Friday, November 21, 2014

Our Typical Day of Maternity Leave || By the Hour

This post was super fun to create! Thanks to Megan for the idea. I originally saw it on her blog a few weeks ago and just knew I wanted to recreate. I also have to give a HUGE thank you to my girl, Siri. Without the hourly iPhone reminders, this post would NOT have happened. 

Today marks my last official day of maternity leave. I will no longer single handily financially support the entire organization otherwise known as Target. No more 3 hour Hobby Lobby trips, meandering down every single aisle convincing myself it was time to redecorate my entire home. 

I took a photo every hour of the day, earlier this week, in an attempt to capture what our typical day of maternity leave looked like. I'm so thankful to have this post to look back on and remember this beautiful life we've had over the past 3.5 months!


Rise and shine!!  Hands down, one of my favorite parts of our day.

Snuggles on the couch in our pjs, while watching the local news.

And down she goes for her first nap of the day!

On a good day, we actually changed out of our pajamas around this time...

My girl just loves mornings.  She's always in such a sweet, smiley mood!

We usually break out of the house around midday. 
In this photo we were in the waiting room at the car dealership getting my oil changed.

Off to Hobby Lobby we go!  Hello Christmas d├ęcor!!

Poor girl!  Her stroller was taken over by garland, but she wasn't phased. 
She loves shopping with mom!

Phew, all the decisions wore her out.

Poor babe was so tired!  But, baby has to have food so off to Target we go.

You'll notice she's chewing on the bottle, not really drinking it. Lara's teething, so the evenings are pretty rough around our house.  We usually give her some Tylenol around 5:00 or so and then again around bedtime.  She can't usually take her 5:00 bottle unless she has Tylenol in her system because her little teeth hurt so bad.

Daddy's HOME!!!!! 

Sorry this one's so blurry!  Daddy took this for us.  Our evenings usually look like this.  Passing the baby between us while we eat dinner.  One of the only things that brings a smile to her face past 5:00 is her big sister, Belle.  Hence why she's sitting on my lap facing the dog. 

By this time, we are ALL worn out.  In fact, you'll notice my nightgown is on INSIDE OUT. 
That's because I threw it on as quickly as I could while Jon got her ready for bed amidst hysterics.

And she's out.

I didn't realize how well these pictures told our daily story until I looked back over them, after I'd climbed into bed exhausted, a few minutes after this last one was taken. 
All smiles until we inch closer to 5:00 pm. That's when the real work begins.
At the end of the day, Jon and I feel as if we've completed a relay marathon, passing the baton baby around, doing anything we can to keep her happy.  As exhausted as we are, we look forward to running the marathon all over again the next day. When our sweet baby girl finally drifts peacefully off to sleep, we realize, we did it.
We got the gold medal.

Monday, November 17, 2014

I hate this post.

I'm nauseas just sitting here beginning to type.  It's my last "official" day of maternity leave.
I go back part time for a couple weeks starting tomorrow.  I'll go back full time on December 1st. 

Right now, it feels like a part of my world is ending. 
I feel somber.
I feel anxious. 
I feel sick. 
I feel sad. 

I have loved every second of these past 93 days.
It's been 93 days since my little girl was born!
93 days of pajamas & coffee to the sound of her sweet little baby coo's watching her kick away on her playmat.

93 days full of picture taking so not to miss one facial expression.

93 days of doing absolutely nothing but enjoying every ounce of my beautiful baby. 
I know every single mother can relate to the emotions I'm feeling right now.
I know I'm not alone in the dread that comes as this day inches closer.
But unfortunately, that doesn't make it suck any less.

In fact, I just took my hands off the keyboard to pop my knuckles out of nervousness.
While I'm sick about what's to come, I also know I'm meant to go back to work.

I know some will not understand what I mean by that, and that's ok.
While I'm somber, anxious, sick and sad.
I'm also excited but anxious....and ready but not.
I want to give my daughter the world.
And I don't mean financially.
I mean by giving her the experience of relationships & growth.
I know it's good for her.
And that's what matters more to me than anything else.
 While it's good for Lara, it's also good for me.
It's good for me as a mother, it's good for me as a wife.

I commend all mothers who choose to stay at home with their children. 
I honestly believe in my core, that being a stay at home mom is the hardest job of all
It's tough. It's relentless.  There are no lunch breaks. 

And no, mascara is just not going to happen most days.
But while it's hard, it's also the most beautiful job of all.
You get to be your child's one and only.
And for some families, that's exactly how it should be.
Just not for my family.

While I will hate every second of dropping her off at daycare, I will love seeing her interact with all her new baby friends.  I will love picking her up and getting her adorable turkey picture she made out of her handprints.  I will love getting home & proudly hanging it up on our fridge.
Ya, my daughter made that!

  And most of all, I will LOVE seeing her cute little grin when mommy & daddy show up
at the end of each day.
Sure, it'll sting from time to time. It'll probably sting like hell.
 But her happiness is what brings me happiness.


So tell me, any survival tips from when you all braved the return to work?????

Friday, November 14, 2014

I judged.

I used to be one judgmental.....  

I judged the stressed out mom in the bathroom at Target, trying to juggle their diaper bag and wet wipes all while trying not to drop their baby. Why do people do this to themselves? She looks miserable! And mam, can you please move your stroller? I need to use that sink. 

I judged the parents on airplanes. I mean, who the hell would think it was ok to bring a BABY on an airplane. Can't you leave the kid with grandma or something? 

I judged the parents who could never hang out, WITHOUT the kid. Hello, didn't you know this was an adult only get together? 

I judged the parents at restaurants, letting their screaming babies ruin my dinner. You couldn't get a sitter for 2 freakin' hours?

I judged the mom walking around the mall with her bulky stroller. Bless her heart. That most be just terrible, trying to shop with a newborn and all. 

I judged the mom in line at Walmart with her screaming child on the ground, clinging to her leg in the midst of a championship meltdown. Seriously! Why aren't you DOING something to make the kid shut up?

I judged new mommies that had a baby, then overnight it was like nothing else in the world mattered BUT said baby. The incessant photo posting of said baby sleeping, bathing, drooling. Get a life lady.  A life outside your baby. 

Having a child changes you in ways you could never imagine. It opens your eyes to a world you haven't seen before. Before Lara, I had to feel with intent. In had yo remind myself to empathize with others. 

In three short months, becoming a mother has taught me compassion. It's taught me patience. It's taught me how to really love. And I'm sure it's going to teach me a hell of a lot more in the coming years. Honestly, I can't wait. 

I'm now the mom in the Target bathroom  trying to manipulate a massive amount stuff to change one tiny diaper. But caring for my daughter is not something I resent. It's the most fulfilling feeling in the world. 

I'm the mom who's brought my child to adult only get togethers. I now understand that sitters aren't always the easiest thing to come by so at times, if you want to hang with us, we're a package of three. 

We're the parents with the crying baby at the restaurant. While we do have a responsibility to take Lara outside in order to not disturb others, we actually like hanging out with this thing, fussiness and all. So yes we DID bring her to dinner with us. 

I'm the mom with the bulky stroller you just walked by at the mall. And no, it doesn't suck. I'm actually proud to tote around my girl....and the 50 pounds of bulk that comes with her. 

Is Lara screaming hysterically clinging to my leg in the Walmart check out line? No. But there's no doubt in my mind that she will be one of these days. I no longer look at that mom with judgement. I now go up and offer to help carry her bags so she can carry her screaming toddler.

And lastly, I am that new mom that seems to have lost her old self, her previous identity, because I had a baby. Just because I love my baby, doesn't mean I can't love myself at the same time.

But for the sake of being honest, when I look back at aspects of who I was, I'm glad I lost some of my "old self." I now see the world thru the lenses of motherhood. And I kind of dig it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

DIY Photo Heart

Last week I got all hopped up on Starbucks during one of my weekly Target/Hobby Lobby trips, and this was born.

If I had to count the number of pictures I've taken of Miss Lara over the past 12 weeks, it's rapidly approaching 1,000.

I mean, if you looked at this face all day...

I have printed off all the pictures I've taken since birth because I'm terrified the internets going to totally shut down one of these days due to a cyber apocalypse, and I'd lose all my online albums. 

I adore each and every picture because they all remind me of a different moment in time, and the emotion to go along with it. She's brought so much love into our lives these past few months and I didn't want to miss a thing. 

If you'd like to make your own, it was SUPER simple & super cheap. Speaking my love language right there.

4 supplies
Foam Board (30% off at Hobby Lobby), Xacto Knife
Scotch double sided tape

Total spent was less than $10 thanks to Snapfish, the online service I use to print my pics. They give me 100 free prints a month, then add in discounts found on the RetailMeNot app, I print 200-300 pictures at a time for less than $15, INCLUDING SHIPPING. 

To start, I free handed the heart without tracing. Remember it doesn't have to be perfect, you are simply using it to provide support and direction on photo placement. Your pictures will stick out all around the edges.

Then you simply begin placing photos all over the heart using the double sided tape.
Thankfully I had a pretty good 'lil helper. 

We decided to hang it up in the stairwell for now. We used some command strips so it could be moved if need be. For now, I'm digging it. I love seeing our little girl everytime I use the stairs. Makes the daily up down, up down, up down trips a hundred times more enjoyable. 

What are some creative ways you've displayed your pictures outside of traditional frames??

Monday, November 10, 2014

Birth Announcement || 12 weeks later...

Ok, ok. I'll own it. I sucked it up when it came to the whole birth announcement gig. 

If I'm being totally honest, I don't really see the point in them with Facebook and all.
But then....

I saw these.

And it was over. I HAD TO GET THEM. 

So I decided to put a little different spin on the traditional birth announcement by adding a little note on the back talking about a few things we've learned about her our first couple months home. 

I didn't share the picture I used with anyone prior to sending them out, so at least that was somewhat of a surprise to our loved ones. 

I mean, lets be honest, with the 8,000,000,000 photos of her that I post to Facebook on the regular, I think we passed the need to announce that she'd arrived into the world. 

If your in the market for announcements, head on over to Tiny Prints. They have the most unique selection to choose from, and all for a reasonable cost.
(According to me, not my husband, but isn't that always the case)

Another tip, download an app to your phone called RetailMeNot for fantastic coupon codes to just about everywhere. I saved almost $30 on my purchase.
All in all, I got 35 announcements for around $65 total. 
Happy Monday everyone!