Our Half Moon Bay Getaway

Almost 2 weeks ago, my husband and I went on our first overnight getaway. Alone. Just the two of us. With NO kids. It was so wonderful, it’s making it on the blog lol.  Not just to jot down all the memories of what we did, but to encourage ALL MARRIED COUPLES EVERYWHERE to go do the same 😀

I know it’s not always possible because of the timing and/or money. For us, this was the first time in a long time that I wasn’t nursing a baby AND was financially feasible to do. And honestly, if you spend too much time thinking about it, you’ll talk yourself out of anything because there are always “more practical” things you can spend money on. But ya’ll….your marriage is worth it. It’s not a splurge on an item. It’s an investment in your marriage. We certainly can’t always spend a weekend at the Ritz-Carlton by ocean, but we’re definitely going to try more over-nighters elsewhere on a more regular basis.

Being at a Ritz-Cartlon by the ocean was, however, AMAZING and reminded me of our honeymoon (we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton in Key Biscayne, FL). So it was a really sweet time together that sort of had that newlywed feeling again, except way better 🙂

Anyway. Staying in such a fancy place made me feel a bit like a fish out of water lol. Or like I was living someone else’s life for a weekend. It’s just not something we do often. I remember the first night after dinner, going for a walk by the ocean on a moonlit path, hearing the sound of the waves, walking hand-in-hand with a hot guy, thinking…”is this real life?” (I also had a particularly strong Manhattan right before which tends to enhance my emotions a little lol). I was just so happy to be exactly where I was right then.

And everyone there treats you like royalty. I felt so special and pampered the whole time! I mentioned to the lady at the spa that this was my first weekend away from my kids, with just my husband, and so she gave us free stuff! Ivor used to work at a Ritz-Cartlton in Philadelphia so he gave me the inside scoop that employees have a certain budget that they can spend on guests to enhance their stay. How amazing is that?! The lady who gave me my facial threw in some extras for me too because she knew I was a tired mama (and desperately needed it lol). Her: “when was your last facial”…Me: “um…7 years ago….on my honeymoon” …Her: “ok, we’ll go the full 80 minutes! 😀

Anyway, we packed in a lot for 1 weekend and I could ramble on and on, but this post is already getting too long, so I’ll switch to bullet point highlights instead:

*Walking into the lobby when we first arrived…..in slippers (I drove there in slippers because my heels hurt and I forgot to switch before getting out of the car because we were rushing to go see the sunset). I was embarassed at first. Me: “Who walks around the Ritz Carlton in slippers??” Ivor: “Rich people who do whatever they want. You’re fine.”

*Walking on a legit moonlit path by the ocean.

*Sitting outside by the firepit, listening to the waves crashing.

*The lady working at spa desk who gave us free bubble bath and a candle

*Soaking in the tub, with bubbles

*The breakfast buffet of my dreams

*Mountain biking in Marin County (absolutely gorgeous!) It was mostly hard…..really hard. With a little bit of INCREDIBLE single-track downhill with an ocean view

*The facial! Glorious.

*Getting fancy for dinner at the “fine dining” restaurant of the hotel- Navio. We had the most amazing mushroom risotto with shaved truffle (that the chef came out to add himself)…whaaaaaaaaa?! I can still smell it. OMG.

* The woman we met just before dinner, who didn’t immediately ask me “so what do YOU do?” after finding out Ivor works at Google. She actually praised the fact that I’m a stay-at-home mom, acknowledged how hard it must be but how rewarding and impactful it is (her mom stayed home and she admires her for it). I admit, I had sort of prejudged her before we actually started talking and was so not expecting to hear that (just based on my experience so far in the Bay Area), but it was EXACTLY what I needed to hear.

*Morning walk by the ocean, and randomly seeing 2 horses.

*Mountain biking in Soquel Demonstration Forest- the flow trail loop. More enjoyable than the previous ride overall 🙂

*The sunset on the way home to go see our babies (I rarely see sunsets as a mom…isn’t that depressing? lol)

Ok, a few pictures then I’m done 😀

The ITP Diagnosis.

No, that’s not an episode title for the Big Bang Theory. This was our week.

Oh, where to begin with this one. How about from the beginning? I’ll jump right in. (Buckle in, this will be a long one…)

*NOTE: I am not a medical professional and I might get something wrong. If so, please correct me!

On Monday morning before Ivor left for work, he mentioned that earlier that morning (like, middle of the night early) he had a weird taste in his mouth and some gum bleeding (which is unusual for him because he’s one of those people who flosses regularly lol). Weird, but we kind of brushed that off and went about our day.

Then he got to work and looked down at his arms and hands and noticed a rash. He sent me these pics:

Ok, that’s also weird. We’ve never seen a rash like that before. He then went to get a shower (because had just biked 26 miles into work), and discovered that the rash was all over his body. Cue immediate call to the doctor. We got him an appointment for a few hours later. We had no idea what it could be, but thought maybe it was just a contact reaction to something, nothing serious.

Apparently as soon as the doctor saw the rash, he looked very concerned and ordered blood work for him ASAP. The doc said it looked like it  was a “low platelet issue”  He went downstairs, got to cut the line at the lab and have it done right away. That sense of urgency was a little disconcerting….

Then we waited for the phone call with the results.

The call, of course, came while I was picking up the kids from preschool. Ivor was at home when he got the call, “your platelet count is extremely low, go to the ER now.” So I get the phone call from Ivor in the middle of the kid’s classroom while I’m picking them up, “Meet me at the ER, I’ll be at Good Sam.” (the hospital, Good Samaritan). And that’s all the information I had.

I did my best to keep my crap together in front of the kids, immediately called a friend who lived close by and asked if I could drop my kids off  at her house so I could be with Ivor in the ER. My friend, being the absolute rockstar and saint that she is, said “yes, absolutely” and took in my 3 kids for the night. So I dropped them off, and drove with a purpose (meaning I probably broke the speed limit a few times) to the hospital.

Ivor was already being seen by the time I got there (also disconcerting but good, that he was able to be seen immediately). They wanted to re-take the blood test in-house just to confirm, because they were shocked that his count was so dangerously low but he looked and acted totally fine. He literally had no other symptoms except for the rash and the gum bleeding earlier. Anyway, it wasn’t too long of a wait before we got those results back. It was confirmed. His platelet count was 4,000. To give you an idea of how low that is, normal counts are between 150,000 and 450,000. 

Thankfully, all other aspects of his blood work were normal (red and white blood cell count, etc.). So the ER doctor believed it to be an isolated platelet issue/ITP (Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura) from the start. But a hematologist would need to take it from there and run other tests to confirm that by ruling out a bunch of other things.

In the meantime though, because his count was so low, they moved him to the ICU and began a platelet transfusion right away (donor blood, stripped of all the other things except for platelets. It kinda looked like a bag of pee. Platelets are yellow-ish…ya learn something new every day!)

Anyway. It was at this point that I think reality set in for me. The adrenaline/blur of the preceding events wore off,  my emotions caught up with me and I realized where we were. And where we weren’t. We weren’t at home together with our kids having dinner like we should’ve been, dealing with our usual chaos before bedtime. In an “instant” (a quick phone call), regular life stopped. Our kids were whisked off to a friend’s house immediately after school, and there we were in the hospital dealing with the unknown. It happened so fast.

I had googled “low platelet count” earlier in the day and knew all the serious possibilities (you know you’d do it too!) So my mind jumped to the worst case scenario, naturally, and thoughts of losing my husband, and my kids losing their daddy, filled my mind. And I was sick to my stomach. I’d love to say that “I was so strong and held it together like a boss”, but let’s be real………..I threw up in the middle of the ICU. It happened. I apologized to everyone around me, like they had never seen anything like that before (insert eye roll).

Moving on….

He got a room pretty quickly (because of the transfusion situation he definitely had to be admitted) and once he was settled in for the night and a friend brought me some Dramamine, my nausea wore off and I DID get my crap together after that. I ate some hospital jello.

He received 4 bags of platelets (unsure of exact amount) throughout the night. Not sure either one of us slept longer than 20 mins at a time that night…

There were more blood draws over the next few days, re-counting his numbers to check for improvement or any changes. The platelet transfusion helped a little at first, but his count eventually went back down to where it started. All the while other tests were being run to rule other things out. ITP is a “diagnosis of exclusion” which means they rule out all other possible causes (diseases, cancers, disorders, etc. etc.) and settle on ITP if all those tests are negative….it’s essentially a diagnosis that says “we have no idea what caused this.”

After what seemed like way too long, we finally got MOST of the other tests results back, which were negative, and ITP was the official diagnosis they were going to start treating. The first treatment was called Intravenous Immunoglobulin Thereapy (IVIG), which would only be a temporary fix but if it worked, it would support the diagnosis as the correct one. It did, and his platelet count went up significantly. So then they started him on a high-dose, 4-day steroid treatment called Dexamethasone, which should work fairly rapidly in getting his platelet level back to normal.

Since his levels were on the rise after beginning treatment, he was allowed to be discharged (yesterday just before lunchtime, and was back on his bike shortly thereafter 🙂 )

He has a follow-up appointment with the hematologist in a week and they will do another CBC (complete blood count) that day in the office to make sure everything still looks good.

The prognosis for ITP is a good one. It was definitely the best-case scenario in this situation, as opposed to all the other possibilities. It’s just kind of frustrating to be diagnosed with something that begins with “Idiopathic” -of unknown cause. No one likes the unknown. And Ivor lives an extremely healthy/active lifestyle and is only 37 years old. So it sort of threw us for a loop to have any sort of health problem at all.

Thankfully, it doesn’t look like it will change his lifestyle at all. I was so worried he might not be allowed to ride his bike, but he just can’t play contact sports like football. Which he doesn’t do anymore anyway. With the platelet issue he could have a much higher risk of bleeding (because platelets are what causes your blood to clot and stop bleeding). We are so thankful that he didn’t experience any major bleeding at all while his platelet count was so low, which can be a possibility even without injury.

Throughout this whole thing there was no pain or suffering involved (physically anyway). Like I mentioned before, he felt totally fine and normal the whole time, no other symptoms. The last time he was hospitalized (because he apparently likes to make a habit of this:-P ), he had been in an accident and was in a LOT of physical pain and the aftermath of that (the recovery) was very difficult. THAT situation was draining in a whole other way. Thankfully, that is not the case this time.

So …..that was our week, how was yours?? 😀

I want to thank all of our AMAZING friends who stepped in to help us out while he was in the hospital. With childcare, meals, keeping Ivor company while I was with the kids at night, etc. If you’re on facebook, you’ll be tagged 🙂 It is so great to have friends who will drop everything to help you when stuff like this happens, especially when you don’t have family in the area. We love you all!!!

And thank you LORD that this was not more serious and that my husband is now out of that dang hospital! (another story for another time…but let’s just say, there were mistakes made by a nurse that THANKFULLY did not have any negative effect on him, but could have and we worry for her other patients who are not as alert and knowledgeable as my husband). Le sigh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That One Time I Shot a Promo Video for Stitch Fix! (+special offer details!)

If we’re Facebook friends, you may have seen that in September I shot a video for Stitch Fix (in front of the camera, not behind!) So I thought I’d share a little bit more about how that came about and what it was like. Also at the end of this post, I have some exciting news for anyone who has been considering trying Stitch Fix, but hasn’t jumped the fence yet 😉

*Note: This post contains affiliate links. Should you sign-up and order using my link, I will receive a small commission which helps support this blog. 

So, how did I end up at Stitch Fix headquarters in front of a camera? I saw a facebook post on our MOPS page. Someone who knows someone at Stitch Fix, asked if anyone in the group had been a Stitch Fix client since 2014 (oddly specific) and was interested in going on camera for a client testimonial. I saw it and thought “Huh. I’ve been a client since 2014, but going on camera? Nah, no thanks.” I hate seeing/hearing myself on video and the whole idea just seemed a bit intimidating/terrifying. So I ignored it and moved on. But then I started getting tagged by several other people in the post telling me I should do it. Peer pressure. I gave in and contacted the person JUST to get more information about it, not to confirm I would do it.

Then I got more details and thought “Ok….why would I pass up this opportunity?…That’s just silly. Suck it up and do it Krystal!” And so, I did (along with 3 other people I don’t know- but we all shot separately).

Prior to the taping, they sent me a questionnaire about my experience with Stitch Fix, and then came up with a “script” using my responses. I was told I’d be reading this script from a teleprompter and wouldn’t have to memorize anything. And that it would be directed, etc. They also gave some recommendations for outfits I should wear (from Stitch Fix of course) and  that there would be hair and makeup on site! Thank goodness I didn’t have to be responsible for that lol.

When I arrived, I was extremely nervous but excited at the same time. The “set” for the video was legit…WAY more involved than I had imagined. In my head I thought there’d be like 1 camera, a plain backdrop and a light or 2. Oh no. This was a set that made it looked like I was sitting in a bright and airy living room in an expensive San Francisco studio apartment. I sat on a couch, with props behind me, there were several cameras in addition to the actual teleprompter, lights all around and a crew of about 10-15 people. So…not at all intimidating or anything lol.

I got dressed, had my hair and makeup done and then it was time. Even though they told me beforehand that I didn’t have to memorize anything and I would just be reading from a script, the director instructed me to “read….but don’t sound like you’re reading”. That is so much harder than you think lol. Also, I naturally spoke way too fast the first 2 takes and had to keep slowing down. We did a bunch of takes reading the exact script word-for-word, and then a few where I was allowed to ad-lib a little bit to make it sound more natural, like having a conversation with a friend. Then she asked me some questions that I answered off-the-cuff, and honestly that’s what I felt way more comfortable doing. The scripted stuff felt so awkward, so I’m happy we did that little unscripted Q&A portion.

It was over before I knew it (maybe only 15-20 mins total on camera?) and then they sent me on my way (with some snacks).

Being my own worst critic, I spent the whole car ride home thinking about all the things I could’ve said differently. But out of several takes, I’m SURE they got at least something usable lol. I know it’s just going be a short little clip, edited together with the other client videos.

If you were wondering, I’ve haven’t seen the final video. We were told it was being used as promotion/marketing material for a corporate presentation (but no other specifics were given). I don’t know if I’ll ever see it, but I think I’m okay with that lol. I left with $100 Stitch Fix credit and a fun experience 🙂

And I’m thankful for the crew member who insisted on making sure I got some photos of me on set, for my memories (and this blog post lol)

Stitch Fix Client

Stitch Fix Client

Ok, let’s get to the special offer! If you haven’t yet signed up or ordered a fix from Stitch Fix yet, you have the opportunity to try it right now for FREE! From now through the end of November, your styling fee is waived for your very first fix. So if you’ve been curious to try it and see what you think, now is the time! Use this link, and let me know how it goes 😀

My quick tips for getting a great fix:

*Create a Pinterest board to visualize your style
*Be very specific with any requests or dislikes
*Have an open mind and try everything on

Enjoy, friends!

 

 

Miscarriage and Empathy

October is almost over and I have yet to mention anything about Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness. It’s not because I’ve forgotten about my losses or am somehow “over it” now. But the waves of sadness are smaller and farther apart. It’s been 2 years, 3 months and 9 days since my last miscarriage…so, the season of intense mourning has passed, thankfully. But that doesn’t mean I never get sad about it or that I’ll stop talking about it or acknowledging it.

I’ve shared my story a bunch of times. On here, on facebook, at my MOPS group, etc. So I don’t necessarily want to re-tell it again today. But I do want to share some tips/advice for how to support and encourage someone who is suffering from a miscarriage (or just suffering in general really). I want to tread lightly because I don’t want to shame anyone or make anyone feel bad for saying/doing something that I think is unhelpful or even hurtful. Honestly, I’ve been there too. I once made a very cliche, shallow comment to a friend who finally got pregnant after trying for a long time to conceive. I had the best of intentions, but the comment was less than helpful and basically minimized the pain she went through during all those years of trying.

But instead of just going through a big list of “things NOT to say/do” ….because there are plenty of those articles floating around the Internet to make you feel bad, I’ll try to just focus on what TO do/say. And please note: these are my opinions. Everybody grieves a little differently and what I find helpful and encouraging, might not be the same as someone else. Feel free to share your own thoughts if they’re different than mine. I ain’t afraid (actually that’s not true….I do fear big, mean  internet trolls…which is why I get to approve comments before they’re visible lol). For real though, do share.

So let’s talk about empathy. Rather, let’s let Brene Brown talk briefly about it, because she kind of nails it with this video. Watch this first, then read on.

What does empathy look like when someone you know just suffered a miscarriage and is in the pit of despair?

  1. Go down in the pit with her. Well-meaning people want to just reach down and pull them out, but usually way too soon. It’s okay to sit in the pit for a bit. (….I’m /facepalming myself right now, don’t worry). It’s okay to spend time just sitting in grief and not rushing through it. But no one should be down there alone.
  2. When in doubt, say nothing. If you’re worried about saying the wrong thing, it’s probably safer to just say nothing at all. Your presence alone speaks volumes. Offer a hug. A shoulder to cry on. Listen. Don’t speak.
  3. When you do speak, say  “I’m so sorry this happened. This sucks.” Period. No “But…”….no “At least….”. By adding “but” or “at least” statements, you can minimize the pain they’re feeling. Just because it “could be worse” doesn’t mean the pain they feel right now isn’t legitimate. It still may be the hardest thing they’ve ever gone through. For me, hearing about how it could’ve been worse, somehow doesn’t make me feel any less sad. It just doesn’t.
  4. Now I’m gonna get slightly controversial here for my fellow Christians. Are you ready? Please use caution (read: wisdom, discernment, good judgment) before throwing a bible verse their way. I am NOT saying scripture isn’t powerful. I am not saying it isn’t truth (I’m well aware of 2 Timothy 3:16). BUT (and I’ll preface this statement by saying that “for ME” because it might be different for others,)…not all scripture is helpful or comforting while IN the pit of despair. I think there’s a time and a place for certain verses while suffering. “God works all things together for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28) . I know it’s true. I believe it in my head. But that verse does not penetrate my heart in the thick of my grief. I can’t relate to that in that moment. I’m just not there yet. What verse DOES bring me comfort? “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) . Brokenhearted and crushed? Now that’s a verse I can relate to. That’s God meeting me where I am at. The pit of despair. Knowing He’s there with me in that place, THAT brings me comfort. Seeing how He worked it all together for His good? That comes later. The book of Psalms is there for a reason, ya know? And they ain’t all about praise and good times. Embrace the laments!
  5. Likewise, (I know I said I wouldn’t say what NOT to do..but…)… please avoid cliche biblical (but probably not actually in the Bible) Christian statements. I won’t list ’em…I’m sure you’ve heard ’em. Just don’t.

    And finally….

  6. Help with basic needs- like providing meals, cleaning or childcare if needed. When people are in mourning, basic tasks become incredibly difficult (at least for some people…like me). After my first miscarriage, I remember letting the dishes sit in the sink for days (and I didn’t even had kids then). I didn’t have the emotional energy to go back to daily routine stuff right away…because the last time I did the dishes, I was pregnant and excited and hopeful. The last time I did the laundry, I was daydreaming of folding little onesies and footed pajamas. Depending on the person, they probably won’t ASK for it, you may need to just go ahead and do it, or arrange it with their spouse, etc. Use discernment based on your relationship with the person so you can provide what will truly be helpful to them.

 

This is all just scratching the surface really, but I hope it was helpful to you. Sadly, since 1 in 4 women will experience this kind of loss, odds are pretty dang good that you will know someone who has gone through it, is going through it, or will go through it at some point. So  I hope this will help you bring comfort to your friend, sister, wife, daughter, etc. when the time comes. <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End of Breastfeeding!

Finally getting around to posting something again! Sorry for all the blog radio silence. It’s because kids are overwhelming, and I’ve spent my time doing other things (like dishes and laundry and grocery shopping…lame stuff like that). But I’ve missed it and hope to get back to doing it regularly again, someday:)

Anyway, I wanted share my story of breastfeeding now that that particular chapter has closed. This is not a “breast is best” post. Seriously. I don’t care what you feed your child. All 3 of my kids have had formula at some point in their 1st year of life. And I feel no shame about that, and you shouldn’t either. I just want to share my story, cause it’s my own…and it’s what happened. It’s not implying anything negative about someone else’s story. (Because people love to get offended on the internet these days I feel like I have to say that).

Before I had my first kid, the majority of what I heard about breastfeeding is that “it’s so easy and natural and totally what’s best for your child.” That was it. No mention of clogged ducts or mastitis or any other difficulties that could come along with it. But I’m glad I dug a little deeper into my research and got a more realistic idea of what it’s like so I wasn’t too surprised going into it. Because…it was NOT easy. And I think being mentally prepared for that is half the battle. So, more than anything, my goal is to share a real-life nursing experience with you (to get more realistic stories out there), and to reflect for my own personal memories 🙂

It’s lengthy…sorry.

We’ll start with kid #1, Gwen. Right off the bat, before we even left the hospital, I was sore. Ya’ll…it hurt. And I had a night nurse who was a bit too aggressive with the breastfeeding thing in the middle of the night, basically shoving Gwen’s face into my boob. I cried. It hurt and I just wanted to sleep. My milk hadn’t even come in yet for goodness sake. So that already put a damper on the experience for me.

Then we went home. Still sore (everyyyyyywhere). But especially the boobs, because, ya know, they weren’t used to having a little piranha-like hungry baby attached to them. It was so bad one day, I stood there crying in the bathroom not wanting to wear a bra or shirt because anything touching them was too painful. I wanted to quit already. That’s where my support person came in- my husband. I think having a support person to encourage you during those first few weeks is CRUCIAL. He reminded me that the pain would go away, that I was strong and could do this and that I was already doing an amazing job. Then he went to Target and bought me a super soft, comfortable nightgown and “soothies” for my boobs lol. And he was right. After awhile (seemed like forever at the time), it did get better. The pain and soreness eventually went away and things got easier.

Then I got a clogged duct. I didn’t know that was a thing. But it was also painful and annoying. Gwen favored one side over the other, so the neglected boob was the problem side at first. I would try to pump on that side to make sure it was getting fully drained, and I felt like a cow being milked by a machine (I hate the pump). Eventually the clogged duct cleared and all was well again.

Fast forward (just a bit) to when Gwen was about 6 months old. Things started to go downhill. It seemed like my supply was dropping and she was pretty frustrated and fussy at the boob. She also wasn’t gaining weight as fast as she had been. Turns out…SURPRISE….I was pregnant (WHAT?!)….yes. I had a 6 month old, and was pregnant again. Ok then.

My OB basically told me to wean Gwen right away. Because I had a previous miscarriage, she said it was just better that I stop. I had read that some people breastfeed while pregnant with no issues, but since it wasn’t going well anyway at the time and because I was terrified of miscarrying again, we stopped and switched to formula after just a few more breastfeeding sessions. Fortunately, she took to formula in a bottle right away, and that’s what we did for the remainder of her 1st year. I was definitely sad at first and I struggled with the fact that my plan of breastfeeding her for an entire year was cut short. But seeing her eat well and start growing at a good pace again made me feel much better.

Kid #2, Ivor Baby. The first weeks were a little easier this time around. Still some soreness, but not nearly as bad. I was also at a new hospital this time with nurses who just let me do my thing and didn’t aggressively shove a baby on me (thank you Good Samaritan Hospital!) I experienced a few clogged ducts again in the first few months, 1 of them turned into mastitis (breast infection that causes fever, general crappy feeling, super painful boob, etc.). No fun. I took antibiotics and worked hard to clear it. It eventually cleared and all went smoothly again.

Until around the 10-month mark. My supply tanked, and he started losing weight (!) because he’s stubborn and resistant to change and would. not. accept. ANYTHING other than the boob. I tried everything. Formula in a bottle. Formula in a sippy cup (tried every single sippy cup on God’s green earth). I tried what little I had left of breastmilk in a cup.  He wasn’t having any of it. Our pediatrician referred us to a GI doctor (who scared the crap out of me with talk of a feeding tube to get his weight back up, and just generally had horrible bedside manner) . She recommended PediSure. PediaSure is basically a milkshake. It’s insanely sweet and I did not like giving it to him, but we were desperate…and it worked after the first few tries. He drank it out of a sippy cup and started gaining weight again. I slowly weaned him off that and onto cow’s milk by his 1st birthday, which he had JUST started accepting when we found out he was allergic to it. But that’s another story lol. He started drinking almond milk after that and now he’s a happy, healthy, growing boy! (Still stubborn and resistant to change though…lol)

Finally, kid #3…miss Fiona. My most successful breastfeeding experience of all 3. That’s not to say it was totally without struggle. At this point I knew I was prone to clogged ducts and although I tried hard to prevent them, I failed. I didn’t get a lot of them,  but 1 in particular developed QUICKLY into mastitis and I went to urgent care because we couldn’t get my fever down. I just needed to drink more water because I was dehydrated, which was making everything worse. Eventually of course, I got better and all was well again. After that, I felt so comfortable and natural breastfeeding her …to the point where it really was totally “easy and natural” (but it took me 3 kids to get there lol). I also abandoned that dang nursing cover by kid #3 too. #freedom

Around the 10-month mark (again) I feared that my supply might be dropping. She wasn’t losing any weight, but also wasn’t gaining much. Because I was terrified of the same thing happening to her that happened to Ivor Baby, I started to supplement with formula. She refused at first, but eventually took it. I never stopped breastfeeding and continued to try that first, and offer formula second. Closer to her 1st birthday I tried cow’s milk in a sippy cup, which took her awhile to accept so I kept breastfeeding, but gradually weaned down to twice a day. Then once a day.

And we officially ended our breastfeeding “chapter” just a few weeks ago, around 14.5 months. I’m pretty sure my supply was gone and it was more of a comfort thing for her in the last month (and let’s be honest…for me too). Because she’s my last baby, it took me a little longer to “let go” of that stage. Because now, it’s just done. It’s over. And it makes me a little sad 🙁

My husband asked me (after her 1st birthday) when I planned to stop. And I didn’t have a great answer. I knew I would just “know.” So I said “I don’t know….when it’s time.” The original plan was just for the 1st year, but again…this is my last baby. I wanted to hang on just a little longer and continuing past her 1st birthday just felt right.

So what made it the right time for us? A little bit of her getting frustrated and lacking interest and a little bit of inexplicable mom-instinct. We were both just ready. I don’t know. It’s hard to explain.

And that’s my story.

Here are the things I will NOT miss about breastfeeding:

Sore nipples
Clogged ducts
Mastitis
Being the only one in the middle of the night to feed my child when I just wanted to sleep
Supply issues
Pumping

Here’s what I WILL miss about breastfeeding:

Being able to sustain my child’s life for the first 6 months of their life using ONLY my body (seriously mind-blowing how cool that is)

But most of all….this….

 

That little hand.

Such a sweet, precious time with my babies.  The good times really did outweigh the bad. And it’s over before you know it! For 4.5 years, breastfeeding was a big part of my mom-life. And now it’s just over. I have a 4.5 year old, 3.5 year old, and  15 month old, who no longer needs mommy in that way.

Ok. I’m gonna go cry now.

The End.

 

Fiona Joy is One <3

My sweet 3rd baby… 2nd daughter…rainbow after a big, big storm…miss Fiona Joy, is ONE YEAR OLD. Just like that. Her presence in our family has brought joy and hope…and a little chaos. She went from the best of the newborn sleepers (out of my 3) to the worst of them all. Bringing me to the brink of sleep-deprived madness as I sat with her at 3am, in tears, on Amazon prime, stress-eating chocolate….on more than 1 occasion. But praise be to Jesus, we’ve been sleeping through the night for a few months now ( ::insert raised hands emoji:: )

I have many feelings about the fact that my last baby is about to be promoted to toddler-status and that I’ll no longer have a BABY, but I’ll just save that for another sappier post and stick to the basics for now 😀

Fiona- you are fierce. Just like your big sister. A slightly more “determined to prove herself” type of fierce (#3rdkidprobs). You don’t care that you’re the smallest/youngest in the family, you’re going to do what you want, especially when you’re told “no” or that you “can’t” do something. Your determination to keep up with your siblings has meant reaching most baby milestones earlier than they did, which has certainly kept me on my toes! I love your determination (most of the time) and I hope you always have that. You’ve always been able to “hold your own” with Gwen and Ivor and even playfully “fight back” which is amazing/adorable. The sibling bond the 3 of you already have just melts my heart. You were definitely the missing piece that completed our little family.

So, here are your 1-year “stats”:

*You are sooooo close to walking. You took your first steps in Tahoe (the magical place that it is). And you’ve been taking more steps every day. One of these days, very soon, you’re just going to take off and not look back!

*You have 4 teeth

*You wear 12-mos clothing

*You babble a lot. “No” is your new favorite word. But you say phrases too, out of nowhere, that are pretty dang clear..like, “want milk’ , “want down” are the big ones. YOU’RE 1, HOW ARE YOU TALKING ALREADY?! I blame your sister.

*Your favorite food is bananas. You throw tantrums until you see the banana.

*Speaking of tantrums…you’ve already reached “toddler-status” in this category with throwing yourself face-down on the floor in a dramatic manner. Fun times.

*You’re starting to accept the sippy cup as more than a chew toy and even drank actual milk out of it recently, signaling the very near end of our nursing journey (also another post for another sappy day….)

*But speaking of, we made it a whole year nursing! Officially the longest, most-successful breastfeeding experience I’ve had (not that it was always smooth-sailing in the beginning….remember the mastitis?…the urgent care?…ugh). But, we made it. Cheers, baby girl!

*You love going for walks and hikes, being outside and just feeling the wind on your face. A girl after my own heart.

*Your favorite show is “Little Baby Bum” on Netflix. Anything with music, really.

*You’re rarely content to just “chill”. You need to be active and in on all the action that’s happening around you. “Places to go, people to see, Mom!”

*You love to clap your hands and dance to music (you’ll immediately stop what you’re doing when the music comes on to do so)

*Most of all, you love love love your family. And we love YOU.

Happy 1st birthday baby girl!

 

 

Ok, need to stop with the photos (for now) 🙂

 

 

 

I Ain’t As Good As I Once Was

Just wanted to share some thoughts/revelations I’ve had recently about being active (again).  Ya know…running, hiking, biking, etc.

We recently visited Tahoe for the 2nd time (we seriously love it there and would move there if we could I think). We filled our time with lots of outdoor, active activities, as one should when you visit there. Specifically, mountain biking, which is a favorite activity of my husband’s (he has a lot more experience than I do). But I enjoy it too, especially with him.

This time around though, I was having a really hard time with it. I kept thinking “why is this so much harder than last time??” For some reason, in my mind, I thought I’d be in better shape now and that riding the same mountain, 2 years later, would be easy peasy. HA. Also, this year…I was PMSing hardcore and my emotions were all over the place. My head was filled with a lot of discouraging thoughts “this sucks…I suck….I can’t do this..what is wrong with me? why won’t my legs GO?!”

And then it occurred to me…2 years ago, I had only given birth to 2 kids, not 3 (let me tell you, that 3rd one changes things). I was 2 years younger (also, BIG difference). And I had been working out REGULARLY for months leading up that first Tahoe trip. I was in MUCH better shape then. So, duh Krystal. Of course you’re slower now.

Between the 2 trips, we experienced some stressful/traumatic events, had another kid and pretty much stopped working-out until JUST recently (referring to myself here, not my husband). So I need to be nicer to myself. My running pace isn’t going to be what it was back in high school, at least not yet. It’s going to take some time to get back there. And my biking skills/climbing ability isn’t going to just magically appear. But thanks to my stubbornness and determination (I have no idea where my kids get that….), I will get better!

One of my favorite tools to track progress is Strava. It tracks your activities (pace, elevation gain, times, etc.) so you can try to beat previous efforts. Super motivating! You better believe I’ll be revisiting certain routes once I’m faster/stronger 🙂

And aside from the self-competitiveness, it just feels good being active, being outdoors, especially when I can do these things with my husband too (our idea of a fun date!) Even at a slow pace, it’s still faster than sitting on the couch 🙂

So, let this be an encouragement to you. If you used to be faster/stronger and you’ve been feeling discouraged…don’t! *Most likely, your body has been through a lot. Don’t have unrealistic expectations of yourself. Set achievable goals. Start slow. And keep going 🙂

 

*I’m not an expert. Just guessing 😛

 

Cowboy, Take Me Away!

And now for something completely different!

 

This blog is usually reserved for kid updates or Stitch Fix and  Trunk Club posts (whenever I actually get the time to post). But I’m adding a new category now: Outdoor Adventures!

Ivor and I have always loved the outdoors- having both grown up in rural PA. But setting aside time to actually wander and be “outdoorsy” took a back seat when we started having kids. We had 3 kids in 4 years, so that’s understandable, right? But, it’s time! Honestly, it’s never too early, in my opinion, to introduce the kids to it. So why NOT start now…. at ages 4, 3 and almost 1?!

I have a bunch of reasons for why I want family hikes and outdoor adventures to happen, why I think it will be good for all of us, etc. I’ll try to sum it up in 2 points:

*For me. I just love it. It’s refreshing and re-energizing. Being in nature is one of the places I feel like I can connect more to God. It’s a “reset” button for the absolute craziness of raising 3 kids. And it helps me find more contentment with where we live. The hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley gets to me sometimes. And the cost of housing…ugh…don’t get me started. But we are SURROUNDED by beauty on all sides- the mountains, the ocean, the rolling hills, lakes,  waterfalls, etc. etc. It’s amazing to me that we can find peace and solitude and “country life” just a quick drive away from the city.

*For my kids. I want them to spend more time outside. And yes, the backyard is really nice and well taken advantage of. But there’s so much more to explore and discover (and we’re SO close to it, it would really be a shame to not take advantage of that too). I hope they will grow to love the outdoors as much as my husband and I do, but if anything- it’s going to keep them active throughout their childhood (climbing mountains is excellent cardio btw!) and there are plenty of teachable moments for them on hikes 🙂

The goal: to go on a family hike or bike ride at least once a week. There are so many local county and state parks within a short driving distance of us (and sooooooo many trails) so it shouldn’t be too hard to make it happen. And then as often as our budget and schedule allows- travel a little farther away to discover even more amazing places. Next up on that list is LAKE TAHOE over 4th of July week! Woohoo!

The reality: it might not happen every week. Not every hike will go smoothly or as planned. Some might be total disasters (because…kids), but I expect/hope that *MOST* of them will be amazing. If anything, I’ll get some good pictures and a good workout out of it!

I’ll share on here as often as I can, but the majority of it will happen on instagram if you’d like to follow along (@gogriffiths). There is such a great community of outdoor enthusiasts and other hiking families that I’ve found on there. It’s been inspiring to see.

I hope it will inspire you too, to go adventure with your own family, if that sort of thing interests you. And don’t underestimate your kid’s abilities. They can probably handle more than you think they can! Gwen is out there killing these climbs!

Here are some photos from our latest hike at Quicksilver Almaden. We did the Hacienda Trail to Virl O Norton Trail Loop. 3 Miles, over 800 ft. elevation gain.


Photo by Krystal Griffiths

Photo by Krystal Griffiths

Photo by Krystal Griffiths

Photo by Krystal Griffiths

Photo by Krystal Griffiths

Photo by Krystal Griffiths

Photo by Krystal Griffiths

Photo by Krystal Griffiths

Stitch Fix Review #32

Hello Lovelies,

I’m back with Stitch Fix Review #32! I’ve been meaning to get this post together for awhile now but life with 3 kids is crazy, unpredictable and so very exhausting. When I’m most motivated to be in “work mode” and be productive in the office is during the day. But constant interruptions from the kids and activities and snacks and diapers and meltdowns, etc. etc…. makes mommy productivity really difficult. So then I tell myself, “I’ll work on it after bedtime.” But then after bedtime, I’m so stinking exhausted from the day that all I want to do is collapse on the couch. Not keep working.

So there’s my totally unnecessary, long-winded explanation for why I haven’t blogged as much as I’d like to haha.

Now, back to Stitch Fix. (And seriously, I’m so tired right now I’m going to keep it short and sweet…and I apologize in advance for any typos). It’s just one of those seasons of motherhood right now…

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. If a purchase is made using one of the links, I will receive a small commission which helps support this blog!

 

Stitch Fix Review #32

 

Item 1: Ashley Off-The-Shoulder Blouse (Q&A) $54

Ashley Off-The-Shoulder Blouse (Q&A) Stitch Fix

Ashley Off-The-Shoulder Blouse (Q&A) Stitch Fix

I almost kept this one because I love the color and the cute sleeves (and it’s not sheer! horray!) HOWEVER, it honestly wasn’t that comfortable for me. It’s all blousey material with just a little stretch in the sleeves., so I felt kind of restricted in it (a bit too tight across the chest). In my note to the stylist for next time I asked for more casual fabrics and if they send another off-the-shoulder top, for it to have more stretch. And I do already have 2 other royal blue blouses.

Oh, and I apologize for the wrinkles on the shirt. It came that way and since I wasn’t keeping it, I didn’t want to risk ironing or steaming 😀 (and also…who has time for that??). Return.

 

Items #2 and #3: Kay Skinny Jean (LIVERPOOL) $88 and Gypsy Studded Gladiator Sandal (REPORT FOOTWEAR) $49

Ashley Off-The-Shoulder Blouse (Q&A) Stitch Fix

Kay Skinny Jean (LIVERPOOL), Gypsy Studded Gladiator Sandal (REPORT FOOTWEAR) Stitch Fix

I asked for light wash denim and casual go-to sandals for the summer. My stylist delivered on both counts here! The jeans are very figure-flattering with a good amount of stretch. Keep. The sandals are casual and comfortable with edgy studs that I didn’t think I was going to like, but once I paired them with different outfits I really started to like the flair that it added to each look. Also keep!

 

Item #4: Larretta Lace Detail Blouse (JELLA C) $38

Larretta Lace Detail Blouse (JELLA C) Stitch Fix

Larretta Lace Detail Blouse (JELLA C) Stitch Fix

Larretta Lace Detail Blouse (JELLA C) Stitch Fix

I was soooo disappointed that this top didn’t work out for me. I love everything about it but the straps just felt too long (making the whole thing hang low on me, which made me uncomfortable). But the color, the fabric, that lace detail on the back…ahhhh I love it! So sad to return this one.

 

Item 5: Arabella Cold Shoulder Tie Detail Dress (FREE HEART) $48

Arabella Cold Shoulder Tie Detail Dress (FREE HEART) Stitch Fix

Arabella Cold Shoulder Tie Detail Dress (FREE HEART) Stitch Fix

Arabella Cold Shoulder Tie Detail Dress (FREE HEART) Stitch Fix

Arabella Cold Shoulder Tie Detail Dress (FREE HEART) Stitch Fix

I didn’t hate this dress as much as I thought I might lol. I generally do not like shapeless dresses like this on me because I already lack curves and I feel like I just drown in the fabric. Like I’m wearing a potato sack. However, this one really wasn’t all that bad. I like the idea of this dress. It’s hard to tell from the pictures but it’s a very light-wash denim, that was incredibly soft and comfortable! If it weren’t for the cold-shoulder and tie detail, I’d throw a belt around the waist and probably keep it. Alas, I’m not a fan of the cold-shoulder or tie detail on this dress. So I returned it. I’d definitely be willing to give more dresses like this a try though in the future. OH and it had pockets. I do love me some pockets.

 

RECAP: I kept the jeans and the sandals. Returned everything else.

And that’s that folks. Bedtime for me now lol.

Until next time…

 

Ivor Baby Turns 3

My Dear Ivor Baby-

You are about to turn 3 and I have some feelings about this (mostly denial). Because you came into this world so soon after your big sister, and you’re already a big brother, the past 3 years of your life have been kind of a blur of craziness (and wonderfulness, all wrapped up into 1). So I want to take this time to talk all about you, my sweet middle child and only son, to reflect on all the things I love about you. But first- a quick reminder of how your story begins.

You were our planned, but unexpected in timing, 2nd child. Your big sister was just 6 months old, sleeping in her bouncy seat, when I first found out about you. I told your daddy about you through tears of happiness but also quite a bit of “HOW IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO HANDLE THIS, WHAT HAVE WE DONE??” kind of emotions.

And in a similar manner, you entered the world. FAST.  You were ready to arrive before I had a chance to get an epidural or ANY pain meds whatsoever. So I felt every bit of you entering this world. Don’t you ever forget that 😛 Mama doesn’t usually have a potty mouth, but in the moments leading up to your birth, there were some words lol.

But from the moment you were out, you stole mama’s heart. You were so sweet and so snuggly. And you still are. I mean…look at you!!!

Which brings me to my list 🙂

*I love that you still cuddle with us and give the BEST HUGS EVER. It can melt the hardest of hearts on the worst of days.

*I love your dimple and those big brown eyes. You make it really hard to discipline you sometimes 😛

*I love that you got mama’s skin tone (and eyes). I also have 2 siblings with fair skin and light eyes, so I always stood out next to them. Likewise, your sisters are fair skinned with blue eyes. Seems silly…but I like that we have that in common.

*I LOVE how friendly, outgoing and social you are. Whether it’s a playground, Gwen’s classroom, church, or neighbors walking by, you say “hi” to everyone and make friends wherever you go. “Hi guys!!!!” -you, walking into any space where people are.

*I love that you also have an “I do what I want” attitude (except of course when it’s ME telling you what to do lol). But that one time on the playground when those older boys tried to tell you that you weren’t “allowed” on “their” play structure, you stayed and played anyway. And eventually even they could not resist being your friend and playing with  you. I hope you always stand your ground and don’t allow yourself to be pushed around.

*I love watching you embrace your big brother role with Fiona. You give her hugs and kisses, watch out for her and play with her. It took some time, but you’re there now 🙂 Sometimes I get sad that you don’t have a brother to “rough-house” with (though Gwen is certainly always happy to do so lol), but you have plenty of wonderful men in your life and having sisters will give you lots of practice with how to treat women. My prayer for you is that you’ll be gentle, kind, and respectful to all women. That you’ll treat a girl the way you’d want someone to treat your sisters, and if someone ever MIStreats them, that you’ll stand up for them (not because they can’t stand up for themselves, but because it’s just the right thing to do). Anyway…I digress.

*I love how you mispronounce certain words. “Doy” (door) “Stoy” (store)”Ryyyye” (roar), dinnay (dinner), backyeeaahd (backyard), etc etc.

*I love how much you love water (any body of water- ocean, lakes, rivers, etc., the bath tub, pools, sprinklers, etc.) Which makes swim lessons a big priority this summer!

Oh, there’s more I could say but I’m running out of time to write this! Just know that you you bring us so much joy and laughter (and gray hairs :-P). We love you so much Ivor Baby. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!