A Day in the Life {9.9.22}

Every so often, I like to do a “day in the life” post to just document a random day. These posts are so fun for me to look back on later and see a peek at our life at a particular stage – things change so much with kids and yet, while we’re living it, it feels a little like groundhog day (just wait until you see how many pump parts I have to wash today ha!) Days slowly shift, routines slowly change, and before we know it, we’re in an entirely new phase. I love just taking the time to document a full day so I can remember the ordinary things that seem unremarkable at the time, but feel so sweet and special looking back on. I decided to document last Friday, the last weekday before preschool started and therefore the last day of what felt like my “maternity leave” at home all day with the kids.

September 9, 2022

Ollie is currently sleeping in a bassinet next to my side of the bed, and I love waking up and peeking over at him! The morning light filtering in through the windows and his sweet little face peeking out of a cozy sleep sack (my little baby burrito!) – it’s moments like these, and the feeling of contentment that comes with them, that I want to remember forever.

Right now, our bedroom is rearranged so we can fit both the bassinet and a recliner and small table for late-night feeding and pumping. It’s not glamorous, but it works well for us in this season.

Sometimes I try to wake up before the older two kids, but often there are mornings (like this one) where I’m exhausted from being up in the middle of the night and they come and wake me up. They crawl into bed and we snuggle a little and I try to keep them quiet to not wake Ollie and it’s one of those beautiful chaos kind of things that I know I’ll look back on nostalgically very soon.

On this morning, Ollie miraculously stayed sleeping after the kids came into my room so I got up to let the dogs out and get breakfast around. I’ve been transitioning us away from cereal every day (it’s just not filling enough and my kids always want a snack soon after) by giving the kids choices of simple, hearty options. Today Vi picked a frozen waffle and breakfast sausage and LJ picked a hard boiled egg.

After breakfast, the kids worked on a puzzle together on the floor while I picked up and re-folded the laundry I had folded on the couch the night before. . .and the kids had messed up the piles when they woke up before me and came downstairs.

Ollie was still sleeping so I headed into the office to work on a blog post (today I was writing a list of my postpartum favorite things).

I had a little visitor playing with her Lego castle at my feet!

After a bit of work, I heard Ollie start to stir, so I quickly went upstairs to wash my face and put in my contacts. Vi loves to come with me and “get ready” too. She’s in a stage of wanting to do anything and everything that mommy does, and this includes skincare haha. I’ll give her a tiny dot of whatever I’m applying and she puts it on too. Notice all the jewelry – that’s all her!

I got Ollie up and out of his sleep sack, changed his diaper, and headed downstairs to snuggle up and breastfeed. I finished up my blog post while feeding (and using my haaka) so this is quite the multitasking moment haha!

I’m not ready to go into all the details, but right now Ollie is not transferring enough milk by himself to get full. I am currently pumping after every feed and feeding him that milk via bottle. This is a very typical view of feeding – one or both kids usually wants to be right next to us. (LJ is obsessed with that farming simulator game right now!)

Once Ollie was finished, I headed into the kitchen to do the dishes. Right now, I’m having to do dishes frequently due to all the pump parts constantly needing washed.

The older two came in for a mid-morning snack of yogurt and granola . . .

. . . while I hard boiled another batch of eggs for our breakfasts. With our shift to heartier breakfasts, I find that it’s really helpful to batch prep something to always have on hand. Sometimes it’s a baked oatmeal or a big batch of pancakes; today it’s a batch of hard boiled eggs! I also reach for these if I need a mid-morning snack full of protein.

Vi asked if she could let her Ariel doll “swim” and even though I knew I’d probably regret it, I set up a small bowl on a towel for her to play with her toys. LJ wanted to join the fun and brought their little stool for a diving board ha! It always does my mama heart good to hear them play happily together, even if it does result in a bit of a mess.

I left them to it and headed upstairs with Ollie to put away laundry and tidy up a bit.

He wasn’t content in his bassinet anymore so I wrapped him up on me. I love my Solly Wrap – makes household tasks with a newborn so much easier!

We headed back downstairs and spoiler alert: the water DID make a mess but you know what, it entertained my kids for a while and truly wasn’t hard to clean up quickly so it was worth it.

I threw together some simple lunches for the kids – chicken nuggets in the air fryer, tomatoes, cucumbers, and an “Oreo” (it’s really a plant-based version of the cookie with some cleaner ingredients that tastes surprisingly good!) LJ couldn’t wait to eat it 😉

For my lunch, I had some leftovers. We feel so lucky to be surrounded by a caring community here – a friend set up a meal train for us and we’ve been receiving three meals a week from friends. It has been SUCH a gift as we adjust to life with another baby and we are so grateful! Today I finished up a chicken pot pie that a friend dropped off a few days before.

After lunch it was time to feed Ollie again. This time, Vi wanted to snuggle up against my arm and “hold” him.

Another feed, another pumping session. I’ve been working hard to keep my supply up and I’m proud that it’s adjusting to get what we need.

Had another visitor during the bottle portion of this feed!

Once Ollie was finished, I gathered all our stuff and loaded the kids into the car to head to a playdate at a friend’s house. It was so good to get out of the house and have some mom conversation with a friend while our kids played – bonus points for it being gorgeous weather and getting to spend time outside! As you can see, Vi made herself right at home in their dress-up collection.

After about two hours we loaded back up to head home. Once we got there, Ollie was ready to feed again. This time, I settled in with a book while he fed.

And of course, we did have a visitor. This time, Elsa came to join 😉

Justin got home and took LJ outside to enjoy the lingering warmth of the day and play some golf in the yard.

Meanwhile, Vi, I mean Elsa, wanted to hang out inside and play in the playroom,

while I did another round of dishes.

Another friend dropped off dinner for us (cannot overstate how grateful we are for this!) It was a yummy salad, chicken tater tot casserole, and sliced pineapple – filling and delicious!

My cousin, who lives nearby, just had her first baby in June and she and her family stopped by for a bit in the evening to meet Ollie. It was so fun to see these two little second cousins meet and I can’t wait to see them grow up together! We chatted about life and ended up feeding our babies at the same time; I enjoyed swapping stories and suggestions for things we’re each going through with our little ones.

The kids played a bit more and then Justin rounded them up for bedtime. Our bedtime routine involves brushing teeth and the kids picking out two books each to read in their beds. We’re currently trading off on bedtime duties and it was Justin’s turn, but Vi likes for me to read one book so tonight I did. Justin started with LJ and then took over both kids while I slipped out. (I decided I prefer not to share pictures of my kids in their beds).

I headed downstairs to snuggle Ollie and wait for Justin to come join. We had to wait for him because . . .

. . . we’re currently binging “Only Murders in the Building” together. It’s so entertaining!

Justin got some time with Ollie awake and alert, then I fed him one more time and we all headed to bed.

What a full day!

To see previous Day in the Life posts, you can check out the links below:

November 16, 2018

July 9, 2019

January 14, 2020

March 26, 2020

February 13, 2021

September 13, 2021 (almost exactly a year ago – my how things have changed!)

June 2, 2022

My Postpartum Mama Favorites

It’s hard to believe, but tomorrow Ollie will be one month old! This time of postpartum has been sweet, challenging, beautiful, overwhelming at times, and delightful at others. I’ve been trying my best to focus on savoring this stage because as a third-time mama, I know it goes so very fast.

There are a few things that I’ve been reaching for again and again over the past four weeks and today I thought I’d share them in case they might be helpful for anyone else preparing to have a baby. It’s like a Friday Features: Postpartum Mama Edition! While these are my top favorites, this was by no means an exhaustive list of the things I’ve needed and used postpartum. I plan on devoting a future post to all the things I’m using and loving for baby, or maybe an “if I was registering again” post that includes the essential items I’ve used in my pregnancies and postpartum journeys. For today though, here are my current top items I’m using all the time!

Nipple Butter

Currently, I am both breastfeeding and pumping and this stuff is a lifesaver! It’s organic and you don’t have to wash it off before nursing or pumping, so I feel good about using it for myself and my baby. Right now Ollie is feeding every 2-3 hours and I cannot imagine that much action without a protective balm helping to restore and moisturize. I have not had chapping or cracking at all and it has definitely helped keep the pain level of initial nursing down. I do highly recommend nursing pads too, which help soak up any extra cream and also soak up breastmilk leaks. I love these washable ones!

Sculpt and Recovery Postpartum Leggings

These leggings are a splurge, but have been SO worth it for me. These give me a great amount of compression and helped me feel secure after my c-section. I started wearing them in the hospital and continue to wear them nearly everyday. It didn’t agitate my c-section incision and in fact, I feel like it actually provided a protective layer for my incision to heal without rubbing against moving fabric. I feel like the compression and support these give to my core have really aided in my quick recovery. They are not only super comfortable but are high-quality and made to last. I only have one pair but I used it postpartum for both Vi and now Ollie and they have held up amazingly well.

Postpartum Support Bloomers

These bloomers are also pretty splurge-y, but again, I used them postpartum for both Vi and Ollie and they have held up great. These provide core and pelvic floor support, both of which are so needed postpartum. I sometimes wear these with the recovery leggings, but usually I choose one or the other. The bloomers are comfortable and, like the leggings, don’t bother my incision area at all. I don’t have any other support garments or belly bands or anything – the leggings and bloomers are all I need!

Compression Socks

During this pregnancy, my feet and hands started to swell and tingle. I expected it to stop once I had the baby, but it’s still affecting my feet a little bit. I have found that compression socks are really helpful in keeping the swelling down and reducing the tingling sensation. I don’t wear these with my compression leggings, but I will wear them around the house with shorts or to sleep in for a couple hours.

C-Section Cream

Technically, this is a future favorite since I haven’t been able to use it yet this time postpartum, but I know I will use it multiple times a day! If you have a c-section, scar massage is so important! I have done scar massage each postpartum period and it was a big reason why my scar healed so well. I don’t care if this is vain, but I want my scar to look good. It’s important to me that it heals nice and flat and as smooth as possible. Expecting and Empowered is an amazing resource for pregnancy and postpartum and I highly recommend checking them out. This info they put together for c-section scar care has been incredibly helpful for me! I used this scar massage cream when postpartum with both LJ and Vi and will be using it again this time as well.

Rechargeable Book Light

This is a super random addition to the list, but it has really made my postpartum experience better at night! I am obviously up often during the night and right now, Ollie is sleeping in a bassinet in our room. I don’t want to turn on a light and bother Justin, but I also don’t just want to scroll my phone at 3 am (that backlight wakes me up too much!) This booklight is the perfect solution – it allows me to read while nursing but it really only illuminates my page and doesn’t cause too much light to wake up Ollie or Justin. I love it!

Like I said earlier, this list wasn’t exhaustive of everything I’ve used postpartum, but these are the top things that have made my recovery and newborn mama life better. I highly endorse each item! Now I’m off to go snuggle my newborn – the time with an itty bitty baby around here is going fast and I’m going to enjoy it while I can!

Baby #3: Third Trimester Update

All photos in this blog post are credited to Natalie Joy Photography.

This past Tuesday I hit the 37 weeks pregnant mark which means baby boy is officially full-term!

While I have a repeat c-section planned, he could decide to surprise us early at literally any moment now so I’m soaking up each day as the potential last day of pregnancy. Knowing this is most likely our final biological baby has made this pregnancy a bit bittersweet – each milestone is a huge blessing and is also a goodbye to another stage of this journey. While I am so so SO excited to snuggle this sweet little babe, I’m also enjoying the final days of feeling his kicks, rubbing my belly, and feeling all the pregnancy feels.

Symptoms/How I’ve Been Feeling

Up until this past week, I had honestly been feeling really great! I’m still overall feeling pretty good but hitting 37 weeks has really started to shift things though. I’m feeling some increased nausea, some changes in my GI system, and more stretching/pain in my pelvis as things shift around. I’m also feeling more uncomfortable (things are pretty squished in there now!) and quite a bit of lightning crotch. Baby has officially dropped too! I felt him really turn around maybe 3-4 days ago and now it’s like my belly is reversed – where I used to always feel his butt is now where his limbs are and vice-versa. My belly is markedly lower than it was before so honestly, at this point, we would not be surprised at all if he surprises us early.

I’ll also say – my fatigue has also increased and I’m wishing I could nap more during the day. My quality of night-time sleep has dropped significantly but every once in a while I still get a decent night’s rest. Hoping for a few more of those nights before his arrival!

My Preparations

I’ve joked that I don’t know if I hit nesting mode so much as panic mode, but I’ve been very busy with preparations over the past week or so. It dawned on me in the grocery store about a week ago that I hadn’t bought any supplies for baby – no diaper cream, no diapers, no nipple cream, nothing! I’m blaming my lax approach to third-time motherhood but even so, I needed at least a few things! Thankfully, my family had already planned to surprise Justin and I with a little sprinkle on Saturday and they brought us lots of diapers and wipes (so sweet!) I also had a friend offer to bring dinner for us a few days ago and she brought some diapers and wipes too. I’m so grateful for the love and support from family and friends!

I’ve also spent time getting things around this week. I bought and set up a new video monitor as well as all-purpose ointment, diaper cream, baby shampoo, and nipple cream. I’ve packed the hospital bag for myself and baby. I’ve dug out and washed the parts to our infant car seat and baby bassinet. The boppy pillow is freshly cleaned, I’m caught up on laundry, and things are finally feeling ready for baby.

LJ and Vi’s Awareness

The kids are so aware of the baby’s impending arrival and are beside themselves with excitement. They constantly talk about the baby, rub my belly and give it hugs and kisses, and talk to the baby. When we’re out and about, whether we’re meeting a new person or literally next to a stranger, they’ll share that their mom is having a baby. LJ regularly asks how many days until baby comes. The other day Vi started talking to my belly and I asked her some questions about the baby and she said “Shh, I’m talking to him!” I guess she didn’t want mom to interrupt their conversation – ha!

The kids both say they’re excited to hold the baby and change his diapers and I think they are going to be the best big brother and sister. I just know my heart will feel so full and happy seeing my three kids all together at last!

What I’m Looking Forward To

Other than seeing LJ and Vi meet their new baby brother, I’m most excited to just see what he looks like. Will he look like LJ and Vi or will he have a totally different look? They take after me more, so maybe he’ll look more like Justin? I can’t wait for baby snuggles and tiny coos and that sweet newborn smell. I can’t wait to just meet him and start to get to know him – I already know he’s a very active little boy by the way he’s constantly moving in my belly but I’m so excited to get to know more.

I’m also looking forward to the simple moments like gently rocking on the porch swing and snuggling on the couch and going for stroller walks. I’m just excited and ready for the next stage of parenthood! Whenever you’re ready baby boy, we are ready for you. ❤

Final To-Dos before Baby Arrives

Yesterday Justin and I were sitting outside on our deck and I remarked on the fact that it’s finally sunk in that we’re about to have a teeny tiny baby in our family. It might sound strange, considering the fact that I’m 36 weeks pregnant and have known about this baby since December, but it has always seemed like a “future” thing. And now, it’s sinking in that it’s not very far in the future at all and in fact will be coming in just a few short weeks – we will soon be a family of five!

We got our maternity pictures back and to say I’m in love is an understatement. Knowing that we plan for this to be our final pregnancy has made every milestone that much sweeter this time around and I loved having the opportunity to document this special time. While I want to continue to soak up every little baby kick and belly rub in the remaining weeks, there are also a few things I’d really like to accomplish before baby arrives:

1 – Finish the nursery! It’s come a long way since it was Vi’s bedroom and I’m really happy with the progress, but I still have a couple things to check off the list. We just installed bookshelves last night (more to come on that soon!) but I still want to put up some artwork on the wall above the crib, add some plants to the room, touch up the paint on the little side table, and re-install the doors that I just painted yesterday. I think I’ll be able to finish all that this weekend so we’re super close!

2 – Finish the Outdoor Space Refresh. A goal of mine this summer was to refresh the outdoor space. While I didn’t get as much accomplished as I had hoped, we did add seven tons of sand to the beach area, complete a DIY umbrella stand (a game changer on our deck!) and added a few updates like a new patio umbrella and outdoor rug and a few Adirondack chairs around our firepit. We have two more chairs to assemble and I’m hoping to snag a couple side tables to fit in between because our firepit has been a huge hit this summer and will continue to be well into the fall. I also think it’s not too late for us to try to get our string lights hung – our travels are done for the summer and the next few months are going to primarily be spent at home, with a lot of time outside, so they’ll still get use.

3 – Finish the Kid’s Shared Bedroom. This is a project that has gone on way longer than expected thanks to a wallpaper fiasco. I had finally decided on a wallpaper and was really excited about it . . . then it came in the wrong scale and was unusable. The correct scale was smaller than I wanted, which was disappointing, and my enthusiasm for the project kind of drained. I haven’t been too motivated to finish up this last wall, but I’d really like to try to do that before the baby arrives – whether that means find another wallpaper or go with a painted accent wall. I also still want to replace the baseboards and paint the doors, so a few things to accomplish!

4 – Actually prepare to have a tiny human live here. I realized yesterday in the grocery store that I have not bought anything for baby yet – no diaper cream, no baby wash, not even a single newborn diaper. Whoops! I stocked up on some all-purpose ointment, diaper cream, and baby wash but I still need to get diapers and wipes. I also need to pull out and clean things like the infant car seat, breastfeeding pillow, and my breast pump + parts as well as dig out things like breastmilk storage bags and the bassinet. You know, just the things that I need to actually have a tiny human live here in this house, haha!

The list feels long, but luckily everything on it is pretty manageable. And for the most part (other than the things on #4), nothing really has to get done before baby arrives. Whatever gets accomplished will be good enough, but it’s nice to have this list as a guide to help me focus over the next three weeks to prepare!

Celebrating Nine Years of Marriage

Today is Justin and my 9th anniversary – nine years ago from this very moment we went out to eat breakfast together just us two before all the craziness of the wedding day set in. It’s one of my favorite memories from that day – just a simple breakfast full of anticipation and excitement with the man I loved with all my heart. He’s still my favorite person and I’d marry him over and over again!

Today we’re out of town, so I thought for today’s blog post in honor of our anniversary, I’d just share nine fun little facts about us.

1- We met playing cards and still love games to this day!

Justin and I had some mutual friends and had known about each other and been at events together previously, but we first really got to know one another when some mutual friends needed an extra player for a card game and invited me over. We had a blast and quickly became good friends – and to this day we love game nights!

2 – We’re not big concert-goers, but we have seen Eric Church three times

We have a mutual love of Eric Church and have been to three concerts of his over the years – once when we were still just friends, once when we were engaged, and once after we were married. I’m sure they won’t be the only three times either – he’s our favorite performer! And for the concert above, Justin even rocked a mullet ha!

3 – We’ve lived in three different states together.

We didn’t actually live together in Virginia, but that’s where we met and both lived in our first year of dating. After we got married, we lived in West Virginia for Justin to go to school and after he graduated, we moved to Indiana for his job. We’ve loved each place we’ve lived and they’ll all have a special piece of our heart.

4 – We’ve been DIYing, separately and together, for years!

When we first got married, Justin was in school and I was teaching and our budget was slim. Our DIY journey started more out of necessity for inexpensive furniture and things for our house and quickly became a passion for both of us! Justin still loves woodworking and his skills have increased over the years (he most recently built a beautiful table for my parents!) and I enjoy finding ways to get the look I want for a low cost as we slowly renovate our house. We’ve enjoyed getting to flex these creative muscles over the past nine years and it’s always fun to have DIY Date Night too!

5 – We love finding hobbies to do together

Over the years, our hobbies have changed, but we love to find things we can do together. When we were just friends and then first dating, we loved to play frisbee golf together and went to our local courses often. When we were engaged and living long distance, we got really into geocaching – it was a great (and free!) way to explore new places and work together to find treasure. Now as we’re married with kids and not able to leave the house as much, we love playing games and doing puzzles after the kids go to bed. We definitely have our own hobbies and interests, but I’m so glad we’re able to find things we both love to do together too.

6 – We have very different auditory needs.

We were actually just talking about this yesterday – Justin and I are very different in the level of noise we can handle. I often feel very overstimulated by noise levels – the kids playing/yelling/asking for things, dogs barking, TV on, etc. When I can choose what to listen to, I often choose…nothing. I love the sound of silence. Even before having children, I would drive two hours in my car in dead silence, just thinking. Meanwhile, Justin loves to listen to music. He’s up early making breakfast? Music is on. He’s out in his shop working on a project? Music is on. Mowing grass? Music is on. Doing work on his computer? Music is on. Meanwhile, I find music to sometimes be distracting when I’m trying to work and often can’t have it on if I need to focus. I do enjoy podcasts, but I don’t always need to have something to listen to. It’s just one of the many ways we have different needs and we try to find a balance that satisfies us both, especially when we’re in the car on a long road trip!

7 – We’ve traveled to four countries together

We’ve been to five countries (Canada, Mexico, Italy, Bahamas, and Jamaica) and at least 19 states together – we love to travel! We’re excited to get to start traveling again once baby #3 gets here.

8 – We do not really enjoy going to the movies

This one is so random, but we have had multiple gift cards to the movie theater just sitting in my wallet for years – we never seem to want to use them! Many of my family members love to do movie nights as date nights but that’s just never been out thing. We prefer doing something together or just staying home and watching old episodes of New Girl again haha.

9 – We got engaged on a hike.

One of our first dates was a huge, 8 hour hike on a gorgeous mountain in Virginia and Justin took me back there to propose. He lugged flowers, candlesticks, a blanket, and a full picnic to the top of that mountain – I just thought he had snacks and water ha! It was such a sweet moment!

I love you Justin – here’s to many more years together!

30 Week Pregnancy Update

With only two months to go, we’re officially in the final stretch of my pregnancy! I am honestly pretty surprised by how quickly this pregnancy has gone by this time around and I’m doing my best to soak up every minute since we do plan for this to be our last one.

This baby has been super active in the womb – I’ve felt kicks since 17/18 weeks and now that he’s bigger I feel him move all the time. It seems like we’re going to have another high energy boy join our crew! We reached the 30 week mark this week and it felt like the right time for an update on all things baby, so let’s dive right in!

Symptoms/How I’ve Been Feeling

I’m so grateful to report that overall, I’ve been feeling good this pregnancy. While I had quite a bit of morning sickness and fatigue in the first trimester, that has not been an issue in the second and (so far) third trimesters.

I went in for my glucose test and lab work recently and am happy to report that I’m 3 for 3 with passing my glucose tests each pregnancy. It also felt good to say goodbye to that syrupy sweet glucose drink! My lab work did come back with a low iron reading so I’ve been adding an iron supplement and iron-rich foods into my diet to try to get that number back up. But other than that, I’m feeling good!

Energy/Workouts

To be honest, I’ve not been great about consistently working out this pregnancy, or at least not in an official way. I’m certainly getting unofficial exercise in with all the lifting, carrying, and playing around with my other two children! I’m also hopping on our stationary bike when I can for some quick cardio and that always leaves me feeling refreshed and strong.

The one big issue that I have had is recurring lower back pain – every so often, I get some sacral pain on my left lower back and it has not been fun to deal with. It often flares up after I push myself – either by working extra hard around the house or playing extra hard with the kids. I have to remind myself I’m pregnant and need to go slow, stretch, and not try to do too much at once.

Food Cravings & Aversions

Something about my boy pregnancies makes me struggle with dairy products. I didn’t have this issue with Vi, but with both LJ and this pregnancy, I have to be careful with my intake of dairy. Small amounts are okay but any more than that and I start to feel sick. I love dairy, so that’s been a struggle for me, but it went back to normal as soon as LJ was born and I’m hoping that’s the case with this baby too.

Every pregnancy I have craved more red meat than normal and this one is no different – give me all the cheeseburgers! Other than that, I haven’t had too many strange cravings other than grape popsicles and Pizza Hut breadsticks, and outside of the first trimester I’ve been able to eat most things without issue.

Sleep

Ah the ever elusive sleep. I’m by no means getting amazing sleep, but it hasn’t been too bad this time around – I’ve got my Snoogle body pillow, I try to avoid screens before bed, and I’ve got an alarm clock instead of my phone to use when I wake up in the night. It’s also super nice that my kids are sleeping in a little longer, or getting up on their own, so I’m able to lounge and rest just a bit more in the mornings.

What I’m Looking Forward To

August 10 – baby’s birthday! Unless he decides to surprise us early, that’s the date of my c-section and knowing that makes things feel extra real. I’m so looking forward to meeting this sweet boy! Since this is the first time we’ve known the sex of the baby in advance, it’s fun to think more specifically about what he’ll be like. I am specifically excited for sitting on our porch swing, rocking gently with a snuggly baby nestled up on me with a cool breeze blowing over us. I can’t wait!

I’m also looking forward to seeing my baby with his cousin, since my sister is due with her first baby literally any day now. It has been so much fun to go through pregnancy with her and I can’t wait to see these little ones grow up together!

LJ and Vi’s Awareness

This has been a huge difference between this pregnancy and Vi’s pregnancy. LJ and Vi are only 21 months apart, so he was still very little when I was pregnant with her. Though we talked about the baby and he knew I had a baby in my belly, I don’t think he really grasped what was going on. This time around, with a 4.5 and 2.5 year old, they are very aware of what’s going on and they love to talk about the baby. They’ll randomly rub my belly and say “hi baby!” or give it hugs and kisses. They tell people there’s a baby brother in mommy’s belly and they like to talk about him and snuggle up with my belly. It’s the sweetest thing!

We are officially 2 months away from meeting the littlest member of our family and it’s safe to say we’re all super excited. Come on August 10!

 

A Day in the Life {6.2.22}

As I type up this blog post, my family and I are enjoying our beach vacation with Justin’s family this week. We’ve been lucky to get to do this every other year for the past several years and it’s a trip we always look forward to and cherish the memories from. That being said, our lives aren’t made up of the mountaintop, super fun vacations and trips and exciting experiences that only happen once in a while. Ordinary days are truly the building blocks of our lives – the simple moments that show how we actually spend the majority of our lives.

Every so often I like to document a day in our life; I always choose a random day with no particular plan in mind. I snap pictures throughout and I don’t put thought into staging them or changing them from anything other than what they really are. I love looking back at these photos – the grainy, blurry, less-than-perfect snapshots of real life candid moments. This is our real life – my real moments with my children and family – and these are the posts I most love to look back on in the future.

So with all that being said, here’s how we spent Thursday, June 2, 2022!

We are currently enjoying fairly smooth mornings where our kids either sleep in a little later (and by later, I mean at least 7 am haha) or, if they get up before that, they go to the bathroom and head downstairs and play quietly or turn on a little show. They no longer come into our room right away (unless they need us for something) and that is a glorious feeling to get just a bit more sleep! I know this stretch won’t last forever and we’ll soon have a newborn throwing us back into a wonky sleep schedule so for now I am savoring these mornings.

This morning, the kids got up before me. When I headed downstairs, I fixed them breakfast – I forgot to take a picture until they were done but I try to give them 3-4 breakfast options and let them decide what sounds good. Today, LJ chose dry granola, Vi chose a bowl of cottage cheese, and they both had strawberries too.

As the kids ate breakfast, I tackled the mountain of dishes in our sink leftover from the night before – I didn’t take a picture until most were already done but trust me, it was a LOT.

When LJ finished breakfast, he came to play with his cars on the open dishwasher door as I loaded things into it.

A couple weeks ago, Vi went to her first eye doctor appointment and we were told to start patching her left eye for 2-3 hours each day. We got her some fun, colorfully-patterned eye patches and every morning she enjoys picking out one for the day. On this particular day, she and LJ dumped them all out to make the selection.

I have a part-time, work-from-home job as an administrative assistant and needed to tackle my emails, so I set the kids up with a show and headed into my office to get my morning tasks done.

It took just under an hour to get through everything, and then I closed down my laptop, got the kids dressed, and we headed to Target to grab a few last-minute things for our upcoming family beach trip the following day.

Two little kids in Target is no small feat (especially since I needed a new swimsuit for my pregnant body so our trip included a fitting room stop) so we treated ourselves to lunch in the Target café afterwards. The kids also got to pick out one special item from the dollar spot to take to the beach – LJ was so excited about the green football he picked to play with his older cousin!

We loaded up the car with our purchases and headed to the playground, where we enjoyed the beautiful weather and burned off a ton of energy.

The kids were both wiped out after the playground, so I quickly packed them up and headed home. It’s so tricky keeping Vi awake in situations like this and not let her fall asleep in the car, because then she won’t nap at home, but this time I made it and she crashed as soon as we got home without even asking for a story or snuggles or anything. Success!

While Vi napped, I wanted to take a few pictures of the kitchen for my “One Year Later” blog post and the small touch-ups I just did throughout. While I did that, LJ read a book in the living room behind me with the dogs nearby.

He also wanted to get in on the pictures – ha! Love this sweet and silly boy!

One unusual thing about today was that I had a scheduled training for work. This does not happen very often, but we are super close to switching websites and needed some training on the new system. I was able to attend some of the meeting while Vi slept and LJ was content in the playroom, but then Vi woke up. I always explain to them when Mommy is in a meeting, but honestly, it’s about a 50/50 chance of whether or not they’ll behave, get along, and not need intervention from me. Unfortunately, today was a day they needed intervention. Arguing, picking on one another, crying – it was a rough go and I’m not going to sugar coat it, it was hard. Working from home has definite pros, but there are cons too. Normally my job is super flexible with timing, but because of the training I wasn’t able to adjust as much. I had to excuse myself a couple times to address the kids, but we got through it.

After my meeting, I closed down my laptop for the day and got a quick dinner started for the kids before their swimming lessons. Justin takes them to swim lessons after work and today was an extra special day because my parents came into town too! All five of them loaded up the van and headed off to swim (nobody worry, I know LJ’s chest strap isn’t high enough – he likes to buckle himself in and I adjusted it properly after the picture!)

While the crew was at swim lessons, I picked up around the house and started a load of laundry. The reason my parents came into town was so they could watch the kids the following day to allow me to focus on packing everything up for our beach trip and getting the house cleaned and ready for our dog/house sitter. It was nice to get a jump on things while they were at swim!

After they came home, the kids got ready for bed and of course, wanted grandma and grandpa to be the ones to read their bedtime stories and tuck them in. I had to snap this sweet pic before pulling down the blinds – my heart just gets all squishy and full seeing these sweet bonds.

Once the kids were in bed, we chatted for a while with my parents and then all played a game. I’ve been checking out different games from the library lately and our latest pick was a game called The Sherlock Files – a murder mystery card game. It was really fun to play with my parents even though we didn’t solve the murder (we missed a key clue that would have changed everything, darn it!)

Sorry to Justin, who left the table before I thought to snap a selfie. Love these two and I’m so thankful for their constant love and desire to spend time with the kids and help out when they can.

That’s a wrap on this random Thursday!

To see previous Day in the Life posts, you can check out the links below:

November 16, 2018

July 9, 2019

January 14, 2020

March 26, 2020

February 13, 2021

September 13, 2021

2022 Goals: Summer Check In

Even though it’s still spring, for the past several weeks, the sun has been shining, the weather has warmed up, and it officially feels like summer -I love it so much!

Usually I wait until July to do a mid-year check in for my yearly goals, but this year I decided to do a check in at the beginning of summer. I thought this would help motivate me to keep working on things throughout the summer and sort of refocus some energy as we head into the season. Today I’m re-sharing my 2022 goals and the progress I’ve made so far – let’s dive in!

Goals for our Home

Update the flooring

The entire house needs new flooring and it will happen bit by bit, but I’m excited to report that we are just about to finish the first step of this goal: new carpet for both the kids’ room and the nursery is scheduled to be installed in less than two weeks! We have also gotten a quote for replacing the basement carpet and are budgeting to hopefully get that done by the end of the year.

Main Floor Powder Room. 

I thought this was going to be the year to finally update this little room, but the more I think about it, the more I think I might just wait until the flooring is updated. Or maybe I’ll just do some very minor tweaks in the meantime. TBD with whether I actually tackle this in 2022 or not, but either way, I’m definitely dreaming about what I want the space to be.

Finish the Guest Room Stencil. 

This goal isn’t finished, but progress has been made this year. I still need to finish the bottom edge along the baseboard, as well as decide if I’m going to continue the wallpaper look all around the room or just leave it on the two walls.

Update the Kids’ Bedrooms. This goal is well on its way to being checked off the list! So far LJ and Vi’s shared bedroom has gotten matching twin beds, new curtains, sconces, and updated things like bedding and artwork. The last thing on my list for this room is wallpaper for the wall behind the dresser, which is currently on hold thanks to a little mishap with our previous order. I’m super happy with the progress so far!

I’m also in the process of working on baby #3’s nursery! It’s still a work in progress but will definitely be finished by August.

Have the foyer painted. 

I haven’t touched this goal yet, but there’s plenty of time left in the year.

Living Room. 

I haven’t done any updates to our living room yet, but I have been dreaming about it and slowly putting together a mood board to hone in a vision.

Patio Updates. 

We have already been spending a ton of time outside, but most of it has been just relaxing and enjoying beautiful weather with our kids. While that’s been wonderful, I’m itching to transform our patio into a nicer space for entertaining. We have a lot of plans to host gatherings this summer so this is one of my top priorities to get finished asap!

Personal Goals

Exercise at least 3 times per week. 

I’ve definitely been doing better with this, but I’m still not up to 3x a week consistently.

Buy thoughtfully and intentionally. 

I’m still focusing on purchasing clothes for my kids secondhand, which is not only softer on the environment but is better for my wallet! I also have enjoyed searching thrift stores first when I need something, like when Justin asked for martini glasses and I found a pair of cute stemless ones for $1!

When I do buy new, I try to support companies that are local or use recycled packaging or sustainable materials for their product. I’m certainly not anywhere close to perfect, but I do enjoy when I find a product I can feel extra good about purchasing!

Prioritize Sleep 

One of the best things I’ve done in this regard is invested in an alarm clock! I charge my phone on the floor underneath my nightstand and this change alone has greatly helped my quality of sleep. I don’t reach for my phone to check the time if I wake up in the middle of the night, and it’s not immediately the first thing I reach for each morning. I also have been working to have less screen time right before bed and I took a little quiz to determine what time I should go to sleep based on when I want to wake up (based on REM sleep cycles). I’m amazed at what a difference these small changes have made in helping me wake up feeling more refreshed and ready for the day!

Update the Blog Menu. 

I am happy to report that I finished this up and am really pleased with the updated menu! It is now more organized and streamlined and hopefully easier to navigate.

Family Goals

Take our first family vacation! In February, we took our first family vacation and it was SO much fun! We went to Disney World and made so many memories with our little crew.

Dates with Our Kids. 

We’ve done this and it’s been so fun! Just this past week, we each took a child for a special day out. I took Vi to the zoo and Justin took LJ golfing (I can’t even handle the matching outfits!)

We each agreed that we had a blast with our kids and they both really enjoyed having one-on-one time with us. Next time, we’re going to switch and take the opposite child and LJ has already been talking about things he’d like to do on his mommy day.

Be intentional with making life feel special. 

We’ve had several pond days with just our family enjoying the water. I’ve been taking the kids to the library so they can check out their own books and games (our library rents out games – it’s so fun to try new things!)

We’ve spent lazy weekend mornings all four of us snuggling in bed. We took the kids to the grocery store to pick out a treat and new toy for Macie’s birthday (they were SO excited to celebrate her!) We took out kids putt-putt golfing and to an arcade, where Vi easily made the most tickets thanks to a jackpot run on a tickle monster game haha!

One day I set up a little station with baking soda and food colored water so they could experiment with colors. Sometimes we spend a bit of money, other times we do something free, but no matter what, it’s been really fun making some special memories on ordinary days with our kids and we’ll definitely be continuing this!

That’s a wrap on my progress so far – I’m excited to see what the rest of this year has in store!

Podcasts I’m Listening To These Days

It’s no secret that I love to read, but you might be surprised to learn that I almost never listen to audiobooks. With the exception of a really long car ride by myself, I will choose the physical book over an audiobook every time. There’s just something about curling up with a book and a blanket! That being said, I’m also a busy mom of two and a lot of my days are filled with things that make reading a physical book difficult – running errands, doing dishes, cleaning, tackling the laundry, plus all the DIY projects I like to work on when I have some time. I won’t lie, sometimes I’m ready for a break from auditory stimulation (two kids and two dogs make a lot of noise!) and I’ll complete my tasks in silence, but often I do enjoy listening to something. It feels like adult interaction even though I’m the only adult at home and is truly a form of self care for me! Instead of listening to audiobooks while doing these tasks, I love listening to podcasts.

I think I prefer podcasts because they’re more easily customizable to my mood and the time I have. I can choose a 20 minute episode or a 50 minute episode. I can choose to learn something new or choose to laugh at funny stories. I can choose to binge three in a row or just listen to one episode from a podcast I haven’t caught up on in a few months. With an audiobook, it’s hard for me to just start and stop in short bursts and then maybe not listen again for a few days. With podcasts, it’s easy for me!

Way back in December 2018, I shared the podcasts that I enjoyed listening to. Over the past 3.5 years, I’ve tried out many podcasts and have different ones that I now enjoy, so I thought I’d share a list of my current favorites. These are the ones I turn to again and again, whether I’m folding laundry, painting a wall, driving to the grocery store, or any of the many other things that fill up my days.

Happier

This was the top of my list way back in 2018 and it still ranks highly as a favorite these days. It is hosted by Gretchen Rubin (whom I adore!) and her sister Elizabeth Craft and discusses happiness, good habits, and human nature. They share happiness hacks, strategies for knowing yourself better, and tips and tricks for meeting goals and improving your overall quality and enjoyment of life. There are things that the podcast suggested that I’ve implemented that have honestly been game-changers in my life! I’ve read every book Gretchen has written (some of which made it to my all-time list of book recommendations) and think her insights into human nature, particularly with habit formation and her personality framework of The Four Tendencies, is fascinating. I also thoroughly enjoy the dynamic that Gretchen and Elizabeth have. They have two smaller, sort of spin-off podcasts called “A Little Happier” and “More Happier” that you can choose to add in as well. It’s just a really fun and enjoyable listen that can help you maximize different areas of your life for the better.

Sharon Says So

I have been following Sharon and her Instagram account @sharonsaysso for over a year now and appreciate it so much. Sharon shares factual news and information in a non-biased, non-partisan way and has taught me (and her 850,000+ other followers!) so much. One of her frequent sayings is that “facts don’t require your approval” – in other words, you are absolutely allowed to have your own opinions and your own feelings about things, but facts are facts regardless of how you feel. It’s so refreshing! Her Instagram focuses more on current events (which I also highly, highly recommend following) and her podcast focuses more on interesting stories about people and places. Sharon just seems like someone you want to be friends with and her enthusiasm for brain tingles and new information is contagious. She interviews experts in various fields, shares little-known stories about historical figures and locations around the United States, and even has interviewed political candidates, congressman, and others working in government on all sides of the aisle. It’s a fascinating variety of topics and I always learn something!

The Bad Broadcast

This podcast is hosted by a 20-something woman named Madi Muphy and it’s been a fun, bingeable listen for me. Madi…enjoys complaining. Haha! But not in a negative way if that makes sense? She likes to discuss pop culture (deep dives on things like TV shows and Lindsey Lohan), random things like Trader Joes finds and beige foods, and has fun segments like “Dumb Dumb Club” (where listeners submit things they should’ve known a long time ago but just found out) and “Love/Hates.” But my favorite thing about her podcast are the listener submission episodes. She’ll ask her listeners to submit their own stories and experiences on a variety of topics and it is HILARIOUS. She’s done things like bad dates, petty things you’ve done, embarrassing moments, bad jobs/bosses, white lies you’ve told your kids, gynecological stories (lol), legal things that give you a thrill, breakups, in-law stories, wedding frustrations, and more. I am constantly cracking up at both the submitted stories and Madi’s responses to them. I also love the episodes where people submit situations that she judges – things like am I the a-hole and petty fights between friends and family. It’s just entertaining and fun and perfect for when I want to zone out and laugh.

HERself

This podcast is hosted by two friends, Abby and Amy, and discusses a variety of topics that women encounter. They discuss things like setting boundaries, combating overstimulation, prioritizing self-care, apologizing, saying no, motherhood, marriage, finances, sex, confidence, etc. Some episodes are just the two of them discussing things and they also bring in experts to talk about topics like financial investing, mental health, setting boundaries, adult friendships, and more. I especially enjoy the episodes where they bring on their husbands to talk about the triumphs and struggles in marriage, parenthood, and life. I used to listen to every single episode but now I tend to pick and choose the topics that most interest me or apply to my life and am more of an occasional listener, but I still find there’s some good food for thought in whatever episode I listen to!

Young House Love Has a Podcast + The Chris Loves Julia Podcast

These are two different podcasts but I share them together because they’re both not currently active but the archives are still available. Both podcasts were started by DIY couples with blogs (Young House Love and Chris Loves Julia) and both cover a wide variety of topics related to DIY, home, renovating, etc. I follow each of their accounts/blogs and it’s fun to get another perspective of their DIY journey through podcasts. It’s definitely worth checking out their archives if you’re interested in any of those things!

Do you listen to podcasts? Which ones do you enjoy?

Baby #3 is a . . .

I’m officially 19 weeks pregnant and for the first time, we’ve decided to find out the sex of our baby in advance. We loved the surprise at birth with the first two babies, but for a few different reasons, we decided to switch things up this time around – it’s been so fun to have this little secret knowledge this time around!

I’m excited to announce that baby #3 is a . . .

BOY!

We cannot wait to meet our newest family member! The kids were predictably split: LJ was hoping for a brother and Vi was hoping for a sister. We told them by wrapping this balloon in a box and letting them open it – Vi kept searching for the pink balloon for a minute or two before it sank in haha! They are both very excited now and it definitely makes things feel a little more real to refer to the baby as little brother.

Another perk of finding out in advance this time is I actually can prepare the nursery a little bit more. While I’m still working on some updates to the older two’s shared bedroom, I’m going to be making a few updates to the nursery too. Currently, the nursery has a pink scalloped accent wall and is mostly devoid of artwork since many things followed Vi to the other room. I don’t plan to do too much since eventually the boys (I just love saying that!) will share the larger room and Vi will move back to this smaller bedroom, but since that’s several years away I’m going to make some simple changes now for the baby.

This time around, I didn’t do a mood board but I did start a Pinterest board with a few ideas (you can find the picture sources there too!)

I’m picturing the walls being a soft muted green (I’m thinking SW Evergreen Fog) with shades of green, gold, and taupe accented throughout. I want to keep things mostly neutral but also play with a few patterns. I think it will be a really sweet little room for our sweet little baby boy!

If you’ve been here a while, you might remember that I had no motivation to work on the nursery until Vi had almost arrived, but this time around I’m feeling so motivated and excited that I think I’ll be starting very soon. Stay tuned!