Keeping it Very Real on my Postpartum Journey

Keeping it Very Real on my Postpartum Journey

“Body after Baby” and “Bounce Back” are sayings in society that I hear and instantly want to roll my eyes. As I sat in the hospital after having baby Rosie 9 weeks ago, I couldn’t help but notice three things. First, my belly still looked like I was 9 months pregnant, my body wasn’t mine anymore, and everything looked like it had gone through a garbage disposal. It was tough, not going to lie but it didn’t take more than a second to realize how blessed I was to have been able to bring a life into this world. All these physical changes didn’t hold a candle to the amazing miracle that was our little baby girl.

However, I’ve always said few things feel as good as healthy. I’ve never been the skinniest or fattest, and frankly have never wanted to. My curvy athletic body is something I’ve grown to appreciate overtime and in todays’ world it makes me feel good to see so many young girls being taught to see healthy and curvy as a wonderful thing!

When I got home from the hospital, I longed to feel normal and I knew there was very little I could do to achieve that. However, I found a Bamboo belly band off Amazon that worked wonders for me. It gave me back support, helped engage my stomach muscles that I figured were long gone, and kept a smooth feeling when I attempted to try on my old t shirts again! I’ll Link it below for anyone interested!

A week after having Rosie I stumbled across a fitness group led by a girl named Carli out of Utah. The eight week challenge was a group of people who all followed an interchangeable meal plan for two months, lifting one another up and sharing our stories. I had to take a “before photo” which Gavin took for me. I remember thinking, holy crap this is shocking and in that moment I made a promise to myself that my after photo would be more shocking than the before photo. Looking back, I can’t believe how good my husband made me feel looking how I did. It wasn’t about the extra 30 pounds or the deflated Santa belly, but the fact that I should feel empowered that I was able to bring life into this world. His support in these moments mean more to me than anything else.

Fast forward eight weeks and we are here today! FAR from where I want to be and to be honest, sharing this photos wasn’t an easy decision. In fact, my entire post deleted as I attempted to post this 30 minutes ago and I thought to myself.. that’s it maybe its a sign I shouldn’t be posting it? I almost cried but I gave myself a quick Pep talk and started over fresh.  When I started this blog I promised myself one thing, keep it real, so here I am.

It’s so incredibly easy to share the pretty, put together, happy photos of me and my family but if I did only that you wouldn’t get to know the real us. I share these progress photos with you today to hopefully inspire you to share and BE more than just your highlight reel. We are human, imperfect and that’s liberating. I stand here today typing this at just a point in my postpartum journey. It isn’t over and I have a LONG ways to go to be where I want to be but ill enjoy this moment for what it is and be thankful for it.

Motherhood isn’t perfect, it isn’t easy, and it isn’t always what they show you in the media or the movies. I hope you all see my progress and are inclined to do a little to be your best self today, and find peace in your own journey!

xox,

Stephanie

Carli’s Fitness Program 

A Family Weekend in Seattle

A Family Weekend in Seattle

Early flights are never easy for me. Add in my first time traveling with two kids and no morning coffee and we’ve got a recipe for failure. That failure came in the form of my lovely computer left in the hotel room! Thankfully, the kind folks at the Edgewater sent it our way and about five minutes ago Fed Ex delivered it.  Now I’m sitting down writing, life is good.

IMG_6504

So much has been happening in this world lately that has made me want to keep my little family tucked in my home and away from the rest of the evil in this world. While I sat sipping my warm coffee last week, I saw a little girl talk about her mother on national tv who had passed. She explained that although she wanted to fold and mourn she was going to get out and honor her mother by living with the intention of love and happiness. Well, after I watched that I thought the world needs us to spread kindness, happiness, and love more than ever. So instead of hiding in my house, I’ve been trying to honor those lives lost by living with intention to spread love, kindness and happiness. I challenge to do the same.

IMG_6610

IMG_6368

IMG_5996

Our trip to Seattle was amazing. We traveled there because I was the Matron of Honor in my best friend from College’s wedding! It was so wonderful seeing her marry the love of her life and I’m already ready for them to make some babies!  We spent part of the weekend exploring the city and the other participating in wedding activities.. all full of happiness and excitement. As you can see by pictures, Rosie never left my side and was a total rockstar. Reuniting with my old roomies Anna, Chelsea, Hannah, Lesley and Becca was such a highlight for me and it was so fun to show them what my life as a mom is like! None of them have kids so we shared many good laughs about the truth  of motherhood, birth and breastfeeding. They had so many questions and I was certain not to sugar-coat any of the answers because the looks on their faces was straight comedy. (see below)

IMG_6612

IMG_6616

IMG_6167

We stayed at an amazing hotel called the Edgewater where our room was directly over the ocean and although that was somewhat terrifying, it made the perfect live storybook for Wyatt. Boats, Cruise Ships, Birds and Paddle Boarders went by as Wyatt sat in excitement and awe over this new experience. I’ve said it a million times but being there to watch your children experience new places  in this world is one of the very best feelings.

IMG_6454

IMG_6373

IMG_6614

IMG_6617

We took advantage of the little time we had to explore and with wet hair, a warm cup of coffee, and a bundled up baby in a front pack we rushed down to Pike’s Place. Wyatt was obsessed with the fish market while I couldn’t take my eyes of the beautiful flowers! Bouquets that would be 40-50 dollars here in California are $5 at Pike’s Market and  I’m still jealous of anyone who lives there for that sole reason. We sat down for breakfast at a tiny little spot overlooking the water and enjoyed hot pancakes and a view of the busy city!

IMG_6613

My Mom and Dad were with us and as always, were the BEST. My parents are unreal… so helpful, fun and spontaneous which Gavin and I love and appreciate. My mom always pushes me to live a little more, attempt what I think is the impossible, and she had 5 babies in 7 years so she is a total rockstar grandma with my babies who love her. My dad is a dreamer, always focusing on the bigger picture so our time together was spent talking about dreams, visions, and how to make this world a little better. Having my parents with us on this trip was such a treat!

IMG_6604

IMG_6608

IMG_6446

Spending time with my little family is priceless, getting to explore the world with them is even better. If there is anything I’ve learned lately it’s that life is a precious gift… in a single moment it can all be taken away. Every minute I get to live this life with those I love is a gift and this trip was one of the best. Talk to you guys soon

Love,

Stephanie

 

HE’S TWO!

HE’S TWO!

How do we have a two year old?! At 27, I can’t believe I have KIDS.. as in plural! Wyatt and Rosie have undoubtedly been the greatest joy in our lives, and I can’t believe this joy only began 2 years ago! We chose to celebrate small this year as a family, we woke up (by we, I mean Wyatt woke us all up) at 6:30AM to a little voice saying “donuts” because we had promised him the night before we would get donuts on his birthday.  Getting up at 6:30am with little to no sleep and keeping up with the energy of a two year old birthday boy is easily the most intense “rallying” I’ve ever done for a party.

IMG_4375

IMG_4389

IMG_4470

I stayed back with Rosie while Wyatt and Gavin left to the donut store and excitedly turned our little living room into a party with balloons, decorations, and one little gift. It was terribly hard only buying one gift. It was Gavin’s idea that he felt strongly about, and when I expressed that I thought we should buy more he explained that Wyatt didn’t need a million things, in fact less is more so we went and purchased one Thomas the train and a small train track. It was tough and my mom guilt of “only one gift” was real, however I knew I needed to trust Gavin. Well, it ended up being perfect and I learned a good lesson that showering our children with gifts will only lead to them expecting more and we don’t want that. Wyatt loved his train set and played and played with it until my adorable brother Patrick came to our morning party and brought a John deer Tractor…Wyatt hasn’t put that tractor down since. Every party has a pooper too, you can take a while guess who slept through the entire thing haha! Maybe Ro will make her appearance next year.

IMG_4453

IMG_4510For his birthday we also took a little trip to the Santa Barbara Zoo as our little family! On our way down to the Zoo we talked about how nice it is to do things with just our mini family, we both have extended huge supportive families that we love being around but there is something really special about making memories with just us.  We lasted only a few hours which was dandy for us because we are all pooped after a good activity these days. Rosie slept the entire time in the Solly Baby Wrap, so it was fun to have a little “one on one” time with Wyatt.

IMG_4583

IMG_4589

IMG_4597

IMG_4626

IMG_4653

IMG_4654

IMG_4655

All in all we had a great time celebrating our not so little Wyatt. He made me a mama two years ago and its been the most blessed life since. I am grateful everyday God entrusted us to raise such a fun and happy little dude.

 

Inside Our First Week

Inside Our First Week

Welp, we survived the first week of officially parenting two children. Sounds dumb and overdramatic but the amount of times we have talked about this week in the past 9 months has made it out to be a huge eventful thing in our little family. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that we had a ridiculous amount of support and help from our families… especially from my mom and sister. They say it takes a village and I’m certain we have one of the best around! Sitting down at my computer to type is always a sign of a good day and boy do I have just that… a completely charged computer (rare) a little milk drunk newborn on my chest, and an (almost) two year old sleeping has me feeling like one lucky mama who needs to type fast. If this week has taught me anything its that moments of peace like this one now can turn south faster than a pissed off teenage girl  typing on her iPhone.  Its a crazy and rather heavy feeling knowing we are truly living in some of the very best days of our life… I can’t count on my hands the amount of times I’ve shed a tear over a country song, or shared a look with Gavin as we both agree that these moments of life truly are the purest, hardest and most meaningful . With that being said, I wanted to share a couple things with you about our first week!

Update: I started writing that paragraph above TWO days ago…. as soon as I was about finished, children woke up, and all craziness broke loose. The last thing I could get to was this post. True motherhood…just when you think you have it together for even two seconds, your children have a funny way of humbling you and teaching you otherwise! With that being said, check out some pictures from our last week at home!

FullSizeRender 8

FullSizeRender 10

FullSizeRender 7

IMG_1269 2

IMG_1270

IMG_1271 2

IMG_3490

IMG_3503

FullSizeRender 5

 

IMG_3638

FullSizeRender 6

IMG_1268

IMG_3741

 

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

SaveSaveSaveSave

Our Newest Family Tradition

Our Newest Family Tradition

Happy Thursday! Hope this post reaches you at a happy time in your week, I saw a quote saying that yesterday felt like the “Mondayest Wednesday Ever” and that couldn’t have felt more true! Fourth of July was the best day and since Gavin was off we thought there is no  better day to start a family tradition than “First Annual Fourth of July Donuts & Fishing.” Granted, we planned it literally the day before (thats how we roll) so we didn’t have much time to plan but it was a blast! There is something really special about starting a traditions, some of my very favorite memories revolve around traditions my parents and grandparents created, and now that we are parents ourselves its time to keep it going for our kids! Of course it had to start with donuts….

IMG_1560

IMG_1657

Gavin got out the old motorcycles, and as you’ve probably learned from our previous adventures.. there is generally an 80% chance that anything with wheels on our property won’t start unless tinkered with. Its rather frustrating to be honest,  but I’m thankful Gavin isn’t the type to give up and knows quite a bit about vehicles because i’m all about the AAA card and well doesn’t work with mini Honda motorcycles.

IMG_1584

IMG_1579

Once he started up the motorcycle, he threw Wyatt on and before I knew it they were headed down the hill. The mama bear in me had a helmet on him in no time, but no photos to prove it of course haha.

IMG_1567

IMG_1625

The day continued to get better and better. We spent the evening with friends at a neighborhood block party and Wyatt loved playing with the tractors and pulling the American flags out of the garden. Around 8:30pm Wyatt and I were on the same level of exhaustion, and we happily made our way home and clunked out early. The day was a hit and we are already looking forward to next year!

IMG_1656

IMG_1663

Any of you guys have cool family traditions? I would love to hear in the comments!

xoxo,

Stephanie

A Week to Remember… or Forget. Bumpdate

A Week to Remember… or Forget. Bumpdate

This week I ripped a pair of pregnancy jeans and found out I weigh just about as much as my dad. It was a rather embarrassing moment as I couldn’t help but tell him that we weigh about the same and laughed about it till I cried..or maybe it was that I cried about it until I laughed haha. Granted he isn’t a huge guy but whoa, talk about a week to remember.. or forget haha! I swore to you all that I would keep it real and honest and so you will be finding just that today as I talk a little about my pregnancy! Aside from those rather horrifying pregnancy moments that we all have, this pregnancy has been extremely enjoyable. I am constantly reminded that there is literally a little life growing inside me and nothing makes me want to be comfortable in my skin and confident in my body than knowing ill be having a little girl looking up to me. In fact, last pregnancy at this time I was swollen, wearing braces on my hands for carpal tunnel and my poor feet were so swollen I  think my indestructible rainbow sandals were shedding tears trying to keep it together! I chop it up to much less salt and a LOT more water, I swear those simple changes have me still wearing my rings and feeling very very healthy! Now, I just need this nugget to come out so I can workout and bounce back for the four weddings I’m in over the next 4 months! Wish me luck…anyone interested in hopping on my “get fit” train is welcome 🙂

IMG_1330

As far as when little Rosie will be arriving,  last week our Doctor predicted she will make her appearance mid-July! If she is right, we are looking at 3 weeks… and with that I have a to-do list a foot long and thankfully a great team of people here to help a mama out!  I wish I could keep this whole nesting feeling throughout the year, my life would be so much more enjoyable and organized! I am a fly by the seat of my pants mama and well, things have been freakishly planned and structured lately its actually starting to freak Gavin out.

IMG_1329

IMG_1328

With all that being said, I thought I would share a little list of some of my favorite items I’ve used during pregnancy and would highly suggest to any mama expecting or a friend looking to gift the perfect item for the mama to be! My all time favorite discovery this pregnancy is Maternity Spanx. If you are pregnant and don’t have them, do yourself a big favor and order up. Hope you are all doing great, I am grateful to have this platform to share our family journey and look forward to lots of good fun and happy news ahead!

 

  1. Pregnancy Spanx
  2. Pregnancy Dress
  3. Water Bottle
  4. Lululemon Leggings High Rise
  5. My All Time Favorite T Shirt 
  6. Sonic Face Washer 
  7. Body Lotion from Heaven

Why I Went Back To College 7 Months Pregnant

Why I Went Back To College 7 Months Pregnant

Ever start something and not finish? Something that you know you should be doing but the excuses are just too good? Story of my life.  Gavin literally makes fun of me because he says I love to start projects, put my entire heart into it, then 6 hours later…lose all interest. Well, some projects are just too big to ignore, and when they haunt you for 5 years of your life, they need to be addressed. That was the case with my College Degree.

IMG_9197

When I “walked” the graduation stage in 2012 I was under the impression that my last class was available online, and as soon as I got back to California I was going to enroll and finish my degree. Soon after I touched down in California and started my job, I found out the horrible news that the class was only offered on University of Colorado’s Campus. I was told there was no way I could take it online and at the time, I didn’t take this seriously. As new phases in my life came such as meeting my amazing husband, wedding, and when I had Wyatt the thought of traveling back to school became less of a priority and more and more out of reach. Occasionally, I would petition to take it online and each time I thought my excuse would suffice.. marriage.. child.. second child. Nope.

dbi-pearl14_0

When we got pregnant with Rosie, I got to thinking, if I don’t do this damn class before she is born there is just no way i’ll ever finish. Gavin supported me from the get go, I really couldn’t dream up a better husband.  He is the “finish what you start” “handshake is gold” morally straight kind of man and that’s something about him I really admire… until it comes to him telling me the importance of finishing my degree. With LOTS of prayer and planning, we decided as a family it would be best for me to return to College… 7 months pregnant. Returning to college didn’t just mean signing up for a class online, it meant packing up my life for about a month and heading to Colorado. Sounds just about as hilarious, embarrassing and painful as it was. I had nightmares about it for weeks ahead of time, worried I wouldn’t fit in the desk, introducing myself and my 4 pound child to the class, and leaving our little home and family dynamic was a thought that constantly made me question if I was doing the right thing.

IMG_9171

FullSizeRender 4

Over and over again Gavin reassured me that “we got this” with an occasional tease or two over the hilariousness of the situation. The day I signed up for the class was a bit emotional, but the more I thought and prayed about it, the more I realized I don’t just owe it to myself to finish, but my husband, parents, and my children too. Speaking of parents, I couldn’t ask for better ones. As I grow older I realize more and more all that they have done for me, and  with that comes the realization that matter what I do in this life, I will never be able to pay them back. However, getting this degree would make them proud so I was going to do just that.

IMG_9699

With what felt like a million suitcases, we treked to the beautiful town of Boulder Colorado. I was joined by Gavin, Wyatt, Mom and saint of a sister,  Jenna. My mom helped us get settled into our darling Airbnb and left the next day while my sister stayed.  I couldn’t have done this without my sister, she stayed with me THE entire time as Gavin and my family came and went. She watched Wyatt every single day while I sat in class for 3 hours and worked on homework and papers after class. I think the fondest memory ill take from this entire experience is the amazing time we had together, the laughing the long talks and just spending good ol’ sister time. There really is nothing like a sister and for this reason, we will certainly not be stopping after Rosie because she needs a “Jenna” in her life too! Her boyfriend Nick also drove 14 hours to bring Jenna’s car to us and stayed the last week.  We had the best time, and were so glad we didn’t have to haul around in Ubers each day anymore. I am so grateful for Nick, I already feel like he’s my little brother and I love how much he values my sister.

FullSizeRender

Class wasn’t easy. It was a Maymester course, meaning it was an entire Semester’s work squished into 3 weeks. Five days a week, 3 hours a day, plus 4-5 hours spent studying and reading. I nearly had a panic attack the first day in class as we were told to introduce ourselves, the pronouns we went by, and our favorite Ice cream. When the teacher asked who wanted to go first, I volunteered.

‘Hi I’m Stephanie, go by her/she/, mint chip ice cream would be my favorite.. and to point out the obvious I’m actually 31 weeks pregnant, married with a little boy Wyatt and here to finish my last class of college.” All eyes turned, smiled, and I literally laughed out loud thinking yup.. I’m that mom in class!

IMG_9296

It was only uphill from there, the students were darling and each day I got to know a few of them a little better. Sydney was a fellow Chi Omega, Adam was a bartender at a local spot, Michael was from Oakland, and Erna was the smart student who was passionate about Syrian refugees. I could go on but ill spare you.. bottom line is I ended up adoring the people in my class. My teacher… was awesome, and I’m so thankful I had him! A husband and father of two boys, from the midwest and on the first day made a bold statement that nobody has an excuse to miss class if the pregnant lady shows up! We all laughed on multiple occasions as I made jokes about my peeing habits or pregnancy life. One of the best memories during class was when everyone erupted in laughter because there was a flying baby head in the window of our classroom… It was Wyatt being held up by my sister.

As a parent, I see the value my Mom and Dad taught me in finishing what you start. I got to thinking that if Rosie or Wyatt were to be in the position I am today or something similar, I would pray and hope they would finish and do what is right. Also, i’ve got to be clear….it isn’t about the fact that I got an A+ in the class, or the fact that I now have a degree. A degree doesn’t make me a better person or a better mom, and it wouldn’t have made me a better employee or worker. In fact, I’m sitting on the plane as I write this more excited than ever to go back to being a stay at home mom and wife because it’s what I love to do. What the flimsy paper does do is show myself, my husband, my son and my daughter that when you want something bad enough, you do it and if you start something, you finish it.. even if that means sitting in a desk 7 months pregnant.

xo,

Stephanie