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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Residency: Year One Down

Oh happy day!

Well. We did it!

Today is B's last day of PGY-1. We have officially made it through the 365 torturous days of the intern year of his orthopedic surgical residency. The hardest year of the five. And oh, how hard it was. I can't tell you how many tears were cried. How many frustrated texts were sent. How many meals were missed. How many late nights were worked. How many holidays were solo. How many bathtimes and bedtimes were a single parent affair. How many family events were missed. How many "with regret" RSVP cards were mailed out. How many schedules were rearranged. How many feelings were hurt.

But it's over. We made it. By the grace of God. 

A little more tired. Perhaps a bit worse for the wear. With a few more lines around our eyes. But we did it. We survived the year. Made it through the loss of another baby, and another healthy pregnancy along the way. And welcomed a sweet daughter into our family to boot. If we can make it through all of this, I feel like we can make it through anything.

If you need me today, I'll be celebrating by taking the kids to Target with reckless abandon. Might stop by the grocery store too. And I might even leave the diaper bag at home, just for kicks. Hey. Gotta get my thrills somewhere now that the year from you-know-where is behind us! (I lied. There's no way I'm going anywhere without that diaper bag. I'm not THAT brave. Or stupid).

Tomorrow begins PGY-2. Year 2, we're coming for you. One down, four to go.

To see additional residency posts, check out the following:

Monday, June 29, 2015

First Weekend Away & A Giveaway Winner! {Weekend Review}

Over the weekend, I took the kids on our first weekend trip without B. Eeeeek! He was scheduled to work this weekend, so I packed up the car and the kids and I headed to Augusta to see my best friend's sweet newborn daughter, and to attend my cousin's wedding. Though I did have to pack up the car by myself and manage the 2 1/2 hour drive with the kids on my own, I was able to meet up with my aunt and cousins - who live about 15 minutes away - to caravan with them to Augusta. So, while I didn't have any help in my actual car with me, it was definitely a relief to know that if anything were to happen, I was not alone with a toddler and an infant.

We left around 10 am Friday morning, and were pulling into my grandmother's driveway around 12:30 pm. We were able to unpack, get Vivian fed, and grab some lunch before Vivi and I headed to my best friend, Erin's house. I left Caleb at Grandma's house during this time, to play with my aunt and cousins. I was so excited to meet sweet Peyton for the first time! Erin and I have been best friends since we were 12 years old - 17 years now - and are loving having girls so close together. Peyton was born almost exactly 8 weeks after Vivian (8 weeks and 1 day, to be exact), so we got to experience pregnancy together, found out we were having girls together, and are now freaking out over bow purchases and smocked outfits together. Loving this season in our lives so much! It's amazing to see Erin as a mama. It's been a dream of hers for so long, and seeing that dream fulfilled is such a blessing. God is so good! Peyton is too cute, with a head full of dark hair and her daddy's features:) 



It was also quite startling to realize just how much Vivian has grown in just a few short weeks. Girlfriend looked quite a bit bigger than her tiny new friend. It's hard for me to believe that the newborn days are truly over for Vivian already. Tears.




After visiting with Erin, Vivi and I headed back to my grandmother's house to relax and spend time with family for the rest of the evening. On Saturday morning, we were up early with the kids - because they don't know how to sleep in:) After some breakfast around my grandmother's comfy kitchen table, we all headed separate ways for some morning activities. Vivi was looking exceptionally cute in her little Bailey Boys watermelon outfit, so I had to snap a picture:) 



The kids and I headed to Kohl's to take advantage of some sales and coupons. B is starting a clinical rotation this week, and will be wearing shirts and ties every day. After wearing scrubs every day for over a year now, some of his old dress clothes just seem even older than ever. So when I found a sale on dress shirts, I was quick to snap them up. 



After eyeing it for forever, I also finally grabbed this on sale for $8. I mean, too cute, right? And I also snagged some sale tees and tops for both Caleb and Vivian - we're talking t-shirts for less than $3! After running that errand, Caleb and Vivi and I met up with my aunt and cousins for lunch at Firehouse Subs. Caleb was super excited about the fireman hat that came with his kid's meal - though he doesn't look that thrilled in this picture, lol.



Saturday afternoon, my mom, dad, sister and her new husband, Chris, arrived for my cousin's wedding that night. There wasn't room in my grandma's house for them to stay, so they had a couple of hotel rooms at a hotel right down the street. My grandmother had to be at the wedding early to walk down the aisle, so my parents came over to get ready and help get the kids ready for the wedding. It ended up storming (lightning, thunder and rain) right before the ceremony - which was outdoors - so the ceremony was delayed a bit. The rain did stop and the skies cleared, but we ended deciding not to attend because I was worried about Caleb and Vivian disrupting the small, intimate outdoor ceremony. We did get to see the groom (my cousin) kiss his bride, and then we were able to enjoy some time with extended family and eat some yummy food at the reception. A certain little man I know was able to run around like a wild thing, while a certain tiny gal of mine was passed around like a hot potato:) The pictures I did manage to grab aren't the best quality. And please, please, please excuse my cuh-razy hair. The humidity was like 100% and the curls that I did fell almost immediately, and the frizz was out of control! The locks went into a topknot about 7 seconds after the photo below.




After the wedding, we all ended up back at my grandma's house, where Caleb continued to run and play with my sister and our cousin, Ryan, until after 11 pm - I think the latest he's ever stayed up. Eventually my parents, sister and her husband headed out to catch some sleep at the hotel, and Grandma, my aunt Lisa and the kids and I all turned in for the night as well. By the time we actually got in bed and I'd fed Vivian one more time, it was almost 1 am! Thankfully, both children slept really well, though I can't say the same for myself.

Sunday morning we did not end up getting around in time for church - which was fine, as getting both kids ready would have been a real challenge without B, and my aunt and I wanted to get back on the road for home before it got too late. We did end up meeting my mom, dad, sister, Chris, Uncle Todd, Aunt Joni and cousins Kristen and Jordan for lunch at California Dreaming. Once again, Caleb was totally spoiled by Mimi and Papa and the rest of the family. He went around fist bumping everyone - including himself - and snagging food off everyone's plates.



After lunch, we bid everyone goodbye pretty quickly, made one more stop at Grandma's house to nurse Vivian, and were on the road for home by about 2 pm. I was excited to get home, get unpacked, and finally see my love. It's hard to be away from B - especially by myself with the kids - but it's definitely nice to miss him once in a while. And to know he's missing me too:) Homecoming is always so sweet because of that! Last night it was back into the old familiar routine. Dinner, baths and bedtime with the two cutest little munchkins you ever did see. And I wouldn't have it any other way.



.....................................

In other news, the winner of last week's Sweet Babes Bridgeman giveaway is:

Kelsey Moore!

Kelsey, I will be emailing you about claiming your prize later today. Please be on the lookout for that!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Suggestions Needed & Vivian's First Doll {Friday Link Ups}

First of all, if you haven't already entered the giveaway I've got running right now, it's not too late. Pop on over to this post from Wednesday to find out how - the winner will be announced on Monday! And if you didn't get an opportunity to catch my post-partum update yesterday, you can read that here. Let's just say that it got real here on the good ol' blog.

Moving on. Let's get to the Friday five. This week, I am looking for suggestions in several different areas. And I need your help!

1| Dining Chairs
Recently, B finally got some time to finish the farmhouse table that he built for me a couple of months ago. We chose a greyish-blue stain for the table, and are so happy with how it turned out. When I've had a chance to actually clean up my kitchen and grab some new decor for the table, I promise to share a better photo! 



Now we are in the market for some new chairs to accent the new table. The ones shown in the picture are chairs that went with our old table. So far, the following three options are all in the running:

Loving these tufted chairs. But can just see them being dirty within approximately 2.5 seconds of meeting my toddler.

These patterned chairs are fun, and I like the fact that grubby little hands couldn't do much damage to a busy pattern like this.

This patterned set is also fun. Just not sure whether or not I want to bring in that much blue.

So, thoughts? Like any of them? Or not so much? Any suggestions for other (affordable) options that might be a better fit? 

2| Makeup Help
Concealer. For as long as I can remember, I have been using this concealer. Lately, however, the shades just don't seem to be matching my skin tone very well. Even the lightest ones are looking rather orangey on me. Yuck. I know I am fair, but I am not the fairest of fair. So, fair skinned girls: help me out. What's a good concealer option? I need something with good coverage (hello, I have an infant and a toddler at home - dark circles under my eyes are a given, right?) This one was recommended to me, but the price seems a bit ridiculous.



Toner. I've never used it. Should I be? Are there toners out there for sensitive skin that won't cause redness? I've heard some buzz out there about this one. Anyone know anything about it?

Serums. I have been looking into anti-aging ones lately. I have this one. And maybe I just haven't given it a good enough chance...because so far, despite the hype surrounding it (c'est la beauty choice of Kate Middleton), I am not impressed with it.  I was given a sample of this one, and just the tiny sample seems to have worked pretty well in just a few days. Anyone use this? Know anything about it long-term? Effective? No? Again, the price is pretty steep, so it would definitely be an investment.

3| Bacon Caesar Pasta Salad
I'm not a fan of cooking in the summertime. I don't like slaving away over a hot stovetop when it's already hot enough outside. And I don't love hot meals in hot weather. This Bacon Caesar Pasta Salad is perfect for a hot summer day. It's a cold dish. It's full of healthy spinach. It's easy. And it's yummy. Win. Win. Win. Win. My husband also loves it, so I would definitely classify this as a recipe success. I whip it up for dinner, and then enjoy the leftovers for lunch for days afterwards. Try it. You'll thank me.


4| Weekend Plans
It is wedding season in our family! My sister tied the knot a couple of weeks ago. And this weekend, my cousin is getting married. B is working, so the kids and I are headed to Augusta to take part in the nuptials. While we are there, we will also be visiting my sweet best friend and her new baby girl - aka, Vivian's new best friend for life! See you tomorrow, Erin and Peyton!

5| Vivian's First Doll & Other Scenes From This Week

Quality crib time with Viv's first doll, Lula. Daddy bought this for her in Seaside:)

Rocking her Sadie Sky Boutique watermelon headwrap. Love.

Running errands with this handsome guy. I am one lucky girl.

I think I know where Vivi gets her judgy face. (Please excuse the complete lack of makeup - hence the nonexistent eyebrows).

This kid knows how to live. Pillow? Check. Feet up? Check. Snack (just out of sight)? Check. Paci? Check. Cars book? Check. Winning.

"Say whatttt?" Someone's got a new expression. We call this her "surprise" face. As in, "Surprise! Check my diaper!"

Sweet little chuckles girl.

Cars, cars and more cars. It's always automobiles with this child.

He loves her so.

Little mischief-maker over here. Trying to convince me she can sit up on her own at 2 months. Spoiler alert: She can't. She faceplanted on the couch about .7 seconds after I snapped this shot.

That's all for this week, ladies! Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!:) To link up for some Friday fun, be sure to visit any or all of the blogs below.




Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Post Partum Body {Gettin' Real}

It's gettin' real here on the blog today. Buckle up.

belle creation_fiche

They say that children are masterpieces. Miracles. Evidence of God at work. And they are. They truly are. I am so blessed to have been a part of this amazing process twice now, with two beautiful children to show for it. What they don't talk about? The price that we mamas pay. The effect that having children has on a mama - both physically and emotionally. Because, let's be honest. Carrying a baby for 9 months does have an effect on your body. A BIG one. I know I'm not alone here when I say that physical changes - especially those involving weight gain and shifts to my bodily shape - have a strong impact on my emotions. And the changes that come with pregnancy can be hard to handle and accept.

Today, I am sharing a little bit about my postpartum recovery after baby number two. Partly so that other mamas know a bit more about what to expect after having a baby (or two), but mostly for my own memory's sake. At this point, I am now 10 weeks out from having sweet Vivian. From the very start, my pregnancy with Vivi was completely different than my pregnancy with Caleb. I was sicker, more emotional, and felt bigger all the way around, despite gaining the exact same amount of weight - to the very pound - with both pregnancies (27 pounds, if you were interested). Having two such totally different pregnancies, I'm not sure why I was surprised with two totally different post-partum recoveries. But I was. I guess I just expected things to bounce back exactly like they did after Caleb's birth. 

Ha. To the ha. To the ha.

This time around it has not been so easy. Nor so quick. I haven't quite pinpointed what is different this time around, but I really think my body has literally changed with this second baby. I think my hips are a bit wider this time, my boobs are definitely bigger, and my waist stayed thicker for longer. Vivian protruded more in width, stretching across the span of my belly; while Caleb seemed to grow horizontally, straight out from my tummy. And while I have seen the weekly progress of everything moving back to where it was pre-pregnancy, it has definitely been a bit slower going than it was with Caleb. Which has been confusing, and frustrating as well. With Caleb, I was back in my skinny jeans within a week. With Vivian, I was back in one or two pairs of my pre-pregnancy pants within 7 days or so. But it was a solid couple of weeks before I was able to get into most of my normal pants. And there are still several pairs of pants that just don't fit quite like they used to. Who knows if they ever will?

Below are photos that I snapped on a weekly basis to document how things were changing, and what those changes looked like. Prepare yourself in advance for more super awkward selfies of me than you'd ever really want or need to see. And please be kind with your judgement...

Coming Home from the Hospital
The day we came home from the hospital, which was two days after Vivian's birth, I had a decent-sized belly going on under the maxi dress I wore home. I'm fairly certain I still looked about 5 months pregnant at this point. And I definitely wasn't concerned about hair or makeup. Kate Middleton I am not. (This is the best semi-full body shot I have from the day we came home - the bump is not super evident with the carrier in my hands, but trust me, it is there. Very, very there.)



1 Week Post-Partum
At one week post-partum, I was still rocking a "baby pouch" if you will. The water weight had dropped off, and the bump had definitely gone down. Which left me with what looked like a good ol' fashioned gut. The skin felt loose and just looked so...well...gross in my eyes. While I didn't necessarily look pregnant anymore, I definitely didn't look like myself either. Even my face was still a bit puffy at this point. This started the beginning of the tough stage for me. The stage in which nothing fit quite right and I had no idea what to wear. I'm pretty sure I wore a combination of yoga pants and tee shirt every day for a solid week or more during this time.




2 Weeks Post-Partum
The two week mark didn't show much of a change from the one week milestone. During this week, I was able to fit back into most of my normal pants, but they still didn't look quite right. This is when I could feel the frustration start building up a bit. I knew I was being ridiculous - after all, I'd just had a baby - but I remembered being closer to normal at this point with Caleb, so I couldn't help but put that unrealistic expectation upon myself once again. The yoga pants were out again in full force, along with several looser dresses and skirts.


3 Weeks Post-Partum
At my three week post-partum appointment, I was absolutely crushed to find that I was still 10 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight.  As I said before, I gained the same amount of weight with both pregnancies. But with Caleb, at 4 weeks out, I was just three pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight and able to fit into all of my normal clothing, so I expected to be close to that at this point after having Vivian. With 10 pounds still sticking around, my normal clothing just wasn't looking, well, normal at this point. Muffin tops ain't cute. My self-esteem plummeted right around this time.  The first picture below is from the day of my 3 week post-partum appointment. You can still see the little belly I was rocking at peeking out from the front of my shirt. Below that, in the close up of my face, you can start to see the difference in my face. The puffiness was gone at this point. 




4-8 Weeks Post-Partum
Things continued to move toward normal during this time. I refrained from getting on a scale too often, as I knew that it wouldn't do any good to stress myself out. I knew I couldn't do anything to drastic as far as diet goes, since I am exclusively breastfeeding Vivian. Also, I happen to be one of those girls who love food, so there's that. We did make the decision for me to cut dairy during this time because Vivi was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy. Because of this, I did have to be more mindful of what I was eating. I started noticing that my clothing was fitting better, so I knew I was moving in a positive direction.

4 Weeks


5 Weeks


6 Weeks 



7 Weeks


8 Weeks 

9 Weeks Post-Partum
During this week, I did something I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do. Gulp. I wore a bikini during our beach trip to Panama City. I was so worried about donning a bathing suit for this trip. I brought a one piece and wore it the first day. And then, something happened. A switch flipped in my head. And I realized something. I realized that I am (newly) 29 years old. With a body that will never be as good as it is now. And I better take advantage of it while I can, even if it's not the same body I had when I was 20 years old. I've had two babies since then. And dang it, I think I look pretty darn good for that accomplishment!!! So, I put on my bikinis for the rest of trip and rocked them. I also started - what I think was - my period. Sorry if that's TMI. I didn't get good ol' Aunt Flo back until I stopped breastfeeding with Caleb - so I went almost 12 months without a visit from her. And now, at just over 2 months with Vivian, it appears that I am going to be back on a regular monthly schedule (I guess we'll know for sure next month). Just proves, again, how different each baby can be. And how different your body reacts to each baby and each pregnancy.




10 Weeks Post-Partum
At ten weeks post-Vivian, I feel pretty much back to normal. I can tell that, for the most part, my clothing fits me like it used to (though my hips still may be a smidge wider). The muffin top is gone. Hallelujah. AmenBut I am still two stubborn pounds away from pre-pregnancy weight. Now, two pounds is nothing to freak out about at this point, I know! I am only ten weeks out, so I am trying to be patient and give myself some grace. I am trying not to compare this post-partum experience to my post-partum experience with Caleb - at this point with him, I was several pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight. I'd still like to lose these last 2 pounds, yes. And I'm sure I will. Just like I'd like to eat a bit better and tone things up going forward. But I feel healthy where I am at now. I feel confident again. And my sweet baby girl is thriving (and clocking in at a hefty 12 pounds!) So, I really couldn't ask for more.

Pinky promise you won't have to look at that many smudged-mirror bathroom selfies of me ever again. Or at least until I get pregnant again. 

Kidding. Kidding. Kidding.

If that happens again, it won't be for a very long time...

If you're interested in reading my post-partum update after Caleb, you can find that here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sweet Babes Bridgeman {Review, Giveaway & Sale}

By now, most of you know that I love a good headband or bow for my sweet Vivian. It's quite possible that she has a bow for every outfit in that closet of hers. Even our pediatrician has joked with me about my penchant for "head decor." What can I say? I love having the opportunity to outfit my baby girl, and am taking advantage of it to the fullest! As a bonus, and one that I use to justify all the bow buying to my husband, when Vivi is wearing a headband or bow, she never gets mistaken for a boy. Fellow girl mamas know how awkward it can be when someone walks up and asks, "And how old is your little guy?" Uhhhhhhh....

Give me all the bows, please.

Though I have a few tried and true favorite stores that I like to frequent for bow and headband purchases, I am always open to finding new stores and fun new products. Especially when these products are unique and handmade. So, when Jessica from Sweet Babes Bridgeman contacted me about reviewing a headband for Vivian from her shop, I was thrilled to check out her offerings. Jessica is a fellow mama of two littles, and each item in her shop is handmade. I just love that! Knowing that each item was crafted so lovingly makes it that much more fun to put on my baby. And supporting fellow mamas is always a good feeling.

I chose the Blue/Purple Floral Turban Style Headband for Vivian. I was drawn to the floral pattern, and excited about incorporating some colors aside from pink and white into her wardrobe.



This was the first turban style headband Vivian has ever worn, and I fell in love! 



My favorite thing about the turban style headbands is that they are soft and can be adjusted to perfectly fit baby's head. Some of the elastic headbands I've purchased for Vivian have left indentations in her precious little head after wearing them, which just horrifies me. The headwraps never do that, and Vivi is content to hang out in them for long periods of time. See exhibit A below - her relaxing in her pack n' play outside while brother hams it up at the water table a few feet away.


Along with headbands, Jessica also offers other goods like pacifier clips, leggings, teething toys and more in her store. One of her most popular items is her bandana bibs, which are good for both girls and boys. They are a more modern, stylish take on a traditional bib, and come in a variety of fun colors and patterns. Jessica very kindly sent a purple polka dotted one for Vivian that I can't wait to use on her. That pattern is sold out now, but there are several others that I have my eye on. I mean, look at this adorable pineapple one.


Sale!!! Bandanna Bibs. Lots of Print Choices!!! Girl & Boy Choices!!!!

That would make for a pretty stylish little guy or gal, am I right?

Sweet Jessica has generously offered a giveaway of a headband or bandana bib of your choice. If you are a mama, soon-to-be-mama, or know someone who is, this giveaway is for you! See the rafflecopter below for entry methods. But the good news doesn't end there. In addition to the giveaway, Jessica is also running an awesome sale for The Newly readers. Through this evening, all turban style headbands are just $5!!! And bandana bibs are just $7!!! Be sure to pop over to Sweet Babes Bridgeman and stock up. The last time Jessica did a sale like this, she sold out quickly. 

*To see all the patterns and colors available, simply click on the sale listing for the turban style headbands and it will bring up a picture of all the options available for purchase. Same with the bandana bibs. Happy shopping!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find Sweet Babes Bridgeman
Website / Facebook / Instagram

I was sent the products mentioned above in exchange for my honest review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own!