapagos Islands are all places that I would love to visit! 

Elephant on Phuket, Thailand

3. Get my PhD
I've pretty much always aspired to be a doctor of some sort and not the medical kind, although Jenn from the Little Couple really makes me think I could be an awesome neonatologist or pediatrician. But, I will save that for other people. I really want my PhD and I will most likely obtain it in environmental health.


2. Live on a beach
I love water, I love the beach, I love the sound of water crashing on the beach. I love the laid back lifestyle that comes with living on or near a beach. I would just really love to live on a beach at some point in my life, maybe even a vacation home or something. I would also be happy living on an island with easy beach access! This house looks lovely! :)

1. Love my body
This one is a tough one. I've struggled with self esteem and body image issues for as long as I can remember.  I've always had more of a short and stocky build and I don't always treat my body the way it should be treated so my weight often fluctuates and I tend to be on the overweight side of the spectrum. Since having a baby, my body has changed quite a bit! Learning to love the way I look is something I strive to do, regardless of my weight/shape/etc. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - Ghandi's Fundamentals

This week I am sharing Ghandi's Top Ten Fundamentals for Changing the World.

When thinking about this list it occurred to me that while these may be fundamental for changing the world, they are also fundamental for life in general. Perhaps that is the point? If you don't have these as part of your innate or ingrained characteristics, you may not change the world but you also may not live a life you'd like to live. To me, these seem to be critical in living a life that I am both happy with and proud of. Maybe that's how we change the world - by loving the life we live, each and every one of us.

This list helps me to reflect on those things that are important and move away from those that are not. They serve as a reminder that we are all here to change the world, but we can all do that only by being ourselves and appreciated everything for what it is.

What does this list mean to you?

I found this on pinterest but you can click the image to take you to the original blog post about it from Oprah.com

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - Baby Items

In an effort to be more consistent with blogging I am starting some fun day of the week themes for when I don't have something else to post about. I'm going to start today with a new segment I am going to call Top Ten Tuesday. I know I'm not the first to have this idea as a quick google search shows plenty of other websites, blogs and even images dedicated to Top Ten Tuesday. But, I still think it is a fantastic idea.

This week's Top Ten list is dedicated to baby stuff, specifically the ten baby items we couldn't have lived without in Dempsey's first two months. These may be great items to add to your registry and/or buy an expecting friend! Just click on the image to take you to a site where you can purchase/find out more about the product.

Top Ten Baby Items

1. Miracle Blanket

Seriously people, the proof is in the name. This blanket really is a miracle. After using the hospital and other swaddle blankets, I thought I knew exactly how this miracle blanket would work and we quickly began using it. However, one day I had a hunch we were doing something wrong and went to check out the instructions (what an idea, eh!?). Come to find out, we were doing it wrong - really wrong. Once we began using this miracle blanket the way we were supposed to - check out the image above - we immediately noticed a change in Dempsey's sleep. He began sleeping much longer stretches of time and we are talking 5-6 hour stretches!! For those of you who don't know, that's pretty incredible for a newborn. We use this blanket every night and seriously could not live (or sleep) without it! 

2. Swaddle Blankets

While the miracle blanket is our go to blanket, having a lot of other swaddle blankets are key to a happy newborn. They are useful for so many things. We use them to cover his car seat when we are going somewhere and it is either chilly or really bright. We use them when we are out and about at the grandparents' houses for cuddle time and nap time. We also use them every night to double swaddle Dempsey. We feel that it helps keep this active little bugger in the miracle blanket better and also adds an extra layer for warmth during the night. We received the best blankets from Finn's Uncle and Aunt (Jimmy and Sherry) and my sister, Charlotte.  

Extra Large Organic Swaddle Blanket from Jimmy and Sherry
Adorable Swaddle Blankets
 from Charlotte

3. Bouncy Seat

Mr. Dempsey loved his bouncy seat for the first three weeks or so of his life. Since then we can't put him in it without crying?! Maybe he will return to it one day, but regardless, this thing was vital for our sanity in those first couple of weeks. While we had visitors galore during those first few weeks and Dempsey was hardly ever "put down," Finn and I needed to take a break every now and then. And let's be honest, babies also like to have their own space too! This bouncy seat that Jimmy and Sherry got us was great because it vibrated to a heartbeat rhythm and it is the only automatic bouncer on the market! That means you don't have to sit there the whole time to keep it bouncing. The nature noises and the music it played were also great. It is a super cute seat and I would totally recommend it. I am also hoping that he will learn to love it again before he grows out of it. 

We also received another bouncy seat that transitions into a toddler rocking chair. We keep this one at Jeff and Jill's house and have used it a couple of time. This one has a vibrating seat that Dempsey has liked the few times we've used it.

Update: he does in fact like this bouncy seat still and we have begun using again.

4. Swing

At the same time that Dempsey began to cry every time we put him in his bouncy seat, we decided to bring the swing we received as a hand-me-down into the living room just to see if he would like it since we needed to set him down once in a while and we preferred if it didn't mean he cried or screamed every time. We weren't sure about the swing, especially because we have a pretty small living space and baby swings take up entirely too much room. But, Dempsey seemed to enjoy it and would happily swing in it while he was awake (great for a quick potty break or to grab a bite to eat for mom/dad)  and he would also nap for longer periods of time during the day. We still use the swing daily and are able to get a lot more things done around the house because of it. It has also made working from home quite a bit easier on me since his naps last longer than 20 minutes (like they do when he is in his crib). Since this swing was given to us when we didn't know the gender we have a cute little girl's swing but Dempsey rocks the pink swing like nobody's business.

5. Giraffe Play Mat

This was on our registry and when we didn't receive it both Finn and I were bummed. But, we did get plenty of gift cards so we went and picked it up! :) This thing is not only super adorable, it is also very plush which is great for tummy time - especially in the beginning when they have a tendency to unintentionally slam their giant noggins onto the ground when they are getting tired. At two months old Dempsey has sadly almost outgrown this mat entirely - his little feet hang right off the end f it! This mat made tummy time feel much more fun and safe for all of us. We use it daily for tummy time, hanging out, and sometimes just to have a little extra cushion under him while on his activity mat. 

6. Activity Mat

This activity mat totally rocks! It comes with plenty of fun animals with stuffed animals and rings and such and all the animals feel different and make different noises. We use this daily. Sometimes for tummy time and regularly for just good ol' fashion fun! He loves looking at himself in the mirror (although the mirror seems like one you'd see at a carnival because it isn't very clear). He also recently started grabbing at the toys and holding onto the different rings. It has been fun to watch him grow and even more fun to watch how much he has developed. From a newborn who would just stare into space into a two month old who notices when things move, reacts more to sounds, and even gets frustrated when he accidentally swings his monkey friend up out of his reach. 

7. Burt's Bees Baby Products

We have used Burt's Bees products for all of Dempsey's skin care needs. The shampoo and body wash smells amazing, the diaper rash cream worked wonders (we have only had to use it for about one week total) and the calming lotion is perfect for our post-bath nighttime routine. I love everything about these products and am so glad we got them!!

8. Medela Breast Pump

Now this thing I couldn't have lived without, period. I had to pump from day 1 to help get my milk to come in and then I needed to pump when Dempsey decided he liked a bottle more than my boobs and now I pump to keep up a regular stockpile for times when I need to leave Dempsey for a little while. This pump has been really great to have and I would seriously recommend it to anyone who is thinking about breastfeeding, but is not planning on practicing attachment parenting! This particular model is great because it comes with a nifty little cooler which works perfect for trips out of the house and to take when you need to pump at work!

9. Baby Bjorn

I absolutely love this thing! I use it all the time - when going on a family walk, to the store, to breastfeeding weigh-in group, to get stuff done around the house, etc. In the beginning it was great to have him facing towards me since he had little to no control over his head/neck. But, he certainly let us know when he was ready to face out! Now we generally have him face out when we go places and he loves looking at everything and soaking in the world around him! :) Finn and Dempsey are just the most adorable little duo when Finn has him strapped in this bad boy, even though I got jealous at first because for the first two months or so I was the sole baby carrier. But, my heart melts whenever I see those two together so I'm learning to share! :) 

10. REI Baby Socks

And last, but certainly not least....REI BABY SOCKS! These things are freaking incredible! They are literally the only socks we have that stay on all day! They keep his feet warm, they stay put, and they are cute - what more can you ask for in a bay sock!? We loved these socks so much after we received them as a gift from my parents that we got new ones when their spring prints came out. So now we have four pairs and I most certainly will continue to buy this brand of sock as he grows. These are a must have for any baby registry - or just get them even if the person you know didn't register for them because I promise you, they will love them!

Monday, May 14, 2012

My First Mother's Day

To say I was spoiled on my very first Mother's Day is a huge understatement!! It started early, very early, on Saturday morning around 5am after I had fed Dempsey and pumped. When I came back to bed there was a gift bag on my pillow! I first invited the birthday boy (Gus turned 9!!) up on the bed to cuddle then went around to Finn's side of the bed to open up the bag. Inside were some amazing treasures!! 

First I opened a little card made out to "#1 Mom Ashleigh Elizabeth" which expressed Finn and Dempsey's love for me. Then I opened up a small tissue paper wrapped package and inside was two different silver chains to replace on of mine that broke the day after we had Dempsey and that I used to wear my engagement ring on. The next package was also very small and wrapped so well that I had to get scissors while Finn exclaimed to "be careful" while I cut it open. Inside I found the most beautiful aquamarine tree of life pendant. Aquamarine is Dempsey's birth stone. The next thing I opened was a cute little box and inside was a beautiful silver leaf pendant with an aquamarine stone. My heart felt like a huge pile of mush as Finn told me that he had spent a lot of time looking at aquamarine jewelry on etsy to find the right ones for me. I was on the verge of tears but somehow held them back - maybe because it was so early in the morning, it wasn't even light out yet and I was tired. :)


That day we had a bbq to celebrate with our moms. We spent much of the day cleaning up the house and preparing for the shin dig. Later, when I was getting myself ready, Finn came in the bathroom with Dempsey in his arms and said that Dempsey was wondering if "these" would go with either of my new necklaces and when I looked Dempsey was holding a cute purple bag and inside were a gorgeous pair of aquamarine stud earrings. How freaking adorable is that!? I immediately put them on and paired them with my tree of life pendant and I felt like a million bucks! I not only had beautiful jewelry that my husband picked out but they were a fun way to represent motherhood with a stone honoring Dempsey!

The bbq was fun. We played some cornhole for the first time this season, but the weather wasn't terribly nice so we only got in a few games. We had lots of delicious food as always and the great company of both of our moms and dads and my sister and brother. Hanni and Freddy were in Hawaii (jerks!) so they missed out on a great day! We gave our mom's cards and orchids and I made them each a lemon sugar hand scrub that I put into cute little Mason jars and attached a label to (why didn't I take any pictures of these!?). My Mom's first Mother's Day gift to me was a super cute frame she made me to put pictures of Dempsey in (which will not cooperate with the camera so a picture will have to come at another time). I also received an adorable card in the mail from Finn's grandma and my brother gave me a cute first mommy's day card as well! 

After the bbq was over and everyone had gone home, we were both pretty tired after a full day of activities but Finn managed to stay up and almost watch the end of the Nuggets playoff game (they lost). When Dempsey woke up for his early morning feeding I noticed something sitting on the chair in Dempsey's room. As I looked closer I saw that it was a crossword puzzle titled "Your First Mother's Day: A Journey Through Some of Life's Finer Things." I thought it was so cute and thanked Finn but he urged me to look at some of the clues. When I did I almost immediately started crying as I realized this was a crossword puzzle Finn made me and all the clues had to do with things that have gone on over the course of our relationship from our first date to my first Mother's Day. This man is seriously way too sweet! He was so excited that I cried (finally)! :)

Mother's Day morning was spent hanging out with my boys, eating breakfast, watching Finn work in the garden, and feeding Dempsey. I then went shopping as Finn had given me a gift certificate for some designer jeans for one of my baby shower presents. Shopping was interesting and exhausting! I was excited to get back home to spend Mother's Day where I really belonged - with my two favorite guys, at home! When I got home there was yet another gift waiting for me, a super touching (and tear-inducing) letter from Finn about how much he loves me and what a great mom I am. I can't even put into words how much I love this man and how incredible it is to share my life with him. My best friend, my husband and the father to my children. Wow! What a day!! :)

My Mother's Day Gifts! :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Two Months

Well I can't believe that 1) Mr. Dempsey is already two months old, 2) that time went by so fast that I am a week late in getting this blog post up and 3) that I haven't done a blog post since Dempsey was one month old!! Needless to say, we've been busy!! :)

So, what has happened in the last month? Well, Mr. Dempsey and I began going to the breastfeeding momma's weekly weigh-in group at Swedish hospital. It was a good experience and really helps to reassure us breastfeeding ladies that our babies are in fact gaining weight! They also give us a helpful sheet each week that tells us how much milk our little one's need in a 24 hour period in case you were to (gasp!) leave your baby for a day or so and needed to create a supply in the fridge/freezer.

Dempsey is proving to be more and more like his dad every day - especially in the whole body type department. At his two month weigh in he was 10 lbs, 8oz which puts him in the 22nd percentile for weight and he was 23 1/4" long which puts him in the 64th percentile for his height. For all you non-mathy types out there, that means that if we had a play date with Dempsey and 100 other boys his age he would be taller than 64 of them but 88 of those boys would weigh more than him! Needless to say he is a bit of string bean! :) He is following the same growth curves that he's been on since he arrived and that is good. And even though he's only gained a little under three pounds and grown three inches he sure has changed a lot since he was born! He even looks a whole lot different than he did on his one month birthday - check out the photo below!!

Dempsey has been coming along swimmingly in the development department. In the past month he starting holding his head up quite a bit (with some bobbling, especially when tired), he held my dad's rattle for a little bit, he starting making more eye contact and following objects (or light trails or dust or fairies) with his eyes, he definitely started noticing when the dog's would bark, starting making a lot of new sounds, and even began smiling! He sure is growing up! In early to mid April Dempsey starting smiling sporadically, sometimes when he woke up, sometimes during a diaper change, but nothing really consistent and not for any length of time that you could catch on a camera. That all changed on April 22nd when Dempsey was hanging out with his dad who happened to be singing an awesome Tom Jones song (there was a Tom Jones category on Jeopardy! that day) and that's when it happened. He broke out in the biggest smile and then kept on smiling. Then he would lift one side of his mouth then the other and then break out in another full blown smile. It was so darn cute and he's been smiling ever since (except for when he is hungry, tired, bored, overstimulating....).  And here is a photo of his first "real" smile fest!!

During this month we ventured out of the house to places other than walks, our families' homes and doctor's offices. We started taking him shopping (even just he and I) and had several very positive experiences at restaurants! We even went out for dad's 28th birthday and he just slept the whole time - that was nice of him! And the next day I took him to meet all the ladies from work for breakfast and he was happy to be passed around and soak up all the attention in the booth!

He breastfeeds really well and also takes a bottle really well. But doesn't seem to prefer one over the other - which is great for us! Everyone jokes that I say he is always going through a growth spurt due to his eating habits - but in all honesty every couple of weeks he will have a day when he eats constantly! Those days can be rather exhausting since that means that me and my boobs are fully occupied. And I, like a crazy person, generally refuse to use a bottle on those days because I think that if he is needing to eat so much that he is helping to prepare my body for the milk that he will be needing as he grows. The more he eats the more milk I will produce (right!?!). Speaking of breastfeeding - it can hurt sometimes (like a lot) even with a good latch. And lanolin is your only friend. Also, I got to learn (the hard way) that your supply goes down as you get your lovely cycle back. Yep, that's right friends. This girl, who didn't ovulate and needed fertility treatments, was one of the lucky exclusively breastfeeding mamas who got her cycle back like clockwork at 6 weeks. WTF!? :)

I went back to work during this month. That was fun. It is an interesting transition, that's for sure. I work from home which is great because I get to spend all day with Dempsey, but it does make it difficult when he is having a nap-less day because that generally means a pretty work-less day for me and making up those hours at other times (not during normal business hours). But I couldn't imagine having to drop the little guy off at day care all day and sit in an office so I am extremely grateful that I get to spend all this time with him.

I hope to post more in the coming months as this semester of school ends and summer begins. I also would like to post his three month post in a more timely manner! Until next time my friends...