Friday, September 16, 2016

Sleep (Round 2)



Lars slept with us for the first few months of his life and it was a flipping disaster that in my first time mom-sleep deprived-trying to follow every rule-reading too many books-too uptight state couldn’t admit to.  I wanted Lars to sleep with so much for many reasons.  It was easier to nurse, I loved snuggling him, I loved being that close but it was not working out.  You can read about it here if you’re so inclined.  

This time around has been completely different.  If no one has told you (I’m certain they have) the second time around is like 5 trillion times easier. Things are easier because we’re not batshit crazy..basically. We are much more easy going and go with the flow. I haven’t read one sleep baby book or googled one baby sleep solution because I’ve realized that it just puts too much pressure on us and while the author of those many books has great advice, that author is not the mother to my child. We’ve realized that sleeping is great however and whenever it happens.  Townes will pretty much fall asleep anywhere; in his rock n play, in his swing, on me in the hammock, rocking, in the car, in bed with us, in his crib.  Some nights he falls sleep on me while we’re in bed and I just roll him over and he sleeps snuggly between us.  Other nights I place him in his crib and he’ll sleep there.  He still wakes up to eat once or twice a night and I’m perfectly ok with that.  Those tiny baby snuggles are delicious whenever they happen!!!

No, he’s not sleeping through the night on a regular basis.  He has at various points throughout his short 5 months but for the most part he still wants to eat every 4-5 hours.  No, we don’t have a strict sleep schedule for him.  He usually takes a late afternoon nap between 4-6 then hangs out with us and falls asleep for the night anywhere between 8-9PM. He’ll wake up (loose term because he never fully wakes up, just lets me know he’s hungry) once or twice and then wakes up between 8-9AM.  Our schedule is stricter for Lars than it is for Townes.   

I feel like with Lars we were forcing a schedule on him…one that he wasn’t ready for and it made things really hard.  This time around, Townes makes his own sleep schedule and it’s been so much easier and we’ve been much happier.  There’s no sleep training or rigid schedules because honestly when I look back, I feel like that was the source of my frustration and complete exhaustion with Lars. I was trying too hard to adhere to someone else’s rules and guidelines, I was stressing about following this crazy almost unattainable schedule.

From my perspective Townes is a good sleeper.  He naps, he’ll sleep wherever and he’s happy and we’re happy.  With Lars I based success on his longevity of sleep.  We did sleep training numerous times throughout his first year of life and we feel it actually made a more anxious and restless sleeper.  We’ve had to really work to sort of help Lars become a good sleeper and it’s taken 4 years. I think if we would have just gone with the flow a bit more we wouldn’t have all had to suffer through the sleep battles as much as we have. From day 1 Lars wasn’t a great sleeper according to books and doctors, but knowing what I know now and being his mom for 4 years, I’ve realized that Lars flat out doesn’t need the amount of sleep that other 4 year olds need or that is recommended.  He just doesn’t.  Lars is good on 9-10 hours a night.  He doesn’t need a nap and if you let him nap, I’ll slap you.  With 9 or 10 hours, Lars thrives and he needs the whole day to exert all that energy and be tired enough to fall asleep in the evening. You let that boy nap and you should be prepared to be up with him until midnight.   

I don’t know what kind of sleeper Townes will be but I’m going to let him decide that because in our house that’s the path of least resistance.  We don’t always encourage taking the easier path but we’ve taken the harder one and it sucked.  




he had peed in his jammies, so i changed him and he never woke up so he finished the night like this. 

he will always...ALWAYS get himself horizontal in our bed. 


the hammock will win every time. 

sleeping at dinner.  not sure if i like the sleeping baby or the hot husband more....

horizontal monkey

i mean really...

How beautiful is that? 
this sums up Lars much better 

how did i get so damn lucky?? 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sweet, Sweet Baby Townes



I get it now....when moms say the love doesn't divide it multiplies. When I would try to comprehend loving another being as much as I love Lars, I just couldn't....until Townes. It's seriously amazes me that we are capable of that much love.  A new word should be invented because it's more than love...it's something that's indescribable. Sometimes, I feel like I'm going to burst because I love these boys so much.  Then tack on loving my other boy (Bob) and it makes me crazy.  So. Much. Love.

My precious, precious baby Townes....this is one chill baby.  And smiley, oh my goodness. If Townes is crying, he's hungry.  That's it. Otherwise this little bundle of goodness seems to always be in a good mood.  He laughs at everything and everyone.  I brought him to his 4 month check up last week and the doctor was pushing on his tummy and Townes was cracking up. He sometimes laughs when I just look him. He will often stay up way past what should be some kind of bedtime and just coos and smile at us.  It's pretty ridiculous.

He thinks Lars is the funniest person on the planet (which I mean he is).  He's obsessed with putting his hands in his mouth. He drools like there's no tomorrow, but no teeth yet.  He's just started to get a little chubby, which YUM! He's super long and basically doesn't fit in his swing anymore because his little feet hang off.  He's rolled over once or twice but doesn't seem too interested. He LOVES his baths.  He already reminds me of Bob...just chillin' and taking everything in.

that tiny booty, those perfect feet...ughhh, make a girl crazy

I was in a bit of denial that this newborn shirt still fit. Townes knows the truth




we make babies with good hair. 



if ever a moment summed up Lars, this is it. Townes was fussing after he woke up and I was pumping and trying to get the milk in a bag in the fridge and I walked in and heard Lars singing Hush, Little Baby.  He had crawled in, given Townes his binky, snuggled him and was singing. I almost didn't know what to do because I don't think my heart had ever felt that way. The love Lars has for his baby brother amazes me daily.  While there are many a days that Lars test every ounce of patience I have, will push every button and question everything I say (my mom would chime in right here and say...hahahahahaha!!! payback) he is just the sweetest and my goodness does he loves Townes. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

1 to 2




My biggest concern while pregnant was how things were going to be with 2 kiddos instead of just 1.  I'm sure this is the main the concern for most second times moms. I was worried Lars would feel left out, I worried that Townes wouldn't get the attention Lars got, I was worried I was going to lose my mind, I was worried I wouldn't be able to do it. Now, I'm sure all my mom friends with more than 2 are laughing but Lars had been our one and only for 4 years so I had some legit concerns.

My sister in law always told me that going from 1 to 2 was easy it was going from 2 to 3 that knocked her down. I'll take her word for it.  2 is the magical number for us. By the way, if Bob reads this, you need to make your special appointment so our magical number stays 2 and so I don't go nuts. Thanks Babe!

Anywho...I digress as always. Going from 1 to 2 has not been as hard as I had pictured it in my head. It never is, right? I mean don't get me wrong there have been times where I felt like I was completely sinking.  Like when Townes is loosing his shit for whatever reason and Lars decides to have a melt down because his leg brushed the side of the couch (hello 4 years old). Or when I'm nursing Townes on the couch and Lars is insisting I come over and look at his drawing.... all 10 of them...at different intervals and of course I want to see them and I must so I resort to just walking around the kitchen nursing Townes while my back feels like it going to break or the worst is when everyone needs mama..Townes needs food, Lars needs love, the cat needs water and I hold back a few tears, turn on some gangsta rap and handle it (kidding, my coworker has this quote in our office and i like it). There are these moments but they are few and I'm learning how to cope.

For the most part Lars has handled his new role as big brother wonderfully! He adores Townes and has never had any animosity towards him. What we have seen is some behavioral regression which from what I hear is completely normal.  You know how they have the saying 'the terrible twos', well I've coined my own, 'the f**k it fours'.  Pardon the sassy language but seriously. I can say to Lars, hey buddy please don't throw that sharp dagger across the room and he'll look at me as if he's saying 'f**k it' and launches this incredibly dangerous weapon across the room.  We don't have daggers in our house but if we did and I asked him not to throw it, he would throw it. He's through and through my child, so I get it.  I tell him all the time that I can appreciate a strong will and even someone who's out to bend the rules but I would like him to listen to some of my wisdom just so I feel like a respectable parent, ya know?  He's awesome and I love him because he's basically me in small 4 year old boy body.  Townes is a lucky dude to have such a great bro.

Townes has yet to have any behavioral issues (hahahahaha).  He's doing so great...sleeping ok, eating great and smiling up a storm and melting our hearts.  He's so so so loved.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Keeping My Sanity


These first few months with a newborn are exhausting and demanding and at times overwhelming and anyone that tells you differently is blowing smoke up your ass. Toss in an adorable 4 year old and you've really got your work cut out for you....or for me.  There are moments when all is good and I think to myself, I got this then there are other times where I need to step outside take some breaths or scream at the top of my lungs (no one would hear me as we live in the middle of nowhere), maybe shed a few tears then head back inside.

I'm on maternity leave for 3 months and while I love love love spending time with my babies, this is no vacation! I'm not good at staying put, sitting and nursing and sitting and nursing and sitting....I like to go go go.  So these 3 months are challenging for me.  At times, I dream of getting back to our regular routine and getting back to work.

There are few things that I have found that I need to do on a daily basis (if possible) to keep my sanity.  They certainly aren't a cure all and they aren't going to make the baby stop crying and the 4 year old stop tugging on me but it helps me keep a balance.  It's all about balance, right??

Here they are:

1. SHOWER.  I know, I know...the running joke about new moms is that they never have time to shower BUT I need a shower.  I make it happen. Even if it means Townes in his rock n play in the bathroom with a pacifier while Lars 'babysits'.  I get a shower.  Normally, I'm not a huge shower nut. I mean I like a good shower but giving myself 3-5 mins to shower in the morning while in this exhausting newborn stage is essential.  It's not always the most relaxing shower but it wakes me up, washes off the dried spit up and breastmilk and helps wash away that awesome body odor that comes along with breastfeeding and helps me feel somewhat functional. This shower is not a wash your hair, shave your legs, use a sugar scrub shower.  It's a how quickly can I rinse off before someone needs milk, cuddles or breaks something.

2. BRUSH TEETH AND SKIN CARE.  Brushing my teeth is a given. I have to brush my teeth in the morning.  Again, it's about feeling awake and starting the day.  My skin care routine is probably not much of a routine but doing it helps me feel like I'm taking care of myself and helps me feel like I'm sticking to some kind of routine.  I use my clarisonic, apply my face cream and some rosehip oil and call it a day. It's a good start.

3. BREAKFAST.  I'm not usually a big breakfast person (i know i should i be) but while nursing breakfast can't come fast enough.  I try hard to have a good healthy breakfast.  I mean I don't want to start an already exhausting day with sugar and caffeine.  I generally have 2 piece of gluten free toast with avocado and salt pepper or toast with almond butter and strawberries. Then, if I can I'll whip up a good smoothie for Lars and I. That doesn't always happen.

4. KEEPING IN TOUCH.  I'm a super social person and being that I'm currently not enthralled in my social life (mainly work) keeping in touch with friends and family is really important.  Talking to my mom, texting with friends, and even blogging helps me feel connected and social.

5. LOVING ON LARS.  I told Bob the other day that I forgot how boring newborns are.  I mean I love Townes so much and I know how precious this stage is but sometimes I just need to go jump on the trampoline with Lars or swing or play outside or roll around on the floor.  Makes my heart happy.

6. COOKING. The stars don't always align and allow me time to cook dinner.  Most of the time Townes wants to nurse and Lars is needing some love so Bob handles dinner.  I love cooking and dinner is my jam. When things fall into place and I get to cook, it's like my ME time.  I feel normal and productive.

7. WINE AND BEER. Having a glass of wine or a dark beer is necessary. Don't judge! Dark beer is good for my milk supply and wine is good for my sanity.

8. HOT GUY.  Getting some hugs and love from the hot guy that is my baby daddy.  Sometimes I just need a hug...usually in the evenings when I feel like I've had a baby on me all day and I just need a break.  A hug is sometimes the break I need.

9. PICKING UP.  Again, I know what they say.  Don't worry about the pile of laundry or the stack of dishes.  Don't worry about the toys taking over or the crafts that have been out for the past 4 days.  But me sitting in a messy cluttered house is not good for my soul.  Putting a load of laundry on, getting the dishes in the dishwasher, putting away some toys may not be something I Really want to do but I can't sit in clutter and mess. I just can't. I have a lot of help so that's great, but some morning I get up and I can't focus on anything until the living room is somewhat clean and the kitchen doesn't look like a tornado blew through it.

10. EXERCISE. Blah blah blah...I know. I've always exercised and I like to...most of the time.  I feel so much better after stretching and moving my body.  I'm keeping things light still but even just a little yoga, a walk or light weights makes a huge difference.

I'm not claiming that I"m not crazy but finding time to do these few things during the day at least makes me feel like I'm not losing my damn mind.

my first postpartum work out....thank goodness. 

How I spend most of my days and I love it so much. 



Monday, April 25, 2016

When Lars met Townes



For weeks leading up to the birth, I would play scenarios over and over in my head of what it would be like for Lars to meet his baby brother.  Would I give birth during the day and Lars would be awake for the whole thing? Would it be in the middle of the night and he'd sleep through the whole thing then awake to a baby brother? Well of course I knew deep down that I would have a middle of the night birth just like Lars but that didn't guarantee Lars would sleep though the whole thing.

Lars generally wakes up during the night and either comes and crawls in our bed or wants someone to come lay with him for a minute or two. So when my water broke at 930 my mind went racing about what to do if he woke up and I was in the middle of labor.  Luckily my aunt was headed over to help out with that exact situation.

Being that the birth lasted all of an hour and 20 minutes, Lars slept like an angel through the entire thing.  I'm really thankful for this.  I don't have calm peaceful births, they are fast and furious and Lars would not like seeing his mama in pain and screaming.  It would have been a pretty traumatic experience I think for him if he were to witness it.

Once Townes arrived and everyone was cleaned up and in bed (about 1 AM) our midwives left, my aunt stayed the night and my mom arrived around 2 AM from Lake Charles.  Poor mom, she can never make it in time for my record fast births.  We had just turned the lights off and were going to try and get some sleep when I heard footstep running down the hall.  Deep down I was so excited and I didn't care that it was 2 in the morning. I couldn't wait for Lars to meet Townes.

Lars crawled in bed with us, right in the middle like always and was dozing off when Townes, who was laying on my chest started making some grunting noises and sighs.  Lars, barely awake, would look over at me with his eyes half open and then nod back off to sleep.  Then, Townes let our a pretty big newborn sigh and Lars rolled over and looked at me in the dark room and said, 'mama, what was that ughhhhhhhhh sound?' I put my arm around him and said, 'your baby brother arrived while you were sleeping.'

Lars jumped up in bed, yelled for Bob to turn on the lights and when he did, the look on Lars' face was nothing but pure pure joy and excitement.  He was so ecstatic.  I will never ever forget his face.  Once he realized that the baby was laying on my chest he leaned over and hugged Townes and gave him a thousand kisses.  My heart was exploding.  (my goal was to capture this moment on video but like most things in life...it didn't work out as planned. )  But it was the most beautiful moment of my entire life and it was just the four of us.  It was really perfect.

(the first kisses)

After Lars covered Townes in kisses, he yelled for my aunt to come and see his baby brother and then he dashed out of the room to go find a toy to give Townes. I was in tears. He came back with a tiny baby blanket that was his when he was a baby and of course a dinosaur. Things felt very perfect and complete.

Since that day Lars has been the best big brother in the world.  He hates when Townes cries and suggest that I take him in the other room or give him some milk but other than that he is so precious with Townes and adores him.  I have to limit him kissing and hugging him.

Lars waited for a very long time for his baby brother to arrive and although I think Lars expected Townes to come out crawling and able to play, he has taken to his role as big brother so wonderfully.  We couldn't be prouder of him.  Lars makes my heart swell with how loving he is.  I"m sure there will come a day when they are driving each other crazy so I'm going to soak up all this love while I can.

Townes first morning with his big brother

my precious boys...all of them :) 

this is what my mornings look like.  i may be exhausted but this makes it all worth it



Monday, April 11, 2016

A birth story


This is Townes Authement-Keates.  He a) obviously couldn't wait to arrive and b) didn't have an official name for a day or two because well.....because I just knew he was a girl.

After weeks of ridiculous false labor pains and contractions and days of being certain that today was the day, Townes arrived on Friday, April 8 at 10:55 PM at 37 weeks and 4 days.  Friday was strangely not a day I felt like things were going to happen.  Funny how that works out.

I woke up Friday morning and decided to stay home.  Bob didn't have to go into court and I had been having a few light 'false' contractions early that morning and was tired.  We brought Lars to his little gym class and Bob and I stopped in at Starbucks for a bit to both get some work done.  We picked Lars up, grabbed some mexican food with friends for lunch and headed home.  I was actually feeling pretty good and it just ended up being a lovely lovely day (which I'm really grateful for now).  We all played together outside, made some special treats, set up the tent in the backyard and got a few things ready for baby.  It was just a really peaceful and sweet day and maybe it was intuition but I remember just really cherishing all the little moments that were happening.

Later in the night Bob gave Lars a bath and I laid in bed with him, we read books and I sung him to sleep (like any other night).  I gave him some sweet kisses and like every night for the week prior I stared at him and soaked in this precious angel of a boy because I kept thinking it may be our last night as a family of 3.

I decided to take a bath.  I was laying in the tub reading Amy Poehler's Yes Please when I heard and felt the infamous POP.  I did not have that with Lars but I knew.  I've heard lots of women talk about it.  I stood up and waited to see if it really was my water breaking.  It was.  I panicked just like I did when my water broke for Lars.  I have this moment of panic where I'm overcome with self doubt and feeling completely not ready to do it.  I walked into the living room and told Bob, "hey, my water broke" he smiled and walked over and I started crying and leaned into him and told him I was scared and didn't know if I could do it.  He of coursed was so loving and perfect and reassured me that I had this and that everything was going to be OK.

I asked Bob to call my mom and my aunt.  I called our midwife and got dressed.  I told her my water broke at 9:15 PM, she asked if I had started any contractions which I hadn't at that time.  She told me to let her know when I start contracting and she would head over.  She was aware of Lars' quick birth and was planning on heading to the house as soon has contractions started.  I hung up and within 2 minutes had a contraction.  This was at 9:33 PM.  I called her back and told her to head on over.  From then on my contractions were 2 minutes apart and were incredibly intense.  I think part of me was in a bit of denial...actually Bob and I both were. Surely things could not have been moving this quickly.

At 10 PM I was in transition.  Throwing up, cursing and telling Bob there's no way I'm up for this again.  I had a contraction at 10:02 and felt very pushy.  Bob called our midwife and said Ashley needs to push! June let Bob know that she was on the dirt road and 3 minutes away.  Y'all....this baby was coming and was NOT wasting any time.

I was completely exhausted and was unable to wrap my head around how fast things were going.  June arrived in the middle of a contraction.  I was in the kitchen hanging on the kitchen island.  She checked the heart beat and had to keep moving the stethoscope lower and lower.  She finally found it and looked up at me and said, Ashley this baby is so slow and ready.  The baby may have been ready but I did not feel ready to be at this point and by this point I mean pushing.  I hate pushing. I hate it so much.  It's so incredibly painful and hard.

We moved to the guest room and I found myself just trying to find a position that was comfortable which is nearly impossible at this point. I tried hanging on the yoga ball, being on all fours, laying down.  Nothing was working.  June checked me and reassured me that I was completely dilated and ready to push whenever I felt ready. It was about 10:15 PM at this point.  Only 45 minutes from the time I had my first contraction.

I had a contraction in the guest room and was certain I had to poop and wanted to go to the bathroom.  June kept telling me that it probably wasn't poop but just pressure from the baby.  I knew this.  When I was birthing Lars I kept telling our midwife that the baby was trying to come out of my ass.  I was serious.

June suggested I try getting in the bathtub which didn't sound overly comforting but to be honest nothing did at this point.  I got in the water, reluctantly pushed 4 times, dropped a few curse words, screamed for someone to 'GET IT OUT!" and then had a baby on my chest one hour and 20 minutes after my first contraction.

I kept asking what 'it' was.  I mean I guess I didn't think I had the permission to check and see if this baby was a boy or a girl because I just kept asking.  I finally looked up at Bob with tears in my eyes and said, what is it?? He reached over and pulled a leg up and there was a penis! I have never been so completely shocked and floored in my entire life.  I said, "why is there a penis?" I wasn't upset, I was confused.  I was 100% certain that there was a girl in there this whole time. The most beautiful surprise in the world.

Our lovely midwifes got everyone all cleaned up and comfortable. And were headed home by 1 AM.  It was such a whirlwind and so stinking quick. I couldn't believe that a baby had arrived in less than an hour and a half.  I'm so glad we opted for a homebirth because the only other option would have been a car birth.  We wouldn't have had time to make it anywhere else.

The next post will be the most adorable post about my 2 precious baby boys meeting for the first time.  Have some tissues ready!!!!


his big brother picked this outfit out for him.....dinosaurs!!!!



Friday, March 18, 2016

Before We Were Mama and Daddy

(Bob and I wrote letters to each other before our wedding ceremony...this is what I received from him)


Obligatory Intro: There’s absolutely nothing I love more than my babies and Bob and the beautiful, lovely sometimes weird family we’ve created.  They all bring me so much joy.  I would never want a life without them now that I have them.  They are my world and when we’re all together it’s just so right. I wouldn’t change a thing about these beautiful people.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t miss me and Bob's pre-family life.  Pre-kids, pre-mortgage, pre-chickens.  I remember being a few months pregnant with Lars and I began having little moments of panic and thinking to myself,  am I ready to give ‘just us’ up? I sort of mourned the loss of it being just us, for when you bring a baby into the mix it completely changes the dynamic…there’s just no way around that. 

When it was ‘just us’ it was so easy and we were sooooooooooo…..free?  We could do what we wanted when we wanted.  Go to dinner at 9 PM on a week day?  Hell to the yes and get drinks?  Ummm…..yes. Wake up a tad hungover....no problem.  Wake up a tad hungover now...have a bright eyed and bushy tailed 3 year old asking for chocolate chip pancakes in the shape of trex at 7 am....ughhhh vomit. Hence why we are never really a tad hungover unless we're away. 

Bob and I had such hard and long beginning to our relationship (hello 4 years of long distance) so when we finally were together it was like we had to squeeze in 4 years of dates and 4 years of trips and 4 years of snuggles and cuddles and kisses and hugs.  Our pre-family life was amazing.  We always knew we loved each other (again hello 4 years of long distance) but it was like we officially got to fall in love…IN PERSON on a daily basis!  It was magical and some of the best days of my life.  And so of course I miss it.

Starting a family creates a whole new way of being ‘us’.  It’s hard in the beginning and sometimes it’s easy to get scared and think (at least for me), have we lost that magical world?  But it just takes time. It takes time to figure out how to be ‘us’ in this new life.  You, without a doubt, have to shift gears.

I think it's really important to remember what it was like before starting a family. 








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