Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 A Year in Review

Oh my this year was a fast one. Looking back on it, I think I say this every year. The days are long, but the years are short. This statement may be cliche and overused, but it couldn't be more true. There are days I have wondered how we'll make it to the next, and yet we always do. Then here we are another year later with so many more memories. More fits of laughter, more tears of sorrow, more magical moments, more countries visited, more memories made.

One of my favorite things to do at the end of the year is look back on the year and remember all we've done. This year was a busy one for us! We spent two weeks in The Netherlands and France, traveled to Chicago twice, JP started a new role at his work, I grew a human and gave birth to our baby boy and we became a family of four! But let's take it month by month to see all of the adventures.

We rang in the New Year with my family and wound down from the holidays. We celebrated my father-in-law's 60th birthday with a surprise party in College Station. Chloe started her second "semester" of school. We made it through a hard freeze in Houston. We heard the baby's heartbeat and saw him for the first time. JP went to Singapore and the Philippines for work. I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K with my friend Rachael!

Chloe and I road tripped to North Dallas to see Julie and Baby Alexandria. We had a mommy and me Valentine's Day. We did a family photo shoot and found out we were having a baby BOY! I rescued my sister from a flat tire on the side of the highway and we almost managed to change the tire ourselves. (Yes, this is noteworthy for me. It was a hilarious and unforgettable experience.) I went on my annual girl's Disney trip and completed the 5K, 10K and Princess Half Marathon

We remembered and celebrated the life of JP's Mimi who I had the privilege of knowing longer than both of my own grandmothers. We went to a lot of parks enjoying the Spring weather in Texas. We showered and celebrated our friend's Corley and Elissa wedding. We moved into my parents' house for 2 weeks while we had our entire house painted. JP went to London for work. We found out that my sister was expecting and due just 9.5 weeks after me!

We celebrated Easter in Houston and did lots of Easter egg hunts. Chloe and I tagged along on JP's work trip to Amsterdam. 9 days in The Netherlands and 4 days at Disneyland Paris. We saw the famous Keukenhof tulips, the windmills in Leiden, walked all over Amsterdam, took a train to Paris and dined with the Disney Princesses in one amazing family trip!  

We bought a new car for my Mother's Day present! We started swimming every weekend at my parents' house. JP turned 32, so we did one of his favorite things, GOLF. (My pregnant self drove the golf cart all around.( We took our final plane trip as a family of 3 to visit our best friends at their new home in Chicago. Chloe finished her first year of preschool. We celebrated Memorial Day with all of our neighbors.

We found out that my sister was also having a baby BOY. We spent a day at Schlitterbahn and floated the river in New Braunfels with both of our families. We took a family day trip to the beach in Galveston. We spent a lot of time at splash pads and pools. We went to an Astros game where I got to consume my favorite pregnancy craving...chili cheese fries. We celebrated our friends' (Meena and Greg) engagement! My family and friends showered me and Brody with so much love!

We celebrated the 4th at our neighbors. Chloe saw her first movie at the theater. We went to a Sugar Land Skeeters baseball game for my sister's birthday. We spent a lot of time in the pool. I was a core team member for VBS at our church for the second year. Chloe was a part of VBS for the first time. We got Brody's nursery put together. We celebrated Chloe's 3rd birthday at one of her favorite places...gymnastics!

I helped my mom with her Annual Community Baby Shower at her hospital during World Breastfeeding Week. (This was my 4th year to help her! Prep work starts in January.) I did an impromptu maternity shoot in my parents' backyard. My dad and JP built Chloe a swing set. My sister in law got engaged! I walked and walked and walked and walked trying to get that baby out! I went past my due date. I had prodromal labor for 12 hours and went to the hospital just to be sent home. I FINALLY gave birth to my wonderful, precious baby boy.

I got very little sleep. Chloe started her second year of preschool. We found a rhythm and our new normal as a family of four. We enjoyed having JP at home on paternity leave. We celebrated Emily and baby Gabe at her shower. Brody had his newborn photoshoot. We went on our first family trip to College Station to see my in laws and watch Aggie Football. JP took me on a shopping trip and we had Mexican food and margs to celebrate my 31st birthday. 

We spent another weekend in College Station. Brody had his first pool day. We continued to enjoy JP being home on paternity leave. We went to pumpkin patches, farms and fall festivals. I slowly started to run and workout again. We celebrated baby Alex's first birthday up in The Woodlands. We went to a Houston Texans football game. We went trick-or-treating as two Elsas and two jack-o-lanterns.

We welcomed Baby Gabe into the world and I became an Auntie! I picked up my running game and officially started training for my first post-baby half marathon. I started to figure out how to be a mom to two kids after JP went back to work. JP started a new role at the same company. We decorated for Christmas. We took cousin pictures during Gabe's newborn photoshoot. We spent Thanksgiving in College Station and saw in person the epic game where Texas A&M beat LSU!  

I started Invisalign. We took countless cousin pictures. Chloe leveled up again at swim lessons. We took our first flight as a family of four. We explored Chicago and visited with our best friends. We went on hay rides, looked at lights, drank hot chocolate, decorated cookies and met Santa. Chloe actually sang at her Christmas performance. We enjoyed holiday parties and hosted Christmas dinner at our house for the first time. We enjoyed a lazy week at home with just the four of us between Christmas and New Years Day!

2018 was so good to us and we're looking forward to everything that 2019 has to bring. I know that this year wasn't easy for everyone. I pray that 2019 is better than the year before for all of you. I know that a new year can't take away loss, sorrow, depression or longing, but it can bring a new outlook and hopefully joy along with it. Here's to new year and another chance to get it right!

What was your favorite month this year and why?!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Something New - Invisalign Series Part 1

Well I did a thing. As you can see from the title of this post, I started something new, Invisalign! It’s new and weird and a little bit painful (sometimes a lot a bit painful). I'm only 6 days in and I'm not entirely sure what I think about it, but I thought I'd share my initial thoughts. Then I can continue to share my thoughts and tips as I go along in case anyone out there is thinking about starting Invisalign!

Why I started Invisalign
I didn't actually start Invisalign because I didn't like my smile. In fact, I felt completely happy and confident in my smile and how my teeth looked. Yes I had a couple of rotated teeth on the bottom and my front teeth were a little crooked after shifting over the past couple of years, but it didn't bother me. It was my dentist that actually recommended that I go to an orthodontist because my bite was off and my gums started receding on a few teeth because of it. Not only that, but my shifted front top teeth were now rubbing against my lower front teeth causing me to grind them in my sleep. This could result in short, stubby bottom teeth later in life. Not exactly something you want to hear. After talking to my dentist, I decided to go to the orthodontist to see what they had to say. The dentist's fears were confirmed and I decided to go ahead with it. The Invisalign would fix my bite to keep my gums from receding and my teeth from grinding, plus I'd get a beautiful straight smile in the process. An 18-20 month process I might add.

Left picture without Invisalign and Right picture with it in. I can already see a little difference. I hope I remember to keep taking these pictures to see the progression over time! So my story begins here at the beginning of December 2018. It'll likely continue until at least June 2020, and since I'm paying for it, you better believe I'm sticking to it!

*Side note: I have never had braces or a retainer before, so this is completely new to me!

I wanted to share some of my initial thoughts, feelings and agitations about the Invisalign after just having them in for a few days.

My teeth hurt.
When I first put them in, I noticed that they felt tight but after just an hour or so, my teeth felt achy and painful. It's not just in one place, but all over. Not only that, the ache is truly painful at times! They say that the first couple of days with a new tray will hurt, but as your teeth shift and get used to that tray, the pain and ache lessens. At this point, I'm hoping that's the case! This time around, day 5 is when the pain started to subside. They're still tender when I take them out to eat, but hopefully that will get better too.

The edges feel weird against my upper lip.
Another thing that I'll likely just have to get used to, but the edges of the tray feel weird against my upper lip. It's actually rubbing a little sore on one side which I plan to bring up with the orthodontist if it doesn't go away.

I feel like I have a lisp.
When I first put them in, I felt like I was talking so funny. My entire mouth felt out of whack. My sister and husband both said that I sounded fine, but every sound I made just felt off. Luckily I don't actually have a lisp and talking is easier as I have them in longer. But seriously, I feel like I have a lisp.

How am I going to eat. I may wither away.
You're expected to wear your trays for 22 hours a day. They're only supposed to come out when you're eating. That's it! That only leaves 2 hours a day for me to eat and drink my morning coffee! Anyone that knows me, knows how important food and especially snacks are to me. I'm interested to see how Invisalign will change my eating habits. I may need to learn to snack a little less. Maybe 4 meals a day instead of 6? I'm not sure how that will go for this grazer. I'll be sure to keep y'all updated.

I have to brush my teeth a lot.
Pretty much after I eat anything, I have to brush my teeth. Now I'm not saying this is a bad thing. It's actually a good thing and I know it will improve my dental health, but it's time consuming and just one more thing I have to do. It's not easy when I'm trying to finish eating so I can get my trays back in before nursing the baby. He's not to keen on waiting. Again, something I'll get used to and in 6 months, I won't even realize the extra time it takes me to brush my teeth after each time I eat.

I can tell they're going to change my habits more than I initially expected. Eating in public and drinking anything that isn't water are already more complicated than they used to be. Taking the trays out and putting them in isn't a hard process, but it is a nuisance and is kind of gross. It's not something you want to do over and over again, especially when your teeth are sore. I have to think about when I want to eat a meal and snacking is likely a thing of the past. That's going to be hard for this breastfeeding momma. It looks like I'll just be brushing my teeth a lot!

Right now I'm just trying to figure things out with my new mouth. I know it will take time and eventually it will just be normal. For now, I'll quietly complain to myself and remember that it's all for a good cause! I'm hoping that in a week or so my initial thoughts and fears will be a thing of the past. Stay tuned to see how the process goes!

Have you have Invisalign or adult braces?
How did it change your lifestyle or habits?

Monday, December 3, 2018

James Brody: Three Months Old

I think I blinked and another month passed by. More than a month in fact because my baby turned 3 months old last Tuesday! I may have forgotten because I thought he would be 3 months on the 29th. Nope. He was born on the 27th and Chloe on the 29th. He's clearly a second child. At least I have a bit of an excuse! But I haven't been blogging nearly as regularly as I would like, so here I am finally posting about my sweet 3 month old boy!

Month 3 Firsts:

First Halloween
Originally Chloe was supposed to be a unicorn and Brody a dragon. Last minute, Chloe changed everyone's costumes, and for some reason, I decided to go with it. She wanted to be Elsa with me and have JP and Brody be pumpkins. And the cutest pumpkins they were!

First time to be a cousin
On November 1st, my sister had her baby boy, Gabriel. Chloe and Brody became instant cousins and I finally became and Auntie! Chloe is smitten with both of them. Brody and Gabe are pretty much built in best friends and we can't stop taking pictures of them!

First giggle
Pretty much the sweetest sound in the world. Baby giggles never get old! I got a video that I'll post on Instagram of him giggling while we were at Chloe's gymnastics. He doesn't do it every day, but I can tell he's on the verge of being a little giggle monster!

First Bridal Shower
Brody came with me to my dear friend Meena's bridal shower! Now he's been to a baby shower and a bridal shower. Next up, Meena's wedding in February!

First trip to the zoo
We finally made it out to the zoo the week of Thanksgiving! Brody loved it so much that he slept right through the almost 3 hours we were there. He woke up now and again so that we knew he was there, but he mostly enjoyed snuggling in the stroller. On the plus side, it was the perfect day, all the animals were out and his sister had the best time!

First Thanksgiving
Two holiday firsts in one month! Brody's first Thanksgiving was spent in College Station at his Jojo and Pops' house. He enjoyed his first Thanksgiving buffet of his favorite food...breastmilk! We had a blast with JP's family for the long weekend. It involved way too much food, Aggie football and lots of fun family time.

 Brody loves...
  • chewing on his tongue.
  • playing with his big sister.
  • napping in his car seat whenever we go places.
  • sitting up and standing.
  • sleeping through the night in his Dock-a-Tot.
  • eating. Always wants the boobie!
  • talking and smiling at anyone who will pay attention.

Brody doesn't like...

  • changing clothes.
  • getting out of the bathtub.
  • having to wait too long when he's already been patient.
Honestly, he's the happiest baby. He's so calm and easy going that there isn't much that he truly doesn't like! He's made being a mom to two kids so much easier than it could have been. I'm so obsessed with him and his sweet, calm demeanor. 

My sweet Brody boy,

Another month has come and gone and you have made our hearts grow more than we could ever imagine. You make your mommy and daddy so happy. Your smile lights up a room and your coos melt our hearts. You continue to be the easiest, sweetest baby we could ever imagine. How did we get so lucky?

This month has been a big one! You experienced two holidays and became a cousin in just 31 days. You rocked the pumpkin costume your little sister picked out for you, and you loved laying in the wagon as we went trick-or-treating around the street. You did opt out of treats on Halloween and turkey on Thanksgiving since you prefer the boobie. Who needs anything else when you have that?You and Gabe are already little besties, and we can't wait to watch you grow up and get into trouble together. We started imagining what we'll be dealing with in 3 years, and we're glad that you both can't move around quite yet.

Everything about you brings me so much joy! You smile when you hear my voice and look around for me. If that doesn't melt a momma's heart, then I don't know what does. You're my little boyfriend and I hope you'll let me kiss you forever. For now, I'll just soak up all the snuggles and the smile you give me because for now, I'm the center of your world and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I love you without wax,

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