Friday, December 25, 2015
Oh, when Everly smiles, it's the cutest thing in the world! But it can be hard to coax a little grin out of her sometimes. We worked pretty hard on it Christmas Eve and were rewarded with a few gems. More often, though, she furrowed her brows at us as if she was asking what in the world we were doing.
Christmas Eve started with me running out trying to buy one last present for Wade and coming home to a crying baby who was alerting me it was past her feeding time. The day felt rushed, and I got overwhelmed quickly. I pretty much just threw up my hands at everything when the fancy wrapping paper I bought shed glitter ALL over the table. What a mess.
So I went upstairs to change into my slightly nicer outfit for the night, only to look into the mirror and think to myself, "I look like a chubby Catholic school girl". No offense to Catholic school uniforms, but for someone in their 30s trying to lose the baby weight, it was enough to push me over the edge. I called my mom crying and just wanted to scrap the whole night and watch TV.
But then my parents got there and my aunt arrived, and the holiday spirit came ringing through the house. We started laughing and taking pictures, and I thought how thankful I was that I didn't let the stress of the day ruin Everly's first Christmas Eve. Really, how thankful I was that I had family that was able to lift my mood and make everything ok.
We had a lazy morning today. We're going to my parent's tonight to join my brother's family for an encore of Christmas morning tomorrow. I love the presentation of gifts--the wrapping paper, the pretty bows, but this year with Everly, we just didn't have time to do all the wrapping for each other. So when Wade and I exchanged our gifts today, I had a box and he had a bag we just refilled with our little gifts. It was like the Mary Poppin's bottomless bag! It definitely made things easier.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you! Wishing you a day full of merriment and love!
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Everly calms down as the car gains speed and she's lulled to sleep by the motion. I, on the other hand, keep crying. Only now, I'm trying to muffle my sobs so as not to wake her. The day I had been dreading had arrived. It was like for the past 12 weeks I had clicked the pause button on any responsibilities outside of keeping this little human alive (which seemed daunting enough). And I liked it this way. I didn't want to unclick the pause button and have to resume my normal work activities.
Maybe I didn't get tired of staying at home because there was an end date, so I knew I needed to soak up all the precious time we had together during the week. I really think, though, that I could stay at home full time. In fact, I would love to. Lazy mornings in our pjs and afternoon outings with my mom. Sounds way better than trying to cram in quality time for a few hours at night. I did not understand the guilt and sadness working moms experience until I had to kiss Everly goodbye last week after I nursed her and she had already drifted back off to sleep.
Instead of taking a nap myself, I threw on the one pair of pants that fit me and rushed off to work since I was already running late. My mind was fuzzy as I tried to remember my computer password and worried about where I would pump. That first day, I pumped in a large conference room and sat at the head of the 12 person table, feeling like anything but a powerful career woman.
Today is Everly's 3 month birthday. I opened the app that tells me what my baby should be doing week by week, and it happily announced that my baby was no longer a newborn. The tears started flowing again, because my little squishy baby was entering infantdom and I suddenly felt my pictures and videos of her so tiny were lacking. Enter more mom guilt.
Wade brought her to me over lunch today, and I nursed her in the car of a Walmart parking lot. We ate Subway sandwiches, and I watched her big cheeks seem to get impossibly bigger and cuter as she ate. (Sidenote: she seems so satisfied when I nurse her, but I don't get as much milk when I pump. Any advice for pumping? Have you tried any of the Fenugreek products?) We watched as a woman parked her 1992 Nissan minivan across the way from us and proceeded to put a club on her steering wheel. She still nervously looked back at her car as she walked towards the store. Wade laughed harder than I've heard him laugh in weeks. Must have been some pretty precious cargo in there.
It's not all bad. The people I work with are nice and understanding. It just seems strange that we undergo this huge life change by bringing another tiny human into our family and then are expected to go back to "normal" after a few months. That reality doesn't exist anymore. Now, there is this new world that is so much better and more challenging because she is here. I still struggle with how much weight is placed upon women's shoulders. We're expected to nurture the babies, be a cutthroat career woman, fit back into our pre-pregnancy jeans, and also fit in time for date nights. We're expected to be all things to everybody, and it's exhausting. I don't think it would be that different if I stayed at home, though. Stay at home moms have just as much on their plate, and I'm sure I would have added pressure to become a great cook. Wade has been staying home with Everly the past week, and he agrees that staying home is its own job. Except the boss is tiny and unreasonable.
I know that there is no perfect solution and that it will get easier. Life keeps rolling along, and there is so much to look forward to. I may be late posting her 2 and 3 month updates, but they will get done eventually. She is changing every day, and I don't want to miss capturing how she is right now.
I guess the one bright spot is that I may get out of changing so many dirty diapers. Even though I think her poop smells like popcorn. Must be a mother hormone so that I don't get disgusted by my baby:) Who could not love everything about this sweet face?
Monday, November 30, 2015
It was this little turkey's first Thanksgiving! And boy was she excited! All dressed up in the plaid jumper my mom sewed her and the turkey headband I quickly made before everyone arrived, she spent the day wide awake and loving all the commotion in the house.
It was our first time hosting Thanksgiving, which made it even more special. Wade is great in the kitchen. Unfortunately, my culinary skills are quite lacking. I can follow a recipe on a box, but nothing ever seems to turn out and I have zero desire to get any better. I do love food, though! So luckily for me, my mom and Wade came to the rescue.
Wade made a rotisserie turkey on the grill, which turned out fantastic. I peeled some potatoes and that was about it. Taking care of the baby was a good excuse to bow out of the kitchen gracefully.
It was my mom who really came to the rescue. She brought over pretty much everything. All the sweet potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, etc. All those favorites that taste like Thanksgiving. Only doing a small part of the meal, I'm embarrassed to say that I never was much help to her in the past. I had a vague notion of what went into the prepping of such a big meal, but really no clue how hard it really was. My fondest memories of Thanksgiving from when I was a kid were waking up to the smell of turkey in the oven and walking downstairs to find my mom telling my dad he was putting too much brown sugar in the sweet potatoes (but Dad always made them just right--extra sweet:). Then magically the meal would appear, and we would all stuff our faces and then retire to watch TV. As I've gotten older, I'm realizing more than ever how my mom is the backbone of the family. She always works so hard to make things special and nice for us without asking anything in return. Thank you, Mom, for all your hard work! I promise I'll help you more:)
This year my brother and sister were with their in-laws, but we'll get to see them for Christmas. I'm sure Everly enjoyed getting all this special attention as the only kid, but she'll also love watching her cousins run around the house.
During dinner we went around the table and said what we were thankful for. It was no surprise that Wade and I said Everly. I still feel like pinching myself when I look at her to make sure she's really here, and I'm not just dreaming. Even when she screams and gives us that big pouty face, I'm so grateful for her. And grateful for my mom who thought she was getting a break this year coming to my house, but ended up still working so hard. I owe her an ice cream date:)
Hope you had a wonderful weekend!
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
I was due in 4 days, just shy of 40 weeks, but when I woke up with a start early that morning, I knew that the day I had been anxiously awaiting for months had finally arrived. We had taken the birthing class, washed all the tiny clothes that I thought would be way too small, and cleaned the house (mostly). But this being my first baby, I thought for sure I would be late and still have another weekend to really finish everything.
The day before was Labor Day. I hadn't slept well and was extremely irritable the whole day. Luckily I had forced myself to run those errands I had been putting off for weeks. I waddled around Target and picked up groceries and other items I had read I would need postpartum. The cashier asked if this was my last shopping trip before the baby came, and I laughed because I was sure I'd be back again later in the week stocking up on more necessities.
We were running late driving over to my parent's to meet them for dinner. My mom texted and asked if I felt ok, perhaps already having a premonition that I was in pre-labor. We finally made it and headed to Texas Roadhouse for one final hurrah before a baby would make our leisurely meals more difficult. I was in a terrible mood, but I'm so glad my parents took this picture of us that night. This is the last picture of us before baby.
I went to sleep that night and then woke up around 6am to a pain in my stomach. It felt like a cramp, and I had a passing thought, wondering if this was it. I couldn't fall back asleep, so I watched a little TV and tried to dose, but was conscious of the cramping in my stomach. I decided not to go in to work and told Wade to stick by his phone. About 9am, I called my mom and told her it was happening! My contractions were about 5-6 minutes apart and while they were getting more intense, they were not bad yet. I remember thinking that this was going to be a piece of cake. Oh, how naive I was. I took a shower, finished packing my bag, and told Wade to come home in an hour or two.
Around 11am I had a strange sensation and felt like my water had broken. It wasn't a gush of water and didn't even soak my pants. It was just a feeling I had. That feeling, coupled with my contractions coming less than 5 minutes apart made me want to head to the hospital ASAP. I ate a sandwich and loaded up on water and snacks since I was told I wouldn't be able to eat once I was checked in to the hospital.
Wade came home and asked me if I was for sure in labor. I was so offended, but worried that maybe I really wasn't and we would get sent home. The fear of having to go through with labor without an epidural, though, was motivation enough for me to risk embarrassment of being sent home. The only part of the main house that we hadn't cleaned was the dining room table. It was covered with papers, baby stuff, and other odds and ends. I could not leave the house without cleaning that table, because the idea of coming home with our new baby to that mess pissed me off. Needless to say, Wade wasn't too jazzed about my timing for cleanliness. We squabbled over it for a few minutes until he finally just took a huge box and shoved everything into it in a huff. Then he threw the box in the garage. Out of sight, out of mind. Good enough for me! We were off!
We got to the hospital around noon and I went to get checked out. I was only dilated to 1cm (wah, wah), and the nurse didn't believe I was in active labor since I wasn't crying through each contraction. I told her that I thought my water had broken and she kind of smirked at me and said she would do a test just to make sure but that it was unlikely my water had really broken. We walked around the halls for about an hour to see if I would progress. I didn't. She was ready to send us home, but I asked her what the results of my water breaking test were. She went out to check and came back saying that my water had indeed broken so we would be checking in to the hospital! Honestly, I was pretty annoyed with this nurse. She had acted so cavalier about everything and wasn't really listening to me. I get that she sees this happening all the time, but this was my first baby. It just reinforced that sometimes you have to be your own health advocate. You know your body the best.
Once I knew I was getting checked in to the hospital, the reality of the fact that I was having a baby that day hit me. Of course I was excited to meet my baby girl, but at that moment I was very scared and was on the verge of a panic attack. A trio of nurses tried to put in my IV and only had luck after a few tries. I hate needles anyway, but how much they were talking about my veins and having to "float the needle to the vein" really grossed me out. I was a blubbering mess and could hear the nurse ask Wade if I was usually like this. If I could have talked through my sobbing at that point, I would have yelled at her to have a little compassion--that I was just a bit overwhelmed at the moment. Geez! What do they expect? Women to just be all easy going about everything when they're about to push a basketball out of a hole measured in centimeters? The logistics still didn't make sense to me.
So once the IV was in, we went to the birthing room. My mom was already in the room, and I ran over to hug her. I love my husband so much, but there is nothing better than having your mom there to tell you everything is going to be ok. We talked about it just being Wade and me in the birthing room, but I was so nervous about labor that we asked my mom to be there, too. I'm so glad we did, because it was wonderful to have her calming presence there. They let me eat a little more before they cut me off since I was still only dilated to 1cm and assumed I had a long road ahead of me. At that point, the contractions were only about 3-4 minutes apart and getting more intense. My dad came by the room a little later and then my brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and niece a little after that. It was so fun to have them there and see their excitement. My happiness started to wear off pretty quick, though, as the contractions got more intense. Now it was about 5pm, and I was crying through each contraction. The nurse checked me, and I was still only dilated to a 1. How could that be?!! Regardless, I wanted the epidural NOW! The nurse tried to persuade me to sit on the birthing ball or stand in the shower. Nope. Epidural time.
The guy with the juice came in a little later. Boy was I glad to see him. The problem was that my contractions were every 2.5 minutes now so it was really hard to sit still. The mean nurse told me that getting an epidural was elective, so if I couldn't sit still they would not try. That scared me enough to force myself to be as still as possible. Getting the epidural didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. It was more the idea of a needle in my back that was unsettling. After that wonderful concoction streamed through my system, though, it was worth it. I felt immediately relaxed and relieved to have a break from the pain. I think it was about 7pm by this time. I took a little nap and Wade and my mom settled in for a long night since the nurse thought I wouldn't be ready to push until the next day.
A new nurse came in a few hours later and checked me. I was already at 9.5cm! We were all shocked! It was about time for the main event. I started pushing about 10-10:30pm. I was happy that I could still feel the pressure of the contractions so that I could push well, but there wasn't any pain along with them. Being pretty modest, I had told Wade to stay up near my head and to not look "down there". When you're in the war zone, though, anything goes. The nurse had Wade holding a leg and flipping me over. After about an hour of pushing, the nurse said to stop since she could see the baby's head. She hit a big blue button and a football team of people came swarming in. The doctor got in position, and I kept pushing. And suddenly I heard, "here she comes!" The cord was slightly wrapped around her neck, but the doctor scooped her out and laid her on my chest at 11:46pm. Through every push, I closed my eyes, because I was scared about seeing the blood and everyone staring at me. When they put her on me, though, I couldn't take my eyes off of her. My baby girl was here. Her eyes were wide open and staring straight into mine. And her little hand wrapped instinctively around my finger. Everyone else fell away. I know people were still milling about and things were still happening down there, but it was all in the hazy background.
Everyone said how I would love her instantly, but I didn't anticipate how all consuming that love would be. It was a tidal wave of emotion that came over me as I cried and held her close. She was here, she was healthy, and she was mine.
All the worry that had plagued our minds--would she be healthy? would a boy pop out and have to live in a peach room? would we know how to take care of her?--all those thoughts wafted away when I met our sweet Everly Rae. I was her mom. She was my daughter. It was so simple, yet utterly life altering. Seeing Wade hold his little girl was magical. I said a little prayer and thanked God. Birth is truly a miracle. I've tried my best to put into words that moment when our eyes locked, but nothing seems to be able to capture it quite right. I guess as corny as it sounds, it was pure love and gratefulness for this little life that changed our lives in the biggest way.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Dear Everly Rae,
I've been wanting to write a letter to you for weeks now. It was supposed to be for your one month birthday, but you're already six weeks old! How has the time passed so quickly yet also stood still as I watch your tiny fingers clutch onto my shirt when I hold you?
You are the sweetest, most beautiful baby. I may be a little biased, but your dad and I just can't stop staring at you. Every little whimper, each time you open your eyes, they all seem to be the most magical moments that we have to capture to remember always.
When we brought you home for the first time, we walked you around your new room. I made Gigi and your dad take a video of me showing you around your room--all the things we lovingly painted and added to your room to make it yours. I had a grand vision that I would talk about each piece of furniture and where we found it, how Gigi and I had painted the dresser the perfect shade of coral (and then your dad had come in when we were done to give it one final coat:), how I had rocked in that glider Gigi reupholstered as I made your headbands (and a few matching ones for myself), and how I had already imagined you playing on the green carpet in the middle of the room as I looked on.
All of this I wanted to share with you so that you would know how much we loved you and thought about you before you were even in our arms. How we wanted to create the most whimsical and loving space for you to grow up in. And how we painstakingly worked on each detail of the room since we didn't know what else to do with ourselves as we waited for you to make your grand entrance.
But I couldn't tell you any of that in the video. Instead, I cried through the whole thing, because even thinking about the words turned me into a blubbering mess. I was so overcome with emotion that you were actually here now! In your room! With us! I was literally so happy I couldn't speak and could only cry out of joy.
So much has happened since that first day home. Your first bath (which you cried all the way through), meeting your cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, your first smile (!), and more hours of cuddle time than I can count, Those late night feedings are the toughest, but when I look back on them I'll always remember you dad bringing you to me at 2am, me thinking it can't possibly be time to feed you again, and your dad talking with me as I nursed you. All of us sleepy in that dimly lit room, trying to stay awake while you fed. We talked about the past a lot. Things we used to do before you. Memories from when we were dating. But then we'd always start talking about the future--all the adventures we plan to do with you and the things we're looking forward to you experiencing for the first time.
I've cried as you've cried as I try to figure this whole motherhood thing out. It's hard knowing what you want all the time, but you make it so easy to love you, and I will never stop trying to figure out what makes you happy and keeps you safe.
You have filled our lives with more love and happiness than I could ever tell you.
I'm so lucky I get to be your mom and you're my daughter.
You are so significant and loved, sweet girl. Our beautiful Everly Rae.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Two weeks and one day ago, we met this little lady for the first time. When the doctor handed her to me, she locked her eyes onto mine and clutched my finger. I fell in love harder than I ever thought possible in that moment.
The past 15 days have been measured in hours between feedings, too many diaper changes to count, and taking in her newborn glow.
There have been tears, both hers and mine, but the smiles and cuddles outweigh them.
At times I worry that I'll break her somehow, so I clutch her tighter. When she sleeps longer than I expect, I watch her little chest move up and down to make sure she's ok.
I've become a sentimental sap whenever my mom comes over, because I can't believe that I was once this tiny and that someday Everly will be my age, perhaps with her own little baby, crying about the same passage of time.
I'm sleepy, but she is such a sweet baby. I know that while these first few weeks are tough, they won't last forever and I should treasure the magic of these moments.
Two weeks ago, our world was turned upside down in the best possible way. I can remember our lives before she was here, but I can't imagine a future without her.
She is the love of our lives, and I'm so thankful that I get to be her mom.
Monday, September 14, 2015
Thursday, September 3, 2015
We FINALLY finished the nursery! As I sat in the rocker the other day as Wade and I looked around the room, we wondered if it looked like this room was completed in a few weekends. Because we knew the truth--that this room was a work of love over the past several months. I still can't believe how far it has come, and I love how eclectic yet cohesive it is.
You may remember what this room looked like before. Wade had set up camp in this room with his massive collection of video games. It took a little bit of prodding for him to move the games out of this room, and I still can't believe the transformation.
Every little project we did in this room seemed to take an inordinate amount of time, but it was all worth it in the end. I love all the little special touches that add an element of whimsy and fun to this room without making it too baby-ish.
After researching a few different kinds of boards (magnetic and chalkboard), I decided to make this felt board. Felt sticks to felt and flannel, so I hot glued a piece of peach flannel to a foam board and then cut out felt letters. A great time saver here is just to buy the self stick felt letters and then cut a border to stick them to. This way you can add a bit of color to your letters, but it won't take you a ton of time to cut out. Plus, these felt letters seem more baby friendly. I'll let you know how it holds up over time.
The thing I most love about this room is all the little things that have special meanings. These vintage watercolor Winnie-the-Pooh paintings were given to me by my sister this past Easter. She found them in a resale shop, and I became a blubbering mess when she gave them to me. I love the classic Pooh books and wanted to incorporate them somehow into the room without going overboard. I think this is just perfect.
Meg is very wise (and sweet) and knew we needed a Miss Maisy, too, so she gave us that adorable pink bunny:)
Another special gift was this handmade quilt from my best friend. She lives in Seattle, and I had briefly shared my color scheme for the room, so I couldn't believe how well all the colors matched the room! I guess she knows me pretty well. I can't imagine tackling a project that big, and am still in awe at how beautiful it is. (Thank you, Kate!!)
I couldn't have done all this cute decorating without my mom! She sewed up a storm these past few months, making the window seat cover, recovering the glider, helping paint everything from the room to the dresser, and even making adorable baby leggings and headbands for little Roo. In addition to all of that, she made that beautiful blanket draped across the crib. She's made us all blankets, and I know that little Roo will treasure this one from her Gigi.
Everything except the crib was bought second hand. My mom found the dresser/changing table at the Salvation Army. It was painted black, and I had a hard time seeing the diamond in the rough. At least she and Wade did, though, because painting it coral and adding shiny brass handles transformed this piece into such a beautiful addition to the room. We painted the entire dresser using a $5 paint sample. Also, since I couldn't find the perfect paint swatch, I brought in the pillow that is on the window seat and had Ace Hardware scan it. The resulting color is a perfect blend of peach and coral.
I actually bought the bookcase and window seat toy chest before we were even pregnant. I saw them while browsing in a resale shop with my sister and mom and fell in love. Wade and I went back the next day to pick them up. They actually were already painted this blue gray.
The glider we found at a garage sale hosted by a friend. My mom and I scoured all the fabric stores for the perfect fabric to recover it with. We loved the yellow Nate Berkus fabric we found at Joann, but I wanted something blue/gray with texture to tone it down.
I found the perfect solution as I was strolling Target one day and stumbled upon these curtain panels (also by Nate Berkus--he did it again:). The material is fairly thick, so I'm hoping it will hold up well.
I love all the detail on the dresser. Perfect for a little girl.
My mom searched high and low for a kangaroo for Roo. I can't believe she found this mama and baby roo:)
I made the mobile using a wooden embroidery hoop and wrapping it with embroidery thread. Adding some pom pom trim and fake flowers brightened it up and added the perfect pop of color to that corner.
Have you heard of Lucy Darling? If not, then check her out! She has the most adorable prints and monthly baby stickers in her shop. I got the first year book and monthly baby stickers from my aunt and cousins and can't wait to start using them. And Meg gave me a set of fun closet dividers.
I had a lot of fun personalizing the bookcase. The fake cacti are from a DIY I posted about earlier. The lovely music box was given to me by my grandpa when I was a little girl, and I'm so thankful that my parents could fix it up and get it working again for Roo to enjoy.
Man, it took what seemed like forever to get this shelf up. Apparently the room is a bit crooked. It looks great, though, and is the perfect place to store all of the headbands and bows that I'm going to force Roo to wear:) I've been busy making all her headbands and flower crowns and can't wait for her to wear them. The little headband tree is actually a bottle drying accessory that I spray painted gold and stuck in a piece of foam covered in moss. I would have posted a DIY for it, but I wasn't sure how it would turn our and did it late one night. I turned out great and will be a nice storage idea.
The magnetic cork board was another find from Target. We took out the black foam underside and painted it white. I really like how you can use magnets or push pins to hang things.
I made the flower "E" (hint, hint as to a name) from a cardboard letter from Hobby Lobby by painting it gold and hot gluing fake flowers to it. I'm excited to actually put some real pictures into those frames soon. Definitely one from our maternity shoot.
After reading about them on Pinterest, I bought drawer organizers from Ikea. I was annoyed when I put them together and found that they were too tall for my drawers. I flubbed when I checked the dimensions of the packaging instead of the actual organizer. All was not lost, though. I simply cut each side of the boxes down a bit and folded them over, securing the sides with hot glue. Worked like a charm and now I have no excused not to stay organized. Right?!
Thank you for letting me walk you around the nursery. It's my favorite space in the house for sure. Just imagine me glued to that rocker in another week or so:)