Thursday, July 31, 2014

Happy Birthday, Momma

Today is a very special day. The day in which a beautiful woman was born. And because the world was blessed with her presence, I am able to be here today, as is my precious Caleb Monroe. We are so lucky to have my precious Mother (aka Mimi).

 Today is my sweet Momma's birthday!

Happy Birthday, Momma! We love you. And we can't wait to celebrate with you! Caleb is really looking forward to helping you eat some cake. And by 'help,' he means he's planning to eat it all:) 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bright Spots

I've been trying hard to look on the bright side over the last few days. Some days, I am more successful than others. Some days, I find that it's easier to find little bright spots here and there throughout the day than to try to look on the bright side every minute of every day. I still find myself sad and blue every now and then. But really, when I stop to think about how beautiful life really is, and how blessed my family and I are, it's not hard to find the bright spots.

Here's a few bright spots from the last few days:


I mean, really. Is there anything better than these classic chocolate cookies paired with a frosty glass of milk? I think not. And I am not above admitting that these little gems may have offered up some yummy food therapy over the last few days. Chocolate heals, y'all.

Friday Night Lights
I am late to the game on this show, but hey - better late than never right? All 5 seasons are on Netflix right now, so it's the perfect time to catch up if you haven't watched it before. And if you haven't, you won't be sorry. Two words: Tim. Riggins. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you need to watch the show. And you need to watch it now. It's safe to say I have a bit of a crush on him. And by bit, I mean big. A big crush. My hubby is well aware of this. I mean really. Sexy, brooding football player with long hair, broad shoulders, and a heart the size of Texas? Who wouldn't fall in love. Oh, and dude knows how to wear the heck out of some blue jeans and flannel shirts. That doesn't hurt either.

FNL, Taylor Kitsch as Tim Riggins @Emily Watkins @Courtney Hope @lyndseymichele

The Nordstrom Sale
I didn't mean to. I truly didn't. And my wallet definitely didn't mean to. But it happened. I got sucked into the Nordstrom Anniversary sale. There were just a few things that were way too good to pass up. I'll be sharing a few of these things here on the blog this week. Hey, I guess in a way, I deserve it. After all, since I'm not starving-hungry-pregnant lady anymore, we can reallocate the funds that would have gone to feeding me to the items that I purchased. Makes sense right? Does to me:) Gotta find those silver linings.

Fall Previews
Here in Georgia, we still have a good 2 months of hot weather to go before fall even thinks about making an appearance. But with the coming of August, comes the first hints of the start of the fall season. Cooler weather clothing is making its way into stores. Fall scents are appearing on the shelves. And I am loving it. Fall is my absolute favorite season. I love literally every thing about it - from the premieres of my favorite shows (ahem, Scandal!) to the cooler nights and richer scents to the jewel tones and the back-to-school madness. I get excited just thinking about it.

Weekend Apple Picking Gentle Foaming Hand Soap - Anti-Bacterial - Bath & Body Works
Caleb Monroe
He should have been at the top of the list, I suppose. But truly. This child IS my heart. He is the light of my life. Watching him learn and grow is such a blessing to me every. single. day. I would love to give him siblings, but at the same time, know that if for some reason, he ends up being our only child, well, we will always be thankful for that. He is wonderful and beautiful, and such a miracle. Thank you, Jesus, for making me a mommy to this amazing little man. There's no one I'd rather share a bowl of morning Fruit Loops with.

Hope you're all having a very happy Wednesday!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Life Goes On...


It's strange how life moves on, isn't it? Sometimes, in the midst of your own pain and suffering, it can be hard to see the world continuing to revolve, completely unaware of your sorrow. When things in life feel gray and out of focus, it's difficult to comprehend that the sun will still rise and shine every day, and that other people will continue going on about their business completely oblivious to your grief. 

It's been a week since we lost our little nugget. I'd like to say that I've handled this second loss a lot more gracefully than our first one. But, saying that would be a lie. Because I haven't. Over the last week, I've had my good days. I've tried to be strong. I've tried to stay busy. And I've tried to avoid wallowing in sadness, because that's just not my style. I've been fairly successful. 

But, I've also had some really low moments.

It turns out, experience really doesn't matter in situations like these. Losing a baby hurts. It just does. Flat out. There are moments where I feel like I'm okay. And there there are other moments...Moments where seeing a pregnant lady would immediately remind me that I am no longer 'with child.' Moments where seeing tiny babies would remind me that a bundle of joy is no longer headed our way. Moments where watching Caleb play alone would remind me that a sweet little sibling is no longer marinating in my tummy. Moments in which emails would pop up with reminders of appointments and milestones that will never be reached. Moments in which I surrendered to the worry, and allowed fear to overtake me. "Will I ever have more children?" "Is there something wrong with me?" "Was this my fault?" "Is my body a failure?" 

On Saturday, I wasted an entire day. I hesitate to admit that, but it's reality. I did. I woke up fine, but at some point in the day, I let the misery overtake me. It washed over me, and ruined everything. B and I argued. Caleb was upset. It was a total waste of a day. My poor attitude rubbed off on everyone, and a completely beautiful day was spoiled. I just couldn't lift myself out of the mire of self-pity I found myself in. Despite B's best efforts, I was just miserable. We ended up going to dinner at a fun new restaurant in a neighboring town, and it was just the jolt I needed to remember that life indeed goes on. And as hard as that may be to admit during tough times, I sure am thankful that the world doesn't completely stop when bad things happen. Life is beautiful, and although it may be hard and sad right now, it will be sweet again one day. The words in the picture above have been my lifeline over the last few days. Because, despite how alone I've felt - miscarriage is an incredibly isolating event to go through - I know that I am never truly alone. In times of weakness, Jesus' grace is always more evident. No matter how deep the water, I know He's with me. And this truth is what gets me through.

Before I go, thank you all so much, from the bottom of my heart, for your words of encouragement during this difficult time. I have been absolutely amazed by the way you've reached out to me and my family. As hard as it is to face the loss of yet another, very wanted pregnancy, the support from all of you has helped soften the blow in the most amazing way. So thank you again. Truly, truly, truly.

On a lighter note, a guest post that I wrote for my sweet friend, Sara over at Momentary Memories in the Hold Household, is on her blog today. Feel free to pop over and take a peek at it. I'm sharing some beach makeup faves over there.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Another Goodbye

One time was more than enough for me. I thought that I'd paid my dues. That I'd had my share of suffering. I never expected to be back on this haunted merry-go-round again, that's for sure.

On Saturday, July 12, B and I were very surprised when an at home pregnancy test popped up with 2 bright blue lines. "Surprise! You're pregnant!" Just days before, I'd nonchalantly poked a bit of fun at other people who'd claimed to have surprise pregnancies, thinking to myself, "Is a pregnancy ever really a surprise?" I mean, we all know about the birds and the bees, right? We know what can happen when certain, ahem, actions are made between two people. So, on that Saturday in the dim light of early morning, I found myself eating a very large piece of humble pie when, with shaking hands, I emerged from the bathroom to tell B, in utter disbelief, that we were getting ready to add to our little family. In true B form, he gave me a hug and told me how excited he was, before nodding back off to sleep. I know he was genuinely happy, and not the least bit stressed by the news. In fact, I've known all along that any news of this type will always be good news to him - be it our first child or our twentieth child. That's just the kind of man he is, God love him. Me, on the other hand? I was not prepared. I was not ready to see that positive result. I was not ready for what comes along after that positive result - the big belly, the hormones, the child. Despite being a week late for my period, I hadn't let myself contemplate the what-if's. But no more. When those lines pop up on that test, reality smacks you in the face quick. 

Despite being utterly gobsmacked by this news, it wasn't long before I was warming to the idea. After losing our first pregnancy back in July of 2012, we'd kept the news of our second pregnancy - and Caleb's impending arrival - quiet until 17 weeks. Not even our parents knew. We wanted to to be sure that he would stick around before we let the cat out of the bag. This time around, instead of waiting, we decided to throw caution to the wind, and told our parents the day that we got the positive result. After all, third time's a charm, right? We basked in their surprised joy. We talked about whether we would be adding another precious boy to the mix, or whether it would be a little princess making an arrival this time. I began perusing websites, planning a much cuter maternity wardrobe this time around. I imagined carting a round baby bump around at Christmas. March seemed like the perfect time to have a baby. My sister is getting married in June of next year, so the timing was perfect. A spring baby. All was well.

Until Sunday, July 20.

I'd seen a light brown spot - just a tiny one - the day before. I'd mentioned it to B, but thought nothing of it, as spotting in early pregnancy is a fairly common symptom. As long as the spotting is not bright red, I'd been told there was nothing to worry about. On Sunday, the spots became a bit more frequent, and I began seeing a faint pink tinge. B was on call (of course), so I called him at work to update him. He seemed to think that it was nothing to worry about. I wasn't cramping, there was still no bright red blood, so all seemed to be alright for the time being. He told me to relax, keep my feet up and try not to stress. I did what he said. The spotting continued. And a sinking feeling began to fill me with dread. A mama just knows.

By the time B came home that evening, I was fighting off the panic - a losing battle. He grabbed the grocery list that I'd never gotten around to and Caleb, and headed out the door. And about 20 minutes after he'd left, I was calling him in the grocery store, sobbing and begging him to come home, as I'd started seeing some red. He called his mom, headed home, and shortly after that, we headed to the ER. On the ten minute drive to the hospital, I remember looking up at the faintly purple-tinged, 9:30 night sky and thinking to myself, "Surely this can't be happening again. I'm not cramping, so surely this can't be happening again." You see, Hope is a fickle mistress. Even in the worst scenarios - even when we know better - we allow her to creep in. Hope kept whispering in my ear, "This time it's different. This time, it's ok." 

But it wasn't. 

Two years and 10 days after I'd lost our first baby, I found myself in an eerily similar situation. Sitting on an uncomfortable hospital bed, my husband by my side, as we waited for a doctor to confirm what I'd already known in my heart. This time, I was earlier along in the pregnancy. My blood levels were low - my beta hcg just 192. They said they weren't sure if I'd already miscarried and my levels were dropping, or if I was just much earlier along than I'd thought. The ultrasound was inconclusive. I felt Hope trying to creep her way back in. She kept me from falling apart on the table. She helped me keep my composure as I pulled off the ugly hospital gown and put on the plain clothing I'd thrown on to make the trip. She held my head up as B took my hand and we left the ugly, colorless, sterile environment of the ER. But as soon as we exited the sliding glass doors, Hope disappeared. She stepped aside for reality. A reality that hit me as hard as the humid, steaming air we stepped into at 2 am to return home. A reality that stole every breath in my body, and squeezed like a fist around my heart - so hard that I didn't even know if I could get the tears that were welling behind my eyes out. 

Once again, my baby was gone. 

I'd been surprised by this baby. Shocked. Scared. Worried. A bit stressed. But above all, I'd allowed myself to be a mama again. I'd allowed myself to love another baby. Caleb's little brother or sister. One that would make me a mother, yet again. As any mother can tell you, that love is all encompassing. And when that love is dashed, well, it's brutal. It's devastating and disappointing and sad all at the same time. It's hard. It hurts. It's isolating.

This time around, I at least knew what to expect. When the severe cramping and bleeding began at 6 am Monday morning, it didn't scare me like it did the first time. I knew that my body was just doing its job. A job that I hate, as it means that I am officially no longer pregnant, but a job that I am trying to be thankful for, as it means that I can hopefully avoid a D&C. The pain is still fresh and raw, but it's not as traumatic as it was the first time around. I have a beautiful little boy that is doing wonders in keeping me busy and engaged, and I am more thankful than ever for the miracle that he is. Of course I wonder if I will be able to have more children. I worry about it, and wonder if there is something wrong with me. I will never be one of those lucky ladies that gets to have a completely worry-free pregnancy. I know what can go wrong. And I know that it goes wrong so often. Even when you think you've paid your dues.

So, instead of sharing a fun pregnancy announcement like we were hoping to do in the coming weeks, I find myself writing yet another blog post full of grief, sadness and loss. Please bare with us as we navigate this tough time in our lives yet again. We're trying not to wonder why this happened again. We're trying to avoid the, "Why us?" questions. That can be a slippery slope, and one that will mostly likely lead to no answers. It's just one of those things. One of those hard, unfair things in life that we may never understand. I know that some of you precious ladies are dealing with very similar things - be it infertility, or losses of your own, just like mine. My heart goes out to you. I am right here with you. If you'd like to share your story with me, please email me or leave a comment below. It's always comforting to know that you are not alone - even in the ugliest of circumstances - and I would love to hear that I am not alone right now. 

Here's to Hope. That fickle mistress.

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Random Assortment {Oh Hey Friday Link Up}

So, I've been a bit MIA over the last few days...Sorry about that. We've had some internet issues. If you've ever tried writing a blog post from your cell phone, you know it's dang near impossible, so I just gave up on blogging for a few days. I've still been trying to keep up with you gals, and have been commenting here and there when I could on my phone. Otherwise, these internet problems have had me down for the count. They're still not resolved, so I am writing this post sitting cross-legged on the family room floor with my laptop - that B hardwired to the internet (whatever that means) - on my lap. To my understanding, it just means that I can't take my computer farther than the little cord that it's plugged into. Which is super un-comfy. So, I'll make this post a short one, mmmk?

Today, instead of 'fessin, I am linking up with sweet Karli of September Farm for the "Oh Hey Friday" link-up. If you'd like to join in, grab the image below, pop over to Karli's blog and link up!

1. Momma's Got a J-O-B
Don't freak out! I am not re-entering the corporate world. I am also not heading back into the classroom. Not ready to give up being a SAHM yet. Not by a longshot. But, I have agreed to a little part-time job offered to me by B's dad. He desperately needs some help with his bookkeeping (expenses, employee pay and fun stuff like that). And I desperately need a little fun money. It's a win-win. As I mentioned, it's part-time. I can do it from home. And I choose my hours - so, it's something I can work on when Caleb's napping, in the evenings, or whenever I get some free time. 

2. Nordstrom Anniversary Sale
Speaking of fun money, I know you are all aware that the Nordstrom Anniversary sale is going on right now, right? Well, ladies, the sale went live this morning for non-cardholders like little ol' me. I have my eye on a few things, and will share with you my finds after I narrow down my ridiculously long, completely unattainable list.

3. The New Coca-Cola Campaign
I'm still not sure of the goal of this new campaign. But, whatever it is, I'm a fan!

4. Park Friends
Many of our mornings have been spent at the parks around town lately. Caleb - like every little boy known to man - loves being outside. And I love wearing his little self out so that he takes good long naps for me in the afternoon. This week, he met his first sweet little friend at the park. Funny thing about it? Their hair was the exact same shade of blonde. It almost looked as though they could be brothers...

5. A New Drugstore Favorite
I was in Ulta earlier this week, and on a whim decided to try a new concealer. And ladies, I am in love. For less than $9 a pop, I would say run, don't walk, to get one - or seven - of these. They go on smoothly, cover nicely, and are perfect for erasing those dark circles. I even use it for highlighting. It's a keeper!


That's all I've got for today, lovelies. I'm off to peel myself up off the floor, get packed up for a little trip to visit some ATL friends and family this weekend (more about that on Monday), and head to bed. 

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Momma Moments {Link Up #3}

Happy Tuesday, ladies! 

Welcome to the third installment of the Momma Moments link up with sweet Alisha and I. If you'd like to join us today, simply grab the button below and paste it somewhere on your blog, then enter your link at the bottom of the post. Easy as pie:)

As you are all aware by now, B has started the five year chapter of his career known as residency. For him, this means long hours away from home. For me, it means long hours at home with our little man. With B being gone so much, I am more grateful than ever that I can be at home every day with Caleb. I truly don't know how we would make this crazy time in our lives work if I had a full-time job right now (hence the reason you don't see too many residents with children; and if you do, they typically have a stay-at-home-spouse like me).

Because I am at home with Caleb all day, every day, we see every side of each other. The good, the bad, and the ugly. We laugh and play and love and snuggle. But we also get on each others' nerves and suffer from cabin fever now and then. At almost 14 months old, Caleb has developed his own little personality. He loves to get into everything, and knows what he wants. He is strong-willed, smart, and doesn't give up. When deterred from getting something that he wants, he is not afraid to show his displeasure. And he is not a fan of waking up...

But he's also sweet, kind and silly. Despite driving me out of my ever-loving mind once in a while, Caleb is my favorite little person in the whole wide world. One smile from him lights up my entire day. The feeling of his chubby little arms wrapped around me in a hug is the best feeling in the whole world. Breathing in his baby smell when he's curled up on my lap is my absolute favorite thing.

He's had a few rough nights over the last couple of weeks. He starts out in his crib, but about halfway through the night, will wake up screaming and inconsolable. We've been attributing it to teething. Last night was one of those nights. My hubby went in to get him, and brought him into our room, where we were able to calm him down and get him back to sleep fairly quickly. Despite his settling down, I was not able to sleep well with his little body thrashing all over the bed. Poor little guy just couldn't seem to get comfortable. I felt myself getting frustrated about not being able to get some rest. Then, out of nowhere, my sweet baby reached his little hand to me in his sleep, grabbed one of my fingers in his tiny little hand, and sighed, "Mama." 

My eyes welled up, and my heart felt like it would explode into a thousand tiny fragments hearing that one word whispered just like that. The sweetest word on earth. What an amazing blessing it is to be his mama - sleep or no sleep. And what a sweet momma moment.

What "Momma Moment" do you have to share today?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Eat Mor Chikin {Weekend Review}

Yes, I do know how to spell chicken...But, as I mentioned in my post on Friday, the little man, B's sister and I had a little excursion to Chick-fil-A in honor of national Cow Appreciation Day. Yes, it's a thing. It involves free food, so believe it or not, it's a big thing. People go all out for this every year. And I'm not too proud to admit that we enjoy dressing up for the day and participating. 

Because it's easy to throw on leggings and a tshirt, attach paper ears to headbands, and cut out white spots with computer paper, that's what we did. So, Anzlee and I were black cows with white spots. And because Caleb doesn't own any black clothing, he was a little brown cow:) Here's a few (poor quality phone) photos:

Sweetest little brown cow you ever did see...

"Are those my chicken nuggets?"

 Little man is a CHAMP at sucking down chocolate milk. I literally have to stop him to breathe.

He is not such a champ with large, walking/talking animals. As you can see, the minute the cow came within reach, C started screaming! Santa should be interesting this year...

I'd like to say that our weekend got a whole lot more exciting after the Chick-fil-A excursion, but alas, I don't have much to share with you now. B and I did do a family dinner Friday night - we took Caleb to Mellow Mushroom to indulge in our favorite Caesar Pizza - and that was nice. B has been working such long hours lately (ie 90+ per week) it just hasn't been feasible to try to go out to dinner by the time he gets home late in the evening. So, it was a nice change to go out just the three of us. 

We spent most of Saturday at home. We slept in, made blueberry biscuits for breakfast, watched some tv, did some cleaning, and enjoyed lunch together. Then, on a whim, we popped up to Atlanta to do an impromptu dinner with my parents. It's nice that we live close enough to do that now! Saturday evening was bittersweet because although we wanted to stay up late and watch a move together, we knew that B would have to be up around 5:30 in order to be at the hospital a little after 6 am for Sunday call. So we turned in around 11 instead. And Sunday...Well Sunday didn't feel like a typical Sunday. Caleb and I spent the day at home, missing Daddy. We played outside for a bit, but the intense heat drove us inside before too long. We watched the Tigger movie, trashed the house with every Lego and toy train in Caleb's arsenal, played with Ellie, and whipped up a bacon caesar pasta for dinner. By the time B got home last night, we were both pretty desperate. 

And he doesn't get another day off for 2 weeks...Sigh...

Happy Monday.

*As a reminder, don't forget to link up with Alisha and I tomorrow for our monthly Momma Moments link up. It's a great way to share sweet memories of little moments with your children that might otherwise go forgotten, and to meet other mamas as well. Can't wait to see what you all have to share with us this month!