Gwendolyn is 5!

For Gwen on her 5th Birthday:

 

FIVE. 5 years ago you came into this world and lit up our lives with your bright blue eyes and enthusiasm for life. Ever since you were just a tiny tot you’ve loved learning and exploring, yelling and laughing. It has been fun, exhausting, draining and life-giving all at once to watch you grow. (Parenting is hard, and you’re our first so we’re figuring it all out with you, kiddo).

 

You’re strong-willed and stubborn. A stickler for the rules and the proper way of doing things (and making sure others do the same). You stick up for others. You’re friendly and outgoing. You are musical and creative– God has given you a gift, girl! I hope you never give that up. I hope you explore and grow in it, but most of all, have FUN with it.

 

You have been mommy’s big helper A LOT this past year, stepping up into your big sister role like a boss. You love to help take care of your siblings (and younger friends). You make your own lunch. You love to help with dishes and laundry (even though mommy sometimes gets a little OCD and wants to do it herself…I’m working on that). You love cooking with Daddy. You love school and playing with your friends.

 

Speaking of school, I am SO excited for you to start Kindergarten this Fall. I know that sounds weird, because most moms are sad. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll cry, for sure. But I am truly excited to see you learn and thrive in that environment and for all the opportunities that are about to be available to you and all the fun adventures ahead. New friends. Field trips. Extra- curriculars (sports and music!) etc. I can’t wait to see what passions and talents you develop and how you’ll use them for God’s glory.

 

Five is a milestone. You’re about to leave your preschool years behind and become an elementary school student. 5 days a week! You’re no longer a baby, or a toddler or a preschooler (well, you are for a few more months I guess). It’s bittersweet, and I’m doing my best to focus on the “sweet.” It helps that I still have your siblings in the toddler and preschool stage 😉 I do have some fears about the next phase of childhood though (school bullying, academic struggles/pressure, the fact that your body will change and you might start comparing yourself to others, and so on and so forth), but we’ll deal with those things as they come. Don’t grow up too fast please!

 

No matter what, I pray that you will always be kind (to yourself and to others) and do the right thing. You are loved fiercely and we will do our best to help you navigate this next phase of childhood (and pray like crazy!!) I hope you always know how much you are loved and valued, by your family and friends, but most of all by God. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Your identity and security is in Him. He’s got you! 

 

Happy Birthday Big Girl! We love you 🙂 

 

        

Happy 2018!

Welcome to the year 2018 everyone! Hope you all had a fun, safe evening last night. I spent midnight fast asleep, mostly because I’m under the weather (thank you, all 3 kids, for passing along your germs to me), but also because I really love sleep…as I’ve lost a lot of it in the last 4.5+ years of being a mom.

Today is a day for resolutions, most of which will be broken in a few weeks most likely. But I have no problem with the concept. Goal setting is a good thing, but we should at least strive to make them somewhat realistic lol.

So my goals for the year are as follows:

*Spend more quality time with my husband (regular date nights, instead of occasional, and a few more “overnighter” getaways)

*Enjoy my kids more (like actually play with them, notice/watch them as they play, learn, figure things out, etc…really SEE them, ya know?)

*Bible study. It’s seriously been years since I’ve done an in-depth study of scripture. I’ve spent lots of time talking to God in my every day life and praying, but not enough time listening to what He has to say (most of which is right there in my Bible app on the phone I use every single day, and of course the good ole’ paper Bible in my nightstand 😉 )

*Try to make more $ with my photography. Instead of just taking the occasional job if someone asks me, I want to actually advertise a bit. Probably offering 2 mini-sessions this year (spring and fall!)

*Write more

*Support my husband’s goals and help him in whatever ways I can

*Explore more beautiful California lands (Yosemite, we’re coming for you!)

*And yes…..be more active/healthy. No New Years Goals List is complete without this one 😀

 

2018. This is the year that my kids will turn 5, 4 and 2. I’ll turn 33. My oldest will start Kindergarten (HOW?!….Why???…But also, yay!) We’ll celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary and 7th year living in CA.

My biggest HOPE for the year is that my nephew Mason gets the perfect kidney for his transplant! I’m not sure if I’ve ever shared his story on here before, but for those who may not know- he was diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure when he was just 3 weeks old. He’s been on dialysis most of his life (he’s 18 months old now) and is in need of a healthy, strong kidney! If you or anyone you know is interested in being his donor (type O blood), please visit this link and use the contact information on the page to inquire. You don’t HAVE to be local to the Philadelphia area, but the full physical and actual surgery will need to be done there. If you’re not type O but still want to help, spread the word and share his story! <3

Looking forward to what the year will bring! Here are some of my favorite memories from 2017:

*Our visit to PA (Mason Man, Chocolate world, Sesame Place, good friends and family <3)

*Trip to Tahoe

*Seeing John Mayer in concert

*Ivor completing the Tour de Tahoe (have I mentioned how much we love that place?)

*Having 2 kids in preschool (and 2 kids out of diapers!….eventually)

*Shooting the promo video for Stitch Fix (read more)

*Half Moon Bay Getaway (read more)

  

*All of our family outdoor adventures/hikes

(too many photos to choose from, running out of time for this post lol)

 

Wishing you all JOY in 2018! I hope you attain most (if not all) of your goals 😀

Love,

The Griffiths Family

Andrea Nyberg Photography

 

 

 

 

ITP Updates

For those just tuning in, my husband was diagnosed with a rare blood-clotting disorder called ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura) back in November. You can read more about that experience here.

As for this post, I thought I’d give a few more updates on how things are going and explain a bit more about it, because it’s so mysterious and weird and we’re still figuring this all out.

The biggest symptom we noticed that prompted the doctor’s visit that day was what I previously called “a rash” of tiny red dots all over his body. The medical term for that is Petechiae, which isn’t technically a rash because it’s under the skin. Those red dots were little “bleeds” if you will, under his skin.  So when I said he wasn’t experiencing any bleeding, it wasn’t technically accurate BUT, there COULD’VE been a lot more bleeding (nosebleeds that won’t stop are a pretty common ITP problem for example, or blood in urine/stool, etc.) so that’s what I meant. His count was so low, that we were surprised there wasn’t MORE bleeding, which could’ve been life-threatening. Had he gotten into a car accident or something that day, even a minor one, it could’ve been a very dangerous situation.

So let’s fast-forward a bit. He’s had weekly blood draws since he was discharged from the hospital. He’s had 2 rounds of a high-dose, 4-day steroid treatment (Dexamethasone) which he responded really well to (his count goes up significantly right after treatment), however it hasn’t quite stabilized yet (it drops again), so he’ll likely get another round of it (depending on next week’s count).

Something we learned is that it’s unlikely that his platelet count will go back into “normal” range (150,000-450,000). His highest count so far was after his first dose- 95,000, and the doctor was super pleased with that and said it was a pretty high number for an ITP patient. Their goal is to keep it above 30,000.

For now, he’ll still have weekly blood draws and appointments every 4 weeks (bumped back from every 2 weeks, hooray), and as I said, probably another round of steriods if the count hasn’t stabilized yet. Eventually, if and when his count is stable and consistent, he should be done with the weekly blood draws and treatments, only getting occasional draws and check-ups, unless serious symptoms occur of course.

You may be wondering, “has this affected him in any other physical ways?”, and the answer is, not as much as it could be. I joined an ITP support group on facebook because I wanted to hear other people’s stories and experiences. From that group, it is clear to me that what the doctor said is accurate…. “ITP is unpredictable and affects everyone a little differently.” Some people experience a lot of other symptoms including fatigue, lots of bruising and nosebleeds, bad side effects from the treatments (and there are several besides the one Ivor is on) and not everyone responds as well or as quickly to treatment. So we are very thankful that he hasn’t experienced the worst of it. He had some fatigue in the very beginning, right after being dischaged from the hospital (but I think that had a lot to do with being stuck in a hospital for a few days and feeling blindsided by this diagnosis, etc.) It, understandably, took a mental/emotional toll at first. And the worst side-effect of the steroids were hiccups, which is weird (although that could be a coincidence…we’ll see if it happens again on the 3rd round, if he gets a 3rd round).

So, he’s doing well, all things considered. He’s still super active on his bike, and we’re about to start Rushfit together again soon. This diagnosis hasn’t slowed him down one bit 🙂 In fact, he has even more motivation now than ever before, to stay active and healthy (and making sure his family is too). His new motto is “Shut Up Blood”, inspired by a pro cyclist who started the “Shut Up Legs” thing lol.

We’re praying for stable numbers soon (well above 30,000 would be great!) Thanks for all your prayers and encouragment throughout this process <3

 

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 it was financially feasible to do. But 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 your marriage is absolutely worth it. It’s not a splurge on an item. It’s an investment in your marriage. Regular date nights are important too, but there is something to be said for getting out of your normal environment for an entire weekend (or longer if possible) with just the 2 of you. We certainly can’t always spend a weekend at the Ritz-Carlton overlooking the ocean, but we’re definitely going to try more over-nighters elsewhere on a more regular basis.

That said, 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 this 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, we went for a walk by the ocean, on a moonlit path, hearing the sound of the waves, walking hand-in-hand and 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 at the Ritz treats you like royalty. I felt so special and pampered the whole time! I mentioned to the lady working at the front desk 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 and I’ll throw in a lip mask and eye brow clean-up…on the house” 😀

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 of my favorite memories 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. You’ll fit right in.” LOL

*Walking on a legit moonlit path by the ocean

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

*The employee 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. I had a really rough time at one point, and Ivor ended up pushing both of our bikes uphill to give me a break <3

*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.

* A pleasant conversation with a woman we met before dinner one night, who praised the fact that I’m a stay-at-home mom and acknowledged how hard it must be but how rewarding and impactful it is. That doesn’t always happen. Normally it’s “Oh….cool” followed by a subject change or questions about what I did before kids (in my experience talking to Bay Area professionals anyway). It was unexpected and 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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!!!

 

 

 

Stitch Fix Launches Plus Size!

Hello lovely readers! I’m popping back on to the blog, escaping all the moving chaos, to share some exciting Stitch Fix news with all of you. After years of offering personal styling services to women, sizes 0 to 14 (including petite and maternity), Stitch Fix is now expanding their size range to include even more women. Today, Stitch Fix launches Plus Size! Sizes now range from 0 to 24W and XS to 3X.  I read that there were over 75,000 women on the waitlist for this. That is significant (and very telling)!

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If a purchase is made using a link, I will receive a small commission which helps support this blog. 

Stitch Fix Launches Plus Size!

Stitch Fix has been a wardrobe lifesaver for me as a mom of 3 little ones who rarely gets to go shopping alone, and even when I do, I always end up in the juniors department with no idea how to dress myself lol. So I’m thrilled that even more women, of all shapes and sizes, get to take advantage of this service now.

It’s not just about the shopping convenience. It’s about having a personal stylist help you figure out what your style is and how to best dress your body with the most flattering fit to give you confidence in how you look. There is so much value in that for me, (and clearly thousands of other women too) that makes this service worth every penny!

Stitch Fix Launches Plus Size!

For this launch, Stitch Fix even created their own exclusive brands and partnered with some of the others they’ve been working with, to include plus sizes. And they worked closely with 3 beautiful women chosen to represent the needs of women with curves: Allison, Kristine and Alexandra. Check out their style blogs and be INSPIRED. Seriously.

This launch is a long-time coming and I’m so excited for everyone who has been waiting for this!

Ready to start your style journey?! Sign up now 😀

Stitch Fix Launches Plus Size!

Stitch Fix Review- January 2017

Stitch Fix Review- January 2017

Stitch Fix Review- January 2017 is here! My first fix of the New Year. This Bay Area rain has been preventing me from getting these photos taken outside, but thankfully there was a brief respite this afternoon (and we finished JUST in time before it started back up again). For this fix I requested distressed denim, casual flats and something trendy. I received just that! I’m on the fence about one of them in particular and would love your opinion to help me decide. But first, a reminder of how this thing works:

Stitch Fix is an online personal styling service. You create an account online,  and complete a style survey with your preferences and sizes. Then, you schedule a fix. You can sign up for automatic fixes or schedule them on demand, totally up to you! A stylist will put together a fix for you, containing 5 items based on your style profile and notes/requests. Once your fix ships, you’ll be charged a $20 styling fee, which is credited toward your purchase if you decide to keep anything. You have 3 days to try stuff on and checkout online. Then you send back whatever you don’t want, in the bag included in your fix (a shipping label is already on it). Free shipping both ways! Super simple. It’s the perfect solution for anyone who doesn’t have much time to shop, doesn’t enjoy the shopping experience (in stores), or just has no clue how to style themselves (::raises hand::). Or, for anyone that just wants to experience the fun factor of having a box of clothes arrive on  your doorstep 🙂

Ok, back to my fix!

*Note: This post contains a few affiliate links. If a purchase is made using one of the links,  I receive a  small commission which helps support this blog!  That said, all opinions are 100% my own.  I just love sharing my experience with products and services I love with all you lovely readers! 

Item 1: Jerri Polka Dot Pullover Sweater (RENEE C) $64

Stitch Fix Review January 2017: Jerri Polka Dot Pullover Sweater Stitch Fix Review January 2017: Jerri Polka Dot Pullover Sweater Stitch Fix Review January 2017: Jerri Polka Dot Pullover Sweater Stitch Fix Review January 2017: Jerri Polka Dot Pullover Sweater

This, I am definitely keeping. A simple sweater with a cute detail: embroidered polka dots! It’s a fairly thin sweater and a bit sheer so I wore a cami underneath it. But I love everything else about it. Because it’s thin and not bulky, it can easily be worn underneath another layer (like a cardigan or open jacket). I can’t wait to try styling this in other ways! If we weren’t racing the rain when we took these pictures, I would’ve experimented a bit. I did pair it here with my locket necklace from my J.Crew Trunk. I love pairing pink and grey together.

Item 2: Ailsey Frayed Hem Crop Jean (JUST USA) $58

Stitch Fix Review- January 2017: Ailsey Frayed Hem Crop Jean Stitch Fix Review- January 2017: Ailsey Frayed Hem Crop Jean Stitch Fix Review- January 2017: Ailsey Frayed Hem Crop Jean Stitch Fix Review- January 2017: Ailsey Frayed Hem Crop Jean

I’ve had a very back-and-forth relationship with distressed demin. I used to like it and then decided I didn’t. I made sure my stylists knew I never wanted distressed denim. Now, I’m back to liking it again. However, I’m very picky about the amount and “style” of the distressing lol. I want it look as naturally distressed as possible, and not too much. These jeans, unfortunately, didn’t pass the test for me. That said, they fit perfectly, I like the frayed hem at the bottom and the price was definitely right! So if it weren’t for my pickiness, these would’ve been keepers.

Also, if you’re wondering who/what I was smiling at in those first photos:

Stitch Fix Review- January 2017

Gwen likes to hang out with mommy and daddy during photo shoots 🙂 She always brings out the best natural smiles and makes it less awkward to model (I’m most comfortable BEHIND the lens).

Item 3: Bardeux Knit Jacket (TRIBAL) $88

Stitch Fix Review- January 2017: Bardeux Knit Jacket Stitch Fix Review- January 2017: Bardeux Knit Jacket Stitch Fix Review- January 2017: Bardeux Knit Jacket

This jacket/cardigan is a beautiful color that looks even better in person. I’d say it’s a “mid-weight” jacket- warm and so very soft. I love the asymmetrical zipper thing too. I received a similar one in another fix awhile ago. However, the giant lapels on this one kind of threw me off. I’m not sure why I don’t like it, but I just don’t. They’re too big. Am I crazy? I mean, for the price I should really love it, and not be caught up on the size of the lapels lol. Probably returning this.

Item 4: Bariel Cold Shoulder Blouse (CRESCENT) $48

Stitch Fix Review- January 2017: Bariel Cold Shoulder Blouse Stitch Fix Review- January 2017: Bariel Cold Shoulder Blouse Stitch Fix Review- January 2017: Bariel Cold Shoulder Blouse Stitch Fix Review- January 2017: Bariel Cold Shoulder Blouse Stitch Fix Review- January 2017: Bariel Cold Shoulder Blouse

As you might’ve guessed, this is the “something trendy” item. I’ve seen the “cold-shoulder” thing on various blogs and Pinterest boards for awhile now but it was never something that I thought I liked. Even the first time I tried this one on, I wasn’t sure about it. However, the more I look at these pictures…the more I think I may like it. It’s kind of growing on me. Out of all the “cold shoulder” tops I’ve seen, this is by far my favorite. It’s definitely a unique piece, out of my comfort zone and unlike anything I have in my wardrobe (except for the black and white thing…I have a lot of that going on). It’s kind of fun and “flirty” without being too immodest. The first thing out of my husband’s mouth was “Soooo, date night?” I *think* that means he likes it? haha What do you guys think? Should I keep this one? Or cover those shoulders? Help me decide!!!

Also, before showing you my last item, just want to highlight my new pretty necklace from Mint + Birch.

Mint and Birch Custom Necklaces Mint and Birch Custom Necklaces

I’ve been following Mint and Birch on Instagram for awhile and finally decided to order a necklace set as an early birthday present to myself 🙂 I love them! I love wearing something so personalized to me, with some very special dates on them <3 I wear them just about every day.

Also- I have no affiliation with Mint + Birch whatsoever, just wanted to share. These custom necklaces would make a great present for a very special woman in your life (Valentine’s Day is coming up!)

Item 5: Jutti Chambray Flats (TOMS) $84

Stitch Fix Review January 2017: Jutti Chambray Flats Stitch Fix Review January 2017: Jutti Chambray Flats

Stitch Fix Review January 2017: Jutti Chambray Flats

I actually love these flats. So much so that I already own a pair haha. Just in a different color. This pair in particular was too big. My feet did grow during my last pregnancy, but not to a size 9. I think that must’ve been all they had in stock. In any case, they’re very comfortable flats and I love the neutral grey color of these and the texture. If they were the right size and I didn’t already own a similar pair, I would’ve kept them.

To Recap:

Jerri Polka Dot Pullover Sweater: Keeping
Ailsey Frayed Hem Crop Jean: Returning
Bardeux Knit Jacket: Returning
Bariel Cold Shoulder Blouse: Undecided, but leaning towards keeping
Jutti Chambray Flats: Returning

Before I go, I have to tell you about this new partnership between Stitch Fix and Goodwill! You can now use your Stitch Fix box to make donations to Goodwill- free shipping!

Stitch Fix Review January 2017: Goodwill Partnership

Stitch Fix Review January 2017: Goodwill Partnership

Just go to GiveBackBox.com/stitchfix to print your prepaid shipping label, then drop off your box at any post office or UPS location. Such a great way to reuse your box and clean out your closet (or other areas of your house) at the same time! So convenient!

Stitch Fix Review January 2017

 

 Now check out some other fixes for even more style inspiration! I’ve linked up with some other bloggers to share our recent fixes (hosted by Maria at Crazy Together). Enjoy!