Chambray Shirt Dress

We had a fun family staycation at the Montage in Park City over the weekend.  The kids had fun bowling, swimming in the heated outdoor pool, and roasting s’mores by the fire pit.  Boston did really well on the trip — have I mentioned how happy I am that he is NURSING?! Like really, really, really, really happy. Pumping and bottle feeding was not fun. Straight breastfeeding has been a zillion times easier.

 

 

I love chambray! Here are 6 chambray (shirt) dresses under $30, all from Forever 21. They are cute with tights (or skinny jeans) and boots.

chambray

 

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

xo
J

World Prematurity Day and My Takeaway From the NICU

I’m a little late in posting this, but November 17th was World Prematurity Day! It was also our 8th wedding anniversary. I did post a picture of baby Boston (and another of my husband) on Instagram that day, but I really love this picture I took today:

babybabe

Today someone asked me what I learned through our NICU experience with Boston. Mostly it has just made me more grateful, obviously.  I have always been so grateful to have had such healthy babies, but I always complained about being glued to the couch breastfeeding them all day and about waking up with them at night. And of course there have been many challenging days with a new baby at home, but are we so happy to have this guy home and doing so well! We really were so nervous to have a third child, but his close brush(es) with death really made us feel so grateful and feel so blessed that he gets to stay with us. With every scare we had in the NICU — with his heart, going back and forth on the breathing machines, and getting a horrible infection just days before he was supposed to come home — we would again feel a surge of gratitude when prayers were answered and Boston made progress. We felt so much joy from the little miracles that happened and we were so amazed at the compassion people showed for us. I also came to appreciate nurses and doctors in a way I never had before and I will always be grateful for the love those good people showed us.

We can’t really feel “up” in life if we’ve never felt down.  I find, for example, that the more toys my kids have, the more they want!  I wish I had been so much more simple and only let them have a few toys to begin with, because I know they would appreciate new things so much more when they do get them.  I’m glad that Nick and I went through some really difficult things early on in our marriage, because now that we aren’t going through those things, the mundane days are so welcomed and appreciated because they aren’t full of heartache like they used to be. Challenges (rather than having more nice things or excitement) help you learn to be happier.

Also — IT FEELS AWESOME TO NOT BE USING A BREAST PUMP ANYMORE! Constantly pumping is probably on the top 10 — if not 5 — most miserable things I have ever endured in my entire life (nausea will always be #1 on that list) but of course I’m so glad that I did that for my baby and now nothing feels better than nursing my little babe because it is loads more convenient.  So I’m maybe a little bit grateful that I pumped for four months before being able to nurse Boston. Challenges are part of life, and I’m really grateful for that.

If you’re going through something really awful right now, try to remember that it will probably enlarge your capacity to feel joy in the future.

xo

 

J

 

10 Recent Observations of Varying Importance

Boston napped long enough for me to make a list of extremely trivial things:

1. If you are a house plant newbie, my advice is: buy real snake plants because they clean the air and NEVER DIE, plus as they grow bigger they are fairly easy to propagate into multiple plants to place throughout the house.  Only buy fake succulents and a fake fiddle leaf fig trees, however, because they are adorable and make for great picture props but are very hard to keep alive.  I really tried with my fiddle. Sigh.

2. Costco frozen teriyaki chicken bowls are saving my life and my sanity these days.

3. I love two-and-a-half-year-old kids.  They are still so babyish and snuggly and look funny when they run, but they can feed themselves, throw things in the garbage for you, play with their older siblings, and melt you with a new mispronounced word every day. They also poop their pants a lot, though. Not mentioning names. On a completely unrelated note (because I was definitely not talking about Nixon there), Nixon loves his new toddler bed and runs upstairs with his sister excitedly yelling “Good mowning!” every day. It’s hard not to squeeze him to death.

dinoblankie

4. I recently met the girl behind Arvo (Ashley Nackos), and she somehow managed to tactfully tell me that she loved my scraggle teeth.  Bless her precious soul. Go buy an Arvo watch.

5. I could wear a beanie and a lumberjack shirt and jeans and boots every day of my life. Maybe the occasional sweater when I want to look a little less homeless, but still feel like I’m wearing a blanket.

6. I’m becoming a little bit obsessed with embroidery art / cross stitching. Feast your eyes on this and these and these.

7. I have been crocheting occasionally:

yarn

8. I debated for ages over whether to really try to breastfeed, or to keep pumping, or whatever, and finally I had to stop being insane and realize that breastfeeding/pumping/formula all have their conveniences and I just have to make a dang decision. And then I got the stomach flu and was way too out of it to pump and I hadn’t eaten in like two days so I was hardly making milk anyway.  So I decided I was done pumping (remember how I have a GIANT freezer full of breastmilk? Was I just planning on not using that? I don’t know! I never know what the heck I am doing!) but then I realized breastfeeding is kind of nice and that it would be super amazing to be on an airplane and JUST BREASTFEED instead of spilling bottles and washing bottles and heating bottles not to mention pumping bottles and since I was no longer making so much milk that I’d choke Boston every time, I decided what the heck, let’s give breastfeeding a try.  And it’s actually going pretty well and I’ve only had to supplement a little bit, and Boston has actually been more restful during the day (probably because frozen milk makes his tummy annoyed and the fortifier the doctors tell me to add to his bottles of breastmilk also makes his tummy super mad) (OR maybe he’s just super lethargic because he’s not getting enough?  He seems pretty content).  I guess we’ll just see what happens.  I’d love to nurse him through flu season but if all else fails, he can do the frozen milk (which apparently smells like soap because I have excess lipase in my milk? Ugh.) Also I found an interesting baby formula recipe by a chemist/dad using goat milk, which is apparently cheaper than commercial formula, not to mention the first ingredient isn’t CORN SYRUP SOLIDS GAHHHH.

9. My kids eat corn dogs on the daily.  I feel like I should feel guilty about this, but they also ask for broccoli all the time so I have hope for their future. The other day I put something on Ava’s plate and she said “Can I have broccoli instead?” Kids are weirdos.

10. I’m hoping to someday write a post entitled, “How I Beat My Diet Coke Addiction.” Still waiting for the day I can write that without being a liar.  Any tips?  I like drinking water but I need something to fill the gap in my life that will be left without my dirty Diet Cokes.

 

xo

 

J

 

Happy Mama For The Day

Nix and ChubsBeing happy is hard.  I feel like something I’m always writing about personally and in my blogging is ways I’ve been able to be happier as a mother and also about my growing realization that I (and other busy mamas and young ladies) can do hard things.

My goal with blogging is to share my happiness with other people, to help other people see that they can do hard things (because if this mama can, ANYONE can), and also to just be my quirky creative self in all the ways I can.

I was having a rough time about a week ago.  Constant pumping and taking care of a newborn and living in pajamas with greasy hair all the time was getting to me.  Nick gave me a priesthood blessing that gave me so much comfort and reassurance that I can do hard things and fulfill my goals and dreams, and I instantly felt so much better and have been much happier ever since.

So you need God.  God loves us and is more pleased with us than we realize, I think.

A sweet friend recently wrote on her blog that she gets up in the morning and gets ready, then takes that last look in the mirror for that day and then forgets about herself and from there on out it’s all about the kids.  That way of thinking has helped me immensely.  If I get up in the morning and get dressed (maybe even showered!) and do whatever I need to do to feel good for the day, I can then move on and just focus on my kids without feeling resentful or frustrated because I just want to wash my hair instead of constantly cutting up waffles or something. A lot of my mom friends figured this out a long time ago but guys, I struggled.  I would still be in pajamas at noon and hating everyone because I just wanted a shower!  But sometimes I shower at night when Nick can be on baby duty and the next morning I can quickly do my hair and a little makeup and throw on some cute clothes, and my day is a zillion times happier.

Not a super novel concept, but it’s helping me a lot.

I got to meet Cara Brook at Pinner’s conference and she helped me pick the right colors for my face from her makeup line!  I’m still drooling over the pink Free People sweater she was wearing (don’t click on that link and look at the price, you’ll only cry). Anyway, she recently posted a great video on how to get pretty for the day in just ten minutes, so go check that out.

xo

 

J

 

Just Begin

I’ve wanted to do a lot of different things in my life, but I didn’t work on any of them because I wasn’t OK with failing.  I compared myself to people who were good at things and thought it was too late for me to catch up with everyone else, so I didn’t want to even try.

Then I had someone tell me that you have to be willing to be a beginner, and I came to realize that we just can’t wait for perfection before we start something and that we can’t  be held back by our fear of failure.  It has taken me YEARS to realize this unfortunately.  You wouldn’t read dozen books on painting and THEN, once you are an expert on painting, start painting.  You have to start experimenting in order to learn, and at first you are probably going to suck, and that’s totally 100 percent OK.  You can’t wait for perfection.  You have to work toward it.

Maybe this is a concept that is fairly obvious to everyone but me, but it’s slowly sinking in and I’m realizing that if I want to develop my talents and achieve my dreams and goals, I have to start SOMEWHERE, even if somewhere is in the middle of CRAPVILLE.

A lot of this started sinking in more than ever as I was reading from the Book of Mormon the other day, in 1 Nephi (Chapters 3 and 4).  God commands Lehi to send his sons back to Jerusalem to get the records enscribed on brass plates from Laban.  After two failed attempts to get Laban to give or sell the plates to them, Laman and Lemuel are ready to give up — and I know I would be wondering why nothing was working, if it was really what God wanted me to do — but Nephi goes back a third time, even though Laban literally wants to KILL Nephi and his brothers. Nephi refused to give up until they had accomplished what they had set out to do.

I love what Nephi says here, in chapter 4, verse 6:

“And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.”

So even though Nephi had no idea how things were going to get done, or even whether that attempt would be successful, he went for it.  God works like that: we have to take a few steps into the dark, and once we show that faith he’ll keep leading us a few steps at a time. Maybe He lets us fall flat on our faces a few times so we can learn what doesn’t work — or just to build character, but if we’re faithful we can do hard things with God’s help! Yay.

I saw this the other day and plan on hanging it over the desk in my office:

just-begin

Just begin.  Be willing to be a beginner.  Step into the unknown and learn from your mistakes along the way.  You might suck for a while at whatever you’re pursuing, but that most certainly does not mean that you will always suck.  Some people are prodigies, but most people that are good at things were beginners once too.

The other day I was scrolling through the Instagram feed of a popular fashion blogger who now makes insane amounts of money and basically lives in a CASTLE, but as I scrolled to the beginning of her feed from a couple of years ago, it became apparent that she didn’t start with a super cohesive look to her branding and her iPhone photos used to not be anything to write home about.  The key is that she started, not even knowing what amazing things she would end up doing, and now she is succeeding tremendously.

Just begin.  Begin now, and five years from now you’ll probably be amazed at what you’ve accomplished, instead of regretting spending another five years not trying to pursue your dreams.

Just begin.