Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Water Birth Story

On April 21st, I had the honor of witnessing a close friend brought her second baby into the world.  I have always wanted to experience a birth not as the birthing mother.   With no sisters or family close by, I was never sure that I would ever get such an opportunity.  My friend Celka & I have had a close bond for nearly 3 years.  Brought together by motherhood and our shared parenting perspectives.  Her offer for me to be present at her birth to bring added support as well as capture the birth through my camera's lens was a beautiful gift to me.

Let me first say that I, by no means, am a professional photographer, nor do I want to be.  I simply have fallen in love my camera and the art in capturing the every day moments of my family and close friends.  I knew the lighting would be low (I am typically only comfortable shooting in natural light) and that I would have no gear other than my camera and a single lens.  I didn't want to be worried about the technical aspects.  I wanted first band foremost just to be present in that moment, that experience, but hoped to also save some of those most precious memories for Celka through whatever images I was able to capture.  Through all the (perhaps obvious) photography flaws, I am proud of the results; I feel as though I  did capture the emotions of the afternoon.  Some true "All the feels." pictures.  I still have much to learn; photography is one big journey for me, but I am nonetheless excited to share these moments and my progress along that journey with you all.

Now, who doesn't love a good a birth story!?  Obviously this is not my story to tell, only Celka could do it justice, but she was gracious enough to let me share my piece.  This is a day I surely will not forget.  I have never felt more a part of this tribe.  This motherhood.  This womanhood.  From the moment Celka told me she was first in labor early that morning, I was happy-anxious.  A new baby would be joining our close knit group.  A new baby to fawn over and to watch grow.  But more importantly, a close friend would be joining the "mothers of two" group. Something that you just cannot fully grasp until you are in it.  The highs, the lows and all the craziness in-between.  

I knew Celka's labor would progress quickly since her first was born after only a few hours.  The plan was for her to have another water birth at a birth center.  I knew Celka wanted a quiet atmosphere and minimal interaction.  My role was to simply be present for her.  I had to coordinate with Conor to leave work and take the boys for the day, so when I got the text that they were headed to the birth center he met me there and took the boys back home. The text of labor starting came in at roughly 9:15 that morning.  I was at the birth center by noon.  When I entered the room, Celka was already in the tub and pushing.  I had just barely made it in time!  Celka looked right at me when I walked in the door and said hello.  She was calm, yet focused.  She was so ready to meet her baby.

I watched as she labored, tears welling up in my eyes with every blink.  Remembering my own labors, remembering all those feelings, physical and emotional.  With each push she was longing for it to be the last.  Her husband crouched outside the tub, patiently watching & waiting.  After a few minutes, their daughter joined us in the room.  She too was calm, yet curious.  Her little face peered into the tub, anxious to learn if she now had a brother or a sister.  At 12:15 (after only three hours of labor!) the head came, then a short rest before another contraction brought baby.  Mom immediately brought baby to her chest and melted into the water.  The biggest of smiles across her face.  It was peaceful; incredibly peaceful.  There is no better word for that pure, raw moment in time.    






I could hardly stand not knowing the gender!  She snuggled that baby for perhaps the longest minutes before taking a peek!   Her daughter crawled into the tub for see for herself and together they looked.  A sweet boy!!!  The sibling bond starting immediately.  It was incredible to see.  There was so much love and curiosity in the room.  Myself and their two midwives present but you would hardly know we were there.  Just a family bringing their newest addition peacefully into the world.  They lingered in the tub, relishing in those first moments, and then moved to a bed for more snuggles and rest.  Their daughter was in & out of the room, checking on her baby brother ever so often.





Celka & I briefly chatted about how fast the birth was, and my near perfect arrival time.  We oohed over her baby boy and the fact that she now had two!  Not much was said, but our connection grew ever so stronger.  That presence of womanhood & motherhood and sharing the experience.  I stayed for a bit, not quite able to draw myself away from the high of emotions that come with a birth.  I was able to see baby Wilder latch for the first time, a milestone with extra depth for us friends.  Celka & I first met at a local La Leche League meeting; breastfeeding is what first brought us together and continues to be a huge part of our lives as mothers.







To me this was everything that birth should be.  Celka was able to trust her body & instincts.  Her daughter was present.  Everything was calm & peaceful.  The experience gave me an even stronger desire to have our next baby out of the hospital.  I would love to be a different environment, in my own environment.  I picture myself at home, with Liam & Finn near.  Hopefully Nana too!  I would love the close support of my mama friends.  I want too want the calm & the peace. 

Congratulations Celka & family and thank you for letting me be a small part in this wonderful day!!!  Wilder is perfect!

And if you just can't get enough birth stories, you can read Liam's birth story here & Finn's here!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Nordstrom Half Yearly Favorites

Nordstrom's Half Yearly Sale has officially started!  And while I typically hold off on any  major shopping for the Anniversary Sale, it doesn't hurt to take a little peek.  Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming to search through all the sale items, which is exactly why I look to all my favorite bloggers to share the best of the best.  So if you all could get on that, it would be much appreciated!  So, here are a few things that jumped out at me:

For the mamas:

Remember the white skinny jeans from my recent Stitch Fix that I should have kept, but didn't?  Well lucky me, they are part of the half yearly sale.  So I couldn't pass up the price or the peer pressure for friends.  So now I own white pants and just have to pray they won't get dirty!



Splendid Sunfaded Obre Striped Knit Shift Dress

For the little boys:

Mini Boden Laundered Cotton Sport Shirt

Tucker + Tate Striped T-Shirt

For the Little Girls:

Kate Mack "Love is in the Air" Swimsuit
Tucker + Tate Print Skort


aden + anais Swaddle Set

For Him:
(psst. Father's Day gift ideas!)


Happy Shopping!

*affiliate links used

Monday, May 23, 2016

Stitch Fix #15

Some of you may not love these posts, especially since this is not a fashion blog.  Nor will it ever be, in case some of you feared that.  Regardless, when a fix arrives, I force Conor to take awkward photos just for the purpose of sharing here.  My children are usually jumping on the bed or clinging to my legs.  It's really a fun time for all.  So for those that care, here is the latest fix:


Renee C Wynne Knit Maxi Dress
I pinned this specific dress, and I absolutely love it!  It may be my favorite summer staple that is currently hanging in my closet.  It's so soft, a perfect length (I'm 5'9), and has easy nursing access.  The back is a "V" as well, which makes this dress stunning.   



Renee C Leida Crew Neck Blouse
I loved the colors of this top and even liked the abstract pattern it had going on.  But it was far too short for me, and it felt a bit restrictive.  Not necessarily tight, but the fabric didn't give at all.  I sent this back.


Skies are Blue Kendruh Layered Hem Knit Top
I loved this color on me!  And I liked the different hem line, even thought it made it feel a bit short.  One of the main reasons I didn't keep this top, is that I wanted a summer fix.  3/4 length sleeves absolutely will not work in summer in hot Salt Lake City! Sent back.



Zad Denmark Hammered Abstract Shapes Necklace
The necklace was not my style at all.  I tend to wear really simply jewelry right now.  Because my kids are always grabbing it, or snagging it.  And with baby wearing, I just can't have something bulky right by Finn's face.  Plus, I felt like the necklace was poorly made, which is how I feel about a lot of Stitch Fix jewelry.  Sent back.


Kut From the Kloth Dayna Skinny Jean
I pinned these jeans, and I so so wanted to keep them!  They fit like a glove and paired perfectly with a ridiculous amount of tops!  But the realistic side of me kicked in...  I cannot wear white jeans around my young boys.  I'm constantly picking them up, and their dirty shoes would be all over my pants.  All.  The.  Time.  So sadly, I decided that white jeans will just have to wait a few years.  Sent back.


 Overall, I was pretty pumped about this fix.  I try to only keep one item per fix, so the dress was an easy choice.  If you are one of the crazies that has still yet to try Stitch Fix, do it!  I think summer is the perfect time, since they have a ridiculous amount of gorgeous dresses right now!!!  And if you try it because of me, I get a nice little kick back; so of course, I appreciate it!

Now tell me... did I make the right choice?!

*affiliate links used.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Nana (aka Mary Poppins)

A couple weeks back, Conor had a business trip to Europe; so of course I made sure my mama was available to come help with the boys!  I get serious anxiety if Conor has to be gone for more than two nights; no shame about it.  Plus, I love any & all opportunities to have Nana visit.  And with Conor being away, our time together is even more special.  She becomes that partner in parenting, and she is damn good at it!

This trip was also timed perfectly for her to help me plant my garden, just like she has done the past three years.  I'm learning from the best!  This year, Liam was particularly into helping choose the flowers, and Finn decided that since he can now walk, he no longer likes to be worn.  So our nursery experience was interesting.  Finn found every water feature, hose, and puddle he could.  He was muddy within minutes.  And Liam was asking if we could get every single plant.  They were all over place while some serious flower selection was happening.  We may have been frazzled, and our hands were full, but it was the perfect mother/daughter afternoon!

I had hoped that the boys would simply enjoy playing outside, while I could plant with my mom.  But no.  Finn wanted to dig.  Wanted the hoe.  Wanted to rip every flower apart.  Wanted to put dirt in his mouth.  All the while teething like crazy.  So instead, I kept Finner happy, while we watched Nana work way harder than she should.  No joke.  She's a rockstar, and we now a beautiful garden all ready for summer thanks to her!



Aside from the gardening, there was playdates & t-ball.  Grocery shopping & dinner making.   Dishing washing & laundry.  Preschool drop offs & pick ups.  Bath times, story times, & bedtimes.  She.  Did.  It.  All.  And she even let me nap with Finn when I could.  We were both exhausted come the evenings, but that's when the wine was poured, and we stayed up all too late just chatting!




Both boys loved having her near all the time.  They climbed in bed with her each morning for special snuggles & shared goodnight kisses in the evening.  These are the every day moments that we don't have nearly as often as we would like.  She spoiled them with small gifts, and too many trips to the coffee shop for cake pops & chocolate milk.  She colored, built legos, & drove around monster trucks.  She never slows down!



I brag on her after every visit, but she is simply the best.  Our whole family is so lucky to have her! She was the one who taught me to be an loving & giving mother, and now I'm taking note of her mad grandma skills!  And because we just can't get enough Nana time, we are traveling to visit her this week!!! 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Finn: 1 Year Old



My baby is one!!!  One incredible year that went by all too fast.  Especially these last few months.  He is full of his unique personality, distinguishing himself from his brother more and more every day.  He watches everyone closely and is imitating constantly.  He wants to do exactly as big brother (or mama & dada) and has picked up skills quickly because of it.  He's strong (even has some serious arm definition) & intelligent.  While he was a similar as a baby to Liam (hardly any crying, always happy), he has now become quite the little pistol!  He has strong opinions and a feisty demeanor.  He's loud & boisterous, which could not be any different than his brother at that age.  We have always described Liam as being sweet & gentle... not at all the words I would use to describe Finn.  He is still a lover, but much more outspoken and determined.  And we just love him for it! 
He loves playing games like peek-a-boo or "hiding"; which really just means putting his face on the ground or in a pillow so that he can't see you.  He's obsessed with all animals, but especially dogs, and goes crazy for them whenever he sees one.  Now let's get down to the details:

Stats:  Height: 31.5 inches  Weight: 25 lbs

Eating: He's finally adding some new foods to his lineup.  Sometimes he refuses to even try foods, so you just never know. But raspberries still hold the favorite spot.  Also, string cheese, greek yogurt, meat of any kind, applesauce, & fruit leather.  We always offer him what the family is eating; I'm hopeful that he will start eating more & more from our plates soon!

Allergies:  Possibly still a minor intolerance of grass pollen, but we continue to have no issues with dairy.  Thank goodness!!!

Sleeping:  Still napping twice a day, amen!!!  At night he sleeps from about 8pm to 8am.  One long stretch to start the night (and when I say long, I mean like 3 hours), then he's up quite a bit through the rest of the night.  Waking 3-6 times a night to quickly nurse back to sleep is pretty standard right now.  I sleep with him for most of the night.  Side note: our toddler (nearly 4 years old!) still only sleeps through the night about half the time.  I don't have good sleepers.  I've accepted it, and sometimes, I'm not even that phased by it.

Likes: His wiggle car is hands down his favorite thing.  He can't quite walk with it on his own yet, so he literally just pushes it close to us and cries, just begging for us to ride it with him.  Second favorite thing is throwing or kicking around a ball.  A soccer ball preferably.   He kicks, he chases;  Kicks, chases...  All day long!  He's also damn good with a little golf club & ball.  His hand eye coordination is pretty remarkable already.  I'm not sure if it's having a big brother to watch do all these things, or if he is just naturally gifted.  We shall see.  But he already wants out on the t-ball field, has a real strong throw, and it is a full time job just to wrangle during his big brother's games.  Third favorite thing: swings.  At home, at the park, if there is a swing (or slides are popular too) in sight, he must be on it!  More begging for these! his favorite time of the day is when daddy gets home from work. He just can't contain his excitement and often rushes over to his open arms and snuggles into his chest as if to say "Dad... where have you been all day?! I'm so glad you're home."

Dislikes: Shoes!  Which he obviously has to wear at certain places now that he is walking.  But when he can, he takes them off immediately and is often barefoot.  His feet are huge (size 5 or 6 already), so shoes just make them even bulkier.  He also really hates diaper changes.  He has some of the strongest abs around and is always trying to do sit ups while I change out his diaper  It's no easy task, and I dread it just a little bit every time.  But the boy drinks a ridiculous amount of water daily, so we have to change him all the time!

Milestones:  Walking!!!  11.5 months and he was full blown walking.  He's fast and loves chasing big brother and being chased.  His language is continuing to develop to, but not nearly as much as that first burst!  He's one big babbler though and certainly is loud.  He has quite a lot to say!  I cannot wait 'til he can converse more, especially with Liam.

Nicknames: Finnier, Finnaroo, Finner, Finny,  Shark-Finn (from daddy) & Huckleberry.  These are seriously all the names that Liam uses for him.  I'm anxious to see which one really sticks over the years.

While I initially had a hard time accepting the big difference between my boys, I am seriously so in love with my Finn.  He is burly and strong.  Full of determination and knows what he wants.  He's not an overly smiley baby, but boy are they contagious when he does give you a big, genuine smile.  His laughter is contagious as well.  Once again loud and high pitched.  Sometimes he snorts.  He gets sweaty when he's super excited or super tired and is one snuggly little bear.  Happy happy birthday Finny!



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