Nov 19, 2014

Zoe Marie

Well, it happened! We had our baby girl, Zoe! She was born right on schedule on November 7th, 2014 at 8:31 PM. The past week and a half have been a big ol' blur because well, can anything really prepare you in advance to become a mom?

The labor and delivery itself were far from what I expected. For the most part, it was incredibly smooth and while I wouldn't say it was enjoyable, in hindsight I would for sure do it again. As most moms seem to say, the hours (and days) following giving birth make you question having more kids in the future but now that some time has passed I'd be more than okay with it especially if the whole process was the same.

(Moments after she was born. I didn't cry, but I did get pretty choked up!)

(So proud. So in love.)

The first week was tough. Adjusting to life with a newborn who is on absolutely no schedule while recovering from giving birth is difficult. I am so thankful for all that Landon and our families did during that time. He really took care of us, doing anything and everything without being asked. This week he technically went back to work and even though he's working from home, I already miss that first week where it was just the three of us snuggled up in bed together. As exhausting and painful as it was, it was perfect.

(Our tiny human going home from the hospital)

Let's talk about breastfeeding real quick. I didn't expect it to be easy exactly, but some problems arose that I was not expecting. The nurses (who were incredible, by the way) who assisted us before and after birth encouraged me to use a nipple shield when Zoe had trouble latching on. We also didn't have any strong feelings for/against pacifiers, so she used one of those right away, too. The morning after she was born though, a lactation consultant came by and discouraged the use of both buttttt, Zoe had lost something like 8% of her birth weight so her feedings needed to be supplemented with formula or else they might keep us there longer, we were told. A week into breastfeeding, Zoe still couldn't latch on without a shield and was regularly drinking some formula at night because I was in so much pain and boy was I frustrated. A trip back to the hospital to meet with the LC one more time helped immensely as she showed us a better way to latch and now the shield use has decreased and the formula feeding has stopped, too. I'm still nervous to breastfeed in public mainly because I've had the most success doing it with a pillow (My Brest Friend) or lying down and you can't exactly cart a large pillow along with you or lay down on the floor at Target. If anyone has tips for successfully breastfeeding in public, I'm all ears.

Zoe has consistently gained weight since we left the hospital and has been an all around champ of a baby as far as we can tell. We're getting better at listening to our parental intuition but it's pretty hard when the internet is brimming with opinions and advice. We've pretty much been complete zombies since the night she was born but that's to be expected for the first few months, right?

(If your baby started sleeping in 3+ hour stretches at night by week 2 please tell us your secrets. Thank you.)

I just wanted to check in and say hi and introduce you to Zoe! I realize this post is all over the place but until I start getting some more sleep, I think that's just how it's going to be. Thank you all for your prayers during this time! Believe me, I've felt them during it all and I am so thankful.

Oct 27, 2014

Late Night Liebin'

The absolutely radiant and fellow pregnant mama Mary tagged me a while back (SO behind on reading blogs lately, y'all) for a Liebster Award. Yay! I love a good tag, especially when it's almost midnight and I still can't sleep, but my brain is also not working well enough to put together a post completely on my own ;)

Here are her questions:

1. Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? Taking a dish to another home? 
Considering we'll have a newborn on our hands, nope! We hosted Thanksgiving for our families last year as a newly married couple and it was so fun...but crazy hard...and that was only for 6 of us. I can't imagine how bigger families do it! We'll definitely take something to whatever party we end up crashing, but we don't have any real specialties yet.
2. Are your kids sufficiently revved up for Halloween, AND, when do you buy your Halloween candy? 
No kiddos out of the womb yet, so I'll answer this one for us adults. I'm excited for passing out candy for the first time and even started stocking up weeks ago. But then, we would finish dinner and I would need a Reese's pumpkin...because pregnancy cravings last throughout the whole damn pregnancy, you know. So. I've needed to restock every week. I'm still not sure we have enough candy for Friday.
3. Costumes or saint getups for your kids this year? 
I'm slightly embarrassed to admit I didn't know kids dressed up as saints until I saw it on some blogs this year. Oops. Anyways, answering for us adults again. The problem with being pregnant now is that I don't want to put a lot of hours into a costume when there's no guarantee I'll be able to wear it. What I'm trying to say is we have no idea what we're going to be and if we haven't had the baby by Halloween night, we're going to be coming up with some seriously last minute costumes.
4. Everyone loves fall. Is there anything about autumn that bugs you?
This fall it's the gosh darn heat. I feel like it's usually slightly cooler by now? If you haven't been able to tell from the past thousand posts where I mention that I'm pregnant and we live in Texas and it feels even hotter when you're pregnant...I just want a cold front to grace us with her presence.
5. Stealing this from a previous Liebster list I saw, but what recent meme really cracked you up?
I can't think of one! I guess I haven't been internet-ing well lately.
6. With what kind of intensity are you following the Synod?
:\ Low to very low intensity. I know, I know. I haven't been good at following anything lately, though. I haven't even been able to keep up with fall television! What is my life?!
7. On weekend mornings, do you cook a special breakfast at your house?
Lately I've been trying to, but it's never the same. Usually just a recipe that sounds really really good that I pinned earlier in the week. Breakfast tacos are made/bought the most often, though.
8.  Pick one current pop song. Expound upon your love or hate of it. 
I want to be positive here, but there really isn't one I've heard lately that I love so I'm going to cheat a little. Landon has fancy Sirius XM in his truck and we're usually listening to Alt Nation, and the new Weezer song has been stuck in my head a lot. I'm not a hugeeee Weezer fan, but it's pretty catchy and reminds me of high school for some inexplicable reason?
9. If you had one for eternity: kettle corn or movie theatre popcorn? 
Kettle, hands down. Sweet tooth FTW.
10. Predict the Superbowl champion. Or, recount your man's elation or misery at the outcome of last year's Bowl. 
I have no earthly idea. We're kind of Cowboys fans here though so I'll say them, even though I know they're probably one of the most hated teams in the NFL. (I'm slightly more knowledgeable about college football, I swear)

For my questions I'm going to tag: Hannah, Jenna, Erika, and Carolyn.

1. 2015 is just over 2 months away (WHAT). Do you have a preference for odd or even number years?
2. What's your current favorite TV show and why should we watch it?
3. How often do you really try out new recipes or DIY projects you pin on Pinterest? Any major successes?
4. What's your favorite pie for Thanksgiving?
5. What's the last blog you were reading?
6. Cold and flu season is just around the corner (or it's already here. whatever). Does your family stick to any natural prevention techniques or remedies you swear by?
7. Did you go pumpkin or apple picking this year?
8. What's your preferred method of documenting your life through photos? Scrapbooking? Facebook? Wall art? Magnets?
9. Does it snow where you live? If so, are you looking forward to the first snowfall of the season?
10. What did you have for dinner last night?

Thanks for playing! :)

Oct 24, 2014

Late Night Reflections, Week 37

Ever since I was little, I had a hard time sleeping when I knew something exciting was about to happen soon. Vacations, birthdays, going off to college, getting can you get a good night's rest when you have such important events on your mind?

This is why, as I sit awake at 4:30 AM typing this post, I can't help but laugh at everyone telling me to "get sleep while you can!". Believe me, I'd like to. Pre-pregnancy, I had no problem falling asleep and staying asleep (besides the nights before exciting things as mentioned above). Hashtag blessed. These past few weeks have been a lot different, though. All I can think about is how everything is about to change. I'm anxious, nervous, but most of all, excited.

But, as excited as I am to meet our little one, pregnancy hasn't been all fun and games all the time. Yesterday was rough. Landon came home for lunch to find me half-crying curled up on the couch, saying how I just don't want to be pregnant anymore. And with thoughts like that come guilt for saying/thinking such things which just makes everything worse. I was a mess, and no amount of kind, positive affirmations from my husband was going to change that.

After deciding it was best to let myself ride out this wave of sadness and go see a movie by myself for the first time in my life, I started to feel a little better. Then Landon suggested a pizza date night (the best kind, no?) and even came home with the most beautiful flowers and chocolates. His resilience to my crazy hormonal outbursts like that afternoon is almost too much to take. I know I don't deserve it. I get frustrated when people don't immediately accept my attempts to make them feel better, and here he had been spending all day trying everything to make me feel better again.

At dinner, he kindly reminded me that it's okay to both relax and enjoy the remaining days of pregnancy as much as possible as well as be ready to not be pregnant anymore; it's okay to look forward to the future but also be present right here and now. His wise and gentle words were just what it took to shake off any remaining trace of guilt and sadness. To top it all off, the manager at the restaurant asked us what we wanted for dessert and came back with it saying they took care of it, for the baby. After weeks of feeling like all anyone in public was doing was gawking at me, this act of kindness paired with the immense amount of love I felt from my husband completely turned my day around.

Week 38 begins today. I'm ready to get this all over with already, but I have no idea what the big man upstairs has in mind. After yesterday, I finally feel at peace with this remaining stage of pregnancy, this last leg of the marathon. These past 9 months have been a huge blessing, but just as you start to get ready for school to be over come April (Landon's analogy), I'm ready for it all to be over...for now. I was always excited for classes to start again in August, and now I have no doubt I'll feel similarly if we're blessed with another opportunity like this one in the future.

Oct 22, 2014

5 Current Beauty Faves

Wowzers, it's been a good while since I linked up for a 5 Faves post! The lovely Jenna over at Call Her Happy has recently taken over as hostess and she's doing a mighty fine job ;) Be sure to check out the link up over there!

Today's 5 Faves are all beauty related because I'm vain and sometimes a little extra something is all that will help with the frumpy factor I've felt during this last trimester of pregnancy. And because I don't want this blog to turn into ALL things pregnancy and motherhood. I have other interests too, I swear.

1. Reverse Washing
I first heard about reverse washing over on the blog Nouveau Cheap about a month ago. Essentially, you "wash" your hair with conditioner first, let it stay in your hair while you go about your shower business, and then wash the conditioner out with shampoo last. My hair has leaned slightly toward the oily side recently, probably because summer and because hormones, so I wasn't sure how this would work out for me but let me tell you: I love it. It leaves my hair feeling so soft and manageable, even when I don't do a darn thing besides let it air dry. I find myself needing to wash it less, too, which I can't explain but it's great.

2. NYC Liquid Liner
When it comes to cheapo drugstore makeup, NYC is a brand I tend to steer away from. I just haven't had much luck with their products in the past (even though everyone swears by this makes me look like an oompa loompa) and their prices are just right there where I figure I might as well go with something that's slightly better quality. Recently Tati recommended their liquid liner and since I was in the market for one and I'm a sheep, I took her advice. I was shocked to find it at Target for less than $2 and it's just wonderful for doing little flicks. It's super black and doesn't flake off like some liquid liners do. I will say it's not waterproof and I can't speak for how it works with contacts, but it lasts all day on my eyes so long as I don't cry. And it doesn't take any scrubbing to get off at the end of the day which is awesome, because ow.

3. Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade
Have I talked about this stuff yet? I feel like I should have considering I've had my pot of it since the summer. If you regularly fill in your eyebrows, it's life changing stuff. I apply it using a small angled brush, following the shape of my brows very lightly and then filling them in, all while brushing through often with a spoolie to smooth everything out and keep it from looking drawn on and harsh. It took a little practice but now I know how to apply it with a light hand for a softer look and a little darker for a stronger evening look. The stuff doesn't budge but is surprisingly easy to wash off. It's a bit of a splurge, but I'm pretty sure the pot of it will last years (okay that's probably not sanitary) and their vast color selection at Ulta and Sephora makes it worth it, especially considering most "dark brown" eyebrow pencils have some seriously unflattering red undertones.

4. Milani Bronzer XL in "Fake Tan"
I'm not a huge fan of using bronzer, but since I didn't get outside much this summer because Texas heat + pregnant + no pool, I'm looking a little paler than I usually do this time of year. I didn't want to spend a ton of money on one because like I said, I'm not usually a big fan of them, so I took Emily's recommendation and tried this one out (you can get it at CVS). Guys, I love it. I feel like it really warms up my face without looking too orange or too brown. And the compact is hayooooge and will probably last me years so that's cool too. I swirl both colors together because I haven't gotten the hang of contouring quite yet, but the deeper side is a great cool tone to use for that purpose if you fancy.

5. Facial Massage
Do y'all know about Lisa Eldrige? She's one of the first makeup artists I started watching on YouTube years ago and she's kind of perfect. She's someone who does makeup for fashion shows and premieres and probably celebrity weddings, yet she is so incredibly warm and down to earth and you feel like you're kind of already friends with her just by watching her videos. Anyways, she recently posted a video on how to do different types of facial massage, citing it as a reason she's been able to avoid wrinkles and other signs of aging all these years. I've only tried out a few minutes of it here and there but have big plans to do 10-20 minutes of it one night before Zoe comes and then in the future when I'm able to spend some time pampering myself. Lisa makes it look so easy and relaxing and if it's something free I can do to prevent signs of aging, sign me up.

Okay now it's your turn to tell me if you have any recent beauty favorites! I'm particularly on the hunt for an affordable face primer and brightening undereye concealer...goodness knows I'll need it pretty soon! :)

Oct 17, 2014

Bump Update: Week 36

(37 weeks today!)

You know how people say to take advantage of sleeping in and napping during the day during the third trimester if you can? Man, I'd like to. I really would! But my body's doing this thing where my brain can't turn off when I try to go to sleep...and if it does, it turns on again when I wake up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and then it won't let me go back to bed. on my mind. Believe it or not, though, I'm not really stressed or all that anxious. I just keep thinking about going into labor and meeting our little girl at the end of it all and the excitement is outweighing everything else.

(Don't be alarmed by the purple spider...I found some old Halloween window clings that had to be put to good use.)

Since I started learning about pregnancy, I thought she'd be late. It seemed like most first born babies arrived past their due date and oftentimes an induction was even necessary. It wasn't until Landon wondered out loud on Monday if my height (short) would encourage an early arrival and the doctor's appointment on Tuesday where I was 1-2 cm dilated and 50% effaced that made me realize that holy cow she could actually come early.

My doctor said she would be surprised if I went past my due date, but don't worry, she didn't think Zoe would be coming this week. Okay this week as in by the end of tomorrow? Or this week as in Tuesday-next Tuesday? What?! Doctor-speak just makes me over think everything.

I'm trying not to think too much about the when because I know the longer she's in there the better, but I just didn't even think an early arrival was a possibility until this week. My new guesstimate of her arrival if she is born early is October 28th, just in case you were wondering.

In terms of the bad stuff...there's really not a lot of it. And I'm eternally grateful. The most annoying thing at the moment is my stomach being stretched thin. It hurts and no amount of lotion helps relieve the pain. Luckily I only notice it if it's being touched or I walk into something, which has happened more times than I'd like to admit. Also, since homegirl is sitting prettttty darn low, sitting upright in a chair is kind of uncomfortable because my whole belly is pushed up against my legs.

But there's no back pain, no heartburn (thank you, generic Zantac), no fatigue, and no bad gross painful stuff. Thank you thank you and let's keep it that way, okay body?

She's still moving around quite a bit. It's crazy to see her shift from one side of my belly to the other; for the longest time she leaned more toward my left side and suddenly the other night she moved to the right. She's been the queen of hiccups this trimester and I wonder if that's any indication of how things will be once she's born? I feel her having them at least twice a day!

The nursery is still very much a work in progress, but we're pretty much set on the stuff for now minus newborn diapers thanks to a shiny new Amazon Prime/Mom subscription. (Side note: major bummer that you can't take advantage of the Kindle library using the Kindle app rather than an actual Kindle!) I'm trying not to go crazy with taking advantage of 2 days shipping but I haven't had much success in that department this past week. The car seat bases are now in both cars and I even put the "Baby On Board" sign on my window which I felt guilty about since there's not actually a baby on board yet, but then I almost got into two accidents today because of the crazies so I guess that bright yellow reminder did absolutely nothing. Oh well. It made things feel more official.

Any guesses on if Zoe will decide to grace us with her presence early? I really just don't even know. I'm thinking it's 50/50 ;)

Oct 9, 2014

Bump Update: Week 35

Things are starting to feel really real, y'all.

We're finally at the point where, if I went into labor this very moment, we'd basically be ready to go.

We've got diapers and wipes. We installed the car seat. We put together the bassinet and it's in position (for easy access breastfeeding) next to my side of the bed. I have new nursing camisoles and bras.

The hospital and diaper bag aren't packed, but I have a list and have confidence that I could pack it in a hurry if I recognized early labor signs. But I'm planning on packing it by the end of the week anyways, don't you worry.

(Cheesin' at Zoe's shower)

On Sunday night, I was absolutely exhausted from the weekend and ready to zonk out at 9:30. Someone had other plans, though, and decided it was time to prep me with some contractions. They lasted about an hour and even though we recognized there wasn't a pattern early on, we still timed them for you know, practice. They were painful little guys. Although I knew they were nothing, I finally started thinking like "this could be it...we could be parents tomorrow." 

Within the past week, my mindset on a lot has officially changed. I'm a lot less worried about getting everything done before she arrives because as Landon has been kindly reminding me...we can still do things once she's here. It's not like we won't be able to hang curtains or clean out the fridge and frankly I know those will be the absolute last of our worries. We're still staying busy, but the urgency is gone and I'm thankful for that.

I ran some errands today and must have had my sensitive brain on because I felt like everyone was out to get me. I'm huge and waddling at a slow pace here and everyone was just getting so close to me with their shopping carts and walking out in front of me! I know, I know it was all in my head (maybe) but I really feel like I got special treatment from people when I was showing less and now it feels like everyone is treating me worse than before I was pregnant. Anyways, sensitive pregnant woman here. I just like chivalry and stuff, you know?

Earlier I was looking through some baby free samples I've gotten recently and held a newborn diaper in my hands and wanted to cry. It was so tiny. I've held many babies in my life, but I don't think I've ever held a newborn. I can't even imagine how tiny she'll be and seeing the little bitty diaper made me want to meet her NOW. Landon has a gut feeling she'll come early but he also had a gut feeling she was a he, so there's that.

Speaking of diapers, I've been looking more into cloth diapering again. When I first started researching it all, I got kind of overwhelmed and decided on one particular style (inserts) which is still my favorite...but kind of pricey to buy enough of to cloth diaper full time. I decided to give prefolds/covers a second look and think we're going to go that route as well. Everyone says to buy a variety at first anyways because every baby is different, so we'll see. The plan is to use disposables the first few weeks/months and then start incorporating cloth into the regimen.

(Sorry I just spent a paragraph talking about diapers. I never in a million years thought I'd have such strong opinions on diaper brands and styles we are.)

One more pregnancy complaint if you can bear it: hip/pelvis pain. Oh my GOSH, I definitely can't just jump out of bed or my chair anymore because if I try to move without waiting a second or easing into it all, I feel like I'm going to break something. I don't know if it's because she's sitting so low--I think that's what our doctor said last appointment--or what, but the pressure is getting slightly unbearable. When I roll over in bed, I feel like I have a 20 pound weight plate attached to my hips which I guess I basically do. I'm ready to be done with that for sure.

Can't believe it's Week 36 tomorrow! You better believe I'll be saying that until the end...I just can't believe it's almost here!

Oct 2, 2014

Bump Update: Week 34

I had to look at my apps to verify that I am, in fact, on week 34. Week 35 tomorrow. Excuse me, whaaat? Where did those first 34 weeks go?

(My bump is officially large and in charge)

A lot of the fun stuff started happening this week. I had been anxiously awaiting the arrival of various pregnancy symptoms because you know, I knew I wasn't going to get off scot-free. The manageable acid reflux I had experienced up until now got to the point where I needed something stronger than Tums to relieve the pain. I have no idea if it's the Zantac or almonds or smaller meals but it's better now and I hope it stays that way. Constant heartburn is just gross and painful.

I also had the luxury of feeling my first semi-painful contractions. I still have no idea when to classify them as Braxton-Hicks or whatever (are BH just any contractions that don't occur during true labor?) but these guys woke me up around midnight a few nights ago and even had me getting out an app with a contraction timer (what did pregnant moms do before pregnancy apps?!). It all really freaked me out because I know the pain levels pre-epidural are going to be even worse and all I could think about during it was "am I really ready for this?" I'm starting to think I was crazy for wanting to go the natural route initially!

I've felt like my shirts are getting smaller and this morning I saw some lovely new stretch marks on one side of my belly as confirmation, right where her head and torso have been for the past month or so. Little things like getting into the car and washing the dishes are starting to become a little tricky with it poking out so much, and I wonder how much more it will grow in the next 6 weeks. I'm at the point now where I kind of need some new shirts but I get kind of bummed out looking at maternity clothes because they're all so black and boring. Seriously! I was trying to find a nicer dress for a special event next week and I feel like all of the (affordable) options are like "aw, sorry you're pregnant and can't wear anything on trend. Here's a black sack for you to wear." I can't wait to wear some new clothes postpartum, even if I have to go up a size or two initially!

On the brighter side of it all, I'm still feeling her move around a ton which I'm trying to remember to enjoy since I hear things quiet down within the next few weeks as they're running out of room in there. My energy levels are pretty good still, and the serious back pain I was having has gotten a lot better.

We're going on a tour of the hospital tonight and I think seeing exactly where it all will take place will be a major reality check letting me know that this is really about to happen. I'm excited along with every single other emotion there is.

To all the moms out there, what did you do to stay sane during the last few weeks of your pregnancy? :)