Tuesday, March 31, 2015

When You're Not Your Husband's #1

Marrying into a family of seven (spouses and children not included) has had it's fair share of challenges. Coming from a family comprised, essentially, of my mom and sister (both of whom are incredibly independent, free-spirited individuals) to my husband's clan has been straight-up culture shock. We've been together for four years now and sometimes it wears on me. Being in a tight-knit group of 7+ means that when one member has a problem, it becomes everyone's problem. And with that many people, you're a part of other people's problems a large majority of the time. Coincidentally, as the youngest, my husband has found himself in the "peacemaker" role. A role that he gladly, and willingly takes on...with me a long for the ride.

There are so many things that I love about this family. I love that every get-together is an automatic celebration with so many personalities in the room. I love that Charlie will grow up with cousins who he can also count as best friends. I love that while there will probably always be someone rubbing you the wrong way, there are also at least two or three others to vent to about it. Everyone will always have your back and there is always someone to help you out in a pinch.

But when your husband is the peacemaker, sometimes that comes at a price. The price of being his #1. It's not a good feeling not to feel like his top priority. If I'm not his #1, who will be? You know.

Marrying the youngest of seven is a constant practice in grace, forgiveness and sacrifice. 

This weekend, Chuck reminded me that I will always be his #1.

However, sometimes when #1 has it all figured out, and #'s 3, 6, and 7 do not, they require more attention. And I need to be okay with that. Marrying the peacemaker is a blessing and a curse. But I love that it is my husband's nature to never question whether it's his responsibility to be there for his family members whenever they need him. He will be there. Always. That is the man I married and I love him for it. And I am so thankful that my children will be raised with that kind of example.

The old cliche continues to be true- you don't marry an individual, you marry a family. Though it's not always easy, I love the family I married.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

3 Months as Mommy

Today is Charlie's 3-Month birthday!
Catch up with 1 Month and 2 Months.

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Is over! Sad face. My first day back was Monday, the 16th and I won't even pretend that I wasn't an emotional mess leading up to it. That being said, my first day back wasn't nearly as awful as I was anticipating. In fact, it actually felt good to get back into the swing of things. I kind of forgot how much I legitimately love my job and the truth is, I'm good at it. It's really rewarding to be able to say that. And though I'm truly going to miss those long days at home with my little man, it feels really good to have something of my own to devote my life to.

Still going well! I'm pumping now that I'm back to work which has been going well. I'm super paranoid that my supply is going to decrease, though.

Sex still hurts. Sorry, but it's true.

As soon as we had our first warm day, I hauled out the stroller and have been walking Charlie as much as possible. We are so fortunate to live right down the road from a park, two playgrounds, a bike trail, and a lovely college campus. Not to mention, just about a mile from downtown so yeah, walking is pretty awesome around these parts. I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app on my phone because I wanted to get an idea of how many calories I've been consuming (my appetite while breastfeeding has been out of control!) and I've been using Runkeeper to track my walking. I'm hoping to start running again soon, but we don't have a jogging stroller and I can never seem to find the time to go out solo.

As for Charlie...

He is still as smiley as ever, though he's added smiling at himself in the mirror to his repertoire. It's quite possibly the cutest thing ever. This month also saw Charlie's longest stretch of sleep- a full 8.5 hours! Since then he has been sleeping from about 7pm-7am with one nursing session around 3am. Am I the luckiest Mom, or what?! Our darling boy has also started chatting more and more. Although it comes out more like squeals and grunts, it definitely seems like he's trying to converse with us. Maybe I'm a totally clueless first-time parent, but I swear he is! Because he's so long and lanky, dressing my sweet baby was a little annoying this month. We essentially re-used the same pair of stretchy, newborn jeans on him because all of his 0-3 month pants are still way too baggy on him. However, he's now in 3-month onesies and jammies! Thankfully, with the nicer weather, pants are becoming less and less necessary. We're still in Size 1 diapers and likely will be for a little while longer.


Charlie got to celebrate his Grandma's 60th birthday and meet his Grandpa (my step-dad) for the very first time when they came for a weekend to visit and celebrate the occasion. I think it's safe to say he's got them wrapped around his finger. Because I went back to work, we've also had our family members helping us out to watch him during the afternoons when both Chuck and I are working. There are times when Chuck's ginormous family drives me nuts, and then there are times like these when I am so thankful that our little boy is going to grow up surrounded by family!

Because Charlie was underweight at his 2-month check-up, his pediatrician had us come in a couple days ago for a follow-up weigh-in just to make sure he's gaining the weight that he should be. He weighed 10 lbs 6 oz and though they didn't measure his length, I'm guessing he's about 23 inches. I was happy to see he's gained weight, but unhappy to see it wasn't near as much as he should have by now. Because he's still gaining so slowly, we have to go back in another 3 weeks to do another weight check. I'm not going to lie, it feels really frustrating- like I'm doing something wrong and stunting my baby's growth. Cross your fingers for a fat baby next month!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

10 Reasons I Hated Gilmore Girls

While on maternity leave, I needed a new show to marathon-watch so of course, I dove headfirst into a the dark underworld of Netflix. I used to watch Gilmore Girls, or at least the first couple seasons back when it was on, but for some reason or another, I lost interest and stopped. It seems like it's got a cult following, so I thought I'd give it a go and try to finish the series. Let me just say, it took everything I had to finish because most of the time, I hated all the characters. These are 10 reasons why I couldn't stand Gilmore Girls:


10. Rory leaving Yale | This ranks higher on the list because, duh. No one liked this aspect of the show. Rory spent her whole life preparing for her college years and then let one crappy remark from her boyfriend's Dad totally derail her? I call bullshit. Get your shit together, Rory. Most people would kill to be in your academic shoes!

9. Rory sleeping with a married guy | I know Dean was her high school sweetheart or whatever, but she had her chance and she blew it. So what does she do? She waits until he's married to get back together with him, loses her virginity and essentially destroys his life. Dean was such a good boyfriend to her and I couldn't believe she would pull something so shitty and selfish.

8. Lorelai leaving a man at the altar | Granted, I don't think anyone saw Max and Lorelai together at the end, but seriously, she just took off on their wedding day without a word. Another classic example of a really great, nice guy being completely screwed over by a Gilmore woman. 

7. Emily and Richard were downright awful people | I know there were moments when the writers tried to make it seem as if there were a remotely redeemable quality about these two people. But no. They sucked. They were pretentious, snobby, treated their hired help like dirt, tried to break up their daughter's relationship solely based on pride...the list goes on. Ugh.

6. No one can eat like that and be skinny | If they were real people, I'm pretty sure they'd be constipated 100% of the time the way they ate. Just saying.

5. There are just so many annoying characters! | TJ and Liz? So annoying. Taylor? Super annoying. Michel? Annoying (though funny once in a blue moon). Paris? Don't even get me started.

4. Lane could do better | Zach was a lovable idiot, but I thought her and Dave made a way better couple. She needed someone who was at least her intellectual equivalent.

3. Lorelai and Chris getting married | There is not a single thing that could redeem their elopement! First, they both treated marriage like a fun thing to do in Paris and not an actual "til death do us part" commitment, which was seriously irritating. Second, I thought the premise that a 3-year old girl just seamlessly transitioned into their life was wildly improbable. Third, they didn't even bother to include their own daughter (and Lorelai's best friend!) in their wedding. So wrong!

2. Real love doesn't demand ultimatums | Granted, Luke was being kind of a butthead with the whole postponing the wedding thing, but rather than talking about how she felt, Lorelai gave Luke two options: 1. Marry me or 2. We're done. Why couldn't they just communicate and compromise like a normal, functioning couple?! Same thing when Logan proposed to Rory- marry me or we're done. She was 22 years old, if you really loved her, why couldn't you just hang on a couple more years? Good grief, people!

1. I watched every single episode | And cried when Lorelai and Luke finally kissed in the last episode. Despite all my grievances, I still kinda get why people loved this show. And had it been renewed for another season, I would have watched that, too.

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Clearly, my maternity leave was very productive. Are you a GG fan?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Disposable Diaper Debate | My Review of 5 Top Brands

Before I even got pregnant, I totally pictured myself as a Mother Earth-type, cloth diapering Mama. Then the reality that I would be a full-time working mother kicked in, and I realized it just wouldn't be feasible for us to do the cloth diaper thing. The saddest part about that was that I really liked the eco-friendly aspect of cloth diapering. I'm no environmentalist, but the sad truth remains that our landfills are stuffed to the brim with petroleum-based diapers that will take over 500 years to biodegrade. I want to do my part to ensure that God's creation stays beautiful for my babies, grandbabies and generations to come. I also didn't like the idea of putting a chemical-filled diaper on my baby's bum.

I moved onto researching disposable diapers and decided I really liked the Honest Company. I filled my baby registry with Honest diapers in all patterns and sizes...and then Charlie was born. I've been using any and all diapers that were gifted to us, and a few that I ordered on-sale through Diapers.com. And here's how they've stacked up for me:

This was the brand of newborn diaper the hospital sent us home with and we continued to use the first few days of Charlie's existence. I have to admit, if it weren't for the fact that Pampers are no friend to the environment, I would have actually really liked this diaper. They were soft, and I imagine comfy for little Charlie, they fit him really well and the wetness indicator on the front was so helpful in determining when he needed a change, especially as brand new parents.
4/5 | Lowest price: $.23/(216 ct)

Once the Pampers ran out, we switched over to our stash of Honest diapers. Since Charlie was such  small baby, I was glad I had more than enough NB-sized diapers to go around. When it comes to Honest diapers, I love that they are cruelty-free, eco-friendly, plant-based...and mostly biodegradable. But if I'm being truly honest, the main reason I love them is because they have the cutest designs! I figure, if I have to change a poopy, stinky diaper, I at least want something cute to look at. The biggest downfall of Honest diapers? The pricetag. For about a month supply of diapers through their subscription program, you're paying $80. It's definitely on the higher end, and I just don't know if it's worth it to spend that much for something my baby is going to wear for 3 hours, pee in and then throw away.
4.5/5 | Lowest price: $.30/(264 ct *when purchased in Diapers & Wipes bundle- includes 4 pks wipes)

I hadn't heard of the Earth's Best brand until I started reading reviews of the best "green" diapers. Earth's Best kept coming up as the cheapest option for a more eco-friendly diaper so I was immediately intrigued. I got $50 worth of EB diapers for $30 on Diapers.com which was awesome. The fit has been excellent, we've had no leaks and obviously the fact they cost the same as most regular diaper brands is a huge selling point. They also have a rewards program, so when you buy any EB products, you can use your points to enter to win great prize packages and coupons. I've found that they are also frequently discounted on Diapers.com and Target's Cartwheel app. The only downfall for me is that they're really plain-looking. I know that shouldn't matter, but as I mentioned above, I'm a sucker for cute diapers!
4.5/5 | Lowest price: $.28/(176 ct)

Once, we made the transition to Size 1 diapers, I had a hand-me-down package of Luvs that I thought I would give a try. I was excited by the fact they looked all fluffy and comfortable and the tabs are so good at holding the diaper in place! However, we couldn't even make it through the entire package because we couldn't stand the way they smelled! As soon as Charlie would pee, they reeked of this headache-inducing, ammonia-like smell. With all the other diapers, we could smell if he peed when we took a big whiff, but with Luvs we could tell from 10 feet away. That fact alone took off major points for me.
1.5/5 | Lowest price: $.20/(252 ct)

In my pursuit of running an environmentally-friendly household, I've purchased SG products in the past and was ambivalent about their performance. Their diapers garnered pretty much the same response. They are unbleached, so the aesthetic is equivalent to taping a brown paper bag to your wee one's hiney. As far as quality, I wasn't overly impressed. Charlie had a medium-sized poop one day that was barely contained. They're also not biodegradable. Boo. On the plus side, I thought the tabs held well.
2/5 | Lowest price: $.26/(160 ct)

We're still working our way through our pre-Charlie stash, but as we look to start buying diapers, our choice is pretty obvious- The Honest Company and Earth's Best are our clear winners. Overall, I liked the Honest diapers better, but if I can find EB for a significant discount, I don't mind going that route either.

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If you're a parent, what have your experiences been in the diapering department? 
Do you have a favorite diaper?
For a more comprehensive comparison, check out this chart on BabyGearLab.com.

*Prices were based on Size 1 diapers via Diapers.com and Honest.com and do not include coupons/promo code savings

Friday, March 13, 2015

Blogger Love v.4

As I mentioned last week, this was my last week of maternity leave and on Monday, I have to bid adieu to long days of playing, napping and feeding my baby boy. I am really thankful for my job, really. I have a supervisor who is totally supportive of working moms and wants to make my transition back as easy as possible and an employer who is doing seriously great things for the community. I could not be more blessed. This is what I keep reminding myself every single day when I inevitably break down and cry about leaving my sweet Charlie. If you're the praying type, they'd definitely be appreciated :)

Therefore, you may understand why I've been so noticeably absent this week. It's honestly a miracle that I managed to scrap together this week's favorite posts. But at least I can rest confident knowing that I provided some great reading material (even if it wasn't my own!)

All the Joys - Blogger Love

I'm Craving a Bump by Love, The Campbell's | Within a matter of days of popping out Charlie, Chuck and I began thinking about when we should plan for Baby Pep 2.0 (actually, Chuck may have even mentioned something about #2 while I was in labor. That went over real well). Erin's post pretty much sums up where my head has been lately.

How to Have Sex when You Have Babies by Scary Mommy | I'll let this one speak for itself.

Two Bachelorettes: "It's Not Ideal" by The Life of Bon | I've really gotten into The Bachelor this season, mostly for it's straight-up, ridiculousness, but I have to admit I was kind of sickened when they made the announcement about two girls "competing" to determine who would be the best wife. Seriously, what year is it?! Thankfully, Bon feels the same way.

Winter 2014 Book Challenge: Final Scoreboard by Semi-Charmed Kind of Life | This was my second time participating in Megan's reading challenges...and the second time I didn't finish. Womp, womp, womp. I'm going to go for Round 3 in May, though. Third time's the charm, right?

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Any good posts to share this week?