Irelyn’s 1st Birthday [Rainbows & Clovers!]

Since Irelyn’s birthday is on March 16 (almost St. Patrick’s Day) and we’re part Irish, we chose a rainbow & clover theme for her 1st birthday party.  The goal was to save as much money as we could on decorations and food – especially since she won’t remember it anyway – so I got most of my ideas from Pinterest!  It’s been almost 6 months since her birthday, so I’ve lost some of the links to the other blogs I borrowed ideas from, but I will do my best to give credit for everything.

We did a cake smash photo shoot in our kitchen a few weeks before the party.  This was the first time she had ever had a cupcake or frosting (I had to make special dairy/egg free cupcakes for her) and she loved them!  Many of them were blurry, but I got quite a few good shots.

Irelyn's bday pics


Below are pictures from the party, I’ll add a list at the bottom with links to all of the treats/decorations!

A few pictures from before the party…


Rainbow cupcakes, Oreo Brownie cupcakes, and Lucky Charm Trail Mix


Pictures with family…


More pictures with family!


The cake!  Kaden refused to be a part of the “family” photo; he’d had his fill of pictures by the end of the party.


And this is the only face Zach will make for a picture by himself!



Here are links to all of the goodies pictured above – in no particular order:

1.  Rainbow Cupcakes
2.  Lucky Charm Trail Mix
3.  Shamrock Rice Krispie Treats (not pictured above, but they were yummy – we didn’t make a Christmas tree, just squares)
4.  Cupcake Circle Printable
5.  Oreo Brownie Cupcakes
6.  Crockpot BBQ Meatballs (we also used this recipe for mini hot dogs and they turned out great!)
7.  Printable LUCKY Banner
8.  Irelyn’s Birthday Outfit (this is the link to where I got the idea from.  Zach’s aunt offered to embroider the clover and “I” onto a onesie we bought, we already had rainbow leggings and I made the bow for her hair)

We also had a rainbow assortment of fruits & veggies, chips and probably a couple of other things I can’t remember;  we had plenty of leftovers.

Her party was a great success.  Everything turned out the way I was hoping, it gave all of our family a chance to see our new house and Irelyn & Kaden both had a great time.  Now we’re hoping for the same with Kaden’s 5th birthday party!  We will be having his birthday a few weeks early (so that he’ll get to have his special day just in case baby Lily decides to enter the world a little early), so I’ll be getting a head start on planning within the next month.  As of right now, meaning: until he changes his mind next week, we’re thinking of a LEGO or “Movie night” theme (popcorn in special tubs for snacks, movie theater candy, ticket themed invitations, etc.).  It’s not easy steering him away from the superhero themes, but it’s so much more fun planning a party like this than going to Walmart and buying all of the Spiderman decorations.


MIA [again!]

My last post was titled “MIA” (because I hadn’t posted in over a month), I’m not sure what this one should be titled since it has been almost a year!  Obviously, I’ve been quite busy.

Here’s a quick breakdown of our past year:

  • We celebrated Kaden’s 4th birthday in December of 2012 and also our 1st Christmas as a family that wasn’t cut short because of deployment.
  • We moved out of our (tiny) 3 bedroom, 900 sq ft apartment to a 4 bedroom, 1600 sq ft HOUSE!  We have a big backyard for the kids to play in and we’re so much closer to Zach’s work, church and preschool.
  • We celebrated Irelyn’s 1st birthday in March of this year with a rainbow and clover themed party (I’ll be posting about that later!)
  • In 2013, Irelyn has learned around 15 signs, how to walk, said her first words and has shown that she has a very spirited personality (I no longer take her on grocery shopping trips because the terrible 2’s seem to have started early…)
  • Kaden finished his 1st year of preschool!
  • We found out Irelyn has outgrown her dairy allergy; now it is just an intolerance which is much easier to manage.  But she has an egg allergy, so now I’m learning all new ways to cook/bake.
  • We found out we’re expecting our 3rd (and final) baby due on December 11th!  Keep reading for a picture of our gender reveal.
  • I had to wean Irelyn from breastfeeding (we made it 17 months!).  Due to preterm labor issues with both kids, my OB wanted me to wean her by 22 weeks.  Irelyn handled it better than I did.
  • Kaden learned to ride his bike without training wheels and he will be starting his 2nd year of preschool in 3 weeks.  Now we are just planning to enjoy the rest of our summer together.

About baby #3:

Zach deployed when I was 14 weeks pregnant with Irelyn and didn’t get home until she was 4 months old; so this entire pregnancy is new to him.  I’m 23 weeks and we just found out the gender a few weeks ago.  We had the ultrasound technician write down the gender in an envelope, took it to Walmart, and had them fill the box with pink or blue balloons.  We had a cookout with both of our families and opened the box at the end of the party!

……….and it’s a GIRL!


Her name will be Lillian.  We haven’t decided middle names – she’ll have 2 – but we’ve still got a few months to figure that out.

I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to be blogging about, but my goal is to do so more regularly; I think I can handle more than once per year!

Here is a more recent picture of my sweet little monsters (they’ve changed a bit during the past year!):




The past few weeks have been a little crazy (which is why I haven’t posted in well over a month…)!  I have tons of pictures I could post, but it’s 6:55am right now, the kids and hubby are sleeping and I’m trying to enjoy every last second before the little monsters wake up…so I’ll do a little updating now and a picture post later. 🙂

Here are some things that have happened in the past month:

  • Zach’s Welcome Home party (I forgot the camera…but I do have one picture below!)
  • My family reunion (I forgot the camera for this, too)
  • Zach’s family reunion will be this Saturday (I’ll try to remember the camera this time!)
  • We’ve started cloth diapering almost full time (I haven’t found the right inserts to try a cloth diaper at night yet)
  • Irelyn had her 4 month appointment (she was 14 lb 9 oz, 25 inches long and is growing perfectly!)
  • Made it to 5 months of exclusive breastfeeding 🙂 (I tried some dairy a couple of weeks ago to see if she’s still sensitive to it…she is.)
  • Kaden spent a week at his dad’s house while Zach & I were house-sitting for my aunt
  • Irelyn learned to roll from back to belly (she’s been going from belly to back), has been learning to sit and has attempted to crawl twice!
  • Zach went to Columbus this past Tuesday to take his exam for the Ohio State Highway Patrol (he passed!) We should know if he got accepted into the academy in a few weeks 🙂
  • Irelyn had her 1st taste of solid food [this morning! – video below]

We are trying baby led weaning with Irelyn.  Basically, we’ll be skipping cereal & purees, starting with simple foods such as avocado, bananas, peaches, broccoli, etc and allowing her to feed herself.  The idea behind it is that she’ll learn to chew before swallowing (which will help her to only ingest solids as she is actually ready for them), it is supposed to help her be less picky towards the texture (with a 3 year old that would only eat mac-n-cheese and popsicles if I let him, I love this), plus I don’t have to spend time pureeing and storing foods for her, she’ll just eat what we eat!

We tried avocado today.  She was so excited when we put it on the tray and she licked it for a few minutes – I don’t think she actually managed to swallow any though.

Obviously, Kaden was narrating the entire event…I’ll only bore you with a little over a minute of it. [please ignore my messy house]

And here is the one and only picture I have from Zach’s party.

I’ll post more pictures as soon as I have some “free” time to edit them! 🙂


He’s Home!

Finally!  Zach got home around 3am on Friday morning.  He will be home for 10 days before he has to go back to Kentucky for a few days, but that’s nothing compared to the 10 months he’s been gone.  He got to meet Irelyn around 3:30am on Friday – we checked on her while she was sleeping and she woke up.  She spent an hour awake after that and was all smiles. 🙂  When Kaden woke up Friday morning I told him there was a surprise in my room for him…he came running out with a huge smile on his face when he saw that Zach was his surprise!  Here are a few pictures of the three of them.

Of course, the kids had to have special outfits to wear.  I had planned on that being a surprise for Zach at the airport, but since plans changed and he came home in the middle of the night, we just had a photo shoot in the living room [it only took Irelyn 10 minutes of wearing the onesie to spit up all over it anyway].  I ordered Irelyn’s skirt & bow on etsy and I made the shirts they’re wearing.

We’ve been pretty busy the past few days with visiting family, church and transitioning Irelyn to her crib (that was one huge failure from my 28 day challenge…).  The first night she slept in her crib, we were up every two hours – but last night she only woke up one extra time!  The past couple of days have been amazing and has made the past 10 months worth the wait.  Tonight’s post is going to be short, but we’re taking the kids to the park in the morning and we’ll be doing Irelyn’s 4 month picture tomorrow, so I’ll post those soon!

Here are a few more pictures from today 🙂


Day 18 – Transition to Crib (and some AWESOME news!!)

Okay, good news first:  ZACH IS BACK IN THE UNITED STATES!!!!!!! For the first time in 5 months, I feel like I can finally relax knowing he’s not in a war zone.  The reason he is home early is because he needs surgery on his shoulder.  So, even though he’s back in the US, he probably won’t be home with us for another couple of months.  But within the next month, we will be driving to wherever he is to see him 🙂  Waiting a little longer for him to be at home with us will be a breeze compared to waiting all these months that he’s been in Afghanistan.

Transitioning Irelyn to her crib…this has been interesting.  Since she was born, we have co-slept.  I have one of these cute little “snuggle nests” and she sleeps about 6″ away from me in our bed.  She has always been a wonderful sleeper – after surviving the first couple weeks of nursing around the clock, she wakes up once or twice a night to nurse, I lay her back down and she drifts off to sleep.  I love having her right next to me during the night (because I can easily check on her anytime and because I hate sleeping alone).  I co-slept with Kaden for at least a few hours of the night until he was 7 months old and loved it.

So, here are the reasons I’m trying to transition her to her crib.
1.  She’s starting to get too big for the snuggle nest.  She wiggles around and can scoot down to the middle of it, which makes me nervous because I don’t want her roll off the bed.
 She’s getting to big for her swaddle blanket.  I want to move her to her crib while she’s still swaddled, so she can get use to the new bed before changing anything else.
3.  Zach will be home soon.  We have a queen size bed and regardless of what the picture on the website shows, the little bed takes up more space than you’d think.  Since my husband has been gone all but 8 weeks of our year long marriage and we’ve spent most of it with an entire ocean between us, he’s gonna have a hard time keeping me from hugging him all day, let alone at night (which I can’t do if our daughter is sleeping in the middle and we’re both hanging off the edges of the bed). 🙂

Now for our progress so far.  I really don’t know because apparently I’m incapable of leaving her in her bed long enough to find out.  Here’s my one…and only attempt:  I put her in her crib at 10:20pm (same time I usually lay down with her for the night and she sleeps til 4am), I didn’t check on her til 10:40pm (still sleeping peacefully), made myself sit in the living room til 11:15 (she hadn’t made a peep), I tried to go to sleep (failed miserably) and got her out of bed at 11:45pm (we were both happily sleeping next to each other by midnight).  I keep telling myself “tonight will be the night I try again”.  Never happens.  I can actually convince myself during the day that I will go to bed without her and even go so far as to getting her room ready for bedtime.  Then it starts getting dark outside. And 10pm comes, I nurse her and we happily lie down in my bed and are asleep within minutes.  Why ruin a good thing, right?

I will move her to her crib.  Eventually.  Soon.  While I was trying to go to sleep that one night without her, in my attempt to rationalize why I should just give up, I realized I have never slept away from her since she was born (& for 9 months before that if you wanna get technical).  She’s been away from me for a total of 2 hours (it took 3 separate occasions to total 2 hours) and has had 4 bottles (totaling 3 ounces of milk – I’ll have to post the video of her attempting to drink a bottle, she’s clueless).  Needless to say, we both I may have a slight separation issue.  This is actually new to me, I went back to work full time when Kaden was 5 weeks old and I spent a night away from him when he was 7 months.  At this rate, I don’t think  Irelyn will be away from me for more than dinner & a movie with the hubby by the time she’s 7 months.  Oh well…I still have a little time before Zach comes home to work on this. 🙂

She also rolled from her tummy to her back for the first time tonight!  I was practically touching her when she rolled and I missed it because I was reaching for something.  Here she is with her favorite toy.



I’ve become pretty addicted to pinterest over the past few months.  I’ve found lots of good ideas during the hours I’ve wasted after the kids are in bed.  So I decided to try out a couple of the things I have found.

First, I came across some cute month by month printables and have been taking Irelyn’s picture each month.  Here are the past 3 months…I can’t believe how fast she’s growing!

She’s getting better at these pictures, but now that she can move around a little more I had a hard time getting her to look at me long enough to snap a picture.  I managed to get one good shot when she wasn’t tipping from side to side or staring at her hands. 🙂

Second, I was looking for father’s day gift ideas on pinterest.  I found another printable that I framed and some crepe paper flowers I decided to make.

I’m pretty happy with how they turned out, we’ll see what my dad thinks tomorrow. 🙂

I completely took advantage of only having one child today and spent the entire day relaxing.  I guess we’ll be cleaning Zach’s truck out next week!  It was so nice being able to do absolutely nothing while Irelyn napped off and on all day, but I miss Kaden and am definitely ready to go pick him up tomorrow.

Tonight is the first night I’m going to put Irelyn in her crib for the night…she’s slept in her crib for a total of two hours in her life so this will probably be a long night for both of us.  I’ll post on Monday about how long we last. 🙂


Irelyn’s Birth Story

She’s [finally] here!  Irelyn Kay was born on March 16, 2012 at 2:02pm.  Since I wrote Kaden’s birth story 3 years ago, I thought I’d do the same for her. Thankfully, Zach wasn’t busy and we were able to Skype during my entire labor and delivery!  We’d planned on waiting until after Irelyn was here, but I’m so happy we got to experience it together.

At 7:30am on March 16th my aunt Heidi, Kaden and I went to my doctor for her to strip my membranes [to see if that would be enough to get things moving while she was available for my water birth].   We found out that I was 4-5cm dilated, she stripped my membranes, then told me she’d send me to the hospital and break my water later that day if I wanted…well duh!  So, I was very thankful that I had actually gotten everything packed and loaded into the truck before my appointment, just in case.  Heidi went with me to get checked into labor & delivery, then took Kaden to my other aunt’s house for the day.

Zach’s sister, Tavia, came up to the hospital and walked the short U-shaped hallway with me for an hour – at this point, I was having contractions about every 3-5 minutes, but nothing very painful.  At 10:00am my doctor called to let the nurses know she’d be up in an hour to break my water.  My stepmom and doula both arrived at 10:30am and at 11:10am there was no turning back!  After having my water broken things picked up quickly [I was 5cm at this time].  By 12:00pm I was contracting every 2 minutes and had to hang on to the rail in the hallway to get through them.  Around 1:00pm I felt like I was in enough pain to get into the tub.  My goal was to make it to transition (7cm) before getting in the tub, then I was hoping the water would be enough to help me handle the pain til it was too late for an epidural.  Before getting in the water I asked the nurse to check me – 7-8cm and 90% effaced!

I got in the water [which helped tremendously!], it helped me to work through the pain and definitely helped Irelyn to get into position faster.  After about 40 minutes in the water I started to feel some pressure, so I had to get out of the tub and wait in bed to be checked…the contractions were just about unbearable by this point, but I was at 9cm and 100% effaced!  This is when I found out the my doctor was currently in surgery.  I wasn’t able to get back in the water – the nurses said I was too relaxed and only the doctor can deliver the baby in the tub.  So, with the help of my doula and my stepmom helping me to stay calm during the worst contractions, I tried to hold out for the other doctor in the practice to get there.  I don’t remember much from this stage of labor besides a lot of breathing and pain!  The doctor arrived just in time and I was finally able to start pushing.  Of course, technology decided to start failing us at the most important part of the day – Skype kept losing the call [yes, while I was pushing] and everyone kept yelling at me to stop until Zach was able to see again lol.  So, after 3 pushes, Irelyn was here!

Having her on my chest, knowing Zach watched the birth & heard her first cry and knowing that I was strong enough to do it without any drugs was the best feeling in the world.  The nurse [who actually doubted I’d be able to have a natural birth at the beginning of the day] kept saying she couldn’t believe that I’d even had an epidural with my son! 🙂

My doctors & family were absolutely amazing throughout the day.  Without everyone’s support, there’s no way I could have done it.  After Irelyn was born, they immediately put her on my chest, covered us with a blanket and didn’t even cut the cord until it stopped pulsating (and Irelyn’s “Duh” (Heidi) got to cut her cord!).  Irelyn spent the next hour nursing while I talked to Zach.  She didn’t leave me for the first hour and a half of her life – we didn’t even find out her weight/length until she was almost 4 hours old! She has a full head of hair and looks almost exactly like her daddy – all she got from me are her lips, chin & toes.

Irelyn Kay Sully
7 lb 10 oz
20 1/2 inches
March 16, 2012
2:02pm – or 10:32pm where her daddy is at 🙂

I’m so thankful the labor was short (5 hours total and only 2 hours of hard labor) and everything went well.  The past week has been great, the only thing that could make it better is if Zach was home with us.  We’ve been able to Skype every day and it’s amazing how she recognizes his voice – as soon as he starts talking, she tries to open her eyes to find him.  I’ve had a lot of help from Heidi and my parents this week and am almost feeling normal again.  Just one more week and Kaden will be back home with us and will get to see his baby sister more – then I’ll post pictures of them together.

Here are a couple pictures of Irelyn this week and I’ll post again in a week or so!