Friday, January 13, 2017

{I Know Exactly What to Expect}

I've always heard rumor that you stress a little less with baby number two. Ok maybe you don't stress less, but life just happens around you and you don't have the time to really think about everything. Maybe you don't scrapbook the second time around, don't take maternity photos, you don't have time to read all the books again or take every class the hospital has to offer. You already know what to expect, so why would you?

Well with me, my nerves couldn't be more on the fritz. I think because I *do* know exactly what to expect. I know that sleepless nights lie ahead. I know that the hours in the day will seem to drag on and that the witching hour is in my future. I know that it's possible to rip from front to back and have 20 something stitches and then not be able to sit comfortably for weeks. I know that date nights will basically be nonexistent for a while. I also know the feelings of resentment-yep, towards your spouse(if you've never felt it, praise Jesus). The feeling of not knowing if you're doing things right, and questioning your decisions all day long; "Am I holding my baby too much...am I too impatient...do other moms have these feelings?"
Then there's the wondering if you'll ever get your body back. And that decision of a career or #momlife. Sometimes if you choose work, there's the epic mom guilt, but if you stay home you can feel like you're not doing enough to help provide for your family(even though we all know that we do more than enough as stay at home moms, it's an upstanding title to hold). Small errands will seem impossible. I skip errands when I have Henry sometimes, but now, TWO kids to load up and haul into the store?! I know exactly what is coming.

I know exactly what to expect and don't remember at all how to handle them. It's true how they say you forget all of it. The newborn days seem to mush together as you cling onto every little coo, smile and dimple to survive. You're so busy trying to figure out all the things your baby needs that you're literally just doing the best you can. Your brain ends up fried, even though you swear you'll never forget all that you've been through. 

It's only been three years and already I'm like, "Wait, I did what?" Cluster feeding, what's that? How often does a baby nurse again? How many times a day should she have a wet diaper? How am I supposed to switch her days and nights? Pray? Lol. Bedtime routines, how do I go about that again? Are the vitamin-d drops safe? Do I want to use baby Tylenol, like ever? Essential oils are even more popular now, do I rely on those? Do they really help? How do I swaddle again? Will it be easy to transition from rock n' play to crib? Vaccinate? Don't vaccinate? JUST KIDDING, I'll definitely vaccinate.

I know how much joy a newborn brings, but I do remember how hard the newborn stage was for me as a woman. It was life-changing, it was an adjustment. Caring for your children is the most selfless act there is. You give up everything to raise your babies. Sleep, showers, makeup, going out, your body and so much more.

I do remember that it's worth it though. I do remember that, "it won't be like this for long."
That little boy up there in that picture is proof of all the good that comes with having babies. I remember his first smile, our first nursing session at the hospital(and the thousands after that), I remember those epic baby giggles(you know, those really deep-bellied, first-time baby bellows-my heart), and his first steps. I can't wait to experience those beautiful moments again. What's more this time around? The sibling bond. I can't even imagine how much Henry is going to oooh and ahhh over his baby sister. I know he's going to hug her and kiss her and say "best buddies," just like he does to me! She's going to look up to him with adoration and learn from everything he does. And they'll have each other for life. Incredible.

Don't get me wrong, I am so incredibly blessed to be carrying and expecting another child and I am utterly over the moon about it. I am in no way complaining here, I just have to be honest. I know what's coming and I know how tough it was the first time. I know at the end of the day though that I'm one of the lucky ones. I was put here to love and raise these babies and I will do it like a boss. I might do it with boogers in my hair and breastmilk on my shirt, but I will do it and they will know they are loved!

CHEERS, MAMAS!
xx,
Melissa Loren

Thursday, January 12, 2017

{35 Week Bump}

How far along?: 35 weeks! Does that seem possible?! Or does it feel like you guys are over these posts? LOL.
Total weight gain?: 21 pounds.
Size of baby?: Baby is the size of a pineapple! 18.2 inches and 5.3 pounds!
Maternity clothes?: Without one drop of exaggeration, I have worn the same two pair of pants for almost my entire pregnancy. I have two of the exact same pair of leggings from Target that I wear at home and then I have my American Eagle jeggings that I wear at work with my belly band. I did buy one maternity sweater from Target in the beginning just to be comfy. I love it and will probably continue to wear it after delivery. It's very athleisure and cute.
Stretch marks?: They're hard to see, but yes. I'm sure the next few weeks will be damaging for me.
Sleep: It's getting tougher to get comfortable which is making it hard to sleep. I absolutely cannot sleep on my back or I get terrible acid reflux, but when I'm on my side she hates to be squished on whichever side I'm laying on. 
Best moment this week: OH.MY.GOODNESS. Henry finally *really* felt baby sister this week. She had the hiccups so he got to feel her for quite some time. I placed his hand on my belly and my hand over his and he just said, "ohhh. ahhh. oooo. she's trying to get out, momma!" It was easily one of my favorite moments ever. To add to it, now he is putting his hand on my belly all the time and reaching to put mine on his. My cup runneth over. I'm going to melt to the floor when I see their sibling love.
Miss anything?: Still ready to have my body back and my energy back, aaaannnd that big glass of wine. ;) 
Movement?: It's so brutal lol. She is so painful. She's like a bull in a china cabinet. She's running out of room and it's so obvious.
Food cravings: This week it has been vanilla yogurt with granola. :-p
Anything making you queasy or sick?: I get random nausea all throughout the day, off and on. It's zero fun.
Gender: GIRL <3 <3 <3
Labor signs: I don't think she has dropped yet, or turned head down yet, but there is so much pressure down there. I have been in so much pain. 
SymptomsStill feels like I'm experiencing all of them. Peeing when I sneeze. Headaches. Cramps. Sciatica. Emotional. Heartburn. Leg cramps and so on. 
Belly button in or out?: Even? lol My belly button no longer exists. 
Happy or moody most of the time?: Happy. We're narrowing in on her arrival date. Henry is more than excited. Things are starting to fall into place. I've nested as much as I think I can for now. We need to install the car seat, but otherwise I think we're officially "ready." 
xx,
Melissa Loren

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

{Working On Minimizing}

So, I watched Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things.

And let me just start by saying excusing me for being all over the place and bouncing around. It's hard to put all of my thoughts on paper in text.

Lately I've had so many things on my plate and so much that I want to accomplish. Some are big, some are small. Some have to do with finances, some have to do with being a mother and a partner, some just have to do with decluttering my life. Materialistically and mentally. 

Currently in my world, it feels like I have so little, but have so much at the same time.

I have the extremely important things. Family. Support. Confidence. A roof over my head. A vehicle to get my family from place to place and to and from work. And much more. Honestly, I don't take for granted how blessed I am. 

And then there's the debt. And the stuff. SO.MUCH.STUFF. The stuff that *partly* got me in debt. (I didn't do it all on my own, but that's not the point lol) The stuff that I always think I "need."

Watching the documentary, along with my general thought process lately just sealed the deal for me. I keep learning more and more about myself and ways to improve my style of living and to help put me on the path to financial freedom. 

What needs to happen?

Stuff needs to go. I need to purge...more that is. I've already gotten rid of so much. I want to continue selling gently used items that we're no longer using- i.e. Henry's clothes, Luce's soon and anything else that someone else might find value in that we're no longer using. I'll also continue donating our gently used items. Last week I took EIGHT bags to Goodwill.

I want to stop buying things with the intention of "impressing others," or keeping up with others. Does Henry dress nice? Sure. Does my thought process need to involve a potential Instagram photo? Absolutely not. I originally couldn't wait to find the perfect coming home outfit for Luce. The perfect photo op. WHY? Someone please tell me why?

Watching the documentary makes me want to get rid of all social media, get rid of my phone plan, and buy a phone plan that only allows calls and texts. That way I'm not constantly scrolling. Not constantly looking at Instagram shops. Constantly seeing others with new, "hot" items. I want to get back to me and wanting the things that I want and need for my family. I don't want to want things that other people have or want me to have.

I feel like I'm rambling and probably not making much sense. Trust me, not everything I buy is because of someone else, not even close really, but there is definitely times when I'm more tempted because of something I saw on someone's feed. Or I think I'm supposed to have certain things because that's what society says. A big house, a big diamond ring, a fancy car, etc.

Will I stop buying things that I absolutely love and that I'm drawn to? Not every time. Will I quit all social media? Probably not anytime soon or all at once. Baby steps.

What I really want to do is declutter. I want to sell or donate anything that doesn't add value to my life. I want to be conscious and thorough about every future purchase I make. I want to focus on setting goals to pay off debt and put aside money. I want to focus on the things that matter most. Time with family. Raising my babies. Eating dinner at the table together. Making memories and taking adventures together. I don't want my children to remember me by the "things" I gave them. I want them to remember eating bubble bread on Christmas morning every year, going on summer vacation (even if it's a staycation), going to the pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins and everything else that we do as a family.

From now on I plan to diligently try to focus my spending and time on things that matter. 
xx,
Melissa Loren


Thursday, January 5, 2017

{34 Week Bump}

How far along?: 34 weeks! Friends, I'M SO PREGNANT. I feel MUCH more pregnant this time around than I did at this point last time. My body is full and done-zo.
Total weight gain?: 21 pounds.
Size of baby?: Baby is the size of a butternut squash! 17.7 inches and 4.63 pounds!
Maternity clothes?: You guys know the drill. Leggings, leggings, leggings.
Stretch marks?: They're hard to see, but yes. I'm sure the next few weeks will be damaging for me.
Sleep: I napped today with Henry, so I'm feeling well-rested, but my dreams are wild and keeping me up! 
Best moment this week: After a long weekend without Henry it was so awesome for him to come home and tell me that he missed me and kiss my belly and tell me that he loves baby sister. He continues to tell me how much he is going to help once she's here. He is really excited to help put her shoes on lol.
Miss anything?: Just being comfortable in general. Daily tasks don't come "easy" these days. 
Movement?: NONSTOP. That's a good sign though, so I won't complain.
Food cravings: Definitely sweets. Maybe that's why she moves so much? They say you can wake them and feel movement with a sweet treat. I must be eating too many sweets. ;)
Anything making you queasy or sick?: I get random nausea all throughout the day, off and on. It's zero fun.
Gender: GIRL <3 <3 <3
Labor signs: Occasional signs. Sharp pains, braxton hicks and cramps.
Symptoms: Still feeling a little bit of everything. It's really painful to walk. That probably sounds ridiculous, but I have a pain in my groin that won't go away, as if I've pulled it, and I have terrible sciatica pain and my hips in general are struggling. 
Belly button in or out?: Even? lol My belly button no longer exists. 
Happy or moody most of the time?: Happy. I'm a bit anxious and nervous, but happy. I don't think it has hit me yet that there's going to be a tiny human here in no time. A little GIRL. It is so crazy to me. I don't know what to expect, but I cannot wait! 
xx,
Melissa Loren

{Henry+Luce's Shared Room}

Ok, let me start by saying a few things. One, as usual, I'm hesitant to share these photos. It's still a huge bummer that they're sharing a room. Kinda, anyway. It's cool in some ways, too. It just isn't ideal. Two, this is the smallest room ever. Three, trust me, my OCD is in OVERDRIVE. I have had to get super creative with storage and decor. I *cannot* have toys everywhere and/or clothes, so I've tried to keep most things stored, hidden and organized. Making room for two children, of two different genders, in one room has been quite the task! I almost just need a spare room for a toy room and closet lol. Then there's things like our recliner situation. We got one, but I went back and forth with putting it in their room. For one, the room is small enough as it is. For two, am I really going to be able to soothe, rock and nurse a crying baby and Henry be able to sleep through it? I don't think so. She'll be in the rock n' play in our room for a while anyway, so I opted to put the recliner in the living room. That way Henry can sleep, Sean can sleep(he has to be up *EARLY* for work) and I can watch tv and move about as I please in the late hours of the night and in the wee hours of the morning. Sean and I have consolidated and gotten rid of a lot of our stuff, just for our sanity and to free up a hall closet for the kiddos. Less is more anyway, right? I think that's what they say. People have too much stuff as it is. 
But anyway, I've made it as fun and airy as I possibly can and something that they'll both hopefully enjoy. So far Henry has zero complaints-he's pretty easy to please though. :) 
There isn't really a flow or a transition either lol. Henry's woodsy-woodland theme has carried on and then you roll right into Luce's suuuuuper girly, flamingo-filled side of the room lol. It's happy though. Even without being ideal, somehow it fills my heart with joy and has become my favorite room in our little love shack. <3
I'm always rambling, I'll get on with it. Here's ten too many photos!
That's it! I warned you, nothing crazy, but it's full of love. This room represents two people that I love with all my heart and soul. It represents the people who love my babies so intensely, that they've gone above and beyond to gift them some of these wonderful things. It represents two people that don't have it all, but would give their all for their littles. And I'm ok with all of that.
xx,
Melissa Loren
























Monday, January 2, 2017

{Goals, Goals, Goals}

I wasn't going to do this, but I feel like it's necessary. I've touched base here and there on how hard I've been working to dig myself out of what feels like a financial sinkhole. My only regret is not starting sooner. Because who wouldn't want to have financial freedom sooner rather than later, and because I feel like I'm starting to run out of time. I've been trying so hard to get the majority of things paid off before Luce arrives. JUST INCASE. Just incase there are any issues/complications. And for the fact that no matter what decision I decide to make, I for sure won't have an income for 6 weeks. I say what decision I have to make, because at this point I will breakeven with daycare costs, which just seems silly. Why am I going to pay someone to watch my children, while I work an inconsistent schedule and have zero money to spare? So I wanted to make as much progress as possible before baby arrives. So far I've paid off one student loan and two credit cards. All of which were on the smaller end, but PROGRESS. I have three more things that I'd like to handle before her arrival so that starts goal #1 for the year...


  • PAY OFF DEBTS!!!
  • Save for a house.
  • BUDGET and stick to it.
  • Walk away from the little things. (i.e. Target goodies and eating out)
  • Focus on being a proactive and present mother. Two babies to love on and give my undivided attention to. 
  • Eat. At. Home.
  • Dive *right* into taking care of my health after Luce's arrival. For myself and for her since I'll be breastfeeding. I want to get back into home workouts and eating ezekiel bread, egg whites and my Advocare goodies. I will give myself some grace, but I don't want to waste too much time, and eating healthy never has a time limit.
  • Focus on my relationship. I'm a mom. I love my babies hard, and I should (& will), but I want to love my spouse more. If that makes sense without making it seem like my children fall second in any way. I just want to make genuine attempts to nurture our relationship. Kids can be hard on relationships and I don't ever want him to forget why he loves me or why he decided to have a child with me and vice versa. 
  • Take care of myself. My health, my appearance, my mind and my body. I want to love myself and make proactive decisions daily. I want to do things that improve my wellbeing and my families. I don't want to just go through the motions everyday. 
  • I want to live with purpose.
So those will be my main goals for 2017. 2016 was H-A-R-D and one of the main reasons why I didn't do an "at a glance" post this year. I really don't want to look back. I want to look forward and focus on what's in front of me. 

And just some random photos because these are the reasons for my motivation. <3
xx,
Melissa Loren





Sunday, January 1, 2017

{33 Week Bump}

 How far along?: 33 weeks! Friends, I'M SO PREGNANT. I feel MUCH more pregnant this time around than I did at this point last time. My body is full and done-zo.
Total weight gain?: 21 pounds.
Size of baby?: Baby is the size of a bundle of celery! 17.2 inches and 4.19 pounds! AKA-huge.
Maternity clothes?: Still just living in my belly band, leggings and oversized shirts. The comfier, the better!
Stretch marks?: Pretty sure I'm going to be much more stretched out after all of this is said and done. I'm itchy and dry, and stretching so much.
Sleep: Not sleeping much these days, I guess I need to get used to it anyway?! My world is about to be turned upside down. Other than my crazy work schedule, I nap when Henry naps still and he sleeps from about 8:30 to 7:30/8 depending on if it's a work/daycare day or not. We both enjoy our sleep, which took a lot of work to get there lol.
Best moment this week: Henry and Sean have made this the most incredible journey. They're both constantly taking care of me, rubbing my belly and loving on baby sister. I can't get enough of their love. 
Miss anything?: Bending over, sitting and laying down without being in miserable pain. Ha.
Movement?: She's a meanie. Her kicks and adjustments hurt SO bad. Sometimes it's like she knows and she's like, "haha let me do that to you again, mom!" :-| 
Food cravings: Schweets. Sean just went and got me a hot fudge sundae. lolololololol. 
Anything making you queasy or sick?: Life. lol. The stress. No, but really, heartburn and "morning sickness" all day long. 
Gender: GIRL <3 <3 <3
Labor signs: YES. I keep saying this girl is going to come early. I'll probably be wrong, because that's just how it goes, but man things seem to be happening sooner this time. And the pains are definitely more intense!!
SymptomsGoogle pregnancy symptoms. I guarantee there isn't one on the list that I don't have. 
Belly button in or out?: In, but right on the edge. Sean and Henry both get a pretty good chuckle out of it. Henry likes to poke it and say," baby sister wheeerrreee aaarrreee yooouuuu??" lol
Happy or moody most of the time?: Happy. I had a long list of goals to accomplish before Luce arrives, and I'm so close. It has been stressful and a lot of work and determination has gone into it, but I'm positive it will all pay off. I'm not 100% there yet, and at times these goals seem so far away, but I know how close I am and I just have to stay focused. And maybe pray that this girl doesn't come early lol. I need all the extra time I can get!
xx,
Melissa Loren

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