30.

A lot of women struggle with turning 30. It’s the end of your 20’s. The wrinkles start. The hips are bigger, especially if you’ve had children, and your metabolism slows down tremendously. There’s also other things that happen…like weird dark hairs that grow into your chin that you have to pluck out. Or bleach. Or both. Things are not hopelessly saggy, like you can still rock it if you need to, but when the bra comes off, there is a definite drop that wasn’t there before. You know what I mean. Cellulite creeps in. It’s hard to stay toned, like you actually have to watch what you eat and work out. Not to mention the gray hairs and wrinkles that are starting to form.

Sounds dreadful, right? But 30. Thirty it is. I’ve arrived. I’m a wife. I’m a mom. I’m a bonafide adult. I’m 30. I have cellulite. And some to spare if you’d like some for yourself. I’ve nursed two kids for over a year, so things are not perking up like they used to be. I have gray hair that I dye. I have wrinkles and think it’s flattering when I get ID’d at the store to purchase wine.

Nothing pleases me more than going to bed at 10:00 at night, and I love, love, love to have hot coffee in the morning without interruption. I hate small talk. I know the kind of people I want in my life as friends. I don’t want to walk with you through your journey to “finding yourself.” I did that in college/early motherhood and I’m done now. I’m saving the rest of that energy for my kids when they will need it. I know the kind of mother I want to be to my children. I am starting to realize that my body is pretty awesome looking for a 30 year old mother of 2 who has been pregnant 5 times. I eat dinner before 6:00 every evening. And yes, I get annoyed if there are people out and loud after 11. I want to stay in and watch TV with my husband. I avoid crowds like the plague. I don’t know where to shop because I’m too old for Forever 21, but too cheap for Anthropologie. The last movie I went to see in theaters was the Minions, and this weekend, my husband and I went wine tasting and to a garden resort to stay with the rest of the geriatrics because those are our people now.

To me, 30 brings confidence. I am grabbing 30 and running with it, wildly and freely, in a way 20 cannot ever catch up with.

IMG_1040IMG_1020IMG_0972

1-7-2016::Lennon Ruth

I’ve had two amazing births. Neither one happened naturally, but I’ve loved them both just the same. And though both of my babies do things on their own time and in their own way, each one made it easy on me when it came to their delivery.

In July, 2012, Kyle and I became parents when Judah was born. And, as many of you know, between July 2013 to May 2014, we experienced three miscarriages. (You can read their stories here, here, and here). After going through so much heartache, we came to the decision that we would try one last time for another baby. Thank goodness we did, and thank God that His timing is perfect.

In early May, Judah and I surprised Kyle with the news that I was expecting again. With the history we had, going to her initial ultrasound appointment was quite the roller coaster of emotion. Thankfully, we heard a strong little heartbeat and saw our girl for the first time.

I did not enjoy being pregnant this time around. Though I didn’t experience morning sickness, it was physically very different than my previous pregnancies. My hips were in so much pain that it was hard for me to walk some days. I couldn’t sit on the floor and play with my son, which was devastating. I couldn’t sleep a majority of nights, and I was constantly exhausted. Not to mention the “what ifs” that come from experiencing three failed pregnancies. Thankfully being pregnant is temporary and the reward is so much greater than the short time of discomfort.

12493670_687027760239_8272330361584877524_o

Lennon’s due date was January 7. She was positioned very low in my pelvis, and I had been experiencing early labor for weeks. This, among other factors led to an induction. I remember my doctor scheduling it and feeling like I had failed. I wanted to know what it was like to go into labor naturally, be able to work through it at home for a majority of the time, and then rush to the hospital while yelling at my husband to drive more carefully, yet with lightning speed in the car 😉  But honestly, feeling guilty about it was so stupid. She was full term, and for some reason, my body requires a little jump start to get the party started. Besides, I was already at 4 cm, almost completely effaced, and I have gone from five to 10 cm in the snap of a  finger and I’m pretty sure Kyle didn’t want to deliver this baby in our living room.  It turned out that my induction was necessary anyway, because my doctor tried to break my water only to find out it had been leaking for an unknown amount of time.

On January 7, we headed to the hospital early in the morning to have our baby. I was hooked up to all my machines and my drip started at 8 AM. About an hour into it, I was asked if I wanted an epidural. I said no because though my contractions were progressing quickly, again, I felt that guilt of not “really” experiencing those intensely painful moments, almost as if it’s a right of passage to getting your baby. However, my husband, nurse, and anesthesiologist looked at my contraction patterns and told me if I didn’t want to feel the “ring of fire,” now was the time. They also told me, no one gets an extra prize for not getting one. I agreed and was thankful I did.

At 11 AM, my nurse informed us she was heading out to her lunch break. She checked me and I was still around 6 cm, so we all figured in her half hour break, not much would happen and we’d see her when she got back. A few minutes later, I felt a lot of pressure and pretty “pushy” as they would call it. I held off for a couple more minutes, certain that it was not yet time because I was just checked moments ago and still so far away from pushing time. However, it was getting more intense feeling, so I called a nurse. She checked me and sure enough, within ten minutes I had gone from a 6 to a 10 and it was time to have our baby. I pushed three times, and our girl was born at 11:31 AM. (I told you my kids make it easy on me!) She was eight pounds, three ounces, and 19 inches long.

IMG_0042

I remember so vividly seeing her little purple body, all scrunched up, being lifted into the air and placed in my arms. Her first cries were amazing. She was the spitting image of her brother, and Kyle and I were instantly so in love with this beautiful little girl.

We “oohed” and “ahhed” over her for several hours. Those first moments with your baby are pure magic–examining every inch of their little bodies, snuggling them close, and whispering “happy birthday, little love” over and over.

Then it was time for Judah to meet his sister. He fell in love with her instantly and has been the best, most gentle, and loving big brother from that moment on. We couldn’t have asked for a better transition. Our little guy loves his baby sister something fierce. And it’s totally true, all those moments I spent worrying about how I could love another being as much as my first baby were instantly gone the moment I laid eyes on her. And just when you think you can’t love your kids more than you do, you see your son holding his new sister and your heart beats so fast, you feel like you could burst.

IMG_0093

IMG_0045

Lennon, we dreamt of this day for so long. I hope you know how deeply loved you are, and how highly anticipated your life has been. You were born at the perfect time for our family. You are treasured, you are precious, you are prized, and you are adored. I cannot wait to watch you grow and marvel at the person  you become. Happy birthday, beautiful girl, I love you.

IMG_0048

 

 

Fall Things

My last posts have been kind of heavy and have caused some controversy, SO….let me just say, I’m sorry if I offend anyone with what I write on here. But at the same time I’m not. This is my little internet space to express my thoughts, and to honestly keep it real. There is too much out there that is fake or “just the highlights” that it can be a little discouraging when you look at your own life and realize you’re not “keeping up with the Jones'” as much as you hoped (and no, I’m not referring to my sister and her family 😉 ). When I started this blog, it was a place for me to be real, to not sugar coat things, and to celebrate both the highs and the lows. Right now, my family is in a bit of a valley, but that’s okay. They happen, it’s a part of life, and I think the valleys only add to the highlights in the end.

So, just know going forward that I normally filter myself quite a bit in my every day life, but this is my one space that I simply don’t. And, right now, I’ve seen far more good come from it than bad, so my blog will continue.

However, because my last posts have been a little gloomy, I thought I’d reassure my readers that we are in fact enjoying many aspects of life. And we are especially soaking up this Fall season. Isn’t Fall just the best? We’ve been lucky to participate in so many Fallish activities this year and I thought I’d share some photos with you all.

Apple Picking

Judah and I got to sneak away and do some apple picking at our favorite little orchard. Judah ate about ten apples while we were there, and we ended up leaving with five gallons. It was the perfect amount for canning a few quarts of apple sauce, making a couple pies, whipping up some apple cinnamon french toast, and of course eating the extras with peanut butter and honey.

IMG_0798

We’ve also managed to enjoy some time with friends. Though Fall is often busy, we’ve been lucky enough to snag a few moments with some of the people (both big and small) that we love so much. Needless to say, the imaginations have been running wild and always…safety first 😉

20151002_160923

The weather has been so nice here this season. We have been able to still reap some warmth from the summer sun, but our mornings usually start out nice and brisk and our evenings end with a great chill in the air. It’s wonderful to still be able to play outdoors and not feel like we’re melting into a puddle.

20150926_153823

20150922_101616

Who doesn’t love a fresh Fall haircut? I’m practicing my hand at the DIY haircut and was pretty proud of myself for pulling off a semi-decent at home do for my kiddo.

20151008_164041

We also celebrated our favorite man’s 30th birthday!! We have a tradition, stollen by Kelle Hampton, where Judah gets a set amount of money and can choose whatever he wants to gift his dad with each year. I love the idea of giving him the choice to decide what he thinks Kyle will enjoy most. Right now it’s pretty toy oriented, but it’s fun to see the extra thought he puts into things as the years progress. This year’s loot included two light sabres, a monster truck, and play dough.

We also had our annual visit to the pumpkin patch this past weekend. And…as I was going through my photos I realized I didn’t take any of Judah actually in the pumpkin patch…woops! But, we did leave with four killer pumpkins which are sitting outside our front door.

20151009_151008

20151009_150921

20151009_154952

20151009_152118

20151009_154939

20151009_151451

We’ve also gotten Judah’s “big boy room” finished and are almost done with baby girl’s nursery, which will be coming up in a future post.

I hope you and your families are enjoying this Fall season! After all, it’s the start of the most wonderful time of the year 🙂

Judah Is 3!

Hard to believe this kiddo turned three earlier this month.

We were able to celebrate with a few close friends, and the day was really special. It has been ridiculously hot outside, so some type of water feature was a must. When Kyle and I asked Judah what he wanted to do for his party this year, he said “cars.” After a quick peruse of the ‘ol Pinterest, we settled on creating a “car wash” that could be used for the rest of the season. It was great fun, and surprisingly easy to assemble. You can find the directions to the model we used here.

We are about to hunker down for the next couple of days, so my next posts will probably be photo heavy, unless something drastic happens and I need to vent 😉 Kyle is recovering from a small surgery and I am taking the opportunity to try some hard core potty training with Judah while we wait for our main squeeze to recoup. So, if you come to our house, Judah will be naked, chances are high that there will be pee on the floor, but my gosh, this boy is getting potty trained. And if he doesn’t, he most likely be the kindergartener wearing a pull-up to class, because after this attempt, I’m just throwing in my towel. Just don’t draw attention to it…his parents are sensitive about it.

For now, I will leave you with some photos from this three year old’s festivities. I apologize for the photo quality, or lack thereof. I have better pictures from his actual day turning three on my camera, but I’m feeling way too lazy to get up and upload them, so you’re stuck with my crappy phone pictures. But, you’ll get the drift.

20150705_144850 20150705_144922

Busted getting his 1,000th sucker of the day...

Busted getting his 1,000th sucker of the day…

20150705_153254

Enjoying some ice cream sundaes!

20150705_152811

20150706_170436

Minions bike!

I mean, if he's not the cutest little construction worker you've ever seen.

I mean, if he’s not the cutest little construction worker you’ve ever seen.

Happy birthday, kiddo. We love you to pieces.

My Postpartum List

*Warning: This post is about giving birth, I use the word vagina, and I talk about boobs. If you can’t handle it, don’t read it.*

No, I’m not having a baby any time soon, BUT…I have several friends who have recently had one or who are going to have one in the next few months and I have been asked many a time, “tell me about what happens.” So, I’m now writing it down formally.

I had some helpful hints when I was getting ready for that big delivery day, but no one really ever broke it down for me until after I asked questions postpartum. It was nice to know I wasn’t the only one who felt like my va-jay-jay was going to bottom out and fall down after giving birth, but it would have been nice to know beforehand so I didn’t think I was totally destroyed. TMI, told you this post wasn’t for the faint of heart!

First things first: Every birth is different. Every baby is different. Every recovery is different. I’m simply telling the things that I felt or what helped me, but as I always say, you have to do what’s best for you, your new family, and most importantly, that new babe.

Alright, now that we have that out of the way…labor…if it’s your first time, you won’t know what to expect, no one can describe it correctly, but you’ll know when it’s time. Trust me. And, do whatever the heck birth you are excited about. If you want to go au natural, do it. Know you can, because you’re strong, and that intense pain is fleeting. If you want an epidural, do it. Yes, people are “no, it’s bad for the baby…” or “you’re a wuss,” but if you don’t think you can go without it and enjoy the experience, get one. Enjoy the experience. If you have to be induced (I did!) don’t worry about it. You’re not a failure because of it. And if you’re like me and have to be induced and then get an epidural, know you’re just as strong. Fist bump to myself, I lasted six hours on pitocin…six hours. SIX HOURS. My contractions for that whole time were the same level as the transition phase of labor. So yeah, I got an epidural. And yes, I’m still quite proud of my strength in spite of it. And, if you need a c-section, who cares. You’re having a baby for crying out loud, who cares how you get to meet it!

Let’s move on to breastfeeding. Can we talk about how difficult it is to dress as a nursing mom? Holy cow. I have no idea how you’re supposed to remain clothed while whipping your boob out and holding a flailing baby. Nursing clothes are ugly, but non-nursing clothes are just inconvenient. However, I did find some luck at Target and H&M, but keep in mind, my girls are little, so if you’re a bit more blessed in the chest, you may want to consider spending some more money for a better nursing bra. Also, DO NOT wear underwire for the first few weeks. Your boobs will be doing crazy things and that darn wire will just get in the way of their ebb and flow. Also, I didn’t get any stretch marks with Judah, but my boobs, definitely. Watch out for that when your milk arrives.

If you’re breastfeeding, it hurts. It hurts terribly for quite a while. But stick it out, you can do it. And, if you decide formula is your way to go, there is nothing wrong with that, and don’t let people tell you otherwise. Your child won’t be any less because of it. Yes, I loved breastfeeding (most of the time) and I think it’s great for the kiddos, but sometimes, it’s not practical, you don’t have milk, etc., etc. The most important thing is to feed that baby.

Okay, lets talk postpartum care for moms. If you don’t take anything else away from this blog post, please heed this warning: WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T LOOK AT YOUR VAG. Just don’t do it. Spare yourself. You just had a tiny human come out of there, it’s not going to look normal.

Take it all from the hospital. Stuff the diapers, wipes, A&D ointment, booger suckers in that diaper bag and take it all. If you don’t end up using it, donate it to someone who will.

Get a sitz bath. They can be found at any drug store (CVS, Walgreens, Target, etc.) and are tiny toilet-shaped miracle workers.

Use tux pads. Don’t use regular TP for a while. Tux pads are the way to go. Take tons from the hospital and then buy yourself some more at the store. They can be found by the hemorrhoid cream–and you might want to pick up some of that while you’re at it.

Wear loose pants. I don’t care what celebrity mom you saw last week who was running around in skinny jeans two days after having a baby. Guaranteed she paid a pretty penny to have someone design sweatpants to look like denim replicas for her public appearance. And don’t you feel bad if you need to wear yoga pants, leggings, or your husbands basketball shorts for several weeks postpartum. There is no pressure to return to “your old body” in a matter of days. And anyone who thinks so has clearly never had a baby.

Give yourself time. You carried a baby for nine months. For nine months your body grew. You’re not going to bounce back the next day. It took me a good two weeks to feel decently normal and not wince every time I walked somewhere. And, to not feel like my vagina was going to fall to the floor. Some people bounce back faster, others it takes months. Don’t get down on yourself. You will get there.

Your belly is crazy. Your stomach is pretty nuts feeling after you have a baby. It’s like loose jello. It’s a strange feeling. Kinda grossed me out, but was also really funny, especially when something made you belly laugh, or cry. I wore my belly band around mine to help it contract, and I also needed to wear the belly band to fit into pants that weren’t sweats once I was okay enough to put those on.

It’s complicated. So most people say you’re supposed to have this euphoric connection with your little baby as soon as they are laid on your chest. It happens for lots of moms, but for others, it takes a while. Yes, they love their child, but it takes a few days or even weeks for that indescribable connection to occur. That’s okay. If you begin to have ill feelings about your child, talk to your doctor. And, if you do, you’re not a monster. Child birth is a hard thing and it does all kinds of weirdness to your body. This too shall pass.

On that same note, sometimes it takes the dads a bit of time to bond too. Don’t get down on him for it, just remember you’ve had nine months to physically connect with your little bean, he’s just now getting that.

Hormones are nuts. I cried once peeling potatoes in my kitchen. Balled my eyes out. I cannot tell you why, but boy did I weep. And then I started laughing like a crazy person because I was crying about potatoes. Poor Kyle. If this happens to you, don’t worry, you will get back to normal.

Think for your family. Everyone is going to come at you and say, “oh do this.” Or, “they need to eat.” Or, “she’s been sleeping too long.” YOU know whats best for your baby. Ask for suggestions if you need them, but at the end of the day, trust that parental instinct.

Don’t compare. Everyone is different, and every baby is different. I think the worst thing Kyle and I did when we had Judah was to compare him and ourselves to other babies and parents in similar stages. Just don’t do it. It’s a nasty game, and it doesn’t bring any good.

It’s okay to not know what’s going on. Sometimes you just have to take it moment by moment, and that’s perfectly fine.

Happy birthing, friends! Can’t wait to meet your little babies 😉

 

A not so happy birthday.

Well, it happened again. The day that I welcomed age 27 was the day that I said goodbye to another baby. The third baby in less than a year.

I struggled with whether or not I wanted to share this…yet again. But after reading this blog post last night, I felt a duty to do so, more than anything. I don’t write these blogs to receive your pity or for you to say, “oh, you are so strong to share this!” In fact, I hate that this is my story, but it is. And I know God gives us our stories to share them with others, as a way to heal and to help others do so themselves.

I’ve always felt this way, even though I am a sucker for reading them, but sometimes lifestyle blogs are just crap. I’ve heard the argument time and time again that “my blog is written because I want to remember the good times, the highlights.” Sure, we all do. And, if you’re like me, reading the highlights is pretty great. But reading the real stuff is just as good. And posting it, to me, is important. After all, the highlights usually come after the storm. The lows are what bring them. No, I’m not being a pessimist, I’m just being real. This is life, and sometimes life is wonderful, and sometimes life’s a bitch.

Sure, it’s the internet and you can post whatever you want. I always say, if you don’t like it, don’t read it. And I still feel that way, but here’s my challenge to you: Understand that by posting only your “highlight reel” that you are perpetuating the comparison, competition, and struggle for perfection that is simply unattainable. You make people like me hesitate to share a story about my unborn child for fear of seeming “less” or “unfortunate” when that is so far from the truth. Sure, we all know it’s your highlight reel. We also all know that every perfect and thin woman we see in a magazine has been photoshopped. Does it stop us from comparing? Nope. I challenge you to continue to share the highlights. But also share some of the struggles. Share your story.

Thank you to the blogger who shared their disappointment from losing out on purchasing their first home. Thank you to the blogger who shares about her struggles to get pregnant. Thank you to the blogger who lets you know her house is just as messy as yours, and that it’s perfectly okay. Thank you to the blogger who was brave enough to share her story of loss.

I share my stories because miscarriage is something we cannot sweep under the rug any longer. It’s the loss of life, the loss of a child, and it deserves the grief it’s due. I’ve lost three, and each time, I’m expected to live life normally again within a day or two. Would I be treated like that if my son passed away? Absolutely not.

Kyle and I found out we were expecting again on Easter Sunday. After having gone through two miscarriages before, we were overjoyed to have conceived so quickly, yet apprehensive to become attached. We scheduled a visit with our doctor, and were able to see this itty bitty being, about the size of  a grain of rice on the screen. Our doctor told us the heartbeat was strong, and we could even see it pumping. Our fears and stress were lowered a bit more and we began to envision becoming a family of four. Another miscarriage was a looming thought, but it also seemed so unlikely.

A few weeks passed. We had only told our family at that point, which was kind of fun. It was our little secret growing and thriving in my belly. One Saturday morning, Kyle and I were getting Judah ready to head out the door to attend his first parade down the street. I ran to the bathroom, as I was always doing being in my first trimester, and my heart immediately sank. Bright red blood.

I called for Kyle and we immediately called the doctor on call who instructed us to go into the ER. There was nothing we could do but hope for the best. After an eternity of waiting and anxiety, and after four ultrasounds, they were able to find our baby and told us its heart was strong. “This must be a fluke,” they said. “Just ride it out,” they told us. “You’ll be fine, and your baby is healthy.”

We went home relieved. I researched online and found hundreds of women who testified to bleeding during their pregnancies to go on and deliver healthy babies. My spirits were high, and I felt okay.

Later that day I began to experience some cramping, and I thought it was just the effects of the multiple ultrasounds. Sunday the discomfort worsened, but I again blamed it on something else. On Monday, I called my doctor and requested an appointment just to be sure everything was fine. Though I trusted the ER doctor, he wasn’t an OB/GYN and my bleeding hadn’t slowed, nor did my cramps. Being the wonderful doctor that she is, she squeezed me in during her lunch break so that I could have an ultrasound done.

Again, we were flooded with relief. There was our baby. It was so much bigger than the last time we saw it that clearly. It was thriving and growing. Our doctor turned on the sound, and we were able to hear a steady and strong heartbeat. Our doctor reassured us that everything looked fine and that she would give us another ultrasound in a week and would continue to do so until the bleeding stopped.

Home we went, hopeful.

Two days later, it was my birthday. It started out being a fantastic day. It was sunny and warm, and we spent most of the afternoon at the park. When we got home, I was cramping pretty badly. I chalked it up to the discomfort that occurs when your body is growing and stretching, making room for your baby to live. I received some relief when I loosened my pants, and I was pretty excited that my belly seemed to have grown. But deep down, I knew better.

A few hours later, that nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach was confirmed. My cramps were now coming in waves and my bleeding was increasing. Th next thing I knew, I was fully contracting. I was in labor. I was in labor at seven weeks and six days.

After an hour and a half of intense pain, I lost the baby.

I remember falling to the floor, weeping. My child was in the toilet and I didn’t know what to do.

I called my mom later that evening and she knew immediately why her phone rang. I cried to her and told her that I just flushed my baby. She calmly said to me, “Honey, it’s okay. You didn’t do anything wrong. You know where your baby is now. That was only its earthly shell, you know where it really is.”

I do know. And that is the only thing that keeps me afloat some days. My babies are together. My babies are in heaven where they are receiving more love, more joy, and more fulfillment than Kyle or I could ever dream to provide them here on earth.

I will never erase that picture of my baby from my mind. I will never un-hear that little beating heart.

I write these blog posts to remember my children. To share their little lives and give them recognition.

I don’t understand why God took them away, and I never will. I don’t understand why it’s so easy for me to become pregnant, but so hard for me to keep my babies.

This year has been so tough. So, so tough. But also, so good. God is so good. He doesn’t do these things to harm, but to further his plans. Yes, I have often, and daily, wondered why this will further his plan for my life, but it will. I know it. And that is what I hold on to. That is my hope. That is my strength. That is my peace.

 

27 Things.

Well, tomorrow I turn the big 2-7. I thought it would be kind of fun to share 27 things about myself. Some of you may already know these facts, some might surprise you, and probably most of it is really just pointless information. But, either way, I’m writing them down.

1. I grew up being called “Fred.” In fact, I think until I graduated college, my sister called me “Fred” more than than she used my real name. It started when I was three and just stuck.

2. I am a Christian. I have debated discussing this on my blog because though I’m proud of the fact that I follow Christ and that I love him, I’m not always so proud of the things my fellow Christians do. This being a public blog, I didn’t want to turn people off because of that. But ultimately, that’s completely contradictory to my faith.

3.  I am a writer. But no, really, not just for this blog. I write for this company and am able to do so from home, which is amazing. If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, check it out. Seriously.

4. I’m a mother. I’ve had the privilege of carrying three different babies throughout my life. You can read about my unborn kiddos here and here and my little man Judah, here. Nothing gives me more joy than being the mother to this little boy.

DSC_0694-2

5. I love to cook. Cooking comfort food is especially my thing. I love to make stuff like a good beef stew, chicken pot pie, or a big pot of jambalaya. But…

6. I hate to bake. I love to eat sweets, but I do not have the patience for baking.

7. The beach is my favorite spot. I could go to the beach every day of the year. The smell of the saltwater and the feel of the sand, the sounds of the waves crashing to the shore, mmm. I could just soak that up forever.

photo 4

8. I am originally from New York state.  Everyone thinks when I say I’m from New York I mean NYC. Not the case. The town I grew up in was actually so rural, there is not even one traffic light. Its claim to fame is a Subway, a Chinese restaurant, and a college, which practically everyone who lives in the town works in or attends. Just to give you an even better idea for how small it is, I graduated with a class of 35. I went to private school, but the average size of the public schools in the area were around 60-65.

9. I’ve lived on both coasts. Thanks to my upbringing, I’ve officially lived life on the east coast, the midwest where I attended college, and now, on the west coast in Oregon.

10. I’m an over-analyzer. But seriously, about everything. I often will think and re-think, and try to guess what problems or future problems might arise because of my actions, plans I might make, or things that may happen. It’s exhausting, really, but mostly exhausting for my poor husband who has to listen as I verbally process it all.

11. I am a verbal processor, and in other cases a written one. This blog is a prime example. Basically, it’s me processing through something and sharing with the internet. Lucky you!

12. I have two tattoos. One is on my left ribcage that says, “my beloved” in Hebrew. Yes, I know Posh spice has that and I also know it’s a little cliche to have the Hebrew tattoo, but whatever. I love it and it means a lot to me. I got it the first year I was married and it’s a reminder to me of how much my husband loves me, and how much God loves me, and has created me as his “beloved.” Tattoo number two is on my right inner elbow/forearm. It is a section of a Josh Garrels lullaby that he wrote for his child. I used to play it over and over for Judah while I held him and danced trying to keep him calm throughout his colicky stage. The lyrics state, “Love I never knew filled my heart when I held you.” It is the best way to describe becoming a mother. It’s a love never experienced before and that time with Judah was both stretching and one I will hold dear forever. And, despite my family’s distaste for tattoos of all shapes and sizes (yes mom, I see that eye roll) I cannot promise those two will be my last.

13. My favorite drink is a margarita. I enjoy wine and beer, but if I could have a margarita every day, I definitely would. Maybe when I’m old and retired I’ll indulge that.

14. I’d buy fresh flowers every week….if I could. Sometimes I think rich people can really indulge in some silly things, but something I would do if I could throw $10-$15 in the trash every week would be buying fresh flowers, just like these found at our local farmer’s market.

10001070_615655615178114_4360689455795925190_o

15. My middle name is Ruth. This is also my great grandmother’s name, my grandmother’s middle name, my mom’s middle name, and if someday I am blessed with a little girl, it will be her’s too. I love that it’s been passed down through the family and that I have the privilege of having it.

16. I can fold myself into a pretzel. Yep, totally can. And I checked a few months ago, and I still got it!

17. Reading puts me to sleep. Except when it comes to The Great Gatsby and The Hunger Games Trilogy. Otherwise, don’t even bother.

18. I love Bette Davis movies. I adore that actress. My mom introduced me to her movies when I was just a little girl. I love her sassy characters and overly dramatic plot lines. Not to mention, she is beautiful and looks just like my Grandma Lewis.

19. I was blonde. I had blonde hair as a kid and until I was about 16. I started dying it dark brown my senior year of high school and now it naturally settles at a light brown.

20. I have a love/hate relationship with “selfies.” Let me explain this. I can appreciate taking a picture of yourself, or an “artistic self-portrait” (it’s really a selfie, come on) if you will. But, let’s just get to the bottom of it. I despise when people post a “selfie” and then use some cryptic quote or caption at the bottom. Just be honest with it and say, “Instagram followers: I am ROCKIN’ this outfit today and I thought you should see it!” or “Hey-o, I actually showered, put makeup on, and did my hair and I’m feelin’ pretty good! Let me share that with you, and please tell me I look good back!” We all know certain “selfies” are fishing for complements…aka those ones you post when you’re not wearing makeup and you have to specifically point that out to get tons of likes and “oh, you’re so beautiful, I never would have known!” Or those ones where you’re gazing off into the distance, looking pensive and oh so “hipster.” Also, taking a “selfie” to make fun of a “selfie” is still technically a “selfie.” Just saying. But in all honesty, I never can tell when people aren’t wearing any makeup, cause they are usually just naturally beautiful, I can appreciate your awesome hipster outfit and pensive looks, and an laugh at your sarcastic duck face and appreciate that. So go on with your selfie taking selves, just be honest about it, that’s all.

21. I have been to five countries. Canada, Mexico, The Czech Republic, Australia, and Honduras.

22. I hate birds. To me, they are super creepy and diseasey. And I have this irrational fear that they’re just going to rise up and start pecking people. Isn’t that a movie? Though, I do appreciate their chirping on a nice summer day.

23.  My favorite holiday is Christmas. Come on, who’s isn’t? Well, it’s probably at least in the top three if not number one.

24. I’m horrible at bowling. I think my “high score” was an 80 once?

25. I’m an introvert. I’m terribly awkward and horrible at making eye-contact. I’d rather crawl into a hole by myself than be in front of a large group of people, or be the center of attention. There is no way I would ever say anything I write in my blog out loud. Unless I know you really well, and unless I’ve had a margarita…or two. Good thing there are blogs, otherwise I’d explode.

26. I’m a closet cusser. I know my sister also shares this gene. I’m never bothered when other people say cuss words, unless it’s around my kiddo, then watch it. Otherwise, it’s just language to me. And sometimes, when I’m really upset, or I hit the stupid pole in our apartment parking space for the tenth time that month, or I bite my lip when eating, there is just nothing else to say but a cuss word. Am I right?

27. I’m a terrible parker. As stated, I’ve hit a few things now and again when parking. It’s pretty much a miracle any time I’m actually between the lines.

So, now that you know 27 pointless facts about me, don’t  you just feel like we could be besties?? And, so you’re warned, I will be publishing a blog about 30 things I’d like to do before I’m 30. So be prepared for that in the near future.

Have a fabulous week everyone, we’re off to the beach this weekend to celebrate yours truly and my glorious arrival into this world with friends, and I cannot wait!

 

 

Being Me.

Happy Monday! I hope all the mothers out there, in every sense of the word, had a wonderful day surrounded by their loved ones yesterday. I had a fabulous weekend with my two men, who spoiled me with coffee, a new nightstand, the best burger I’ve had in a long time, and fresh donuts on Sunday morning.

But…this post isn’t about Mother’s Day, it’s actually about me. I know, so humble right?

So, sometimes–and by sometimes I really mean more frequently than I’d like to admit–I just have out and out pity parties for myself. I think about all the things I was going to do or could have done and wonder what it would be like if I had. I look at other women my age who are pursing something similar to what I wanted to do and finding great success in it, and that little bug of jealousy rears it’s ugly head, leaving me in a puddle of self-induced sorrow. Pathetic right? Especially when I snap out of it and take a look at what’s really around me every day.

Back in my early college days, when shows like The Hills were all the rage, (yeah LC!) I really wanted to pursue something in fashion. I loved it. I was always well-dressed in college, except for those inevitable 8:00 a.m. classes where sweatpants were mandatory. I’d often have people on my floors frequent my closet to borrow my clothes, or ask for my advice on their outfits before a big date or whatever. I liked playing that role. I liked being confident in what I wore, and being able to help others feel good about what they were wearing too. I had dreams of opening up my own shop someday, and even had an internship with a small boutique in Ft. Wayne, Indiana to start learning the ropes. Then, I met Kyle. When we started dating, I wasn’t thinking that this was the year I would meet my husband. But, lucky for me, I did, and plans changed. And they changed for the better. Sometimes I think back to opening my own little store, realizing I never pursued it, and feel that twinge of regret. But then I snap out of it, and I think, if I had, I wouldn’t be married to the man I get to call my husband. My life just wouldn’t be complete.

I have held similar desires toward things like photography, or fitness, or blogging. I tried to be a photographer, but that just didn’t pan out for me, despite my efforts, and that’s okay. Instead, I get to use what I know to create great memories for my family, and there’s a lot less pressure involved. I get to do it for the pure joy, and nothing else. I’ve also really been into yoga lately. I have been taking a class from this lovely lady (but seriously, check out that link to her Instagram, she is insanely talented). I have always enjoyed the practice of yoga and the ability to see the small progressions your body makes, even in just one session. However, I also want to have more babies, and I can’t really be doing forearm stands while pregnant. Therefore, my dreams of becoming a really great yogi are going to be a little suspended, but that’s okay. That doesn’t mean that I can’t lay a great foundation for my practice now, one that will really get me ready for doing things like a forearm stand someday in the future. And that doesn’t mean I should enjoy doing yoga any less. After all, it’s basically the only thing that gets me out of bed at 6:45 a.m.

photo 1-2

photo 2

And blogging. I started this blog in a different state of mind, as a frustrated mom of a colicky baby who felt so isolated. I loved my new role as mommy, but I also longed for something more. Everyone else’s life with their newborn seemed like nothing short of constant bliss compared to my scream-fests every day. When I wrote that first blog post, it was for nothing more than to vent. Writing has always been the best way for me to express myself clearly, and I definitely had a few things I needed to get off my chest. After receiving a lot of success from my posts, I’ve toyed with the idea of making some money off of my blog. But I quickly realized, in doing so, I wouldn’t be writing for myself, I’d be writing for the potential of making money (for those who do, there is nothing wrong with that, I’m simply saying I couldn’t personally find that balance). Instead of writing when I wanted to, I’d feel pressured to keep up a schedule, which wouldn’t allow me to be as spontaneous and write from the heart. And for me, that’s okay.

I’ve been asking myself a lot lately, when is it going to be okay to just be me? And by that question, what I really mean is, when am I going to be okay with just being me?

I’m a major people pleaser by nature. I hate feeling that others will be upset with me or dislike me. Previously, to the point of completely disregarding myself and the things I enjoy in life to pursue what would make me “look good” in the eyes of whoever I was trying to live up to. Such a lame way to live life, and I’m finally starting to see that. A few times throughout this past year, I have been able to stand up for myself when I’ve been wronged, or haven’t wanted to do something, and it feels great! But I’ve got a long way to go, and part of that will come with rooting my foundation–being okay with my choices and being me.

In just a few short weeks I’ll be turning 27. That’s a lot closer to 30 than I used to be. I’ve always envisioned being 30 as reaching the pinnacle of “you-dom” (yep, just made that up). You are who you are, and you embrace it. Throughout your 20’s there is so much change and shifting in life, things that happen which begin to define who you are. Not that there aren’t any changes when you’re in your 30’s, or 40’s or 50’s, but I just feel that by that time, these changes probably occur with a bit more of a grounded foundation. At least, that’s what I’d like for myself.

Instead of choosing a career in fashion, I chose to get married and become a mother. And you know what? I’d rather wear clothes covered in peanut butter and yogurt and watch Mad Men and the end of the day with my husband than be doing anything else. I love being a mom, it’s my thing. Instead of being a super awesome yogi right now, I’m slowly learning the habits to get there, while allowing myself time to fully focus on my son while he still actually wants my attention. And I love that. It works for me. I love the opportunity to practice yoga first thing in the morning and to attend class on Tuesdays. It’s a great way to start my day and get a little me time in. My forearm stand is waiting for me in the future, and I’m happy with that for now.

photo

In the midst of my pity party last week, I was reviewing these feelings with Kyle, and he said something to me that I think is so true. Being a mom, or not being a mom, or wanting to be a mom, it just totally changes your entire world. It determines your priorities. We began talking about the different roles that moms can play. We determined that there is a bit of a scale when it comes to motherhood. There are the moms that live solely for their kids on one side, and the moms who have kids who live solely for them on the other, you know, kind of like an accessory. Then, there’s that sweet spot in the middle of the perfect balance. When moms prioritize their kids just right, while still prioritizing themselves and their own dreams. I think that’s the place every mom strives for, we all just end up somewhere different on the scale, wherever that may be.

But ah…that perfect balance.

Here’s to finding it, and here’s to working my way toward finally being okay with being me. Twenty seven, I’m coming for you.

photo 3 copy 3

Another Goodbye.

Early in the morning on January 6, Kyle and I rejoiced together–we were going to have another baby. We excitedly told our son, Judah that he was going to be a big brother. We had wanted our kids to be fairly close in age, and were elated to be expanding our family.

Being new to the area, I had no idea what doctors were the best, but some friends filled me in, and we were able to find a great one. We scheduled our first appointment to meet her and begin the journey to having another child.

Because this wasn’t my first pregnancy, I began to show pretty quickly. Here I am one evening before bed, approximately seven weeks along. It was exciting to me to be looking pregnant so soon, I always loved the “cute” pregnant time, when you have those small baby bumps, regular sized ankles, and a normal amount of energy.

photo-2

Kyle and I Skyped with our parents, who were all overjoyed with the news of adding another grandchild to the family. A bit later, we told our siblings and a select few friends. We began planning out how we’d configure our living space for another little one, and I dug out all my old maternity clothes, and began taking inventory of new purchases I’d need to make to keep myself comfortable in the upcoming summer months with a big belly in tow.

A few weeks passed, and we were scheduled for an ultrasound to pinpoint a more accurate due date. On February 4, one month after finding out our exciting news, we woke up early and excited. We never had an early ultrasound with Judah, so this was a new experience for both Kyle and I, and we were so excited to see our little babe. I remember going into the doctor’s office and seeing a fellow patient come out of the door to the waiting room looking at pictures of her ultrasound, a smile spread across her face. She was looking at some of her baby’s first precious photos. This made my excitement grow ten-fold.

Shortly after observing this woman, Kyle and I were called back to the ultrasound room. I got ready, and my doctor came in, time to see our baby! She spread that warm jelly around my belly, and immediately, we saw our little babe. There it was! So small, but so defined. We could see it’s little nose, and the beginnings of what would be hands and feet. As soon as I saw it, my heart was overflowing with love. It was real. We were a family of four now. Judah was a big brother, and we were parents of two. I couldn’t wait to meet my child.

The doctor adjusted the wand once, and asked me if I had been experiencing any abnormalities. When I said no, she smiled at me. Then she let me know she was going to refocus the picture and walk us through what was on the screen. First, she said, “Here is the pregnancy.”

I beamed. That was my baby! Here it is! But I should have known. It was foreshadowing. She didn’t call it a baby. She called it, “the pregnancy.”

The smile that was spread across my face was quickly swiped away with the next five words the doctor spoke. Five words that changed me. Five words that changed Kyle.

“Unfortunately, there is no heartbeat.”

Unfortunately. Unfortunately. That word echoes over and over in my head on a daily basis. Unfortunately.

Immediately I began to weep. I could see my baby, my precious baby, but it was gone. Taken from us in an instant. Gone before I could ever hold him or her. Gone before we could meet it. Gone before we even knew if it was a boy or girl. Gone before Judah was able to play with him or her. Gone before we could say happy birthday. Gone before we could whisper, “I love you.”

Gone.

The rest of the appointment was a blur. I remember asking her how far along the baby was and she told me 8 weeks. After that, all I kept hearing was, “unfortunately” over and over again. That, and feeling the strongest desire to run so fast to the car and just sob uncontrollably. Somehow, we made it through the rest of the appointment, and thankfully, no one was in the waiting room when we left. I don’t know if I could have bared to see a happily expecting mother in that moment.  (*Side note, I’m okay with seeing expecting mothers now. In fact, it still makes me smile just as much as it did before.*)

Kyle and I cried together in the car, and I wept for the rest of the way home. The worst part to me was that my baby was alone. I couldn’t hold my child during their final moments. I couldn’t kiss my baby and soothe any discomfort it might have felt. I was helpless. Sure, my baby was with me, but I couldn’t mother him or her the way I wanted to–the way I would have, had I been able. I felt so devastated that its life and final moments were spent alone.

Kyle was so strong, has been so strong for me. He’s let me cry, talked with me, weighed our next steps, and took care of Judah when I couldn’t.

In the midst of our heartache, we have been surrounded by so much support. From new friends who barely know us, to old ones who call or send texts from afar just to check in. We have felt so much prayer from both family and friends, and our healing has begun because of it.

During our days of hardest grief, we were battling with what steps to take next. Frankly, insurance blows. It’s terrible, and I was so angry that we had to navigate over-priced deductibles and fees when we should have solely been focusing on grieving and celebrating the life of this little child. Luckily, God answered our prayers and has provided for us in ways we never expected.

This weekend, Kyle and I will be saying good-bye to the earthly parts of our baby. We know our child’s soul is already dancing in Heaven, and we cannot wait to be reunited someday.

Sweet baby, it was such an honor, such a privilege to carry you for the time I was able. I hope with all my heart that you know how loved you are. That you know how highly anticipated your arrival was. That you understand the joy you brought to our lives. And, so you don’t go without hearing it, happy birthday. I love you. 

Judah’s First Birthday In Photos

Judah has been one for almost a month now and I still can’t believe it. (Click here to read about his birth.)  Here are a few snaps from his first birthday party a few weeks ago. Happy weekend!

The set up. It was rainy, so we had to improvise, but it worked out well. Thanks to Judah's grandparents for letting us use their garage!

The set up. It was rainy, so we had to improvise, but it worked out well. Thanks to Judah’s grandparents for letting us use their garage!

We opted for pie instead of cake- the theme was Judah's favorite things and these are all his favorite fruits.

We opted for pie instead of cake- the theme was Judah’s favorite things and these are all his favorite fruits.

DSC_0054

Birthday tradition- sparklers, since he was SO close to being a firecracker baby

Birthday tradition- sparklers, since he was SO close to being a firecracker baby

DSC_0056DSC_0076

Birthday Boy!

Birthday Boy!

The cake has been spotted

The cake has been spotted

DSC_0051DSC_0104DSC_0105DSC_0107DSC_0122DSC_0121DSC_0120DSC_0123DSC_0124DSC_0125DSC_0126DSC_0134

Dominated.

Dominated.

DSC_0140DSC_0154DSC_0146

Friends

Friends

DSC_0159

Happy Birthday, Judah! We love you!

Happy Birthday, Judah! We love you!