Thursday, December 8, 2016

Emma Joy: 4 Months Old

Hello! I'm a wee bit behind posting this but Emma Joy turned 4-months-old last week! Our household has been hit by some major sickness this past week so I've been a little preoccupied but I wanted to make sure I popped in to share Emma's 4 month update.

Emma Joy,

Happy 4 months! Highlights of this month included celebrating your first Thanksgiving and taking you to meet and get our photo taken with Santa! Last Thanksgiving, we'd just found out you were growing in my belly and this Thanksgiving we were taking family photos and daddy and I took turns holding you while we ate Thanksgiving dinner with his side of the family. Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday and I was feeling extremely grateful to have you in my arms this year. You were ready for a nap by the time we got to meet Santa, but you hung on long enough for us to get a picture with him before you got too fussy. You'll never remember meeting Santa at 4-months-old but I can promise you that being able to take you to meet him is something daddy and I will never forget.

My favorite thing about this month is that you started to play with your hair when you're getting sleepy. Sometimes you do this to mommy, but it's usually to yourself and you just run your fingers through the hair above your ear just as you start to get sleepy. It's my cue to get you ready for nap time or bed time and let me tell you it is the sweetest thing in the world to me.

We are on a pretty consistent routine most days and while some naps are shorter than others, you're still a great sleeper for us. For naps and bed time, you still like to be swaddled and you still love going to sleep with your Wubbanub. A few weeks ago, we moved you to your crib at night and it surprised me how sad I was as we put you to bed that night. You would have been fine if we'd moved you weeks before, but I just wasn't ready to let you out of my sight yet. I knew it was time when we put you to bed that night, but it hit me how fast these few months have gone by and I couldn't help but cry. You are doing great in your crib at night only waking up 2-3 times wanting your Wubbanub. We give it back and you're right back to sleep. It's definitely time for us to try and get you to sleep without it, but we attempted this the first night and you cried like there was no tomorrow. Daddy hasn't been brave enough to try again yet, but we'll get there soon enough.

Since switching you to formula completely at the beginning of November, you've been gaining weight steadily again. At your 4 month appointment, you were almost 12 pounds and while you're still a skinny girl (in the 10th percentile for weight!), your doctor is happy with the rate you're gaining weight now so we're really happy, too. You're still fitting into pretty much all your 3 month clothes and wearing size 1 diapers. Your arms and legs are long and skinny and your cheeks are still adorably chubby.

We didn't read to you a lot this month but we sing a lot. Mommy makes up songs about pretty much everything but you're favorite song to hear is You Are My Sunshine. You smile and squeal the biggest when mommy sings this to you! I'll do just about anything to make you smile but the simplest joy for me has been when I turn to you and you're already smiling at me. That is just pure happiness for me.

You still love bath time and you've started to become more interested in the water. I'm sure it won't be long before you're splashing around and playing! You love being outside. If you're fussy, I know I can bring you to the back patio and you'll immediately calm down. There's so much to look at outside and we love to watch you take it all in. You're paying more and more attention to Abby and to be honest, she doesn't give you much of a choice. She is our shadow during the days and you definitely like to check her out. Sometimes she barks really loud out of nowhere, though and you do not like that at all.

You're still not a fan of tummy time but we spent a lot more time doing that this month. You got a jumper as an early Christmas gift from your Aunt Jessica and Uncle Rusty and the first time we put you in it, you weren't too interested. Only a few days later, we put you in and you were playing with all the gadgets and squealing with joy. It amazes us how quickly you evolve and grow and we just love watching you change day by day.

Our life is certainly sweeter with you in it and we're so thankful for you, Emma Joy. Happy 4 months, baby girl! We love you!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Life This Week

Today is a special day. One year ago, we found out we were pregnant. I remember so clearly sitting on the front porch anxiously waiting for Jonathan to pull in the driveway that evening so I could tell him our incredible news. It's been quite a year! You can read more about that happy day here.

We're finally enjoying some seriously beautiful weather and it's been the absolute best. It was finally cool enough earlier this week to put Emma in this adorable hoodie and I couldn't get over how cute and snuggly she was.

I had three goals this week:

1. Purge/Organize Master Bedroom Closet
2. 100 Squats/Day
3. Run EVERY day

Our closet and a few other areas of our house have been giving me some serious anxiety lately knowing they have gotten completely out of control with clutter and disorder. With our closet especially, I knew there were lots of items I needed to let go of like, yesterday. Clothes that I haven't worn in years, clothes that didn't fit and I don't know if I'd wear if they did fit, shoes I was holding onto even though I'd never wear them again. Mom life has me realizing quickly that I don't have time to search through chaos to find what I'm looking for and knowing we had so many items taking up space was really making me anxious. I tackled our master bedroom closet on Monday and it was quite a project. Thankfully, Emma napped pretty well for me throughout the day so I was able to get a lot done during nap times. I ended up with 2 garbage bags full of clothes to donate and a box of purses and shoes. I went through everything in our closet and refold, re-hung and organized items to that it was easier to find things and looked neat and clean. I shared a before and after video on Snapchat, but I wish I took photos because what I did made a huge difference. It was good for me to go through my clothes and purge items I knew I'd never wear again. The clothes I came across that I still like and don't fit into really helped re-energize and motivate me to lose the weight I need to lose.

I have some other areas in our house I want to tackle next including our kitchen cabinets, so those are next on my list!

I mentioned last week I haven't exactly been staying consistent with my exercise so this week, I wanted to change that. With the Couch 2 5K program, you only really need to run 3 times/week so I would plan to run every other day and would end up putting it off every day until I felt like I'd fallen too far behind and lose my motivation. This week, I decided to still complete the three Couch 2 5K workouts, but that I would run every day instead of only completing what the program requires. My goal has been that on the days I don't use the Couch 2 5K app, I need to at least knock out a mile run. Having the goal to run every day ensures I don't get lazy and lose any momentum. It feels really good to say I succeeded at this goal and ran every day this week. The 100 squats/day is something I knew would work for me because I could knock out a few here and there throughout the day. The first day, I  told myself every time I changed a diaper, I needed to do 10 and that was an easy way to make sure I got them in. Every other day this week, I just did 10-20 whenever I thought of it and it wasn't hard to make it to 100. It feels good to know I'm doing a little extra without devoting a huge chunk of time to it!

In addition to reaching my fitness goals this week, I've really kept my diet in check and I'm really happy to see some serious progress! I have a long way to go but I feel like something really clicked for me this week.

Otherwise, we had a pretty low-key week and didn't venture out too much. Emma hasn't been a fan of tummy time so I've tried to squeeze in more of that this week and even ordered this to help make it more enjoyable for her. I think it's helped a lot!

I'm so ready for this weekend to begin! We're having a night out tonight, my mom is coming to hang with Emma and I tomorrow and Sunday, we're planning on taking our family photo for our Christmas card and starting our holiday shopping. As we head into Thanksgiving week and kicking off all the holiday fun, I feel so much gratitude. So much!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

2nd Annual Adult Field Day

For my sister's birthday last year, we hosted an adult field day in her honor and it was such a big success, we knew we had to do it again this year. We hosted this event on Saturday and we had a blast! Two teams made up of our friends and family participated in a three-legged race, water balloon toss and kickball game then met back up at our house for a BBQ and of course, some beer pong and slap cup. This year, I created MVP awards so each team voted when we got back to the house and the winners received an award medal plus a goody bag with candy, a coozie and a Smirnoff Ice (because no matter the occasion, if you come around our family, there is a good chance someone is getting iced).

I'm so glad this is becoming an annual event! Jonathan and I love hosting this and we're already talking about how to make next year bigger and better!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Life Lately

Who knows if I'll ever get to a point where I'm checking in here on the regular. In the meantime, I want to make sure I document life here and there because I love being able to come to my little space on the Internet and look back on things. With that being said, let's catch up, shall we?

I'm still trying to work through the Couch25K program. To sum up why it's taking me so long, I've been inconsistent and slow to move to the next week when I'm not feeling ready. The good news? I haven't given up. I'm currently struggling through week 6 of the program and will probably do the whole program over again once I complete it. I truly want to get back to a place where I enjoy running and I just keep going back to the thought that no matter how slow I go, I'm still going.

We took Emma to her first pumpkin patch...and they were out of pumpkins. It was a gorgeous day, Emma and I wore matching shirts and we had my mom and Jonathan's parents with us so it was still a pretty great day aside from the lack of pumpkins!

My favorite part of this day was actually when we got home later that afternoon. The weather was gorgeous so Jonathan laid a blanket down in the backyard and the three of us just laid there enjoying the last bit of our Sunday together. Emma was in such a happy mood. She was so content just laying there with us playing with her toy elephant. I love going out on adventures as a little family but nothing beats simple quality time together at home like this.

We recently spent a weekend in Bradenton, FL for a wedding. It was Emma's first hotel stay and it was super sweet of my parents to drive 2+ hours to hang out in our hotel room with Emma while Jonathan and I went to our friend's wedding that evening. We enjoyed a weekend of gorgeous weather, a fun little road trip with our little girl, a fun night with our friends and it was just really nice to get away for a quick trip! My parents had so much fun babysitting Emma and I'm so thankful they had some quality time with their grand baby! 

We didn't end up buying a Halloween costume for Emma this year. I looked around a bit but I couldn't find anything I thought would fit her well enough and I couldn't justify spending the money knowing she'd really only wear it for a cute photo and that would be it. I did get her a cute Halloween outfit and the most adorable pumpkin booties, though!

I think I speak for all of us when I say I'm glad the election is over. I don't want to get into it too much because I don't have the energy, honestly. I didn't plan on saying anything about it, but it's obviously on my mind and I want to always use this space to share what's truly on my heart. I think one thing I've tried to remember through the entire election and now post-election is that you don't have to attend every argument you're invited to. The personal attacks and pure anger people have shown each other online recently has me praying for peace more than ever. I don't need to tell you where I stand in regards to the election results. What I will tell you is when I made my decision who to vote for, I felt peace in whatever the outcome would be and do you want to know why? Because in my heart I know that no matter who is president, Jesus is King. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, if you trust that God has a plan, that God is taking care of us, then you know the outcome of this election is not a burden you need to carry with you. Imagine the peace all those angered by this election would feel if they handed the fear and worry they have over to God? My goodness. 

I've seen so many people saying, "What will I tell my children?" Honestly, I'm not worried about this for a lot of reasons. I think no matter who is president I wouldn't necessarily want my daughter to use them as any kind of role model in her life. Emma is going to learn values, morals, how to be a good person from us as her parents. She's going to see examples of this through the people in her life as she grows up and I hope those people are her role models. I hope from us, she learns to be a strong woman, a kind person, a lover of Jesus, a compassionate individual, work ethic and the importance of giving. We are responsible of making sure she understands that even though someone is in the spotlight, whether it be a celebrity, a politician, any kind of leader, that we are all flawed and what you see isn't necessarily what is true. When she's old enough to learn about this election and future elections, her daddy and I will tell her the truth about why we voted for who we voted for and she will know that while there are pros and cons to every decision we make, that our reasons were valid and well thought out. Okay, I'm going to stop here and just say if your head is still spinning, if you feel scared or angry, I hope you will pray and trust that ultimately, He is in control. 

Moving on...I mentioned in Emma's 3 month update that we made the decision to stop breastfeeding after learning she'd only gained 3 ounces in an entire month. I was certainly sad and disappointed, but I let myself feel sad about it that day and decided to just let go of all of it and move on. The important thing is doing what is best for our little girl and I am just thankful we were able to make it a few months. We went back to the doctor on Monday after a week of formula and she was up 7 ounces! Praise God. She's been much happier and I feel a sense of relief and much less anxiety knowing she is getting what she needs now. Emma's pediatrician has been so great and I'm thankful they've been so proactive in regards to her weight having us come in for regular weight checks and staying so involved. 

It's certainly my favorite time of year and there is so much to look forward to and so much to enjoy. Jonathan's work schedule has already started to lighten up a bit thanks to the cooler temps we've been having. He was home yesterday at 2 PM and I couldn't believe it when he walked in the door. I'm so looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving and gearing up for our first Christmas as a family of three. Tomorrow we are hosting adult field day and I can't wait. We did this last year to celebrate my sister's birthday and it was a huge success so I've been excited to put another one together! The weather is supposed to be perfect and it'll be fun to have a big group of friends and family together. 

On that note, I have quite a list of chores to get done to prepare so I'm out of here. I will leave you with this adorable photo of our happy little girl.

I hope your weekend of full of fun, beautiful weather and lots of adventure. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Emma Joy: 3 Months Old

Our sweet baby girl turned 3 month old on Sunday! Emma changed so much in her third month and it's been incredible to see her interact more and express herself with her facial expressions and joyful sounds. This third month was full of joy but I have to be honest and say I had some really hard days, too. I feel like the first several weeks of mom life are such a blur of excitement and adjustment. I think all the emotions came crashing down on me at once this month. It's hard to explain and don't even get me started on postpartum hormones, but all I can say is the mothering has come so easy to's everything else that comes with becoming a mom that takes some major emotional intelligence to work through. Pregnancy hormones have nothing on postpartum aftermath but that's a story for another day. I guess what I'm trying to say is that becoming a mommy has been the most challenging, most overwhelming, most rewarding thing I've done so far and I have never been more certain that I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing in life.

Sweet Emma Joy,

Happy 3 months! Your third month was a busy one! One weekend, we hunkered down at home during your first hurricane and while we were spared from any major damage, it made for a weekend at home having lots of quality time as a little family. One Saturday, we met up with your nana for a girls day to have lunch and shop until we dropped. It was our longest outing yet and you did pretty well! You had your first hotel stay this month in Bradenton so mommy and daddy could go to a wedding. You spent the night hanging with nana and grampy at the hotel while we were out and they had so much fun loving on you! At the end of the month, we took you to your first pumpkin patch but sadly, they were out of pumpkins! We did get some great photo opps and you and mommy dressed in matching shirts so it was still a great day. The best part of that day was coming home in the afternoon and laying together on a blanket in the backyard, just you, me and daddy. We started at the sky and played with you while you wiggled around making all kinds of happy sounds.

You certainly discovered your mouth this month and when you're not sticking your hands or toys in it, you're making the most happy sounds with it. The absolute best thing is when you get so excited that you're kicking your feet like crazy then you let out a loud, joyful squeal. Along with those joyful sounds, you also did some serious crying and fussing this month. You have serious trouble passing gas and you get pretty upset about it. Daddy and I started giving you drops to help move things along and that has helped a bit, thank goodness. When mommy took you in at 3 months for a weigh in at the doctor, we discovered you'd only gained 3 ounces in a whole month which means you hadn't been getting enough to eat which explains why you'd become so fussy.

We had a rough time with nursing this month and when the doctor came in after we weighed you, I knew in my heart it was time to stop breastfeeding. I was pretty sad for selfish reasons because despite any struggles we've had, I really was enjoying that special time with you. I am thankful we were able to make it three months and our priority is to do what is best for you, so formula it is. We're only a few days in and even though I'm still nursing you once a day temporarily, you already seem happier and more satisfied, which makes me happy and so relieved.

The month you really started to become interested in toys and playtime and it has been so much fun to watch you entertain yourself! It seemed like one day I would put a toy in front of you and you wouldn't even really look at it, then all of a sudden you were checking it out, grabbing it and of course, bringing it up to your little mouth. You have a few toys you really like to play with and you love to just lay on your elephant play mat and play with your feet while you "talk" to me. You love when daddy and I sing to you, especially the song we sing with your name in it. Whenever we sing, "Emma Joy," you let out the happiest little squeal. I like to think you can see the joy on our faces when we say your name and it makes you giddy. You're grabbing onto everything in sight, especially our clothes, my hair, your wubbanub and any toys we give you.

You're still sleeping through the night like a champ. We put you to bed around 8:30 and many mornings I'm the one who wakes you up at 7 a.m. We still have you sleeping in our room but have started talking and thinking about transitioning to your crib at night. I just love waking up and seeing you sleeping so peacefully in our room. I know I'll miss it when we do move you to your bedroom.

You're still a skinny little girl only gaining a few ounces this month so you're still in size 1 diapers and you're wearing 0-3 month/3 month clothes for the most part. Some of your newborn stuff still fits you, though, and many 3 month pants hang off your little waist.

Watching you change week by week brings me so much joy and I love this stage, but it breaks my heart at the same time. It's all happening too fast! They warned us, but we could never understand how fast it goes by until we became parents ourselves. Becoming a mommy has been the most challenging, most incredible, most rewarding thing I've done in life so far. I still look at you sometimes and I am in complete disbelief. You are such a gift. Thank God for choosing us to be your parents. We love you, Emma Joy!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Life This Week

It's 11 PM on Friday night. I'm sitting in bed on my third glass of wine. Emma is snoozing away in her Rock n' Play and Abby is snuggled in between me and Jonathan in bed. Taylor cat is literally just sitting on the floor next to the bed looking around the room judging all of us, I assume. It may partially be the wine talking, but I feel so happy right now. In all honesty, I'd be feeling this way with or without the wine but that is beside the point. I feel like the days go by in such a blur right now and no matter how tired I am at night when we all get to bed, I can't help but stay awake sometimes. It's my chance to soak it all in, to have a minute to myself, to just be. Either way, right now feels like a good time to talk about this week.

Sadly, I didn't set any goals for the week, but I'm not beating myself up too badly about it.

This week:

- I completed week 4 of Couch 2 5K for the second week in a row. I wasn't feeling quite ready to move on to week 5, so I repeated week 4 and I'm glad I did. Week 4 consists of the following: run for 3 minutes, walk for 90 seconds, run for 5 minutes, walk for 2.5 minutes; repeat. It's sad to say but I struggled through every workout. To be honest, I feel discouraged and frustrated because I remember a time when this was actually enjoyable for me and I want so badly to be there again. It's taking time and it's a struggle right now, but feeling frustrated and discouraged only makes me want to keep going, so there's that. 

- At one point, we had baby poop dripping down our wall...and then had to be the one who cleaned it up. Trust me when I say you don't want to hear or see anymore about this experience. 

- I broke down in tears when Jonathan got home from work on Wednesday. I was feeling overwhelmed...tired....emotional. Some days I feel like I'm crushing it and other days, I feel like I'm not doing anything well at all. Wednesday was just one of those days. A good hug and some encouragement from my husband and I was feeling much better. Can I still blame these random crying episodes on hormones? Just curious...

- I wore leggings every day. #momlife

Saturday is shaping up to be a good one. Emma and I are meeting up with my mom for some shopping and girl time. I can't wait! 

Hope your weekend is full of whatever makes you happy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Taylor Cat's Big Adventure

Being a stay at home mom to a two-month-old, my days tend to be pretty uneventful for the most part. We typically don't venture out a whole lot unless it's to take a quick trip to the store or a walk around the neighborhood so every day looks pretty much the same: nurse Emma, play with Emma, nap time for Emma while I write, exercise or clean the house, repeat, repeat, repeat. Monday was different, though. Monday was eventful and I'm here to tell you why.

I woke up Monday morning to the most gorgeous weather. It was about 70 degrees outside and I could hear our wind chime out back chiming away in the breeze. I immediately decided we had to squeeze in a walk because it was too gorgeous outside not to.

Emma was pretty fussy most of the morning so I almost decided to put our walk off until the afternoon, but I knew it would probably warm up by then so around 11, I put Emma in the stroller, leashed Abby up, packed some dog treats in a cup and off we went.

We walked along and as we walked, we walked through lots of small branches and piles of moss that had been blown into the sidewalk during the storm. Each time, Abby had to check it out or step over it so we were moving slow which didn't bother me at all since it was so nice out and Emma was calm as could be in the stroller.

We were a few streets over from our house when Abby seemed to see something under the stroller and stuck her head under it to check it out. I assumed it was more debris from the storm, so I tugged on her leash and kept pushing the stroller when I saw a cat walk from under the stroller into the woods next to us. It took me a second to realize it wasn't just a cat. It was our cat. Taylor Cat!

"Oh my God! Taylor!" I yelled. I stepped forward to grab her and before I knew it, she was walking off into the woods and I swear I caught her look back at me and laugh.

You're probably wondering how Taylor ended up there. See, we keep the stroller in the house since we've been using it so much lately and I didn't realize she had been sleeping in the little basket under the stroller when I decided to take the girls for a walk.

I immediately grabbed the cup of dog treats I had and called her name trying to get her to come back to me on her own. I didn't want to run at her because I knew she'd get scared and run further into the woods. Of course, having Abby on the leash wasn't helping because she wasn't about to willingly come up to Abby who is constantly bothering her at home.

Despite the fact that she's constantly trying to escape from our house, she is not an outdoor cat so thankfully, she didn't know what to do once was out in the wild so she just kind of moved from one spot in the woods to another instead of running off completely.

Within a few seconds, I was in tears not knowing how I was going to get her back. I couldn't go into the woods leaving Abby and the stroller unattended and Taylor wasn't coming back no matter how many treats I dropped for her. Thankfully, an older gentlemen was taking a walk and came up to help. He held Abby's leash while I ran in to try and grab Taylor. I quickly realized this wasn't going to work because she kept creeping farther away from me and Emma had started crying in the stroller by then.

I called Jonathan hysterically crying and thankfully, he was only about 10 minutes away and able to come help. The older gentleman stuck around to keep an eye on Taylor so we knew where to send Jonathan when he got there and I stood there trying to calm Emma down and held onto Abby while we waited. Our fear was that Taylor would get spooked and run off deep into the woods or into the street. At least with her right there, she was too scared to go any farther and we still knew she was okay.

Jonathan showed up about 20 minutes later and thankfully he was able to track her down within a few minutes. She, of course, walked right up to him when he called her name and he drove her back to the house while I walked back with the girls.

It was quite the ordeal. The second she ran away from me into the woods, my fear was that I'd be calling Jonathan telling him she was lost so I'm so incredibly thankful that man happened to be walking by and was so willing to help while we waited for Jonathan to arrive. If it wasn't for him, I don't think I would've been able to at least keep an eye on where Taylor was hiding while taking care of Emma and Abby at the same time.

Abby is constantly chasing her around the house trying to play so Taylor hides in that little stroller basket all the time to stay out of Abby's path but I never would have thought to check there before we left the house. I will be from now on, of course!

Taylor's Hiding Spot
I still can't believe she was just sitting in there as walked down the street. She's been trying to escape our house for years so she probably couldn't believe it either! I'm just glad she didn't run out into the middle of the road or something. At least the way it happened, she walked right into the woods and there were too many obstacles for her to just run away.

Once we were home and had both animals back in the house, Jonathan headed back to work, I put Emma down for a nap. I had some things I wanted to do but instead, I grabbed a beer and sat down for a minute to recover and chill out for a minute.

I mentioned yesterday how our family day at the park on Sunday was Abby's Big Day Out. I told Jonathan that Taylor must've been jealous she wasn't included in our adventure that day and decided she'd have one of her own!

So to recap, most days are pretty uneventful. Monday was not one of those days.

The End

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Counting Our Rainbows: Life Last Week/Weekend

Well, hello! I used to say "Count your rainbows, not your thunderstorms" all the time and I can't think of a more fitting title for this week/weekend recap.

I meant to pop in late last week but Hurricane Matthew made for a somewhat unproductive few days. Once we got word the storm was coming for us, we were pretty preoccupied Wednesday and Thursday making sure we were prepared for the worst. We were supposed to get the worst of the storm early Friday morning and most of the day so on Thursday night we settled in with a movie and some wine as we watched the weather get progressively worse. Thankfully we didn't get hit as badly as expected, but we lost power Friday morning and didn't get it back until late Saturday morning. We were incredibly grateful we were spared from the tremendous damage other areas faced and we actually really enjoyed our day together at home on Friday with our little family. It was nice to have a day at home together without any of the usual distractions like technology and work.

I do have to admit by Saturday morning, I was starting to get a little stir crazy and uncomfortable with no power in the house. I made plans to have a lunch date with my sister and in the meantime, our power came back on and I was able to clean up around the house a bit so we could enjoy the rest of our weekend. Emma and I had a great visit and lunch date with my sister while Jonathan finished working. Saturday night, we dropped Emma off at her grandparents' and went out for dinner and a movie. We saw Girl on the Train and I thought they did a pretty good job of turning the book into a movie!

We woke up Sunday to the most gorgeous, sunny day. So beautiful, it was hard to believe we'd just had a hurricane roll through two days before.

I told Jonathan I really want to take Abby out to a dog park or something. After being cooped up in the house for a few days because of the storm and us not having a fenced in yard for her to really run around in, I felt like she could really use a day out and some serious playtime. Jonathan made us breakfast in bed and we watched church service while we ate and loved on baby Emma.

We packed up our little family and headed to a great park about 40 minutes from us for some outdoor fun and we had the absolute best day together. We called it Abby's Big Day Out but really, it was such a special day for all of us!

I could complain about the storm or our power being out for 24 hours over the weekend. I could comment on this election and all the negativity it's bringing. I could be preoccupied with all the negativity I feel like we hear daily. Instead, I'll just say I'm grateful. I'm grateful for the quality time we got as a family because of Hurricane Matthew. I'm grateful our power was restored and that losing power for 24 hours was the worst of our troubles. I'm grateful that with all the negativity in the world, we get to control how we react to it. We get to choose how it affects us. We get to influence our children in such a positive way that no matter what horrors are going on in the world, they are good and decent individuals who rise above it.

One of our pastors said this on Sunday, "The news is bad, but God is good" and I've just kept repeating that to myself since then. So simple, but such a necessary reminder, I think. The news is seriously so bad, but God is so incredibly good.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Emma Joy: 2 Months Old

Emma Joy,

The last month with you has been so much fun! One day a few weeks ago, I had you on your changing table getting you dressed and out of nowhere, you gave me this big, bright, happy smile and you haven't stopped smiling at us since! With these smiles came the most adorable squeals of joy and daddy and I just can't get over the sweet sounds you make. You definitely recognize mommy and daddy and in the last few weeks, you've started to pay a lot more attention to Abby when she is around.

You still love your Wubbanub and you're now able to hold onto it with your tiny little fingers. Your hands are always busy these days and you're usually trying to stick them in your mouth or managing to wiggle them out of your swaddle during nap time. You've even started grabbing onto mommy's hair when I go to put you down, so that's been fun! You don't love tummy time but you're getting so good at holding your head up and when we put you down on your belly, you immediately start moving your little legs.

We moved you to your crib for nap time and even though you didn't love it the first few days, you got used to it pretty quickly and now you're napping in there on a pretty good schedule every day. You still sleep in your Rock n' Play next to our bed at night and even though you'd probably be okay in your crib by now, mommy is not quite ready for that yet. You are sleeping straight through the night, though, and have been for about a month now!

You're wearing size 1 diapers now and while you're mostly wearing 0-3 months clothes, some of your newborn stuff still fits, believe it or not! You're still a skinny little girl with long, skinny legs (and toes!) At your 2 month appointment earlier this week, you weighed in at 10 lbs, 4.5 oz and measured 22 3/4" long. The doctor was so happy with your weight (again), that she says we can cut back even more on supplementing with formula. If we keep this up, at our next visit we may be able to cut out formula completely. We've come a long way since those first few weeks and I'm so happy to know you're getting what you need from your mommy.

Oh, that 2 month doctor appointment on Monday? That was a rough day for both of us, wasn't it? As you lay on the exam table smiling, wiggling and making the most joyful little noises, it broke my heart knowing the nurse was about to come in and turn your world upside down by giving you 4 shots! You were so happy and had no idea what was coming. The nurse stuck the first one in your little leg and I watched you turn red as your eyes filled up with tears and next thing I knew, we were both crying hysterically. I wasn't prepared for how sad it would make me to watch this and my heart was broken for you. We stuck around in the exam room for a while so mommy could calm you down and as you started to quiet down and rest your head on my shoulder, I thanked God for making me your mommy. There's no better feeling than knowing I can make your tears go away.

You really are such a happy little baby. You don't cry a whole lot and when you do, it's usually because you're ready for a nap or you're having trouble passing gas. In the mornings, you lay there making sweet little sounds and looking around until I pick you up and you're always so happy to see me. You are certainly living up to your name, Emma Joy. You bring us so much joy and we're having the most fun loving on you. Happy 2 months, sweet girl! Daddy an I love you endlessly!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Life This Week

Hello! Happy Friday.

I have several posts in my drafts...topic ideas that pop into my head and I intend to come back and actually write them but that has yet to happen. In the meantime, I like these Friday posts to recap the week a bit and they seem to be all I can manage to post lately!

This week has felt...long. I can't explain it but I felt like the week dragged on and for most of it, I felt completely exhausted. The last week of every month now means I spend a lot of time working for Jonathan. Since I'm helping him with the administrative side of his business now, I take care of his invoicing at the end of every month which means this week, that was my main priority every day, aside from taking care of our sweet little girl, of course!

Since I needed to make sure I focused on getting my work done this week, my goals weren't super ambitious, or so you might think, but they're still things I wanted to make sure I accomplished.

My three goals for the week:

1. Complete Week #3 of Couch25K
2. Finish Girl on the Train
3. Go on at least 2 walks with Emma & Abby

I successfully completed week 3 of Couch25K despite struggling a lot through every workout. My knees are hurting bad which is probably just because I hadn't done much more than walking for the last few months. Hopefully the pain subsides here in the next week or so but in the meantime, I still powered through the workouts and it feels good to have 3 weeks done!

In my excitement over the movie coming out next week, I wanted to re-read Girl on the Train since it had been a while. Nursing Emma is a great time for me to get some good reading time in and that's exactly what I did this week. I actually finished the book this morning and now I'm extra pumped to see the movie when it comes out next weekend -- that is assuming we can sneak away for a date night, of course!

There are so many reasons why I need to make sure I get outside and walk with the girls a few times a week, but I've been so focused on setting aside an hour for me to workout that I'm not usually in the mood to head outside in this Florida heat. Abby loves hanging out with me all day and she plays quite a bit, but with a newborn around she doesn't get as much playtime as she used to and with all her energy, she loves getting outside for a walk. On top of that, we don't get out of the house much most weeks and while I don't always feel up to the production of taking Emma out and about, for my sanity, I need to make sure I get out and enjoy some fresh, albeit humid air every now and then. We were able to make it out for 2 walks this week and I'm hoping as the temperature eventually drops a bit, I'll be better about doing this more often throughout the week.

In other, very exciting news, today our Emma Joy is 2 months old! It's hard to believe it's been a whole 2 months since they placed this sweet girl on my chest and everything I'd just been through to get her out suddenly seemed like a walk in the park because I knew in that instant, I would do it over and over again if it meant feeling love like this. By now I've realized I never shared Emma's birth story and at this point, I can only hope it'll happen before her first birthday (haha). I'll post more next week for her 2 month update, but all I can say is the last two months have been an incredible gift.

I watched this video yesterday morning and I'm still laughing about it. Perhaps I can relate to too many lines in this song, but either way, it's amazing.

I also feel like you need to know about this candle we bought. My baby sister was raving about this candle to me last weekend and if this girl recommends something to me, I listen. It takes a lot for her to like something so much that she recommends it to anyone and I get it -- if something doesn't live up to the hype, you always hear about it. When she told me how amazing this candle was and that we had to see-- or smell for ourselves, I ordered it immediately. Within minutes of lighting it, I was pretty certain this is what heaven probably smells like.

That's a wrap! I'll be back next week with Emma's 2 month birthday post and hopefully more if I can find some time to write this weekend. I hope you have a happy weekend!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Life This Week

Happy Friday and happy Fall! I'm wishing it didn't still feel like the dead of summer here but it doesn't make me any less excited for fall decor, carving pumpkins and dressing Emma up for her first Halloween.

Jonathan and I started a new thing this week where we each come up with 3 goals for the week. These aren't huge, long-term goals -- just some things we want to accomplish or focus on for the week. I think with these posts each week, I'll start off by sharing what my goals were and how it went. Just another way to help hold myself accountable, I guess.

My goals this week:

1. Consume 50 carbs or less each day
2. Finish 'Thank You' Cards
3. Complete Week #2 of Couch25K

Cutting down on carbs is tough after 9 months of kinda eating whatever I wanted to. While I didn't keep every day under 50, I'm still happy with how this went. Some days I was closer to 80 and one day I was around 40. Any of these numbers are way better than I've been doing so I'm okay with it and next week I'll try to be more consistent.

I'm still completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and gifts we've received since Emma was born. Between our loved ones and Jonathan's clients, we've been blown away by the amount of beautiful and thoughtful gifts we've received. All of these gifts has meant a long list of people to send Thank You cards to and I've been keeping up with them pretty well. I had a few more people left on our list and I am happy to say I finished last night.

I had another successful week of workouts doing a 21 day fix workout each day and three days of Couch25K. I completed week 2 of C25K and I have to say that getting back into running hasn't been as bad as I expected. Don't get me's a struggle but not as much of a struggle as I feared it would be. We'll see if I'm feeling the same at week 4, though!

I'm pretty happy with how my goals went this week and hope this new weekly ritual helps Jonathan and I work toward some of our bigger goals.

In other news...

I watched This is Us. I had little interest in the show until I noticed so many people raving about it on social media so I gave in. It was pretty good! I had seen a few articles saying it was the new Parenthood so we'll see how it measures up. I do know this is one show Jonathan won't be watching with me...haha.

Emma started smiling this week and my heart cannot handle it! She flashed me a smile Monday morning and hasn't stopped since. It's the sweetest thing ever.

We stuck around the house most of the week aside from venturing out for groceries and a Target trip on Monday. On one hand, this is great because we've been able to stick to somewhat of a routine and Emma has been napping in her crib more and more. On the other hand, I am getting a slight case of cabin fever. Jonathan offered to pick up formula for me on Wednesday because we were out and I told him, "No! I need to get out of the house alone. I will go get it!" It was a 20 minute outing to Publix but I was out of the house and alone so it was a nice break. I also picked up wine, so that helped.

On the agenda this weekend, Jonathan has been grilling like crazy lately so I'm going to pick up some steaks and hopefully it'll be nice enough to enjoy dinner on the back patio together tonight. Tomorrow I'm going bridesmaids dress shopping for a friends' wedding in May and on Sunday, we're planning on going back to church with Emma. I'm excited to go back and hoping the timing works out so Emma sleeps through service!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Life This Week

Hello and happy Friday! I'm a little surprised lately when I actually know what day of the week it is. The days fly by being home alone with our little one. I'm going, going, going from 5 or 6 a.m. until we get her down for the night. Thankfully, she's still sleeping through the night so I'm feeling well-rested and I'm so thankful for that but still, I've never felt so scatterbrained.

This week has felt particularly chaotic. Jonathan started out the week feeling sick and I did everything in my power to keep it from getting worse and/or spreading to the rest of us. Tuesday, he injured himself at work and while it could have been much worse, it made for quite an afternoon/evening. Wednesday, Emma and I got stranded at her doctor appointment when the car wouldn't start. Thank goodness for the kindness of two strangers who helped jump-start the car so we could be on our way. On top of all that, we've had doctors appointments and errands galore this week.

I also transitioned Emma to her crib for daytime naps and she is adjusting pretty well. She's pretty fussy when I first put her down and it can take a few minutes and a few times going back in there to settle her down but once she's out she sleeps great in there. I'm hoping this helps make it easier to move her in there at night once we're ready for that.

I've exercised every day this week. That makes two weeks in a row and I'm celebrating this minor accomplishment. I'm still doing a 21 Day Fix Extreme workout each day and this week, I started Couch25K again. I have a long way to go before I feel like I'm getting where I want to be, but it feels really good to know I'm doing something about it. When I feel overwhelmed by how far I have to go, I'm trying to focus on the reasons why I'm doing it. I got to a point a few years ago where I loved exercise and enjoyed running. I was the happiest I've ever been at that point in my life. I had so much energy and my mind was in such a good place because I felt so good. I want to be that person again. I owe it to myself and my family to be the best version of me and that's what I need to focus on. 

I made this chicken pot pie recipe for the first time earlier this week and it was incredible. Jonathan was under the weather and I wanted to make him some comfort food. I had found the recipe on Pinterest a few weeks ago and I was feeling ambitious, I guess. I rarely make chicken pot pie because it's not the healthiest of dinners, but this will absolutely be my go-to recipe in the future. 

I brought Emma in for another weight check with her pediatrician Wednesday. Our little lady is up to 9 lbs, 8 oz and I finally feel like I can really relax now because she's gaining weight like a champ. I've mentioned she struggled to put on weight in the beginning and we had to supplement from the start. At that point I decided I needed to be realistic when it comes to breastfeeding and that if we had to switch her to formula exclusively because that was best for her, I would be okay with it knowing we gave it a good try. Seven weeks in and I'm still nursing and even cut back to supplementing after every other feeding. This makes me really happy. Not only are we saving money not having to buy formula too often, but I love our time together when I'm nursing Emma and I plan to soak it in for as long as it lasts.

It's been quite a week around here, but that just makes me more thankful for the fact that we're off to spend the weekend at the beach with some friends of ours. That's right. We're dropping Abby off at her grandparents' house tonight and we'll be off with baby Emma to spend a few days relaxing and spending some major quality time together. It's our first little getaway as a family of 3 and to say I'm looking forward to it would be a huge understatement. I have big plans. I want to drink mimosas on the deck Saturday morning. I want to re-read The Girl on the Train (the movie is coming out soon and I want to refresh my memory before we see it!). I want to go on an early morning walk on the beach with this little family of mine. I just can't wait. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

What We Do Everyday

We've had a chalkboard hanging in our kitchen for a while now that I try to update every now and then with a quote or scripture I feel like we can relate to at the time. Honestly though, it's been blank a lot lately and that's because not only do I have a hard time deciding what to write on it at any given time, but I also never seem satisfied with how my handwriting looks so I end up erasing it and leaving it empty for a good while.

I actually desperately want to replace the chalkboard with this felt letter board from Letterfolk but my husband seems to think the price is outrageous. It is outrageous, but alas, it is on the top of my wish list.


Back to the point of this post. Last week I started reading Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin. She also wrote The Happiness Project which I loved, so when I saw she had a new book out about making and breaking habits, I thought it would be a great read for me right now. In the first few pages of the book, she shares "The Habits Manifesto" and starts it with this phrase:

"What we do every day matter more than what we do once in a while."

I know this isn't a groundbreaking concept and it's not something we don't already know, but my thoughts kept coming back to this phrase all afternoon (and honestly, every day since then). I knew it needed to be up on our chalkboard and I didn't care how sloppy my handwriting was. I put it up right away and it's been up ever since.

Why did this thought resonate with me so much? I guess I like that it applies to everything in life. When I started this book, I was kind of thinking of habits more specific to getting back into a healthy lifestyle because that is a high priority for my in life right now. Exercising occasionally and eating healthy some of the time isn't going to get me where I need to be. Yes, this is a given, but I can see myself repeating this phrase on the days I feel I'm losing my discipline or will power and it helping me stay on track.

This phrase obviously relates to eating healthy and working out but I can't help but apply to so many other things in life.

I can take this thought and apply it to my how I approach my relationship with my husband and really, anyone close to me. My actions and words on a day to day basis matter more than the occasional grand gesture. Date nights are great and we absolutely need to make sure we are intentional about making sure we get out just the two of us every now and again. But our marriage will benefit more from daily communication, building each other up and spending quality time together (even if the only quality time we can carve out is sitting on the back patio with a glass of wine during the 15 minutes before the baby wakes up).

I can apply it to spreading love and kindness to strangers. Yes, I want to volunteer more and I want to perform the occasional random act of kindness and it's important to still do those things, but if I make an effort to do small things and spread kindness in my day-to-day interactions with people, that makes a difference too.

I can apply it to my faith. I don't want to pray only when things are tough. I don't want my only time with God to be when we make it to church on Sunday. I need to walk in faith every day. I need to talk to God daily and not just ask Him for what myself or others need, but I want to pause throughout the day and thank him, too.

This is a unique time in our lives. We are settling into new routines, new roles, new responsibilities, new priorities. I guess this phrase is just something I needed to hear right now to help me be the woman, wife, mother that I want to be.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Life Lately

Hello! I started writing this post last Thursday and have been planning to come back every day since then to finish it. Here I am almost a week later finally making my way back here to write again. I am trying to get some kind of structure built into our days and prioritizing my to do list so I can be as efficient as possible while Emma is napping throughout the day but some days are not going to go at all the way I hope they will and sometimes that means the things I want to do don't make the cut.

Getting into any kind of routine with a newborn is a lot to ask for, so I am trying to be patient and realistic in the meantime. We are making progress and over the last week or so, I feel like we are starting to get into the swing of things here.

I started meal planning again last week and even though I can't say we had a delicious dinner on the table every night, I did manage to ease back into cooking with two delicious crockpot meals and I have a few go-to manageable meals planned for this week so we're off to a good start. When we're not cooking, we end up eating out or eating terribly at home so I've been trying to stick to healthier, simple meals with a protein and some veggies to get us back on track.

Speaking of getting back on track, I promised myself this week would be the week I started working out again. It's only Wednesday, but it feels good to say I've exercised every day this week so far. I'm getting back into it with the 21 Day Fix workouts because I know I can find 30 minutes every day to knock out a workout and I can count on getting my butt kicked in a short time with these for now. I know I'm not at a place to start going to a gym again, so this is a great start for me. We have a treadmill at home so I'm thinking next week I will start Couch to 5K so I can ease back into running as well.

I haven't exercised regularly since I don't know, May, maybe? It's been rough and Monday I felt pretty discouraged trying to keep up but I need to start somewhere and I don't want to be in the same position 6 months from now so I need to push through this initial struggle to get myself where used to be.

In other news, I am a little late to the game, but I am finally starting to get into podcasts. I have already finished the first season of Serial and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to that one. It's been great to listen to while I nurse Emma throughout the day and now I'm itching for other podcasts to get hooked on. If you have any recommendations, please share!!

We've been letting Emma sleep through the night for about a week now and she's been pretty consistently sleeping from 9:30/10 PM to about 4/5 AM every night which is an incredible blessing. I don't want to get too comfortable because this could change any day, but I'm feeling well-rested and a little more like myself lately.

Now feels like a good time to share some random photos from the last few weeks.

We've been parents for about 5 weeks and it's been an incredible adventure so far. It's funny how quickly you fall into new routines, new patterns and responsibilities without thinking too much about it. How quickly you can't imagine life without this sweet child in it. How quickly you realize that this time is so precious and so, so fleeting. How incredibly full of love you feel for this child, your husband, your blessed life. How no matter how tired, emotional, hormonal, overwhelmed you feel, it's all so completely overshadowed by the joy. So much joy.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Emma Joy: One Month Old

Our sweet Emma turned one month old on Tuesday! This last month has been incredible. We've received such an outpouring of love and support from friends, family, neighbors and clients of Jonathan's. Emma is so loved and Jonathan and I have been grateful to have so much support and encouragement during this time. 

The last few weeks have flown by and we are trying to soak in every fleeting moment because our little lady has already changed so much. 

Emma Joy, 

You're one month old already! How is that possible? Every day you become more alert and aware of your surroundings. Your daddy and I love watching you as you take in our faces and the little world around you. We can't believe how quickly you've already grown. 

You're still wearing newborn size diapers and most of your newborn size clothes. You have such long, skinny limbs that most newborn pants are too short for you but anything bigger is super loose around your tiny waist. 

You've been such a trooper as we've had visitor after visitor the past few weeks - all people we love coming by to love on you. You are loved by so many, sweet girl. You don't mind all the attention and you snuggle up in the arms of whoever wants to hold you. You've been sleeping great since we brought you home and you manage to sleep through whatever chaos surrounds you, which is usually Abby barking or chasing Taylor cat through the house. You'll have a lot of fun with Abby later, but for right now, we're glad you can sleep through her noise. 

You're nursing so well now and at your one month appointment yesterday, your doctor and I were so relieved to see you're up to 8 lbs, 14.5 oz which is right where you should be. You lost so much weight after we left the hospital, your doctor had mommy supplement your feedings with formula or breastmilk from a bottle. I feared if you didn't start gaining some weight back, we might need to switch you to formula completely but it looks like that won't be necessary now. Your doctor even said we can start cutting back a only give you a bottle every other feeding. Mommy is so happy to know you're getting what you need from me and I hope we can keep this up. We're figuring it out together, little girl but my goodness I am relieved to know you are growing like you should be.

Mommy has been waking you up every few hours at night to feed you because if I didn't, you might sleep right through a meal. Now that you're where the doctor says you should be, she says I can let you sleep at night until you wake up on your own. Thank goodness because it's hard to see you sleeping so peacefully and having to be the one to wake you up. Last night we let you sleep until you woke on your own and you made it to 4:30 AM! Waking up to your sweet little sounds at 4:30 this morning was a joy and I'm one well rested mommy today. You might flip the script on us and wake up several times tonight, but right now I'm going to celebrate what a great little sleeper you are.

You love being swaddled and if you're fussy, we can typically count on a good swaddle to calm you down and you'll be sleeping within minutes. You love to snuggle but usually don't mind being in your bouncer or swing. You have the hiccups quite often and you are not a fan. You don't exactly love bath time but you never scream at us. You mostly just look a little disgruntled and uncomfortable but as soon we wrap you up in a towel, you're a happy girl again. Daddy and I love bathing you and getting you in your jammies together and snuggling with you after a bath is our favorite.

You make so many adorable little noises that we can't get enough of - little squeaks come out when you yawn and you make lots of little grunting noises when you're hungry or gassy. We can't get over your chubby cheeks. Your daddy and I kiss them so many times a day - we just can't resist!

The last month with you has been a dream come true for your daddy and I. We're soaking up every sweet second with you. We love you, Emma Joy!