One Month Update

June 18th, 2017. 

     




Wow!!! I can’t believe that my sweet girl is now a month old. It’s so crazy, it feels unreal. Especially since she came three weeks early! 

    
She already has so much personality. She loves taking baths, but hates changing clothes. She also loves to be involved. She uses her arms to push herself up and looks all around! She’s incredibly strong. Nolie is also able to roll onto her stomach! I didn’t know newborns could even do that! (It’s terrifying). One thing I love is that if she is fussy she generally will stop if you sing to her! 

     
This month started out a little rough with the induction (you can read her birth story here) and then her extra night in the hospital (you can read about that here). However, she’s almost back to her birth weight and the jaundice is basically gone!! This month has also seen her first bath, first doctors appointment, first play date with Mia, and first trip to Target. Also, today is her first Father’s Day! So it’s been a pretty busy month. 

   
Little Nolie loves cuddling. I think that’s what I’ll miss the most, how she can just lay on my chest and sleep! It’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever experienced. She hums when she sleeps and it’s heart melting. I can barely stand it! If I had to make a guess, I would say she sleeps probably seventeen hours a day, spends maybe four hours eating, and the last three hours just looking at everything and taking it in. 

    
She is generally a good sleeper, however we’ve definitely had four or five tough nights where she was up every hour! On the flip side- we’ve also had five or six great nights where I’ve gotten about four hours straight. I even had one night where I got a little over five straight hours! It was amazing. She likes to sleep with her hands by her face. Or, if she’s laying on my chest she wraps them up around my neck (well, what she can reach). Before she was born I read so many blogs about how swaddling your baby is super comforting to them. Nolie actually doesn’t like it! You can swaddle her, but if you try to wrap those arms up – almost nothing makes her more mad, or loud!! 

    
The cats are doing really well. Legalos will cuddle with me when I’m holding her, but only if she’s asleep. When she’s awake he keeps his distance. Appa, on the other hand, LOVES her. He’s constantly at her side. He sleeps below her little swing when she’s in it. Almost every day when I sit down to breastfeed after lunch he jumps up and cuddles right up to us. He’s actually cuddled up with the two of us as I write this!! He hates when she cries. He will run up when she starts crying as if to comfort her. It melts my heart. Also, Appa loves all of her things. He loves to sleep in her glider, constantly tries to steal her crib (don’t worry, we won’t let him), and lays on her play mat swinging his paws at the hanging toys. It’s precious. 

     
I love this little munchkin so much. I can’t imagine my life without her!! We have been so incredibly blessed. I can’t wait to see the little person she grows into!! 

“What Are Your Future Plans?” (a small rant on the reactions of people who’ve asked me that)

Wow.  I can’t believe a month ago I walked across the graduation stage!! It feels so unreal. I can’t believe how much I jammed into 3.5 years of school. (I took a semester off to plan the wedding). I can honestly say I worked my butt off. I’m so thankful for all of the love and support my husband has given me. All of the nights we had to stay in instead of going out with friends so I could study, he never complained. I’m also grateful for my family’s love and encouragement! You guys are the best.

A lot of people have asked what I plan to do now that I’ve graduated.  I excitedly tell them that I am blessed to have a husband who can support us so that I can stay home with the baby. (At least for the first few years).  This has always been my dream. Of course, this is always met with different reactions.

One reaction is absolute happiness.

One reaction is to assume I’m lazy. “Oh I guess it will be nice to just rest after everything.” 

One reaction is disbelief. “What a waste. What was the point of school?” 

One reaction is judgment. “Yeah, but what about your career? Your degree?”

One reaction is to assume I have no ambitions. “That’s all you want to do with your life?” 

Here’s what I have to say to you. 

To the people who look down on me because “that’s all I want to do.”  I don’t judge you for longing for high power careers.  I don’t limit you to one mold. I don’t expect you to fill one role. So don’t you dare suggest to me that because MY dream doesn’t fit your agenda, that I am less of a woman. Please don’t suggest to me that in our search for woman’s rights, my right to raise my children myself has been waived. That is something I can not accept.

To the person who judges me because I want to be home with my child and condescendingly asks what about my degree? What about it.  I’ll still have it in five or six years. I’m assuming women will still be allowed to attain jobs in five or six years. However, my child won’t be a newborn in five or six years. My child won’t be taking her first steps or trying out her first words in five or six years. So why can’t I prioritize her.

To the person who says “what a waste.” Why? I went to a university for me. I didn’t go for you. I went so that if need be I could help support my family. I went because I think education is empowerment.  I went because I think experiencing other people, cultures, and ideas creates more intelligent, understanding people. I went because I have a right to an education. I went to set an example for my children.

To the person who thinks I’m just taking it easy. First off, I wouldn’t consider giving birth to a child and then raising him/her easy. I plan to raise her (and any other child we may have), prepare all our meals, keep the house clean, and keep our financials. (How much do you pay or even value  your day care center, housekeeper, chef, and accountant)? Secondly, I have always known that I wanted to stay home with my kids. Before I even started dating Michael I made sure he knew.  I didn’t want any surprises if we got serious. It is something I was unwilling to compromise on. (Obviously, barring any unforeseen circumstance where it is needed. In which case I will proudly and gladly help support my family). Secondly, starting in middle school I realized I would need scholarships.  I worked my butt off all through high school, graduating with all A’s and one B. I was class president, in leadership positions in several clubs, and had an extracurricular resume longer than any school would allow on applications. I got my first job when I was twelve cleaning a neighbors house and maintaining her lawns. I have held between one to four jobs every day of my life since. (I currently hold one). I learned the value of hard work and savings. Once in school I continued to maintain almost perfect grades (once again, one lousy B). I also continued to work and I purposefully chose a degree that had plenty of options of careers that could be done from home. Last month I walked across that stage debt free– all so I could have the freedom to stay home, with my education and children- without the obligation to go straight into the work force. So please don’t tell me that I’ve taken the easy path. I set a goal almost a decade ago and I never gave up, nor did I ever slack.  

Finally, to the person who warmly congratulates me for my hard work and wishes me luck and happiness. Thank you. Thank you for understanding I have a right to my own dreams.  Thank you for understanding that I am capable of making decisions. Thank you for loving me and supporting me.

I am so proud of everyone that walked across that stage.  I’m so excited for all of your big plans, your secret hopes, and unique dreams. I will pray that all of you find happiness in what you do!

Here’s to the class of 2017!

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Corned Beef Brisket 

This was literally two weeks ago, but I am so excited to finally have the time to share this recipe with y’all!! For Valentine’s Day I wanted to do something special. I love going out to eat, but honestly the thought of dealing with an overwhelmed waitstaff, hungry crowds, and bad parking was not appealing to me. So I decided to cook Michael dinner. At first I was at a loss for what to make. I wanted it to be special, not just another night of me cooking. Then I remembered that a few months ago I had asked his Great Grandmother for some of her favorite recipes. I knew Michael hadn’t had them in at least a dozen years, if not more.
Everyone who knows me, knows I am the pickiest eater. However, I pushed that aside for one night and began my adventure of trying to make my first corned beef brisket. It was very intimidating. If we ever eat red meat Michael usually goes and buys it. I hate looking at it, it makes me super squeamish. But I went to the store and one of the employees helped me find what I was looking for!
Here is what you will need:

  • 3-4 lbs corned beef brisket
  • 2 onions quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 turnips (diced)
  • Potatos (diced)
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage (optional)

The recipe starts by putting the meat in a Dutch oven or large pan and then adding enough water until it is submerged. (Note that I halved the recipe listed above)! I added in the bay leaf and the corn beef seasoning that came with the meat and the garlic. Next you bring the water to a boil. Once it reaches a boil you turn it down until it is just simmering.

(Featuring my gorgeous Kate Spade glass cutting board)
From there I let the meat cook for about thirty minutes. Then I added in the potatoes, turnip, and carrots. (All diced). I covered it again and just let it simmer!


In the end it took much googling and a few frantic phone calls but I had everything going!! When Michael got home the first thing he said was how great it smelt! (Ironically I had all the windows open because I felt like it smelt bad!) he was so surprised and crazy excited. It was such a sweet Valentine’s Day surprise!

We sat down to eat and I was so happy to hear that it turned out perfect! Michael gobbled it down. (And took the leftovers for lunch and ate them all). That made me feel like a real winner! I’m so happy that he was happy.

 

Unsurprisingly, I wasn’t a huge fan of the brisket. The texture of the meat is odd to me. However, I ate a ton of the veggies. The best part is that the smallest piece of meat I could get was over three and a half pounds. It was HUGE for two people! So I cut it in half before starting… the bigger half is in the freezer now. I’ll have to make it again! The gift that keeps on giving haha. I hope you guys try it and let me know if you are with Michael and love it!

Naturally Different Deodorant (my new favorite) 

The Switch to Natural Deodorant 

It’s crazy how now that I am growing a sweet little person inside me how much more aware I am of what I am putting in and on my body! One thing that recently grabbed my attention is my deodorant. I’ve always heard that deodorants can contain elements that are bad for you. However, I never took the time to read about them. So I decided to spend some time on google reading about health concerns of anti perspirants. After spending quite some time reading I didn’t really have any concrete proof. For every article against it there was an article dismissing the worries. At the end of the day here are the main concerns I found with anti perspirants: Parabens, aluminum, triclosan, phthalates, and fragrance allergens. Each presented me with concern, however maybe not concrete proof that they were, for example causing cancer. Though, there has to be some form of harm if there is a label on the stick that reads “keep out of reach of children. If swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.” 
That said, it definitely gave me something to think about. One thought that crossed my mind was why risk it? Even though maybe studies are just seeing “links” to the health issue, rather than absolute causation, why do I need to risk that when there are so many organic options available to me? It makes no sense. I decided to take a chance and make a change. If I absolutely hated the natural deodorant I could just switch back! Not a huge deal, and who knows how beneficial in the long run! 
Fast forward and I am now four weeks in on my change to natural deodorant. I am using one of my favorite local businesses, Naturally Different. (I love that their products are locally made in my community, the brand is clean and sweet, plus totally affordable. My deodorant was $7). I am so happy to report that I am completely satisfied! My main concerns when I switched was whether or not I would stink. However, this works just as well and honestly I love how clean it smells! Also, previously I would get really dry armpits. I’m talking, would have to put lotion on them because they were so dry and itchy. I know that’s weird, but I understand now that the alcohol used in my previous deodorant was totally drying me out. I haven’t had that issue at all these past few weeks and I love it! I’m completely sold on my new natural deodorant. Plus, at least with the brand I use, I haven’t had any residue left in my clothing or on my skin. 
I understand that some people with different body chemistry and smells feel that they need to use their extra strength anti perspirants… that’s cool. You do you. However I am so happy that I actually understand the ingredient list on my deodorant now! (See the comparative list below). Are you willing to make the change? I definitely recommend it! 

Naturally Different: 

  • Arrowroot powder 
  • Shea butter
  • Mango butter 
  • Non aluminum baking Soda
  • Organic coconut oil 
  • Organic beeswax 
  • Vitamin E 
  • Essential oils: Lemmongrass and Rosemary 

Secret Scent Expressions: 

  • Aluminum Zirconium Octachlorohyde
  • Water
  • Alcohol denat 
  • Cyclopentasiloxane
  • Propylene glycol
  • Dimethicone
  • Calcium chloride 
  • PEG/PPG-18/18 dimethicone
  • Fragrance 

Please feel free to send me any feedback or brands you love! It would be great to get some other opinions.  

Gender Prediction Wives Tales

We find out the gender of the baby THIS AFTERNOON. OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS!!! I can not believe it. I decided before we get the answer to our LONG anticipated question I would look back at some of the fun (and possibly crazy) gender prediction wives tales! I thought it might be fun to know if they had any “accuracy.”

Placenta Placement: In this test you ask the ultrasound tech where in the placenta the baby is resting. If the baby is in top or bottom right this indicates a boy. Meanwhile, top or bottom left predicts a girl! We asked our ultrasound tech and she said the baby was curled up in the left, indicating a baby girl! 

Ring Swing: There is one wives tale that involves pulling out on of your hairs and sliding your wedding ring onto it. Then you move it in a certain patter (depends what source) and then you stop moving. If the ring continues to spin it will be a boy, if your ring swings back and forth, it is a girl. Sophie came over one night and told me about it! We decided to try. My result? A girl! 

Heartbeat: Another popular Pinterest predictor was about the heartbeat. Supposedly if the heart beat was lower than 140 bpm this predicted a baby boy. A heart beat higher than 140 bpm indicated a little girl! According to this test, I would be having a girl! At eight weeks the baby’s precious heart was pumping away at 150 bpm.

Salt vs. Sweet:This test proposed that if you constantly want sour or salty foods you are carrying a boy. Sweet foods (and some sources said orange juice) indicate a growing girl! I don’t think i have craved anything salty per say. However, I have been eating sweet tarts non stop! What does that mean? That is the candy that is literally made to be sweet and sour. However, I haven’t wanted any other sweets on a regular basis… So I am going to say I crave sour. This indicates a sweet baby boy! 

Skin: Another predicting idea is that if you have better skin than ever before you are carrying a boy. Meanwhile, having worse skin indicates a girl. I am having the worst breakouts of my life! It is disgusting. So that would be a strong vote for girl! 

Sleep: This test proposes that if you sleep on your left side you are growing a boy. meanwhile, sleeping on your right indicated a growing girl. I have been sleeping mainly on my left, so one more vote for boy! 

Morning Sickness: (First off gross. I hate being sick, and boy have I been sick.) This test says no morning sickness means a boy, while having sickness indicates a girl. This seems to be based off of a notion about hormones. For me, this indicates a VERY hormonal little girl!!

Age at Conception: This predictor was odd to me, however I saw it several times! Supposedly if you take your age at conception and add the number of the month of conception it could predict gender. An odd number signified a boy while an even number predicted a girl. This predicts a little boy for me!

There are a few more tests you can do, however most of them involve urine. I am so not down with that, sorry! So in the end, of those eight tests I received three predictions for a boy and five that the baby is a girl! I guess we will find out soon enough! We aren’t announcing gender until Friday when we can tell the whole family at the same time.  Until then- do you have any guesses!?! 

// jeans: Lucky Brand // shirt: Ann Taylor Petite // sweater: New York & Company // Fitbit: Alta //rings: Tiffany & Co and Genesis Diamond 

Also featuring my belly band because I can’t zip my pants up!! It’s been such a life saver- and it just looks like a lace cami! 

Michael’s Birthday Surprise: A Paris Recap

Life has been so so crazy. I am just now getting to write about our amazing 48 hours in Paris!! This trip was a total surprise for Michael’s birthday. He had zero idea that we were going.  I had “accidentally spilled the beans” about a restaurant in London that was supposedly his birthday surprise. So when I woke him up on his birthday at 5am he had no idea we were off to the train station! We loaded up on the Eurostar around 7am and arrived around 9am! (The train was surprisingly comfortable. It was such an easy way to travel and security took almost no time).

Once we got out of the station we grabbed a cab and headed to a hotel I had booked using (almost all) of our hotel points! It was the Intercontinental Paris.  Honestly, for such an expensive hotel, I was very disappointed.  However, the location was absolutely prime! It took us less than five minutes to walk over to the Arch de Triumph. We walked around the outside and then paid the fee to go to the top. First of all, I was not expecting to be so winded from those stairs! However, I was gasping for breath.  That walk is steep!! Secondly, the view was absolutely gorgeous.  You could see everything! It was a relatively clear day and we could see what felt like all of Paris. I could barely believe it was real!

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//Scarf: Target // Sweater: Lucky

Next we walked a few minutes over to the Av. des Champs Elysees. This is where some serious shopping was located. It was fun to see all the glamorous, giant stores. We stopped at a gorgeous Laduree tea room. It was so beautiful inside and the pastries were to die for! Of course, I ordered vanilla macarons. They were beyond fabulous, obviously the best I have ever had! (Also, they had the option to get a GIANT macaron, pictured below… seriously like triple the size I usually buy). Then we headed to the store I was the most excited to see- Tiffany & Co! The Champs Elysees location is the Flagship of Europe. It is so beautiful. As per tradition, we added another country to my collection of Tiffany & Co jewelry. Since Paris is so classic I went with an iconic Return To Tiffany charm bracelet.

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As we were leaving the sales woman recommended this fabulous Italian place round the corner. I wish I could remember the name of it, but the day is such a blur! After that we went back to our hotel, I was so tired. I took a quick nap and then we headed off to Michael’s surprise dinner… I had made reservations to eat dinner inside the Eiffel Tower!

Michael absolutely loved his dinner. I have the taste buds of a three year old, so I can admit I was a little overwhelmed. However, the dinner was fabulous.  I’m going to have to do a blog post exclusively on dinner to give it justice!!

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After eating we climbed halfway up the Eiffel Tower! Then I gave up and we bought lift tickets to get to the very very top! (There were A TON of stairs and it was FREEZING cold). The top was breathtaking. In more than one way too! The view was spectacular. You could see everything and by this point it was dark so everything was lit up. Also, breathtaking in the fact that it was slightly terrifying! From the top you could feel the entire structure swaying! It definitely was thrilling, if not nauseating. It was a windy night, but that high up it felt like a storm! After we got our fill we rode the lift down and grabbed a taxi back to the hotel.

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//Dress: Kate Spade // Necklace: Kate Spade // Shoes: Steve Maden

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The entire night was magical, but possibly the best part of all was once we got back to the hotel. We got a FaceTime call from Sophie… She had just found out that she was also pregnant!! What!?!? It took me hours to fall asleep I was so excited.

We slept in super late because I didn’t go to sleep until the early hours of the morning.  We packed up our duffle and headed over to Notre Dame. It was absolutely gorgeous!! From there we actually decided to split up. This was my first official day of morning sickness and I was definitely feeling it. I actually went to a nice restaurant for breakfast and then walked around for maybe fifteen minutes before settling into a cafe. Meanwhile I told Michael to go explore! He couldn’t waste a whole day in Paris just because I felt awful. He explored what he said felt like the whole city. He got to see the Louvre, eat street food, the works. Later that afternoon we met back up and walked round a different shopping district.  The stores were numerous and huge! This one department store was five stories tall and endless.  That night we took the last train back to London and then took the line back to Joey & Amy’s house.  Even though Paris was fun, it felt great to be back somewhere familiar. Overall, I feel comfortable saying I am the queen of birthday surprises this year!

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Kate Spade Christmas Cards

There are a few things in life that I truly believe. One of those things is the irreplaceable magic of a handwritten letter. No text message or email will ever be as rewarding as opening the mailbox and seeing a letter addressed to you!

No text message saying “thanks” will ever feel as heartfelt as a letter. In the same, Christmas ecards can’t compare to an envelope in your mail box! Which is why I absolutely LOVE sending out my Christmas cards every year. This year  bought my cards in October! I admit that’s early, but I found the most perfect cards and I knew nothing would ever be able to compare.

The cards are the “jingle all the way” holiday card set by Kate Spade! They are so beyond cute. There is a little sketch of a dog with a string of candy canes. The message inside says “jingle all the way.” The envelopes are so darling! I also had one box of one of last year’s Kate Spade holiday card sets. I found them after I had already mailed out our cards. So I bought a box and packed them up with the Christmas ornaments for this year! They are really clever. On the front of the card there are three French hens, complete with cigars, baguettes, and barrettes. On the inside it reads “and a partridge in a pear tree.”

I am so excited to mail these out! I bought my Christmas stamps last week and have just finished addressing the envelopes. I honestly wish I had picked up more, I was a few short. (No worries, I improvised and made a few hand made cards as well!) Anyways, I hope you take the time to write a Christmas note or two and mail it out this season! Here is a picture or two of my favorite holiday cards yet!