This Is How I Feel, XV

When my brother-in-law asked my husband and I if we were going to have a sex party. 

When I realized he meant "gender reveal party." (He honestly thought you called a gender reveal party, a sex party.) 

When I found out we were having a little girl and I realized I was finally free to purchase all those adorable headbands and bows I see other moms put their girls in. 

When think I forgot to pack diapers in the diaper bag, but then find one crumpled up in a pocket somewhere.

When I think about Eli growing up and getting married and not living with me forever. 

When we are at the park and someone comments on how cute Eli is and I want them to know that 1/2 of his genes come from me.

When someone asks me what Eli's glasses are for. HIS EYES?

When I want to feel sorry for myself because I'm pregnant and uncomfortable and no one understands. (Except for the millions of other women who have been and currently are pregnant, but in the moment, they don't count.)

When trying to figure out how I yet again lost just one sock in a pair from the washer to the dryer. How do those little things disappear so quickly?

When I give Eli food that's a little too hot and he tries to pull it out of his mouth while crying.

When I hear someone without kids tell me how their imaginary kid would or would not behave.

When Eli walked the catwalk for the first time and I realized he was a natural:

When I realized that I didn't squeeze my legs tight enough in preparation for a sneeze. #preggoproblems

When Eli flicks his milk straw and shoots milk everywhere.

When someone asks me what my biggest lesson learned has been as a mom:


Building A Capsule Wardrobe for Babies and Toddlers - Can It Be Done?

One thing I wasn't expecting when I was looking forward to having a baby was the frustration that baby clothes would cause me. Waaaaay back when I was pregnant with Eli, I ordered a whole bunch of clothes for him in the 6-9 month range. I found skinny jeans for $4 and shirts for $2. I stocked up with what I *thought* he would need, spending about $30, but in the end, I think Eli wore maybe two of the shirts I bought him and his chubby thighs never even fit into the oh, so trendy skinny jean.

Beyond basically skipping the 6-9 month clothing stage, Eli has crazy chubby feet, and while we received a couple adorable pairs of TOMS sneaks and Minnetonka Moccasins, I don't think I'm ever going to be able to get his feet into them. I've been trying them on his feet once a week for at least two months and while the length should work, his little bricks are just too wide to fit. In addition, because we knew we were having a boy, we were gifted with an insane amount of baby boy clothes in the 0-6 month range from generous friends and family. While Eli was super well dressed, he rarely needed to wear the same outfit twice and I felt like I ended up boxing up clothing that was basically still brand-new. I think I have two huge tubs of clothing in the basement, most of it in perfect condition. 

I've been thinking a lot about baby/toddler clothing lately and what the best strategy is surrounding it. It's great to plan ahead and find sales, but I've found that I've actually wasted some money on super-sale clothing, because it seems like you never really know what size your child will be. Will you have a chubby baby or a skinny baby? You can't predict that. Eli was a chubbers, and essentially skipped the 6-9 month clothing, and to accommodate his thighs, he wore pants that were two sizes bigger than his shirts - meaning he never wore many of the pants we purchased or were given to him. Plus, he didn't really wear shoes until he was in size three since he was a late walker - but then again, from what I hear, he sorta has small feet and kids his age seem to be more in size five. So again, you can't predict.

I have friends that are masters at the garage sale, but the drive, hunt and search method really isn't my thing and I do think I can find pretty good deals while sitting my pretty little self on my well-worn couch cushions. And as I've talked with them, many of them have admitted that their children never wear all the clothes they purchase  - so even if they are $.50 or $1, they're still wasting money.

I'm not sure which is better - not wearing 10 $1 shirts or not wearing three $4 shirts. Okay fine, the garage salers still probably win, but I suppose I like to count my time and sanity as worth some money since the garage sale isn't as enjoyable for me.

I've been toying lately with the idea of a capsule wardrobe for kids. I've looked around online a bit, and haven't really seen anyone doing it - particularly for babies and toddlers. At this age, they do run through a lot of clothing, so I know know it'd have to be quite a few pieces, but I think it could be done. I've been sort of amazed at how well stains come out, particularly with lots of my DIY laundry detergent and a solid shot of Tide stain remover here and there.

At this point, Eli is wearing all 12-18 month clothes and we're running pretty skinny with 10 casual shirts, three dress shirts, two hoodies, one sweater, three pairs of shorts, three paris of pants, three rompers, three p.j.'s, and one pair of shoes (sandals). That's 29 items, about the typical 30ish piece capsule wardrobe, but I still think it could be less. It's a little tough because we live in Minnesota, which means while there are definite seasons, you still need warm clothing in the summer because it can get pretty cool some days.

He's been lengthening out a lot over the past few weeks, and I can tell he's going to be moving up sizes soon - but instead of just going out and buying whatever I think is cute and on sale, I want to be smart about it and feel like every piece that comes into our house has a purpose. I know that as he continues to get older, he'll naturally move less quickly through the sizes and hopefully will have time to actually "wear out" clothing, but I'm curious what the best method for this stage is. In addition, I'd like to do the same thing for baby girl. Since we dress Eli pretty "boy" nothing but the white onesie is going to cross over, so I know I'll need to get her a wardrobe. The other day I was on shopping for her and I had my cart loaded with about eight items, all $4 or less, but I just couldn't bring myself to purchase anything because of how wasteful I felt with Eli.

I'm not sure what the right answer is here, and likely I'm just over thinking it. But I'm curious - anyone out there find a good method of outfitting their littlest ones without going overboard? I'd love to hear any tips for streamlining the wardrobe of babies and toddlers and where you find the best deals! Plus, if it's of interest, I'll keep you all updated on where we end up!

Hey Momma: Where Have All The Good Times Gone?

Lately I've sensed a theme on the internet. A collective sighing. A community commiserating together over their lot in life. The ones in the weeds. With the burdens. In the thick of it. In the trenches. The covered in poop all day, the cleaning up the same mess 6,000 times, the five plus years of no sleep, and the endless mountains of laundry.

The trials and hardships of motherhood seem to be on display front and center more than ever lately.

It seems like everyone's writing and talking about how hard it is to be a mom. How much anxiety and worry there is. How hard it is to understand us and what we're going through. How different we are than everyone else. How our bodies have never been the same. How our marriages aren't either. How guilty we feel all the time. How our house is covered in toys and cheerios and we don't think we'll ever stop finding cheese between the couch cushions. How we never get to eat. To sleep. To drink hot coffee. To see a movie in the theaters. How we used to be fun and now we don't have time to be. How heavy our love is. How it might just break us in half. How we're exhausted, depressed, confused and depleted.

And I get it. I think most of it comes from a good, and true place. And I think it's so important for mother's (and anyone) to feel identified with, understood and not alone. And often when we're being our most vulnerable, it's usually about tough, difficult things. But lately, I feel like I'd be hard-pressed to find more than an handful of posts and discussions about how wonderful motherhood is. It just seems like the message lately is that motherhood is nothing but hard and how we have to watch closely in the little moments to find any good in our day.

And that couldn't be further from the truth.
When I look at my son, I feel like I can honestly say that 90+ percent of the time all I'm thinking during the day is, "This. Is. Awesome. I can't believe this is my life." And I think, I hope - that other mothers feel that way too ... ?

Mommas! Where have all the good times gone? Where are the joys, the laughter, the smiles, the magic of motherhood? I know it's still there. Why are we not talking about it? Because if I were to judge motherhood and whether I'd want to step foot into it by what I'm reading, I'd be petrified.

And the reality is - as much as we like to say we are - we are NOT covered in poop all day. Hooray for being able to change shirts! And for children growing out of the newborn-blowout-every-five-seconds stage!

Guess what else? Moms actually do sleep! Crazy, right? Yes, there comes a day when most moms, most nights get at least 6-8 hours of sleep IN A ROW. Shocker, I know. You'd never guess from all our talk of tired eyes, sick kiddos and dreaming about getting more sleep.

And plastic toys that make our eyes sore? They can be hidden in these marvelous inventions called baskets. Cheese and cherrios can be *usually* relegated to the high chair. And sometimes? We only clean up the same mess three times a day instead of commonly reported 6,000.

Oh and eating. Yes, we do have time to eat. It might not be the long, luxurious, drawn out dinners lingering over a glass of wine whenever we want like it used to be. But we find ways, don't worry. Sure, there are seasons when we don't get to eat when we want to or at the temperature we'd like to, but we do eat. Beyond keeping those children alive, our other priority is keeping ourselves alive - and that includes eating. Contrary to how we make it sound, food is apart of our daily routine.

There are lots of hyperbolys that we mothers like to lament about. And there is a seed (or more) of truth to all of them. But what I wish we would talk about more is how motherhood pretty much takes the cake for the most fun thing you can do in your life.

Hearing your kid laugh for the first time will make it your daily mission to make them laugh again, and again, and again. And you'll keep having that feeling even when you hear them laugh for the 52,000th time. Seeing them crawl, then walk, then run, then jump and on and on will make your heart more full than anything this world has to offer. Listening to their stories, whether it's just jibberish coming out or a full-on elaborate fairy-tale they made up is something you'll find you prefer over watching any T.V. show or reading any book. Snuggling with them in the middle of the night is far better than snuggling with your pillow. (Okay. Fine - usually. Only if they too actually want to snuggle. Not when they want to roundhouse kick you in the face - er, play.)

Watching them kiss their stuffed animals 432 times in a row, sing into a fan and freak out over getting to play with a box and styrofoam packing peanuts is way more fun than anything I ever did as a DINK. Seeing my son smell - not just flowers - but leaves and grass and trees and garden hoses and shovels, because he thinks that's what normal people do - makes my day. And don't even get me started on the joy of seeing other people enjoy your kid and think they're as funny as you do. Now that will fill up your love-tank to run for a loooong time.

If you're a soon-to-be mom, or someone who's thinking about being a mom, please know, that motherhood is SO FREAKING FUN. And veteran moms - you know that too. I know you all know it - so why not talk about it more? Yes, there is a place for us to support each other in the hardship, to find hope and friendship through the trials, because motherhood isn't a cake-walk - and there are days that the things I mentioned above do feel all too true - but let's balance our woes with all the other awesome things we get to do all day. Let's tell the expectant mom that she's about to have the most fun she's ever had in her life and it's gonna be one wild and awesome ride. Let's give motherhood a good name and inspire other people to want to become moms.

Most days are so, so good. We do wear clean clothes. We do have time to brush our teeth, wash our hair, eat our breakfast and drink our coffee. It certainly looks different than it did pre-children. But I'm a firm believer that the new look is a whole lot better than the old.

Where have all the good times gone? Nowhere. They're right in front of us. Each and every day. Running circles around our legs and giving us more fun than we've ever had before.

Getting Back To Routine

I'm not sure how long it has been since I've taken my prenatal pills. We've been traveling every weekend for a little over a month and I've been all outta sorts. While I love seeing family, visiting new places and eating out, I'm glad to be back home and hopefully getting back to our usual routine. I feel like I need to go on a cleanse after all the eating and drinking (don't worry, just coffee!) I did. As I was meal planning last night, Mike even asked for a few salads - I put five on it.

Salads er'day for this family, folks.

I've got about three weeks before we start up the traveling again for another monthish, so I know my dream of routine will be short-lived, but I'll take it. I know much of this traveling is hard on Eli - our "bedroom made of sheets" method of having him sleep in the same room as us didn't work for long - only one trip, and I think it was partly from teething and a cold, and partly just because he was sleeping in a new place every four days and it was difficult for him. Hopefully he can get back to his usual King of Sleep-self - and to taking regular baths. Anyone notice it gets especially bad behind their ears? Now I finally understand the saying ...

I've got a lot I want to get done in the next few weeks for baby girl's nursery and Eli's big boy room - I was looking at the calendar this morning and I feel like she's coming in three weeks rather than three months! It got real as I saw the "weeks to go" number in BabyCenter drop lower than how many weeks along I am. With that, the posting might be a little light around here over the next few weeks as I try to focus things I need to get done in my "real life" - but I'll be here as often as I can, promise!

So here's to Monday's sometimes being good days - especially when it means you're home and getting back to routine.

Worth Sharing

Ahh, Stitch Fix. They're amazing. They're horrible. Seems like the pendlum keeps swinging back and forth on them. While I've stopped my Fixes for now since I'm preggers (Even though they say they'll give you regular clothes that can work as maternity.), I'm thinking I'd like to give it another shot or two come next spring. (Who am I kidding, there's no way I'll lose the baby weight by then - so maybe two springs from now?) But this article on $25 shorts from Nordstrom Rack showing up in a Fix for $68 is a pretty big deterrent. Yikes.

I've found myself getting more and more into listening to talk radio, podcasts, sermons and even audio books - and it's upped my information intake a crazy amount. But here are some thoughts on when reading (or listening to anything) is rude.  I think I'd have to agree. Although I'd love to walk Target with my earbuds in.  

Notes on parenting from Michelle Duggar - I'd "hear, hear" all her tips. 

Outside the confines of these pages on the web, Facebook is my main way of interacting with you all. I've never been crazy about the Facebook-machine, but I see it's value in some ways and so I hang out there, hoping you all will visit. If you're not a blogger, I'll just tell you that Facebook is probably one of blogger's biggest thorns in their flesh. It has a more difficult algorithm to figure out than Google and is constantly changing, so even if you want to see my (or any other page or friend's) updates, you may not, just because Facebook is a machine, not a human, and it's meant first and foremost to make money - not keep you connected with friends and brands. Two articles recently came out about the Facebook Like that I found fascinating - and a true testament to the prior sentence. "I Liked Everything I Saw On Facebook For Two Days. Here's What It Did To Me." and "I Quit Liking Things On Facebook For Two Weeks. Here's How It Changed My View Of Humanity."  Both show the power or rather Facebook's powerful use of the Like. While I'm not sure I want to deter you all from Liking things - because that's the main way to ensure you see new post updates from the OA page - I more want you to be educated and smart about how your Like is being used. And if you do want to ensure you receive OA's updates - or again, any other page's - without even having to frequently Like a post, just go to the brand's page and hold down "Liked," then hit "Get Notifications."

Lika dis:

Just behind labor and delivery, I'm most scared of battling breastfeeding again. I can't say from personal experience how true these differences in breastfeeding the first and the last baby are, but I'd imagine they're pretty accurate. 

Oh goodness, this article answered one of the biggest questions I've ever had, "Why It's So Hard To Catch Your Own Typos." I've been wondering this forever. I can find typos in anything else I read, but it's SO hard for me to catch my own, especially here on the blog. I'd pretty much need to print out each post and go through it line by line. But according to this article, apparently I'm actually being verrrrry smart when I DON'T catch typos. Weird. 

Enough Time To Learn A Lot, And At The Same Time, Realize How Little I Know

It is late. I'm not sure of the time because I just rolled out of bed, with blurry eyes and a loose, lopsided ponytail. I navigate to his crib by memory, 16 months of this new life I'm leading and and I don't have to even think about what to do anymore. I quiet his cries by merely my presence entering the room, and the whimpers disappear completely as I pick him up. His body is long now. No longer can I curl him sideways in the crook of my arm, but his legs hang low, past my waist and my hips, his toes brush my thighs. His head meets mine, his forehead right at my eyes.

It dawns on me that I only have a few months left with this little boy as my one and only.

As my first and my last.

As my beginning and my end.

He is still a baby, how can I have another? But yet he is not still a baby, he is a boy. Sprung up in what feels like overnight, he is so very different from the newborn I brought home from the hospital. As I feel his weight in my arms, his body moulded around my belly - his soon to be sister - I think about this time we've spent together.

He is the one that taught me what it really means to be a mother.

To care about someone more than myself.

To push through the all too frequent tears and the fears, take a deep breath, and do the next thing.

To remember on the days when it feels like I'm not doing anything right, that God's grace is sufficient.

To ask for help when I don't know the answer, and to make the best decision I can when I have too many answers than I'd like.

To find that truths I'd learned through song or story as a child would come full circle someday - and find that the roots that were planted deep in me, can seed and be planted into another life.

To feel crushed by the weight of responsibility, yet lifted by the promise of a Sovereign God.

To know the little things it's easy to get caught up in - like breastfeeding and and formula feeding, cloth or disposable, organic or processed - don't matter, it's the way I  invest in his heart that will be printed on his soul forever.

To understand that being an intentional parent is hard and exhausting, but it's worth it for the most important thing I've even been given to take care of.

To be reminded daily to have an open hand in the little things when raising him, yet to be firm and steadfast in the big things that matter - the things of the heart.

To realize that motherhood is not all weariness, spit up and poopy diapers like it can sometimes seem, but really it is joy and wonder and adventure all combined to make pure magic.

My little boy, my soon to be "oldest," taught me that being a mother is far better than I anything ever could have imagined. That motherhood is both the hardest and easiest thing I'll ever do. That it is more fulfilling than anything else I have ever done or ever could do in this life. And while it is so hard for me to watch him grow up, it is still far more wonderful to get have this front-row seat in his life.

Sixteen months is both a long and short time. I've learned a lot, yet at the same time, have come to realize how little I know.

So I kiss his forehead, and lay him back down in his crib. I finish my song and whisper, "I love you." I watch him roll to his side, close his eyes and put his thumb in his mouth.

I crawl back in bed looking forward to the future. I know that even though my son's time as my one and only is drawing to a close, there is much left for him to teach me.