Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Morning Reads

Each morning, Charlotte wakes up around 5:30 am for her morning feeding. She nurses for 20 minutes or so and then falls asleep on my chest - which happens to be my favorite time of day. Usually, I quietly flip on the local news and reach for my phone to scroll through my favorite blogs and websites for edifying reads.

I still haven't been able to crack a real-life book during the down-time or nursing sessions. It just hasn't "fit" for me, despite being a long-time reader. Instead, I find that this morning news and blog gander fills that void and provides a wide array of information. 

To give you an idea of a typical morning of internet perusing, I've compiled the best of the articles I read during our cuddle time this morning. Perhaps you'll find something you enjoy too (or recognize being one of the people who linked to it in the first place!)

Mapping Maternity Leave (Comparing the US to other countries)

(What!?! I'm a hockey fan...)

Did you recently read something interesting? Please share, I might need fodder for tomorrow!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Nearing 30

In exactly ONE WEEK I am going to be 30 years old. 
I can honestly say that this is no where near as scary as I thought I would be. I have a great career, a strong marriage, a beautiful little girl, and a home in a place I'm really learning to love. Overall, I can't complain at all about where my life is at as I enter my 30th year of life. I hope to accomplish even more as decade number three begins. For now, I'm going to go take care of a fussy baby and leave you with this sweet, fun list of 35 things every stylish woman should have in her 30's

Sunday, April 27, 2014

One Month

Today, Charlotte is one month old.
She is already one month old.
It's amazing how much she has already grown and changed in those four weeks. She surprises me with something new every single day and keeps us on our toes.

I'm also back to work already, which has provided its own set of challenges. Al works early mornings, home in time for me to get to the office by 8 am, then I come home and take over so he can do school work and attend evening classes. It's a complete whirlwind and incredibly draining on both of us.

But this face...
It's so worth it.

Happy One-Month, little lady. Thank you for enriching my life and filling my heart. You have taught me patience and resolve and shown me that love goes deeper than I ever thought. You make me a better person and your father a better man and we're both so blessed to continue this adventure with you.

By the way, for your birthday, I got you a set of size 1 diapers! Time to move up, darling!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

One Week

One week ago, my daughter entered my life in a way that both softened my entire soul and ran over it like a freight train. She is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and I created her. My body formed her into being which ended in the most humbling physical test of my entire life.

I've never considered myself a weak person. Not physically and certainly not mentally or emotionally. But childbirth has a funny way of reminding you that you are completely and utterly human. And at the same time making you feel like a superhero. 

And then, without any warning at all (and with even less sleep), you're flung immediately into parenthood and served another giant dose of humility on a silver platter. All of a sudden, you are feeding, bathing, changing, and nurturing this small human life - while trying to heal and sleep and keep yourself afloat. 

Then you're battling the roller coaster of emotions that come along with the hormone changes and the realness of it all. You love this tiny person more than you've ever loved a single thing in your life. You love it so much it physically hurts. But you're tired. And sore. And emotionally drained. 

Someone says a small thing, even a sweet thing, and you cry. You try to breastfeed (which hurts SO bad at first) and you sob uncontrollably into your infant's face. You look at your husband (who now sees you as this incomparable mix of beauty and power) and find yourself so happy to have him by your side. Everything is funny. Everything is terrifying and yet so exciting. Nothing is sad and yet you can't stop crying. 

The most perfect reward is resting on your chest or in your arms, loving you even though she hasn't learned how. That child is so amazing and so worth it. 

This last week has felt like one of the longest weeks of my entire life. I have been pushed to the brink in every possible way and brought back to reality only by the quiet sounds of my daughter as she reaches for my face. I have been tested, and so far I have passed. I have made it through the week, each day easier than before. She gets healthier and more beautiful every second and my husband and I are stronger and more in love because of this whole experience. And as I continue to amaze myself with my own strength and resilience, I realize that I can totally do this again next week.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


On Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 1:20 pm, miss Charlotte Grace entered this world. She was 7lbs 2oz and 18 3/4 inches long.

I'm sleep deprived, so very sore and ready to sleep in my own bed. On the other hand, I'm completely enamored by this beautiful, tiny human I've created.

I'll come back with a more thorough review and birth story. Until then...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Hey guys, I'm still pregnant.

My due date isn't for another 9 days, and I really don't want to go into labor before my mom arrives next Saturday. So, at a minimum, I have 7 days to go before little Charlotte arrives. 
Nevertheless, I find myself answering the question: "How are you doing?" with a resounding "Well, I'm still pregnant."

The last three weeks of pregnancy, I would say, are the least comfortable. I have all these things I want to do, but no energy to do them. I am feeling big for the first time (my midwife is tracking her weight around 7.5 lbs with just over a week to do. That's approximating her delivery weight around 8.5 lbs unless she stays even later. So, yeah, I feel huge.) And I'm very, very sore. Hips mostly. And lower back. 

Here I am complaining when I should probably say that I've had a wonderfully healthy pregnancy and I really do feel great. Even at this stage, I'm still working every day, sometimes long days, and I am able to do virtually anything I want to. It's the "extra" tasks - the above and beyond - that aren't getting done. (Like those darn shelves in the nursery that still need to be painted.)

The other thing I've noticed is that I am not a "nester." Like, at all. I keep a clean enough house, and all the really important stuff gets done. But I read all these books and my friends tell me stories about getting on their hands and knees to scrub the tile grout and some such bullshit. Umm, no thanks.

Instead, I have a serious case of wanderlust. I spent a vast majority of my day today researching how to back-pack/train-hop through Europe and what the best camping and road-trips are through the U.S. I also created an entire Pinterest board dedicated to local day-trips or on-the-cheap weekend excursion we can take here in Colorado. I just have the desperate need to go somewhere.

I have this vision of buying a little pop-up camper, strapping Charlotte into her carrier, packing a weekend bag and driving somewhere. Somewhere we can hike and fish and when we get bored of that, drive into town to shop and eat. I want to explore. I want her to explore. I want her to be a traveler. To see the country and the world. To learn about all types of people. To create memories. To have roots and wings.

Oh man, I'm so excited to meet this little girl. In the meantime...I'm still pregnant.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Swagbucks Solar Vortex Swag Code Extravaganza

I haven't posted on Swagbucks in a while, but since I just redeemed my stash of points for an Amazon gift card with enough value to purchase a small library for little Charlotte, I'm in the mood to share!

For those of you who don't know, Swagbucks is a social community that allows you to earn points that build up to purchase items, gift cards, etc... You can earn points through a variety of ways most of which are pretty easy and don't require a lot of time. (That is, of course, my preferred method of saving money!)
If you haven't already, go check it out and sign up. Tomorrow is the perfect day to start since they are having an EXTRAVAGANZA to give away a truck-load of points. It's an easy way to jump start your points total and get a feel for how Swagbucks works. 

Oh, and have fun!

{Disclosure: I earn referral points for clicking on the above links to Swagbucks and/or the Extravaganza. All the words, thoughts, and opinions are my own and I do not promote companies that I don't legitimately use and support.}

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Final Month Pregnancy Thoughts

I am a few shorts weeks from my due date and thought it was necessary to check back in with my current pregnancy thoughts. I am going to apologize in advance if this turns into a post where I merely complain about how tired and uncomfortable I am...but...well...I am tired and extremely uncomfortable.

Things I like:

Eating smaller portions throughout the day
Having clear skin
Having strong hair and nails
Feeling baby kicks
The words "because I'm pregnant"

Things I'm totally over:

Having an infant's head resting directly on my bladder
Or pushing into my ribs
Or stabbing me in the spine
Itchy skin
Charlie horses

Things I can't wait to do again:

Sleep on my stomach
Sleep more than 3 hours at a time
Have a glass of wine with dinner
Wear high heels
Eat sushi
Drink more than one cup of coffee
Wear a nice suit to work
Wear anything more than leggings and a tee
Shave my legs, paint my toenails, and see my own feet

Things I can't wait to do for the first time: 

Meet my daughter
Watch my husband become a father

Ok...this is completely worth it.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Minivan Family

Well, it's official. I've handed in my cool points and succumbed to driving a minivan. The new (to us) van arrives from Florida on Monday after making the journey from my Aunt's house in Florida. They gave us an amazing deal that, for practical and financial reasons, we just couldn't pass up. My car was no longer reliable - at least not when you add late nights at work and a baby to the mix - and with Al's job transition we needed something cost-effective as well as safe.

Enter my generous family who gave us a great deal on a Chrysler Town & Country with less than 60,000 miles on it and the full luxury package. It was almost impossible to say no. And I promise to never get a stick-figure-family window decal or drive like an idiot. I also vow to regain many of my cool points by wearing leather pants, watching sports, and being a kick-ass mother. 

Does that make up for it? 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Nearing the End

The title of this post is probably deceiving. Yes, we're nearing the end of the pregnancy - but that's not actually what this is about.  In true military fashion, when change comes it comes in spades, and well, we're also nearing the end of our time in the Army. 

Al has his CIF appointment today where he is handing in all of his Army-issued gear. He's already signed over his keys, his office, and all of his responsibilities. He's already gotten his ETS orders.

Guys, this is really real.

I thought as this date got closer I would be more nervous. We still haven't 100% locked down our health-care plan. We still don't know exactly how the income transition is going to effect us. And, frankly, Al still isn't sure what he wants to do after his time in military service. Many of the variables are still up in the air, but one this is certain: we are not doubting our decision. 

I love being a military wife. I love watching my husband don his uniform (especially the class-A's). I love the places I've been and people I've met through our years in the Army. Mostly, though, I love saying that my family was a part of the bigger picture - that we did something for our fellow Americans that required a sacrifice bigger than ourselves. 

But we are ready to move on. I am ready to take back control of my own calendar. I am ready to plan for the future knowing (to a larger degree at least) where I'm going to be and how I'm going to get there. Al is ready to be his own boss again and to be able to explore entrepreneurship and invention and creativity. Al is ready to be a dad and putting down roots for our children.

And ultimately, the Army just wasn't the place to pursue those dreams.

Now it's my turn. I get to put my career first. I get to build my passion into something that gives back to the world. And I get to do it while creating a family.

Right now our life is full of blessing and transition, which is both lovely and terrifying all at the same time. At the end of the day, though, there is light and promise in the future and I am so excited to see where we're headed next!