The Trenches

“You’re in the trenches.” I’ve heard this phrase many times in the last year, and I’ve not really known what to make of it until recently. It is typically used to refer to parents who have multiples under the age … Continue reading

Dear Second Child

My mom didn’t make my baby book until I asked for one for my 12th birthday. I always thought, “how could she not make me a baby book?” Not to mention there was this cross stitch picture she made for my sister, amongst other things.

Mom, I get it now. And thank you for making me one for my 12th birthday.

Dear Second Child,

I love you just as much as your older sibling. I promise I do. Yes, I did a baby book for your brother’s first year of life, carefully and joyfully documenting each month and putting it together in a beautiful album. Yes, you are five months old now, and no, I have not purchased your album yet. But rest assured, I’ve got all your important moments documented in my Instagram account. Yep…

Yes, we have video footage of your brother’s developmental milestones. And, to be fair, we do have attempts at yours…they are just marred by a certain three year old waving his hands in front of the camera or crazily chatting over your precious cooing sounds.

No, I did not have your crib bedding specially made. I got you a blanket at Babies R Us and used the rest of your brother’s old hand me down bedding.

Yes, most of your clothes (okay, all of your clothes) are freebies because I realize now that babies grow so fast and I’m not wasting my money on brand new outfits that you will wear for approximately five minutes. Don’t worry, if you’re anything like me, we will make up for lost new outfits later in life.

Yes, I cloth diapered your brother’s little baby bottom, but honey–ain’t nobody got time for that amount of laundry these days. Disposable diapers have served you well and will continue to do so.

I often let your brother nap in my arms as much as possible. I’m afraid I don’t have that luxury with you. You see, the longer I hold you, the more I risk you being woken up by a certain three almost four year old who is bashing his cars and Hulk smashing everything. I save a little extra snuggle time for you every night before I put you to bed for two reasons. One, because I love to have that time just you and I (and daddy is home to help keep child number one under control ;)) and two, because I often fall asleep right along with you out of sheer exhaustion.

We have made it a point to write letters to both you and your brother to give to you when you’re older. You do have some…just not as many. We will catch up, I promise.

Oh second child, my love for you is not any less than it is for your brother. It’s just that your brother doesn’t nap, and you don’t sleep at night, so it’s all I can do to make sure everyone is clothed, fed, and safe. This too shall pass, and hopefully by the time you are 12, I will have purchased your baby album.

Don’t take it personally. Someday if you have babies of your own, you will understand, much like I am now understanding. I love you deeply, and you have completed our family in the best way possible. And I promise you, I will print photos of you soon. At least by the time you’re old enough to know whether or not there are pictures of you on the wall. IMG_0778

 

 

 

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Summer Adventures

The summer is finally winding down and I’m hoping *fingers crossed* that we’ve had our last week of 90-plus degree weather. We managed to skip out on the last scorcher by going to our favorite beach with some friends, which ended up being a pretty fabulous day.

I thought I’d share some of our recent adventures with you via some slightly terrible iPhone photos. We’ve been lucky to have had some visits from family over the summer, so it’s given us a great excuse to continue exploring our new state and showing off the sites. Despite the drought we’ve been having, I gotta say, Oregon is beautiful in the summer.

We went to the beach and Silver Falls with Kyle’s parents, and as part of our anniversary, Kyle and I decided to do five little things to celebrate five years. Honestly, most of them are favored around Judah, but Kyle and I will getaway someday 🙂 One of our five things for five years included a family trip to Newport beach where we stayed overnight at a resort to swim, be lazy, and visit the aquarium. Judah had a BLAST.  And…photos:

Pacific City, OR

Pacific City, OR

Pacific City, OR

Pacific City, OR. My mother-in-law is braving the massive sand dune. She was the only one willing to climb it that day. Her reward was $1.50 and a high five 😉

Pacific City, OR

Pacific City, OR

Pacific City, OR

Pacific City, OR

Pacific City, OR

Pacific City, OR. This is one of my favorite photos. One, my husband looks gooood. Two, he looks extra handsome whenever he’s exploring the great outdoors. Three, there is little better than a daddy carrying his child…hello! Four, Judah looks tiny in this photo, almost like a baby 🙂

Silver Falls, OR. Shoulder rides with Grandpa.

Silver Falls, OR. Shoulder rides with Grandpa.

Silver Falls, OR

Silver Falls, OR

Silver Falls, OR. Strawberry face.

Silver Falls, OR. Strawberry face.

Silver Falls, OR. He's always such a great helper.

Silver Falls, OR. He’s always such a great helper.

Silver Falls, OR. Hiking buddies for life.

Silver Falls, OR. Hiking buddies for life.

Newport Aquarium.

Newport Aquarium.

Newport Aquarium. Looking at the seals.

Newport Aquarium. Looking at the seals.

Newport Aquarium. Surrounded by fish.

Newport Aquarium. Surrounded by fish.

Newport Aquarium

Newport Aquarium

Newport Aquarium. He loves his sea lion.

Newport Aquarium. He loves his sea lion.

Tomorrow my Oregon adventures continue on a hike with some amazing women. I have a feeling it’s going to be one of those days that completely refreshes my soul. Hope you all have a fantastic Labor Day weekend!

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 😉

 

5 Years

This past Friday, Kyle and I celebrated our five year wedding anniversary. Holy crap. Are we really at five years already? Our wedding day literally seems like it was yesterday…yet also such a long time ago. Over the last five years, we have grown so much both individually, and as a couple.

The night before our anniversary came, I looked over at Kyle and said, “This year’s been a doosey hasn’t it?” We laughed about it, but really, it has. This year alone, we have been stretched in more ways than I think each of us have experienced in one short time span ever in our lives. Roughly in the last year, we have and continue to grieve three miscarriages, we moved across the country leaving our family and friends behind, faced job uncertainty, and lost significant friendships.  Honestly, I think we’ve had more arguments this year alone than our previous four years combined.

However, these trials we have faced are also some of the best things that have happened to us. Experiencing the loss of our unborn babies has opened up new conversations for us about our family structure and what we really want that to look like. It has also, in a strange way, given us a renewed love and appreciation for the beautiful son we have. Our time with job uncertainty has helped me to learn the value in the way my husband relentlessly pursues his passions. He does not give up. And he ALWAYS wants the best for me and for Judah. Leaving our friends and family has caused us to rely on one another in ways we haven’t always needed to. Yes, it’s caused some strain for obvious reasons, but it’s also pushed us to finally consider what is best for our core family unit, not everyone else’s. It has allowed us to step back and begin weeding through what we want and don’t want as parents, as a couple, and as a family.

This year reminded us that marriage is tough. It’s not all happiness and fun times. Marriage takes hard work, and it takes commitment. Though this year has been both amazing and difficult, I wouldn’t trade it in. This year has opened up our eyes to new ways in which to communicate to each other, to encourage one another, pray for each other, and love each other. For me personally, this year has shown me the amazing patience Kyle has for me and my shortcomings. It has also revealed to me the length that he would go to help me become the best person I can be.

Looking back five years ago, I didn’t think this is where we would be now. Sure, some things have lined up, but others haven’t. And you know, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Doing life with this man has been an incredible ride that always keeps me on my toes, and I cannot wait to look back another five years from now.

Thanks for asking me to be your wife, Kyle. I’m one lucky lady.

Photo Booth pictures courtesy of Roth Photography

Photo Booth pictures courtesy of Roth Photography

 

From Indiana to Oregeon

Well, we’ve officially been Oregonians for a week now, and so far we are loving it! This area is beautiful, it’s pretty awesome when you run down the street to Target (yes, Target is 5 minutes from our apartment…freaking out!!) and you see this when you pull into the parking lot:

So...this isn't the actual view from Target, but it's pretty similar, I just haven't take a photo of it yet.

So…this isn’t the actual view from Target, but it’s pretty similar, I just haven’t take a photo of it yet.

Our trip out was smooth. We know a lot of you were praying for us along the way, and those prayers were felt. We had no issues with weather, and Judah was amazing in the car. And I’m definitely going to brag about it because we only used the iPad twice in a week long, 32 hour journey. Also, we do not have DVD capabilities in our car. Let that speak to how great our kiddo was (at least until we arrived…).

We mapped out our trip according to play places and malls. And, luckily the weather was good enough to enjoy a park one afternoon. photo 3

Typically, we lounged at the hotel and let Judah burn off some morning energy and then took off  after lunch, just in time for his afternoon nap. Then, we’d stop somewhere for dinner, and try to burn some more steam for a few hours until bedtime, when we’d hop back in the car and drive for a longer period of time. Repeat schedule for the next 7 days. photo 1 copy photo 3 copy photo 4 photo 5

Once we reached Colorado, we stopped for a day to visit some of Kyle’s friends from his time living in Loveland. They were gracious enough to let us stay the night and stretch our legs for a while before hitting the road again. From that point on, our drive was pretty beautiful. Our favorite part, by far, was Utah. With sights like this, spending hours in the car wasn’t so bad. photo 1 copy 2 photo 2 copy 2 photo 3 copy 2

And…a week later, we ended up in Oregon! We’re still getting settled in, but luckily we didn’t have to wait terribly long for our stuff to arrive in the moving truck. Since we got rid of a lot of things, setting up our new place didn’t take very long. And, our butts will be pleased, we will have a couch this Wednesday. I’ll post a few photos from some favorite corners of our new place soon.

Thanks again for all the prayers and thoughts as we made the move. For now, we’re exploring our new hometown and getting to know all the fun things that are here for us. photo 2

 

Anniversary post…and another move.

I got an email last week letting me know it’s been one year since my first blog post. Holy moly. One year already? As I sat and reflected on where I was at the time of that post, to where I am now, it’s been a crazy, wonderful, beautiful, trying, exciting, stressful, and fantastic ride.

I love being the mother to the most amazing little boy I’ve ever known. He gave Kyle and I a run for our money straight out of the gate, but to look at who he is today, how he has shaped us as parents–I’m so grateful for those initial struggles. Judah is the best thing to ever happen to Kyle and I, and you’d never know he was such a challenge if you knew him today. He’s sweet, mischievous, adventurous, friendly, and so loving. He has my heart.

Our little family has been through a lot since that first blog post. And, we’re about to go through yet another transition. This one is our craziest yet, but goodness, it’s going to be amazing.

Since we’ve known each other, Kyle and I have dreamed of a life out west. Well, more Kyle at first, until I took my first trip to Colorado. Once there, I was sold on the dream too. However, we decided to stay in Indiana after getting married instead of making the move right after saying our “I do’s.” But, the mountains, the hiking, the adventures, they’ve been tugging at us every year we’ve been here.

We don’t regret making the decision to stay. Because we stayed in Indiana, we were able to figure one another out in our early married life in a familiar area with friends and family close by. Kyle was able to get his master’s degree, and I was able to have the privilege of working with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, in a job I’d never have imagined myself doing. I was also able to support my husband as he got his master’s, and I’m sure proud of that. In turn, with my husband’s support, I was able to be a stay-at-home mom for most of the first year of Judah’s life. In fact, I still am. But now, I get to write and be apart of a wonderful company full of individuals who genuinely care for each other and their customers. If we had moved away early on, these things wouldn’t have happened.

But, it’s time for us to go now. Those of you who know Kyle and I, know that we’ve moved…..a lot…over the last four years. It’s not because we enjoy packing and unpacking our things, trust me. We’ve kept moving because deep down, we’ve known this place isn’t for us anymore. Sure, we’d try out a different place, a different town, in hopes of finding our happiness, our niche, our place to spread our roots. But we’ve never found it. Not here anyway.

It’s a difficult conclusion to come to, and we haven’t done it lightly. We are leaving our families and going farther from them than we ever have before. We have received support from some, and not so much from others, and when you’re making a big life changing decision like this, it’s hard without that support. But we know this is right. We know it deep down, to our bones.

Next month, Kyle, Judah, and I are packing up for hopefully the second to last time for quite a while (last time being if we ever buy a house), and moving to Oregon. We will be an hour from the ocean (my soul’s sanctuary) and 30 minutes from the mountains (Kyle’s sanctuary).

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Since moving to our current location, Judah has made one friend here (yay Remmington!!), and not for lack of trying for more. But everywhere we go, we are alone. And let me tell you, this little boy has so much to offer and he deserves tons of friends.

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Typical, not one other kid at the playground. This is the third one we’ve tried in our town.

Same goes for my husband. He loves adventure and the great outdoors and he wants to share that with his son. He wants to teach Judah how to map out hikes, he wants to jump with him in clear pools of water way up in the mountains. He wants to explore, and go camping with his son. He wants to show Judah that there’s more out there than flat land and corn (not that there’s anything wrong with that). And he deserves to do that. He deserves to be the father he has always wanted to be to his son. He deserves to have those experiences.

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I want to splash with my little boy in the ocean waves. I want to build sand castles and watch the boats come in. I want to wade with him in the tide pools and look for “sea creatures” up on the shore. I deserve that. I deserve to explore and adventure with my son. I deserve to be the mom I’ve always wanted to be for my son. I deserve to have those experiences.

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Judah loves to explore. He loves to be outside. He loves to splash in the water. He loves to see and discover new things. He loves to be around other kids when he can. He deserves to play and discover. He deserves to make friends. He deserves to have those experiences.

Crazy, yes. Unexpected, maybe. But, if you really know us, it’s not. Challenging and scary, of course. But we’re doing it. We’re taking the risk. The time has come, and we’re making the move.

I recently saw this quote posted by Sevenly and I think it fits perfectly for our current situation:

“Sometimes life is about risking everything for a dream no one can see but you.”

So, if you’re ever on the west coast, or ever want to go, you’ve always got a free place to stay, adventures to be had, and if I really like you, I’ll even throw in a couple meals. 🙂

On to the next adventure we go!

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Father’s Day

We had the privilege of having some photos done this weekend by the talented Annie Cline of Furore Photography. This gifted mama gave up the better part of her afternoon and precious time with her daughters and husband to photograph several families and give the profits to Destiny Rescue, a ministry dedicated to fighting sex trafficking. It’s very near and dear to both our hearts, and I’m so happy there are people like Annie to help spread the word and support such a wonderful cause.

I realized that I never wrote a post about Kyle’s first official Father’s Day. I’m sure it doesn’t bother him, but I feel like his day deserves a little recognition on the blog 😉 We didn’t have any big “to do,” just a nice, relaxing Sunday at home. Judah and I made Kyle some breakfast and gave him a photo album full of some great father/son moments. It was a great family day.

This preview that Annie posted from our session just melts me. My husband loves his son in such an amazing way and he deserves to have an outstanding Father’s Day every year. He is patient, kind, loving, playful, and nurturing in all the ways a father should be. The way my husband loves our son is a beautiful thing. Thank you Annie for capturing this moment and for using your talents to further the Kingdom.

Photo taken by Furore Photography

Photo taken by Furore Photography

Kyle is a fantastic father, simply put. It’s such an honor to be able to partner with this great man in raising a family. Judah and I are certainly two lucky people to have snagged this one. We love you to the moon and back.