A Random Life Update

First and foremost- thanks to everyone who read my massively long, three-part birth story I finally posted. It was truly therapeutic to write it all out and while I wasn't sure at first if I should post it all, I am 100% glad I did. So many of you have had similar experiences or even just an experience that didn't go how you'd hoped and I'm glad we can chat about it! It's great to talk to people who have been through it and together we can hate all those people who get the easiest/best birth stories ever ;) Just joking... mostly.

So since this week was all emotional and heavy I wanted to lighten things up today. It's Friday after all. The last Friday of July and do you know what that signifies?! FOOTBALL STARTS NEXT MONTH!! The past three years I've done a one time only "Football Friday" link-up on my blog, I hope you all are still interested because I want to host that again. It'll be a day to post about anything and everything football... favorite team, memories, tailgate food, fashion, you name it. Anything goes. I'll pick a day soon and be sure to let you know so you can get your posts ready :) Here is last's years to give you an idea of what I posted.
Posting this again in hopes that it will give our guys some luck!

What else is going on? Well, I'm proud to say I've started a photobook for T's first year. I knew if I waited until his first birthday or something it would never get done. And the amount of photos I've taken already is just obscene so it was nice to get a start on that. It's probably going to be my favorite photobook of all time... see below for an example of why.

Facebook/Timehop reminded me this week that it was exactly 2 years ago that I cut and donated 12" of hair! It tempted me to cut mine again, but I can't decide if having short hair with a new baby is a good or bad things- moms?? It's long now which is nice because I can throw it in a ponytail or bun every day (and let's be honest- that's what I have time for) but maybe short hair could be good too because less time washing/drying? These are clearly big decisions for my life right now.

Then the haircut led me to remembering that I have a 30 before 30 list that I should probably revisit. I've crossed off about half of them and a handful of them are still in progress, but I better get on it if I want to come close to finishing them all. I officially have less than 9 months to go- yikes!

This now concludes one of my most random posts ever...but sometimes you just gotta drain dump everything into one post and catch up with life. Happy Friday and happy weekending everyone! :) 

Birth Story {Part Three}

In case you missed them:  Part One // Part Two

At 5:15 P.M. the doctor was back for another check. I was genuinely excited for this check (as uncomfortable as they are- ugh!) because I was so sure we'd be getting close to go time. So when the doctor announced that I hadn't made ANY progress in the past 4 hours I immediately wanted to cry. She said she was going to go look at my other numbers and stats and think about our next plan of action and she'd be back. When she left the room I just remember looking at Jared and fearing the worst.

Sure enough, the doctor was back in about 15 minutes and she said, "I've looked at everything... Even though your contractions look great, what we have at this point is failure to progress. I think the best thing to do now is get this baby out of there. I'm recommending we go ahead with a c-section."

I instantly started shaking my head and pretty much freaking out, there's not really a better way to describe it. I looked at Jared and I think we both just felt completely helpless in that moment. I wanted him to tell me this wasn't happening, and he wanted to fix everything and it just wasn't possible. Jared asked the doctor to give us a couple minutes of privacy which I was so grateful for. When it was just the two of us I clung to him and cried. "I don't want surgery! I should have never been induced!"

Jared prayed over me and just held onto me until I gathered myself a little bit. We were both a wreck at that point; having a major surgery just wasn't on our radar. We already had an induction sprung on us the day before, and now we're headed into a c-section? It just felt like nothing was going right but what other option did we have? We wanted our baby here safe and sound and although it pained me to do so, I knew we just had to trust that this was the right decision.

Suddenly our room was a flurry of activity. Prepping someone for a c-section takes a huge team of people. Jared ran down the hall to let our parents know what was going on while multiple nurses prepped me for surgery. I was still emotional and I remember one nurse in particular wiping my tears for me after she put my surgical hairnet on. She was sweet and tried to comfort me by reminding me that we were getting close to meeting our son. I couldn't wait to meet him, but it was also hard to feel excited in that moment when I was also terrified out of my mind. I didn't know it at the time, but one of the nurses snapped this photo and while terribly unflattering, it sums up how I was feeling in those moments.

Before I knew it I was being wheeled back into surgery. Jared had to wait outside the operating room for a few minutes which definitely felt like forever. The bright lights and the harsh contrast of this room compared to our labor room was almost too much to handle. I was feeling nervous, anxious, a little loopy from whatever medicine they were pumping into me and starting to feel sick to my stomach as well. After they got me on the operating table I remember asking, in practically a whisper, for someone to get me something because I thought I was going to be sick. Without anything in my stomach it wasn't really possible but dry heaving was almost just as bad.

Jared finally joined me and started talking to me immediately. He sat right by my head and held my hand as the team continued to get ready for surgery. I had a minor fever right before surgery so they stuck this weird thermometer sticker on my forehead to keep track of my temperature throughout the process. I was feeling so out of it by the time they started surgery. People were talking to me and I couldn't really focus on what they were saying or asking me. When they did the prick test to make sure I was numb I remember just staring into this woman's face and not knowing what in the world she wanted me to say. I think I just said "what?" over and over again before closing my eyes and fading out for a minute.

The surgery started and I continued to fade in and out, trying to respond to Jared as he talked to me but barely being able to focus. My fever was climbing rapidly which was making me burn through the painkillers much faster than normal. It's normal and even expected that you're going to feel a lot of pressure during a c-section, but at times the pain and pressure was so much that it felt like I was going to come up off the table! Once the doctors realized this, they continually upped the morphine throughout the surgery. If I wasn't loopy to begin with, I certainly was now.

Finally- the doctors just about had him out and they were telling me he was almost here. One of them hollered, "Any final weight guesses, mom and dad?" Somehow I was with it enough to say, "Seven pounds" and before I knew it Tyler was born on Thursday, May 26th at 6:45 P.M. and Jared was telling me, "He's here! He's here!" The nurses took him to be weighed and lo and behold, he weighed seven pounds exactly.

I was still fading in and out but I heard a cry and I heard everyone saying he was perfect. I turned to Jared and randomly said, "Does he have hair?" I'm pretty sure that made Jared chuckle ;) Somehow my camera came into the operating room with us (Zero recollection of how that happened) and a couple nurses did a great job taking photos for us, which I will cherish forever. Everything was such a whirlwind, I'm glad there are photos of the first few moments of our son's life.

Jared got to hold him while they finished surgery and finished putting me back together. I was having some double vision and it was breaking my heart that I couldn't really tell what my baby looked like yet. I kept trying to focus on him but the room was still feeling like one big blur to me. It took a pretty long time to finish up surgery and finally at 7:54 P.M. I got to hold my son for the first time.

It was instant love. All the craziness, all the trauma, all the pain- it was worth it. It truly was. He was here, he was healthy and he was perfect. Thank you God for this blessing! Jared and I just cried happy tears and smiled that our little family was together and everyone was okay. Our hospital stay was longer due to the c-section and the concern about my fever leading to an infection to me and/or Tyler, but thankfully it didn't. We were so excited to leave finally on Sunday and start our new life together.

Birth Story {Part Two}

You can read Part One here if you missed it.

Once we got home Jared and I quickly finished packing our bags. They were mostly ready to go already, but I added a couple more things and tossed in my last-minute items. I had planned on taking at least a few makeup basics with me to the hospital but in our rush I completely forgot those. Let's just say between zero makeup and the trauma I went through- there are no glamorous hospital photos ha!

I had asked the nurse if I could/should eat anything and she suggested something light, since I probably wouldn't be eating much for a long while. They pretty much were preparing me for a looong induction process so I knew I should try to have something before we left. I was only able to eat a piece of toast and a little applesauce, I was too nervous for anything else at that point. We called both of our moms to let them know what was going on. They were just as shocked as we were, but excited nonetheless. We told them not to come to the hospital anytime soon, we knew it would be a long time before any baby came so we said we'd just keep them posted as anything happened.

We finally checked back into the hospital around 9:00 pm and the same nurse we "knew" from earlier was there to take us back to our room. The doctor had originally told us they'd be using Cytotec to start the induction process but when she got into the room she had changed her mind. This is the same doctor who told us we "just need to have this baby" so when she told us she thought we'd try a foley bulb/balloon to induce, I couldn't help but feel like she chose that for fun. Do you know what I mean? Like hey, we haven't done an induction this way in awhile- let's give it a try. But I'm getting off topic now...
The couple of photos/snaps we took before moving rooms.

So the balloon and an IV of fluids started around midnight. Jared and I tried to just settle in and take everything in stride at that point. We knew we had a long road ahead of us so Jared pulled out the cot in the room and we found a movie to put on. Mean Girls was my choice ;) Something light I'd seen hundreds of times and would hopefully take my mind off what was actually going on. We didn't relax long before the nurse came back around 1 a.m. and told us we needed to move rooms. It was a little annoying to get up and haul over to a new room but the new room was much larger and nicer so it all worked out.

Once we settled into the new room, the nurse gave me a one-time "cocktail" of some medicine to help me relax, possibly sleep and overall just be comfortable overnight. They also started a tiny, low dose of Pitocin. They wouldn't up that until the balloon had done it's job and had come out. I was hating all the things that were happening- none of them are ever like I imagined, but at that point Jared and I were doing okay, just getting excited and knowing that our son was on his way into this world!

I dozed in and out all night. It's hard to get rest in the hospital and the nurses were in pretty much every half hour to check my blood pressure, change fluid bags or just see how we were doing. The night nurses were all really sweet though and I was thankful that they tried to be calming and comforting when they'd come in and could see I was half-asleep. We did have an annoying IV that malfunctioned quite a few times over night with a loud, obnoxious beep- so that was frustrating to have to call the nurse each time it happened. So much for a "relaxing" night.

Finally around 8:00 A.M. that dumb balloon was OUT and the doctor was ready to up my pitocin just a tiny bit more. I was so hungry and already tired at this point, but it was setting in that this was the day we were having a baby! Jared and I snapped a few photos, updated our parents as to what was happening (not a lot) and put on another movie. Inside Out was my choice this time- Disney for the win!

A new doctor from the practice was on duty by this point and she came in around 10 A.M. She was much nicer than the previous doctor although it was still a bummer that my actual doctor wasn't there. I know that's always a very real possibility when you go to a practice with multiple doctors, but I was hoping she'd be on-call at some point. Spoiler Alert- Of the FIVE days we were at the hospital, I never once saw/heard from my actual doctor. Instead, this doctor came in and checked me at this point. I was at 4cm which definitely made me feel like things were on the right track.

After the check the doctor decided it was time to break my water which she did... I'll spare the world those details.... but 1. Ouch and 2. Gross. The end.

I think our parents got to the hospital around noon and they came in to see how things were going. I was having contractions at this point but they weren't too painful so we were fine with having some company join us in the room for awhile. We all sat around chatting for a little bit, filling them on the previous night and what all was going on. The nurse brought me a cherry popsicle which was amazing. My body was so low on fuel at this point; I was only allowed sips of water and limited ice chips here and there.

Somewhere between 12:30-1:00 PM my contractions definitely started picking up. They weren't unbearable, but they were coming pretty close together. We timed them for a little bit and realized I was contracting every 2-3 minutes so I wasn't getting much time in between them to relax. The doctor checked me again in this time period and I'd progressed to 5cm. I was so excited that we were halfway there! Things were going how they should be going!

Soon after that check is when I felt the contractions get more painful so we had our parents head down to the waiting room for awhile. I brought up the epidural to Jared and his response was "Really!? You want it now??" He didn't mean it in a negative way, but he later told me he had no idea how much pain I was in at that point because I was handling it so well. Proud moment. Honestly, every contraction I had at that point I just closed my eyes, focused on breathing through it and got really quiet each time.

I figured I'd made it to a 5+ at that point, I'd get the epidural process started so I let our nurse know I was going to want one. She said she'd get the anesthesiologist as soon as they were done with another patient. Nothing about the epidural really scared me, to me it was just another step in the right direction of having this baby! The anesthesiologist came in around 2:30 P.M. and that process was pretty quick and painless. She was sweet and worked quickly to avoid sticking me with a giant needle right in the middle of a contraction. It started working pretty quickly and I got the weird itchy belly reaction and tingly legs/feet but I wasn't completely numb which I thought was a good thing.

The doctor said my contractions were "beautiful" and she didn't feel the need to up my pitocin anymore at that point- yay! Pitocin was never something I wanted so the less of it I needed, the better. The only concern at this point was that Tyler's head wasn't quite in the right position. He was head down, but it was turned just enough that it would affect delivery. They had me lay on my side with a giant "peanut ball" between my legs and said to stay there until the next check to see if we could get him to move.

As uncomfortable as that was, I complied and we found Jurassic World on the TV to try to distract us a little longer. I texted a couple friends to let them know how things were going, Jared updated our family in the waiting room and we just tried to continue to be patient. My mom actually brought me a magazine from the gift shop because I'd told her I was bored. It had been a long, slow process so far and I honestly thought we still had a long night ahead of us. Let's just say, I didn't get to read that magazine...

The Birth Story {Part One}

Here we are almost two months to the day that my son was born. It's taken me a really long time to come to terms with how everything happened, hence the major delay in writing and sharing this series of posts. As difficult as some of this was, I still believe God had his hand upon us and the situation the entire time, and for that I am SO grateful. Having a healthy baby boy is the biggest blessing of all. This is part one of three of my birth story, I've got a lot to say.

It was Wednesday, May 25th and it was just another day at the office. I got in early that morning because my boss was on vacation and things were a little busier than normal. Plus, I had my 37 week appointment that afternoon. I knew I'd be out of the office for an hour or so around lunchtime and didn't want to end up staying late to finish anything else. I work in a small department so I told my one and only coworker for the day that I was headed out and shouldn't be gone too long. He was happy to hold down the fort and off I rushed to the doctor's office. It was only about 20 minutes from my office but between traffic and construction I was definitely pushing it to get there on time for my 1:00 P.M. appointment. 
Last 'official' bump picture I took at 36w in the glamorous stadium bathroom

I made it with about 30 seconds to spare and immediately was called back by a new, unfamiliar nurse. She wasn't mean or anything- but just a little more business-like and not as friendly as some of the other nurses I'd gotten to know over the course of my pregnancy so far. She whisked me back to a room and quickly took my blood pressure which immediately read very high. VERY high. That can happen on occasion for no reason at all, and I did feel a little flustered so she gave me a couple of minutes and then said let's check that again. Checked it again. High, again. Dangit. Now the nurse instructs me to lay down on my side and said she'll be back in five minutes and to just relax.

Relax?! Yeah, right! Laying there on a super uncomfortable doctor's office table I just knew my blood pressure was going to be high no matter what now. I could feel my heart beating fast, I was sweating a little bit and I was just overall nervous that something was majorly wrong. My whole pregnancy was truly smooth sailing and there had been zero health concerns for me or baby the entire time. Why in the world was this happening now?

Sure enough, the third check proved to be high yet again. The numbers had dropped some, but since I was full-term at that point it was enough for a doctor to be concerned I guess. My doctor came in and checked me for progress while discussing the high blood pressure reading. I was only at 1cm, but suddenly I hear the words "send you to triage" come out her mouth. What?! She said I needed to go to the hospital for additional testing since they could give results right away, versus doing bloodwork through their office and waiting a couple of days to find out if there were any reasons to be concerned. Although my doctor remained positive and optimistic that they might not even find anything, she said it was best to find out if we needed to start talking about an induction sooner rather than later.

I left the office in a little bit of a haze and called Jared at work the second I got into my car. He answered quickly (thank goodness- he can't always when he's at work!) and I could barely get any words out when he first answered. I managed to choke out the few details I knew before bursting into tears. Jared immediately told his boss he had to leave and he and I both headed toward the hospital, coming from opposite directions. Jared had a dozen questions and I answered anything I could, but honestly everything still felt so unclear to me. I had no other 'warning signs' or symptoms other than a high blood pressure reading... how was this pointing to an induction?

We arrived at triage around 2:00 p.m.and let them know we were there and got all checked in. They were super busy so there wasn't a room available for us yet. Since I wasn't actively in labor or anything I'm pretty sure I was way down low on their list. They put two different hospital bracelets on me and sent us across the hall to a waiting room. I quickly remembered to text my coworker and let him know sorry, but I wasn't going to make it back today and that I was having additional tests done at the hospital. He wrote back, "No big deal- see you tomorrow." Little did we know...

We sat around in that waiting room for what seemed like forever, but it was probably only about an hour. It was a busy afternoon for babies because the waiting room was packed. I was so nervous about everything and all these people in the waiting room excitedly waiting to go down the hall and see a new baby was stressing me out. Everyone was so talkative and happy and I was just a wreck. This whole thing definitely taught me that I'm terrible in hospitals. Terrible.

Fiiiinally we got called back to a room. Jared had to wait outside for a few minutes while they asked me a few things and then he was allowed to join me. First up? A foley catheter to drain my bladder. Apparently the best way to get a sample but it was so uncomfortable and I just wasn't ready for that, but it happened anyway. Immediately after that is when they decided would be the best time to start monitoring my blood pressure again. After an uncomfortable, unfamiliar procedure let's see how she's doing!

They set it up to take my blood pressure every 20 minutes automatically and the first reading was of course, high. I was trying so hard to just relax and it felt physically impossible. I kept telling myself if I just relaxed, my numbers would come down and they'd let me leave. A nice nurse came in and we realized she knew Jared from childhood! They hadn't talked in over a decade but she was friendly and it felt comforting to know there was a tiny connection there. I was grasping for anything at this point. She took 5 vials of blood from me and said we'd just wait things out until the labs tested them.

It felt like we were waiting around forever in triage until the nurse let us know the results were back from the lab. She said everything looked pretty normal, but we'd have to wait to see the doctor and get her opinion on how to proceed. We asked the nurse what - in her opinion - would happen next. She said with the numbers she saw on the results she figured I'd be sent home with instructions to do a 24-hour urine collection and then follow up with my doctor again.

I was honestly relieved to hear that and Jared and I finally relaxed a little, thinking good news was coming our way. We'd been at the hospital for hours at this point so we started talking about where we were going to grab dinner from when we left. I had decided on Sonic and was going over slushie flavor options when the doctor finally came in.

"So I think we need to have this baby."

Those were her exact words when she walked in.

"Really??" I think that's all I was able to squeak out at first.

She said yes. She felt like my high blood pressure combined with being 37w1d meant we needed to induce me immediately. Jared and I tried to gather our thoughts and we asked a few questions, but we honestly felt like this doctor just wanted to get this show on the road and move onto the next patient. I understand that doctors deliver babies every day and it IS 'just another day at the office' but for first-time parents? Her bedside manners or people skills or whatever you want to call it, just wasn't there.

It was hard to be in that position where you felt like you had no choice but to trust that this doctor was doing the right thing. I truly couldn't wrap my head around the thought that I was about to be induced that night. No one ever wants to have that happen and I always imagined if I were to be induced it would be because I was past-due. The possibility of this happening today had never, ever crossed my mind.

The doctor left us alone for a few minutes and Jared and I talked and prayed about what we needed to do. They wanted me to check in right then and there, but I absolutely couldn't do that. I didn't have my bags with me, the carseat was at home, my cell phone was at 2% battery. We needed to go home first. The pushy doctor was not happy with that either, trying to scare me by saying my high blood pressure could cause a seizure or a stroke if we left and I wasn't being monitored. She told me I should just check in and send Jared home for our stuff- but there was no way I was checking into the hospital alone! In the end, I signed an AMA (Against Medical Advice) form so they'd let us leave and we told them we'd be back within a couple of hours...

Part 2 coming tomorrow!

Never Thought I'd...

...Keep up with a blog for five years! That blows my mind. I'm thankful for this little space of mind and the friendships that have grown as a result of this blog. I never could have imagined what this blog would become but I'm glad it's been a pleasant surprise :) I was worried I'd never find time to blog again after T was born, but slowly and surely I'm getting back into the swing of things.

...Be just a few years away from paying off a house at this point in my life. Jared and I (err... Sallie and Perkins?!) are still hanging onto our plan to pay off our mortgage in the near future. I plan to give an actual S/P update soon but we are really rocking our finances this year, despite all the life changes! Make me excited to see what we can continue to accomplish.

...Be watching WWE with Jared. I have never, ever in my life been interested in wrestling but somehow I've been watching it more and more over the past year or so. Jared actually went to high school and played football with Dean Ambrose, so we've been more interested in watching since he continues to grow in popularity. It's pretty surreal to watch someone you actually KNOW become a millionaire and reach that level of stardom. For me? It's surreal that I'm starting to actually know multiple wrestler's names, slogans, etc. 

...Be reading up on fantasy football predictions. I LOVE football, that's no secret, but this year I've got a title to defend. In WON our family league last year, making me the first female to ever do so! And I'm definitely still bragging about it, so I can't fail this year. I am getting a head start on things and cannot wait for the season (real and fantasy!) to start.

...Have a google search history consisting of the things it does. Pretty much anytime I'm up for a 3 A.M. feeding I'm also googling the most random things associated with babies, postpartum 'things' and more. These first couple of months I have constantly searched for everything under the sun. Is this normal? Is that? What should I expect with this? How to do that. You name it- I've googled it.

Fill in the blank for yourself... What's something you never thought you'd be doing? 

Christmas in July

Every July I try to start thinking about Christmas. I know, it's insane... but it helps the holidays be more fun and less stressful come December. I've upped my Swagbucks game so I can stash away some extra cash and giftcards to use for shopping; I bought wrapping paper and bows months ago when I came across some on clearance at a second-hand store. It's fun to sprinkle in the festive fun ahead of time... I'm always on the lookout for a good gift idea too. No reason not to buy something and stash it away if it's the perfect gift for someone!

Jared is an even bigger Christmas fanatic than me, so we thought it would be fun this past weekend to have a Christmas in July date night. At home, of course ;) I have to say, it was quite the success! We'd planned this a week in advance, so we'd agreed to each get each other a small just-for-fun gift of no more than $10. That limit made us get creative and it was fun to have a reason to open gifts from one another.

After dinner and gifts we made some delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Oh my goodness- it had been a really long time since I baked anything and these cookies were dangerously tasty. I refuse to tell you how many I inhaled had. Or maybe I just lost count.

While we munched on cookies, we cranked the Christmas tunes on our record player, lit our best wintery candles and settled in to play a board game. Not just any board game- a Christmas themed one! Someone bought us this game awhile back and I'll admit it's sat in our basement closet for far too long. We finally got it out this weekend though and realized what a fun little game it is. The concept is simple but it was a tricky memory game we actually enjoyed a lot.

We also miiight have shopped around online that night for some items for T's first Christmas! We didn't buy anything, although this outfit and this ornament were super tempting. We'll try to refrain for now ;) My urge to shop has never been stronger since having baby; I think I should hide my debit card for awhile.

In my efforts to finally take some pictures of life NOT involving a baby, I captured our date night pretty well. Except for two minor details... Jared and I. Ha! I don't think we've taken but one photo together in the past two months- we just aren't too glamorous these day. I don't think there are enough Instagram or Snapchat filters in the world to hide the bags under our sleep-deprived eyes!

Start Monday Right

Mondays get a pretty bad reputation. Everyone's back to work, back to the grind and whatever weekend fun you had instantly feels like a lifetime away. I hate that! Even though it's hard to feel upbeat and ready to tackle a new week, Mondays also have a lot of potential. Clean slate, five days to kick butt before you kick back again, right?! Well, usually I save a favorites kind of post for Friday but I thought I'd start the week with a few favorites since I seem to have so many random little tidbits I want to share already!
My last post before I (unexpectedly) had a baby 3 weeks early was about utilizing my crockpot in the summer. I'm finally getting back into the swing of cooking occasionally and we had the tastiest summer dinner over the weekend. Jared grilled up burgers and I made the chili-lime corn on the cob in our crockpot. So easy, delicious and a unique blend of flavors. We'll definitely make it again!
Paper plates for the win!

Jared and I ventured out to a farmer's market over the weekend. We were so proud, getting all three of us dressed and out of the house, had our cash and bags and were excited to walk around and push the stroller. Turns out? It was the world's smallest market. In a gravel parking lot... aka- not real conducive to strollers and definitely not worth the time to get it out. So Jared sat in the car with T and I did a quick swoop to grab the items we'd come intending to buy. We laughed pretty hard at ourselves, but hey- the produce was delicious and we still successfully left the house!

I am getting SO excited for the Summer Olympics. So many sports I love to watch and I won't lie- I'm pretty happy I'll still be on maternity leave for the majority of the games. More time to watch and obsess! And, have you all heard the theme songs for the games, "Rise" yet? I already love Katy Perry so I thought the song was awesome and this video seriously gives me chills. Bring on the Olympics!!

My Etsy shop has a great giveaway and fun new releases this week. If you're a teacher or have teacher friends PLEASE check it out :) Shop here and Instagram with giveaway details here.

Jared and I had a really fun at-home date over the weekend that will get a post of it's own but other than that? It was just a flat-out beautiful weekend over here- even though it's insanely hot out, the skies were blue and the clouds were awesome. I'm ready to tackle a new week with whatever it brings. And with a baby, you never know what that will mean!!

Friday Favorites: Baby Edition

TGIF! Sure, I'm on maternity leave but that doesn't mean I enjoy weekends any less than I always do. Jared's home from work and there is fun to be had. We are going to attempt a couple outings as a little family this weekend- I will surely be reporting back on how they go. Wish us luck ;)

I wanted to share a few favorite baby items today. When I was pregnant I'd read blog posts about "must-haves" for the first few months and now that I've had a baby I feel the need to share mine. For the most part, Jared and I really tried not to register for an excessive amount of things. Yes, babies naturally come with a lot of stuff, but we really tried to steer clear of non-necessity items that would just be more clutter in our home. I know every mom and baby are different but I enjoyed reading these posts so I figured I'd give my spin on things as well. After seven weeks- here are my current faves!

Our baby is one of the one's who needs to be swaddled to get a good nap in. His crazy little newborn arms and legs just wake him up too much if not. I know a regular blanket could be used to swaddle him but these have been awesome. You wrap him up like a burrito and the velcro tabs keep him snuggled and secure. Some babies hate swaddles, T loves them. Also, they come in a zillion different colors and patterns, they are seriously cute.
Ours in action! Far left: Only 4 days old so the swaddle was definitely too big on him- haha. They work great now though! :)

BabyTracker App - iPhone // Android
I truly don't know how I would ever remember anything without this app. You can keep track of feedings, diapers, sleeping, growth/milestones- just about everything all in one place. I just have the free version, but I think you can pay a few dollars and get even more features. I know there are dozens of baby app's out there, so if you have one you like please shout it out!

We initially didn't register for this, but it's something we quickly purchased after being at home a couple of weeks. Little man doesn't like to sleep in silence. We used a fan noise to keep him happy and content until we got this bad boy. We went with a cheap one, I know there are much fancier ones out there but this one is working just fine for us. It has 6 sound options and a timer. Simple and gets the job done.

Receiving Blankets
We registered for one 4-pack of these and ended up with probably 10 of them total. I remember thinking we had way too many and we'd never need them all- but I was wrong on this one. I'm glad I didn't return any like I'd considered. They are just useful for everything and it's amazing how quickly T can dirty them up. We have a few different brands but Carter's blankets and this gauzy, nautical one are my favorites.

We were gifted some of these and they have come in handy quite often. I guess you could use a regular baby wipe, but these are more gentle and meant specifically for faces. Helps get off any crusties of the mouth, eyes, nose- you name it! Not that I've gotten out and about that much (ha!) but I do keep a pack of them in the diaper bag too, they are nice to have. PS- also like their hand sanitizer!

Other notable items?
Newborn clothes and newborn diapers. Everyone told us NOT to get much (if any) of these and turns out we needed them a lot. He was born three weeks early, but he still was 7 pounds at birth which isn't that tiny. He was in newborn diapers for about 5 weeks and he's still wearing mostly newborn clothes right now. Just something to keep in mind! Also- I'm Team Pampers in case anyone wanted to know. Is there hashtag for that or anything ;)

So nothing earth-shattering here, but these items have saved our sanity and made the first couple of months a little less hectic. And this concludes my first, "I think I kinda, sorta know a tiny, little bit about caring for my newborn now," post.

Looking Back

A few years back, I was doing a series on my blog of "month's past" and once a month I'd take a look back and see what was going on in life that specific month. I'd look back over a 5-year span and it was always a lot of fun to see what I was up to and how much had changed. Since it's been awhile since I did that (and I have a lot of new readers since then!) I thought I'd continue on. It's amazing how much can change in just a handful of years. Some of these things feel like a lifetime ago!

July 2008
Got to stand by my sister's side and see her marry the guy of her dreams! On a sidenote, I also got the worst case of what I believe was food poisoning about a week before her wedding. That 24 hours could be a post all in itself but I'll spare you ;)

July 2009
Jared won a radio contest and landed us 3-day passes to Kings Island amusement park PLUS Spirit Song, the Christian music festival. Probably one of the BEST weekends of our lives, no joke… it was so much fun! We rode rollercoasters and ate junk food all day and listened to awesome concerts all night.

July 2010
Went to an awesome balloon-glow at a local park for the 4th of July weekend with Jared's family. I can't believe we haven't been back since, it was a great event. I also met up with some of my best college girlfriends for a much-overdue fun day at the outlets. Miss those girls so much!

July 2011
Shot my first gun. In a dress, nonetheless! ;) We were busy enjoying life as newlyweds since we'd just gotten married in May. This whole summer was just so fun, I remember loving every minute of it.

July 2012
Attended my cousin's baby shower just weeks before we'd meet her perfect little man. He was the very first great-grandbaby in the family and we were all SO excited!! This month also marks the month I tried froyo for the first time ever- notable, for sure.

July 2013
Visited a new state- Arkansas! My in-laws lived out here briefly and we were able to make a fun roadtrip out to visit them over the fourth of July weekend. We hit up the craziest antique sales ever, ate the best tomatoes in the country and spent hours out on the lake together.

July 2014
Volunteered at our church and attended as many local festivals as we possibly could. Gimme ALL the fair food!! ;) Man, I am SO ready for some fairs and festivals... something deep-fried is calling my name.

July 2015
Got hooked up with MLB All-Star passes for the Hall of Fame and Celebrity Softball games. Sure it wasn't the big, main event- but we had an absolute blast. I can't turn down a free date night, let's be serious.

July 2016.  And here we are! Seven weeks into this whole parenthood thing. Just taking it one day at a time, one diaper at a time :)

Has July brought any monumental happenings for you in the past few years?

The Floor is Yours

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Jared has loads of vacation days to spare so he's been spreading them out to take long weekends here and there and he's off today- hooray! I love when all 3 of us are home together and I'll take any extra days I can get. Life just seems pretty perfect when we're together :)
I seriously cannot wait for T to fit into his Bengals gear that's hanging in his closet!!!

While I'm eager to jump back into the blogging world, I'm having trouble sitting down and actually thinking about what I want to write and what I want to share. I don't want my blog to turn into a 'mommy blog' (not that there is anything wrong with those!) but being a mom is kindof my whole world right now. I don't have my normal weekend happenings to recap, I definitely haven't discovered any new recipes to share (what's cooking?!) and without being at my office job- my life looks pretty different at the moment. Zero complaints from me, but what's a girl to blog about?

I'm opening up the floor to you all... PLEASE, ask away, suggest topics, you name it! All my awesome readers are a huge part of why I want to continue to show up week after week so if there is something you want me to blog about- don't be shy! Comment and let me know :)
Just for fun- a silly throwback picture we took exactly 1 year ago today ;)

PS- If you don't follow my Etsy shop's Instagram account yet, please consider doing so. My partner and I have been working SO hard on a lot of new things that we've released recently or that are coming to the shop very soon. We also have an exciting giveaway that will launch soon- you won't want to miss out!

Currently: July Edition

It's time again for my favorite monthly link-up with Anne and Jenna :) Sometimes weekly link-ups can just be a little too much/too repetitive but I always love how fun their once a month "Currently" link-up is so I couldn't miss out today! It's making my transition back into blogworld slightly less difficult- so thank you ladies for always hosting. It's a nice way to welcome a new month, too. Currently I'm...

Toasting: Myself and Jared for surviving (almost!) six weeks of parenthood. I don't know why, but six weeks just sound so legit. Like maybe -just maybe- we're getting the hang of things around here.

Going: Nowhere. Haha- it's the truth, boring as it is. I've been pretty holed up in our house during maternity leave, only getting out for doctor's appointments and a couple grocery trips on the weekend while Jared stayed home with little man. It just seems like so much work and unnecessary stress to get out of the house right now. I know there will come a day that it's second nature to be out and about with our baby but for now? I'll stay home, thank you very much!

Smelling: Are you sure you want the new mom to answer this?! ;) Just kidding. Other than the obvious not so sweet smells, I randomly lit a Winter candle this week and I am not ashamed. Sure, it's the middle of a HOT summer but my house can still smell like Christmas if I want it to. Maybe a Christmas in July movie night with Jared is in my future?!

Wearing: HA! Goodness, I picked a hilarious month to join in. These prompts are like the ultimate loser label for new moms. I'm wearing whatever is clean (you never know what that will be) and whatever is most comfortable (lots of yoga pants and leggings) every day. Remember how I don't really get out much? Yeah, makes it easy on the wardrobe ;)

Wishlisting: ALL THE CLOTHES I WANT TO BE WEARING. Since I'm almost 6 weeks post c-section I am feeling ready to add some light exercise into my days. It makes me excited to get back to a healthy weight and to eventually have an excuse to buy some new clothes. Let's hope that come fall it'll be the perfect timing for a few new items for my wardrobe. I'm planning on documenting my post-baby fitness 'journey' on the blog which I'm excited about. I've read some really motivating stories and posts on other blogs so I hope posting about my own will help me stay with it!

What are you all up to right now??

A Fresh New Month

Hey blogworld! I'm back! For the time being anyway. I gave blogging a try in June, since I had a few things to talk about but quickly realized there just weren't enough hours in the day to keep up, so I gave it a rest. I've tried to do better about napping when T naps instead of feeling like I need to conquer the world while he's asleep and it definitely made life a little easier. I feel ready to get back into blogging now so I figured why not start fresh with a new month? And in total cliche form- can you believe it's already July!?!?

Speaking of that little boy he will be six weeks old this Thursday! Definitely another "I can't believe it" thing but it's true. His one month appointment went great last week- he's a little over 9 pounds now and it makes me so happy to see him growing and healthy and packing on the weight. He lost quite a bit of weight in the hospital/the first week home so those first couple weeks were stressful, making sure he was putting it back on- but my 37-weeker is catching up now. He got one shot and handled it like a champ- he cried for maybe 10-15 seconds and then was good to go. It was a pitiful 15 seconds though ;)
PS- Still figuring out how much I want to share about him on the blog. For now I think I'll watermark the few photos that I post of him. It's annoying to do, and probably annoying to look at - but it makes me feel a little bit better for the time being.

My sister and niece got to come in town last week and finally meet T! It was awesome seeing my sister with my son- such a sweet memory for sure. My niece was a bit unsure and didn't neessarily want to get too close to him, but she did sing him a song or two and enjoyed saying his name over and over again. She was also a bit confused why he couldn't "get down" yet- but she'll learn.

We've had SO many visitors in the past few weeks. I love that everyone wants to love on our baby, but this past holiday weekend Jared and I put a ban on visits and just enjoyed some time as as family. It was much needed and so relaxing. It wasn't your typical fourth of July weekend-- we stayed in (the rainy weather made that pretty easy to do) and played cards and worked on our puzzle, Jared made us a delicious pancake and bacon breakfast and we stared at our adorable son like newbie parents.

That's my little life update for now. This season of life is taking some getting used to but it's so worth the lack of sleep :) I hope everyone enjoyed a long, holiday weekend. I'll catch up with you and your blogs one of these days!!