Motherhood Check-in: 16 Months

16 months motherhood check-in

16 months motherhood check in

shop my look: dress (on major sale under $20! grab it in every color) // hat (found this one at a consignment store for $15, but here’s a similar one) // bomber jacket // finn’s diapers are from Wegman’s 🙂

Finn turned 16 months this week and I realized I hadn’t done a Motherhood Check-in post in quite some time – since he turned one! It’s pretty amazing how quickly time has gone by this summer. Finn went from a crawling little baby to a walking toddler with a vocabulary and crazy hair! Seriously, I was looking through pictures from his birthday party and his hair has gotten so long! I can’t quite get myself to cut it yet, though.

16 months motherhood check in

Motherhood, 16 Months In

I think I should stop myself from writing this because I say it in each update, but this is my favorite age by far! Finn is a little boy at this point. He has grown out of his baby face and into a kid. He climbs things with confidence, he dances and sings to his favorite songs, he interacts, gives kisses, points at animals, runs away when we chase him and so much more! This is what I’ve been waiting for! A kid to entertain and to entertain me in return.

I wouldn’t say that life goes without it’s hiccups, but we are just at a better place to deal with the hiccups. I recently read this piece by a blogger I follow and it brought me back to all of those postpartum feelings. Nowadays, Finn is not a burden but a bright spot in our lives. We live for that kid! I miss him every time I have to leave to go to work. I’m so glad that I was able to get myself out of those postpartum blues and get excited about being a mom.

16 months motherhood check in

Working Mom Guilt

I so wish I was at a point in my life where I could work from home, but I may be a little ways off still. I keep telling myself that the separation from David and I will do Finn good, but that doesn’t stop the enormous guilt I feel when I’m away from him. At first, this guilt held me hostage and every moment I wasn’t at work I felt like I had to be with Finn. Recently, I’ve made ‘me time’ a priority and have given myself the okay to get out without a baby. I’m playing soccer again and my girlfriends and I have started a book club. It’s little things that make me feel like my old self and keep me energized to be the best mom I can be.

16 months motherhood check in

Traveling With a Toddler

I plan on doing a much more in depth post about traveling with a toddler, as well as a recap of our trip to Colorado, but I can say that the trip went much better than expected. I feared that Finn would be restless on the plane, but he managed to get some good sleep on the way out there! He was really interested in the parts of the airplane, so it was fun to watch him point and stare. It also helped to calm my anxiety of flying because I was paying so much attention to him.

Overall, I’m feeling pretty good about life these days. I still have a lot on my plate, but being a mom to a 16-month old is incredibly different from being a mom to a 6-month old!

16 months motherhood check in

PS. These pictures are from Pearl Street in Downtown Boulder. They have a dancing fountain and since the babies had been in their strollers all day, we stripped them down, and let them dance! Finn just stood there, staring confused at the water. One he got the gist of things, he laughed and laughed. Natalie took a minute to warm up to the water, but once she did she couldn’t stop screaming with delight.

 

16 months motherhood check in

 

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Things I’m Loving, Vol. 4

things i'm loving

things i'm loving

 

I know my blogging has been a bit random lately, but I kinda like it this way. Keeps things interesting, right? Just kidding. I’m trying to make these post regular and I’m thinking I should try to switch to 2-3 times per week rather than try to get 5 posts up. Thoughts?

Also, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to my Instagram account and would love for you to follow me over there! I love posting random bits from our life and keeping track of how much Finn has grown by scrolling through the photos. One last thing, next month will be the anniversary of my blog and I’ve been wondering how to celebrate. A giveaway? A contest of some sort? Let me know if you have any good ideas.

For now, here are some thing I’m loving!

 

Things I’m Loving:

Women's dv Roselyn Suede High Top Sneakers

 

Slip-on Sneakers

I just bought a pair of slip-on sneakers and I’m seriously considering returning them for these. Then again, these are under $40 and I do have a use for both pairs… These are from Target, too! They have the best shoes selection right now.

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abercrombie hENLEY DRESS

 

 

Henley Dress

Seriously. I think I recommend something from Abercrombie to someone daily, but they are seriously killing it. I browse their sale section regularly, and always find something I love. This little dress is absolutely perfect for fall… perhaps with the boots I listed below? I love the button detail, the color, and the price cannot be beat! Currently under $20!

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halogen tie bell sleeve sweater

 

Halogen Tie Bell Sleeve Sweater

The bow detail on this sweater is seriously the cutest. I love the length as well. This looks like it has Erica written all over it!

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over the knee boots

 

Over-the-knee Boots

I’m sure if you follow any fashion blogger they post about this pair of extremely overpriced OTK boots. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a spare $700 to spend on shoes. This pair from DSW is a bit more reasonable. Pro tip: if you were blessed with big calfs due to years of playing soccer (like me) I’d try these on before you purchase. Might have to order the wide calf option!

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Petite Women's Caslon High-Low V-Neck Sweater

 

Striped High-Low Sweater

I never met a stripe I didn’t like – especially black and white – and especially in sweater form.

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Happy Shopping!

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A Day in Virginia Wine Country

wine tour charlottesville

A few weeks back, my girlfriend, Morgan invited a few of us on a girl’s day full of wine tasting around Charlottesville. If you’ve never been to the area, you’re missing out. There are dozens of wineries, cideries and breweries in and around the city – all within a few minutes drive of one another. The area is beautiful and the proximity makes it the perfect place to enjoy a wine tour.

It was a beautiful Sunday in mid-August. The sun was shining, but the humidity was no where to be found. The four of us packed our snacks and hit the road for four wineries in the area. I’m no wine expert, but when Dad is on Finn duty and I have the afternoon free of responsibilities, it’s rare to find me turn down any type of wine!

Pollak Vineyard

We started in Crozet, Virginia at Pollak Vineyard. The 360 degree mountain views make it a winner in any category, and any bride-to-be would be lucky to celebrate their big day there. However, the Pollak family makes wine as a passion, and because they are so focused on the wine-making, they do not throw events. It’s an admirable move, in my opinion.

The Vineyard boasts 31-acres complete with a tasting room, patio, pond and endless rows of grapes. On the day of our tasting, we arrived well before noon, did a tasting inside and pulled up a chair on the patio to enjoy a bottle. It was a great first stop on our tour!

wine tour charlottesville

Veritas Vineyard & Winery

It’s hard to determine which winery has the best views, but Veritas is certainly up there. I had been to the winery many times before, but had never actually had a tasting. Veritas throws great events throughout the summer and has the perfect space to do so – over 50 acres of land and nestled right into the Blue Ridge Mountains.

When we arrived, we opted for a tasting first. We met the sweetest lady, LB, who told us all about her grandson – who just happens to be the same age as Finn. She even talked Hannah and I into becoming Wine Club members! I think I’ve already got my monies worth out of that decision 🙂

After our tasting, we sat on the deck and enjoyed the views. The best part of the day was the conversation, which ranged from work, to celebrity crushes, to who knows what else!

wine tour charlottesville

Afton Mountain Winery

After Veritas, we went up the mountain a few miles to Afton Mountain Vineyards. It was a quick stop, with just enough time for a tasting, but we did manage to get a group shot in front of the views! It was certainly the most casual of all the vineyards we visited that day and I’m looking forward to going back and spending a little more time.

wine tour charlottesville

Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyard

We ended our day a Pippin Hill, one of the more desirable wineries in the area. The views are breathtaking, the tasting room is gorgeous, and the wine is delicious. They serve great food as well!

When we arrived we decided we needed to take all the pictures. We skipped the tasting and decided to just order a glass of wine and eat as much food as possible. After four wineries, we were all having wayyyy too much fun 🙂

wine tour charlottesville

wine tour charlottesville

wine tour charlottesville

wine tour charlottesville

We really didn’t need the beautiful scenery and great wine to have a good day. These girls are so much fun, and afterwards I realized I had finally formed a group of people that make me feel like I belong in Charlottesville. It’s a reminder that it doesn’t really matter where you are, but who you are with that matters in life!

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Did You Find Out Your Baby’s Gender?

baby gender

I always thought that when I got pregnant I’d want to leave the gender of the baby a surprise. My pre-pregnant self thought I could withstand the temptation of the ultrasound and be able to wait the full 40 weeks. I thought David and I would be guessing the gender until he or she was delivered into the world and we’d hear the doctor yell, “It’s a boy!” or girl… you get the point.

baby gender

When we found out we were pregnant, the very first thing I wondered about the little baby inside of me was the gender. A boy would be wonderful, a girl would be so sweet. I don’t think I cared either way, but I had to know. I think since we got pregnant unexpectedly and there were so many unknowns, I wanted to know something for sure. The idea of waiting to find out the gender seemed to add to the anxiety of being first-time parents. As the months went on and started to drag, the excitement of learning something about the baby was the perfect way to break up the monotony of pregnancy. It was something to look forward to!

As soon as I found out we were expecting I had a feeling we’d be having a boy. I can’t exactly describe why I felt so confident, but with certainty for the first trimester and into the second I was even referring to my belly as “he”. As we got closer to our 20 week ultrasound, I started to waiver a bit. I started to get nervous we were going to be surprised again with the news we were having a girl. At that point, I was so convinced a boy was on the way that the news of a girl would have thrown me back down the anxiety road – another thing to wrap my head around.

baby gender

David and I wanted to find out the gender in a special, intimate way. We went to the doctor’s appointment that morning (January 7 to be exact) and had the nurse write down the gender on a piece of paper. We made a reservation at one of our favorite restaurants for that evening. The day dragged as I’m sure you can imagine. When we got to dinner, we hardly waited for our drinks to arrive before we tore open the envelope and the paper was – pink!

I remember catching David’s eye when we both realized the paper was pink. We unfolded the paper to find “It’s a boy!” written in marker. It was that moment that we knew Finn Ryan would be making his appearance in May. My nerves calmed, I got excited for the first time, anxiety was no where to be found. Our waiter realized what we had just found out and helped us celebrate with free dessert! 🙂

The second half of the pregnancy was just as long and much more uncomfortable, but I know that finding out the gender helped get me through.

The funny part of all of this – my dad never wanted to know the gender of either of his grandchildren. (My sister was 6 weeks ahead of me with a girl). I had to talk in code, especially here on the blog! I think my mom let it slip after a while, but it was fun while it lasted.

David and I have talked about finding out the gender for the next one, and I think we’ll know when it happens. Just like we knew we wanted to find out with Finn, we will know one way or the other next time, too!

xoxo

Did you find out the gender of your baby? Why or why not?

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The Importance of ‘Me’ Time

finding me time

The other day, I was driving home with Finn in his carseat and I heard it – silence. The radio was off, Finn was watching the trees out the window, and my mind was turned off. I savored it. I took the long way home. Nowadays, getting time to myself, without the noise of life in the background is pretty rare. I love the chaos. I love watching Finn chase Juneau around and hearing David sing his silly jingles from the next room. But I love the ‘me’ time, too.

finding me time

We all have those days where the TV feels a little too loud, and those squeals and yells and songs become more of an annoyance than a joy. I was feeling those days quite a bit last month and I started resenting the very noises that should bring me joy. I sat down with David and we carved out a plan. Mama needs her ‘me’ time.

We all need a little time alone and I’d argue that moms may need the time more than anyone else. I love my people, but they’re

always around! I have always found peace in the silence. Since I can remember, writing in a journal – or this blog, watching a movie alone, or going on a long run have always been my way of unwinding. Finding that ‘me’ time is important for so many reasons.

Stress Relief

Stress is the biggest illness in my life right now. When it hits, I can feel it in my body. I get lethargic, achey, and irritable. I’ve come to recognize the signs and I have to make a conscience effort to reduce it. When I started to read about the effects of stress on my body, I was shocked. I immediately started wondering what I could do to reduce it.

 

I made a list of things that make me feel better and more focused – Hit the gym. Meditate. Write down your thoughts. Read a book. Go for a drive with the radio off. Silence is a gift. Embrace it. With these practices come one huge reward – lower stress and a healthier lifestyle. I can’t tell you how much better I feel after blowing off some steam at the gym or even locking myself in the bedroom for an hour so I can read a good book. When you are aware of the impacts on your health you will start recognizing the triggers. Reducing stress has become the number one priority in my life simply because when I am stress-free I am a better mother and a better wife.

Perspective

I took advantage of nap time the other morning and went grocery shopping by myself. The moment I parked, water filled my eyes. I missed my boys! They always go shopping with me! It’s moments like this that make the tough moments worth it. I left feeling relieved that I could sneak away and came home excited to spend time with my family. A little perspective does the mind good.

Appreciation

In the same vein, getting some ‘me’ time can also help you appreciate the craziness that is life! Silence is golden, but so is the sound of little feet running around. Being by myself allows me to appreciate the silence and being with my family lets me appreciate them.

Alternatively, I always find that I’m much more appreciated after I disappear for a few hours! Mama does a lot, doesn’t she?! 😉

I have been reflecting a lot on how my body reacts to stress and carving out a bit of ‘me’ time each day. Whether it be for a few hours or few minutes, I’m recognizing that the awareness alone has helped to reduce my stress, give me perspective, and gain a lot of appreciation for all that I have!

So go out and get some ‘me’ time today! You deserve it!

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