Monday, March 20, 2017

First Day of Spring.

There are all different reasons to celebrate the special days that changed your life - the day someone was born, the day you met someone important, the day you married the love of your life, the day you gave birth, the day you got clean/sober. What's so amazing is usually we don't fully know how much or in what ways our lives are about to be impacted. There is no way to know how significant or incredible these 24 hours will be for days, weeks, and years to come. It starts out just like every other day.

Fourteen years ago I started dating the guy of my dreams.

I remember the day we met - or at least the day that got the ball rolling. He was wearing his yellow Old Navy sweatshirt and was riding his bike around the parking lot of Brookside Baptist. I was on my way to the soccer field for practice. I plucked up the courage and without thinking said "hey" to him and halfway expected him to say nothing. Instead he said "hey" right back to me.

I remember when I first fell in love with him - at the ripe age 13. We were on a ski trip with a bunch of kids from Brookside Baptist and we rode to and from Gatlinburg and Memphis together in the same van. We were with a bunch of our mutual friends and it was a safe space where we could just have fun and be ourselves. I got to know him a little better over the long Martin Luther King Jr. weekend in 2001 and on the way back home from the trip I was head over heels for this sweet, quiet, kind, funny, playful older guy.

I remember our first kiss. It was an accident! We were leaning in to hug each other and our heads turned the same way and our faces ended up meeting and it was so incredibly awkward considering how well we'd known each other and how much we liked each other at this point. I remember going back inside and detailing the kiss to my big sister and then dissecting it with her. And to this day I love that moment - how hilarious it is to relive and think about - and how grateful I am that our awkward first kiss happened.

I remember the day he asked me to be his girlfriend. And I remember the day I said yes. Tony had asked me to be his girlfriend before and instead of saying yes - I told him I needed more time. To be completely honest, the gravity of our relationship was too much for me at the time. It felt like the real deal from day one between us and that was intimidating. Not to mention the foundation of our relationship was sturdily built on our friendship. What if we dated and for some reason it didn't work out... I would lose my best friend. That was a risk that at the time I wasn't willing to take. My cousin came in town to visit and she told me what an idiot I was for not being his girlfriend - that he was such a nice guy and he was clearly crazy about me. I don't remember what exactly changed between us to get me to say yes, but I remember Breanne being so honest and real with me and that was a huge wake-up call to me. I remember telling him I was ready and to ask me again. He told me this was the last time asking... that he wouldn't do it again. So March 20, 2003 after asking three times and it being WAY overdue... we made it official.

I love that it coincided with the first day of Spring when it is all about growth, newness, transformation, and renewal. I'm glad Tony never gave up on me when it would have been much easier to do so. I cherish every year I've had with him and everything we've shared.

We've come a LONG way since the Brookside days... and he's still my best guy and truest friend and without a doubt the great love of my life. And the best is yet to come!

Monday, December 26, 2016

My 2016 Grown-Up Christmas List

So, I love this time of year. It's full of that wonderful magic feeling. One of the tangible things I enjoy most is the 24/7 Christmas music on certain radio stations! The. Best. But unfortunately this also results in many eye-rolls when they play the few Christmas songs I'm not extremely fond of like Grown-Up Christmas List by Kelly Clarkson/Amy Grant/anyone, I Want a Hippopotamus for ChristmasMistletoe by Justin Bieber, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by the Jackson 5, and Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. This is certainly not an all-inclusive list... just the very worst that I came up with off the top of my head.

Anyways. After listening to one of the above songs, I got to thinking about what I really wanted for Christmas. So, here is my grown-up Christmas list:

1. New toilets - the tall ones that can also suck down a whole bag of golf balls! (Yes! They exist!!!) 
2. Tankless water heather - especially since it seems our current one may be going out and is certainly not efficient these days!
3. New paint throughout the house - and one that doesn't chip!!!
4. Shoe molding pretty much throughout half of the house, too.
5. Probably new flooring in the other half of the house. Definitely no more carpet in the dining room or bathrooms!
6. A mantle & fireplace that doesn't look so dated.
7. A not-busted-up driveway.
8. Oh yeah, somebody has to fix the mower. (Not it!!!!)
9. Remodel our weird looking master bathroom... rip out the old tub with jets entirely. That thing can be so unsanitary. Plus, it's not human-shaped. I want a tub where I can be actually submerged in - like all body parts under water at the same time.
10. Start and finish our 4th bedroom. Which includes fixing up/finishing off the stairs and walls (possible insulation first?), doing some work on the window, flooring, electrical work, paint, etc...
11. A new HVAC system. Which needs to be done already, but once we get the 4th bedroom done we'll need a bigger unit. And we'll need the 4th bedroom connected to said new unit.
12. Update faucets, cabinets, drawer pulls, door knobs, light fixtures, and several windows throughout the house.

I mean, I could keep going. We keep MEANING to do all these things - but where are we pulling this money and time from? When we bought this house we got a pretty good deal on it and we did so knowing that we'd need to eventually do most of these things. And I know, none of these things keep the house from being livable. Carpets in the bathroom are kinda gross, but we can survive with it the way it is. Still, these are the things I dream of doing and the things that made my Christmas list this year. This doesn't even get into the other things I'd like... a family vacation, a solo vacation, and a vacation with my husband. (Yes... three different vacations.) Bananas that don't brown so quickly. A set of those amazing zipper sheets for every bed in the house. An updated wardrobe since I have no idea what to wear anymore. A gym membership. A monthly spa trip. And mostly, I want to continue to be thankful for the things I have in the New Year. I have a beautiful, relatively healthy family that keeps me busy and happy, a house that keeps us safe and warm, more than enough of the things we need and so many things that we want.
And I would give up every single "thing" to keep these people safe and healthy

But I'm hoping we get a few of these crossed off the grown-up Christmas list in 2017... if you were me, where would you start?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

3 TV Shows... {thursday thoughts}

My hope was that I would get through these writing prompts before Crosby came since I would likely have more time then, but as usual I'm running well behind schedule.

Anyways, I love watching a great TV show! I love connecting with well-written characters and watching them develop as their story unfolds. There are so many great shows out there it's hard to catch them all or really sometimes it's hard to know where to start. And I really enjoy hearing shows (or books or movies) that my friends recommend so I figured I would throw out some of my favorites!

03. Parenthood
If you haven't seen this show, you are really missing out on something special. It's not on air anymore and you can find the series in it's entirety on Netflix. It's a show about family. It's truly funny. It's touching. It's real. The family featured in the show is the Bravermans - two parents and four now adult children. Each adult child has a story and now their own family and set of struggles and hilarity. You get to know them and love them like they are your own network of people. Check it out if you haven't! And if you didn't know already, this show is where we got the name for our newest family member, Crosby. I absolutely love the character on the show and his name is precious.

02. This Is Us*
Oh goodness, I am so glad this show exists!!!!! This Is Us is new to NBC this year and I am enjoying it so very much along with SO many other people watching this show every Tuesday. The show just went on hiatus for a winter break but it'll be back on January 10th. I won't give anything away about this show other than it is a ton like Parenthood - it follows a family's story. And it is heartwarming and amazing and literally EVERY week there is something so incredibly touching in a way that it feels like it was written for you or the people in your life. I learn something new every week about myself because it draws attention to so many things within myself that I need to explore. Anyways... I won't say anything more except for this: WATCH. IT. And start with the pilot episode. You will be glad you did, I promise.

01. Grey's Anatomy*
If you haven't heard of this show then you probably don't have a television. Or maybe TV isn't your thing. (If so then this entry will likely bore you to tears!!!) I love this show for many reasons and the first one is that no matter what, Shonda Rhimes knows how to write something extremely compelling! I might not always like where she leads her characters, but yet I'm back week after week. This show has been my JAM since the pilot episode... I watched it live when it aired and I have been hooked ever since! Heck... I was hooked when I saw previews for the show as they were hyping it up just before it aired. It's awesome being so many seasons in (13 now?) and literally watching the characters grow up. You can catch up on all the previous seasons on Netflix and it airs Thursdays on ABC! I've lost count the number of times I've watched each season of Grey's Anatomy and I will keep on watching for years to come.

Honorable Mentions:
The Tudors
The Office
Life on Mars
Fixer Upper*

*Shows that are currently on air

What shows have you watched before that you recommend? I'm always looking for shows to watch on Netflix that aren't cartoons... not that I'll ever get to watch them!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Crosby: 2 Months

Somehow it has been 9 weeks since I brought Crosby into this world. It has been a tumultuous nine weeks, that's for sure. I was so sure that I knew everything I needed to know about taking care of a baby. I thought I knew all I needed to know about breastfeeding a newborn. Surely this third child of mine would be a breeze! But I was served a slice of humble pie with Crosby. It reminded me that I'm not immune to the highs or lows that come along with breastfeeding - it's a tough ass journey. When you're sleep deprived and you already feel like you're giving every single part of yourself as a human to your new baby and any other children in your home... then when you feel like you're scraping the bottom of your barrel it's time for the next feeding. Sometimes it honestly feels like you have NOTHING left to give and yet you're the only one can satiate your baby for what they need. You feel desperate. You feel like quitting. But for whatever reason, you choose stick with it. Maybe it's the health benefits for baby or the health benefits for you. Maybe it's the fact that you literally cannot afford the insane costs of formula. And from somewhere within the depths of your reserves, you pull out the mental and physical energy it requires to keep going. Ladies and gentlemen, this shit is not easy. And for everyone who has tried breastfeeding - you have my deepest respect. I understand what you're going through! It's so hard.

For everyone who has decided not to breastfeed, you have every bit of my understanding and respect. I am with you no matter what you choose! None of it's easy!!! And if you would have handed me the money to buy formula five weeks ago, I would have quit this breastfeeding journey on the spot - and probably kissed you on the mouth. So trust me - never judgment from me. When I talk about breastfeeding, it's not from a high horse. But it is how I feed my baby and so I will talk a lot about it in my blogs, I'm sure.

To update on me suspecting/worrying that Crosby could have a tongue or lip tie, I've now taken him to a pediatrician, a lactation consultant, and a pediatric dentist - all who gave me great insight and help and each of them telling me that IF he does have a tie that it is so slight that it's nothing to worry about. (But for the most part all of them thought he had enough mobility in his lip and tongue that he most likely doesn't have a tie.) The LC noted he has a super high palate and that could be the cause of his weak latch. The pediatric dentist (who is seriously phenomenal) showed me that Crosby's got quite an overbite - already! - and that his weak lower jaw could be making his latching a little more difficult. So, after seeing the dentist I feel like I can finally put the tie thing behind us.

Crosby seemed to have a reflux issue from the get-go and would projectile vomit once daily... it was sooo draining and worrisome. Thankfully that has been getting better! His pediatrician thinks it was due more to underdeveloped muscles that aid in digestion rather than a reflux issue. (I hope I'm explaining that correctly!) His gassiness and pain after eating has eased as well. He still makes a clicking noise while he breastfeeds but it doesn't seem to be doing any harm.

He eats often and well and has been gaining weight as a result. Crosby weighed 7#15oz at birth and at his two month check-up Wednesday he was up to 12#5oz (and 23.5 inches)! This puts him in the 50% range for growth which is wonderful.

Cros is in a size two diaper and wears 3-6 month clothes, and he's been laughing in his sleep - yet he doesn't know he can do it while he's awake yet. He smiles! And it really does melt my heart. He loves being in the ergo carrier - that's how I shop, pick up Presley from school in the afternoons, or get things done around the house. The most consistent way Crosby falls asleep every night it in Tony's arms with him walking Crosby around the house. Works like clockwork! Speaking of sleep it's different for him every night but he will sleep for 5-6 hour stretches if I'm remembering correctly. Some nights are better than others!

Tony is such an awesome team player... I feed Crosby and he'll change diapers. He never hesitates to help put him to sleep. In general Tony has no issue helping me on all fronts and I am beyond grateful for that in my partner. Each time while going through the rough first 6 weeks or so while breastfeeding Tony is so ultra supportive. He'll grab a new breast pad for me, fill up my water, bring me my Boppy pillow, burp/change Crosby, encourage me to keep going, help me remember why I don't actually want to give up... etc.

It reminds me how much it takes a freaking VILLAGE to be successful... and sometimes not even then does it work out! I hope so much to be that encouragement to other moms in whatever way they feed their babies! None of it is easy and we're all just trying to survive these early days.

So that's about it for our two month update. We're still in absolute survival mode BUT in so many ways things are getting easier day by day. And even though each one of them takes turns driving me insane, I love my family and I'm grateful for them.

This is my motherhood: unwashed hair, tired face, babywearing, cookie-or-grumpy-faced kids and throwing together an outfit and just hoping it looks good together! But these are good kids and they might be crazy days but they are good days.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Happy 6 week birthday, Cros!

Our little guy is already six weeks old... thank goodness!

Here's our guy at the 4 week mark a few weeks ago!
Those earliest newborn days are not easy. At. All. Tony took paternity leave for the first two weeks but unfortunately he got the respiratory flu and was down for 4-5 days there towards the end. That was definitely no fun! He was quarantined to the master bedroom/bathroom and I checked in on him and tended to him as needed. That meant Crosby and I slept out in the living room and the playroom (which is a formal dining room we currently use for a guest room/playroom). It could have been a lot worse, that's for sure! But one of the nights I literally got ONE hour of sleep before getting up to take care of the bigger girls. I cried a LOT that next day. I felt like I couldn't do it and couldn't possibly continue to be a stay-at-home mom anymore. But, here we are just over four weeks later and I'm still here! :) 

It has been a trying transition this time around but even still, I would still say that going from 0 to 1 kid was the hardest. (All you parents know that none of it is easy - but of course worth it!) I've had a lot of moments this time around where I feel like I just can't do it... whether it's breastfeeding, being a mother to three tiny humans, being married to someone whose profession requires lots of long hours. It has caused me to question so many things. 

For the longest time now I've been concerned that Crosby may have a tongue or lip tie. I took him to our pediatrician about it and also to a lactation consultant and neither one seemed to think it was an issue of his since he's been gaining weight so well. The pediatrician we saw at our group seemed to think his fussiness could stem from reflux. He was on medicine for that for a while but it didn't seem to help - if anything it honestly seemed to make it worse! So we went back to the doctor and they prescribed him something stronger. I started doing reading on the medicine for babies and I decided to stop his reflux meds for a few days to see how it went. Well, here we are a few weeks later and his mood has seemed to improve. He still seems in pain every once in a while - but we're thinking it might just be gas? Or possibly it is reflux but not a very severe case of it. Who knows... like my cousin Breanne said, babies are really SUCH a guessing game. And it's MADDENING! 

I plan to take Crosby to someone who specializes in tongue and lip ties to have it confirmed one way or another - hopefully sometime this week. He's got so many of the symptoms/signs that point to this being a possibility (clicking noise while he nurses, high arched palate, short tongue/low mobility, gas/reflux issues, shallow latch, short nursing sessions...) and neither professionals we saw before were entirely confident telling me he didn't have a lip or tongue tie.

This time around hasn't been easy... Crosby has really made me work for everything this time around! And I can honestly say that at this point things are finally seeming to fall into place a little more each day. I might just be saying this because I actually got to majorly sleep in today!!! And it was EXACTLY what I needed. There have been many nights so far where Crosby has slept right on top of me - either on purpose because that was the only way to get him to sleep or by accident because I was so exhausted we both fell asleep while I either nursed or burped him! And while sleep is sleep, when you are in a lighter state of sleep or constantly in an odd position, it just doesn't feel as satisfying. Not to mention just a few hours of sleep here and there is hard, too! Sleep is still not the greatest around here - and depends on the night - but we are getting there. 

He's already moved up into a size two diaper and we just recently switched him to 3-6 month clothes. Yes... this kid is only 6 weeks old! The last time he was at the doctor he was already up to 10#4oz and that was a couple weeks ago - he is absolutely growing like a weed! He still fits into 0-3 month clothes but the sleepers are getting too short on him and seemed uncomfortable. And he really does seem so much more comfortable in the 6 month clothes.

That's about it! We're still breastfeeding. And surviving! And I suspect before too long we'll be doing even better than just that.

Here are some great moments from around here lately:

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