Sunday, August 26, 2012

IA State Fair

We were in Des Moines for our annual Adventureland trip and also made a stop at the Iowa State Fair....

The MN state fair is going on now. I am afraid I may only have one state fair in me per year. We'll see!

Cousins pic. It was actually chilly - first time all summer!
The beloved "butter cow". 
Award winning corn. 
The "little hands on the farm" farming exhibit was really neat. The kiddos got to "practice" farming. They even got to sell their produce at the market and use the proceeds to buy a treat.

Lil' Farmers
Ken and Mase
Allimacke (all one word!)

Checkin' out the mules.
This was Dad's idea...not mine!

watching some dancers
Nothing says "IA State Fair" like a good rhino statue!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Farmer's Market!

I crossed something off my "bucket list" this past weekend. I conquered my very first canning project. Thanks to my sis for all of the help. Not sure if I'll ever do it again but it was fun. The project didn't begin, however, without a stop at two different farmer's markets. One was giving out free sunglasses. These guys!

Free shades from the farmer's market!
cool dude
Waiting in line for their balloon animal
Two thumbs up - from the lefty and the righty
Real tears after the balloon popped...
ta-da! pickles, diced tomatoes, and pasta sauce

Friday, August 17, 2012

Franklin's Milk

I want to take a moment to write about something good that has come from losing my precious baby Frank. Something that I'm proud of.

The short version of the story: I donated Franklin's milk to the Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa.

You can guess where this post is if that's all you care to know about this story you can stop reading here.

But If you want the details, by all means - read on! Warning, though, there is a lot of talk about breasts and milk in this post!

I am very proud to have nursed Prior and Mason for over a year. We never used or purchased an ounce of formula. My boys made it over a year before ever getting sick (their first cold was less than 2 weeks after I stopped nursing them). And for preemies I felt such a sense of accomplishment by keeping them healthy for so long! Nursing the boys was an extremely special experience for me - almost indescribable. 

When I met with my doctor to discuss the impending delivery of Baby Franklin I said: "Please tell me my milk won't come in!?" She quickly told me that it would.

Dealing with this loss was hard enough. Why did I also have to have physical and extremely hormonal reminders?! Clearly that was not fair. Why couldn't my body just know that I didn't need it!?

When I was told that indeed my milk would come in I briefly thought about donating the milk. I dismissed the thought almost instantly because I thought it would be entirely too difficult and emotional. 

In the days before and after Franklin's birth I spoke to a number of nurses and doctors. They each adamantly told me not to pump. Pumping would just tell my body to produce more milk.

As predicted, my milk came in. And apparently my body has a good memory because it remembered that the last time it produced milk, it needed a LOT of it. It was unbelievably painful and emotional. I tried everything -  ibuprofen, cabbage, etc. It was not getting better and it was not bearable. I needed to get the milk out asap. And after a recent article in Time about breastfeeding 3-4 year olds I even had that crazy hormonal thought cross my mind. (Thankfully Ben was the voice of reason). I think you get the point. I was a complete mess and I was desperate.

I knew exactly what I wanted to do - I wanted to pump for a few weeks and wean to avoid the pain. Just like when I had stopped nursing the boys. There was never a painful moment. But for some reason I felt like I needed permission to pump since I didn't have a baby that needed milk. {Strange, I know.} So I tried calling another nurse line. They told me the same thing. Do.Not.Pump.

Ben suggested I call a lactation consultant. So I called two. And guess what!? They both said pumping would be just fine! Hallelujah!! One of the lactation consultants (the one I had worked with after I had the boys) even said that the Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa was in desperate need of milk. Perfect.

Having the permission that I felt I needed, I hung up the phone and sprinted downstairs to get the pump. This was a reminder to me that only you know your body best! Over the course of the next two weeks I pumped milk. I went from 3x per day down to 2x per day and then 1x per day and naturally stopped. No pain at all. In fact, I found it emotionally relieving and healing to pump the milk. I accumulated approximately 100 ounces of milk.

During those two weeks I began the application process for donating the milk. I contacted the Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa. I completed an over-the-phone interview to determine if I would be a candidate. I was! First hurdle cleared. [Thankfully, there was no minimum donation requirement for bereaved mothers.]

Next I completed the written paperwork which included a long questionnaire and a signed medical form from my doctor.

After that, I had blood drawn - another hurdle crossed! Here's the email I received officially naming me as an approved donor!

Hi, Kristin,

I just received your blood results and they’re negative.

This completes your screening.

You’re an approved milk donor.

Ann will send you a cooler with instructions for shipping your precious milk.  

Special thanks to you and Franklin,

I arranged a pick-up time with FedEx, purchased dry ice, and packed the cooler and prayed that it would make it there safely. Thankfully, the next morning I received this email:

Hi, Kristin,
Your treasure chest arrived today and the milk was frozen solid.
Special thanks to you and Franklin,
Jean M. Drulis
Director and Cofounder
Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa 

One of the most special moments about this process was when the coordinator at the milk bank (a founder, actually) referred to the milk as "Franklin's milk."

I know how precious and important milk is - and I'm so thankful that a little peanut (or two or three) in Iowa will get to benefit from baby Franklin's milk.

Waiting for the Fed Ex pick-up.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Adventureland 2012

Our second annual trip to Adventureland with the cousins was a success!

It was an absolutely perfect day for the park. A lot of other people thought the exact same thing because it was packed! Long lines aren't good for impatient 3 year olds (or adults)!

The boys got to go on a few more rides this year. Prior loved all of the new rides - like the frog hopper and the log ride. Mason, however, did not like anything that made his tummy feel weird. He cried after we got off the log ride (he's the one with the death grip on my arm in the photo). He said "Mom, never ever again will we go on the log ride!"

It's so fun to see how these two are different, yet exactly the same all at the same time. In the car on the way home from Adventureland Prior finished one of Mason's sentences and we were certain Prior was sleeping when he did so. 

I ended up taking so many pictures I had to put them in a slideshow. There are also some swimming pictures in there at the end - these two little fish love the water.

Allis, Allis, who the *bleep* is Allis!?

Grandpa Denny likes those orange tractors...the Allis Chalmers kind.
Which means, of course, that P&M love them just as much. 

And apparently these three aren't the only ones that love those orange tractors. 

About 10,000 people gathered in Hutchinson, MN, recently for the annual "Orange Spectacular" Allis tractor show. 

 Grandpa Denny has an Allis D-17 tractor. And the boys were lucky enough to get "D-17" Allis t-shirts.

Fun day!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


We met our goal - the boys were potty trained by their third birthday. They cut it pretty close with only a few weeks to spare, but they did it!

Here's the kicker. We transitioned to pull-ups for a few nights and they were dry - so we went pull-up-less after only a few nights. And the boys have yet to wet the bed. Not one accident in 6+ months. (How is that possible?!)

What's our secret? I have NO idea. We potty before bath and then again immediately before shutting off the lights (after our excessively long bedtime routine). 

And now, after 3 years of diapers (thankfully I didn't keep a total on what we spent on diapers), this is what they're up to. Dad calls it "crossies."

Monday, August 6, 2012

Quack Quack

Thank you, Annie Torrini Photography, for another great mini session! These photos were taken at her studio in NE Minneapolis back in May. The lighting is incredible! The best part about mini sessions is that they're just that - quick. The boys don't even have a chance to get restless. Mason was fine with the duck. Prior wasn't so sure.

These two have gone through stages. Sometimes they are easy to tell apart, other times it's more difficult. Looking back at these pictures, I think this was a more difficult phase. Mason is on the left in in the double photos. And Mason is the one holding the duck in the single shots. 

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