Stitch Fix #25: Transitioning to spring (with baby friendly clothes!)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Can we just talk for a minute about how much I love having things mailed directly to me? Yes, let's. Take for instance, Christmas 2017. I would say 90% of our holiday shopping this year was done on Amazon and 100% of it was done online. Granted, that might just have been because there was no way I was lugging a two-week-old out in the worst cold and flu season we've seen in awhile, but regardless, the fact that we were still able to get all of our shopping done was incredible. 

And THAT is why services like Stitch Fix make me so, so, so darn happy. 
If you don't know about Stitch Fix (<--Referral link!), let me give you a little rundown. Stitch Fix is a clothing subscription service, and you decide how frequently, or infrequently, you'd like a shipment. You'll fill out a detailed style profile about your sizes, style preferences, and budget (and it's super fun to fill out the profile to see what your style preferences are!). Not only does Stitch Fix offer clothing, but they have accessories, bags, and even shoes now! They style both men and women, and they offer extended sizes. You pay a $20 styling fee that gets applied to your purchase, but right now, if you sign up for your first /fix through my link, your first styling fee is waived. Zero risk! And, if someone signs up through your referral link, you get a $25 credit to use toward your next purchase! (And let me tell you, that adds up to some awesome free close!) The BEST part of Stitch Fix? It comes directly to my door which means I can try it on in the comfort of my own home, pair it with things already in my wardrobe, and not have to take my brood into a dressing room with me. So much winning! 

You can see my previous Fixes here:
Stitch Fix #1

So for this Fix, I asked to get nursing friendly tops that would make me feel less frumpy. I also mentioned my upcoming trip to Cabo, so Serena snagged some items that might work there too. And, she pointed out that it’s been two years since she started styling me - and what a beautiful two years it has been! There were a few hits and a few misses, so I need your help deciding what to keep! 

Let's just start with the misses and get them out of the way, shall we? 
1. Coin 1804 Halem Cold Shoulder Collared Knit Top, $54
2. Studio Blue Freya Skinny Jean, $58
As soon as I saw this top in my Fix, I thought, this will either be a great success or an epic failure. This one... failure! I love the idea in theory - buttons for easy nursing access, cold shoulder trend that I keep trying to pull off, light heathered grey color. But it just looks frumpy and weird. It feels like a pajama shirt, but the collar makes it kind of formal? And the sleeves are a weird length. So, back in the box this went. 

And let this serve as a reminder that when you've had a baby, you NEED to go in and update your pants size. Or, at least say, don't send me pants! With about fifteen pounds of baby weight to go, these babies didn't even come CLOSE to buttoning. I'm talking, like, it was a struggle to put them on. Oy. The light purple color was so pretty, but I'm just not in a position to wear them right now. Literally. 

Now let's move on to actual contenders! 

3. Kaileigh Cecile Knit Dress, $54
I love floral pattern of this little number, and I love the cut! But as an XS, it's a little snug fitting on the girls! I was hoping I might be able to exchange it for a S, but it's out of stock. I think in six months, this will fit perfectly, but it's just a wee bit too tight to wear right now. It's actually a gorgeous navy color (sorry for the awful lighting - these pictures tend to get taken at 10 p.m. right now since that's when we have free hands!), and the neckline is beautiful. But I think I'd rather keep something I can wear now! 

4. Renee C Vause Off the Shoulder Top, $48 

The colors on this top, y'all! Seriously gorgeous jewel tones! I love the length of this top, and I think it's perfect with leggings now and shorts when the temperatures heat back up. And, it would be a PERFECT top to wear in Cabo! I would love other opinions though! 

5. Bobeau Kirbee Button Detail Open Cardigan, $58 
Now THIS piece I LOVE! This cardigan is perfect for nursing (just one button to release at the top!), and it's so, so soft! It's got pockets (yay!), and would look great with leggings, skinny jeans, sweat pants... maybe not sweat pants. But my point is this is the piece that probably works best in my current mom life. And it makes me feel fashionable again! 

So what to we think, friends? What's getting kept? What's going back? Help a sister out! 

Clutter be gone: Purge it, pitch it, or repurpose it.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Oh hi. I know what you're thinking... It's a new year, and there's a whole lotta bloggin' about decluttering. Well, yes. Because decluttering in the new year just. makes. sense!

New years always, always, always make me want to pare down. Simplify. Organize all the things. Toss. Reprioritize. Use things purposefully.

And mostly just clear out the clutter. 

Over the past year or so, all the stuff has started to really annoy me. Like really annoy me. And I think I finally figured out why. When I was teaching, my desk and classroom were hyper-organized. I could find everything I needed quickly, and all the superfluous stuff either got filed, organized, or pitched. It was a well oiled machine. 

But now... now I work from home, and my work space also happens to be our living space. And I don't work as efficiently as I could in a home where the stuff is taking over. Organization equals productivity equals happy mom. 

You get the picture. And so this year, we're making a really conscious effort to not let things we don't need into the house as well as purging or repurposing the stuff we already have. Since we just do NOT have the time and energy to make giant changes right now (the newborn and toddler are pretty labor intensive these days!), we're hoping these small changes will help us to get rid of the junk. 

Take ten minutes. If you can devote no more time than that, it still means you've spent over an hour that week making progress. Ten minutes a day to go through something - a drawer, the corner of a room, one box. 

Take the 10-10-10 challenge. Let's say you have more than ten minutes. (Great! Come over! My to do list is a million miles long, and I'll put you to work! Ha!) Take the 10-10-10 challenge. Find ten things that need putting away in their proper locations, ten things to toss right now, and ten things to donate. Hell, make it a challenge for the kids too and see who can do it the fastest. At the end, that's 30 or 60 or 90 things that have a new home!

Use what you have. So, I'm one of those people that tends to acquire little things. Like, for instance, we have a lot of bottles of teeny tiny shampoo and conditioner (which begs the question, WHY do I keep taking them from hotels?!). So for now, we're using teeny tiny bottles of shampoo and conditioner until they're gone. Because buying new doesn't make sense when we have so much sitting here. 

Try something in a different way. As I mentioned earlier, Dan's old dresser was just sitting in a room in our house. No one was using it for anything of value, but it's a big piece that takes up a lot of space. So, we might as well use it creatively. We popped the mirror off, moved it to the kitchen, and made it our hutch. It's a gorgeous piece that actually has a purpose other than collecting dust now. 

If you don't love it, but don't want to ditch it, box it up. I am, unfortunately, someone who thinks she needs everything. But I have a LOT of things sitting around that I don't use. For example - this past year, we repurposed my husband's old dresser into a hutch for our kitchen. Several of the drawers still had clothes in them including the drawer that was "my drawer" when the dresser lived in Dan's apartment. I quite literally hadn't used or looked at those clothes since 2013, so instead of looking through them, I put them directly into the donate box. If I didn't need them in four years, I certainly didn't need them now. So I've decided I'm going to do the same going forward. If I can't part with it at first sight, it's going into a box, and if I haven't felt the need to pull it out in six months, it's going to the appropriate donation site. It does keep the stuff around for an extra six months, but if it eventually gets it out of the house, it's worth it. 

Doctor's orders: Let the house go (and other helpful advice)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

If I've never said it in this blog, I pretty much love our family doctor. Like, more than anything. So, back story time! (That's right, I'm digressing before I even get to the main point of this post!)

When I was 17, I was diagnosed with Systemic Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. The actual diagnosis came in July that year, but the symptoms started in early April. It took a LONG time and a LOT of testing to come to that diagnosis - my rheumatoid factor has never, ever popped up positive which made diagnosis that much harder. We went through testing for it all: Lyme Disease, Cat Scratch Fever, Hepatitis, Leukemia, Lymphoma... but our doctor, at my very initial appointment, was the one to say, "I think it might be Rheumatoid Arthritis." About 200 vials of blood, quite a few x-rays and body scans, and one bone marrow extraction later, we found out for sure he was right. So, it's safe to say, I trust the man more than anything. And when we knew we were having our first child, we knew we wanted our son there too. 

I remember walking into the room with our first born at his one week appointment. I think my husband and I must have looked totally doe eyed and "exhausted" (I use that term lightly, because our son didn't sleep through the night until he was 14 months old, and the exhaustion would only worsen!). I was so anxious, and I had a running list of questions for him in a list on my phone (and I made sure to ask them all, too). Toward the end of the appointment, I remember asking him how he had done this seven times (they have SEVEN kids, six sons and a daughter!), and he told us that around 18 months we would start to see a sweet little personality emerge, and we would tell ourselves it would be a great time to have another baby for him, not for us. 

So when Harrison's first doctor's appointment rolled around, we walked in even more exhausted but slightly calmer than with Henry. He asked how things were going, and we told him we were doing well. I didn't have a list of questions written down this time, and we all seemed more at ease. And we talked about that. He reminded us of coming in for Henry's first appointment and how scared we were and told us this was the natural progression with parenting. You calm down, and subsequently the baby calms down too. And then he dropped a truth bomb on us. 

"Emotionally, you might feel better the second time around. You've done the rodeo before and you know what's to come and that you'll get through it. But physically, you're more tired than before. Because even now when you DO get a second to breathe from the baby, there's someone else that needs you." I expressed to him how hard the balancing act had been and how I wanted to make sure I was still getting enough quality time with big brother. And then the second truth bomb came (and maybe even the permission I'd been looking for). "You're going to have to let some things go. Like the house. Just let it go. It can be a mess. Take care of the kids and each other. The rest will wait." 

I swear I took that to heart, and in that moment, I said, DONE! This, truly, is a total departure for me from what I normally do. I'm pretty (read: A LOT) anal about the house being picked up. I hate when things are left out (like, for instance, today's toys are still all over the floor, and my son's lunch plate is still sitting on the table with food on it (and lunch has been over for HOURS). All our holiday decorations are still up (and most likely will be for awhile). It still drives me nuts, but I'm letting it drive me less nuts right now because truly, it doesn't matter. It drives me insane, but it doesn't actually matter. Getting quality time in before my husband is back to work matters. Spending a few special moments with my oldest matters. Seeing those sweet baby eyes looking up at me matters. 

Everything else? It can wait. 

A birth story: How Harrison Edward joined our family!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

I cannot - CANNOT - believe it's been five weeks since our newest addition joined our family. Harrison arrived on November 17 - and what a birthing experience it was! 

With our first son, Henry, I went into labor on my own two days before my due date. He was born just one day early, slightly punctual, just like his momma likes to be. I (wrongly!) assumed this is what would happen with Baby Putt 2.0. But it definitely did not! 

My due date was November 13. My whole pregnancy, I had a feeling I would deliver early. Well, November 13 came and went, and I was still oh-so-pregnant. It's funny, really, but being a massive overachiever and always journalist, I started to get a little down that I hadn't hit the deadline in place. I know how ridiculous that sounds, and even in the moment, I knew it was ridiculous. But your brain starts doing weird things when you've been cooking a little one a little too long.

At 39 weeks, I had my last appointment with my doctor. She was slated to be out of town for my 40 week appointment, and I (wrongly!) assumed we'd see her or another doctor in her practice at the hospital well before the 40 week mark. But, at that appointment, we scheduled my induction just in case - she said most of the time when inductions were scheduled, babies knew, and they decided to make their dramatic entrances on their own. Ours did not! And I (wrongly (are you seeing a pattern here?!)) assumed Baby 2.0 would be like his brother and start this process on his or her own. Alas, no such luck. 

So at 40+3, I called our hospital to see if we were scheduled to come in that evening. The nurse on call told me we were to report at 7:30, so we packed our things, kissed our eldest goodbye (he was off to Papa and Momo's house for the weekend), and made our way toward the hospital. We checked in the way you do at a hotel - calmly, pulling luggage, and hoping you might get a room upgrade. It was the TOTAL opposite of Henry's check in where the seconds ticked by as we waited to get in to triage. We never even retrieved our luggage with him until after he was born because he came so quickly. 

The Putts are checking in!
 Once we settled in our room, we met our nurse for the night, Alyssa. She explained to me that the doctor would come in to check me and we'd decide a course of action then. He showed up about an hour later for the check, and I was only 1.5 centimeters... I'd dilated about half a centimeter since my last appointment a week and a half ago. I figured we'd be in this for the long haul and tried to have zero expectations. Because baby was so high, and because my cervix hadn't softened enough, he decided Cervadil was the best course of action, so I got my first dose at 10 and another dose at 2 a.m. I was contracting regularly when I came in - a great sign - the Cervadil only helped to speed that along. Around 4 a.m., the contractions really started to intensify, and it was impossible to sleep from that point on. 

So, at 7:30ish when my doctor came in to check me, I was 3 cm dilated (woohoo!), and we knew the next step would be to break my water, which she did at 7:41. She told me she'd be back at 10 to check me. There was a shift change then, and my new nurses, Jacki and Carole, stopped in to check on us too. 

And THAT'S when things got crazy. The contractions were coming fast - about every 90 seconds, so there was no real chance for recovery in between. So at 8:20ish, I asked for the epidural. Nurse Jacki gave me a look - like - are you SURE you want the epidural?! I was SURE. She and Carole went to ask the anesthesiologist to come, and that's when I found out it would be another hour until he got there. 

I knew in that moment I wouldn't be getting that epidural. 

I labored for a little bit longer in bed before the nurses suggestion I use the bathroom one more time before the epidural. When I came back, they had me stay sitting up on the bed so I'd be ready when the time came. I was in a LOT of pain, and I'm pretty sure Dan (and potentially the nurses!) thought I was being a big of a wimp, but they told me to hang in there and that I was doing great. 

Instead, I told the nurses I had to push. They told me that I could lay down and they would check me, and that's when I heard the words out of Carole I was mostly dreading - "Okay, so you're having a natural child birth whether you want that or not!" And this prompted me to ask, "Is it too late for other drugs?!" I knew baby was close, but what I didn't realize was about 90 seconds later, HE would be here! This baby was READY to be born. I panicked, and my hubby had to get in my face a bit with a little pep talk and some reassurance that I would not pass out.

So a push or two later, before the doctor could get in the room, out came Harrison Edward with his cord wrapped through his legs and over his shoulder. Those first few minutes were chaotic as nurses (and eventually a doctor) rushed in to help and Dan tried to jockey for a position to see if our newest babe was a he or she. His birth was glorious and terrifying and painful and exhilarating and everything I never imagined.

HE is here!
And now, our little 8 pound 8 ounce 21.5 inch bundle of joy has been here for five weeks. Big brother has adjusted beautifully, and I can see how much they love each other already! With less than three years between them, I think they'll be the best of friends. Harrison has proven to be more colicky than his bro, but we're hoping to outgrow that soon.

Brothers are built in besties.
Speaking of grow, this baby IS. He's gained two inches and three pounds (!!!) and doesn't appear to be slowing down! We're starting to see glimpses of his little personality, and I can't wait to watch this little one grow! Welcome to the world, precious boy!

Stitch Fix #24: A post-baby wardrobe!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

You guys. WHY has it been so long since I've blogged?! Seriously, where did the time go?! 

In short, here's what happened. We had an incredible fall that was mostly spent soaking up time with our little man, working on projects around the house, and prepping for baby Putt 2.0 (surprise! It's a boy, born last month, and I'll have his birth story up on the blog soon!)! We've been a family in transition, and blogging unfortunately took a backseat this year. BUT, it's going to be a higher priority going forward, and I'm looking forward to getting some writing done again! 

It had been FOREVER since I got a Stitch Fix. I did get one maternity Fix early on in my pregnancy because I knew we were going to Vegas for KEEP's conference, and I wanted some cute and fashionable maternity clothes to take with me. I scored an adorable dress (the same one I ended up wearing to my baby sprinkle this fall - total winner!)! But I think that was my only Fix this year! So, about three weeks before I had Harrison, I got an email from Stitch Fix that they'd like me to get another Fix, and they were even willing to pay my styling fee! UMMM, yes! I explained that I was due to have a baby any day, and they told me they would delay my Fix until December AND focus on post baby basics.

If you don't know about Stitch Fix (<--Referral link!), let me give you a little rundown. Stitch Fix is a clothing subscription service, and you decide how frequently, or infrequently, you'd like a shipment. You'll fill out a detailed style profile about your sizes, style preferences, and budget (and it's super fun to fill out the profile to see what your style preferences are!). Not only does Stitch Fix offer clothing, but they have accessories, bags, and even shoes now! They style both men and women, and they offer extended sizes. You pay a $20 styling fee that gets applied to your purchase, but right now, if you sign up for your first /fix through my link, your first styling fee is waived. Zero risk! And, if someone signs up through your referral link, you get a $25 credit to use toward your next purchase! (And let me tell you, that adds up to some awesome free close!)

You can see my previous Fixes here:
Stitch Fix #1

For this Fix, my main girl Serena was on the job! She had been on maternity leave for my last Fix, so I know she knows new momma comfort needs. 

And side note. Before you see these pictures, I'd like to remind you that I'm two weeks post-partum. And these were taken at night. After three days of not being able to find the time to take said pictures in the first place. I have to keep reminding myself it took nine months to put on the baby weight, and I can't expect a flat stomach overnight... but I SO wish I could! 

1. Skies are Blue Ortega Open Knit Perforated Cardigan, $48
2. MTLA Kristin Fleece Cable Knit Leggings, $38
Okay, this outfit is totally in my wheelhouse - post-baby or not! I LOVE the jewel tone of the sweater, and there's a really sweet scalloped edge at the bottom. And although you can't see the texture of the leggings here, the cable knit is really beautiful. They're actually a navy color, but, bad lighting. Because so, so tired. I like that this is an easy throw on and go outfit and super nursing friendly. 

3. Pink CLOVER Aysse Cross Back Pullover, $48
Oh, hi, check out the cutest little photo bomber! I really should have gotten a picture of the back of this sweater, because there was a sweet little criss cross at the top. But I'm just not sure I'm digging this one. I don't love the knit of the sweater, and I'm not sure this is a good color for me. But I DO love that it's long enough to wear with leggings! 

4. Octavia Fia Plaid Square Scarf, $28 
I love the colors of this scarf, and I think if I was keeping this sweater, it would look amazing together! I've been wearing more infinity scarves than anything else lately, but I love the lightweight feel of this one. I think I need to Pinterest new ways to tie my scarves though... I struggled with this one. But again, so, so tired (are you sensing the trend here?!). 

5. Crescent Ash Cold Shoulder Knit Top, $42
I kind of LOVE the cold shoulder trend - in fact, my favorite maternity top this time around was a cold shoulder top! And I love the length of this (plus, hello, floral sleeves!)! BUT, this one is tough to get up and down quickly for nursing the babe, and I'm worried by the time that ship sails, this top might no longer be trendy. What do we think?! 

So, that's my most recent Fix. I'd LOVE your feedback on what to keep and what to send back, sweet friends! And, if you're ready to try it for yourself, you can fill out the super fun style profile (and waive your first styling fee) here!

What have we been up to? A September update!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

In short, here's what we've been up to this past month. 

Rebuilding a deck. Getting estimates for our new roof (wind damage was WICKED this spring!). Turning a nursery into a big boy room. Turning a guest room into a nursery. Growing a person. Watching our two-and-a-half-year-old grow and change before our very eyes. Running an at home business. Soaking up as much summer weather as possible. Zoo days. Park days. Beach days. Sidewalk chalk days. Coloring. Libraries. Target runs. Riding Sandy the horse at Meijer. Practicing our somersaults (the small fry, not me!). 

It's been busy, y'all! 

I'm starting to feel the need to nest kick in, so Henry and I have hunkered down the past few mornings to start organizing the house. If you've ever been to our house, you know that Henry's items have essentially taken over, and I imagine this will grow by three once new baby arrives and we need things like a swing, floormat, and pack and play back out again. So I haven't been too upset about having some concentrated time to get things done. Next week starts back to our normal morning activities - gymnastics, music, and library story time, so the time at home has been welcome! 

I'm 30 weeks pregnant (tomorrow!) now, and DEFINITELY starting to slow down. I feel like it's happening earlier this pregnancy, but that could also be from the combination of chasing a toddler all day too. My workouts are not what they once were, and I feel like my activity level is decreasing, so I'm attempting to combat that with more time on the elliptical and some stretching. Hoping to work some yoga into third trimester too! 

So, that's us in a nutshell. Livin' life. Workin' hard. Raisin' kids. And lovin' it all! 

Home reorg 101: Moving all the things!

Monday, July 3, 2017

I purchased my first home ten years ago this summer. I can't BELIEVE I've lived in this house for ten years, and looking back, my how it's changed! What started out as a home for three roommates eventually turned to two which eventually turned to my own humble abode. Later, this became the house my husband moved into and the house we brought our son home to. And now that he's two and we have another sweet pea on the way, well, we're outgrowing it FAST. 

We've been back and forth on when the right time to move will be. While we love the South Bend area, it doesn't make sense to stay here long-term when Dan is working 45 minutes away in St. Joe, Michigan. It made sense to stay here when we were both working, because this was a central location for our workplaces, but now that my business is completely flexible, we'll most likely move to St. Joe. We've been debating the right time, and we even talked about this summer, but when we found out we were pregnant, we kaboshed that. Our hope right now is to get somewhat of a routine established as a family of four before we uproot everything we've ever known. Makes sense, right?! ;) But really, trying to house hunt while pregnant and mildly hormonal just didn't make sense for us, so we decided to work with what we had. 

In order to make room for a nursery, that meant disassembling our guest room. But, we hated the thought of not having anywhere for guests to stay - because while we don't get them often - we do LOVE having them! So that meant moving our guest room from upstairs to our downstairs gym/office. As you can imagine, that meant taking apart and reorganizing the gym/office to fit a queen size bed, AND, finding a new location for a giant (read: heavy as hell!) dresser. We knew this was our June task...

...so naturally we accomplished it on July 2! 

But, ohmigosh, you guys, I'm in LOVE with the changes! I SO wish I had taken before photos, because unless you've been to our house since it became a kid zone, I don't think you'll understand how exciting these changes are! 

Our guest room was taken apart, and will eventually become our new nursery. The weights and elliptical went into the storage room (still usable! Just less scenic in there!), and the guest room went to my KEEP office area. It's super cozy in there, and we love guests! 
And the dresser - this is my FAVORITE! We took the mirror off the back, and it's now being used in our kitchen as a buffet! And ohmigosh, we love it put together! 
So for now, we're enjoying our new space and looking forward to making it even homier before baby number two arrives! 
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