March 28, 2014

Thoughts on Being a Momma

When you announce you're expecting, people shower you with congratulations and excitement. You spend the next several months hearing how becoming a mother will change your life, that nothing compares to being a mom. You hear these things, but you actually can't comprehend how motherhood will actually feel.

I still remember those last few moments before Maxwell arrived and I kept thinking, 'I'm not ready!' and was a little panicked. The moment I heard his cry I felt this outer body experience and I knew he was mine. I felt immediate pride for that scream and when they laid him on my chest I fell in love. I have known love all my life, but this was something different. The man I fell in love with and I created this little tiny person, and there is just no way to explain how that makes you feel.

The first few days in the hospital felt like a honeymoon of sorts. I was still on painkillers and there were nurses to help us. I kinda felt like this wasn't going to be as bad as everyone makes those first few weeks out to be. The day we got home, I came to a different conclusion. There you are, sleep deprived, exhausted, emotionally overwhelmed and holding a baby. I knew I really wanted to nurse Max for as long as I could. Nursing a baby is no joke. Those first few weeks every feeding I would feel the energy being drained out of me. Rob would have to make sure I didn't fall asleep while nursing, it was so hard. Then by the time I would finish nursing, we might have two solid hours to sleep, eat, shower and regroup before the process started over again.

I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel until week five. And by week six I felt almost back to normal. Maxwell took every ounce of energy we had and somehow your body allows you to function when it probably should be giving up. It's honestly beautiful. I don't miss those first few weeks, but I think they are hard for a reason, it's like an emergency brake. You get reprogrammed to do whatever it takes to keep this little begin alive and you learn to put your own needs aside for awhile.

Maxwell is amazing. I could watch him for hours and sometimes I do. I love being a mom more than I ever thought. During my pregnancy I couldn't wait to have him so I could get back to doing my pre-pregnancy routines. As Maxwell becomes more of a baby and less of a newborn, I find myself already wanting to do this all over again. I told Rob the other night that for the first time in my life I feel like I'm a natural at something. I understand how women make this their only job. I'm enjoying every day with Max and realizing it all goes by so fast. I cry every time he out grows a piece of clothing and yet I'm so excited when learns something new. This motherhood thing is a roller coaster of emotions and I am so grateful to be on this ride.

March 18, 2014

Dear Maxwell // One Month

Dear Maxwell,

Oh how you've changed! Actually, around 4 weeks I started to feel a bit more myself and we got out of the house more often. You took your first bottle from your Dad. It was such a special moment and it made me realize how much I enjoy breastfeeding. You experienced your first snow! We bundled you up and took you out in the most magical of snowfalls and you promptly fell asleep. You work your little tongue often as if you can taste the air around you. We really gave into the whole pacifier deal and I am so glad, no regrets. You sleep so much better and can soothe yourself now. The faces! The faces you are capable of making can either make my heart melt or break. The bottom lip starts sticking out and it kills me. These days you love looking up at lights, you stare at them till you fall asleep.

It was a big month for milestones, your first plane ride to Charleston and your Christening. You slept right through both and we were so proud of you. Speaking of sleeping, you began sleeping through the night at 8 weeks and we couldn't believe it.You also learned a new trick, which we call your exercises. You push off whatever surface we have you hovering over and then squat down, over and over until you tire yourself out. You seem very pleased with yourself. Still no true smiles, but we think you are about to start. You are completely mesmerized by your Dad. You give him the best faces and stare at him until your eyes get too heavy and you doze off. I am so happy you were able to have more time together before he deployed.

You've gotten chunky and can hold your head up by yourself. At your 2 month checkup you weight 9.5 lbs! You've grown out of a few newborn onsies, and your Momma might have shed a few tears because it's all going by too quickly. I want to bottle up these 'firsts' and relive them forever. I get so excited when you learn something new and I'm genuinely proud, it's the best feeling. It makes me so excited for your first steps, your first words and so much more.

I am so grateful to be your Momma and even more grateful to have you as a bright spot in my days without your Dad here.

Lots of love,

March 12, 2014

What The Heck Is Eating Clean?

On the 23rd of February I began eating clean. What is eating clean?

I first came across this concept through an instagram account called eating_whole. I love how simple Lauren's meals were and the results she was getting. I knew I wanted to do something to help get this baby weight off and this seemed like a great approach.

The first week I was really surprised by the lack of cravings I had for bad things. I only drank water and had three meals w/ one snack a day. I took a grocery list from Lauren's account and bought everything I thought I would like. I learned what worked and what didn't. I kept track of my calories, but wasn't restricting them. I wanted to see which days I felt more full and had the most energy, which for me was between 1,450 - 1,550 calories (I am still breastfeeding). 

Week 1 I lost 2.5 lbs and felt amazing. Week 2 I lost another 2.5 lbs and still feel great. I am still surprised at the lack of cravings for bad food I've had. During my pregnancy I basically wanted anything but healthy food. My skin has never been more clear. I've tried every over the counter acne product out there and would still get spots on my neck, I haven't seen my skin look this good EVER. 

To date this was my favorite snack she has posted! 

I sliced a sweet potato super thin, tossed the slices in a tiny bit of coconut oil, placed them flat on a baking sheet and sprinkled with chili powder, paprika, and garlic. Baked in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes until they became chips. The dip is 1 mashed avocado mixed with a big spoonful of Fage plain Greek yogurt, 1 diced tomato, a squeeze of lime, a drizzle of honey, a dash of garlic. - Lauren of Eating Whole
I've also restricted my dairy intake as it upsets little man's stomach, but I think I've made the switch to Almond Milk for good. I highly encourage you to check out Lauren's account and blog if you are interested in eating clean or just trying to eat more healthy. 

I will keep you updated on my progress, I plan to go a full 6 weeks. 

March 11, 2014

Dear Maxwell // Newborn

Dear Maxwell,

You came four weeks earlier than expected and it couldn't have been better timing. You gave your Dad four extra weeks with you and you gave all our out of state family a friends a chance to meet you without an extra visit. From the beginning you were beautifully handsome. You love sleeping with your hands clasped together and you are an excellent sleeper. You want to be fed about every 2 hours, sometimes sooner. Life with you has been better than I could ever imagine, one moment it was just your Dad and me, and now it's the three of us. We keep looking at each other and smiling because you are ours, and you are finally here.

How much you've changed in four and half short weeks. You were so tiny when we brought you home from the hospital at almost 6 lbs. And now you've grown to almost 8.5 lbs! Your little legs are starting to get chunkier and so are your cheeks. You love being swaddled, especially if it's been done by your Dad. He can make you stop crying so easily, you are very attached to him. Currently, you sleep in our room in a bassinet. You love being held or getting to sleep in the big bed with us. When you aren't swaddled you like to flail your arms and kick your feet. It's pretty adorable. Occasionally, you fall asleep with your hands up in the air, and most of the time you have very serious looks on your face. I think you are going to be quite the observer.

We love you so much little man and can't wait to watch you grow.


**letter idea from my favorite blogger Elise**

March 10, 2014

Rob's Deployment Ceremony

A little over two weeks ago we sent Rob off for his first deployment. Rob flies helicopters for the Alabama National Guard and they are being deployed for about a year. The unit put together an amazing send off weekend that was both emotional and impressive.

Our families gathered Saturday afternoon and drove Rob to the unit in our town. They had a formal ceremony where several Majors spoke about their bravery and the difficult tasks ahead of them. Surprisingly, I made it through the whole entire day without tears, although singing the National Anthem almost got me.

After the ceremony, we walked around the hanger and explored inside one of the Chinook helicopters. Everyone in his unit was able to meet Maxwell and he was passed around quite a bit. That evening we all went out to dinner at a very special restaurant to both families. Rob said his goodbye's to my family and we went home for our last night in our home together until 2015.

The next morning we drove out to the hanger where they would fly out from. Both of our parents were there and we all just stood around the helicopter Rob would be flying that day. The guys had a quick pow-wow and then were told they needed to be in their helicopters. That's when it got hard. Watching Rob say goodbye to his Mom and Dad, my mom and then Max. It broke my heart to think about everything he will miss seeing first person. We hugged goodbye and then the families had to walk back towards the hanger for them to take off.

I had never seen Rob start up his helicopter or take off, so I was pretty impressed with the rest of the send off. It took about 20 minutes of them checking things off and starting up their blades. Then one by one the helicopters went off and then we realized they were coming back for a fly over. I couldn't stop smiling as they flew over. As sad as I am that 70 men will be away from their families for a year, I'm proud to know there are men and families that are willing to sacrifice for our freedom. I've never understood that sacrifice until now and on days I'm having a hard time I think about how proud I am of my husband and all the men in the armed forces.

Rob will be stationed in Texas for a few months and just before the unit goes "in country" we will get four days together. I am so excited to see him and be together again before the long 10 month haul.