Dearly Noted

Category: Life

A Letter To Myself One Year Ago

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Dear Star,

In less than a week you will meet your miracle baby boy. He will look nothing like you or Daniel, but you will fall in love with him and breathe him in and be consumed with gratitude. You will hold the baby you thought you lost

His entry into this world will be a trial, one different than Flora’s, but one of greater physical pain. Pain that will last for much longer than the time it takes for c-section incision to heal. You will have upwards of 100 stitches in perhaps the most uncomfortable place to have stitches. For months you will become familiar with searing pain and discomfort. And even as the pain subsides, the unfamiliarity of your body will only increase. You will feel like you will never be yourself again, and you may be right.

Star, this next year will be your hardest one to date. You will sleep the littlest you ever have. You will be demanded of nearly every moment of everyday, trying to meet the needs of your family and often failing. You will feel more like a failure this year than ever before. Your ears will be filled with the sounds of constant crying and sometimes it won’t be coming from your children. You will hide in your closet with a giant glass of wine and write curse words in a journal into the wee hours of the morning when you should be sleeping. You will feel confused and alone and like this world would be better if you weren’t here. You will long for a break so badly that you ponder how to crash your car in a way that only hurts you. You will eat far too much McDonalds b/c you feel guilty spending any more money for food that you don’t have to prepare and getting to eat it while it’s still hot.

You will come to find that friendships are even harder and trickier than they seemed with only one child. You will long for someone to notice, to encourage you, to tell you you aren’t alone. You will text your spouse in your moments of utter distress just wanting to be heard and he won’t understand. You will wonder why you can’t cope, why the smallest task seems insurmountable. Your heart will race. Your teeth will grind. Sometimes it will be hard to breathe. You will long for relief.

Some moments you will regret having another child. Never the child himself, but the fact that you put yourself in a circumstance where you were so incapable of even the most normal task. Guilt will surround anything you think about or try to do. You will wonder where God is in the midst of all of this and if he has forgotten you. You will drag your self to Bible study and be there only physically most weeks.

You will try to think of something concrete, a memory from an event or moment in the last months and come up short. Nothing will seem settled or solid, like you are a small boat set out to sea in a storm with no way out.

This is the year you will learn you have post partum depression and that you are not ok. You will keep waiting for someone else to help you and find your answer and it won’t come. You will learn this year that only you are responsible for your health and well being and that putting it aside hurts those you love and yourself. You will see that a short bath and glass of wine in the evenings isn’t going to fill your cup and make you thrive. You will need to get help and take some time to sort out this new you that seems to belong to everyone but you.

You will become a mother of 2. 2 under 2. And it will be hard. You will feel like motherhood is a trap and wonder if life will ever let up. If you will ever enjoy your children…

Let me tell you, you will. Even amidst the trial this next year will hold, there will be tiny little moment where you stare into your babies eyes and see, just for a moment, the man he will be. Your daughter will tell you she loves you and you will melt to the floor. Your babies will start to interact and play and sometimes forget you are there entirely. There will be no magical corner you will turn where it becomes easy or you have it figured out. But you will slowly feel a glimmer of hope that life won’t always be frantic dash from fire to fire.

You will learn more this year than many years worth of lessons and be humbled flat on your face. This year will teach you that despite all your effort, you will fail a lot and that all the striving for order is usually a senseless task. You will look back on this year and not recognize the woman you were before. For all the good and the bad you are different. You are changed. It’s not a regret, it’s an acceptance. You are who you are. You are at where you are at. No pill, article, lotion, advice will change that. And you know what, that’s ok.

To the year-ago-Star…this next year will be the most bizarre mixture of hell and beauty, panic and peace, falling and standing, pain and hope. I have no magical advice but to say, hang in there. You will make it. You will.

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Winter 10×10 Challenge and My Word for 2017

After many eye-opening experiences in 2016 I decided that in 2017 I am fasting from shopping for clothing. This is a very personal decision (and kind of a big deal for this recovering fashion-blogger) that stems from my desire to understand more fully where clothing originates…down to the soil it’s grown in to the hands that weave it and construct each article. My sewing journey has taught me that making clothing isn’t as easy as you might believe and someone somewhere is working very hard to fill our closets.

This decision is one I believe was Spirit-led as was the word I envisioned for 2017…LESS. The latter half of 2016 was like this whirling revealing storm in my soul that brought me to this word, less. I needed to slow down and reprioritize what I was giving my energy to. I think having children does that to you…causes you to re-think your ‘norm’ and ask the harder deeper questions.

As I started to engage in a more ‘capsule’ lifestyle in 2016 I found several people who inspired me along the way…

The 10×10 Challenge was created by Lee Vosburgh of Style Bee (a blog I greatly enjoy reading). After following several rounds of her challenge, I decided it was time to jump into this micro-capsule as it seemed very fitting given my 2017 goal of not shopping. (To read more about the basics of the 10×10 Challenge start here.)

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Last week I wrapped up the challenge (which I shared on Instagram) and thought I’d share my thoughts on this small but meaningful practice…

  • Just like my thoughts on a capsule wardrobe, the 10×10 challenged allowed me the freedom to have less choice. I think we often believe that more choice equals more freedom but I am learning that isn’t always true. By staying within these 10 items I had less to wrap my mind around and consider. I put a little effort into planning my outfit the night before (a practice I already do) but that was about the extent of it. I found a lot of freedom during these 10 days.
  • While I was living in Haiti under extremely limited resources I met a very special person named Katie Day who taught me that creativity loves constraint (something she learned when studying graphic design). This notion impacted me greatly during a time that was quite difficult for me. It has always stuck in my mind but contintues to sink in more fully the more I live life. Allowing myself only 10 items to wear caused me to put together pieces in ways I never would have before. By putting constraint on my wardrobe I was forced to reimagine what seemed like the most basic of pieces.
  • Speaking of basics, doing this challenged has more fully reiterated to me the importance of quality basics in a closet. We are able to have much less when we invest in workhorse pieces that can live up to more wear. Now, I’m not in a place where I can overhaul my entire wardrobe with pricey quality clothing, but I’m exploring what I already own and taking note for future purchases (as well as ethical companies).
  • I recognize that I am very blessed and have never wanted for much. But doing a challenge like this, to live under a constraint where the world wasn’t at my fingertips…it really made me appreciate what I had and inspired me to take better care of my property. The cream knit sweater I included is one that had started to pile and had a few stray snags. Instead of giving it the heave-ho or allowing it to continue to collect dust, I decided to pull it out and take a few moments to snip off the fuzz along the front, under the arms, and down the sleeves. It was amazing how simply spending 5 minutes to care for this garment brought it back to life. Suddenly I was excited to wear it again and imagine all the layering opportunities it offered. I’m learning in all things, a little time and energy to care properly for what I own will prolong the life of said item.
  • The 10 days of this challenge had a different tone for me. I think part of it was being able to participate in something other people were doing…being part of something and connecting with others (search #winter10x10 on Instagram). What also stood out to me…less laundry. Because I needed each item in such frequency, there wasn’t time to launder every piece like I might normally do. I found myself smelling my clothes and looking them up and down to see if they could make it another day.  I would even scratch off the small piece of food my child flung onto my jeans and what would happen….good as new! Doing this challenge caused me to engage my senses and instead of just throwing my clothes into the laundry basket after 1 wear.  I slowed down, examined them, made a decision, and ultimately consumed less water (go environment!). I spent less time doing laundry which meant more time directed on other things that are more life-giving to me (like sewing…I actually got to sew this last week!).

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2017 has already had its challenges and being a mother of such young children…nothing feels like it’s in my control (like.ever). But this #ayearofless is something I’m holding onto. Something that is oddly grounding to me. A journey that is just starting in my life and one I plan to examine fully. The lesson God continues to teach me over and over (especially in recent months)…less of this world and more of Him.
Filling my closet to the brim won’t satisfy.
A perfect capsule life won’t satisfy.
Paying off all of our debt won’t satisfy.
Finding our ‘dream home’ won’t satisfy.
A curated schedule for my children will inevitably fall apart and thus, not satisfy.

I have to HAVE TO keep clinging to my Savior even when my tendency is to cling to anything and everything else. By having less, I am more able to give my energy and presence of mind to what matters the very most…listening to my Father, obeying him, enjoying this life.

Cheers to 2017.

Capsule Wardrobe: A Reflection

At the beginning of September I began a capsule wardrobe challenge for myself (read more on this post). I had no idea when I started this little project how much I would be changed.

A capsule wardrobe caused me to think more critically and strategically about the clothing in my wardrobe. Doesn’t sound like too big of a deal, right? But… something much bigger happened inside my heart.

As I began to realize how little clothing is actually required in life, it got me thinking about consumption. How much clothing am I consuming that isn’t really necessary? Where will all of these clothes land when I’m done with them? What other areas of my life am I hyper-consuming and haven’t given it a second thought?

Right after beginning the capsule I saw the documentary ‘The True Cost’ on Netflix (please watch tonight!!). This opened my eyes to the world of fast fashion that I had NO clue about. I didn’t know that the fashion industry is the number 2 polluter or that working conditions for big store factory suppliers are HORRID and the pay is nil. How have I lived on this earth for 27 years and not given a thought to who actually makes my clothing? Why am I able to get so much for so cheap? Someone is paying the cost at some point along the line.

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Because I have so many thoughts resulting from the capsule, I have decided to do subsequent blog posts to flesh out my learnings and give each topic the space it requires. It would be too much for this post (which is already getting long)! For now I will share specifically what I have learned about my closet and clothing from doing the capsule…

  • So much of my clothing doesn’t fit me well
    Since I was wearing pieces of clothing in greater rotation you could say I became much more familiar with said items. The fit. The feel. The texture. I was surprised to find how uncomfortable I was. I thought I had selected pieces I was SURE could go the distance… but I came up short on most!
    For example, one pair of pants, low-rise, quickly left the capsule. Why did I ever think low-rise pants were comfortable?! They are the worst I’ve decided. Mom jeans all the way…they stay up, tuck in my mama pooch, and don’t have to be fiddled with.
    Another example, I had included several jersey knit tops that were size medium…all of those are now gone. Even though my postpartum body is a bit bigger than before, my frame has stayed the same which is a size small. I found that all my size medium tops fit awkwardly in my shoulders and would stretch out by the end of the day. I was, again, SO uncomfortable. So I have learned, moving forward, when I do make a purchase to consider the fabric, and most likely go with a small.
  • Nature-based fabrics are the bomb
    Ok, who says ‘the bomb’ anymore? Well, I guess I do b/c I have learned that I enjoy clothing that isn’t made from synthetics (i.e. polyester, acrylic, etc). Plant fabrics such as linen and cotton as well as animal fabrics like wool, silk, leather (for shoes)…these are the ones that feel better against my skin and, when taken care of, will last a lifetime. Since the start of the capsule, I have been checking labels much more. Not to see the brand but to see the fabric make-up. I want to learn about what materials feel the best, fit the best, and last the longest.
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    (linen dresses via Pyne & Smith Clothiers)
  • I have TOO MUCH
    This is no surprise. What is surprising to me is how much lighter I feel by having less to choose from. I compare it to shopping at Aldi vs Walmart. Having less is less stressful! There is less to manage, wash, repair, sort through. Less is better. America…can we work toward this?
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  • Fast fashion is deceiving
    Fast fashion is just that…fast (we are talking about Forever21, H&M, Gap, and pretty much any store in the mall). This means items are made quickly with cheap fabrics, inventory is constantly turning over, and it’s all set up so you come in and make a decision FAST.
    But you know what happens with most of the items I’ve purchased from these types of stores…they leave my closet FAST. They get a few wears then they are out of style or falling apart b/c they are made so poorly. Then what happens…I have to return to said store to buy more! Yes…it’s fast in that I don’t have to take much time to go and get it, but ultimately it isn’t fast b/c I spend time later frustrated with poor quality and forced to go purchase something else. Fast fashion is fast on the front end, but frustrating and disappointing on the back end.
  • I need to  s l o w  d o w n
    This is the resounding gong that keeps ringing in my life currently…slow down. I will share about how this has trickled into all areas of my life in another post, but one area is fashion. I’m realizing that taking time to analyze my closet, identify items that could be helpful, researching ethical stores that carry such items, seeking quality fabrics…this slow process is better. It’s better for me, it’s better for the planet, it’s better for the worker sewing up the clothing…it’s better.
    Stores today are designed to make you feel like if you don’t buy it now, you will miss out. Get it NOW or you will forever miss out on this chance! Eek. This is a lot of pressure and most of us succumb to it! I am learning to take a step back. If I’m not able to take time to weigh the cost and benefit then come back to it at a later time…it’s probably not worth it. If the item is gone, well, I’m pretty sure life will move on. I must become a better steward of God’s money and not be pressured into impulse purchases.
    (One item I have purchased since the start of the capsule is a simple black turtle-neck from People Tree. It’s a great layering piece or can stand alone on its own. Such a simple and functional item has stood the test of time (think Audrey Hepburn…gosh…the cutest!)
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  • Nobody and no store can fulfill me
    This is my overall takeaway from the capsule. Y’all, having the perfect in-style wardrobe will not give you lasting satisfaction. The next time you are at Target and the clothing section is screaming your name, ask yourself why? Will buying this $25 poor-quality sweater make me more loved? More valued? Help me reach my life goals? So much of the time shopping is this temporary high we seek b/c life is hard and stressful and we feel like we ‘deserve’ something new. When you get to the heart of that, it’s that we are seeking approval and fulfillment from this world. Friends, true contentment comes only from one source…our Creator. Our Father.

If you would have asked me at the start of this in September, I never would have dreamt my life would be so changed by doing a simple capsule challenge. But I am changed. And I’m so glad.

No matter how full your closet is, no matter your age, no matter your income bracket…you can make a change too. Would you consider taking some time to ponder these things? To do your research and understand who you are impacting? To check your heart and ask yourself the deeper harder questions? Would you send me a message and chat about this? I’m bursting at the seams with thoughts and would love to connect with others who are on this learning journey too.

That’s it for now. More posts to come b/c my mind is so full of thoughts I want to share.
Love to you all!

Star

Wallace Harold: Month 3

Do you ever look at your child and wonder how they can actually be yours? How can God be this good? How can my baby be this precious? How can my heart feel this much love and, in certain moments, feel like it is going to burst with pride? I daily find my affections for this boy have grown to new heights I never thought possible. He is my sunshine baby who’s smile radiates joy.img_5241Wally’s Progress:

Eating:
My little man LOVES to eat (as evidenced by his adorable cheeks and chunka thighs). He continues to be solely breastfed or, while I’m at work, fed with breast milk from a bottle. He, like Flora, didn’t struggle at all with the bottle which is a huge blessing. I think my babies just love food, no matter what container they are being offered from. Ha.
I’ve stopped pumping in the mornings b/c we have a large supply of frozen milk now and it’s also quite hard to pump consistently every morning (usually our most crazy time of day).

Sleeping:
There isn’t much change from last month. Wally wakes only one time per night (HALLELIUAH) and goes right back down after he fed. I’m immensely grateful for this b/c Flora has been getting up one or two times each night and we are dealing with that currently. Any tips for helping toddlers sleep through the night? I never thought I’d wake up more with my 2-year-old than my newborn! Lol.
We still haven’t established a daytime nap routine with Wally. He just sleeps in the car here and there, and on occasion, will nap when Flora naps. He is a pretty flexible baby and seems to be able to sleep when he’s ready no matter where we are.

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Other:
We’ve stopped visiting the chiropractor b/c at about 8 weeks Wally stopped being so fussy. It was like suddenly he just grew out of it or something. He still spits up a little here and there, but he really turned a corner and is just such a happy and easy baby now. Praise Jesus.

Wally loves to try to ‘stand’ and put weight on his legs. From the beginning he has just been my strong little dude, holding his head up, looking around, standing with help, and grabbing with a grip of death. Haha. I always tell him not to grow up too fast on me and to remember to be my baby for a little while.

This last month he has started to smile SO big (see pics) and also giggle a bit as well! I can’t tell you what a precious sound it is. Flora didn’t laugh for the longest time, so I’m extra excited he has begun this sweet phase much earlier than she.

Ironically Wally has the same lazy eye that I had. We have a picture of me at 3 months and we look quite similar. 🙂

Each day I put a ‘bandana bib’ on Wally b/c he has started to drool like CRAZY! Flora never drooled much at all, but Wally is just all boy. He is somehow always dirtier and droolier than Flora ever was.

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Mama Updates:

The biggest change this last month was Flora turning 2 and me going back to work, leaving Wally for the first time…which all happened on the same day. It was actually a great day, Flora did super great at her daycare program (which we are calling ‘school’). She just waves goodbye to me and starts to play before I’m even gone. Ha! Wally stays with my mother-in-law who takes such attentive care of him. This allows me to get back to work and help bring in a little income for our family.
I was SO anxious leading up to that day. My baby was turning 2 and any sense of rhythm I had down with my ‘new mother-of-2 normal’ was thrown out the window for that day. But, God was SO gracious and it’s all gone very well.

Some of you may have seen that I started to do a capsule wardrobe for the first time (see this post), and it has been something that is really causing me to re-think a lot of things in my life. I plan to do a full update on that next week. But, basically God is really revealing to me just what is important to give my time, attention, and money toward. I’m seeing how I need to be conscious and a good steward of all things in my world. He is also just showing me that this particular season of life for me is about these babies. I need to raise them well and STOP FEELING GUILTY or putting so much pressure on myself to be good at…well really much else. Ha. I can learn and grow in new areas, but not cast this weight upon myself to be the best. It’s just not reality for me and it’s not what God is calling me to.

My body is still recovering from the birth, but has definitely come a LONG way. Some days I don’t even think about it, then suddenly I’ll twist or stand up too fast and realize I’m not quite there just yet.

Best Moment:
This last month has been a bit of a blur and still a bit of survival mode, but I’d say the very sweetest moments were celebrating Flora turning 2 and being blown away by her verbal skills. I am constantly in amazement by the milestones she crosses everyday.
And of course, sweet Wally. When he laughed this month I about fell over with joy. Baby laughs are from the Lord, y’all. Sent down straight from heaven above to help a strugglin mama’s heart make it through. ❤

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Hardest Moment:
Life with 2 babies just continues to show me my selfish ways. It causes me to realize that having children is so beautiful, but also means sacrifice. You can’t always get together when your friends are having a girl’s night. You can’t be as spontaneous or walk out the door looking put together. These are small things in the grand scheme of it all…but things you learn, none-the-less, as you add kids to the mix. All of this continues to challenge my thinking when it comes to friendships in my life. I have such little brain-space and free-time to offer to anyone outside of my little immediate family that I want to choose those friends carefully. Time is something that I must steward better than ever before. Friendships are ones I must select with care.

To be terribly honest, I’m super struggling with our house flip. When you are home with 2 babes by yourself all week and you are tired and sweaty and want a break, the weekends come and you get excited to have help…to have the weight taken off a little. But then Daniel ends up working on the house flip all weekend and I am, at last, alone again (for the most part) to wipe the snot, change the diapers, feed the meals. I keep telling myself it’s just a season with this house and I know that is true. But is a hard season and one I’m trying not to be bitter about. I don’t want to leave this house with a sour taste in my mouth. But I already know I will walk away having learned a lot about priorities.

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Guess that’s about it! My brain is fried and I’m sure there is more that’s happened, but for now, this is it! Farewell to my precious newborn Wally. Hello baby Wallace!

Capsule Wardrobe: The Why & The Plan

For the last year I’ve been really intrigued by the idea of a capsule wardrobe. Most of you probably know what this is…a wardrobe of around 37 higher quality items that are worn with more frequency. The thought is that each piece is selected with intention so it can be worn in heavier rotation, mixing and matching with several other pieces in the wardrobe. Instead of having a closet full of rarely-worn clothing that may be cheap and ill-fitting, you have only items that express your style, fit like a glove, are of higher quality material, and are your natural ‘go-to’s’.

Why is a capsule wardrobe appealing?

There are several reasons for me:

  • Quick & easy! What really propelled me forward to actually try a capsule was having a 2nd kiddo. With just one baby to care fore, I managed to plan out outfits and get myself ready each morning. With a toddler and a newborn…it’s just a game changer! What I need in the morning is something quick and easy that requires little to no thought but still looks put together. So the idea of having just a few items in my closet that all mix well together, I can essentially grab-and-go!
  • Identifies personal style. Many of you know I am a recovering fashion blogger. 😉 When I was in my prime of fashion blogging I was always on the hunt for something new, whether it was thrifted or not, to add flare and style to my wardrobe. Often times this resulted in quick impulse purchases that left my personal style all over the map! I guess you could say I didn’t really have a personal style, I would try anything, wear any color, go with any trend, etc.
    As I get older I’m much more interested in building a wardrobe that reflects who I am (as I learn more about who I am) and functions well with my lifestyle as a mostly stay-at-home mom.
  • Budget friendly. Instead of making impulse purchases on a whim (and usually regretting them), a capsule forces you to stay within boundaries. With each new season, I can identify what items I might be lacking for my next capsule, and save up to purchase higher quality versions. It requires a bit of research and patience, but honestly I’m excited about that part. It seems hard to spend several hundred dollars on 1 pair of shoes, but if you will be wearing them daily and for several seasons, they will quickly show their value. The thrifter in me might struggle with this part, but I’ve been having a mind/heart shift with all of this lately. Which brings me to…
  • Appeals to my faith. As I started to read the blog Un-Fancy (check her out!), I was resonating with so much of Caroline’s journey to a capsule wardrobe. She doesn’t come at it from the context of a Christian faith (I have no idea where she stands), but I feel that the idea of consuming less and appreciating what we have really lines up with my values as a Christ follower. Like Caroline, I have realized that I use shopping as a way to deal with stress or feel better about myself. Like a little high that will fill today’s hole. Instead, I need to be running to my heavenly Father when I’m struggling or stressed…not to TJMaxx!
    Additionally, as a seamstress I’m beginning to realize how complicated it is to sew clothing! This leads me to ask, who is making the clothing I wear? How much are they getting paid? If I’m paying so little for this Forever 21 shirt, who is getting the short end of the stick?
    This is a shift I’m slowly starting to take in a lot more areas of my life. I am craving quality and honesty not only in my wardrobe, but in the items purchased for my home, and even in my relationships! As I start my capsule wardrobe this first round, I’m using clothing I already own which does include pieces from fast fashion stores. But my goal is to be increasingly aware of the purchases I’m making and honor the Lord in that way.

So where do you start with all of this?

Caroline’s blog has a handy capsule planner that I utilized, in part, to help me take a step back and think through my life and identify what kind of style I wanted to have.

Time:
To start, I simply thought through how I spend most of my time. I went through each day of the week and came up with percentages that would help me narrow down the clothing I would need for each activity.

57% of my time is spent on the go with the babies. I need to be comfortable, able to move easily, and wearing something that I won’t mind getting spit up on (thank you, Wally!).
14% of my time I’m doing something where I want to look just a smidg more cute and put together. This could be going to Bible study or out with friends.
29% of my time I need to be a little more dressed up. I work one day in an office and we go to church on Sundays where I enjoy dressing up a bit more. Neither of these places require anything too fancy, but something a step up from my mommy moments would be nice.

Words:
Next, I thought through words that I want to identify myself and my ‘vibe’, if you will. I came up with:

Comfortable, Natural, Feminine, Effortless, & Classic

Colors:
I think this step is huge. In order to curate a wardrobe that speaks to your personal style, I think you have to stay within a color category. It might sound boring, but I find that I’m always drawn to certain bloggers and instagrammers that have a very consistent color scheme. To figure this part out I simply looked in my closet and saw what I had already been drawn to the most, the colors that naturally appealed to me and that I felt comfortable in. For me they are:

Major Colors (2): Blacks/Greys & Indigo Hues (denim, chambray, navys)
Minor Colors (1): Whites/Creams
Accents (3): Blush Pinks/Berry, Earthy Greens, Cognac Browns

What are my final selections?

A true capsule wardrobe has 37 pieces not including accessories or lounge clothing. For this round I am allowing myself 40 pieces b/c Kansas has a wide range of temperatures in the Fall. If all goes well, I will wear only these items in rotation for 3 months, Sept-Nov!

TOPS(1-16), JACKETS (17-20), BOTTOMS(21-28), SHOES (29-37), EXTRAS (38-40):

  1. Grey & white striped tank
  2. Blue & white striped tank
  3. Navy blue plaid high-low button up
  4. Blush pink t-shirt
  5. Heather black t-shirt
  6. Plain white v-neck t-shirt
  7. Burnt mauve 3/4 sleeve top
  8. Oatmeal long sleeve flowy top
  9. Tan & white striped thicker boxy top
  10. Blush pink & white striped side-split top
  11. Jersey knit berry colored flowy top
  12. Short-sleeved denim flowy top
  13. Navy blue jersey knit 3/4 sleeve
  14. Thin striped blue button-up
  15. Hunter green dressy blouse
  16. Mustard boxy top (made by me!)
  17. Denim jacket
  18. Black leather jacket
  19. Green military jacket
  20. Light khaki trench jacket
  21. Grey distressed high-waisted skinnies
  22. Black high-waisted skinnies
  23. Denim high-waisted skinnies
  24. Boyfriend jeans
  25. Army green skinnies
  26. Black leggings
  27. Dark gray a-line skirt
  28. Chambray skirt
  29. Cognac brown crisscross sandals
  30. Black Birkenstocks
  31. Cognac brown ballerina flats
  32. Tan strappy leather booties
  33. Leopard flats
  34. Open-toe cognac brown heel
  35. White Converse
  36. Cognac brown ankle boots
  37. Black chelsea combat boots
  38. Brown open sweater
  39. Burnt orange open sweater
  40. Denim vest

For accessories I’m utilizing 2 scarves, 1 braided leather belt, 1 white leather backpack(diaper bag), and very minimal jewelry. Easy for my mommy lifestyle!

Final thoughts?

Given that I just had a baby 2 months ago, I’m allowing myself the freedom to switch out items (particularly pants) if my body changes during this 3 month time. For me it’s not as much about sticking hard-fast to the rules as much as challenging myself to live with less.

I’m really excited to try this out and thankful for my sweet friend, Krista, who is doing it with me! The whole idea of consuming less and living more is just so appealing to me. Less stuff to manage and more time to give to those I love!

(I’ll be sharing pics and updates to come! I start on September 1st, this Thursday!)

Wallace Harold: Month 2

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Yesterday my adorable baby boy turned 2 months old. It’s a bit surreal to think that in a few weeks I will have a 2 month old and a 2 year old!

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As I reread my 1 month update I’m astounded by how far we have come in just 4 short weeks (insert praise hand emoji here). Slowly but surely we are starting to find our sense of rhythm with 2 young babes and our days are beginning to have more structure. As the temperate starts to drop, I find myself longing for Fall, a change of season, and the inevitable patterns that occur as the school year begins. There is something refreshing about everyone around your city having a similar pace. I enjoy that sense of reliability.

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Wally’s Progress:

Eating:
Thankfully, not long after I wrote last month’s post, Wallace really found his groove with nursing. Just like Flora, he is a wonderful eater and our nursing relationship is so very sweet. He feeds on both sides every 2-3 hours, burps, and is either ready to sleep or ready to hang out.
I’ve continued to pump each morning, storing about 3-4oz each day to have reserves for when I begin working again (in 2 weeks!). I’m also hoping to have enough around so Daniel and I might be able to have a date night soon!

Sleeping:
I’m happy to say our nighttime schedule has been really wonderful with him. He usually cluster feeds during his fussy hour (about 6:30-7:30), then I swaddle him and lay him down for the night. He wakes up only one time anywhere between 2-3:30 to eat again, then can sleep until 7 sometimes. We are always up with Flora before then, but it’s nice to have him down for that long! I’m very grateful for this!
Our daytime looks a bit different. Because our mornings almost always involve an activity or playdate, we haven’t had a super consistent nap-time. Generally he falls asleep in the car on the way to our activity and sleeps most of the time. Then we get home, I put Flora down for her nap, then nurse Wally and he either sleeps more, or we cuddle and chat. The afternoons are a bit random so depending on if we are home or out running errands, he may get another good nap, or just little ones here and there.
I felt like with Flora we found a pattern a bit sooner, but I wasn’t juggling a toddler schedule at the same time!
It’s wonderful when they both nap at the same time b/c then I can usually get a chore accomplished and tidy up the house which makes the clean-freak in me happy.

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Other:
Wally is officially in size 0-3 month clothing and size 1 diapers. The last week he has had a really hard time pooping and we even had to give him a baby suppository. I’m hoping his little body is able to start regulating a bit more.

This last month I began taking Wallace to a chiropractor because he was having very fussy times during the day, particularly in the morning and evening. He would cry in a way that made me wonder if he was in pain. He was also arching and spitting up a fair amount. After 4 sessions of chiropractic work, I do feel like he is doing better. Since I pushed for 3 hours, I wonder if he got a bit misaligned in the process of birth (something my breech little stinker, Flora, never had to deal with!). It’s so hard as a mom to know when your baby is just…being a baby, or if there is something you should do and when to seek help. But ultimately, I’m very glad we’ve taken him in to help his body function better.

Wallace loves to be held…like a lot. Haha. He really enjoys eye-to-eye contact and being talked to. You can almost always elicit a smile when doing this and his whole demeanor changes when you interact with him. Thankfully, I’ve tried wearing him again and he has started to like it more than month 1. He also enjoys trying to stand on his legs and he has a very strong neck and grip. I keep telling him not to grow up too fast on me, and it’s ok to be a baby! I don’t recall Flora being quite this ready to support herself so early! Maybe it’s a boy thing…

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Mama Update:

This last month has been a transition from ‘complete survival mode’ to a mixed bag of ‘hey…I think we are getting this!’ and ‘am I going to survive?!’. Some days I feel on top of the world, both kiddos seem to do well and there aren’t too many breakdowns. Then other days I call my mom more times than I want to admit, crying and asking for support. Our days are a mixture of such sweet moments where Flora cuddles with brother and gives him kisses (melts me!), and times where both babes are crying, one needs nursed, the other is begging for juice, I’ve got one eyebrow filled in, and we need to leave the house in 5 minutes to make it to our scheduled play date. Whew! Somehow, it always ends up working out though. And I’ve learned if I can just get us into the car…often that gives us the transition we need to make it through. Admittedly we leave early for most play dates and drive around for 15 minutes to get everyone (including myself) calmed down.

I’m happy to say I am not on pain killers anymore. The last 2 weeks I haven’t had to take anything and I am starting to feel a bit more normal again. At my 6 week check-up my doc told me it would probably be another 2-6 weeks of healing for me since the tear was so significant. I’m very grateful that I’m at least able to sit normally now and not be thinking about the pain or discomfort constantly like it was before.

Lately I’ve been trying to schedule playdates each morning of the week, which is a lot and a bit exhausting sometimes, but I’ve really enjoyed them! I’ve gotten to know some really sweet mamas so much better and I feel like my sphere of friendships is growing. The more I talk to other mothers, I realize everything I’m feeling, all the questions, doubts, concerns, guilts, joys…they are NORMAL. I’m not alone in this season, and, in fact, there are a lot of wonderful ladies out there trying to juggle it all too. There has been such a sense of camaraderie with my mama friends lately and I’m so blessed by them.
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Hardest Moment:
I had an interesting situation come up this last month that really challenged me. It was unexpected and a bit sad…but ultimately it made me face something that was good. God is teaching me over and over lately that the ONLY person in this life that I need to desire approval from, is Him! If the world rejects me or disapproves of me, I am OK b/c I am His child. And as long as I am trying to follow Him, listening to His voice, being obedient in my actions…that’s all I can do! By nature I am a people pleaser, I don’t like discord, I long to be friends with everyone and I enjoy it when everyone gets along! But, sometimes this can mean me bending over backwards to try to make everyone and everything ‘right’, when really…it’s not my responsibility. I’m responsible for me, you are responsible for you. It’s funny how that works, right? 😉

I’d say the other hardest thing has been those heightened moments in my house where there are 2 crying children, one barking dog, a sink full of dishes, toys scattered everywhere, and one tired mama. It’s a recipe for being overwhelmed and it happens about once a day. BUT, I’m  s l o w l y  learning not to freak out. My therapist encouraged me to take a few deep breaths in those moments, remain calm, and remember it will pass. I’ve been attempting to put this into practice and it does help. Sometimes Daniel still receives a text. That sweet man, always putting up with my meltdowns.

I will admit, I’ve never experienced a season quite like the one I’m in. Most moments I feel so stretched thin attempting to take care of these small helpless beings that I wonder if I will every be able to think a thought again. Will I ever be able to read a book? Get back to my love…sewing? Pee in privacy? Not take a lightning fast bath b/c a baby is crying? Have time for my husband? I know in my head the answer is ‘yes! this is just a season’ but I will admit that, none-the-less, it is hard season. Giving of yourself 100% of the time is just hard. In the same breath, it is also the most beautiful and rich season I’ve ever known. The stark contrast of these feelings, the stress and joy, the guilt and successes, the crying and the cuddling, the chasing and the nursing, the fullness and the exhaustion…it all holds so much. It’s full. And it’s full of it all.

Best Moment:
I’m still in that amazing newborn love haze, the one where it’s like you’ve taken the strongest love potion in existence. It’s like you can’t hold your baby close enough, breath them in deep enough. Even when I manage to slip away for a moment to bathe, I find myself missing my Wally. It’s as if he belongs in my arms always, and when he’s not…something is missing. A part of my heart isn’t with me.
That being said, my best moments are holding my little man, staring deep into his amazing blue eyes, and having sister right there too, giving kisses and saying his name in her adorable toddler way…’wawwy’. I imagine the friendship they will have, the mischief they will get into, the things they will learn together.
Even now my eyes are welling up letting it sink in that I have a family. My body grew 2 beautiful healthy babes and they are here in my arms. I know this is not everyone’s story and there is so much heartache out there. For that reason I hold them even more tightly…my little tribe. My little undeserved blessing from God.

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Y’all. Thank you for letting me share all of this with you. Please know that in these posts, these vulnerable records of my life, you are getting me in my raw form. You are seeing me grow and process. Sometimes I read former posts and want to delete them. How could I have said that? Or not understood that? Or thought that thing was so important?
But, you know what, I don’t delete them. B/c that’s where I was then, and this is where I am now. I’ve grown. And I’m still growing. I’m ALWAYS in need of grace.
Thank you for allowing me that space. ❤

Wallace Harold: Month 1

‘Because I feel that, in the heavens above the angels, whispering to one another, can find, among their burning terms of love, none so devotional as that of ‘Mother’.’ -Edgar Allen Poe

 

Here I sit, one month into this ‘mother of 2’ business. A ‘mother of 2 under 2’ at that. I long to process all that this last month has entailed, what I’ve learned, all of my baby’s progress…but all I am coming up with is a haze. A cloudy mind tossed around in a storm. Because this month, much like a storm on the sea, has had its beauty, its chaos, its fear, its lack of direction. There have been waves of tears (ohhhh the tears), waves of joy, waves of humility, and not to mention far too many diapers than I can even count. I have found myself fighting to stay afloat, to find moments to breath before the next crashing wave hits.
So I will try my best to share our last month with you. To actually sit and put a thought together…we will see how it goes.

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For Flora’s first year, I blogged each month about her accomplishments, how I was doing, any significant changes, etc. While it was a challenge to get done some months, I find myself SO thankful I documented her first year of life in this way. Now I go back and read those posts and see myself growing, struggling, and surviving! I am filled with hope that, yes!, I might just survive again! And I see how each month got a little easier in its own way. I hope to do this again with Wally, and share with you (but also more for me!) how we are doing.

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Wally’s Progress:
Eating:
I suppose I’ll start with eating…b/c a newborn doesn’t do much of anything else!
My sweet boy had a few rough days getting started with nursing. But after ridding his body of remaining amniotic fluid on day 2, he has been nursing pretty well since! I did go visit a lactation clinic and get some input about my milk supply, positions to hold him, and how to get him as full as possible. He had been wanting to nurse constantly and I feared I was having a supply issue. It turns out he was getting plenty, but they figured he was just going through a growth spurt! Never-the-less, I started taking fenugreek and blessed thistle, 2 supplements that are supposed to help with supply. I believe those have helped!
In these last few days I had reached a point of desperation. This boy just loved to eat all the time. He would fuss and fuss and only be consoled by nursing. What I finally figured out is that he was never getting a full feeding! He was just ‘snacking’ and not napping well to-boot! So for the last 2 days I have implemented a new ‘system’ where at each feeding I really focus in to keep him awake and have him eat on both sides as long as possible. I burp him. Then we go at minimum 2 hours before the next feeding. If he fusses, we use the paci, bounce him, hold him, take him outside, or whatever we can do to ‘distract’ him. Usually he will fall asleep for a little while which is so wonderful (something he wasn’t doing before). I’m very excited to get in a better rhythm with him and feedings. This makes life SO much easier with 2 I’m learning!
Sleeping:
It’s no surprise that we are all a bit sleep deprived around here. For the first 3 weeks we had absolutely no sleep routine happening. Flora kept waking up and Wally, again, just wanted to nurse all night. I was in tears most nights, just so exhausted and at a loss for what to do…so I would nurse and nurse. BUT this last week I had a thought to try the swaddle again. We had tried swaddling Wally in the hospital and he haaaated it. So I thought he was just different than Flora and didn’t need it. However, last week out of desperation, I swaddled him in the SwaddleMe, nursed him, and put him down. He slept from 9pm-2am! FIVE HOURS! Of course I woke up panicking b/c why would he sleep that long…but apparently the swaddle was our magic ticket! For the last week he has been sleeping from 9-2 then 3-5:30. Not too bad! Only 2 feedings per night.
The other trick we’ve used is placing our small heating pad in his moses basket for a few minutes before we lay him down. We ALWAYS remove it before placing him in there, but it just warms up his blankets and he goes right down! This is something that was never an issue with Flora, but Wally despises being cold…just like his mama. (Random aside, we also bought the wipe-warmer for him. Something I swore I would never ever get b/c it’s just one of those ‘ridiculous spoiled American children things.’ Lol)
Other:
Wallace is still in a few newborn-sized things but he is starting to transition into 0-3 months. He wears newborn diapers still, but I have a feeling that will be changing this next month!
Wally has been a much fussier baby than Flora was, but I’m learning all his nuances and trying to understand his needs. I think our new feeding and sleep routine will help with this.
He hasn’t loved all the wraps (sad!), but I’m hoping this changes b/c I love baby-wearing!
Since they first layed Wally on my chest, he has had the strongest neck! At 8 days old I got a video of him on his tummy holding his head up for quite some time. He is my strong little dude!

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Mama Update:

Like I alluded to before, this month has been all about survival. Between little sleep, loads of family and visitors, healing from a big tear at his delivery, nursing constantly, pumping daily, keeping up with laundry and dishes, chasing a toddler around, and all this Kansas summer heat…I have had a LOT on my plate. One thing I’ve tried to do (which I did in my pregnancy too) is get ready each day. This means I at least try to get my makeup on and a comfy/cute outfit. It’s been a struggle to make it happen some days, but I feel more ready to tackle the day when I’m dressed and feeling put-together.

When Daniel was home that first week I remember thinking, ‘Hey! We can do this! This isn’t that bad!’. And even that next week I had lots of help from my wonderful mothers. But these last 2 weeks have been more of a glimpse of reality: me at home {alone} with a 22-month-old and newborn. Some moments I’ve about lost my mind. Flora has watched far too much Daniel Tiger and I will admit that every toilet in my house is in desperate need of cleaning. But! Both of my children are still alive and my husband still loves me. I consider that a win!

One challenge I wasn’t expecting to face, is how hard my physical recovery has been. I am still taking ibuprofen every few hours to cope with the pain of the tear. I can’t sit normally and any sort of bending is painful. I keep longing to feel ‘normal’ again and pray everything is healing correctly. I’m SO grateful that I was able to have a VBAC, but the longer-term recovery has in some ways been harder than my csection.

With Flora I remember spending the afternoons on our couch nursing her, staring at her, falling in and out of sleep, and watching my favorite shows. It was such a sweet bonding time with her where we cuddled and I tried to memorize her every feature. There are some days that I manage to get both kids napping at the same time and I try to pause from cleaning up all the mess, to stare at Wallace and breath in his sweetness. He is so handsome (of course I’m not bias) and smells like heaven. He looks at me with an intensity of a deep thinker. And I swear I’ve even gotten him to smile a few times! 🙂

After I had Flora, I was so focused on loosing baby weight and seeing that magic number on the scale. I remember being ashamed of my postpartum body and thinking far too much about that. This time around, while I do want to focus on my health, I am not going to share my weight loss journey. It just doesn’t matter. I know that chasing 2 kids around will be ample exercise for the time being!

Hardest Moment:
I think the hardest thing about this last month has been the feeling of inadequacy. There is just NO way I can ‘do it all’ or keep up with life. I can’t do a good job taking care of my children, be a wife, cook the meals, keep the home, look cute, have energy, meet friends, blah blah blah. It just hasn’t been possible. There aren’t enough hours in the day. All in all this has been humbling me to my core. B/c the fact is…I can never do it all. When I think that I can I am just fooling myself. Although I haven’t had an actual ‘quiet time’ since the birth, I do find myself talking to Jesus and just admitting I’m a mess and I need Him. I am oh-so weak right now, so I ask Him to be strong for me!
Additionally I have really been wresting with the idea of friendships and what that looks like in this season. I’m finding motherhood is just quite lonely at times and the little extra time and energy I’ve got left needs to be spent of people who are ‘cup-fillers’ and not ‘drainers’. Those kind of friends who meet you in the mire, tell you it sucks, and bring you a Dr. Pepper. You know what I mean? Well anyway…one goal I have is to not wallow in the ‘lonely motherhood mire’ and to reach out and have more playdates throughout the week. I’m really pumped b/c we purchased a double stroller and I’m hoping this makes getting out of the house with 2 much more possible.

Best Moment:
This month was such a blur, but the support of our family and friends (THANK YOU FOR ALL THE MEALS!) has been a great encouragement to me. And I am just so utterly thankful for my healthy children. ChildREN…that’s multiple! Because I have 2! It’s still sinking in, guys. 2 sweet healthy babes, my gifts from the Lord!

 

So, that’s it guys. Our first messy month of being a family of 4