Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bye bye, hair.

My long-time readers and friends will remember when I took the plunge and got a pixie cut five years ago. (Yeah, can you believe it's been five years already?) Well, the postpartum phase has been pretty rough this time around in more ways than one, but my hair ... you guys. It's been falling out like crazy. Everywhere I go, there are hairs on my shoulders and back. Every time I wash it, I pull wad after wad of hair off my hands and as I do, I have to take deep, cleansing breaths so I don't hyperventilate and pass out from shock and disgust. My part was starting to get wider and wider and THEN, I found one of my hairs in my baby's mouth and said THAT'S IT. Last straw, blah blah blah ... I'm getting a pixie cut.

So I did. On Tuesday.

You saw my before picture on Monday when I posted the nursing camisole giveaway (which, by the way, did you enter?). But here it is again, in case you'd forgotten.

You're probably like, "I don't see any postpartum balding going on here," to which I say, I'm good at hiding it. Just trust me on this one.

And ... here's the after!

I was totally brave and got an asymmetrical cut. I figured if I'm gonna go short, I might as well have fun, right?

So far, I feel like this was definitely the right choice, especially considering the fact I only lost, like, three hairs this morning and it took a whole 15 minutes to style. It also makes me feel lighter and cuter. Like Tinkerbell. It's basically the best.

Short hair for the win!

And don't forget about the giveaway ... it ends on Monday! Even if you're not currently nursing, you might be in the near future. Or maybe you know someone who's nursing and what an awesome gift would that be? Or maybe you're nowhere near lactating, but you're sick of having two sets of straps on your body when you wear a camisole undershirt. Basically, if you have a pulse, you should enter this giveaway. The end.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Nursing in public: An Undercover Mama giveaway!

This post is sponsored by Undercover Mama. All opinions are 100 percent mine.

I've always been a bit shy when it comes to revealing skin, so before I had any children, I figured I'd feel most comfortable nursing covered when I was out in public. And for the most part, I did use a nursing cover any time I had to feed my second baby, Carson. I enjoyed the privacy it gave us. Carson didn't seem to mind it, either and even kicked and squirmed excitedly whenever I'd pull it out of my bag.

This one time, I was at Bass Pro Shops with a friend and her kids. Carson was probably seven or eight months old at the time. I didn't think he would need to nurse while we were there, but sure enough, he started fussing part-way through the trip. No problem, I thought. I've got my cover and I'll just go sit on that bench behind the big waterfall and feed him. Well, imagine my surprise when I looked into my bag and no cover was to be found!

As you know, babies have gotta eat, so I went ahead and nursed him without a cover, right there in Bass Pro Shops with all the huntin', fishin' and campin' dudes. But actually, it wasn't a big deal because it was the middle of the day and hardly anyone shops at Bass Pro during those hours. I was pondering on how nice it was that no one was around and I could nurse comfortably right there in the store when suddenly, a group of about a dozen "tourists" came walking around the waterfall with their cameras to admire the taxidermy, ooohing and ahhing like it was the Eiffel Tower or something. I can't even make this up! I wonder if any of them captured the real-life mama in the wild, feeding her young. They probably didn't even notice what I was doing, but it was hysterical nonetheless.

Since that event, I haven't really bothered with a nursing cover. I have found that it's pretty easy to be discreet without using one if you have the right underclothes on, and you can even wear any of your old shirts if you play your cards right. That's why I was so excited when Undercover Mama contacted me about reviewing their nursing camisole. With it, you can make ANY shirt a nursing shirt!

In essence, it's a strapless camisole that attaches directly to the clasp area of your nursing bra. When worn with your regular clothes, it looks like any other camisole and fits great. Here I am modeling a gray one with a cardigan:

The fabric is high quality and the cut is very flattering.

The cool thing about it can attach to your bra in two ways: hook or loop.

Here's a video to show you how simply it's done:

So basically, when your baby is ready to eat, you just lift/open the shirt on top, unhook the camisole and fold it down and then unhook the nursing bra cup as you normally would. Your back and midriff stay totally covered. How nice! Personally, I prefer using the quick and easy loop, but either way works great.

Now that I've raved about the Undercover Mama nursing shirt, let's give one away! Use the handy-dandy Rafflecopter widget below to enter. Giveaway ends one week from today at 11:59 PM! All entries will be verified. The chosen winner must be reached within 48 hours or I'll have to pick another one.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 1, 2014

Clara's digs.

When I found out I was having a girl, I immediately started scouring Pinterest for nursery decorating ideas. I'm a big fan of simplicity and cleanliness when it comes to decorating any space, but it seems especially appropriate for a new baby who needs calmness and peace.

Since we moved the big kids into the same room and needed to redecorate their room in a gender-neutral theme, I knew I wouldn't have the money for a total nursery overhaul, too. I planned to use all the baby furniture we already had, but I also wanted to freshen it up a little for Clara. I gave myself a small budget and went to town. Here's the finished product:

Old: Crib, glider, IKEA Lack side table (white), celadon green curtains (from Audrey's room), floral print rug

Crib sheet and dust ruffle, handmade quilts from friends (hanging on glider and crib), IKEA frame, pink glittery C monogram (Hobby Lobby), IKEA framed artwork, glittery curtain ties (I made them myself!)

Here's a view of the other side of the room. As you can see, I moved quite a few items over from Audrey's old room since she and Carson now share a more gender-neutral room.

Old: Changing table/dresser combo, framed temple drawing from Pics-O-Andrea, silk tulips, Ikea flower lamp, IKEA small table lamp

New: Pink minky dot changing pad cover, IKEA Roman numeral clock

I chose to mix shades of green and pink with various patterns and mediums to make her room interesting. I also added a little sparkle this time -- in the form of glitter, of course.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out. I love going into Clara's room and I feel like it suits her personality so perfectly. Easy-going and cheerful, just like my sweet babe.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Return of the Chair: three months

It's the 29th of the month, which means my little sugar bean is three months old! A quarter of a year has passed since Clara made her crazy debut. Feast your eyes on this Butterball!

I love my fat babies oh, so much.

Clara is getting all sorts of cute these days, cooing and "talking" to whomever will listen. She lights up in smiles whenever anyone interacts with her. She LOVES her bath and goes crazy kicking and splashing all the water out. She's also totally content to chill just about anywhere for long stretches of time, so I'm getting a lot more done than I did when my other kids were in the infant stage. They seemed to always want to be held. She's happy on her lonesome as long as she has something fun to look at.

Did I mention she's sleeping through the night too? She started around the 2-month mark. I feed her around 6 PM; then, she sleeps until 10 and I wake her again for one more feeding. After that, she doesn't wake up again until around 5 or 6 AM. Yes, I realize this is a humongous blessing and I'm beyond grateful! My other two kids were equally as adept at sleeping when it counts, so it's all I know. God is keenly aware of how crotchety I can become when I don't get my sleep so He has given me good sleepers, I guess.

Clara is basically a dream baby. She really doesn't cry unless she's hungry, tired or very poopy. These causes of her distress are all easily ameliorated -- she's a great nurser and will eat anywhere, and she loves to be changed. If she's tired, all I have to do is pop a binky in her mouth and swaddle her and she's out for the count. I'm telling you: DREAM BABY.

My only complaint is she pukes a LOT. For instance, this morning I was nursing her in bed when suddenly, the partially-digested milk EXPLODED dramatically from her mouth, soaking herself, me and my side of the bed in one shot. She goes through about four outfits a day on average due to her "spit-up" frequency. I put spit-up in quotes because anyone who has dealt with this knows it's never actually just a little spit-up. We have a burp cloth or two in every room of the house and I do a LOT of laundry. The doctor said it was normal (despite my insisting that it's too much puke for any sane person to handle) so she's not on any medication for it. I can't wait until this phase passes and I'm sure Clara can't wait, either. It's probably not fun to constantly expel the contents of your esophagus and/or stomach day in, day out. It does seem to help when I don't eat dairy, so I've all but cut it out of my diet completely.

Well, that's Clara in a nutshell. She's a rollie-pollie ball of cuteness and fun. She loves her brother and sister and they adore her to pieces. I feel so incredibly blessed to have such an easy-going baby, especially at a time when I haven't been feeling so great myself. More on that later. I had some blood work done last week to determine the cause of my entire body being in near-constant pain. I'm sure I'll be blogging about it at some point. In the meantime, I'm just wishing and hoping it will go away.

Friday, July 11, 2014

I don't have to try.

And neither do you.

This music video by Colbie Caillat is speaking my language right now. Thank you for this beautiful song full of truth.

Watch, and then remember this when society's ideals about what is "beautiful" threaten to keep you from living life to the fullest and loving yourself completely.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What the heck's a LuLaRoe and why do I need it?

This post is sponsored by LuLaRoe. All opinions expressed are mine.

If you're on Facebook or Instagram, chances are you've seen something about LuLaRoe. You might be wondering what the heck it is and if it's worth your time. If you are, keep reading. If you already know and love LuLaRoe, then you can keep reading, too.

I first learned about LuLaRoe skirts and dresses when I was pregnant with Clara. I thought they were stinking adorable and looked equally as comfortable, but of course I never feel like buying fancy things when I'm pregnant. So, I put it all in the back of my mind.

A few months ago, when I was near the end of the pregnancy and had a melon for a belly, my friend Tarin contacted me about trying on some LuLaRoe skirts. She said after she had her baby Xander, she found them to fit her new body so comfortably and they also made her feel great. The concept of cute-but-functional fashion totally appeals to me, but I told her I wanted to wait until after I had my baby to consider anything but yoga pants for my lower half. So last week, I took her up on the offer and we met up so I could try on some skirts and pick one to review for you all.

LuLaRoe sells all sorts of maxis, A-lines, pencils and dresses in every size. I was quite impressed with Tarin's inventory and loved a lot of the prints and fabrics. True to my nature, though, I chose a flattering navy pencil skirt, The Cassie. It's simple, yet it makes a statement.

This skirt is all sorts of amazing. First, when I put it on, I felt like it accentuated my new mom curves perfectly. Va-va-voom! Second, I noticed how comfortable it really was. My mind then started spinning with a hundred possibilities of how I could wear it. It's so versatile, it works for any occasion!

I chose to model the Sunday Best style for you all since I was really looking forward to wearing my new skirt to church. Behold:

Top: Q Fashion, Necklace: Charlotte Russe, Skirt: LuLaRoe, Shoes: Brash by Payless

I've always liked the pairing of crisp white and navy blue for a dressier feel. This chiffon blouse is light and feminine and very easy to dress up. I'm currently digging the navy + jade green color combination so I chose the chunky jade necklace as an accessory. And you can never go wrong with gold platform wedges, right? How I love those shoes! I scored them at Payless last year for $10.

Since I last wore it, I've been thinking of other ways I could style this skirt. For a casual day out, I'd pair it with a slouchy V-neck and accessorize with some flat sandals and a straw fedora. For a night on the town, I'd wear it with a blazer, stiletto pumps, chandelier earrings and a fierce, red lip. During the winter, it'd be super-cute with some patterned tights or leggings, boot socks and combat boots along with an infinity scarf and knitted slouchy beanie. Of course, you could never go wrong putting it with a chambray top. Endless possibilities!

If you're interested in LuLaRoe skirts (and by now, you should be) and you live in Arizona, check out Tarin's Facebook page. She will hook you up with the cutest styles and prints LuLaRoe has to offer. She'll even help you host a party if you'd like to share this concept with your friends and family! Take a look.

In the meantime, how would YOU style The Cassie? What's your favorite way to wear a pencil skirt?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Two months.

So, I blinked and then sweet baby Clara was suddenly two months old. WHAT. We marked the occasion with another chair picture. Behold:

Here's a kind of funny story. You know how she was born at 3:49 AM on April 29? Well, at 3:48 on June 29, I heard her squawking and smacking her lips over the baby monitor. I trudged into her nursery to feed her, bleary-eyed and nearly comatose. As I sat their rocking her while she ate, the thought dawned on me that she woke up just in time for her official 2-month birthday and maybe she just wanted a celebratory drink with Mom.

Party like a rock star. At 4 AM. Cheers.

Later that day, Dill blessed Clara at church. I felt so much joy watching as men who love her surrounded her, and listening as Dill pronounced her name and invoked beautiful blessings from heaven. So many people came to support us and nosh on some brunch at our house afterward. It was a special, memorable day.

Clockwise from top: The happy parents, my parents, Dill's parents and grandmother, my best friend MoniQue

Here's the pretty princess in her blessing dress. Glamour Shots by Jenna, I guess you could say.

Despite being totally un-crafty, I made her headband for the special day. When I tried it on her a month ago, Dill skeptically said, "It's a little big ..." to which I replied, "Her head will grow by the time we bless her." I kind of lied. But I like the big flower. Big flower for a big day.