Friday, April 28, 2017

April Recap

Just like every month seems to be doing these days, April has flown by! I've enjoyed another fabulous month of maternity leave, we've had new fun with our little man, and we've started some exciting new projects for the summer. I haven't been able to write as much because I've been too busy loving and snuggling Eli, but I was did manage to get a few posts out this month. Here's what we've been up to in April, and what we're looking forward to, complete with lots of cute baby pics!

Eli's Two Month Update

Eli turned two months old on April 23rd! This month was SO much fun, as our little guy's personality seems to be developing more and more each day. He loves to coo and smile, and even seems to "sing" with me, and I'm excited to see if he recognizes my voice when I lead worship this Sunday! Eli loves reading his black and white bug book, as well as his light up pop up book that tells the story of Easter (gotta start them young!). He's a champ at tummy time, and has excellent neck control. His hair is coming back in, and he loves bath time. And oh man, when he smiles my heart just melts!

Numbers wise, Eli is weighing in at 11 pounds and 3 ounces, and he is 22 and 3/4 inches long. This puts him in the 20th and 30th percentile respectively, but as long as he's on the growth curve we're happy and he's healthy! He's just starting to rock his 0-3 clothes and size 1 diapers. Most people think he's still so tiny, but he looks so big to me compared to when he was born! He is so alert these days, and is sleeping through the night, which is amazing for mom and dad. He started that at around six weeks and we are definitely grateful for it!

First Fever

One of the not so fun parts about turning two months old is having to get shots. Eli was a champ when they were actually giving him the shots, and he didn't really cry much. But after we got home and he woke up from a nap, it was pretty clear that he wasn't feeling well. Our normally easy-going baby was pretty fussy all day and night, and ran a slight fever. Thankfully he's feeling much better now, because this mama's heart could hardly stand seeing our little guy suffer.

Easter and Spring Fun

This Easter was extra special with baby Eli around. It was so fun to dress him up in his little bow tie and suspenders and celebrate the resurrection with our family and friends. We are blessed to have family so close, so everyone got to enjoy the day with little Eli. Crazy to think that he'll be walking around next Easter! We also visited the Zoo this month, and our little monkey had a great time! One of Aaron's many hidden talents is gardening, and he's getting serious about it this year. We've already got strawberries coming in, and he's also planted peppers, onions, carrots, corn, beans, radishes, and more! I'm excited to have fresh produce growing in our backyard, and am so thankful that Aaron's taking this on.

Fitness Goals 

Now that I've officially been cleared, I'm excited to get back to work on my fitness goals. I've been walking a bunch, so I'm already at my pre-pregnancy weight, but it seems to arranged itself in different ways on my body ha. It was nice to jump back into 9Round this week, and I feel like I'm building back some muscles that haven't been used in so long. It's been a LONG time since I've legitimately been able to do abs and push-ups without modifications, so my body is sore, but it feels great! I'm also going to run my first half marathon at the end of September- something that has always been on my bucket list. I ran my first 3.1 miles since Eli last week, and it was challenging but it felt good. No better time than now to get this post-baby body in shape, especially with a Florida trip  (and wearing a swimsuit) coming up in a little over a month!

We're excited about all that May will bring: to have Daddy home for the summer and to gear up for trips including Eli's first flight and first trip to the beach! I hope you've had a wonderful April as well.

In Case You Missed Them:


Monday, April 10, 2017

Six Reasons You Should Visit Charlotte

As someone who loves to travel and plan trips, I'm always on the look out for new destinations to check out across the country. Even with Eli, we've got a few trips planned already this summer. One place that has me surprisingly interested is Charlotte, North Carolina. The city is actually the third-fastest growing city in America, and it has a lot more to offer than people may think. From racing headquarters to family fun and more, the largest city in North Carolina won't disappoint. Here are six must-visit attractions in Charlotte.

Six Reasons You Should Visit Charlotte, North Carolina

NASCAR Hall of Fame

From simulators to a surround sound theater experience, the NASCAR Hall of Fame truly has something to offer for everyone. The Hall of Fame gives a nod to race car legends and the art of racing while also providing state-of-the-art interactive exhibits and educational experiences for kids. Admission is $20 for adults, with lower rates available for students, military members, and children.


Trips just aren't complete without a little theme park stop, and Carowinds is the perfect one to visit. Consisting of both family and thrill rides, admission to the park also includes a visit to the Boomerang Bay Water Park. Located just south of Charlotte, the park is open April through October. Tickets start at $44.

Six Reasons You Should Visit Charlotte North Carolina
Image Source: Pixabay

US National Whitewater Center

If you're seeking a different type of thrill, you can check out the US National Whitewater Center. Consisting of 24 different land and water activities including kayaking, paddleboarding, rock climbing and more, there is truly something for everyone on the 1,300 acres that form the center. If you'd rather relax, check out the River Jam Concert Series, held here during the summer months.

Discovery Place Science

If you've got kids in tow, Discovery Place Science is a must-see attraction. The museum offers all sorts of fun and educational exhibits, shows, and events at a reasonable price. Be sure to check out the Aquarium Guided Tour and the hands-on biodiversity lab. Many of the best hotel options in the city are located within walking distance of this incredible museum.

Six Reasons You Should Visit Charlotte North Carolina
Image Source: Pixabay

Mint Museum Uptown

Located near both the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the Bank of America Stadium, the Mint Museum houses a massive craft and design collection, along with an impressive art collection. Admission is $12 for adults and $9 for seniors and students. Exhibits are always changing, so this is always the perfect cultural stop to add to your Charlotte itinerary.

7th Street Public Market

This indoor market is the perfect place to find homegrown produce, delicious local pizza from Pure Pizza, and all types of flowers, wine, and other treats. Special Events include wine flights, wine and cheese nights, and chocolate and cheese pairings. Open daily, this market is a can't miss stop on your Charlotte vacation.

Overall, Charlotte is a great destination for any traveler. From family-friendly fun to adventures and thrills, this city truly has it all. I'm already looking forward to taking Eli there to explore someday! Happy travels.


Friday, April 7, 2017

March Recap

Because a certain little someone decided to join the world at the end of February, I didn't end up doing a February recap. And here I am with a six week old (what?!), finally getting around to our March recap. Better late than never, right? March was an amazing month full of tons of new for us around here: me staying home, having a child, and all things that come along with the other two. Eli took up the majority of the month, but it was fun getting to experience lots of firsts with him. Here is a recap of our March, complete with lots of baby pics!

Being a Mama

 Even though Eli ended up being a February baby instead of a March baby like we expected, I would still consider March to be the first month I really felt like a mom. The first weeks truly were a blur of a newborn fog, and looking back they were pretty challenging and exhausting. (In case you missed it, check out my 10 Tips for Surviving the First 6 Weeks with a Baby to read more about our first few weeks). I'm truly in awe of what my body is capable of: from growing Eli for nine months, then birthing him, and now feeding him. God is amazing and the intricacy of his creation is so incredible, especially in babies. Being a mom is already the best, hardest thing I've ever done, and it is such a privilege. We feel so blessed with our sweet Eli, and I'll definitely be sharing a lot of my heart and what I've learned about being a mom in future blog posts.

Staying Home

I've officially been a stay at home mom of sorts for the last six weeks. Even though I'll be going back to the world of teaching in August, our timing with Eli worked out pretty well and I'll get to be home with our little guy for five months. I'm so grateful to have this time watching him grow and change, but it also presents its own challenges. For an extrovert like me, I have to find time to get out of the house every day, and often find myself scheduling hang out time with other friends and moms. I can definitely see the need for stay at home moms to get a little adult interaction, and it's weird for me to have so much downtime after coming off of the world of teaching, coaching, leading YoungLife, and more. I feel like I went from one hundred to zero in the matter of a day, and it has been a huge blessing to have time to just focus on our sweet little boy. That will always be my most important job, but I think that I'll appreciate being at school a little more when August rolls around.

Eli's One Month 

March 23rd marked one month for Eli! It was a big month full of lots of adventures to church, sporting events, and restaurants. He hit the 8 pound mark in March, and is already up to 9 pounds. His newborn onesies are getting tight, so we know the little guy is growing. He's already changed so much even since we took his Newborn Photos, and it's so fun to see his little personality emerging. He's a huge fan of his car seat, eating, and taking naps on his lounger. He is also blessed to have both sets of grandparents within 15 minutes of him, so he's had the best babysitters ever when Mommy and Daddy have gone out once a week. He takes a bottle like a champ which helps me feel a little more free, and he's been sleeping in his crib (which is in the room just across the hall) since the second night home. He usually gives us one 6 hour stretch at night, so I'm enjoying sleeping from 11 to around 5:30! We are excited to see all that his second month will bring.


 Amazing Support  

I can't say enough about the amazing help and support we had during the entire month of March. From meals to babysitting and more, our "village" has truly helped us more than we could have ever hoped. I've always known that our friends, family, and church family were really awesome, but I've been blown away by their generosity and thoughtfulness, especially in those first few weeks. There is something special about sharing Eli with them, and he is definitely blessed to be raised around such wonderful folks.


Trip Planning  

The last trip we went on before Eli was born was Nashville back at the end of December. E was only a few weeks old during our spring break this year, so we didn't travel at all for the first time in forever. Normally we are all about traveling over our teacher breaks, but I honestly didn't miss going somewhere as much as I thought I would- maybe because we weren't sleeping much. All that to say, I'm really looking forward to traveling some this summer. We've got trips to the Florida Keys and Seattle booked, and I'm excited to introduce our little guy to our love of travel and adventure.

March was a big, slower-paced month and time of transition for our family. I hope it was just as good for yours!


Monday, April 3, 2017

10 Tips for Surviving the First 6 Weeks with a Baby

Parenting is not easy, especially the first time around. From sleepless nights to endless diaper changes, there is so much to learn in the first few weeks of taking care of a newborn. This week marks six weeks for our sweet little Eli. (Read his birth story here.) It's hard to believe that we brought him home that long along and have successfully navigated the first month and a half. It's been a sweet time, but the newborn days definitely have their ups and downs. Here are ten tips for surviving, and even thriving during the first six weeks with a baby.

10 Tips for Surviving the First Six Weeks With a Baby

1. Give yourself grace.

One of the biggest keys to survival in the first six weeks is simply to recognize that you are learning, and to not be too hard on yourself (even if this isn't your first baby). This is a time where you'll be stretched beyond belief, not to mention hormonal, so it's totally okay and normal to cry and or feel overwhelmed. Even in the moments where you feel frustrated, don't let yourself believe that you are a failure. Don't get caught up in worrying about schedules or having the perfect baby. Recognize that you're an awesome mama who is totally rocking it, even when it doesn't always feel that way.

2. Give yourself a break.

 Taking care of a new baby can be daunting, and you can only listen to so much crying before you just need a break. Even if it's walking outside to grab the mail, take a few seconds to yourself to catch your breath. It won't hurt your baby to cry for a few minutes. If you've got someone else around to watch your little one, hop in the car and go grab some coffee or get your nails done. I did this when Eli was eight days old and it made me feel like a regular person, not just a spit-up covered mom. Taking a break keeps you from getting frustrated and exploding, and it also helps you feel refreshed and ready to love on your baby again.

3. Be honest. Don't worry about people-pleasing.

There will be so many visitors who will want to come and see your new little bundle, which is awesome. At the same time, you've got to be honest with them about the needs of you and your baby. If it's not a good time for visitors because you're in the middle of a feeding or you haven't slept at all, let them know. Find a time that works better and allow yourself to ask for flexibility. If you're feeling upset, overwhelmed, or just need a break, tell someone. Be real with your spouse, yourself, and your friends. Don't let yourself get caught up in making others happy, and protect your need to heal and navigate this new, difficult time with your baby. People will have lots of time to love on them when you're up to it. 

10 Tips for Surviving the First Six Weeks With a Baby

4.  Find your village and say yes to their help.

This is a time when you'll need your friends and family more than ever. When they offer to come sit with the baby so that you can nap or run errands, say yes. When they offer to cook a meal, say yes. When they offer to watch your little one so that you and Daddy can have a date night, say yes. Other moms have been there before and know what it's like.  Don't try to be supermom all on your own or feel bad about taking them up on their offer to help. You're not an inconvenience.

5. When in doubt, ask other moms.

Support and advice from other moms is huge. Although your baby is unique and what works for others may not work for you, it doesn't hurt to seek out knowledge from other experienced mamas. I've already found myself talking to my own mom about everything from nightly sleeping to if certain things are "normal" for a little one. Another mom helped me realize the need to "tuck" my little guy in his diaper so that he peed down into it instead of through all of his outfits. If you're not sure about something, ask. There is no question too silly.

6. Be prepared for lots and lots of bodily fluids. 

My goodness, can these little ones ever generate a whole lot of laundry! Of course, you've got to worry about diapers and all that fills them (especially if you've got a little boy who may bless you with a little fountain during changes). But on top of that, newborns spit up a LOT. Those with reflex spit up even more. At first this really worried me, but it's super normal when babies are little. Have burp cloths and bibs handy all of the time, and I wouldn't wear something that you aren't comfortable getting spit up on. We put bibs on over outfits so that we aren't changing outfits as frequently, and they can be really handy for preventing messy car seats.

10 Tips for Surviving the First Six Weeks With a Baby
 Check out Eli's gender neutral nursery!

7. Sleep when you can.

I heard "sleep when the baby sleeps" again and again during pregnancy, and I can totally see why people say it. But for me, there were times when I wanted to throw in a load of laundry or walk on the treadmill or just feel human when the baby sleeps. So I'd slightly tweak the statement to "sleep when you can". Sometimes this will definitely mean sleeping while the baby is snoozing during the day. But other times, it may mean going to bed at 8:30 so that you can catch some sleep before the first nightly feeding. It may mean giving your hubby the baby for a while so that you can nap. Or it may mean "sleeping in" until 1 pm because your little one didn't go to sleep until 5 am. But definitely find time to catch some sleep every now and then, because you'll be getting much less sleep than you're used to. Hang in there!

8. Eliminate some things or let them wait until later.

Because so much of your time will be devoted to loving on your new little one, there will be certain things that will either need to be put on hold for a while or possibly eliminated. I love keeping a neat house with things in their place, but in the first few weeks I had to let dishes and laundry sit for longer than I was used to. Of course I'm off on maternity leave, so I'm not working right now, but I also had to take more of a break from blogging, leading worship, and going out later in the evening because of our new baby. This doesn't mean that these things will never happen again, but rather that they aren't as pivotal right now as taking care of our baby.

9. Get out of the house with your baby.

I know many people feel like they can't take their baby out in public for the first six weeks, but for me it has been incredibly invigorating. It doesn't have to be a big ordeal to a huge destination, but even something as simple as going to the grocery store, the coffee shop, or on a Target run can make both you and the baby feel a little more lively. I've always been hopeful that our baby would fit into some elements of our lifestyle, and so I try to bring Eli along with us to church, out to eat, and to see our families. We also like to go on walks together and we plan to travel with him in a couple of months! For an extrovert like me, being inside our house all day every day with a little human who can't communicate with me would drive me crazy. Try getting out, and you may be surprised how easy it is and much better you feel! (After all, they sleep more now than ever.)

10. Remember that this time is short, and cherish it.

I really wish someone would have told me that the first night home from the hospital is the hardest. We had been basking in the joy of Eli's birth (and shipping him off to the nursery at night), so when he didn't sleep at all until 5 am the first night we were wondering what we had gotten ourselves into. But it gets easier. Even at six weeks, we think we're all starting to figure each other out and get into more of a predictable routine. And it's going fast. So even when it's frustrating, or overwhelming, or seems like an endless cycle of feeding, crying, and diaper changes, hang in there. Stop to marvel at your baby's smell, how peaceful they are when they (finally) sleep, and how little they are. Because someday soon they won't want to be held or snuggled or read to. Hang in there. Parenting is the best, hardest job ever, but it's totally worth it. You got this!


What helped you survive the first six weeks with your baby? Comment below or on the Facebook page. Be sure to follow along on Instagram if you aren't yet! 

10 Tips for Surviving the First Six Weeks With a Baby