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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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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Mom Wardrobe Must-Have

mom wardrobe midi dress

mom wardrobe must have

mom wardrobe must have

mom wardrobe must have

I have a confession – I think way too much about if my outfit for the day is appropriate for being a mom. Finn is at the age of wanting to be up and then down again, and I spend the majority of my time bending over or sitting on the ground with him. I started transitioning my clothing out of the ‘short-shorts’ genre soon after I graduated college and hit the professional world. However, being a mom is a whole new ball game.

mom wardrobe must have

abercrombie & fitch striped midi-dress

When I bought my first midi-skirt soon after Finn was born, I bought it more for the flow and its ability to hide the baby weight. But I soon fell in the love with the length and my love for midi-skirts/dresses was born. At one point I thought my legs were too short for the midi-length, but it actually makes me look (or at least feel as though I look) taller.

mom wardrobe must have

The best part? I can bend over and not give everyone else at the playground a show! This midi-dress is from Abercrombie & Fitch, cause apparently they are making a comeback?! Who knew. I really can’t complain. This dress is the perfect length, under $30 and is super comfortable and soft. It will also make a perfect maternity dress for the next go-round since it’s long enough and stretchy enough to grow with a bump.

mom wardrobe must have

I’ve linked some more midi-dresses below since they are the perfect transitional piece into fall. Add a long cardigan and some booties, you’ve got yourself a Pinterest-worthy outfit. (PS. Shameless plug, if you don’t follow me on Pinterest yet, you totally should. I pin some awesome crap and we all know it’s the best way to waste an hour – or a morning.) Happy shopping, moms!

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Mamas, what’s your go-to outfit and why?

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How We Chose Finn’s Name

baby name

Easily, the best part about being pregnant was name shopping. It’s usually the second question I ask pregnant moms – right after, how are you feeling? Because, solidarity.

Anyways, there are so many wonderful stories behind the names that parents give their children and I love hearing them all! Sometimes, it is chosen very tactically, sometimes on a whim, other times, it’s chosen for them through family tradition. I have had at length conversations with my friends, both moms and not, about baby names. I love talking about them, pairing them with different middle and last names, and hearing all the stories of why one is chosen over another.

The story behind my name goes back to our German roots. My dad wanted to spell it Erika, but ultimately my mom won. My middle name, Jo, is actually my aunt’s first name.

So how and why did we choose Finn Ryan?

Being that it’s an obsession, David and I had already talked about baby names long before a baby was in the picture. We wanted something unique, but not completely off the wall. We also wanted something short and simple, because our last name is three syllables, we wanted the baby’s first name to just be one. One last criteria: it couldn’t end it the “ee” sound since Gregory also ends in it.

Finn was chosen because it fit all of those criteria. It’s also a strong name, and I’m a huge fan. We get asked if it had anything to do with David’s fishing obsession, but it really doesn’t! I don’t even make that connection unless I’m prompted to.

Ryan, Finn’s middle name, is the name of David’s cousin who passed a few years ago. David and Ryan were incredibly close, so we thought it was the perfect way to pay tribute to him. We tried to keep Finn’s name a secret from as many people as possible, but with the family connection, David spilled the beans to his family long before Finn arrived 🙂

As we start to think about baby number two – and no I’m not pregnant – the name game becomes a little more difficult. Now, not only does it have to fit all of our previous criteria, but it also has to jive well with Finn’s name! Am I overthinking this? Maybe. But it’s too fun not to!

 

What are your favorite baby names?

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