Friday, March 17, 2017

3 Simple Ways to Make Mealtime More Fun! {AND A NUBY GIVEAWAY}

I don't know about you, but I find myself giving my two year old the same food options on repeat because I know he likes them and because it's easy. But that gets old for both of us very quickly, so I have come up with 3 simple ways to make mealtime more fun for both you and your child.

1.) Play with the shapes of their food
Kids love to have fun, so why not play with their food? An easy way to do this is by changing the shape of their food. The common way to do this is by using a cookie cutter. You can easily make your child's boring PB&J into a heart or a dinosaur. Another way to play with the shapes of their food is by using an ice cube tray! My toddler loves mashed potatoes and he eats them often so instead of serving them mashed in the usual way I decided to change it up. I filled a cat shaped ice cube tray with the potatoes and then froze them. I then took them out of the freezer, brushed some melted butter on top, added a little salt and pepper then baked them at 180 degrees for 18 minutes and he loved them! The foods you could freeze in ice cube trays are endless (applesauce, yogurt, any puree, sweet potatoes, etc.!) IKEA has inexpensive ice cube trays in a variety of shapes if you are looking for some.
2.) Serve Fruits and Veggies with some kind of spread
Let's be honest, it can be hard to serve fruits and veggies to your picky eater. My toddler loves cream cheese and he loves crackers so I decided to just make my own version of a fruit pizza for him to eat. Choose a spread that your child likes (cream cheese, peanut butter, Nutella, hummus) and think of how to add fruits or veggies to it. I will be trying the cream cheese and cracker pizza idea with vegetables next time!
3.) Present food in a brand new way
Visual presentation is important to a child and to us too, right? My toddler doesn't love lunch meat so I have tried to present it in a few different ways. I tried wrapping it in a tortilla and then saw this idea on Pinterest of using a pretzel stick. I simple wrapped lunch meat around string cheese and then used a knife to make an X and stuck the pretzel stick through. Aiden had fun holding on to the lunch meat this way and while he still didn't proceed to actually eat the lunch meat, he at least tried it, which is progress.

The Sure Grip Miracle Mats pictured above make presentation at mealtime much easier because it is a divided plate. It also makes me think about how to incorporate more food groups into each of my child's meals. These mats stick to the table, my child's high chair tray, counters, etc. and are dishwasher safe. It is nice to have a plate you know is secure and won't be flipped over, or chucked across the room!
If you'd like to get one of these mats for FREE, 
hop over to my Instagram: @allie_renner for a chance to win one!
Throughout this month, Babies R'Us is having sales on many other Nuby mealtime items that could also help make mealtime more fun for you and your kids. Here are some details on the sale so head to your nearest Babies R' Us (or visit their website) to snatch up some mealtime items for yourself!

Sale includes bottles, cups, mealtime, bottle accessories and bottle dish soap
Buy 1 Get 10% off
Buy 2 Get 20% off
Buy 3 or more Get 30% off
Sale runs through March 26th!

What do you do or use to make mealtime fun?


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Alder Jacob {One Month}

My littlest buddy is now one month (plus 10 days) old and what a sweet month it has been. I have loved getting to know Alder these last few weeks. Here's what I know about him so far...

He has my BLUE eyes and I think they're here to stay! I can't begin to tell you how happy this makes me. I love my brown eyed boys, but knowing he gets these eyes from me just makes me happy.

He likes to hold on to my fingers or my hair while he eats. I think it's the sweetest thing ever.

He is in a word from our doctor, "vigorous." I prefer mighty or determined. The kid knows what he wants and fights for it. Even though I'd say his overall demeanor is very chill and sweet, when he wants to eat, he wants to eat now and he will put his whole body into telling you so. 
He loves being sung to. His favorite and the song that most effectively soothes him is "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." It has to be because he heard it so many times in the womb from Drew and I singing it to Aiden. I have now trained Aiden to sing this song to Alder when he cries to help all of our sanity and honestly, I think it helps.

He loves being close to me. His favorite position to be in is on my chest with his legs froggied out. He is also very content when I wear him in my Wildbird sling. That thing is a game changer.
He is alert and curious like his brother. At our newborn photo session the kid would not go to sleep for the longest time for our photographer. He followed her camera lens any time she moved it. He was too curious for sleep. Aiden did the same thing at his newborn session. #brothers

He loves the sound of his Daddy's voice. I'd say he is most smiley when Drew talks to him.

A few stats about Alder at one month: 

Weight: 10 pounds 12 ounces (85th percentile, WHATTTT?!)

Height: 23 inches

Size clothes: I have officially put away all of his newborn clothes and have bumped him up to size 1 diapers. I swear he just fit into his dinosaur footed jammies last week. Now he cant even bend his knees in this outfit. Believe me, I tried to squeeze him into them one last time. I'm in denial because he is changing way too quickly.

Sleeping: This kid cluster feeds like crazy every single evening from dinner to bedtime, which means he gives me a solid 5 hours of sleep before wanting to eat again.

Random stuff only parents want to know:

Nicknames: Alder J, Little Buddy, Little Pig-pig (due to his nightly feeding habits)

Likes: Smiling (it's his favorite), Being sung to (Twinkle, Twinkle), eating all day everyday...I swear he's a feeding machine. being carried in the ring sling, being snuggled close to Mama (and his feeding source, haha), the sound of Daddy's voice, "Pat-pats" from his big brother, staring at mobiles.

Dislikes: Having to wait for food especially in the evening hours, being sat on by his big brother (sharing Mama's lap is hard work)

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of Alder from our first month together...
We love our little buddy so much and can't wait to see what month 2 brings!

See Aiden at ONE MONTH here.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

39 weeks with Alder (A Final Bump Compilation)

Taken at 39 weeks and 5 days just hours before meeting Alder
Dear Alder,
You are currently laying on my chest with your eyes closed and your sweet face toward the sun. You are breathing little breaths in and out on my chest and I can feel your heartbeat against mine. It's so crazy to think just 5 weeks ago you were inside me and that we did not quite know each other yet. My pregnancy with you was such a sweet one. I'm sorry I didn't capture it the way I did with your brother, but I felt blessed each day knowing you were growing inside me. My pregnancy with you went so fast and overall I felt very good. There was this one spot on my back you liked to press on, but every ache and pain was worth it the moment I saw you. Even though you had to be evicted like your brother, you were more ready to come out than he was.

My labor with you was quick and I found myself thankful for every contraction (as painful as they were) because they were bringing me closer to meeting you. You entered the world after 12 pushes, with a full head of hair and lungs that were clearly working. My favorite part of the day was when the doctor put you on my chest and we locked eyes for the first time. I loved you so much already, but actually seeing you and holding was such an amazing feeling. These last few weeks with you have been a mixture of so many things, but what I feel most when I hold you is pride and joy. You have been such a good baby, so easy going and sweet. You are already smiling and trying to "talk" to us. You are so content being close to me, it makes my Mama heart so full. I already forget what life was like before you joined our family. I'm so glad you're finally here baby boy. I love you more than you could ever know.

Your Mama

Here's the final set of bump pictures...39 weeks (and 5 days) carrying Alder.
Week 16 Bumpdate
                Week 22 Bumpdate
                                                                                                                                            Week 30 Bumpdate

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Alder's Newborn Pictures

When I started scrolling through these images from my photographer, my heart melted and I was just completely overwhelmed. Looking into the faces of my TWO sweet little boys made me cry tears of joy. These pictures mean so much to me. I love my boys and I love being a family of four! Here are some of my favorite images from Alder's newborn session...

Photos by: Shannon Krusling Photography

And if you want to see how different my boys look...
 Aiden's newborn pictures are here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Alder's birth story

On January 29th, 2017 at 2:47 PM our sweet Alder entered the world kicking and screaming. It was a perfect day and as I sit here thinking back on it, I am brought to tears. Giving birth is a beautiful thing. It's messy and painful, but it is a privilege, an honor and one of the most spiritual things I have ever experienced. Here is the story of the day my second son was born.

Let's rewind to my 38 week appointment. I was 4 cm dilated and 80% effaced and the doctor brought up induction. Since I was two weeks late with my first, she mentioned considering going ahead and scheduling an induction at my next appointment just to have it in the books. Honestly, at that point I really didn't want to be induced. I wanted the "real" experience this time. I wanted to make that call to my husband in panic mode saying "Hunny, get home now, my water just broke!" Don't ask me why, but I wanted all the crazy that comes with the contractions at home and scrambling around. It seemed exciting and I wanted it to happen naturally this time. Well my 39 week appointment came and I was progressing quickly. 5 cm and 85% effaced. The doctor brought up induction once again and was worried that if I didn't schedule an induction within the next few days, that I could end up giving birth in the car on the way to the hospital because she said when it happened, it would be quick. It was the doctor who delivered Aiden so she said nonchalantly, "I'm at the hospital on Sunday (it was Thursday) why don't you come in then, I'll break your water and we can have this baby." Those words sold me and I called to schedule my induction for Sunday at 10 am.
I still fully expected to go into labor on my own, but it never happened. So Saturday night I got to rock my sweet son and sing to him one last time before he would become a big brother. I got to cry some tears I'd been holding in and pray for his heart. I got to take my time packing the car Sunday morning, shower, eat breakfast and relax on our car ride to the hospital as snowflakes fell around us. It was serene and peaceful and wonderful.
We got admitted at the hospital, I got into my robe and got hooked up to Pitocin. We listened to Alder's heartbeat on the monitor and waited. At 11:40 the doctor came in and broke my water and then the contractions started.
With Aiden I got an epidural shortly after my water broke, but this time I just wanted to feel more and while it was painful, I kind of enjoyed it. Drew read the monitor and told me when I was at the peak of a contraction and helped me breathe through the pain. I had Hillsong on in the background and focused my energy on what was to come. I had no plans to do a natural birth so when I couldn't bare it anymore I asked for the epidural, then bliss. 45 minutes later, and 3 sets of pushes later, he was here. I was a Mama again.
Those first few moments after your baby is born, when the doctors hand them over to you and you look them in the eyes, is the closest thing to heaven on Earth that I've ever experienced. Meeting the life you've been growing inside of you for 9 months, the little human that prodded you in the middle of the night, that you felt hiccuping at all hours, that you sang to and prayed over...the moment you've dreamt of, prayed about and longed for is here. This thing that has been part of you, but is now separate from you is now breathing on his own and staring you in the face. It truly is a miracle.
After he spent the first hour of his little life laying on his Mama's chest, he was whisked away to be weighed and measured. 7 pounds 9 ounces of love. 52.5 cm. The entire time, just like his brother, Alder was looking around and taking in this big old world.

Then it was Daddy's turn to hold Alder and we simply stared in awe at the newest addition to our family. We were officially a family of 4 and we couldn't wait for Aiden to arrive to meet his little brother! Those photos are coming soon and they are absolutely adorable. My heart has never felt so full.