Hanging With the Huies »

Hi there, my name is Jessica and I’m a new mom to an eight month old baby boy named Steve. I enjoy photography, coffee, airports and the outdoors.  I’ve been following Kendra and Hanging with the Huies for a couple of years now. I really love watching all of the Vlogs and I enjoy all of Kendra’s beauty and food posts. She’s always been a person that I knew -if we lived near each other- we’d be the best of friends… Mostly because we both love outdoors and coffee so much.

Kendra gave me free reign on this blog post, so I thought I’d enlighten you all with my random thoughts on motherhood and how it has changed me – the good, the bad and of course, the beauty of this beautiful, messy life that I wouldn’t change for the world.

Motherhood is always something I couldn’t wait to enter. I couldn’t wait for all of the firsts, the birthdays and the everyday joys of motherhood. I helped raise my siblings that are 11 years younger than me. I always picked up every baby my friends and family had. I knew that one day I would be a mother and I was going to try my best to be a good one. My son, Steve, made me a mother on September 2nd, 2016 and changed me forever. My pregnancy was fairly easy with only minimal morning sickness, round ligament pain and my sciatica flaring up near the end. My delivery was easy and smooth and then he was here. My sweet, sweet angel. Everyone always says that a baby changes you, but I never fully understood that until I held him, smelled him and kissed him for the first time. His big blue eyes looked up at me in a haze like “mama is that you?. Is that the voice I’ve been hearing the last 10 months?”. Our first few weeks were difficult and amazing as we adjusted to each other. I struggled with getting used to having a baby and not being able to shower whenever I wanted to or sleeping longer than two hour stretches, but I knew I was meant to be his mom.

He made me so proud and even on those long sleepless nights, I tried to embrace those moments because I knew they wouldn’t last forever. Steve has changed me as a person forever. One of the struggles I faced in the beginning was breastfeeding. My milk took five days to come in and then when it finally did come in I had to use a nipple shield and my supply was barely enough. My son would latch for maybe 10-15 minutes whenever he ate and then he’d cry and cry because he was still hungry. I struggled a lot with breastfeeding. I always felt defeated and less of a mother because this beautiful, natural thing I couldn’t do. I wanted so badly to make it work, but after two months of trying and meeting with lactation consultants I decided to just exclusively pump. He was getting formula at night from the beginning because I never produced enough. I pumped every two hours for five months. It was wonderful and stressful being hooked up to that machine. I loved knowing he was getting my milk, but I hated having him cry and want to be held while I pumped alone. After five months of exclusively pumping, I decided to stop. My supply had nearly diminished and I was barely pumping 7 ounces a day. I kept hearing from a close friend that a happy mom will equal a happy baby. I still struggle knowing we didn’t breastfeed for long and when my supply dropped I had to stop pumping, but I know I did my best. He is a healthy, happy and thriving baby boy and as my doctor would say. He’s off the charts with his weight and height. I’m proud of myself for getting through that struggle and I’m a better mom because of it.

I also struggled with going back to work after my 12 weeks of leave were over. I loved being home with him every hour of the day and seeing him grow and change. I knew everything about him. I hated thinking that I would be missing out on so many things with him. I still get teary eyed when I think about the time he spends away from me, but I now know it’s for the best. My family needs both of our incomes to live the life we want and even though it took me a long time to admit it, I liked getting back into a work routine. Now I cherish all of our time together so much more. I live for the weekends and I live for those morning giggles.

Like most women these days I struggle with my body postpartum, but most days Steve helps me realize what my body created. How could I be unhappy with it when it gave me the best thing in my life. I love this body I’m in- stretch marks, flabby skin and excess weight and all. Before having my son, my main focus was always on the scale and losing weight and wearing a size small. I still struggle with my body some days, but It created life and nurtured a baby with breast milk for five months. My goal now is to try and live a healthy and happy life. If that includes an ice cream cone or a glass of wine on a Friday night, then I’m fine with that. I will be healthy with my food about 80% of the time and that’s great because then I don’t have the urge to binge. Finding that balance is what I still struggle with, but I’m making it work.  I want to keep loving the body I’m in and set a good example of a healthy life for my son.

To end my thoughts and rambles, I just wanted to say–

Motherhood has changed me forever and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the person I have become and I can’t wait to see how I keep changing with motherhood as my son gets older and future kids get in the picture.

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  • Lisa - Beautifully written! Motherhood is the hardest job we’ll ever love… thank you for sharing you’re story and adorable son with us today.ReplyCancel

    • Kendra Huie - Isn’t her son a doll! Thank you for leaving Jessica some love. She did such a good job taking over for the day!ReplyCancel

    • Jessica - Thank you, Lisa! I really appreciate your sweet comment. I’m glad you enjoyed my post!ReplyCancel

  • Kiersten - Thank you for sharing your story! I am exclusively pumping with my second child and it takes a lot of effort, I’m so proud of you for keeping it up for 5 months! What an awesome accomplishment! And I really like how you touched on the subject of your body image as I have had the same thoughts and feelings about my postpartum body. But you’re right, it’s important to remember that this body created life and that is the most amazing thing. Great read!ReplyCancel

    • Jessica Awad - Kiersten– that’s wonderful that you’re pumping for baby #2! It’s no joke and definitely a hard task especially with cleaning the pump and the bottles and feeding after you pump and being hooked up to the machine. I’m happy and so proud of you for pumping! How long have you pumped? I still struggle with my body image, but I’m doing my best to just live a healthy life. That’s all I can do right? What’s your IG name? I’m (feghals) I’d love to follow you!!ReplyCancel

Howdy just wanted to pop in and quickly share some exciting things we have coming up on the blog this week!

We have such a wonderful community centered around this little space of ours.

Some of you have been following along since the beginning.
Some of you have hooked up with us along the way.
Some of you are new to our blog.

No matter how our paths have crossed we’re so grateful that you’ve joined our little community here and I want to celebrate YOU!!!

I jumped in our private Facebook Group (Hanging With The Huies Friends you can join the group here) and asked if there were any mama’s that would like to guest post the week leading up to Mother’s Day.
And you know what……there were YAHOO!

I only opened a few spots this round but I hope to make this a more frequent thing and not just for mamas.
I would LOVE to feature people from our blog community from all different walks of life!

Since we’re quickly approaching Mother’s Day I thought it would be fun to invite fellow mothers to take over the blog chat about topics centered around motherhood.

They’ve picked some pretty heart touching topics to share with you this week.

Our guest post start tomorrow morning and I’ll be bringing up the end on Friday with a post packed of my favorite mama podcast!
See you back here tomorrow!

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We recently road tripped to Hot Springs, Arkansas. I had some work in the area photographing cabins (cabin tours and family trip vlogs coming up) so we decided to make a mini family vacation out of it! I thought you guys might like to see what our van looks like all packed up for one of our road trips so I pulled out the vlogging camera and took you on a tour before we hit the road.

To watch directly via You Tube click here.

 

As I mentioned in the vlog this was a shorter drive for us and didn’t require all the planning that I would typically do for one of our longer road trips or plane ride. If you would like to see all the planning that goes into one of our longer trips be sure to let me know below! We have a 14 hour road trip coming up on a few months and I would be happy to share some of my ideas and tips!

 

  1. Touch & Teach Word Book – This has been an in home and travel favorite for a while.
  2. Little People Planes, Cars, Trucks, and Trains – Can’t go wrong with a lift a flap book for toddlers.
  3. Bubbles Buckle Toy – In the van tour I mentioned this toy. It wasn’t a hit the 1st time around but my youngest loved it this time. He was able to buckle it all up and even matched the colors.
  4. Travel Color & Paper Pack – Do not buy it from this link unless you absolutely have to have it. I purchased ours at Target for $3. If you’re no longer able to find it at Target look on Etsy for something similar or toss some crayons and paper in a baggie and call it a day.
  5. Camelbak Kids Insulated Water Bottle – We love these Camelbak water bottles for travel. We not only use them in the car but throughout our trip as well. The boys are easily able to cart them around (our boys are 3 & 2), they really are spill proof (don’t you love when children’s water bottles say they’re spill and leak proof but totally lie), they’re easy to clean and if for some reason you need to replace the straw and it’s easy to purchase a replacement pack. The insulated version of this water bottle is our favorite!
  6. Soft Quiet Book – Both boys enjoy playing with this! It comes with several different plush animals. Each page has a different animal home. The child can match the animal with their home and place them inside. It’s super cute!
  7. Travel Tray – On long road trips this thing has saved me! It’s not 100% flat as it’s a soft surface tray but I actually like it better that it’s soft and somewhat bendable. It still provides just enough structure for play, books, and coloring while still being comfy for the child to use for long periods of time.

Do you have any road trip hacks? Share in your comment below!

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  • Kiersten - LOVED this blog post! So helpful with some great activities for the kids! Thank you for sharing!!! And I would love it if you shared what you pack for the long road trips!ReplyCancel

    • Kendra Huie - Yay! Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed this post! As we start packing for our next trip I’ll document some of what I do to prepare. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • laney - Thank you for the tips. We will be traveling with our 6 and soon to be 2 year old, this summer. We have noticed neither will sleep on long car roads, but put them in car for a twenty minute drive to Little Rock and they are out before we hit the interstate! Craziness! You always have the best tips. Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Kendra Huie - Hi Laney! Thank you for your sweet words and for letting me know you enjoyed this post! Yay for summer trips! Hopefully I shared something that will make your journey a touch easier.ReplyCancel

Every now and then we get questions about the boy’s hair.

Do you style it every day? Most days I sure do.
Is it hard to do? Nope in fact it’s super easy.
How do you have the time for that? Ummm well it literally takes seconds to fix.
Are they good when you’re styling it? Yep! They’re used to it. They’ve had a styled hair cut since they were teeny tiny. They have the routine down!
What gel do you use? Johnny B Hair Hold Mode Styling Gel. Kent and I are super picky about hair gel. Our favorite brand was discontinued so we tried many others over the last several months hoping to find one that lived up to the one that we loved. Johnny B Hair Hold Mode is the winner and I even like it a touch better than the previous gel we were using.
How do you style it? I spray it with a tiny bit of water, add gel, use a fine tooth comb to comb it to the center then style from there. Carson gets spikes and Weston has a side swoop type thing going on. For Weston I comb his hair to the side then use the comb to create a little wave in the front. 

My favorite though is when I get to tell people who cuts their hair!

A few years back we took Weston to get his 1st hair cut.

It was a massive and I mean massive nightmare.

He flipped out, the stylist was on edge, and we all left rattled.
It took two more rounds of that hot mess when Kent suggested that he cut Weston’s hair.
To which I said with every ounce of sarcasm in me “Yeah totally, I’m sure you could cut his hair” my eyes just about rolling right off my head.

He then went on to tell me how good he is at cutting hair.
How he cut his friend’s hair in college.
How they preferred his haircuts over going to a professional.

SAY WHAT?

We’ve been together for 17 years….17 YEARS and he’s never mentioned a thing about this hidden talent he claimed to have.
I was tired of the stress from taking Weston to children’s stylist and gosh darn it it’s expensive so I said why not.
If it didn’t turn out we could just buzz it off.

Funny thing is that I was pleasantly surprised.
Not only is he an amazing father, crazy smart, and a wonderful cook he can cut hair too…..go figure!

CHA-CHING husband jackpot!

It took a little while to get into the groove but y’all he’s good…….real good!
And all the professional stylist reading cringe.
Okay he’s good says my untrained eye.

Kent didn’t take his new role of Huie Boy Stylist lightly. He has a whole set up with a stool, decent scissors, clippers, a little mini broom and a fluffy brush to dust hair of the boy’s necks.

It wasn’t tear free at first but Weston did ton’s better for Kent than he did the stylist.
He’s a champ now, no tears, no complaining.
Carson like Weston took a little time to get into the routine but he rocks it now. No tears and sits still the whole time.

With 2 boys going in for cuts twice a month (their hair grows fast) Kent is saving us $120 a month.
Typing that out sounds nuts to me but after tip we were paying close to $30 for Weston so times four yep that’s right.
I was tipping pretty high because of the massive meltdown the stylist had to deal with.
I figured she was less likely to give him a crap haircut if I won her over with a nice tip.

Poor Kent doesn’t get a tip but he does get ice cream after it’s all said and done!
To his ice cream loving self that’s pretty much the best tip ever!

We started treating the boys to ice cream as a reward for doing well during their hair cut.
They no longer need an insensitive to make it through but a family ice cream date has become a tradition.
I’m all about traditions especially yummy ones!


Some day they’ll be too cool for home haircuts but for now we’re grateful for Kent’s hidden talent, sweet boys that let their mama style their hair and our family ice cream dates.

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  • Debbie - Kendra!
    I love the boy’s haircuts!!! And of course the styling. You both could open a shop! ReplyCancel

    • Kendra Huie - Thank you so much Debbie! I figure if we can’t have bows and tutus we can do cute cuts and stylish shoes! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - Your boys are the CUTEST! They rock their adorable haircuts! How awesome that your hubby can cut their hair so well! Love it!ReplyCancel

We have a couple little raised beds in our backyard.
Each spring/summer Kent has these awesome lofty plans to garden and grow plants dripping in veggie goodness.
He talks about growing yummy tomatoes and pickin’ his crop with the boys.

Each year I buy into the dream.
Sounds lovely right?

All we’re missing are the chickens running around us while we pick goodies from the garden
And goats
And a lama
Can’t forget our horses
OHHH Oh oh lots of bunnies too
And yes of course the bee hives.

Each year it never quite works out like that.
Instead of a garden full of veggies it ends up being a gardener’s worst nightmare overgrown full of weeds and bugs.
Kent is a busy guy and it’s gosh darn it it’s hot during summer aka high time for garden tending.
Life gets busy and the garden gets forgotten.
The bugs and the birds usually win whatever he decides to plant and the summer heat takes the leftovers.

A few years back I started planting the seed (pun intended) to take a break from the veggie garden for a couple years and do flower garden instead.
I don’t know a gosh darn thing about flower gardens but I’m guessing you toss some seeds out and in a few weeks you have beds full of colorful pretties.

Right?

I’m sure it’s totally that easy!

He wasn’t for it at first but I kept at it and you know what?
This year the flower garden won!
YAHOO!!!!!

Those little seeds best grow and be amazing or next year I may be looking out my kitchen window and seeing mountains of overgrown weed infested grossness.
Okay it’s not that bad but it is pretty sad.

I grabbed my camera and our two tiny gardeners and outdoors we went to help Kent get things started!

Hopefully I’ll have an update in a couple months with lots of pretty flowers to show you!
If this pans out well and he sees what great ideas I have than I’m certain he’s going to buy into my moving to Colorado idea!
I’ve been working on that one for a good 5 years so keep your fingers crossed for me friends!

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  • Lisa - I love the idea of a flower garden! Can’t wait to see photos of it in all it’s glory this summer!ReplyCancel