Mother’s Day Weekend 2017

How is it already Wednesday?! I was hoping to get this post out earlier in the week, but I blinked and suddenly the week is half over. But I still wanted to share all about my Mother’s Day weekend, because it was pretty perfect (despite all the crying from my children).

We kicked the weekend off on Saturday with the Kansas City Northern Railroad’s National Train Day. Just a few minutes from our house is a miniature railroad track that runs during the summer months and for National Train Day, they had free train rides, as well as inflatables, food trucks & other family-friendly activities. It was so hot and crowded, but the lines moved super quick and Maverick had a blast.

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Of course we had to ride the miniature train. Kennedy slept in her Tula and Maverick sat with Shawn. Last summer when we rode the train he was a little scared, especially when it goes through the tunnel, but this time around he was all about it!!

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After the train ride, we visited the model train museum that was there. I think Maverick would have stayed there ALL DAY watching those trains. He was in awe!

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We had planned to eat lunch there and enjoy the sunshine, but it was so hot and Maverick was quickly approaching the point between Nap Time & Overly Tired, so we hurried home to get the kids to sleep.

While I laid down with Kennedy, Shawn decided he was going to run to a car dealership to look at yet another minivan. Quick backstory–we have been shopping for a minivan for about a year now. We knew the exact one we wanted & had a price in mind, but nothing ever seemed to pan out. Shawn, the eternal optimist, continued the search over a course of a year and every once in a while would make trips out to various dealerships to see if it was “the one.” I had long given up my dream of driving a mini, so when he told me he was cleaning out the SUV “just in case,” I just smiled and let him be.

Fast forward to an hour later and Shawn called me asking if I can meet him at the dealership to sign the paperwork!! I could NOT believe it! I woke the kids up, threw them in the truck and before the dealership closed, I drove away in my brand new 2017 Toyota Sienna.

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I swore I would never drive a minivan, but you guys, I’m driving one and I have never been more in love with a vehicle. Maverick can get in and out of the car all by himself and I don’t have to worry about him running out into the parking lot while I get Kennedy in and out of her carseat. Not to mention, I can fit both the double stroller AND the groceries in the trunk. I mean, seriously, it’s the little things that make my heart go pitter-patter.

And what else says Happy Mother’s Day better than a grocery getter? Oh, that’s right, the fact that my children were absolute nightmares the whole day on Sunday!

Like a lot of moms, I had high expectations for Mother’s Day, but when my children woke up extra early and crying, I knew my dream of having a day of not “momming” was over. We had plans to meet my mom & my sister at Ted’s for lunch that afternoon and I’m honestly surprised we even made it out the door. It was as if my children knew I wanted a day off and revolted by having epic meltdowns over nothing. When we finally did make it to the restaurant, we all had to take turns defusing toddler tantrums and walking around with Kennedy to keep her from screaming. I was supposed to go shopping with them after lunch, but I knew there was no way Shawn could handle this on his own (I mean, I could barely handle them) so we came home.

Lucky for me, we did eventually get Maverick down for a nap and Shawn pushed me out the door so I could go to Target for some alone time. I spent almost 2 hours cruising the aisles and shopping for new car accessories for my mini van (and no, I’m not joking either).

While the actual Mother’s Day wasn’t perfect, the weekend as a whole was, because it was spent with my family. Plus, my kids quit acting like lunatics for 3 whole seconds so I could snap this picture on my first Mother’s Day as a Mom of 2.

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And how can you possibly not love that?

xoxo

Trusting My Gut

So remember when I said that Kennedy has been nothing short of a nightmare? We tried the acid reflux medicine and it did help…until it didn’t anymore. The last couple of weeks Kennedy has reverted back to being an absolute disaster and I am seriously at my wit’s end.

I can handle a crying baby. I get that babies cry. This isn’t my first rodeo here. But what she does is so much more than just crying. It’s an ear-piercing scream. She screams so hard and so loud that she literally turns red. Her whole body tenses up and her little fists are clenched so tight her knuckles turn white. She’s impossible to calm down and when she does stop screaming, it’s usually because she has screamed herself to sleep. After an hour, she’s up again, screaming.

It’s painful to listen to, it’s painful to watch and it’s draining me of what little sanity I have left. Not to mention, breastfeeding has become a battle all its own. I breastfed Maverick for a year, no problems, and felt confident I knew how to do it with Kennedy too. But every single feeding, I have to fight her to eat. She’ll latch on, but within minutes of starting to nurse, she unlatches, arches away from me and starts to scream. This goes on throughout the entire feeding and it’s exhausting.

I’ve been debating whether or not I should just give up and wean her, but my intuition has been yelling at me that something bigger is going on here. So yesterday after some soul-searching (i.e, having a complete breakdown and a good cry), I listened to my gut and called a pediatric chiropractor. I don’t know why, considering I have never been to a chiropractor myself, but something told me this is what needed to happen and luckily, I had a referral from fellow blogger friend.

The chiropractor got me in for a same day appointment (thank you Jesus!) and within minutes of talking to her and describing what was happening, she asked if she could watch Kennedy nurse. I whipped my boob out without hesitation, desperate for someone else–especially another nursing mom–to witness this nightmare. And without fail, Kennedy latched, suckled, unlatched and the screaming battle began.

The chiropractor recommended a pediatric dentist to access Kennedy for a lip & tongue tie. I left her office feeling very unsure of the whole thing, so I called my Lactation Consultant. Now, why I didn’t call them before all of this is besides me. Let’s chalk it up to exhaustion, okay? Anyways, I had to leave a message, but by the time I got home my gut was once again yelling to just call the dentist.

So I did and guess what? They suddenly had an opening for today, so I took it, and within minutes of getting off the phone with them, my Lactation Consultant called me back and confirmed that yes, it sounds like we are dealing with a lip & tongue tie.

But my intuition wasn’t done yelling at me yet. I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of clipping the tie, but I had this nagging feeling that I needed to ask fellow moms and what better way to do that than Facebook? So I posted a status and guess what, moms that I know had AMAZING things to say about the same dentist I was referred to and the procedure in general.

In less than 24 hours, I had seen a pediatric chiropractor, spoke with Lactation, made a next-day appointment with one of the most respected pediatric dentists in the Kansas City area and got confirmation from fellow mothers that this is the right move. And you know what, my intuition that had been screaming at me all day suddenly quieted.

I’ve been a wreck for the last 2 months. I am beyond exhausted. I am cried out. I have spent endless days trying every trick in the book to calm my daughter. I am literally at my wit’s end with nothing left to give, yet today I feel more at peace than I have since we welcomed Kennedy into this world and I truly believe it’s because I trusted my gut.

We’ll see what happens today at the dentist, but if I listen to my intuition, I think this is it. I think this is the answer to my prayers. Wish us luck!

 

Newborn Pictures with Missy Moore Photography & Film

I’ve said it before, but I LOVE getting family pictures taken. My home is filled with them from the major events that have taken place in my family over the past three years–my first pregnancy, Maverick’s birth & our wedding–as well as our annual family pictures.

When I knew we’d be welcoming Miss Kennedy into our family, I immediately reached out to my friend, Missy Moore of Missy Moore Photography & Film. For the last couple of years she has done a phenomenal job on our annual family pictures and I couldn’t think of anybody better to capture Kennedy’s first days in the world.

Before Missy arrived that morning, our family was in pure chaos mood. Shawn & I had been up most of the night with Kennedy. Maverick was refusing to eat breakfast. Kennedy was too sleepy to nurse and like most moms 8-days postpartum, I felt unattractive and uncomfortable in my own skin. Not to mention, Missy was coming to our home and my cleaning to-do list that included mopping the floors and dusting hadn’t even been started. To say I was stressed out is an understatement.

But when Missy showed up, none of that mattered anymore. When I told her that our session might include a toddler tantrum and a hungry newborn, she just smiled and said, “That’s totally okay, we’ll make it work.” And make it work she did because these pictures are beyond beautiful!

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When it was all said and done, my children were perfectly behaved. Kennedy was so alert & happy and Maverick only requested his snack favorite–fruit snacks–at the end of the session. And you know what? The messy kitchen & the dirty floors made the pictures that much more beautiful because 9 times out of 10 that’s how our home looks. These pictures are ones I will cherish for a lifetime–my family, in our home, just being ourselves.

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Here’s the massive photo dump because there is no way I could pick just a few favorites to share:

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My heart just melts when I see the way Maverick looks at Kennedy.

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And I’m loving these pictures of me and my baby girl.

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Of course, I have to have one of my silly boys.

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Like all little girls, Kennedy, adores her daddy and if I have to guess, I think her daddy is just smitten with her too.

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Okay, just a few more favorites.

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Thank you so much Missy! If anybody needs pictures, seriously check her out at Missy Moore Photography & Film. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Kennedy’s Birth Story

I know, I know…it’s been FOREVER since I last posted. In all fairness though, I was growing a small human inside of me and then I brought that small human into this world and well, she’s a little high maintenance so I’ve been busy, okay?

Speaking of that tiny human–I wanted to be sure to document how our baby girl, Kennedy Joy, entered this world. I know the details will start to fade as time passes and I don’t want to forget any of it. Plus, everyone likes a birth story, right? (Or maybe it’s just me?)

img_4530Kennedy Joy Brack, born January 28, 2017 at 10:56 AM
5 lbs. 15 ounces & 18 inches long

My due date was February 1, 2017 but I had a feeling Kennedy might come early. I was induced 4 days early with Maverick and I had hoped to avoid a medical induction this time around. However, the days leading up to Kennedy’s birth, I was flat out miserable. I was having contractions all the time, but they weren’t consistent and I wasn’t making any progress in terms of dilation. I was also just uncomfortable–my back, my hips, everything just hurt. Despite previously telling my doctor that I wanted to avoid a medical induction, I was seriously considering one now because I was so over being pregnant.

The Friday before Kennedy was born (January 27) I had my 39-week appointment. My sister, Maggie, just so happened to be in town for the weekend and offered to go to my appointment with me, just in case the doctor did decide to induce me.

At the appointment, I was still only 2 centimeters dilated and about 60 percent effaced. I brought up how miserable I was feeling and inquired about induction. The doctor said it was unlikely she could get me admitted since it was the weekend, but she was willing to sweep my membranes in hopes of jumpstarting labor. I agreed to give a try and boy, was I glad my sister was there to hold my hand! It was quick, but it was definitely painful. The doctor told me to expect spotting, cramping and more contractions as the day went on. She said it was likely I would go into labor within the next 24 hours.

After hearing that, my expectations were high and I was willing to do anything to help speed the process along. So Mags and I headed to Target to walk the aisles. Because who doesn’t need an excuse to spend a good couple of hours shopping the home decor section?!

By that evening, nothing had happened! No spotting, no cramping, no contractions. I was so disappointed because I really had my heart set on having a baby that day. When Shawn got home from work, I was in a horrible mood. I was just disappointed, but despite my sour attitude, we headed to a Kansas City Mom’s Blog event at We Rock the Spectrum–Kansas City.

Several hours later of running and playing with Maverick, we got home and still nothing!! Shawn went to bed and I wallowed in self-pity and disappointment on the couch while binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix. Around midnight, I went to bed accepting the fact that Kennedy was just going to come on her own time and unfortunately for me, that time wasn’t now.

Or so I thought because at 1:45 AM I woke up with contractions. I was hopeful, but since I had been having contractions for a few days now, I didn’t want to get too excited. I told myself that if by 2:30 AM I was still having contractions, I would wake Shawn up and call the hospital.

2:30 AM came and my contractions were officially 3 minutes apart. I woke Shawn up and told him it would probably be a good time to get ready to go the hospital. I was shocked with how calm we both were. He just got up and started getting ready, while I gathered a few things. There was no rushing around or panic.

After talking to the hospital, I called my mom to have her come watch Maverick. It was almost 3 AM at this point and you would have thought my mom had a sense this baby was coming. She answered on the first ring and was at our house in less than 15 minutes!

By 3:30 AM, Shawn & I were pulling into the parking lot of St. Luke’s Hospital Kansas City. The ride there was a little rough, as my contractions were definitely getting stronger, but still averaging 3 minutes apart. As we pulled into the parking lot, I looked at Shawn and said, “Damn it, we should have gotten something to eat first!” I knew if this was the real deal, once I was admitted I wouldn’t be able to eat until after she was born and I did not want to get hangry. Shawn did offer to turn around and get something before we checked in, but I didn’t want to push our luck.

After some time in triage to make sure the contractions were the real deal, we were officially admitted to Labor & Delivery. It was early morning on Saturday, January 28, but I am not sure what time it was because at this point I was in a lot of pain and I just wanted my epidural. Once we got settled in our room, my doctor came to break my water, but before she started she asked me if I was okay. I told her I was really nervous that once she broke my water, my labor would progress quickly and there wouldn’t be time for me to get that precious epidural. I was shocked when she asked if it would make me more comfortable if I got my epidural first? I quickly agreed and she paged anesthesia.

Let me tell you, getting that epidural before she broke my water was the smartest thing I could have ever done. After she broke my water, I was numb and comfortable. I told Shawn that we should both try to sleep as it might be a while now.

An hour and a half later, I woke up feeling some discomfort. Not pressure or the need to push, just uncomfortable. I paged my nurse. She went to check me, assuring me that it was probably nothing. Then I watched as her face completely changed. She looked at me and said, “Whatever you do, do NOT push. The baby is crowning.”

Suddenly it was a blur. I was trying to wake Shawn up. Nurses were running in and out to get the room ready for a delivery and I could hear my doctor being paged throughout the hospital. It all happened so fast and within 2 pushes, I had my beautiful daughter in my arms.

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Kennedy enjoying some skin-to-skin with Daddy shortly after making her world debut.

Kennedy’s birth was perfect. I felt at peace the entire time. I wasn’t worried about the what-ifs or the unknown. I just knew that everything was going to be okay. Due to Kennedy’s smaller size (5 lbs. 15 oz.) we got to spend the first couple hours after her birth doing skin-to-skin. Her body temperature wasn’t warm enough and her tiny size was making it hard for her to get and stay warm. While our nurse seemed a little concerned and continued to pile on the heated blankets, Shawn & I soaked up every minute of the new baby snuggles. It was one of the few times where it was just the 3 of us and I loved it.

Later that day, my mom, Wayne (my stepfather), Maggie and Maverick came up to the hospital to meet the newest Brack. I was nervous about how Maverick would handle it, but like always he surprised me. He came running into the room, pointing at Kennedy and saying, “Baby! Baby!” I think my heart exploded into a million pieces when he asked to hold her and I witnessed my first-born love on his new baby sister.

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Over the last several weeks, we have slowly settled into a new family of 4. We’ve definitely had some hiccups and I don’t feel like we are anywhere close to a routine or functioning schedule, but we are getting there. For now though, we are just enjoying getting to know our newest family member and loving on her sweetness.

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Welcome to the family, Kennedy. We love you!