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the years are short, of that I’m painfully aware

April 14, 2017

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Anyone who has prepared for parenthood has heard the adage: “The days are long, but the years are short!” When I was in the trenches of life with a newborn the days did, indeed, feel long. And while I knew that the years would fly by, I don’t think I really believed it. These days, I find myself feeling every ounce of the shortness of life with little children. My baby, I swear she was just a baby. How can she possibly be two? Having conversations with me and running around the house like a maniac, developing her very own personality and preferences.

As I wait for our second little girl to arrive, I find myself painfully, achingly aware of how short the years are, how quickly the days fly by and how quickly these little babies turn into toddlers, kindergarteners, high schoolers, college students. Be still my heart. I don’t know if I can handle it.

I’m aware that sometimes I can come off extremely unsentimental to those who know me well, but it’s not really that at all. If anything, I’m so sentimental that I can’t handle the big feelings that threaten to overtake me on a daily basis. I look at those little fingers, those tiny toes that have curled up like that since she was itty bitty, the way she giggles and curls up next to me on the couch while watching “Monkey George” and calls milk “mookie!” You guys, I can’t handle it. I’ve always been a believe that the best is yet to come, but lately I’ve been searching for a way to freeze time. Because these days, while exhausting, challenging, physically demanding, are so very sweet.

I look at those two faces in the photo above and I melt. Our family isn’t perfect, we aren’t perfect or ideal parents. Heck, sometimes we aren’t even good parents! But they’re my people, my crew, and getting to do life with them every day is the biggest blessing I could have asked for.

Madison

Family, Pregnancy

A letter to my second-born

April 5, 2017

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When I was pregnant with Ainsley, I wrote A Letter to my Firstborn a few weeks before she was due. All jokes about middle or second children aside, I didn’t want to let this precious time before I meet our second daughter go by without writing a letter to her.

To my second daughter, my sweet baby girl, a child I don’t yet know and yet love more than I could have imagined; we’re ready for you. If you anyone asked me about how I was feeling just a few weeks ago, I would have probably given them a different answer. But now, as I sit here writing this letter, listening to a playlist created just for this little girl’s birthday, I can say without a doubt that we are ready.

Your big sister informed me last night that she’s excited for you to arrive so you two can “play toys.” And because we’ve promised that when you arrive we will celebrate with birthday cake. Everywhere we go she tells people that when baby sister arrives we are going to have CAKE! All jokes aside, I have already been praying over your relationship. Because while everyone is quick to tell me that sisters are the best, I’m also aware that sibling relationships can be strained, competitive and forced and I want nothing more than for you two to be the best of friends.

Late at night and early in the morning I find myself wondering how my arms and heart can possibly make room for two. It makes my heart swell and crumble all at once, thinking about you and your sister both here in this house, asleep in those two bedrooms side by side. How will I have room to care for and love another just as much as I have loved the first? It seems nearly impossible. And yet I’ve seen your sweet little profile on ultrasound photos and I’ve been kept awake by your kicks and rolls and I know without a doubt that our love will multiply in a way made possible only by God.

Ainsley has a BIG story matched only by her big personality. But I’m already praying you to develop your own unique, distinct personality and that you feel comfort living in the story God has written for your life. I pray you are compassionate, tender-hearted, self-assured and deeply rooted in God’s word and truth. And I have a sneaking suspicion that you might end up being a little introverted like your momma. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking since your sister is your dad’s twin in almost every way.

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to experience pregnancy again, to experience motherhood and yes, even the newborn days once more with you, sweet baby girl.

I feel ready. I don’t feel ready. But I know that we’ll figure it all out along the way.

Love,
Mom

Family, Food & Recipes

thoughts on a (nearly) vegetarian pregnancy

April 4, 2017

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A vegetarian pregnancy. It was something I had hoped to have the first time around with Ainsley’s pregnancy, but for a number of reasons it never really happened. While I still ate a lot of my favorite vegetarian foods during my first pregnancy, I at a fair amount of meat as well. So many people told me that I couldn’t have a healthy, balanced pregnancy if I wasn’t eating meat, and because I didn’t know any better I decided they were probably right and I should fall in line with more of a standard diet.

This time around, I was more informed and more committed to eating like I usually eat – vegetarian. Sometimes (a lot of times?) pregnancy has a way of stripping you of the things that make you feel most like yourself. I’ve been trying to combat those feelings by doing very normal things, exercising like normal and eating like I normally do when I’m not pregnancy.

Since nausea plagued me for a lot of this pregnancy, and because I live in the heart of the Midwest where there is a shortage of good vegetarian options, I’ve eaten meat from time to time this pregnancy. I’m not militant about it, choosing to eat for health rather than to follow a strict set of rules, but I would say that I’ve been about 95% vegetarian this go around.

My overall thoughts?

Being pregnant and vegetarian is pretty much as easy as being pregnant any other time in life. I don’t think I would recommend becoming a vegetarian while pregnant or if you were a new vegetarian prior to becoming pregnant because learning to eat a well-rounded vegetarian diet that works for your body takes a little time and trial and error. Probably not a great idea when you’re growing a tiny human who needs well-rounded nutrition to grow and develop. But if you already have a good handle on eating a well-rounded vegetarian diet then you shouldn’t have any issue while pregnant.

I’ve been more diligent about making sure I’m eating complete sources of vegetarian protein (Ezekiel bread, beans and grains paired together, peanut butter on toast, hummus and pita, loaded salads) and have also consumed plenty of eggs and breakfast quesadillas, especially during the first trimester. I’ve also relied on my favorite Vega Protein & Greens for smoothies during this pregnancy, which made it easy to get in a few servings of veggies and protein on days when I felt like all I wanted to do was eat carb after carb.

Actually, when I’m left to my default I find that I eat primarily vegan many days. I can go days where the only animal product I consume is the cream in my coffee, so I’ve been working hard to make sure I’m consuming enough dairy, too. A day of eating for me, while pregnant, usually looks like:

Breakfast //
Bowl of oatmeal with chia seeds, almond milk, peanut butter and sliced banana or fresh berries

Lunch //
A large salad served with a side of hummus and whole wheat pita bread or a loaded veggie sandwich on Ezekiel sprouted grain bread

Snack //
Post-workout smoothie made with almond milk, frozen banana, Vega Protein & Greens, powdered peanut butter, chia seeds and ice

Dinner //
A veg-friendly version of whatever we are having for dinner as a family. This is a mixed bag of different meals, so it’s hard to point to anything particular.

Dessert //
I always have to end with a healthy sweet treat, like my healthy microwave mug cake recipe and a dollop of peanut butter

So, long story short, yes! You can be a vegetarian while pregnant. It hasn’t caused me to gain any more or less weight than the first time around, but it’s certainly helped me feel a lot better. I don’t know if it’s all the way I’ve been eating, or the way I’ve exercised or the supplements I’m taking but the energy I’ve had and the great sleep I’ve enjoyed this time around have been night and day different than the first go around. So I’ll chalk a little bit of that up to the way I’ve been eating. 😉

Madison

Family, Fashion, Pregnancy

March Mom Edit :: What I’m Loving Now

March 29, 2017

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At nearly 34 weeks pregnant, is it safe to say that I’m in the home stretch? I’m certainly embracing that mentality, and the products I’m sharing about below have been making my life a little more glamorous and bearable during the last month and a half of pregnancy. Here’s what I’ve been loving lately…

I took a break from regular fixes for a while, but scheduling a maternity Stitch Fix at 30 weeks was a fantastic way to get excited about getting dressed while super pregnant.

I recently ordered these bottles for baby and I’m intrigued.

Someday I’ll get my eyebrows micro-bladed, but until then this has been doing the trick.

Yesterday I ordered a custom name sign for baby girl from House of Belonging. Can’t wait to show you!

I’m combating stretch marks with this and this and so far so good.

It’s official, this is the most perfect diaper bag around.

The hair care system that’s been transforming my tresses over the last two months.

A podcast for moms that’s encouraging me on work from home days.

We finally settled on this double jogging stroller.

Madison 

Family

A Quick Florida Trip

March 27, 2017

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Two weeks ago my dad called me up on the phone and asked if we would meet them in Florida for a very quick long weekend. They are staying for the entire week (my aunt lives in the Orlando area) since my little sister has spring break this week, but since we’re saving Joe’s vacation days for when baby arrives, we really couldn’t swing more than a long weekend. Although the trip wasn’t planned, and we’re getting close to the “no-fly” cut-off point of pregnancy, I couldn’t resist taking one last trip just the three of us! I mean, packing and traveling with Ainsley, dare I say it, getting SO easy and I know that soon we will be back to lugging all the things with us when we travel.

I mandated that our whole family pack in a single carry-on bag, and we managed to do so successfully! I know we weren’t gone very long, but I considered it a feat considering how much we took with us on trips just a year ago. Ainsley also took a back pack filled with toys, games, snacks and a stuffed animal and I took a purse. We checked the car seat through the airport and let Ainsley sit in her seat like a big girl. Overall, she did great! Our flight times were pretty early, and her naps ended up being much later than we would have liked, but we made it work. And I kept reminding myself what I remind myself every time we take a trip: Travel is always, always worth it.

We had such a wonderful time soaking up the sunshine and laying by the pool, even if it was for just a couple days. We don’t get to see my Florida/Idaho family as much as I wish we did, so we soaked up the time we had with them and made every moment count. Truth be told, I’m not sure when our next trip will take place. We don’t have any real travel plans on the books until the fall, when Joe and I have a weekend getaway planned, and otherwise plan to lay low this summer and adjust to our new schedule as a family of four.

Thanks for the memories, Florida!