Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Exciting News for Our Little Family

Our family has some exciting news to share-we're having another baby! Just kidding. As exciting as another baby would be we are enjoying loving on our one baby now and for the foreseeable future. Speaking of our one baby, becoming a mom has been the most life changing thing that has ever happened to me. I swear my heart is full of so much love for my baby boy and his dad it feels like its going to explode out of my chest. Every stage with Porter I just adore more and more.motherhood is equally hard as it is beautiful, I am tired, oh so tired, but happy. 

I went back to work when Porter was three months old and it was the hardest thing I've ever done. I honestly truly love my job and the people I work with, but every morning as I sit in Porters nursery, snuggling him as he nurses, I physically ache knowing I have to leave him again. Five days a week, for almost nine hours a day, I'm away from him. Evenings are a blur, as we try and make dinner and spend time with Porter, wash bottles and pump parts, feed, bath and bed for baby and then we get up and repeat the next day. Its been brutal and I've cried from exhaustion, from feeling overwhelmed, from feeling like I was failing in every possible area of my life: as a mom, as a wife, as an employee, as a friend. 

We've prayed for over a year now that God would open a door for me to work less, so I could be home more with Porter. In my small, human mind, I believed God would answer this prayer by giving my husband a huge fat raise and I could stay home or work part time and all our worries would disappear. But, it turns out God's plans weren't quite the plans I had so carefully laid out to Him. Last month, I was presented with an opportunity to work part time at another company, meaning I'd have to completely leave the job I have now. And we're taking a significant hit to our finances, which will require us to live a little more simply then we're accustomed to. And to us, the reward of me getting to spend a few more days at home with Porter a week far outweigh the costs. The Lord is so so faithful to us and I am just in awe of the way he has answered this deep prayer of my heart. Oh, it doesn't come without a sacrifice but no good thing does, does it?

The decision to accept the position is one I honestly struggled with. I prayed a prayer that honestly, I don't know for certain that I really believed God could answer it. I prayed it, but did I believe? And then when God answered it by presenting this opportunity that is the perfect fit for me and our family, I doubted if it was the right thing to do. Mostly, I was (and am) afraid. Afraid of change, afraid of the unknown, afraid that financially it might be hard. And it might be hard. And it might be scary. But the life I want is one where I can snuggle my baby just a little bit longer in the mornings. I want more than an hour and a half with him in the evenings before he goes to bed. I want to have time to just breathe, to enjoy my husband, to feel like my house isn't a constant battle zone I am just trying to survive in because I don't have the time or energy to do dishes and laundry and vacuum after working all day and taking care of a baby in the evening. I want to have more time with Porter where I am not trying to multitask and get dinner going and laundry folded and dishes put away at the same time. Long term, I want to be able to send Porter off to school and be there when he gets off the bus. 

This new job, its going to allow me to stay working in my career field, but work more flexible hours. I will work three days in the office, and do some additional hours from home.Its exactly what we need in this season of our life, and I am just so incredibly grateful for the way God has answered this prayer, even in the midst of my doubt. 

I'm hoping with some of my free time, that I can show up in this space a little more frequently as well. 

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Hey New Mama...Its OK!

To all the new moms, and moms to be-its okay. You don't have to have it all together. You are a GOOD mom, and God chose YOU to be your baby's mom. You are the mama he needs, and even when you feel like you have no idea what you're doing-you are doing a good job. Your baby is going to grow up knowing how loved he is, and that is the best gift you can give to him.
Sheesh. Am I the only one who sometimes needs to tell myself that over and over again before I believe it?! Because I do-often. But its okay to have doubts, its okay to worry, its okay to wonder what the heck you're doing. As a new mom, there is so much to figure out, so many new normals to get used to, and a new little person with his own likes and dislikes that you are trying to take care of. 
As a new mom, remember that it is okay:
...To let the dishes stay in the sink and the laundry sit in the basket unfolded and take a nap.
...To ask for help.
...To get back in bed with your baby and watch Greys Anatomy on Netflix when your baby won't let you put him down.
...To admit that being a mom is really hard sometimes.
...To leave the baby with Grandma and Grandpa and go on a date with your baby daddy.
...To ask for help.
...To stop apologizing when people stop by your house and its a mess.
...To choose to feed your baby however works best  for you and your family.
...To chose eating lunch over showering when you only have enough time before your baby wakes up for one.
...To have different opinions on motherhood and things like vaccines, breastfeeding, sleep training, etc. than your mommy friends-agree to disagree!
...To have your pediatricians phone number memorized because you call them so frequently when you're worried about your baby.
...Not have dinner on the table every night when your husband gets home.
...To still have 15 pounds of baby weight to lose at 6 weeks postpartum...or 6 months postpartum. Whatever! Your body did something incredible and gave life to another human-own it.
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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Porter-One Month

This post is only about two weeks late-woops!

Baby P was officially one month old on Friday. Last week I packed up almost all of his newborn sleepers and cried while I was doing it. He is a little small for the 0-3 month stuff but he definitely has outgrown the NB clothes. We're finishing up the last box of newborn diapers too, and we've been pushing it with those for at least a week. 

This last month feels like it went by so fast-I blinked and now my baby is one month old. What a life changing month it has been. Porter has been eating like a champ and growing and gaining weight really well. We went to the doctor last week and he was up to 9 pounds, 2 ounces, up from his birthweight of 7 pounds, 9 ounces! His little thighs are chunking up nicely too and his belly is really filling out. Chunky baby thighs, is there anything better?

Porter is sleeping well at night for me, he takes his last late night feeding at ten, and then eats again usually around two and six ish. He usually will let us go back to sleep until nine or ten, especially if I bring him into bed with me. Some mornings I try and wake up at a decent time but other mornings I go back to sleep with a happy heart. Porter usually sleeps in his own bed which right now is the Rock n Play or but sometimes he ends up in our bed when he's really fighting sleep or I just want some extra baby snuggles.

Porter is a really alert baby who does not just fall asleep anytime, anywhere like I thought all newborns do. Surpirse! Getting him down for a nap sometimes feels like I am going in for battle. He fights his sleep and needs to be swaddled and rocked and shushed and swayed (while standing) to get him  to sleep during the day.  He loves his swing and his mamaroo but never falls asleep in there if I put him in awake. He loves to be snuggled up close when he sleeps, but we're working on him sleeping in his bed. Its crazy to me that he sleeps better at night than during the day, but I'll take it!

He recently was diagnosed with Silent Reflux where he has acid reflux but doesn't actually spit up that often-he usually swallows it which is so sad to me and he cries and cries inconsolably about an hour after he eats, which happens to be about the time I am trying to get him down for a nap. He was just put on an antacid so we're praying that helps him feel better. Its heartbreaking to see him in pain and not be able to do anything for him! 

 Porter is nursing like a champ and he also takes a bottle of pumped milk a few times a week. Sometimes Daddy gives him his late night feed since he's hard to wake up for it and the bottle is way less work than nursing for him, and he also has been to Grandma's while mom & dad went on a date and took a bottle from Grandma too. He sleeps swaddled for every nap and at night, but always, always manages to break at least one arm out.  We love the Ollie Swaddle and it was worth every pretty penny I spent on it. 

We have been getting out of the house at least a few times a week otherwise I go a bit stir crazy. We've gone to play dates with the moms from church, to doctor appointments and to church, grocery shopping and baby clothes shopping. We've also had visitors 3-4 nights a week which has been amazing because they are all blessing us with meals and loving on baby P. Now we're back on our own as far as meals go and I am wondering how I am going to fit in prepping dinner in my day when sometimes I can't fit a shower in for a couple days and often I eat lunch at 3 PM if I eat at all! 

I can't believe my baby is one month old-oh these last few weeks have been full of the highest highs and even some really dark, sleep deprived, overwhelmed moments as well. But I wouldn't trade them for the world. He really has made my heart grow at least 10x the size it was, and I have experienced such true, unconditional love for this baby, its incredible. Somedays I can't bear to set him down because he's just growing so fast and I am afraid I'm going to miss something. I am so so thankful to be Porter's mom, to have such a supportive and involved husband, and for our community of friends and family who have been loving and encouraging us every step of the way. Porter is already so loved and I look forward to watching him grow and learn and change.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

The Best Nursing Cover Around-Covered Goods Review + Giveaway

When I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to nurse my baby boy. Besides all the health benefits of nursing, I also wanted to have that special bond with him and admittedly, I wanted to save the outrageous cost of formula. Our first few days of Porter's life, breastfeeding didn't come easy.  I felt like I was fighting with him more than I was bonding with him at every feeding, and it was such a production. I needed my nursing pillow and to be sitting straight up with my back supported and Porter needed a nipple shield to latch and it was just exhausting and hard.

I remember feeling so anxious about going out in public with him because I was so afraid of trying to nurse somewhere where I couldn't just strip off my top and cart around my nursing pillow. More than anything, I was nervous about trying to nurse him in public because I am not someone who is comfortable without full coverage of my lady parts, especially somewhere like church or around people I don't know well.

Thankfully, I had THE most amazing nursing cover and just one week after Porter was born, I decided to try it out at home when my girlfriend was over and see if I could get the hang out of nursing under a cover.  I was pleasantly surprised-my Covered Goods cover not only is lightweight, stretchy and an adorable pattern, it also covers my front AND my back, which was  a huge concern for me. No postpartum belly or back fat flashing the general public while I try and nurse is a win in my book!

By Porter's second week in the world, we went to church AND to a picnic in the park after. I didn't have to stress because I had my Covered Goods cover and was able to modestly feed Porter without exposing any part of my back , stomach or chest AND we both stayed relatively cool, despite the 90+ degree heat! Covered Goods makes special summer, lightweight covers but mine is a traditional and I still didn't overheat under it.

Breastfeeding can be really challenging for new moms, and having a cover that made me feel comfortable nursing my baby in public has been a lifesaver. I tend to go a little stir crazy so its great to be able to leave the house whenever I want and not have to plan it around Porter's next feed because I have confidence knowing my Covered Goods nursing cover is in my bag. I've already talked almost all my new mom friends into switching from the traditional covers that only provide front coverage to this amazing cover! I never feel awkward or uncomfortable while nursing in public and it provides a stress free, private way for me to nurse Porter anytime, anywhere.

Covered Goods is generously offering a $34.99 shop credit-that is the cost of one Covered Goods cover so you will just pay $5.00 in shipping- to one lucky reader and all you have to do to enter is be a Facebook fan of Grace in Grey & Covered Goods. If you're a new mom or mom to be, trust me when I say you need one of these covers. If you don't have a need for a nursing cover but know someone expecting, this is one of the most practical baby shower gifts I can think of! To enter, make sure you like Grace in Grey  and Covered Goods on Facebook and then use the Rafflecopter below to enter. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Porter's Birth Story

Porter came into the world on his own timeline and on his own terms. He was four days late, but I always had a strong feeling he wouldn't be on time. He gets that tendency from his Dad ;) I was due on Saturday, June 20th and went to see my doctor on Monday, June 22nd.  They had me scheduled for a non-stress test that day, and on Saturday I  had gotten an ultrasound to check his fluid levels. My doctor started discussing induction plans with us, and I was so disappointed because I really wanted baby P to come on his own. She said depending on his fluid levels, she would wait til Saturday the 27th to induce at the very latest, but she would be on vacation so it would have to be an on call doctor to deliver. If his fluid levels were too low at his next check on Wednesday, she was going to induce me Thursday. I prayed and prayed for Porter to make his appearance before then-I wanted my doctor to be the one to deliver but I also didn't want to induce early based on her vacation plans. 

On Tuesday morning around 4 AM I woke up with strong period like cramps. I started timing them, and they were about ten minutes apart. They weren't super painful, but painful enough they kept me awake, so I decided to take a bath and see if they stopped or progressed. By seven that morning they were still the same intensity and frequency, and I was really tired, so I texted my boss and told her I wouldn't be logging on to work from home that day and laid back down and tried to sleep. When I woke up around ten, the contractions had basically stopped. 

Later that afternoon, I lost my mucus plug & knew that SOMETHING was happening! I didn't want to get my hopes up, but I told Ronnie I thought Baby P was thinking about making his way into the world. I laid around and watched Pretty Little Liars all day, and then after Ronnie got home and we had dinner, we decided to go walk around the mall because I wanted to get things moving but it was over 100 degrees outside. I made it through one store before I was just over it and wanted to go home. I felt uncomfortable and huge and hot and bad for myself, surrounded by all those cute clothes when the only thing that fit me were yoga pants and my husbands oversized tee-shirts.

That evening, the cramps started up again really inconsistently and not too painful. We got the best sno-cones on our way home (Tigers Blood with coconut ice-cream in the middle!) and I went to sleep, hoping to wake up in labor. My wishes came true, because at 4:00 AM,  a contraction woke me up and I was 100% sure it was the real deal. The pain was much more intense then what I had been feeling the previous day, and I started timing them, and they were 5-7 mins apart. I told myself I'd wait til 5:30 AM when Ronnie woke up for work to get in the bathtub so I didn't wake him, but by 4:30, I was in so much pain I couldn't wait. I woke him up and told him I was having consistent and painful contractions and that he should probably get his bag packed and have a good breakfast. I lasted about fifteen or twenty minutes in the bathtub, and by 5:00 AM I was throwing up with every contraction. I expected to labor at home for a lot longer, but I was not tolerating the contractions well at all so by 6:30 we were on our way to the hospital!

When they checked me in around 7 AM, I was 3 cm dilated and 70% effaced. The nurse mentioned that they might have me walk around for an hour to see how I progressed but I looked at her with a sheer look of terror and told her I could absolutely not walk around! They called my doctor who told them just to admit me since I was overdue and she was planing on inducing me in the next couple of days anyway. They checked me an hour later and I was at a 4, and still 70% effaced-praise the lord I was progressing! I was still throwing up with every single contraction though so I didn't celebrate too much at this point.

At this point, the nurse asked me what my plan for pain management was and all I could say was "I want drugs." She asked if I meant epidural or IV and I remember thinking to myself that I want the GOOD stuff. Sign me up for the epidural, please and thank you. Then she left the room to call my doctor to update her on my progress and give the anesthesiologist a heads up. The nurse came back shortly after and told me my doctor wanted me to get 100% effaced before I got the epidural and I wanted to throat punch her, and my doctor.

After another grueling couple of hours, at 10:00 AM finally I was 100% effaced and in walked in my favorite person in the world-the anesthesiologist. I was so anxious for the epidural my entire pregnancy, I was terrified of the needle in my spine, terrified of something going wrong, terrified of it not working. I thought for sure it was going to be a horrific pain getting that shot in my back but it literally hurt less then the shot I gave myself once a week for my RA. Within minutes, I was feeling like a million bucks and told Ronnie I wanted to name our baby after him. The nurse said about 10 minutes after I got the epidural "Well your demeanor changed!" After getting the epidural I stopped throwing up, started smiling and laughing again, and honestly the rest of my labor was a breeezzeeee. 

My doctor showed up around 11:00 AM to check my progress and I was at a 5 at this point, so she broke my water and it looked like on the monitors that my contractions were slowing down and not very strong, so she ordered some Pitocin at 12:30. They started it at the very lowest dose and within 20 mins baby's heart rate started dropping, so they turned it off by about 1:00 PM. At 1:30 because the contraction monitor still didn't seem to be picking up contractions, they were getting me prepped for an internal monitor but when the nurse checked me before placing it, I was 9 cm dilated! 

Everyone was so surprised because they had thought my contractions had stopped or slowed so significantly, but it turns out the monitor for some reason just wasn't picking them up. At 2:30, I was fully dilated and they said they'd call my doctor to have her come back over from her office and have me labor down before I started pushing. I asked them if they could lower my epidural dosage because I was SO numb, I couldn't even feel Ronnie when he would poke or lightly hit my leg. I was worried I wouldn't be able to push being that numb, so they lowered it which helped, but I still had zero control over my legs until after he was born.

The nurse had me do a practice push at 3:00 to try and gauge how long I'd be pushing for. She told us most first time moms pushed for about two hours, so I did one practice push and she told me to stop pushing because they could see his head! I asked if he had hair and they said yes! This was the most uncomfortable part of labor, because his head was so close to crowning but I had to wait almost 30 minutes for my doctor before I could push! When my doctor finally arrived and got set up it was 3:30 and I started pushing. After a couple pushes, we waited for another contraction and all watched the monitor for at least five minutes and it looked like I didn't have one, but then my body just kind of took over and started moving the baby out itself. I was having contractions but that dang monitor for some reason wouldn't show them! At this point, Porter's heart rate started dropping again and the doctor said she might have to use the vacuum. She asked the nurses to get it prepped and right when they were bringing it in, I pushed once more and he was born at 3:56 PM!

The rest of the evening was kind of a blur between family and friends coming to visit and all the nurses in and out cleaning and weighing and measuring Porter, helping me to the bathroom, helping me try and nurse Porter (which is another story for another day), etc. We were so blessed to have so many amazing friends and family stop by, bring us meals and treats, and love on us while we were in the hospital. We also had the BEST care from some incredible nurses. I was pretty emotional those two days we spent at the hospital because of some very minor health issues with Porter and because he was struggling to nurse, but the nurses were so amazing, caring and supportive I was kind of sad to be leaving them when it was time to go home!

Porter will be one month old on Friday, and I have more blog posts about his first month of life planned, but this post is plenty long enough as it is. Kudos to you if you red the entire thing! 

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Porter's Coming Home Outfit

While I am still slacking working away on Porter's birth story, I thought I'd share his Coming Home outfit because it is so stinking cute and I am already crying over the fact he's just about to big for it already, three weeks in!

I searched and searched for the perfect outfit while I was pregnant. I looked in every single store that sells baby clothes here locally, and looked online for something that was cute and comfy but not pjs and not something he was going to sweat in considering he was due at the end of June and it ended up being 105 degrees the day we went home from the hospital.

When I stumbled on this adorable Hello I'm New Here onesie, I instantly knew it was what I wanted baby P to come home in. It is just the most precious little onesie for a brand new baby. After looking more at the shop, I Spot You, I realized Jodi, the owner was from Idaho also so I knew it was meant to be-this was THE outfit for my little guy to wear home from the hospital!  I love the onesie because its super soft and it was just big enough that if he would've been a bigger baby, he still would've fit in it. Since he was only seven pounds though he has some room to grow in it, so he can get some good use from it, thankfully!

Once I found the onesie, I went searching for a pair of leggings to match and what baby outfit is complete without a pair of baby moccs, am I right? I found the leggings/hat set from Fawn Kids clothing and his little thighs are already getting too chunky for them! I die over him in this entire outfit. I wish he could stay little and squishy forever (but sleep  longer then newborns sleep).

If you're looking for an adorable outfit for your new baby or a great baby gift, be sure to check out I Spot You on Etsy. There are so many adorable onesies and tee-shirts for little ones. This particular onesie comes in various colors, so whether you're wanting pink for a little girl or a grey for a gender neutral gift, you can find them here! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go cry now that his little feet are already just about too big for those precious baby moccs.

Onesie: I Spot You on Etsy
Leggings/Hat: Fawn Kids Clothing
Moccassins: Jaxhoo
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Monday, July 6, 2015

Porter Raymond Rasmussen

Porter Raymond Rasmussen

June 24, 2015  3:56 PM
7 pounds, 9 ounces
20 inches long

My little love joined our family almost two weeks ago , and has brought so much joy and love to our home. I am so in love with my son, with being a mom, and watching my husband be a dad. We are all doing well, and have been so loved on and cared for by our family, friends and church community. I meant to get this up some time last week but it turns out babies require a lot of your time and attention.  I am in awe of this perfect, perfect gift. 

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Monday, June 8, 2015

The End Is Near

Saturday marked 38 weeks for me and this (not so little) bean. That means that in two(ish) weeks, we will have a real live baby to take care of and I am so excited to finally meet him. Now days, I have not shortage of concerned and caring people in my life, asking how I am feeling and I go back and forth between being overly jovial and replying "Great! Everything is wonderful" and just grunting in reply. Mostly, though this is how I want to reply to everyone:

We are ready for this baby. His nursery is done, his clothes are washed, we have bottles and binkies and swaddle blankets and baby moccs (SO MANY moccs) coming out of our ears. Now all we have left to do is wait patiently. Except, waiting patiently has never ever been one of my top skills in life, so I'm basically working my way down this list of natural ways to go into labor my friend Karissa sent me. The list is literally the funniest thing I've ever read. Run up and down stairs? FAT CHANCE. Tell my body to go into labor, but also don't think about labor. Perfect. Have sexy time? Not a chance at this stage in the game.

I did try the walk thing, and me, Ronnie and Jak took off for an hour long walk yesterday morning and when Jak kept stopping in the cold, wet grass to lay down and roll around because he was so exhausted, hot and out of shape, I seriously wanted to join him. That one hour walk plus thirty minutes of grocery shopping after literally put me out of commission the rest of the day and all I could do was lay on my couch like a beached whale and try and not spill my extra-large blue rasberry icee on my self.

Speaking of that icee, what I really NEEDED was a Tigers Blood sno-cone, and one of Ronnie's friends who was coming over to watch basketball agreed to pick me up one on his way over. He went to three different sno-cone shacks before giving up since it was Sunday and the world was against me. Bless his heart. The icee was delish, but I am going to need that sno-cone in my life tonight because its all I can think about. 

OH. Its also my last Monday in the office, praise, glory, hallelujah. I am running out of clothes that fit this huge belly and I'm not sure I can come up with five work appropriate outfits this week. I almost spent too much money on size large maxi dresses at Target this weekend until I realized I was being a crazy human and since I have less than two weeks, I can suck it up and do laundry more than once a week. Starting next week, until whenever baby makes his appearance, my work is gracious enough to let me work from home and I cannot wait. I think they're tired of hearing me complain and secretly can't wait to get rid of me. 

This was quite possibly the most pointless post I've ever wrote, but a quite accurate depiction of where my head is at. I keep telling myself less than two weeks til baby is here, but we all know most first baby's are quite comfy up in that womb and are in no hurry to exit, so I am trying to prepare myself for a July baby so I am not disappointed if this baby is a tad bit late. Ask me how that is going on June 21st. Or don't because the questions are already coming and I'm trying to have a happy heart about my well meaning friends and family who are just real excited to meet this little guy.

This week I am going to try and make a real attempt at putting together a coherent blog post. I have been meaning to post his coming home outfit for the past couple weeks, so maybe this week will be the magical week where I can find enough energy to do more than lay on my couch every night after work. No promises though, friends. 

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Friday, May 29, 2015

37 Week Bumpdate

Size of the baby: He's likely over six pounds, and apparently the length of a swiss chard. Never have I ever known what that vegetable looked like until I looked it up today, but that's about 19 inches.

Gender: A little prince 

Maternity clothes: Currently growing OUT of all my maternity clothes. Maybe TMI, but if I am at home I am likely not wearing pants. I've started stealing Ronnie's t-shirts because they're way more comfortable than my own clothes.

Movement: Every single second, basically. He is an active guy, which is perfectly fine for me so I never have to worry if he's doing okay in there!

Sleep: I will take as much as I can get! I am waking up constantly to pee and to adjust and get comfortable, but I also have been napping whenever I can.

Nursery: It is DONE! You can see the nursery reveal here.

Craving: Diet Coke, ice cream, and pineapple.

Symptoms: My symptoms include feeling really, really pregnant. My legs and feet and hands are swollen and standing up for more than about fifteen minutes makes me feel like I ran a half marathon, but other than the normal 9 months pregnancy aches and pains, I am doing good!

Exercise: I took a walk on Monday if that counts for anything.

Ronnie is: Reading baby books to our little guy in the evenings, and sometimes he says "HELLO BABY. This is your dad." In a really loud, booming voice. And I just about die laughing every time.

 Looking forward to: My work baby shower today! My girlfriends threw me an incredible shower last month and today my coworkers are throwing me a shower and I seriously am so touched by everyone's kindness and support, it makes me a little emotional. And of course, looking forward to having our baby in our arms finally!

Best moments: Yesterday was the happiest mail day ever for me and baby! I ordered some nice pj's to wear after delivery in the hospital from Victoria's Secret, these Little Unicorn swaddle blankets came, and my friend Stacey delivered the best little care package with baby moccs, magazines, bubble bath, chocolate and a candle. Ronnie also installed the car seat which makes this whole baby thing SO REAL to look in the backseat and see it just waiting back there for him to make his arrival!

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Baby Boy Nursery Reveal

I am so excited to share with you what I have been working on for the past almost NINE months! A couple weeks ago I shared the Nursery Sneak Peek, and now the nursery is finally done and I am basically satisfied with it, aside from a few minor details I may adjust (like the shelf above the changing table).

I really never had a certain "theme" I wanted to decorate the nursery in. I scoured Pinterest, stalked other blogger's nursery reveals, and paid attention to what caught my eye and I settled on a navy blue, grey, and white theme with dark furniture, and I wanted this little guy's nursery to reflect some overall words and ideas to live by. I also knew that the room wasn't big by any means, so I didn't want to overwhelm the small space with too much clutter and busyness and did my best to keep it somewhat simple + peaceful for a little one.

After we painted the wall (okay, we hired someone to paint it because neither of us is as meticulous or patient as you have to be to have perfect stripes on a wall) the first thing I bought for the nursery was the big, gorgeous BRAVE sign from House of Belonging. I was drawn to the wood sign because it was exactly what I want for my little boy. To be brave, even when he's afraid. To be courageous, even when the world is dark. For him to bravely be himself in a world that pushes us to bend to others ideas and expectations.  For him to boldly and bravely pursue Christ, living a life that glorifies Him.

Baby Boy Nursery

I happen to absolutely adore the women behind House of Belonging. It is a custom, hand-crafted shop and each piece is created with love, custom made and unique. The owner of the shop is one of the most inspiring women I've had the pleasure of meeting, and her daughter does the design work of the gorgeous pieces. I am constantly inspired and encouraged by Tiffini on their Instagram account, her faith and love for Jesus is written all over her words and her work. I had a hard time just ordering one sign, and I came really close to ordering this Peter Pan piece for the nursery, as well as this the Romans 12:12 piece for my living room but my lack of wall space + budget forced me to reign myself in!

  Baby Boy Nursery Baby Boy Nursery Baby Boy Nursery Baby Boy Nursery Baby Boy Nursery

Once I had the sign as the central focal piece in the room, I easily started collecting other pieces of decor that fit in, like the Be Strong and Courageous sign designed by Lindsay's Letters, the globe + world map, the tribal prints from West Ember Studio. The ottoman pictured here was one of the most difficult pieces to find, and is actually the second one I purchased. I bought one and didn't love it and then when I saw this little floor poof at TJ Maxx, I snagged it and returned the first one.

Ironically, the day after I took these pictures, I found the most perfect navy blue side table + gray and white lamp for the nursery. I had been looking for what felt like forever for a small side table that wasnt too big and was the right color for the area that I basically gave up and told myself I would just put a lamp on the window seal if I needed a lamp for nursing in the middle of the night. Of course, I found the perfect pieces (ON SALE) right after I gave up, right? It turns out that photographing the nursery is no easy task because A. the room is pretty small, and B. the lighting has to be just right because of the way it comes in through the big window and creates terrible shadows for pictures. Being 9+ months pregnant, I couldn't find the energy or motivation for retaking, re-editing, and resizing all of these pictures so you just have to take my word for it that the table and lamp are a great addition to the room.

Baby Boy Nursery

His closet is still somewhat of a work in progress, but all the cubbies + baskets makes my organized, type A personality go all heart eyed. In the lower baskets I have one bin with bibs, one with toys, one with shoes, and one with swaddle blankets. In the blue bins on the top shelf, I have six month and up sized clothes, extra diapers/wipes, winter/other off season stuff, etc. I am so in love with kids books and have to refrain myself from buying a new book every time I walk into any store so I know that the shelf with the moccasins will eventually have more books in it, but it looked silly empty so the Freshly Picked Moccasins got their own cubby for now.

Thats his nursery in all its glory-now all we need is a BABY!  If you're looking for gorgeous wall decor for a nursery or maybe even for a master bedroom or your living room, go check out House of Belonging. They've generously offered to give my readers a special deal-15% off any sign in their shop with code CHOOSELOVE15! Check them out on Etsy + Instagram if you love gorgeous pictures of beautifully designed and decorated spaces with encouraging and inspiring words. If you're like me, you'll find at least three things you need for your home within five minutes!

Also, if you're interested in knowing where I got any of the products a good first guess is Target (all the big furniture + the rug) but feel free to ask me in a comment and I'll happily tell you! Again, the amount of time + energy to list every thing in the pictures seemed too overwhelming but if you have specific questions, definitely ask!

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Bringing Home Baby | Nursery Sneak Peak

I have been hard at work getting the nursery ready for little baby Rasmussen. It has easily been one of my favorite parts of this pregnancy, dreaming up the design and feel and then little by little, piece by piece, watching that vision in my head come to fruition! My dream for the nursery was a space that is cute enough for a baby, but also mature enough to not have to do an entire overhaul on the nursery when my little baby starts to grow into a big boy. When I was creating the nursery, I wasn't drawn to any certain themes, and I wanted to avoid the cartoonish bedding/decor sets that are in all the big box stores like Target and Babies R Us, so I chose a color palate, and then started looking for decor that would work together and symbolize who Ronnie and I are as a couple and baby's parents, as well as what we wish, hope and pray that his life holds for him.

Baby Boy Nursery Prints
When I came across these prints on Pinterest, I pinned them immediately. At that point, I didn't know if I was having a boy or a girl, but I knew that if it was a boy, these prints had to go in the nursery. Be Brave, Dream Big, Stand Tall and Find Adventure. This is my hope and prayer for my son, and once I found out that indeed I was carrying a son, I got to work on my nursery inspiration board and loved how well the colors of the prints complemented the navy and grey color scheme I'd chosen for the nursery. Here is a little sneak peak of one corner of the nursery, and I can't wait to show the rest of it to you guys soon!

Baby Boy Nursery Prints Baby Boy Nursery Prints Baby Boy Nursery Prints

The designer of these prints, Sammiey from West Ember Studio sent me the kindest email back in January, thanking me for including her shop in my Nursery Inspiration Post, and instantly, we clicked. Sammiey is easily one of the kindest people I've come across in this blog world. Sammiey is a talented designer and photographer, and when she was pregnant with her second baby, one of her friends pinned the tribal print set, and it went viral and her little Etsy shop took off and her business grew. It allowed her to quit her job at a bank to stay home with her little ones and start her photography business in Washington.  All of the proceeds from her shop go to allowing her to stay at home and be with her babies and THAT is something I am so thrilled to be able to help support. 
I can't wait to show you more of the nursery in the next few weeks. Stay tuned for a full nursery reveal. Until then, go check out West Ember Studio and browse all the amazing products she has. Sammiey has generously offered to giveaway one 8x10 print of your choosing. Entering is super easy with minimal entries, so make sure you go visit West Ember Studios and find a great print for your home, nursery or office! Use code HELLOEMBER for 10% off your order to celebrate her new website's grand opening.

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And because Ollie, the diva of the house can't let me take a single blog picture without getting in the picture, here you go. Even he approves of the new prints in the nursery. He is 100% convinced the nursery is his room and that I've been furiously designing and decorating it for his enjoyment. He is going to be in for a rude awakening in a few short weeks!

Baby Boy Nursery Prints

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Motherhood Anxiety

Photo Credit: Day Three Studios
Pregnancy has mostly felt forever long to me, but on the other hand, the time remaining before I have a real live baby in my arms can be counted in days now, in single digit weeks. Yikes! I have been a tad bit really emotionally crazy lately, flip-flopping between "OMG I want my baby here NOW" to "I am SO not ready to be responsible for a real life living breathing tiny human." I basically have about 1000 fears and worries about becoming a mom, and although I know that God has perfectly designed me to be this little boy's mom, I still struggle with most of these things on a daily basis.
I am anxious because we have two animals, Jak and Ollie who both happen to really dislike children. Jak, our Australian Shepard is a gentle-spirited dog but he gets anxious so easy and when he is scared or feels threatened, that is when he turns aggressive. Our cat, Ollie is just a mean, spicy cat who thinks biting is for playing. My friend Lea was in town with her toddler who loved both the cat and dog and its safe to say, the feeling isn't mutual. I was a walking ball of nerves the whole time, praying that our dog didn't just run out of patience and snap at the baby after he lovingly pulled his fur for the fifth time in an hour. Luckily, he didn't but I already have anxiety about our son who will be harassing both the cat and the dog for many years to come.
There is a plethora of Pinterest "Post Delivery Survival Kits" that include really terrifying things like medicated pads and little bath things for your hoo-ha and spray bottles and numbing cream and generally stuff I was much better off not knowing even existed. Now, I know they're out there and that delivery is going to be traumatic enough that I am going to need those things. I just want to live in denial about the entire getting this child out of my body process because I am not ready to go there mentally. Also, though I appreciate the supportive comments from other first time moms who haven't given birth yet that try and reassure me it won't be that bad, I don't believe you! Moms who have been there, done that are ALL about those frozen medicated pads and that is terrifying enough.
I am really worried I am not going to be able to nurse my baby, and am dealing with a lot of fear and guilt when I think about having to formula feed. The medication I take to manage my Rheumatoid Arthritis hasn't been 100% cleared for breastfeeding, and miraculously, I haven't needed it while pregnant because my body has gone into remission, but my doctor has started mentally preparing me because most women flare in the immediate weeks after giving birth. At that point, I would have to choose whether or not to live with the pain and nurse, or take my medication and have to formula feed. I've always wanted to nurse my children, and have always imagined doing so, so I feel like I am going to have to grieve that loss if I am not able to. Other moms don't even mean to do it but they just assume I am going to nurse when we talk about all things baby and though its my hope and prayer I am able to, I also worry about looking like a "bad mom" which I know is prideful and unimportant in the grand scheme of things.
I am sick to my stomach about our decision for me to go back to work after my maternity leave. Financially, me staying home full time isn't an option at this point, and it seems like I am surrounded by friends and acquaintances who all stay home, and again, I worry about not being as good as a mom if I leave my three month old baby with someone else five days a week. I think it may be a little easier if I had any close friends who also were working moms but I don't and I feel really alone in that area . Its also definitely hard to discuss with my friends who are (or will be) stay-at-home moms because they were able to make the decision to stay at home where I feel like that decision is really out of my control, and I just need to suck it up.
I am sorry about the downer of a post-these are just some of the fears that I have been working through over the past few weeks. As I prepare for motherhood, I don't want to document just the good things, I want to let myself feel the joy as well as the anxiety and see how God uses it in my life. If you have any tips/suggestions/insight I'd LOVE to hear, I am welcoming any advice or thoughts on any of these areas. If you're a mom, what are/were some of your fears before baby came?

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Friday, April 24, 2015

How To Care for a New Mom

Photo Credit: Day Three Studios

The other day, while looking over my list of all the things that I still need to do before baby boy makes his appearance I panicked a little bit. I absolutely can not believe we are just eight short weeks (give or take a week or so) away from meeting our son! We haven't chosen a pediatrician or toured the hospital, my bag isn't packed and the nursery isn't complete, and the list goes on. Luckily, we still have two months to prepare though and I have a lot of very generous friends and family who are so helpful as we get ready for our world to completely change.

I think this is the season of babies because many of my friends have either just had a baby or are pregnant and getting ready to welcome their baby into the world like I am. Until I got pregnant, I didn't realize just how much work babies are before AND after they're here. I also probably didn't do a wonderful job of caring for my friends who were new moms because I just was clueless. I decided to turn to some of my favorite blogger friends who have recently had babies for some advice on how to best care for a new mom. There are so many great suggestions from these ladies, and if you are like me and have a lot of friends expecting in the next few months, I hope these are helpful to you! Make sure you go stop by each of their blogs too to learn more about them, their sweet babes and soak in all their advice and wisdom!

From someone who went from being a clueless friend who did not do the right things to a new mom whose friends didn't necessarily do the 'right' things, this is what a mom needs after having a baby: an enthusiastic community; miscellaneous things from the store; a clean house; showers; rest; food. OK, so you might not be able to help with all of these things, but you can help with some of them. Here is what I would recommend:

Offer to visit ASAP after the baby is born, but don't demand it and don't overstay your welcome!If you are a close friend or family member, offer to visit right away, if you're an acquaintance, wait a few weeks. I had some best friends visit us in the hospital and I loved it! Other people might be overwhelmed by offers to visit, so just feel this one out, but at least express excitement to meet the new baby right away. New parents want their community to love their bundle of joy as much as they do!

-If you live close to the new parents/baby, text or call before you run to the store to see if they might need something.
-Give a gift of a one-time house cleaning service that the new parents can use when they start feeling really overwhelmed by the dust piling up on their furniture.
-If you're a good friend or family member, offer to watch the baby while the mom showers or rests for a bit. Definitely don't expect her to entertain you when you come to visit!
-Cook. Bake. Don't show up to a new baby's house empty-handed. Bring take out. Personally, we had so much pasta and junk food when Clara was born that I was craving salads - so bring healthy & fresh food if you can! If you can't cook, bring a favorite baby product or cute outfit or maybe even flowers.

I am a first time mom and had my son Bennett in December and honestly, I had a really hard time accepting help from others before and after I had him. At first I wanted to prove to everyone that I could handle it all (Type A personality...) and that I didn't need anyone's help, but I finally realized that I was going to run myself into the ground if I didn't allow others to help, at least a little bit : ) One of the best things, in my opinion, was the fact that my house was spotless when we got home from the hospital. When you are 40+ weeks pregnant the last thing you want to do is clean your house so it was nice that my mother-in-law did that for us while we were at the hospital. It was so incredibly nice to come home to a home that was clean, had fresh flowers, and a beautiful glowing Christmas tree.

 Another thing that was really great for us was that our small group from church set up a meal train for us and took turns bringing dinner to us every night for a few weeks. Even if we didn't eat the meal that night we were able to freeze a ton of it and had meals for a while! This was really nice because for about two weeks I had a tough time getting around and spent most of my time on the couch trying to recover. Even something as simple as coming over and holding someone's newborn so they can take a shower really does mean so much to a new mom. It is hard to find time for yourself when you are trying to recover and take care of a new baby at the same time. I appreciated everyone who did anything for us and can't wait to return the favor when my friends have babies!

A little over a month ago, we welcomed our second child into the world. The months leading up to my labor and delivery I went back and forth between feeling very prepared and worrying about how I would do even the most normal of things (like cook dinner, grocery shop, etc.) successfully with a toddler and a newborn. Thankfully, we are blessed with a ton of great people around us and we were well taken care of and loved on during the early weeks of my daughter's life. The week before she was born, two of my sisters took a gift card and went to Walmart, buying all of the groceries I needed for making my freezer stash and then cooked and froze all of those meals for us. It was a huge blessing to not have to go shopping and prep those meals at almost 9 months pregnant, and was it was so great to have when the meals people brought by ran out.

My little sister also ran to the grocery store for me a few times after our daughter was born to grab some basics that we had run out of, which allowed me to focus on my babies without the stress of getting dressed and getting two kids into the grocery store! For me, it was a huge relief to send someone with my debit card to go get things we needed rather than stress about getting out or making my husband go!

As far as what helped me most in the first two weeks, having my mom stay with me was number one! I could wake her up and ask her questions in the middle of the night, I could lean on her for support and advice, I could cuddle her when I needed comfort, I could break down and cry when I needed to and feel comfortable. Granted your hubby is there for that too, but sometimes a girl just needs her mama and having your first baby calls for needing your mama. She's been there of course!

 Also, our church provides a service for moms where other moms sign up on a calendar for the first month and bring you meals. This is still a blessing for us right now since we are still receiving the blessing of food. I have no energy to cook. It's hard enough to find time to shower so having meals and treats brought over is incredible and comforting and a huge stress reliever! One less thing you have to think or worry about.