Caleb: Seven Months

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Caleb Manuel is seven whole months today!

Since he just had his SIX month checkup last week (…yeah), I can tell you that he weighs 20 pounds, 12 ounces. He’s now 84th percentile and “slimming down” since he was always 96th or 97th percentile before. I’m guessing it has a lot to do with his excessive jumping in his jumper. He is still in size four diapers and 12 month clothing. I think this is the longest he’s stayed in any diaper / clothing size! He still fits comfortably in them too.

His hair has officially grown back big time! He has a beautiful full head of hair again like he did at birth. The nurses and doctor were all exclaiming about it at his appointment. Happy mama!

Caleb attended his first wedding this past month because my best friend Taylor got married! He wore a suit and looked completely handsome and adorable.

cal suit sizeWe now have a sitter on our hands! We’ve been working on his sitting for awhile and he seems to have gotten the hang of it. He still occasionally topples, but he’s doing pretty well and can sit up for a few minutes now.

His new favorite hobby is his Baby Einstein jumper. He used to sit in it and not like it very much, but now that he’s discovered that he can jump… oh man, he goes to TOWN! He jumps aggressively and laughs like a maniac. He does bouncy legs even when he’s not in the thing. It’s hilarious. His other favorite hobby is laughing at the dog. When Dakota gets near him, he starts cracking up and grabbing at him. I try to teach him to pet nice, but for now he just kind of grabs at his fur… much like he grabs and pulls at my hair. He still loves going for walks and being outside too. We took him outside last weekend in his little walker and he cruised down the driveway. This means it’s just about time for shoes!

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Caleb is a champion eater these days! He moved onto the stage two foods a couple of weeks ago and is loving all the different flavors and variety. He loves almost everything except for peas and the chicken noodle one. Everything else is fair game, and he makes happy noises when he’s eating one he particularly likes. He’s getting baby food two or three times a day, and of course his bottles still. He does really well in his high chair too, so I’m proud!

He has been progressing a lot this past month but we’ve gone backwards a bit in one big area… sleep! He’s decided he no longer wants to sleep and that he hates his crib. This is a kid who has been sleeping perfectly through the night since six weeks and has been in his crib since two months. Our routine was that he’d go to bed at about 7:30 and wake up at about 7:00 the next morning. He was doing awesome but then about two weeks ago, he started refusing to go to sleep and shrieking anytime we put him in the crib. We get him to fall asleep, put him down, and he instantly shrieks. So then we take him out, put him to sleep again, put him back in, and he shrieks again… a horrible cycle. This goes on until about 12:30. We’ve tried everything including “crying it out,” which I hate. Nothing works. A few nights I’ve even caved in and let him fall asleep in my bed. Jerry then transfers him to his crib around midnight. I absolutely hate this, but some nights I just give up and am too exhausted to fight with him when I know I have to get up and go to work. We’re really hoping this phase ends soon!

On another note, Caleb LOVES the Hawaiian version of “Over the Rainbow.” It’s really soothing and I play it for him most nights and sing it to him. It’s becoming a new part of his nighttime routine and so is reading! I’ve been reading to him a little bit here and there since he was born, but in the last month we’ve gotten into it a lot more since he seems to pay attention now. We read almost every night and are having a lot of fun with board books. As a librarian, I know how important reading and literacy are even at a young age. I’d encourage all parents to read as often as they can to their little ones! It’s also a nice bonding activity. Librarian spiel over!

Lastly, he loves his two new mice! Taylor got him a Mickey Mouse from her honeymoon and I got him the mouse from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

Gosh, he is literally the cutest thing I have ever seen and he just keeps getting cuter.

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Recently reading…

Well, my reading life has changed quite a bit since becoming a mom! I’m sure many of you are quite aware and familiar with the phenomenon…

I realized I would have less time and energy to read even before he was born, but I had no idea just how much my reading time would take a hit. Anyway, I AM still reading, just much sloooower.

Here are some of my recent reading observations (don’t mind the rambling):

Oddly, I’ve been reading more nonfiction this year than anything else. I’ve been enjoying parenting memoirs and finance books. Finance books? Yeah, super boring and something I never would have expected to be reading. Becoming a parent and a homeowner makes you more responsible and “adult-like” though, and I’ve taken a big interest in my finances over the last year. I’ve been reading books about debt-repayment, investing, saving, etc. Now granted, we don’t have much extra money to do a lot of these things, but I like learning and using that knowledge as much as possible with our limited funds. We’ve made some progress and I’m happy about that! So far, I’m digging Dave Ramsey’s money philosophies. I’ve only read one of his books so far, but I plan on reading more.

Fiction – chick lit and women’s fiction in particular – is still my number one though, don’t you worry! It’s just harder for me to focus on fiction at the moment. Typically, I only get to read right before bed these days, and I usually get tired after just a few pages. It’s taking me forever to get through books right now, and I find that nonfiction is easier to read with this slower pace. With novels, you have to focus more because you have characters and back stories to remember. It’s hard to remember all that with only a few pages a day, ya know?

That said, I do still love me some novels and I finally read Me Before You. I really, really liked it and can definitely understand all the hype. It took me over a month to finish though, which I believe is what led me to giving it four stars instead of five. Slower reading makes it harder for me to connect to characters and stories right now, therefore making stories a little bit less enjoyable. After finishing that one, I turned back to some nonfiction and… a Harlequin romance. Yup. I decided I needed something really light and easy that wouldn’t require much focus. I want to save those really good novels (i.e. Me Before You) for a time when I can really focus, concentrate, and read faster… so probably when Caleb is a smidge older, sleeping better, and more independent. I absolutely don’t want to wish his baby-hood away though, so for now I’m still enjoying my books… just slowly. The time will come for me to fly through books again… that time just isn’t right now.

I’m also reading kid’s books of course! Right now, Caleb and I are strictly reading board books. They’re sturdy and small enough to read with an infant on your lap, and also perfect for grabby baby hands. My absolute favorite one so far is Goodnight Moon; I could read that one over and over again. I love the rhythm and rhymes, but have been sorely disappointed by most of Margaret Wise Brown’s other books (especially My World – that book is straight creepy! It also flows horribly!). I have discovered that I’m a huge fan of rhyming kid’s books though, so that’s fun. I’m also a big fan of The Boss Baby because it’s hilarious and so true.

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Grabby baby hands and the book he won from summer reading! He’s so proud!

I’ve recently started tracking the books I’ve been reading with Caleb on Goodreads; he has his own shelf called “Caleb’s Reads.” My library is starting a program in the fall called “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten.” The goal is for each child to read 1,000 books before starting kindergarten, so I wanted to begin compiling a list of all the books Caleb has read (AKA been read to). I’m going to maintain this list because my librarian / bookworm heart hopes that my son will also become a reader and how cool will it be for him to be able to see every book he’s ever read since the time he was a baby?!

In other bookish news, I finally have a bookshelf in my bedroom! Our room is kind of on the smaller side, but we managed to get a little shelf in here over the weekend. Typically, it would have been full by now but as I’m feeling too tired / too lazy / too busy at the moment, it’s currently only about 1/4 of the way there. I’ll probably have it filled by the end of the week though. Now I can look at pretty books from my bed, so that’s always good news.

Very clearly, I haven’t been doing too much reviewing on here lately,  HOWEVER, I am still reviewing on Goodreads! I still review everything I read over there (including baby books now – yay?!), though my reviews tend to be on the shorter side now. As long as I get down some quick thoughts about each book… I’m happy. Feel free to friend me if we aren’t friends already!

Well I guess that’s it for my bookish ramblings on this late Wednesday night when my child refuses to go to sleep. I’m thinking tomorrow’s going to be a rough one…


“I wasn’t ready”

The early days of us

The early days of us

In the very early days of Caleb, I struggled more than anything else. A very bad case of the baby blues overrode all other feelings like joy and excitement, and instead replaced them with an intense fear. Feeling like that wasn’t what I expected or dreamed about when I dreamed about my son. I found myself on many occasions – perhaps even daily – exclaiming in agony that I just wasn’t ready. Inexplicable tears were streaming down my face, out of nowhere, almost hourly. My husband was scared, I was scared, and everyone else had to pick up the pieces after each and every meltdown. Blinds were whipped open in a frenzy as soon as the sun rose, and every single light in the house was flickering on as soon as it set. More often than not, people filtered in and out of our house, because Lord knows it’s easier to hold yourself together when others are around. When they weren’t, I was prone to break out in tears for absolutely no reason and with zero explanation at any given time.

The first two weeks were definitely some of the darkest and scariest days of my life. There were of course moments of intense love and disbelief that a baby so perfect could be mine. There were flickers of hope and glimmers of happiness, but mostly a dark cloud was hanging over me. That cloud finally started to lift – just as my doctor had said – at around the two week mark. You start to adjust to your new lifestyle. Your crazy, whacky hormones begin to return to normal. I was so relieved when I started to see clearly.

I said I wasn’t ready mostly in the middle of the night when Caleb wouldn’t sleep and I could hardly keep my eyes open. We tend to be irrational when we’re tired, and I was exhausted. I told Jerry often that I couldn’t do it. I reminisced about our past as a couple – no baby – and just cried. On one of the first nights, when I was crying again for no reason, I remembered the nurses at the hospital circling a phone number on a sheet when we were being discharged. They said to call it if I had any questions or troubles. While I’m not one to normally to reach out for help, I reached out and I called that night. I spoke to the nurse for over an hour. She listened and responded with a gentle voice. She was like an angel that night, and I wish I had gotten her name. She understood fully, told me I wasn’t alone, told me this could be normal but that I should also call my doctor in the morning. One statement she made really resonated with me: she said that when you first have a baby you are of course celebrating this new life, but you are also mourning your old life. It all made perfect sense.

I look back on those days now and I still have no explanation except for what my doctor told me: baby blues are completely normal and common, mostly because your hormones are so out of whack after giving birth. Also: exhaustion.

Since those days, I’ve found myself uttering the phase “I wasn’t ready,” less and less. While I firmly believe that motherhood doesn’t come as naturally as they say (read this book), some things about it are instinctual. Nothing was natural, but I’ve learned along the way and mother’s instinct and intuition have sometimes been a help. I think the biggest instinct of all is the instinct to love your baby, even though at first, you hardly know them and they enter the world screaming and continue to do so for months and months. So while I read all the pregnancy and baby books I could muster up the energy for, I wasn’t really ready for that big, huge love either. I certainly wasn’t ready for how hard it would be, but I didn’t realize how good it could be, too. It’s a whole new love when you become a parent.

goodnight moon resizedSo back to the “not ready” thing. In the last week or so, Caleb has taken to protesting his sleep again just like when he was a newborn. Now keep in mind, this is a baby who has been sleeping through the night since he was six weeks old and has been sleeping in his crib since two months with no issues at all. Imagine my surprise then when, starting last week, he’s decided to shriek at the top of his lungs any time I place him in his crib after sleeping deeply in my arms for 30 minutes. He shrieks, I take him out of the crib, rock him back to sleep, place him back in the crib, and he shrieks again. This cycle repeats again and again until around 12:30, when he finally caves in and stays asleep in his crib. Mind you, this is a baby whose normal bedtime is 7:30! This sleep protest (possibly a sleep regression? Possibly teething though I see no teeth?) has been going on for about a week now and his voice has gotten hoarse from all the screaming – that’s how much we’re struggling right now.

It’s been exhausting again. I thought those days were long gone and way behind us, out of view. I’ve found myself uttering those words yet again, in my sleep deprived state at midnight: “I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t know.” When we’re tired and it’s the dead of night, we tend to become irrational, maybe even a little crazy. I’ve shouted in frustration to Jerry in the last week: “that’s IT! We’re only having one and I mean it!”

And then Caleb falls asleep – finally – and I get some sleep, and he gets some sleep, and we all get some sleep. The house is quiet again, free of baby shrieks and mama cries. The sun starts to come up and the fog starts to lift. We all see a little more clearly in the light of day. I realize I can get through this, HAVE gotten through this, for more than six months now. I realize that what I’ve been saying has a lot of truth to it: you can never really be ready for motherhood. Nothing can prepare you for that total upheaval of the life you once knew. You can say you know your life is going to change (I did), but you don’t understand just how much until you go through it. Your life takes a 360. You start living for someone else more than you live for yourself. All of your decisions, all of your plans, all of everything revolves around someone else now (as it should).

And then he calms when he sees you, like “there she is… there’s my mom,” and he smiles up at you from his crib in the morning light (as if the night before never happened) and you melt for what is possibly the thousandth time.

It’s true, life will never be the same again, but that’s because it’s better. And you finally see that clearly when the light of day is pouring in through the blinds.

caleb crib


Writing for Desitin

Some of you know, I’m lucky enough to be doing some writing for Desitin this year! I just submitted my second piece to them and will be writing a third and final piece by the end of the year. It’s been A LOT of fun for me and also really exciting, thrilling, and rewarding. People have been asking me for years, “why aren’t you a professional writer? When are you going to write a book?” My answer usually involves some hemming and hawing, some “maybe later when I have more time,” and a few other excuses. Now I can tell them that while I haven’t written my book yet (though I did START before Caleb was born… so “A” for effort), I’m technically doing some professional writing… right?!

Anyway, I wanted to include the first piece I wrote for Desitin here on my blog. Some of you might have already read it over on their Tumblr (thank you if you did!) but I also wanted to share it here too. I like to have all of my writing in one place, and for those you who haven’t seen it yet… ta-da! :)

Let’s talk about YOUR writing! Do you do any professional or freelance writing? Do you have any aspirations of writing a book or being a professional? I do! I do!

Do you have any tips or advice? I don’t really have much advice except to say be genuine, sincere, and honest on your blog and in your writing. Motherhood and life aren’t always perfect and I try my best to portray both the good times and the struggles. Besides, it’s more interesting that way!

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What I Wish I’d Known About Diaper Rash 

(this piece originally appeared as a sponsored post on the Desitin Tumblr)

caleb and mom bw

Long before my baby was born, I had terrible, scary visions… visions of a shrieking baby, red in the face and even redder on the butt. The thought of the dreaded diaper rash was enough to send me to the store, three months before he was even born, to stock up on creams and ointments when I caught them on sale. My two best friends accompanied me on this mission, and one of them, a former daycare teacher, schooled me on the diaper rash cream basics and how many I’d need. I had a tube in the diaper bag, a tube in the nursery, and a tube in the living room. Armed with my supplies, I was ready to tackle the rash as soon as the first one cropped up.

Being a bit of a planner, and a giant worry-wart to boot, I thought of – and worried about – every single scary baby scenario one could conceive, long before my son was even conceived himself. Diaper rash was one at the top of the list. What I wish I had known before? It doesn’t need to be quite so scary.

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Having a baby and being a new mom is TOUGH. It is, undoubtedly, the hardest thing I’ve ever done (and this includes a triple digit weight loss and a half-marathon). Babies tend to cry and fuss about A LOT of things– after all, it’s their only means of communication- but diaper rash doesn’t need to be one of them.

Don’t hate me for saying this, but I’ve been lucky enough to avoid diaper rash for the most part, and my fears about the topic have proven to be unfounded and unnecessary. Sure, I’ve seen the red tushy, but we’ve been able to avoid the red-faced shrieking, at least when it comes to diaper rash (trust me, I’ve seen the shrieking but it tends to be for other things). The moment I see any redness, I immediately apply Desitin to the area so I can stop it in its tracks. It tends to lighten up and disappear pretty quickly since I tend to act so quickly. I also apply creams and ointments a few times a week even when he doesn’t have any redness. I figure if I can prevent it from happening in the first place, that’s one less thing for baby to cry about (and trust me, they cry a lot… you’re not alone!).

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Fellow new moms… don’t be scared of diaper rash! If you can prevent it, or at least treat it very quickly, it never has to become an issue that’s worth fearing. I know how hard motherhood can be. Diaper rash doesn’t have to make it any harder. And for the record? Even though motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it’s also the best thing I’ve ever done. Don’t let your fears take away any of the sweet and fleeting baby moments… they go by fast!


I hope you dance…

dance with jerry

I was always the girl sitting on the sidelines, refusing to dance.

Didn’t matter if it was a wedding, prom, or just a regular school dance… you wouldn’t catch me on the dance floor. Ever.

Thoughts rushed through my head whenever the music started playing: would I look stupid? Would people look at me? Would people laugh? Did I look too fat in that dress to be out there dancing? These questions of fear and anxiety forced me to stay seated at my table, no matter the event. I was the person who watched all the other people having fun, wondering why I couldn’t be out there having fun too. I was the girl who watched on in envy, wishing I could let go and let loose.

I think the first time I really danced was at my brother’s wedding in 2012. Part of me felt invincible that night. As a bridesmaid and sister of the groom, I felt pretty important. I felt like a big deal. I felt like I could do what I wanted and no one could judge because I was important. And so I danced.

Flash forward to my own wedding in 2013, and I had never felt more alive. I don’t think I left that dance floor for more than a minute. I danced with friends. I danced with family. I danced with acquaintances I didn’t know so well just because I could. And you know what? I felt free. I felt fun. I had the time of my life.


I realized at Taylor’s wedding this past weekend that – HEY – I had become a wedding dancer. You know the ones. The ones that go out on the floor, and even if they can’t dance (and trust me, I can’t), they dance anyway. That’s me now. I look like a flailing, bumbling idiot when I’m on the dance floor… but I also look like I’m having fun. Because I am.

This weekend, I attempted the “Cotton Eye Joe”, even though I had no idea what I was doing. This weekend, I “whipped” and “nae nae’d” (what?). This weekend, I sang with my friends without a care in the world over who could hear. This weekend, I shrieked and threw down my drink when “Tearin’ Up My Heart” came on, exclaiming: “OH! This is my JAM,” while running to the floor. This weekend, I threw my arm around my friend’s shoulder and serenaded him with “Living on a Prayer;” we pointed at each other and laughed. This weekend, I simply lived.

dance with chris

I’m not sure what changed my mind three years ago at my brother’s wedding, but I’m so glad it changed nonetheless. Perhaps it’s related to my weight loss, though I can’t say for sure. At the time of his wedding, I was six months into my journey and down 50 pounds. I still had a long ways to go, but I was feeling pretty confident regardless. I guess that’s all it takes to dance… a little confidence.

They say you only tend to regret the things you didn’t do, rather than the things you do. It’s really pretty true. I’ve never once regretting busting a move on the floor; it’s almost always accompanied by laughter. I’ve never once regretted making the decision to just live; it’s nice to not care what others think about your moves. I’ve never once regretted having fun; I’ve deeply regretted sitting it out.

I’ve learned a lot through my decision to dance, and eventually, I’ll tell Caleb not to sit out on the sidelines like I did for too many years. I will tell him to let go, to live, to laugh… to have fun! I will tell him that when his jam comes on, the only thing he can do is… dance.

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On the dance floor with friends at Taylor’s wedding.

“And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance… I hope you dance.” – Lee Ann Womack


To the bride…

Yesterday was my best friend’s wedding day! It was absolutely beautiful and perfect and I was beyond honored to stand beside her as her matron of honor, just as she did for me on my own wedding day. I spent so much time thinking of what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it in my speech (in front of 200 people… yikes!). These things are so hard, but so important, to write. I wanted to include some pictures of us over the years, so I told her they would be up on the blog for her to look at when she returned from her honeymoon. So here it is! I removed last names for privacy, but otherwise it is unchanged.

Tay 9Hello everyone! My name is Stephanie and I am so honored and lucky to be able to be standing next to the new Mrs. N. today as her matron of honor. I want to start by thanking Taylor and Will’s families for having us all here tonight to celebrate an amazing day.

Tay 6For those who don’t know, Taylor and I have been friends since we were about 12. We first met in 6th grade math class when she showed me how to measure the circumference of an orange. Math is still not my strong suit, but I know I can always rely on Taylor to help me measure my fruits if ever the need should arise again. Thank you for that, Taylor.

Tay 2Taylor has continued to teach me a lot of things over the years. She has taught me how to be a true friend, most importantly. She has also taught me the meaning of sisterhood, and how true it is when they say that friends are the family you choose for yourself. I’m honestly not sure words could ever truly convey what Taylor means to me and how special of a person she is.

Tay 1Anyone who is lucky enough to know Taylor already knows that she is truly one of the kindest, most thoughtful, caring, and compassionate people in the world. She is one of a kind, and I am blessed to be able to call her my best friend, my sister, my family, and Godmother to my first born, Caleb. Our families are each other’s families, and I am so happy to say that Taylor truly is my soul sister. We were meant to be friends and then we became family.

Tay 7So since you all already know how amazing and kind of a person Taylor is, I’d also like to tell you a little bit about what it was like growing up with her and tell you some of the more interesting things about her. What some of you may not know is that we were pretty weird growing up.

Tay 5We were never into the whole party and drinking scene and we didn’t really go out. Instead, we spent the majority of our time together meticulously planning, executing, and editing various music videos and home movies. This was in the days before computer editing, so we would spend all day and all night editing videos on VHS, which back then meant multiple takes, rewinding, taping over the bad parts and so on. We put together elaborate costumes, created sets, and even wrote our own song lyrics when we had a band that we called Blink 182 ½ with Katie. Clever, I know. Sometimes I wonder if we ever missed out by not doing the typical “teen” things… and then I watch one of our videos again and I’m reminded that the only people who missed out were the ones who weren’t starring in our films. One of our feature films actually starred Mr. G. and was titled “When a Davey Calls.” Yeah, that one was obviously not a rip-off of “When a Stranger Calls.” Whatever. Ours was better. Davey… you were great. Honestly, our childhoods and teenage years were the best and I wouldn’t do a thing differently.

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Dress up with my cousins!

Not only did we have fun making videos, we had a lot of fun tormenting Mary and David, affectionately known as Mama G. and Mr. G. We’re sorry, you guys… but only a little. Some of my fondest memories include dropping water balloons onto Mama. G.’s head from a balcony in Michigan, taping down the handle on the sink nozzle so when she turned the faucet on she’d get drenched, and running around the coffee table shouting and chanting while Mr. G. watched TV. Frankly, I’m surprised we’re still alive. Thank you for not killing us. Love you guys!

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Going on vacation with Tay’s family and our friend Chris!

So now let’s fast forward a few years. When Taylor first met Will while attending college, I was anxious to meet him. I often wondered if anyone would really “get” us and I distinctly remember having a conversation with our friend Chris after our first meeting. I remember us agreeing that we really, really liked him and that he DID seem to get us and that he really seemed to fit in. He laughed at our videos instead of just thinking they were completely bizarre, which let’s face it… they are. But still. He laughed with us, instead of at us. Right, Will? So Will, I want you to know that Chris and I did indeed discuss you behind your back six years ago, but you totally got our seal of approval and all of us love you, most especially because you love Taylor. Thank you for that. I love that you love my best friend so much.

Tay 4Taylor, I know I’ve told you so many times over the years how much you mean to me, through various yearbook notes and letters after huge milestones in our lives. All of those words and messages still hold true today, but now they mean more than ever. Our friendship has endured the test of time at this point. You’ve been my sister for more than half my life now and we’ve been through it all together. You’ve gone diaper shopping with me on a Friday night not because you’re particularly interested in diapers, but because you love me and your godson. You’ve encouraged and supported me through all of our crazy endeavors. I don’t know how in the world I ever got so lucky to have such an amazing person as my best friend, but I did and I am always counting my lucky stars for you. You are classy. You are selfless. You are thoughtful, kind, and have the biggest heart of anyone I know. I wouldn’t be me without you.

With Katie!

With Katie, our other BFF! <3

When we were younger, we always said that one day we would be little old ladies together playing bingo in the nursing home. You’ll probably still be the only one who ever wins, but maybe you’ll share? Maybe? Anyway, husbands weren’t in the picture at the time, but I’m now glad to say that Will and Jerry will be there too, and they’ll be laughing at our aggressive Bingo game and our competitive spirit that only really ever comes out when it’s game time. We take our games seriously as some of you may know.

Tay 14In closing, I want to say this: Taylor, you are beautiful inside and out, and I am so happy that you and Will found each other. He is one heck of a guy! Today will forever be one of the happiest and best days of your lives. On days that are hard, always look back on this day and this moment, and remember the love you feel for each other right now. Remember all the love that is surrounding you today with your family and friends. Today is the first page in a brand new book for you, and as C.S. Lewis wrote “Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story no one on Earth has ever read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

With Chris!

With Chris!

I hope that each chapter of your new lives together just keeps getting better and better. Will, as an unofficial member of Taylor’s family, I’d like to say welcome to the family. I love you guys! Let’s toast to the bride and groom!

Taylor giving her speech on my wedding day.

Taylor giving her speech on my wedding day.

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Caleb and the girls.

Caleb's baptism.

Caleb’s baptism.

Tay Tay's wedding yesterday. My friend, my sister. <3

Tay Tay’s wedding yesterday. My friend, my sister. <3


Five on Friday (12)

Hello and happy Friday! I’ve been a bit absent this week because…

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ONE. My best friend is getting married tomorrow! It’s been an awesome and crazy week so far, and I’m SO looking forward to standing next to Taylor tomorrow as her matron of honor. The rehearsal dinner was last night (picture above of myself, Katie, and Taylor at the rehearsal… my best friends!), and tonight us girls are all staying together in a hotel. I’m so thrilled for Taylor and Will. I love them so much! Also, please send good thoughts my way tomorrow night as I give my speech and SEND TISSUES!

TWO. Since my last weight update, I’ve lost another pound. The last two weeks have been a bit rough, but honestly? A loss is a loss, and I’m happy to be making progress no matter how slow. There are days when I’m eating ice cream and being “bad,” and the thoughts running through my head are: “I’m living life! This is what life’s all about! Life is too short not to enjoy it!” And then on the good days, I’m thinking: “this is fine! I can do this! The sacrifices are worth it! I want to be healthy and happy!” My brain? It’s crazy. I’m all over the place. As long as the scale is moving down though, I’m happy.

THREE. Jerry and I booked an overnight stay at an all-inclusive couples only resort in the Poconos for our second wedding anniversary in October! We haven’t gotten away since our honeymoon, so even though it’s only a night, I’m really, really excited. Our suite has its own heart-shaped jacuzzi, small pool, and dry sauna… all IN our room! AHHHH!  It’s about a four hour drive and will be our first ever roadtrip together. Caleb will be staying the night with his grandma and I’m sure will gets lots of love and kisses from the grandparents and probably won’t even miss us.

My baby and Taylor!

My baby and Taylor!

FOUR. Let’s talk books for a second. I am about 30 pages away from the end of Me Before You finally. It’s taking me about a month or so to finish a book right now. I know… it’s very sad. But as I watch Caleb jump up in his bouncy seat right this very second, I realize that I will get back to reading more when the time is right. For now, I’m trying to read the best books possible since I’m not getting through as many as I used to right now. If you have any epic book suggestions, please feel free to leave them below. I also haven’t bought books in awhile because diapers and formula! BUT! I joined an awesome blogger book swap where each person gets matched up with another blogger and we send and receive bookish packages. I’m excited to put my package together and also to receive one! I believe we will be doing a few rounds a year, so this is a fun way to get my book fix!

FIVE. Jerry and I have been working on remodeling our bathroom for ohhhh… about a year? We took a big step in the remodeling process by finally replacing our ugly vanity, brown sink, and light fixture. Thank you to my very handy Florida grandpa for the assistance! We love it.

New vanity and faucet. Next up will be repainting the vanity hardware black to match the faucet.

New vanity and faucet. Next up will be repainting the vanity hardware black to match the faucet.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! You’ll probs catch me dancing my butt off tomorrow night on the dance floor and trying not to cry during the big speech. It’ll be a night of many emotions!


Caleb: Six Months

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Today is my little guy’s half birthday… six months old! That’s crazy to me.

I’m not quite sure on his exact size since his six month appointment isn’t until August, but I’m guessing he weighs somewhere around 19 pounds. He’s in size four diapers and wearing 12 month clothing.

He’s growing his hair back, so that’s exciting! He had a ton of hair at birth, but lost a good amount of it after a bout of cradle cap. I’m glad to say, he’s getting a nice, full head of hair again.

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He is an eating champion! He currently gets baby food once a day and has tried all of the Gerber stage one foods so far. He’s liked everything except for peas, which the doctor warned us about ahead of time about, saying that babies don’t like peas for some reason, and he was right! He has enjoyed all the other fruits and veggies though (but hated the Beech Nut Chicken. We gave it to the dog). His favorite is probably squash. He also loves bananas, but we have to combat it with prunes the next day. He’s been getting baby rice or oatmeal too with his food. He leans forward toward the spoon with his mouth open when he’s being fed and gets excited when the high chair comes out.

This past month, he finally met his Florida great-grandparents and celebrated his first Fourth of July! These were both really exciting for us. I also spent my first night away from him for my best friend’s bachelorette party. I had a fun time, Jerry did fine on his own, and all was well. I missed him, of course, but everything went smoothly.

4 generations

Four generations.

We’ve been working on sitting up independently. Usually when I let go, he topples over after a few seconds. He did, however, sit up for a minute or two in the grass at my mom’s house yesterday! It sucks that I was at work and missed it, but I’m hoping it means our practice is paying off. I’m going to see if he sits up again today. We’ve also been putting him in his walker (he manages to move across the room very slowly) and his Baby Einstein seat. His toes touch the floor so we have a pillow under there for now, until his feet touch all the way. He enjoys it for a little while (15 minutes or so) and looks at the toys on the side, then he gets sick of it and cries. He also has a teether with two pieces of cloth at the end. When I rub them on his cheek, he closes his eyes, wiggles his face, and smiles so big. It’s the funniest (and cutest) thing in the world. I think he’s going to be ticklish like his mama.

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Hangin’ in the Baby Einstein.

There are still no teeth yet, despite all the warning signs like excessive drooling and everything going into the mouth. I keep checking his mouth though! He’s also still not really rolling. He goes from his back to side, but that’s about it. He hates when I put him on his tummy. I’m starting to think he may be one of those kids who skip crawling and go straight to walking.

He continues to love his binky, walks outside, when I sing to him, and dogs… he thinks they are hilarious, especially Dakota.

I can hardly believe it’s been half a YEAR since he was born. I am continually amazed by my baby and how fast it’s all going. Here’s to the next half a year!

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Five on Friday (11)

Two posts in one week? Say what?! I’m very excited that I got my act together enough this week to post twice. Woo! I’ve been beyond exhausted lately (comes with the motherhood territory) which means less energy for blogging and reading. That said, I am so glad the weekend is almost here! I have a half day today too, so my Friday should be a very happy one. Hopefully I’ll be able to see my grandparents who are in town from Florida. We love having them here! Happy Friday to everyone!

ONE. My best friend Taylor, who is also Caleb’s Godmother, is getting married in two weeks and her bachelorette party is this weekend… woohoo! Us girls are going to Painting With a Twist, followed by dinner, then spending the night in a hotel. It’s going to be a ton of fun and I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be my first night away from Caleb though, so it’s bittersweet. I think it will be good to have a night out, but I will definitely miss my boy.

Taylor giving the Maid of Honor speech at my wedding. It was epic. Can't believe we'll be switching roles in just two weeks!

Taylor giving the Maid of Honor speech at my wedding. It was epic. Can’t believe we’ll be switching roles in just two weeks!

TWO. I’ve never watched Big Brother before but decided to start this year and am quickly becoming addicted. I thought all the games and competitions were really silly and just downright stupid at first, but now I’m inexplicably hooked. I think Jason is pretty funny and I also really like John even though all he does is YELL INSTEAD OF TALK. He’s a quirky but likeable guy! Anyone else watching?

THREE. My first time at Painting With a Twist will be this weekend for the bachelorette party, but I’ll also be going back soon because… I won a contest! I hardly ever win anything so I’m pretty excited! They had a “post Independence Day” picture contest where you could post a photo from your celebration on their page and whoever got the most “likes” would win a gift certificate. I posted a photo of Caleb and his baby cousin Lucas in their “My First Fourth” onesies, and my sister-in-law and I racked up a ton of votes. The certificate is enough to cover admission for two people, so we’ll be going together. Can’t wait! Has anyone else ever done Painting With a Twist before? I am NOT artistic, but everyone’s paintings always come out so good!



FOUR. Some exciting news for me that I’ve been dying to share is that I’m writing for Desitin this year! I was so thrilled when they reached out to me after reading some of my posts on motherhood. It’s been really fun working with them. My first piece went up earlier this week so let me know what you think! I’ll have two more posts up later this year so keep an eye out for those. Signing this writing contract and seeing my name on their site has been really, really amazing!

FIVE. Caleb is going to be six months old next week. Half a YEAR! How?! I’m just going to go and stare at my baby now, watch him while he sleeps… you know, be a creep… try not to cry.

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Happy weekend, everyone!


Back to “Onederland”

scale resized199.2 pounds might not seem like a weight to be excited about. In fact, I’m sure many women would probably hate to weigh 199.2 pounds.

I get it. I almost hate it myself, considering I got down to 152 pounds before my pregnancy, after a 118 pound weight loss.

Except, I can’t really hate it considering where I’m coming from.

At the start of my journey in January 2012, I found myself at my heaviest weight ever: 270 pounds. And at the end of my pregnancy, I found myself back in the 200s and dangerously close again to where I started: 232 pounds.

So consider that I used to weigh 270 pounds. Also consider that I used to weigh 232 pounds at the end of my pregnancy. Both of these considered? Maybe 199.2 isn’t so bad… for now at least, since I don’t intend to stay here either.

L: 9 weeks pregnant (approximately 162 pounds). R: 40 weeks pregnancy (232 pounds).

L: 9 weeks pregnant (approximately 162 pounds). R: 40 weeks pregnant (232 pounds).

Those of us in the formerly-obese weight loss community have a big destination in mind. It’s called “Onederland,” and as the name implies, it means getting your weight into the hundreds. When I weighed 152 pounds, I never thought I would be back in the 200s again, but one too many pregnancy cravings and a lack of activity found me back there and I wasn’t happy about it. I’ve been eagerly anticipating arriving back in Onederland, and I finally landed back there again today with my weekly weigh-in. It’s the first time I’ve been back since probably the mid-point of my pregnancy or so, and man does it feel good to be back!

Today at 199.2 pounds, almost 6 months post-partum.

Today at 199.2 pounds, almost 6 months post-partum.

Honestly, if I thought weight loss was hard the first time around, it’s got NOTHING compared to weight loss post-pregnancy. Before, weight loss was my top priority and I worked out 5-6 days a week for an hour or more. I lost anywhere from 1-4 pounds a WEEK! Now, I have almost no time or energy to work out, and exercise has taken a back seat to caring for my son. But I also know that taking care of myself is one of the greatest things I can do for him. I want to lead an active and healthy lifestyle so I can be a good role model for him and so I can comfortably play and chase him around. I want to be healthy and fit so I can live a long life and watch him grow. I need to make my health and wellness a priority not only for me, but for my son too, so my excuses seriously need to go out the door.

Yes, weight loss is extremely difficult now, and I typically only lose around 2 pounds a month these days. And yes, it’s hard to get those work outs in, but I’ve re-committed to doing this so I can be the best version of me again. Yes, it IS about looking good and feeling good, but it’s also about being the best and healthiest version of me, and the best and healthiest mom I can be too. For those reasons, I am pushing myself to rediscover my passion for running and fitness. While I once was in half-marathon training mode and running several days a week, miles and miles at a time, I am now aiming for two brief run/walks a week. I’ve got to retrain my legs and lungs responsibly so I don’t injure myself by pushing too hard to start.

In time, I WILL be back at that half-marathon fitness level. I WILL be back in the 150s again, too. I have no doubt in my mind about it. Right now though, I’d say I’m in the in-between. I’m DEFINITELY not 270 pounds again, but I’m also not 152. My old clothes don’t fit so I’ve had to purchase a small temporary wardrobe. I also have a few shirts that ALMOST fit, marked “Destination: 190,” which I’ll try on again when I reach 190. Instead of always looking at the bigger picture of 150, I like to look at the small pictures and work towards those little goals one at time. The goal until today was getting out of the 200s again. The next goal is 190.

So… that’s where I’m at right now. I’m back in Onederland, a much coveted destination. I’ve had to fight extremely hard for every single pound and ounce lost this time around. Things are slow but things are also good. I have a hell of a long way to go still to get back to where I was with both my weight and fitness levels… but I AM going, and I don’t intend on stopping. And for as far as I have to go still, I’ve come a long way too. I’ll choose to look at what I’ve lost instead of what I have left to lose.

From where I’m standing, it’s looking okay. It’s looking hopeful, even.