Do What Makes You Happy

I’ve got to be honest. Adult life is hard. There’s so much to think about all the time. Did the bills get paid? When did I vacuum last? What’s for dinner tonight? David says I worry too much – and I think that’s probably true. Recently, I’ve been focusing on stressing less. I’ve been trying to figure out what really does make me happy – and not just happy for a few minutes, but truly fills my soul with joy.

There are a couple of things that have always been my go-to happy place. One of those things: soccer. Soccer has a way of encapsulating all of my mind. When I coached in Indiana, I was constantly thinking about the game and the strategy. There’s no better feeling than being under the lights on a cool fall evening watching a soccer game. We have moved so much in the last five years that I haven’t been able to consistently play or coach. I’ve been giving it a lot of thought and was considering getting my license to coach a youth team in the area. I’ve always found joy in coaching, so I’m not sure why I haven’t continued to do it!

Another thing that truly makes me happy is reading old journals or love notes. There are times when I will search through my email for old notes between David and I. I love remembering the feelings of our new relationship, or realize how far we’ve come. Before our wedding, I wrote a journal to David full of all the reasons I was marrying him. The other night we read through the journal and I don’t think either of us stopped smiling the entire time. There was a lot of “I cannot wait to be a parent with you” and memories of simple times.

Lastly, I also truly find joy in writing this blog. I sometimes struggle with the purpose behind this blog. There have been times where I ask myself “why do I write?” but over the past few years I have gathered a modest following and the hopes and dreams I have for this blog keep me going. But beyond that, I blog because it makes me happy. This is my little corner of the internet – all mine.

What do you do to make your soul happy?

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Finn’s Newborn Pictures

So, I’m a little behind. Just like, 4 months behind. But better late than never, right? I’m a huge fan of photography. I work with video every day in my day job, and as much as I think video is wonderful, I think still photos are meant to capture moments and be displayed as memories. My desk at work is covered with these memories, as is our apartment. In fact, one of my career professional development goals is to become a better photographer because I get photo envy with pretty much every blog I follow… but that’s a story for another day.

Today’s story is all about Finn’s newborn photos. Even looking back on these now, I already have forgotten how little and fresh he was. I cannot believe how quickly he has changed. Funny story – David and I hadn’t thought about getting Finn’s newborn photos taken – I blame that on being new parents. Lots of other things going on! When we took Finn to the pediatrician for his first check-up, my mom spotted a photo canvas hanging on the wall and asked who the photographer was. Brilliantly, the photographer had left behind business cards and my mom called her on the way home. She just happened to have an opening the following week! These photos were taken when Finn was 2 weeks and 1 day young!

I cannot say enough good things about Carla and her photos. She was the baby whisperer. Finn was a typical newborn, fairly fussy with a chaotic schedule. As soon as we walked into her home studio, Carla worked her magic. She was so gentle and thoughtful with Finn. He fell asleep shortly after arriving and she kept him asleep for the entire hour long session. I even asked her to come home with me so I could get some sleep 🙂

I wanted Finn’s photos to be personalized, so I brought David’s fly fishing rod with us. I can’t wait to see David and Finn fishing together when he gets bigger! I also cut David’s name off of his Marine Corps uniform, which I thought was super clever way to show off the new Gregory baby. I can’t choose my favorite. I’m probably bias, but I think Finn is the cutest baby ever!

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Fall Bucket List

fall bucket list

Like every basic girl out there, Fall is by far my favorite season, and as of today, it’s officially here! Fall has so many wonderful memories tied to it: soccer season, the time of year David and I started dating, starting my career job a few years ago, and finding out we were pregnant. I’ve already had my fair share of Pumpkin Spice Lattes (drinking one while I type this).

I have a feeling this fall is going to be a lot more fun than the rest. Introducing Finn to some of our favorite outdoor activities is a top priority. He is finally at an age where I feel comfortable going out and doing things with him (not that I didn’t before, I just always felt on edge – wondering when he was going to have a crying fit).

So, like I try to do every fall, here is a list of things I hope to do this season:

  1. Go apple picking
  2. Use said apples to bake a pie
  3. Figure out a corn maze with a baby in a baby bjorn!
  4. Pick out pumpkins
  5. Bake pumpkin seeds
  6. Go fishing with David
  7. Take family photos
  8. Go on a hike
  9. Drink cider (whether it be hard cider or not) outside all day
  10. Visit family
  11. Buy a new camera
  12. Start the house hunt!

I’m hoping to keep track of all of these and blog about our adventures as a little family. What’s on your fall bucket list?

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Finn at Four Months

Where did the last month go? It feels like yesterday I was just writing Finn’s three month post. Now he is a whole month older, September is more than half over, and Fall weather is creeping in. I have been pretty honest about life as a new mom, but the last few weeks I have fallen completely head-over-heels in love with Finn. He has completely stolen my heart and the stressful days of newborn-ness are sailing away. I keep wishing I could keep him at this age forever! But then I’m sure I’d miss a whole lot more of his cuteness.

Parenting

David and I are in a nice rhythm right now. I’ve gotten used to my earlier schedule, David is back on day shift so he helps a ton at night time (I’ve even had time to work out consistently!) and we are on the same page with routines. The one thing that takes up a lot of my time on the weekends is organizing Finn’s clothes! Our families have been so generous in giving us hand-me-downs and Finn is growing by the day. I swear I pack away a new box of clothes away each weekend that he can no longer fit into. We’ve been passing along to our friends as well!

I’m loving that Finn is so interactive. I feel as though I can start teaching him things and not just get through the days.

Physical Growth

Finn is weighing in at 15lbs 11oz and 25 inches long. He is just shy of being able to be thrown on my hip. He is holding his head up like a champ and has mastered his neck strength during tummy time. He likes to chat with us all the time and has recently developed a squeal that I’m pretty sure he picked up at daycare. He has mastered the back to front roll, but cannot seem to figure out how to get back. He is wearing mostly 3-6 month clothing, but some 6 month stuff seems to fit him, too.

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Brain Growth

Finn is so chatty, so excitable, and so happy. He certainly recognizes mommy and daddy, and has started to watch Juneau everywhere he goes. He has been reaching for toys and everything goes straight to his mouth. He also recognizes his bottle – he gets super smiley when he sees us preparing it.

Sleeping 

Finn continues to sleep through the night! We start bedtime around 7:00pm – bath, pajamas, book, and tuck in. It takes him about 10 minutes to fall asleep and is done until 7:00am. He is still sleeping in our room and will probably stay there until mom can get over her anxiety 🙂 He does nap in his crib, so hopefully that will help when we transition him there full time.

Eating

Finn is a champ at eating. He downs 6-7oz each feeding. He was on a strict three hour routine, but as he gets bigger, he doesn’t demand food right away. This makes my breastmilk last longer so we’ve been able to cut his formula bottles down. We spoke with the pediatrician about introducing solids soon, but we will likely wait until around 6 months.

Things I Don’t Want to Forget

  • Finn’s curious face. When we are driving or walking in the stroller and he sees the leaves move on the trees, Finn squints his eyes, purses his lips and stares. It’s the cutest thing in the entire world.
  • Finn has developed what we call his “shy smile”. When I’m holding him and someone looks at him and smiles, he buries his face into my shoulder. He also does this in the morning when he sees our faces when we come over to grab him. It’s the sweetest.
  • When Finn is on his tummy, he lets out a groan that would make you believe he is uncomfortable, but the whole time he is grinning and will ultimately start to laugh. It’s so bizarre and hilarious.

Finn and Juneau

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Our First Few Weeks with Finn

Being a new mom is tough. Yup, I’m putting it out there. I love reading about other new mom’s experiences, but sometimes I just laugh and think “lady, you aren’t fooling anyone.” I like to be honest about how I’m feeling and if that means spilling the beans on how a baby changes things, well then here goes.

Listen, I love my baby. I love my husband and I love my dog and I love my job. I don’t know why women always feel like they have to preface things with these kind of statements, but just in case anyone reads this and questions it, it’s here in plain English.img_1109 

As I’ve probably said before, David and I were totally shocked to find out we were pregnant. We weren’t planning it. We had just gotten married. And my sister was recently pregnant as well. Seeing the plus sign on the four pregnancy tests was one of those moments I’ll never forget. Instead of feeling overjoyed, I immediately felt overwhelmed. I was sad, resentful, and completely unexcited. Somewhere around the time my bump appeared, my feelings started to change. And when we found out we were having a boy, I actually felt excitement.

However, pregnancy isn’t always exciting. It’s full of sleepless nights, weird bodily changes, hormones, cravings, heartburn, leg cramps, tears, waddling, anticipation, anxiety and a lot of other stuff. You can pretty much use the same words to describe the first few months with baby.

Sure, some women seem to be naturals. They feel as though they were born to be moms. I look at some of the women in my own life and think that. But when it comes down to it and you have the real conversations you realize that every single mom out there has had their moments. You know the ones, when you just lose control of your emotions and you end up crying in the shower? Or taking the car for a drive at 10pm cause you haven’t been alone all day? The moments when it all gets to be a little too much.

Childbirth is beautiful and seeing a newborn baby is beautiful, but until I had Finn I was around babies for a total of a few hours. If they cried, I’d hand them back to their mom. Now I am the mom, and sometimes, I just don’t want that crying baby back! 🙂

In all seriousness, the first few days and weeks home with Finn were a huge learning curve. Not only was I learning how to be a mom, but my body was doing all sorts of funky things. My belly went from big and hard to flabby and soft. I was learning how to breastfeed and dealing with all the discomforts that come with that. Breast pads, anyone? My body was getting rid of all the extra fluids (sorry TMI, but it’s real life) and I was incredibly sore because, you know, I just had a baby.

On top of all of that, Finn was learning how to be a human being (funny when you think about it that way) and he needed his mommy for a lot of that. He needed to eat, to be changed, to be held, to be bathed, and he didn’t care what time it was. Of course David was a huge help, and my mom was a life saver the first week of his life, but when you are breastfeeding, you’re the only one who has the goods to soothe the baby.

Then there’s the stuff. Diapers, wipes, ointment, bottles, nursing pads, lanolin, nipple shields. If we went anywhere, it was a marathon packing session before even walking out the door. Oh, and that going anywhere part? I was always trying to time it so I wouldn’t have to think about where I was going to feed the baby. Sure, lots of moms are totally comfortable breastfeeding wherever they are. I’m not one of them, so get me home to my couch in plenty of time.

There wasn’t enough coffee in the world to make me feel awake enough to take on a day. There wasn’t enough advice, enough books, enough blogs like this to make me truly understand what having a newborn would be like. Looking back now on those first few weeks I don’t know if I even have to words to explain it all – it’s all a big blur. Maybe that’s the way it’s meant to be. If you remember only bad things, you wouldn’t decide to have another baby!img_1398

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Somehow your body keeps going. Somehow, you continue to get up in the middle of the night to feed baby. Somehow, your body heals itself and your baby grows. And somehow, before you know it, your baby is sleeping through the night, and blowing raspberries, and swatting at toys, and lifting his head on his own.

This is my reality. And a lot of other mom’s realities. I keep reminding myself that I’ve never been a mom before, so I’m not expected to be an expert or make it look easy. I can say that as time went on, things may not have gotten easier, but they have gotten happier! Finn may have given us a lot of sleepless nights, but he has given us even more love and excitement.

Can any other moms relate?

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