Making Marriage A Priority After Kids

marriage after kidsIt always seems to be the case in my life – whenever things start feeling normal, like we’ve got a good routine down, it’s then that change is most inevitable. It’s sort of a running joke between David and I. Maybe we get bored easily, maybe we self-sabotage, maybe we just like to keep things interesting. Regardless of the reason why, since the day we met, we haven’t sat still.

Within a year of dating, we moved in together, adopted Juneau and we drove cross country to Albuquerque. We left after a few months and lived with my parents for a while in Upstate New York. We spent the next summer in Wilmington, North Carolina before going to Indianapolis for graduate school. We actually stayed put in Indy for two years, but while we were there, changed jobs/career fields several times. We left Indy after I abruptly lost my job (blessing in disguise) and spent the summer apart soul searching/job hunting. David started school and I accepted my current role and we moved to Charlottesville together. A few short months after that we got engaged, were married within the next six months and found out we were pregnant with Finn two months later. We welcomed Finn after nine months. David graduated and started a new job and we decided to buy a house. Before the ink was dry on the contract, we found out we were expecting baby number two and in eight short weeks we will be a family of four. Phew. 

I remember feeling invigorated and inspired by this change when we were younger, but now that we are parents, change terrifies me. I like the routine we have now, but the reality of welcoming another baby into our lives is making me pause and wish time would slow down. Right now, Finn is on a pretty awesome schedule, and even on the most mundane days, David and I get a few hours of ‘us’ time every evening after Finn goes to bed. In the last few months, we’ve let the shock of being new parents subside, and have embraced our marriage even more. We’ve always agreed that our marriage comes first – because without the two of us on the same page, our family wouldn’t be able to function the way we want it to. I’ve put together a list of things that have helped us focus on one another, and will hopefully be our guiding light as we approach yet another change in our lives.

1. Be clear about your needs. It’s all about communication, plain and simple. There is never a more important time to be clear with your partner than after kids are in the picture. It’s easy to get distracted. It’s easy to get frustrated. It’s easy to blame one another for not reading the other’s mind. What’s difficult is being open and honest with one another. Get vulnerable. If there is one person on this planet that should accept you for who you are, warts and all, it’s your partner. The best way to do this is when things are calm, when you can be in the moment and as clear as possible.

After Finn was first born I rarely let myself get away for some me time. It started to wear on me and David and I had a conversation about it. It was one of the most honest conversations we’ve ever had and, funny enough, we were both feeling the same way. Now, we make sure each of us get some me time each week.

2. Give each other grace. I’ve certainly let frustration get the best of me over the last two and a half years, and the ugliness is usually directed toward David. I’m in no way proud of this, but I appreciate that David understands that my words are usually unfounded and driven by stress. He usually forgives me within a few minutes, and may tease me about it later on to make light of it. I can’t tell you how much this eases my guilt! Like I said, when you’re married and have children together, your partner is going to see some warts – and I appreciate that David can accept all of me.

3. Get intentional. There was a long stretch after Finn was born where it felt like we were just letting life happen to us. We barely got through the days, and looking back, that time feels like such a blur. We were pretty miserable human beings during that timeframe as well. As soon as we got intentional about Finn’s schedule, and about our schedule, life got a million times better. 

We’ve adopted this principal into other aspects of our relationship as well – we felt like we weren’t having meaningful conversation, so we bought this devotional. We felt like we didn’t get enough time just the two of us, so we scheduled a date night each month. We felt like we weren’t saving enough money, so we set up a pretty awesome budget, stick to it, and then tease each other for being so mature! I was getting stressed out about my commute to daycare and work in the morning, so we switched Finn’s daycare to somewhere closer to home. As soon as we started taking control of our life, and being intentional about it, we’ve been on the same page with everything – and ultimately closer as a couple.

4. Create time for each other. This piggy-backs on the whole “get intentional” tip, but deserves it’s own mention. There is nothing more important to David and I than spending time together without Finn around. We love our family dates, but there is something much simpler, and nostalgic, about eating dinner without having to cut up a toddler’s meal first. We’ve been pretty good about going on one date each month, and I always wake up feeling so grateful the next morning. We spend our evenings together watching a show or just talking about our day. We eat dinner together every night, we even grocery shop together. The thing is, I kinda like being around my husband, so we make sure to even make the most mundane tasks a joint effort!

5. Lean into each other, rather than away. I honestly don’t know what I would do without David, and I am sure to let him know that. On those days that he travels or happens to be busy doing something, I count the minutes until his return. I am so grateful for his support and partnership – but even more, I’m grateful for someone to make me laugh, for someone to commiserate with, for another perspective and to have him experience all of this with me!

What are some advice you’d give to keeping marriage a priority after kids?

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30 Week Bumpdate

30 weeks pregnant

 

How far along? 30 weeks!

What is Baby G up to? Baby G is the size of a zucchini and weighing in around 3 pounds. Baby is moving so much, but still not as much as Finn did! I’m hoping this means a calm baby?! Baby is already in the head down position and kicking mama in the ribs pretty much every day. The heartbeat came in around 147 at my appointment last week.

How am I feeling? I’m feeling more like myself lately. The last month or so was rough, emotionally. My hormones were taking over and I either felt incredibly high or incredibly low. I’m feeling much more balanced as of today. My anxiety is still poking through a bit – mainly anxious about real life things like switching Finn’s daycare, labor and delivery, and introducing another member to our family. Oh, and the whole newborn, no sleep thing. Physically, my body is getting tired, but I’m hanging in. I really have enjoyed the physical growth part of pregnancy this time around. I haven’t been as hard on myself with the weight gain knowing that a year from now, I will have my body back as long as I put the work in!

What am I wearing? It’s starting to cool down slightly here, so I’m rotating some sweaters into my wardrobe. However, dresses are really all that fit me right now!

What am I craving/eating? Nothing too specific. I think I’m actually at that point where food just causes heartburn, so I’m not really interested in anything at all.

What’s on my mind lately? As I mentioned above, we are switching Finn’s daycare. He has been at the same place since I went back to work two years ago, but since moving, the drive is adding almost 2 hours to my day. We found a place closer to home, which will be nice for everyone, but I’m really stressed about how Finn will transition to a new school.

What am I looking forward to? Not quite looking forward to it, but Hurricane Florence is supposed to impact our area this weekend, so I’m anxious to just get through the worst of it. I know we will not get nearly the impact the coast will see, so I’m trying to stay positive.

Best moment of the week? My employer recently announced a change in the parental leave policy – 8 weeks, 100% pay. I’m ecstatic, but a little nervous how it will impact me since the change starts while I’m actually out on leave and not beforehand. Regardless, this is a necessary step!

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Life Lately – September 6, 2018

It’s been a while since I’ve written a Life Lately post. These are my favorite types of posts to write – a recap of what my little family has been up to the last few weeks and months. I, like everyone else, cannot believe it’s already September! Life is flying by these days. I stare at Finn on a daily basis and wonder how he got so big! And don’t get me started on this pregnancy. It seems like the weeks are melting away and soon enough it’ll be D-Day!

Overall, we had a wonderful summer. We settled into our new house, took a great vacation, spent a lot of time together as a family and swam as much as we could. With the weather still in the 90s, it’s hard to embrace fall too much. However, I can’t wait to carve pumpkins and go to the corn maze with Finn this year!

Our Home

We still have a ways to go as far as finishing our house, but I’ve come to peace with the fact that not everything is going to be done by the time Baby G comes. As long as the kids’ bedrooms are completed, I’ll be happy. We’ve made great strides in our living area and dining room. We have a couple small things to finish up there. The outside is at a much better place than it was at the beginning of the summer. We spend a lot of time outdoors and want to put a deck out back, but that’s something we will probably tackle in the spring.

The basement is the real problem spot at this point. Half of our basement is finished, but we have zero furniture for down there. We want this space to be our main living area, with the more formal area upstairs. However, we can’t quite wrap our heads around how we want to style it. We are taking our time and doing our research, but ideally I’d love to have this space completed by the time Baby G comes. With our bedrooms on the main level, I’d like somewhere to escape to where I know I won’t wake up Finn in the middle of the night.

Finn

This little boy is growing like a weed. I think he learns a new word every single day, and he will gladly talk your ear off! He is such a sweetheart. Right now he is really into trains, copying everything David does and Kung Fu Panda. He loves to read along with us with every book we read and has recently started to sing, too! He is so smart! I can’t believe how quickly kids pick things up. I’m holding onto every little moment I spend with Finn because I know when Baby G comes in a few months, things will be much different. I’m excited to watch him become a big brother, but I also want him to be my baby forever.

Photography Classes

I’ve been toying with the idea of taking formal photography classes for years but always had an excuse. I finally signed up for a five week course at the local community college and I’m super proud of myself. I haven’t done anything for me in a long, long time and this is exactly what I need. Just so you know, I still had every excuse in the book (I’m pregnant, I don’t want to pay for it, I’m going to be awful at photography) but after some convincing that I’m still going to be pregnant and still not know anything about photography, that my work will actually pay for the classes, and that I’ll never know until I try, I decided to just do it. Here’s to hoping that I can fit in the desks with my belly!

Our Life In iPhone Photos

who are these crazies?!
when finn where’s “papi’s shirt”, it takes a great deal of bribery to get him to take it off!
finn and papa fishing!
family selfie!
watching for choo choo trains!

 

 

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The Best Products We Bought in August

Best Products We Bought In August

 

Admittedly, I benefited quite a bit from our purchases in August. I went on a small hunt for new beauty products, something I have the energy to do about once a year. (Beauty products just aren’t my thing… I much prefer clothes.) However, we did scoop up some worthy things to talk about. Though much more practical, our August list of best products stretches from entertaining to just plain necessary.

Essie Bare With Me – I’ve been looking for a great neutral pink nail color for a long time, and I think I found it. Bare With Me is the perfect shade of pink, in my opinion. Yes, Essie is a tad expensive for a nail polish, but after two coats, I’ve found this lasts about a week before a touch up is needed.

Blue Light Glasses – I’ve been suffering from dry eye and subtle headaches for a while, so when I heard about blue light glasses, I was intrigued. I found a pair for a decent price (around $30) and have been very pleased with them. I’ve been getting a lot of “since when do you where glasses?” comments thrown my way, but when I tell them they protect against blue light, people are usually as surprised as I was to hear that those exist.

NYX Eyeliner – I wear as little makeup as possible, but one thing I cannot live without is eyeliner. I found this NYX eyeliner for a really good price. It goes on like a marker – seriously, like a felt tip. And stays on all day. I’ve been impressed.

Living Proof Anti-Frizz Spray – Last beauty item, but a good one. I’ve heard only good things about the Living Proof line of hair products, but I’m pretty loyal to my dry shampoo. I do, however, live in the world’s muggiest state! So my hair suffers from frizz. This spray not only works wonders, but smells devine. 

Belly Band – I finally bit the bullet and got a belly band for support. My back has been awful since about 23 weeks, and this band is great, especially for the price. If you’re looking for a good band, or a great gift for your prego friend, this is a good one.

Playtex Sipsters – Dare I say we found the greatest sippy cups on the market?! We’ve tried more than our fair share and between leaking tops, having too many pieces, and impossible to clean, we’ve thrown most of them away. We bought these Playtex ones simply because they were Thomas the Train themed, but they turned out to be the best cups we’ve tried. They don’t leak, even when Finn beats them on the table. They have three simple, easy-to-clean pieces, and they are cute! I should’ve known since all of our bottles came from Playtex, too and we loved those just as much!

TeePee – Aww, the odd bird of the group. However, I’ve been wanting Finn to have a tent/teepee forever and I finally got this one for him. It is quite large, too big to put in his room (my fault for not measuring first), but it will still work in the basement. It comes with adorable LED lights and a little flap for “privacy”. He loves it!

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The Best Labor Day Sales

labor day weekend sales

Happy Labor Day Weekend! We are enjoying the incredibly hot weather and taking it easy at home. I’ve rounded up a bunch of the best Labor Day weekend sales, and even took some time to pick out my choices from several retailers. These sales are too good to miss, so spoil yourself and grab some things you’ll need for the new season ahead. Happy Shopping!

ABERCROMBIE – 40% off the entire store

AMERICAN EAGLE – 25-60% off, 30% off jeans and joggers and 40% off the entire Aerie collection

ANN TAYLOR – 40 % all styles with code LONGWEEKEND, 60% off all sale styles

GAP – 40% off everything with code YES and extra 10% off everything with code MORE

J.CREW – 40% off entire purchase with code BIGSALE

J.CREW FACTORY – 50% off and extra 20% off all sale items with code SALEAWAY

LOFT – 40% off with code LABORDAY

NORDSTROM – save up to 40% off

OLD NAVY – 20% off your entire order, 50% off all jeans, tees, sweatshirts and dresses

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