Friday, January 29, 2016


A few random thoughts for this fabulous Friday...

One: Kansas Day

It's been a minute or two since I've lived in Kansas, but Kansas will always be "home." Today just happens to be the birthday of my home Happy 155th Birthday, Kansas! 

Two: KU versus Kentucky

Speaking of Kansas, my beloved Jayhawks take on the Kentucky Wildcats tomorrow at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence. Given that it's a battle between the top-two most-winning teams in all of college basketball, it's sure to be game worth watching...but I'm certain my Jayhawks are going to come out on top!  #RockChalk

KU, University of Kansas, Jayhawk, Rock Chalk Jayhawk

Three:  This Lil' Man...

What? Did you really think I was going to have an entire blog post without including this tiny human that brings a smile to my face even in my crankiest moments? Hope he brings a smile to your face too...

We've started eating some solid foods, and he LOVES LOVES LOVES everything we've given him {sweet potatoes, carrots, avocado}.  Plus, with him wearing his Jayhawk bib, this photo just fit perfectly into this Kansas-themed post!  :)

Have a great weekend, friends!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Five Months

How is it that another month has flown by? And what a BIG {busy} month it was! We spent lots of time with family, and our baby boy was loved {spoiled} to no end.

The best photo we got this month...he was way more interested in playing with the blocks than posing for a pic!

And these are the outtakes...

A few notes from Huston's fifth month of life...
  • Based on our unofficial home measurements, we estimate he weighs about 15.5 pounds. His last official weigh-in was a couple of weeks ago {14 lbs., 5 ounces as of December 31 (14th percentile)} when we went in for our first "sick visit" to the pediatrician.  He wasn't terribly sick or anything...just very congested...but being a new mom and having a long weekend coming up {New Year's Day}, I decided to take him in just to make sure his lungs and ears were clear. The doctor informed me it was just an annoying cold that had to run its course. We used the humidifier and saline drops in his nose {he developed an extreme dislike for the blue suction bulb!}, and he was back to 100% in about a week.
  • He's wearing 6-month clothes for length {some are even starting to be a bit on the short side}, but they're still a little big around the waist. He graduated to size 2 diapers early in the month, and I think he'll be comfortable in that size for at least the next few weeks.
  • This past month he's pretty much exclusively been on breast milk with very little need to supplement with formula. I think he and I have finally gotten the hang of actually nursing {it only took us 4.5 months!}, but we still just do it 1-2 times per day {the life of a working mom} with the remainder coming from bottles that I've previously pumped. He'll eat between 4-6 ounces with each bottle feeding. In total, his bottle-intake per day ranges from 25-35 ounces while he nurses anywhere from 15-50 minutes each day.
  • Speaking of eating...we introduced solids for the first time last night! He tried a couple of bites of sweet potatoes. He seemed to like the first bite, but then he wasn't so sure he wanted to open his mouth again for the second bite. 
  • Sleeping. His sleep was a little disrupted this month when he was sick. He would wake up a couple of times in the night and just need a little soothing from Momma or Daddy to get back to sleep. In general, he's still a pretty solid sleeper at night. He's going down a bit earlier these days {usually around 8:30} and sleeps until 5:30-6:00 am. After he gets a clean diaper and eats, he usually goes back to sleep until 8:30-9:00 am. As far as napping goes, it seems like it may be occurring a bit more frequently...and even extending in length. Although he still has days with ZERO naps, he's been sleeping in his swing after lunch on a regular basis for an hour or so.
  • Our little guy will talk your ear off! He's especially chatty in the mornings and after a bath {his happy times}. Giggles...his little laugh just might be the sweetest sound I've ever heard. Playing peek-a-boo is the best way to get him to laugh and sometimes he'll make us work pretty hard for it, but that genuinely innocent & happy sound is worth it every.single.time!  Just this past week, he's figured out how to blow raspberries with his lips...and he does this nonstop. It's pretty cute for now, but I have a feeling it could get old pretty fast!
  • He's still only rolling from back to front...and he's not doing this nearly as often as when he first figured it out. It's like he realized he hates being stuck on his belly, so why would he put himself in that position? He's ok with tummy-time as long as he has plenty of toys to entertain him, but when he gets bored with those toys, he's over it. Period.Dot.Done!
  • Playing. He is full-on playing with his toys now. He'll reach out and pick things up on his own, and he'll even find it and pick it back up if he drops it. He's a big fan of the crinkle-sound books and the small toys that make noise/play music.
  • The lil' man has found his feet and mastered the art of sock removal {big win for him, huge loss for Mom}. He really loves to suck on his toes...which makes diaper changes a bit more challenging these days!
  • Teething. He doesn't have any teeth yet, but based on the increased amount of drool/slobber/sucking on fingers, I think they're coming sooner rather than later. We broke out the amber necklace last week, and I can really tell that it has helped reduce the drooling.
  • Grammy came to visit to help us get everything done in time for Christmas.
  • Huston and Momma had two nights at home by ourselves while Dad was gone on a hunting trip. We did great, but Momma sure learned how much she appreciates all that Daddy does when he's home!
  • We've developed a little case of "Stranger Danger." It just takes him awhile to warm up to new people...and he definitely needs to know that Mom or Dad are in the near vicinity at all times.
  • We traveled to western Kansas for Christmas {this time by car}. We left Dallas in the evening, and our sweet babe slept the entire 8-hour drive. We spent Christmas with the Martins, and Baby H was thoroughly entertained by his cousins...

  • Lots of family time over the holidays...

  • Huston got a brand new baby cousin on New Year's Day {Mills Kopper Lukens}, so we traveled back to Kansas to meet him...

  • ACTIVE.BABY. In just the past 4-5 days, it's like he turned a corner and became increasingly active/playful. {Perhaps he was trying to keep up with his 2-year-old cousin, Nais.} He's now a very busy boy...always moving and grabbing for/batting at things around him {including his bottles}. His little world is expanding at the speed of light. He's no longer a newborn baby that just lies's so much fun to play and interact with him!

Photo dump from Huston's fifth month of life:

#FlyingBaby  12/12/2015

Reading Christmas stories with Daddy  12/13/2015

Festive Attire  #Baby'sFirstChristmas


Our little family on Christmas Day

Playing with Lily   12/25/2015

Daddy & Huston matching in flannel  12/26/2015

Visiting the pediatrician  12/31/2015

This is his response after finding out he's no longer "the baby" on the Lukens side.

Where's Huston?  1/3/2016

#JayhawkBaby  1/4/2016
#LocallyGrown #Texan  1/5/2016

Travelling to Kansas to meet Baby Mills  1/8/2016

#JohnDeereBaby  1/9/2016

Hangin' with the Campbell sisters  1/10/2016

Who's that handsome boy?!!?  1/11/2016

Dear Huston,

We truly cannot believe the changes we see in you on a daily basis. You are growing so fast, and you are learning/doing new things each and every day.  It’s amazing how fast you learn.  It was only five {incredibly short} months ago that I held you in my arms for the first time.  Now when I hold your brand new baby cousin in my arms, I can’t even remember you being that tiny.  I try desperately to take note of each and every “milestone” to permanently etch in my memory…but given the current state of my memory, let’s just say I’m incredibly grateful for all the photos I snap and videos I capture on my iPhone {that is double backed up…I hope!}. I'm sure it just looks like daily life to anyone on the outside, but these are the memories I’m going to cherish forever.

You’re such a handsome little guy! And that smile…well, your crooked little grin could melt even the coldest heart…so, needless to say, this momma just turns to mush when that bright little smile lights up your whole face.  Your bright blue eyes are like a window to your little’s like you show your love and acceptance through those baby blues. It’s enough to bring your momma to tears…happy tears, of course.

The love we have for you is impossible to put into words…and yet it deepens every single day.  Being your parents is the greatest gift God could’ve ever given us, and we thank Him each and every day for entrusting you to us.  You are the light of our lives…thanks for shining so bright, little man!  We love you!

Love you always,

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Leslie Loves...{3.01}

I'll go ahead and admit that the "Leslie Loves..." posts were lacking in 2015 {ok, posts in general were somewhat lacking in 2015}, but the new  year is here and I'm going to TRY to post on a more consistent basis...and definitely work on increasing the number of "Leslie Loves..." posts.

I promise that not all of my posts will be baby-related...but given the season of my life that I'm currently living, some of my "loves" are gonna revolve around caring for the little midget. {Hey...anything to make life a little easier/increase sleep is worth some love in my book!}  I realize that I now have a 4.5-month-old babe, but I'm going to have to backtrack a bit and share a few items that we LOVED when we first brought him home.

  1. Rock 'n Play Sleeper: we used this in place of a bassinet while he slept in our bedroom for the first three months of his life. The "auto" rocking feature includes two speeds that can be set to run for 30 minutes or six hours. It's very mobile, as it folds up, you can power it with batteries if you aren't near an outlet to plug it in. It says it can support a baby up to 25 pounds, but our little guy really started wiggling and graduated to his crib around 12 weeks.
  2. Hands-Free Pumping Bra: I've been pumping since the very beginning because my little midget wasn't good at the whole nursing game, so this was an ESSENTIAL tool for me from the get-go. This actually allows you to multi-task while pumping {even more useful later on when you go back to work!}. There's nothing easy about pumping {breastfeeding in general}, but this helps a bit by freeing your hands for the 20+ minutes you're feeling like a dairy cow attached to a machine.
  3. Swaddle Sleepsack: we were BIG fans of swaddling and truly believe it's the reason behind our little guy sleeping through the night at four weeks old. Ryan happens to be a great swaddler using the Aden & Anais muslin blankets {another must have that I just now remembered}, not so much. Sooooo...the swaddle sleepsacks were a necessity for me to get/KEEP the babe wrapped up like a burrito.  They're foolproof when it comes to wrapping the baby, and they're baby-proof when it comes to busting out of the swaddle.
  4. Lansinoh Gel Soothies: I tried every brand of soothing nursing pads, and I found these to be the very best at providing pain relief during the early {painful!} days of nursing.
  5. What to Expect the First Year: this book has all the answers as to what to do/what to expect when you get home with a tiny human and have no clue what you're supposed to do. I've found this book much more helpful/useful than the "What to Expect When You're Expecting" that I read while I was pregnant.
  6. Dr. Brown's Bottle Warmer: as I mentioned above, I've been pumping since Day 1 {ok, maybe Day 3, but still...}, so having this to quickly warm a bottle was crucial for a momma with a very impatient baby when he decides he's hungry. And let me tell you, my babe goes from content to starving in about a millisecond. If I had to heat water and then wait for that water to then warm the bottle, I think my little guy might combust from anger while waiting for his food. 
  7. Sleep Sheep: this sound machine is a life-saver! Period.Dot.Done! It has four different soothing sound options, and an automatic timer than can be set for 23 or 45 minutes.
  8. Baby Connect App: this is the app we use to track feeding {bottle & nursing}, diaper changes and pumping. We definitely don't use it to its full advantage because there are many more variables that can be tracked {sleep, mood, activity, medical, etc.}. You can log into your account from several different devices {mom, dad, grandparents, nanny} and they'll all sync together. I know there are free apps out there that do similar things, but I honestly believe this is worth the money. 
  9. Paper Plates: it's likely that you're going to have lots of company and people will bring meals {btw, thank you, thank you, thank you for the fabulous meals!!!} as you adjust to life with a newborn, but let's face it...ain't nobody got time for dishes!

  10. *The links above are to the online site where I found the product for the cheapest price as of January 5, 2016.

    These are just a few of the items I deemed ESSENTIALS as we blindly navigated our way through the early days of parenthood. There are so many baby products out there {some incredibly useful, some beyond ridiculous}...are there any fabulous products that I missed? Please share with me your baby "loves"...all ages and stages!