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Friday, December 14, 2018

The Joy in Slowing Down


It's a cold December Friday in Houston, and I've spent the day with Reese and our pup, Henry, snuggled up on the couch only leaving our warm house for a quick trip to Starbucks this morning.

Just as Reese was smiling and giggling at me and Henry was dropping a toy to throw in my lap, I thought to myself, "There is literally nowhere else I'd rather be right now." I snapped this picture - soaked spit up bib and all - to remember that moment. 

  
In today's world, we talk about how busy we are like it's a badge of honor. 

And right now, I'm not living a busy life.

I'm not running out the door in the morning sans breakfast praying I have 5 extra minutes to spare for a coffee run. I'm not racing home in the evening trying to start dinner, do laundry, and spend time with my husband all before I'm ready to pass out at 9pm. 

Slowing down has given me so. much. joy. 

My cup is overflowing from days like today. I watched Reese try SO hard all afternoon to roll from her back to her belly - she gets stuck on her side and SCREAMS in frustration! I heard her sweet little hiccups during nap time through the monitor. We bundled up and took a quick walk to the mailbox. 

Everyone finds their joy differently. You might find joy in a career, in a hobby, in family and friends. We all have things that feed our soul, and it's our job to embrace them. Staying home right now with Reese feeds my soul like nothing else!

I pray that this babe grows up finding joy in all the little things - breakfast on Saturday mornings, family movie nights, and living in a house filled with unconditional love and endless laughter.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Reese's 4 Month Update

Everything is sweeter with this angel babe - especially the holidays!

November flew by in our house. Between weddings, family get togethers, Reese's first Thanksgiving, and a trip to Aggieland, this month was jam packed with memories! Matt and I continue to be in awe of our littlest love. Just when we thought it would be impossible to love her any more, we heard her first laugh, and it was truly music to our ears!

A few of our favorite things:
We started using our Baby Bjorn Carrier this month, and Reese absolutely LOVES it! The evening time has always been tough for her, and she starts to fuss as soon as the clock strikes 6pm. We have found so much success walking around with her facing outward in the carrier. Since she gets so distracted looking at everything, she stops fussing right away!

I signed up for the Little Poppy Co bow subscription when I was just 5 months pregnant. For just $11.99 a month, you get 3 seasonal bows in the mail! We've already built up quite the collection, and I love pairing them with her outfits. Definitely a must for a mama with a baby girl! 

Our biggest highlight this month:
We have done tummy time every day since Reese was about 6 weeks old. It consisted of her screaming at the top of her lungs and face planting into her playmat. We tried it on the floor, on the boppy, and on our chests to no avail. We continued each day even if it was only for a minute or two at a time. One day this month, I rolled her over on her stomach, and instead of crying like normal, she put her weight on her forearms and smiled right at me! It's like a light bulb went off in her head, and all of a sudden, she's got it! She's now rolling stomach to back, and hallelujah, no more tears during tummy time!

Reese makes new faces and new sounds every single day, and I'm so grateful to be here for it all. I love this little one so, so much, and I can't wait to experience Christmas through her eyes. Happy 4 months, Reese Everly. 



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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Bringing Baby Home: Top 8 Newborn Must Haves


I spent 9 months obsessively researching brands, looking at registry check-lists, and reading reviews for what felt like every single baby item on the market. Scouring the internet was all I could do until Reese was born, and I wanted to feel 100% ready for her arrival. After having this brand new tiny babe home for just a few days, Matt and I were already laughing at some of the things I insisted we needed.

Looking back at those early weeks, these are our tried and true items. These are the things I will pack with care and bring out for baby #2. These are the must haves I would recommend to any mama to be.


This carseat is 5.7 lbs. THAT'S ALL! I knew I wanted something I could confidently and easily carry around by myself, and this fit the bill. By far the best feature of this seat is the dream drape that unzips right out of the canopy - no hassling with car seat covers or blankets to cover your baby while you're out and about. 

I knew right away I wanted a changing pad that I could wipe down easily instead of messing with changing pad covers. The Hatch Baby Grow is the BEST! Not only is it so easy to clean, but it's also a scale! Since it's 2018, of course it hooks up to an app on your phone. The stress of, "Is my baby eating enough? Is she gaining weight?" is taken away with this changing pad. I've weighed Reese before going to the pediatrician, and the weights differ by only an ounce or two. 

3. HALO Bassinet Glide Sleeper
You bring this brand new human home from the hospital where you're surrounded by doctors and nurses 24/7, and all of a sudden it's just you and your husband responsible for this little life. So much pressure. So much anxiety. I LOVED this bassinet because its base slid right under my side of the bed, and I was able to adjust the height so it was in line with me while I was lying down. Without moving, I could rest my hand on Reese's chest and feel her little body breathing steadily at any time during the night. The mesh sides were great too, not just for her safety, but for my peace of mind as I could always see her.

4. HoMedics White Noise Machine
This sound machine is inexpensive, portable, and the perfect volume. I always questioned why parents played white noise for their babies, but I totally ate my words when Reese was a week old. Game changer!

I'm sure other moms can relate - we tried so. many. swaddles. When we broke out the Love to Dream swaddle, Reese fell asleep so easily. She loved having her hands up by her face, and we used this for every nap and nighttime for the first ten weeks. 

Nothing makes me realize how big Reese has gotten already than trying to put her back into our Boba wrap. This is a true kangaroo feeling, and it gave me all the feels every time! Nestling her tiny body to my chest calmed her down immediately, and I was able to be hands free around the house. 

7. Fisher-Price Deluxe Auto Rock 'n Play Sleeper with Smart Connect
The Rock 'n Play was a staple in our house for Reese's first 12 weeks of life. We used it everyday multiple times a day - definitely got our money's worth! It was such a great safe place where we could put her down in the living room, and she took many naps in this thing. The Rock 'n Play wasn't Plan A for nighttime sleep, but if Reese was having trouble going back down in her bassinet or crib at 3:00am, we would put her in here. Between the slight incline, rocking motion, and sounds, she would be asleep in minutes. With the smart connect feature, you can control all the settings from your phone!

8. Boppy Newborn Lounger
I can't even count how many times Reese sat in this lounger beside me while I drank my morning coffee, next to Matt watching baseball, or between us in our bed at night. *Cue all the sad tears that she has outgrown this*

Preparing for your newborn baby is THE most exciting and heart-filling thing you can do when you're pregnant. Why? Because shopping for your child is way more fun than shopping for yourself. 

As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Staying Sane While Staying at Home

photograph by Lovebird Photographie
After wrapping up a chaotic school year for summer break, like many teachers, I soaked up the sleep, alone time, and relaxation. But after just a few weeks, I was always bored, antsy, and going full blown stir crazy. Knowing this about myself, I was 100% nervous committing to be home with Reese full time. Even though she keeps me pretty busy during the day, there are times I get so tired of looking at the inside of my house.

It's been three and a half months since Reese was born, and I'm no expert by any means, but these are the constants that have kept me feeling happy and refreshed when I wake up each morning.

Get up and get dressed every day

 It is so easy to stay in your PJs all day when you're at home with a new baby - or to go until noon without brushing your teeth or your hair (fellow moms, you know it's true). I have to make time in the mornings to pull myself together. Even if Reese and I don't have any plans, getting dressed and putting on some mascara makes me feel 100% more like myself. I've traded in my business casual for athleisure, and I'm not complaining one bit!

Join a moms group

 I spent one afternoon on google looking up different mom groups in my area, and I ended up choosing one through a local church. Reese and I go every Monday morning, and I look forward to it SO much (hello, adult conversation)! While all of the babies are in the church nursery, the moms meet over coffee, breakfast, and discussion about our kids, parenting, and marriage. It's been the best way to meet new friends, and I love having a network of moms I can talk to! 

Find other things to do besides TV & Netflix

 I'm not going to lie - I am a staggeringly good Netflix binger. While breastfeeding Reese during her first month of life, I watched all 171 episodes of Vampire Diaries (so embarrassing, I know). Everyone has days when they need to be lazy, but nothing makes you feel more lethargic than spending every day on the couch. During Reese's naps, I try to balance my TV time with reading, writing, or running errands - get her in the car and she is passed out within minutes! 



Daily stroller walks

 Weather permitting, I walk with her every day! Not only is Reese so interested in her surroundings, I'm able to enjoy the fresh air and get some exercise. Some days it will be a quick 15 minutes; other days we'll walk the trails in our neighborhood for an hour listening to music or podcasts.

Lunch Dates

 I love taking Reese with me to restaurants (ask me again in 6 months, and the answer might be quite different). We'll make plans to have lunch with another stay at home mom, with a friend on their lunch break from work, or with Matt so he can get some mid-work day Reese time. 

Staying home with young babies is not all rainbows and butterflies each day, but in my opinion, the benefits far outweigh the negatives. I know as Reese gets older our options for daytime activities will only increase! Looking forward to playdates, going to the park, and all of the other fun in our future. 



Are you a stay at home mom? How do you keep from going stir crazy in your house? 
(Read more here about my decision to stop working.)


Monday, November 12, 2018

God's Gift to Moms: The Baby Brezza


When meeting new moms and talking about kids, one of the first questions always asked in conversation is, "Are you breastfeeding?"

I feel guilty every single time I say no.

Reese is fed, happy, and healthy, so why does it matter? Why do we care if other people are feeding their babies breastmilk or formula?

That first week home from the hospital was SO hard for us. People tell you breastfeeding isn't easy. While you're pregnant, you research and read about how breastfeeding isn't easy. Even so, you can't truly understand the reality until you're in it. At the beginning, I shed more tears than Reese trying to get her to latch, finding the right position, and praying I was making enough milk to sustain her appetite. I would grow anxious as the clock crept closer and closer to feeding time, and I felt as if I was tied to my house, uncomfortable thinking about having to breastfeed in public. One day, it seemed like it all just clicked - like Reese figured out what she needed to do and I discovered how to make it work. My breastfeeding journey only lasted about six weeks, but I did end up loving every minute of it.

I worried when we switched to formula that the special bond you make with your baby while feeding wouldn't be same. I couldn't have been more wrong. Even with a bottle, her gorgeous blue-green eyes stare up at me just the same. They start to flutter closed when she's relaxing, and she still nestles into the crook of my arm. I'm still intoxicated by her sweet baby smell, and once I realized all of this, I truly got to enjoy the convenience of formula feeding

Enter the Baby Brezza Formula Pro.


If you are a formula feeding mama or a mama to be, I cannot tell you enough that this is worth every penny. It is known in our house as the baby Keurig. Fill it up with water on one side, put powder in the top, hit the button, and there you go - a bottle perfectly measured out at just the right temperature in 30 seconds. The Brezza is a lifesaver during those early weeks when babies eat so often, but it is especially a godsend when your baby is crying at 3am and you're half asleep. 

While formula wasn't my first choice and won't be again when we have baby #2, it's not a terrible plan b. Once we switched exclusively, I could have a bottle easily in the diaper bag. I was able to be out and about with Reese without panicking about where and how I would breastfeed in a restaurant or while running errands (seriously admire the women who do it so easily - I was just never comfortable enough). Matt began to take over middle of the night feedings on the weekends (Can I get an amen?), and friends and family could share in the baby bliss by being able to give Reese her bottle. 

Sometimes breastfeeding doesn't work out despite our very best efforts, but the #momguilt is real. I still remind myself that there isn't a reason to feel bad. She is healthy and happy, and as we all know, fed is best.



You can get the Baby Brezza at many retailers, but if you purchase it through Buy Buy Baby, you can use one of those wonderful 20% off Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons! And what mama doesn't love saving some money?

Friday, November 9, 2018

Reflux Baby: The Diary of a Spit Up Queen

Our pediatrician calls Reese a "happy spitter." She's covered, we're covered, the couch is covered, and even our pup, poor Henry, has been a victim of the projectile. Reflux is the norm in our house, and when any friends or family members hold Reese, we pass her off with a warning and a burp cloth. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

To the Working Dads

“I didn’t expect to feel like this,” Matt has said in the evenings. 

When women are pregnant, they get asked about their jobs countless times. “So what are you going to do when the baby is born?” 

But you don't really hear about the dads. 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Reese's 3 Month Update


How has it only been three months since this little love entered our lives? It feels like Reese has been here all along, and we can’t imagine our world without her.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Oh Sh*t, I Quit My Job


Working moms, I am in awe of you. The way you are teaching your children ambition is inspiring. You are teaching them balance. You are teaching them that women can truly have it all.

Stay at home moms, I am in awe of you. The way you are teaching your children selflessness is inspiring. You are teaching them sacrifice. You are teaching them to put others before themselves.

So which mom would I be? 

Monday, October 29, 2018

A Tailspin


It’s crazy how one single event can set your life on a path so different than where you think you’re heading. For Matt and I, this path started with one crazy weekend filled with torrential downpours, overfilled dams, and record-breaking flooding.

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