Friday, August 29, 2014

the rest of the week

It's been another exciting week of OMG I HAVE A BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! over here. Sorry if that makes for unexciting blogging. I'm sure that some day I'll be all bored and ho-hum over how impossibly adorable every single thing Millie does is and I'll have other exciting things to blog about, but today isn't that day. Well, except for one thing. If you hate babies and cute pictures, just scroll to the bottom and I'll give you some amazing advice about pizza.

We tried on some skinny jeans just for giggles. Obviously she looked fabulous, but I felt bad about squeezing her into legit tight denim at such a young and tender age-- back to the soft and cuddly leggings!

 On Wednesday we had her follow-up appointment with an audiologist. Camilla failed her hearing test (in one ear) in the hospital, so she had to go re-test this week. The doctors all said it's super common to fail the test and that nearly all of the babies will pass it a few weeks later (once all that amniotic fluid has cleared from their systems), so we weren't too worried about it. I had no idea what the test would entail (they took her away and did it in the nursery while we were in the hospital, so we didn't see it), but when they started strapping electrodes to her tiny little head, it made me feel sad!


Luckily she did just fine and passed with flying colors! She slept the whole time just like she was supposed to and I guess her ears and brain did whatever it was the doctors were looking for, cause they gave her an A+ and said she didn't need any further testing. So yay Millie!

We take baths several times a week. It is my favorite thing on earth every single time. While I get the bath (in the kitchen sink) ready, Matt gets the baby ready. And then they come to me like this:

Camilla still LOVES her bath and her flower petal thing, but now we've started also putting her in the little plastic bowl thing for a soak...and she loves that too. It is the most precious thing ever!

Yesterday we embarked on our first Family Road Trip to visit my family for the long weekend (haha- since we're still on maternity/paternity leave, our whole LIFE is a long weekend! Wooo!! But other people have a long weekend this weekend, so we shall celebrate with them). Since we ended up not buying that Honda Pilot (womp womp), this was our first big excursion with baby, dog, and ALL THE STUFF crammed into our little Toyota Matrix. We ended up with Millie, me, and Lola all squeezed into the back seat. The front seat was basically empty, but I just didn't trust Lola back there alone with the baby- Lola's not such a great car rider under any circumstances, running back and forth along the back seat, jumping against the window...ugh. I was just worried she would stomp right over the car seat and the baby in her passion to look out both windows. But with me in the middle, I could keep her corralled to 'her' side of the car. It worked out fine, but it was not a particularly fun drive. If we win the lottery or come into an inheritance anytime soon, you can put 'vehicle with 3 rows' at the top of my to-buy list.

But we made it and we are happy to spend time with family and enjoy a change of scenery for a few days! 
Yaaaaaay family!! And yaaaaaay for this adorable ruffled outfit!!
Right, pizza.

Judge me if you will, but when I got a circular in the mail for Little Caesar's and saw that they now have a PRETZEL CRUST pizza...I almost died of happiness.

I love Little Caesar's pizza anyway. I know it might be unpopular to say that, but in all honesty, I'd pick Little Caesar's over Papa John's any day. I just think it's delicious- and CHEEEEEAP to boot, so even better!! (Also, I think many of the people that turn up their noses at Little Caesar's haven't actually tried it in the last decade...don't knock it til you try it, folks!) But anyway. Normal love aside, when I saw this SOFT PRETZEL CRUST (which I feel really needs to be written in all-caps because IT IS A CRUST MADE OUT OF SOFT PRETZELS), I knew I needed to try it immediately.

It lived up to all of my expectations and then some. YUUUUUMMMMMM. Everyone in the family agreed- best pizza invention ever. Pizza ON A SOFT PRETZEL. God bless America, this is why I love this country. I can be so fat and so happy because THERE IS PIZZA ON A SOFT PRETZEL now.

So there's my weekend recommendation: get thee to a Little Caesar's, give them $6, and be eternally happy with this new and most delightful pizza innovation. Amen.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

photo shoots, showers, and CAKE

We had a wonderful weekend (umm...and beginning of week...apparently I'm not such a consistent five-day-a-week-blogger anymore!). We spent lots of time with Matt's siblings (and accompanying in-laws and offspring) who came to visit and meet Millie for the first time!

Millie was super excited to meet her cousin Eliana. Eliana is about two and a half months older and they are going to be best friends! And they are bound to be subject to zillions of photo shoots together, whether they like it or not.

Also, please try to ignore my pedicure-lacking feet in all of these pictures. Don't nobody have time to crop photos these days.

It cracked us up that as soon as we put the girls on the blanket, they both made the exact same pose! Arms up, right leg hitched up...ready for our pictures!

Camilla hasn't yet figured out the art of making non-scary faces for photo shoots. If she ever gets newborn pictures taken, she's going to need to work on this. She has this perpetual "AHHHHH THIS IS SCARY!!! WHAT IS HAPPENING?!??!!" face thing going on.

 My mother-in-law and sisters-in-law hosted my first shower on Sunday afternoon! It was incredibly lovely and tasty and perfect! 

If you are from around Athens, all you need to know is that the cake behind me in the picture is a Cecilia's Spanish Lemon. There are very few things that I would not do for a piece of Cecilia's Spanish Lemon cake.

Right, but anyway, the shower. In addition to having my favorite cake, we were thankful for many supportive and generous friends showing up to meet the lady of the hour (Camilla, obviously...I am merely her carrier). And I really didn't get any other pictures from the shower, sadly...I was busy showing off the babe, opening presents, and stuffing my face with cake. SPANISH LEMON, YALL. I cannot emphasize the cake enough here.

My SIL Amy was wise enough to gift Camilla with an outfit to match her cousin's so that they could take some twins pictures!! Don't they look just like twins?!? Ha.

They locked their arms together like that on their own!!! It was so cute! Until they were like wait, what happened, why is my arm stuck against something?!?! Waaahhhhhh!!!!

They felt a lot better about life once they had their respective pacis.

We even convinced Timmy to pose with his sister and cousin. Too bad he didn't have a matching outfit!

So other than that we've just been hanging out, making bottles, cleaning bottles, sterilizing bottles, putting away bottles, pulling out bottles, and ummm...I don't know, other stuff, but all I can recall is the BOTTLES OH THE BOTTLES THEY NEVER STOP. My sister called yesterday and was like 'hey, what's up?' and I said 'oh, nothing, just doing some laundry,' and she said 'WHAT? You're not cleaning bottles? This is the first time I've called and you haven't been cleaning bottles!' What can I say. THEY ARE TIME CONSUMING.

We also got some baby sunglasses and sat by the pool for awhile!
We started a 'soft roll-out' on the cloth diapers yesterday! I was procrastinating starting them, waiting for...I don't know what, some big day or reason to start. Then it was mid-morning on a Monday and I was like what the heck, let's start now. So far, so good! I don't quite have all the 'stuff' I need yet (like a wet bag/diaper pail liner that actually zips...), so I'm making do and improvising, but I'd say it's a success so far! Then again, I haven't actually had to wash anything yet. I'm sure once that starts, I'll spend just as much time doing laundry as I spend washing bottles...and since THAT is what my life consists of now, I'm sure you're just dying of anticipation for how exciting my blog will be for the next few weeks! Try to contain yourself, please. Hopefully I can make up for the lack of interesting content with cute baby pictures.

Ah- before we go, a non-baby-related observation from the weekend. As per usual, when we hang out with all my siblings-in-law, we play a lot of board games (and I totally just spelled that 'bored' games...Freudian slip??? Naaahhhh...). After a riveting game of Clue, I happened to see Matt's little keep-track-of-the-game sheet next to mine. 

His is on the left, mine on the right. We both played the same game and both correctly solved the mystery...but the differences in how we keep track totally made me crack up. I guess this is reflective of the differences in how our minds work and how we process information. After I got done laughing at his non-detailed information tracking system (that still worked, mind you!), the rest of the group showed their sheets. We were about a 50/50 split on the detailed/non-detailed tracking methods. I thought it was really funny...but also, whoa. Brains are funny things!

Friday, August 22, 2014

friday favorites: newborn ed.

I feel like there's an actual link-up somewhere called 'friday favorites'...but I'm too lazy to go find it, so I'll just steal the name and take it from there.

Since Camilla is only 17 days old, I don't think I can quite consider myself an expert on all things baby just yet...but there are a few things that I can safely consider my favorite(s) already. Let's see if I can get to them all before homegirl wakes up from her nap, shall we?

1. SimplyNoise

Not sponsored, not anything...just amazing white, pink, and brown noise. I know- who knew there were other colors of white noise? Not me. But the brown noise has saved our lives nights. Millie doesn't cry at night, but she does make tons of weird baby (and barnyard) noises that are incredibly distracting for people who want to sleep. Since we started turning on the brown noise, we all three get a lot more peaceful sleep. I'm not sure if it somehow discourages her from making all her sounds, or if it just drowns them out...whatever it is, I'm not messing with it. Brown noise for the win!!! (And this brown noise is not to be confused with the brown note episode of South Park, which was basically the funniest thing on earth to me in high school. We definitely do not want to be playing the brown note in our house...)

2. Bath time

Millie LOVES her bath at night. You already saw the picture of her in her Blooming has the same effect on her every single night. Instant baby relaxation. I swear she purrs when she's laying in the sink, enjoying the warm water pouring over her. And after the bath is over, you get to have a cuddly baby in a hooded towel!!! Everybody wins!!

3. Generosity.

I'm sure everyone loves being the recipient of generosity, regardless of whether you have a newborn or not, but I have been blown away this week.

See that? That's the spare fridge/freezer in my in-laws' basement. See what's completely filling the entire freezer? Donated breast milk. Not pictured is my freezer, which is also filled. We received over 1,400 ounces of donated breast milk this week. (And there are another 340 ounces that we just couldn't store, but can go get later once we free up space.) I'm a big believer that 'breast is best,' but it wasn't a super viable option for us this time. (Yes, I'm aware of adoptive breastfeeding, but for a variety of reasons, it wasn't in the cards for us this go-round.) J was willing and able to breastfeed Camilla twice right after she was born- we were all incredibly thankful for this gift for her health and immunity. And since then, she's been doing super well on formula. But I'd been hoping to find some donated breast milk to supplement her formula with, and...well, sometimes God provides beyond your wildest dreams. This isn't just a few bottles worth. This is months of liquid gold. Millie is a big fan so far, and I oscillate between being most excited about the health benefits for Millie and the dollar bill benefits to me as we can cut WAY down on how much formula we have to buy!

If the idea of using donated breast milk skeeves you out-- don't worry. It's actually safe (the way we're doing it- not to say that there aren't sketchy stories and Craigslist situations that should be avoided) and probably more common than you'd think. This is something we discussed with our pediatrician (who supported the idea) and that we're incredibly thankful for and in favor of for our baby. Yay! 

4. Generosity, Part II.

Hand-me-downs. Probably 90% of Camilla's wardrobe is either a hand-me-down or something from a yard sale or consignment shop. And she looks TOTALLY STINKING CUTE ALL THE TIME.

I mean...look at her!! There are plenty of expenses that come with babies (and let's not forget the adoption itself!!), so I'm really grateful that we haven't had to spend a lot (or any, really...besides a few things I just couldn't help myself about) of money on her fabulous wardrobe. Also, now that I am experiencing first-hand how quickly she grows out of stuff- I feel even gladder I've not given in to more temptation at BabyGap and Target. She's already outgrown things!! She's not even three weeks old!! This is madness!!

And the clothes are one thing, but wanna know what I'm even more thankful to have received (FOR FREE) secondhand? Her entire stash of cloth diapers.


Most of my cloth diapering friends say that if you have 18-21 cloth diapers, you'll be set until they potty train. That gives you enough to get through with doing diaper laundry every 2-3 days, which is apparently the prime amount of time to a) not go crazy doing laundry, and b) not have your house get stinky with dirty diapers. But at $20+ bucks a pop, getting your initial diaper stash can be a pricey undertaking (although- take into account, once you GET your spend basically $0 on diapers for the rest of their days, unless you choose to use disposables for trips or special occasions or babysitters or whatever).

So please try to imagine how thrilled I am to have been given (FOR FREEEEEE) 36 cloth diapers. Try to imagine my happiness. I guess there are certain advantages to having taken SO LONG to have your first baby that the rest of your friends are DONE having babies and ready to get rid of all their baby stuff, including cloth diapers! 

We haven't actually started using the cloth diapers yet (we were gifted tons of disposables, too, and since she goes through about 80 diapers a day these days...yeah, gonna keep using up those disposables), but I regularly just sit and stare at them and think about how thankful I am that I won't be throwing money away every week buying Pampers. Thankful thankful thankful. 

So...those are my favorite things for newborns so far. Sorry that some of the things aren't so easily obtainable (just run to the store and pick up some generous friends!)...but they're the things that are my favorites right now. Maybe next time I'll pick things that are actually purchase-able items. 

Hope you have a wonderful weekend. We are looking forward to Matt's family all coming in to town to meet Millie for the first time! And I have my first shower on Sunday!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

tbt: pink shorts ed.

After I got dressed this morning (okay, afternoon), I realized that the outfit I selected was one I'd worn (and taken tons of pictures in) before.

I wore the pink shorts-navy tank outfit while we were vacationing in Mexico with our friends Adam and Jessie last year...almost exactly a year ago. Since it was vacation, we took tons of pictures, which meant that when I put on these clothes today, it immediately reminded me of our vacation and all of those photos where I was wearing it. 

I loved that vacation. I love Mexico, I love the beach, I love being pampered at all-inclusive resorts. I loved the girl time, I loved the couples time, I loved braving the public buses in search of 'real' Mexico (you know, outside of the tourist areas). I loved playing miniature golf by the ocean, eating plantains for breakfast, and having people bring me drinks out on the beach. In retrospect, I even love how extremely angry I was about our luggage being lost for THREE DAYS OF OUR TRIP THANK YOU FOR NOTHING DELTA. Just kidding, I still don't love that, I'm clearly still harboring bitterness.

A year ago, when I wore the pink shorts and the navy tank top, I had a really good day. I look back at those pictures and I smile at the happy memories, thankful for the opportunity for a wonderful vacation with great friends.

But a year later, here's what I'm doing in the same outfit:

Today I'm wearing my pink shorts and navy tank top and I'm cuddling and swaying and rocking a baby who can't figure out why she's so mad. Our friends Adam and Jessie came over last night to bring us dinner and to hold and admire our sweet daughter. There were no breezes off the ocean, no fruity drinks, and not a word of Spanish (or Spanglish) was spoken. When we finished eating, we had to clean up our own dishes. But man oh MAN...what a beautiful difference a year can make. 

Same outfit, same friends...but I'll take this sweet baby over a thousand weeks in a Mexican resort, hands down.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

(more) official

Last night (this morning?) at midnight we passed another big step in our journey towards becoming a forever family! Georgia has a 10 day 'wait period' after legal consent papers are signed wherein the birth mother can revoke the consents. The 10 days begins the day after the consents are signed. If at any point in those 10 days she decides that she regrets her decision and chooses to parent, all she has to do is say so and custody is returned to her. This is exactly what happened in November- we only made it to the second day of the wait period.

So while Camilla's birth and bringing her home were both incredibly exciting, we were all holding our breath as we knew we'd have to make it through the 10 days before we could really celebrate. And because we are super duper lucky, our 10 days were actually 12- the law also states that the final (10th) day canNOT be on a Saturday or Sunday. If it falls on one of those days, then the '10th' day gets moved to the following Monday. So our 10th day was actually Saturday, but couldn't be observed until yesterday, so...there ya go, two bonus days of fun. 

While I am ethically extremely supportive of Georgia's mandatory wait period (it differs by state; some states have NO wait period, some states are as long as a month)...that doesn't necessarily make it any easier to sweat it out. Fortunately, we have a strong relationship with J and knew that she was remaining confident and sure in her decision to place Camilla with us, so that helped a lot, as did her empathy for how nervous and worried we were. But we were still counting down the minutes until midnight last night. So were a lot of other people, as evidenced by the number of calls, texts, and emails I received at 12:01 a.m. :) 

In this case, no news is good news. Nothing about our legal standing has actually changed since yesterday or last week (we remain her legal guardians until the adoption is finalized in a few weeks), but we now move forward with a lot more confidence that this sweet baby will stay with us forever. It's like I can breathe again.

With this last major hurdle behind us, we even went 'public' on Facebook today. I mean, if it's official on Facebook, you KNOW it's real, right? Do we even still have to go to court??

I'd been wording and re-wording how to 'announce' it for days (in my head, while I'm busy not sleeping). How do you announce the most amazing thing that's ever happened to you with the proper excitement, but while remaining respectful to J and her family and any birth parents, adult adoptees, or adoptive families that may happen to read it? Not to mention the friends and acquaintances struggling with infertility or prolonged adoption can I be joyful without rubbing salt in their wounds? These are among the things I ponder at night. I probably would have written and rewritten it a dozen more times, except that my sister couldn't contain her excitement and went ahead and 'outed' me with a post of her own. That forced my hand to get my own post up quickly, ha. God bless enthusiastic sisters, right?

So we're another step closer to forever. Another day more head-over-heels for our sweet girl. I am so incredibly thankful, I just don't know what to do with myself.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

spa days and sick days

Camilla had another check-up at the pediatrician's office on Friday, at the ripe old age of 10 days old. Friday was a pretty big day- her disgusting freaky vomitrocious dried umbilical stump fell off that morning! She was feeling pretty great about life and the prospect of Real Baths in her future, so she brought her A Game to the doctor's office.

They weigh her. Please let the record show that she was born at 8 lb. 5 oz, she was up to 8 lb 7 oz at her 4 day check-up (6 days prior to the appointment at hand), and homegirl eats with a passion and enthusiasm that'll bring tears to your eyes each and every time. So I had no concerns about her weight.

Doctor:, 9 pounds 1.5 ounces!!...that's a gain of, umm...12 6 days.

Me and Matt: [beaming proudly, high fiving]

Doctor:...and...we're really looking for her to be gaining about an ounce a day at this point, so....6 pretty much doubled that.

Me: Sooo...what you're saying is, our baby is an overachiever??

Doctor: Right.

I just feel good knowing she's already learned about the importance of loving food. And she's been out for Mexican three times already and seemed to be enthralled as we explained the menu and items to her, so I really think she's going to go far in life. 

But I don't want you to think that all we do is feed her. We also teach her about the importance of slowing down, self-care (or, well, mom-and-dad-provided-care), and relaxation. Once that blasted stump came off, it was time for a spa day!!

It's safe to say she enjoyed herself. No screaming babies in the sink here! She was all about the warm water, the warm washcloth serving as a blanket, the gentle massaging of the body wash...this was definitely her jam. And all adults present agreed that we wish Blooming Baths came in adult sizes. Babies have it so great.

Less talking and pictures, Mom, more pouring warm water! Chop chop, woman!
Sadly, that Friday night bath has pretty much been the high point of my weekend. Matt had a virus (of the sore throat, congestion, headache variety) last week. He was better by Thursday night, but only because he seemed to have passed it off to me. I started feeling cruddy Friday night. Booooooo. I don't really care about being sick, but I REALLY care about a) potentially passing it on to our infant, and b) having to stay away from her in order to avoid that. It suuuuuuuuucks. Thankfully, my parents arrived Friday evening to stay for the weekend, so Millie has had plenty of doting adults to cuddle and care for her while I'm on my sick bed. And there are even enough adults left over to dote on me and bring me tea, too. (Matt didn't get that luxury during the week. He was down for the count, I was on solo baby-and-bottle cleaning-and-house duty, and if he wanted a cup of tea or some Mucinex...he was flying solo. Poor guy.)

It makes me super sad to not be able to cuddle my baby, but I try to remind myself that if we can keep her from getting our funky virus, it will be worth it. And I will just be verrrrry diligent to make up for Lost Cuddle Time as soon as I'm well. 

I feel like there was more I was going to say, but since I've now nodded off twice as I stare at the blinking cursor, I guess I'm done. Time for more tea. And staring at my sweet baby from afar. Oooh which reminds me about how video monitors are THE MOST FREAKING AMAZING THING EVER. Actually I already have like 20 things that are THE MOST AMAZING BABY THINGS EVER...maybe I will make a list soon! The Most Essential Baby Products by Erika B., a parenting expert after 12 days. Boom.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

baby updates. i'm out of creative titles, sorry.

 Camilla is a week old already!! Yesterday was her 'birthday.' We helped her celebrate all day by reminding her of what was going on the previous week at that time. Like at 2 in the morning, we told her how last week at this time J called us and said you were on the way! We jumped in the car and drove as fast as we could!! At 6 a.m., we told her how last week at this time, there were SO MANY PEOPLE who love you all gathered in the waiting room at the hospital!! Five grandparents!! Four great-grandparents!! Everybody couldn't wait to meet you!! But you were still hiding inside your mommy's tummy! And so on and so forth, until we finally go to mid-day, when we could tell her how last week at this time we were holding you. That was the best part.

She's already changed and grown so much in her long life. No more newborn diapers! Already up to 3 ounce bottles!! Such a big girl. 

Matt came down with a cold (or virus or something...we'll find out soon; he's at the doctor right now) the other day, so I've been getting all the Millie snuggles to myself. I can't complain. Yesterday she slept on my chest for a few naps (she was napping, not me). I'm sure some expert or another would frown on that idea, but not me. I didn't get to snuggle her in my belly for 9 months. I will certainly snuggle her ON my belly for a few hours when I can get it.

I'm not sure if you can see it in any of these pictures, but Camilla has several distinctive physical features (besides overwhelming cuteness and extremely kissable cheeks). Matt pointed them out our first night alone in the hospital with her. Look!, he said. She has your long fingers...and my back hair!!!

Her fuzzy arms and shoulders are possibly the cutest things I've ever seen.

So how do yall feel about birth announcements? You know, the kind you get in the mail like a Christmas card. I personally love them. I know that not everyone sends them, but I always feel really happy when I get one and I usually hang it on the fridge (or in special cases, on the filing cabinet in my office) for a long time. Naturally, I've always assumed I would send them out once I had a baby of my own to announce. So I've spent a few naptimes browsing the options, and I have two major issues: A) I love them all (I'm pinning my MOST favorites to my 'adoption' board on Pinterest, if you're interested), and B) THEY ARE FREAKING EXPENSIVE. Like $1 a card (for the cheap ones!!!), IF you're buying over 100!!! This was a really depressing realization. Not to mention that they're oddly sized, meaning they'll require more expensive postage. This could all add up to some serious cash-- cash that should probably be spent on things like formula, diapers, and lawyer bills. But like...I want them. :( Wah wah, poor little me, I know. So anyway. Thoughts on the importance of receiving a proper (and lovely) birth announcement in the mail? Overrated? Just wait for Christmas cards? Skip Christmas cards and do this instead? Get a second job and do both? 

I've seen the options on Etsy where you can have a card designed for a cheap price (like $15) and then DIY the printing, but I can't figure out where/how I would get them printed so that they wouldn't look super ghetto. I don't want them to be shiny 4x6 or 5x7 from a photo printing booth at the drug store, you know? I want that matte cardstock look. As with most things in life, I have champagne taste and a beer budget. Womp.

You know what is fun? Picking out baby girl outfits and bows. I know, that's probably shocking news...but she has lots of fancy events coming up and I love thinking about what she'll wear to each!! She has several showers (for herself) (that she will attend!), her church dedication, AND her court finalization all coming up (well, relatively speaking. In the next few months). 

Well, I'd love to stay and chat baby fashion forever, but someone is insinuating she is starving to death and seems seriously concerned that I may never feed her again, so...gotta run. Happy whatever day of the week it is!! ;)

Monday, August 11, 2014

babies don't keep

I've been a mother for almost a week now, and I am completely at a loss for words to describe how wonderful it is. The six years of waiting, of hoping, of despairing...the constant ache that is finally fulfilled has rendered me speechless. I stare at her all day and all night and I feel like my heart might shatter into a million pieces. Camilla is worth every. single. second. of the wait.

I always suspected I would love my own child like this, but now I know. I bound out of bed at ungodly hours of the day and night, anxious to scoop her up and kiss her sweet cheeks. Matt took this picture of us this morning and I scolded him because I look hideous, all glasses and morning hair. But now I look at it and I see a picture of the me I've always wanted to be: the me that has a baby to cuddle, to dress up in adorable ruffle-butt onesies, to love.

My parents left yesterday but have requested at least a billion pictures per hour. This was her first 'outfit' of the day. I love that she keeps her eyes open sometimes now. She has already changed so much in her almost-week of life. I was looking at her 'newborn' pictures and can already see so many changes. At least I can safely say I have savored every moment. 

We took a family hike today on the trails at the park near our house. It's like I have this long mental list of Things I Planned To Do When I Had a Baby and now I'm frantically checking them off as fast as I can. While simultaneously savoring, of course.

Millie slept the whole time, so I guess we'll call it a win.

This is what we look like when she's napping. I mean, when we're not just sitting in there next to her staring at her in person. And as soon as we hear her stirring and see her making her hungry face, it's a sprint to see who can get her up first. Winner gets the cuddles, ya know.

We went on a walk after dinner tonight. I drew the short straw and had to walk Lola while Matt paraded Millie around the neighborhood like she is the homecoming queen or something. Several neighbors stopped us to say congratulations. One man hollered across the street, "I couldn't believe it when I saw the balloons-- were you PREGNANT?? My wife and I have been trying to figure it out all week! You really did not look pregnant!!!" Another woman kindly said "I hope this isn't rude, didn't give birth to her, did you? I see you all the time- you really weren't PREGNANT with her, were you??!" I told both of them the truth, and they offered more congratulations.

I did not offer that same truth to the strangers at Target and Lowe's who merely exclaimed "you had her TUESDAY?!?!?!?! You look GREAT!!!!!"...for those folks, I merely say thank you!! Hopefully they don't feel bad about their own lack-of-quick-bouncing-back-after-childbirths now,'s just funny to me. 

I try not to have my phone always stuck in Camilla's face, taking pictures. I want her to learn my face, not just see a turquoise rectangle in front of her all the time. But sometimes she makes really cute faces and I can't help myself.

I know this is all over the place, but I have no time to go edit it and make it make sense. Sweet Millie is awake and babies don't keep (this poem is constantly stuck in my head and my mantra right now). Good night! 

Friday, August 8, 2014


On August 5, 2014, at 12:23 p.m., our sweet daughter was born.

Camilla Ann is a more beautiful redemption than I ever could have hoped for.

I don't know how much of her birth story I can (or want to) share, since it's not just my story to tell. In all, it was perfect. J was amazing. Our time in the hospital was perfect. And yesterday we brought home the baby we will (hopefully) get to keep forever and call our own. 

Camilla weighed 8 pounds and 5 ounces at birth. She has dark hair, the most squeezable cheeks you've ever seen, and makes baby bird noises cute enough to make me forget how much I hate birds.

We have never been happier. And yet my heart aches for J, too. This quote resonates to the depth of my soul right now.

I so appreciate all of the support, prayers, and well wishes poured out on us this week (and the last six years). We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the gift we have been given. I am nearly delirious with happiness. Fifty times a day I am overwhelmed with the realization that I am ____ (feeding, wearing, changing, showing off) my daughter. It's like living in the best dream I have ever had. I hope I never wake up.

Let the whole world bless our God and loudly sing his praises. Our lives are in his hands, and he keeps our feet from stumbling...We went through fire and flood, but you brought us to a place of great abundance. Psalm 66:8,9,12

Monday, August 4, 2014

weekend distractions

It was a good weekend, although less eventful than I would have liked, I guess. Oh, also I'm so incredibly anxious that I want to vomit at all times. But other than that...yay weekend?

I spent all of my time either cleaning or trying to distract myself. The cleaning was more successful. You'll be thrilled to know that each piano key has now been lovingly dusted, the porch furniture soaked and scrubbed down, and the porch itself thoroughly vacuumed, along with the flagstone brick on the front of the house. I mean, have you SEEN the dirt and cobwebs that accumulate in flagstone? Ick. Anyway, now the front porch is a happy and clean place to sit and rock once again.

When I wasn't busy cleaning, I alternated between surrounding myself with people (to distract myself) and trying to escape from human contact (because people make me even more anxious). It was awesome.

On Saturday night we hung out with my BIL and SIL Steve and Jess (and their 15 dogs) (just kidding, they only have four. And a cat). There was Mexican food and adult beverages and porch sitting and it was delightful. Then we went back to our house and decided to take advantage of the awesome fire pit Matt built last year that we hardly ever use. The fire started out magnificently as our Christmas tree and the remains of our dead eucalyptus trees caught fire!

 But then all that stuff burned through and it took like an hour to get the flames to come back enough to roast marshmallows. I'm not entirely sure I would have cut it as a cavewoman. I get really impatient waiting for fire to cook my dessert.

Probably the most amazing selfie ever. Yeah.
 After dark (and the return of actual flames), our neighbors came over and joined us. It made me really, really happy...something about a bunch of folks (and their sleeping baby) just gathered around a fire, laughing and was perfection. Also, s'mores. But let's hear it for awesome siblings and neighbors. You don't really get to pick who you get for either of those categories, so it's pretty awesome when you turn out to love them.

Last night we hung out with Jonathon and Mollyanne and played a new (to me) board game: Pandemic. It was a really different kind of game than I've ever played before- for one, you're not playing against the other all work together as a team and try to beat the game/save humanity. So it's one for all and all for one-- live together, die together. It was great because no single person has to win/lose and everyone works and strategizes together. As the name suggests, it's a game about controlling disease outbreaks and epidemics, which is scarily timely right now. I give Pandemic (and the Gurleys) an A+++ for maximum distraction and fun. We played two games (won one, lost one) and I could seriously go for another game or 4 tonight, so...yeah. Might need to drop by Target and pick up my own copy.

So...another day, another week. Hoping and praying for the best, mentally preparing for the worst. Ugh. Have any absorbing and amazing distractions for me?? Help a sister out.

Friday, August 1, 2014

hair. and makeup!

Since I think I've maxed out my quota of angsty waiting-for-baby posts this week, I tried to think of something else to talk about today. Oh, I know! I'll try to take some pictures of my new hair cut/color, since I never got around to that earlier this week! Sounded easy enough. Since I'm no stranger to the car selfie (as a passenger, of course. Safety first!), I figured I'd get some pictures during the morning commute.

Right. The best thing about these pictures is the car seat behind me. As far as hair goes...well, you can tell that I have some. That's about it. Car selfie fail.

(I'm tempted here to rant about the shortcomings of my phone's forward-facing camera, but then I realized how dumb that would be. My phone is like 5 models's safe to guess that they've probably improved things in the decade since the 4s was released. So I'll just have to suck it up until I get un-cheap and upgrade.)

So when I got to work, I thought I'd run outside and get some shots in the natural light. Surely you'd be able to see the cut and color better that way, right?

Well...sorta. You can at least kind of see the cut. Or that it's shorter than it used to be. But most alarmingly, you can also see the giant bags under my eyes. It looks like I haven't slept in six months. Which is kind of true, but also...I pay good money for makeup, so this really isn't acceptable. Upon this realization, I decided to call it quits on selfies-for-the-sake-of-hair-pictures. You'll just have to take my word for it that my hair is shorter and redder now. And also my word that it is evidently noticeable in real life, as everyone who's seen me this week says "Oh!!! Your hair!! I love it!!" the changes are also positive, I guess.

On my way back to my office, I stopped to use the restroom. It was there that I noticed that the blinding fluorescent lighting actually did my hair some justice. And with a mirror, I could take pictures with the regular (and slightly better) camera instead of the crappy forward-facing one. Win.

However, the fluorescent lights also enhanced my eye bags to the point of indecency, hence the censorship. I didn't want to put you through the trauma of seeing it for yourself. It's safer this way. But at least you can finally see (sorta) what my hair looks like.

That was a lot more work than I'd anticipated, but I'm nothing if not committed to menial goals.

In other beauty-ish news, I'm going to Ulta this weekend to pick up a few things. I'm out of BB cream, but I want to try something new. I've been using the Stila Stay All Day 10-in-1 HD Beauty Balm (wow, that's an obnoxiously long name), and it's fine...but I don't love it. So at that price, I'm not repurchasing unless I love it. I'm planning to get the Tarte Amazonian Clay BB blah blah blah I don't feel like typing out the rest of this ridiculously long name. Good grief. Who thought it was a good idea to put 32 words in the name of a lotion? Anyway, I am in love with all Tarte products, so trying this seemed like a logical step. But if anyone has any other BB/CC suggestions, I'm open to considering other brands! I also plan to get some more lipsticks (NYX Butter) and some conditioner. In other words, this trip will be expensive put me significantly closer to my year-long menial goal of achieving Platinum status in the ULTAmate Rewards program. (It is also worth noting that my phone autocorrects lots of random words to 'Ulta'. Apparently I text about it a lot?)

Have a happy weekend, and may the bags under your eyes get at least one size smaller. (I feel like I'm a preacher offering a benediction at the end of the service...and that is what I have chosen to leave you with. Yes.)