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.

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 bronzer...it 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. Everything...everything...is 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 ;)