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My Birth Story: Being Flexible With A Birth Plan

Our little man is finally here! Dad, his brothers and I are just SO in love with him. I’ve been a little preoccupied the last few weeks, so my blog posts have been lacking. Nevertheless, I have been planning on writing a post about my birth experience and my first hand account of being flexible with a birth plan. 

I was very adamant that I wanted to have a natural vaginal birth with no medications. Some of my reasoning was a medical issue from a few years ago and the rest of it was from the knowledge I gained reading several birthing books.  I found a doctor that supported my decision and prepared myself the best I could. I ate dates, took primrose oil, and even did perineum preparation.  I talked with moms that had natural births. I wrote a birth plan that matched my desired experience and asked my mom to act as my doula for my labor. 

I don’t think that any amount of preparation could have prepared me for the real thing. Which is why it was so important that I remained flexible during my labor.  

My contractions began at midnight on a Wednesday, which meant I ended up getting about 3-4 hours of sleep that night. I went into my doctor on Wednesday around 9:00 AM expecting significant progress considering that my contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart at that point.  I was disappointed to find out I was only 2 cm dilated,  which is what I had been for the last week. My doctor sent me home to keep laboring and boy, did I labor. I walked, danced, climbed stairs, and used my exercise ball to keep things moving. 
By the time J got home from work, I thought surely I had made progress. We went back to my doctor before their office closed for the day to find that I was STILL 2 cm dilated. I chose to go home to keep laboring. My mom got to my house later that evening and we started timing my contractions again. They were two minutes apart. I decided to try to get some sleep since I was running on fumes at this point, but quickly realized my contractions got worse when I laid down. 

I woke up J and my mom at 12:30 AM on Thursday morning,  saying I wanted to go to the hospital. Again, I thought I had to have made progress with how close my contractions had become! When they got me settled at the hospital and checked me,  I had not changed at all. I decided to stay and keep laboring there. 

By about 7:00 that morning I had finally made progress to 4 cm! But it still was very slow moving and at this point I had been in very real labor for over 30 hours with very little sleep. Even though I had been adamant I did not want any drugs I knew that my body needed help to keep labor progressing, mostly because I was so tired! I consented to Pitocin and had my water broke by the medical staff. Even at this point I intended to deliver without an epidural. I made it to 6 cm and kept thinking in my head, “I’m so tired and I still have to push in a few more centimeters!” I decided to get an epidural and I am so glad that I did. 

I was finally able to relax for a few hours and push on my strongest contractions instead of continuously, which I’m sure would have totally drained what little energy I had left. I was still able to have sensations and wasn’t left feeling completely numb. And honestly, the main goal is a healthy baby and mama, which was our outcome!
For any expecting moms out there, my best advice is to know what you want your labor and delivery to look like, but know that nature might throw you a curve ball! Good luck! 😍

Why Being A #BoyMom Is The Best

Inspiration for writing certainly comes in all forms. I went to a birthday party tonight and had the smallest bit of conversation with someone about both of our boys. I was driving home and thinking about it when I realized that I LOVE being a mom to boys. In all fairness, I really don’t know what I’m missing with girls, but regardless I am incredibly happy having two children that embody everything boy. 

Boys are incredibly full of energy. I really can’t ever keep up with them, but it’s fun to try! As a girl who grew up with three very active brothers, I know how to wrestle, play sports, and rough house with the best of them. I have never seen that behavior as aggressive or confrontational because I know that’s how a lot of young boys communicate and learn social skills with their peers. I catch myself telling them at least once a day to “take it to the basement” because they start trying to wrestle where all my breakables are, ha! I would never discourage them from playing in this fashion though. 

Boys are no (or little) drama. The only times I really ever get tears from my boys is if they are hurt or tired. I have a pretty low tolerance for drama. It’s the product of having three brothers, a low drama dad, and a low drama mother. I appreciate straight forward communication and cannot tolerate passive aggressive behavior. Boys do a much better job of telling it just like it is. 

Boys love very directly and literally. Sort of piggybacking off the last paragraph – you will know exactly how your male child feels about you. If he’s happy with you, he will say it. If he’s feeling mad at you, expect to hear it (and then you can tell him to get over it without any tears 😂) Being female myself, I think girls have a harder time with this approach to their feelings. 

We will have a new bundle of joy in our house in about a month. Whether we have a boy or girl will never change my appreciation of being mom to two wonderfully dirty and tough little boys ❤

Tips For A Small Nursery Space

I am officially a nesting freak at 32 weeks. It’s given me all sorts of energy and motivation I did not know could exist simultaneously when you’re dealing with third trimester pains and gains. I’m taking full advantage of this “nesting” stage and getting everything organized for the baby’s nursery.

The biggest struggle I’ve had with the baby’s new space is just that – SPACE! Even though our house has three bedrooms and our boys currently share a bedroom, we have family visit often, so maximizing the space (and number of beds) is needed. I am going to breastfeed, so it makes sense to sleep in the same room with the baby for at least a few months during all those late night feedings. With that being said, I’ve really dug into my creativity to come up with some space saving solutions for the nursery.

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I chose to set up the cradle for a few months before using the crib. It will help the room not feel as cramped for the time being. As you can see, there is a queen size bed in the room. It not only will be great for me to sleep in during the early days of breastfeeding, but any family members visiting will still have space to stay with us.

(I am an incredibly sentimental person and love that almost everything in this room has a story behind it. The cradle was given to my brother as a gift and generously loaned to me. The rocking chair was gifted to me by my grandparents when they learned I was pregnant. It has a lovely story behind how it came to their home over 20 years ago. The pictures on the wall were colored by the boys for the baby.)

I literally do not have enough floor space to have a dresser or changing table in the room, but I did some research and found DIY layout for a wall hanging changing table. J’s grandpa was sweet enough (and talented enough!) to build us this as a gift. I put some small shelves to the side for storage. It is not only an amazing space saver, but it is super cute! If you’re wondering where I put all of the clothes and other baby necessities, they are tucked away in the closet in storage containers that are still easily accessible.

I feel very accomplished with the end product of the nursery because I was forced to think outside the box. Even though it would be great to have more room, I am learning that if you make the best with what you have, the outcome can end up being better than you imagined ♥

Loving Your Spouse During Home Renovations: A Survival Guide

If you want to test the strength of your relationship with your spouse, have kids or do a major home renovation project, ha! But in all seriousness – tackling bathroom, kitchen, or additions to a home can put stressors on a marriage. Your house will be messy, haphazard, and you will not agree how to get the project completed (two great minds do not always think alike.)

Survival Guide Tip #1

Talk about the totality of the project before you pick up a hammer. When my husband and I agreed to renovate our main bathroom, we jumped in with both feet and started hacking away at our ugly floors, tile, and vanity without really discussing the extent of the project. I naively thought that the whole thing would take a weekend. Boy was I so very, very wrong. The project took two months start to finish. If I would have bothered to ask questions first, I would have understood how much work we really needed to accomplish. I was mad at my husband for how long things took because we didn’t communicate before starting our renovation (definitely my fault, haha.) I’ve learned with time and more projects that if I understand the timeline and what it will take to finish everything that both of us are much happier people during the process.

(Photo 1 – Our new bathroom floor in progress! My husband and I have similar taste, so we can usually agree on tile, paint, etc.)

(Photo 2 – The before and after photos! J and his dad worked so hard on the tile job and it turned out AMAZING. No more 80s bathroom!)

Survival Guide Tip #2

Learn to forgive your spouse (and yourself) for imperfections. DIY projects don’t always go exactly like the picture you pinned while scrolling through Pinterest. What matters in the end is that you’re saving money and learning new things along the way. I was super critical of my painting skills when we first started painting trim, doors and walls, but J reminded me that most people aren’t going to notice small imperfections. He is equally critical on himself and I remind him of the same thing. I am somewhat of a perfectionist so whenever we’ve had to take a project in a different direction I had to remember that it’s not my husband’s fault. Some projects are just easier to envision than recreate in real life!

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(Our master bedroom before and afters! I’ve since decorated the walls. I was super proud of myself for not giving up on this project. It took three coats of primer and two coats of paint to cover up that horrible maroon color.)

Survival Tip #3

Compromise is a beautiful thing. Just like any other obstacle in your relationship, you must learn to compromise when tackling home improvement projects. And listen to your spouse’s ideas! Along with being a perfectionist, I can have tunnel vision when I have a goal in mind (it’s a miracle my husband puts up with me sometimes.) The best thing I did while tackling our many projects was to let my husband take the reigns on our fireplace reno. I gave him a few small ideas on what I had in mind and let him run with it. His creativity really grabbed him and our fireplace is now my favorite thing in our house. If I would have micromanaged the project it might not have turned out as great as it did.

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(The finished fireplace project! No more ugly 80s blue tile! My husband found those boards from an old fence and the tile all by himself. We have since replaced the carpet too, so the whole area looks even better.)

Remember that it’s just flooring or carpet or paint colors, nothing life altering. If you can apply basic relationship skills to your home renovation projects, you’ll make it, I promise.

Limiting Screen Time for Kids

I have two very different kiddos in my house. The oldest could really care less about computer games, TV, and video games. The youngest would spend HOURS in front of the TV or computer if given the chance. He asks almost every day if he can play the Playstation or watch Netflix, and can be pretty persistent on getting screen time. I’m not really sure what makes the two boys so different in their electronic desires, but because of E’s want for screen time, we make an effort to limit how much time is spent in front of the TV.

Since I grew up in a household with monitored electronic time, I already had an idea in my head about what possible guidelines to set. My parents monitored my computer time, specifically chatting on AIM (OMG, I’m so old!) and limited my brothers’ time on the Nintendo. We got an hour of screen time every day as a kid, which J and I agreed upon when we discussed the boys’ options a few years ago.

At first, my reasoning for wanting to put a limit on it was so that the boys (ahem, E) wouldn’t ask me every hour of the day if they could play on the Playstation. But overtime, I think we’ve come to the realization that limiting their screen time allows for them to use their imagination, burn energy off outside, and spend family time together playing games, crafts, or reading. It was a pretty big battle a couple years ago to get them to turn off the video games when their hour was up, but since we stayed consistent there is little to no argument when we say their time is up for the day.

There are definitely days where they get to do a little extra, but those are pretty few and far between and usually in the winter where play is limited to the house. I’m not sure if my parents got the idea to limit screen time from a book or research article, but I’ve since found articles where doctors and the AAP specifically recommend less than two hours of screen time for kids. If you are looking for a little evidence to back up your reasoning for your family, here is a great article from CNN:

New screen time rules for kids

The Magnolia Story

J bought me a new book for Christmas and I read it during our plane rides a couple weeks ago. All of the gifts he got me this year were awesome, but this one has to be my favorite. He always thinks he’s a terrible gift giver, but when he gets me things like this I know he really loves me because he put thought into what I like ♥ I am somewhat of a #FixerUpper junkie and ended up modeling a lot of our home renovations after Joanna Gaines’ inspiration. I’ve always cherished things with a history and background story, so her design choices really speak to me.

What I didn’t realize when I started reading this book was how incredibly inspirational it would be! I am already reading it again for the second time! Although they talk about Magnolia Homes and how they started their business, I have found the way they speak of their relationship with each other, family, and friends to be very moving.

If you are looking for a new book to read I highly recommend this one. It’s an easy read and totally relatable, even if you’ve never watched Fixer Upper on HGTV.

If you have read the book, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on it. The great thing about books is every person walks away with a different perspective 🙂

**Disclaimer – The picture above is my own copy of the book. I have no affiliation with HGTV, Fixer Upper, or The Magnolia Story.

Stay-At-Home Working Mom

In August 2015 I made the choice to begin my real estate career full-time. This meant that I would quit my 8-5 job in property management and work from home, my car, the real estate office…pretty much wherever I wanted. It was a big leap of faith, not only for myself, but for my husband too. And I’m pretty sure he had more faith in me than I did myself at the time 😆

We made some adjustments financially – the biggest one being that our boys wouldn’t be in before or after school care anymore. It was costing $125 a week and I was more than capable of taking them to and from school.  The other was staying home with them during the summer instead of paying for daycare. This past summer was amazingly fun and I was actually sad when they went back to school.

I became an instant stay-at-home working mom! I don’t even know if that is really a thing, but that is how I label myself now. Some of my roles changed immediately while others were more gradual.

Before I quit my job, J and I had divided up the weekly chores since neither one of us had the time to complete them all. One of his conditions for letting me take this chance was that all of the household duties would fall on me. I thought it was pretty reasonable considering I was home all day. Most weeks that’s still the case, but he is still very helpful if I need it. So I took over all of the weekly cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry (very reluctantly, ha!) and helping the boys with school related things.

Here is what a typical day for me looks like:

  • Wake up at 6:00 AM to make J’s lunch
  • Eat breakfast
  • Get the boys ready for school (dressed, breakfast, teeth brushing, etc.) by 8:00 AM
  • Drop boys off at school by 8:15
  • Check work e-mail for any important tasks for the day
  • Laundry (we do laundry in our house EVERY day)
  • Pick up house (all of the males in my house are really good about leaving things lying around)
  • Get ready for the day if I have scheduled appointments
  • Run any errands that are needed
  • Meal prep for dinner
  • Pick up boys at 3:45 PM
  • Help boys with homework and spelling
  • Make dinner (this has become one of my favorite things!)

As you can see, most of my days don’t really consist of a lot of work. And honestly that is because of my chosen profession. It’s fairly sporadic and almost always immediate. Things in real estate don’t just wait, especially in today’s market, so I may be working for an hour at 8:00 PM one night and 2:00 PM the next day. It makes it perfect that I get to be wherever I want when those times roll around.

I do have a few other weekly things that I keep on my schedule – mostly for my own sanity.

  1. Monday – clean the house (vacuum, dust, bathrooms, etc.)
  2. Tuesday & Thursday – visit office in the morning
  3. Sunday – grocery shopping

Having these few items on my calendar every week helps me keep my sanity when things are unpredictable and will be a huge blessing when Baby S is here in a few months.

Whenever I am intentionally doing things to grow my business it looks a whole lot like this picture below. I do a lot of mailers and Internet marketing to keep my business going, but my favorite job in the whole world is just getting to be a mom and wife for my family 😊

#FamilyVacation

The hubby and I are taking our boys on their very first plane ride tomorrow! It’s nerve racking and exciting all at the same time. This will only be J’s third plane ride EVER, whereas I’ve been on a plane at least once a year since I was born. However this will be my first plane trip with young children in tow, so I’ve been mentally and emotionally preparing myself for any potential hiccups along the way.

I decided when we planned this trip to start thinking of ways to make the trip as smooth as flying in December can go (ha, I always seem to get delayed or stuck somewhere in the winter!)

Here is my checklist of kid-friendly items that you’re able to travel with (Our boys are 8 and 6 so we are bringing age appropriate items):

  1. Portable DVD players (one for each kid, because who wants to hear arguing over movie choices during a 2.5 hour plane ride, haha!)
  2. A plethora of DVD movie choices
  3. Headphones
  4. Chargers
  5. Age appropriate books (2-3 each)
  6. SNACKS!! I say this because I know that airport food costs and arm and a leg. TSA will allow you to bring packaged foods such as chips, cookies, etc.
  7. Stuffed animal (my boys are partial to their stuffed animals and will want to sleep with them)
  8. UNO cards – you really could choose any game that is easy to pack but I’ve always brought UNO on any trip we take. It’s a great game for whenever you have down time and need to entertain the little people.

I am letting each kid bring their own backpack with their respected items in tow. J and I are sitting in two rows, one of us with each kid so sharing everything in one carry on isn’t realistic.

Wish me good luck with our trip! Not only will this be a first time experience for me, but our boys will get to check off a lot of firsts on this vacation too! 🙂

Introduction

I’ve been thinking of starting a blog for a few years now, but could never find what I wanted to write about. As I am a Realtor and self-employed entrepreneur I kept circling back to writing what I know best about: my job! But as I sat on this idea for the last year it seemed less important to write about what I know and instead write about what I’m learning in life, which brings me to the title of my blog.

In the last two years I bought a house with my significant other, quit my 8-5 job, got married, got pregnant, and became a mother INSTANTLY to my two step children. I have done my best to embrace every new role with my whole heart, especially the mothering aspect of things. Instead of getting to learn things along the way (as you would with an infant) I’m jumping in with both feet to be the best mom and parent that I can for these two boys. It has definitely been a learning curve for myself, my husband, and the boys, but we are loving every minute of it. And especially now that I’m pregnant and due with my first baby in April, I feel like I already have a leg up on this whole parenting thing (just one of the many added bonuses to being a step mom!)

I plan on blogging about mom advice, step mom advice, homemaker tips and just about anything motherly.

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