Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Good Things

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This past Saturday was the first day since maternity leave that I have actually laid down on the couch and read a book. It was wonderful. Yes, I'm working "full time" (three hard 12 hr shifts a week) but on my days off, we have literally filled them to the brim with breakfast/lunch/dinner dates, play dates, beach/pool time, hosting friends and family, cleaning/laundry/organizing, kissing Junie's cheeks, you name it... all good things. These good things, while so fun, can be quite exhausting.

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Spending quality time with "my people" is a major priority in my day to day life. However, I need days like Saturday where I stay home and simply lay low.

Our Junie girl is growing so fast as all little ones seem to do... I am literally trying to savor every cuddle, kiss, diaper change, giggle, bath time, feeding... every moment, because motherhood has taken my sentimental personality up about 1 million notches. I'm beginning to realize that the reason our babies grow so fast is because they just aren't babies for very long!

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Here are a few photos from what we've been up to this summer...

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{Family pool time}

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{Play dates with Courtney and Harlan}

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{Fun whirlwind weekends with Jane Gray and James and Brad, Emily, Tucker and Tanner.}

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{An overnight trip to NOLA to spend time with Rex, one of our best friends from baseball life.}

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{A weekend trip to Birmingham to see Garth Brooks in concert with Courtney and Clay and our first night away from the babes... everyone did fine and June and Harlan received good reports from the grandparents. Honestly, Court and I didn't worry... we just scrolled through pictures on our phone the entire road trip missed them of course!}

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{A picture of my dessert plate from my birthday brunch. I have to add salty bites to cut the sweet... anyone else like that?}

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{More fun play dates with friends!}

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... and June thinks she's all big rolling over and trying to sit up like a big girl... Her Daddy and her Bri teach her all these new tricks while Mama is at work... and while little milestones are great and everything, it means she's getting big and that is a hard pill to swallow!

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Onto another "good thing" going on right now...

I have always said that when I turned 30, I would "get serious" about preventing wrinkles. Well I have just turned 28 this month and I have already started noticing laugh lines around my eyes and some fine lines creeping up on my forehead {yay for bangs!}.

For the past several months, I have been enjoying all of the "before and after" pictures my friend and sorority sister Barbara has been posting about this skincare line called Rodan + Fields and I decided to join her team as an independent consultant last month! Now, I have kept a little quiet about it because I wanted to use the product and see results for myself... well I have come to the conclusion that these products are fabulous. There are four different skin care regimens that treat all kinds of skin issues like acne, wrinkles, sensitivity and dark spots... something for everyone! They were formulated by the dermatologists that created the Proactiv skin care line, Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields.

Here are some of the transformations that had me sold:

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So now I can share the products/business with others, use the products at a great discount and I am able to make some extra income along the way. It is totally a win/win since I can do this business at home or on the go and still keep my time with Aaron and June.

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So yes, lots of good things happening right now... I would say I'm trying to stay "balanced" through it all but honestly, I want my life to be heavy on the family and friends time and lighter on everything else... That is what I will continue to strive for. Thanks for reading, readers!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Life with June Denson: Twelve Things for Twelve Weeks

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Well, life as we have always known it has changed... and in the absolute best way possible. How could a measly little blog post even attempt to tell all about our new life with little Miss June? There is so much to say...

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Motherhood has not exactly been easy, but my love for her makes it possible and turns this full time job into such a JOY. It has taken me a little while, but I'm getting to know her better everyday... her little routine she naturally falls into during the day, her different cries to tell me what she needs, when she wants to be held and when she is simply content to play independently. In an effort to organize my millions of thoughts that I could write down, I decided to list twelve little facts {with pictures of course} about June and explain them each.

1. She is so loved.

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Well that's an obvious one, I know. Aaron and I have been so amazed how you can love someone so much that you've only known for a few days/weeks/months! It is a different kind of love that we've never felt before and it is fierce and unconditional. She is our treasure and we cherish her so. We just can't help but hug and kiss her all the time. On the night she was born and it was just the three of us in the hospital room, with every little noise/face she made we would just look at each other and gush over her. We were giddy... and we still are! She makes my heart want to explode every single day.

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2. She is active and strong. 

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This little turkey has not stopped moving probably since the minute she grew arms and legs in the womb. I remember wondering if it was normal for a baby to move so much during pregnancy... and then she was born and hasn't stopped wiggling since. She runs in place when you lay her down, she was holding her head up on her own {when alert or hungry} at 2 weeks old and in an effort to get out of tummy time, she started rolling over from her tummy to her back at 3 weeks old. Where there's a will there's a way I guess... and Lord knows she's got a will. Ha! When you go to pick her up, her whole body tenses up like she's "helping" you. When she's hungry she gets abnormally strong and literally hangs on so tight to my arms and neck that I barely have to hold her! As Aaron's uncle said... she's a pistol!

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3. She loves to eat.

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I think this is true of most babies but... you know those baby books that talk about how you shouldn't let your newborn go more than 3 hours without eating so you should wake them up to eat? Well, my little piglet was STARVING every two hours {during growth spurts, every hour} and I think I could count on one hand the number of times I had to wake her up to eat. I remember telling a friend {who has 5 kids} how exhausted I was because June was such a vigorous little eater and may have even said that I felt like she was "sucking the life out of me" and without hesitation she said, "Wow, that's great that she is such a good eater!" And I thought, "Wait a minute... she's right. I could be stressing about failure to thrive... so I have every reason to be thankful for my exhaustion and her weight gain."  Talk about a perspective changer. My goal is to breastfeed June for at least one year.. but we're taking it one month at a time. I had a case of mastitis the first week and the pain during feedings was pretty close to excruciating for the first three weeks. However, it did get better slowly but surely... just like those veteran moms told me it would. Take heart new moms! 

4. She is social. 

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June will smile and "talk" to anyone but when she sees another baby or child she lights up. It's like she knows another "little person" when she sees them. Remember baby Harlan? He's not so little any June and Harlan are best buds just like their moms. She is sooooo happy when she wakes up in the mornings. I hear her in her nursery just talkin' and laughing' and occasionally she'll holler out just to see if anyone will come get her... and when you do, she smiles so big and then giggles... Talk about the best feeling in the world. She also looooves to see herself in the mirror... she talks and laughs and it is quite entertaining to watch.

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5. She is well traveled.

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In her twelve weeks of life, June has traveled to Mississippi several times, the huntin' camp, Florida, Louisiana and Tennessee. We have gone to see "Mimi and GrandStan" in Mississippi, a wedding in Destin, and we've accompanied Aaron on a couple of turkey hunting trips. Traveling with a newborn definitely made us take a more relaxed approach to travel. Which brings me to my next bullet...

6. She hates her carseat.

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You know those babies who need to get in their carseat and ride around in the car to fall asleep? Yeah, June is the opposite. I think it's the confining aspect of the carseat that she hates... and it can't be comfortable! She likes to be able to change positions when she sleeps and likes to be held when she's really tired so the carseat has been a struggle for us with all of the traveling we've been doing. I hear they grow out of it?? She's been doing a little better lately but she still doesn't like it.

7. She loves to be bounced.

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I'm not sure if it's because I was in constant motion during the day while I was pregnant with her or what, but the child loooooves to be bounced. When she's fussy, being bounced is the only way to soothe her... although now she loves to suck on a "lovey". She could care less about being rocked {unfortunately} and she knows when you sit down! Needless to say, I get a good leg workout a couple times a day. She also doesn't like to be cradled like a baby and what is hilarious is that Aaron is the ONLY person she will let hold her that way {see above pic}... He can put her to sleep instantly if he adds a little bounce to his step... She also loves riding around like a papoose in my wrap. 

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8. She has acid reflux.

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Bless her heart... she is a spit up queen. I feel like she has a bib on 24/7 but it's easier to change out bibs than outfits you know? I noticed her starting to spit up around 1 week old and she hasn't stopped. Thankfully, it has not affected her weight gain but the acid part of the reflux has caused her quite a bit of pain. We started her on a small dose of Zantac daily and that has made all the difference for her. She still spits up the same amount but the pain is gone which makes June and my Momma heart feel better. She is now eating larger amounts every 4 hours during the day and I think that also helps because her tummy gets a little break instead of continuously digesting food with her previous every {2-3 hr} schedule.

9. She is a good sleeper.

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She loves to sleep with her hands by her face. In all of our ultrasound pictures, she had her hands there too. During those first several weeks I didn't think the every 2-3 hour night feedings would ever stretch out but we finally turned the corner {consistently} at around 9 weeks old. Now at 12 weeks, an ideal day {basically when we stay at home} she will take a 2-3 hour nap in the morning and a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon with a little catnap in the evening so she can make it to her bedtime around 8:30. She then sleeps 12 hours with one feeding anytime around 3-5 am. That happens most days/nights but then we get a wild card night where she wants to wake up every 3-4 hours to eat and I assume it's due to a growth spurt so we roll with it. On days where we're blowing and going everywhere she doesn't nap as long unfortunately... and she is not a happy camper if she doesn't get a couple solid naps.  I know her sleep/wake patterns will be ever changing depending on the stage she's in but she's doing pretty good for now!

10. She has been ranging from about the 75th-85th percentile in height, weight and head circumference.

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This picture {above} cracks me up... It was June's first dr.'s appointment and she was only 5 days old. While I was signing in, there was a snotty nose 3 yr old trying to touch her and I could see Aaron trying his hardest to nicely and gently keep him away all the while fuming on the inside. After he got rid of the kid he positioned June between his legs so that no one could see/touch/breathe on her. It was hilarious... to me, not to him. Ha!

11. She loves to be outside.

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I think this is characteristic of all babies... and I think fresh air and good ole change of scenery does everyone good. She is so hot natured though... I guess she gets that from her daddy. We enjoy getting out of the house on pretty days and going for a walk/run in the stroller.

12.  She looks like both her momma and her daddy.

When we compare her to our baby pictures it is quite obvious that she looks like a mix of both of us. Her smile and facial expressions are identical to mine and her serious face looks just like Aaron did. She has Aaron's forehead, head shape, ear shape and feet for sure. She has my eyes and mouth and we're not sure about the nose just yet. Of course, it's all subject to change but it's fun to look and compare... and of course, every one has their own opinion of who she looks like and it's so fun to hear!

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These past twelve weeks have not been easy, but they have been so special and sweet. I have seen with my own eyes how quickly June has gone from a newborn to a "baby" and I am thankful that I have made an attempt to savor and enjoy every day. I cannot get over how quickly 12 weeks came and went.

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Tomorrow is my first day back to work and it makes me sick to leave her for 12+ hours. However, I am thankful to be leaving her with my Mom... they are going to have so much fun together! Thankfully I only work 3 days a week and yes, that is one of the many reasons I wanted to do nursing. However, being a wife to Aaron and a momma to June is my favorite job ever.

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Loving these two sure is fun.

Monday, April 27, 2015

"Gerber"

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I had the best of intentions on doing a pregnancy post before June was born heck, before she was 8 weeks old! and well... I got busy with other things {like nesting!} and neglected this little blog of mine. Now that June is here and apart of Our Story, I want to be more intentional about blogging since this is my little online scrapbook after all. How I will love looking back at pictures and stories of life with her sweet little self, just like I do about our stories I blogged about before we ever knew her. 

"Gerber" was the nickname Aaron gave our little one since we decided to let the gender be a surprise. So many people thought we were crazy for not finding out, but we absolutely loved the anticipation of it all! I was planning on decorating a gender neutral nursery and registering for gender neutral baby items anyways because we may have both genders in our family one day and I'm all about being practical! And even though we did not know the gender, we still felt so much love for our baby because he/she was our baby.

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I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed pregnancy. Now I know I may be eating my words on the next go round because all pregnancies can be different, but... carrying my sweet baby around for 10 months was such a special experience. There were days that the exhaustion was a tad overwhelming or I felt weak and queasy... and carrying around an extra 20 lbs was not easy on my joints or back by any means... but feeling "Gerber" kick and move and watching our little one grow was just so much fun. 

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I never realized just how tired I could feel until I was in the throes of my first trimester. I am SO not a napper and while I would still fight it, if I sat still in a comfy spot, I could fall asleep before I knew it.  Those 12 hour shifts at work would be brutal some days and I could easily go to bed each night around 8:00. I had occasional bouts of queasiness but those were mostly on the mornings I worked where I was up before the crack of dawn. I had heard people say they get nauseous if they let themselves get too hungry and that was never the case with me... because I was eating all of the time! haha Before pregnancy, I could blame my appetite on Ironman training and when that was over, it worked out great because I could blame it on pregnancy... now I guess I can blame it on breastfeeding!

I was absolutely ravenous in my first trimester... The foods I craved the most were Little Caesars pepperoni hot-n-ready's, Waffle House all star special and my Mom's fried chicken with rice and gravy and vegetables. I've never been much into sweet treats {except donuts and cinnamon rolls} and they did NOT appeal to me at all until the end of my second trimester. I wanted anything salty, cheesy or crispy. My food aversions were steamed vegetables, pork (except bacon), anything Asian and anything with a sweet, sticky sauce like BBQ.

As far as exercise goes- if I could muster up the energy- I would still ride my tri bike, run a few miles here and there and swim laps. I tried to stay out of the heat for the most part and kept my heart rate in check with my Garmin watch.

The first trimester was the least fun especially because I couldn't actually feel my baby inside of me. People would ask me what I thought the gender of the baby was and mine and Aaron's initial gut feeling was that we were having a girl.

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The second trimester was great because my energy came back full swing and at around 19 weeks I could feel our baby moving inside of me. We got to see Gerber on the ultrasound which was so much fun and everything checked in developmentally sound when we did the review of systems. Whew! Thank you Lord.

As far as exercising goes, running was getting to be so bothersome with how many potty breaks I would have to take... so I started power walking which I thoroughly enjoyed because my mom would walk with me most days. Throughout my entire second and third trimesters I had quite a lot of braxton hicks contractions each day, despite being hydrated... it was probably because I was so active all day at work and my days off too for that matter. I couldn't ride my tri bike anymore because my knees would bump my belly every time I would pedal!

In my second trimester the junk food cravings of my first trimester weren't quite as strong and I craved more fruit and healthier things... the aversions stayed the same except that I could now eat donuts and cinnamon rolls and actually enjoy them. 

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As I started showing more and more, I kept getting a million gazillion comments that I was "carrying low" and that I was having a boy. My friends, coworkers, patients, strangers...about 80% of people predicted that I was carrying a boy! So then Aaron and I both began to second guess our initial instinct that it was a girl because maybe they were right? Not to mention,  little "Gerber" was SO active... like a maniac. That got me wondering if it was a boy too. The good thing about it was... I did not care what the gender was because I loved that little person so much it made my heart hurt.

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My third trimester felt a lot like my second until about the last three weeks. The cravings, energy levels, exercise, etc were all the same. I stuck to power walking and we planned our routes around bathroom breaks! Aaron got me laughing so hard one day that I literally peed in my pants {in a semi-public place!}. 

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The last three weeks were a little more uncomfortable and fatigue was settling in at the end of the day... although, it's probably because I was in hardcore nesting mode and I think I had SO many projects to get done and errands to run that I just wore myself down... not to mention three {physically hard} 12 hr shifts a week. I think my Mom went into nesting mode as well because she was my partner in crime... Aaron was like, "What has gotten into you two?!" Ha! Not only did we get the nursery all decorated and organized, but I had my couches recovered and we painted several pieces of furniture around the apartment. I was on a mission!

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I worked up until my due date and I'm so glad I did because that means I get to spend extra time with June, and I think it helped her come on her due date. Those last couple of days I worked I was volunteering to run upstairs to pick up blood for other nurses, turn and lift heavy patients and carry equipment down the halls just to help get "Gerber" here in a timely fashion!

And... it worked! My water broke the morning of "her" due date and you know the rest of the story...

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I do miss feeling June move in my tummy... That was my favorite part about carrying her... we joked and called her "a worm in hot ashes" because that's how active she was all the time and surprise, surprise she is the squirmiest little baby I've ever held... she never stops moving... {I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!}

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It was you in there miss Junie bug! It was you all along... :)

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