She Did It!

Last Wednesday my youngest sister graduated from High School! I think its safe to say that the class of 2020 has bragging rights for the rest of their lives for the crazy end they had to their Senior year.

So many things were canceled that every high school Senior looks forward to – for my sister, this included Preference, Senior Prom, her end of year Drill Show (she was Head Captain of the Drill Team), and much, much more. I’ve got to say, though, I am so proud of her and her attitude. I know she was bummed – there was no way several months ago when her senior year started that she had even the slightest idea that her last year of school would end so oddly, but she has taken it all in stride, effortlessly. She has kept a good attitude, she’s made the most of it and has found the bright side to each situation that could have easily brought her down. I’m proud of her for graduating, but I’m also so super proud of her for her resilience and optimism. She’s the best.

Her graduation made me think back to mine from several years ago. First of all, my sisters was way better than mine. Her graduation was a drive-by graduation – no long speeches or sitting in an uncomfortable chair for hours (the 8 month pregnant woman in me was especially grateful for that part).

I had such a different idea of what my future would hold when I was graduating. I thought I was going to be a Kindergarten teacher. I thought/hoped I’d get married super fast out of school. I thought my friend group and I wouldn’t change at all, and even though we were all going our separate ways, we’d stay as close as we’d always been. I thought I was at the peak of my life and that those were the best days of my life. I thought I knew how to be an adult. I learned pretty fast, however, that my life would actually be pretty different than I assumed it’d turn out – and I’m grateful for that. I love my life now. I wonder what I would have thought back then if I could have got a glimpse into my actual future. I’d probably be shocked to see how different it was – how different I was – than what I planned for. I think I’d be proud and excited of my future.

Now I have to laugh, because the only picture I could find quickly of my graduation that didn’t have friends/boys/family in it, was this one. I had it in an album and captioned this picture with, “looking into my future,” haha! But it seems pretty fitting for this post.

To wrap this up, I just want to tell my sister again how proud I am of her. I can’t wait to see what she does with her life, because I have no doubt it’ll be incredible. Just like her.

My Hospital Bag

So full disclosure, this is not going to be a long, elaborate list of things I bring to the hospital. I’ve found I’m actually quite minimalistic when it comes to packing for the hospital. With Harrison, I brought way too much to the hospital and touched less than half of it. For me, the hospital is a time to be laid-back and enjoy those first moments with this new, tiny baby. I didn’t need all the different things I was so sure I would. I followed lots of blogs and lots of friends advice, but found that overall, I didn’t need much at all, and neither did my baby. Plus, the hospital has everything you need. Seriously, they know what they’re doing and they’ve got you covered. However, if bringing nearly your entire home is something that works great for you and helps your hospital stay be more pleasant – then more power to you! You do you! This is just my personal opinion.

WHAT I’M PACKING IN MY HOSPITAL BAG THE THIRD TIME AROUND

FOR MAMA

  • Small, simple toiletry bag with whatever the essentials are for you. For me, my toiletry bag will have contacts, glasses, chapstick, my simplest skincare for morning and night, lotion, dry shampoo, hair brush, a cute hair tie, deodorant, toothbrush and paste, mascara, a brow pencil, concealer and makeup remover.
    • My tip for the toiletry bag: Likely, you won’t want to pack all of this stuff ahead of time because you’ll still be using it daily. So I stick a piece of paper in the top of my bag with a list of all the things I’ll need to grab last minute before we drive to the hospital. My list this time around for my last minute items include: toothbrush and paste, hair brush, deodorant, glasses, moisturizer, my simple make up items, phone and charger.
  • Robe. This isn’t necessary at all. The hospital gown is totally great, functional and there’s no pressure to ever take it off if you don’t want to. I just like having the option of a robe. I only wore my gown when I had Harrison and with Emmett I switched between a robe and the gown. This time around I have a robe that matches a swaddle and bow for Baby Sister. I can’t wait.
  • Phone/charger. Does this need explanation?
  • Socks. I have a lucky pair of socks that I only wear when I have a baby. But even if I didn’t have a lucky pair, I’d bring some just in case – you’d hate cold feet to inconvenience you during such a special time.
  • Clothes to wear home. This can be the same thing you wore in, too, keep in mind. With Harrison, I wore exactly what I wore to the hospital home from the hospital. With Emmett though, my water had broken, so the clothing I wore to the hospital was…not wearable (AKA gross), so I was happy I had a going home outfit for myself in my bag. For me, this outfit is something loose fitting and very comfortable. Don’t worry about being cute. Just worry about being as comfortable as possible.
    • Nursing bra. I forgot one when I had Harrison! I didn’t ever wear a bra during my whole hospital stay, but I wished I had one for the drive home (that wasn’t my regular bra that I wore in).
    • Shoes. Just wear something simple and easy to put on. Bonus points if you don’t have to lean over to put them on.
    • Underwear. But this is just a maybe. I’ve never taken my own underwear to the hospital. They provide you plenty of mesh underwear to wear that can be thrown away. You bleed a lot after birth, so its nice to just throw these disposable ones away instead of getting your own messy. However, this time I am bringing one pair of underwear for the drive home. I may not even wear them, I’m just testing them out. Mostly I got sucked into getting them because they’re supposed to be great for after c-sections, so I got them on a whim and decided to pack a pair.

FOR BABY

  • Diaper Bag. My goal is to fit everything both baby and I will need in my new Freshly Picked diaper bag. Its just easier to have everything in once space for me. It feels less messy, cluttered and chaotic, and I don’t want to be worrying about clutter after I’ve had my baby or worrying about what is in what bag.
  • Take home outfit. Bring something sweet and comfy for your new one to wear home. For my boys, they wore the same little navy blue footed, zip-up pair of pajamas. I decided for Baby Sister, she’d wear the exact same thing, except I found her a white one with little red and white hearts all over it. She also has a matching bow.
  • Mittens. Babies scratch the heck out of their little faces the second they’re born. You’ll want the mittens, believe me.
  • Binky. Everyone has their own opinion about when its appropriate to attempt to start your baby on a binky. I, personally, am fine with starting them on it in the hospital.
  • Swaddle. I’m actually bringing a couple swaddles this time for the pictures we’ll take in the hospital, but just one is totally fine.
  • Car Seat. Don’t forget to bring the carseat!! We install ours into our car a few weeks before the due date just so we don’t even have to worry about it when the time comes.

Thats it! I told you I was low maintenance when it came to this. In all honesty though, the hospital knows what its doing and provides all the essentials for you. They take care of you. Also, if you want to bring more things like your own pillow/blanket, a new outfit for you and baby each day, etc, then totally go for it! Like I said earlier, you do you.

 

Quarantine Scrapbook

I wanted a few things to keep me busy or to be used as an outlet during this pandemic/quarantine period of life. I had a few ideas, but ultimately I kept coming back to this:

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A Covid-19 Quarantine Scrapbook

Scrapbooking has always been something I’ve really loved doing, but its tricky for me to make time for it. It involves making a bit of a mess, and currently I don’t really have a scrapbook station where I can leave my things in the middle of a project. You also have to take into consideration when you’re going to scrapbook. Have you ever tried to deal with small embellishments for your scrapbook page and keeping things semi-organized and not bent with toddlers running around and being very curious about what their moms doing? Its hard. But I decided I’d make scrapbooking – this form of time for myself – a priority during this pandemic. I’d make the mess, I’d take the chance of doing it while my kids were awake and wild and I’d delve into the creative outlet I’ve been missing for a while now.

I decided to make my own little kit as I began this project. I wasn’t going to go to the store, so I went through my stash of scrapbook things and threw paper, stamps, embellishments, etc, into a box that I thought would all work nicely together for my project. Next, I chose several pictures and sent them off to Snapfish to have them printed and sent to my house. The trickiest part in starting everything was figuring out what I was going to scrapbook on. I really didn’t want to spend any extra money on this, so I had to get creative. I settled on these plain white 10 page notebooks I got in an 8-pack from the Dollar Spot at Target. I knew how many pictures I’d sent in to get printed and knew the amount of pages in these little flimsy notebooks, so I was glad I had 8 to work with, if needed. I also made the decision though, to add pages to my notebooks. I have a 6×8 paper pad from Heidi Swapp (storyline chapters) that I’ve loved and they fit nicely into the notebooks, so when I wanted to add pages, I’d use paper from this pad and glue them in, in several different ways to add several more pages to this tiny book. I am almost done with my first notebook now and its very thick and chunky looking and it actually makes me love it more. Right now thats a look and feel I’m into, so I’m not mad about it one bit.

Now, as I am starting to visualize my Quarantine Scrapbook Volume 2, I can’t decide if I want to stick to the same stash I created or if I want to try new stuff.. I still have a couple pages to go in my first volume before I have to decide, but whatever I choose, I’m excited to keep this going. I think looking back, this will be a neat time to have documented so well. I know the majority of our pictures and my journaling on the pages aren’t exciting or extravagant, but thats a perfect representation of this time of life anyway. So again, it just makes me like it more!

Are you guys doing anything special to document this phase of life?!

Spring Flowers

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On the Saturday before Mothers Day I did one of my favorite things I do all year, which is plant my flower garden. Its mostly all the way finished and I’m already obsessed with it. For some reason flowers in my yard, along with these totally grandma looking light-up butterflies, bring me immeasurable joy. I’m sure Craig’s already tired of how many times I’ve told him that I love our flowers, or how many times I’ve exclaimed, “look at our flowers!”

Watering my flowers daily has also regained its title of one of my very favorite kinds of me-time. Sometimes I’ll water my flower-babies and listen to an audio book or podcast, sometimes I’ll stand out there quietly and let my thoughts run wild, or sometimes I’ll have the boys (and sometimes dogs) out there with me, and I smile and laugh as I listen to them and watch them do their thing. Its just a great, great thing. I am so happy that its Spring and I finally got to plant my flowers.

Something I noticed about flowers, especially last year, is how resilient they are. I have this specific area, which I fear will be similar this year, that tends to struggle on and off during this season. There is some kind of bug or something that likes to eat leaves and occasionally petals of my flowers. Then randomly I’ll go outside and a couple of my flower plants look 100% dead. I’m a dedicated plant mother, so I know they aren’t struggling because of lack of water, etc. I’m still puzzled about what it is that attacks this certain area, but this has happened a couple years in a row now, and every time I am in awe that after a few days of extra care, they perk back up and look as beautiful as ever.

Last year I made the connection that I’m kind of like these flowers. I know, its kind of a silly analogy, but it really helped me last year, especially because as I noticed all of this, I was struggling internally with some things so I don’t think the thought was a coincidence at all.

Sometimes I’m doing so good. My petals and my leaves are vibrant, healthy and beautiful. Other times I am withered, spotted with holes and looking distraught and droopy. But thankfully, I can choose to put a little extra effort into myself – put a little more self-care into my routine and I can perk back up, just like my funny area of flowers in my front yard. Sometimes that comes through extra water (no, for real, making healthy choices can change you!), sometimes it comes through extra time spent in my scriptures or saying prayers, sometimes it comes from staying off of my phone for long periods of time, sometimes it comes through spending more quality time with my husband and children. There are lots of ways I can perk myself back up, and I just wanted to proclaim how grateful I am that those possibilities are out there and that I’m aware of them and have figured out how to implement them into my life when I get particularly ‘droopy’.

I’m also very grateful for my pretty flowers. Seriously, you guys, I love them so stinkin’ much.

Pregnant During a Pandemic

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I can tell you honestly, that when we found out that I was pregnant back in the end of 2019, I certainly did not foresee being pregnant during a global pandemic. I mean, who would even think that could be a possibility, right? Yet here we are. May 2020 and the world is still in the midst of the Covid-19 craziness…and I am due next month. 

Growing and having a baby during a pandemic was never, ever on my radar. I mean, I worry about out-there things happening all the time, but a global health crisis was never something I had thought up. At first, I didn’t think too much of it. I mean, I was already pregnant – so what good would worrying do? But in typical me-fashion, I started thinking and thinking more about it, reading more articles and listening to more opinions. I still, thankfully, can say that I’m not really too worried about it, but I definitely have more concern than I did a few months ago. Mostly, I just hope and pray and pray and pray and pray that me and my family will be healthy when Baby Sister decides to come. Because I am preeeeety darn sure that I’ll be having a c-section, we have this kind of weird situation where we (ok, mostly me) are stressing out about keeping Craig super healthy, because if he is ill, he can’t be in the operating room with me. That sounds like my worst nightmare ever. I had a c-section with Emmett and didn’t particularly love it, and Craig was right beside me! I can only imagine what my feelings would be about it all if my own husband wasn’t able to be next to me. I get it, but that doesn’t mean I’d like it to happen to me!

So what has helped me?

  • Accepting that this is my reality. Like I said earlier, what will worrying do besides cause me to sleep even less than I already do?  If I had the option, I wouldn’t take a time machine and not get pregnant at the end of last year – I want Baby Sister in June, exactly when she’s coming – so I’m just accepting and embracing that this is my life. This is exactly how its supposed to happen! In the long run, it’ll be cool to say I had a baby during a pandemic, right?
  • My doctors. My doctors have been so helpful. They’ve given me their honest opinions on how to navigate this crazy time, but have done it in a way that is comforting and calming and I cannot express just how grateful I am for that.
  • Talking about it. A lot. Craig, my mom and sisters hear me talk about this all the time and I bet they’re ready for it to be over, but its been super therapeutic for me and helps me process it all.
  • Sooooo many prayers. You guys, I’m already kind of a crazy, all-the-time pray-er, but now I just pray 1,000 times more. Like yeah, it can be exhausting, but its helping so much and I’m not ashamed to pray all. the. time.
  • Not dwell too much on the fact that I’ve recently found out I have to take the Covid-19 test before I have baby, because that test looks so miserable. (Sorry, I just had to add this because UGH).

In the end, yeah, I’m pregnant during a pandemic and thats crazy. Its rough and it is nerve-racking and can be a little bit scary. But its all going to be ok. Amazing women all over the world are having babies left and right during this and they’re rocking it. They’re doing well and they’re reminding me that the most important thing about all of this is your sweet tiny baby. I already know that as soon as I have my little baby girl I’ll forget all about the pandemic happening outside my hospital room door – my whole world will be my kids. Thats what’s most important. Thats the main thing that helps me, guys. Just knowing that I still have my perfect children and I get to be their mom.

If you, too, are pregnant right now and you’re stressed or you have big feelings about it, please reach out to me if you want someone to talk to! I’d be more than happy to listen, because believe me, I have stresses and big feelings about this, too!!

All that Matters

I’ve debated talking about this, but after a few nights of thought, I decided it’d likely be therapeutic. Maybe people will be able to relate to it, too. If you deal with a lot of mom guilt, this may be a bit of a triggering post, but for the most part, its just me loving my kids so darn much that I just don’t know what to do. It sounds silly, but if you’re a parent, I’m sure you know what I mean.

On Mothers Day I went to bed a little while before Craig (I get so tired and lazy at night and my bed calls me and easily convinces me to take an early bedtime) and as I was getting ready for bed, I was thinking about my boys. I was thinking about my sweet, smart Harrison and my spunky, curious Emmett. I was overpowered with the love I felt for them and felt a little frozen in the moment. I thought about how incredible, innocent, pure and loving they are and then I was hit with an ugly pang of mom guilt. Immediately I started thinking about how I’m such a lazy mom who doesn’t do nearly enough for these two wonderful little boys who want to know so many things, experience so many things and do so many things. Why don’t I do more for them? Why do I brush off their wants so many times? Why do I put myself before them sometimes? You know.. all those yucky mom guilt thoughts that can become so consuming and disturbing. I got lost in those thoughts and laid in my bed, sobbing. Then I started thinking about how next month I’d be adding another child to our family. A little girl. Would I be good enough for her? Then I started thinking about how adding another member to the family would rock Harrison and Emmett’s world – especially Emmett’s. Would I be able to help them navigate this new world? Would I be able to be there for all three of my kids? Would I be enough for them?

I was so tangled in these thoughts for so long. Whats funny to me, is whenever I feel this way, deep down I know I don’t believe what I’m wallowing about. I know I’m enough for my kids. I know I’m exactly what my children need. They are my children for a reason. God doesn’t make mistakes – He doesn’t send His precious children to the wrong person. My kids love me and they think I am amazing. They think no one compares to me. They think I am fun and creative and have the best ideas. They love me. They love me so much. Thats what matters the most to me.

After some time of letting myself feel all that gross mom guilt and then a long prayer, I felt better. My heart felt a lot more calm and peaceful. I could think about my children without feeling like I was failing them. Instead I could just think about how magical they were and how blessed I am to be theirs, and them mine. Hallelujah.

I know that won’t be the last time I feel overwhelmed by motherhood. When you love your little people so deeply, you want the very best for them – you want to be the very best for them, so its easy to feel like you’re not living up to the high expectations you’ve set for yourself. But I guess I just wanted to remind you – and me – that our kids don’t need Super Mom. They don’t need a fancy, over-the-top, always on the ball mom. They just need you. They need you – they need you happy and healthy. They need your love the very most. They think you’re amazing and couldn’t imagine anything better than you. You are enough for them, for sure.

Thanks for letting me vent/talk/get it off my chest. This is how I process things and how I feel better.

You’re all amazing!

Ode to Mothers

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I know I’m a few days late, but I couldn’t let Mothers Day slip by without saying anything.

I am so, so grateful to be Harrison, Emmett and Baby Sisters mom. I am eternally grateful for their pure, sweet, genuine love for me. I am grateful for their patience with me and for how highly they think of me. I am grateful for the way they look at me and for the ways they can make me feel so happy and for the ways they can soothe my soul. Its easy to think you aren’t good enough for your precious kids, but these guys do their best in their own unique ways to remind me that I am exactly what they need – and they love me so much. They’ll never understand just how much I love them and just how thankful I am for them. I am blessed beyond blessed and don’t take the gift of being their mother for granted.

I’m so grateful for my own sweet mom who has always been my best friend, closest confidant, go-to ride partner and safe place. She is an angel woman with a heart of gold. She’s somehow found the secret balance of how to be a really good mom and a really good friend all at the same time and I can only hope to have half of the same kind of great relationship with my own kids as they grow up as my mom has with each of her kids.

I am so grateful to my mother-in-law who became an instant friend the day I met her and who has always been a source of joy and help in my life ever since. She is crafty and clever, hilarious, friendly and a great listener. I’m particularly grateful for the fact that she had Craig – the perfect person for me.