Friday, January 15, 2016

Salt Life

I recently took a "staycation" from work and decided to take a trip to the beach with my son.  Although it is really cold here now, we had a long warm period recently.  Since it was pretty warm, I packed our beach bag and we headed to the beach.  It's always a little cooler when I'm actually on the ocean, but I was surprised at how cool it was compared to where we live, about 15 minutes away.  Fortunately, I had packed Lincoln a sweatshirt and a long-sleeved shirt for myself, which was great because we needed them once we got on the beach.  

We had such a great time.  This wasn't Lincoln's first trip to the beach, but it was definitely a first.  This was the first time he could walk while there and he really took everything in.  He walked towards the seagulls and pointed at them, saying "dis?".  He usually says that when he wants to know what something is.  We took in the view of the ocean and made sure to not get caught by the waves.  We also played in the sand and, of course, he was curious as to what it tasted like.  Here are some of my favorite moments from our quick trip to the beach.    


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Tis the Season....Right?

So, I know it's only the beginning of November, but everything, everywhere is screaming Christmas. And, honestly, I'm actually excited about it! Don't get me wrong, I'm still into my fall colors for fashion, but I am starting to get into the Christmas spirit. My son is over a year old now, and I think that is the biggest factor in my excitement this year. I can't wait to see him digging in all of the Christmas decorations, wearing his new Christmas pajamas (and yes, I already have a set for him), and tearing into his Christmas presents. Santa Claus has even started buying presents for him (he's on top of it this year)!

So, in the spirit of Christmas, I have posted a few of my favorite Pinterest pictures below for Christmas decorations. How do you plan on decorating your home this Christmas?

marshmallow snow garland and other handmade holiday garland ideas:

I think cotton balls might be a better idea for my home, but I love the look of this as a hanging centerpiece. 

Holiday Entru for Christmas: campestre, colores neutros, huyendo de los típicos verde y rojos tan cansinos para mi. Mañana os haré una foto de uno de mis escaparates, árbol neutro y básico, bola con luz, la sencillez para mi es la base del perfeccionismo.:

This front porch is to die for.  My husband and I recently moved, and there are lots of pine trees in our yard.  I'm thinking of collecting the pinecones and attempting something like this.  I may also hit up Homegoods to see if they have anything to help.  

Love this idea!:

I'm loving this classic-looking mailbox with winter decor.  Because, you know, the mailbox is cold and needs some warmth.  ;)

Never thought of decorating the bottom -  I like this because it leaves the handrail open for hands:

I love a decorated staircase during the Christmas season, however I have never thought of using the bottom of the railing instead of the top.  Very neat idea.  


This would look great with a black or gold window pane and coordinating bow and bells.  

names in gold sharpie... Next year:

I don't know about you, but I hate putting tags on presents.  I think it's either laziness, or my tags never look great attached.  However, I thought writing on the actual package is a cute alternative and easy to do.  I have actually done this before and love the ease. 
XOXO Jess 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Lincoln Hayes Marlowe-Birth Story

On August 24th, 2014, my husband and I were planning to wait at least three weeks before we met our sweet baby boy.  We attended a birthday party for his step-mom at his dad's house.  We went swimming and I remember them picking on me because I wasn't putting much effort into hitting the big beach ball around the pool.  I was like, look, I am not too far away from my due date and I am not even trying to do all of that physical activity!  We went home after a long, fun day in the sun.  The next morning, shortly after 3 AM, I started having painful contractions.  I kind of ignored them for a few minutes (trying not to make something out of nothing), and they got a little more painful.  Now these weren't excruciatingly painful, just painful.  So I remember that my doctor told me at 37 weeks, he would not stop delivery, and that if I started having contractions less than 5 minutes apart, I should go to the hospital.  So I thought, I should start timing my contractions.  I pulled out my phone and kept a record on my inkpad app and here they were:  3:33AM, 3:39, 3:45, 3:46, 3:53, 3:58, 4:02, 4:05, 4:06, 4:12, 4:14, 4:17 and 4:21.  It was then that I decided, well, if I'm going to have a baby, I need to at least wash my hair.  I know that might sound crazy, but y'all, I had not washed my hair from the previous pool day and it was nasty.  So I got out of bed, went to use the bathroom, and there was blood.  I knew, being pregnant and all, that blood either meant something bad, or that I was having a baby.  Either way, I needed to go to the hospital (washing my hair was out of the question at this point).  I ran out of the bathroom, and I yelled (not screaming, but loudly speaking) to Justin, "Justin, Justin!".  He looked at me, all dazed and confused.  I said, "I'm bleeding, we need to go to the hospital."  He jumped out of bed, took a second to let things register, and we started getting ready to go.  I put on my black Coastal (Coastal Carolina University) sweatpants, and my black Coastal t-shirt.  Justin threw on some clothes and grabbed my overnight bag.  I told him to go ahead and get the carseat (which he did not install because he arrogantly told me we had plenty of time to do it) and baby's bag.  He informed me that he would get the carseat and baby bag IF I was having a baby.  He didn't really believe that I was.  I think he thought I was making things out to be more than they were.  So we get in the car and drive to the hospital.  It took us about 3 or 4 minutes to get there.  We lived really close.  We were there at about 4:30ish.  I'm having contractions the whole time.  He drops me off at the door to go inside and he parks the truck.  I go up to the desk at the emergency room and tell them that I am having contractions and that I might be having a baby.  At this point, I'm expecting them to get all nervous and rush me to a room to get this thing checked out.  No.  Not what happens.  The first thing they did was take me to a room to get all of my information, such as my name, DOB, address, insurance information, etc.  While they were making sure I had insurance and they would get paid, a lady came with a wheelchair and made me sit in it.  I told her that I could walk and that I was fine, but she wouldn't let me.  Apparently, they don't take chances at this hospital (I may make several jokes about the hospital throughout this whole story, but I really loved my experience there, so please take it lightheartedly).  She then wheeled me up to a small room on the second floor where they deliver babies.  This whole time, I'm having contractions, but my husband and I are carrying on conversations with everyone.  We like to have fun (especially when we're nervous), so much of the conversation is joking and cutting up.  In this small room, two nurses start hooking me up to things to monitor me and the baby.  One of the nurses then wanted to check to see if I was dilated.  IF I was dilated.  When she checked me, it was very uncomfortable.  Probably one of the most uncomfortable things I experienced while I was there.  She looked at me and said, "You're 5 centimeters dilated!"  Justin said, "What does that mean?"  He was waiting to find out when he should call our parents to get them here.  He didn't want to do so until he knew we were having a baby.  At that point, she turned and looked at him and said, "You're having a baby!"  He looked at me and said, "So I should make the call?" And I said yes, make the call.  So he called the parents and told them I was in labor and we were going to have a baby!  The nurses told me with the way we were all talking, laughing, carrying on, etc., that they thought they were actually going to be sending me home.  They didn't think I was in labor.  At this point, they sent me to an actual room.  The room was pretty large.  They hooked me up to machines to monitor my contractions and the baby's heartbeat.  By this point, I was 7 centimeters dilated.  I was moving along pretty quickly.  My mama, daddy and step-mother live an hour away, but it felt like they were by my side in no time.  They were at the hospital by 6.  My mother-in-law was a good bit away visiting friends, but arrived as fast as she could.  My father-in-law and his wife came a little later.  I have to note, too, that everyone looked great!  I looked like poo, because, of course, I had not washed my hair, nor did I have makeup on.  But everyone else looked fabulous. I was impressed, because it was so early in the morning.  I remember everyone in the room, talking about when they thought the baby would come....9 something, 10 something, etc.  I was certain I wanted an epidural, so by the time they got to me with one, I was 8.5 centimeters dilated.  Before I make my next statement, I would just like to say that every woman is different and every woman has different experiences.  With that being said, I would like to say that my contractions weren't as painful as I thought they would be.  At 8.5 centimeters dilated, I was pushing through them.  Don't get me wrong, they were painful, but they weren't gut-wrenching, screaming-painful.  So with how quickly things were moving along, I was sure we were going to have our baby soon.  Not.  9 something passed, 10 something passed, etc.  The doctor had already decided to go into the office at this point and work, waiting on a call when I got to 10 centimeters.  This made me nervous because I really wanted my doctor to deliver my baby (not one of the other ones), and I know how traffic is on 501.  Needless to say, when it was time to push my sweet boy out, he was there in no time.  Thinking back, I wonder if he took some secret road that no one else knows about, because he got there pretty fast.  Anyway, 11 something passed, 12 something passed.  During this time, my contractions started getting closer and closer together.  At one point, the nurse suggested that we may have to do a C-section.  That was probably the only thing I didn't like about the whole process.  I felt like that statement was premature and I was not about to be ok with having a c-section.  Since I had not dilated to the point I needed to be, they suggested I begin laying on my sides.  I layed on one side for a little while, and then switched to the other side.  This was the trick!  Within no time, I was 10 centimeters dilated and it was time to push.  Once my doctor arrived, we began the process.  First, we practied pushing.  Once I did that once, I thought I was going to keep going, but the doctor wasn't aware of that.  So, I kept pushing and my husband looked at the doctor and said, "Is she still supposed to be pushing?"  The doctor was over getting his protective gear on while I was pushing.  He and the nurse both yelled, "No!"  And then I stopped pushing.  I got the point, lol.  Once we resumed, I pushed for about 20 minutes, until my baby's head came out.  The doctor asked me to stop pushing until he said to continue.  He wanted to clean Lincoln's mouth out, etc. before I pushed the rest of his body out.  Also, my mother informed me that the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and the doctor just cut it away.  The doctor never mentioned this to me, I imagine as to not make me nervous or scare me.  I kind of liked that.  He took care of the issue and went on like nothing was wrong.  While we were sitting there, I asked my husband what color Lincoln's hair was.  He said it was dark!  I didn't like that I couldn't see!!  I wanted to see my baby so badly.  Anyway, once everything was cleared, he told me to continue pushing until Lincoln's body came out.  Once I heard my baby cry for the first time, I began crying!  The doctor handed me my baby immediately.  That was very important to me.  I didn't have a birth plan, but one thing that I wanted was to hold my baby immediately after he was born.  I remember his skin touching mine, and just being in love immediately!  He was very purple, which I had already warned my husband about before we ever went to the hospital.  And....he was perfect.  He was beautiful.  He was healthy.  He was mine.  I could not have ever imagined loving anything the way that I love my son.  I think he had been laying on one side for an extended period of time, because he had one eye closed when he was born, and on that same side, his pinky toe kind of protruded out.  He ended up opening the other eye more and more until it was completely normal with the normal eye.  As far as his pinky toe, I had mixed feelings.  I didn't want him to ever be picked on about it, but I found myself sad when it worked itself away.  The more weight he gained, the more it looked normal, and now you would never know it ever protruded.  I loved that little, protruding pinky toe!  Anyway, Lincoln was born at 1:26 PM and weighed 5 lbs 9.6 oz.  After I got to hold him for a few minutes, my husband also held him.  They did everything else that they needed to do in the corner of the room that I delivered him in.  I really liked this because I had seen births before where the babies were taken out of the room and then brought back in.  He didn't leave my sight for a while.  Once they did their thing in the corner of the room and patched me up, they handed him back to me to breastfeed.  This was very important to me as well, in order to establish the breastfeeding relationship as soon as possible.  

My sweet boy on his birth day!

Lincoln's first car ride!  You can see how tiny he was....his outfit was so big on him!  And to think, I was concerned that the outfit wouldn't fit him beforehand, thinking it would possibly be too little (based on the measurements I got from my doctor's visits). 

Daddy driving us home!

These photos were taken 10 days after Lincoln was born.  I never knew I could love my husband as much as I do when I see him holding our child. 

In a final note, I just wanted to say that I look back fondly on my birthing experience.  Yes, there was pain, yes there were sleepless nights (that still occur), but I wouldn't trade it for the world.  Now here we are (a year later)......Marlowe, party of 3! 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

It's Almost Fall Y'all

Even though it's still hot as hades outside, the fall merchandise has swarmed the shelves of clothing stores.  I find myself torn.  Yes, I want to buy that cute sweater and those new booties, but I can't wear them for a while.  So, in the spirit of fall, I thought I would do a throwback post with some past fall looks.  And in the meantime, I will sip on my pumpkin coffee and patiently await the cooler, crisp season.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My Pregnancy...Third Trimester

My third trimester was pretty smooth.  I was going to the doctor every couple of weeks, and everything started getting real when I started going every week.  That didn't last long, though, because of Lincoln coming three weeks early.  I had a couple of showers during my third trimester (I will post pictures of those in separate posts because they were all so cute), my maternity pictures taken, and got Lincoln's room all set up and organized.  My husband did all of the big things, as far as setting up Lincoln's room.  He put together the crib and the dresser.  I did the organizing from all of the showers.  That was an accomplishment!  I really wasn't sure how I was going to do it, but I impressed myself.  I also missed a shower because it was scheduled the week that Lincoln actually arrived.  Lincoln's due date was September 15th, but he was actually born on August 25th.  My birthday is in August and my husband's birthday is in September.  I never imagined that Lincoln would actually be born in August.  I was pretty certain it would have been September.  I was also very content with being pregnant as long as Lincoln needed me to be.  I had no intentions of being induced.  If he wanted to come 2 weeks early, I was ok with that.  If he wanted to come two weeks late, I was ok with that too.  I think that's probably the reason that I went into labor early, because it didn't bother me one way or the other!  I knew that as long as he was in the oven, he was still baking and would only be healthier.  If I was miserable and wanted him to come early, I can almost guarantee that I would have been the one to deliver two weeks late.  Anyway, he was born in my birthday month!  It was a win-win either way, during my birthday month or my husband's.  Sorry babe! 
These next 4 photos are pictures I had taken at 32 weeks.  I measured small and I remember the photographer asking me if I was sure I was 32 weeks pregnant.  I wanted to have my maternity pictures taken earlier, rather than later.  It was a good thing, considering Lincoln came three weeks earlier than his due date.
I LOVED this maternity dress....I felt so fancy in it!  This is a Jessica Simpson dress.  When I went shopping for maternity clothes, I really had a hard time bringing myself to purchase this dress because, in my mind, it was so expensive.  My good friend, Rachael, was there and she helped push me into the purchase.  I am so glad she did because I have never regretted it.  Also, I didn't buy many clothes while pregnant, so I felt like I could justify getting it.  The most expensive items, added up over time, are probably the maternity bras.  I bought ones that I could use when nursing after Lincoln arrived.  My first few, I bought from Motherhood at the mall.  They weren't the most comfortable bras, but I wasn't aware until my husband bought me some from Soma.  It was like night and day.  When I tried on the bras at Soma, I didn't want to take them off!  I would suggest you try Soma first if you ever purchase any.  They were running a special, so the price wasn't that bad. 

I also wore this dress during one of my baby showers.  I tried to get as much use out of it as possible (like I do most of my clothing anyway). 

This picture was taken the week before Lincoln was born.  This is probably where I felt the prettiest during my third trimester (other than my maternity pictures).  My friend Summer let me borrow this dress and it was so comfortable and pretty.  I wanted to get a bare belly shot at the end of my pregnancy (like I did at the beginning), but completely forgot about it.  And besides, Lincoln came three weeks early, so no wonder I forgot!

I think this picture was taken at the 4th of July event we had at my agency where I work.  The more I look at these pictures, the more I'm starting to miss being pregnant!  Shhh...don't tell my husband!

My mom and me at her home.
I remember people warning me about how hot the summer was going to be while pregnant.  It was just as hot here as it always is, and it didn't bother me.  Don't get me wrong, I was hot, but I wasn't miserable.  The times I felt the hottest were inside in the air conditioner.  It just didn't seem to be blowing cool enough!  Even at my home...I had the air on 65 at night!
Speaking of night, towards the end of my pregnancy, my nights starting getting a little more restless.  It wasn't bad, but I definitely woke up a lot to pee (and that was throughout my entire pregnancy), and I started having some discomfort in my back.  I laid on my sides while sleeping and I wanted so badly to just sleep on my back.  I think a recliner would have been beneficial for sleeping.  I wasn't in pain, but I definitely wasn't comfortable.  I also had charlie horses (leg cramps) a lot during my pregnancy.  I found out very early on that I couldn't wear heels during the day because I paid for it at night with leg cramps. 
The only other thing I have to say about my pregnancy is I tried to be as active as possible, and eat healthy.  I like to think I'm a healthy eater in general (although I am not on top of that right now), but I had my fair share of sweets while pregnant (and still today) too!  When I was pregnant, it was easy to think that not only was I feeding myself, but I was also nourishing my child.  What I ate, he ate.  Therefore, it was a no-brainer for me to eat good, healthy, clean food.  Don't get me wrong, I still ate some things that weren't good for me or the baby, but for the most part I tried to eat healthy.  I also tried to be as active as possible.  I went for walks and went swimming.  I wasn't aggressive with working out or anything, just active. 
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I enjoyed my pregnancy!  I am so grateful to have had a good one and thankful for the blessing that I received from little Lincoln!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

My Pregnancy....Second Trimester

Hello loves!  I have been wanting to post more frequently, but time has just been slipping away.  Life with a baby consumes everything, so I don't know how women maintain blogs on a daily basis, while working full time and taking care of the home and children.  Anyway, today I just wanted to share a little bit about my second trimester. 

 During my second trimester, things got much easier. I didn't have any nausea anymore. I have to say that my pregnancy was pretty great. I enjoyed it so much and was very happy carrying my sweet child.  I believe  (other than things beyond our control like sickness) that we make our pregnancies how we want them to be.  I chose to enjoy my pregnancy and be grateful for all of the things that came with it.

I still wore most of my regular clothes at this point in my pregnancy. Thank goodness I had plenty of loose fitting clothes. 

These bathroom pictures are from a conference that I went to out of state. We had to fly and I checked with my obgyn to make sure it was safe to do so beforehand.   I am a nervous flyer,  but tried my best to remain calm and relaxed as much as possible.

There's not a whole lot to say about my second trimester.  It's probably the best trimester because I was finally showing, so everyone knew I was pregnant (but not miserably big), and there was no more nausea.  Also, during the second trimester, I found out what the gender of my baby that was pretty exciting. 

In the photo above, I am wearing maternity shorts.  Again, I didn't buy much in the maternity section, but there came a point where I had to invest in some staple pieces.  I bought a pair of white shorts, skinny jeans, and these jean shorts.  I loved these jean shorts!  So much so, that I recently realized that I don't have any comparable jean shorts for my normal weight!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My Pregnancy...First Trimester

Hello loves!  As mentioned before, I wanted to devote some posts to my pregnancy and I'm starting with my first trimester.  Before we became pregnant, my husband and I had been trying to conceive for a couple of years.  When I say trying to conceive, we were just hoping it would happen.  But it didn't.  This can make a girl go crazy.  Things kept going through my mind and I kept wondering if there was something wrong with me.  I wondered why it was so easy for some to get pregnant, but so difficult for me because everyone else made getting pregnant look so easy.  I decided to go to the OB/GYN to get some expert advice.  He put me on a plan to try to conceive and this plan consisted of trying to conceive on certain days of the month.  We went according to plan for 3 months (well, sorta according to plan...more difficult than we thought it would be :)), and I went back to the doctor at the end of the 3 months (which was in January).  When I went in, we assumed I wasn't pregnant and he told me that he wasn't concerned about whether or not we could conceive, saying that this could take up to a year.  After a year, we would talk about other options.  I left the doctor's office.  That same week, on Thursday, I took a pregnancy test...and guess was positive!  If only he had done a test on me when I went in on the previous Monday.  I made an appointment to go back in the next week to start my pregnancy journey.  On January 9, 2014, my life changed was the day I found out I was pregnant!  I was at work and had not gotten my normal monthly sign that I wasn't pregnant, so I took a pregnancy test when I got home.  When it showed those two lines, I was so excited..and shocked.  You never really believe it's going to happen, until it does.  I immediately got into my car and drove to my husband's work.  I told him I was in the area, stopped by to see him, and wanted him to meet me at my car.  When I saw him, I asked him, "How would you like to be a Daddy?".  He smiled really big and said, "You're pregnant!".  I said yes and we hugged.  He told me he was happy and nervous.  That night, we visited each of our parent's homes to tell them the good news.  Everyone was so excited!  We kept it to close family until about 3 months, when we announced it on Facebook.  You know that everything has to be announced on Facebook, or it's not official!
During my first trimester, I felt like I had a 24 hour hangover.  I didn't, and trust me, the doctor asked to make sure!  I was miserable because I hate being naseaus.  It was literally about 12 or 13 weeks when my nausea tapered off.  I was also very hungry.  I mean, so.very.hungry!  I ate so much and couldn't get enough.  I could not stand the smell of garlic and chicken cooking together, which my husband was not happy about, because that meant we didn't have garlic chicken soup the entire time I was pregnant!  I also wasn't a fan of these scented trash bags that we had.  We had to buy unscented trash bags just for that reason.  I would like to note that my husband is happy now that we can have garlic chicken soup again (which was a slow process even after I had the baby), and we are using the trash bags that I couldn't use during pregnancy.  I am frugile and will not throw useful items away, ha. 
My first ultrasound was somewhere around 8 weeks.  It was the very first emotional moment I had with my child.  My mother and mother-in-law went with me, since my husband was out of town working.  It was nice to have them in the room with me to experience such a sweet moment.  When I heard my baby's heartbeat for the first time, I immediately started crying.  These were excited, happy tears.  There's just something about hearing your baby's heartbeat when he's inside the womb.  It's reassuring and comforting at the same time.  We captured the moment on video, which I am so happy about. 
In the above photo, I was really early in my pregnancy, but late enough to finally have a bump!  Maxi dresses were my best friends during pregnancy.  I could wear my normal maxi dresses almost the entire time.  And they were so comfy.  I didn't buy many clothes during my pregnancy.  I think I have been trying to make up for that this year....:-/


At a training for work.  This dress didn't last very long in my pregnancy because it was snug around the mid-section. 

My Daddy, Me, and My Husband after church one Sunday.  This is a church that I grew up in and it has the most beautiful trees and landscaping of any church I know. 

So, that was my first trimester.  Next, I will post how things went during my second trimester.  Enjoy!