Friday, May 22, 2015

Baby Harrell [5 months old]

4 months old seemed doable, but 5 months old just seems so OLD to me… that’s almost half a year old!! I can’t even believe our little guy has been here 5 months already, fastest 5 months of my life.

5 months

Height & Weight:
JJ doesn’t have a doctor’s appointment this month so we don’t have any updates here, but he’s growing like a weed, I already feel like he’s so much bigger than last month!

Health:
We are so thankful that JJ has been pretty healthy.  This month we really think that he has been teething, we are just waiting for the little teeth to come through!  We’ve had a couple of rough days related to that—but overall we are so lucky that he has been such a healthy and easygoing baby.

This month he’s started to spit up a bit, which he has never done!  It’s still pretty infrequent, like maybe once a day—but it’s more than he ever has.

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Likes:
This month JJ has LOVED his daddy!  It has been such a wonderful thing to watch JJ’s relationship grow with each of us—it is so funny how our roles have already started to be established.  Zack is definitely the fun guy—he can make JJ laugh and laugh like nobody else!  They play a game where JJ bites Zack’s nose, and he just thinks it’s the funniest thing in the world.  With me, JJ loves to cuddle—which I don’t mind at all. :)  When he’s tired he will lock eyes on me and just stare me down until I grab him, then he will nuzzle right into my neck and fall asleep.  I just love it so much!  He also loves to grab my face.

This month he has really found his feet and loves to grab and play with them!  His hand eye coordination has made a big jump and he’s getting great and putting things in his mouth.  He loves taking his pacifier out of his mouth and then putting it back in, over and over and over again. :)

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Dislikes:
This month it’s a lot of the same dislikes… The stranger danger phase hit a peak this month—we had a baby shower to attend and he screamed practically the entire time we were there.  He was not a fan of the loud noises and unfamiliar faces.  Luckily the next couple weekends were packed with family get-togethers and each weekend got a little bit easier.  I’m hoping he’s starting to grow out of this phase, it’s stressful for him and his parents! ;)  He also hasn’t loved the car still, we took a five hour trip down South and I ended up in the backseat with him for a good amount of time both ways.

Wears:
3-6 month clothes fit him just perfectly, but they’re starting to get a little snug.  Most long sleeved shirts are too short for his long arms! We are currently using the small sized gDiapers but he is too big for them so we need to figure out what we are going to do quick!

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Eats:
He is still eating around every 3 hours, but a few days this month he has wanted to eat more, around every 2 hours… might be a growth spurt or just wanting the comfort do do teething and fussiness.  We have been given the go ahead to try solids but haven’t yet.  He hasn’t shown a lot of interest yet and is doing just fine with just milk, so we are holding off… (Minus one small mishap, see milestones below. :)

Sleeps:
The 4 month sleep regression was a very real thing.  JJ has always been such a great sleeper, from the moment we brought him home from the hospital!  Needless to say that waking up multiple times through the night a few times this month has been rough!  We have really been spoiled with his sleep habits thus far.  Even so, that was only a couple nights out of his whole life, so I really can’t complain too much.  We will probably start to think about putting him in his crib in his own room at night… but I have been avoiding it.  He sleeps so well in his Rock ‘n Play Sleeper that I don’t want to ruin it, especially since he hates napping in his crib!  I know it needs to happen eventually, but for now we are doing just fine with him in our room.

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Our Favorite Things This Month:
-Bright Starts Teether Book—JJ loves putting this book in his mouth and looking at the bright, colorful pictures.
-JJ loves this little toy that he got for Christmas—it’s a ring toy that hooks on his carseat. It’s a little monster so it’s super cute, and it vibrates when you pull it.  I can’t find it anywhere online, but here’s a similar type of toy.
-Trumpette Socks—These are the best socks.  JJ is the best at getting his socks off, these are the only ones that stay on… Not to mention they are the cutest!  He has one pair that are little tennis shoes, and he got a pack of little Converse looking ones for Christmas.  I definitely want to invest in some more.
-Bumbo Seat—JJ finally has the head control to sit in his Bumbo!  I like having a little place to set him where he isn’t always laying down.
-Brica Day & Night Light Musical Auto Mirror—We love having this mirror in our car!  It has a little stand to put on the center of our seat even though it doesn’t have a headrest which is pretty rare.  Plus there’s a remote for us to control a light and music on the mirror.

Milestones:
-JJ had his first bite of real food!  While we were down South visiting Zack’s family, Zack’s uncle Mark fed him a little scrap of lemon cake.  He said he didn’t know JJ didn’t eat real food—but I don’t buy that… I think he just wants to be in the running for JJ’s favorite uncle. ;)  For the record, JJ was not a fan.
-Like I mentioned above he has gotten great and grabbing things and putting them in his mouth, as well as grabbing his feet!

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Events This Month:
-This month we attended his future cousin’s baby shower!! (Well, my cousin’s baby shower. :) We can’t wait to meet the little guy!
-JJ also attended his first wedding!  Zack’s cousin Matt married his beautiful bride Helena!  It was such a great celebration and we were so happy to be there!
-I almost forgot to mention that we celebrated our first Mother’s Day—what a special day it was!  It started with breakfast in bed and ended with a delicious dinner with family.  Plus I got a few sweet gifts from JJ (Zack too I’m sure ;) and my mother-in-law!  So crazy to think that last year on Mother’s Day we told my family that we were having a baby!

Life with this little guy has just been so full of JOY!  He has been the greatest addition to our lives.  I can’t believe how lucky I am, that I get to be his mom. :)

…and just for a little comparison:

jjI’m off to go sob now. ;)

Welcome Baby JJ
Birth Story
month 1
month 2
month 3
month 4

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Reflections On My First Mother’s Day

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Happy Mother’s Day to all you Mamas out there…what a special day it is!

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Happy Mother’s day to my Mama! I am so thankful for everything you’ve done for me through the years—and everything you still do for me today!  You have always been my #1 supporter and you’ve been the best example of what a mother should be. 

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Happy Mother’s Day to my second Mom, the best mother-in-law a girl could ask for.  Thank you for being the best mom to Zack and teaching him how a lady should be treated.  I am forever thankful for your influence on our lives.

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…and to these guys!  Thank you for making me a mother.  I feel so lucky to have both of you boys in my life—I could not think of a better “job” to hold. :)  I truly feel like I was made to be a mother, no other career or position in my life has felt so fulfilling. 

Thank you for making today, and everyday, so special for me.  Mother’s Day definitely holds a new meaning this year and I am ever so thankful.

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I also want to note that while my heart is full of joy today, there is also a heavy part thinking about all of you that have lost your mothers, babies, or are still waiting on your time to become a mother.  I cannot even begin to imagine the feelings you must be experiencing today and am praying for peace for each and every one of you.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

2014—The year of Trust

We can call this the latest New Year’s Resolution post ever… but as you know, I’ve been a little busy.

Each year, like most bloggers around, I choose a word to really focus on, a word that when looking back I hope will really encompass what that year was all about.

trusting 

The word I chose for 2014 was “trust.”  And boy oh boy did God teach me that word better than ever.  Here’s a quote from my “trust” post written at the beginning of 2014,

“Trusting in God’s timing and bigger purpose for my life.

Trusting in my own abilities and the passions I have been given.

…and trusting in love, that it will continue to find a way to express itself through my life and actions.”

I am a firm believer that God has quite the sense of humor.

I would consider myself a fairly uptight person.  I consider myself uptight in the sense that I have a lot of anxiety over plans and changes that are out of my own control… I know that’s not unusual, but I take things to the next level. 

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My parents like to tell people that when I was younger they would not inform me about upcoming vacations until the night before we left because I would get so much anxiety thinking about it beforehand, I would completely stress myself out.

Now fast forward a bit and you can imagine the anxiety and stress that I had to overcome when it came to huge life changes such as leaving for college, graduating college, entering “the real world,” and even getting married… I was such a wreck.

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When I chose my word for 2014 I was hoping to let go of that need for control.  I was tired of living my life full of anxiety and fear.  Yes, I trusted that God’s plan was bigger than my own, but not knowing exactly what those plans were terrified me.  I wanted to let go and trust.

and then I got pregnant.  Like I said, God has quite the sense of humor. 

If there were ever a time to stress out and be anxious about the future, pregnancy would be that time… or so you’d think.  Early on in pregnancy I stumbled across this blog post, included were these 10 scriptures for fighting fear in pregnancy…

I found myself throughout pregnancy reading these verses over and over again whenever I felt that fear creep in… it really helped!

Of course I had moments of anxiety and my fair share of tears still, but I honestly was shocked at how I handled things.  Even Zack noticed that I seemed to be a lot more relaxed than he expected.  Though I was seriously sick through the entire pregnancy, but maybe just maybe that was also part of God’s plan to keep me trusting Him, at least I certainly didn’t have the energy to Google every little sign and symptom like I normally would have. :)

God was showing me through my pregnancy (and 44 hours of labor) that He was, and always will be, in control.  He was giving me the gift of knowing things were out of my own hands in an extreme way… and if I chose to trust, the anxiety and fear would slip away.

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I don’t want JJ to grow up and be fearful of the future.  I pray every day that he will have a strong heart for Jesus and that he will seek Him with his whole heart… and you know what?  Through these prayers for him I am learning to let go of my own fear in return.

Sure I still have tough days, I am by no means perfect… but I truly feel like I have made leaps and bounds since last year.

2014 was a rough year in the sense that I grew a lot.  But those scary moments full of insecurity and doubt tend to be the ones that God changes our hearts the most, and in the best kinds of ways. 

And for all this, I am truly thankful.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Baby Harrell [4 months old]

4 months!! Ahhhhh!!

It seems like just last month JJ was born—I can’t believe it’s been 4 months already… that’s 1/3 of a year! Yikes!

4 months

Height:
JJ measured in at 25.8 inches long, that’s the 81st percentile.

Weight:
14.14 lbs—38th percentile! Still long and skinny. :)

Health:
It’s been a great month—though still congested as usual.  We’ve accepted that he’s just got tiny nasal passages like his mama and we continue to have our daily time with the NoseFrida.  Though it is getting more challenging now that he’s grabbing things!

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Likes:
This month JJ’s hand eye coordination has really increased.  He can really grab on to things and put them directly in his mouth.  This means that dangly earrings and wearing my hair down is no longer easy—not that I had time to do that much anyways. :)  Because he is drooling like crazy and putting everything in his mouth, he has really started to love Sophie the Giraffe and those little frozen teething toys.  He also still loves to watch his feet kick, kick, kick, so we love putting fun little slippers, shoes, or socks on him!  JJ also loves his morning time!  He wakes up so happy and loves chatting with us and giving big smiles.  If only we knew what he was saying!  We have also found that when he gets tired and fussy (usually at night) he responds well to music.  Zack and I have different music preferences, but I prefer a soft worship music for his nighttime routine—right now our favorite is the Rend Collective station on Pandora.  One other thing is that he has loved blowing little raspberries!  His grandma Karen has really loved working on these with him and he has started doing them pretty frequently!

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Dislikes:
JJ is still fighting tummy time—it’s not growing on him quite yet.  He has also started to become really sensitive to noises, loud voices in particular.  A few times this past month he has started screaming uncontrollably when people have tried to talk to him too closely or loudly. He gets to a point where he really can’t calm down unless I take him away from the noise… it’s so sad!  We went to my cousin Jessie’s birthday dinner with a lot of people and he screamed practically the entire night. :(  Poor little guy… hopefully this is just a phase because between mine and Zack’s families we are around loud groups of people quite often.  Also this month he has really started to dislike the car… he had never really had problems with it before, but now he cries a lot unless someone is in the backseat with him.  This does not make for fun car trips.

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Wears:
He is growing like a weed! Most 3 month clothing is getting pretty snug—and the 3-6 month stuff is starting to fit better.  The pants and long sleeved shirts are tough for him because he is so long!

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Eats:
Nursing every 3 hours—and goes longer stretches at night.  He is starting to nurse a little more frequently some days, must be going through a growth spurt.

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Sleeps:
Between a busy schedule and having visitors in town, our routines have really fallen by the wayside.  He is still sleeping well at night, but he is really fighting sleeping in his crib for naps.  He won’t sleep long in his crib, but if we let him nap on the couch out in the living room near us he will sleep for long stretches… We will have to work on this.  Also at night he is waking up a tiny bit earlier to eat again—he does a dream feed around 11pm and usually wakes up around 5am to eat, then goes back to sleep until 8.  He really fights napping in general around other people—we call him a FOMO (fear of missing out) he gets that from his Mama. :)

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Our Favorite Things This Month:
-Gerber Baby Hippo Booties—JJ loves to watch his feet move… but especially in these cute little slippers!  He is fascinated by them…and they are cute too!
-FuzziBunz Cloth Diapers—We received a few of these as hand-me-downs and we LOVE them.  They never leak and fit him so well.  We have a lot of another brand that were also hand-me-downs…but we love this brand a lot more.  The only downside is that he only can wear them once (where in theory, the other brand has inserts that swap out) but when they are clean, the FuzziBunz are always the first ones we grab.
-Ergo Baby Carrier—We have really loved this carrier so far.  We got it as a gift so we didn’t pay the hefty price tag for it… but I would say it’s worth it!  We love it… we only wish that maybe we would have gotten the 360 one so when he’s older he could face outward.  Oh well!
-Boogie Wipes—Like I’ve mentioned almost every other month—the NoseFrida is our best friend… but these Boogie Wipes are a great companion to that.  The saline wipes are so gentle on his nose, and they smell great!

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Milestones:
-On his 4 month birthday he rolled from his stomach to back for the first time!  He did it a few times with Mom, Grandma, Grandpa, and Harper watching… but hasn’t done it again since!  (**Update: Right after this was published he did it again for his Daddy!)
-He’s doing great at standing up while being held… he has really a really strong neck and trunk for his age.
-JJ has started laughing more often—little giggles while he is being changed and tickled… but he is still pretty reserved with them.  Makes them more special! :)
-Like I mentioned above, he really has gotten great and grabbing things and putting them in his mouth.  His hand eye coordination has come a long way this month!
-He says Mama!!!!!!!  I’ve heard it, and it’s been confirmed by others too.  Sure, he may not know what he’s saying, but I still love that he says it.  When he gets upset he says, “Mamamamamamamama…” It is silly how much joy this gives me!  Also, when he is upset and crying I can say, “Mamamamamama…” And he usually calms down and smiles.

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Events this month:
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JJ celebrated his first Easter!  He slept through a lot of it, but that’s ok.
-He met a lot of new people this month!  He had his first playdate with his friend Leeland.  We had special visitors from Virginia—Zack’s cousin Ryan and his wife, Katie, and their baby Gabi who is 2 months older than JJ.  We also met my cousin Nick’s baby Ryder who was born on April 13th!  JJ looks so big now compared to that little guy! :’(
-JJ came with us on his first hike!  He slept most the way with Dad in the Ergo—but along with Grandma Karen, cousin Stephy, and Aunt Krissy, we hiked up to Mirror Lake.

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What a blessing this little guy is!  He brings so much joy to us and we are so thankful!

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Welcome Baby JJ
Birth Story
month 1
month 2
month 3

Monday, April 13, 2015

My Second Stitch Fix

stitch fix

By now I’m sure that most people know about Stitch Fix, the awesome personal styling service.  Just in case you haven’t, here’s a quick rundown…

“Stitch Fix is a personal styling service. You tell us your style, size, and budget preferences, and we send you a package of stylish goodies to try on at home. Each Fix is unique and hand-picked just for you.”

You initially pay $20 to order your fix, but that money goes towards purchasing items in the box.  You can also write special comments when you order your fix.  For instance, since I was looking specifically for a new pair of skinny jeans, I wrote that in my preferences.  I also wrote that although I am back to my “normal” size, I was just pregnant so I don’t love the idea of any tight fitting tops.

I have gotten one other Stitch Fix before, and had success… so my hopes were high!  (See my first fix post here.)  Because we are currently on a strict budget (i.e. still paying off ridiculous amounts of hospital bills) I told myself I would only keep the jeans if they fit me perfectly… and send the rest back.

Here’s a peek at what was inside my second Stitch Fix box…

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Just Black, Adorra Skinny Jeans—First up was this lovely pair of skinny jeans, just what I asked for!  I have the worst time shopping for jeans, usually the ones that fit me around my waist are way too baggy around my thighs or stretch out a lot.  For some reason I can never find a pair that fit just right so when I do, I wear them until they have lots of holes in them!  I have heard from other people that they had great luck with Stitch Fix so I decided to give it a shot.  I made sure to tell them all my usual issues and hoped for the best. I was a little worried when I opened these up because they were a size smaller than what I usually wear, but they fit perfectly!  They are a bit stretchy, so they do stretch out a little around the thighs after I wear them, but compared to other ones these are 10x better!  I was seriously impressed.

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Laila Jayde, Bowie Solid Dolman Sleeve Top—This top was so comfortable, and it fit me perfectly!  I loved the color and the comfort level, but it was pretty thin material and I would need to wear a tank underneath.  Because I am a nursing mama, wearing lots of layers is not really practical for me right now.  That on top of the $58 price tag, made this a no-go for me… But it was tough to see it go. :)

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Evolution by Cyrus, Bridgford V-Neck Sweater—This sweater was a big no for me.  First, because it was see through (see above reasoning.)  Second, the material was pretty scratchy, not comfortable… Third, it was $78!! I did not feel like in this case the quality matched the price tag. And finally, it was the high-low style that I don’t love.  The stylist mentioned in the letter that this top would be great for leggings… but the back barely covered my butt and the front definitely did not cover my crotch.  No thanks.

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41Hawthorn, Breyson Pleated Tab-Sleeve Blouse—I initially loved this piece when I took it out of the box because of the color!  After trying it on, I still liked it alright but it was a little too big.  It was a bit more dressy than my normal style which I didn’t mind, I think it would be super cute with leggings and boots, but the $58 price tag deterred me.  Unless I absolutely loved it, and it fit perfectly, it just wasn’t in my budget this time around.

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Pixley, Kathy Striped Fit & Flare Dress—My stylist mentioned in the note that she saw this on my Pinterest board.  I love that the stylists take the time to look on your Pinterest and really get to know your style!  It really shows that Stitch Fix as a company cares that you are satisfied with your box, and that’s one of many reasons why I love it!  This dress fit me so perfectly.  The shoulders have a little bit of a poof to them which I wasn’t sure about, but Zack assured me that it looked good and convinced me to keep it.  We have a wedding to go to next month, and I can’t wait to wear this! 

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Not only did I get a perfect pair of jeans in my fix… I also got a cute dress that I know I will wear a lot! 

After you choose what you want to keep, you go online and fill out details about each item… likes and dislikes, sizing issues, etc.  This will really help out your stylist in future fixes!

I should mention that if you choose to buy everything in your box you get a 25% discount… That wasn’t in the cards (or budget) for me this time, but it’s a great incentive for future boxes… especially once you’ve had a few so they really know your style preferences.

For this box I wish I would have written that I am nursing, so tops that have sheer material where I would have to wear a second layer are just not convenient for me…  Also, for my next box I think I want to ask for a chambray shirt.  I think I’m the only girl in the world that doesn’t own one! :)

Not only did Stitch Fix find me the perfect pair of jeans, but it was super convenient because it shipped right to my door!  I hate pants shopping in general, but I can only imagine how much harder it would be with a baby tagging along…

If you’re at all interested, click here to fill out your style profile and get started!