Friday, January 30, 2015

Six Things We've Learned About Being Married

My husband and I are celebrating our 6th Wedding Anniversary this weekend! Compared to the rest of our lives, it's just a small slice of time; but we feel like so much has happened in these past six years that we wanted to share with you some things we've learned along the way.

1. Talk, talk, talk. 
Look at us, all cute and young! 
You can't say the word "marriage" without the word "communication" following close behind! Well, that's because it's true. We've learned the importance of talking about everything, no matter what it is. Get out of your comfort zone and have the conversations that you "feel bad" about having. Whatever! Have those conversations again and again until you work through what needs to be worked out. Don't settle; don't complain; do something!
Bonus: Don't just talk; listen. Be the best listener your spouse knows.

2. Make your marriage a priority, second only to your Faith.
Between kids, work, keeping up with friends and family, helping friends and family, maintaining the house and yard, focusing on health and good sleep, exercising, saving the world, etc., it can often feel like there is no time left for each other. Our marriage has felt the effects when we put everything else, even kids, first. Here's a little romantic analogy for you: have you ever put food on the back burner with a low flame? Guess what happens? It eventually burns. And then you get the fun job of scraping charred chili off the bottom of the pot for the next two weeks. Think of what would happen if you left your marriage on the back burner.


(How did I go from talking about keeping marriage a priority to chili? Such is the mind of Maggie M.)

3. Make time for dates. 
I cannot stress enough the value of spending quality time with each other! This isn't meant to break the bank or even require a sitter for every date. We schedule in time every month, week, and night for us to do nothing but be together. Yes, I said schedule. Our marriage is just as important as all the other commitments in our life that earn a place on our calender.

4. Make time for yourselves.
Yep, I'm going there. I can almost hear the huffing and puffing, "Ruh-ruh-ruh, that girl thinks you should be selfish and self-centered...omg...I don't need this kind of influence in my life...where's the remote...."
Well, now hold on a second. I'm saying make time for yourself, not flush your marriage down the toilet. You were born unique, completely different from anyone else, with talents, gifts, and interests straight from God. So what I'm saying is: cultivate your own hobbies and continue to be YOU. Be generous by giving each other turns to have time out with friends or, if needed, time alone. My husband and I are, for lack of a more humble word, freaking awesome about this. You should be too. And make it fair. If one person is the only one getting a break, then that IS selfish!

5. Learn Energy Profiling. 
Have you ever heard of this? I was introduced to Beauty Profiling / DressingYourTruth / Energy Profiling several months ago, and I cannot tell you how much it has positively impacted my life. It's not just a season analysis based on your hair and skin color. It's a completely holistic approach to understanding the four types of people. Everyone has all four in them, but they lead with a dominant type. Figuring out our own types was fun, but learning about each others' was amazing and downright life-changing. My sister-in-law said recently that DYT should be a part of marriage prep. I absolutely agree with her. 

6. Make amazing scrambled eggs. 
You're going to spend a lot of time in life eating together, so put a little effort into perfecting the dishes that you both absolutely love to eat. No, scrambled eggs are not our #mostfavoritedisheverinthewholewideworldomg. But learning how to make the best bacon-tasting eggs without leaving ANY eggs in the pan is probably one of our biggest accomplishments these past six years, next to having three kids.

Anywho...I'd love to hear something that has positively impacted your marriage, whether serious or silly! Comment below!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Making 2015 Intentional

Back in January of 2014, I filled out an amazing Goal and Intentions Kit that really set the stage for what I wanted to accomplish in the next 12 months. I am happy to say that I reached many of those goals throughout the year, and it gave me so much satisfaction to highlight them as I did! 

Nearing October, though, I realized there were a few that I hadn't come close to accomplishing. And they were ones that mattered more to me than anything in the whole world. After a thoughtful step back, I purposely began to focus my attention and energy into these areas. It was time to get serious. 

A must-read, in my strong opinion!
Side note: I love to read e-books while nursing my baby to sleep. If I'm going to be completely honest, the main reason is because it keeps my imagination from running wild while sitting in a quiet, dark room for 20 minutes.

I am a major wimp.

So in the fall, I came across an ebook that I recommend to all moms out there: Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. This book seriously and positively impacted my life SO very much. Instead of just reading the book and skipping over the exercises at the end, I actually did them.

How powerful it was for me to take the time to think, write, and then see my own words down on paper. It gave me such a clear vision of my priorities. It helped me start to say "no" to things that didn't jive with my personal priorities list. It also freed up a lot of time to focus on them too.

It was because of this book that I reached the goals of 2014 that were the most important to me: those about my family.

It was also this book that gave me crystal clear (pun intended) vision into how I wanted my 2015 to turn out. So in addition to filling out the new 2015 Goals and Intentions Kit by Jessica Swift, I also treated myself to something else that really pushed me. 

The 2015 Workbook: Create Your Shining Year.

I have to say: this book is fantastic. It arrived a few days before Christmas, so I spent my quiet evenings, listening to Charlie Brown Christmas, drinking caramel porter, and getting right to work.

One of the first things I liked about it was the bright, happy, and colorful design. My husband thought he was being so funny every time I was writing in it. "Got your coloring book?" he'd tease lightly, kind of in the adorable way I always imagined Gilbert Blythe saying, "Hey, Carrots!"

Another thing I really liked about it as I filled out all the sections was the highly reflective nature of the layout. You don't just answer a few questions and move on. You are forced to dig deep, answer the questions a few times, and really put it down on paper.

I highly recommend this book if you are serious about changing your habits, if you have some big goals for yourself, and most importantly, if you are tired of setting those pesky resolutions and forgetting about them come Jan 22nd. You can either get the Life or Biz Workbook, or do what I did and get the combined one!

One of my favorite parts of the book was creating my word of the year. I even did the "bonus activity" and created artwork for it! (That was FUN!) I chose the word intentional because that is what I want my life to become.

When I'm working my business, I want to be focused.
When I'm with my beautiful kids, I want to be present with them.
When I'm with my husband, I want it to be in the moment.
When I'm cooking, writing, talking, thinking... I want everything to be intentional. On purpose.  

2015 Workbook

What is your word of the year? What speaks to you? 
What theme will you have for 2015?

Please note: All links in this post are affiliate links. I am compensated a small amount when you purchase through my links. Thank you! 

Thursday, January 08, 2015

When life hands you peppermint, don't dump it!

We really relaxed and spread things out this past Christmas. Instead of stressing myself (and everyone else) out trying to make 12 million cookies in one day, we'd make a dozen here and there.

Yesterday, since it's still the Christmas season, we went to make one of my favorites: Peppermint Melt-Aways!

Baking has never been a favorite activity for me. Especially since we went Gluten-Free, baking can be tricky. I feel like I take a gamble whenever I stick something in the oven. Sometimes it works out; sometimes it's doesn't. But I was ready to go this time! I waited till the baby was happy, had all my ingredients ready to go, and we started.

The good news is we had JUST enough peppermint extract for the recipe!

The bad news is Finn dumped the bottle when I wasn't looking.

Peregrin thought my shocked (staged) face was funny!

I was beating the butter with the mixer when suddenly the entire world smelled like peppermint. I turned around and saw my 3 year old, standing there, looking at me with his prepared, "Oops" face.

Not going to lie, my reaction wasn't exemplary.

"FINN! NO, BUDDY. WHY DID YOU DO THAT?" I asked, exasperated.

(As if he was going to give me any kind of answer that would satisfy me at that moment...? I mean really. I need to get better about not asking silly questions like that.)

The good news is I realized I didn't even care that much. I couldn't even find where he dumped the extract. I think there was so little that it evaporated before I could turn around. So, after telling him it was totally fine and not to pour things without me telling him to, we moved on.

And the good news is we had plenty of almond extract to make the most amazingly, delicious Almond Melt-Aways you ever tasted.

Really, I highly recommend it!

Monday, January 05, 2015

How 2014 Changed My Life

Looking back on 2014, I can sum it up in one word: LEARNING.

If you want to know what I mean by that, keep on reading! But if you're like, "Yawn, boooooring..." then just go away. IDON'TNEEDYOURNEGATIVITY!


I learned SO much this year. It was probably one of the most profound and memorable years of my life, to date.

No, I didn't go skydiving or rocky mountain climbing, or 2.7 seconds on a bull named...okay, you get the picture...I am not going to continue to steal Tim's song. But what I did do was more meaningful and eye-opening than getting any sort of adrenaline rush by crossing off multiple items on my bucket list. I learned a lot about what didn't work...and a lot about what did.

Here's my top three lessons:

1) Life doesn't just "happen" to me. I'm not a victim of events. Instead, what I learned is that I can create my own life. I can choose to be positive. I can choose to be calm. That doesn't mean I always am positive or calm. But I am learning to make that choice more often and more seamlessly.

2) Organization HELPS. Both planning out my week ahead of time and planning out my day first thing in the morning have made an enormous difference in my stress level. I am a huge stress-phobe. As soon as I begin to get stressed, I immediately back off. But especially with three kids and being a business owner, there is much to get done! Stress isn't completely avoidable, but thankfully, I can dramatically reduce the amount in my life by being proactive. Being organized, planning ahead, and having a to-do list always helps!

A lifesaver for me this year was the Family Planner from Plum Paper Design. Go check it out!

Now, if you're like me a few years ago, you'll be like, "Whatever...I don't need no fancy planner!" And you might not. But looking back to when I had those same thoughts, I was kidding myself. Just be honest with yourself. Get whatever works for you. I know some people who get along just fine with a notebook! My mom used a large wall calendar while we were all growing up. There are a lot of options, so pick one and stick with it for a while. But if something isn't working, change it!

3) Unplugging is not just a fad; it is a necessity. Okay, in case any of you didn't know, I absolutely love social media. I love that I can keep up with my family and friends in such an easy way. I love finding old friends, popping in to say "Hello" or "I love this picture of you!" But after giving up my smart phone in April and stepping away from a few of my random social media accounts, I noticed I had a lot more time to focus on what mattered. I realized I was spending so much of my precious time for nothing. 2015 will bring a much more "extreme" take on this, which I'll write about another day! (Be on the lookout for that soon - woohoo!)

What were your top lessons from 2014? 
I would love to hear about them!
Comment to tell me. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Finding Gratitude through Love Juices from Heaven

I'd be telling you the truth if I said I absolutely love life right now. I love my job, my marriage, my cute little home, my kids, and being here with them every day.

But I'd be lying to you if I said I am always cheerful, smiley, and constantly singing praises of happiness and gratitude. 

This is not going to turn into one of those posts where I list everything challenging about being both a SAHM and a WAHM.  (Does anyone else read those words as "Sam/Wam"? I amuses me.) 

But this is going to turn into an anecdotal little post about what happened last night and what I learned from it. on if you wish. :)

Well, Mr. Pippin is 7 months now and is an absolute JOY most of the time; like 97% of the time. However, he's also teething. So when that mixes with tiredness, it's another story. Bla bla bla, nothing new, right? What baby doesn't get crabby when he or she is tired/teething? Anyone? Anyone? Oh...your child?

....We are no longer friends.

Just kidding. 

With all seriousness, his crabbiness usually doesn't bother me. Out of all the living creatures in my household, I seem to have the most patience for the baby. He is just so cute. My husband thinks it's crazy that I don't get annoyed, but I think it must be all the love hormones flowing through me every time Pippin nurses. (What, it's SCIENCE.)

Well, last night those love hormones were not runneth over when he woke up around 10:30pm, ready to play. He was completely exhausted (because...duh, 10:30 is for SLEEP not PLAY, young child). 

First, I tried getting him back to sleep. But he wasn't having it.

So I left the comfy bed, baby in tow, and went back out to the living room. I decided to let him play it out, and then he'd go back to sleep in an hour or so.

Well, it ended up being two hours (which is fine, whatever, I'm already over it). I had waited till he was exhausted...he was ready to just conk out when we hit the bed.

But, as soon as we laid back down in our bed, he got goofy. No conking out was happening like I'd planned. #fail.

I tried to cuddle, nurse him to sleep, the usual routine. He was just SO EXCITED to be back in his bed, though! Like, kick his little legs, whip his binky around, happy!

I put him on my chest and figured he would eventually fall asleep. Sometimes that's all he needs. But alas, no such luck. This is because Pippin has found a new game/torture session where he likes to dive-bomb into me (my chest, my arms, my lips...whatever is in front of his head, really...) when I'm already holding him. Then he snuggles for 2.3 seconds, lifts, and repeats. 

So imagine this baby repeatedly bonking you, all while being so cute, quiet, and content as could be. Sounds adorable, right? 

Yes and no. Depending on who you're asking. I was SO exhausted and tired by this point and was ready to sleep. But there he was, flopping around in my arms, dive-bombing into my chest.

The love juices from Heaven must have started flowing right around then, because nothing else explains the patience, love, and peace I began to feel suddenly. Instead of feeling frustrated at losing now over two hours of sleep, I felt so content. 

I realized that I am SO blessed and lucky and proud to be this little stinker's mom. I love him so incredibly much, and his amazing smile and goofy behavior are enough to smooth things over. He is my priority, and he is the best priority I could've asked for. Instead of sleeping, there he was in my arms, sort-of crawling around, and I could feel his little heartbeat and hear his whispers. (He has recently started whispering.) Everything was okay and beautiful. It will probably make it into my Top 10 Best Moments of 2014. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Birth Story of Peregrin Marcus

This is the story of how our third child came into the world. He arrived on Monday, May 5th, 2014...just a few days shy of his due date on the 8th.

PS: This is a long, somewhat detailed/slightly graphic-ish birth story. We all know where babies come from, and where they come out, so you've been warned! No, don't worry - it's nothing THAT bad, but I wrote this mostly for myself, so read if you want!  

The Saturday before, I started to feel a little crampy. Nothing significant, just slightly annoying. It would come and go. I also had an increase of mucus/fluid/discharge - whatever you want to call it. I got excited - but nothing was pink. I knew the increase meant something could happen that night, or not till next year, so on Sunday I texted my midwife just to let her know about it.

Monday brought the same things, as well as a unique mental state that, looking back, should have been a sign that something was going on. They say women feel depressed and "over it" near the end, and that is exactly how my brain was all day. Emotionally I had been fine up until then. It wasn't even the pregnancy I was down about or "over" - so it was just weird for me! I had my weekly visit with my amazing chiropractor in the morning, and we joked that the next time I came in, the baby would be born! (We said this every week though. Haha.)

Ian came home from work at his usual time, and we all ate dinner before he left 20 minutes later for his second job. It was a beautiful sunny day, so I took my crochet outside and worked on my blanket while the kids played. My sister and I had been playing phone tag during the afternoon, but my cell was almost out of minutes. I was bummed I couldn't call her. (Woh woh.) But the sunshine felt good so I looked on the bright side.
My in-laws dropped in for a quick visit, and as they left about 15 minutes later at 5:00pm, I started cleaning up the backyard. The kids had opened up all our seed packets earlier that day (no cukes this year, kids!), and the pieces of paper were annoying me. As I picked them up one by one, I felt warm fluid come out. At first I was like, "Oh that was a lot of mucus..." but then it kept coming. I straightened up and felt it just steadily pouring out! Oh water broke!
I quickly made my way to the bathroom and expected it to gush out and be over in five minutes. With both previous births, my water broke right as the babies were born in the pools, so this was completely new for me. I had no idea that my water would continue to come out...and out...and not just be over in one gush!
Finally about 15 minutes later, I got the "leaking" controlled and made my way to the phone to call Ian. He and I never communicate via cell phones anymore, but I made him carry his as my due date got closer. So when he saw I was calling, he must've known. His voice was so excited as he answered.
"Hey, um, you need to come home!" I said happily.
"Oh yeah?"
"Yeah! My water broke...and it's still going!"
He was like, "Okay I'm leaving right now." 
Then I called Jen, our midwife, and told her the news. We decided that I would be in touch and talk to her again once contractions started. She said they could start any minute or not for another six hours, so I wanted to just play things by ear.
I finally made my way back outside to the kids and had them come inside. I was ecstatic. I couldn't stay calm or focused. I wanted to do every little thing to get ready for the baby. But first things first: I had to get the kids settled and fed and bathed. They were grubby little messes from playing outside all day! So I put them in the tub. Then I made the premature decision to tell Malley that her sister, Siena, was arriving soon. I also made the over-zealous promise that Malley could stay up until she was born. (I know, I know...)
So they bathed, and I went into insane nesting mode. The bathroom looked spotless. My room became tidied. Ian came home just as the kids were finishing up their bath. He greeted me with a big kiss and said, "Cinco de Baby!" I had no idea when she would be coming, but he'd been saying all along it would be the 5th! I couldn't stop smiling or saying, "I'm so excited! I can't believe she'll be coming soon!"
A little backstory: I had insisted this pregnancy to find out the gender of the baby, so at 19 weeks back in December, we visited our friend who's an OB and he gave us an ultrasound revealing: it's a girl! Siena Martine was the name we picked, and we called her that the next five months.
While I got the kids out of the bath and into fresh clothes, Ian filled up the pool.

We put on a movie for the kids, and Ian made us all dinner. Around that time, I notified my mom and sister, Marie, who would be there at the birth. Just said we'd keep them posted when things started picking up. Finnegan just loved having this big, empty, fun, fishy pool in our dining room. He got a few of his toys and went to play in it. Who needs a movie for entertainment when you have THIS?

I took a shower, put on fresh clothes, continued to deal with my water breaking, and couldn't believe how much softer/squishier my belly felt without all that water in there! I kept poking it. Ian and I continued to go crazy intense and clean the house. It's amazing how much you can get done when you've got a new houseguest arriving. ;)
It was 7:30, and still there were no signs of contractions. Baby was still moving around in there, and every now and then, I'd get a Braxton-Hicks. Malley was one extremely tired little girl when bedtime arrived, so despite my earlier promises, we explained she had to go to bed because we just didn't know when Siena would arrive. I told her my body hadn't started helping the baby move down yet. I told her when Siena started to come, we would go and wake her up.
So for the last time, Ian and I brought both the kids to bed upstairs together. We only do that every once and a while, and it just seemed perfect and somewhat ceremonial to do it together. The kids gave my belly kisses for the last time ever. It was so sweet.

I checked in with Jen and told her nothing was happening - just regular Braxton-Hicks. I then called my sister. She works really early shifts and I knew she would normally be going to bed soon on any other night. So we decided that she would come over now before she got too tired. She was afraid that if she fell asleep and I called her in the middle of the night, she would sleep right through the call.

So around 8:30pm, Ian got us bowls of ice cream, and I sat on my exercise ball while we watched Arrested Development. It was fun, just chilling, and waiting. We didn't know what to expect for the night, so we just did our usual routine. Ian looked at the clock and was like, "Cinco de Baby?" I shook my head, "I really don't think so...but that's okay. May 6th is still a good birthday!"

But around 8:45pm, I felt the first contraction. It was really strong. And sudden. I immediately had to block everything out and breathe through it. Ian looked at me when it was done and asked, "Should I shut this off?" I nodded. No more Arrested Development for us that night.
A few minutes later, Marie arrived. I stood up to say hi and felt the second contraction come on. The kids were still awake at this time, and after yet another contraction passed, I went upstairs to give them hugs and kisses so they would relax and fall asleep. Malley was too funny as she said, "I can't believe Siena's not coming yet...she is a stinker." And then she said, in her matter of fact way, "I mean, what if she's a boy!"
Back story: for some crazy reason, we had decided to warn her now and then during the pregnancy that the ultrasound might have been wrong and that Siena might really be a boy. The reason we did this is because Malley wanted a baby girl more than anything in the world. Like, more than anything in the world. No amount of Princess Sofia or purses full of jewelry or orange tic-tacs competed with this one wish. Malley was one of the reasons we found out the gender (well, okay, I had 90% say just because I wanted to know myself, but it was also nice to be able to tell Malley what to expect). So when she said this right before going to bed, I laughed and said, "Oh don't worry, she's a girl..."
I had prepped myself some remedies, Mag Phos 6x and Arnica 200c, and had started sipping them around every contraction. We had been loosely timing them at 5 mins apart, but at 9:00 we noticed I had actually had three in the last ten minutes. So I was like, "We need to call Jen." So I texted both her and my mom to come over right now...these bad boys were already intense.
Ian called Jen a few minutes later to make sure she got the message, which she hadn't!, so she headed out right away. She lives about 90 minutes away, so I was glad she was getting on the road.

10 minutes later, my mom pulled in. I was sitting, listening to my hypnobirthing track on my iPod, trying to focus in between the strong surges. My mom sat with Ian and I in the living room for a few minutes, and I found myself having to sit not-so-lady-like on the chair because the surges were so low.

Marie had started filling up the birth pool around that time. We hadn't been able to find out adapter for the sink faucet, so she stood there in the kitchen holding the hose so the tub could fill up. I needed to stand then - sitting was not working anymore. But standing also made the surges stronger - I had to take the ear plugs out...I couldn't really focus on my tracks. I quick bopped into the bathroom, hoping to pee in between surges, and I ended up dealing with two of them on my own. The cool thing was I saw pink tinged stuff - yay for dilation!
When I opened the door, Ian saw the look on my face: yet another one was starting, and he came right to me. We hugged during that one, and when it was done we looked at each other like, "Holy crap..." we were both really surprised by how quickly they were happening.

It was apparent the birth pool needed to be filled up more quickly than we thought. Ian started helping by using pots and pans in the tub. When a surge would come, he'd be right by my side, and then he'd go back to quickly filling up the pool. But after a few minutes, I told him, "Ian - have my mom or Marie do that...I need you here." The next two surges were insane - I had to slide my foot away from the other during the last one - it was so crazy low. I also had to make a little noise during it. I realized suddenly: this baby was coming down.
Ian noticed the change and was like, "What do you need, baby?"
I remember time almost stopping just then. "Malley." I said firmly. "Tell them to go get Malley - I need to push."
It was 9:45pm. I faintly remember Ian calling to Mom and Marie. The water stopped, and as Ian helped me into the pool, Marie ran upstairs to wake Malley, then Mom called Jen on the phone. There was a pause in the labor...the warm water felt so amazing, but it was just barely covering my belly. We had just enough to do this! I settled on my knees in the pool and heard Marie try to wake Malley. She came downstairs saying Malley was just out cold - and even after trying again, we accepted that she was in a nice little sleep cycle and this baby wasn't waiting!
I remember telling my mom, "My phone's going to run out of minutes - my cell won't work" so she called Jen on another line. She was very calm as she explained to Jen I was in the pool, ready to push. Jen asked if I wanted her on speaker or if we would call her back. I was not in the talking mood - I was barely in the thinking mood. I waved my hand and was like, "I can't talk...we'll call her back." So after receiving some instructions from Jen, my mom hung up and got down next to the pool with us.

It hadn't occurred to me that we might be doing this "unassisted", without our midwife there. A couple times during the pregnancy, I had asked Ian if he would consider having one. Even though both previous births had been very straightforward, Ian really insisted on having Jen there, because heaven forbid, anything should happen...he just felt so much better having our knowledgeable, trusted midwife there too. So that night, when it was clear we were doing this solo, I was blown away by the way Ian just stepped right up to the plate without any nervousness, hesitation, or worry. He was right next to me, holding my hand and ready. We waited a few moments together, and then it was time to push.

I've read about women saying their bodies took over during birth. With both previous births, I felt like I had some "control" or "say" during this part of the labor. I now know what those women meant though. This time, my body did just take over. Pushing was so powerful, fast, and really strong...and crazy painful. I was pretty loud! When it hurt, everyone knew because I told them. When I felt the head coming down, everyone knew because I told them! Ian was seriously amazing. He was so excited but also very calm, helping me with his words, guiding me through it all, and telling me to breathe down. Apparently, and this makes me laugh looking back, he says I snapped, "I KNOW!" at him when he told me to breathe down. In my mind, I was just agreeing with him - but the experience was so intense, it must have sounded like I was mad at him. Nothing was further from the truth - hearing his words being the ones to help me through this meant the world to me, but I guess the appreciation didn't come out as the most prominent emotion during the experience. :P
With only a couple pushes (that were really INSANE), the head came out. I felt the baby's soft hair and face. Ian was hugging me and also feeling the baby right along with me. There is seriously nothing in the world that can explain that feeling...after months and months of knowing the baby is there, and feeling the baby move inside of you, to finally FEEL the baby beneath your finger tips just is overwhelming...I literally was crying and laughing at the same time.

There was just enough water in the pool for my lower half to be submerged, so I was very careful to remain underneath now that the head was out. It was so cool and strange to feel the head moving a little bit outside of me, and there was a few seconds of pausing before I felt another contraction coming. Ian was so excited and encouraging - and we were so ready to see the baby! It took everything I had to push the baby out, but then the baby was just OUT! I saw the whole body in the water, and despite the excitement and happiness, my Mom had instructions for us to check for the cord first before pulling the baby out of the water. And thankfully we did; even though it wasn't tight at all, the cord was around the neck. So we simply slipped it over the baby's head, and I pulled the baby out into my arms!

We were so happy! It was an amazing moment. The skin was covered in the white, slippery vernix, but I hugged and kissed the baby anyways. But we noticed that the baby was very calm, very quiet. I felt a tinge of worry as I looked at my mom. "She's not really moving..." I said.

"Just talk to her, put her in the water, rub her belly," my mom encouraged. So we did, somewhat quickly and vigorously. I was rubbing her belly when I moved my hand and looked down at her private region - just to make sure...she know, a girl.

Well, guess what.

It was a boy!!!

I was SHOCKED! We couldn't believe it! We had been calling this little baby a GIRL for months! We all laughed and were like, "What!?" I think the extra excitement jarred our movements a bit more, and within seconds, the baby was moving and acting a little annoyed that I was poking him. HIM.

He started to cry. It was so sad and precious.

It was 9:52...and our little son was here!

The next half hour flew by. I stayed in the pool, and we let the baby relax in the water. I felt like I'd been hit by a truck, so I didn't really want to move anywhere just yet. When Jen arrived around 10:30 or so, she immediately jumped in and helped me finish birthing the placenta. Then with Ian, they cut the cord. I was a shaky mess while the wonderful women helped me onto the couch, but with blankets and the baby on my chest, I soon calmed down. Marie kept giving me my remedies to sip, which seemed to help a lot with the overall shock of birth.

My little guy latched on so quickly and nursed that night while he made the sweetest, funniest noises. His face was a little "bruised" from the quick-ness of the birth, but the rest of his body was bright pink and perfect. 

For a while, we all enjoyed the bliss. We still couldn't believe he was a boy, but honestly looking back, we quickly got over it as we started thinking of a name. This actually only took us a few minutes. It's so can spend days, weeks, months, thinking of a possible name. But when push comes to shove, it's not hypothetical anymore! 

Peregrin Marcus.That's what we chose. 

Peregrin: because it was my first choice this pregnancy before we "found out" it was a girl. It's a saint and a Lord of the Rings it's pretty much perfect.

Marcus: because Ian had been rooting for it because of Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Cicero (stoics...can you tell my husband's a philosopher?) and Marcus Mumford. I would've been Mark had I been a boy all those years ago, and St. Mark is just cool. So again, perfect.

He weighed 10lbs, 6oz, and was 22 inches long. 

Oh yeah! And he had bright blonde/reddish hair! Our little Pippin...the heartbreaker already! ;)

Jen and Marie were fantastic and cleaned up the pool. Then everyone texted pictures and the news to our family. We debated waking Malley up so she could meet her brother, but we eventually decided not to. We had no idea how she'd handle the news, and we didn't want her upset that it was a boy. So after a little longer of just enjoying the baby, everyone went home and it was time for us to sleep. 

What were the kids' reactions when they woke up? 

Well, Malley woke up around 3am and called down, "Did Siena start to come yet?" So Ian went upstairs and told her she could see him since I was awake nursing on the couch anyway. He pre-warned her while they were still upstairs together that Siena was actually a boy. I braced myself for her reaction as she came downstairs toward the couch, but she was beyond adorable. She immediately wanted to hold him, so she got to snuggle with him on the couch, smiling her sweet sleepy smile, and kissing him. She decided on her own to go back to bed very quickly after only a few minutes, and promised us she'd see us in the morning to hold him again.

Ian and I were like, "Woah, what just happened..."


The next morning, Ian was the first one awake with us, so we enjoyed some quiet time before the kids got up. We heard Finn at the top of the stairs, so Ian brought him over to us. He was so shy when he saw Peregrin and I on the couch. He smiled so cutely and eventually wanted to hold him. 

A little while later, Malley woke up and wanted to hold him immediately. So we let her and talked about the night before. She wasn't upset at all that she had slept through the birth - I think all that mattered was that she held him.

I, as the mom, have been given the rare privilege of holding him when it's time to nurse, or when he gets too fussy for Malley to handle, but holding him is the first thing she wants to do in the morning when she wakes up - sometimes she even passes up breakfast if it means getting to snuggle. She is such a little mother to him...they take naps on the couch together and she comforts him when he cries. Finn has caught on and tells him, "I know, baby...I know..." when he's sad. He also says, "It's okay, little guy..."

 The cuteness!!!

Recovery this time has been noticeably more difficult than both previous births combined. There was a lot of limping around the house, bra-less, for that first week. The second week has been much, much better. I still need to take it easy; I definitely notice pain coming back if I try to do too much. Ian literally did everything that first week for us (except nurse or hold the baby...the latter we blame Malley for :P), and I truly believe that's why I'm able to move this week! It was a godsend having him home on vacation. I couldn't have done anything without him and the meals our families brought. I cried a bit the morning he went back to work. 

Now, at 16 days old, Peregrin is still so perfect. SO cuddly and sweet and yells like crazy during a diaper change. I never heard a baby actually say "Waa" before this. Sometimes he cries "Maa" -- and my heart breaks. I still can't get over his hair, which is still a beautiful strawberry blonde. (Naysayers who insist he will only have blonde hair can go stand in the back of the line. No free cars for you.) I can't get past his funny faces or noises in his sleep. I LOVE how he smells. I could smell him all day. 

SO there you have it. If you made it to the end, good for you. Here is a bonus picture of my handsome, sweet little man! 

I'm just so glad to be his mom...he is such a blessing! 

Our first time baby-wearing a couple days ago. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Where I've been, what I've been doing, pictures, and other shtuf!

Hello, my very advanced readers! How are you all?

It's a gorgeously warm April afternoon, and I had an itch to update with a small post. It has been a few months so I know you're all just dying to know some details! Well, here's the deal: I'll update you about my life, and you leave a comment updating me about yours. It's only fair!

Life has been so busy! With Little Olive at 4.5 and Little Huck at 2.5, they're growing older and more independent every day, but that also means more bandaids and snacks for their non-stop activity. I'm almost 37 weeks pregnant with Baby Number 3, and it's definitely starting to feel like the end! We're so excited to have a new baby in the house again, and the pregnancy has been really fun because Olive and Huck are so into the size, name, and other details of the baby. At our midwife appointments, she lets them find the heartbeat all by themselves with the doppler and includes them in measuring and taking my blood pressure. It's beyond precious!

Little Olive also picks up on the experienced hands of our midwife and takes it upon herself to press very strongly all over my belly, trying to determine the position of the baby.

As much as she's interested, she's also terrified of seeing the umbilical cord get cut when the baby's born. She hates all things blood! We tell her she can look away for that part, so I think she'll be okay! Olive tells me she does not want to be a midwife, a mom, or anything like that when she grows up. She simply wants to have orange tic-tacs, jewelry, and gum.

Live the life, darling!

Yes yes, we are planning another homebirth/waterbirth in our home. Every night before I fall asleep, I practice hypnobirthing. I really recommend this book and the tracks that come with it for every single pregnant lady out there. I just listen to my favorite on my ipod every night and sometimes even fall asleep before it finishes. They really helped when Huck was born, so I'm looking forward to the relief they bring when I birth the new baby in a few weeks!

And ladies, once you learn the techniques, they can even help ease cramps each month! Win win!

I'm starting to slow down a little more now that the end is nearing, so I notice I'm more tired and quiet than usual. Sometimes I get excited when plans get cancelled so that we can just stay home and relax.

Is that awful?

I don't think so! ;) It means my body and mind is telling me to make room and time for the baby who will soon be arriving!
That being said, I couldn't be more grateful for the flexibility of my position within Radiantly You. I literally can choose whether or not to work if my family or Baby Belly is pulling me elsewhere. I've been learning better lessons in time management and efficiency so that the time I DO put into my business really produces results instead of me just taking a shot in the dark.

I am proud to say that my team has grown to over 100 Independent Wellness Guides, and not only have I promoted to the Founder status, but two wonderful, amazing leaders on my team have also reached that level.

Zig Ziglar knew what he was talking about when he said, "You can get everything you want in life if you just help enough people get what they want."

I'm truly seeing the joy and fulfillment of helping other motivated individuals get what they want with this company. And I can do it without ever having to get a baby sitter or leave my home.

Perfect for a WAHM who's also 9 months pregnant! ;)

Oh hang on...Braxton-Hicks coming on...

Okay I'm back!

Seriously, if I can do Radiantly You, anyone can. It's not how much time you have, it's what you do with that time. It all just comes down to being motivated and having faith. Don't let fear of anything hold you back...your mind only has room for either fear or faith. What's it going to be?

Not my actual phone!
Another thing going on in my life that is pretty "dramatic" is that I gave up my smartphone a couple weeks ago. I'm not bragging here because, trust me, this was not my original idea. It was my Handsome Stallion of a Husband's idea almost a year ago that resulted in many discussions about the topic.

"Sometimes, even plates fly." -Our Cute Pope

I soon realized that the health hazards of a cell phone really cannot be ignored once you start looking into them. I am not judging anyone who still uses theirs. I totally get the convenience, ease, and downright FUN of a fancy phone! But I was up to my eye balls in denial for a very, very long time. I am currently in denial about plastic tupperware and plates/bowls. I close my ears when I hear people talking about it. Handsome Husband is not in denial though and comes home from the thrift store regularly with wooden plates that smell like attics. We are currently airing many of them out so that our food doesn't taste like moth balls.

Anyways again, when Hubby told me he wanted me to consider getting rid of my fancy-ish phone, I pouted. But I also knew he was right. He smartly didn't bring it up again, and I had time to think about it on my own. Without any other prompting, I sold my phone online and replaced it with a very simple cell phone. Flip, no camera, not even the ability to change the volume during a call! (At least I haven't found the ancient method of this device to do so.)

We got a landline instead so that we can talk for long periods of time without roasting our brains. I use my cell mostly for texting now and keep it away from my body when not in use.

I feel content with this decision and do not miss my old phone as much as I thought I would. So hey, if you don't feel like you NEED yours, try going with something simpler! If you do feel like you need yours, I just encourage you to do a little digging into the radiation levels of your model and see how you can be a safer, especially if you have little kids around.

And that, my friends, is all I've got for you today! My next post will probably be the baby's birth story, so stay tuned for that!

I'm excited. Life has been so good and I know it's just going to get even more amazing with each passing day.