November 20, 2013

Dear Doodle

**On October 22nd, 2013 my grandfather passed away. I haven't known what to say on my blog and so this letter will have to do** 

Thank you. Thank you for so many things, big and small. I'm not even sure how to thank someone for stepping up in my life the way you did. You were the man in my life from the beginning and I wouldn't be the person I am today if you hadn't helped. I never imagined you being gone and I'm so sad you aren't here anymore. I miss hearing you say 'Hey Red' and I miss your laugh, oh man do I miss your laugh. We lost you so quickly and I feel like there were still a million more milestones I wanted you to be a part of, that I wanted you to witness. You taught me so many things through the years together and I will never forget them. I will never forget your passion to serve in the community or help others. You lived a full life Doodle and helped so many different people through the years, I hope I can leave this world and accomplish half of what you did. I will continue to make you proud Doodle and I love you so much.
Love Red

October 11, 2013

My Man is 29!

I cannot believe Rob turns 29 today! I forget we are four years apart and 29 seems so far away to me. However, today is about Rob and how AMAZING he is!

Rob is the type of person that can make friends with anyone and talk about anything. He is always the one with the biggest smile and the most animated hand gestures. He loves flying only slightly more than SEC football, and he is ALL about his family. Rob is so patient and steady, he balances me out completely. He is the best husband I could ask for and I'm incredibly grateful for him. I also think he is the most handsome man I've ever seen.

Happy Birthday Babe!

October 7, 2013

The Skinny on Baby Gear

Baby gear... oh baby gear. Lately, I've started biting the bullet and purchasing some of the bigger items on our list. Holy Cow is it stressful. First of all you are spending chunks of money on products you can't even use yet and just praying that it works for you and your baby.

I've researched products constantly for the past few months as I've built up our baby registry and want list. I can say that Amazon reviews have been my saving grace and the only reason I haven't totally given up.

Here are a few items we've purchased and my thoughts pre-baby, I will be sure to do a follow up post-baby.

1) Bugaboo Bee Stroller -- I've wanted this since I saw it on a few blogs and in person. It's pretty pricey, but is a great investment. I see myself using this for all our kids and I love that you can change the canopy colors inexpensively. I'm hoping it's as easy to fold up as it promises.

2) Keekaroo High Chair -- I know we are a ways off from needing a high chair, but we found this one 60% off at a local store and had to swipe it. It was very easy to put together, we were even missing a piece and the company sent us a replacement no questions asked. The high chair adjusts as the baby grows which I like and it also doesn't look cheap. I also like that the tray attachment came with a plastic cover for easy clean up after meals.

3) BabyHome Dream Cot -- I'm pretty sure I thought Elise Joy was a genius when I saw this on her blog. I hadn't even thought about the early months of round the clock feedings and not wanting to have the baby in his crib. I knew this was going to be a big chunk of our budget, but I liked that it could fold up and travel easily to the grandparents house. I actually found this 80% off last week in the color we wanted and swiped it up. It was too easy to put together and I'm in love with it so far.

4) Bumbo Seat -- These seem to be a right of passage for babies these days. My sweet neighbor passed hers down to us to use. They aren't really plastic, more like a very sturdy plush foam. I'm interested to see at what month baby boy can actually sit up in this or if he even likes it.

5) Medula Breast Pump -- I've been told I can't live without this by almost every mom I know. I'm wishing our Tricare health insurance covered it, but they cover 99% of everything else, so I can't complain. I'm hoping to either grab one on sale or craigslist and just buy new attachments and hoses. I can't really review much more of this one until post baby.

6) Bumgenius Cloth Diapers -- Another Elise Joy recommended product. I knew I wanted to cloth diaper, especially since I will be at home and not going to work anytime soon after the baby's arrival. I feel like I've researched cloth diapers till my eyes burned and these seem to be the best ones for us. I'm interested to see how they work out and I do plan to use newborn disposable diapers the first few weeks.

7) Britax Chaperone Carseat -- Britax seems to be the carseat to buy if you are into safety, which Rob and I are. I loved the cow print and bought it before we knew the gender. I feel like this pattern can go either way. It's kinda heavy and I feel like my biceps are going to be benefitting from me carting around little bit. It was extremely easy to install into our car, however, we still need to have it looked at to make sure I did it correctly.

Other gear I haven't decided on yet, suggestions welcome // bottles, baby swing, bugaboo stroller accessories, crib mattress,

September 30, 2013

Taking Stock.

I saw this on The Daybook and wanted to play along. I love her blog and her adorable son.

Making: a tiny human, 24 weeks 2 days // 6 months in
Cooking: banana bread muffins from our neglected bananas
Drinking: Milo's sweet tea, the kind with Splenda
Reading: Two Minute Drill to Manhood by John Croyle; how to raise a son, it's so darn good. 
Wanting: new french doors to the side porch and a new wood paneled front door...sigh
Looking: forward to Thanksgiving with both sides of our family!
Playing: with the pup dogs at the dog park
Wasting: away our weekends, we are seriously so lazy, but I kinda don't care because Rob's home and here. That won't be the case in a few weeks. 
Sewing: a little cross stitch of Italy for the nursery
Wishing: for an unlimited clothes budget for our little one, the new j. crew baby makes my wallet hurt thinking about it.
Enjoying: football season with Rob 
Waiting: to close on our 1st house, 18 more days.
Liking: the crispness in the air every morning and evening. I want to bottle it up. 
Wondering: what color hair our little boy will have
Loving: the man I get to claim as my husband, he just rocks. 
Hoping: for closure and peace as my grandfather gets closer to leaving us.
Marveling: at the fact that Rob pointed out a falling meteor during the football game this Saturday. IT WAS MAGICAL.
Needing: some kind of backyard guru to come build a deck and landscape our backyard, ya that would be great. 
Smelling: freshly washed sheets
Wearing: my favorite pajama pants and praying they fit me throughout this pregnancy
Following: my gut
Noticing: the leaves have already started to fall
Knowing: that I only have 4.5 months till Rob deploys and praying for guidance every day.
Thinking: about when I can run again, actually run, not jog. I miss sprinting. 
Feeling: restless and tired at the same time
Bookmarking: baby toys and baby clothes, it's a problem
Opening: some of the sweetest Mom-tobe cards from friends
Giggling: every night before bed 

September 24, 2013

Baby Boy Faves // Toy Edition

I know it's probably WAY too soon for me to be even entertaining the idea of toys for our little guy, but I can't help it. I'm addicted to searching for toys that are 'pretty' and not too cheesy looking. Think no plastic, no lights or electronic sounds. I dislike cheap toys, the ones that you know are going to break about a month into the game. I want to invest in ones that can get passed down to his little brother or sister, and hold up over time.

Enter companies like HABA,

September 23, 2013

Baby Update // Single Umbilical Artery

Today's post is something we've kept to ourselves as a family, until now, because the worrying is over. At our gender ultrasound 5 weeks ago we were told that the baby's umbilical cord only contained one artery instead of the normal two. No one really told us what this meant, which left google to fill in the blanks. I WAS TERRIFIED. Everything I was reading told me that SUA could lead to heart defects, kidney abnormalities and pre-term labor.

We were scheduled for a level two ultrasound the following week. There they verified that the original ultrasound was correct about the one artery, but they couldn't see any growth issues at all. They couldn't rule out any heart issues because baby boy wasn't far enough along, and so began the longest four weeks of our lives.

Rob and I prayed a lot for baby boy and we prepared ourselves for either result. Every day babies aren't born exactly like we want them to be, but we have the technology and medicine to get them back on track. I knew deep down that we could handle this either way.

This morning at 8:30 am, our four week wait came to an end. We found out that baby boy's heart is as perfect as it could be and he is measuring exactly on target. I've never been so relieved and happy. I always thought motherhood started the day you brought a baby into the world, but I'm learning that it starts much sooner than that. My mom's always told me that being a mom is like having a piece of your heart that walks around outside your body; I'm beginning to understand what that means. Parenthood is not for the weak and I know that as we begin this journey that there will be many more things to worry about and fear. But for today, I'm rubbing my tummy and shedding a few happy tears that this one is over.

September 5, 2013

An Ode to 24

Twenty-four. What an amazing, fantastic, emotional, life changing year. It seems almost like blur, most good things do that. I have to say it's been the best year of my life. I feel like a really became an adult this year, I started making decisions on my own without worrying about others would think. I broke out of my own expectations and I know I'm much happier now.

- I quit my high-paying government job down on the gulf, I had lived in a hotel for over a year. I couldn't make a life for myself being in perpetual limbo.
- Rob asked me to marry him. I said 'Yes!' 
- Indie & Chic really took off till the beginning of 2013. It was such a learning experience and I made a lot of decisions about where I wanted the business to go. 
- I discovered Peach-Pear La Croix.
- Was finally reunited permanently with my dog Parker, and gained Rob's dog Molly!
- Moved all my possessions out of my mom's basement and into a house we began renting. Possibly the most liberating feeling to finally be able to plant my roots for the first time since High School. 
- Getting married in Pisa, Italy with our families. 
- Spending the most romantic week in Italy with my HUSBAND!
- Knowing that nannying full time was not my passion, but being an adult and sticking with my obligations. 
- Falling into married life so easily and wondering when it gets to the tough part.
- Celebrating our marriage with a huge crowd of friends and family. Dancing until they made us leave and driving myself home in my wedding dress. BEST. RECEPTION. EVER. 
- Discovering that in fact I am a good cook and being able to try new dishes. 
- Diving back into running and signing up for a half-marathon with Rob.
- SURPRISE! Finding out we were going to be parents about four months into marriage!
- We survived through the hardest summer of both our lives. 
- My car of 9 years was totaled and I really miss 'her'.
- In January we will have a little boy in our arms and I just don't think it could get any better than that. 
- And all of the little things that make life full : Taylor Swift dance parties, long walks in the neighborhood, pancake Saturdays, date nights, painting parties, IKEA trips and spending a whole year beside my very best friend. 

25, you have a lot to bring to the table, but somehow I know it's only going to get better!

August 26, 2013

Indie & Chic Sale // 50% off all inventory

I LOVE SALES. I usually don't buy things unless the item is on sale. Indie & Chic hasn't had one all year and I thought 'let's do this!'

I'm offering 50% off all purchases made in the shop, ends when product runs out! Stock up on Christmas, birthday and love gifts. A lot of these items will not be coming back once they are sold out. Use code : SUMMERSALE at checkout!

Free shipping will be offered to those who instagram/blog/tweet about the sale. You will need to e-mail me the link,

August 24, 2013

Baby Boy Favs // August Edition

If you haven't heard the exciting news, Rob and I found out Monday we are having a little boy! Deep down I knew it, but as a first time preggo I was nervous to say it out loud in fear of being wrong. We are over the moon excited for this little one!

I've already been collecting a few gender neutral items, but now the fun begins. Boy stuff is a challenge and I'm up for it. Here are some things I've been eyeing.

Solly Baby Wrap // My SIL told me about this company the week after we announced, I pre-ordered the Natural & Grey Stripe edition and I love it. It's so easy to use, yes I've practiced. (so thank you Amelia!)

Little Hip Squeaks // I actually found this company through Pinterest! I was drawn towards the anchor blanket and any of the baby hats. I don't mind paying a little more for homegrown companies.

Hello Apparel Onsie // Neon typography one a onsie... done. I love this company and I will continue to support them. I hope they come out with some long sleeve onsies so I don't have to wait as long for little man to wear them.

Restoration Hardware Giraffe // I adore stuffed animals. When I saw this collection I knew we had to get either the giraffe or elephant!

Hanna Anderson Bodysuit // I actually bought the blue and green before we knew the gender. I thought they could go either way on a newborn. It's been hard to find cute long sleeve outfits and I scored these at 50% off.

Aden+Anais Crib Sheet // Honestly anything by this brand is pure gold. I think I may buy all their crib sheet designs and change them out as often as the baby's outfit. Oh and their muslin swaddle blankets are amazing!

And that's what I've been drooling over lately for little baby e. Any other items I should know about? I will do a toy post and book post later. Still haven't picked out our nursery furniture yet, I'm too picky!

August 23, 2013

19 weeks

What's going on at 19 weeks:

- I've stopped craving sweets and candy... I don't know how to feel about this.
- My belly is looking more and more pregnant and less like I've let myself go. This makes me happy.
- I'm so happy to be done with race training and I'm getting into a new workout rhythm
- I've started to feel the little one moving, not kicks or anything, just flutters. I can't wait to feel a kick.
- The nesting part has begun, I've been cleaning and organizing every inch of our house. It feels so good to be productive again.
- I have a hard time grasping that I'm almost 4.5 months along, but still not really half way, I'm going to have a huge belly at the end of this.
- My weight gain has been non-existent this past month, which is good because I feel like I gained more than normal the first trimester. So far I'm up 13lbs, my goal is 30.
- Rob and I have been cooking again and it feels so good to be eating healthy foods and smaller portions, we got off track with all the hospital foods and meals. I can feel a difference in my energy and moods.
- So happy to know that baby e is a boy! We cannot wait to meet him!

August 22, 2013

Our Little Baby Is A...

We are beyond excited for little one to arrive and now I can start clothes shopping for little one.

August 19, 2013

The SeaWheeze 2013 // Lululemon's Half Marathon

Vancouver, Canada has to be in my top three favorite cities. I fell in love and barely got to see it all, I cannot wait to go back next year. Rob and I flew in late Thursday night and took the skyline from the airport into downtown. We stayed at the Hampton Inn, it was a great hotel and the perfect location for exploring the city by foot.

Friday morning we woke up early to go get our packets for the race, BIG MISTAKE showing up early. The line was wrapped around the convention center, apparently most people were there to shop the SeaWheeze store, so it ended up taking us 2.5 hours to get our packets. Rob jokes that the theme of the SeaWheeze weekend was 'lines, lines and more lines,' there was literally a line for everything. At this point we headed back to the hotel to regroup. We decided to go find the original Lululemon store and grab some new gear there, WAY less crowed. I'm also very happy to inform you all that Rob is now a Lulu addict as well, he went crazy over their running shorts! Yay!

Saturday morning we had to wake up around 5:00 am to eat early enough before the race. We started heading down to the race start shortly after.  It was insane!!! Over 10,000 runners all wearing Lululemon gear was pretty insane, it made for a very colorful crowd. We found our pace group and waited for the start. We were the 5th wave start, so we had to wait a little bit, I was getting a bit antsy. And then just like that we were off.

I always think the first few miles are pretty hard, it's always so crowded and you aren't in your rhythm yet. Rob needed to stop at the first bathroom he saw, but I knew I needed to keep going so we decided he would catch back up. At mile 3 I was getting kinda nervous that it was not a great idea to separate, but then he found me. About mile 4 we started running across this suspension bridge, it was basically a long hill up each way, I think mentally that was the hardest part knowing I had to go back up the other side. All along the way there were cheer groups with THE BEST SIGNS, they were so much fun to read while running.

After the bridge we were about half way through and we began running along the seawall. OMG it was breathtaking!!! I've never run a race that was so beautiful. There were more cheer groups all along the wall and in the water, they really thought of everything. About mile 10 I really wanted to walk, I called ahead to Rob and said I need a break. He let me walk for about a minute and then started jogging again and I followed. I think he knew I could do it, I just needed him to push me. I will say the last kilometer (.62 of a mile) was BRUTAL. Everyone along the sides kept telling us we were almost there, but with ever turn I still couldn't see the finish line. I wanted to be DONE!!! Finally we could see it and I ran as fast as I could to the end, Rob right beside me (he is the best).

Once we finished I must have looked pretty bad because some race guy came up to Rob asking if I needed medical assistance. Rob replied I was fine, just 4.5 months pregnant, the guy kinda looked at us like we were crazy. People kept handing us race swag and waters, but no food. I was starving!! I had actually been hungry for the last hour of the race, haha. The line to get food was insane!! I told Rob there was no way I was standing in that and so we decided to walk back to the McDonald's by our hotel. REAL LIFE here people, after a long race the grossest things sound so good, I kinda gag a little thinking about eating that quarter pounder after the race, but in that moment it tasted like pure gold.

We then took showers and a much needed nap. I told Rob we needed to walk a little or we wouldn't be able to move the next day. We decided to head over the Sunset Festival that was provided for the runners. We took the shuttle over and stayed for a few hours, Stanley Park is insanely beautiful. We decided to walk the seawall back to the hotel, a nice 7 mile walk. It felt so good to not be running that I would have walked further.

I was pretty sad we had to leave the next day. Rob and I have decided next time we come together that we need at least a week. I still just can't get over how beautiful the city is. I have plans to sign up for next years race and hopefully someone can come with me to hold the bitty baby while I run. I'm already  excited!

August 17, 2013

Lululemon Half Marathon // Running Pregnant

Remember when Rob & I signed up for the Lululemon half marathon back in January?? We wanted to run a big race together and Vancouver, Canada sounded like a great getaway. Fast forward 3.5 months to finding out we were having a baby!! There was no getting out the race, the tickets were non-refundable as was the airfare... and so began training for a half marathon pregnant.

I've been a runner since I was in HS, but the thought of running 13.1 miles 4.5 months pregnant seemed like a lot to bite off. I was so tired the first two months of training, it was so hard to put in the miles. However, as the day approached we had the attitude of 'it will be what it will be, let's just have some fun.'

The day before the race we went to get our packets, I was surrounded by tiny little runners and I felt like a beached whale. Rob kept telling me that I looked great and to remember I was carrying a baby, however, I will say being around a bunch of very athletic runners while pregnant is tough.

The morning of the race I wasn't nervous at all, usually I'm so nervous on race days, I get so competitive on beating my old times. This race I knew there was no way I would be beating my PR of 1:54, so I really had nothing to lose, my goal was to finish and walk as little as possible.

Rob ran next to me the whole time, even when I got super slow the last 3 miles. It was the most beautiful race I've done, the course was along the seawalls. I surprisingly didn't have any pain while running, I just felt heavy, and couldn't keep up my pace at the end. Also, the baby decided that it wanted to sit on my bladder the whole entire race so that was pretty uncomfortable, but pretty funny. Rob and I finished with a time of 2:32, I'm just happy to have finished without injury.

I will say I enjoy races more non-preggo. For me races are a time to push myself mentally and physically. I want to feel like I left everything out on the course when I finish, but with this race that wasn't safe for me to do. I cannot wait to run my first race post baby and get into the routine of running  with a stroller. I've always been so impressed with moms that do that!

I'll be posting a separate post about the Lululemon Half Marathon later in the week!

July 25, 2013

our little surprise

Thanks so much for all the kind words over the past week! We are so excited about this baby. I'm currently 14.5 weeks and my belly is starting to show. I cannot wait to find out the gender, which will happen the end of August.

We found out two days before Mother's Day. It went something like 'hmm, I'm late...' and driving to the store buying a pregnancy test. I was thinking to myself, there is no way, but seconds after I took the test two pink little lines lit up (the digital one below to confirm) I didn't even really process the whole thing before I called Rob at work. I think I asked him to step outside that I needed to tell him something. Then I just blurted out 'We're pregnant!' He was beyond happy and I was on the other end still processing. We kept texting each other the rest of the day, and it really started to hit me... we are having a baby!!

We drove over to my mom's that night to tell her. We stopped by a book store and purchased my favorite childhood book. I handed it to her and told her she was going to need this soon. She just stared at it and then started freaking out. She couldn't believe she was going to be a grandmother!! We drove down to a favorite spot and just talked details, there was so much excitement.

The next day we had already planned to have Rob's parents over for dinner. We wrapped up a little onesie as one of her Mother's Day gifts. When she opened it she didn't say a word, just kept holding it up and looking back at us. Then Rob and I both told her 'you're going to be a grandma!' She never stopped smiling the whole night and she couldn't believe it. Rob's dad was just as happy and we all spent the whole dinner taking about the little baby to be.

Looking back, I think it's so hilarious we told our parents days after finding out at just 5 weeks along. But that's just us, and we are both extremely close with our families. I cannot imagine waiting to tell them till after the 1st trimester. I needed support and comfort the most those first few weeks. As a whole my first trimester was a breeze, I got so lucky. I had no morning sickness, just some nausea for a few days before I switched up my vitamin routine. The only symptom I've had is fatigue, extreme fatigue. Some days I literally slept 16-18 hours. Things seem to be easier now and I'm adjusting to my changing body. It's so crazy to have so little control, but such a beautiful miracle. I love being pregnant so far and I hope I can say that at the end.

July 19, 2013

we're making a tiny human


July 15, 2013

She's Awake

Sunday morning was the day we had all been waiting for, Mrs. Jo woke up!! They took out her breathing tube around 9:30am and from that moment on she was showered with love and information. She woke up asking for a kiss from her husband, which was about the sweetest thing in the world. I've never been so relieved in my life and seeing Rob smile again was the icing on the cake.

Today she took her first steps post op and she's not messing around about getting out of that hospital bed. I'm so proud of the fight she made to stay here with us and I'm glad we all get to help her with the next stage of recovery. The weight of the world has been lifted off all our shoulders and it's so good to have her back.

It's times like these where you realize how important relationships are and how kind hearted everyone can be. I'm so grateful for all of her friends and our friends who showered us with love and food. I need to remember it's the little things that mean the most in trying times. Much love to you all!

July 12, 2013

Sweet Jo

I just wanted to update this space with probably the biggest heartache I've ever gone through. Sunday night Rob's mom, my MIL, went into the ER for chest pains. She was treated for pneumonia, but a few hours after arrival her body went into septic shock, we almost lost her. She has been on a ventilator since then and has been sedated. Wednesday they found an injured mitral valve in her heart and took her immediately into heart surgery. She came through the surgery well, they repaired the valve. Things were looking really great. Thursday was a hard day. We had expectations of her waking up and being fine, being able to communicate with us, make eye contact. However, she is still struggling to wake up, and we have to be patient.

I married into this family only six months ago, but my love for this woman started from day one. She took me in from the beginning and never looked back. I'm not sure many people can say that about their MIL. Mrs. Jo is a fighter and I know she will make it through this, it's just an extremely painful wait. I miss her texts loaded with emoticons, I miss her checking on me and I hurt for my husband who misses his mama. We will all make it through this and I appreciate those of you who have sent prayers and well wishes. We have a long road ahead and we are going to need as much support as possible.

I love you Mrs. Jo.

June 21, 2013


Last Friday I dropped Rob off at his army base for two weeks of training. For the first time in our marriage Rob and I would be apart for more than a day, actually 14 days. My heart hurt as I hugged him goodbye in the parking lot. Friday night was the loneliest night I can remember. What made things worse is that he had barely any cell reception. Saturday we didn't even get to talk, I somehow missed his call and then he couldn't get enough service to call back. I was a wreck. I tried to tell myself that this was nothing compared to the twelve months we have coming up, but deep down this felt just as hard. It was like practicing something you never want to experience.

When people find out Rob is deploying for a year they try to say something that makes the situation seem more pleasant, 'oh, well with technology today it won't even be that hard', 'you'll blink and it will be over', etc. Then there are the comments that weren't thought out, 'well who knows, he might be in North Korea or Syria by then', 'oh he flies helicopters? they always crash in the war movies.' I honestly have started to just ignore the comments. I know people mean well, they try to relate, but there is just no way to comprehend it till your in the middle of it. I'm guessing I don't even understand what deployment means because I'm only approaching it, not living it yet. I know I have to be strong for Rob and myself, but there are moments when all I feel is sheer terror.

It's taken me marrying a soldier to understand what our military families sacrifice each year. Missing births of children, missing so many 'firsts' and holidays, just missing life with their families. It makes me feel guilty for complaining about pretty much anything. I've read Stephanie Howell's blog since before her 2nd child was born, and I thought I grasped the military life. I've cried reading her posts through deployment and returns, but now I'm not reading it, I'm living it and it's so much different. The only good part is I know that families make it through this and we will be one of them. I'm so proud of Rob and all that he does for me and our country. Each day he was been gone has gotten a little less painful and in a week he will be home.

June 11, 2013

Our January Wedding - Morning Of

It honestly feels like our wedding was years ago, but in reality it's only been five months. I miss Italy, I love how intimate our wedding was. I wouldn't change our decision to have a small wedding for anything. I remember every single moment of the ceremony and there was no pressure to out do anything previous. We wrote our own rules and created the perfect wedding for us. 

Rob and I chose not to see one another before the walk down the aisle. It was Rob's idea and I didn't have any objections. We were staying in an old palace in Lucca, Italy and the church was in Pisa, so we had to put a pillowcase over Rob's head for the whole entire drive so he couldn't see me. It looked like we had kidnapped my groom. I remember getting ready that morning and wondering if I was ever going to get my headband in the perfect spot. I was so happy that it was just the eight of us, and that I wasn't going to be seen by 200+ people when I walked down the aisle. As we drove to the church I had butterflies in my stomach, this is the day I will treasure the most, the day we make the biggest promise of our lives.

**all photos by Amelia Strauss Photography