Whenever I see a reminder on my calendar to write these posts, I always have to do a double-take. Like, how the heck does time go so fast (and why the heck do I say this in every single post)? Time just flies by with kiddos, and I feel like every single post kicks off with a “how did we get here” sentiment, but it’s oh-so-real (and warp speed when you have two kiddos!). This past month was one filled with milestones: first Christmas, first New Year, first plane ride to name a few. It’s been such an amazing first few months as a mama to two, and since I now have the perspective of how fast time flies, I feel like I’m doing my best to savor these newborn days!
We laid pretty low for the holidays this year and spent Christmas Eve visiting my grandparents in the morning and hanging as a fam in the evening, and then Christmas Day with my immediate family at my parent’s house. It was bittersweet since our extended family Christmases look a lot different these days (thanks to Covid), but it was a small, intimate holiday filled with sweet little moments (that Quinn will never remember, but hey!). It was so fun watching Coco on Christmas morning and how she is starting to get into the holiday! While Quinn slept through most of it and was passed around to every family member, Coco was soaking in all the holiday spirit!
Quinnie also got some solid grandparent and cousin time! We made the tough decision to just keep our circle limited to immediate family but it has been so nice getting to see cousins and aunts and uncles! The Kutcher fam road-tripped from Wisconsin for a long weekend in the northland, and we got to celebrate birthdays together and do an early Christmas! Nana and Papa Shelerud were off in Hawaii for two weeks (lucky ducks), so they were especially excited to get home and see the girls! While our experience is a little different this time around with a pandemic baby, it’s given us a slower pace and the chance to savor any time we have with family!
We flew out of Duluth on New Year’s Eve! First flight with both girls and first time on a direct flight to Arizona! We were so excited to escape the cold, and beyond figuring out how to pack for two and the logistics of car seats and stroller, it honestly wasn’t bad! We went super minimal, so the girls shared a suitcase and Drew and I shared one and then we did the car seats and stroller and somehow managed!
Quinn, of course, slept through the entire flight. I love traveling with a baby–it used to seem so scary, but now it feels like a piece of cake! Here’s a post I wrote about how we do it! Coco was a legit champ and stayed up until 4AM without melting down (I don’t know how she did it!). The direct flight was awesome and easy peasy, and minus a few delays that had us sitting on the tarmac for an extra hour and a half, it was a great way to go! We’re down in Arizona for two months now, and my parents and grandparents will be here all of February!
Our Travel Must-haves for Quinn
After having traveled a ton when Coco was a baby, we’re pretty darn minimal. I literally texted my friend and showed her how little stuff we brought for two full months in Arizona. We brought one packing cube of outfits for Quinn (all hand-me-downs from Coco) and then these few items:
1.) The Snuggle Me Organic: (We chose this over the DockaTot because it’s more bendable and doesn’t lose its shape.) We actually put it into one of our car seat bags to save room in our suitcases! For the first few nights she slept solely in it and then we went to a consignment shop and found an unopened, brand new bassinet that we bought for her to sleep in! We love having our little soft spot that moves through the house to lay her in when we need our hands free!
2.) Baby Carriers: Praise hands for the Lalabu shirt while traveling–this is the BEST if you are traveling with a newborn because you don’t have to fuss with wraps or take them on or off and lay your baby down to get set up. This shirt with the pouch is easy peasy and it was a gamechanger navigating the airport and getting our luggage out to the car! I also brought the Solly wrap around, and you all know how much I love that thing!
3.) My Breast Pump: I was on the fence if I was going to pump here, but since I want to stock up as much as I can for when I get back to work, I brought my Spectra with along with my favorite pumping accessories: the La Vie Lactation Massagers (help pumping go faster and honestly feel really good when you’re engorged) the Kindred Bravely pumping bra, and my Haaka. I’m going to just stock up the freezer here and then pay a service that ships your frozen milk for you to get it home at the end of the two months. I pump just once a day in the morning but get between 8-10 oz, so it’s definitely worth the hassle.
4.) UPPABaby Stroller and Car Seat: So this one isn’t a stroller we’d bring on a short getaway but dang, has it been worth hauling. You can use it as a double stroller (you need to purchase adapters, something we didn’t realize, oops!), and then we also purchased their little skateboard deck and it’s been amazing for family walks! Quinn sits in her car seat, Coco is in the rumble seat, and then she also loves riding the “skateboard!” We’ve put a lot of miles in on this trip and are thankful that this investment piece has lasted us three years and will grow with us for many more!
5.) Amma Nursing Cover: This was one of the few “new” items I purchased this time around and I love it so much! It’s breathable (so not at all hot!), can be worn as a poncho, and can also be a car seat cover. We literally use this every day and it’s chic, cool, and versatile! They also sell absorbent nursing pads and they are 100% worth it. I love that you just toss them in the wash (less waste), and they work really well. I use them every single day, and I’m so thankful for this female-founded company and that I found them!
6.) Infant Optics Baby Monitor: This monitor is a breeze to travel with and set up wherever you go. It doesn’t even need W-Fi to work and has noise filtering technology that cuts down on fan/sound machine noises and lets you clearly hear your baby–and see them, too, thanks to an HD monitor screen! We love this thing and just got a second camera so we can watch both girls at the same time. I can also talk to Coco through it which we both love!
7.) This Weighted Sleepsack: We actually saw this on Shark Tank long before Quinn was born and thought it was genius (it is!) We got it when Quinn was about a month old and we noticed a difference, she was getting longer stretches. Since we don’t have the SNOO with us and she doesn’t love to be swaddled with her arms down, this Dreamland Baby Co sleepsack has been a huge blessing! It has holes so she can be snug but with her arms out and she seems to relax with the weight of the sleep sack! Win, win! Yay for amazing inventions and brilliant founders!
I can’t believe we’ve been in Arizona for almost three weeks already! Time is flying. We spent two months here last year so it felt like coming back to another home of sorts. We picked right back where we left off. Coco has her favorite park, we have our favorite walking path, our favorite coffee shop and smoothies! It’s been so nice being able to be outside, get fresh air and Vitamin D! Quinn loves being on the move so the more walks and drives, the better! While she has yet to take a bottle (or a pacifier for that matter) we’re sneaking in tiny breaks for mama while Coco naps so that I can get a little rest! Dad loves taking Quinnie on stroller walks (and she sleeps right through them!). She just goes with the flow and is easygoing like Coco was! Someday soon we’ll try to get her on an actual schedule but for now, we’re enjoying the flexibility that she gives us!
Covid Caught Us
After dodging it for nearly two years, I got the dreaded double line on a Covid test. (Also, from a fertility standpoint, how weird is it to NOT want a second line? But that’s beyond the point!) We had been really careful ordering in our groceries and food, not seeing any friends, and sticking to outdoor activities at times when they weren’t crowded, but somehow, we got it.
In hindsight, I think Coco got it and passed it to me because there was one day where I thought she got a sunburn because she woke up warm from her nap with rosy cheeks and I wrote it off as just a heat rash (it was probably Covid!). She really didn’t exhibit any symptoms beyond a fever that lasted less than 24 hours, but when I woke up one morning with a super minor sore throat, I just had a gut feeling that I should test. Sure enough, it was positive.
Thankfully, we were hit with a really mild case all around. I was first in shock that we had it, then I felt something unexpected: relief. Like a fugitive getting caught, we were forced to face it head-on. My sore throat lasted only a few hours followed by a runny nose for two days, and that was pretty much it. I am so thankful my case was mild! Drew somehow stayed negative the entire time, Coco didn’t have any symptoms beyond the fever we missed, and Quinn spiked a fever for one day and then was back to normal.
I truly have spent the past (almost) two years being so incredibly anxious about Covid, and while I wish we could have avoided it a little longer to let Quinn get bigger, I am relieved that it’s over with (for now) and we made it out relatively unscathed! While I never want my babies to be sick, their fevers were under 24 hours and they seemed pretty unbothered with the whole thing. I am hopeful that now we can enjoy time with family and friends without as much worry!
Month Two Highlights:
Quinn is definitely showing her little personality more with her talkative coos, her hilarious grunts (that wake us up in the middle of the night), and her sweet smiles. She literally lights up when she hears Coco’s voice, and watching them interact is the sweetest. Today, Quinn was in her swing sleeping, and Coco went to the kitchen to get a hand towel to use as a “blankie” to keep “Kinnie” warm. Coco also loves tiptoeing around and yelling to us, “Mom, Dad, I’ll be quiet (kiii—ettt) and I won’t wake up Kinnie!” We just smile and thankfully Quinn sleeps through most of it! Traveling as a fam of four was a great first to tackle and relatively pain free, and once we figured out how the heck to make the stroller a double, we’ve enjoyed rocking that parent life of two. We’re so thankful for this time we get together and especially grateful for the sunshine and Arizona warmth in the dead of winter.
I know this is about Quinn but dang it, it’s so fun to remember each stage! Coco has been hilarious these days. She is a chatty little girl who pops out of bed in the morning with something she’s clearly been thinking about all night long. She loves “shows” and especially Arthur on PBS (which is so funny, because I watched that as a kid after I got home on the bus!). She’s been a big helper and a good listener (most of the time) and she is the most affectionate and empathetic little girl. She’ll randomly come up and grab your hand and kiss it or respond with, “That makes my heart happy!” and she genuinely loves her little sister.
She’s super creative, loves tracing letters and sorting just about anything (puzzle pieces, rocks, or beads), and dad’s goal is to turn her into a golf pro with her new pink putter we’ve got for the putting green. We all fell in love with Encanto (“We don’t talk about Bruno, no, no, no”) and have watched it a few too many times, and she’s a pro at requesting a strawberry smoothie and then drinking three sips before she wants to eat Cheetos or some other snack. Her other drink of choice? A mocktail of sorts, mixing cherry juice and “bucha” or Kombucha.
You’ve got to keep a close eye on her or she’ll steal your latte (and drink it!), and nothing says fun like a caffeinated three-year-old! Her personality and vocabulary expand on a daily basis (“Mommy, what does wide mean?”) and if you see her walking down the street, you better believe she’ll be waving until you notice her and wave back. Her daily goal is to pet as many puppies as she can, and each night we recite the names of the dogs we meet, “Joey, Lucy, Clarance, Betty!” She is pure joy and we love her.