Changing my Luck... Maybe

Do you ever have days where you feel like nothing can go right? Like the world is out to get you? Like you’ve run out of luck? Let me tell you… I’ve been in a slump for weeks. Months even!
No, it’s nothing REALLY bad, praise the Lord. It’s just the everyday stuff. Spilling drinks, dropping food, car troubles, timeliness (tardiness), wasting money on accident, ruining a pair of pants, forgetting important things at work, etc. Like I said, all small things, but when it’s multiple times a day, everyday, it’s exhausting.

I tried to change my luck on New Year’s Day, even going to the extreme and eating three superstitious things instead of one. But, no luck. Pun intended.

I’ve heard so many people say that they don’t believe in superstition. That there’s no such thing as luck because God has already mapped out your life. But in my mind, God doesn’t have time to worry about me stubbing my toe or hearing a rattling noise in the back of the car. Maybe God created luck to mix up the pot a bit on the little things. Who knows. All I know, is that I could use some good vibes and well wishes.
In the meantime, I think I’ll start working on changing my luck myself:

-                   Go to church regularly. *Need to find one first.
-          Positive thinking.
-          Organizing the house.
-          Money management.

I have some great friends who practice the list above regularly; they both are very happy and fortunate women. I really just need to get the hubs on board to get my life-changing habits in place.

Do you have some advice on how to make my list a reality?

Do you use websites? Devotionals? A daily planner?

Remember, I’m a full-time working mom of two. I need the realistic things. I can’t sit down on a weeknight and spend an hour on this. It has to flow with our lives.

I know there are Moms out there making it all work. If you’re one of them, share your secrets please!

*Pictures from PSD Graphics, Wikipedia and Clip Art.


My Long, Overdue Breastfeeding Story

*Image pulled from Pinterest.

I get a lot of questions about my personal breastfeeding experience. I’ve never really blogged about it, but maybe I should.

When I was pregnant with my first, I read a LOT of articles in magazines, online, and through social media of course. I had a firm grasp of what I wanted, and what I didn’t. And formula was one thing I didn’t want. Something just tugged at me to breastfeed. It was so… exciting. So… chic. Lol.

Let me tell you now, that my family (my CLOSE family) is not a big group of “breastfeeders.” In fact, I’m almost positive that my Mom would squirm and cringe every time I talked to her about my thoughts on  nursing. She didn’t nurse me, and honestly, I’m not sure anyone really did in the family except for one “hippie” in-law and some distant family members that we rarely ever saw. So, nobody really knew what to expect, including myself.

Here came the day when Emma (my oldest) was born. I had an awful birthing experience, and I was super groggy when they wheeled me into my family-filled room. I couldn’t tell you if I slept, or if they brought her in right away, but they literally walked in and said “okay, she’s hungry!” Um, what?

I shooed everyone out except the hubs, and I told the nurse that I hadn’t a clue what the heck I was supposed to do. I read that they don’t latch on right away, and you have to coax them to do it. Well, Emma pretty much did it on her own, but it was touch and go with how long she could stay attached. Can I just say that it is so crazy that a baby can just be born, be put to a breast and they’re like “Okay, I know exactly what to do here.” Haha. It just blows my mind.

I’ll never forget the nurse coming in while I was breastfeeding baby Emma and using her pinky to “pop her off” and help me get the right angle to get just the right latch. I wanted to say “Lady, this is not something I’m comfortable with,” but quite frankly, they are all so used to it, and by this time I had laid naked in a room full of almost a dozen people and had more than enough doctors and nurses “down there,” that I guess I didn’t care all that much in the end.

With my first born, the lactation consultant wasn’t really around. I didn’t get any real help, and I didn’t go home with hand-outs or information on who to call if I had a hard time. I was flying solo. I rented a hospital-grade pump while I was still admitted, and we all headed home doe-eyed and terrified.

I was pretty “out there” when nursing at home. Unless my Mom was around, I didn’t cover up, and I rarely wore a bra or real clothing. However, when my Mom was around, I used a cover (just a nursing blanket) and Emma would eat quietly and discreetly. I’m pretty sure my Mom was still uncomfortable with it though because she’d go outside during mealtimes frequently. *My Mom stayed home with me for four of the eight weeks I was off work.

Now, to the details. It hurt. Breastfeeding hurt me SO bad. I have a very high tolerance for pain; this c-section was my 8th surgery and I went years and years with a chronic condition that was painful every single day. I can deal with pain. However, this pain is like no other. The suction would be like pulling a needle out from the center of your breast through your nipple. Once they latch on it’s a very strong suction that would force me to double over in pain. Once she was latched though and feeding normally, it was fine. But the first 20 seconds was like nothing I’ve ever felt or experienced before. I think for me, it was worse than labor.

I tried to Google my issues. I found others out there like me, but they mostly had medical conditions causing it (think mastitis and infections). At my check-up with my OB, she took a look and everything was completely fine. Emma was a very large baby. She had a very healthy appetite. In fact, what I didn’t mention was that in the hospital, I wasn’t making enough to feed her, so we had to supplement with formula. The one thing I DIDN’T want, I had to break down and give to her on day 3 of life because otherwise we would not be allowed to take her home (she was losing too much weight).

Because of the pain (and the usual hormones), I had some serious post-partum depression kicking in. I lied on my questionnaire at the OB office, and so I wasn’t getting any help for it either. I stopped eating. My husband (who was so adoring at the time) would go early in the morning before work to get me yummy things to eat, and by the time he got home from work 10 hours later, it would still be sitting exactly where he left it. In fact, in my daily fog, I don’t think I really drank either. It got to where I wasn’t making nearly enough milk for her. It was probably 80% formula and 20% milk. *I only gained 20 pounds during pregnancy, and at my four week check after, I had lost 40.

I would pump between feedings to try to increase my supply, but I seriously was so foggy in my head that I didn’t realize my lack of food or water was drying me up. I would pump for 40 minutes and not even get 2 ounces (for BOTH breasts combined). Then two hours later Emma would latch on and probably get even less, so I’d turn around and feed her the milk and supplement formula. I had to get up all through the night to pump to try to keep it going. This went on for weeks. It was a vicious cycle.

I started bleeding really bad from my nipples. I would notice the blood getting on Emma’s lips. Sometimes pieces of my nipple would fall off while showering and I’d worry about Emma swallowing it. I would freak out and just supplement formula until I thought it had healed a bit. Those are just some of the things that happened in the last couple days.

I finally couldn’t take it anymore. At just 7 weeks, I stopped nursing. I fell into a slump. I was upset that I couldn’t provide for my child. By day two of no breastfeeding though, the fog was already lifting. I was starting to see clearly again and my depression was fading. I was still upset, but now more so that I didn’t have a better game plan; that I didn’t see this type of curveball being thrown at me and maybe a little that I didn’t have the support that I needed.

Looking back with a clear head though, I did have a support group. I could have gone to my Mommy Blogger friends (who I became very close with, in the last few months of pregnancy) who were having great successes with nursing. Out of my fog, I saw that they were baking lactation cookies, calling into the hospitals to talk to consultants, and so much more. I was so blind to all of it. One of my closest Mommy friends was even making so much milk, that she later donated a lot to women who needed it. Why didn’t I reach out to them?

I also feel like I should have told my OB, who I love, about the depression I was battling. Although, at the time, I don’t think I knew it was depression; I think I thought it was just hormones messing with my feelings and emotions. I always pictured postpartum depression as not wanting your baby or to be a mother all of a sudden, but I think there are many different forms of it.

Anyway, Emma is just great and as smart as can be… and she was formula fed. She does have asthma, and she gets a lot of colds, but is that because of my lack of nursing? I’ll never know. But, it is what it is and I did what I could. I love her unconditionally, and that’s all that matters, right?

Now, I’m not done yet. I did have a second baby just 8 months ago. With Alice, I knew what I’d be facing, and I had a whole new game plan. And you know what? It didn’t work. It was just as painful and foggy with her. I stopped nursing her at just 5 weeks. And again, on day two of no breastfeeding, the fog lifted. I was a happier Momma and I could think clearly. I just don’t think it was meant to be. I even started pumping in the hospital and by the third day my milk was in. But, when I got home and had to fend for myself (and force myself to eat) it all went downhill and I stopped producing.

I guess breastfeeding isn’t for me. I’m not sure what I would do if I had a third child. I’d like to say that I would try again, even if it was just for a few weeks to give her all the good stuff that comes out at first, but I can’t guarantee that I would. It messes with my head. Literally. I’d almost rather feed them formula and be clear-headed to remember everything. It was all so foggy in the beginning with both girls, that I can’t remember all that much of my maternity leave. Isn’t that sad? Precious little babies, and all I have are pictures and a handful of memories.

I get a lot of questions like, “Could it have been the pain killers that were causing your fogginess?” My answer is NO. With my first, I actually stopped taking pain killers in the hospital. The c-section went well, and with my high tolerance for pain, I didn’t feel the need to take them. I even got up and walked the very next day and left the hospital a day early too. It was depression. If it wasn’t for my Mom staying with me, I would have done nothing but feed Emma and sleep. I am so grateful for her. She’s the best mother (I only hope I can come close to being that great of a Mom one day).

Some people ask me if there was anything I would have done differently that may have changed the outcome. Well, there might be. With both pregnancies, while I was in the later months, I would wear a strapless bra and a sports bra over it. I felt more comfortable, while my breasts were getting larger, to have the extra support. But, if you’ve read up on your breastfeeding rules, you’ve likely noticed that you’re not supposed to wear tight clothing around your breasts. It can hinder or stop your milk supply. Maybe this applies before baby too. Maybe if I didn’t hold them in so tightly, they would have started “filling up” earlier. I don’t know.

I do have a friend that I think battled a similar situation as me. She mentioned to me that it made her “crazy.” I’m not sure what she meant by it, but maybe the fogginess is more common that we/I know. She recently had another child and did not nurse them at all. When I saw her, she seemed perfectly normal – still had a glow actually.

So, there you have it. My breastfeeding experiences. If you’re lucky enough to be able to do it and be successful, that’s awesome! If it doesn’t go as planned, well, there are far worse things than formula. Right?

Do you have any questions for me? Or maybe you have some suggestions for my readers? Don’t be shy! 


Noodles & Company - Review

You guys... I had the most awesome thing happen to me! As a newer blogger (I've been doing it for years, but I only really took on the public role more recently), I was so extremely excited to be contacted by a well-known company to attend a tasting to review their restaurant and offerings! And when I say extremely excited, I mean that I almost jumped out of my seat and ran around the building! And as a bonus, their food totally rocks!!!

Noodles & Company is a pretty well-known establishment around the St. Louis area; I had never been to one though. They have eight locations that are up and hopping, and they are about to add a ninth in St. Charles this summer. They feature up to 120 menu combinations and offer something for all tastes, dietary restrictions and ages; if you're a family with children, it may interest you to know that they have family nights every Thursday night from 4-8pm that would allow you one free kids entrée with the purchase of one adult entrée (I can't remember if a drink purchase is required, but you may as well get one because they have probably just as many drink choices as they do pasta). Seriously... take them up on that offer while you can (only going on through March)!

One other neat fact, is that they have 14 varieties of vegetables on hand, and they make all of their sauces from scratch. I'm sure you've guessed by now, and you're right... everything is fresh! They don't own a freezer or microwave. Their kitchen is actually pretty tiny because they don't have cans or containers of sauces, it's all individual ingredients in a fridge that they MAKE when you order it. Yeah, that's right. It's awesome food, made right then and there.

Let me go back to the family aspect really quick. They cater to all ages, and they understand exactly what a family is looking for. They even have the coolest coloring sheets for the table; they take up half of the table so that everyone can reach, and are designed to face every direction so that each person at the table can participate without looking upside-down the entire time. Also, they offer a few different kids meal options, including Wisconsin Mac & Cheese (their number one seller) and grilled chicken with broccoli.

For the adults out there who like to have an adult beverage with their dinner, Noodles & Company offers a variety of Schafly products and a couple different wines to choose from. Or, you can stick with the soda options and choose any combination under the sun.

Down to the good stuff. Something that Noodles & Company was showcasing to us bloggers, is all of their menu options that are under 500 calories. There are a lot! Looking for a light lunch option? They have it. Looking for a filling dinner that doesn't blow your calorie count out of the water? Look no further! Here is a chart to see just what they have to offer:

On to the options that we were given to try out.


Margherita Flatbread - Wow. This appetizer was a hit among the group, but it's VERY cheesy. I'm not sure I would order this for myself, but I think I was one out of ten that felt that way. My husband and kids would love it I'm sure. Even with all the "stinky" cheese, it was very light and refreshing with the fresh herbs and veggies. $3.49

Potstickers - This was super yummy! The filling was delightful. Meaty, yet light. Very flavorful on its own, but it did come with a yummy sweet sauce. But beware! The sauce packs some heat to it! $2.99 for 3


Chicken Noodle - I've never really been a fan of chicken noodle soup. I like heavier soups because otherwise I could just eat an app and drink some water. This soup did have a very nice chicken flavor to it, and it had big beautiful egg noodles in it! As usual, the veggies were fresh and held their own flavor instead of taking on the chicken taste. $1.25, $4.49, $5.89

Tomato Basil Bisque - OMG. That's exactly what I said after my first bite. O. M. G. You guys... I can't even explain how good this soup is! If I had to pick my favorite thing from the entire tasting, it would be this soup! And you know what, I've NEVER been a fan of tomato soup unless I'm dipping a grilled cheese in it. But this soup. OMG. Just try it. Seriously. Do it. You won't regret it. You'll probably buy a second bowl. $1.25, $4.49, $5.89


The Med - This Mediterranean salad is pretty popular, but it is another dish with stinky cheese. If you like feta, this is the salad for you. It also has noodles mixed in with it, so if you're looking for a salad that is light and filling, this one is probably the one you want to go for. $1.25, $4.40, $5.80

Chinese Chop - Wow, this salad has a LOT of flavor. It's really pretty too! The wonton strips and sesame seeds give it a nice added crunch, and the dressing is soooooooo good. Almost like a teriyaki. If you're looking for something different (not the same old ho-hum salad), give this one a shot! $1.25, $4.40, $5.80


Whole Grain Tuscan Fresca - I'm usually not a fan of whole grain pasta. I'm very sensitive to textures, and whole grain is always very, well, grainy. This pasta I think a lot of people would like, if you're okay on the texture (and the graininess of this one isn't nearly as bad as others I've had). It almost has a "diet food" feel to it though, so if you're dieting and don't necessarily want to be, I'm not sure I'd go with this option. $4.49, $5.89

Penne Rosa with Shrimp - This pasta was one of the last that we tried. It is nice and creamy, but not heavy (you're not going to walk out feeling like you ate rocks). I didn't try the shrimp (allergic, but not deathly), but the consensus around the table was that it was VERY good. I think there were a few people just eating the shrimp out of the bowl at the very end. Haha! $4.49, $5.89 +$2.29 for shrimp

Buff Bowls:

Now, before I get into describing these dishes, I want to point out that even if you've been to Noodles & Company before, this is probably something you haven't had. It's fairly new, and let me just tell you that they are SO good. I usually go for heavier meals because I don't like to pay for something and be hungry in two hours, but this option is spot-on! 

Japanese Pan Buff Bowl with Steak - Steak and mushrooms with fresh veggies on a bed of spinach, and a light and sweet sauce mixed in? Um, yes please! The mushrooms were pretty large, but they weren't too shroomy (my plus one Cayla didn't care for mushrooms and she ate it, by accident... but she was fine). I thought it was very tasty, but unless it's a thick bone-in steak, I'm not one to order beef like this. $4.49, $5.89 +$2.79 for steak

Pesto Buff Bowl with Pork - Holy WOW. This was by far my favorite entree. I've been thinking about it ever since! It's just pork with pesto and cheese on top of fresh, uncooked spinach. So simple and soooooooooo good. $4.49, $5.89 +$2.79 for pork

Tuscan Fresca Buff Bowl with Chicken - I wasn't a fan of this one for some reason. The tuscan sauce might be vinegar-based, so that could be it. I didn't hate it, but there were so many other options that I liked more. If you're wanting something with a lighter flavor, this one is it (and stinky cheese). $4.49, $5.89 +$2.59 for chicken

Bangkok Curry Buff Bowl - I think this one had tofu on it. Haha. The flavors were really wonderful with this one. I thought it would be weird because of the curry aspect, but it wasn't. It was different, but still yummy. And I'm pretty sure I can say that I ate tofu! $4.49, $5.89


Rice Krispy Treats, Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Snickerdoodle Cookies - Do I really need to describe these? Yum! I will say that the rice krispy treats are make fresh twice a day, and they might be the best ones I ever had! $1.79 each

Plus, did you see how great the prices are?!?!?! Seriously great deals for great food.

Now, if you ask me what I would get the next time I go...

Side Tomato Basil Bisque soup, Small Pesto Buff Bowl with Pork, and a Rice Krispy Treat! $7.53! Go on family night, and Emma can eat free! This should be top on a family's list of go-to restaurants.

Once the St. Charles one opens up (it's way closer to me), I'm sure you'll see us there all the time! And when you see us, be sure to say hi!


My Alice is 8 Months Old Already

It really is true when they say that with your first child, you document all milestones, and capture every big moment, then with your second child you just do what you can. I can’t imagine what those with three or more children do…. Are there even pictures of them? Haha.

Poor Alice, all I really have is pictures of her. I didn’t do a baby book, and I never really posted to Facebook any of her achievements so far. Shoot, I didn’t even realize that I never really even blog about her at all. Major mommy fail.

So, while I have another pressing blog post that needs to be posted, I thought I’d put it on hold and blog about my baby girl. She has brought so much joy into my life, I can’t even explain it. It’s like my heart wants to burst each and every day because I have Emma who verbally tells me that she loves me and I’m her best friend, and then I have Alice who loves for me to cuddle and kiss her all the time. While the rest of my life might seem like a mess, they are both perfect, each in their own way.

From day one, Alice has had a very different personality than Emma. Emma was loud and was never happy, and Alice is pretty quiet and almost always happy! Alice is very daring with trying new things, while Emma took her sweet time and was very cautious. Emma loved all foods and couldn’t get enough, while Alice is picky and she’s usually done after a small amount. Seriously, just everything is different.

Here are the firsts that I was able to capture (thank goodness for smart phones):


July 11th – First Smile

August 15th – First “Real” Laugh

August 27th – Perfected the Head Raise

September 2nd – Gripping Toys with Ease

September 19th – First Real Play with a Stuffed Animal (hugging, interacting, etc.)

September 25th – Supported Sitting like a Champ

October 4th – Started Using a High Chair

October 10th – First Time in the Walker

October 12th – Found her Ear

October 20th – First “Real” Time with Baby Food

November 23rd – Really Sitting on her Own

November 29th – Held Her Own Bottle for the First Time

December 12th – Crawled for Real (instead of military crawling)


January 6th – Got our first shot of her teeth. By this point, she already had 5, with one more getting ready to pop through.

January 9th – She saw her first snowfall. She just liked how cold the window was.

January 12th – Started on the real food somewhere around this area. Maybe just after the first of the year.

January 23rd – She now sits in the cart like a big girl.

A big one I think I missed was her rolling over for the first time.

What I haven’t gotten a picture of yet, is that she can now stand on her own. She doesn’t take any steps yet, but she will stand unassisted for a solid couple seconds before grabbing onto something. Oh, and she can climb now too (ugh, slow it down kid)!

She has two more teeth about to pop through (which will be 8 teeth already), she doesn’t have much hair at all, her face gets chapped very easily, and she has patches of eczema on her arms and legs (Emma had that too). I think she will be walking in just a month or so (she already walks with a push walker). She hasn’t even gotten close to talking, but her babbling is now more pronounced. Meaning, it has gone from being mostly noises in her chest and nose to actual “ba, ba, bo, bo” sounds coming from her mouth.

I’m already planning her first birthday party. I can’t wait for this little girl to show everyone what she’s made of.

Eight months old already… time is flying by.

To my Alice –
 I love you more than words could ever tell. You fill my heart to the brim and some days I think I could die from loving you and your sister so much! I hope you continue to explore the world around you like you do today (just maybe not eating so much paper along the way). You couldn’t be more beautiful, and I hope that you see and remember that when you’re older. I also hope that you and your sister Emma continue to love each other as much as you do today; Emma may not always want to play with you, but man when the feeling comes over her, it’s like she could eat you up from loving you so much. I’ll do anything for you baby girl, for the rest of my life (within reason – no tattoos, no dating ‘til you’re thirty, etc.). 

Love, Mommy.