Monday, February 24, 2014

So now...

Apparently, if it's not ear infections (praise the Lord for tubes!), it's RSV.  Poor little baby came down with a cough and fever on Wednesday evening, and the swab test at the doctor's office on Thursday (not fun, by the way) was positive for RSV.

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So we had a weekend filled with cuddles and naps and trying to coax Miss Priss to eat.  She's pretty much the same today, which I suppose is semi-good in that it hasn't gone down into her lungs such that she's having difficulty breathing.  But it's also semi-bad in that, because she's still coughing and snotty, Micah and I both had to take half days today at work so we could trade off keeping her.  I mean, not that I'm complaining about extra time with my pretty girl.  I'm just suuuuuuuper busy at work right now.  And starting to feel pretty yucky, myself, on top of it all.


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I got bangs!  My hair's so now... (name that movie!).

I'm still deciding whether I like them or not.  They look cuter in this picture than they do to me in the mirror. And I straightened them today, which feels weird.  So I'm just going to have to live with them for a little while and see how I feel then.

The rest of the week will probably be me blowing my nose and frantically trying to get things together for my sister-in-law's sip-n-see at our house on Sunday.  I think it's going to end up being pretty cute.

Alright, friends... back to work.

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(How adorable are these two?  She wanted to wear her "hat" like Daddy's...)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Things have been a little crazy around here, y'all.

Work is nuts, Grace is EVERYWHERE, and the house is a hot mess.  Throw in a holiday weekend, and life becomes utter chaos.

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And I feel like I'm just flying by the seat of my pants every second of every day.  I've got emails to catch up on, a sip-and-see for my sister-in-law to finish planning, Grace's first birthday party to put together, dentist and eye doctor appointments to make, and tons of clutter to organize.

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Every night I come home motivated to catch up with everything after Gracie goes to bed.  But then I just don't.  Micah and I perch ourselves on the couch and watch Big Bang Theory reruns and fall asleep before 10:00.

Eventually these things will get done.  At least that's what I keep telling myself. :)

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(Her little bunny rabbit teeth just kill me.)

Otherwise, not a whole lot else is going on.  I did judge a mock trial tournament this weekend at the college I graduated from.  It was surreal and strange, but it was actually really neat to be back there for the first time in seven-ish years.  And I was reminded of how fast it all goes.  I swear, I was just graduating college, in love with a cute boy, terrified about law school, and about to move away from my family for the first time... Time really does fly.

Oh!  And I seriously HAVE to say a quick congratulations to one of my very best blog friends, Emily, whose sweet Lilly was born less than a month before Grace.  It looks like Miss Lilly is going to be a big sister come this fall, and I just couldn't be happier for them!   Congrats again, Emily!

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One other thing I wanted to tell you guys is that I was selected to be a Confetti Babe Mama Blogger.  Confetti Babe is a shop created by two fabulous moms who make the most adorable headbands for little munchkins.  I'll be posting over on their blog occasionally and just wanted to let you guys know that you should totally stop in and say hello.

Make it a fabulous Tuesday, friends.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The struggle...

I left my baby crying this morning.

I knew it would happen eventually.  I knew that even my happy little girl would eventually notice that Mommy was leaving her for the day and that the smile I plaster on my face as I sneak one last glance at hers would fail to fool her.

At first I turned around and picked her right up because I just. couldn't. deal.  But when she started bawling again the second time I put her down, I knew I just had to walk away.

And it broke my heart, y'all.

One of the other sweet moms touched my shoulder as I started to glance back in the room and said, "Just keep on walking, mama.  She's going to be fine."  And, sure enough, after I stored her car seat in the designated area and came back to take another peek to check on her, she was smiling away and playing.

Except for the first week or so that I started back to work, I haven't dealt with a whole lot of working mom guilt.  The transition has honestly been so much smoother than I had any right to expect, and I'm thankful that, at least for now, I feel like I really can balance this job that I love doing with the family that I love spending time with.

But sometimes.  Sometimes I am overcome with regret for all the moments I'm missing.  She's learning new things every day, and cramming all of our time together into the nights and weekends leaves me craving her voice and her open-mouthed, slobbery kisses more than I can even tell you.  

I honestly wasn't even going to share this moment here because (1) I already posted a mushy mommy post this week and didn't want to bore all of you and (2) I know how melodramatic I sound because I know that she NEEDS me to let her figure out how to be without me.  I know I had to walk away, and that would have been the same whether I was dropping her off at daycare or leaving her with her grandparents for a night away.  I promise I know.

But I also know how short this time is.  She's already nearly ten months old, and I know that it'll feel like no time has passed before she is a teenager with hormones and crushes, and I won't even remember what it's like for her to want me to hold her.  

And I also know that many of you moms struggle with the same things every day.  I share a lot of happy, sweet things with you, but there are so many hard moments, too.  And failing to share those moments, as well, feels unfair and reinforces the fallacy that we mothers are not allowed to feel what we feel.  

So whether you're a stay-at-home mom who would trade the whole of your bank account for a solitary moment to relax or you're a working mom who feels like you're failing on all fronts... know that you're doing a fabulous job.  We're all going to have moments of triumph and moments of failure, but the important thing is that we love our babies fiercely in whatever ways we know how.  The rest of it always seems to work itself out.

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 10, 2014...

My darling Grace,

Something in me changed when you were born.

It was if the center of gravity shifted, and my own happiness became inexplicably intertwined with yours.

When you cried, my heart rate increased, and the only thing I could think about was doing whatever it took to make you happy again.  And then you'd smile your happy little smile, and the world would feel right again.  Your Memaw told me this would happen, and, as usual, she was absolutely right.

 photo DSC_0549.jpgWith each day that passes, I become more and more aware that for the rest of my life, I will be consumed with an overwhelming desire to keep a smile on your pretty face.

I can't promise you that I will be a perfect mommy.  In fact, I can promise you that I won't.  But I did learn a few things from my mommy, your Memaw, and so I will promise you this:

... I will tickle your toes.

... I will kiss your boo-boos.

... I will rock you to sleep until you insist that I stop.

... I will read as many books to you as it takes to give you the gift of a love of reading.

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... I will hold your hand when you need me to, but I'll be ready to let go when you're capable of standing on your own.

... I will endeavor to comb out every ponytail until there are no. more. bumps.

... I will do the hard thing if it's what's best for you.

... I will let you pick out your own outfits, even if they include neckties and medieval headdresses.

... I will do everything in my power to make your childhood a magical one.

... I will not bat an eye if you tell your third grade teacher that your dream is to be a romance novelist.

... I will remind you that you are beautiful—on the inside and out.

... I will allow you to fall down because that's how you learn to pick yourself back up.

... I will admit when I'm wrong.

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... I will let you make up your own mind.

... I will give you every last bite of my tomato basil soup.

... I will share my bath time with you.

... I will let you do it, even if it takes twice as long.

... I will tell you about Jesus.

... I will encourage you to dream big things.

... I will believe you.

... I will shoot dirty looks at the boy who breaks your heart... even if he happens to be sitting in the next pew over at church.

... I will make sure you never forget that my love for you is unconditional and completely independent of anything you do or say or achieve.

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And when it's time for me to let go and to have faith in the girl you will have become, I will stand back and watch you shine.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Grace: nine months

My darling Grace,

Oh, my sweet girl.  You really are the light of our lives.  From your smiley face to your chubby, little toes... we adore every inch of you.  This month has been so much fun because we're really beginning to see bits and pieces of your personality.

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And if I thought last year's pictures were challenging...

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I hadn't seen anything yet!  Daddy wasn't here to help, so we had a few close calls, but Mommy managed to keep you from falling.  Hallelujah!

Here are your nine-month stats:

Nine Months at a Glance

Weight:  20 pounds, 5.5 ounces (80th percentile) 
Length:  27.75 inches (60th percentile)
Eating:  6-8 ounces four times a day
Sleeping:  11 hours at night, 3-ish naps (anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours each time)
Bedtime:  7:00-7:30
Awake: 6:00-6:15 
Diapers:  size 3
Clothes: 6-12 months, 9 months, some 12 months
Things You Love:  clapping, pulling up on everything, your Laugh 'n' Learn puppy, your stuffed Minnie Mouse, Lilly, car keys, puffs, yogurt melts, iPhones, laughing, your cousins, your That's Not My Pony book, your activity table, banging measuring cups together, shredding magazines and trying to put the paper in your mouth, having your hair played with
What You Can Do This Month:  cruise, walk behind your walker, wave bye-bye, sign "more," dance, drink from a sippy cup, eat puffs, say da-da, give kisses

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Eating:  You're still eating 6-8 ounces at a time 4 times a day.  Still usually around 6 when you wake up, then 10-ish, 2-ish, and 6-ish.  If you don't eat all of your 6:00 bottle, you finish it just before you go to bed.  You have breakfast at 8, lunch at 11, a snack at 2:00, and dinner either just before your 6:00 bottle or about 30 minutes afterward.

You'll eat anything pureed (we stick to mostly organic), but you're still having trouble gagging on table food.  For now, you'll eat puffs, the cheetos-type baby snacks, yogurt melts, and chicken sometimes.  You LOOOVE to snack on the few things you'll eat, so I have a feeling you're going to love to eat once you figure it out. :)  We're still working on adding other things.  

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Sleeping:  You're still a pretty good sleeper.  You go down around 7:30-ish at night and wake up right around 6:00 each morning.

Naps are still pretty inconsistent.  You sometimes nap on the way to school, then you'll sleep anywhere from an hour to two hours at school, and then you almost always nap on the way home, anywhere from an hour to two.  We often have to wake you up at 6:00 to eat.  On the weekends, you usually take two long naps - about two hours each - in the morning and afternoon.

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Other Stuff:  You had ANOTHER ear infection, so we got an ENT referral and had tubes put in this month.  The surgery was pretty breezy, but you did cry for about an hour straight afterward.  Apparently you + anesthesia do not mix well.  But since then, you've been ear infection-free!

You also got another tooth this month!  That wasn't fun for mommy and daddy, but now we know why you were so fussy that week!

You're saying some words, like da-da, but we're pretty sure you're not using them specifically yet.  You are getting a little sassier, which has been... interesting. :)  If we take a toy from you or try and change your clothes or keep you from doing pretty much anything you want to do, you get angry.  You also strangely start crying anytime anyone blows their nose.  It's so pitiful, but it's also kind of hilarious.

You are the smiliest little thing I've ever seen.  You love people, and you make friends wherever we go.  Your teachers at school always comment on your fun, sweet, happy personality.  And boy are you getting BUSY!  Now that you're mobile, you're everywhere.  We can hardly keep up with you!  You still let me rock you at night, but I'm wondering how much longer that will last.

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We love you more than life, itself, angel girl.  And I am loving watching you grow and become the little girl God intends you to be.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Before and after: my skin


I'm about to do something scary, y'all.

It will be scary for you, too (albeit, for very different reasons than it is for me), but I'm hoping it'll be helpful, too.  I know I always love a good before and after comparison.

I'm not quite ready to do a weight loss update, only because I'm planning on doing a picture comparison at 50 pounds, and I'm hoping that won't be too far in the future.

But I do want to show you all how much my skin has improved over the last several months.

I promise I'm not selling a darned thing (the makers of the products I list below have no idea I exist), and I also promise that I recognize that my "new" skin isn't even anything special.  I know most of you probably already have a much more even and smooth complexion, but for me, the change has been significant.  And I don't actually think that the changes I've made have been all that onerous.

So I'm sharing, on the off chance that this is at all helpful to anyone else who struggles with their skin.

This is me, sans makeup (plus wet hair) about five months ago.

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So scary, right?  It's a fairly terrible picture anyway (and we've talked all about how I'm completely incapable of taking a non-awkward selfie), but I know you guys can still see the breakouts around my chin, as well as the redness and unevenness in tone.  Plus, it felt icky.  Very rough, even under a full-coverage foundation.

Here I am without makeup now.  (Well, technically, here I was last weekend.  But you get the idea.)

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Still not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but a vast improvement.  And it really feels a ton better, too.  I'm actually considering switching to a lighter foundation, or even a BB cream (even though I am still obsessed with my Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation), just to see what it looks like.

So what have I been doing differently?

Nope, no prescriptions.  I am still using my favorite SkinCeuticals products:  Phloretin CF, A.G.E. Interrupter (which probably isn't even the right product for me since my skin isn't quite considered mature yet, but I'm so in love with how soft it makes my skin at bedtime, I can't stop using it), Retinol, and Daily Moisture.  But I was using all of these things five months ago, too, so they can't be the difference.

(And as a disclaimer, I realize these products are astronomically expensive.  I don't pay for mine, as my stepmom gets them for me at a significantly reduced cost, and I'll have to find alternatives when she changes jobs.)

Here's what I think has made the difference:

WATER.  As a part of my diet, I strive to drink 80 ounces of water a day.  That's FIVE POUNDS of water, y'all.  And it sucks.  I already had the bladder of a small toddler, so the frequency of my restroom visits has become laughable.  But it keeps me hydrated, and my skin seemed happier shortly after I upped my water intake, so I'm giving some of the credit to the H2O.

FACIALS.  Since September-ish, I've been getting a facial every month or two.  Not even the fancy kind,  just the one offered by my massage place.  (For any locals, I go to Tiffany at the Rowlett Massage Envy.  I. am. obsessed.  She's adorable, and she does an amazing facial.  Best I've ever had, by far.)  With my membership, it's about $60 (including a $20 tip) every time I go. (Because I already pay for a massage each month, the price of the facial is reduced).  I've been skipping my pedicure to offset the cost  and painting my nails myself.  (I bought one of these on Amazon to help keep my tootsies in shape, and it's seriously phenomenal.  Gross, but super effective.  Like most of the other Amazon reviewers say, use it DRY.)

For me, the facials are making a world of difference, and I'm not sure I'll ever be able to go back to not going.  The effects seem to last about three weeks for me.  After that, my skin's still clear and pretty even, just not quite as smooth.

LIZ EARLE.  Lastly, I've been using Liz Earle's Cleanse and Polish cleanser (that I shared with you all before) religiously.  Like seriously.  I take my makeup off and exfoliate every single night, without fail.  I also try and wash in the morning, as well.  The muslin cloth works significantly better to cleanse (and obviously exfoliate) my skin than the Clarisonic, in my opinion.  And getting the makeup off my face before bed seems to be keeping most of the acne at bay.  Well, that and the constant exfoliation.  I'm not even using any acne-reducing products in any consistent way because I haven't really needed to.

A friend who has dry skin told me that she had tried this cleanser and wasn't in love, so obviously take my recommendation with a grain of salt.  But I have normal to oily skin, and it's a miracle-worker for me.

So there you have it.  These are the things that are working for my skin right now.  What's your skincare regime?  Any super-secret tips you want to share with the class?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A pensieve-y post...

When I go too long between posts, the thoughts just pile up in my brain, and I feel all out of sorts until I get them out.  (I totally need a pensieve.)  So, for purposes of getting this stuff OUT in the most efficient manner, I'm hoping you'll all be okay with a list.

My spending freeze is officially over, y'all.  And I definitely didn't make it to February 1 before I blew it out of the water.  I told myself that I had to go ahead and order a few things for Gracie's birthday party (which I haven't even scheduled yet, so my frenzy obviously makes perfect sense... or not), but then I just got on a roll, and before I knew it I had bought a set of candlesticks and a new sign for my mantel (can't wait to show you guys when it comes in!) and a few things for my nieces.  BUT... I didn't purchase any clothes -- for me OR Gracie.  So apparently I'm still in possession of a sliver of self-control.

Speaking of self-control, I weighed in at Slim4Life yesterday for the first time in a couple of weeks, and I was down another 2.6 pounds!  My progress is definitely slowing, but at least it hasn't come to a standstill.  And I'm feeling pretty motivated this week, so I'll take advantage of that while I can!  Almost 40 pounds down... only 60-ish more to go.  

Micah headed out of town on Friday morning for a men's retreat with some guys from church, so Gracie and I had our own little retreat of sorts on Saturday (after a hellish Friday filled with pink eye and doctor's visits and an hour in the CVS drive-through line... ick).  We took a walk and then had lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, and I laughed while she made friends with the waitress and everyone else around us.

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This little girl, y'all.  She seriously lights up my life.

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(I can't even handle the cute.  And, yes, we're starting early with a Sense and Sensibility opposites primer.  If she's not obsessed with Jane Austen by the time she's old enough to appreciate her, it won't be for lack of trying on my part.)

We finished the afternoon with a little shopping and a loooong nap.  We had a great time, but we were both excited to see Daddy when he pulled in the driveway on Saturday evening.  We really are best when we're all together.

I've been re-discovering my adoration for basically any and all Hillsong music I can get my hands on.  Recently, I've had Oceans, Hosanna, and Desert Song on repeat.  (In fact, I love Desert Song so much, it may or may not have inspired my new mantel sign...)  What are you guys listening to these days?

I got to see my Mimi this weekend, and it was such a blessing.  She was very much herself, and it was so wonderful to just sit next to her with my little girl in my arms and soak up this precious time with her.  I truly have no idea how much more we'll be given.

Ahhh.  I feel sufficiently lighter now.  Thanks for always letting me unload it all here, friends.  I'm convinced you guys are better than yoga or massages or therapy could ever be for my mental health. :)  (Although, let's be honest, I'm probably going to continue with the massages, too.  Just for good measure.)
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