The Start of Something New

…it feels so right to be here with you, ohh!

{bonus points for you if you know what thats from}

On Monday I committed myself to something, and I have every intention of staying committed. I started exercising and paying attention to what I’m putting into my body. I am feeling so motivated and empowered and am actually very excited for this journey I’m taking myself on.

I started working out a few weeks ago right around 6 weeks postpartum, but long story short, I just lacked the motivation. I also didn’t feel all the way healed, because while I exercised a lot still hurt and didn’t feel right. So it was a short lived thing. But now I am about 10 weeks postpartum and feelings leaps and bounds better physically and mentally, and I’m ready to do this.

I want to be clear about something though, I’m not doing this to lose weight. I’m not doing it to get my “pre-baby body,” either. I’m doing this to feel good about myself. I’m doing this to do something good for myself. I’m a mom and a wife — so I spent the good majority of my days doing things for others to make them feel good. But I need to do things for myself, too. I need to make sure I’m feeling good, as well. I’m totally a believer that when you’re putting yourself as a priority, you’re a better person all around. I need to do that. However, if I do lose some pounds and tone my body up while on this journey, then awesome – I’ll have worked hard for it, so I’ll be proud of myself. But ultimately, I want to keep my body, my wonderful body, healthy and happy.

I’m excited to start this! I’m excited to feel stronger, feel more confident and get back that body confidence thats so easy to lose when you’ve recently had a baby and all you see is flabby, stretched skin, extra pounds, stretch marks and a tired face. I’m doing this for me – to feel like me, again, and I’m ready!

Do you have a goal? Start today!! Lets reach our goals together! Lets motivate each other! We can do this!!

Yes. Always.

Eight years ago this evening, Craig took me to a park, walked me to a picnic table that was underneath an enormous balloon bouquet and handed me an Adventure Book that he’d written and created. We read it together, reminiscing on all of the adventures we’d gone on in our year of dating. At the end of the book, he’d wrote that he loved our adventures and wanted them to continue on forever.

On the last page, he asked me to marry him. YES YES YES. The best, most easy decision I’ve ever made is agreeing to marry my Craig. I am better, happier and lighter because of him.

Toddler-Sized Faith

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Craig and I have a phrase that we seem to repeat to each other a lot, and that is, “the faith of a toddler.” We say this in times when your kid dives off of a chair and into your arms, absolutely sure that you’ll catch them. Or when they just know mom or dad can for sure fix something. You know, things like that.

Its been over a year now since this happened, but we gained yet another reason to continue saying, “the faith of a toddler,” and its a story I think about all the time because it really moved me. It was, without a doubt, a thing that happened in our family for us to learn from for years and years to follow.

We love to go on family walks. We always have. Sometime last Summer we were out on a walk on our usual route. Both our boys had brought a small toy with them. At one point we let Harrison out of the stroller to run around for a minute when we noticed he was tossing his little toy, a very small Woody figurine, up into the air over and over. We warned him to be careful to not lose it, and for a while he did fine, but then all of the sudden, Woody was nowhere to be found. Craig and I tried to recall where Harrison had stood the last time he’d tossed his toy, but try as we might we just could not find that tiny Woody toy anywhere – and of course, he was standing in the middle of a large, grassy field. Craig, Harrison and I looked for a while, desperately seeking this tiny little toy. 

It started to get darker, but we kept on looking. My sister had texted me around this point and I explained to her what was going on, then next thing I knew, my whole family and one of my sisters friends showed up to the field to help us look. I don’t even know how long we looked, but it was a long, long time. It was completely dark by the time we finally decided to call it quits and cut our losses. We walked back home with a very devastated Harrison. My family had stayed in the field a while longer and said a police officer even stopped by to help (probably because we all looked so crazy out there digging through grass haha!) but they too had no luck.

The next day we decided to look one more time – just give it a shot. At one point, Harrison approached me and told me he was going to say a prayer. It made me pause. I’ve always tried to teach my kids that there is never a bad time to pray. Prayer is always a good idea. I’ve also tried to stress to my kids that whenever you feel a need to pray, you should pray. I’ve taught my kids this – yet, in this moment, I hadn’t thought to pray, but Harrison, my (then) 3 year old, did. I was so proud of him and so proud of the faith he had. He knew that there was no problem too small to take to Heavenly Father. So he said a little prayer asking that he would find his toy, my heart melted and we continued searching. 

My family joined again and we started combing through the grass yet again. Thinking about it now, I have to laugh thinking about how silly we looked. This field was on a main road and cars were passing nearly constantly. I told my family how Harrison had prayed about it and my dad made the comment that we better find the toy or we’d have to have a tough conversation with a three year old about how not all prayers are answered how we want them to be haha! 

It took a while, but guess what? We found it. My mom happened upon it and excitedly raised it into the air and we all celebrated! Harrison was overjoyed and we all felt a great sense of relief. The faith of a toddler is truly incredible and it reminded us all of something very important that day. There really is nothing we can’t take to the Lord and I’m glad Harrison made me recall that. Harrison victoriously took his Woody figurine home, and we then explained to him that after Heavenly Father helps us with something, we should pray to thank Him. He did that, and his little simple prayer of gratitude was incredible. I adore him. 

This all happened quite a while ago, but I still think about it all the time. The faith of a toddler is inspirational, and I’m thankful I’ve got some sweet toddlers to continually remind me of how important it is to keep your faith strong and to remember that Heavenly Father cares about everything in our life – even the tiny little things.

Birth Story

On June 11th, our little Flora was born at 8:30am after a quick and kind of crazy delivery. She is absolute perfection and has changed our family for the better. Life with her in it is pure magic. Yesterday, she turned two months old (how??) and I have finally finished up her quick birth story for you guys. I think about her delivery a lot. It was not what I planned, but it was really incredible.

Now how about a birth story?

On the evening of June 10th I’d started feeling contractions that were different than the Braxton hicks contractions I’d felt the past few weeks. These ones weren’t super painful or anything, but I could tell they were slowly and surely getting more powerful. Harrison had a soccer game and then we went to my parents house for a while and the whole time I could just tell some things were changing, but I decided not to get my hopes up yet at this point and just tried to continue to be patient.

That evening around 9:30pm I felt like there was another shift in my body. More pain. A little more intensity. But nothing serious, yet. I got some stuff done around the house after putting the boys to bed, then decided to go to bed myself around 10:30 to see if I could sleep off the pain. I could until about 1:30am. I woke up somewhere around 1:30 hurting significantly more. I decided to finally download a contraction timing app and laid there in bed, timing my contractions for a while. They were coming anywhere from every 10-30 minutes, their intensity varying all the while. I texted my sisters just to let them know I may be needing them to come over in the middle of the night, then went back to waiting and timing and breathing.

Finally around 4 I had a contraction that made me shoot up. I couldn’t do it laying down anymore. It was a real, painful and powerful contraction. I woke Craig up in the process and I just remember him rubbing my back. He told me a little while later than when he saw me sit up, he knew this was the real deal. As I stood up, my water also broke (but in the moment I wasn’t sure if it was my water or if I’d wet my pants), but when I went to the restroom and noticed blood – a true labor sign for me – I quickly convinced myself that this was it.

Craig and I got ready, I told my sisters to come over and we arrived to the hospital right at 6 in the morning. I was hooked up to the monitors and checked (I was at a 4, with contractions coming every 1-2 minutes apart) and was told I’d be monitored for an hour to see if I progressed, and if I had enough, I’d be admitted.

I don’t think it was coincidence that my nurse (who we loved) randomly decided to check me at 30 minutes. Turns out, I was progressing fast, so with that, she admitted me a half an hour early! She called for my epidural, I got my IV and things started getting real. I was in a lot of pain by this point and I was also as hot as I have ever felt in my entire life.

The next little while was just waiting for things to continue to move. I kept dilating and kept waiting for my epidural. My doctor came in to say hi and check me and asked where my epidural was and the nurses explained they’d called for it couple of times and it still hadn’t shown up. He told them to call for it again. Not too long afterwards he came back in to check again and we knew that it would be time to push soon. Its a good thing I was hurting so bad and just totally in my own head, otherwise I probably would have gone into panic mode. When I had Harrison, my epidural was only sort of working, and I just remember that hurting – so I didn’t want to have to have a painful delivery again. But I was too busy focusing on surviving each contraction and trying not to burst into flames (seriously, I was SO hot) to think too much of my anesthesiologist not coming very fast – although I sure wished he would have hurried.

Around 8:20 the anesthesiologist finally came in and administered my long-awaited epidural. This one hurt pretty bad. I’m not sure if its just because everything hurt so bad at that point or what, but I just remember so much pain. Also, Craig couldn’t fan me anymore while I got my epidural, so I felt so hot I wanted to scream at people. Immediately after laying back down after getting that taken care of, I was checked.

It was time to push. Now. She was right there. But guess what? I was told my epidural would take at least 15 minutes to start working. I asked my nurse and Craig if there was anything we could do to make it work faster (in hind site, I see thats a silly question, but I was desperate) and she very kindly told me that I could wait for the epidural to start working, but that things were moving and baby sister was coming out.

So I started to push. I can honestly say that delivering a baby with no epidural to help me was the most pain I’ve ever felt and a lot more awful than I’d ever imagined, but at the same time, doing it without an epidural made me feel powerful and strong – something I don’t feel about myself too often. It was really neat to literally feel her every move as she came out of my body. Delivering her head and shoulders were…there are no words. Just ouch, ouch, ouch. But thankfully I only had to push a few times – about five minutes – and she was born.

Everyone noticed that she was a “good sized baby,” or a, “big baby,” immediately (I’ve got that with all my kids now). Craig cut the cord and my perfect little girl, my first daughter, was placed on my chest. There is nothing more magical than those moments.

A while later she was weighed, measured, cleaned and cared for. She weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce and was 21 and 3/4ths inches, and 100% perfection.

We only stayed in the hospital one night due to Covid, and were able to go home the next day a few hours after noon. Only a couple of hours before we left, we finally named her Flora. The boys were beyond thrilled to meet their little sister. They greeted her so enthusiastically and sweetly, it melted me.

We are so, so happy to have our baby here safe, healthy and happy!

Newborn Favorites

*Before we start this post, just letting you know that I’m doing a giveaway over on my Instagram page with a couple great baby favorites/items!!

I can’t even believe that baby Flora is about TWO months old, already. When do babies stop being newborns? I’ve read that stops at two months and I’m not ok with that. Can’t she be my newborn for at least a few more months? However, if that phase does truly end at two months (insert crying emoji here), then I guess I need to hurry and tell you about all of my newborn favorites this time around! There have been a lot of things I’ve loved having for my new baby, but I rounded up the ones I’ve noticed I love the very most this time around with our third baby.

MY NEWBORN FAVORITES

LouLou & Company Swaddles

This was my first time buying swaddles from LouLou & Company, and I regret not buying from them before with my other babies. Best. Swaddles. Ever. They’re stretchy, soft and perfect. Flora likes to sleep being wrapped up tight in something, and I’ve found these swaddles are perfect for that. Plus the patterns you can choose from are adorable.

Bibs Binky

I reeeeally wanted Flora to take a binky. Harrison was obsessed with his and Emmett refused one and let’s just say, our experience with a kid who takes a binky was a lot easier then the experience with the kid who doesn’t. I bought a few different brands and let Flora kind of tell us which she liked the most, and this one won, and is coincidentally also the cutest! We have several colors and have been very happy with the soothing they bring our baby.

Mushie Binky Clip

First of all, so cute. There are so many colors to choose from AND the clip is perfect. It’s strong enough to clip onto things, but it’s not so strong that you have to struggle unclipping it. It’s perfect.

Adi’s Babies Bracelets

When I found out Flora was a girl, there was no doubt in my mind that I had to get her several brackets. But where? My cousin recommended Adi’s Babies and I’m beyond thrilled. The quality is awesome, the prices are great and there are so many adorable styles!

Little Poppy Co Bows

Cutest bows you’ll ever find. Serious. I’m a part of their monthly subscription program and I can honestly say that when I get that pink package in the mail every month I am giddy. I’ve never received a bow I didn’t totally love. I’m obsessed with bows, but these are hands down my favorite. There is such a variety and the different styles are all great. I could not recommend this company enough.

Old Navy Jammies

There is something about this style of pajamas that I’m super loving right now. Flora wears these really often. I feel like I sound like a broken record saying this so many times, but really – the selection is awesome and the quality is nice.

Aquaphor Bum Cream

Hey, it’s just stuff you’ve gotta have. I decided to try this one on a whim and I really like it! My kids tend to have very sensitive skin, and this hasn’t irritated any bums in all my time using it.

Mittens

Baby nails are as sharp as knives and they’re real good at scratching up their perfect little faces. When Flora gets mad, her little hands just attack her face and that left her with a lot of sad scratches on her face – some that even bled! So put these mittens on and the problem is solved. Flora is pretty much past wearing these now, but for when they’re being used, they’re incredibly handy.

Milk Snob Nursing Cover

These things are awesome and they have a Disney line! Win, win. I like this particular brand because the fabric is breathable. I enjoy the nursing covers that go around your whole body, so if you need to lift your shirt up, you aren’t exposing your back, you know what I’m saying?

Burts Bees Burp Cloths

I bought these on a whim about a month before Flora was born just because the other burp cloths we had were all a little more ‘boy’ looking than I wanted. Mainly I love these because they are the perfect size! The cute patterns don’t hurt either.

Solly Wrap

I feel like everyone loves these, so just go ahead and add me to the long list of lovers. I don’t know what it is, there’s something just awesome about these particular wraps. They’re sturdy and strong but still lightweight. They’re genius. I love mine.

Kate Quinn Clothes

If you’re looking for the cutest clothing ever with the softest fabric ever, look no further. I truly could not be more pleased with this company. The styles of clothing they offer is amazing and I can’t get over the fabric. It’s so soft and cozy. I have several pieces from them for Flora and the designs on them are incredible. They’re unique and different than anything else you can find anywhere. Just the best of the best.

What are some of your newborn favorites and must haves?

Be the Good

First of all, how great is this t-shirt from Poppy & Dot? I’m in love with the phrase on it. I know my influence on the world, and sometimes even my own little corner of it, is very small – but regardless, I do try really, really hard to be a force for good. To be the good. To be kind. To spread happiness. To be a friend. The world is really chaotic and messy right now, but its comforting for me to remember that there are still good people and good things. I’d just like to remind you — and me — that all you have to do is look for the good and you can still find it. Also, you can be it. Don’t let the darkness of the world dim your unique light. Be the good!!

July 2020

GOOD

  • I feel pretty excited to say that we are in a pretty good rhythm, just a month after having Flora! I could go into lots of detail about this, but I’ll just leave it at that. It feels really good!
  • Harrison and Emmett are dreamboat big brothers. They ADORE their sister. They are so patient and kind with her and they dote on her 24/7. When she screams and cries, they don’t even mind. They give her, her binky all the time. They talk to her in these precious baby voices and they are never far from her. They can’t get enough of her. What makes it even sweeter is that Flora loves them just as much. She is entranced by them and loves to stare at them and she gives them the best smiles.
  • Speaking of that – Flora’s smiles. They deserve their own bullet point because those things are magical.
  • Hamilton is on Disney+ and Craig and I are beyond delighted. Just thrilled. We have been listening to the music non-stop and its the very best.

NOT-SO-GOOD

  • I’m pretty sure Flora has colic. Anywhere between 5 and 10 in the evening she is so unhappy. Nothing can calm her down. She’ll nurse for a while and be ok with it, but then just nothing works. Its so sad. I feel so helpless. From what I’ve read, it doesn’t typically last past 12 weeks old (is this true?) but I just wish that she could feel better even faster. I want my baby happy!! It wears Craig and I out on a nightly basis.
  • The boys hate bedtime. Especially Emmett. We’ve officially entered the phase of them getting out of bed and saying the most random, hilarious things. Heaven help me.
  • The AC in my van broke at the end of the month. My car was so stinkin’ hot, driving in it was torture. We got it fixed this week and it reminded me of how grateful I am for cold air. The price wasn’t necessarily my favorite, but it was absolutely necessary. Getting my kids out of the car and seeing them red in the face and covered in sweat was so sad.

HOME

Ok, real talk. I got behind on home stuff in July. Thats definitely due to having a new baby, but truly we were so bad at Come Follow Me this month and the cleanliness got out of control many times. BUT I have promised myself I’d try really hard to be patient and kind with myself – especially now in this season of life I’m in. We’ll try harder in August and see wha happens!

June 2020

I’m going to go ahead and bet that June will be the best month of all of 2020 for our family. I mean, how do you top the birth of a new, precious baby!? Especially when she’s as perfect, sweet and squishy as Flora! I think between starting the month being very pregnant, tired and just done with pregnancy and then spending the rest of June with a newborn, it’s all felt a little but like a blur. A sleepy, wonderful, magical blur.

GOOD

  • Flora, obviously. You guys, she is perfect. She is beautiful and makes the most adorable squeaky sounds constantly. She loves staring at her brothers and listening to people talk. She is a generally easy baby who sleeps pretty decently and nurses like a champion. She fits into our family seamlessly and honestly I am just so grateful I get to be her mom and that she’s a happy, healthy little girl.
  • I have 3 kids. THREE! That sunk in about a week after having Flora and I’m beaming! All I’ve ever wanted to do is have kids, so being able to grow my family and have another baby be born is just making me feel all the happy feels.
  • Craig had a birthday and Fathers Day! That guy deserves to be celebrated far more than just those two days, but I’m glad that we had those days to celebrate him – even if they were very low key and probably a little boring because we are living the newborn life.
  • I’m still being careful and cautious with social distancing and such, but before Flora was born and a few times afterwards we have been able to spend some time with family and that just feels really good. Especially because coronavirus cases keep on rising so I feel like I may need fo make the decision to be extra careful with my family again.
  • I keep thinking about my doctors and nurses. I’m so thankful for those people and what they do so selflessly for people. For what they did for me. There was one point, ahem, the first time I used the restroom after delivering my baby, that the nurse was helping clean me up, etc, and I just couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for her and what she was doing. Those are good, good people.
  • Harrison started soccer this month and oh my heck, it’s the cutest. He is the happiest little athlete I’ve ever seen. The smile never leaves his face while he plays and he is just so dang happy to be on the field. I love his enthusiasm.

NOT-SO-GOOD

  • For about a week and a half after Flora was born, Harrison and Emmett had a rough time. Not with her, not at all (they super aggressively adore her), but with… everything else? It was really hard. They were easily upset, extra emotional and pretty much never listened and would do a lot of things that otherwise, they knew were naughty. I expected some kind of reaction from them – I mean, they’re 4 and 2 and getting a new little sister is a major life change! It just was harder to navigate than I assumed it would be. But we made it through and I’m proud of us!
  • I didn’t get my epidural in time to deliver my baby. So I had an unmedicated birth. I’ll just leave that there.
  • Having a baby during a pandemic and navigating the extra precautions for germs, social distancing, etc. is rough. Its been a little complicated figuring out how to let family meet the baby without feeling like I’m exposing her to things. Theres a lot of feeling pulled to different sides, but Craig and I are doing our very best to listen to our guts and ultimately do what we believe is best, no matter what people say. That isn’t always easy, but we’re getting better at it. I think.

HOME

Newborns bring the most precious spirit into your home. I swear there are extra angels, extra love and extra spirit in your home when a tiny one is there, and I’m trying to be mindful of soaking it all in because I know this time passes fast. As sleepy as we feel and as tricky as it can be to get used to new schedules and a new life, its just magical. We slacked a little with doing Come Follow Me this month, and I kind of feel like thats justified because – you know – newborn. But we still managed to learn new Book of Mormon stories and did our best not to miss family prayer and opportunities to talk about the gospel.

Baby Sister!

Flora

June 11, 2020

Details and birth story coming soon. For now, just know that we are all doing so, so well. Our hearts are full as full can be. We have already been so blessed by having this sweet little girl in our family! I can’t wait to share more of her with you later. In the meantime, I’ll be soaking up all the newborn snuggles, smells and sounds because this is my heaven on earth!

My ECV Experience

On June 4th, Craig and I went into the hospital to get Baby Sister moved from a breech (head up) position to a head down position. This was so I could have a much better chance at vaginal delivery and a VBAC. It was also because we didn’t want to possibly risk another experience like Emmett’s birth, which was a bit scary (thankfully only for a moment). We had a few different options of how to go about this all, but ultimately, Craig and I felt best and most peaceful about attempting to move her, and now that all is said and done, and she’s still head down, I feel that it was all very worth it and I’m glad we had the procedure done.

My experience with an External Cephalic Version, or ECV, was painful, but good. Here is the quick recap of how that day went.

Early in the morning we went to the hospital and got all registered and situated in a labor and delivery room. I got into a gown and was hooked up to the heart monitor to track Sisters heart, and a contraction monitor, just in case. I was hooked to an IV and then my doctor came in to explain to us what was going to happen. He told us about things that could go wrong and how they would handle those situations. An anesthesiologist came in, also just in case I needed to be whisked away to have an emergency c-section. The anticipation of the procedure about to happen was slightly nerve wracking, but I knew, I truly knew, I was in good, prepared hands.

I was given some muscle relaxer drug that kicked in really fast and made me feel so loopy and a lot more relaxed. It definitely wasn’t anything that muted any pain, but it did help my stomach stay soft and easy to work with. I was also given a shot in the back of my arm (not sure what that was?) and then a few nurses came in, the anesthesiologist stood nearby, Craig stood near by head and my doctor positioned himself beside me and began the ECV.

Overall, the whole procedure took less than ten minutes. It went smoothly and thankfully the baby cooperated with everything going on for the most part. My doctor definitely knew what he was doing and I was grateful to see how often he checked the ultrasound to make sure she was doing ok in there with all this chaos. Right towards the end when she was nearly all the way head down, her head was being a little stubborn and getting into place, and then all the sudden it was like a puzzle piece fitting perfectly where it should, I felt her head pop into the exact spot it was meant to be. I don’t know how to explain it except that all the sudden she just fit really well where she was at. The procedure was not comfortable at all. It hurt really bad. I kept my eyes closed the entire time and just tried to focus on breathing. I got so hot and felt so sweaty. I could feel my feet flexing hard (nurses later commented on that, too) and my hands were squeezing my gown as hard as I could. It was tolerable pain, but it was not fun at all. I was terribly sore the next couple of days and am still sore in one specific spot. It was rough, but thankfully, not long.

When it was all finished, I was monitored for the next hour, as well as sisters heartbeat. We both checked out just fine and were able to be discharged!

I was told to take it easy the next couple of days and be mindful of good fetal movement (which thankfully there was so much of). Now that it is all said and done, I am grateful for the experience. I’d say it was totally worth it and I’d recommend it to someone who was faced with that possibility with a breech baby.