A Picture Perfect Weekend

Last month my other best friend got married & it was the most picture perfect weekend imaginable. Her job is curating beautiful images and stories on IG, so it kind of goes without saying that her wedding weekend was stunning.

Aubrey is the creative genius behind That’s What She Eats. We went to high school together and she lived in Cleveland, OH before jet setting off to FL with her then-girlfriend, now-wife Megan. (I cried when they moved.) (Fortunately, they’re coming back eventually!) Since CLE has their heart (& most of their friends and family live in OH), they had their wedding up north.

Like Kayla’s wedding (when Aubrey stayed with me), Kayla and I stayed together at an AirBNB in Lakewood. Our husbands were there, too. We were in Cleveland from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon.

It was the typical wedding weekend schedule (rehearsal & dinner / ceremony & reception / next-day brunch), but not also not typical at all.

Aub & Megan rented several AirBNBs for the weekend. A house in the Ohio City/Tremont area was used for the rehearsal & after-reception party, we used some lofts in Hingetown for morning-of prep, and a little restaurant in Lakewood was the setting for the ceremony and reception dinner.

After a laidback rehearsal, a few speeches, and a delicious dinner, the wedding crowd mostly cleared out of the backyard and K, Kayla, her husband Connor, and I went to work. It was our job to put the after-reception party together. With some pre-planning, we were able to transform the yard in about two hours. K and Connor hung fairy lights along the 2nd floor balcony and across the backyard. Kayla and I moved tables around, set up a little bar corner, and added the lounge furniture that we hauled from home. With only a few finishing touches to add the following day, we called it a night and went home to rest up for the big day.

The wedding was beautiful & intimate. There were less than 45 guests and I think I knew 35 of them? Haha. That’s what happens when you’ve been friends for 20+ years. Also, when you’ve been friends for that long the bride might ask you to speak during the ceremony. Which she did. So Kayla and I did. Aubrey’s mom and Megan’s mom wrote letters to their future daughters-in-law (SOB FEST) and then Kayla and I gave a short speech on friendship. Aubrey and Megan followed all of us up by saying really kind things to one another, then making their status as wife & wife official! It was beautiful ❤️

The dinner that followed was d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s. obviously. Kayla and I slipped out a little early and headed to the after-party house to put on the tablecloths, centerpieces, and set out dessert. Honestly, the day couldn’t have gone smoother. We were home and in bed by 11:30pm. (WIN!)

The next day brunch was a partial ode to the newly weds and ode to the Browns game. LOL. We stayed for a bit and visited, hugged our new brides EXTRA tight, packed up the car, and drove back home to see our blonde baby. We ended the weekend with full hearts and tummies.

A&M cultivated their weekend beautifully. They kept it small, they included so many personal elements, and they made the people involved feel loved and taken care of. (Hopefully we made them feel loved, too.)

Congratulations, Aubrey and Megan ❤️ We love you SO much and can’t wait until you’re back in OH on a permanent basis!

-Aud

Tangible Dreams

Some nights, while I rock M to sleep, I think about what would make me happy. Not in that moment exactly, but in life. And it’s a tough question to answer, because I’m very happy. I have a family that I couldn’t have designed more perfectly, we live comfortably, and I have a job I enjoy (although it’s extremely stressful right now). But as far as material and lifestyle choices, what could I be doing differently to facilitate more joy?

I know the adage about money/things/etc. not being able to make you happy, and to an extent I agree, but having the right things (or nixing the wrong things) can absolutely affect your happiness. So while I think the human/animal ratio is spot on for me, the s t u f f could always be more tailored.

I’m sitting in an armchair in the corner of my bedroom typing this. There is a big bowl of popcorn beside me, it’s storming outside, and both dogs are snoozing within 5 feet of me. This is a dreamlike moment for me. So how do I capture this coziness and keep it going always?

Late September to early March will always be my favorite time because I think it’s easier to be cozy and chill. (I know the seasonal depression people are scoffing at me- my husband is one of them.) I wasn’t sure how I’d handle camper life when we first bought it last year, but being in the camper is one of my favorite places. It’s small, cozy & organized, filled with comfy things, and it has a fireplace. I love it.

I don’t believe that wanting material things makes you vain or unhappy. I dream of some day building a home that gives me the same comfortable vibe as our camper. I want a wardrobe that is more me and less comfy mom/quarantine hag. (Not a bigger wardrobe- a smaller, different one.) None of this is a priority and it doesn’t make me unhappy to not have it, but it’s something that brings me joy to dream about. And I don’t think we give enough credit to those materialistic dreams and tangible goals. I think we sometimes feel shameful about wanting more/different things.

When I’m rocking M I simply have more brain space and less outside noise to work with. I can pray or dream or plan without someone needing a snack or their nose wiped or the backdoor opened to go potty (kid or dog? You decide). It’s a moment of solace where I get to think about me. And also hold the most important thing in the world. And I love that even more than a cozy writing corner during a thunderstorm 🖤

What are your material-based dreams and goals?

-Aud

(Happy Gotcha Day to Bristol!)

Infant Days: The Epilogue

It was just over two years ago (!!) that we told the world M was going to be a little girl. A few months later that little girl entered the world and completely rocked mine to its core. It was T O U G H and I feel like I was very open and honest and blunt about our struggles with parenthood.

Sometimes I wonder if M will ever find those posts and IG pictures and FB updates, and think I felt regretful. It wasn’t always glamorous and I very rarely painted it as such. And while I hope that was/is helpful to new moms, I sometimes wonder what M will think.

So I thought I’d write a epilogue to the infant days. My 19-month-old is full bore toddler now so we’re in a completely different chapter. (Maybe even book?)

I think every parent has a favorite age. Some will say each stage was their favorite and then the next one happened and it was even better. Kudos to those moms and dads. That is not what I (or K) would tell you.

I loved the newborn snuggles but I struggled during the newborn phase. Even after we cleared the fog, it was hard to find my groove. But then M started rolling. And sitting up. And eating some soft foods.

Then she started smiling and babbling. Pointing and shaking her head. Reaching and rejecting. By the time she was 13 months she could pick out her favorite foods, point to what she wanted, and walk across the room.

And we hit our stride.

I’m sure there are many parents who do not love toddlerhood. Eighteen months is a challenging age. Some parents love newborn age, some like school age (this will be K’s favorite I bet). I am a toddler-lover through and through. M is so much dang fun.

I love that she can communicate- even when I don’t know what she’s saying. Sometimes she’s crying because there’s a thread on her pants- but you know what? I know why she’s crying and that’s such a relief. She’s feisty and inquisitive. She loves doing everything herself… but wants mom or dad close by. She follows the dogs around and expects them to follow her. She can point to and name her body parts. She loves to figure out how something works. She likes to help with everything. She tells us when she’s ready for bed (even if she’s not sold on it when it’s actually time to sleep). She’s down for any adventure. She really is such a fun kid and such a fun age.

SO… for all the struggles and tears and complaining I did 1 year ago, let me just share what a good time we’re having right now. Sure, it’s not always easy. We have tantrums and breakdowns. But dang, it’s rewarding with M. She’s one of my favorite people to hang out with.

I might be singing another tune when we potty train… or transition from crib to bed… or start thinking about preschool. But for now? I am one happy human with my sassy little toddler.

*For those that struggle with toddlerhood, it will change. I would never paint a rosier picture than it really is, but I wanted to share that motherhood isn’t miserable forever and ever with no moments of joy.

An Extraordinarily Normal Weekend

I know the CDC is still making recommendations and states are revising their masks laws, but this past weekend was the most normal I’ve felt in such a long time. It was lovely and revitalizing and had me feeling warm and fuzzy and overwhelmingly grateful by Sunday night.

On Saturday one of my best friends in the whole wide world got married. I was her matron of honor and spent a large part of the weekend with her and her wonderful family. (They’re the kind of people you just enjoy being around; always laughing, always kind.)

My other best friend was the maid of honor and she stayed with us. Having her and her fiancee in the house was icing on the cake to a weekend-long celebration.

I know times are still weird. Honestly, Moo ended last week with a COVID test and if it’d come back positive, our weekend would’ve looked very different. But she was negative and we deduced that a double ear infection was the cause of her sickness. She now feels better and was even able to attend the wedding until grandma took her home for a sleepover.

And don’t get me started on the wedding day. So much love and peacefulness and celebration. I don’t think there was one single moment the bride would’ve changed- it was a perfect day.

We literally danced the night away. K and I were the last ones out of the venue- haha. I had such an incredible time. I think all the guests did.

It was weird to have a day that just felt so NORMAL. I think almost every guest was vaccinated. We wore masks when around the food. People were seated in pods but free to get up and move around. There was dancing and toasts and cake and lots of alcohol. It was such a normal, great day.

My soul didn’t know I was missing all of that until it was over. Sunday night I was folding laundry in our room, thinking about how nice it was to have a normal party with little reservations.

Today I wore my mask to the grocery store. I have not throw all caution to the wind and I know there is a time and place for intimate gatherings… but I hope that you’re able to have a little taste of normalcy soon. It feels so, so good to just relax for a moment and soak in the closeness of others. And that’s coming from an introvert.

Congratulations, Kayla and Connor ♥️ I hope you’re enjoying the hell outta St. Lucia.

Almost There Bumpdate

Hello. It’s just pregnant ol’ me coming at ya- 38 weeks and 4 days into this adventure.

I figure now is the safest time to make an update. As in… I’m still pregnant and my brain still kind of works. Kind of.

I’m going to fashion this post like my 23 week update.

Feeling.
K will tell you that around 30-ish weeks I woke up and was suddenly pregnant. I was groaning and stiff and ouchie and super extra emotional.

These last few weeks I have felt so round and my sleep has been terrible. I blamed it on the dogs but Friday I stayed in a hotel and still slept like crap so it’s not their fault. K actually has recordings of me groaning in my sleep. Flattering.

I also caught a cold a week ago. I went to the doctor on Monday and got an antibiotic so hopefully that’s on its way out. My heartburn and indigestion are still in full force. Yay.

I make K put my shoes on whenever he’s available. I also use the bathroom roughly 4 times per hour. Woo.

Cravings/Aversions/Weight.
I’m still always in the mood for waffles. I also love cereal (sorry, Rebecca Jo) but the milk tends to give me heartburn. Also, cookies and cream ice cream is my one true love. Most of my aversions have gone away. I preferred room temp water before I was pregnant- now my water HAS to have ice in it.

The month we lost Lylee I lost weight & didn’t gain for nearly 4 weeks. My doctors weren’t worried since a) there was a reason (grief) and b) I still measured the right size. Since then everything has been normal. I’m up about 30 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight.

Emotions/Mental Health.
The biggest moment here was grieving through Lylee’s loss. It was sudden and awful and traumatic for all of us. It made me completely forget about pregnancy. I wasn’t excited. I couldn’t fathom loving anyone beyond K and Enzo. I felt like an awful mother-to-be and I told K that I was struggling with identifying grief vs. depression. It was both, but fortunately I/we worked through everything.

I’ve been weepy over work stuff, too. There are some things that are up in the air. There are some exciting things on the horizon. K is juggling lots of stress… It’s just tough for me to want to step back and take maternity leave. I DO want to do that, but I like my career and it’s just been a balance issue.

Baby.
I wish she was a little less content in there, lol. We’re ready to meet her. (I didn’t think I’d feel this way but I do.) She moves around in the mornings while I’m at work and in the evenings when I’m lounging on the couch. K has felt her a few times, but she freezes up when I try to let other family members feel. Lol. Typical.

We’ve been asked a million times if she has a name. She does. We use it at home but we’re keeping it a secret until she arrives. Enzo said he told his close friends at doggie daycare but fortunately he can’t speak English.

Dad.
K is so dang ready for her to be here. Hahaha. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but his paternal instinct is much, much stronger than my maternal one. I’m not even sure he’s nervous. I know he’s excited about the forced-break from work. He finally packed his hospital bag on Tuesday and all the furniture is built so his pre-baby duties are done. (Except for putting my shoes on me…)

Other things to note.
My belly button is still in.

I’ve had so many people tell me I don’t look or act 38 weeks pregnant. I appreciate that and believe them, but I think it’s because I don’t like to show vulnerability/weakness so I put on a smile & participate in as much as I can. (I know that’s dumb.) When I’m at home? I look like this:

Hahahahahahaha.

Now that I’ve shared the unedited pregnant version of me, here are some maternity pictures!

 

Our photographer was Jackie Beachy and holy WOW, Batman. She is amazing. She’ll be doing Baby’s newborn pictures too 😍 I struggled with putting Bristol in these pictures. It felt like a betrayal to Lylee at first. I’m glad we did, though. Pictures capture where you’re at right now in life and we were a family of four with Miss Bristol by then.

And there’s the last baby update until she actually makes her arrival. (Did I freak anyone out by not posting on Tuesday? Lol. This was supposed to go live then. Oops.)

Send us your prayers, spells, wishes, & good vibes for labor and delivery. And fingers crossed it happens soon. I don’t want to waddle through Thanksgiving- lol.