Month: August 2017

Friday Favorites No. 1

Happy Friday, friends!  As a blog reader, Friday Favorites posts are always on the top of my list for must-reads.  I’ve come across some great product recommendations in the past.  So, I’m happy to jump in and share a few of my own, while also sharing general “favorites”/recent activities.

1.  The Collection by Chesapeake Bay Candle

These candles are such a favorite right now.  I’m a sucker for a good candle, but I feel like there are so many “not good” candles out there.  When you find a few that work well, you should stick with them.  I used to be an avid Bath and Body Works candle fan, but I’ve transitioned away from those in the past couple of years.  Because our entryway/living room/kitchen is all one large open area, it’s really hard to find something that works well and is fragrant enough to cover such a large space.  Thankfully, I’ve finally found a company I LOVE that is also affordable.  My absolute favorite scent for every day is Tamarind Spice, but it looks like it must have been discontinued.  I’ve been stalking Target for months, and they are nowhere to be found.  Brown Sugar Chestnut is a close second — perfect for fall.  It’s what I have currently burning every day as I’m eagerly awaiting the end of summer.  Anyone else??

2.  LipSense

Date night with Luke, wearing LipSense Roseberry.

I’d been hearing the hype on this product for a while now and had no desire to try it out for myself.  That is, until my mom raved about how much she loved this product.  So, last week, my mom invited a local consultant to come to her house to pitch the product to my mom, my sister, and me.  We all loved it and purchased started kits.  Here’s a very short, basic description:  it’s a lip product that does not come off.  You  basically put three layers of an alcohol-based color on your naked lip and follow it up with a shiny gloss that enhances the look.  The gloss can be removed, but the color is stuck.  I wore it for a date night with Luke over the weekend, and it was so nice to know that I didn’t need to reapply any color throughout the night.

Don’t worry — her applicator didn’t have any product!

3. The Happy Hour Podcasts

This isn’t a new favorite for me.  I first started listening around the beginning of the year and have been a faithful follower ever since.  There are several podcasts that I listen to regularly, but this is definitely my #1.  I know so many people are already super familiar with Jamie Ivey and The Happy Hour, but, for those who aren’t, Jamie’s a 30-something mom whose husband is involved in music ministry in Austin, TX.  Each week, sometimes twice a week, she interviews women who are doing big things in the name of Jesus.  Many of these women run businesses, write books, speak publicly, or have some sort of ministry-minded platform.  Jamie is fun and asks the same questions you would ask if you were sitting across the coffee table from these ladies.  I look forward to each Wednesday when a new interview is posted.  Trust me, you’ll love it!

4.  Birthday celebrations with family

Pea Pickin’ Cake — so, so good

I blogged about my birthday celebrations with Luke and the girls here.  We also had a little family gathering with my parents, siblings, and grandparents on Saturday night.  My mom cooked a huge meal, and we all ate and talked for a few hours.  It was great to be together, but it’s also hard right now with a teeny tiny one.  Addy Grace still nurses around the clock, especially in the evenings, so, even at my party, I had to leave several times to feed her.  It’s a little isolating, but I know it’s a season.  All in all, it was a really great night!

 

Linking up with Andrea, Erika, and Narci

 

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Birthday Weekend

I celebrated 31.  31!  When and how did that happen?  I can’t wrap my head around it yet.  I’m so grateful, though.  So, so grateful for 31 years.  When I was 25, I remember desperately wanting all the things that I have right now.  Being married and having babies is better than I imagined it would be.  And, given the fact that I had to wait a lot longer than most of my friends, I feel like I am all the more grateful.  I enjoyed my singleness but was more than ready to find that person God had set aside especially for me.  I’ll say it every day, a thousand times over — he was so worth the wait!

On Sunday night, we handed both babies over (for the first time) to my parents to keep overnight.  I love my babies, but it was glorious!  I am a BIG believer in taking time to date my spouse and giving our babies over to their grandparents for safekeeping for a while.  Luke and I went to dinner at one of my favorite local beach places, and we ate.  Tuna dip, “boom boom shrimp” (same as Bang Bang Shrimp), caesar salad, steak, and bacon wrapped shrimp.  We could barely move walking out of there, but we decided to enjoy ourselves since getting out is so rare these days.

We woke up to a very quiet house on Monday morning, my birthday.  Luke had taken off work for the day, and we headed back to the beach for breakfast.  We tried out The Pancakery and ate the biggest pancakes I’d ever seen in my life.  Mine was bacon-infused and super yummy!  I highly recommend this place but bring your appetite!  After our dinner the night before, we didn’t get very far with our breakfasts.

After breakfast, we went to pick up the girls.  We had talked about getting out and going somewhere for the day but decided instead to have a quiet day at home.  The girls were clearly worn out from being at their grandparents’ house and took amazing naps.  We actually got a lot of tidying up done around the house — things that we had put off for too long.  A messy house stresses me out, so it was actually a really enjoyable way to spend the afternoon.

That night, Luke went out and picked up dinner from Marco’s Pizza, a first for us.  It was delicious!  After the girls went to bed, we watched Going in Style and really enjoyed it.

Birthdays these days look very different from a few years ago.  They are celebrated at a much slower pace and with fewer people.  But, I wouldn’t trade these birthdays for the world.  I get to celebrate with my favorite people of all time!  I’m already looking forward to next year when the girls are a little more mobile. They just get more fun as they grow!

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Life Lately Vol. 1

Happy Friday!  This post is short and sweet, since I have exactly one favorite right now…cold-free babies!  Last week was a total blur.  The girls both started to get congested at the beginning of the week, and we ended up at the doctor mid-week to get it sorted out.  Colds are colds, but they are pretty scary when they happen to 7 week olds.  There’s been a lot of saline misting, Nose Frida-ing, and air humidifying.  Needless to say, I’m grateful for healthy babies again.

We tried to make the most of a bad situation and settle in, getting cozy around the house.  Despite the sniffles, the girls were both in pretty good moods throughout the week, so I got in a lot of sweet snuggles and giggles.

I have been really hesitant up to this point about getting out and about with the girls.  Before Addy Grace was born, I had to make a mental shift, knowing that we’d be sticking around the house a lot more than usual.  Now, she’s 8 weeks old, and I really am starting to feel that our “homing in” phase is coming to an end.  It’s time for us to learn how to get out of the house without help, and I’m looking forward to figuring this out with my girls.

Since the girls were much better by the weekend, we were able to venture out for a day-long shopping trip with my mom, sister, and grandma, and we had the best day!  It was so fun to just be out, even if it complicated nap times and feedings.  We were able to figure it out the best we could, and I had plenty of extra helping hands!

I’m in so much trouble with this one…

I love that Lacey Ruth is getting precious time with her great grandma.

Lunch at Chicken Salad Chick — a favorite!

Addy Grace with her Aunt Liv.

They were both done by the end of the day.  Fits had been pitched, and it was time to go.

We are slowly figuring out our new “normal.”  Each time things start to get overwhelming, I try to remember that we are only in a phase.  Soon, getting out and about will become second nature, and I’ll forget about how hard it all is right now.  We have a busy couple of weeks ahead of us, including our first night away from the girls to celebrate my birthday, and our first weekend away as a family.  So much to prepare for and so much to look forward to!

Two Under Two — What It’s Really Like

So much of my heart in deciding to blog again revolves around encouraging other moms who are in the same phase of life as me.  Growing up, I never thought that I would have kids so close in age.  I had planned to put a perfect 2-3 year gap between pregnancies, but that’s just not the way our family has developed.  Of course, I wouldn’t change a thing, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t really hard, exhausting days.

When I first found out I was pregnant with our second, only 9 months postpartum with our first, I devoured information.  I read blog posts and online articles about what life is really like having two kids under two.  Some posts were less than helpful and only made my anxiety worse, so I’m hoping to offer a little more encouragement to those who need it.

Here I am, only 6 weeks in, but I think I’ve already gained a tiny glimpse into what this is going to look like for our family.  It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be busy, but it’s also going to be so, so worth it!

So, from a practical standpoint, how are we making this work?  For starters, I was completely spoiled by having my husband home with us for the first 4 weeks.  He has an amazing employer who allowed him all the time he wanted to be off to help us get going on the right path.  I know this isn’t an option for many, but it was a tremendous help in the beginning for me, as you can imagine.  When he was home for us, he made it very clear that my only job was to nurse our baby — he would handle the rest, including most of the care of our one-year-old.  After four weeks, though,  he had to return to work, and I was a puddle.  That first morning, I got some great advice from a sweet friend who just brought her own baby boy home to a toddler.  She said to just do the next thing.  Don’t worry about figuring out the day all at once.  Just do what needs to be done next.  As the weeks have gone by, we’ve figured things out little by little, but there is no “schedule” at the moment, and that’s just fine for now.

Another important tip I’ve picked up, even though it goes against every wife/mama instinct I have:  Embrace the mess.  Your house is going to be a little ugly for a while.  I pick up in the evening enough to satisfy my inner need to tame the chaos, but I’m not fretting over every little thing.  Lacey Ruth plays hard all day long to preoccupy herself while I nurse baby sis, and I’m just grateful that she’s becoming better at independent play.  A messy room is a happy room!

Along the same lines, lower your expectations and expect others to do the same.  This is a hard one for me, particularly because I really really care about what others think of my family and our home.  My husband constantly reminded me as guests dropped by to visit us and the baby that they weren’t expecting to walk into our home the way it looked before Addy Grace was born.  They knew our focus right now was going to be on our kiddos and not our home, so I shouldn’t constantly feel the need to apologize for the mess.

One thing I had to mentally prep for before Addy Grace was born was to plan to just be home for a good, long while.  Getting out of the house at the moment takes both Luke and me, and there is just no other way right now.  While I would love to be able to grocery shop and have lunch with friends, there’s no way I can do this right now with both girls in tow.  Breastfeeding is a 24/7 job at the moment, and I can’t really do that job outside of the house very easily.  But, being that I’m feeding baby #2, I know from Lacey Ruth that this phase doesn’t last forever.  Getting out will become second nature, and we will have a life again…one day.  Just not now, and that’s okay.  I’m enjoying the process so much more than the first time around, knowing how quickly this phase passes and how FUN it gets soon!

One thing I’ve learned to do for my own sanity is when I start to feel like the walls are closing in on me, Luke and I go out for a drive around town.  We make these “mini dates” with the girls in tow.  In fact, Addy Grace usually uses this time to get in a good nap, and Lacey Ruth is nice and quiet in the back.  Sometimes, we stop by Sonic, grab a milkshake, and drive to up-and-coming neighborhoods to take a look at houses and dream a little!

Reality:  There are hard days.  Days when everything feels monotonous, and I wonder if I’m really cut out for this.  Or, days when I’m wishing away time, hoping things will get smoother down the road.  But, I’m trying to keep everything in perspective and remember that these days really are precious, and I don’t get them back.  The time I have with them right now is meaningful and a daily opportunity to point their little hearts to Jesus, and I’m so very privileged to have two little girls to call me Mama!