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) 🙂

 

 

 

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!!!

 

 

 

Motherhood & Why I’m Done Having Kids

I always find it odd/annoying how people give their opinions on 1. Whether or not you should have kids 2. When you should have them 3. How many you should have, and 4. How many years is appropriate between each of them.

To be blunt, ain’t nobody’s business but your own and your husband’s. BUT…I do enjoy hearing other people’s stories and their own reasons for those things, particularly when they decide to be done. So I’m going to share my own haha 😛

From 2012 to 2016, I was pregnant 5 times. I had a miscarriage (2012). I had Gwen (2013). Surprise! I had Ivor Baby (2014). I had another miscarriage (twins- 2015). Then I had Fiona (2016).

Friends, I am done.

The last 5 years have been insane. Amazing. Beautiful. Lonely. Devastating. Joyful.

Pregnant. Nursing. Pushing out babies and feeling every bit of it because my body rejects epidurals apparently (yeah…).

Sleepless nights. Tears. Laughter. Isolation. Connection.

Discovering how wretched I can be when little people push my buttons. Discovering the depths of a love I never knew possible (3 times over).

I remember a fleeting thought once (most likely during a very rough night with Ivor Baby), where I thought maybe we could be done. I had the “perfect” family. 1 girl and 1 boy. Though lots of people probably wouldn’t think having them 14 months apart is “perfect”. But after a little while I realized that “nope…someone’s missing.” So we eventually started trying again. And then miscarriage #2 happened. At that point I REALLY thought “maybe we should be done”…but only because I was terrified of going through the pain of another loss …AGAIN. But no….our family still felt incomplete. In fact, that loss confirmed even more how badly I wanted just 1 more.

A friend said something recently about having a 3rd baby (but really it could apply to lots of things)…

“If you don’t do it, you’ll always wonder. If you do, you’ll never regret it.”

That’s exactly how I felt before Fiona. Was I risking the pain of another miscarriage? Yes. But was she worth it? Um, absolutely! Without her, I’d always wonder what it would be like to have 3 kids. And now that I have her, I would never ever regret it. Even though 3 kids, ages 4 and under, is a circus most days 😛

But now I have contentment in my heart. It feels complete. I don’t have that same wonder about 4 kids as I did about 3 kids. And quite honestly, I’m just done with the highs/lows of pregnancy and those early baby days. The crazy hormones. The weepies. And I really don’t want to go through the anxiety of pregnancy again, wondering “will it stick?…will I lose this one too?” I’m just done with the season of having babies, and now I’m ready for the season of raising them.

Don’t get me wrong, God COULD have other plans and miraculously gives us another child, even though it’s not our plan. And I might freak out. And have a nervous breakdown. But I’d certainly love that child as much as the first 3 and never ever regret him/her either. But as far as MY plan goes…we are done lol.

I guess it might seem like an odd subject for a Mother’s Day post (“Why I’m done having kids”) lol…I don’t mean it to be negative in any way. Just a reflection on my journey into motherhood (becoming a mother), and embracing the NEXT season of motherhood 🙂

So to all the mamas out there with their own unique and beautiful stories, from my circus to yours- HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!

Motherhood & Why I'm Done Having Kids

 

 

Team Griffiths- Working With Your Spouse

A few weeks ago Ivor and I attended his office New Years party. It was held at an old Theater, built in 1929. As such, the “theme” of the party was the Roaring 20’s (so fun!) What I loved most about it though was that Ivor’s band got to play and I got to photograph it. We did get to mingle, and eat/drink at the beginning of the party like everyone else. But then he got on stage, and I got behind my camera. I love that we get that opportunity every once in awhile- to express our individual creative passions at the same time.

For those of you unaware, who may only read my fashion-related posts and don’t actually know me very well- I love photography 🙂 At some point, when motherhood calms down a bit and my kids are no longer 3, 2  and brand new, I will pursue it more. For now, it’s a passion mostly “at rest”  (as my friend and MOPS mentor mom once said). I  could really write an entirely separate post just about that- but the short version is this: sometimes in early motherhood, we may feel as though our whole identity revolves around being “mommy.” Any dreams or passions we have outside of motherhood feel as though they have died. But they haven’t. They’re still there. We are not JUST moms. We have other skills and talents you know.  But the reality for some of us is that for the time being, with very small children at home who are so dependent on us, we may need to temporarily let those dreams rest, just for a season. And that is OKAY. Anyway- I’ll stop there before I start rambling (I’ll save that for a longer post on another day). Back to Team Griffiths- working with your spouse!

In general, in our marriage we try not to have any part of our lives totally separate from each other. We are married, and 2 separate individuals have now become 1 unit. 1 team. Team Griffiths (or Team “Krivor” as our wedding party dubbed us….they made t-shirts). That doesn’t mean that we never do things apart from each other. My goodness, no. Every couple needs *some* time apart- we’d go crazy. I have my girl time. He has guy time. He may play video games or jam on his guitar while I veg in front of the TV watching This Is Us (because it’s way too “touchy feely” for his taste). But I mean when it comes to something he’s passionate about, something that’s important to him and is a big part of his life (like music) he brings me into it and makes me a part of it. I support him and help him where I can. Give him my very honest opinions, etc. And he does the same for me.  He’s not super into photography or writing/blogging.  But he supports me and helps me. He’s my photographer when I need to “model” my Stitch Fix or Trunk Club clothes, and HE models for me occasionally (and you know that’s love because he’s really not comfortable having his picture taken unless he’s on stage performing with a guitar in his hands, totally candid). And like I  mentioned earlier, it just so happens that both of our biggest interests/passions can work really well together.

One day we hope to take over the world with our multimedia empire. We have big plans. But I digress 🙂

Marriage is hard. We’re in the thick of year 7, with 3 kids, 3 and under. Nothing about that is easy. So anything we can do to foster unity and togetherness in our marriage, we’ve made a priority. Sharing our creative outlets with each other is just one of them. And we’ve found it to be beneficial in a few ways:

  1. Simply put, it’s more time spent together, instead of  apart. We could (and sometimes do out of necessity) work on those things separately from each other. But it’s always better when we’re together. And yes, I believe I did just quote a Jack Johnson song, not at all on purpose.
  2. We inspire each other to be better at whatever it is we’re doing.  Yes, through some constructive criticism of each other’s work, but also just through the support we receive from one another. We’ve both, at times, shown lack of interest in each other’s work/passions because we were too caught up in our own thing and as a result, those things suffered.  I’m a better photographer and writer when I feel fully supported by my husband. And likewise, he’s a better musician/entrepreneur when he knows he has my support. There is so much power in showing genuine interest and taking part in those things together.
  3. Piggybacking off of #2, we benefit from each other’s skills.  He understands the business aspect of what I do creatively. He’s a business guy, tech guy, legal guy, ad-words guy, etc. I let him worry about those things, and I just create. Likewise, I help him administratively with the band, promoting him with killer photos and sharing on social media, responding to email inquiries from prospective clients, being the keeper of the calendar, etc… and he does the making-music part, because, well, he’s the musician 🙂 It makes us a really great team.

The creative passions and talents God has given us are meant to be shared. And you should be excited to share it with your spouse, don’t you think? Whenever Ivor starts writing a new song, he says “Hey, come check this out! What do you think?” Or when I’m really excited about a photo I took, I say something similar to him. When we’re excited about something, we can’t wait to share it with each other.  We’re not always great at this, but we always see the benefits in our marriage (and our business) when we make the effort to go “check it out” and on the flip-side, we feel the repercussions of the lack thereof.

What might this look like in your marriage? Is there anything you’re passionate about that you’d love your spouse to be part of too? Is there something you can show more interest in that he/she really loves? Do you each have skills/talents that can be beneficial to each other? It’s something worth exploring 🙂

Team Griffiths- Working With Your Spouse Team Griffiths- Working With Your Spouse Team Griffiths- Working With Your Spouse Team Griffiths- Working With Your Spouse

And for a totally shameless plug of his band, here are some videos! Let me know if you’d like to book them for a party 😉

Gwen, Ivor & Fiona

Gosh, its been awhile since I’ve blogged. I’ve wanted to a bunch of times. But, life. There are so many different things I could write about, but I’m going to focus on my biggest reason for NOT blogging much anymore: my beautiful babies 🙂

These updates aren’t just for far away family members, they’re for me too. In lieu of a physical baby book or journal, I have this. It’s helpful to remember milestones, sure. But it also causes me to actually pause and reflect on their little personalities and what I love about them.

Gwendolyn (3 years old):

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Miss Gwen continues to love preschool. She is really thriving there and from what I hear from her teachers, she is very much a leader. She loves to pretend to be the teacher, which doesn’t surprise me at all. She informs others when they’re doing something they shouldn’t be doing. While I don’t want to her to be the class “tattle-tale” or teacher’s pet, I am hopeful that this personality trait means that she will not be so easily influenced by her peers and will always stick to what she knows is right. Having a strong-willed child is really difficult at times, but if parented and guided correctly (God help me), I think those leadership qualities will serve her well someday 🙂

She’s a great big sister and oldest child. Much like in the classroom, she’s definitely the leader of the siblings at home too. She takes great care of Fiona and bounces her when she’s fussy, tries to talk to her and tell her “it’ll be okay”, etc. She can butt heads with Ivor Baby quite a bit, but they are best buddies and she’s learning to deal with him a little better (nicer…gentler lol). She loves to learn, loves to be a big helper, loves to be independent. She retains so much information it scares me. She still loves to sing and play instruments and she’s actually quite good at singing. But dangit if she didn’t get my stage fright :-/ I hope she grows out of it. Both at preschool and church I’ve been told that she rarely participates in group musical activities/singing. She only does it on her terms lol. If you TELL her to sing and put her on the spot…it won’t happen. But will you find her in her own little world singing at all other times of the day? Yes you will. Sigh…she is me. (In that regard).

Other fun things: She would wear tutus every single day if she could. She even wears them to bed. I don’t fight it anymore. She loves to put bows in her hair and brush her hair while looking in the mirror. She loves to wear my shoes and try on my clothes and dance around in the living room.

Ivor Baby (2 years old):

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Oh my little middle-child and only son. He is growing so much (dude is solid and well-built lol). And he’s learning so much every day. He’s talking a lot more now which I looooove because of how he pronounces things. My favorite are words that end in “er”. He pronounces it “ehh” instead. Like crackers…”cwackehhs…want cwackehhs mommy”. And dark is “doyk”. I love this stage. Soon enough he’ll be using proper English, which is boring. He is still hands-down THE best cuddler ever. I’ve been coming to realize that touch is so important to him. He is very tactile and loves to just touch stuff and feel it in his hands. A bunch of crayons rolling underneath his hands, applesauce smearing on the table- finger paint style, water play tables that he can splash in, sand running through his fingers, etc. Not sure what that could mean for his future career…something where he can work with his hands, and build stuff probably. He loves to build things. We’ve been quite impresses with his block towers.

He is still a wild, crazy, mischievous, fearless and reckless little guy whose screams can make your ears bleed, but he can also be the SWEETEST boy ever with those big brown eyes, saying “yuh you daddy, goobye!” (which happened as Daddy left for work this morning). Ugh. Can’t stand it (in the best way). He’s also obsessed with waffles. He’d eat them for every meal if I’d let him. Daddy made chicken and waffles (homemade from scratch) one day, and he asked for it for breakfast for at least a week after. Can you blame him though?

Fiona (4 months old, almost):

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Miss Fiona is also growing like a weed. She’s now in mostly 6 mos. clothing. She has chubby little cheeks and thighs and I just love it. Her hair is still pure awesomeness. I’m so glad she hasn’t lost it all. It sticks straight up in the front 🙂 She is super social and loves to interact with people. When she smiles, her entire face smiles. She even lets out a giggle or two if you catch her in the right mood. She has discovered her voice and loves to use it. She had me cracking up last night as I was trying to get her down for bedtime. I was singing Christmas carols to her (yes, I’m one of those pre-Thanksgiving Christmas celebrators and I am not ashamed). Anyway. I was singing to her and she joined in. Loudly. And then eventually passed out. She is back to sleeping well through the night, but giving me a hard time during the day. She’s been pretty fussy and clingy, needing to be held or entertained constantly until she falls asleep, which has been a struggle during the day. This is a new development. She chews on everything- fingers are her favorite. Super drooley. Starting to get more distracted while nursing. Fun times ahead lol. I look forward to watching her personality blossom and change as she gets bigger. I suspect she’ll be hitting certain milestones a little sooner. From what I’ve heard (though I’m sure there are always exceptions), 3rd babies do everything sooner because they want to keep up with their siblings. Ya know, climbing stairs by 8 months old, stuff like that. We shall see!

Until next time, friends!

 

 

Life Update

Gwen is in school. The other 2 kids are napping at the same time (!) House is (mostly) in order. So I’m taking a few minutes to blog (which I miss dearly).

It occurred to me that I never did a 1-month update on Fiona. I wrote monthly updates for the first year of both Gwen’s and Ivor Baby’s life. Oops. Already dropping the ball with baby #3. Sorry, Fiona.

I’ll start with her:

 

FIONA JOY:

*She’s growing quickly. Already in 3mos clothing (and has been for awhile). I packed up all the newborn clothes and they’ll be out of the house tomorrow. Waaa 🙁

*She’s nursing well (see above) and aside from the clogged ducts and mastitis in the early days, I’ve really been enjoying our nursing relationship. Especially now that she’s more alert during the day. She looks up at me with wide eyes and sometimes even gives a little smirk. Then goes right back to eating.

*Speaking of, we’ve been getting lots of smiles from her in the last week or so! It’s so cool to see her look at me like “Hey…I know you! You’re my mama.” and then give a great big smile. UGH. Melt my heart why don’t you. And then occasionally she smiles right after spitting-up all over me. So there’s that.

*She really loves baths, and being held/snuggled/bounced/swung.

*She really hates her car seat when it’s not in motion.

*She’s still sleeping very well at night. But my next goal is to get her to bed a bit earlier and establish a good bedtime routine. Right now she’s still hanging with us most of the evening (sometimes sleeping, sometimes not) until we all go upstairs together.

 

As for “Thing 1 and Thing 2″…

 

GWENDOLYN JANE:

*Someone needs to stop this girl from growing up. Even her preschool teachers commented on how mature she is (they could tell she was the older child of the family lol). And she is LOVING preschool so much. She talks all about what she learns and who she plays with, what snacks she eats, the projects she works on, etc. She is so happy on school days. It makes my heart happy. I’m constantly amazed by how much she can absorb and remember. Still struggling with disobedience/defiance/stubbornness/etc. She is very much a “threenager” sometimes. But we’re learning and growing together.

 

IVOR ALAN:

*His vocabulary is really exploding at the moment and it’s getting much easier to communicate to each other. I’ve really been enjoying my time spent with him lately. Yes, he is still a whirlwind ball of energy and craziness sometimes. But he is also RIDICULOUSLY adorable and sweet and snuggly. I was chatting with our friend this morning about how he will be the BEST boyfriend and husband ever and will make some girl very happy one day with all that love and affection. Unless of course he finds a girl who hates affection. But I have yet to meet such a female 😛 Anyway, I think I may have mentioned this in my last post, but it seems like he changed overnight once Gwen started school. He actually plays with things now, instead of just throwing them around and destroying things. He is so much fun and I love him to pieces. And he pronounces the word “bananas” as “ba-neee-nas.” I can’t.

 

That’s all for now. Here are snapshots of recent days…

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3rd Time Around

There are no shortage of posts out there about what it’s like having a 3rd kid. The common theme in all of them is that basically “anything goes” by the time you’re on kid #3. And 5 weeks in…I can say that’s accurate for the most part lol. Here are some things that are different/new now that our #3 has arrived.

*Breastfeeding. With the first kid I was all about sticking to “THE SCHEDULE!”…every 2-3 hours baby must eat (at least in the very beginning). And be on each boob  for a minimum of 15 mins, per  the advice I received from the hospital. Also each nursing session must begin on the boob you didn’t start with last time. I also covered up using a nursing cover anytime people other than my husband were in my presence. Note: I never had, nor do I currently have a problem with breastfeeding in public with or without a cover. I just always chose to do it for my own personal comfort/modesty. This time around…I DESPISE the dang nursing cover. It is such a pain and it’s really stinking hot for both me and baby (since I had a summer baby). Fiona hates it. I hate it. I’m just over it. It’s not like I just leave my boob hanging out for a long period of time for the world to see. And while baby is latched, there isn’t much to see anyway. Once she latches on I can throw shirt or something over any exposed skin, but I’m not completely covering my entire baby in a huge piece of fabric anymore. I just can’t do it. As far as “the schedule”, I dropped that with baby #2. We nurse on-demand. When she’s hungry, she eats. For as little or long as she wants. And while it is definitely a good idea to switch up which boob you start with each session, my mom brain just can’t remember most of the time. So I no longer care.

*Sleep. We are SO lucky that Fiona is a great sleeper. My first 2 kids were not, at this stage anyway. And since this is our last baby, I am soaking in all the bedtime snuggles I can get. Normally at this point I would not want to nurse her or snuggle her until she falls asleep. I’d want to put her down while she’s still awake, but drowsy so she can learn to fall asleep on her own at night. And at some point I probably will switch to that again. But right now, while she’s still so tiny, with her soft newborn skin and smell and little noises, I happily nurse her until she falls asleep and then take a few extra mins to snuggle her on my chest. I just love how she buries her face in my chest and tucks her little head snug underneath my chin. Sigh…

*Daytime Schedule/Routine: Before having any kids, I always said “our world will not revolve around baby” thinking we wouldn’t need to schedule our day around naps, feedings, etc. And then of course we had a kid and we realized how important routine and naps were for the health, happiness and sanity of EVERYONE. However, now that we’re on baby #3 and we already have 2 older kids, 1 of which is in preschool, and we have other scheduled activities etc….baby 3 kind of has to learn to go with the flow. Otherwise, we would never leave the house…EVER. One thing we will remain strict with, however, is bedtime. We believe in an early bedtime for our kids and plan to stick with it. But as for our days, anything goes 🙂 Thankfully Fiona seems to be pretty easy-going and can nap on-the-go, especially if I’m wearing her. Which brings me to…

*Baby-wearing: I didn’t do this much with my first 2 kids. I never quite got the hang of the Moby wrap and it’s mile-long fabric. Again, I wanted to wear them during the summer and wrapping myself and baby in a crap-ton of sweat-inducing fabric just did not appeal to me. I did use our Ergo-carrier when they got bigger but only while we were out and about. And even then, with 2 kids so close in age, they were in the double stroller most of the time. So baby-wearing wasn’t a common occurrence. This time around, however, it’s pretty much a necessity. I need to be hands-free to wrangle my 2 older kids. I found a great carrier from a company called Nesting Days. I won’t get into a full review right now (because it’s coming) but I will just say that it’s amazing and perfect and exactly what I was looking for.  And again, because this is my last baby, I’m really enjoying the whole baby-wearing experience and keeping her close for as long as possible.

That’s all I have for now. I’m sure I’ll add more to this list as time goes on 🙂

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3, 2, and Brand New!

If you missed it, we have 3 kids now. Fiona Joy graced us with her arrival on July 22nd. She’s 3 weeks old now and as expected, things have been a bit of a blur. This post is my attempt to sum up what life has been like since her arrival, while it’s still fresh. I’ve decided to break it up into categories to keep my brain organized. Because “pregnancy brain” turns into “mom brain” and it just gets worse the more kids you have. So my brain is basically mush at this point.

Here we go.

EMOTIONS

The first 2-3 days home from the hospital were the worst. Baby blues hit as expected. This time it wasn’t centered around any one thing specifically. Just an overall sad/depressed feeling. And it hit around the same time each day, about 4-5pm. A wave a sadness hits and the tears come. Thoughts of feeling overwhelmed flood your brain. I wanted to fast-forward time to when Fiona sleeps through the night, is bigger and can play with her siblings, etc. I just wanted to skip over the whole newborn stage and jump to when we have life figured out. Wondering how the heck I was going to manage 3 kids on my own was terrifying. It’s a crazy thing, those hormones. You don’t feel like yourself at all. Thankfully, it was short-lived. Don’t get me wrong- feeling overwhelmed still happens and will continue to happen, but that feeling of walking around with a rain-cloud over my head has passed. Also during this time I get really clingy/needy with my husband. Not sure what it is…it’s like everything else in the world has changed and he’s my only constant. And I just need cuddles. #NotAshamed

SLEEP

I hesitate to even talk about this, because I don’t want to jinx myself. But….it could be worse. She may be the best sleeper out of all 3 kids. The first few nights at home were rough. My milk hadn’t fully come in yet so she was just never satisfied. I’d nurse her until she appeared to be asleep, but a few minutes after I put her down, she’d start fussing and crying and would only calm down if I put her back on the boob, or just held her. So there wasn’t much sleep happening at all. Once my milk came in though, she started sleeping in 3-4 hour stretches. We have occasional “bad” nights when she wakes up 3-4 times. But most of the time it’s 1-2 times. Keeping in mind this is with an 11-11:30pm “bedtime”. Gwen and Ivor Baby still go to bed around 7-7:30pm. But Fiona stays downstairs with us until OUR bedtime. I feed her a few times while we’re watching TV. Then one last time upstairs in our room right before we all go to bed. So the waking up 1-2 times is from that point on. All of that said, I know things can easily change…with growth spurts, teething, and other random reasons etc. So I won’t get my hopes up. I’d rather prepare for the worst and then be pleasantly surprised if it stays this way. But for now, I am so thankful to get a solid stretch of sleep at night so that I can function the next day.

SIBLINGS

So Gwen is 3 and Ivor Baby is 2. They each come with their own challenges. Gwen can be emotionally exhausting and challenging. Ivor Baby is more physically exhausting/challenging. And having a newborn who nurses-on-demand can make things a little crazy, trying to make sure everyone’s needs are met and get the attention they’re demanding. We’re still working that out…especially now that I’m on my own with them during the day. But so far there have only been a few times where crap hit the fan and all 3 were screaming or needing something at the same time. Let me tell you, the first time that happened, it really did feel like this:

3 kids

And I just wanted to go run and hide in the closet.

As far as sibling interaction: Gwen is doing great with Fiona. She’s like a little mommy and loves to help. She loves touching her hair (who doesn’t?!) and giving her kisses. Ivor Baby kind of ignored her most of the time in the beginning, but he’s starting to take a little more interest in her now and he even gives her kisses too. He still needs to be more careful around her.  He’s a bit like a tornado when he’s playing, destroying everything in his path, and doesn’t pay attention to his surroundings. Like I said, it is physically exhausting trying to keep him from hurting himself and others. But…he is a 2-year old boy.

BREASTFEEDING

Not much to report here other than the stupid infection I got (mastitis). I’m prone to clogged ducts and have had mastitis once before (which makes it even more likely to happen again), so I wasn’t all that surprised that it happened. Except that I didn’t even realize I had a clogged duct. Usually you have a clogged duct first, and then if you don’t unclog it within a few days it can turn into mastitis. In my case this time, it all seemed to happen in one day. I started the day off just fine, then around lunch time I felt some pain in my boob and thought “crap…clogged duct”. But then within just a few hours it progressed quickly, I came down with a high fever/chills and was in urgent care by dinner time (it wasn’t that bad the first time I got it, with Ivor Baby). Thankfully with antibiotics, a breast pump, warm compresses and Fiona spending more time on the boob, the issue was resolved in a few days. We’ve been doing great since.

PHYSICAL RECOVERY

Aside from the bout of mastitis, I’ve really felt great physically compared to my previous experiences. I had a smooth, vaginal delivery and didn’t require any stitches this time (despite pushing out my biggest baby!) The fact that it was my 3rd time probably had a lot to do with that. So I am very thankful. Don’t get me wrong, there has still been recovery involved. To paraphrase Ryan Reynolds, a human being did indeed exit my body and that’s no trivial ordeal.

I’ve started to ease back into working out again  by lifting weights. I’m basically starting from scratch again and rebuilding muscle. My core is really weak right now…I can barely do a sit-up. I mean..my core/midsection has housed, sustained and grown 3 human beings, 3 separate times in the last 4 years, so it’s kind of to be expected that my core strength isn’t what it used to be (especially only 3 weeks postpartum right now).  And I’m totally okay with that. I’m starting light and going slow. I feel no pressure to “get my body back” in any particular time-frame. But there’s no denying the benefits of working out…I feel better mentally and physically when I do it. Results will come eventually.

SUPPORT

Last, but not at all least, I’ve been blessed with help/support in these first few weeks! My mother-in-law was here at first and was a huge help, occupying my older kids, cleaning, etc. My awesome friends brought over meals. And my husband has been a complete rockstar. He also occupied the kids, took over potty-training with Gwen (she had a regression just before Fiona was born and it was causing me major stress). He went grocery shopping, He cooked meals and fed me (and poured the wine!) He did dishes. He did whatever he had to do so that all I had to worry about was nursing and resting. He also made sure we got out of the house, especially during my “baby blues” phase. Today is his first day back to work and we miss him already 🙁

The fun is just beginning! Gwen starts preschool next week, MOPS will start back up again next month and I’m looking forward to settling into a new routine.

Here are some snapshots from the first few weeks…