Thursday, February 20, 2014

currently...


TV show(s) worth watching:
+ Michael J. Fox show - we love it
+ The Olympics!

movie that I've seen:
+ Flight -we watched this over the weekend and I thought it was a pretty accurate look at addiction.


in my kitchen:
+ more frozen pizzas than I want to admit, but a quick and easy dinner option is where it's at lately
+ winter squash (for soups and other yummy meals)

in my ears:
+ Ellie Holcomb's new album. If you haven't bought it, download it today!


items of note:
+ a sparrow got into our house last week and you can read the full story.
+ it keeps snowing! Since I live in New England, I guess that shouldn't be a surprise, but I feel like we've had so much snow this year.
+ I went shopping last week for the first time in a while and snagged this skirt from Loft, super comfy and cute!

what I'm looking forward to:
+ My next three day weekend...in April (sigh)
+ Spending time with my family this weekend. 
+ Spring! I am excited for the snow to melt and blossoms to break through.


All photos were from Instagram, follow me there!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Meeting Motherhood (eBook) review


Motherhood is an extremely personal and individual journey. While there are certainly similarities in the stages of a mother's journeys, each one is special because of the uniqueness of each mother and child relationship.

My friend, Nicole, recently wrote an ebook about her own motherhood story and fittingly named it Meeting Motherhood. She shares a collection of stories about her experience as a new mom, some light-hearted and others more serious in nature.


In addition to the sweet stories, Nicole created a beautiful series of printables, some are Bible verses and others are quotes. There are even a few free ones on the Meeting Motherhood website, so be sure to check it out.

Whether you're a new or expectant mom, you'll appreciate Nicole's genuine words in the ebook, Meeting Motherhood.

As a mom who works outside the home five days/week, I find myself feeling like I straddle a fence. One foot is planted in the world of all-things-mommy and the other rooted in more than five years of working at the same place. For me, that means I read mommy blogs and higher education articles from my iPhone while nursing, I log into Facebook to connect with a private group of moms who share tips and articles about motherhood and I scan Twitter and Instagram for inspiration in my "free time.

Nicole's collection of stories about her motherhood journey is so honest and I found it reassuring to hear she's had mishaps and beautiful moments all in the same day. There are times that motherhood can feel totally overwhelming, but I am so grateful for women like Nicole to share the journey with.

Monday, February 17, 2014

lesson from a sparrow


Soon after I came home from work on Friday evening discovered a sparrow found its way INSIDE our house. I was nursing Maggie in her room and the thing just hopped into the nursery. At first, I thought it was a mouse, but quickly realized it was a bird. It flew away and I quickly shut her door, as my mind frantically scrambled to think up options.


All I could think about was that I had to get it out. My husband was at work and wouldn't be home for several hours and there was no way a bird was going to be in the house with me and my daughter all evening.

Once I got Maggie settled in her crib, I left her room, shutting her door tightly behind me. I gathered my wits about me and taking deep breaths as I searched the second floor for the bird, all the while considering possible ways of trapping it.

...but what would I do once I trapped it? I'd have to get it outside. Was the front door the best option? What about a window? I think at least one of the windows upstairs is without a screen...but which one? Shoot, which window opens easily (several are old and need to be replaced)?

And then I spotted that little sparrow. It found a soft place on a folded comforter in our guest room. I turned on the light and it didn't flinch.

I stood there with a towel in one hand and a large empty box in the other, my hapahazardly selected "tools" for bird catching that I barely remember grabbing.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Maggie: 7 months


It's crazy to think we only have five months until Maggie's first birthday as well as to look back and remember the early months of her life. She has grown so much and is becoming such an independent girl.


Maggie loves to sit up on her own and play with her toys. One of her favorite things to play with lately is a blanket. She loves to pull it over herself. I don't think it's quite peek-a-boo yet, but she really loves blankets. I think it all started with her dad playing fort with a blanket. She squeals with glee if a blanket is over her face.

Something you may not be able to tell from the photos is that Maggie loves to squeal and giggle. Every morning, we wake up to her squeals. Some days they are louder than others, but anytime between 5am and 6:30am, she gets awake and begins to make some of the sweetest sounds. Thankfully, there are days she has a more quiet squeal than others and we can sleep a bit while she entertains herself in her crib.


Maggie's likes:

  • Pulling her socks off and "eating" her bare feet.
  • Eating in her high chair. She has taken quite well to eating purees and solids (so much so that she rejects bottles at times).
  • Riding in the seat of the shopping cart at the grocery store.
  • Songs with motions...or maybe it's just that she likes to watch her mom sing and dance?
  • Playing with toys in the bathtub.


Maggie's dislikes:

  • Having her hands held (she really doesn't like when people, even those she knows, grab her hands).
  • Getting in her carseat.
  • Green beans. I don't know if it's just the texture, but she's not a fan. 


Keep smiling, baby girl! We love your squeals and happy-go-lucky nature.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

snow day


I've been blessed by a few snow days lately. I say blessed because they allow me a day home with my baby girl and what can be better to a new mom? I'm quite content with a day at home filled with cozy blankets and baby snuggles.

During our snow day last week, I took a few photos of our day and practiced getting better with my husband's DSLR.









What's your favorite way to spend a snow day?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Embracing the Mama Bear inside


Before I was pregnant I never really understood when people would talk about their "mama bear" tendencies. But about a month before our due date, as I prepared for the little one's arrival I started to think in terms of being that protective mama bear. It kind of caught me off guard, but in a good way because I started thinking about anticipating how I would care for my little one even though I hadn't even laid on eyes on her yet.

And now that I'm nearly seven months into motherhood, I'm learning all about that inner mama bear. The mama bear in me can make once simple decisions painful; like when I can't stop thinking about how I'll handle travel for work and the first night I'll be away from my baby. Will I be able to sleep? If I do sleep, does that make me less of a mother?

There's obviously still some work to be done on the embracing that mama bear thing, especially when it comes to doing the hard things. This past week I had to make a tough decision as a mother and it finally came down to realizing either way, the outcome will be a challenge for me. I've had plenty of challenges before, so I'm doing my best to meet this new role head-on and take each decision in stride.

Thankfully, taking a few cute photos with my baby girl wasn't much of a challenge last weekend. When I heard about Katie's bi-weekly link up of mamas and babies, I knew Maggie and I had to join in! Oh, and don't mind the dog.




Tuesday, February 4, 2014

my breastfeeding journey (part 2)


You may read the beginning of my journey in part 1.

As a mom who works outside the home and is away from my baby four to five days per week, I have to be blunt and say pumping at work sucks (pun intended). It isn't always convenient to close my office door and take care of business. However, I am so grateful I can do so in the privacy of my own office where I can keep working (although answering the phone while doing so always makes me nervous), rather than go to a break room.


I mentioned in my previous post that establishing our breastfeeding relationship was a struggle and as you might guess my return to work had me a bit nervous for the transition since we seemed to have hit our stride in the latching department. In the course of our struggles, a friend recommended I read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. There is an entire chapter written for working moms and it had some very practical tips I was able to consider as I prepared to go back to work.

Following my return to the office, my daughter refused to nurse one afternoon when I came home and it broke my heart. There were lots of tears from both of us. Although we struggled for a few days that week, we did find a solution and it had more to do with how she was being bottle fed than anything else.

More recently, Maggie rejected the bottle in favor of eating solids, but thankfully will still nurse. It is so interesting to watch her begin to think for herself, even if it's in small ways. Kelly Mom has been another great resource in our journey and I love how accessible it is from my iPhone while nursing; I can look up issues quickly in the FAQ or search areas.

There is a selfish part of me that looks forward to the day I will no longer haul my electric pump to work each day and have to consider what kind of outfit I'm wearing, but there is also a part of me that will very much miss those moments I've spent nursing my baby in the rocking chair. When I stop and think about how the female body can produce life-sustaining nourishment for another human being, it really is amazing.

My only intention in sharing all of this is that if you're an expecting mom or new mother and you're unsure about breastfeeding or feeling anxious about it is that you're encouraged. It can be a lot of work, but I can honestly say that the amount of work I've put into mothering is unlike any other I've ever done and it is totally worth it. The work may be extremely challenging, but the payoff of having a growing and healthy baby is unlike anything I've ever experienced.

Monday, February 3, 2014

my breastfeeding journey (part 1)


I've struggled with whether or not to write about breastfeeding. It can be an extremely polarizing topic, and while I don't want to berate others with "breast is best" thinking, I would be shortchanging myself by not writing about my experience since it's been such a huge part of motherhood for me.

Maggie is more than six months old and has been solely breastfed (with the exception of solid foods that have been introduced in the last month) and my hope is that this brief series will be a source of encouragement. I understand there are various reasons women do not or cannot breastfeed their infants, but I believe some challenges in breastfeeding can be overcome.


I honestly wasn't sure what to expect when it came to breastfeeding. I knew my mother breastfed, but since she passed away 12 years ago I was unable to ask her advice in the months leading up to Maggie's birth or cry on her shoulder when things got difficult in the early weeks of Maggie's life. I honestly felt pretty alone in terms of preparedness.

Since I'd planned to go the natural childbirth route, I also ran into a lot of reading about the benefits of breastfeeding (it's tough to avoid in natural childbirth books). Once the baby arrived, I quickly learned reading about breastfeeding isn't like preparing for an exam and no amount of reading was going to make it happen.

The first month or so was a blur. There were so many tears from painful and improper latching, I think the only thing that kept me going was my stubborn nature (finally a blessing?!). Before Maggie was born, I had told myself there were no other options for us as long as the baby was not allergic and gaining weight. Once she was born I realized I'd have to stick to my guns, even if it meant toe-curling pain in the form of nipple damage (TMI, I know).

After countless painful nursing sessions that brought tears, a lot of encouragement from my husband, and a pep-talk from my neighbor we met with a lactation consultant. Initially, I had been reluctant because during our hospital stay, each nurse and lactation consultant had her own suggestions for how to nurse. Thankfully, meeting with the LC on three separate occasions allowed Maggie and I to reach a successful situation and one that led to proper latching and painless nursing sessions.

Looking back on the beginning of my journey, I can honestly say I'm thankful for the struggle that led to a now healthy nursing relationship and truly special bond. If you're a new mom or soon-to-be mom, take heart. It may be difficult and take a lot of work, but perseverance pays off.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February goals


Let's talk briefly about goals, shall we? Setting monthly goals is a relatively new practice for me and I'm glad I did it for January. I didn't feel overwhelmed by having a "new year's resolution." Since they were monthly goals they were time-bound, giving me a deadline and that gave me a bit of a push to get them done.

So, let's revisit the January goals briefly...
  1. Assemble a family binder. I'm still working on this; I bought the binder and started to assemble it, but I'm not using it yet.
  2. Finish one book. Still reading...
  3. Donate 5 bags of clothing and other housewares to the Salvation Army. Done! I took three bags the first trip and sent 2.5 bags with my husband one Saturday afternoon. 
  4. Implement at least two new organizational strategies in our home. Does weekly meal planning count? I've been more intentional about that on a weekly basis. But I'm still working on what to put into practice.
  5. Hang photos and artwork on the walls in our bedroom. I'm halfway there; we bought a few frames and we just need to get some photos printed and arrange/hang the collage. 

This month, I'm setting a few new goals:
  1. Plan our dinners for the week ahead each weekend. I've been on a roll the last few weeks, so let's see if I can keep it up.
  2. Take a photo of Maggie in the snow. I think it's safe to say we'll get more snow this month and I've been dying to get the little one bundled up in her snow suit to get a photo.
  3. Create (and order) a photo book of 2013 images. I started one in January, but I'd really like to finish compiling our 2013 in photos since it was such a memorable year.
  4. I am going to keep reading. I've been working my way through Jesus Feminist and Bread and Wine.
Do you have any goals for February?

((I'm linking up my monthly with Hayley.))