Well it’s official, my princess is a year old. I know I have said this is almost every monthly update, but this past year has flown by. Instead of sharing a typical monthly update, I am going to share some of her photos taken at her one year shoot [ seriously, y’all my best friend is crazy talented, she took the pictures and made the cake]. I can’t wait to celebrate in a few weeks at her party back in Pennsylvania. We had our best friends here in Illinois over last night to celebrate and today we are going out for a fun play date at an indoor playground [ stupid winter]. Needless to say this little girl is basically getting a month of celebrations and loving every second.
[ The many ultrasounds I had during pregnancy]
[ My first picture with my sweet baby girl, I might have looked like a hot mess right after labor, but I will cherish it forever.]
[ Alyson’s going home outfit]
I have been wanting to write down Alyson’s birth story well, since she was born. Somehow you give birth to a baby, blink your eyes and they are all grown up. Everyone told me that time goes by so fast once you have a baby and I just laughed it off until I found out how true that really was. This past year has been filled with so many firsts and I am forever grateful for each one of them. Motherhood is not always easy or glamorous but it is beyond worth it and each frustrating, tiring or feeling defeated moment you may have, there are a million more good , happy and good ugly cry moments to make up for that.
Since I had gestational diabetes my team of doctors, ( as most), would not allow me to go past 40 weeks, as it can increase complications. Since I am a major planner this helped ease my mind, knowing at least I had a finish line date in sight, but it also meant the possibility of being induced, which I was a little hesitant on. If I could give only one piece of advice to any mom to be , it would be to block out everyone else’s birth story. Each delivery, pregnancy, etc. is so different from person to person and it made me way more nervous then I should have been /wanted to be.
Fast forward to my 39 week doctor appointment [ on a Thursday 11/10/16]; I had started dilating and making progress at around 35 weeks, so I was really not expecting to even be at this appointment [ typical first time mom]. I was at 3cm and 80% effaced at my 39 week appointment , but in reality that doesn’t mean anything. I could have stayed that way for weeks. We scheduled my induction for Monday the 14th, in hopes that I could still go into labor on my own. I tried just about anything that weekend, walked what seemed like a million miles and nothing was making her want to make her appearance. I think I repacked and packed our hospital bags at least five times that weekend. Since it was our last weekend officially before we became parents, me and Ryan had our last date night [ Red Lobster of course. my big craving was popcorn shrimp]. The biggest surprise to me was how I felt the night before. We were scheduled to arrive at the hospital at 6am, and I am confident that we did not sleep at all the night before. I was so nervous and had just wished that my mom was not miles and miles away. Even at 25, I still needed my mommy.
I set my alarm for 5am but I was awake anyway. I called the hospital to check in and make sure they were ready for our arrival, ate breakfast, rechecked our bags and hopped in the car. It was such an unreal moment, walking into the hospital knowing that we would be leaving with our baby girl. They got me all checked in and started the induction by 6:30am. Since I was already progressing my doctor on call and nurse seemed to think things would go smoothly and at a good pace.
Let’s just say me and Ryan had a rather unrealistic idea of exactly how long this would take. We both figured since I was already so far along we would be “relaxing” with our baby by lunch time, but boy were we mistaken. I was asked about ten times if I wanted an epidural but my goal was to make it to as far as I could without getting one. My doctor came in at around 8:30 that morning and broke my water [ he told me we were having that baby that day and he was not messing around] , he also warned me that once he broke my water I would start to feel my contractions more . Even though they were rather steady before , I was not in too much pain.
About an hour after he broke my water, I definitely could feel my contractions more and more, since I knew I could potentially have to wait another hour before getting the epidural, I said give me the drugs. Thankfully since it was pretty early in the day, I did not have to wait long and this momma was very happy about that. I think I was more scared of actually getting the epidural then giving birth [ not a fan of needles], but it was not bad at all. Once the epidural kicked in , I was on cloud nine. It was by far the weirdest feeling ever but I was content and could just relax until it was go time. We had been watching HGTV all day [she was literally born to that TV show, so we joke all the time she is going to be a designer or realtor].
Things kept moving at a good pace and around 3/3:30 I was fully dilated to a 10 but little miss princess was not at the best position to deliver [ she was face up and can make it more difficult]. So the nurse had me switch from laying on one side to the other to help her turn. Thankfully it worked and around 4:30 , the doctor gave permission to start pushing. I will say it was by far the hardest work out of my entire life. When my doctor said it was time to push, he also let me know that it may be 30 mins or it could be hours [ my first thought was I’m sorry what, hours?!?!]. My nurse was absolutely amazing and helped so much, the first few times pushing were weird until I got into a good rhythm. After a few push’s the doctor could see her head so he said you will be one of those people who don’t have to push long; thank you doctor!
This also happened to occur during the doctor shift changes, oh lucky me. The doctor that delivered Alyson walked in our room at 5:00 and started getting ready and at 5:19pm on 11/14/16 our beautiful baby girl was born. I will never forget that moment of holding her in my arms for the first time and seeing her sweet face and little hands and toes. I remember looking up at Ryan with tears in my eyes saying look how pretty she is and seeing tears in his eyes. You dream about this day your entire pregnancy and it just did not seem real.
Altogether my labor was about 12 hours and was to me the best labor I could have asked for. There were a lot of fears and worries in my mind from what had happened to people I know and from what a doctor said to me but I knew I had God watching over us all and that kept me calm.
Ryan’s family had been in town waiting for her arrival so they came to the hospital to see her after she was born, as well as my best friend. I stayed up way to late that night just staring at her. I could not believe that I had just given birth to this amazing little baby. She was so teeny tiny born at 7 pounds even and 20 ½ inches. She is the most beautiful, sassy and sweet girl, that I am so incredibly lucky that God trusts me to be her mother.
Going into motherhood I had these visions and expectations of how my journey would be and then I was rudely awaken, with reality. You always can look back at any situation after the fact and see what you would have done differently and also understand why that situation went the way it did. As we approach Alyson’s first birthday and being a year into motherhood, I am going to share what motherhood in these last twelve-months have taught me.
- Never be afraid to say no or how you really feel. You are new at this and need to get into a groove of your own. If you are feeling overwhelmed or envisioned a situation to be a different way, then go for it. You never get these moments back, so stand firm. Do not be afraid to say no, just because you are afraid to hurt someone’s feeling. If they are a mother, they will understand and if they are not, honestly too bad. As long as you, your baby and significant other are on the same page, that is what matters.
- Stop comparing yourself to every other mother out there. We can all get caught up in the comparison game and I feel like I did more so after I became a mom. How do they have healthy home cooked meals each day? How do they always have a clean house? How did they lose all that baby weight? The list could go on and on. At the end of the day you are doing your best job and that is all that matters to your child. There are days where Alyson had a health breakfast, lunch and dinner and then there are days where she is in her pj’s from the night before at bed time and ate French fries and mac and cheese for lunch and dinner.
- Stop comparing your baby to all the other babies your child’s age. This one is hard and caused a lot of mom guilt. I find myself doing this way too often and end up worrying that something is wrong or that I am failing as a mother. The truth is that every child develops at a different rate. A child at five months could be achieving goals a nine month old would do and a nine month old could achieve goals that an eight-teen month old would do. So many days I find myself wondering why other babies are doing this and that and why Alyson is not, but you know what, she is happy, healthy and growing perfectly for her age. She is going to grow up a beautiful , strong, independent and smart woman.
- You will quickly learn who is in your “tribe” is , as I like to call mine. It will be your team of people who will be there to help at midnight when you have no idea what to do , your sick and need to rest, you have a question about what to feed your baby and how often. I do not know everything about being a mom and I would not want to pretend that I do. There are so many people behind the scenes that help keep me from losing my mind. Keep them close and cherish them. They probably get annoyed with how often I thank them, but without them I would be lost.
- You think you know what love is, but you have no idea. I knew I loved Alyson from before I knew she was actually going to be Alyson. I bonded and felt every kick and punch from her for months and months. From the first time you hear the heart- beat , to that first kick, you fall more and more in love with this baby you have growing inside you. Once you hold your baby for the first time , see their first smile, hear their first little laugh, those sweet moments will break your heart in the best way possible. It is so sweet and amazing to see everyone around you love your child, just as much as you love them.
- You will have this magical idea of your baby sleeping all night long, and they will crush your dreams . Alyson was a rough sleeper from birth to around two months. Once she turned two months she started sleeping through the night and our bed time routine was a walk in the park. Then she hit eight months, and learned how to pull herself up and was a rock star at crawling. I always told myself I would never co-sleep, and then you will be so sleep deprived that you will do anything for more than five minutes of sleep. Thankfully she is getting better about her sleeping habits and we are down to just an hour of cuddle time in the morning [ momma cherishes her shut -eye ]. It is honestly one of my favorite parts of the day, getting to wake up with this cute little smile looking at me. It makes it impossible to start the day off on a bad foot, even after no sleep.
- Always trust your mom-gut. I had experience being around children before but nothing can compare or prepare you, to having your very own child. If you feel that something may be wrong with you or the baby, never be afraid to speak up or push the doctors. We know our bodies and our babies best, as we are with them more than the doctors are. Never be afraid to switch doctors either, again, we all get those gut feelings of right or wrong and during this important new time, you should feel supported by your team of doctors.
- Never stop taking pictures. One thing I regret is deciding not to have pictures of me and Alyson taken in the hospital. I had tons of pictures of her and her dad in the hospital but I did not feel confident in myself [ I had just given birth , so who does], but looking back I wish I would have. You do not have to post every picture to social media or put it on your fridge but when your children are old they will cherish those pictures, more than we could imagine. They really do grow so incredibly fast, so I love getting to look back through her pictures and see how much she has changed and how her sweet personality is shining through [ or sass depending on the day].
- Your life has now forever changed. There is no such thing as a quick trip to the store, keeping the house clean or being on time but it will be the best time of your life. Everyone journey to becoming a parent is different. For some it is easier than others and becoming parents have different meanings. Being a mom is something I have dreamed of since I was a little girl and getting to live life looking through her eyes, is the best gift I have ever been given.
- Be proud of your body. This is something that I struggled with prior to becoming pregnant and then you add all those extra fun hormones and it really can be a blast to go shopping [ said no eight- month pregnant lady ever]. I may not look like I did prior to Alyson but you know that’s okay. I am doing my best to eat healthy and work out when I can but I carried and gave birth to a tiny person, it will never be the same. I have stretch marks on my hips, my hips are wider than before and my stomach is not flat no matter how much I try. I am super proud of my body for everything that it was able to do and should be thanking it , instead of putting it down.
- Make time for yourself. I am working on a post all about different ways you can include a few minutes to yourself without kids. Sometimes I am not able to take a long time to myself but just by spending a few minutes getting to do my hair or make up, or putting on jeans instead of sweatpants, they can really be a mood booster.
- At the end of the day, I still have no clue what I am doing sometimes or I wonder if she ate enough that day. Somedays I am tired and get frustrated because she does not want to nap or she wants to be held and I need to work or do dishes or laundry. I have learned that I may not be the perfect mom all the time but I am the best mom for Alyson. God created me to be her mother and He created her to be my daughter. Together we are on the greatest adventure of our lives and there will days we stumble and fall but thankfully she will have no idea I am winging it until she is much older. I know that I have many more first coming up through the years, well forever but I know that I will look back to this post and remember all those sweet moments I had with my baby girl.
[ I had to share a few pictures of Alyson, because she’s just too cute, and look at that foot prop.]
Hello everyone, I am still alive over here. When we took our trip to visit our family, I took a little break to focus on our family, that happened to last longer then I was expecting. Once we came back, we all were sick and then better and then I got sick again, which was also at the same time my husband was out of town traveling for work. All of that to say it has been awhile and I have missed my little page. I have made a few new spruces as I like to call them to the site and have some fun posts planned for the next few months.
When I was throwing around the idea of even creating a blog , I thought a lot about it and prayed in which direction I should go. I don’t typically share unless you pry it out of me and did not want to be one of those people promoting yet another thing on social media. While I have been on this little break, I honestly debated just leaving well enough alone. I don’t have a huge following, I don’t make money and thought would anyone really notice. I did not create this space to make money, I created this space for me to be able to share my journey and have a place for Alyson to look back on as she grows up [ because I may have been slacking on the baby book,oops]. So many of my friends have encouraged me to keep doing what I am doing , simply because I enjoy doing it. We can put some much pressure on ourselves and create ideas in our head and we stop ourselves from moving forward. I have never felt more inspired and exciting on the different posts I have planned to share. This time of the year is my favorite and now that I get to share it with my mini me, it makes it even better. I am counting this year as her “first” Thanksgiving and “first” Christmas, because last year she was so tiny , that she didn’t get to truly celebrate, and it gives me an excuse to go a little crazy.
There is a blogger that I follow on social media and she has started sharing different thoughts under #impressingisexhausting [ on Instagram, go check it out and her blog], and it really hit my heart. I love social media and getting to catch up or “watch” what my friends and their families are doing , epically when you live a hundred or thousand miles away but it creates a false image. It makes us think that everyone has it together all the time, their house is clean and they cooked the most delicious dinner straight from their garden every night [ and if you do that, please teach me your ways] but I think the truth is that we all have superhero days, good days and bad days. There are days where I feel like a literal rock star because I got so much accomplished and then the very next day, its like a cirrus in our house. I absolutely love being a mother and would not change a second of any day for anything different but it can also be messy, frustrating and exhausting. I made a promise to myself and my daughter that I would share what real life is all about because well impressing is exhausting.
At the end of the day, I may never make a single cent from this little space but if it encourages one mom to help her through a tough decision or make her feel better, gives her an idea on a fun craft to make with her little one or just allows our friends and family from far to catch up on what we have been doing, then I would be more then proud of myself. I encourage you to take a leap of faith and start something you have been putting on the backburner, because you were a little too scared of what others might think. The people that support you, are the ones who are truly meant to be a part of your journey.
[ I went into Old Navy the other week to grab Alyson a few fall essentials and could not pass up this adorable beanie!]
A few weeks ago we took a trip to a local farm that had a fall festival. Last year we went but I was very, very pregnant and it was not as enjoyable. We went with my best friend and her kids. Emily[her youngest] and Alyson , have matching Halloween costumes and I cant wait to share that in a few weeks.
We took tons of pictures with pumpkins, went down the slide, fed a giraffe [ yep, I was on cloud 9], went on a hayride, toured a pumpkin patch [ super cool, to see them still on the vine], and last but not least we left with some mini pumpkins and apple cider doughnuts.
There are so many moments that I have cant believe I am a mother and such an amazing daughter. While we were walking through the farm, I just got so overwhelmed with happiness because I dreamed of moments exactly like this.
[ I had to share her collage of 11 month pictures, she is not a fan of the sticker.]
[ The one day, while we were strolling around Target, I found pinky sparkly cat ears in the dollar bin, and now Alyson is obsessed with them.]
I really cant believe that I will only be writing one more monthly update. Alyson turned 11 months old last weekend and momma is in pure shock. I am so excited for the next month and all of the fun ways we will be celebrating her birthday. She really has changed our world in so many ways, but absolutely for the better.
This past month Alyson took her first steps [ video is posted on facebook/instagm, if you need a good reason to smile]. She was so happy and proud of herself, her face was glowing with happiness. It surprised me so much in that moment that I probably scared her, because I screamed with excitement. She is still taking a few steps on her own but has not fully moved to walking on her own yet, but it will not be long.
I know one day I will be probably be regretting saying this but I will take my chances, I am so grateful that Alyson is not a picky eater yet. She will eat anything and everything [ literally, even dog food] but her favorite lately, have been avocado, black beans, blueberries and goldfish.
She is talking so much and each day it amazes me how her baby talk is becoming more and more into actual words. She can say hi, yeah, no, mama, dada, and her favorite dog. She is very good at letting us know what she wants and does not want. I know soon she will be having conversations with me and knowing her personality it will be pretty funny.
We are trying to enjoy the last bit of fall weather that Chicago, is offering us by trips to the park and the zoo. We went to our first pumpkin patch last week and it was so much fun. Alyson does best when we go out exploring, so I try to do that as much as possible.
One of my favorite moments over the past month is how much she is becoming a daddys girl. With working from home she went through the I want mommy phase a lot harder and I kept telling my husband, just wait one day she will want you more. She gets so excited when he gets home from work every night and if he is already at work when she was up, he is the first person she looks for. It melts my heart, I can not wait to watch them continue to grow such a special bond.
I have been trying to sit down and write Alyson’s 10 months update for the past two weeks but since we came home from our trip to PA we have been either super busy or sick. This girl is growing so fast, my momma heart just can’t handle it. I ordered her first birthday party invitations over the weekend and it really hit me that in just about a month and half now, she will be one. If you know me at all you know I am a big planner and had her theme picked out when she was probably a week old but actually putting everything together has made me more emotional than I thought. I will try to save all the mushy and emotional posts till closer to her birthday and be prepared because there will definitely some of those.
I am currently trying to write this while Alyson is climbing all over me , trying to tell you her version I guess, but this is clear picture of what our life has been like lately. She is climbing onto and over everything possible. The poor dog gets treated more like a pony lately and I am not sure he is a fan, but he is super good about it. She is starting to stand on her own for longer periods of time and I know it will not be long until she just takes off walking.
I know as soon as I type these words out I will probably regret it but I am happy to say that Ally is not a picky eater. She has been doing great with eating all the solid foods I have given her. Some of her favorite is avocado, eggs, chicken and bananas. The hardest part with her when it comes to food is when we eat something that she can’t have, she is not a fan of that and she lets us know.
Each month that passes I see more and more of her personality come out and the older she gets the more sassy she becomes, so we keep joking that one maybe good [ but are we joking lol ]. She went through this phase for a few months of hating to get in the car seat [ once she was in she was fine] but actually getting her in the car seat/stroller was a heart- breaking task. We recently installed her big girl car seat and she seems to like getting in that a lot better.
She had a busy month this past month with a two- week trip to visit family back in Pennsylvania that also included her first trip to the beach. I was very impressed for how well she did with the entire trip & how well she liked the sand.
We are so happy that it is starting to actually feel like fall, that we celebrate with a trip to the park. She always loves getting to see and play with other kids, so we are enjoying that while we can. We have lots of fun fall events planned that I can’t wait to experience with her. These next few months of the year are my favorite and now getting to share it with my mini , just makes it that much better.