I Be Missin’ You

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I’m writing this while listening to my 1-year old cry because the poor thing is surrounded by toys in his playpen, but is PISSED that I put him in there instead of continuing to chase him around and keep him from physically harming himself at almost 8 months pregnant. The audacity. He’s just lucky it’s not cheerios in his high chair while Curious George does the entertaining for me. Or perhaps he would like that more. Maybe that’ll be my after-nap strategy.

If this isn’t an indicator to why I have had trouble making it to my computer to actually put ALL OF THESE WORDS into blog-form, I don’t know what is. I feel like my eyes are permanently on the crazy setting now.

Anyway, HERE I AM YOU’RE WELCOME. I actually have been really missing this. I’ve been tossing the idea around to try and create blog content every day for a while just because I need to. Like for me. And my sanity. I’ve been holding back because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to follow through, and then I would be embarrassed in my failure…because that’s a thing I do. BUT I’m going to try it anyway. So basically, get ready for a lot of boring blog posts with daily (or not) ramblings about our turned-upside-down life.

I really don’t know how to do an update without organizing and categorizing it, so that’s what I’m going to do, sorry for you free spirits who don’t understand the NEED for bullet points and numbered lists (but how?).

Me: Since Jane is still a part of me for now, this update is really about the both of us. I have been feeling a lot of the same symptoms that I felt toward the end of my last pregnancy when I got pre-eclampsia. I’m a lot less far along than then, so it’s been worrying me. At one point, I felt so bad that we ended up going to my clinic’s ER (it was like 10 pm on a Friday night). It was a pretty terrible experience in which I was made to feel really stupid for daring to believe that something could be wrong outside of normal pregnancy symptoms. This is super different from our usual experiences with this clinic and hospital. So yesterday at my regular pre-natal appointment, my doctor took me seriously and has placed me on a tighter appointment schedule, as well as some extra testing to be on the safe side. We set her c-section (!!!) to be April 21st, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t make it that far. We’ll see! Other than that, I’m just trying to keep up with everything without going crazy. The norm. Bryan would prefer if I sat around all day and literally ate bon-bons, but I have trouble sitting down long enough to feed the 3-month-old. So this is going well.

Bryan: Still running around like a chicken with his head cut off. Always dreaming and scheming. I love this about him, I really do. Now just to get him to sit still and finish something. You guys he is just so cute to watch be a dad though. We now have 3 boys, and while I always saw him as more of a girl-dad, he truly has so much fun with the dudes. It helps that we gender-swap in a lot of areas, so while I could cry actual tears while being forced to snuggle for an extended period of time, he is a rock star with the middle of the night baby breakdowns. I and my body-heat-thermometer thank him.

El Oso: He started at a new high school at semester, which was both scary and exciting for him. He’s getting a lot more one-on-one attention from teachers, but it’s the #1 school in the state, so the stakes are a lot higher for him. His grades are a constant battle for us, but we’re working through them little by little.

Grady: You guys, no one told me how fun of an age *1* is. He is an absolute mess, stubborn as a mule (or his mama), and gets into EVERYTHING, but watching him learn new things every day and figure stuff out on his own is so much fun. It helps that he is so good-natured and thinks things like pretending to drink out of his sippy cup could be slaying material for comedians everywhere, but I digress. SO MUCH FUN. It makes me sad that he will eventually get sassy and develop an attitude. Can he just stay this small and adorable, but learn to spoon/fork-feed himself?

Osito: He is making leaps and bounds in the medical realm. He has appo

intments on appointments on appointments lately, but everything is improving and not getting worse, so we will happily take it. He’s a smiling fool now and JUST LAUGHED FOR THE FIRST TIME TODAY OMG. He’s also just so handsome. He has these dimples and when he smiles I can just tell he is going to be on every girl’s crush list. I’ll of course tell them all to back up off asap, but I doubt it will work. It’s crazy that he will start solid foods soon and move to a new nap schedule that will match Grady’s for a while (Thank the good Lord above). I’m excited for that stability before the new baby comes though. Perfect timing.

So that’s us right now…the very abridged version anyway. Congrats to the people who read this far! Hopefully my creativity will pick back up and I’ll be able to write actual meaningful posts soon.

Love, Alex

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Spicy


Don’t let this photo fool you. My child is everything they said babies wouldn’t be. He is never cold, and has always gotten too hot for me to put him in those adorable fuzzy pajamas. He is strong willed and opinionated. And he is the opposite of cuddly and sweet.

I tell him all the time that he is not sweet, he’s spicy…just like his mama. I’m telling y’all, this child may look a lot like his daddy, but he is 100% my personality. I’m both proud of this and terrified for my and his (and Bryan’s) future.

This photo was taken while trying to get him to wind down and get ready for bed. He had been fighting me and trying to buck out of my arms. I held him tightly and said calming things to him as he fought and fought and finally was still.

God uses adorable little scenarios like this to gently wave my behavior at me like “Oh hey, see that? That’s you.” He tries to help and teach and refine me and I just fight Him. Nonstop. No matter how many times I’ve “learned my lesson” Having a baby has taught me a lot about how God must see us. Babies are ridiculous and irrational and unwise and clumsy and everything seems so obvious to everyone except them. Hm… I mean really. Babies be crazy. Perfect baby logic: “What’s this? The edge of the bed? Seems smart to just crawl off of here.” God tells us to trust Him, that He knows the way and that it’s better than ours, but we would rather just roll off the bed and hope for the best.

I love this Spicy child with my whole entire heart, and I am beyond grateful that someone loves me that much and more through all of my shortcomings and stupid behavior.

With Baby Comes…

This is one of those things that I know no one reeeeeally cares about reading, but I neeeeeed to talk about it.

Weight.

So I had a baby, in case anyone reading this doesn’t already know that from my bombardment of photos on the interwebs. And with a baby comes extra weight. It’s a fact of life. When you’re pregnant, however, you can be smart about it, or, like me, be stupid about eating and healthy weight gain.

I had packed on a few pounds before I got pregnant, and was in the process of trying to lose it, and failing miserably. I just love food ok? When I saw the double line on the pee stick, I was all “Great! No more having to worry about losing weight!” And I ate…and ate…and ate…and gained a lot more weight.

Y’all.

*Swallows pride.*

I weighed well over 200 pounds at the end of my pregnancy.

It was hard for me to accept. I wanted to badly to be able to control it, but losing weight has always been difficult for me.

Before I move on, I just want to say that I am not at all trying to be one of those people who isn’t that big, but is going to complain about it anyway. If there’s nothing we women get more annoyed with, its skinny girls talking about how fat they are, meanwhile we are sitting here, obviously heavier than them, eating a burger. No, I am not trying to be that woman. Just talking about my personal story, and although I was and still am overweight, I try not to think of myself as “fat.”

Losing weight has NEVER been easy for me. I can exercise, but I am unwilling to change my diet much if at all, so when exercise doesn’t cut it (10% exercise/90% diet right?), I give up and feel even worse about myself. I like carbs, cheese, and sauces. Those are my vices. Plus I love to cook, it’s a creative outlet for me, and cooking some variation of chicken, again, gets old. When given the choice at a restaurant, I will always choose something I want instead of something healthy. Why pay for a salad when I can make that at home, right? It’s a real problem. I use food for comfort too. I have a hard time sitting and watching a tv show or movie without having something to snack on. I tend to break the golden rule of dieting by drinking my calories as well. Coke is like sweet nectar of the gods on my mouth. I could go on and on.

The point is, it has always been a problem, but a bigger problem is feeling down about myself. This is hard crap you guys. I hardly have time to dress myself and keep laundry washed, let alone to spend 2 hours of my day working out. Because let’s be honest, doing  45-minute work out is only a small part of it. For me, It means pumping, because, you know…jumping around and stuff, squeezing into a sports bra and still-too-small work out clothes, making sure the kid is asleep or otherwise occupied, doing the work-out, showering (maybe), and changing again. THAT’S LIKE HALF THE DAY YOU GUYS.

Ugh.

I do love the #MomBod movement over the past few weeks, and I am all over giving grace to moms to get their bodies back, but that doesn’t mean that I should just do nothing. I want to be able to run and play with my kids and get down on the floor and color without it hurting. I want to be able to…gosh just to wear MY OWN CLOTHES again. We like to paint a pretty picture of how beautiful childbirth is, but rarely do we have honest feelings about how hard and sucky it is to accept that our bodies will never be the same. I don’t want to feel like I am body-shaming or mom-shaming by saying that it is sucks to have stretch marks all over my body and to accept that it’s just how my body looks now. Or can we just talk about boobs? Or extra skin? Or just all of it?

I want to feel healthy and good about myself again. I want the fat in my face to go away so I can stop hating every single photo of me. And sure, there’s a part of me that needs to learn to love myself and my body more, but there’s another part that needs to suck it up, get her act together, and eat better.

All of this to say, I am on a diet. *Shudder.* Even I hate those words. I wish I could be one of those women that’s all “HAHA what’s a diet??” but no, I did not win the “Bounce-back-after-childbirth lottery,” and something’s gotta give. I don’t like diets. They rarely work and I never want to have to buy a bunch of shakes, drops, bands, wraps, and whatever other diet fad is going around now. Just no. I am doing the 17-day diet. I like it because it’s structured, but simple. I can have as much as I want of certain things, so I am never hungry, and it’s easy to wrap my mind around. I am down about 6 pounds since starting, and I am 2/3 of the way through cycle 1 (It consists of four 17-day cycles). That puts me at (crap is there still pride I need to swallow??) 174 currently. My goal is 140.

As far as eating out goes, that’s where Bryan comes in. I asked him to be in charge of my diet for the time being. He was all “Nope nope nope nope this is a trap nope.” But I talked him down and explained that I don’t have enough self-control to eat well, so could he please order for me at restaurants and slap chips out of my hand when necessary. He has been great so far! I think showing him that I wouldn’t fight him on it in the moment (bites tongue) really helped him to not feel like this was a lose-lose for him.

I may post updates as I go, but maybe not. I know this stuff isn’t exactly riveting, but it’s a big part of my life right now. Food is so hard for me that when I limit myself, it occupies roughly 97% of my thoughts. So I’m just trying to hang in there…for now.

Love, Alex

8 Things I Learned About Taking a Baby on Vacation

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Whew. We just got back from a week in Hilton Head, South Carolina with some of our very best friends, and then I pretty much immediately turned around and toted Grady to my birthplace, Shreveport, Louisiana for a long weekend. It was a whirlwind of crazy things, two of them being fun and stressful, but I feel like I’ve learned some lessons about taking a baby on vacation that I’ll be remembering for our next beach trip in August. Yes we’re nuts. Thankfully, our August trip is in Gulf Shores where another one of my very best friends resides, so if I run out of baby things I can just beg her for them. (Haaaaaaay Arden.)

1. Whenever possible, leave when baby is supposed to go to bed or at the very least, down for a nap. This should give you a few hours (or normal naptime) of peace when you can start the trip off on a good foot with getting gas, stopping for Sonic drinks (duh) and whatever road trip necessities you have.

2. Stock up on whatever will make your kid happy for the duration of the car ride. I learned that babies just don’t like the car for long periods of time. Or at least my baby doesn’t. Even with leaving past his bedtime, we still ended up with a cranky, fussy baby. Tylenol (because they get sore) and toys are mom’s best road trip friends. For older babies, snacks can probably be thrown in there, but mine is still on purees. For even older babies, those portable DVD players probably seem like God Himself reached down from Heaven and nestled them into the grateful and loving arms of moms everywhere. I look forward to these times.

3. Schedule-Shmedule. We’re not on a super tight schedule around here, but our routine is pretty bomb. We both love it and function very well by knowing what baby thing comes next. Plus, Grady is a pretty good baby. He’s still a baby of course, but for the most part, he will sleep and eat and everything else while we’re out and doesn’t have to be at his home base to function. Enter vacation. Crazy trip schedule + cranky, overtired baby + new and foreign place = yeah right on the normal routine. His naps were a fraction of their regular duration, every mealtime was a struggle, putting sunscreen on was as if I were rubbing Tabasco on open wounds. The list goes on and this type-A mom had to learn to roll with the punches.

4. I totally overpacked the wrong things. Because babies fit into clothes for like a minute tops, I packed alllllllllll of his cutest clothes that fit him right now. I thought I could make do with 2 swim shorts, 2 sun shirts, and 2 swim diapers. I did make do, but I definitely wish I would have considered the type of trip we were going on and what I would need most. we pretty much woke up and threw on swim stuff, so I for sure should have brought more of that. Especially the diapers. Those do not dry fast. And I as a first time mom did not understand the cleaning necessities for them. One poopy diaper being washed out in the ocean had me wishing I would have stocked up on those things instead of the cute clothes he wore half of. (He did look dang cute though let’s just be honest.)

bryan and grady

5. Sunscreen. Like all of it. I thankfully did not have to learn the hard way on this because I slathered it on my crying kid as often as I was supposed to. And really, how often do we reapply sunscreen as instructed? I even thought I did a great job on me and I still got sunburned on the first day, so I was grateful that I didn’t have to deal with a hurting baby on top of a hurting mommy.

6. They will have more stuff than you. Expect and accept it. Babies need a bunch of crap, and since mine is on solids now, food crap was added to the list. Seriously though, so much stuff. I wish I had taken a picture of our trunk. Bryan and I shared a bag and each had our personal totes, plus my sister’s bag, aaaaaaaand the rest was either Grady’s stuff, or stuff used for Grady (pumping supplies, nursing pillow, rock-n-play, etc).

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7. Just buy baby food. I usually make mine, but buy it sometimes when I’m in a pinch too. Like an idiot, I brought a bunch of frozen homemade baby food with me that I ended up throwing most of away. I thought I could keep it frozen during the trip, but it all thawed, and Grady couldn’t eat it fast enough before it went bad. Exactly half a day into the trip, I was wishing I had just bought it and left my frozen stuff at home for when I got back. Plus it would have saved me from having to pack and wash and keep track of bowls. Even the pouches can just be squeezed directly onto the spoon. Gaaah, so much baby food down the drain. Hold on, I need a minute.

8. Take advantage of people offering help. Because OMG vacation should not be as stressful as it definitely can be with a baby. When people offer to hold your kid so you can eat or go to play candy crush in the bathroom, for the love of all things good, LET THEM. Having people on your team makes babying sooooo much easier, especially on vacation.

We are pretty #blessed (Sorry.).

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Love, Alex

Ladies and Gentlemen…Well, really just mostly Ladies

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So when I was pregnant, I was of the “meet me in the parking lot with the epidural” camp as far as giving birth is concerned. I had friends that did all natural childbirth, and a part of me was happy for and proud of them, and part of me was sorry for them. Just keeping it real. Ripping my vagina open and feeling every bit of it did not seem like something I wanted any part of. So my “birth plan” consisted of “I go into labor. Bryan drives my panicking butt to Willow Creek. I check in, get epidural, and push out baby. I smile and cry at miracle. The end.”

God must have been all “HAHAHA that’s cute. Remember how your mom had preeclampsia, spent 22 hours in labor pushing and then the doctor told her that her pelvis didn’t do that? And remember how I created genetics?”

So yeah, NOTHING happened like it was supposed to. I got preeclampsia and was induced at 39 weeks and some change. I almost tied my mom’s labor record. He wasn’t a-comin’. At almost 22 hours, I was still only at a 5 and Grady was still a -3 station. (For those of you that don’t know what any of that means, it is a measure of cervical dilation and how far down into my lower extremities he was, respectively. The station starts at -4, so he had only moved one unit after all of those contractions.)

At long last, the doctor told me I would have to have a c-section. I was devastated. I felt like a failure. I was terrified. My mother’s fate had become mine. I cried, Bryan cried, my mom cried. We all know how well I deal with change, and I had been served a whole lot of it all at once. Laying on that table waiting to be cut open was one of the most out-of-control, least fun feelings I’ve ever experienced. But you guys, look what I got out of it.

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Wait, no. Bad example.

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That’s better.

I found myself becoming so thankful that I live in a day and age where my experience was possible. What if c-sections weren’t a thing, or if I lived in a place without access to the right equipment to do one? One or both of us may have died. And also, there are perks to having a baby extracted from me instead of pushed out of me. I didn’t poop in front of anyone, for one thing. There are others, I’m sure, but I was pretty psyched about the poop thing.

So when I was asked to do a tour of The Birth Center, I was skeptical. I had friends who went there for their pregnancies and childbirth, but what could they do for me? I mean, even if I wanted to participate, that ship had sailed, right?

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The founder of the Birth Center in Rogers, Cara, telling us all about it. She is an extremely educated, wise businesswoman who is passionate about women’s maternity health.

So wrong. What I imagined was a super crunchy, all natural, granola place was actually an incredibly modern, beautifully decorated, home-like place. Their 4 birthing rooms are set up like bedrooms I want to live in STAT. They have heated, vibrating, cleaning toilets, you guys. WARM TOILETS. I gave birth in December, you do the math. They also boast of low waiting room times. As someone who had to wait upwards of an hour at my appointments sometimes, I was all ears.

Imma need to know where you got that bedding.

Imma need to know where you got that bedding.

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Here is me striking an awkward pose during a tour to show off how nice their bathroom set up and decor is.

I have to pause here and give a shout-out to my friend Sarah, so I’m sure is thinking “I tried to tell you all of this, you jerk” right now. Sorry I didn’t listen, Sarah!

This was all fine and dandy…for other women. The ship had sailed, right? I had the scar that got me into the “no vaginal births unless you want to drive somewhere else to maybe, possibly, painfully make it work” club. Then I took a look at their exam room and found out that they do all-over women’s care. So basically, I can partake in the dreaded yearly in a fluffy robe in a warm environment instead of the alternative, which I feel no need to explain. They also do birth control care, will test for hormone levels, can give prescriptions for UTIs and stuff, and tons of other needs.

I mean, look at that. That just looks comfy. My friend Jacqueline actually put it on. I wanted to but am less brave than she is.

I mean, look at that. That just looks comfy. My friend Jacqueline actually put it on. I wanted to but am less brave than she is.

I loved my experience with Willow Creek, and will definitely go back IF I have another baby by growing it and not adopting it, but I am going to the Birth Center for my yearlys from now on. I didn’t expect to be sold, but man, it’s hard to say no to their amenities, especially when it’s just as, if not more affordable than traditional settings.

Above all, I love how empowering they are for women. They have somehow found a way to make you feel like a delicate flower and strong warrior all at the same time. And I love that.

Acorn Disclosure

You can find more info on The Birth Center in Rogers here. They are happy to answer all questions you may have and THEY DO FREE TOURS, y’all!

Love, Alex

Little Joys

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I’m typing this while laying in bed. Not that that’s important, I just thought it was worth mentioning. I’ve never written a blog post from bed before. I should make it a new thing. This is comfy.

ARE YOU BORED YET? SORRY.

Anyway.

I thought I’d share a quick list of the joys that motherhood has brought me so far. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely times where I want to cry. Just the other day, I told my baby child that he was being kind of a butthead BECAUSE HE WAS OK. But much of the time, this non-mushy mama feels all the feels and smiles all the smiles. So here you go. The best things:

1. Whenever I wake him up and he immediately smiles at me…just before stretching and doing this hilarious duck face every.single.time.

2. He’s been making this surprised face lately that’s just so funny. Like when we mock-throw him in the air, he will open his mouth really wide and gasp. It’s almost like he’s overacting on purpose. Putting on a show. The other day, he had been with my parents all night so I could sleep off a cold, and when we walked in he did the surprised face like “OMG you’re here. I could just die I’m so happy!” (You have to say it in a southern belle accent, otherwise it doesn’t sound as funny as it seemed that day.

3. We just started solids, so he is learning how to swallow nonmilk food and not spit it all over the place and me. So he gets frustrated and will whine a lot during these feeding times, even as they are getting better. But the best part is that he will whine and fuss, but as soon as I make a big deal out of him taking a bite and swallowing it correctly (“Yay Grady! Good job buddy!”), he immediately stops whining and gets this huge grin on his face….and then back to the whining and stuffing his bib in his mouth, but I digress.

4. We try really hard to communicate to Grady that people are ok if we say they are. We want him to have a healthy fear of stranger-danger, but not of the babysitter or friend at church that wants to hold him. However, he has started the phase where he categorizes people as “mommy” and “not mommy.” Most of the time, he’s cool with “not mommy,” just as long as “mommy” is within eyesight. Anyway, the other day he turned his shoulder to my mom for the first time while I was holding him and she tried to take him. For a second, my mama heart was full because realizing that he loves me too and wants to stay with me is huge.

5. He has started squealing, especially when he thinks something is funny. So anytime we do something repetitively during playtime like tickle him and then stop and then tickle him again or give him raspberries on his belly, he anticipates the next time and will squeal with excitement. It makes me smile just thinking about how cute it is.

Ok, that’s enough mushy for now. I have realized how different I am in regards to my son compared to my usual non-touchy-feely self. I’m down with it. He makes me so happy.

Love, Alex

Surviving.

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Ok. I feel like maybe I am finally in a place to gather my feelings and share them without crying, saying something stupid, or yelling at my husband for zero reason at all. (Whatever. How DARE he put his jeans in the wrong laundry bag.)

The aftermath of having a baby sucks. Hard. I’m over it.

No one tells you that 3 months later your clothes still won’t fit, your marriage will be really really hard for a while, you will cry more than you’ve eve cried in your life, and that you will feel such bipolar emotions, at the same time, all day every day.

Oh my gosh this baby is the best thing to ever happen to me.”

“Oh my gosh my life is over!”

All of this is worth it for this precious baby boy.”

“I may never seep again!”

I’ve never ugly-cried to my husband so much in the history of the world. I’ve caught myself thinking back to when I just wanted so badly to impress this guy. After what he has seen of me, let’s hope that good impression has lasted him through.

Oh my what his eyes had just seen. (Sorry it's blurry, I obvi wasn't the picture-taker.)

Oh my what his eyes had just seen. (Sorry it’s blurry, I obvi wasn’t the picture-taker.)

I wish someone would have told me that I would only want to watch Psych because I couldn’t watch anything that made me feel things. Or that I would find myself saying “I’m sad today.” because there was just no other way to describe how I felt. I wish someone would have told me (and Bryan) that it would be a while before our needs would be met fully by each other. Most of all, I wish someone would have told me how long it would take to start feeling better.

It’s not that I expected to feel great immediately, but my for-real expectation was like two weeks to a month.

Lol no. Grady is 3 months old today and I am just now feeling like my head is above water. It’s all about survival. And the worst part is that next week will feel entirely different and I’ll probably come crashing down again. I can only hope that the memories of the good days will hold me through the bad ones. 

Three months later, I’ve graduated to reruns of Gilmore Girls. Maybe next week I’ll be ready for crime shows again. I also started triathlon training again. Nothing like having to get new workout clothes because my regular ones are too small. #Irony.

**Side Note: My family is doing a biggest loser competition! We are all going to beach in August, so we have until August 1st to lose the biggest percentile of our goal, lest we lose $50 instead. Cameron (my brother) doesn’t get to play and therefore is our moderator and if he is upset about it then he can just TAKE HIS SKINNINESS AND CRY HIMSELF A RIVER.**

Oh! And I made myself a chore chart because the house was driving my crazy. Plus organization and the charting of the chores was therapeutic, duh.

Isn't it pretty?

Isn’t it pretty?

So there you have it. All of my emotions and thoughts from the past 3 months word-vomited before you.

It feels good to do life again. Just don’t misplace any laundry around me and hopefully I can keep my cool a little longer.

Love, Alex