Friday, January 18, 2013

Moms of 2 or More: How Do You Do It?!

{Ironically, I’ve had this post in my head for weeks and finally sat down to type it last night.  Then this morning I found out that due to steadily increasing high blood pressure for the last 3 straight weeks, my c-section has been bumped up to this Monday morning…as in, less than 72 hours from now!  So I’d definitely appreciate any input as I enter these final days as a mom of one!}


Confession:  I truly can’t wrap my head around having two kids. 

It’s not one of those situations that you hear a lot like, “I just can’t imagine how I’m going to love another child when I already love my first child so much” or something like that.  On the contrary – we are soooo in love with this little girl already!  She was such an unexpected gift to us and we already feel so blessed by her presence.  We wanted another child for years and just never expected she would come to us this way.  It also might help that she is a different gender – it’s been SO fun to prepare for a little girl coming and Chris keeps walking around saying, “I just can’t wait to hold my little girl.” ;)

Nope, my issue is more that I seriously can’t picture my everyday life with two kids!  (I mean, I can in the future, but not with a newborn, if that makes sense.)  I mean, it’s been a looooong time – 3 1/2 years – of just me and Luke.  We have a routine and a system.  We want to go somewhere, we go.  He fits easily into a cart at the store and I only have to worry about one set of snacks, one drink, and one bedtime schedule to adhere to. 

He doesn’t take naps anymore (it’s okay – he sleeps great at night), but if I’m tired during the day (aka like now near the end of pregnancy) I lay on the couch next to him while he plays or watches a movie.  He consumes all my time and attention – and it works just fine.  He’s my life during the day!

So I just can’t fathom how this is actually going to work!  I can’t wrap my head around giving two kids my time and attention.  I anticipate feeling like a rubber band, constantly being pulled in opposite directions.  How will I balance it all?  How will I ever go ANYWHERE?!  Will I ever have FIVE minutes to myself again? 

I’m looking for advice here – or words of wisdom, or really anything.  What has worked for you, personally?  Strict schedules?  Just going with the flow?  Everyone has told me that going from 1 to 2 kids is the hardest transition there is, and I believe it.  It’s funny now to look back at having Luke and thinking how hard that was in the beginning…and now realizing what a piece of cake it actually was in retrospect.  I could take a nap or do whatever I wanted when he slept!  Now, on the other hand, if I’m exhausted from being up all night with Livi, I still have to be on my A-game because my preschooler will be wide awake and wanting to play even when she’s napping during the day. 

I’m prepared to hear “It’s really horrible during the transition time.”  Honestly.  (And on the flip side, if it wasn’t a big deal for you, feel free to let me know! ha!) I just want to know what it’s like from moms (and any dads!) who have been there. 

How do you do it?!  Seriously?!  lol

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Valentine’s Decor Around My House {2013}

Before I start, let me just say that if good quality photos are important to you, you’re gonna want to skip right over this post from me.  It has been cloudy here for 3 straight days, and since “She was patient” will never be inscribed on my gravestone, I decided to just wing it. 

So cloudy days combined with my cheapo camera combined with my stellar horrible photography skills…well just don’t say I didn’t warn you! :)

I am totally one of those people who’s like, “Oh, I’m having a baby soon?!  Clearly I must do something non-important and totally non-essential to prepare myself well for this life-changing event.”  haha!  I can’t explain why it was so important for me to decorate for Valentine’s Day, but having the house dressed up for the pink holiday somehow makes me able to complete on other, more crucial tasks…you know, like getting a hospital bag ready or putting baby sheets on the crib.  It’s like cleaning the cobwebs from my brain.  So weird but that’s how I’ve always been. 

So here we go!  Everything is super simple, probably thrifted, and mostly pink.  Red looks great in other people’s houses but it is not my color at all so you won’t see it here!

Here’s my “mantel” for Valentine’s:

valentines decor 2013 007


My mom was getting rid of the old milk-glass vases and I thought they would look cute here.  I made the easy rosette out of felt for a pop of pink.


valentines decor 2013 008


The “XOXO” is one of my fave TJ Maxx finds ever from years ago and I made the typewriter prints two years ago.  You can’t tell from the picture but they are actually covered with pink translucent paper.  If you are a Moulin Rouge fan you will notice that they are both quotes from songs they sing in the movie – and the typewriter font is a nod to Ewan MacGregror’s character.  “Come What May” was sung at our wedding so I love seeing some of those words printed out!

valentines decor 2013 010


The little birdie is from Target last year and the pink plate was thrifted. 

valentines decor 2013 011


Luke painted this little heart last year and I plan on pulling it out every year until he hates me for it.  haha!

valentines decor 2013 012


Over the computer I made a simple little heart banner using a punch and that adorable wrapping paper from the Dollar Spot at Target this year.  It’s just taped to pink embroidery thread. 

valentines decor 2013 001


I did the same garland for the kitchen chalkboard and added one of our favorite verses to it. 


valentines decor 2013 016


The words above the kitchen sink were inspired by a print I saw from Jones Design Company.  Polka dots are so cheerful, aren’t they?! :)


valentines decor 2013 014


In the dining room I added this adorable felted-heart ribbon that’s also from the Target Dollar Spot.  They had such cute stuff this year!

valentines decor 2013 002


I finally got to use my pink tablecloth that I found at a church sale last spring!  It might be a little tacky but we do SO much at our kitchen table that having vinyl with a 3-year-old is really a lifesaver.  Oh and I totally know you’re jealous of the Cat in the Hat puzzle.  I contemplated taking it apart but realized it realllllly wasn’t worth it to me.  haha!

valentines decor 2013 018


In our bathroom I just have this little free printable (which I LOVE) and a simple cylinder wrapped in pink tulle and secured with a bobby pin.  And sorry if you’re cringing over the flash – but our bathroom has no windows since it’s in the middle of our house.  Flash was the only way to show you the true colors!

valentines decor 2013 004


Lastly (okay really firstly) is our front door.  I wanted SUPER simple so I just fashioned some simple pink and white felt rosettes and then hot-glued them right to the wreath form.  It’s so simple and I love it.  It got all whited out but you can see the detail in the second picture. 

valentines decor 2013 006

valentines decor 2013 005


And that’s pretty much it!  I’m happy to have a little bit of pink around the house to enjoy for a while!  And to welcome my baby girl home to in EIGHT DAYS! Whooo!!


Linking up with:

DIY: Accomplished @ Homemaker’s Challenge

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Piece of My Past & Giveaway WINNER!

{Scroll down to see giveaway winner and details below.  Yes, I’m mean. haha}

Since I’m a SAHM with no money more time than money, sometimes friends and family will let me peek though their junk piles headed to Goodwill to see if I can find anything to sell on our local Facebook resale sites for a little extra cash (I explained more about those here).  I am SO grateful when people do this – I have made a decent amount of money this way and it seems to be a win-win for everyone! 

Yesterday my mom watched Luke while I was at an OB appointment (TWO! WEEKS! UNTIL! DELIVERY!) and told me she had a bunch of stuff that was headed for Goodwill unless I wanted to look through them.  Ummmm yes please!

Some of it was junk but I did find quite a few things I’m going to try to sell before the baby comes.  But I almost stopped breathing when I saw this little number among some kitchen odds and ends:

tupperware 001


That’s right, people, this hideously avocado green Tupperware has been a part of my childhood memories as long as I can remember.  I’m pretty sure my mom got it as a shower gift way back in 1983…and it held more tuna salad throughout the 80s and 90s than I can ever recount – somehow that became its life purpose in our family?!  haha

The thought of shipping it off to Goodwill?!  CRAZY.  It will stay a part of my life and my children WILL have memories of it in our fridge and around our house, I’m determined.  This puppy and me are bonded for life. 

Tell them to pot it with flowers at my wake. ;)

Anyone else have something from childhood that brings back memories for you like this?!



Drumroll please! The winner {picked by Rafflecopter} of a FREE print from my sister’s business, Creative Type Designs, is #2 – Kate M!  Woot! 

Congratulations, Kate! And a huge thank you to all who entered!  

PLEASE remember that Jill is offering a 25% coupon code good through this weekend on ANY of the prints in her shop!  And because the prints come directly to you via high-resolution pdf, you can buy it this morning and have it printed and framed in your house TODAY!  Talk about instant gratification!  ;)

One final plug for my sister – she is the real deal, you guys…a real graphic designer with a degree!  She does wedding invitations, save the dates, you name it.  If you’re going to need some professional “paper help” in the near future, definitely consider her!  She’s extremely accommodating and very affordable! 


Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!  I’ll be back next week with my VALENTINE’S decor! :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Creative Type Designs :: A Giveaway for You!

Today I have a very special giveaway for you – a free print designed by my super talented little sister! Jill is one of many college graduates I know who through no fault of their own who simply haven’t been able to find work in her field {she has a B.A. in Graphic Design}.  So she took the bull by the horns and decided to open her own Etsy shop featuring her designs!  I am SO proud of her!  I think she is amazingly talented and I hope to convince you of how awesome she is, too. ;)

Each Day I Love You More

Her shop is called Creative Type Designs and she has pre-made items for you to shop from or she is happy to do custom designs for you if you have something special in mind.  Her personal design aesthetic leans more toward the modern but she is more than willing to work with you on fonts and styles of your choice!




She is super professional and seriously really, really talented.  I think that with the advent of blogs and Pinterest a lot of people have taken on the task of making prints for themselves or others – and while that’s fine if it’s a fun hobby for you, by all means – there is a level of excellence to my sister’s work that I think you’ll notice right away!  {Check out her feedback page to see how happy others have been with her work!}


Family Alphabet Print


For our giveaway today, my sister is offering one of her $14 and under prints to you for FREE!  YAY! :) The print is sent to you via high-resolution PDF and you can print it at your local Staples, Office Max, etc.  (Which means NO shipping and NO waiting for it to come in the mail and NO risk of it getting bent by the postman when he tries to shove a 8x10 print that you’ve been patiently waiting for in your mailbox!  I mean…not that that ever happened to me or anything…lol)


Family Rules


In addition, ALL of the prints in her shop are 25% off this week (through 5 PM Eastern Time Sunday) using the coupon code “25OFF” if you wanted something custom for your home or if you don’t win. ;) {To apply the coupon code, simply click the print you’d like to buy, then click “Add to Cart,”  then on the right-hand side click “Apply Shop Coupon Code” underneath where it says “Paypal.”}


Our Home


Good luck!  The giveaway ends Friday morning at 12 AM Eastern Time.  Please remember that you MUST use the Rafflecopter form below to enter – otherwise your entries won’t count.  I know this is new for some of you so if you have any questions about how it works, please feel free to leave me a separate comment – I’ll check the comments on and off throughout the day and do my best to help! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Getting Shingles…And My Mottos for 2013 what a crazy week and a half this has been for me!  On Christmas Eve (Monday) at 2 in the afternoon, I got a bizarre pain right underneath my eyeball.  I assumed it was a weird headache and took some Tylenol;  it did nothing but we were going out to our family’s annual party so I just sucked it up and figured a good night’s sleep would get rid of it. 

Well…the headache continued straight through Christmas Day and night and then on into the afternoon on Wednesday.  I tried everything – ice, as much Tylenol as I could take being pregnant, having my husband massage it, you name it.  I thought I was getting a weird pregnancy migraine.  Lights hurt my eye and it was so painful.  The pain also traveled – it would be by my temple, then around my eye socket, then by the bridge of nose, then by my forehead.  It was so weird. 

On Wednesday morning I also woke up with a weird rash on my forehead.  It would have looked like dry scaly red skin but I really never get dry skin on my face so I knew that wasn’t it.  I figured I’d either iced too much or had my husband rub it too hard and had given myself a “burn.” 

I finally got in to the OB and they were going to write me a prescription for migraines – but my OB was concerned about the rash.  They hooked me up to a NST and Livi was moving just fine and her heartbeat was perfectly healthy.  He sent me straight to the ER and told me to prepare for an MRI.  At this point I’d had pain for about 50 hours and it was only increasing.  I had to wear glasses because I seriously couldn’t handle having to squint at the lights. I was just praying it was a weird migraine that somehow came up to my skin’s surface and there wasn’t something wrong with my brain. I get really claustrophobic so I was really worried about the MRI and that my doctor was concerned. 

Once there we waited about an hour and a half in the ER waiting room.  I kept telling Chris I didn’t know how I was going to make it because the pain was just escalating.  It was brutal.  Finally they took my back with a wonderful nurse and they put my in my own little room where they could close the door and turn the lights off!  I immediately was started on an IV drip of Benadryl for the rash, Reglan for the headaches, and for some reason oxygen in my nose (still not sure why that was? Pregnancy precaution?).  I started to get reallllly sleepy from the meds and then the doctor came in. 

This was, bar none, the BEST doctor I have ever had IN MY LIFE.  He was phenomenal.  I later learned from the nurse that he is the Medical Director of the ER and everyone loves him because he is so good at teaching and very gentle and calm.  He ROCKED.  He took one look at my forehead and immediately put two and two together for the shingles diagnosis.  I gotta tell you, I did NOT see that coming!  I had mostly heard of elderly people getting it and it was not on my radar at all. 

He told me that unfortunately chickenpox (which I had as a 9 year old) lies dormant in people’s bodies and can reemerge as shingles during times of extreme stress or reduced immunity (aka pregnancy).  I started to cry because I started to panic thinking about Livi coming and Luke at home getting chickenpox from me and what was going to happen to us and on and on and on.  He was so calming and reassured me that it was GOOD to know what I had – it wasn’t some bizarre brain problem.  It wasn’t fun, but it was a solvable problem and had specific medicines to help it, all of which, praise God, were okay for me to take at 35 weeks pregnant.  He actually told me it was the “best time” to get shingles – in 1st trimester the medicines could possibly cause birth defects, and you don’t want to be on the meds when you’re trying to deliver.  He really helped me feel a lot better about the whole thing.  Plus Luke and Chris were most likely totally safe since Luke has had his first dose of the chickenpox vaccine and Chris had it as a little boy. 

He came back about 20 minutes later with a special UV test for my eye to make sure the shingles hadn’t gotten into my cornea – which, thank God, it hadn’t.  I have a serious eye phobia and that possibly may have put me over the edge.  They started me on the 3 medications in the ER and then I was discharged. 

So that was Wednesday night, and here we are Thursday a week later.  Friday and Saturday were probably my worst days.  On Friday the rash had spread (which is normal) and it actually swelled my right eye almost completely shut due to the shingles on my eyelid.  It hurt to move my eye socket AT ALL – yawning, eating, talking, you name it.  That was a REALLY bad day.  As each day has gone on, I’ve made progress little by little.  I ran out of pain meds but thankfully I haven’t had to even supplement with Tylenol – it’s been very tolerable the last few days. 


pregnancy 010


The pain of shingles is so weird – it literally travels along one nerve path so it’s isolated in one spot of the body, and mine just happened to travel down my scalp and forehead to my eyelid.  It has felt like anything from a throbbing pain to a dull ache to tingling to literally feeling like raindrops are falling on my skin.  Now that I am in the healing phase, it is itching like crazy as the sores start to crust (sorry, gross, I know – thank God they never oozed, though!). 

Having it around my eye has definitely been a mixed blessing.  On the one hand, I never had to worry about clothing covering it on my worst and most painful days – couldn’t have imagined that at all.  On the other hand, not being able to use my eye for a number of days was really hard.  I also can’t “mask” my shingles – it’s hard to wash my hair since they’re on my scalp line, and putting on makeup is definitely out of the question so I’ve been staying home due to that and the fact that the medicines have made me super tired and out of it. 

I took my last dose of the anti-viral this morning and tomorrow I take my last steroid pill (to help with the swelling around my eye).  I feel so much better today – I am getting a little anxious to get my life back and look like myself again, though!  I’m also looking forward to getting better sleep as the meds mess with your sleep and give you super bizarre dreams, plus I had to wake up at 2:45 every morning to take them (add to that that I’m now 36 weeks pregnant and already have crazy hormone dreams plus I have to get up two times a night to go to the bathroom – yeah, I’ve been beyond exhausted!). 

Chris has been amazing through all of this, as he always is in times of crisis.  Up until yesterday I cried one time each day just to let out all the stress (although crying was really hard for a while so that sometimes hurt more!).  I was really looking forward to the holiday week to get a bunch of stuff checked off our list before Livi came and that just didn’t happen.  I had no choice but to just roll with it.  And now I have the fear that I’ll still look like a freak of nature when I have my baby girl, but we have 3 weeks before she comes so I’m hoping the scars heal quickly!  I am so thankful for him though and the calming influence he always is on me and how he always reminds me to focus on God and take it one hour at a time if necessary.  I love him!

I am looking forward to driving again (hopefully tomorrow!) and being able to hug and kiss Luke and Chris normally again (once the sores are completely scabbed over – I’m almost there!).  I know it sounds silly but I just want to do my hair and put makeup on again and feel like a girl and not a hot mess!  I’m really excited about it. 

This forced slow-down for 11 days (and counting!) has made me think a lot about my goals for 2013.  I do a lot better with one-or-two word phrases than I do with actual resolutions, so I came up with two phrases for 2013:


Survive and thrive


Embrace the unexpected


The first one is because I’ll have a newborn in just three short weeks and it’s my first time being a mom to 2 kids!  I have no idea what to expect but for the first several months I’m just giving myself grace to just get through the days.  Come springtime, I’ll hopefully have a good schedule in place and I can start working on more detailed family goals and schedules – but for the first few months I just need to make it through the days – and that’s okay! :)  There is time for everything to fall into place and that doesn’t need to be 2 weeks after delivery. 

The 2nd motto goes along with the first – a reminder to me to just roll with the punches.  There will be a lot of things that will probably be crazy about my new life as mom of two and I want to let peace guide my life – not stress or worry. 

I saw a great quote the other day on a blog that said “Just do today” and I LOVED it.  What a great mantra for moms, right?  Except I know that I’m nothing without God’s help so I wrote “Just do today with Jesus” on my kitchen chalkboard.  It’s like a breath of fresh air for me to see that phrase since the kitchen’s in the middle of our house and I’m in here all the time (even our computer’s in the kitchen so I’m literally here right now.)  lol

I know this was super long and more power to you if you stayed with it!  I wrote about it in my pregnancy journal but I also wanted to write my memories in one spot, too. 

Hopefully you’ve all had MUCH better weeks than I have! ;)