Jan 28, 2015

Let's Talk

Hi! How's it going? Gosh, it's been how long since I regularly updated this little blog?

I have a quick confession to make (not to be confused with the length of this post. This will be a longish post.):

Motherhood isn't quite what I expected it to be.

I think everyone feels that way though, right? Especially with your first baby?

I thought she'd be on a "schedule" after a month or so. I'd know exactly when she needed to eat and sleep, oh and she'd only have one dirty diaper a day. HAH!

After two months in, I was getting frustrated. Why was she so unpredictable?! All of these other moms have their babies on a schedule by now! All of these other moms have the hang of feeding and changing MULTIPLE children while running a successful business and keeping their house in order and having a social life.

I just did not see how that would be possible. Ever.

I felt like my days were slipping away and I'd be lucky if I got to run a single errand or do a load of laundry. I loved my new baby girl so, so much...but I was also missing that "me" time where I got to accomplish the things I wanted to do that day. You know, life B.Z. (Before Zoe)

I emailed Hannah and she responded practically right away (I was so surprised, because if you read her blog you know she's a busy mama!) with words that were just what I needed to hear. She reminded me that every baby is different. Every parent is different. Every baby + their respective parents = a gazillion different ways to go about the day. Comparison is the thief of joy. As many times as I've heard this in the past, I finally understood what that meant. The beautiful newborn baby days were slipping away and I wasn't appreciating them for what they were.


I can vouch for that now. Within the past week, things have changed so fast. Zoe's eating less often and sleeping more regularly. I'm already missing those days of nonstop nursing and taking naps together throughout the day.

The expectations I placed on both myself and Zoe were ridiculous. I knew they were, but for some reason I just couldn't believe people who said to enjoy this precious time. I was ready for our lives to get back to "normal" and when I first realized they wouldn't be, I ended up mourning my old life while simultaneously being so excited for what the future had in store for our little family. It was a strange time of transition but I can honestly say I already miss those first few months and wish I had just let myself enjoy our new gift of life instead of trying to sprint towards whatever was "supposed" to come next.

For all of those expecting mothers out there, please don't make my mistake. Soak those newborn days in because they truly do fly by before you know it.

Jan 5, 2015

2014

All together now...

"Where did 2014 go?!?!"

But really.

I love the bittersweet ending of each year. Spending time reflecting on the ups and downs of the past year and figuring out new goals for the next year is exciting. It's the same reason I love Mondays -- for the fresh start.

2014 was a strange year for me. I spent the beginning of the year frustrated, not knowing what it was God was asking of me. Even after learning I was pregnant and knowing my time as a stay at home mom was fast approaching, I just couldn't let go of chasing whatever I could be good at. I wanted a career...but I also wanted to be a mom that was there for nearly every second of my baby's life. It was an endless thought process in my mind, really.

Pregnancy wasn't exactly what I had expected it to be. It wasn't until after I had Zoe that I think I was able to fully appreciate what my pregnancy was for me. It was a time of rest, quiet, and endless amounts of love from my husband, family and friends. It was a break before the chaos of motherhood. I truly believe the health of myself, Zoe, and how the labor and delivery went were thanks to my 9 months of rest.

The first few months of motherhood have flown by. I had such a hard time believing everyone who said it gets easier but now I do. Everything became a new normal. I wake up once, twice, or five times a night to feed or help console my baby. Sometimes breakfast consists of coffee and some Triscuits. We have to plan our outings completely around Zoe's needs for food and comfort. It was hard letting go of my ridiculous amounts of "me" time I had during pregnancy as well as being able to do whatever Landon and I wanted to do together at any time but I can't stress enough how worth it it all was. Slowly I've been able to find ways to decompress, make sure we still have date nights, and learn how to be a decent mom.

2015 is going to be for growing in selflessness. For choosing more wisely how I spend my time. For being fully present and offering nothing but love in every moment with my family. For reading more books. For seeking out the balance that we all strive to achieve. For trying new things and saying to heck with what I should do or who I should be. 2015 will be for growth at a steady pace.

I hope you stick around as I continue to find my voice on this little blog of mine! Happy New Year :)

Dec 19, 2014

Checking In

I've missed this little blog of mine. There's so much I've wanted to write down but dedicating my small slices of "free" time to doing so is a lot easier said than done. I want to go into more detail about her birth, breastfeeding, motherhood, etc., so for now this will be a little check in to say hi, yes I'm still here and yes I still plan on continuing to blog. Hi!

I can confirm that everything people say about being a mom is true. Having a baby changes everything. Even with the help of Landon and family, I now have a little human attached to my hip (or should I say boob) for 20-24 hours a day. Getting ready for the day becomes a test of speed (how presentable can I make myself before she starts fussing?) and mental to-do lists become a mental to-do thing...singular. I threw dinner in the slow cooker the other day and called it a successful day. Time is so precious now. I don't take moments alone with Landon or watching Zoe fall asleep or even 5 minutes in the shower for granted anymore.

Watching Zoe grow and develop has been incredible. It blows my mind to realize she is this example of God's creativity. I didn't read much past having the baby while I was pregnant, so that mixed with what little I knew from experience has allowed for lots of surprises. We couldn't believe how early on she began to hold her head up on her own. She loves sitting up (with help of course) and looking around. Her little hands and feet already seem ginormous in comparison to their size the day she was born. She's packing on the pounds and already starting to fit nicely into 3 month old clothes (at 6 weeks). Her smiles are the best thing in the whole world.

In retrospect, I was doing things wrong during the first few weeks. I was consulting websites and forums and books like it was my job. I felt guilty for giving her a pacifier, supplementing with formula, using a nipple shield, wanting to co-sleep. There's so much out there on what's right and what's wrong and I couldn't hear what my motherly instincts were really telling me. Being realistic and making decisions that worked best for our family was when the fog of the first few weeks began to clear.

Besides Landon being around (and thank God he could take time off and then work from home), I said no to most outside help. This, friends, was one of the dumbest things I had ever done. Lucky for me, my family knows I am a stubborn mule and they were just waiting at the sidelines for me to admit that I wanted them around. Having my mom come into town to help when Landon went back to work saved me. Friends have brought us delicious meals and my inlaws have babysat, allowing for some much needed date time. Help has been essential and I am so grateful for all of those who have given their time to us.

As I sit here with my sweet baby girl asleep on our bed next to me, I still can't believe that she is finally here with us. One and a half months into having a baby and I can firmly say I pray we have the opportunity to do it all again. I'm trying to remember to take it all in and be fully present in this time together with my baby girl.

Nov 26, 2014

Gratitude

I have so much to be thankful for.


In fact, I often have gotten caught up in thinking it won't always be like this. Things won't always go so smoothly; pain and suffering is an integral part of life. When will my time for all of that come?

I think focusing on the good--all that I have to be thankful for--totally outweighs that kind of negative thinking. Worrying about what may be to come won't do any good, but expressing thanks will.

Right now I am thankful for...

Being married to my best friend
My baby girl falling asleep on my chest
The limitless love of Christ
A loving, selfless family
The roof over our heads and food on our plates
A vibrant parish community
Aggie football
Our safe neighborhood and city
Our health
TV shows that make me laugh
Old friends
New friends
Our two furry friends

I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving with your loved ones. The holidays are here!

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 married...how 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.