Wednesday, January 10, 2018

it's okay to not love this part. or, newborns are hard.

hi. i hope your week is going better than mine.

my week has been unusually gloomy; mostly because of dark clouds that have kept the natural light in our home at an all time low. i'm regretting not having more recessed lighting installed. i didn't realize how solar powered i can be.

that thing they say about mothers (and fathers) forgetting about the difficult parts of early parenthood quickly is so true. i forgot what it feels like to be this exhausted.

not "sleepy", or "tired," or "i just need a quick nap to refresh myself" tired. no, i'm talking about full on new mama exhaustion. "i haven't slept more than 4 hours in a row for over a month" exhaustion. "this is worse than jetlag, because at least with jetlag there isn't a small person literally sucking energy out of me," exhaustion.

i forgot how that newborn scream starts to really get to you after a while. i forgot about leaking breasts, and the disappointment of trying to squeeze into jeans too early, and being afraid that exercising will hurt.

i forgot about how little appetite i have during this time; how hard it is to find the motivation to eat more than crushed ice, (am i alone here? that's all i want.) and how when you do find something that looks good to eat, it gives your baby gas, and then that poor little newborn scream that makes you want to bash your head against the wall starts up again.

i've been trying to teach teddy not to holler at me when he wants something. trying to keep my own voice calm, i'll say, "hey. do we scream at mama?" to which he responds (usually sullenly) "no." today, in the middle of a colicky scream, teddy calmly said to vivienne "hey vivi. do we scream at mama?" 
he's a good boy.

last night i took him to chick-fil-a for a little one on one time (because it's close to our house, we're basic, and that's okay), and he was thrilled to have all of my attention. he smiled and waved at strangers, (way out of his character, since he's such a shy little boy), and at one point he gleefully yelled "we love food!!!!" at the top of his lungs, making several people look over at us and chuckle.

it's true. we do love food.

it was such a fun date, just him and me. but after we'd eaten our chicken, and finished climbing up and down the slides, my chest started feeling full and heavy, and i imagined gideon rocking a crying one month old after a long day of work during the busiest part of the year for him. i sighed, and told teddy we needed to head home. the happy smile left his face for a moment, and then returned when he said, "we need to go see that dada, and that vivi." he bounded off towards the door, still happy and cheerful; more than i could say for myself, because i knew what kind of a night i was in for, and i'm just not in love with all of the parts of the newborn stage.

it's true-- this stage has mostly beautiful parts to it. those tiny little flinchy smiles. the curled up toes. that feeling of a newborn melted onto your chest perfectly. the snores! oh, i love the snores. that feeling when they finally, finally fall asleep after what feels like hours and hours of rocking, and you get to lay your own head down. i love being a mom so much more than i ever could've anticipated.

it's hard though. it's not all perfect, and there are times you want to rip your hair out, or punch a hole in the wall, particularly when you're under slept. and that's okay. (as long as you don't actually punch a hole in the wall, because that gets expensive real quick.) the downs make the ups higher, i think.

when i look back on teddy as a newborn, i don't remember it being perfect. there's one vivid memory i have in particular; gideon finding me in the living room around 4 in the morning, tears streaming from my eyes as i rocked a crying teddy exhaustedly. as gid took one month old teddy into his arms and gently told me to go to bed, i remember whispering in broken sobs "i can't do it." over and over. i meant that i couldn't get teddy to go to sleep, but i think i also meant i couldn't be a good mom. looking back, it seems so desperately pathetic, but that's how it gets sometimes.

i could keep writing about this, but i'm just going to finish with three thoughts:

1. this part is hard. and that's okay.
2. i don't like it all the time. and that's okay too. i can be a good mom without loving every second of motherhood.
3. we love food.

happy wednesday friends.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

the first month. or, things that have been different this time around.

as i sit here typing, she's napping on my chest letting out a soft, high pitched snore. i forgot about these tiny baby snores.
i forgot about a lot of those first things.

a month has already passed. i'm not sure how.

around this time when we had teddy, we were moving from salt lake to boise, and the task of adjusting to life with a newborn, paired with recovering from a c section and packing/unpacking our lives was almost more than i could bear. i remember my face being sticky with tears for weeks. it was miserable.

maybe that's why this time around it feels like the days have flown by. adjusting to life with vivienne hasn't been perfect, and i look like a train wreck 100% of the time, but there have been far less hurdles along the way.

she nurses non-stop, you guys. when we took her to the doctor for her one week visit and she was weighed, our nurse looked at me with an surprised expression and said, "wow. have you had any break from breastfeeding?" i tried to smile, but i looked at her with dead eyes and shook my head no. we're starting to set boundaries, but it's hard to say no to a tiny baby, you know?

teddy has exceeded all expectation in his adjustment to her. when she cries, he tells her it's okay. he says goodnight to her at bedtime without being asked. he'll bring me burp cloths and diapers for her happily.

he's also started asking if his toy cars can have "mommy milk" and tries to gently place them in my shirt. like i said, we're working on boundaries over here.

she loves being held, and i let her rest on my lap or on my chest more often than i probably should. it means nothing gets done around the house, but i think that's okay. she's happiest when gid holds her. daddy's girl from the start.

the kids have yet to nap at the same time. one of them always wants to be held. (vivi mostly, obviously.) i used to sing a few songs to teddy during nap time and bedtime, but he's recently started asking me to please leave him alone. man, it stings.

it's cold outside, which means we don't get enough fresh air. i took that for granted with teddy being born in july. we made a point of going for a walk, or getting out of the house much more often than we have this time around. i've never looked more forward to spring.

her hair is still this warm auburn color. i can't believe she's mine.

happy january, friends.

Friday, December 8, 2017

lasts and firsts

i was 41 weeks plus a few days pregnant, and i'd tried all the old wives tales. we'd gone for a bumpy ride up the mountain. i drank that tea they say helps labor along. i was doing 300 squats a day and went on long walks. there's more, but you get the picture.

every time i'd do a load of laundry, or wash the dishes, or go run errands, i'd excitedly think to myself, "i wonder if this is the last time i'll do this thing before she comes." the last time i'll go to church with one child, or the last time i'll wash my hair before i have two kids. the last time i'll put fresh sheets on my bed. it was the most absurd, chore oriented countdown. in fact, the night before she came, after i finished singing teddy songs about trucks, cars, helicopters, and excavators, i had this gut feeling that this was the last time i'd lean over his bed, give him a kiss, and tell him that i thought he was wonderful before i had two kids. i ignored the feeling, (because i'd had it before around 38 weeks) but this time it was right. i woke up to contractions in the morning not realizing that i'd deliver her in a few short hours.

and now she's here. and i just keep catching myself thinking excitedly about all the firsts. my first time drinking a milkshake with two kids. my first time going out of the house by myself with two kids (it was less than a five minute trip to get a bag of sonic ice because i miss hospital ice right now). our first time reading bedtime stories-- with two kids! everything feels like i should take a picture. everything feels special. (except the miserable things-- my first post delivery poop {almost as scary as labor}, my first painful breastfeeding latch, my first time watching my toddler melt down because i can't give him exclusive attention the way i used to... etc.)

it probably sounds ridiculous to read (it feels a little ridiculous to write), but this is a crazy magical time for our little family. falling asleep and waking up to twinkle lights (the perfect soft light for middle of the night feedings). having friends and family checking in on me constantly with loving messages and presents. kissing my little boy to sleep, and then immediately cuddling my less than week old baby girl. watching my husband hold her and falling in love with him all over again. seeing her twitchy, newborn smiles. magic.

happy december, friends.

ps- i promise i'm going to announce her name soon- we've just had a really hard time nailing it down this time. xo

Thursday, October 5, 2017

things happening.

teddy doesn't say i love you. he crawls into my lap, snuggles his head into my shoulder, and quietly says "i'm next to you." then, after a little pause, he says, "i'm happy to be next to you." it is the best thing in my life right now. (he learned it from this book.)

the leaves on the tree outside my kitchen window are slowly changing colors and it reminds me of this time last year when we were remodeling this house and wanting so badly to move in. there's still so many things that need to be done around here, but i have to remind myself of how far we've come since then. (like we have a working kitchen and bathroom, ha.)

it's nuts that we'll have another baby here before christmas. the nesting hasn't kicked in yet, but i think it's going to manifest itself in early christmas decorating. i keep worrying that teddy's going to miss out on the holidays with the whirlwind that comes with a brand new baby, and he seriously would not even care a little bit if we didn't have a tree, stockings and presents. as long as i make sure he has plenty of race cars stocked in his toy room, he's good. such a reasonable little guy.

my incision has been hurting again on and off with my growing belly. anyone else ever experience that? if someone could just reassure me that it's not going to open up, that'd be great.

i started hypnobirthing. i'm trying to stay positive, but i'm a little worried that i'm sleeping too much during the clips. hopefully some of the stuff is getting through. it's so relaxing, i can't help it!

i'm still so anxious about how he'll feel about having a sibling. i get why people choose to have one child. i'm sure when she comes i'll be so happy about it.

the other day teddy said, "good day" to a cashier as we were leaving. he's an old soul i guess. i love this stage so much. so far, the twos haven't been terrible at all. (knock on wood, fingers crossed and all the other superstitious things, ha.)


Thursday, September 14, 2017

this time around.

i'm in my 31st week, and the minutes are creeping by at a glacial pace. so many things have been different this time around. the biggest thing (and i reaalllllyyy should've seen this coming more than i did) is that being pregnant with a toddler is exponentially more exhausting than it ever could've been with just myself.

when i was expecting with teddy, i remember towards the end of my pregnancy people would say things like, "bet you're ready for him to come out, huh?" i didn't feel that way at all. i didn't enjoy being pregnant, but i didn't feel an urgency to get him out of my body. i'd pat my belly and think, "you just stay in there until you're ready, buddy." he did, too. when they finally pulled him out via emergency c section, the doctor said that he was reaching towards my abdomen as though to say, "no, no! put me back!" homebody from the start.

this time around, i'm feeling a little more anxious for delivery. my belly feels heavier than i remember with teddy. the skin feels thinner too- like i'm stretching faster than it can accommodate. i get light headed and sometimes even see stars when i push myself past the exertion of an easeful walk which sounds dramatic, but it's true. teddy is starting to be too heavy for me to carry for more than a few minutes (happy we decided to buy a good stroller) and headaches have been a daily issue. i miss feeling strong enough to hold my little boy for more than a few minutes, or feeling up for a jog, or not finding myself taking a 3 hour nap randomly on a saturday. i don't recognize myself pregnant; inside or out.

this time around, my hormones are just bananas. i cry because teddy is getting too big, or because he's growing out of his clothes. i cry because we're out of butter, and i just made toast. i cry because i slightly scuffed up our hardwood floors. i cry because a tylenol commercial moves me. you name it- i'm crying. 

this time around, i feel like i've hardly bought anything. when i was expecting teddy, i was working at a charming baby boutique in salt lake, and would buy things every few days. most of the tiniest clothes i bought for teddy were gender neutral, so i feel like it's fine. i may or may not go on a crazy panicked shopping spree a few days before i have her.

this time around, i'm so much more comfortable in the role of being a mother. i remember when i was expecting teddy having anxiety that i wouldn't love him as much as i should, or i wouldn't be a good mom, or i'd be dying to get back into the workforce, and would regret the decision to start our family. of course i had no idea how hard it would be, that nights would pass where i'd cry quietly for hours because he was refusing to sleep, or how difficult breastfeeding would be, or how awful recovering from a c section would be, especially after moving states to a third floor loft-- but now i do. i've been so shocked to discover how much i love being at home with teddy, and how much better and happier a mom i am than i imagined (obviously i suck very much some days, but it's better than i thought i'd be so i'm putting it in the win pile). don't get me wrong-- having a second baby is so intimidating, and i'm scared, but this time around, i feel like i have enough of a heads up as to what i'm taking on that i can look forward to it more.

this time around, i get emotional thinking about teddy feeling replaced or overshadowed. does this get easier? i can't imagine it getting easier. he's been our whole world for 2 years, and i feel like there's a meteor coming his way and he doesn't have a clue. i can't wait to see what this little girl is like- i just kind of want him to myself without distractions for a couple more months than i have sometimes, you know? and i think he'd feel the same way if he really comprehended what was coming.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

at the beach with minnow swim!

we got home from our trip to maui and kauai almost a month ago, and guys i'm still going through the pictures and videos, trying to not notice how much bigger teddy looks this year compared to last. he enjoyed the ocean and sand 100% more this time, and no one got sick, so it was a basically bliss compared to last time. smiles all around. we even slept well. happy sigh.

several months ago i came across a small business called minnow swim, and you guys- they make the most beautiful swimsuits for babies and kids. i fell in love first with the simple and elegant design of the suits; they have soft sun-kissed color palettes, and the sweetest pattern options. i also love that the suits are ethically designed and made in california by the most darling mama, morgan smith, who started this company because she felt like she couldn't find swimsuits she loved for her kids. 

i felt so lucky to try this brand out for our beach trip, and can't say enough about the quality and gorgeous craftsmanship of the suits. each item comes with it's own little waterproof swim bag, and the material is high quality, durable, and really just beautiful to look at. 

(^ i had to share a picture of some of the floral designs. so good.)

we got so many compliments on teddy's little combination of the striped shorts and navy rash guard, and i kicked myself multiple times for not splurging on a pair of little gingham bottoms that have since been discontinued. i've been on a less is more rant lately, but that's how good these suits are, guys. i want to buy one for every year teddy will need a new one.

did i mention they have matching little girl options that are to die for?

guys. go look. go look right now. you're going to melt.

anyway, the most important part of this post is letting you know that minnow is having a LABOR DAY SALE (this rarely happens-- it being a small family business and all), and i'm telling you now to take advantage (run, don't walk!) because if you have a pulse - really - you're going to fall in love just as hard as i did, i promise.

20% off starting midnight tonight. 


guys. this brand is so good.

i'm already planning next years coordinating swimsuits for teddy and his little sister and it's making me just really happy.

big thanks to minnow for making the sweetest suits.
you made our trip to hawaii extra special this year. 


Tuesday, August 22, 2017


he's started saying, "oh my, excuse me" when he has gas, sneezes, or burps. it is the best thing in my life right now. i love this stage. i love it so much.

he's also in this crazy repeating stage. the other day i was driving, and i heard a thoughtful little voice say, "dat jerk" behind me. it took me a minute to realize that he'd just herd me mutter it to someone who was driving badly in front of us. parent of the year, y'all. you know where to send the award. whatever. it could've been much, much worse.

we've stopped letting him have his bottle. i think it's more heartbreaking than shots. (at least with shots he could have his bottle.)

he. loves. nursery. but only for the last 30 minutes when they bring out the toys. it's hilarious to watch him exasperatedly sigh and roll his eyes through the snack time, lesson time, and music time that comes before free play. and all he wants to do is play with the vehicles. a sweet little girl tried to get him to hold her doll and he just grabbed it by the head and threw it in the corner (he's lookin' to be an exceptional big brother) before looking her firmly in the eye and saying, "carsssss."
we're working on his people skills.

he's also started this new thing where anytime he stubs a toe, or smashes a finger, or trips on something, he runs to me for a snuggle and sometimes puts the affected area into my face for me to kiss. if someone would've told me five years ago that i'd be a parent that was down with kissing little sandy boy toes that had just been stubbed, i would've laughed, but here we are.

sometimes we watch the pixar movie cars, but he's most interested in the first and last race. he's started saying "ca-chow!" when he thinks something is really amazing. i always ugly cry during the last scene. my hormones have me all over the place lately.

he's transformed into the most affectionate little muddy toddler. gid and i are thrilled to have a girl, but teddy has made me feel so at home with being the mother of single, messy little boy. the thought of bringing another small person into the mix feels so disorienting when i imagine it.

it's starting to get cooler in the mornings and i'm equal parts mourning the end of summer and rejoicing in the fall weather that's on it's way.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

what i learned at church today.

it had been a rough day already and we hadn't even gotten out of bed. you know the kind of mornings i'm talking about, right?

sundays are tough for me in general, but this one was bad. we'd all had a tough night. gid is under the weather, teddy's 2 year molars are coming in, and i have a baby living inside of me who makes me vomit in the morning, nauseous during the day, and whose favorite time to kick box is from hours 2 a.m. - 6 am.

my gut told me we should skip church. my gut told me to go to our favorite breakfast cafe and order all the bacon they had available, but i convinced myself to slip on a dress, wipe the sleep from my dry eyes, and wrestle an agile toddler out of his pajamas and into a comfortable simple church outfit.

my belly was feeling heavier than normal as we walked into the chapel (2 minutes early, thank you very much!) and as teddy realized that we wouldn't be going to the room full of toys, he began to softly protest and whimper.

a woman who i've never talked to before sitting in front of us turned around with an eyebrow raised and said with a scoff, "what? how can he already be pouting? we haven't even started yet!"

there were so many things i wanted to say. i wanted to tell her that i'd gotten less than 5 hours of sleep for the past several nights in a row, and i was this close to serial murder status. i wanted to tell her that teddy is teething and shy, and doesn't like being in crowded places surrounded by people he's unfamiliar with. i wanted to ask her what on earth possessed her to think that making an obvious statement about the mood of my toddler was a good idea, when she could've easily just said "hi," or smiled, or literally just kept her head facing forward and done nothing. no, she felt like it would be a good idea to ask me, a young mother she'd never met before how a small teething toddler could already be pouting, while at church. hey lady- have you met a toddler before? what normal toddler likes church? (anyone who writes a comment about their perfect kid who loves church will be blocked indefinitely. get outta here.)

the hormones kicked in, and i went from "ugh sunday" to "someone get me a machete livid" in a millisecond.

i didn't say any of the things that were sitting on the edge of my tongue. i gave her a tired, thin smile, and said, "well, he's a little boy," and then smiled at teddy, completely aware that this strange woman was talking about him, and said gently, "that's just fine, sweetheart. sometimes i don't want to be at church either." the woman turned around irritated, as though my response was the height of rudeness.

any other day, i'd roll my eyes and move on. not today. i had a lump in my throat the rest of the meeting. of course this week was the one where gid plays the organ and we sit alone, and of course anytime teddy made a sound the woman would give side eye and whisper to her husband, and at one point tears just started spilling out of my eyes, not because of what the woman said or thought, but because i was that tired, and i knew we should've gone the non-church bacon route this morning! i knew it!!

i spent the rest of the meeting in my own thoughts, pondering the many, many times i've said something that i thought could be funny, and when it came out of my mouth, i realized it was just rude. i thought about how many times i might've been that person; the one who just really puts a dark cloud on your day for almost no reason without recognizing it. i thought about how skilled people can be at wearing masks, and how you really never know what kind of a morning or day someone's had, and how it's always a good idea to be kind no matter what. i thought about what a champ teddy is for tolerating church meetings and how proud i am of him. i thought about how in the future, i need to follow my heart when it tells me to get bacon instead of going to church. bacon never judges you, or scoffs at your emotional toddler. bacon feeds your toddler and makes him happy. 

always go the bacon route, alyssa.

i'll never forget what today felt like. i'll never forget sitting in a pew, back aching, belly kicking, tears streaming down my face, with a crying toddler begging to go see the room with the cars. i'll never forget how bacon has never sounded more delicious or righteous than it did today. and the next time i see a tired mom with a cranky kid in target, or at the park, or at the airport, or at church, i'll remember how much it means to have someone in your corner on a day when you. have. just. had it.

thumper's mom was so right when she said "if you can't say anything nice, don't say nothing at all."
anyway, that's what i learned at church today.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

two years old! (with a video!)

he's two, and i'm just over here drowning in pregnancy hormones thinking how much i love him, and how being a mama is so good and so hard.

hey teddy, if you're reading this i want you to know that i think you're the best kid ever. i love your puppy nuzzles and your scary growls, and how when you trip and fall you jump back up and say, "i'm okay!"

my favorite thing about our old house is hearing your little footsteps. hardwood floors get dusty, and i feel like i'm always mopping, but your little shuffle/gallop/runs make it so worth it.

i love how into reading you are, and how much you love being outside. there's a lot of kids who want to watch moana on repeat right now, but not you. no, you want to get as dirty and sweaty as possible, shove rocks up the rain gutter, and stay outside no matter how hot it is. moana's not bad, you know. you could give her a chance.

i love what a little homebody you are. you were that way when you lived in my tummy too. man, those doctors tried everything to get you out, and you were like, "nah, i'm good. i'll just stay here."

i'm just crazy in love with you, okay buddy? if i could choose out of all of the little boys in the world, you're the one i'd want. happy birthday.

my favorite parts of this (poorly made) video is how concerned teddy looks when he sees that the tractor toy candle is on fire, how relieved he is once it's extinguished, and how he still thinks cake is just okay. he had a tiny pinch of a bite, and then asked me for some sausage from the leftover pizza we had. it's fine- i ate the cake with no problems on my own.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017


she's moving constantly. i remember when teddy was around this size getting so worried when i wouldn't feel movement for a few hours. i remember getting lumps in my throat and putting sugary things into my body and then laying down as still as i could, and silently hoping for the tiniest flutter. not this time around. she's always on the move. no sugar rush necessary.

i have that condition where you're sick your entire pregnancy. when i feel myself getting sick, i tell teddy i need to go cough and to give me some privacy, and he waits sadly by the bathroom door anxiously calling out "all done??" until i come out with a forced cheerful reply that i've finished. it's heartbreaking to see him uncomfortable for me. such a protective little bear.

the other day a stranger was telling me how she missed being pregnant; how she felt so feminine and attractive and special and alive and womanly, and i just stared into space, thinking how much i love my babies even though pregnancy, for me, is physically and emotionally exhausting and uncomfortable, and how that's okay. i can be miserable, and still be thrilled to be expecting.

on the bad days i try to remind myself of when we wanted to get pregnant so badly the first time around, and i list ways it could be worse. it helps to soften the exhaustion and frustration.

sleep escapes me. i've never been a great sleeper (until around 2 am, when i suddenly get really good at it) but pregnancy really brings out the insomniac in me. it's hard to be motivated to go to sleep at a reasonable hour when my brain is so desperate to be alert during the rare hours of the night that i have just to myself.

lately teddy is on a breakfast meat craze. he's constantly asking for sausage, bacon or pepperoni. i'm half proud ('cause i love meat too, kiddo!), and half nervous for what's coming in his next diaper.

the past few weeks he's been more clingy than usual. he senses there's something coming, and it's making him uneasy. i've been clingier than usual with him too. neither of us are good with change.


ps- girl names are hard.
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