Sunday, August 14, 2016

To My Daughter: On the Eve of your 2nd Birthday



Tonight, I rocked my one year old to sleep for the very last time.  I treasure those quiet moments, holding you on my chest, with your legs now dangling down over the side of the chair.  Every night I ask you, "what should mommy sing tonight?"  In true Lara fashion, you're typically quite decisive with, "Sunshine!"  But lately, you spend a few moments pondering between ABC's, Row Row, Twinkle Twinkle, you name it.  Tonight I suggested Happy Birthday, and you were very excited about that!  We've been singing it all weekend, so I wasn't surprised it was your bedtime song of choice. I rocked you gently for a long time, as you clung onto your huge plastic horse you got at your party Friday night.  You insisted it be a part of your bedtime routine tonight, sitting on your chest as we changed your diaper, rocking with us and of course, I tucked you in while you clung onto your horsie ever so tight.   

Tomorrow, you'll wake up a two year old....

I remember so vividly, two years ago tonight, the anticipation I felt knowing I would be meeting you the following morning.  I was so in love with you long before I laid eyes on your sweet, chubby cheeks.  Little did I know, my love for you would deepen every single day that I wake up as your mommy.



There is not a day that goes by that I don't thank the LORD for choosing me to be your mommy.  He knew exactly what he was doing when he placed you in my womb to grow.  I never thought I would be blessed with my very own daughter, so when I found out you were a precious little girl, my heart exploded.  

Watching you with your daddy is truly a gift from God, a gift I never experienced.  Your grandpa went to heaven 19 years ago.  I know he beams down from heaven everyday, watching me as a mother, watching his granddaughter grow up.  Seeing you with your daddy reminds me how my father must've felt about me....a love I never grew to comprehend because he was gone too soon.  The love I get to see in your daddy's eyes is one of my most favorite parts of being a mom.  It's a gift from God, really.  


As you continue to grow up, I watch you become more and more independent.  Fiercely independent, really.  I love your strong will, just as long as it doesn't involve you throwing spaghetti all over the kitchen walls.  Boy, was I mad at you that evening!  But you, in all your adorableness, cause the anger to drift away the moment you crawl up onto the couch to sit next to Mommy.  You point out all my freckles, insisting they're boo boo's.  Boo boo's that are in dire need of a princess band-aid, STAT! 

You're my little buddy, you know.  My best bud in the whole wide world.



Tonight you helped me clean out your baby sisters room to prepare for her arrival.  I often worry about how I'm going to love this next little girl the way I love you.  I worry about how your going to feel, watching mommy with another baby.  I have loved these past two years, showering you with all of our love and attention.  Soaking in every second of every day with just you.  I hope you always know how fiercely you are loved, even when you're no longer our only baby.  


You're going to be the best big sister; her protector, her teacher, her best friend, her shoulder to cry on, her matron of honor, and by her side as you both become Mommies.  I can't wait to watch your love for one another grow.

But no matter what, I hope you always know that though you're her big sister....you'll always be our little baby girl that changed our world, first. 

Thanks for being our "test run."  We owe ya one, kid. 
;)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Birthday & A BumpDate!

Well, hello!!  Today I've got a double whammy for y'all.  Our big girls 2nd Birthday snapshots AND a bumpdate.  I know, I'm coming in HOT. 

Our sweet girl turns TWO on Monday and last night we celebrated Miss Lara Anne and it was just perfect.  We planned for a Flamingo themed pool party and low and behold, it was calling for 70% chance of rain ALL day.  I woke up at 2:00 am the night before in a panic.  But God was in our girls corner and the rain stayed away!  Instead, it was breezy and beautiful with just enough cloud cover to provide some fantastic temperatures.


 



Cake--HyVee!


Swimsuit--Mud Pie!




Big Sis Outfit--Etsy Shop Three Wild Girls!  Amazing quality!

Little Girl Play Makeup--Etsy Shop Glamour Girl Fun!  Lara LOVES it!!

We rented out our local pool here in Pleasant Hill, which has a fantastic baby pool, zero entry with lots of fun little fountains.  The kiddos seemed to really enjoy it!  In fact, Lara was the last straggler out of the pool....she would've stayed all night had we let her. 






She came home with quite the loot and she's spent the entire day enjoying all her fun, new toys!  HORSES were the theme of the night.  I think she ended up with 10 or so!  Haha! 




She also got some new panties which we've been trying out today, unsuccessfully. ;)  She peed in her potty, but a few minutes later, she crapped and peed in a pair, so back in the diaper she went.  But hey, she sure looked cute in her little panties! Here she is showing them off to her horsie.




Now, onto my monthly BumpDate!


How Far Along: 6 Months + 4 days

Due Date:  November 30th!

Weight Gain: 5-6 lbs I think, which is shocking because I literally feel like a whale as of the past week or so.  I swear I can feel this belly growing, and it HURTS.  Lots of stretching & lots of pain this time around.

Maternity Clothes: YES!  I will admit, one of my favorite parts of being pregnant.  Dressing the bump!  Don't get me wrong, I totally dig the whole growing a little human part, but the maternity fashion, I just can't resist.  In fact, I hit the jackpot at Motherhood Maternity earlier this week and landed some adorable fall sweaters.  With Lara being born in August, I have NO winter clothes for this belly and it's going to be large and in charge, here in a few short months...
Stretch marks: Please.  I was covered in them before I got pregnant.

Symptoms: Still tired, but not near as bad these days!  Which is great!! I'm feeling like my old self and that's been nice.  As I've mentioned before, I've had lots of anxiety this go around, but feeling much more relaxed now.

Cravings: Hmmm....I'm going to say as of late, has to be frozen custard with Reeses peanut butter cups & cookie dough!

Gender: GIRL!!!!!! And boy am I having fun shopping for this nugget, as if she really needs it....

Mood:  EXCITED TO MEET HER!!

Nursery: Yeah, about the nursery.   I thought I was settled on the farmhouse idea, but I'm switching gears to more of an enchanted forest idea.  Who knows! But what I DO KNOW is that we need to get started!!  We gotten as far as buying a gallon of paint.  Said paint is still sitting on the floor with all the paint brushes, unopened.  #winning

Movement: LOTS!  In fact, our doctor will have the Doppler on my belly with her heartbeat and she'll flip around so fast it's hard for her to keep the Doppler actually ON her.  I was really hoping this little girl would be more mellow than the first, but I'm not so sure these days.

Sleep: Same.  Sleep, pee, sleep, pee, pee some more, sleep, and pee some more.

Workouts: I've only been getting to the gym 1x a week as of late due to how sore I've been.  I've now resorted to only walking on the treadmill these days because the running is just too much for the belly these days.  I did buy a prenatal Yoga DVD that I can't wait to try!

Names: Still Undecided! But a few we really love.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

20 Weeks.

Hello hello hello from the VERY HOT Kansas City!  This summer, y'all.  Phew.  This momma is melting.  I am feeling for all you ladies out there who are in your third trimester, waddling around in this heatwave!  Kudos to YOU!

Last time I blogged, we were heading out on vacation and what a BLAST it was!  I need to do a full recap, but I'll save that for another day when I have more time. 

I'm popping in for a quickie today, no pun intended. ;)

I am officially 21 weeks, but I took the photo last week at my official halfway mark.  I intended to type up a post that evening, but you know how that goes...

So let's just dive right in, shall we?



How Far Along: 21 weeks 3 days!

Due Date:  November 30th!

Weight Gain: 5-6 lbs but have slowed in the belly growth, which is a bit of a relief!  Don't get me wrong, I love showing off my growing frame, but I was large and in charge pretty early this time. Thankfully I haven't grown much since then as you can tell by the side by side comparison below.

Maternity Clothes: Oh girl, yes. 

Stretch marks: Please.  I was covered in them before I got pregnant.

Symptoms: THIS MOMMA IS TIRED!  This was one of my main symptoms with Lara, so I can't say I'm surprised at this one.  Naps happen on the regular these days.

Cravings: Sonic Cheddar Bites & Ranch!!

Gender: GIRL!!!!!!  I have to say, I was SHOCKED when we found out we would be bringing home another little girl...SHOCKED.  I was absolutely, 100% convinced it was a boy.  This pregnancy has been such a different experience,  I've had lots of anxiety this time around and overall, much harder on me physically.  So it had to be a boy, right?  WRONG.  My shock wasn't sadness, it was just that...total surprise.  I had to switch perspective of what life was going to be like.  Once I began to wrap my mind around watching our two little girls holding hands, running around the front yard together, it all became so much more real.  We could NOT be more excited!

Mood:  Anxiously excited to meet her!

Nursery: Farmhouse Chic--Can't WAIT to see it all come together, because right now, it's just a vision and a Pinterest board.  

Movement: Lots of jabs these days!  She is very active in the evenings...hopefully that's not indicative of her schedule once she arrives!  My placenta is on the exterior, which typically means you don't feel quite as much, but this girl is STRONG!

Sleep: Pee, sleep, pee, sleep, pee, sleep & dream!  Last night I dreamed I had twin girls and they were big 'ol babies!  One was 9 lbs 8 oz.  Lara was a tiny little nugget, at 6 lbs and 16 inches long....let's hope this little girl keeps with the trend!

Workouts: A few miles on the treadmill a few times a week and 21 day fix cardio here and there.  It's good to get moving again!

Names: Undecided and I suspect it'll stay that way until we meet her!


12/16/20 weeks

Hope everyone's having a great week!

xoxo,
Anne

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Vacation & A BumpDate!

It's super early, in fact the sun is just rising as I type this, but I'm too excited to sleep!  We're taking Lara on her first real vacation today!!  Growing up, my parents always prioritized family vaca's, so every single summer we'd all load up in our custom van and head somewhere fun.  

I'm so excited to be able to continue that tradition with our little one.  

We rented a lodge with Jon's parents, in the beautiful StoneBridge Resort near TableRock Lake & Silver Dollar City!  If you haven't heard of StoneBridge, click the link above.  They have tons of playgrounds, lots of swimming pools, a catch & release lake in the resort along with a championship golf course, all right outside of Branson!  If you're in the stages of planning a trip close to Kansas City, keep them in mind.  I'll provide a full review in the next couple weeks.  


We'll be there for the next 5 days and I plan to swim, boat, and amusement park the hell out of the time we have there. 

We've been on many vacations over the course of our marriage, and traveled to some pretty exotic locales, but I have to say, I'm looking forward to this one the most!  
And to think, next summer we'll be traveling with two little kiddos.... 

Which leads me into my 4 month (albeit a little late) 
BumpDate!!


How Far Along: 17 weeks, 2 days!  The photo was taken at 16.5 weeks.

Due Date:  November 30th!

Weight Gain: 4 lbs

Maternity Clothes: I cleaned HOUSE at Destination Maternity this week as Momma needed some shorts!  Listen, it's 125 degrees in KC right now and I have been dying. 

I've purchased maternity pants from many different stores, but nothing fits quite like their secret fit belly does! 
The sales are amazing right now, so hit them up preggo friends!

Stretch marks: Please.  I was covered in them before I got pregnant.

Symptoms: Lack of appetite these days, which is bizarre because I ate a cow about everyday of the first trimester

Cravings: SOUR SKITTLES!!

Gender: WE KNOW!  WE KNOW!  We found out at 12 weeks.  
Our Gender Reveal is just around the corner on the 4th of July!

Mood:  EXCITED!

Nursery: It changes weekly

Movement: Jabs here and there, and a few times it's felt like the baby was flipping totally over which was super cool!  Definitely one of my favorite parts of growing a tiny human, for sure.

Sleep: Wacko dreams.  Last night I was being chased by a 50lb tarantula.  Not sure what that's supposed to mean...

Workouts: Please.  I have a toddler.  

Names: We have about 3-5 that we bounce around between, but none of them feel like they're the one.  I have a feeling we'll be choosing once we meet....the baby.  Wow, almost spilled the beans there. ;)

12 weeks to 16 weeks



And, that's a wrap for today's post.

Have a great weekend everyone!  

Friday, June 17, 2016

Warrior Mom.

war·ri·or
ˈwôrēər/
noun

  1. 1. a brave or experienced soldier or fighter




I never really considered myself a warrior.  Funny?  Maybe.  Strong?  Eh, at times.  Wino.  Definitely yes. But Warrior.  Never.

Until I lived thru Postpartum Anxiety & Depression.  



Today, I sure as hell will wear that "Warrior" badge and will for the rest of my life.  Anything I can do to support the cause of raising awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, I will.  

Because no mother should suffer alone, in silence.  No mother should live in fear. 

I'm going to share an excerpt from one of my favorite websites, PostpartumProgress.com:  

A new study finds that death by suicide and homicide are more common than “traditional” causes of maternal mortality in the U.S., such as infection or hemorrhage.  So why is it that those traditional causes of maternal death are so much more likely to be discussed and reported?

By analyzing records from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), researchers at Georgia Health Sciences University found a total of 94 pregnancy-associated suicides — meaning women who killed themselves either during pregnancy or in the first year after birth — between 2003 and 2007.  This would work out to a rate of 2 suicides per every 100,000 births.  We don’t know whether any of these women were diagnosed with antenatal or postpartum depression, but we can guess it’s likely they were not, given the overall lack of awareness and screening for these illnesses.
The researchers also say there may be more maternal suicides of which we are unaware, because, as Science Daily reports, those numbers could be underreported, “… because the pregnancy or postpartum status was marked ‘unknown’ in the majority of female deaths in the CDC database.”

Ladies, mothers, girlfriends, OBGYN's, primary care physicians, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, pastors.  We have to get talking!  




The more we talk, the higher awareness of these disorders. The more we open up with eachother, the more comfortable society will be in talking about postpartum disorders.  As a mom, I've heard a million times, "it takes a village to raise a child."  And it does.  But Moms, use your village for you, too.  New moms, old moms, moms of toddlers, moms of teenagers, we all need eachother.  The more women open up about PPD/PPA, the less stigma there will be around the disorder, therefore moms everywhere will live in a community where it's acceptable to share the fears.  Share the intrusive thoughts.  And most of all, share the beautiful moments at the end of what feels like an endless dark tunnel!  Because there is a light.  

I've been quiet about my PPA experience here on this blog, but not quiet with those I love so dearly.  My support system that walks beside me everyday, including GOD.  I do intend to open up more about my journey with you all, but until then, please know I'm just an email away if any of you, my dear followers, want to talk.  (annedxenos@gmail.com)



Tomorrow is my very first #ClimbOut experience, Climb out of the Darkness, a day I've been looking forward to for quite sometime. I've struggled coming up with the right words to define why I'm climbing tomorrow, however, I came across  Jasmine's post and I have to say, she hit the nail on the head.  

Here is why I'm climbing:

June 18th, when thousands of women, their children, and their loved ones take to their Climbs and walks, they do so knowing that we live in a world that still doesn’t recognize the full humanity of their experiences. They do so, bravely, know that they can still be marginalized and judged. They Climb despite the realization that maternal mental health care is woefully underfunded and under supported. They Climb knowing that they must risk climbing out of the darkness in order for those around them to see real people with real suffering. They climb knowing that though they’ve seen some measure of light, there are still women dying by suicide because of the fear and stigma surrounding perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
So why raise money to fight stigma? Because the power of a story told, a woman seen, is the first step to transformation and change. We believe our Warrior Moms’ stories are worth every dollar.

Should you feel the need to donate to this cause, visit our Kansas City Climb Out team page at: https://www.crowdrise.com/tasharye-cotd2016

Where Does The Money Go?

* Free educational materials distributed upon request to obstetrician, therapy, psychiatry, support groups and pediatrician offices
* Programs like our award-winning blog, which had more than 1.6 million pageviews in 2014, and our private support forum for struggling moms, which supports more than 2,100 mothers around the world
* Annual Warrior Mom™ Conference which prepares survivors of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders to become local peer advocates for struggling moms in their own communities and to raise awareness
* Advocacy for better support, less stigma and increased services for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders

Xoxo,
Anne