Thursday, March 31, 2016

Chronicles of a pumping mom: Hanging Up My Horns

As I write this post, I am filled with joy, guilt and uncertainty. 

If you've been following me, you know that I had a hard time with both of my kids latching even after seeing several lactation consultants both in the hospital, the pediatrician's office and on my own dime. And this is the reason I ended up being a full time pumping mom. 
With JOE, I pumped for about 10.5 months and had enough milk to carry her through her first birthday. 
My initial plans when I had issues with JAE latching was just to pump until I went back to work at 3-months. But then it was going much better than it did with JOE and I decided to make it to the 6-month mark. At that point, I was pumping about 5-times per day and making 40+ ounces. I couldn't justify not continuing because I obviously was not having a supply issue. So I decided to continue pumping through her first birthday. 
I have been dropping one pump each month and so far, my supply has gone down but not as much as I thought it would. Because I am still making a relatively good amount for my little munchkin, I feel guilty for stopping. But I know that I can't do this for too much longer. J & the girls have made sacrifices to ensure I am able to keep it up and I'd like to get back to some semblance of normalcy.

So, JAE turns 1 in a little less than 2 weeks. I thought I would be THRILLED to be done but now I feel like I am unsure. As of today, I am pumping twice a day and making on average 23.5ounces total between both pumping sessions. 
JAE is thriving and I can definitely see the benefits she's had as a result of getting breastmilk. 

She is such a happy go lucky child that just looking at her face reminds me of why I put up with the long pump times and nipple blebs.

My plan is to go down to 1-pump per day in the next couple of weeks and eventually to completely wean (can I still call it that if I didn't directly nurse?) by the end of April towards early May. 

My joy is that I truly have cherished this journey and am thankful for the support I have received in the last year. 

My guilt is that I feel bad that I will be stopping pumping while I am still making a good amount of milk knowing that there are women out there who wish they could make as much as I am making. 

My uncertainty is that I don't know if this'll be the last time I go through the breastfeeding/nursing/pumping process. J and I have not decided on if we'll be going for a 3rd or not. The jury is still out on that. Yes, we know we are no Spring chickens and having 2 under 4 has certainly been keeping us very busy :-D. At the same time, we are still talking.

I'd like to take this opportunity though to acknowledge the HUGE sacrifice made by my family. Especially J. Nursing isn't easy but pumping exclusively is 2 to 3 times the amount of work/time because there are constantly bottles to wash and pump time takes more time than nursing. This has been a LOOOONNNNGGG journey and I couldn't have done it without having 250% support from J. He has taken the kids when I have to pump. He's fed and comforted them during my sometimes long pump sessions to get rid of clogs. He's gotten my heating pad so that it can help ease the pain and increase my flow. He's spoken sweet words when I felt really down and tired and he's thanked me every night for "pumping for Jenna." 

In a few weeks I will be "hanging up my horns" as they say in the Breastfeeding/Pumping community. It will be bittersweet because it means this phase for Jenna is over. She will be transitioning to almond milk as the milk supply in the freezer slowly dwindles. I will get back time in my day to focus on other things such as my growing business and on getting fit.

For any moms out there reading this who may have had a similar journey like I had, my advise is "do what works for you!" Don't feel pressured to go one way or another. You know your family dynamics and know what will work for you. Exclusively pumping is hard but doable! Support is key to success.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Photo Dump Wednesday: St. Patrick's Day and beyond

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about making a St. Patrick's day skirt for my girls. Well, St. Patrick's day was last week and they got to wear and show off their skirts. 
It was a little cold that day so the girls ended up wearing tights underneath their skirts. J often gets the girls ready in the mornings while I get them in the evenings when I get back from work. Anyways, last week, I was really excited to see them in their skirts. So J called me at work while I was pumping so I could see the girls. Well, to my utter surprise, JOE did not want to wear her skirt. She wanted to take it off right away! Mind you, this is the girl who insisted I make her a skirt after a long day at work. Granted, it doesn't take long but still. Anyways, I had to bribe her and promise her a cookie if she wore the skirt for the day. It worked!

JAE on the other hand LOVES wearing skirts. I think it is because it is more "airy" :-D. She often likes to dance when you put her in a skirt. Granted, she likes to dance period. But still...

JAE and her many faces. Too cute! I should also add that this was her first day wearing shoes. Her pediatrician recommended we wait until a year before letting her wear shoes. Even though JAE's been walking since she was 8.5 months, we wait for as long as possible to put her in shoes. She's primarily been wearing grip socks that don't slip. 
I was worried wearing shoes would take a little getting used to but she did great and has been wearing them daily. 
Oh and she LOVES shoes!!! She has been trying to wear her sister's and my shoes for a while now. I guess we have another shoe lover in our home. Save up J!

I just love this picture of my little JAE. She looks like she is pondering something.

And here is my baby JOE wearing her lion face at the library! I just love that beautiful face!

My girls showing their Irish pride. Their great grandmother was Irish so they definitely celebrated in style.

My little adventurous child.

I love that they enjoy playing together now. Although, we've had quite a few incidents where JAE takes a toy from JOE and runs...yes runs with it! And then JOE comes to us crying that JAE took her toy. It is hilarious to us but obviously not to her.


As you know, I started making handmade kids wear. Well, I made this skirt and asking my little model to wear it and model it for me. JAE however, had other ideas. Once she had the skirt on, she took off! Showing her "model behavior" already. LOL!

A close friend of mine is getting married this week. JOE is going to be a flower girl in her wedding. Check her out practicing. We decided to do a quick dress rehearsal to make sure everything fits and I also wanted her to practice. Well, JOE was very happy to show off.

And these next couple of pictures were just too cute not to post. The girls at home with their child care provider. You can't tell that JOE is dealing with a cold and JAE is going through a growth spurt in these pictures but they are. I love that they can still smile and make faces in spite of it. We should all be like that.

 I hope you are having a great week so far!

AyoBE Handmade Wear

If you or someone you know is interested in purchasing any of my other  handmade items, please be sure to visit or send them the link to my Etsy store. I make items for babies, toddlers and a couple of adult pieces. The items I make can be an excellent gift for a friend or relative or a great addition to your home for you or your little one.

Monday, March 21, 2016

DIY Monday: Baking Nigerian meatpies

It was a very fun weekend. My youngest sister was visiting after a week long training course in the DC/MD/VA area. It was so nice to spend some time with her and the best part is that she got to spend time with her nieces. JOE couldn't wait for her to arrive last Friday and all week, she kept talking about the fun things she would do with her Aunty JJ. It really is nice to see how excited she gets when she spends time with extended family. 

On Saturday, true to her words, my sister decided to make meatpies with JOE. This was by far the highlight of JOE's weekend. She stood there the entire time (only taking breaks to use the potty) and watched/helped my sister. It was really sweet to watch. 

It was hair wash day and I had just taken JOE's hair out. Spent time keeping JAE away from her hair because she seems to enjoy pulling JOE's hair. 

Recipe for meatpie:
- 3 cups flour
- 2 sticks cold butter (should be cold enough to work with but not so cold that you can't crumble it)
- 1-tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup water & a table spoon to add the water
- Ground meat (chicken, beef or turkey)
- Maggie cubes (2 depending on how "stuffed" you want your meatpie). Also known as bouillion cubes.
- Paprika
- Salt
- Pepper (I used dried habanero peppers)
- Ginger
- Thyme
- Mixed peas and carrots (from the frozen food aisle)
- Cut up onions (optional)
- An empty round tomato can for making the pie shapes
- An egg and 2-table spoons of water. Mix together (for the egg wash)
- A fork

Directions for dough:
- Put the flour, baking powder and butter in a bowl and mix it all together. It should form small crumbles when all is mixed together
- Add a tablespoon of cold water just to bind it all together
- Form a ball with the dough
- Use shrink wrap to wrap the ball and store in the refrigerate

Directions for meat:
- Brown the meat. There's no need to add any oil unless you are working with ground chicken. If working with ground chicken, you can use cooking spray or a table spoon of olive oil. 
- Add the onions, maggie cubes, paprika (as much or as little as you want), salt to taste, pepper, ginger and thyme. Cook it all together. When it is all almost done, add the peas and carrots and cook until everything is fully done.
- Remove meat from heat and drain it if necessary. I like it with some juices but if it is too juicy, it can get runny. You can also add a tablespoon of flour to make it thicker. 

Directions for pies:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit
- Roll the dough as flat as you can with a rolling pin
- Use a round container (I prefer an empty large tomato tin) to cut the dough
- Add the meat mixture in the middle
- Dip your finger in water and put some around the edge of the dough then fold in 2
- use the girl to compress the edges and poke some holes in the pie.
- Once formed, use a brush to apply the egg wash and into the oven it goes
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown
- Remove and allow to cool. 

After JOE and Aunty JJ made the meatpies, we all got ready and headed to the mall. We had dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and celebrated my sister's birthday. 

While waiting, we stopped by Paul's French Bakery. YUM! We planned on going back there for dessert but completely forgot. 

JOE certainly loved looking at all the yummy french pastries. 

It was definitely a fun weekend and I enjoyed having my sister here.  We are all looking forward to having family in town again soon for JAE's different celebrations. Woohoo!!!

AyoBE Handmade Wear

If you or someone you know is interested in purchasing any of my other  handmade items, please be sure to visit or send them the link to my Etsy store. I make items for babies and toddlers that'll make an excellent gift for a friend/relative or a great addition to your home for your little one.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Photo Dump Wednesday: JAE's birthday shoot

The preparation for JAE's first birthday celebration continues. Last weekend, we have her smash cake session and it was very similar to JOE's. 

Like I did with JOE, when I decorated the cake, I decided to add puffs since JAE loves her puffs. I added it thinking that JAE would pick it out of dig into the cake. Well, that was not the case. JAE didn't even want to pick out the puffs. But from what I am told, a lot of kids don't smash into the cake though since it is something new to them. 

The cake was a very easy DIY for me. I can do a blog post on that if interested. Total, the prep time for the cake was about 45-minutes. 

Anyways, another thing similar to last time is that we forgot to bring a table cloth to use since the studio doesn't want you messing up the floor with food. 
Well, as luck would have it, JCPenney was having a penny sale! As in these towels were a penny! So J and I each bought a towel for a penny! I saw the ad on tv and thought it was another gimmick but this was actually true! I don't think I have ever paid a penny for ANYTHING. This was definitely a GREAT purchase and I had to take pictures as a reminder that I once paid a penny for something. 

We were able to use one of the towels instead of a table cloth and it worked out great since the towel is much softer than a table cloth afterall AND the color definitely worked in our favor. WIN-WIN!

On to the pictures from the session. They all turned out really great and we are excited to put them up in our home and also display some at JAE's birthday party.

That's the same board JOE used for her photo session. I thought it would be cute to use something similar and I am glad we were able to use it for JAE. 

Overall, we got some pretty good pictures of JAE. I am glad we did this. It really made me realize just how quickly time is flying. I remembered the day we went to the same studio to take our maternity pictures for JOE's pregnancy and then going there for JOE's smash cake session. These moments really make me so thankful to be their mom. 

AyoBE Handmade Wear

If you or someone you know is interested in purchasing any of my other handmade items, please be sure to visit or send them the link to my Etsy store. I have a few newly added items that'll make an excellent gift for a friend/relative or a great addition to your home for your little one.


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