An Uncomplicated Life Blog: June 2014

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Mommy Monday: The Ultimate Diaper Bag

I've been a follower of The Small Things Blog for several years now. She had her first baby (a boy, and also a breech baby!) last December. Sometime before his birth, she did a special post on Better Life Bags, and how she enjoyed their purses so much that she was getting her diaper bag made by them too. I remember I was in my first trimester when this post was published, so of course I clicked right over to check out their site and see what their company was all about.

The "Emily" diaper bag


I'm not often "wow'd." It takes a great deal to truly impress me. This company did EXACTLY that.

If you've read my "About Me" section or clicked over to my LinkedIn page, you know that before I devoted myself to full-time-mommy-dom (and this blog!), I pursued my Master's degree in Nonprofit Management and had spent the last seven or so years in fundraising for nonprofit organizations. Additionally, I was really passionate about causes that promoted women and children.

Better Life Bags, while not a nonprofit, is a small business that provides jobs to women in the Detroit area who otherwise would not be able to find work. Maybe they fell on hard times, maybe they made one poor choice that has led them down the wrong path. They pay them a living wage, and provide skills training if necessary.

They also donate to women entrepreneurs in third world countries via kiva.org, which provides small business loans to folks looking to start their own businesses as a means to lift themselves out of poverty. (I actually had the pleasure of meeting the founder of Kiva at the Texas Nonprofit Summit in Austin late last year. She's one smart cookie, and created a brilliant concept!)

Through my experiences in the nonprofit sector, and most recently in my volunteer work at the Dallas County Jail, I know all too well that people, but especially women, aren't looking for free handouts. They want to work, to feel good about themselves and to take care of their families. Too often, it was ONE bad decision, ONE life altering traumatic event, ONE mistake made that sent them down a destructive path. All they need is someone who believes in them, will invest a little time, teach them some useful skills, and provide a little support for them to change their course, get their life back on track and start the climb out of poverty.

This company supports and enables women to begin that journey.

Not only is this bag ADORABLE, it's well made and constructed with quality materials. I got to pick everything about it out and make some additions to it, so it's customized to my needs. The website is fantastic and lets you preview the bag you "build" before you purchase it. It was made quickly, and shipped fast to my home. It's now EASILY my favorite bag that I own, and I have some high-end designer bags (this beats the heck out of my newest Louis Vuitton!) I could not recommend a company to do business with more!

You can customize the color of leather, the fabric on the outside, pockets and lining and choose either gold or silver hardware. (Dress by J Crew; bangles by J Crew; watch by Michael Kors)

I chose tan/brown leather and a simple black and white fabric exterior, and used one of their new, brightly colored fabrics for the interior. I also went with gold hardware.

Close up of the interior fabric

There are two large pockets inside with an additional zippered pocket; two large external pockets on either side of the bag (perfect for bottles!) and one large pocket on the back of the bag.

If you're in the market (or will be soon!) for a diaper bag, or want a custom-made purse or laptop bag, check them out!


Friday, June 27, 2014

High Five for Friday!

This week was bittersweet... My mom, who has been here in Dallas since Henry was a few hours old and has been a TREMENDOUS help these last six weeks, has flown back to Savannah. I'm now on my own during the days with the baby, and will be on my own for half the weeks of the month at night. While I'm excited to develop my own routine with him, I'm terrified at the lack of sleep I'm facing... And God knows when my next shower will be!

Regardless of that bitterness, there was some sweetness this week too! Here goes the best moments of the week:

1) I'm not going to say much about it because you'll be reading in detail about both the company and what we went with in a future post, but our custom-made diaper bag finally arrived! More to come on what goes on behind the scenes at this AMAZING company, but here's a sneak peek of next Monday's Mommy Monday post:



2) Since it was mom's last week here, Kirk and I escaped to what may be our last date night for a good while. We managed to get a few glasses of champagne and a great meal in at Taverna! Ahhh, an adult meal. That I ate while it was warm. Without a baby in my lap. Awesome.

3) I also made a point to head out to a yoga class while I still had someone to watch Henry. Of course I went with one of the studio's most challenging instructors. And of course I thought to myself, "WHOA, where did my abs go and why can't I do this anymore?!" Oh well. It will come back eventually, right?

4) If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen that my mom was able to capture this family moment. I think this might actually be the first picture of all three of us together! We're just missing the dogs to make it a complete family pic.



5) THIS HuffPost piece. In a market saturated with "15 Signs You're..." "Top 5 Things Nobody Tells You About..." and on an on, this is the first "list" piece that nails it, that actually puts into words why being a new mom is so damn hard. As someone who has been told "it's hard, but sooooo worth it" from friends, family members, sorority sisters - you name it - number one is especially true for me. I asked myself the question in number one several times this week alone (but instead of wanting a sugary drink, I've wanted to be back in Carmel, CA with Kirk, hiking Big Sur and drinking insane amounts of wine).

We're at the halfway point in our dreaded Fourth Trimester and I am sooooo ready for it to be over, and to sleep for more than two hours at a time at night again. But I'm also crying at every piece of clothing Henry outgrows, packing it away to maybe, one day, see it again. Becoming a mama has been one heck of a jarring experience, full of both the very BEST, rewarding and sweet moments of my life, and some of the most exhausting, draining, and bizarre moments. This article really does a wonderful job putting it into words, and it's great to know I'm not alone in all my crazy (sleep deprived) thinking! It was a great piece to run across this week.

That's all, folks! I hope you all have great plans for the weekend. Now go spend the rest of your workday, or lunch hour, or maybe even your Friday night if you're sans-plans checking out these other great blogs!



http://www.meetat-thebarre.com/


That Friday Blog Hop


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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

So... That Was Gross

HALT! Stop right there. No, this post is not baby related. Whew, you can continue reading and know that you'll be spared any poop/potty/spit-up/diaper story. Heyyyooo!

The day I went into labor, I had gone to the mall to get some Clinique items that were nearly out. Little did I pay attention, BECAUSE I WAS IN LABOR, the lady who assisted me gave me the wrong color of concealer. I realized this the morning of one of my two-to-three-hours-of-sleep nights, then slathering on a good layer of concealer, as I looked in the mirror and thought, "OMG what happened to my face, did I 'sleep-smoke' a pile of meth?!"

I went back and exchanged the wrong color. And it was Clinique bonus time! And the bag was actually cute! And I got to thinking... It has been a loooooooong time since I switched out makeup bags. And then I thought further... It has been a looooooong time since I had "cleaned out" my makeup, and there were likely tons of expired items in there.

This is a post about the exciting things I (embarrassingly enough) found in my beloved makeup bag.

But first, let's set the scene: an unmade bed full of folded laundry. A baby in my lap who consistently drops his paci. Makeup everywhere. Let's hear it for the mamas who have worked in these conditions before!

Henry would be covered in shimmery nonsense by the end of my makeup cleaning rampage.

I started by attacking the apple-covered makeup bag. It had been years since I threw anything out... Let's take a look at what I found:

I actually remember when I got this! I was 25 years old. Clearly, I've used up my favorite colors from this palette. It hasn't been touched in years. Why is it still around?!
 
This little gem kept (past tense intentional) your eye makeup from going into your creases. The last time it was used what my last humid summer in MN, which was 2012. Not to mention, it's about empty... Why is it still around?!


Ahhh, THIS! I got this in an Ipsy bag when I still had an Ipsy subscription. I really can't believe I didn't throw it straight in the trash, considering I'm not a stripper, I don't go to Jersey Shore clubs, and I'm not a professional clown. Why is it still around?!

I saved the best for last, y'all! I've had this since THE 8th GRADE! I got it at one of those little stands in the Mall of America, before they had to put curfews on teenagers because teens like to shoot people at that disgusting mall. Yes, 8th grade. WHAT IN THE NAME OF CHRISTMAS is this still doing around?!

And finally, after much cleaning and disgust on my end, this is what my makeup bag looked like on the inside. I was so grossed out, it went immediately in the trash!

That's about five years of makeup buildup, friends. You just can't un-see sights like that.

I'm happy to report that I'm now current with all makeup and am sporting a new, clean bag to store it all in! Not only is this fantastic from a cleanliness standpoint, but it also greatly reduced the amount of makeup I have, which is great because honestly - I don't wear a whole lot of it these days. No new mommy with a fussy newborn has time for it! Good riddance.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mommy Monday: Battling The "Firsts"

For those of you with children, you know that you spend a good deal of time re-learning how to do daily tasks. All daily tasks. Everything, all of them! I'm talking pouring yourself a cup of coffee (doing it one-handed with a squiggly baby in the other arm), going to the bathroom (should I take him in there with me to prevent a melt-down, or let him cry it out on the bed?), and more substantial things, like going out in public.

This past weekend, we ventured out to our first dinner with Henry.

And honestly, I was terrified. "What if he screams the whole time? What if he needs to be changed? Ohh, this is going to be a nightmare!"

We decided to head to a little German cafe close to our house. You know, make it a cultural experience for Henry, and show him a bit of his heritage! I packed up his diaper bag and pre-packed a bottle for him. I overpacked with a bib, spit-up cloth, diapers, wipes, an additional onesie, an additional blanket, and of course - his paci.

Chillin' like a villain in his seersucker romper at dinner. All is well as long as paci is with him! (And canyoufriggin'even with this romper?!)

I was also nervous because he had been fairly fussy that day - LOTS of gas, to the point of having to take his pants off because the pressure of the waistband was making him too uncomfortable. I was convinced this was going to be a dinner that blew up in flames... Flames of baby screams and nasty stares from other patrons. 

I have to say, he was so good! He slept through most of dinner in his car seat, and then he started to fuss near the end. But all I had to do was pull him out of his seat and shove that bottle in his mouth, and he was good to go! He didn't need a change, so we avoided all bathroom disasters, and he had many admirers. He also seemed to be pretty into the German music that started to play! Just rockin' out to the sounds of the homeland.

I know that not all outings will be this successful, but I'm thankful that our first one was so good! It will help give me confidence to get him out more and more, and return to our "new normal" life with a baby faster. Getting out of the house has been pivotal to my sanity, and my mom leaves this week, so we'll have NO childcare or additional help with Henry (don't get me started on how sad I am about this...)

What Henry's thinking: "See mama, you need to chill out! I'll be good... As long as paci is with me."
 
Next stop: going shopping for new baby clothes, because this big eater is five weeks old and nearly out of newborn sizes! I think I'll start with just a Carter's store, and work my way up to a mall later :)

Friday, June 20, 2014

High Five for Friday!

Ladies and gentlemen! We have reached a new milestone that you likely care nothing about: Henry is sleeping between two and three hours at a time at night! This is life changing.

I've seen posts and have friends who's one-month old babies will go five to six hours without waking up to feed at night. Not our Henry! In fact, if he wasn't held all night long, he would scream and fuss uncontrollably. It was miserable, and I wanted to (not so secretly anymore) punch all these "my baby sleeps so well at night!" folks in the face and get my son examined to figure out just what in the heck his deal was. And then put a fork straight in my eyeball.

But alas! A corner has been turned (knock on wood). I can actually get up to two hours of sleep at a time, and just might actually get around five to six hours total at night. Booyah!

Here's to a "Not Horrifically Sleep Deprived High Five for Friday" countdown!

1) Henry's "deal" was dairy. Since I've omitted it from my diet, he's a different baby. I guess most newborns really struggle to digest dairy. Which is a dang shame, because cheese is pretty much my favorite food... But I'll forgo the cheese for sleep my friends, that is FO SHO.

2) We (by we I mean Henry and I) are working on a new workout regimen! I'll have a detailed post about it tomorrow, but we basically spend our mornings workin' on our fitness together at the lake. One morning this week all the sail boats were out for sailing camp. I loved sailing camp when I was younger, and it made me wonder if lil' H will also want to take sailing lessons some day...

All the adorable little sailors on White Rock Lake

3) I got a deep tissue massage at Hiatus Spa + Retreat this week... And it was AHHHHH-mazing! My sister got it for me back in October, right as I found out I was pregnant. I had to wait ten whole months to actually get it since they won't do deep tissue work on preggos, but it was so worth the wait! I love me a good, hard, painful rub-down.

4) If you follow me on Instagram, you know I ordered these pacifier clips from Tees By Three on Etsy and they are ADORABLE! I've spent way too many hours chasing paci's that are projected out of Henry's mouth and this was the answer to my prayers. She has over 40 fabrics to choose from (all of which are adorable) and they were shipped the day I ordered them! Best $15 I've spent in a long time.


5) After over four LONG months, our home's HVAC system issues are finally being addressed and repaired! We *just* might have adequate AC for the Texas summer ahead... Fingers are crossed!

I hope you all have a terrific weekend with your families and friends! Be sure to hop over and check out these lovely ladies' blogs, too! (Psshhhh, I know you're not really working on a Friday afternoon...)

 http://www.meetat-thebarre.com/

That Friday Blog Hop

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Working Out: Getting Back At It

If you follow me regularly, you know I started walking four days after my c section. You probably also know that I'm a workout fanatic - I mean, I was in labor for 24 hours and worked out twice - and that I was dying to get back into my normal fitness routine(s) as quickly as possible!

But even for a fitness guru like myself, getting back into the swing of things is... Interesting. You think to yourself, "I no longer have this massive bump throwing off my balance or making it hard to breathe, so let's go!" But your body is all, "Whoa, wait a minute there captain. Nope. Things aren't back to where they should be. You haven't done this in a while. Nope nope nope."

Remember this post about this workout top? This is what it's actually supposed to look like!

I mentioned here that I went for my first run in about four months. A "run" is a generous term for something that was just over 13 minutes/mile. It started off great! And then about four blocks in, I developed horrible side aches. And I noticed I wasn't using my whole lung capacity as if I were still pregnant, just breathing out of the tops of my lungs.

This run was a struggle to say the least. I attempted to run twice. And now, I'm back to simply power walking.

What I've found I've had to keep reminding myself is despite the shape I was in before Henry and despite how quickly everything is bouncing back, it still takes some time! All my organs have to move back to where they were, and I have to "un-train" myself off all the modifications and habits I learned while doing my prenatal exercise.

Basically, I have to cut myself some slack and recognize that my body "needs a minute" to get itself together. I wasn't running my nine minute miles while in labor with Henry, and I won't be returning to them on my first run post-baby. I have to re-find my lungs and figure out how they work. I have to re-find my abs and learn to use those again. In fact, all of my muscles need to be re-found as they've turned into marshmallows! This doesn't happen in the first few weeks post baby, no matter how fit you are.

This has been a good lesson in being kind to myself and letting go of my Type A perfectionist personality! Whenever I get frustrated with my performance, I get to come home to a handsome boy who looks at me with big blue eyes and smiles. Then, demands a boob. And my crappy performance fails to matter - I'll try again tomorrow.

Getting my walk on with the little guy at White Rock Lake. He loves being outside as much as I do, and we're both content to stick with walking for the time being! (I know his neck looks like it's breaking - he loves it this way. He'll reach back and throw anything that tries to prop his neck up straight. Go figure!)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Mommy Monday: One Month In Product Reviews

Let's face it: when you're a first time parent, you have no idea what baby items will be useful. You just know that there are too many options, and simply just too much STUFF and you are OVERWHELMED with it all.

I had a minimalist registry, and still carry in a minimalist attitude towards Henry's gear and clothing. We will NOT be that house full of baby gear, where you trip over baby toys and crap whenever you come over. No. Just no.

Thus, we arrive at my opinions on the best and worst baby items as experienced after one month of utilizing them on Henry. Worst items are getting tossed or donated, best items are getting used with baby #2! You know, when I decide I can endure pregnancy again...

PS -  Henry is exactly one moth old today. Happy one month birthday, my little HenHouse!

The "It" List:
- Burt's Bees Baby Bee Shampoo and Wash: Shocked a BB product made this list?! I know, I know. But seriously, this stuff makes your babe smell like honey! Mmmm. It's gentle enough to not cause issues if it gets in your baby's eyes, or if your kiddo is strange like mine and loves to drink bath water (yeah - what?! Henry turns his head in his baths and gulps it up. Obvi I try to stop him, but this kid is determined). It doesn't create some crazy lather, but most products that do that are full of icky chemicals.

- Avent Soothie Pacifiers: My child LOVES these! They also came as the only ones recommended by our lactation consultant as paci's that don't contribute to "nipple confusion." As a breast and breast milk bottle fed baby, this was important to Henry (yeah... or me). We wouldn't make it through our long nights, and I wouldn't make it through my long days without Kirk, sans our Soothies.

- 365 Everyday Value Diapers: (The link is for a size 4, but clearly I get the newborn size) Diapers are pretty unique to the baby they're on, but these work best for Henry and meet my standards of not containing chemicals, fragrances, perfumes, or "skin conditioners"  and are as environmentally friendly as a disposable diaper can get. They fit him really well now that he's up to over eight pounds, and are the only diaper that hasn't allowed a "blowout" to date!

- Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets: These. Are. Awesome. If you're having a spring or summer baby, get many packs of these! If you live in the South like me, get many packs of these even if you're having a January baby. They're light, breathable, forgiving of baby-stains, and are flexible (in terms of messes they address - we've wiped up many a spit-up projection and they've caught several diaper blowouts, without fail).


The S&*! List:
- The Boppy Pillow: This pillow sucks. It just... It straight out sucks. It's too "fluffy" to use when breastfeeding - it will knock your baby's head back so that he can't swallow - and that's coming from a mama who is 5'10! Is there another use for this pillow? It's a strange shape. It looks "baby-ish" so it won't fit with my decor. Fail. This pillow will be donated shortly. Meh, now I know, and now you know too!

- Medela Newborn Nipples (and bottles): While I love my Medela breast pump and storage system with the lids that inscribe the date of which you pumped (GENIUS!), I do NOT love their nipples that turn your storage bottle into nursing bottles. Some work great; others don't let air through so that they collapse on themselves. Others allow too much air/milk through and you'll spend the whole feeding cleaning milk of your baby's face, neck, and outfit. Skip the inconsistent nipples, even if it does seem too handy to pass up!

- Burt's Bees Baby Bee Wipes: Hey-oooo, a Burt's Bees fail! Well, not to me. My husband hated these though. While they're nice and thick and smell great, they are indeed hard to pull out of the package, and you usually get more than one or part of one that ripped off from the last change and one or two more. And when it's 2am and you're trying to do a change, or you're trying to get a change in before a pre-feeding meltdown, struggling to get the dang wipe out of the container will all but make you chuck the container across the room.

- Bamboobies Brahh: Much like the Burt's Bees wipes, I don't want to list this as a fail, per se... But, I own a black bamboo "brahhh" and it's true, I do wear it EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. But it's getting horribly stretched out. I ordered per their size recommendations, and it's too large for my rib cage (which is why it became a sleep bra) and now the straps hang off my shoulders. So while it's the most comfortable nursing bra I have, it's not supportive enough for daytime wear, and you need to order a size smaller than you think. And it will likely still become too stretched out. And at $32, it seems like a rip-off that this thing doesn't fit after only a month!


Of course, all these are very dependent on your particular baby, but it's a good start to what I've found to be successes and failures in the over-crowded baby-product-market. If you've recently ventured into new mommy-dom or are about to, best of luck in the first few weeks figuring out what works for you and your family!

Friday, June 13, 2014

High Five for Friday!

Whew, it was a better week than last!

Kirk was yet again out of town all week, but my mom and I managed Henry's night-time fussiness much better than we did last week. Or at least, I thought so. There were also a few more highlights during the week to choose from for this post, so even if I didn't sleep as much as I think I did, bottom line is it appears to be a better week :)

Let's review the top five moments, shall we?

1) This kid LOVES bath time. I mean, looooooooooves it. He loves being in the water, he loves getting his hair washed (ahem! Peach fuzz, not hair. We're still in the peach fuzz stage, my poor blond boy... I was bald until nearly two years old with a blonde peach fuzz. Sorry Henry!), he loves snuggling up in the towel afterwards, he loves getting rubbed down with lotion, and all this love on his part makes me love giving him a bath, too!

Look at those long legs and that big belly! (Also, I LOVE this baby tub! It has a drain and a water pump so you can wash baby anywhere, and the infant insert is fantastic and makes my job so much easier!

THIS after bath face!


2)We "celebrated" what was supposed to be Henry's birthday on June 9. Instead, he's nearly a month old! We're so blessed he came out incredibly healthy and ready to live life to the fullest. Oh, and I'm also counting my lucky stars that his determination to come early meant that I was saved from the final, dreadful, huge weeks of pregnancy! That was so thoughtful of you, Henry.

3) I went on my first run in nearly four months! Whoohoo! It was hot and extremely slow, but I managed to get nearly three and a half miles in, and look forward to increasing both my distance and speed in the next few weeks. Sadly, yoga will have to wait two more weeks... But I'll be ready for my mat when I get the "all clear" from my doctor!

Three and a half weeks after delivering Henry... Not too shabby! Still have quite a bit of work to do, but I feel pretty good about where I'm at. Prenatal exercise ladies. Just do it. Go hard, too... You'll thank yourself for it later!

4) Last October, I received multiple J Crew gift cards for my birthday... Which was great, because it's my favorite store of all time, but I had just found out I was pregnant on Oct. 2! So, all shopping plans went on hold. Now that I can squeeze (and yes, I mean SQUEEZE) back into prepregnancy clothes, I'm thinking a little shopping trip is in order today. If I'm brave, I'll head to the actual store. If I wuss out, it will be an online shopping experience. Either way, I won't have to page through all the ugly maternity clothes manufacturers seem to think women want to wear!

5)  My friend Jen, who became a first time mommy about two weeks after I did, and I were feeling pretty squirrely being new stay at home mamas. Thanks to her hubby Tim and my mama Donne, we were able to escape for a New Mommy Date Night together! We went to A Fault in Their Stars so that we could cry out our hormones in the dark together and enjoy a bottle of wine with no baby interruptions.

I hope everyone has a simply lovely weekend and you're able to celebrate all the fathers and daddies in your lives!


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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

On Why Breast Feeding is "Hard"

All of my fellow mamas out there have read about it. Most women have heard it. Daddies likely have read about it or heard it from their wives. And I'm about to tell you (again); yes, breast feeding is "hard."

What does "hard" mean though? It's not like you have to think about making milk. You have to feed your baby somehow, so what's the deal with boobies being so challenging? Oh my friends... It is hard in ways I had never imagined before!

Why #breastfeeding is hard: so many pump parts to clean!


Here's the deal: your entire life becomes structured around your boobs and feeding your baby. The. Whole. Thing. Every. Last. Part of it.

Let's say you have someone to watch your newborn and you can escape to a salon to get your hair/nails/etc. done. Great - what a necessary relief! Except, you need to plan. Will you be back in time before the next feeding? Did you pump enough if you won't be back? Have you eaten enough today to produce enough milk? Water - pack water! Dehydration affects supply! Think you're just going to escape out the door quick and grab that last minute appointment? Think again, mama. You need to PLAN. And you need to act on the plan, which is the time consuming part.

 Or what about this scenario: Whoohoo, mama isn't pregnant anymore, now get her a cocktail! Actually, get two. Three? Whatever she wants, right? Wrong! Unless you planned and pumped ahead, you're stuck in the one glass of wine zone, and with one glass of wine comes about three extra massive glasses of water to make up for it. If I decide I want to have some wine after a long day, I needed to start to plan that around noon so that I can pump and save some milk for later- there is no impromptu happy hour for mama. And then I need to make sure I can stay awake and drink enough water to make up for the dehydration of the wine PLUS what I should have been drinking anyway. And then, besides being up every few hours (likely with a headache) to feed Henry, I need to get up and pee with all that water consumption. And if I don't wake up to pee, I wake up THINKING about how I should be peeing, and therefore am dehydrated, and therefore need to get up anyway (likely with a headache) to get more water.


Why #breastfeeding is hard: so many pump parts to store!
And after they've robbed your available counter space, the breast milk storage and pump accessories will take over cabinet space too.

If you hadn't noticed, breast feeding mamas become camels. There just IS NOT ENOUGH WATER! It's not even that you're thirsty; but if you don't pound the glasses of H2O, there won't be fluids for your baby, so get to drinkin'! Put water all over the house, put it in your car, leave bottles everywhere, because you cannot run out of water as a breast feeding woman.

This still doesn't sound all that hard, right? I think it boils down to one thing: There are NO breaks for a new, breast feeding mother. No night's off, no impromptu fun, not even any sleeping in (if you're lucky enough to get someone to cover baby duty for you for a few hours) because you'll need to pump and/or feed. For first time mamas, the change from "your life revolves around you" to "your life revolves around your baby" is shocking. And exhausting. And there is no break, no night off, no one else to fill in for you for even one minute.

The benefits of breast feeding are ENORMOUS. There simply is no comparison to formula: breast feeding wins every angle of every argument. Even formula derived from cow's milk is so far from the quality and nutritional value/makeup of breast milk, they're on two different planets. I'm committed to feeding Henry 100% off the boobie until he's six months or so because of the obvious benefits. But dang, y'all. I didn't know it would be so exhausting, so annoying, and so emotionally hard! Not to mention how sore my poor abused nipples are!


Lake night #breastfeeding snuggles
Makeup-free, late night snuggles with my Henry

More so than diapers, lack of sleep, or crying (to be fair, Henry rarely cries!) breast feeding has been the most challenging part of being a new mom. Since I'm the food source, if Henry is hungry, I don't get to brush my teeth in the morning. Most days I don't eat until noon or 1pm. I have to make trips to the kitchen in the middle of the night just to drink water when I'd much rather be sleeping. Hell, sometimes I have to wait an hour to "go number 2" just because I'm busy feeding/pumping, and my needs will always come second to breast feeding.

But I'm ok with that! Because I know I'm giving Henry the best possible nutrition (and you know I'm a nutrition nut) and I mean - look at this guy! He's worth every second of how "hard" breast feeding is.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mommy Monday: Weekend From Hell

Warning: this post is going to be pretty lame.

Remember how on Friday I said that our air conditioning wasn't working properly? We had repair men come out twice last week, but our landlord is really good at calling people to come out and assess the problem, then never fixing it. Unsurprisingly, it didn't get fixed by Friday end of business day.

Also unsurprisingly, it's mid-90's to triple digit heat here in Dallas in June, and quickly shot up into the 80's in the house. Combine the heat with a SCREAMING baby (pumpkin was so uncomfortable!), some postpartum baby blues and me coming to the end of my rope with a landlord who charges luxury-level rent without really fixing any issue (and we've had MANY in this house - not cosmetic, I'm talking plumbing/sewage/heat/air - you know, basic utility issues) and I LOST. MY. S*@T.

Therefore, I don't have any good content for this Monday morning. I'm slowing collecting all the marbles I lost everywhere this weekend. Whew, trying to get it together, right? I'm sure at least a few of you out there can feel me!

However, a great post is coming! We did finally get our crib, mattress and changing table delivered. In between mental breakdowns and drips of sweat this weekend, we slowly started to put things together. Expect a full out tour of what we have going on later this week, but here's a quick pic of the progress so far:


Pewter wrought iron crib: Bratt Decor; crib bedding: Pottery Barn Kids; musical safari mobile: Babies R Us

The lighting when I took this wasn't ideal, and we don't have everything in place yet or hung on the walls, but hopefully this will pacify you as good as or better than a Soothie pacifies my son in this miserably hot house!

And to end this post on a positive, because truly - my family all has our health and we did get a window AC unit to put a band aid on our first-world problems - look at how pretty our front porch is! Honeydew, magnolia and all kinds of other flowers have bloomed all over our neighborhood, making my morning walks delightful (on soooooo many levels).


Friday, June 6, 2014

High Five for {Hastag} Friday!

Normally, I'm all "Oh man, it's already Friday! Look at that!" but I'll be real honest with you... This week DRAGGED. Kirk was out of town for work all week, so that meant that my mom and I were on 24 hour baby duty. I haven't slept for more than 90 minutes at a time while my husband got to sleep undisturbed, in a four star hotel, likely enjoying a night cap... #mynightcapisadirtydiaper

Also, our AC isn't working properly, and we're in triple digit heat down here. It's been a week-long battle with the landlord, my hormones, a newborn who is too hot to be swaddled, and AC repair men. The only thing I can say is, the next idiot who claims our AC unit is fine and just needs to be "hosed down a little outside" is getting ROUNDHOUSE KICKED TO THE FACE... Just kidding. #notreallykiddingatall #watchyourface #ihavelonglegs

Ahem! Excuse my rants. There were some pretty awesome things that happened this week, so despite my lack of sleep and nonstop over-heated-ness, let's call them out!

1) I got a new car! I had stated that I was happy to keep my little Audi A4 until we decide to have baby #2... However, in TX we have to get a smog test every year, and wouldn't you know, the dang thing failed it! So we took it in to address the issue (you can't renew your tabs with a failed smog test), and wouldn't you know, it was $1000 to fix it! And when Kirk told me what the issue was, wouldn't you know, I had that EXACT same repair done the summer of 2011! Given the car was too small anyway, and now having performance issues, we decided to trade it in and get me upgraded to Official Mom Car Status with an SUV. Boom.

I bought this car for myself after I finished my Master's degree at 25 years old... Little White Car, it was a fun five years and I appreciated the fact that no amount of snow would stop you and you had six levels of heated seats for my tenure in Minnesota! See ya on the other side, homie.

The new ride: 2015 Volvo XC60! I was SOLD on the automatic hatch that opens with a remote or with a touch. That is a GAME CHANGER with a baby... and, even without one! Yes, I only drive white cars. You'll regret your life if you get anything else this far South. #yourcarisanoven

2) I changed my hair color! Check out this post all about it and to see pics. #redhairdontcare

3) Henry is starting to outgrow his newborn clothes! Ahhhhh! These were the pants that we took him home from the hospital in, which he was swimming in at the time. Now, they fit perfectly, and in another week they won't fit at all. If he keeps his current growth pace up, he'll be 6'3 by his first birthday. You're welcome for that height, son! #hegetitfromhismama

He's getting tall, fast! Growing a whopping inch per week.

4) The mani/pedi that I got last Friday (OPI Cajun Shrimp - a long standing favorite) is still on my fingers and toes, un-chipped! And it's regular polish, not a gel. Whoohoo! #babyproofmani

5) I'll find out on Monday how quickly I can return to yoga. I'm hoping it'll be a week or two... But we'll see what the doctor says. I'm ready to get this running party re-started, too! I secretly think Henry is pumped to head out to White Rock Lake in his BOB running stroller, as he loves being pushed around the neighborhood at a slower pace. Just waiting for my "all clear" and I am SO OUTTA HERE! (I know doctors typically say at least 6 weeks, but my more holistic and patient-focused doctors/midwives base their answer off the individual patient and her abilities/recovery, not a standard answer.) #readytoTURNUPwithmyrunningstroller

I hope you all have a wonderful, cool, sleep-filled weekend! And while you're at it, have one for me. And while you're busy with that, check out these lovely ladies blogs, too!


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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Everything Changes: Cosmetic Edition

Somewhere around 18 weeks pregnant, I noticed that my roots were growing in dramatically darker than what my natural color used to be. Pre-baby, my hair was a dirty-ash-blonde that was easily highlighted to a bright blonde and required only four or five trips per year to the salon for touch-ups. But shortly before the halfway point in my pregnancy, I noticed that there was a major contrast between the colored shaft of my hair and the root. Boo!

I blamed my new stylist down here in Dallas for a while. See, I had been going to the same stylist in Minneapolis for 13 years. (Darrin at Darrin James Salon if you're in the Minneapolis area.) Since moving to Dallas, I've been trying to find someone who did half as good a job as he did. I had done the trendy ombre highlights thing this past fall, too. I figured either my stylist or changing up the highlighting process was to blame for these wacky roots...

Nope! My hair is just much darker post-baby. It's also stick-straight. So much so, that I don't want to deal with heading to the salon every two months to maintain the blonde color, because finding a sitter for Henry will be tough... And frankly, that's more high-maintenance than I ever want to be.

For the past few months I had been having "red hair envy" so I figured - what a great time to give a new color a try! I have an olive complexion, so I can't go too bright or too orange. I'm not into colored hair that veers too far from natural hair colors, so I can't go too red. This is what I'm thinking:

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Amy Adams' red isn't too red or orange, and isn't overly bright. This could be a good look on me. Her skin has some color to it in this photo, which makes me hopeful that the color will work for someone like me who tans instead of burns.

I'm not sure who this person is (found the pic on Pinterest), but her hair color is super adorable! This could be an easier transition away from blonde, since it's a few shades lighter than Amy's color. It could also look terrible on me, since I'm no where near as fair as this woman in the photo.

Color n cut


Have any of you made a dramatic hair color change? The last time I did it I was in grad school, and went from my normal blonde to dark brown. I look back at pics from that time in my life and shudder at how terrible I looked! So hopefully, this looks better than that, because that was rough. Rrrough.

As it would turn out, I wrote the first part of this post a week ago. Therefore, I already have my end results! I showed my stylist at Dear Clark Salon the pics I found, and she thought it was a great idea and a good change. So she mixed up the coloring that she thought would work best with my complexion.

If you follow me on Instagram, then you saw this shot yesterday!
I got a little nervous while the color was processing because it was looking DARK... And I was getting flashbacks from my awful brunette grad school days. But, she was indeed a pro, and the color turned out really well! Here's what it looks like dry:


Ta-da! It's a fun change. Plus, it's still light enough to go back to blonde, if that's the route I want to go. Brunette isn't NOT my color, but maybe I can pull off a nice red!

In other news, I've found a fellow blogger who hosts a Wednesday link up about sharing girly ideas! I figured a new 'do post qualified as girly :)  Check her out!


Featured on My Girlish Whims

Monday, June 2, 2014

Mommy Monday: Henry's Birth Story

I started having some pretty regular contractions at 35 weeks. When we attempted our (failed) ECV to flip our breech baby, our doctor told us that while she couldn't schedule us for a c-section until 39 weeks (hospital rule to prevent "designer" birthdays and keep babies where they should be for as long as possible), she knew we would be going into labor well before then.

At just over 36 weeks and on Kirk's birthday, we had our final prenatal appointment with our midwife before we transitioned to the care of a M.D. due to our breech position. She checked me over and said, "I give you one week! You're going into full out labor... SOON!" Then she faxed all our medical records over to our new doctor.

The very next day, I went into labor.

I knew I was having contractions, but I thought, "Ah, hell. It's probably not the real thing." So I went to barre class. Later that night, I got up from the couch and noticed I left a wet spot where I was sitting (sorry if that's TMI - turns out, birthing a baby is one big TMI story). I thought, "Dang, pregnancy just keeps getting more disgusting! What the %&*! is that?! Man, I hope Kirk didn't notice..."

Friday morning (the day Henry was born), I still had contractions and still didn't think it was the real deal. Yes, they were painful, but I have a high pain tolerance and they didn't stop me from doing what I wanted/needed to get done. So I had a normal blogging morning, then headed out to White Rock Lake to get a walk in. There was a few times I had to slow wayyyyyyyyyy down for a contraction to pass. After my three to four mile power walk, I continued to go about my day, just breathing through contractions as they came. In fact, I even headed to the mall to get some more Clinique products I was running low on!

Now, after my trip to the mall, I was very low on gas. I also had to pee really bad, so I decided to skip the gas station and just head home. It was about 4pm. I was wearing bright white shorts. When I went, I noticed there was (yet again!) a wet stain on my shorts, that had leaked all the way through to the outside (of COURSE I wore white out in public, right?!). "Hmmmm... Yeah, I know I didn't pee on myself, and sweat wouldn't look like that in my shorts. I'm calling my mom!" Ok, so I have an advanced degree. I'm nearly 30 years old. But when sh*! gets real, the first person I think to call is my mom. Do we ever outgrow needing our mamas?! I don't think so.

"Hey mom - do you think my water broke and I just didn't notice a pop and there just wasn't a gross gush?" I asked. "Paige, CALL YOUR DOCTOR!" So I did. And she said that I needed to come in right away, and to bring our hospital bags. Then I was left with the task of calling my husband and figuring out what the heck city he was in! "Hey, babe, where are you and when will you be home?!" I asked. "I'm just about 20 minutes away. You want me to pick up something for dinner or something?" he replied. "Nope, turns out, my water broke! We need to go to the hospital as soon as you get home!" "WHAT?! Ok. Bye!"

My husband has never exited a phone call faster. See, he was making a two hour drive home from client meetings and on a conference call. It just so happened he decided to answer my call in the middle of his professional conference call. He had to get back and excuse himself from his clients!

So we go in. They check us into triage and I see a resident to run a few tests on me to ensure that, indeed, my water had broken. While we were waiting for my doctor to arrive and review the results, my belly was hooked up to a monitor to check on Henry's heart and monitor my contractions. Once our doctor arrived, she learned that they couldn't find my tests... She was clearly annoyed with the residents when she glanced over at the monitor readout. "Paige, are you really having contractions every two-three minutes?!" she asked. "Um... Yeah." "Don't they bother you?! Aren't you in pain by now?!" she asked. I replied, "Well, I'm super uncomfortable, but what good is complaining going to do about it?!"

All checked in and awaiting a room for our c section... Looking super pregnant and sweating from the TX heat!

And with that, the doctor didn't even need to see the results of the amniotic fluid test. She said that if my water hadn't broken yet, that I would be back to the hospital within four to six hours anyway, so they were going to admit us, and we would have our baby that night! I was 36 weeks and four days.

It was surreal getting checked in, getting an IV placed and running, and waiting for an operating room to open up (the hospital we were at had 36 beds for the birth wing... and they birthed 57 babies the night Henry was born!). We had to wait about four hours for the O.R. and in the interim, the contractions got STRONG. Kirk rubbed my back, as I got more and more agitated about our long wait.

When everyone and everything was ready, I got escorted to the O.R. They began an epidural and a spinal block on me - which is what I was TERRIFIED for! But truthfully, it wasn't that bad. The first shot (of whatever the heck it was) was the worst. Then, everything started to feel numb. I even said to Kirk, "Oh thank God! The contractions are now gone!"

The doctors took over from there! I was so surprised to see my husband pull back the curtain and snap all kinds of shots of what they were doing to me. How do you watch doctors cut open your wife's belly?! I don't know, but he did... Then again, he did do three years of college as a pre-med student, before coming to his senses and switching to business school. Anyhow, I went in to the O.R at 10pm; Henry was born at 10:15pm; and we were in the recovery room holding our new baby boy by about 11pm!

Daddy with Henry right after he was born and while mommy got stitched up.

The first night was ROUGH. I'm talking shaking, sweating, vomiting rough (nurse Andrea at Baylor Dallas - you're an angel of a nurse for taking such good care of me!). On top of that, we opted to keep Henry with us in our room throughout our stay, because I did NOT want the nurses feeding him formula garbage. So, in addition to being quite ill, I had to nurse and take care of a baby! Kirk did all the lifting and changing since I still couldn't feel my legs. Things got much easier by mid-day the second day, and by the second night, we were in good shape!

I absolutely could not have done this without Kirk. He did pretty much everything for me for our hospital stay, from feeding me ice chips to changing Henry to running home to let our dogs out. He watched his wife get cut open, got puked on by her and peed on by his son all within 24 hours, didn't get served food by the hospital and froze to death on a couch every night since I demanded the room be kept to about 62 degrees. I may have had to suffer through a pregnancy and a surgery, but he had to tough out some bad conditions himself! Let's hear it for the good husbands, right ladies?!

That was how little Henry entered our world! We've been in love ever since.

The day we came home from the hospital with our sweet boy Henry Malcolm.