Monday, September 30, 2013

Let's get this party started.

Hello 30.
Take a seat.
Stay awhile.
I'm excited to get to know you better.

Today is my 30th birthday.

Breath in. Breathe out. 
I am 30.

Something I've been dreading for a couple of months.
Felt sorry for myself even.
*Insert self-pity blushing*

In fact.
I was feeling woe-is-me until just a couple of days ago.
Was just sure my birthday was going to get overlooked this year.
Was focused on the whole not ready to say goodbye to my 20's thing.

Until my husband swept in and shocked my socks off.
Threw the sweetest, most thoughtful little surprise party ever.
I'm still taking it all in.

I did not have a birthday.
I had a birthend.

An entire weekend dedicated to me.
A weekend that I spent with my husband.
My daughter.
My parents.
My in-laws.
My friends.

People who sure know how to make this 30 year old gal feel special.

Thanks to all who made this the best birthday I've ever had.
Made me realize all I have to be thankful for.
And all there is to look forward to.

So c'mon 30.
Hit me with your best shot.

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Proper Send-off.

We recently said ta-ta to breastfeeding.

Sort of hard to believe.
Seeing that it was one of my full time jobs over the past year.

First we made it to the six month mark.
Then we made it to twelve.
*double yay*
And a couple weeks after Ly's first birthday, we completely weaned.


And at the risk of La Leche League showing up on my doorstep begging me to nurse Ly until kindergarten, I have to say...


That felt good.

And for the record.
I love La Leche League.
They helped me when I was on the verge of a legit nervous breakdown.
They also helped me figure out why I had sour milk.
And I love breastfeeding.
I mean, it was pretty much my sole existence for a year.

But it feels *really* good to be done.

We rocked our breastfeeding journey.
Created a super-solid mother-daughter bond that can't be explained in words.

But as nutritionally and emotionally beneficial as it was, I was quite ready for our journey to come to an end.
And to be honest, the end was not as hard as I thought it would be.
For me, anyway.

I was sure I would be emotional.
Sad to say goodbye.
Worried that we would no longer feel that indescribable bond.

I wasn't too weepy.
Or sad even.
Really just ready to be done.

I can't say the same for Lyla.
Or my right boob, however.

I got myself a clogged duct in the end.
*Go figure*
And it took Ly a couple weeks to adjust.
But I made up for it with lots of extra morning snuggles.
And, I took things slowly.
Gave it a good month to completely wean.

So in light of saying goodbye, I would like to have a proper send-off.
A little bit of a roast, if you will.

There are some things I will definitely not miss.
At all.

I happily say sayonara to...

1). The attire. Ugh. Nothing about nursing attire is sexy. {Then again, I guess that would be weird if it was.} I mean, I guess we've come a long way in the maternity fashion department. But still. I felt so mommy in all of my nursing attire. Not to mention the lack of variety in what I could wear if I went out for the day with Ly. I can't begin to recount the number of times I would go to put on an outfit, only to realize, Crap. I can't nurse in this. And have to dig through the dirty laundry to wear the same easy-to-lift Gap tee.

2). Planning. Oh my goodness. The planning. {And this is coming from a planning extraordinaire.} There was no go-with-the-flow-let's-see-where-the-day-takes-us kind of day. Especially while working. And especially when your supply offers just enough milk for what your baby needs. My life revolved around feedings. If I was going to be out during a feeding time, I either had to plan to nurse or pump. Or if I had to miss a feeding or pump session, say due to a meeting or event, I had to make up for it somehow. Some way. Including, but not limited to: random storage closets, bathrooms, my car, and a co-worker's office.

3). The beginning. Allow me to be brutally honest here. The first month or so was not fun. Pain of all sorts. Sometimes worse than almost as bad as labor. Newborn Lyla-Beans had a hard time understanding the science of latch and suck. Who knew newborns had to learn the whole process? Not to mention the torture of uterus contractions with every nursing. Oy.

4). Awkward Moments. Maybe this was just me. And the fact that I'm superbly modest. {Aside from the whole I feel completely comfortable sharing my every thought and feeling over the interwebs with complete strangers}. But I was am simply a target for the awkward. Leaving my nursing pads and freshly pumped milk out for parents of students to see, having my boss walk in on me pumping, and talking for a good 3 minutes to a friend's dad at her wedding while unbeknownst to him I was pumping.

5). My permanent sleep position. That's right. For an entire year. I had to sleep on my left side. Because if I slept on my right side, my right boob would get clogged. I would often wake up mid-roll-to-my-right-side only to be jolted awake in fear of a clogged duct. This tactic worked. However, I still managed to get 5 or 6 clogged ducts in my breastfeeding days.

6). Raging hormones. I was typically an emotional disaster on any given day. A sob-bomb just waiting to go off. Much of that was due to trying to figure out the whole working mom thing, not loving my job the way I thought I should, and feeling like my house was a disaster all.the.time. But mostly because I was owned by nursing and the subsequent raging hormones.

7). Watching what I ate. And every other thing that went into my body. But let me clarify. I do not mean eating healthy when I say "watching what I ate". Heaven knows I ate more cookies, chocolate, and pizza than I ever have in my life when I was nursing. I simply mean I was careful not to eat spicy things. Or take allergy medicine. Or cold meds. Or drink alcohol. Ok. That last one's a lie. I may have a couple glasses of wine now and again. Don't judge. I always waited until Ly went to bed. And she sleeps 12-13 hours. Plenty of time to work it's way through. 

8). My arch nemesis. A big adios goes to my pump. I'm not one to work well with micro-managers. And my pump was a dictator.

On a more sentimental note.
Here is a true send-off.
A well-deserved goodbye.

To Breastfeeding.
It has been an amazing journey.
Something I am thankful to have been able to do.
Something I hope to do with future babes.
Something I am very proud of.
Something that created a forever bond with my sweetie.

Until we meet again dear friend...

**This post was all in good fun. I fully support, advocate, and believe in breastfeeding. Don't believe me? Just read here and here. I'm simply jabbing a little fun at something that my entire life revolved around for a year.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My Equilibrium Point

Finding balance.
It's what I desperately sought out to do and failed.
Over and over again.

Until recently.
When I made some major decisions.
And felt immediate gratification.
Instant relief.

But that doesn't mean I don't still struggle some.
With imbalance, that is.
I'm human.

And as humans, we get caught up in ridiculous things.
Like wanting bigger {better} houses.
Wanting more lavish lifestyles.
Thinking others have it easier.
Wanting more.more.more.
Wanting period.

Often, social media adds fuel to the fire .
Social media and I seriously have a love/hate relationship.

It can be so fun.
So helpful.
So productive.

...So exhausting.

Having Instagram-worthy wardrobes for baby.
Throwing Pinterest-perfect parties.


And I'm the first to fall victim to it!

I recently read an article.
It talked about how some social media sites can correlate feelings of loneliness or depression.
I also recently read this funny *sarcastic* blog post.
About how Pottery Barn Kids {one of my all-time favorite stores might-i-add} sometimes makes mothers feel inadequate.
Hello sandwiches in the shape of exotic animals and pre-printed lunch notes. 

Here's the thing though.
I love DIYing.
Love hosting a fabulous soiree.
Love Baby Gap.
And *gasp* love PBK.

Nothing wrong with that.
Not one bit.

It's just...
I really have to be aware of my intentions.
And focus on gratitude, not envy.
And know when my equilibrium is off.

When greed or self-pity start to seep poisonous thoughts.
When I start to think I don't have it so great.

Absolutely the most ridiculous thing you've ever heard, right?
Makes me cringe.

It's a dark, tempting path that I try my best to avoid.
Or at the very least, turn around and find my way back.
But I'm human.

That was a lot of deepness.
All to say that this weekend, I found my equilibrium point.

Spending my Friday off with my baby toddler.
Having coffee on the deck with my husband.
Going to the zoo {to see the just-born tiger cubs}.
Spending time with a group of girls who always bring me back.
To my equilibrium.
No pressure.
Just true friendship.

Feeling very blessed.

Friday, September 20, 2013

13 Months

13 Months: 09/19/13

We've got a hybrid toddy on our hands.
That's right.
A mix between a toddler and baby.

Little miss toddlekins is at an in-between phase currently.

She is actually crawling.
I nearly cried when I saw it the first time.
Exactly one week after her first birthday.

My sweet little late bloomer.

But she finally got it down.
She crawls from room to room.
And pulls up.
And cruises.
And gets into everything.

She actually gets quite mad when she realizes she can't walk.
But she's just not quite strong enough for walking yet.
Which makes for one frustrated toddy.

She doesn't sit still these days.
Especially when I'm trying to change her diaper or clothes.
It's like a completely different little person.
Whom I couldn't even get to pose for her 13 Month Shoot.

This is the best I could get:

I was horrible at taking pictures this month.

Mostly because Beans is on the move.
All the time.
And I can't keep up.

Plus, we're too busy having fun to think about whipping out the phone!

Here are some of my favorite stand-outs from this month.
  • One word: crawling. 
  • Someone learned to point. A couple days before your first birthday actually. You point at everything - people, dogs, toys, your bookshelf. In fact, that's the very first thing you do every.single.morning. You wake up, sit up with your curly bed-head, and groggily point at the bookshelf on your wall and say boook. You also point to the pictures in your books. Adorbs. 
  • You have become quite the Chatty Cathy this month. The words you say most frequently are dat, dshh, and bop. Most everything is a bop. But you did add hi, dog, and uh-oh to your real word vocabulary repertoire. Your favorite and most frequently used word is book. You beg for books all day long. Makes Mommy's teacher heart burst with happies.
  • You are obsessed with tags. On everything. Towels, clothes, burp rags, stuffed animals. I guess they soothe you. You could be in the middle of an all-out meltdown, but the moment you find a tag, you're peachy. Your dad and I laugh because you have all these fun, bright, interactive toys. But you always go straight for the tag. 
  • We completely weaned breastfeeding this month. {More info on this later}. We had a few little road bumps along the way, but all is well now. You have completely switched to whole milk and drink from a sippie with a straw. No more bottles!! Big.Girl. 
  • I've mentioned this before. But it is weird shopping for you. And by weird I mean fun. *But also a little weird.* Because I now shop in the toddler section. I actually have the hardest time shopping. I never know what size to get you. You're a teeny gal who still wears a lot of 9 month clothing. But I've been buying 12-18 or 18 month stuff for fall and winter. I seriously stand staring at the same outfit for at least 15 minutes battling over the size. Enough room to grow in? Too much room? Oh the pressure. But girlfriend, I wish your fall wardrobe came in my size. 
  • You have started "sharing". It all started when you were eating your peas, and you decided to give one to Grams. So cute. Now, you love to "share" everything. I say "share" because you often reach out like you want to share, but then you retract and take it back. Seems like someone needs a lesson in gift-giving. 
  • I really think you're going to be musical. When you hear music, you immediately stop what you're doing and start dancing. And when I sing to you, you start humming your own little tune. And you have pretty good rhythm. It's pretty much the cutest thing I've ever seen or heard. I wouldn't mind a singing ballerina. ;)
  • You have a new game. It's called the Uh-Oh Game. I'll give you one guess how it works. This happens You drop and/or hide something and look at us and say, uh-oh in a sweet little sing-songy voice. I want to be stern and tell you "No. We do not drop things." Instead, I drop things too. To hear you say uh-oh. 
  • This month you became the biggest snuggler ever. This came out of nowhere. But it's my most favorite thing of all time. Every night after I give you your milk, you curl up in a tiny ball and lie on my chest while I rock you. Just like when you were a newborn. I...can't. 
  • You've been into baby yoga. Or maybe Baby de Solei. Regardless, you've got some serious flexibility. Teach me your moves, Ly. 
  • Your favorite things this month are: your thumb, Ellie (your silkie elephant), books, and your zoo magnets. **You take your zoo magnets quite seriously. When we're getting ready in the mornings, we get out your zoo magnets and say, "Lyla, do your job." And you go to town pulling them out, talking to them, sharing them with us and the dogs, and putting them back in their box. Like it's your job. 

Oh my word. 
Such a fun stage.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Beauty for the Busy {and cheap}

A little known fact about me.

I'm frugal.
A lot frugal.

I was that kid who saved every penny of my allowance. 
Then grew up into an adult who saved every bonus check. 
Every tax refund. 

But let's get one thing straight.
I may be frugal.
But I'm not cheap. 
{Well. Maybe a little cheap.}

I may know how to pinch my pennies. 
But I also know how to splurge. 
I do not hold back on life experiences. 
Things that provide forever-engrained memories.
I simply tend to have a hard time spending $$$ on...stuff.

Especially beauty stuff. 

So many products. 
So many services. 
So costing a small fortune. 

I like to *teasingly* remind Gabe how lucky he is. 
To have a wife who prefers drugstore cosmetics.
And refuses to spend a whole paycheck on my hair.
And who does not have the upkeep of tanning, waxing, and weekly mani/pedi's.

Not that I don't gawk over, appreciate, and occasionally splurge on pretty things. 
I sure do love a statement red lip.
Or a classic leather handbag. 

It's just that my frugality gets in the way.  
And I just really like simple

But I still want to look put together. 
Still feel beautiful. 

That being said. 
Beauty often goes to the wayside after becoming a mama. 
Because mamas lead busy lives. 
And if you're like me, you're busy and frugal. 
{A double whammy for bye-bye beauty}.

But just because I'm a mom does not mean I want to let myself go.
Oh no. 
I refuse. 

Luckily, I've found some simple and *reasonable* little treasures that are my recent beauty go-to's. 
All perfect for the 20 minutes I have to beautify myself.

1. The perfect accessory. In my case, I make sure to throw on my L-initial Alex & Ani bracelet. I never leave home without it. The perfect combo of fashion and sentiment. {I particularly love that the creator of these fun charm bangles is from Cranston, RI - my old stomping grounds!}

2. Pouty Pop of Color. Absolutely obsessed with Maybelline Baby Lips. One borrow from my best friend's handbag, and I was sold. A low-key chap-stick-like lip balm that provides a perfect touch of color. And it comes in vibrant, girly tubes - love!

3. Salty Beach Hair.  I envy people with really good hair. Unfortunately, I have been *blessed* with super-fine-yet-somehow-dries-with-a-slight-kink hair. It's like my hair can't figure out if it wants to be straight or wavy. I usually choose wavy. And I really prefer the soft, beach-wave look rather than the hard, crinkle-curl look. This sea-salt texturizing spray provides just that. And an added bonus? You can find it at Target. 

4. Keep-Me-Young Moisturizer.  I'm not sure at what point I started claiming moisturizing as my go-to beauty product. Oh wait. Yes I do. When I got old. And realized I'm going to be *ahem* 30 in 2 weeks. But seriously. I need me some quality face moisturizer. And I have tried just about every product on the market, even the pricey. Nothing tops good ol' classic Cetaphil. Nothing. 

5. Shimmer of Bronzer.  It's taken me 29 years. But I've finally embraced my fair skin. It makes me cringe to think of the days when I worked at a tanning salon and fake-baked. *Ugh* Don't worry though. I got smart and started spray-tanning. Until I finally I got smarter and embraced my God-given skin. But that doesn't mean I don't love me a slight brush of bronzer. I prefer Bare Minerals. Perfectly natural. 

6. Must-have Hair Tie. Back to the hair. Mine can be a bit unruly. So I tend to throw it up. A lot. Might as well be stylish if I'm going to keep it simple. I love the cute stretchy hair ties in all different patterns and colors. So fun. You can see one at all times on my wrist.

**In other news. I think this might be the first post I've done since Lyla's been born without a picture of her. 
It feels sacrilegious. 
Don't worry. 
The pictures are coming.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

No Words.

Well, maybe just one word.


Lyla's One Year Photo Session

The rocking chair was my mom's when she was little, then mine, and now Lyla Bean's.
*So special*