Tuesday, August 27, 2013

13 Months (late!)

I put off writing this because these monthly posts are so hard to keep up with (especially on time!) but I don't want to forget all of the milestones that my baby girl is hitting.  I'm afraid that if I don't update then I will miss it all and it will fly by even faster than it is!  But monthly pictures are just a pain (even though I secretly kind of want to still take them) and finding all of the cute pictures from the past month on my computer is daunting too, although I will do my best (now that I have BlogStomp!).  (Of course, when I started to find pictures for this post I decided I couldn't leave any out so I included them all.  I didn't, however, do videos because I'm tired of the moving ones that Blogger turns your videos into and I don't have time to find and upload, the slow way, each one I want to post.  Maybe later.)

I thought I would write these posts with listed (dated) achievements, instead of with every single thing we've done this month.  That means if I do something super exciting, I will have to save it for a post all it's own (ugh!).  Working full time (in our 4th week of school!), grading papers and being a mama doesn't allow for a lot of blogging but I will try my hardest.  So, bear with me my loyal readers!

Last week, when we took Lemon to the mall to walk around (to tire her out before dinner) she looked like a big girl to me.  She is thinning out, losing her baby chub, and is getting so much better (and faster!) at walking.  I looked at her in her little outfit and thought to myself, "who is this kid?"  Time goes way too fast as a mother, and as a working mama, that much faster.  Where did my baby go?

Some achievements over this past month (although there have been SO many, I didn't get a chance to write them all down!):

7.13.13          You started mimicking the sound Ian makes when counting the 10 Little Fish book.  It sounds like you're really counting!

7.14.13          Today you were leaning on the ottoman, standing on the floor, and you folded your arms, laid your head to one side and yawned a big yawn, out loud.  It was the cutest.

7.16.13          You roll around so much in your sleep now, sometimes even rolling onto your back!  You don't sleep with a blanket, because you move too much to keep it on, but there are toys in your crib in case you wake up.  Although when you wake up, still, you play with absolutely nothing and just cry instead, waiting for your daddy to come in and rub your back to put you back to sleep.

7.22.13          The carpet in the condo while we were in Encinitas allowed you to take more steps on your own.  You didn't really start walking without holding on to things until we got there and I didn't believe my mom when we left you to go kayaking and she said you'd been walking all over the place!  I think the carpet made you less afraid and you stopped holding onto things too.  You took about 10 steps at first and by the time we left were walking everywhere, even though you were still falling on your butt every couple of minutes.  You were SO proud of yourself, cracking up and gasping with every step!  (See videos here.) 

8.7.13           The other day you started dropping food on the floor for the dogs and your daddy yelled at you and you cried so much you couldn't finish dinner.  Tonight you stood up in your high chair, got yelled at again, cried for a second, but this time you stopped crying and yelled back at your daddy through your tears and in gibberish.  I had to walk away because it was so funny!  We started strapping your in your high chair from that moment forward.

8.8.13            You went to your first movie today with your new nanny, Ashley, and you saw Despicable Me 2.  You sat on her lap and watched the whole thing, you loved it.

8.14.13          Today you did "home alone" all by yourself when your daddy said it to you.  You put your hands up on your face and yelled with your mouth open.  After that you do it all the time.  You also looked longer and leaner to me today.

8.15.13          I was sitting on the ground, in your room, tonight and you walked up to me and sat down on my knee, you just plopped down.

You are walking all over the house and I feel like I need to put a bell on you because you move so fast!  You still take some falls (thank goodness for cloth diapers as butt cushions!) but you are getting so good at balancing.  

You love all the computer animated Pixar/Disney movies we've shown you like Brave, Frankenweenie and Wall-E but your favorite is still Hotel Transylvania even though you also love Nemo and Tangled.


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This month was such a BIG DEAL because Lemon started WALKING (see this post for her first walking videos)!  And now she walks non stop.  She hardly plays with her toys anymore, just walks back and forth from room to room - toddling, talking and smiling.  She usually holds an object like a ball (these she will hold for HOURS) or one of her Little People princesses.  She also loves her play measuring spoons, wish, can opener and her magnetic refrigerator letters.  At first I thought it was a comfort thing but now I'm thinking it's for balance because she used to hold two things and now it's just one.


My little walker doesn't need her crocodiles anymore:
video

video

Speaking of comfort, Lemon is still not a fan of stuffed animals.  She has some in her crib but she won't play with them outside of her crib and acts like they don't even exist when I get them out.  She has SO MANY but could care less about them, I even emptied her toy bins the other day to see if she'd pick one but nope.  She'd rather carry around a ball all day, into the bath and even to bed then a stuffed animal or blankie.  I keep telling myself that one day she will like them, here's hoping!

Lemon also talks non stop and I wish I knew what she was saying.  I know that soon enough she will be repeating things over and over but for now I'm just enjoying the babbling.  She does repeat sounds and words and can say all sorts of things - hot, bird, dog, duck, quack, moo, no, Ashley (the nanny), mama, dada and I swear she can even say the dogs' actual names when we say them.  She mimics us all the time and even coughs if we cough of fake laughs when we do.

When you tell Lemon "no" you used to get tears.  Now she just turns her head, looks at you, shakes her head and repeats it and walks away.  She's so nonchalant about everything lately, just walking around not really focusing on anything or caring about anything.  She listens but just walks away and doesn't react.  We took her to Ian's parents to play with her cousins a couple of weeks ago and she acted like they weren't even there, just walking around by herself.  She is so her mother's daughter, very independent.

Cousins!

Lemon is a bit of a drama queen, especially at night, but during the day she is normally in a good mood.  She stops everyone, still, with her smile and is always just walking around yelling and talking.  This month we went back to work and I expected her to take some time to adjust but she really didn't, she still just goes with the flow (something I am still trying to work on myself).  She is really easy going and as long as she naps when she's tired and gets some sleep at night (even just 6-8 hours) she wakes up babbling and walking back and forth in her crib.  She never acts cranky or upset and will normally complain for a minute before just falling asleep in the car if she's tired and we aren't home yet.

Speaking of sleep - this month was absolutely nuts.  It started right before we left for Encinitas and didn't end until a couple of weeks ago, but we still have bad nights every once in awhile.  It's like she gave us a break for about 6 weeks, where she went to bed fine (still on us in the recliner) and slept 10-11 hours straight through the night.  But then after her 1st birthday party we were back to screaming in the middle of the night and multiple wake ups.  It's something about the night time (like I've said before) because for naps she's perfectly fine and will fall right to sleep.  I wish I knew.  She also slept with me for about a week there, something I never thought she'd do, and it was so much fun while it lasted.

We had a rough month there, including the start of school, but now we are semi-back to normal. (I wrote that sentence last week, this week every night is crazy again!)  Lemon is having trouble getting to sleep (last week we had a 12am bed time) and mostly goes to bed some time between 9-10 when a couple of weeks ago it was more like 8:30-9.  The kicker is that she still wakes up at 6:30am so I'm wondering if it's her naps.  I would love to try transitioning her to just one nap a day, around 12, but we tried something like this for a day last week (when she was up all night and woke up way to early so I kept her in bed until she fell back asleep at 7:30 and slept until 9:30) and she was STILL up all night that night.  I am going to try it again but we aren't home during the day so it's tough to make our nanny do a sort of sleep training thing like this.  I also hate it because all of her activities are planned for around 12 right now, swimming and Gymboree, so I would have to switch all of those.  I read an article that gave a checklist on how you know your baby is ready to switch from two naps to one and Lemon didn't hit any of the markers.  She goes right to sleep for her morning nap so I worry that it would be mean keeping her up for hours when she is so tired.  She goes right down, usually, for her afternoon nap too, but each nap lasts from 1-2.5 hours and that could be why she isn't sleeping well at night.  But then we have days were she sleeps only an hour for each nap and she's up all night anyway.  I swear this girl will be the death of me when it comes to sleep.




Her first pedicure and always matching her mama!

Before we took our family trip to Encinitas, we had Lemon's cousins over to play.  My mom had her granddaughters over and loved it.


First time at the Children's Museum in Phoenix.  Loved it but went back recently as a walker and loved it even more.


Still our little fish and making all sorts of friends at swim class.

 
Food has been a hit this month, her 12 month old picky eating habits finally went away!

Our last Gymboree day (before going back to school) with a very tired, but very cute, little girl.

 
We found Lemon a nanny instead of sending her to daycare.  Ashley was referred to us by a friend and we absolutely love her.  They seem to be having fun together, Ashley takes her somewhere every day between naps, and I hope she stays forever.  Lemon cries when I leave every morning, heartbreaking, but it is fun to know she's at home and with someone who takes good care of her.





 

My semi-annual haircut before school started.  I needed it!


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Friday, August 23, 2013

Dear Lemon

You are growing up so fast, I wish I could pause time and hold you in my arms forever.  I was just thinking the other day how it has been a month since you've fallen asleep nursing and I'm afraid you won't ever do it again.  Is that how this whole thing goes?  A bunch of firsts that turn into "every days" and then just fade away, seeming like a distant memory - like they didn't happen at all?

You went to bed late last night and so when you woke up this morning at 6 I knew you were still sleepy.  I changed you and then laid with you in the recliner in your room, nursing you and hoping that you'd fall back to sleep.  And, you actually just laid there.  You nursed and laid sprawled across me and were still, something that you never are anymore.  It was such a perfect moment and I wanted to stay there forever, calling into work and staying home just because my baby needed to nurse and lay on me today.

But, I had to get up and go.  When I put you in your crib you cried, just like you do every morning when I leave, and I left the room thinking that if only it was tomorrow I could have laid with you all morning.  That may have been the very last time you would fall asleep nursing, and I had to leave you.  What a difference a day makes.  

Seeing you grow up, getting taller and leaner, and walking off all of that baby fat means that these moments go by even faster.  Every time you do something that you did when you were smaller I think, "Will this be the last time?" and it kills me.  I understand that I could have another baby and live it all over again but I will never get these moments back with YOU.  It all goes by  too fast and I wish I could just press pause for a second, one second, to look into your deep blue eyes, smell your blonde curls and kiss those chubby cheeks and thighs . . . before they are gone.

Do I have a big kid now?  Maybe.  I am loving every minute of you growing up and with each passing day I appreciate my role as your mom more and more.  But, I hardly get a chance to be in the moment because it just flies past.  The second I say, "Wow, where did she learn that?" you go and do something else, something new, and I forget to write it down, and I am afraid that ultimately I will forget forever.  I have a horrible memory and I fear that if I don't write it all here it will be gone, like none of it ever even happened.

Espen, your aunt Christine's son, turned 7 yesterday and I was there three days after he was born.  When I think of in how short a time he went from a newborn to a 7 year old, it makes me shudder.  In that same amount of time, as your daddy brought up yesterday, he will be 14 and that is crazy!  And to think, I will blink and you'll be 7 and then 14 and then what?!  Ugh, I miss you, little baby, just thinking about it.

I am trying to stay in the moment, my little Lemon, I am; but I have to go to work, go to the grocery store and run errands - it's all a part of life.  I wish I could just stay home and snuggle you all day long (even though you would hate it), or watch you walk back and forth through the house.  But, I can't and so the time moves even faster.

I love you my baby girl, even if you aren't technically a baby anymore (even though I think you still look like one!).  You stop everyone, everywhere you go with your cuteness, smile and personality - I just don't want it ever to end.  Big kids are just kids but babies are everything, please never grow up.

Love,

Your mama (who is trying to live in the moment but failing miserably)

Update:  I finished this post yesterday, before putting the baby to bed.  And sure enough, she fell asleep nursing and I loved every minute of it.  :)



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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Breastfeeding Diaries: Guest Post

I did a guest post on Julie's blog today, The Girl in the Red Shoes.   Each month she hosts a breastfeeding post from a different mama and they are so helpful; I just knew I wanted to contribute.  Julie lives in Michigan, is a mama to the cutest little boy, Hudson, and blogs about her family, DIY projects, baby gear and so much more.  

Her blog has been such an inspiration to me and I am so happy she allowed me to write a guest post!  Head on over to her page and read my story and follow her blog!



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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Our Little Blueberry

Today I would have a two year old (typo on IG) if my first pregnancy would not have ended in a loss.  A two year old!  Today we may have been thinking about another baby.  Today I would have been less scared to try for another, never having experienced a loss before, and excited to grow our family.  Today I may have been less scared, nervous or fearful, like I seem to be now, that I am going to lose this wonderful family that I have, somehow.

Life would be different for us.  My pregnancy would have been different, every day excited instead of scared.  Our house would be different and our toddler's room would definitely not have as much lemon stuff in it (maybe blueberries?).  I would be 34 with a 2 year old instead of 34 with a one year old - crazy.

Today is our little blueberry's birthday and today I am reminded of all that we've been through to get here.  I have said it many many times but every day I count my blessings and know just how lucky I am to be a mother.  I read stories weekly of women trying to conceive, pregnancies ending in a loss and even have friends who have experienced both - and my heart goes out to them all.  Every day that I complain about Lemon not sleeping, leave for work upset that I have to leave my baby for the day or come home to a maniac that won't stop to play with anything and just wants to walk, walk, walk - I am so thankful and take a moment to remember just how we got here.

Our journey was a long one and if you've never read this blog before, you may not know that.  Ian and I always say that if we knew how long it would take for us to get pregnant and that our first pregnancy would end in loss, we would have started trying sooner.  Ah, if we only would have known.

Today I would be writing as the mother of a two year old and my baby would have been just born when I posted my first IG picture.  My first Instagram picture, which I posted two years ago yesterday, would probably have been one of my new baby, instead of my husband and his crazy hair.  It's nuts to think all that would be different - but all that would still be the same.

We would have a lovely child, as we do today, just an older one.  I would be a mother, as I am now, just a wiser one.  I would have experienced two birthdays, instead of just one, and two years of working with a baby at home, instead of not even a full one.  But, it's how it was all meant to be.  Maybe I wouldn't have been as appreciative, as I am now, if it would have all been so easy - but maybe I would have.  Who knows.

But, I wouldn't have met so many wonderful mothers who have also experienced loss, and who write me their stories and share in my struggles.  I have made a lot of "friends" because I decided to continue this blog back in January 2011, after wanting to give up and never write another word.  I have shared, cried, laughed and loved so many people who I can totally relate too, and I hope I've brought them some hope too.  I am thankful for my journey, even though it was so dark at times, because I am here on the other side and able to connect with so many.  I guess it all happens for a reason.

Sometimes I wonder about that blueberry.  Was it a he or a she (I am always thinking she)?  What would she have looked like?  What would she have been like?  Would she like to cuddle?  Would she like to sleep?  Where did she go?  Is she here now with us, in the form of a Lemon?  Was she just not ready and had to wait another year to form again?  Would we have named her Blueberry?  So many questions.

I re-read my post today, telling everyone about our loss, and it brought tears to my eyes.  Over 2 years later and I still can't read those first blog entries - there's something to be said about that.  We may move on, we may have other children, but we never forget those ones that didn't make it.  They will always be with us and just like everything else we've experienced in our lives, we add those pregnancies to our "backpack" that invisible bag that we carry with us, full of everything that makes us who we are today.

I have no idea why bad things happen and am a believer in karma.  I have no idea why we lost our first baby and don't think we deserved it, no one does.  But it happened and I can't change it, and it has made me who I am today.  If you read my last post you will know that our loss influenced me as a mother and how I have handled this first year of motherhood.  I am sure that if things would have gone differently, and if I was wishing my 2 year old Blueberry a "happy birthday" today, I may be a different sort of mother.  But, I am the mother I am because of what we've been through and that's the only mother I know how to be.

So please be kind to those around you.  You never know what each of us has been through to get here and all we may need is support and kindness instead of opinions or advice.  Everyone's journey is different and the way that someone acts/reacts could just be what's in their backpack, weighing them down.  I try to remember this as a teacher too, I never know what my students have gone though in their lives, so I try not to judge or ridicule, just to nurture and support them.  Many times we think we are the only ones in the universe and that this world revolves around us, but it doesn't, and that's something we just always remember, even when it feels like our problems are the end of the world.

So, this post goes out to you, my little blueberry, for making me who I am today.  Am I a good mother?  I don't know, but I try to be, and not a day goes by where I don't think of you and how lucky I am to have our Lemon.  When the going gets tough or I get frustrated, I think of how hard we tried and how bad we wanted to be parents, and how there are people out there who are trying so hard to be parents, just like us.  Even though I would love for you to be here, to be celebrating your birthday with you, I am thankful that you taught me a very important lesson.  Because of you I don't take anything for granted, I constantly remind myself of how lucky I am; and because of you hopefully I have helped others through sharing our story.

This blog may have advertisements one day, links to other shops/blogs and I may host giveaways from time to time - but it is only here all because of you.  I turned to Ian, in that hospital room in January, and said, "I am going to take the blog down when we get home, what is the point of me continuing to write?"  And he said to me, "You will continue to write to share your story and to help others feel like they are not alone."  And as I write those words, the tears come back, because I just hope that's just what I've done.

We love you, blueberry - Happy Birthday. 

To read all about our little blueberry, and my posts coming out of the darkness, click here.  Also, if you'd like to know about having a natural miscarriage, I wrote a post about that too.  (It was hard for me to find many posts about it when I was going through it, so I made sure to write about my experience.  Please share if you think it may help someone.)



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Friday, August 9, 2013

Dear Allison

Since I am now the mother of a one year old, I figured that I am now that "experienced" mom, the one that I looked up to when I was pregnant and when Lemon was a newborn. I thought that if someone could survive that first year, then they must know what they are talking about. So here I am.

As a mother, people try to give you advice all the time and it weighs you down sometimes and lifts you up others, depending on how hard you are on yourself. Advice to me was disheartening because there were times, and still are, where I felt like I was doing absolutely everything wrong and when someone suggested something else, I took it as though they thought I was a failure. Being a mom is tough, harder than I ever could have imagined and I'm pretty sure I helped make it that way by being too hard on myself. 

I am a planner and am the type of person that envisions something in my head and if it goes differently I definitely do not go with the flow, I just go home. I am an only child and came from two successful and educated parents, also planners and also people who have high expectations. I am often disappointed and if I am out of my comfort zone I will just try to find a way to fix it or leave; did I mention that I'm also a fixer?

When it took us 8 months to get pregnant with our blueberry I didn't understand it, my planning mind did not envision it happening. When we lost our baby it sent me into a downward spiral of believing in nothing and no one and separating myself from everyone in my life. Then when we decided to try again and that took forever too, I was thrown a loop again, and definitely out of my comfort zone of expectations. I was hard on myself, so much so that it caused problems with family, friends and even my husband. I had no idea what was happening, why it was happening and my planning mind couldn't wrap itself around the idea of it. I finally had to come to terms with the fact that ALL of this was out of my hands. Imagine that, I couldn't control this. Wow, what a realization.

So, that's what I did this whole year, tried to control a situation I knew nothing about. I was SO out of my comfort zone, being a new mom, that I tried to hang on to something, anything and grasp control. Whether it was nursing or naps or bedtime - I tried desperately to make sense of this nonsensical creature that now lived among us. It was madness and I drove myself and Ian nuts.  See, being a mom is not all roses and sunshine, it's fucking tough sometimes.  (Yep, fucking tough.)

Now looking back, I wish I would have done things differently. I wish I wouldn't have taken it all so seriously, so personally, and so emotionally (although I think that comes for some of us after childbirth, it totally takes awhile for your emotions to stabilize again) and I wish I would have just laid down and snuggled my newborn whenever she would let me. I wish I had learned from her and been more adaptable, more relaxed and more spontaneous; accepting the craziness as it came and not taking it all to seriously. I also wish I wouldn't have googled so much. 

So here I am, a year later, a year wiser and as I listen to my daughter cry before bed sure it's sad but I know she's fed, changed and ok, she just doesn't want to go to bed. The newborn mama in me wonders if something is wrong, if I should have done a thousand things differently to help her fall asleep and feels like it's my fault that she can't put herself to sleep tonight. But this one year old mom knows that sleep will come, and although all of those thoughts are still in the back of my mind, I  have faith in myself because we got here, to one year, together - and we all made it out alive.

So, here is a letter I wish I could have written myself a year ago. Things I would do differently next time (will there be a next time?) to make our lives a whole lot easier. Do I think I did anything wrong this time? No. We made it and we are all healthy and happy and I truly believe that moms do it all, more than anyone knows, and I give myself a lot of credit for all of it. I am celebrating this girl turning one also, I made it and I amazed even myself.

(I am aware that many of the things below were told to me by my family, friends and husband; and that I did not listen.  I have already explained, above, the type of person I am and why I decided to do things the way I did them.  Do I wish I would have listened?  Maybe, about some things.  Can I change that now?  Nope.  This letter will just serve me best if I have another baby, so that maybe I can stress a little less and enjoy my time a little more.  It will also help me to remember how fast the time goes and that I should cherish every moment instead of being so overwhelmed - advice I now remember daily.)

Dear Allison,

Before you even finish this letter, that tiny babe you hold will be a minute older. Those minutes turn into hours, days, weeks and months and before you can even comprehend what has gone on over the past year, your snuggly baby will be a walking 13 month old. So, before you start reading this, grip that baby a little bit tighter and get ready for some advice from an older, wiser you.

Don't worry about those dishes in the sink, that laundry to do or those clothes to hang up. Don't even worry about all of the home repairs still left to do or having money to do them. Lemon has no idea any of that exists and just wants your undivided attention and a warm place to lay. All of those things can wait, and don't listen to your husband when he tells you the house is a mess. Who cares? Your baby is only a tiny baby for a very short time.

Don't stress. Lemon probably isn't sleeping, she probably can't figure out nursing and you are new at it too - stop googling and reading about what she "should" be doing at the moment or about what other babies are doing, none of it is important. Every baby is different and you guys will figure it out, together. Don't be so hard on yourself.

Nurse, nurse, nurse. Nurse through the confusion, nurse whenever she wants; it all helps to build your supply. You don't want to nurse because your nipples have just had enough? Give yourself a break. When Lemon is 10 no one will be able to tell which kid had breast milk and which had formula, so feed her if she's hungry and give her formula if you gotta. The breastfeeding police will not come for you and you will not have failed as a mother, take a breath and take a break. Relax. The milk will come, the pain will go, you will go 13 lovely months nursing your babe, just take it easy and try to enjoy it. Enjoy the night time feedings, the nursing snuggles - eventually she will roll, kick and tumble with your nipple in her mouth. Enjoy the calmness.

Sleep together. Don't rush with putting Lemon in her own space, nap with her and sleep with her. Don't worry if it's the right thing or how you will have to break the habit later; take all the time you can to cuddle your muffin, who cares if she never leaves your bed. Nap as a family and sleep with her in between you - it will teach her that she can sleep anywhere.

Don't try to put Lemon on a schedule, she's a baby. When she's tired, try bed time. When she's hungry, feed her. Babies will adapt, and if she gets overtired try an earlier bedtime the next night. Don't spend hours trying to get her to fall asleep, she will sleep one day so snuggle and watch a movie instead. One day (maybe not even a year from now) but one day, she will sleep. Don't waste your time trying to make it happen, enjoy all of your time together instead.

Calm down. Don't get frustrated and don't be so hard on yourself. This is tough, yes, but know that you are doing your best and you're doing an amazing job! Ask for help, take a break, let someone else try something or put her to bed, let those that love you help you.  Accept the help offered to you.  You can't do it all and you need a break.

Even though the time is short, get out and see your friends. Don't worry about bottles or formula, just go. Feel like yourself and not just a mom for a bit, and put on some cute clothes and rock those milky boobs, they won't last forever! Put away your maternity clothes and maxi dresses, throw on something from before and something not covered in spit up. Do your hair, put your contacts in and makeup on, try it and see how you feel.

Find a way to work part time (this is something I never thought I'd write).  I know you love your job, I know you've been doing it for 13 years, and I know what stepping away or stepping down means.  It means no job security, no money but it means more time.  Time with your baby is fleeting and precious.  Take a leave of absence, take a part time job, work less.  If you can't (because I am talking to myself and I know what I would say to this, even next time), enjoy this time at home, enjoy your maternity leave if it's all you have.  Don't get frustrated, just cuddle up and kiss your muffin realizing that before you know it you will be back at work.  Work will make you feel good, will make you feel like more than a mom, and you may need that eventually, but find a way to work less if you can.  Time away is definitely a good thing too.

Do things together as a family.  Tell Ian to take some time off, with you and the baby.  Spend more time together instead of just you at home or just him at home.  I know that someone has to work but time together is so much fun - find the time, find the money.

Be patient, be calm and take naps.  Be patient with everyone around you, they are just trying to help.  Be calm when dealing with a fussy baby, family and friends - breathe.  Take more naps, take them with your baby, take them as a family.

Find peace with being a mom.  Accept your role as a mother, believe in it and feel it with your whole being and your whole heart.  Don't be fearful all the time.  Focusing so much on loss isn't good for the soul, focus on the present instead.  Live in this reality and stop being afraid.  Accept that this wonderful, gifted life is yours, this beautiful baby is yours and always will be.  Stop being afraid.  Stop being afraid.  You deserve this, you wanted this for so long and now it's here.  You are someone's mother, stop being afraid that it will all be gone.  Lemon is yours forever, there is nothing to fear.  Let your happiness shine out, let those dark days of sadness go.  Live in the moment and be happy because you are the luckiest woman in the world.

Love,

An older, wiser you.


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Monday, August 5, 2013

What I Wore: First Day of School

I am a teacher so the first day of school is always a bit scary, even for me.  I like to look cute, be comfy, look professional, look like myself and cover my tattoos - it's a lot.  So, I never know what to wear and almost instantly regret my decision on an outfit once I get to school.  I am usually also tired and feeling just blah about having to go back to work so I like to look really cute and dressed up, but be totally comfortable (a lingering bit of summer) too.

Usually I go for the button down dress and heels but this year I wanted to do something a little different.  The new me this year, because of the Common Core Standards (do you know about this?), is a comfortable, relaxed, but efficient and I am now a "do everything I'm told" type of teacher.  Our kids have to pass this new national test (google it!), along with most of the schools in the nation, so it's my job to prepare them for the test.  And get ready, this year I'm teaching to the test.  Gasp!

It is definitely not why I became a teacher but something we have to do, it's the way education is going.  Our schools in America are failing and something has to change, maybe this is it, who knows.  Our school was restructured this year, with all new administrators (only one original remaining) and we are 2 points away from a D rating (like A, B, C, D, F!).  We need to do better as teachers and our students need to do better on tests.  Our evaluations are also tied to our students' test scores this year so our job kind of depends on it.  And you know what happens if a school doesn't improve after getting new administrators?  The teachers are next.  No thank you!  This year, I'm doing exactly what I'm told and am teaching exactly what they tell me to teach, whether I like it or not.  Not that I've done it differently in the past, but this is my 14th year teaching and it wasn't always this way.

So today I wanted to be cool, chic, powerful, fun, comfy but appear "in charge," be a figure of authority but always look "put together."  So, what did I wear?

I was contacted by Elle & K Boutique on Instagram and they offered me a coupon code to find something on their site and blog about it.  Everything in their store is under $50, shipped for free and it's an exclusively online boutique (based in Florida).  So, I thought what better place to wear this item than to school on my first day!

It was a tough choice because all of these items looked cute and if it weren't the end of summer (and we hadn't gotten paid since the end of May) I might have just bought them all!

Color Me Aztec $39

 Black and White Aztec $22 (on sale!)

 Beige Studded Tank $26 (on sale!)

 All Day Shift Dress in Mint $26 (on sale!)

 Color Me Aztec Tank $28

 Big Bubble Necklace in Mint $28

Beaded Ivory Aztec Dress $44

It's in the Details Dress $30

I am a sucker for an aztec print but wanted something I could wear to work, that would look professional and cover my tattoos.  I also wanted to be comfy because it would be the first day I would be leaving my Lemon and knew I would be sad and extra uncomfortable if I choose something too dressy.  So, this is the item I bought:

Navy Tie Dye Maxi Skirt $34

I am so happy I picked this skirt!  I got a Medium, because size Small was sold out, but was happy I did because it was the perfect length and you can adjust how much you fold over to make it longer or shorter.  It didn't get in the way when I walked and was SUPER comfy, super lightweight, in this Arizona heat, and really soft fabric.  The only thing I didn't like was that it was see-through but I wore a slip underneath and it was fine.  The fabric hugs you but not in a super clingy kind of way so it is a bit forgiving since it is more of a light weight soft jersey type material. 

Their website was also really easy to use, and the skirt was shipped to me super fast and was wrapped in tissue paper.  They also send you a drink koozie with every purchase!



I paired my skirt with a long button up that I tied at the bottom and some cute sandals.  It was hot out and a super long day but I was really comfortable all day!  (I also called my friend Elise over for a mini photo session in my classroom!)









If any of these items look like something you MUST have, or you want to go online and shop for yourself, Elle & K Boutique is offering my readers 10% off through Friday 8/9 at 11:59 EST.  The coupon code is BLUEREADERS, enter it in at checkout to receive your discount!

I was impressed with this online boutique; love their clothes, prices and shipping and definitely will be returning to order more stuff - when we get our first paycheck!  Happy shopping!


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