Archives for March 2013

Why buy the formula when you can get the milk for free?

(It’s taken me almost 6 months to get the courage to post this but I’m posting it because I imagine I’m not the only one who has faced the breastfeeding guilt struggles.  Although it’s a pretty personal post, just know that I’m writing it to maybe, hopefully, possibly make one or two new Moms feel even a tiny bit better about their decision.  If you agree, pass it on, share it, and remind a new Mom that no matter what she decides, it is the RIGHT decision because she is the only one that will know best what works for her baby)


Guilt, guilt, guilt… isn’t there enough of it in this world already?  I used to think that I knew what the word meant…

I should eat healthier… I should work out more…  I should give to more charities

But it turns out I didn’t even know the half of it until I became a mom.  More specifically, a mom that wanted to breastfeed.

It started out innocently enough.  I was pregnant and I thought, Sure, I’ll breastfeed the baby.   Dogs nurse their pups, and cavewomen breastfed their babies, so It can’t be that hard, right?

In the pre-baby classes there were all kinds of conversations about how “good” moms breastfeed.  I started to realize that if this whole breastfeeding idea didn’t work out I would be in for quite the guilt trip.

But then it got worse.  I had Makenzie and the lactation ladies came in nonstop.  I know they meant well but some of them were really pushy.  It wasn’t going very well and I was starting to feel the weight of the world on my shoulders.

On our last morning in the hospital I asked the nurse for some formula samples and she told me that if she gave them to me I would have to swear not to tell anyone that she did it.  Hmm, did she think I asked for painkillers?  When she finally came back empty-handed a few hours later she admitted that she just couldn’t do it.  She couldn’t get me formula because she was scared to get in trouble.  Get in trouble for giving a new mom formula??  Wow, nothing like hefty NYS mandates to make a new Mom feel terrible for her uncertainty about breastfeeding.

By the time we were home, I was totally overwhelmed.  I swear I heard Jaws music every time the baby was hungry.  It was painful and frustrating and I was grappling with terrible guilt for the fact that I didn’t enjoy it.  I wasn’t even sure I could continue, and the thought of formula seemed like the perfect solution if not for all the guilt.

Rather than enjoying every moment with my beautiful, precious, new baby, I was feeling so sad/embarrassed/distraught because breastfeeding was so darn difficult.  What was wrong with me??  Was I somehow missing the breastfeeding gene?  This is not what I expected.  And as new Mom, I was also sleep deprived.   I was still recovering physically.  My hormones made me a hot mess.  And I was trying to do the 5 S’s non-stop for 24 hours a day.  It was a perfect storm.


So why you ask, did I share this personal story?   Why does this warrant a blog post?  And what is the answer to Why Buy the formula when you can get the milk for free?  Well, the answer is that sometimes it is just better to buy the formula…even when the milk is free.

Yep, I said it.  Sometimes formula is better.  And this is not even because of physical issues, but emotional ones too.  To put it in perspective imagine this… you are thousands of feet above ground in a plane and you have a new pilot flying a plane without a flight attendant.  Would you rather him leave the cockpit to serve you healthy apples?  Or would you rather serve yourself pretzels so he could focus on staying in the air?  Okay, not the best analogy but my point is that new Moms need to focus more on the big picture of not crashing versus stressing over other stuff that our society dictates is the “right” thing to do.

Right now, I’m pretty sure that some of you are in total disagreement with me.  But before you start sending me nasty-grams with “101 Reasons why breast milk is best milk,” and before you start throwing stones at my house, just understand what I’m saying.

Yes, breastfeeding is best!  Yes, I wholeheartedly support Moms that can do it. But Yes, it is a TREMENDOUS committment and it needs to be considered just that.  And if that commitment  isn’t right for the Mom, then it is okay!  Say it with me… It. Is. Okay!

As Moms, as friends, and as a society, we MUST learn to support fellow Mamas!!   We MUST let them know it’s okay however they choose to feed their baby.  We MUST remember that it’s their baby, their body, and their decision.  Don’t new Moms have enough pressure already?

And for those of you that still don’t agree with me, no problem!  You are wholeheartedly open to your own opinion.  But if you choose to make me feel like a bad mom, just remember that the day will come when I might just catch you at McDonald’s buying your super perfect breastfed baby french fries. And then you might just get a taste of your own perfect-mom medicine.


So what finally happened you ask?

Well despite the pain and the frustration, I did end up breastfeeding Makenzie.  I got lucky, and with the support of an amazing non-pushy lactation lady I figured out some tricks to help with the pain.  But it wasn’t easy.  Along the way I had a bout with mastitis and I spent way too many (unnecessary) days and nights in tears over all if it.

And although I won’t make it to her first birthday, Kenzie will be 6 months before we thaw out the last bag of breast milk from the freezer.  And although it’s taken me some time to truly feel this way, I’m happy with this outcome.  It works for us and that’s all that matters.  And part of me is actually pretty proud that we’ve made it this far especially because I wasn’t sure if I would make it 6 days when it all started.


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Picture(s) of the Week *Cousin Love*

Life has been crazy for the past 10 days, but we were able to sneak away to Ohio this past weekend and meet sweet Baby Boy Jack!  He is GORGEOUS and so incredibly snuggly.  He is also a really good baby.  He loves to sleep and he barely made a peep while we were there.

3_23 Snuggly Jack

So cute, and barely bigger than the stuffed animal!

It was great to meet Mr. Jack and it was really fun to see the three cousins together.   I can only imagine the fun they’ll have as they grow up together… and the trouble they’ll get into.  Yikes!

Check it out:

3_23 Cousins kissing Jack

Big brother kissing little brother — sweet!

3_23 Cousins Jack taking cover

Happy cousins — cute!

3_23 Cousins Kenz hitting Jack

Uh oh, Kenzie starts instigating and takes a swipe at sweet little Jack — Trouble!

3_23 Cousins Jack arms up

Hm, Jack seems to sense the impending trouble and takes cover…

3_23 Cousins action shot

And then Big Bro swoops in for the hug/body slam.

 Yikes!!   End shoot!

It was Norman Rockwell turned Honey Boo Boo.


But aside from the humorous cousin photo shoot, we did manage to get a great picture of my parents with their 3 grandkids.  So sweet!

3_23 Nana Papa with grandkids

Nana & Papa surrounded by the loves of their lives

So there you have it, a quick recap of our wonderful little trip to the Buckeye State.

Have a good week and a great Easter!  I’m hoping the bunny brings me a few free minutes here or there to grab the laptop and finish up some posts soon.


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Picture of the Week *Welcome Jack Sullivan*

Auntie is one of the best titles Ever!

And I am SO incredibly excited to announce that I am an Auntie yet again.  Yesterday (St. Patty’s Day!) at 6:07 pm my sister, Melissa, delivered a sweet, beautiful and healthy baby boy.  Talk about the Luck of the Irish!

3_17 Jack with hat

Such a sweetie!

Welcome to the world Jack Sullivan Bixler!

Melissa was a rockstar and and delivered him in less than 8 1/2 hours from start to finish.  (Which seems only fair given her 26+ hour delivery for Big Brother Ryan–whoa!  Can we say edipural?)   Unfortunately I wasn’t there for Jack’s birth like I was for Ryan’s birth due to work, but I am absolutely counting the seconds until I get to meet this sweet little guy!

I’m totally in love and so thrilled for Melissa, Thad & Big Brother Ryan!

Jack, I can’t wait to watch you grow up, and I feel so lucky to be a part of your world.

I Love you so much!

 xoxo, Auntie Erin

PS  Makenzie said to tell you that she’s glad to have someone younger than her so she can finally be in charge of someone.  Good Luck with her buddy!


Enjoy some pictures below!

3_17 Family photo

Beautiful family — may have to super impose Ryan in there

3_17 Jack snuggled up

Sweet snuggly Jack

3_17 Ryan and Jack 2

Who’s this guy?

3_17 Jack

Hi World!

3_17 Ryan and Jack

Peeking in on Little Brother Jack (or perhaps gazing off in the distance to his new “Big brother truck gift”)


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I’ll be posting more pictures of this little sweetie soon!

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How College Prepared me to be a Mom…

They say History Repeats Itself.  

They are correct!

Fall 2001 was very exciting.  I was embarking on a life-changing experience… I was about to become a college kid at OU.

Sara, one of my best friends in the world, was one of my roommates, and we were about to meet our other roommate.  We’ll call her “K” for the sake of privacy.  Sara and I had no idea what to expect with K and we were anxious, excited, and nervous.

At first glance, we loved her!  We had a number of things in common and we were ready to embark on a new journey together in close quarters.

K, the new roommate, took some adjusting.  We were all pretty new to our roles, but we were doing our best to make it work.  K was kind of messy, and left her clothes everywhere.  She often stayed up way too late, and seemed to have a need for frequent male attention, often when she was staying up way too late.  Talk about awkward!  In addition, K must have been really thirsty because she drank a lot and left her bottles everywhere (usually Nati Lite, eww).  And sometimes, when she did this, she wet the bed and she once even wet the futon (again, eww!).  Sara and I were new with the roommate scenario and we didn’t always know how to handle K.  Sometimes there were tears; sometimes there was frustration; and sometimes we learned lessons.

Despite all this, Sara and I managed to have a fun and memorable year.   We survived the fall, the winter, and the spring quarters and walked away much smarter than when we arrived.  But when it came to K, we decided we did not want to live with an attention-needing, heavy-drinking, bed-wetting, mess-making roommate, ever again!

Or so I thought…

Fall 2012 was very exciting.  I was embarking on a life-changing experience… I was about to become a Mom.

Denny, one of my best friends in the world, was one of my roommates, and we were about to meet our other roommate aka our daughter.  We call her Kenz.  Denny and I had no idea what to expect with Kenz and we were anxious, excited, and nervous.

At first glance, we loved her!!!  We had a number of things in common (mainly, Kenz was a combination of the two of us) and we were ready to embark on a new journey together in close quarters.

Kenz, the new roommate, took some adjusting.  We were all pretty new to our roles, and we were doing our best.  Kenz, like most babies, was kind of messy, and left her clothes, toys and bibs everywhere.  She often woke up way too late at night, and seemed to have a need for attention from Denny (often when she was up in the middle of the night and I couldn’t figure out why she was crying).  In addition, Kenz must have been really thirsty because she drank a lot and left her bottles everywhere (usually breast milk, eww).  And sometimes, when she drank a lot, she wet the bed, and she once even wet the crib and the couch.  Denny and I were new with the parent scenario and didn’t always know how to handle Kenz.  Sometimes there were tears; sometimes there was frustration; and sometimes we learned lessons.

Despite all this, Denny and Kenz and I managed to have a an amazing year.   We survived the fall and the winter, and we can’t wait for the spring.  We’re much smarter than when Kenz arrived, and despite the fact that I claimed 11 years ago that I would never ever live with an attention-needing, heavy-drinking, bed-wetting, mess-making roommate, I changed my mind.  In fact, not only have I changed my mind, but also I’ve fallen completely in love with this new little roommate. 

So there you have it.   It is possible that the worst roommate in one situation can have the exact same exact characteristics as the best roommate in another situation.  Who knew?  

 And sometimes when you least expect it you uncover yet another connection of how your crazy days as an undergrad prepared you for the real world.   In this case, college kind of prepared me to be a Mom.


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Picture of the Week *5 Months!!*

Someone is growing waaay too fast… and her name is Makenzie!

Five months has been our favorite age so far (although I think we’ve said that every month).  Makenzie cracks us up daily and we’re pretty sure that she is the coolest baby ever!  She’s so cool that if there was a baby high school she would be elected Prom Queen (the fact that she poops her pants could possibly lose her a few votes but her cuteness would prevail).

Here’s what she’s been doing:

Eating – The girl doesn’t miss a meal.  In addition to her bottles, she’s been trying baby food.  She’s still not too sure about it, but she did enjoy some bananas tonight.    It is as messy as it is adorable, and we normally put her right in the bathtub after dinner.

Playing – Kenzie is interested in everything around her lately!  She likes to play with her hands, her tootsies, books, toys, her glowworm and anything else she can get her cute little hands on.  She’s also getting mobile!  She goes crazy in her jumperoo and can now roll from both her front and her back (but she hasn’t yet put them together to roll a full 360 – stay tuned, it’s bound to happen any day now)

Dancing – Makenzie loves to dance and sing… Correction: Makenzie loves to watch us dance and sing (I’m sure that she would participate if she could) but until then, we have regular dance parties to keep our girl giggling and smiling.  During her fussy evening period sometimes the only thing that keeps her from a meltdown is when Denny and I dance around like crazy people — marching, clapping, singing — you name it. 

Laughing – She does lots of it and it is the BEST sound in the world.  We can’t get enough of it.

Sleeping – Hmm, kind of a rough topic right now.  She’s too big for her Rock n Play sleeper so we’re trying to get her in the crib full-time.  She’s not on board and is reminding us sometimes hourly during the night.  We’re trying a crib wedge tonight to help her feel cozier in the crib.  Ask us at about 3 am how it works.  Moms, any suggestions, please let us know!

Some funny things this month –  If you want to find all that Kenzie has done during a day, just follow the trail of socks.  She loves to be barefoot and won’t stop until her feet are sock-free.  She’s a determined little lady.  And, she is also starting to understand what we say (or so we think).  If she’s holding her glow worm and you ask her to Kiss the Baby, she’ll give a big slobbery wet kiss to the face of Chloe Glowie (our nickname for her).  Too cute!

We can’t believe it’s been almost half a year since she’s been in our world.  We are so fortunate to have such a little sweetie.  Here is a snapshot of her life as a five month old!

Hugs to all!

Makenzie 5 months


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Pictures of the Week *We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!*

Life is about little journeys.  Sometimes the best part of the journey is arriving at your destination (and hanging out with great friends), yet other times you don’t even get close to the destination but you still gain a little wisdom from the ride.


This weekend, Makenzie and I took a little road trip to Ohio to visit my family and some friends (pics below, we had a wonderful time!)   Denny worked Friday, so the baby girl and I were on our own.  The short three-hour ride is something I once did by myself on a regular basis but I knew a bringing along an almost five-month old could add a fun new dimension to it so I was slightly nervous.  Luckily it went great!  Six hours round-trip and no major meltdowns, injuries, spit-ups or blowouts… total Score!  Granted some women are flying internationally with their kids by this age, so it seems silly to feel so proud that we did it, but I do.

While on the way to Ohio, I started thinking about another journey not too long ago that didn’t go as well…

It was mid-October, and Kenzie was about 10 days old.  Denny had just gone back to work so I was very much looking forward to a fun night out at a neighborhood jewelry party.  The party was literally one house away so it seemed simple to bring Makenzie for a night with some great ladies.  But when it comes to life with a brand new baby (and a brand new mom) simple does not exist.

The party was at 6 pm, and we were up by 5 am so I figured we had ample time to get ready to go.  It literally took 8 hours for me to get showered and dressed while getting the baby fed, dressed, fed, changed, fed, and fed again, but I was still determined to go.  Three more hours later, I had the diaper bag packed (new mom=clueless) and we were ready to walk out the door.

Then the day took a turn for the worst.  Kenzie had a blowout, followed by a pee that went up her back and into her hair.  Uh-oh.  I was getting nervous.  We only had 15 more minutes and I knew she needed another bath and was likely getting hungry, yet again.  Suddenly, my new mom confidence started to waver.  My mind was racing and I was starting to question myself “Was I really ready to take the baby out during the witching hour?” “What if she starts to cry and I don’t know what she wants?” “What if she screams and everyone looks at me?” And then my lack of mom-fidence completely took over all my common sense… “What if she goes through all the (14) diapers I packed for her?” “How do I carry her across the yard – a car seat, a carrier or in my arms?”  Yep, I was spiraling into an epic new Mom meltdown.  Tears + puffy eyes + smeared make-up = no way I was making it out the door.  Fail!

Perhaps it was the hormones, perhaps it was the sleep deprivation, or perhaps it was just me trying to do too much, but I had to do what any overwhelmed, over emotional Mom would do… text the neighbors and tell them I couldn’t make it because the baby wasn’t feeling good.  Ugh, a lie!  Double Fail!

In the matter of 22 minutes, my 13 hours of prep was undone.  The baby was back in a onesie, I was back in sweats and we were both back in bed.


Luckily I can look back and laugh now.  And although I didn’t make it to the party 180 feet away a few months ago, I was able to learn a thing or two since then and make it to the playdate 180 miles away.

We’ve come a long way baby, and it was worth the ride!

3_1 Kenzie with Mrs B and Penny

Kenzie meeting Mrs B and admiring the adorable Pennykins!

3_1 Ryan and Kenzie in RnP

Ryan practicing to be a Big Brother!

3_2 Easter egg

Hanging out with the Easter Bunny! Thanks Barry & Linda!

3_2 Kenzie and Aunt Melissa

Someone LOVES their Auntie Melissa!

3_2 Kenzie looking at Aunt Sara

And that same someone loves her Auntie Sara too!

3_2 Nana kissing Kenzie

All cuddled up with Nana

3_2 Playdate

OU friends and some future Bobcats (not pictured: Crosby)


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