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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Maggie says (part 1)...

Our girl is quite the talker. Some days, it cracks me up and others I wonder if she'll ever stop talking to take a breath. She gets impatient when her dad and I have a conversation, interrupting to tell us what ever she thinks is most pressing. Sometimes it's about Mickey Mouse or her baby(doll).

"You can't play with me, Mommy. I'm not a toy."

Maggie: "Let's talk about Jonah"
Daddy: "Okay, what do you know about Jonah?"
Maggie: "He was swallowed by a big fish. The fish was blue."

While staring at her hand "Prolly need to send a text," using one hand as the phone and the other with which to type.

I laid out two pairs of pajamas for her and asked "Maggie, would you like to wear the red pajamas or the pink pajamas?"
Maggie responded: "Those are my options?"

"This seltzer is kinda seltz-y."

A Sunday morning prayer:
"Thank you for mommy and daddy and grandpa. Thank you for breakfast, for chocolate and sprinkles and donuts."

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The time I bonded with the L+D Nurses over KISS

Last week, I had a routine visit to the labor and delivery floor for one of my bi-weekly non stress tests. The nurse assigned to my room was quite chatty, making for a pleasant visit as she got me setup on the fetal heart monitor.

During the test, I usually watch TV or catch up on texts/FB chats and just enjoy some quiet time.

When the test was over, the nurse-midwife came in and started singing "Beth, I hear you callin'," a song I honestly was not familiar with. She stopped singing after the opening line to ask "Have you seen that commercial?" I had no idea what she was talking about and shook my head 'no.' She proceeded to describe the commercial and tell me the song was from the 1970s, so surely I must have heard it before.

I didn't want to argue, but I was pretty certain I had not heard the song before or if I had it was like 20 years ago.

The nurse came into the room and they started discussing who could have recorded the song. To all of our surprise, it was KISS. The next thing I knew, I was watching the KISS video on the nurse's iPhone so I could experience the song firsthand.

Then the nurse-midwife went on to tell me about the commercial, but she didn't know what the ad was for. I googled it when I got home and found it's a VW Passat ad (and it's pretty cute).

Sunday, January 24, 2016

What's on my baby registry for #2

Thankfully, we have a lot of what we need for our little bundle of joy that's expected to arrived in about a month. Since we didn't know Maggie's sex before she was born, most everything is gender-neutral too.

For this pregnancy, it's a totally different time of year than Maggie's birth (she was born in summer), plus, we know it's a boy! So, we did decide to create a registry for the new kid and I'm using which allows you to register for items from various stores.

  • I've been able to add items from Etsy to my registry this way.
  • You can add non-tangible items like bringing a meal or cleaning in the Help + Favors section. 
  • I can include a direct link to another registry like Target or Babies R Us.
  • You can also add a personalized note. I made note that we would welcome any of the items in gently used condition and we have plenty of boy clothes already.

1- doll carrier (for big sis). I have a feeling Maggie will be all about baby-wearing once she sees me using the Moby wrap.
2- Covered Goods nursing cover. I struggled with getting Maggie to use a nursing cover and I think there are a few reasons: we had a hard time with her latch, she was a summer baby and disliked the heat and I didn't introduce the cover early in our nursing journey. I am determined to get this guy to nurse under cover and am hopeful being a winter baby will help!
3- Zutano fleece bootie. I hear great things about these little booties, as in they STAY ON THEIR FEET. I need to try these for myself.
4- Phil and Ted's double stroller. I won't need a double-stroller right away, but I think by summer, it will be most helpful.
5- Tennessee tri-star logo bib. A little something to show some love to Daddy's home state.
6- Lily Jade Elizabeth diaper bag. I loved having a backpack diaper bag with Maggie and this one is definitely more costly, but with two kids I think it will be worth the investment. The organization pocket is removable, so I am convinced this will be a game changer. And did I mention it converts from over-the-shoulder to a backpack?
7- Colorado ski hat. Because I am obsessed with anything that has the Colorado state flag on it and he's a winter baby!
8- Bundle Me car seat cover. Another winter baby item, to keep the new kid warm and toasty.
9- Oh Baby nursing friendly pajamas. Mama needs to stay warm in the winter months with a new pair of pajamas.

Is there anything else you would add to this list? Let me know if you have any advice for having a baby during the winter.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

5 Things that Make Me Happy

I'm currently 36 weeks pregnant, which means I need to get myself really ready for the little guy's arrival. As we prepare for the "home stretch" before he arrives, I am doing my best to be intentional about taking a few moments here and there to appreciate the things that make me happy. I am trying to savor the sanity of having a two and half year old who can entertain herself in spurts, while I sneak in a few minutes to look at a magazine or peruse Pinterest.

These are the things I find myself stealing time to enjoy lately.

1- Listening to podcasts. Of course, I'm listening to Season two of Serial, but my favorite podcast is The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. I was have been so encouraged by several episodes, but my favorites featured Debbie Eaton, Jamie Nato and Korie Robertson.

2- A hot cup of tea or hot chocolate. Warm drinks in winter are my favorite.

3- Finding a gently used clothes online (because I rarely have time to get to the store and peruse for the god stuff). ThredUp is my favorite and if you sign up with this code, you'll start off with $10 credit!

4- Spending time with Maggie. I especially enjoyed a long weekend at home with my girl. She is great at pretending lately and says the funniest things. We melted crayons recently to make crayon discs and she was just tickled by it. We've also bent the rules a bit for more screen time than usual and enjoyed a movie here and there.

5- Clean clothes. I know there will be a day when I despise doing laundry, but it isn't here yet. I get so much satisfaction out of a fresh pile of clean clothes or sheets or towels. I suspect this might be the nesting phase kicking in, but I am telling you clean clothes make me so happy lately.

What is making you happy this winter?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Supporting Others in Their Grief

I sit here wondering how to follow up my last post. I am humbled that something so personal spoke to many friends.

As I ponder where to go next, I can't help but land on the subject of grief. I am certainly no expert, but as I get older the topic comes up more frequently. I remember searching for the "answer" which I thought would come in the form of a book after my mom passed away. I sought out answers to what I felt and did not feel.

Chances are you have lost a loved one or someone you care about has lost someone close to them. I don't believe there is one right thing to say to someone who is dealing with loss, but often what's more important is acknowledging the situation. Even saying something as simple as "I'm so sorry for your loss and I don't know what to say, but I'm here for you if you need someone to listen" can be comforting.

Meet them where they are. Walk alongside your grieving friend. You don't need to have answers or even the right thing to say. Just being there for a friend in their time of need speaks louder than words. By "being there," I mean showing up. If they are the kind of person who appreciates a face-to-face visit, stop by and see them or setup a time if they wouldn't appreciate an unannounced visit. If they are more inclined to answer a text message, check in on them that way. A word of caution: don't hide behind technology, in this age of texting, there is a lot of value in showing up in person.

Gather some of their favorite things. Send a care package or gather things together into a small basket to deliver to them in person. Consider ways you can brighten your friend's day. Does your friend love a certain kind of coffee? Would s/he prefer an excuse to meet you for coffee and get out of the house? If so, consider arranging a baby-sitter (if needed) and take initiative to make it happen.

Look for specific ways to be helpful. Some friends may appreciate a meal they can stick in the freezer for later, while others may prefer an offer to babysit or walk their dog. If meals are the way to go, I recommend Take Them a Meal; it allows you to coordinate meal delivery with others. Depending on how well you know your friend, think about what s/he values. Look for ways to take away the pressures of every day to allow them to tend to their grief.

Make note of the anniversary of their loved one's passing and/or birthday. This may sound a little weird, but I try to remember the month/day when a dear friend has lost a loved one. I want to be sensitive to their situation in the future too. I still have dear friends who send a text message or call me on my mom's birthday (and she passed away over 14 years ago). I have another friend who often reaches out to me on the anniversary of my mom's passing.

Set a reminder in your phone to check in on them six months later. By following up months after losing a loved one, you show you are still thinking of them and their pain is not forgotten. About six months after I lost my mom, I remember thinking no one remembered the awful events I'd gone through. I wanted to be "over it" but I wasn't. There were days when the pain was just as strong as the day she passed.

These are just a few of the ways I've been supported by friends and family. Are there others you would add to the list?

Monday, January 11, 2016

On Pregnancy and Loss

Last April, I knew I needed to buy a pregnancy test. I didn't say anything to my husband and planned to surprise him with the news on Easter Sunday. I even bought a rubber ducky set with two smaller ducks to give him as a way of telling him.

But I took the positive pregnancy test on Saturday morning and was unable to wait to tell him. We were both so thrilled to see those two blue lines!

The following week, I got on an airplane to travel to Texas for the week for a work conference. I vividly remember asking God to grant me safety in my travels and to protect the little baby growing inside me. The conference went well, but I came down with a cold. I returned home and was so happy to be reunited with my family despite being under the weather.

In a matter of days, everything changed. I knew the minute I saw the first spot of blood the pregnancy was ending. A visit to the doctor confirmed a miscarriage. We were devastated.

It had already felt like a long road to even get pregnant after having Maggie. So many questions ran through my head, but one thing stood out to me: God had answered the prayer I prayed before my trip to Texas. I asked Him if anything were to go wrong in that pregnancy, that I would be home with my family and He allowed me to do just that.

He surrounded me with a few close friends to walk with us. One friend brought lunch and left it on the porch when we returned home from the doctor. Weeks later, another friend sensed I was going through a rough season and left a flowering plant on my doorstep. Others listened and offered a shoulder to lean on.

I was numb for about a month following the miscarriage. I was angry anytime I heard someone else I knew was pregnant. It was an ugly scene all around, my heart was broken and I didn't know what would mend it. My body had failed me and more than anything I blamed myself, despite reading in so many places I was not to blame.

For years, I've dreaded Mother's Day since I lost my mom at age 20, but that spring I expected the day to be especially painful.

My husband was so thoughtful that Mother's Day. He and Maggie brought me breakfast in bed and just loved on me. It was the best medicine and my heart started to mend.

I had the opportunity to see Phil Joel perform about a week later and he sang this song, "Greener," that was recently recorded on this album. The lyrics are based on Jeremiah 17:7-8 and it's called "Greener."

The chorus became my anthem in May and June 2015:
Every test we go through
Our roots grow stronger and deeper into You.
Though the rain may not fall,
Our leaves grow greener than they ever were before.
Because You are good.
You are good.

When I heard that song, I believed this season of loss would make my roots to grow deeper, as I experienced more of God's ability to comfort and bring healing. It wasn't the first time I had walked through loss. He brought healing to my heart and I clung to to the promise that God is good, even in the hard things. There were days I had to play the song on repeat until I could even start to believe He was good.

By the end of June, I started to think it was a good thing I bought a three pack of pregnancy tests at the drugstore in April. I was so afraid to test positive, but I trusted Jesus would be able to heal my heart again.

As excited as I was, I was also so hesitant to share the news of our pregnancy until I saw the doctor and had an ultrasound. Even then, I wanted to wait until I was firmly into my second trimester before I told friends and coworkers.

Looking back, I still don't understand and mourn that little life we will never know this side of heaven, but I am thankful for a deeper understanding of God's ability to mend my broken heart.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

January Goals

Writing goals for a month-long period was one of the things I missed the most while not blogging. Looking back, I can see how setting those monthly goals on my blog made me accountable and allowed me to consider what I could accomplish in a limited period of time. As I get back into a blogging rhythm, I intend to set monthly goals once again.

My January goals are mostly driven by what February will bring (the arrival of Baby G #2). There's nothing like a new baby on the horizon to get me thinking about what I need to get done to be "ready."

1- Blog two to three times per week. Honestly, I'm feeling a bit rusty at the whole writing thing, but I know practice will help. I'm hopeful that writing two to three times per week, will give me a chance to get back into the routine without feeling overwhelmed.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Christmas in Colorado

My best friend from college got married the week before Christmas in Littleton, Colorado so that gave us the excuse to spend Christmas with my dad in Colorado. We had a wonderful visit and I think all of returned home refreshed and exhausted (is that even possible?).

While we were there, we saw snow for the first time this winter (we haven't had any in the Northeast yet). Maggie made snow angels with her Grandpa's help in the backyard. We tried to throw snowballs, but the snow was just too dry to make snowballs or build a snowman. Maybe we can do so when we get some good ol' wet New England snow :)

One day, we enjoyed a sunny walk around Garden of the Gods (one the most scenic places in Colorado Springs) and took a few family photos.

Our Christmas celebration included lots of yummy food and opening some gifts. It was so fun to watch Maggie open her gifts and get excited about what was inside.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

What worked for me last year

As I start a new year, I have some expectations for 2016. In the past, I've chosen a 'word of the year,' but there are two reasons I'm skipping that this year 1- it is too much pressure 2- I usually forget about the word by March or April, leaving 2/3 of the year when I don't even think of it.

For 2016, I'd like to reflect on two questions Anne wrote about. Their simplicity resonates with me.

What worked for me last year?

What didn't?

  1. Black coffee. About a year ago, my husband and I embarked on the Whole30 challenge (read more here and here) and I had to learn to drink my coffee black. Making the switch was easier than I thought it would be and it's stuck.
  2. Audiobooks. I have never really liked reading, but listening to books while I drive to work or clean the house has become a good way to read more. I use the Scribd app that has a monthly subscription of $9 (a bit more affordable than Audible). I also learned I much prefer audiobooks read by the author. Three of my favorite reads listens include Surprised by Motherhood, Love Does, and For the Love.
  3. Short hair. I've had my hair short for about a year and a half and seriously considered growing it out, but it's just so much easier to have short hair at this stage of my life. I've always been a low-maintenance kind of hair girl. I don't like to have to wash it often and it doesn't really hold curl, so having it short cuts down on the fuss of long locks.
  4. Making my own hand soap. I use this recipe (scroll to the bottom where it says DIY Handsoap) and it really couldn't be easier. I re-purposed two Method foam pump bottles about a year ago and I still refill them with the combo for foaming hand soap. Sometimes I omit the essential oil since the first time I bought Castile soap I picked up the peppermint without realizing it. 
  5. Leather earrings. I never thought of myself as a big earring kind of gal (despite wearing large hoops in middle school since that was the trend), but I heard about Nickel and Suede's leather earrings via Instagram last spring and just had to have a pair. I currently own four pairs and don't see my collection getting smaller anytime soon. In fact, I find myself wearing less jewelry when I wear these.
And a short list of what did not work for me in 2015:

Friday, January 1, 2016

A quick look back at 2015

Just stopping by to say 'Happy New Year' and wish you the best for 2016! It's been too long since I wrote and I cannot attempt to catch up on the months I've missed, but I'll give you a few highlights (all of which I've shared via Instagram so they won't be news if you follow me there):
  • We are expecting our second child next month (woah, that sounds close) and it's a BOY!
  • Maggie is now nearly 2.5 (as of next week) and amazes us with her questions and vocabulary. She thinks she's ready to be a big sister, but I'm pretty sure has no idea what it really means.
  • December was filled with travel for two weddings -one in North Carolina and the other in Colorado.
  • The house projects are nearly complete...can't believe April will mark five years since we bought this place.
According to Instagram, my highlights of 2015 were (based on the most like photos of the year):
1- announcing baby's arrival 2- a bump photo at 20 weeks 3- Maggie telling us baby's sex in a sweet video 4- a trip to Cape Cod 5- snow 6- more snow (who could forget last winter in New England?) 7- making Christmas cookies with Maggie 8-a 17 week pregnancy bump photo 9- Maggie eating corn on the cob