Friday, August 22, 2014

Thankful Things {Oh Hey, Friday}

I've spent a lot of time complaining this week. And yes, while I do have to admit that this new chapter in our lives is not the easiest, I also don't want to get wrapped up in a "poor me" attitude. Self-pity does the soul no good, only harm. And ain't nobody got time for that.

In the spirit of starting fresh, today, instead of lamenting over all of the challenges my little family is facing right now, I thought I'd share 5 things that I am thankful for. Because there are SO many things to be thankful for. In fact, just the fact that I am breathing, thinking, and putting thoughts into words right now is something to be thankful for. So, here we go.

1. Tiny little hands

Question: Is there anything more precious than the feel of your precious baby's hand resting on your arm? 

Answer: Lawd in heaven. No.

Caleb has been super snuggly lately. Since preschool started, he's been a bit more clingy than normal, and even turns down evening snuggles with Daddy sometimes in favor of being rocked by Mommy. I don't mind one bit. I watch my baby grow a bit more each day. Such a big boy now. And my heart already bleeds for the day when he won't need me anymore. So I will take every. single. snuggle. I can get. I live for the feel of those tiny arms wrapped around me and that curly-topped head on my chest. Sigh.

2. Payday
Can I get an, "Amen." I'd like to say that B and I have our finances totally figured out, and have this much saved and that much put away for a rainy day. But, in all honesty, right now, we live very modestly and are always happily anticipating payday when it arrives. Let's just say, today was payday. Definitely something to be thankful for. 

3. Fall. Fall. And more Fall.
It's going to be 95 degrees here in GA today. So, while physically I will be holed up inside to keep from melting away, mentally I will be in my happy place. Where apple cinnamon candles abound, pumpkin spice lattes come in red Starbucks cups, and red and yellow leaves litter the front yard. 

I told you I would be mentioning fall eleventy billion times before it even arrived. I don't lie. But seriously. Who wouldn't be exited about adorable sweaters and hot chocolate/coffee/ciders? Come on, Autumn.

Comfy coffee mugs | #warmandcozy

4. A Golden Weekend
I hesitate to even write this, after what happened last weekend. But, I'm going for it. B IS OFF FOR THE WHOLE WEEKEND! I am so, so thrilled to have my husband to myself for 2 whole days. Oh, how glorious. Do we have plans? Nope. Am I happy about that? Yep. Ecstatic. 

(Check out my post yesterday on learning to say "No.")

5. Keep on Keepin' On
My husband encouraged me to watch this sermon by Pastor Charles Stanley. If you haven't heard a sermon by Pastor Stanley (or his son, Pastor Andy Stanley), you are missing out. They are such gifted speakers, and really know how to dig into the word in ways that make it so relevant and relatable. I wasn't thrilled to discover that this video was 54 minutes long. But, let me tell you - I had a completely new perspective on my life after watching it. And in fact, it is what inspired today's post. Life can be tough. But if we can remember that God will never fail us, no matter what challenges we face, it's a lot less tough. 

Per the usual, today I am linking up with sweet Karli of September Farm and Amy of The Farmer's Wife for their super fun Oh Hey, Friday link-up.

Off to enjoy a day with my sister and my little man. Hey, it's payday, remember?

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Yes-Saying People-Pleaser

No pictures today. Just words straight from the heart. Grab a cup of coffee, curl up, and settle in.


I've always been a people-pleaser. My whole life. I've always wanted to make my loved ones proud, always tried to keep everyone happy, and always striven to ensure that I don't rock anyones boat too much. I don't like confrontation, and I'm not good at standing up for myself in the heat of a battle. I'm one of those people who walks away from disagreements thinking to myself, "Oh, man - I should have said THAT. That would have been a great thing to say." Bust at that point it's too late, of course.

Since B has started his residency, our lives have changed drastically. As a side note, if your significant other is considering becoming a doctor, great. If s/he is considering becoming a surgeon, RUN. Y'all. Seriously. I had no idea what I was signing up for when we began this journey. I thought long days were when B studied for Board exams for 10-12 hours a day for a couple of months at a time. It's laughable now. I would give almost anything to have him back on that schedule.

Now, he works 80-100 hours a week. A week. Sometimes more (which is totally illegal, but is something that just seems to slip through the cracks in the medical field). Let me break that down for you. He's gone from about 4:45 am (before we are awake, obviously) until 7:30 or 8:00 pm most nights. Some nights, it's been after 11:00 pm. As of right now, he's worked 11 days straight. It's rare that he get a 'golden weekend' - i.e. a Saturday AND a Sunday off. He's only had both days off once or twice since he started residency. The rest of the time, he's worked either Saturday or Sunday, or both.

What does this crazy change in schedule mean for me - and for Caleb? Well, we've been alone a lot. We schedule play dates, we visit with family, we go to the park, we go out to lunch, we shop when we can, we walk, we play outside, etc. But we are still alone a lot. After all, we can't be gone for every second of every day. With B gone so much, most of the parenting comes down to me. And it's tough. It's tough because it's just me, all day long, every day. Every decision is left to me. Sometimes, it's just me from the minute C wakes up until the minute he goes to bed. Some days, B doesn't even make it home in time to see Caleb. After long days spent minding a hyperactive, crazy toddler boy, the short evening hours are a time I want to myself. And yet, somehow, I still have to find time to be involved with my husband. To talk to him about how his day is going. To make dinner and sit with him while he eats. To make sure he knows he is loved. On the days when he is home before C goes to bed, I usually find myself tossing our child at him, and taking a few minutes to myself. Which isn't necessarily fair, as B has had a long day at work too, and throwing yet another responsibility on him at the end of his long day may not be the most fair thing in the world. But, it's his time with his son. It's my time to unwind. Most nights, I find myself up long past the men in my house. Sometimes, the only time I get to myself in a day is at 12:30 am when the house is finally quiet and the world has shut down for the night. Those times are precious to me.

Through all of this, I am starting to learn a lot about myself. You see, in the past, it's never seemed like a bad thing that I am a people-pleaser. It's never been a bad thing that I am "yes" person. Until now. Because now, unless someone is asking to spend time with us on the weekdays - when we have quite a bit of time to fit in activities and such - then they are cutting into my family time. And that's not okay. My very limited weekend time with my husband has become more precious than gold to me. We are having to start picking and choosing the activities that we take part in. We are having to learn to say, "No." And that isn't easy for me. I want to make everyone happy. But a lot of times, I find myself making others happy at the expense of myself or my family. My son deserves to spend a day or two once a week with his Daddy. My husband and I deserve some quality time together at least once a week. We need that. Our home needs that. Our sanity needs that. And so, for that reason, I am trying to grow myself a little bit of a backbone. Remind myself that my little family is my priority.  And realize that the people around me may have a transition to go through too - a transition in which they will have to learn to accept that we can't be there for every event. That we won't always get to be there. It's just part of our life for now.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Go To's {Cheap Faves}

Whew! So far, this week is kicking my booty. I didn't even realize I hadn't blogged yesterday until around lunchtime or so. Oops! We have been on the move this week, with a lot going on - can't wait to share some of our goings-on with you. Including an update on the little man, which I've been promising for a couple of weeks now. He keeps me so busy, I just can't seem to actually find time to sit down and write about him:)

Today, I thought we'd talk beauty. It's been a while since I've shared any of my fave products. Since leaving my office job to become a stay-at-home mom back in January, my daily makeup routine and go to's have definitely changed, as has my discretionary income - mama's on a budget. So today I thought I'd share my current loves. Which can all be found for less than $20 each (most for less than $10!)

bathroom sign inspiration To be more hot in this hot summer with rayban sunglasses.$24.88.

I only do full makeup once or twice a week now. So, when I want to look polished and put together without a 'full' face, here's what I grab.

Maybelline Full 'N Soft Mascara

Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer

Rimmel Eyeliner in Brown

Rimmel London

CLINIQUE - All About Shadow - Single

Maybelline Baby Lips 

Along with only doing makeup once or twice a week, I also only wash my hair a couple of times a week. Two or three at the most. These are the products that I swear by.

John Frieda Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner

John Frieda  John Frieda

Not Your Mother's Girl Powder Volumizing Powder

Not Your Mother's Girl Powder Volumizing Hair Powder- .21 oz
Big Sexy Hair Mousse

John Frieda Hairspray

So, those are my tried and true staples. I am always trying new things, and love to hear about new products and things that you girls are trying and loving, so if you've got some 'must have' finds, do share them with me, pretty please!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, August 18, 2014

What a Tease {An Anti-Review}

I can't even pretend to be excited about my weekend review today. You know why? Because the glorious, 2 day "golden weekend" that I was so excited about sharing with my sweet, extremely hardworking husband? Yeah. Didn't happen.

B and I stayed up late on Friday night, eagerly anticipating the deliciousness of being able to sleep in, enjoy a leisurely breakfast as a family, and then attack the litany of household chores that had been building up in the weeks prior. Things that we just hadn't had time to attend to. That is, until B's phone rang first thing Saturday morning. And he realized that, "Oops!" - he was supposed to be at the hospital. Apparently he'd been looking at the night shift schedule, and not the regular day shift one. And guess what? Not only was he scheduled to work Saturday, but Sunday as well. I try not to throw pity parties too often, but I won't lie, on Saturday I threw myself an epic one.

I tried to distract myself by ordering cute things for Caleb off Zulily.

Taking the little man out to lunch.

Visiting Dosh and Pawpaw to pick up some fresh vegetables from their garden.

Cuddling and watching Disney faves, like Aladdin (r.i.p. Robin Williams).

And doing the week's grocery shopping.

But we were still home by around 5:30 on Saturday night. And B didn't walk through the door until after 8:30. After we'd already eaten leftovers for dinner - we'd planned to go out, so I hadn't prepared anything. And after Caleb had already taken his bath and gotten ready for bed. He was still up, though it was way past his bedtime - but as you might guess, totally cranky and fussy. Not exactly the sweet little cuddly baby he usually is. So, B got to scarf down a bowl of cereal for dinner and then hold his crying baby, in an effort to try and soothe him to sleep while giving his frazzled wife a little break. What a fun night, right?

Sunday was a bit better - for Caleb and I, at least. My parents came down and went to church with us, took us to a yummy brunch after church, and then hung out with us for a couple of hours at the house before heading out. 

 The church nursery wore him out. And yes, he is halfway under the table.

His favorite Mimi:)

But, while we were munching on waffles and enjoying our Sunday, my poor hubby was responding to the trauma bell every hour, and dashing around answering pages from impatient nurses who just can't understand why he can't be in more than one place at once. So, not a stellar Sunday for him. Thank God, at least he arrived home a little before 7, and was able to eat dinner with us. The first dinner we've sat down for together as a family in over a week. A week!!!

Let me tell you, residency is definitely making me re-think the whole 'enjoying the small things' approach. I thought I was pretty good at it before, but now, I am learning this lesson on a whole different level. I'm thankful for one dinner with my husband each week. I'm thankful when he walks in the door in time to see Caleb before he goes to sleep. I'm thankful if he has one weekend day off, and don't even contemplate getting 2 days with him like every other normal human being. And I'm working on being thankful for other little things. On being understanding. And on not harboring resentment - which is easy to let creep in when you're left alone all the time, to tend to a child and a home completely on your own. If any of you have any experience with being wife to a resident, your words of advice or experience would be very welcome. Send them my way, please.

It's a different life. And we're definitely still adjusting. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Mishmash {Oh Hey, Friday!}

It's Friday. My husband has the next two glorious days off. And I have two words for that. Hallelujah. Amen.

I hate to ever come off as complaining, because I definitely feel fortunate to be able to be at home with Caleb every day instead of having to work full time. Been there, done that. However, 6 days in a row (B had to work last Sunday, so that's when our week officially started) of sun up to sun down with a 14 month old? And no wine? Well, that's not for the faint of heart, let me tell you. So, I'm beyond thankful that it's Friday. Oh hey, Friday!

My hot mess of 5 things for this week?

1. Caleb started Mother's Morning Out. I thought it would be cute to do a 'first day of school' picture. Ha. Just keeping him in my lens frame long enough to actually catch him is a challenge. Getting a non-blurry picture? A small miracle. Here were our best shots.

Wanna watch me play with a nighlight? 
No, Mom. Sitting still is not up for discussion. Here's my response to that suggestion.
Perusing my options for mischief. SO much to consider...
And I'm off.
2. Speaking of preschool, I won't lie, the drop-offs have been rough so far. Caleb has been super clingy - to a degree in which I am fairly certain he has been close to completely ripping through my shirts to claw himself closer to me. But the pick-ups have been so great. There's nothing better than seeing his excited little face beaming with delight, and feeling his tiny body wedge up close to me as if I'm the best thing he's ever seen. There's also this...

Preschool wears this little baby out.
3. B's grandmother took C and I out to pick up a few new things for little man's fall wardrobe. She is so sweet, and likes to do that for each of her grandchildren around back-to-school time. And insisted on doing it for Caleb. We shopped around one afternoon, and scored some major finds at OshKosh. Jeans, button-ups, sweatshirts, overalls. The works. So aside from shoes, Caleb is stocked up for fall. I can't wait to dress him up in his new duds. 

4. While we were out, B's grandmother grabbed this little gem for me (although I tried to tell her not to). But seriously, how cute it this little sweatshirt? Just something fun and different. I think I'm in love. I can't wait to pair it with some skinnies and ankle boots when the weather is a smidge cooler. (I'd let it just slouch off one shoulder, or throw a tank under it to give it some length).

ciao bella sequin off-the-shoulder sweatshirt

I also think this one is really cute. Check out the fun back on it. And the prices? To die.

ooh la la lace-back glitter graphic sweatshirt

5. And...that's all I've got. I literally have not one more thing I'd like to add to my list today. Guess I'll sign off here. So, wine anyone? 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Confessions {With Hashtags}

I had another post planned for today. But, after Tuesday's post - which was rather heavy - I thought maybe something lighthearted would be more fun. 

So, for today? Well, just a good ol' fashioned 'fess sesh. With a whole lotta random. And to make it even more fun, I decided to throw a hashtag on each one. Yes, I am well aware that this is not how hashtags work. This is just for fun. Capiche?

God is Heart: August is like the Sunday of Summer

Thanks to my little monkey of a son, I have random bruises and bumps all over my body. Fellow mamas, you with me? Is this just a boy thing? #lifewithatoddler

I have still not pulled the trigger on these beauties. I know, I know. I plan to. But see, they are out of stock in my size at Macys. Where I have a 20% off coupon. And let me just tell you, 20% off of eleventy billion dollars is a lot of money. A lot. I need all my dollars. So, I continue to wait. They better re-stock those babies soon though because fall is coming. And mama ain't got no patience. #firstworldproblems

Frye Boots

My hair needs help. I've lost a lost since giving birth to Caleb and then miscarrying - hormones are a lovely thing (said sarcastically, of course). And my hair was on the finer side to begin with. So, fellow fine-haired ladies: any products I should be trying to help with this? #INEEDHELP

I've said it before. And I'll probably say it about 836 more times before the first leaves start to fall. I. Love. Fall. It's my absolute favorite season. And I just can't wait for it to be here. I haven't whipped out my fall candles yet, but soon. Very soon. My house is about to get its fall party pants on. #autumnobsessed
Warm Caramel Cider 3-Wick Candle - Slatkin & Co. - Bath & Body Works
I hate yogurt. That's all. #textureissues

Caleb has officially hit the age in which my husband thinks he is too old for smocked clothing and jon-jons. While it makes me a bit sad, I do tend to agree. He has hit a growth spurt lately (update on him soon), and I think a lot of that kind of clothing is just TOO baby-ish for him now. However, I am not against some of those cute little pant and matching appliqued/monogrammed shirt sets. Anyone got any suggestions on where I can find stuff like that? (Aside from Southern Tots where I found the outfit below) #babysgrowingup
I'd be down with something like this.
I may not like yogurt. But I can down some serious donuts. That seems like an equal swap, right? #yummycaloriesdontcount

I'm super awkward. Just so everyone knows. I try to pull myself together and look generally presentable when I go out in public, so you probably wouldn't think I am if you met me in passing. But trust me, I am. If you ever watched me try to take a selfie, you'd see just how awkward I am. #idontdoselfies

I laugh just thinking about this scene in Step Brothers. "We'll have so much room for activities!" #peemypantseverytime

movie animated GIF

I'm not gonna lie. Being married to a surgical resident is tough stuff. I thought I knew what I was in for, but I didn't. B's hours are ridiculous (80-100 hours a week, easy). Hello, single mom life. Everyone says it will pay off 'one day.' Yah. We'll see. Because the amount of time he puts in versus what he gets paid right now equals less than he would making per hour working at McDonalds. So sad. Such is the life of a young doctor.  #dollarsbettarainoneday

On a final note, thank you all so much for your continued support of our little family. Your texts, emails, comments, and phone calls have meant so much to us. I love each of you. Truly! #isthatweirdbecauseitdoesntfeelweirdatall

Hope you're having a great week! Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Aftermath {An Update on Miscarriage}

For those of you who aren't interested in reading about pregnancy loss, this post is not for you. Go ahead and click out of this post now. I won't hold it against you. Not at all. After all, had I not suffered through my own miscarriage, I probably wouldn't be interested in reading about someone else's. I totally understand. Some of the details may be a bit TMI for some, so consider yourself forewarned.

A Mother (miscarriage awareness)

For those of you who don't know, my husband and I lost our third pregnancy on July 20 (we lost our first pregnancy back in July 2012, and then went on to have a healthy pregnancy the second time around, resulting in our sweet baby boy, born in May 2013). It's been a few weeks since the loss now, and I'm writing an update on the aftermath of this second loss for two reasons. One, because I want to remember this myself. I never really talked much about what happened after our first loss (except for an emotional well-being update here and there), so even I am fuzzy about the details of what happened in the weeks following our first miscarriage. And two, because I want fellow mamas who are going/will go through their own losses to how to be prepared for how this thing goes. I won't say I am a pro at this now - after all, who'd really want to be a pro at pregnancy loss? - but I will say that I am not unfamiliar with it after going through it twice now. So, here goes...

After a visit to the ER on the night of Sunday, July 20, we were given hazy answers by the doctor. My hcg levels were very low and they weren't able to see anything in my uterus. I was most likely miscarrying, but they couldn't be sure at that time. I knew in my heart that my baby was gone, but my body had not yet caught the memo. I didn't have long to wait before it did.

At 6:00 am on Monday, July 21, the painful cramping and heavy bleeding began. It felt the same this time as it did the first time. Like an extreme version of a period. Except much more terrible, as there is no feeling quite so awful as the feeling that you are quite literally flushing what was your baby down the toilet. That is a mind game that no mama should ever have to play.

I bled for a week after the loss. Exactly one week. Every trip to the bathroom was a sad reminder of what was going on inside my body. That's the worst part. Being reminded of it. You can be going about your day, doing your best to stay busy, and then, BAM!, a reminder. A reminder that all is not well. That things are not as they should be. That your dream has shriveled up and died within your very own body. Last time, I seem to remember that I bled for longer - maybe 2 weeks? Each miscarriage is different though. I was further along last time than I was this time, so that probably had something to do with it. 

When you experience a pregnancy loss, you are not finished with the doctor visits after an initial trip to the ER or doctor. Nope. You have to continue to suffer the indignity of being poked and prodded. But instead of putting up with the poking and prodding in order to check out fun stuff like baby's heart beat or ultrasounds, you have to suffer this indignity in order to make sure that your baby indeed died, and that your body took care of everything like it should. You will have blood drawn. You may have an ultrasound. You will have more than one pelvic exam. I had my blood drawn on 4 separate occasions. Once in the ER. Once at the doctor's office. And twice at follow-up visits to a lab. They had to monitor my hcg levels for over two weeks to be sure that they were decreasing. If they don't decrease as they should, it can indicate that there is leftover tissue/products of conception in the uterus, in which case a D&C would be needed in order to 'clean' everything out. Ugh. My biggest concern over the last 2 weeks has been my beta hcg levels. In the ER, my hcg was 169. At the doctor's office a couple of days later it had gone down a bit (if I recall it was in the 60's). And at the lab a week later, it was at 59 and had gone down barely at all. I was sure that I would need a D&C, and I was freaking out about it. You see, after something like this, the craving to return to 'normal' is something fierce. You just want it to be over. You want to ovulate again. You want to have a period again. You want to just be normal. Normal is the goal. So hearing that I might have to have a D&C - which would have put off returning to normal even longer - was terrifying to me. 

Fortunately, on my second visit to the lab and 4th blood draw, my beta hcg came back at a 1. Anything less than a 5 is considered within normal range. So, it was done. The baby was gone. It was over. I was fortunate that both of my miscarriages were considered to be natural and complete (meaning my body recognized what was happening and took care of the process without any 'outside' help). Fortunate seems like such a strange choice of words when discussing a situation like this. Because there's really nothing fortunate about it. And yet...You find yourself grateful for the strangest, most unexpected things. 

I see your friends growing and feel robbed that our family does not get to have you to enjoy being with.

I now have two little ones that I never got to see wiggling on an ultrasound. Two little hearts that I never got to hear beating. Two squishy babies that I'll never get to hold. Never get to prepare nurseries for. Sing songs to. Chase around the house. Send off to school. Proudly watch graduate. Walk down the aisle. And celebrate grandchildren with. Two little lives that were snuffed out before they even began. I know that God had a reason for this. And I also know that my babies are with Him, even as I write this post today. And in that, I find comfort. In that, I find peace. If my babies can't be with me, then He can have them for now. And I will patiently wait to meet them in Heaven one day.

the strongest person in the world is a grieving mother that wakes up and keeps going every morning

People tell that I am strong. That I am superwoman. That they don't know how I am dealing with going through all of this all over again. My response? "You'd be strong too - you don't have a choice." I wasn't given a choice in the matter. I wake up and have terrible days. I have very sad moments. Sometimes I cry for no apparent reason. I am no stronger than anyone else. In fact, there are mothers out there who are MUCH stronger than me. Who have lost full-term babies. Living children. Multiples. Their grief? Their strength? SO much more than mine. I know this. And yet. Every mother who has lost a baby has had a taste of those most salty of tears. Every lost baby is a hole in a mother's heart. A star dropped from her sky. A dream dashed.

One in 4 women will miscarry. If you haven't known someone who has lost a pregnancy, you will. If you do know someone who has miscarried, or if you have been through a pregnancy loss yourself, you know how hard a grief like this is to wrap your mind around. It's intangible in a lot of ways. A lot of the grief comes from the "what if's." From the unmet dreams. It's hard. It's oh, so sad. And if you haven't been through it personally, it can be hard to relate. Just do me one favor, and don't ever tell a mama who's lost her baby that "it was for the best" or that "everything happens for a reason" or that it was just "nature's way". No mama ever wants to hear that - as kindhearted as your intentions may be. Just say you are sorry, allow them to grieve, and support them in any way you can. Take it from me. The silent shoulders offered for tears are the best gift. I've drenched quite a few myself. No words necessary.