Friday, December 23, 2016

Our Holiday Home

Right in the nick of time, I'm sharing a few snaps from our home during the most wonderful time of the year.  I didn't go all out this year, #newbornlife and all, but here it is!

Wreaths on the windows, my favorite look.  I didn't buy enough so I ended up putting them between the windows, I still think it's so pretty!  Seeing this I really wish I had a big one for the door.
Rudolph doorknob cover in our hall bath: 
Living room view, I pulled out the Tartan blanket that matches our tree skirt.  I also displayed our Christmas cards throughout the years on our curio cabinet. 
 View from the couch: 
Oh my gosh, Scrooge-in-the-box fits perfect in our little telephone nook!
The small tree is in our den and holds some of our most sentimental ornaments:
Two favorites, the knit ice skates made by K's great grandmother (the blades are paperclips!!) and the felt gingerbread man, made by a best friend's late mother. 
 Dining room scene, Could this doll eventually be our Elf on the Shelf?  This was my favorite holiday decoration growing up and now I get to have it in my own home. 
I found this nutcracker garland/banner years ago and now I finally have the perfect place for it, in our girl's room! 
Annnd the Christmas Angel who makes our house home.
I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas with the ones you love!!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Second Month Reflections

EB is now two and a half months old and I wanted to back up and post my "Second Month Reflections".
Away we go!
EBN at Two Months
Two months has brought with it so much joy and laughter, and a sense of a new normal.  My girl is as sweet as it gets, and I'm feeling so lucky that I'm her mom.  As is obvious from the photo above, she began smiling right around the 8 week mark.  Hallelujah!! It's like a light went off and now I swear I see her winking and blowing me kisses all the time. ;)  She loves it when I stick out my tongue at her and her imitation is to die for.  She is a gift from above, I swear.  So let's see...We have moved into size one diapers, sweet thing is around 10 lbs.  She is wearing NB and 0-3 month clothes and starting to fill them out perfectly.  We have gotten ourselves into a nice routine where we spend our mornings hanging out at home and we get out of the house daily around noon for errands or a nice walk.  As far as favorite things/toys/activities, we are still a little young for that.  She has enjoyed laying on her play mat, kick kick kicking away.  Little girl wants to be held and walked around to look at things all the time.  I give her a tour of our house daily, pointing out the projects we finished just in time for her arrival.  We have started daily bathtimes which are hit or miss, but we are sticking with them as it's something to fill a bit of the witching hour.  And gf loves to eat, and I absolutely love the sweet sounds as she drinks her bottles.  EBN, you are our pride and joy and your dad and I love you more than we can even say!
And now a few postpartum updates:
Physical Recovery
I am finally feeling back to normal physically.  I haven't been to the gym yet but plan to return after the New Year, it's been so long!  My stomach is still relatively bloated looking, but I think that is to be expected when you're not working out/watching what you eat.  Oh, I wanted to mention that my food aversions disappeared immediately after birth.  I forgot to include that in my One Month Update.  

I am still tired as all hell, but I've adjusted.  We have a nice routine where K gives EB her last bottle of the night so that I am "off duty" for at least a six hour stretch and I'm able to relax and get some extra sleep.  She is not sleeping through the night consistently yet, so I take what I can get.

I am still exclusively pumping, but only 3 times a day.  I am planning to drop one pump session and introduce formula at the 3 month mark.

Emotional State
I am feeling much steadier on my feet, gaining confidence in my new role daily.  I feel like I have learned SO MUCH in the past two months and I'm not nearly as nervous or anxious. Word to yo momma.
Some photos:
An outtake from the 2 month photo session:

Her favorite place, Daddy's warm arms:
We are so excited about our baby's First Christmas and all that her THIRD month of life brings!
All Baby Posts here.

Friday, December 16, 2016

2016 Christmas Card

I managed to get our Christmas Cards/Birth Announcements out in the mail this week.  Here's a peek:
And here's a snap of our cards throughout the years.  
2011 in top left, counterclockwise '12, '13, '14, '15, all the way to this year!
 I am trying to get organized with all I have left to do before Santa comes.  
I hope you are enjoying the season!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Caramel Toffee Cream Cheese Dip

Do you need a quick little something to bring to a Christmas gathering this week?
Seriously, this couldn't be easier!
Just pick up the ingredients pictured above.
Pour the caramel sauce over the cream cheese brick.  And then sprinkle with toffee.
I serve this on a festive platter with waffle square pretzels.
You can also pair with apple slices, but I prefer the salty pretzels to cut the sweetness.

Literally, grab these items on your way to the party and assemble once you arrive!
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2016

'Tis The Season...

...For time to just slip right on by.  I did not mean to let nearly two weeks slip by without a peep!  Let me catch you up since my last post.
Lots going on!
Our Thanksgiving was fantastic!  This was our first year ever hosting and it was amazing to be able to stay put all day.  We loved it so much that we will be hosting Christmas Day as well.  I absolutely can not wait!
I am so so disappointed that I did not capture any photos from our daughter's first Thanksgiving.  Well, except this one:
This turkey was lookin' so cute, y'all.  I kept calling her my Diva all day, something about the leopard and the head wrap was just a little too fabulous.
Yep, that's the only picture from the day.  I did take a couple pictures on black Friday...The aftermath of my tablescape:
We ended up eating on our patio so these are the remnants of the place settings.  The only perk of our massive pine tree?  Decorating with pine cones!

Also snapped a pic of the leftover plate:
Everything was SO delicious, we will certainly be recreating the exact same menu next year.
For my own future reference, we had:
(I have to add that my brother marinated the tomatoes and used smoked gouda in lieu of parm, GAME CHANGER)
Caramel Toffee Cream Cheese Dip with pretzels. 
(Easiest, tastiest treat.  I will post the "recipe" here soon.)
Smoked Turkey
Rice and Gravy
Squash Casserole
Sausage Pecan Dressing
Lima Beans
Macaroni and Cheese
Crescent Rolls
Cranberry Sauce
My Award Winning Pumpkin Crisp and vanilla ice cream
We did not get to see my in laws for the holiday so we visited them over the long weekend.  This picture has me dying, EB is just basking in it:
Her outfit here is quite possibly my favorite I have put her in yet. Seriously, she knows she's the cutest:
Also, on the weekend after Thanksgiving, we got our Christmas Tree!
We cheated this year and had it delivered from the church on our street.  I'll be honest, I didn't really miss the "tree search", but nothing will ever compare to the perfect one we found at Hyams last year (Behold!). I still think one is pretty, too.
Ok, so let's bring it around to this past weekend.  My sister in law got married!
The whole celebration was so gorgeous and sweet, starting with the rehearsal dinner at Charleston Distilling Company on King Street.  We love this venue!  Sidenote: First post baby date night and my birthday, hey hey!
And the wedding reception was out at The Boone Hall Cotton Dock.  It was a beautiful evening.
I think that about catches us up...We had our 2 month Doctors Visit today and EB did fantastic.  Even with the vaccines, she was such a pleasant little lady:
I am planning a post with my Second Month of Motherhood Reflections soon.
And I want to share our Christmas cards and some snaps of our holiday home.  
I hope y'all are having a great week!
Fa la la <3

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Humpity Hump

Thanksgiving Eve, hey hey!
So here's what we've been up to since last week...
On Saturday we celebrated Thanksgiving with my mom's side of the family.  It was a gorgeous day and we enjoyed being outside and catching up with family we don't see so often.  I had the sweetest outfit on EB but girlfriend was not having our photo session.  She kept squirming and kicking off her boots but I still tried and this was the best we got:
Sunday we spent the morning catching up on some housework while baby napped and then we went downtown to Carolina Alehouse for lunch.  The weather was brisk but it was sunny on the rooftop and we all enjoyed the fresh air.  I loved the view of Calhoun Street from above.
On Monday I had a long awaited spa day over at The Woodhouse in Mount Pleasant.  The package was a gift from K last Christmas.  I had scheduled the appointment for around Valentine's Day but found out I was pregnant and decided to cancel and wait until I could fully enjoy it, champagne glass in hand.  And I did!  The spa is gorgeous and I was so grateful to my mom for watching my girl all day and letting me indulge before the holidays kick off.  Also, Thanks babe I loved it!
Yesterday I went to the County Park with Kristina and Baby Emma.  The Holiday Festival of Lights has already begun and we enjoyed strolling the babies around.
Yesterday was also K and I's second wedding anniversary.  We hope to enjoy a nice dinner out soon, but shared a champagne toast last night.  It's been an amazing year for us and the best is yet to come!
EB is chillin' in her swing right now.  I'm about to get her up so we can hit the road and get started on some pre-Thanksgiving errands.  I'm sure it's going to be crazy out there!
I am really looking forward to being home for the holiday tomorrow.  K is smoking a turkey and I've got the rest covered.  I'll share pics soon!
I hope you have a wonderful holiday, there is so much to be thankful for!!!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday Highfive

I've got a sink full of dishes and 2 baskets of (clean!) laundry to take care of, but I'm letting it go because baby girl is napping and momma wants to catch up!
So how is everything going with you?
I am doing pretty good, adjusting to the new normal and getting excited about the holidays.
Last night I got FIVE hours of uninterrupted sleep.  
So...Here's a highfive for that!
Last Saturday I had my first social day out since having EB, for my bestie Chels' baby shower!
Isabella will be here end of December and it was a lot of fun to celebrate!
Not gonna lie, it took me an hour or so to get in my social groove, I've been in newborn mode for 6 weeks.
I am getting our Christmas Cards ordered this weekend.
We are using a photo from the Bella Baby session that we had the day after EB was born.
I wasn't expecting much from these photos but we ended up loving and purchasing the package.
Here's one of my favorites, me and my girl. 10/4/16:
New mom essential: Microwave Sterilizer.
I want to do an entire post of "Fourth Trimester Must Haves".
We have a rehearsal dinner to attend in a couple of weeks and I am about to head out to try and find something to wear.  I may stop into Bashful after seeing Holy City Chic post about this dress:
Baby is crying so can only give ya 4 today!!
Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Our Weekend

What a lovely chilly weekend!
We are happily cozied up inside on this brisk morning.  Here's a selfie for ya: 

I hope that y'all had a good weekend.  Ours was nice.  Still getting into the hang of things and we stuck close to home.  On Friday night I pulled out a pan of the stuffed shells that I made before having the baby.  I wasn't sure how they would turn out but they were really tasty!  I opened a bag salad and warmed a few frozen garlic knots to round out the meal.  Easy peasy.
I attempted to enjoy a bonfire in our backyard, but early evening is a very unpredictable time in our daughter's day so the majority of my night was spent tending to her.   But it was still nice to finally enjoy our fire pit!
On Saturday I brought EB over to my parents house for a couple of hours so I could run over to TJMaxx and try and find some clothes that fit my "right now" body.  Here is a picture I snapped of my brother holding her.  She was cracking us all up because she would be snoozing, eyes closed, and then pop open her eyes, smile, and immediately fall back asleep.
We had a delicious dinner on Saturday night.  K grilled our favorite cedar plank salmon and we paired it with mushroom tortellini and asparagus, both farmers market finds. 
More food!  Cinnamon rolls for Sunday breakfast. 
So it's obvious I'm not really watching what I eat right now, and combine that with my body after baby, I needed to pick up a few new things this weekend that I can wear right now.  I snapped this after Sunday dinner at my in-laws (EB got to meet her great grandparents!) and realized that I had a burp cloth draped over my shoulder, which means it must have been there through dinner and our drive home...perfect accessory for my "new mom" look I've got going:  
There you have it!  
It was an especially late and tiring night last night due to daylight savings but I'm hopeful we'll all adjust soon.
Hope y'all have a good week.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

First Month Reflections

Hello out there!
I am poking my head out from our baby bubble and wanted to catch up a bit.
Big news: Our daughter is one month old today!  This is truly a celebration... we survived our first month as a family of three and wow, what a month it was!
I wanted to talk a little bit about my postpartum experience and share some photos.

Physical Recovery
I have written out a "birth story" but I'm unsure about publishing here.  It's filled with so many mundane details that I won't even pretend to think anyone else but K and I would care about.  But I'm still considering sharing it...Stay tuned.  Anyway, in a nut shell EB's birth was fairly "standard". I did push for 2 hours though.  A couple of things of note that no one had ever mentioned to me:  The epidural can bring on full body shakes.  The whole "afterbirth" part is the grossest thing I've ever experienced.  The first time you try to use the restroom after a vaginal delivery you may feel like you are going to die.  Once home, I felt like I healed relatively quickly.  I relied on our retractable showerhead a lot when bathing.  One terrible side effect for me was a diaper rash of sorts, as I was wearing the hospital issued pads basically around the clock.  Not a fun thing to deal with on top of a newborn.   I will have my 6 week follow up next Monday, hoping for a good report.  

The past month has proven to me that I have never, ever even scratched the surface of true sleep deprivation until now.  I have been operating on an average of 6 broken hours a day which, quite frankly, isn't terrible for newborn life.  I knew I would be tired, but I had no way to know what that would really feel like until experiencing it.  I think we are all so accustomed to getting through a difficult day and being able to crash at night...But having a baby is a never ending 24 hour loop.  Day/Night?  Baby don't care!  In my case, due to breastfeeding and pumping, I have lived on a 2 hour stopwatch:  diaper change, feed, pump, repeat.  Hello, exhaustion.  

I went into breastfeeding with the attitude that I would give it my best shot.  I have no qualms about using formula (I was raised on it myself) but I wanted to atleast try for breastmilk, for the health benefits and also to save some money.  I have heard nothing but struggle stories regarding breastfeeding and I'm here to report: The struggle is real! First for me, it was all about nipple pain.  For the first 2 weeks of EB's life, I nursed on demand using a nipple shield (due to flat nipples).  The pain was so intense- but I had resolved to stick it out through the two week mark, as I'd heard that it only got better from there.  Well, I made it to two weeks and it simply wasn't getting better.  I was holding so much tension in my upper body every time she fed.  One night she pulled off my breast with blood dripping down her chin.  It was so unsettling that right then and there I decided I would be pumping and bottle feeding my breastmilk.  I also want to mention that another factor in my final decision to pump exclusively was due to her not gaining weight very well during her second week and wanting to measure out the ounces.  I met with a lactation consultant to help me with building my supply and ensuring she got enough.  For anyone in Charleston, I would be happy to send you her information, she was great!  I am very happy with my decision and thrilled that, for her first month of life, she has received nothing but my milk.  I am proud of myself and will be sticking with it as long as it works. One day at a time, y'all.

Emotional State
Hmmm, How can I put into words my state of mind over the last month?  It's hard because this whole experience has given new definition to "emotional rollercoaster" for me.  I have become completely connected to this tiny little lady.  It is an overwhelming love, a tremendous responsibility, and unlike anything I've ever known or could imagine.  Hormones were raging the first two weeks and I found myself showering twice daily just so I could be alone and cry.  The tears were not of sadness or happiness but pure hormonal emotion.  I would find myself looking at her crying while thinking "I miss her!"  So yea, it doesn't make any sense and you are basically a big mess.  As a first time mother, I had no idea how much I would question my every move.  I should screenshot my google history so you can get a real vision of what I mean.  I found this piece and it's comments particularly encouraging around week 2.  This first month was absolutely the most challenging time of my life but it's getting better every day and baby girl is really starting to get a little sparkle in her eye, which makes it all worth it one hundred times over.
Ok so now on to the fun part, some pictures!  I initially had 15 photos in this post but narrowed it down to a few faves.   
First family photo:
Home before the hurricane: Daddy's mini me:
 EB's first bath, she seems to really like them.
Happy Halloween from me and my squirmy girl!  And my massive pumpkin. 
 West Ashley Farmer's Market!  This was our first real outing as a family, we had dinner at the Mellow Mushroom afterwards and she slept (like a baby!) the entire time:
And one last snap of our first baby who is adjusting quite well to the new addition:
 I am going to try to get back into a groove of posting our weekly happenings.
These days are precious and I want to do my best to keep a record of them!
Hope you are all well :)