Dearly Noted

Tag: motherhood

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!

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

Dressing a Post-Partum Body

After my last style post on pregnancy fashion, I thought it’d be fun to do a follow up post on postpartum style and how to flatter your figure after you’ve had a baby (hello 4th trimester). I had my baby a little over 2 weeks ago and am in that fun stage of trying to dress my ever-changing figure!

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If you’ve ever had a baby you know the postpartum season can be tricky. Just like pregnancy, you don’t want to go buy a whole new wardrobe b/c you know your body will be continually changing for quite some time. But, you probably still want to look stylish and also wear clothing that is functional for nursing, carrying a newborn, and chasing other children around (hello comfort!).

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Here are a few ideas for dressing after baby:

  • Find the right shape:
    If you’ve just cranked out a baby, chances are your tummy will be a bit poochy for a while. This is nothing to be ashamed of, I mean, you just grew and birthed a human for crying out loud. But if you don’t want to accentuate your midsection, here are the types of tops to keep in mind:
    Boxy
    as pictured, boxier tops help hide a bulging tummy as well as provide lots of room for movement as well as ease for nursing. Win!
    Peplum
    pictured below, peplum style shirts flow away from the body at just the right place. I opted for a top that fit more loosely all around as apposed to a fit-n-flare style.
    Babydoll
    not pictured, but I’ve been keeping my babydoll-style tops in heavy rotation these days. This style is typically more fitted around the shoulders than flares out right above the bust all the way to the bottom of the shirt.

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  • Keep fabric in mind:
    Fabrics that carry a little more weight tend to stay put and not cling to the body. Although it’s tempting, if you are trying to flatter your postpartum figure jersey knits aren’t the best option. These types of material will hug and cling to each curve and crease. Look for tops that hold their own shape.

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  • Consider a girdle: There are a myriad of postpartum girdles out there ranging in price. I opted for one from Walmart that was $10. I don’t wear it every day but it’s nice to have. And they are actually proven to help your uterus shrink back down and offer support after all that bodily change. Win!

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  • Organize your closet:
    It can be a little depressing to see an entire closet of clothes that don’t fit, but try not to let that get you down. I suggest creating a space in your closet for the clothes that fit you now. You could even pack away the clothing you know won’t be fitting you for a while if you find yourself discouraged every time you look at your closet.
    As you start loosing baby weight, remember to keep evaluating your closet, slowly you will be able to add more items that fit and hopefully it feels like a success each time!

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  • Stay positive and creative:
    Like pregnancy, I think it can be easy to just ‘give up’ during these seasons of constant bodily change. But, for me, keeping a positive spirit and challenging myself to stay creative with my wardrobe (and in other areas!), I found this season a fun chance to think outside the box and utilize what I own in new ways.

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And finally, remember you are so much more than what you wear. We are children of God, we have purpose and talent, we can love and create and embrace and smile. Even if you don’t feel quite yourself in your postpartum season try to embrace today. Embrace the woman you are in this moment in time. You are a child of God, His design, and He adores you!

{As a gift to my followers I am offering 15% off one item at Penelope & Olive using the code STARLEE. That is where I ordered both of my tops in this post and I LOVE them! All items at Penelope & Olive are $40 or less which is so great when you live on a budget like me!}

Much love,
Star

Frugal & Functional: My Best Maternity Fashion Tips & Where to Shop

IMG_3349As I draw near to the end of my 2nd pregnancy, I thought it would be fun to share my best tips for getting through pregnancy when it comes to fashion. Some women feel their most beautiful when pregnant, others feel like a giant balloon, but either way, you gotta dress yourself! And if you are like me, you don’t have a lot of extra money to go buy a whole new wardrobe to accommodate this short, beautiful season. So, here are my tips for a functional and frugal maternity wardrobe…

  1. Stick with the basics.
    For the first few months of pregnancy, you can probably get by wearing your normal clothes, but as you progress you will definitely need a few things. I would recommend investing in a few pieces:
    -2 pairs of maternity jeans
    -5-6 basic maternity t-shirts (short or long sleeved depending on the season you are pregnant)
    -1-2 comfy dress options (I have 2 jersey-knit throw-on casual dresses)
    -1 nicer maternity dress (think for church or special occasion).
    It may not sound like much, but these are the basics of what I have used particularly through this 2nd pregnancy as I have realized I can make do with much less.
    If you are working away from the home and have to look more professional, this list may look different. I work 1 day/week in a professional office setting and I usually pair a dress with leggings and some flats to create a comfortable yet dressier look.IMG_2632
  2. Utilize cardigans, sweaters, or kimonos.
    With baby #2 I have been pregnant through mostly colder months and my go-to combo has been a long sleeve fitted maternity shirt under my open cardigans and sweaters. These are cardigans I already owned and simply paired them over my maternity shirts. If you are pregnant in the summer but still want a little more coverage, I would recommend buying 1-2 cute light-weight kimono style open tops.
  3. Let your accessories take the stage.
    With such few maternity pieces in my wardrobe, it’s easy to feel like I’m wearing the same old boring outfit over and over. But I’ve had a lot of fun challenging myself to wear some neglected accessories that pair well with basics. Do you have a statement necklace you like but that has been gathering dust? Pull that baby out! Do you, like me, have way too many scarves that never get worn? Put those in rotation! Try a fun hat, a funky earring, or stacking some bracelets in a new way. These things shake up an outfit and take away from the fact that you wear that simple black tank dress every week (guilty).IMG_2900
  4. Borrow from friends.
    Do you have a close friend who is a similar size and not pregnant right now? Ask them if they have a few pieces they would share with you. I was lucky enough to have a friend who just had her 4th and last baby and she passed down several wonderful pieces to me that I wore a lot over the winter. This is a frugal method to get some maternity clothes, and since it it such a short season of life, why not share the love! Then, when you are done with your season of growing babies, you can pass on your clothes too! Cool!
  5. See what you already own that will work throughout your pregnancy.
    You might be surprised to find that you have more pregnancy-friendly clothing than you realized. Flowy shirts are wonderful for accommodating the bump. I have worn my elastic high-waist skirts with a  tied up t-shirt through both pregnancies (these are easy to find at thrift stores!). Pull out any empire waist dresses; these can be easily worn with leggings as your belly grows and your dresses get shorter.IMG_3239
  6. Don’t forget about undergarments. 🙂
    Until I had Flora I didn’t realize just how much various parts of my body would change…not just my belly. Once of my 2 saving graces have been my seamless panties from Victoria’s Secret. They are the stretchy kind that have no seam around the legs or waist which accommodates growth in the bum area without cutting off circulation. My other secret weapon is my bra extender! As baby grows and takes up more space in your body, all your organs shift around and get pushed up. This means your rib cage widens and your bra size will change quite a bit. From my last pregnancy I had purchased 2 new bras, but this time around they just weren’t wide enough. For about $7 I ordered a 3 pack of bra extenders from Amazon that simply clip to your bra hook, and voila! No need to buy more bras (which can be dang pricey!).
  7. My favorite places to shop.
    So where do you find these few, but important pieces? This is where I have gone…
    -For inexpensive basic tops, shop at Ross! They have a small maternity section where I have found short and long-sleeve simple tops. They aren’t the most amazing quality, but for $3-5 a shirt, you can’t complain!
    -Check out Old Navy, online and in store. Both of my jersey-knit comfy dresses are from there. They also have great sales.
    -On Cyber Monday I ordered a pair of nice skinny jeans from Motherhood Maternity for $20 and they have been great. I don’t adore most of what Motherhood sells, but for a basic like jeans, it’s hard to go wrong.
    -Check Target for jeans, tops, and dresses. While there prices aren’t always amazing on maternity, the selection is usually pretty cute.
    -For a fancy dress, look at ASOS online. Be warned…it’s all super cute and not necessarily budget friendly.IMG_2985

Hopefully a few of these tips are helpful and you can learn from my experience and mistakes. 🙂 The season of pregnancy has really show me how little I can live with in my wardrobe and it’s kind of refreshing!

Blessings!

Star

*top image by Neal Dieker Photography

Conclusions & Beginnings

In the last few months of my blogging absence, Daniel and I have experienced mixture of hardship, confusion, waiting, pain, grieving, surprise, joy, fear, and just general busyness that the holidays always seem to bring. We announced a few weeks ago that we are expecting baby #2 and we did this with joy but also with hesitation. I thought I’d share our journey from the last few months and how the Lord has been with us through each step.

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In early/mid October we found out we were pregnant with our second baby. This was news that both excited and terrified us. We didn’t think this pregnancy would happen quite so quickly, but that little shock soon wore off as we imagined becoming a family of 4. Jump ahead a week later, I called Daniel in a panic b/c I had lightly spotted and wasn’t sure at all what this meant. After calls to the doctor, a blood draw, and an inconclusive sonogram we were basically told that we would just have to wait and see, but that spotting early on in pregnancy is very common. I was comforted by this news, yet still a bit fearful.

The next week my mother and I had planned to visit my sister in Denver. Despite being a bit nervous b/c of the spotting (which only happened that one day), we decided to move forward with the trip. Upon being in Denver for several hours, grabbing lunch, and heading out to an antique mall, we found ourselves all split up and wandering around this warehouse of vintage treasures. To my utter terror, I suddenly knew something was very wrong and began crying out for my mom. We quickly found one another and she rushed me to the bathroom followed by my sis. In a stinky dusty antique mall bathroom I began what I thought was the start of a miscarriage. Blood dripping from my body, we all cried and I just couldn’t believe this was really happening. I started to think about the phone call I would have to make to my husband to tell him we were losing the baby. I couldn’t fathom the thought of flushing our baby down this dirty old toilet in the middle of a city I’ve never been to. All the while strangers were ushering in and out of this public restroom, no doubt curious about what was happening in the stall we were all crammed in. That moment in time stood still. How could I even get up from this spot…let alone move forward…let alone complete this awful event that was taking place? I was scared and more sad and heartbroken than I’d ever felt.

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With the help of my mother and sister, we got in the car and drove 45 minutes back to my sister’s apartment where I continued to bleed and cry. Daniel was notified and the next few hours were spent between trips to the bathroom and laying down.

In the past, when I have faced a hurt or a trial, I can’t say I’ve always responded well initially. The shock and pain of it all sort of overcomes me and I have traditionally fallen to pieces for a while. But this time was different. Maybe the experience of the c-section and how the Lord has grown my faith since then had changed my heart. Because truly my only response in this time of disorder was to run to Jesus. I imagined myself in His arms, we were crying together, and He just held me. I felt no explanation for what was happening, but a sense that He was altogether in control. He had created this life and even though, to me, it seemed far too early to take it away, that was what He allowed to happen. Though I couldn’t understand Him, I trusted Him. I didn’t feel angry at God, but an overwhelming sense of trust. He has always provided and always been for the good of His people (thank you BSF for teaching me this). And I am one of His people, His daughter. I can tell you that when my own daughter falls and gets hurt, no matter how monumental or how tiny the scrape, I hold her and I tell her I love her and I just try to be there with her in her moment of pain. That’s what God did for me, He was there with me in my moment of pain.

My mom and I stayed in Denver one more day. The tone of the girl’s trip completely changed, but we tried to enjoy each other’s company as I thought I would continue to miscarry. But the next day I didn’t bleed at all. On our drive home on Sunday…no more blood. I was still convinced I was/had miscarried, yet I was a tad confused based on all I had read about the topic vs. what my body was doing. First thing Monday morning I went to my doctor’s office and they drew blood. I waited anxiously by my phone all day for them to tell me about my HGC levels and if they had decreased (a sign the pregnancy was ending). I never heard from them that day and in fact didn’t hear the results until Tuesday afternoon.

On Tuesday afternoon I received a call where they told me news I was not expecting one bit…my HCG levels had, ‘appropriately increased’ which could be a very hopeful thing. Yet they told me not to get my hopes up b/c it didn’t confirm anything fully. I had to go in for another sonogram that Friday to see for sure.

After the longest week of waiting, we went in for the sono that Friday. I was so afraid of it. What would we see? Would I have to get a DNC if my body wasn’t completing a miscarriage? Would we see a baby but with abnormalities? I held my breath as the tech laid me down and began the ultrasound. She quickly found the yoke sack which had a little dot-like thing inside. We waited a minute for her to say something but she didn’t. Was she seeing something good or bad? I had never had a sono this early with Flora so I didn’t know what we were looking at. Finally I asked, ‘Is that a baby?’ to which she replied, ‘Yes! And see that flicker…that’s the heartbeat!’. Instantly I burst out in tears, this was unbelievable news. In my heart of hearts I had wanted to hope for this, but another part of me had already started to grieve this little life. It was all so confusing yet joyous, yet surprising. She continued to take pictures and I noticed something on the screen. There was a dark area around the sack that seemed strange to me. I inquired, but she didn’t know what it was and told me it was most likely a subchorionic hemorrhage. What in the world was that?! She explained it’s an internal bleed that normally go away on their own, but she would have to have the doctor call me. My joy instantly converted to a mixture of fear. Was this a big deal? Would I bleed again? Does it put the baby in danger? I knew nothing and the sono tech couldn’t answer my questions.

So now, we had a baby when we thought we had lost it, but there was also this added issue we knew nothing about. After much reading and a phone call from the nurse we learned a lot more about these hemorrhages and I took it very easy for a while. They told me it was nothing to worry about and they see them from time-to-time. I tried to keep that mindset, but given what had already happened, I was honestly a bit terrified.

Several weeks later, we had another sonogram scheduled. I decided to start praying and asking big things from the Lord. I prayed for a completely healthy baby with a strong heart beat. I prayed that the hemorrhaged area would be completely gone. I prayed that I could have a long talk with my OB and ask all the questions on my heart (specifically about the risks and possibility of a vbac). It seemed like a long laundry list of prayers, but I had already seen God work and knew He could tackle each one of these desires. And to praise and glory of my God, He answered EACH one. I’m not always the best at praying specifically for things like this, but I’m going to start doing it. To see how God answered each of these prayers was almost more that my heart could handle. We walked away from that appointment with the image of our squirmy baby engrained in our minds. My OB said I had a great chance for a vbac. The hemorrhage was gone as far as we could see. I was walking on cloud nine, praising my savior and kissing my husband with joy overflowing. To go from thinking you lost your baby, to this…it was a lot to take in.

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It’s been over a month now since all of this and I’ve thought about it all a lot. I know so many woman who have lost babies and, for several days, I thought I had joined the ranks of these women. It was a dreadful place to be. You feel like ‘just another number’ b/c miscarriages happen every day. But when it’s you and your child, you feel anything but common. The precious baby you were carrying is lost. You will never get to feed them, hold them, see them grow…it was the most devastating feeling. Even though you know there is nothing you could have done, you feel like a failure. You wonder if you will ever really move forward.

I have shed tear after tear wondering why the Lord allows me to keep this baby. Of course I am so grateful and I want this life so badly. But I also want the lives of all those other lost babies out there. I wish my friends who have lost babies didn’t have to know this feeling. I have, in moments, felt guilty to share the news of this pregnancy, when others don’t get to do that.

To you mamas out there who have lost, who are longing for a child, I just want you to know that my heart aches with you. B/c of this experience I have a little more of an understanding of the pain and questions that occur in that time of sorrow and loss. Each and every life deserves to be celebrated, no matter if that life lasted only a few short weeks in the womb or that person lived to 100. I see more than ever how incredibly precious life is and how it is truly an incredible miracle from the Lord. I also see more clearly that this world is not our final dwelling place, that we are so incomplete on this earth. Over the last few months I have found much comfort in the words of Rev 21:3-5a

‘And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

Praise God He is making all things new. Even in the midst of sorrow, He is there. And in the end, there will be no more tears, no more death, no more loss. It will just be those who are God’s children standing in the comfort and completeness of His presence.

As we start this new year, I just wanted to share this. It is now a part of my story, a part of my marriage, a part of my family, and a part of this new baby’s life. I will tell them how I thought they were lost, but how the Lord has saved them, not just from an earthly death, but from an eternal one.

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Lastly I wanted to share this poem I wrote while I was in Denver. I wrote this a few hours after my bleed, believing then that we had lost our little one…

 

I stand in the center and the world spins round.
With veiled vision I see the commotion
Life moves forward but not for you
You have passed into realms of beauty
You see what I have not, the light and pureness of being whole

Too quickly we parted, but as I stay and shed my tears
You look down already knowing much more

You see beauty most lovely
Feel a warmth so close
Hear the sounds of heaven
Taste the delight of His presence

You are surrounded by hosts and saints
And one day I will join you

Will you meet me there at the pearly gates, my child, so we can meet?
For the first time I will hold you in my arms and tell you of your mother’s love
You will tell me of your years spent with the King and how radiant you will be

Bright shining as the sun, you will show me how it’s done
Hand in hand we will march forward, never to be parted.

Until we meet, my baby.

Motherhood Moments: Month 5

Another month has passed. Documenting like this sure shows me how quickly a month seems to go by! My little sidekick is 5 months old now and oh-so curious!IMG_3765

 

Flora Updates:

  • Eating: We are still doing great with nursing but I started to notice Flora seemed very interested in what Daniel and I were eating. She would even reach out for it and watch us put things in our mouth. So, within the last few days we have started to introduce ‘solids’ and it’s pretty funny. She has no idea how to swallow but she really loves the taste of mushed banana. I have a feeling life is about to get much messier b/c she gets food all over her face and hands. We are starting out slowly
  • Sleeping: I’ve been working on scheduling Flora more in the last few weeks as far as sleep goes. We’ve started to get her up around 8am (or she just naturally wakes around that time), then she plays for about 2 hours, then I feed her and put her down at about 10am. She will sleep for about 1-1.5 hours. This is huge b/c before she would only sleep for about 15 minutes 2x a day. Then at night she was getting SUPER fussy, we think from being over tired. I feel like a bad mamma b/c I should have realized she needed more nap time. Learning a lot here.
    But now, with a solid morning and afternoon nap, Flora will sleep from 9:30 pm-6:30am. It’s fabulous! We are still getting it all down, but it’s amazing how the more naps she gets, the better she sleeps at night. Hoorah!
    We also transitioned her up into the nursery several weeks ago. She has done really well and of course I stalk her on the video monitor a lot. We put her moses basket in her crib so she still feels like it’s a familiar environment. She is about to outgrow that, however, so it’s about to be crib city!
  • Development: We haven’t been to the doctor this month so I’m not sure of her exact growth, but the girl seems longer and longer every day!
    She has started grabbing her toes which is so fun and is even sitting up pretty well unsupported. I still have to be right there b/c randomly she will just plop to the side.
    I’ve noticed that she is loving to look up more and more which is something new. While in her exercauser, she will look up to find me or Daniel. Also, while I’m holding her in my lap she will occasionally lean her head back to look at me. It’s a sweet little moment. 🙂
    She has really started to grab and manipulate things with her hand much better. She brings EVERYTHING to her mouth and is pretty much a drooling fool! The amber necklace we got her has helped with that quite a bit.
    Her tooth has not popped through yet, we can still see it under the surface trying to work its way up!
  • Fav & Least Fav things: Flora’s favorite thing lately is just being held by mommy. And it HAS to be mommy. It’s truly incredible how instantly she knows if it’s me holding her or someone else. I do love holding her so so much and if that’s all I had to do all day, it’d be great. But that’s not reality, so we have several spouts of tears throughout the day when that’s just not possible.
    This last month we took Flora to a basketball game (go WSU Shockers!) and let’s just say she did NOT love it. I didn’t even think about it being so loud (shows you how many games I go to) and she would get super upset when the crowd suddenly burst into shouts and claps. Whoopsie!

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Momma Updates:

  • Best Moments: I’m going to be honest and say that this last month was just a blur. I started to work an extra day from home so now I’m doing one in office and 8 hours from home. This has really added a lot more to my plate then I thought. So I feel like I’ve been running around like a chicken with her head cut off.
    I guess one little ‘victory’ was that we have put her in the nursery at church and at BSF, and I’ve only been called to come get her one time. Hoorah!
    And I did get to go to the spa and finally use my Christmas gift to get a facial. I spend several hours alone and it was GLORIOUS.
  • Learning Moments: Transitioning her to take more naps has been a big learning moment for me. I think I was a bit ‘anti schedule’ there for a while but I’m seeing that’s not what’s best for her development. Motherhood is hard and humbling and beautiful.
  • Hard Moments: Literally tearing up as I’m writing this. For some reason I’ve just fought a lot of anxiety this last month. My house is a wreck, I haven’t been to the gym, I feel like I’ve let several people down, I’m struggling for creativity, we are trying to search for and buy a house, I’ve increased my work load… and it’s all just starting to add up. Not really sure what the answer is except I need time with my Savior who provides peace and strength.
  • Weight/Body Check In: If you didn’t read my last post, I had a bit of a break down about my new post-baby body this month. My actual weight is good (could still work on the last few pounds), but everything just fits differently and my tummy is pouchy. It’s so dumb to even fret over this, but I love wearing high-waisted things and I own a lot of skirts and pants that are that way. But I can’t wear any of them. I’m tempted to get rid of them all, but Daniel tells me I shouldn’t. I need to be patient and wait. Classic Daniel. Love him for that.
  • Misc: You know those times where you have to preach joy to yourself b/c, well, it’s just not there? This is one of those times. This sweet face sure does help.

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