Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mommy Moments Blog Hop

Hey mamas!
Welcome back for another great week of Mommy Moments Link Ups! Thank you for linking up and for spreading the word last week! We love all of the great posts!

 This week's most viewed link belongs to Julie from Sweetness and Happiness! Her post I drove the Wrong Car to Work is a classic example of the drama of motherhood and how hectic it can really be.


A big welcome to our guest host for this week. She is a faithful contributor to the Mommy Moments Link Up every week so you may recognize her cute little blog The Everyday Momma!The Everyday Momma
Now it's time to link up your posts! All you have to do is...

1. Follow Host: The Life Of Faith 
2. Link up your post!
Post can include anything related to mommy-hood, children, homemaking, pregnancy etc. If you aren't a mom yet, feel free to link up your preparation for motherhood, your journey as you try to conceive, or even a post that would be encouraging to the other moms in the party!

3. Add the Mommy Moments button to your post or blog so everyone knows where you are linking up!

4. Explore some of the other posts in the link-up and say hello to some new blog friends! 

5. Tweet or Share the link up on Facebook so we can all make even more friends!

The Life Of Faith
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P.S. We will be having a new guest host every week! Want to be a guest host of the Mommy Moments Blog Hop? Send Faith a message at farmprincess14{at}gmail{dot}com. We would love to have you!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Steak Stroganoff {recipe}

Steak Stroganoff Recipe

What You Will Need

1 sirloin steak (about 1 lb.)
1/2 cup diced onion
4 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 cup milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 envelope onion soup mix
8 ounces sour cream
2 tablespoons flour
black pepper

1. Cook steak thoroughly until there is no pink. Once the steak is finished cooking, remove from pan.
2. While the steak is cooling off, cook onions in the pan.

3. While the onions are cooking, cut the steak into pieces; size based on your desire.
4. Add the cut up steak back into the pan with the cooked onions.
5. Add the mushrooms, milk, garlic, and soup mix; bring to boil.
6. In a separate bowl, mix together sour cream and flour. Add mixture to the pan. Stir thoroughly and continue cooking until it is heated throughout.
 7. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve over your favorite pasta, rice, or potatoes.
What are some new recipes you are cooking this week?

Myles' First Holiday Pictures 2012

I'm quite ashamed to say that I didn't get professional pictures taken of Myles until he was 3.5 months old. I really regret not getting newborn pictures taken of him :(  You can never go back to do those things... I am trying to be better about doing everything with Myles even if I don't feel like it. The even sadder part is that since then I have yet to get any more professional pictures done. Almost a year later and all I have are my far-from-professional-looking photos of my little man. I do plan on getting this years holiday ones done very soon though! 
Anywho, here are his 1st holiday season photos from last year. These were taken in the beginning of December when he was 3.5 months old. 

Thanks for stopping by to check out my little one!

Are you doing professional holiday pictures this year? 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Myles Monthly: 3

As you may know, I didn't decide to start my blog until my son Myles was about 8 months old. And well... now he is 14 months old! So I am focusing on getting caught up with monthly updates and monthly favorites, so I can get, and hopefully stay, up to date with current times. 

  October 15th-November 14th, 2012


Born: 7 lbs 6 oz and 19.5 inches
Three Months: 15.5 lbs, not sure about length
Famous pose.. work it!

Health: It was not possible for a month to go by without a new issue arising; some mysterious new habit that didn't seem quite normal; something that the internet couldn't give me the answers to (ugh how dare you all-mighty internet!). Well this month was a real conundrum for me; once again leaving me feeling like I really shouldn't have skipped out on that Mommy 101 class.. Oh what, you didn't know about that class; the one that teaches you the answers to any and everything that could possibly go wrong with a child?!?! 
One can dream...right? Well let's just say "Thank God" for professionals. Although we have had certain issues come up, I have been very blessed to have a great doctor and family to help us through it all. 
Myles started teething this month; and little did I know about teething and all the wonderful side effects that come with it. It really did a number on our previously great breastfeeding relationship. He started doing all sorts of weird things and I had no idea what was happening. After couple weeks, I started to feel like there was more to it than just a behavior change. We went to see the doctor and she was very helpful. Since this was eating related, I am going to move into the 'eating' section.
Other than that issue, he continued to be very healthy and still no colds yet!

  Eating: I don't remember the exact time it happened, but during this month, Myles had a HUGE change in his eating habits. From the very beginning, he never ate for as long as what I read was supposed to be normal, 15-30 minutes each side. For the first two months, he typically ate for about 7-10 minutes each side. I told the doctor, but since he was gaining weight as he should, it was never an issue. Then this month he started to eat less and less at one time. It got to the point where it would only be a couple of minutes on each side. It seemed impossible to me that he was getting enough milk the way he was eating. 

He also started throwing up. It was really strange how/when it happened too. It would only be once a day.. always, only once. Most of the time it would be around 8pm. He would be eating, then all of a sudden pull off and throw up. Since I felt like he was eating so little at a time, I would try to make him eat more often. When he started the throwing up thing, I thought it was because I was making him eat more than he wanted. I was just soo worried he wasn't eating enough. He would seriously only eat like 2 minutes on each side. 
After the nightly puking went on for one week straight, I finally decided to go to the doctor. He, of course, was weighed and to my surprise had actually gained 2.5 pounds since his 2 month check up. I couldn't believe it, but "the scales don't lie," right?! Seeing that put my mind at ease... a little bit... I still didn't think he was getting enough to eat. She examined him and said that his throat, stomach, etc. were fine, so the puking wasn't from reflux or anything. She suggested I go to the Breastfeeding Support Group at the hospital and talk with a lactation consultant about the issues we were having because she didn't see anything physically wrong with him.
So for the next month, I attended a weekly Breastfeeding Support Group. I was so glad the group existed because it helped us tremendously. I found out that Myles had started teething and his behavior was totally normal. Also his puking was caused by the excess saliva he was creating because of teething. I was able to weigh him, feed him, and then weigh him again to see how much milk he was actually getting during a typical feeding. I was very surprised to see that he was getting around 3 ounces for about 5 minutes. And during the month that I went, he gained another pound! This finally set my mind at ease and I stopped stressing so much. Things didn't instantly change with his eating habits, but because I was less stressed, breastfeeding went back to being more comfortable and enjoyable for the both of us. He still kept his nursing sessions very short and often, but the throwing up stopped around 4 months.

Sleep: Sleep... my least favorite topic to write about. And it only gets worse... until about month 8. So bare with me as I drive back into my sleeping nightmare... Is that an oxymoron.. if so, score for me! 
First the positive story: I decided to give up on the feeding schedule. I was about to take my pump to the Monster Truck Rally and let them have at it, so I decided to take a break from it. It was stressing me out having to pump and wash, and pump and wash, all while trying to calm a ravenous baby. So I decided to go back to breast only. The good that came from this decision was that I finally got Myles to nap! The bad was that I started a habit that is nearly impossible to break (even a year later). When I started nursing him from the breast only, he began nursing to sleep. Now this was something he did during the night all the time, but I had never tried it for naps. I read A LOT about getting babies to sleep and I finally was able to make some progress with Myles after reading this article. It has tons of great information if you are struggling like I was. What helped me the most was reading the "maximum wake times." I had no idea that a 3 month old should only be awake for 1.5 hours before needing a nap. I realized that Myles was extremely over tired and was way over stimulated. Once I figured all this out, I stuck to the 1.5 hour wake time pretty strictly. He would only nap for 30 minutes at a time, but he was getting way more rest throughout the day. 
I also started swaddling him. I tried a swaddling blanket with him before and it seemed to just make him really mad, so I stopped trying it. I read so many positive things saying it helped babies to sleep longer that I decided to try it again. One day I put him in the blanket and nursed him to sleep. I laid him down in his crib and he slept in there for 30 minutes!!! This was a huge milestone because prior to this he would cry the second I laid him in his crib. (I had been trying at night time with no success). So we really got a routine down with his naps and it made a huge difference in his overall mood. His wake times were less fussy and in general, he was just more content. Typically, I would take him in his room and nurse him until is was sleeping, then I would lay him in his crib and swaddle him up. He almost always woke up, but he would just go right back to sleep after I finished swaddling him.
Once he woke up, we would have play/wake time until it was time for a nap again after 1.5 hours. 

Now, I know that by most, this routine is backwards. I know... I read Babywise... Eat, Play, Sleep... well that didn't work for me.. there was no getting him to sleep that way. I know that nursing to sleep is a very hard habit to break... But of course I didn't know that at the time and honestly even if I did, I probably still would have done it. I was DESPERATE to get Myles to sleep and I did what I had to do.
  Unfortunately, the great strides we made at naps was not carried over into night-time sleep. We tried all sorts of different things this month :) We continued co-sleeping at night. It was nice to not have to get up, go get Myles, feed him, and lay him back down every time he woke up, but I really didn't get anymore sleep myself by co-sleeping. Myles still tossed and turned and fussed almost all night long. He would thrash his head back and forth for hours sometimes. This made him have a pretty funky hairdo... It was really thick on the bottom, thinning on top, and a line of bald where he rubbed it off by his constant back and forth head moving.
 He would also kick his legs up and down all night long. He lifted them up and then banged them on the bed over and over. He did it the most in the couple of hours before he would get up for the day, so I thought maybe it was because he was in a light sleep or fussing to stay/go back to sleep. Before I started swaddling him this month, he also flailed his arms all over in his sleep. When we started co-sleeping, I would sometimes gently hold his arms down, because if I didn't, his arms would keep him awake. 
He was just all over the place at night and I felt really bad for him. He was struggling to get good sleep and I couldn't figure out how to give it to him. I felt like I was doing something wrong, but I didn't know how to fix it. The swaddling did help a little bit. I was able to get him to sleep in his crib if he was swaddled and nursed to sleep. But he would wake up every couple of hours or less. His normal first stretch (which should be the longest) was maybe 2 hours. After that, it would be less and less time in between. He would usually go to sleep around 10pm and wake up for the day around 9am; waking up about 10 times during that duration. Once he started sleeping in his crib at night, whenever he woke up, I would get him, nurse him back to sleep and then lay him down, praying he would stay asleep. Sometimes he would wake right back up and I would have to do it all over again. Eventually around 7am, I would give in and just bring him in bed with me.
Per every suggestion I read, I tried him in the Rock 'N Play Sleeper at night thinking he would sleep longer.... It made absolutely no difference. I did use it though for some naps and also to put him in when I would take a shower. But it was not a Godsend miracle that magically got my baby to sleep; it was just another one of the million or so products I bought out of desperation to try to get my child to sleep. I was now going on a full three months of no sleep. At the most I would get 2-3 hours, but most nights I would not once would fall asleep. It did a number on my sanity. I was very depressed; mostly because I felt like I couldn't enjoy life with my baby to the fullest because I was so exhausted all day long, and didn't even get any relief at night. I was also very angry about it. I didn't understand why it was happening to me when I was trying so hard to be a good mom, even through the exhaustion. I love Myles so much and I have always just wanted to be the mom he deserves, so it was very hard for me to feel like I was fulfilling my duties because I was so tired and on the brink of delusion.
The only thing that keep me going was seeing his beautiful, happy face in the morning. I could hardly remember my name or to brush mt teeth, but I couldn't help but to fall completely in love with this face more and more every minute that passed by:


Getting Myles on a nap schedule definitely made a huge difference in his overall demeanor. He cried a lot less once he started getting rest. 
He cried when he was hungry or getting tired. He also started to not like the car seat, so a lot of crying happened in the car.
And of course he cried when he woke up at night... over... and over.... and over.


  • Aunt Melissa had her 30th birthday party! We got to celebrate with her and she finally held Myles for the first time! (Prior to this Myles was too fragile for her to hold)
This was a BIG deal! And everyone was there to see it :)

  • This month was Myles' First Halloween.. Halloween is my favorite holiday (well tied with Christmas) I LOVE dressing up and seeing what creative ideas other people come up with. And now that I have a kid; it is going to be even better! However, Myles' First Halloween was kind of uneventful. It was already very cold outside in Northern Illinois, so there was no way we were going to go treat or treating. Plus, I was still rolling on super sleep deprivation, so I was more into a very, very low key celebration. 
We did get out though. We dressed Myles up in his Hot Chili costume and went to Grandpa and Grandma Krueger's house. I was happy enough to just hang out with family and this super cute, hot stuff!

  • A couple of days before Halloween we went to Aunt Melissa's house to do a little pumpkin carving! I really love carving pumpkins (again the creativity part is what gets me all excited!) I let Mark carve ours while Myles and I watched. It wasn't my most creative carving, but we didn't plan for it, so I think it turned out well considering.

  • Towards the end of Myles' third month was the presidential election. I have voted every year since I was old enough and plan on doing so as long as I can. I have never been too thrilled with my choices, but I believe that it is sooo important to vote and I want Myles to learn by example! It always feels like I am just picking the lesser of two evils, but it is better than not voting at all in my opinion. 
Of course I brought my little buddy with me to vote! The workers even gave him his own "I voted" sticker! So stickin cute, I tell ya! That night we watched all the election coverage at home as well. I hope Myles learns how important it is to keep voting; because even if we are discouraged with the system, we can't all give up! If we do, we don't stand a chance to make changes.


First Roll: Myles rolled for the first time from his belly to back at 11 weeks old on October 31st.  

Head control: By three months, he was doing awesome with his head control. He got really good holding it up during tummmy time. When we got up for the morning, I would always spent time with Myles on the floor working on skills. We would do sitting up, rolling over, and tummy time for as long as he would let me, usually about 25 minutes all together. 

Working on that strong neck.. got a big head to hold up!

First time sleeping in crib: Myles began sleeping in his crib this month! We started with putting him in there at the beginning of the night. He really only lasted 30 minutes max before he would start crying. After that, I would go get him and bring him in bed with me. But it was a start and little by little he slept in there more and more (not longer as that would imply he slept for longer periods of time..haha.. and that definitely did not happen!)

First time in his jumper: Because Myles loved being held in a stand up position so he could bounce up and down, we decided that it was time for the jumperoo. We bought the
Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Jumperoo used from a friend. Myles and I both loved this thing. When we first put him in, he didn't quite reach the bottom, so I put a pillow under it so he could at least start to understand the motion of jumping by pushing off the ground. He was also too little for the seat so I always put a blanket behind him for more support. He would be in this thing for hours if I let him. And he continued to love it until he was able to crawl and could no longer be contained! (Look for a more in depth review in the Three & Four Month Favorites)

First time copying: This month Myles started copying us! The first thing he copied was sticking his tongue out. He just randomly started doing it one day when I was playing with him. He didn't do it all the time but when he was really paying attention and someone stuck their tongue out at him, he would do it back. He did it in the bath a lot, because he would be acting so silly and be in such a funny mood. 
*This ended up being a phase and he stopped doing it after 3ish weeks.

First baby noises: This month Myles also started making some real baby noises. Nothing too fancy.. just some different noises other than crying!

Found his hands: Once the teething began, his brain gave his hands a purpose; in the mouth they went! This month teething began full force and Myles wanted to chew on everything! This, of course, included his hand. Once he figured out he could chew on his hands and that it helped his hurting mouth, he was in hand heaven! I thought this was a pretty awesome milestone because it was the beginning of intentional physical movement.


  • This month he started to like bath time more. Because he started teething, I would put a wet washcloth in his mouth and he would chew, chew, chew! He also started moving around more in his tub: splashing and kicking up a storm!
  • His love for music continued into three months. If he was on the floor playing and he started to get upset or wanted to be picked up, his Big Top Chime Rattle worked wonders. These are super cheap rattles, but Myles loved the noise they made. I had two, so I could always have one close by in case of emergencies! 
  • Myles also continued to be a morning person... well... he would be in his best mood in the morning. I surely don't know why... I mean 10-11 hours of tossing and turning and waking and eating and waking and tossing and turning and eating and waking... I would be exhausted.. OH WAIT, I was! But of course somehow he woke up totally refreshed and ready to go! I really did enjoy this time though. He let me cuddle him and try to get some smiles out of him, all while still in our jammies in bed!


  • The teething had officially begun; Myles didn't really seem to be too bothered by it, but me, I greatly dislike teething! As stated above, it had totally thrown off his eating and for most of the month, I couldn't for the life of me figure out what in the world was going on with him... Total mom FAIL :( Thankfully, it wasn't impacting him as much as I thought it was.
  • The more alert and engaged Myles became, the more he started hating his car seat. Up until this month, he would almost always fall asleep in the car. It was nice to know that if I had to take him somewhere by myself, I rarely had to worry about keeping him content. Then came month three... Since his napping was better throughout the day, he didn't always just fall asleep every time we got in the car. If he was awake and had no one entertaining him, he would freak out. Now in the whole scheme of his life, I'm guessing crying for 10-15 minutes in the car at three months old is going to be the least of his traumatizing experiences; however I could not handle his crying. I don't know if it is just me, but the sound of my baby crying at three months was the saddest sound ever; I hated hearing him cry, especially when we were in the car and I couldn't do anything about it. It made me feel like I was a horrible mom. So needless to say, I avoided driving alone with Myles like the plague until he grew out of that phase! 
  • As mentioned above in 'sleep', this month we started using the crib. Myles was not a fan! He eventually got comfortable with it, but it wasn't an easy transition. He would start crying within a millisecond of being put down... babies... pretty smart, I tell ya!

And this one was too funny to leave out. I swear he loved that lion!
Lions, and tigers, and bears... OH MY!
Come back to check out my favorites from months three & four!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Halloween Mantle & Fireplace

Although I am sooo behind on catching up with my Myles Monthly updates, I couldn't let October go by without a Halloween Mantle & Fireplace post! 
Halloween is my favorite holiday to decorate for and I finally have a house to do it in!
So here is a look at my Halloween Mantle & Fireplace!

Sorry for the POOR quality of these pictures. I currently only have my iPhone for a camera. I am asking for a 'real' camera for Christmas. I would love any suggestions, as I have no idea about cameras. 
These glitter pumpkins are from the $1 section at target (LOVE that place!)
All of the spider webs are from Dollar Tree.

Top Left: First, there are two pictures I keep on the mantle year round; my great-grandma that I am named after and Mark & Myles at one month old. I added orange tapered candles with some spider web... I am a little obsessed with the spider web... to say the least. The candle holders are a Goodwill find.
Top Right: We don't use the fireplace right now as Bay Area, Cali is still in the 80s, so it has been taken captive by Halloween decor. I used two more of the orange tapered candles and put them in some holders I wasn't using. Then of course I had to drown it spider web :) I found a cute decal at Lowe's, of all places, and I had the idea to put it over the glass fireplace doors. I love it so much that I might just make my living room a year round haunted house. 
Bottom Left: Middle of the mantle; I just spiced up my normal mirrors with webs and spider decals from the same package as the fireplace one (with some spider web as well.) Then I placed the pumpkins from the above picture in front of the mirror. 
Bottom Right: A further away view of the fireplace with the decals (candles and spider web inside) and the tassel garland I made. I used this tutorial. I like the yarn look and it was very cheap. I bought three different colors from Walmart for $2.50 each and used the black to hang it. 

Full picture of the top; on the left side are two vases I use for fall and a picture frame I picked up from the Goodwill!

Also check out my Halloween Wreath that I posted a couple weeks ago. 

How are you decorating for Halloween?