Thursday, May 25, 2017

Velvet Dress

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Dress: Shein (c/o, get the exact one here) // Necklace: J. Crew Factory (exact one here) // Purse: Coach (similar here) // Shoes: Target (similar here)

So I am super behind on blogging (quelle surprise), but hopefully the fabulousness of this dress will make up for it! I love that it's velvet/stretchy and a wrap so it's very forgiving and flattering on all body types. Plus the dark blue tone is absolutely gorgeous (not to mention a great backdrop for Bingley's orange fur). It totally reminds me of Kate Middleton in this dress! And we all know how much I love her. The price on this dress can't be beat either ($17!!!).

Feeling: Hungry.
About: To go to a friend's graduation party!
Happy: That it's almost my birthday!!!!
Days Until Christmas: 214!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Erin Condren LifePlanner

As a newly minted (mostly) stay-at-home-mom, you would think my life would be simpler in some ways than it was a few months ago. At least, I expected it to. I figured I'd just be home most days doing stuff around the house, taking care of Henrik, going to the gym, running by the grocery store, and that would be about it. 

But of course, this has not been the case.

There is SO much to keep track of! Henrik's doctor's appointments, my doctor's appointments (I've had many with my recent health issues), meal planning, church obligations, blogging obligations, trips, family weddings, etc. etc. 

My planner has been a serious life-saver for me. I thought my "pregnancy brain" would go away post-baby but it appears that "mom brain" is also a real thing and I find myself being quite forgetful these days too. Writing everything down in my planner has made a huge difference. It helps me keep track of when appointments are, dates that things are due, what's for dinner, and so much more. 

I can write out what chores I need to do around the house each day so I don't feel overwhelmed. Sometimes I think I need to just do it all in one day but of course, that is not realistic. Picking one or two tasks (clean the bathroom, sweep the floors) to do a day is much more manageable and has helped me from getting too stressed or having expectations for myself that I simply cannot achieve. 

These LifePlanners from Erin Condren are seriously SO great! You can customize them so they are the exact layout you want (I am super picky about this) plus they are gorgeous! You can even get them personalized (like I did). I also got some corresponding stationery and return address labels. I'm in love. I really might order some more matching items from their website. The quality is very high and you can tell that their whole company is very detail-oriented. Nothing has been overlooked in their planners. It's really helped me stay organized and because my planner is so pretty, I get excited to use it! Who wouldn't be excited to use items that are as beautiful as these? I feel so creative when I use them and like each day is a party or celebration of sorts. It's so fun!!

If you're interested in buying a planner or any other organizational item, be sure to check out Erin Condren's website here! They have some great deals going on and you can pick up some wonderful organizational tools that fit you and your lifestyle. 

This post was sponsored by Erin Condren. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Year Ago Today....

A year ago today, something I was starting to think wasn't going to happen finally did. My prayers were answered and I knew I was receiving one of the greatest blessings of my life.

A year ago today, I realized in 9 months everything was going to change in the best way possible. I felt overwhelmed but beyond happy and excited.

A year ago today, I read that you were the size of a poppyseed and I couldn't understand how I could suddenly love someone soooo teeny tiny that I hadn't even met yet, but I did. And somehow, I love you even more with every passing moment.

A year ago today, I told your dad about your impending arrival and it was one of the best moments. He cried and we hugged for a long time and talked and talked and talked about what our new life would be like with three of us. I knew he would make an incredible father, and I was right.

A year ago today, I thought for sure I was having a girl. And yet today, I cannot imagine having anyone else but you.

A year ago today, I wondered what you would look like. What color your hair would be (blonde), what shade of eyes you would have (the prettiest dark blue), if you would look more like me or your dad (jury is still out on that one).

A year ago today, I pictured what your birthday would be like. Would it be painful? Would I have a C-section? Would I be ok during it? It turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I'd happily do it all over again a million times.

A year ago today, I wondered what it would be like to have my parents suddenly become grandparents and see them interact with you. It's just as wonderful as I thought it would be, if not more. You have a way of making everyone around you instantly light up and it's so fun to watch.

A year ago today, I started imagining your smiles and laughs. Wondering what life would be like with you and how we would navigate this new parent/child relationship together. I knew there would be hard days, but I knew there would be great ones too (and I was right).

A year ago today, I pictured what our life would be like. Even though you screamed at me quite a bit today (I think you're teething), you have been so sweet. I went to get you out of your bassinet this morning and you gave me the biggest, happiest smile as soon as we locked eyes. I instantly melted. Sometimes we just sit and stare at each other and I try to memorize every little detail of your perfect little face because I know tomorrow, you will look just a wee bit different and before I know it, you won't be a baby any more. While this makes me sad, I also am really enjoying watching you learn and grow and develop everyday.

A year ago today, I couldn't wait for you to arrive. You light up my world and I couldn't be more grateful to be your mom. It's the greatest privilege I will ever have.

A year ago today, I knew life would be good, but I didn't know it would be this good. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Leopard Dress

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Dress: Asos (On sale!! Get it here. Runs quite small, def size up 1 or 2 sizes) // Necklace: J. Crew Factory (get it here) // Purse: Kohl's (similar here) // Shoes: Target (similar here)

This dress was one of the first form-fitting pieces of clothing I have bought post-baby. I was quite scared when I ordered it because I didn't know if I'd like how it would fit (shapewear is your friend after baby), but after playing around with a few different sizes (it definitely runs small), I love it! Leopard print anything is irresistible to me so I'm really happy that it fits me well and I feel good in it. 

I was pretty lucky that my stomach never got terribly huge during pregnancy so losing pregnancy weight hasn't been too difficult. I've returned to my normal exercise routine and that seems to have helped most of it come off the last few months. I still have a few pounds to go, but if my body stayed how it is now, I'd be ok with that. It's definitely different and takes some getting used to though. My old clothes all fit again, just some of them fit a little differently (?) if that makes sense. I've enjoyed being able to wear my whole wardrobe again, it's helped me feel more like myself. 

There is soooooo much talk and pressure on women regarding their postpartum bodies and I can definitely understand why, but I have been trying to focus on how incredible our bodies are in general (sometimes easier said than done). I keep thinking about how amazing it is that our bodies can go through pregnancy and childbirth and still return to (mostly) their original state. It's truly miraculous what our bodies are capable of! And I feel so blessed to have experienced it. 

My advice to any woman after she gives birth is to get back to some form of physical activity as soon as you can do so safely and healthily. 3 days after getting back from the hospital, I started walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes a day. It probably didn't do much by way of helping me lose weight, but it did wonders for my mental/emotional health. I tried to focus on just feeling good rather than worrying about looking good. Even just doing that mild form of exercise helped me clear my head and boosted my self-confidence as I began my transition into motherhood. And to this day, it continues to help me. I'm a big believer in taking care of yourself first so that you can be the best mother to your baby as you can and going to the gym everyday has really helped me achieve that.

If you have any questions about exercise and health during and post-pregnancy, please feel free to reach out! I'd love to share more details of my experience with anyone that it could help. 

Finally: Got Henrik to sleep yaaaaay.
Wishing: There were just a few more hours in the day! It's hard to get much done haha. 
Just: Ate two chocolate Lindor balls. Sometimes (most of the time) I eat my feelings.
Days Until Christmas: 259!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Henrik's Newborn Photos + Life Update

Gaaaah his face.

Baby yawns are like the cutest thing ever.

I love it when his face gets so horizontal and squished.

I kiss him probably 5000 times a day.

Family of three!

My two favorite guys.

His toooooeeessss.

I cannot say enough good things about these photos. Seriously. They are so beautiful and perfect and a wonderful reminder of the joy that our son has brought into our lives. Vanessa, thank you!!!! If you're local and in need of a photographer, she's your gal. You can check out her website here (she also did my maternity photos!). The session was so fun and relaxing! She knew how to handle Henrik perfectly and make us feel really comfortable. I truly feel like she captured our love for him perfectly. 

The last (almost) three months have been amazing. Challenging at times for sure, but also incredible. This little guy is just the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to us. Chris and I make a pretty good team when it comes to parenting. As soon as he gets home, he is all hands on deck to help Henrik (and me). I could not do it without him. 

My parents have of course been a huge help too. They never pass up an opportunity to watch and hang out with him, even if he's just sleeping. My mom watches him every weekday for about an hour so I can go to the gym, which is sooooo helpful. Getting out of the house, even if it's just to go walk on a treadmill, has done wonders for me as I've been adjusting to this new life. 

The first month, Henrik slept great. I mean, newborns sleep like 20 hours out of the day so I was like hey this isn't so bad! He sleeps all the time and I can get a lot done. No biggie. But then, he started getting fussier and fussier at night. We were sometimes up until 3 or 4 in the morning trying to get him to settle down and sleep. His symptoms were pretty consistent with colic so I took solace in reading that those symptoms would subside by about two months and that by six weeks, his fussiness will have reached its peak. 

We thought that in order to help him sleep better at night, we should keep him awake more during the day. Makes sense, right? Wear him out while he's awake then he'll sleep better at night. But the fussiness and screaming in the evening did not get better. I read our sleep books and found out that's pretty much the exact OPPOSITE of what you're supposed to do. They said babies at that age should be allowed to sleep as much as they want during the day and should never be awake more than two hours. It said that sleep begets sleep and that if they're overtired, they'll sleep worse at night so never deprive them of sleep during the day. 

WHATTTTT????? IT MAKES NO SENSE. Ok it makes a little sense, but STILL. SO COUNTERINTUITIVE. Once we started abiding by those recommendations, he slept sooooo much better. Parenting success. Well, actually a parenting mistake. But we fixed it! So now it's a success.

Weeks 8-10, he slept really well again thanks to our new "never be awake more than two hours" rule and I thought we were done with the colic, but then last week, it was HORRIBLE. His screaming was much worse than it had ever been. We had three nights in a row that were some of the worst of my life. I was tired and sick of him screaming at me and being so needy. Chris did everything he could to help, but it was still rough. Chris would finally get him to sleep, but then 30 minutes later he would decide he was hungry so I'd have to get up. He would fall back asleep, only to cry every time his pacifier fell out so I sat next to him for like an hour reinserting it every 2-3 minutes. It was bad. 

After three nights of this, I decided that something had to change or else we would not survive another night. I re-read the sleep books we have and decided to try a slightly different approach to our nighttime routine. 

He's still not on a set schedule, but now in the evening, I wait until he's been up for about an hour and a half (sometimes less) and then start the bedtime routine. If it's bath night, we do a bath, then we go into the nursery where the lights are suuuuper dim (putting a dimmer in there was one of the best things we did), I play calming acoustic lullabies on my phone, then we change him into his pj's, lotion him up (his skin is quite dry), give him a little massage, weigh him (trying to fatten him up a bit), then I play white noise on my phone, read a book to him, and let him eat until he falls asleep. Once I think he's pretty out of it, I carry him to his bassinet (he normally wakes up during this part), give him his pacifier, and he's usually out again within about five minutes. Sometimes he fusses a bit, but not nearly as much as he used to. 

Knock on wood, this new routine has been working like magic. He'll go down for the evening between 5 and 8 pm, get up sometime around midnight to eat, then he'll wake up between 6 and 8 am to eat, then sleep again until 11 or 12. It's fantastic. Occasionally, he'll sleep from 9 pm until 7:30 am without getting up to be fed and then we do a big happy dance. 

Evenings used to be the most stressful time of day, which was really unfortunate because it meant Chris and I's only time together was spent taking turns trying to get Henrik to stop screaming. We didn't get to eat dinner together or go to bed at the same time. But now we have our evenings back and it's amazing! It has made a huge difference in our relationship and stress levels. 

Henrik is also soooo much fun now! He loves his play pad so after he's fed, we sit together on the floor and play. We listen to Disney songs and sing and dance to them and he smiles so big. It's the absolute best. He's getting really interactive with us and it's so fun to watch. He loves it when I sing to him, which is quite endearing. Music has this way of calming him down and making him laugh and smile. Maybe he'll be a little musician when he grows up? 

He's also getting really chatty, which is hilarious. He loves to have conversations with us or just by himself. He even mimics the sounds we make and is getting pretty good at saying something that sounds like "hi". He'll join in on the songs when I sing to him and it's adorable. It brings me so much happiness. 

Basically, motherhood is great. I definitely freak out plenty and worry, but I'm getting used to it. My anxiety problems have come back in a new form, which can definitely be discouraging and frustrating, but I'm re-learning how to cope with my feelings and prevent panic attacks from occurring (getting out of the house, exercising, and having Chris or my parents watch him for a bit so I can have a break make the biggest difference). It'll be really nice once the weather improves so we can do more outings together as a family. Right now, we just feel kind of cooped up most of the time, which can be hard, but spring weather is almost here for good!

I am sure there are many challenges ahead for the three of us, however I am really looking forward to it all. I can't wait to see Henrik grow and develop and get to know him better. I think we are going to have a lot of fun together :) I already love him so much and I know that love is only going to grow more in the coming years. 

Listening To: The soundtrack from "Moana". IT IS THE BEST HAVE YOU LISTENED TO IT?
Henrik: Is sleeping. Yesssssssssss.
Still: Have a lot to do, but that's ok. 
Days Until Christmas: 280!

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