Breastfeeding 101 

As breastfeeding moms, we all know that it’s not just a walk in the park. It’s hard work, it’s tiring, it’s long nights, it’s realizing your body is not your own, and sometimes you just want to give up because it’s the only thing you feel like you can control in your crazy life. But we also know it is a bonding experience like no other, it is beautiful, it is sweet, and it’s such good nutrition for your precious little one. 


If you are a first time breastfeeding mom, the hard truth is that it’s wonderful, but it’s definitely not always easy. So to make it a little bit easier on you, here are some tips and tricks for getting through the first year of breastfeeding from someone who’s been there and is now going through it all again with baby boy number 2:). 

1) If you can make it to two months, I promise you things will get easier! You and baby are learning how to work with one another and until you figure out what they like, things will seem a little crazy for awhile. 

2) For the first week or so, always nurse your little one and then pump to get your milk to come in. 

3) Sometimes it can take 5-7 days for your milk to come in, so don’t give up too soon! 

4) Be open to accepting help from nurses, lactation specialists and anyone else that can help you get the right latch and get you and baby comfortable. Don’t be modest; they’ve seen more boobs than they can count in their profession!  

5) For moms having their second baby: Nursing a toddler is so much different from nursing a newborn! Maybe some moms have no issue with this, but it was like I had never nursed before. After awhile I got the hang of it again but it wasn’t really like riding a bike. 

6) If you want to nurse in public with a cover, try using the cover a few times at home first before you make your first trip out. This will get you and baby familiarized with how the cover works, and hopefully it will keep your little one from screaming too much the first time you use it when you’re finally out of the house.

7) When you nurse at night, try to sit up in a chair. This will keep you from falling asleep and will make for a quicker feed. I can feed and change my little one in about 20 minutes this way, and then I’m back in bed snoozing on my own. 

8) Pump about an hour after your morning feeding to store up extra milk. If you are going back to work, or plan to vacation at some point, you will need lots of extra milk. Your breasts will be the fullest in the morning. I usually pump after Porter’s 6am feeding right after I get out of the shower. The warm water helps the milk flow better. 

9) Wear nursing tanks to bed for easy access with nightly feedings. 

10) I also like to wear nursing tanks under tops that I’m going to pull up to nurse. That way my stomach isn’t showing when I’m not using my 360 cover. I also love to buy clothes that are nursing friendly too though. Look for snaps, zippers, and buttons in the bust area :). (I may do a post on my favorite nursing outfits later on when I get time). 

Well moms I think those are my top ten tips. I am going on a trip to Aruba here in a few weeks without my babes. It is my first time leaving Porter for more than one day! I am bringing my pump and pumping every  3-4 hours because I am determined not to stop nursing him at 6 months. Let’s pray it goes well! I am going to need to remember all the reasons I love breastfeeding because I’m sure it’s not going to be fun to pump all the time while on vacation. Oh the things we do for our little ones! 

I hope this helps all the new moms out there. Please feel free to leave questions or comments. And if you are a breastfeeding mom and have other tips, that would be great too!

Porter Pie milk comma photos 🙂


Much love, 

Val

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A Birthday Boy and A Squishy Boy

I can’t believe I now have a 3 year old and a 4 month old. And yes I am doing these posts together, because I am lucky if I get any time to write anymore! Both boys are finally napping together right now, but we will see how long that lasts! Plus I have been a little distracted with Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise lately and a few good books during my free time! Anyways, here are the updates on my crazy, sweet boys!

Silas turned 3 on August 17th. We had a party the saturday before and he had a blast! We had it at the church gym and rented a bounce house out for a few hours. We invited lots of friends and family, and of course lots of little friends for Silas to play with. There are surprisingly quite a few families in this area with young kids, and we have been having lots of get togethers with them. The kids get together and get into all kinds of trouble :).

The party, while stressful to prepare for, went very well. All the kids had fun, Silas had a blast in the bounce house and got so many fun toys to play with from everyone. We are so thankful for wonderful family and friends in this area. Pate and I had a separate small party for him on his actual birthday. He got to open a few presents from us, and then we took a boat ride to dock n eat and had dinner. He loves boat rides and loves any place he can get good chicken fingers and some fruit.

Having a 3 year old is not that different from having a 2-1/2 year old except that I feel like I have less time to potty train him now, and he seems to get a little more ornery each day! It’s so true that toddler boys can be yelling one moment and giving you hugs and kisses the next. Silas is the sweetest boy I know at times, but also the most frustrating other times. We are slowly learning how to communicate things to him in a way that he understands and will listen to. I think we will be doing this for years to come. Parenting is always a learning process, and my toddler is teaching me new things every day.

I love seeing him learn and grow. He is so smart! I’m amazed by the things that come out of his mouth on a daily basis… mostly in a good way, but sometimes he does surprise us and we have to say, “where did he learn that?!”. He is always saying these big words that I have no idea where he learned or picked them up. He listens to everything and always asks questions. We have to be so careful what we say and do; he is definitely helping keep us in check these days!

We are sadly still working on potty training, and it feels like this has been the longest learning process for all of us. Part of me thinks we started way before he was ready and now he is backtracking. I try every day to take him potty numerous times, and he goes almost every time I take him. He always gets a treat for going as well. But just when I think we are making big strides, he has a big accident and  it seems like we have to start all over again. I’m sure he will get the hang of it at some point, but we didn’t meet my 3 year goal and I am learning to be okay with not always meeting the goals we set. Silas is teaching me each day that you have to be flexible and patient with toddlers.

And now on to my sweet squishy cheeked 4 month old, Porter Willis. I feel like I have finally started to get the hang out taking care of two little ones. Porter has started to be a really good baby, especially compared to how he was in the beginning. My last post on here might have made it seem like he was doing great, but it was still very early and I think that was about the time that things took a turn for the worst.

When I started being able to drive again and we took Porter on his first longer car ride to Ft. Smith to see his great uncle we quickly realized that he did not like the car, or his car seat or a mixture of the two. It was a very rough 3 hour drive there and back and made me reluctant to take him anywhere after that. Around here we have to travel at least 15 miles to get anywhere, and from about week 3 till a few weeks ago, Porter would cry everywhere we went. It made for very stressful car rides, but we really tried not to let it change everything for us. We decided that if we let his crying rule our lives, than he would always be in control. We just hoped and prayed that he would grow out of the crying, and slowly but surely he has.

I take lots of trips to Springfield for doctors appointments and to see my family. Our last trip to Springfield on Saturday, which is about a 70 mile drive for us, Porter only cried about the last 10-15 minutes, and even then he was self soothing some and it wasn’t a full on cry.

On top of the crying though, Porter always wanted to be held during the day and we couldn’t get him to nap on his back. I finally decided to try him on his belly one day, even though it went against all the things I had read and been told by nurses and doctors. I know some might think we are terrible, but this changed everything for us. I was getting no sleep at night and no breaks during the day. The first time I put him on his belly he napped for 2 hours! We were nervous about it, but we ultimately decided that we had to trust that God would take care of our precious baby. And He always has! Porter is very good with moving his head around and his neck is very strong for his age. There are times that he has slept a long time and I worry about him and go check on him, but for the most part I sleep with ease now and only wake up for feedings.

Now that we know what Porter likes, he has started to come into his own and is a sweet, smiley, cuddly baby. He giggles and smiles when we tickle and play with him. He is very close to turning from his back to his belly. His favorite thing to do in the morning is to lay and stretch out on his playmat. This gives me time to get some stuff done in the morning and sometimes play with Silas. Just the past week he started wanting to put himself down for naps. He was really fighting me rocking him, so I just went and laid him down one day after rocking him for thirty minutes and having no luck of him falling asleep. I laid him down in his bed, he turned his head, stuck his thumb in his mouth and went right to sleep! He hasn’t gone down that easily by himself every time, but I can tell he still likes that better than me rocking him because he seemed to always fight rocking until he finally fell asleep.

Porter is a really good eater. We are still nursing, but he will take a bottle as well, thankfully. We are going on a trip for 5 days at the end of October and I am really nervous about it, but I feel better knowing he will take a bottle. He does not like pacifiers, but he loves to suck on his hands, especially his thumb! It’s adorable and so sweet.

His nickname right now is squishy because he has sweet chubby squishy cheeks that we love to kiss all day! We also call him bubby quite often and that’s what I usually call him when talking to Silas. Silas also calls him bubby and doesn’t like it when we call him squishy! Kids are so funny :).

We are so blessed to have 2 sweet, healthy, precious boys. We are honored that God chose us to be their parents and can’t wait to see what the future brings. I am trying to enjoy and appreciate every stage, but I am super excited for when Porter gets big enough to play with Silas. I am really looking forward to next summer when they will be 1 and 3 and we can go out on the boat and have pool time much more often without worrying about not being able to have Porter in the sun. We did get to have a fun pool day today and Porter napped for some of the time. Hopefully we will get a few more in before it gets too chilly. And hopefully I will be able to write more now that I am getting the hang of juggling two sweet little boys along with my wonderful husband :).

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Porter Willis

Wow! Being a mom to two boys under 3 has got me all kinds of crazy the last few weeks! Porter is now 3 weeks old. I am writing this post on my phone in bed with him cuddled next to me. Silas is napping, and it is pretty peaceful around here for now. Although I have a million things I need to get done, I just can’t find the time for anything other than my boys at this point. I honestly can not believe that I am trading valuable nap time for writing, but I have been reading other blogs and finally got some motivation to write again. 

So… here is the birth story of sweet little Porter Willis 😊. 

There was no shock and awe on the day he came into our lives. He was a planned cesarean and was scheduled for delivery at 39 weeks. I did not go into labor early, so on May 25th at 4am our bags were packed, I kissed my first born goodbye as he slept, Pates mom prayed over us, and we headed for Mercy in Springfield.

We arrived at the hospital right on time and got checked in. We were able to take some fun pictures in front of the labor and delivery signs. We were then taken straight back to our room where the nurses prepped me and got me and baby hooked up to the monitors. About an hour and a half later my doctor was there and I was being prepped for my second c-section. 

This experience was SO drastically different than our first. With Silas I went into labor unexpectedly, my doctor was out of town, I labored too long and ended up going into emergency c-section where I had to be completely put under bc my epidural had worn off. It was crazy and dramatic and painful. Porter’s delivery was calm and precisely planned. I was numbed from my chest down and could not feel a thing this time except for a little pressure when they would push on my abdomen. Pate got to stay for the whole delivery and was the first to see and hold Porter (also drastically different than with our first). This was so sweet to see and I will treasure those moments forever. He was such a proud daddy and i was overjoyed to be able to see him experience holding his son for the first time. 

Porter Willis came into this world at 7lbs 10oz and 20-1/4 inches. He was perfect! 

After the nurses made sure Porter’s vitals were all good, and I got all stitched up, I got to have skin to skin time and they wheeled us back to our original room. We stayed in there for a couple hours and got lots of one on one time with Porter. Pate’s parents showed up with Silas a little while later and he got to meet his baby brother for the first time. It was a very sweet time and Silas did really well with everything. He was gentle with momma and baby and I didn’t really feel like he was jealous of baby brother. 

At this point I was still very numb from my belly down. It felt so weird, but honestly I wish it would have lasted longer! Healing from c-section #2 has definitely not been easy! Three weeks later and I’m still taking ibuprofen and Tylenol occasionally. I couldn’t get up at the hospital for 24 hours and when I did I wished I could just stay in bed. Even with meds every few hours it was one of the worst pains I have ever felt (next to my first and second pregnancies). The day we came home, I was an hour late on taking my medication and I was shaking by the time I laid down in bed. I definitely scared my two year old that day, but at least he realized that momma is hurting and you have to be gentle. 

Since then we have had 3 weeks of healing, learning, and coping. We had lots of help the first week home. Pate’s mom was here helping me almost every day. We had meals brought from church members for a week, which we are eternally grateful for. My first day left alone was definitely a challenge and the first week was even more so. I don’t know how my friends that have more than 2 little ones do it! You are all supermoms in my book :). We are finally getting the hang of things in week 3 now though and I feel like I can finally come up for some air and maybe take some time for myself. 
I have been so thankful for many things during this time of change in our lives. Number one is my relationship with Christ. I know i could not have made it through all this without Him as my constant companion and most of all His love and strength. I started a new devotion on the Bible app 9 days ago when I started feeling really down on myself and just didn’t feel like I could do this. It’s called Joy For All Seasons by Carol Burton McLeod. It has been such an inspiration to read every morning while I’m nursing Porter. Number two that I am thankful for is my supportive and extremely hard working husband. He has been so amazing with taking care of me and the boys. And last but not least is my wonderful family. We have had so much support and help and could not do this without them. 

Well that is all for now. Porter just got really upset and is nursing again! He has been wanting to feed about every 2 hours today. He is a growing boy and is so so sweet! We can’t imagine life without him 😍. 

Counting our days

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38 weeks and 2 days today. I am writing this on my phone which shows you how little time I feel I have lately. Even though I am only 38 weeks, my scheduled cesarean is only a week from today! We are so excited to meet our new son, and I feel like we are finally somewhat prepared. Can you ever fully be prepared to add another life to your family?

I have so many mixed feelings and emotions about baby boy #2 coming in 7 short days. I am so excited that he will finally be here and I’ll be able to hold him in my arms and see his sweet face. I’m also so scared of all the changes that will come with adding a new little one to our family. I have written whole posts about this topic, so I’m not going to bore you with that again. Just know those fears haven’t gone away, but maybe just lessened with the excitement of our baby finally coming!

We finally have a name for our precious boy. My husband came up with it and I’ll let you ponder on where he got it but his name will be Porter Willis Shumaker. Although I will tell you Willis comes from my Papa that passed away last year. After many names were tossed out due to disagreement on pronunciation or not liking nicknames that would come with the name, we finally agreed on one and we are so happy that everyone in the family seems to love the name as well!

I finally have my bags packed after carefully contemplating what I would bring this time. With my first, we were in the hospital for at least 4 days and so this time I doubt I will need as much, but am still packing enough just in case. Last time my mom and sister ended up having to buy me lots of things including nursing bras, tanks, and underwear that I didn’t bring enough of. This time I took extra time to go through my old things and pick out what I still wanted from that, and also what I wanted to buy new. I would love to do a post on what I packed in my bag because I think I did really good this time, but I don’t know that I will have time before the baby comes.

We also finally have Silas in his big boy room! We broke down and let someone come do the flooring for us. They got it done in a day and a half and we got the furniture moved back in the night they finished the flooring. We are still decorating it some but he is already sleeping great in his queen size bed and we feel very blessed for that!

I still can’t believe that I am sitting here at my last doctors appointment waiting for the doctor to come tell me if we will have our baby any sooner than the 25th. I let myself be pampered one last time today and got a mani/pedi in preparation for baby. I would recommend moms to do this the week before the baby comes if possible. It was so nice to have that relaxing time to myself and then have my son so happy to see me again after. Also from here on out I won’t get a lot of time to myself for awhile. I’m also getting my hair highlighted for the last time right after this appointment. Which with how long the doctor is taking might be cutting it close :/. Anyways I think that is all for now. Please pray for a smooth surgery for momma and baby. Can’t wait for everyone to meet baby Porter!

A Letter to My First Born: I’ll Love You Forever

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“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” Silas Randall you will always be my baby, but that’s why this is oh so hard to write. In 6 short weeks you will no longer be the baby of the family. In fact, we are already trying to get you accustomed to you no longer be the baby right now. It’s so hard for me to put one chapter of my life to rest and move onto the next, but I know that the Lord has so many blessings in store for us and that we must trust Him.

I’m afraid of so many things. I am afraid I will no longer have time to wait on you hand and foot. While most would think this might be a good thing, I don’t really because you are my baby and I have loved being with you to serve you every moment of every day since you were 10 months old. I love hearing you call out “momma” every morning and seeing your sweet smile when I come get you out of bed. I love hearing you ask for “cereal, and juice, and milk” and being able to sit with you and share a bowl of cereal while we play with your cars. I love cuddling with you in my chair while we read books or watch shows. I love being able to read to you before naps and still (yes, still) rocking you and singing to you until you fall asleep. I love our after nap snuggles and playtime. I love teaching you and seeing your eyes light up when you learn something.

There are so many things that I love about all the time I have been able to have with my baby boy. I am even so eternally grateful for the extra time I have gotten to have alone with you the past few months. I will never understand why God allowed us to miscarry, but I like to think one of the reasons He allowed it to happen was that He knew I needed more time with my first baby boy and that maybe I wasn’t quite as ready as I thought I was to give that up.

Silas you have taught me how to love in ways I never knew I was capable of loving. You have taught me how to be selfless and to put another’s wants and needs completely before my own. You have helped me to understand God’s love for His children through my relationship with you. A child’s love is one of the greatest gifts we could ever receive from the Lord. They love fully and without thought. I am so blessed and overcome with joy that God chose me to be your momma.

Watching you grow, learn, and change every day has been such a wonderful gift. You are growing way too fast for your own good, but I’m so excited that you’re tall enough to ride the SDC rides now and I can’t wait to do that with you this Spring. You love to learn, and I love to watch you learn new things every day. You have the sweetest little soul and I hope and pray you stay that way forever. You definitely can be ornery at times, but your sweetness makes up for it.

Deciding to be a mom was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has made me happier than I ever thought possible, even though it has definitely been challenging at times. As we enter into this new stage of life and add another sweet baby boy to our family, just know Silas Randall, that you will always be my first; you will always be the one that taught me and showed me how to be a mom. You will always be the one that gave me one of the greatest gifts I have ever had the joy of receiving: motherhood.

Bumpdate: 30 weeks

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Dress: BCBGeneration; Sweater: Urban Outfitters; Shoes: DSW (last season); Watch: Fossil Q; Necklace: Boutique brand 

Surprisingly I am feeling pretty good at just 9 weeks from our C-section date! Since I am having a repeat cesarean, I get to be scheduled a week before my due date, so thankfully I won’t have to wait until 40 weeks, and definitely won’t be overdue. This is definitely a blessing! Even though I am feeling pretty good this week, last week was a totally different story. I’ve realized that the second pregnancy and probably those later to come have a slew of ups and downs from week to week.

While my first pregnancy was a breeze, this one is anything but that. Even so, I am immensely thankful for this life growing inside of me and am overjoyed to be bringing another little boy into our family. My biggest worry right now is about splitting time between my sons, and getting Silas prepared for a new baby.

Right now I have so much one on one time with Silas and I love it. I am trying to soak in every moment of cuddling and playing with him. Which is probably a big reason you don’t see me on here much. I have heard so often that my heart will grow when I have another baby, but I’m not worried about loving them both; I already do love them both. I’m more concerned about not being able to hold my first born as much or to let him sit in my chair with me, which we do often. I know we will figure it all out and that Silas might have to do some growing up once his little brother is here, but a part of me doesn’t want him to grow up more than he already is. I want him to stay my baby forever!

We also have not made much progress on getting Silas into his new room and out of the baby room. I’ve worked on cleaning the room out some, but we still have so much work to do. After cleaning out the room, we need to install the laminate flooring, get all his furniture moved and situated, and then the task comes of getting him used to sleeping in a new room in a bigger bed. He has been in a crib up till this point and I’m worried that he will want to get out of bed numerous times a night. This is my top priority to get done before little brother comes, but it seems to be slow going at this point.

Anyways, I know it will all work out in the end and we will figure it out! Here are the stats on baby and me:

Baby Shu

Heartbeat: 150bpm

Weight: 3.1 lbs (although I tend to think he is more than what my app says bc Shumaker babies are always big)

Height: 17 in.

Size of a: Butternut Squash

Name: Still undecided, and we have had much debate over this!

He moves and kicks quite frequently and is very active! In fact, much more than I remember his big brother being.

Momma

Weight gain: 23 lbs give or take a pound or two depending on the day

Measuring at: 29 wks at last appt ( again Shumaker babies are big since this was at 28 wks). My next appt is on Tuesday.

Cravings: Ice cream or anything sweet really, pumpkin seeds, and Starbucks Frappucinos

Aches and Pains: Still having sciatica, but I’ve had some relief over the past week which is possibly why I feel a lot better because I sleep better without the pain.

Swelling: My fingers have just started to swell this week and I have taken all my rings off in fear that I won’t be able to get them off later :(. My hands feel naked without them. I haven’t noticed swelling in my ankles or feet yet, but I’m sure it’s not far off.

Favorite part of pregnancy: Feeling little brother kick and move inside of me of course, and finding cute clothes to fit the bump! Although I will say I have probably spent way too much money doing this even though I try to find things that will fit me during and after.

Well I think that will be all for now, since it is Sunday and I want to take a nap along with the rest of my family that is already asleep :).

Thanks for reading!

Val

 

 

 

 

Petite and Pregnant

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Photo by Scott Cotton Photography

Growing up I remember thinking that the Petite section in stores was for older ladies. Every time my Memaw came to visit we went shopping and she would always be looking for the petite section. I remember one specific shopping trip that has made my sister and I laugh to this day. We were in JCPenney with Memaw and Momma looking for the petite section per usual, and Memaw saw a hanger that said JCP on it and said, “Look here it is JCP, for JC Petite!”. Of course we knew that JCP really stood for JCPenney and giggled at Memaw, and then helped steer her towards the right department.

As I’ve gotten older (but not too old :)) I’ve come to realize that the petite section is not just for older women. It is meant for all women that are small in stature and size. I have also come to find that many shops that have specific petite sections have become my favorite places to go for dresses, skirts, and sometimes pants (shops such as Banana Republic and Loft). The dresses and skirts aren’t super long on me, and the pants fit better in the hips and length.

Finding clothes that fit good during pregnancy is hard in itself. Finding clothes that fit good and that you like; something that you feel good in can be even harder. It’s especially hard when you are 5’2” with a petite frame! Most maternity clothes are surely made for the average size woman, which according to search results is 5’4” and 166 lbs. Obviously I’m not trying to shame anyone or make ladies feel bad about their body size. Ladies, we are all beautiful how God made us. This post is to benefit those women out there that have always been petite though, and have trouble finding maternity clothes that fit because of this.

Usually stores will tell you to pick your normal size in choosing maternity clothes; to pick the size you were before you became pregnant. The problem with this is that many maternity stores and websites do not even carry the size I was before my pregnancy, which was XS. I tend to think I am a fairly normal woman. I don’t think I am extremely small, especially for my height, but I also obviously don’t think I’m big by any means. In my eyes I seem average, but when it came to finding maternity clothes I quickly realized that this was not true! Everything was too long, or too wide, too hippy, or too busty.

Here are my tips on where to shop if you are pregnant and petite, which for me was being 5’2”, 108lbs and a 32C before my pregnancy.

H&M

This is my top pick if you are small. Even if you are tall and skinny this would be a good choice for you. H&M is a European company so everything runs small, which in this case is a good thing. I have bought all of my maternity jeans here that I like. They fit much better than any other maternity jeans I have ever tried on or purchased. Their jeans look and feel like normal jeans, and I still feel sexy in them (which is so important during pregnancy) because they hug in all the right places without being uncomfortable. Here are some pictures of them on me.

Sweater on the left is BCBGeneration that I got from Dillard’s this season and might still be in store. It is an XXS and still fits great at 27 weeks now. The top on the right is a short sleeve top from H&M that I got from my first pregnancy and a cardigan from TJ Maxx that I got this season and is still in some stores. It also has a button at the top that makes it into a poncho. I love it and have one in black as well.

You can find the jeans here:

http://www.hm.com/us/product/59279?article=59279-C

http://www.hm.com/us/product/85143?article=85143-I

http://www.hm.com/us/product/52513?article=52513-C

You will probably need to purchase a size or two up from what you normally wear in US sizes. For example I usually wear a 0 or 2 in US sizes (24-25 waist) and I ordered a 4 for my maternity pants. There is a size chart to help you with this on their website, again I would go with the measurements you were before you got pregnant.

I have also purchased shorts and tanks here from my last pregnancy, and a few tops for this pregnancy as well. I have been very satisfied with everything I have purchased here, and it’s definitely my favorite place to buy simple, but stylish maternity clothes. The other wonderful thing is all of H&M maternity wear is reasonably priced. I have never been one to want to spend a lot of money of clothes that I will only wear for a season of my life.

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H&M shorts from last pregnancy

Motherhood Maternity

I know this is a pretty common one, but it really is my next favorite. I don’t tend to get super dressed up when I’m pregnant and this store is great for all your casual needs. They finally started carrying XS in their leggings this year so I have purchased them in 3 different colors of course and wear them all the time. They are actually on sale today and you can find them here. I also have 2 pairs of jeans from here. While the secret fit belly on these is a little more comfortable than my ones from H&M, I just don’t like how they look as much. They get worn around the house when I’m not really going anywhere and will probably get worn a lot more towards the end of my pregnancy when I am bigger and only want comfort. Both pairs of jeans I have from here are PXS and Indigo Blue and Jessica Simpson brands. I wasn’t able to find the exact ones online to link to, but any PXS will fit about the same ( I have tried a lot of them on).

These are the Jessica Simpson ones which I tend to wear more out the two pairs.
Shirt is Pink Rose from TJ Maxx and cardigan is from Urban Outfitters

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Sweater and leggings from MM. Leggings are XS Secret Fit Belly and sweater is Small.

With my first pregnancy I really liked their tanks and v – neck tees, but haven’t been able to find the same ones there this time around. I did find some on their sale today though for $5 a piece though! You can find them here. have a couple light sweater tops from here that I like, but I’m not big on many of their tops because they tend to run a little big and not many of them come in XS. I did purchase 2 pairs of Jessica Simpson shorts here with my first pregnancy and wore them all the time. Here is a picture of me in the white ones:

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Pink Blush

I like this online shop if only for it’s uniqueness in stylish maternity clothes. I have found a few things that fit well, but most of it runs quite large or long. I have not ordered any pants from here, so I can’t really give advice in that area. My advice is to stick to thin flowy long sleeve tops, or ones that look like they fit the model snug. All the sweaters or hoodies I have purchased from here I ended up returning because they were super long and huge on me. They were not flattering at all and definitely not made for short women. I’ve also tried a few dresses from this site and did not like them much either. They were all too wide, too long, and too busty for this petite frame. Here are a few of the tops I have from here that I actually did end up keeping from my online orders (they are all on sale now!):

Charcoal heather soft knit dolman sweater

Olive green colorblock top

Green striped long sleeve ribbed top

Many of the things I still wear for now are regular clothes. My favorite stores to shop for non-maternity clothes that will possibly still fit after the pregnancy are Dillard’s, Forever 21 and TJ Maxx. I just purchased a few tops at Dillard’s when BCBG had a great sale going on and I love all of them even at 27 weeks pregnant. Dillard’s has a great selection of flowy longer tops, which are great for when you are pregnant. Forever 21 is cheap and has so much to choose from. My favorite thing to buy here with my first pregnancy was maxi dresses and stretchy tanks. I haven’t bought much here with this pregnancy, but I just really haven’t had the time to look yet. I usually feel like I need lots of time in Forever 21 because the racks are so full and it’s just all consuming! When you are already a momma to a growing needy toddler you don’t have much time to shop in stores like this.

These are my top picks for trying to find maternity clothes to fit a petite frame. I have looked many other places without much luck, but I would love input if anyone reading this has advice on other shops. I don’t like to spend a lot of money on clothes that I won’t wear for long, so I haven’t tried any boutique shops and haven’t ordered lots of things to see what works and what doesn’t. I hope this has been helpful for women out there that have had trouble finding stylish maternity clothes that fit well. I will most likely be posting some weekly outfits from here on out till the end of this pregnancy.

Thanks for reading,

Val

23 Week Bumpdate and Mom Resolutions for 2017

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I was trying to decide which one of these topics to write about, when I just decided why not combine them? Most of my resolutions are actually things I want to get done before our new little one comes along, so they would be included in my bumpdate anyways. This is how the last few months have been, and what we hope to accomplish soon!

Christmas was extra fun this year with Silas seeming to really get into the festivities more than he ever has. He loved going to see Santa, taking our yearly trip to KC, and going to SDC to see the lights. Presents were undeniably his favorite part of Christmas, but what two year old doesn’t love presents? Seeing the joy in his eyes with all of these things was a wonderful experience that I will always cherish. It was a bittersweet holiday knowing that there was a loved little soul that we did not get to have with us, but I find comfort in knowing that our little one is with the One that Christmas is all about, Jesus Christ.

We are now at about 23 weeks (Sunday to be exact) and I just had my monthly appointment on Tuesday. Everything went well at the appointment. Our baby’s heartbeat was at “about 150bpm” (the nurse says the same thing almost every time!). Altogether, the appointment took about 10 minutes and I was in and out. It was a relief to know that everything is still going wonderfully, but really at this point I haven’t been worrying too much and am just trying to trust in God through this process.

Thankfully, I am still feeling pretty good physically. I have had an upset stomach occasionally and sometimes have to watch what I eat, but it’s nothing major. The thing that has caused me the most discomfort is pain in my legs/hips/butt/back area. I am not able to lie on my right side hardly at all and I get very uncomfortable when sitting for long periods of time. I have spoken to my doctor about it and she said that more aches and pains are normal in the second pregnancy. I guess for now I am just dealing with it and trying not to complain too much; it could be worse.

I am still working out on a daily basis except for the occasional break here and there when I’m extra tired or maybe when I’m on vacation and don’t have the ability to exercise. I just do 20 minutes on my elliptical and 4 sets of 50 crunches, so nothing too strenuous, but just enough to keep me feeling good and not gaining too much weight. I probably won’t be able to do the crunches here in a few weeks, so I will have to try to find something to go in place of that.

As far as weight gain goes, I was not gaining much at all in the beginning. I went to two appointments where I only gained 1 or 2 pounds in a month. The doctor said this was normal and that I would probably make up for it later on, which I think is what is happening now. I gained 6 lbs at my appointment on Tuesday, which puts me at a total of 16 lbs, but I think some of this was weight from the holidays, seeing as the next day I was down 2 lbs from that. I’m not too worried about it seeing as I am still gaining way less than I did when I was pregnant with Silas.

We have not chosen a name for our baby boy yet. We are asked this question often, but we have not decided on anything yet. We still like a couple of the names that we had in the running when we had Silas, but we are not sure if we want to choose one of them, or something entirely different. We feel that Silas’ name is pretty unique and so we want something that is just as unique and that we love just as much as his name. It is taking us awhile to come to an agreement on a name we both love, but I’m sure we will decide on one in the next few months.

Now on to the mom resolutions…

I know, I know I should have other resolutions besides those that just have to do with motherhood, but to be honest, being a mom pretty much consumes my life right now, and I’m okay with that! I love being a Momma and I love that I get to stay home with my sweet boy (soon to be boys!). Sure I have things that I want to accomplish for myself, but I feel like everything I do to better myself will ultimately help me to be a better mom, and I know that this is what the Lord has called me to do in this season of my life.

  1. Get Silas Potty Trained!

Yes we are unfortunately still working on this! Honestly I am just trying to let him do it at his own pace and not let it take over our lives. He gets upset when we try to get too serious about it, and I make him use it all the time, so we are using the potty some every day and I am hoping that he will want to do it more eventually. In a couple months here I might have to lay the law down a little more and get serious about it since I do want him trained before our second one comes along. For now though, he is doing very well when we do make a point of using the potty. He goes almost every time that he is asked to try, and if not I can still tell that he is trying to go. At least he understands the concept, but I just don’t think he is quite ready to go all in yet.

  1. Complete the remodeling of Silas’ room and get him sleeping in big boy bed

We still have quite a bit of work to do on Silas’ new room. We need to finish cleaning it out and do some cleaning of the carpet and bathroom. We also need to paint, and get all the furniture moved in and out. After his room is all ready, we will have to get him accustomed to sleeping in a regular bed. He has had no issues ever with trying to get out of his crib, so we just decided to keep him in it for awhile, but we are not buying another crib and he is kind of a big kid, so I think it is definitely time for him to be in a bigger bed. I heard it can take at least a week to get toddlers acclimated to a normal bed, so we really need to get this process started seeing as it might be a long one.

  1. Weight control

Obviously I am going to eat when I’m hungry, but I want to do my best to be healthy in this pregnancy and not eat too many sweets or gain too much weight. Seeing as I am due at the end of April, it would be nice to be able to lose most of my weight quickly. In the small town of Golden where there isn’t much to do in the summer besides go to the pool and the lake, it would be nice to be comfortable in my swim suit. I won’t really have a lot of time to lose weight before Summer comes like I did with Silas, so I am hoping to gain less weight in this pregnancy and maybe still be able to work out after giving birth. With Silas, I didn’t work out till 8 months post partum or more because I was solely focusing on having enough milk to breastfeed for at least one year. I still want to be able to breastfeed for this long, but hopefully working out some will not diminish my milk supply.

I think these are my top three resolutions or goals for right now. Obviously many things will change for us as a family this year and we will have to go with the flow as much as we can. We still have a lot to do in preparing for our new little guy, but I think we will definitely be more relaxed about it all the second time around. I am a little worried about how I will be able to split my time between two little ones in a few months, seeing as my time during the day usually revolves solely around Silas, but in talking to other moms I know this fear is normal and that we will learn to cope. Silas will have to learn to be a big boy and handle some things on his own, which makes me a little sad because in my eyes he will always be my baby boy, but he is growing up and he needs to learn to do more things on his own. Adding another life to our family in 2017 will surely change many of our daily routines, but it will also surely bring more joy and blessings into our home along the way. We are very excited to see what the New Year will bring for our family and how the Lord will work in our lives through it all.

Finding Joy Through the Uncertainty

Just a few months ago, my husband and I went through a very trying time in our lives, I would say the most heartbreaking and life altering event I’ve ever encountered. I say this because I realize now that this one event changed my whole perspective and outlook on life. It made me doubt my trust and faith in the One that has never led me astray and has never given me reason to doubt His goodness and mercy. It made me fearful for what was to come, and jealous of others who were enjoying parts of life that I couldn’t seem to enjoy anymore. It changed the person that I am, I let it take hold of me and grip me at my very core. I am not this person. I am not distrusting of my God and fearful of what the next day will bring. I don’t lose hope in life, or become jealous of other’s newfound joy. Today I realized that this is not who I am, but someone I have allowed myself to become for a time. I’m done feeling helpless, hopeless, faithless, jealous, and fearful. But I have to be honest about my story during that time in my life because it was a very important time; I made it less than it should have been. So now I’m going to tell a story, a story of sadness and loss, but also a story of hope and redemption.

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Ultrasound of the baby that we lost at 13 weeks

It’s early in the morning, about 6am to be exact. A wife and mother of one tiptoes to the guest bathroom. She opens the cabinet and gets out the pregnancy test she has been hiding. She is nervous and scared, but still full of hope. She has taken the same test at least twice a month every month for the past 3 months. It has been a year now since this journey began, a year of hope, joy, confusion, pain, and heartache.

We choose to live with questions and in fear of what is to come. We choose to doubt and not trust in the One who can restore us and be everything we need. We sometimes choose to push Him away when the days seem dark and the weeks long. I’m sure you’re thinking by now that the test was definitely negative from the mood of this post, so I will continue with the story. I am going to let you know what happened soon, don’t worry.

The woman takes the test, impatiently waits for the results, takes a deep breath, and puts the test away. She goes to work out, which is what she normally does at this hour and why her husband did not know she was taking the test. A little before 7am her husband meets her at the elliptical to say goodbye and head to work. She leans down to give him a kiss then says, “Oh by the way I took another test, and it was positive.” The husband looked shocked and says, “really? Okay, well lets just see how things go.” Weeks later he asked his wife how she told him because he didn’t even remember since it wasn’t made to be a big deal. This pregnancy, while prayed for and deeply wanted, happened 3 months after a terrible heart wrenching miscarriage. This is what pregnancy looks like after you have lost all hope and you have doubts every single day that your baby will survive.

So while this should be a wonderful story of hope and redemption, and at times it is, it has also been a story of doubt, sadness, and learning to trust again. If you have read my previous posts, I’m sure you have figured out by now that this woman is me. As I took that test and saw that it said Pregnant 1-2 weeks, I was so happy, yet also sad because I was thinking of the test that I also took in February of that same year that said Pregnant 2-3 weeks. I was happy and hopeful, but also did not want to get too excited yet. We both needed some reassurance for it to really be real for us.

As weeks passed I began to feel terrible that this baby was not receiving the recognition and the joy that our baby just months before had. It was so unfair and we were so uncertain. Finally we went to our 9 week appointment. I remember that day so well. My son had fallen asleep in the car and my husband was running a few minutes late. I wanted Pate to sit in the car with Silas so he could still sleep and I would text him when we were about to do the ultrasound. Pate arrived and I headed into my appointment, but of course Silas woke up right before I got to the doors. Pate yelled for me, but I told him to meet me inside, that I did not want to be late. When I got upstairs to my doctors office I found out she was running 30 minutes behind and we would have to wait even longer to seal our fates.

Finally we were called back to a room to see the nurse and wait for the doctor to do our ultrasound. Everything went normal with the nurse, she took my blood pressure and asked a few typical first trimester questions such as how was I feeling, did I have any concerns, etc. She also mentioned that she felt like we had just gone through this same routine, which I sadly joked, “we did”. Finally the doctor came in with the ultrasound machine and got to work on finding our baby. We received the good news that we had been waiting for! Our baby was growing and thriving. It had a heartbeat of 140 bpm and was right on track for growth at 9 weeks. We were so happy, but unfortunately for me that didn’t last long. I knew we weren’t out of the doghouse yet. Our first appointment with our last pregnancy went great, but we sadly lost that baby at 13 weeks. Our next appointment was the one I was really nervous about and was anticipating.

At this point we had decided to tell just our immediate family. They were all happy, but of course seemed like they were trying not to get too excited just yet.

Four more weeks passed. Weeks filled with doubt and fear. Every time I visited the restroom I feared that there would be blood and signs of loss of our baby. Every time I had an ache or cramp, which there were many, I had doubts about the life of our child. Pate and I drove together to our 13-week appointment and waited with anxious hearts to hear our sweet tiny baby’s heartbeat. Again, we had the good news we had been waiting for! There was no problem finding our baby’s strong heartbeat of 150bpm.

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This is the exact time we lost the last one, so it was a milestone to get to this point!

One would think after both of these reassurances that we would feel confident in our baby’s health; that we would be ecstatic and want to tell others our wonderful news. When you lose a child right after you have posted your wonderful news all over social media, it sadly makes it that much harder to make the next one public. I was so afraid that we would lose this one as well, and everyone would know the pain I was going through just like with the last one. Even my husband suggested that we wait till our next ultrasound at 20 weeks to announce our pregnancy. We were both still so unsure of what was to come.

I had prayed and trusted and had so much faith in our pregnancy prior to this one, and we lost that one. It was hard to have that same trust and faith in this pregnancy. At this point we had told immediate family and a few close friends, but there were still many people that we were close to that didn’t know anything that we had been dealing with for the past few months. It’s very hard to get up in front of your church and sing every Sunday when you feel like you’re hiding something from them. And not just hiding it because most couples choose to not tell others till after the first trimester, but hiding it because you are afraid you will lose another baby, hiding it because you’re afraid it won’t last. I felt so utterly alone. Even though we had told some, I was still so upset that we didn’t feel like we could share our wonderful news with everyone.

We are now at 16 weeks, and I’m writing this knowing I will not be posting it quite yet. I actually started writing this at week 14 and I feel like my outlook on this pregnancy has changed drastically in the past couple weeks.This has been the hardest pregnancy for me so far both physically and emotionally, but just in the past week I have decided that I’m going to be happy about this pregnancy, my child deserves that. I’ve decided that I need to hope and have faith that Jesus will bring us to the end of this pregnancy and we will have another child to add to our family. If I don’t have faith in Jesus then what do I have? I’m lost without Him, and that’s what I’ve been these past few months: lost. Today we had a prayerful invitation at our church and the praise band was able to participate instead of leading worship. I was so thankful for this reprieve because today I made things right with God. I knew that He was speaking to me and telling me that I am not the person that I have been for the past few months, that is not who He has called me to be.

Instead of this pregnancy being a story of sadness and loss, I must choose to have faith in Him and believe that it will be my story of hope and redemption. That’s what I prayed for today, that I would stop making my God less than He really is, because He is a God of hope and a God of redemption and I have to choose to trust that and believe it every single day. I am not alone; He is always with me and I am thankful every single day for the life inside of me that He has so graciously given us.

I am sad on this day of remembrance for Sumner Grace, but I am also filled with hope for the new life in my womb. I hurt for every momma out there who has had to go through this day without the hope of new life in her womb. Know that you are never alone, and I pray for you always.

Potty Training, How I Loathe Thee

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One of the first time he actually did pee in the potty and was oh so excited about it!

Some might laugh at the title of this post and think I’m a little odd and maybe a tad bit dramatic. When I say this though, lets be real, I’m kind of joking, but not entirely. Over the past few months I have read countless blogs on how I potty trained my child in 3 days, amazing tips to potty train your child quickly, and so on. What I haven’t seen anyone write about is how hard it is, and how defeated you feel! Honestly I think all those posts are ridiculous and possibly full of nonsense! Maybe those moms had toddlers that took to it really well, but I can tell you that my toddler sure isn’t.

I decided a few months ago that I wanted to try to start potty training soon. This was when I was pregnant and I really did not want two kids in diapers at the same time. Silas was showing all the signs of being ready to train. We had heard that if he can walk backwards (why is this an indicator??) and if he is letting me know that he has a dirty diaper then he is most likely ready to be potty trained. Silas had been telling me for months when he had a “stinky” as he liked to call it. He never liked to have a dirty or wet diaper for long and would always let me know when he wanted to be changed.

When I first started to give potty training a go, I really wasn’t that devoted to making it happen, so I can admit that this might have been my first mistake. We were going through a lot as a family and it just wasn’t my top priority. I kept Silas in diapers for the most part, but there were a few days that he wanted to try more and I would put a pull up on him just to make it easier on me. I would probably take him to the potty once an hour at this point if he was lucky. I didn’t know much about potty training, but I just wanted to get him introduced to the idea of it. I wasn’t exactly in a hurry to get him trained, but like I’ve said maybe this is where I went wrong. I’ve heard many times now that consistency is the key and I was definitely not consistent in the beginning.

After a couple weeks of taking him to the potty off and on daily, my normally sweet little Silas decided that he was going to rebel against this new idea mom had. He decided that any time I tried to take him to the potty he would kick and scream and it would end in a crying fit. After he did this a few times I gave up making him try to go. I would still ask him occasionally if he wanted to try to use the potty, but it was seldom that he wanted to for the most part. I didn’t want to turn him off completely from potty training, so I was not going to force him. I figured I would give him some time to do his thing and go back to it later.

Well this week is later I guess. We do a lot of random traveling; sometimes just to Springfield to run errands and see my family, other times we take short business trips with dad. This is the one week that we were going to be home all week, so I thought, “hey why not really focus on potty training this week.” The first day I had him in a pull up and I would try to take him to the potty every 30 minutes. If I’m being honest though, that didn’t really happen. I knew the pull up would still catch most of it, so I wasn’t making it my top priority and either was he. He did go a few times though and he would get a sticker every time he went potty on the potty chair which he really liked. Day 2 I decided to put him in his big boy underpants. He got excited about wearing them, but that was about where the excitement ended. The morning went pretty well. I actually did take him every 30 minutes to try to go potty, but he only went once and surprisingly didn’t have any messes at all. After his nap was a totally different story. I was still taking him every 30 minutes, but he only went once on the potty and had 3 accidents in one hour. At this point I just wasn’t sure if he was getting it because 2 out of those 3 accidents, he didn’t even notice and when I asked him if he had gone potty in his underpants he would say “no”. The rest of the days have been more or less the same as that first one with the underpants. There are times where I get completely tired of all of it and I put him back in his diaper for a couple hours.

My mother in law got us some training pants yesterday, so today was our first day trying those. He wet 4 of them just this morning and only told me about one of them. The training pants have more padding, so maybe it just feels more like a diaper to him. It just doesn’t seem to bother him when he is wet. Usually it’s not a large amount of pee, but I’m not comfortable putting him back in them or continuing to let him wear them, so it’s enough. Maybe it just isn’t the right time, or Silas Randall might just be really stubborn and prove to be very difficult to potty train. At this point I think we will keep trying, but it’s hard to be consistent when you feel like your child just isn’t getting it.

I know all these posts I read about getting it done in a few days and that being the only thing you focus on are not the norm. I’ve heard much different stories from other moms I’ve spoken to in person. If I can’t devote all my time to this as a stay at home mom, I can’t imagine how hard and time consuming it is for a working mom. Props to the moms that can do it in 3 days, or even a week, but I just want all the other moms of toddlers who are struggling with potty training and just want to give up sometimes to know, you are not alone! This has been my least favorite learning experience for Silas, and me but I know we have to stick with it and learn at some point. We have had some sweet times with potty training because he loves for me to read to him and sing him songs while he sits on the potty chair. It’s those moments that I can smile and know that it will all work out in the end, but like many things that come with motherhood, it will just take some devotion, time, and lots of prayer!