Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The twenty-something, business casual, baby toting mama.

One advantage to going back to work after baby is having a reason to dress well. Not even a reason; a requirement. While I loved lazy days at home with my little guy (and let's be real, I would stay home full time in a second if a million dollars fell into my lap), I did not like feeling grungy. I would often find excuses to run to Target a.k.a. the holy land, if not simply for the sake of needing a reason to shower and put on real pants. Sometimes, the ultimate pick me up is feeling dressed up and put together. Of course, sometimes it is a burden and I would give ANYTHING for my workplace to endorse casual Friday.
I have been a 'business casual' employee for a little over two years, and my wardrobe did not come to exist overnight. Sadly, nearly every purchase I make comes with the question of 'can I wear this at work'? If the answer is no, I do some heavy considering. Do I NEED a pair of burgundy corduroy jeggings??? (The answer to this one is yes, actually. I really, really do). For the most part, I have started buying pieces that I can pull off at the office or at the mall. Slowly but surely, I am figuring out how to look put together on a respectable budget, no sleep, and limited time.

1. The Gap.

This place is my go to. On any given week, it is basically a promise that there will be a day where everything is 40% off. Never, I repeat, never, pay more than 60% at the Gap, because if you do the following day you will get an e-mail declaring the entire store is 40% off, and then you will cry. I have been known to score a pair of $70 pants for $20. And they are nice pants. Real nice.WIN.

2. Target.

Seriously. This is where I have found some of my favorite shift dresses (on the clearance rack) and comfiest pencil skirts. Once again confirming that the world is a better place because of Target. I'll just grab me some Starbucks, toss a new blouse in my basket to wear to my next big meeting, and be on my merry way to buy baby butt cream and groceries. All in a days work.

3. Plan out your morning the night before.

This method has saved my life. Not sure if you people know this, but babies are high maintenance!! One big help in my mom watching Jackson is having diapers, wipes, and a few days worth of outfits left there. I even leave his diaper bag and only grab it if we need to go somewhere after work or on the weekends.**warning, this can backfire when you forget the diaper bag and someone decides to blow out his diaper at T.G.I. Fridays. which is why any mama should also always have a spare diaper or two in her oversized purse**
At night, I put my purse, pump bag, snacks, and anything else I might need in the car. Keys go in the pocket of the jacket I'll be wearing.
I plan my outfit, down to the earrings, and lay it out on the bathroom counter. This is the biggest time saver. I don't spend time trying on multiple outfits, assessing if colors match, or checking myself out in the mirror. Oh is that bloat and are these pants uncomfortable today? Too bad, self. Suck it up, this is it today.
I wake up at 4:50 and am in the car backing out of the driveway with baby by 5:20. Who knew time management would save you time?

4. Shower at night.

Another HUGE time saver. I shower, put in hair products, and apply 10083 ounces of Victoria's Secret lotion all before going to bed. Sometimes the lotion gets neglected because of a screaming baby. But I can honestly say: I squeeze in a shower every day. We sacrifice a lot for our kids, but I refuse to let one of those sacrifices be my personal hygiene. We stay fresh and clean in our house, all day baby, all day.

Online Shopping.

Time is not something a new mom has a lot of, but in the amount of time it takes me to log in and check up on Facebook or Instagram, I can log into a website and buy a new outfit. Dangerous? Probably. My absolute favorites and go to stores include:

1. Target. Duh. If you don't have a red card that gets you free shipping and 5% off of everything in the store, you aren't living.

2. The Gap. This place has my heart.

3. Express. Right now through Black Friday everything is 50% off plus free shipping!

4. Old Navy. Same owners as the Gap, so you can place one order between both stores and have it all be one transaction/shipping charge. Current promo is 30% off everything!
**also notice, a lot of these stores are my go-to places for Jackson's clothes. Most of my orders come mixed, because nothing is more cute than opening up a package of trousers and seeing a pack of baby socks fall out of the bag.

5. Forever 21. Hit and miss, but I got the most killer pencil skirt here recently! ANDDDD we are getting one in the mall. Excited is an understatement.

6. J Crew Factory. A little bit more expensive, but holy cuteness. Right now everything is 50% off, and if you sign up for their e-mails you get a coupon for an additional 15% off.

7. Ann Taylor Loft. To be honest I haven't shopped here, but again more cuteness. And in Black Fridat style, everything is 40% off, of course.

8. Berkshire cozy tights. I inherited a pair of these by accident from my mom, and those babies are going on their third winter with zero holes. They are so thick and warm, they allow me to keep my dresses and skirts in the rotation year round. They also aren't constricting or uncomfortable at all. Best. Tights. Ever. Just ordered two more pairs, so they should probably last me until I retire. No really.

Does anyone else have a favorite go to place where they find their favorite work clothes!? I would love to hear!
Until next time, Happy Turkey Day everyone, I hope you eat your fair share (and maybe an extra share) of mashed potatoes and pie!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The 2am Wakeup Call

Some nights I get lucky. These are the nights when I am woken by an alarm at the appropriate time, and not a hungry baby at the wrong time. I get to wake up feeling like I actually got a full nights sleep. This happens rarely, but it has happened, and is becoming more frequent as little J gets older.
And then on the other nights, I get lucky. Waking up at 2am is never something I plan or hope for, but there are some things you may not want at the time, but later come to find they are more precious and good than you could ever imagine.
That face.
To crawl out of my warm bed in the middle of the night is made entirely worth it by that face. The sweet coos and laughs that accompany that face are nearly too much to handle. To look down at that precious person, who looks back at you with such love, adoration, and gratitude to be sharing these special moments with his mom, is nearly too much to handle.

I will not miss the bags under my eyes. I will not miss spending my days feeling like a zombie. I will not miss sacrificing styling my hair on the days when someone decides he is hungry, right NOW.
But I will miss this.
I am soaking up every second of these 2am wakeup calls. That little boy makes my heart so full it might burst. These are the moments I am going to look back on for the rest of my days, and know that I am blessed beyond reason.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Little Things

There are some things in life we take for granted. Health, family, a roof over our heads. I try to remind myself of how fortunate I am on those days when I feel like I think I should be making more money, or exercising more, or living a more exciting life. I am pretty darn blessed. However, since having a baby, one thing that I took for granted was taken away from me.
Sleeping without a bra.
Seriously. This is one of those things that was a no-brainer my entire life. Bedtime meant ditching the bra and snuggling up in a cozy shirt. As any nursing mom can likely understand, the luxury of hanging out without the restriction of a bra is truly something we take for granted. Let me tell you, since August 3rd, aka the best day of my life, I have been blissful, snuggling and talking with a precious, cooing baby. I have also gained a pair of boobs with a mind of their own, that I am pretty sure could feed an entire army of hungry babies. They go off without a moments notice, and in that first week home, even with sleeping in a sports bra, I came to find that bra pads would be my new best friend. Probably TMI, but a harsh reality that I love to warn any future mamas about. Labor and delivery is no fun, but holy BOOBS. No one warned me about the boobs. Always pack an extra outfit for baby, and always throw in an extra shirt for yourself too.

So here we are, 3.5 months later. I am finally getting by without the dreaded bra pads, and last night I took the leap and went to bed sans bra. Best night ever. I woke up to find the bed (and my shirt) dry, and I was SO comfortable. I honestly had been waiting for this day since the day I left the hospital.

It's the little things. Never will I appreciate not wearing a piece of clothing more.

Joining Leann and Kimberly on a Monday Morning Gossip today!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Back to Reality

Maternity leave is glorious. I don't care if I don't get to sleep through the night. I don't care if I get pooped and puked on. I spent 12 amazing weeks sipping morning coffee by candlelight, watching daytime television, going on runs in beautiful fall weather, and cuddling the most perfect child in existence (bias, obviously).
And then October 27th showed up. Back to work. Back to reality. I really am blessed to have a job with extremely flexible hours, and awesome coworkers. Still, I pick Jackson over my coworkers any day. Sorry ladies, but I know you understand ;-)
I am finishing my 3rd week back, and while it isn't necessarily easy or normal yet, we are getting there.
Our days start off bright and early(4:50am, always a good time). I need to start this off with a celebration: Jackson slept from 8pm-5am last night!!! He has been getting pretty consistent at getting in 8 hour stretches of sleep, but I usually get woken up about 45 minutes before my alarm is set to go off, which is enough to make any sleep deprived mama just about lose it. To be awoken by nothing other than my alarm for the first time since going to bed the night before felt like a dream.
Typically, I can rush to get ready before little man decided to wake up (I wasn't so lucky this morning, someone heard me in the bathroom getting ready and decided he was hungry, hence my hot mess hair today). I have started laying out my outfit the night before, which is a MAJOR time saver. I also have literally started packing everything except my keys, phone, and jacket in the car the night before. That way, once I am dressed and ready, Jackson gets taken out of bed, changed, we usually laugh and spit our tongues out at each other for a few minutes, and he goes right into his car seat.

In depth, stimulating 5am conversations. Kidding, I was sticking my tongue out and he was trying to copy me.

Out the door by 5:20, not too shabby.

Clearly thrilled to be up at the crack of dawn.

I get to my moms for our drop off at approximately 5:35, depending if I get stuck behind a driver who has never seen snow before and decides to drive 2 miles per hour. I unload my sweet boy for one more kiss, snuggle, and smile, and off to work I go.
6:00am-2:30pm: think about my baby, text mom for updates of my baby, look at pictures of my baby.

Coffee, Cheez Its(white cheddar, the only way to go), and the world's cutest screen saver, times 2.

Sometimes I do work. Yesterday, my boss called me to complete some very important business in preparation for the other boss' retirement party.

Seriously. This is my life.
I bolt out the door the second the clock allows, and I'm off to pick up my main man. If I am feeling ambitious and not completely exhausted, I may stop at the gym to squeeze in a run beforehand. So far this is not happening too often, but between taking an unexpected day off for a doctors appointment, and a fall snow storm, life has been crazy. Hopefully I can get back on a workout schedule next week. Hopefully.
Once I pick up Jackson, we usually head straight home. I have decided grocery shopping is now a weekend activity, which also hasn't happened, hence our empty cupboards. We get home, little man eats, and Mike usually demands a hand off of the baby almost immediately. Guys gotta get in their bro time, you know?
We eat something at some point, last night I was especially ambitious and made grilled cheese and tomato soup. Fancy, right? But I used provolone and Gouda cheese, so I deem it fine dining.
Around 7 Jackson gets a bath, puts on some jammies, and practices spitting, laughing, and talking to mom and dad.

Basically all we do from 4-8pm.

I do everything possible to put off feeding him until 7:50, seriously I count the minutes. The earlier he goes to bed the earlier he wakes up, so I time it so that he is in his crib and out like a light at 8:07pm, exactly, because I am a superhero and just that good.
After that, Mike and I maybe squeeze in a TV show, and we are out around 9pm. That really never changed the entire time I was on maternity leave, this girl needs her 14 hours of sleep.

It's hectic and stressful, and not as fun as baby snuggles, but I am back to work, and I am surviving so far. I just close my eyes and ignore the empty cupboards, unused workout clothes, and piles of unfolded laundry. Now if I can just win the lottery, life will be perfect. Until then, I'll take what I have. I love my boys, love my family, love my life.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Welcome Winter!

So I had heard it was supposed to 'snow' on Monday, but I never take the weather forecasts too seriously around here. I don't know how many times we have been promised a winter storm only to end up with a dusting. BUT, the weatherman was not wrong this time. I woke up to go to work at 4:50, and the white stuff was already falling. There wasn't much, but enough to slow down my morning commute.
I work in an internal office space, so to get an outside view requires taking a long walk across the hospital. I work through tornadoes, monsoons, blizzards, and hail storms, completely oblivious. So on Monday when Mike calls me to say 'the roads are terrible, you should really consider leaving early', I merely debated. I received a similar text message from my mom within minutes, and decided as it was my first snow storm, in a new vehicle, with very new VERY precious cargo, I would leave work at noon.
And off I went. I must say, the SUV rides much nicer in snow than my little old Mazda 3. Still, the drive to pick up my little guy took twice as long as normal. I got to the turn to my parents and as I got farther out of town, the less I could see. Blowing snow and wind=whiteout. I called Mike and said I was just staying at my parents, I wasn't going to try and make the drive. I then called my mom to tell her to take Jackson out of his car seat because we weren't going anywhere. Obviously Jackson agreed, because I could hear the poor kid screaming bloody murder in the background, and that kid LOVES his seat and going on rides 99% of the time. Mom told me to park on the street. I obliged for 2 seconds, just long enough to pass the driveway before I realized: you don't park on the street in a snow emergency unless you want to get destroyed by a plow and/or towed. So I of course tried to make a loop to get back to the driveway. This does not work on a downhill cul-de-sac. No, it does not. Fortunately, neighbors have snowplows.

My brother joined the shoveling party, as did the adorable neighbor boy.

After plowing a glorious path for me and shoveling out my car, I was pushed, gunned it, and made it up the driveway.


I felt less embarrassed after our neighbor Dave got stuck across the street, along with the UPS guy.

You win, winter. Welcome back.
After my mom had a chat with my husband, I was told he had instructed her to 'lock the doors and not let me leave'. So our night consisted of me getting a much needed nap, watching painfully cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies (it may not be Thanksgiving yet, but a foot of snow justifies jump starting the holidays, no?), and eating a family dinner of chicken and potatoes.
nom nom nom.

Mr. Jax, getting in some puppy snuggles.

Jackson loved 'sitting at the table' with us. He has also started smacking his lips at the sight of food. Soon my Bebe, soon.

We went to bed in my old room, and as I didn't feel like battling to get him to sleep in a foreign pack n play in a foreign place, little guy got to snuggle with mama for the night. Darn it ;-)

Hope you all enjoyed the first blizzard. I wasn't prepared for it, but enjoyed a spontaneous sleepover in my old room. I even made it home yesterday to a rearranged/clean house. Ten points for the hubby. Happy almost holidays!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Three Months.

Wait, what!? Our cool little man is three months old. Actually, he was three months on Monday. I'm late on this, don't judge. Going back to work is time consuming, and every afternoon this week was spent snuggling the little guy!
The changes between two and three months have been so drastic and fun to watch, his personality is growing every day and, as sad as it makes me to pack away 0-3 month clothes and have a baby that prefers to stand on his little legs than be cuddled (not all the time; this guy still loves cuddling his mama 90% of the day), for crying out loud, I am watching a little person that I created figure out the world. How can I be sad about that!?

Age: 3 months.
Height: 25 inches
Weight: Just over 15 pounds! This kid is a chunky monkey. I think I may have a linebacker on my hands!
Milestones: I swear he is doing something new every day! He rolls from tummy to back, loves to 'stand' and stretch out his legs, and tries to mimic the sounds and noises that we make. Oh and those baby giggles. When that little guy smiles at me, this mamas heart almost explodes.
Sleep: we still have the occasional up twice a night, but he has started being pretty consistent and is sleeping 6-8 hour stretches! 8pm-3am/4am is becoming normal, and I love it. Of course, he is usually up and ready to play after his 4am breakfast. Overall though, we have come leaps and bounds with sleep. I feel almost like a real, adequately rested person again!
Best Moment: The other day, I was getting ready for work and heard Jackson start to fuss. Of course my first thought is 'child you ate an hour ago...' Followed by 'great I'm going to be late for work'. I went into turbo speed getting ready, hoping he would stay content just long enough for me to finish what I was doing, when I realized he wasn't fussing in there, he was babbling to himself, which became evident when he let out an obnoxious laugh(he must think his own jokes are funny). He is just the sweetest baby, every moment is the best.
Worst Moment: doctors appointment. Needle. Screaming baby. I'm thinking this will probably be a trend of worst moments..kid does not like being poked! 
Health: he is doing great. Getting chunkier by the minute, eats well, sleeping better, and fusses very little (mostly only when he wants some mama snuggles so I can't complain). 
Eating: still eating plenty (obviously) but getting on a schedule of when he eats and how much, which is nice. I am of course waiting for the doctors word, but I am soooo anxious to try out rice cereal for the first time, I'm pretty sure Jackson will think he has won the lottery!
Teeth: None. We want to breastfeed for quite a while still, so I'm hoping for a few more months teeth free ;-)

I have to say that as he has grown, he has become more work. While round the clock feeding has ended(whats that, you say. The kid is one a semi-sorta-kinda SCHEDULE??!), awake time has increased, as has the demand for constant attention. When he was first born, I would take him on a run, come home and pop him in his swing and be able to sneak in a quick shower, and get out to a still peacefully sleeping baby. Now I have a precious peanut who loves his mama, and HATES when his mama is not loving on him every waking minute. Cooking meals: struggle. Showering: struggle. Crocheting(mynew favorite hobby!): struggle. Ok, this one is doable, it just requires crocheting around a baby head and taking breaks every .9274 seconds to return to Jackson his precious nuk that he just spit out for the 50th time. 

While the house may be dirty, the dishes piled high, and the clothes unfolded, I wouldn't trade a minute of the baby snuggles and smiles. This little guy loves to have casual chats on the couch. Yesterday, our conversation went something like this:
Me: nanananana a.
Jackson: ooooooo *smile*
Me: doopadoopadoop
Jackson: AHHHH! *giggle*
Me: gagagaga (basically, I sound like Popeye when I do this one)
Jackson: GEEEE *gurgle, spit, smile, drool*

I can honestly say he is my favorite person to talk to. He gets me, and I get a kick out of watching him just be. Sometimes I think my heart might actually explode he makes me so happy. While knowing he will only be little like this for a short time makes me sad, looking forward to our soon to come milestones like sitting up, trying food for the first time(ok maybe 3rd time, one time mike had to share his sucker and one time I may have let someone taste a popsicle), and really starting to talk and interact is enough to make me practically skip with excitement. Watching your child go from nothing but a eating, pooping machine to a little person who tries to mimic and share his innermost thoughts(in baby language, of course), is just magic. And a miracle. Simply amazing.
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