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…

 

 

Fiona’s Birth Story!

Ok. Took me a little while to sit down to write this because…holy crap I have 3 kids now (still adjusting to even saying that). Any “free” time I’ve had up until now I just wanted to spend doing absolutely nothing, if not napping. Or trying to be somewhat productive around the house because that actually makes me feel more like a normal human (and not JUST a milk-dispensing, diaper-changing, baby-snuggling machine…though I am a big fan of the last one!) Sitting down to write a blog post usually takes quite a bit of time and thought. I go back and re-read, re-write things, etc. before posting. So it’s somewhat time-consuming and I just haven’t had much of a chance until now (or a willingness to use my brain more than necessary lol). And even now, before finishing this first paragraph I’ve been interrupted at least 5 times. But I will press on! Anyway, I’ll get more into what life at home has been like in my next post. For now, this one’s all about the arrival of BG3- miss Fiona Joy!

Things actually began on July 21st. In God’s crazy timing, that’s exactly 1 year to the day since Ivor’s accident and the miscarriage of our twins. Now, you’ll have to forgive me because I’m about to get all sentimental and spiritual up in here. From the day I found out I was pregnant and realized what my due date was, I couldn’t help but marvel at God’s goodness and be overwhelmed with gratitude for the blessing of this little “rainbow baby”.  A tangible reminder for our family of the beauty and joy that can come after pain and suffering. I think it’s a really beautiful and powerful parallel actually to physical childbirth. There is a great pain involved, but it’s productive pain. And the end result is LIFE…a living, breathing child entering the world. Instead of fighting against the pain, you embrace it and let it move through you because you know what’s coming at the end. Doesn’t make it any easier at the time and you may ask for some meds to help you through it. But it’s always worth it. I think we can view grief and suffering in the same way. It sucks and it might be a really long road, but God can and will redeem it. It’s never in vain. He can bring something beautiful out of it if you let him. I don’t believe God causes the suffering, but he allows it and redeems it and uses it. I’ve seen it happen.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5)

I’ve included a music video at the end of this post that means a lot to me. I heard this song after my first miscarriage and the tears just immediately started to flow because I could relate to the lyrics so much. I’m sure Paramore didn’t write it about a miscarriage, but it’s generic enough that it could apply to many different situations. For me, it’s about how I felt after my miscarriages and that transition from fighting against the pain to embracing it and just “letting it happen”. It was also going through my head during every contraction while in labor.

So now, back to July 21st, 2016.

My braxton hicks contractions felt different this day. They weren’t more painful, but instead of an all-over tightening feeling in my abdomen, there was pressure much lower and it radiated around my lower back. So that made me take notice of them and start tracking them. I did this for a few hours that evening while we were watching Netflix. They were pretty consistent and not going away. But not getting any stronger either. So we went to bed. Of course right before falling asleep I finally told Ivor that I thought I *might* be in early labor, but that he should try to get some sleep anyway. Apparently that was a mistake and he couldn’t fall asleep after that lol. I did though 🙂

Until about 3:15 ish-am (now July 22nd) when I woke up to a contraction and my water breaking! But this was much different from when my water broke with Gwen. This time, there was quite a bit of blood involved and it freaked me the heck out. So we left for the hospital in somewhat of a panic. Thankfully I felt her move around in the car on the way there so that was reassuring. We checked into the hospital shortly after 4am. The nurse assured me that the bleeding thing was totally normal. I had just never experienced that until after being in labor for quite awhile and in the hospital AFTER my water had already broken, not at the same time (in my previous pregnancies).

She checked me and I was 5, almost 6 cm dilated and 80% effaced. She confirmed that my water did indeed break. So I thought “hooray! this will go quickly!”

Until it didn’t. Things were not progressing quickly at all. We started pitocin. Still…no progress. We increased the dose of pitocin and still…not much progress. Contractions were still frequent and started to get more painful. So much so that I did end up getting an epidural (more on that later), but not enough to dilate more and move things along. So the nurses determined that it was likely a sort of “partial” water breakage that happened in the middle of the night. Or, it broke, but then baby was in the way of full drainage. If that makes any sense to you. So the plan was for my doctor to come in and break it the rest of the way because that would likely get things moving big time (especially with my history- once they broke my water with Ivor Baby, he basically popped out 5 mins later).

But the on-call doctor was apparently super busy with patients all day and took forever to show up. I still don’t understand why another doctor couldn’t have just come in and taken care of it, but whatever. So to recap- we got to the hospital around 4am and the doctor didn’t arrive to see me until 6pm. SIX PM. This baby could’ve been born so much earlier in the day. Anyway. Once my doctor finally arrived and broke my water, sure enough, things got crazy fast. My epidural basically stopped working and I started feeling the contractions again, and mostly on just one side. Even after having them “top off” my dosage. All that did was increase the numbing on one side of my body and do absolutely nothing to the other side. I apparently have bad luck with epidurals. That’s what I get for trying to fight against the pain and keep some control ;-P

I then got really hot and sweaty and faint. I know this feeling well- this is what happens right before I’m ready to push. The doctor came back in shortly thereafter and checked me and asked if I was ready. Yes. Yes I was. I gave my first push with the next contraction and then the doctor got dressed and everyone else prepped for delivery. Then 3-4 more pushes later, she was here! At 6:34pm. 8lbs 0oz, 20 in. long.

After confirming that she was really a girl (I’m always paranoid that the ultrasound tech is wrong), one of the first things I said was “omg look at all her hair!!’ And that’s basically what everyone says when they see it haha. I love it. And I love her. I love our new family of 5.

We are so thankful to have her in our lives. Our 3rd rainbow baby (since my very first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, I consider all 3 of my kids little rainbows).

Thank you all for the well wishes on her arrival <3 She’s so sweet and snuggly and soft. Despite the sleep deprivation, I’m enjoying this “simple” newborn stage (eat, sleep, poop) before she starts talking back and throwing tantrums and peeing on the floor 🙂

Coming Soon…..”Life with 3 Kids, Ages 3, 2, and brand new!”

6607083167630656037-account_id=1 546180213619354523-account_id=1 IMAG1996 IMAG1948

 

 

Marriage with Kids

As we’re quickly approaching the birth of our 3rd baby (in less than 4 years), I have to be a little honest. I’m concerned about the strain it might put on my marriage. In the 3+ years I’ve been a mom, talking to other moms, hearing other moms’ struggles and prayer requests, a common theme that comes up frequently is marriage. The struggle between the SAHM and the working husband. Resentment. Bitterness. Competition (who works harder, who deserves a “break”, etc.) It typically looks something like this (more or less): the overworked, overwhelmed SAHM struggles to keep her sanity as she juggles all the responsibilities/expectations of staying at home. Being a good mom, a good wife, a good housekeeper, the one who everyone needs SOMETHING from at all times, etc. And doing it all by herself the majority of the day, every day. Then there’s the working Husband who has a stressful, demanding and challenging job. A job that’s not necessarily a 9-5 either (because you KNOW being a mom is NOT just 9-5) and could sometimes involve travel, etc (especially Bay Area jobs). He may or may not actually enjoy his job and in most cases he certainly doesn’t enjoy or desire to be away from his family so much, he just feels obligated to do so because of his responsibility. Husband comes home from work at the end of the day and Wife wants a dang break, or help from the Husband- to either completely take over the caring for the kids thing for the brief period of time before bedtime, etc. or just lend a helping hand and “tag-team” while they’re both at home. But the Husband probably just wants a break too…to come home and relax after a long day. Or he’ still busy working hard to provide for his family, even though he’s not physically at the office. Because that is his role and responsibility and he feels pressure to provide financially for his wife and kids. But the Wife wants the Husband’s work-life balance to lean more toward “life”, while many men are wired more toward “work” BECAUSE of life or SO THAT his Wife and kids can have a good life. If that makes sense. Sometimes Husband and Wife may even start to envy each other, believing the grass is greener on the other side. Husband “gets to” leave the house and be away from the kids and have actual adult conversation that doesn’t revolve around poop, or sippy cup colors or Daniel Tiger and then can actually enjoy being with the kids because “separation makes the heart grow fonder”. But the Wife has more freedom and flexibility and can stay in her pajamas or workout clothes all day and “gets to” play with the kids and not have the pressure of deadlines or dealing with really difficult clients, etc. (Unless of course you consider demanding toddlers “difficult clients”..which, I do).

That’s the general picture I get from others. And I understand all of those feelings. Because I’m there too. It’s a tough season to navigate.

So how do you survive? And not just survive, but thrive, in your marriage during this stage of life? I know that might sound cheesy or cliche, mostly because it rhymes (the “not just surviving, but thriving” thing) but it’s something I do feel strongly about. Marriage isn’t meant to just be okay or mediocre or barely getting by. Yes, marriage is hard and there are seasons of mere survival. I understand that. But that’s certainly not the goal. It should also be life-giving- a beautiful, earthly reflection of the relationship between Christ and his Church. It’s a big deal. The ONE person on this earth that you are to have the closest and most intimate relationship with is your spouse. The person who knows you inside and out, better than anyone else- every line, curve, and flaw on your physical body, and every flaw/short-coming in your personality. While I do recognize and accept that there are just difficult seasons of marriage (having small children is one of those) and it’s a season that will pass- that doesn’t mean we should put marriage on the back burner and just get back to it later after the season has passed. I think it can still be a time of growth (as a lot of trials and tribulations can be). A time where, in the midst of total and complete chaos (hello 3 year old, 2 year old and a newborn), where we can find calm and peace and intimacy in each other. To fight AGAINST the attacks that will surely come from Satan- “oh, you have 3 small children that you’re taking care of at home, by yourself, let me fill your head with negative thoughts about your husband as he leaves you to go to work every day”. Satan looooooves these vulnerable times. And let me tell you, the Internet and the world doesn’t always help. I have to avoid certain groups of people who love to complain/vent about their husbands not helping out more with the kids or around the house, because it can easily create a sort of angry wife mob mentality….”Yeah, you’re right….they SHOULD help out more, and it shouldn’t even be called ‘helping’, it’s called parenting because it took TWO people to make these kids”, etc. etc. “Down with the husbands!” You may think I’m exaggerating…..I’m not. And yes there is truth to it….it takes 2 to tango, there are 2 parents who should be parenting, but what that looks like and how it all plays out in roles/responsibility and who does what when, is what I’m talking about- and I just don’t like the mob mentality thing. Anyway.

I am NOT an expert nor do I claim to have it all figured out. What I do know is that I will fight for my marriage with every fiber of my being, even in the difficult seasons of life, as long as it depends on me. And it certainly works better when both spouses are on the same page in that regard. I don’t mean to make it sound simple either. What I share is from my experience and my marriage. If it’s helpful to someone else, GREAT! But if it’s not, that’s cool too.  I’m sure there are plenty of other blog posts out there that you can relate to more. But I feel called to share what I’ve learned because I don’t think it happens enough. We were fortunate to have really great mentors at our old church in Philly who shared stuff like this and invested in young adults/couples. If this happened more often in churches, perhaps the need for actual counseling would be less? Just a thought…

I post this “list” every so often and it keeps evolving over time, because circumstances change (more babies come into the picture, etc.) and you have to adjust and do what works best for your marriage at the time. But these are some things we’ve done or tried to do to keep our marriage a priority during a really stressful and chaotic season of life. I’ll start with the newest one to the list:

  1. Making “me” time a priority. Because “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” That might sound counter-intuitive or productive to the goal of making marriage a priority. But I assure you, it is not. ‘Self-care’ is vital to my role as wife AND mom. It doesn’t mean I’m being selfish. It just means that if I’m not taking care of myself, I can’t take care of my family well. Period. In a very logical, practical example: I remember one day shortly after our 2nd kid was born- I realized it was lunch time and I hadn’t eaten anything all day. I was sleep-deprived and taking care of the needs of my kids all morning. It was hot and I started to feel very faint (I do actually have a history of passing out) and it occurred to me “If I don’t stop everything and eat right now, I’ll pass out and there will be no one here to take care of my kids”. So with both kids screaming, I said to myself “let them scream, they’ll survive…you need to EAT”. So that’s the idea. If I don’t take time to get refreshed and re-energized somehow (both spiritually and physically), my husband and my kids will suffer. Specifically in regard to marriage- NOT doing this started to create resentment toward my husband. As I mentioned earlier, a common thought can be “my husband gets to go have adult conversation and get a break from the kids” and as moms we complain about never being able to do that. So….DO THAT. Actually have the conversation with your husband. Not to ask permission, but to inform and schedule the logistics of it. Whether it’s going to a coffee shop by yourself, getting a pedicure, hanging out with other mom friends (kid-free!), schedule that time. Once a week, every 2 weeks, whatever. Just make it happen. I’ve only recently started making this a priority and I really wish I would’ve started sooner. I come back from that time better equipped to love on my husband and kids and I don’t feel that resentment whenever he leaves the house. Because I get my time too.
  2. Acknowledging and recognizing that you are not in a competition with your spouse. Communicate to each other, lovingly (that’s the tough part), what it’s like in your shoes, with the purpose of giving each other grace. It amazes me how well actually communicating something verbally helps our marriage. Seems obvious, but as women we tend to want our husbands to be mind-readers. “Why doesn’t he just KNOW what I want or need or how difficult my day was!” 9/10 times, they just don’t. Not because they don’t love you, but because they’re wired differently. They don’t see what we see all the time or how we see it. Just tell him. He’ll be more receptive than you think (depending on the delivery of course). Again- my experience…everyone’s different. But you won’t know until you try!
  3. Going on date nights. Cannot stress this enough. I know it’s difficult with a newborn, especially if you’re nursing- you may have to get creative. But either invest in a regular babysitter (if you don’t have family around) so that you can get out of the house, alone, with your spouse. Or do a babysitting exchange with a friend if finances are an issue. That’s what we do. Once a month- a friend watches my kids so we can go on a date. And then I do the same for her and her husband. There’s something about going out on an actual date- out of the house, without kids, that reminds you “hey…you’re husband and wife, you once didn’t have any kids together, and romance was a thing”, that is so necessary. It doesn’t always have to be a romantic thing, it can also rekindle the companionship/friendship with  your spouse too. But that needs to happen without kids around 🙂
  4. Waking up early and spending time together before he leaves for work and before the kids get up (again, this was only a thing once the youngest was sleeping through the night). It sets a much better tone for my day to spend that quiet time alone with my husband, before the chaos of the day begins. And then…
  5. Going to bed at the same time. Note: doesn’t necessarily mean falling asleep at the same time. Recently, it’s been me falling asleep while he reads until he’s actually tired. Because I’m 8-months pregnant and tired by about 8pm….ok, more like 7pm…ok, I’m just tired ALL THE TIME. But being in the same room together, in the same bed, at the end of the day, is crucial. Beginning and ending our day together reminds us that we’re in this together- it was just the two of us at the start, and it will be just the two of us at the end (once this season has passed and the kids are out of the house). Keeping our bedroom a sacred space, that kids are not allowed in, also helps. I know not everyone agrees with that and co-sleeping is a big thing for some people, but just not for us. Our kids have taken over the entire rest of the house. Our bedroom is the only space that’s ours. And we like it that way. Perhaps that’s why we’ve had 3 kids in such a short amount of time 😉

I would LOVE to hear other ideas/thoughts. Please do share. What are some things you’ve done to keep marriage/your spouse a priority? Or what are the biggest challenges you face in making that happen?

And because when I share this post on social media, it always looks better with a picture attached, here’s my gorgeous husband/click-bait (yes, I cropped myself out):

564457_683874634292_8515111700208401730_n

 

 

Our 1st Disneyland Trip: Part 1

If I don’t sit down and write this now, it won’t happen. And I need it to happen. This was a very special and memorable trip and I must document it in as many ways possible 🙂 So I’ll recap it, share some photos/videos and some lessons learned/tips for future trips. Because I tend to ramble and I know most blog readers have a short attention span, I will probably break this up into several parts (with separate posts). Because there’s just SO much to share.

Let’s start with a history…

Going to Disneyland wasn’t really on my radar until very recently. I always said to myself “maybe when the kids are much older so they remember/enjoy it more.” However, in February I took Gwen to see Frozen on Ice as a mommy/daughter date and early birthday present. Frozen is one of her favorite movies of all time (like 2397429 other little girls), so I figured she would enjoy this. And I wanted to see how she’d do at her first “show”. Well, to say she loved it would be an understatement. Her face was lit up the whole time. She sang. She danced. She clapped at the appropriate times. She excitedly exclaimed “MOMMY, LOOK! IT’S _______!” (fill in the blank with every character she saw). I texted Ivor during the show and told him how much she was enjoying it and said something like “We are SO going to Disneyland!” Of course I wasn’t expecting to do it anytime soon, but then he responded with a comment about trying to book it before the baby comes. So let it be known, while I may have been the one to put the bug in his ear at that Frozen show, it was my husband who suggested actually going before Baby #3 comes. So of course, I ran with it 😉

I then started doing research, asking friends for advice, reading blogs, etc. about going to Disneyland (where to stay, when to go, what rides to go on, where to eat etc.) Since we live in California, almost everyone we know who has kids  has been there and it’s a very popular place to visit. So there is no shortage of Disneyland experts/veterans to seek advice from! We ended up booking it fairly last minute, during a peak time of year (spring break/Easter). I’m thankful we got a room at all, let alone at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels (places were selling out quickly during the dates we wanted, but we wanted to be able to go while Ivor’s mom was still here). While staying on property (at 1 of the 3 resort hotels) is definitely more expensive than staying off-property, we decided the convenience was worth it for us right now. When you stay at one of those hotels you get the advantage of the “Extra Magic Hour” every day of your stay. That means you get into the park an hour before it’s open to the general public. The 2 parks (Disneyland Park and California Adventure) alternate which one has the magic hour each day. With 2 small kids (and a husband who LOATHES crowds), this was extremely appealing to us. Other advantages of staying on property is the convenience of the location- everything within walking distance, really nice pools, restaurants, etc. and that little bit of “Disney magic” that each of the hotels have. I wanted to truly feel like I was on vacation and staying somewhere where everything is right there, helps me feel like I’m really on vacation. Maybe that’s just me. But I loved it! The Disneyland Hotel is the one we stayed at.

Anyway, we stayed for 6 nights- but only purchased 3-day park hopper tickets. So we had 2 days of rest, which I highly recommend. 3 days in the park(s) was about perfect.  We arrived on a Wednesday. We did Disneyland Park on the first day, Thursday (because it had the extra magic hour that day), California Adventure on the 2nd day- Friday, then had 2 rest days (Saturday and Sunday- which is when the park was probably more crowded) Then on Monday, our final day in the park, we went to California Adventure first (for the magic hour) and then “hopped” over to Disneyland park for the rest of the day. Drove home on Tuesday.

Here’s a quick breakdown/summary of each day (and by “quick” I probably mean “detailed”):

Day 1 (Disneyland Park): If I had to rate each day in the park, this was probably the worst. We didn’t get in line as early as we (my husband) wanted to, even for the magic hour- the line was already crazy long when we got there. So the crowds were there early, lines for rides had already started, blah blah whatever. Despite all of that, Day 1 was always going to be the “break-in/warming-up” day, no matter what. The kids have never really been to any amusement park and have never seen characters up close and personal. So it was a little overwhelming for both of them at first (understandably). It took Gwen some time to really get into the rides. And that’s ok. I expected that to happen. It was also really really hot, which didn’t help things. But we still managed to go on a decent amount of rides before noon, which is when we planned to go back to the hotel for lunch/naps. The ride highlights from this morning: the carousel (which ended up being Gwen’s absolute favorite) and the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage ride (very cool). We went on more rides obviously, but those were the best (most enjoyed by all). After lunch, naps (which didn’t actually happen, so let’s just call it a “rest” period) and dinner, we went back to the park for the Paint The Night parade and the Fireworks show, both of which kind of redeemed the whole day for me. Because they were AMAZING. We let the kids stay up and watch both of them, which was a little rough- but they were troopers. For their first full day at the park for the first time ever, they were EXHAUSTED by that point. But it’s vacation…bedtime shmedtime.

IMAG1013 IMAG1020 IMAG1035 IMAG1048 IMAG1057 IMAG1070 IMAG1110

Day 2 (California Adventure): Best day ever. We got in line early for the extra magic hour (and the lines weren’t nearly as long as they were at DP the day before), so we got in right at the start of it and went straight to Anna & Elsa. (I had planned out all of our stops in advance and knew exactly where they were in the park). There was hardly any line at all. We were maybe 3rd or 4th in line to meet them that day. Gwen was dressed as Elsa and she was SO excited but SO nervous. We walked into this royal room where they were meeting and greeting and there was a quiet “awe” sort of vibe in the room. Like the feeling you get when seeing a bride right after she puts on her wedding dress for the first time on her wedding day. That’s the best way I can describe it. Obviously, I know Anna and Elsa aren’t real, but Gwen doesn’t. And it was magical to her. And so it was magical for me (and Ivor). I may have teared-up a bit (and I wasn’t the only adult in the room who did ;-). Gwen was really shy but gave them her Frozen sticker book that she made for them to sign. They were so good with her (and Ivor Baby too- who took to Anna right away). We didn’t feel rushed. They took their time talking to her and taking pictures with us, etc. It was such a great way to start our day. I think that was the turning point moment for Gwen, and she really started getting into this whole “Disneyland” thing and wanted to go on rides and fully embrace all that the parks had to offer. The rest of the morning was just as wonderful. It wasn’t very crowded at all (compared to the other park) and we didn’t have to wait very long at all to go on all the rides we wanted to. Even the longest line (for the Toy Story ride) moved quickly. Also, we got to meet Olaf that morning too. We may have actually been the first ones to meet him that day, there was no line at all. Poor Olaf lol. Anyway, Gwen was actually a little afraid of him up close but Ivor Baby LOOOOOVED him. He was full of smiles and giggles 🙂 Definitely the highlight for him I think. We saw the Frozen Sing-A-Long show before, once again,  heading back to the hotel for lunch and “rest”, and I think I finally showered after several days (highlight for me). We came back later in the afternoon for the Pixar Play Parade, went on the carousel a few more times (Gwen preferred the one in this park because it was sea-themed with underwater sea creatures. She liked those better than the horses), checked out the Mad-T Party thing (cover band), then Ivor’s mom took Ivor Baby back to the hotel and the 3 of us (Gwen, Ivor and myself) headed to Cars Land, went on more rides, then waited around for the World of Color show, which was also INCREDIBLE. Then back to the hotel for Zzzz’s….

IMAG1111 IMAG1118 IMAG1123 IMAG1166 IMAG1168 IMAG1196 IMAG1221 IMAG1246

 

To be Continued…. because this is getting way too long….

🙂

 

 

Stitch Fix Maternity Review (#2 and #3)

Long time, no blog! Sorry. Pregnancy with 2 toddlers running around has made me lazy. Er, just…tired. So I’ve slacked on my blog writing… majorly. To catch you up, I’ve received 2 more Stitch Fix maternity fixes since my last one and they’ve just been knocking it out of the park with this maternity thing! So, I pulled myself together today and took some pictures to show all of you. Also, they just started offering SHOES. And I got a pair. You must read on…

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

Stitch Fix Maternity Shoes Review

I’ll start with my 2nd maternity fix (which is not the one pictured above). I’ve been asking for MOSTLY non-maternity items that I can wear post-baby too, because I want to be able to get a lot of use out of these items (since this is baby #3 and all). They’ve been doing a great job of satisfying that request while still including a few necessary actual maternity items (which I also requested). And my stylist has been nailing it.

Spoiler for maternity fix #2: I kept EVERYTHING.

{Oh, and bump status for all these photos: 24 weeks pregnant.}

Item #1: Sina V-Neck Printed Maxi Dress $78

Stitch Fix Maternity Sina V-Neck Printed Maxi Dress Stitch Fix Maternity Sina V-Neck Printed Maxi Dress Stitch Fix Maternity Sina V-Neck Printed Maxi Dress

I looooooooove this dress so much. I’ve worn it several times now. It’s not actually a maternity dress so I’ll get plenty of use out of it after the baby comes too. It’s comfortable, lightweight, and I love the print and colors (the top is navy blue). Not sure what else to say about it. It’s a winner.

Item #2: Blaire Maternity Dress $68

Stitch Fix Maternity Blaire Maternity Dress Stitch Fix Maternity Blaire Maternity Dress Stitch Fix Maternity Blaire Maternity Dress

I immediately loved this dress too! I’ve worn this with my white chucks, a cardigan and a long pendant necklace.  These knit maternity dresses are super flattering, comfy and casual. If you’ve been following my Stitch Fix posts for awhile, you’ll notice a pattern: I love “comfy and casual”.  However, this one is starting to get a bit snug on me these days. Which I’m hoping means I’ll get to wear it more post-baby once the bump goes down (despite this one being an actual maternity dress, I think I’ll still be able to wear it a lot in the future).

Items #3 and #4: Sollas Long Sleeve Shirred Cuffs Maternity Knit Top $48, and Mira Skinny Jean  $78

Stitch Fix Maternity Sollas Long Sleeve Shirred Cuffs Maternity Knit Top Stitch Fix Maternity Sollas Long Sleeve Shirred Cuffs Maternity Knit Top Stitch Fix Maternity Mira Skinny Jean Stitch Fix Maternity Mira Skinny Jean

Two more easy winners! The shirt is rather plain and boring, yes. But it’s unbelievably comfy and stretchy and it’s sort of a blank canvas- so I always add a necklace. And it’s a great layering piece. The pants are actually NOT maternity. But they’re slip-on, jeggings basically. So they worked beautifully for early pregnancy and will be great post-baby too. These are also getting quite snug on me now (around the belly area) which makes my belly bump silhouette look lumpy. And nobody wants that. I’ll be looking forward to wearing these again more often post-baby 🙂

Item #5: Genevieve Stacked Chevron Pendant Necklace $28

Stitch Fix Genevieve Stacked Chevron Pendant Necklace

This immediately became my favorite go-to necklace. I wore it almost every day. And then my lovely daughter accidentally broke it 🙁 I am sad. I need to look into a jewelry repair place…because I miss it so much. It’s a great pendant necklace at a great length (though still adjustable of course). It went with everything and added that something extra to every outfit. Sigh….

As I mentioned earlier: this was a home-run 5/5 fix! So I got 25% off, plus some referral credit to put toward it. Woot!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Moving on to my latest fix, with the SHOES!

In fact, I’ll just start there.

Item #1: Yippee T-Strap Sandal (NINE WEST) $89

Stitch Fix Shoes Yippee T-Strap Sandal Stitch Fix Shoes Yippee T-Strap Sandal Stitch Fix Shoes Yippee T-Strap Sandal

I was really on the fence with these. They’re not typically my style or like anything I usually wear. What I DID like a lot, was the leopard print. I have leopard print flats pinned on my Pinterest Board, so kudos to my stylist for noticing that. I also love the ankle straps from the back view. But I wasn’t crazy about the little mini-heel (which I just realized I didn’t take a very good picture of) or the overall strap placement and how it looked on my feet. I also determined that I probably wouldn’t get a lot of use out of them anyway. So ultimately, these got: RETURNED.

Item #2: Gemma Maternity Dress (TART) $88

Stitch Fix Maternity Gemma Maternity Dress Stitch Fix Maternity Gemma Maternity Dress Stitch Fix Maternity Gemma Maternity Dress

I really love this dress! It’s crazy soft and comfortable and very flattering. The only reason I didn’t keep it is because I have basically the exact same dress from Old Navy, that a friend passed along to me for free 🙂 Therefore, RETURNED. Also, I’m wearing the shoes in these pics too, so you can get a better idea of what they looked like on.

Item #3: Char Geo Print Maxi Skirt (MARKET & SPRUCE) $58

Stitch Fix Maternity Char Geo Print Maxi Skirt Stitch Fix Maternity Char Geo Print Maxi Skirt

I love the print and the colors on this maxi skirt (it has some yellow and pink in it). It’s not maternity but clearly works during pregnancy and beyond. However, I have a few printed maxi skirts and I’ve come to realize that I don’t have many tops to wear with them and they end up just sitting in my closet. So sadly, RETURNED.

Items #4 and #5: Charlote Ruched Side Maternity Knit Top (LOVEAPPELLA) $48 and Taylor Maternity Cuffed Demin Short (LIVERPOOL) $54

Stitch Fix Maternity Charlote Ruched Side Maternity Knit Top Stitch Fix Maternity Charlote Ruched Side Maternity Knit Top Stitch Fix Maternity Charlote Ruched Side Maternity Knit Top Stitch Fix Maternity Taylor Maternity Cuffed Denim Short

And finally, the winners from this fix! I’ll start with the shirt. It was a no-brainer keeper. It’s cute, casual, comfortable (see…the pattern). It’s long and stretchy enough to last throughout the rest of my pregnancy. It’s soft and lightweight. It’s mine. And the shorts were a specific request. I have (well, had) zero maternity shorts…and I’ll be spending the majority of my 3rd trimester in the summer. That’s just unacceptable. Shorts were a must-have. These fit perfectly. They’re my style. The panel is so soft and not at all tight. I barely even notice it’s there, which is a big deal for me (a lot of maternity bottoms with full panels make my belly itch like CRAZY). There will be no belly itching going on with these shorts. Verdict for both: KEEP!

Well, that’s that. What did you think of the items I received? Would you have kept those sandals?! I can’t to wait to see some other shoe options in my next fixes.

I’ve linked up with Maria at Crazy Together- so be sure to check out her latest fix and a bunch of other awesome bloggers and their latest fixes too! CLICK HERE 🙂

12243550_10153054664771082_4888074129768484473_n

BG3 (Fiona) Pregnancy Update!

We recently found out that little BG3 is a GIRL! Woohoo 🙂 It was fun watching her on the ultrasound. She was very active but not cooperative at times. The tech already saw the gender when she was doing her initial measurements and capturing the images, but when it came time to show mommy and daddy, baby was very modest…legs crossed, thighs closed lol….cause she’s a lady, after all. But we saw the girl parts eventually. We’re thrilled for another sweet little girl to join our family. Miss Fiona Joy Griffiths is her name 🙂

So, here’s the latest update (and if you missed the 1st one, you can read it here):

Due Date: July 23, 2016 (nothing’s changed here)

How Far Along: 19 Weeks

Next Appointment: March 10th

Gender: GIRL!

Total Weight Gain/Loss: About +10 lbs now (my appetite came back lol…and I’m lifting weights, so I’d like to think some of those lbs are from muscle)

Exercise: Yes! Now that I’m not miserable and puking all the time, I’ve started lifting weights with my husband, as I just mentioned. I’d like to start going for more walks too, especially now that the weather is getting nicer.

Stretch Marks: No

Swelling: No

Maternity Clothes: Yep, all the maternity clothes.

Belly Button: In, but changing shape a bit.

Sleep: What’s that? I have 2 toddlers.

Food Cravings: I can eat most things again which is wonderful. Still love my sweets and a good pizza. Newest craving though is Indian food.

Food Aversions: Still not a big fan of chicken, but depends on how it’s prepared. Last night the hubby made a pesto chicken pasta and that was wonderful. I can also eat chicken in Indian food (like butter chicken for example), but chicken noodle soup? No thanks.

Symptoms: Nausea/vomiting has subsided, but I’m still a crazy emotional mess, with acid reflux, fatigue, gas/bloating, various body aches, etc.

Movement: Yes! I’ve been feeling the occasional little kick and jab for the past 2-3 weeks or so 🙂

Labor Signs: Nope

What I Miss: The ability to sneeze without peeing myself a little.

What I’m Loving: Feeling the baby move

What I’m Looking Forward To: Her birth! Seeing what she looks like and what her little personality will be, how alike/different she’ll be from her big sister and brother, blue eyes or brown eyes, etc.

Best Moment This Week: Obviously finding out the gender and seeing her move all around on the ultrasound.

Words of Wisdom: You’d think after this long I would’ve learned my lesson about Googling things. After the ultrasound I was concerned about what I THOUGHT looked like a very low fluid level (amniotic fluid) despite not being told that by anyone. Some of the images on the ultrasound just looked like Fiona’s poor face was right up against the placenta with little to no fluid in there. So I Googled it….bad idea. Turns out, I’m just a crazy person and everything was totally normal. GOOGLE IS THE ENEMY when you’re a concerned parent. (Yes, I know my husband works there). Just don’t do it, friends. Until you’ve heard something from your own doctor, you are NOT the expert…and neither are the people of the Interwebs. That is all.

Until next time, here’s Fiona saying “Hello from the inside!”

wave

The big gender reveal for the kiddos (and everyone else when we posted it) 🙂

gender reveal color

Proud Wifey

I don’t talk about it much on the blog, but in addition to my husband’s day job at Google, he (we) runs a production company called “Bitwise Productions“. It’s basically your “one stop shop” for live events. We do sound and lights (set-up and live mixing/audio engineering), live music (The Duvets), photography (me!), etc. It’s a pretty fun industry and we’re in a prime location for it in the Bay Area. People love events and going “all out” with this sort of thing. We do weddings, corporate parties, speaking engagements and some bigger stuff like expos and conventions.

The most recent one we did this past weekend was at the Santa Clara Convention Center for AOD 2016 (Animation on Display). We produced everything going on at the “main stage”. It was a 2-day event filled with quite the variety of performances (metal/rock, jazz/funk, rap, etc.) I might be biased, but I was pretty impressed with how everything sounded and looked. But I especially loved hearing so many people compliment my husband. One of the bands in particular, who play all over the world and work with the “best and highest-paid” sound engineers told him that his mix was the best and that they want him to run sound at their future shows (whenever they’re allowed to bring their own sound engineer). That’s a pretty huge compliment…and I am one proud wifey 🙂

It’s a testament to how hard-working my husband is and how he pursues everything he does with excellence. He does not settle for mediocrity. He doesn’t just want our company to be “decent” or semi-successful, he wants to be the best at what we do. Is it worth all the time and effort to do it any other way? (Colossians 3:23, Ephesians 6:7, and one of his favorites that inspires his hard work, Ephesians 4:28- working hard so that he can provide for others).

Anyway! Here are a some photos from the weekend. And if you know anyone looking for sound/lights/etc. for an event, please do contact us (klg@bitwiseproductions.com) 🙂

Bitwise Productions AOD 2016 Animation On Display Bitwise Productions AOD 2016 Animation On Display AOD 2016 Animation On Display Bitwise Productions AOD 2016 Animation On Display Bitwise Productions Super Soul Bros AOD 2016 Animation On Display Super Soul Bros AOD 2016 Animation On Display Lotus Juice AOD 2016 Animation On Display Lotus Juice AOD 2016 Animation On Display Lotus Juice AOD 2016 Animation On Display Lotus Juice AOD 2016 Animation On Display

Valentine’s Day Stitch Fix Giveaway!!

Well Stitch Fix lovers, it’s happening again. I’ve collaborated with a lovely group of bloggers for yet another giveaway. And this one is even BIGGER than the last one. Are you ready? We are giving away one $500 Stitch Fix Gift Card (FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS!!) This is huge. I’m so excited for whoever wins this!

Stitch Fix 500 Horizontal

You enter below by following each of us on our various social media pages (for a total of 22 entries!) That’s it! Super easy. The giveaway ends at 11:59pm (Eastern time) on February 12th. The winner will be announced soon after. Good luck!

Be sure to check out all the beautiful bloggers who made this giveaway possible (you’ll see their faces at the bottom) 🙂

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 


 Loading InLinkz ...

My Closet Purge!

I posted a BEFORE/AFTER picture of my closet yesterday on Facebook and it seemed to be quite popular! So I thought I’d talk a bit more about it here. There’s a book called “The Magic Art of Tidying Up” that seems to be sweeping the nation (that’s probably an overstatement but it’s at least sweeping MY circles: MOPS, Facebook friends, fellow Stitch Fix lovers, etc.)

To be clear, I haven’t actually read the book. So I don’t know all the “rules” of the method. But I know a few (and enough to get started). My friend Denise HAS read the book and explained the main “rules” to me a few months ago, and she’s the one who helped me out with the closet purge yesterday. She even took everything to Good Will for me after we were done!! She’s awesome 🙂

Anyway! The main/most important things you should know if you want to do this:

  1. Do it by category
  2. Do it all at once (not a little at a time)
  3. Determine if each item “sparks joy”. If it doesn’t, it goes away.

So the first category I started with is clothing/shoes. Specifically MY clothing. I’ll get to my husband’s and the kid’s next.

We did it all at once, by gathering every single article of clothing I own and every pair of shoes…from all over the house…closets, dresser drawers, laundry, downstairs by the door, etc. and laid everything out on the bed.  This was the most overwhelming part for me. The phrase “it’s going to get worse before it gets better” comes to mind. Had Denise not been there with me, I would’ve panicked and talked myself out of it because there was just SO much stuff lol.

To determine if an item “sparks joy”, you go through each thing 1-by-1, physically hold it in your hands and ask yourself that question. To elaborate a bit more about what did NOT spark joy for me, here are the types of things that got tossed/donated: Clothes/shoes that were falling apart/gross/missing buttons, ripped seams, etc. Clothes/shoes that did not fit. Clothes/shoes that I’ve had since college and was just sick of looking at. Clothes/shoes that didn’t make me feel confident/cute/sexy/etc. If I had to hesitate and try to convince myself why I should keep it, then it was a “no”.

I had a bit of an advantage I think. For the last year and a half I’ve been replacing my wardrobe with new clothes from Stitch Fix and Trunk Club. So I already knew that I had a solid wardrobe of clothes that fit me, and made me feel good wearing them. So saying goodbye to everything else was pretty easy. It was just finally setting aside the time to tackle it all at once that was holding me back.

That’s where Denise came in! She’s super passionate about helping other people de-clutter so when I told her about my disaster of a closet and how I couldn’t even walk into my “walk-in” closet, she couldn’t wait to help me 🙂

Really, my whole house is a disaster. We have a lot of stuff. And my husband and I both HATE clutter. We just have a hard time actually doing anything about it. Some people might not mind it, but it stresses us out and gives us anxiety. I don’t feel like I can relax and enjoy my home when I’m surrounded by STUFF everywhere lol. It causes tension and unnecessary stupid spats between me and my husband. Once the de-cluttering is finished, I happen to have another MOPS friend who’s a professional organizer and we are SO hiring her. It’s cheaper than marriage counseling 😉

Anyway- here are some more photos from yesterday’s project. I can’t wait to share more with you all as we continue with the rest of the house! There’s still A LOT of work left to do. NOTE: this wasn’t even a full closet clean-out, as you can see I have a lot more than just clothes in my closet. But now that the clothing is out of the way, I can actually take care of the other stuff 🙂

12557124_10207647429216414_944432370_o

12443534_10207647428696401_1441136086_o

12546066_10207647427336367_300539263_o

12562914_10207647428096386_1324774563_o

12620741_10207647427776378_16823302_o

 

 

Stitch Fix #18- Holiday Party Fix: Take 2

Last month, I received a “holiday party” themed fix (from Stitch Fix) that sadly didn’t work out for me. Great dresses, just didn’t fit me well or weren’t what I was looking for. So I decided to give them one more chance. Unfortunately, I STILL didn’t find what I was looking for in this one 🙁 However, I did get a statement necklace and I LOVE it! So it’s not a total bust 🙂 As with the previous fix, these are all really great dresses (and they actually fit well), but they just were not what I wanted to wear to the party.

Also, I have to apologize…this has been a very crazy, chaotic week and I threw these pictures together really fast, didn’t have time to actually take pictures of them ON me, and the lighting is terrible because it was dark and gloomy outside during the only time I had to take pics. I know that seeing a dress on the hanger is not the same as seeing it on an actual person. So, I’m sorry 🙁 But… this is still better than nothing!

I’ll start with my one keeper:

Item #1:  Jania Hammered Plate Necklace (BANCROFT)

Stitch Fix Review Jania Hammered Plate Necklace

This is definitely my kind of necklace. I love the “hammered” look. I love the gold. It goes with just about everything. Keeper!

Item #2: Talisa Dress (PIXLEY)

Pixley Talisa Dress Stitch Fix Jania Hammered Plate Necklace Pixley Talisa Dress Stitch Fix

This is the only solid colored dress I received. And the only one with lace detail. Both of which are a good thing. I had several solid-colored, lace detailed dresses pinned on my Pinterest board. But I didn’t like the shape of this one, particularly at the top. The top is very narrow which somehow gave it a less-feminine look in the shoulder area. Also, I don’t like this particular lace detail and how it fringes on the end….like it’s falling apart. Not really the look I wanted. The necklace paired really well with it though!

Item 3: Lynnette Dress (MAGGY LONDON)

Maggy London Lynnette Dress Stitch Fix Maggy London Lynnette Dress Stitch Fix

I want to start off by saying, I really loved this dress! But I was on a mission to find the perfect dress for a Christmas party, and this wasn’t it. If I was just looking for a cute dress to wear on other occasions, this probably would’ve been a keeper. It was a soft, heavier material that flattered my figure well (of course it was a petite size- they listened!), and the print is really cool. I’d wear this with tights and boots and a cardigan and it would be super cute to wear in cooler weather. Or in the summer with black strappy sandals. Now I’m regretting sending this back… Let’s move on! Highly recommend this dress though.

Item #4: Caela Dress (PAPERMOON) 

Papermoon Caela Dress Stitch Fix Papermoon Caela Dress Stitch Fix

This dress didn’t really do much for me. It fit really well, that wasn’t the issue. Just wasn’t crazy about the style. The color is a pink-peach-nude sort of color and the black is a fish-net material. Overall, a little unremarkable. Nothing special.

Item #5: Donie Dress (PIXLEY)

Pixley Donie Dress Stitch Fix Pixley Donie Dress Stitch Fix

This is another dress that I might keep if I was just looking for dresses in general. I love the print and the color. But it definitely BEGS for a belt to give it more shape once it’s on. And that’s exactly what I’d do if I kept it. Like the Lynnette Dress, I’d wear this with tights, boots and a cardigan (and a belt of some sort like I just mentioned). The material on this one is light and blousy and just sort of hangs there, instead of hugging your figure…so, needs help with the shape.

So what did you think? Some great dresses, right? You might be wondering….so what WERE you looking for exactly then? If 2 fixes worth of dresses didn’t make the cut?! Well…I went with a classic little black dress! The first store I walked into (Macy’s), on the first rack I saw…was this dress. I tried it on with a few other LBD options, but this was by far the best. I paired it with leopard print heels and sparkly earrings. I felt great in it! It was exactly what I was hoping for 🙂

Sorry for the bad pics, but this is the best I got:

IMAG0414_1 IMAG0416_1

Also, don’t forget about the Stitch Fix Holiday Giveaway I’m participating in with some other bloggers. Click the image below to check it out if you haven’t already entered. There are 2 days left!

Stitch Fix $300 horizontal