A Hairbow Tutorial and the Last Day to Get Your Guesses In!

This past Friday was our town’s homecoming game (we won 56-0) and to celebrate there’s a pep rally at all the schools, early release for a parade, an elementary school tailgate, and then the game.

Yeah, homecoming is a BIG deal ’round these parts.

I’m the co-room mom for Moseby’s kindergarten class and I made paw print pins with ribbons, noise makers (water bottles with popcorn), and hair bows for the girls in his class.

I made the pins and the noise makers when MM was in kindergarten, but hair bows? I’ve NEVER made a single one. Lord knows I’ve bought ’em, but I never made one!

So one night I just sat down, found a YouTube video (here’s the link to it–it’s super easy!) and got to work.

And this is what I made!

Not bad, huh? I followed the tutorial and the bows are on the smallish side–like 3″, I guess–which is perfect for girls 6 and under. I made a bigger one for MM that was probably more like 5″ across.

It took me like 1.5 hours to make these ten bows which I really don’t think is that bad for a first timer!


In other news today is the LAST DAY to vote for what you think Baby B. will be! The winner will get a Starbucks gift card–eek!

(You can vote here, on my Facebook page, or on my Instagram! All you gotta do is put your answers in a comment–no need to fill out the form!)

hbp_0087_babyforecast_Natalie Cooper_final

Just to give you some hints: my due date is technically November 13-21, but baby will arrive no later than November 14. As of last Friday it was already 18″ long and 6 pounds, 4 ounces…and has hair & eyelashes! Hopefully that will help you out a bit. 😉

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My Hospital Bag with Bio #3 {Low Supply & Planned C-Section}

Over the years I’ve read countless lists for what you should include in your hospital bag, but never one that really pertained to my situation–one of both a planned c-section and one with low supply (meaning I don’t make enough breast milk).

I thought maybe I would share my packing list and it would help some mama somewhere out if they were in the same boat as me.

First up: the basics.

What do you need for your baby? Well, technically I guess nothing. The hospital will provide diapers, wipes, onesies, blankets, hats, formula, and bottles. But that’s no fun! Here’s what I bring:

  • Two blankets (sometimes three)
  • Two hats/headbands
  • At least two sleepers–I find this more important if I have a winter baby and socks if the sleepers don’t have feet
  • Going home outfit
  • Specific paci if I have a preference (only MM has loved pacis)

What do you need for you? I guess nothing. The hospital provides gowns, disposable underwear, and pads. Here’s what I bring (my hospital stays have been three nights in the past; I’m allowed to shower 12 hours after a c-section when my catheter is removed and I change out of my hospital gown then, for what it’s worth):

  • Three pairs of pajamas. I have brought gowns before but I like PJs (that are very big in the waist as to not hurt my swollen, tender tummy). I try to bring at least one pair that buttons down the front for easier feeding/pumping, I just bought these (shirt.pants) and really like them.
  • SOCKS. I always forget to bring them.
  • Slippers for walking the halls (super important to do if you have had a c-section) because, ewww, the germs.
  • Going home clothes that are maternity-size ’cause duh.
  • The biggest granny panties you own.
  • This time around I’m also bringing a robe. Just because I’m getting old and mature like that.
  • Toiletries/flat iron/anything that makes you feel feminine/vitamins.

What do you need if you know you are having a c-section?

  • Like I said above, either gowns or PJ pants that are very loose.
  • A pillow so you can hold it to your abdomen when you laugh, cry, get up, or walk around those first few days. (I’ve had five major abdominal surgeries. Trust me.)
  • Stool softener. The hospital will give you one a day. No, girlfriend, no. You’ll need a lot more than that. I could give you gory details but trust me when I say you do NOT want to be constipated after an abdominal surgery.

What do you need if you know you’re going to have low supply or need to pump or want to supplement at breast? This is one I think most people don’t tell you about so women go in blind. We think that breastfeeding is so “natural” (and I guess it is to some, you lucky women know who you are), but for many it’s painful and confusing and disappointing. Here’s what I learned from breastfeeding Lala. (I am considered a low supply mama because I only made half of what he needed. I had a breast reduction (J-cup to a C-cup in 2000) so I am just amazed my body can produce even half of what a baby needs considering over five pounds of breast tissue (and milk ducts) were removed from each breast! I also have PCOS which makes your hormones wacky and doesn’t do me any favors in the breastfeeding department!)

I highly RECOMMEND talking to a lactation consultant *before* you give birth if you think you might have low supply. You can never be too prepared!

This is what I’m bringing this time.

  • My own pump. Last time it took the hospital over 12 hours to bring me a pump (and Lawson was in the NICU for 36 hours). I personally use both the Spectra S2 and the Medela Symphony (that I rent from the hospital). I find them both very comparable to each other.
  • A pumping bra. Again, just trust me. You do NOT want to sit there all hunched over and sore and holding those flanges on your boobies. I love the Dairy Fairy ones. I used this one with Lawson and got this one to try with Baby B (it has a little bit of underwire so I can wear it out of the house; I got a size ‘3’ since I’m a 36D).
  • Supplements if you so choose. Goats rue will be in my bag. (If you have any questions about supplements–I’ve tried them all–feel free to ask)
  • Frozen colostrum. I’ve been collecting 1- and 3-mL syringes of colostrum since 35 weeks (I use these syringes to store it; make sure to get ones with caps). It’s important to get permission from your doctor first, of course (some won’t let you until you’re 37 weeks, but given that I had my last two babies at 37 weeks I was allowed to do it earlier). This is very important if you have gestational diabetes because these syringes can keep your baby’s blood sugar up after birth if it dips (your milk doesn’t come in for 24-72 hours after birth so many babies of gestational diabetic mothers need formula or sugar water to keep their blood sugar up during this time). Some hospitals won’t allow you to bring in your frozen colostrum or donor milk and none will let you store it in their refrigerators (they will if you pump it in the hospital though) so I bring my own cooler and don’t tell them what’s inside.

Baby B has two milk donors (including sweet Angelica who also donated for Lawson for an entire year!)–and this is the colostrum I have on hand already. If you’ve never breastfed you won’t understand the magnitude of this–this is like winning Super Bowl AND the Power Ball jackpot, colostrum-wise!

  • A large drinking cup. Yes, the hospital will most likely provide one, but I have my own Tervis ones that I love. When breastfeeding I try to drink 100 ounces per day.
  • Nipple cream. You can thank me later. 😉
  • My Breast Friend Pillow. With MM and Moseby I used a Boppy to hold them and I loved it, but with Lawson I realized it didn’t provide enough support for the baby when nursing (it made my arms tired!) so I found this pillow and I love it!
  • Bottles with slow flow nipples. If you need to supplement with formula (or choose to put breast milk in a bottle) you’ll want to bring your own bottles if you want to go back and forth between feeding at the breast and bottle. The bottles they provide at the hospital are “newborn” bottles and the flow is faster than that of a real nipple (especially in those first few days when the baby has to try very hard to get the colostrum out) so I suggest bringing a couple of Dr. Brown’s bottles (I like the 2 oz size the first 2-3 weeks and then I pump into that size (they fit the Symphony; Avent bottles fit the Spectra S2) with a premie nipple. With Lawson I used premie nipples until he was NINE MONTHS OLD since he went back and forth between breast (with my very slow letdown thanks to my reduction) and bottle.
  • A Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) or a Lact-Aid if you are wanting to supplement at breast. Paper tape to tape the tubing in place. A nipple shield if you think you may need it. (NOTE: some hospitals provide both of these, but with Lawson the two lactation consultants I saw hadn’t EVER used an SNS (and they were no spring chickens themselves so they should have had plenty of experience with them) so thankfully I had brought my own. They did provide me with a nipple shield but Lawson was 48 hours old at that point! I say from a breastfeeding perspective go in expecting the worst and then you’ll usually be pleasantly surprised).

Other random items you might like to have:

  • Laptop and charger
  • Phone and charger
  • An extension cord for all those chargers ’cause you never know where those outlets will be
  • Camera and USB cord to connect to computer
  • Protein shakes or other snacks you don’t think the hospital will provide
  • A sign for the door (and door hanger)–is that just a southern thing?
  • Any other signs/props/special blankets, etc. for baby for photos

I think that’s it. Of course, I’m “only” 35 weeks, 2 days so I have “plenty” of time to pack more, HA! So tell me, what did I forget that was a necessity for you? Let me know and I’ll add it to my list!

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Time to Place Your Bets!

Today I am 34 weeks. I remember crying when I reached this milestone with MM. When I went on bed rest with her at 26 weeks, 6 days our first goal was 28 weeks (for 90% viability) and our second (and final goal) was 34 weeks (for lung development).

And here I am again!

So in celebration of this milestone I’m having a little contest!

From now until October 16th you can vote (on here, or on my Facebook page, or on my Instagram–but just once) for gender, date of birth, time of birth, weight, length, hair color, and hair length. You can just enter the info in a comment or you can fill out the form below.

hbp_0087_babyforecast_Natalie Cooper_final

Now, you do have to get gender right before you’ll be able to win (so if you say girl and it’s a boy you’re automatically out).

And what does the winner get? A (not too big) Starbucks gift card!

So whatcha waiting for? Get those votes in!

 

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Apple Pie Friday

This week Moseby’s kindergarten class has been doing an apple unit. Yesterday they had an apple tasting party and each child was assigned an item to bring in.

apple pie

Moseby was asked to bring in an apple pie (I think his teacher knows his mama bakes just a little, haha!) so I made this one last night.

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I used Honey Crisp apples sliced very thinly that my parents picked up for me at the Atlanta Farmers’ Market and store-bought pie crust (because, come on, they’re kindergarteners!).  Hint: make sure to cover the crust edges with foil halfway through baking so it doesn’t brown too much.

apple pie 3

And it turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself!

…I mean, just look at this little guy enjoying his apple pie that his mama made. RIGHT. Don’t let that smile fool you–he only drank the apple juice. #pickiesteateralive

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A Honeycomb Quilt for My Baby Bee

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I picked it up last Thursday from the quilter and couldn’t wait to get the binding sewn on over the weekend.

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For some reason I never feel ready for a baby until I have its quilt completed. Yes, I know how strange that is (especially considering I have not packed a single hospital bag or finished the nursery), but it’s how I nest (I’m also working on a little cross stitch project for the nursery wall and I’m feeling antsy that it’s not finished yet either!).

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With this baby (that we call “Baby Bee” since it’s either going to be Baby Bonnie or Baby Benji and we have a bee-themed nursery) it made complete sense to do a honeycomb quilt (also known as a hexagon quilt). This quilt was made using “half hexies” (using this Hex ‘n More ruler) that I sewed together. This blog post was my inspiration and I used this blog post for the hexagon quilt tutorial. The most time consuming part was cutting the hexagons (or should I say, the half hexagons) out because I used a lot of different fabrics. After I pieced it together and made a back I took it to my local quilter who quilted it with butterflies (the closest they had to bumble bees) in a variegated gold thread.

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I love the way it came together, but I hope it’s gender neutral enough (C. likes to joke that I make everything girly–the entire time I did Moseby’s nursery (we didn’t know if we would be adopting a boy or girl at the time) he would have to reign in my feminine touches, haha).

And like always, I had to add a note to the baby on the back of the quilt and while it’s always very short I think about it for months before I embroider it.

Mary Margaret’s quilt says, “You are our sunshine.”

Moseby’s quilt says, “We loved you before we met you.”

Lawson’s quilt says, “You are our silver lining.”

Benji/Bonnie’s quilt says, “God knew we needed you.”

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And as much as a shock that this pregnancy was I am now beginning to clearly see that this statement is so true…even though I was 100% finished with having babies (especially from my body!) our family needed this baby. I can’t wait to see its face for the first time–to make eye contact and catch a little glimpse of its soul like I have with my other three–to see just who this amazing person is that God knew we needed to have even though we didn’t realize it.

It’s pretty incredible when you think about it like that.

I want you to keep cooking for at least four more weeks, Baby B., but then I’m dying to meet you. xoxo

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A Pregnancy Update: The One Where I Moan and Groan

You have been warned.

I am currently 32 weeks, 4 days (guesstimate of course–we call this the “Jesus Baby” because in actuality we have NO IDEA when he/she was conceived & joked at the beginning that God must’ve just put it in there, all divine-like).

Yesterday at my appointment I measured 32 weeks, 3 days (fundal height–a little measuring tape the doctor uses to measure the outside of my belly).

That sounds awesome, right? Baby is perfectly average.

Wrong.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. WRONG.

Baby is really more like 34.5-35 week size (17.5″ long and over five pounds). Baby is 99th percentile in length, head circumference, and belly size.

I think just its cheeks weigh over five pounds!

So where is this giant baby hiding if on the outside I’m average?

That would be in my lungs. And back. And stomach. And kidneys. And intestines. And poking his dadgum head out of my shredded left oblique muscle half the day (baby is either transverse or breech at all times).

I get that pregnancy is not fun in the third trimester, believe me. Been there, done that (twice) before. But this one is the worst. Blame it on the muscle repair from my tummy tuck–my ab muscles are literally sewn shut and are pushing this gigantic baby back inside my body. I can’t even really describe it because it’s nothing like my other two pregnancies. I can’t breathe and my stomach is so sore–like I’ve done 1000 sit ups or slept on a cement floor.

(So if you’re reading this and thinking you may, just may, want to have a baby after a muscle repair I’ve got news for you–DON’T. It’s torture 24/7 that doesn’t stop. It only gets worse–I can’t imagine how this will feel in 5-6 more weeks honestly.)

And then there’s the whole gigantic baby thing and the guilt I have over it.

See, when you have gestational diabetes you’re told over and over that if you don’t control your blood sugar you will have a giant baby and that is very bad. Therefore big baby is a sad and sick baby = mama who didn’t follow the rules/didn’t eat right/horrible piggy of a person.

Now, the doctors have never called me a horrible piggy of a person, but it’s how I feel each time when I’m told my baby is big. I remember always being so proud that Lawson was on the small side (20-30th percentile) because I knew it was because *I* was doing something right. So to hear this one is in the 99th percentile (it’s been 95th percentile since 11 weeks) it makes me feel like *I’m* doing something very wrong.

I record every bite that I eat. (I eat 1,200-1,400 calories a day and less than 50g total carbs). I record my blood sugar religiously. I workout every single day. I take a minimum of 15,000 steps a day. My blood sugar numbers are perfect (other than my fasting 2-3 days a week, but you honestly can’t control those). I’ve been told by both my high risk OB and regular OB that I’m the most active patient in their practice right now. We did another A1C last week to see how controlled my blood sugar has been the last three months and it is 4.5 (which is unheard of perfect, if I do say so myself). I’ve gained 18.5 pounds at 32.5 weeks which is completely average.

Yet.

My baby is huge (predicted size if I made it to 40 weeks…which I won’t, thank the lord…TEN POUNDS).

And the guilt I feel is unreal.

My OB got frustrated with me yesterday after I listed everything I was doing to try to keep this baby small/average size and said, “Look. Some babies are just genetically big. You have a genetically big baby. There is absolutely nothing else you can do about it. Let it grow and stop worrying. No one is blaming you for its size.”

And yet I still feel guilty.

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

 

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A Cookie Full of Cinnamon + Sugar For You…

…since I can’t have them, ha! #gestationaldiabetessux

september 17. boys room. snickerdoodle_0017_edited-1

Moseby’s favorite sweet treat I make is brownies. Lawson’s is chocolate chip cookies. (Okay, okay, I lie. He’s his mother’s son–he likes ALL the sweet things!)

MM’s favorite? Snickerdoodles.

And she’s been asking for them so I decided to bake up some on Saturday afternoon. They take about 15-30 minutes longer than traditional drop cookies because the dough needs to be chilled AND you have to roll them in cinnamon-sugar, but they’re not labor intensive at all.

The recipe I used can be found here. It made exactly 40 cookies and I used up every bit of cinnamon-sugar (so if you like them extra sweet you may want to double that part of the recipe) and I used my favorite $6 cookie dough scoop–they were the perfect size.

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Before baking

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And after!

But I’m warning you: they don’t last long–especially if you have a sweet lover like Lala here. Nope, he’ll just pull of his “cool” (stool) and eat four before you can blink your eyes, ha!

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Boys’ Room

Yesterday the last nail was put in place and the boys’ room is officially finished.

One room down, one room (nursery) to go.

While I love rearranging rooms and getting everything just right, it feels so good to be DONE.

boys bedroom. september 17

In case you didn’t read about it last week, we moved the boys in a room together last weekend. We moved them into the old nursery (both Moseby and Lawson used this room as their nursery for their first two years; Moseby moved into another bedroom before Lawson came along) and Moseby’s old room is becoming the new nursery. That’s not confusing, is it? HA!

This is only their make-do room for the next two years or so until we do renovation 2.0 with the house and then this will become MM’s room (it has a kitchenette connected to it–can’t see the door in any of these pictures–that we will convert into a private bath for her; our house was a boarding house, remember?) and the boys will move across the hall to our master bedroom (and we’ll move downstairs). The baby will move into MM’s old room and its room will become a study nook. Gosh, that makes me tired just writing it!

It’s not exactly laid out how I wanted–the radiator beside Momo’s bed made us push the beds off-center from the window (which kinda makes my eye twitch) and you’ll spy a chandelier in some of the pictures that we didn’t change out because it will become MM’s room before we know it and it seemed silly just to take it down for a couple of years.

Anyway. Enough of all that.

So the details:

september 17. boys room. snickerdoodle_0010_edited-1

~The beds are old hospital beds that we bought a few years ago at a local antiques store that came from a local hospital (that my mom was born in actually). I’m guessing they’re from the 30s or 40s.

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~The bedding is from Target and cheap (and was an extra 20% off a couple of months ago) because I can only imagine what those boys will put it through!

Comforters similar here. Bed skirts. Moseby’s arrow sheets. Lawson’s cactus sheets. Euro shams are Pottery Barn from a few years ago but very similar here. The quilts are their baby quilts I made when we were waiting/expecting. Rug is six years old but similar here.

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“Play” containers found at At Home (similar here). Vintage school chart found on Etsy (similar here.)

~I got the nightstand/chest of drawers/whatever last week at a local antiques market because we need all the storage we can get! I “measured” with my hands before I went to the store and I would like to brag that the chest was the perfect size (with not an inch to spare). #skillz

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Flying pig lamp from At Home (similar here) and is Moseby’s most favoritest thing in the whole wide world. Picture frames from Hobby Lobby (similar here).

~It’s “fun” (insert eye roll) to get to decorate a mantle in almost every room (we have six mantles in our house!).

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Rawr sign. I bought the Georgia made from bottle caps at the Yellow Daisy, but the artist’s Etsy site found here. “Little Man Cave” printable ($1.61!).

~Moseby has had this little tool bench for a few years now and didn’t want to part with it just yet so we made a little tool/car corner.

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~And he also had a bunch of “treasures” he wanted to keep away from Lala (a pirate piggy bank, a special flashlight (he’s scared of the dark), his favorite book, a drawing his birth mom made him, his soccer trophy, etc.) so we put them in special container that Lawson is not allowed to touch. He also chose some “special” trinkets to put in the vintage printer’s tray (similar here)–his choices (a bow tie, some Canadian coins, a small armadillo, a Mickey Mouse figurine, etc.) crack me up.

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~Their dresser that yes, is girly, but I didn’t feel like moving in Moseby’s old one for a two year stint, just keeping it real.

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I tried to include pictures of the two of them all around the room (board found at Hobby Lobby). Just look at these two cute little boys!

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~The last little space I’ll show you is behind their door. I didn’t realize until they moved in together just how many hats these two had! So this was a last minute addition, but probably my favorite little corner!

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Arrow hanger found at Hobby Lobby (similar here). Giraffe rocking horse. Custom sign from a couple of years ago from here.

And that’s the boys’ room! Hopefully in a week (or so) I’ll have the nursery finished (I’m feeling the nesting bug kicking into high gear the last couple of weeks ago–I am 32 weeks along today actually!) and can share that with you too!

 

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Irma: A Blessing in Disguise

I hope this finds you well…and with power, fellow Georgians. We fared the hurricane (tropical storm? thunderstorm? wind storm? whatever it was!) well at Brogdon House surprisingly. When you live in a 130 year old house with 130 year old (or older) trees overhanging most of it the idea of tons of rain and record-breaking winds sends shivers down your spine. Buuuuut, we never lost power and no tree fell on our house or carriage house! We did lose a half-dead dogwood in the driveway, but C. & my dad cleaned it up in 15 minutes or so yesterday morning after the storm passed. We feel so thankful that it turned out this way when some of our neighbors did not.

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Before their first sleepover (of many!) Saturday night, matching jammies and all. 

On Saturday (while it was still nice & sunny) we moved Moseby out of his old room and into Lawson’s room (& gave them matching twin beds). We took that crib and put it in Moseby’s room which has now become the nursery. We have five bedrooms, but one bedroom is downstairs so it seemed easier to just move the boys into a room together (our plan is to move downstairs in about 2 years and will do musical chairs with the upstairs bedrooms again then).

crib

Crib sneak peak!

Since we had power, but I didn’t have to go to work (my county has canceled school Monday – Wednesday), I spent hours and hours and hours going through closets and shift robes and dresser drawers of every child (and even the unborn one!). As of now every single piece of clothing (even socks!) fits the child for who it is intended. Y’all, I don’t think that has ever happened since I started having kids!

A tiny bit of wall decor hanging has been done as well. 

And while I wish I could say that the boys’ new room and the nursery were perfectly put together, I can’t. Their closets? Oh my my, perfection. But the decor…heck, even the wall and closet color in the nursery…not so much. But we’re getting there.  At least now every child has a bed so Baby B can come whenever he/she chooses because the decor can wait (though we’d prefer if he/she waited at least six more weeks, thankyouverymuch!).

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And just look at this little boy (with his bed skirt-less bed and no decor and make-do nightstand and horrible flying pig lamp that Moseby loves with all his heart)–he thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips next to his big boy bed (where he sleeps like a champ, holla!).

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All in School…for now

Lala started preschool on Wednesday.

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He’ll go four hours two days a week and has the same teacher that both MM and Momo had.

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Buuuuuuuuut, he has yet to learn that preschool is fun. Or that Mommy always comes back. I’m sure that will come. For his sake and his sweet teacher’s sanity. #nobodylikesacrier

Sorry this is a short post, folks. These short weeks are so brutal! And we’re gearing up to move the boys in the same room tomorrow (I got teary eyed just now thinking about the fact that it will be Lawson’s last night in a crib and I’m not an overly emotional person AT ALL. But he’s my baby (for another month or two at least) and I can’t believe he’s growing up). I’ll share lots of pictures of their “new” room on Monday!

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