Friday, May 11

Friday Finds #105

     Well, I'm bringin' back the old Friday Finds feature after nearly three years, and I'm feelin' good about it:) Many of you might remember these posts from the old days, but if not it's merely a little collection of recipes, articles, wishlist items, etc from the previous week. Enjoy!

     And that's all for this Friday, and I really hope you have a Mother's Day weekend exactly as you would love to have whether it's a slow and peaceful one or one with lots of people and music etc, etc.haha Actually now I'm curious, what DOES your ultimate weekend look like? I mean excluding vacations and such:) 

     Share in the comments!

Thursday, May 3

♡ Ten things to do before your baby arrives ♡

     Morning mamas! Seeing as it's the month in which we celebrate Mother's Day, I thought this could be the first of a bunch of motherhood-related posts that I've been excited to share. Maybe it's a selfish notion, but I think we moms deserve to be celebrated for at least the whole month of May, don't you? haha

     I really adore these photos that my sweet friend AJ took a few months before Alice was born, and remembering back to this moment takes my mind to such a calm place. It really is a pure and unconditional love we have for these little humans that we've never met, and we would do just about anything to keep them safe and happy. I look at that belly now and see Alice all curled up in there, her eyebrows furrowed like she does so often, her little feet peddling an invisible bike (aka constantly jabbing me in the ribs.haha), and her little head with all that hair she was born with. I'm so glad she's with us now!

     Anyways, here are 10 things that I always try to get done and have ready before I have another baby, and whether you're expecting yourself or you know a friend or family member that could use some help preparing for their little sweetie, I hope this list is helpful!  

♡ Ten things to do before your baby arrives ♡

      1. COMPLETE: Use the last couple of weeks to officially complete packing your hospital bag and/or preparing your home-birthing space, down to the last tiny detail. At least for me, there were always just a couple tiny things left to set up or stick in the bathroom for postpartum care that I kept putting off thinking I had time, and then all the sudden I didn't.haha Get 'er done!
      2. FOOD: Stock your freezer with meals that can be easily reheated or cooked in the weeks after you give birth. Time moves so fast and it's way too valuable for naps or showers if you get any to spare, you'll be so glad for those casseroles and soups (frozen pizzas, pot pies, veggies, fruit for smoothies, etc) that you can just pull out and have prepped in no time at all. Also, something I've never done (but have been told is amazing) is finding a fresh grocery delivery service. Sounds worth a look to me!
      3. SELF-CARE: Maybe I'm biased, but I think if anyone ever deserved to 'treat' themselves, it's a woman about to bravely deliver a watermelon-sized person out of her body.haha Getting your hair done, or going with friends to get a manicure and a pedicure is a wonderful way to get in a little R&R. Oh man, I can almost feel that massage chair on my back with my feet in that hot water, and think, then you'll have cute toes and fingers going into labor! haha In all seriousness though, sometimes we don't really have the budget for extras like that, so don't forget you can look on Pinterest for loads of great at-home pampering ideas.
      4. CLEANING: Enlist a couple friends or family to help you clean your house from top to bottom, or better yet, find a good cleaning service to do it for you! This is a tip I got from a friend before Evelyn was born, and it was SO worth it! The little cleaning service  she recommended was nowhere near as expensive as I thought it might be, and I cleaned up all the items and things before they arrived and then they just did all the deep cleaning (bathrooms, windows, floors, walls, baseboards, cabinets, etc) It was SUCH a blessing and relief to be able to rest while that was all getting done, and to know that I wouldn't need to stress about mopping while snuggling my newborn.
      5. NECESSITIES: Make sure that you're all set with basic living necessities because it might be very difficult or even impossible to get to the store for a little while afterward. Make a list of items for your bathroom, kitchen, cleaning closet, laundry room, and pantry that you'll want to be sure and have on hand. Also, I highly recommend Amazon prime if you aren't already a user, as you can easily have any of those items delivered right to you in a day or two:)
      6. LOGISTICS: Prepare your birth announcements as much as you can beforehand, empty your phone storage and camera cards, stock up on thank you cards, make sure you're all caught up on bills and deadlines, and have a photographer already picked out and ready for your call to action. You'll be SO glad you did!
      7. SLEEP: Oh man, I can't express how important it is to stock up on sleep as much as you can before your baby arrives! I was lucky that the older kids were in school when I was due, and then Richard willingly took the younger girls out to the park and such in the afternoons so I could just pull the covers over my head for some Zzz's. Those few solid nights of sleep and daytime naps were SO vital to have more clarity of mind and less fatigue going into the labor and delivery. 
      8. BABYSITTING: Meeting all the needs of your other children and/or pets while you're adjusting to your new norm, trying to relax and heal, plus meet all the demands of your precious newborn can be really overwhelming. Having a couple willing friends or babysitters on hand will be such a relief for after your baby arrives, so you can have the peace of mind knowing your dog is getting regular walks and your other kiddos are getting their baths and story-time.
      9. EMERGENCY: Besides getting the car seat properly installed and adding a window shade, I highly recommend having a little emergency box or bag in the back of the car or under the seat. I get such fuzzy mom-brain with a newborn, and more often than not I'll forget to refresh the diapers in the baby bag or forget it altogether, and I've been saved so many times my emergency box. Pack it with diapers and wipes obviously, but also a couple extra outfits for baby, some fruit snacks or granola bars for other kids, a couple water bottles, infant tylanol, an extra pacifier, some ointment or lanolin, a few breast pads, an extra shirt for you, hand sanitizer, you get the idea:)
      10. DATE-NIGHT: One thing that a lot of people don't think about until it's too late, is that you probably won't be able to go on dates without your new baby for a long time after they come. Not that those trio dates aren't fun in their own way, but they're quite a bit different in many ways. Fitting in a couple extra nights out with your sweetie while it can still be just the two of you will help you recharge a bit and really be on the same page going into the birth.

     And that's it for today!

     Thank you so much for visiting today, and I truly hope that this is useful to you in some way! I would really love to hear if there are any tips listed here that stand out to you, and also please share any special ways you prepared for your baby that I didn't mention.

     Have a great rest of your week friends:)

Monday, April 23

Changing Seasons


     Hey guys, thanks for visiting:) It's that time of year where the weather decides to play jokes on us alternating from sunshiny to stormy every other day. Friday I'll grab my laptop and sit in a lawn chair while birds sing and the kids play, and then Saturday I'll put on a big coat and brace myself for the wind and rain to hit me square in the face.

     It was a long, cold Winter, and I think most of us that are coming out of it have been really anxious for the warm weather to stick, to hear the birds sing and to feel the grass under our toes. I know I've been so looking forward to the farmers market and paddle-boarding, and I've been dreaming of evening bonfires and the little family adventures that will come with Summer. It's pretty natural to look forward to the freedom and excitement that comes with the light I think, especially after such a long stretch of bitter cold.

     While the flip-flopping of the temp has been frustrating, I realized today that it's been kindof a metaphor for life and my mindset in particular lately. I don't want to go into a bunch of detail in this post, but April has been a harder month than the last few. There have been many days with more light than we've seen in a long time, but there have also been days with more chill and dark. The simple lesson though is that just like the weather, life is unpredictable, and I need to learn to be more patient with the different seasons of my own life.

     There will be times of amazing progress and productivity, when we feel awesome and light with the happiness that comes from accomplishment. Then the next day the shadows will creep in and the light will dim, and it often feels like the sun will never come back. I have been having more of those darker days for sure, but I'm working hard at appreciating what I can learn from those days while I'm waiting for the season to change again.

     Here's to a brighter day tomorrow and crushing our to-do lists, but if not, cheers to leftovers in our sweats and kiddo snuggles amid piles of unfolded laundry. Deep breaths:)

P.S. This trench coat from ASOS is sold out now, but they have a whole new batch of light colors for Spring and Summer that you can check out here

Tuesday, April 10

Open heart moment:

1 comment:
     Yesterday was hard, today was hard, tomorrow will be harder. I’ve felt especially stuck lately in the messy space between peace and turmoil, joy and heartache, and because I can’t make sense of my jumbled thoughts most of the time I just don’t share. I’m constantly trying to change that though, and to open up during more of the hard moments along with the sweet moments. 

     Tomorrow will be 9 years since my late husband Martin and I were married, and also 1 year and 10 months since his death. 3 years since my grief process began. Every day I feel happiness from all the beauty and blessings in my life, and every day I also feel broken inside from the trauma of losing him the way I did.  

     This is Ashley, Jenna, and Hailey. These three warrior ladies are just a few who know much of how that feels. We’re great friends, we’re all mothers, and we’re all widows. We’ve all lost our sweethearts, we’ve all held our children beside our husbands casket, and we’re trying our best to move forward every day and find joy. We’ve learned the hard way to not take a single moment for granted or wait for the sweeter things in life but to soak it all in, every moment or every day.

     A couple months ago (When I was still pregnant with Alice:)) we were able to get together and stay up way too late eating pizza and laughing and crying together. It is comforting to know people who have been to a similar dark and twisty place as me, but it’s also so important to know that we’re all (you included) tied together by the pain of our worst experiences. We might not have all had the same successes, but experiencing such immense heartbreak in any sense ties us all together in empathy and compassion for others’ pain. 

     I have the huge honor of speaking again at the A Reason To Stand conference, this time in Las Vegas and I would love to meet you there! You can see all the info HERE, but It’ll be on the 28th of this month and you can use my code: FOX for $25 off your ticket! I love connecting with so many of you and hearing your stories at these conferences, and I hope you can make it. ♡♡